tv John King USA CNN April 9, 2010 7:00pm-8:00pm EDT
martin luther king's birthday, everybody needs something to hold on to. >> wolf is going to be back month. among his guests the prime minister of pakistan. i'm suzanne malveaux in "the situation room." "john king usa" starts right now. >> thank you, suzanne. a fascinating consequential day. president obama picked a fight with sarah palin and she was only too happy smiling, too, to fire back. in a bit, you make the call. there were two big retirements, one a legendary figure on the supreme court, the other a rural michigan congressman you probably had never heard of until the final days of the health care debate. two retirements for me raised this question, will the middle of the politics raise its voice or be drowned out by the left and right extremes? we'll spend a lot of time on
that question tonight and in the weeks ahead. one other thing, and this is important, important to me, and i hope important to you, the president read a letter from one of the miners who died in west virginia, urging his girlfriend to take care of their baby if something happened to him. we spent a lot of time on the week of the safety problems upper big branch mine. if you listen to the president today and other politicians in past 24 hours or so, it is clear they realize now that the laws and the agencies designed to protect workers in one of our most dangerous industries failed here. the odds of a mir dmmiracle in virginia are dwindling. our october gation to follow the accountability trail is just beginning. we're awaiting word on latest attempt to locate the four miners una-accounted for in raleigh county, west virginia. rescue teams trying to reach a second refuge chamber to see if
the four were able to take cover. those teams reached one of the specifically equipped chambers earlier but found it empty. and then were forced to pull back because of smoke and toxic gases. 25 miners are confirmed dead. funerals for four of them were held today. at the white house, president obama said recent improvements in mine safety laws clearly did not go far enough. >> more needs to be done. and that's why i've asked my secretary of labor, as well as the head of mine, safety and health administration, to give me a preliminary report next week on what went wrong and why it went wrong so badly, so that we can take the steps nose prevent such accidents in the future. >> president obama was on air force one over the atlantic when word wait a minute came from the white house that justice john pauls stevens made it official, he will tip down at the curt term. mr. obama has been in office a little over 14 months and will
now make his second appointment to the highest court, replacing one of its leading liberal voices. >> we cannot replace justice stevens' experience or wisdom i will seek someone in the coming weeks with similar qualities, an independent mind a record of excellence, and integrity, a fierce dedication to the rule of law, and a keen understanding of how the law affects the daily lives of the american people. >> a number of administration sources tell cnn the president already has a list of prospects. our white house correspondent dan lothian has more on the high stakes process. >> reporter: the president getting a second chance to put his stamp on the supreme court, as you pointed out. white house aides tell me that they do have this list with about ten names, they have been quietly but actively working on this process, the president also expected to be actively involved. aides tell me that they aren't going to give any names at this point. and as to whether or not the
president will begin the critical process quickly of interviewing some of these potential nominees, i'm told that it will not happen soon, and it will not happen this within. john? >> dan lothian, thank you. last night we took you to michigan's upper peninsula to show you the tea party express in its effort to defeat bart stupak this november. the congressman made sure that wouldn't happen. announcing he will not seek re-election. stupak said it had had nothing to do with the tea party protests and predict he would have won re-election. he told dana bash it was time, after 18i years to seek a new challenge. he said the harsh tone of the political environment made his decision easier. >> it's unnerving but, you know, i've been a police officer for many years. i've been through some tough calls. we've gone through this before but not to the degree of the viciousness of this time. i wish everyone would just step
back, knock off the name calling and things like this and do what's best for country. >> dana's in michigan tonight with more on the congressman's calculations and the fallout. dana? >> reporter: well, john, there was an emotional moment at stupak's press conference with his wife brought up what she called vulgar, cruel, threatening calls they got in the wake of stoop's high-profile and controversial vote for the health care bill. but she made a point of saying 95% of those calls came from outside this michigan district. it illustrates what a national figure and national target stupak had become, but you know, his role in the health care drama is just one reason his retirement today is significant. another is the democrats majority in the house and threat this november of it shrinking and the fact that stupak represented this conservative rural district. it is ripe for republicans to take over against a lesser known democratic candidate. and that is why we were told by democratic source that president
obama called bart stupak a couple of nights ago, stupak confirmed that, and urged him to stay in office of at least run for re-election and it didn't work. stupak said that he wants to do something that i know will sound good to you. he said he wants to sit on his porch, drink a beer, watch the boats go by in lake michigan. >> amen to that. dana bash, the high stakes race there, thank you. and continue just congressman stupak getting threats. there's been a spike in threats since the health care reform debate started. since october, 50 threats, 50, reported against members of congress to the fbi. it's both the midterm election pep rally and a partial preview of the next presidential campaign. parade of big named republicans in new orleans for an event called the southern republican leadership conference. today's headliner the former alaska governor and gop vice presidential nominee sarah palin who delivered a scathing critique of president obama. >> so, yes, we can, kowtow to
enemies, criticize allies, vacillate, vow, dither, yes, we can, but somebody needs to tell the president just because we can does not mean that we should! >> cnn chief politicking correspondent and state of the union anchor candy crowley is in new orleans for the big event. >> reporter: very interesting here. it goes without saying, perhaps, these days in the republican party, but sarah palin got the best reviews and certainly the best audience reaction that we've seen of any of the speakers so far. part of those sharp elbows. she can deliver those lines in a way that brought this audience to its feet. somewhat leading you to believe perhaps in the straw poll they're having tomorrow she might do very well. what is interesting about this, you mentions at the top, that this was about 2010. we heard less about 2010 than what seemed like a pressage of
2012. so much of this was about anti-presidential obama language. you heard just part of it in that little clip you played. but we heard it from newt gingrich yesterday who called the president most radical president in history. we heard from liz cheney, who was here yesterday and calls the administration's response to hamid karzai childish and dangerous. it's been a lot of sharp rhetoric. there is a lot of hope here at this point that in 2010 and 2012 that republicans can take advantage of things. >> candy crowley, thanks. wall street had something to cheer. minutes before the closing bell the dow industrials broke through the 11,000 mark. they closed three points shy. the dow hasn't been that high since september 2008. the magic wall to see what's ahead on the program. when we come back, we'll continue to focus on the president's big supreme court choice, including looking at this question here, who's right?
when sarah palin and newt gingrich offer different opinions whether the republicans should be the party of yes and the party of no, what's the republican challenge in the court fight? that's our pulse tonight. wall-to-wall, where's the middle? as the president prepares to make his second pick to the high court, we'll look at how our country is so divided at the moment. in our clash, we'll call this one extreme makeover. with both the left and the right tugging at their party in the midterm election year, how far can we be pulled to the extreme? in play by play, the president of the united states versus saif sarah palin he said/she said over going nuclear. >> now the president with all of vast nuclear experience that he acquired as a community acquired as a community organizer -- frontal crash safety rating.
most americans describe themselves as moderate but this year our politics are driven by the extremes in both the left and the right. how will that climate affect the search for new supreme court justice? here to go one-on-one, she's works in the executive and legislative branchs of government in the obama and hillary clinton campaign. welcome. >> great to be here. >> i want you to listen to something the president said today. the president gets a big pick, his second in 14 months, which is remarkable for any president,
we look for clues. who is he going to pick? here's what the president said. >> it will also be someone who, like justice stevens, knows that in democracy powerful interests must not be allowed to drown out the voices of ordinary citizens, much like they did with justice sotomayor i hope they move quickly in the coming weeks to debate, and then confirm my nominee, so the new justice is seated in time for the fall term the pick first, then the climate. in terms of the pick, there are some on the left, which you represent, who are disappointed they wants the public option, more in health care, they think the president shouldn't have sent more troops to afghanistan. does he owe the left somebody to go in and fight or pick somebody more safe in this year? >> we should remember that the president is a constitutional law professor. this is one of his most solemn obligations as president as his imprint on the court. he will look at this as one of the things that's most important he does as president.
i think people can focus on the politics and i'm sure there are some in the white house who will. at the end of the day, this is a very important decision and i think he will treat it seriously. there will be less regard for politics in this decision than many others. >> less than many others is a fair statement. you've works for him. you know the people outside who he will seek for advice. some will say mr. president, their base is fires up, our is down. we need to gin it up. might you pick somebody maybe a little bit more left than judge sotomayor was a consensus pick in a closer to the mid until this environment? >> again, he will look for the long term. look at sotomayor. she really did engage and important constituencies, women, latinos, an inspirational pick. the president should look at that as a real important aspect of the nomination. at the end of the day you want
someone who will -- history will look at as an important justice and making an important contribution and somebody who can move the law in the ways that he wants the law to move. i think that's the most important criteria. you can be mod rate and still ensure that you're engaging and getting your engagement process. >> justice stevens was someone appointed by a moderate republican, ford who became a good knave gator of the court's politics using his leadership and seniority bringing people his way shaping profound things. you look and the pictures reminded me, the republican presidents have appointed relatively young men for a reason, scalia's on the court, thomas, alito, justice roberts if you're president obama now i assume, a, you want to go young, but b you need somebody to go into the jousting. >> that's why his experience as a constitutional law prose fepr
important. he wants someone to sway the court. >> who that is person? >> lots of people. elena kagan has an incredible inter-lech. >> not a judge. is that important to go outside? it's a skill to have someone who isn't a judge, who has lived a policy making experience, who has lived amongst real people and understand what that means to people. so at the end of the day, i think the most important attribute really is to ensure that you can sway the court over the long term and move it in a progressive direction because this court is an extreme core over the history. >> he's a harvard law guy. you're a yale law graduate. you spent a lot of time working for hillary clinton. how about hillary clinton for the supreme court? >> i'm not going to make news on hillary joining the supreme court. i think she's very happy as a secretary of state. and she's much more a person who is engaged in the political process than the day-to-day.
being a supreme court nominee and being on supreme court removes you from politics and influencing policy day-to-day. they should look at someone who is more interested in that. >> what about the climate? looking eight statement from mitch mcconnell, he says it's careful the president will -- the republicans will make a sustained and vigorous case for judicial restraint. orrin hatch tells the president, another leading republican from utah don't pick an activist. jeff sessions thinks last time they proved and even got justice sotomayor in his opinion to say forget the empathy standard that candidate obama talked about during the campaign. what is the political climate in your view, doing in the middle of a very, very contentious midterm election year. >> first, i would say that it's -- i welcome the fa thct t republicans are talking about activism. this court has become the most activist in terms of undoing precedence.
sotomayor has proven you can have a healthy respect for precedent and be a strong, moderate justice and that's something the president will look for. talking about active itch, the conservative picks on the court that are the activists. i hope that's what we're using for nominees because justice sotomayor passed. >> to thisspolitical environmen work for a democratic think tank that gets involved in the fights and sometimes raises money in the fights back and forth. are we going to have that over the course of the summer, left saying we need you to do this and people send us money, right saying mr. president you better not do this, send us money? will this get caught up in a less pretty, shall we say, political fight? >> i think we are face midst terms. what was disconcerting about the sotomayor confirmation process you had an extremely moderate judge, extremely moderate
nominee who received fewer votes than justice roberts. you know, ten fewer votes, meaning he's much more conservative pick. and so that happened a year ago. there's a great worry that no matter how moderate the president's nominee is you won't be able to get republicans. and i think the real concern here is whether republicans are interested in governing or interested in rallying their base or really responding to that base and will fight any nominee, no matter how moderate that is. look at justice sotomayor, she's very moderate. she has been allotted by fox news and others at this point. a yearing a, people were attacking here. she's been seen as a moderate number any since. i hope people look at that and see we can get republican votes for a moderate. >> fascinating spring, sure to become an interesting summer. appreciate it. in new orleans, republicans are jostling to to see who's right and who's farther right. the pulse of america when we
as republicans gather for a big pep ralfully new orleans, we take the pulse of america. tonight especially, the pulse of the part that leans right. with us tonight, cnn contributor, eric erickson. eric, you heard a liberal perspective of the president's challenge in picking a new supreme court justice and a characterization of justice sotomayor as a moderate and a dare to the republicans to try to be aggressive in whoever the president picks next. what's your test? we don't know the name, let's not dwell on who it might be. but you saw how the republicans handled sotomayor and the aggressive questioning but in the end she was confirmed. the same game plan good for you, or do conservatives and republicans need to do more? >> well, you know, i would like them to do more and be more aggressive. it depends on who he picks. remember the republicans fell all over themselves to vote at the end of the day for brier and ginsburg when clinton was president. some voted for sotomayor. i think they're going to ask
tough questions. if he get someone like kagan, they're going to have a hard time. she may be on the left but she's a highly qualified judge. the democrats have an interesting battle because justice kennedy now, if he disagrees with the chief justice on something, will be the senior justice in the opposition. so it's going to be him who picks -- who doles out the dissent. they're going to have to play with that as well and enter that into the calculus because he's not as liberal as other justices. >> so in the sense if the president's picking his politics or the future politics on the court, he needs to pick somebody who can be friends with justice kennedy pretty quick. >> i think so. >> let's talk about another big question. the republicans having a big event, southern republican leadership conference in new orleans. it is a bit of an early cattle call for the 2012 campaign. >> right. >> we've had a lot of agreement but also a little bit of disagreement in tonight. i want you to listen one of the
big questions should the republicans be the party of no or some say the party of yes? listen to a divide between the former speaker newt gingrich and the former alaska governor sarah palin. >> there is no shame in being the party of no if they're proposing the other side proposing an idea that violates our values, violates our conscience, violates our constitution. >> i think we should decide we're going to be the party of yes. there are many things that we can say yes to. >> they agree on a lot of issues but there's a clear difference in their tone. how does that play out? >> you can tell who has been in washington and who hasn't. all the people in washington for a time say they have to be the party of yes. the same with newt gingrich here. although at the end of the day the statement gingrich and palin were making were roughly the same thing, say no to the
direction of the country we're headed in and yes to freedom and liberty and where the republicans want to go. nate silver the left wing commentator today, says that the generic gallup poll looking like republicans can pick up 50 seats. i say being party of no is wore working well. >> a strong poll in new orleanss, when people post things, if you had to write who's the favorite for 2012 among conservatives who would it be. >> oh, god, there isn't one. sarah palin, i think she whips up a frenzy among people i like her. mitt romney does some. the sense i honestly get, there are a lot of people who want none of the above. they want a fresh face. i, myself, have been intrigued by the idea of someone like mitch daniels from indian in. and there are a lot of people who want someone else. some speculating mark arubio in florida, should he win. the daniels speculation right
now none of the above is winning. >> we'll watch as it goes forward. thanks for joining us on a friday night. now that we've looked at the right, let's see if we can find the middle. wall-to-wall for a closer look at retiring supreme court justice john paul stevens and the forces that will shape the fight over his successor.
in wall to wall a look atten flew engsle justice leaving the supreme court after 34 years. a polarize the political year that is to shape the confirmation process once president obama settles on a replacement. john paul stevens will turn 90 april 20th. for 34 years he has been on the high court nominated by president ford just after watergate back in 1975. he is a protestant. he is someone who has been liberal in leanings though pointed by a moderate republican. upheld roe v. wade. voted in cases that limit death penalty. supports affirmative action and he has given more rights to terrorism detainees at the
guantanamo bay detainny prison in cuba. the magic wall for the volatile political environment. it in this political environment president obama will name a successor. we have seen the left and the right dominate oirg politics. take michigan, for example. bart stupak a democratic congressman resigned today, trying to make the case in that district that his health care vote was the right vote, because the tea party says no, some on the left criticized him. bart stupak saying 38,000 people in northern michigan will get health insurance and nearly 200,000 will see their costs lowered. that is a view from michigan of the contested political environment. utah, bob bennett a republican senator, been in office for years. he's being challenged from the right in part conservatives say, because they don't like these votes. here's one, school safety ability of 1999. passed by 73-25. 31 republicans vote ford this bill yet conservative says
senator bennett should not have. another vote, the ashcroft amendment a bill that would punish parents if they let their children get hands on semiautomatic weapon passed by 95-2, two republicans voting no. bennett voting yes. in this environment some say bennett cast the wrong vote. two examples, michigan and utah. now about north carolina? a labor union saying it wants to form a third party in north carolina because it thinks democrats aren't looking out for workers so much. take a look at how people break down in north carolina. according to the gallup poll you 47% democrats, 38% republicans. so you think by looking at that this is a democratic state. but look at this. let's stretch these numbers out a little bit. asked north carolinians to describe themselves, 38% are moderate. 40% are conservatives. only 18.4% say they're liberal. a country right now that has a lot of tugging by the right a lot of tugging by left in this
environment the president has to name a new supreme court pick and get him through the united states senate. it is a fascinating time for the presidency of the united states. a fascinating challenge. we'll continue to talk about it as the program goes on looking not only at the challenge for president making a new supreme court pick but where is the mid until american politics.
this part of the show where we introduce you to the most important person you don't know. today that's you, because we're determined to bring you in our conversation. we read our facebook postings, tweets, e-mails, anything sent into our blog. also, every monday we ask a question, give you the whole week to post an answer on our website. friday you get to make your case. this week's question, when should the government stop extending unemployment benefits? the prem that's americans, collect unemployment rather than being gainfully employs is wrong and nothing but a justification for those who object to government providing a humane safety net because of their laissez-faire political philosophy. >> a statement from a viewer there. our political correspondent, jessica yellin. in marquette, michigan, dana bash. the unemployment benefits distribute poout wdisde disdesputs was not resolved before they went on recess. it's one of the many issues
caught up in the current political climate. number two, when they did come back the democrats between focus on jobs, jobs, jobs. now we have a supreme court nomination battle, always contentious. dana, you're on the road. in the sense of the clooimt you're in a place where you got a good example of someone who accident like the climate and decided to go home, bart stupak. >> reporter: that's right. he was done. i mean he made that clear in every which way he could. he was tired and he didn't -- he's relatively young, considering many of people that we cover in congress. he said, look, i've had enough. why do we care? for several reasons. he obviously was the guy who was -- gave president obama the votes for his top priority in a very tough way, bart stupak is anti-abortion, got some language in there he wants. politically, bigger picture the thing that's interesting, this district where -- that he represents is very conservative.
and he is a conservative democrat. and by him leaving, it perhaps if you talk to people as i have, leaves the door open for one more republican victory in november. >> between now and november, when they do come back, they have to deal with economic issues but also deal with the supreme court a very contentious issue. >> it is tough. and it's a possible distraction if the president picks somebody that republicans decide to oppose vehemently. usually it's not a filibuster that the white house faces from the other side. it's a contentious fight they're forced to with draw the nominee the worst case scenario. republicans do not seem poised to put up a huge fight because they found they were successful with sotomayor just by making their point. the one challenge for the president, if he picks subwho is an ultraliberal he'll have a huge fight, it will take the message away from jobs. that is not what they want. >> the president doesn't want to fight but some democrats in
congress would they prefer the fight, if their base is demoralized gin it up with a good court fight? >> reporter: it's a tough thing. if you gin up the base, that could help, especially in a year when. dids are not enthused and republicans seem to be. but the same token, specifically in the senate that we're talking about with the senate confirmation, there are a number of democrats especially the senate majority leader, harry reid who are coming from relatively conservative areas, conservative states, and the last thing they want is to be able to -- to have to defend a rather liberal nominee to their conservative voters. so that is something that i'm hearing, i'm sure jessica is, too, that may be quietly communicated to the white house that some democrats are say, you know what? let's just try to make this an easy one for that reason alone. >> and before we go, to the degree that the president's replacing someone, you look at what they did on the court. justice stevens was a negotiator, a tactician on the
court. >> that's why the people most knowledgeable about the court say he was effective at moving everybody so slightly to the left because of his strategic mind. and that they don't have that kind of person on the left of the court. so there are some who hope the president would pick somebody not just talking about ideology but personalty wise is like stevens in that sense. >> thank you very much. next in the clash, we'll look at weather. talking about it here, whether the extremes of both parties are drowning out america.
a pair or strategists who understand public opinion and the dynamic works into the election year. the president of bill yent corners research and strategies and republican strategyist neil new house. we should note the lead pollster for new senator scott brown. still loving that victory. >> no complaints. >> so, we are in the early hours of a big decision for the president of the united states, justice stevens decides to retire after 34 years. the president of the united states finds out on the way back over the atlantic before air force one steps down, we get one tafrts of the potential tone of the political debate. this is glenn beck. >> if he's smart, he will find a gay, handicapped, black woman
who is an immigrant. that's what -- because that way he can just say, when -- he could be the devil, she could say, i hate america, i want to destroy america, and that way they'll only be able to say, well, why do you hate gay, immigrant, black, women? why do you hate that? >> i'm going to help neil out here. frankly, you can't -- sometimes crazy is just crazy and i can't hide crazy under the cloak of an i'd logical blank et cetera. it's crazy talk from a crazy man. sometimes you have to call it out for what it is, that's crazy. >> but a lot on the right listen to him. >> they do. the debate over the next supreme court justice isn't going to center over those issues. i think that's taking it to an extreme position. >> probably? >> well, you no, you've got to
understand, the republican primary voters, republicans are pretty riled up right now. and they're against anything that obama proposes or does. >> risks in that. >> yeah, but in mid determine election, i think the risks are less -- there are fewer risks now than there will be two years from now there hang on. let's put this into the mix. talking about potential risks or the mood among republicans. newt gingrich who became speaker after 1994 republican revolution, says if we can win this fall, we'll do this. >> when we win control of the house and senate this fall, stage one of the end -- [ applause ] -- stage one of the end of obamaism will be a new
republican congress in january that simply refuses to fund any of the radical efforts. >> to some, neil that sounds dangerously close to we'll shut the government down. we did that once. >> i don't know what's surprising about this. republicans, 90% of republicans disapprove of the job obama's doing. newt is preaching to the choir here, telling them what they want to hear. i mean it's no surprise, republicans oppose what obama's trying to do. >> they create climate that makes it hard to govern between now and november. >> i know. but the key line there, i think got the most applause was, when we take the house. that might be a little bit of a reach right now. certainly possible. but you know, he's trying to put it out there as a goal for republicans to hit. >> here's the danger in that, it goes back to the glenn beck thing, it is when you look at middle america and you look at that sort of craziness and you hear that anger and that fear that's coming out that cannot
represent the republican party for middle america, because if it does middle america will not vote for them when they need independent voters are for them to take back the house. >> quick time-out. we'll get more time to talk about this when we come back for play by play. we'll break down tape in play by play. one of the things we'll talk about is the president picking a fight with sarah palin and she fired back.
here comes the play by play. >> back for play by play. democratic strategist cornell belcher and republican strategist neil newhouse. a fascinating back and forth here. sarah palin the other day criticized the nuclear posture view put out by president obama saying it weakens us in the world. what do you think of that criticism? >> i really have no response to that. the last i checked, sarah palin is not much of an expert on nuclear issues. if the secretary of defense and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff are comfortable with it, i'm probably going to take my advice from them and not from sarah palin. >> a little bit of a smile there from the president. now he knew she was speaking
today at this big republican conference in new orleans, and guess what. she fired back. >> now, the president, with all the vast nuclear experience that he acquired as a community organizer, and as a part-time senator, and as a full-time candidate, all that experience still no accomplishment to date with north korea and iran. >> so cornell, as the democrat in the mix here, the president started to say i really don't have any comment to george, and then said well actually i do. he went on to take a little swipe at sarah palin. what is the interest in doing that? >> well, look, she is the republican front-runner. she is increasingly becoming the face of the party. she is the republican front-runner. he gist as good as he gets there. and he is right. i'm going to look to my joint chiefs of staff on this, not sarah palin. it was a good line. >> i'm not sure she is a
front-runner yet. but you know what? i think what he did is smart. he is setting her up. he wants to promote her. he wants to engage back and forth because you know what? the more he does that, the more it helps her, and you saw the reaction she got from that republican audience. >> do you want to promote her? do you want her at the face of the republican party right now? >> notice i'm going to keep calling her the front-runner. >> it was smart play for both of them. smart play for both of them. >> a smart play for both of them. we'll score it that way. let's close with a little bit of fun. michael steele is in hot water. >> who? michael steele. the national republican committee chairman. one of his staffers goes to a risque nightclub in california and the rnc ends up paying for it. they're all down in new orleans this weekend and bobby jindal knows bourbon street is up the street. he knows what is going on and decides to have a little bit of fun. >> enjoy our great food, our great culture. spend a little extra money in our great hotels and
restaurants. we would appreciate it. a word of warning to rnc staffers. you may want to stay away from bourbon street. >> my son is in school. he could tell him where to go. >> humor sometimes deflates tough moments in politics. does this help make it go away? >> it's too bad that guy is not the front-runner and sarah palin is. >> no, i mean, i think the steele issue, the money issue, that's an inside the beltway. i don't think people really care about it. republicans are going to be able to raise the money. it may not be rnc directly, but it will be affiliated committees. our candidates will have enough. >> so it's okay to have fun on bourbon street? >> yes. >> so republicans thanks for coming in on friday night. when we come back, we're going to check on pete on the street. he is our offbeat guy. he has been looking into what members of congress do during their recess.
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let's head out to new york, check in with campbell brown for what is coming up at the top of the hour. hi, campbell. >> hey there, john. plenty of chest-thumping i guess you could call it going on at that republican press conference down in new orleans. one line getting a lot of attention of course as you know, when newt gingrich called president obama the most radical president in american history. tonight we're going to see if there is any truth to that. we'll have a little bit of a debate. we're also digging deeper into that shock story of a
7-year-old russian boy whose adoptive american family sent him back to moscow. they say he is mentally disturbed and violent. but is returning the child the answer here? we've got a lot more on that as well coming up at the top of the hour. john? >> we'll see you in a few minutes. thanks, campbell. members of congress getting ready to come back here to washington after a two-week recess. but first, one very lucky congressman got a recess visit from our offbeat reporter pete dominick. what did you learn? >> i'm curious that what they do not only when they're on recession, but when they're at work in their offices. i want to see them in their district. so we headed over to virginia's eighth district and talked to the very colorful jim moran. >> this office looks a little negative. and what i notice right away is there is no computer in here. >> i'm kind of old school anyways. >> the other thing i notice there is a jar. and i would wish there to be candy. >> brian? >> brian, get in here.
we need something in this jar immediately. >> if the office was burning, what would be the one thing you grab off the wall? >> there is a really poignant picture of the night i was elected. my daughter was crying buzz not everyone had voted for me. >> i'm going to wear the congressman's glasses. >> we can pull over there and park right there. >> filling the meter. >> i was mayor here. >> what is a cooler job, mayor of alexandria, or congressman of this district? what is cooler? mayor sounds cooler. >> mayor was cooler. i was single then too. >> favorite meal? >> my wife's risotto. >> favorite television shows 067 all time? >> we sit and watch jon stewart and stephen colbert. >> what size shoe? >> 14. >> that's a big foot. 14. i wear a size eight. do you ever get starstruck? >> well, i actually was fixed up with morgan fairchild when i was mayor. >> get out of here! >> yeah. >> really? >> but unfortunately, the local
paper took a picture of me. she was well endowed and it looked as though i was focussed on the wrong thing in the newspaper. >> congressman, it was a pleasure. i hope you had a good time. >> yeah. >> hopefully america got to know you a little bit too. >> pretty interesting guy, john. it was fun going to his district, seeing his office, and talking to him right there in arlington. >> do you know where you were standing there in that last picture? >> no idea. >> that's king street. king street in old town. king street there is a great irish pub around the corner where the congressman when he was mayor, he used to find it every now and then. >> we knew it was king street, john. that's absolutely why we chose to shoot there. he didn't take me to the pub, though. maybe next time. >> i think he maybe didn't want to take you when he went. he had enough of you that. >> could have been the case as well. but i hope we get to do that with more congressmen and congresswomen. that was a fun thing. i want to learn more about them. >> and what is the one biggest thing you learned? >> that the congressman d