tv CNN Newsroom CNN January 29, 2012 4:00pm-5:00pm EST
be one the first to get the book. stay connected 24/7 on twitter. my handle is @alivelshi. the show handle i is @cnnyourmoney. have a great week. hello, thank you for joining ugs. i'm fredricka whitfield. we'll look at 20912 presidential contenders in this political hour. but first, an update on some of today's top stories. an ugly scene in oakland, california. police say demonstrators tried to take over a vacant convention center and then later broke into city hall. protesters say they just walked in because the doors were open. in northern florida, interstate 75 is closed after a string of crashes overnight that killed at least nine people.
officials tell us the highway will be closed in that area for most of today. the sheriff's office says visibility was poor because of smoke from a nearby brushfire. all right, in just two days, florida's primary, most delegate rich contest so far. and candidate newt gingrich is heading into it with a new endorsement. >> i hereby officially and enthusiastically endorse newt gingrich for president of the united states! >> will herman cain's backing influence primary voters in the sunshine state? a live report straight ahead. and now to the campaign trail, extending beyond florida. ron paul spent the weekend in maine where several towns are holding caucuses over the next several weeks. rick santorum did some fund raising in washington, d.c. yesterday, but skipped appearances today in florida to be with his young daughter who is being hospitalized in
philadelphia. newt gingrich and mitt romney, they're both campaigning all over the state of florida. a new poll just released this morning shows romney with a sizable lead in the sunshine state. 15 points ahead of gingrich. santorum is in third place with 16%. and paul has 11% of the vote. the poll was taken wednesday through friday before and after cnn's thursday presidential debate. today, ron paul isn't on the trail, but he was on cnn's "state of the union" this morning. he says while there have been ups and downs in his campaign, he intends to stay in the race through the republican convention in august. >> no, i think we'll continue and it is a rough road, but the rough road isn't, you know, presenting our case. the rough road is competing with, you know, establishment money, the big money, you know. you talk about not a billion -- a million or two, and we can raise those millions, but we
can't compete with tens of millions of dollars for each individual state and that's what, you know, came up in florida. you need a lot of money. so it is a money game. and i think that's one of the things that frustrated a lot of people. >> leading the fund-raising race in florida, mitt romney. today he campaigned in naples, florida, a community where people over the age of 65 make up 42% of the population. romney went after newt gingrich saying it is time the former house speaker, quote, looks in the mirror to realize why he's not ahead in the florida polls. romney reserved his harshest comments for president barack obama. >> i think we see a president who wants to make america into a european-style social welfare state. i don't want to go that direction. i think he believes that fundamentally government is a better source of direction for the nation than free people choosing their own course in life. i disagree with him. i believe that america should
hold fast to the principles that made us the greatest nation in the history of the earth. i want to restore the princip principles. [ applause ] i mean, he looks -- he looks at the national debt, think of this, he looked at the national debt of $15 trillion and says, can i add a trillion more? i mean, can you imagine? he will, by the end of his first term, and his only term, by the way -- [ applause ] he will -- he will have amassed as much debt, as much public debt as almost as all the prior presidents of our country combined. and he keeps on adding and adding. and then he had the state of the union address the other day, do you think he mentioned the deficit or the massive overhang of debt on our nation? of course not. doesn't even rise to his psyche that we could hit a greek-like wall. my view is very different than his. i take a different course. the right course for america is to cut federal spending, to cap federal spending and to finally
balance the budget. and i'll get it done. [ applause ] this is -- this is a president who looks and thinks if the government can do a better job than the free market at picking successful enterprises. >> newt gingrich is fighting hard to gain ground in florida. and pull off the same dramatic come from behind victory he accomplished in south carolina. the former house speaker attended sunday services at a baptist church in lutes florida, outside tampa. last night, however, in west palm beach, gingrich got this sought after endorsement. >> i hereby officially and enthusiastically endorse newt gingrich for president of the united states. one of the biggest reasons is the fact that i know that speaker gingrich is a patriot,
speaker gingrich is not afraid of bold idea. >> gingrich is representing -- or presenting rather his ideas today to florida seniors in the villages retirement community. joe johns is joining us live now. joe, before, you know, talking to you about the residents there, let's talk more about the endorsement he got from herman cain and how hard did gingrich work for that endorsement? how important is it to him? >> reporter: well, i think it is important to him, fredricka, but, look, the bottom line is these are two men who have known each other for a long time. and, frankly, i was just a little surprised that herman cain didn't endorse him before now, you know. they both have ties to the state of georgia. and, in fact, first time i ever met herman cain, it was at the united states capital when newt gingrich was the speaker of the house. he introduced me to herman cain. so i always suspected this was going to happen. what does that mean as far as the people who have been so
supportive? hard to say. it probably would have been a lot more valuable had it come a few weeks ago, if you will. nonethele nonetheless, there are a lot of people who think very highly of herman cain so it can help. >> you bring up an important question then, so why did it take so long given their history together? >> reporter: yeah. your guess is as good as mine. we do know that herman cain has really tried to just sort of string things out a lot of times on his campaign. it even took him a really long time to go ahead and say he was suspending his campaign, even after all the swirl and all the allegations involving various women. so herman cain has been sort of a guy who likes to slow walk things in politics. and that was probably something he was trying to do here, you know, frankly just slow walking it to see as much mileage as he can get out of it. because at the end of the day, herman cain's in it to push herman cain's views and that's what he's doing. >> here you are at the villages,
a retirement community, many candidates are there in florida, rich in retirees but a lot of the candidates are being accused of not being specific about medicare and social security and that is certainly not sitting well with a lot of the seniors there. what are some of the people telling you? >> reporter: yeah. well, honestly, this crowd, very large crowd here at the villages, which is, what, about an hour outside of orlando, very republican crowd, and these are people who, while they're interested in medicare, they're interested in social security, what have you, the fact of the matter is they're also very interested in their nest egg, they're interested in what is going to happen to the economy, jobs for their children, and their grandchildren. so that's a kind of thing that people were talking about here. the speech by newt gingrich, for example, was a speech that very much played into those republican values. we didn't hear a whole lot about medicare and social security, but you're right on the other side of the equation there are a
lot of people very concerned about what is going to happen, fred. >> all right, thanks so much, joe johns, from the villages, florida. so florida very diverse, it is not expected that the electorate is voting as a monolith so we'll break down for you a look at florida. the street a scriptt off and had them read it. no, sorry, i can't help you with that. i'm not authorized to access that transaction. that's not in our policy. i will transfer you now. my supervisor is currently not available. would you like to hold ? that department is currently closed. have i helped you with everything you needed ? if your bank doesn't give you knowledgeable customer service 24/7, you need an ally. ally bank. no nonsense. just people sense.
all right, welcome back to this special hour of the "cnn newsroom." we're taking this time out every sunday to let you hear from the 2012 presidential contenders in their words out on the campaign trail. and among those out on the campaign trail, mitt romney there in high leah, florida. that's a city right in south florida in dade county. it is actually the sixth largest
city in the state of florida, mostly made up of cubans and cuban-americans. now he's appealing to that sector of south florida there in hiyalea. we'll have more on mitt romney's campaign. so his lead, mitt romney's lead in florida voter polls is on the rise after last week's cnn debate. and in a winner take all state, that's pretty big. the florida voting population is very diverse and candidates must work hard to appeal to different electorates relative to different parts of the state. john king breaks down the numbers. >> here is where we go next, wolf. you look at florida, an incredibly diverse state, much more conservative up here, more moderate in here, miami population, latinos, you heard gingrich daughters talking about let's go back in time to look what the we're talking about here. come back to '08, john mccain is the lighter red, mike huckabee up here. you see the diversity. much more conservative in the panhandle. mitt romney does have a base of
support from last time up in here. you come down the population centers, big populations here, here and here. h a lot of conservative voters up here. a bigger, diverse state, and wow a challenging and expensive state. >> the northern part of florida is like the south and the southern part of florida is like the north because of all of the people who have moved to the south. >> right. >> mitt romney was on the offensive. newt gingrich on the defensive. ron paul seemed indifferent. >> that subject really doesn't interest me a whole lot. >> wolf blitzer was the moderator of that cnn florida republican debate and he'll join us next. i'm good about washing my face.
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all right, we continue to delve into the issues on the presidential campaign. every sunday we're spending this hour in the "cnn newsroom" to allow you to hear from the conternd co contenders as they spell out their ideas for the future of the united states. mitt romney took newt gingrich head on at the cnn debate last week. they went back and forth on who profited from fannie mae and freddie mac. remember? >> speaker gingrich was hired by freddie mac to promote them, to influence other people throughout washington, encouraging them to not to dismantle these two entities. i think that was an enormous mistake. i think instead we should have had a whistle-blower and not a
horn tooter. he should have stood up and telling the american people that these entities were causing a housing bubble that would cause a collapse that we have seen here in florida and around the country. and are they a problem today? absolutely. they're offering mortgages, again, to people who can't possibly repay them. we're creating another housing bubble which will hurt the american people. the right course for our housing industry is to get people back to work so they can buy homes again. we have 9.9% unemployment in florida. it is unthinkable. 18% real unemployment here. get people back to work, we'll get people into homes, get the foreclosures out of the system. let people get into homes, rent properties if necessary, and get america's housing industry growing again. >> speaker gingrich? >> let me start by saying, florida's one of the two or three most hard hit states on foreclosures. how many of you know somebody who had a house foreclosed? just raise your hand. raise your hand.
okay. the governor has cheerfully been attacking me inaccurately and he knows it. the contracts we released from freddie mac said i would do no consulting, i mean no lobbying, none. there is a more interesting story. we began digging in after monday night because frankly i had enough of this. we discovered to our shock, governor romney owns shares of both fannie mae and freddie mac. governor romney made a million dollars off of selling some of that. governor romney owned shares -- has an investment in golden sma sachs who is today closing on floridians. let's be clear. >> this is fun. first of all, my investments are not made by me. my investments for the last ten years have been the blind trust, managed by a trustee. secondly, the investments that
they made, we have learned about this, as we made our financial disclosure, have been in mutual funds and bonds. i don't own stock in either fannie mae or freddie mac. there are bonds that the investor has held through mutual funds and mr. speaker, i know that sounds like an enormous revelation, but if you check your own investments, you also have investments or mutual funds that also invest in fannie mae or freddie mac. >> debate performances have the power to make or break a campaign. and romney's strong showing at cnn's presidential debate in florida thursday night may have helped the former massachusetts governor hold on to his lead in the polls. here is the latest poll information taken before and after the debate. it shows romney with a sizable lead in florida, capturing 42% of the vote compared to gingrich with 27%. a turning point in the cnn debate came when wolf blitzer asked gingrich if he was satisfied with the level of transparency regarding romney's personal finances.
here is how gingrich responded then. >> wolf, you and i have a great relationship, goes back a long way. i'm with him. this is a nonsense question. [ applause ] look, how about if the four of us agree for the rest of the evening, we'll actually talk about -- >> mr. speaker, you made an issue of this, this week, when you said that he lives in a world of swiss bank and cayman island bank accounts. i didn't say that. you did. >> wouldn't it be nice if people didn't make accusations somewhere else that they weren't willing to defend here? >> okay. all right. >> joining us by phone, cnn's wolf blitzer. so, wolf, you know, it seems that that was a turning point in the debate. gingrich trying to have it both ways, denounce and deflect. how telling a moment was that to you? >> i thought it was very significant because if you make an accusation out there on the campaign trail, and you're
reluctant to make the same accusation face to face with the rival candidate, it says something. and obviously newt gingrich didn't want to do that in front of the other candidates, the specific case that romney earlier, rick santorum said let's move beyond this and these two guys are just fighting each other. newt gingrich, you know, had been successful in several earlier debates in deflecting a tough question by simply attacking the questioner. whether it was on williams or john king or maria bartiromo from cnbc or others, brett bear, he was making an issue out of it. i suspect that he may try to do that in my debate and as a result i wanted to go in and make -- and i had all the background and justification for it in case he did. i wasn't going to let him go through with it. and that's what happened in this particular case. in the end, he had to back down, especially after mitt romney did
not back down. the irony, of course, fred, as you know -- he's very good in these debates, but the last two debates this past week, you know, he real didn't show his real strength on the offensive and mitt romney had a better -- had a new debate coach and went in fully prepared. he didn't back down at all and i think that's part of being reflected out in the polls right now. >> i wonder if what we're really underscoring is this is gingrich's style in which to find it adventurous in his view to turn the question on the moderator just as you laid out most recent examples, or is this something that is catching on with other candidates? are they feeling empowered, you know, when debating to take on those who are asking the questions and also win some support from the audience? >> you know, it is not a new technique by any means. going after -- or some conservatives call it the lame stream media or whatever they call it, that's -- it is sort of popular with some conservatives
out there, to take the messenger and go to the reporters and try to criticize them and deflect attention. and sometimes it is justified. sometimes, you know, the journalists are simply trying to stoke some sort of fire or whatever. but, you know, newt gingrich tried it successfully several times and this particular case it didn't really work out the way i suspected he had planned. and as he himself -- i covered him for a long time, and, you know, we have always had a good relationship and he pointed that out even in his decision to go after and say this was a dumb question or whatever. whatever he said. but, look, it is part of the game, you deal with it and move on. right now these last two debates i suspect were not very helpful. much more helpful to mitt romney. >> wolf, you covered decades of campaigns, moderated many debates. however, are you noticing, as, you know, mitt romney pointed
out, he said some of the candidates, namely in his view, gingrichpandering to the voters or is that the technique that all candidates take no matter what the political season? >> you know, they come into these debates and there are a lot of debates. 19 or 20 debates among the republicans in this cycle, which is a lot. a lot more than usual. and the debates are always important. i moderated five debates four years ago. and they're always important including the last debate four years ago that i moderated when there were two democratic candidates left standing, hillary clinton and barack obama at the kodak theater in los angeles. that was important. but my sense is that these debates in this cycle among the republicans have been much more significant in affecting people's attitudes. and by and large, newt gingrich was really doing well in almost all of these debates. and i don't know what happened.
i'll try to speak to newt gingrich this week and talk to him about what happened the last two debates. it is just a good question. >> yeah. >> i'm not exactly sure what happened. >> we can't wait to hear that answer that you'll get out of him. wolf blitzer, thanks so much. of course, we'll continue to watch you this week with the florida primary, just two days away, tuesday night, our coverage led by our wolf blitzer. thanks so much, wolf. ron paul says he thinks we should be trading with cuba, but first his response to gingrich's idea of colonizing the moon. >> well, i don't think we should go to the moon. i think we maybe should send some politicians up there.
welcome back to this special hour of the "cnn newsroom." we're focusing on politics, allowing you to hear from the 2012 presidential contenders. absent from the campaign trail today, gop candidate rick santorum. he canceled his events today in florida to be with his 3-year-old daughter who was in a philadelphia hospital right now. she suffers from a chromosomal condition that can cause serious medical problems. spokesman says santorum intends to return to florida and resume campaigning as soon as possible. at thursday night's debate, he talked about an issue near and
dear to floridians' hearts, america's space program. >> one of the big problems we have in our country today is that young people are not getting involved in math and science and not dreaming big dreams. so nasa or the space program or space is important, but nasa is one component, our space defense is another area, i think both of which are very, very important. i agree we need to bring good minds in the private sector much more involved in nasa than the government bureaucracy we have. let's just be honest. we're on a $1.2 trillion deficit now. we're borrowing 40 cents of every dollar and to go out there and promise new programs and big ideas, that's a great thing to maybe get votes, but it is not a responsible thing when you have go out and say we have to start cutting programs, not talking about how to grow them. we're going to cut programs. we're going to spend under my administration we're going spend less money every year, every year. year to year to year, the
federal government, the amount of spending will go down for four years until we get a balanced budget and you can't do that by grand schemes, whether it is the space program or, frankly, whether it is the speaker's social security program which will create a brand-new social security entitlement. those are things that sound good and maybe make big promises to people, but we have got to be responsible in the way we allocate our resources. >> ron paul campaigned in maine over the weekend. the new england state is holding caucuses over the next several weeks and paul is hoping to pick up delegates there. the texas congressman is talking about free trade and u.s. relations with cuba. >> i think free trade is the answer. free trade is an answer to a lot of conflicts around the world, so i'm always promoting free trade. you might add cuba too. i think we would be a lot better off with cuba trading with cuba. so i think the more you can do to promote this free trade, the better off we'll be. but as far as us having an
obligation, a military or financial obligation to go down and dictate to them what government they should have, i don't like that idea. i would work with the people and encourage free trade and try to set a standard here where countries in central america or south america or anyplace in the world would want to emulate us. unfortunately sometimes we slip up on our standards and we go around the world and we try to force ourselves on others. i don't think the nations in south america and central america necessarily want us to come down there and dictate which government they should have. and yet i believe with friendship and trade you can have a lot of influence and i strongly believe it is time we have friendship and trade with cuba. >> newt gingrich and mitt romney spar over immigration. it is a big issue in florida. home to more than 1 million hispanics. but are the candidates getting their messages across?
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presidential contenders in their own words. the former house speaker was asked why he stopped airing a campaign ad calling governor romney the most anti-immigrant candidate. gingrich defended his description and explained that his immigration policy would keep families together. >> we're not going to walk in there and grab a grandmother out and kick them out. we're not going to -- i think you have to be realistic in your indignation. i want to control the border. i want english to be the official language of government. i want us to have a lot of changes. [ applause ] i am prepared to be very tough and very bold, but i'm also prepared to be realistic because i've actually had to pass legislation in washington and i don't believe an unrealistic promise is going to get through. but i believe if there is some level of humanity for people who have been here for a long time, we can pass legislation that will decisively reduce
illegality, decisively control the border and mean the people that are here in america are here legally. >> is he the most anti-immigrant candidate? >> i think of the four of us, yes. >> that's inexcusable. senator marco rubio came to my defense and said that ad was inflammatory and inappropriate. i'm not anti-immigrant. they came to this country. the idea i'm anti-immigrant is repulsive. >> so let's talk more about florida and the variety of voter concerns. joining us live from plantation, florida, ron brownstein. good to see you. looks dark there already. okay. >> right. >> so two prominent leaders in florida, particularly to a latino community, marco rubio, who we heard romney mention and jeb bush, they have not endorsed anyone thereofficially there.
why not? >> there are supporters on both sides of the line and they're reluctant to cast their lot with one or the other. rubio is someone who is elevated by the tea party and his primary challenge to the sitting governor charlie crist and the senate nomination. he may feel a little closer to romney personally, but his base is probably more enthusiastic about gingrich. those kinds of calculations always often inhibit elected officials from putting their chips down and emphatically with one side or the other. >> what is the strategy here? how do the candidates try appeal to such a broad range of views? romney spoke about self-deportation versus gingrich who, you're right, in your latest article, you know, had more flexible and lenient approach to immigration and then saw the sparring that we all witnessed thursday night during the debate. how do all four differ? >> the politics of immigration in florida, particularly in a republican primary, are different than they are anywhere else in the country, as i write, as you note, on
ournationaljournal.com. a majority, probably two-thirds of that were cuban-americans. cuban-americans are not affected by illegal immigration because they benefit from what is called the wet foot/dry foot policy. as soon as someone gets to dry land in the u.s., they're accepted and brought, you know, given asylum and in most cases put on a path to citizenship. when gingrich is left to of romney in immigration and talking about a more lenient or flexible policy, even though i was at a republican event here in miami on thursday and friday there was a lot of skepticism about romney's answer about self-deportation. it isn't as pressing of an issue. same with the puerto rican community, another big block of hispanic voters here. they're u.s. citizens. they're unaffected by this issue. it is very different than when you get to states where the predominant hispanic population is mexican-american and more likely to have someone in their broad family network for which
this is an immediate issue. cuban-americans and puerto ricans are sympathetic to the idea that illegal americans should be allowed to stay but not an immediate and driving and personal an issue for them. >> are they -- you really paint the picture of how different the thinking is. no monolith of latino thinking. in florida, you have caribbean latinos, south americans, cubans, and mexicans as you mentioned. so as it pertains to other issues that are, you know, driving a wedge between the electorate and a candidate, we're talking about, you know, taxes, business, health care, are these candidates targeting these messages to anyone or a number of these communities? >> well, first of all, you know, florida is fascinating because it really is kind of much more coalition politics than we have seen anywhere else. in south carolina, it is a diverse state. i spent the day, part of the day friday with newt gingrich talking hispanic politics and
talking israel and the middle east to a jewish audience in the afternoon. it is like that good old-fashioned coalition ethnic politics you you don't see so much in this modern media age. but i do think that, you know, this immigration thing is a big, i think, kind of a surprise for gingrich it not developing the way they hoped in terms of moving voters toward them. romney leads in most polls among hispanics. there was a telling moment, marco rubio spoke at this event and he was interrupted by two protesters on the dream act, which i thought was a vivid and emotional reminder that when you get past a republican primary, the issues may play differently in a general election. >> wow, fascinating. thanks so much, ron brownstein, appreciate that. mitt romney is in highleah, florida, not far from where ron brownstein is, south of flan ta plantation. this is a significant community, not just in dade county, but as it pertains to the entire nation. it is the second largest cuban-american population in the
entire u.s. there in hialeah, the sixth largest city in florida. peter hamby is there. peter, how is mitt romney crafting his message for the community there in hialeah? >> yeah, he's got a lot of support from the establishment cuban
community here in hialeah, fred. he did a rally here and it is a cuban restaurant, that is usually closed on sunday. they opened it especially for this event and jammed it here. there is probably 500 people. ileana ros-lehtinen was on stage with him. mario lincoln diaz-balart, a congressman from the miami area spoke for him. craig romney, romney's son, spoke spanish and introduced his father. he said in spanish, you know, my father doesn't speak spanish but can talk about the economy. look, ron talked about how immigration may not be as big of an issue among the cuban-american set here in
florida, but castro is and romney took a hard line against fidel castro as he has been this is his closing argument to the community, his last push in the cuban-american community before tuesday. he heads here to kind of -- to pompano beach to visit with elderly voters and then back through the i-4 corridor which holds a lot of republican votes as well. >> is he changing his message depending on what community he was going to? he was critical of newt gingrich for what he called pandering, newt gingrich was, romney alleged, for changing the message depending which community he was speaking. >> yeah, he doesn't really. his message is pretty much spot on. it is about the economy, you know. we talked about the hispanic vote. it is not a monolithic vote. and people here care about the economy and care about jobs and romney, that's always his wheel house, he likes to talk about that. speaking of speaker gingrich, he said today, again, this guy worked for freddie mac and freddie mac helped usher in the mortgage crisis in this country.
he's been really hammering him stop after stop. the real message here is playing out on the television airwaves. democratic media tracking source, fred, just e-mailed me numbers of the ad spending and romney and romney allies are out spending newt gingrich and his allies almost 5 to 1 here, total through tuesday. that's amazing. that's driving romney's good poll numbers in this state, fred. >> peter hamby in hialeah, say hello to my friends there in south florida. thanks so much. >> absolutely. >> all right, peter. the hospital in joplin, missouri, it took a direct hit by a tornado last year. well, today, it is being demolished. coming up in the next hour, i'll talk to someone who knows firsthand about the town's healing process. more politics after this. an accident doesn't have to slow you down. with better car replacement
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to learn more, or find an authorized retailer near you visit tempur-pedic.com. tempur-pedic the most highly recommended bed in america. all right, we continue to delve into the issues on the presidential campaign. every sunday we're spending this hour of the "cnn newsroom" to allow you to hear from the contenders as they spell out their ideas for the future of the united states. president barack obama meantime is busy delivering his message to the american people. after his state of the union speech tuesday night, he went on the road visiting five states in three days in an abc news interview last week, the president was asked about the republican presidential field. >> watching the debates? >> i don't watch the debates, i got to say. i read the reports. and what i get a sense of is
that, you know, whoever wins the republican primary is going to be a standard bearer for a vision of the country that i don't think reflects who we are. the proposal we're seeing for the republicans is they would actually cut taxes for those at the very top, even further, but if we are not raising any additional revenue, we start cu cutting into the bone of things like research or education or caring for our veterans that are critical to who we are. >> one of the president's stops this past week, the state of michigan. during a speech in ann arbor, he talked about his plan to boost the economy. >> now, in the state of the union on tuesday i laid out a blueprint that gets us there. blueprint. it is blue.
that's no coincidence. i planned it that way, michigan. a blueprint for an economy that is built to last. it is an economy built on new american manufacturing, because michigan's all about making stuff. if there is anybody in america who can teach us how to bring back manufacturing, it is the great state of michigan. >> the president will deliver another speech on the economy in virginia wednesday. he speaks at the national prayer break fast thursday. later this week, the republican candidates will be in nevada. that state's caucus is saturday. so what do voters want to hear from the candidates? we'll explore the issues next. h. the invention that i came up with is the hot dog ez bun steamer. steam is the key to a great hot dog. i knew it was going to be a success. the invention was so simple that i knew i needed to protect it. my name is chris schutte
welcome back to this special hour of the "cnn newsroom." we're taking this time out every sunday to let you hear from the 2012 presidential contenders in their words out on the campaign trail. mitt romney got a big boost in nevada today. the state's largest newspaper, the las vegas review you journal, endorsed him ahead of
next saturday's caucus. nevada also has a 26% hispanic population. what do the voters want to hear from the candidates? let's bring in steve sebelius in las vegas. he's the political columnist for the las vegas review journal. good to see you. and ray hager in reno, the political reporter for the reno gazette journal. good to see you as well. all right, so, steve, let me put you on the spot first. why did your paper endorse romney? >> well, you know, they don't ask me before they do these things. i keep trying to get them to do it. i keep trying to get them to do it, but they just don't. but i think the reasons that they articulated in the editorial were that the social issues that are championed by rick santorum are not as critical as the economic issues and they believe that mitt romney has the chops to beat barack obama on the economy, and to fix the economy. so i think that's really why they gave him the nod. >> okay. let's talk about three of the
biggest issues according to a number of nevadaens and all of it really does have to do with the economy. we're talking foreclosures, problems on the strip, and maintaining or at least increasing business of conventions. and so if you had to, i guess, coach any of the candidates to prioritize these items based on what the voters want, what would you tell them, ray? >> well, first of all, from a northern nevada perspective, i don't think those are the key issues. i think the key issues are jobs, foreclosures, and bankruptcies because nevada, we lead the nation in all of those. and if candidates do come to northern nevada, they have to be respectful that this is a community that has undergone a lot of tragedy lately. we had two wildfires that wiped out about 60 homes. we had a senseless shooting at an ihop restaurant in carson
city. we had a train wreck outside of fearnley, 30 miles from reno, and just one thing after another. and i think that the candidates need to show a little empathy and maybe a little bit of encouragement to the people of reno. and the key thing about those wildfires, if you look at voter registration maps in northern nevada, those wildfires and those homes were burned in heavily dominated republican areas so people that go to the caucus or people who know someone is going to the caucus, they're going to have some issue about home loss because of wildfires and i think that's a topic i think the candidates should pick up on when they come to northern nevada. >> so, steve, the las vegas readership is very similar or dissimilar from, you know, the readership there in the reno area. >> i think the las vegas readership is pretty dissimilar. the issue down here, you hit on
it earlier, it is foreclosures. nevada leads the nation in foreclosures. mitt romney came to town before he spoke to the review journal editorial board, the meeting formed the basis of that endorsement today and he gave that famous quote that the market has to hit bottom before it can start to rebound. now, president obama and the state of the union speech laid out a proposal for a program that would save about $3,000 for the average homeowner if they refinance at lower rates. so you have two different visions how to deal with this problem. foreclosure is probably number one and ray mentioned jobs. that's number two. nevada leads the nation in unemployment and these candidates have got to come and say something about that. mitt romney said, look, if you elect me, we'll get more jobs. so that's something that i think voters will want to hear. the economic issues really do dominate the discussion more than anything else. >> steve sebelius and ray hager, thanks so much, gentlemen. thanks for your time. >> thanks. glad to be here. >> all right. >> all the best as we lead up to saturday's caucuses there in nevada.
there are a lot of delegates at stake in florida. and, of course, beyond. we'll tell you what all of it means after this. [ gargling ] oo-ay-ow. savings. savings. savings? progressive was the first to offer online quoting. you can do better. first to show comparison rates. ding! the "name your price" tool. oh! gosh, don't mind if i do. who was the first to offer pet injury coverage? we were. and when did you know you wanted to sell insurance? i said i wouldn't cry. um... whee! it's flo time. now, that's progressive. call or click today.
delegates. john king tells us what's at stake in this week ahead. >> three contests so far. 25 delegates in iowa. the biggest prize is florida. it votes on tuesday. 50 delegates at stake there. if you look at the polling, the latest polling shows governor romney opening a decent lead over speaker gingrich. we'll see if that holds up. after florida, where do we go from here? where we go next is nevada. 28 delegates at stake. colorado, minnesota and missouri are next. that's on february 7th. the asterisk here because missouri has a primary on this day. the delegates will be awarded a bit later in the process. you see what's at stake. maine, ron paul was in maine today. 21 delegates at stake. two big primaries in the month, arizona and michigan. 59 delegates at stake there. this gets you through the end of february. if the race is then going on, march is a huge month. 17 states, plus some u. territories, 755 deleges