tv Newsmakers CSPAN January 15, 2012 10:00am-10:30am EST
appeal across this nation and in particular in the state's better necessary for us to win this election. >> as candidates get their message amount and the voters -- meet voters -- >> it is a bigger miss. >> our elements of power, we need to make sure that it is in our national security interests and we are not spread so thin that we cannot do it right. >> do you want to hold him? >> taking a picture. -- take a picture. >> find more resources, with more video from the campaign trail. it read the latest from political reporters and people like you from social media sites at c-span.org/campaign2012. >> i believe that it is
important to emphasize that while is great to have this memorial to his memory and a disgrace to have a national holiday and is great to have streets and schools -- it is great to have a nationalist holiday ended his great to have streets and schools, it is also important to not place too much emphasis on martin luther king, the idol. not enough emphasis on the ideals of martin luther king, jr. >> look at them life and legacy of martin luther king jr. online at the c-span video library. is what you want, when you want. >> as we head into the south carolina primary, this week on "newsmakers" we talk to the ethics and religion professor of the southern baptist convention. he and other conservative christian leaders are meeting over this weekend to talk about
the gop field and deciding about which candidate they get behind. let me begin with this meeting and what is the goal? >> welcome i believe there is considerable and remorse on the part of a lot of evangelicals and other social conservative christian leaders. they did not try to unite behind mike huckabee earlier when it could have done more good and make a difference in his race against mccain in 2008. they want to try not to repeat that mistake this time. a look at the iowa caucuses and they see that if you take gingrich, santorum, bachmann, and. together, they doubled mr. romney's vote total. he won in the primary because of the division amongst the conservative candidates. there are too many and they are
dividing the social conservative vote. what is going to happen in texas is that we are going to try really hard to discuss at one point we might be able to coalesce behind a candidate and the social conservatives can get excited about both of the primaries and a general election. they will be -- there will be representatives from the romney campaign perry campaign. it will be there. plus, people like me who are not supporting anyone and to do not endorse candidates. >> we are joined this morning and we are talking on this friday morning. our viewers will be watching us on sunday to help with questions. amy, go ahead. >> thank you for joining us. >> it is very interesting, this conference in texas taking place a few days before the south
carolina primary. there are a lot of folks who wonder kamahl why did -- , why did this not happen earlier before the iowa caucus? is it too late? >> there have been meetings. there was a meeting last summer with the the p termerry and m -- governor perry in central texas. i left that meeting past the press -- i thought, i do not know how to go p interimerry could have done any better -- i do not know how governor perry could have done any better or worse. if he had fulfilled expectations, there would not be the need for this kind of meeting. after the goose and the gas and the mis-steps, the perry
campaign is not going to happen. by then, you had people who were emotionally committed to committedand santorum. -- gingrich and santorum. we had to let it play out. the best case scenario would be that the voters of south carolina would give us some clear direction as to where they would have us go by how they cast their votes in the south carolina primary. >> with 25 delegates at the state, go ahead. >> i wanted to ask you if so so conservatives will be encouraging republicans in the field to drop out of the race or whether those conversations of our party been happening in order to unify -- have already been happening in order to unify around one of the candidates? >> they have been happening. there have been lots of conference calls and there have been approaches to various
candidates about it not working out. staying is harming the conservative cause, how about considering dropping out? and putting your strings behind one of the strong versos the conservatives. you understand that the candidates are not terribly preceptive -- receptive. as time goes on, and as funding goes down, they may become more receptive. >> >> you have seen this sort of thing quite a bit. i am interested, who do you think would be most likely or is the best person to move out of the way? >> that is going to depend on what happens in south carolina. for me, the best case scenario,
given where we are at this point , would be for the voters to give a preponderant of their votes to one of the cells of conservative candidates. -- social conservative candidates. in that would be the one around which others rally as we go to florida and beyond. they become the alternative to romney. this will make the republican primary stronger and it will make romney stronger. it will make his opponent stronger. i want to be very clear. most social conservatives find romney a more attractive alternative than they did john mccain. this is not so much an anti- romney thing as it is -- would it not be nice to be able to find out if a social conservative is , a is both in
the primary -- is liable, both in the primary and in the election? >if mr. romney ends up facing off versus one social conservative and they have an extended race towards the nomination, if mr. romney continues to be competitive or better than competitive, against mr. obama in the general election polling, and the social conservatives is not able to convince people that he is equally viable against mr. obama in a general election campaign, mr. romney will be the nominee. do not underestimate barack unites unique ability to social conservatives and others around whomever he is running against it in a general election. >> if i could jump in. evangelicals make up 60% of
republican primary voters in south carolina. you're calling south carolina that test. how big of a we did -- of a lead it does somebody beside romney need to have that? what number says to you that there is somebody else besides romney for social conservatives? >> if one of them were to win, that would certainly be an indication. if they were to have more votes than mr. romney or being in a virtual tie with him. or, if you had one of the social conservatives who ran a strong second and say his vote total was double the vote total of the next closest social conservative. i am not considering congressman paul. >> a couple of questions to help me understand where things are going to go on sunday.
it seems to me, you are going to wait to see the results of south carolina before you make a decision, rather than coalescing of around a candidate before south carolina. correct? >> that is the reality. i know some of the people who are going to be here and they are committed to the candidates. they have given money and time and they have given their emotional commitment to these candidates and they would say to you, i had numerous friends, and gingrich supporters and santorum supporters say, look, i think we need to unite around a social conservative and give it our best shot as a unified collation. as long as my guy is still in the race, i cannot be part of that because i am committed to my guide. there is going to be a lot of discussion about agreeing to give this our best shot after south carolina -- we are really
going to try to do our best to convince the weaker candidates to make a very tough decision and withdraw. >> that makes sense. one other follow-up. i read an up-it where you noted that rick santorum was the truest of the true conservatives. is he the candidate that you are looking at? is he the candidate that you think you could get behind? >> i could get behind any of these candidates in a general election campaign because i am going to vote for the pro-life candidate. i am going to vote for perot- like. -- pradesh life. there will be a prudential life canada and there will be a pro- choice candidate. assessing them, it looks to me like if you look at the three
remaining social conservatives in the race, they have all got weaknesses. mr. gingrich has got baggage. some would call if freight. [laughter] is negative campaign is not helping him. a brilliant guy. a brilliant guy. unpredictable. you have rick perry. if he had gotten laryngitis, he would have been the front- runner. unfortunately, he has shown that he was now ready for prime time. the dos and the gas are going to be awfully difficult to overcome. santorum's negatives are that he is not all that well known nationwide and he did not have any money. now that he finished in iowa, he is raising money and getting better. he is a serious, credible
candidate. the is a person who has had two terms in the senate. four more years and the congress. he is articulate on the issues. kias clean and morally. -- he is clean, morally. he has a residue of trust because in the senate, he was willing to carry our water when no one else would. he is a divide catholic who evangelicals trust. it would seem to me from an objective and political viewpoint, his negatives are easier to fix than the other two. the voters of south carolina will have a much heavier say on this than i will. >> do you trust mitch romney on the issue of life? >> -- mitt and romney on the issue of life? >> i have had him personally explain to me his change on the issue.
pro-life is the new majority in this country. a majority of americans describe themselves as pro-life. that did not happen without a lot of pro-choice people changing their minds. i have family members who used to be pro-choice. i a former classmates from college who used to be pro- choice to have become pro-lifer. some of them through experiences like having children. romney's experience of having -- show me the data. he was trying to make a decision about stem cell research and as he examined the data, he said, i came to the conclusion that we are dealing with human life. i do trust him on the human life issue. i think he is pro-life. i think he is. he has got to convince people of this. it is interesting, the media misunderstand us. part of the problem social conservatives have with mr.
romney is that he is not warm enough. -- mormon enough. if he stands on marriage has been consistently with the stance of the mormon church has been, he would have far less doubt among social conservatives. >> can you explain that once again? >> the mormon church is absolutely committed to the pro- life cause. it is also absolutely committed to a traditional marriage. i get same-sex marriage as they demonstrated with their tremendous systems in the california vote. been --y's position had one of his faith, there would be fewer doubts about him among social conservatives. >> i want to broaden the
discussion for a little bit to talk about the current political environment out there. south carolina -- 60% are evangelicals. we know south carolina has been hit hard by the economic recession. the unemployment rate is in the double digits in some places. what role has the economy plate in the way that social conservatives are viewing their choice for a nominee and is that the real central tension here for many? they want a candidate who can talk about the economy and the issues that traditionally have driven them, whether in his life or marriage, are not quite as significant in determining their votes? >> the oldest true -- truth is that when the economy is bad, it takes a ball of the oxygen. the economy is an enormous issue this time and it is mr. romney greatest strength.
social conservatives, if they are born to be viable, they have to be able to talk about it. talk about the economy in ways that they are going to fix it. if you look at the three remaining social conservatives who are still standing, they all have some real credentials when it comes to the economy. newt gingrich is very concerned versant -- very conversant on the economy. he was intimately involved in balancing the budget when he was speaker of the house. you have rick perry with the economic miracle that is texas. it is an economic peril. -- miracle. it is amazing what happens when you have a pro-business climate. when you are pro-business and he wore a low-tax pro-business state, it attracts people. people -- texas is getting four
new congressmen as a result of the 2010 census. that has never happened before in the history of the republic. that is a huge population growth. you ever santorum who has very interesting ideas and has a more favorable than on favorable review of his economic plan. >> being pro-life is not enough, they have to bring some street credit to the table when it comes to economic expertise and record. >> at the same time, two of those people have been attacking miss romney on his bain capital -- mitt romney on his bank capital. will that help him with social conservatives? >> i think it probably helps
rick santorum. negative advertising, unfortunately, is used because it works. some of that money is going to stick to mitt romney, whether it is deserved or not. it also hurts the people who are throwing it. i think that mitt romney is being heard and read this -- hurt by this. santorum is going to be the beneficiary. >> mitt romney will not benefit? social conservatives will not see this as a ganging up on him? they will not rally to him? >> teselle will. some social conservatives are supporting him. he got 14% of the evangelical vote in iowa. he is getting a significant
number of evangelical votes in south carolina. i know evangelicals who are supporting him. a very capable speech writer for george w. bush is a strong romney supporter. there are numerous people who are supporting him. it is not as if he is rudy guiliani. >> how do you define a social conservative? you keep saying there are three social conservative is standing. romney is not in that category. why is he not? >> there are doubts about how real and deep his pro-wide stance is and how real and deep his stance against same-sex
marriage is although, to me, the most impressive thing about that debate on saturday night in new hampshire was how articulate romney and santorum and gingrey to all three work in making the distinction in being for gay- rights but against same-sex marriage. back in 2008, the only one who could put together two sentences that made sense on why they were opposed to same-sex marriage was mike huckabee. now, you have those three who were quite articulate. they were elegant in making the distinction in ways that the general voting population understand. notromney's campaign is defined by a social conservatism. he has not been a long time pro- life supporter. rick santorum has been a conviction politician on these issues from the time he entered the the political realm.
he is a conviction politician on steroids. >> after all of the conservative leaders get together this weekend and talk about it -- talk about going forward with the 2012 field, is in the end, mitt romney is the nominee, what kind of promises do you personally want from him before you could support him or other evangelicals could support him? >> what i would tell mr. romney is that the only person who can deliver evangelical and social conservative voters to a candidate is the candidate himself or herself. he has got to close the sale. his vice presidential pick is going to be absolutely critical. it is the first appointment in a possible future romney and ministration. it is simply -- it needs to be
someone who is a strong person. someone who probably in addition believes in american exceptional is an an american ticket special role to play in the world as a defender of human rights. secondly, we have -- we want to talk about judicial appointments and have some clear understanding about the fact that he would be appointing strict constructionists. that campaign, over time, has had an impact. if you look at the recent decision by the supreme court on the ministerial exception in terms of religious freedom, as a 65-year-old man, who grew up with in peach war and billboards, i never thought i would live to see the day that the supreme court of the united states is the most conservative
branch of the federal government. we are there. >> we have time for a few more questions. >> the one issue we have talked about a little bit that i would like to get to the heart of in terms of the concerns that you think evangelicals, some of these folks will show up in texas and they have -- they trust mitt romney. what role does religion play in this? what role does his mormon faith have to play in what you have been talking about? how there is doubt will there about the fact that he is or is not a true social conservative? >> it is a separate issue. there are polls showing that there are between 10 and 50% of evangelicals who will have a difficult time voting for a mormon. they do not want to vote for someone who belongs to another
religion from christianity. they view mormon is some as a new religion. as a newrmanism religion. critics say that if it comes down to romney and obama, i will vote for romney. there are some who will not. the doubts about his social conservatism are a separate issue from his mormonism. if he held the positions that the mormon church holds on sanctity of human life and marriage, there would not be any doubts about his true social conservatism. when he ran against ted kennedy in 1994 -- he has not always
been where he says that he is now on these issues. there is a lingering doubt -- some of this is part of his background and his style. they say, is this guy george w. bush or is he george h. w. bush? >> it seems to me that you are saying there might be no way possible for mitch romney to reassure social conservatives before the south carolina primary -- mitt romney before the south carolina primary -- >> there are ways for him to reassure them and to continue to reassure them. that does not mean that they still would not like to see him go against one social conservative a to more fully debt that in primaries to be determined in the future. the more he has to do that, the
more committed he will be to those issues because of the stances that he will take in order to win those primaries. >> my final question. the role of electability in the fall and social conservatives making the decision on all -- on june to support -- who does support, do you think that rick santorum or rick perry would have a good chance of beating obama? >> rehr now, they would not. -- right now, they would not. if they won primaries, they might. who thought in 2008 that senator obama had a snowball's chance in the nether -- against hillary clinton? because of 24/7 media, things can change quickly. the obama administration shows
that. it is in stark relief. -- based on my perception of sobel current services -- social of theatives' deep fear second obama administration, based on their experience with the first obama administration, there are more conservatives following what is called the buckly idea this year than any year in my memory. i am the most conservative candidate who can get elected. >> all right. >> mr. romney is the only one who continues to be competitive against mr. obama in the general election. mr. romney will be the nominee, if that is the case. >> we will leave it there. thank you for joining us. i appreciate your time. >> thank you. interesting questions.
>> let me turn to our two reporters. let me begin -- let me begin with you, amy. there is a meeting over the weekend. all of this talking on this friday. what do you think is going to be happening? what is the story? >> what was the most fascinating thing was the fact that they do not want to have a role to play in the picking the social conservative to coalesce around before what could be the definitive primary of this campaign. if mitt romney wins in south carolina, it is basically over. i do not think they have to convince anybody to drop out. if rick perry finishes way back in the pack, i do not see why he would stay. has said, i have to do well or amount. -- i am not. at that attrition is going to happen naturally. i am surprised they do not want to be more active than playing a to be more active than playing a role in helpin