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tv   CNN Newsroom  CNN  November 6, 2011 1:00pm-2:00pm PST

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christine. how to speak money, a great book, right? >> yeah, it is. thanks for joining "your money." ali is here every saturday at 1:00 p.m. and sunday at 3:00 p.m. >> plus you can get connected with them on twitter. @christineromans and @alivelshi. have a great weekend. hello, everyone. thanks for joining us. i'm fredricka whitfield. we'll look at the 2012 presidential contenders in this political hour. first, an update on some of today's top stories. big news in europe which with major impact potential, here in the u.s., a spokesman says greece's prime minister george papandreou will agree to resign if parliamentary leaders agree to go ahead with a controversial economic bailout plan. papandreou will meet with the main opposition leader tomorrow to talk about who will be the next prime minister.
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in this country, for the second time in less than 24 hours, an earthquake shakes central oklahoma. the latest one hit right before midnight eastern time, measuring a record 5.6. it was centered near sparks, about 45 miles from oklahoma city. and legendary performer andy williams says he's suffering from bladder cancer. williams broke the news to concertgoers last night during a christmas concert in branson, missouri. andy williams is 83. he has been seen professionally since childhood. good news. president obama creawe baulhaml completed his annual physical. he's in tip-top shape. but it doesn't look like his insurance company will pay for it. he listed a bad economy as a pre-existing condition. >> jay leno taking a jab at president barack obama.
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we're exactly one year away from the 2012 presidential election. and if you pay attention to either the white house or to national democrats, you'll notice a pattern. they generally ignore criticism coming from the various gop candidates for president unless it's mitt romney. take a listen. >> mitt romney's coming out with a spending plan. if it's like his tax proposal, it will be something only a billionaire could love. protecting -- >> this video is from the democratic national committee. they released this rebuttal to the romney spending plan before romney even had a chance to unveil the plan friday. dan lothian has more on the white house's fascination with all things romney. >> reporter: as he wrapped up his trip to the g-20 summit in france, president obama sidestepped a question about the politics of his economic problem at home, and how it might help lift the fortunes of his republican opponents. >> i have to tell you, the least of my concerns at the moment is
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the politics of a year from now. >> thank you. >> reporter: but the politics of a year from now is exactly what fuels his campaign. and his team is increasingly targeting one republican hopeful. not embattled top tier candidate herman cain, but mitt romney who lashed out at what he views as the president's failed policies. >> his fundamental error is that he believes government creates jobs. he's wrong. he puts his faith in government. i put my faith in people. >> reporter: romney's harsh review came during a speech in washington, where he outlined his plan for cutting federal spending, by repealing health care reform, stopping foreign aid to china and returning certain federal programs to the states. >> i pledge to reduce spending to 20% of the gdp by the end of my first term. >> reporter: the obama campaign locked and loaded, fired off this detailed memo, calling romney's proposals bad for the
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middle class and good for the rich, quote, romney proposes spending cuts that would devastate key middle class programs to pay for tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy. it is a theme the obama campaign hopes will stick, along with this tag, that romney is a flip-flopper. >> you look at issue after issue after issue, he's moved all over the place. >> reporter: while the republican presidential field is still fluid, voters are giving the obama campaign a big reason to keep a laser focus on romney, a new gallup poll reveals if the election were held today, 47% of registered voters would select president obama. and an equal number, 47% would pick romney. i asked an obama campaign official if they had already settled on romney as the nominee. the official said that they're not prejudging anything. but he also went on to suggest that the reason for their focus on romney is because republican candidates had not been
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receiving the kind of critical media scrutiny that the president had been receiving. the officials saying, quote, until someone steps up to fill that void, it is our responsibility to do so. dan lothian, cnn, washington. the gop has yet to vote in a single caucus or primary, but my next guest says that the white house is correct to already concern itself with mitt romney. nate silver is the founder of, a polling website that correctly predicted the winner of 49 of the 50 states in the last presidential election. nate, good to see you. >> yeah, good afternoon. >> so you write that the president is an underdog in a midterm slump, perhaps similar to presidents carter and the first president bush. but that president obama has time to turn things around. how does he do that? >> well, i'm not sure how much of it is really in his control. a lot of it has to do with how the economy is going to be next year, so something like the discussions in greece right now, which could affect the european economy or reverberate on to our
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economy. in some ways it is more important than the strategy they might pursue in the white house. likewise, who the republican opponent is matters a lot. they don't have as much direct control over that. romney would be a challenging matchup. that's the case where i say based on where the economic numbers look like right now, we might even classify obama as being a slight underdog now. i that i would not be true against, say, a rick perry. >> okay. you say there are few conditions that apply. let's break those things down you write there are three things that will determine president obama's fate. one, his approval rating. two, the state of the economy. and most importantly, the republican nominee. so a breakdown for me, what are the conditions? >> well, you know, the approval numbers give you the best view of what the public thinks about his first three years. their view is pretty mixed. right now his ratings are about 44% on average, 45%. that probably is not quite enough good enough to win re-election. want to be maybe in the high 40s up toward 50%.
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but the economy is the other factor where you had presidents like clinton and like reagan in their first term rebound a lot in the last year or year and a half because you had really great growth and in 1994, you had 7% growth rate. that's terrific. we probably will not have that, though, next year. in fact, most think it might be another subpar year. we have growth of 2%, 2.5%, maybe 3%. >> hypothetical that you gave, you talked about, you know, president obama, if the economy improves over the next year, and, say, it is romney who wins the republican nomination, you say it is president obama who still has the advantage. >> sure. if you had growth above the forecast, say 4% growth, which is not terrific, it would be enough to make a real dent, we really would see good jobs reports then, the white house could make a credible case that the economy is getting better, not recovery, but actually have muscle behind the case and have the credible to voters, then i think he would get the benefit
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of the doubt from voters. not for sure but a close election but that would tip it to his advantage, i would think. >> did you have similar hypotheticals if it was rick perry or herman cain? >> we think with rick perry, more identified with the tea party for instance, he would have a lot more margin for error. with rick perry, slow growth, even progress at all, might enough to make obama the favorite. if you're in a recession, then that's another story. things could get worse still. people are a little less worried about that now with maybe greece being resolved. but all kinds of bad things can happen when the economy is as fragile as it has been for the past couple of years. we're in a recession, then almost any republican could be a favorite i think against obama next year. >> nate silver, thanks so much, founder of the appreciate your time. >> thank you. herman cain says enough is enough. and he's only going ing ting t his message from now on. we'll listen in on a rather testy exchange between the republican candidate and reporters who asked him about the sexual harassment
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allegations against him. we're not talking about earlier in the week, but just last night. [ zapping ] there goes dwayne's car. oh, man. there goes dwayne's house. whoa! whoa! and there goes dwayne. man, that thing does not like dwayne. [ male announcer ] state farm's got you covered. nice landing. it was. [ male announcer ] get to a better state. ♪ ♪ co-signed her credit card -- "buy books, not beer!" ♪ it was. but the second that she shut the door ♪ ♪ girl started blowing up their credit score ♪ ♪ she bought a pizza party for her whole dorm floor ♪ ♪ hundred pounds of makeup at the makeup store ♪ ♪ and a ticket down to spring break in mexico ♪ ♪ but her folks didn't know 'cause her folks didn't go ♪ ♪ to free-credit-score-dot-com hard times for daddy and mom. ♪ offer applies with enrollment in™.
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all right, welcome back to this special hour of the sccnn newsroom. we're taking this time out every sunday to let you hear from the 2012 presidential contenders, uninterrupted, out on the campaign trail. republican candidate herman cain is trying to put a rough week behind him. he was in texas last night for a one on one debate with fellow republican candidate newt gingrich. but cain is still facing questions about sexual harassment allegations filed when he was ahead of the national restaurant association
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in the 1990s. he denies any wrongdoing and after last night's debate, cain got, well, a little firm with reporters who asked him about the allegations. here's what happened. >> if you all listen, you all just listen for 30 seconds, i will explain this one time. no, no. >> it's time for us to trade places, everybody. so mr. cain -- it is time for us to trade places. >> you all -- i was going to do something that my staff told me not to do and try to respond, okay? what i'm saying is this -- >> can you -- >> we are getting back on message -- >> thank you, mr. cain. >> end of story. back on message. read all of the other accounts. read all of the other accounts, where everything has been answered in the story. we're getting back on message, okay? >> cnn political reporter shannon travis was in that room
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when that took place and he's with us now from houston. so, shannon, cain was trying to be very firm with reporters there, saying,the conditions that i'm setting. >> reporter: absolutely fred. what was happening in that room, i was right there with the other reporters, what you just heard and what i heard was frustration. frustration because herman cain, as you mentioned earlier, he wants to move on, but yet a week after the story broke, the questions still persist, the details and the developments just this drip, drip of information. on the one hand, herman cain's campaign feels they have answered all the questions. he's been on a round of national interviews, chief of staff mark block addressed a lot of issues and the campaign feels that they're shadow boxing against unseen anonymous sources, sources of information. but on the other hand, fred, it is unrealistic for a presidential front-runner, essentially what herman cain is right now, to think that he can
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tell reporters which questions he will or will not answer, which questions he will choose or not choose or even to shut reporters down. that's the quandary they're going through right now in terms of moving forward. also in terms of moving forward, fred, cain last night also said that he intends to go to iowa, new hampshire, even some of the nonearly voting states because he's running a, quote, unconventional campaign, fred. >> okay. unconventional was what people saw last night. a debate just between two of the candidates, cain and newt gingrich, they're facing off, except where they really facing off or more like a friendly discussion? >> reporter: it was definitely like a discussion. we have seen the debates in this cycle so far where the candidates are kind of sparring against each other. this was very congenial, each mankind of complimented each other several times, fred, they were nodding in approval as the other person spoke. it was sponsored by a tea party group, the texas patriots pac, a
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very friendly audience to them. they were very rare, very few moments of contention between the men. it was more of a discussion. however, the sponsors of this debate and gingrich and cain themselves say these are the kinds of formats they prefer and the sponsors of these debates tell me that they have invited texas governor rick perry to pick his person, pick who he wants to score off with, for a future debate. they have not heard back for what they're telling me from the perry campaign, but these candidates prefer this kind of arena, fred. >> all right. shannon travis, thank you so much, joining us from houston. joining us to talk more about herman cain's bid to put the sexual harassment allegations behind him are cnn contributor will cain in new york, also a columnist with and in washington, daniel belton, a writer and editor of the popular blog, the black snob. cain keeps getting out in front saying, stop asking me these questions, i'm not going to answer the questions any longer.
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will, you and i talked about this earlier, he's kind of the nontraditional candidate right now. and it is clear that he is saying to everybody that he wants to remain in control of what the message will be. but it seems like just the opposite is happening here. >> yeah. he doesn't have control of the message now, fred, and even when he does have control, he seems to make some missteps whether on abortion or prisoner swaps or whether or not china has nuclear weapons. he has missteps, regardless of who is controlling the message. but i'm sure the sexual harassment issue is something he would love to move beyond. >> danielle, he said it last night, he wants to move beyond, he doesn't want to answer the questions. the more he does that, it seems the questions do persist. how does cain this nontraditional candidate, try to stay on message in his untraditional kind of way? >> well, i mean, the problem
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with this is that he wants to kind of do this loosey-goosey almost not serious style of campaigning. there is really no way to handle the press and the questions that people have in a kind of unconventional loosey-goosey way. you have to handle things head on, button down, have a real strategy. so far it doesn't seem like he's had one. he's been flying by the seat of his pants, going with the flow. now his whole attitude is, like, i won't answer the question, i won't deal with it anymore. that doesn't make things go away. if i could say, hey, i don't want to be bothered, even though there is a huge story everyone wants to talk about, good luck with that one. >> is his campaign or his message unraveling? is his campaign on the verge of imploding, as a result? >> it depends what you're looking for here. the poll numbers remain high with the people who like him and back him. the reality is and the deeper problem there is, the washington post wrote a story looking at his poll numbers and even though he has a lot of support among
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many republican activists, the reality is, less than 30% say they actually planned on voting for him in the primary. so that's really the issue here is he really so much a popular candidate, is it really the series that he's having all the sidesteps, because how serious is he a contender actually if less than 30% of the people who support him plan on converting that into votes. >> will, it seems like a strange question to be asking when someone is leading in the polls, doing well in the fund-raising. of course he's a serious candidate, at least he will tell you that and the campaign will tell you, he's in it to win it. >> it is funny, two things. i'm being critical and danle ie is being critical of his campaign, but he's pulling in incredibly high numbers. is his campaign going to implode? it feels like it is living on the edge, like it possibly can, but it's not. he's still polling in first place. it is working for him. >> that's part of the
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fascination, isn't it? that's what's so fascinating is that the question is being asked, but clearly it is not imploding. he's out in front. so what's going on here that perhaps the other candidates need to be taking notice of? >> well, we judge based upon traditional campaigns. it's the way it's always gone. we see a guy here doing something different. we don't know whether or not it will work, we're pessimistic, but herman cain could be blazing a new trail here. >> danielle? >> i think it is really reflective of how disappointed many republican activists are with the candidates they have so far. many people are not enthusiastic about mitt romney. he's polling, you know, equal with cain, even though he's considered to be the serious contender in the one most likely to be the nominee. i think is about dissatisfaction, about wanting to have better choices and those choices haven't appeared. >> okay. thanks so much will and danielle. we'll talk to you again momentarily. we'll talk about mitt romney, the mitt romney factor. in fact, earlier, you know, he was revealing a bit more about
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his fiscal plan. up next, exactly what he wants to cut from the federal budget and why. an accident doesn't have to slow you down. with better car replacement available only with liberty mutual auto insurance, if your car's totaled, we give you the money for a car one model year newer. to learn more, visit us today. responsibility. what's your policy? we asked total strangers to watch it for us. thank you so much, i appreciate it, i'll be right back. they didn't take a dime. how much in fees does your bank take to watch your money ? if your bank takes more money than a stranger, you need an ally.
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we continue to delve into the issues on the presidential campaign trail. every sunday, we're spending this hour of the "cnn newsroom" to allow you to hear from the
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contenders as they spell out their plans for america's future. mitt romney addressed the defending the american dream summit in washington and went after the normal gop punching bags. the national endowment for the arts, amtrak and planned parenthood, won the most applause after going after something he himself instituted. >> my road map to a smaller simpler government combines three separate approaches. first, eliminate and cut programs. and that will start -- [ applause ] that will start with the easiest cut of all, i will repeal obama care. [ cheers and applause ]
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i should have started with that line. look, obama care is bad law. it is bad policy. and when i'm president, that bad news will be over. now, there are -- [ applause ] by the way, there are a lot of other federal programs that we should either dramatically scale back or cut out entirely. for each -- [ applause ] for each program that we have on the government, i'll look at them one by one, ask this question. is this program so critical, so essential that we should borrow money from china to pay for it? now, for example, i like amtrak. but i'm not willing to borrow $1.6 billion a year from china to pay for it.
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[ applause ] look, i really like the national endowment for the arts, the national endowment for the humanities, the corporation for public broadcasting, but i will not borrow almost a billion dollars a year from china to pay for them. [ applause ] and then there is foreign aid. do you know that we give $27 million a year, guess to which country, to china? $27 million a year to china. i will stop sending money to any country that can take care of itself and no foreign aid will go to countries that oppose american interests. [ cheers and applause ] and you know well that we spend $300 million a year on groups like planned parenthood that -- to provide abortions or
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abortion-related services. long time past for that to be over. and so -- [ applause ] and so, first, the first approach, we're going to eliminate or cut programs that are not absolutely essential. >> romney's spending speech didn't get a whole lot of media coverage. we'll check in again with danielle belton and will cain on this one. and what the other contenders need to do to become the 2012 republican nominee. [ man ] it's my new malibu. [ woman ] '57 bel air -- still have it. [ both ] our camaro. [ man ] chevy silverado -- third one. [ male announcer ] people love their chevys. that's because for 100 years, chevy has offered the best value in america. come in now
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welcome back to this special hour of "the cnn newsroom," focusing on politics allowing you to hear from the 2012 presidential contenders. election day is one year away from today. and eight republican candidates are still slugging it out for the right to take on president obama. here is what they have been saying on the campaign trail over the last week. >> over this last summer, when i was the lone voice in the wilderness of washington saying stop, no more, no more raising the credit card ceiling, i was the one who was called extreme. >> if i had been running this campaign the way the pundits think that i should be running it, i would have dropped out at the end of august. we're running an unconventional campaign. >> it is profoundly wrong for a lot of different reasons to try
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to have a president imposing law when he doesn't have the will of the people supporting him. >> this country has everything we need to succeed. i don't want anyone to forget that. despite the fact we might be down for a moment, we might be in a funk and a little disspirited, we have everything a nation needs to succeed. >> the income tax is the worst of them, a national sales tax would be a disaster. but the income tax implies that the government owns all our revenues and they allow us to keep what they want under certain conditions. >> despite all the promises of reform and earmarks are still a part of the congressional addiction and i'm going to make congress a promise. i'm going to help them kick their addiction, kick their habit, cold turkey. >> in the private sector, as you know, you have no choice about balancing budgets. you either balance your budget or go broke.
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and you spend every dollar like it is your own. because it is. >> people have said to me, why are you out here talking about moral cultural issues with the economy as the real issue? because more cultural issues are the economy. they do tie together. >> let's talk some more about these candidates. with us again, cnn contributor will cain in new york, and the columnist with the and danielle belton, writer of the popular blog the black snob. we have a couple of debates coming up this week. we heard commentary that debates keep the candidates in the race because it gives them national exposure. and they don't have to perhaps raise as much money to stay in the race. will, when we talk about debates, we heard rick perry say he's admitted, okay, i'm not the best debater, and i wonder if that kind of self-depprication,
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that it might lower expectations and voting well for him. >> yes, expectations will be low for rick perry going into the next debate. i don't know if that's going to be a big boon to him or not. no one is expecting him to knock it out of the park. i've been very critical of this republican field, very critical. i feel like we have missed a huge opportunity to embrace a return to conservative principles and i had hoped that would have manifested in a guy like chris christie or jeb bush. unfortunately it manifested in people like michele bachmann and rick perry. but i have to say this, you played the clip earlier of mitt romney's speech the other day. >> yeah. >> he gave what is a bold proposal to reform medicare. the average american pays $150,000 into medicare and takes out $400,000. it is a huge driver of our debt and mitt romney, the guy you cannot pin down on anything, got close to the paul ryan medicare reform and people should know that. this is one of the big steps for republicans in general.
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>> at the same time, you know, danielle, doesn't mitt romney come across as a hypocrite? we're talking about the governor, former governor of massachusetts, that helped get universal health care imposed in his state and now he's talking about one of the first things he wanted to get rid of is a so-called obama care. >> well, that's the biggest albatross around mitt romney's neck, the fact he was once a politician in a blue state and had to do things that appealed to blue state voters.trying to republican primary. the guy sounds like presidential material, looks like presidential material. at the end of the day, there aren't a lot of people enthusiastic about making him president. that's the main reason why. people feel like he's all over the place. >> one thing that helps chip away at the field of candidacy would be occasions of flip-flopping or scandals and it seems we're hearing allegations of both involving a number of the candidates, will. so what is it going to take to kind of shrink this field of republican contenders?
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>> i don't think we should expect to see this field shrink anytime soon. why would it? the field is in a constant search to find an alternative to mitt romney. it has gone from michele bachmann to rick perry to herman cain who certainly doesn't look to be at least in a stable position as the mitt romney alternative. if you're newt gingrich, if you're rick santorum, if you're even jon huntsman, polling at 1%, why would you drop out? this cycle can turn to you at any point. >> money is usually a reason why many drop out. they don't have the money. >> you gave the perfect answer to that, fred. we have these debates which allow candidates to stay in front of the electorate with no need for a big advertising budget. >> okay. danielle? >> i mean, i don't think anybody should get out either. the reality is is that mitt romney is not that strong of a candidate. people aren't super enthusiastic about him, it is anybody's game. it is anybody's turn to be the flavor of the week and the hope to capitalize that into solid gains. you don't want to end up like
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tim pawlenty who is kicking himself he got out of the race so early and there is still no clear front-runner. nobody wants to be in that position. >> that's exactly right. where would pawlenty be today if he had stayed in? he was the ultimate second choice to mitt romney. he might be first in the polls if he was still in today. >> interesting. thanks so much, will, danielle. we'll check back with you. texas governor and presidential contender rick perry has rapidly fallen in the polls. what he says about all that next.
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when rick perry entered the race, he was on top of the polls. in the last several weeks, however, he's dropped to third or maybe even fourth in the race in some polls. perry sat down with cnn's john king to talk about his presidential bid. >> every state is a must win as far as i'm concerned. we're not in it to come in second. we're here talking to people about what is important to the people of iowa and being a farm boy and a kid who grew up not unlike a lot of people out here on the edges of the cities of iowa, i've got a background that is pretty much right in line
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with them, values that are same, just hard work, went to school at an ag school, got an agriculture degree and went back and farmed and ranched with my dad for 13, 14 years. there is a lot of similarities, but the real issue that -- whether you're from iowa, new hampshire, south carolina, whichever state you're from, how are you going to get this country working? as the governor of texas over the last decade, we created more decades than any other state in the nation. i do know how to create jobs. i do know how to get government out of people's hair and to let the private sector have their go at it and that's what people are begging for in this country. >> i want to talk about your plan to do that. i want to ask you first, though, you never lost an election. as someone who will get into the race shot straight up to the top, what goes through your mind now that you had this fall. you went from 30% of the national polls at the top of a lot of the early states or close to the top in places like this and now you look the our most recent iowa poll, down there, cain cain, romney, newt, what do you
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propose for that? >> i was running behind a well known and respected united states senator. and we kept doing our work, focused on the issues that were important to texans in that case. i'm going to stay focused on issues that are important to americans and talk about how to get americans working, how to get washington from a regulatory side out of companies like pioneers, business and get this country back on track economically. that's what americans are interested in. we will stay focused. we will stay on message. and at the end of the day it will all turn out just right. >> you see a poll that shows herman cain tied with you in texas, is that a wake-up call? >> i was 25 points behind. i was a sitting governor against a united states senator. so it is just another poll. i really don't pay a lot attention to whether it is a youtube spot or if it is a poll. i know how to run an election. i know how to take a message to the people.
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that's what we're going to keep doing is talking to americans about what they really care about. there are people sitting around the kitchen table today without a job, this don't have the dignity of taking care of their family. their kids are coming home from school and they're still sitting there. that's the people i'm worried about and that's who i'm talking to every day. >> immigration is one of the issues that if you ask voters has hurt you a bit as they got into the race. as they learn about your texas record, we had governor brewer of arizona last night and she said when it comes to your views on the fence you can't have a fence everywhere, you think it is unrealistic and your support for the children of illegal immigrants, she thinks that will hurt you. >> that's the reason we have 50 states and i'm a big believer of the tenth amendment. all states aren't alike. what i do know is how to secure the border. and there is not anybody on that state that had to deal with that issue more than i have. the federal government has been an abject failure in securing
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the border. use the strategic fencing in the appropriate places, the boots on the ground, use the technology, particularly the predator droenz and the aviation assets and you can shut that border down you secure it, you can stop the drug cartels from having easy access and the other terrorist groups. we know hamas and hezbollah are using mexico as a base of operation. shut the border down. i know how to do it. i had to deal with it, i had texas rangers, our people there have been harassed and shot at, thank god none of them killed yet. >> religion plays a big part in rick perry's life. learn about his mission from god in our next hour of the "cnn newsroom". michele bachmann talks about the u.s. debt. why she thinks america could be going the way of greece. is the . you don't know the egos that i have to deal with. you're probably right. thank you! whoever you are. i'm pretty sure that was phil jackson. he's quite famous... million championships... triangle offense innovator... [ male announcer ] the audi a8. named best large luxury sedan.
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we continue to delve into the issues on the presidential campaign trail. every sunday we're spending this hour of the cnn newsroom to allow you to hear from the contenders as they spell out their plans for america's future. many of the republican contenders spent much of last week in iowa. friday night was the ronald reagan dinner in des moines. michele bachmann spoke of the
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increasing debt america faces. >> when this week greece had the temerity to say to the eu, who have been kind enough to bail this proval gate nation out, that maybe they didn't want to take a haircut, maybe they didn't want to cut back on their spending. the rest of the world looked at greece and said, are you out of your mind? take the deal or you go down the drain. so what we need to do right now in the united states is take a really good look in the mirror because what we have just observed is the trailer for where the united states is going. and over this last summer, when i was the lone voice in the wilderness of washington saying, stop, no more, no more raising the credit card ceiling, i was the one who was called extreme. but in the midst of all of that discussion, the beat went on because that's how washington
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works. that's why what we need in our nominee for the republican party is someone who will stand up and say, stop, no more. let's hold on to this great, magnificent gift that never before has been seen in the history of mankind. it is this place called liberty. it's this place called the united states of america. there is absolutely nothing like it. >> the 2012 republican contenders are discussing ways to cut taxes, boost employment and get business back on track. here's newt gingrich on cnn's out front with erin burnett. >> entitlement programs, i quote, that you would have fundamental reform of entitlement programs. that's what it says. i wanted to ask you, would you be willing to say i am running to be a one-term president because i'm going to slash and fix this and stand up to special interests, whether they be banks whether they be seniors and
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those aarp ads they have been seeing where there has been an implicit threat that seniors won't vote for anyone that would cut medicare. would you be willing to say that, i care enough that i'll go one term and fix it? >> why would you assume that fixing all the problems is anti-democratic small d, and that people will dislike it? i want to run to be a two-term president because we solve so many of your problems that you're so happy with full employment, you're so happy with our moves to a balanced budget, that you're so happy with a better social security system, a better medicare system, a better federal government that you're littled to -- ronald reagan carried 49 states for re-election because people actually liked economic growth they liked what he was doing. i think the trick is do have better solutions, leading to a better future, and then people re-elect you because you actually provided positive leadership. it is only in washington, the people think you to punish people into a better future. >> straight ahead, billionaire
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brothers who are making huge impact on the american political system. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] the peace of mind of owning a 2011 iihs top safety pick. the all-new volkswagen passat. [ ben harper's "amen omen" playing ] we believe doing the right thing never goes unnoticed. liberty mutual insurance. responsibility. what's your policy?
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i'm very proud to know the cope brothers.
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they make it sound like that we have had time to go fishing together, hunting together, skiing together, golfing together. but just so i can clarify this for the media, this may be a breaking news announcement for the media, i am the koch brothers' brother from another mother. [ cheers and applause ] yes. i'm their brother from another mother. and proud of it. >> herman cain speaking at the defending american dreams summit on friday. it is sponsored by the americans for prosperity, which is heavily funded by david and charles koch. so just who are the koch brothers and what role do they play in today's u.s. political world? cnn's randi kaye brings you up to speed. >> reporter: come election day, you won't find the names charles and david koch on the ballot, but don't think for a minute
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they didn't have a hand in the race. the billionaire brothers own wichita-based coke industries, one of the largest privately owned businesses in the united states. their other interest is politics. those who track them believe they have been operating a stealth political network for years. politico reporter ken vogel. >> their primary little nonprofit group, americans for prosperity, spends as much as $45 million on political activity in the run-up to the 2010 midterm elections. >> the koches are some of the wealthiest americans in the country. >> reporter: critics like mary boyle with the group common cause says the koches who are long time libertarians are only interested in furthering their political agenda. they funded opposition campaigns against many of president obama's policies, including health care reform and the stimulus. the koch brothers want fewer social services, lower corporate taxes, and limited government regulation of industries. especially environmental
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industries, which could benefit their refineries. >> it is not just campaign contributions to candidates. but it is money that goes to candidates state and national level, political action committees, political parties, think tanks like heritage foundation, cato institute, as well as shadow groups. >> reporter: federal election records show the koches donate to republicans far more often than democrats. during the 2008 campaign, they gave $1.3 million to republicans and $200,000 to democrats. cnn contributor eric erickson has written about the koches on his conservative blog why do you think they get so much criticism? >> you know, everyone on the left and right likes to have a boogie man. they like to have a face to put to something bad. so for the right, for the longest time it was george soros. on the left, it was richard melon scaife for years, going after the clintons.
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no one knows who he is anymore. now it is the koches who are the boogie men. >> reporter: erickson says this is nothing more than david and charles koch getting in the net of conspiracy theorists. do you believe that they're working behind the scenes in some stealth manner to further their interests? >> there is nothing secret there. i think people believe in conspiracies. it is like the nuts on the right who believe in the birth certificate conspiracy. you've got nuts on the left who believe the koches are involved in every bad thing that happens. >> reporter: david and charles koch are both in their 70s. they rarely do interviews and our story was no exception. in march, charles did respond to criticism in this op-ed. he wrote, even when such policies benefit us, we only support the policies that enhance true economic freedom. and today, supporting those policies is easier than ever. a year ago, the supreme court gave the green light for unlimited corporate spending in our politics as well as anonymous spending in our politics.
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>> reporter: so as the 2012 campaign heats up, you can bet the koch brothers will be front and center, or at least their wallet will be. randi kaye, cnn, atlanta. and it is a busy week for the contenders. we'll tell you where they'll be when we come right back. [ male announcer ] this is lois. the day starts with arthritis pain... a load of new listings... and two pills. after a morning of walk-ups, it's back to more pain, back to more pills. the evening showings bring more pain and more pills. sealing the deal... when, hang on... her doctor recommended aleve.
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here is a look at where the 2012 contenders will be this week. there are two republican debates this week. wednesday in michigan and saturday in south carolina. otherwise, herman cain heads west. he'll appear on jimmy kimmel's tv show tomorrow. mitt romney returns to iowa tomorrow. and rick santorum goes to new hampshire. and then later in the week, michele bachmann will be in south carolina and rick perry will go there as well. president barack obama travels to pennsylvania on tuesday. it will be his 16th campaign trip to the keystone state since taking office. thanks so much for tuning into this special hour of politics. join us every sunday 4:00 eastern time. now stay tuned right here for the latest news here in "the newsroom." happening now, cnn learned that


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