tv Newsmakers CSPAN July 18, 2010 10:00am-10:30am EDT
oil. we are sending $1 billion every year to the mideast and we could have those jobs here. host: ben geman, you get the last word. guest: that collor also hits upon a particular issue in the debate. because of the oil spill, there is a real question that if some of the tax breaks and subsidies, will they continue to enjoy them? there have been real efforts to repeal the boards of $30 billion or $40 billion in oil industry tax incentives. the have all fallen flat on capitol hill because support for that industry is fairly widespread in both parties. it breaks down along regional as well as partisan lines. with the oil industry kind of knocked back on its political heels as a result of the oil spill let you will see democrats taking another run at removing subsidies. host:ben geman of "the hill."
thank you for being on here this morning. i want to show you who is coming up on "washington journal," tomorrow. larry kudlow, jane oates from the department of labor will be here to talk about unemployment benefits, and we wrap up with adam boutlon of sky news to talk about u.s.-british relations. we will see you again tomorrow morning at 7:00 a.m. eastern [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] . .
administration's agenda or whether they want checks and balances. so i think it could be a very interesting election. i think we'll have a competitive candidate. >> let me introduce our two reporters. >> thanks for coming. i'm very interested in the role of the tea party. my understanding is that they have energized conservative whose may have sat home in 2006, 2008, weren't too crazy about the way the country is going. they made a big impact this year. i'm interested in the role of the tea party and your role in the committee. there have been several endorsements, i think senator cornyn i think his name was endorsed arlen specter. i understand that because he was an incumbent. charlie crist in florida, tray gracen in kentucky. my question is, is it fair to
say that some of your endorsements show that you may have misread how conservative republican parties are? >> i think it represents the continuum on how the recruiting process takes place. when i got to the chairmanship of the nrsc in january of 2009, we came off a very bad election. republicans were demoralized. i had a hard time getting people to see me much less to agree to run for office. over time things got better. i got encouraged candidates to get into some of these race. then as circumstances changed a lot more people got in these races and we had competitive primaries. i think the tea party movement is a positive development. republicans have always considered our party to be a bottom-up party, not a top-down party. and i respect the selection of republican primary voters wherever they are to choose the
candidate. and then, we will support that candidate and hopefully win that seat in november. but it has been an unusual election year. i don't think i'm the only one to make that obs vasion. this has been a dynamic year, a lot of changes, a lot of unique circumstances. and that's just part of it. >> talk about it being the tea party being a pozz give pact. but at the same time there has been instances where, for example, alaska tea party folks are painting mur cows ski a rhino. >> ink she has done a good job. i don't think she as rhino. reelected. it's a free country. people can run for office, they can say what they want to say and then the voters will be the jury and the judge as to who should be the nominee. so that's what makes politics so much fun, as i know you know, because it's so unpredictable and people will
say the darnedest things. >> one quick followup. new first-time candidates, first-time state candidates, they have said some things that might not be perceived as politically correct, or at least politically smart running for office. how much of your time do you spend trying to clean up after candidates like that? >> well, i would say novice candidates for statewide office are not the only ones who say the darnedest things. harry reid had called the surge in iraq a failure before it had even started. he called general david petraeus a liar. people will say strange things at different times. but i think for the new candidates, the rol being a candidate running for office is different i think that's what some of them might have imagined, particularly with the kind of scrutiny that they're going to get. for example, in nevada, sharon angle running against the majority leader whose approval
numbers are very low are going to have tens of millions of dollars of negative advertising run against her. so i think that's what the playing field looks like this time. voters are going to have to make their decision whether they want to continue business as usual in washington, d.c. or whether they want to send somebody to washington who is going to operate as a check on single-party power on unpopular policies. >> a few questions on fund-raising for you. the big story this week is that the second quarter fund-raising reports are do. give me an assessment of how your candidates did. >> i think republican candidates are running very strong and raising significant amounts of money. i think that's also an indication of the energy and the support that they're getting and the desire that voters have for change in washington. you know, in modern politics, particularly at the national level you're going to have a
number of people participating in these elections including the party committees, the you're going to have independent groups, the chamber, 527 groups, 501 c 4s and the like. i remember when scott brown election took place in massachusetts on the 19th of january, at the last few days we were looking at whether or not we were going to make an independent expenditure in that state, and i was told there are 13 different groups advertising for and against the candidates and it's become basically white noise. so running campaigns is about the message, it's about the messenger, it's about the disrepublican candidates show and about campaign tact yidges. and i think it's also about timing. >> a big part is the money that you can spend on your candidates. committee fund raising reports are due on tuesday. what is your july report going to look like?
>> it's somewhere north of $4 million but i don't know. i don't remember but i think that's about right. but ourbers have been strong. we are up about 20% or more over where we were two years ago at this time. but it's, you know, people ask in politics how much money do you need to win this election and i always said, well, as much as we can raise because you never know what the circumstances are going to be. but our biggest challenge is going to be allocation this time because we have so many competitive races. charlie cook just put california and wisconsin in the toss-up category. the two republicans running against patty murray out in washington state are leading. that incumbent, long-time incumbent i think under a rasmussen poll. i mean, this is an extraordinary electoral environment and there are going to be more opportunities than frankly i think we're going to be able to take advantage of.
>> north of $4 million. i know your committee was down. do you think this movement in cash on hand is due to republican donors channeling their money to the nrcc as opposed to the rnc? do you see donors avoiding michael steele and the rnc? >> well, we are where the action is. of course, in a mid term election the congressional races are where the action is. in a presidential year, the rnc is the party committee for the presidential nominee would tend to get more attention. but it's no secret the rnc has had some problems this time, and frankly we have reached out to major donors and said, you know what for this cycle we would encourage you to contribute to the senate committee because of the structure of the senate because of the importance of 41 votes. every additional vote we are able to get in the senate is
going to be our chance to reorder the balance of power in washington, d.c. and it seems to be a message that people are accepting and responding to. >> republicans need 10 seats to gain control, and everybody claims the expectation in washington, john boehner said that maybe 100 house seats are in play. is lack of failing to win the majority a disappoint or defeat for john cornyn? assuming there are republican gains in november do you exspect gridlock, or maybe president obama reaching out more towards republicans? >> i think in terms of the expectations gain, right now we are either leading or tied in eight seats currently held by democrats and all of the seats currently held by republicans our candidates are leading in. so if the election were held today i think it would be very good. that's not ten seats but that's eight. i'm pleased with the direction we're going in.
and i think it is going to be a two-cycle process. if we elect a good number of reinforcements in 2010, in 2012 there are only anyone republican seats up, 23 democrats. we have a structural opportunity to turn the corner there. but, look, i'm praying for a tsunami. i hope the wave hits. but again, i want to be realistic about expectations. and my biggest concern, to be quite honest but, is going to be the money disadvantage that republicans are going to be operating under because organized labor and others who show their willingness to spend huge money even to eat their own in the arkansas primary, that's just the tip of the iceberg i think going to be coming at our candidates in november. >> twice you've referenced checks and balances. is that sufficient to win elections this year? do you think it's important for the voters? more and more columnists are on your side of the aisle
suggesting the party has to be stand something, not just be obstructionists or against current policy. >> it is a two-step process. when it comes to perpetual bailouts, when it commed to endless spending and unsuspending debt, massive health care bills that the american people didn't want, i think my constituents in texas are happy for me to say no to that. now, what they want also is government ork to propose solutions to real problems. but not in the words of rahm emanuel, to, a crisis is a terrible thing to waste. to use a crisis, not just to fix the problem but to exert a role of federal government that the american people didn't think they were voting for in 2008 along with this spending and the debt, which is the number one and two issues confronting the american people. so i think it is our
responsibility to come up with a positive message. i think you will hear more about that, particularly in the house. but i think there will be some -- i think there will be some common themes in the senate as well in september, october timeframe leading into the election. >> and you won't give ause sense of what those will be? >> we did propose, you remember the summit at the white house on health care, i will just use as an example. the president seemed surprised that republicans actually had competing pieces of legislation and ideas that we thought would have bent the cost curve down and made health care more affordable. because all he was really talking about was his plan, public option and taking half a trillion dollars from medicare, raising taxes and increasing the premiums of people who had health insurance by adding additional government mandates. so i think part of the problem we have is the minority party is that getting our message to
penetrate and i think you will hear that from each of our candidates and each of these race, people like rob portman in ohio, people deno rossy in washington state, carlie in california. that's where i think those messages are going to be delivered and penetrate through in a way that counts the most, not so much here inside the beltway. >> can we talk about some of these specific races. >> sure. >> going back to west virginia for a second. have you talked to congresswoman cap to, people like john racey who ran against last time? >> we reached out to both of those individuals that you mentioned and of course the law at least i don't think as we sit here has passed providing for the special election, but we anticipate it will. and i think it does present a great opportunity. even though the governor is a popular governor, i think the policies of this administration and democrats in washington is
not. and the idea that governor mansion would have vote for the stimulus, he supported the health care bill, those are unpopular policies in a state like west virginia that has about a 35% approval rate forg the president. so i think it presents a great opportunity for our candidates whoever that person might be to run and win. >> could you devote the resources to west virginia? you have a lot of places in play. you are talking about how there's a lot of different groups out there that will spend money against you. are you willing to put money in west virginia? >> as you know, not all states are the same in terms of the cost. some are more efficient and cheaper, let me use that word, to help those candidates win. and we're going to go anywhere and everywhere where we sense an tupet. but, yes, we will have to pay attention to the entire map. but the thing about the united states senate is the new senator from inexpensive state, that vote counts just as much as a new senator from an
expensive state. so we'll have to make a practical decision as we approach the election on where we can pick up additional seats. >> in arizona, john mccain seems to have a substantial lead over his primary challenger. you've been in the senate eight years. you know john mccain. you've seen different incarnations. you need to do what you need to do to get reelected but what do you make of the old john mccain, the new john mccain? >> i must say, since the 2008 presidential election, senator mccain has been a strong and loyal leader of the republican opposition. and i think he's been outstanding. and of course he's in addition to being a hero in his own right, he is one of our leaders on national security issues. i think he has taken this primary race seriously, as he
should, and i think given it the sort of attention it deserves. i think the numbers are reflective of that leading by 10 or more points against j.d. hey worth. and i think hell win with a comfortable margin. but that doesn't mean he should act comfortable. that means he should continue to work hard and so he can win. because i think we certainly need him back in the senate. >> moving down to louisiana. senator vitter got a primary opponent the end of last week, very late getting into that. are you behind vitter in his reelection effort? i know governor jindle is staying on the sidelines in that. where are you? >> we are supporting senator vitter four square. as was alluded to earlier, one of my jobs is to help our incumbents get reelected if we can. the truth is senator vitter has been running a very strong campaign in a state that's certainly trending republican. and his fund raising has been very strong, his poll numbers very strong.
and, against congressman melon son who i think is too liberal for the state of louisiana and who has been a reliable vote for nancy pelosi and for the obama administration policies, which are not surprisingly are not popular in louisiana. so i feel very good about his reelection chances. >> speaking of liberal candidates, the tea party might say that mark kirk in illinois and others might not be as conservative as they like but they might be heading to take democratic senate seats. what do you think of that? >> i think that's a good thing. any time a republican can win a democrat-held seat is a good thing in my vote. >> an ideological litmus test, like some people might wish you did. >> well, i'm a pretty conservative guy but i reflect my constituency in texas. and i'm very comfortable with that, and that's the way i vote. but recognizing that
republicans have a challenge running in states like delaware or illinois or other places, we need to get the very best, most electable candidate who will agree with the republican conference eight times out of ten and maybe dive verge two times out of ten. you remember ronald reagan who said what what do you call them who vote with me eight times out of ten, i call them a friend and an ally, not a traitor. >> look to the future. you said the debt and the deficit are the issues number one and number two. what it be like to be in national polls ticks in an eroaff bell tightening that surely lies ahead? >> i think it's going to be very tough. and one reason why i think we need to fully engage with president obama i hope his debt commission which i hope will report december 1 comes out with realistic and effective ways to deal with our mounting fiscal crisis.
and i think it's a good time for republicans and democrats to work together to confront this, because it's not going to go away and i think that's what the american people want us to do and what we need to do. but it's not going to be pleasant. but that's what we signed on for, and what i think you will see republicans and democrats do together if the president and democrats are serious about it, i think we will meet them more than halfway. >> you talk about getting the most electable candidate. did you get the most electable candidate in nevada? senatord just said he is up seven points now. he has been attacking sharon for being outside the mainstream issue. and what do you make about that pole? >> the best indication is can you get elected and she got elected in the primary. and you can't win a general if you can't get elected in the primary. so i think she is our nominee. we are working closely with her and her team.
to prepare her for what is going to be a carpet bombing of negative ads. and that's, frankly, the only way that harry reid can get reelected. >> where does she need for more preparation? i know she's been criticized in not talking to the media enough. >> i think part of this is going to be incredible scrutiny that comes with being the opponent for the majority leader of the united states senate. and of course, with all of the outside interest groups that are going to comb through every trash can and every bit of her record, every statement she ever made, i think it's only reasonable to say you need to get prepared to deal with that kind of negative onslaught of attention. but we're still about 110 days out. she had a good fund raising period here last actually beat harry reid in terms of fund raising, and i think it's going to be a very competitive election. this is -- in almost every poll
other than the last one you just mentioned, harry reid has been losing to the republican candidates. so i think this is a snapshot in time and i expect her numbers to improve, and i have confidence that she will win in november. >> susan just earlier asked you to look ahead. let me ask you to look ahead even further. right now texas is a republican state. not too long in the future there will be a completely latino state or predominantly latino state. george w. bush as governor and president certainly reached out to hispanic voters with his views son immigration reform. your position is different than the presidents. was wha does the republican party need to do to keep texas as a republican state and to win back hispanic voters? >> well, i have about a third of my constituents who are hispanic, and i do my very best to represent their interests together with all 24 million of us in the states of texas. and i would say the hispanic voters are predem nantly
culturally conservative, very family oriented, patriotic, small businessmen and women, entrepreneurs, and they are interested in education and opportunities to basically realize the american dream. >> and they vote for democrats. >> well, i got 35% of the hispanic vote in 2008 and i'm working hard to earn a larger portion of the vote the next time. but the immigration issue has been somewhat devicive and we do need to find a solution to it. that's why in 2005 i introduced a bill with john kyle, something we called the comprehensive border security and immigration reform act of 2005. and i was very much involved in the debate and i will continue to be involved in trying to find a solution to that. but i would say that on almost every issue, other than party rental stration, hispanics are conservative. and i think they find themselves comfortable with the
policies of the republican party. but we have to continue to reach out. we have to continue to engage on a whole range of issues where we find common ground. what i found the mistake that sometimes people make in politics is when the only time you communicate with somebody is on something you disagree upon, then there's no real basis for relationship and working through that in trying to build a consensus. so this is something the republican party needs to do better, and i'm trying to do my part in texas. but i concede we need to do a better job at it. >> i followed you to the breakfast and covered the nrsc. you seem to like your job and seemed to make gains this fall. do you want to be chairman again next cycle? >> well, it depends on my colleagues who make that choice, not me. >> would you put fours forward? >> my attitude is i volume tird for this job not because of the glamour and all the excitement.
>> you get to be on c-span. >> but because it's a job that needed to be done. i come from a state, texas, that is one of the important states when it comes to fund raising for republican causes, and so i thought i had something to offer. and thank goodness the winds turned around a bit. now we have a little bit of wind in our back. i'm open to that possibility, but i really think what we need to do is focus on november 2, and then we can have a conversation. i care with my colleagues about what makes sense for our conference. >> i think the last person to chair it twice in a row was minority leader mitch mcconnell. correct? >> i think you may be right. >> do you have future ambitions to possibly one day be the leader of your party? >> well, you know, i don't know whether that's in the cards or not. what i do want to do is continue to be involved and engaged and try to make a difference. i didn't get elected to the u.s. senate in the senate seat that was first held by sam
houston to be irrelevant or to be window dressing. so i'm going to do everything i can as a senator and help the cause and the party and that i believe in, and help my state. and whatever capacity that is, i'm fine with. >> we learned this week that president bush's mem ware is going to be available really in mid october. people begin to be digesting. and i've heard it's going to be very candid. is this a plus for your candidates to have president bush's administration regurgitated, discussed just before election day? >> well, i was busy with president bush in his office in dallas about three months ago and he told me the release date was about november 10, but i'm reading some caperpts may be available early. i don't think he wanted to be going on a book promotion tours or tv interviews talking about his book before the election because he didn't want to be the sort of the game, the play
by play announcer in what's getting ready to happen. but, look, i think president bush's stock has gone up a lot since he left office. people appreciate his resolve and commitment in the face of the national security threat like nine libf 11. he had his -- 911. he had his challenges no doubt. we learned a lot about things we could have done better as republicans in terms of fiscal responsibility. but when he left office the deficit was 3.2% of the grows domestic product. today it's about 10%. we've added 2.3 trillion to the national debt since president obama got there. i think a lot of people are looking back with a little more fondness on president bush's administration and i think history will treat him well. >> so the book will be a plus for your candidates? >> i haven't read it and so i don't know what's going to be in it. but it's intriguing when you say it's going to be candid. i'm looking forward to reading it. >> thank you for being with us, senator. >> thank you.
>> if you had the opportunity to be in politics right now, would you rather be the head of the democratic senate campaign or the republican? whose got the advantage where we sit right now in july? >> well, i would rather be part of the national republican senatorial committee and the democratic. i would love to do both because i would like to see. but clearly the things are in the republicans', they're doing -- they have better numbers, their fund raising is better. and right now, they're anywhere between three and six seats. and if there's a tsunami, which is possible, they can get up to eight or nine seats. >> talk about you always want to be playing offense in
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