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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA
Paul Ryan Considering Speaker Run; Biden Aides Make Interesting Visit; Cruz: Trump Wont' Be Nominee; Obama Not Welcome in Oregon. Aired 11-11:30a ET
Aired October 9, 2015 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:00] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: A party in chaos. After the House majority leader abruptly drops out, Republicans are racing to find another candidate. The guy they want, though, has said he doesn't want the job. So, what now?
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: He is going to meet with survivors of the campus massacre in Oregon but President Obama will also get an earful from people who don't want him there. Hear why.
BOLDUAN: And is it a bromance breakup? Donald Trump's new enemy used to be a friend. Why Ted Cruz says Donald Trump's supporters won't stick with him much longer.
BERMAN: Happy Friday, everyone. I'm John Berman.
BOLDUAN: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan.
"Chaos, disarray, a free-for-all," those are some headlines describing the state of affairs among House Republicans after Kevin McCarthy, number two in the House, he suddenly dropped his bid for House speaker.
BERMAN: Right now, Paul Ryan, call us, if you have anything you want to get off your chest. It seems nearly everyone wants him to fill the void, everyone but Paul Ryan. He had said no, but now there is a chance he will reconsider. Will he bring ballots to the Republican force?
Let's get right to chief political correspondent, Dana Bash, who has been in the middle of it for a day now on Capitol Hill.
Dana, what's the latest here?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That the man, as you both said, everybody wants to be speaker, is not talking at all. Not behind closed doors, we're told. Republicans met down the hall from where I am for over an hour. There was a lot of talk of unity, very clear messages to and about Paul Ryan that many people in the House Republican caucus think he is the only one who should and could step up to the plate right now. But is he not saying anything publicly. Privately, however, he is talking to some of his colleagues we have spoken to, a number of them, who said he has gone from a definite no to a definite maybe. He's going to go home and talk to his young family about it. I actually spoke not too long ago to the man who we all thought was
going to be the speaker himself, Kevin McCarthy. He walked by him. I asked him about what Paul Ryan was thinking. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: Mr. McCarthy, can you stop for one sec. Can you tell me --
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY, (R-CA), HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: OK. I'm going to make it quickly. We have a very good conference, working together, trying to work together. A lot of speculation about who should run and others. Paul is looking at it. It's his decision. If he would decide to do it, he would be an amazing speaker but he has to stand on his own.
BASH: Shouldn't he do it?
MCCARTHY: It's a very good chance?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: There's a very good chance. By way of context, McCarthy isn't just the man who was supposed to be speaker. He's also very good friends with Paul Ryan. The two of them were part of what they called the Young Guns Organization a few years ago. And they're still very close. Not just McCarthy but also John Boehner, the current speaker and a whole host of others are really pushing Paul Ryan to make this decision, to change his mind. He hasn't wanted the job for maybe the most obvious reasons. It is chaotic. Also because in his heart of hearts he's a policy wonk and likes the job where he is now, which is chairman of the tax-writing committee. He wanted to work on tax reform, wanted to maybe work here a couple more years, and then go home, not stay in Congress forever. Sometimes in politics -- you both know this, you've covered it for a long time -- it's not just about what you are planning, it's about what presents itself in front of you. This is definitely that case.
BERMAN: Dana Bash, thanks so much. We'll check back in with you in six minutes because it's sure to change then.
BERMAN: Thanks, Dana.
BOLDUAN: He's not in it, until he's in it. He doesn't want it until he does want it.
That's what we're waiting for, Dana.
So let's talk about this with two of the House Republicans kind of caught up in all of this chaos. Congressman Thomas Massie, joining us, congressman of Kentucky; and Congress Mimi Walters of California.
It's great to see both of you. We were excited to speak to you guys because we've spoken to you
separately previously about this race and what you thought.
Congresswoman, when we spoke yesterday, you said that you thought Kevin McCarthy, you predicted, was going to get unanimous support. We do not bring that up to poke fun. We bring that up because it shows what a surprise an abrupt departure was when he dropped out yesterday. What happened in your view 1234?
REP. MIMI WALTERS, (R), CALIFORNIA: Well, I'll tell you, it was a shock to all of us that he decided not to run. I'm still very supportive of Kevin. He has been a great majority leader for us. He's extremely well respected in our conference. I think he did a selfless act by stepping aside. That's a sign of a great leader. Here we are, we're reassessing and we'll see where it takes us.
[11:05:24] BERMAN: Here we are, we're reassessing. In other words, Paul Ryan.
Paul Ryan is the person, it seems, Congressman Massie, that everyone is looking to right now. You more or less opposed Kevin McCarthy. Could you support Paul Ryan to be the speaker?
REP. THOMAS MASSIE, (R), KENTUCKY: He's intelligent, articulate and a capable chairman. But some of my conservative colleagues, remember Paul Ryan's impassioned pleas for the TARP, the Wall Street bailout, he was asking for them toll vote for it several years ago. I don't have a problem with his ideology. I would want to talk to Paul Ryan about why he kicked conservatives off the Budget Committee when he was chairman of the Budget Committee. So, I'm still supporting Daniel Webster, because he has articulated for changing the process here in Washington, D.C., making it functional again.
BERMAN: Just to be clear, that's not a yes on Paul Ryan.
MASSIE: That's not a yes. That's a yes for Daniel Webster.
BOLDUAN: Is it a no, though, definitively for Paul Ryan or are you just saying you need to hear more from him?
MASSIE: I need to hear why he supported TARP. And I also need to know who or what compelled him as chairman to kick a couple conservatives off his committee.
BOLDUAN: Congressman Massie, let me ask you this, and John brought this up, "The Washington Post" wrote about this situation, let's call it, in "The Washington post," "Republicans are on the verge of ceasing to function as a national political party." You don't want Kevin McCarthy. You want to hear more from Paul Ryan. You're supporting Daniel Webster. He does not have a lot of support, though, amongst a lot of the caucus. Is this what you wanted?
MASSIE: You know, it surprised us all when Kevin decided not to run yesterday. What surprised us even more is we had two candidates and Speaker Boehner called off the election. Daniel Webster would have won yesterday. He had more votes than Chaffetz. I think it's not fair to handicap Daniel Webster, at least until we have a vote.
BERMAN: Representative Walters, what's your message to Congressman Massie right now, who was one of the people standing in the way of Kevin McCarthy yesterday. Today, won't commit to Paul Ryan. What do you think about the Freedom Caucus, Congressmen like Congressman Massie, who are holding out, this minority within the party, less than 10 percent of Congress keeping things from happening right now?
WALTERS: I just remember what Ronald Reagan used to say to us, "If can get 80 percent of what I want, then we've won." We all need to give a little bit. We're never going to find the perfect person because nobody is perfect. But what we have to remember is we have to put the American people first and we have to come together and do the will of the American people. That is our fundamental job, our number one priority. I am confident we will come together as a conference. We will elect a new speaker everyone can support.
BOLDUAN: Congressman Walters, let me ask you this. Paul Ryan said he doesn't want the job. He's considering. I want to hear both of your guys' take on this. When it comes to holding this important role as House speaker, do you want someone in that role who has said he or she doesn't want the job.
WALTERS: It's a very difficult job. And I think what Paul is doing right now --
I think what Paul is doing right now is he's thinking very hard if he and his family want to take on this -- you know, being speaker. It's a big family sacrifice. I know I'm a mom of four and I travel back and forth from California, so that's a big sacrifice in itself. This is a decision that really, quite frankly, has to be a family decision. I'm glad he's reassessing it. My hope is that he would come to the decision, and his wife, that he wants to do this.
BOLDUAN: What do you think?
MASSIE: Yeah, I think a lot of people are deciding not to run for this job because it's usually the last thing you do in your political career. And Paul Ryan's young. We're the same age. He's probably got a lot more ambitions and capability than I do. And he's got to study this long and hard. Is this the last stop in his political career? It usually is for most speakers.
[11:10:00] BERMAN: Tip O'Neill, 1986, last person to leave the speaker's chair voluntarily. There is history, and it's not good for people who have sat there.
Thomas Massie, Congressman Walters, thank you so much for being with us.
MASSIE: Thank you.
WALTERS: Thank you.
BOLDUAN: Keep us updated.
MASSIE: We will.
In six minutes, it will change.
BOLDUAN: Exactly. Stay right there. We'll be right back to you. You're the newest correspondents for CNN.
BOLDUAN: Coming up for us this hour, in the ongoing mystery over whether Joe Biden will run for president, his team just offered a big clue as to maybe his intentions. A secret trip by some of his aides.
BERMAN: Plus, President Obama heads to Oregon to meet with families from the college shooting, but not everyone in town will be welcoming him. We'll take you there.
And Bill Cosby under oath, forced to answer questions about what happened inside the Playboy mansion, yes, as one his former cast members now defends him.
[11:15:09] BOLDUAN: There's a new clue this morning in the ongoing mystery over whether Vice President Joe Biden will make a run for president. We're learning this week his aides met with officials at the Democratic National Committee. They weren't catching up, they were going over the important aspects of state filing deadlines and other deadlines crucial to a presidential bid.
BERMAN: This only fuels the speculation even more Joe Biden will make a decision and soon as to whether he'll run for president. The Bidens are apparently having a family meeting in weekend in Delaware. Could be the final decision.
Let's bring in "New York Times" columnist, Charles Blow; Republican strategist, Doug Heye.
Charles, look, you have a meeting, your people have a meeting about the DNC, about the rules running for president. This can't go on much longer.
CHARLES BLOW, COLUMNIST, THE NEW YORK TIMES: No, they will first make a decision this weekend. You can look at this meeting two ways. One is, cover your bases and just make sure if you decide to run, you know what to do. The other thing you can do is look how late you are and how much time you have to make up. That informs whether or not you want to jump in at this point.
BOLDUAN: Can I please get your take on what is going on in the House of Representatives? Which mystery do you want to solve for us more, will Joe Biden run or who is going to be House speaker? If you were working for majority leader, Eric Cantor, if he pulls this bomb, drops out, says, I'm not going to run, what is the level of chaos that would be going on in your office right now?
DOUG HEYE, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST & CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: To quote "Spinal Tap," it would go to 11. We have the Ryan family meeting, Biden family meeting this weekend. A lot of important family meetings helping determine the course of our country. With Biden, I would say they're doing everything they need to do to make the decision but getting that information isn't a clue as to whether the decision has been made. Paul Ryan, I'm a big Paul Ryan fan, have been for a long time. I've been e-mailing his staff. I hope he runs. I've been hearing from his staff, he doesn't to want to do it. That's where he is right now. We'll see what ultimately happens.
BOLDUAN: Do you want a speaker -- as a Republican, do you want a speaker of the House who doesn't want to do it?
HEYE: A reluctant one may be the best right now. We've seen some people float their names and not get anywhere. Paul Ryan we know can bring the conference together, can do great things, and also has a real track record of legislative policy that is something Republicans need and have lacked for a while.
BERMAN: The question is, who would willingly walk into this job right now?
HEYE: Kate, John, would you want the job?
BOLDUAN: I'll take it.
BERMAN: Charles, let me tie this to the presidential race right now. What you're seeing in the House is you're seeing this minority in the Republican party of the House, some 40 members controlling the situation. In the presidential race, what you're seeing are these outsider, controlling the presidential race. Donald Trump leading the pack, somewhere in the 20s. Not the majority but not shaking right now. Ben Carson, solidly in second place, anywhere from 16 percent to 20 percent, even despite things that he keeps saying on the campaign trail or because of things.
I want to play you when he was talking to Wolf Blitzer yesterday, he talks about whether arming Jews in Nazi Germany may have prevented the Holocaust.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. BEN CARSON, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & RETIRED NEUROSURGEON: I think Hitler's ability to accomplish his goals would have been greatly diminished if the people had been armed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: The Anti-Defamation League says it's historically inaccurate. I don't want to argue that point. I think it's more interesting he has this support that is unwavering. That either -- like I said, actively supports statements like that or doesn't care he's making them. How do you explain it?
BLOW: I think part is name recognition, getting more recognition.
BLOW: Well, I don't know if it's necessarily more than that. The more access you get, the more access you get, the more -- I mean, it's 16 people, right?
BERMAN: 16 percent --
BLOW: No, 16 actual candidates --
BERMAN: Right. Right.
BLOW: -- on the republican side. They're not getting the same amount of coverage. That's part of it. In addition to that, Republican voters generally side with the person who the mass mainstream media comes down on. They see that as a badge of honor. So the more they are attacked in the media --
BOLDUAN: Do you think mainstream media is coming down on Ben Carson?
BLOW: It doesn't matter.
BOLDUAN: You're like chicken or egg here.
BLOW: It doesn't matter if that's the truth. It matters that it's the perception. Right. And if they perceive the person is under attack by the media, they actually rally around -- there's a rallying effect that goes on with that. I think that is a real thing. Will that push you into percentages that will make a real difference when the field narrows to five or four or three people? Probably not. Will it help you when there are 16 people and you only need 16 percent of the vote to be in second place? It does help you.
[11:20:12] BOLDUAN: Talking about narrowing the field, Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, Doug, they've been playing nice really to this point. Ted Cruz now, not so much playing nice. You know, to this point, it's obviously been, they don't want to alienate their supporters. They want to pick up each other's supporters, depending on who would bow out whenever they do.
Ted Cruz, he's not being so nice to Donald Trump. Listen here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ, (R), TEXAS & PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (voice-over): I think his involvement has been tremendously helpful to my campaign because it's framed the central question of this primary as who will stand up to Washington. I think, in time, I don't believe Donald is going to be the nominee. I think, in time, the lion's share of his supporters end up with us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Not necessarily being mean, but it's not saying you believe in him and he's going to be the candidate. Why now?
HEYE: I don't know why now. What's interesting is this is what a lot of people thought that Ted Cruz's strategy has been for a long time. It's interesting to hear him lay it out. He's been, to use a NASCAR term, he's been drafting behind Donald Trump for a long time. Not criticizing him in debates while he's not shy about criticizing other Republicans in the hope he get that support. We're seeing that certainly at a certain point Ted Cruz has to make his move on Trump and now we're seeing that's simply what he's thinking, and possibly the time may be now.
BERMAN: Charles Blow, 20 second or less. Biggest opportunity, Democratic debate next Tuesday night, who has the most to gain on that debate stage?
BLOW: Bernie has the most to gain. He has a lot of support already and he has very low name recognition among key constituencies of the Democratic Party. Something like 70 percent of Latinos, something like 70 percent of African-Americans don't even know who he is. He has a tremendous opportunity to make himself known to -- to those groups of people.
BERMAN: Charles Blow --
BOLDUAN: Charles Blow, Doug Heye, love the NASCAR reference, thank you, my friend. Have a great weekend. Thank you.
BERMAN: Of course, there is this reminder. The very first presidential Democratic debate, or Democratic presidential debate, depending on how you want to say it, is Tuesday night, 8:30 p.m., right here on CNN. Just four days from now. It will be something. We're going to head out there. We'll be broadcasting from Las Vegas, Nevada, starting on Monday. BOLDUAN: We also have much more coming up this hour. New this
morning, shots fired at another college campus. They come as President Obama is getting ready to head to meet the families of the Oregon shooting massacre.
BERMAN: Plus, Bill Cosby refuses to talk about the allegations against him, but a short time from now, he will be forced to, deposed by a famous attorney. What's at stake here?
[11:25:19] BERMAN: New information about the shooting that killed one student and injured three others at Northern Arizona University. Police say it's the result of a confrontation between two groups of students. One pulled a gun and shot four others.
BERMAN: It happened in a parking lot near a student residence hall. Some members of a fraternity were involved. The freshman, the gunman, is now is custody.
This shooting comes on the very same day President Obama is flying to Roseburg, Oregon, to meet with the families of some victims in last week's shooting massacre there. Eight students and a teacher were shot and killed when a heavily armed gunman went building to building at Umpqua Community College.
BERMAN: President on the way to Roseburg right now.
Our Ryan Young is there.
Ryan, not everyone so happy that the president is going.
RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, they're not, actually. This has been a tough conversation for those in this community. They've been having it out loud all week. We walk into a co-op and overheard people at a table, having a conversation amongst themselves. They were talking about the idea the president may have politicized the event before everyone was actually notified their loved ones were dead. Some people very upset about that. But the conversation continued throughout the week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID JACQUES, PUBLISHER, THE ROSEBURG BEACON: I think the timing of the president's visit was, frankly, very insensitive to the families and the community as a whole. We're a little hesitant to embrace his visit.
LARRY RICH, MAYOR OF ROSEBURG, OREGON: We well welcome him. We'll treat him with respect, open our arms and appreciate he's here in our town.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
YOUNG: You guys know how this works. There will be differing opinions from a variety of people. But one of the things to remember here is this is a community of 21,000 people. There are a lot of folks who know each other who were involved in this shooting and they're very upset about what's happened.
Since the week has gone on, people say, look, if he's coming to meet with the victims, they understand what's going on and they, honestly, want the president's support. But then you have people who are talking about guns and the fact that this community is different, has a different relationship with guns. In fact, looking in the newspaper just yesterday, you can see an ad like this one where gun sales are still very vigorous here. In fact, I've been talking to gun owners who say they've sold more guns recently because people say they want to protect themselves.
But throughout the community, you see signs of love as well. We've seen local shop owners putting up signs like this one, made out of metal with heart in the middle and Oregon in the center of their heart, also talking about the three heroes who came to the aid of those in need the day of this tragic shooting.
BERMAN: The important thing is to honor and remember those who were lost.
Ryan Young, thank you for being with us.
BERMAN: New this morning, the U.S. is suspending its program while the Pentagon is suspending its program to arm Syrian rebels and will look for other ways to help battle ISIS.