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tv   Newsmakers  CSPAN  January 29, 2012 6:00pm-6:30pm EST

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imad general mcchrystal for the first time. he looked at me and said, you are the rolling stone died. -- guy. i think it is between you and lady gaga. he replied, just put me and lady gaga -- i thought, this is going to be a different kind of story. michael hastings continues the story and talked about his new book. tonight at 8:00. >> leonard curry is the florida republican chairman joining us on this "newsmakers." let me begin by asking you about the timing of the florida primary.
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they moved it up to influence the process. are you having the influence you wanted? >> let me talk about how that happened. the legal authority about the primary date rests with the florida legislature. the republican party of florida has no authority in that. all throughout the process, we said we agreed that florida should be early and should be by itself. our voice would represent what we are in the states, large, diverse. we should be heard loud and clear. when the committee made the decision to move our primary to january 31, they were acting in what they believe is in the best interests of the republicans in the state of florida. given the way things have played
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out, it looks like it has worked out. florida is it. it is competitive. whatever happens on tuesday will send a clear message to the country. >> you got penalized. you lose half of your delegates. they will have the same number of delegates at the convention, but they will be worth half. michael steele says that is not a done deal. the rnc has confirmed it is winner take all. what do you say to chairman steele on this. is it winner-take-all? >> our committee work on it. the rnc had his committee working on it. respectfully to chairman michael steele, it is what it is.
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it makes florida that much more important. >> will the delegation be penalized when it comes to the number of delegates ordeal tells they will be staying in? >> we got 50 delegates. we will not have our full 99. as far as the hotels and guest passes go, right now we are focused on the big picture. once we have a nominee, we will continue to work with the rnc. i have assurance that we will work together to do our job, which is to take back the white house. we will ultimately get to the right place. >> i want to turn to the hispanic voted that makes up a significant part of the republican electorate.
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jeb bush said yesterday, i do not think a party can aspire to be the majority party if it is the old white guy party. do you agree with governor bush? >> we are going to be the majority party and we cannot be the old white guy party. we are going to appeal to the static votes and any other votes in florida. it has to start with a compelling message on the free market. we have to connect with individual voters and explain why a free eenterprise system will affect their lives. we have to show and demonstrate the contrast. historically, the free market system has done more to lift
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people out of poverty than any government program. if we can do that, not just with numbers and statistics, but by talking with people and demonstrating how it affects their lives, we will be the majority party and we will pull in all people from socio- economic and ethnic backgrounds. it is about opportunity. that is why people come to america. >> to follow up on an issue that is important to them, immigration, it seems like republican candidates have been taking a more hawkish line on immigration, talking about self deportation in recent debates. how did you navigate the republican base, which favors the approach romney has advocated, with the hispanic the point, which seems to be more in the center? >> i want to step back from some of the heated rhetoric on this.
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it is an emotional subject. the fact that we are having this debate about immigration speaks to what america is all about. america is still the best country in the world. it is where people come to pursue opportunities, to pursue their dreams and bring their children and families. we have a history we have to deal with. we will get to the right spot where we welcome immigration, we bring talent and families over here who want to pursue their dreams. in the legislative process, it is like making sausage. it is not pretty. we will get through this primary season and we will win the election. we will find a solution that is pro-immigrant. it says, come to america. come to the republican party. we are the land of opportunity and the party that believes in people and the opportunity to lead to their lives. >> in addition to being the chairman of the republican
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party, you are also a cpa. the president talked about the 30% minimum tax running on economic populism. the buffet rule and whether or not people who may be middle- class pay a lower lower tax rate. do you take it is fair what the situation is now in the tax code? do you think the candidates are doing a good enough job on taxes, particularly mitt romney in defending his tax returns that came out? >> mitt romney's tax returns are completely irrelevant. when i talk to my neighbors and folks i go to church with and folks my kids play with, they do not care what their neighbor pay in tax. we are focused on our lives and raising our families. that is class warfare.
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we have a tax code that needs to be reformed. it is complicated. there are loopholes for any number of people. our corporate tax is too high. a lower tax rate will inspire people to invest. over time, we will need tax reform. as this primary season plays out, we will see that in our candidates. >> entitlements and social security and medicare in particular have been hot button issues. republicans have a lot of leaders, paul ryan, romney has even talked about entitlements reform. how far can republicans go in advancing the ball without alienating seniors who depend on those benefits for their retirement? how would you advise mitt romney to approach the issue?
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should they tried to lead on the issue or should they be more conservative and not try to risk losing the vote of a lot of seniors in florida? >> we need to be clear that we will honor the obligations of people who have paid into medicare and social security. we need to be clear about that. reform is needed if these programs are going to be sustainable. what republicans need to do is we need to pay more a kitchen to connecting with individual voters versus throwing out statistics and numbers and talking about deficits. we have to get across to the voting public that we do believe in a safety net and the most vulnerable should be taken care of. we do not believe in big government programs that take care of people who are taking advantage of the system. reforms are important, but we need to get down to how these things affect their lives.
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>> let me bring up the name of willie horton because he was a significant factor in the 1988 election. it came up in the democratic primary with michael dukakis as he was being challenged in that primary. what we have been hearing from the romney and the gingrich campaigns -- do you have any reservations about what will be brought up in the fall. >> i would rather our candidates not attack each other. what pains me the most about these attacks that have gone both ways are attacks on the free market system, how someone are as their income and how they are successful. president obama and his reelection committee will use that against us. he will have dug it up and come
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up with some kind of spin on it. most importantly, we need to make a compelling case for the free market. we need to go out and talk to people who are middle-class and below middle-class about how jobs at the free enterprise system will lead to them and their children out of their station in life. we know that the obama demonstration delays in government programs. they get a check every month or every week. they are there. people are stuck in what they believe is their lot in life. we need to communicate that on an individual basis and talk to people. >> have these attacks did more personal than you have seen in other campaigns? there was a letter circulated aimed at newt gingrich.
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>> i do not like the personal attacks. i talked to my neighbors and people around me. they do not like the personal attacks. they seem to work. i believe they would be less effective if the candidate said, i will not do this anymore. i will stick with the compelling vision, the big, broad vision for what we want america to look like in the years and generations ahead. >> florida is a critical stage in 2012 not only in the presidential, but also in other ballots. speaker gingrich was being mitt romney. but he was losing badly to president obama. do you think the republican party can afford to have newt gingrich at the top of the ballot?
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>> wwhoever wins our nomination can compete with and ultimately beat president obama. this election is going to be about ideas and how those ideas of that individual lives. president obama does not have a record to run on. he has to run on his record. he has to attack our candidate. whomever our nominee is, we have an obligation or can to be the reform and change nominee. president obama ran on reform and change. he did not shake up washington, d.c. republicans have the opportunity to speak to shaking things up. once elected, it is time to govern and shake up washington, d.c. >> 80% of republican primary
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voters said they were confident in the beating president obama. our pollsters said a lot of republicans feel this way. but there is a gap between that feeling and reality. economic conditions in the country, if they do improve, it cannot just be running on the national and environment. do you think there is something else that republicans need to do? >> let me speak first to florida. the economy is improving in florida because of the policies of our governor, rick scott, who ran on a jobs platform. he has balanced the budget and has not increased taxes. number show recovery, but people are still searching nationwide. i do not think president obama will have an opportunity to run on the message that the economy
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is in good shape. i do not expect that to happen. if it does improve, based on some short-term stimulus, we know that government programs will not sustain an economy and will not provide opportunity for people to pursue their dreams and move beyond whatever station they were born in. >> you mentioned to the first term governor in florida, governor scott. a new poll came out this week showing his approval rating among the lowest in the country. it is under 30% and has been stuck there. do you believe he is an asset? do you believe he can help republicans or do think he is trying to avoid the national scene and stay out of the republican primary? >> he is not going to endorse a
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candidate. let me speak to his approval numbers. a recent poll shows his approval ratings up to 48%. we are seeing his approval ratings increase. voters connect his policies with the man. his policy polls are popular. a recent poll shows small business owners give him a 69% approval rate, which is one of the highest for the governors. i absolutely think he is an asset. if the electorate continued to collect the policy to the man, which as the republican party of florida, that is not a job, you will continue to see job growth and continue to see florida the attractive state for people to come work, live, and play. >> another governor has come up
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on the campaign trail. he switched to become an independent last year. newt gingrich has been on the attack. the romney team has hired a bunch of governor chris advisers. it that a fair attack? >> i will not get into the attacks between the candidates. let me leave it at that. >> the stock market seems to be more stable. would you can see that the economy appears to be stabilized or that we have turned the corner slightly? >> we are definitely seeing improvement. even as it improves, republicans have to make the philosophical arguments about what is going to be sustainable and how our policies will create opportunities for generations
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from today. if you look at 1980 to 2007, starting with ronald reagan and into the tourist w. bush administration, policies have been abandoned by -- and into the george w. bush administration, policies have been abandoned by the obama administration. if you look at the people making between $35,000 and $105,000, that number is declining. we need to make that case and make that argument even if the
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economy approves in the short term. >> is it harder to run against the academy of the economy appears to be improving? >> sure, it is harder. we need to have the long view and the long vision. we need to have philosophies and principles that we as republicans believe in regardless of what this court on around us. if we are going to be the majority party for the right reasons, we have to argue for the free enterprise and free market system. if what is being done creates
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jobs, that is not a reason to turn our backs and say that is okay. >> since there was an election on tuesday, let's talk a little process. 400,000 people take early. mitt romney had some leads in the polls. we saw a lot of volatility during the week. who do you think early voting benefits. >> early in the program, governor romney had a head start. there have been significant absentee and early votes cast since then. >> do you think it is probably a wash between the two? >> the professionals around me say governor romney probably has the edge in the early voting. as far as what that number would be, it would be a wild guess. >> it looks like around the has
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the momentum heading into tuesday's momentum with the debates and she off. gingrich does not have the same league. he lost the lead he had after the south carolina primary. what are the biggest factors that to romney's trajectory? >> whatever individual ultimately connect with voters -- i keep coming back to the free enterprise system and getting people back to work and affecting people's lives. whichever of these gentlemen makes that connection is going to emerge victorious. maybe governor romney is doing that right now. i have not seen a poll as to why the lead has widened. what i believe philosophically is that whoever makes that case will win on tuesday. >> let me quote tim russert in the 2008 election. florida, florida, florida.
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>> obama could win be present nomination without florida. i do not think the republican nominee can win without florida. voters are engaged and active. once we have a nominee, i will ask individuals who supported candidates of their choice who lost that, i understand you put your time and your money and your sweat into them, but this is serious. do's take 24 hours and whatever we do to grieve and get over it and move forward for our nominee.
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>> we have seen $22 million spent on the air between them and their super pacs. is it good for the process to see all that money? is good for the tv stations, but is it good for the process? >> it is legal. just because it is legal does not mean it is right. i do not like the super pacs. with all of the media attention on the debate, it has given floridians a chance to cut through the super pac ads. >> we do not have a nominee yet. there is a lot of buzz about
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marco rubio being one of the top candidates to be on the republican ticket. he gave a well-received speech on friday talking about american exceptionalism. he got a lot of buzz with the national media. would you recommend to the republican nominee that they pick marco rubio? >> i think it is clear he is on a short list. he is a great choice. he has said he is not interested. i believe, if asked, the marco rubio i know, who is first and foremost a family man and loves his country and his state, will go home and talk to his wife. he will make a decision. we will have to wait to see what happens. >> as returns are coming in
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tuesday evening, you have the northern part of the state where you are and the rich area of south florida. which parts of the area will you be looking at to determine if it will be mitt romney or newt gingrich? >> the corridor. there are a number of individuals who are not registered as republicans, but who are not married to the democratic party or may be registered npa. these are people who are here raising families and they are open to hearing the argument about which party, which candidate is going to best create an opportunity for them to better their families and their lives and get a good education and make florida a better place.
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>> what will be turned out to be on tuesday? >> i would rather not predict. they are expecting a significant turnout. the party is not pushing turnout. if we have solid turnout on tuesday and take what the party is going to do to push turnout in general, we are in a good spot. >> leonard curry is the chair of the florida republican party. let's talk about tuesday and take this from two different sides. if mitt romney wins florida and wins by five percentage points, what does this mean? >> there is a reason they are spending $22 million on advertisements in the state. there is a reason why mitt romney is outspending newt gingrich 4 to 1.
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if mitt romney were to win florida, the establishment in washington, d.c. and if newt gingrich were to win, the lid of the pot would go flying off. they see the numbers. he is upside down. he loses to president obama by more than rick santorum does. if that is the case, republicans do not think he can when bank. it is so crucial and so important. if mitt romney wins in florida, he feels like he's on a good track. >> what if newt gingrich wins florida? >> the republican establishment, many conservative leaders do not want to see gingrich as the nominee.
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they see the same numbers as he was talking about. he has been inconsistent on some of their core issues. if gingrich wins florida, it would be a big win for him. it will be a long nomination process. we may be hearing names like mitch daniels and jeb bush come up if that happens. from the looks like he has the momentum. if brown the wins florida, it is almost a month before the next primary in the arizona and michigan. we will start talking about a round the nomination. >> is there any incentive for ron paul and rick santorum to drop out of the race? >> ron paul is more about the message that about getting to the presidency.
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you heard him in the interview said, maybe i could see myself as president, but i do not think about it like the rest of these guys do. he is about pushing his message of liberty and freedom. we will see him stick around for quite some time. he is organizing in the caucus states that are coming up. he will be in maine, minnesota, colorado. the one thing to watch with ron paul is the third party issue. if ron paul gets this respected by the rnc not giving him a platform to speak or push his agenda or feels shut out, there is a possibility you could see him run in a third party. he is waiting for newt gingrich. if there is something that happens with him and he becomes unacceptable to the party, maybe santorum can pick up the pieces and get the conservative voted. you will see santorum drop out before paul drops out. >> let me bring it back to the


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