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JOHN KING, USA

Born in the USA; Bush Tax Cuts

Aired August 3, 2010 - 19:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


JESSICA YELLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks, Wolf. Tonight's big political story born in the USA; that means you're an American citizen, right? Well it may not be that simple anymore thanks to immigration politics. A growing course of Republican lawmakers are demanding hearings to take another look at the 14th Amendment, which says anyone born here is a U.S. citizen.

Those lawmakers say they're concerned about -- have you heard these terms -- birthright citizenship, anchor babies, the practice of drop and leave. It's all the notion that illegal immigrants are crossing into the U.S. just to have babies here. And now there is even talk of changing the Constitution to end that practice. Some at least say they're considering it. The top Republican in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, said this today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: I think you know having a hearing on that would be a good idea. I don't know what the potential solution to it is. But obviously it's a rather unseemly business. And I think we ought to have some hearings and take a look at it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

YELLIN: Now he's talking about rich women from China flying here to have their babies in U.S. hospitals, but you won't be surprised to find other Republicans pointing at the babies of illegal immigrants who are Latino. Either way, the White House smells wedge issue politics.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I don't know if that was based on 2010 or 2012. But my hunch is it's based purely on politics.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

YELLIN: So do we really need a new baby amendment to the U.S. Constitution? With me tonight is representative -- Republican Representative Brian Bilbray of California, Democratic Representative Jim Moran of Virginia, CNN senior political analyst Gloria Borger and CNN senior correspondent Joe Johns. Thanks to all of you for being with us. And Congressman Bilbray, let me start with you and begin by reading the 14th Amendment. It says -- "all persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof are citizens of the United States and of the states wherein they reside." Why do you think the U.S. should change this?

REP. BRIAN BILBRAY (R), CALIFORNIA: We don't have to change it. The fact is it said, you remember, it said those born here and subject to the jurisdiction thereof. And was subject to the jurisdiction thereof was defined by the Supreme Court in the "L" (ph) case in 1872. That's why today the children of diplomats, the diplomats who are here legally on the U.S. soil do not get automatic citizenship for their children because they're not subject to the jurisdiction.

That's why in 1872 the Supreme Court ruled that even American Indians born on American soil did not fall under the definition of subject to the jurisdiction, because they could not be tried for treason. That application needs to be applied to millionaires (INAUDIBLE) coming here and trying to get automatic citizenship for their children. I think there will be outrage if we tried tourists for -- as traitors --

YELLIN: Let's break it down --

BILBRAY: And that's --

(CROSSTALK)

BILBRAY: That's a real important conditioning clause there, Jessica.

YELLIN: What you're saying then, though, is that we need to clarify it by writing a law to explain who should and who should not be a citizen.

BILBRAY: We should clarify the fact that those who are tourists do not fall under the category because they can't be tried for treason. Those who are permanent resident aliens can be tried for treason if they are lawfully engaged in commerce here. The fact is, is that you can clarify these issues where even those who are legally in the country but serving in the military, they are subject to the jurisdictions because they can be tried for treason.

The obligation of loyalty, the subject to the jurisdiction was the conditioning clause the Supreme Court has ruled on it. And it's really just sort of a thing that we've ignored for so long. Sort of like the people thinking that you have to be born in the United States to be present. Everybody knows now that no, you don't --

YELLIN: Treason, non-treason --

BILBRAY: (INAUDIBLE) wasn't born in the United States.

YELLIN: Your bottom line is there needs to be a law saying that if you were born of illegal immigrants who crossed here illegally you are not a citizen, is that correct? BILBRAY: No, I think that we've got to clarify that the 14th Amendment clarifies that there are those who qualify as subject to the jurisdiction, but if you're a tourist, if you're just visiting, if you're just traveling through, that does not qualify you as subject because you don't have the obligations that fall under those categories and tourists and illegals don't fall under that just like diplomat's children. So I don't hear the outrage about the children of diplomats not getting citizenship. And it took Congress in 1924 the ability to have American Indians to get automatic citizenship. They were not given it by the 14th Amendment --

YELLIN: OK. OK, I want to give Congressman Moran a chance to get in here. Sir, your view of this debate is what? We know that a number of senators, Republican senators have now said it's worth holding hearings to consider whether the 14th Amendment should be changed or how it should be applied. Your views?

REP. JAMES MORAN (D), VIRGINIA: I'm sure they want to hold hearings and they want to make sure they're televised because this is about getting votes. This is about the upcoming election. It's not about changing the law. This particular amendment has a long history with the Supreme Court. It is clear that the intent is that people who were born in the United States are U.S. citizens.

It was challenged because at one point the people wanted to deny the children of slaves. Well, America realized that was wrong. They reversed it. That's why we have the 14th Amendment. So they're talking about changing the Constitution. That requires two-thirds of both houses of Congress.

YELLIN: Right.

MORAN: We can't get two-thirds of the Congress to agree on what day it is and then three-quarters of the states, so this is purely about getting votes in the next election. It's not about changing the Constitution. It is about appealing to the, you know the bias against immigrants, obviously, going after those who are undocumented. But it also is going to be subject to law of unintended consequences. It means everybody else has to prove that their parents were U.S. citizens when they were born in the United States.

YELLIN: Gloria, let me ask you because this obviously is a hot button issue going into the election.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Right.

YELLIN: It requires two-thirds of both houses to change the Constitution and three-quarters of the states --

BORGER: Right.

YELLIN: -- and so why bring it up?

BORGER: Because there is an election coming up both in 2010 and 2012. You know with all due respect to Congressman Bilbray there isn't great outrage out there about the children of diplomats and what happens to them. You know this is a question about whether you want to repeal the 14th Amendment, and which the founding fathers said we don't want to disenfranchise freed slaves.

That is something that has been discussed in this country. Look, immigration is an easy issue to demagogue. We know that. That's why we don't have real national immigration policy in this country. And the fact that you want to hold hearings --

YELLIN: Right.

BORGER: -- is all about, OK, there's an election come up.

(CROSSTALK)

BORGER: Senator Leahy has said who runs a judiciary committee we are not holding hearings before the election.

YELLIN: OK, listen to this for a minute, Joe. I want you to listen. This is what Senator Lindsey Graham said last week when he floated the idea of a constitutional amendment. Let's listen to the sound bite.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I think it should be earned. It should be respected, and it should be an orderly process, and when we look at fixing immigration, I think we need to look at this as a piece of the puzzle.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

YELLIN: All right and he has -- that was actually (INAUDIBLE) today to CNN. But he had said he would consider amending the Constitution. Now the other members like Mitch McConnell and Kyl and these other Republicans are saying well we should just talk about it. So are Republicans a little skittish, they're not quite sure where they should be on this issue?

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Sure, you don't know which vote (ph) you're going to get on, so let's hold a hearing. You know I mean come on. It's August, right?

(LAUGHTER)

JOHNS: It's news (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.

JOHNS: There's not a lot to talk about. We're heading into midterm. Let's get all excited about changing the 14th, you know, Amendment of the Constitution. It's not going to happen. I mean come on. But it is a good thing to talk about and you can get people excited.

And you can get your base to talk about going to the polls. And you can get ready for September. That's what's going on here. And it's fine. You know it's American politics.

YELLIN: And Representative Bilbray, there's an interesting statistic I heard from the Pew (ph) Center. They said that 50,000 legal Latinos become old enough to vote every month, 50,000 new voters every month who are Latino. Now does your party risk alienating those people, sending them into the arms of the Democratic Party if you continue to push these kinds of issues?

BILBRAY: Jessica, I'm from San Diego. I know -- you don't need to tell me about Latinos and the impact on our communities. I grew up on the border. This is all part of it. If we try to alienate anyone, it's the one of abandoning the concept of the rule of law. If the Constitution doesn't need to be changed, if the rule of law doesn't allow the children of diplomats to get automatic citizenship, which tourists shouldn't be able to come in and buy citizenship?

That's what it's really about. And let me tell you something. I just went through my class reunion where the majority of my class were Latinos and let me tell you. They were very upset about this argument of trying to say that Latinos do not believe in the rule of law and that immigration law is not important to the Latino community.

Come down to my neighborhood down on the border and talk to them rather than sitting up in Virginia or up in New York or up in Chicago. Come down on the border and see the cost and people dying, families being destroyed by illegal activity --

(CROSSTALK)

YELLIN: Congressman --

BILBRAY: -- down here and tell me that the Latino community isn't on our side.

YELLIN: Congressman Moran, you do not live in a border state and yet, your attorney general decided yesterday that law enforcement officers are allowed to ask anybody to show -- to prove their immigration status when they're stopped for anything no matter how small. What's your view of that?

MORAN: Well, my view is the same as most of law enforcement officers in the state. This is an added inconvenience at best. It's a great burden at worst and again it's a matter of profiling. It's a matter of subjective conjecture --

YELLIN: And is it about rich diplomats' kids?

MORAN: Well you know I have to speak -- I have to speak up for Brian. He's normally not this disingenuous, but he's among us and he's back in Washington. It's only when he's out on the campaign trail. This is not about rich diplomats --

(CROSSTALK)

MORAN: And everyone knows that including Brian -- BORGER: I have to ask -- I have to ask Congressman Bilbray, you know do you want to create an entire generation of lawbreakers from the day they're born? I mean what do you do about that?

(CROSSTALK)

BORGER: What do you -- well what do you do?

BILBRAY: Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Americans go all over the world and we have our children. I was almost born in Guam. The fact is --

(CROSSTALK)

BILBRAY: -- because my mother -- my father was a U.S. citizen --

(CROSSTALK)

BORGER: OK. Let's not talk about --

BILBRAY: -- wouldn't make me a criminal.

BORGER: -- tourists. Let's not talk about tourists and the children of diplomats.

(CROSSTALK)

BORGER: Let's talk about the larger group that Jessica was talking about.

BILBRAY: Let me tell you directly San Diego, where I ran the hospitals as a county supervisor looking at that. That you had individuals with border crossing cards that would come over from Tijuana and they do it today. They deliver at the hospitals as an emergency delivery. They qualify for automatic citizenship even though they even live out of the country, but because they're there temporarily they claim to get the citizenship and then they qualify for the benefits. That is something today. This is an abstract. This is those of us on the border who see this every day. It's not just --

(CROSSTALK)

YELLIN: All right and that's the heart of this debate.

BILBRAY: It's about people gaming the system. That's what it's really about and it was never meant for people doing this. It was meant to protect slaves --

YELLIN: OK.

BILBRAY: -- because they were obligated to the country --

YELLIN: That's the heart of this debate. We want to come back, but we've got to take a quick break right now and there is another sensitive issue now that doesn't require changing the Constitution. It involves raising taxes. Next, who should pay more? And later on in the program, the breakup that has the political world buzzing. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

YELLIN: The White House is on edge about the Bush tax cuts which expire at the end of this year. Here is Robert Gibbs today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GIBBS: The president's viewpoint is protect our middle class. Protect the middle class tax cuts. And let those for the wealthy expire.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

YELLIN: Well, for Republicans that's just not good enough. They vow a major battle to extend all the Bush era tax cuts, including for the richest Americans. And if Congress does anything less, Republicans say they're poised to blast the president as another tax and spend (ph) Democrat. You know how Democrats love that label.

All right and our panel is rejoining us. I want to put this one straight to you, Congressman Moran. Americans are worried about the deficit, but if Republicans label Democrats as tax and spend, how do you push back against that?

MORAN: Well, I think we need to show some facts. One of the facts is that when we had 39.6 percent tax rate on the wealthiest individuals in America, they took home more after-tax income than at any time in American history. And we also saw an expansion of 23 million jobs.

It's not the tax code that is the disincentive. The problem is that people are saving more. They're buying less. We understand that. It's a reaction to the bubble that we experienced. But it's also a reality that our revenue now is less than 15 percent of our gross domestic product. It needs to be about 20.5 percent to balance the budget. You have got to make up that difference otherwise it's our grandchildren who will make it up.

YELLIN: Well, Congressman Bilbray, your party has been talking all about fiscal discipline. Listen to the president last night in Atlanta.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: They don't have a single idea that's different from George Bush's ideas. Not one. Instead, they're betting on amnesia.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

YELLIN: All right, so you guys said that you learned the lesson from the Bush era, won't spend that much anymore, but now no changing the tax codes, so is this amnesia? BILBRAY: That's kind of -- look, it's getting more bizarre as people get desperate, but the real fact here just gets interesting and I wasn't there when the tax cuts went in, but it was interesting that all I've heard and America has heard is that these tax cuts were only for the rich and only for the rich. And now that we're getting down to the short time you're hearing now oh, well some of it was for middle class.

There was a group of it. We didn't hear that before. It just shows you the inconsistency the way Washington wants though sort of manipulate the numbers and the reality. The fact is the big problem everyone knows with Washington is that Washington has an insatiable desire and for more money, more money. You can never have enough. And it's literally sucking the oxygen out of the system. I was --

(CROSSTALK)

BILBRAY: -- a local mayor and supervisor and there's no way local government would ever be able to continue to absorb this much debt and continue to justify it. And then try to justify tax increases on top of it.

(CROSSTALK)

YELLIN: Gloria, let me put this to you because the Republicans have consistently said nothing -- no new programs without paying for it. But there's no pay-for for this tax extension. Is there a little political gamesmanship here?

BORGER: Sure. Look --

BILBRAY: No, what we did in the --

(CROSSTALK)

BILBRAY: Jessica, in the '90s what we said is that if you want to add more money to one category, you have to find the money in the category. And we actually ended up --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Congressman --

BILBRAY: -- working out a coalition with Clinton about the fact that we're finally going to prove the American people that we can be trusted with the purse and that means --

YELLIN: OK, OK --

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A couple of things --

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A couple of things --

(CROSSTALK) BORGER: A couple of things. One is I was around when we -- when these tax cuts were enacted and they were because we had something called a surplus, which nobody has heard of anymore, 2001, 2003. The theory was we want to give you back your money because we have too much of it, which is something we don't have now.

Now what the Democrats are trying to do is turn this deficit issue on its head and to say, OK, you want to extend all these tax cuts. That's fine except you have to figure out a way to pay for it because we don't have any money. Because if you extend them, you're costing over two trillion --

YELLIN: OK.

BORGER: -- that's with a "t" -- trillion dollars.

YELLIN: Joe, listen to this ad, which I've been seeing playing nonstop at least around here. Look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SENATOR FRED THOMPSON, POLITICAL AD: Folks, America's economy is struggling and Congress is about to make it a whole lot worse. Our nation faces a massive automatic tax increase at the end of this year when the Bush tax cuts expire. When that happens your income taxes could increase by 10 percent or more. Capital gains taxes will jump over 30 percent. Taxes on dividends will more than double. It's not a pretty picture.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

YELLIN: All right, Fred Thompson with a swanky new goatee.

JOHNS: Yes.

YELLIN: But the message, who is that to?

JOHNS: Well, you know I don't know who exactly who it's -- it's to everybody. And this is a big problem for Democrats because it's very hard to sell something like this during an election year. Tax cuts are -- these are the things that Republicans do pretty well.

And that's what they get votes for. And you're going to turn around and say we're going to let these tax cuts expire. Whoever doesn't get them is probably going to be mad. There's a reasonable assumption that they're going to be less likely to vote for the Democrats, so they're sort of in a rock and a hard place. Honestly back right after Barack Obama got elected there were a lot of Republican strategists telling me that they were waiting, salivating for this debate. This is the thing they want to do.

(CROSSTALK)

BORGER: But you know I talked to a Democratic strategist who said, look, whenever we talk taxes, it's not good for us and we know what we have to do here. People when you poll them say we don't want tax cuts for the wealthy. But then when you actually let these tax cuts expire on the wealthy and raise taxes, the public doesn't make a difference.

YELLIN: OK.

BORGER: They're nodding in agreement, right?

(CROSSTALK)

YELLIN: We've got to take a break -- we've got to go. It's a lively debate. If it's lively here that means it's going to be even livelier on the campaign trail, so thanks all for joining us and coming back on the other side of the break, Bristol and Levi they're back in the news. Hear what cheery young Palin has to say next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

YELLIN: Welcome back. Let's check in now with Joe Johns for the news you need to know right now -- hey Joe.

JOHNS: Hey, Jessica. CNN has confirmed a federal court will rule tomorrow on the challenge to California's Proposition 8, which outlawed gay marriage. Just over three hours ago BP started pumping mud into its leaking well, hoping to seal it for good. New York authorities have cleared the way for the development of an Islamic community center and mosque a few blocks from ground zero.

Senators John McCain and Tom Coburn put out a report detailing 100 projects they say misspent stimulus money. Highlights include replacing the windows of a forest service visitor center that was closed in 2007. And studying how monkeys react under the influence of cocaine.

And in today's installment of our favorite soap opera, Bristol Palin tells "People" magazine it's over. It turns out the day she and Levi Johnston announced their engagement, he told her he might have fathered a baby with another teenage girl. Do you believe this?

YELLIN: All I can say is OMG. First of all, she's chairing an abstinence campaign.

JOHNS: It's incredible.

YELLIN: Second of all, how short lived was that --

JOHNS: Yes I know.

(CROSSTALK)

YELLIN: -- Bristol.

JOHNS: It just keeps going back (INAUDIBLE) "The Days of our Lives" is that what they call it --

YELLIN: I know she says she was snookered by him --

JOHNS: Oh.

YELLIN: Poor thing.

JOHNS: Well.

YELLIN: Do you think it will come around again?

JOHNS: Life happens -- I bet (INAUDIBLE). I bet you --

YELLIN: And we'll read about it in "People" or "Us" -- thanks Joe.

All right, among the other items on my "Radar" tonight, the $91 million woman. Who is it? Here's a hint. She used to run eBay, but now she wants to run California.

And be it resolved South Carolina Republicans just sent a new message to one of their U.S. senators.

In the "Play-by-Play" tonight the right questions -- Sharon Angle (ph) explains what kind of questions reporters should ask.

And we'll show you who is moving on up at the daily White House briefing. And finally "Pete on the Street", do you know which U.S. Senate candidate had Mike Tyson as the best man at his wedding -- coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

YELLIN: Today's "Most Important Person You Don't Know" isn't a doctor, but because of her, Missouri is taking the poll to the voters on health care reform. Missouri State Senator Jane Cunningham sponsors a bill that's putting the same question on both Democratic and Republican ballots in today's primary there. It asked whether Missouri should change its laws to prevent the federal government from requiring people to buy health insurance.

That's a key part of the new health care reform law. Cunningham is against it. She's a Republican from St. Louis County (ph) and served eight years in the State House of Representatives before moving up to the State Senate in 2008. Her husband was a Department of Housing and Urban Development official during the Bush administration. And that is Jane Cunningham.

Joining me now on a different topic Jeff Zeleny (ph), reporter for "The New York Times" and Jane Newton-Small (ph), Washington correspondent for "TIME" magazine -- Jeff, I should say you're the national political correspondent, which I know well because we have the same title and we always joke about that.

Let me ask you first tonight. President Obama, Jeff, is participating in a tele-town hall for Colorado's Senator Bennett. He's a sitting Senator, but facing a tough challenge. I thought everybody was supposed to be running from Obama. Why is he doing this? JEFF ZELENY, "NEW YORK TIMES": Well this is a Democratic primary, first of all, so everyone on this phone call presumably you know will be all Democratic voters. So what they're really trying to say is that Senator Bennett needs your help. If you're a Democratic voter who likes the policies of President Obama, Senator Bennett needs your help. But I mean presumably Andrew Romanoff who is (INAUDIBLE) a really tough challenge --

YELLIN: The other Democrat --

(CROSSTALK)

ZELENY: -- challenge, biggest primary fight also would presumably vote for most policies of the Obama administration. So, what it's really I think will be interesting to see is President Obama able to influence a Democratic primary at all. You know, we know he will have a hard time in a general, you know -- independents don't like him necessarily as much, but Democrats like him. So, he's doubling down on this. We'll see if people follow him.

YELLIN: Why this race? Because, you know, he did not do so well the last time he campaigned for Democrats in the earlier races. Why is he stepping into this so heavily?

JAY NEWTON-SMALL, TIME MAGAZINE: I think the administration, generally, is stepping into primaries at this point saying, OK, now, we're really going to, you know -- we got to start betting on the establishment. We will be start picking our guys. Like you saw, Rahm Emanuel campaigning Kendrick Meek in Florida this week. You know, some are saying if it weren't for Kendrick Meek were not for Jeff Greene who's a billionaire. He's challenging the primary. So, I think they're really finally getting involved in these primaries. It's a little bit late but --

YELLIN: But aren't they worried that if they get involved and these guys don't win, it's going to look bad for them? The White House is going to look bad.

NEWTON-SMALL: Certainly. The last time this happened, right? Arlen Specter didn't look great for them, but they're making their bets.

ZELENY: It's too late in this case. President Obama has been doing a lot for Senator Bennett. In effect, he owes him one because Senator Bennett has voted for all the Obama administration policies. He took a tough vote on health care. That wasn't all that popular in Colorado. So, I think part of this is, you know, a little bit of payback. And we are hearing some reports inching (ph) about Colorado to mail-in ballot only. People are not going to the polls on Election Day. They're mailing in their ballots everyday. So, this sort of boost from the president could help a little bit.

NEWTON-SMALL: Also, come to (INAUDIBLE) is everybody is all in on this right now. I mean, he just loaned himself -- Bennett just loaned himself $300,000 from his personal fund. And Romanoff, his Democratic opponent, also just loaned himself $325,000. So -- YELLIN: I also know that Bill Clinton endorsed Andrew Romanoff. So, we'll see which of those two wins. And If Obama's candidate wins or Clinton's candidate wins, Quien es mas macho, right?

ZELENY: Si.

YELLIN: Si. Very good. The other big races getting a lot of headlines is the Reid-Angle race in Nevada. Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader was in so much trouble. Then Sharron Angle comes along, and he thinks it's a gift because she sometimes says unusual things. But now they're tied. How is it possible these two are tied?

ZELENY: I think we will see that for the next three months. This is going to be a tough race, a close race. The reality is Senator Reid probably has a ceiling. It's, you know, probably in the 40s, for example. You know, his campaign believed (ph). So, it's tied because Sharron Angle has had some rough patches in the road to be generous about it. Every day, the story is about her. The story is supposed to be about Senator Reid. This is supposed to be a referendum on him, but it is always about her.

The national Republicans are sending reinforcements constantly out to Nevada to try and sort of get this race back on track, but for the next three months, no one, neither side is going to sort of run away with this. It will be as tight as it is now, I predict, you know, on election eve.

YELLIN: It will be squeaker.

ZELENY: It will be.

YELLIN: Now, a lot of people have agreed that many things Sharron Angle done has made a lot of gaps. It's not really up for debate. There's a gap. The fact that they're tied, is that a sign that Reid is really just so unpopular there? I mean, should he be further ahead?

NEWTON-SMALL: Reid's campaign, when you talk to them, say that part of his problem is just name recognition because you got something like 30,000 new people moving to Nevada every day. And to those like, do you buy that --

YELLIN: Millions of new people that are moved there since the last time.

NEWTON-SMALL: Yes. I mean, and so, they say it's a matter of getting his name out. On the other hand, they've been running millions of dollars worth of commercials in the last year trying to put his name out there and hasn't really made much of a dense (ph). So, I don't know. I think Jeff's right. I think that he's got a ceiling, and he's not going to get and his job is to keep angle as far low down.

ZELENY: For Senator Reid, every day that people are talking about Sharron Angle, it's a good day because they're not talking about Senator Reid. He's just fine with that. YELLIN: I expect to see both of you, guys, out in the campaign. You'll probably in Nevada some time soon. Thanks for being here.

ZELENY: Thank you.

YELLIN: All right. And among the items coming up on my radar today, South Carolina Republicans send one of their own senators a very nasty message.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

YELLIN: Welcome back. And now, let's look at some of the stories on my radar. Republican Senator Lindsay Graham is in trouble again with some Republicans back in his home state of South Carolina. This time, for supporting the bank bail out, immigration reform, at least in the past, and the president's Supreme Court nominee. The Greenfield County's GOP which boasts the most Republican voters of any county in the state just passed a resolution that says be it resolved that Senator Graham will to this longer be invited to attend and participate in meetings or other events sponsors by the Greenville County Republican Party.

Harsh. Graham's spokesman responded not taking the bait saying, while some of our friends in Greenville may not want to meet with Senator Graham, his door will always be open to them. It goes on to say that Graham votes with the Republican leadership over 92 percent of the time. Joining me to discuss this and more, democratic strategist, Maria Cardona and former Republican congressman, Susan Molinari. All right. Let me start. Thank you, ladies, for being with us. And Susan, let me start with you, Lindsay Graham is being slapped for breaking of his party 8 percent of the time. What has happened to the Republican party?

SUSAN MOLINARI, (R) FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: Well, it's a county in Greenville, South Carolina. It's not the Republican Party. I mean, if you want to put this in perspective, the Republican Party is the Republican Party that most recently elected Scott Brown and Chris Christy and Bob McDonald running conservative campaigns. It's a Republican Party that's going to be electing Mike Castle a moderate to Joe Biden, Vice President Biden seat and probably Mark Kurk to the president of the United States Senate seat. So, I think we boast a good amount of moderate to conservatives in our most recent victory.

YELLIN: It's true, Maria, that it's just one county. It's a sign of nothing, then?

MARIA CARDONA, PRINCIPAL, DEWEY SQUARE GROUP: No, except for the fact that that is a trend that we're seeing all over. You've been talking about Sharron Angle. You've been talking about all the candidates that Sarah Palin has endorsed, and they're winning. We've been talking about the tea party candidates who have been winning. This is the huge challenge for the Republican Party come November if they are pull so much to the right. And you saw Lindsay Graham's response to this which is now he wants to hold hearings and introduce a bill on birth right citizenship. MOLINARI: I have two words for you. Blanch Lincoln. I mean, here's, you know, a senator from Arkansas who, you know, had safe seat recently and is being challenged from the left. So, you know, the Democratic Party has their own prospect (ph) of problems.

YELLIN: Do you think Lindsay Graham is feeling enough pressure that he's feeling like he has to be pushed to the right?

MOLINARI: No, I think Lindsay Graham is somebody who is one of the smartest, most conservative leaders of the Republican Party. And I think he does what he thinks is right and rarely moves from a political in the bad sense and the negative sense of the word.

CARDONA: Even if the Greenville Party doesn't want him up there.

MOLINARI: Even if he's going to miss a Greenville chicken dinner every now and then.

CARDONA: Those principles included being a support of comprehensive immigration reform. You even have Michael Gurse (ph) on a Republican strategist saying he has completely abandon his principles.

MOLINARI: Yes. Now, he wants to reconsider the 14th amendment.

CARDONA: Absolutely.

YELLIN: All right. Moving on to another topic. The ever weaker and weaker U.S. Senate energy bill has now gone out like a light. That's Majority Leader Harry Reid's declaration saying he just can't get the votes to break a Republican filibuster. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. HARRY REID, (D-NV) MAJORITY LEADER: We tried jujitsu, we tried yoga, we tried everything we can with Republicans to get them to come along with us and be reasonable.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

YELLIN: OK. So, who has pictures of redoing yoga and jujitsu?

(LAUGHING)

YELLIN: What does it saying about (ph) the party to do energy campaign?

CARDONA: Well, I think it talks about the sad state of Congress. And we have seen over and over again that voters are very upset about how Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, have been going about the nation's business. But the problem is, what you're seeing Harry Reid do is he is using the message that Democrats are going to be using in November, which I think is the absolute correct one.

Unfortunately, even though we are the majority, we can't get things through without 60 votes. And we need Republicans to try to join us on all of these huge problems that are facing us. And they've completely advocated their responsibility.

MOLINARI: Clearly, what's happened is that we're in a political year right now. And when Harry Reid stood up, when leader Reid stood up, and said, I am going to deliver immigration reform, I'm going to deliver energy, he was worrying about his own campaign because right now, he's in a statistical debt.

YELLIN: But the president also wanted to get this done. The party wants to get this done.

MOLINARI: Right. And I did not read the story about the president calling in the Republican leaders and saying what do we need to do to get this energy bill done. Bipartisanship is close to election seems to mean (ph) for Democrats. We're going to propose a bill, and you're going to vote for it.

YELLIN: Well, it is an election year. And speaking of elections, what is it worth to be the governor of California? Well, Republican Meg Whitman, who did make a fortune running eBay. She's worth a billion. She is now contributed $91 million to her own campaign. In the five-week period ending June 30th, she outspent her Democratic opponent, Jerry Brown, at a clip of 86 to 1. They're calling her Queen Meg, the critics out there. They're charging her with trying to buy the election. Is that fair or look, the woman got money.

MOLINARI: The woman got money and the woman made it on her own. You know, she's not taking -- you know, she's spending her own money made on her own. I remember, you know, a governor in New Jersey named Jon Corzine who spent an awful lot of his own money, and you talked about Jeff Greene in Florida right now running in a Democratic primary who's writing checks faster than they can make, you know, television advertisements. So, this is just, you know what is done. So, it is not fair.

YELLIN: Will Democrats be able to use it against her effectively?

CARDONA: I think so, and they're already doing it. I think voters understand and they know when a candidate is trying to buy an election as opposed to really speaking to the issues that they care about. She has actually outspent Brown 157 to 1 if you count the whole campaign.

YELLIN: Is that not his problem? Why is he raising (ph) more, you know.

CARDONA: But he hasn't even started going up on the air. And the problem for her is that the more she spends money, the more she's bleeding independents and Hispanics. You cannot win an election in California without both of those. So, that's a huge problem for her.

YELLIN: Why does spending money lose her independents and Hispanics?

CARDONA: She's been bleeding support from Latinos and from independents.

YELLIN: Right. But that separate from the money.

CARDONA: But to look at the poll, it would assess to me is that all that money is not speaking to the needs of independents and to the needs of Latinos, both of which are critical.

MOLINARI: Still, she's ahead in the polls. She's going to be the next governor.

YELLIN: OK. We'll hold you to it. We'll come back after this.

OK. So, we've heard a golden parachutes. Goldman Sachs is trying for a golden halo by swearing off political advertising. Despite the Supreme Court's green light for corporations to buy all the political advertising they want, Goldman's website contains a pledge to not quote "spend corporate funds directly on election year in communication." Does this meal we'll see no Goldman Sachs money going to politicians?

MOLINARI: First of all, I'd like to challenge the unions to do the same thing in the spirit of the disclose act. But I think what Goldman Sachs said is as a corporation, they're not going to spend it. And I don't think the Democrats should breathe a big sigh of relief because I think the individuals who are employees of Goldman have every right in the world.

YELLIN: Giving.

MOLINARI: Right. In this democracy.

YELLIN: Is this noble?

CARDONA: I think that's absolutely right. I think it is something that they're using for their marketing to try to reestablish their brand which mean now has been absolutely --.

MOLINARI: They need a halo.

CARDONA: They do need a halo. I don't think that it means (ph). I agree with Susan completely that other corporations are going to step up and do the same thing. I wish that they would. I don't think that they will. Democrats are going to win on the message and on organizing.

YELLIN: All right. We're going to come back and talk more about that after the break because next up in the "Play-by-Play," Nevada senate candidate, Sharron Angle, explains how all of us rude, pesky reporters could be her friends.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANNOUNCER: Here comes the "Play-by-Play."

YELLIN: It is now time for the "Play-by-Play" where we play the tape and break down the actions. So, with me are Maria Cadona and Susan Molinari. Ladies, take a look at this, in Nevada, Republican U.S. Senate candidate, Sharron Angle, who was talking about earlier has been known to head the other way rather quickly when reporters start asking her questions. So, is there a way for us to help her improve her media relations? Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHARRON ANGLE, (R) NEVADA SENATE CANDIDATE: We needed to have the press be our friend.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wait a minute. Hold on a second. To be your friend?

ANGLE: Truly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That sounds naive.

ANGLE: Well, no, we wanted them to ask the questions we want to answer so that they report the news the way we want it to be reported. And when I get on a show and I say send money to Sharron Angle.com so that your listeners will know that if they want to support me they need to go to SharronAngle.com.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

YELLIN: All right. She gets points for honesty, I guess, but Susan, the latest poll shows her within a margin of error of Harry Reid. Is this the way she's going to win?

MOLINARI: You know that's got to just scare you because she is in the margin of error. You know, Senator Reid is the leader of the United States Senate. He has spent I think over $10 million already, and they are in a dead heat, and no matter -- it seems what she says or what she does that he can't --

YELLIN: Is she being refreshingly honest or is she not ready for prime time?

MOLINARI: Apparently, voters in Nevada think she's ready for prime time.

CARDONA: Right wing voters in Nevada think that she's ready for prime time.

MOLINARI: 50 percent of the voters in Nevada.

CARDONA: It think the moderate mainstream voters in Nevada will not think she's ready for prime time. This demonstrated that I think she's naive in not understanding how to approach the media and how to get her message out, if she even had a real message to get out which I think is very questionable.

MOLINARI: It must be very depressing when you're the person that's in a tie.

YELLIN: And for the record, her office says to me she was just saying it's important to focus on issues that affect everyday people for the record.

MOLINARI: There you go.

CARDONA: Going to ask questions for her --

(CROSSTALK)

YELLIN: Let's get to some other good stuff. OK. Now, the Supreme Court has ruled -- now that the Supreme Court has changed the rules, we are starting to see corporate-funded campaign ads. Take a look at this commercial for Tom Emmer, a Republican who's running for governor of Minnesota, but he didn't pay for it. A group that's called Minnesota Forward did, and it's funded by Target, Polaris, Hubbard Broadcasting, and Davisco Foods.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Travel around Minnesota, and it's clear. People are hurting. State government continues to spend too much. Businesses forced to lay people off. That's why Minnesota needs Tom Emmer, small businessman, father of seven, volunteer. As a legislator, Emmer voted against --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

YELLIN: OK. So, we get the picture here. He didn't pay for it. A bunch of corporations did. Is this the wave of the future?

CARDONA: I think that we answered the question that we brought up in the last segment which is, you know, is this going to be a trend in terms of corporations not involving themselves in political campaigns? Clearly, they are, because they're now injecting themselves in this one, and I think it's going to be the first of many.

YELLIN: Couldn't they suffer some backlash? I mean, somebody who does not support this guy might not want to shop at target or support Polaris.

MOLINARI: You know that's what this democracy provides. In this political debate, it always kind of kills me like the corporations aren't supposed to get involved in politics, but the union who are the men and women are. Corporations are the people who employ people who worry about the bottom line and who worry about the overall economic wellbeing of this country. So, if we want to stay here and say, OK, no more unions, no more corporations, we can have an honest discussion, but we have not entered into that in any legislative--

CARDONA: You're right, Jessica because this candidate is rabidly anti-gay and I think that's an issue that's going to come back to bite him and perhaps all the corporations that are supporting him.

YELLIN: I'm sure he'll have a response to that. We can put that on tomorrow night. But let me get to Florida's U.S. Senate primary which is a feisty race just three weeks away. Democrats Jeff Greene and Kendrick Meek were not in the mood to play nice during last night's debate.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You've invested in a number of schemes and gambled on Wall Street and you made money.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's not true.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know you used to talking over people, Jeff, but please allow me to speak.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

YELLIN: Maria, they don't like each other?

CARDONA: Clearly. They're not BFFs. That's for sure. I think that it demonstrates the -- I think the frustration, first of all, for Kendrick Meek, when he has been at this for so long and you have Jeff Greene coming in with his billions of dollars.

MOLINARI: The last minute.

CARDONA: At the very last minute trying to make a dent. I think that what it will do, though, is it will help focus both of the candidates on what they need to do right if they want to win the vote.

YELLIN: OK. I want to move on to another story because I got to talk about this with you, Susan. The White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs noted today that there is a new pecking order, a new seating order, for White House daily briefings. Let's watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Wow. Look at this. Sunday best. Everybody in their new seats. Church is full today. That's good to see.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

YELLIN: So, what do you think is different? The associated press correspondent moved into the center seat vacated by Helen Thomas and the Fox News Channel correspondent gets AP's old front-row seat, that's Wendell Goler, two over from the woman in yellow. And NPR gets Fox's old seat in the second row. OK. So, there's a whole brouhaha. Should Fox get a front-row seat? Democrats say they're a biased network.

MOLINARI: This is why Washington makes people crazy in the rest of the country because they hear this and they say, this is like what my fifth grade daughter says when she comes home from school and she says I want to sit closer to the teacher.

CARDONA: But all politics is local, Jessica, when it comes to reporters especially in that room. I mean I think it demonstrates, Susan's right, that sometimes the pettiness that is demonstrated by these things, but it's reality. You got to deal with it. MOLINARI: But it's Washington reality.

YELLIN: It's Washington reality. We could talk about this forever. Thanks to both of you so much.

MOLINARI: Thank you.

CARDONA: Thank you, Jessica.

YELLIN: And coming up, is an ex-heavyweight champ weighing down one Senate candidate's hope.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

YELLIN: "Rick's List" primetime is coming up next. Rick Sanchez joins us now from Atlanta. Rick, what do you have coming up?

RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Oh my God, Jessica, what a story we're uncovering tonight. We started looking into this situation in Manchester, Connecticut. And -- stunning what we're learning. This is about race in America. This is a tragedy. This is a mass murder. A man who is saying that people started using the "N" word when referring to him and apparently what made him snap was when he saw a hangman's noose in the bathroom. Well, suffice it to say, he's killed eight of his co-workers.

Police are now talking. People are on the scene. We got interviews with family. We got one of the union members who's going to give us, perhaps, the other side of the story. This thing is still coming in. We're doing a special report with breaking news. That's coming up in just a little bit here on "Rick's List."

YELLIN: All right. And we are back, oh, with a stunned looking Pete Dominick who is getting a break from the street today. I don't know why they let you in the studio the one week I'm filling in.

PETE DOMINICK, JOHN KING USA'S OFFBEAT REPORTER: Is Rick done? Is Rick still talking?

YELLIN: Rick is done. He has an hour up next.

DOMINICK: I'm here because, apparently, according to my mom and wife, Jessica Yellin and Pete Dominick have great chemistry.

YELLIN: Oh, according to your wife?

DOMINICK: Yes. She's good with it. She thinks it's good.

YELLIN: OK. So, chemistry with me on this, but it doesn't really work for them.

DOMINICK: We'll try.

YELLIN: This is a stunning admission from former majority leader, Tom Daschle, I don't know if it's stunning, it's frank, surprisingly frank. Daschle is talking about his life in the Senate. This is what he said in the current issue of the "New Yorker" magazine, quote, "so you got all these checks just to make sure you don't screw up, but even then you screw up sometimes. But if you're ever pressed, quote, "why did you vote that way, you just walk out thinking oh my God, I hope nobody asks because I don't have a clue." Basically, he's saying, Pete, they vote sometimes without knowing what they're voting on.

DOMINICK: Yes. Who interviewed him? The guy from "Rolling Stones?" They took the page out of the General McChrystal, be really honest about what you think book. You know about this. Do they always know everything about what they're voting on.

YELLIN: There are so many things they vote on all day long. You have to let some of the staff do the work. It just seems they can't bone up on everything. Otherwise, they can't do the big and important stuff as senators.

DOMINICK: And this is in Tom Daschle's accountant is online too. To show the taxes thing. Nothing? All right. All right. What else do we have, Jessica?

YELLIN: OK. We got to talk about Bristol Palin because we got to.

DOMINICK: We do. We have to -- America has to realize that Bristol Palin, Levi, what's his name?

YELLIN: Love will never die Johnston.

DOMINICK: Right. Something's going on there. It's the most important issue. Why do we care? Why do we care about these two? Why, Jessica, why?

YELLIN: It's just gossip, but it's also sort of fascinating. I mean, she's heading an abstinence campaign while her ex is potentially impregnating somebody else, and --

DOMINICK: This kid is a stud. That's all I know. He's very handsome. I don't care about him. What else is on --

YELLIN: We got to go, but thank you, Pete. That's all from us tonight. "RICK'S LIST" primetime starts now.