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Day Two of Obama's Trip to India; GOP Targeting Health Care Law; "An Open Letter to the White Right"; Bush on Bush

Aired November 7, 2010 - 19:00   ET

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


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Day two of President Barack Obama's trip to India, the first country on his Asian tour. And as you may know, India is overwhelmingly a Hindu country, but as our Sara Sidner explains it was the Muslim community that was particularly interested in his visit to New Delhi today.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SARA SIDNER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is New Ghamdi (ph), the distinctly Muslim neighborhood where President Obama made his first public appearance at India's capital. He came to see Humayun's Tomb, a world heritage site built in the 1500s for one of India's then Muslim rulers.

Just behind the walls of Humayun's tomb, Muslim Zubail Ali says his morning prayers.

(on camera): What's the message Indian Muslims would like to get to Mr. Obama?

"The Muslims of India want to tell him the 9/11 attacks affected a lot of Muslims because people started to believe Muslims are a community full of terrorists" he says. "A lot of false ideas spread. We Muslims have no relation with terrorists.

Ali worships at Sufi Shrine as music from the (INAUDIBLE) behind him wafts in. This is a microcosm of India, where temples, churches and mosques co-exist often in tight spaces. Considering what is happening with India's neighbors some people see the country's ability to maintain a peaceful coexistence as miraculous.

(on camera): Hindus make up the majority of the population here but what many people don't realize is that India is also home to the third largest population of Muslims in the world.

(voice-over): But underneath the surface of calm, there are deep resentments that still exist between the country's two largest religions. For 19-year-old university student, Ali to 85-year-old care taker Muhammed Anwar, there is consensus that Muslims, along with the nation's Sikhs and Christians, are often victims of prejudice in many different areas including education and employment.

(on camera): What are some of the issues for Muslims here? What would you like to tell the world? "The Muslims here have so many difficulties. The Muslims in America don't have the same issues. They are seen as equals," he says. Anwar says Muslims are often discriminated against regardless of their qualifications when it comes to getting jobs, keeping them in poverty, something that also frustrates university student Ali.

(on camera): You've been neglected, you feel.

"If any man does his best, performs well, but he gets neglected, it's a matter of great sadness. It's like throwing water on all of his efforts," he says.

Neither expect President Obama's trip to change that, but they do hope his visit will bring more awareness to the realities for India's Muslims.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: Sarah Sidner joins us now live from New Delhi. Sara, he's been in India now for two days. How is President Obama being received?

SIDNER: It's very interesting to note that in the beginning, I think with some of his comments, some people disappointed he didn't mention Pakistan, for example, when he talked about the Mumbai attacks. Others disappointed that it seemed like all he was doing was talking about bringing jobs back home to America from Indian while Indians were thinking, what are you going to do as far as your relationship with India, what are you going to do for us?

But all of that subsided today really I think, you -- you've seen a lot of stuff in the blogs and a lot of stuffs on local television about the fact that he let loose a little bit with students, he was able to dance with them today, enjoyed themselves. A bit reluctantly but he did go out on the dance floor.

And then also, he was able to sit down and take some very hard and tough questions from students when he did a town hall meeting and some of the students saying that they hoped that their own leaders, Indian leaders, could do that with them, just sit down and have a good, candid conversation. They really admired that the president took the time to do that here -- Don.

LEMON: All right, Sara Sidner, thank you. We appreciate it.

You know the president may not find the Muslim population quite so welcoming in the next country on his agenda.

A Muslim group in Indonesia organized widespread protest ahead of his visit claiming 20,000 took part. A group spokesman says the president has blood on his hands and faults him for not reaching out to Muslims. Indonesia has the world's highest Muslim population. The President spent part of his childhood there.

Vice President, Joe Biden met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in New Orleans today. They are looking for ways to jump-start the Mideast peace process. Why New Orleans? Well, both Biden and Netanyahu are there to address the annual general assembly of Jewish Federations of North America.

Repealing health care reform: Republicans are itching to do it. And after big gains on election night some think they have the political capital to pull it off.

Let's got to our Sandra Endo, standing by in Washington; Sandra, Republicans came out united on this today, didn't they?

SANDRA ENDO, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely. They're coming out swinging too, because Republicans are really talking tough after coming off their big win on Tuesday. And they are vowing to take on President Obama's health care reform measures. As you know the president spent a lot of time on political capital since taking office getting this health care reform law passed, but now, with the split in Congress Republicans want to reign in some of those measures.

They say the president's health care reform plan is just too expensive and they want to repeal it. GOP lawmakers made their case on Monday morning talk shows today, rather, including Congressman Eric Cantor, who is looking to take on a leadership role in the House. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ERIC CANTOR (R), MINORITY WHIP: We've got to stop this bill from taking place and we've got to go and reset the dial and insist that the American people are given a choice to have the kind of health care that they want and also to bring down costs. The Obama care bill will bankrupt states as well as its country and take people's health care away. We can't have that.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: You can't fully repeal and replace this law until you have a new president and a better Senate and that's probably in 2013 but that's before the law fully kicks in on 2014. In the meantime, we really -- this House -- this bill is such a fiscal and economic train wreck for our country and for the health care system itself, we're going to do everything we can to try and repeal and replace this thing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ENDO: Republican Congressman Paul Ryan there arguing a Republican House can only do so much to fully get its agenda done because there's still a Democratic Senate and President to contend with. Now, House Republicans say repealing health care reform is issue number one on their legislative agenda when they take control. But keep in mind every poll shows it's the economy that's issue number one for voters. Not health care reform -- Don.

LEMON: Then, what are Democrats saying? I'm sure they've been responding to this.

ENDO: Well, obviously the Democrats are touting their accomplishment in getting health care reform passed. They point that this reform law will cover 32 million more Americans, so they say Republicans are really misleading the public and misconstruing the reform bill.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D), MAJORITY WHIP: That's why I say that when you get into what we really did and the American people understand what we really did, I think this health care plan will be with us for a long, long time and it's something we'll benefit from.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ENDO: So, the political bickering already kicking into high gear, but the irony here is that both parties, both sides, they need each other to get anything done -- Don.

LEMON: All right. Sandra, thank you very much. I appreciate it.

A blog posting really an open letter setting off a political fire storm; author and educator Tim Wise is taking aim at white conservatives writing things like, "If you thought this election was payback for 2008, remember payback, thy name is temporary." What else did he say, why did he write it? We're going to ask him coming up.

And we want you to be part of this conversation as well. You can send us a message or a response on Twitter or Facebook or questions. We'll give it to our guest. Check out our blog CNN.com/don and also look for us on Four Square, FourSquare.com/DonLemonCNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Ok, this is unbelievable. You should pay attention to this. The Tea Party and other conservatives may be celebrating Tuesday's election results, but some people are fuming. Tim Wise, he has been our regular guest on this show. He has blogged on his Web site a withering rebuke of what he called the "White Right".

He begins with a disclaimer that he is not referring to all white people and that his essay is not anti-white. He says it is addressed to quote, "The white community that is right-winged". Tim Wise joins us now from Nashville.

Ok, Tim so I'm glad you joined us. Thank you so much. Because I've been trying to get in touch with you and get you to do this.

TIM WISE, AUTHOR, "COLORBLIND": Thanks.

LEMON: I was actually -- I have to be honest -- a little bit stunned when I read this because your -- your language is unusually rough and raw.

WISE: Yes.

LEMON: We know that you tell it like it is. WISE: Yes.

LEMON: You called the election results a temper tantrum and you sound mad as hell.

WISE: Yes.

LEMON: So you have talked before, do you regret using any of this fiery rhetoric?

WISE: Well, no not really because I think look, the right wing in this country, which is disproportionate, if you look at the exit polls being fed by older white folks has more or less declared war on the last 100 years of liberal and progressive progress.

I mean, Glenn Beck calls himself a progressive hunter and says the main goal for Republicans should be to undo the legacy of progressivism and which is like the last century of human progress. Civil rights laws, environmental laws, labor laws.

So I think when you have a group that have declared war on that legacy, which is by and large a very positive one for this country and the world, the rest of us have to fight back and sometimes, the rhetoric does have to be raw. We can't always be friends and cooperate.

LEMON: Tim, do you -- do you regret -- you've gotten death threats because of this, haven't you?

WISE: Sure. Yes, sure.

LEMON: And?

WISE: I mean, I don't like that, but you know -- but the reality is the death threats are coming from people who very clearly don't have the capacity for reading comprehension. They are the ones who seem to think that in this piece, I'm blasting all white folks or calling for the -- the death of white people.

My goodness, I'm white, my wife is white, my kids are white, my entire family is white. It doesn't make any sense that I would do that kind of thing. What I'm saying is, there are a lot of us white folks who reject the right and in about 40 years, when half of the country are people of color who definitely lean progressives. Even if they're only 25 or 30 percent of us in the white community who are progressive, that is going to be a political majority.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Ok so Tim --

WISE: And my point in this letter was they need to enjoy their victories while they can because they're not going to last forever.

LEMON: So it's not sour grape and it's not satirical. WISE: Oh no. Oh it's not satirical and it's not sour grapes primarily because look, I'm not a shield for the Democratic Party. I've been very critical of the Obama administration as you know. I'm very critical of Democrats. What I'm saying is that the right wing's time is limited unless they can figure out -- and I don't think they have figured out -- how to appeal to people of color and young folks when your rhetoric is, "We want to take the country back."

Black and brown people don't want to go back --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Ok.

WISE: -- for obvious reasons, by and large, and young people want to go forward. So I think it's a limited political trajectory.

LEMON: The reason I asked you about the -- the satire part, is because you usually blast people for language like that and you -- you've blasted people before. And here's -- let's read some of it.

WISE: Ok.

LEMON: You said, "I know, you think you've taken your country back with this election -- and of course you have always thought it was yours for the taking, because that's what we white folks are bred to believe, that it's ours, and how dare anyone else say otherwise -- but you are wrong." -- Tim.

WISE: Yes, well that is -- what -- now look. I've been white a long time and I've got to tell you that white folks in this country have long been led to believe that this is our country, that we are the proto-typical American. I've done experiments with folks in workshops where you ask people to envision what's an all-American boy and all-American girl and virtually everyone has this image in their head of a white person.

Now that may be changing and I think there are some folks on the right who don't like the fact that they have to share the designation of American with folks who pray different look, different -- have different cultural traditions but that's the truth and that's the future --

LEMON: Ok.

WISE: -- whether they like it or not.

LEMON: All right, let's go on, you said, "In the pantheon of American history conservative old white people have pretty much always been the bad guys, the keepers of the hegemonic and reactionary flame, the folks unwilling to share the category of American with others on equal terms.

WISE: Right. And particularly -- look, I think if you look at history, who are the folks who have been the most reactionary and regressive? It's usually them, older white folks. Younger white folks often are in the front lines of the fight for social justice. And we should always remember that.

What I think is especially dangerous about the older folks and the Tea Party Movement in the white community is they are the last generation of white Americans who can nostalgically look back on the pre-civil rights era and think, "Those were the good old day days."

The reality is those of us in the post-civil rights era thankfully can't remember those days enough to be gripped by nostalgia and longing for them --

LEMON: Yes. And you actually --

WISE: -- and I think the country will be better off when we are in a position of multi-cultural, multi-racial America. That's the America of the future. Not the America of the past.

LEMON: And you write about that. This is about the 1950s. You say, "There won't be any more white folks around who think the 1950s were the gold days, because there won't be any more white folks around who actually remember them. We'll be able to teach about them accurately and honestly without hurting your precious feelings."

Ok, so you talked about that. This is what -- you talked about Ronald Reagan here. You said, you thought you had secured your position permanently after the overthrow of reconstruction in the wake of the Civil War, after the elimination of the New Deal, after the Reagan revolution, after the Republican electoral victory of 1994. And yet, those you thought you had cowed and defeated are still here."

WISE: Right.

LEMON: So, I mean these are -- people are going to accuse you of racism here. The word they'll use is reverse racism. We know there's no reverse racism. Racism is racism no matter who it comes from.

WISE: Right. Well, I mean I think people need to read more carefully. The reality is -- and I've written about this many times -- there have always been white folks who have stood shoulder to shoulder with people of color to make this country a better place. And so clearly if I am critiquing the white right, I am, by definition, excluding all of those white folks who have fought for justice.

The good news is there have always been those people and there still are. The better news is that in 40 years when half the country are folks of color and half the country is white, it's going to be much harder for the right with their anti-immigrant rhetoric, their anti-Islamic rhetoric and their rhetoric of taking the country back to a fictitious past to actually appeal to that increasing black and brown America. And I think that's going to be a good day for those of us who believe in progressivism and social justice.

LEMON: So, are you then -- people will say also, Tim, that everything that happened on Tuesday, that the people who were upset and the people who voted for Republicans to take over the house, and all of that, the Tea Partiers are you saying that they didn't have a point? That they should not have done that?

WISE: Oh, no. They can do whatever they like. I understand that they have the views they have and they are free to have them. But the reality those kinds of victories, going back to economic policies that frankly were ruinous for millions of folks of color and working class people, that's not going to endear you to those voters in future generations.

So the point I'm trying to make is laugh it up. Drink a big glass of champagne or pop a cold one or whatever it is you want to do, but understand that the clock is ticking and this country's future is going to be increasingly progressive unless those folks can figure out a way to appeal to the black and brown and frankly non-Christian folks who they often ignore and even ridicule.

LEMON: Tim Wise, thank you sir. Best of luck; I know you've gotten death threats, so we hope that you're around.

WISE: Yes. Thank you.

LEMON: All right.

WISE: I'll be around.

LEMON: All right. Appreciate it.

Your top stories coming up here on CNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: In Indonesia, search crews are pulling more bodies from the ash and debris of the erupting volcano. The death toll has now reached 156 since Mt. Merapi began erupting again last month. Explosions from the volcano can be heard more than 12 miles away.

First, a killer earthquake then a deadly cholera outbreak; now, water is knee deep in parts of Haiti in the wake of what was Hurricane Tomas. The storm is pushing out to sea and weakening fast -- that's good news -- but it's left behind flood waters, ruined homes and at least six people are dead.

Italy's controversial prime minister could face a government crisis. A one-time close ally now rival of Silvio Berlusconi is urging him to step down and says he'll get law makers and ministers to resign if he doesn't. Berlusconi survived a vote of confidence in September. He's been mired in scandals involving young women and government corruption. Italy is also reeling from high unemployment.

Two days before his new book hits stores and we're spilling some of the revelations from former President George W. Bush's new memoir. We'll give you a look at what's inside.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Let me say this is going to be big; the world according to George W. Bush. He has been out of the limelight for nearly two years now. But now the former president seems to be everywhere. You saw him at the World Series. He's even going on Oprah. The former president is breaking his silence with a new memoir; it's called "Decision Points". It's being released on Tuesday and CNN's Sandra Endo has a preview -- Sandra.

SANDRA ENDO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Some revelations and reflections. Former president, George W. Bush goes on the defensive in parts of his new book called, "Decision Points". For one, he defends his decision on the use of enhanced interrogation techniques against terror suspects.

In his book, he writes about when he was asked by his CIA director, George Tenet for permission to use techniques including water boarding. Bush writes quote, "I thought about the 2,973 people stolen from their families by al Qaeda on 9/11. And I thought about my duty to protect the country from another act of terror. 'Damn right,' I said."

He also has a whole chapter about 9/11 and revisited his feelings that day the country was under attack, saying quote, "My blood was boiling. We were going to find out who did this and kick their (EXPLETIVE DELETED).

In a single morning the purpose of my presidency had grown clear: to protect our people and defend our freedom that had come under attack."

There are a lot of other issues he goes into as well, including his take on his campaign and domestic issues, including how he handled the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He actually admitted some faults, saying quote, "I should have recognized the deficiency sooner and intervened faster. The problem was not that I made the wrong. It was that I took too long to decide."

There's some reflection there in the book and the way he sees his two terms in office and of course his personal takes as well.

Sandra Endo, CNN, Washington.

LEMON: Sandra Endo, thank you very much. So, someone who knows a lot about President George W. Bush and other presidents will join us in just a moment; presidential historian, Douglas Brinkley on the other side of the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: We told you about the president's book; it's called "Decision Points". It comes out on Tuesday. And when he was in office, former president, George W. Bush called himself "The Decider". He seems to be continuing that theme in his memoir again in "Decision Points".

Many presidents use their memoirs to try to secure their legacy, a way to define their presidency in their own terms. Of course, it remains to be seen if history buys what they're selling. So joining us to talk about all of this -- about this memoir -- is Rice University professor and presidential historian Douglas Brinkley.

Hey, good to see you. As far as timing with this. It seems to be pretty early. Because it hasn't really been two years since he left the spotlight.

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, we live now in speedy times. It used to take presidents more time to raise money for their libraries. President Bush raised a lot of Texas money. He's opening his presidential library at Southern Methodist University. He's got a public policy center under way.

And you know, people like Condoleezza Rice, I know for a fact, wanted to write a big state department memoir, but she wanted to give the president his chance first. So we're doing these quick polls and assessing presidents, George W. Bush is fairly low. But getting this memoir out is a way to kind of control at least your message and start getting footnoted in people's papers and articles when they're looking back at your presidency.

LEMON: You said control and footnote your message. So is this an opportunity to reintroduce himself to the American people. Is he trying to rewrite history here?

BRINKLEY: And make a lot of money. You know, he's going to get paid a lot and then this book will be a number one best seller. He stayed pretty quiet for the last two years. Didn't criticize President Obama. Actually went to Haiti for the president's behalf because publishers will embargo a book. They'll ask you, do not tell your story until the book comes out. When it comes out, he gets all the big bookings, CNN, Matt Lauer, Oprah Winfrey and it's really a chance for him to - even the title alone. He wants to be seen as a Harry Truman-like president.

He uses the word, damn, who talks about the bullhorn moment in New York. He wants to - Truman left office with a 27 percent approval rating back in 1953. Bush's was very low, just like Truman, (INAUDIBLE) faulty talk and the buck stops here, kind of tough rhetoric. You see that coming out of President Bush whose hero was Sam Houston, who also had a drinking problem and became, you know, stopped drinking. President Bush said his favorite biography ever was the book called "The Raven" by (INAUDIBLE) about Sam Houston. You're seeing this Trumanesque-Sam Houston kind of cowboy language, if you'd like, in this memoir.

LEMON: I got to ask you this. What was surprising to me, and again, I'm just asking the question, so don't send me crazy e-mails about this. When he said that George Bush doesn't care about black people thing with Kanye West, he said that was one of the low points of his presidency, I said, really? I mean, why would he care what Kanye West would say on an awards show to raise money for Hurricane Katrina and was there perhaps some truth to it or something that he did wrong, that maybe it hit him that way, because I wouldn't care what Kanye West said about me and I'm not the president of the United States. BRINKLEY: Well, he did a lot wrong in Hurricane Katrina as we all know and he confronts some of it in this memoir, but I think that because he gave a perception that people in the African-American community thought he was a bigot. In Texas, while I'm at right now, he's very sensitive to the fact that as governor, he was somebody who believed in the Mexican immigrants coming over. He's not a hard right guy on these issues and the fact of the matter is he had people around him, you know, like Condoleezza Rice and you go on around and name people that were minorities in his administration. So the thought that history might see him as a bigot or as a racist, or people in the black community thought he would have done things differently if it were white people under stress back in 2005.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: But clearly, at that point, Douglas, he was not thinking about legacy at that point.

BRINKLEY: Oh, they all think about legacy all the time and I think it was the fact of the matter is Katrina in August 2005, he was at Crawford when Katrina hit. He had Joan Baez and Cindy Sheehan out in front and the anti-war movement was just starting to get drummed up. He got hit by the media with Katrina and Iraq. He was truly being painted as an out of touch commander in chief who didn't care about the people of New Orleans, in particular African-Americans. We didn't even have National Guard people around from Louisiana around for Katrina because they were in Iraq.

You can start watching his poll numbers slip and I think this book is kind of trying to respond to some of that. Laura Bush covered for George on Katrina, said the public's blaming him for bad weather, but in this memoir, I have to say, he at least takes - he does admit some of his mistakes he made during that first week of Katrina.

LEMON: Douglas Brinkley, always interesting. Thank you.

BRINKLEY: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: Up next, meet the new face of the political right. Alan West is one of the two African-Americans voted into the U.S. House in the midterm elections. I'm going to speak to him, live.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Republican Allen West is already a big story and he hasn't even taken office yet as new congressman from Florida's 22nd district. West is one of two African-American Republicans elected to the House on Tuesday night. The other is Tim Scott. Tim Scott is South Carolina.

Congressman elect Allen West joins me tonight from Miami. I was just down there the other night, Coral Gables. Very nice. Wish I could trade places with you. Congratulations on your victory. You'll soon become one of first two black Republicans from the deep south to serve in the House since reconstructions. So what does that mean to you? ALLEN WEST, CONGRESSMAN ELECT, FLORIDA: Well, I think it does have a historical effect. When you look back at the fact that there has not been a black Republican congressman from the state of Florida since 1973. (INAUDIBLE) I would say the most important thing for me is to go and definitely be a good representative of the people. We have some very serious problems down here in South Florida with 13 percent unemployment rate, very high foreclosure rate. So we've got to tackle those critical economic issues.

LEMON: And that's what led to your victory and Marco Rubio as well. That's what people were concerned about, the economy and about you know, government spending and what have you. Listen, I know that you got to see my talk with Tim Wise, right?

WEST: Yes, I did. Absolutely.

LEMON: He had some really harsh things to say about what he calls the white right. It was really a scathing sort of op-ed or open letter in his blog post. What did you make of what he said?

WEST: Well, I think he's totally out of touch. I think when you look at the fact, here in congressional district 22, I was able to win a congressional district that is in the top five per capita income in the United States of America. It has a population that's 92 to 93 percent white.

So this is not about color. This is definitely about people being able to articulate the right principles of governance and being able to present viable solutions and it really does come down to character. It has nothing to do with color of the skin. And I was very concerned about when he started with this taking this country back rhetoric. It is not time oriented. It's not about going back to a certain period in the United States of America, but it's about going back to constitutional principles, understanding the right and proper mandates of our federal government and their interaction that the federal government with life and society and how does it promote free market and free enterprise.

LEMON: That's what it means to you, but do you understand to some people, when you say, take our country back, they go back to where, back to a time when my people were enslaved or were subjugated? Do you understand, to some people, when they hear those words that's the meaning behind those words.

WEST: Well, that's one of the things that you know, down here, I use the phrase bayonets. Everyone thought I was wanting to go around and stick people and stab people when the word bayonets came from the second day of Gettysburg and it was a rally cry from Colonel Joshua Chamberlain when he faced some very tough situations (INAUDIBLE). So I think that people have an ability to take anything that they want and twist it and take it out of context for their own practical gain and I think that's what Mr. Wise (ph) has done.

LEMON: What attracted you to the Tea Party?

WEST: I think that what attracted the Tea Party to me was that I'm a principled individual. I have brought back and studied the writings of Hobbs (INAUDIBLE), read the federalist papers and so when I talked about limited government, when I talked about constitutional principles, or when I talked about understanding that America is a constitutional republican with respect to the rule of law and individual rights and freedoms, when I articulated some of the violations of our free market and free enterprise systems, that's what led the people of the Tea Party to embrace me and that grassroots support was very important in our election down here and I guess has given me some type of appeal all across the country.

LEMON: And congressman, I'm glad you corrected me on that because I wanted to ask you what attracted you to the Republican Party, that was my mistake and then what attracted the Tea Party to you. I would imagine those same principles are what attracted you to the Republican Party.

Listen, are you going to join the overwhelmingly Democratic congressional black caucus?

WEST: Absolutely right. I think I am more than qualified. I am a congress member to be. I am black, so I think I have every right to be a member of the Congressional black caucus unless all of a sudden before I get there, they decided to change the name.

LEMON: Listen, are you going to criticize the Republican Party as Marco Rubio somewhat did in his acceptance speech, saying listen this isn't about people, you know, embrace of the Republican Party, this is a second chance and I think what the Tea Party, I think their message is, regardless of who is in charge, Democrats or Republicans, if you're not doing the right thing, what they believe small government and what have you, they're coming after you as well. So will you criticize the Republican party if you believe it is going off track?

WEST: Well, I've already done that. As a matter of fact, the "Politico" printed a statement that I made when they asked me about my relationship with John Boehner, should he become the speaker, which is, of course, going to happen. And I said that I would hold his feet to the fire. Because the thing that I don't want to see is for the pendulum to swing back and we have the same type of Republican overspending and same type of irresponsible fiscal actions and activities that we saw that led to their demise in 2006.

Well, bottom line is this, the American people definitely have a little bit of disdain for the Democratic Party, but they don't yet have put trust and confidence into the Republican Party, so it's very important that the new people who have come there as Congress members, with our new energy, our new vision, that we are brought to the table and we have given a seat at the table to have leadership positions so that we can articulate those values that the American people are looking to have.

LEMON: You know, I wish I could sit down with you more, but I have to run obviously because we only have a certain amount of time for this show. Listen, will you take something to Washington? Especially for people under 40. Most younger people don't really care about Republican, Democrat or a particular party. And I think that's something that our lawmakers need to get into their heads because we don't really care if we vote on what we believe in rather than which political parties people belong to.

WEST: Yes, I think you're absolutely right. I think that was something that enabled us to be successful here. Because we were able to win Broward County, which is part of our district. Broward County is 2-1 Democrat. So the thing is it is not about parties. It is not about as George Washington said, factions. It is really about the principles of governance.

LEMON: Yes.

WEST: The right, you know, philosophies that will promote the long- term sustainable economic security and also national security for our republic.

LEMON: That's going to have to be the last word. Thank you and congratulations again, OK?

WEST: Thank you.

LEMON: Republicans are riding high off their trashing of the Democrats in the midterms. So now, their chances to start pushing their ideas forward is about to come, but on the Sunday talk shows, they often avoided giving specifics.

I want you to take a listen to this and we're going to talk to Mark Preston.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. MIKE PENCE (R), INDIANA: Both parties have failed the American people and have allowed this city to expand spending beyond any reasonable expectation.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, ABC NEWS HOST: With all due respect, what you just said was the campaign slogan. Now, it's time to legislate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you accept a temporary extension of all the tax cuts or are you saying that all of it has to be permanent?

REP. ERIC CANTOR (R), MINORITY WHIP: Chris, at this point, I really want to see that we can come together and agree upon the notion that Washington doesn't need more revenues right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, let me just try to simplify it then. Would you be for or against a moratorium on earmarks?

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), MINORITY LEADER: Well, I have voted for that on the floor of the Senate a couple of times because it would apply to the entire Senate. We'll have a debate about whether or not we want to apply something only to Republicans and not to Democrats. As you can see it's a lot more complicated than it appears.

(END VIDEO CLIP) LEMON: All right. Senior political editor Mark Preston joins us. So Mark, I saw every single Sunday show this morning. I did not get one specific. I was so frustrated with these guys. Like, why aren't they answering the questions.

MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL EDITOR: Well, because we came out of campaign mode, you know, they made all these promises to the American people. They came out with the document, the promise to America, laying out principles that they said they would bring to Washington. And guess what happened? They won. So now, they have to come up and they have learn how to govern.

Remember, Republicans haven't been in power, certainly in Congress, since several years right now. You have a lot of new members such as Allen West coming, as you just had on. They've got to learn how to govern.

LEMON: They have to learn how the answer the question. Because one person said, was talking about his run for president and the interviewer kept asking him, what are the specifics. Well, my family and I are going to take the Christmas time and pray. I wanted to throw stuff at the television.

PRESTON: Well, they have to do a lot of praying. Look, there's going to have to have a lot of praying in Washington because the fact of the matter is what we have is a very divided country, but we have a very divided Washington now, Don. We have Republicans in charge of the House. Democrats in charge of the Senate. President Obama at the White House right now trying to figure out how to work with Congress.

The real question is what can they get done and really, Don, the real answer to that is going to be in the next couple of weeks. Can they agree on extending President Bush's tax cuts. Republicans want to extend it for everybody. Meanwhile, Democrats, President Obama want to keep it for families and individuals at $250,000 or below. So, it would be interesting to see if they can even cut the deal on that.

LEMON: OK. I have a lot more to say about that, but we have to move on. (INAUDIBLE) Let's talk about Nancy Pelosi. Took a lot of heat during the midterms. People used her as sort of whipping, you know, folks saying, "oh, Nancy Pelosi. Get rid of her policies, get rid of her." Her announcing that she's going to run for minority leader on Friday, is this a good rationale to keep her as a dems leader in the House?

PRESTON: Well, the fact is she's already (INAUDIBLE) because talking to her advisers just over the last couple of hours, spoke to several of them, they had the votes already in hand within an hour after she made the announcement. So she's not going to get any real challenge. She does have some centrist, some would say conservative Democrats who are upset that she's going to run. But let's not forget that Nancy Pelosi even though she became the face of the Democratic Party, of congressional Democrats, all she was doing was enacting President Obama's agenda.

Remember, when President Obama ran in 2008, he said he was going to do all these things. The only way you can get these things done is if you have a speaker willing to push him through. And that's what we see Nancy Pelosi -

LEMON: And you can ask Democrats or Republican, they will tell you that she got her agenda through and she was second to him among raising money. So history will look at her as a very powerful speaker of the House. Hey, Mark, let's talk about -

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Go ahead.

PRESTON: Also the first woman speaker, Don. Let's not -

LEMON: Listen, mark, I've got 10 seconds here. 2012, already. People are like, Don, we just finished midterms and now, we're looking forward to 2012. Really?

PRESTON: Yes, we are. You know something, we're talking about it now because the midterms have past. But Don, honestly, this has been going on since the last election. In fact, I was out in Iowa in June. They were already talking about who was going to win in the Iowa caucus. So get used to it. We're going to be talking about it a lot.

LEMON: Yes, that's you guys, that's us. I don't know if the country's ready. I could be wrong. Thank you, Mark Preston.

OK. Remember going on school field trips? We all loved being able to get out of the classroom. It turns out, it's a pretty good way to learn. Up next, we visit an Ohio school that's tossing out the textbooks in favor of a more hands-on approach to learning.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: These days it seems like test scores are the mark of a good school but some experts say that kids are simply memorizing facts just to pass tests. CNN's education contributor Steve Perry visits an Ohio Middle School where creativity drives learning in tonight's "Perry's Principles."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STEVE PERRY, CNN EDUCATION CONTRIBUTOR (voice-over): This is not your typical classroom. Here in Akron, Ohio, lessons come to life. Seventh graders from the National Mentors Hall of Fame School are helping park rangers get rid of the autumn olive plants.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I figure, straight up over your head now.

PERRY (on camera): Why do you want to remove autumn olives?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because they're an invasive species.

PERRY: Now what is an invasive species? Those are big words, man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is something that's not wanted there. PERRY: What do you guys going to do to remove these plants?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, if you cut them, then they'll just grow back three times its size.

PERRY: So what do you do?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If we pull them out by the roots, take it completely out and won't exist there anymore.

PERRY: Your learning is different here. Teachers aren't giving you the answers and then you have to study them. They're asking you questions? So that's what the problem-based learning is about?

TRACI BUCKNER, PRINCIPAL, NATIONAL INVENTORS HALL OF FAME: It makes them realize that they have a job to do and the good thing about it is a lot of the problems that we pose to our children are problems that are going to affect them or the people around them or their community.

PERRY: There's something about the creativity part of learning. Because that is not so typical especially in these times when people are talking about teaching to the text. What is it about this that made you think this could work?

BUCKNER: At our school, we call our teachers, learning coaches, and favorably make all the difference for the kids. They're ready to try new things and they're ready to allow the children to open their minds to new things and we're really preparing the kids today for the 21st century skills they need beyond college and then once they enter the work force.

PERRY (voice-over): Steve Perry, Akron, Ohio.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: Haiti has been shaken by an earthquake, battered by a hurricane. Now aid workers are struggling to keep Haiti's cholera outbreak from spreading.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Checking top stories on CNN. It's been a jam-packed day for President Obama in India. He met with young children in New Delhi. He and the first lady also toured a historic tomb and at a town hall meeting with college students, Mr. Obama called for more trust and cooperation between India and neighboring Pakistan.

More than 500 people now have died in Haiti's cholera outbreak and there are increasing fears the deadly disease will spread even more because of floodwaters left behind by Hurricane Tomas. Aid groups say they're trying to set up more cholera treatments.

In Israel, Arabs vow to rebuild a mosque destroyed overnight by Israeli police. Israeli authorities say it was built without the proper permits and police were carrying out a court order. The mosque was built by Arab (INAUDIBLE) who lived in the (INAUDIBLE) desert for centuries and are Israeli citizens. They threw stones at police that used rubber bullets to drive them away.

In Spain, Pope Benedict XVI defended religion from its critics as he dedicated a church in Barcelona. He said the world is getting too secular. The pontiff also defended the traditional family and argued against same-sex marriage which is legal in Spain.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bringing the peace that we need, the strength that we need.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are here to celebrate David Michael Hartley.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It seemed like yesterday he said, "we'll see you tomorrow." He left this world with work unfinished, a wife to start over, and a family to live on.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: David, my cousin and my friend. And I will miss him dearly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Tears and tribute today during a memorial service for David Hartley. He is a Colorado man whose wife says he was shot to death by Mexican pirates. The husband and wife were jet skiing on vacation when she says they came across the gunmen. Hartley's body has not been found.

I'm Don Lemon at the CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta. I'll see you back here at 10:00 p.m. Eastern. In the meantime, "Easy Prey," CNN's special investigation that takes you inside the mind of a serial killer. It starts right now.