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Newark Mayor Helps Shovel Snow; 10,000 Flights Canceled

Aired December 28, 2010 - 19:00   ET


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: For now, I'm Suzanne Malveaux in the "Situation Room." JOHN KING USA starts right now.

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks, Suzanne. John King is off. I'm Jessica Yellin.

The winter storm is bringing out the personality in some of the country's most high profile politicians. One got out the snow shovel, another went to Disney world, and New York's mayor, well, he's asking for the impossible. He's asking New Yorkers to stop complaining. CNN's Mary Snow is in New York City. Mary, how is that working out for him?

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Not so well, Jessica. You know, if you look at a city street like the one we're on here in Manhattan, things look like they're getting back to normal. But, you know, when you go outside of Manhattan to the cities out of boroughs, it's a very different scene, a very different story. There's still many streets that have yet to be plowed. And you know what, this morning, there still have been ambulances and buses, dozens of them that were still stranded.

Many cars are still stranded. Many New Yorkers are very angry, and they are criticizing the city's response and also the city's mayor, Michael Bloomberg. Now, earlier today, responding to that criticism, he said that the city was doing the best that it can. And he said, he, too, is angry, and in so many words, told people to put a lid on the complaining.


MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, (I) NEW YORK: We won't get to everybody every time. We will make mistakes, but we have to continue plugging ahead. Yelling about it and complaining doesn't help.


SNOW: Now, across the river in New Jersey, another politician is gaining attention. And that is Governor Chris Christie, a rising star in the Republican Party. He left New Jersey with his family on Sunday to go to a vacation in Disney World, but not only that he leave, but his number two, the lieutenant governor is also on vacation, and that has prompted criticism from some state lawmakers.

The governor's spokesman released a statement earlier today saying, "It was Christmas week. His kids were home from school. It was a family vacation. The response to the storm has been the same as it would be under any circumstances."

Now, the governor will return back to New Jersey on Thursday. And in the meantime, Jessica, the president of the state Senate is in charge. He is the acting governor, and he happens to be a Democrat -- Jessica.

YELLIN: All right. Thank you, Mary. It is never a good idea for a politician to leave town when it is snowing even if the political response or the storm response would be the same.

At least, one political leader is now getting applause for his handling of the snow crises. We're talking about Newark's mayor, Corey Booker. He used Twitter to contact people who needed help. He grabbed a snow shovel to dig out buried cars. And according to the "New York Daily News," he even delivered diapers to one stranded family. Now, that's commitment.

OK. Joining me from New York to discuss this fine art (ph) of crisis response is CNN political contributor, Republican strategist, Ed Rollins, Amy Goodman, host of the television and radio news show "Democracy Now!" In Atlanta, CNN contributor, Erick Erickson, editor- in-chief of the conservative blog,, and here in Washington, CNN contributor and democratic pollster, Cornell Belcher. Thanks to all of you for being here and roughing it and getting through the snow to come in.



YELLIN: Not Eric. It must be good weather down there.

ERICK ERICKSON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: No, in the CNN parking lot, actually, I was (INAUDIBLE)


YELLIN: You'll get your snow, eventually. Guys, nothing endear to politician to his electorate like fixing a pothole. But I want to point out what Corey Booker has added to the list. He has actually -- let me read some of his tweets. "I just dug out your car. All the best." He tweets. Another tweet. "Just freed a med transport van here at cottage place in central ward." Another one says "My back is killing me." Breakfast, Advil and a diet coke. Erick Erickson, he's not from your party, but would you vote for a guy who dug out your car?

ERICKSON: Look, you know, I've said for a long time in being elected to a city council, there's really not a whole lot partisan about local officials and local jobs at a municipal level. And yes, Corey Booker has been a very good mayor there. He's done a lot of good things. And compared that to Michael Bloomberg, have we forgotten that there was a bigger snowstorm last year? And the response in New York city seemed to be a lot more effective in the 2009 snowpocalypse than the 2010 snowpocalypse.

YELLIN: I forgot that snowpocalypse, and I used to remember it.

BELCHER: Right. And the snowpocalypse, actually, here got our guy in trouble with Adrian Fenty. I still have friends who are angry still to this day about mayor -- the former mayor, Adrian Fenty's, you know, how he's handling of the snowstorm here. I got to tell you, Corey Booker's approval rate is probably went up 10 points, and he's probably sort of better known as viewed statewide right now.

Because you know what, desktop (ph) matters. I mean, they don't expect Congress to do much, but their mayors and their governors are, actually, expected to deliver something. Corey Booker is delivering. I tell you, it's a slippery slope for Mayor Bloomberg because people take this snow removal seriously. When they are stopped and you're being combative about it, it's not good politics.

YELLIN: Well, also, Amy Goodman, Corey Booker is doing something else. He's tweeting all the time. Do you think this is also the new way for local electives? They got to tweet to viewers?

AMY GOODMAN, HOST, "DEMOCRACY NOW!": Well, I think the key is that Mayor Booker is booking those snowplows himself. While the governor, Governor Christie is playing with Snow White in Disney world in Orlando, people in New Jersey are not playing in this white snow. They're mad. And as for Mayor Bloomberg here in New York, and I'll tell you it was a tough ride here, though, not as tough as if we were in the outer bureaus where most people are not even began to see snowplows.

Mayor Bloomberg, the word we have to look out this, the most looked up word this year in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, and that's austerity. More than 400 sanitation workers have been laid off in these multi-billion dollar budget cuts. This is the biggest proof for why we need government. We need it to work, and we need it to be staffed (ph).

YELLIN: And that's part of the debate we're going to be seeing in the next year as budgets are cut across the country. It will also be a big issue in the presidential election as states are gripping as it comes in terms with the spending. I want to turn the corner here to look a little bit at some of political developments ahead next year and a new CNN poll.

Ed Rollins, let me talk to you about this latest discovery that Sarah Palin is dropping in popularity in our new CNN poll compared to the rest of the field that's put up this poll. Look at that. Sarah Palin, 67 percent support from a Republicans who might have supported her for president, but now, at 49 percent. A surprise to you, Ed?

ED ROLLINS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: No. I think the things that she has done over the last several months, including her very popular television show (INAUDIBLE) and her daughter's "Dancing with the Stars" performance have not convinced any Republicans that she's getting serious about being a presidential candidate or that she would enhance her credentials to go forward. I think the other two people on there, one whom I chaired his campaign, Mike Huckabee and Romney have, basically, gone up numbers because many people think of them as more serious. That they're getting ready -- that they're going to run, they're getting ready in the proper way which is learning about the issues and discussing issues.

YELLIN: Well, let me put up those numbers because Ed brought it up, and I should point out, Romney, you'll see 59 percent support now. And that's compared to December of 2008 where he was at 61 percent. You'll see Huckabee has the most support at 67 and then Gingrich at 54. Most of them going up, Romney a tiny bit down.

I want to ask you, Erick. I talked to several GOP operatives. Last time around, the whole goal was to get in the game early. This time around, is the goal for the Republican candidates to be the last one in?

ERICKSON: You know, I've said for a while there's going to be a debate at the Reagan Library in March. And anyone who participates in that debate probably will not be the nominee. I think if you can drag it out towards closer to Memorial Day, yes, you've got to lay the ground work now. Don't get me wrong. But it needs to be under the radar.

Frankly, I think of the list of people there, the numbers who have gone up, who has been the most visible and out there constantly? Sarah Palin. I think the moral of the story here is two fold. One, keep your head down. And with Palin, frankly, it's a little bit impossible because everyone ceases on everything she does, and it's very hard to do that. The other is, apparently, like Mike Huckabee, get a weekend show on Fox (INAUDIBLE).


BELCHER: And the other thing in is, you know, someone who spent two years in the presidential primary. The other thing here is you -- being a front-runner early on is a kiss of death.

YELLIN: Well, Hillary Clinton.

BELCHER: Right. But Hillary had one thing that Sarah doesn't have which I'm seeing the number is interesting is that there is a gender gap. And part of the problem with Hillary was, for us, was she had a built in contingency of women voters, both white women, Hispanic women, black women, they were all sort of nationally gravitate toward her.

In a primary, you need that. Right now, even Sarah with her mama grizzlies, she's got no natural built-in constituency of women. They're driving agenda that for -- so, it's problematic. Although, I think her biggest problem was pissing Ed off and having him go on attack.


YELLIN: Nobody wants to get Ed on their bad side.

ROLLINS: I know. Thank you.

YELLIN: Yes. Amy, to you, President Obama has a different dilemma. While he looks, right now, the comeback kid, is this time for his success as if actually angered his liberal base? Do you see a good way for him to go out, in your view, and correct that next year? How will he galvanize his base in 2012?

GOODMAN: Well, you know, Jessica, he's been hailed as the comeback kid with all of the legislation that passed in the last week of Congress, but I think the only real definition of a comeback kid would be to tell the troops in Afghanistan to come back. That would make him the comeback president of 2012. That is very serious.

It addresses all the major issues that people are concerned about. Another poll just out shows that most people in this country think that the war in Afghanistan is a fiasco. And we know from the tea party to progressives, if you're talking about the issue of the deficit. This war is costing $6 billion a month. The wars will cost up to $5 trillion. If President Obama doesn't deal with this right now, he's going to have problems in 2012.

YELLIN: And how would that play, though, with Republicans if he does what Amy is saying.

ROLLINS: First of all, I don't think anybody owns the war. So, I don't like the Republican line that this is his war. It's country's war. And I think the dilemma here is it's been mixed signals that he's going to pull out in 2011. Now, it's 2014. We've told our allies we're going to be there until 2014. We've, obviously, told the Afghan people we were going to be there in 2014.

And at a very critical period now, which basically is your question about Republicans, I don't think we can pull out until 2014. I think the reality here is the resources of the Congress that the military will keep us there. And I don't think they'll be ready to. I think, Iraq, we can get out of there any time we want to, but I think Afghanistan, really, is a much longer.

GOODMAN: The reason we can get out of Iraq is because President Obama made a strong stand on getting out of the war in Iraq. If he took a similar stand, there is no reason that 2014 has to be the --

ROLLINS: We're pretty far along in Iraq. And the thing that he did was the surge. The surging was helpful in a more stable country. I mean, I think the bottom line is we didn't have to go in Afghanistan. He did make that commitment, and the Congress supported him. The dilemma we have today is we have those men and women on that ground, fighting this war, and we have committed to these people and we have committed to our allies. And they think 2014 is the deadline, and I think anything pulling out before that is premature and detrimental.

YELLIN: All right. Everybody stay there. Wait just a minute. We're going to come back on the other side of this break, and we're going to take a lighter note and look at some of the most memorable moments from this year's debates. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

YELLIN: With New Year's approaching, we are taking stock of some memorable moments from the 2010 campaigns. And tonight, we look at some top moments from this year's debates. There were so many to choose from, but here's our list.

At number five, the memorable moment from the Kentucky Senate debate between candidate Rand Paul and Jack Conway. No shame.


RAND PAUL, (R) KENTUCKY SENATE CANDIDATE: Cast aside these attacks on my personal religion. Jack, you should be ashamed of yourself. You should apologize. Have you no decency? Have you no shame?


YELLIN: And he went onto win number four. Who can forget the church and state dilemma that senate candidate Christine O'Donnell faced in her Delaware debate with Chris Coons.


CHRISTINE O'DONNELL, (R) DELAWARE SENATE CANDIDATE: Where in the constitution is the separation of church and state?



YELLIN: All right. In Nevada, one of my most memorable moments if I can make it happen. There we go. Man up. Sharron Angle versus Senator Harry Reid.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, Mrs. Angle.

SHARRON ANGLE, (R) NEVADA SENATE CANDIDATE: Man up, Harry Reid. You need to understand that we have a problem with Social Security.


YELLIN: In Arizona, Jan Brewer, the governor there who won drew a blank.


GOV. JAN BREWER, (R) ARIZONA: I have done so much, and I just cannot believe that we have changed everything since I have become your governor in the last 600 days. We have done everything that we could possibly do. We did what was right for Arizona.

(END VIDEO CLIP) YELLIN: Oh, it's painful to watch even now.

And our number one most memorable moment, it was hard to decide, but minor party, major line.


JIMMY MCMILLAN, "RENT IS TOO DAMN HIGH" PARTY CANDIDATE: As a karate expert, I will not talk about anyone up here because our children can't afford to live anywhere. Nowhere. There's nowhere to go. Once again, why? You said it. The rent is too damn high.



YELLIN: Erick Erickson, he's not wrong, is he?

ERICKSON: You know, I'm still hung up on Jan Brewer. I cringe every time I see that poor woman. The moral of that story, though, is that you can flub a debate and still win if your state is red or blue enough. Goodness, gracious. It pains me to have to watch that clip.

YELLIN: The Jan Brewer? Amy, what do you think of the man up line which Sharron Angle used? A lot of women, actually, accused men of being -- their male opponents are being (INAUDIBLE) in this race. Did it work for them?

GOODMAN: Well, clearly, it didn't work for her, but she was talking about Social Security.

YELLIN: Right.

GOODMAN: And this is an absolutely critical issue. Unfortunately, I would say both President Obama, the beltway Democrats and Republicans are making Social Security the target when, in fact, what is soaking up the most money that is not made up for in any other way is war. As for Jimmy McMillen, you know, here in New York, that memorable moment would never have happened if the debates were held in other states the way they were held in New York.


GOODMAN: It was like seven different candidates all were expressing their views. It got a tremendous amount of attention, and it shows the power of third parties. They can introduce important issues into races. He's talking about rent, he's talking about foreclosure. These are issues that affect people across the country.

YELLIN: Ed, what was your most memorable debate moment of the year?

GOODMAN: Well, I love Jimmy. He can say now the snow is too damn high --

(LAUGHTER) GOODMAN: And have a sound bite for the next campaign running for mayor. The key thing here, I think, is that sound bites do matter, and they're memorial. And there are some great ones. And at the end of the day, they may not make a difference in winning or losing, but they can define your candidacy for a period of time, and I think each and everyone of this did.

YELLIN: Are you a too damn high -- rent is too damn high fan, too?

BELCHER: I would have voted for him (INAUDIBLE) because here the rent is too damn high.

YELLIN: The rent is too damn high. I'm with you.

BELCHER: But when you look at what one had the most impact, it was in Kentucky where a lot of us thing, a lot of us -- the perception out there is that, you know, the attacks on his religion went too far --

YELLIN: Of Rand Paul.

BELCHER: Rand Paul, and it wasn't really believable. So, it really sort of undermined his candidacy there. So, that was a one that was really impactful, and him losing and winning that race. But, again, the rent is too damn high in D.C. So, I'm for bringing that guy here.

YELLIN: Can we get him here? Can we run next time around? All right. Thanks all of you for being with us. A memorable year in politics for sure. And we'll have more best moments tomorrow night.

Well, the snowstorm -- thanks to all of you. The snowstorm is gone, but there is still trouble at the airports. We'll get the latest, next.


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

JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Jess. How are you doing? Well, frankly, I got to tell you, I don't have prompter right now. So, I think we better just talk a little bit about what -- oh, there we go.

Air travel is still days away from getting back to normal because of last weekend's snowstorm. The general manager of New York's LaGuardia Airport estimates it will be two or three days before the airlines are at regular schedule. 10,000 flights have been canceled since the storm began. Delta canceled 300 flights today and is still facing reduced operations at JFK and Newark Airport because of runway issues.

Just getting on a plane is no guarantee your troubles are over. A Cathay Pacific Airways flight from Vancouver British Columbia sat on the tarmac for 11 hours after landing at New York's JFK Airport because a lack of gate space kept passengers for getting off -- Jess.

YELLIN: Such a nightmare. Joe, you're a real pro. I hear you also had your own travel nightmare getting to New York.

JOHNS: I sure did. I came up and actually had planned on coming up on one of the shuttles. I decided to ditch that idea. Then, I got on the train, the ACELA, and very smooth coming into town, but once I got out on the town, the nightmare began. I got out on the street. There was literally a line of about 200 people for taxi cabs that were not there.

So, I walked from like 34th Street all the way up to 51st.

YELLIN: You walked?

JOHNS: I walked pulling three bags through the snow. And at some places, I kid you not, there were children standing knee deep in ice slush. It was unbelievable. I mean, you know, you could grief (ph). You would think New York can handle this stuff a little bit better.

YELLIN: There's a live picture of New York City. It looks pretty now, but a 30-block walk to work, you are dedicated, my friend.

JOHNS: Yes. Well, you know, you do what you got to do.

YELLIN: You do. I appreciate it.

JOHNS: All right.

YELLIN: All right. Stay warm indoors, and hopefully, they'll call you a car to get home.

JOHNS: Yes. Well, we'll see. The cars are off limits. So, I'll just have to get a taxi.

YELLIN: I know. We wish you luck. Thanks, Joe.

JOHNS: You bet.

YELLIN: All right. Coming up next, is Arizona's newest immigration fight to plan to deny citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants? No matter where you stand on immigration, you'll want to hear how this could impact your state.


YELLIN: Starting next week, legislatures across the country will be returning to work in crisis mode. Arizona is just one of the states facing a budget short fall, but lawmakers there also intend to tackle illegal immigration again. Joining me from phoenix is Arizona state Senate president elect, Russell Pearce, who sponsored the immigration bill that created a national controversy earlier this year.

Senator, thanks for being with us. I want to ask you straight way, you want to prevent the children of illegal immigrants from becoming U.S. citizens, but the question I have is, does that undermine the promise of America where what unites us is not our race or religion, but that we were born here and we become citizens.

RUSSELL PEARCE, (R) ARIZONA STATE SENATE: You know, it's nice to get (ph) the good information. When the 14th amendment was written, it was written to give credit to the African-Americans recognize them the way it should be. There was after a terrible Supreme Court decision called the dread Scott decision that did not recognize them as humans, virtually. It was outrageous. While the republican Congress said, we're not putting up with that, and it was written born-naturalized for whom we have jurisdiction.

It's been hijacked. You know, we have a path to citizenship, and it's not breaking into the country. The 14th amendment was never intended to be used the way it's used. It was intended for those who (INAUDIBLE). You know when the 14th amendment was passed, it was written in 1866 but ratified in 1868, it did not recognize the American-Indian as citizens. And the reason was because they were born on a reservation and members of a tribe. And they were concerned about the jurisdiction languages in the 14th amendment.

YELLIN: Let's look at the language in the 14th amendment, because if I can interrupt you for a moment, here's what it stands, all persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction there of are citizens of the United States.

PEARCE: That's right.

YELLIN: And the state wherein they preside. Pretty clear.

PEARCE: Now let's go back to -- that was written by the same Congress who wrote the civil rights amendment in 1866. That was the response to the Dred Scott conversation. And then, that same Congress that wrote the civil rights amendment in 1866, which has similar language but a little different that makes it very clear, and they should use the same language.

That same Congress who's wrote the 14th amendment because they wanted to give the civil rights amendment constitutional protection, which I think was the right thing to do. They made it very clear on the debate of the floor. Senator Howard, who wrote the 14th amendment said this amendment does not apply to aliens or foreigner. There were no illegal aliens at that time. They intended it to right the wrong of the African-Americans for whom we had jurisdiction.

YELLIN: But this has gone through the U.S. courts.

PEARCE: The American Indian was born here in America. There was no doubt about where they were born. Has nothing to do with your GPS location.

YELLIN: Well, Senior Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin has looked at the issue and said there's no way this bill, if it were to pass, could make it through the courts. The constitutional amendment is pretty clear. PEARCE: Well, that's so true. I'm amazed at these folks who think they have read the Constitution. Apparently they have not read the debate, or read-or read the Constitution properly. It was honored that way for the first 30 years. There were two Supreme Court decisions, you know, Elk Wilks decision and the Slaughter House decision that made it clear. They had to do two-

YELLIN: Will you explain for us why you want to change this?

PEARCE: Hang on. It wasn't changed until the Kim Wong decision of 1898. Over 30 years that was passed they changed the application of the 14th Amendment with a court that said, ah, we don't think it matters, as long as you were born here.

YELLIN: Senator, on principle, why is it important to you to change this? On principle?

PEARCE: It's against the law. That's a good point. We have a path to citizenship, a legal path. It's against law to enter the United States illegally. It's against the law to remain in the United States in violation of federal law. But yet we induce you. We provide an incentive. We reward you for breaking the law. It was never intended to be use that way. It is a matter of moral law. We have people who come here the right way. They wait in line. You can't break into the country and then expect to be rewarded. It's immoral. It's illegal. It was never the intent. All I'm trying to do is return the original intent of the 14th Amendment. That's what our founders -- that's what they decided. That was what the debate made clear. And that is the appropriate thing to do.

YELLIN: Of course --

PEARCE: It is an unconstitutional declaration of citizenship.

YELLIN: We're talking about children who were born here, and didn't themselves break the law, they came here through no fault of their own.

PEARCE: Well, wait, wait. But that doesn't matter. We'll blame mom and dad, whoever put you in that position, though. You still broke the law. It was never intended to be used that way.

YELLIN: All right. Your state-

PEARCE: So again, let's go back to the original intent. It is a violation of the Constitution.

YELLIN: Your state faces a $2.25 billion state budget short fall. You have a 9.4 percent unemployment rate in Arizona. "The Arizona Republic's" own Editorial Page put it like this, they said, quote, "with Arizona facing huge shortfalls, this is no time for distractions. It's hard to imagine a worse distraction than trying to right our own citizenship rules."

Are there more pressing issues than this? PEARCE: Well, again, that's the misinformation. That that's the myth that keeps being purported by the open board "Arizona Republic" who has never seen an illegal alien they didn't like. Enough is enough. That debate was very clear when they wrote the 14th Amendment. We're not changing the 14th Amendment. We're going to go back to its original intent. It was never intended, it doesn't take a constitutional amendment. It says right at the end of the 14th Amendment, Congress will regulate this amendment through legislation. All it takes is clarification.

YELLIN: Can you clear up some questions? Would this legislation apply to a baby born to a couple that included one legal resident and one illegal immigrant? Would that-is the child legal or illegal?

PEARCE: Again, if you're born to a legal resident, a legal citizen, then you have the right to that citizenship status that they have. It is just like if you are in the military and you are born overseas, you're still an American citizen. They're a citizen of the country where they came from, if they come here illegally.

YELLIN: And what would happen to the-

PEARCE: If you're a citizen of another country, your parents are, that's where you're a citizen of. If you're visiting the United States, you're from France, you're visiting the United States and you're pregnant. All the sudden you have an early birth. Now all the sudden you're a citizen of the United States? You're from France. You're on a visa, you are just visiting.

YELLIN: OK, so if there is one legal parent, the child is legal in your view. Then what happens to 8 percent of babies born in the U.S. to illegal immigrants. What would you do with them? If no country claims them?

PEARCE: The country does claim them. They are a citizenship of the country of the legal residency and the citizenship of their parents.

Again, you know, I'm driven by respect for the Constitution and the rule of law. I know right and wrong. You can't continue to bribe, induce people to break our laws and have laws against coming here, or remaining here in violation of federal law, but then reward them for it. It's inappropriate. You have to stop it. Again, not retroactively, the harm that has been done, has been done. But you can't continue to induce people to break our laws, by rewarding them with unconstitutional applications of our Constitution. It is an unconstitutional declaration of it citizenship to the those born here, to those that are here illegally.

YELLIN: In your view, in your estimation, what the likelihood this measure will pass your legislature?

PEARCE: Well, again, let's-a little history. First of all, I think it will. But secondly two Supreme Court decisions upheld what I'm telling you. It wasn't until 30 years later the Kim Wong decision, the courts decided it doesn't matter. They ignored that application.

YELLIN: But do you have the governor's support on this?

PEARCE: Well, she's been very supportive in the past, of this stuff. I would hope she is supportive of this.

YELLIN: But she hasn't come down, either one way or another has she?

PEARCE: No, she hasn't.

But she also didn't come out publicly on SV1070 until she signed it. So she's been very cautious with coming out publicly, and I appreciate that. I'm OK with that. I think I know where she's at. She's been good with supporting me in the rule of law. She signed 1070. She's been with me in the vigilance, in defense of this; 25 states writing a legislation modeled after 1070.

Again, no different than the 14th Amendment, the polls have been done. The majority of Americans support correcting the miss application of birthright citizenship. It was never intended. It is a misapplication. It is unconstitutional. Go back to the original 14th Amendment.

YELLIN: This will be fought out, ultimately, in the courts no doubt. '


YELLIN: Do you see this winning in the end? Do you see your side prevailing?

PEARCE: Sure. I wrote Proposition 200 in '04, been to court seven times, I won seven times. I wrote employer sanctions, been to court five times; won five times. Now waiting for a Supreme Court decision on sixth trial court. You know, 1070, 80 percent of it is in effect. We'll go to court to get the other 20 percent in full effect. I know the left is going to sue us, I know we're going to be sued. I write them very carefully, constitutionally, to make sure they withstand the court challenges that I know will come from the left. They've sued us for everything we've tried to do. No matter how simple. Simple Prop 200, to stop welfare fraud and voting fraud.

PEARCE: And why not, sir, just back a constitutional amendment.


PEARCE: I mean, it tells you how radical they are.

YELLIN: As you know, Senator Lindsay Graham has floated the idea of a possible constitutional amendment to change the constitution rather than do this at the state level. Why don't you back that?

PEARCE: Well, I do back that. I do back that. But you know, here's the problem. We waited for federal government to do something for years and years and years. How long you going to wait on the federal government? This has been going on for 100 years, on the misapplication of the 14th Amendment. You can't afford to wait on the federal government.

I've never seen such cheap, drive-by political statements than I have from Washington, D.C. You know they could have secured the border years ago, but yet we have just lost, killed, murdered, another Border Patrol agent because of their failure to enforce our law, secure our borders. How long will you wait for the federal government to do its job?

YELLIN: All right, Senator-

PEARCE: The state of Arizona is a sovereign state. We're obligated to protect our citizens and enforce our laws, and Arizona will do it if the federal government won't.

YELLIN: Thank you, sir. I know all eyes will be on Arizona when you take this issue up.

PEARCE: Thank you. God bless you, thank you.

YELLIN: Appreciate your time.

PEARCE: Thank you.

YELLIN: Gas at $5 a gallon by the end of the year? No? Well, one expert thinks so. We'll talk about it next.


YELLIN: We haven't hear chants of "drill baby, drill" lately. Not since the BP oil disaster, but that could change. Shell Oil's former president is now predicting $5 a gallon gas by the year 2012. That would mean a 15 gallon fill up would cost $75. Well, you will hear from him at the top of this hour on CNN's "PARKER SPITZER". But Eliot Spitzer and Kathleen Parker are here with us to give us a little preview

Hey, guys.



YELLIN: Eliot, first of all, $5 a gallon gas within the next year makes more very glad I drive a Prius. Do you think it is-

SPITZER: I'll buy it from you.

YELLIN: Well, do you think it's a doomsday scenario or actually realistic?

SPITZER: Well, look, I don't know if it's going to $5 precisely. But I think what John Hofmeister describes as the rise in oil prices, we area already beginning to see. And what he describes, in particular, about the influence of China and overseas demand driving that price up, is a reality. So I think he is exactly right, that we have an energy crisis. We have not addressed it. Congress has gone nowhere near the issue. And if we don't begin to think about this seriously, it will be devastating for consumers and devastating for the economy, at large, in terms of the impact that it will have.

PARKER: Now you don't have to watch our show.


YELLIN: No, there is a lot of good he has to say, because he was fascinating about his logic on what can be done to bring down the price of gas. Kathleen, anything there that you agreed with.

PARKER: Well, Jessica, first of all, let me just say, I also drive a Prius.

YELLIN: Oh, good!

PARKER: So, I'm going to give it to Eliot since I don't need it anymore now that I live in New York City. He was highly critical of drill, baby, drill rhetoric, essentially saying it is just politicizing something without really taking it seriously. But, yes, we do need to drill, and we do need to use our own resources to produce more usable oil.

He made the point that, you know, Americans use, what was it, 10,000 gallons per second, which is equivalent to a swimming pool. We're not going to be easily weaned from that. He had multiple plans that we have to do that would be, offer return in the future having to do with alternative energy sources, nuclear and all of that. But you know, for the immediate, we have got to produce more oil for our own use, because we rely on it in so many ways, not just the cars. .

YELLIN: This is where everyone agrees Something has to change. We can't reliant on foreign oil, where everyone disagrees, or many people disagree, as to what exactly should be done. I know Hofmeister had some criticism for the current administration.


JOHN HOFMEISTER, FMR. PRESIDENT, SHELL OIL: We have grown to detest drilling in this country. When we were doing $10 million barrels a day, we were drilling off the coast of California. Since the Santa Barbara spill in 1969, we've stopped new drilling out of California. We can't drill in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico. The president said in March of this past year that we should be drilling off the East Coast and off the Eastern Gulf. He has rescinded that.

The secretary of the Interior announced on December 1st. that he would postpone the next five-year plan for drilling leases from 2012 to 2017. That basically says this is administration is punting on new drilling off our coasts between now and the rest of the time they're in office if they get a second term. And $5 gasoline, I think, will go in the face of them getting a second term because they haven't done anything about it in the meantime.


YELLIN: Eliot, you buy that?

SPITZER: I don't buy it in its entirety. I agree with a lot of what John said. His infatuation with drilling in the Gulf, I think is a little bit overstated. There is an awful lot more that we can do and that we must do. Frankly, he talks about other things. Interestingly, he's one of the few energy executives, oil executives, who was in favor of cap and trade. He was in favor of putting a tax on carbon, because, as he says in the show, and you should watch it, people have to pay for the costs that they create by using this gas. One of the few executives I've known eve to say that. So he is in favor of nukes, he is in favor of taxing carbon. He's in favor of efficiency, sort of a multifaceted plan. A lot of it makes sense. Drilling is one part of it. He and I may disagree. Obviously, we do disagree about his criticism of the Obama administration. He soft pedaled the BP crisis in the Gulf too much. A little bit too much, obviously.

PARKER: His main criticism is just that we are locked in a two- year cycle. And nothing will ever get done because nobody wants to bite the bullet and take responsibility.

And I asked him, I said, have you spoken to anybody? Is anyone listening? He's talked to governors and mayors, and he's been to the White House, he said, in 2007. But it was a very short meeting, cut even shorter than planned and nobody was very interested in what he had to say.


SPITZER: But I actually disagree with him on the politics. I think that there is a consensus that could be built. And we had Ed Rendell on the show last night, and Ed was laying out some of the things that are in line with what Hofmeister said, about efficiency, nuclear power, clean coal, and some drilling, all of which could give us an energy policy and we need it desperately.

YELLIN: One of the points that "The New York Times" columnist, Friedman, always makes is that if gas goes to $5 a gallon, that would actually prompt America to fast forward and push towards an alternative energy future. Because people just don't want to pay that. It could have a positive unintended consequence.

PARKER: I asked him exactly that, Jessica. He paints a pretty bleak picture in some of his commentary. In a column I read, that he wrote for "The Daily Beast", as well. He talks about when things do get to that point, you know, we're looking at some serious civil disturbance potential. We would like to resolve this before we reach this crisis moment. But it may take getting to that level of cost before people really say, let's do something.

YELLIN: Can I tell you something else he told you guys? He talked about how frustrated the American people will be.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HOFMEISTER: I think they will be frustrated and they will be angry. The fact that it's an election year, the American people could say the people in office haven't done their job. They haven't delivered affordable energy. I said to candidate Obama in 2007, to him directly, if you don't provide more hydro carbons in the period of 2009 to 2012, you will not like the gas price which you will be running against when you go up for re-election in 2012.


YELLIN: Eliot, you think these gas prices could spell doom for an Obama re-election?

SPITZER: I don't want to say doom. But certainly they will have a political impact. They will have a political impact, first, because consumers, as you pointed out, 15 gallons, $5 a gallon. You go to the gas station and pay 75 bucks, you are going to something isn't working well.

The other aspect to it is $5 a gallon will really damage the economy. If we're saying to ourselves right now we have a little bit of stimulus through the tax deal. That stimulus disappears if consumers are sending all that money that they get back, sending it into to Exxon and Shell. That is not what they want to do. It is not going to help our economy at all. The economy would take a serious hit. That's why the need for an energy policy is desperate. And I think John Hofmeister is right. We are failing the public when we don't get one.

PARKER: His posture, ultimately, is that the White House doesn't have courage on the issue. And he points to the moratorium that was imposed after the BP explosion and said that that was really not to prevent future explosions, but merely to sort of placate, you know, his base. And he made the point that when a plane crashes, we don't stop flying planes, we pick up and keep flying because people need to fly. And people need oil.

YELLIN: I predict this topic will be a major part of the State of the Union address. Because you know, it is a political winner to talk about reforming energy. No one ever likes to take on the task of reforming it, though.

SPITZER: It's a political winner to talk about it. Not so much a political winner to do anything about it.

YELLIN: Thanks to both of you. Fun discussion, we look forward to watching more of this discussion in your show, "PARKER SPITZER" coming up at the top of the hour.

PARKER: Thank you, Jessica.

SPITZER: thanks a lot.

YELLIN: I'm sure you've noticed a lot of the folks aren't on the job this week. So what is everybody doing? Our Pete On The Street is on the case. We'll see what he found in a little bit. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

Hey, Joe.


YELLIN: And when we come back, Pete On The Street asks, should everyone just be given this week off?


YELLIN: This just in to CNN. The campaign of Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski says a federal judge there in Alaska has lifted an order that was holding up certification of her write-in election victory. The Murkowski campaign's press release says the judge also dismissed Republican Joe Miller's federal lawsuit against the election results. That means Alaska officials are expected to certify Murkowski's win on Thursday. This, again, according to the Murkowski campaign. The Alaska senator who waged that improbable write-in campaign has won another term, it looks like a judge has certified her victory, and she will become and stay U.S. senator from Alaska.

All right. President Obama is in Hawaii. Congress is out. And probably so are most of your colleagues. All this has our off-beat reporter Pete Dominick wondering is there anything getting done this week?


PETE DOMINICK, OFF BEAT REPORTER: That's right, Jessica. This is -- every year this time I just feel weird. It is a weird time of year. The post-Christmas, pre-New Year's week. What gets done? This week unfortunately it's not even travel. I went out to ask people what they thought of this week. Is there a name? Should we name this week? Here's what I found out, Jessica.


DOMINICK: Do you think there should be a name for this week between Christmas and New Year's? It seems like a week that nothing gets done.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A quiet week. It is always a quiet week.

DOMINICK: We should call it quiet week.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is chill-out week, I guess.

DOMINICK: Chill-out week.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's called a disaster week, that's what it's called.

DOMINICK: Disaster week.


DOMINICK: Passover week? The time between Christmas and New Year's should be called Passover. What are we passing over?


DOMINICK: One, two, three, party week.


DOMINICK: Limbo week.

What are you doing? Your getting anything done this week?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm going to sales.

DOMINICK: You're going to sales. You're shopping. Do you consider that productivity?


DOMINICK: So maybe we should call it shopping week?


DOMINICK: Are you returning or purchasing because of sales?


DOMINICK: So this should be called bargain week. How about that?


DOMINICK: Tell the camera. I'm now naming it bargain week.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bargain week, absolutely.

DOMINICK: Bargain week. After Christmas, before New Year's is what?



DOMINICK: Jessica I also think maybe we should call it like best and worst of the year week. Don't we take a look back at what was best, what was worst? The top 10 lists of the year. That's what we really do this week if nothing else is going on.

DOMINICK: That is what we really do. People like it. But I get the impression you've just done an entire spot on asking for the week off.


That was really all about you asking for a week off, wasn't it?

DOMINICK: I don't know what I was thinking working this week. I realize my daughters have this week off and I just didn't plan right. But yes, that's really what I was trying to get at. Maybe next year.

YELLIN: I also like that you say that say this week makes you feel weird, unlike every other week, Pete?

DOMINICK: Jessica, how dare you. I feel totally adjusted every week. You're right. It's the same for me every week.

YELLIN: All right. Have a great weird week for you, Pete.

DOMINICK: You, too, Jess.

YELLIN: And that's all from us tonight. "PARKER SPITZER" starts right now.