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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Republican National Convention
Aired August 30, 2012 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, HOST, "THE SITUATION ROOM": And CNN's coverage of the Republican National Convention continues right now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With a deep awareness of the responsibility conferred by your trust, I accept your nomination for the presidency of the United States.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is America, a brilliant diversity, spread like stars, like a thousand points of light in a broad and peaceful sky.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I call on every American to rise above all that may divide us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They had their chance. They have not led. We will.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fight with me. Fight with me. Fight for what's right for our country.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN.
BLITZER: This is the night Mitt Romney has been working toward for years.
ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, "AC 360": It certainly is. The Republican National Convention is about to declare him the party's nominee for president.
ANNOUNCER: A child of politics and privilege.
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There are better days ahead when we get a better leader in Washington.
ANNOUNCER: A man of faith and family.
ROMNEY: We will do everything in our power to keep America strong.
ANNOUNCER: A life in business and public service. ROMNEY: It is not government that makes us great, it is the people of America.
ANNOUNCER: It all leads here to this place, this stage, this moment.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tonight, we stand up for Mitt Romney as the next president of the United States.
ANNOUNCER: In Tampa tonight, Mitt Romney accepts his party's nomination and begins the final round of a bitter fight for the White House.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If there's an outsourcer in chief, it's the president of the United States.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It make sense to release your tax returns.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Obama-nomics (ph) is not working.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's bold about gutting Medicare and education?
ANNOUNCER: Will Romney do what it takes tonight to help seal his presidential dream and deliver on his promises?
ROMNEY: Mr. President, take your campaign of division and anger and hate back to Chicago and let us get about rebuilding and reuniting America.
ANNOUNCER: Now, CNN turns the spotlight on one of the biggest platforms in American politics. This is the Republican National Convention. This is Mitt Romney's night.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He and I will be the next president and vice president of the United States and America will stay strong and prosperous and free.
ANNOUNCER: This is America's choice.
BLITZER: We'd like to welcome our viewers in the United States and, indeed, around the world, to this Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida. We're counting down to the most awaited moments of the week. Tonight, one of the GOP's rising stars, Senator Marco Rubio, will introduce the Republicans 2012 presidential nominee. Then Mitt Romney steps into the spotlight for the most important speech of his political life. Here inside the convention hall, they've changed the stage for Romney's acceptance speech. They've extended and lowered it so Romney will be even closer to the audience. I'm Wolf Blitzer along with Anderson Cooper. It's going to be an important historic night for not only these Republicans but for all of America.
COOPER: And this is the night the Republicans have been waiting for all week. Tonight's session will be carefully crafted. A carefully crafted build-up to Mitt Romney's address. We have even more for you right here on CNN. During this hour, we'll hear from Mitt Romney's running mate Congressman Paul Ryan. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani also is going to join us and our Piers Morgan sits down with the party's 2008 nominee Senator John McCain.
BLITZER: Our CNN correspondents are in position throughout the arena here in Tampa. Candy Crowley, she's over at the podium right next to tonight's speakers. She has a preview of tonight's big, big speech. Go ahead, Candy.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, this speech, at least the excerpts that we have seen (INAUDIBLE) that were provided by the Romney campaign do sort of run the gamut as we expected it might. There is some talk of his business successes. There is talk of his time as governor. There is personal talk about his community, including his religious community. Here are a couple of the things that struck me. The first is this is not just for the folks in this room.
We have to presume that everyone in this room is going to vote for Mitt Romney. This is a reach-out for those very important voters who say they have not yet made up their minds. And to them, this is what Romney has to say about President Obama. "Hope and change had a powerful appeal. But tonight, I'd ask a simple question. If you felt that excitement when you voted for Barack Obama, shouldn't you feel that way now that he's President Obama? You know there's something wrong with the kind of job he's done as president when the best feeling you had was the day you voted for him."
There is also, as well, some outreach to women. Simply by putting forward some things that Romney has not had put forward about his resume. He starts with the personal. "My mom and dad were true partners. A life lesson that shaped me by everyday example. When my mom ran for the Senate, my dad was there for her every step of the way. I can still hear her saying in her beautiful voice why should women have any less say than men about the great decisions facing our nation?" He then goes on to say, "As governor of Massachusetts, I chose a woman lieutenant governor, a woman chief of staff. Half of my cabinet and senior officials were women. And in business, I mentored and supported great women leaders who went on to run great companies." So obviously a very big push for that very important female vote -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Candy, stand by. Our correspondents are throughout this convention hall. They're watching everything that's going on. Jim Acosta, Dana Bash, Erin Burnett, they're down on the floor among the delegates, the VIPs. Let's go to Jim Acosta right now. He's got a very special guest -- Jim.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. I'm joined by Josh Romney, 37-year-old son of the GOP nominee. And we were just talking a few moments ago before we got started here that you've been out on the campaign trail. You've been to events. You've seen this before. But this night is different. Why?
JOSH ROMNEY, SON OF MITT AND ANN ROMNEY: You spend a long time on the campaign trail, a lot of dark lonely nights and you don't think about these moments until they're here. And so for me I haven't really thought -- given this moment much thought but now, you know, looking at this stadium filling up, the balloons up there, this is a neat moment for me and for my dad and we're really happy to be here.
ACOSTA: And, Bob, if we can point up to the ceiling right now, there are roughly 100 to 120,000 balloons. Josh, we did check that number out, it has been confirmed by convention officials. All of those balloons will drop down on top of us if I understand correctly when Mitt Romney says "God Bless America". That's when those balloons will come down. What is that moment going to be like for you? Are you pinching yourself, is this surreal?
J. ROMNEY: It is -- it's hard to really take it in and, you know, I remember being here four years ago and it was much more real watching Senator McCain go through it than it is watching my dad go through it. For some reason, it's hard to fathom. I think you know it takes a while for everything to settle in and realize how momentous and how big this is.
ACOSTA: And he's going to talk about your grandfather, your grandmother who were both in politics. You were just mentioning that your grandfather ran your grandmother's campaign when she ran for the Senate.
J. ROMNEY: My dad ran my grandmother's campaign.
ACOSTA: Your dad ran your grandmothers -- your dad ran your grandmother's campaign. So it's in the family blood. What do you think they would think of this moment right now?
J. ROMNEY: You know, they would be incredibly proud. It's one of the great tragedies my grandfather's not here. You know he was so proud of my dad, was really helpful to him when he was running for Senate against Ted Kennedy, was a big part of that campaign.
ACOSTA: That's right.
J. ROMNEY: And so you know -- you know I think my grandfather would be incredibly proud of my dad. And really just, you know, have -- we have very tender feelings about my grandfather. These are moments where you think about him and really miss him a lot.
ACOSTA: And Wolf, as you know, George Romney, Mitt Romney's father, ran for the presidency, didn't work out for him. We're going to find out what happens when Mitt Romney gives his speech later tonight. Back to you, Wolf.
BLITZER: Looking forward to that obviously as well. Jim Acosta is on the floor for us. Let's go up to the sky box. Anderson has made his way up there. Anderson, you got a bird's-eye view from up there.
COOPER: We do and it's one of the great views in this hall. I'm with CNN chief national correspondent John King, also our chief political analyst Gloria Borger is here and senior political analyst and former presidential adviser David Gergen as well. Also here with Republican strategist Alex Castellanos, Democratic strategist Donna Brazile. Let's talk about what Mitt Romney needs to do tonight. What are you expecting? What does he need to do in this crowed and also for America at large?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well I talked to a senior Romney adviser who said very simply he needs to convince people that he cares about them, that he understands their problems. If you look at all the polls, there's a 14-point differential between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney on this. And what he said to me, he said look, everybody knows that Mitt Romney is a wealthy man. What they have to understand tonight is that he doesn't see their problems through that prism. That he sees their problems because he understands them.
COOPER: Can he do that in one speech? I mean he's been running for six years.
BORGER: Right. Hard.
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I think one of the things that's happened is that Paul Ryan raised the bar last night for the Romney speech and he does not want to be overshadowed by his own vice presidential candidate so he's got to give a very, very good speech. I think you cannot do too many things in one speech. The most important thing he has to do and this is the last time he will have a chance to have a conversation with the American people that goes for half an hour, not interrupted by the media, not like a debate, very different from a debate. This is the time when he has to convince them those who are disappointed with where we are now as a people that you can trust him to get us to a better place. That's the single most important thing he has to do.
JOHN KING, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: He has a challenge not terribly unlike President Obama, then Senator Obama's challenge four years ago. He has to make the case for change. The country needs to do something different, needs to go in a very different direction. It's a harder case to make. The economic statistics are on Governor Romney's side. History will tell you no incumbent period of any party has been re-elected with an economy like this. But people are slow to change things they like and they like President Obama personally. So he needs to make the case you might like him, he has failed, and then he has to make the case, and I have a plan to make your life different and better.
BORGER: And they're talking to people who voted for President Obama in 2008. Those are the persuadables that they feel can make the difference in this election --
BORGER: It's a very fine line.
COOPER: But this is a man who does not like to talk about himself as we've seen on the stump.
ALEX CASTELLANOS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Not at all. He's a very private man in a public world. And that's a liability. He's not as accessible. But it's also a strength that gives him a certain stature. You know we're talking about somebody being president of the United States. And so it helps in a way. But when you're in a campaign like this, you're not looking just at what you have to do. What has to change at this convention for Mitt Romney to win, he has to get the spotlight back on the economy and off things like Medicare. Yes, he has to show us, you know we saw him through Ann Romney's eyes last night. Tonight he has to let us see him through our eyes. He has to open up a little bit and that's going to be a big challenge for him. But the most important thing, David is exactly right, the big problem is the economy. He has to convince us that the next four years are going to be better than the last four years if we vote for him.
COOPER: Donna, there are a lot of factual inaccuracies in Paul Ryan's speech last night that he received criticism from today. Do you expect kind of a level of detail like that from Mitt Romney tonight or no?
DONNA BRAZILE, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: I don't think Mitt Romney should repeat those misleading statements that caused Paul Ryan to get into so much trouble with fact checkers today. You know, Ann Romney convinced me that Mitt Romney can make us all laugh that at the end of the night we should want to go out and have a dance with him. I want to see if there's another side of Mitt Romney. The Mitt Romney that she introduced to us the other night, if that Mitt Romney shows up --
COOPER: So you think he needs to do that in the speech --
BRAZILE: Oh absolutely --
CASTELLANOS: She raised the bar.
BRAZILE: Yes, she raised the bar.
CASTELLANOS: She raised the bar I think at this convention.
BORGER: But you know they believe in the campaign that likability isn't -- it's not what they're after tonight. Sure, they'd like you to like him. But they really want you to think that he can make things better for you and your family.
BRAZILE: But how do you earn my trust if I don't like you?
BORGER: They go hand-in-hand. They do --
COOPER: That's the question we'll take a break on. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani down on the convention floor. We're going to talk to him shortly. Coming up Erin Burnett will ask him what he wants to hear from Mitt Romney tonight. Also ahead Mitt Romney opens up about his faith and his time as a leader in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. We'll be right back.
BLITZER: The National Convention, we're here in Tampa, the "Tampa Bay Times Forum". The Republican Convention getting ready for this important night here for the United States history unfolding right now. We're going to be speaking with Rudy Giuliani shortly. But "American Idol" winner Taylor Hicks is getting ready to sing at tonight's convention session as well and guess what, he's down with Dana Bash on the floor right now. Let's see if he sings a little bit for us, Dana. Are you going to make him sing?
DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Of course, Wolf. Come on. You know me. Of course I'm going to. But you're right. Taylor Hicks is here. Thank you very much.
TAYLOR HICKS, WON "AMERICAN IDOL" 2005: Thank you.
BASH: You won "American Idol" in 2005.
BASH: You're here tonight. This is your first convention, right?
HICKS: And I'm performing. What an honor.
BASH: And you're performing. You're going to be one of the musical acts right before the big speeches, Marco Rubio and Mitt Romney. How did that happen?
HICKS: I got the call a couple of weeks ago and it was one of those calls that you just -- as an entertainer you only dream about. And to be a part of the political process in America, whether you're Republican or you're Democrat, you got to jump at the chance and hopefully get out and vote and make a difference in this political election.
BASH: Are you a Romney supporter?
HICKS: Well, you know, I'm an American supporter. You know both candidates are running neck and neck. I think it's going to be a wonderful election and I'm excited about --
BASH: OK, so you're here performing right before Mitt Romney gives his acceptance speech, a huge speech, and you're not necessarily voting for him. Come on.
HICKS: I tell you what, I've opened up for James Brown a couple of times --
BASH: Yes, but he's not running for president.
HICKS: Never, never Mitt Romney --
BASH: But it's a big deal to be involved at a political event -- HICKS: It is.
BASH: Usually entertainers when they come --
HICKS: It is.
BASH: -- it's because they're supporters.
HICKS: It's going to be a great night.
BASH: You're not going there at all. All right, one other thing, I looked it up. You -- when you won "American Idol" you won with 64 million votes, right?
BASH: President Obama won with 65 million votes, so pretty close.
HICKS: I missed it by a million -- yes.
BASH: Give us a little bit of a preview --
HICKS: It's going to be a fun night.
BASH: Is that what we're going to hear up there?
HICKS: Yes -- oh yes.
BASH: Excellent. Will you give us a few bars --
HICKS: Taking it to the streets. That's what we got to do. We got to get out and rock the vote this year.
BASH: OK. Thank you so much, Taylor.
HICKS: You're welcome.
BASH: There you go, a preview for you, Wolf. But we don't know how he's going to vote.
BLITZER: Like it -- like it a lot. I like the music that's going on here as well, "The Temptations" a little bit and "My Girl", but this is GE Smith (ph) formerly of the "Saturday Night Live" band. Erin Burnett is on the floor. She's got another guest, New York, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani -- Erin.
ERIN BURNETT, HOST, "OUTFRONT": That's right. I'm here with the mayor. You had a little bit of runaround getting over here (INAUDIBLE)?
RUDY GIULIANI (R), FORMER NEW YORK MAYOR: Finding my way to the New York delegation took a while but I've been sitting here the last couple of nights so I'm very comfortable -- BURNETT: That's right. We are at the New York delegation. So let me ask you, I had a chance to look through the excerpts of Mitt Romney's speech, just excerpts, but it's a long speech. There were five pages of them. But I didn't see anything in there about -- much about personal life. Now maybe it's -- he's keeping that part to himself --
BURNETT: About personal life or --
GIULIANI: Well, I don't know, that's really probably something you can ad-lib more than you're going to have in the prepared remarks. The most important thing --
BURNETT: You think he's going to ad-lib?
GIULIANI: Well, or maybe, maybe it isn't in the remarks he's given out to all of you --
BURNETT: Yes, that's right. Right.
GIULIANI: But actually I'm not so concerned about that. What I'm concerned about is, is he going to lay out a policy direction that says to the American people there's a way out of this mess we're in. Because I actually think this whole thing about touchy feely and is he personable and is he likable enough. I think that's overdone this year. I've been around America. I think Americans want a competent leader who can get them out of the problem we're in. If he can make that sale, he wins. If he can't, well then it's anybody's ball game.
BURNETT: So how does he make that sale because you know he said things like, well I'm going to create 12 million jobs and you know those numbers may not be reasonable but he's put that out there. He said we're going to be energy independent by 2020 which by the way --
GIULIANI: Well I think --
BURNETT: -- say we're going to be without his plan but --
GIULIANI: I think Paul Ryan gave him a good sort of road map to it. Here's what it's called. Investing in people rather than government. Start reducing government expenditures. Start reducing taxes. Start putting money back in the hands of these people. Because they'll spend it a lot better than government will spend it. I found as mayor of New York City, the best jobs program was the tax reduction. I put money back in your pocket. You're going to spend it. This lady is going to have a job. That's how America works. Obama is working on a different model and it's not the way America has generally succeeded.
BURNETT: Have you gotten to know him well? Obviously you were running against him last --
GIULIANI: I got to know him really well when I ran against him. He's a tough guy. BURNETT: Yes. That's right.
GIULIANI: I mean he was a very, very tough competitor, very smart. I don't envy President Obama debating him. He's going to be very tough. I don't envy him debating President Obama. One thing about President Obama is he's one very smart guy. It's going to be a heck of a race.
BURNETT: I'm curious, you know I stand here as a woman and I look at the challenges the party is going through with the social issues, and obviously you've got a lot of women speak and Mitt Romney's going to talk about women but you have this platform which if it got what it wanted, a constitutional amendment against abortion would mean no one can have an abortion in this country in any case. You're a pro-choice Republican --
GIULIANI: I am, but you assume that all women feel the way you feel. They don't --
BURNETT: I'm not saying how I feel --
GIULIANI: A lot of women --
BURNETT: -- but I know 75 percent of Americans say that they support abortion with the exemptions of rape or incest.
GIULIANI: There's still a lot of women who want to see abortion reduced, abortions eliminated. They want to see life respected. I mean that's an enormously important part of it too. Those polls, it depends on how you ask the question. If you say, do you want abortion, with only a few exceptions, you get a big answer. If you say do you want to just have abortion and no control, then it comes out the other way. Most Americans want to see fewer abortions.
BURNETT: That's right, most people do, but --
GIULIANI: Most Americans think that the ending of a life at whatever stage is a consequential thing.
GIULIANI: So it goes back and forth. It depends on how you talk about it and it depends on who you're talking to.
BURNETT: But I'm talking to you, and you're a pro-choice Republican.
GIULIANI: I am, but I am very comfortable in a party that has a different view on that than I do.
BURNETT: You are.
GIULIANI: Because I understand and respect their viewpoint. Maybe having grown up as a Catholic I understand their viewpoint. I don't think women in large numbers are going to vote on abortion this year. I think they're going to vote on whether they have a job whether their husbands have a job, whether their children have a job. I have children. They are pretty young. I know exactly what Paul Ryan was talking about, about that picture of Barack Obama looking pretty bad right now on their wall because they can't get a job or they have a job for half of what they thought they were going to make. Women are very affected by that. Men are very -- and children are. So I think there's a lot more to this election than these social issues that we've been fighting about for 30 years.
BURNETT: All right, we'll see if it will close the gender gap. All right thanks. Good to see you, Mayor, as always.
GIULIANI: Thank you.
BURNETT: Appreciate it. Back to you guys.
COOPER: Erin, thank you very much. John and Cindy McCain spoke with our Piers Morgan. He asked them if the Republican Party is anti-woman. You're going to want to hear the answer ahead. Also ahead, a rare moment for Mitt Romney. He opens up about his faith and his time as a Mormon Church leader.
BLITZER: Been waiting for the big speech. You're looking at live pictures inside the convention hall here in Tampa. We're watching what's going on. So is Piers Morgan. He's here with me right now. And Piers you had a chance, you caught up with the man who was the Republican presidential nominee four years ago and his wife Cindy.
PIERS MORGAN, HOST, CNN'S "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT": He's the perfect guy to talk to. Because of course he beat Mitt Romney and then he lost to Barack Obama. As he said to me a little earlier, no one knows more about how to lose to Barack Obama than I do, so I'm not the right guy to ask, but actually he is the right guy to ask. He knows exactly how Mitt Romney will be feeling today. Also remember when John McCain made his speech at the same event four years ago things weren't going too badly and then Sarah Palin gave him this huge impetus. It was only afterwards the huge financial crash began and he suddenly dropped seven points in the polls, as he reminded me, but a fascinating encounter. He's a great character, as you know, and I think it brought back a little bit of sweet memories for him.
MORGAN: Senator McCain, Mrs. McCain, welcome.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Thank you.
CINDY MCCAIN, WIFE OF JOHN MCCAIN: Thank you.
MORGAN: Unfortunately --
J. MCCAIN: Thanks for having us back.
MORGAN: -- just before the hour, we let you have beer in the CNN Grill I'm afraid.
J. MCCAIN: Actually I think that's gin.
MORGAN: You're in a unique position because you beat Mitt Romney in a presidential campaign and you lost to Barack Obama. There's no one better to talk about at this stage of the campaign than you. What is your take?
J. MCCAIN: I think he's in pretty good shape and obviously I have enormous bias in this judgment. But he had a very good speech by his vice presidential candidate selection, which I think surprised some people that Paul Ryan would be as forceful and convincing as he was last night. His wife, Ann, did a very good job on opening night. And so tonight it's kind of up to him. But what he's got to fight is the unfavorables that are the result of hundreds of millions of dollars of attack ads by the Obama campaign where he was heavily outspent. He won't be after the convention. And also, I think the -- the Americans are very unhappy with our economy but they want to see a path forward. And I think that Paul Ryan last night kind of laid that out.
MORGAN: Were you pleased (INAUDIBLE) to see the issue of faith being openly discussed now by the hierarchy --
C. MCCAIN: Yes.
MORGAN: -- when Paul Ryan, I thought it was a very smart thing to say actually --
C. MCCAIN: Yes.
MORGAN: I'm not a Mormon but we share common values and morality. I thought that was a very clever way of actually killing the Mormon issue as a problem.
C. MCCAIN: Exactly.
MORGAN: Is that what you thought?
C. MCCAIN: It's about strong values, strong American values which we all share. It's about two men and their wives of course that could possibly be the top tier of this government being not only strong in what they believe and strong in their faith but believing in what's best for the country and moving forward, not putting their personal interests first.
J. MCCAIN: I think also that there is questions about the Mormon faith, as you know, and I think that Ann talking about it and I am convinced that Mitt will talk about it --
C. MCCAIN: Yes. J. MCCAIN: -- and to tell people that his faith is part of his life and that's what's made him the person he is today. Because, you know, the Mormon faith has come under significant scrutiny and attack from time to time --
MORGAN: But I think a lot of that is down to the fact he's refused to discuss it and I think that's been a strategic error actually because I thought if he talked about it openly more often, the kind of cult element stigma that's being attached to it may have dissipated a bit because you know in the end it's one of many religions in America. There are many, many Mormons in America. It didn't have to quite be the stigma that it's been allowed to grow into.
J. MCCAIN: And the Mormon faith requires that people go on missions --
J. MCCAIN: Now he has said in the past that his mission was one of the important phases of his life
J. MCCAIN: It's really remarkable. They take these young men and women and send them to a foreign country. They're kind of on their own. Their job is to recruit people for their faith but it broadens them enormously.
MORGAN: Last week, the Todd Akin rile blowup, and to me, it's still strange that you have Mitt Romney who clearly has moved around on, say, an issue like abortion. Paul Ryan has move toward Mitt Romney sort of compromise position, that there should be exceptions. The GOP platform still resolutely insists there cannot be any abortions even in the cases of rape, incest or health to the mother.
As a Republican, how do you feel about that?
C. MCCAIN: I'm sorry for that. As a woman, I'm sorry for that. We don't agree on that issue. I mean, clearly, John and I take a different stand on that.
But it's also not the most important issue that is driving this campaign. I think outside sources are driving it. But that's not what -- as a woman and as, you know, people here, we're concerned about the economy.
MORGAN: I suppose the problem is what it does, it lends something to the argument that the Republican Party is anti-woman.
J. MCCAIN: I agree with you, it was harmful to our party. Second of all, the platform, some wags said at one point, it's what you stand on during the convention and run away from during the campaign and the fact is people care what Mitt Romney's position is, which is the exceptions for rain, incest and the life of the mother. That's what they care about more. The third thing is I think that's important to keep in mind that what Mr. -- Congressman Akin was talking about was not abortion. It was about rape. And all of us find -- that's why all of us find that totally unacceptable what he said. We were offended that he should state such a thing.
And, by the way, getting the nomination of your party for the Senate or the presidency is a privilege. He has abused that privilege. That's why he should no longer be the candidate of the Republican Party in Missouri.
C. MCCAIN: I agree.
MORGAN: As Mitt Romney is sitting there in his hotel room no doubt stressing, eating pizza, fending off his grandchildren. You pace the room at the same day, at the same time, same importance for the same moment. What's your advice to him? As he's maybe making final amendments?
J. MCCAIN: I'm the loser, how should I --
J. MCCAIN: How am I qualified?
MORGAN: When you made that speech, you looked like you were going to be the winner.
J. MCCAIN: You know, it's hard to give advice. Except that, you know, one thing that you get, the cheapest commodity in politics is advice and everybody's got the answer. I can't tell you the number of people -- if you want to win, Senator McCain, all you've got to do is -- fill in the blank.
MORGAN: And the next person says the exact opposite.
J. MCCAIN: Exactly, exactly.
MORGAN: Senator, as always, great to see you.
J. MCCAIN: Good to be with you.
MORGAN: Pleasure to see you, Mrs. McCain.
C. MCCAIN: Thank you.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Coming up, the invocation. Tonight, the invocation is being given by a member the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Mormon Church. We have a number of people from different religions giving the invocations throughout this week.
But Mitt Romney personally wanted the man who's going to be giving the invocation, a former sheriff man who he has known for a very long time. We really have not heard Mitt Romney talk much about his faith on the campaign trail.
Let's listen in though to the invocation.
COOPER: That was Ken Hutchins, 75-year-old retired police chief from Walpole, Massachusetts. He's actually recovering from chemotherapy treatment. He has active lymphoma.
You, Gloria Borger, you spoke to Mitt Romney about his faith, something we anticipate hearing some of tonight.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, it's a story he doesn't talk about a lot, but when he was in Massachusetts, for almost 15 years, he was the leader of his congregation and the leader of the church in Massachusetts. And I asked him what that job entailed because the Mormon Church does not have a paid clergy so essentially Mitt Romney served as the pastor.
So take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORGER: What did that leadership role in the church mean to you? You had a lot of things going on in your life.
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, it's an unusual part of my faith in that we don't have a full-time ministry. There's no one paid to be the pastor and to conduct services on Sunday. And really no one who's in the full-time employ of the church to visit the sick and to care for the poor. And so, the church comes and says, we'd like you to do that, Mitt.
And so for about 10 years, I took responsibility for a congregation or a group of congregations and in that regard, I was like the pastor. And that meant if someone was in the hospital, I need to see them. If someone had lost their job, and couldn't afford to meet their rent payments and needed food or something of that nature, I was responsible for helping get them the financial aid they needed.
If there was someone contemplating a divorce and they wanted counseling, just as some of other faiths go to their pastor or the priest, they come to me, and talk about a growing up experience and a learning experience. You try your very best to align yourself with the Almighty and to know what God might say and of course you look to get direction from the church as well.
But I, you know, served in that way. That obviously draws you very close to people of all different backgrounds.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Gloria Borger talking to Mitt Romney.
Does it surprise, David, that he is going to talk about his faith tonight, or do you think this is part of him trying to open up more, trying to be more of a fully rounded person?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: What surprises me, he hasn't talked about it earlier.
BORGER: Me, too, believe me, it wasn't easy --
GERGEN: Once you begin to take the mystery out of it and you sort of let the walls down and you let people see, there is much about Mormonism -- I had the opportunity to go to Salt Lake and visit (INAUDIBLE), it's a religion which puts a great deal of emphasis on self-reliance. Does it have some odd beliefs to those of us who are Christians and Jews? Yes. We came down from Mars and talk to a Christian or Jew (INAUDIBLE)
COOPER: The other thing that's important to have this conversation is because this is central to who Mitt Romney is. He has been a major figure in the Mormon Church.
GERGEN: When you ask somebody to vote for you as president, you ask them to entrust you with enormous power, the most powerful office in the world. And they want to know who you are. They want to know they have trust in you. His faith and his family are deep anchors for him. I think he lost an opportunity not to talk about it earlier.
BORGER: When you talk to people in the Mormon Church about Mitt Romney, they describe him as a devout Mormon. And when you talk to members of his family, they say that is at Mitt Romney's core, that to know Mitt Romney you have to understand what he's done for the church. He tithes his income to the church for example. When he was 19 years old, he went to France for 2 1/2 years to convert the French --
COOPER: John, so what was the thinking on not doing it sooner? Afraid of turn of some evangelical voters?
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's ghosts from prior campaigns. Ghosts from hateful things said and done in other campaigns and against other candidates who -- largely about fear of South Carolina and the Republican primary, other places where evangelicals have such power.
I thought it was interesting last night that Mike Huckabee, an evangelical pastor, directly referred to it as well. You mentioned Paul Ryan earlier saying I'm a Catholic. We're a little bit different, but we share the same moral creed. Mike Huckabee directly dealt with the evangelical question to people in this hall.
He also is a very private person. So there are political reasons and then personal reasons. But part of picking a president is would you like this guy as your neighbor. And when you heard what Mitt Romney said, to David's point, I think he has lost some things by not sharing his experience.
COOPER: Yes, a lot more to talk about throughout this evening.
Let's go back to Wolf, though, for the latest -- Wolf.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks very much, and the delegates are certainly getting ready for a tribute to one of their biggest heroes here at the Republican convention. The former president of the United States, Ronald Reagan, a tribute to him. That's coming up. You're going to want to see it.
COOPER: Let's take a look. A video tribute to former President Ronald Reagan.
CROWD: Four more years! Four more years!
RONALD REAGAN, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Let history say of us these were golden years, when the American Revolution was reborn. When freedom gained new life and America reached for her best.
As we continue our journey, we think of those who traveled before us.
These are the boys of Pointe du Hoc. These are the men who took the cliffs. These are the champions who helped free a continent. These are the heroes who helped end a war.
And we see and hear again the echoes of our past. The song and the song echoes out forever and fills the unknowing air. It is the American sound. It is hopeful. Big hearted. Idealistic. Daring. Decent. And fair.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The first woman ever nominated to the Supreme Court of the United States.
REAGAN: That's our heritage. That's our song. We sing it still.
For all our problems, our differences, we are together as of old. We raise our voices to the God who is the author of this most tender music. And may he continue to hold us close as we fill the world with our sound in unity, affection and love.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody's looking forward to being able to help and that's what we're here to do.
REAGAN: One people. Under God.
Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.
Dedicated to the dream of freedom he has placed in the human heart.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Waving their new passports, they rushed forward, streaming across the border.
REAGAN: Called upon now to pass that dream of freedom on to a waiting and a hopeful world.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Speaker, the president of the United States.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Reagan will speak in his first public appearance since the shooting.
REAGAN: Thank you very much.
I have a letter with me. The letter came from Peter Sweeney. He's in the second grade in the riverside school in Rockville Center. And he said, I hope you get well quick. Or you might have to make a speech in your pajamas.
Whatever else history may say about me when I'm gone, I hope it will record that I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears. To your confidence rather than your doubts. In this springtime of hope, sunlight seems eternal. America is.
Thank you. God bless you. And God bless America.
ANNOUNCER: Please welcome former speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia and his wife, Callista Gingrich.
COOPER: -- remains probably the most popular figure in the Republican Party --
GERGEN: He does, Anderson. Ronald Reagan is to modern conservatives what Franklin Roosevelt was for Democrats. He's the iconic figure who inspired this new generation that you're seeing with Paul Ryan, somebody who's 40 something coming along.
But he had an appeal that transcended the conservativism. We've come through a rough period. We had the turmoil of the '60s. We had Vietnam. We had scandals. We began to lose faith in ourselves.
He came back and talked about what we could be, that "City on a Hill" as he liked to say, going back to pilgrims. And he inspired a lot of people who were not conservatives.
That's why I think the country has real nostalgia for what Reagan stood for.
COOPER: It is interesting to see that video and earlier we were talking about Mitt Romney trying to humanize himself. Reagan seemed to do that effortlessly.
GERGEN: When de Gaulle died, people said de Gaulle was great not because he was in France, because France was in him, and I think that many people felt that Reagan was great because America was in him.
A lot of people disagree about his politics but there was something about him which gave you a greater sense of faith in the country.
COOPER: Newt Gingrich and his wife Callista are speaking now about former President Reagan. Let's listen now.
NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The impact of his leadership is still evident today. While in office, President Reagan had three major goals: To restore the economy, to revive the American spirit, and to defeat totalitarianism, spreading democracy throughout the world.
CALLISTA GINGRICH, NEWT GINGRICH'S WIFE: By remaining true to his convictions through his belief in the American people and with tremendous optimism, President Reagan achieved these goals.
N. GINGRICH: It's striking how President Carter and President Obama both took our nation down a path that in four years weakened America's confidence in itself and our hope for a better future.
C. GINGRICH: Both weakened the respect for America abroad. Both increased government programs, filled with waste and inefficiency that failed to produce results. Both made promises they couldn't keep. And as a consequence of ineffective policies, both were unable to revive our economy and create jobs.
N. GINGRICH: For example, both crippled American energy production when there were better ways to develop and use our abundant energy resources. The Romney plan for North American energy independence is exactly the kind of bold visionary leadership Reagan believed in and it is what we need now.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
C. GINGRICH: The Reagan presidency also teaches us that there is a better way to put Americans back to work. Create millions of jobs. And help every American achieve success. The Reagan program of tax cuts, regulatory reform and spending controls worked.
N. GINGRICH: Reagan's belief in small business owners and entrepreneurs is a remarkable contrast with Obama's class warfare rhetoric, massive deficits and a passion for taxing those who create jobs. The Romney plan for a stronger middle class has deep roots in Ronald Reagan's approach.
C. GINGRICH: Reagan's commitment to reform welfare and to create a work requirement was a major achievement when he was governor of California. His pioneering work led to the historic welfare reform bill Congress and the president passed 30 years later. This bipartisan legislation reduced the size of government, made our country more competitive and put millions of Americans back to work.
N. GINGRICH: Tragically, President Obama gutted this achievement and, like Jimmy Carter, over four years, he produced little effective legislation that brought the two parties together in the interest of the nation. Obama's waiving of the work requirements in welfare reform is just one example of his direct repudiation of President Reagan's values. Obama's proud of what he's done, and of his politically motivated partisanship.
But he should be ashamed for putting politics before people.
C. GINGRICH: Governor Romney will return America to work and to the principles that are at the core of President Reagan's legacy. This year, the American people will once again have an important choice to make.
N. GINGRICH: Now, each of us must commit ourselves in the tradition of Ronald Reagan, to come together. President Reagan said there is no substitution for victory. And this November we cannot settle for anything less. This --
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
N. GINGRICH: This is the most critical election of our lifetime. Each of us must do our part now to ensure that America remains in the tradition of President Reagan, a land of freedom, hope and opportunity. Thank you and God bless you and God bless America.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
COOPER: -- Callista talking about the legacy of Ronald Reagan.
John King is joined by a special guest here in the sky box -- John.
KING: The Ohio Governor John Kasich. Governor, I want to get to the map and go through some of the Midwest states. I'm going to come on for the '08 one, first the map you don't like when President Obama won the election.
I want to first ask you about something Speaker Gingrich just said. The White House says that welfare attack that we hear from the Romney campaign, the Republican, they say it's not fair, that it is governors who asked for this waiver authority so they could come up with new more flexible ways to actually have the work requirement, not gut the work requirement. Is the White House right?
GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: You know, John, I'm not an expert on this. In fact, I was asked to sign a letter before I came down here and I didn't have a chance to review it. Welfare law as it was written, if you're going to change it though and you're the president, you got to talk to the people that wrote it, because the change in welfare has really been very, very positive for the country and it's helped to move people off of generational dependence. So I'm going to dig into it when I get back and I'll have more to say about it.
KING: Let's dig into this map. I want to circle this area here, right first, your state, Ohio, is here. You see all this blue. These are states the president carried back in '08. It's a big area that Governor Romney is targeting right now.
When the president said, no, Governor Romney won't do well out here, here's what the president would say. Here was the unemployment rate in Wisconsin when he took office, it's down a little bit.
And we come out and we come over the state of Michigan, also a key battleground state. A new poll out there shows a dead heat. The president will say here's where it was when I took office. It's a little better now.
In your state of Ohio, Governor, let me move this one down, the president would say, here's what it was when I took office. Here's what it is now.
If he's to blame for everything, if Republicans say he's to blame for most things, then doesn't he get some credit for this too?
KASICH: Well, you know, it's interesting, John, all three states have one thing in common. Republican governors that have been very reform oriented. When I came in, we were tax and spend and duck, we balanced our budget, we cut taxes, we've streamlined regulations and we've grown 122,000 jobs.
They claim it's the auto industry. We're glad there's auto jobs there. But let me tell you, it is 122,000, 1,200 are connected to the auto industry.
And when you look at Ohio, compared to the surrounding states, we're outperforming all of them. The reason why it's working in Ohio is we set people free to create prosperity. I got to tell you, every month, I worry about the head winds that come from Washington -- the indecision, the high tax, the high debt. It's paralyzing people's ability to create jobs.
KING: Let me ask you something about this campaign. And I'm going to use the map again, I'm going to circle right up here. You know the state now. You've run statewide. There's the Cleveland suburbs up there -- Hamilton County, right down here is Cincinnati. That was blue in '08, shocked a lot of Republicans.
Now I want to go back, George W. Bush carries this state narrowly over Kerry. What's the difference, he wins Hamilton County and he wins up in the Cleveland suburbs. Can Mitt Romney make these places that Barack Obama was able to turn blue, if Mitt Romney is to win this state, and a lot of people think this is the deciding state, can he win in the suburbs?
KASICH: It's about the wallet, John. This debate is going to be does this wallet get fatter if Mitt Romney's president and can he show people that? Because people are hurting in our state. We've reduced unemployment but it's very high.
But the issues, the old bread and butter issue of jobs. They're going to have a debate. Obama's going to say things have gotten a little better. Romney's going to say, I know how to really fix it -- and to give people an acceleration of some of the improvement that we've seen.
I need a new partner down there. You've known me for a long time. Everything in politics for me, I need to have a partner that's going to create stability, reduce debt and stop threatening big increases. It will help my state.
KING: Governor Kasich, I maybe your taxpayer by the time this one is over. We're going to spend a lot of time in Ohio.
KASICH: I'll look forward to seeing you there. Thank you. Glad to be with you.
KING: A big night ahead. Of course, Mitt Romney's big speech to accept the Republican nomination. That's a bit later tonight. Rising stars in the party including Senator Marco Rubio, too. Stay with us. Our coverage continues.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NARRATOR: A child of politics and privilege.
ROMNEY: There are better days ahead when we get a better leader in Washington.
NARRATOR: A man of faith and family.
ROMNEY: We will do everything to keep America strong.
NARRATOR: A life in business and public service.
ROMNEY: It is not government that makes us great. It is the people of America.