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GOP "Earthquake": Cantor Loses; Is Compromise Dead?; Bergdahl Agreement No Taliban Tracking Guarantee; Stranded Flier Shoots Music Video In Empty Airport

Aired June 11, 2014 - 07:00   ET


JOHN KING, CNN HOST, "INSIDE POLITICS": Good morning to you guys and let's keep going on this fascinating political story. 65,000 votes in one Virginia congressional district last night have changed American politics, and let's get a sense of just how deeply they have.

Robert Costa of "The Washington Post" and Jonathan Martin of "The New York Times" here with me this morning. Let's first hear from the winner and loser because Eric Cantor last night was one of the most powerful politicians in America, one of the top Republicans in America. Listen to him here. You know, he just lost.


REP. ERIC CANTOR (R-VA), MAJORITY LEADER: Obviously we came up short. It's disappointing, sure. But I believe in this country.


KING: The winner, an economics professor named Dave Brat, who now last night 7:00 was an unknown. Now he is a Tea Party national hero. Listen.


DAVID BRAT (R), VIRGINIA CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: It's not about Dave Brat winning tonight. It's about returning the country to constitutional principles. It's about returning the country to Judea Christian principles.


KING: There are 435 House districts in the United States of America so you might be asking if you live outside of state of Virginia why does this matter to me? Eric Cantor was the majority leader. It's never happened before. Defeated in an election, let alone a primary election.

Let's get to this with Robert and with Jonathan and let's put the results up as we do. Dave Brat wins with 36,110 votes. That's 56 percent. Robert, I want to get to the smugness issue here. Eric Cantor lost this race as much as Dave Brat won it. Two years ago, Eric Cantor got 37,000 votes, 9,000 fewer votes this time. He simply violated rule number one in politics, go home. ROBERT COSTA, "THE WASHINGTON POST": He did not go home a lot. There's a real question about what Eric Cantor's strategy in his home district. He spent over a million dollars on ads and mailers and heavily negative against Dave Brat. Brat was saying last night that it did.

KING: At the Virginia Republican Convention this past weekend, Jonathan, some people got a sense, there was the warning was late, but people got a sense, whoa, there's something brewing here. I'm told the establishment went to Eric Cantor's team and said, can we help you at the last minute? Do you have a problem? No, we got this.

JONATHAN MARTIN, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": He never saw outside help you have seen in these primaries in part because of what bob said. The fact that he himself thought he was rushing to the rescue. He was putting up a lot of TV ads, mailers, tried to veer to the right on immigration because that was the central issue here, that he was insufficiently tough when it came to the immigration issue and that, I think, is what hurt Cantor a great deal.

To your point, John, he was constantly on the road, raising money for candidates out there, campaigning for candidates across the country, a lot of time in Washington and New York. And the fact is, he was not home at least physically and spiritually enough.

KING: And spending 50 grand a pop at D.C. steakhouses with his political team. If you're going to spend 50 grand at a steakhouse, do it in your home district, not in Washington, D.C. The reason this matters is the majority leader controls the calendar. He was the policy guy. He was arguably the most conservative member of the House Republican leadership. Now he's been defeated. The instant question this morning is, his term runs through January. Can he stay on as majority leader through then? Will the right say step down now?

COSTA: There's going to be immense pressure on Eric Cantor to step down, to let someone else take the ahead of the midterms, help guide the party. This is such a significant loss. You have the majority leader getting a direct and sudden rebuke that the Tea Party that was able to upset him at his home district, they are now going to be looking for some fresh voices in Washington.

KING: Fresh voices in Washington, whether he steps down or not, even having that conversation, Jonathan, even having that fight, you know, we have this intermittent conversation about are we going to try to do modest immigration reforms. What will happen the next time debt ceiling comes up? Is Speaker Boehner now going to take a half step forward looking around nervously? Is compromise in Washington dead?

MARTIN: There's almost certainly not going to be an immigration bill this year and probably very hard to do it next year, too. The fact is, if you are a conservative in the House, now is your time. You look at the leadership and you see who is left. John Boehner, a sort of center right, Ohio Republican, Kevin McCarthy, profile from California. That House is full of southern and red state conservatives. They are going to demand to have one of their own in power now. KING: So the great question is, you know, again, one result, one race, can things get exaggerated? The race we were looking at last night to see if there was a Tea Party surprise was going to be we thought weeks or months ago in South Carolina. Remember, the conservative, Senator Lindsay Graham, well, he wanted to do immigration reform.

He's talked about cooperating with President Obama on some issues. Guess what, he won big. He got the 50 percent and maybe he hadn't been briefed on the Virginia results because listen to Lindsay Graham here saying it's time to do immigration reform and time for the Republicans to reach out to non-white voters.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Don't take our party, don't write our party off. Make the other party earn your vote. Give us a chance, folks. Take another look at the Republican Party and I hope we will all see something that you haven't had in a while, real hope.


KING: Take another look at the Republican Party, Lindsey Graham says there. I want to add in the man I think may lose the most from this, the current Democratic president of the United States. Democrats are celebrating today. They think the Tea Party has taken over the Republican Party. But if you're President Obama and you want to get things done, immigration or gun control, was it due to the chances? Here's the president after that shooting in Oregon yesterday.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Why aren't we doing something about this? I will tell you, I have been in Washington for a while now and most things don't surprise me. The fact that 26-year- olds were gunned down in the most violent fashion possible and this town couldn't do anything about it was stunning to me.


KING: Is there any reasonable prognosis of the Republican leadership. Now sitting down with the Democratic president between now and the election, we can talk about 2015 after that, but between now and the election, doing anything?

ACOSTA: When you speak of the Republican leadership, what are you talking about?

KING: That's great question, isn't it?

ACOSTA: Eric Cantor, as majority leader, was not just the person who ran the floor and brought bills to a vote, this was the heart and soul of a reform movement within the Republican Party to try to address issues like immigration even though he never brought up a bill, he was always part of the efforts to get toward a bill, get toward a vote. Now he's gone. John Boehner was his way out the door talking to his friends last night, looking at retirement. Kevin McCarthy, the Whip from California as Jonathan said, the Republican leadership, who is the president going to work with? Cantor is gone. Boehner may be out. It's in disarray.

MARTIN: Rank in file is scared stiff because of what happened last night. Not to some Rockefeller guy, but to a conservative from Virginia who got ousted --

KING: This is not a liberal Republican.

MARTIN: From New York. Yes. This will resonate. There's no chance for compromise this year. This city is going to be more polarized now.

KING: I would make this point then, President Obama suffers in the end even though he celebrated because the Republican leadership now can't see any chance of compromise before the election. We'll see if they have the courage to do immigration after the election. The winner could be Hillary Clinton or whoever the Democratic nominee is down the road because if Republicans don't deal with this Latino crisis, the Democrats are stronger when it comes to presidential politics. Hillary Clinton could be the big winner this morning.

As we get back to New York, let's close with a little bit of humor here. Some might not find this so funny, but listen to Seth Meyers here talking about the president's trip to Starbucks and how he paid.


SETH MEYERS, HOST, "LATE NIGHT": President Obama surprised tourists by walking to a Starbucks near the White House. Even more surprising, he traded five Taliban members for a Grande soy latte.


KING: Some might not find that funny, but it tells you a lot, Brooke and Chris, when the late night funnies breakthrough on the big political stories.

CUOMO: Well, look, I think there's humor in all of it, John. Your boy Seth Meyers is cutting close to the bone because the more we learn about this deal with the trade the more suspect it becomes into what he traded those five guys before. We're going to take that on later in the show. Thank you very much as always, my brother.

KING: Thank you, guys.

CUOMO: Coming up here on NEW DAY, are we really keeping an eye on those Taliban prisoners? They've been dropped off in Qatar, now what? It's up to the Qataris, right? Are they up to the task? Any reason to believe that? We'll ask Congressman Adam Shift. He got a look at the agreement.

BALDWIN: Also ahead, what do you do -- CUOMO: Wow, that's how pitched.

BALDWIN: What do you do when you're stuck at the Vegas airport overnight? This, party, gamble, sleep? This guy is singing and it's all over the internet. We're going to share it in our must see moment here on NEW DAY.


CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY. New information this morning about the deal that dropped five Taliban prisoners off in Qatar. The deal was, we thought, the Qataris would keep an eye on them, monitor them so we could avoid the obvious, which is them returning to the battlefield against the United States. But California Democrat Adam Schiff tells CNN, he's read the memorandum of understanding between Qatar and the United States and he doesn't understand it because it contains no guarantees that the Taliban leaders would be tracked.

We have Congressman Schiff joining us from Washington right now. This is very important for several reasons and you have even more legitimacy on the issue because you are a Democrat and you are saying you have reservations about this deal. Why? What did you see in there or not see, Representative?

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: It's not that the Qataris are not going to try. There's no guarantee of success. They are going to make every effort to keep track of these guys for among other reasons it would be deeply embarrassing of the gunneries if they lose sight of these five. Even the Taliban leadership probably has incentive not to violate the deal because they have a relationship with the Qatari government.

But notwithstanding those best efforts there's no guarantee that they will succeed and beyond that when the year is up, then I think really all bets are off and we have to prudently expect that some of them are going to return to the fight. That's what made this a very tough call by the president.

I do respect that call. We have one commander-in-chief. We can't have 535 people trying to make this decision for him or collectively, but I think it was a very tough decision and I think we have to be mindful of the risks involved.

CUOMO: All right, but hold on because I hear a little bit of the administration bleeding through in that answer. You can't have 535 commanders-in-chief for sure, but there was a law in place here to consult with all 435 members here to get Congress behind this and it was avoided by the administration. So there is more burden on them to make the case, don't you think? When you look at the deal can you stand there, Representative, and say I stand by this deal. This is a good deal. There are good assurances in it?

SCHIFF: Look, I've said before, I think the administration should have consulted with Congress. I think they should have certainly informed the leadership in Congress when this was going forward. Constitutionally the president does have the power to do it without consulting with us under Article II so he acted within his constitutional authority.

But that doesn't mean that it was wise not to bring confidence -- bring the Congress into his confidence about that. I think at least certainly the gang of eight of the top leadership should have been brought in. Notwithstanding that, in terms of the merits of the deal, we got an American back and we had to pay a stiff price for it. And that's why this deal, I think, is very tough. I can respect it.

I think it was a tough call. I don't know that I would have made the same call but at the same time we have one commander-in-chief. And when the commander makes a tough decision, I think you stand by your commander-in-chief and I do.

CUOMO: Erin Burnett has gone there. She's been in Doha and Qatar. She says there's pretty broad-based support of the Taliban there, which does not suggest they're going to have hard line monitoring of these individuals, right? If it's unpopular at home why should we have any level of confidence that the Qatar authorities will do what we cannot?

SCHIFF: Look, I think they are going to make their best efforts. We have our own independent intelligence assets that we're going to put into play to try to keep track of these people. I think it would be deeply embarrassing if not humiliating for the Qataris do lose sight of these people. So I think they will try. The bigger problem is likely to come a year from now when they are allowed to travel and I think really all bets are off.

But, you know, I don't think at the end of the day even though there's added risk here that it changes the equation that much in terms of the Taliban's power vis-a-vis the Afghan government. That's probably the broadest strategic consideration the president had in mind. We get an American back. The strategic situation doesn't change and that's probably why he made this hard call.

CUOMO: Look, I'm with you in terms of what the ultimate goal is and I actually think the administration's better argument here is that Gitmo is going to close. These guys are going to go back anyway. President Bush sent back hundreds of them. We don't know where any of them are. At least we have some strings on these guys. I think that's the compelling argument.

But you're saying they're going to try their best and their best efforts. Where is that confidence come from? What record do we have of watching this foreign government or any foreign government other than Israel looking out for bad guys for the United States?

SCHIFF: Well, look, the record is not very supportive. Many of these people have gone back to the fight many times when governments have tried to so-called reform these people. They have not succeeded. So there are, as I say, there's no guarantee of success here and that's why this was a tough call. But I'm more concerned frankly of what happens a year from now from I am within the year. I think the combination of the efforts and our own will mitigate the risks. But they won't eliminate those risks all together. CUOMO: I also hope you guys, Congressman, are keeping your eye on what's happening in Iraq right now because politically it's so popular to pull out the U.S. forces from Afghanistan and Iraq because it brings them back home, but we're seeing what the future may hold not just with these five Taliban guys, but what happens when the U.S. leaves a place that is inherently unstable.

Thank you, Congressman Schiff, for joining us and giving us perspective on this deal, such as it is. Thank you. All right, Brooke.

BALDWIN: All right, Chris, thank you. Congressman, thank you for your time.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, bumped off a flight and stuck in an airport overnight. We've all been there, but have we been there? This guy spent his time getting a little creative and now this video has gone viral. We will show you what he did in our must see moment of the morning.


PEREIRA: Triumphant return of today's must-see moment. What does one do when they are bumped off a couple of flights stuck in the airport all night long? Georgia lighting designer, Richard Dunn, a Canadian, found himself in this predicament and answered the question in a YouTube video that has gone viral.

The agony, the drama. He shot this version at McCarron International in Vegas using his iPad and using creative measures like propping up his iPad on a luggage rack using a ruler and some tape.

CUOMO: Flash dance.

PEREIRA: He said in the middle of it, he was laughing so hard at himself going to all these lengths and then he realized maybe it is not that funny. Maybe I'm just really, really tired, because it was like 2:00 a.m.

BALDWIN: You are in Vegas for a couple of days.

PEREIRA: It is great. It is fantastic.

CUOMO: Very well done. Only two red flags. The one, hanging outside the ladies room and knowing the Celine Dion song that well questionable.

PEREIRA: A violation he said it was a guilty pleasure. She is Canadian. He is Canadian.

BALDWIN: What is the list, 80 items long? Google man.

PEREIRA: He has to carry it around in an iPad.

CUOMO: It was very well done and did give a little levity of one of the harshest brands of suck, being stuck in an airport. BALDWIN: After Vegas, it was all a blur.

PEREIRA: I think that's why he was so punchy.

CUOMO: Or it is all a ruse. He didn't miss his flight. It wasn't a layover. He was in Vegas.

Coming up on NEW DAY while you digest that one, the most shocking political turn around probably yet. We have a Tea Party unknown beating the House majority leader in a primary. How did it happen? What does it mean for the GOP? Why are the Democrats smiling? We are going to discuss why this could be bad news for the president.

BALDWIN: Also ahead today, a decision that could change schools across the country. A judge tosses out the tenure rules for teachers in the state of California. What does that mean for you? More importantly, what does that mean for your children and where in the battle do they lie next?



CANTOR: It's disappointing, sure but I believe in this country.


CUOMO: Primary shocker, one of the most powerful Republicans in Congress, Eric Cantor, the House majority leader out and a Tea Party candidate in. No one saw this coming. We are tracking it all.

BALDWIN: Taken too soon. Another school shooting. Another life taken far too early. The freshman killed, now identified. Friends and family mourning as we learn new details about how the gunman carried out his plot.

PEREIRA: Tenure terminated. A California judge rules teacher tenure unconstitutional and that it is harming children. The ruling sent a shock wave through the educational system. The union fighting back. We have the latest.

CUOMO: Your NEW DAY continues right now.

Good morning. Welcome back to NEW DAY. It is Wednesday, June 11th, 8:00 in the east. Brooke Baldwin here this morning in for Kate. Thank you for being with us.