Entries in CNN (8)


Rick Santorum Still Won’t Endorse Mitt Romney

ABC/ DONNA SVENNEVIK(NEW YORK) -- Rick Santorum went up to the edge of endorsing Mitt Romney Tuesday evening, but failed to pull the trigger despite many attempts by CNN’s Piers Morgan to get him to say the word.

Clearly frustrated by Santorum dancing around the endorsement of Romney, Morgan at one point said, “Spit it out.”

“He’s the person that is going to go up against Barack Obama it’s pretty clear and we need to win this race. We need to beat Barack Obama,” Santorum said about Romney.

Morgan then said, “You just endorsed Mitt Romney?”

Santorum told Morgan he “can call it whatever you want.”

Morgan then tried Santorum’s wife Karen, who also took part in the interview, and asked her if she saw his words of praise of the presumptive GOP nominee as an endorsement.

“No, not at this point, no, we are working through it. We are talking about it,” Karen Santorum said.

The former rival also praised Romney’s speech in New Hampshire, calling it a “good speech” and saying, “He set the right tone.”

“The tone was this race is about Barack Obama and his failures,” Santorum said. “He’s got an optimistic vision for this country and I’m very glad to see that. He painted a strong picture. It’s a very clear contrast to what this president has brought this country.”

Santorum said he would be meeting with Romney staffers Wednesday. ABC News reported earlier Tuesday that Santorum will meet with Romney on May 4.

The former Pennsylvania senator also said he has been hearing some of himself in Romney’s recent speeches.

“I was in St. Louis at the NRA, listened to his speech on freedom and heard a lot of familiar refrains, which I was actually pleased to hear,” Santorum said. “Imitation is the greatest form of flattery, and so when I hear a familiar line from another candidate that makes me feel like maybe we had an impact out there.”

Morgan asked Santorum if he was holding out an endorsement for money to relieve his debt or even a cabinet post in a potential Romney administration.

Karen Santorum quickly answered, “No, we are not doing that.”

“That’s not what this is about,” Rick Santorum said. “I mean this is about winning the election. Making sure we have the right person in the presidency, in the House and Senate.”

Towards the end of the interview, Morgan again tried to get the former presidential candidate to clearly endorse Romney, or at least to admit that he already had during their back and forth. Santorum didn’t say the word "endorse" once during the interview.

“All I said was the obvious, which is Mitt Romney is going to be the nominee and I’m going to support the nominee, whoever that nominee is, period,” Santorum said.

Morgan pointed out that was Romney. Santorum answered, “Well that’s what it looks like, yeah.”

“If he is the nominee I’m going to do everything I can to make sure he beats Barack Obama, absolutely. That’s why I got into the race,” Santorum said, still choosing not to fully embrace Romney.

Morgan also asked Santorum if he would want to share a ticket with Romney.

“I’m not interested in any position,” Santorum said, and wouldn’t comment on whether there are any others he thought should be on Romney’s vice presidential short list.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


WH Chief of Staff Errs on Senate Budget Rules

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- As President Obama prepares to unveil his FY2013 budget Monday, White House chief of staff Jack Lew was asked by CNN Sunday morning to defend the Senate’s refusal to pass a budget in more than 1,000 days.

“You can’t pass a budget in the Senate of the United States without 60 votes and you can’t get 60 votes without bipartisan support,” Lew said. “So unless… unless Republicans are willing to work with Democrats in the Senate, [Majority Leader] Harry Reid is not going to be able to get a budget passed.”

That’s not accurate. Budgets only require 51 Senate votes for passage, as Lew -- former director of the Office of Management and Budget -- should know.

White House officials did not dispute that Lew misspoke. When asked about the discrepancy, a White House official said “the chief of staff was clearly referencing the general gridlock in Congress that makes accomplishing even the most basic tasks nearly impossible given the Senate Republicans’ insistence on blocking an up or down vote on nearly every issue.”

The issue highlights the difficulty the White House is having running against an obstructionist Congress when half of that Congress is controlled by Democrats, who obstruct things for their own reasons. In this case, political observers believe Reid is reluctant to have Democrats vote on a large budget full of deficits and tax increases that Republicans can use to run against them.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Tensions Run High Between Romney, Perry at Las Vegas Debate

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(LAS VEGAS) -- At the feistiest debate of the presidential campaign, Herman Cain came under fire, Rick Perry came prepared and Mitt Romney came to defend his status as the candidate to beat in the fight for the Republican presidential nomination.

In the midst of a particularly volatile period in the primary cycle, the candidates threw some of their sharpest elbows yet. They got angry and at one point they even got physical.

It was Perry’s fifth debate as a presidential candidate, and after stumbling in some of his earlier outings and fading into the background at last week’s showdown in New Hampshire, he roared back onto the scene on Tuesday night, unveiling a fresh attack on Romney.

At the CNN-Western Republican Leadership Conference debate in Las Vegas, Perry attempted to turn an issue that has been seen as an area of weakness for the Texas governor -- illegal immigration -- into an instrument of destruction against his rival.

“You lose all of your standing from my perspective because you hired illegals in your home, and you knew about it for a year,” Perry said. “The idea that you stand here before us and talk about that you’re strong on immigration is on its face the height of hypocrisy.”

Romney fiercely denied the accusation, which is based on a five-year-old news report that the former Massachusetts governor had employed two illegal immigrants to do yard work.

“Rick, I don’t think I’ve ever hired an illegal in my life,” Romney shot back, "and so I’m afraid -- I’m looking forward to finding your facts on that.”

“Well, I’ll tell you what the facts are,” Perry began to say, before being interrupted by a fuming Romney, who moments later laid a hand on his opponent’s shoulder.

“I’m speaking, I’m speaking, I’m speaking,” shouted Romney, who later scolded the Texas governor: “I’m running for office, for Pete’s sake, I can’t have illegals.”

[Watch the exchange between Mitt Romney and Rick Perry here]

The testy moment reflected deepening tensions between the Romney and Perry campaigns, with both sides contesting the GOP presidential nomination with renewed urgency as the clock ticks down to the nation’s early primaries and caucuses.

But in recent days, Romney and Perry have had to make way for a new contender, businessman Herman Cain, who has taken the race by storm with his so-called 9-9-9 economic plan. That proposal came under withering criticism from rival candidates Tuesday night.

“The reason that my plan -- the reason that our plan is being attacked so much is because lobbyists, accountants, politicians, they don’t want to throw out the current tax code and put in something that’s simple and fair.  They want to continue to be able to manipulate the American people with a 10-million-word mess,” Cain said. “Let’s throw out the 10-million-word mess and put in our plan, which will liberate the American workers and liberate American businesses.”

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum said he admired Cain’s “boldness,” but, “the fact of the matter is, I mean, reports are now out that 84 percent of Americans would pay more taxes under his plan.”

Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann found reason to take issue with Cain as well.

“One thing I know about Congress, being a member of Congress for five years, is that any time you give the Congress a brand new tax, it doesn’t go away,” she said.

And Perry dismissed it, too.

“Herman, I love you, brother, but let me tell you something, you don’t need to have a big analysis to figure this thing out. Go to New Hampshire, where they don’t have a sales tax, and you’re fixing to give them one,” he said. “They’re not interested in 9-9-9.”

Cain accused his detractors of “mixing apples and oranges.”

“Unfortunately, none of my distinguished colleagues who have attacked me up here tonight understand the plan,” said the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO, who has recently passed Perry in most national polls has even crept past Romney in a few.

“Will the people in Nevada not have to pay Nevada sales tax and in addition pay the nine-percent tax?” Romney asked Cain, who replied “no, no, no, no” and again accused Romney of mixing up his fruits.

“Fine,” Romney said. “And I’m going to be getting a bushel basket that has apples and oranges in it because I’ve got to pay both taxes, and the people in Nevada don’t want to pay both taxes.”

And while the back-and-forth over the economic effects of Cain’s plan dominated the early part of Tuesday night’s exchange, held in an auditorium just off the Las Vegas Strip, Romney also found himself on the receiving end of attacks over the health care law he supported as governor of Massachusetts.

Santorum accused Romney of passing his own version of “Obamacare.”

“What you did is exactly what Barack Obama did,” Santorum said, “focused on the wrong problem.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Viva Las Vegas? Maybe Not for Jon Huntsman

Charlie Neibergall-Pool/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Jon Huntsman is gaining traction in New Hampshire, but that might not be enough to secure his spot in CNN’s Western Republican Presidential Debate in Las Vegas next month. The former governor is polling between one percent and two percent nationally, putting his debate spot in jeopardy.

In order to take the stage of the Oct. 18 debate, CNN states: “A person must receive an average of at least 2.00 percent in at least three national polls released between September 1st and October 16th that were conducted by the following organizations: ABC, AP, Bloomberg, CBS News/New York Times, CNN, FOX, Gallup, Los Angeles Times, Marist, McClatchy, NBC, Newsweek, Pew, Quinnipiac, Reuters, USA Today and Time.” Huntsman has reached two percent in only two of the polls listed. If he does not reach at least two percent in one more of the accepted polls, he will not be allowed to participate.

CNN’s Washington bureau chief, Sam Feist, tells the New York Times: “To be clear, it’s the same exact standard we’ve had for all our debates.”

While Huntsman has remained in single digits since he announced he was running for president, as a candidate he has never been denied the opportunity to participate in a debate.

Huntsman’s campaign declined to comment.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Analysis: Michele Bachmann Wins Tea Party Debate

Win McNamee/Getty Images(TAMPA, Fla.) -- With her standing in the polls slipping, Michele Bachmann needed to find a way to capture the spotlight she held earlier this summer.
She just may have done that Monday night at the Tea Party Express/CNN debate in Tampa, Fla.
Bachmann, the founder of the Tea Party Caucus in the House, knew her audience well and it showed.
Unlike former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Bachmann took a pass at criticizing frontrunner Texas Gov. Perry on Social Security, and she refused to weigh in on Perry’s comment last month that Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke may be “treasonous.”
Instead she waited patiently to pounce on Perry when the debate turned to the issues she knew would connect with the audience in the hall.
She attacked Perry for his decision to require HPV vaccinations in Texas, calling it “a government injection through executive order” and a “violation of a liberty interest.”
She knows that while the Tea Party activists are not fans of the federal government, they don’t love big business either.
“We cannot forget that in the midst of this executive order,” said Bachmann, “there was a big drug company that made millions of dollars because of this mandate …The drug company gave thousands of dollars in political donations to the governor and this is just flat-out wrong.”
She also attacked Perry on illegal immigration -- another issue that plays well in a GOP primary.
Of course, we’ll have to wait and see if this performance will have any effect on her poll standing. Bachmann’s weakness has been her inability to prove she can expand her appeal beyond her Tea Party base. This debate performance only reinforced that perception.
Perry is learning why it’s no fun being the frontrunner. He was under attack from all sides: Mitt Romney on Social Security; Ron Paul on taxes; Bachmann and Santorum on HPV and Bachmann on immigration.
The crowd initially stood behind the Texas governor -- cheering him on during his defense of his jobs record and Social Security positioning.
But as the debate wore on, Perry was clearly exhausted by having to play defense for almost two hours and the crowd seemed weary of him too.
The question now is how much more pummeling can the Texas governor take before it starts to take a toll? There’s another debate in Florida planned for less than two weeks away. Can Perry get back on offense during that one?
Romney, meanwhile, was speaking beyond the room, not to the room. His attacks on Perry’s record on job creation fell flat -- even eliciting a few boos among the audience.
And, while many pundits -- Democrat and Republican -- have called Perry’s “Ponzi scheme” description of Social Security problematic, it wasn’t much of an issue among this crowd.
Finally, no one looked more out of place on that stage than Jon Huntsman. He showed zero ability to connect with the audience. Even his attempts at jokes fell flat.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Christine O'Donnell vs. Piers Morgan: Twitter War over Walk-Off

Jacquelyn Martin-Pool/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- After former Republican Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell walked off her remote link-up with CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight on Wednesday, declaring host Piers Morgan "rude" when he demanded her positions on masturbation, gay marriage and the "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays in the military, the pair wasn't done exchanging fire: She and Morgan continued to toss quips at one another via Twitter and TV.

"I only appeared to go on the Piers Morgan Show because he promised not to hack my cell phone," O'Donnell tweeted Wednesday, referring to a phone hacking scandal at News of the World, a newspaper that Morgan once edited.

Then, replying to Morgan's on-air request to return to his show and explain her behavior, O'Donnell tweeted, "Piers, thanks for the invite. Schedule is already packed, maybe another night. No hard feelings, you cheeky bugger."

Besides tweets promoting the interview, Morgan also had some zingers in his bag.

"Do you think Christine O'Donnell is going to put a witch's curse on me now?" he asked in a tweet Wednesday evening.

Morgan also re-tweeted various messages commenting on the interview, including one from Wanda Sykes noting the timing of O'Donnell's walk-off, coming as it did after she answered questions about witchcraft, her Senate campaign gaffes and sex-related topics.

"Watching @piersmorgan interview Christine O'Donnell," went the Sykes tweet. "She leaves after a ? on gay marriage. Waiting to see her grab her broom and fly off."

Both parties also took to the airwaves to argue their cases after the show was taped.

Morgan discussed the "rather bizarre encounter" with Anderson Cooper on CNN before the interview aired Wednesday evening.

"I don't think anybody who watches the interview would deduce I was being rude -- I mean, a little bit cheeky maybe, but not rude," Morgan said. "I found it odd that she would use that particular moment to leave, because I think on reflection, when she looks back on this, it looks like she has something to hide -- in other words, that her view would be so extreme or contentious that it would cause her political damage."

However, O'Donnell told the Washington, D.C., Fox station Thursday morning that "it wasn't the questions about gay marriage" that prompted her walk-off, but the sum of the sex-infused interview questions -- which she described as "borderline creepy" -- and because, she said, the interview went long and she was late for another engagement.

"I’m not a 20-year-old on MTV right now, so let’s get back to the political issues that I lay out in the book -- and he wouldn’t let up," she said. “I was not there to talk about sex -- and he would not stop trying to talk about sex."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Christine O'Donnell Walks Out on Piers Morgan Interview

Jacquelyn Martin-Pool/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Whatever you do, stay on message when interviewing Christine O'Donnell.

The former Tea Party-backed Senate candidate from Delaware walked off a remote hookup with the CNN show Piers Morgan Tonight, declaring the host to be "rude" as he repeatedly asked for her positions on gay marriage and the "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays in the military.

O'Donnell said she only wanted to talk about her new book on Tea Party ideals, titled Trouble Maker: Let's Do What It Takes to Make America Great Again -- though earlier, before a commercial break, Morgan played clips on her well-known gaffes about once practicing witchcraft and then, in a campaign ad, denying she was a witch.

Pressed by Morgan on why she began to become "so weird" when the gay-related issues came up, O'Donnell said she chose not to answer because she was "not running for office."

"I'm promoting the policies that I laid out in the book that are mostly fiscal, that are mostly constitutional," she said. "That's why I agreed to come on your show. That's what I want to talk about. I'm not being weird. You're being a little rude."

"I'm baffled as to why you think I'm being rude," Morgan said. "I think I'm being rather charming and respectful. I'm just asking you questions based on your own public statements and, now, what you've written in your own book. It's hardly rude to ask you that, surely."

Bad host, O'Donnell countered.

"Well, don't you think as a host if I say, 'This is what I want to talk about,' that's what we should address?" she asked.

"Uh, not really, no," Morgan said. "You're a politician."

O'Donnell soon signaled to someone off camera, where a female voice could be heard saying, "It's time to go," and O'Donnell announced she was "being pulled away."

Soon, a shadowy body stepped between O'Donnell and the remote studio's camera, obstructing the view of O'Donnell.

"Are we off?" she soon asked, her earpiece apparently removed. "Are we done?"

"I'm still here," Morgan said, as a male voice at O'Donnell's location relayed Morgan's message.

"Well ..." O'Donnell answered, trailing off into a chuckle, as her remote shot concluded.

"It would appear that the interview has just been ended because I had the audacity to ask questions about the issues that are in this book," Morgan declared.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Romney: 'If You Want to Learn More About My Church, Talk to My Church'

TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- In an interview with CNN's Piers Morgan, the second part of which aired Tuesday night on the network, presidential candidate Mitt Romney pushed back against the host's questions about how his Mormon faith may influence his policy should he win the White House in 2012.

Asked whether it's actually possible to separate his faith from his job as president should he be elected, Romney responded, "Absolutely. You don't begin to apply doctrines of a religion to the responsibility of guiding a nation or guiding a state."

Romney explained that he is pro-life and that he is in favor of gay rights but believes that marriage should be a union between a man and a woman, Morgan pressed him on what the Mormon church says about gay rights, asking, "What is the Mormon position on homosexuality being a sin?"

"I'm not a spokesman for my church," Romney responded.

"But don't you know?" interrupted Morgan.

"I'm not a spokesman for my church. And one thing I'm not going to do in running for president is become a spokesman for my church or apply a religious test that is simply forbidden by the Constitution, I'm not going there," said Romney. "If you want to learn about my church, talk to my church."

Unrelenting, Morgan went on asking Romney, "Well, do you personally think homosexuality is a sin?"

"Nice try, but I'm not going to get into that," said Romney. "I'm not here in a religious context, I'm here as a candidate for president, and as a candidate for president or as a president I have to represent the interests of all the people," said Romney.

Romney's wife Ann joined the him for the later part of the interview, during which Morgan joked that at least the couple's Mormon faith eliminates the risk of scandal during their quest for the White House. Romney says he has only tried alcohol once and has never used drugs. He also has never had an extramarital affair, he told Morgan.

"This is one of your trump cards, the one thing we don't have to worry about is something tumbling out of the cupboard," said Morgan, alluding to the most recent political scandal involving Congressman Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y.

"Better not," replied Ann Romney, laughing.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio