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STATE OF THE UNION WITH CANDY CROWLEY

Interview with Lindsey Graham; Interview with Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz; Interview with RNC Chairman Reince Priebus

Aired November 10, 2013 - 09:00   ET

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


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN ANCHOR: Iran nuclear talks falter, Obamacare struggles, and White House nominees blocked. The president's dismal fall.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CROWLEY: Today, no-go in Geneva.

JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: The window for diplomacy does not stay open indefinitely.

CROWLEY: Despite an all-in diplomatic effort, a deal to slow Iran's nuclear program hit the snag, to the relief of a growing bevy of critics. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham joins us with his take on the talks with Tehran and the latest twist in the tangle that is Benghazi.

Then...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Welcome to New Jersey.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TERRY MCAULIFFE (D-VA), GOVERNOR-ELECT: Virginia, thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CROWLEY: Reading the results of 2013 through the prism of 2014 with the party chairs, Democratic Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Republican Reince Priebus.

Then, what do you call it when lawmakers introduce flashpoint legislation with no chance of passing?

The election season. Abortion, gay rights, minimum wage, immigration -- our political panel sorts out the doable from the political.

Plus...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOB DOLE (R), FORMER SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: We are obligated to be sure they get everything they need.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CROWLEY: A reunion with former Republican Senate leader, presidential candidate and World War II veteran, Bob Dole, on the two things he knows best, veterans and politics.

This is STATE OF THE UNION.

Good morning.

I'm Candy Crowley in Washington.

Three days of intense negotiations failed to produce that hoped for interim deal to freeze Iran's suspected nuclear weapon program in exchange for easing some of the sanctions against the country. But the United States, its European allies and Iran are all expressing hope an agreement can eventually be reached.

We want to bring in CNN's chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto -- so leading up, these three days were oh, we're close, we're going to do it and then nothing.

What happened?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, there was clearly disappointment last night, overnight in Geneva. You had the foreign ministers, the secretary of State, from all the key players flown in -- a flurry of bilats and trilats. Everyone at the table. A sense that a deal was close in those final hours. And then it didn't happen. And key, there was dissension in the ranks, disagreement within the P5-plus-1 from France, namely. And that disagreement came out in public, breaking protocol.

And the key disagreement is really on enrichment and on the Iraq heavy water facility, which is a second path to a bomb. And the key question there, does Iran suspend all enrichment or just up to a certain level?

Does it agree to cease operating, to agree not to operate the Iraq facility, or not to keep building it?

Those disagreements came out in public. There's still a lot of work to do.

CROWLEY: There is. And it's always been my experience in politics or in international affairs, time is never on the side of an agreement.

What happens now?

SCIUTTO: That's exactly right. And this delay gives time to the opponents of this agreement to build their case and to set up roadblocks. You're going to have a tough case for the administration on the Hill, pushing back on new sanctions while they try continue the negotiations. You're going to have more loud protests from allies, such as Benjamin Netanyahu.

But they have agreed to a second round of talks. It will be another round of talks on November 20th. But interestingly, this will be at the political director level, not the ministerial level, so a level below secretary of State.

But I did reach out to a member of the team this morning who said it will start at the political director level.

But who knows how it will end? If they make progress, you might see Secretary Kerry trying to fly in again to bring a deal to a close. But that's exactly what he tried to do here and it didn't happen.

CROWLEY: Yes. It sounds like hope springs eternal.

SCIUTTO: Indeed.

CROWLEY: So we'll see in the next couple weeks.

Thanks so much, Jim Sciutto.

SCIUTTO: Thank you.

CROWLEY: Appreciate your time this morning.

Joining me now, Senator Lindsey Graham.

Senator, let's start off with this deal that did not quite happen in Geneva. I want to ask you directly, what would Iran have to do before you would believe the U.S. could ease some of the sanctions?

GRAHAM: Well, that's very good question. I think you'll see a bipartisan push by the Congress to do two things -- to introduce another round of sanctions. We believe that sanctions and the threat of military force is the only thing that's going to bring the Iranians to the table.

But what would a good outcome look like?

There will be a bipartisan resolution introduced into the Congress very soon that has four parts to it. A sensible outcome would mean that stop enriching, dismantle the centrifuges, stop the plutonium producing reactor at Arak. If you want a peaceful nuclear power program, which I'm fine with in Iran, let the international community control the fuel cycle, where the Iranian program looks like Mexico and Canada, not North Korea.

And turn over all highly enriched uranium that they have in their possession to the international community.

Those four things, I think, would be a good outcome for the world, and, quite frankly, Iran. CROWLEY: Well, that sounds like the end deal as opposed to an interim deal.

GRAHAM: Yes.

CROWLEY: Is there any way that you think Congress could approve a resolution, which I'm assuming doesn't have the force of law -- but correct me if I'm wrong on that.

GRAHAM: Right.

CROWLEY: But they were looking for, it sounds to me, like what Secretary Kerry and the president is looking for is something to kind of put Iran on hold, as far as its nuclear program was concerned, while they work out some of those big things that you're talking about.

GRAHAM: Well, my fear is that we're going to wind up creating a North Korea type situation in the Mideast, where we negotiate with Iran and one day you wake up, they don't give up their enrichment capabilities, they don't divest themselves of a plutonium producing reactor, the centrifuges continue to spin and you're going to have a nuclear capable -- a nuclear Iran. And that would be far more destabilizing for the Mideast than a nuclear North Korea for the Korean Peninsula.

So I am about the end game. I'm about where does this end?

How does this movie with Iran end?

If it ends with the four things I said, I would be satisfied. If it ends with anything less, then the world will regret this.

The Israelis are apoplectic about what we're doing. I've never been more worried about the -- the Obama administration's approach to the Mideast than I am now. We seem to want deals worse than anybody else in the region. Thank God for France and thank God for pushback.

CROWLEY: Well, there's words you haven't heard recently -- thank God for France.

But let me ask you...

GRAHAM: Yes.

CROWLEY: (INAUDIBLE).

GRAHAM: -- the French are becoming very good leaders in the Mideast.

CROWLEY: You have suggested that you want more sanctions against Iran and that you might put them on a defense bill, which we think is going to come up next week in the Senate.

GRAHAM: Right.

CROWLEY: Would you push for more sanctions?

And do you think there is a majority there that would agree to that?

GRAHAM: The best way is to start in the Banking Committee, to have a new round of sanctions that could be relieved if Iran does the right thing. We believe -- the Congress believes that sanctions, along with the threat of credible military force by the United States and Israel, has gotten us to this point, that if you back off now, you're sending the worst possible signals.

But these new round of sanctions could basically be waived if the Iranians do the right thing.

And let's just look at it from the 30,000 foot view here. You've got a regime that's lying about what they're trying to do. They're trying to build a nuclear weapon. They've never been trying to build a peaceful nuclear power plant. For 30 years, they've been terrorizing the region and the world. They're the largest state sponsor of terrorism.

Why in the world would anybody want this regime, with their agenda threatening to wipe Israel off the map, at the end of the day, to have any highly enriched uranium in their possession, to have a plutonium producing reactor and the capability to enrich uranium to make a nuclear weapon? CROWLEY: Well, the question is, though...

GRAHAM: Given their behavior and the...

CROWLEY: -- do you think that...

GRAHAM: -- they should (INAUDIBLE).

CROWLEY: -- more sanctions -- do you think that more sanctions are needed at a time when the U.S. is trying to come to an interim deal?

Those seem at opposing, you know, toward opposing ends.

GRAHAM: I think the only thing that's got them to the table -- and I will give the Obama administration credit for this. They've created really good international sanctions. If we back off now, I think that's exactly the wrong signal. I want to come up with a deal, a conclusion, that will make sure Iran doesn't possess the capability in the future to produce a nuclear weapon. That should be the goal of the world, given who we're dealing with, given the threats they lodge against Israel and the destabilizing effect. If the Iranians develop a nuclear capability, the Sunni Arabs will want one to counter the Iranians. Then you're walking down the -- marching down the road of Armageddon.

So a new round of sanctions will be coming from the Congress. The Congress will define the end game, because we're worried about the end game, not some interim deal. You can't trust the Iranians. They're lying about their nuclear program. They've been hiding from the international community very important aspects of their nuclear program. I want a peaceful resolution to the Iranian nuclear problem. I don't want a North Korea in the Mideast. And that's where we're headed if we continue to negotiate the way we are.

CROWLEY: OK. About Benghazi, I want to get you on the record about this.

GRAHAM: Um-hmm.

CROWLEY: CBS aired a piece that was centered around a man, a British man who said that he was there, that he got into the compound where the four Americans were killed. GRAHAM: Right.

CROWLEY: He seemed to substantiate some of the suspicions that this clearly was not a well fortified place, that there had been signs all along that terrorists intended to attack it.

Now it turns out that CBS has backed away from their eyewitness, because it does not appear that he told the truth.

Now you, based on that report, went after the president's nominees and said any nominee that comes up here, I'm going to block until we can talk to American eyewitnesses.

GRAHAM: Right.

CROWLEY: I just want to remind you of something you said at the time.

GRAHAM: Right.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GRAHAM: How can I explain to the people in my home state and throughout the country that the story they told us about Benghazi holds water after the "60 Minutes" story?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CROWLEY: The "60" -- but the "60 Minutes" story was not true.

GRAHAM: Right.

CROWLEY: Will you now end your threat to place a hold on the president's nominees?

GRAHAM: No. My -- my request has been going on for a year, to talk to the five survivors of the State Department. I never asked for the British contractor. I didn't know he exited.

We've written one letter to the president -- myself, Kelly Ayotte and John McCain; two to Secretary Kerry. On the 24th of September, we said we would like to interview the survivors, the five State Department officials, who have been interviewed by the administration, but not by Congress.

The "60 Minutes" story says that the attack on the compounded was not a protest, but a preplanned al Qaeda attack that you could see coming for months.

GRAHAM: And people who said that were not the British contractor.

CROWLEY: Sure, but...

GRAHAM: I want to ask the survivors, who've never been interviewed by the Congress -- please let me finish here -- did you report a protest?

Did you report -- did you ever indicate there was a protest?

Did you say this was a terrorist attack from the beginning?

When you were interviewed by the FBI four days later, did you ever mention a protest?

If the survivors, Candy, never said there was a protest, where did the story come from?

And did these survivors -- would they tell me, if I asked them, I had a chance to, was there inadequate security, in your mind?

Could you see al Qaeda buildup in Benghazi?

Did you tell anybody about the threat of al Qaeda?

CROWLEY: Sure, Senator...

GRAHAM: And how did they respond?

CROWLEY: OK, if I could...

GRAHAM: To me, that's the essence of what I'm trying to get at.

CROWLEY: Right. And I understand. And you've been at it for some time.

GRAHAM: A year.

CROWLEY: But what spurred your action to block the president's nominees was the "60 Minutes" report. So that's what prompted you to do this...

GRAHAM: That's...

CROWLEY: -- and now -- I mean you did it the day after and you cited it. And so my question is...

GRAHAM: Yes, ma'am.

CROWLEY: -- are there other ways to get out -- to get what you want...

GRAHAM: Yes, ma'am. There are.

CROWLEY: -- without threatening the president's -- the head of the Fed or the head of homeland security agency?

GRAHAM: I met with the State Department Thursday about my desire to talk to the five survivors, American personnel, State Department employees, American citizens, independent of the State Department's Accountability Review Board. Nobody in Congress has got to talk to these people.

I released two ambassadors that I had a hold on, because we're trying to work out a bipartisan way to interview these witnesses. why?

Oversight is important. I want to perform oversight.

CROWLEY: Sure.

GRAHAM: I'm not trying to prosecute a crime.

I'm not trying to defend the British contractor. I want to hear from the people that worked for us, that are American citizens in harm's way -- what did you feel like when you were told nobody was coming to help you?

Did you see a protest?

Did you report a protest?

CROWLEY: Right.

GRAHAM: Did you tell the FBI about a protest?

And if they didn't, did you see security concerns before the attack?

Did you report them and who to?

Fourteen months after the attack, we don't -- we haven't heard from those who survived the attack. Congress has an independent duty...

CROWLEY: Right.

GRAHAM: -- to find out what happened in Benghazi. And that's what I'm after. And I hope we can find a way to get these interviews and release all of the holds.

CROWLEY: I understand. But I want to clarify two things. Right now, your threat to hold up nominees stands?

GRAHAM: I've released two. I released two...

CROWLEY: Right.

GRAHAM: -- with the understanding that we're going to have a bipartisan process to interview the survivors...

CROWLEY: OK. GRAHAM: -- to ask the basic questions, was there ever a protest?

Did you report a protest?

Were you concerned about security before the attack?

CROWLEY: Right. But you...

GRAHAM: Who did you talk to...

CROWLEY: -- but it holds in general?

GRAHAM: -- and what did they tell you?

CROWLEY: Depending on the situation, your threat (INAUDIBLE) holds?

GRAHAM: Yes.

CROWLEY: OK.

And finally...

GRAHAM: But the only -- yes, the only -- and can I just say, the only reason is I've been trying for a year to get the interviews without holds. And you just can't allow something this bad and this big of a national security failure, for the administration to investigate itself. I don't want to hold anybody.

CROWLEY: Right.

GRAHAM: All I want to do is talk to the survivors, protecting their security, protecting their identity, to find out exactly what did happen.

CROWLEY: OK.

GRAHAM: Was it a protest?

As it an al Qaeda-inspired (INAUDIBLE)?

CROWLEY: OK. Let me ask you quickly...

GRAHAM: How did President Obama...

CROWLEY: Right. GRAHAM: -- and Secretary Clinton miss the rise of al Qaeda in Libya?

CROWLEY: And let me just say -- GRAHAM: (INAUDIBLE).

CROWLEY: -- say quickly, and see if I can get a quick answer from you. We know that one eyewitness in the region has testified, at least on the House side, behind closed doors.

GRAHAM: Yes. CROWLEY: CNN has learned that there will be three former security people. They're described as former SEAL, a former Ranger, a former Marine...

GRAHAM: Right.

CROWLEY: -- will testify next week.

How many is enough for you?

GRAHAM: That's good.

OK. There are five State Department survivors that were interviewed by the Accountability Review Board appointed by Secretary Clinton. Those five, and the CIA officials who have relevant information about Benghazi, that's all, less than 30, probably. All I'm trying to do is establish...

CROWLEY: But you want 30...

GRAHAM: -- where the protest story comes from.

CROWLEY: Right. You want 30...

GRAHAM: I don't know how many...

CROWLEY: -- there's 30 folks you want to talk to?

GRAHAM: -- (INAUDIBLE).

CROWLEY: OK. All right.

GRAHAM: Well, I don't know -- I don't know how many in the CIA. And the CIA has been pretty good. They're providing witnesses to their oversight committees.

CROWLEY: OK.

GRAHAM: The State Department has thus far refused to allow anybody in Congress to talk to these five. And we're going to talk to them, because they possess the best information about what happened in Benghazi...

CROWLEY: OK. GRAHAM: -- more than you and I know. And I want to find out what they know.

CROWLEY: It's certainly more than I know at this point.

GRAHAM: OK. All right.

CROWLEY: Thanks so much, Senator.

I appreciate your time this morning.

GRAHAM: Me, too.

Thank you.

CROWLEY: Four Republicans are in a corner now -- a close loss in Virginia and a big win in New Jersey. Reince Priebus and Debbie Wasserman Schultz are next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CROWLEY: Joining me now, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

She is chair of the Democratic National Committee.

I want to take you just a little bit off topic at the beginning, because I want to ask you about this interim deal with Iran that the U.S. and other nations have been pushing. So far, it hasn't come together.

But you have heard some of the criticism, particularly from Israel, but there are other problems with the Saudis, etc. Looking at this.

CROWLEY: How comfortable are with you what you've heard about what the U.S. and others are seeking?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, I think any time that you are actually at the diplomatic table negotiating on a question that, just a year or so ago, would have been unfathomable -- the idea that we could actually get Iran to back off its pursuit of nuclear weapons, number one, it demonstrates that the sanctions that we've imposed thus far have been extremely painful and effective and that President Obama's emphasis on trying to do all that we can to make sure that Iran cannot attain those nuclear weapons is working and we're going in the right direction.

But, of course, any deal has to be one that makes sense and has to be one that makes sense and has to be one that makes sense for the United States' security interests and also the interests of our allies in the region.

CROWLEY: OK. All right.

Let me turn you back to the topic du jour, and that is the elections that we had last week.

I want to put up an exit poll from the Virginia elections where the Democrat, Terry McAuliffe won.

The question was, what's your opinion of ObamaCare?

Forty-six percent of Virginia voters supported it, 53 percent opposed it.

I want to add onto that a meeting at the White House Wednesday with a collection of 15 Senate Democrats, most of whom are up for re- election, who rang the alarm bell at the White House and said do something, this is hurting us. Is there a fix that the president could put in place now that would ease the concerns of both those voters in Virginia and those senators having to run for re-election?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, Candy, let's take a look at what the election outcome in Virginia means. Terry McAuliffe won Virginia. And he won it with the same percentage, just about, that President Obama won Virginia just a year ago.

And what Election Day this past Tuesday in Virginia, a very competitive state, showed you is that when the voters are presented with a candidate who focuses on creating jobs and investing in education and working together, versus a candidate who doubled down on the politics of shutdown, who embraced Tea Party extremism, who was a leader in the war on women, particularly on women's health, they overwhelmingly chose Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic candidate, and elected him.

CROWLEY: They did.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: And that is what we're going to be...

CROWLEY: But are you...

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: -- looking at...

CROWLEY: Right.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: -- just one sec.

They're going to be doing -- they're going to be having the same choices all across the country, with Tea Party governors that were elected in 2010 having to run on similar records against candidates who are going to give them a similar choice.

CROWLEY: But did...

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: When it comes to ObamaCare specifically, you know, ObamaCare did not have anything to do with Tuesday's outcome. You have (INAUDIBLE)...

CROWLEY: You don't think it made the election closer?

You don't -- I mean because (INAUDIBLE).

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: No, I really...

CROWLEY: -- (INAUDIBLE).

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: I really don't.

CROWLEY: And so more to the point...

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Because if you look at the results a year ago and the results now, they were about the same.

CROWLEY: Right.

If you look at 2014, if you look at this through the prism of 2014, you don't think that ObamaCare will weigh heavily on Democratic elections?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: I think ObamaCare -- because Americans have been feeling the benefits since 2010, where young adults can stay on their parents' insurance until they're 26, where in -- on January 1st, if you have a pre-existing condition, like I do, as you know, as a breast cancer survivor, the peace of mind that the -- that those Americans are going to have knowing that they can never be dropped or denied coverage for that pre-existing condition, the preventative care that's available without a co-pay or a deductible, those are benefits that Americans have already been feeling and will increasingly feel...

CROWLEY: Tell me...

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: -- as ObamaCare is fully implemented.

I think, actually, Candy, that Democratic candidates will be able to run on ObamaCare as an advantage leading into the 2014 election.

CROWLEY: How many Floridians have lost their health care insurance in the private market?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: The situation that Floridians, or any person who's gotten a transition letter from their insurance company, are in is that they will have an opportunity to shop on the exchange and compare plans...

CROWLEY: But they -- right. But...

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: And...

CROWLEY: A...

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: -- and when they have -- you could -- the CEO of Florida Blue was on a Sunday show just a week or so ago talking about how they were -- they are offering a replacement plan for the plans that they're transitioning.

And in most cases, the plan that the person is going to benefit from is actually a lower cost and has more benefits.

So, you know, this -- it is a real significant distortion to say that people are being -- that hundreds of thousands of people are being canceled. What's actually happening is that they are very likely going to get a better plan for less money.

CROWLEY: Nonetheless...

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: But there are some...

CROWLEY: -- 100,000 people have -- I mean hundreds of thousands of people have had insurance canceled. Some of them, you know, certainly not all of them, but some of them expressed an interest in keeping it.

Would you support -- should the president support any kind of move -- and there are those in Congress, and some of them are Democrats, who say, yes, people who have insurance they want to keep it in the private market should be allowed to keep it?

That's not just Republicans pushing that.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, and the president himself said that to the extent that his commitment and our commitment that if you liked your plan you could keep it is not possible for, you know, which is actually about less than 5 percent of the folks in the individual market, then we are going to work toward making sure they can do that.

What we're not going to do is we're not going to allow the Republicans, embracing the idea that we should stop people from being able to get access to quality affordable health care, we're not going to let new plans be sold, like the Upton bill would do, to allow insurance companies to drop them or deny them coverage for pre- existing conditions, to charge women double just because we're women. And, you know, to suggest that we have to do that and create two separate tracks that are going to allow people to be discriminated against again and not have good quality health care, that's unacceptable.

CROWLEY: Right.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: And it's unacceptable to Americans. We're not going backwards.

CROWLEY: And just a yes or no, because I've got to run.

You believe that Democrats will win running on ObamaCare in 2014?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: I think because Americans reject the Tea Party extremism, they want us to focus on creating jobs and working together, and because they will feel...

CROWLEY: That's not exactly a yes.

(CROSSTALK)

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: -- the benefits of ObamaCare, yes.

CROWLEY: OK. All right.

Thank you so much.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: There you go.

CROWLEY: I really appreciate your time.

Thank you, Chairwoman.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Thanks, Candy.

CROWLEY: Appreciate it.

Now to Reince Priebus.

He is the chairman of the Republican National Committee.

Mr. Chairman, I talked the other day to Bob Dole, a man some called, in his time, in '96, too moderate to be president. And I asked him about Chris Christie.

And here's what he said. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DOLE: You know. He has some very liberal views. He'll go to Iowa, which, as you know, quite conservative. I think the Republicans are so anxious to win that he -- the conservatives, if he's the nominee, are going to hold their nose and vote for him. I mean, they're tired of losing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CROWLEY: So his take at this moment is there's no frontrunner and that Chris Christie is too liberal, but nonetheless, Republicans will accept whoever they get, because they're so anxious to win.

Your comment?

PRIEBUS: Well, I don't know about that. I certainly respect Senator Dole a whole lot. But quite frankly, you know, for about a month, Mitt Romney won the Iowa Caucus and John McCain was the nominee before that.

So I mean as far as our party not, you know, only looking at conservatives, you know, look, Chris Christie is a conservative. I think he's going to do very well in all of his endeavors.

But the fact is, we've got stars all over our party, Candy. I mean we're going to be the party that is fresh and new in 2016. It's the Democrats that are going to be rolling out the same old names that you would expect them to rollout.

So I love our chances. I love our bench. And we're going to have a great primary season come a few years from now.

CROWLEY: Well, you know, part of the problem of having so many stars is that it has created certainly what looks like a rift in the Republican Party, certainly a difference of opinion about direction.

I want to read to you something that Tim Huelskamp, who is a Tea Party activist, as you know, said about what he perceived to be the lack of support for the Virginia candidate who is a Tea Party-backed candidate. And this was reported in Politico.

Tim Huelskamp said Priebus was "running around New Jersey boosting Chris Christie instead of helping the guy that barely lost by a few thousand votes in Virginia, who was the conservative. And that, to me, doesn't bode well for how conservatives will be treated moving forward." In other words, there is suspicion inside the Republican Party, or Republican leaning people, that the party itself, the party mechanism, the RNC, is not friendly to Tea Party types like Cuccinelli, who lost the governorship in Virginia.

PRIEBUS: That is just totally ridiculous, Candy. I mean the RGA and the RNC together put $11 million into Virginia. We put (INAUDIBLE)... CROWLEY: Sure. Far less than you did the last time around, though.

PRIEBUS: -- around $3 million -- right. And then four years before that, the RNC put in $1.5 million.

Here's the one thing that I think we need to get straight. In 2009, McCain/Palin, much to the chagrin of John McCain, had $23 million that they transferred into the RNC. The RGA and RNC sat down -- I was there, by the way -- and they decided to take a larger chunk of that transfer from McCain/Palin and put it onto television into Virginia.

The RNC, outside of a presidential election, is never in the business of buying millions and millions of dollars of ads. So what we decided early on is that we would put together the best possible ground game about $3 million worth into Virginia to help Ken out. And obviously the ground game, Obamacare, Ken's campaign came together closed the gap. I'm really proud of the ground game that we put together in Virginia. I know Ken is. I know their campaign manager is as well. So the day that the so-called Republican establishment puts $11 million into a single governor's race is not enough, I think we're living in crazy world. So, look, we have a lot to pay for on the ground across the country coming into 2014. Do I wish the outcome is different? Of course. Obviously, it didn't work that way. And we've got to just keep doing more across the country.

CROWLEY: Let me ask you about a few things that turned up in the exit poll that's point to continued problems for Republicans. And one of them was, let me show you the exit polls and the voting by gender. Cuccinelli took 42 percent of the female vote. McAuliffe, the Democrat took 51 percent. There is a continuing problem in attracting female voters. They played that card very well in that Virginia race. It was part of your autopsy from the last election that Republicans have to do better in attracting women. Certainly didn't happen in Virginia. What do you advice candidates to do?

PRIEBUS: Well I mean first of all, you can cherry pick all kinds of numbers. I mean what happened in New Jersey? Chris Christie won the women vote. He won the Hispanic vote. He got 20 percent of the African-American vote. And you know what? Christie is pro-life. Christie is pro traditional marriage. I mean so here you've got two people that are fairly conservative on these same issues and you have two different outcomes. And so, you know, now going back to Virginia, Candy, actually Ken Cuccinelli won married women. He won women over 35.

(CROSSTALK) We have to speak to, on this number, I mean if you want to break it down, what we're talking about are single women under 35. And in what closed the gap was Obamacare. But closed the gap was the idea that single women were going to be losing their insurance. And that's what's happening all over the country. Debbie Wasserman Schultz actually is over 300,000 people in Florida not transition letters, these are cancellation letters. And let me just - CROWLEY: Right.

PRIEBUS: Can I just -- one thing that is fundamental to this discussion that no one is talking about is what the president promised the American people. And what he promised them wasn't misspeaking. What he promised them exactly was this -- he said, and I quote, "any insurance that you currently have would be grandfathered in so you could keep." I could keep my ACME insurance, just a high deductible, catastrophic plan. He went into the specifics of the grandfather clause in the legislation and said, if you want to keep your catastrophic plan, he didn't equivocate like Debbie did in saying that, well, it's a better plan and it might be -- he said if you want to keep your catastrophic plan, you could. And this issue is going to be toxic for the Democrats and, believe me, we will tattoo it to their foreheads in 2014. We will run on it and they will lose because of it.

CROWLEY: Chairman Priebus, always so many more questions than I have time. Please come back and join us again.

PRIEBUS: Sorry.

CROWLEY: That's all right.

When we return, signs that the Republican moderates are starting to flex their muscles. Our all star panel is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CROWLEY: Joining me around the table, Artur Davis, a former Democratic congressman from Alabama now a Republican in Virginia, Ron Brownstein, CNN's senior political analyst and editorial director at "The National Journal," and Hilary Rosen, a Democrat and a CNN political commentator. Welcome all. So I'm going to give you your chance to pull out one thing that tells you everything you need to know about 2013 going into 2014.

ARTUR DAVIS, FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN: (INAUDIBLE) two strategies on display on Tuesday for Republicans. You got the Cuccinelli strategy which is the basically communicate with 35 percent of the electorate for a year and a half. Hope negative ads will get you 15 percent and you have the Christie strategy which is to suspend a year and a half communicating essentially every segment of the electorate. I'll take the latter over the former because it wins. I pull out one stat we haven't heard enough this week, Chris Christie got 22 percent of the African-American vote. Considering how much that community loathes Republicans, that's a big deal that speaks to the kind of bit tent campaign he ran. RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I want to say, I think the Christie win is potentially very significant for 2016. It positions him to be a strong candidate for what I call the managerial upscale oriented wing of the Republican Party. But the real story for 2014 is Virginia. And I think that while winning always beats losing both sides should be terrified by what they saw out of Virginia.

BROWNSTEIN: On the one hand if you're Democrats you look at the fact that even against a nominee as flawed and absolutist in many ways as Cuccinelli, Terry McAuliffe still lost white voters by 20 points. Two-thirds of whites in the exit polls. So they disapprove of the health care law. That suggests that Democrats are still not winning this core argument about the role of government among white voters as does the resounding defeat of the ballot initiative in Colorado to raise taxes to fund education. It included two to one defeats in the big Denver suburbs that they've been relying on. But if you're the Republicans, you look at the fact that Ken Cuccinelli wins white voters by 20 points in Virginia and he still loses by 55,000 votes, because they are still giving up 80 percent of the minority population. Chris Christie notwithstanding. And I think if you look at that 80 percent number that voted for McAuliffe, they put him over the top, much as they did Obama, Chris Christie's phone should be ringing if you're looking at solving that problem.

HILARY ROSEN, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, you know, the other big story, of course, in Virginia is women, women, women, consistently bring Democrats over the top in these purple states. And when you look at Chris Christie and you try and take that forward, you've got an anti-choice candidate who vetoed planned parenthood funding five times over the course of his governorship. So you know when -- if you want to keep going, women are going to continue to make a huge difference for Democrats going forward.

CROWLEY: More women vote and, you know, there are greater numbers -

(CROSSTALK)

BROWNSTEIN: If you look at the exit poll in Virginia, Terry McAuliffe fewer than 30 percent of white women without a college education also, and the married (ph). What the Democrats rely on are the more socially liberal college educated white women who he split evenly and the single white women. And where those -- where those voters are present in big numbers and can be combined with the growing minority population, that are the -- those are the states that moved towards the Democrats, Colorado, Virginia...

CROWLEY: North Carolina.

BROWNSTEIN: ...North Carolina and along the coast. And really Christie's potential is to deal with both ends of that problem because he did better among minorities and he also won places like Bergen County, which had moved very sharply toward the Democratic - (CROSSTALK)

CROWLEY: OK. I'm going to not give you a raise your hand question. But I am going to throw this out. Do you believe that if Chris Christie becomes the nominee for the Republicans and Hillary Clinton becomes a nominee for the Democrats that African-American voters will -- 20 percent of them will go vote for Chris Christie and Hispanics will go -

(CROSSTALK)

DAVIS: No but here's the critical thing. African-Americans, young voters, well educated women, single women, they are looking to see not so much if they agree with the candidate on every question. They don't expect that but they're looking to see if someone is at least interested and respectful of their opinions. They will tolerate a conservative if you seems to be a conservative who is actually using the gears of his brain to think through problems and not just giving the party line.

ROSEN: I don't buy that.

DAVIS: Christy has the opportunity to be that kind of candidate. You can't run as this reflexive, ideological person who doesn't even want to hear what the other side thinks. You can run as a conservative who is pragmatic.

ROSEN: There are baselines (INAUDIBLE). There are baselines particularly for minority voters and women and baseline for independent and Democratic women will always be choice, will be planned parenthood, will be supportive minimum wage. There are a series of issues where Chris Christie has not been able to approach them.

CROWLEY: I'm going to hold you all there. We will be back. Because next up, the party's double down on their core issues with voters. Sounds like 2014 has already started here in Washington.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CROWLEY: We're back with Artur Davis, Ron Brownstein and Hilary Rosen. So one of the cheapest ways to campaign is from senate to the House floor. We all know that and it starts earlier than, you know, the balloons and stuff (INAUDIBLE). I'm going to list some topics for you. You all pick one and tell me whether it's a political move or there's actual possibility they're going to get legislation. Harry Reid says he's going to put a minimum wage, raise the minimum wage to $10 plus I think next week. Lindsey Graham has a bill that he's pushing to ban abortions after 20 weeks. Immigration, president still pushing forward this year the budget. Yes, the budget is always out there. And ENDA which the Senate has passed which would ban discrimination in workplaces against gays and lesbians. Which one of those is actually going to end up as law?

ROSEN: You know, I -- it's interesting. This will be kind of a test for whether the Republicans are going to move more towards building a broader majority for congressional elections or not. ENDA with ten Senate Republicans, really the future of the gay rights movement is actually in the Republican Party. Democrats have already been there which is kind of surprising considering how many southern Democrats have now come onboard. So ENDA is one thing that actually if he would -- the speaker let go of his majority of the majority rule, ENDA could pass. Although immigration is in the same position.

(CROSSTALK)

ROSEN: The country wants these things, Republicans and Democrats --

(CROSSTALK)

CROWLEY: I have got a minute left.

BROWNSTEIN: ENDA and immigration both show the core challenge facing Republicans. They need to broaden their base at the national level. But the House Republicans are overwhelmingly in districts they are immune to these currents. They are in preponderantly white, uniformly conservative districts. They feel very little pressure to move forward on things like ENDA or immigration...

(CROSSTALK)

BROWNSTEIN: ...even though it would better position the party for 2016.

DAVIS: Republicans have got to do something else. Republicans have got to develop an economic message. Republicans have got to develop a middle class economic message going into '14. That's more important than any social issue, and it may be as important as health care.

BROWNSTEIN: I think the nominee would like immigration off the table for 2016. It will be very hard to get that. Very hard to get that.

(CROSSTALK)

CROWLEY: And probably why we can look toward a governor for being on the ballot (INAUDIBLE) Republicans --

(CROSSTALK)

CROWLEY: Yes.

ROSEN: Politics have taken over in part because agreement on the economic issues is so tough.

CROWLEY: I got to run. Hilary Rosen, Ron Brownstein, Artur Davis, come back. When we return, Bob Dole on America's promise to its veterans.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CROWLEY: Yesterday former Senate Republican leader and presidential candidate Bob Dole was where he has been nearly every single spring and summer Saturday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CROWLEY (voice-over): He was at the World War II monument greeting veterans arriving from the honor flights which bring the greatest generation from around the country to see their monument opened nine years ago when most of them were already in their 80s. This was the last honor flight of the season.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have a bad knee.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Join the club.

CROWLEY (voice-over): Dole was in charge of the raising private funds and getting the World War II monument built. It is a place that captures time.

SEN. BOB DOLE (R), FORMER REPUBLICAN LEADER: Whatever they did, in combat or some place in the rear, they did what they were asked to do.

CROWLEY (voice-over): That's our Bob Dole's mission now and it is across generational effort.

DOLE: OK. Here you go.

CROWLEY (voice-over): Always a visitor to Walter Reed Hospital in recent years Dole spent a lot of time as a patient rehabbing, talking.

DOLE: This is a great group.

CROWLEY (voice-over): Getting to know the country's newest veterans. It took him back to 1945 on a hill in Italy where he nearly died and was permanently disabled by German machine gun fire. He remembers his years in the hospital. His long journey home then makes him worry about them now.

DOLE: When they're there surrounded by people who are caring for them, nurses, technicians, doctors, I often wondered if they realize what happens when they roll out in their wheelchair and go home if they -- if they understand in some cases this is what -- this is forever. It's a shock.

CROWLEY: What would you tell these young vets it was that kept you persevering?

DOLE: Well, if you think you've got a problem, just look around. I mean, I used to go to P.T. at Walter Reed and some of the cases were -- I mean you can't describe the condition these young men and women in some cases were in.

CROWLEY (voice-over): At the age of 90, Bob Dole remains a believer in the soul of America. He says he doesn't know how much longer he'll be around but he think veterans are in good hands.

DOLE: Well a great majority of America just -- will drop everything to help a veteran. That's what makes America so great. We don't forget those that fought for us. CROWLEY (voice-over): Certainly Bob Dole has not.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CROWLEY: On another subject, if you would like to hear how Bob Dole feels about Ted Cruz, Chris Christie and even Hillary Clinton, go to CNN.com/SOTU. Thank you so much for joining us.

Fareed Zakaria, GPS, starts now.