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Inside Politics

McCarthy Rails Against "Crazy Eight" Who Voted To Depose Him; McCarthy: Rep. Mace Hasn't "Earned The Right" To Reelection; Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear Wins Reelection In Kentucky; Actors Union Reaches Tentative Deal With Hollywood Studios. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired November 09, 2023 - 12:30   ET




DANA BASH, CNN ANCHOR: And now to a CNN exclusive, more than a month after being ousted from the speakership, Kevin McCarthy is still railing against the eight Republicans who forced him out. CNN's Manu Raju spoke exclusively to the former speaker this morning. It sounds like he was shy and retiring and really didn't want to save what was on his mind, Manu.

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Not quite. In fact, he is very clear that he is still very much upset with those eight Republicans who pushed him out. He has kept his powder mostly dry since Mike Johnson was elected speaker not too long ago, but he made clear, it's fresh on his mind the efforts led by Matt Gaetz.

And he was particularly concerned about two congressmen in particular. One, Tim Burchett of Tennessee. He was surprised by his vote to oust him. But he also said that Nancy Mace, someone who hails from a competitive district in South Carolina, he said that she does not deserve to be reelected.


RAJU: Matt Gaetz, you've been mentioning a lot. How much would the Republican Party benefit if he were no longer a member of the House, in your opinion?

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R), CALIFORNIA: Tremendously. I mean, people have to earn the right to be here. And I just think from -- I mean, he'll admit to you personally, he doesn't have a conservative bent in his philosophy, and just the nature of what he focuses on.

RAJU: Do you think the House GOP should consider expelling him?

MCCARTHY: Look, that's up to the conference. But, I mean, I don't believe the conference will ever heal if there's no consequences for the action.

RAJU: What about them surprised you, Burchett and Mace? MCCARTHY: It just didn't -- it seemed out of nature, but they seem to have changed during the time. They care a lot about press, not about policy. So they seem to just want the press and the personality.

RAJU: Do you think Mace will have a difficult time winning reelection now?

MCCARTHY: Yes, I don't -- well not because of this. I mean, if you've watched her -- just her philosophy and the flip flopping, yes, I don't believe she wins reelection. I don't think she'll probably have earned the right to get reelected. I think that -- you look at the district herself, yes.


RAJU: So in response, these members shooting back at the former speaker. Matt Gaetz saying, quote, "Thoughts and prayers to the former speaker as he works through his grief". And I asked Nancy Mace about all this, too. She said that she stands by her vote.

She attacked McCarthy for, quote, "lying" all the time to her. And also Tim Burchett, who said that speaker -- former Speaker McCarthy is, quote, "just bitter". And he said that he says, quote, "He'll enter into a successful job in lobbying". So you're seeing, Dana, that no love lost here with the former speaker as he is adjusting to this new role as a rank and file member, someone who is not in the room, not dealing with a potential crisis, a government funding crisis.


One, of course, that ended his speakership not too long ago when he relied on Democratic votes to advance a short-term spending bill, but making very clear that those eight Republicans are still fresh on his mind. Dana?

BASH: That will be for a long, long time. Great stuff. Thank you so much, Manu. Appreciate it.

I love how he spoke about Nancy Mace and her race, and saying she'll probably lose as if there's any chance he'll just be a passive observer in what happens to Nancy Mace. I mean, there's -- he's still got money, he's still got clout, he's -- I mean, it's hard to imagine he won't get involved in that primary.

LEIGH ANN CALDWELL, EARLY 202 CO-AUTHOR, THE WASHINGTON POST: Right, whether it's a public involvement or a very private behind the scenes involvement. Because we know that that happens too where it's not so obvious of the things being done. But, look, Kevin McCarthy is still angry. He did not go quietly.

Even when they were still -- when they were in the process of electing Speaker Johnson to be speaker, he was still trying -- he was still running for speaker, trying to pull votes away from Johnson toward himself. And so, this is going to be a very long process for this House to repair itself. They're in kind of a kumbaya moment right now, but every single source I talked to says they do not know how long this is going to last.

BASH: Kumbaya, House Republicans?

RAMESH PONNURU, EDITOR, NATIONAL REVIEW: It's -- I think it's going to be pretty short lived.


PONNURU: They can't make it through a conversation with Manu Raju with the kumbaya feelings still intact. No, I think that that the tensions are all still there. They're under the surface, and they're not very far under the surface.

And I -- we may -- well, because of this honeymoon (ph), be able to get through without a government shutdown in the near term, but you've got to figure that, that there's only one such incident that Johnson can get through before he loses the support from some of the same people for whom no realistic deal is ever going to be good enough.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: And I can't wait to see the full interview that Manu did with McCarthy because it's certainly nowhere in the bites that we played so far was any McCarthy acknowledgement of any actions he took to get him to this position. I don't know if he does that, but obviously, we all saw how he became speaker and had to agree to that deal.

And, you know, he made his bed and I know he only wants to focus on the eight but, obviously, McCarthy also has to be aware of the back of his mind, how it got there.

CALDWELL: Yes, well, and the challenge for the current speaker, he's already running into it. He's since just started week three this week alone. He's already had to pull two funding bills from the floor because he doesn't have the votes to pass him. He is still learning the different ideologies of his conference from the far-right to the swing state Republicans.

He might be able to keep the government open because of this grace period that he is in. But passing those funding bills and what comes next is probably going to be the bigger challenge for him.

BASH: Governing is hard.


BASH: Particularly when you have a conference where you have a lot of people who don't really care about it. They just want to be --- and I don't mean that even as a negative, like they didn't come to make the wheels of government work, they came to disrupt.

PONNURU: And you have a teeny tiny majority. So, if you have a small majority that's cohesive, you can govern. If you have a large majority, you can put up with some division. Small and fractious is not a formula for success.

BASH: Thank you so much. Appreciate it. And you can see more of Manu's exclusive interview this Sunday on INSIDE POLITICS starting at 11:00 a.m. Eastern.

Coming up, can Democrats still win races in rural states? Well, they did in Kentucky, and there are lessons to be learned. In fact, we're going to talk to Governor Andy Beshear's campaign manager about that next.




GOV. ANDY BESHEAR (D), KENTUCKY: Tonight, Kentucky made a choice, a choice not to move to the right or to the left, but to move forward for every single family. A choice to reject Team R or Team D and to state clearly that we are one Team Kentucky.


BASH: That's Kentucky's newly reelected Governor Andy Beshear. Beshear is a Democrat in a ruby red state and was one of several wins for Democrats on Tuesday night. Now the question becomes, can other Democrats, including President Biden, replicate his victory looking ahead to the next election in 2024?

Andy Beshear's campaign manager and Democratic strategist Eric Hyers joins me now. Thank you so much for being here. Congratulations on Tuesday's win. You know, he now has shown the country twice, Governor Beshear that is, that a Democrat can win in a red state. Kentucky is a place where Donald Trump won by 26 percentage points in 2020. As his campaign manager, what part of that Democratic governor's message do you think resonated most with Kentuckians?


ERIC HYERS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, I think there were two main things. The first thing is Andy Beshear has just been a very good governor, right? He shows up. People know that he genuinely cares about them. He showed up in some very difficult trying times for the people of Kentucky.

And he, as -- he has all -- as governor, he has not tried to move the state to the right or to the left, but just moved it forward and got some very big things done working in a bipartisan way on big things like kind of income tax, legalized sports betting, medical marijuana, and voters really appreciated that.

And the second thing, though, is you saw a rejection of the anger politics. And that I think is very good for Kentucky and for the country overall. We were up against not just the Cameron (ph) campaign, but five Republican Super PACs that were running very gross, very false attacks. And that backfired and was rejected by voters and that's a very good thing.

BASH: Eric, you not only ran this last campaign with Governor Beshear successfully, you also ran Steve Bullock's campaign in Montana, a Democrat, of course, as well. You were the Biden campaign's director in Michigan in --


BASH: -- 2020. You know how Democrats can get elected in red states or battleground states.


BASH: The president is now trailing --


BASH: -- in several of those states, including Michigan. How does he win them back?

HYERS: Well, look, I think Democrats -- we've shown that Democrats can win swing states and tough states. When you show up, you do a good job and people know that you genuinely care. And I think what we also did here, and I think it's a lesson for Democrats nationally, is we ran very hyper localized messages, highlighting localized jobs announcements, infrastructure projects, you know, ads were different in every sort of market.

And we really communicated to voters that the things that Andy Beshear was doing as governor were directly impacting their lives --

BASH: Is that possible on a national level?

HYERS: Yes. Well, yes, I think you can make things very, very granular and very tangible and voters when they're voting for executives like governor and I think and president. They want to know that you're going to -- that you care for them and are fighting to make their lives better. And I think Andy Beshear, I think Steve Bullock also showed that you can do that and you can overcome very, you know, electorates and environments that favor the other party when voters understand that you really, really care about them.

BASH: Governor Beshear's victory speech on Tuesday night was interesting because he thanked a young woman named Hadley. She was featured in one of your campaign's ads. I want to play that for our viewers.


HADLEY DUVALL, OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY: I was raped by my stepfather after years of sexual abuse. I was 12. Anyone who believes there should be no exceptions for rape and incest could never understand what it's like to stand in my shoes. This is to you, Daniel Cameron. To tell a 12-year-old girl, she must have the baby of her stepfather who raped her is unthinkable.

I'm speaking out because women and girls need to have options. Daniel Cameron would give us none.


BASH: How central was that to your campaign, and will it be the issue of abortion going forward in 2024?

HYERS: Yes. Well, first off, I think this race did show that abortion is on the ballot. And that I want to say that Hadley is a remarkably brave and courageous young woman who came forward and put a face to a very real world scenario.

And I think that ever since Dobbs, the flip has been -- the script has been totally flipped. I think Democrats used to spend decades in tough red states, you know, sort of hiding in a corner, afraid of their own shadow on this. And I think we showed that that now post-Dobbs labels don't matter.

You can call yourself pro-life or, or pro-choice, but like the real world implications here are that 12-year-old girls who are raped and impregnated, do you think or do you not think they should be forced to give birth?

BASH: Yes.

HYERS: And the overwhelming vast majority upwards of 85 percent of Kentucky voters we know say no, that's crazy and cruel. And so we would hear all the time from Republican conservative voters who say, you know, look, I consider myself to be pro-life. But I just think that's --

BASH: Yes.

HYERS: -- crazy and cruel to force someone to do that.

BASH: Yes. Yes. So interesting, which is why Donald Trump is trying to take this issue off the table for him. Thank you so much for joining us. Congratulations again on your win on Tuesday. Hope to see you again soon, Eric Hyers.

HYERS: Thank you very much. Thank you.

BASH: And up next -- thank you -- lights camera back to action. The Hollywood actors strike is finally over after four months on the picket line. We're going to go live to Los Angeles for all the details next.




BUSY PHILIPPS, ACTRESS: I can't. I'm so happy. I'm so happy, my God. It's so far.


BASH: Busy Philipps is all of us, celebrating a tentative deal with Hollywood Studios, which means 160,000 actors can head back to work today after nearly four months on the picket line. CNN's Camila Bernal is covering all of the developments in Tinseltown. What are you hearing about this deal?


CAMILA BERNAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, everybody is ecstatic and excited. This is what the union leaders are describing as historic, as extraordinary. And there are two things here. The first being the economics. Of course, they were able to get better wages and specifically minimum wages benefits, the streaming bonuses.

But then there's also the AI protections. That was really one of the sticking points, something that was negotiated up until the very end and something that actors were truly concerned about not knowing what was going to happen to their work in just a few years because of artificial intelligence.

Now we do not have the details of the contract that is going to go to union, the union board tomorrow, so we will have more details then the actors will have to vote to ratify. But in the meantime, everyone, Dana, is just so happy to hear that there is a deal.

BASH: No question about it. Camila, thank you so much for that reporting.

Thank you for joining INSIDE POLITICS. "CNN NEWS CENTRAL" starts after a quick break.