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CNN Live Event/Special
McCarthy Appears To Lose On 12th Ballot, Despite Flipping Hard- Lines. Aired 12:30-1p ET
Aired January 06, 2023 - 12:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): On this side of the aisle, there can be a deal, a meeting of the minds, a grand bargain that would allow us to proceed with the speakership. And I want all of my colleagues to know, regardless of your perspective on me, how impure some of those negotiations have gone. And I want the country to know. The principal goal of the people who are objecting to Mr. McCarthy on the Republican side is that we don't believe the rules of this place unlock the potential of all of the members to be able to cast votes on individual bills and to offer amendments on Appropriations Act.
And we're also concerned about spending that has ballooned our debt and borrowed against the future generations of American citizens. And Mr. McCarthy said, well, goodness to the objectors, why do you want to be on the Oversight and Judiciary Committee and you never submit your names to be on the Rules Committee or the Appropriations Committee.
And so, gosh, if you'll get a list of folks who are willing to come early on flying days for rules and folks who are willing to take on the extra burden of our appropriators who work so hard, then I'll certainly work to do that. And we endeavored in good faith and pure good faith to create that list. And then what did Mr. McCarthy do? He went out to the media and came to other members of the conference and said, see, they just want jobs for themselves. That is not pure selflessness.
Selflessness is not selling shares of yourself to the lobby corps and then doing their bidding at the expense of the American people. But there certainly is intent, and it's an intense driven almost exclusively by personal ambition. And that ambition is paralyzing the House now. Madam Clerk, at this time, there is great trust in Mr. Jordan, and that's why I am nominating him.
And there is insufficient trust in Kevin McCarthy. There are some who have been objecting to Mr. McCarthy who are working on perhaps changes to the rules, changes to circumstance that would convert the speakership from the great, awesome, powerful position it is now to more of a ceremonial position almost akin to the speaker in the British House of Commons. I referred to it previously as a straitjacket that some of us were trying to construct with better rules and better personnel because we do not trust Mr. McCarthy with power, because we know who he will use it for. And we are concerned it will not be for the American people. We trust Jim Jordan. I nominate him, and I'm going to vote for him.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For what purpose does the gentlewoman from Colorado rise?
REP. LAUREN BOEBERT (R-CO): Madam Clerk, I rise to enter a name for nomination for speaker.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The gentlewoman is recognized.
BOEBERT: Once again I Just stand here today to nominate Kevin Hearn, the Chairman of the Republican Study Committee, the largest caucus in the Republican Conference who unanimously was elected as Chairman, whom I believe can unite this Republican Conference and put forward the agenda that we all promise to work hard on and serve our American people to the best of our abilities with.
I believe that Kevin Hearn will be a fighter for our national debt. I get texts on a regular basis at how inflation is hurting families, how grocery prices are skyrocketing continuously. He has crafted a budget that balances and will bring that to the floor to help the American people. Madam Clerk, I nominate Kevin Hearn as speaker. Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The reading clerk will call the roll.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: All right, the reading clerk will call the roll and we will hear the 430 something. We don't know exactly how many are there today voting. We expect the vote to be very similar to the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, 10th, and 11th ballots that have already taken place. We do not expect anyone will reach the magic number 218, certainly not Kevin McCarthy, who has seemingly plateaued at 201 votes. The four names that have been put forward, obviously, are republican Leader McCarthy, Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries. The incoming would be chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Congressman Jim Jordan of Ohio.
And the head of the Republican Study Group, which is a conservative group, Congressman Kevin Hearn, though I'm not sure if Congressman Hearn is even present, given that his mother passed away and his mother's funeral is tomorrow back in Oklahoma, I believe. What we've been told Dana Bash from Kevin McCarthy is that he does expect some of the 20 rebels to join him based on negotiations that he has made, concessions he has made, having to do with the rules, having to do with putting conservatives on the Rules Committee, et cetera. But we've also heard that for the last several days, so who knows?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Exactly. That's really the key question as we watch this 12th vote, whether or not it will look different, not whether or not Kevin McCarthy will become speaker. We do not think that is going to happen at the end of this vote. But the question at hand is whether or not he is going to get more votes than he got before, whether that 20 for someone other than Kevin McCarthy will come down, whether it is the Chip Roy or other Republicans among those 20 that he has been negotiating with. That is the message that McCarthy put out there when we heard him talking to Manu.
I just got a text from somebody in McCarthy's camp saying that they believe that is going to happen. But you're right. I think we should all be incredibly skeptical until we actually see it.
KASIE HUNT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: One thing I just want to take a second, as I was thinking about this as were sitting watching this unfold, is that this is the second anniversary of the January 6th insurrection at the United States Capitol. And what has unfolded since that day and what happened on that day itself is part and parcel of the story that we're still sitting here telling.
Lauren Boebert was tweeting on that day, they have evacuated the speaker from the chamber, and McCarthy, in the immediate hours after January 6th, took one position and said, this was unacceptable, and said that then President Trump bore some responsibility for what happened that day. He then a couple of weeks later went down to Mar-a- Lago.
JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Bishop just voted for McCarthy.
BASH: Sorry to interrupt.
HUNT: Yes, no, that's news.
BASH: One of the 20 just voted for McCarthy.
HUNT: OK. So that actually does signify what the McCarthy camp has been telling us, that there is going to be some --
BASH: This is what we were looking for --
TAPPER: So, yes, just to underline the point that Dana, which is one of the rebels, Congressman Dan Bishop of North Carolina, who in fact nominated one of the alternate non-McCarthy candidates, I think it was Byron Donalds of Florida a day or two ago, just cast a vote for Kevin McCarthy. So that is at least one pickup from the group of rebels toward the McCarthy camp that is John King. We should not make too big a deal out of this because McCarthy is still unlikely to get more votes than the Democratic leader, Hakeem Jeffries. Oh, is that another --
BASH: -- McCarthy.
TAPPER: Another pickup.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is that Burkin?
TAPPER: Congressman Burkin, the freshman who has been pushing for rules changes has just cast a vote for McCarthy. John King, this is positive movement for Kevin McCarthy.
KING: It is positive movement. The question is there enough of it? So what are we watching for? Number one, how many never Kevins are there still? And number two, what's the final number on this vote? Because we know a good number of members, several members, I shouldn't say a good number. We know that several members are missing. We don't know exactly how many. So you need a majority of those who vote for a candidate by name and so can Kevin McCarthy unlikely to get it on this vote. But how many members are actually there? How many members vote by name? Do some of these other anti-McCarthy votes the holdouts in the past few days if they don't vote for him, are they willing to vote present? Because that also would lower the bar he needs.
There is not an expectation he gets there on this vote. The question is, does the dynamic change in a way that the never Kevins perhaps agree to just vote present to do something to change the math or to agree to adjourn and work this out and come back Monday or Tuesday.
BASH: That might be the most likely.
JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Do we get a sense of how many real never Kevins there are. I'm going to guess that one of the people who's going to vote for Kevin McCarthy, he's at the end of the alphabet, but that's Chip Roy. We saw him on the House. He was looking at the notes. He has been pushing for this for is it one day or two days, guys, that he says. But he is carefully watching this. He has been very active in these negotiations. So I think we definitely see Chip Roy as part of this group now swinging tomorrow McCarthy.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Even if Kevin McCarthy doesn't get there on this vote, the thinking among the McCarthy allies is that it will help squeeze those final few. There should be skepticism here. Marjorie Taylor Greene herself said yesterday she thinks that six people who are a hard no on Kevin McCarthy will see if that changes with these agreements that he's been making. But that is obviously what they're hoping for. They know they're not going to get the numbers here. They're hoping that when you see these ovations for the people who are actually now switching their votes, they are going to work over the next few hours and days, potentially to increase the pressure there. And people have still been expressing confidence. At the end of the day, Kevin McCarthy will get there. We don't know that.
TAPPER: And we should note.
KING: Three more about to happen. Cloud, Clyde, and Crane were in the --
TAPPER: The Cs are going to -- three more votes or three more votes for McCarthy.
KING: These are three people who have been holdouts consistently whose votes are about to come up.
TAPPER: OK. You're not saying, you know, how they vote.
KING: No, no, no, if there's a change. We're about to find out if there's a huge change. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chu?
REP. JUDY CHU (D-CA): Jeffries.
HUNT: There were a couple away from the next one is Michael Cloud.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Cicilline?
REP. DAVID CICILLINE (D-RI): Jeffries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeffries. Cicsomani?
REP. JUAN CISCOMANI (R-AZ): Kevin McCarthy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: McCarthy. Clark of Massachusetts?
REP. KATHERINE CLARK (D-MA): Hakeem Jeffries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeffries. Clarke of New York?
REP. YVETTE CLARKE (D-NY): Hakeem Jeffries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeffries. Cleaver?
REP. EMANUEL CLEAVER (D-MO): Jeffries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeffries. Cline?
REP. BEN CLINE (R-VA): McCarthy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: McCarthy. Cloud? McCarthy.
TAPPER: Wow, there you go. That's one -- another one from McCarthy.
HUNT: And I think Clyde is next up.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Clyburn?
REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D-SC): Hakeem Jeffries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Clyde? McCarthy.
TAPPER: So that's four rebels that have joined the McCarthy camp, potentially bringing up his total to 205.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Cohen?
STEVE COHEN (D-TN): Hakeem Jeffries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeffries.
HUNT: But he could be missing as many as four of his supporters for personal reasons.
BASH: We're doing throwbacks to times that came before. George H. W. Bush used to call this the Big Mo. It was a different context, but that's what Kevin McCarthy is hoping for.
TAPPER: Yes. They were expecting and hoping for this yesterday, though, I don't know that 24-hour delay will make a difference one way or another. But you're absolutely right, this is --
BASH: But it's moving in the right direction.
TAPPER: Right. One of the hopes of the McCarthy people, as, you know, Dana, was to show people, to show the rebels the holdouts. He's listening.
KING: Crane did not go right.
TAPPER: So Crane did not switch Crane. So Crane is more of a, he's teetering in the never Kevin camp.
KING: The full fever is broken if you're Kevin McCarthy, you have broken the full holdout fever.
TAPPER: There are four.
KING: And you have momentum. I don't know if I call it Big Mo, but you have some after three miserable days, you have some momentum. And the question then is, can you convince the others? Look, now you're even more outnumbered. We're negotiating in good faith. Stop the humiliation. Stop demanding votes. Let's keep negotiating.
KING: That's Kevin McCarthy --
HUNT: This is the first time it's gotten better for Kevin McCarthy instead of worse on one of these votes.
TAPPER: On any of them, as the process begin. Just to remind people, when the voting started on Tuesday, Kevin McCarthy had 203 votes, then that changed in subsequent ballots to 202 votes, then that changed in subsequent ballots to 201 votes. Now, I would guess one of those who left us, Congresswoman Victoria Sparks, who said she wanted to see she voted present, she wants to see results in the negotiations. I would suggest that possibly she might change her vote back to McCarthy, given that some of the negotiators on the rebel side are actually voting for McCarthy.
KING: And Byron Donalds about to come up as well.
TAPPER: We'll see what Donalds does. Right. Donalds, who was an original McCarthy vote, who then switched when people in the rebel camp started voting for him. Let's listen in to see how Byron Donalds votes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: McCarthy. Diaz-Balart? Diaz-Balart? Dingell? Jeffries. Doggett? Jeffries. Donalds?
REP. BYRON DONALDS (R-FL): McCarthy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: McCarthy.
TAPPER: There you go. McCarthy has now picked up even more votes. One, two, three, four, five, so his vote total is going in the right direction, at least this McCarthy time. Yes?
GANGEL: Do we know what John King, man, do we know what the denominator is.
KING: We don't. We have to see how many total votes are cast because the -- you can be speaker. You don't need -- you need 218 if everybody's there and everybody votes for somebody by name, what you need is a majority of the votes cast for a candidate by name. So if you vote present, that does not count in the math for the majority. And so it is nobody in the McCarthy camp expected they were going to win the speakership on this vote. They did say and he said walking in when Manu Raju pulled off the great choreography we saw pull up that it was going to get better. It is getting better. The question is it good enough to win? And even if it's not good enough to win, is it good enough to convince enough Republicans we are making progress, we're going to get to a finish line. Let's stop the public flogging of our leader adjourn and keep negotiating.
HUNT: Yes, there, I mean, I will say the sources I'm talking to right now are suggesting that McCarthy it's not likely that we're going to see Kevin McCarthy speaker at the end of the day today because of these questions about who's there and who's not.
KING: Assuming the Democrats kept all their people there.
HUNT: Right. There were some questions about whether that was going to happen. But the reality is and actually, John, since you're our math wiz at the table, how many if there, let's say there are five never Kevin supporters. How many of them have to vote present?
KING: It depends on how many there total. We don't know the answer. We don't know the answer to that. We need that answer first. How many people are testing votes today?
HUNT: Let's say we're voting on Tuesday. Everybody's on the floor. If two of those people decide that they can vote present instead of voting no on Kevin McCarthy, does that be Kevin McCarthy --
TAPPER: That brings it down, that brings it down the benchmark down one vote. For every two for every two that are off the board, it brings down the requirement that he -- the majority requirement from 218 down one.
KING: If everybody because there's 434 because Congressman McEachin, the Democrat passed away, if everybody votes for a candidate by name, it's 218 because McEachin is already off the board because he passed away, forgive me, that sounds insensitive, but he passed away. If one person votes present, that essentially two, so that takes it down to 217 and then it takes two more to take it down to 216. But that's assuming everybody is there. TAPPER: No, I wanted to -- just to underline one other point, Matt Gaetz just voted against, I think he voted for Congressman Jordan. So that's -- there you go right now with that Gaetz vote. There are -- OK, we're flipping back and forth there in our vote count total. But four right now, if McCarthy loses one more House Republican, then he will lose this vote. But the momentum is going in his direction of Illinois, but he's still not out of the woods. The next anti-McCarthy vote that is cast by a Republican will show that he does not -- is not going to win this 12th ballot.
HUNT: Yes, but bottom line, this is a huge sigh of relief for the McCarthy camp.
COLLINS: But it's not the end all of the sigh relief because the question still remains, regardless of all the momentum goes in his direction is what is the plan for those final few --
TAPPER: Let's listen in for one second for Congressman --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Goldman of New York.
TAPPER: Congressman Good is coming up in one, two, three, four, and he is a hell no. And that will be the nail in the coffin in terms of whether or not he can win after Vicente Gonzalez comes Bob Good, Vincente Gonzalez, and that will be McCarthy's 12th successive loss.
KING: And Gosar soon after that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good of Virginia?
REP. BOB GOOD (R-VA): Jim Jordan.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jordan.
TAPPER: Jim Jordan. So this is McCarthy's 12th successive loss. There is a silver lining in the sense that at least he is picking up votes. He has picked up five. I suspect that he will pick up Chip Roy as well just based on the negotiations. I can't -- I don't know -- that's not based on reporting. It's just based on the fact. Gosar didn't vote. It's just based on the fact that he's been leading the negotiation.
KING: And so in a logical world, Kevin McCarthy and his allies go into the meeting with the still never Kevins to hold up and say, look, you are now further isolated. Let's cut some deal, even if it's your vote present. That's a logical world. The challenge is they don't care. They don't live in a logical world and they don't operate in a logical world. If you're Matt Gaetz and if you're Bob Good, you have said never Kevin. And as long as you can keep four or five and you vote by name, you keep nominating people and vote by name, if they cut a deal where they will vote present, if five or six of them will vote present and now you have these converts, then Kevin McCarthy can win. The question is, do they finally agree to a concession like that? Or do they just determine, even if their numbers shrink, that they want to humiliate him, they want to deny him the speakership, and they will not blink. That's the challenge. BASH: The other potential scenario, if they can't convince McCarthy, whatever we're going to see at the end of this, the five, six, seven who are still saying no to Kevin McCarthy, whether they agree to change the math, whether they find some Democrat to agree to vote present. I think that right now is unlikely, given the reality of the politics of the moment, meaning going back to what we were talking about a lot yesterday, somehow find a way to make the vote a plurality, not a majority.
KING: And so you take that risk then. If Kevin McCarthy can get above 213, right, because Hakeem Jeffries, there are 212 Democrats, so if they're all there, Hakeem Jeffries gets 212. If Kevin McCarthy can get to 213, then you can take the risk of changing the rules. The risk there is that Matt Gaetz votes for the Democrat, you know, would that happen?
HUNT: Who knows?
KING: Yes, right.
HUNT: Who knows?
KING: If the never Kevins, do they just still vote for somebody else? Or would they actually, out of spite, vote for the Democrat?
TAPPER: I'll tell you what this does, though. This will have the name Steve Scalise mentioned fewer times today, not just by the likes of us, but by House Republicans, which is much more important. This will have the people in the Kevin camp who are voting for Kevin but not particularly enthusiastic about it, the Mever Kevin, they will also be reassured to stick with us. We're going in the right direction. So this is important for McCarthy.
KING: He's more viable today than he was yesterday.
TAPPER: He's more viable today than he was five minutes ago, right? I mean, it's that simple. By the way, I don't think any of those votes were, like, locked in until they were uttered, right? And by the way, they can be taken off the board, too. They can be taken off the board, too. You look historically at some of the vote totals, and they still shift back and forth, back and forth, you know, I'm talking about the ones in 1850.
BASH: For now, it's six.
TAPPER: Well, the nail is in the coffin.
BASH: Yes, just in terms of down the road, how many more? Yes, so at this point, let's just say it doesn't change. He would have to switch two votes. All right, we'll see at the end.
TAPPER: All right, so the resistance is softening. Kevin McCarthy has flipped at least five hardliners, switching them from the rebel camp into his camp, ballot number twelve. He's still going to lose, but there is some momentum, some excitement there, I say. More CNN special coverage after this quick break.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: And welcome back to CNN special coverage. What we just saw a break in. The hardline resistance is Kevin McCarthy, several never so called never Kevin Republicans or never Kevin no longer flipping their votes on ballot number 12. That vote is still underway. McCarthy is still on track to lose again, but does have some momentum. I want to go to Manu Raju on Capitol Hill? Manu, I know you have some new reporting on McCarthy and what he sees as the biggest obstacle to win it.
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right. It's this Matt Gaetz, the congressman from Florida, someone who is trying to gin up opposition to Kevin McCarthy. The McCarthy team views him as perhaps the biggest obstacle right now. He is essentially trying to rile up maybe up to 10 Republican no votes. That's what he believes he can keep on his side. The McCarthy team is trying to isolate him. In fact, when Gaetz was on the floor just now, nominating Jim Jordan to be the speaker of the House and McCarthy staff instructed members of the conference to walk out of the chamber. Kevin McCarthy himself was not in the chamber at the time.
But this really speaks to the strategy that they're trying to peel back support, pick off support of those 20 no votes, which they've been successful so far in picking off five of them, they're going block by block from the various conservatives who are concerned or who are trying to oppose speakership so far, they spent the last two days in deep negotiations with several of those members. The ones who supported them today, including Byron Donalds, who was part of those negotiations, he, of course, was nominated for speaker of the House, but now is backing McCarthy ceded to a number of their demands to give them more leverage and more say in the legislative process. That is only one block of lawmakers.
Then they're going to have to go to a different block. People have raised different concerns, and that is the hope of members of Congress here. As it appears that he's continuing to succeed here, Anderson, and picking up more and more support --
COOPER: -- just flip to McCarthy.
RAJU: And she was part of the negotiations, Anderson. Last night, I saw her in and out of Tom Emmer's office. He's the number three Republican incoming number three Republican as they try to negotiate these changes, these rules changes, giving them more say in the legislative process, now picking off another opponent here, significant movement, the necessary movement for McCarthy, who needed to show that he was making progress. Members of his conference were saying to me that this was the moment right here. Yesterday, they gave him the day to figure out if they can get a deal, get some of these members on board.
But today they needed to show some progress, and that will almost ensure that he won't lose any other defectors here, a moment of positive news for McCarthy, even if he's not there yet.
COOPER: So Manu, so far, it is six who have flipped to McCarthy, is that correct?
RAJU: That's what we have right now, six and counting. Remember, he can only lose four members of the House Republican Conference. And there are four very hard no votes already. Can he get to the rest of them? And it appears McCarthy are cheering for McCarthy. I didn't see that right there, Anderson. But they are still trying to get to that magic number. But the problem, too, is several of those supporters of McCarthy have already have to leave town or leaving town. So if McCarthy told me that on the way in, they're going to have some absence of today, so it's still going to extend out for some time and they still have some work to do. Despite the pickups, there's still some concern, still some opponents, and not enough for 218. But he's getting closer, Anderson.
COOPER: Yes. Manu we'll check back in with you here with the team in New York. David Urban, you talked about yesterday, the grinding. You can hear the wheels turning.
DAVID URBAN, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's like the old pestle. You know, you're grinding the just grinding it down. And eventually, if I was at the Republicans I was at, no one would go home. We'd stay here and keep voting and voting.