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CNN Live Event/Special

McCarthy Appears To Love On 12th Ballot But Flips Some Holdouts. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired January 06, 2023 - 13:30   ET



MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: But for McCarthy right now on the floor they're counting the votes right now. The clerks are making sure that the tally is correct.

He's going to likely fall short here but they feel clear momentum. They think they can get there maybe not today but very close, maybe in the next coming days they believe that McCarthy will soon become speaker of the House.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Manu, do you expect them to push for another vote immediately?

RAJU: That was the expectation. When I asked Patrick McHenry about that, do you expect another vote after this one, he said, I do. That was the expectation going in.

Now they, of course, need to have all 218 members, 218 votes to adjourn the House. Unclear if they would have that and take a break to negotiate further offline.

But if they don't have 218 to adjourn, they're required to go to another speaker vote and we could see that after this. Unclear if the votes will change.

But at the moment, these negotiations probably are going to happen as these votes wrap up behind-the-scenes, in the cloakroom and in office, just off the House floor that McCarthy has been occupying it as they try to nail down the final votes and finally claim the speakership -- Anderson?

COOPER: Manu Raju, appreciate it. We'll check back in with you.

Back here in New York, Scott Perry obviously a big -- as the leader of the freedom caucus, that is a big switch.

DAVID URBAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think Scott Perry is big. Chip Roy, some of -- Byron Donalds, Gosar, all of these are big gets, Norman.

And I think the difference is now, other than you're not going to have Kevin McCarthy and his lieutenants going around twisting arms. You'll have these 14 people who just switched twisting the arms of the outliers. Those are the people who will say, we did this. We need you to come along and make the argument. Scott Perry is going to make the argument. I think that's much more persuasive.

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You know, the question -- I mean, they didn't come along because they had some sort of enlightenment. They came along because they cut deals.

The question is, what additional deals did they have to cut with the remaining and are they subject to cutting deals or are they just more -- but, you know, this thing that Manu talked about, the debt ceiling, this has been something that a lot of people have worried about.

I was around in 2011 when there was the -- there was a similar effort to try and, you know, tie the debt ceiling to all kinds of concessions, and, you know, it took us to the pest 'tis of what would have been a catastrophe.

And so, you know, this is why I understand the sort of sport of all of this, but the aftermath is going to be very, very important.

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: One of the things that these seven hold-outs have claimed they want is deep investigations of the Biden administration. They are the most interested in getting the investigatory process rolling.

What I expect to happen on the floor next is for the clerk to read the tally, then roll into another vote. And I think the next nominating speech for McCarthy is going to be given by Congressman Jamie Comer of Kentucky's first district.

He will be one of the most famous members because he will be the chairman of the House Oversight Committee and be the tip of the spear an all these investigations. I don't know what he's going to say.

Here's what's true. As long as this is going on, that committee doesn't exist and the oversight doesn't exist and the subpoenas don't exist.

But because Comer is getting up to make a speech here I just think it bears pointing out. If you voted for a Republican for the House and are a conservative there's probably 100 percent chance you want Biden to be investigated and the Matt Gaetz seven are stopping you.

And I hope Jamie Comer makes that point in the speech --


AXELROD: I'll tell who has been making the point. It's someone likely to be a new member, if reports are correct, of Oversight, Marjorie Taylor Greene, who is on no committees because of her behavior.

And she wrote today, "Dems are openly plotting to elect a moderate Democrat approved speaker if we don't elect McCarthy. That's what I've been warning about. If that happens you can kiss investigations into COVID, the Biden crime family, DOJ weaponization, impeachment and subpoena power good-bye. Welcome to the new era."



JENNINGS: In terms of grinding these people down, I'm just telling you, all these grassroots donors, all these people who knock on doors --


JENNINGS: -- the fact that they should now know right now the only thing standing between investigating Biden and subpoenaing Mayorkas and looking into the border and whatever --


AXELROD: You're right. You're right.


AXELROD: Do you think last November --

JENNINGS: 2243241 --



AXELROD: We know what happened in November. We all saw what happened. Do you think this is what the broader electorate is hungering for, I can't wait to get the investigations going on?


JENNINGS: No, but --


AXELROD: I understand. I'm making a different point, which is there's this narrow thing as to whether Kevin McCarthy can piece the votes together to be speaker.

And then there's this larger thing, what does that mean for the rest of the two years of his tenure? I suspect it will only be two years if it is two years, and this is what we can look forward to.


URBAN: Your point about the debt ceiling, those negotiations are never easy. Point to 2011. Always a tension between, you know, we continue to spend crazily, right, money we don't have, raise tax, how do we do this?

A lot think there are budget deficits running out of control and take it seriously. That's a concern always not just in this Congress so I don't know.


AXELROD: I'm sorry. Go ahead.

KAREN FINNEY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I was going to say I think we have to ask ourselves after what we've seen, the debt ceiling, again, it would be a catastrophe.

You have seven people, we had 20, maybe 10, now seven who are willing to take us to the brink for three days. There's a very real question that David is putting on the table in terms of what is actually in this deal.

And we know that there are at least seven people who are perfectly willing to take us to --


FINNEY: David, let me finish -- who are perfectly willing to let us go to the very brink of destruction. Again, as you said, only for their own gain.

URBAN: I was going to say, a lot of people think we are on the brink of destruction and catastrophe with the debt limit spending, runaway spending, and continue to raise the debt ceiling.


AXELROD: They didn't think that during four years of the Trump administration.

URBAN: I'm saying --


AXELROD: He added more than anybody.

URBAN: David, I'm not arguing. I'm just saying that there's a contingent here in America that finds that equally repugnant as raising the debt ceiling.


COOPER: How likely is it in the next round, assuming that they continue to vote, is there enough time to move some of these seven who remain?

MARGARET HOOVER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: There might be. There might be. Look, there's seven and it looks like he's going to need to flip at least three. If he can flip three of the seven then he can get it today.

Looking at who those people are, Lauren Boebert doesn't seem flipable. Matt Gaetz not flipable. Bob Good doesn't seem flipable. Andy Biggs, Rosendale, I'm not so sure. Harrison Crane maybe. So this is going to be a real test of Kevin McCarthy's and frankly his

ability to enroll his allies in an effort to change some of these hold-outs.

COOPER: Scott?

JENNINGS: If I were McCarthy's camp right now, I would be making the point on Rosendale that all that is standing between us investigating Joe Biden and all that is stops us from doing that is Rosendale.

He has a Senate race he wants to run in. You don't want to be known as the guy that stopped the Republicans from looking into Joe Biden.

COOPER: Any moment, we expect the House to move to ballot 13. Things finally looking different. Kevin McCarthy can finally claim momentum after flipping 14 Republican hold-outs.

More CNN special coverage after this.



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Welcome back to CNN's special coverage.

Republican leader, Kevin McCarthy, finally, finally, has worn down some of his Republican opposition. Fourteen Republican rebels folding after four days of pressure and negotiations on ballot number 12.

McCarthy still coming up short. Not getting the necessary number of votes to become speaker.

But for the first time in these rounds and rounds and rounds of ballots, it looks as though he will get even more votes than the Democratic leader, Congressman Jeffries.

So now we try to figure out what exactly is going to happen next.

And, Dana Bash, I should note, if you look at Hakeem Jeffries' vote score there, 211, that is one less than he has been getting for all previous votes.

This is the 13th -- what is this, the 12th vote?


TAPPER: That was the 12th.

BASH: Yes.

TAPPER: That was the 12th.

OK. So, sorry, I'm losing track.

BASH: No. That's where we are. TAPPER: Anyway, the reason that Jeffries is at 211 and not 212 is

because Congressman David Trone had to miss it for a personal matter. But I am now told from a Democratic source that he is on his way back.

Why would he be on his way back? Because in the complicated math of having to win a majority of those voting on the floor, other than those voting present who do not count, right now Kevin McCarthy only needs to pick up three Republicans to get the magic number 216 to become speaker.

But this Democrat tells me -- and I'm no math expert, but this is what they say, they have people who do this professionally -- if David Trone comes back, that will mean that Kevin McCarthy will not need 216 votes to become speaker. He will need 217.

BASH: The Democrats want to keep the threshold higher.

TAPPER: Yes, they want to make it tougher.

BASH: They want to move the bar, exactly, move the bar higher to make it tougher for McCarthy.

TAPPER: Although --

BASH: The question is, what's happening on the floor right now? What is happening with -- I think it was David Urban who said this, and this is just my experience in covering the Hill, this is dead on.

I mean, look at the conversation you're seeing right now. I don't know how hard they're trying but --

TAPPER: There's Rosendale one of the holdouts, on the left from Montana.

BASH: It is very likely that it is the flippers, today, the 14 flippers who are the ones on the front lines working those who are still hold-outs like Rosendale who we're seeing right there in the red tie.


I mean, you're seeing -- you're seeing arm twisting in action right there. That moment, that's exactly what we're seeing.

That's why the vote is still open, not necessarily because they're waiting for somebody to come home but because the McCarthy camp that includes these 14 newly flipped votes are trying to get him more votes.

TAPPER: I don't know we're seeing -- respectfully, I don't think we're seeing arm twisting. I think we're seeing deal-making.

BASH: OK, one in the same.

TAPPER: Legalized bribery part of our American political process. ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It may be deal

making or it may be -- at this point, I have questions about what else could be put on the table for these individual.

But I do think Dana has a point. Some of the people who flipped today for Kevin McCarthy went out there over the last couple of days and gave nominating speeches for someone else.

And those -- so those people are not just like McCarthy no votes but were kind of on the front lines of this effort to dethrone him and so it's incredibly significant that people like Paul Gosar and Chip Roy are now in the McCarthy camp.

And I think it -- their flipping raises the stakes for them. They cannot --

BASH: Exactly.

PHILLIP: They do not want to be on the losing side of this. This has to end in their minds with McCarthy as speaker otherwise it all would have been for naught.

KASIE HUNT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: And you know what's been changing as we're watching this vote unfold and as we sit here now is the conversation when we went home last night and even through the morning was, OK, how are we going to figure out a way to get to next week when this will be done?

Perhaps these negotiations will extend out. All of a sudden, people are saying, how do we make Kevin McCarthy the speaker of the House today, Friday afternoon?

And I don't think that there were -- certainly, I was not hearing from a lot of people who thought this was a realistic possibility when we sat down here a couple of hours ago.

So if you're the McCarthy team, I mean, the political imperative here is to capitalize on this momentum, hang on to it like a dog with a bone, and not let go of it until you get to where you need to go.

JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: I have spoken to Republican sources on the Hill who are not Kevin McCarthy fans. They say the dam has broken. They think -- there are seven hold-outs. They think that he can get three of these and likely will get them by the end of today.


TAPPER: But then they get four. That's my question because if Congressman David Trone, Democrat of Maryland, has come back to the House of Representatives, which I'm told a Democratic Congressman just told me he had a medical appointment. Now he's back. And that lifts --


GANGEL: They don't need to get four. They only -- there's seven hold- outs, minus three is four.

TAPPER: No, no. What I'm --


GANGEL: Because the denominator is changed.

TAPPER: Because the denominator is changed.

GANGEL: Exactly.

TAPPER: If Trone comes back and I'm told he's back that means McCarthy needs 217 votes, not 216. And that means he needs to pick up four of these seven rebels. Four.


GANGEL: So one of my sources predicts that there will only be three hold-outs in the end. And that will be Matt Gaetz, Boebert and Good.

BASH: And the image we were just seeing was of Patrick McHenry, one of the top McCarthy lieutenants --


BASH: There you see it. You see the back of his head.

He's talking to Boebert. There you go. He's talking to Matt Gaetz. I mean, if he can flip those two, god only knows what he can offer them.


BASH: I agree. I agree. The fact that he's even having that conversation as the vote is open, I mean, look at him. Look at -- that is McHenry, right.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It's not just Pattrick McHenry. You were talking about Rosendale, Tom Emmer sitting next to Andy Biggs. Steve Scalise sitting next to Eli Crane.

These are all these people who are trying to go after those people, people like Eli Crane who maybe could be gettable. I mean, he has --

TAPPER: McCarthy helped get him elected.


COLLINS: The congressional leadership put a lot of money into ads for him and that is part of that. But the conversation is they don't trust him and believe that they are the ones who are standing in the way of this and that that is ultimately their end goal.

GANGEL: Does anybody know how to read lips?



PHILLIP: It doesn't have to end with these people necessarily all voting for McCarthy as well. It would be helpful to McCarthy if some of them decided to vote present.

HUNT: Well, that's why the fact that Democrat David Trone is coming back after having his -- there was a statement put out saying he had a surgery this morning. I heard from a source who said he had the surgery and came back. We got to confirm that.

But, you know, the question then will become there's two Republicans currently not here, Ken Buck and Wesley Hunt.

Hunt said in a Twitter thread this morning that he returned home because of there were complications to his newly born child in the NICU and his wife was readmitted to the hospital.


That said, there are a lot of flights back and forth from Texas. And if the speakership is on the line, I'm sure somebody somewhere has a jet that could bring him and potentially Ken Buck from Colorado back. But that, of course, could drag the day way out.

BASH: How many times have we seen votes open for hours? Was it -- OK, I'm going to date myself but go there. I think it was Medicare, the Medicare expansion.


BASH: Tom DeLay.


BASH: They kept it open for hours and hours and hours.

TAPPER: When time stops on the floor of the House.

BASH: Time has officially stopped.

TAPPER: We're going to squeeze in another quick break. We will be right back with more of this exciting day of coverage. Will Kevin McCarthy be able to ultimately become speaker of the House, perhaps even by the end of the day? Stay with us.



COOPER: Welcome back. I'm Anderson Cooper in New York. You're watching CNN special live coverage.

Fourteen down, four to go. Momentum, progress, gravity, whatever you want to call it. Kevin McCarthy finally has some of it.

The question now, can he wear down the "hell no" holdouts blocking his bid to become the next speaker of the United States House of Representatives.

Let's listen in.



CHERYL JOHNSON, HOUSE CLERK: The honorable Hakeem Jeffries of the state of New York has received 211.



JOHNSON: The honorable Jim Jordan of the state of Ohio has received four.

The honorable Kevin Hern of the state of Oklahoma has received three.

No member-elect having received a majority of the votes cast, a speaker has not been elected.

For what purpose does the gentleman from Kentucky rise?

REP. JAMES COMER (R-KY): I rise on behalf of the Republican Party to nominate Kevin McCarthy for speaker of the 118th Congress.



JOHNSON: The gentleman is recognized.

COMER: For the past two years, one-party Democrat rule has resulted in multiple crises that are harming Americans, without any oversight or accountability from this body.

Americans are facing historic inflation, skyrocketing energy costs, the worst water crisis in American history, and surging fentanyl overdoses.

One of the reasons is no Congressional oversight. There's no sense of urgency or the White House or the bureaucrats that populate this town to move.

I want to talk about that. Oversight of our tax dollars, that's our responsibility. We've all heard reports of hundreds of millions of dollars of potential waste and fraud in the unemployment insurance programs in all 50 states.

We've all heard reports of misuse of hundreds of millions of dollars of the stimulus money, of PPP loan funds. But yet, there has not been a single hearing in the House Oversight Committee about this.

The border crisis, we've made several trips on this side of the aisle to the border. We've listened to the Border Patrol agents. Their message is loud and clear. Under President Biden, the Border

Patrol has become the welcoming committee. They're begging for help to do their job.

Law enforcement officers in all 50 states are begging Congress to force this administration to secure the border, to do something about the fentanyl crisis that plagues every community in every state in our great nation.


COMER: Americans watched in disarray at the debacle in Afghanistan and Americans were left with many questions. How much equipment was left behind for the Taliban? How many Americans were left behind?


The origination of COVID-19. We all know someone personally who lost their life during COVID-19. They deserve answers to what really happened in that lab in Wuhan, China.