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State of the Union
Inerview with Ron Paul; Interview with Rick Scott; Interview with Mitch McConnell; Interview with Antonio Villaraigosa, Carlos Gutierrez
Aired January 29, 2012 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CANDY CROWLEY, HOST: Florida: the tie-breaker. Could give Romney a second wind or establish Gingrich as more than a one-state wonder or cause Santorum and Paul to recalculate.
Today, life after the Sunshine State.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. RON PAUL, R-TEXAS, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There's a lot of enthusiasm for the cause of liberty, isn't there?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROWLEY: Politics with presidential candidate Ron Paul.
A primary preview with Florida Governor Rick Scott.
Plus, working with the president -- or not. With Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell.
And then wooing the Latino vote with Los Angeles Major Antonio Villaraigosa and former Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez.
I'm Candy Crowley. And this is "State of the Union."
There are more delegates at stake in Florida than any of the previous contests. So major momentum will come out of this winner- take-all state. Naturally Ron Paul, a road less traveled kind of guy, spent the week in Maine.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: What am I doing in Maine? Why am I not in Florida? I came to get delegates, that's what we're doing here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROWLEY: Truth is, Ron Paul doesn't need to be in Florida to have a presence.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, the debt is certainly an importance issue. And you can hear it from the Ron Paulites who are here cheering tonight.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROWLEY: And that's the intrigue of the Paul campaign -- maximum commitment by voters in the face of minimal chances. His support now is too small to be a threat to Romney or Gingrich in the short run, but large enough to be a factor in the long run. And if Ron Paul shouldn't win, what's the price for his support? The Texas congressman joins me now from his home state. Thank you, congressman. I just want to take a look at your...
PAUL: Thank you.
CROWLEY: ...strategy at this point which is to go to these caucus states where we know your passionate supporters will show up and spend time talking politics. Where do you see a state where you can really breakthrough a through and come in first?
PAUL: Well, you know, after spending two days plus up in Maine, I was very encouraged. The turnouts were fantastic. Usually overflow crowds. Tremendous enthusiasm. The other candidates aren't paying much attention. The interest was phenomenal.
I think that's a real good place for us to break through.
CROWLEY: So you think you could possibly win in Maine when that caucus comes up?
PAUL: I'm -- yeah, I really do. We did pretty well three years ago, and we weren't nearly as well organized. And Romney's been popular up there, but less so right now. So I would say that we have a very good chance. We're going to have an excellent showing. And I don't know how many candidates really like to say, I am going to be in first place. Most of us don't -- don't do that. I guess some do it. But I don't think that's very healthy.
But I do really believe we're going to do quite well there and a very good chance of winning.
CROWLEY: This is not just a road less traveled, this is also a rough road for you on the way to the nomination. So difficult to put together enough delegates to actually win the nomination when your concentration is on just the caucus states.
If it becomes apparent at some time along the road before the June end to the primary season that you can't get enough delegates to win, do you see yourself dropping out, or do you see yourself going all the way to the convention?
PAUL: No, I think we'll -- we'll continue. And it is a rough road, but the rough road isn't, you know, presenting our case, the rough road is competing with, you know, establishment money, the big money. You know, when you talk about not a billion -- a million or two. We can raise those millions, but we can't compete with tens of millions of dollars for each individual state. And that's what, you know, came up in Florida. You need a lot of money. So it's a money game. And I think that's one of the things that frustrates a lot of people.
But, no, we're going to stay in and see what comes of it. And who knows what will come of the other two candidates. You know, there's been lots of ups and downs. So maybe there will be some downs and we might be able to pick up the pieces. CROWLEY: Surely there is always that. This has been a surprising primary season already. If you get to the convention and you intend to go there, as I understand from your answer, and if you have a large chunk of delegates, which is quite likely, what do you want in exchange for your support?
PAUL: You know, I really have never thought that through. I don't have a list, if you do a, b and c you're going to get support. I don't think people quite understand that I don't control things. I deliver a message. It gets people enthusiastic. But if I leave the fold and say, well, now that we have these, I'm going to deliver these votes, we don't even think in those terms. And I don't think the people that have supported our cause think that way either.
But, you know, I don't know how it'll pan out and what the discussion would be. I'm sure, you know, if we have -- if we have the delegates which would be on the margin, somebody's going to be talking to us. And I have no idea how that conversation would go.
CROWLEY: So without speaking for your supporters, speaking only for yourself, if you look at your three rivals now, could you endorse all of them? Can you see your way clear at where they stand at the moment on these issues? Could they get a Ron Paul endorsement?
PAUL: Well, you know, it would be difficult. But they're not fixed on their beliefs. They vary. And they have their ear to the political noise that they hear. And you know, I kidded the other night, you know, in the debate, you know, Newt is, you know, coming around on the monetary issues and really, you know, playing up and trying to appeal to us...
CROWLEY: Do you think he's doing that to appeal to your supporters, or do you think he's doing that because he believes it?
PAUL: I think -- you know, I don't know what's in his heart or his mind. But I think the politics of it all -- of it reflects the fact even if he believed it and thought it was still a crazy idea to quit printing money when you need it, he wouldn't say it. But evidently he probably has a belief that it does make sense and there's a political block out there.
So then I kidded, I said, well, I got you coming on the right way on money. Maybe I can get you to come that way on the foreign policy and not want to fight so many wars that are undeclared. And, of course, he chuckled a little bit, too.
CROWLEY: Let me ask you, Herman Cain who, you know, dropped out of the race but had a Tea Party following of some measure, at least, early on, has endorsed Newt Gingrich. How significant do you think that is?
PAUL: Probably not too much. I think sometimes, you know, we were identified with the beginning of the Tea Party, and yet the Tea Party is not a Tea Party. I mean, it's all over the place. Everybody's claiming they're Tea Party. Somebody like Newt Gingrich who'd been in politics all these years and an insider and claim he's leading the Tea Party movement, that's, to me a little strange.
But there is no one movement in the Tea Party. It actually started during our campaign four years ago.
But it is -- it represents a significant number of people who are frustrated with the process as well as -- as well as Occupy Wall Street. See, I talk to those people as well and try to bring them in, because it's the frustration level that is so high, and I think that's one of the things that has energized our campaign, because our meetings and rallies that we have are made up of Democrats and independents and frustrated Republicans and new voters.
Everybody knows about the new voters coming in that are enthusiastic and aren't very pleased with what they're offered by the other candidates.
CROWLEY: Congressman, I want to ask you to stand by for us a minute.
Coming up, policy with Ron Paul, including his reaction to President Obama's strategy on Iran.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Let there be no doubt, America is determined to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and I will take no options off the table to achieve that goal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROWLEY: We are back with Congressman and Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul.
Congressman, you heard going into our break the president saying he would take nothing off the table when it comes to Iran, which is code for, of course, I'll use military force if I have to. He got a rousing bipartisan applause for that. After Iraq, after Afghanistan, two wars that all the polls show Americans have tired of, does that surprise you that he got such a warm ovation for that statement?
PAUL: Well, I think they applaud the goal. I mean, that would be my goal, too. I don't want them to have a nuclear weapon. It's just the approach. I mean, if you would say, yes, I'm ready to invade and commit an act of aggression and go in and take over that country if nothing is off the table, when they say nothing is off the table, they're even talking about nuclear first strikes.
So I always think that the biggest danger is our overreaction. But if the people hear that in context that there's other ways to do it, if people understood what sanctions meant and that maybe -- maybe dealing with them in a different fashion, I don't -- they take one thing off the table and that is talking to them.
And so I would think that if they understood that sanctions literally enhances the power of the ayatollahs and undermines the Iranian people, because I have contacts with some of the Iranian people and Iranian-Americans, and they like what I say because -- and they don't like this idea of the aggressive approach because it brings out the strong nationalism, just as 9/11 brought us -- our people together in a nationalistic way, and this is what happens over there.
So he needs to add something to it. But he has already taken off the table, and too many of the Republican candidates, they take it off the table, that you can't even talk to them.
But my argument is that when the Soviets had 30,000 of these. We didn't take talking to them off the table, or even the Chinese. We started talking to them and started trading with them and the results were much better.
So I think -- I think unfortunately they have taken something off the table and we ought to reassess this aggressive approach to them.
CROWLEY: If you became president of the United States, who would be your secretary of defense?
PAUL: I haven't -- I haven't thought that through. I'm sure there are plenty that I could consider. But I haven't been in the mood to start picking and naming individuals.
CROWLEY: And let me move you to the state of the economy. The president got his chance to talk to the American people and give his version of what the state of the union is. When you look at the economy, had you been at that podium on Tuesday night, how would you have described the state of the economy?
PAUL: Well, I think -- I think the state of the economy of the world, because I think we're all involved in this worldwide because it's a dollar reserve standard that created this worldwide financial crisis, we're on a precipice.
We're in a crisis. And we have to understand how it came about. You have to understand monetary policy. You have to understand that you can't have excessive debt. You can't run up a debt. And this is the crisis. It's too much government, too much involvement, and that you have to cut back.
But the answer is not all that complicated, either. If you do the right things, we could work our way out of this. But if we continue to do what we're doing by both -- the leadership of both parties over these last four years is more spending and printing money and bailing out people, believe me, we're going to go over the cliff.
And I think that's what we have to work to try to prevent. So the economy is in shambles but we can correct it by just sound economic policies which are not complicated. CROWLEY: And let me turn you to another domestic policy issue. And that is, you had been raising money lately on your Web site on the notion of ending the TSA. Most people know those as the guards at the airport that, you know, pat you down and go through your stuff.
Your son obviously had a run-in with some TSA folks when he was trying to get on a plane. If you got rid of the TSA, what would you put in its place?
PAUL: Well, it shouldn't be government. You know, the people who protect very dangerous chemical plants, they're private sources, you know. They have their police guards. They have their fences. And they have their security. And they do a very good job.
The assumption that the government has to do this is the wrong assumption. I voted against the Department of Homeland Security and the TSA and it's a bureaucratic monster. It totally voids the concept of the Fourth Amendment, searches and prodding and poking, you know, with no permission.
And they trap us into it. There's no way you can travel if you don't do it. So I've said, you know, when you look at some of these pictures of probing groin areas and breast areas and all this, and old women having to take their clothes off, if we as a people are so complacent that we can look at that and say, oh, that's OK, they're making us safe.
It doesn't make us safe. It undermines our liberties and there's a much better way of giving us security at the airports than accepting the bureaucrats and the politicians in Washington. That is totally unacceptable from my viewpoint.
CROWLEY: Congressman Ron Paul, thank you for joining us today. We will see you along down the road.
PAUL: Thanks, Candy.
CROWLEY: Up next, foreclosures loom large in Florida. Will candidates' policies on housing come into play when Republican voters cast their ballots Tuesday? We'll ask Governor Rick Scott, next.
CROWLEY: Joining me here in Washington, Florida Governor Rick Scott.
You and I are out of place. But nonetheless, thanks for joining us here in Washington.
I wanted to quick show our viewers the latest poll we have. This a Quinnipiac University poll in Florida showing among the likely primary Republican voters Mitt Romney 38 percent, Newt Gingrich 29 and then down the line Paul and Santorum.
Looking at it from your perspective how is this going to shake out? GOV. RICK SCOTT, R-FLA.: Well, it sure looks like Governor Romney's going to win. Now if I had my druthers what I'd want them to do, do what we're doing in Florida talk about jobs. I mean, our unemployment dropped from 12 percent to 9.9 percent, that's what people are worried about. We have generated 141,000 jobs last year in the private sector. But we still have 900,000 people out of work. So, that's our biggest issue. I wish they talked about that more.
CROWLEY: You have been pretty vocal in saying that all these attacks on Governor Romney's business past are counterproductive and shouldn't happen. It sounded to me almost like an endorsement of Governor Romney. Is that where you're leaning?
SCOTT: Well I just think they shouldn't be doing all the -- first off, the free market creates jobs. We need jobs. In this country and our state, we want more jobs. So it's good to have somebody that has a business background.
Now, you know, I think the candidate that has the best plan for jobs -- what I did in my campaign, seven steps. Everybody in the state knew it. Seven steps to 700,000 jobs over seven years. And so that's what I think they ought to be doing. They ought to say look, whether it's three or five...
CROWLEY: Who has the best plan since you brought it up? SCOTT: I think -- they all have plans, all right. It's generally lower taxes, less regulation. But that's not what they're talking about. But that's what the public wants. They want somebody to get up there and say, look, what we've done in Florida, we're turning our economy around. But we need a federal partner. Look, all the other issues are important. Foreign policy is important. All those issues are important.
But if you have a job, you're worried about losing it. If you don't have a job, you're worried about getting one. That's what they ought to talk about day in and day out.
CROWLEY: And I also saw a poll, this was an ABC News/Univision Poll that said 49 percent of likely Latino voters in this primary back Governor Romney, 23 percent then -- a huge gap between him and former speaker Gingrich.
Why is that do you think? What is it about the Romney campaign that's attracting the Florida Republican Latino vote?
SCOTT: Well, I mean, the -- the Latino vote is -- look, the Latino vote cares about family. I mean, if you look at Governor Romney's family, he's been very successful. He's built a great family, very committed to his wife.
He's somebody that's been successful in life. So I think if they look at his background, it's what they want. They care about their families. They care about, you know, somebody that's been successful in business. That's what they care about. So I think that's part of what his attraction to the Latino vote. CROWLEY: So that would be in contrast to, I mean, the family values in contrast to Newt Gingrich or to others in the race, you know? Rick Santorum, obviously espouses family values as well.
SCOTT: Absolutely. You know, I think what's hard is it's not like you can have ten people saying the same thing. So somebody's going to have to be in the lead. And in this case, I mean, Mitt Romney has done a better job...
CROWLEY: It's that combination of social values as exemplified in his life as well as the business background that you think.
SCOTT: Absolutely. But you I think about my race. In the end what they care about is tell me how my family is going to get an education for my children, how my family is going to get a job, and don't do things that raises the cost of living. You think about your family in Florida, that's what you care about: education for your children, a job for your family, and keep the cost of living low so I can afford it.
CROWLEY: I want to ask you something that came out of the president's State of the Union Address on Tuesday. He was talking about housing, and in particular he was talking about those people who paid their mortgages, but who now find that, in fact, their mortgage is worth more than their house is. And he has a proposal for that. Here's what he had to say on state of the union night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: That's why I'm sending this congress a plan that gives every responsible homeowner the chance to save about $3,000 a year on their mortgage by refinancing at historically low rates. No more red tape. No more runaround from the banks. A small fee on the largest financial institutions will ensure that it won't add to the deficit. And we'll give those banks that were rescued by taxpayers a chance to repay a deficit of trust.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROWLEY: So a lot of these homeowners, while they have good credit, they can't -- they can't refinance to much lower rates because their home is no longer worth as much. What do you think of the president's plan?
SCOTT: Well, it's -- I haven't seen the details of it. But I think anything we can do to help homeowners is positive.
Now there's two sides of it. How can we help them, but how do we pay for it? I think if you look at our concern, I think in Florida is, we're paying down our debt. We've got a AAA credit rating. We're worried about the credit rating of the federal government and the deficits. So I don't know how They're going to pay for it.
But the things we can do to help homeowners in Florida is important. Now I personally... CROWLEY: Isn't it worth paying for it, though, I guess. I mean, it's going to cost some money in the sense that they're going to have to back up those loans in some way, shape, or form. So, yeah, there will be -- it doesn't look like a big taxpayer output but there might be taxpayer risk here. Isn't that worth it when -- what are you, the third worst in the country in terms of home foreclosures?
SCOTT: It might be, but we don't know what it's going to cost.
Here's my belief in Florida, the way we're fixing our homeowner problem is getting people more jobs. 141,000 more jobs last year in the private sector. That's what's changing our housing market.
You know, our housing market is coming back. In my hometown of Naples I think we're at a five-year low as far as homes on the market. So there's places where we're doing really well. There's places where we're not.
So the most important thing we can do is continue the track we're down -- 12 percent down to 9.9 percent. Hopefully this year we'll even do better and continue to drive down the unemployment and the employment. That's what's going to have the biggest impact.
CROWLEY: I want to show one last poll to our audience. And this is approval rating for you which you know has been kind of in the basement. Approval rating 36 percent, disapproval rating 49 percent. You know what the chatter is out there, that there is worry by some anonymous folks that say he's going to be a drag on the ticket in Florida. Do you worry about that?
SCOTT: Here's the election. I'm going to have an election in three years. And they'll decide. And hopefully in my election, it's what I get judged on every third Friday of every month. Tell me what the unemployment number is. Now down 2.1 percent, second biggest drop in the country. That's how I'll get judged.
The presidency is going to get judged on basically who can get at the federal level become a partner with what we're doing in Florida? That's how the election will be.
CROWLEY: Governor Rick Scott, thank you for joining us this morning. Happy trails back to Florida.
After the break, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell on the chances of working with President Obama this year.
And later, the Latino vote, is it up for grabs? Is either party listening? We'll ask two leaders in the Latino community.
CROWLEY: Joining me here in Washington, Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell.
Senator, thank you.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, R-KY.: Good morning.
CROWLEY: Let's start first with some congressional business. That payroll tax break needs to be extended by the end of February or people will see their payroll taxes come up. What do you think this final package is going to look like? And we should say that the sticking point has always been how you're going to pay for this thing.
MCCONNELL: Well, there's broad agreement on doing the payroll tax holiday through the end of the year. Republicans, Democrats agree on that. As you indicated the problem is the paying for it. The reason we ended up only doing the two-month extension earlier, Candy, was because our good friends on the Democratic side don't want to pay for anything. They'd love to do this...
CROWLEY: Well, they do. They just don't want to pay for it in the same way you do.
MCCONNELL: They don't want to cut spending. They just don't want to cut any spending.
CROWLEY: They would like to raise taxes on the wealthy.
MCCONNELL: That's what made it problematic. And -- but we'll get it done. We'll get it done by tend of February.
CROWLEY: What will it look like?
MCCONNELL: I don't know, it hasn't been negotiated.
CROWLEY: What is unacceptable to you in terms of paying for it?
MCCONNELL: Well, we don't believe that taking somebody's money and spending it on a bank like Solyndra is a good idea. We think the government, the administration wants to take somebody else's money, particularly people who've been successful and squander it on things like Solyndra. And we just don't think the government has this problem because it's taxes too little, we think it has the problem because it's spending way too much.
CROWLEY: Well, tax revenues have been down. A certain argument for a later time.
MCCONNELL: Yeah, but we know the economy...
CROWLEY: Right. So, but the question here is, if there is -- would you pay for it partially with any kind of tax increase? Would you agree to that?
MCCONNELL: We have this problem at the risk of being repetitious, because we spend way too much. We now have a debt the size of our economy. We look a lot like Greece. We're heading toward western Europe. If you want to see what happens, just look across the Atlantic. That's the direction we're headed in.
Under this administration, we've run the national debt up 43 percent in just three years. CROWLEY: But you're not saying no, which is interesting to me. I mean, usually...
MCCONNELL: Well, I'm not going to...
CROWLEY: ...you all flatly rule out any kind of tax increase and you're not.
MCCONNELL: I'm not going to negotiate this agreement with you this morning. But I want the American people to understand that we now have a debt the size of our economy. And how significant that is.
CROWLEY: Let me show you, and this actually loops into what we're talking about now. This is a comparison of President Obama's job performance, the polling on that approval or disapproval. It is now at 48 percent. So for the first time in a long time, in seven months, more people approve of President Obama's job performance than disapprove. It has gone up steadily.
A lot of people think that's because Republicans overplayed their hands, that Democrats have successfully framed republicans as standing in the way of everything for purely political reasons and standing on the side of rich people. Would you accept that analysis of why the president's poll numbers are up? MCCONNELL: Well, let me tell you what they've been doing. They've been trying to pretend like the president just showed up yesterday, just got sworn in and started fresh. In fact, he's been in office three years. He got everything he wanted from a completely compliant congress for two of those three years. You don't hear him mention any of that.
So what he's been engaged in since the bus tours began last August is try to convince the American people that somebody else is standing in his way.
CROWLEY: But doesn't that seem to be working?
MCCONNELL: Well, the election isn't until November and we'll find out how people feel about the record of this administration.
Do they like the stimulus? Do they like Obamacare? Do they like the new taxes? Do they like the size of the debt? This election will unquestionably be a referendum on his performance. And he owned the government the first two years. He got everything he wanted. And, Candy, there's no mistaking, we are living in the Obama economy.
CROWLEY: I want to play you something from Senator Lee, who I know you know who is upset with the recess appointments that the president made for consumer board and other things that he did while you were out of town. You were not officially in recess, but nonetheless, the president made ahead and made these recess appointments. And here's Senator Lee on this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. MIKE LEE, (R) UTAH: I find myself duty bound to resist the consideration and approval of additional nominations until the president takes steps to remedy the situation. The president will not continue to enjoy the same nearly complete cooperation unless or until he rescinds his unconstitutional recess appointments.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROWLEY: OK. So part of what the Democrats have tried to do is frame you all as obstructionists. And here you have a senator on the floor saying until you take back these recess appointments I'm not going to let any nominations go through. Is that OK with you?
MCCONNELL: Well, we all know the president wants to pick a fight with congress. Liberal presidents have always found the congress inconvenient. Woodrow Wilson thought the framers of the constitution got it all wrong and didn't make the presidency strong enough. Franklin Roosevelt tried to pack the Supreme Court. This president even more brazenly just ignores the constitution altogether.
But we've had a good deal of discussion about the appropriate response to that. And we think what he's really picking a fight with is the American people. Let me finish, there's already litigation regarding his appointments to the NLRB. We understand there will be litigation regarding his appointment to the CFPB, the new agency that answers to no one. That will be in court. You can look for Senate Republicans to join that litigation as amicus, that is filing briefs in support of that litigation. And the courts will have to decide, frankly, whether the president acted unconstitutionally or not.
CROWLEY: So have you asked Senator Lee to back off here? Are you going to allow...
MCCONNELL: Oh, senators -- senators put holds on nominations from time to time. That's as common as...
CROWLEY: But do you think it's a good tactic here given...
MCCONNELL: It's been done from time to time on senators from both sides, because they want to address some issue or some problem. That's not particularly unusual. But what is unusual here is the president's unconstitutional action. In other words, asserting that he has the authority to decide when we are in session. I don't find that in the constitution. And I think the courts are going to have to resolve this issue.
CROWLEY: But you're not willing to tell me whether you think what Senator Lee is doing is a good idea.
MCCONNELL: Senators put holds on nominations all the time. That is very common.
CROWLEY; And a quick political question for you, senator. Bob Dole, who I know you know, put out an editorial not that long ago, a statement saying that he has huge concerns with Newt Gingrich. That Newt Gingrich is not qualified to be president of the United States. Do you agree with that?
MCCONNELL: I don't think the American people need any advice from me about the presidential election. Republican primary voters are in the process of getting a nominee. And I think it's going to be someone who can win.
CROWLEY: Mr. McConnell, thank you so much for joining us, senator, we appreciate it.
Coming up, courting the Latino community is a must for a White House run. A look at the growing Hispanic voting block, next.
CROWLEY: At first blush, the Hispanic-American community looks like fertile political territory for Republicans. A Pew Hispanic Center poll released Friday found that three-quarters of Latinos say their personal finances are in only fair or poor shape. And unemployment among Latinos is 11 percent, far higher than in the general population.
But on second blush, President Obama's approval rating among Hispanics is 63 percent, also far higher than the general population.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: (SPEAKING SPANISH.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROWLEY: Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush warns fellow Republicans, "It's the word, stupid."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FORMER GOV. JEB BUSH, R-FLA.: If we do nothing to try to reach out to voters that -- that believe in our values but feel turned off by the rhetoric, that is the dumbest thing in the world to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROWLEY: And worrisome, too, for Republican strategists looking at an electoral map where exploding Hispanic populations have changed the dynamics in a number of swing states.
When we return, the politics of ethnics, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and former Bush commerce secretary Carlos Gutierrez.
CROWLEY: Joining me from Miami, Carlos Gutierrez, who served as commerce secretary in the George W. Bush administration and is now a member of Mitt Romney's Hispanic steering committee. And here with me in -- in Washington, Los Angeles Democratic Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
Thank you both so much for joining us. Let me start with a little something from Thursday's debate which I think spoke a lot to the importance of the Latino community in Florida and elsewhere.
The question was, hey, name me a couple of Latino, a couple of Hispanics that you might put in a position of power should you become president. Here was the answer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANTORUM: Senator Marco Rubio is a pretty impressive guy.
ROMNEY: Senator Marco Rubio, a terrific Hispanic-American.
GINGRICH: I actually thought about Marco Rubio in a slightly more dignified and central role than being in the Cabinet. But that's another conversation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROWLEY: Secretary Gutierrez, let me -- let me start with you on this.
I mean, this just says to me -- speaks volumes about the Hispanic community and Republican attempts to reach out. But it's not sufficient just to throw Marco Rubio's name around, not even in Florida. What do Republicans need to do to reach out?
CARLOS GUTIERREZ, FORMER COMMERCE SECRETARY: Well, I -- I think, as someone was saying before, you know, the values -- Republican values are so similar to Latino values, family, faith, hard work, the future, building a better family, building better education, letting -- having an environment where the family can grow. That is very much Republican values.
The problem is, and I agree with Jeb Bush, is the rhetoric, the words. The words sting sometimes, the words that are used around the debate. And that has turned off Hispanics.
CROWLEY: Mr. Mayor, do you think...
GUTIERREZ: But there are so many things that we -- that we share.
CROWLEY: Mr. Mayor, is it just a matter of rhetoric?
Is it that the Republican rhetoric is just off; it seems anti- immigrant, and if they just changed their words, the more natural base for Hispanic voters is the Republican Party?
ANTONIO VILLARAIGOSA, MAYOR, LOS ANGELES: I don't think it's just rhetoric. In fact, I think actions matter. I'd say that American values are Democratic and Republican values. I believe very importantly that the problem is that that party focuses a lot on outreach and not on inclusion, that it's important to be a party that is a big tent. America is a big tent. We come from every corner of the earth. Our values should represent that and our politics and our actions, our policies should represent that.
And I think, when you talk about the question of immigration as an example, many of the policies that you see articulated right now in those debates are just out of the mainstream.
CROWLEY: Well, like what? I mean, just specifically so I can get the secretary to comment?
VILLARAIGOSA: A pathway to citizenship. You know, the DREAM Act, supporting the DREAM Act. Mr. Romney says that he would veto the DREAM Act if we passed it. The DREAM Act says...
CROWLEY: Which -- the DREAM act allowing...
VILLARAIGOSA: Allowing people who have grown up here in this country, have gone to school here, want to go to college, serve in the military, give them an opportunity for a pathway to citizenship. It has to be earned. They have to get at the end of the line, but they ought to be able to qualify for that pathway.
CROWLEY: Secretary Gutierrez, I mean, it is true, as we said earlier, that most Latinos identify at this point with the Democratic Party. What about the DREAM Act?
What about, you know, beyond the rhetoric, aren't there some policies here, this emphasis on, sort of, you know, going to the border and putting up fences as opposed to how do we integrate the folks that are already here?
Is that a huge mistake as we move forward, the Republican Party, not just this election but years and years to come?
GUTIERREZ: Well, the reality is, Candy, is that it is all about rhetoric. The only party that has done something to try to fix the immigration system has been the Republican Party.
President Obama came into office with some grand promises for Hispanics. It's been three years. He had the House and the Senate for two years, and nothing has been done.
What has happened is that immigration is being used as a political football. It's being used for political tactics. So Democrats bring out the DREAM Act, just one sliver of the overall immigration piece. They put things in there, in that bill, that make it impossible to pass. But they're using it for tactical reasons, for tactical voting reasons.
And the people who are paying the price are the Hispanics who have their hopes up for the Democrats to come in and fix these problems, and they're just using them for tactical election reasons. What Governor Romney said yesterday, which I think is a very important insight, is we need to look first at our legal immigration system. We need a national immigration strategy, but we need to look first at the legal system. Because the legal system is quite flawed. And that's why we have an illegal immigration problem.
CROWLEY: And, Mr. Mayor...
GUTIERREZ: But the Democrats have not done any more than just speak about it.
CROWLEY: Mr. Mayor, does he not have a point? The president campaigned saying, in my first year, I will put up immigration reform. We are now closing up his first term and there has been no comprehensive immigration proposal put out there by the president.
Only recently has the president said, let's not look at, you know, the people who are not felons and let's not spend our time trying to deport those people; let's concentrate on the dangerous folks that are here without papers.
Has the Democratic Party been, you know, more -- more show than go?
VILLARAIGOSA: No. I think that's not true.
CROWLEY: Well, what's he done?
VILLARAIGOSA: Well, first of all, he doesn't have a vote in the Congress. He's called on the Congress again and again and again to pass not just the DREAM Act but comprehensive immigration reform to address...
CROWLEY: He could have come up with one, though, I think is what the secretary is saying. He could have had an immigration reform proposal.
VILLARAIGOSA: And he has. He has put forth proposals in support of the DREAM Act, in support of comprehensive immigration reform, in support of border security, in support of the idea that we need to be smarter about investing in the people who are here, but also creating, as secretary Gutierrez said, an immigration system that addressed the legal immigration as well.
VILLARAIGOSA: The fact of the matter is it is not just about rhetoric. It is about actions. And it's not just about immigration. I think the secretary would agree with me that Latinos don't just care about immigration. That's one issue.
They certainly care about education. They care about jobs. In fact, the Congress right now doesn't talk enough and certainly doesn't do enough about the issue of jobs, and when it comes to policies and actions, it's the president who has helped to create 2 million jobs that Latinos have right now, 6 million overall with the Recovery Act.
So it's not just immigration. I would agree with respect to rhetoric, however, that some of that divisive polarizing rhetoric that you see and hear in the Republican debates are turning off a lot of voters, including a lot of Latino voters.
CROWLEY: Secretary Gutierrez, do you worry that in this interim period where you hope that the Republican Party's rhetoric will soften up on the issues that are of concern to the Hispanic community, do you worry that their leanings toward the Democratic party will harden as, for instance, the African-American community's votes have stayed in the Republican Party -- stayed in the Democratic party for decades?
Do you worry that that support the Hispanic community has for the Democratic party will solidify?
GUTIERREZ: I believe that as -- with time, as we see more Hispanic families entering the middle class, progressing, getting better jobs, better education, you know, the way most immigrants grow, most immigrants' groups, they're going to realize that what they want is to keep the money that they've worked so hard for, that they don't need to be dependent on the government -- that will come, but I think it will take time. In the meantime, the rhetoric is driving the day.
Now, let me just say one thing. Washington insiders love tactics and they love anecdotes. And that's part of the problem. We start debating tactics. Governor Romney is the only person -- and can you see the executive background here. You can see why it makes sense to have an executive in the oval office. He is saying let's look at strategy.
GUTIERREZ: Let's look at the legal system. And that's the way I think we should approach it. CROWLEY: Carl Gutierrez, a Romney supporter, as we know, former commerce secretary for president George W. Bush, and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, thank you so much for joining us.
VILLARAIGOSA: Thank you.
CROWLEY: Up next, top stories and then on "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS," Fareed has an exclusive interview with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. That's at the top of the hour.
CROWLEY: Time for a check of today's top stories. In Oakland, Occupy movement protesters broke into City Hall and damaged displays and burned an American flag. About 200 people were arrested as a result of clashes yesterday between protesters and police. Demonstrators vowed to move ahead with a rise-up festival in an Oakland park later today.
As many as 34 people were killed in Syria today, according to a government opposition group, one day after the group says at least 98 people were killed. The Arab League announced Saturday it is suspending its mission in Syria because of a sharp increase in violence. Egyptians are voting today in the first stage of elections for the country's upper house of parliament. Today's voting comes after the Muslim Brotherhood won a majority of seats in Egypt's lower house late last year.
This week on the campaign trail, Bill Clinton was so routinely and so very late for so many events that reporters translated the schedule into what was known as "Clinton time." George W. Bush, who frequently told reporters late is rude, was so keen on punctuality you could set your clock by his schedule.
We want to thank "The New York Times" for inspiring this election season's version of "Timing is All." Suppose they threw a campaign event, and the candidate wasn't there.
Step one, cue the music.
Step two, who doesn't love music? Keep it going.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: O, say can you see --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- by the dawn's early light --
CROWLEY: Step three, trot out the surrogates.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Senator John McCain and the first lady of Puerto Rico, Ms. Fortuno.
REP. BOB WALKER (R) PENN.: Congressman Bob Walker of Pennsylvania. Thank you for helping Newt.
CROWLEY: Step four, tap dance.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, R-ARIZ.: What did you think of last night's debate?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How about we do this? As we wait for the Speaker's bus to arrive, how about we chant Newt, Newt, Newt, Newt, Newt.
CROWLEY: And in desperate times, like the reliably late Newt Gingrich, step five, rinse and repeat.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's have Congressman Walker come back up and give one more great story about his time serving with -- come on, Congressman Walker.
CROWLEY: Believe me, I have played the waiting game many, many times.
We are told that the candidate is in this hotel now.
ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, AC360: Candy Crowley is standing by for us in Iowa, as she has been all night. CROWLEY: We've been told that he was going to come out after Rick Santorum finished, so I suspect that you will see him quite shortly behind me.
The music is generally a real hint, Wolf, that the candidate is not far behind.
CROWLEY: Over the years the tardiness of candidates has added a new requirement to the art of live political reporting -- tap dancing. You can find "The New York Times" article along with analysis, web exclusives and much more at our website, cnn.com/sotu.
Thank you so much for watching "State of the Union." I'm Candy Crowley in Washington. Up next, for our viewers in the United States, FAREED ZAKARIA GPS.