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State of the Union

Election 2014; Interview With Kentucky Senator Rand Paul; Interview With James Baker

Aired November 02, 2014 - 09:00   ET


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN ANCHOR: The big dogs are out -- Clinton, Bush, Christie, Romney and Paul heading for this election's finish line and points beyond.

Today, 2012's Tea Party upstart now the go-to guy for mainstream Republicans.


SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: I want to be someone who does bring the party together.


CROWLEY: Can 2016 be far behind? We are on the trail with Senator Rand Paul.

Plus, an old hand handicaps the new game, former Secretary of State and White House Chief of Staff James Baker on global tensions and Republican politics.





CROWLEY: The echo of elections passed.


OBAMA: Show that you still have hope, and go out there and vote!


CROWLEY: What Tuesday's election results will mean for the candidate of hope and change.


Good morning from Washington. I'm Candy Crowley. The weekend before the midterm election is a great time to spot

possible presidential contenders for the next one. They're out campaigning for colleagues and picking up chits.

We found Senator Rand Paul in Pennsylvania, where we sat down to talk politics and headlines.

I asked Paul, a libertarian, about mandatory quarantines for health care workers who return to the U.S. after treating Ebola patients in Africa.


PAUL: Well, I think it's interesting that the CDC and the president have downplayed this. The president says, you're riding on a bus, you're not going to get Ebola.

Well, if they're asymptomatic, that's true, but if someone's symptomatic, obviously, you are at a great deal of risk riding on a bus with someone with Ebola.

CROWLEY: But she's -- she's asymptomatic.

PAUL: Right, and that -- there is a different story. So, it depends on your stage of the disease.

The other thing is, the CDC acknowledged that it can be transmitted through a sneeze. So, I think even they're admitting that it's contagious. So, when we get to the question of quarantine, it's a tough question, because the libertarian in me is horrified at the idea of indefinitely detaining or detaining anyone without a trial.

One of the basic rights we inherited from the English and that we got from common law was the right of habeas corpus, to present the body. If the king were detaining you in the Tower of London or a governor or anybody was detaining you, you have to have recourse to a lawyer and to a judgment by...

CROWLEY: They had a lawyer.Well, They filed suit to get her out of New Jersey. Now she's in Maine and again saying, I am not contagious. I should be allowed to move.

PAUL: Right. I think common...

CROWLEY: What do you think?

PAUL: Well, I think common sense would say that it makes a different whether or not you're febrile, afebrile or asymptomatic.

CROWLEY: She doesn't have a fever.

PAUL: Right. And, as the disease goes on, when you're in the final stages or the real acute stages of Ebola, you're incredibly contagious.

When you're febrile, you're beginning to be contagious. And so there is a concern. And I think there is a reasonable public concern to say, you know what? You really shouldn't be going to the discotheque, you shouldn't be going to the local bar, you shouldn't be going to the local school cafeteria.

So, I think there are reasonable precautions. I think also the federal government should have stepped in even before all of this to try to have some travel restrictions on visas and with people returning, and to have a uniform way of accepting people back into our country.

Are we proud of nurses and doctors who risk their lives to treat people in Liberia and West Africa? Absolutely. And I think that's the way she senses, that it's a little bit of insult her service to confine her in a tent.

CROWLEY: Sure. And do you think it is?

PAUL: Well, yes, I think that we have to be very careful of people's civil liberties, but I'm also not saying that the government doesn't have a role in trying to prevent contagion.

So, there are exceptions to things. But the libertarian in me says that she has to have recourse to a lawyer, to a judge, and that if she is going to be confined, it has to be through a judicial process where she has the right to file a writ of habeas corpus or a right of saying to the king or to the government, why am I being detained and is it being approved lawfully?

Then there is a possibility that you can have some quarantine. There's also a possibility, if you do it in a reasonable fashion, that maybe she would do it voluntarily, which is what -- which would be the ideal situation.

CROWLEY: Ferguson, we have seen a lot of -- and still the grand jury meets. We don't know what the outcome will be, but there's been a lot of leaking from someone, by someone, that indicates this maybe is not -- quote -- "a slam dunk," an indictment against this police officer.

PAUL: Right.

CROWLEY: You have been to Ferguson. I know you have talked to the minority community there. If no indictment is returned by this jury, what do you foresee for Ferguson?

PAUL: I want to see something destructive come out of this.

And when I went to Ferguson,I sensed that there's an undercurrent of unease in Ferguson, but also in a lot of our big...

CROWLEY: Mistrust of police and the judicial system.

PAUL: Yes, yes, and really throughout the United States. This isn't just Ferguson.

The war on drugs has had a disproportionate impact on African- Americans and Hispanics. White kids are using drugs also, but they're not going to jail. Black kids, brown kids are populating our jails. It's destroying our families. They sense it. And that's why there's this unease between police and the African-American community.

It's also not a very integrated police force. I don't have all the answers or know exactly why not, but I did want to hear from them. And I'm a big proponent of saying that the war on drugs needs to be changed dramatically and we need to quit saying that the answer is to put people in jail for a decade or two and throw away the key, and that's the end of their life.


But the Ferguson case was about the killing of a young black man at the hands of a white cop. The details differ between the two sides. You have seen the rage that is in Ferguson as a result of what they say was bad treatment by police, a justice system that doesn't work.

In this specific case, what would a no bill -- what if the grand jury doesn't indict this police officer? What does that mean for Ferguson?

PAUL: I have tried not to weigh in on the specifics of the case, because I don't know the police officer, and it's all secret and it's grand jury. And I don't want to be the federal guy that comes in and says, oh, I know what's always right for a community.

But I do want to be the one who says that, let's channel this into -- the anger or the upset or the unease, let's channel it into something positive. And so what I suggested when I was in Ferguson was, I suggested I want more people to vote. You want more people to vote.

I will help you get more people to vote. And the biggest thing impeding voting in our country -- we have talked about voter I.D. and all that -- that's not the problem in our country. The problem is people who have had felony convictions are prevented from voting.


PAUL: And I have several pieces of legislation to try to allow people to vote. And I think if they channel their energy into registering to vote, Ferguson is over 60 percent African-American.

If they would register people to vote, they can have a bigger voice in their community and a constructive voice in the community.

CROWLEY: Absolutely. And people have told them that, but we're -- we're talking about a community that feels that a young man was "murdered" -- and I put that in quotes, but that's the feeling there -- that he was murdered by a white police officer, and if a -- if there's no bill, if there's no indictment of this police officer, does it not undermine what is seen by the minority community as justice, and would you be able to sell that as justice?

PAUL: Right.

I think that is a very difficult question and hard for someone outside -- I'm not in the grand jury room. I don't hear all the evidence. It's hard for me. And I don't want to malign the police or say that the police were OK. I want to be able to say that I want to try fix the overall unease in our country.

CROWLEY: Long-term.

PAUL: Yes, and overall criminal justice.

I have six different bills to try to give people back the right to vote, to try to let you expunge your record, to try to treat this more as a health problem and less as an incarceration problem. This is an indirect way of addressing the unease in Ferguson. But I don't have a specific answer where I can make everything right in Ferguson.

CROWLEY: Let's talk about 2014. You have been out and about, more than 30 states, as I understand it. Will the Republicans take over control of the Senate?

PAUL: I think, in all likelihood, yes. I think the wind's at our back. I think this election is going to be a referendum on the president. Even he acknowledged his policies will be on the ballot, and he will be indirectly on the ballot.

And there's a great deal of unhappiness that feels like our country, that he promised he would be beyond things, that he was going to be a uniter, not a divider. But, you know, I called him a month ago, and I said, Mr. President, I will work with you on criminal justice. What I want you to do is try to help me bring American profit home, so we can create jobs here.

He voted for this in 2005, lower the tax rate, bring money home, create jobs. It's a win-win for everybody, both parties. But I was disappointed that he chose to attack American corporations, attack American business, instead of saying, you know what? I will help you bring jobs home and we will do it together.

CROWLEY: You are right. Certainly, there are a lot of circumstances that, if you're a Democrat, you're looking at them and think, you know, unpopular president. History is generally against the party that has a president in a midterm that holds the Oval Office.

We're seeing these individual polls. We also see that the Democrats had much tougher territory to defend than Republicans did. But you feel this is a referendum on the president. What does it say about Republicans, because a lot of these races, about 10 of them are still pretty darned close, which means that those Democrats have been able to survive in the worst of environments.

PAUL: Well, I think it shows that our country is pretty evenly divided.

And it tilts a little bit one way and a little bit the other way. But I think that, when you have a president -- and then you Hillary Clinton saying the same thing, saying that businesses don't create jobs, a lot of Americans are scratching their heads and saying, who do these people think create jobs if businesses don't?

Do they think government creates jobs and that that's how America became great? And I think there's a fundamental philosophical debate in our country. But I sense a lot of people saying to themselves, you know what? I think, if we don't understand businesses create jobs or we don't understand that we want American money and businesses to come home, and we want to do something constructive, then maybe we need new leadership in the country.

So I think people are ready for new leadership.


CROWLEY: When we return, more with Senator Rand Paul and his tough-love approach to the Grand Old Party.


CROWLEY: Welcome back.

Senator Rand Paul was campaigning recently when he said bluntly of his Republican Party, "The brand sucks." That's a quote.

It brought me to this question.


CROWLEY: Senator, let's start this segment talking about a famous line that I think we will see a lot: The GOP brand sucks.


CROWLEY: This, of course, is the party that you represent currently.

You have likened it to Domino's, saying, hey, our crust sucks. The problem is that the brand is the brand. The product is something else.

PAUL: Right.

CROWLEY: Is something wrong with the GOP product?

PAUL: I think what's interesting about this is, when I say the brand sucks and that we need to recognize it, it's that certain segments of our population, if I came up to you and you were an African-American young woman in a college, what are the chances you are going to say, oh, Republican, I want to join immediately?

Our brand isn't so good. But if you get to our policies -- for example, I have a policy to rejuvenate our inner cities by leaving a billion dollars in Detroit. And if I can get to that young person and say... CROWLEY: Like enterprise zones?

PAUL: Yes.

If I can get to that young person and talk about the issues, I think Republicans have a chance. But our brand is so broken, we can't even break through, you know, the wall that's out there. And this is the same with Hispanic voters. It's the same with young people in general.

But I think there are a lot of avenues for Republicans to break through. So, I have talked a lot about the right to privacy that I think universally resonates with young people. And I have talked to people of color to say, look, I'm a Republican who wants more people to vote, not less. I'm a person who believes that what we have tried for our cities isn't working, but I want to try something new.

I'm someone who cares about poverty and long-term unemployment. And I have an idea that's different than the Democrats. Will you listen to me?

CROWLEY: But if they listen to you, and you're not the presidential candidate when all -- when the Republican primary season is over, does that transfer to another presidential candidate? Are you making the case for a Rand Paul presidency?

PAUL: You know, I think when things begin to resonate, others will emulate things.

For example, I have been talking for several years now about how the war on drugs, we need to have fairer sentencing. We need to let people get back to work.


PAUL: There's several governors talking about this now.

So I think good ideas will resonate and be replicated. So it's not just about me, but I try to promote ideas that maybe the party will say, you know what? He is having success, and African-Americans are listening to him, Hispanics are listening, young people are listening.

And I think the fact that people invited me to 30 states because they thought I could help with undecided vote and independent vote means that other Republicans are recognizing the force of these kind of kind of ideas.

CROWLEY: So, why did do you this? Why did you make such a big effort, if not to set up a presidential run?

PAUL: Well, I won't deny that it would help me, if I do decide to run for president, to have traveled to 32 states and to be part of helping the Republican team on board.

But I also do it because, whether I run or not -- and I haven't decided -- but whether I run or not, I do want the Republican Party to be bigger and more successful, because I think our philosophy will help the country more. I think we have tried the big government way. We have tried the big tax way. We have tried all these regulations, but we're suffering now because companies are actually fleeing America.

It's actually better to do business in Canada in many ways than America. It's better to do business in Europe than America. We have to change that. And the Democrats have said oh, no, we don't care. We're just going to call American companies unpatriotic.

That, to me, is a disaster for us, and people should reject that wholesale.

CROWLEY: When you look at the beginning of your political career, you were a doctor prior to coming to the U.S. Senate. You certainly had a political upbringing with your father, Ron Paul, who ran for president a couple of times.

When you look at your, how you got here, it was as someone who was fighting the party from outside the party. Now you're kind of the ultimate insider, because you're going around. You're helping Mitch McConnell from your home state of Kentucky, other what we would call mainstream Republicans, certainly incumbents.

Is this an effort to say, I am not the iconoclast Republican my dad was?

PAUL: Well, you know, I think that I genuinely believe that our party is significantly different in philosophy.

Within our party, there are differences. And I have tried to support the Republicans in the party who I think will be more dramatically for the program I'm for. But, also, when I see the differences between the parties, I think the Republican Party is a much better choice.

I also kind of laughingly say I'm for peace and commerce with all Republicans. And so I want to be someone who does bring the party together. And if you ever want to hold national office, I think you got to -- not only bring your party together; you have got to then bring both parties and independents together to say, we want what's best for America.

And, really, I have still had some criticism from my party.


PAUL: And, I mean, I have said evolve, adapt or die.

I think the party has to change. But I also am not stuck and trapped by my party, and that I will do what's right regardless of what party I belong to.

CROWLEY: And -- and -- but is it -- to the point of the question, is it an effort to say, I'm not the politician my dad was? PAUL: I don't think I would -- I would say that.

What I would say is, I am who I am, and it's me trying to present who I am. But it's never, in my mind, sort of to contrast with my father. I have a great deal of respect for my father. And my father, I think, was probably one of the most genuine people ever to occupy office in Washington, and forthright beyond all belief.

And people really liked his honesty. So, I would never want to separate from that. But I am my own person. And so I present myself in a way that I think is best to try to expand the message to more people.

CROWLEY: One of the things that we see in the political realm right now is the beginning of the shaping of 2016.

We have actually probably seen it for the last couple of years. And one of the storylines is, we have learned our lesson. A guy that was in the Senate for two -- this is coming from your side -- a guy that was in the Senate for two years, had no executive experience is not ready to be president.

You have been in the Senate for four years. Prior to that, you were a doctor. I think you have described yourself to me at one point as a small-town doctor.

What in that resume is different than the president, the current sitting president?

PAUL: I think it's sort of a sideshow to say which occupation you were before.

You know, we have had good senators. We have had bad senators. We have had good governors. We have had bad governors. I reminded people that Jimmy Carter was a governor that many of us didn't think was that great of a president. So...

CROWLEY: But they -- he had had executive experience. I think that's where this...


PAUL: Right, but, I mean, our judgment was that it wasn't that great of a presidency, from our point of view.

So, I think, really, which position you occupied isn't so important as I think we want people with wisdom. I think we want people who are well-read and steeped in history, people who understand tradition of both parties and of uniting the country.

We also -- when you think about it, one of the most important things is, you want someone who is in charge of our nuclear arsenal who is not going to be rash, or reckless or eager to get into war. So, I think people are looking for someone who is reasonable.

But I think whether you have been a governor -- they told me I couldn't be a senator because I had just been a doctor. But, as I have gotten to know people in Washington, we actually need more people who are not career politicians. We need more people from outside, not more people from inside.

CROWLEY: And, finally, your advice to Senator Mitch McConnell.

I know you are going to go down and campaign for him. If he -- if he comes back and he is the leader of the majority party, the first thing you want him to do is?

PAUL: I want him to invite American money to come home.

There's a way we can reduce taxes, bring a trillion dollars home, do it quickly, so we can start stimulating the economy and get people back to work. But I would do it in January, because the longer you wait after an election, the less your mandate is. And it takes a while for things to work.

But if we would lower that tax, bring that American -- and those American jobs home, I think you would see an economic boom in our country, and I think Republicans would then get the credit for doing something productive.

CROWLEY: Senator Rand Paul, thanks for joining us. Happy trails.

PAUL: Thank you.


CROWLEY: Will Republicans win the Senate? And is the prime minister of Israel too scared to launch a war?

Next up: a man uniquely qualified to answer both questions.


CROWLEY: With me now, James Baker.

He was chief of staff for Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush. He's also a former secretary of state and former treasury secretary, and along the way, he managed a couple of campaigns.

So, Mr. Secretary, it is good to see you, with your many hats.


CROWLEY: And I want to start first with the campaign hat, if you will.

When you look at next Tuesday's elections, what do you think will happen?

BAKER: Well, I think we have got an excellent chance of taking the Senate back. However, there's always that unknown of turn -- about turnout. I

mean, turnout's going to be extraordinarily important. We got beat in 2012, frankly, in the presidential campaign on the ground game. I think, I hope and believe we have learned our lesson. A lot will depend on turnout.

But, if you look at the most recent polls, things seem to be trending in our direction. But it's by no means certain that we will take control.

CROWLEY: When you look at everything that is pushing against the Democrats at this point -- history shows that the party that's in the White House takes a hit during the midterms, a president with really low approval numbers, they are defending much more territory than Republicans are in the Senate, and much more hostile territory than Republicans are -- can an argument not be made that Republicans should be doing a lot better, and why aren't they?

BAKER: Well, we don't know how well they're doing yet.

I mean, the returns -- we won't know that until Tuesday night. They may be doing very well. The polls would indicate that they are. All I'm saying is, you can't count your chickens until they hatch. And until you know what the turnout's going to be, you really don't know.

We really did get beat on the ground in 2012. The Democrats had a far better turnout program than we did, mostly based on social media. So I don't think that you can take anything for granted.

And I have to tell you, it was my experience in the five presidential campaigns that I led or participated in, the worst thing in the world you can do is assume that you're going to win and -- and not have your ducks in a row.

So I think we have to wait until -- until Tuesday night, but I do think we have an excellent chance of picking up the net gain of six seats.

CROWLEY: One of the things we're now reading is the White House, if not anticipating, at least being braced for, if needs be, working with an all-Republican Senate.

You have been in White Houses where a Republican has worked with an all-Democratic Senate and -- and House. What advice do you have for a president who now is in the -- sort of the twilight of his administration? How does he deal with an all-Republican Capitol Hill?

BAKER: Well, you know, George H.W. Bush faced an all-Democratic Capitol Hill, both House and Senate, and he got a lot of things done.

Ronald Reagan had a Democratic House the entire time that he was president. He got a lot of things done. Bill Clinton -- Bill Clinton had a Republican House, at least in -- for his second term. He got a lot of things done. So it can be done, but it takes work. You have to -- you have to

be willing to schmooze and make a concentrated and concerted effort to achieve compromise with the other side. That's the way our government is constructed. The founders expected that we would -- that one side would never get to control everything that happened.

And -- and you just have to work at it. But I would refer you to both to the -- to the Clinton, Bush, and Reagan presidencies to see how it works. I think, if the president just studied those presidencies, he'd -- he'd know pretty much what he had to do.

CROWLEY: Mr. Secretary, you know, it takes two to tango, and to make legislation it takes both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. So Republicans, if they take the majority on Capitol Hill in both the Senate and the House, need to show at some level that they can lead, do you see them being more cooperative with the president?

BAKER: Well, they have to cooperate with the president.

I think when they control both houses, they will pay a price for that, in the next election. So the one thing I think Republicans have to do, if they win the Senate and they're going to keep the House, so they'll have both houses, what they need to do is to get things done. They need to pass legislation, come together and pass legislation that they can then present to the president and put the onus on him to either sign it or veto it. So what's really important in taking the Senate is in the aftermath of that, to accomplish, and to get things done.

CROWLEY: I want to ask you something that our previous guest Senator Paul said. Do you think the GOP brand sucks at this point?

BAKER: No, I don't think the GOP brand sucks at all, but I haven't -- I have never felt that, and again, I would simply refer you back to history and you look at what the Republican party has done in the past history of the United States, I don't think that you can say that our brand sucks.

On the other hand, I do think there are some things that we can do better, that we have to do better, for one thing, I think we need to come together as a party a little better, and stop the fratricide that has occurred from time to time in the past. That's the way you get things done, but I certainly don't think that the party brand sucks.

CROWLEY: I want to ask you, it's a final question, something that has to do with foreign policy, and that is sort of consuming of the news at least foreign policy-wise, has been a remark from an unnamed senior Obama administration official that was quoted in "The Atlantic" by national correspondent Jeffrey Goldberg, a senior administration official said again, "the thing about Bibi," talking about the prime minister of Israel, "is he's a chicken," and I can't say the last word basically called Netanyahu a coward, saying he didn't want to start a war so they weren't really worried about that but it's kind of just exactly the sort of thing that's been happening between Netanyahu and President Obama. There's not a lot of love loss there.

What do you make of that relationship and its effect on U.S./Israeli relations?

BAKER: Well, it cannot be a positive with respect to U.S./Israeli relations when you have a situation like that, but I would remind you, Candy, that when we were in power, we worked very diligently with the Israeli government to achieve some things, and this happened in the aftermath of Prime Minister Netanyahu, who at the time then was the deputy foreign minister of Israel, going out and saying, American policy in the Middle East is based on lies and distortion.

And I was sitting there in my office in the state department when I saw that and I said, now wait a minute, we wouldn't take that from the deputy foreign minister of Soviet Union. We're darned sure not going to take it from the deputy foreign minister of a country for whom we do so much, and I barred him from the state department. That may not be widely known, but look, in the aftermath of that, look what we were able to accomplish with the Israeli government. We achieved the Madrid Peace Conference, where we brought all of Israel's Arab neighbors to the peace table for the first time to talk peace with her, which constituted their recognition of Israel's right to exist. We repealed a Zionist, racism resolution and we achieved the immigration of a large number of soviet Jews from the Soviet Union and Ethiopia. So these kinds of things can happen...

CROWLEY: Happen.

BAKER: ...from time to time.


BAKER: There are always tensions in all foreign policy relationships, even with allies, but they can be overcome.

CROWLEY: They can. Mr. Secretary, I'm out of time, so I need like three words at most. You are close to the family of George H.W. Bush. Is Jeb Bush going to run for president?

BAKER: I don't know whether Jeb Bush is going to run for president or not but I hope he does. He would make an extraordinarily fine president. He's a very, very capable young man. He's had excellent experience as governor of Florida, and I don't know whether he's going to run or not and I rather suspect that right now, he's not entirely sure...

CROWLEY: We sort of suspect that, too.

BAKER: ...whether he will run for president.

CROWLEY: James Baker, thank you --

BAKER: I hope -- I hope he does.

CROWLEY: Thank you so much for being here with us this morning. Next up, what are we to make of a president who uses his last

pre-election Saturday address to talk about what women want and a Republican leader using the same venue to talk about what lawmaking would look like if the Republicans take control of the Senate. Our roundtable is eager to weigh in.


CROWLEY: A president swept into office with Democratic majorities on both sides of Capitol Hill may end up with a Republican House and Senate in his final two years. Joining me now around the table, former Pennsylvania governor, Ed Rendell, former Mississippi governor, Haley Barbour, Democratic Party spokesman, Mo Elleithee, and Republican Party spokesman, Sean Spicer. Thank you all for being here.

Let me -- let me just put this out there. This is a president that came in on hope and change, is still talking about hope and change. This is not the change he's wanting should this become an all-Republican Capitol Hill. How does he work with that?

ED RENDELL, CO-CHAIR, BUILDING AMERICA'S FUTURE: I think if the Republicans take the Senate I think he has to focus on issues where there's opportunity to move forward, infrastructure, energy. Assume the Republican Senate with the keystone pipeline bill.

If I'm President Obama, I send it back and say, put in stuff for alternative energy, the production tax credit et cetera. Let's get an all-energy bill, I'll sign it. Infrastructure, we've got to do something about the nation's highways and roads and bridges, we can't just keep kicking it down the road. Good infrastructure bill that does something for the long term, I'll sign it.

So, I think the Republicans be careful of what you wish for. If they get the Senate, they better do something, they better send the president some responsible pieces of legislation or they'll get crushed in 2016.

CROWLEY: Wait, because -- I was going to say governor, but other governor, don't Republicans have to show they can do something? Now, we're in a leadership position -- should they take it? Now, we're in a leadership position, we have to produce something.

HALEY BARBOUR (R), MISSISSIPPI GOVERNOR 2004-2012: I think you'll see Republicans in the House and Senate do what the House has been doing, focus on economic growth, focus on job creation, focus on legislation resulting in higher incomes. I'm like (INAUDIBLE) a part of that can be energy but also trade, also tax reform and I think very clearly transportation infrastructure. Finally of course, we got to start doing the business of the government.

Do you know that the U.S. Senate hasn't even taken up an appropriations bill this year? Hasn't taken up a single one? I think you'll see the Republican House and Senate will go back to passing a budget sending it to the president.

CROWLEY: Wow, Mo, it sounds like it will be great.

MO ELLEITHEE, DNC COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Maybe in some alternate fantasyland, but the reality, one, I'm not ready to concede that...

CROWLEY: Absolutely.

ELLEITHEE: ...the Republicans will have control of the Senate. I actually think Democrat will hold on to the Senate -- to the Senate but it is hard, with all due respect to Governor Barbour, it is hard to make the argument that Republicans can get us back to the business of governing when Republicans were the ones who shut the government down over an ideological vendetta against this president and have signaled they may take us there again.

They have spent the last six years doing nothing but focusing on how to block common sense priorities on immigration, on the minimum wage, on infrastructure, on issue after issue. If, in some fantasyland they do take control of the Senate then you know what? OK now it's your time. Now it's your time to show that you actually are willing to do this. I'm not sure that they know how.

CROWLEY: Sean, I want to just -- can I just twist the question a little bit as we -- because we -- this is all on the assumption that Republicans take over majority in the Senate.

SEAN SPICER, RNC COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: It's a pretty good assumption.

CROWLEY: Yes, but when you look at the wind in the face of the Democrats, history runs against Democrats. The geography is running against them. They're playing hard in territories that really are Republican territories. They have more people up in the Senate.

In all of that, why aren't we sitting here talking about going of course they're going to take over the Senate. It should be a blow away and yet we have races that are not, a lot of them.

SPICER: Well look, number one you're taking on incumbents in most of this things. It's never an easy thing to beat an incumbent. The last time we beat more than two was 1980, it doesn't happen. Especially in the Senate where they got six years of incumbency to go around their state, bring home things and campaign on the taxpayer dime, and that's in both parties. I mean, that's just the reality of being a United States senator. That's why so many incumbents are reelected.

But the fact of the matter is you look at states like Colorado, New Hampshire, Iowa, and even Virginia now, we are extremely competitive and ahead in every one of those states and I think that's important. Getting back to the original question, just two quick points one, the president did say his policies were on the ballot. So I think if we take over the Senate it's a clear repudiation of those policies. Second, I think when it comes to what's actually getting done and Governor Barbour alluded to this, was we have 330 pieces of legislation that the Republican-controlled House has passed to the Senate that haven't moved and a good chunk of those are bipartisan. So, some of them are infrastructure, some of them are energy related, some of them are regulatory, but I think that the Republican House has been getting things done with a Republican Senate, we're finally going to see some of the bills head to the president's desk.

RENDELL: Candy, I disagree -- for just one second, I disagree with Jim Baker who's a great guy. I this there is a huge problem with the Republican brand and you're right, they should be stampeding this election, given all the things he's said and they're not and I agree that this election isn't over by any means. If Democrats win, if an independent wins in Kansas and Democrats win in Georgia, I think the Democrats hold the Senate.

BARBOUR: Let me just say, Candy, about the brand, we had the most Republicans in the House of Representatives since 1954, 29 of the nation's governors are Republicans. We have a bigger majority by percentage of governors of Republicans than Democrats in the Senate. More state legislatures have Republican majorities than Democrat majorities.


BARBOUR: It's not the brand. What you've got in the Senate race is, there are three open Democrat seats, the Republicans are winning them all by high double digits. You're having to beat incumbents time and time and time again, but I think you're right.

ELLEITHEE: Let's talk about those governors -


ELLEITHEE: Let's talk about those governors. Republican governor in Pennsylvania is about to go down. There's a Republican governor in Maine who is likely going to lose. A Republican governor in Florida I believe is going to lose. I believe the Republican governors in Wisconsin and Michigan are (INAUDIBLE). The Republican governor in ruby red Kansas is about to lose. I think there'll be more Republican governors that lose election night than Democratic senators that are going to lose --

BARBOUR: I'll venture to say there will be a higher percentage of the governors in the country will be Republicans than the senators will be Democrats.


SPICER: Candy, one quick point. One quick point. Hold on. One quick point.

CROWLEY: That's good.

SPICER: If you want to talk about governors let's talk about them. Because we're in single digits in blue, Maryland, where head to head in Rhode Island, where from Allan Fung is going to beat Gina Raimondo. We're tied -- we're above in Connecticut, we're above in Massachusetts and I think we are going to pull out Maine. So, New England which is not a stranglehold for the Republican

Party it's big for the dems, I think we're going to do very well there. But second, I think that when you look at how we're doing overall as a country, as Governor Barbour pointed out, it's the state legislative races, it's the governors races, it's the House, it's the Senate. Taken collectively this is going to be a good night for Republicans if we get all those people out to vote.

CROWLEY: Hang on right here. We're going to take a look at the micro (ph) after this. I'm going to ask each of you about your favorite race this year and have your picked who is going to win.

Be right back.


CROWLEY: We are back with the governors Ed Rendell and Haley Barbour, Mo Elleithee and Sean Spicer are heads of their respective parties -- their respective parties as chairman but spokesman. Thank you for being here, all of you.

I want to put up a list of what we see as the 10 closest races right now. Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and ask you all to pick your favorite one and who is going to win.

SPICER: I'm a huge fan of Colorado. I think Cory Gardner has run an absolutely fantastic campaign.

CROWLEY: A Republican.

SPICER: He's a House member, jumped into the Senate race. He's pitched a perfect game. He's reaching out to communities that Republicans traditionally haven't been before. His ground game is superb. The RNC got in early there and we've just run a great campaign. We're about 100,000 in early vote. I feel really good about the race he's run. He's been fantastic on message. He's just a great guy and I think he's going to be a fantastic U.S. senator.

CROWLEY: Colorado is getting really, really hard to predict about a lot of things.

ELLEITHEE: It is. It's an interesting state. One race that's actually not on your list but I'm interested in is Kansas governor where Republican Sam Brownback is I think about to go down. He has wrecked his state fiscally, cut education, and Paul Davis, the Democrat there, has put together an incredible bipartisan coalition where over 100 Republican have endorsed his -- officeholders have endorsed his campaign. That's going to be a big win for Democrats.

CROWLEY: And does Brownback's problems drag down Senator Roberts who is in a tough fight there?

BARBOUR: A very Republican state.

CROWLEY: That is a very Republican state. (CROSSTALK)

BARBOUR: Haven't elected a Democrat senator since 1932. There may be some Republicans who say I am not going to vote for two Democrats unless Greg Orman is a Democrat. (INAUDIBLE). He contributed to Obama's campaign. He contributed to Harry Reid's campaign.

CROWLEY: He's an independent on the ballot but he's -- Republicans -


CROWLEY: ...very much of his background. Right, right.

BARBOUR: In the sheep's clothing. The race I think (INAUDIBLE) is Georgia. The Georgia senate race for Perdue a businessman running against Sam Nunn's daughter. So, both parties have extremely good candidates and yet it will probably go to a runoff because of a third party candidate. A libertarian is probably going to keep Perdue from getting the majority. I think it's likely, very likely, that in January when that runoff occurs that Perdue, the Republican, will beat Nunn but this is a race that's going to be thrown over to January because of the libertarian and that could cost the Republicans the seat in North Carolina where Tillis, if the libertarian vote were split between him and Senator Hagan, probably Tillis would win.

CROWLEY: If we're sitting here in January wondering who's controlling the Senate -


CROWLEY: season.

RENDELL: My favorite race is going to be Louisiana. Because everyone counts Mary Landrieu out. She was drilling in both elections, the last two elections and won the runoff. Mary is a fighter. She tells the truth. She got in a little trouble for telling the truth but I think it just reinforces voters' view that no one controls Mary Landrieu. That she speaks for the people of Louisiana. She's going to win.

CROWLEY: Well, that's a nice way to say that Mary Landrieu when she was asked why the president wasn't doing so well in Louisiana, she said to be very, very honest with you, the south has not always been the friendliest place for African-Americans. It's been a difficult time for the president to present himself in a positive light. Is that a plus?

RENDELL: I want to answer that because when President Obama was running in the primary, I said there are places in Pennsylvania where he's not going to get votes because he's African-American. Everyone came down on me, but it was the truth. It didn't hurt me a bit and it's not going to hurt Mary because Mary is a truth teller.

BARBOUR: Well, the fact of the matter is a lot of people in the south know that is not true. We're sitting here today where --

RENDELL: David Duke.

BARBOUR: Yes, David Duke, that's a good example. David Duke is totally repudiated by people who had bumper stickers on their car who said, vote for the crook. It's important.

RENDELL: Yes, but look at all the votes -- look at all the votes he (ph) got.

BARBOUR: But against David Duke -- the fact of the matter is there are a lot of people in the south in 2008 who voted for Barack Obama because he was black, because they wanted to make a statement that Jim Crow was gone, and there was a lot more of that than there are residual David Dukes who couldn't get pallbearers in some counties (ph).

CROWLEY: Governor Haley Barbour, Governor Ed Rendell, Sean, thank you for coming. Mo, thank you. Mo Elleithee, Sean Spicer.

Gee, happy Election Day. We'll have you on afterwards to tell us what it all means.

We'll be right back.


CROWLEY: Thank you so much for watching STATE OF THE UNION . I'm Candy Crowley in Washington.

Be sure to watch us each week at this time or you could set your DVR and won't miss a moment.

It is voting day on Tuesday, get out there and vote.

Fareed Zakaria, "GPS" starts right now.