Sunday, January 29, 2012

Transcript: 'Meet The Press' 1-29-12

Full transcript. Excerpt below:

Senator McCain, you know, it was Florida in 2008 where you effectively shut the door and got the nomination. What does Florida mean now?

SEN. JOHN McCAIN (R-AZ): I think it means perhaps even more than it did in 2008 because you've got split between New Hampshire and South Carolina, as you know. So it's a, it's, it's a vital race here and I'm glad to see that Mitt's doing so well.

MR. GREGORY: For your candidate, Newt Gingrich, he's got to be looking at these Florida numbers after a win in South Carolina saying this could put a lot of pressure on him and make

Romney the front-runner again should he win.

FMR. SEN. THOMPSON: Yeah. Well, first of all, I know we both want to express our, our

concern as far as Rick is concerned, his family. Rick's been a valiant warrior and that family's to be greatly commended for the way they've handled the illness of their small child. And we, we hope for the best.

Yeah. Thanks for starting this show off with those poll numbers. Really, really, really perked my day up. But no, it, it looks like--the other thing, if these poll numbers play out, of course, Romney's going to have a victory in Florida and that'll mean what, 10 percent of the delegates will have been, will have been counted. I think it's, I think you're going to look at a longer race. I think, you know, we'll, we'll see the, the, the two wins and the comparisons and the majority. You know, in South Carolina, Newt won practically every, every group there except those with higher incomes and those with advanced degrees and we'll, we'll, we'll see. If it's a victory for Mitt, we'll, we'll break it down and see what it means. But it's, it's probably about 10 percent of the delegates, I would think, only.

MR. GREGORY: Let's talk about some of the dynamics here. You have the establishment of the Republican Party saying Newt Gingrich cannot be the nominee. We were talking before we came on about Bob Dole, former Senator Bob Dole, and he issued a pretty tough statement this week.

We'll put a portion of it on the screen. He said this, "I haven't been critical of Gingrich, but now it's time to take a stand before it's too late. If Gingrich is the nominee, it will have an adverse impact on Republican candidates running for county, state and federal offices. Hardly anyone who served with Newt in Congress has endorsed him and that fact speaks for itself. He was a one-man-band who rarely took advice. It was his way or the highway." Senator Thompson, you know Gingrich well, served with him.


MR. GREGORY: This is the view, that if he is the nominee, it helps President Obama.

FMR. SEN. THOMPSON: Well, of course I served with him, so I'm one of those people that have endorsed him and there's several others who have served with him, too. But, you know, there's some old score settling going on. Newt, Newt had some run-ins with some, with some people of his own party. But, you know, a lot of them, I'm not talking about Bob Dole who I love, but, but, but a lot of them were holding Newt's coat back when he conceived of a way for the Republicans to take over and have a first Republican House Speaker in 50 years. When they balanced the budget, when he held Bill Clinton's feet to the fire, and finally got welfare reform passed and we were winning elections. And his personality and his leadership skills and all that didn't seem to be a big problem back then, but when those poll numbers dropped off and we started losing some elections we should've won and so forth, everything changed. And now, you know, Mitt's been a frontrunner for a long time and people are piling on the bandwagon and so we...

MR. GREGORY: But is this just score settling, Senator McCain? Or is this a real fear as Governor

Christie said on this program last week, that he's an embarrassment to the Republican Party?

SEN. McCAIN: Well, I, I would not say that, but I would say that we've had some rather unpleasant experiences with Newt Gingrich. And one of them was the government shutdown in 1995. And Bob Dole is the one that finally called a halt to it because it was killing it. I mean, it just--the American people rejected the idea of us shutting down the government.

My problems with Newt have been over earmark spending, billions and billions and billions. They--when Newt Gingrich became speaker, they turned earmarks into an art form and it--as Tom Coburn says, it is the gateway to corruption. And we had members, former members of Congress in jail. Duke Cunningham, Bob Ney, Abramoff, all of this is because of the corruption that is bred by this outrageous, obscene corruption--earmark process. They went in his first year from $7.8 billion in earmarks to two later to $14.5 billion in earmarks. I read up on the floor of the Senate, 52 pages of earmarks. And so that kind of thing, they had this K Street project where there was this incestuous relationship to the lobbyists on K Street. It was not the principles of Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan.

And finally, he criticized, on March 21st, 1986, on the floor of the Senate, he said that Ronald Reagan was a failure in the war--in the struggle against the Soviet Union. And so--but--and I want to emphasize, the reason why Mitt's got the electability is because of his experiences as governor, as a businessperson, saved the Olympics in Salt Lake City, and I think people are looking at that as a reason for his electability. 

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