From the 09.11.2011 edition of CNN's CNN Newsroom:
LEMON: All right. Welcome back, everyone.
Here in Tampa, the Tea Party will take the political spotlight at Monday night's Republican debate, cosponsored by CNN.
Let's talk about it now with Alex Castellanos, Republican consultant and a CNN contributor. Dana Loesch, she is a talk radio host and co- founder of the St. Louis Tea Party, and also a CNN contributor.
And once again, LZ Granderson is in Michigan. He is a CNN contributor and senior writer at CNN.com.
I know it should be over here but the words are on this camera. All right. So, here we go.
We're in Florida, which is a must win state for the GOP, if they want to win the House. So, what do Republicans have to do?
I'm going to start with you, Alex. What do they have to do here in Florida?
ALEX CASTELLANOS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, here in Florida, the big issue is going to be Social Security, in addition, of course, to jobs and growth. There's a spat between Mitt Romney and Rick Perry on Social Security. Perry has kind of lost his campaign by firing a missile and hitting grandma's house. He said he might undo Social Security.
LEMON: Yes. Did you see the ad? I had a copy of the ad that they had sent out. But those two going against each other, and that's targeted. That's really targeted because they know that a lot of seniors live here and those are the voters that they're going after.
CASTELLANOS: Yes. Democrat or Republican, you still want to pay your rent every month and a lot of seniors in this state count on that.
You know, interesting, I saw the ad that Romney did. I guess it was a flier or a handout, it doesn't mention Ponzi scheme, that Rick Perry called Social Security a Ponzi scheme, because frankly, a lot of seniors think it is. They know there's no money there. They know Social Security is bankrupt.
The problem is Rick Perry went farther than that. He said, he implied he might undo Social Security if he could go back 70 years. He said it was a failure.
LEMON: It says "reckless and wrong on Social Security," it's talking about Rick Perry. And then Mitt Romney says, preserve and protect Social Security. Two candidates, they're saying this is a two- candidate race now, even though it's early on, Dana, and they're sending out material like this. Is that so?
DANA LOESCH, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think it's a little premature at this point to immediately think that no one else is going to be in the running. And we still may see other candidates get involved. I know there's the big Palin question as to whether or not she's going to toss her hat in the ring.
But the last debate, it did kind of set it up to where -- the way it was structured, the questions fielded and the way that Perry and Romney specifically targeted each other, they've sort of set it up as to being a two-man race. But I think the debate tomorrow night is going to refrain that narrative.
LEMON: Yes. And I want to go to LZ, because, LZ, the last time we spoke. I mean, you said something very interesting. You said basically, for Huntsman, he said it's over.
CASTELLANOS: I disagree.
LEMON: LZ, these guys here are disagreeing with you. Do you think it's over just for Huntsman or anybody else you want to count out in this race?
GRANDERSON: I think it's over for Huntsman because he made his bed fairly early in the campaign by not trying to say the things or do the things to appease to the very social conservative base within the GOP. I think if he had at least been willing to play nice with them, then he could still be in the conversation. But I think, at the end of the day, people are going to look at his jobs towards what he said about science, and they're going to look at some of the things he said about the Tea Party in general and then not going to find him to be an appealing candidate at all for them. So, yes, I do think it's over for him.
LEMON: Yes. But only him?
GRANDERSON: Only him, yes. Only him.
I think everyone else is trying to appease the Tea Party. Even if they don't agree 100 percent, even Mitt Romney who, you know, flip- flops anyway. But even Mitt Romney is trying a little bit to be nicey nice to the Tea Party.
And I don't see Huntsman doing that, outside of saying he would not rule out being Michele Bachmann's V.P. candidate. He said it a couple of weeks ago. I think that's the only kind of, you know, gesture he made towards the Tea Party. And I think that's one of the reasons why he's so appealing to independents.
LEMON: Yes. Alex wants to jump in. Go ahead.
CASTELLANOS: Well, I would just say that it's awfully early. And if Huntsman could take the part of his campaign, it's called the super PAC, the part that can raise unlimited money and go on Boston TV for a couple of million dollars for 30 days, he could move from 1 percent to 12 percent, 15 percent.
And he's got a message. His message is, look, I'm going to transform Washington so we can get this economy going again, because our biggest competitor in the world is China, and I know them because I've been there and I know how to grow this economy.
He's got a slot in this race. He could try to fulfill. I do agree time is running out, he's going to have to do something soon.
LEMON: As I listen to Republican consultants and pundits here, they say that Huntsman seemed like, in the last debate, the adult in the room really, but nobody's listening. Why isn't anybody listening if he's the adult in the room?
LOESCH: I don't know of any grassroots that identify with Jon Huntsman. And I actually -- I disagree with Alex. I think his campaign is over. And I don't know why he's still on stage, frankly at debates.
LOESCH: He's trying to --
LEMON: That's pretty harsh. You don't know why he's still on stage. I mean, I'm sure his people are watching this going, why is she saying that? LOESCH: I'll get the hate mail later. I'll put it all in my spam folder.
But, no, I think that this is -- he's one of the most moderate people in the primary and I think if we're going to go from moderate, I think Romney kind of has the patent on this in this particular primary.
LEMON: So, moderation doesn't appeal to anyone? You have to be either in one place -- I hate to say extreme, because I think the Tea Partiers hate that.
LOESCH: There are certain issues on which Huntsman stand, especially when you look at energy and things of that nature, and climate change and global warming and being supportive of certain EPA policies that are job killing and you can't hold a certain position on that issue while at the same time say that you're really serious about growing jobs. I mean, even the president kind of went against Huntsman on that.
CASTELLANOS: Romney and Perry a suicide murder pact and no one left at the end of the day.
LOESCH: Herman Cain maybe? Bachmann?
LEMON: Yes. Hey, listen, LZ, I'm up against the clock. Here's the thing that I think is different here. Even if you say it's over, if they're not polling well, Bachmann still has money, Huntsman still has money, they still have money.
If you don't have money you have to get out of the race, right? But they still have money. So they could still go. Maybe that's why he's still up on the stage.
CASTELLANOS: The Beatles were wrong. Money can buy love.
LOESCH: Absolutely can.
GRANDERSON: Well, it's good to have money but also good to have people who actually go in and vote for you. And I don't think that he has anybody in the GOP who really feels fired up about him, money or no money.
LOESCH: I would agree with that. You have to have people to come and vote for you.
LEMON: All right. Wow, you guys are harsh.
Thank you. See you around. We're not going anywhere. They'll be back with us.
You know, you don't miss Monday night's Republican debate where all those people are going to be on the stage. These guys, some of them say they don't know why they are still there. CNN is going to host it. It's a CNN Tea Party debate. It's at 8:00 p.m. It will live from here in Tampa, site of the 2012 Republican National Convention. CNN/Tea Party debate, 8:00 p.m. Eastern, only her on CNN.
This is the same Loesch who advocated the dissolution of Social Security on Larry King Live over a year ago.
Yesterday, on my birthday, Loesch still was telling falsehoods.
From the 09.12.2011 edition of CNN's American Morning:
VELSHI: Welcome back. We're live in Tampa ahead of tonight's CNN Tea Party Debate.
And a new poll showing Texas Governor Rick Perry is out with a big lead. The Tea Party may be a huge reason for that.
Joining me now is CNN Contributor Dana Loesch. She is the founder of the St. Louis Tea Party, and CNN political contributor Alex Castellanos. Good to see both of you.
DANA LOESCH, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Good morning.
ALEX CASTELLANOS, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Good morning.
VELSHI: Let's talk, Alex, about this, you and I got into it a little bit about the debt ceiling about the issue of jobs. While the Tea Party and Republicans have done a remarkably effective job starting from before the last midterm elections in convincing Americans that the debt is the most important problem, we have come back to the fact that the failure to create jobs in this country on a consistent basis is going to be a more important from here until the election.
We have only heard from a few of these candidates, a good jobs plan. Are they going to be under pressure tonight to put the rest of Jon Huntsman and Mitt Romney and come out with plans?
CASTELLANOS: They're going to be under pressure to talk about jobs and explain what they do, but what defines these voters is not the solution, jobs. It's what they think the problem is, which is Washington. There's a lot of anti-Washington anger here. They see that Washington as a - I would say as a corrosive force that is sucking the life out of the economy. Washington's doing well, but America's not.
So that's what Perry's doing. He's connecting with that anger that you see in that room. You know, it's how do you sell Excedrin in this country? You don't sell Excedrin, you sell the headache.
VELSHI: Right, right.
CASTELLANOS: You sell the problem. And that's what I think you're going to see here tonight.
VELSHI: And Dana, you are part of this new phenomenon that has really become one. I was talking to Amy Kremer earlier who said, you know, the Tea Party could well decide the next Republican candidate.
Let's take a look at some new poll. A brand new polling this morning from CNN/Opinion Research Corporation, which gives Rick Perry a remarkable lead. On the left of your screen, you see the approvals within Tea Party supporters. On the right, it is all Republicans. Look at that.
Even within the Tea Party, Rick Perry has a remarkable, almost double, over what Romney is getting. Sarah Palin not in the race is coming in at third. Ron Paul -- Michele Bachmann's nowhere on that list. She comes in at four percent on both sides, whether it's among the Tea Party supporters or all others.
Now, if you look at Republicans generally on the right side of the screen, the lead between for - that Perry has over Romney is tighter and Romney and Perry - Romney and Palin are neck and neck. Give me a sense of what you make of this.
LOESCH: Well, it's a very interesting poll in that even with the Tea Party with this particular poll, Bachmann isn't in the top three or four.
LOESCH: That's incredible in itself.
VELSHI: We associate her so closely with the Tea Party Movement.
LOESCH: Right. Well, you know, and I think history is typically prejudiced against candidates who don't come from the gubernatorial poll. Now, I don't know how much of that plays into it. I know it needs a little importance. If I'm looking at a particular candidate, I'm measuring up their executive experience.
LOESCH: And I like Bachmann. I think she has a good record. But, ultimately it comes down to who has the executive experience.
LOESCH: And I think maybe that has something to do with this particular poll. It's interesting in that Perry leads in both the Tea Party and Republican perspectives.
VELSHI: That's right.
LOESCH: That's incredibly interesting. So I think that what he's going to have to continue to do, obviously, is to keep that lead over Romney. Romney is nipping at his heels right now -
LOESCH: -- and I think Romney obviously does better with Republicans. He's not a Tea Party - there isn't really a Tea Party candidate -
LOESCH: -- but he's definitely not a Tea Party candidate. At the last debate he said, well, I identify with a lot of the things that the Tea Party stands for. And, of course, grassroots picked up on that. But a lot of the things that they stand for -
LOESCH: -- as opposed to everything? It's just so constitutional issue. VELSHI: Well, that becomes tricky, Alex. Because a lot of the things the Tea Party stand for that have certainly been the most newsworthy, are not the things that some Republicans and plain fiscal conservatives stand for.
So at what point does that start to - to parch itself out?
CASTELLANO: Well, you know, right now nothing unites the people of Earth like a threat from Mars. And I think the biggest threat in the Republican Party and among Tea Party voters is the economy and is a concern that America is in economic decline.
CASTELLANO: So we're going to leave our children something less of a country.
VELSHI: And over the course of the next 14 months -
CASTELLANOS: So that unites (INAUDIBLE).
VELSHI: -- is that going to start to squeeze out the more divisive social issues that some parts of the Tea Party are involved in?
CASTELLANOS: I don't think so.
LOESCH: I don't think - yes. I don't think anyone - and I'm not saying that attention to social issues is irrelevant or that these issues are somehow unimportant, but right now that's not what's going to pay the bills.
LOESCH: That's not what's going to put bread on the table or pay the mortgage, so on and so forth. People are focused on the economy.
LOESCH: It comes down to jobs. It comes down to easing up on regulations and backing off of the market a little bit and allowing these businesses to be able to do what they do best, which is create job, add to the tax base, increase revenue.
CASTELLANOS: I think if you had a slogan that for a candidate coming out of this survey you'd say, if you fix Washington, America can achieve anything.
CASTELLANOS: We can grow again. And that's I think the candidate, the voters are looking for.
The other thing this survey tells you, is that if last election was hope and change, this one is about strength and certainty. I think Americans feel that the economy, the country, is coming apart. VELSHI: Right.
CASTELLANOS: And Rick Perry, Texas directness.
CASTELLANOS: You may agree or disagree, but you respect that he's - knows who he is, know what's he believes. And that seems to contrast fairly well at this moment with Mitt Romney, who voters don't seem to be that certain who's - who he is and who he's for.
VELSHI: Who are you watching closely tonight?
LOESCH: I'm watching Perry. I'm hoping - I'm looking to see whether or not he's going to be as strong in defending his stances as he is on offense. Because he had some really weak answers last debate. And if he's going to solidify himself -
LOESCH: -- as a serious frontrunner, he needs to do with defense.
CASTELLANOS: If he keeps having weak answers like he's had that has gotten him to 30 percent, he's going to get the nomination.
VELSHI: It's not a bad problem to have.
CASTELLANOS: Yes. I think Michele Bachmann is one to watch tonight.
CASTELLANOS: Because if she can make some wind - if she can take some of the wind out of Perry's sail, this is back to being a competitive race.
VELSHI: Alex, Dana, great to see you. Thank you so much. And we're watching tonight with you - Carol, Christine.
ROMANS: All right, Ali.
COSTELLO: Thanks, Ali.
She was cheerleading for Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann, as usual. She is also a big Sarah Palin and a Cain fan.
On today's American Morning, she was repeating the same garbage.
From the 09.13.2011 edition of CNN's American Morning:
VELSHI: Welcome back to a special AMERICAN MORNING, live in Tampa. Breaking down last night's big CNN Tea Party debate, the candidates putting front-runner Rick Perry on defense, especially on an issue they watch closely in Florida, Social Security.
So who came up on top? Joining me now is CNN contributor Dana Loesch. She's the founder of the St. Louis Tea Party, and CNN political contributor Alex Castellanos. Good morning to both of you or what little of the night you had. I know you were out there like so many people watching this very, very closely.
Dana, let's start with you. Any knockout moments, anybody really make any great strides last night and anybody really falter?
DANA LOESCH, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think that Bachmann really came back strong. She did exactly what she needed to do. I had some reservations especially about an hour through the debate. She seemed really hesitant to go after Perry or Romney.
She had a couple golden opportunities. She hesitated, but finally, when that Gardasil question came up, she was relentless and continued to stay after Perry for the rest of the debate. That was important.
VELSHI: Let's listen to that. This was a key moment. This is Rick Perry talking about a decision that he had made, sort of an executive order that was going to see young girls in Texas inoculated with Merck's Gardasil, which prevents the transmission of HPV and ultimately is thought to prevent cancer in young girls. Let's start with Rick Perry.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PERRY: At the end of the day, this was about trying to stop a cancer and giving the parental option to opt out of that, and at the end of the day, you may criticize me about the way that I went about it. But at the end of the day, I am always going to err on the side of life.
BACHMANN: The drug company gave thousands of dollars in political donations to the governor. This is flat out wrong. The question is, was it about life or was it about millions of dollars?
PERRY: The company was Merck and it was a $5,000 contribution that I had received from them. I raise about $30 million, and if you're saying that I can be bought for $5,000, I'm offended.
BACHMANN: I'm offended for all the little girls and the parents that didn't have a choice. That's what I'm offended for.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELSHI: Really, she got the applause on that one, Alex. A very interesting debate, because, you know, Rick Santorum on the side said parents should have been given the option to opt in, not opt out.
This debate was about executive orders. It was about not going through the legislature and then Michele Bachmann made it about a political donation. Did she score points or was this punching in the dark?
CASTELLANOS: Oh, I think - I think had she gained set-match there to Michele Bachmann. I think it was one of her better moments in the - in the debate and in the whole campaign so far.
Because it is about big government authority, taking parents' rights away and making them fight to get it back. It's not about the Gardasil vaccine. A lot of parents think it's a great idea, but forcing government - or government forcing parents to be in a position where they'd have to - they'd have to act to - to protect their family if they didn't really want that, that's not a conservative position.
You know, Rick Perry is still the heavyweight champ here. He's still number one, but what happened last night is the champ got cut and now you're going to see all the other fighters punch Perry. And we're going see over the next few weeks whether he holds up.
Debates are so important, not only in themselves, but in the next few week, the coverage of the debates, these moments that -
CASTELLANOS: -- we're looking at now, more people are going to see them than actually saw the debate. So this is a moment that's going to help Michele Bachmann over the next few weeks and hurt Perry.
VELSHI: All right. So we've talked about Perry being ganged up on. We've talked about Michele Bachmann coming out flying. Where did Romney fare in this whole thing?
LOESCH: Romney took some hits, too, I think. And he was - he seemed off his game to me last night. And when he and Perry went back and forth, one of the things that - I enjoyed watching that, but at the same time, it took away from the opportunities that they had to tell how exactly they would do something instead of trading jabs back and forth.
You did this, you did this. You cross this (INAUDIBLE). They didn't really get into the specifics of how exactly they would help the economy, how they would do this or that. So that kind of I think ultimately hurt both of them.
And on the merit of just answering the questions, having a good solid debate, I think Bachmann really walked away with last - away with it last night. But Perry is still the perceived frontrunner and the entire proof that he's still the frontrunner is on how everyone ganged up, piled up on him last night.
VELSHI: Yes, they really did.
CASTELLANOS: And Bachmann's success now is a plus for Romney. Because she - if she gains a couple of points -
CASTELLANOS: -- it probably comes out of Perry.
VELSHI: Let's talk about those on the fringes - Huntsman, Gingrich, Cain, Santorum? Anybody there make any big strides last night? And Ron Paul. I don't know where to put Ron Paul, because he - he polls higher and stays relatively consistent.
LOESCH: Well, I thought Cain had really good, solid answers on jobs.
VELSHI: Yes, he does.
LOESCH: And one of the thing that I appreciate about Herman Cain, first of all, he knows how to put in a good sound bite.
LOESCH: He knows how to get this sound bite that's going to get the headline for the next day.
LOESCH: He's great at that. And he was also very good and that every time he gave any answer, he brought it back to his specific plan. He brought back - brought it back to his jobs -
VELSHI: His 999 as he called it.
LOESCH: Absolutely. That is fantastic. That's something that Romney and Perry didn't do, but Cain, he thinks - he thinks on his feet.
LOESCH: He's very - he's very quick witted in that way.
Ron Paul, I thought, well, I think he read Paul Krugman's column for 9/11 and I don't know how you can come back after justifying 9/11. I - everyone in, around me, watching this was shocked when he said that.
Alex, your take on the - the other candidates?
CASTELLANOS: On the other candidates? I don't know that anything changed last night, except that perhaps Perry came down a little bit. Bachmann came back up. Romney came I think left, the way he came in. That means the field's still open.
CASTELLANOS: Somebody else could still - from the bottom tier could - could make an impact in this race. I doubt it will be Ron Paul, because I think last night he did - he did himself mortal harm.
VELSHI: Yes. OK. Good to talk to you guys both.
CASTELLANOS: Good to see you.
LOESCH: Good to talk to you.
VELSHI: All right. Alex Castellanos and Dana Loesch.
Let's send it back to New York - Carol.
COSTELLO: Interesting stuff. Thank you, Ali Velshi.
CNN has no credibility domestically anymore due to people and enablers like Wolf Blitzer, John King, Erick Erickson, Dana Loesch, and Alex Castellanos, to name a few.