From the 11.29.2011 edition of CNN's John King, USA:
KING: Tonight's number is a big one, at the moment a big dividing line in the Republican presidential race.
It is 11.2 million, 11.2, an estimated 11.2 million unauthorized immigrants, illegal immigrants, living in the United States according to the Pew Hispanic Center. That makes up almost 4 percent, 3.7 percent of the U.S. population.
Here's a look at where they live. The darker the state, the higher the population of illegal immigrants. And just for a little context, let's look at this. There are 72 percent of the foreign-born people living in the United States are here legally, 28 percent, the 11.2 million, 28 percent illegally in the country.
Whether many of these folks, those here illegally should be granted legal status is a big dividing line at the moment in the Republican presidential race. Newt Gingrich says yes. Michele Bachmann calls that misguided amnesty. Does it matter if someone who crossed illegally has been here 20 days or 20 years?
Not to Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a national lightning rod in the immigration debate and, as of today, a supporter of Texas Governor Rick Perry.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE ARPAIO, MARICOPA COUNTY, ARIZONA, SHERIFF: What difference does it make? If you're here illegally, you're here illegally. If you don't like it, then have the Congress or someone in the states change the law. That's all I have to say about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Your first reflex is to assume tough talk like that would carry the day in today's Republican Party. After all, John McCain's talk of a path to citizenship nearly derailed his bid for the GOP nomination four years ago and the party moved even more to the right in the Tea Party sweep of 2010.
But is there actually more of a shift back toward the middle on immigration among the leading Republican contenders?
On Capitol Hill tonight, Republican Congressman Brian Bilbray of California, and in Saint Louis, CNN contributor Dana Loesch.
Congressman Bilbray, let me start with that basic premise. If you have Newt Gingrich who has gone from nowhere to the top of the national polls saying, not citizenship but legal status for those who broke the law when they first entered country, but at any time since then have been law-abiding -- perhaps they have children, perhaps they have been paying taxes in America -- that they should be able to have a process to stay. Do you consider that amnesty?
REP. BRIAN BILBRAY (R), CALIFORNIA: Yes, I do.
And I do because I was born and raised on the border. There were two houses between my childhood home and the border. I'm one of the few members of Congress that have seen what happens along the border when people from Georgia or somewhere else that don't understand what is going on with the immigration issue, don't take the time to go to Latin America and talk to people who are considering here coming here illegally, they don't understand that talking about amnesty the reduce illegal immigration, it's about as logical as somebody saying, let's drill a hole in the bottom of a boat to let the water out.
You're going to cause a whole new wave of illegal immigration by sending the wrong signals around the world and not taking care of the real source of the problem. That's illegal employers. The employers are the one who create illegal workers.
KING: But, so, Dana Loesch, to you on this one. If Congressman Bilbray's position is the position of grassroots conservatives and that has not changed since 2008, how did Newt Gingrich go from zero to the top of the national pack when he's been very consistent in explaining his views on this issue and he's not backing down?
DANA LOESCH, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think, number one, because he's not Mitt Romney. Number two, he hasn't had any gaffes. Number three, immigration, while it is a huge wedge issue amongst many conservatives, I don't think ultimately -- and a lot of them may get upset over this, let's but look at Ronald Reagan.
Ronald Reagan was the amnesty president. Ronald Reagan not only supported and signed a bill into law which granted three million illegal immigrants amnesty in the United States, but he was enthusiastically supportive of it. Now, by our own standards of today, Ronald Reagan wouldn't have a shot.
But ultimately when you talk about John McCain and the comments that he made about a path to citizenship, there were many issues that were derailing John McCain, the least of which was immigration. McCain-Feingold was a huge issue.
But, ultimately, I think immigration isn't going to be as high up on the list as opposed to -- as compared to the some of the other financial concerns. And Gingrich, his position on what some would call amnesty, I disagree with what -- many of his positions and the whole -- under the amnesty umbrella or the immigration umbrella.
For instance, evaluating on a case-by-case basis 11 million individuals and going and having a hearing, I guess, and determining how long they have been here, what ties they have to the community, that's something to dispute. He hasn't gone as far as McCain has, though.
KING: So, Congressman Bilbray, you have Speaker Gingrich, who is at the top of the national polls now, at the top of the Iowa polls. He's running close second in New Hampshire -- I'm sorry -- a distant second in New Hampshire, he's ahead in South Carolina.
He has his position which you call amnesty. Governor Perry says absolutely no amnesty. I want you to listen to him here, and then I will fill in some of the blanks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RICK PERRY (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Amnesty is not on the table, period. There will be no amnesty in the United States. We're a country of law. And the idea that we're going to tell people that somehow or another, you know, that's all forgiven is not going to happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: He says that's not going to happen. And he says he would deport -- anyone who was brought into custody any way, shape or form who is here illegally would get immediately deported. He has not though said you would go out and round up the rest of the law-abiding folks. I know they broke the law to get here, but those who are currently law-abiding.
And you have Mr. Romney, who many would say is the Republican front-runner, if it's not Mr. Gingrich, who now says he's not for amnesty. But if you go back a few years, he had the position that is essentially the same as Newt Gingrich's position now.
If those three candidates are among the leading candidates for your party's nomination, Congressman, is it inevitable that you will have a nominee who you disagree with?
BILBRAY: No, it's not.
And let's say one thing for the record. Ronald Reagan recognized that amnesty could only be used once, that if you use it more than once, your credibility of enforcing your law is lost. And the fact is, is that when Perry talks about anybody illegal should be sent out of the country, this is a governor who signed a bill that says if you're illegally in the state of Texas, you get college grants.
You actually get subsidized to go to school, to get a job that's illegal in the country. So Perry's kind of trying to cover himself on this one. And, look, Newt goes a lot of different ways. He's a personal friend. He's really been a great guy to work on.
But the fact is, you have just got to look at the fact that what you're talking about is not what you may want to do some time in the future, but sending a signal around the world that the candidate for president or, worse, the president himself, has announced that if you break the law, come into the country illegal, if you risk your life and be one of those -- or be one of those 600 who die along the border trying to come in the country illegally, we will reward you if you come in here.
And this is a concept that looks like it's compassion, but this is like opening a candy store in the middle of a freeway. While people, children are being killed on the road, you say I don't understand how this happened. Everyone who is given a job and any elected official who is announcing to the world that Washington and the federal government is going to reward illegal immigration are part and parcel to the problem of sending a clear and defined message.
And even Gingrich will say our problem is that we have sent mixed messages in the past and that has enticed people to come here and be here illegally.
Well, Newt, I don't care who you are. Quit sending the mixed message that we are going to somehow reward or accommodate you if you broke the law while there are those waiting patiently to play by the rules waiting to come into this country legally.
KING: Dana is going to be with us later in the program. We will continue part of this conversation then.
Congressman Bilbray, appreciate your coming in tonight. We will watch as this one plays out.
BILBRAY: Thank you.
Later on the same program, Loesch was back on-- this time paired with Donna Brazile. She stated that Herman Cain may possibly drop out within the next week or so. She claimed this will hurt Mitt Romney's chances of winning the GOP nomination.
KING: Today's biggest headline, though is this drama: Herman Cain's decision to reassess the viability of his campaign even as he forcefully denies a Georgia woman's claim of a multiyear affair.
CNN contributors Donna Brazile and Dana Loesch, left and right, respectively, are with us.
And Dana, I want to go to you first. Herman Cain just in last hour has put out a new statement sent to his supporters around the country. He says this about the woman. Her name is Ginger White, a Georgia businesswoman. "I thought Ms. White was a friend in need of a supportive hand to better her life. Ms. White has made it apparent that she was abusing the friendship. Now I'm asking for your friendship. I'm also asking for your prayers and support. This is a trying time for my family, my campaign and for me. It is also a trying time for our country as we are all distracted from the truly important issues facing our nation."
Part of an appeal like this is to say to your campaign supporters, it's not true. Part of it is to say, "I need fund- raising. I need it fast to prove I can stay in the race." Can he?
DANA LOESCH, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I don't know. I'm going to be surprised if he -- frankly, if he lasts the week, because he's dipping in the polls. He's losing support amongst the women especially, and I mean how many more of these can his campaign weather? And this last individual, you know, I didn't -- when Politico first broke the story I thought it may have been a hit job that came from the right.
And then continuing to see the stories come out. And then this particular woman, Ginger White, it's not as though this is a simple "he said, she said" game. She's got phone records. She not only has not only has phone records, but the reporter texted the number of -- texted Herman Cain's private number, and he called it back. And these phone records show that they were having conversations at something like 4:30 in the morning.
And I want to be generous with the benefit of the doubt, but at some point you kind of have to stop and pull back and think what's really going on here? Is it really as it seems?
KING: And as we -- as Dana makes the point, you're watching Herman Cain. He's giving a speech in Michigan tonight. He said he would go forward with this speech on foreign policy, but he also said he would make a decision in the next several days as to whether he can go forward.
One important barometer, Donna Brazile, is whether he can raise money. Another barometer is checking with your people in key states, to say are we bleeding? Are we losing support? I was in South Carolina yesterday, and I asked the Tea Party congressman, Tim Scott, who's very plugged into the grassroots where he lives in the Charleston area of the state. Is this hurting Herman Cain? Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KING: What is the buzz about Herman Cain in your state right now?
REP. TIM SCOTT (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I think the challenges are real. We're seeing a lot of folks trying to second-guess themselves. Trying to find a new candidate. I think we may have the newest candidate to my right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're 35 days from the voting in Iowa. Then a week after that comes New Hampshire, then right after that comes South Carolina. You know what it's like to be in the middle of a campaign when something like this happens.
DONNA BRAZILE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: First of all, I'm not going to write Herman Cain's obituary. He's an unconventional candidate and let him write his own ending if it is the end of his campaign. This is -- this is going to be a November to remember for Herman Cain. Dana is absolutely right.
Herman Cain will probably have to, you know, find new money, new supporters and a new reason why he's going to continue to stay in the race.
He has not been the candidate of new ideas. He really hasn't caught fire in terms of the kind of organizational strength you need. So I doubt very seriously that he can stay in the race for a long time. But Mrs. Cain is probably the only person tonight who knows exactly how to dial that number right now and say it's time to pack it up and go.
KING: Gingrich benefit the most, in your view?
BRAZILE: Absolutely. He's on the rise, and there's no reason to suspect that Newt Gingrich will not benefit from Herman Cain if he decides to drop out.
KING: And Dana, does this hurt Mitt Romney the most under the theory that he needs two or three people to his right?
LOESCH: Absolutely. It elevates a non-Romney, and I think that Cain might lose some supporters to maybe Gingrich over this. We'll see.
KING: We'll see, indeed. And we'll watch. Herman Cain saying on the phone call this morning he will reassess this over the next several days, making a decision. Watch to see what they say about fundraising in the next 28 to 48 hours.
Dana Loesch, Dana Brazile, appreciate your coming in tonight.
Up next, tonight's "Truth" involves a great lunch and a very important lesson.
On yesterday afternoon's The Dana Show, 2012 Republican Presidential Candidate and massive hypocrite Newt Gingrich visited her radio show. She and Gingrich both were focused on "accusing Obama and Holder of not letting states enforce the law on illegal immigration."
From the 11.29.2011 edition of KFTK's The Dana Show: