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July 29th, 2012
01:42 PM ET

State of the Union Crib Sheet for Sunday July 29

State of the Union Highlights

On today’s show, Candy spoke with  Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois and Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire about foreign policy and GOP presumptive presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s overseas trip. In the separate interviews, the senators also sparred over the impending 'fiscal cliff’ and when to deal with the issue in Congress. We also discussed the recent rash of negative campaign ads and their effectiveness with Ken Goldstein, Ron Brownstein and Michael Scherer. We were live in the noon hour with coverage of Mitt Romney’s speech in Jerusalem, and got reaction from the Obama campaign’s foreign policy adviser, Tim Roemer.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D) Illinois on avoiding the “fiscal cliff”
“Meetings are taking place this last week and before. Our gang of eight equally divided Democrats and Republicans sitting around a table working on that solution. We are going to continue to. We believe there is a responsible, reasonable way to move forward. And we are going to try to put something on the table to be considered. Now let me be honest with you as well, in the next 100 days before the election, the political environment is not one for compromise and negotiation, but if we are prepared the day after the election to move forward with a plan that restores confidence in the economy and the able of congress to react to it, it is going to be a positive thing for us.”

Sen. Dick Durbin (D) Illinois on tax cut extensions
“Look at just what happened this week, the president's tax cuts in the United States Senate passed with a 51/48 vote to make sure that families making less than $250,000 a year have no increase in taxes at the end of the year and every single Republican senator voted against it. They said if you won't give tax breaks to the wealthiest 2 percent in America, then the middle income families won't receive any tax cuts at all. That is a policy which Mitt Romney may think is wise, but from our point of view is not sensible when we know so many working families are struggling paycheck to paycheck.”

Sen. Dick Durbin (D) Illinois on President Obama’s handling of Iran
“He [President Obama] has put together the strongest coalition of countries around the world to put pressure on Iran not to develop a nuclear weapon. It includes China and Russia. He has invested American resources in the Iron Dome to protect the Israeli people. And he has worked closely with them to make sure our unshakeable alliance is going to be there for Israel for years to come. So I think that our position from the president's point of view has been a solid one.”

Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R) New Hampshire on President Obama’s foreign policy
“Let's be clear where we are. Let's look at the situation right now in Syria, where essentially he has outsourced leadership to the United Nations, and is it a surprise that China and Russia don't want to support freedom in Syria? I mean, look at his reset policy. Here we have Russia basically thumbing their nose at the United States of America, continuing to provide arms to the Assad regime, and in addition to that, this week there was a report at the end of the week that the Russian naval chief, that Russia was actually looking at opening additional bases, including one in Cuba. We are not stronger. The relationship with Israel. When the people of Teheran stood in the streets of 2009 and asked for freedom, the president did not speak up for them.”

Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R) New Hampshire on the defense spending cuts due to result from sequestration
“It makes me sick that some in Washington, particularly some of the Senate Democrats want to play - and even our president unfortunately - want to use our military as a bargaining chip. And recently, Mitch McConnell, Eric Cantor, John Boehner, wrote a letter to the president, asking him to come to the table to resolve this issue of sequestration for our military. And I'm calling on the president to do it. I am willing to sit down with members of both sides of the aisle, and let's resolve this before the election, because you know, if we wait until after the election, it is not just our national security, which Secretary Panetta has said we would be shooting ourselves in our head, I mean, awful. Undermining our national security. But also in terms of our defense industrial base, nearly a million jobs that are at stake.”

Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R) New Hampshire on being mentioned as part of Mitt Romney’s VP shortlist.
“It is certainly an honor to be mentioned, but, again, we've talked about the grave issues facing our country right now. And servicing New Hampshire in the Senate, addressing these fiscal issues, that is where my priority is. And Governor Romney will pick who he thinks is best, and he is in charge of that process, rightly so.”

Links to SOTU interviews

Sen. Dick Durbin Part One

Sen. Dick Durbin Part Two

Sen. Kelly Ayotte Part One

Sen. Kelly Ayotte Part Two

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Lost In The System: Checking in on our nation’s heroes

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Additional SOTU information

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Filed under: 2012 • Barack Obama • Dick Durbin • Iran • Israel • Kelly Ayotte • Michael Scherer • Mitt Romney • Syria
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