Today, Candy spoke with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Reid gave his reaction to this morning’s shooting incident in Afghanistan in which an American soldier opened fire on Afghan civilians. He also discussed his meeting with members of President Obama’s re-election team and expressed confidence that the Democrats will maintain control of the Senate in November.
Amid calls for Newt Gingrich to drop out of the Republican race, Candy also talked to two veterans of the presidential campaign trail, former candidates Dick Gephardt and Steve Forbes. They explained what was involved in their decisions to end their campaigns and also gave their opinions on the state of the 2012 race.
Finally, Candy was joined by the Wall Street Journal’s Stephen Moore, the Washington Post’s Dan Balz and former OMB Director Alice Rivlin to dissect this week’s unemployment numbers and how the state of the economy is impacting the 2012 presidential race.
State of the Union Highlights:
Sen. Harry Reid (D) Majority Leader, on the mass shooting in Afghanistan involving an American soldier.
“One of our soldiers went into a couple of homes and just killed people at random. Very, very sad, especially following that incident dealing with the Qurans. It’s just not a good situation. Our troops are under such tremendous pressure in Afghanistan. It's a war like no other war we've been involved in. But no one can condone or make any suggestion that what he did was right because it was absolutely wrong. I think that we're on the right track to get out of Afghanistan just as soon as we can.”
Sen. Harry Reid (D) Majority Leader, on his party’s chances in this year’s Senate races
“We feel really good. We've had some tremendous- we've had some good fortune in North Dakota, in Massachusetts, in Nevada, in Arizona. We have good candidates all over. I feel very comfortable about where we're going to wind up in November.”
(Crowley: you think you'll wind up with the majority?)
“I sure do. Most of the pundits are saying so now. Especially with the fact [Olympia] Snowe has stepped down. We have- my friend Bob Kerrey is going to run in Nebraska. We have some good things going on around the country.”
Steve Forbes (R) Former Presidential Candidate, on the prolonged race between Romney and Santorum
(Crowley: Can I assume that you believe the nominee will be Mitt Romney?)
“I think, yes, he’s likely to be the nominee. But he’s going to - at the rate he’s going, he’s going to limp over the finish line. Santorum, I think, is going to have a good week and on Tuesday. And I think he’s beginning to get his footings, in terms of a national campaign, painful though it’s been. And so I don’t think it’s going to be a knockout blow anytime soon. So I see this going right into June.”
Steve Forbes (R) Former Presidential Candidate, on the Republican primary campaign
“The process itself in terms of hurting the Republican party, yes, it has. A brawl like that never makes the fighters look good. But I think at the end of the day, if Romney does emerge as the nominee, it'll make him stronger. He's done things on the tax side that the base wanted him to do from the beginning but which he refused to do until a couple of weeks ago. He's going to have to do the same thing on health care and perhaps one other issue to reassure the base that he can carry the banner in November.”
Dick Gephardt (D) Former Presidential Candidate on Obama’s re-election chances
“If the economy is still going forward, even at 40 miles an hour, 50 miles an hour, I think most people will stick with President Obama. I think people look at politics like they hire a plumber. I hire you to fix the bad pipe. If you fix it, I’ll rehire you. If you don't fix it, I’m not going to rehire you.”
Sound of Sunday
Watch here: http://bit.ly/A76n9C
This morning's shooting by an American soldier in Afghanistan pushed politics aside for a while on the Sunday talks. Obama campaign strategist Robert Gibbs called it a "deeply regrettable incident."
Robert Gibbs, Obama Campaign Senior Adviser on CBS’s “Face The Nation”
“I know that the coalition forces over there are in the midst of an investigation. And our job is to do as much as we can to train the Afghans, to secure and protect their own country. And to continue the transition of giving them that responsibility so that we can bring our men and women home.”
Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich, who scorched President Obama for apologizing for the accidental burning of the Quran several weeks ago, says the deliberate killing of innocent Afghans by a US soldier does require US condolences and apologies, but repeated his earlier conviction the US mission may no longer be worth it.
Newt Gingrich (R) Presidential Candidate on “Fox News Sunday”
“There is something profoundly wrong with the way approaching the whole region. And I think it's going to get substantially worse, not better. And I think that we are risking lives of young men and women in a mission that may frankly not be doable.”
An alternate view from Republican Senator Lindsey Graham who says the mission has to continue
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) South Carolina, on ABC’s “This Week”
“This is tragic, and will be investigated and that soldier will be held accountable for his actions these things happen in war….you just have to push through these things.”
On politics, Kansas Caucus winner Rick Santorum went after frontrunner Mitt Romney, walking right up to the line of calling him a liar
Rick Santorum (R) Presidential Candidate, on NBC’s “Meet The Press”
“He [Romney] has repeatedly had big government solutions and then gone out and told the public bald-faced that he didn't do the things that he did.”
And finally HBO aired "Game Change" last night, a movie based on a book that paints a less than flattering image of former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin. The top of that ticket isn't interested
Sen. John McCain (R) Arizona, on “Fox News Sunday”
“Of course I am not going to watch it. It is based on a book that is completely biased, with unattributed quotes, etc. What I don't understand, even in the tough world of politics, why there continues to be such assaults on a good and decent person Sarah Palin.”
Links to SOTU interviews:
Sen. Harry Reid on Afghanistan
Reid on his relationship with the White House
Full Interview with Sen. Reid
Forbes on Romney
Gephardt and Forbes Part 1
Gephardt and Forbes Part 2
Panel on the economy