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MSNBC - Transcript


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MSNBC - Transcript

MR. TODD: Greenspan testified before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Republican Congressman Tom Davis of Virginia. He's the ranking member for the Republicans on that, and before I get to a bunch of political stuff that I want to talk to you about, a simple question -- did somebody take responsibility today and is somebody going to take responsibility?

REP. DAVIS: You know, it's a collective responsibility, Chuck. I think that's what we need to understand. I think everybody's going like this, pointing fingers.

MR. TODD: Right.

REP. DAVIS: But the answer is that I think both Alan Greenspan and Chris Cox all said in retrospect they would have done things differently but they were hampered by the legislation itself that didn't allow them to move into some areas -- in some of these derivative areas and regulate them like they want. Mortgage brokers, for example, are regulated at the state level so there was some legislative underpinnings that just weren't there that could have protected us. So Congress has a role too.

MR. TODD: And so are you satisfied with the testimony you got today from Chairman Greenspan?

REP. DAVIS: Well, I think it was excellent. It lays out the picture and what data they had, what they relied on, who the critics were, why they made the decisions that they did.

MR. TODD: Well, Congressman Davis, I intro-ed you as the Charlie Cook of Capitol Hill. Nobody -- I don't think any sitting elected official knows more about the entire American political landscape than you. So I want to talk to you about a specific leak that came out --

REP. DAVIS: Right.

MR. TODD: -- reported on U.S. News about a private memo circulating among House Republicans that said the number is 34 seats that are going to be lost. Have you seen that memo and do you concur with it?

REP. DAVIS: I would not concur with it for -- anybody who writes a memo like that 10 days out I think doesn't know what they're doing because as you know, in the last two weeks races can move 25 points.

MR. TODD: Well, we just saw Michele Bachmann in Minnesota, Tim Mahoney in Florida.

REP. DAVIS: Right.

MR. TODD: One from each party.

REP. DAVIS: I mean, campaigns matter. What you need to understand is the metrics favor the Democrats. Republicans have a lot of retirements that Democrats don't have. You've got a bad economy, a very unpopular president. But I think the most telling feature going in to the last two weeks is the fact that the Democrats have huge spending advantages and are able to penetrate a lot of races and keep the Republicans pinned down and on defense.

MR. TODD: What happened financially? We know -- we've seen it on the presidential level but what happened on the House and Senate level? How did this get this out of hand this quickly for the Republican Party?

REP. DAVIS: Democrats took control of Congress and labor beefed up what they were giving to the Democrats and that's traditionally 90 plus percent. But business abandoned the Republicans in droves. You even have the pharmaceuticals -- Wall Street giving heavily to Democrats over Republicans -- the pharmaceuticals, who Democrats have attacked for years --

MR. TODD: Right. Right.

REP. DAVIS: -- giving 50-50. I mean, what does that tell you? And on the small donor base, the out party generally benefits and they've done a great job raising money over the Internet.

MR. TODD: I want to talk about Virginia in particular. I know you're retiring from a northern Virginia seat.

REP. DAVIS: Right.

MR. TODD: We've seen a lot of public polls that have this presidential race sitting at eight, nine, ten points.


MR. TODD: What have you seen? Has this thing moved from a toss- up to a state that is now tipping in Obama's direction?

REP. DAVIS: Probably today, but remember this. You look at the national polls. If it -- you and I both know if it's a ten-point or eight-point Obama lead nationally, Virginia will fall. Three southern states have very non-southern characteristics -- Virginia, Florida, and North Carolina -- because of the (in migration ?).

MR. TODD: Right.

REP. DAVIS: And Georgia and Texas to lesser extents and for different reasons. So they're subject to the same national trends everyone else is and I think that's what you're seeing in Virginia. You're not seeing going from red to blue but you're seeing in a year like this, where the whole electoral map seems to be tilting, they're -- they could fall.

MR. TODD: So Virginia -- so you buy this idea that Virginia basically follows the national polls. You don't think it's a trailing indicator maybe the way it was a couple years ago.

REP. DAVIS: Well, it -- no, it trails slightly. I think it trails slightly and I think anyone that reads this as a red to blue long-term trend is misreading things. But certainly in a year like this, in a dynamic like this, you know, the Republicans have to be worried about it, and it'll be close. It'll be -- just remember, Doug Wilder had like a 13-, 14-point lead the Sunday before the election and won by one point. So we get into the overpolling in this. But look, the Obama people have spent a lot of money. I think they have a four-to-one spending advantage over McCain --

MR. TODD: Right.

REP. DAVIS: -- in Virginia, and that is making a difference.

MR. TODD: Did the McCain campaign make a mistake by not advertising in northern Virginia for all those months?

REP. DAVIS: Well, yeah. Of course they did. But they didn't have it. They had to spread it around. They made different decisions. But I think they're in now so the last two weeks they could close this and it'll be competitive.

MR. TODD: Congressman Davis, like I said, we need you here on election night. I think we need you here helping us call these races.

REP. DAVIS: Well, I'm free right now.

MR. TODD: Well, fair enough.


MR. TODD: I'll be on the phone soon. Thanks for joining me.

REP. DAVIS: Thanks.

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