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CNN "American Morning" - Transcript


Location: Washington, DC


ACOSTA: They call themselves the future of the Republican Party. And after November 2nd, they could find their party back in control of Congress.

CROWLEY: In a new book called "Young Guns," a new generation of conservative leaders: Minority Whip Eric Cantor, Congressman Paul Ryan, and Congressman Kevin McCarthy, say Republicans lost the confidence of the American public when they didn't deliver on what they promised.

So, I began our conversation asking who lost actually the confidence of the American people and where they think the party needs to go next.


REP. ERIC CANTOR (R-VA), MINORITY WHIP: What we did, Candy, is the three of us got together a couple of years ago and said, you know what, we are tired of what's happened to our party, whether it's in our ways of spending or the conduct of leadership. And you know what? The voters agreed with us back then because they fired us in '06 and '08.

We also said, you know, this country has now gone way off- track. And we've got to go in search of new people that can come to the table that want to go to Washington for the right reasons. And we all believe as common sense conservatives that the answer is a free enterprise, optimistic conservative vision for this country. So --

CROWLEY: But this is an innate criticism of your own party, is it not?

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: But our party lost its way. I mean, so we have to own up to the fact --

CROWLEY: Who is that? I mean, you are your party.

RYAN: So, we have to own up to the fact that the last time we were in the majority, we spent too much money. We did not ink ourselves to our fiscal conservative principles. We have to acknowledge that if we don't want to repeat those mistakes in the future.

And so, what we're doing is, we're going around America trying to get men and women to come to Congress, not to try to build a political career, but to help advance a cause and get this country back on track.

CROWLEY: When you talk about the next generation of conservative leaders, you sort of implicitly talk about page-turning. Much has been made about the fact that not much was said about or to John Boehner, the Republican leader, who may or may not become the next speaker of the House.

Would you all tell me right now if the Republicans take over majority of the House, would you support John Boehner as speaker?

UNIDENTIIFIED MALE: Yes, we all would.

CROWLEY: So, this not --


CROWLEY: -- you know, a rebellion takeover "young guns"?


CROWLEY: You support John Boehner at this point?

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R), CALIFORNIA: We didn't -- we didn't create the name. This was based upon Fred Barnes writing something three years ago, saying how can the party come back after being fired? And it can come back by putting ideas out there, using their conservative principles to solve problems.

CROWLEY: Let me -- let me ask you one further while we're just -- while we're on the subject of Leader Boehner. And that is that he's made -- he's got a lot of play for saying, yes, I vote for continuing the middle class tax cuts.

It seems to me the argument isn't whether John Boehner wants all of the tax cuts to be extended. It's -- what would he do if he got a bill that was only to extend middle class tax cuts defined now as $250,000 and over? If you only get that bill, are you telling me that you would or would not vote for that bill?

CANTOR: Let's examine the question first, OK?


CANTOR: The reality is there's a bipartisan majority in the House that supports our position, which says there should be no tax hikes for anyone -- no investor, no single mom, no small businessperson, especially in a recession. That's the reality.

So, the speaker right now is refusing to allow the voices of the bipartisan majority in Congress. And frankly, we know the majority of the American people who say, you know what? Tax hikes in a recession are a non-starter.

CROWLEY: Would you, tax-cutting Republicans, set the market free really vote against a bill that kept those tax cuts in place for most Americans?

RYAN: We are not interested in being party to a bill that ends up raising taxes on job-creating small businesses.

CROWLEY: Does that do it though?

RYAN: Here's the point. Here's who can answer this question. The speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, can bring a bill to the floor that extends all of the tax rate cuts and it would pass.

CROWLEY: Right now, the energy out there as you all well know are people who are backed by the Tea Party, which is actually a lot of different entities at this point. Do you easily see a transition from Tea Party candidates, be they in the House or the Senate into the Republican caucus on either side? Do you see any of these candidates easily doing that?

CANTOR: Remember what the Tea Party stands for is "Taxed Enough Already." These are people who are so frustrated at Washington's ways of runaway spending and lack of accountability.

That is our message: that people are tired of a government that frankly continues to make promises it can't keep. And we're about some transparency, some straightforward discussion as to how we can address this -- the growth in federal government that needs to be reined in, how we're going to cut federal spending, and ultimately, how we get people back to work.

CROWLEY: And let me just as a final question here. If I'm a voter and I'm sitting out there and I'm listening to you, I may be in my head going, yes, yes, yes, we have heard this all before. We're going to work together. We're going to put the best ideas on the table. Here are Republicans who are advocating tax cuts remain across-the-board, or the current tax system remain across-the-board who are also arguing that the deficit is going to kill us. And so you're going to add $3.8 billion -- trillion -- sorry -- to the deficit because you want your tax cuts.

Isn't that orthodoxy over what you all are advocating?

RYAN: Candy, domestic spending went up 84 percent last year. The spending spree has got to stop.

CROWLEY: But you can't cut your way out of the --

RYAN: When we did a budget last year, I brought a budget to the floor, the Republican budget, that cut $4.8 trillion in spending out of the budget. There's plenty of waste and there's room to cut in government and spending. If you try to balance this budget and pay off this debt by raising taxes, you will suffocate economic progress and prosperity in this country.

Spending is the root cause of our problems. We have to deal with the structural spending issues. And if we try to tax ourselves out of this, we will stifle job creation, and we will have a lost decade on our hands. And we can't afford that.


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