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CNN "Anderson 360 Cooper Degress" - Transcript


Location: Unknown


COOPER: Congressman Grayson, I appreciate you being on -- on the program.

I know you disagree with your opponent. And -- and, certainly, you disagree with his views. But calling him the Taliban Dan, I mean, it's equivalent to somebody -- calling somebody a Nazi or a Maoist. I mean, why go down that road? GRAYSON: Well, in a way, you're right. We let that ad run and die a natural death. Now we're running an entirely different ad on the same point, because people need to know Dan Webster's record. For 30 years, his...

COOPER: But the damage has been done, though. I mean, it -- you know, you can say the ad's no longer on the air. It was on the air for quite a while. It got plenty of attention. How do you defend it?

GRAYSON: By pointing out the underlying truth. The underlying truth is that Webster has an appalling record, 30 years of treating women like second-class citizens.

And I don't think people in the end are going to vote for atmospherics. They not going to vote for form. They are going to vote for substance.


COOPER: But why not put that in the commercial? Why not put that in a commercial and actually say that, though?


GRAYSON: Well, that's exactly what we did.

These issues don't go away depending upon what particular label we put on them. And we have to remember that this is someone who will be able to take these crazy ideas and actually put them into law for all of us...

COOPER: But you're not -- again...

GRAYSON: ... and make your sister and your...



GRAYSON: ... And your mother second-class citizens.

COOPER: Well, I know you have got talking points, and I know those are points you want to make.

But, again, you're not going to the basic issue, which is calling your opponent, labeling him Taliban. they kill American forces. They kill gay people. They, you know, throw acid on women. They behead people.

I mean, that's just -- it's below the belt. It's -- you can't defend it.

GRAYSON: Actually, what I'm trying to do is to point out in a vivid way that this is somebody with an 18th century name and a 13th century conception of how women should live in America. And that's what I'm trying to do right now. COOPER: But you're also twisting his words. I mean, you have taken a speech that he gave. You -- you edited it incredibly selectively, so it makes it sound like he's saying, you know, women, submit to your men, submit to your husbands, when, in fact, that's not what he was saying in that speech.

GRAYSON: I don't agree with that.

I think, by the way, they have pulled down the entire tape, so you can no longer look at the entire 20-minute speech that he gave. But I have seen that speech. And I think that that reflects exactly what his conception of women actually are, as judged by 30 years of experience in public life.

COOPER: You must admit, though, that you selectively edited his statements to say something other than what he was talking about at that time. We wouldn't be allowed to do that in news. Why -- what gives you the right to do that when you're trying to get people's votes?

GRAYSON: Well, as I said before, we have moved away from the whole subject of whether he was quoted in context, quoted out of context. That's not what matters here.

COOPER: Well, he was quoted out of context. You can't argue that. I mean, he was quoted out of context. There's no doubt.

GRAYSON: I don't know why you keep saying I can't argue this, that or the other thing. I don't -- I don't agree with what your position is here, Anderson. And I think that people can reasonably disagree.

But what is the first thing that a career politician says when he's called to answer for his own words? These were his words, not mine. The first thing a career politician like Daniel Webster says is, I was quoted out of context.

COOPER: Let's play the SOT of what he said.


WEBSTER: Write a journal. Second, find a verse. I have a verse for my wife. I have verses for my wife. Don't pick the ones that say, "She should submit to me." That's in the Bible. But pick the ones that you're supposed to do, so, instead, that you would love your wife, even as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it, and as opposed to, wives, submit yourself to your own husbands. She can pray that if she wants to. But don't you pray it.


COOPER: So, I mean, that -- that was his full statement. You're saying you didn't take him out of context at all?

GRAYSON: Well, actually, the term that you used last week is that we cleverly edited it. And I will let other people decide whether that was clever or not. But the point is, this is an ad that hasn't run for four days, and you seem to be anxious to drag it out for some reason that I really don't understand. Let's talk about the facts. Let's talk about the record here.

COOPER: Well, let me -- let me -- well, let me tell you -- let me tell you why. Because you are running for Congress. You throw this ad out on television, and then you don't answer questions about it for days.

Then you finally come on television in the last couple of days and you say, oh, well, look, that was last week. Why do we have to talk about it?

I mean, if you believe in this ad, you should stand up for it. And I appreciate you coming on, because, frankly, there's a lot of other candidates who don't have the guts to -- to come on and talk about it.

But I think it's a little disingenuous to say, well, look, this was a week ago; you know, let's move on.

GRAYSON: Anderson, it's a little disingenuous for you to say that I have avoided answering questions about this ad. You are not the only show on TV.

COOPER: I have looked at the transcripts.

GRAYSON: In fact, I answered all sorts of questions about this ad from the moment it started to run. You're trying to make it sound like I hid from this, when that's absolutely not true.

COOPER: What about the other ad that you guys put on TV basically questioning -- saying that -- that, you know, he didn't love this country? You stand by the idea that he doesn't love this country?

GRAYSON: I think you're quoting me out of context at this point.

COOPER: Well...


GRAYSON: Isn't that a fair statement?

COOPER: I don't know. Let's -- do we have the ad? Can we play the ad?


GRAYSON: I'm Congressman Alan Grayson, and I approve this message.

NARRATOR: Daniel Webster was called to serve our country six times during the Vietnam War. Each time, Daniel Webster refused the call to service. It breaks an old soldier's heart to think that Daniel Webster could ever be elected to Congress. He doesn't love this country the way I do. Daniel Webster doesn't care about us.


COOPER: OK. So, "He doesn't love this country the way I do."

Did you serve in the military? You're making it seem as you if served in the military, and he -- that your opponent somehow, you know...

GRAYSON: Does the ad say that, or are you making it seem that way?

COOPER: Well, I think for -- any observer would interpret that this guy is unpatriotic and doesn't care about the United States.

GRAYSON: OK. But that's not what you just said. You said you're making -- I'm making it seem like I served in the military. Why do you say things like that? There's nothing in the ad that would lead people to infer...

COOPER: If you're attacking -- if you're -- if you're attacking his record for not serving in the military, it makes it sound like you did serve in the military. Maybe that's not your implication. And that's fine, and that's fair.

GRAYSON: I think what's happening here is that you're reaching for ways to attack me, and I really don't see the point of that.

I'm simply trying to let people know about my opponent's 30-year record as a career politician, despite the fact that people like you try to misconstrue the things that we have said.

COOPER: Do you think he is unpatriotic?

GRAYSON: I think the ad speaks for itself.

COOPER: Congressman Grayson, I do appreciate you being on. I appreciate it. Thank you.

GRAYSON: OK. Thank you, too.


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