CNN "Piers Morgan Live" - Transcript: Continuing Resolution and the Tea Party


By:  James Lankford Debbie Wasserman Schultz Pete King
Date: Oct. 14, 2013
Location: Unknown


MORGAN: ... we'll talk again tomorrow. Thank you.

Joining me now is Republican Congressman Peter King of New York. Congressman King, it's been a very rocky couple of weeks. Can we genuinely look forward to a deal tomorrow do you think?

REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: I certainly hope so. I mean the House Republicans will have to see exactly what the Senators come up with and we'll have a conference tomorrow morning. I'm certainly hoping we can resolve this.

I think we should have resolved it a month ago. We should have kept the government open and then we could have had real negotiations on the debt ceiling which to me is where the real issue was. Instead we've confused, we say, "Wait, too many people in the House Republican Party led by Ted Cruz in the Senate have managed to confuse this situation and turn the public against us." So I hope we can resolve this as quickly as possible, get the government open and erase the debt ceiling and must go on.

MORGAN: I mean is the Washington Post, ABC News pull out today, quite extraordinary figures here. Republicans, 74 percent of Americans disapprove of the way they've handled negotiations to the federal budgets, the better 61 percent in Democrats, 53 percent President Obama.

I mean if you're a Republican, this is pretty catastrophic isn't it? How much blame do you lay at the feet of Senator Cruz?

KING: I lay almost all of it at his feet because he's the one who started this. Now having said that, there was about 35 or 40 House Republicans who went along with him. But I can tell you from the beginning, Speaker Boehner and Charlie, Emelia Canter (ph) have both said, "We should not take this route that it's going to be disastrous." And sure enough it has been that we allowed 35 or 40 people based with the threat to bring the House down.

And as a result to that we're in this position that Ted Cruz is the one behind it and I said from the start he was a fraud because this strategy never had a chance to work that he knew it wasn't going to work but he was able to intimidate and influence people to go along with him saying that if we -- if the House voted to defund ObamaCare and shut the government down that he would take care of it when it got to the Senate. He had no chance of ever doing that, he knew it, this was just a stunt by him. And as a result to that the country is on the verge of default and the government has shutdown.

MORGAN: I mean it counts to something isn't it when the Chinese state run news agency carries a commentary which said it's perhaps a good time for the befuddled world to stop considering building a de- americanized world. And they've done that almost entirely on the back of Senator Cruz's efforts. So there's this man reportedly to be great a patriot, who maybe leading America into a place that really don't want to be.

KING: He's also managed to make ObamaCare more popular. I mean the approval ratings for ObamaCare have gone up over the last 10 days when we should have found every reason to be critical of it because of the very poor start up that it has had.

Now, in Senator Cruz, but he's also, Piers, I mean around the countries, a lot of Republican leaders who are standing on the outside criticizing Congress of what they're doing. It's not Congress, OK? The Congress, you can't blame us. They should go after Ted Cruz because even if this is resolved now and we get a three or four month hiatus here or seize fire whatever you want to call it. The fact is he's going to be back again, threatening to do it once again. And he's going to rewrite history to say we were on the verge of winning. The American people are just about to go our way when certain Republicans crack.

So we have to go after him. I wouldn't hope that measure leaves throughout the party, make a point in saying, "We're not going to allow Ted Cruz to hijack this party and bring the country to the edge of ruin. It's just wrong."

MORGAN: The problem ...

KING: And again ...

MORGAN: Well the problem you have Congressman and I'll say that with the greatest respect as I would to Senator McCain who talked to me about this (inaudible), he shares your view of what has happened here. But I guess Senator Cruz to think you were, you know, you guys are the old guard of the party, I'm the future ...

KING: Yes.

MORGAN: ... I'm young, I'm trusting, I'm one year into a six year term. He may well be looking at 2016 as a chance to win the nomination.

KING: Well, he maybe looking at it, but again it doesn't matter how long you've been in Congress. The fact is if you come up with a strategy that's going to shutdown the government of the United States and you have no way of winning, either you're a fraud, or you're totally incompetent. So he can have his choice as to what he is.

And also I would say that, again John McCain has been right on this and so with many others and they are overwhelming majority of prominent Republicans. I mean as far as (inaudible) in this Wall Street Journal, Charles Trout, (ph), Tom Coburn and Jeff Flake in the Senate. These are 110 percent conservatives said this is wrong from the start. The party allowed itself to be hijacked by this guy. We have to stand up to him and say no. Once this battle is over we're ready for the next one because he's going to try it again.

MORGAN: He certainly is. Peter King, thank you very much indeed.

KING: Piers, thank you.

MORGAN: Strong words from Peter King there. We're close to a deal tonight. But what will it take to actually get us there? Well something -- there's a lot of it at Washington these days, compromises to come into play. Let's see if we can get some of that tonight.

Joining me now is Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Chair of the Democratic National Committee, the author of the "For the Next Generation, A wake up call solving our nation's problems," and James Lankford, Chair of the House Republican Policy Committee.

We welcome back to both of you. We've spoken a lot in the last couple of weeks.

Debbie, what's happening about the issue with Peter King? Was the sheer venom of one Republican on other Republican, what is going on with the GOP right now?

REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D), FLORIDA: Well, I mean I understand where Peter King is coming from in terms of that frustration but that's really passing the buck. I mean, the feet -- the blame really lays at the feet of the Republican Party. Each of them has a vote in their own right. They have the opportunity to do the right thing and not shut the government down and hold the economy hostage with the Affordable Care Act as ransom. And instead they went with the Tea Party and in fact that my counterpart at the RNC today, you'll actually urge the House Republicans to stay at the course and to hang in there.

I mean we're about to default and jeopardize the full state and credit of the United States and they are still -- their leaders are still fanning the flames.

MORGAN: Well, we had this extraordinary rally on Sunday, the million vet march on the memorials were Senator Cruz and Sarah Palin sent them. Well, I want to play a clip first of all from a man called Larry Klayman. He's a senior Tea Party activist from Freedom Watch, a conservative political advocacy group. Listen to what he said about the President of the United States.


LARRY KLAYMAN, FREEDOM WATCH FOUNDER: I call upon all of you to wage a second American non violent revolution to use civil disobedience, and to demand that this President leave town, to get out, to put the Koran down, to get up off his knees, and to figuratively come up with his hands out, up.


MORGAN: Let me ask you, actually he went on to say, "We want a country that's not ruled by a President who bows down to Allah and is not a President of we, the people."

I mean, James Lankford, when I hear people like this representing the Tea Party faction of the Republicans, I mean your heart just sings about the sheer stupidity of these people.

REP. JAMES LANKFORD, (R), OKLAHOMA: Yes, this is America where everyone can express their own opinion but it is uniquely their opinion. You're going to be a lot of people from the Tea Party, they're great folks all over the country, very concerned about debt. They're not going to have rhetoric of that sense. He can have whatever rhetoric he choose to have in a free country, and to be able to speak out on that. He's not necessarily voicing it for all Americans or for all people that represent even party value.

MORGAN: OK. Let's play a second clip here from Senator Ted Cruz at the same event.


SENATOR TED CRUZ, (R), TEXAS : This is the peoples' memorial. Let me ask you a simple question. Why is the Federal Government spending money to erect barricade to keep veterans out of this memorial? Why did that Federal Government spend money to erect barricades to keep people out of Mount Vernon?

Why did the Federal Government spend money to erect barricade to keep people out of Mount Rushmore? Look. Our veterans should be above politics. Enough games.


MORGAN: So, it's like but am I the most naive person in America or wasn't it the same Senator Cruz that caused the shutdown that led to all this?

LANKFORD: Well, he was definitely a part of it in all that that the challenge of it is not just that there's a shutdown is that something unique did happen. That for instance the Lincoln Memorial has never been closed, 18 different government shutdowns that have occurred, there's never been barricades erected around them. It's an open air memorial.

You know, so it is a little odd. Suddenly, there is this shutdown and there's barricades and there's people there. There are more guards actually keeping people out then there are typically when it's open is there. That is a little odd I have to tell you and begs the question of why is the Federal Government spending so much money to fight to keep an open up memorial closed that has not been closed before in previous shutdowns that under in a regular administration ordering the clinic.

MORGAN: OK. Senator Lankford, thank you very much. You'll stay with me, Debbie. What was your reaction first of all to what he just said?

SCHULTZ: Well, it's just unbelievable that what they're outraged about is not that 800,000 federal employees are furloughed. I had a woman--I was watching my daughter's soccer game on Saturday when we had a chance to go home after votes. A woman who works for Social Security, a fellow soccer mom came over to me and said it was her 10th day, you know on furlough. She and her husband and their child, you know, paycheck to paycheck, her husband is a salesman.

They live on commission plus her salary and she didn't know how they were going to pay their mortgage if this went on much longer. I mean the question that should be asked is why did we have to shut the government down in order to make sure that we could find a way to work together on other issues?

MORGAN: Well, the sheer nonsensical situation that the guy who caused it standing by the barricades if thing go on.

SCHULTZ: Come on.

MORGAN: I mean ridiculous...

SCHULTZ: You know what analogy I heard today that was perfect was that based on what Ted Cruz said. What he's arguing is like say that complaining that the supermarket is shutdown but we can't get to the bread aisle.

MORGAN: It's just...

SCHULTZ: I mean it's ridiculous...

MORGAN: It said on your book, "For The Next Generation," that was sure extremely glamorous photograph on the cover there but you'll probably going to solve all our nation's problems. Very quickly, tell me about the book and what do you think we can learn from this in relation to what's going on right now?

SCHULTZ: Well, I wrote it really as one mom who happens to serve in Congress. In order to sound an alarm belt because we're right in the midst of--the main reason I wrote the book because we have so many dire pressing issues that have been--it's like we blocked out the sun when there's government shutdown and we almost reached the thoughts.

We have to work together. It doesn't have to be this way. The Tea Party has taken us to the absolute extreme edge of the political process and we need to come back together. We need more parents to get engaged...

MORGAN: Women, do you think?

SCHULTZ: And we need more women...

MORGAN: And women better negotiating with other women would more get done in Washington. It wasn't for all these testosterone alpha males marching around?

SCHULTZ: You know, I think we need more women because in my experience in the women in Congress on both sides of the aisle talk about this all the time, how if they just put us in a room together more often, we could solve a lot of these problems. Women are more focused on consensus building, not every woman but, you know, the times that I've worked with women, women are not as focused on obliterating the other side. They want to find a way to get to yes.

MORGAN: Debbie it's a terrific book, "For The Next Generation."

SCHULTZ: Thank you.

MORGAN: Good luck, Ms. Schultz. With Julie (ph) and Fenster (ph), a wake up call to solve and organize your problems much needed right now, a solution to these problems. Good luck with that.


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