June 7th, 2015
03:31 PM ET

Sen Ernst on CNN's State of the Union: "...we just need someone [GOP presidential candidates] that will understand these issues. Jobs and economy."

Today on CNN’s State of the Union, Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), joined chief Congressional correspondent, Dana Bash to discuss the success of her new annual political event “Joni Ernst Roast and Ride”, her advice to the GOP presidential candidates about how to win Iowa, and how being a woman will not be enough for Hillary Clinton to win the Presidential election.

 

Text highlights and a transcript of the discussion are below

MANDATORY CREDIT: CNN’s “State of the Union”

TEXT HIGHLIGHTS

Ernst’s advice to the GOP presidential candidates:  “I would say that they need to show that they are a leader. They need to show with that leadership that there is a direction that our country needs to go in. Whether that is as a world leader or whether it’s a leader here in the United States with our economy, our education system. Whatever it is, they just need to show that they’re willing to take on that mantle and just go forward. Take our country forward.”

Ernst on Hillary’s comments “it’s not enough to be a woman” and winning in Iowa: “I would say Hillary, it’s not enough to be a woman. You have to care about women’s issues. And women’s issues here in Iowa are that we have a strong economy. We have jobs that our sons and daughters can go off to someday. We have a great educational system. And women want strong national defense. … I do believe that you have to be a leader with a vision, and you have to show Iowans that you want it … And not just a woman.”

FULL TRANSCRIPT

THIS IS A RUSH FDCH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So, how do you think this Roast and Ride has gone?

SEN. JONI ERNST (R-IA): It’s phenomenal. I mean, look at the crowd. We had over 300 bikes that rode up on our motorcycle ride, honoring patriots and veterans. We have a phenomenal group of activists and just everyday Iowans that want to hear from their presidential candidates.

BASH: It is a pretty big crowd. Look, you won a very tough Republican primary here in Iowa. You know what it’s like to try to appeal to the Republican electorate in Iowa. What would your advice be to the – what – 15 -

ERNST: Right!

BASH: - potential candidates who are running for president now?

ERNST: I would say that they need to show that they are a leader. They need to show with that leadership that there is a direction that our country needs to go in. Whether that is as a world leader or whether it’s a leader here in the United States with our economy, our education system. Whatever it is, they just need to show that they’re willing to take on that mantle and just go forward. Take our country forward.

BASH: And should be economic issues? Should it be social issues? I know that it’s kind of – that the Republican electorate is quite diverse. But you may have to pick one rather than the other?

ERNST: Very diverse. But I tell you, most of what I hear from Iowans is that jobs and economy is extremely important. Of course, we have a wonderful agricultural economy, manufacturing base here in Iowa. So we’ve done very well. We have good leadership though in this state that allows those businesses to thrive.

But we just need someone that will understand these issues. Jobs and economy. Second, they need to understand what’s going on around the world and that we need to be a safe nation. So they need to be strong on national defense.

BASH: This state now has two Republican senators, a Republican governor. But it has actually gone for the Democrat in the presidential elections. Barack Obama twice, and many times before that.

So do you think that it is really possible to win Iowa? Never mind the caucuses, but when you’re talking about the actual race for the White House?

ERNST: I do think it’s possible. My election shows that. And when you have troubled times, people look for a strong leader that will move the nation in the right direction. That’s what we’re seeing. That’s what we’re saying.

So we’re in troubled times right now around the world. We need a leader that will keep us safe and move America forward.

BASH: One last question. I was here with Hillary Clinton when she was campaigning for your opponent, Bruce Bralee, in the Senate race. She was very clear and she said, it’s not enough to be a woman.

ERNST: I would say Hillary, it’s not enough to be a woman. You have to care about women’s issues. And women’s issues here in Iowa are that we have a strong economy. We have jobs that our sons and daughters can go off to someday. We have a great educational system. And women want strong national defense. We want to know that our families are going -

BASH: So you’re throwing – you’re throwing her words against you back at her now, aren’t you?

ERNST: I am. I am. Because I do believe that you have to be a leader with a vision, and you have to show Iowans that you want it.

BASH: And not just a woman.

ERNST: And not just a woman.

BASH: Thank you.

ERNST: Thank you so much.

BASH: Congratulations on this event.

ERNST: Thank you.

END INTERVIEW


Topics: CNN • Dana Bash • State of the Union
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