January 25th, 2015
02:25 PM ET

Santorum: "record levels of legal immigration" hurting jobs & wages

Today on CNN’s State of the Union, former senator and presidential candidate, Rick Santorum (R-PA), joined CNN host Michael Smerconish (Smerconish airs Saturday’s at 9:00am EST on CNN/U.S.). Santorum shared his views of the GOP’s prospects in 2016 and his candidacy. Among the issues that former Senator Santorum seeks to change in America is immigration, which is "the reason you're seeing wages stagnating is because we have record levels of legal immigration." Santorum also admitted that he thinks President Obama’s climate change bill “won't make a difference”.


Santorum on immigration and its effect on the workforce: “We're bringing people in who will compete against a lot of American workers. In fact, since 2000, the number of American - of native-born Americans working in the workplace has gone down. There are fewer Americans working today who were born in America than there were 15 years ago.”

Santorum on climate change: “Is the climate warming? Clearly over the past, you know, 15 or 20 years the question is yes. The question is, is man having a significant impact on that, number one. And number two, and this is even more important than the first, is there anything we can do about it? And the answer is, is there anything the United States can do about it? Clearly, no. Even folks who accept all of the science by the alarmists on the other side, recognize that everything that's being considered by the United States will have almost - well, not almost, will have zero impact on it given what's going on in the rest of the world. “

Full transcript available below.

January 25th, 2015
12:04 PM ET

WH Chief of Staff on Iran negotiations: "Congress should let us finish this job"

Today on CNN’s State of the Union, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough (Obama Administration) joined CNN host Michael Smerconish (Smerconish airs Saturday’s at 9:00amET on CNN/U.S.) to discuss the recent reported beheading of a Japanese hostage by ISIS, the power shifts in the Middle East and their effects on United States policy, as well as the nuclear negotiations with Iran and the upcoming Israeli elections and the Congressional invitation to Prime Minister Netanyahu.


On Israel and Benjamin Netanyahu: “This is the most important relationship we have in the world.  This is something that ought to be and will continue to be, as far as we're concerned, above partisan politics.  This is a relationship, given its importance, that stretches across many different things, from values straight through intelligence cooperation to defense and security assistance.  That's the kinds of things that we will be focused on in this regard.  That's why we think also we ought not get involved in their politics.  That's why the president thinks it doesn't make any sense for us to meet with the prime minister two weeks before his election.”

On Iran: .”We have isolated the Iranians over the course of six years.  We now have robust international multilateral sanctions in place and we have very aggressive bilateral sanctions in place.  That's leading to Iran being isolated, its economy being in tatters, its ability to export and sell oil at near - near record lows.  So, we're going to continue to do that.  We can maintain that international unity by pressing through these last several months of negotiations.  Congress should just give us the time to let those negotiations play out.  It doesn't make any sense for them to prematurely act on legislation that the president will veto if it's going to risk maintaining this international unity.  So, Congress should let us finish this job. “

On recent ISIS hostage situations: “We don't either negotiate or make exchanges or pay ransoms.  We think that results in just more cash floating around with these very hateful characters who will just have more ability to ply their trade.”

Full transcript after the jump. FULL POST

January 18th, 2015
03:24 PM ET

Rep. Chaffetz Obama tax plan is a "non-starter"

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and president of the Senate Conservatives Fund Ken Cuccinelli joined CNN's Jim Sciutto on State of the Union today to discuss President Obama's tax proposal and Mitt Romney's presidential bid in 2016. In the interview, Rep. Chaffetz says Obama tax plan is a "non-starter. We're not just one good tax increase away from prosperity in this nation." While Chaffetz thinks Romney is "seriously considering" a presidential bid, Cuccinelli still thinks that Romney "wasn't an inspirational character" last election.  Full transcript of the interview is available after the jump.


January 18th, 2015
03:03 PM ET

Sen. Murphy: Send military assistance to Ukraine

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) tells Jim Sciutto "the United States needs to start sending more significant military assistance to the Ukraine." Full transcript of the discussion is available after the jump.


January 11th, 2015
12:48 PM ET

Holder: "We have to monitor each other's citizens"

Today on CNN’s State of the Union, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder joined Gloria Borger from Paris and shared his views regarding the current situation in Paris. Holder described the nature of future terror threats and the means of combating them. Text highlights and a transcript of the discussion are below.


Holder on combatting the terror threat: “We focus mostly on the Americans who have gone to Syria.  About 150 or so have gone to Syria or have attempted to do that, Syria and Iraq.  We think there are about 12 that are there now who are actually engaged in the fight.  But we work with our allies.  We share information.  And it's one of the things, I think, that we frankly have to do better.  We have to monitor each other's citizens, because the reality is that any one nation can be hurt by the citizens of another nation.”

Holder on the terror organization behind the Paris attacks: “We don't have any credible information, at least as yet, to indicate who was responsible, who sponsored this act. That is clearly one of the things that we have to make a determination of.  I will say this, that AQAP remains the most dangerous of the al Qaeda cells, the al Qaeda organizations, and we are constantly focused on them.”

Holder on General Petraeus: “Well, I don't want to comment on - I don't want to comment on what is an ongoing - an ongoing matter.  I will say that, frequently, those things that are leaked to the media are done so by people who are not in a position to know, and are frequently inaccurate. “

Full transcript available after the jump.

January 11th, 2015
12:03 PM ET

Senator McCain: "ISIS right now is winning"

Today on CNN’s State of the Union, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) told Gloria Borger the Obama administration has no strategy to defeat ISIS in Syria and Iraq. In addition, Senator McCain discussed the nature of the terrorist attacks in Paris and the possibility of indicting General George Petraeus. Text highlights and a transcript of the discussion are below.


McCain on General Petraeus: “He deserves better treatment than have a leak to "The New York Times" about a recommendation, which is a violation of his rights and any citizen's rights.”

McCain on the nature of the attack in Paris: “The nature of that attack showed a degree of professionalism that no lone wolf could have carried out. And right now, in training camps throughout particularly Syria, where we are leaving Bashar al-Assad alone with some incredible hope that the Iranians will work with us, which is bizarre, but right now in Syria, they are training people to go back to the country they came from, and commit acts of terror. That was the view of the head of British intelligence, not just mine.”

McCain on the Obama Administration’s foreign policy failure: “When we didn't leave a residual, a sustaining force behind in Iraq, and when the president turned down the advice of his head national security advisers not to arm the Free Syrian Army, and a number of other decisions, that laid the groundwork for ISIS. And now we have a situation where the largest extremist caliphate in history is now in Iraq and Syria, and we have no strategy. We have no strategy to degrade or defeat it.”

January 4th, 2015
07:32 PM ET

Sen. McConnell: "I'm not opposed to negotiating with the Administration"

Today CNN’s State of the Union ​featured Dana Bash's exclusive interview with U.S.Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY). As McConnell assumes his new role as Senate Majority Leader, he tells Dana Bash that he is not opposed to negotiating with the president but still intends to pursue the Republican agenda in 2015.


On bipartisan cooperation: "when the American people elect a divided government, they're not saying they don't want anything done. What they are saying is,they want things done in the political center, things that both sides can agree on. We talk about the things where there may be some agreement."

On trusting Obama as a negotiator: "You know, the only agreements that have been made during these years on a bipartisan basis, I negotiated, the December 2010 two-year extension of the Bush tax cuts, the August 2011 Budget Control Act, and the December 31, 2012, fiscal cliff deal. So I'm not opposed to negotiating with the Administration. In those particular instances, the President sort of picked the Vice President to do it. So, I don't object to negotiating with him. I have done it in the past. "

On Obamacare and the Republican agenda: "If we can put either repeal or take out pieces of it, like destroying the 40-hour workweek, the medical device tax, the individual mandate. All of these are highly unpopular with the American people. And we will be voting on things I know he's not going to like. And I hope we can put them on his desk."

Full transcript after the jump.

January 4th, 2015
11:09 AM ET

Sen. Menendez: "very difficult to get an ambassador confirmed" for Cuba

Today on CNN’s State of the Union, ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Robert Menendez, joined Dana Bash to discuss US negotiations with Cuba and additional sanctions on North Korea.


On establishing formal diplomatic relations with Cuba: "We already have an operating interests section, which the administration could easily convert to an embassy. An ambassador, I would think it would be very difficult to get an ambassador confirmed."

​On the Obama Administration's 'secret diplomacy': "And this is a problem not only as it relates to Cuba, but Iran, this secret diplomacy in which witnesses come before the committee and you ask them questions about what's happening, whether it be about Iran or Cuba, and you don't get a straight answer. And now you find out that there was in one case a year-and-a-half, in another case over a year of engagement. That's going to be problematic for the administration as it appears before the committee again and again."

​On North Korea's sponsorship of state terror: "I really do believe that we need to look at putting North Korea back on the list of state sponsors of terrorism, which would have far more pervasive consequences.  You know, the one thing I disagree with - with the president on is when he characterized the action here against Sony by North Korea as an act of vandalism."

On the Obama Administration's deal with Cuba: "So we subverted, in my view, the standards that are important for us to uphold globally in a way that we could have - if you're going to make a deal with the regime, then get something for it. But at the end of the day, they got absolutely nothing for giving up everything that the Castro regime wants to see and has lobbied for."

 Full transcript.


December 28th, 2014
06:41 PM ET

Senator Graham "I can't imagine anything this massive happening in North Korea without China being involved"

In an interview scheduled to air on CNN's State of the Union, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) spoke to Dana Bash about the North Korean hacking crisis, the closing of Guantanamo Bay, the nuclear negotiations with Iran, and the Republican playing field in 2016.


On North Korea's hacking: “You can't talk about North Korea without talking about China. You need to have a heart to heart with the Chinese. I can't imagine anything this massive happening in North Korea without China being involved...”

On closing Guantanamo Bay: “I don't think there's any appetite in Congress to close Guantanamo Bay. I think the American people want to keep it open. And after the rise of ISIS and ISIL throughout the Mideast, most people in the world are more worried about terrorists leaving Guantanamo Bay than they are of the prison being opened."

On reaching an Iranian nuclear deal: “The Sunni Arabs and the Israelis are of one accord. Both of them fear dramatically the effects of a bad deal. I would like to end the nuclear ambitions of the Iranians peacefully, but the deal needs to be looked at and approved by Congress. They have been trying to develop a nuclear weapon, not a peaceful nuclear power program. And of all of the things that could throw the world into more chaos than exists today, it would be a bad deal regarding the Iranian nuclear ambitions.”
Full transcript after the jump. FULL POST

December 21st, 2014
03:48 PM ET

Sen. John McCain responds to President Obama on N. Korea, Russia & Cuba with CNN's Candy Crowley

Senator John McCain (R-AZ) joined CNN’s Candy Crowley to respond to her interview with President Obama, specifically on the topics of North Korea’s cyber-attack on Sony Pictures, Cuba, Guantanamo Bay, and Vladimir Putin.

 The interview aired Sunday, December 21st, on CNN at 9AM and 12PM EST

 Text highlights and a transcript of the discussion are below

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


McCain on President Obama calling cyber-attack “cyber vandalism”: I think, again, the president is - does not understand that this is a new - this is a manifestation of a new form of warfare. When you destroy economies, when you are able to impose censorship on the world and especially the United States of America it's more than vandalism. It's a new form of warfare that we're involved in and we need to react and react vigorously, including reimposing sanctions that were lifted under the Bush administration, including other actions and that will squeeze them more economically and - but most of all, we have to really work together with the president and the Congress to come up with counters and abilities to respond, but more importantly to prevent.”

McCain on President Obama’s comments regarding Vladimir Putin: “I think that it's bizarre to think that any action on the part of the President of the United States has proved any deterrence to Vladimir Putin. We won't even give defensive weapons to the Ukrainians. We - President Obama - and we should be thanking the Saudis, who have allowed the value of a barrel of oil to go to the point where it's affecting dramatically Vladimir Putin's economy. It has nothing to do with any action taken by the President of the United States.”

 McCain on normalizing relations with Cuba: Well, because we would be rewarding the failure that they haven't done anything. If they had shown some progress, I think maybe that it would be what we are doing is endorsing their 50 years of oppression and repression in Cuba.”

 McCain on Guantanamo Bay: I always wanted to close Guantanamo, but I wanted to transfer those prisoners to maximum security prisons, prisons in the United States of America that the president has never had a plan for that. And he didn't mention to you that some 27 percent or 30 percent of these people we have released have reentered the fight. It's outrageous to release people that are going to reenter the fight and try to kill Americans and attack America. And that's the problem with his idea of doing, quote, "everything" he can.”


Full Transcript available after the jump.


« older posts