OLD GUARD REPUBLICAN FORMER REP. STEVE LATOURETTE RESORTS TO CHILDISH NAME CALLING
This is the transcript from the Chris Wallace show to day on Fox News.
WALLACE: The Conservative Political Action Conference held its annual meeting this eke and if you can believe it, a presidential straw poll for 2016.
Here are the results -- Tea Party favorite, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, won with 25 percent. Senator Marco Rubio was a close second at 23 percent. And former presidential candidate Rick Santorum, a distant third, at 8 percent.
The CPAC meeting highlighted the disagreement over the best way for the party to broaden its base.
Matt Kibbe is president of FreedomWorks, a leader of the Tea Party movement.
Former Congressman Steve LaTourette is head of the Republican Main Street Partnership.
And, gentlemen, welcome to "Fox News Sunday."
MATT KIBBE, FREEDOMWORKS: Thanks for having me.
WALLACE: Congressman LaTourette, during the lame duck session in December, you talked about the 40 to 50 chuckleheads -- your phrase -- in the House, who are blocking senator -- rather, Speaker Boehner, from making a budget deal with the president.
What is it about the Tea Party freshmen that make them chuckleheads?
FORMER REP. STEVE LATOURETTE: I don't think I would say it's all of Tea Party freshmen. I'd say it's 40 or 50 in 112th Congress that seemed more interested in voting no and going home than governing and that comment was made after "Plan B." And you have to recognize, Chris --
WALLACE: And "Plan B" was to just raise taxes on people making over a million dollars.
LATOURETTE: Yes. And it was the opening gambit and would have given the speaker the opportunity to go to the White House and over to the Senate and say, "Here, I have a package, and, let's continue our negotiations."
When you take it down, as the speaker said in our meeting after that, you send him to the White House naked. He's got no armor. He's got no tools.
WALLACE: Well, looking forward, Mr. Kibbe, what is it about the Tea Party and its views on spending and taxes that members of the Republican establishment, like Congressman LaTourette, don't get?
KIBBE: Well, you have to take a step back and understand the only reason we are talking about a balanced budget, the only reason that we're having a serious debate about $16-plus trillion in debt, is because of the Tea Party class in 2010 and, the folks we had in 2012. You have to stop this process, this bipartisan process, of just kicking the can down the road, creating these artificial crises on New Year's Eve and say, let's put ideas on the table, let's stop playing this game.
And that's what we have done.
And we're never going to fix the problem just by pretending that the process of bipartisanship somehow gets to real problems, because that's how we got here. This crisis was created by both Republicans and Democrats not willing to make tough choices.
LATOURETTE: I'll tell you, that flies in the face of what we did in the 1990s, Bill Clinton was the president, John Kasich was the budget chair, and, Newt Gingrich was the speaker, and we created the Balanced Budget Act in 1997.
And quite frankly, it was during the Bush years of spending, multiplied now by the Obama years that we have this mess.
And at the end of the day, my difficulty with the Tea Party freshmen is not the true passion that they bring to this. They are an important part of the Republican Party. My difficulty is at the end of the day, you have to govern. Just saying no doesn't get you anything, and it creates these false crises.
And you can get past the false crises if you work something out. And it doesn't mean surrendering principle. It doesn't mean becoming a Democrat or a RINO or a DINO. It means working together in a way you get 60 percent of what you want. KIBBE: Well, you've got to go back, because I don't think the Tea Party has created the budget crisis. We came in with our members, and tried to do something about it. I remember a day when April 15th is when the House and Senate had to pass the budget resolution.
I remember when they had to reconcile the 13 appropriations bills, I remember a day when the president actually had to introduce his budget, and today we don't do any of that stuff. And that's how we got to the $16 trillion.
And there is something rational about standing on the tracks and saying, you know, we can't do it this way anymore, we have to do it some other way.
LATOURETTE: Listen, if that was -- if that was the way these guys were operating, I'd be all for that.
But for instance, we couldn't get even -- I was an appropriator. We couldn't get our labor, health and human services bill, the biggest of the bills besides defense out, because three of our members would not support the chairman's mark. Now, that's not trying to solve the problem.
KIBBE: We'll get too weeds in here.
LATOURETTE: Sorry. But I'm telling you, you can't get it done. And, just voting no and then holding your nose and saying, boy, if it passes, then I can go home to my local Tea Party groups and say, "I voted no," that's ridiculous. That's what makes them chuckleheads.
WALLACE: Let me switch to another subject.
Mr. Kibbe, one of the recent splits in the party -- and we saw it in the last week, has been over national security. You backed Rand Paul's filibuster of the president's drone policy in the Senate. You also backed the sequester of across the board cuts even in the Pentagon.
But isn't one of the GOP's strengths with the American people that it's tough on national security?
KIBBE: Well, you can be fiscally responsible and tough on national security. I think it would be --
WALLACE: Well, the drone has nothing to do with fiscal issues. That's a --
KIBBE: Certainly. So there's two issues. One is about basic civil liberties and I think the new GOP reflected by Rand Paul's willingness to challenge the status quo in both the Republican and Democratic Parties, that's a healthy thing.
And, young people in particular, they are looking for leadership that's willing to challenge the idea that the government is always right. I think that's where we are, as well.
But on defense, and on, frankly, any budget, any program, any department of the federal government, let's all acknowledge that there is waste and things that need to be eliminated. And, a trimming of defense would be a very healthy thing.
And you have to put everything on the table. You can't say that this sacred cow cannot be touched. I think the GOP has made that mistake.
WALLACE: Congressman LaTourette, Rand Paul in his speech at CPAC talked about defense hawks like John McCain and Lindsey Graham, as stale and moss-covered. There is a war-weariness in the country. Should the Republican Party, and it's trying to grow the party and appeal to new voters, should it be pulling back on national defense?
LATOURETTE: Well, you know, I grew up in the era of the $800 hammer and $600 toilet seat. So, yes, there are efficiencies there.
But if you're looking to the Constitution for something that government is supposed to be involved in, it is defending the country.
And the sequestration was the most ham-handed way of dealing with things and we only got there because of the dysfunctions that exist, because the Democrats won't give an inch, and, you know, it's incumbent upon us to find the sweet spot. Boehner tried to do it with the president and the president isn't willing. But, we've got to find that sweet spot that includes the Pentagon.
WALLACE: But you said dysfunction and you kind of motioned in Mr. Kibbe's direction. Do you think the Tea Party is adding to the dysfunction in Washington?
LATOURETTE: No, not at all. I think the Tea Party is an important part of the coalition that is the Republican Party. But my difficulty with not necessarily Mr. Kibbe's group but others like his, is that there is some -- now some kind of litmus test what makes a good Republican or a bad Republican.
And the reason that we don't have a Republican president, today, in my opinion, is that we don't represent the whole country. We don't have one member of congress who is a Republican from the entire eastern sea coast. You get down to the Carolinas and Virginia. You can't govern the country unless you look like the country.
And so, I think they are an important part of the coalition but they are not the Republican Party. They are part of the Republican Party.
WALLACE: How do you respond to that? In a sense you may have energized the party, but you've also narrowed it?
KIBBE: Oh, I don't think so. If you look at CPAC, you look at the rock stars of the GOP, the next generation, the people we are excited about, these are Tea Party freshmen -- Rand Paul, Ron Johnson from a very purple, maybe blue state.
WALLACE: Ron Johnson?
KIBBE: Pat Toomey from Pennsylvania and, of course, Marco Rubio. We have brought diversity, we have brought energy and, most important, I think we brought ideas because we are color blind about all of this stuff.
But if you want to come to the Senate, come to the Congress and offer a plan to balance the budget, we're going to support you. Put your ideas on the table. That's what's lacking in the whole debate.
LATOURETTE: Well, I've got to say, that sadly what they've also got is Harry Reid as the majority leader continuing in the Senate. If you look at the Nevada race, Sharron Angle, if you look at Richard Mourdock in Indiana, if you look at -- I forget her name, the witch in Delaware.
WALLACE: Christine O'Donnell.
LATOURETTE: Thank you.
You -- we can have functional today, but for this litmus test that exists today --
WALLACE: There were a lot of establishment candidates, Republican candidates, who went down in this last election, too.
LATOURETTE: But they went down from the standpoint that they lost to Democrats. Unlike some of these -- Mr. Mourdock, for instance. I mean, we are supposed to wonder --
WALLACE: Richard Murdoch in Indiana.
LATOURETTE: Indiana. Why we don't have the women's vote in this country when we have a candidate suggesting that a child born as a result of rape is a gift from God? I'm not wondering why we don't have more women voting for Republicans.
WALLACE: But let me ask you about that and that's the last thing we're going to get into here, Karl Rove -- and he's going to be on the panel -- started something called the Conservative Victory Project to try to get into the primaries, to make sure that there are more electable Republicans, people that can win the primaries and that go on and win the general election.
Congressman LaTourette, you're about to start your own super PAC to promote electable candidates in Republican primaries.
WALLACE: Do you have any problem with that because I -- well, what do you -- first of all, why do you think that's wrong?
KIBBE: Well, I think the definition of electable is what we're debating and you look at who has been winning elections, it's been interesting, exciting, young, energetic people like Ted Cruz, like Marco Rubio. And I think if you apply this sort of establishment litmus test which tends to be biased for people that are already in office, you're not going to get that new energy. Would we have gotten Pat Toomey?
Remember, Karl Rove supported Arlen Specter as far back as 2004, against Pat Toomey, because the logic was Pat Toomey can't possibly win. Arlen Specter later flips party when it was convenient for him and became the 60th vote for Obamacare. So, I think we need to be careful about what it means to be electable.
Certainly, the Tea Party doesn't bat a thousand, but at least we're winning elections. We're bringing new people into the party. And we're not in a position where the Democrats can jam something through 60 votes in the Senate because of the Tea Party.
LATOURETTE: So, I've got to tell you, there is no litmus test at the Republican mainstream. I'm happy to have anybody who labels him or herself as a Republican and wants to represent the entire country.
We're not talking about electing the governor of South Carolina, or the governor of Texas, the governor of Utah. If we want to be a national party, we have to look like America. Today, we look like a bunch of we were a bunch of guys, white guys, from below the Mason- Dixon line.
WALLACE: So, how do you look more like America?
LATOURETTE: You have to begin to talk about issues in the way that I have to talk about issues.
For instance, I never read anything in my Republican playbook and I have been a Republican since the day I was born, that says that Republicans and trade unionists can't get along together, the carpenter, the operating engineer. But, somehow, this whole war on prevailing wages is now become a plank of the Republican Party? No, it's not.
And the same thing with the environment. I live on Lake Erie, we don't have to be opposed to everything that helps us get clean air and clean water. That's not a Republican test.
But if you look at the key votes that some of these groups are scoring, and 18 votes was scored by Mr. Kibbe's group out of a thousand that took place, last year. It's not -- you can make -- it's like a poll, you can make it look any way you want to.
WALLACE: All right. You get the last word.
KIBBE: I think if you look at the new Republican Party, the party that stands for something, you look at names like Tim Scott, and Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio and Raul Labrador and Justin Amash. Mia Love almost got through.
This is the new future and it's based on ideas. We don't care about the color of your skin.
WALLACE: We're going to have to leave it there. But, to be continued.
Mr. Kibbe, Congressman LaTourette, thank you both for coming in.
We'll stay on top of this debate. And, in addition, up next, we'll continue this conversation with our Sunday group. What does the GOP need to do to attract more voters?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, R-ARIZ.: If Mr. Paul wants to be taken seriously, he needs to do more than pull political stunts that fire up impressionable libertarian kids in their college dorms.
SEN. RAND PAUL, R-KY.: The GOP of old has grown stale and moss-covered.