tv New Day Sunday CNN February 14, 2016 5:00am-5:31am PST
welcome to "inside politics." i'm john king. we deal with sad and stunning breaking news. the death of the supreme court's conservative intellectual powerhouse, associate justice antonin scalia. immediately set off a monumental election year battle. two giant questions will shape that fight. who wins the war of wills now between president obama and senate republicans? they say the next president should fill this vacancy. the current president says the country cannot afford to wait a year. >> i plan to fulfill my constitutional responsibilities to nominate a successor in due time. there will be plenty of time for me to do so and for the senate to fulfill its responsibility to give that person a fair hearing and a timely vote. >> the big question, how does the vacancy change a volatile presidential campaign in which what was a hypothetical debate about court picks is now a reality and a flash point.
>> the next president needs to appoint someone with a proven conservative record similar to justice scalia. >> we are one justice away from a supreme court that will strike down every restriction on abortion adopted by the states. >> plus, a feisty and at times ugly republican presidential debate headed into a huge week in presidential politics. >> the weakest person on this stage by far on illegal immigration is jeb bush. they come out of an act of love. >> if you want to talk about weakness, you want to talk about weakness, it's weak to disparage women. >> no, it's not. >> it's weak to disparage hispanics. >> i don't disparage. >> it's weak to denigrate the disabled. >> feisty night. with that in a moment. with us to share their reporting and insights, julie pace, manu raju and jackie kucinich. let's start with the death of antonin scalia and a big
political fight that happened within seconds. almost sad that that happened so quickly. this is not just about an election year war of wills. this is about the ideological balance of the supreme court. so many recent decisions have been 5-4, and the conservative majority has won. a democratic president now has a chance to make his third pick and to reshape the court for years. we would have -- it would be the obama court with this. so inside the white house, you spend a lot of time covering the president, they think they're going to move forward, but do they think they can win? do they think they can get the country to force a vote? >> they're going to try. this is going to be the fight of obama's final year in office. i think the other issues have gotten put by the wayside. this came as a surprise. often when you have justices retiring, you get a little advanced notice at the white house. this is as much of a surprise to them as anybody. and i think they see this as a real affront to the president's authority. they've seen republicans try to paint him as essentially an illegitimate president
previously, and i think you'll see obama go to the mat on this. it will be challenging for him to pick a nominee who can even stand a chance of getting a vote in the senate. he'd probably have to pick someone who is a little more moderate. there are some options out there right now. but i do not think you'll see the white house back away from this at all. >> three >> justice scalia calls himself an originalist. his job is to go back to the founding fathers. i want you to listen before we talk about the consequential cases. this is the justice talking a couple years ago to piers morgan about how he thinks he helped shape the other justices. >> i sleep very well at night knowing that i'm doing what i'm supposed to do, which is to apply the constitution. i do not always like the result. very often i think the result is terrible. but that's not my job.
>> he's a hero to conservatives because he says read the federalist papers. read the constitution. if it's not there it's not there. so he says there's no roe v. wade or same-sex marriage. you have affirmative action cases. senator cruz said maybe state restrictions on abortion could come back in. there are voting rights cases. in terms of the next 25 years of american and legal history, if president obama gets his pick, it's huge. >> it's huge and a lot of liberals and conservatives have argued that scalia is the most influential jurist in the last 30 years. and that's why this pick is so much different than any of the bush era, any of the obama era, even of the clinton era because you have a conservative and arguably the most conservative member of the court who is going to be replaced by a liberal or a m moderate, right? we haven't had that in a very long time. obama previous picks were replacing liberals. bush was replacing conservatives with skeconservatives.
it's not an exaggeration that the ideological balance of the court is at stake here, and that's what makes this so unique. i think the first shot by the republicans was let's try and pressure president obama not to even nominate anyone. that lasted about an hour. article 2 says the presidential nominate -- president obama has a quarter of his second term left. he's obviously within his rights to nominate someone. now, the senate will have to accept or reject or not -- or perhaps not vote at all. >> that's the fascinating point. if this came after the conventions in the summertime, you could flatly understand the republican argument, we're too close. we can't get it done. we can't do the hearings or the background check. we don't have time. leave it to the next president. but 11 months. and to your point, can the president travel the country holding up a constitution and say i thought you guys were the constitutional conservatives. this is my power. and we elect presidents for four-year terms. i've got almost an entire year left. you can't shut down me. i was elected by the american people. and you can't shut down the court or essentially guarantee a
punch bunch of 4-4 decisions on tough issues. >> particularly with a group of republicans that talk a lot about the constitution. that someone like ted cruz who claims to be a constitutionalist. now, ted cruz, i think, will be under the most scrutiny, arguably, during this process because he's someone no matter what he says, we have a piece up on the daily beast about how effusive he was about -- scrutiny for ted cruz under what kind of jurist he would pick if he was president is going to be very, very high. >> getting back to your point, it will be a long time before a supreme court nominee will be replaced if republicans do not allow a vote this year. it usually takes a few months to go through the legislative process. if they waited till the next president, we're looking into maybe may, june of next year, and that will be a long time for 4-4 cases and a supreme court and republicans could get a lot of heat for it. the one thing i think that may cause them to break is if a lot
of these blue-state republicans, particularly in tough re-election races in the senate in ohio, in new hampshire, pennsylvania, illinois, those members start to break and start to pressure mcconnell to hold a vote on the senate floor and chuck grassley to hold a vote in the judiciary committee, that could change the balance. >> and i think that balance will change only if president obama can change public opinion, can get out in the states and campaign and change the environment. because otherwise we have gridlock. i was going to say armageddon in washington, but that would imply action. if the republicans won't give the president his pick, then you can bet the democrats are not going to give republicans anything. they'll just tie up the senate and essentially say might as well go campaign. the question going forward is do the democrats get involved in this? do hillary clinton and bernie sanders say allow the vote, but how does the president -- i'm fascinated by the point he's got 11 months left. how does he change this? >> i think he is going to have to apply some pressure on people like kelly ayotte, rob kirk, rob portman, looking at re-election.
i think it's going to be really important that he picks a candidate who republicans would have a hard time turning down. one option would be to pick by the same exact senate, pick an historic candidate. if he went with him, who would be the first indian american, if he went with another woman, if he went with an african-american woman or man, then that just ramps up the pressure on republicans to block not only this president but an historic candidate. >> that's what changes the debate right away. right now there's no face out there. there's no person, right? it's all theoretical. once the white house actually has a name with a record and perhaps someone who's voted on in the is that the -- >> does that person say sure, mr. president, do it or does that person understand the meat grinder they would go into? >> i think they have to. i think they have to. the other thing with obama is him getting out here and nominating someone quickly. because the conservative machine is going to be out there saying oh, my gosh, he's going to -- he's going to nominate holder. they're going to start really
vilifying this person before they're even out of the gate. >> the person to watch, of course, is mitch mcconnell who claimed he's an institutionalist -- >> who the republican base probably dislikes more than they dislike president obama. >> he's an institutionalist and he believes in the power of the is that the for advice and consent. when he was under pressure on loretta lirchl, he eventually led a confirmation vote even if people like cruz were saying do not let her get confirmed. the stakes are much higher. >> i think one mistake is republicans say out of the gate saying essentially we won't have a vote or we won't approve anyone that is nominated rather than waiting for the person and then actually having a reason to vote against them. because right now they look like they are dead set against any confirmation no matter who it is. >> we'll talk more about this later in the program. up next, it's valentine's day. so where's the love? well, not at the republican debate last night. we'll get to the hard feelings in a moment. but first, politicians say the darnedest things. here you go. a special valentine from the president to the first lady.
>> michelle, this valentine's day i'm going to treat you right. i'm going to make you some zucchini bread. then i'll spread out some veggies on a plate. just the way you like them. because i love you so much, i obamacare about you more than you even know. that's right. obamacares. prepare for challenges specific to your business by working with trusted advisors who help turn obstacles into opportunities. experience the power of being understood. rsm. audit, tax and consulting for the middle market. coughing...sniffling... and wishing you could stay in bed all day.
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much more on the death of justice antonin skra leah in a moment. let's turn now to the republican race for president and last night's feisty debate. former president george w. bush will campaign in south carolina for his brother, jeb, tomorrow. and he was very much a debating point last night. >> george bush made a mistake. we can make mistakes. but that one was a beauty. we should have never been in iraq. we have destabilized the middle east. they lied. they said there were weapons of mass destruction. there were none, and they knew there were none. there were no weapons of mass destruction. >> okay. all right. governor bush. >> i am sick and tired of him going after my family. my dad is the greatest man alive in my mind.
while donald trump was building a reality tv show, my brother was building a security apparatus to keep us safe. and i'm proud of what he did. >> that's one of several very feisty exchanges donald trump blaming george w. bush. also when jeb bush was responding he said your brother didn't keep us safe. 9/11 happened on his watch. the bush family brand is still pretty good in south carolina. and donald trump was essentially waving at them saying this is the corporate lobbyists and don donors. on one hand, you could say trump seemed to lose his cool a lot. on the other hand, we've watched this play out over the years, and with his core supporters, does it help him? >> that's the question. every time we think that trump is going to go down in the polls, he goes back up. it was remark building to see how rattled trump gets. any bit of criticism even from some boos in the crowd. you can see him get angry and call people out where other candidates -- rubio, for instance, was getting booed or
heckled at one point just talked over the boos and tried to ignore it. not trump. he seems to get pulled into a tit for tat with audience members. and also jeb bush, too. jeb bush is not nearly the kind of target that donald trump -- for donald trump in a threat for donald trump in being is is being the way that ted cruz is. time and time he kept going after jeb bush just because jeb bush gets under his skin. >> jeb bush has gotten better about responding to trump. if he's figured out how to get under trump's skin, and that's been fascinating to watch. jeb bush four months ago would have wilted under that sort of trump attack. >> the first time last night jeb earned the exclamation point at the end of his name, right? you know, i think what's interesting about this is trump went left on a few issues, at least for republicans. it is not popular to accuse george w. bush of being responsible for 9/11. in south carolina, the war in iraq, most voters do not have the voo you that trump has. he talked about planned parenthood in a positive way at
one point. the fascinating thing about trump's success so far is that he has managed to win voters despite his heresies. and will this finally change in south carolina? can his opponents finally crack the code on trump and get the voters to say wait a second. he's for the a conservative. and you have to wonder if the scalia death plays into that. >> one quick fact check. donald trump repeated again last night that he was an early opponent of the iraq war. simply not the case. if you look in 2003, there's no public record of trump saying don't do this. there is in 2004. he became very vocal in saying bush was mangling the administration of the war. mr. trump, if there's public record, send it in. but it doesn't exist if you go looking for it. let's move on to your point. he has been on twitter first repeatedly in recent days
tweeting about ted cruz including this one just before the debate. ted cruz is a cheater. he holds the bible high and then lies and misrepresents the facts. and then in the debate last night, trump and cruz head to head. >> single biggest liar, you probably are worse than jeb bush. you are the single biggest liar. and today we had robo calls saying donald trump is not going to run in south carolina where i'm leading by a lot. i'm not going to run -- vote for ted cruz. this is the same thing he did to ben carson. this guy will say anything. nasty guy. now i know why he doesn't have one endorsement from any of these colleagues. >> donald didn't disagree with the substance that he supports taxpayer funding for planned parenthood. and donald has this weird pattern. when you point to his own record, he screams liar, liar, liar. >> the stakes for these two dies are enormous. if trump can get a win in south carolina on saturday after his big win in new hampshire, then he heads south. he talks about the wall. he talks about amnesty. he talks about banning muslims.
and you'd have to say he's in pretty strong shape headed into the southern primaries. if cruz gets the win, same thing. he's the skefb tif candidate. you mentioned the supreme court pick in the mix. and he's going into a super tuesday primary where most of the states have a high percentage of evangelical and tea party voters. that was not a surprise. did anybody win that confrontation? >> i don't know if anybody won it, but it's clear where the battle lines are drawn. i think that cruz has potentially a slight advantage because he can claim the outsider mantel in the same way that trump can simply because he is so loathed by gop leaders, but he does have an extremely conservative record that he could fall back on. and i think some of the most effective ads and most effective attacks against trump over the last several weeks have been pointing to statements he's made, you know, as recently as a couple years ago which make him look a lot more liberal. so if cruz can either win in south carolina or stay very close to trump, i do think he has a good playing field in front of him. >> it's interesting to hear the "l" word, liar, being used. >> over and over. >> not just by trump but also
marco rubio in that fight over immigration. it just shows that cruz really occupies a level of support that both trump and rubio need to tap into to have a pretty successful night. >> they're trying to say essentially ted cruz is a fraud. he keeps telling you he's the consistent conservative. he's the guy you've always wanted. he won't blink. he won't back down. they're trying to make the case that's not true. >> that word used to be a real red line in politics. i think on the senate floor oar not allowed to use that. >> rubio did against mcconnell. >> rubio calling him a liar was surprising. you have to wonder if ted cruz is a little regrets, hugging donald trump for all of 2015. now he's trying to make the case against him. he was the person that helped allow trump's rise. but by hugging him, giving him conservative credentials all that time through 2015. cruz's problem if you look at exit polls in iowa and new hampshire, he does very well with higher income evangelicals, more white-collar evangelicals, but trump is winning blue-collar
evangelicals. >> cruz is just banking on donald trump not being around this far in the contest. and it just hasn't happened for him. i do wonder, though, if -- and maybe this is, you know, out there, but i wonder if someone like a john kasich actually had the best night of everybody. because he didn't engage with anybody. he actually kept to his message over and over and over again, even when people tried to en engaged him, he stayed positive. >> he essentially said hillary clinton is going to win if we keep fighting like this. to your point about rubio also going after cruz. ted cruz has tried to say marco rubio was with the gang of eight, which he was. he supported a bill in the senate that called for a path to citizenship. they went into it too. >> marco went on univision in spanish and said he would not rescind president obama's illegal executive amnesty on his first day in office. i have promised to rescind every single illegal executive action including that one. >> first of all, i don't know how he knows what i said on univision because he doesn't speak spanish. and second of all, the other
point that i would make -- >> [ speaking spanish ] >> this is a disturbing pattern. for a number of weeks ted cruz has been telling lies. he lied about ben carson in iowa. he lies about planned parenthood. he lies about marriage. he's lying about all sorts of things. now he pages things up. ted cruz supported legalizing people in this country. >> that is not true. that is absolutely false. what he said is knowingly false. >> nine debates in, clearly they're tired of each other. they don't like each other. any pretense of civility is gone. plus they understand the stakes of where we are on the calendar. >> and we've seen the fight between cruz and rubio play out over this issue of immigration. both men, actually to be fair, are muddying their own records and taking a harder line than they did in that 2013 debate. but it's really interesting to see the rubio and cruz battle really play out here. both men want the other to go
away. they want to make the race a two-man race between them and donald trump. and the worse they do in south carolina. >> that was critical for rubio, too, because of the bad debate in new hampshire. do you have people to give him okay? not forgiven but at least you get a second chance? >> he was much more fluid in this debate. it didn't come across quite as stilted at the other debate. very important in south carolina that the rubio/bush/kasich win stay close. if trump and cruz pull away after south carolina, it's hard to see. >> to coin a phrase, i think rubio knew exactly what he was doing. >> very good. still ahead, the democratic race is getting feisty, too, plus the latest on the death of justice antonin scalia and what could swing the ideological balance of the nation's highest court.
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welcome back to our special hour-long edition of "inside politics." back to the dramatic news, the death of supreme court justice antonin scalia and the immediate political fallout. the high court's colorful conservative firebrand died in his sleep saturday while on a hunting trip in texas. president obama rarely agreed with justice scalia's rulings. yet said the country should honor his service and his impact. >> for almost 30 years, justice antonin nino scalia was a larger-than-life president on the bench. a brilliant legal mind with an energetic style, incisive wit and colorful opinions. he influenced a generation of judges, lawyers and students and profoundly shaped the legal landscape. he will no doubt be remembered as one of the most consequential judges and thinkers to serve on the supreme court. >> now, the president wept on to say he would soon nominate a replacement. but even before the president
spoke, the senate majority leaders said the vacancy should be filled by the next president. the republican candidates, well, they agree. >> i do not believe the president should appoint someone, and it's not unprecedented. in fact, it's been over 80 years since a lame-duck president has appointed a supreme court justice. and it reminds of this. how important this election is. >> and so i believe the president should not move forward, and i think that we ought to let the next president of the united states decide who is going to run that supreme court with a vote by the people of the united states of america. >> the democratic candidates, though, say it is president obama's choice. hillary clinton put it this way. >> it is outrageous that republicans in the senate and on the campaign trail have already pledged to block any replacement that president obama nominates. >> again, with us to share their reporting and insights, julie pace, manu raju, ryan