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August 30th, 2012
11:23 AM ET

Rep. Peter King says 'the average husband and wife' will find Ryan appealing as a candidate

This morning on "Starting Point," Rep. Peter King (R-NY) weighs in on vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan's speech at the Republican National Convention and addresses allegations of intelligence leaks by the Obama administration.

"Paul Ryan is a great guy, so I am biased on this," King says. "He is going to resonate especially we have a number of competitive congressional races in suburban areas. And I am confident Paul is going to appeal to them. The average husband and wife, mother and father, grandparents, watching Paul Ryan, and I think will be very moved by him."

Bermans asks King if Ryan's lack of foreign policy experience could be an issue.

"I worked with Paul. I know he has excessive knowledge of foreign policy issues and what he said last night I think has to be really the message from the Republican Party: That President Obama has been inconsistent on foreign policy," King says.

Berman also asks King to respond to Sen. John McCain's statement in his speech before the convention, that the Obama Administration is guilty of leaking intelligence secrets. Berman asks if King, who sits on the House Homeland Security Committee, if he has seen any evidence to back up this claim.

"First of all, just the White House's own statements. The stories are in the "New York Times" that talk about the cyber attacks on Iran and came from people in the National Security Council meetings. That's the White House," King says.

"We're talking about a small circle of advisers. We're talking about a policy in Yemen where we penetrate the highest levels of al Qaeda. Nobody in Congress knew about it, the small circle in the CIA, the White House, the entire thing was leaked in the Associated Press," King adds.

August 30th, 2012
09:22 AM ET

Romney campaign's Fehrnstrom says Ryan didn't say GM plant closed under Obama, responds to uproar over 'Etch A Sketch' comments

Mitt Romney is set to take another big step forward tonight on the road to the White House. He'll accept his party's nomination at the Republican National Convention as the event wraps up in Tampa. But last night, it was all about Rep. Paul Ryan. Romney's running mate took direct aim at President Obama, making his case for the GOP ticket.

This morning on "Starting Point," Romney Senior Advisor Eric Fehrnstrom addresses the may questions this morning about the factual accuracy of some of Ryan's claims in his speech.

Ryan says that "Right there at that plant, candidate Obama said: 'I believe that if our government is there to support you...this plant will be here for another hundred years.' That's what he said in 2008. Well, as it turned out, that plant didn't last another year. It is locked up and empty to this day."

Berman points out that the decision to close the GM plant Janesville, WI, was made in June of 2008 when President Bush was in office. Berman asks Fehrnstrom if what Ryan says is misleading.

"Well, no he didn’t talk about Obama closing the plant," Fehrnstrom says. "He said candidate Obama went there in 2008 and what he said was with government assistance, we can keep this plant open for another 100 years. Here we are four years into his administration. That plant is still closed. I think it's a symbol of a recovery that hasn't materialized for the people of Janesville, Wisconsin, just as it hasn't materialized for Americans everywhere."

Berman pushed back on Fehrnstrom, saying that Ryan left the impression President Obama shut down the plant.

"I encourage people to go back and look at what candidate Obama said in 2008," Fehrnstrom adds. "What he said was with his recovery program, with government assistance, we can keep that plant open for 100 years. Four years later, it's still shuttered. I think it's a symbol of a broken economy under this president."

Berman also asks Fehrnstrom about his thoughts on the uproar on his “Etch A Sketch” comment he made in March on Starting Point, pointing out that other prominent Republicans are still talking about Romney having the chance to reintroduce himself to the American public.

Fehrnstrom says, “the point I was making back then is that the campaign in the general election is going to be different than the primary campaign in this sense. In the primary campaign we had eight opponents. We were talking about the legislative record of some of those opponents like Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum. Today we’re in a different situation. It’s a one-on-one contest with President Obama. And I think what we’re looking forward to is the opportunity to debate the President in October three times and I think what people will see in that setting is a person in Mitt Romney who is extraordinarily qualified to lead at a time of crisis in this country. He has a plan to put America back to work. And we can compare that to the failures of the Obama administration over the last four years in creating jobs and getting this economy in order.”

August 29th, 2012
12:08 PM ET

Van Hollen on Christie keyonte: He talks about needing more truth-telling...I didn't hear truth-telling from him

Tonight at the Republican National Convention, vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan will take the state to address the party.

This morning on "Starting Point," Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) talks with John Berman about playing Ryan in debate preps with Vice President Joe Biden, and the latest on Hurricane Isaac. Van Hollen first addresses questions of whether President Obama should be campaigning while Hurricane Isaac is battering the Gulf Coast.

"The President has been on top of this storm from the beginning," he says. "He, just the other day, authorized the federal government to provide all support necessary through FEMA for this purposes. I know that he is tracking the storm very closely. The Republicans are having their convention here in Florida. The President is also talking about issues that face American families around the country. But he is always monitoring the storm. And as I said, he's provided all of the relief necessary, authorized all the relief necessary."

Van Hollen also weighs in on New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's keynote speech at the convention on Tuesday night.

"What I heard Governor Christie talk about was we need more truth-telling. Unfortunately, I didn't hear any more truth-telling from him. And I think they're going to have to persuade the American people why it's brave to say that we're not going to ask the very wealthy in this country to pay one more penny to help reduce the deficit. In fact, they want to give another round of tax cuts to people like Mitt Romney, and that comes at the expense of everybody else," Van Hollen says.

Van Hollen also talked about the challenges of standing in for Ryan in the debate preps with Vice President Biden.

"When I'm talking about the Vice President, I will - I'll try and give their version of the story. But if you look at for example the Romney ad on Medicare, it's a total distortion of the facts. Because what Obamacare did was eliminate a lot of the overpayments to private insurance companies in Medicare and used the savings to strengthen Medicare benefits. They would turn back the clock on that and ask seniors to pay a lot more so that people like Mitt Romney can get another tax cut," he says.

August 29th, 2012
11:57 AM ET

Sen. Portman: Ann Romney was speaking to folks who hadn't made up their minds yet

Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) talks with John Berman on "Starting Point" this morning to reflect on Ann Romney's speech before the Republican National Convention on Tuesday night, and preview Rep. Paul Ryan's speech tonight.

When it comes to Ann Romney's speech, Portman says she was working to grab the ears of undecided voters.

"She was talking to those folks who hadn't made their mind up yet," Portman says. "There are a lot of people out there, I think a lot more than the pollsters tell us. They may say they're for one candidate or another, but they're really wondering and it's enlarge measure because they aren't happy. They aren't happy with the direction of the economy, the direction of the country in general. I think what she was able to do is say, look, if you give my husband a chance, she talked about his hard work ethic, you know, the fact that he's going to work harder than anybody else, and that he's all about results and helping people to achieve something for themselves and their family. I think that's what people wanted to hear. And I thought she did a great job with that."

Portman is also deeply involved in the Romney campaign. He will be playing the part of President Obama in debate prep with Mitt Romney.

"The opportunity is to be tougher than the opponent so that halfway through the debate he says, well, that wasn't so bad," Portman says of his debate prep skills.

August 29th, 2012
11:49 AM ET

Giuliani weighs in on Christie keynote, says 'granny is going to be thrown off the cliff' if nothing is done on Medicare

Last night at the Republican National Convention, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie delivered the keynote address. This morning, fmr. New York City Governor Rudy Giuliani weighs in on how Christie fared in his speech.

"I think his role here was not so much to support just Mitt Romney," Giuliani tells John Berman on "Starting Point." "His role as to keynote speaker was to set the background for what this campaign is going to be about, a contrast of ideas and ways of looking at government."

Berman asks Giuliani to respond to one point in last night's keynote speech, where Christie says: "We are demanding that our leaders stop tearing each other down and work together to take action on the big things facing America. Tonight we are going to do what my mother taught me. Tonight we're going to choose respect over love."

Giuliani responds, saying that what government today lacks is folks who can make tough decisions.

"That's what's lacking in government today," Giuliani says. "They can't make the tough decisions about Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid. I was in front of a group of college students two months ago and said to them, how many of you think you're ever going to collect Social Security and Medicare? Four put up their hands, four out of 1,000. This is ridiculous. We know it's going broke but neither the president nor Congress can get it together to fix it, which is what Paul Ryan is challenging us to do and the Democrats are trying to say, he's going to throw granny off the cliff. Actual granny is going to be thrown off the cliff if he doesn't do anything about Medicare, which he seems afraid to do. I think that's the point [Christie] was trying to make."

August 28th, 2012
01:22 PM ET

Ty Pennington works to unite delegates at Republican and Democratic conventions to build home for veteran

Though all eyes are on hurricane Isaac as it nears the Gulf Coast, there's also a Republican National Convention going on and next week the Democratic National Convention will take place in Charlotte, North Carolina.

There's one man who is trying to bring both parties together in a very unique way. TV personality Ty Pennington explains to Soledad and John on "Starting Point."

As part of Craftsman House United, Pennington will lead the charge to build one half of a home during the Republican National Convention in Tampa today, and the other half of the home will be built during the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte on Monday, September 3. The idea is for both sides of the political aisle to work together to build a home for a military veteran's family.

"We've had a lot of delegates that are coming out you know swinging hammers which is - which is a really cool thing," Pennington says. "I mean I think it's great that everybody wants to get involved. And so clearly, you know, I mean I don't think one side is weighing on the other. I think everyone can agree on is that someone who served our country like this could really us a deserving house. And so it's good to see that both sides of the house are coming together."

With hurricane Isaac nearing New Orleans, Pennington reflects on the rebuilding work he's done in the city after hurricane Katrina devastated the area. He says one thing he's learned is that New Orleans residents are resilient.

"To hear the stories and the businesses and the families, the people that just literally opened their arms and their hearts to help others, that's what really inspires us," Pennington says.

August 28th, 2012
01:09 PM ET

Are conventions boring? TIME's Joel Stein offers some suggestions for making a convention interesting

TIME magazine humor columnist Joel Stein says conventions are "boring and just a big show and parties."

August 28th, 2012
01:02 PM ET

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa predicts President Obama will get close to 70% of Latino vote in November

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is behind enemy lines tonight. The co-chair of the Obama Campaign and chairman of the Democratic National Convention is on hand at the Republican National Convention to rebut the message from the GOP. He talks with John Berman about his role at the convention in the midst of Tropical Storm Isaac.

Villaraigosa says he’s in Tampa to challenge the Republican platform “in a way that is respectful of the other party.”

“We’re to compare and contrast, but we’re also here together, working together, to make sure that people are safe," he says.

Villaraigosa also comments on the Latino vote for both candidates with regards to issues of immigration, health care and education. He predicts President Obama will get close to 70% of the Latino vote. “I think it is because the Republican Party and Mitt Romney have gone so far to the right on issues that are important to them,” Villaraigosa says.

August 28th, 2012
12:57 PM ET

Rep. Schock on Romney and youth vote: Obama may have 'sizzle factor' but at end of the day young people want someone who will get them a job

President Obama and Mitt Romney may be neck and neck in recent polls, but the former Massachusetts Governor does have one serious gap to close: 73% of voters ages 18 to 34 right now support President Obama or are leaning that way. Only 25% say they are in Mitt Romney's corner, according to a CNN poll from earlier this month.

What does Mitt Romney do about this? He might have a secret weapon on his side. It's the youngest member of Congress, 31-year-old Rep Aaron Schock (R-Ill.). He talks with John Berman on "Starting Point" to explain what Romney needs to do to capture the youth vote.

"I've spent well over 10 days campaigning with [the Romneys]," Rep. Schock says. "Two days nonstop on the bus in Iowa and he is a fun, fun guy. I mean anybody who has raised five boys knows how to have some fun."

"The intensity among young people is much lower now than it was four years ago, which is a problem for the President," he adds. "They have really been disenfranchised by the kind of bringing the country together, solving our problems and now a much more divisive and negative campaign. I think that's turned off a lot of young people. When I'm visiting with young people, their major issues are economic issues. They are very disheartened by the fact that half of their graduates last year are still unemployed today. And I think that's a huge opportunity for Republicans who are unified on economic issues to make the case to young people."

"While there may be a certain cool factor with the President...look he has news conferences at the White House to show his NCAA picks. You know, he's seen playing volleyball on the beach in Hawaii. There's a certain sizzle factor. But at the end of the day, young people want - somebody is going to get him a job. And I think that's where Mitt Romney has the strength," he says.

August 28th, 2012
11:52 AM ET

Rep. Randy Forbes on first day of Republican convention, addresses questions of whether Isaac is being politicized

The Republican National Convention gets its start tonight under the cloud of tropical storm Isaac. CNN’s John Berman talks to Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA) on if the media is politicizing the storm.

“Well, we hope that it won’t be politicized,” Forbes says. “It is a storm, we’re concerned about that.”

Rep. Forbes also tells CNN’s Jessica Yellin who he’s looking forward to hearing most from tonight’s three big speakers, Rick Santorum, Ann Romney and Chris Christie.

“Ann Romney’s the one I’m really forward to hearing, because I think the more people see about who Mitt Romney really is, the more people are going to say they want him to be the next president of the United States,” Forbes says.

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