CBS’ O’Donnell Frets: ‘Can Anybody Win without the Freedom Caucus?’
ROSE: CBS News political director, John Dickerson, moderator of 'Face The Nation' is with us. He'll interview two Republicans on Sunday, who demonstrate the split between the House of Establishment and the conservius Freedom Caucus. John, good morning. So the question is what happened to McCarthy? What's happening to the Republican Party? And is the tail wagging the dog?"
DICKERSON: "Well, there is wagging all over the place. I mean, the dogs are running amuck, I guess is the answer. You know the problem is there is nobody who can get 218 votes, which is the number of Republicans you need to be elected speaker. And even before McCarthy made this bombshell announcement, I talked to a member who was trying to count votes for him. And he said, he can win in the conference of what is supposed to be happening yesterday. But they didn't think they could win 218 on the House floor, which would be a public embarrassment for him. And the problem nobody can still get those 218 votes."
O'DONNELL: "The number of Republicans in the entire caucus is--?"
O'DONNELL: "Right. So can anybody win without the Freedom Caucus, which is about 40 votes? And is it clear that Paul Ryan has the votes of the Freedom Caucus?"
DICKERSON: "Well, two things. 40 -- the 40 votes -- their argument in the freedom caucus is -- we were given the majority and we have buckled, and not stood firm. And so now that they have gotten John Boehner out, they've gotten Kevin McCarthy out. That groups is feeling good, and why do they want to buckle? Their job is to stand firm."
ROSE: "What do they want?"
DICKERSON: "Well they want a variety of things. They want a harder line from the Republican leadership, to enforce conservative principles. One of the members of the Freedom Caucus said that we want things like we want the House speaker to take on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell--the Republican leader in the Senate, and make him tougher. Anybody who knows about the Senate knows it's rare for the speaker to tell the Senate Majority Leader what to do. So, their demands are -- is a high bar and Kevin McCarthy said basically I couldn't meet their demands." [crosstalk]
O'DONNELL: "Paul Ryan has been -- been laid out as the compromise candidate. Is it clear that he has the votes of the Freedom Caucus?"
DICKERSON: "Paul Ryan, the chairman of -- the House Ways and Means committee, his announcement saying I don't want this job, came out so fast that almost broke the sound barrier. Because, he doesn't want to get involved in this. And the reason is, because Paul Ryan had lot's of fights with this conservatives, over fiscal matters, over the Ryan/Murray budget, over the government shutdown, over the debt limit. So it doesn't make intellectual sense, that he would be just the bridge building consensus."
ROSE: "And he likes the House of Ways and Means. You can -- you can do a lot of thing about the economy and tax reform and all of that."
DICKERSON: "That's right, and if he wants to be president, there is no road to the presidency through the House speakership, because it's a tough job, as we are seeing."