May 17th, 2010
07:28 PM ET
13 years ago

Cornyn weighs in on key Senate races, explains bailout vote

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="The man responsible for getting Republicans elected to the Senate said Monday that he was confident his party would pick up seats in November in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Florida."]Washington (CNN) – The man responsible for getting Republicans elected to the Senate said Monday that he was confident his party would pick up seats in November in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Florida.

And Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, also weighed in on a potential liability for Republican incumbents – the passage of the Wall Street bailout package in late 2008 when the economy was teetering on the brink of collapse.

Appearing on CNN's John King, USA, Cornyn, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, discussed a number of races including the GOP Senate primary in Kentucky. Ahead of Tuesday's voting, Rand Paul, a Tea Party-backed candidate, is leading Trey Grayson, the candidate backed by the Senate's leading Republican.

Cornyn told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King that the Kentucky race is indicative of the national mood.

"Well, obviously Kentucky reflects what's happening around the country, and that is there's an awful lot of people engaged in the political process that are relatively new to the process," Cornyn told King. "A lot of these folks are the folks who showed up at town hall meetings, they showed up at Tea Parties and they're voting."

The Republican senator added that the popular outpouring of new political interest was not confined to the GOP.

"But the most important thing is, John, is that they're actually very active primaries on both sides - on the Republican side and the Democratic side. It's not unique to ours. But we will nominate the strongest candidate and we'll get behind that candidate."

Weighing in on the Pennsylvania Democratic Senate primary, Cornyn took the opportunity to take a shot his former GOP colleague, Sen. Arlen Specter, who switched parties last year and is now in a tight primary race.

"Arlen said he was switching parties because he couldn't win in the Republican primary [and] for no other reason," the Texas Republican said. "I think he's having a hard time finding a way to appeal to Democrats because, frankly, he doesn't seem to have any particular orientation for one party or another, just his political survival."

But Cornyn also acknowledged that Specter has overcome many obstacles in the past.

"Arlen is a survivor. He's survived everything that's been thrown at him from a health standpoint, from a political standpoint."

In this year's Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Florida Senate races, Cornyn predicted that the GOP will emerge victorious.

And the Texas Republican also made the case for how GOP lawmakers can explain their support for the Wall Street bailout program that has turned out to be unpopular with voters.

"TARP was represented to us as an absolute necessity or else the economy would melt down and we'd experience a repeat of perhaps the depression of the '30s. I'm responsible and proud of the vote I cast at the time because I thought it was a public necessity. The problem is, we've been betrayed by those who said TARP would be used for a narrow purpose. It's now been expanded beyond all recognition to bailout car companies and now being used as a revolving slush fund.

"I voted to end TARP even though I voted for it initially because I think it's been abused and I think the American people are experiencing bailout fatigue and now we're being asked to share in part of the bailout of Greece through the International Monetary Fund through our contribution there. So I don't blame people who are upset with the way that the bailouts have grown and been abused. But I think at the time it was the right decision to make.

Cornyn added, "People understand that sometimes you have to make unpopular decisions of necessity. At the time it was the right decision to make."

Programming note: Watch CNN's John King, USA every weekday beginning at 7 p.m. ET.

Filed under: 2010 • GOP • JKUSA • John Cornyn • John King USA • Popular Posts
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Cornyn serves no political purpose at all, he's just along for the ride because he's not up for re-election but his day will come and he'll be gone.

    May 17, 2010 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  2. billybob 'n NC

    Only a lying re-pub could cause a recession; tell us the financial world will end unless we have a bailout; vote for the bailout; and then try to BLAME DEMOCRATS. And, ONLY re-pubs will fall for it.

    May 17, 2010 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  3. johnrj08

    Cornyn needs to explain why it was necessary for him to accompany Mitch McConnell to his New York meeting a few weeks ago with two dozen hedge fund managers.

    May 17, 2010 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  4. Pam, Eugene, OR

    Yes, we have heard this before. Cornyn was for it before he was against it. We seem to have very short memories as voters. The spend thrift Republicans stated all this free flowing money to every one EXCEPT Main street. Now they can't ever remember that George W was our President but there are all over "Reganomics". Those were the best years according to the current thinking of the GOP.
    Specter needs to retire. He stands for nothing but himself and the good old boys club that needs to be voted out.
    I hope most if not all incumbents are voted out on BOTH sides. They have made a horrible mess of things and should be thrown under the bus by all of US.
    We need a fresh start with new faces. We need immigration reform, financial reform, health care reform, and off shore drilling reform.
    I am sick to death of both parties and no one is getting my vote this year unless they will stand with the majority of the American people.
    Send the illegals home, reighn in the money grubbers on wall street, find jobs for Americans and stop spending my grandchildrens money if you want my vote. I am not a tea party person nor am I a Republican or liberal Democrate. I am a commen sense American who is increadibly frustrated with what is going on im my country.

    May 17, 2010 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  5. GI Joe

    Spin baby spin. Kinda goes with that spill baby spill thingy, doesn't it?

    May 17, 2010 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  6. CBR

    I wonder how safe Senator Cornyn's seat would be if this term was up.

    I have to believe that his constituents might wonder why he always says no, He fails to recognize the good changes and just speaks negatively all the time. I am glad he does not represent me.

    May 17, 2010 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  7. Former Republican, now an Independent

    Cornyn may be surprised at how many Americans are upset that the GOP has become the party of extremists and deadbeats. The party that stalled progress in Washington.

    May 17, 2010 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  8. Mountaineer

    I just don't get it! The Republicans tank the economy, place America in two Wars and didn't pay for either, caused the Financial mess, Just says NO, NO, NO, and the IDIOTS still wish to blame the Democrats. Shame on you and Shame on America if they vote Republican!!!!!

    May 17, 2010 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  9. Julie-Texas

    I really like John Cornyn. He is a very decent man and I voted for him and will continue to do so. He believes what I believe and I thank him for standing up for our state. Keep it going. Out with those dems who are not listening.

    May 17, 2010 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  10. seh

    How is the GOP going to "pick up" seats in Florida and Kentucky, when they already hold these seats? I would actually guess that they lose one of the two and that Pennsylvania is still more than likely going to remain a democrat seat.

    May 17, 2010 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  11. No Incumbents 2010

    Cornyn has proven time and time again he is a RINO apologist for the bank bailouts he voted for. Cornyn will soon realize that turning his back on the tea party supporters was his greatest miscalculation. The tea party supporters support the Republican platform which is opposed to government bailouts and big government in general. Cornyn has violated that platform and has thus lost the trust of the voters.

    May 17, 2010 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  12. peter

    I had enough from Republicans who think this past winter that they are all going to get elected this November yet they are losing very badly in the primaries. How in the world are they going to capture both houses if they can,t defend their own seats in their districts or state? I guess what goes around come around huh.Since they start opposing president Obama's agenda now they wished some of them had voted for thesw because they are now losing this game.

    Go Dems!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

    May 18, 2010 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  13. greg in jacksonville florida

    The man is clueless if he thinks the GOP will keep the senate seat from Florida. Most Floridians can't stand Rubio and want anyone but him. He is an arrogant crook. Rubio will Fail.

    May 18, 2010 07:54 am at 7:54 am |