msnbc | February 10, 2013
>>> he has a major address coming up, but president obama 's got some competition on the speaking circuit these days, it seems. house majority leader eric cantor gave a hefty speech to a conservative group last week where he urged the gop to make moves not just when it comes to budget issues, but also on education, immigration and health care .
>>> kentucky senator rand paul has a big speech this week when he will be delivering the tea party response to the president's state of the union address tuesday night. back now, " washington post " political reporter nia- malika henderson and resident represent politician. you said cantor is trying to rebrand the republican party and take on take on social issues, specifically immigration. this is cantor this morning on "meet press."
>> we want to make sure we're passionate and sensitive to their plight. the kids know no other place as home but on the other hand we are a country of laws. we have a situation of border security that we've got to get straight. we have to secure our borders, and there is this balance that needs to take place but the best place to begin i think is with the children. let's go ahead and get that under our belt, put a win on the board and so we can promise a better life for those kids who are here due to know fault of their own.
>> compassionate, sensitive, children, kids. what -- what's cantor trying to do here? what kind of message is he trying to send?
>> well, this goes back to george bush , right in the compassionate conservative . in some ways it goes back to even rick perry who, of course, wanted and had a deal like this in texas and talked about whether or not republicans had a heart because they wanted a different approach to immigration. this is the gop realizing that they have to change their rhetoric. i think the problem still is around policy. is it just going to be a rebranding in terms of how they talk about these issues, or is it going to be a change in policy because there still is a wide gulf in terms of how different groups, not only feel like they want to be talked to or talked about, but in terms of how they feel about policy and the role that government plays in shaping people's lives.
>> if there's a big deal on immigration, who gets cred senior citizen who gets the win? is it democrats or is it a shared victory?
>> you know, it looks like it could be a shared victory because you have so much movement. marco rubio out front in trying to get something done. people like lindy graham out of south carolina also, so it seems like it would be bipartisan, but i think you have a situation where democrats are far ahead in this issue. you saw, of course, in 2012 that obama was able to do seoul so well in those states among latinos so republicans have some catching up to do, but this is certainly a good start for them in terms of having a party that is in step with the demographic changes that we see in the country.
>> why is eric cantor , known primarily for his fiscal efforts, if you will, why is he especially effective for messaging here, or is he?
>> well, he's trying to refute the image of the republican party as the party of no. that's the image that they have acquired, no. on the fiscal cliff they were the party of no. on sequestration the party of no. he's trying to say what republicans can do problem-solving, real problems for real people . republicans believe historically that economic froet is sufficient. if the government keeps the economy growing, people will solve problems for themselves, and democrats believe that economic growth is necessary but not sufficient because there are a lot of people who are still left out, even if the economy is growing. republicans would like to make up for that with captor's speech by saying, look, we have our own approach to problem solving .
>> cantor had the big speech and the president, of course, the big speech. rand paul is going to be doing what has become what a regular thing now, the tea party response. he talked on cnn this morning about what he plans to say after the president tuesday night. take a listen.
>> none of the things i ran on as part of the tea party have been fixed. we're still going down a hole as far as the debt crisis looming, and so we really have to still talk about spending, and we want to make sure that there still is a voice for that.
>> nia- malika , how much voice does he or the tea party still have?
>> this is a big fight we're going to say already playing out in the republican party . what is the role of the tea party ? what is the role of the establishment? you're going to see on tuesday night after president obama makes his speech not only rand paul give the tea party address but marco rubio give what would be maybe considered more of the establishment response to president obama . the tea party very much in arms about seeming to be pushed aside by the likes of karl rove in terms of wanting to get more involved in the primaries, and in some ways it seems like establishment republicans are blaming tea party folks for some of the losses they suffered in 2012 , but as we can see from rand paul , they aren't going anywhere, and they certainly have a lot of the energy behind them that we saw in 2010 , was very effective. not so in 2012 , however.
>> bill, we've got the response to the response now, and who nose knows next year there might be a response to the response to the response.
>> that's right.
>> but you've got rand paul following marco rubio . has marco rubio fallen out of the graces of the tea party ?
>> well, it certainly is a slap in the face to marco rubio because he was a tea party favorite.
>> that's right.
>> when he ran for the senate. he was one of their heroes. look, now someone is reputting his rebuttal. this is an incredible situation. rand paul , of course, is very much in line with the tea party , and there's a civil war going on within the republican party now involving money on both sides of the establishment versus the tea party republicans . i think rand paul would like to run for president, partly what's behind this. here's one clue. he edeparted from his father's position on foreign policy . when his father ron paul ran for president he got in trouble with a lot of republicans because his foreign policy was anti-war and isolationist which a lot of republicans didn't like. rand paul is departing from that, trying to make himself more acceptable, i think, to mainstream republicans .
>> so you think we'll have another paul on the ballot in 2016 . is rand paul remotely electable, nia- malika henderson?
>> i'm not really sure.
>> if you look at what happens, the republicans as much as we can talk about how they have moved to the right, the last candidates that have come out of these primaries have been moderates. you think about mitt romney , john mccain . is there going to be a third party, the tea party that breaks away from the gop . we'll have to wait and see.
>> thanks to both of you. good to see you on this sunday.