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California Judge Rules Tenure Violates State Constitution; Eric Cantor Out; Tea Partier Wins

Aired June 11, 2014 - 06:30   ET



ERIC CANTOR, HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: It's disappointing, sure. But I believe in this country. I believe there's opportunity around next corner for all of us. So I look forward to continuing to fight with all of you for the things that we believe in.


BROOKE BALDWIN, HOST, NEW DAY: The concession speech last night. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor reacting to this stunning, shocking, add your adjective primary loss last night. No. 2 Republican in the house fell to a tea party-backed opponent named Dave Brat. What you haven't heard of this guy? Join the club. A lot of people waking up and hearing the news this morning. Dave Brat shocked by the results as well.

What are the national implications of this massive upset? Lets bring in John Avlon, senior political analyst and editor if chief of the daily beast. Just read your piece because you said you had fun writing it. Last night you write Eric Cantor was eaten by tea party, chomp, chomp.

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Chomp, chomp. I was reminded of that line from Winston Churchill, an appeaser is someone who tries to feed a crocodile hoping it eats them last. That is really what happened to Eric Cantor last night. This is a cautionary tale in part about political appeasement. He had been courting the tea party since the beginning, trying to serve as their emissary in republican leadership.

Taking conservative position after conservative position after conservative position. But almost 100 percent wasn't enough for these folks and I think of it as a major message to Republican leadership. Whether it simply has a chilling effect and all Republicans are now paranoid that they are going to get premiered so they can't touch immigration or anything else, we'll see. The other way to do this is to realize there's a degree of Stockholm syndrome that's been going on.

CHRIS CUOMO, HOST, NEW DAY: Here's the problem. Everything that Avlon says is completely true. AVLON: I know.

CUOMO: Here's why. Political analysis is usually only as good as the one before it. You know? But here there's really no other way to see it. This guy overwhelmed with money. He owns his district. He is the house majority leader.

BALDWIN: Hoping to become speaker.

CUOMO: That matters in a primary. That means that every party official there, from the Republican party, is working for Cantor because they fear him. And this guy then wins in a huge margin. It has to mean that what the party represents is being rejected. And then what do they do next? How do they do it without doing what they said they wouldn't do which is own the tea party?

AVLON: And that really becomes the key question. The lesson is going to be hug the tea party tighter. The question is can you credibly do that? I mean Eric Cantor --

CUOMO: They said they wouldn't. Lindsey Graham said he wouldn't.

AVLON: The contrast between Lindsey Graham, who sailed through his primary last night, after backing Senate immigration reform and passing it, and Eric Cantor who gets targeted for even mentioning what maybe possibly we'll do it and gets accused of amnesty. Big deal. The other big difference here, lets just reality check, is that this happens in a 12 percent turn out primary.

When you get these very low turnout primaries and the people are not paying attention to, they can be easily hijacked by activists, there is no question Eric Cantor would have won a general election in his district. But these closed partisan primaries, there partisan primaries that occur really can take out people because all their paranoid about, isn't reaching out to the senator, it's about being cannibalized by the far right, and that's what happened last night.

BALDWIN: Does he - I mean looking ahead, and I think I read reports this morning that he wouldn't, but do that whole write in candidate thing? Ah la Lisa Murkowski in 2012. Does he step down as the house majority leader, is he asked to step down? What are the machinations of that?

AVLON: All of this is unclear. Right now, he's in office until the beginning of next January. He can write a write-in candidate like Lisa Murkowski did after she lost a primary to the tea party candidate in Alaska. However there is no third party available to him in Virginia.

So the big question is will he stay and fight and try and run that real long shot write-in campaign, which he would probably have a descent shot of winning simply because of the money, the resources, the name ID. Or does he simply say, enough is enough, I've gotten my message, and then how but he deal with the next few months? Try to get something big done or does he simple try to sure up the right?

CUOMO: He's done.

AVLON: Done done?

CUOMO: I don't think his party guys will stick with him in going against the tea party because they're too afraid of it also. You make an interesting point. Should make someone like me take a breath, which is it's 12 percent turnout. 63,000 votes. Don't overstate. What happened here was you miss understood the power of your minority there and not getting turnout up. Getting out the vote is a leg deal, especially in primary elections.


CUOMO: So do you think Republicans will have that sober mind?

AVLON: Not this morning because it is impossible to over state what a seismic shock this is to the Republican system. The eco system has been blown out of the water. All the assumptions they've been working under over the last few years have been blown away because Eric Cantor was the heir apparent. But that is the key point. If you have an unrepresentative sample of the electorate, you get unrepresentative result. So if you over interpret them and the party moves even further to the right, probably bad for the party and probably bad for the country. That's going to be the temptation that the left is going to take from this loss..

BALDWIN: You're entirely right according to Mr. Cuomo.

AVLON: That is a big deal.

BALDWIN: This is a rare compliment on this one

CUOMO: I appreciate that.

CUOMO: It's unusual in politics that you have something like this. I think was Begala who says, sometimes you have someone squeaks by you because it was close but you never have a blowout and it's a shocker of who the blowout goes to.

AVLON: Big time.

CUOMO: Coming up on NEW DAY, another big hot button issue. Teacher tenure. Two very different ideas about this. You know the concept, if you're good at your job, you get to stay there. If you're not good at your job, should you still get to stay there? A California judge doesn't think so, calling tenure unconstitutional. What does this mean for the country and your kids?

Also ahead this morning a California mayor is dropping a load of apologies. What did you say about his -- you know, yes, you know, people are eating their Wheaties, Cuomo. We will talk about this unfortunate mistake that left him in hot water with the neighbors. That's a no-no. You in Alabama, don't do that.

CUOMO: Even for politics that's not good what he's doing there.


MICHAELA PEREIRA, HOST, NEW DAY: Good to have you back with us here on NEW DAY. Forty-two minutes past the hour. Here are your headlines.

The Oregon town of Troutdale is reeling following the latest in and seamingly string of school shootings. 14-year-old freshman Emilio Hoffman was killed in a locker room at Reynolds high school. A teacher was also wounded before the gunman took his own life. President Obama offering a blistering response, renewing a call for tougher gun laws, saying America is the only developed nation where this happens.

The truck driver who allegedly caused the accident that injured Tracy Morgan, the comedian, is expected in court today. Kevin Roper is scheduled to be arraigned in New Jersey. Ropers truck crashed into Morgan's limo-bus Saturday killing comedian James McNair or Jimmy Mac, and critically injuring three people including Morgan. Court documents say Roper had not slept for more than 24 hours at the time of the crash.

Senator Ted Cruz has renounced his Canadian citizenship. The Texas Republican was born north of the border, only the discover he held dual citizenship last year. Cruz has been floated as a potential presidential contender, but his dual status raised eligibility questions. The conservative official officially quit Canada, if you will, on May 14th.

All right. Another story that's upsetting. The mayor of San Marino, California, an affluent suburb of Los Angeles, really stepped in it. Security camera's caught him throwing a bag of dog poop on to someone's property. Yes.

That's mayor Dennis Kneier. He's now apologizing saying it was a mistake done in a moment of, quote, stupidity. He meant to just toss it away, which meant he was just littering, which is also bad. The homeowner meanwhile thinks it was retaliation for his opposition to a neighborhood dog park that Kneier was backing. Police are investigating the matter, but the homeowner says he will not press charges. Apparently the homeowner had a no poop zone sign in his front yard, too.

BALDWIN: We saw it. That's a no-no. You and your new dog, you cleaning up after it?

PEREIRA: The major throwing poop around.

CUOMO: You know, it's not the worst thing we heard about in politics these days.

PEREIRA: But still, you know.

CUOMO: All right. Listen to this, talking about politics. What happened with the house majority leader was so huge that me haven't even had time yet to talk about the Spurs and the Heat. Everybody saying the Heat is going to whoop them, just a matter of time. It's looking less likely. NBA finals now in game three. The Spurs handed it to them again, Andy Scholes, they were up 25 last night. A little bit of a comeback in the third quarter. Come on, Andy. You've been selling the Spurs short. I think it's time for you to have some comeuppance.

PEREIRA: Comeuppance.

CUOMO: That's right.

PEREIRA: Comeuppance.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORT CORRESPONDENT: I jumped on the Heat's bandwagon for this. It still might happen but, man, last night San Antonio. What can you say? If game three would have been in the video game, NBA jam (ph), the Spurs' nets would have just been on fire the whole first half. They shot 76 percent in the first half, which is just unheard of. They came out red hot from the start. They get 19 of their first 21 shots. They started the game six for six from three-point land. They had 71 points by the half.

Now, the Heat, they really didn't play that bad, but they still ended up losing this game by double digits. The Spurs now lead the series two games to one. Game four is tomorrow night in Miami.

Now, it's do or die for the New York Rangers tonight. The Rangers are down 0-3 to the L.A. Kings. They're on the verge of being the first team to get swept in the Stanley Cup final in 16 years. Puck dropped at 8:00 eastern from Madison Square Garden. For a preview of tonight's game and in-depth analysis, you can head over to

Now we are out here at the U.S. Open in Pinehurst, North Carolina. Round one gets going tomorrow morning. And with no Tiger Woods as he is still out recovering from back surgery, all eyes are going to be on Phil Mickelson.

Of course, Phil -- everyone is wondering how is he going to play with that FBI investigation still hanging over his head? Well, if it's typical Phil at the U.S. open, we know he's going to play pretty good. He has finished second place a record six times. Maybe this will be the weekend where he finally gets the job done. Phil is one of the favorites along with Adam Scott and Rory McIlroy.

And guys, this is the major Phil wants more than any of them. It's the only one he hasn't won. And if he were to get the win, he would complete the career grand slam, which would put him in some pretty exclusive company when it comes to all-time greatest golfers.

BALDWIN: Pretty sweet. Nice gig out there in North Carolina, by the way. Enjoy the day. Thank you.

SCHOLES: It's not bad. I will.

BALDWIN: Not bad.

CUOMO: Nice golf shirt, also.

BADLWIN: You like that?

CUOMO: Gotta get Andy to hook me up with this.

BALDWIN: I know some people who know some people. I got this.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, major defeat for teachers unions in California. A judge in the state ruled teacher tenure unconstitutional. What does that mean? We'll take a look at the fallout from this landmark decision with former D.C. schools chancellor Michelle Rhee.

CUOMO: And we were told that the government was going to monitor those Taliban bad guys we traded for Bowe Bergdahl. Imagine if that's not true. Is there a chance that it's completely not true? We're going to speak with Congressman Adam Schiff. He's seen the deal between the U.S. and Qataris. He's going to tell you what's not in, may shock you.


CUOMO: It has been a hallmark of education for generations: tenure for teachers, protecting them from being fired, good or bad. Now, that last part has made it increasingly controversial, and now a California judge has ruled tenure violates the state constitution that it denies students the right to a good education.

So now similar cases are planned nationwide. The teachers union is working on an appeal. And many are wondering, is this the end of the powerful teachers unions all together?

Let's get the take of Michelle Rhee. You remember, she's the former D.C. public schools chancellor, now the founder and CEO of Students First.

Michelle Rhee, good to have you on NEW DAY. You were known for shaking it up in D.C. You were seen as really going in there. We may remember the famous/infamous video of you having to firing a principal. Now how do you see this decision?

MICHELLE RHEE, CEO, STUDENTS FIRST: Well, this is a huge victory not just for the nine plaintiffs who brought the case forward, but for kids across the country because it means fundamentally that they now have a right to get a really high quality, excellent education, and that they have the right to be taught by a highly effective teacher every day.

CUOMO: The pushback is, tenure is not the problem, it's the solution to keeping qualified teachers in positions when they otherwise may not. It rewards those who do their job well. You're taking that away, making it harder to keep good teachers. Your response?

RHEE: Well, though that may have been the original intention of tenure, that's not actually how tenure plays out in our public schools today. It has essentially become a job protection for life, regardless of performance. And what this judge is saying is that that's absolutely unacceptable, that we have to take into consideration teacher quality every day when we're making decisions about who is in front of our kids.

CUOMO: But it's so hard now. People are so litigious. Principals are mercurial. Everything is so political. Teachers need protection from that system, so if they want to be bold, if they want to challenge the status quo and hold kids and parents accountable, they need the protection of tenure. What do you say to that?

RHEE: Well, I think that teachers absolutely need protections. And there should be due process in place, but, again, the way that tenure has played out is that it's protecting ineffective teachers who are in the classroom, and even effective teachers would agree that absolutely shouldn't be the case.

CUOMO: Now when we look at the status quo, tenure is linked to performance, right? That's a very logical connection there. What is the problem with judging performance for teachers? Why is it so violently opposed by unions?

RHEE: Well, I think that you have to look at what the union's job is. The union's job is to protect the rights, privileges and pay of their members. They want their members to be able to keep their jobs regardless.

And what this judge is saying is that we have to look out for the interests of children first and foremost, that -- that we have to ensure that there's a high quality teacher in front of every child every single day.

And the reality is that these things should not be seen at odds with one another. We can see this as a real opportunity to create a new paradigm in which we are elevating the teaching profession, but we're also protecting the it rights of kids.

CUOMO: A little measure of vindication for you in this personally? You know, again, I'm not joking when I was saying you were seen as a heavy. Someone reviewed your new book, and it was like there's an idealist who got bit by a, you know, dose of realism. When you see this court decision, does it make you feel like, we can change it on a big level?

RHEE: Well, I absolutely have always felt a tremendous amount of confidence that we can change the public education system in this country for the better. And one of the things that we absolutely have to focus on is teacher quality. It's the thing that we as parents know make an absolute difference every day for our kids in the quality of education that they're getting.

CUOMO: So what's the chance that it spreads? This is a state case. It's about the state constitution. You have to have new cases all the way in every district, you know, take a long time. How does it become a ground swell?

RHEE: Well, I think you're hearing from states across the country right now who are taking their cues from this case that they'd like to see it spread. So I think that this could absolutely be a catalyst for a wave across the country, really looking at these laws and policies and making sure that they are the ones that -- that they're the ones that are going to serve the best interest of kids.

I mean, you know, part of what is wrapped up in this particular case is looking at policies like last in, first out, so how you lay teachers off. And everyone knows that in the time of layoffs, we have to be able to protect the best teachers; yet there are 11 states across this country that still mandate that layoffs are conducted by seniority instead of quality. So I think you're going to see state legislatures and governors across this country really taking a second look at policies like that.

CUOMO: And it goes hand in hand with measuring the performance of teachers because the union also pushes back on any kind of objective measurement.

So here's one step in what is seen as progress. The union says, "Hold your horses, we're going to appeal. We think we will win. So we have to watch the outcome and see what happens in other states."

Michelle Rhee, we'll be bringing you back to have this conversation. What matters more than this? It is the future, after all.

Thank you for being with us on NEW DAY.

RHEE: Absolutely.

CUOMO: So this decision about tenure in California could change the way we evaluate teachers. One big story.

There are others going on to start your NEW DAY, such as Washington reeling as Republican big wig Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, loses a primary to an unknown tea partier. How did it happen?

Then, another day, another school shooting. The story is getting old, but what's the solution? The president saying he's finally going to take action? What action? Let's get after all of it.


ERIC CANTOR, HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: Look, obviously we came up short.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: An upset shaking Washington.

DAVID BRAT, (R-VA): The reason we won this campaign, dollars do not vote. You do.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Reynolds High School, shots fired in the locker room. At least one person down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was carrying a gun, running after one of our teachers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've got suspect down.

BARACK OBAMA, U.S. PRESIDENT: The country has to do some soul searching about this. This is becoming the norm.

JOHN BOEHNER, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We've made Americans less safe here and all around the world. We're going to pay for this.


CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome back to NEW DAY.

We start with a political earthquake. Really pick your negative metaphor because this was a big deal. One of the country's most powerful, most conservative Republicans going down in defeat in a primary, huge. He lost huge. What was his crime? That he wasn't conservative enough.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor losing to little known tea party challenger David Brat, an economics professor in Virginia. Brat hammered Cantor on his push for immigration reform. The headline in the "Richmond Times" dispatch says it all, "Cantor Out."

So what does this mean for the midterm elections and for immigration policy going forward? We have complete coverage and analysis of what is a huge upset any way you want to measure it.

Let's start with CNN chief congressional correspondent Dana Bash live in Washington. Nobody saw it coming. Now, everybody has got to figure out what it means.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. And there are certainly a lot of ways to look at it. But before we get to some of the analysis, let's play for our viewers some -- some sound bites from each candidate to show just how shocked even they were.


CANTOR: Obviously, we came up short.

It's disappointing, sure. But I believe in this country. I believe there's opportunity around the next corner for all of us.

BRAT: The reason we won this campaign, is there's just one reason, and that's because dollars do not vote; you do.



BASH: Dollars do not vote. So that is actually one of the main answers to your question, which is, money can't buy enthusiasm. Eric Cantor might have had $5 million in the bank, and his opponent had $300,000, if that.

But it doesn't matter when somebody like Eric Cantor, who is a Republican leader, is targeted by a grass roots effort to get rid of him, not just because he's conservative, but because he's Washington, because he's establishment. And he embodied from many of their perspectives sort of the arrogance of power. That I think, that has a lot to do with it.

And along those lines, Chris, he didn't tend to the district. He didn't --they were absolutely convinced -- and I can tell you in talking to people inside Cantor world, yesterday as the polls were open and heading towards closing, they felt good.