Cantor, Republicans talk change

Posted at 10:05 AM, Feb 05, 2013
and last updated 2013-02-05 10:09:29-05

WASHINGTON, D.C. (CBS) – House Major Leader Eric Cantor (R – Virginia) appeared on CBS This Morning on Tuesday to outline a new agenda for the Republican party.

CBS anchor Charlie Rose asked Rep. Cantor if today’s announcement could be considered recognition that the Republican Party has not spoken to the American people about issues that concern them and how government can work for them.

"Charlie, I think what it is more is explaining why we’re doing what we’re doing," Rep. Cantor replied. "You know, I went to an inner city school, a private school here in the District of Columbia yesterday and it sprung out of a desire to give the kids who are trapped in some of these failing schools a fair shot in actually quality education so their future can be better.  This is why we’re doing it.  We’re doing it to help the families of that school and all others around America who want a better future.  And, you know, our party has always stood for the conservative philosophy of self-reliance, of faith in the individual, accountability in government but what we’re trying to do is to explain that these proposals of ours actually can help people and we love to see the Democrats join us in trying to set aside differences and seeing if we can come together to actually give some relief to the millions of Americans, frankly, who just want their life to work again."

"But some who look at the proposals, those on immigration and other, that you make in the speech saying including some of your aides, you're just tweaking and rebranding," Rose said. "This is not a fundamental change that you're recommending."

"We’ve got some new policies in here. We’ve got some policies we've stood for such as empowering parents and giving them a choice in their children's education. We’ve got some proposals that will address the rise in health care costs as a result of the president's health care bill. We’re trying to be constructive, to help people again, Charlie and hopefully we can bring folks together on both sides of the aisle, something that has not happened too often here in Washington. So we can provide a path to a better future for more Americans and make their life work again," Rep. Cantor said.

CBS anchor Norah O’Donnell asked Rep. Cantor if today's speech was about tone or ideology?

"What this is about is about making sure that we can express why we're doing what we're doing. We believe very strongly obviously in things like fiscal discipline and not spending money you don't have. We also believe in that because it helps people," Rep. Cantor said. "In the same way, we've got to address the plight of so many working Americans right now and those who don't have any work and say that, yes, we've got policies that will help you in terms of giving you an opportunity for a quality education in terms of trying to help you bring down the cost of health care. We've got some real policies that we want to put to work to help people and that's what this is about."

"So on policy and on immigration reform, will you today endorse the proposal put forward by Senator Rubio?" O’Donnell asked.

"You know, I really admire Senator Rubio and the kinds of things he's standing for. I think he's moving the right direction," Rep. Cantor replied. "We’ve got a lot of issues to weigh around this debate on immigration. Obviously we're a country of immigrants. My grandparents came from Eastern Europe at the turn of the last century to flee religious persecution..."

"Forgive me, did you say yes or no?" O’Donnell interjected.

"We're a country of immigrants. So I said that I really admire Senator Rubio. He’s going in the right direction. We’ve got things that I believe that need to be addressed from border security to worker programs. And we need to be addressing the situation where you've got some children in this country that are here because of actions of their parents and know no other place than America as home.  So we’ve got a lot of issues, and I believe we’ve got to work in an expedited fashion to address them but do so that we are secure as a country of laws and we can help our economy move forward," Rep. Cantor said.