This is a rush transcript from "Your World," October 4, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST OF, “YOUR WORLD”: So, is the president losing many in his party?
Let’s ask Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, Democrat, of course, fine state of Missouri, the Congressional Black Caucus chairman as well.
Congressman, good to have you back with us.
REP. EMANUEL CLEAVER, D-MO.: Good to be with you.
CAVUTO: Is the president losing a lot of his friends, or how would you define it?
CLEAVER: No, no, he’s not losing any of his friends.
I think that, you know, it’s a lose-lose situation if you’re in the Senate, because, if you go to Saint Louis and miss votes, you get criticized. And if you stay here and don’t stand beside the president, you get criticized.
And I think that, you know, any criticism of the president right now is based on a generic opponent. After the nomination process, I think it will be clear, the president vs. a real person, and not a hypothetical, and I think you are going to find that the party will coalesce around him.
CAVUTO: In the meantime, a lot of them are abandoning him, or at least not showing up at events with him. What are you to make of that? Now, you might be right. It might be scheduling issues and vote issues, but we see it popping up more often, don’t you think?
CLEAVER: Well, sure.
You know, if the president were in Kansas City, I would probably be there, since we don’t vote on much that has substance to it here. And so I would probably go to the event and introduce him. And, now, be sure, Missouri is a tough state.
CLEAVER: Remember that McCain won Missouri. It was the last state to be called in 2008. In fact, it was a photo finish. I think McCain won by less than 4,000 votes. So, I think that...
CAVUTO: But if you’re Senator McCaskill, and you’re not using the president in a lot of your campaign literature, even commercials, I mean, that says a lot right there, doesn’t it?
CLEAVER: Well, it says -- it says that she wants to stand on her own, that she has been conservative on fiscal matters, and she’s still with the president on issues with which they agree.
It’s a tough deal, I think, right now, because, ultimately, I think all Democrats and Republicans, too, must ultimately try to respond to their constituents. And I think...
CAVUTO: No, but -- I know. And I was just saying, you’re your own man, and you have taken a lot of heat when you stand by the president and all that regardless.
But the fact of the matter is, if someone has the juice, you stick by the guy who has the juice. If you perceive that he’s losing his juice, you back away. And that’s kind of what I’m seeing, Congressman, from many in your party, so much so that some tell me we wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a challenge to the president, if even a token one, in the election.
Do you see that?
CLEAVER: Well, there won’t be a challenge to the president, not at all. You know, that kind of thing just doesn’t happen.
And to have a challenge against the president would probably put -- it would have to be somebody who is way out in left field, maybe out of the ballpark, because they would become persona non grata inside the party. Their political career would be over.
CAVUTO: Yes, if they deem -- but, Congressman, if they deem the whole ship is going down, they could pull what Eugene McCarthy did and later Bobby Kennedy did in 1968, what Ronald Reagan did with Gerald Ford in 1976, what a host of others have done to challenge what they view to be an embattled, if not weakened, incumbent president. It has happened.
You don’t think it’s going to happen?
CLEAVER: It will not happen.
CLEAVER: There are not a lot of things I’m sure about. I’m absolutely certain that Barack Obama will not be challenged in the Democratic primary.
And even if that were going to happen, we would already have somebody trying to push his or way into public view. That’s just not going to happen. I think we have had a couple of people, one on the House side, one on the Senate side, to say that that would be a good thing and kind of encouraged it, but that’s just really not going to happen.
Well, you’re right. They’re running out of time to do it.
Congressman, it’s always a pleasure having you. Thank you very much.
CLEAVER: Good to be with you.
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