Eric Cantor v. America


Square-chinned Republican Congressman Eric Cantor—one of the party's deputy whips—sat yesterday for an interview with Chris Matthews that hit so many wrong notes I assumed I misheard him. Well, I didn't. Here's the transcript.

MATTHEWS: Let me ask you Congressman Cantor, very clearly, to clear up our discussion, if the U.S. Congress were to discuss tomorrow morning whether to declare war on Iran, would you vote yay?

CANTOR: This congress is not going to do that because it`s the commander in chief`s role, Chris, and Steve knows that as well. It`s not Congress that will ask for that. It is the commander in chief that will make that decision. Every president whether republican or Republican or Democrat since the War Powers Act was in place has interpreted it as being the commander in chief`s role to do that.

Matthews throws it to Democrat Steve "Wiped Off the Map" Israel.

MATTHEWS: Congressman Israel, what`s the role of Congress in war and peace?

ISRAEL: Congress under the Constitution of the United States authorizes war. The War Powers Act requires Congress to vote on whether we should insert troops into hostile situations. The law is clear.

CANTOR: Absolutely not.

ISRAEL: Come on, Eric.

CANTOR: As a commander in chief the constitution gives…

MATTHEWS: Congressman Cantor, why did the president ask for approval of Congress before he went to Iraq?

CANTOR: I certainly think his counsel gave him guidance why he need to do that but the Constitution gives the commander in chief the right to send our troops into battle.

MATTHEWS: Maybe when it comes to war we don`t need a Congress according to that.

Here's the War Powers Act. You can figure out whether it means the president can commit to any war with the option of informing Congress, or if it means… something else.