Nightly News | August 14, 2011
LESTER HOLT, anchor: John Harwood is chief Washington correspondent for CNBC . He joins us tonight from President Obama 's first stop, Cannon Falls , Minnesota . Let's first talk about the vacation that comes up after the bus trip. John, Republican candidates are united in the belief that the economy and debt issues make this president especially vulnerable. Is this a good time for him to be vacationing in a place at least perceived as a playground for the elite? Could this blow back on him?
JOHN HARWOOD reporting: Republicans will try very hard to make it blow back, just like Democrats will hit the Republican Congress for taking the entire month of August off. But I think, Lester , average voters here in Cannon Falls and places like it see that as political games. What they want is Washington to do something about the weak economy. The White House and Congress will get a chance to do that when they come back in September.
HOLT: And let's talk about the Republicans . Does Tim Pawlenty 's exit from this race further strengthen Michele Bachmann or does it perhaps give newcomer Rick Perry some more maneuvering room?
HARWOOD: It's an opening for Rick Perry . What makes Governor Perry so dangerous to other Republicans in this primary race is that he can attract the red hot support from the base that Michele Bachmann can, but he can also get the establishment support that Michele Bachmann can't. There's a little bit more of that establishment support that's up for grabs right now, Lester , than there was before Tim Pawlenty got out.
HOLT: John Harwood , good to talk to you. Thank you.