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WORLD RIGHT NOW WITH HALA GORANI

Alabama Democrat Defeats Republican in Stunning Upset; Trump: We Are Days Away From Passing Tax Reform; Aired 3-4p ET

Aired December 13, 2017 - 15:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:00:28]

HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello and welcome. I'm Hala Gorani.

Tonight, U.S. President Donald Trump is about to give his final tax reform pitch to the American people. Privately, he is likely nursing his wounds

over a stunning defeat of the Republican Roy Moore in the Alabama Senate race.

Voters elected the Democrat instead, Doug Jones, in a very contest, but also in a deeply Republican state. The president all along had backed Roy

Moore even though the controversial candidate was an accused child molester.

And Moore, by the way, has yet to concede to Jones. Now the president in distancing himself from the lost claiming he knew all along that Moore

would not win the election.

Kaylee Hartung reports on the astonishing upset from Alabama.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SENATOR DOUG JONES (D), ALABAMA: I think that I have been waiting all my life and now I just don't know what the hell to say.

KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Democrat Doug Jones becoming the first Democrat in decades to win a Senate seat in Alabama. Stunning the country

by defeating embattled Republican Roy Moore in the deep red state.

JONES: As Dr. King like to quote, the moral arch of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice.

HARTUNG: The Moore campaign refusing to concede.

ROY MOORE, U.S. REPUBLICAN SENATE CANDIDATE: When the vote is this close, it is not over. We got to do is wait on God and let this process play out.

HARTUNG: Doug Jones campaign telling CNN Moore did not call Jones to congratulate him, but the Alabama Republican Party declaring the race over.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Do you expect anything other than Mr. Jones being the next senator from the state of Alabama?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would find that highly unlikely.

HARTUNG: A source close to the White House describing Moore's defeat as an earthquake telling CNN that the results are devastating for President

Trump, who gave Moore a full-throated endorsement in the final stretch of the campaign.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Get out and vote --

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GORANI: All right. We are going to interrupt this report because President Trump has now just made an appearance. He is going to discuss

passed legislation that Senate and House GOPs have agreed on. Let's listen in.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are joined today by college students, young entrepreneurs, families, workers, mothers, and

fathers from all over our nation. You make this country run. It's an honor to be with you. And it's an honor to have you at the White House. And thank

you all for being here. Really fantastic. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

Great people. As a candidate, I promised we would pass a massive tax cut for the everyday working American families who are the backbone and the

heartbeat of our country. Now, we're just days away -- I hope. I hope. You know what that means, right? -- from keeping that promise and delivering a

truly amazing victory for American families.

We want to give you, the American people, a giant tax cut for Christmas. And when I say giant, I mean giant.

(APPLAUSE)

As we speak, Congress has reached an agreement on tax legislation that will deliver more jobs, higher wages and massive tax relief for American

families and for American companies.

The typical family of four earning $75,000 will see an income tax cut of more than $2,000, slashing their tax bill in half. It's going to be a lot

of money. You're going to have an extra $2,000. But there are many more things than that.

Our plan expands the Child Tax Credit for working families. You'll hear the numbers very soon, but they're even larger than anticipated.

It nearly doubles the amount of income taxed at the rate of zero. I don't know if any of you are paying zero. I hope you're not; I hope you're paying

above that. But a lot of people who are having it a little bit tough are going to be paying zero.

It closes special interest loopholes. It lowers tax rates for families.

And our plan also cuts taxes on businesses, which is expected to raise income by an average of more than $4,000. So your income goes up. It's like

having a $4,000 increase, which isn't bad. Which isn't bad.

It's a lot of money to spend. A lot of jobs are going to be created with the money that you spend. Very special.

And it makes America competitive again so we can bring back that simple but beautiful phrase -- you're heard it before -- "Made in the USA," right?

I don't know if they've heard it, but you've heard it.

(APPLAUSE)

Our current tax code is burdensome, complex and profoundly unfair. It has exported our jobs, closed our factories and left millions of parents

worried that their children might be the first generation to have less opportunity than the last.

Our factories have left, so many of them. Gone. But they're all coming back and you see it even before we do this, they're starting to come back. Our

country's starting to do really well again.

And as a country, we're being respected again. We're being respected again.

I'm here today to tell you that we will never let bad things happen with respect to the economy of our country. We're not going to lose our

businesses again like has happened over the last number of decades.

America is coming back bigger and better and stronger than ever before, OK? They'll see it and they're going to see the result.

America isn't content just by getting by. America is about getting ahead, about finding the best in ourselves and in each other.

We're reclaiming our destiny as Americans, a nation that thinks big, dreams bigger and always reaches for the stars.

We didn't become great through massive taxation and Washington regulation.

And by the way, we are cutting regulation at a rate never seen before in the history of our country.

We became great because our (ph) people, our families, and because of our freedom. We became great because of our drive to find the next horizon, to

unlock the next mystery and to begin the next adventure. You know what I'm talking about.

And that's who we are, a nation of strivers and builders and dreamers and doers, people who treasure their independence and don't know how to quit.

Never quit. Never ever give up. Never ever.

I say that, also, to our great Cabinet. And they have done a great job. A lot of things have happened. Nobody's done the job that we have done. When

government loosens its grip, there is no summit we cannot reach.

Our tax cuts will break down and they'll break it down fast, all forms of government, and all forms of government barriers, and breathe new life into

the American economy. They will unleash the American worker. They will tear down the restraints on discovery, innovation and creation. And they will

restore the hopes and dreams of the American family.

Millions of middle-class families will win under our plan. And today we are honored to hear from a few of those wonderful and truly great families.

Bryant (ph) and Ashley (ph) Glick -- right? -- are from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. I know it well. They have two beautiful children with a third

on the way. Bryant (ph) manages a farm equipment store. Ashley (ph) works in health care.

This year, they were in the 15 percent tax bracket. Under our plan they will drop to the 12 percent bracket. It's a big drop.

Instead of itemizing their deductions, they will be able to file their taxes on a single little beautiful sheet of paper. That's good.

(APPLAUSE)

That's good.

And instead of paying $2,600 in income taxes, they will get it down to $2,000. They'll save at least $600 and probably more than that.

Bryant (ph), Ashley (ph), how about saying a few words? You want to? Come on.

BRYANT (ph) GLICK: Thank you, Mr. President. It's an honor to be here.

On behalf of the good people of Lancaster County, my family, and specifically my grandmother, Linda Martin (ph), well done.

We -- many of your predecessors promised this reform was coming, but you did it. That -- we are greatly excited about this. With the tax savings

that we are going to see, we are going to put that money into home renovations.

And I am excited that you were the one that got it over the finish line.

Thank you, Mr. President.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: The Kovacs family also joins us today from Ohio. That's a great state. A lot of success in Ohio.

Adam is a veteran who works in telecommunications. Lindsay (ph) works in administration, admissions at a university. And they have two beautiful

children.

This year, they are currently in the 25 percent bracket and pay nearly $14,000 in taxes. Our plan gives them their time back because they won't

have to itemize, and it gives them nearly one-third of their money back, more than $3,500 for one year.

I would like to invite the Kovacs to explain what our tax cuts will mean for them. They've studied it very closely. These are very smart, sharp

people. They know exactly what we're doing here. And they like it.

Come on up. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

ADAM KOVACS: Thank you, Mr. President. It is truly an honor that you invited the Kovacs family to the White House today.

This is going to be great for our family. We have home renovations that we want to take care of, and hopefully save for our two children to go to

college.

Thank you so much, Mr. President.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: The Giampolo family is from Polk County, Iowa. Anthony is a police officer, and Auburn (ph) is a 911 emergency dispatcher. When they're not at

work protecting and serving their fellow citizens, their hands are full with four wonderful children.

This year, they were in the 25 percent bracket. They're -- itemized deductions, and they've done everything they can. They paid more than

$19,000 in taxes.

Thank you very much, by the way. That's a lot of money.

(LAUGHTER)

(inaudible).

Under our plan, they will file on a single page and save $2,700.

Anthony, Auburn (ph), maybe you'd like to say a few words. Come on in.

ANTHONY GIAMPOLO: Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

Just want to thank President Trump.

Education's very important to our family. Under -- under this bill, our family will be able to save a lot of money. We have a lot of people going

to school. My wife and I are both in graduate school, finishing up. And we still got three other -- four other kids to get through college. So it will

help out a lot. (LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: Leon and Maria Benjamin are pastors of New Life Harvest Church -- and it's a beautiful church -- in Richmond, Virginia. And they have three

wonderful children.

Under our plan, they will get a larger tax refund to help them pay their bills. They'll receive a tax refund this year of $3,000.

Leon and Maria, I would love you to discuss your middle-class tax cut a little bit with the millions of people watching right now on television.

(LAUGHTER)

You do very well. We're very proud of you.

And it is indeed a beautiful church. I got to see a very, very nice picture. We'll have to get there some day soon.

Thank you. Come on in.

(APPLAUSE)

(LAUGHTER)

LEON BENJAMIN: To God be the glory!

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you, President Trump, you know, for inviting us here on behalf of the Benjamin family and, of course, Richmond, Virginia. We represent a cadre of

many families across the nation.

African-American families, urban communities and families all across need this now. And it's time for change, and it's time that we recognize that

our president is making good on his promises.

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you, Mr. President. God bless you. And we'll continue to keep praying for you and your team as you move forward and forge ahead with this new

future in America. God bless you.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: He can be my minister any time.

(LAUGHTER)

The Howard family lives in Tenino, Washington. Isaac (ph) owns an espresso machine service company, and Emily takes care of their four beautiful

children. They're currently in the 15 percent bracket and pay $2,500 in taxes. Our plan will totally wipe out their tax bill, and they might even

get a refund of substantially more than $700.

I'd like to introduce them. Come on up.

(APPLAUSE)

EMILY HOWARD: I'm going to speak for us today.

(LAUGHTER)

We are absolutely blessed to be here. So thank you, Mr. President. It's our joy to stand before you guys.

And what this means to us as a family is that we will be able to pour out into our community, whatever that looks like, giving away to families in

need or setting them up for success in any way that -- whatever God has planned for our family.

I think that that is our goal.

And we are blessed to have such an amazing president. And what a good steward he is of our country.

So thank you, Mr. President.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: Well, thank you all.

It's critically important for Congress to quickly pass these historic tax cuts. And that's going to take place, I think, even before the media -- I

used the word "media," do you notice, as opposed to "fake news media." I don't say it...

(LAUGHTER)

... because today is a very important day and we want everybody to be covered very accurately.

So I'm excited to announce that, if Congress sends me a bill before Christmas, the IRS -- this is just out; this is breaking news -- has just

confirmed that Americans will see lower taxes and bigger paychecks beginning in February, just two short months from now.

(APPLAUSE)

Just got that.

(APPLAUSE)

We just got that.

Fifty-five years ago this week, President John F. Kennedy, a Democrat, launched a historic effort to pass sweeping top-to-bottom tax cuts. A half

a century later, we're reminded that lowering taxes is neither a Republican or Democrat idea, but an American principle and an American idea.

The goal of my administration is for every American to know the dignity of work, the pride of a paycheck and the satisfaction of a job well-done. We

want people to love waking up in the morning and going to work just with that incredible enthusiasm that we have in this country. And that's what

we're going to be doing, and that's what's going to be happening.

Today, we stand on the verge of a new economic miracle. Our economy has already surged to 3 percent growth -- far ahead of schedule, by the way;

far, far ahead -- in each of the last two quarters. And, if we didn't have the hurricanes, we could have hit 4 last quarter; 4, a number that was

unthinkable two years ago, when I started the campaign, and even my first month in office. That was an unthinkable number.

And I'll tell you what: It's going to go higher than that.

We've created 2.2 million jobs since the election. Unemployment is at a 17- year low. The unemployment rate in the manufacturing business is the lowest in recorded history. Consumer confidence is a 17-point high (sic). Pensions

and retirement accounts are soaring as the stock market hits 85 new record highs since the election.

How are we doing? Are we doing OK? Not bad, right?

(APPLAUSE)

And if Congress sends me a tax reform, this is only a small beginning to the incredible things that our people will achieve over a very short period

of time, and the tremendous heights that we will reach economically and so many other ways in our country.

Every day, as this victory draws closer -- I mean, we are so close right now, so close. In fact, almost -- I don't want to talk about it. Maybe we

shouldn't talk about it.

(LAUGHTER)

TRUMP: The cynical voices that opposed tax cuts grow smaller and weaker. And the American people grow stronger.

I heard one of our opponents stand up the other day and say, "This is for the rich." They had no idea. They didn't even see the final bill. I didn't

see the final bill.

This is for the people of middle income. This is for companies that are going to create jobs. This is for very, very special people, the great

people of America.

Everyday hardworking Americans know that the future of this nation will never belong to those who say, "You can't." It will always belong to the

American people who will say, "We will."

It belongs to people like the Glicks, the Kovacs, the Giampolos, the Benjamins, the Howards and the millions of Americans just like them across

our nation who pour out their hearts and souls every single day to take care of their families and the country they love and that we love.

We are going to have a country that celebrates you again. Hardworking great people: You're being celebrated again. Remember that, because you were a

little bit forgotten. You were called (ph) the forgotten people.

Somebody else called me and everybody else the deplorables. Have you ever heard that term? Right? We're proud to be the deplorables. And we're doing

well.

We're going to make our tax system work for you again. We're going to make our economy work for you again.

And we are going to make the American Dream -- and that's the real dream, that will be the dream that you want for your children and your

grandchildren -- once again.

But we need your help to get Congress across that finish line. We'll have very little Democrat support; probably none. That's purely for political

reasons. They like it a lot and they can't say it. They don't like what's happening, but they can't say it.

Some day we have to come together and do bipartisan. And hopefully it can happen soon. (APPLAUSE)

Right?

If you make your voices heard, this moment will be forever remembered as a great new beginning, the dawn of a brilliant American future, shining with

patriotism, prosperity and pride.

With your help, we will bring back our jobs, we will bring back our wealth as a country, and for every citizen across this beautiful land, we will

bring back our great American dreams. Thank you, and God bless you all. Thank you very much. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

[15:22:30]

GORANI: The president of the United States there talking about tax legislation that House and Senate GOP elected officials agreed on promising

a giant tax cut, hoping it will happen before Christmas and promising to sign the bill into law that makes it to his desk before then.

No comment interestingly on the Alabama race and of course, the Alabama race was quite a political embarrassment for the president, Roy Moore, the

candidate he supported, the controversial candidate accused of child molestation.

He lost the race in a stunning, stunning result that saw Doug Jones, the Democratic candidate win this Senate race. He will take a seat in 2018.

And this is then at the White House and you could see there are many Christmas trees there behind the president.

We saw several families brought out in support of this tax legislation, ordinary American families talking about how they would benefit from this

tax plan. The president needs this legislative victory.

Let's bring in CNN political analyst, Josh Rogin now and to talk to more a little bit later as well about the Alabama Senate race, our CNN political

commentator, Symone Sanders, who was the press secretary for presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders.

So, Josh, let's talk first about this legislation. It appears as though this is going to go ahead for the president. It's going to go through.

JOSH ROGIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, that's right. And although the president didn't mention the Roy Moore defeat, it was certainly the subtext

in Washington all day today. It's not a coincidence that only 12 hours after Republicans lost in a deep red Senate seat that somehow they came up

with a deal to reconcile the House and Senate versions of the tax bill and have the president, you know, trumpeted in a press conference.

I mean, they're eager to turn the page and it seems that the deal that they've come up with will as both the House and the Senate to compromise

between the House and the Senate (inaudible) get into the details of that if you want.

But the main point here is that it looks as if before Christmas and again before Doug Jones takes over that seat from Luther Strange that the

Republicans in the Trump administration will have achieved their first major legislative victory.

And it might be their last because after Christmas that their work is going to be that much harder with a slimmer Senate majority.

GORANI: That tax plan has come under some criticism that it benefits the wealthy. The corporate tax -- tax rate will go down to 20 percent.

[15:25:05] Symone, I want to ask you about this stunning victory in Alabama. I just want to get to that because I went to sleep thinking, you

know, London time, woke up to find my phone with I thought I was -- it was such an unexpected result that Jones has won the Senate race in a deeply,

deeply Republican state like Alabama in large part due to higher turnout and black voters.

I want to bring up this chart that shows what percentage of black voters in Alabama voted for Doug Jones. We are there at 96 percent. Talk to us

about how that came about.

SYMONE SANDERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You know, look, I think it was a broad coalition definitely led by black women, black women voted at

upwards of 90 plus percent for Doug Jones. Meanwhile, white women voted in Alabama at 65 percent for Roy Moore, the Republican candidate.

And so, it was black women, young people, young voters across the board, white, black, Latino, Native Americans, Asian-Americans, and otherwise all

pulled the lever for Doug Jones. And then you had some progressive white in the pockets, suburbia and then some moderate Republicans that either

stayed home or voted for a write-in candidate.

And so, this coalition is what pushed Democrat over the top and frankly, this is what pushed Democrats over the top in Virginia. And it's so

interesting that Republicans saw this and the next day they say, well, we need to go on pass the tax bill that raises taxes on all of these folks

that literally just rejected what we were doing in Alabama.

GORANI: And Symone to you, again, I mean, there was such an effective get out the vote campaign, a grassroots effort in Alabama similar to what we

saw in Virginia, but it really worked this time. And I wonder if the Democratic Party needs to look at what happened in Alabama and use that as

a template going forward.

SANDERS: I mean, look, today, we saw that that the chairperson, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Tom Perez, sent out a tweet

today. It's the only tweet he sent out since yesterday and his tweet said, "To be clear, basically black women got us over the hump in Virginia,

Alabama, and this is black women and we are hearing you and you cannot continue to be ignored."

And that tweet is great. That acknowledgement is definitely needed, but it's a resource of investment. Look, there are 27 groups that coordinated

on the ground. Alabamians have coordinated themselves. African-Americans to drive after African-Americans turnout.

They organized over seven weeks, knock doors, and put resources in. There was also a substantial investment from the Democratic National Committee of

a group, "Priorities USA," one of the folks that I work with put $1.5 million into an African-American digital program. Those are the kind of

programs the Democrats have to run if we want to win in 2018.

GORANI: I want to look at the bigger picture, Josh, in terms of the Steve Bannon-Trump wing of the Republican Party. For the last year the narrative

has been the Republican Party is Trump's party now. Where we too soon to declare that? Is there now kind of a rethink do you think in terms of

where the party might be going in the future?

ROGIN: I think a rethink is giving it too much credit. I think there is in a civil war going on inside the Republican Party and this is just one

battle. And while it's clear that the Bannon wing lost this battle, the war is not over, OK.

And let's also remember that Donald Trump was on both sides of this war, right? He supported Luther Strange and then he lost. Then he supported

Roy Moore and then he lost. Then he said that's why I supported Luther Strange in the first place.

So, Trump himself is torn over this. Now, you know, of course, the people who think that Steve Bannon is taking the party down the wrong path or

having a good day about the Republican Party overall is falling apart.

And you know there's no sign in fact getting any better and that's you know a big part. While I agree with everything that Symone said, you know,

there is a big risk here and over analyzing what the Democrats did here when you had a candidate as terrible as Roy Moore.

And sort of, you know, a Republican Party that just handled this in an absolutely the worst way you could imagine. So, whether or not, you know,

Democratic organization combined with Republican disorganization is going to be enough to carry us into the 2018 election and make a real difference

that would flip, you know, one of these chambers is really unknown at this point.

SANDERS: Well, I'll just note that, look, Democrats --

GORANI: (Inaudible) start there, yes.

SANDERS: We have examples in Alabama, Virginia, New Jersey, when Democrats won in Virginia, we also flipped seats all across the country. There's

examples in Kansas, Washington state, so there is something happening across the country. Now the question is can Democrats replicate this in

2018. I think we absolutely can.

GORANI: We got to leave it there. Josh Rogin, Simone Sanders, thanks so much to both of you and thanks for sticking around as well to discuss the

president's address at the White House.

Stay with us. We'll have a lot more on this stunning Democratic win in a Republican state next. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GORANI: Well, just in the last hour, in the British Parliament, there was a big embarrassment for the prime minister of this country, Theresa May,

over Brexit.

The opposition and some opponents in her own party had defied the government's wishes. They've secured a lot more power of scrutiny over

Brexit.

In the end, it came down to four votes. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The ayes to the right 309, the nos to the left 305.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: Our Bianca Nobilo is following the story. So, what does this mean that MPs now get to vote on whether or not they're happy with any final

deal, they can make trouble for the prime minister, they can delay things? Is this why it's such a defeat for Theresa May?

BIANCA NOBILO, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That is one of the reasons, absolutely. This amendment essentially ties the prime minister's

hands. Had the amendment not been passed, the prime minister would've been able to tinker with some of the elements of withdrawal and be able to begin

the process of leaving the European Union before parliament actually gave it the rubber stamp.

Now, nothing can happen. No form of implementation of leaving the EU until Parliament signs off on it. It is embarrassing for the prime minister

because she does have a minority government and she isn't in a strong position.

So, she really, Hala, didn't need this defeat.

GORANI: Well, practically, what does this mean? Because they need to Brexit by March 2019.

NOBILO: They do. And the EU and the UK have both said that they want to agree a final deal by even earlier than that, October 2018. This process

was already moving too slowly for the timeframe and Brexit ministers have, since we heard the results of this amendment vote, come out to say that

they're really concerned that this is going to slow the process down.

So, that's what we're looking at here, Hala. We don't know exactly what this vote is going to look like, this new meaningful vote for parliament

for Brexit. But it certainly adds another obstacle for parliament in terms of approving the Brexit deal.

So, certainly, what's happened today is they've made the process of leaving the EU slightly less efficient for the government, but definitely more

democratic for parliament.

GORANI: Thank you, Bianca Nobilo. Meanwhile in Strasberg, it's full steam ahead for the EU after it voted in favor of moving to the second phase of

these talks with Britain.

EU's chief negotiator is warning there is no going back on the divorce.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[15:35:04] MICHEL BARNIER, EUROPEAN CHIEF NEGOTIATOR FOR THE UNITED KINGDOM EXITING THE EUROPEAN UNION: But we'd have a final agreement only if

political commitments taken by Theresa May in the name of the British government last Friday are respected and we will be vigilant. We will not

accept any backtracking for the UK on commitments in the joint report. All our points of agreement are now closed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: Michel Barnier who is the main negotiator for the EU. He also warned Britain there is no chance of a trade deal being finalized by the

UK's exit date of March 2019. So, lots of delays. More uncertainty. Certainly, something markets don't like.

Still to come tonight. The humanitarian crisis in Yemen is more deadly than the war. CNN gets rare access inside a country that is difficult for

Western journalists to report from. Our Clarissa War joins us next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GORANI: All right. The latest on Yemen and the numbers are always staggering. At least 52 people have been killed in Saudi-led airstrikes in

the capital of Yemen, Wednesday, Sana'a.

And officials say dozens of others are hurt. They say seven strikes hit a military police facility that was full of prisoners. Many of the dead are

buried under the rubble and some people are still missing, so that toll could still rise.

The Saudi-led coalition has been fighting Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen for more than two years now. And the campaign has intensified since

the Houthis killed their one-time ally, the former president Ali Abdullah Saleh last week.

While thousands of people have been killed since the conflict began, the humanitarian crisis in Yemen is taking an even bigger toll. The United

Nations says millions of Yemenis are at risk. Clean water is an issue. Sanitation conditions are deteriorating to shocking levels.

Clarissa Ward got rare access inside the country and she spent time with overwhelmed medical workers in one particular hospital.

CLARISSA WARD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Hala. This is a story we spent more than six months trying to get access to Yemen.

The Saudi-led coalition has been blocking Western journalists from entering the country for many months now.

When we finally did make it on the ground, we were traveling around the south, we found a state that is on the brink of collapse and a healthcare

system that has been stretched beyond its limits. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WARD (voice-over): Yemen is unravelling.

In the north, airstrikes pound Iran-backed rebel stronghold. Among their recent targets, the presidential palace in the capital Sana'a.

In the south, the streets are run by a patchwork of militias. It was unclear who is actually in control. Some are loyal to their sponsors in

Saudi Arabia and the Gulf, others to extremist groups, all vying for control of Aden's port and precious oil resources.

[15:40:10] (on-camera): Life here is dangerous and chaotic. But, surprisingly, it's not the bombs and the bullets that are killing the most

people. It's the humanitarian crisis that is growing by the day as Yemen edges closer to becoming a failed state.

(voice-over): Outside the Sadaqa Hospital, medical waste festers in the hot noon sun. Al Qaeda graffiti still dogs the walls.

Inside, the situation is hardly better. The hospital is in desperate need of everything from ventilators to basic antibiotics.

DR. NAHLA ARISHI, DOCTOR IN ADEN: This is a more serious condition.

WARD: Dr. Nahla Arishi started working here 24 years ago.

ARISHI: This is the worst division now. It has aggravated now.

WARD (on-camera): Because of the war.

ARISHI: We are trying - or doctors are trying, but this is our possibilities, this is what is in our hands.

WARD (voice-over): Three-year-old Hadhar (ph) has been sick with a serious lung infection for weeks.

(on-camera): When did you come to the hospital?

(voice-over): His mother, Jamal (ph), only brought him to the hospital three days ago. She says the journey from her village was too far and too

expensive.

Life is hard since the war. Diseases spread, she tells me. He's my only child.

Chicago pediatrician John Kahler is here to try to help, a rare visitor from the outside world.

On this day, he's visiting the neonatal ward.

There is no soap, just bottled water.

DR. JOHN KAHLER, PEDIATRICIAN: So, in addition to be (INAUDIBLE), these babies are jaundiced, right? And so, they're going to get phototherapy.

WARD: The newborns have to share an incubator, increasing their risk of infection. Doctors and nurses are also in short supply, leaving mothers to

step in and lend a hand.

KAHLER: At this point in time, even if we got more beds here to fill the numbers of patients, we don't have the staff.

WARD (ON-CAMERA): When you look at doctors like Dr. Nahla who could be overseas, are you impressed?

KAHLER: I'm not just impressed. I'm awe-inspired by them. This is a passion for them. The doctors (INAUDIBLE) those are the real heroes.

WARD (voice-over): Heroes armed with little more than determination and resilience.

(on-camera): What goes through your mind when you see a child die because you don't have the right equipment to care for that child?

NAHLA: I can't speak. Also, I'm a mother. I'm a mom. I have three kids. But this is what is in our hand. This is our possibilities. We are daily

speaking, but no one heard us.

Ward (voice-over): A cry for help. But for Hadhar, it is too late. He dies the day after our visit. Another debt that could have been prevented

in Yemen's forgotten war.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GORANI: And Clarissa, Dr. Nahla, this woman you were speaking with, I mean, she's so heroic, and you can tell she was emotional talking about her

own children. And she has the option of going somewhere else, but she's stayed?

WARD: That's what's incredible that she stays there because so many doctors and nurses have gone overseas where they get paid better, where

they're not at risk of being bombed, where they have soap to wash their hands.

Dr. Nahla Arishi and the few others like her, they really are quite heroic in their commitment to stay in Aden, to stay in Yemen, to keep trying to

serve a healthcare system that frankly is on the brink of collapse.

GORANI: Right. And there are so many other health issues with cholera and the rest of it. And we'll be speaking of malnutrition, which is also a big

killer in Yemen.

Thanks very much, Clarissa, for that reporting.

Still ahead, a shock result in a key vote. Alabama voters send a Democrat to the Senate for the first time in 25 years, dealing Donald Trump a major

defeat. How did they do it? We'll take a closer look next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:46:09] GORANI: Well, returning now to that stunning upset in Alabama, the Democrat, Doug Jones, beat the Republican Roy Moore. It really

surprised many, many people, it has to be said.

Jones' surprising win comes in a state where no Democrat had won a Senate race in 25 years. That gives you a bit of context there.

Now, President Trump is trying to minimize the stinging defeating, tweeting, " The reason I originally endorsed Luther Strange (and his

numbers went up mightily), is that I said Roy Moore will not be able to win the General Election. I was right! Roy worked hard but the deck was

stacked against him!"

Doug Jones' victory was fueled by huge turnout and near unanimous support from black voters, according to exit poll data.

The NAACP did a lot more canvassing and campaigning for this race than it did in 2016. Joining me now to talk about how the NAACP tried to push this

Democratic base to get out to vote is Bernard Simelton. He's the president of the Alabama NAACP.

Thanks, Bernard, for being with us. First of all, talk to me about this get out the vote initiative, right? What did it involve? Knocking on

doors? Canvassing? Targeting specific areas, communities?

BERNARD SIMELTON, PRESIDENT OF ALABAMA NAACP: Thank you for having me on. Yes, we did all those. And we were not just getting out to vote

specifically for Democrats, we're non-partisan.

But what we did is we, first of all, galvanized our base, all our units within the State of Alabama who brought us all together and explained what

we need to do to get people out to the polls to vote in this special election.

And so, the next thing we did is we reached out to some of our partners that we have worked with before and some that we had not worked with

before. And we brought those individuals on board and they helped us to put together a campaign that - get out to vote that we had not seen before

the state of Alabama, at least from the NAACP.

GORANI: Because there are reports that in certain American states, you have communities, especially in the African-American, maybe Latino

communities where turnout is lower, where it is more difficult logistically simply to vote. You need ID. You need a certain - it makes it more

difficult for certain voters to cast ballots. Is this something that you aimed to ease some of those difficulties with this initiative?

SIMELTON: Not just with this initiative. The NAACP is involved in a lawsuit against the State of Alabama for its photo ID. But our goal in

going in is, despite those obstacles, we still want people who have those instruments to go to the polls and vote and vote for a person that's going

to represent your interests.

And Roy Moore would not represent the interests of the majority of the African-Americans - all the African-Americans that we talked to and the

majority of the African-Americans in the state of Alabama.

So, we had to push hard. We had to fax some text messages. We had to do phone banking. We had to knock on doors. We had to have rallies. We had

to go out to the colleges, the universities, in our churches, call pastors, to get the word out that people don't sit this one out. The race is too

important to stay at home.

GORANI: You didn't do this in 2016, right? At least not on this scale. But why do you think that it worked - because turnout was about double the

expectation, correct me if I'm wrong, around 40 percent.

Why do you think it worked this time? Were voters energized because of the controversial nature of the views of the Republican candidate? Was it

something else? Were they energized because of the Trump presidency? What was it, do you think?

[15:50:13] SIMELTON: I think a lot of African-Americans stayed at home during the 2016 presidential election. And they saw what staying at home -

what you will get.

Since Trump has been in office, he has done everything he could possibly rollback some of the gains that we have made since the 50s and 60s.

And so, I think with that perception by African-Americans and with us reminding people that if you don't go to the polls, this is what you're

going to get more of.

And so, they saw that they had to turn out in large numbers. And we did. That 40, 45 percent, I think that's going to be right on the money exactly

how many African-Americans turned out.

And while we're proud of that, we should have still had more people turning out because it's just this important that people turn out to the polls and

more.

GORANI: Bernard Simelton, thanks very much, the president of the Alabama NAACP. Appreciate your time today on CNN.

And let's get a view from a Democratic lawmaker, Texas member of the House of Representatives Marc Veasey joins me now from Washington.

I'm sure you are following election coverage, hopefully, on CNN. What were your thoughts when you saw that Doug Jones against really all expectations

won against Roy Moore in Alabama?

REP. MARC VEASEY (D), TEXAS: Absolutely. I mean, I was just elated, sort of texting friends. I went on my personal Facebook page and I did a post

about that. I absolutely couldn't believe it. It was stunning.

But, again, just the - you had talked to the president of the Alabama NAACP just a few minutes ago. I think the work and effort that everyone put into

making sure that Doug Jones was the winner, they need to be applauded.

My colleague Terri Sewell, Congressman from Selma and Birmingham, just all those different forces that went in to making sure that the right thing

happen and those voters also out in the suburbs and out in non-traditional places where Democrats normally wouldn't gain support, the fact that they

had decided to go with Jones over Moore, I think that it just shows that the State of Alabama stepped up and did the right thing.

GORANI: You had big stars. You had Charles Barkley come out and ask all communities, African-Americans as well, might have been encouraged by his

words to get out to vote.

This is what he said about the Democratic Party after the Jones win.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHARLES BARKLEY, FORMER BASKETBALL PLAYER: This is a wakeup call for Democrats. You Democrats - and I told Mr. Jones this and I love Doug,

they've taken the black vote and the poor vote for granted for a long time. It's time for them to get off their ass and start making life better for

black folks and for people who are poor.

They've always had our votes and they have abused our votes. And this is a wakeup call.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: So, there you have it. I mean, what he's saying, Marc Veasey, there, you can't really deny, right? The Democratic Party has taken for

granted many of these communities. The Democratic Party needed big stars like former basketball player Charles Barkley to energize voters. It's not

necessarily the party that did that. The party has to look at itself long and hard in the mirror now, doesn't it?

VEASEY: I think that the party is always looking for new ways, new efforts to do outreach into the African-American community. No community wants to

be taken for granted. I mean, I think that Charles Barkley's words were very strong and -

GORANI: But do you agree with him? Have the Democrats taken for granted the working-class Americans, the African-American, the Latinos, taken them

for granted?

VEASEY: If you look at our agenda here in Washington DC, if you look at the agenda that we have led by Nancy Pelosi on the House side, you'll see

that the issues that are important to African-American voters, those are the issues that are the most important within the Democratic caucus. Those

are our top priorities.

So, I disagree with Charles Barkley. But always think that we can do better. Always think that there is more work we can do to show communities

of interest, African-American communities, Latino communities that, hey, we're doing more to step up our outreach and to get you engaged and make

you a part of the process, so we can do better for everybody in the country regardless of race for that matter.

GORANI: Here you had a victory in Alabama for your party. But putting it in context, it was against one of the most flawed, controversial

candidates, probably one of the most controversial candidates in American political history. So, this happened.

Going forward, you have the midterms next year. What is the strategy for the Democratic Party?

VEASEY: I think that the strategy is state by state and district by district. If you're running statewide in the Senate or you're running for

governor, you need to make sure that you reflect the values of your individual state.

[15:55:13] Again - and the same thing if you're running for a district. You need to come up with views that represent that respective district. A

district in Berkeley, California, for instance, is not necessarily going to have the same interests as someone that may be running - a Democrat that

maybe running a competitive race in a congressional district in the State of Alabama or Texas for that matter.

GORANI: But that's always true, Marc Veasey. That's always true in every election. But in the era of Donald Trump, how is your strategy different?

VEASEY: Well, first of all, Donald Trump is the gift that keeps giving. And so, as long as he continues to tweet, as long as he continues to quite

frankly open up his mouth and as long as the Steve Bannons of the world continue to run these far-right candidates, that's going to help us add

tremendously.

I think looking forward into the future that we need to find out long-term ways how we can connect with these new constituencies. According to a lot

of exit polling that was out there, there were a lot of people that traditionally didn't vote Democratic that voted for Doug Jones this time

around.

What can we do to make them longtime Democratic voters? I can tell you where I'm from in Fort Worth, Texas that a lot of Republicans are telling

me that the Republican Party of today, this far-right extremist Republican Party is not the Republican Party that they grew with up in the 80s and 90s

and under George W. Bush, and they're looking for other options.

And I think that we have a tremendous opportunity here to really tap into that and make those our long-term voters, or at least have them give us a

good second look.

GORANI: We've got a few seconds, 30, 40 seconds. But Democratic Party can't just keep describing itself as the opposition to the Republicans.

They also need their own message. What is it? In a few words.

VEASEY: Well, we're going to continue to push our better deal. We're going to continue to talk about the fact that the Republicans' tax plan is

raising taxes on middle-class Americans and those issues that we know that the American public disagree with the Republican Party on, we're going to

continue to highlight that for them. And also, push our agenda.

Nancy has a great agenda for us. They've worked very hard on the messaging for the Democratic Party, and I think we're going to do great this midterm.

GORANI: Marc Veasey, thanks very much, a representative from Texas. Appreciate it.

Thanks for watching tonight. I'm Hala Gorani. Stay with CNN. "Quest Means Business" is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

END