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Rubio Says Tax Law Won't Create Dramatic Economic Growth; Supporters Remain Loyal for President's First Year in Office; Unforgettable Moments in Entertainment That Shaped 2017; Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired December 30, 2017 - 06:30   ET


[06:30:00] ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: He may be right, he may be wrong. We are certainly going to see some stimulus because this is a dramatic amount of money that's going to come flooding into the economy over the next couple of years.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Julian, do you think more congressmen may be sharing their thoughts after hearing what -- after hearing Marco Rubio open up?

JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It wouldn't be surprising. This was an incredibly unpopular piece of legislation and this comes at the time when Republicans are starting to look at polls that are predicting a potential for a wave election in the midterms of 2018 meaning, a positive midterm election for Democrats. So they after voting for the bill will try to separate themselves from the unpopular part of the bill. Put some kind of rhetoric on record to say well, that's not the part of the bill I was for.

But ultimately it is their bill. They have to take responsibility for legislation that passed through a Republican Congress and a Republican White House.

PAUL: OK. Julian, I do want to switch gears here for a second. The president, we are learning this morning, fired the remaining members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV and AIDS, and this is coming of course after this summer when there were six executives who are members of that who left, alleging that, quote, "the president didn't care about HIV" at the time.

Now the council's executive director, we have to be very transparent about this, he says, look, this is typical. New presidents usually do remove the appointees from the last administration. President Obama in fact did this with Bush appointees.

With that said, how confident are you that this council will be refreshed and intact?

ZELIZER: Well, I don't think we have confidence and that's why this is different than some of the other examples that you mentioned, meaning the president has been conducting this battle against certain parts of the public health policy agenda and often that merges with the concerns of the religious right. And so I don't think there's much confidence at this point that there will be not only a restoration of the council but really a vigorous policy to address the problem of AIDS. And so I think that's what leaves many people unsettled by this announcement.

PAUL: Errol, do you see any indication that this council will continue?

LOUIS: No, it doesn't sound like it. I mean, when they were -- I mean, first of all, it was continued in early December, and they suddenly sent out all these FedEx letters telling everybody that the whole thing is disbanded or that their service has been terminated without any rhyme or reason. It doesn't sound like they want this to continue at all. And that's what -- it could have dramatic effect, really. I mean, public health is a very tricky business. There are a lot specific communities, different languages and different ways to reach people to talk about something as important as HIV/AIDS, to the extent that you don't have a lot of input from a lot of different corners of the country, you really can start to see the statistics going in the wrong direction where after years of making the incidents and the spread of AIDS kind of come down, we could start to see a reversal.

PAUL: All right. Well, but again, remember, this is as the executive director says very typical. President Obama did the same thing when he got into office.

On January 1st, I want to get to one more subject here. Transgender recruits, they can start enlisting in the military. Remember President Trump tweeted that they would be banned. That is not the case. The court's decision so far on the issue has been temporary.

Errol, you believe a reversal is in the process here?

LOUIS: Well, no. I don't know if it's a reversal. I think you could end up having the president sort of rhetorically condemning the idea of transgender group, while the Pentagon decided marching along, taking whoever they can get because, you know, especially with the economy recovering, by the way, are all volunteer military force really doesn't have the luxury of turning away people who are able and willing to serve so I think we're going to sort of see the Pentagon and the White House maybe pulling in different directions.

PAUL: Julian, do you agree?

ZELIZER: Yes, I think in some ways the rhetoric is what matters most for the president. I think this is in large part political and as part of President Trump that is less concerned with the policy, less concerned with what's being implemented than his statements about it. And I do think the military will face unfortunately ongoing pressure in the coming years especially with all the foreign policy challenges that are unfolding in 2018.

PAUL: Yes. There is a lot on the table at the moment.

Errol Louis, Julian Zelizer, we appreciate you both so much. Thank you.

ZELIZER: Thank you.

LOUIS: Thank you.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: All right. The tale of two approval ratings. A poll says one thing about how the president is doing his job, but his supporters are saying something else.


[06:38:47] PAUL: So President Trump's approval rating has dipped below 40 percent nationally. This is according to a recent Gallup poll.

BLACKWELL: Yes. But his numbers are pretty high in rural America. They think he's doing a good job.

Our Gary Tuchman spoke with some Trump supporters in North Georgia.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Dawson County, Georgia, is the heart of NASCAR country. It also happens to be one of the most Republican counties in a Republican state.

(On camera): Who did you vote for on Election Day? =


TUCHMAN (voice-over): In this Dawsonville restaurant where every day they honor hometown NASCAR legend Bill Elliott, known as Awesome Bill from Dawson Ville, they also now honor President Trump and his first year in office.

DALE CUMMINGS, TRUMP SUPPORTER: George Washington was the father of the country. Abraham Lincoln held it together. Ronald Reagan saved us from communism. And now Donald Trump is going to save us from ourselves. He's going to build a strong economy.

SONNY SIMMONS, TRUMP SUPPORTER: He's done excellent as far as I'm concerned.

TUCHMAN: Restaurant regular Sonny Simmons is like many people here in saying that good news about Donald Trump is getting swept under the rug.

(On camera): What do you think that hasn't been reported that's been ignored?

SIMMONS: He has since -- they asked him, sign, no telling how much legislation that never gets mentioned.

TUCHMAN: You bring up a good point, Sonny, because he just said himself that he signed more legislation than any president since Harry Truman.

[06:40:08] SIMMONS: He has.

TUCHMAN: Well, here's the thing, though, is that, objective people look at this and find out that he's actually signed less legislation than any president since Eisenhower. So it's kind of the opposite. And the question is why do you think --

SIMMONS: How do you they figure that out?

TUCHMAN: Well, because it's easy. Just count them. That's pretty easy and objective people count them and they say --

SIMMONS: If it wasn't for that Democratic Senate we'd have some good stuff done.

TUCHMAN: But does it concern you when he kind of embellishes a little bit? When he kind of fibs?

SIMMONS: What? He kind of what?


SIMMONS: Doesn't bother me at all.

TUCHMAN: How come?

SIMMONS: Because every one of them is big liars.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Many in the restaurants say the news media, Democrats, and establishment Republicans have been working to keep the president down.

JOHN CARY, TRUMP SUPPORTER: I don't blame him for nothing. In other words, he said what he could do. He's trying to do it and like I say, politicians, you know how politicians are.

TUCHMAN (on camera): How come he doesn't get any responsibility for not being able to pull people together when he promised he would?

CARY: He's trying.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): For proof of that, many here point to the legislation the president just signed.

MARK WOODARD, TRUMP SUPPORTER: A poor man ain't going to create a job. You know, rich people are what creates jobs.

TUCHMAN (on camera): So you like this tax plan because of the benefit it gives corporations?

WOODARD: Yes. Definitely.

TUCHMAN: Do you think that will benefit a man like you?


TUCHMAN: How is that? WOODARD: Well, it's just going to stimulate the economy. Everybody

is going to be spending money. I mean, if they got money, you know, they're going to spend it.

TUCHMAN: So you have faith that these big corporations are going to take that tax savings and invest it in more workers and raise salaries?

WOODARD: Yes, I think so.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): And with 2018 now underway, here's advice for the president from his most loyal supporters.

MICHELLE EVERETT, TRUMP SUPPORTER: He could probably do better with his public relations.

TUCHMAN (on camera): But what would you advise him if you were his public relations expert?

EVERETT: Not to tweet.

TUCHMAN: If you can be talking to the president what would you say he should be doing?

SIMMONS: I would tell him, whatever you want to.

TUCHMAN: Rain check with you?

SIMMONS: Yes. Whatever you want to do, you're the boss now.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Gary Tuchman, CNN, Dawsonville, Georgia.


PAUL: Well, Serena Williams is set to make her return to tennis today nearly a year since we've seen her compete. Andy Scholes is going to have more for us in a moment.


[06:46:27] BLACKWELL: Well, she took nearly all of 2017 off. She had a first child, she got married, but this morning Serena Williams is set to make her return to tennis.

PAUL: Andy Scholes has more on this morning's "Bleacher Report."


PAUL: You look good.

SCHOLES: Yes, you know, it's good to have Serena back.

PAUL: Yes.

SCHOLES: You know, the game of tennis definitely missed her. She only played one grand slam in all 2017. It was the Australian Open. And hey, she won that tournament despite being nine weeks pregnant, but since we last saw Serena, you know, her life has changed quite a bit. She gave birth to her first child in September, a daughter named Alexis. She's named after her father, Alexis Ohanian, who Serena married in November in New Orleans. Ohanian, the cofounder of Reddit.

Now at 36 years old, Serena going to be playing Jelena Ostapenko in Abu Dhabi at 8:00 Eastern this morning. This her first match in nearly a year. It's basically a tune up for the Australian Open which begins in two weeks. Serena enters 2018 with 23 grand slam titles.

All right. In a best non-playoff game this year fifth rank Ohio State taking on eighth ranked USC in the top bowl. This is Georgia's quarterback Dan Donald's last game before he's expected to play for the NFL draft. It was a rough night for him. He was sacked eight times. The Buckeyes just all over him this entire game.

Ohio State quarterback JT Barrett meanwhile, he had a nice farewell game. He ran for two touchdowns including a 28-yarder. The Buckeyes, they won this hot bow pretty easily 24-7.

All right. James Harrison breaking his silence about his departure from Pittsburgh. The Steelers great, he was slammed by his former teammates for forcing his way off the team and then signing with the Patriots. Harrison posting on Instagram, "If anybody thought I'd signed a two-year deal with a team in the NFL at age 39 to sit on the bench and collect a paycheck and a participation trophy, they're mistaken. I didn't sign up to sit on the bench and be a cheerleader."

Harrison played in all five games this season, four in Pittsburgh. It's like being healthy and Patriots head coach Bill Belichik, well, he was once again asked if he thought it was going to be odd seeing Harrison on his team playing for New England, and Bill Belichik, well, he gave a Belichik answer.


BILL BELICHIK, NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS HEAD COACH: This is the National Football League. We take somebody on that's been on our team every week, we have somebody on our team that was with another team that we play against. That's the way it is every week. It's the National Football League. They're not in college now where players don't change teams. This is professional football. It's like that on every year. It's like that every year. It's like that on every team. So I don't see it as some big historical event.


SCHOLES: Yes, that's Belichick for you, guys. And you know, it looks like a lot of people thought, you know, the Patriots signed Harrison because he's going to bring a lot of intel and information on how the Steelers do things in case the two meet in the AFC championship game. It was funny earlier in the week when Belichik was asked about it. He kept saying, I don't know what this has to do with the Jets. Because they're playing the Jets this week. It's a great Belichik answer.

PAUL: And he's so stone-faced. SCHOLES: Yes, that's him for the whole half hour.

PAUL: Yes.

SCHOLES: It's amazing that he never comes out of character at all during those press conferences.

PAUL: Maybe he's still upset about leaving Cleveland. I'm just kidding.

SCHOLES: That was --

PAUL: I'm just kidding.


BLACKWELL: There is always one.

PAUL: That one? Ohio State? Just saying.

SCHOLES: We had something good from Ohio for you in there, Christi.

PAUL: Thank you. I appreciate it. Thank you very much.

SCHOLES: You're welcome.

PAUL: Well, Andy, thank you. Happy New Year, by the way.

SCHOLES: All right. To you as well.


PAUL: So an Oscar mix-up.


[06:50:02] PAUL: A female superhero film. Tons of political satire.


PAUL: Just few of the headlines that dominated the entertainment industry in 2017.

BLACKWELL: Yes, but which story topped our list? We'll tell you next.


BLACKWELL: All right. He is now Sir Ringo. Beatles drummer Ringo Star and Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees, they're set to be knighted by the Queen of England over the next few days.

PAUL: They're being honored for their decades long contributions to music obviously. Star joins his fellow Beatle, Sir Paul McCartney, with the prestigious title. BLACKWELL: Well, the intense political activity in 2017 has a ripple

effect on the entertainment industry. The political spoofs and the MeToo movement.

PAUL: Yes, CNN contributor Nischelle Turner takes us there.


NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: From political spoofs to musical tragedies, to social media movements, entertainment and news intersected like never before in 2017.

MELISSA MCCARTHY, ACTRESS: Sit down. All right. First of all, I'd just like to announce that I'm calm now.

TURNER: "Saturday Night Live" hit record ratings after the latest presidential election and kept the momentum going by spoofing Trumps presidency throughout 2017.

[06:55:08] KATE MCKINNON, ACTRESS: Lock him up.

TURNER: Alec Baldwin's portrayal as the president, Kate McKinnon's double take as Hillary Clinton and Kellyanne Conway, and Melissa McCarthy's scene-stealing take on Sean Spicer made the sketch series required weekend viewing and earned all three actors Emmy Awards.

Superhero movies aren't just a boy's club anymore. From "Batman" To the "Avengers," superhero films have dominated the box office for the last decade. But in 2017 "Wonder Woman" proved females have just as much power on the big screen.

The first female-led superhero film of the 21st century received critical raves upon its release and ruled the summer box office becoming one of the year's highest grossing films. "Wonder Woman" also became the biggest live action film ever by a female director, turning star Gal Gadot and director Patty Jenkins into household names.

Despite new releases from music big wigs like Taylor Swift and Jay-Z, it was a Spanish-language ditty that took over American airwaves in 2017. "Despacito" by Puerto Rican sensations Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee became the first Spanish track to hit number one in U.S. since the "Macarena" 20 years ago. The song's music video went on to become the most viewed YouTube clip of all time with over 4.5 billion views.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking royal news, Prince Harry officially engaged to American actress Meghan Markle.

TURNER: It's time for yet another royal wedding as Prince Harry and American actress, Meghan Markle, announced their engagement in November. The pair met on a blind date, as Harry told reporters, he knew the "Suits" star was the one from the start.

MEGHAN MARKLE, ACTRESS: I can barely let you finish proposing, I was like, can I say yes now? PRINCE HARRY, UNITED KINGDOM: She didn't let me finish. I was like,

and then there was hugs, and I had the ring on my finger, and it was like, can I give you the ring? She was like oh, yes, the ring.

TURNER: All eyes will be on what Markle wears down the aisle when the couple marries May 19th.

A mix-up leads to the most awkward finale in Oscar's history. Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty presented "La La Land" with the Best Picture trophy at February's 89th Academy Awards. But the celebration hit a pause when one of the "La La Land" winners pointed out that "Moonlight" had in fact won the award.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a mistake. "Moonlight," you guys won Best Picture.

TURNER: The uncomfortable moment continues as Beatty explains he had been given the wrong envelope. That mix-up proves that when it comes to live TV, well, anything goes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Details are just coming in, this is very much breaking right now.

TURNER: A terror attack outside an Arianna Grande concert at Manchester Arena in May, killed 22 people. The tragedy was carried out by a lone suicide bomber and injured nearly 60 people. Grande returned to the city in early June to perform in the "One Love Manchester" benefit concert and visited fans injured in the attack at the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital.

Just a few months later, a gunman opened fire at a Las Vegas country music festival killing 58 and injuring hundreds more. The awful events took place during singer Jason Aldean's set at the popular Route 91 Harvest Festival. The Las Vegas attack is the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. Aldean paid tribute to the victims with an emotional performance on "SNL" in October.

Hashtag #metoo shakes up Hollywood. A series of sexual harassment allegations against numerous Hollywood heavyweights sparked an outcry sure to change the entertainment industry forever. Studio executive Harvey Weinstein, actor Kevin Spacey and comedian Louis CK were just a few of the men called to task for their alleged indiscretions. The allegations inspired the social media hashtag #metoo to denounce sexual assault and harassment. The founder of the hashtag #metoo movement was even included in "TIME" magazine's "Silence Breaker's Persons of the Year."

The power of social media continued to keep entertainment in the news and inspiring both change and conversations that are sure to continue in 2018.

Nischelle Turner, CNN, Hollywood.


BLACKWELL: And live from Times Square, Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen host CNN's New Year's Eve's special starting at 8:00 p.m. right here on CNN.

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY WEEKEND, with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.

PAUL: So glad to have you with us on this Saturday. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good morning to you.

All right. So now after more than a year of controversy focusing on the alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election, Russia is now calling for cooperation in a New Year message to the president of the United States.