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U.S. Adds 155,000 Jobs in November; Unemployment Stays at 3.7 Percent; Trump Names Next U.N. Ambassador; Boston Globe Editorial Board: Warren Shouldn't Run in 2020. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired December 7, 2018 - 12:30   ET


[12:30:00] CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: That is a real driver of the American economy and manufacturing having a bit of a comeback. The president takes credit for that, the manufacturing adding 27,000 new jobs here.

What's really fascinating to watch here as well are the wages. You want to see wages continue to move ahead and they have started to percolate a bit. Next month, we'll have to see if the hiring comes back or if we are settling into this new zone of 150,000 net new jobs. It's something that Janet Yellen, the last Fed chief have warned about that when you have a job market this hot, at some point, you can't keep adding to it a thousand every month.


JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Christine Romans with the numbers. Let's dig a little deeper now. Joining me to discuss, Neil Irwin is the senior economic correspondent with the New York Times.

Neil, thanks for spending your time with us. I want to read a tweet you wrote today. I want you to explain it for us. I love when we take the economics and turn them into English.

You have to think that for markets jittery about the Fed over- tightening, this is a goldilocks report. What do you mean by that?

NEIL IRWIN, SENIOR ECONOMIC CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Well, one thing that markets are worried about, the reason the stock markets are down a lot in the last couple of months is the Federal Reserve is going to raise interest rates too much that we might have an economy that really slows down in 2019 because the Fed keeps raising rates in all these sectors that depend on interest rates, autos, home building, things like that slow down.

I was arguing this actually is a nice sweet spot. The market does not agree. The markets down a lot today as -- you know, markets are just nervous about the future and worried about 2019.

KING: Well, to that point, put this into context. This is one jobs report, we should not, you know, go to Vegas based on one jobs report or buy or sell base on just one jobs report. But it comes in this context, you mentioned the markets now what, the DOW is down there, 400, I'm going to look over my shoulder, 411 points at the moment. This has been a really tough week after a pretty tough week in part because of quote unquote tariff man, the president tweeting in the middle of this China stuff. I want you to listen, Peter Navarro is on CNN earlier this morning who says he believes, he believes despite the market uncertainty that the president is going to have a breakthrough with China, this is his argument.


PETER NAVARRO, ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT FOR TRADE AND MANUFACTURING POLICY: China is at a point now -- at an infliction point of either has to change itself structurally and come into the world of free trading nations and be peaceful or it can continue doing what it's doing. If it's going to continue doing what it's doing, we have a president who's going to stand up to that for once and the American people should be appreciative of that


KING: He was optimistic though in that interview. He says the president will stand up, we'll continue higher tariffs, et cetera. He's seemed optimistic, is there evidence to back that up?

IRWIN: You know, I think markets are not optimistic. I think there's not a lot of confidence on Wall Street that this administration really has a coherent plan that might lead to a deal that really resets the relationship with China in a productive way.

You know, the proof (INAUDIBLE), if this happens eventually, I think we'll see a big market rally, we'll see a lot of relief among CEOs, among investors. But until it happens, this has been a very erratic process for months now. We see a tweet here and we see a statement the. We see mixed signals out of different parts of the administration. Until that changes, until there's something concrete, I think we're going to keep getting volatility on markets, we're going to keep seeing a lot of worry out there.

KING: And when you see that worry, let me personalized it. Let's say you are a first term president getting ready to run for re-election, and you have this uncertainty in the markets, some people think in the U.S. economy is strong as it appears in some data could somehow tip into a recession. Here's some headlines recently, "Trump advisers fear 2020 nightmare: A recession", "Job markets are strong and hiring robust in contrast to market fears", "Biggest Worry for Traders? They Don't Know Why Stocks are Moving."

Is it a valid conversation that this U.S. economy for all these 3.7 percent unemployment, healthy jobs data for the most part could tip into a recession?

IRWIN: Look, it's a worry. It's always a worry especially with an expansion going on this long, it will hit 10 years next summer, hopefully. And look at all the things happening. So the tax cuts were big economic boost this year, that fades as time goes on. The trade war has not really escalated until getting into the later part of this year. If this keeps escalating, that's going to hit things in 2019.

The Federal Reserve interest cuts, those will have delayed effects. So those are starting to (INAUDIBLE) -- interest rate increases are starting to really pinch. So these are all things that are contributing to a potentially rough 2019 and 2020 even as the economic data right now is pretty strong.

So, that's the weird disconnect. These markets are predicting the future and getting worried about 2019 and 2020 even as things look pretty good today.

KING: Neil Irwin, appreciate your insights and context on this very much. Appreciate it.

IRWIN: Thanks, John.

KING: Thank you.

Before we go to break today, President George Herbert Walker Bush's protective detail ends its mission. This tweet this morning from the departed president's spokesman, quote, final notification. Timberwolf's detail concluded at 0600 with no incidence to report at the George Bush Presidential Library, College Station, Texas. God speed former President George H.W. Bush, you will be missed by all of us.

We'll be right back.


[12:39:16] KING: Topping our political radar today, a government shutdown delayed. The president signing a continuing resolution earlier this morning that keeps the government open for another two weeks. In between then and now, still some big fights including over funding for the president's border wall.

President Trump's private goal club in Bedminster, New jersey being accused of hiring illegal immigrants. A Guatemalan woman tells the New York Times she used phony documents to get hired as the housekeeper back in 2013. And a Costa Rican woman tells the newspaper she was undocumented when she worked there between 2010 and 2013. The Times note there's no evidence the president or the Trump Organization executives were aware but the women say at least two supervisors at the club helped them to avoid detection to keep their jobs.

From never Nancy to pro-Pelosi. Democratic Congressman Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts changing his mind, now says he will support Nancy Pelosi's bid to be the next House Speaker.

[12:40:06] Lynch was part of a brief and small uprising to block Pelosi from getting the votes she needs. He says he changed his mind after, quote, one of the best conversations he's ever had with her. Pelosi has repeatedly expressed confidence she'll be speaker when they vote on the House floor come January.

And amid growing fraud allegations in a North Carolina congressional race, Democrat Dan McCready has withdrawn his concession to Republican Mark Harris. That vote still uncertified had Harris 950 votes ahead. State election officials now though investigating questionable witness signatures and other problems with the handling of absentee ballots in two counties.


Dan mccready (d), North Carolina congressional candidate: People deserve Mark Harris to tell us what he knew and when. He is the only person that knows the extent of this activity and it's not acceptable for him just to remain silent and hide behind the lawyer. If this election is tainted, there absolutely needs to be a new election because there's people in North Carolina who had their voices silenced and their very rights to vote taken from them.


KING: Up next for us, President Trump naming his pick for the next United Nations ambassador today. And well, for Fox News, the news hit a little close to home.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It looks like it will be Heather Nauert.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And we do know (INAUDIBLE) because Heather had once that job.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh wow, that's right. I guess the career trajectory might prove.



[12:45:34] KING: Welcome back.

The president letting us know earlier today who he wants to succeed Nikki Haley at the United Nations. It's a State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert. Here's the president saying this morning he would nominate her to be the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: She's very talented, very smart, very quick. And I think she is going to be respected by all. So Heather Nauert will be nominated for the ambassador to the United Nations.


KING: Nauert is a former host at Fox News. She started at the State Department just last year, 2017. She's been the spokeswoman for the former secretary of state Rex Tillerson and now the current secretary of state, Mike Pompeo. Taking questions on everything from the administration's travel ban to the North Korean nuclear negotiations. Her nomination comes amid reports that Secretary Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton want to downgrade the position and make it no longer a cabinet level.

With me to share their reporting and their insights, Julie Pace with the Associated Press, Michael Shear of the New York Times, Bloomberg's Sahil Kapur, and Jackie Kucinich with the Daily Beast.

So one of the questions will be, does she have the foreign policy experience to do this job? Another question I have is, I get it. Ronald Reagan elevated to cabinet level, both Bushes took it down, 41 took it down, Bill Clinton elevated it again, 43 took it down, Obama elevated it again. That's a president's choice.

But after this selection where the Republicans get shellacked in the gender job, do you name any woman to any job and then say but we're downgrading it.

JULIE PACE, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, ASSOCIATED PRESS: Well, I think it doesn't look good. There was this really amazing picture from one of the recent meetings that the president had with President Xi of China in Buenos Aires, and every official on both of Chinese and the U.S. side at that table, all of the senior officials were all men. It was a really incredible image and that this was -- would be an opportunity to put a woman at the table.

Now, you can argue that her lack of real foreign policy experience beyond being a spokesperson might not warrant a cabinet position. But it doesn't change the fact that she is going to be in a powerful role. You know, at the U.N., you are in the position to be talking to high level Russian officials, Chinese officials and North Korean officials. You have access to all of these information and you are really a potentially power player.

I think the question will be, whether the downgrading of the position does downgrade the influence she has with Trump.

KING: And to that point, we saw Nikki Haley on Russia's sanctions, on North Korean, on other issues when the Security Council has a big meeting, she was a powerful spokeswoman for the administration. Now -- so, why do you downgrade or why do you put someone with a little experience in the job unless the secretary of state planning to go up and sit in. That's his option if he so chooses.

JACKIE KUCINICH, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, THE DAILY BEAST: Well -- so, one of the ways we're going to see the administration pushing back is because of her proximity to Pompeo. She's traveled quite a bit with him, she was, you know, there with for the North Korea summit both in Singapore and in North Korea. So, they are going to be pushing back in that way, but your question is valid because Nikki Haley while she didn't have any foreign policy experience, she was the twice -- twice elected the governor of South Carolina and, you know, there was some definitely some diplomacy that goes into being the governor of a state.

So, it is -- she is definitely going have to answer questions about this.

SAHIL KAPUR, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, BLOOMBERG: And one of the reason for the downgrading may simple be that -- this White House has a low opinion of the United Nations so they probably don't view this job as quite as important. The background differential between Nikki Haley, twice elected governor of South Carolina, the first woman to be in that position. It's -- you know, it certainly I think a contrast with Heather Nauert who had a broadcasting career before being in the State Department.

KING: Well, you mentioned the broadcasting career and look, whether you think she has the experience to be the ambassador or not, she is a perfected spokeswoman at the podium and that's (INAUDIBLE). We the president watches a lot of television so we know the president is impressed by this.


HEATHER NAUERT, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESWOMAN: I kind of take issue with the tone of your question as though we don't care about this. I think we've been clear in our responsibility and our -- let me finish, and our concern about Americans who are serving on behalf of the U.S. Government and other countries.


NAUERT: OK, OK. Enough said then, I'll move on.

Where there's an earthquake in China, I get many e-mails and calls from all of you asking was it another nuclear test. That is how big of a deal this is that what is going on. Let me finish, please. This is a big deal what is going on, it is a concern to the world not just the United States.


KING: She's a good communicator, absolutely without a doubt. And that is a big part of the job. Here's my question to the point about experience.

[12:50:03] Does she have the stature or is it just that the president, the secretary of state and maybe John Bolton don't want somebody of the stature to do this because this is governor turned ambassador, Nikki Haley.

"I get where he wants to go, I just have a different style of getting us there. I think we agree on most things. There are certainly things that we don't agree on. And when we talk about it, he's the president. My job is to go and do what he needs me to do. But for the most part he's been very willing to listen, very willing to come around."

She talks in this Atlantic interview and other interviews about how she has moved the president. She has gone and say, Mr. President, you know, right destination, wrong route. You know, those kinds of things. Do we think -- does the president not want somebody like that?

MICHAEL SHEAR, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Well, I think it's pretty clear that he doesn't, right? I mean, look, we should give her an opportunity if she gets the job, if she gets confirmed. You know, she may well surprise us in terms of having a kind of more forceful opinion of foreign policy herself. That everything that we know about her background and everything that we know about what the president wants is that he doesn't want somebody pushing back against his idea of what America first means.

He's put people in like Mike Pompeo who agree with him, like John Bolton who agree with him. And there's -- and so what we have to assume is that he's putting Heather Nauert there for exactly that same reasons. To be an effective spokesperson, an effective channeler of his own view at the United Nations which does under state the kind of role that that position often does have in terms of actually doing the tough work of diplomatic negotiations with really tough adversaries around the world.

And now the -- a lot of the questions at the confirmation hearing is, can she do that work.

KAPUR: And Nikki Haley wasn't afraid to stand up to the White House very publicly. Remember when Adviser Larry Kudlow -- on Russia sanctions, Larry Kudlow said, oh, I think she was confused. She said, no, I don't get confused. I wonder if, you know, her successor will have a similar action.

KING: She also said, women who had allegations against the president or any man deserved to be heard. She also said that (INAUDIBLE). We'll see where it goes.

Up next for us, some early stumbles for 2020. Elizabeth Warren and a snub from the hometown newspaper.


[12:56:37] KING: The calendar says 2018, but it's never too early to talk a little 2020.

Elizabeth Warren told a newspaper, having a change of heart about the senator's presidential prospects. In a new editorial, the Boston Globe writing, quote, Warren missed her moment in 2016 and there's reason to be skeptical of her perspective candidacy in 2020. While Warren is an effective and impactful senator with an important voice nationally, she has become a divisive figure. A unifying voice is what the country needs after the polarizing politics of Donald Trump.

That's a big departure from back in 2015 when the Globe urged Warren to mount a presidential run. Warren of course is facing a lot of criticism since she decided to release a video documenting her decision to take a DNA test to prove she says her Native American ancestry. The video intended to rebut frequent attacks the president resulted in mockery on the right and criticism from liberals, some Native American groups who say, she played right into Trump's hands.

Does it matter? The Boston Globe says, don't run.

KAPUR: It matters, I think. They encouraged her to get involved in the last presidential election, it's her hometown paper. I think it certainly makes a difference if they have this change of heart. Now, she was in a bit of bind with the DNA test and with the questions of ancestry. If you don't do it, then you're John Kerry, you get swift boated because these things sit under the political conversation.

And if you do respond, you're arguably playing right into President Trump's hands. So I don't think she had an easy question for her. I think she'll still be formidable but the lesson here, never wait if you want to run for president.

PACE: I was going to say that to me is a big lesson and that's the conversation --

KAPUR: -- lesson in 2012. The longer you wait --

PACE: You hear that conversation around Beto O'Rourke right now who is young, lost his Senate race but there's a definite energy around him and there are Democrats in particular who say, look, you don't know if that same energy, that same enthusiasm will be there if you wait four or eight years. You got to have to take your chance when it comes up.

KING: Ask Barack Obama.

PACE: Exactly.

KING: He saw a Democratic year coming, said Democrats probably going to win, I'm not waiting because then you might have to wait eight years.

This is an interesting take on how Elizabeth Warren handled all this, you know, should she have done the DNA test. Listen to Terry Sullivan who is Marco Rubio, remember Little Marco Rubio from the 2016 campaign. You can't out-Trump Trump. The problem with that is after you set your hair on fire, you have to be willing to double down and keep adding gasoline to your head. And that's not a normal human reaction to being on fire."

Well put, Terry because we know at one point Marco Rubio did sent his hair on fire and did certainly go after Trump all the time and he didn't want to keep pouring the gas.

KUCINICH: I have other (INAUDIBLE) it seems to me that there's no bottom with Trump. He will just keep going lower and lower and other politicians will take a step back at some point. And, you know, the criticism of Elizabeth Warren that she played into his hands, I mean, that was pretty widespread. And the hitting back that you hear even someone like Avenatti I guess is no longer in the running as of this moment. You end up punching yourself in the face and Trump keeps on being Trump.

SHEAR: But I would say, you know, if there's one thing we learned from Trump's candidacy is to never count somebody out because of a political kind of -- sense of political reality that we've all grew up with and that now discarded, right? So, is she damaged because of what happened? Yes, but I -- you know, but I do think we're so early in the process. And, you know, there ways that somebody like her can get past this. There's going to be a huge field of Democrats and won't -- you know, --

KING: I was going to say, giant field and she has a national name, a national following. You can recover but the question is, it's not about falling, everybody falls, but it's about how you get up.

SHEAR: Right.

KING: Thanks for joining us today in the INSIDE POLITICS. I know there's been a lot of breaking news. Appreciate your patience, hope to see you back here Sunday morning, 8 a.m. Eastern.

Don't go anywhere, more news ahead. Brianna Keilar starts right now. Have a great day.