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CNN NEWSROOM

Trump: Another Shutdown, National Emergency On The Table; Trump: Nancy Pelosi Is "Very Bad For Our Country"; GOP Senator: "Chances Of Reaching Agreement Are Slim; VA Governor Northam Not Resigning Amid Growing Pressure To Out; Growing Field Of Dem Women Candidates Face Unique Challenges; MMA Fighter With Pending Murder Charges Escapes; Patriots, Rams Set To Face Off In Super Bowl LIII; NFL MVP Mahomes Predicts Another Patriots Title. 3-4p ET

Aired February 3, 2019 - 15:00   ET

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


[15:00:00] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: But the President has already referred to those talks as a "waste of time." And in an interview with CBS, did not rule out another government shutdown.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARGARET BRENNAN, CBS NEWS ANCHOR: Would you shutdown the government again?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, we're going to have to see what happens on February 15th and I think --

BRENNAN: You're not taking it off the table?

TRUMP: Well, I don't take anything off the table. I don't like to take things off the table. It's the alternative, it's a national emergency, it's other things and, you know, there have been plenty national emergencies called, you need a wall. And anybody that says you don't, they just playing games.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: CNN's Boris Sanchez is in West Palm Beach, Florida, not far from where the President's Mar-a-Lago facility is. So the clock is ticking towards another shutdown. Where do things stand?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Fred, things are essentially where they were about a month and a half ago with Democrats and Republicans playing this game of chicken with a government shutdown looming and engaged in a shouting match, President Trump going after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a spokesman for the Speaker responding.

The President effectively frustrated because Democrats have made some concessions to Republicans offering added funding for personnel at the border and technology at the border to boost border security, but not a single cent for his long promised border wall that's why he says that these negotiations are a waste of time and he's taking aim at Nancy Pelosi.

Listen to more of what he said to CBS in an interview that aired earlier today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: She knows that you need a barrier. She knows that we need border security. She wanted to win a political point. I happen to think its very bad politics because basically she wants open borders. She doesn't mind human trafficking. She wouldn't this because, you know --

BRENNAN: She offered you over a billion dollars for border security.

TRUMP: Excuse me?

BRENNAN: She offered over a billion dollars for border security. She doesn't want the wall.

TRUMP: She's costing the country hundreds of billions of dollars, because what's happening is when you have a porous border and when you have drugs pouring in, and when you have people dying all over the country because of people like Nancy Pelosi who don't want to give proper border security for political reasons, she's doing a terrible disservice to our country.

BRENNAN: You're still going to have to deal with her, though.

TRUMP: Now, she can keep playing her games, but we will win because we have a much better issue.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: A spokesperson for the House Speaker shot back saying that the President was reckless during the first government shutdown, suggesting that he has mischaracterized and misrepresented where Democrats stand on the issue of immigration and suggesting that they stand for open borders.

To point out your point, Fred, about the President suggesting that he might declare national emergency on Tuesday night when he said to address the nation in the State of the Union speech, CNN got a preview of that speech, nothing in there indicated that he was going to declare a national emergency. It was mostly just outlining a path forward, how the country should unite and move on past the government shutdown.

But, of course, the President has said that he is inching toward potentially making that declaration, something that Republicans have spoken out against. We got a report from "The Washington Post" last week that indicated that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell actually tried to sway the President from taking such a step because he believes that it could split Republicans and we may end up seeing, if the President makes that declaration, some kind of vote in Congress that would disapprove of that move.

And ultimately Republicans are worried that it could set a dangerous precedent for the Democratic administration and potentially declaring an emergency and getting funding for an issue that Republicans are not as aggressive on, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, Boris Sanchez in West Palm Beach, thank you so much.

All right, joining me right now, Democratic Strategist Dave Jacobson and conservative host of "The Ben Ferguson Show," Ben Ferguson. Both men are also CNN Political Commentators. Good to see you both.

DAVE JACOBSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Thanks for having us.

WHITFIELD: All right, so Dave, you first. You know, what do you think of the President, you know, saying -- describing the House Speaker, you know, as playing games when it comes to negotiations and border security?

JACOBSON: I think the President is just totally divorced from reality, Fred. I mean, the fact to the matter is CBS put out a news -- a poll today that showed a whopping 66 percent of Americans do not want the President to call a national emergency in order to fund the border wall. That's staggering. That is a two-thirds majority of the country. He's clearly out of step with the American people. The November 2018 election underscored that.

And I think the fact is Republicans in Congress are increasingly splintering from the President because they know this is a losing issue for them. And so I think the play now is going to largely be a function of what happens in Congress with Senate Republicans and whether or not they're willing to cut a deal with Democrats.

WHITFIELD: OK. So listen to what President Trump had to say about the historic shutdown.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: On the 15th, we have now set the table beautifully because everybody knows what's going on because of the shutdown. People that didn't have any idea, that didn't have a clue as to what was happening, they now know exactly what's happening. They see human trafficking. They see drugs and gangs and criminals pouring in.

Now, we catch them because we're doing a great job. But if we had proper border security, we wouldn't have to work so hard and we could do an even better job. And I think Nancy Pelosi is doing a terrible disservice to the people of our country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[15:05:12] WHITFIELD: So, Ben, you know, we --

BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes.

WHITFIELD: -- you know, Dave just talked about the polling which shows that, you know, contrary to what the President is saying. Is he just not listening? Is he just out of step? Is he just so entrenched in the wall that he doesn't want to hear that the wall idea is not popular? FERGUSON: Well, I think that the border security is extremely popular, and when you try to make --

WHITFIELD: Border security, but the wall.

FERGUSON: -- a political argument of Donald Trump being Donald Trump's wall, that's when you see the partisan politics of this come in.

I would go back to -- you know, I love stats and polls and data, and what's staggering is the fact that Nancy Pelosi is refusing to govern when she is only 33 percent of the leadership of this government. She's refusing to compromise. And she's holding the American people and the government and the employees' hostage by refusing to govern.

This is the same woman that promised that she would be willing to negotiate on border security if we reopen the government. And the President did the right thing by reopening the government and now she refuses to negotiate.

WHITFIELD: Except that you did hear that Democrats were offering money for personnel and for technology, some of the same things that Republicans wanted.

FERGUSON: Right, which is -- yes, that's like saying I'm going to give you money so you can put an alarm system in your house, but you're not going to have windows or doors. It's just -- it doesn't work unless you have all of the different aspects of border security together, which includes a wall.

I also think it's very clear that if you talk to border security agents, they say, then you look at the cities where there are barriers up, you cannot argue the fact that the illegal crossings dropped drastically 70 percent to 90 percent.

So, what Nancy Pelosi needs to do is learn to govern and not just say I refuse to work with people. One thing that's very clear, you cannot get anything done with a budget without actually working together with the other side.

So to Nancy Pelosi, you're only 33 percent of the leadership. The other 66 percent is the Senate Republicans and the President being the president. You need to actually realize you have to work together with the other side saying zero dollars for anything you want is holding the American people hostage. That's not governing, that's not being as Speaker of the House.

WHITFIELD: Except there have been some Republicans who were on board with that very notion. So listen to what Republican Senator Richard Shelby who is working to negotiate a bipartisan deal on border security told CNN today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. RICHARD SHELBY (R), ALABAMA: I think that the President is dead set on keeping his campaign promise. I support border security, a wall, a fence, a barrier, whatever it takes. I also support enhance procedures, technology and more manpower. We've got to have a comprehensive approach to this.

I believe that we've got a chance this week to move things. Will we? We don't know. The President could be right. We could be wasting our time. On the other hand, we could come up to a solution. But as long -- Jake, as long as the Speaker and the President are way at odds, the chances of us reaching an agreement are slim.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: All right. So, Dave, are the chances very slim? Does this mean that the path is being crafted for another potential shutdown or for an emergency declaration by the President?

JACOBSON: Well, I hope not, Fred. Look, I agree with Ben in the sense that we need a compromise. And I think there are some moderate Republicans that are willing to sit at the table with Democrats. You've got Cory Gardner, Lisa Murkowski. John Cornyn even came out earlier this week in the hills of that "Washington Post" story illuminating on the idea that Mitch McConnell did not want the President to call a national emergency.

So, I think there's a couple of these Republicans who are willing to be pragmatic here, who are willing cut a deal. Democrats overwhelmingly support border security, they just don't support the wall. They're for more border patrol agents, they're for drones, they're for heightening technology sensors --

FERGUSON: They're for everything as long as Donald Trump's name is not with it, that's the problem here.

JACOBSON: Well, the challenge --

FERGUSON: I mean, anything Donald Trump is in favor of, you guys immediately say, "Oh, Donald Trump likes not, now I'm against it," even though if you go look at Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi's own words in the park past, they were in favor of walls and barriers until Donald Trump was in favor of it. And that's the reason why they don't understand their job.

Their job is to govern and to work together and to compromise and it's basically now the Democratic Party is whatever Donald Trump says in favor of, we automatically are against it for political reasons, not for the issues of the American people, the 800,000 workers who may not get another pay check and be delayed. You're toying with them and it's wrong.

WHITFIELD: So, Dave --

JACOBSON: I think that we --

FERGUSON: Go ahead.

JACOBSON: I think the reality is increasing if there are some moderate Republicans in the Senate that are willing to cut a deal with Democrats, the President is increasingly going to become irrelevant. Democrats and moderate Republicans do not want another government shutdown. Overwhelmingly, you see Mitch McConnell does not want the President to embrace an emergency order to build a wall.

[15:10:00] And so I feel like there is an opportunity for common ground. It's a build consensus with some pragmatic common sense, Republican, GOP members in the Senate along with Democrats. And it looks like the conversation is advancing. We'll see what will happen this week.

WHITFIELD: So, Ben, you have to wonder if Mitch McConnell is cautioning the President against declaring a national emergency. Is the Senate majority also telling the President asking, requesting him to bend to have a little bit more, you know, pliability on the whole wall?

FERGUSON: Look, I think Mitch McConnell is smart when it comes to the President, that's why he doesn't like the state emergency really because he knows down the road another administration, Democratic administration may just circumvent and go around --

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: But it seems like it's one or the other. Isn't the President threatening that it's one or another? It's the wall. And if not the wall, then he's declaring a national emergency.

FERGUSON: Look, I think the President is saying every options on the table, which is a strong negotiating point for this president. If Nancy Pelosi refuses to govern and even sit down and compromise, remember, this is a woman who said you reopen the government, we will negotiate. Then immediately she says, "I'm a liar. No, I'm not going to negotiate with you. You get zero dollars, zero dollars."

So if the President said I only want $1 for border wall funding, you're telling me you would hold the 800,000 American workers. That government workers are hostage and the rest of the American people are hostage over $1? That's what she said. That's not being a leader.

WHITFIELD: So then -- so, Dave -- Dave, what's your response to that? Is it Nancy Pelosi who is not being the negotiator, get the government open and then we'll negotiate or is it the President who is not negotiating?

JACOBSON: I don't think there's any need to negotiate when Donald Trump said that there was going to be a big concrete wall that was going to be paid for by Mexico. The fact of the matter is taxpayer should not spend $5 billion --

(CROSSTALK)

JACOBSON: -- on something that Donald Trump said Mexico would pay for, number one. Number two, Nancy Pelosi is acting as -- Ben, let me finish. Nancy Pelosi is acting as a vehicle and a voice for the American people. In poll after poll, we have seen the American people fundamentally oppose the border wall overwhelmingly we saw that in the last election when Donald Trump dug his deals in a campaign against his hard edge immigration stands with the caravan. The American people profoundly rejected that.

FERGUSON: Dave, Nancy Pelosi has been one of the worse ratings we've ever seen.

WHITFIELD: So, Ben, would that never to be believed, that was never to be believed the whole Mexico paying for it?

FERGUSON: No. I think when the President -- before the President was actually the president, he genuinely thought that he was in a position where he would have a government that would fight hard and make sure the wall was built and Mexico pay for it. And then when you go to Washington, you see how broken it is, proof of it is Nancy Pelosi saying, I want to give you $1 and I'm willing to shutdown the government over it.

WHITFIELD: And that's why Mexico doesn't paying for it?

FERGUSON: He had to change. He had to adapt. He had to move in a different direction. And so what the President said is -- look at the compromises here. He's even said I'm willing not to have a wall everywhere. I'm willing to listen to experts. They even said, if you guys don't like a concrete wall, I'm willing to make it steel slats. And he's trying to compromise with the Democrats on this issue.

And every time he tries to compromise, which is what real leaders do, Democrats have said, "We refuse to work with you, we refuse to talk to you, we refuse to sit down with you." Nancy Pelosi --

WHITFIELD: But the Mexico is still paying for it?

FERGUSON: -- the only thing that matters to her is beating the President. It's not about security or safety of the American people.

WHITFIELD: OK. Ben Ferguson, Dave Jacobson, thanks so much.

JACOBSON: Thank you.

FERGUSON: Thanks.

WHITFIELD: All right, President Trump will deliver his State of the Union address on Tuesday evening to Congress and the American people. Our special live coverage starts Tuesday night 8:00 Eastern right here on CNN.

Still ahead, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam still refusing to resign after the emergence of racist photos in his medical school yearbook and on his page. But there's a growing course of members in his own party and some of his closest friends telling him to step down.

And later, more women than ever running for President in 2020, but are they facing familiar attacks from their male critics? (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:17:59] WHITFIELD: Virginia's governor is ignoring repeated calls to resign over the revelation of a racist photo in his medical school yearbook. Everyone from Hillary Clinton to Joe Biden and several politicians on both political sides are demanding Ralph Northam to step down. But he is being defiant saying he will not resign.

Northam has said that he is not in the picture showing the people dressed in blackface in a Ku Klux Klan outfit.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. RALPH NORTHAM (D), VIRGINIA: When I was confronted with the images yesterday, I was appalled that they appeared on my page, but I believe then and now that I am not either of the people in that photo.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Here's a confusing part, he made those comments a day after he already admitted that he was in the photo.

CNN's Jessica Dean is in Richmond, Virginia. Still lots of unanswered questions.

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's definitely true, Fredricka, namely will he stay or will he go? Here we are about 24 hours after that news conference, and still Ralph Northam is remaining governor saying -- giving no indication that he's going to be resigning any time soon.

In the meantime, after that news conference, we continued to hear more and more Democrats calling for his resignation, notably, Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, both former Governors of the Commonwealth as well as Representative Bobby Scott all coming out after privately trying to convince him to resign.

And then finally their patients just growing thin when he gave no indication that he would, they came out publicly and calling for his resignation. That continued throughout the night.

And so here we are on Sunday with no indication that he's moving at all. The head of the Legislative Black Caucus here in Virginia, which has also called for his resignation was on ABC News this morning talking about potential next steps. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: If the governor does not resign, will you move to impeach?

[15:20:00] LAMONT BAGBY (D), VIRGINIA LEGISLATIVE BLACK CAUCUS CHAIRMAN: George, I hate having that discussion right now.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Oh, it's out there. BAGBY: Yes. I encourage the governor to step aside so he can start the healing process. I'm not at the point where I want to publicly have a conversation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DEAN: So it remains to be seen if the legislature will make any of those moves in the coming days. In the meantime, like I said, the governor here, believing that he can move forward and continue to govern, that he -- as he said yesterday, can earn back the trust of Virginians.

But, Fredricka, still so many people with so many questions about all of this, and again it all comes back to what kind of pressure point does he have, and is there a tipping point when he will think that he can't move forward as governor? That remains to be seen.

WHITFIELD: Jessica Dean in Richmond, thank you so much.

So one prominent voice Northam is ignoring is former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe. Northam served under him as lieutenant governor. McAuliffe told CNN's Jake Tapper that Northam will do the right thing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TERRY MCAULIFFE (D), FORMER VIRGINIA GOVERNOR: Once that picture with the blackface and the Klansmen came out, there is no way you can continue to be the Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Ralph will do the right thing for the Commonwealth of Virginia. He will put Virginia first and I think that will happen relatively soon. You've got to work as one unit to move your commonwealth forward, and he's just not going to have that ability to do it.

The head of the Black Caucus yesterday said if he doesn't resign, they'll move to remove him themselves from the legislature. So, we just need to put this behind us. We need to move forward and that's what we have to do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: With me now is NAACP former President and CEO Ben Jealous. Thanks so much for joining me. So, Ben, let me get your reaction to the former Virginia governor talking about impeachment, whether that is an option that will be exercised. Do you see it happening?

BEN JEALOUS, FORMER PRESIDENT AND CEO, NAACP: Terry is right, the state has to move forward and all options have to be on the table. You know, I don't know how the process of impeachment works there, but it's pretty clear that there is a bipartisan consensus that this governor has to go and it's certainly the case that they have the power to remove them. They have the power to remove him if he will not do the right thing and remove himself.

WHITFIELD: But is that really the case? I mean, since this took place before he became governor. So, what would be the grounds in which he would be impeached?

JEALOUS: You know, I think that's a question for the leaders in his state. We have never seen consensus like this mount so quickly for a governor to go. You know, we're certainly thinking new -- you know, in a new place.

What's clear is that, you know, this governor has made a series of disturbing comments and it's clear he appeared in blackface. You know, he's admitted as much.

WHITFIELD: Right. But when you heard him during that press conference, he still didn't see that as reason to step down. I mean, he answered, you know, questions and delivered statements that now say he is not associated with that photograph, neither one is him. "Oh, but by the way, I did, you know, put a blackface on to be Michael Jackson in a dance contest." He didn't seem to be -- he didn't even seem, you know, to appear that that was wrong.

He also talked about what it was to know that getting shoe polish off your face would be difficult. Well, if you know that, then you know you've done that before. But then -- but he really didn't seem like he was budging. He seems like --

JEALOUS: Not at all.

WHITFIELD: -- he was defending himself staying --

JEALOUS: I mean two things are clear.

WHITFIELD: -- in the gubernatorial, you know, seat.

JEALOUS: I mean two things are clear. One, there's just no way I see that he can possibly fulfill his full term. You know, two, is that when he is replaced, he'll be the first governor to have donned blackface to be replaced by a governor who is black.

WHITFIELD: Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax.

JEALOUS: Yes.

WHITFIELD: And he remains very quiet. I mean, you know, can you see where he is coming from in that? This is a very difficult place for him to comment any further than he has.

JEALOUS: It's got to be difficult.

WHITFIELD: Right. You know --

JEALOUS: Well, and quite frankly, race was an issue when they ran. You got to remember that the Northam campaign put out, I believe, two flyers that did not have Justin Fairfax on it. And of course, it's customary even though they run separately that they both appear together on all of the lit. And so it's got to be a very awkward thing for Justin.

WHITFIELD: So Northam said, you know, the easy thing to do would be to resign. And instead, you know, he wants to stay because he wants to, you know, force the conversation on race. How will he be in a position, you know, to commandeer that kind of conversation, to promote healing when so many who know him who still consider him a friend, you know, say that they are pained and hurt by this?

[15:25:13] JEALOUS: The only way for him to do it is to resign. You got to remember, when somebody runs for office, they have a responsibility to get out in front of issues that might disappoint or confuse or enrage voters.

You do, you know, when I ran for governor here, you know, we did all this opposition research on me, but I also sat down with my team and told them anything I thought that might be an issue.

And so when a candidate decides not to disclose to his team that he has something like this and he's, you know, this type of skeleton in his closet, he's building a time bomb. And this time bomb exploded on him. I'm sure he hoped he would get all the way through without anybody discovering he used to run around in blackface. But now that it's gotten out there --

WHITFIELD: Well, it has been 30 years.

JEALOUS: Yes. She has --

WHITFIELD: That's a long time of silence from anyone.

JEALOUS: But it was 1984, you know. Yes.

WHITFIELD: Right.

JEALOUS: I mean, you know, this guy has run for office, you know, a half dozen times. He has built and maintained this time bomb. It's exploded on him. It's nobody's fault, but his own. He needs to take responsibility. He needs to resign.

And then the way to promote healing is to join former Governor McDonald who has, you know, who has pulled together a group of folks because it's the 400th anniversary of slavery in the Commonwealth and work across party lines with a fellow former governor to actually heal.

But right now, you know, he's a governor who used to go by the nickname of coon man and ran around in blackface and he's just not going to be able to promote healing as long as he's insisting on remaining governor.

WHITFIELD: Ben Jealous, thank you so much.

JEALOUS: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right, up next, Senator Kamala Harris is one of an unprecedented number, a female candidates running for president in 2020. So what challenges does she and other candidates face in this traditionally male-dominated platform? We'll discuss, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:31:41] WHITFIELD: The Democratic presidential field is quickly expanding, and it's already shaping up to be a historic year for women with a record number of female candidates jumping into the 2020 race.

So far, five women have formally launched campaigns, formed exploratory committees or are expected to run. But are women going to be held to a different standard and face perhaps more scrutiny than men when seeking out the highest office in the country?

With me now is Patti Solis Doyle who is a former Presidential Campaign Manager for Hillary Clinton and a CNN Political Commentator. Also with me is Tara Setmayer who is a former Republican Communications Director in Capitol Hill and CNN Political Commentator. Good to see you both.

TARA SETMAYER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Thank you, Fred.

PATTI SOLIS DOYLE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Thanks, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. So, Tara, you first. You know, we've got, you know, Kamala Harris, you know, launches her campaign rally, and then just days later, there are articles about her relations with a former San Francisco mayor. Yet, the relations, you know, of a candidate who would become president didn't seem to affect President Trump's candidacy and win. Are women being held with different standard already with just that example alone?

SETMAYER: Well, I think it would be fair to say the answer is yes, and that's unfortunate. You would think that we've come a long way and that women candidates on the national level shouldn't be held to a different standard. But unfortunately that's the world we still live in and, you know, and everything is not fair.

I think it was pretty despicable as much as I may disagree with Kamala Harris on her policies, that a former person that she was involved in came out and wrote the op-ed about her.

Why was it necessary for Willie Brown to come out and put their relationship out there that way? It just seems awfully self-serving and unnecessary. And it just lends to the narrative that powerful women have to slip their way to their position. And I think that's despicable, shame on Willie Brown for doing that.

There is no indication that that's how Kamala Harris got there. She's clearly smart. She clearly is capable and confident. And why was it necessary for him to do that? I just felt that that was distasteful and unnecessary. Maybe he wanted relevance, I'm not quite sure.

But I just don't think that women should have to bear that level of questioning their merits because they're powerful and they've earned their way to the top that they don't always have to be on the backs of a man that got them there.

I think there are enough women based on the merits out there that can do the job that don't need to be questioned that way. And I'm hoping that patriarchy can eventually be over with and I think we have -- we're seeing signs of that as we move forward.

WHITFIELD: And then, Patti, then there's the whole barometer of likeability. I mean, very seldom do you hear the question, is he likable, you know, asked about a male candidate? We heard that with Hillary Clinton. You helped run her campaign, and we're also hearing that word again in association with Elizabeth Warren.

DOYLE: You know, Fred, as you pointed out, we have five women running for the presidency this time around, and probably more to come. You know, Amy Klobuchar is thinking about jumping in.

[15:35:00] And of those five, you know, depending on which metrics you use to decide these kind of things, at least three of them are in the top tier of candidates. And in 2018, we had more women running and more women winning office than ever before.

WHITFIELD: For congressional office.

DOYLE: And what I think -- for congressional office. And what I think is happening is, you know, it is becoming less and less remarkable to see a woman out there campaigning and see a woman out there campaign for the highest office in the land. We're trying to get to a point where it's going to be the standard, where it's going to be the norm to see women out there campaigning, running, and winning.

And the idea that we're sitting here today talking about the dating history of one of the candidates, unless we're prepared to talk about the dating history of every single candidate running, male, female, Democrat, Republican, Independent, then we should not be talking about silly Willie Brown.

WHITFIELD: And, you know -- go ahead, Tara, you were about to say something?

SEYMAYER: No. I mean, Patti is right about that, and in fairness play the other side. I mean, we have seen plenty of male candidates or elected officials have their careers ruined by sexual indiscretions, except for Donald Trump. For whatever reason, the Republican Party, my party who I'm embarrassed to say, gave him passes on things that they never would have given passes on Democrats for.

I mean, Donald Trump cheated on his wife. So we had -- he paid off porn stars to silence them. I mean, he's been despicable with his record with women, he's a misogynist. And yet, they somehow were able to cast that aside in order to win the presidency and have the opportunity for a tax cut. I personally don't think that that is worth it and I think it makes the Republican Party look like hypocrites.

So moving forward, Republicans can never claim, ever, as far as I'm concerned, the moral authority on the issue of family values and treating women with respect as long as they continue to enable Donald Trump and his despicable behavior towards women.

WHITFIELD: And if would seem, given the volume of women who have now throwing their hat into the ring or are considering it, then the question can be answered that America just indeed might be ready to elect a woman. But listen to what was said and how Kamala Harris responded to a question about whether she even stood a chance up against Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some of us have said that given what occurred in 2016 and the current political climate that a male nominee will have a better chance this time around than a female nominee.

KAMALA HARRIS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The people who vote, the people who live in this country are smarter than that. They're going to make decision based on who they believe is the best leader. They're going to make decisions based on who they believe is speaking truth, who is doing it in a way that gives people dignity, doing it in a way that elevates public discourse as opposed to bringing us to the lowest common denominator and base instincts. That's how the voters are going to vote. And that is going to the basis upon who will win.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Tara, how is -- is she and are other female candidates going to be constantly barraged with questions like that?

SETMAYER: I think you meant Patti. Patti, go ahead, you can answer that.

DOYLE: OK

WHITFIELD: All right, go, Patti.

DOYLE: I -- in fairness, but -- let's just -- there is still sexism and misogyny in this country without question. And, yes, candidates, female candidates are going to get that question probably over and over and over again. I thought the way Senator Harris answered it was quite good, but they're going to need to get beyond that.

And for this particular election, this 2020 election, the most important thing, the thing that unites Democrats more than anything else, maybe perhaps the only thing, is beating Donald Trump. And so, Democratic voters are going to make their choice through that prism and that prism alone.

And I have to say as a woman in politics, if the 2018 midterms did nothing else, it proves to us that women have incredible power in this time, this day in politics right now. They have the voting power. They have the activism power. They have the enthusiasm power. So I think being a woman in this particular presidential race is a very powerful thing.

WHITFIELD: All right. Tara, last chance to punctuate.

SETMAYER: Yes. Like the likeability issue, I think we've seen that. Even with men, you know, who do you want to have a beer with, right? That was the question that people would often ask in polling before Hillary Clinton run. And so, likeability I think is something that transcends gender.

Do women face a higher standard of the likeability clause and how they have to behave in order to be more likable? Yes, probably, and that's not necessarily fair. But people with the best candidate has to relate to the American electorate and that's what's most important at this point.

[15:40:01] And I agree with Patti that we need to have someone, I don't care if it's male, female, whomever, to beat Donald Trump and get us out of this national nightmare that we're living every single day and cause her act to get us back on with someone who is respects institutions, norms and ideals that this country stands on, and that's not Donald Trump. I don't care if it's male or female.

WHITFIELD: All right. Tara Setmayer, Patti Solis Doyle, thanks to both of you. Appreciate it.

SETMAYER: Thank you.

DOYLE: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right, next hour, I'll talk live to the newest Democrat entering the 2020 race for the White House, Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard joining in live. Don't miss our conversation, 4:30 Eastern Time today.

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WHITFIELD: A manhunt is underway for an escaped prisoner in Texas. 44-year-old Cedric Marks is a professional MMA fighter with multiple murder charges pending. Police say he escaped a private prisoner transport today in Conroe, Texas, 40 miles North of Houston and is considered extremely dangerous.

[15:45:06] CNN Correspondent Kaylee Hartung is here with more on this intense search. Kaylee, what do we know?

KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT REPORTER: Well, Fred, air support, canine tracking dogs and ground units are hard at work right now on the lookout now for Cedric Marks trying to take this fugitive back into captivity. It was a little after 7:00 a.m. this morning when that private prison transport he was in, that van stopped in a McDonald's for the drivers to get a bite to eat. Marks was able to escape on foot. He took off in a search in suit.

And he was in the process of being extradited from Michigan where U.S. Marshals had found him. There was a warrant out for his arrest for burglarizing the home of his ex-girlfriend with the intention to commit another felony. The U.S. Marshals found him there.

He was in the process of coming back to Bell County, Texas. That's not far from Austin, again, as this man is facing multiple murder charges. Authorities say if you do see him, do not approach him. Call 911 immediately. He is believed to be extremely dangerous, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, Kaylee Hartung, thank you so much. And we'll be right back.

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(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[15:50:45] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Parkour is moving quickly and fluidly through space when there's obstacles in your way. It's going to not only challenge your body, but your brain.

Foot on top and then step through the middle.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's really an obstacle course that can improve muscle strength, balance, flexibility, gait.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of people have come into it being exposed to the more extravagant side of it. That's only half of it. We first start working on being able to balance along a rail or along some beams without falling off. And then working on just simple things like footwork and jumping. I think the most important thing is that role of being able to drop down into a roll to break your fall.

Shuffle, roll.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Physical activity is one of the prime ways that we can prevent falls. The stronger we are and the greater our reaction time, the better apt we are to fall in a more appropriate way.

CHRIS JAMES, PARKOUR STUDENT: I can do a lot of things that I wouldn't think I'd be able to do at 35, how to absorb the fall, how to roll into it so you don't place too much jarring pressure on joints.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm excited to see how parkour is going to evolve over the next few years as it's adapted for older adults, because I think there are components of it that are really important for reducing falls risk.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: After five months of grinding it out on the gridiron, it all comes down to this, the L.A. Rams and New England Patriots facing off in Atlanta tonight for the right to raise that Lombardi trophy.

Super Bowl LIII is a showdown between the old guard and the new. Can Tom Brady and Bill Belichick win their sixth Super Bowl rings together, or will the league's youngest coach, 33-year-old Sean McVay, and his third-year quarterback Jared Goff, begin their own legacy?

Let's bring in CNN's Coy Wire who is outside the stadium. Well, this is an exciting buildup, isn't it?

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: It really is. I can hear and feel the sounds and energy from just below us here atop CNN Center. And, you know, Tom Brady, it's incredible what he's been able to do over the years. He's 41 years old and it's his regiment, right? Mentally, he is -- no one is going to out-study him. He is like an offensive coordinator, a head coach on the field on top of being the greatest quarterback of all time. Physically, he takes care of his body. No dairy, no caffeine, no white flour or sugar. He does eat ice cream, but its avocado ice cream.

He gets massaged before and after every practice on his throwing arm. His teammate, Julian Edelman, says he thinks that right arm gets rubbed and milked more than all the cows in the state of California combined. He takes care of himself. And you have to respect that.

And talking about his longevity, Fred, think about this. It was 17 years ago today, February 3rd, 2002, that Tom Brady won his first Super Bowl title. Back then, current Rams quarterback Jared Goff was just 7 years old, seven. The Rams head coach Sean McVay was a sophomore in high school right up the road here in Atlanta, another cool storyline there. And he's playing or coaching in his first Super Bowl right here in Atlanta.

WHITFIELD: Oh, my gosh. That is amazing. What a convergence there. OK. So, I mean, you really just kind of spelled out, you know, kind of the advantages that a Tom Brady has particularly, you know, caring for himself and being as disciplined as he is. But then, what do you see in the Rams, you know, that could really give a nice challenge, you know, for the Patriots?

WHITFIELD: Well, I think that, one, they do have a coaching savant. Sean McVay was the youngest head coach in NFL history when he took the job just two years ago. I talked to one of their star players here late in the season, CJ Anderson, and he said what he likes about Sean McVay, he's like one of the players. There are players on the team older than him. And he said he listens to the players.

He asks them, what should -- what do you think we should call in this situation? What do you want to do when we're, you know, in this point in the game? So, the players respect that. It gives them -- it builds chemistry for them. And so, will they win? We don't know.

We caught up with Patrick Mahomes, the Chiefs' quarterback, who was just named NFL MVP last night right here in Atlanta. Here's what he had to say about his thoughts on who might win this game.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[15:55:07] PATRICK MAHOMES, CHIEFS QUARTERBACK, NFL MVP: I think the Rams, they really are hitting their stride right now, so are the Patriots, so I think it's going to be a great game. I think it's going to be a really close one. Whoever gets at the end is probably going to be the team that wins it. And if I had to pick one, I'd probably pick the Patriots, but I think it's going to be a great game either way.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WIRE: There you go. The league MVP, one of the hottest stars in the league, he thinks that Tom Brady will get it done. Last week at AFC championship game, Tom Brady went over to him after they beat them and told him he respected the way he played. That's good sportsmanship from the greatest of all time.

WHITFIELD: Oh, yes. I mean, very impressive. And what, that 23- year-old gentleman, way impressive, too. All right, great things on his path. All right, Coy Wire, thank you so much.

WIRE: You're welcome.

WHITFIELD: And we'll be right back.

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