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CNN NEWSROOM

One-On-One Interview with Former CEO Starbucks, Howard Schultz. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired April 12, 2019 - 15:30   ET

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


[15:30:00] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Coming up nest - he is still considering his own presidential run, former Starbuck CEO, Howard Schultz joins me live. We will talk to him about his political opponents and their ambitious proposals like Medicare for all.

We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:34:49] BALDWIN: Senator Bernie Sanders calls health care the struggle for the heart and soul of who we are as Americans. And this week the Vermont senator unveiled his Medicare for all plan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We should not tolerate a system which allows the top 10 drug companies to make $69 billion in profits last year while at the same time. And this is really unbelievable, one out of five Americans who get a prescription from their doctor cannot even afford to fill that prescription.

The American people want and we are going to deliver a Medicare for all single-payer system.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[15:35:33] BALDWIN: Senator Sanders plan would among other things effectively end private insurance while premiums, deductibles and co pays would disappear. And the issue gained traction in the very crowded Democratic presidential field. Four of Sanders' rivals for the nomination are co-sponsors of this 2017 version of the bill while a majority supports some form of it.

Howard Schultz is the former chairman and CEO of Starbucks and author "from the ground up, a journey to reimagine the promise of America."

Howard Schultz, welcome. Thank you for joining me.

HOWARD SCHULTZ, FORMER CEO, STARBUCKS: Thank you very much.

BALDWIN: I know you wrapped up this tour through Kansas and we will talk about what you got from those farmers and their heartache here in just a second. But I want to start with you on this, you know, Senator Sanders announcement and then after it, you tweeted the quote "all that Sanders -- and the far left care about is furthering their agenda."

But this recent Kaiser poll shows that 56 percent of Americans support a plan specifically called Medicare for all through which all Americans would get their insurance through a single government plan. And when you look at the poll that includes nearly a quarter of Republicans in favor. So when you look at the numbers, how can you say that this is far left or out of touch?

SCHULTZ: Well, for someone who has built a public company in which for the last 25 years we have provided comprehensive health insurance to every single employee in the United States. I know a little bit about this subject. And let me just comment on a few things.

One, on the Republican side, they have for the last nine years been trying to eradicate the affordable care act without demonstrating any degree whatsoever of a plan that would work for them. They haven't submitted anything.

On the Democratic side, of what Sanders is offering as you just said is something that is unrealistic because not only would it destroy the insurance industry but it would take 180 million Americans off of employer insurance and be so disruptive to the American health care system.

The right way to approach this is to go back into the affordable care act, reduce the premiums that unfortunately have doubled 2 x, but for Bernie Sanders to get up on stage and talk about the pharmaceutical drug business, let me ask a very simple question.

He has been a senator for, what, three plus decades as well as all the other Democrats on the federal level who currently have an elected position, where have they been? Where has Bernie Sanders been for the last 30 years in not representing the American people with regard to negotiating drug prices and in a way that would satisfy --?

BALDWIN: Buy Schultz, if I may, when you look at poll numbers, you know, it is a slim majority but they still of American support this Medicare for all. So that is how the majority of the Americans feel, a. And b., you know, what do you make of the fact that he does say he doesn't know how to pay for it.

SCHULTZ: Well, Americans may support it, but when they found out the fact that it is not free, that everyone in America is going to have to pay a much higher tax to support a $33 trillion number, once the specifics and the facts come out this is going to be very, very expensive, there is going be a much different view.

What Americans are responding to is the idea on merit is a good idea. But there is a better way to do that, that is less costly and we need to go back into the affordable care act and fix an imperfect situation. But Bernie Sanders has been running for four years on this one issue alone and has never once demonstrated how we are going to pay for it. It is not realistic. It is not honest. It is not sincere. And it is in the best interest of the American people.

BALDWIN: I want to move on to Kansas because I know you talked to a lot of farmers and that is something that really touched you. Tell me why you want and what you learned from them.

SCHULTZ: Well, I have traveled the country over the last 11 weeks literally going to a different state or different city almost every other day. Doing everything I can to understand and to learn with great empathy and compassion what really is going on in America. What American families really are dealing with.

I went to Kansas for two reasons. One, Kansas has not been a Democratic state since 1964. If I enter the race for the first time, everyone in Kansas, their vote and their voice will really matter. And so but specifically when I sat down with farmers I had no idea the result -- the tragic result of President Trump's trade and tariff war with China on the adverse effect on farmers.

Eighteen percent of farms in Kansas over the last year and a half have gone bankrupt. Twenty-five percent of the output of wheat is down. The farmer community in the state of Kansas and the rest of the country are suffering so dramatically as a result of this failed policy. And I think this is an issue that Washington, the lawmakers and this President really doesn't understand the significant adverse effect of these failed policies on American families. And it was heartbreaking to see down with these farmers. Wonderful, extraordinary people who are literally working the land and all they want is a fair shot at the promise of the country. And as a result of the failed policies, they are really suffering.

And if the American people really understood what was going on and in Kansas with these farmers, as well as the agricultural business throughout the country, they would realize that the biggest mistake this President made over the last two years was taking the American country out of TCP and the terrible result of this failed policy between China on trade and tariffs. And my heart went out for this -- for the Kansas farmers. And trying to understand how I could help them if I decide to run for President and fortunate enough to win.

[15:41:28] BALDWIN: Let me ask you about that because I'm hearing you have been on this listening tour and looking ahead to 2020. You are flirting with it, you know. But obviously, in order to be in the ball game as an independent, you have to get on the ballot in all 50 state. And every state has different and complicated rules. So what specifically are you doing right now to get on the ballot?

SCHULTZ: Well we have done all of the work necessary to ensure the fact that we will be on the ballot of every state in the country. And I think that is so vitally important. Because in the last 30-plus, basically, years eight to ten battleground states have decided the Presidential election. If I enter the race, 40-plus states for the first time in 30-plus years everyone's vote and voice will matter. A hundred million people did not vote in 2016 --

BALDWIN: So hang on --

SCHULTZ: Because their vote didn't matter.

BALDWIN: Are you hiring state directors? Are you collecting signatures? Are you investing? Just specifically. SCHULTZ: We have not started doing the work on signatures. What we

have done all of the advanced work to ensure the fact that we will be on the ballot of every state, despite the impediments that the DNC and RNC set up to prevent anyone who is running as an independent but we have done that work.

But what I was saying is so vitally important, it won't be eight to ten battleground states, it will be more than 40 states that will really matter and I'll only need 15 percent to get on the debate stage and it will be a three-person race if I decide to run for President.

BALDWIN: Looking at the Democratic field, the crowded field and you look at the polling and who is really more towards the top, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, why do you think he has risen so rapidly in the polls?

SCHULTZ: Well, I think he is talking about things that are sincere and be honest about his personal life and his sexuality which I think people respond to in a positive way. I think the back and forth between he and vice president Pence, Pence loses that argument --

BALDWIN: Why.

SCHULTZ: And I think the mayor is someone who we should respect.

BALDWIN: Why do you think -- why do you think Pence loses the argument between the two of them?

SCHULTZ: Well, I'm not going to talk about specifically, you know, why he loses the argument. But you asked me a question. I think Mayor Pete is saying things that are important. And I think in terms of what the country really wants right now and what the country really is longing for is truth, sincerity, honesty, sanity and the fact that everyone in the country realizes one thing, our political system is broken. Both parties are dysfunctional and polarized at the extremes. The vast majority of Americans at the middle want a leader and leadership that they could trust.

And I think what I'm think being doing so seriously and as I have learned traveling the country for the last ten weeks is the goodness and kindness of the American people is not being served properly in Washington. And that is why I'm strongly considering running for President as a centrist independent, both parties regardless of who wins the White House, if it is a Democrat or Republican, take me out of it, nothing is going to change in 2020. And God forbid we have a socialist in the White House and God forbid we have a reelection of Donald Trump.

BALDWIN: What do you make of President Trump's fed picks? Herman Cane or Stephen Moore?

SCHULTZ: Listen, I think everyone comes on your show and CNN and bashes President Trump. I think when I was on the FOX town hall last week on live television, I asked the most important question of that hour. And I think it speaks volumes. And I said, could anyone in this audience, 400 people, raise your hand if you want your child or your grandchild to emulate the character and the behavior of this President. And not one person raised their hand.

And I think on the character issue, morality, dignity in the office, this president needs to be replaced. But the American people realize that and I think millions of life-long Republicans who will not vote for a Bernie Sanders-type candidate, if I'm in the race, on the issue of character, millions of life-long Republicans will come my way.

[15:45:45] BALDWIN: Howard Schultz, thank you.

SCHULTZ: Thank you very much. Thank you, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Breaking news here. A source telling CNN that President Trump promised a pardon to the commissioner of customs and border patrol if he were sent to jail for blocking migrants from entering the U.S. Details just ahead.

But first. I want to take a moment to honor this week's CNN hero. She is not only giving homeless youth a safe house to live in but love belonging and a chance at a brighter future.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VICKI SOKOLIK, FOUNDER, STARTING RIGHT, NOW: There is a lot of shame that goes with being a homeless unaccompanied youth. They hide what is actually going on with them. And so they really become this very invisible population.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Most people don't know these kids exist.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The transformation of these kids is monumental. They come in so broken. And I'm just one person telling them I'm going to help them. They become softer. It's that they could be happy and able to be kids again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: To see how one young woman went from living without electricity to a year to training to be a lawyer and go to CNN heroes. While you are there, you can nominate someone you know.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:51:34] BALDWIN: You know him, you love him, as CNN's chief Medical correspondent and renowned trauma neurosurgeon, Dr. Sanjay Gupta. But now in his new original series, "Chasing Life," Sanjay is on this new mission, journeying across the world to find the secrets to living better for the mind, body, and soul. Here's a preview.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: My grandfather died very young, of a heart attack. And my father had heart surgery when he was very young. So my father, my grandfather, I think, unwittingly really motivated me. We know that there's remarkable things happening all over the world that can help us live longer, better, happier, more productive lives. I felt the needle go in almost to the bone.

I thought I was in pretty good shape.

This takes to it a whole different level.

Is this what helps you live long?

You can be arrested in the states for doing what I'm about to do.

Can I work here? I would work here.

Chasing life is an opportunity for us to travel the world, looking for extraordinary health practices, experiencing them ourselves. That's my job. That's chasing life, to find those things and bring them back.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BALDWIN: Oh, I can't wait to watch. Sanjay Gupta is with me now.

GUPTA: Thank you.

BALDWIN: And so, this journey, tell me more.

GUPTA: Well, you know, I mean, part of it came out of what was happening in the United States and we talk about this, we spent $3.5 trillion on health care, life expectancy has dropped in the United States three years in a row. You know, I mean, clearly, there's places around the world for less, they're getting longer lives, happier lives, healthier lives, and I think some of those things were things that we could learn from.

I think sometimes, Brooke, if it's not stamped with a "Made in America" stamp, people think it may have little or no value. But sometimes you can go find these things, show how they work, and bring those stories back.

BALDWIN: So you go to all of these places. And one place you go the Japan. You look at somewhere like Japan, and these, you know, urban areas like Tokyo, high stress level, a lot of people, living on top of each other, but then you juxtapose that with the more, you know outer areas where people live so long. How do you square that?

GUPTA: Yes. It was really interesting. I mean, Japan is probably the most stressed country on earth. I mean, you know, with all of these different measures --

BALDWIN: They have us beat?

GUPTA: They may have us beat, or they may be a cautionary tale for us, you know, in terms of what's happened there. Just this explosive growth since World War II. I mean, they built the second largest economy in the world after losing the world war, and everyone expected that amazing growth would continue forever. But nothing continues forever. And the expectations on the younger generations is just toxic, I think. And that's why suicides have gone up so, so dramatically, young people jumping off the buildings where they work, Brooke. Just, it's a statement as much as an indication of what's happening there.

But then as you mentioned, Okinawa, this chain of islands off the coast, you have - you are more likely to live to 100 there than just about everywhere else on earth. So now you are seeing the mainland of Japan sort of learn, learn from these ancient traditions in Okinawa because they need it, you know. It's funny how it's come full circle in a country like japan.

BALDWIN: His show is called "Chasing Life."

GUPTA: Yes.

BALDWIN: It premieres tomorrow night at 9:00 p.m. eastern and pacific.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thank you so much.

GUPTA: Thanks, Brooke. Thank you.

BALDWIN: Breaking news now on CNN. A source telling us that President Trump promised the border patrol chief a pardon if he were sent to jail for violating immigration law. Jake Tapper has the report, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:59:43] BALDWIN: Just in, a woman accused of trespassing at Mar-a- Lago and allegedly found carrying malware has been indicted, but not for spying. The woman, who is a Chinese national, is charged with unlawfully entering a restricted zone and for lying to secret service agents. Prosecutors say she lied her way into the club last month. Authorities later found a trove of electronics, including a signal detector and about $8,000 in cash in her hotel room. She will be back in court Monday.

I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thanks for being with me.

"THE LEAD with Jake Tapper" starts right now.

END