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Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden Gives Campaign Rally Speech in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Analysts Examine Joe Biden's Campaign Rally Speech on Climate Change and Defeating Donald Trump; Non-Drug Related Practices to Reduce Pain in Turkey Examined. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired May 18, 2019 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOE BIDEN, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Philadelphia, thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you, thank you.
BIDEN: Thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you.
BIDEN: Folks, thank you, Jill. I'm Joe Biden, and I'm Jill's husband.
BIDEN: You all think I'm kidding. That's how I'm identified. Everyone knows Jill is a Philadelphia girl. She loves this city. I do, too. But to paraphrase the poet, James Joyce, I have to say this, folks, because I'm near my state, when I die, "Delaware" will be written on my heart.
BIDEN: But I love Philly. Look, I'm mildly prejudice, but I think she made a great, great second lady, and she's going to make one heck of a first lady.
BIDEN: Folks, in the past few weeks, I've been all across America -- Pittsburgh, Iowa, South Carolina, Nevada, California, New Hampshire, and today, Philadelphia.
BIDEN: This campaign is just getting started. And I promise you this, no one, no one is going to work longer, no one is going to campaign harder to win your hearts, your trust, and your support than the son of Catherine Eugenia Finnegan from Scranton, Pennsylvania, and Joseph R. Biden from Delaware.
BIDEN: So those of you who are listening, if you want to be part of this campaign, pick up your phones. Pick up your phones. Now. Send a text to the word "United" to the number 30330. OK? That's "United" 30330. Or 303330, but you got it. It's on the back there.
BIDEN: So look, look, it's a logical question that people ask, why we began this journey in this place, this great city of Philadelphia. Well, there is a simple reason. There is a simple reason. Because -- let it go is. That's not how we do it. Other campaigns do it this way. We don't do it this way.
BIDEN: You will not hear me speak -- I made a pledge. I mean this sincerely. You will not hear me speak ill of another Democrat.
BIDEN: Look, the reason we're here is because in a literal sense this was the birthplace of our democracy. It was here, over -- the fact is two of the most important documents not only in our history, but in the history of the world were written right here. In 1776 the Declaration of Independence, "We hold these truths to be self- evident." These words, these words are the basis for the American creed -- equality, equity, fairness, decency. America didn't live up to the promise for most of the people at the time, for people of color, for women. But we were born of an idea that every single solitary person, given half a chance, no matter where they're from, given half a chance, there is not a single thing they cannot do if they work at it. Nothing is beyond their capacity.
BIDEN: That's who we are. And in 1887 -- 1787, the United States Constitution, "We," "We the people." These words changed everything. Power rested in the people, not the government. Freedom to think, to speak, to act, to criticize your government, all protected. We, we became the model for the world. In both documents, there is a singular word, "We." "We hold these truths self-evident." "We the people." Both. Both.
BIDEN: We have got to remember this, both were statements of a common purpose, a common purpose of one people, one nation. Our Constitution doesn't begin with the phrase, "We the Democrats" or "We the Republicans." And it certainly doesn't begin with the phrase, "We the Donors."
[14:05:04] Look, it began with the phrase that stands for we are all in this together. We need to remember that today I think more than any time in my career. Our politics has become so mean, so petty, so negative, so partisan, so angry, and so unproductive. So unproductive. Instead of debating our opponents, we demonize them. Instead of questioning judgments, we question their motives. Instead of listening, we shout. Instead of looking for solutions, we look to score political points.
But no more. No more.
BIDEN: Because this politics, this politics is pulling us apart. It's ripping this country apart at the seams. Our politicians, our politics today, traffics in division, and our president is the divider in chief.
BIDEN: Look, but he's not the only one. Far from it. He is just the worst practitioner of politics that singles out, scapegoats, and demonizes. He holds the other as the source of all the problems. You hear it -- the immigrant, the Muslim, anyone different in creed or color or conviction, they're the problem. That's what he says. That's been the scheme used by unscrupulous politicians for decades.
But it comes at a gigantic cost. I mean this from the bottom of my heart, it comes at a gigantic cost. It weakens us. It distracts us. It divides us. It causes us to lose credibility around the world. It picks at the wound, and it solves nothing. This is not who we are. This is not who we are. And I absolutely refuse --
BIDEN: I absolutely refuse to accept the notion that that's who we have to be. Folks, in this country, we're all bound together in this great experiment of equality and opportunity and decency. We haven't lived up, and we've never given up on it. Everyone, and I mean everyone, everyone is in on the deal. That's why we've been the beacon of hope for the rest of the world. That's why the world has always looked at us. That must be burning to somebody. I don't know who that is.
BIDEN: America is unique in all of the world. America, folks, is an idea, an idea stronger than any army, bigger than any ocean. More powerful than any dictator or tyrant. It offers hope to the tired, the poor, your huddled masses, to breathe free. It is written on the Statue of Liberty. We seem to have given up on that.
America guarantees everyone, and I mean everyone, be treated with dignity. America gives hate no safe harbor.
BIDEN: Folks, that's what we believe. That's who we are. And I believe America has always been at its best when America has acted as one America, one America. One America may be a simple notion, but it doesn't make it any less profound. This nation needs to come together. It has to come together.
Folks, we started this campaign when we did. I said I was running for three reasons. The first is to restore the soul of the nation, the essence of who we are.
BIDEN: I mean it. And the second is to rebuild the backbone of this nation. And the third, to unite this nation, one America. One America.
BIDEN: Folks, I know some of the really smart folks say Democrats don't want to hear about unity. They say Democrats are so angry, that the angrier a candidate can be, the better chance he or she has to win the Democratic nomination. Well, I don't believe it. I really don't. If Democrats -- I believe Democrats want to unify this nation. That's what our party has always been about.
BIDEN: That's what it's always been about, unity. If America, people want a president to add to our division, lead with a clenched fist, a closed hand, a hard heart, to demonize your opponent, to spew hatred, they don't need me. They have got President Donald Trump.
BIDEN: Folks, I'm running to offer our country, Democrats, Republicans, and independents, a different path. Not back to a path that never was, but to a future that fulfills our true potential as a country.
Now, some of these same people are saying, Biden just doesn't get it. You can't work with Republicans anymore. That's not the way it works anymore.
[14:10:02] Well, folks, I'm going to say something outrageous. I know how to make government work.
BIDEN: Not because I've talked or tweeted about it, but because I've done it. I've worked across the aisle to reach consensus, to help make government work in the past. I can do that again with your help.
BIDEN: For me, for me, to me, our principles must never be compromised, but "compromise" itself is not a dirty word. Consensus is not a weakness. It's the only way our founders down the road there thought it was the way we could govern. It was necessary. It was designed the way the Constitution says. It requires consensus. I did it when I was a senator. It's what I did as your vice president, worked with Barack Obama. (APPLAUSE)
BIDEN: And it's what I will do as your president.
BIDEN: So let me be real clear, everybody listen, Democrats and Republicans, if I'm elected your president, I'm going to do whatever it takes to make progress on the matters that matter most -- civil liberties, civil rights, voting rights, women's right to choose, national security, personal security, health care, an economy that rewards work, not just wealth, a climate change policy that will save our children and grandchildren and this planet.
BIDEN: Look, I know there are times -- I know there are times when only a bareknuckle fight will do. I know we have to take on Republicans to do what's right without any help from them. That's what it took to pass the Affordable Care Act.
BIDEN: That was a tough fight. And it was a big -- a big deal, which reminds me, I think we should step back and say something we don't often say enough as a party or a nation. Barack Obama was an extraordinary man, extraordinary president.
BIDEN: I watched up close. He has character, courage, and vision. He was a president our children could and did look up to.
BIDEN: He was a great president. And I was proud to serve as his vice president, but never more proud than the day we passed health care.
BIDEN: Yes, health care. A lot of presidents before us tried it. Other administrations had not been able to do it. But it was done by Barack Obama without a single Republican vote. So I know how to get things done. I know how to go toe to toe with the GOP. But it doesn't have to be, and it can't be that way on every issue.
Look at the Recovery Act. The Recovery Act, the cornerstone of the economic recovery from the depths of the greatest financial crisis short of a depression that we ever faced in our history. And that's a big reason, big reason we now have had 10 years of uninterrupted economic growth.
BIDEN: We needed, we needed to find three Republicans in the United States Senate to get it passed. It was my job the find them, persuade them. I did. They did. And the country did better than it has before.
BIDEN: One more aside. I know President Trump likes to take credit for the economy and the economic growth and the low unemployment numbers.
BIDEN: But just look at the facts, not the alternative facts. President
BIDEN: President Trump inherited an economy from the Obama/Biden administration that he given to him, just like he inherited everything else in his life.
BIDEN: Just like everything else he's been given in his life, he is in the process of squandering that, as well.
BIDEN: Look, the recovery act helped save this nation from economic ruin. To get down, to get down to it, we had to get the work done. We had to bring a few Republicans along. And if we hadn't done it, we could have had another Great Depression or economic ruin. So, folks, working together matters. It matters. The American people want their government to work. And I don't think that's too much of them to ask.
I know some people in D.C. say it can't be done. Well, let me tell them something, make sure they understand this -- the country is sick of the division.
[14:15:02] BIDEN: They're sick of the fighting. They're sick of the childish behavior. There isn't a single person among you, or anywhere in this country, that can get away with that at their jobs. All they want is for their president, their senators, their representatives to do their jobs. Just do your job.
BIDEN: But first, above all, to have a president, a president who measures his or her days by the people he brings together rather than the division that he sows. Look, folks, you all know as well as I do or you wouldn't be here. You know there's serious work that needs to be done. But it's not being done by a president who wakes up in the middle of the night that wages war on Twitter like the guy with the whistle back there.
BIDEN: I wonder whose campaign he's with.
BIDEN: While he's lashing out at his political opponents, obsessing over his personal grievances, look, here's the most important thing to remember. The rest of the world isn't waiting. It isn't waiting. China isn't waiting. They're building 5G, mastering AI. They're rewriting the rules of the Internet. They're moving into areas that should not be abandoned by us. The rest of the world hasn't given up on the Paris Climate Accord. They're pushing it. They know it's essential to human existence.
BIDEN: Folks, the greatest challenges we face in the future will be over technology, intellectual property, clean energy, a warming planet. There's not a single thing that building a wall or imposing another tariff can address on any of these issues.
BIDEN: Folks, we need a 21st century strategy for America. But every tool that Donald Trump uses is out of the past. Folks, we have to get focused, focused on the future. It's only the way we're going to invest in educational system. Our people need to succeed in the 21st century. Jill always says -- she's a community college professor -- she always says, any country that out-educates us will out out-compete us. That's a natural fact.
BIDEN: Folks, that success will come when we generate free community colleges, invest in job training and apprenticeships, continue education, allowing people to fill jobs of the future, a stronger commitment to pre-K, and so much more. Folks, we know it works. We know what we have to do. So let's stop fighting and start fixing.
BIDEN: Look, you all, I need you.
CROWD: We want Joe! We want Joe! We want Joe!
BIDEN: I need you. Folks, we all know the Affordable Care Act was a historic achievement -- 20 million Americans got coverage. Over 100 million people with preexisting conditions could no longer be denied coverage. That's amazing. It restored dignity for the parents who couldn't afford to take care of their children's health care. And now we need to go to the next step. We shouldn't start over. And we surely shouldn't tear it down. To me, giving every American, every American the right to choose a public option like Medicare is the best way to get everybody covered, if they choose.
(APPLAUSE) BIDEN: Folks, focusing on the future is the only way we're going to
be able to build a new green infrastructure. Not only new and safer roads and bridges, but greener highways, ports, and also our airports. We can make them greener and more rational. We can do a lot. Water systems, where no one in this country has to drink poison water.
BIDEN: Folks, and there is no question, there's no question the new electric grid that protects this nation from cyberattack, that is able to transmit solar and wind energy across those same lines. Folks, we know what we have to do. That's why I'm running. As I said, let's stop fighting and start fixing. And we can only do it together.
BIDEN: Folks, it is the only way we're going to deal with the existential crisis posed by climate change. There's not much time left. We need a clean energy revolution. We need it now. We have to start now. We have to move on what we've already built.
[14:20:07] BIDEN: And by the way, we have to stop the thinking that clean energy and job creation don't go together. They do. They do.
BIDEN: We need so set the most aggressive goals possible. But folks, we have to work together to get it done. Look, we're never going to convince the climate deniers or those special interests. But even now, some of those special interests, the traditional polluters, are realizing, gas and oil industry, automobile manufacturing, guess what, they're saying on television the other day, Mr. President, you have got to do something about global warming. The oil industry, because they're going to be under water. Not a joke. Not a joke.
The automobile industry, they agreed when Barack and I came along and said, we're double the CAFE standards. They thought it was a great idea. They didn't even agree with the president when he rolled them back. Who is he trying to please? Folks, we need a president who is willing to lead, who insists on dramatic change for the sake of our children.
BIDEN: Folks, let me tell you something, the single most important thing we have to accomplish, the single most important thing we have to accomplish is defeat Donald Trump.
CROWD: We want Joe! We want Joe! We want Joe!
(APPLAUSE) BIDEN: Folks, as long as Donald Trump is in the White House, as long
as Donald Trump is in the White House, none of these things, these critical things, are going to get done. So if you want to know what the first and most important plank in my climate proposal is -- beat Trump.
BIDEN: Beat Trump. Beat Trump. Here's one thing we need to remember, one thing I just discussed, from everything I just discussed from education to infrastructure to health care to climate, there is an overwhelming agreement among the American people, what should be done. That's true, he doesn't. But the people are not divided. It is our politics that's divided.
And that gap, that gap, that's causing the failure to act. It's giving rise to the worst elements in our society. People coming out from under the rocks, out of fields, carrying torches. Folks, if you asked me a few years ago if our democracy was at stake, I would have smiled and laughed a little bit. No more. No more. The threat to this nation, to our democracy, is real. It's clear, and it's present. You've watched the president now for three years. Look at what he's doing. Instilling fear. I mean, not joking, instilling fear, sowing division, stoking racial division, undercutting every institution that was designed to check the abuse of power by the president or anyone else. All this for what reason? All of this in order to solidify his base and expand his power.
Think about it. No, really, think about this. There's relentless attacks on the free press, fake news, the enemy of the people. They're nothing to be dismissed. Tyrants and dictators all over the world are using the same language to stifle dissent and solidify their own power in their country. There is an attack on the independence of court, saying you cannot trust the judge because of his Mexican ancestry.
BIDEN: By the way, if I made this speech here 10 years ago, you'd laugh at me. You'd say, that's not going to happen. That can't be America. That can't be an American president, Democrat or Republican. Folks, his attacks on the co-equal branch of government, the Congress, blocking their Constitutional responsibility to legitimately engage in oversight, placing him above the law. And by the way, without a whimper from the Republicans in Congress who know better. They know better. They know better.
BIDEN: Folks, these things are corrosive. They threaten the core values of this nation. They undermine, not kidding, they undermine our standing around the world. Everything has made America America is at risk. Let me ask you, are we a nation that believes there is a moral equivalence between white supremacists, neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan, and those with the courage to stand against them?
BIDEN: No, we don't. But Trump does. Trump said there is a moral equivalence. Are we a nation that believes in ripping children from the arms of their parents at the border?
[14:25:03] BIDEN: No, we don't. But Trump does. Are we a nation that embraces dictators and tyrants like Putin and Kim Jong-un?
BIDEN: We don't, but Trump does.
Look, every day we're reminded about this, in this election, about we have to remember who we are, what we stand for, what we believe. And every day, we're reminded, there's nothing guaranteed about our democracy. We have to fight for it. We have to defend it. We have to earn it. We have to earn it.
BIDEN: We stand here today, we're only 140 miles from Gettysburg, perhaps the most famous symbol in our nation's history of the cost of division. In his Gettysburg Address, Lincoln didn't honor only the bravery of those who lost their lives at Gettysburg, he had a message for the living. He said, it is for us to be dedicated to the great task remaining before us that a government of, by, and for the people shall not perish from the earth.
BIDEN: Folks, that wasn't just a challenge from Lincoln to those present that day in Gettysburg. It is a challenge he handed down to every generation of Americans that follow. Now, that challenge has been handed to us, and it is a test above all others, that future generations of America will measure us by. Will we be the ones to let the government of, by, and for the people perish from the face of the earth?
BIDEN: We let that happen, dare we let that happen? Absolutely not! We will not. I will not. You will not.
BIDEN: The promise to our nation, our standing as a beacon of hope to the world, will not be extinguished on my watch or yours.
BIDEN: Here's the amazing thing about this moment in history, on the one hand, we're facing the biggest threat any of us gathered in this field, in this beautiful place, any of us have faced in our entire lifetimes. But on the other hand, on the other hand, we have never had a future that's more promising. I've said it many times. I'm more optimistic about America's future today than when I got elected not young enough to be sworn in as a United States senator at age 29. Here's why. Folks, we are better positioned than any nation in the world to lead the 21st century.
BIDEN: And as I've traveled the world and met with most of the world's leaders, they know it. Without us, they can't lead. Our workers are three times as productive as workers in Asia. That's a fact, number one. We have the biggest economy in the world. We have the strongest military in the history of the world.
BIDEN: We have the most innovative entrepreneurs. We're virtually energy independent. We have more great research universities in this city, this state, this country, than all the world combined.
BIDEN: It's a fact. No other nation, no other nation can match us if we step up, if we lead by the power of our example, not by the example of our power. The only thing that can tear America apart is America itself, and we cannot let that happen.
BIDEN: Folks, everybody knows who Donald Trump is. Even his supporters know who he is. But I have to let you know, here's the deal, we have to let them know who we are, what we stand for.
BIDEN: We choose hope over fear, truth over lies and, yes, unity over division.
BIDEN: So folks, it's time for us to lift our heads up, open our hearts, and remember who we are. We are the United States of America.
BIDEN: I mean this, there's not a single thing we cannot do if we do it together. God bless you all, and may God protect our troops. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Now Democratic contender for the White House 2020 Joe Biden there, reminding the audience there, with a backdrop of the historic city of Philadelphia, why he is in the race. He says, let's stop fighting and let's start fixing, promising among the policies, free community colleges, a stronger commitment to pre-K. [14:30:02] And he described the current occupant of the White House as
the divider in chief. And I'm quoting now Biden, saying, I refuse to accept the notion that's who we have to be. And then reminding the audience there, there are three reasons why he is running. Number one, to restore the soul of the nation, to rebuild the backbone, and to unite America. You saw the slogans, the placards throughout the crowd. "United," that's his slogan.
And he, of course, gave praise to former President Barack Obama, saying he was a man who was kind and a man that kids could look up to. And then as an added dig to President Trump, Biden saying, I know President Trump likes to take credit for the economy. He inherited an economy from Obama/Biden, just like he inherited everything else.
All right, back with me now, a lot to unpack there, we have got with us national political reporter for the "Washington Examiner," Salena Zito, former special assistant to President George W. Bush, Scott Jennings, former Clinton White House Press Secretary Joe Lockhart, and executive director for Justice Democrats, Alexandra Rojas. Good that you could all stick around with me.
Salena, you first. Joe Biden, Jill Biden, very comfortable there in Pennsylvania, the birthplace of Joe Biden in Scranton, and then Jill told a story of how growing up in Philadelphia is near and dear to her heart. Clearly, this was an electrified crowd. But it has to go beyond Philadelphia. It's important for Joe Biden to clench Pennsylvania, a state that Donald Trump won. How will he do it?
SALENA ZITO, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, "THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER": Well, first of all, I think it was really important for him to put his campaign headquarters in Pennsylvania. It signifies that this is where the fight begins, right? And to win Pennsylvania -- a Republican doesn't need Pennsylvania to win the presidency, but a Democrat definitely does.
He needed to do three things in his speech effectively today, and I think he did do that, in terms of talking about his role as the vice president with Barack Obama and the things that they accomplished. He also needed to talk about some issues that were really important, and he struck that with climate change. And I think people thought he might be a little less progressive on that. And he talked about very striking differences between himself and Donald Trump.
And then what he needed to do, and I thought he did very effectively, was bring it together with an aspirational message, right? And that aspirational message is we're all in this together. We're all part of something bigger than ourselves. And what is the thing that they're bigger than? He's the guy who can beat Donald Trump.
And I think that Biden can have an effective message in the Great Lakes states, the states that are important to win, so Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Iowa, to a certain extent. But it all sort of depends on how he's defined later on in his campaign. And I think that begins with the first debate. How moderate is he? How progressive is he? That's going to matter to a lot of those voters, in particular in Pennsylvania and Ohio, who are benefitting from a lot of these shale and natural gas jobs.
WHITFIELD: Scott, for any candidate, it's really important to inspire, and it is also very important to be able to find the weaknesses of your opponent. And Joe Biden went for all of that. He talked about messages of inspiration, saying my most important climate proposal plan, to beat Trump. And at the same time he went for what he thought were real deficiencies of the president, that the president doesn't admit to inheriting a strong economy and instead, boasting as if he -- the economy started with him. Take a listen to how Joe Biden put it just moments ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: President Trump inherited an economy from Obama/Biden administration that was given to him, just like he inherited everything else in his life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: So, Scott, do you envision this to illicit an immediate response from the current president?
SCOTT JENNINGS, FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Oh, absolutely. And I don't think this is an argument that Joe Biden is going to win. Incumbent presidents of the United States get the credit or the blame for the state of the economy during their reelection. It is just a fact. It's always been that way. Our fellow panelist, Joe Lockhart, knows that Bill Clinton got the benefits of a good economy in 1996 as he ran for reelection. So it is the way it is going to be, and I don't think that's a debate that he is going to be able to win.
[14:35:05] I thought his comment about climate change was, frankly, a cop out today. And I don't think that's going to be very inspiring to the people in the Democratic Party who this is their number one issue. There's a lot energy behind the Green New Deal.
WHITFIELD: You mean you don't think it was enough --
JENNINGS: There is a lot of energy --
WHITFIELD: You feel there had to be --
JENNINGS: No. To say, I'll give you my plan, I'll give you my plan after I beat the other guy. Now, look, there is plenty of time for him to develop policy, but I would be stunned if that were enough for the most liberal climate activists of the Democratic Party just to say, I'm going to beat Trump, and that's the plan.
WHITFIELD: Alexandra, is that how you heard it, when Biden said, my most important climate proposal plan, beat Trump. Did you hear that he say, elect me, and I'll tell you later? How did you interpret that? ALEXANDRA ROJAS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, JUSTICE DEMOCRATS: I think there
is a fundamental continue fundamental contradiction in Joe Biden's speech today, and that is one that I agree with, which I agree with, which is that America can do anything, that anything we do is possible.
But at the same time, he also just, I would agree that he copped out on climate change. And in a state like Pennsylvania where only just recently he comes out in support of a $15 living wage, when they find out he actually voted for NAFTA, which hurt states like that and Wisconsin, they're not going to be happy with it.
So I think a lot of his rhetoric was good, but when you actually look at the full 40-year record, his agenda seems to be in complete opposition to a progressive one. When you look at Wall Street deregulation, when you look at his bad votes on trade, when you look at the cases that he's made for Anita Hill. And quite frankly, on the eve of Alabama's most recent decision to ban abortion, it's not really a compelling case to my generation who is going to live with the impacts of the decisions and this plan, particularly around climate change, and in the wake of what's happening right now with the administration.
It's not about just being angry for no reason. People are really, really hurting. And I want a country, too, that is united, but it's got to be united around actually believing that America is possible, that we look at climate change and tackle it with the same way that we looked at when we tackled World War II, and embrace a bold vision, like a Green New Deal, like expand and improve Medicare for call.
And quite frankly, when you talk about going up against the special interests that are currently halting progress on these issues, yes, the economy is moving towards renewable energy, whether we like it or not. But it is going to take someone that is going to stare those people in the face, that is going to take on the multi-billion dollar lobbying operation that is halting progress on health care, on climate change, on rising income inequality, and be able to say that things need to change. And quite frankly, I don't know if he was able to do that in this speech for me.
WHITFIELD: So Joe, do you see that, for Joe Biden, this will be his candidacy, his attempt at getting to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue will be a do over of his 36 years at a senator and his eight years as vice president?
JOE LOCKHART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, I don't see it as a do over at all. But I do think you saw the campaign strategy or the thematics were laid out there, which is I think, first, is trying to tap into this group of people America in the middle that are just disgusted with the way politics are going, that have just had enough. And I think he went very clearly at that first.
He then went and talked about issues. Again, he will give multiple speeches on his climate change policy, and you can interpret what he said whatever you want. But in the context of where he was talking about it in the speech, he was talking about retreating from the Paris Climate Treaty, which is the single most important thing we've done to date. And he said that the first thing we have to do is get rid of Donald Trump, who took us out of that treaty.
He talked about providing a public option for Medicare for all. He talked about free community college. And then finally, he talked about how, at the end of the day, this is a test of America's character. And Donald Trump fails that test. He thinks he can bring out what's best in America. And we have to be able to beat Donald Trump. Nothing, none of these other ideas will come to life if we can't beat Donald Trump. He's making the case that he's the best to do that. We're going to find out. That's what this campaign is about.
WHITFIELD: Yes, one of his quotes, he said the threat to democracy is real in this president.
Stick around, everybody. I want to bring in Arlette Saenz. She is there in the rally, taking the pulse of the people there, and getting a real up close and personal look at what everyone just witnessed. Arlette?
[14:40:05] ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes, Fred, I think that what you guys have been talking about, the central message from Joe Biden today was the need to defeat President Trump as he hammered away at his message about unity.
And as has been mentioned, he talked about some issues that are important to him and to voters, citing civil rights, a woman's right to choose, also talking about climate and making that point that he believes none of that is going to come to fruition, progress won't be made if Donald Trump continues to be in office.
So going forward, expect Biden to continue hammering away at this idea that this is basically a showdown between him and the president. Yes, he's going to have to navigate through that Democratic primary, but he is going to continue making that point that with President Trump still in office, these Democratic priorities aren't going to come into place.
And also know when it comes to climate, Biden has promised a major policy speech on that issue by the end of the month. We haven't heard a specific date or what that plan might entail, but that is something that we are expecting from the former vice president as he shifts into this next phase of his campaign where he is going to be laying out some more specific policy proposals for the American people.
WHITFIELD: Arlette, let me bring back my panel in.
Scott, to that point of slightly rolling out some ideas, when he talked about protecting civil liberties, civil rights, a woman's right to choose. Did he also kind of lay out a game plan against Donald Trump, that the president has to be specific in defending his candidacy, and it has to be more than just name calling?
JENNINGS: Yes. Look, I think he is trying to make it feel like he's already the nominee. And he's trying to put himself in general election mode. I totally agree with that statement. And therefore he's not talking about his stuff vis-a-vis the other Democratic candidates. Everything he's talking about is vis-a-vis Donald Trump.
I'm just not sure that the Democratic Party is ready to have a coronation just yet. They may get there, and he may be a better candidate this time around then he was in his previous presidential runs, but I think as you see the debates come out, I think as you see them roll out policy plans, they're going to prod and test and see if he has really got the same kind of spirit and policy views that the modern Democratic Party has. I don't think they view him as part of the modern party, and they're going to see if he really matches that.
And all the while, Donald Trump, of course, will be commenting on this along the way, and if he has the message discipline, will be just simply poking holes in everything and trying to make the face about the economy. So there's a long way to go and a lot of time for Joe Biden to either put this thing away early or to have to fight it out with, frankly, liberal activists who don't want to go back to politicians who have been running for president since the early 80s.
WHITFIELD: So Biden made it clear that he will not be going after Democrats like he would be going against Donald Trump. And he laid out some of the areas that he finds to be a weakness for the president. The wall is one of them. Listen to what Joe Biden said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There's not a single thing that building a wall or imposing another tariff can address on any of these issues.
BIDEN: Folks, we need a 21st century strategy for America. But every tool that Donald Trump uses is out of the past.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: Joe, is Joe Biden differentiating himself from any of the other 22 Democratic candidates?
LOCKHART: Well, I mean, there's obvious differences. A lot of the other 22 are virtually unknown to Democrats around the country. And he is the candidate who was with President Obama and has experience. And experience cuts both ways in politics. We know that. Sometimes that helps you, sometimes it hurts you.
But I think he was doing something a little bit different in this speech. And again, I don't think he is running a campaign of inevitability, but I think he was pointing out and weighing in and putting his thumb on the debate in the party over whether it is about pure ideology or beating Trump. He's saying that the most important thing we can do here, right now, is beat Trump, because nothing else matters if we can't beat him.
I think you'll find over the next couple of months, whether he has a plan that can appeal to the broader part of the party and bring in young people, bring in college educated white voters, where Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have some strength, not the strength that Biden has right now.
[14:45:06] So I don't think he believes it's inevitable, but he is trying to frame this as the most important thing you can do in this campaign is beat Donald Trump. And I think the contrast he's drawing is both on character, where he's clearly saying his character more accurately reflects America's character than Donald Trump, and also on this idea of this shouldn't be about anger, division, and driving people down. That's what the whole unity part of this, the beginning of the speech was about. And I think the Biden people believe that in the middle, that's what people are yearning for, and in the middle is where the election was decided last time. And if he can motivate the Democratic constituency and appeal to people in the middle, he can beat Donald Trump.
WHITFIELD: So, Salena, for Biden, will it be policy, or will it be his personality that allows him to appeal to a wider range, a more diversified range of voters, or both?
ZITO: Yes. I think -- well, I think Joe is right. He wasn't trying to portray himself as inevitable, but I definitely think he was trying to portray himself as electable. And that is a unifying thing among Democrats is who is the most electable against Donald Trump? And I think that was his first sort of rollout of making that case.
I think you're also going to not see him trying to box himself in too much, too far left. I think that will be difficult for him in those -- again, those Great Lake states that I talk about, as well as North Carolina and Florida. Those are the states we have to watch, and we have to watch on where his policies go.
I'm very interested to see how far left he goes on climate change, and if he decides the Green New Deal is something that he believes that we should aim for. And then to see sort of the reaction from some of these voters in those states, how it impacts their life. They do want to -- they do want to stop climate change, but if they're given the choice between food on the table and climate change, they're going to go with food on the table, in terms of jobs.
WHITFIELD: So Alexandra, his 1990s crime bill, it seems to be a policy representative of his 36 years in the Senate that really sticks with him. Already, Kamala Harris has launched the opening salvo against him among Democrats. Who would be next? Who among the Democrats would be trying to tear down a Joe Biden based on his history?
ROJAS: Well, I think all Democratic contenders, quite frankly, are going to have -- they see him as the frontrunner right now and are going to highlight his record. But let's be clear, no matter -- I think every Democrat that is going to vote wants to beat Donald Trump. But who on the stage is going to recognize how we got Donald Trump, right? It's not enough just to say, the most important thing in America right now is to defeat Donald Trump if we don't actually take homage with what happened in order for him to get there. And that was a generation of leadership that, quite frankly, failed on both sides, not just Republicans but also Democrats. And we need to grapple with that fact.
And to the point of electability for Joe Biden, my number one concern with his candidacy is electability, and that's for two reasons. The first one being that in 2016, a lot of people stayed home that we needed to show up, and that's young people, that's working people of all backgrounds, and that's largely people of color. And what are the policies that are currently most exciting people in America right now? Policies like a Green New Deal.
And, yes, putting food on the table is incredibly important, and that's why we need to rapidly stimulate an economy that has had hourly wages stagnant the last 40 years. So I think electability is really, really an important thing, and we should really grapple with Joe Biden's record there.
And then the point number two that I'll put is his leadership. I think at points in his career where he had to take a stand against the wealthy and powerful special interests in this country, particularly those on Wall Street and those for mass incarceration, he stood against that. And so I think those are vulnerabilities to his candidacy. And as the months go on, as the first debate stage comes up and he's going to have to grapple with that record, not just ride the coattails of Barack Obama.
WHITFIELD: We will leave it there for now. Alexandra, Scott, Salena, Joe, thanks to all of you, I appreciate it. And we'll be right back, right after this.
[14:53:37] WHITFIELD: All right, welcome back. Dr. Sanjay Gupta is on a new mission in his CNN original series "Chasing Life, Journeying Across the World to Find the Secrets to Living Better for the Mind, Body, and Soul." And this week, Sanjay heads to Turkey, a cultural crossroads, where science and mysticism co-exist. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: In the states, drug overdoses are a top cause of unintentional death. Here, you make a lot of it, in Turkey, and yet you don't see it. Even in the town that's literally named Opium, you don't see it that much.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We all need to use medication occasionally in our lives, but I think it has a lot to do in terms of social and family structures. And here, the family ties are quite strong. People still keep an eye on each other. And so there's this self- control mechanism that is there.
GUPTA: Is there a stigma around addictions?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Exactly. But it's not only that. The culture is so influenced by religion that Islam shapes people's perception.
WHITFIELD: Joining me right now, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN's chief medical correspondent and host of "Chasing Life." A lot to learn. What did you learn from this journey?
SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: We go into this journey saying, OK, we're going to Turkey, it's the number one producer of legal opium in the world. The opium that gets turned into all these prescription pills.
[14:55:02] And we find that they're exporting the vast majority of it. They grow it, they export most of it, most of it to this country. So it's two questions. First of all, why is that? And second of all, they have pain, right? Operations, trauma, disease. So what do they do for pain? That was what we really wanted to focus on in Turkey, that real mind-body connection, in order to heal the body, you have got to heal the mind. But what does that mean exactly in a place like Turkey that's using all these unconventional ways to treat pain?
WHITFIELD: Wow, that's facilities. And so the woman you were talking to really did talk about stigmas and family. That seems to be -- those seem to be real obstacles.
GUPTA: Yes. And keep in mind, this country evolved into the position that they are now, where they export most of this. They had a troubled history with opium. The opium dens, the impact, the negative impact on society. And where Turkey sort of landed after that was basically saying, you know what, we don't want any of this. Even though we're one of the largest producers in the world, we just as soon not have it in this country, which was interesting because, with all the destruction that it caused, that was their answer ultimately. But then things like music therapy, bee sting therapy, Sufi meditation, all these things to try and treat pain in a different way.
WHITFIELD: No turning out to be a big industry that a lot of people are embracing there.
GUPTA: Yes, right. Fewer medications, more of the other techniques, and very happy, very successful.
WHITFIELD: Thanks for the journeys. Appreciate it.
WHITFIELD: That's the last one, darn. There will be more.
GUPTA: I hope so.
WHITFIELD: I have a feeling. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, always good to see you, thank you so much.
GUPTA: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: "Chasing Life" tonight at 9:00 only on CNN.
And thank you so much for being with me today. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. More in the Newsroom with Ana Cabrera, next.