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Warren Leads With Liberal Likely Iowa Caucus Goers; 2020 Dems Try to Break Through on Iowa Stage; Democrats Sharply Divided Over Impeachment. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired June 10, 2019 - 12:30   ET


[12:30:00] MICHAEL SHEAR, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES: And answer the policy questions, respond to the policy questions, do we have to do and sort of seem like, you know, you can engage with the Iowans directly and be consistent.

RACHAEL BADE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: But his absence creates this sort of vacuum though. It allows the candidates who are there to sort of hit him and say, look, this is -- not by name per se but, you know, basically suggesting he's stale and that he's not in line with the party as it is right now. And so by not being there and rejuvenating his own headlines and like putting his own policy positions out there, at the same time he's -- you know, the headlines are turning against him and that doesn't help him in the long run.

KING: Which raises the bar for when he does show up after and comes in tomorrow. He's got to make a point. You know, a, here's why I wasn't here b, here's why you should stick with me. So it'd be interesting to watch. Tomorrow is going to be a fun day in Iowa.

Up next, it was a first rehearsal for the 2020 debates and like Congressman Tim Ryan puts it, with a field this size you better get your pitch in fast.


REP. TIM RYAN (D-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's been a pleasure speed dating with you tonight. If you want a second date, go to



[12:35:43] KING: John Hickenlooper is in Iowa on the 2020 campaign trail right now with an event this hour. The former Colorado governor having trouble breaking through in a crowd of 2020 Democratic race. And in that regard, he has plenty of company.

The first debates later this month are critical as is any opportunity to get on the radar of Iowa Democrats. That's why 19, that's right, 19 of the to 20 Democratic hopefuls came to Cedar Rapids for a state party event, Sunday trying to make the most of their allotted five minutes. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was the first governor of the United States to stand up against Donald Trump's Muslim ban. Now I beat him 21 times in court.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Last time we won with hope. This time we will win with love.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think there is room in our party for a Democratic candidate who does not support women's full reproductive freedom.

REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let's not aim so low only to protect Roe. Let's repeal the discriminatory Hyde Amendment.


KING: I want to show some numbers from our new poll that underscore the challenge for these lesser-known candidates. Your brain, no matter how open-minded you say you are, you can only put so many candidates on your list if you will. Here's my first choice, if that doesn't work out, I'm going to do here.

Look at the Iowa actively considering, we asked in our poll. Sixty- one percent of Iowa Democrats say they're actively considering former Vice President Joe Biden, same for Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, is in that bullpark, down to 32 percent. A third of Iowa Democrats say they're considering their neighbor, the Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar

So, here, if you're a four in 10, five in 10, six in 10 at the top, so you're on the list, right? You're on the list for most Iowa voters, but let's flip over here and look at this. Only 21 percent say Julian Castro is on their list. Twenty-one percent Senator Gillibrand, 18 percent the former Congressman, 15 percent for a businessman who is not well-known. That's probably good.

Only three percent Wayne Messam, six percent Marianne Williamson. Bill de Blasio is the mayor of New York City, six percent. Tim Ryan is a congressman, seven percent, a congressman seven percent, a senator nine percent, governor 10 percent, governor 11 percent, former governor 11 percent, and so on. How do they break through or can they?

MOLLY BALL, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think the bubble that Pete Buttigieg has enjoyed proves that any candidate can potentially break out, right? He was considered in the lower tier of candidates when he got in the race and he managed to impress people by getting in front of them and being impressive. And so that's why these candidates are going to these cattle calls and hoping that they have that breakout moment in their, you know, five minutes on stage.

It's really hard to do when there's this many candidates but to me what's most important in these early polls is when people are asked even in Iowa, have you chosen your preferred candidate, or are you still considering multiple? And I'm not sure about this, particularly (INAUDIBLE) it tends to be about two-thirds if not more. And so what that is saying is none of these candidates are locking anybody down but also what's keeping so many of them in the field, there are few voters are ruling anybody out at this point. And when you talk to voters on the trail that they say that -- they definitely feel like they haven't ruled anybody out, they just want to see how it goes.

KING: I agree a thousand percent which is why for this, and we can put up the -- this graphic again. If you're -- you know, you want to get ruled in. You want to get rolled in to at least to be considered, and if you look at the lesson on candidates, Castro 21. That doesn't mean he has 21 percent support. It means 21 percent of Iowans say they're actively considering him. Two in 10 essentially actively considering him. And you see the numbers for the others so you've got to the get through.

Which means the debates, the cattle call helps. Maybe you get a little coverage in the state, the debates help enormously. Sometimes these candidates decide to pick a fight. (INAUDIBLE) we showed earlier, the more better known candidates going after Joe Biden. Here's Governor Hickenlooper going after Bernie Sanders.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Governor, Bernie Sanders said that there's no room for middle ground.

JOHN HICKENLOOPER (D-CO), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm not sure what he's accomplished. I mean, what's his track record. He says I've done this, a, b, c, d, e, f. The most ambitious Trans initiative in modern American history. We had all 34 mayors, 21 of them Republican unanimously supported that tax (INAUDIBLE). Where else that happened? Bernie sanders hasn't pulled something like that off.


SHEAR: I mean, look, the other two things that help these candidates are, one, the argument for Iowa as this relatively small, relatively inexpensive place that you can go, you can campaign. It doesn't take a massive war chest, and so that's part of the argument for that kind of state as opposed to a maybe a larger state that would go first.

[12:40:02] And the second our own obsession with politics. I mean, sort of the news media and television in particular is the kind of obsession maybe rightly so with this process that's starting and is going to continue for the next 18 months gives people the kind of platform, free media essentially to talk about that they wouldn't have and they wouldn't be able to buy because they don't have the kind of money or resources or to do that. And so the moments that Molly talked about are critical, they have to find a moment to break out.

BADE: Yes, and Hickenlooper did that not just this weekend but, you know, the weekend before in California. They had a big convention for the Democrats, and, you know, he hit Bernie Sanders again and said point blank socialism is bad, and I think he was booed at the time. But, again, he is sort of embracing that reputation as being a moderate, somebody willing to say no to the far-left if it's going to hurt their likability and, you know, that makes him stand out. And so he's increasing in that way.

KING: He puts some kind of in Joe Biden's lane so he needs Joe Biden to go away for a bit. But that will make this fascinating and interesting as we get into the debates. First this month then next month, I suspect the field will shrink after that. The question is by how much? I wish I know that answer but I don't.

Up next, more welcoming headlines for the National Rifle Association, why some members might be furious if they read a certain newspaper this morning and wonder where the money went.


[12:45:43] KING: Topping our political radar today, a bipartisan Senate duo hoping to outflank the Trump White House and block $8 billion worth of arm sales to Saudi Arabia. Democratic Senator Chris Murphy and Republican Senator Todd Young introducing a resolution that could trigger a vote to cutoff funding for the kingdom based on its human rights record. This follows the administration's national emergency declaration last week, that declaration aimed at side- stepping Congress and getting the arms sales through.

The Supreme Court today rejecting another case surrounding the indefinite detention of terror suspects saying held at Guantanamo Bay. The court says it will not take up a challenge brought by a Yemeni citizen the United States has been holding for 17 years.

On a separate front, the court also refusing a challenge to a federal law that requires registration of certain accessories to fire arms including silencers.

A story in today's Washington Post puts a harsh new spotlight on how the NRA, the National Rifle Association, spends its members' dues. It says over the past three years, nearly a fourth of the NRA directors collected money from the group, including a firearms executive who the Post says received more than $3 million for products. The newspaper says another NRA board member got hefty fees for consulting speeches and membership commissions. An NRA spokesman told the Post the number of financial relationships between the gun group and its directors is quite, quote, small.

Up next, a big impeachment question for Democrats. Do they care more about 2020 or what their grandkids will think?


[12:51:45] KING: It's a great breakdown in the Washington Post today of the impeachment divide among House Democrats. Think of three distinct groups, the waverers, tore in between party leaders who opposed impeachment, and their fiery constituents who demand it. Put California's Jimmy Gomez in this group, quote, it has to be iron-clad he says. It can't be done willy-nilly just because people want it. Then are skeptics. Those who remember the political backlash of the Clinton days like Democrat Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri. He says, I would like to be able to say I stood for maintaining the unity of the country.

Lastly, the diehards who say, damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead. Cedric Richmond of Louisiana fits there. "I don't want to be judged in history asleep at the wheel."

It's a great story as we watch this debate play out. Every day there are different dynamics. From the reporting, what's your biggest takeaway?

BADE: It's very personal. The question of impeachment is very personal for Democrats and it's not really following traditional lines that you would think. Yes, some of the folks on the very far-left are for impeachment, and some of the folks in the swing districts are against it, but there are people on both sides of the Democratic ideology that are going every which way. For example, freshman Representative Katie Hill comes from a Republican district in California, she flipped it. She was telling me that two weeks ago she was gung-ho and ready to come out for impeachment, and all of a sudden there was a court ruling in favor of Democrats and she was in a meeting with Pelosi, Pelosi is arguing and saying, look, we're winning in the courts, don't do this. So she reversed position and now she's getting calls 20-1 for impeachment.

That just shows, again, like how torn some of these members are. They don't know what to do. And a lot of them are looking at the future history books saying, you know, what is history going to say about me if I do this or if I don't? And, you know, you talk to members who are talking about their grandkids in this decision, and they're coming to totally opposite conclusions.

So, again, it just shows there is no rhyme or reason to a lot of this and it's a very personal decision.

KING: It's legitimately hard.

BADE: Yes.

SHEAR: Yes. And, you know, there's a great book called "Thinking in Time" which talks about the way in which presidents inaccurately often use analogies to guide their decision-making, and they look back in history and they say, well, I should do this because the same thing happen before. And I think this is one of the things that it's a danger for these members as well, right? Is that they only have a couple of things to look at, they really look at the Clinton administration, the Clinton impeachment and say, well, you know, what could happen -- but that's a very limited set of data points. And if you -- you know, really, we're in uncharted territory here and what the political ramifications are on their own election, on the party's future is really uncertain, and they don't have a lot of really good analogies that they can look back in history and say, oh, I know what to do because this is what will happen. BALL: Politicians hate certain situations where they can't tell how things are going to go at the end, right? And it's possible that they don't do it and regret that or do, do it and regret that. But I do think that while there is a very wide spectrum of differing opinions on impeachment, the bulk of the Democratic caucus, you don't hear a lot of hell no. And you don't hear that much do it now or never.

There's a big mushy middle that's basically the not yet caucus, and they are open to it, and some of them think it's time already but they are also OK with waiting a little bit longer, whether it's for negotiations with the Justice Department, or for court rulings to come down.

[12:55:04] They're OK and they're backing Pelosi's strategy for now because they're OK with waiting just a little longer before that decision gets made.

KING: Mushy middle has more of a ring than not yet. But let's see (INAUDIBLE) the mushy middle.

Up next for us, one 2020 err goes into Red Sox Nation and talks about the Twins?



SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am a big hockey fan, of course, state of Minnesota. I will note I know there's probably Red Sox fans here but perhaps you've noticed the best team in baseball is the Minnesota Twins.


KING: A little risk there.