Return to Transcripts main page
Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Presidential Candidate, Speaks To Voters In South Carolina; Spat With Biden Over Segregationists Brings Focus To Booker As He Struggles In Polls; Democratic President Candidate Joe Biden Speaks To Voters In South Carolina; Trump Reverses Iran Strike; ICE Raids Meant For MS-13. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired June 22, 2019 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DONALD TRUMP PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And that's what we need in this country is common sense. But I didn't like the idea of them knowingly shooting down an unmanned drone and then we kill 150 people. I didn't like that.
Now, if the leadership of Iran behaves badly, then it's going to be a very, very bad day for them. But, hopefully, they're smart. And, hopefully, they really care for their people and not themselves. And, hopefully, we can get Iran back onto an economic track that's fantastic where they're a really wealthy nation which would be a wonderful thing. All those things, I want to do. But if they're going to be foolish, that's never going to happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: For those remarks just before the president left for Camp David come after he warned on Friday of potentially grave consequences for Iran.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm not looking for war. And if there is, it'll be obliteration like you've never seen before. But I'm not looking to do that, but you can't have a nuclear weapon.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: This afternoon, the president announced additional sanctions will be rolled out on Monday, though he didn't offer any specifics. He tweeted that he looks forward to seeing those sanction become unnecessary someday. But sanctions aren't what worry many Americans, war does. And CNN's Tom Foreman shows us why conflicts in the recent past don't even compare with what might resolve from a full-scale battle from Iran -- Tom.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ana, if the U.S. military were to go after Iran, they'd be taking on a robust military. About a million people guarding an area about twice the size of Texas. But, more importantly, the fight could easily spill beyond Iran to places where they have agents and allies who might very well take up the battle. Iraq, for example, Shia militia there backed by Iran could very well start going after remaining U.S. troops in that region. If you go over here to Syria, same thing, Shia militia. Plus, Hezbollah backed by Iran and considered a terrorist group by the United States. They could go after remaining U.S. troops. There are only a few hundred there, but that could make them particularly vulnerable.
Move a little bit further over. Let's take a look at Lebanon here. In Lebanon, Hezbollah could be firing rockets across the border into Israel. That could very well be expected. Israel, of course, an important U.S. Ally and the same thing with Hamas in Gaza. Take it down to Yemen.
There, you could see Houthi rebels going after U.S. forces and Saudi forces. Again, another ally in Saudi Arabia and in the Emirates. And even in Afghanistan, you could still have fighters loyal to Iran going after U.S. troops there all of which could expand the fight.
Consider this, too. Iran very well could try to shut down this, the Strait of Hormuz, through which one-fifth of the world's petroleum products pass. The United States has called this the most important choke point in the world. That could be in some jeopardy.
And, of course, don't forget Iran's missiles which could easily reach U.S. bases throughout this region. None of this has to happen if the United States takes military action against Iran. But military and political analysts say all of it could -- Ana.
CABRERA: OK, Tom Foreman, thank you.
The president, today, did something of a victory lap over his last- minute switch on the military strike.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're getting a lot of praise for what I did. And we have people on both sides, some like it and some probably not as much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: With us now, Democratic Congressman John Garamendi of California who site on the Armed Services Committee. Congressman, let's pick up right there.
REP. JOHN GARAMENDI (D), CALIFORNIA: Sure.
CABRERA: Do you find yourself praising the president's decision not to attack?
GARAMENDI: It is the right decision, but it was after making the wrong decision. The right decision after the wrong decision. The wrong decision was not to come to Congress and seek authority to take any military action he thought was necessary. He didn't do that. He announced to the world he was going to take action. And then, shortly thereafter, announced that he was not, creating considerable confusion. All to a good ending.
Now, going forward, the question is, how do we hold Iran accountable for shooting down our very valuable, very, very important asset? There are multiple ways they could be done. That's where the president has to --
CABRERA: The president is going to -- going to issue more sanctions. He's -- that's the plan for Monday. Is that the right move?
GARAMENDI: It may very well be. Let's see what those sanctions are. There are other things that can be done. This is where thoughtful, careful analysis needs to be in place. Unfortunately, most of the potential for thought doesn't exist any longer, at least it's certainly in disarray.
[17:05:00] The entire Department of Defense is in the process of change at the highest levels of the Navy, the Air Force, the department itself with the secretary of Defense, and some of the other key personnel, are moving on to other jobs or retiring. And so, there's a bit of a vacuum there. Obviously, the State Department has been seriously short for many, many days or months now of key personnel and key experts in the area.
Now, hopefully, the president will get very sound advice, although he doesn't believe the Intelligence Agency. It's time for him to listen to them and to learn from them. All of this requires thought. It requires thinking beyond the initial action, thinking to the second order event. We do something, then what does Iran do? And you just had a very good --
GARAMENDI: -- description of what they might do.
CABRERA: Do you think that the positive reaction the president says he's seeing, though, will reinforce his thinking, that operating on instincts works best for him?
GARAMENDI: I hope not. Operating on instincts is never a good idea. Operating on emotions is never a good idea. Take a deep breath. Take time. Now, all of that, you need to take into context of always be prepared to defend. As you just heard in prior to my coming onboard here, we have very numerous personnel assets, bases in the area. We have a right to defend ourselves.
And so, if Iran chooses to attack any of our assets, any of our personnel, we must defend against that attack. That doesn't mean we go to war. That means we defend the attack. Now, we are not in that stage now. We're in what we should call stage of retaliation. That may be a kinetic, that is things that go boom, or it may be sanctions. It may be some other action.
And one other thing that's absolutely necessary and that is that we do not go it alone. We need to rally support for either sanctions and if it comes to a kinetic action, again, we need to have our allies with us. Unfortunately, the president has created a very difficult situation in which he moved the United States out of the joint JCPOA. That was the nuclear agreement to stop --
GARAMENDI: -- Iran from building a bomb within the next 10 to 15 years. We're no longer a part of that. Our allies are. And, --
GARAMENDI: -- therefore, we've isolated ourselves.
CABRERA: The House passed a bill this week that would repeal the authorized use of military force that was approved after 911. It has specific language about not authorizing force against Iran. But, as you know, that's probably not going to get very far in the Republican- led Senate. So, would that, inadvertently, give the president a constitutional loophole to order an attack?
GARAMENDI: No, I don't believe so. Clearly, Iran does not come under the 2001 authorization to use force in Afghanistan. It is just not appropriate to use that at all. Although I might say that the administration has tried, I think without any success, to shoehorn Iran into that. It doesn't fit.
A new authorization to use force would be necessary and there are two different ways to attack this. One is what we are working on in the Armed Services Committee with the National Defense Authorization Act and that is to say that the president has no authority to attack Iran, unless he gets an organization to use force from the Congress. I think there is broad Republican support for that.
And, given what the president did, by pulling back on his military attack, I believe that strengthens our hand to put that legislation in place. It will be a must-pass piece of legislation and I think the Senate will go along with it. Now, we do need a new authorization.
CABRERA: And you just mentioned a little -- go ahead and finish.
GARAMENDI: Please go ahead, Ana.
CABRERA: I wanted to ask before --
GARAMENDI: I was just going to say we -- yeah, go.
CABRERA: After you.
GARAMENDI: I was just going to say, we do need a new authorization to use force. The old 2001, it's just no longer valid. We're actually using that in 16 countries around the world. Not a good thing.
CABRERA: You mentioned earlier all of the holes in this administration with all the acting people, people acting defense secretary.
CABRERA: Acting DHS secretary, for example, acting U.N. ambassador. GARAMENDI: Right.
CABRERA: The president, last night, nominated Mark Esper to become the next defense secretary. Does Esper have your support?
GARAMENDI: He will. I've worked with him as the chairman of the Readiness Subcommittee, responsibility for all of our troops on the land, on the sea, on the ground or in the air being ready to go to war, if necessary.
[17:10:05] I've worked very closely with him, as he has been the Army secretary. I think he can do a good job. And we surely need to have him soon; not later, soon. The Senate needs -- the president needs to get that nomination to the Senate and the Senate needs to act. We cannot have the kind of uncertainty that has existed for the last almost six months now.
CABRERA: All right, Congressman John Garamendi, as always, thank you very much for being here.
GARAMENDI: Thank you.
CABRERA: Nearly all of the 2020 candidates are in South Carolina right now, making their pitch to black voters. We're waiting for Joe Biden to speak. We'll bring that to you live as it happens.
And some breaking news, President Trump says he will not go through with the ICE raids and deportations in 10 major cities that was expected to happen tomorrow. But that's not what he said just four hours ago. Why his sudden reversal? We'll ask the mayor of Los Angeles, next. You're live in the CNN Newsroom.
CABRERA: President Trump is now delaying ICE raids that were expected to take place in 10 U.S. cities tomorrow and target roughly 2,000 families. He made the announcement over Twitter, writing, quote, "At the request of Democrats, I have delayed the illegal immigration removal process deportation for two weeks to see if the Democrats and Republicans can get together and work out a solution to the asylum and loophole problems at the southern border. If not, deportations start."
[17:15:02] Let's go live to the White House and CNN White House Correspondent, Boris Sanchez.
Boris, this is a complete about face from what we heard from the president literally just hours before he fired off this tweet.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: You're exactly right, Ana. Yes, this appears to be a brief step back for President Trump who, on Monday, promised that millions of undocumented immigrants would be deported. A White House official cleared that up to CNN shortly after insisting that it would be limited to about 2,000 undocumented immigrants who had a court order to be removed from the country that would be taking place in about 10 cities. We should point out, our colleague, Jake Tapper, actually got some reporting, a short time ago from a White House official, who told him that the president had a phone call with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last night. The call happened at about 7:00 p.m. and lasted about 12 minutes.
We're hearing that House Speaker Pelosi actually requested that the president call off these raids. It's unclear exactly how that may have motivated the president to position himself to delay these raids for two weeks, because, as you noted before he left the White House for Camp David this afternoon, he defended his decision to carry out these raids and listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: These are people that came into the country illegally. They've been served and they've gone through a process and the process of the courts. And they have to be removed from the country. They will be removed from the country. It's having a very big effect on the border, the fact that we're taking them out. The people that came into the country illegally are going to be removed from the country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: So, Ana, it appears the president made this decision while at Camp David. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tweeted out, in part, delay is welcome and the time is needed for comprehensive immigration reform. She is not alone in wanting a delay. Administration officials have told CNN that the acting director -- the acting secretary of Department of Homeland Security, Kevin McAleenan, was hesitant about carrying out these raids, believing that they could harm negotiations that are ongoing between Democrats and Republicans in Congress over the issue of immigration.
No indication, though, at this point, that two weeks is going to be enough time for a breakthrough on an issue that has been contentious and one that has been only central to the president's administration, but also his candidacy going into 2020 -- Ana.
CABRERA: Right. Boris Sanchez at the White House. Thank you.
The raids were scheduled to take place in 10 cities across the country and ICE had planned to target 2,000 families who have ignored orders to leave the country. Many of the cities' mayors had been speaking out against these raids. They were refusing to cooperate. Eric Garcetti, the Mayor of Los Angeles, is among them, and he joins us from Los Angeles.
Mayor, first, your reaction to the president calling off these raids, at least for the next couple of weeks.
MAYOR ERIC GARCETTI (D), LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: Well, hello, Ana. And I'm glad that there's families here in Los Angeles and around the country can sleep a little easier tonight. They don't have to worry when they're at church or maybe having a barbecue leading up to the Fourth of July weekend, to wonder whether their parents will be taken away, whether their grandparents won't be there. But, you know, this is, really, the weakness and failure that we've seen of this president to produce anything, when it comes to immigration.
There are common-sense solutions out there. There are mayors, like myself, who every single day deal with the integration of immigrants, policing our streets effectively with incredible police officers. But what we saw here was a welcome backing off. I find it ironic in a week in which the president also backed off in Iran, because he said he didn't want to, potentially, have the collateral damage of 150 lives in a foreign country. But still has this threat to a million residents, who are taxpayers here, still hanging over their heads. And it's just delayed for a couple of weeks.
CABRERA: He says he's doing it at the request of Democrats. Do you buy that?
GARCETTI: It may be the reason, I think, Speaker Pelosi for her activism and a lot of us who are raising our voices. These aren't just random people. These aren't individual people. These are, often, the parents of U.S. citizen children.
We are pro-family here in Los Angeles and in cities across the country. That's why we don't believe in not only dividing American people, but dividing families. 63 percent of my new businesses on the main streets of my city are opened by immigrants, many of them undocumented who, like my grandfather, who was undocumented probably at the time, an immigrant who came from Mexico during a war when his father was killed. They yearn for the American dream. He became a veteran. He fought World War II and earned a citizenship.
And we have those same America stories living on our streets. So, I hope the president can listen to them, like he did when he heard from the DREAMers. He promised them he'd do something. And he can act and not hold all those pieces hostage for a wall that he's been unable to build.
CABRERA: You describe the immigrants that you think would be affected. The president was defending these raids earlier today saying the target was MS-13. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're very focused on MS-13, getting them out. And I hope you're not going to stick up too much for MS-13. But we're very focused. I.C.E. is -- these are fantastic people. We're very, very focused at getting MS-13 out of this country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[17:20:00] CABRERA: Mayor, if the president is targeting MS-13, are you concerned he's just given them a two-week head's up?
GARCETTI: Yes, it was -- tactically, it was a bad thing to do. And he could learn a thing or two from us. There's been no more effective force in bringing down MS-13 than the Los Angeles Police Department, 10,000 committed men and women. But we also invest in young people, so they don't join gangs. We know that you have to go to the source of the problem, which he's ignoring in places like Central America.
But here's the irony, Ana. He defunded and threatened to defund funds that go to our LAPD officers that we use for anti-gang operations against gangs such as MS-13, because he decided we're a sanctuary city. So, here's a president talking tough on MS-13 but actually defunding the police with the very funds that would help go after dangerous gangs like MS-13.
CABRERA: According to figures as early as recent as 2016, there are almost a million undocuments (ph) living in Los Angeles. ICE says it plans to target some 2,000 families throughout the entire country. Do you have an idea how many people, in your city alone, ICE may try to arrest in the next couple of weeks?
GARCETTI: Well, we heard it was 140. And, again, it's not a million in Los Angeles. It's a million in southern California which is nearly 20 million Americans that live in this region. My understanding is there's about 800 ICE officers, maybe 600 to 800. There's no way that anybody can physically deport 1 million people, like the president's threatening. It was on the same day he was running for reelection. We know that this is a political game. I think people see through that.
And so, we're really hoping that this is a president who can focus on living up to his own word. He told me when he was president-elect he wanted to do comprehensive immigration reform. He told the DREAMers, don't worry, I'll take care of you. But every single time, the wall is the hostage that he takes. And they are the victims, unfortunately.
So, -- but we don't know if it was 140, maybe in my city, there would be a couple dozen people that are targeted. And, let's be clear, nobody who is a dangerous or violent criminal should be protected, just simply because they are undocumented. But we used to have strategy to go after those dangerous sharks. Get them out of the water. Now, it's just throw the net anywhere, say that you got 150 guppies and look how great we're doing, while that shark who's still out there in the ocean.
CABRERA: You've said you won't allow your police force to assist in these raids. But are there other measures you're going to take to protect these immigrants?
GARCETTI: Yes. We are letting people know their rights. That whether you're a resident or whether you're a citizen. Just because someone knocks on your door, you don't have to answer. We have a justice fund to help people with legal counsel. Many times, the great offenses are things like parking tickets that haven't been paid or something that's 20 years old. These are primary breadwinners. These are of U.S. citizens.
Again, we are pro-family here. And we believe that keeping families together is strong for all of us. If a person is removed from that family and those kids grow up without a parent, we all pay for that. That means somebody won't graduate from school. They might even join a gang. They might be able to -- they might fall into poverty or become homeless, something that we're fighting very strongly against here in L.A.
So, be smart, get to the root, and stop playing politics with people's lives. These are not pawns. They are people. We actually have some of those solutions, but it requires Washington to act with comprehensive immigration reform and addressing these humanitarian crises that starts in Central America.
CABRERA: Deportations have increased slightly under President Trump between 2017 and 2018 around 250,000 people have been deported. But that's still significantly less than the 400,000 people that were deported in 2012 under President Obama. Why do you see this as being different?
GARCETTI: It isn't. And I think those of us who've been speaking out for many years, regardless of the administration, we really want to see action. It was when Democrats and Republicans came together in the 1980s and President Reagan signed something Ted Kennedy helped get through that allowed people who are loving Americans who love this country, have everything but their legal status to become fully contributing members of society. We know that there's not a million people who are going to be shoved across the border tomorrow. So, why not make them into the great entrepreneurs, the college graduates, the military veterans that many of us have in our families?
And I don't think that's unique to this administration. We need Washington and both parties to sit down and not put a line in the sand that it's the wall or nothing else. Get comprehensive legislation done first. That's a pathway to integrating. Go to the root of the cause that is causing people to pick up from these countries in the first place. And then, I think we can see a more secure border. But we never hear the president talk about those core causes.
CABRERA: You mentioned earlier, your city's homeless issue, and you're facing calls now to step down over Los Angeles' homelessness crisis. There's been a 16 percent increase, we know, over the last year under their leadership. Right now, an estimated 36,000 people are living there on the streets.
CABRERA: What do you say to people watching this interview who think you may care more about protecting undocumented immigrants than homeless Americans.
GARCETTI: Ana, I think you -- it's not an either-or. I spent probably 50 times more on that very incredibly difficult issue of homelessness. And I'm proud to lead on that.
[17:25:00] I think most people know counties have hospitals and mental health. It's not cities that release people from jails. It's not cities that are in charge of foster care systems, that deal with veterans coming home from war. And it's not unique to Los Angeles which had about a third of the increase of the state and lower than other parts of the country.
It is my great passion to bring folks home. We've reduced our veterans' homelessness by 80 percent. And I am confident that you have to stick your head up on leadership on difficult things and people know just how complicated that is, anybody who's ever had mental health problems in their family. This is -- we should say what it is, a national mental health crisis.
But there is no question that I spend 99 times more of my time on this than dealing with immigration. I just have to speak out when we have a president who continues to do things that are destructive to families, to our economy and our security.
CABRERA: OK. Mayor Eric Garcetti, good to have you with us. Thank you very much.
GARCETTI: Good to be with you, Ana. Thank you.
CABRERA: Senator Cory Booker is addressing voters in South Carolina. Let's listen in.
CORY BOOKER (D), : You all are the power. You all are the purpose. You all are what's going to help us win. Look, I live in a low- income, inner city community. We don't mistake wealth with worth where I live. We know where power comes from. Look, I want to tell you the truth. When I first came to the inner city of Newark, New Jersey, the neighborhood I still live in, I had this idea, coming as a Yale Law student, that I was going to help turn around the country. I was going to lead things
But I met a grassroots leader who was a tenant president in the projects in which I lived for almost a decade. And I still remember when I told her -- she goes, why are you here? I'm here to help you. She goes, if you want to help me, you've got to come down to the street and tell me what you see in your -- my neighborhood.
And she goes, describe what you see. And I described the projects and an abandoned building being used for drugs. I talked about the graffiti. And I described what I saw. But the more that I talked, the more this woman looked at me like she was upset with me. And I finally said, what's wrong? And she said goes, boy, you need to understand something. The world you see outside of you is a reflection of what you have inside of you.
And if you are one of those people who looks around my community and all you see is problems and darkness and despair, that's all that it's ever going to be. But if you're one of those people who every time you open your eyes, you're stubborn. You see hope. You see opportunity. You see love. Then, you can be one of the people that helps me. I want to tell you a lot of folks who are talking about themselves, but I want to talk about you.
Because what I've learned in the city of Newark, eventually becoming the mayor of that city, that the hope for our community did not lie in one individual in one office. It lied with the people and our ability to come together and stand together and work together and fight together and win together.
And so, let me tell you right now. Let me tell you right now. A lot of people want to make this election all about Donald Trump. Well, let me tell you. I'm running for office because we will beat Donald Trump. But let me tell you. Let me tell you. That's not all we need to do. Beating Donald Trump is the floor. It's not the ceiling. Beating Donald Trump gets us out of the valley, but it does not get us to the mountaintop. I'm running for office because I believe that we, as a people, can get to the mountaintop. I'm not running because of what we're against.
We, as a party, must stand up for what we're for. We are for, in the United States of America, once and for all health care being a right for all Americans. We are for every job in America having a living wage, the right to organize, the right to retire with security. We are for public education and making sure that public school teachers are paid what they are worth and raising their salaries.
We are for ending the school to prison pipeline. We are for standing up to make sure that we don't stick our head in the ground on climate change, but this is the nation that leads us out of this crisis.
I want you all to know this election has to be about us. So many people think that we want to make it all about him. I walked into a town hall up in Iowa. A man comes up to me, puts his arm around me before I spoke and says, hey, man, I want you to punch Donald Trump in the face. And I looked at that guy, and I go, hey, man, that's a felony.
We will not beat Donald Trump by fighting him, using his tactics, on his turf, on his terms. He wants this election to be about hate. We better make it about love. He wants to make this election about tearing people down. We're going to make it about building people up.
[17:30:00] He wants to make this election about dividing folks. We are going to unite this country and put more indivisible into this one nation under God.
BOOKER: I want you all to know, I still go home to Newark. We have seven people shot in my community just last week. The problems we face were going on before Donald Trump was in office.
We live in a perilous time. We can be the first generation of Americans to have lower life expectancy than the one before. We see this nation now, baby boomers, 95 percent are better economically than their patients, and we are down to 50/50.
I know we've got to beat Donald Trump but there's something else in the balance. It's not a referendum on him. It's a referendum on who we are to each other.
BOOKER: And we are a nation of love. And so I want to tell you right now, they made a mistake giving me a
hammer. I want to tell you all right now, where Martin Luther King was slain, I was taught by that woman on the fifth floor of the projects that hope is the active conviction that despair will never have the last word.
BOOKER: Where Martin Luther King was slain, they decided not to write a tribute to him. They decided to write a challenge to us. Where King was slain, there are words there that are Joseph's words, Joseph's brother's words that they uttered before they grabbed him and threw him into a ditch.
These are words that are when where King is slain, a challenge to us. The words from Genesis that says, "Behold, here cometh a dreamer, let us slay him and see what becomes of the dream." Well, this is a referendum on the dream.
We now, in our generation, have to stand up and dream again, bold dreams and defiant dreams, dreams of love. Dreams that our ancestors fought and died for.
I want to ask you, South Carolina, will you stand and dream with me again?
BOOKER: Will you dream American again?
BOOKER: Will we dream this country anew?
BOOKER: Bold dreams, defiant dreams!
If we dream together and work together and love together, we won't just beat Donald Trump, but we will make it to the mountaintop and we will get to the Promised Land.
BOOKER: Thank you! Thank you, South Carolina. It's time for the dream again. Thank you!
ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Senator Cory Booker speaking at the South Carolina Democratic convention.
Any moment now, Joe Biden will also take the stage. We'll bring his speech to you live, as well.
As we wait for that, let's bring in Joel Payne, former senior aide for Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign, and CNN Senior Political Analyst, Ron Brownstein, senior editor for "The Atlantic." Joel, Booker just spoke. He needs a breakthrough for his campaign.
He's been struggling in the polls.
He stood out this week because of his criticism of Joe Biden and the comments that Joe Biden made over working with segregationists back when he was a Senator a few decades ago and he called on Biden to apologize. The two had a back and forth.
Do you think this week was a bit of a breakthrough? Will he have momentum?
JOEL PAYNE, FORMER SENIOR AIDE, HILLARY CLINTON 2016 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: So this is really what I like to call the time when the race really starts to move.
There's been a lot of different positions taken and different ideas that are seeded out there in weather balloons. But now the candidates are starting to dig into what's their message. How am I going to appeal to voters and how will I contrast and differentiate?
You're seeing that with Booker with the speech he just gave.
Kamala Harris got applauded for her speech she gave earlier today.
And you talk about the Biden/Booker back and forth earlier this week. And this is where we'll start to see the candidates move.
It you look back at past races, John McCain and Barack Obama in 2007, it's where they started to move. In 2016, it's where Donald Trump -- rather 2015, where he started to make his move.
So this is the time. The dog days of the summer is when the candidates get an opportunity to start to put some distance between themselves and between the other candidates and other contenders.
CABRERA: Joel, do you think Booker's reaction to Biden this week was more about politics or principle?
PAYNE: I think it was about principle. And it just so happens that it will probably be a little bit helpful to him in terms of politics. This sets up a really interesting debate back and forth.
And I've been talking about the debate next week where the format will be the star. You will have the two side by side debate on back to back nights where someone like Cory Booker will not be facing on Joe Biden because they're on different nights.
So I wonder how that format will impact how the moderators talk about that and how other candidates react and whether or not that's actually going to impact the race in the way that it has in the past.
It will be interesting to see how this new format that the DNC has put out there, whether or not that will impact how the race is viewed broadly.
[17:35:04] CABRERA: As we wait for Biden to take the stage, Ron, do you think Biden did enough to put this controversy behind him this week?
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: No, because it's emblematic of the larger issue. Joe Biden has been in public life since 1970. If nominated in 2020, it would be 50 years after he was first elected. That's never happened in American political history. No party has ever nominated someone for the first time 50 years after their first election.
And what this means, Ana, is, over the curse of his career, he's taken positions and said things and done things that reflected a very different political era that Democrats were in. The underlying question is, are Democrats today willing to accept the compromises and concessions and calculations that Democrats made in that earlier time.
For example, when Joe Biden got to the Senate, one-quarter of the Senate Democrats were southerners. Many of them conservatives, many of them who opposed civil rights. One-third of the House Democratic caucus were southerners. And something like three quarters of all the Democratic voters were white voters without a college education who tended to be conservative on race. Many of whom were conservative on race.
And so he navigated that world and he made choices, particularly in his opposition to bussing, his willingness to work with people like James Eastland, that will be constantly raised throughout this campaign.
And I think we see a reflection of it already in the sharp age gap in terms of support for him. Voters under 45 in both national and state polls divide very closely among the top candidates. But Biden's strength is he's ahead two, three or sometimes four to one over the next closest competitor in the polls among voters 45 and older.
So, no, I don't think this goes away because it's one manifestation of the larger issue. And there's almost an infinite supply of comment and votes and positions and choices he made that allow critics inside the Democratic coalition to raise the central issue again.
CABRERA: Much more to discuss, Joel, so hold your thought for a minute.
I have to squeeze a quick break before we got live to when Biden makes his comments. We're continuing to monitor the South Carolina Democratic convention where 22 of the 23 candidates are headlining this event. Frontrunner Joe Biden about to speak after his controversial remarks about segregationists Senators. We'll bring that to you live once it begins.
You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[17:40:43] JOE BIDEN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES & DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: -- impresses dictators and goes around the world weakening our alliances. And, look, our children are watching. They're watching. And it matters what the president says and does. Barack Obama they watched and they emulated and they wanted to be like him.
BIDEN: Four more years of Donald Trump will permanently change the character of this country. We can't let that happen. We have to beat Donald Trump as the overwhelming imperative we have.
Folks, we have to begin to rebuild the backbone of this nation, hardworking people, middle class people. Ladies and gentlemen, Wall Street did not build America. You built America.
BIDEN: Average people, given a chance, built America.
And right now, the poor are getting poorer and, from the bottom, are falling out of the middle class. Income inequity is at an all-time high. And made worse by Trump's tax cuts and enormous giveaways to the top 0.1 percent, let alone 1 percent. And it's time we start to reward work over wealth.
We need big and bold ideas.
BIDEN: And, folks, on day one, on day one, I will move to eliminate Trump's tax cuts as well for the super wealthy --
BIDEN: -- and literally cut by close to $400 to $500 billion the tax loopholes built in that have no social redeeming value and put that money to good use.
BIDEN: Health care, ladies and gentlemen. We need to save and build upon the Affordable Care Act and not jettison it. Twenty million people are covered that weren't before, over 130 million people with pre-existing condition.
And I was proud every day to serve with Barack. But let me tell you, never prouder than he got done that no other president was able to do. And, folks, we need to finish the job.
BIDEN: Under my plan, when you're covered by your employer, on your own or not at all, you will be able to buy into an option, a public health care option like Medicare. And you'll be able to have it. And if you don't have the money, you will automatically be enrolled in that.
BIDEN: We guarantee that the poor -- we guarantee that the poor are in fact covered because they can be and it's within our interest and will save billions of dollars.
Ladies and gentlemen, education. Twelve years is no longer enough for the 21st century of education. And folks, that's why I want to triple Title I funding for schools in distress.
BIDEN: By the way, we can afford to do this. It loses around $15 million to $45 million. We need universal pre-K. We need to raise teachers' pay. We have to fully fund special education.
BIDEN: And we have to double the number of school psychologists, guidance counselors, nurses because teachers can't do it all on their own.
BIDEN: And, folks, we can easily afford free community college, cutting in half the college of four-year colleges for everyone qualified to get in. And further than that, we have to do something and reduce the student debt, which I don't have time to go into now, but we will.
BIDEN: Childcare. I know what it's like to be a single parent and I was one for five years and I had a lot of help. I can't imagine what it's like for people that don't have the kind of help I had with my family. And we should provide an $8,000 tax credit for every single person who has a child and needs childcare.
BIDEN: Ladies and gentlemen, climate change. We have to restore what Barack and I did in terms of fuel economy, doubling fuel economy, as well as dealing with coal-fired plants. We can double offshore. My plan calls for doubling offshore wind energy by 2030. Providing a $400 billion in the next 10 years for clean energy research and innovation, more than, twice as much as we spent to going to the moon.
Ladies and gentlemen, we also have to immediately hold polluters accountable. You saw the headline in today's paper, in your paper. It says, South Carolina, $2 billion problem. Pipes like tissue paper threatening public health." It is unacceptable that that occurs. We can afford it.
BIDEN: It's not just in South Carolina. It's around America.
Criminal justice reform. There are too many people in prison, too many black men and, I might add, black women in prison.
[17:45:00] BIDEN: Look, in our administration, we started addressing the problem. While reforms help reduce struggling prisons by 38,000 people came out. And we passed the Supportive School Discipline Initiative to break the school-to-prison pipeline.
We need pass Bobby Scott's, Congressman Bobby Scott, from Virginia's, Safe Justice Act. I've met with him. I've got to add a few of things that I've been proposing. No more mandatory minimums, period. End private prisons, which we did in our bill, period.
BIDEN: Fund drug courts to about a billion dollars a year. No one should be going to jail because they are addicted. They should be going into rehabilitation, not to jail.
BIDEN: Bail reform. Just because you don't have the money, you should languish in jail. Ladies and gentlemen, no juveniles in adult prisons. Mandatory, mandatory treatment in jail for people who also suffer from addiction.
Ladies and gentlemen, decriminalize marijuana and automatically expunge records for those who have been convicted.
BIDEN: And by the way, instead of teaching people how to be better criminals in prison, we should be educating people in prison.
BIDEN: It's in our interest to do so.
Automatic restoration of rights once your sentence is served. Many not only you can vote but you qualify for every program, including Pell Grants, to go on and get your education. It makes no sense.
BIDEN: Look, folks, we have to have unite this country. We have to unite it. That's the only way we'll be able to harness this.
Look, we are on the cusp of major, major changes, in cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer's, so much more. We can do this by doubling NIH's budget, which is totally within our reach.
And set up a project like I propose like what happened in the Defense Department to find how to come up with the whole Internet, provide billions for basic research. I call it ARPA-H, meaning health care, forces on research and take all of the technology we have to focus on solving problems within our reach, like the Biden Cancer Initiative and the moon shot.
BIDEN: Look, I beat the NRA before. We ought to ban assault weapons again, which I did, and limit magazines.
BIDEN: And by the way, use technologies that say you cannot fire a gun unless it has your biometric prints on it. And that means no problem in terms of the Second Amendment.
And you have to pass the background checks, which I put in law as a consequence of the Brady Amendment.
Folks, science and technology can fundamentally reshape our lives.
I've never been more optimist about this country. We ought to pick our heads up.
And I remember the phrase of John Kennedy who said he wanted to go to the moon. He said, "Because we unwilling to postpone." I am not willing to postpone any longer the potential of our nation. It is totally within our power to change it.
BIDEN: God bless you all and may God protect our troops.
BIDEN: Thank you, thank you, thank you.
BIDEN: Thank you!
BIDEN: Thank you!
CABRERA: OK. Again, live right now in South Carolina at the state Democratic Party convention.
Back with us to discuss, Joel Payne and Ron Brownstein.
First, I want to hear from you, Joel. What did you think of what you just heard?
PAYNE: That was a lot in our speech. And just looking at that after we heard the Booker speech just before that, Booker's speech was much more of a value speech. It was about what his principles are. That was a laundry list speech that any Democrat could have given over the last half century about Democratic Party values, or rather Democratic Party priorities.
And so I think it's interesting how the two campaigns decided to approach in different ways.
Also, it's apparent to me that Booker's point is the problems with the nation did not start with Donald Trump. That's a foundational point that Cory Booker and a lot of Democrats have talked about is that reducing this to a Donald Trump-only election minimizes what Democrats can do on election day.
Joe Biden is telling you, if we allow Donald Trump another four years, that's more than an aberration and that is an irreversible mark on the country.
And Biden is standing on the one side of history saying, I'm focused on getting rid of Donald Trump. And the other Democrats are saying Donald Trump's a problem but there were a lot of problems that existed way before Donald Trump.
That's a fascinating construction in terms of how some Democrats are looking at the problems versus others.
CABRERA: What did you think, Ron?
BROWNSTEIN: Well, it was kind of the stump speech sped up two times to fit -- two times speed.
I agree with Joel. It is interesting. For Joe Biden, a core argument, and people are debating how much he really believes this and how much he believes it is tactically important in terms of the general election, is that, if Donald Trump is defeated, kind of the forces that brought him forward and that he has amplified will recede, and we can kind of go back to something of a more normal politics.
You know, there's a lot of reason to question how realistic that is. Certainly, Barack Obama thought the fever would break among Republicans if he was elected. There are a lot of reasons why Congress is more polarized.
[17:50:07] And the funny thing to me in listening to both of these speeches is that they, from the very difference analysts, Booker and Biden end up in kind of the same place. In this respect, they both talk about bringing the country together as opposed to simply mobilizing blue America to defeat and marginalize red America.
And Booker, like Biden, has some people on his left who say he's not enough of a warrior and a warrior in the Trump mode of essentially being president of only half of America, and the other side as being enemy force is what Democrats need to adopt now, that's is another dividing line. And it's one that Booker and Biden end up on the same side of. CABRERA: I want to talk about this friction between the Democratic
Party, when you talk about old versus young, liberal versus more conservative members or more moderates members of the Democratic Party.
And, Joel, age obviously playing a big role when it comes to Joe Biden and his history of service of over 40 years, a record, and now that's being scrutinized obviously.
You know, Ron mentioned earlier, because the party has evolved so much, what Joe Biden said in the past, the things that may have been popular then, which is now repulsive to a lot of people in the Democratic Party today, is that going to haunt him? And are Democrats going to, I guess, accept somebody like Biden, who has said those things in the past that are unacceptable to the party now?
PAYNE: This is the $64,000 question that you're bringing up here. I think that this week's incident with Joe Biden talking about the fundraiser about the segregationist Senators he worked with, that's a perfect microcosm for what we're talking about here.
Everyone focused in on race and that is the easy point to go to. We can get sucked into a meaty discussion about race. But really, it's about generational differences and approach.
Pete Buttigieg does not view the world through the same lens that Joe Biden does. Neither does Kamala Harris, neither does Cory Booker. Really, neither does Elizabeth Warren as well.
There's a different style of Democrat that exists in 2019 than in 1975 when Joe Biden first entered the U.S. Senate. The idea of civility. That's a word that I wouldn't use.
There used to be an era in politics where you would this Sister Soldier movements, right? Where people would go and they would use an opportunity to go and kind of penalize the base of their party to reach out to moderates. That no longer exists. There's no incentive for anyone who sits with a "D" next to their name to reach out to Republicans and, frankly, vice versa.
A lot of that is because Donald Trump has radicalized our politics, the Senate, the House and his base of voters. Democrats feel like if we don't catch up to that, we're going to get left behind.
There's a real tension within the party and we're seeing it on display here.
CABRERA: Ron, a piece in "The New York Times" today called, "The Black Vote Is Non-monolithic: 2020 Democrats Find Split Preferences in South Carolina." That was the title. It points out the Democratic primary vote is going to fracture perhaps along racial, generational and gender divides. How do you see it playing out?
BROWNSTEIN: So far, generational is eclipsing everything else in the Democratic race. The gender gap has been relatively modest. And Biden, as we have talked about, in all polls, leads the African- American candidates among African-American voters.
We saw, in 2016, a big divide where Bernie Sanders essentially split African-American voters under 30 with Hillary Clinton. And then as you moved up through kind of the generational ladder, her lead got bigger and bigger, especially among women. And black women are, by far, the largest single constituency in the Democratic primary in South Carolina.
I would just point out that there were two interesting examples in Biden's speech, if I heard it right, in which he was kind of talking, going to what Joel was talking about, in which he was repudiating things he was involved in creating.
He talked about formerly incarcerated being eligible for Pell Grants. I believe it was the '94 crime bill that made them ineligible for Pell Grants. And also, as he said, no more mandatory minimums and the crime bill of '94 had a lot of mandatory minimums, along with other things, like the Violence Against Women Act and the assault ban.
This is going to be the core question about the Biden candidacy. In a normal circumstance, the idea that the party would back to a 76-year- old former vice president first elected in 1970 would not be high on your list of probabilities. But this isn't a normal circumstance.
Democrats feel an absolute emergency about Donald Trump.
And the reality is, and where I disagree with Joel, is it is not really possible to win 270 Electoral College votes for either side solely by mobilizing their base.
Democrats did see a big movement towards them among Independents. Even if you look at the research by Catalyst, among a decent share of people who voted for Donald Trump in 2016. This choice on whether you want a nominee best suited will mobilize your core supporters, or one who may be more acceptable to voters who do swing between the parties, is one of the fundamental things that's going to be fought out in this primary process.
[17:55:12] CABRERA: Joel, it does seem that Trump and his team has been focused more on trying to court the minority voters, especially African-American. They point out how well minorities are doing in this economy compared to two years, decades past. They talk about the First Step Act, comparing it to the 1994 crime bill that Joe Biden was involved in.
Is it possible that Trump might peel away more African-American voters away from Democrats?
PAYNE: Anything's possible. There's a strong economy so there's certainly things that are natural advantages for the president.
What I think, if I'm Brad Parscale, the president's campaign manager, my thought is, I'm going to supercharge my base and make sure it is the reddest of red Republican bases there can be, so I can get full 100 percent buy-in from them. I'm going to tear down whoever the Democrats put up so I can create
concern and create some disaffected Democrats who either want to stay home or --
CABRERA: The Hillary Clinton strategy, right?
PAYNE: Right. And, and I'm going to try and go to make a play for some moderates and Independents in the middle.
CABRERA: OK, thank you very much, Joel Payne, Ron Brownstein. I appreciate it.
I'm Ana Cabrera, in New York. Thanks for being here. I'll see you back here in an hour.
Our colleague, S.E. Cupp, continues our coverage of today's news right after a quick break.