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Gov. Jay Inslee (D-WA) is Interviewed About the Democratic Debate; Beto O'Rourke is Interviewed on Debate Results. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired June 27, 2019 - 08:00   ET




SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN, MASSACHUSETTS (D): I am in this fight because I believe that we can make our government, we can make our economy, we can make our country work not just for those at the top, we can make it work for everyone. And I promise you this; I will fight for you as hard as I fight for my own family.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN CO-ANCHOR: Were of contrasts and clashes on policy, healthcare, immigration, foreign policy. This is Former Housing Secretary Julian Castro sparing with his fellow Texan Beto O'Rourke.


JULIAN CASTRO, FORMER U.S. HOUSING SECRETARY (D): Title 18 of the U.S. code, title 21 and title 22 already covered--



CASTRO: If you did your homework on this issue--

O'ROURKE: We're going to make sure that they are deported--

CASTRO: If you did your homework on this issue, you would know the vision--



CAMEROTA: All right, well that was arguably the most heated exchange of the night. We spoke with Julian Castro in our last hour. And joining us now is democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke, congressman, great to see you. Have you had any sleep yet?

O'ROURKE: Not a lot. But it's been a good morning so far. So, thanks for having me on. Appreciate it-- CAMEROTA: Great to have you. OK, so former secretary Castro went after you basically accusing you of not knowing what you were talking about and it wasn't just in the debate. After the debate, he sat down with Chris Matthews and he said it again. So let me just play that moment for you now.


CASTRO: I think he was just misinformed. He probably hadn't done his homework. And you'd have to ask him why that is. He was suggesting that you needed to keep that law because we would need to be able to punish people who are drug trafficking or human trafficking. I agree that we need to be able to punish them. But you know what, we already have laws that do that.


CAMEROTA: So congressman, what do you say to Julian Castro who had said that you just hadn't done your homework on it?

O'ROURKE: You know, I'd tell him and you that no one's worked harder to end the practice of family separation. A year ago Father's Day, we were at Tornillo, this infamous tent city housing children many of whom had been separated from their parents. Some of whom had been caged.

Their parents deported back to the very countries from which they fled having no idea when or if they'd ever see them again. That action that we helped to lead helped to close down Tornillo and this administration's practice of family separation at least temporarily.

I cosponsored legislation that would ensure that any family fleeing persecution or violent seeking asylum in this country is not criminally prosecuted. So, I want to set the record straight on that. But I also want to add that in my administration, we would reunite every separated family.

We will free dreamers from any fear of deportation by making them U.S. citizens. And will rewrite our immigration laws in our own image so they reflect our values, our interests and our reality in cities like Miami where we are today or my hometown of El Paso so, a very ambitious bold plan to make sure that we get immigration policy right.

CAMEROTA: So when Secretary Castro says that it is actually that code, 1325 that allows for family separations is he wrong? I mean would you change that? Is he wrong to say that by making it civil instead of criminal, that's how you would solve that problem?

O'ROURKE: He's wrong on his characterization of family separation. As I just shared earlier, we cosponsored legislation that would end this practice and ensure that any family seeking asylum, even if it's an unlawful entry in-between ports of entry is not criminally prosecuted.

In addition, (inaudible), we're going to introduce a family case management program so that these families are not detained; they're released in to the community. They're helped to attend their court dates, follow our laws.

It keeps us safer, it ensures that they're following our own laws and practices and we can do so at a fraction of the cost. I'm raising my three kids on the U.S. Mexico border in El Paso, Texas. It's one of the safest cities in the United States of America right now. It is safe because we treat one another with respect and dignity.

We don't need cages; we don't need to criminally prosecute families. We do not need walls. We need immigration laws that reflect our values. And that's what I want to lead on as president of the United States.

CAMEROTA: You peppered some of your responses last night with Spanish, which you speak and you were addressing I guess people who were listening who speak Spanish.

So let me play it for you because the question that you were asked was about I think the top tax rate. And you answered part of it in Spanish. So let me just remind viewers of what you said last night.


O'ROURKE: This economy has got to work for everyone. And right now we know that it isn't. And it's going to take all of us coming together to make sure that it does.


(through translator): We need to include every person to make the economy successful, in order to do that that we need to include everyone in our democracy. Each voter needs representation and every voice needs to be heard.


CAMEROTA: Why did you want to answer that question in Spanish?

O'ROURKE: Because I think it's important that we listen to and peak to everyone in this country, including those who happen to speak or prefer to speak Spanish. I've held more than 160 town halls, answered thousands of questions most in English but some in Spanish.

If this democracy is going to work, if our economy is going to work for everyone, then everyone has to be included. Especially those who've been marginalized and not been at the table want to make sure that their voice is heard. I want to make sure that their vote counts as well.

Coming from El Paso, Texas, in order for me to be effective when I was a member of congress there, I needed to be bale to listen to and speak to everyone in both English and Spanish. I want to do that as a candidate and I want to do that as president as well.

CAMEROTA: OK, so that was some of the substance of last night. Let's talk about the style. How do you think you did on the stage last night? What grade would you give yourself? O'ROURKE: I was really happy with how I did. I got to layout why I'm running for president.

I talked about my daughter Molly who just turned 11 years old and the fact that she is counting on us that children all across this country are counting on us and that there are children who right now don't have representation or a voice, including those sleeping on concrete floors, under tinfoil blankets who have been separated from their families.

I talked about the new kind of politics that it will take to meet these historic challenges that we face.

Kind of politics that we demonstrated in Texas where we went to each one of the 254 counties showing up with the courage of our conviction, writing nobody off taking no one for granted, listening to and learning from the people that we wanted to serve.

We saw the greatest voter turnout in a midterm in Texas history. We won independence for the first time--


O'ROURKE: -- in decades. Half a million republicans joined our cause. That's how you beat Donald Trump and that's how you bring this divided country together again to make sure that we meet the greatest challenges we've ever faced.

CAMEROTA: OK, but what grade would you give yourself for last night?

O'ROURKE: I'd give myself an A. I wanted to make sure that I got that point across. I described why I'm doing this, who I'm doing it for, the people that inspire me and how we're going to meet these challenges. And I felt like I was able to get that across.

CAMEROTA: Did you feel like you were the recipient of some incoming last night? Did you feel that some of the other candidates were going after you specially?

O'ROURKE: I sure did. But that's part of politics and its part of the debate, certainly one where you have ten candidates on the stage each of them trying to make their mark. I choose to define myself not against other people. I believe running not against any of those other candidates but for the United States of America.

So, I felt like my responsibility was to describe my vision for this country and reflect back so much of what I've heard by listening to people all across this country. Others had a different strategy, one that involved attacking other candidates.

And I'll leave it to pundits and others to judge performance or the best tactics that one could take, but I was very pleased with my ability to layout why I'm doing this and what it is we want to accomplish.

CAMEROTA: When we get the presidential candidates on, we like to ask them about music in a segment we call candidate mix tape. There's our cool sting for it and we've been looking forward to having you in particular on because of your punk rock past. So, what songs were you listening to for your debate prep?

O'ROURKE: Oh. So, my favorite band of all time, they say the only band that matters is The Clash. And their best album in my opinion is London Calling. So, you could pick almost any track off of that album. "Clampdown" is probably my favorite. So it's a great song to get pumped up with. But really would take anything by The Clash.

CAMEROTA: I think you share a favorite band with Mayor Bill de Blasio. Have you guys bonded about that?

O'ROURKE: We haven't and I didn't know that. So the next time I see him, I'll ask him about it. Maybe he was at Shea Stadium when The Clash played there. But love them and I feel like there's a connection to El Paso, my hometown.

They did a cover of the Bobby Fuller Four's "I Fought The Law," Bobby Fuller from El Paso, Texas. So, New York, El Paso, Te Clash had an impact on us.

CAMEROTA: And what's the theme song of your campaign?

O'ROURKE: Oh, Alisyn. That's a good one. I don't know; let me think about that one. "Clampdown" is often something that folks will play when we're taking the stage or about to talk at a town hall. It talks about being prepared for a kind of fascism that we're seeing in this administration from Donald Trump right now.


An administration that is defined by intolerance, hatred and open racism, calling Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals or seeking to ban the travel of Muslim, it's not just offensive to our ears, it really threatens to change who we are as a country.

And going back to those kids sleeping on concrete floors or that image that we saw yesterday of (inaudible). There are real mortal consequences to what we're seeing right now. And I think that song the "Clampdown" by -- "Clampdown" by The Clash was really prescient and kind of speaking about what we're seeing right now in America.

CAMEROTA: Well congressman, I could talk about this all day long. I love talking about music and I like obviously sort of comparing the lyrics then to now, et cetera. So come back anytime and we are happy to talk about policy and everything else. Thanks so much for being on New Day with us.

O'ROURKE: Sounds good. Thank you, Alisyn. Appreciate it.

CAMEROTA: OK, talk to you soon.

BERMAN: All right, joining us now political analyst David Gregory, Joshua Green, national correspondent from Bloomberg Businessweek and Maggie Haberman, White House correspondent for the New York Times. Obviously you were just speaking with Beto O'Rourke. He was in the middle of a lot of these exchanges last night, in particular with Julian Castro, but there was a lot else in this debate last night. Maggie, let me start with you. What was your main takeaway from this first democratic clash?

MAGGIE HABERMAN, W.H. CORRESPONDENT FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES: I mean my main takeaway is that it's going to all be wiped away tonight frankly, the second one where there's going to be Joe Biden, the front runner on stage. But look, I think that you have to say that Elizabeth Warren had a good night just by default.

People -- the other candidates on stage with her, there was room for another person to break out but they were going to need to make sharper distinctions with her. Instead they were making sharp distinctions with each other.

Ironically Bill de Blasio who is not treated particularly well by the media in New York City actually showed why New York politics are effective for trying to break out on a debate stage. He was pretty good at smash mouth, whether that will propel him, I don't know.

Again, I think that at the end of the day there were a couple of questions that I was surprised were not asked. I was surprised that Tulsi Gabbard was not asked about her approach toward Assad for instance.

I was surprised frankly that Elizabeth Warren was not asked about the DNA test that she took related to her claim of Native American heritage. I don't know if these are going to come up later. I think that it was a debate that was designed to avoid a lot of media criticism. And I think that they succeeded in that.

CAMEROTA: David Gregory, what surmised you?

DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, well first just a lot of good takeaways I think by Maggie. And it's interesting, Maggie, when I did a -- I moderated a debate between Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren--

CAMEROTA: I remember that.

GREGORY: Spent time asking about the Native American issue in a way to debunk some of it at the time and there was a very unkind reaction among some liberals in the audience and even with whom I worked at NBC at the time. So, maybe there was some insight in to why they stayed clear of it last night.

I thought Elizabeth Warren was able to really land some of the more meaningful moments of the night. That the economy's not working for everyone. That she is force grapping private health insurance, that the government is corrupt. I mean there was fight to her, there was passion and there bold strokes.

And I think she's going to need that if she's going to win the progressive lane of this primary fight. And I think as Maggie suggested, some of the other distinctions were frankly at the undercard level at this early stage in terms of how people are polling.

So, what I think also struck me was the absence of taking on Trump directly. I have to think there'll be a contrast tonight when Biden's real reason for being right now, his main calling card is that he can take the fight to Trump.

BERMAN: Jonathan Martin from the New York Times has swooped in to join this discussion.

CAMEROTA: He doesn't want to miss this.

BERMAN: Jonathan, you heard David bring up the progressive lane here. And you've been writing about this, that there has been--


BERMAN: -- a leftward shift in the framing, the entire--


BERMAN: -- framing of the discussion of the democratic side--

MARTIN: Oh, it's so striking. Yes. Just in ten years, John, going back to the '08 primary, which you covered as well sort of see where candidates are now where you've got a major democratic candidate.

Perhaps one of the top three in the field unabashedly raising her hand to say yes, she would in fact scrap the entire private healthcare system in America is the kind of bold politics that I don't think you would've seen in a more defensive democratic politics.

The party that was constantly trying to sort of come out from the kind of Regan, Bush crowd of well, we can't give the republicans too much fought or we can't be seen as too liberal by the middle of the country.

Those days are really gone. I think that the Trump era has emboldened this party. And the question is how far do they want to go? And is there going to be a point where if democratic voters say, we're onboard with the policy but is this going too far, given the fact we thought we had 2016 in the bank and obviously we lost?

[08:00:16] Are they going to want to go this going too far given the fact we thought we had 2016 in the bank and obviously we lost. Are they going to want to go forward with some of these policies that do undeniably give the GOP fodder to attack them?

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Josh, what jumped out to you last night?

JOSHUA GREEN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: What jumped out to me was Warren and her uninhibited ideas of race that probably wouldn't have been discussed in a Democratic debate four years ago or eight years ago. If you listen to Warren in the early months of the campaign, she was very careful not to position herself not on the outer most fringes. She said she was a capitalist, instead of a Democratic socialist like Sanders. She seemed to be making a real effort to maintain a broader appeal than just a candidate like Sanders who exists on the left.

Last night, though, I think she really put that at risk by saying she'd be willing to get rid of private health insurance.

DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. And I don't think there's consensus view about that. You saw it on the stage last night and what Jonathan described in his piece this morning and just now, this movement with how Barack Obama dealt with the health care issue, to Hillary Clinton, how there's been an expansive view of private health care for all -- I mean, scrapping health care in a single-payer system.

I think the bold part of this, look there's a page from Donald Trump here which is to be so bold, you know, and to almost campaign by metaphor, which is even if she couldn't get this kind of health care vision implemented, to say she'd fight for it because that's what the government ought to be doing.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Everyone keeps bringing up Donald Trump, the president of the United States.

Go ahead, go ahead.

MARTIN: The politics here --

BERMAN: Go ahead, John.

MARTIN: The politics here I think are this: I think Warren knew and she didn't raise her hand at that question that Bernie Sanders and his supporters more to the point would have really pounced on her, because they have been coming at her for weeks now not being sufficiently outspoken for Medicare-for-All. That's been a major point of attack from the Bernie people against Warren. So there's some sort of primary within the primary politics going on here with that question vis-a-vis Bernie and his supporters. If she hadn't done that, you can be assured, they would have come after her hard for days and weeks after that.

BERMAN: That's a great point. She's got to win a primary and a specific part of the primary.

MARTIN: Her lane, right.

BERMAN: That's what she's thinking about, not necessarily the difficulties it might cause in the general election.

The president of the United States, Donald Trump, Maggie, last night during your live streaming, your thoughts about this, you noted there wasn't actually a lot of push back from the president or RNC during this debate. Part of that reason because the Democrats weren't really talking about him.

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. No, there were four emails from the RNC, we had all this pomp about how maybe the president was going to live-tweet and at the end of the day he wasn't going to get involved. But the RNC I think felt -- and the president's campaign saw very little reason to weigh into this, because to your point, they weren't really going after President Trump except they were on policy. They were talking about immigration, and they were talking about -- that is where some of the most substantive disagreements came about as we were talking earlier with Beto O'Rourke.

You know, that was actually where I thought Julian Castro did break out in a way that few others did on that stage. But I think that the president is so used and his folks are so used to being this personal referendum on Donald Trump either up or down. And that's not what last night was.

And I don't -- I agree with David. I don't think tonight they're going to be able to avoid that because Joe Biden's whole case is that he can take on President Trump and he's electable and I think you're going to see more President Trump on this stage, but it was -- it was really striking.

One other point I was going to make about Warren that I was really struck by last night. She was one of the only candidates who it seemed like really knew why she was running for president. There were a lot of candidates there who certainly had issue positions and what they wanted to talk about, but it was not clear what their theory of the case was. That is not true with her. She knows exactly why she's running for president.

CAMEROTA: All right. Panel, thank you. That was excellent insight. We will look forward to talking to you after tonight's debate as well.

Another presidential candidate trying to break through the Democratic field last night was Washington Governor Jay Inslee. He's going to join us with how he thinks the night went.


[08:23:27] BERMAN: The only governor on the stage last night was the governor of Washington State, Jay Inslee, trying to break through, like they all were.

And joining us now is Washington governor, Jay Inslee. Thank you so much for being with us, Governor. Thank you very much.

How much sleep did you get?

GOV. JAY INSLEE (D-WA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Just enough to get up and be with you this morning. It worked out great.

BERMAN: Fantastic -- that's the perfect amount.

Let me ask you -- we have the chart about speaking time -- who spoke the most, who spoke the least. Cory Booker got more than 10 minutes of speaking time. You only got four minutes and 52 seconds. Is that frustrating for you? INSLEE: Well, look, things could have been a little bit more equitable but I was able to deliver a message that I, alone -- it will make defeating the climate crisis our top priority. And I was able to talk a bit about my very progressive record.

I'll tell you, though, the thing that is the most concerning to me is we're in Miami where some stretches not a couple of blocks from here are going to be underwater here shortly in our yard (ph).

We really need to have more time to review and discuss the climate crisis. More of the candidates have to be given an opportunity and a requirement to do that. So I'm very hopeful that we can have a deeper discussion of the thing that 25 years from now people are going to look back at last night and realize we really need to focus on that issue.

I talked to the chair this morning about this and I hope we find a way to have a much more in-depth. Look, seven minutes and 27 seconds on the number one threat -- the existential threat -- is not enough. We need to go deeper.

BERMAN: Well, you call it the number one threat this morning, which is why I was surprised that when you were posed with the question last night -- what is the number one threat to national security -- when Chuck Todd asked that.

[08:25:12] Let's play that last night.


INSLEE: The biggest threat to the security of the United States is Donald Trump and there's no question.


BERMAN: So, you got a lot of applause and it's a memorable line, but your first, second, and third issue that you're campaigning on is climate -- the climate crisis. Why didn't you say that the climate crisis was your number one issue or you thought it was the biggest threat?

INSLEE: Well, again, Donald Trump is the force that's stopping us from moving forward against the climate crisis. He and his administration are repealing virtually every law we have to help us give a clean energy future.

He has -- his vice president, the other day, said the air is actually clean -- there's nothing wrong. Well, wake up and smell the carbon dioxide, Mike Pence.

We are now having cities being literally drowned, like Miami. Cities being burned down, like Paradise, California. The Midwest, with these historic floods.

But you have to realize Donald Trump is not just that one security issue. He is a threat causing tensions in Iran. Look, we had a perfectly good agreement with Iran to keep them becoming a nuclear power. He tore it up and now we have these tensions.

We have tragedies on the border. We saw the dimensions of that yesterday. We're all heartsick about that. And instead of trying to find a solution to this and help the Dreamers and come up with humane policies, he keeps using it as a political cudgel.

So I do believe I gave the right answer to that and I was the only one to recognize that, and I'll keep talking in those terms.

BERMAN: Again, you brought up Vice President Pence. What he said is that the United States has the cleanest air in the world. And as has been pointed out repeatedly, that's just not true.

There was another moment that came up last night that you were at the center of and you were talking about your progressive record on women's reproductive rights. And I want to play that moment, which went on a little bit past what you said. Listen to this.


INSLEE: Well, we do have one candidate that's actually advanced the ball and we've got to have access for everyone. I've done it as --


LESTER HOLT, ANCHOR, NBC NIGHTLY NEWS, DATELINE, MODERATOR, DEMOCRATIC DEBATE: Your time -- your time is up, Senator. Senator, Senator, Senator Klobuchar, I want to get you--


HOLT: I want to --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's a false claim.

HOLT: I'm fascinated by this. Senator Klobuchar --

KLOBUCHAR: I just want to say there's three women up here that have fought pretty hard for a woman's right to choose. I'll start with that.


BERMAN: What did you think when she said that?

INSLEE: Well, I think that she was right. All the candidates on that stage have taken pro-choice positions and I respect all of their efforts. But it is important that women actually have access to insurance.

And the point I was making is that my bill is one of the few in the nation that guarantee women access to insurance so insurance companies cannot deny coverage.

And we know women under attack all of -- there are many places in the country. We need to make my bill a national law so that women in every state, in every zip code are protected from insurance companies that otherwise would not give them health care.

Look, reproductive health care is health care. And I am proud that I've passed a law to guarantee that health care to women. That needs to be a national law. I'll make sure it is if I'm given this honor.

BERMAN: You did not raise your hand when asked at the beginning of the debate if you would work to end private insurance in America. Why?

INSLEE: Well, I think we need to have universal health care. That's why I've been so dedicated to that. We've not, now, 800,000 people on Obamacare that I voted for.

But most importantly now, as governor, I've signed the very first public health option bill in the United States. I think this is a significant achievement. I hope other states will follow our leadership in Washington and stay.

BERMAN: But, private insurance.

INSLEE: But basically -- yes, basically, I just don't think it's necessary to take away people's health insurance who may enjoy it. And I think that it debilitates our ability to move forward.

We have to have universal access. We're moving it in Washington State. I look forward to bringing that leadership to Washington, D.C.

BERMAN: Governor Jay Inslee, thank you very much for being with us this morning. I appreciate it.

INSLEE: You bet.

BERMAN: Alisyn?

INSLEE: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: All right, John, this is photograph that's already seared into our collective consciousness. CNN has new information on the life and death choices that Oscar Martinez and his young daughter faced as they tried to make it to the U.S., next.