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Senator Kamala Harris Dominates Second Round Democratic Debate; Pete Buttigieg Takes Accountability on South Bend Police Shooting. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired June 28, 2019 - 06:00   ET


[06:00:00] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: It's because they wanted to know more about her.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: We don't know why they wanted to know more, but they want to hear more.

CAMEROTA: I suspect --


BERMAN: And I was not -- I was only saying, I was only saying America wanted the impression. I wasn't saying why. Let's be clear about.


BERMAN: All right. We're getting fresh reaction from inside the campaigns to these debates. Our special NEW DAY -- edition of NEW DAY continues right now.


SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: One of the worst things about President Trump that he's done to this country is he's torn apart the moral fabric of who we are.

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: America does not want to witness a food fight. They want to know how we're going to put food on their table.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes, they will pay more in taxes but less in health care for what they get.

CAMEROTA: President Trump making light of Russia's election interference at the G-20 summit.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: He does bring it up but in a joking way, which is remarkable.

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: It matters if the Russians feel that they have a green light to interfere again.

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.


BERMAN: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is a special edition of NEW DAY.

CAMEROTA: I'm sorry they missed the dress rehearsal because the past hour was really great.

BERMAN: This one will be even better. It is Friday, June 28th, 6:00 here in New York. And the big news this morning, really the big question, is the sun rising on a much different Democratic race?

What a debate. How do you stand out on a stage with 10 candidates? Ask Senator Kamala Harris. She created the moment of the debate what some people are calling the moment of the campaign so far in an exchange with former vice president Joe Biden on his record and comments on the issue of race.

CAMEROTA: It is a pivotal moment that some pundits say exposed cracks in Biden's front runner status and could be the biggest moment on the Democratic side thus far, as John said. So here is the whole exchange for you to decide.


HARRIS: Going to now direct this at Vice President Biden. I do not believe you are a racist and I agree with you when you commit yourself to the importance of finding common ground. But I also believe, and it is personal, and I was actually very -- it was hurtful to hear you talk about the reputations of two United States senators who built their reputations and career on the segregation of race in this country. And it was not only that, but you also worked with them to oppose busing, and, you know, there was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bused to school every day. And that little girl was me.

So I will tell you that on this subject, it cannot be an intellectual debate among Democrats. We have to take it seriously. We have to act swiftly. As attorney general of California I was very proud to put in place a requirement that all my special agents would wear body cameras and keep those cameras on.


RACHEL MADDOW, DEBATE MODERATOR: Senator Harris, thank you.

Vice President Biden, you have been invoked. We are going to give you a chance to respond.


MADDOW: Vice President Biden.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's a mischaracterization of my position across the board. I did not praise racists. That is not true, number one. Number two, if we want to have this campaign litigated on who supports civil rights and whether I did or not, I'm happy to do that.

I was a public defender. I didn't become a prosecutor. I came out and I left a good law firm to become a public defender when in fact --


BIDEN: When in fact -- when in fact my city was in flames because of the assassination of Dr. King, number one. Now number two, as the U.S. -- excuse me, as the vice president of the United States, I worked with a man who in fact we worked very hard to see to it we dealt with these issues in a major, major way.

The fact is that in terms of busing, the busing I never -- you would have been able to go to school the same exact way because it was a local decision made by your city council. That's fine. That's one of the things I argued for that we should not be -- we should be breaking down these lines. But so the bottom line here is, look. Everything I've done in my career, I ran because of civil rights. I continue to think we have to make fundamental changes in civil rights. And those civil rights, by the way, include not just only African-Americans but the LGBTQ community.

HARRIS: But Vice President Biden, do you agree today -- do you agree today that you were wrong to oppose busing in America then?


HARRIS: Do you agree?

BIDEN: I did not oppose busing in America. What I opposed is busing ordered by the Department of Education. That's what I opposed. I did not oppose --

HARRIS: Well, there was a failure of states to integrate public schools in America.

BIDEN: No, but --

HARRIS: I was part of the second class to integrate Berkeley, California, public schools almost two decades after Brown v. Board of Education.

BIDEN: Because your city council made that decision. It was a local decision.

HARRIS: So that's where the federal government must step in.

BIDEN: Now the federal government must --

HARRIS: That's why we have the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act.

[06:05:04] That's why we need to pass the Equality Act. That's why we need to pass the ERA. Because there are moments in history where states fail to preserve the civil rights of all people.

BIDEN: I have supported the ERA from the very beginning when I --

CHUCK TODD, DEBATE MODERATOR: Vice President Biden, 30 seconds, because I'm going to bring other people in to this.

BIDEN: I supported the ERA from the very beginning. I'm the guy that extended the Voting Rights Act for 25 years. We got to the place where we got 98 out of 98 votes in the United States Senate doing it. I've also argued very strongly that we, in fact, deal with the notion of denying people access to the ballot box. I agree that everybody wants -- anyway, my time's up.


CAMEROTA: There you had it. Joining us now to talk about it, David Gregory, CNN political analyst, Nia-Malika Henderson, CNN senior political reporter, Andrew Gillum, CNN political commentator and former mayor of Tallahassee, Florida, and Laura Barron-Lopez, national political reporter for Politico.

Nia-Malika, your thoughts?

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, it's amazing every time you watch it. It doesn't get any better, I think, for Joe Biden. It's as powerful each time you see it. The way she was able to weave together her personal story, the way he was so defensive and arguing blatantly in 2019 that states' rights was ever a good idea. Right? I mean, he's defending --

CAMEROTA: Around busing.

HENDERSON: Around bussing. Around anything, right? I mean, state's rights was a horrible thing for African-Americans. I mean, it was what civil rights leaders were marching against, right? It was what Kamala Harris' parents were marching about when they were marching in California. So it's just stunning that she was able to have that moment. She was clearly prepared for it.

What's also interesting about is -- she wasn't -- there was no anger there. There was almost -- certainly emotion there. It was very personal with her.

CAMEROTA: I'm so glad you're pointing that out because you have to --


CAMEROTA: She prepared for it as we all accept.


CAMEROTA: But the stars had to align for the moment to happen. And then when it did, her tone and her execution was perfect.

HENDERSON: Perfect. Yes. And you know, she was very -- it was almost like it was regrettable and she almost couldn't believe that this is what he was saying. So, you know, we'll see what it does. We of course know that he's been doing well amongst African-Americans. She hasn't been doing well with African-Americans. Maybe this is a turning point in some ways. We'll have to see. And we'll also see if Biden feels like he has to walk this back in some way.

Today I think he's talking to the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, Jesse Jackson. He in some ways hasn't had a great relationship with Jesse Jackson. That'll be interesting to see what comes out of this. But this was just an amazing -- it's almost risky for African-Americans to bring up race in such a public way in front of a national audience and confront a white person in this way. And, you know, when we watched it in the green room, Van and I, you know, and I was getting texts from friends, too. It was like, wow, this is a real moment and it could be a risk for her and could be blowback. We'll see what happens.

BERMAN: She was doing very well in the debate already.

HENDERSON: Yes, that's right.

BERMAN: Some people thought winning the debate up until that point.


BERMAN: And she still choice to go there. And they were prepared for it. I mean, they had the hashtag ready.

HENDERSON: That's right.

BERMAN: The T-shirts printed. This was clearly planned.

David Gregory, what did you see?

DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, it's very difficult in a debate like this to really distinguish yourself with such a large field and all those circumstances, but Senator Harris did. I mean, she just offered a turbo boost to her campaign in my opinion. And I think right alongside that, the other headline is how poorly Vice President Biden performed. He seemed halting. He seemed over prepared and then grasping for facts. He seemed incoherent on his defense of his career, of his time as vice president of the Obama administration.

I mean, to watch that exchange a second time, as Nia said, I mean, it's the passion, the true emotion. And just the facilities that Senator Harris showed on bringing this issue and taking the fight to Biden as well as making a larger point on a number of issues. And it wasn't just between them. I think Biden failed to defend health care and the Obama record. He was taking on Bernie. Never -- on the issue of guns, never turned to Bernie Sanders and said hey, by the way you didn't even support the Brady Act.

He lost opportunities, but I think there is a change in the dimension of this race. If he was trying to play it cool and coast as a front runner, it did not work for Joe Biden. Again, very difficult to emerge as a clear winner. I thought Kamala Harris did.

CAMEROTA: Mayor Gillum, as I said the stars had to align because there was already a discussion happening about race. And that's when Kamala Harris said, excuse me, as the black woman on the stage I'd like to say something. And then the moderators had to cede the floor to her.

[06:10:01] You know, she sort of broke with the system or whatever the protocol was supposed to be. But they ceded the floor to her and they gave her that moment for the soliloquy, and then her body language of turning towards Joe Biden and keeping eye contact with him the whole time. It just --


CAMEROTA: All of it was just firing on all cylinders.

ANDREW GILLUM, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. I couldn't agree more. If anyone was still convinced that Kamala Harris might in some way be positioning to be vice president, I think she completely disavowed that belief last night. She was on that stage and competing to be the next commander in chief of the United States of America. And I think she delivered that quite frankly with resounding success. And so much of that success quite frankly in my opinion came from the authenticity of it.

Yes, I agree. I've been in high pressure stakes debates. You prepare as best you can but you never, never know when those moments might arise where you can break through. And her personal narrative, the way she weaved it together, the way that -- in response so saying to senator -- Vice President Biden that, oh, this is why we allow states to make those decisions. She said 20 years after the court decision on busing that then she in California had the opportunity to be bused to a desegregated school.

This is exactly why you don't leave those decisions up. I mean, all across the south we know this well. That the laws were manipulated to keep and to suppress and keep behind color of color and women. And that same kind of pushing down is occurring even still today, which is why Section Five of the Voting Rights Act is so important in pre- clearance is so importance. I thought she delivered that extremely well. Very personally in a completely compelling way for everyday Americans.

BERMAN: Mayor Gillum, let me ask you this. You know, as a Democratic leader, a thought leader, an activist, did the former vice president, Joe Biden, did he address the question? Do you feel like he's giving an answer to it?

GILLUM: Well, if that was his answer, I found it completely insufficient for this moment. I think the vice president probably entered last night's debate with the theory of do no harm. And quite frankly run this race not to lose. And I think the race he has to be running is a race to win. The strategy of hedging, the strategy of let's just sort of play it cool and maybe rise above the rest of the stage is clearly not going to work.

He is on a stage with people who are prepared to debate and to engage on the substance, on the issues, on his record, on a set of facts. He's got to be there to defend whatever that is, or a mea culpa. I got it wrong. Whatever that ultimately has got to be for him in order to be honest and true to who he is, he's got to be able to deliver that and not only did he meet an attorney general and a prosecutors who failed to prosecute this case against President Trump, and that was on full display last night.

You also saw the other end of it, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who I think had a different style but I also found to be incredibly effective and someone who broke through last night in a very humane way. The way that he dealt with the question of policing. By yes, taking responsibility for what's happening in South Bend. But kicking it out larger to say this is not just about South Bend. These are issues and the reason why it's so resonant with so many Americans right now is because we're all waking up to these instances in our communities all across the country.

And that's what a commander-in-chief is going to be able to need to do, to talk about this in a much broader way and not just in a specific incident as if it's only happening in one place.

GREGORY: And I agree with Andrew on that. I think that the -- there's some vulnerability there for Mayor Pete on his record in South Bend, and he's working through that. But there is a depth of his intellect that was on display for a wider group of voters to see. And he does stand apart. Yes, he's progressive but there's some realism there. Pragmatism. A willingness to take on some of this colleagues who I think are not realistic about how they're both going to navigate the politics of, say, Medicare for All and pay for it that a lot of voters are saying what are all of these promises that are being made that seem totally politically unrealistic. And I thought Mayor Pete really did --


GREGORY: -- emerge last night as well.

CAMEROTA: Laura, you've been very patient. Give us your takeaway from last night.

LAURA BARRON-LOPEZ, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, POLITICO: Well, I agree with most of what we've said so far which is that Harris stood out. This was a very strategic move by her to go on the offensive, to take that risk. And it wasn't just because of the fact that clearly she had a story to talk about in regards to Biden's comments about busing and his -- well, his past history with busing, which again, he has a checkered past there. He actually supported legislation. He wrote columns to push back against busing repeatedly. And so Harris was not just trying to show that she could take on the front runner.

[06:15:02] She was also making the case that she's electable which is something that we've heard about consistently throughout this debate, about whether or not the minority candidates that are running, Booker, Harris as well as Warren, as well as Buttigieg aren't even electable, if they can beat Trump. And that was something that she was bringing to the forefront and showing -- trying to show voters that I can do this, I can take on Trump.

BERMAN: I'm so glad you brought up the issue of electability. Let's talk about much more about that, and whether that whole discussion needs to be reframed this morning. Also the other major moments from this debate, that's next.


[06:20:14] BERMAN: All right. We talked about Senator Kamala Harris, her exchange with the former vice president Joe Biden. But there was another moment at the debate last night from South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg which was a moment you almost never see in a debate. I don't think I've ever seen --

CAMEROTA: Or in public.

BERMAN: -- in a debate. Or in public. You can't -- people don't do it.


BERMAN: He was asked about how he handled an officer-involved shooting in his city in South Bend. Watch this exchange.


MADDOW: The police force in South Bend is now 6 percent black in a city that is 26 percent black. Why has that not improved over your two terms as mayor?

MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D-IN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Because I couldn't get it done. My community is in anguish right now because of an officer-involved shooting. It's a mess. And we're hurting. And I could walk you through all of the things that we have done as a community, all of the steps that we took from bias training to de- escalation, but it didn't save the life of Eric Logan.


BERMAN: We've got our analyst back with us.

Laura Barron-Lopez, I don't think I've ever heard a candidate say because I couldn't get the job done. It was very interesting to hear him say that and the fact that he chose to say that.

BARRON-LOPEZ: We yes, it was definitely a fresh response. It also paints a contrast between Buttigieg and a candidate like Joe Biden, who has repeated not apologized when he's been confronted with past statements like the segregation. This one we saw Biden even trying to give up his time last night during the debate or cutting himself off as soon as he saw that he had no time left, which no other candidates did.

But on Buttigieg, this is definitely going to be a continuing issue for him because of the fact that in the weeks leading up to the debate, he was back home in South Bend struggling to deal with this issue. And a lot of the folks back home in his community were not happy with the way he was handling it. And so we have to wait and see whether or not he's able to provide answers or whether or not he's able to help his community in the way that they're demanding.

CAMEROTA: Yes. Nia-Malika, I mean, that -- therein lies the rub. The authenticity is appealing to people today. There's a lot of talk about that moment that he was so honest. That he took responsibility. The buck stops with him. But whether or not that increases African- American support is what ultimately --

HENDERSON: Yes. And there's sort of a crowded field, right? And a crowded race for the African-American vote, it's going to be so crucial in these southern states with a passel of delegates up for grabs. The contrast last night, he was empathetic. He obviously took ownership. With his behavior and his sort of, I thought, distant approach during the town hall. And I think it's going to be hard for him to overcome that because he did seem so disengaged when he was there with his constituents.

CAMEROTA: I think that's his style.


HENDERSON: No, I think that he's a technocrat.

CAMEROTA: We talked about that day that he was subdued also when he's dealing with something.

HENDERSON: Yes. He's a technocrat. He isn't known -- you know, it's sort of a cliche, the whole idea, feel your pain. But I do think he showed empathy last night. But again, I mean, if he can correct this and make inroads with the African-American community, we don't really know. Again, he's got a lot of competition.

BARRON-LOPEZ: And if I could, to Nia's point -- if could to Nia's point, that just reminded me, too, that when he was back home he did have a pretty terse exchange with an African-American woman who was very frustrated with his response to the officer shooting of killing an African-American. And so he said to her, actually, I don't -- I'm not asking for your vote when she pressed him and said you're running for the president of the United States and you aren't answering our questions.

BERMAN: You know, Mayor Gillum, you remember the Mayor Trade Organization and you brought up that Pete Buttigieg you thought had a good debate. What did you think of that and what else do you think it was that he did well?

GILLUM: Yes. Well, first of all let me say, I think when he was responding to that constituent at his community and said, I'm not asking for your vote, I think what he was really trying to say is I'm here in my capacity as the mayor of this city. Not as a candidate for the president of the United States. I want you to hear me as your local leader and not as a candidate here seeking your vote.

I think that's been a little bit mischaracterized as the way I've seen it. But I would tell you as a mayor, having been a mayor myself, there's a lot that happens outside of the purview of his office. A lot of decisions that were made there that he didn't have direct control over yet last night he stood up and he said, I'm the mayor, I couldn't get that job done. And I'm taking full responsibility.

The other thing that I thought that he did that was very effective as it relates to this, and I think it's something others can take a cue from because this isn't just about South Bend, Indiana. For any of us who open up our social media feeds at any point -- at any point in the day almost any day of the week, you are seeing these instances in cities all across the country where people of color largely are being treated with inhumanity and disrespect, and too often at the hands of people who are supposed to be sworn to protect them.

[06:25:11] And so his ability to then kick this conversation out beyond just South Bend and to say this is an American issue and one that we have to deal with and deal with earnestly I thought was a really good move. Sometimes there's no real win-win in dealing with the travesty of these things in your own community. But when you broaden it out, it's an important thing to do to help Americans see that this is not just a one-place incident. This is happening in far too many places. And that's what we have to deal with.

CAMEROTA: Go ahead, David.

GREGORY: Yes, I agree with the mayor. You know, Tim Russert used to say how refreshing it is to hear politician admit they were wrong or to even admit that they changed their view about something because they thought they were wrong over time or the way they used to think about it was wrong. And I think that's what we're saying here. There was something refreshing about him saying this is a huge issue. As Mayor Gillum says, it's beyond South Bend. This is a national problem and I haven't gotten the job done yet but I'm in there fighting to do the right thing.

And I think that's important. I think that Mayor Pete is a different figure on this stage. You know, you watch a lot of politicians and you listen to him and I don't know how you're not, you know, coming away saying, wow, this guy's smart. And there's a depth to his thinking. He is. I mean, you know, there's a reason why President Obama took a liking to him and has talked about him in circles as the future leadership of the party. I think that has been on display. And I will tell you this going back to our earlier theme. I thought the side-by-side of Mayor Pete and Joe Biden was not a good look for the former vice president. Just as it wasn't between Senator Harris and the former vice president.

That generational difference, that facility on the debate stage says something about command and authority at this juncture. And I thought Mayor Pete had a big night.

CAMEROTA: OK. On the last note in terms of who voters were most intrigued with during the debate, it was -- drum roll -- Marianne Williamson. Marianne Williamson is who was Googled most. And it's just -- listen, David. I think that it's interesting because people who underestimated her as well, she's, you know, Oprah's spiritual guru. I think that --


CAMEROTA: At least when she's come on NEW DAY and last night, she always comes with having thought-out policy positions.

GREGORY: Well, she's also very big -- I've done events with her around my book. She is very big in the faith community and in the African-American community. She does events where she has, you know, before, you know, the issue re-emerged on Capitol Hill recently. She talks a lot about reparations.


GREGORY: And so she has a unique following. I think, you know, in such a crowded field I frankly think she's just been considered too far out there.

CAMEROTA: We shall see.

HENDERSON: We shall see.

CAMEROTA: Thank you very much, panel, for all of those brilliant insights.

Coming up on NEW DAY, we will speak to two presidential candidates. We have Senator Cory Booker here and former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper.

BERMAN: We're also going to hear from Kamala Harris, her campaign.

CAMEROTA: That's right.

BERMAN: Which would be really interesting, get an update on what they are seeing in terms of their support this morning.

CAMEROTA: Absolutely. Meanwhile, President Trump making waves at the G-20. He was joking with Vladimir Putin about attacking America in the 2016 elections. So we'll bring you that exchange next.