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2020 Dems Make Their Case for Improving Health Care; Harris Confronts Biden Over Past Efforts to Block Bussing. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired June 28, 2019 - 01:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[01:00:00] MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Cannot look like a little boy, to look like a leader and to have to address what's happening up in his city. And I think owning it was a very smart idea and gosh did it work for him right? Joe Biden not owning the bussing a situation in his support for it and not being able to at least express empathy which is so amazing for Joe Biden to have that empathy that he could have shown to Kamala Harris I think was devastating for him tonight.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: You know, Elaina, this idea of I like to hear what the people who aren't on television but are around these guys, how they explain their own successes and failures, and it was interesting to hear people try to defend Joe Biden by saying you know, this new generation, they apologize for everything. And if you don't apologize then they kill you, but if you do apologize they kill you.

They didn't kill Pete Buddha judge. I couldn't believe that he said yes, I couldn't get it done. Well, if you can't get done diversity in South Bend, Indiana how are you going to get done you know, in a much more complicated metric like America. But do you think that was at play with Biden tonight?

ELAINA PLOTT, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I actually don't think it's an issue of apologizing versus not apologizing. I think it's a matter of preparation. And so what it seemed to me to be was that Mayor Buttigieg knew that that would come up in some way and prepared for it accordingly. Interestingly Biden acted as though that would have never come up what Kamala Harris attacked him on, his past record.

And this that lack of preparation almost seemed to translate into a sense of entitlement. Like this would be an easy thing for him to coast through.

CUOMO: Now, I think that last part deserves a second beat, Nathan. Here's why. I've observed a lot of debate prep and the other hats that I wear in my life. The idea of me giving you ideas for a debate is easy. Me getting you to accept those ideas and me getting you to -- or you getting yourself to want to use them when the time comes is very different.

Joe Biden knows who he is, he knows where he's been and he knows how he feels about it. There is zero chance they did not prepare for this and yes I do have some information that they prepare for it but it doesn't mean that he was going to say what they wanted him to say. And what does that mean going forward? If this is the way Joe Biden is going to be, does that mean that he's going to have a hard time every time?

NATHAN GONZALES, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think it was -- he may not have known how it was going to be delivered. He may have known that that policy of that issue is going to come up but that Senator Harris would deliver it in such a personal way.

And I thought not only it was his response defensive but he didn't even look at her. I mean, she was pouring out part of her story and he was you know, looking into the camera and she's just a podium over and there was just a lack of a personal connection.

But you know, this is just the first night or the first two nights of many debates. The vice president is going to be in this race for a while, if not until the end. He's going to have to learn to be more agile instead of fumbling through answers and then the next day cleaning up stories just that's not going to be a sustainable effort for him.

PRESTON: You know what's interesting about this too, Chris, is that at one point, a mutual friend of ours (INAUDIBLE) who has sent me a note and said wow, this is almost collusion between Harris and Biden at the very beginning of the debate. And there's always been this talk that well, that might be the ticket right, Harris and Biden. Oh my God. Never, right.

So again, there's going to be a lot of debates, there's going to be a lot of moments, but have we seen a bridge burned here potentially?

GONZALES: Right. And --

CUOMO: Now, look, by the way, just because you know, we all get scrutinized much it's like this nice new parlor game, you know. It's like what's the worst thing that could be said about somebody? Why am I laughing? Because if you're going to blow up your best chance to beat the president, you're not going to wind up being a running mate.

All right, look what's on our screen. The President of the United States and the Russian president. Can we hear in what they're saying?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you very much, everybody. It's a great honor to be with President Putin, his representatives, my representatives. We have many things to discuss including trade and including some disarmament, some little protectionism perhaps in a very positive way.

And we're going to discuss a lot of different things. We've had great meetings, we have a very, very good relationship we look forward to spending some very good time together. A lot of very positive things are going to come out of the relationship. So Vladimir, thank you very much.

[01:05:24] VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator): I cannot but agree to Mr. President. We have something to discuss here. All of the topics have been outlined. We haven't seen each other since Helsinki meeting. Although our teams have been together working and they gave us a great opportunity to follow up on that. Thank you very much. Thank you for your attention.

TRUMP: Thank you very much. Thank you.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, guys.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CUOMO: This is very difficult to decipher what's happening right now, let alone having this guy standing in front of the camera, but we did just hear the President of the United States say in response to somebody's question. He looked over at the Russian president and said, don't meddle in the election.

Literally just like that. In fact, in the control room, they're going to rerack this right now. We don't call it that way anymore. I want you to watch it. This is the moment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(CROSSTALK)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: Listen, the fact is stranger than fiction these days. Let's bring in the Chief National Security Correspondent Jim Sciutto in Osaka, Japan. You know, I was going to have to ask you this tealeaves question, my friend, about where the Russian interference was just to bring people up to date and what you and I just witnessed.

He called the Russian president by his first name Vladimir. He was nice. Great honor, we're going to discuss trade, good relationship, the U.S. President said positive things, never mentioned Russian interference in the election. And then in response to one of the questions, he said oh yes, and don't meddle in the election. Don't meddle in the election. Your take.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, listen, it's clearly not a subject that the President of the United States takes seriously. He's sitting next to the -- to the Russian president who as the Mueller report established just weeks ago directed systematic interference in the 2016 presidential election.

The President on his way here to Japan, you'll remember he was asked by a reporter would he bring up election interference in his bilateral with the Russian president and he said none of your business. That was the President's words there. So he does bring it up. But in a -- in a facetious way, in a joking way which is -- which is remarkable. It's remarkable.

And the president showing a comfort -- a comfort there as he often has shown with other despot, right, to say it's an honor to meet with him as he is with Kim Jong-un, for instance, North Korea. A lot of good things come out of the relationship.

Listen, no one can disparage U.S. President or a world leader seeking diplomatic relationships with countries like Russia or North Korea, but it's what the president -- it's sort of the way he describes that relationship, Chris. You know, in very friendly warm terms and what he doesn't say right, which is to challenge them on whether it's human rights violations or interference in the election.

That was a test for this president. Would he do what he didn't do in Helsinki for instance, in Helsinki where he questioned his own intelligence agency's assessment of Russian interference in the election? So here he sits next to the Russian president and makes a joke about Russian interference in the election. I think it's a remarkable moment.

CUOMO: Well, compared to what happened in Helsinki, anything would have been better than that. We've never seen that in American history, a U.S. president side within an inimical force -- and that's what Russia is when it comes to the context of what they did during the election, and to do so over his own intelligence people on the world stage. We've never seen anything like it.

Let's bring in Max Boot and Ron Brownstein. So Max, look, nobody expects this president to go heavy about Russian interference because he thinks it's bad for him and he believes it's now a game of gotcha. He can't own it. He can't put his hands around it. But to treat it the way he just did, forget about what we think, forget about media perception or even political analysis, in terms of strategic thinking with a power like Russia, what does that mean?

[01:10:23] MAX BOOT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, once again, Chris, I think that for somebody who thinks of himself as being very strong Donald Trump actually comes across as very weak, very much as a supplicant to Vladimir Putin. And you know Putin is a bully who respects strength and Donald Trump is not showing any kind of strength.

And I would contrast to you the way that he speaks to Putin with the way that right before he took off for Osaka, the way he referred to angle a Merkel the Chancellor Germany, one of our greatest allies, he said you have a woman in Europe. I won't mention her name. She hates the United States, perhaps worse than any person I've ever met.

So that's Donald Trump talking about the Chancellor of Germany saying the Chancellor of Germany hates the United States worse than any person he's ever met and he thinks that Putin what, is Putin pro- American? No, Putin is actually one of our greatest adversaries.

I mean, there is a debate tonight in the Democratic debate as to who was a bigger adversary, China or Russia. I would say probably China, but Russia is certainly up there. I mean, they attacked our election they may do it again. They're attacking allies. They're still invading Ukraine. And remember back in November at the last G-20 in Argentina, Trump

refused to meet with Putin ostensibly because Putin had just taken a bunch of Ukrainian sailors, hijacked a bunch of Ukrainian ships. Well, those ships haven't been released.

Putin hasn't done anything to justify this kind of outreach. But there's kind of a sense perhaps that Trump feels empowered to reach out to him again with the conclusion of the Mueller investigation.

CUOMO: You know, then Ron, it becomes the question of well, how much does this really matter any upcoming election? We know the issue matters and we know that it's going to matter because if they interfere with the election, it'll be something that we have to be concerned about in terms of the nature of compromise of our democracy.

But it wasn't mentioned in the debates tonight and not last night either. Nobody comes after the president for it anymore. Is this just one morass effective his Teflon disposition?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, first, I mean, your point along the way is important. It matters if the Russians feel that they have a green light tacitly to interfere in the election again. And certainly, you know, as Max's point and Jim Sciutto's point that the president you know, was almost dismissive and facetious in the way he talked about it, would certainly send an encouragement.

Look, it didn't come up tonight but I think that the President's relationship with Russia will be an issue in the general election. You know, when you talk about the Teflon presidency, I keep coming back to this. If you look at the underlying reality of an unemployment rate under four percent and an approval rate barely over 40 percent, that should not happen.

And in fact, as I have written in the last couple weeks, if you look at people who say they are satisfied with the economy, for Barack Obama and George W Bush, three-quarters of the people who are satisfied with the economy said they approved of their performance in office. For Donald Trump, it's 55 percent. That's the price of everything else that we watch from his relationship with Putin to the way he talks about race, to the tweeting.

I mean, there is -- there is a price here. And I do think this will be an issue eventually but obviously, as you point out was not in the Democratic debates last night or tonight.

CUOMO: It also becomes who he winds up facing right? And if you do have the Democrats caught up in a situation where they seem to be while saying he's not a racist, he's not a racist, they keep on bringing up these big moments with their frontrunner for racist situations whether it was you know, state's rights as an explanation of busting or whatever it is, you know, how do you beat somebody if you are that hurt going into it.

All right, so let's get one more take on this. Jimmy, you still with us?

SCIUTTO: I am indeed, Chris.

CUOMO: All right, go ahead.

SCIUTTO: And listen, I'm just digesting again -- I'm just -- if I could pipe in here. This I believe is the first time the president has stood next to the Russian president in a public forum where they're making comments since that Helsinki moment which by all accounts Republican and Democrat was an embarrassing moment for the U.S. president to take Putin's side against U.S. intelligence agencies, U.S. lawmakers, etcetera about Russian interference in the election.

So the first opportunity to correct that, to make a tough stand, to choose country over politics perhaps and the president makes light of Russian interference in the election, and that is a remarkable moment. It's a moment for this president and really for the country.

And keep in mind, Chris, it's not just the words right, because we know this president has not made a priority of Russian interference in the election. He's had one cabinet-level meeting, right, on election security.

His chief of staff told the former Secretary of Homeland Security not to bring up election security with the president because he associates it with somehow demeaning his election victory in 2016. So on a number of fronts, this is a president who doesn't take election security seriously, and once again, here, he makes a joke about it.

[01:15:15] And keep in mind this, Chris, too. It's not a question of whether Russia will attempt to interfere, again, in 2020, at least, in the view of U.S. intelligence agencies, it's just a question of to what degree and how they will attempt to interfere. That's the view of U.S. National Security establishment, and the President made light of it again. I just don't think we can underestimate what a moment that is, for this President.

CUOMO: Yes. I mean, even our banner right now, Trump offhand comment to Putin, don't meddle on election, offhand, is actually giving it more credit than it deserves. Jimmy, Max, Ron, thank you very much.

BOOT: Making light of it.

CUOMO: Yes, 100 percent. I mean, you know, anywhere you want to qualifying, it is-mitigating its strength is the way to do it. Gentlemen, thank you for helping me. Let's take a quick break. When we come back, let's reset on what happened tonight in this debate.

If we get more information about what's coming out of the meeting with the President and Putin, we'll bring it to you straight away. But a lot happened in the race to figure out whether or not this President gets a second term. We'll take that on, right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: Look, we haven't seen any polls, so I don't know what the margin will be, but it's safe to assume that based on all the buzz alone, you're going to see Joe Biden come down, and you're going to see Kamala Harris and maybe Elizabeth Warren, come up. But tonight, was Harris' night, in terms of the media perspective on it.

[01:20:06] I'm going to keep qualifying it because I want to see some polls because I'm not sure what matters to Democratic voters yet. Now, what happened tonight, to distinguish Harris, does involve Joe Biden, as well. She took him to task, for his record on busing and working with segregation as senators, and she didn't know why Cory Booker did not. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It was hurtful to hear you talk about the reputations of two United States senators who built their reputations and career on 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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: All right. Let's bring back my A-team, Elaina, Mark, and Nathan Gonzales. It's good to have all three of you here. And Preston was saying to me while we were watching that, you know, the difference between Booker and Harris is that, Booker wasn't on stage.

Yes, that's right. What Harris did was, she played the prosecutor role, stared at him the whole time, Joe Biden was not looking at her, which was a mistake, and she personalized it, and it hurt him. And it hurt him because it's a stupid position.

The idea that we're going to look at something that was wrong because states have a tendency to do things in a way that the rest of the nation no longer respects them being done, and that's what you need strong federal authority. I've heard Biden argue this that way, many times, but not tonight, Nathan.

GONZALES: Yes, and I think that -- even -- this is -- as we talk about it, this is a known issue. I think that if this -- what I mention in the polls (INAUDIBLE) if this was an issue that was of concern to you about Joe Biden, you probably weren't supporting him already. And he still has a high -- he's leading among African- American voters right now.

Is this going to be something that's going to persuade, I don't know, but maybe Harris picks up by taking some from the other candidates, rather than out of Joe Biden, maybe she benefits because of the attentions.

CUOMO: Does not help herself get (INAUDIBLE) that's for sure. But, Elaina, interesting, totally non-scientific, but with (INAUDIBLE) Anderson had Gary Tuchman, in Iowa, with a focus group that had watched last night. There was one African-American male on the panel. He was the only person on the panel, to pick Joe Biden as the winner of tonight's debate.

Now, it's totally unscientific, but what an odd coincidence that what, you know, Biden would have to be worried about the most, is that because of what happened with Harris, no one is going to like him now with an African-American community because it's such an awkward position. The one African-American male in that group of 12, takes him as the winner.

PRESTON: How old was this person? I think, demographics, on age, because I think --

CUOMO: He wasn't an old man.

PRESTON: Because I do think that older African-American -- I mean, you and I know this, I mean, we know, and Nathan, Elaina, we know the Biden playbook, we know his connection to the African-American community, we know if Kamala Harris is going to win the nomination, that Joe Biden cannot command that block of African-American voters like he is, right now.

But it's older African-Americans who seemed to know Joe Biden. They know him from eight years in the White House. They know him for 30 plus years in the Congress. They know him for the work he's done on civil rights.

PLOTT: This isn't a surprise to them.

CUOMO: But what happens when John Lewis, Clyburn, and the head of the CBC, the Congressional Black Caucus, all say, we know -- we (INAUDIBLE) what Preston says, we know him, we trust him, we believe in him, but you have, let's call them, I guess, the younger African- Americans who are running, have a different disposition, how does that reconcile?

GONZALES: Maybe he's not -- I mean, Cedric Richmond, I mean, he was a guest with Anderson and the team, soon after the debate, and he was still defending -- he was supporting Biden before, and he was still defending him.

CUOMO: Well, he's a surrogate for him. You know, he's (INAUDIBLE) on the election.

GONZALES: Yes, so maybe he's so entrenched, he can't turn around. But he, you know, he's not an older -- you know, he's a new -- a different generation of African-American voters, maybe he's not like everyone else, but he's not John Lewis.

PLOTT: Kamala Harris and Cory Booker have an incentive to latch upon this vulnerability of Joe Biden, whereas somebody who's looking to support him, the Cedric Richmonds of the world, they have no incentive to try and use that as a reason not to support him.

CUOMO: True. Fair point, but, I mean, look, you know, Senator Harris did not seem to like this question when it was asked her of, I think, Chris Matthews, after the debate, but he said to her as a suggestion, well, you did exactly what Donald Trump wanted done tonight. This is, you know, this is what he wanted to see, somebody take it out at Joe Biden, in a way that could really hurt him within his own party.

(CROSSTALK)

PLOTT: That's so insulting.

[01:25:03] CUOMO: She handled it by saying, I don't -- you know, this is the true -- you know, but this is how I feel about this, and this issue matters and we have to be able to discuss it, so I don't (INAUDIBLE)

PLOTT: But the premise of that statement is that, she is running explicitly for vice president, and not president, so, you know, be careful with the guy who will inevitably be our nominee.

CUOMO: or that you will use whatever you can to take Biden down, so that you can be the nominee, and that there is a -- there's a calculation in that as well. I mean, that's -- that was one of the push backs on Booker, right, especially when you had the older guard come up from the CBC, and a legend like John Lewis, and say, I'm good with Joe Biden.

In fact, I used to do that. I used to still work with people who put the hose on me, and arrested me, and hated me, because I had to get things done.

PRESTON: And the irony of this moment, this -- that will go down in history, it's going to be one of those historic debate moments, whether it has any effect, it will -- it is now in the history books and people will look back on it.

What's ironic is that if you just, you know, rewind the tape, maybe about seven, eight minutes of that debate, she, like, shut the stage down, and said, let us not have a food fight, right? Let us, you know -- people don't want to see a food fight, they want to know how you're going to put food on their tables. And then out of nowhere, she came with a right hook and just layed them out.

CUOMO: Now, the question will be, well, did she want to quiet it down so she can clear the field? So that she can have a full run at it and take his legs out. But look, she's got to speak the truth, you've got to connect with voters. They have to know who you are and what matters to you.

It's a big part of political persuasion and you have to say she did that very well tonight. Let's take a quick break. Stick around. And we're going to have to talk about what it means going forward. What it means for those at the top and what it means for those who are trying to get there.

Hey, we're not talking about policy, you know why? The closer you get to the top of the hill, the more it becomes about taking out the opposition, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[01:31:25] CUOMO: Well, watching the last two nights, you can't say you know who the Democratic nominee is going to be, but we know who the Republican one is going to be. And we just watched him as the sitting president of the United States palling around with Vladimir Putin once again.

And we do know that President Trump was watching the debate when they all said that they'd provide health care for undocumented immigrants. And we know that because he tweeted, "It's the end of that race."

Ron Brownstein -- let's get into the other side of the 2020 race, the Trump side. First of all, is the President right. The idea that if you're going to give health care to undocumented immigrants, you're never going to be president of the United States?

BROWNSTEIN: I don't think it's disqualifying. But it's something they're going to have to explain.

I mean look, on a variety of cultural and social issues, as you know as someone who has been around this for a long time, they have barreled past the caution of where Democrats were not only in Clinton, Bill Clinton's day, but even in Barack Obama's day. And that reflects both changes in the country and changes in the coalition.

But they're still going to have to litigate these in the general election against a candidate who, in Trump, who appeals to white racial resentments more openly than any national figure since George Wallace.

I will say, have a somewhat different take than your previous panel on the debate tonight. I thought that -- not necessarily on who won and who lost, but about the significance of it. I don't think that the -- it's reasonable, having watched these debates for a long time since 1984, usually you don't see an immediate impact in the poll.

The question is whether tonight's debate may have begun to shift the axis of the Democratic race. Chris, I mean, NBC put Biden next to Bernie in part because of the polls, but also because the basic divide in the race so far has been center embodied by Biden versus left, embodied by Bernie and Elizabeth Warren.

Tonight I thought Bernie and Biden were more united by age than were divided by ideology. They each seemed to be a step behind younger candidates who were flanking them -- Buttigieg on one side, Kamala Harris on the other, and who more reflect the modern diversity of the Democratic Party.

And if we're -- we may be beginning to move a little bit away from kind of a left/right argument toward a future/past argument and whether this diverse modern Democratic coalition really wants a septuagenarian white guy as their nominee to kind of, you know, assemble and motivate that coalition.

CUOMO: Put one more overlay on it though that ok fine -- age, gender, sure, sure -- but that party identifies somewhere between 70 percent, 80 percent as center left. How do you marry that with Sanders and Harris racing their hand and saying they'd get rid of private insurance and the idea of a 70 percent tax rate and Bernie Sanders saying he's going to raise taxes, let alone on the middle class? I mean how do you square that with what where party says it is?

BROWNSTEIN: Right. First of all, the party is more moderate, it is older than people think. It is getting increasingly diverse. 40 percent of the voters could be nonwhite in 2020, which is, you know, an historic high. 60 percent of the voters could be women but 60 percent of the voters are over 45 and many of those are kind of middle age, middle of the road and middle of the country. And they're not necessarily looking for a revolution.

I think that the evidence is pretty clear in the Kaiser Poll and elsewhere, that when you talk about completely eliminating private insurance and requiring people to go into Medicare, that is a very heavy lift with the electorate.

[01:34:57] Support for Medicare for all drops well below 50 percent. Although right around 50/50 among Democrats, it drops well below 50 percent among the country overall.

And I do think that both Warren and Sanders and Harris by embracing that so unequivocally, again, that is a heavy burden to carry into the general election. Promising to defend the ACA, in particular its protections for people with preexisting was absolutely critical for the Democratic gains in 2018 particularly in winning back some of the blue collar white women who were probably the decisive vote in making Donald Trump the President in those Rust Belt states.

If you're talking about also replacing the ACA and replacing the health care system, that does change the debate in a way that may give some openings, certainly will give some openings to Trump and the Republicans.

CUOMO: All right. Let's take that on in the next block. I call Ron Brownstein the professor because he's really smart.

Thank you very much, my friend, as always. >

Bernie Sanders tonight was blunt. If you are in the middle class and have health care, you will pay higher taxes under his presidency. Now, there was a but, all right. And we're going to go into why he's going to say it's still a good deal for you.

Joe Biden has a different plan. He says you've got to bring back the ACA and make it what it was always supposed to be before the Republicans said they'd never help work on it.

Which one of those works best with voters? We're going to have our political pros break down the policies and the promises next.

[01:36:25] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: All right. Now, one of the things that we saw tonight other than just who went at who and what it means in the polls in the media, you've got to start looking at the ideas that are bubbling up to the top.

The Democrats all agree health care is what they should be talking about. If they didn't get that message from the midterms, they didn't get anything. But they do not agree even close on what the fix is. And here is a moment that will be talked about.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Will you raise taxes for the middle class in A Sanders administration?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: People who have health care under Medicare 4 will have no premiums, no deductibles, no co-payments, no out-of-pocket expenses. Yes, they will pay more taxes, but less in health care for what they get.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: Now, the senator front loaded that answer for a reason, but I don't know that anybody hears anything after they hear the second part. But let's discuss.

Cenk Uygur, Jennifer Granholm whom we should point out helped Joe Biden with his debate prep, and Mr. Chris Cillizza. I look at the three of you and I see three people who are going to disagree with me about this entire conversation. And that's good. That's why I love having you.

Granholm -- I start with you. Do you like the way the former VP dealt with the scrutiny tonight?

JENNIFER GRANHOLM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, you mean do I like how the debate went and how --

CUOMO: How he did?

GRANHOLM: -- it's been analyzed and all of that?

CUOMO: Yes.

GRANHOLM: You know, I think that -- all I can say is I think it is great that there's going to be a lot of debates. And I think you know, there were a couple of places obviously where he had some difficulty.

I think he had a really strong finish. I think his answer on this subject, health care, is really a good answer for -- for the election, for the general election and for the primary.

CUOMO: And we are going to talk health care. Let me roll the dice with you once here, only once.

GRANHOLM: You know I'm not going to bite.

CUOMO: Did he not know he was going to be asked about his position on bussing? GRANHOLM: You said you had some inside information on that. I'm not

going to contradict that, but I'm not going to go there. I'm not going to talk about how --

CUOMO: All right. All right. I'll only ask once. I'll take no for an answer.

GRANHOLM: I know.

CUOMO: All right. Now let's talk policy. Cenk -- what you'll disagree with is going to be important to this audience. Biden says you're not for the ACA and bringing it back, I'm not for you as a Democrat. The big ideas for most of the field though is we have to go Medicare for all. Forget about the ACA, forget about private insurance. Much more extreme moves.

Why do you believe that's the way forward for the party and that Biden is off?

CENK UYGUR, CEO & HOST, "THE YOUNG TURKS": Yes. Biden's point makes no sense at all. Remember when they were selling the ACA to us, they said it was a half measure and don't worry, it will eventually get us a single payer. Great, deal, let's go there right now.

Saying that I'm going to stay with the ACA, well, look, it was an improvement on what we had before, but it doesn't make any sense. It was supposed to get us to a point where we have something like Medicare for all.

Now, Medicare for all would actually save $3,000 for every family in America -- that's according to the Rand Corporation which is not anybody's liberal, ok. So that's where we need to go. Look, at this point, Chris, there's 34 million Americans with no health insurance. And if their kid breaks his ankle, they can take him to the emergency room. But if their kid gets cancer --

CUOMO: God forbid.

UYGUR: -- as a society we say --

CUOMO: You're right.

UYGUR: -- we're going to let him die. We can't have that.

MK1: I'm with you. I get what the plus side of it is.

Cillizza -- as you know from studying the numbers, there are two layers to trouble. One is Cenk's optimism about when you will save comes after the transition cost when you will lose. And the scrutiny concern is that a voter hears, we're taking what you have, we're taking your private insurance and there may be a kick in the taxes on top of it. Tough sell.

CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Yes. I mean I was surprised, honestly, given what a bunch of the candidates on the stage the last two nights have said prior to this that only four people raised their hand when they said, would you favor abolishing all private insurance?

So, Bernie Sanders makes sense. Elizabeth warren, there's been a little back and forth on it, but fine. De Blasio, Bill de Blasio, mayor of New York City, doesn't really have anything to lose there. And then Kamala Harris tonight.

I would point to in the spin room, afterward Kamala Harris seemed to walk that back a little bit saying well, she thought --

CUOMO: Not the first time she's walked it back, by the way.

(CROSSTALKING)

CUOMO: For someone who is so reasonable and so ready to launch an attack tonight, she's had trouble with that issue.

[01:45:02] CILLIZZA: Big time.

CUOMO: Many times. And I don't get it.

CILLIZZA: And she's going back -- she had trouble with it with our colleague Jake Tapper --

CUOMO: Yes.

CILLIZZA: -- she got back and forth on it. She is now saying, according to what I've seen coming out of the spin room, she thought they were saying, well, she's for her own plan that would sort of be in between -- be essentially what Kirsten Gillibrand is proposing, sort of a bridge in between, which is not what Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are for. So I was a little bit surprised that you didn't have more people come out and say yes, I am for it because candidly among the Democratic base it's pretty popular.

CUOMO: All right. Let's leave it there.

(CROSSTALKING)

CUOMO: Let's talk about it more in the next hour. But I'm going to give you the last -- Gov. Go ahead. I don't like disappointing. I can't do it. The two guys I would have never given it to them. I like them disappointed.

GRANHOLM: Thank you.

CUOMO: What's your last word?

GRANHOLM: My last word is just that Medicare for all and a green new deal sort of is like a (INAUDIBLE) for sort of like Rorschach tests among this group. Everybody has their own version of what that means.

Kirsten Gillibrand, she jumped on with Bernie Sanders' bill, but she's got a public option version of Medicare for all. So it's just it's language that everybody is filling in the blanks on.

CUOMO: I love you all. You'll be back in the next hour. And I appreciate you all for doing that, especially with these hours.

All right. Now, you heard Senator Harris tonight, Kamala Harris, clashing with Joe Biden on bussing. Bad for Biden, good for Harris. All right.

Now, the substance of it is going to matter also. Biden rejected Harris's assertion that he opposed the practice that she depended on as a child. What are the facts?

Daniel Dale on one of the biggest challenges that Biden faced tonight? Facts first -- next.

[01:46:44] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris got into it tonight over the vice president's record on federally-mandated bussing of students. It was the moment of the night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bussed to school every day. And that little girl was me.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In terms of bussing, the bussing -- 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.

HARRIS: Do you agree today that you were wrong to oppose bussing in America then?

BIDEN: No.

HARRIS: Do you agree?

BIDEN: I did not oppose bussing in America. What I opposed is bussing ordered by the Department of Education.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: All right. Let's bring in Daniel Dale to test the VP's record on this.

First of all, before we get into what he actually said, do you believe that that is a distinction with a difference that the VP is drawing there? By saying I wasn't against it, I was against the federal government telling everybody how to do it?

DANIEL DALE, CNN REPORTER: I think there is a distinction there. I just don't think he's correct about the distinction.

And so you could, in theory, oppose federally-mandated bussing while supporting some kind of bussing, like bussing that the local community voluntarily approves. But in the 1970s, Chris, Joe Biden did not use nuance. He was unequivocally opposed to bussing. He said things like it's an asinine concept. It's a bankrupt concept. He likened it to the Vietnam War.

And so on occasion he said things like, well, in cases where there is deliberate, explicit segregation through things like deliberate gerrymandering to segregate communities, in those cases I'll allow -- I'll accept bussing. But in all other cases it's terrible.

CUOMO: What was the basis of why -- I get the hyperbole of how he characterized it. What was the meat behind the resistance?

DALE: The meat -- well, he said it was bad for communities. He said this is not the way to execute the goals of the civil rights movement. You're going to destroy both black communities and white communities. You're taking people out of their comfort zones.

And he also said things that might be difficult for some of his supporters to hear today. He said that the notion that your dark- skinned, curly-haired child needs to sit next to my blonde-haired, light-skinned child in order to learn is racist. And so he frequently made claims like that.

Now one thing I should note is that Biden's campaign says that in context in the 1970s if you said I oppose bussing, it was understood you were talking about federally mandated bussing because that's what bussing was.

So they're saying well, he wasn't saying he opposed it in all cases. And in the case of Senator Harris, that was bussing that was voluntarily approved by her local community in California. He wouldn't have opposed that.

CUOMO: But it wasn't just the control feature, you're saying he didn't like the idea of it so that it doesn't matter who is saying, yes, it can happen. He doesn't like that it was happening.

DALE: Exactly. So if you go back to these newspaper archives, you have a lot of articles where he's quoted on this in '75, '76, '77. He wasn't saying, look, I oppose federally-mandated bussing, but if a local community wants to do it, they can do it.

He was saying this is terrible. It's the most destructive thing that will hit Delaware. He likened it to a destructive war. The nuance that he's trying to use today simply wasn't there in the late 70s and early 80s.

CUOMO: How big a problem is this going to be? Because you also have this weird generation play going on within the black caucus. Because you have John Lewis, who's a legend, right. You have Clyburn, who is a legend within the party. You have the head of the CBC, they all say look, we know Joe Biden. We know where his head and his heart are and we're ok with it.

But now you've had Cory booker and Kamala Harris both said they find it unacceptable. DALE: I honestly don't know how much of a problem it will be for a

candidate who enjoys very strong black support. You know, many African-American voters we've heard say look, Barack Obama knows this man. Picked him as his vice president. We know that many people in addition to Biden have evolved since, you know, 40 years ago and he's a different man.

In addition, Chris, a lot of people oppose bussing. You know, it's considered by a large number of people as a failed policy. So will he be punished for opposing it? Maybe not. I think what may be troubling is the surfacing because of his dishonesty on this and because of Harris raising the topic of many of the comments he made on race, which many people who support him may not have heard before.

CUOMO: The what is old is new again. Daniel Dale -- always a pleasure.

DALE: Thank you, sir.

CUOMO: Thank you very much. >

All right. So -- all right. You're going to have winners, you're going to have losers. All right.

[01:54:58] Now, we'll see how it all bears out in the polls, to Daniel's point, but Kamala Harris has got a lot of buzz. And she'll get a bump in the polls. And that means she'll have people visiting the site. And that means that she'll have people giving her money. And that's how you stay alive.

If you've got winners, what else do you have? You've got losers. We're going to have predictions from the wizard of odds -- O-D-D-S -- about who goes up, who goes down.

A lot more for you. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: 2:00 a.m. in the East and we're just getting warmed up.

I'm Chris Cuomo. Welcome back to this live late night edition of PRIME TIME.

Joe Biden's team says he was prepared for what Kamala Harris brought his way about bussing. Well, he did not look like he was. And I don't think he was prepared for what he got. Twice tonight he said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[02:00:03] BIDEN : We can do this by making sure that we're in a position that we, in fact, allow people -- my time's up.