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Biden and Harris Debate Fight on Race; Biden's NATO Warning; June Jobs Report; Sen. Michael Bennet is Interviewed about Campaign. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired July 5, 2019 - 08:30   ET



[08:32:40] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Former Vice President Joe Biden talks exclusively to CNN about his ongoing squabble with Senator Kamala Harris over busing and race that, of course, started in last week's debate.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This whole thing about race and busing, well, you know, I think if you take a look, our positions aren't any different as we're finding out.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Were you prepared for them to come after you?

BIDEN: I was prepared for them to come after me, but I wasn't prepared for the person coming at me the way she came at me. She knew Beau. She knows me.


CAMEROTA: All right, joining us now to talk about this and so much more from that exclusive with VP Joe Biden, we have Frank Bruni, CNN contributor and "New York Times" opinion columnist, Arlette Saenz, CNN political reporter, and Bianna Golodryga, CNN contributor.

Great to have all of you. Happy post-Fourth of July to all of you.

OK, so this morning, Frank, we had on Senator Kamala Harris' campaign, her communications director. And from what best I can understand now of their positions, because it has been confusing for the past week --


CAMEROTA: Is that Kamala Harris agreed with federal -- federally mandated busing in the 1970s and Joe Biden didn't. And today they are much more aligned in terms of using different tools for integration. But that was where their point of demarcation was. And, by the way, is any of this relevant to race relations today? What can we take from that whole squabble?

BRUNI: I think most people are terribly confused by this. And I saw your great interview with Lilly Adams (ph) and you were pressing her on it because it is very, very confusing.

I think what Joe Biden is doing in that great interview that Chris Cuomo had with him is saying, guys, we're getting really, really deep in the weeds. The key thing was when -- he kept on saying, she knows me, you know me, people know me. What he's saying pertinent to race relations and everything else is, put all this policy stuff aside, put historical footnotes aside, go with your gut. What do you think my values are? And the other key thing he's doing on the frontier of racial -- racial -- in terms of relation relations is he is reminding people again and again, he's saying Barack, Barack. He's reminding them explicitly and implicitly that he was picked by the first black president, that he was a partner of that man for eight years, that they are still on great terms and he's saying, look at that rather than looking at the fine grains of this dispute I'm having with Senator Harris.

[08:35:00] CAMEROTA: Interesting.

AVLON: It's fascinating stuff.

Bianna, I want to go to you next because, look, foreign policy, we all know, is one of the most important things a president does. It doesn't often come up during a primary. But that interview with Chris Cuomo really hit a couple of key points. Vice President Biden pushing back on President Trump for allegedly cozying up to thugs and dictators abroad. But he had one specific, really warning that I want to get your take on. He said outright that if Donald Trump's re-elected, he felt NATO would cease to exist.

Do you think that's a credible threat?

BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, that stood out to me as well. That was one of his definitive moments in this interview where I think he felt a lot more comfortable -- Alisyn, I agree with you earlier in your comments stating that he felt a lot more comfortable and at ease and sort of the Joe Biden that we've gotten to know over the past years in this type of setting.

He made some strong points when it comes to foreign policy. And cozying up to foreign dictators, like Vladimir Putin, was one of them. I think stating that not only will that continue if the president is re-elected, but a lot more is at stake, i.e. NATO and the fact he thinks that NATO will be no more if the president is re-elected. He gave some specifics on how he would do things differently, vis-a-vis North Korea, vis-a-vis China. And then he laid out his own personal experience in intervention in the migration crisis, in the northern triangle, what should be done with those countries, what had been done in his role in Colombia. All of those things, I think, sort of spoke to his chops working with President Obama.

CAMEROTA: Such a great point. And, Arlette, that's where you come in. You've been covering the vice president. You've been out on the hustings with him. And, you know, I think there was a notable deference between debate Joe Biden and one-on-one interview with Chris Cuomo Joe Biden. And, you know, as we've just been talking, he seemed very in command of the history, of the policies. He was energized. He was clear-eyed.

And so what have you seen on the campaign trail that the rest of us might not have? Which Joe Biden is it?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, I think you heard Joe Biden in that interview saying that you can't exactly explain some of these positions in 30 seconds. He took, I think when I looked down at the interview time. It was about a little over four minutes in and he was still discussing the intricacies of his busing policy.

But I think going forward it's going to be important to watch. Is Biden going to continue to do these one-on-one interviews where he does get to talk a little bit more in-depth about where he is. We've seen, over the past 48 hours that he's been here in Iowa, there's been a little bit more accessibility when it comes to talking to reporters along the rope lines. But also just in those interactions that he's having with voters.

Yesterday, Joe Biden was in his element at that Fourth of July parade in Independence, Iowa, running up and down the streets, at one point cradling a baby as he walked in this parade. And I think that his team is probably looking for ways to get the former vice president in those organic, unique moments where he can personally relate to people on the campaign trail while he's also trying to make this argument that he's the best to defeat Donald Trump.

I think it's also important to point out that while Biden's focus has really been on Trump throughout this campaign, he's really starting to set some policies, some stark policy differences with his Democratic opponents. We've heard Biden brand himself as center left in that interview. He's also described himself as an Obama-Biden Democrat. I think going forward those are two things you're going to continue to see him stress as he tries to differentiate himself perhaps from the leftward part of the party.

AVLON: Such an important point.

And, Frank, let's go there and go a little further.

Biden really casting his lot in with the center left, praising AOC, but saying, look, look who won in 2018. They're mainstream Democrats. Chris Cuomo pointing out that 80 percent of the party doesn't define itself as very liberal.

BRUNI: Right.

AVLON: Is this a case of a senator whose liberal credentials now seem dated because the party has move further left, or is Biden trying to actually plant a stake in the ground and saying that the louder voices in the debate don't represent the Democratic Party a smarter way to go?

BRUNI: Well, his views only seem dated if you go by some of the media discussion, if you go by Twitter, which has been proven to be not representative of every other Democrat. AVLON: Exactly.

BRUNI: What he is saying is, no, they're not dated in terms of the actual numbers of where Democrats are. Also usually significant, he brought up Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Yes, he brought her up and he praised her, but he was bringing her up to say that is not what I am. This is, to me, I think, in this interview, which was really revealing, this was the starkest, clearest case he's made for himself as a moderate who can win votes in the center and as a general election candidate and not just a primary candidate.

CAMEROTA: I agree. And, Bianna, it sounds like he's going to proudly wear that mantle.


CAMEROTA: He -- he is proud that he sees himself as a moderate and that he says that he has represented the middle class. And so I've heard kind of his mantra for what we'll hear for the rest of the campaign.

GOLODRYGA: Yes, there definitely is a lane for that. And the advantage that he has, if he wants to take hold of that, is health care in particular. He referenced the midterm election and what got so many moderate Democrats elected, and that was health care and focus on health care. He has something that all the other candidates doesn't, and that is something tangible to grasp, Obamacare. For him to go forward now and say this is what we're going to do with Obamacare, which incidentally has become more -- more popular over the past couple of years and we're going to improve it as opposed to blowing everything up and Medicare for all and all of these other ideas that a lot of these other candidates haven't really worked out yet.

[08:40:26] AVLON: Well, a lot to dig into in this debate. Thank you all for joining us.

Speaking of the economy and the middle class, we've got June job numbers are out. Breaking details up next.


CAMEROTA: We do have some breaking news right now. The Labor Department has just released the June jobs report.

And Alison Kosik is here with the numbers.

How are they looking, Alison?


A huge surprise to the upside for June. Let me show you, 224,000 jobs added in June. That is a substantial increase from 72,000. It was revised lower for May.

So if there was any question whether or not May was a fluke or not, I think we can suffice to say it definitely was a fluke. The unemployment rate, let's move onto that, did jump up a bit, just a

tad, about 0.1 percent. It jumped up to 3.7 percent, but for good reasons because 335,000 people entered the workforce. That is the good reason why we saw the unemployment rate go up.

[08:45:11] Where did we see those job additions? Fifty-one thousand jobs added in business services. Those are high paying jobs. Construction, 21,000. That's a good sign because we have seen the housing market kind of lackluster. And we've seen those jobs in construction hurt a little bit. So it's good to see a rise there. Same with manufacturing, 17,000 jobs added there. It has been under pressure for about four months, so we are seeing, John, a rebound in manufacturing as well.

AVLON: Fascinating stuff. Good news.

All right, thanks, Alison.

Now, this Sunday night, our new CNN original series "The Movies" explains the stories behind the films you love. First episode is going to explain crowd pleasing '80s films, like "Fast Times at Ridgemont High."


Amy Heckerling, DIRECTOR, "FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH": There was so much reality in the script of "Fast Times," the way that Cameron wrote "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" is that he went back to high school.

CAMERON CROWE, WRITER, "FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH": I never graduated traditionally, so the idea was I could go back and have the senior year that I didn't have and write about what it is to be a high school student. I learned so much. The pop culture establishment, they don't know what's happening with kids right now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Stacey (ph), what are you waiting for? You're 15 years old. I did it when I was 13. It's no huge thing. It's just sex.

CROWE: These kids are having a super short adolescence. They're having sex years before you know they're having sex. And they're all working. It's fast food, it's fast adolescence, it's all disposable. And what are we doing to a generation that has to be adult at a younger and younger age?


AVLON: Be sure to tune in. "The Movies" premieres this Sunday night at 9:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific here on CNN.

We'll be right back.


[08:51:13] CAMEROTA: Many 2020 presidential candidates spent the Fourth of July on the campaign trail. Most were in Iowa and New Hampshire. But one candidate spent his Independence Day off the beaten path. Joining us now is that man, Colorado Senator Michael Bennet.

Good morning, senator.

SEN. MICHAEL BENNET (D-CO), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Good morning. Thank you for having me.

CAMEROTA: Happy Fourth to you.

Let me put up where most of your competitors were. You can see the lion's share of them on the screen were in Iowa, New Hampshire, two of them were in Nevada. You chose to go to Arkansas and Mississippi.

So tell us your thinking.

BENNET: Well, I guess I thought nobody needed another politician at another Fourth of July parade. I've spent a lot of time in my life in the Mississippi Delta because my wife is from the Delta, from the rural Arkansas. And so we -- she and I and one of our daughters decided to spend the last four days having conversations with people in Arkansas, Mississippi, and today in Louisiana who are struggling with unemployment, with health care, with education. And we met some really inspiring people along the way, including some young students in Sunflower, County, Mississippi, who are trying to better their education this summer.

CAMEROTA: The second quarter fundraising numbers are out. I'll put some of those up on the your because some of your fellow Democrats had, you know, impressive hauls. Pete Buttigieg, $24.8 million raised. Joe Biden, $21.5 million raised. Bernie Sanders, $18 million. You had $2.8 million raised. You entered the race later than any of those folks. But what -- how do those numbers affect your path forward?

BENNET: Well, I can only -- I congratulate everybody on their fundraising numbers. I was only in the race for two months when the quarter ended. And we raised $2.8 million. I had another 750,000 from my Senate campaign. So we were about $3.5.

And I think that's a pretty good start for being at a standing start. I haven't been running for president for a long time. I just got in the race.

So what I'm concerned about is making sure that we continue to raise the resources we need to be able to be competitive in the early states of Iowa and New Hampshire, you mentioned South Carolina and Nevada. And I think we will be.

CAMEROTA: President Trump and --

BENNET: We're actually very pleased with those numbers. I'm sure -- go ahead.

CAMEROTA: That's good. So you're pleased -- you're pleased with those numbers and those were positive to you. What I was going to ask you about was President Trump and the RNC that are very pleased with their numbers. They raised this blockbuster $105 million in the second quarter. And I'm just wondering what that tells you about the enthusiasm on the other side.

BENNET: I think that he has tremendous enthusiasm among his base, and I think it is unforgivable that we lost the last election to Donald Trump, somebody who was a reality TV star before he was president of the United States and spent his whole time in office trying to divide the American people from each other.

But we could lose to him again if we don't pay attention to what working Americans desire and what the parts of people -- the part -- and what Americans in my part of the country want as well. I think that's going to be very important for us during the course of this Democratic primary to remember that we need to appeal, not just to our base, but also to independents and others if we're actually going to beat Donald Trump this time, which is what is required, the most important thing that needs to happen.

CAMEROTA: And on that note, you had, I think, a notable moment during the debate where you were one of only two people, I think Governor Hickenlooper was the other, that did not raise your hand for whether or not it should -- undocumented immigrants crossing the border should be decriminalized. So let me remind people of that moment.

[08:55:05] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE, MODERATOR: Raise your hand if you think it should be a civil offense rather than a crime to cross the border without documentation.


CAMEROTA: OK, so you can see that your hand there is not up. Do you worry that regardless of who is the nominee on the Democratic side that Republicans will be able to cry open borders?

BENNET: Well, that's what they'll try. I wrote a bill in 2013 with seven colleagues in the Senate called the Gang of Eight Immigration Bill that passed with 68 votes that had $46 billion of border security in it. That is far more than Donald Trump has proposed. It's sophisticated 21st century border security, not the medieval, ineffective wall that he has proposed.

So that is, I think, what we need to get back to, and he certainly won't be able to accuse me of being weak on border security because -- because I helped write that bill. And Democrats more generally, I think, can't be accused of it because every single member of the Senate at that time voted for that border security in that gang of eight bill. It also contained a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million people that are here, finally resolving that situation and bringing people out of the shadows, and it had the most progressive DREAM act that had ever been conceived, much less written.

Unfortunately, because of the radical right wing in the House, we never even got a vote in the House of Representatives. The bill would have passed had it been the House, and we would be right now in the process of securing our border and putting people on an orderly pathway to citizenship in this country instead of continuing to have a politics that divides Americans over this issue.

This is personal for me because my mom was an immigrant to this country, my grandparents were immigrants to this country, as so many other people's moms and grandparents were. And I think we've got to overcome the president's political rhetoric here and begin to work on a solution. Unfortunately, that Gang of Eight bill, unlike many things in Washington, actually points the way to a bipartisan solution.


Senator Michael Bennet, thank you very much for spending part of your Fourth of July holiday weekend with us.

BENNET: Thanks. Thanks for having me. I appreciate it. Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Great to talk to you.

All right, "NEWSROOM" with Jim Sciutto is up next. Have a great weekend.

AVLON: You too.