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Highlights of the First Round of CNN Democratic Debate; Ten Democratic Presidential Candidates Square Off for a Second Time; Biden Vows He Will Not Be as Polite in Tonight's Debate; Marianne Williamson Highlights Racial Issues on Debate Stage. Aired 9-9:30a ET

Aired July 31, 2019 - 09:00   ET


[09:00:17] JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: A very good Wednesday morning to you. I'm Jim Sciutto in New York.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Poppy Harlow live from Detroit this morning. Beautiful morning again. What a night. We are just hours away from the second round of critical high-stakes debates tonight.

Here's a live look inside of the CNN debate hall in the historic FOX Theater where front-runner Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris will face off tonight in their highly anticipated rematch. Harris hit Biden on civil rights in the first debate, but the former vice president vows tonight will be much different, promising he will not be as polite this time around. His team says he will punch back at whatever attacks come his way, but tonight he won't just have Harris to worry about. Senators Cory Booker and Kirsten Gillibrand and others making it very clear they will take on Biden -- Jim.

SCIUTTO: We will be watching for that tonight. In last night's debate the power struggle for the Democratic Party's ideology on full display. A fight, an open one, between progressives and more moderate Democrats. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren defending their big policy ideas, namely Medicare for All, arguing that pushing for radical change won't just hand Donald Trump a second term.

Joining us now CNN's Athena Jones who is inside the debate hall, and we saw those fault lines within the party on clear display last night, some spirited exchanges.

ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. Good morning, Jim. You mentioned those two, the two most progressive candidates, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. They were here at center stage last night and they spent a lot of time fending off attacks on their policies from more moderate candidates but they avoided clashing with each other.


JONES (voice-over): The ideological divides within the Democratic Party on full display last night.

GOV. STEVE BULLOCK (D-MT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Folks seem more concerned about scoring points or outdoing each other with wish list economics. SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You're going to

hear a lot of promises up here.

JOHN DELANEY (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We can go down the road that Senator Sanders and Senator Warren want to take us with bad policies like Medicare for All, free everything and impossible promises that will turn off independent voters and get Trump re- elected.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN DEBATE MODERATOR: What do you say to Congressman Delaney?


JONES: The moderates clashing with Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, questioning their electability with their progressive agendas and slamming their key domestic proposal, Medicare for All.

JOHN HICKENLOOPER (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm saying the policies of this notion that you're going to take private insurance away from 180 million Americans who many of them don't want to -- do want to get rid of it, but some don't. That is a disaster at the ballot box. You might as well FedEx the election to Donald Trump.

SANDERS: Well, the truth is that every credible poll that I have seen has me beating Donald Trump.

JONES: Sanders standing by his plan.

SANDERS: They will be because Medicare for All is comprehensive, it covers all health care needs for senior citizens. It will finally include dental care, hearing aids and eyeglasses. Second of all --

REP. TIM RYAN (D-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: But you don't know -- you don't know that, Bernie.

SANDERS: Second of all --

TAPPER: We'll come to you in a second, Congressman.

SANDERS: I do know when I wrote the damn bill.

JONES: Instead of attacking each other Sanders and Warren appeared united in defending their agendas.

DELANEY: So I think Democrats win when we run on real solutions, not impossible promises. on uniting real solution, when we run on things that are workable not fairytale economics.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, I don't understand why anybody goes to all the trouble of running for president of the United States just to talk about what we really can't do and shouldn't fight for.

SANDERS: To win this election and to defeat Donald Trump, which by the way in my view is not going to be easy, we need to have a campaign of energy and excitement and of vision. I get a little bit tired of Democrats afraid of big ideas. Republicans are not afraid of big ideas.

JONES: Other candidates like Mayor Pete Buttigieg saying the focus should stay on defeating President Trump, instead of taking down fellow Democrats.

MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D-IN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It is time to stop worrying about what the Republicans will say. Look, if -- if it's true that if we embrace a far-left agenda, they're going to say we're a bunch of crazy socialists. If we embrace a conservative agenda, you know what they're going to do? They're going to say we're a bunch of crazy socialists. So let's just stand up for the right policy, go out there and defend it.

JONES: Warren blasting Trump when questioned about White Supremacy fueling domestic terrorism, in the wake of the latest mass shooting in California.

WARREN: Call out white supremacy for what it is, domestic terrorism, and it poses a threat to the United States of America. We live in a country now where the president is advancing environmental racism, economic racism, criminal justice racism, health care racism.

JONES: Beto O'Rourke highlighting his call for a new building rights act to address systemic racism.

[09:05:02] BETO O'ROURKE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The legacy of slavery and segregation and Jim Crow, and suppression is alive and well in every aspect of the economy and in the country.

JONES: Political outsider author Marianne Williamson also issuing a warning to more seasoned candidates.

MARIANNE WILLIAMSON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The entire conversation that we're having here tonight, if you think that this wonkiness is going to deal with this dark psychic force of the collectivized hatred that this president is bringing up in this country then I'm afraid that the Democrats are going to see some very dark days.


JONES: Now, tonight we'll have 10 more candidates duking it out on this stage. Frontrunner Joe Biden will be front and center. He'll be surrounded by or on either side you'll have Cory Booker and Kamala Harris. He's likely to be a huge target for both of those candidates as well as some others on this stage.

Now the vice president has said he's going to be more aggressive in fighting back so we'll be watching closely to see not only how well he defends himself but also whether he's able to make a compelling, persuasive, affirmative case for his candidacy and be a bigger and more memorable presence on the stage -- Jim, Poppy.

SCIUTTO: Athena Jones right there on the stage, thanks very much.

HARLOW: Great reporting, Athena, thank you.

We have a great team here in Detroit to break it all down, John Avlon, Toluse Olorunnipa, Maria Cardona, David Urban.

All right, guys and gals. Toluse, I think this moment between Elizabeth Warren and John Delaney summed up the night. Let's play it.


WARREN: I don't understand why anybody goes to all the trouble of running for president of the United States just to talk about what we really can't do and shouldn't fight for.


HARLOW: Did she make her -- did she make her lane last night? Did she make a lane to say, hey, liberals that have been coming to me from Sanders, keep coming?

TOLUSE OLORUNNIPA, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: She did. She was able to make that message to the liberal part of the party. The big question -- and that's what we heard from a number of moderates -- is whether or not that's going to drive away voters who are more moderate, who are suburban, who may be are uncomfortable with the idea of Medicare for All, getting rid of private insurance. But she made the case that we have to fight, we have to show that this economy is not working for the broader middle class and what we actually have to have bold, big structural change because the moderate ideas aren't going to energize the folks who live in places like Detroit to come out and vote. And that's the question that the Democrats are facing.


OLORUNNIPA: Do you increase the voter turnout in places like Detroit or do you try to win back some of the voters who went to Trump from Obama.

HARLOW: And, Avlon, they're fighting these numbers, these brand-new Kaiser polling out that shows a decline in people supporting Medicare for All and increase in people supporting adjusting the ACA. And you talk about -- you have a great column on (INAUDIBLE), and you talk about sort of the center being sensible and being called conservative- light for advocating Obama policies.

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: That's exactly right, I mean, but the ideological litmus test being applied right now by the Twitter-ratti, Barack Obama would be --

HARLOW: Twitter-ratti. That's good.

AVLON: Would be Republican like, would not be called a Democrat, public option, something he wanted that he couldn't get that now I think is being backed by Biden as opposed to taking away private insurance and have government take over health care which is what Republicans falsely called Obamacare in the first place. Over and over again we see that. That dynamic is not good. The party has got a choice, right? It does have to build up its base among some folks who peeled away from Hillary Clinton, places like Detroit, Milwaukee, Philadelphia. At the same time it's got to win those 206 pivot counties that went twice to Obama then flipped to Trump. And you're not going to do that by going far left.

HARLOW: David Urban, who scared you the most last night as a conservative?


HARLOW: I mean, scared as in they can beat Trump.

URBAN: Yes. I told Governor Steve Bullock, he was just out here after the last show, I said, look, you know, very nice to meet you. I hope I never see you again.


HARLOW: You thought he was that good?

URBAN: I think he was that good. I had used to be afraid of Joe Biden. Joe Biden does not frighten me. Steve Bullock frightens me.

HARLOW: But, no -- what about the name recognition issue?

URBAN: Listen, Steve Bullock will catch fire. He's a very -- he had a great performance. He looks the part. He sounds reasonable. He's a very bright guy, and he's governed.

HARLOW: Can I just -- let me --

URBAN: He's won in a state that Trump has won in.

HARLOW: Maria is being patient. But can I just push you on that? When you say looks the part, what do you mean, he's another white man?

URBAN: No, no, listen. He looks like he can play -- he looks like a cast from Hollywood. So, yeah, he looks like Steve Pullman or the guy --


URBAN: Bill Pullman in "Independence Day." Right? So --

MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: He looks like somebody you would vote for.

URBAN: No, he looks like -- OK, sorry. You're right. Make me bad, but he looks what Hollywood cast as a president.

HARLOW: All right.

URBAN: What Hollywood would cast. And listen -- HARLOW: I'm just asking, because you know America is much more


CARDONA: Yes, it is.


URBAN: I agree. Hey, listen, the big winner last night, in my opinion.


URBAN: Donald Trump was the big win, the clear winner.


CARDONA: Of course he was.

AVLON: He's contractually obligated to say that.

HARLOW: Something tells me Maria Cardona does not think that.


HARLOW: But I do want to play you a moment that I wonder if it was a weakness.


HARLOW: For Bernie Sanders.


HARLOW: So we're not going to play it, I'll just tell you about it. But he was asked by Dana, such a smart question. Is giving away health care for free and college for free just going to incentivize more illegal immigration in this country? He didn't really answer it. Let me quote you all he said back on that and then he pivoted, was, no, because we will have stronger border protection. That's it.


[09:10:04] HARLOW: And then he moved forward.


HARLOW: I mean, I was like, what, where's the rest?

CARDONA: Yes. And that's I think a much deeper discussion that the party needs to have, no question about that. But I think what was really interesting about last night is that you did see the contrast and the tension between the moderates and the more progressive and the more liberals.

I think Elizabeth Warren was clearly the winner of the night. I think that she is going to continue to attract all of those liberals and progressives that have been coming over from Bernie. Bernie did show up in a way that I don't think he did in the first debate, but I don't think that he did it well enough to stem the tide of all the liberals going to Elizabeth Warren. And they --

HARLOW: And they are. Not all but some are.

CARDONA: That's right. But I think one of the things that she did well, I think she did it better in the -- where she did the panel after the debate is that she actually talked about how perhaps there could be a way for this Medicare for All where people could do transition, where there could be some options. So I think that, as we progress on this, there is going to have to be a discussion on how we get there if the party ends up with Medicare for All.

AVLON: Yes. Yes. And we'll see that tonight from Kamala Harris.


AVLON: Part of her conversation, too. But just a reality check where the Democratic electorate is because we're using a lot of terms kind of fungibly, liberal, progressive, moderate. If you look at the breakdown of the Democratic Party, only 20 percent of the Democratic primary voters say they're very liberal.

CARDONA: OK. That's right.

AVLON: So that's the lane that Sanders and Warren are going after. And I think Warren did a great job of making that the aspirational last night and Sanders was more angry. However, that still is not enough to call together a majority especially in a general. Don't forget that.

CARDONA: And I also want to make the point a lot of people want to say, the other day I was arguing that the Democratic base liked the term socialism and when -- if you actually talk about the Democratic base as including Latinos.

AVLON: Right.

CARDONA: As including African-Americans, that is not their case.


AVLON: Correct.

HARLOW: David, listen to this. And you can say whatever you want. But listen to this. Here was Pete Buttigieg last night putting Republicans on notice.


BUTTIGIEG: If you are watching this at home and you are a Republican member of Congress, consider the fact that when the sun sets on your career and they are writing your story of all the good and bad things you did in your life, the thing you will be remembered for is whether in this moment, with this president, you found the courage to stand up to him or you continued to put party over country.


HARLOW: He then quoted scripture from the bible.

URBAN: Yes, I mean --

HARLOW: Compelling, meaningful?

URBAN: No. It's a canned moment. So, I think, look, maybe --

HARLOW: Really?

URBAN: Half the people -- 60 plus million people voted for the president and Mayor Pete is completely wrong. I think he's completely wrong. And so getting --

AVLON: On what?

HARLOW: You know, a lot of people who had voted --

URBAN: On the defining moment, on whether it's a defining moment --

CARDONA: A lot of people who voted for the president will also say, I like what he's done for the economy, I like the policies, I don't like hearing the stuff he's said.

URBAN: No, no, listen. I come on --


URBAN: Almost every show I'm on, I say, and I'll say it again with your camera, Mr. President, please tweet out the positive things. Let's talk about job growth in Michigan, you know, real wage increases, all the positive things we're doing for this country. Let's stick to those things.

CARDONA: But he's not doing that.

URBAN: One plus one plus one. That's the way we win.

CARDONA: But he's not doing that. And I think what Pete pointed out yesterday is what a lot -- not just Democrats but you see poll after poll, Trump is losing people that did vote for him, that wanted him to look out for them and not focus on all this racism and bigotry.

URBAN: Right. But let's just remember, elections -- this isn't referendum on Donald Trump. This will be an election against a candidate and --

CARDONA: It will be a referendum on Donald Trump.

URBAN: No, no, listen, if there's a candidate out there advocating that 200 million Americans lose their health care, get moved into some sort of ephemeral system that costs $30 trillion --

CARDONA: That's not going to be the case.


AVLON: A third of the party is (INAUDIBLE) that.

HARLOW: He's not wrong in terms of that's what Bernie Sanders was proposing.

URBAN: No, no, but that's exactly --

AVLON: (INAUDIBLE) make an important point.

HARLOW: Hold on. Hold on, guys. We got to pay for the show.

CARDONA: That's not what (INAUDIBLE).

URBAN: Wait, wait. Why do you go when people say I'm right?

HARLOW: We'll start on that next. We do have to pay for this show so we're going to get a commercial. You'll all be right back. We'll talk about Hickenlooper who I think made your point last night.

Everyone, stay with us. Still to come, round one is over, round two is just hours away. We will see the frontrunner right now, Vice President Joe Biden punching back tonight. That's what we hear from his team. Will there be a pile on from other candidates?

Our special live coverage continues from Detroit.

SCIUTTO: Plus, what did the voters in the key swing state of Michigan think of last night's debate? Who do they think came out on top? Some surprising answers from them, that's coming up.

And North Korean officials say that working level talks with the United States could begin very soon, so why has that country just conducted two more missile tests in just the past week?


[09:15:00] HARLOW: All right, welcome back, I'm Poppy Harlow. We are live in Detroit this morning, and right now, ten more presidential hopefuls are gearing up for night two of the CNN Democratic debates. Tonight, they will take the stage here in Detroit to share their vision for America, the most anticipated headline, rematch between Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris.

She's certainly not the only one expected to go after the former vice president. Our panel is back with us, you name it, Kirsten Gillibrand laid her cards out, she's going to go after him it seems, Cory Booker clearly if you read any of his tweets, he's going to go after him.


HARLOW: So, as we look ahead to tonight, John Avlon, what we're hearing from the Biden team is that he's going to punch back, but I wonder is he going to punch first? JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I don't know if it's in his

character to punch first --

CARDONA: I don't think so --

AVLON: But I do think he's got to show that he's focused and he is fired up and ready for the debate. If it looks like he's got a couple of miles off his fast ball that it'll be a real problem for him because it'll solidify perceptions from the first debate.

[09:20:00] And I don't think he had a disastrous first debate, but he didn't know how to respond when Kamala Harris went after him.

HARLOW: Yes --

AVLON: The other thing to look at in the macro field -- I want to go back to something David was saying because he's making a point --

HARLOW: Well, you said he was right twice in the last bloc, so --

AVLON: It's a point that the Democrats --


AVLON: I think need to understand, exactly, you know, this is us, this is us building bridges, people. The entire Trump campaign clearly is predicated on a message in negative partisanship. That means saying that the Democrats are radicals, socialist far-lefters. And when Democrats -- and a couple of leading candidates including Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren last night support limited in private insurance, it walks right into that play book.

And so when Democrats do get really caught up in the idea of sort of an enthusiastic progressive base appeal --

HARLOW: Yes --

AVLON: At the expense of demonizing the center of their own party, let alone independents and swing voters, they're playing right into the Trump campaign.

HARLOW: Was Bullock effective with his wish-list economics over and over and over last night in the face of that?

TOLUSE OLORUNNIPA, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: And I think he was effective as a new candidate, sort of on the stage that a lot of people were getting introduced to for the first time. Joe Biden will be a familiar face and he'll be trying to make a similar argument, that may be his best attacks, saying that all of these progressive candidates are too ambitious and they're promising things that they can't actually provide.

He'll say I have a record, remember that I did all of these things with Obama when I was the Vice President -- HARLOW: Except it was so clear from Elizabeth Warren over and over

last night. If you -- why are you running for president if you're not going to shoot for the moon?

OLORUNNIPA: Well, Biden will say that I have a progressive record, but I actually did not push away voters with my progressive policies. They -- the idea of getting rid of private insurance is something that's too far to the left, and Joe Biden says I have an alternative plan that will get universal coverage, remember Obamacare covers tens of millions of people and will just finish the job --

HARLOW: Yes --

OLORUNNIPA: By providing a public option --

HARLOW: Except if he can finish the job becomes the question, right?


HARLOW: Obama wanted the public option, they couldn't finish the job on that, so, he has to convince people that something is different, I really want to play Marianne Williamson --


HARLOW: OK? Because the Twitter audience is out, what you call that --


HARLOW: Avlon?

AVLON: When you're --

HARLOW: Avlon is like so over this, right? I won't make you answer this question --

AVLON: Oh --

HARLOW: But let's just play --


HARLOW: A few of the highlights from Marianne Williamson last night.


MARIANNE WILLIAMSON, AUTHOR & PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have communities, particularly communities of color and disadvantaged communities all over this country who are suffering from environmental injustice. This is part of the dark under-belly of American society.


The racism, the bigotry -- it's $500 billion -- $200 billion to $500 billion payment of a debt that is owed. That is what reparations is. (APPLAUSE)

We need some deep truth-telling. We need to recognize that when it comes to the economic gap between blacks and whites in America, it does come from a great injustice that has never been dealt with.


HARLOW: What is her role, now, Maria, in this party?

CARDONA: I think, you know, and she's very popular. She's got a great following, and anybody who meets her -- and I've met her briefly an at event that I did with her two weeks ago, she's incredibly impressive. I think what she demonstrated last night, Poppy, is something that I think a lot of our Democrats don't do, and that is speaking to the heart and the soul, not just of the Democratic Party, but of the whole country especially in the midst of what we're going through right now which was to the point of her comments.

Look, I think the Democratic Party, independents and Americans as a whole see this president as not representative of the whole of American values especially in the last two weeks when he's demonstrated he is going to run --

HARLOW: You know --

CARDONA: On racism and bigotry --

HARLOW: You know, David Urban, what struck me with her is when she said -- and I'm paraphrasing, well, I'm normally super lefty like Bernie and Elizabeth Warren, but I don't know about your Medicare for all things. Like, I don't know, what do you make of her? What does she mean for this party and this, you know, divide and debate over where's the heart of the party?

URBAN: Listen, I really can't speak to her appeal. I don't -- I don't -- she was not as demo -- you're not a demo, like not a demographic, right? I do think however, she makes a very -- she actually makes very valid points about reparations. She obviously strikes a chord among a certain group of folks in the party --

HARLOW: Yes --

URBAN: And as you point out correctly, she's like, look, I'm as lefty as everybody else, but I think you guys are going too far.

HARLOW: That was so striking to me --

URBAN: I mean, when she says that, like I think the party should think, this isn't Rahm Emanuel, this is now --

HARLOW: Yes --

URBAN: Your spiritual adviser, right, telling you this, right? And so --

HARLOW: So, maybe if she had --

URBAN: Dial it back, people --

CARDONA: But can I just make a point because David obviously wants for us to all be painted in this whole -- like everyone is for Medicare for all --


URBAN: That is what everybody said, not I want to paint it, that's how it is --

CARDONA: That was the focus last night and I actually loved --

HARLOW: Yes --

CARDONA: That it was so --


CARDONA: Focused on policy --

HARLOW: Let me hear it --

CARDONA: But wait until tonight --

HARLOW: All right, so let me go to -- imagine this scenario, you have the delivery of Marianne Williamson with the sort of policy proposals and the credentials in terms of government and work history of Hickenlooper. Because his issue it seems last night, we'll talk to him on the show was the messaging.

[09:25:00] But here was a moment that I wonder if you think was effective from Hickenlooper.


JOHN HICKENLOOPER, FORMER GOVERNOR OF COLORADO: The policies of this notion that you're going to take private insurance away from 180 million Americans who many of them don't want to give it -- many of them do want to get rid of it, but some don't, many don't or you're going to -- the green new deal, make sure that every American is guaranteed a government job they want.

That is a disaster at the ballot box or you might as well FedEx the election to Donald Trump.


HARLOW: FedEx the election to Donald Trump.

OLORUNNIPA: Yes, they talked about electability, that was a big theme of last night. You had Elizabeth Warren saying we need to make sure that the people and the party are actually enthused and are actually excited, and that's why we have to have bold ideas. But you have a number of people who say, you know, let's be the adults in the room and let's actually talk about what we can get done. I think tonight, you might see Joe Biden and maybe even Kamala Harris try to bridge that gap and say --

HARLOW: Right --

OLORUNNIPA: We can both excite the party, we can excite the progressives while also being practical or also being pragmatic --

HARLOW: And Avlon, what's the deal with Hickenlooper? A guy from Pennsylvania, dad worked in the steel industry, you know, made his money in brew pubs. Is it the messaging --

AVLON: Look --

HARLOW: That he's not breaking through?

AVLON: His record is stellar in terms of governing. Two-term mayor of Denver --

HARLOW: Yes --

AVLON: Very effective, two-term Colorado governor. Politically moved the state from conservative to swing to even lean Dem. Good record on taking on the NRA, the environment, building broad bridges, exactly the kind of thing a typical presidential candidate should do.

HARLOW: So, what's the deal?

AVLON: I think he's authentically eccentric person, and he's had a hard time connecting in a really visceral way. You know -- but the party again loses that experience at its peril because your promises have to be rooted in your record, otherwise it's just rhetoric.

HARLOW: Thank you all very much, I love the kumbaya and you said nice things about Irving(ph) and all of that --

URBAN: There you go, man --

AVLON: I'm coming back, when can I come back?

HARLOW: You know, everyday, David Urban --

URBAN: Put me -- put me in again --

HARLOW: You hear that team, all right, thank you, one and all, I appreciate it. So, Bernie Sanders feels Americans love his Medicare for all plan, but brand new polling shows otherwise, and it's important we're going to get into that. We're asking current Democratic lawmaker who's on his team about that.