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Joe Biden And Sen. Kamala Harris (D) California Set For Rematch Tonight In CNN Debate; Sen. Bernie Sanders (D) Vermont and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D) Massachusetts Clash With Moderates At CNN Debate; Progressive Moderate Democrats Face Off At CNN Debate. Aired 10-10:30a ET
Aired July 31, 2019 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN NEWSROOM: A very good Wednesday morning to you. I'm Jim Sciutto in New York.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN NEWSROOM: And I'm Poppy Harlow live in Detroit. It is a beautiful Wednesday morning and a big night again tonight because we are getting closer to the second round of the crucial second debate here exclusively on CNN.
The debate inside the Fox Theater is set. It is ready to go. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will take center stage in a rematch after the two sparred if their first debate. Harris hit Biden hard on civil rights. Biden vows this time he will not be as polite. His team says he will punch back. Harris will be joined by a full field of contenders ready to go after the frontrunner tonight. That's right, Jim.
SCIUTTO: And last night, lines clearly drawn between moderates and progressives within the Democratic Party. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders avoiding any clashes with each other, instead pushing back at claims that their policies are too pie in the sky, too radical.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN DELANEY, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So I think democrats win when we run on real solutions, not impossible promises, when we run on things that are workable, not fairy tale economics.
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): 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.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT): Medicare for all is comprehensive. It covers all healthcare needs for senior citizens. It will finally include dental care, hearing aids and eyeglasses. Second of all --
REP. TIM RYAN (D-OH): You don't know that, Bernie.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: We'll come to you in a second, Congressman.
SANDERS: I wrote the damn bill.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: A couple big applause lines there.
Joining us now, CNN's Phil Mattingly, who's inside the debate hall. Warren and Sanders ready for the criticism, aligned in lock step last night. But at the end of the day, they're splitting the progressive vote, right? It's not something that can last practically.
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. One of the big questions going into the night was given the fact that they are so ideologically aligned, would they start to draw contrast with one another. And instead, what you saw was kind of an informal non- aggression pact of them defending their priorities, their policies, their policies that go much further than a lot of other individuals on the stage against those individuals.
What you saw essentially was the fault lines play out in real-time, laid bare, the aspirational versus the realism, if you will. Those who want to go big and go bold versus those who believe that that's not going to work in the current political system.
And it was a back and forth that really underscored where the democratic primary and where the Democratic Party is right now on several issues, whether it was healthcare, whether it was climate change. And the progressives, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, made clear that their proposals are the proposals, despite the criticism and attacks from folks inside their own party that can work.
Take a listen to how Elizabeth Warren framed healthcare.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DELANEY: We can create a universal healthcare system to give everyone basic healthcare for free, and I have a proposal to do it. But we don't have to go around and be the party of subtraction and telling half the country who has private health insurance that their health insurance is illegal.
WARREN: Let's be clear about this. We are the democrats. We are not about trying to take away healthcare from anyone. That's what the republicans are trying to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTINGLY: And, guys, I think it's important to note that the importance of last night actually laying out for viewers, for voters, for primary voters particularly where everybody stands is invaluable at this point in time because it's a fight within the Democratic Party, whether the motivation of progressive priorities inside the base is what's going to win a general election or whether the realism, if you will, from some of the more moderate members inside the party could win in a more effective manner. That's playing out in real- time, and we're going to see more of that tonight.
HARLOW: Yes. All right, so let's talk about tonight, Phil. Obviously, we're looking at Harris and Biden, but Cory Booker, man, those Tweets sounds like he's going to come on strong against Biden as well.
MATTINGLY: Yes. And no one is making any secret that there is a massive target on the former Vice President's back. And the Vice President is keenly aware of that as well. He and his team have made clear that unlike the first debate performance in Miami, where he looked uneven at times, where he looked unprepared for the attacks that came his way from Senator Kamala Harris, tonight will be a different ball game. But, boy, is he going to be tested.
If you look behind me, you're going to have Joe Biden standing straight in the center. To his right and left, Kamala Harris and Cory Booker. You mentioned Cory Booker, obviously, Kamala Harris as well. Both have sharpened their attacks, made clear that they want to go after the clear frontrunner to see where that leads.
Make no mistake about it, if Joe Biden has a consistent, solid performance tonight, he secures his role as the clear frontrunner.
If he does not, there are very real questions about where this field is headed and where the democratic primary may end up as we head towards caucuses and primaries, guys.
HARLOW: Yes, 100 percent, all right. It's going to be an exciting one tonight. Phil, thank you so much for the reporting.
Let's talk about all of this. Bloomberg Reporter Sahil Kapur is with me, David Gergen, former [residential adviser to four presidents, and also, of course, with us is the lovely Angela Rye, CNN Political Commentator, former Executive Director of the Congressional Black Caucus. Good morning, one and all.
So let me begin with you, David Gergen. You think, yes, a moderate coalition emerged last night.
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I do.
HARLOW: Steve Bullock, I know, stood out to you. But what did it tell us about the party?
GERGEN: I think the moderates found their voice last night. They've been sort of dominated by the progressive wing of the Democratic Party in much of this early going.
HARLOW: But did they tell us what we can do? Were they aspirational, because you heard the jab from Elizabeth Warren?
GERGEN: I think their can do is to defeat Donald Trump. What they believe and believe very strongly is if the Democratic Party winds up being for open borders, decriminalizing, and then giving benefits to people who come across, if the Democratic Party stands for new taxes on healthcare, if the Democratic Party stands for new taxes on climate, they're going to lose the election.
HARLOW: Angela, I mean, David makes a good point because Dana asked Bernie Sanders that very important question. Aren't you incentivizing more people to cross over illegally if you give them free college and free healthcare? He didn't really have much of an answer. He said, we're going to have stronger border protection. I mean, that was like it, and then he pivoted there.
What struck you the most last night from them in terms of Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders versus the moderates?
ANGELA RYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, let me start with the moderates. I think I normally always agree with you, Mr. Gergen. I couldn't disagree more though. I think, to me, the moderates showed up to fight, but they didn't show up with solutions. Elizabeth Warren's response to them, like I can't imagine why we will be running for president and not be having some grandiose ideas, we need something radical to push back against the current agenda that's in the White House.
And so that's what I saw. Elizabeth Warren didn't just show up to fight. She showed up to demonstrate she has solutions and she has the policy gravitas behind that.
HARLOW: So on that, if you're running Bernie Sanders' campaign, right, if you're fast (ph), what are you thinking right now, because he has been losing the most liberal voters to Harris and Elizabeth Warren?
RYE: Yes. And the reason why you saw it on the stage, there couldn't have been a sharper contrast, Bernie Sanders came with the same 2016 talking points. He came with the same rally, kind of talking points that he brings, but there wasn't as much substance. What Elizabeth Warren did for him as a tag team partner is let me just put a little meat behind some of these proposals that you normally put forward. And I think that that's what sets her apart.
My reluctance towards her has been she is such a wonk, I can't get into it. And there was a way she delivered that message yesterday that was very approachable and made good sense.
HARLOW: What was interesting, it was substance and passion.
GERGEN: Yes. And there's no question, she's the best debater on the stage. There's no question that she understands the issues better than anybody else.
HARLOW: Let's get this smart guy to my right in.
Sahil, did moderates -- yes, their voice was heard. Did they do anything to help their cause last night? SAHIL KAPUR, BLOOMBERG REPORTER: Right, they had their platform. They made their case. John Delaney had some moments. Steve Bullock, his first time on stage, had some moments. What I wonder is did they add any votes to their coalition? Their real rivals for moderate democratic votes are Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. They're doing better with self-identified moderates and conservative voters.
HARLOW: No one said Biden, by the way.
KAPUR: No one even brought him up. And the voters who are looking at Biden right now as their standard bearer for the moderate candidate, are they going to look at John Delaney and Steve Bullock going after Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and say, no, I'm going to switch to them? That's a big question.
To your point about the contrast or the lack thereof between Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, I actually asked Faiz Shakir this, the campaign manager Sanders after this. And he said, there will be plenty of time for those contrast later. I think they're looking down the road. They're thinking that they're going to go after each other in some form of fashion because there are differences between Sanders and Warren. We didn't hear them on stage.
HARLOW: But they're not yet going to do it yet.
KAPUR: One of them -- she calls herself a capitalist. He calls himself a democratic socialist. He's broad strokes. She's deep in the weeds on policy. She wants to eliminate the Senate filibuster. He doesn't want to go there. There are real differences for --
HARLOW: Yes. But they totally didn't bring them up last night and tried to stay far away on that capitalism question to her. She could have gone there and she didn't.
HARLOW: It was a very white stage last night, Angela. And tonight will be a more diverse stage. But hearing Marianne Williamson speak the way that she did about race and deep, dark forces and 40 acres in a mule and $200 to $500 billion in reparations, and then haring the way that Pete Buttigieg answered the question on race and with that message to republicans, what did you take away from that? And was it enough?
RYE: No, it's not enough. I think the reality of it is it can't just be one question in a debate either. I think, tonight, what we have to look forward to is Joe Biden being pressed on his black agenda. Every other candidate, besides the moderates, which also I think is very telling and frankly damning, has some type of black agenda and has spoken directly to that. Pete Buttigieg has a Douglas plan. Kamala Harris introduced her black agenda during Essence Fest and has talked about it and released another piece of it on the racial wealth gap just yesterday. The fact that Joe Biden has said, I don't just have a black agenda, I have an agenda for all Americans, is going to be problematic, particularly when you take into consideration what his role has been with the crime bill and with what happened with Anita Hill. He's got to speak directly to white --
HARLOW: So we have Cedric Richmond on in a little bit.
RYE: Yes, hey, Cedric. Answer it (ph). Yes, yes.
HARLOW: Congressional Black Caucus, he was. And now, he is one of the top guys on Joe Biden's team. But what does interest me is I think Joe Biden's team is looking at these numbers heading into tonight where in a critical state like South Carolina, he has 51 percent of the African-American democratic vote right now. Kamala Harris has 12, Cory Booker has 2. So, I mean, I don't know if that's giving them a lot of confidence, I suppose, going into tonight on this front.
GERGEN: Absolutely. And I do think he needs to be very responsive to the agendas for African-Americans, the agendas for empowering women and the like.
And at the same time, if Joe Biden goes over and joins forces with Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, people are going to wonder, what is it you really believe?
HARLOW: He said, over my dead body is Obamacare going away. I don't think he's going to say --
GERGEN: I think he's got to delineate himself from those proposals and tell us very importantly what he believes. And it can't be enough just to attack. I totally agree with that. It's got to be what he believes. He's got to have his own agenda.
HARLOW: What are you looking for tonight?
KAPUR: Healthcare. I think it's going to dominate again, much as it dominated last night. I know the Biden campaign loves the contrast between his plan, which is building on the Affordable Care Act, and Kamala Harris, who has kind of been in a lot of places on healthcare but recently came out with her own plan that splits the difference between single-payer, where Bernie --
HARLOW: It's kind of confusing though. From what I'm hearing from a lot of pundits and just voters, they're confused.
RYE: But part of the reason why they're confused is because they haven't read the plan. They read talking points.
KAPUR: For the first ten years, it essentially builds on the ACA, it expands Medicare, it allows the buy-in. And after ten years, it's a very different kind of system. Everyone is in Medicare but it maintains private insurance through the Medicare advantage program. That's the centerpiece of the Harris program. She was clearly uncomfortable with the idea of eliminating private insurance. She's tripped up on that question on this network before. This is an attempt for her to shield herself from that.
KAPUR: And let's see if it works.
HARLOW: Okay, we'll be watching. Do you want last point?
GERGEN: I just want to make -- the big issue right now for Joe Biden is can he recover from all the stumbling while he (INAUDIBLE). If he doesn't do that, the rest of this doesn't matter.
HARLOW: No more, my time is up. That's not going to happen. That's the one guarantee I give you guys about tonight that that's not going to happen.
Thank you, one and all, Angela, David Gergen, it's no nice to have you. Sahil Kapur, come back.
Okay. So still to come, this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FMR GOV. JOHN HICKENLOOPER (D-CO): I think if you're going to force Americans to make these radical changes, they're not going to go along. Throw your hands up, but you haven't -- oh, I can do it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: Caption that, all right. That was all over Twitter last night. That was one of several moments where former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper sparred with Senator Bernie Sanders. Governor Hickenlooper will join me next.
Plus, it is set to be a high high-stakes nights a former Vice President Joe Biden takes the stage. Could another rough debate performance hurt his standing in the polls?
HARLOW: All right. Welcome back to Detroit. I'm Poppy Harlow. Debate night two now just hours away, debate night one in the books. Take a look at this big moment last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HICKENLOOPER: 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 get rid of it, but some don't, many don't. Or the Green New Deal, make sure every American is guaranteed a government job if they want. That is a disaster at the ballot box. You might as well FedEx the election to Donald Trump. (END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: FedEx the election to the President. With me now, the man who had that line, former Colorado Governor, Presidential Candidate, John Hickenlooper. Thank you for being here. I know you guys were up almost all night.
So, look, your hope, you told Jake, my colleague, yesterday, you wanted to open up more about who you are. You are a guy from Pennsylvania. Your dad worked in the steel industry. Do you feel like in the face of the frontrunner, who's Joe from Scranton, the American people got to know you better last night?
HICKENLOOPER: A little bit, but it's in increments. Certainly, everybody wants more time in those situations. And as I told my wife, you can only answer the questions they ask you.
HARLOW: We like it when you answer the questions we ask you. Oftentimes, you guys don't. But, yes, that is always the goal.
I want you to listen to two of the frontrunners on the stage last night. This really struck me. Here's Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WARREN: 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: I get a little bit tired of democrats afraid of big ideas.
WARREN: And I've heard some people here tonight. I almost wonder why you're democrats. You seem to think there's something wrong about using the instruments of government to help people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: Do you think they have a point that democrats like yourself should be more aspirational, should shoot for the moon more, because you call yourself a pragmatic progressive, sir?
HICKENLOOPER: Well, my argument is and still is a pragmatist doesn't mean you don't have big ideas. It means you know how to figure out how to get them done. And, you know, we got to near universal healthcare coverage in Colorado, but we didn't do it by throwing the old system out, baby and bath water altogether. We did it by being strategic and innovate. And I think that's the key here.
If we're going to address climate change or the inflation in healthcare, we've got to look at how do we get real results quickly.
HARLOW: So then is Senator Elizabeth Warren and Senator Bernie Sanders, are they being disingenuous about what they can actually do? HICKENLOOPER: No, I don't think they're being disingenuous. They believe. You know, they clearly believe what they're saying.
HARLOW: But you don't think they can do it.
HICKENLOOPER: I disagree. I don't think they're -- when I'm in Iowa, when I'm in New Hampshire or South Carolina and I'm telling people, well, you know, you probably have to give up your private insurance, and people flip like that. When you tell people that part of the Green New Deal is a guarantee for social justice but a guarantee that every American can have a government job, people look at me like I'm crazy.
HARLOW: I'd like to spend a little time talking about socialism versus capitalism, because you got booed in California when you said socialism is not the answer. But you stood up for that strongly. But a little before that, a few months before that, you were asked three times on another network if you were a proud capitalist. You wouldn't say it. I mean, capitalism is the reason that you've succeeded in business the way you have. So, today, are you a proud capitalist, Governor?
HICKENLOOPER: I am a capitalist. When I was first asked that question, I was really focused on the difference between being an entrepreneur, a small business owner and a capitalist who's usually thought of as larger scale. So I think of myself as a small business person. That's really what I did.
I started a restaurant after I got laid off as a geologist. I worked 70, 80 hours a week, for week after week, year after year, and we made it.
HARLOW: I ask you that because I wonder if it is increasingly scary for democratic candidates for the presidency to say that they're proud capitalists.
HICKENLOOPER: Well, the word has gotten a negative connotation, but I don't worry about that. I think the bottom line is we can't demonize business. If we're serious about dealing with climate change, if we're really going to focus on controlling costs in healthcare, we've got to get -- and not just the healthcare insurance companies, we've got to get all business supporting us.
HARLOW: So straight answer here, because you only answer the questions I ask, right, sir? Is Bernie Sanders, when it comes to the pharmaceutical industry and healthcare industry, is he demonizing business in America?
HICKENLOOPER: I think in a more general way, he's demonizing business. And both he and Senator Warren are consistently saying the problem is business. It's the problem, this business, that business. And they generally -- they're careful to try and tackle only large businesses. Every large business started as a small business. And every small business wants to get larger.
HARLOW: That's a big statement. I mean, you're saying that those two frontrunners on the stage last night are demonizing business and that is bad for America.
HICKENLOOPER: Well, I think it's going to make it hard for them to win an election.
HARLOW: You do? Do you -- so you don't think Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren could beat Donald Trump right now, because you know his statement this morning from the campaign, same radical democrat, same big government socialist message? Can they beat Donald Trump in a general?
HICKENLOOPER: I think, you know, Donald Trump is such, I view, a failure as a president, right? I mean, we had to address Russia, but not with a tariff war. That was so crazy.
So I think he's beatable by anybody.
HARLOW: You mean China?
HICKENLOOPER: I'm sorry, China.
HARLOW: That's okay.
HICKENLOOPER: But I think it's the sleep deprivation we all have this morning.
HARLOW: I get it. I get it.
HICKENLOOPER: I think that they would have a harder time beating him than someone like myself.
HARLOW: Can they beat him?
HICKENLOOPER: Yes, they can beat him.
HARLOW: Okay. Let's talk finally about Joe Biden. So, again, two guys from Pennsylvania, two moderates, even though I know that's not the label you give yourself. How do you convince enough voters to give you their money and their support so that you're on the debate stages in the fall when they look at these numbers and they see Joe Biden more than 30 points ahead of you, Governor? What is the story you need to tell?
HICKENLOOPER: Well, I've got to get my story out and talk about what it was like to -- you know, my mother was widowed twice before she turned 40.
So I was raised by this powerful, strong woman. And I use that to get through some adversity, right? I got laid off, lost my career, opened a brew pub, succeeded in that dream, was a mayor, one of the top five big city mayors.
You know, what we've done, we've achieved all the things that the other progressives are just talking about, but we did it. And I did it in such a way that, you know -- and I'm a big fan of Vice President Biden. Don't misunderstand this, but he's been in Washington for nearly 50 years. I've been a small business owner for 15 years and then I was a mayor for eight years and a governor for eight years. I've seen how business and local government and the federal government, how they come together. And that's where the magic is going to happen. If we're going to address climate change, and we can, we have the tools already to deal with it. We've got to be able to come together and do it.
HARLOW: CNN is hosting a whole town hall just on climate change at the beginning of September. So this is something that matters a whole lot.
I really like the advice that your mother gave you. She was widowed twice before 40. And what was it she said?
HICKENLOOPER: She said that you can't control what life throws at you, but you can control how you respond, whether it makes you stronger or weaker, better or worse. It does. It's a great inspiration for everybody because you're all going to go through hard times and just got to push harder.
HARLOW: It's good advice for all of us. I really appreciate your time this morning. Thank you very much.
HICKENLOOPER: Good to see you.
HARLOW: Thank you so much.
All right, so, tonight, another big night, anticipation growing as we countdown to the second night of the debates right here in Detroit. What are we going to see from Joe Biden, Kamala Harris?
Next, we will talk with the National co-Chairman of Biden's 2020 campaign.