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Interview With Presidential Candidate Marianne Williamson; Winners and Losers of Democratic Debate; Biden, Harris Prepare for Second Debate. Aired 3-3:30p ET

Aired July 31, 2019 - 15:00   ET

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


[15:01:23]

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: We're back, special live coverage here in Detroit. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

It is awesome to be sitting here this afternoon. And I guess you could call it the calm before the Democratic debate storm, with 10 candidates all getting ready for this high-profile high-stakes night, a night that for some could be the beginning of the end of their 2020 hopes.

For others, it will just be the latest step in a contest that is pitting pragmatists vs. progressives in the most diverse field in U.S. presidential history.

At the center of this whole thing, a rematch between former Vice President Joe Biden and California Senator Kamala Harris, whose clash over busing and segregation at the last debate down in Miami led to a bump in the polls for the California senator and a promise from Joe Biden that, tonight, the gloves are coming off.

So, let's begin inside the Fox Theatre.

That is where we find CNN's Ana Cabrera.

And, Ana, you seeing anyone in there right now?

ANA CABRERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Actually, right now, we're in that in-between-candidates moment, Brooke.

In fact, we have seen six candidates come through so far, four more left to go. A lot of these candidates are taking anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes, depending on their comfort level, in this debate space. They're getting a sense of where they will be behind the podium, again, where they need to look, where their family members may be out there in the audience, where the cameras are, and just getting a little bit more comfortable in the space ahead of tonight's debate, going over last-minute logistics.

Mayor Bill de Blasio just left. We're expecting Julian Castro to walk onto the stage any moment now, perhaps while I'm talking to you. Of course, he's the mayor, former mayor of San Antonio, the former HUD secretary. And talking to his campaign, we're told they have been watching game

tape leading up to tonight's debate to prepare. When I asked if they're planning to go on the attack, I'm told no, but he will be prepared to defend his own ideas, especially on immigration.

That was a winning issue for him last time around. In fact, I'm told he had his four best fund-raising days of the campaign following the last round of debates. They're hoping tonight's debate leads to a boost in the polls.

And, as you mentioned, it's a very diverse field tonight. Also on stage, we will see Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Andrew Yang, Tulsi Gabbard, not just diversity when it comes to ethnic diversity, but a lot of these candidates also have their signature issues.

And you will recall, last night, we saw a robust policy debate. So, as Julian Castro may want to focus on immigration, you have Governor Jay Inslee, who's made his campaign all about climate change. You have somebody like Tulsi Gabbard, who is a military veteran, who is very versed in foreign policy ideas.

You have Andrew Yang, who has his Freedom Dividend plan, that he wants to give every American adult $1,000 a month. So expect a robust policy debate again tonight. And keep in mind it could be make or break for a lot of these candidates. Most of these candidates on stage tonight have not qualified for the next round of debates.

In fact, only three of tonight's candidates have qualified, with three just shy. So, Brooke, the stakes are very high.

BALDWIN: You mentioned Julian Castro. I think he's next up to bat to check out his podium position and then hang out inside the Fox Theatre. So we will keep close eyes on him, as I know you will as well.

Ana Cabrera, thank you very much.

With me now, the A-team, as it were, Luis Gutierrez, former Democratic congressman from the great state of Illinois, Angela Rye, three days in a row with me, I think, yes, the former executive director of the Congressional Black Caucus, Maria Cardona, Democratic strategist, and Andrew Gillum, the former Democratic candidate for Florida governor.

All four are CNN political commentators, so welcome, welcome.

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: Ladies first.

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: What are you watching for tonight?

ANGELA RYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I am watching for not just the square-offs.

[15:05:01]

So, last night, it was about Bernie Sanders vs. Elizabeth Warren. And tonight we're setting it up as Biden's clapping back at Kamala Harris.

I think that we would be so remiss if we continue to forget about Cory Booker on the stage, and also Julian Castro. What I think is amazing and what I'm honestly the most excited about tonight is, this stage looks like America. This stage looks like what...

BALDWIN: What did you call night?

RYE: White night. Yes, last night was white night.

(LAUGHTER)

RYE: But this night -- tonight looks like America and it also looks like what the Democratic Party is supposed to be and regularly uses as a talking point. It's a big tent. It's a big tent on ideas. It's a big tent on geographic diversity, on ethnic diversity, and on women.

The women-to-men ratio is not too bad.

BALDWIN: How about you, Maria?

MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think -- I agree with Angela. Tonight, it's going to be a plethora of diversity in our party, which I think is fantastic. It reflects what actually America looks like.

But I'm watching for something else. We have seen the tension that was reported last night between the moderates vs. the progressives and whether the party is going too far left to really speak to the center of voters of America.

But here's I think our fundamental problem in the Democratic Party, what I'm hoping the Democratic candidates will do tonight. We offer up a plethora of policies that speak to our brains, that speak to our common sense, that speak to our logic.

Republicans offer up policies, whether their own or ours, to speak to our fears. And I think that's why last night Marianne Williamson got so much play, because she is speaking on the...

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: On the reparation, race issue, yes.

CARDONA: Yes, and racism and the dark psychic forces of Donald Trump.

I mean, seriously, she's speaking to a sliver of our psyche that I don't think any of our candidates have really gotten to yet.

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: She's coming up here in just a little bit. So, we will ask her about it. (CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: Hang tight. Hang tight.

Mr. Mayor.

ANDREW GILLUM, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes.

No, I mean, picking up from where you left off, I said earlier today that it felt like she was sort of ministering to us, not in a religious sense, but really as a nation, sort of a reminder of what we want to get back to, what we ought to be trying to get back to, as just civil discourse and civil dialogue, right?

BALDWIN: We going to see that tonight?

GILLUM: Well, I mean, first of all, I keep hearing Biden's taking the gloves.

I don't need him to take the gloves off. I just want him to be a fierce defender of his record. I want him to be an unapologetic advocate for what he wants to do for the American people.

And I think that's what the viewers want to see. We don't want to see a mash-up. I don't want to see them throwing blows necessarily against each other. But you got to be accountable for your record.

And he's not the only one on this stage tonight that will have to be held to account for their record. If you are Kamala Harris, if you are -- Castro did a great job down in Miami, basically raising his profile by taking a swing on an issue.

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: He did.

GILLUM: And so, tonight, I expect that the candidates who are a little lesser known, the ones that haven't seemed to have caught fire yet, they're going to have to make a stand, because, if they don't, this could actually be the last time you find them on a national stage in this race.

BALDWIN: Congressman, what are you looking for?

LUIS GUTIERREZ, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think, so everybody's trying to consolidate a base, because got to get to the second round of the base, right, and they got to get up to 2 percent.

And I think Julian Castro -- and, in all fairness, he's never been a very ethnocentric Latino kind of spokesperson, right? That's not been what he's been known for. He picked up on the issue of immigration in a very intelligent way and in a very precise way that really put his other counterpart from Texas -- because we got two Texans.

BALDWIN: Beto O'Rourke.

(CROSSTALK)

GUTIERREZ: And I said -- I think, at the end of the debate, he said, I want to make sure you're a lot more O'Rourke and a lot less Beto when this debate is over.

(LAUGHTER)

GUTIERREZ: And he did it very skillfully.

BALDWIN: He did. He did.

(CROSSTALK)

GUTIERREZ: And let's face it. Booker and Harris, they have got to fight with Biden, because Biden's leading among African-Americans.

And just so that we're clear, even among Latinos, I mean, Julian Castro sees that Harris is ahead of him among Latinos. All these things are good, because it demonstrates that people aren't just voting the color of their skin or their ethnicity or the language, because that's our party.

(CROSSTALK)

GUTIERREZ: Lastly, I would say that one of the things I think that was really missing about our analysis of yesterday's debate is women. Right?

Let's remember that women were what allowed the Democratic Party to take back the House of Representatives, to take back the governorship. It was the march, more than a million women organizing.

And so I don't fret about the divisions in our party and this debate, because, in the end, the women that started this revolution and this resistance against Donald Trump are going to keep us all together.

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: Really quickly, and then we will go to break, and we will talk to you guys again.

But quickly on your point about the clap-back, and I hear you saying Biden doesn't need to take the gloves off or whatever. But when and if he does clap back specifically to Senator Harris, how does he do so effectively, just given the optics of the situation?

[15:10:02]

RYE: Not only does he have optics and dealing with a black woman who is strong and can stand on her own as a former prosecutor, so you might not want to go up against her, in case you missed any Senate hearings during her questioning.

BALDWIN: Yes.

RYE: But the other thing that he has against him is another part of his record that is a dark moment that -- where Anita Hill didn't really accept his apology, what that says to black women who have stood behind Anita Hill for decades and still do.

So he's got to be very careful. I do not envy his advisers right now. But, hopefully, Brooke, at least he's listening to his black advisers right now.

BALDWIN: I want to keep this conversation rolling along. Stay with me.

More to discuss, including the party divide over whether to provide health care to undocumented immigrants, right? This is a huge topic that came up last night.

Plus, Google says -- you guys mentioned this -- she was the most searched candidate on that debate stage last night. Is that a good thing? Is that a not great thing? I don't know. Marianne Williamson is here live to talk reparations, Oprah and how to beat President Trump.

Also ahead, a preview of tonight's possible round two between Biden and Harris. A supporter from each campaign joins me live to hash it out.

You are watching special live coverage here in beautiful Detroit, Michigan. We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:16:03]

BALDWIN: All right, so one of last night's hottest topics was this issue of universal health care, especially when this question came up.

Does universal also mean offering free health care to undocumented people coming into America? Here's the clip.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I happen to believe that when I talk about health care as a human right that applies to all people in this country, and under a Medicare for all single-payer system, we could afford to do that.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

GOV. STEVE BULLOCK (D-MT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We've got 100,000 people showing up at the border right now. If we decriminalize entry, if we give health care to everyone, we'll have multiples of that.

REP. TIM RYAN (D-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And we've talked about giving free health care to undocumented workers when so many Americans are struggling to pay for their health care.

I quite frankly don't think that that is an agenda that we can move forward on and win. SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are the

Democrats. We are not about trying to take away health care from anyone. That's what the Republicans are trying to do.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

WARREN: And we should stop using Republican talking points in order to talk with each other about how to best provide that health care.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: So, Congressman, and then Maria on this.

You heard especially Sanders not only saying, let's decriminalize the crossings, but let's let folks who are coming in on documented have free health care. Is that your position or does that go too far?

GUTIERREZ: Yes, see, it's the word free. It's the word free.

Should they have access to health care?

BALDWIN: Free, yes.

GUTIERREZ: If they're working in the United States...

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: Do you think they should?

GUTIERREZ: Absolutely.

And that was my problem with Obamacare. You remember when Obama came before the House of Representatives in a joint session and said, I'm going to have health care for everybody, but the illegals won't, and he used the word illegals, right, to refer to undocumented residents in the United States, and someone yelled out, "You liar." You remember that. OK.

The reason I had such trouble with Obamacare was the immigrants that were undocumented couldn't buy into Obamacare, right? They were excluded permanently.

So they should be included and allowed the same opportunity that I have or anybody on this panel has to get health care if they're here in this country. And, secondly, let's remember, we live in very mixed families, right?

And so everybody's got to get health care. We have a citizen, we have a permanent resident, we have a dreamer, and then we have somebody with nothing. We have got to include everybody.

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: You know what the critics say. This increases -- more folks will come over illegally. CARDONA: Can I just say this? No one is going to come over here

undocumented simply to get health care. That's not the reason people come over here.

People come over here because, if they don't leave their home countries, at least right now in Central America, they will die. That's a big difference.

On the issue of health care, Congressman Gutierrez is absolutely right. I think the way that we are messaging this is completely wrong.

BALDWIN: Why?

CARDONA: Because we are not advocating giving undocumented immigrants free health care. We are advocating to give them the chance to have the same type of access.

For example, if it's Obamacare, Luis mentioned this, they have to pay for it, they have to buy it, the same way you and I would. If it comes a point when we have universal health care, they will be taxed, their taxes will go up the same way that Bernie says all of our taxes will go up, but yet our premiums will go down.

We're not going to treat them in any way shape or form differently or better than how we are treating ourselves. And the other reason why this makes economic sense -- and we're not making this point strongly enough -- what happens when an undocumented immigrant gets so sick that they have to go to the emergency room?

Who pays for that?

GUTIERREZ: That's right. Yes.

CARDONA: All of us.

That is that 10 times or 100 times more expensive...

GUTIERREZ: That's right...

CARDONA: ... than if we had given them the chance to buy the health care.

(CROSSTALK)

GILLUM: I wanted to get in on that point, yes, because if we're having a truly intellectually honest conversation about the state of health care in this country, if you're getting your health care through the emergency room, which, by the way, is the most expensive and least efficient form of care, documented, undocumented or otherwise, those hospitals have an obligation to service you.

[15:20:05]

BALDWIN: Yes. Right.

GILLUM: And guess who ends up paying those bills at the end of the day?

Those of us with health insurance who are watching our premiums increase year over year over year without prediction, all because we philosophically tried to work our way through undocumented, documented, so on and so forth.

Hospitals, doctors have an obligation to treat these individuals when they walk through the door. And guess who pays for it? The rest of us. So let's deal with this thing in a way that is smart, cost- effective, cost-efficient, gives access to care.

We can talk about messaging, but being intellectually honest, everyday working Americans are already paying for that.

BALDWIN: Let me jump in on this, because let me move to just Medicare for all, right? And Bernie had the big line, "I wrote the damn bill," last night.

RYE: He's always damning something. Last time, it was the damn e- mails.

BALDWIN: It was the bill last night.

So here are just some numbers for everyone. So roughly half of Americans are covered by employer-sponsored insurance, and 86 percent of those people say their coverage is excellent or good.

So do you think there's really an appetite in this country for what Bernie Sanders is throwing out there?

RYE: I think there is because when people do know is that our current health care system is broken. And even talking about this issue with immigration, the way that we're debating is intellectually dishonest, because we're playing to people's worst fears?

GILLUM: That's right.

RYE: If, for example -- we talk all the time about Canada's health care system is so much better than ours.

Why isn't everybody going to Canada then? That's not real. Like, it's not convenient for people to do that just for health care. I think the other thing that we have to think about is how much over time Medicare for all will cost.

There was conversation yesterday on the stage, robust conversation and debate, about whether or not it should be a tiered approach, whether we end up there and it evolves. I know Mayor Pete was talking about that on the air as well earlier.

BALDWIN: Yes.

He had this whole idea, which I don't think has gotten enough attention, the whole idea of let it both happen and let the system work it out. GUTIERREZ: And when they had the debate, I think at the crux of the

debate, at least from my perspective, was, is health care a basic fundamental human right in America, or is it a business model that we're going to approach?

RYE: Right, which is what it is now.

GUTIERREZ: Which is what it is now.

(CROSSTALK)

CARDONA: And Delaney underscored that, frankly.

GUTIERREZ: The inefficiency -- yes, he did, and I think much to his detriment.

(CROSSTALK)

RYE: They were like Delaney, now he really can go.

(CROSSTALK)

GUTIERREZ: Every time Delaney would say something, I said, oh.

And I have to say that Elizabeth Warren, she came under attack. I think she probably welcomes all of those attacks, because her rebuttals and her responses...

GILLUM: Is brilliant.

GUTIERREZ: ... simply showed me that woman...

(CROSSTALK)

CARDONA: She was salivating for that.

BALDWIN: I'm out of time. Thank you, guys, very much.

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: I know. I know.

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: Good to see you guys.

RYE: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Coming up next, stand by.

Marianne Williamson joining me live here in Detroit. She made a massive splash with her answers about race, specifically the slavery reparations in this country. We will ask her whether she can turn the Google searches about her into votes.

We will be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:27:35]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION: Did this night go the way you had hoped it would?

MARIANNE WILLIAMSON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't know yet.

I'll tell you when -- later, when I see the memes.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Self-help author, spiritual adviser Marianne Williamson admitting she may be one of the more meme-worthy candidates of the 2020 presidential race.

She's smiling.

But, today, the Internet is paying sincere attention to her on her comments on racial inequality, which became one of the most standout moments of the entire debate last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAMSON: 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.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

WILLIAMSON: That great injustice has had to do with the fact that there was 250 years of slavery followed by another 100 years of domestic terrorism.

It's $500 billion, $200 billion to $500 billion payment of a debt that is owed. That is what reparations is.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

WILLIAMSON: I believe that anything less than $100 billion is an insult.

And I believe that $200 billion to $500 billion is politically feasible.

We need to say it like it is. It's bigger than Flint. It's all over this country. It's particularly people of color. It's particularly people who do not have the money to fight back. And if the Democrats don't start saying it, then why would those people feel that they're there for us?

And if those people don't feel it, they won't vote for us, and Donald Trump will win.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: That enthusiasm earned Williamson a coveted superlative for any political newcomer, most Googled candidate of the night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANNETTE BUSBEE, ATTENDED DEBATE WATCH PARTY: I have actually been impressed with some of the things that Marianne Williamson has been saying.

This is my first opportunity to really hear what she's had to say on certain issues. And while there's not a lot of specifics, she's definitely, I think, speaking to the values and the morals of the country.

DOMINIQUE CAMPBELL, CITIZEN DETROIT: Marianne Williamson tonight, like, yes.

Like, I know she was Oprah's spiritual adviser. And I really appreciate just really a candidate talking about dark forces at work. I was like, whoa, like, she actually said that in a debate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(LAUGHTER)

BALDWIN: Marianne Williamson is with me now.

A pleasure to meet you.

WILLIAMSON: Thank you. It's such a pleasure to meet you.

BALDWIN: How are you feeling, day after?

WILLIAMSON: Well...

BALDWIN: You feeling -- feeling good?

WILLIAMSON: I could use more sleep.

(LAUGHTER)

BALDWIN: I'm sure. I'm sure a lot of -- a lot of you guys could.

WILLIAMSON: Yes.

BALDWIN: I mean, on -- on your response on reparations, let me just read this for you, because the Duke professor who is largely.

[15:30:00]