Return to Transcripts main page


Joe Biden Gets Piled on by His Democratic Rivals; U.S. Imposes Sanctions on Iranian Foreign Minister. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired August 1, 2019 - 04:00   ET



[04:01:20] J SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have a system right now that's broken, and if you want to compare our records, and frankly I'm shocked that you do, I am happy to do that.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Democrats pile on the frontrunner during debate number two in Detroit.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't know what math you do in New York. I don't know what math you do in California, but I tell you, that's a lot of money.


BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: But Joe Biden did fight back with a more spirited debate performance than last time. At times it felt like it was Joe Biden versus everybody.

Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is EARLY START. I'm Boris Sanchez in for Dave Briggs.

ROMANS: Nice to have you here this week. And I'm Christine Romans. It is Thursday, August 1st. 4:00 a.m. in New York and in Detroit.

Coming into the second CNN debate in Detroit, Joe Biden carried twin burdens. The former vice president was the frontrunner with a target on his back. At the same time, his unsteady performance in the first debate in June in Miami had raised doubts whether he had the toughness and vigor to beat Donald Trump. That meant Biden's wide lead in the polls was on the line last night as he took fire from nearly every one of his rivals.


MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I asked the vice president point blank, did he use his power to stop those deportations. He went right around the question.

Mr. Vice President, you want to be president of the United States, you need to be able to answer the tough questions. BOOKER: Mr. Vice President, you can't have it both ways. You invoke

President Obama more than anybody in this campaign. You can't do it when it's convenient and then dodge it when it's not.

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Your plan, by contrast, leaves out almost 10 million Americans so I think that you should really think about what you're saying.

DE BLASIO: Joe Biden told wealthy donors that nothing fundamentally would change if he were president.

JULIAN CASTRO (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: First of all, Mr. Vice President, it looks like one of us has learned the lessons of the past and one of us hasn't.


SANCHEZ: Unlike in Miami, last night Joe Biden fought back as he promised after that first debate. Biden was a little less polite in the second. He fended off every attack but he was especially passionate defending Obamacare. He criticized Medicare for All citing disruption of health care delivery and high costs to taxpayers.


BIDEN: They can buy into this plan and they can buy into it with $1,000 deductible and never have to pay more than 8.5 percent of their income when they do it. And if they don't have any money, they'll get in free so this idea is a bunch of Malarkey, what we're talking about here. The fact of the matter is --


BIDEN: The fact of the matter that there will be a deductible. It will be a deductible in their paycheck. Bernie acknowledges it. Bernie acknowledges it. $30 trillion has to ultimately be paid. And I don't know what math you do in New York. I don't know what math you do in California, but I tell you, that's a lot of money.


ROMANS: All right. Senator Cory Booker had an impressive night leveling most of his attacks on Joe Biden. Booker saying Biden can't have it both ways on his record imploring President Obama after Biden said discussions he and Obama had on immigrant deportations were private. Booker also went after Biden over his 1994 Crime Bill.


BOOKER: We have a system right now that's broken, and if you want to compare records, and frankly I'm shocked that you do, I am happy to do that because all of the problems that he is talking about that he created, I actually led the bill that got passed into law that reverses the damage that your bills that you were -- frankly to correct you, Mr. Biden, you were bragging calling it the Biden crime bill until 2016. (END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: But according to Twitter, this exchange moments later was the top tweeted moment of the debate.


[04:05:01] BIDEN: There was nothing done for the entire eight years he was mayor, there is nothing done to deal with the police department that was corrupt. Why did you announce in the first day a zero tolerance policy of stop and frisk and hire Rudy Giuliani's guy in 2007 when I was trying to get rid of the crack cocaine?

BOOKER: Oh, Mr. Vice President, there's a saying in my community, you're dipping into the Kool-Aid and you don't even know the flavor. You don't --


BOOKER: You need to come to the city of Newark and see the reforms that we put in place.


SANCHEZ: New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand also provided one of the evening's most dramatic effects when she in effect accused Joe Biden of being sexist. Gillibrand asked Biden to clarify what he meant in an op-ed he wrote about childcare tax credits back in 1981 when he was a senator.


SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: But, Mr. Vice President, you didn't answer my question. What did you mean when you said when a woman works outside the home it's resulting in, quote, "the deterioration of family"?

BIDEN: No, when I --

GILLIBRAND: And that we are avoiding -- these are quotes. It was the title of the op-ed.


GILLIBRAND: And that just causes concern for me because we know America's women are working. Four out of 10 moms have to work. They are the primary or sole wage earners. They actually have to put food on the table. Eight out of 10 moms are working today. Most women have to work to provide for their kids. Many women want to be working to provide for their communities and help people.

DANA BASH, CNN DEBATE MODERATOR: Thank you, Senator. Let the Vice President respond now. Thank you.

GILLIBRAND: So either you don't believe it today or what did you mean when you said it then? BIDEN: In the very beginning my deceased wife worked when we had

children. My present wife has worked all the way through and raising our children. The fact of the matter is, the situation is one that I don't know what's happened. I wrote the Violence Against Women. Lily Ledbetter. I was deeply involved in making sure the equal pay amendments. I was deeply involved in all these things.

I came up with the it's on us proposal to see to it that women were treated more decently on college campuses. You came to Syracuse University with me and said it was wonderful, I'm passionate about the concern making sure women are treated equally. I don't know what's happened except that you're now running for president.

GILLIBRAND: So I understand --


GILLIBRAND: Mr. Vice President -- Mr. Vice President, I respect you deeply. I respect you deeply, but those words are very specific. You said women working outside the home would lead to the deterioration of family. My grandmother worked outside the home.

BIDEN: So --

GILLIBRAND: My mother worked outside the home. And --

BASH: Thank you, Senator Gillibrand.

GILLIBRAND: And so -- well, he has either --

BASH: I want to bring Senator Harris into this conversation.

GILLIBRAND: Either he no longer believes it -- I mean, I just think he needs to --

BIDEN: I never believed it.


SANCHEZ: Gillibrand's camp tweeted out a photo of Biden's op-ed from some 38 years ago. The headline reading, quote, "Congress is subsidizing deterioration of family." But the quotes Gillibrand used are not specifically about mothers. We should also note this. Take a look. Gillibrand tweeted this back in 2016 along with a selfie writing, quote, "Thank you, VP Biden, for your unwavering commitment to combatting violence against women."

ROMANS: All right. More than for any other candidate, it was a breakthrough night for Tulsi Gabbard. The congresswoman from Hawaii has been hovering between 1 percent and an asterisk in most polls, but last night she emerged from the pack with a performance that was at times deeply personal, at times confrontational. Watch this fierce exchange with Kamala Harris who is a former California prosecutor and state attorney general.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. TULSI GABBARD (D-HI), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: She put over 1500 people in jail for marijuana violations and then laughed about it when she was asked if she ever smoked marijuana. She blocked evidence --


GABBARD: She blocked evidence that would have freed up innocent man from death row until the courts forced her to do so. She kept people in prison beyond their sentences to use them as cheap labor for the state of California and she fought to keep cash bail system in place.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN DEBATE MODERATOR: And she fought to keep cash bail system in place that impacts poor people in the worst kind of way.

HARRIS: I did the work of significantly reforming the criminal justice system of the state of 40 million people which became a national model for the work that needs to be done. And I am proud of that work. And I am proud of making a decision to not just give fancy speeches or be in a legislative body and give speeches on the floor but actually doing the work.


SANCHEZ: When Joe Biden first took the stage last night he almost immediately made news with an unusual request for Kamala Harris. Listen.


BIDEN: Go easy on me, Kid.

HARRIS: How you doing? Are you good?

BIDEN: Thank you. I'm good.


SANCHEZ: After the debate Senator Harris spoke to Anderson Cooper about the former vice president's "go easy on me" request. And whether she took exception to being called a kid.


HARRIS: That's what he wanted me to do. I didn't really think much about it to be honest with you.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: The kid. That's what people -- I mean, was that an issue for you at all?


COOPER: The -- did you -- the --

HARRIS: But I'll tell you why.

COOPER: Yes. HARRIS: Because we're both on that stage running for president so I'm

pretty clear about who I am so nobody's going to define me on that stage.

COOPER: Right.


[04:10:03] ROMANS: Yes, she did not want to really criticize him for that.

All right. Andrew Yang, the only political outsider on the stage, ended with this thought-provoking reality check of the whole process in his closing statement. Listen.


ANDREW YANG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know what the talking heads couldn't stop talking about after the last debate? It's not the fact that I'm somehow number four on this stage in national polling, it was the fact that I wasn't wearing a tie. Instead of talking about automation and our future, including the fact that we automated away 4 million manufacturing jobs, hundreds of thousands right here in Michigan, we're up here with makeup on our faces and our rehearsed attack lines playing roles on this reality TV show. It's one reason why we elected a reality TV star as our president.


SANCHEZ: Strong point from Andrew Yang.

ROMANS: I think so, too.

SANCHEZ: I don't think there's anything wrong with wearing makeup from time to time especially in bright lights.

ROMANS: You know, I didn't mean -- I don't care that he wore a tie or didn't wear a tie. I like it.

SANCHEZ: Yes? I may come tie-less next time.

ROMANS: Do it.

SANCHEZ: Taking arrows from all sides isn't all bad, though. It meant that Joe Biden got the most air time as moderators allowed him to respond when other candidates criticized him. He clocked in at 21 minutes and one second. Kamala Harris coming in second with 17 minutes and 43 seconds. Cory Booker with a third most time in the spotlight just shy of 13 minutes.

ROMANS: Another instant measure of attention is a candidate's Google search ranking. Welcome to 2019.

SANCHEZ: 2019. Yes.

ROMANS: The surprise winner of the Web search derby was Tulsi Gabbard who came in first nationwide. And in every single state according to Google Trends. It is also likely she did very well on Twitter but it's a little hard to be sure because as you can see Twitter users searched for her first and last name separately.

SANCHEZ: As the candidates were getting ready to debate, the Trump administration took action against Iran's top diplomat. We have a live report next.


[04:16:20] SANCHEZ: The U.S. imposing sanctions on Iran's top diplomat, Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif. The Trump administration had telegraphed that they were going to do this for several weeks. They say Zarif has acted as, quote, "a propaganda arm" of Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei.

Let's bring in CNN's Clarissa Ward live in London with the latest.

And Clarissa, has Zarif responded to the sanctions?

CLARISSA WARD, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Boris, you can bet he has. He has, like President Trump, taken to Twitter to express his outrage at the sanctions saying, quote, "Thank you for considering me such a huge threat to your agenda." Also stating that he has no property or wealth in the U.S. so he will not actually be affected by these sanctions, although the question, Boris, people are asking is whether this will affect his ability to participate in the United Nations General Assembly in September which traditionally he would, of course, play a big part in.

The other question that people are asking is about the timing of this. While the administration, as you pointed out, has been threatening to do this for weeks now, there is some question about why they would choose this specific moment because it was just a couple of weeks ago that Zarif was in New York, he was talking to journalists and he was hinting, Boris, at the possibility that Iran might actually be willing to negotiate or I should say renegotiate some kind of a nuclear deal with the U.S.

This is something that analysts had thought would not happen because it would be seen essentially as a capitulation by Iran. It would be seen as sort of a boon for the Trump administration. But what makes it odd about the timing in terms of sanctioning Zarif is that Zarif would be the logical person who would be leading these negotiations, who would be representing Iran at the negotiating table if they were to happen.

The question now becomes what happens to those negotiations? Are they in jeopardy? And who if they are still a possibility would, indeed, be taking them forward -- Boris.

SANCHEZ: Yes, President Trump making clear he wants to sit down with the Iranians. Unclear exactly how this is going to help.

Thank you so much, Clarissa. ROMANS: All right, 18 minutes past the hour. President Trump

demanded an interest rate cut. He got one, and he's still unhappy with the Fed. I'll tell you why. CNN Business next.


[04:23:30] ROMANS: All right. Something we have not seen in a decade. A decade. The Federal Reserve cut interest rates. The central bank cut rates by 1/4 percentage point moving to protect the economy from the damage of the president's trade wars and slowing global growth. Now for months President Trump insulted, cajoled and rage-tweeted the Fed demanding lower rates, but Fed chief Jerome Powell said pressure from Trump did not factor in the Fed's decision.


JEROME POWELL. CHAIRMAN, FEDERAL RESERVE: We never take into account political considerations. There's no place in our discussions for that. We also don't conduct monetary policy in order to prove our independence. We conduct monetary policy in order to move as close as possible to our statutory goals. And that's what we're always going to do. We're always going to use our tools that way and then at the end we'll -- you know, we'll live with the results.


ROMANS: So the president did not cheer the decision that he had been demanding for so many weeks now. Instead, tweeting that the Fed chair had let us down while giving a nod to the central bank's decision to end quantitative tightening, something he also wanted.

Markets took a bit of a hit after Powell hinted this rate cut was a one-off, not the beginning of a trend. The Dow closed down 333 points, just a little bit over 1 percent. Powell also said the central bank will continue to follow trade policy uncertainty and its effect on the economy. In essence, the Fed cutting interest rates to help protect against the president's own policies.

Even though he wants them to cut it further considering there may be a slowdown next year right in the middle of an election.

SANCHEZ: Yes. Even though he wants them to cut it further, considering there may be a slowdown next year, right in the middle of an election.


SANCHEZ: After a series of setbacks, the troubled Woodstock 50 festival has officially been cancelled.

[04:25:09] Santana and other artists who performed at the original Woodstock in 1969 had been set to appear. The three-day festival to celebrate Woodstock's 50th anniversary was scheduled to take place August 16th through the 18th in Maryland. But in the end organizers were unable to overcome the loss of site permits, the loss of both of financial and production partners, and headliners had started pulling out.

ROMANS: All right. Joe Biden was the main story at last night's debate but Cory Booker, Tulsi Gabbard, Kirsten Gillibrand, they had some memorable moments. We're going to give you all the highlights from Detroit next.



BOOKER: We have a system right now that's broken, and if you want to compare records, and frankly I'm shocked that you do, I am happy to do that.


SANCHEZ: Democrats piling on Joe Biden during debate number two in Detroit.


BIDEN: I don't know what math --