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Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), Presidential Candidate Discusses His Debate Performance; Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Presidential Candidate On White Privilege; Federal Reserve Cuts Rates For First Time In Decade. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired August 1, 2019 - 07:30   ET


[07:30:00] SEN. MICHAEL BENNET (D-CO), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I always barely win and it's always a matter of one step in front of the other. And I think we actually are going to need to nominate somebody who is from the middle of the country, not from the coast. So I'm going to, as I always do, just try to outwork everybody and I think we'll succeed.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: You're almost wearing it as a badge of honor -- I almost barely win.

BENNET: Yes, it's true.

CAMEROTA: I know. I see a pride here.

BENNET: Well, but you know what? Actually, it's true.

It's very different to have one of these jobs when you're in a state where, you know, it's deep, deep blue or it's deep red. It's very different when it's a third, a third, a third. And I actually think that it's one of the reasons why people in my state have so little patience with the partisan politics that we're seeing in Washington.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Do you -- do you think that some of this discussion, to that point, isn't reaching some of those voters who aren't on the extremes?

BENNET: Well, for those voters, this thing hasn't even started yet.


BENNET: For people that are raising their families, building their businesses, trying to do something useful for their community, it -- this is not going to be something that they tune in to for months. And -- but every journey starts with a single step and that's where we are today, I think.

CAMEROTA: Senator Michael Bennet, thanks so much for stopping by NEW DAY.

BENNET: Thanks for having me.

CAMEROTA: Great to have you. BENNET: Nice to see you guys.

CAMEROTA: We'll be watching very closely.

BENNET: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: OK, she had one of the best zingers of the night. Here it is.


SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The first thing that I'm going to do when I'm president is I'm going to Clorox the Oval Office.


CAMEROTA: Did Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand do enough to secure her position on the next debate stage? We'll talk to her, next.


[07:36:07] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GILLIBRAND: I can talk to those white women in the suburbs that voted for Trump and explain to them what white privilege actually is. That when their son is walking down the street with a bag of M&Ms in his pocket wearing a hoodie, his whiteness is what protects him from not being shot.



CAMEROTA: All right, that was New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand making the case that she can connect with voters of various backgrounds and ultimately, build the coalition that would lead to her victory in 2020.

And, Sen. Gillibrand joins us now. Welcome. Have you had any sleep from last night?


CAMEROTA: Clearly, not.

GILLIBRAND: No, four hours.


GILLIBRAND: That's enough.

CAMEROTA: You had some memorable moments last night as did, I think, most of the candidates on that stage.

How do you think last night went? GILLIBRAND: I think it was a great opportunity for me to really talk about this false choice that I think the conversation is leading to that you either have to have a progressive with a big idea or a moderate who can get those Obama-Obama-Trump voters. And the truth is you need somebody who can do both and I think I laid out last night that I can do both and that I have done both, both electorally and legislatively. I bring people together and I get a lot done.

BERMAN: One of the big criticisms of the discussion -- right now, in general in the Democratic field -- is you're not talking about President Trump enough. You're not taking on his policies enough. You're too focused on each other.

GILLIBRAND: Well, I just finished a bus tour in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. It was called "The Trump Broken Promises" bus tour. And the purpose was to talk directly to those voters about all the broken promises Trump made.

The fact that he lied to them about no bad trade deals. He's not only gotten us into a trade war with China, but he's entered into NAFTA 2.0, which is not good. It's a giveaway to drug companies in Mexico.

The fact that he said he'd lower prescription drug prices. Under his presidency, they've only gone up.

The fact that he said he wouldn't touch Social Security or Medicare -- Medicaid or Medicare -- and he's really attacked them both at every budget he's had.

So the truth is he's lied.

And so, the way to beat Trump, I showed them. You go directly into his backyard -- talk directly to his voters about how he misled them and that he's not helping them.

Ten miles from here in Warren, Michigan, another plant has closed. More jobs are being lost.

I was in Youngstown, Ohio. I can tell you what it's like to be in a town where the community's been gutted and people have been laid off, some by text message; others given 24 hours to decide whether to move to another state with their families just to keep a job.

CAMEROTA: But on the stage last night, was there too much friendly fire?

GILLIBRAND: No. I think the nature of the questions were trying to get to the nitty-gritty of policy.

And one of the points I made is let's not lose the forest through the trees because we, as Democrats, are trying to make sure people have health care as a right and not a privilege and there's a lot of ways to get there.

The Republican Party and President Trump is working on taking health care away from people, trying to tell insurers you don't have to cover people with preexisting conditions.

BERMAN: On the friendly fire issue -- on the issue of forest or trees, I think some critics will look at last night and you did take on Joe Biden and something from his past.

Let's play this moment where you were discussing an op-ed that he wrote about child tax credits. Let's listen.


GILLIBRAND: What did you mean when you said when a woman works outside the home it's resulting in, quote, "the deterioration of family --


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


BERMAN: So, this was 1981, first of all, so this was a long time ago.

Number two, the Biden campaign says -- and I've read the op-ed -- that he wasn't opposed to a child tax care credit, itself. He was opposed to the tax credit being made to people making, I think the equivalent today of over $88,000.

[07:40:02] GILLIBRAND: Right, which is middle-class -- squarely middle-class.

But the point he made in the op-ed, which is what disturbs me the most, is that he felt that he wasn't going to participate in middle- class affordable child care because it would lead to, quote, "the deterioration of family" -- end of quote. And he went so far as to say parents were, quote, "avoiding responsibility."

I'm a mom who works outside the home for both my children. I'm the primary wage earner and the primary caregiver. And as a member of Congress, I had my second son, Henry, who was in the audience last night.

And to say to me that I'm somehow avoiding my responsibility because I'd accessed affordable day care, to say to me that I'm somehow deteriorating the family --

The reason why it's relevant today, and let's be very clear, is because we have a misogynist in the White House right now who has done an all-out assault on women's reproductive freedom, on demeaning and devaluing women, bragging about sexual assault.

Women have been marching against Trump since he got elected, globally. And we took back the House in '18 because of the power and veracity of women running and supporting them and turning out to vote.

So, we just need to know that the nominee does not believe that today. BERMAN: Well --

GILLIBRAND: And so, I very simply asked him, "What did you mean when you said that and do you still believe it today?"

And he couldn't answer the question. He finally said, "Oh, I never believed it." Well, those are his words. He wrote them.

CAMEROTA: But fact-checkers do say that it wasn't -- he wasn't singling out women -- that they should stay home.

GILLIBRAND: Yes, but --

CAMEROTA: He was talking about parents at this particular income.

GILLIBRAND: Oh, but give me a break. Give me a break.

Who, in 1981, was going to be staying home to watch the children? It's obvious. It's typically, in most families, women. Women are still primary caregivers.

BERMAN: It was, though, in the 70s for a period of time, Joe Biden. I mean, Joe Biden was a single parent for a long time.

GILLIBRAND: Understood, and we respect him as a parent, we respect him as a public servant.

I just wanted clarity about whether -- what he meant when he said it then and does he still believe it today because we need women of America who must work. Most of us must work and many of us want to help our communities, whether we're nurses or doctors or whether teachers or members of Congress.

To say that our work is somehow deteriorating the family, I think is an outrageous statement. But worse, to say that we're avoiding responsibility.

So, I just need to know that our nominee is going to be a champion of national paid leave, affordable daycare, universal pre-K.

I'm the only presidential candidate who has actually laid out a full plan on a family bill of rights to make sure all people who want to be parents can be parents. That children can be provided for in those first few years of life.

CAMEROTA: Let's listen to his response to that attack last night.


BIDEN: 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.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CAMEROTA: What's your response to that? Basically, he's saying that you used to be an ally of his. You used to believe in the things that he believes in or that he says he believes in and that now, you've changed.

GILLIBRAND: I'm still an ally of Vice President Biden and I am still someone who admires him and values him.

I don't think he answered the question and he was just avoiding my request of what did you mean when you said it? Do you still believe it today?

Because again, we need a nominee who is going to be a champion for women. Women are the heart and soul of this party.

BERMAN: You -- your campaign has said that you had one of your best fundraising days in a long time over the last 24 hours.

I do want to know if a candidate is not on the debate stage in September, is that candidate still viable because you have not yet qualified for the September debates.

GILLIBRAND: Well, that's why I'm on your show and hopefully, your viewers go to and send that one dollar to guarantee my spot on the September debate stage.

BERMAN: But if not -- I'm not asking about you -- any candidate. If the candidate is not on that stage can they be a viable candidate?

GILLIBRAND: We don't really know. But I just know I'm going to make that debate stage, especially with the help of your viewers.

CAMEROTA: Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, great to have you. Thanks so much for stopping by NEW DAY. Great to talk to you.

GILLIBRAND: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: We'll be watching very closely what happens next.

BERMAN: Thanks, Senator.

GILLIBRAND: Thank you.

BERMAN: Coming up in just a few minutes, two of the other candidates who were on that stage tonight (sic) -- so many getting attention this morning. Senators Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, they will join us.


[07:48:35] BERMAN: It is time for "CNN Business".

President Trump, he demanded an interest rate cut and he got one, but the president still not happy and frankly, neither are the markets.

CNN chief business correspondent Christine Romans joins us now with more -- Romans. CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT, ANCHOR, "EARLY START": Hi there, John. You know, the first rate cut since the Great Recession. That's a big deal, but it was a small one. The Federal Reserve lowering borrowing costs for businesses and consumers.

Now, the U.S. economy is strong. It's unusual to cut rates in a strong economy, but the Fed saying this is insurance against damage from the president's trade war, low inflation, and slowing global growth.

The president, for months -- for months has demanded these lower rates, most recently demanding a big rate cut. He has insulted and rage-tweeted about the Fed and the Fed chief. But, Jerome Powell, the Fed chief, said pressure from Trump did not factor into the Fed's decision.


JEROME POWELL, CHAIRMAN, FEDERAL RESERVE: You 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 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: Again, inflation is too low. There are risks growing around the world and that's why the Fed moved.

With a rate cut in hand, though, the president still criticized the Fed, tweeting, "The Fed chair had let us down." Saying -- look at this -- that "the markets wanted more." Talking about what the markets wanted to hear and didn't hear.

[07:50:00] The president advocating for the markets.

Stocks fell after Powell hinted this rate cut was a one-off, not the beginning of a cycle of cuts.

The Dow closed down 333 points. That's about 1.2 percent, you guys.

But I want to give you some perspective here. The Dow is up a lot this year, about 20 percent. And it's up 35 percent since the president took office.

The Fed chief made it clear that the Fed was closely watching all the uncertainty wrought by the president's trade own wars.

And the Fed also stopped this so-called run-off of its huge $3.8 trillion balance sheet. That's a big deal, too. And that was also something the president really wanted -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: OK, Christine, thank you very much for keeping an eye on all of these fluctuations for us.

Meanwhile, black voters support Vice President Biden over his competitors by a wide margin. So how crucial is their vote, exactly?

Harry Enten is going to break down the numbers for us, next.


[07:55:03] CAMEROTA: African American voters are an important demographic, of course, in the Democratic Party, but just how crucial is the black vote to winning the nomination?

Let's get the forecast with CNN senior politics writer and analyst, Harry Enten.

OK, Harry, you've been looking at these numbers, specifically.

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICS WRITER AND ANALYST: I have been digging deep into them.

And what I think we should start off noting is that African Americans make up about 20 percent of the Democratic electorate. It is a huge bloc. It's basically on par with whites without a college degree and whites with a college degree.

And so, what we know is that if you want to win a Democratic nomination, you probably need to win among African American voters.

And that's part of the reason that Joe Biden's winning right now. Look at where he is among African American voters. He's at 50 percent among them. No one is even close to him right now.

Kamala Harris, who is in second place, she's only at 12 percent among them. And pretty much everyone else is in single digits, including the senator from New Jersey, Cory Booker, who is only at one percent.

And we can take a look but let's focus in right now and take a look at sort of how big of a difference that they're making. So I broke down the Democratic primary vote in a recent Quinnipiac University poll among African Americans and then pretty much everyone else.

And what do we see? We see that Joe Biden leads right now among African Americans by 45 points. Among non-black voters, he's only ahead by 12.

So if this -- if African Americans weren't voting, basically you take a race that was sort of competitive and now make it very competitive. And right now, Joe Biden is well ahead because of African Americans.

BERMAN: He did have a lead, but he has a huge lead because of African American voters.

ENTEN: That's exactly right. He has a huge lead among them and that basically gives him this large lead that he has in the primary.

BERMAN: And we saw something like that in 2016, correct? ENTEN: That's exactly right. Just look at the -- if you want to understand how important the African American vote is just look at the 2016 results.

If you were basically going to look at non-black voters you'd basically have a tie between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton -- only get a 3-point margin, according to one study.

But if you then look at African American voters you see that Hillary Clinton won them by about 50 points -- some studies even have it higher than that -- and that basically gave her this huge, huge margin that she had overall -- a 12-point win.

So even though the primary was sort of close, it really wasn't close, and the reason was because of African American voters.

CAMEROTA: Give us the historical context we should look at.

ENTEN: Yes. So, I mean, I went back -- so Steve Kornacki, our friend over at MSNBC who I'm very friendly with -- we have these great electoral discussions. Sometimes we talk about our love for winter weather.

And what do we see? He went back and looked at the Democratic primary vote through the years among African American voters and there are two big patterns that come out.

Number one, no one has won the Democratic primary without winning the African American vote since 1988. So, pretty much, Clinton, Gore, Kerry, Obama, Clinton again -- Hillary Clinton. They all won the African American vote.

But it's more than that. They won it overwhelmingly and that, I think, is such a key thing.

The African Americans, when they tend to decide to vote for a certain candidate, they tend to vote as a group. They are a very reliable bloc and that's the type of bloc that you need in a crowded field.

If Joe Biden, as he currently is, has that large lead among them, that's going to power him to victory.

BERMAN: And when you move forward and talk about the general election, the margins there matter a lot.

ENTEN: Yes. So, I mean, look, winning a primary is one thing but then you have to win a general election.

And what do we see? We saw last time in those key Midwestern swing states of Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan -- what did we see? We saw that Hillary Clinton won them by plenty.

You know, look on the screen right now. She won them by 80 points -- 80-plus points in all those states.

But that was down significantly from how Barack Obama did four years before that. If Hillary Clinton had had the same margins as Barack Obama did among African American voters in the Midwest, she would have won those three states and she would have won the election.

I think a key thing for the Democratic candidate this year is to try again and boost up that support among African American voters. Not just win them by, say, 85 points, but win them by 90 to 95 points.

CAMEROTA: What else do we need to know?

ENTEN: I think the other thing you need to know is you do need a candidate that will strengthen the support among young African American voters -- see that turnout rise. We saw it last time. We saw a drop in cities like Milwaukee and Philadelphia.

Is there a Democratic candidate who can help boost that youthful African American turnout? That's key.


BERMAN: Harry Enten --

CAMEROTA: Well, OK, let's wrap him.

ENTEN: You're going to wrap me?

BERMAN: Do you want to do more?

CAMEROTA: Did you have --

ENTEN: No, no, no, I didn't have any more. I just --

CAMEROTA: You don't have a kicker?

ENTEN: No, I -- there's no kicker today. I would just say that I love the city of Detroit. It has been lovely. They've treated us very, very well and I'm going to miss it.

BERMAN: All right.

CAMEROTA: We second that -- second that.

BERMAN: Detroit says you're welcome, I guess.

ENTEN: You know what? There you go.

CAMEROTA: That was great. Thank you very much.

ENTEN: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: OK, two 2020 candidates, Senators Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, are going to join us in the next hour, and NEW DAY continues right now.


SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am proud of making the decisions -- not just give fancy speeches but actually doing the work.

ANDREW YANG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are 10 years too late. We need to do everything we can to start moving the climate in the right direction.

SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You're dipping into Kool-Aid and you don't even know the flavor.

GOV. JAY INSLEE (D-WA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The time is up. Our house is on fire. Get off coal. Save this country and the planet.

JULIAN CASTRO (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Folks are making a mistake by not pursuing impeachment. The Mueller report clearly details that he deserves it.

BENNET: Mr. President, kids belong in classrooms, not cages.

BIDEN: Everybody knows who Donald Trump is. We have to let him know who we are.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.