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AT THIS HOUR

New Poll: Warren Surges, 4 Democrats Now Top Trump; WAPO: Trump Concerned Economic Trouble Could Hurt Election; Widower Invites Public to Wife's Funeral; "Woodstock at 50" Airs Tomorrow at 9:00 P.M. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired August 16, 2019 - 11:30   ET

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


[11:30:00] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: It says -- you write, "These Democrats worry that her uncompromising liberalism would alienate moderates in battleground states who are otherwise willing to oppose the president. Many fear Ms. Warren's past claims of Native American ancestry would allow Mr. Trump to drown out her policy message with his attacks and slurs against her."

And you also write, "And there are there are Democrats who, chastened by Hillary Clinton's defeat in 2016, believe that a woman cannot win in 2020."

Really?

JONATHAN MARTIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. Yes, it's striking over the course of a couple of months this summer, Kate, talking to voters, not just at Warren events but events for other candidates, in Iowa and New Hampshire and South Carolina, just how often you hear the same themes. And invariably, those are the three issues that come up. Sometimes together, sometimes in isolation.

It's what is she going to say when Trump calls her Pocahontas, because that's growing to drown out her broader policy message. And I think having seen what Trump did in 2016, both to Republicans and Hillary, with the nicknames and the attacks, that does cause some fear.

And even the moderate Democrats, or the more pragmatic in the party, there's concern about running too far to the left in this country, given that the key states that you have to get 270, tend to be more middle-of-the-road states, the Wisconsins and Michigans of the world.

But then you do hear -- and by the way, Kate, us often hear it from women, not men. They all say it bluntly, that they have PTSD from 2016 and we are skeptical to the point of being cynical about where the country is now on gender.

They simply say 2016 proved that they are not ready for a female president and we have to play it safe this time around. You hear it time and time again.

BOLDUAN: It almost sounds like a lot of these voters don't need to hear more because of the concerns that they've laid out. They know about Elizabeth Warren.

MARTIN: Yes.

BOLDUAN: It almost seems that is one of -- I don't know if it's a red flag for Elizabeth Warren, but it was one thing that really jumped out to me from your conversations with folks.

MARTIN: Yes. And, look, I think some of this she can actually overcome. She's a very talented political athlete, especially for someone who got into politics very late in life. She ran for the first time in 2012 for the U.S. Senate.

I think she's had two good debate performance. And I talked to her with Iowa about this. She said, look, the way you overcome this is by success. And I think more debate performances could allay these fears.

And then when you get into the primary, if she starts winning states --

BOLDUAN: Yes.

MARTIN: -- if you win in Iowa or New Hampshire, that begets success. So I think that could help her here assuage the concerns.

BOLDUAN: Yes. David Chalian said to me about the whole question of electability, people think you're electable once you've won something. So if you do well in Iowa, then obviously that can snowball in a good way for you.

It's great to see you --

(CROSSTALK)

MARTIN: There's very much something to that.

BOLDUAN: Yes.

MARTIN: And just real fast, by the way --

BOLDUAN: Yes.

MARTIN: -- more than any recent primary, just the phrase "electability" or "viability" comes up so often, Kate. It's remarkable how much Democrats are looking at this election through the prism of, not who do I like best, their agenda, but who Could win.

BOLDUAN: Yes.

MARTIN: We hear it time and time again out on the trail.

BOLDUAN: Great to see you. Thank you so much.

MARTIN: Thank you, Kate.

BOLDUAN: After a wild week of growing fears of a coming recession, President Trump is reportedly rattled over the U.S. economy. More concern than he's letting on publicly. What is the White House planning to do about it? That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[11:38:17] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The United States right now has the hottest economy anywhere in the world.

But you have no choice but to vote for me because your 401Ks, down the tubes, everything is going to be down the tubes. So whether you love me or hate me, you've got to vote for me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: That was President Trump last night at a rally with supporters touting his confidence in the economy and very clearly banking his entire reelection on it.

But new reporting from the "Washington Post" described that, behind- the-scenes, President Trump is far less confident about the state of the economy right now. Quote, "Privately, however, the president has sounded anxious and apprehensive."

And one Republican telling "The Post" that the president is, quote, unquote, "rattled." Should he be? What is the administration planning to do about it?

Joining me right now is Gene Sperling, the former director of the National Economic Council under Presidents Obama and Clinton.

Gene, it's good to see you.

You just heard President Trump there. What do you say to that?

GENE SPERLING, FORMER DIRECTOR, WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: I think sometimes President Trump doesn't always quite speak the truth and there's sometimes I think he says the opposite of the truth he's thinking.

And I think the opposite of that is his concern, I think, rightfully, that even the people who like him are going to now think they should vote against him because they have now watched this type of economic narcissism and this kind of erratic steps in tweeting. I've called it drunk driving type of economic management. That they see can be harmful.

Yes, Donald Trump is good at inheriting. He's good at inheriting wealth and he was good at heading an economy that was moving in the right directions in many ways. But let's not overdo that. Job growth is actually lower under his watch than Obama. The China trade deficit is worse under his watch than under President Obama.

[11:40:07] And I think you're now starting to see that this kind of recklessness ends up both having self-inflicted wounds on the U.S. and hurts the global economy in ways that hurts us. So if you're an agricultural exporter, you're looking at terrible

numbers. Exports cut in half. If you're a soybean farmer, you're not only devastated by the lack of exports, you're worried whether you'll be permanently replaced by Brazil.

And I think the other thing, which Donald Trump has a hard time understanding, is that if you create so much uncertainty, so much recklessness and disruption, that you actually are successful in hurting the China economy a little or hurting Germany's economy, that's not good for us. This isn't the Yankees versus the Red Sox.

If there's less global demand for steel, for agriculture, for phones, for our products, the things we make, that is not good for the U.S. economy. So I think --

(CROSSTALK)

STERLING: Yes, go ahead.

BOLDUAN: Go ahead, Gene.

SPERLING: I was just going to conclude, I think what he really -- his comment was very interesting. I think it's exactly the opposite. He knows there are people out there who have liked him but are getting impatient with the economy.

And now what he's fearing is that, even some people who were driven to some of his perhaps rhetoric or the outsider stance he was trying to take, are now saying enough is enough. This guy is too reckless to manage or help manage the U.S. and global economy.

BOLDUAN: But one thing we do -- one thing we do know, right or wrong, every president gets to claim when the economy is doing well underneath -- during their term. We do know that.

But I do want to read you something else that the "Washington Post" is reporting about kind of the state of affairs on the economy at the White House. "Administration officials are not actively planning for a recession because they do not believe one will occur and they worry that making such plans would validate a negative narrative about the economy and precipitate a crash, according people involved in internal discussions."

You were the economic adviser to Obama and Clinton. Is that a position that you all took, not look at contingency plans or plan for if things could go south because it would look bad?

SPERLING: I mean, this is what concerns me. When I used the drunk driving analogy, usually when people drive drunk they don't get into an accident, but it dramatically increases the chance of something terrible happening so you don't do that.

Every time that you do something reckless or troublesome, it doesn't always hurt the economy. But it increases the chance that something terrible would happen. You've got to take the economy seriously. Your signals, what you do. Whether you're Democrat or Republican, there needs to be that sense of responsibility.

And what we've seen is, look at the last threat on China. I'm for being tougher on China, but this last threat was reckless. It's caused trouble. He's had to pull back and admit the tariffs actually do hurt U.S. consumers. It's not a type of serious policy.

Having a huge $2 trillion deficit increase to give mostly corporations and high-income individuals tax cuts at a time the economy was doing fairly well was not a well-designed, well-targeted way to help long- term growth.

And then to look at the kind of troubles that we're having and at least not have a plan, as they say, that when you're digging a hole, digging a ditch, stop digging, stop doing some of the reckless type of management. And then to not even be planning for the economic signal, I think it's exactly that type of lack of economic seriousness that is unique to this administration.

And whether you like Democratic or Republican administrations in the past, there was a degree of professionalism coming from the top, coming from the Oval Office that you're not seeing here.

BOLDUAN: Gene, thanks for the time.

SPERLING: Thanks for having me.

BOLDUAN: Appreciate it.

It's been 25 years since Jeff Bezos started this thing called Amazon, selling books out of his garage. Amazon's rise has been phenomenal. And it is now developing technology that it's really personal.

CNN's Poppy Harlow took a special look at the powerhouse company.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR & CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): According to Bloomberg, Amazon is working on a wearable device that can read human emotions.

TECH VOICE: Voice profiles give you the ability to teach Alexa your voice.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Using a baseline of your biometrics.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Alexa, close the shades, please.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you depressed, are you happy?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Alexa, what time is it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you manic? Have you had a stroke and you don't realize it yet? Do you have early onset Parkinson's?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Alexa, turn the TV on.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These are all discoverable if there's a big enough database of your voice.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[11:45:04] BOLDUAN: Be sure to catch Poppy's special report tonight 9:00 eastern right here on CNN.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BOLDUAN: In New Mexico, the number of deaths from a drug overdose there is nearly four times the national average. This week's "CNN Hero" is helping the children of families that are struggling with addiction. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED CNN HERO: Many of our kids come to us traumatized. We create a healthy environment where young people can discover themselves and a way to contribute.

Long neck. Just find the length.

When I see a child's face and spirit come to life, I don't need any more evidence. I know that that kind of joy is what will save them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: To hear more about Roger and his mission, go to CNNheros.com.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:50:08] BOLDUAN: You may remember yesterday we brought you the story of Antonio Basco. Basco lost his wife in the mass shooting in El Paso 13 days ago. His wife, Margie Reckard, was his only family. Basco is now alone and his grief has been met by an outpouring of support from the El Paso community and beyond.

When Basco offered an open invitation to anyone and everyone to join him for his wife's funeral today, even the funeral home was stunned by the overwhelming response. Hundreds are now of expected to attend today as he prepares to say his final good-bye to Margie.

CNN's Gary Tuchman has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TOM FOREMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tony Basco loved only one person in the world, and now she's gone.

(on camera): And she loved you a lot.

ANTONIO BASCO, WIFE DIED IN EL PASO MASS SHOOTING: I don't even know what she seen in me sometimes. We had wonderful years, the best years of my whole life. TUCHMAN (voice-over): Tony has no other family. His wife, Margie,

had just a few family members but none in the El Paso area. Attendance at her funeral was expected to be minimal, until the Internet took over.

Tweets from journalists and media outlets sent out messages of support for Tony. Then, there was this Facebook post from the funeral home, reading, "Mr. Antonio Basco he was married 22 years to his wife, Margie Reckard. He had no other family. He welcomes anyone to attend his wife's services."

People from all over the United States have contacted the funeral home as well as Tony to say they plan to attend Margie's funeral.

(on camera): There are going to be hundreds of people here probably from all around the country. How does that make you feel?

BASCO: I love it. It's nice to see people really caring about people.

There's going to be a lot of people now. I told you it was important.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): They had been married for 22 years. Tony says his life had been very difficult prior to meeting her.

(on camera): What would you like people to know about Margie?

BASCO: She was a caring, loving, the most beautifulist person.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Every day now he goes to the memorial site next to the Walmart, taking exquisite care of Margie's memorial, making sure the flowers and the wind chimes, which she always loved so much, looked the best they can.

(on camera): Where did you meet her?

BASCO: Omaha, Nebraska, in a bar.

FOREMAN: And you were single, she was single?

BASCO: Never been --

FOREMAN: Was it love at first sight?

BASCO: Oh, man, you can't imagine.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Tony is still waking up each morning in disbelief that she is gone.

BASCO: I'm looking at the front door just waiting for her to walk in. I've even tried to call her on the phone.

FOREMAN (on camera): You have?

BASCO: I've tried to.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): At the memorial site, Tony tells Margie that, some day, he will meet her in Heaven.

BASCO: What have you been up to? What do you do up there? I want you to tell me something.

TUCHMAN: Tony is now beginning a new life alone. But for at least one day, at Margie's funeral, he won't be.

BASCO: She made me the happiest man in the world and the luckiest. There's nobody luckier than me in this whole world.

TUCHMAN: Gary Tuchman, CNN, El Paso, Texas.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BOLDUAN: Those funeral services are today.

Ahead still for us, Democratic Congressman Rashida Tlaib says she is, quote, "being silenced and treated like a criminal," so she is now cancelling her visit to Israel. Her reason and Israel's response, ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:57:37] BOLDUAN: America in the midst of intense political social and cultural change. And I'm not talking about just today. I'm talking about 50 years ago, when nearly half a million people came together in what became a magical moment to spread the message of peace and love at Woodstock Music Festival.

CNN's Bill Weir took a journey in the present, through the past, to explore what made Woodstock so epic in a new CNN special.

This is so good. And you've just allowed me to see a taste of it.

BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: I'm just giving you a little taste. Kate, I couldn't decide which shirt to wear today.

(CROSSTALK)

WEIR: I figure if you're going to wear the tie dye, I could go with this one or this one.

BOLDUAN: Don't even.

WEIR: Which do you think? I think this is more appropriate.

But, yes --

BOLDUAN: For this show, for sure.

WEIR: -- as you talked about it, divided America. Could this happen again? That was my animating mission statement.

BOLDUAN: Right.

WEIR: Why did what should have been a humanitarian disaster turn into this amazing symbol of human connection and have we evolved past that right now.

BOLDUAN: Really amazing. Let's take a look -- well, you get to interview one of my favoritist favorite people.

WEIR: I look at how many people are still together with peace, love and music, and how many bands like Crosby, Stills and Nash aren't talking to each other --

BOLDUAN: Yes.

WEIR: -- as a result of ego and greed and all that.

And David Crosby, amazingly open. I got to hang out with him. As he reflects, as many boomers do, on the end of the song.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WEIR: In this burst of creativity that you've had, you sing about death.

(SINGING)

WEIR: Do you think about how you want to be remembered?

DAVID CROSBY, BAND MEMBER, CROSBY, STILLS AND NASH: Not so much. The songs will do that. They're the best I can do.

That's the weird thing, everybody is scared to talk about it. The question is, what are you going to do with it. How do you spend that two weeks or that ten years? And I got that figured out. Family, music.

(SINGING)

CROSBY: Because it's the only thing I can do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WEIR: He's on track to record five albums in five years. Somehow he survived, you know, heroin --

BOLDUAN: Yes, yes.

WEIR: -- and the Texas prison and eight stints in his heart. But he's just one character that we found along the way that has. So there's 400,000 stories at Woodstock. And --

BOLDUAN: Did you find that a Woodstock could happen again?

WEIR: I think it's really hard. And I follow Michael Lang as he tried to make it happen again and stage this massive concert and paid $32 million up front to artists who in the end kept it and we got no concert.

(CROSSTALK)

WEIR: But it all sort of -- I think it's a statement on where we've come but the hope that we can hang on to.

[12:00:09] BOLDUAN: Bill is such a storyteller, and he really does it justice.