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Joe Biden Regains Double-Digit Lead Over Democratic Lead in Latest Poll; NYPD Fires Officer Over Chokehold Death of Eric Garner; White House Denies Considering Payroll Tax Cut to Boost Economy. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired August 20, 2019 - 06:00   ET

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


[06:00:00] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Which is electability. Biden's campaign is embracing this and stressing the need to beat President Trump in his first TV ad which will air in Iowa this morning.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, that release just moments ago as well. So no other candidate has made any meaningful gains in the new CNN poll. Have we mentioned, by the way, this is a brand new CNN poll. No major gains for anyone but Biden, but significant sizeable losses for one candidate.

Senator Kamala Harris, she has dropped a whole bunch since June. Erasing the boost she got after the first Democratic debate. One other note, this poll secures former Housing secretary Julian Castro's spot on the debate stage in September. He is now the 10th candidate to qualify.

CNN's political director David Chalian joins us now with the big takeaways of this brand new CNN poll.

David, take it away.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yes, guys. Let's take a look at those numbers again, here's the Democratic horse race, where it stands right now. Joe Biden commanding lead in this race nationally. Remember, this is a national picture right now. We know the nomination is fought state by state, Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina, but here he is double-digit lead, 29 percent. Sanders and Warren in a battle tied there for second place. Sanders at 15. Warren at 14. Buttigieg and Harris at 5. Everyone else, 3 percent or below.

Look at the movement. We last polled in the immediate aftermath of the first debate, the Miami debate, and take a look. You can see, if you see where they were in June -- in our June poll compared to now, Joe Biden has returned. Remember, he took a hit on that debate stage. He's now back up seven points, 29 percent is about where he was prior to that Miami debate.

The only other big movement we see here is that Kamala Harris dropped, OK, she was at 17 percent in June. She's now down to five. Back down in single digits where she was before that Miami debate. So what we saw is that, that was a huge moment in this race, but it wasn't long lasting.

We also asked whether people are looking for a candidate to beat Donald Trump or one that shares there -- oh, sorry. I want to give you a little sense of the coalition first that Biden has. Take a look at the ideological split between liberals and moderate conservative Democrats. I find this fascinating. Biden, Sanders, Warren, they are in a battle for the liberal Democrats. Those identify as liberal. But he is running away with the moderate conservative vote, just like he does with older Democrats, just like he does with self-identified Democrats versus independents who say they are going to vote in the Democratic primary. This is key to his coalition as we know are African-American voters.

Now I want to show you that split about, are you looking for someone to beat Donald Trump or are you looking for someone who shares your position on the issues? 54 percent of Democrats in this poll say they want a candidate with a strong chance of beating Trump, 39 percent say they're looking for a candidate who shares their position on the issues.

This is actually a little lower than we've seen before, this notion of just finding the one that can beat Trump. Look at some demographics on this issue, how it divides. Take a look when you compare white college educated voters to non-college educated voters. It is amazing. If you are a white non-college educated voter in this poll, you're actually more in favor of someone who shares your positions than beating Trump but just splits evenly here.

Take a look at college-educated white voters in this poll. 65 percent looking for a Trump defeater, 29 percent, someone who shares their position on the issues. We see the same thing on age, this is also really interesting. If you are 45 or older in this poll, my god, it's like more than 2 to 1, you want somebody who can defeat Donald Trump. 66 percent to 25 percent. That advantage flips the other way for younger voters. 56 percent of younger voters want someone who shares their positions. 41 percent say they want somebody who can beat Trump.

What you see here of course is this is Biden territory, the 45 plus. This is more Warren territory, the Sanders territory, the young voters. So you can see the difference of the electability argument you're saying that is clearly present in Joe Biden's new ad in Iowa, guys.

CAMEROTA: Very interesting, David. Stay with us if you would. We have more questions but we want to bring in Alex Burns, our CNN political analyst and national political correspondent for the "New York Times," and Kirsten Powers, CNN political analyst and "USA Today" columnist.

Great to have you, guys. Help us analyze what we're seeing in these numbers.

So, Alex, Joe Biden is waking up in a very good mood this morning. I mean, he's run for president obviously before. I don't think he's ever broken double digits and the idea that nothing that's happened in the debates, the hit that he took from Kamala Harris, none of his sort of verbal missteps, he's only been climbing in the polls.

ALEX BURNS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: The good news for Biden here is bot that he still this significant lead. That he hasn't lost much ground since that first debate. He has recovered ground since the aftermath of that first debate.

[06:05:04] And on top of that, that there is still is not a coalescing of liberal opposition to his campaign. The warning sign for this poll, right, is that he's still polling at roughly 30 percent, a little -- tick below 30 percent. That's not an overpowering lead in this race and if you're at 29 percent when there's this field of a million candidates, the question is, can he actually win over people who don't already support him as the field gets narrower. But for the people who are opposed to Joe Biden, you have Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders clearly drawing on an important well of opposition, liberal populist, especially younger voters and more ideological voters.

Everybody else in this race, including candidates who we have thought of as pretty formidable competitors, like Kamala Harris, like Pete Buttigieg, like Cory Booker and Julian Castro, after those debate performances, they have not figured out what their path is in this race yet. They need somebody else to stumble or they need to break out in a much bigger and more sustained way than they have so far.

BERMAN: I have to say, and it seems like the Biden team has fully embraced what they see as their path to victory, which is we can beat Trump. They're jumping in with more than both feet. If you can jump in with four feet, that's what they're doing this morning. They have the new ad, which we'll show you in a minute, and then Jill Biden, the vice president's wife, said something out loud last night in New Hampshire, which is not the type of thing you normally hear from a campaign. Listen to what Jill Biden said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JILL BIDEN, WIFE OF JOE BIDEN: I know that not all of you are committed to my husband, and I respect that. Your candidate might be better on, I don't know, health care, than Joe is, but you've got to look at who's going to win this election. And maybe you have to swallow a little bit and say, OK, I sort of personally like so and so better, but your bottom line has to be that we have to beat Trump.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: So, Kirsten, not the candidate you might like, but the candidate you might need? That's an interesting message from a campaign this morning.

KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, I mean, I think it would have been more effective to say that he has a great health care plan and he can beat Trump. You know? I don't know that you need to concede that he might not have the best health care plan but vote for him anyway. So, I -- you know, I don't know why she chose to go that route. I think, you know, it's fair to, you know, remind people how important it is to beat Donald Trump, and that he is the person that a lot of people feel is the person who can beat Trump. So I don't think there's any real problem with that.

The one thing I would say is that, you know, the liberal vote, the sort of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren vote, which is definitely, you know, a decent group of people, they're splitting that, you know, so I think it makes it seem a little more like -- it makes Biden seemed a little farther ahead than I think he is because if you were to combine those, and you know, and it was just one person, then you would have, you know, roughly the same amount -- roughly the same percentage that Joe Biden is getting.

So, right now he's benefitting from the fact that there are so many other people in the race, you know, who are dividing the vote. I don't know that he -- you know, that this is sustainable as people start dropping out and it starts becoming a more -- a clear decision between different people and then people may come around also to believing that perhaps Elizabeth Warren is the best person to beat Donald Trump.

CAMEROTA: Yes. I mean, we've got more than a year to go so anything --

BERMAN: Well, but you don't until Iowa. We don't have more than a year to go. Iowa is February.

CAMEROTA: That's a good point.

BERMAN: And Donald Trump, by the way, in August of 2016 was well ahead in August and never slipped behind, except for, like, a second to Herman Cain. I mean, you can solidify a lead --

CAMEROTA: August of 2016.

BERMAN: Right.

CAMEROTA: But we're in August of 2015 right now.

BERMAN: Sorry, it was August of 2015 he went ahead and then he -- and he stayed ahead the whole time. We just don't know. It might be that Biden has solidified. It might never drop. And it isn't that far. It's not a year. It's six months. Not even.

CAMEROTA: So the motto, my husband, he's good enough, might be working for Jill and Joe. That could work, but David, I'm curious, what is the thinking behind what's happening with Kamala Harris, because she's been out stumping. We've seen her in Iowa doing all of the right things. So what's the thinking about that drop?

CHALIAN: Yes, so I don't think there's a massive amount of concern about the drop. I think there was an understanding, our poll is showing what other polls have shown since that Miami debate, which is that, while she scored a moment, it wasn't long lasting. So that was an artificial high that she had. I think they're back to sort of figuring out how to break into that group of the top three and consistently stay there, and as you said, she's been out and about and campaigning more. She's leaning more into Iowa as John notes its importance of where it is up front in the calendar. But I don't sense any sort of panic.

[06:10:02] This is a return where we were before that first debate, I think more than anything else. And I will also just note, as we're talking about -- Kirsten was talking about the liberals, that are splitting between Sanders and Warren right now. It is so clear in this poll that various coalitions of the candidates and therefore what turn out looks like, cliche that it is, is going to determine so much. Right? I mean, if reliable Democratic voters, older voters, ones that identify as more moderate and conservative, they are more identifying as a Democrat than an independent.

If those are the folks that show up in large numbers, that is Joe Biden territory. But you can see where the non-Joe Biden vote, if turnout were to swell among younger people, among liberals, among more independent minded people who want to play in the Democratic nominating contest, if that is what the electorate looks like as we turn the corner into 2020 in these Democratic nominating contests, that could spell real trouble for Joe Biden.

BERMAN: The only thing I want to note is that the Warren coalition and the Bernie Sanders coalition are not exactly the same thing.

CHALIAN: True.

BERMAN: And we don't have that cross trek to show you. But Bernie Sanders does much better among non-college educated voters, and Elizabeth Warren does much better among college-educated voters, and neither has been able to make significant end roads into the other competition. Joe Biden plays in both. Joe Biden plays --

CHALIAN: Yes. He does equally well with both. Yes.

BERMAN: Joe Biden plays in every voting group. He doesn't necessarily win every voting group, but he plays in every voting group.

POWERS: Yes, but I --

(CROSSTALK)

BURNS: I mean, in some ways that is the challenge for Biden, right, and that he does have broad appeal. Does he have the same kind of deep and durable appeal? Somebody like Bernie Sanders has, right? A more limited coalition in the party. It's more like a sixth of the party as opposed to a third of the party, based on the polling that we're seeing right now. But those people aren't going to leave Bernie Sanders and if he messes up, and if somebody interesting pops up on the debate stage, they're still not going to move on Bernie Sanders. I don't think the Biden folks have the same confidence in that -- as a possibility.

I do think a point that David made that was so key was that Harris had this interesting moment, right, this exciting debate that drew a lot of eyeballs to her candidacy. The three people who are dominating this poll, and who have really dominated the race so far are people whose impressions on the public are really deeply ingrained. Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Democratic voters know who they are, and they have the key traits identified with each of them, whether it's Biden's electability, Warren's ideas, Sanders' liberalism and independence.

It's going to get harder and harder as we get close to Iowa for somebody else in the race to build that kind of really durable impression on the electorate.

CAMEROTA: Go ahead, Kirsten.

POWERS: I was just going to say that yes, that's true that they have different kinds of voters in terms of, you know, education level, but, you know, I think that they -- what they have in common is that they're obviously people who are looking for someone to disrupt the system. They're not looking for a Joe Biden who is sort of status quo, just vote for me because I'm going to win kind of person. If they -- if that's what they were looking for, then why wouldn't the Sanders voters just move over to Biden?

You know, I mean, because a lot of Biden's voters actually overlap with him. A lot of them aren't -- you know, are the noncollege educated people, so you know, I think the question does remain, if Sanders collapses, you know, where do those voters go, and I don't -- you know, my expectation is that a fair number would probably go to Warren just because she like Sanders is basically saying, this system is broken, we have to change it. You know, it has not -- whereas Biden's argument is essentially as we heard from his wife is I can win.

CAMEROTA: Yes, no, you're so right. I mean, the most progressive voters that we talk to and that we hear from, are not excited by Biden and so it just depends on if they will turn out. You know, if you need the excitement that they feel for Sanders or Warren to turn them out or if they would ultimately just, you know, come into the fold.

BERMAN: But I will say, again, you know, Joe Biden is at 22 percent among self-proclaimed liberal voters. Bernie Sanders at 22 percent and Elizabeth Warren at 22 percent. I agree that if you're talking about the most of the most, probably they're not excited about Joe Biden but he is competing even among the liberals.

POWERS: But I guess that's what I'm trying to get at. I don't think it's just that they're liberal voters. I think that they're people who are looking for disruption, right? And so it's a different kind of person. So maybe ideologically that's where they are. But they're looking for someone basically to blow up the system.

BERMAN: All right. Kirsten, Alex, David, thank you very much.

New this morning, the police officer in the Eric Garner case vowing to appeal after being fired from the New York Police Department and stripped of his pension. Garner's family has thanked the department but is now demanding the state pursue the other officers involved.

CNN's Brynn Gingras here with more on this long-awaited decision -- Brynn. [06:15:02] BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, John. Well, this

is a decision that Police Commissioner James O'Neill said he made on his own after following the facts, trying to not let mounting outside pressure sway him. Now remember, the Garner case because a big focal point in the latest Democratic presidential debate.

O'Neill actually choked up when delivering this news, admitting that it was going to anger the rank-and-file.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COMMISSIONER JAMES O'NEILL, NEW YORK CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT: It is clear that Daniel Pantaleo can no longer effectively serve as a New York City police officer.

GINGRAS (voice-over): More than five years after the controversial death of Eric Garner, the NYPD is firing one of its own.

O'NEILL: This was not an easy decision. It's not something that I could make over a few hours. And I have been -- I have been thinking about this since the day I was sworn in as police commissioner.

GINGRAS: An internal NYPD investigation found grave misconduct by Officer Daniel Pantaleo. That report, which factored in the commissioner's decision, characterized Pantaleo's use of force in Garner's arrest as reckless and a gross deviation from the standard of conduct. A federal investigation and grand jury proceedings began against Pantaleo in 2014. No charges were filed in either case.

Garner's family is praising the NYPD's decision, but says this isn't the end.

EMERALD SNIPES GARNER, ERIC GARNER'S DAUGHTER: We will be going for the congressional hearings. We will be trying to reopen the case. We will be going after the rest of the officers involved because it's not over.

GWEN CARR, ERIC GARNER'S MOTHER: You cannot scare me away. Yes, Pantaleo, you may have lost your job, but I lost a son.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's right.

GINGRAS: Pantaleo's attorney says he will appeal the firing.

STUART LONDON, ATTORNEY FOR OFFICER DANIEL PANTALEO: Obviously, he is disappointed, upset, but has a lot of strength. We're looking for him to get his job back.

GINGRAS: Garner was approached by Pantaleo and other officers for allegedly selling loose cigarettes in July 2014.

ERIC GARNER, DIED WHILE BEING ARRESTED: I can't breathe.

GINGRAS: The arrest was caught on camera, sparking citywide protests, as people took to the streets using Garner's last words as their rallying cry.

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTER: I can't breathe.

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: You can't breathe.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GINGRAS: And both the mayor, de Blasio, and Commissioner O'Neill, said they hope the city will move forward on from this peaceful -- they hope they move peacefully and learn from its mistake, but both agree it did take way too long for this to reach a conclusion -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: OK, Brynn, thank you very much for the update. And coming up on NEW DAY, we should let you know that we'll be talking to New York City's mayor, Bill de Blasio, and the widow of Eric Garner about whether they are satisfied with this outcome.

BERMAN: All right. The Trump administration insists there's no reason to be concerned about a recession, but there are new reports of secret plans to boost the economy. So why are they making these plans if they're not worried? The new reporting straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:22:26] BERMAN: All right, this morning, the White House is denying a new report that they are considering a temporary payroll tax to -- payroll tax cut, I should say, to try to boost the economy. It comes amid concern that the U.S. could be headed toward a recession, a possibility that the White House also denies.

Back with us, Alex Burns and Kirsten Powers, and also joining us, Jackie Alemany, anchor of the "Washington Post's" "Power Up."

Jackie, let me start with you. It's clear the White House all of a sudden is talking about contingency plans. They deny -- or some people deny they're talking about a payroll tax cut. But there's clear reporting that it's at least been discussed in the White House. So it does seem that despite their claims they see no trouble on the horizon, that they're concerned that trouble is on the horizon.

JACKIE ALEMANY, ANCHOR, WASHINGTON POST, "POWER UP": That's exactly right. My colleague Damian Paletta reported yesterday that the White House is in fact exploring a payroll tax cut in order to boost consumer confidence. The White House is in a little bit of a catch 22 here, right? They -- there are signs, as we all went crazy over the inverted yield curve last week, that the recession is slowing down and the White House is in fact exploring various ways to make sure that doesn't happen while at the same time trying to project confidence and make sure that those plans that they are seeking to bolster the economy don't actually get out.

But the president here is grasping for straws and trying to come up with every single excuse in the bag in order to claim that, you know, if the economy is faltering, it's not his fault, it's the Fed's fault, Jay Powell, whom he appointed, it's the trade war, exaggerated reports over the trade war which in fact is hurting consumers and company profits or, you know, it's a media conspiracy theory that we are pushing for a recession because we don't want the president to win the election.

CAMEROTA: You know, Kirsten, we had Peter Navarro on last week, and I asked him about this. I said everybody wants to know what your plan is when you see some storm clouds coming, what is the plan, if there are signs of a recession, and he had an interesting non-answer. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PETER NAVARRO, WHITE HOUSE TRADE ADVISER: Correct. And the results are spectacular.

CAMEROTA: I think that what the question was yesterday after this very volatile week.

NAVARRO: True.

CAMEROTA: Was what is your plan going forward if you see signs of a recession?

NAVARRO: So let's look at the China question.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: OK.

BERMAN: That's not an answer. Is that an answer?

CAMEROTA: That was not an answer.

BERMAN: That was not an answer.

CAMEROTA: And he went out to lay out the seven deadly sins that they see that China is doing. And I don't get the coyness.

[06:25:02] I mean, doesn't the American public want to know? Won't they feel better to think that the administration has a plan? I don't understand the denials of we have no plan.

POWERS: Well, I mean, the original plan was the tax cuts, and that was supposed to just create, you know, a booming economy. And there was -- I have said all along that I think that the Trump administration has gotten way more credit than they deserve in terms of the economy, the so-called booming economy because it's actually the underlying fundamentals of the economy have not been good. And so this shouldn't be really a surprise to anybody.

Many economists were saying, you know, that they saw a recession coming and increasingly more are saying that. There was a recent survey of the top economists in the country and three out of four said they see a recession coming before 2021, and why do they see that? They see that primarily because of the China trade war, and so this goes back directly to the actions of the president. He's trying to point fingers at the Fed to scapegoat them for the decisions that he's made, and the other thing about the trade war, which many of these economists noted, is that we're not even getting anything for it.

China is not making any concessions. It's not as though it's somehow leading to something better that, you know, in the short-term you suffer and then in the long-term you end up with what you want. They're not making any concessions and the only way you're going to get them to change is some sort of multilateral approach. So I think the Trump administration right now is just trying to point fingers at other people to try to convince, you know, the people who might vote for them that it's not their fault.

BERMAN: So there's a major development over the last 24 hours in women's access. Particularly low-income women's access to get health care, particularly contraception and family planning and that's that Planned Parenthood has withdrawn from Title X money.

Let me read you what this says. This is a rule that says, "While clinics accepting the title," is it Title X or Title 10?

CAMEROTA: I think 10.

BERMAN: "Title 10 funds may continue to talk to patients about abortion. They may not refer women to an abortion provider or suggest where to obtain an abortion. Planned Parenthood and many organizations including the American Medical Association say the restriction would force physicians and the clinics to withhold medical information from patients, would interfere with the doctor-patient relationship and could deny pregnant women the range of options available to them."

Planned Parenthood said rather than agree to this new rule from the Trump administration which says they can't recommend an abortion provider, they're not going to take the money at all, Alex. And abortion proponents see this this morning as a major victory.

BURNS: Well it is a major victory for them. This is, in a lot of ways, achieving through executive regulation what Republicans in Congress have been unable to achieve through legislation. It's not an outright defunding of Planned Parenthood wholesale but this is what Republicans and the anti-abortion movement have been trying to do for some time, to limit the relationship between federal funds and this organization.

I think it is a real case where we're going to see some of the abortion debates that have been for a lot of people, relatively abstract, for a number of years, people who trusted that there was basically a post-Roe consensus on the way government was going to operate and a conservative minority trying to change that consensus. This is now where the conservative, the ascendant social conservative government that we have at this point is going to see what kind of popular response there is to those actual policies.

Planned Parenthood has had a really rough year between this decision and its own internal political turmoil. So it's not necessarily on the strongest possible footing to fight back. CAMEROTA: We have to go, I wish we could talk about this more because

just to tie this up, not providing birth control for women doesn't help your ultimate goal of reducing unwanted pregnancies, and so if that's the byproduct of this it's really a problem. But we'll talk about more it later in the problem. Thank you all very much.

Meanwhile, there's this news. Vladimir Putin insists there is no reason to be worried after a recent blast at a missile facility. So why did four of their nuclear monitoring stations go dark after this explosion? We have all the details next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)