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New Poll Shows 3-Way Democratic Race; Jason Kander Considers Political Comeback; Voter Vows to Meet Every 2020 Candidate. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired August 27, 2019 - 08:30   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:30:23] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, there's this brand new national poll which is getting a lot of buzz because it shows something different than we have seen in the Democratic race to date. It shows a three way contest with Senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and former Vice President Joe Biden all clustered around the same area, and it's really the first poll where Joe Biden is not way out in front.

So what does this mean? Let's get "The Forecast" with CNN's senior politics writer and analyst Harry Enten.

We're talking about the Monmouth poll.

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICS WRITER AND ANALYST: What does it mean?

BERMAN: Yes.

ENTEN: What does it mean?

Yes, so let's just set the context, you know, just refresh the viewers if they weren't watching in the last ten minutes of this program, because this poll seems to be getting so much press.

Look at this, so basically in August, Monmouth, 20 Sanders, 20 Warren, 19 Biden, Harris way back in fourth at eight. Compare that to June. Look, Biden's down 13 points and, look, Sanders and Warren each down 5 and 6 points.

But, to me, look, it's all about context, folks. There were four national polls, probability, live interview sample polls that were done during the month of August, and this poll sticks out like a sore thumb for this reason. Take a look at this column right here. Look at this. CNN poll, which was done at the same time as this Monmouth poll, people, same freaking time, 29 percent for Biden, Fox News, taken only about a week before, 31 percent for Biden, Quinnipiac University done early this month, 32. And then you have 19 here. That, my friends, is the definition of on outlier.

And, you know, I pay more attention to this Democratic race than I do the Popeye's/Chick-Fil-A wars, and I can tell you that nothing really changed in the news between when our CNN poll was taken and the Monmouth poll. It simply put something that happens statistically sometimes, 19 out of 20 times you'll be within the margin of error. One out of 20 times you'll find an outlier. And, more than that, you're dealing with a margin of error plus or minus six and that doesn't even take into account the design affect, which may boost it to plus or minus seven points.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: How much coffee have you had this morning?

ENTEN: I've had a ton of coffee and it's because I am so into this right now because this is what I live for, to explain statistical issues to the American people.

BERMAN: You know what you can do with polls like this, average them in.

ENTEN: Yes, you can absolutely average them in. And take a look at this. Here we go. I've done exactly that.

CAMEROTA: I'm scared.

ENTEN: Whoo. Late June versus August. And what do we see? Is Biden really falling? Not really. Thirty percent in an average of polls just before the first debate. He's at 28 percent now.

The one thing that I do think is real about the Monmouth poll is that Elizabeth Warren does seem to be gaining that momentum as we've sort of pointed out along the way. She was at 14 percent in the late June average. She's now at 19 percent.

Sanders is pretty much steady. He's not going anywhere. I'm not going to say he's dropping or rising, he's just basically steady around 15.

CAMEROTA: That's not the only metric we have for the enthusiasm about Elizabeth Warren. There's also her crowd numbers. What are you seeing?

ENTEN: So this has been played over and over and over again, right, Elizabeth Warren enthusiasm. A very impressive crowd of 15,000 in Seattle on Sunday.

But, here, you've got to put this into context, folks, Look, Washington, where Seattle is, to my understanding of the U.S. map, Bernie Sanders won those caucuses 73 percent to 27 percent. It's not a representative state in terms of the ideological spectrum. It's significantly more to the left on the Democratic side.

And, look at this, we know that Elizabeth Warren does very well among college educated voters. And Washington ranks 11 for a state with most citizens with a college degree. So if she was going to get a big sort of turnout, Washington would be the place for it.

BERMAN: I just want to make one thing clear, I don't think we're running down the Monmouth poll at all. It's a good polling operation. But you would expect, given the margin of error, that it's completely possible that one poll would have that big of a difference from other polls. It's completely in line.

ENTEN: Look, I love Patrick Murray (ph), who runs that poll. He runs a top notch organization. And I'm very happy that he published a poll that might not look like the other polls --

BERMAN: Yes.

ENTEN: Because that makes the average more accurate. But, of course, we need to point out, when it doesn't look like the other polls because everyone else wants to make such a huge deal of it.

CAMEROTA: You don't know if it's an outlier or a harbinger. We'll see what (INAUDIBLE).

BERMAN: That's the (INAUDIBLE).

ENTEN: It could be a harbinger, but CNN was in the field at the exact same time and CNN didn't look like -- didn't look like it and looked like the other polls.

CAMEROTA: That's fair. Tell us about the next (INAUDIBLE).

BERMAN: Favorability ratings.

CAMEROTA: Oh, OK.

ENTEN: I --

CAMEROTA: Of course, favorability.

ENTEN: I would just -- I have 15 seconds here. Just -- I think this is sort of important in terms of measuring enthusiasm. Very favorable -- strongly favorable rating among Democratic voters. And what do we see, Warren, Sanders and Biden are all pretty much the same there, which, to me, doesn't indicate so much of an enthusiasm gap.

BERMAN: Is Tom Steyer getting in the next debate?

ENTEN: Yes, I just want to point this out, the answer, no, he probably isn't. He got less than one percent tin the Monmouth poll. He needs one more qualifying poll to get the necessary four. He needs a miracle by the end of the day tomorrow. He's probably not going to get it.

CAMEROTA: Is there going to be one more qualifying poll before tomorrow?

ENTEN: I -- not to my understanding in talking with pollsters. But, hey, you know what, maybe I'll get a Popeye's sandwich by the end of the day. It could happen.

CAMEROTA: No, the chances are very good you're going to get a Popeye's sandwich by the end of the day.

ENTEN: No, there's -- the lines are way too long. They've been selling out. It turns out that they've run a very good campaign on Twitter.

BERMAN: I think he's just quoting The Grateful Dead, "I Need a Miracle." Tom Steyer needs a miracle every day.

[08:35:05] ENTEN (singing): Need a miracle.

CAMEROTA: OK.

BERMAN: All right.

ENTEN (singing): Miracle.

CAMEROTA: On that --

BERMAN: All right. Get the hook.

CAMEROTA: Now to sports.

Thank you very much, Harry.

ENTEN: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Serena Williams crushing longtime rival Maria Sharapova to advance to the second round of the U.S. Open. It was Serena's first match at the open since her controversial loss in last year's final. You'll remember I witnessed that.

BERMAN: Personally.

CAMEROTA: Personally. Williams stretched her winning streak against Sharapova to 19 consecutive matches, beating her in two straight sets in less than an hour. Serena is seeking her seventh U.S. Open title. She has, though, been plagued by back spasms in her last two events.

BERMAN: All right, 35 years after leaving the cast, comedian Eddie Murphy is going back to "Saturday Night Live."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

EDDIE MURPHY, COMEDIAN (singing): (INAUDIBLE) going to get in (INAUDIBLE). Going to make (INAUDIBLE). Yes, going under (ph). (INAUDIBLE) in the hot tub (ph).

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: It's sublime. The best "Saturday Night Live" sketch ever. NBC announced that Murphy will host the show's Christmas episode. Murphy is widely credited with helping save "Saturday Night Live" in the early 1980s. He has not appeared in any sketches since he left in 1984. What caused the rift between Murphy and the show has been the subject of Hollywood legend. One theory was this 1995 joke by David Spade where Murphy's picture was shown as Spade said, look, children, a falling star, make a wish.

CAMEROTA: Mean. That's mean.

BERMAN: Yes.

CAMEROTA: Well we'll see if he does the hot tub revival when he comes back.

BERMAN: Yes. No. Awesome. Worth seeing.

All right, our next guest stunned the political world when he abruptly dropped out of a mayoral race he was seen as winning to seek treatment for post-traumatic stress. Will he make a political comeback? He'll tell us, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:40:15] BERMAN: Former Missouri secretary of state and Afghanistan War veteran Jason Kander has been seen as a rising star in the Democratic Party and was on the verge of become Kansas City's next mayor last year when he made a decision that surprised his supporters. Kander dropped out of the mayoral race to pursue treatment for depression and post-traumatic stress. Now he's fighting for his fellow veterans.

Jason Kander joins me now.

So great to have you on with us. Thank you so much for being with us.

It's been a year since you basically dropped out of the mayoral race. Do you ever look at city hall and think, gosh, I wish I were there?

JASON KANDER (D), FORMER MISSOURI SECRETARY OF STATE: No. Honestly, John, not even a little. And that's not a comment on city hall, that's a comment on how gratifying the work I'm doing now actually is. I mean I'm here at Veterans Community Project where we fill in the gaps in services for my fellow veterans, whether they be homeless or otherwise, and it is really gratifying work. It's something that I'm honored to have the chance to do.

BERMAN: And it's such important work. And I know so many people are grateful that you are doing it.

I just want to give our viewers, who may not know, a sense of where things stood for you. As you were running for mayor in Kansas City, "The New York Times" wrote this just the other day, all that time Mr. Kander said he was racked by nightmares, depression and suicidal thoughts stemming from his time as an Army intelligence officer in Afghanistan. Those symptoms had grown so persistent last year that whenever his wife returned home with the couple's five-year-old son, she made sure to enter the house first in case she found her husband dead inside.

And that was just one year ago. Tell me about your journey from that moment to today.

KANDER: Yes, 2019 has pretty well beaten the hell out of 2018, I'll be honest, you know. I was fortunate -- actually with the help of folks here at the Veterans Community Project, I had the opportunity to very quickly navigate the VA process, which is not always an easy process to navigate. But they helped me do that here. And I got into mental health treatment really quickly. Went to weekly therapy appointments at the VA and it's made an enormous difference in my life. I'm in numerous ways a different person than I was a year ago and I'm grateful for that.

And so our lives, my wife, mine, our son's, even though, you know, all he knows is daddy spends a lot more time with him, all of our lives are very different than they were a year ago.

So, to go back to your question, do I look at city hall and wish I were there? You know, probably the biggest reason I don't look at city hall or at the White House for that matter and wish that I were there or on the way there is just simply that I know that I wouldn't have had the opportunity to improve myself and to take care of my mental health, let alone the chance to do the work that I get to do now.

BERMAN: Look, it's such an important message and no better way to send that message than to lead by example.

Tell me about the Veterans Community Project and how this organization that you are working for can help others who might be in a situation like yours.

KANDER: Well, I really appreciate the question, John.

This is a really special organization. It is -- it was founded a few years ago by a group of combat veterans here in Kansas City, guys my age, who came on and said, you know, there's all these gaps in the system. And rather than advocating for closing those gaps, rather than just complaining about those gaps, they said, I bet we can do this better. And they created two things, a walk-in clinic that serves all vets with whatever need they could possibly have, and a veterans village with tiny houses for homeless veterans.

Now, what that does is it replicates the environment that a lot of folks were in prior to leaving the military, which was sort of the last time they were in a really stable situation. And then what the walk-in clinic does is it brings the community in to serve veterans.

You know, everywhere you go, people want to serve veterans. They want to help people who have fought for this country. But really the most you're ever asked to do is maybe stand up at a ballgame and applaud or, you know, buy somebody a beer in the airport. What we do here is we invite the community in to actually serve veterans in whatever their specialty might be.

And now my job is to expand this nationally across the country. The first place that we're going to expand to is going to be VCP Colorado. But our objective in the short term is to establish this in eight other locations around the country in the next three years. People can help us do that. They can go to veteranscommunityproject.org and make a donation.

BERMAN: People see you leading this organization and they wonder if there is more after this. Would you consider a return to elected office or a run in the future?

KANDER: Well, first of all, I think public service comes in many forms, and I strongly feel that that's what I'm doing now. People ask me all the time, you know, are you back, are you coming back, and I say, yes, I am back. And I'm doing this work leading the national expansion of Veterans Community Project.

[08:45:03] But to not dodge but to actually answer your question, because I'm not running for office, look, there's no part of me that wants to run for office right now. But I'm open to the idea that that could change. But, again, I guess what I would tell you is, is that when you're going through the stuff that I went through for years, there's a natural tendency to focus on the future and to think about what you could do next because it's very difficult to deal with the present because it's full of internal turmoil. I don't feel that way anymore. I don't think about what I'm going to do in a year. I think about what I get to do today. And so instead of being a politician who says, well, I'm not thinking about that right now as a way to dodge your question, I'm actually not thinking about that right now. And I've got to tell you, that feels pretty great.

BERMAN: I didn't think you were dodging for a second there. And you're absolutely right, there are so many ways to lead and you're doing one of them right now.

Jason Kander, thanks for being with us. I appreciate it. And good luck.

KANDER: Thank you, John.

CAMEROTA: What a terrific message and what a beacon for hope. I'm so grateful that he's speaking out because it will help so many people.

BERMAN: Yes.

CAMEROTA: All right, our next guest has made it her mission to meet almost every single presidential candidate in this race. Who has impressed her the most? That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:50:23] CAMEROTA: As the first in the nation primary, New Hampshire plays a pivotal role in the election. And one granite state voter is taking her responsibility very seriously. Fifty-six-year-old elementary schoolteacher Cheri Schmitt has met almost every single candidate running for president this cycle, and there's a lot of them.

BERMAN: Yes, all 76?

CAMEROTA: Yes, all 76 of them.

Cheri voted and canvased for Hillary Clinton in 2016 and she joins us now.

Cheri, great to see you.

Why are you taking the time to meet every single candidate when, you know, weeks from now, maybe days from now, some of them might not be there any longer?

CHERI SCHMITT, NH VOTER HOPING TO MEET EVERY 2020 CANDIDATE: Well, I think it's incumbent on any person who has the chance to participate in our democracy to get to know who their representatives are, who people are who are running for government positions. And I think it's just a fantastic opportunity. New Hampshire is unique in our first in the nation status for our primary, and, you know, I'm not the only person who's doing this. I'm sure there are plenty of other people in New Hampshire who are also doing the same thing I am. It's just, I'm the one who happened to catch the eye of a national reporter and now I'm sitting at CNN. So --

CAMEROTA: So, there you go.

BERMAN: I mean this is quintessential New Hampshire. The difference this time is there are so many candidates. It's one thing to go listen to six or seven. It's another thing to listen to 20 or 25.

What or who has impressed you the most? I mean what do you look for?

SCHMITT: What do I look for? I'm looking for policy. I'm looking for what people are doing to impact other people's lives in the country. I'm looking for a good positive message. I want someone who's uplifting, who can display good leadership qualities.

There's a number of different things that I'm looking for.

CAMEROTA: So, Cheri, since you've met 20 plus of them, who's the best?

SCHMITT: Oh, I can't make that determination. That's up to each individual voter to make.

CAMEROTA: OK, OK, but who's given the best or most compelling performance, say, or who has the best road show? I mean I'm not talking about policy. Just who really does it well campaigning?

SCHMITT: Absolutely. And it's very interesting for me to watch the different campaigns. I mean you have some seasoned, obviously, contenders in the race who have been on the national stage for quite some time. Their campaign staffs are like well-oiled machines. And then you have a number of younger, or newer, I should say, candidates, either new entries into the political field or people who just don't have the national base. And you can see the difference between them.

I'll just give you an example. We did go to see Pete Buttigieg up in Concord right after his CNN town hall. And I think the staff was a little bit caught by surprise -- that was at the Gibson's Bookstore in Concord -- by the turnout. I've seen Mayor Pete since then and obviously his campaign staff has made tremendous strides.

But it was contrasted to the same day we went to see Kirsten Gillibrand at a town hall in Concord as well and her campaign staff had everything down to practically a science in how the crowds were handled and how people were arranged and questions were taken. So it's just -- it's very interesting for me to see the campaigns themselves, how they grow over the course of the cycle.

BERMAN: You know, like any great New Hampshire voter, you have pet peeves, right? You don't like it when the candidates just give their speech and leaves. You want questions, right? You want questions and answers?

SCHMITT: Oh, absolutely. I think, you know, New Hampshire voters are privileged. I don't want to say we're spoiled, but we are -- we're used to having access to the candidates.

BERMAN: I'll say you're spoiled.

SCHMITT: But -- you know, that's OK and that's a fair enough shot. I'll take that.

It's nice. But I think it's also great because, like I stated before in "The L.A. Times" article, I said this -- this was a -- our chance to help the candidates refine their answers, to refine their stage presence. You know, as an English teacher, it's like, you look at things as the rough draft of campaigning, where are they starting and we're -- we're helping them polish to get to their final edit.

CAMEROTA: OK, lightening round. Who has not done something well? I know that you were a little disappointed with Joe Biden. What went wrong there?

SCHMITT: I wasn't disappointed with Joe Biden. I think Joe Biden has got a tremendous amount of strengthen in this field. Obviously he's got a huge amount of foreign policy expertise. And I look at Joe Biden as the -- you know, he's the comfortable candidate. He's got obviously the deepest institutional knowledge in the federal government of the candidates running. He's had administrative experience. He's had Senate experience. He is just a strong candidate all around.

[08:55:15] BERMAN: This is education. This is how voters should approach these elections.

Thank you for what you do. Thank you so much for being with us this morning.

SCHMITT: Thank you. And --

BERMAN: All right, we've got some new information about Tropical Storm Dorian and where it's headed next.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. I'm Jim Sciutto in New York. Poppy has the day off today.

[08:59:48] Right now Puerto Rico is under a state of emergency as Tropical Storm Dorian moves closer to the island. Just a few hours ago, the National Hurricane Center issued a hurricane watch and tropical storm warning for the U.S. territory. People snapping up supplies on the island, all public schools closing early today, shelters have already been opened.

END