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Fiery 2020 Democratic Debate Tackles Health Care and More. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired September 13, 2019 - 04:30   ET



DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: What the University of Tennessee is doing to help down the road.

Welcome back to EARLY START, everybody. I'm Dave Briggs.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Christine Romans. It's just about half past the hour here in New York. Let's begin with the debate, shall we?

A fiery third debate last night with 10 Democrats tangling over a host of issues, health care, guns, race and how far left this party should go. Joe Biden gave a more lively performance than in the first two debates. He and other moderate Democrats defended their ideas for upgrading Obamacare against more progressive proposals.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My plan for health care costs a lot of money. It costs $740 billion. It doesn't cost $30 trillion.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Medicare-for- All. Costs are going to go up for wealthier individuals and costs are going to go up for giant corporations.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I wrote the damn bill, if I may say so.


SANDERS: Intend to eliminate all out-of-pocket expenses.

BIDEN: Well, if you noticed, he hadn't answered the question. This is about candor, honesty, big ideas. Let's have a big idea. The tax of 2 percent that the senator is talking about, that raises about $3 billion. Guess what? That leaves you about $28 billion short.

WARREN: And we just need to be clear about what Medicare-for-All is all about. Instead of paying premiums into insurance companies, and then having insurance companies build their profits by saying no to coverage, we're going to do this by saying everyone is covered.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And while Bernie wrote the bill, I read the bill. And on page eight --


KLOBUCHAR: On page eight of the bill, it says that we will no longer have private insurance as we know it. I don't think that's a bold idea. I think it's a bad idea.

MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D-IN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The problem, Senator Sanders, with that damn bill that you wrote, and that Senator Warren backs, is it doesn't trust the American people.

I trust you to choose what makes the most sense for you. Not my way or the highway.

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I want to give credit to Bernie. Take credit, Bernie. You know, you brought us this far on Medicare-for-All. I wanted to make the plan better which I did, which is about offering people choice, not taking that from them.

BIDEN: Nobody has yet said how much it's going to cost the taxpayers. I hear this large savings. The president think -- my friend from Vermont thinks that the employers is going to give you back if you negotiate as union all these years, you got a cut in wages because you got insurance. They're going to give back that money to the employee?

SANDERS: As a matter of fact they will.

BIDEN: Well, let me tell you something. For a socialist, you've got a -- for a socialist, you've got a lot more confidence in corporate America than I do.


BRIGGS: One cringeworthy exchange on health care getting a lot of attention this morning. A heated back and forth between Joe Biden and Julian Castro who badly needed a breakout moment. Here's Biden describing the public option part of his plan.


JULIAN CASTRO (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You require them to opt in. And I would not require them to opt in. They would automatically be enrolled. They wouldn't have to buy in. That's a big difference because Barack Obama's vision was not to leave 10 million people uncovered. He wanted every single person in this country covered. My plan would do that. Your plan would not.

BIDEN: They do not have to buy in. They do not have to buy in.


CASTRO: You just said that.


CASTRO: You just said that two minutes ago. You just said two minutes ago that they would have to buy in.

BIDEN: You do not have to buy in if you can't afford it.

CASTRO: You said they would have to buy in.

BIDEN: Your grandmother wouldn't have to buy in. If she qualifies for Medicare --

CASTRO: Are you forgetting what you said two minutes ago?


CASTRO: Are you forgetting already what you said just two minutes ago? I mean, I can't believe that you said two minutes ago this health care plan would not automatically enroll you. You would have to opt in. My health care plan would. That's a big difference. I'm fulfilling the legacy of Barack Obama and you're not.

BIDEN: That will be a surprise to him.


ROMANS: Castro clearly making an issue of Biden's age, memory and his propensity for gaffes. But it's important to note Castro was wrong on the substance. Biden explained his plan allows people to choose Medicare but those who qualify for it financially will automatically be enrolled.

BRIGGS: All right. Let's bring in CNN Politics senior writer Zach Wolf. New title for our man.

ROMANS: Hi, Zach.

BRIGGS: Happy Friday, Zach. OK. So let's talk about that exchange between Biden and Castro. What's the net impact of it?

ZACHARY WOLF, CNN POLITICS SENIOR WRITER: I think we'll have to see. I mean, you know, we have seen the Democratic base in polling. They don't seem to care about age.


The top three candidates so far are all in their 70s. So as the younger people on the stage, if they're trying to make an issue of Biden's age, is that going to, you know, have an effect? It hasn't so far. I'm not sure that it will simply because so far in the polling, it doesn't seem to be an issue.

Now it is possible that people just don't want to say it's an issue, and then it ultimately will be. Castro wasn't the only person to kind of go after Biden's age there. After the debate, we saw Cory Booker do it a little bit. So is this going to have a cumulative effect? I think that's possible. But it's not a done thing. We're going to have to see if that something that resonates or not.

ROMANS: We talked to Cory Booker actually. You mentioned Cory Booker. We talked to the senator after the debate. And here's what he said about, you know, sort of like this position they're in where they're trying to highlight policies and their differences but also, you know, be respectful to each other.


SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think that we are at a tough point right now because there's a lot of people who are concerned about Joe Biden's ability to carry the ball all the way across the end line without fumbling. I do think that tone and tenor is really important. That we can respect a President Biden and disagree with him.


ROMANS: I mean, here's the thing. If 10 people on one stage, everyone trying to break out. Did anybody move the needle?

WOLF: I don't think so. I think the person who moved the needle the most was Biden simply by not dropping the ball. We see Booker talking about whether or not Biden can carry the ball across the field, he certainly did that last night. He was able to articulate his points. He seemed energetic. He was out there. Whether or not he is in the same place as the Democratic electorate, you know, he is not for Medicare-for-All, he's not for some of the same big ideas that a lot of the progressives are for, that's a different thing.

And also, I think it's important to note that Cory Booker said he wasn't talking about Joe Biden's age when he was talking about his potential to fumble. He was talking more about the strange things that he says. And where you hear him say things and you're what is he talking about? For instance, when he talked about record players. And everybody in the place was, why is he talking about young people using record players? They don't do that. So I think that's more --

ROMANS: But guess what? There's someone who lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue who also says strange things.

WOLF: That's right.

BRIGGS: Is that right?

ROMANS: I don't know if we're holding Joe Biden to a different standard.

BRIGGS: This just in. All right. We knew gun violence would be a big issue, 38 people shot in mass shootings in the last month. But also 145 CEOs and business leaders from around the country writing to the Senate, asking for expanded universal background checks and red flag laws. The one breakout moment was from Beto O'Rourke.


BRIGGS: Let's play that and get your reaction.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BETO O'ROURKE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In Odessa, I met the mother of a 15-year-old girl who was shot by an AR-15. And that mother watched her bleed to death over the course of an hour because so many other people were shot by that AR-15 in Odessa and Midland. There weren't enough ambulances to get to them in time.

Hell, yes, we're going to take your AR-15, your AK-47.


O'ROURKE: We're not going to allow it to be used against our fellow Americans anymore.


BRIGGS: So it played very well in the room. But the one thing that Americans agree on right now is the expanded background checks, even 8 out of 10 Republicans in the latest polling. How will that take your AR-15 weapons moment play out across the country? He's already selling t-shirts with that on the front.

WOLF: Well, we also saw Donald Trump yesterday say that he might be serious about doing something about background checks, if it's clear that Democrats aren't trying to take people's guns away. So, you can already see what O'Rourke said kind of turn into this divisive thing.

I do think that's important as like a turning point for the Democratic Party, though. I'm old enough to remember John Kerry bending over backwards going on hunting trips so he could, you know, be photographed with guns. And here we have Beto O'Rourke and, you know, Cory Booker and Kamala Harris also agree on this mandatory gun buyback program that has the potentially to really -- you know, I don't want to say taint, but, you know, change the trajectory of what's going on, on Capitol Hill with regard background checks.

BRIGGS: Yes. It's just interesting. That's Texas. Right?


WOLF: Yes.

BRIGGS: I mean, that's gun country right there. And that played very well in that room.

ROMANS: So the Democrats trying to, I guess, define -- use health care to define the debate. You've got this big statement on guns. It's going to animate clearly the Second Amendment crowd who support the president, right? Was there anything that wasn't covered? Did you see something there that you thought was a missed moment or opportunity for the Democrats?

WOLF: I'm not sure about a missed moment. I would have liked to have seen more on climate change.


WOLF: I don't think that they really got into that issue in the way that they maybe could have.


They all agree that something needs to be done on climate change. But how drastic they're going to get. I mean, how much of an existential threat is it if there are grains of existential threats? You know, they could have gotten more into that for me. But, you know, otherwise, on the payment issue for health care, they talked about it a little bit. But they really need to figure that out.


WOLF: You know, Bernie Sanders says that, you know, the lower premiums are going to mean that you pay less and Joe Biden says that the higher taxes mean that you're going to pay more. Both of those things can't be true. They're going to have to sort of fight that out a little bit more at the next debate.

BRIGGS: No mention of impeachment on this night.

ROMANS: No. For sure.

BRIGGS: Zach Wolf, thank you, sir. Have a great weekend.

WOLF: Thanks. You, too.

BRIGGS: All right. Two parents demanding answers from a fertility clinic after finding out their daughter had a different father.



ROMANS: Welcome back. Impeachment was not discussed at the Democratic debate last night. But House Judiciary chairman Jerry Nadler is vowing to oversee an aggressive series of impeachment hearings. His committee has approved a resolution defining the rules of an investigation. The vote gives Nadler the ability to label committee hearings impeachment hearings. That allows for extra levels of investigation. But it remains to be seen whether Democrats can come to a consensus on impeaching the president. Most agree a final decision needs to be made by the end of the year.

BRIGGS: CNN has learned Chief Justice John Roberts changed his mind at the last minute and cast the deciding vote against President Trump's attempt to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. That's according to sources familiar with the private deliberations. It is not the first time the conservative chief justice has made a dramatic about-face on a critical issue to side with liberals. In 2012, of course, he reversed his position and saved President Obama's signature Affordable Care Act. ROMANS: All right. A tropical storm watch now covering parts of east

Central Florida. The system is expected to strengthen into a tropical depression or storm within the next day or so. Today it will bring heavy rain and high winds to the already battered Bahamas and then to Florida through the weekend. The latest now from meteorologist Derek Van Dam.

DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, Christine and Dave. Welcome to the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season. We're monitoring three different disturbances across the Atlantic basin. One newly formed wave just off the west coast of the African continent.

But the more immediate threat we're focusing on is across the Bahamas. We have a 90 percent chance of development over the next five days according to the National Hurricane Center. In fact they have tropical storm warnings in places that have felt the impacts of Hurricane Dorian not two weeks ago in Freeport, into the marsh harbor region, and now we also have tropical storm watches along the U.S. mainland from a space coast southward into Jupiter inlet.

Still a disorganized area of shower and thunderstorm activity, 30 miles per hour, with gusts nearing 40 miles per hour. But as the system moves in a general northwesterly direction, it's anticipated to strengthen, potentially becoming a tropical storm before impacting the southeast coast of the U.S., right along the coastal areas of Florida.

Still some model spread. We're trying to get a handle on this. Mini scenarios that could play out, one thing is for sure, strong, gusty winds and heavy rain into the weekend and early next week.

Back to you.

BRIGGS: OK. Derek, thanks.

Officials have significantly lowered the number of missing in the Bahamas, following Hurricane Dorian. The official count is now 1300, just over half the previous estimate of 2500. One in five Bahamians are now homeless. More than 2100 people remain in shelters. The people still very much in dire straits.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Words can't describe it. I don't wish nothing on nobody.


BRIGGS: Aid is still trickling in. And the U.S. just announcing an additional $4 million in humanitarian assistance. Meantime, Tiger Woods and Justin Timberlake are working to raise money for hurricane relief with a $6 million matching pledge.

ROMANS: Good for them.

All right, 48 minutes past the hour. Popeyes has a quick fix to that chicken sandwich shortage. BYOB, bring your own bun. CNN Business has the details next.



BRIGGS: Sentencing day for Felicity Huffman in the college admission scandal. The "Desperate Housewives" star pleaded guilty for paying $15,000 to a fake charity so a proctor would correct her daughter's answers to SAT questions. Prosecutors have asked for a month in prison and a $20,000 fine. Huffman's lawyers are asking for probation. She says the prosecution's sentencing argument cites previous cases which are very different from hers.

ROMANS: There was no crew member on overnight watch when that Conception dive boat caught fire and sank on Labor Day killing 34 people. That's according to a preliminary NTSB report. The roving crew member is required overnight. According to the report, a sleeping crew member heard a noise, woke up and saw a fire in the salon compartment. An attorney for Truth Aquatics which owns the boat claims a crew member did check the area shortly before the fire ignited. The wreckage has been raised and will be lifted on to a barge and brought inland for further investigation.

BRIGGS: The Centers for Disease Control revising its criteria for vaping illnesses and the number of cases it's counting nationwide. The CDC announced last night there are 380 confirmed and probable cases of lung disease associated with e-cigarette use in 36 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The CDC says it will no longer report, quote, "possible cases or cases under investigation." This week, President Trump announced plans to ban flavored e-cigarettes. The FDA says more than a quarter of high schoolers currently vape, nearly doubling from 2017 to 2018.

ROMANS: A Texas father may have prevented a mass shooting by calling police about his own son. Earlier this month, Ft. Worth Police say earlier this month they received a call from a man who was worried that his mentally unstable 27-year-old son wanted to harm many people. The caller said his son had withdrawn money to buy guns. Police found the man's son trying to buy a gun on the streets after he had been turned down by several businesses based on his background check.


BRIGGS: Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert firing back at "The New York Times" after they reported Baffert's 2018 Triple Crown winning horse Justify should have been disqualified because of a failed drug test. Baffert in a statement through his attorney says he unequivocally rejects the implication he would give Justify or any other horse a banned substance. He blames trace amounts of the drug found in test results on the horse's contaminated feed. Baffert says Justify was drug-tested during the Triple Crown run and wants those results released.

ROMANS: Two New Jersey parents are speaking out to CNN after claiming a mix-up at a fertility clinic left them with a baby with a different biological father. Kristina and Drew Wasilewski, who are now divorced, are suing the fertility clinic. They say by the time their daughter was 2, they noticed she was developing Asian features.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KRISTINA KOEDDERICH, SUING THE INSTITUTE FOR REPRODUCTIVE MEDICINE AND SCIENCE: When she was born, all my friends said, oh, she looks Asian. She looks Asian. So, you know, we were cracking jokes. You know, but, you just figure, every baby like looks different when they're born.

DREW WASILEWSKI, SUING THE INSTITUTE FOR REPRODUCTIVE MEDICINE AND SCIENCE: It's hard. I mean, it hurts every time. It just -- gets to the heart. Just keeps stabbing and stabbing and stabbing. And every day you can't run from this. You can't run.


ROMANS: According to court records, the defendants claim the invitro procedure was done correctly. The defendants suggest an extramarital affair may have led to the birth. A spokesman for the Institute for Reproductive Medicine and Science says, "The integrity of our treatment processes are paramount and we are taking this matter very seriously."

BRIGGS: Spilled coffee in the cockpit, forcing a pilot to divert his Transatlantic flight with 336 other people onboard. Aviation investigators say the flight from Germany to Mexico was forced to land in Ireland back in February. According to their report, the coffee spilled on the audio control panel which started to smoke. They say the equipment became so hot one of the buttons began to melt.

The University of Tennessee offering a free ride to the class of 2032 for an elementary school student bullied for creating this homemade "Tennessee Volunteers" t-shirt. The university says it will cover the cost for the Florida fourth grader if he chooses to attend the school and meets requirements. The boy's story drew national attention when a Facebook post by his teacher went viral. She says he was bullied after clipping a piece of paper with a "UT" design to an orange t- shirt, wearing it on College Colors Day.

ROMANS: All right. Let's get a check on CNN Business this Friday morning. Taking a look at markets around the world. You can see Asian stock markets closed higher and Europe opened mixed. On Wall Street, leaning a little bit higher here. This morning the Dow logged its seventh day of gains in a row, amidst the first de-escalation in the trade war with China. The Dow closed up 42 points now for longest winning streak since early May. The S&P and the Nasdaq also higher.

Also higher, the U.S. budget deficit has topped a trillion dollars and the year is not even over yet. A number of factors are driving the increase, including the 2017 tax cuts and huge spending package passed by Congress. The last time the gap was this big was in 2012 in the aftermath of the financial crisis.

Walmart is expanding its grocery delivery program, going head-to-head with Amazon and Target. Delivery Unlimited will cost 98 bucks a year. It's going to be in 1400 stores over the next few months. Customers can either order their groceries to their home or order them and pick them up at a participating location. The service will compete with Amazon's Prime and Target's shipped service. Walmart says the service will cover more than half of the country they hope by the end of the year.

All right. Couldn't get your hands on that Popeyes chicken sandwich? Well, Popeyes is suggesting a quick fix. BYOB, let's bring your own bun. Popeyes is allowing customers to bring in their own buns, order its three-piece tenders and make their own sandwiches. I don't know if it's like a joke or if it's like poking fun at its own shortage.

BRIGGS: That's right.

ROMANS: Popeyes sold out the sandwich in just two weeks after the heated chicken sandwich war.

BRIGGS: Right. Because is that all the sandwich is?

ROMANS: I don't know. I can't --

BRIGGS: I mean, just not have the mayonnaise and the pickles but --

ROMANS: I can't decide if it's all been a big publicity stunt from the get-go.

BRIGGS: Hard pass for me.

ROMANS: But they certainly are getting a lot publicity.


ROMANS: I love any kind of chicken sandwich. All right, 58 minutes past the hour. We're done for the weekend.

BRIGGS: We agree on that. Hard pass on the BYOB.

ROMANS: Thanks for joining us.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. Four hours of "NEW DAY" right now.

ROMANS: Can you take that much?


KLOBUCHAR: A house divided cannot stand.

BIDEN: They do not have to buy in.

CASTRO: You just said that. Are you forgetting what you said two minutes ago?

BIDEN: It's automatic to do.

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: An honest, tough discussion on guns, criminal justice and war. Those are the issues that people have tried to dance around.

O'ROURKE: Hell, yes. We're going to take your AR-15, your AK-47. We're not going to allow it to be used against our fellow Americans anymore. WARREN: Costs are going to go up for wealthier individuals but for

hard-working families cost are going to go down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We saw really for the first time, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, a bit on the defensive.

BUTTIGIEG: I trust you to choose to make the most sense for you. Not my way or the highway.


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

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: And good extra early morning, everyone. Welcome to your NEW DAY.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: It's a NEW DAY and it's an early day.

CAMEROTA: It is. But it's an exciting day.