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Warren Draws Massive Crowd at NYC Rally; Sanders Gets Personal on Campaign Trail; Spicer Makes Debut on "Dancing with the Stars"; SNL Fires Shane Gillis. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired September 17, 2019 - 06:30   ET



CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Two to three inches at a time and that purple area there, guys, that is all 10 inches of rain or greater. This is not Harvey, but this is still a flash flood event for sure for Houston.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK, thank you for the warning, Chad. Keep an eye on it for us.

MYERS: You bet.

CAMEROTA: Thank you.

All right, so a huge crowd turning out for Senator Elizabeth Warren in New York City last night. What does her crowd size say about her campaign? Howard Dean weighs in, next.



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: So, overnight, Senator Elizabeth Warren drawing one of her biggest crowds of her campaign to date. Thousands filled New York's Washington Square Park last night to hear her speech and, frankly, to take selfies with her.

CNN's MJ Lee there in the scene, with us this morning.

MJ, what was that like?

MJ LEE, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, no question that last night was one of Elizabeth Warren's biggest campaign rallies to date. Thousands of people gathering in Washington Square Park for something pretty rare, Warren delivering a speech off of teleprompter.

Now, thematically, the speech was all about anti-corruption, Warren hitting President Trump as being corruption in the flesh. And she pointed to the infamous 1911 fire at a factory around the corner from the park to argue that the same corruption that resulted in so many deaths back then still plagues Washington today.

But this was much more than just an anti-corruption speech. We also saw Warren last night deliver her most forceful general election pitch since she entered the 2020 race. Take a listen to this.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Now, I know what some of you are thinking. I do. Whoa, too much. Too big. Too hard. OK, nobody here, but we know there's some people over there.

People are scared, but we can't choose a candidate we don't believe in just because we're too scared to do anything else.


LEE: So, politically, what this was, was Warren reaching out directly to voters who worry that she is too progressive to be electable. It was also Warren asking voters to vote with their hearts, not their heads. She also went on to say four words that have become a staple in the senator's speeches lately, I am not afraid. Clearly, words that are directed at voters, but also at President Trump.

John and Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: OK. Thank you very much, MJ.

Joining us now is former Democratic presidential candidate, Howard Dean. He's also the former chair of the Democratic National Committee.

Governor, you just said -- when you just heard what she said there, we can't be afraid, you said, whoa. What about her message just got to you?

HOWARD DEAN (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: She's on fire. This actually reminds me of my own campaign in the summer tour, which was almost the highlight of the campaign. We went all through the country with these huge rallies and we ended up in Bryant Park, which was filled.

BERMAN: We have pictures.

CAMEROTA: We have video of it. You all --

DEAN: Yes.

CAMEROTA: Look at this crowd size that you had there in Bryant Park.

DEAN: I mean she is on fire right now, as I was at that time. Now, there's a long way to go here, but she is on fire.

BERMAN: Well, but my question -- OK, two questions. Number one, when you say on fire, what is the enthusiasm, what do the cries tell you on the plus side, but why aren't crowds everything, because obviously you had big --

DEAN: Crowds clearly are not everything. Organization is a lot, which is where we fell down at the -- I had -- there's all kinds of problems that I had in my campaign. It turns -- especially in my ability to turn a corner and begin to look presidential. She looks much more presidential than I ever did.

But, yes, this is not over, but she is really right -- for right now, it would be great to be in her position if I were running.

BERMAN: And that message, that specific sentence that you said wow to --

DEAN: Right.

BERMAN: Seemed to be directed squarely at Joe Biden and Biden supporters. We can't nominate someone we don't like just because we're afraid, basically.

DEAN: Well, that's the -- that's the issue. Everybody wants to beat Trump. I mean that's a -- it's an unusual campaign because beating Trump is the big issue. It's more important than particularly where you are on the (INAUDIBLE).

What she is making the case for is you can have both. It may be true. It may be that deep authenticity touches people in a way that beats Trump. You can't beat Trump by being calculated or trying to be a little like, you know, move to the middle and all this crap. People want somebody who's authentic and tough. And I think there's more than one candidate in the race that is authentic and tough. But that really sets the -- I mean she has laid out the dilemma for Democratic voters. And she has to convince people now that not only is she the real thing, which I think she has convinced people, but she can also beat Trump. And I -- and I am not afraid is the word -- is the phrase that beats Donald Trump, no matter where you are in the political spectrum.

CAMEROTA: Well, speaking of authentic and tough, Congressman -- former Congressman Beto O'Rourke seems to be diving into those two characteristics, and he has really kind of peeled off the muzzle that most politicians wear when it comes to profanity or cursing. So here's a little montage for your breakfast cereal.


BETO O'ROURKE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Don't know what the motivation is, do not yet know the firearms that were used or how they acquired them, but we do know this is (EXPLETIVE DELETED).


O'ROURKE: We do know --

He's been calling Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals. I don't know -- like, members of the press, what the (EXPLETIVE DELETED)?

All of you showing the country how you do this. I'm so (EXPLETIVE DELETED) proud of you guys.


CAMEROTA: What do you think of that strategy? All right, I mean, I don't even know if it's a tactic or a strategy, just the fact that he's going there.


DEAN: You know, I don't know what to think. I've never met Beto. I know people who think very, very highly of him as a compact sort of thoughtful policy guy. So I'm kind of waiting to see if this works. I don't know if it's going to work or not, but I -- my own feeling about him never having met him but talk to a lot of people who do know him and know him well and who I have enormous respect for who are smart, I think this is a guy who has underperformed so far. And if this is the way to get to where you need to get to, I -- look, I think we have a long way to go in this campaign. People keep asking me about the top five, the top six. I think there's somebody that's going to come out of the pack that nobody expects.

CAMEROTA: You do? You think there's still time for somebody that nobody expects to rise to the top of the pack?

DEAN: Absolutely. I -- I think it could even be somebody who was not on the debate stage the last time. I mean it --

CAMEROTA: How do they do that?

DEAN: They have to raise $25 million. That's the entry fee. That is the --

BERMAN: Oh, just $25 million?

DEAN: That's the entry fee for Iowa.

But, you know, it's happened. I mean, you know, look at -- we came from nowhere. Nowhere. Nobody -- you know, a state of 600,000 people and we were leading the pack in June. So, I mean, that came -- but that also came from raising money and a very powerful message.

Well, Beto has a powerful message now.

BERMAN: Can I go back to the fear thing again?

DEAN: Yes.

BERMAN: Because I know that upsets the Biden campaign more than anything, the idea that his support is based on anything other than people wanting Joe Biden to be president. You know, the idea that they don't know why they're supporting Biden other than they're afraid that Trump will win.

DEAN: No, I don't think that's true. I think there are people who genuinely like Joe Biden. And I think Joe Biden has a number of attributes. But probably the most important attribute is that he was Barack Obama's vice president. Barack Obama is still the most popular Democrat in the United States of America.

CAMEROTA: Next to Michelle Obama.

DEAN: Well, next to Michelle Obama, yes, that's true. So, I mean, that's a huge plus for him.

Look, I -- you can never say that -- that somebody's -- if Joe Biden were only popular because people were afraid that everybody else wasn't going to win, he wouldn't be leading. So I don't -- I mean, yes, it's a good point for Elizabeth to bring up. I don't think -- I don't think Joe has that to worry about.

CAMEROTA: Governor Howard Dean, great to get your insights in all this.

DEAN: Thanks. Thanks.

CAMEROTA: Thanks so much for being here.

BERMAN: Can't wait to hear what the governor has to say about this video.



BERMAN: The direct quote from Governor Howard Dean, oh, God. That was Sean Spicer doing a salsa. We will break down all of the moves and the outfit.

CAMEROTA: (INAUDIBLE) thumbs up. What do you rate him? What do you give him? One to ten?

DEAN: I don't know, I've never seen this program. I was asked to be on it, and on the advice of my wife I said absolutely not.

BERMAN: Good advice.

CAMEROTA: Good thinking.

BERMAN: That's next.



BERMAN: Later today, Senator Bernie Sanders and several of the other Democratic candidates for president will attend a union event in Philadelphia. The Vermont senator has been holding some more intimate town halls in his second run at the presidency, and in some cases he's had some deeply personal moments with supporters.

CNN's Ryan Nobles live with the details here.

A very different type of interaction this time for the Vermont senator.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: That's absolutely right, John, and there's one moment in particular from these intimate town halls that stands out, a veteran struggling to pay his medical bills tells Bernie Sanders he's considering suicide. It's just one example of how this new approach to the Sanders' campaign is revealing a different side of the candidate.


NOBLES (voice over): An emotional moment on the trail.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm a -- I'm a Navy veteran. I served 20 years. I served in Iraq.

NOBLES: Highlighting a new wrinkle with Bernie Sanders' campaign for president.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I was supposed to be given health care, free health care for life for being a veteran.

SANDERS: I'm looking at a bill that says account balance $139,000. How are you going to pay off --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't. I can't. I'm going to kill myself. I'm --

SANDERS: All -- John, stop it. You're not going to kill yourself. All right, so --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't deal with this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have Huntington's disease. Do you know how hard that is? You know, you probably don't, do you? I can't drive. I can barely take care of myself.

SANDERS: All right, let's talk later at the end of the meeting, OK?



NOBLES: A promise Sanders kept, speaking one on one with the veteran afterward.

In 2016, the Sanders' campaign was centered around large, raucous rallies, backed by thousands of enthusiastic supporters who came to hear what the candidate had to say.

In 2020, Sanders has turned the tables. He is the one listening. And in town hall after town hall --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My name is Wendolyn Emerites (ph), and I want to address ageism.

NOBLES: His campaign stops have become more personal, his supporters sharing their stories of hardship.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My husband lost his job. Then he became disabled. We have been in the disability process for two years. We are a week away from losing our home to auction. I'm sorry.

NOBLES: And Sanders takes it all in, a candidate known for his prickly demeanor, offering words of comfort and a promise to make things better.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The drug prices are so high that I have an incident from the military that the military government does not cover my medication. It costs me $900 for five pills every month. $900. I served this country. I stood in the war for this country. And I need to know, what are you going to do about it?

NOBLES: For Sanders, hearing these stories has only strengthened his resolve to push for his signature campaign issues like Medicare for all.

SANDERS: It is hard to hear directly from people about the pain that they are experiencing. You know, there is the people that I have talked to who have lost children because they could not afford the health care that they needed.

NOBLES: Sanders argues that the growing American economy and thriving stock market don't tell the full story of the struggles across the country.


These poignant anecdotes reflect that pain.

SANDERS: When one person stands up and says I can't afford to go to the doctor, millions of people start nodding their heads because that is the reality facing a whole lot of people in this country. But we don't bring about change unless people stand up, tell the truth.


NOBLES: And, keep in mind, Sanders has the ability to spend a lot more time hosting town halls and round table discussions like these because he spends no time raising money. Sanders draws almost all of his fundraising from small, online -- or online small dollar donations. Instead of spending his time reaching out to big donors, Sanders can focus all of his energy on the campaign trail.


CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh, Ryan, these personal stories are heart- wrenching. I mean, Huntington's disease, that is one of the cruelest you could have. It's really moving to watch the senator reply to all of those. So thank you very much.

NOBLES: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: On a much lighter note, call him Sean spice girl. BERMAN: Oh, God.

CAMEROTA: Yes. Watch this.


CAMEROTA: The former White House press secretary makes his debut on "Dancing with the Stars," and you won't be able to unsee it.



BERMAN: All right, here it is, the moment you may or may not have been waiting for. Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on "Dancing with the Stars."


BERMAN: All right, Spicer performed a salsa routine to the Spice Girls song --

CAMEROTA: Perfect.

BERMAN: "Spice Up your Life."

CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh, this is perfect.

BERMAN: While dressed in something.

Joining us now is CNN chief media correspondent, host of "Reliable sources," Brian Stelter.

Now, Brian, Twitter tells me I'm supposed to be outraged --


BERMAN: By this. I will tell you that I can't, you know, vouch for the outfit. The outfit is inexplicable, unjustifiable. But the dancing doesn't suck.

STELTER: Oh, I was going to say the only thing I can praise him for is the outfit.


STELTER: But, hey, that's the beauty of "Dancing with the Stars." That's why this show has been on so many years. They're always trying to top each season by bringing on new celebrities.

And, look, I do think -- I love bad dancing as much as anybody, but I don't think it's a joke to put Spicer on this show. He was Mr. Misinformation, working for a president who was trying to tear down the American news media. To have ABC put him on and make entertainment out of it, to make light out of it, I do think that's troubling and I think a lot of viewers are kind of holding their nose. But then, you know, you see him come out there in that outfit, which I

would never be able to wear, and I've got to give him credit for the confidence.

Now, it's that same kind of confidence --


STELTER: That lets him go out there and lie to the public. But this -- he was able to get out there and have fun.

CAMEROTA: All right. Well, John and I are in the camp that he actually did better than you'd think, that he danced better --

STELTER: So you think he's going to be on the show for a while, because the guess has been, oh, he was only going to make it a week or two.

CAMEROTA: Well, I don't know how --

STELTER: He's not going to survive "Dancing with the Stars."

CAMEROTA: I don't know how long he'll be on the show, but what I want to know is why is he on the show? Is this -- why did he make this decision? Is this going to rehabilitate something?

STELTER: I remember an ABC source saying to me when he was hired for the show, this is not "Dancing with the Stars." It's dancing with the down and out. This is a show you choose when you don't have a lot of other options in TV.

CAMEROTA: But then what? What does it -- what does it -- you parlay this into what?

STELTER: I don't think you -- I -- nothing specific. Nothing specific. I think this is a short-term payday for Spicer and a way to get his name back out there. What that leads to, I have no idea, and I don't think he knows either.

BERMAN: Look, at least it wasn't "Survivor." He's wearing clothes here.

STELTER: But at least he won't come away --

CAMEROTA: It wasn't "Naked and Afraid," thank you.

STELTER: And, you know what, again, to his credit, he will come away knowing more about how to dance. Those are life skills. That's a valuable lesson.

CAMEROTA: Wow, you're really spinning this to his benefit.

STELTER: I'm trying. I'm trying to play press secretary.

BERMAN: All right, Shane Gillis --


BERMAN: The comedian, "Saturday Night Live" --

STELTER: Yes, more serious.

BERMAN: Severed ties with him completely. Why now, like eight days into the controversy?

STELTER: Right. They hired him last week. Then all of a sudden folks on social media found bigoted, racist comments he had made on a podcast. These were not jokes he was delivering. These were just dumb, racist comments that he was making, trying to -- trying to please his friends on this podcast.

So this came out right away. And "SNL," for some reason, says they didn't know about it. NBC came out yesterday and said he's off the show and they apologized for not vetting him, not having found these racist comments in the vetting.

I think it's embarrassing for NBC that they didn't find this ahead of time. But there's an interesting debate I think about whether he should have been -- fired or not. You know, in the court of public opinion, anything you say and do will be held against you. Everybody knows at this point.

CAMEROTA: But even for comedians, I mean, don't they have a different bar? Don't -- shouldn't we hold them to a different standard? Aren't they supposed to be more provocative and outrageous and even offensive?

STELTER: And even offensive. I absolutely agree. I just think that what he was saying on this podcast, especially about Chinese- Americans, it wasn't -- it wasn't really, you know, trying to be funny, it was just trying to be -- trying to be hateful in a way.

BERMAN: It wasn't really part of a comedy routine.

STELTER: It wasn't really part of a comedy routine. And that's the key point. You know, now "SNL" will probably go back and find another comedian. But I think this is all about the marketplace. And that's true for Sean Spicer and "Dancing with the Stars," and it's true for Shane Gillis on "SNL." There's a marketplace for these shows. The marketplace decides. In this case the marketplace decided. NBC decided.

BERMAN: Rob Schneider, former "SNL" cast member says, "as a former SNL cast member, I am sorry that you had the misfortune of being a cast member during the era of cultural unforgiveness where comedic misfires are subject to the intolerable inquisition of those who never risked bombing on stage themselves."

STELTER: See, I disagree. I think he will have an audience. I think Shane Gillis will go out there, he'll make shows, he'll make something. He'll maybe be on other podcasts. He'll still have a career, but "SNL" doesn't want to be associated with him, and that's "SNL's" right. CAMEROTA: OK. Brian Stelter, thank you very much --

STELTER: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: For the snap critique of Sean Spicer and Shane Gillis.

BERMAN: And tomorrow you'll be in ruffles, I'm told reliably.

STELTER: I -- do you think I could.

CAMEROTA: Florescent.

BERMAN: Look, if Sean can do it, anyone can, honestly.

Breaking details this morning. CNN is getting new information about the attack on the Saudi oil facility, where the missiles came from.


NEW DAY continues right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BERMAN: All right, welcome to our viewers.