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Elizabeth Warren Rises in Polls; Teens Across the Country Threatening School Shootings; Medical Teams in the Bahamas Warn of Continued Health Risks. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired September 18, 2019 - 10:30   ET




POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: Senator Elizabeth Warren is riding a big wave in the new polls. There's a brand-new NBC-Wall Street Journal poll out this morning that shows that she and the vice president, former Vice President Joe Biden, creating a little space at the top. Biden's still on top, at 31 percent. Warren comes in at 25 percent. In the meantime, Bernie Sanders sits at 14 percent.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: That same poll, adding another layer of extra encouragement for the Massachusetts senator, 35 percent of Democratic primary voters say they are enthusiastic about Warren. That's up 9 points since June. You see slightly less enthusiasm for both Sanders and Biden.

Joined now by Jackie Kucinich, Washington bureau chief for "The Daily Beast" and Julie Pace, she's Washington bureau chief for the Associated Press.

So, Julie, seems like two headlines here. I mean, Warren is establishing herself as the strong dark horse here, if you want to call her that, but strong second place in a lot of these polls. That said, Biden does maintain a lead in --


SCIUTTO: -- virtually every poll we see coming out. Tell us what your read is here.

PACE: Yes. I think you're right on both of those counts. I mean, for all of the questions that have been hovering over Joe Biden's campaign, you know, is he as strong as he once was, is he as sharp as he once was, is he liberal enough for a party that is increasingly moving to the left?

He is the frontrunner. He's at the top of virtually every poll that we have seen throughout this year, and that hasn't changed despite Biden coming under pretty fierce attack from some of his rivals, including Castro in the last debate.

But Warren's numbers are on the rise. And one of the things that I think is really interesting about Warren is that you do get this sense of real enthusiasm around her. If you look at her crowds. You know, you can't read too much into crowd size and guarantee that those supporters turn into voters, but that does signal that there is something real going on there, that people are paying attention, that people are interested in what she has to say.

And, you know, in an election that could be decided on the margins, having that little extra boost, you know, really could put her over the finish line in some of these early primary and caucus states.

HARLOW: It's a good point.

And, Jackie, if you dig into this poll a little bit more, here's another number that struck me, 56 percent of the people polled say that they essentially prefer a candidate who has large-scale policy ideas. So the, "I have a plan for that," or Elizabeth Warren saying in the rally last night, like, don't be afraid to go big, it seems like that is playing well amid these voters. Only 40 percent say they want someone with smaller-scale ideas of change.

JACKIE KUCINICH, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, right. And that -- you're exactly right. That is the argument that Elizabeth Warren is making. And you saw her making that during the -- her appearance --


KUCINISH: -- on Colbert the other night because that is -- and that's the argument for her electability, that voters --


KUCINICH: -- want change and they want to move things forward instead of having a steady hand. Now, we don't -- when you look at the different polls, it says different things about who could be electable. But right now, she's built -- part of the reason these crowd sizes are so important right now is because she wants to show that she is electable

Because there is a lot of fear out there among Democrats, that if Warren is at the top of the ticket, that she might not be able to take on Trump in the same way and attract the same -- some of the voters that maybe were Obama-Trump voters, that might be more inclined to vote with someone who's a little more known to them as Joe Biden. But, again, these are -- which is one of the reasons why she's making this argument right now.

SCIUTTO: Yes, no question. All right, so here's another argument we're hearing more often. And that's from a surprising source this time, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who until this point has kind of positioned himself along with Biden as the -- as the, you know, the moderates in this race. Have a listen to him, I want to get your reaction.


PETE BUTTIGIEG (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Every time that we have tried so hard to play it safe, that we put forward the person with maybe the most familiar face, but also the most time in Washington, the most kind of established figure, every single time we've done that, going back to Hubert Humphrey, we've come up short.



SCIUTTO: Now, Julie, he didn't say Biden's name but he was kind of describing Biden.

HARLOW: But he did.

PACE: Yes, it's pretty clear, it's pretty clear who he's talking about there. And this is Buttigieg's attempt to start drawing a contrast with Biden. Because you're right. For several months, they have both been looked at as candidates who are trying to argue that they are consensus candidates, that they are not as, you know, far- left, not as, in their words, extreme as someone like a Warren or a Sanders.

And now, Buttigieg needs to say, OK, fine, I might appeal to you on that front and so does Biden, here's why you should go with me. And he's not actually wrong when he talks about the history of the party. If you look at the election of Jimmy Carter, of Bill Clinton, of Barack Obama, when Democrats do tend to go with a candidate who is outside of Washington, who is younger at the time of their election, they tend to be more successful than when they go with people like John Kerry or Hillary Clinton, real establishment Washington figures.

And so I think you're going to see him really trying to lean into this. He will likely get more explicit as we get closer to the Iowa caucuses. But this is clearly where he sees the daylight between himself and Joe Biden.

KUCINICH: But it is really interesting, and you're seeing this with Warren as well. Buttigieg, Warren, not going right at Joe Biden, not saying his name, not attacking him because they've seen -- in these debates, we saw Julian Castro this last debate --


KUCINICH: -- Kamala Harris. While it worked in the short term, it hasn't seemed to work when you're looking at the polling --


KUCINICH: -- long-term.

Coming at Joe Biden, you know, right? Getting in his face has been detrimental to candidates --

HARLOW: Right.


KUCINICH: -- and -- HARLOW: And we've seen that in this poll, too, with --


HARLOW: -- with Kamala Harris, her numbers down again.

Quickly before we go, let's listen to former President Jimmy Carter on age.


JIMMY CARTER, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I hope there's (ph) no (ph) age limit.

If I were just 80 years old --


-- if I was 50 (ph) years younger, I don't believe I could undertake the duties that I experienced when I was president. For one thing, you had to be very flexible with your mind.


HARLOW: Julie?

PACE: Well, Carter certainly comes at this from the perspective of having been president. But I will say, he echoes something that I hear on the campaign trail a lot, which is that older voters are the ones that tend to raise concerns about candidates' age more than younger voters.

And that's because they know what it's like to be older. They watch their friends, they watch their family. And I talked to one voter recently in New Hampshire, who said, look, I just saw how, over a couple of months, you know someone who's around my age -- I think it was late 70s -- you know, how they changed. And so I think there's something really personal for older voters, when we have this conversation about age.

SCIUTTO: Julie, Jackie, thanks very much.

HARLOW: Very young, very young.

SCIUTTO: Very young, absolutely. No worry about your sharpness of your minds, no question.

HARLOW: Thanks, ladies. Thank you.

SCIUTTO: Still to come this hour, police taking action in three cities after teens are accused of making threats against schools. We're going to have more on that story, coming up.


SCIUTTO: Now, to a disturbing trend happening across the country over just the last few days. This week, there have been at least three incidents of teenagers being arrested for allegedly making threats about school shootings. They are not taking any chances.

HARLOW: They are not. The latest, a student at Fresno High School in California was arrested for making a threat against the school on social media -- our correspondent Omar Jimenez is following the developments -- apparently purchasing an AK-47 and taking video pictures.

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Jim and Poppy. In all these cases, the good news is that these were situations where people saw something they deemed suspicious and said something to law enforcement in these cases.

The one you're referencing is out of Oklahoma. Eighteen-year-old Alexis Wilson was arrested for making terrorist threats against her former high school. According to the County Sheriff's Office arrest report, Wilson had recently purchased an AK-47, showed coworkers videos of herself with the weapon. And according to the arrest report, allegedly told a coworker she was going to shoot 400 people for fun, and that there were so many people at her old school, McAlester High School, that she would like to do it.

TEXT: Police Take Action on School Threats: 18-year-old woman arrested in Oklahoma; Allegedly threatened former high school; Arrest report says she bought an AK-47; Took photos, videos of herself with weapon

JIMENEZ: Police say she told them she was just trying to teach her coworker not to be afraid of firearms. When police got to her home, they found the newly purchased AK-47 and a 12-gauge shotgun in her bedroom. Bond was set at $250,000 during a court hearing Monday. She's due in court again next week. Her attorney hasn't responded to CNN's calls.

TEXT: Police Take Action on School Threats: Three teens arrested Tuesday for making terroristic threats against Desert Hot Springs HS in California; Officers took possession of replica AR-15, a real revolver & a semi-automatic handgun (Source: Assistant City Manager)

JIMENEZ: Then, in Palm Springs, California, three 14-year-olds were also arrested for making terrorist threats against their school there. Now, in this case, this was at Desert Hot Springs High School. The post was actually first reported by a staff member from the school district.

The district then immediately reported it to police, who then say they recovered a revolver, a semiautomatic handgun and a replica AR-15. The three students are in custody, being held as juveniles, all of them charged with making terrorist threats.

TEXT: Police Take Action on School Threats: Student at Fresno High School in California arrested; Police: 16-year-old boy made threats on social media; No weapons recovered

JIMENEZ: And then the final one, also in California, in Fresno, a 16- year-old student was also arrested for making threats on social media against his Fresno high school. The difference here is officers didn't recover any weapons, but the school district there says they take all threats like this seriously and they're investigated right away when reported.


The Fresno School District says they've rolled out a series of PSAs, trying to educate their community on the seriousness of social media threats and, just based on these cases alone, you can see why they're taking it so seriously -- Jim, Poppy.

HARLOW: Unbelievable. Omar, thank you for bringing us all of that reporting. We appreciate it.

SCIUTTO: And they're kids too. I mean, look at the picture, that -- she looks like a little girl.

HARLOW: Yes, I know. I know.

OK, we'll stay on that. Also, infection, high risk of dehydration, just some of the major health concerns in the hardest-hit areas of the Bahamas, two weeks after Hurricane Dorian. CNN travels with volunteer medics, helping the sick and the injured.



HARLOW: All right. Two weeks after Hurricane Dorian hit, there are new serious health dangers for those who survived the storm. The infrastructure has been so damaged in the hardest-hit areas, that it has left people without running water and just basic medical care.

SCIUTTO: CNN, been on the ground there since the beginning. Traveled with a team of volunteer medics as they helped survivors with dealing with a whole range of health issues. Rosa Flores and her team just returned from the Bahamas with video you will see for the first time on CNN. She joins us now live from Florida.

And, you know, Rosa, people imagine the storm passed a couple of weeks ago, therefore, you know, the issues are solved. Of course they're not, for the people on the ground.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Jim and Poppy, there are really so many issues right now, and people are dealing with so much devastation, with so much pain. As you mentioned, for the past two days, we've been embedded with a medical team that has gone door-to- door, asking people if they need medical attention.

And of course, we've seen everything from bruises, aches and pains, infections. One pregnant woman broke down because she was afraid that the hustle and bustle of the evacuation process could lead to a miscarriage.

And of course, there's also the PTSD and the mental health issues because so many of these people survived by wrapping themselves around trees, figuring out ways to -- some of them, tying themselves with extension cords to make sure that their family could stay intact. And this went on for hours.

And as we drove to the east end of Grand Bahama, it really shows the destruction and just how hard-hit that area was. Initially, you just see debris on fences, and then you start seeing the light poles down, and power lines down.

And then you see something really out of this world because the horizon looks like -- imagine a giant cake with a lot of candles, hundreds of candles, except that those are trees that have all been snapped, and they all look like just trees in the horizon.

So, Jim and Poppy, one of the things that I've got to just tell you before I toss back to you is, the medics that we were with, they kept on saying that they could smell the decomposing bodies, yet we could not see any cadaver dogs or any teams out there, looking for these individuals.

And we, of course, know that the death toll is at 50; 1,300 people are considered missing, but you just think of all of those individuals who are still trying to find their loved ones and still grapple with this disaster. It's just a lot to take in -- Jim and Poppy.

SCIUTTO: Two weeks later and they haven't collected the dead. This is just -- it's just -- it's a catastrophe, unfolding before us. Rosa Flores, so good to have you on the ground.


SCIUTTO: We're going to stay on top of this story, going forward, and we'll be right back.


SCIUTTO: Happening this hour on Capitol Hill, lawmakers set to grill a Trump administration official about the mental health needs of migrant children being held in detention centers. And of course, comes in the wake of a recent Inspector General's report that found migrant children who were separated from their parents as part of the administration's controversial zero tolerance policy last year, experienced, quote, "Heightened feelings of anxiety and loss." You can only imagine --


SCIUTTO: -- that would be the case.

HARLOW: Of course they did. Our Elizabeth Cohen is following this hearing and she joins us live with more. Elizabeth, what can you tell us?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Poppy, what I can tell you is that this report, as you've described it, was really quite damning of the administration. It said that these children were terrified, that they suffered post-traumatic stress because of this. They said the children were crying inconsolably.

So today, on Capitol Hill, just moments ago, Democratic Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro said that this was a case of deliberate government- sanctioned child abuse. Let's take a listen.


REP. ROSA DELAURO (D-CT): Children did not just arrive at our border. They suffered by our hands, and they are suffering still due to the long-term mental health trauma. That is not something that we can ignore, or that we can sweep under the rug. We need to stop the pain and the suffering. Caring for the most vulnerable is the most sensitive of our duties.


COHEN: This hearing continues to go on right now, and we're going to listen to see how does the Trump administration official defend this policy -- Jim, Poppy.

HARLOW: I'm glad that they're independently investigating the impact of this on children, because you can only learn from experiences like this.

SCIUTTO: And you read the report, what you hear is that kids imagine that their parents deliberately --

HARLOW: Left them.

SCIUTTO: -- left them. Because they're too young to understand the circumstances --


SCIUTTO: -- and imagine the trauma. I, of course, think of my own kids in that situation.

HARLOW: Everyone does. Elizabeth, thank you very much for that reporting.

And thank you all for being with us. We'll see you back here tomorrow morning. I'm Poppy Harlow.


SCIUTTO: And I'm Jim Sciutto. "AT THIS HOUR" with our colleague Kate Bolduan starts right now.