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Pence and Pompeo Dispatched to Turkey; Iowa Voters on Democratic Debate; Nationals on Way to World Series; Ocasio-Cortez, Omar and Tlaib to Endorse Sanders. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired October 16, 2019 - 06:30   ET




JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: New this morning, Vice President Mike Pompeo and the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, are heading to Turkey to try to sell the president there, Erdogan, on a cease-fire in northern Syria. Again, a cease-fire after an offensive that began only after President Trump surprised his own military by ordering the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops.

CNN's Nick Paton Walsh has the very latest. He joins us this morning from Iraq.

A peace effort, Nick, for something that began nine days ago that a lot of people think the U.S. helped start.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. The U.S. in this impossible position of their own making, frankly, trying to undo the damage done in that phone call last Sunday night between Trump -- President Trump and President Erdogan.

Mike Pence and Mike Pompeo really trying to discuss with the Turkish government here the idea of them stopping this operation despite the fact that President Erdogan has explicitly said today they continue to carry on, dismiss the cease-fire. And given what he calls the terrorists, that's the Syrian Kurds who the U.S. are fighting ISIS alongside for so many years until midnight to lay down their arms.

Bear in mind, Turkey has not really established its goals yet. It still wants much more of the border area between Turkey and Syria under its control. And things appear to be moving relatively fast still, yet with the Russians now assisting the Syrian regime, who were assisting those Syrian Kurds in that particular fight.

So deep concerns still for the civilians during all of this and an incredibly tough lift now for U.S. diplomacy, particularly given Turkey's hard lines here. They really have little to gain, frankly, from not pursuing those gains further. They have seen sanctions laid in by the United States that were comparatively toothless, not the economic obliteration that Donald Trump threatened him with. And I think all eyes now are really on this meeting that may happen in the days ahead between President Vladimir Putin of Russia and President Erdogan of Turkey. He is the king maker here, it seems, Putin, inviting Erdogan to come to Moscow to have a discussion, his forces, mediating along the lines between the Syrian regime, now backing the Syrian Kurds, who used to be America's ally, and Turkish military forces whose fighting is mostly being done on the ground now by their proxies, Syrian rebels who they have been assisting, who a U.S. official described to me as mostly extremists.

So great complexity here. The major problem being we're looking to diplomacy to happen today between the United States as a mediator who will be mediating between two sides who don't appear ready to listen. The Syrian Kurds feel betrayed by America and Turkey has already said it's simply not interested.

So it all really goes to this Moscow meeting and the frantic moves we'll see on the ground to seize territory before that meeting in the Kremlin, who it seems now are stepping into the role of the ones who sort of certify the final decisions on borders.


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Nick Paton Walsh, thank you for explaining all of that, all of the complications. And we'll see if Vice President Pence can make any headway in that atmosphere. We'll check back with you.


This morning, hazmat and environmental officials are assessing the health threat from this huge fire that tore through an energy facility about 30 miles northeast of San Francisco. More than 200 firefighters battled to contain these flames, which burned 250,000 gallons of ethanol that sent a huge plume of dark smoke into the sky. A shelter in place order there has been lifted. No injuries reported.

BERMAN: New comments this morning from LeBron James on the NBA/China controversy that he really became part of. James faced backlash for saying Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey was misinformed when Morey tweeted support for pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. This is what James now says.

All right, I don't have it in front of me, exactly what he said, but I believe he was suggesting that we are not politicians and he did suggest that athletes -- he says, I won't talk again, James says, because I would be cheating his teammates, but there are still questions about what exactly he meant when he said that Morey was misinformed for expressing support for democracy protesters. And, really, you know, James is the biggest face in the NBA, one of the biggest faces in sports. So when he entered this controversy, it reignited it after it had sort of died down a little.

CAMEROTA: Yes, I like when you tell me how to feel about a sports story. So how should I feel about this one?

BERMAN: I think you should be inquisitive and curious about why the instinct of LeBron James was to question somebody who was standing up for democracy.


BERMAN: What were the motivations there and was LeBron James fully thinking through the implications of what he was saying?

CAMEROTA: That's a natural fit. Thank you.

BERMAN: All right, they are Washington, D.C.'s -- by the way, you've never asked me before what you should think about anything.

But they are Washington D.C.'s legion of broom (ph). The Washington Nationals headed to their first-ever World Series. The "Bleacher Report" is next.



CAMEROTA: Here's an interesting segment for you. CNN's Gary Tuchman has followed the very same group of undecided Iowa voters through all four Democratic presidential candidates. So far Elizabeth Warren has been their consensus favorite. So after last night, do they still feel that way? Let's find out.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): When we met this group of loyal Iowa Democratic voters in June, they were all undecided on who they would support in the first in the nation Iowa caucuses.

TUCHMAN (on camera): We've now been with you for four debates. The first three debates, the consensus winner of each of the debates was Elizabeth Warren, according to all of you. Tonight, who was the consensus winner?

We will start with you, Ed.

ED CRANSTON, IOWA VOTER: I'd say Warren and Klobuchar.

MIRA BOHANNAN KUMAR, IOWA VOTER: I thought Booker and Klobuchar had the best night.

RUTHINA MALONE, IOWA VOTER: Warren and Klobuchar.



TUCHMAN: Booker and Warren.

SCOTT CARPENTER, IOWA VOTER: Booker, Klobuchar, and Buttigieg.


JANICE WEINER, IOWA VOTER: Castro, Klobuchar, and Booker.

TUCHMAN (voice over): Elizabeth Warren got five mentions. HIATT: She's able to respond intelligently with the different attacks

and with the ideas that are going on out there.

MALONE: Sometimes the look on her face was almost like, oh, wait, me this time? But she was able to come back and keep her cool and get her message across without diving into that fray of attacking them back.

TUCHMAN: But this time Warren is sharing the position of favorite. Amy Klobuchar got the same number of mentions.

KUMAR: She was intelligent. She was answering the questions. She wasn't dodging anything. And she was, you know, sticking to being honest and clear and forthright.

S. CARPENTER: She spoke clearly. She -- you know, she was trying to also bring people together. And that's why I liked Booker as well.

TUCHMAN: And Cory Booker was a close third among this panel.

WEINER: He comes across as truly believing in what he's saying. And it's not the real (ph) talking points.

TUCHMAN: During our four visits with this group, only one person has thought Joe Biden did the best job. And that was Eugene Malone after the first debate. But this time --

MALONE: He didn't do the best.

TUCHMAN (on camera): And why is that?

MALONE: He was just a little off. I mean the last several times, for me, he just seemed a little off.

TUCHMAN (voice over): But the group agreed with this.

TUCHMAN (on camera): How do you think Joe Biden handled the situation with his son Hunter and the Ukraine issue?

L. CARPENTER: I think he handled it reasonably well and gave it the time that it deserved. It needed to be addressed and then set aside.

TUCHMAN (voice over): Nobody here selected Bernie Sanders as the top debater. But the consensus is, he's improved.

CRANSTON: I think it was very important that he do a good job tonight, because he had kind of a raspy voice last time. He had the heart attack. And he came back and he was -- had a nice debate.

TUCHMAN (on camera): What about Kamala Harris? How come no one's mentioned her?

L. CARPENTER: Well, I think we've heard her talking points well before many times.

KUMAR: I feel like I've heard the story about her mother every debate. And I just -- I know it. Like, I know it by heart right now. S. CARPENTER: She's saying the same stump speech over and over.

TUCHMAN (voice over): Although our panelists started off undecided in June, after the last debate, Temple Hiatt said she decided on Elizabeth Warren.

TUCHMAN (on camera): My question for the other seven of you, after this debate, have any of you made a decision?




TUCHMAN: All undecided still?

Could you change your mind after the next debate in November?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A lot closer to caucus night.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, let's get it down to seven (INAUDIBLE).


TUCHMAN: Stay tuned.

TUCHMAN (voice over): The next debate is November 20th.

Gary Tuchman, CNN, Iowa City, Iowa.



BERMAN: That is classic Iowa shopping right there.

All right, for the next week, there might be something people in Washington, D.C., can agree on. That would be the Washington Nationals. They are going to the World Series.

Andy Scholes has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report."

Really fun, Andy.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Yes, good times in D.C. this morning, John. And for the first time in their 51-year history, only been in D.C. since 2005, but the Nationals franchise is going to be playing in their first ever World Series. They were up 3-0 on St. Louis coming into the game last night and the fans in D.C., well, they were ready to party.

You see the whole stadium getting into it. Bottom of the sixth, Gerardo Parra pinch hitting it. He has "Baby Shark" as his walkup song as for kids. As you saw, the stadium loved it. Parra would single that at bat -- at bat. It wasn't a big moment in the game, but definitely the most fun. The Nationals dominating this NLCS. They never trailed in any of the four games. They complete the sweep of the Cardinals.

And, of course, the party was on in the clubhouse after the game. And it's just been such a great turnaround for this franchise. The Nationals left for dead back in May when they were 12 games under 0.500 (ph). But, since then, they've been one of baseball's best teams.

And the party probably still going on in D.C. this morning. And, oh, by the way, it's Bryce Harper's 27th birthday. He, of course, left the Nationals to sign that mega $300 million deal with the Phillies before this season.

Now, the Nationals will now await the winner between the Astros and the Yankees. Houston ace Gerrit Cole getting the job done in game three. Pitched seven scoreless innings to lead the Astros to a 4-1 win. Cole has not lost a game since May 22nd. 19-0 in his last 25 starts.

Game four scheduled for tonight at Yankees Stadium, but bad weather in the forecast. Good chance the game gets rained out and moved to Thursday. If that happens, John, that means they'd have to play Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday. Definitely would benefit the Astros because the Yankees need that bullpen in order to win.

BERMAN: Look, Gerrit Cole, good at baseball, it turns out. The Washington Nationals, congratulations to you. And to expos (ph) fans everywhere, to your legacy and the World Series you deserved to win in 1994.

Andy Scholes, thank you.

SCHOLES: All right.

CAMEROTA: Do you like this dance move?

BERMAN: The baby shark?

CAMEROTA: It's pretty easy to master.

BERMAN: I was a big fan of baby shark. Yes. I thought that was -- yes, uplifting.

CAMEROTA: It's very catchy.

All right, meanwhile, Senator Sanders is holding a big rally in New York this weekend where he's expected to roll out a major endorsement. We'll tell you from whom, next.



BERMAN: Bernie Sanders back on the debate stage last night, just weeks after suffering a heart attack. Impressive in and of itself.

CAMEROTA: And looking great.

BERMAN: Absolutely.

CAMEROTA: And just as rigorous as ever.


CAMEROTA: OK. If you say so.


CAMEROTA: I don't know if I would use the term "spry" for Bernie Sanders, but definitely gave a vigorous, energetic debate.

BERMAN: Some say spry.

It is what happened after the debate that is garnering, though, the most attention for Bernie Sanders.

CNN has learned that Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and two members of her so-called squad, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, they will endorse Bernie Sanders at this big rally here in New York City this weekend.

Back with us now, CNN commentator Bakari Sellers, who has endorsed Senator Kamala Harris, CNN political analyst April Ryan and CNN political commentator Angela Rye.

Angela, this is, you know, three endorsements in one day from the progressive wing of the progressive wing of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party.

ANGELA RYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: All right, John, all of the progressive wings.

BERMAN: What does it do?

RYE: I think it is phenomenal for Senator Sanders. I think if we are very honest, not the so-called squad, the real squad, who -- and they've engaged an entire squad of folks all over the country who have been disenchanted with politics.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has a tremendous following. And when you consider the work of Ilhan Omar and the work of Rashida Tlaib and the ways in which they engage the political process, very authentically, and in their most transparent truthful selves, I think that it does a lot for his base. And it goes right to the heart of the age issue that we started talking about yesterday on this network.

APRIL RYAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: So Angela has all these unicorns and flowers and butterflies on this. I'm -- I'm glad. But there is --

RYE: That's a little shady this morning.

RYAN: It wasn't --

RYE: (INAUDIBLE), is that what's going on?

RYAN: No shade. No shade. No, but, seriously, you -- that was very glowing, but there is a negative or two.

One, you have people who are traditionalists in the Democratic Party who feel that these three or four kind of have shifted the party from what it was.

RYE: Ayana's (ph) not an endorsement list (INAUDIBLE).

RYAN: Well, yes. Well, so is three. So -- so the bottom line is, when you look at this group, it depends on where you sit in the spectrum.

RYE: Absolutely.

RYAN: But it is great to energize his campaign. But there is also another negative. Omar has some very personal issues right now. And that's on the forefront. So we have to see how this plays --

RYE: Is it?

RYAN: Yes, it is. So --

RYE: And I feel -- I really feel like it's on the forefront of like a right wing thing though (ph).

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN COMMENTATOR: Right, but I think -- I think -- I think that -- I think that both of you guys are --

RYAN: Well, no, no, no, but -- but --

SELLERS: I think that both of you guys are correct here because Bernie Sanders, who has seen some slippage, and it -- it --

RYE: Yes.

SELLERS: Whether or not it's being taken by Elizabeth Warren or whomever, I think this will stop that. And I think that those very liberal voters, you know, we see all these polls and we see him declining in very liberal and progressive voters. I think you will begin to see that hemorrhaging stop.

The star power, this rally is going to be amazing with these individuals.

RYE: That's right.

SELLERS: It's going to be excitement. Bernie Sanders did an awesome job last night. I mean, I think that there was a lot of, you know, a lot of expectation, a lot of concern around Bernie Sanders. And people know that I'm not somebody who heaps praise on Bernie Sanders all the time. But I have to last night because he came ready to play. He was very good. He was on message. And if anybody has a message --

RYAN: Three hours.

SELLERS: If anybody has message discipline, it's Bernie Sanders.

RYE: He -- I just --

SELLERS: I do think that April is -- I do think that April does have a point, though, because Bernie Sanders' problem has never been the progressive wing of the party. He will utilize this to shore this up.

What this doesn't help, though, is Bernie Sanders has a South Carolina Super Tuesday problem, right? And he had that back in 2016. That problem still remains there today. He has a problem with black voters. He has a problem specifically with black older voters.

CAMEROTA: But why wouldn't this help these women of color in Congress endorsing him? It wouldn't help that problem?

SELLERS: No, and I -- I actually think -- I actually think that there are some endorsements that would help. I think that Marsha Fudge, I know that she's already with Senator Harris, and a Barbara Lee, et cetera. Maxine Waters, for example. I actually think that one of the largest endorsements in this Democratic primary, I love AOC and I love -- I love the squad and I know Ayanna Presley is doing her own internal politics in Massachusetts. But I think one of the largest endorsements, especially when you're talking about South Carolina and Super Tuesday, is Maxine Waters.

RYAN: Yes.

SELLERS: I think because the voter is older and I think because there is an older black female voter, they will be more receptive to a Maxine Waters than they are now.


I don't want to dilute that this is a big moment for Bernie Sanders campaign. It is. I'm just saying that I don't think this is the panacea for all his problems.

RYAN: But we saw it coming.

RYE: And before you get to -- before you even get to South Carolina Super Tuesday, right, he has a bigger problem.

SELLERS: Correct.

RYE: The bigger problem he has stood on that stage flat-footed and fought and was a clear frontrunner last night. That's Elizabeth Warren. This absolutely dilutes her lead if he continues to gain traction with those folks. And we have to be honest, as much as he is progressive, she's chipped right away at --

SELLERS: This is a positive for --

RYE: Yes.

SELLER: I mean this is a --

RYE: That's --

SELLERS: This is a positive. And I -- and I am more happy that they are not on the sidelines and kind of, you know, some members want to play coy. I'm glad they're in the fray. And I'm glad they're endorsing because they bring so many people to the -- to the process.

RYAN: But both of the candidates, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, did court AOC. And I'm wondering what the tipping point was for her to go to Bernie Sanders.

CAMEROTA: Yes, that would be --

BERMAN: It's a good question. It's a good question.


RYAN: Yes, I know I'm -- yes.

CAMEROTA: This weekend we may hear that.

Let's talk about what could be Joe Biden's problem, and that's money.



CAMEROTA: So, last night, after the debate, it was announced that he only has $9 million on hand. Let's put it up. So that is compared to Sanders' $33.7 million, Warren, $25.7 million, Buttigieg, $23.4 million, Harris, $10.5 million. Then Biden basically $9 million. Why so little?

SELLERS: His burn rate's extremely high. But even more importantly -- and we have to talk about there are different types of money in this race, because Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders can print money. They can go back to their donors. They had a large number of small dollar donors. Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris, and Joe Biden have larger donors. And it's very hard to max -- you can't max out more than once. So it's very hard to go back to those people.

But what this is showing is that Pete is formidable, especially in Iowa, to Bernie Sanders -- I mean to Joe Biden. And if Joe Biden slips, this is why I think Kamala Harris and Cory Booker still stand a chance of winning this nomination. If Joe Biden continues to slip, the people who will pick up those black votes are not Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg. I'm sorry to rain on people's parade this morning.

BERMAN: Because?

SELLERS: These people -- if you -- as you come through the south, as you come through Super Tuesday, the SEC primary, those people are going to be Cory Booker or Kamala Harris.

RYAN: I don't know. SELLERS: My mama and her friends, I keep saying --

RYAN: Your mama and your friends -- her friends.

SELLERS: And her friends are the people who choose the Democratic nominee (ph).

RYAN: I don't know. I'm just going to say this, we are how many months into it and, I mean, and I'm looking at Obama, comparing it to Obama and when he ran. But we're how many months into it? The black vote is just not there right now but for --

RYE: But it was a (INAUDIBLE) --

RYAN: Wait, wait, wait, for -- for --

SELLERS: But it wasn't for --

RYAN: Wait, wait, I know, until Iowa.

RYE: Iowa. Yes.


RYAN: I know. And then South Carolina with Bill Clinton.

But, at the same time, I mean, but what is it? What is it that -- that -- that is not -- they don't have the glue yet. And I don't know what it is.

SELLERS: But neither did Barack Obama. And I'm not saying they are Barack Obama --

RYAN: I know. I understand. But they're not Barack Obama. There's a difference there.

SELLERS: They (INAUDIBLE) exactly (ph).

RYAN: They're shouldn't have to be. They're totally different. Even though they try to take some of his, I guess, political theology and the way he tried --

SELLERS: But I'm -- wait a minute -- wait -- I don't understand.

RYAN: I just don't -- I'm going to say this. I have heard from being in the HBCU community. A lot of HBCU-ers are like, oh, I don't know yet. You know, you've got a lot of Greeks, hmm, I don't know yet. And those are -- that's their base.

SELLERS: But they're --

RYE: Well --

RYAN: And that's what I just -- I just -- I'm just not getting it yet.

RYE: And I -- I appreciate that. I think that this is where I would -- I definitely agree with you. I think that there is a clear gap. When you look at that graphic again, if they can pull it back up, with Kamala Harris' cash on hand, right -- thank you very much.

SELLERS: There you go. Look at that.

BERMAN: TV star.

RYAN: Angela asked and it shall be given.

RYE: Thank you very much.

RYAN: IT shall be given.

RYE: When you -- when you look at this, though, and you compare Kamala Harris' fundraising numbers to her debate performances, there is a gap that needs to be bridged. So I agree with you there.

I also think that the reality of it is, this can easily be turned around with a different debate prep team, with a different strategy. The people who talked about -- in the focus group that she was using the same talking points.

RYAN: She does.

RYE: Someone told her that it's connected, it's worked, it's gotten applause lines at rallies.

RYAN: It's old.

RYE: It works. But you have so much more to stand on. Same with Cory Booker.

Cory Booker had a great performance last night. And I think people responded to that because he sounded like a unifier, right?

RYAN: Yes.

RYE: It wasn't just about going after Trump. He was like, everybody up here is better than Donald Trump. And I think that that's another --

SELLERS: And I -- and I agree with you and I hope that -- one of the things that I just -- I was -- I was just texting, I was like I need -- I need somebody's e-contact (ph) info --

RYE: Yes.

SELLERS: Because they need to be able to see this clip that CNN played --

RYE: Yes.

SELLERS: So that voters can see what they're saying about Senator Harris.

But there is a chance for somebody not named Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden. RYAN: But I want to say one last -- one last thing.

RYE: And I --


RYAN: One last thing.

When we talk about burn rates and money and how much people are spending, President Trump is spending $40 million a month.

RYE: It's insane.

RYAN: That is crazy.

CAMEROTA: And he's raising a ton.

RYAN: He's raising a ton.

CAMEROTA: Raising a ton.

RYAN: And you can't compete with that right now.

BERMAN: For Joe Biden, when you're not raising money, you're not --

SELLERS: Pocket change. (INAUDIBLE) we can't do it with pocket change.

RYE: Can I say one more thing, John? Really quick. Really, really quick.

BERMAN: It's got to be in six seconds or less.

RYE: Castro was the only one last night to talk about Atatiana Jefferson. That cannot go away. We cannot lose diversity in this race.

RYAN: That's right.

CAMEROTA: Thank you, friends.

RYAN: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Good to talk to you.

BERMAN: We are going to speak to five of the presidential candidates who were on that debate stage in the next two hours.


NEW DAY continues right now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the Democratic debate, the candidates made their case on health care and foreign policy, impeachment.