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U.S. Economy Grows in 2019 ahead of Presidential Election; Dems Jockey for Top Spot in Iowa as Caucuses Near; Top Social Media Stories of 2019; No Christmas Service at Notre Dame for First Time in 200 Plus Years. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired December 24, 2019 - 11:30   ET



KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Things that I had to lean on you because I did not understand these indicators.



BOLDUAN: Yes, that's where I am completely lost. But with it you've got the good news and then these troubling signs that had a lot of folks talking about a coming recession.


BOLDUAN: What do you make of these contradictory factors?

FOROOHAR: So I have been thinking of the two big forces in the economy right now. The troubling one is the U.S./China relationship, right? And you know this is something that's been on the boil even before Trump. There have been a - there's been a need for a reset, right?


FOROOHAR: Between the U.S. and China. And so, Trump -- what Trump did was he basically brought all this stuff that people have been talking about for years to the foreign, said you know what we're going to go full stop in this trade war.

It is interesting now that he's trying to really make the markets feel calmer about that. Signing this trade deal which frankly does not get to any of the under-lining problems.

BOLDUAN: Yes. Announcing today that he'll have a signing ceremony once they agree to phase one of this trade deal.

FOROOHAR: Exactly. And this is all about trying to convince the markets, OK, nothing to see here, move along. But ultimately, the U.S. and China are going to have a trade conflict and it is going to be a long-term conflict. And that's something for the mid to longer term to think about. But the Fed, it is all about the Fed. We had three rate cuts this year.

BOLDUAN: What does it mean for the next year?

FOROOHAR: Well, it means -- I think rates are still going to stay pretty low. The one interesting question mark there, if you start to see wages continue to rise, if you start to see some inflationary pressure, the Fed might say maybe we do need --

BOLDUAN: But, Rana, people only look in the short term right now, especially when you're talking about how important the economy is to their vote in the presidential election. So when in its - multi- faceted (ph) but how much credit does President Trump deserve or does any president deserve when it comes to economy in what we're seeing.

FOROOHAR: Well you know we've talked about this before. I think any president, Trump included, deserve really very little. Ultimately, the markets are running on what the central banks do, on what business does. I will say that aside from the Fed rate cuts and the fact that we've had this really easy money environment, you did have the Trump tax cuts a couple of years ago.

Now, those didn't help average people but they did help companies. And so, that kept stock prices high. And that has an effect on people's general sense of where the economy is. It may be a false perception sometimes but if stocks are high, you do tend to get more optimistic attitude about where the economy is. And that's you know - if I were a Democrat, it's funny, it's a very double-edged sword right now. Great economy, OK, that should be great. Well, does that push President Trump to victory in 2020?

BOLDUAN: Well, that's exactly right. How do you run against kind of some of the indicators and poll numbers -

FOROOHAR: Very tough.

BOLDUAN: -- that you see out there and that's something that Democrats are up against but fascinating nonetheless. I can't believe we are rounding out 2019 at this point.


BOLDUAN: Thank you for coming here. Great to see you.

FOROOHAR: Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

BOLDUAN: Merry Christmas. Happy Holidays.

Coming up for us. All about Iowa. Five weeks from the caucuses. The Democratic candidates battled it out for moderate voters. Who has the upper hand, we'll be right back.



BOLDUAN: We are a month out from Iowa. And one thing every candidate who is not at the top spot will remind you a month is a very long time and a late surge is always possible. At this time in 2004, John Kerry was in the single digits. And he went onto win the caucuses and the nomination. And then the last few months, Joe Biden has been in the top spot. Elizabeth Warren has been in the top spot most recently. Pete Buttigieg has been in the top spot there. So sitting shear today, is the contest tonight we are all bit decided or just getting started.

Joining me right now is Patti Solis Doyle who knows a thing or two about competing in that stage and what it can mean for the rest of the race. She was a campaign manager for Hillary Clinton in 2008.

It is great to see you Patty.


BOLDUAN: So a month out from Iowa, what's the state of the race there? Are the candidates in the beginning, middle or end of the fight, do you think?

DOYLE: Look, having lived through the Iowa caucuses, I think I can say it is anybody's game at this point. As you pointed out, there is still more than a month left for people to campaign, to get a late surge. Iowa is crucial for - because of three things. First, it's first. It's first in the nation which makes it very important. It has the ability to catapult the candidate, really giving him or her a lot of momentum. It has the ability to give a candidate who has been struggling. If they beat expectations in Iowa to get an influx of cash.

It is unique. Also, it's unique in its rules which makes it very tricky, you know you have to caucus for a candidate which means you have to spend several hours in a public forum declaring your support for a candidate. And if that candidate does not actually make your -- the 15 percent threshold then you get to do it again and vote for your second choice or maybe for someone who you want to do better than your first choice's biggest competition, right? And then, third, you know Iowa is not really representative of the entire country.


DOYLE: So even if you do win Iowa, it is not really an indication of how you are going to do in places like Texas or California because of the new calendar in 2020. Those are coming up right in March 3rd. So if you are somebody like Pete Buttigieg who's been you know struggling with support from people of color, you can do well in Iowa.


And if you are someone like Joe Biden who's been you know struggling or faltering on a campaign trail and not beat expectations in Iowa but then - in Nevada and South Carolina and do really well. So it is anybody's game and it is really not indicative of who will ultimately win the nomination. BOLDUAN: It's true. And one of your lessons, I remember, you've talked about from 2008. You talked about it in 2016 in Iowa. And talking about Iowa, you said that you take a candidate with enthusiasm of an organization any day of the week because of what that can mean. What do you think that means in Iowa this time around?

DOYLE: I think enthusiasm is extremely important. Iowa has really like somebody who's fresh and new and likes the fact that they can potentially bring somebody out of nowhere into the presidency. For instance, like they did with Barack Obama in 2008. But this time around, Democrats' north star really is beating Trump.

And I think as we get closer and closer to the election, that's really what voters are thinking most about. Who's the best person who can beat Donald Trump. And maybe that's not going to be the fresh base. Maybe it's going to be somebody who's you know true or tried and true.

BOLDUAN: And there is also another kind of wild card when it comes to the Iowa caucuses. And I'm curious on your perspective on this. We have five Democratic candidates who are going to be pulled off the trail potentially for weeks, for the Senate trial as they are sitting senators. Had this been 2008, what would you be saying as a campaign manager, kind of one month out when you know that your candidates are going to be off the trail and sitting in Washington?

DOYLE: I would be saying, oh man. This stinks.


BOLDUAN: Use another word -


DOYLE: I would use another word. But stinks is the one I'll go with on television.

Yes, it is tough. We are you know five weeks out and these candidates, the senators are going to be doing their jobs, that's a good thing.


DOYLE: But they're basically sitting as a jury. They're not going to be able to speak really. They're not going to be able to press their case for why they're the best potential new president. While candidates like Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg are going to be on the trail 24 hours a day knocking on doors. And it's going to put them on disadvantage unfortunately.

BOLDUAN: It's going to be a wild ride. One month out, so much can happen.

And you're absolutely right. I feel like the best line when it comes to Iowa right now is anyone who tells you this is going to end up is lying to you. We really don't know.

DOYLE: That's right.

BOLDUAN: It is good to see you Patty. Thank you so much.

DOYLE: Thank you. Merry Christmas.

BOLDUAN: You, too. Thank you.

Coming up, from the most talked about new Instagram user to the amazing U.S. women's soccer team win and their fight for equal pay to the teenager who became the face of the worldwide movement. Coming up next, a look at the biggest trending stories of 2019.



BOLDUAN: From the Instagram to a new baby to even a misplaced Starbucks cup, there were a lot of major trending moments in social media this year. Thank God I was not one of them. CNN's Brooke Baldwin takes a look at the moments that captured your attention the most.


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: From the U.S. Women's Soccer Team demanding equal pay to the passionate teenager fighting to save the planet, social media remained a powerful weapon for advocacy in 2019. And then of course, there were the media memes, so here are our top 9 trending stories of year.

Number 9, a Friends who nearly broke the Internet. Jennifer Aniston joined Instagram and the Internet just couldn't handle it. Her first post actually managed to crash her page. Her first photo, an epic Friends reunion selfie and the caption, "And now we're Instagram Friends too." It became one of Instagram's most popular photos of the year with more than 15 million likes.

Number 8, and now to even more Instagram royalty, the young son of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor whose birth, gender and name were all announced on the social media platform. The family regularly post pictures of their son to their Instagram page before they're seen anywhere else. Just another way these modern Royals are shaking up the monarchy.

Number 7, winter came and fans were not happy. It was one of those eagerly anticipated final seasons ever and the most tweeted about show of all of 2019. And while viewers were split on the ending of Game of Thrones, it was some unintended product placement that brought divided fans together, a coffee cup left on set. The Internet erupted in memes. The official Game of Thrones account tweeted this response out. "News from Winterfell, the latte that appeared in the episode was a mistake. Daenerys had ordered an herbal tea."

Number 6.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Another death on Mount Everest, bringing the total to 11 thus far this climbing season.

BALDWIN: These amazing pictures went viral, showing how record numbers of climbers packed the summit. Some mountaineers think this traffic jam actually contributed to this year's death toll. Climbers endured waits of two to four hours while in the death zone, that's near the top of the mountain where there's only one third of the oxygen down at sea level.

Number 5, a scientific event of intergalactic magnitude.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A huge breakthrough for humanity.

BALDWIN: The first photo of a black hole.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Black holes are the most mysterious objects in the universe. They're cloaked by an event horizon, where their gravity prevents even light from escaping.


BALDWIN: Located 55 million light years away in a Galaxy called M87. In this galaxy. Another black hole photo went viral. The moment researcher Katie Bouman processed the first image showing the massive phenomenon. To see it, scientists in multiple countries around the world linked local telescopes to create this virtual observatory. Predictably, Twitter couldn't escape the donut memes.

Number 4, in Paris, a catastrophic fire shocked the world.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: The world famous Notre-Dame Cathedral is on fire.

BALDWIN: Millions watched in disbelief as flames engulfed Notre-Dame, the city's iconic 856-year-old Cathedral.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We had the tower full, people screamed. It's so sad.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What went through my mind was that the heart of Paris was burning.

BALDWIN: People poured onto the streets to pray.


BALDWIN: And on social media so many pay tribute by posting photos of their visits to the holy site, #NotreDame became the most tweeted news related hashtag of 2019. The loss inspired generosity near and far, establishing a $700 million reconstruction fund. Restorations are now underway.

Number 3, in 2019, Democrats took back the House. Nancy Pelosi regained the speakership and had some of the year's most viral moments from the infamous State of the Union clap back. The rebuke that launched thousands of #DontMessWithMe memes. REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): As a Catholic, I resent you're using the word hate in a sentence that addresses me. I don't hate anyone, so don't mess with me when it comes to words like that.

BALDWIN: And staring down Trump from across that Cabinet Room table. The image meant to be insult, the president's caption, "Nervous Nancy's unhinged meltdown," instead went viral, showing Washington's most powerful woman standing up to the President.

Number 2, the U.S. Women's Soccer team proved once again, they are the best in the world. Congratulations poured in from all over social media. Ellen DeGeneres said her "World Cup runneth over." While former President Barack Obama thanked the women for being a strong inspiration to women and girls and everybody all across the country. The players' game poses became instant memes...


BALDWIN: And many of the players took their pleas for pay equity right to their fans via their social media pages.

And Number 1, she is the teenager on strike for the planet.


BALDWIN: TIME'S Person of the Year.

THUNBERG: Change is coming, whether you like it or not.

BALDWIN: Greta Thunberg is leading a generation of climate kids.

THUNBERG: People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is a money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you?

BALDWIN: Her impassioned speech at the UN Climate Action Summit catapulted her meteoric social media rise, making her the face of climate activism online. Thunberg used her new platform to lead a global climate strike with more than 4,600 events in nearly 150 countries. #ClimateStrike was the eighth most popular hashtag of the year. So for this 16-year-old and her army of climate kids, it's only the beginning.


BOLDUAN: Brooke, thank you so much for that. Still ahead for us. We mentioned the fire in Notre Dame Cathedral as one of the biggest stories of the year, and for the first time in more than 200 years, Notre Dame will not be holding Christmas services. We're going to take you to Paris live.


[11:58:30] BOLDUAN: For the first time in more than 200 years, the iconic Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris will not be holding Christmas services. It's still recovering from that devastating fire back in April, and this is a church that during the Nazi occupation in World War II was open for the holiday. Joining me right now from Paris, CNN's Melissa Bell. Melissa, no mass at Notre Dame. What does it mean?

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it means for a start, Kate, an alternative mass is being organized just a couple blocks away in another church, no doubt plenty of prayers there tonight for the reconstruction of that iconic cathedral because we're so far off from being able to see any more Christmas services, celebration there any time soon, Kate. And you're right, this is a huge break from tradition.

The last time the cathedral was quiet on Christmas Eve. It was 1803. The aftermath of French Revolution. The place has been deconsecrated and turned into a temple of reason, by the next year 1804, Napoleon arrived on the throne and it was then that the Christmas Mass began to be held.

It's been held every year since. A real break with tradition but again, it's going to be sometime. In fact, Kate, reconstruction eight months on from this fire has yet even to begin so fragile. It's that extraordinary structure itself. And given all that care that has to be taken in picking out the bits of it that were damaged before it can be rebuilt.

So it's going to be sometime longer and no doubt anywhere near the five years that Emmanuel Macron promised it would take to rebuild, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. Such a long and arduous process ahead. It's almost impossible to imagine everything that's going into. Melissa, thank you so much. Thank you so much for being here.