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Dems Focus Efforts on the Midwest as Iowa Caucuses Near; Top 9 Entertainment Stories in 2019; At Least Five U.S. Airports Warn of Potential Measles Exposure. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired December 25, 2019 - 11:30   ET




KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Well, every Democratic candidate running for president wants to win every state, of course, there is definitely a common theme among Democrats and how they think they're going to beat Donald Trump this time. Listen.


SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You bring in the Midwestern votes. You win big. And I think the best way to do it is by putting someone at the top of the ticket who is from the Midwest.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The middle class is getting crushed. The working class has no way up. It's a consequence of that. You have, for example, farmers in the Midwest, 40 percent of them couldn't pay their bills last year they are not happy where they are. And that's why we must change this presidency now.

MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It just might be a good idea to send up a nominee who comes from the Midwest and doesn't just fly over it in between golf courses with his name on them.


BOLDUAN: So, if the White House runs through the Midwest. What do Midwestern voters say they care most about?

CNN'S Harry Enten is here. Thanks for coming in, Harry.


BOLDUAN: What do you see with this?

ENTEN: Yes. So you know I think this is rather interesting, right? You've seen all this focus on the most important issue. We've seen so much focus on climate change, right?


In the Democratic primary. Not a big surprise, because 30 percent of Democratic voters essentially say climate change is the issue most important to them. But look here among the Midwest voters. This is so important. Climate change is all the way down at just 11 percent. It's the economy and healthcare. So if I were really focusing in on the two issues that I'd be hammering home to get voters in the Midwest, the economy and healthcare.

BOLDUAN: And so, as we round out the year, where do things stand on the top tier facing off with Donald Trump? The thing that I love most of course or quite frankly, I complain to you most about these. Hypothetical ---


ENTEN: Oh, really. I have no idea.

BOLDUAN: Hypothetical head to head. Nothing in reality right now because there is no nominee.

ENTEN: Yes. I mean, look I think the key thing to see here is these are CNN polls in October versus now. What we see is that Biden is up by 5 now. But he was up by 10 in October. Sanders was up by 9 in October. He's only got 4 now. Warren, she's only up by a single point. That's well within the margin there. She was up 8 in October. And Buttigieg, he was up 6 in October. He is actually down a point now. Again, well within the margin there. But what we see is a shrinking of belief for the Democrats. Trump's position improving.

BOLDUAN: Between October and now, if there is a shift, what is actually behind it? Is there data on that?

ENTEN: Yes. There is some data. So I think there are a few things that are going on here, number one that is key, Trump's favorability ratings, his favorable minus his unfavorable, that's the net favorability rating. That's it now minus 6 points. It was minus 12 points back in October. It was minus 12 points in June. So we see his position improving. It's not just that. Take a look at the Dem favorability ratings as well. We see their position going down in October. Sanders and Biden had net positive net favorability ratings, plus two and plus two.

Now look at Sanders, he's at minus three, 44 minus 47. And Biden is at minus 9 percentage points on the net favorability rating. So Trump is becoming a little bit more popular, and the Dems are becoming a little bit more unpopular.

BOLDUAN: I know it sounds so uplifting on Christmas, when it comes to lesser of two evils question, which is of course, if you are faced with a matchup of two candidates that you view unfavorably, which one do you pick?

ENTEN: Yes. This is so important because you remember back in 2016, both Clinton and Trump are viewed unfavorably by a majority of voters. And it was that 17 percent who had an unfavorable view of both.

BOLDUAN: Yes. ENTEN: They were the ones to determine the election, the 18 percent - excuse me. They went by 17 points for Donald Trump. But look here. Unfavorable review of both candidates which right now a lot of voters have. Biden is up by 63 points among them. That's powering his lead over Trump.

BOLDUAN: That looks like a problem.

ENTEN: That's a big problem for the president of the United States. Sanders and Warren both ahead by 40 points and 41 percentage points, less of a lead. And that's why Biden I think has that electability edge right now.

BOLDUAN: So it is Christmas if you did not realize when you woke up this morning. So what is the possibility -- potentially as much as I love you and your data, the most important and useful information that you have for us.

ENTEN: I think the most important information I have for you today, your favorite Christmas or holiday movie. I think that this is my favorite side. It's a wonderful life comes in at 9 percent. That leads the pack. There are so many films.

BOLDUAN: Why are these so low?

ENTEN: There's so many. I only gave you the top five or six or whatever it is on the screen. The fact is I couldn't squeeze them on. But Harry's favorite is "Die Hard" obviously. Hello? Hello?

BOLDUAN: I don't know why you are so aggressive about it. Maybe people actually agree with you.

ENTEN: People do agree with me.

BOLDUAN: No, they not -- not often. Mine are not on there. Well, "Home Alone," "Family Stone,".actually I'm - I like "Love Actually."

ENTEN: You know I like "Love Actually" too and remembered Boris Johnson used it to his advantage.

BOLDUAN: I "Love Actually" you as well. So thank you for being here -

ENTEN: Thank you. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah.

BOLDUAN: Oh my gosh. OK. Now we have to go.

All right, coming up for us from the explosive allegations against RNB singer R. Kelly to Alex Trebek's courageous battle against cancer to Lizzo's breakout year. A look back in the biggest entertainment stories of 2019.


[11:43:18] BOLDUAN: Well, much of the news in 2019 was anything but entertaining. The year was also one of major stories in entertainment. CNN's Stephanie Elam takes a look at the nine biggest entertainment stories that we've seen in the last 12 months.


STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Winter came and went, the final battle for the Iron Throne, Avengers pack a punch at the Box Office and Lizzo storms the airwaves with her juice.

Here's a look at the top entertainment news in 2019.

Number 9, Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek courageous battle against pancreatic cancer.

ALEX TREBEK, "JEOPARDY!" HOST: I have some news to share with all of you.

ELAM (voice-over): Trebek announced his stage 4 diagnosis in March and vowed to aggressively fight the disease. He underwent intense chemotherapy and resurfaced just five months later to announce he was on the mend.

TREBEK: I'm happy to report I'm still here.

ELAM (voice-over): And ready to return to Jeopardy! for its 36th season. In a touching moment like Trebek choked up during a very special Final Jeopardy! round.

TREBEK: What is - we love you, that's very kind. Thank you.

ELAM (voice-over): A TV star embroiled in a hate crime scandal is Number 8, "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett who is gay and black claimed to have been the target of a racist and homophobic attack. Police say Smollett staged the attack to gain attention.

EDDIE JOHNSON, FORMER CHICAGO POLICE SUPERINTENDENT: Jussie Smollett took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career.

ELAM (voice-over): Smollett was indicted on 16 felony counts, but prosecutors later dropped all the charges. Smollett maintains his innocence.


JUSSIE SMOLLETT, ACTOR: I would not be my mother's son if I was capable of doing what I was accused of.

ELAM (voice-over): He didn't return for the show's sixth and final season.

A new type of battle brings us to Number 7, the fight for your streaming views and subscription dollars. Joining heavy hitters Netflix and Hulu are the new kids on the block Apple TV+, Disney+ and soon Peacock and HBO Max. Netflix is still the king with over 150 million subscribers. But industry insiders are watching the impact these new platforms will have against their established rivals.

FRANK PALLOTTA, CNN MEDIA REPORTER: Content is arguably at the core of any streaming service. That's why we've seen record setting production and licensing deals over the last few years.

ELAM (voice-over): Oprah, Reese Witherspoon and J.J. Abrams are just some of the names behind original content coming out soon.

At Number 6, a sad farewell to a 90210 legend and a beloved rapper.


ELAM (voice-over): In March, Nipsey Hussle was shot and killed near a clothing store he owned in Los Angeles.

HUSSLE: That's why he follow me ...

ELAM (voice-over): The Grammy nominated rapper collaborated with dozens of artists including Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar and Drake. He embraced his role as an activist. Hussle had been scheduled to meet with city officials the next day to discuss ways to stop gang violence.

Actor Luke Perry was meant to join his original Beverly Hills 90210 classmates for a reboot of the show, but sadly the 52-year-old died of a massive stroke in March. Perry was best known for playing 90s bad boy Dylan McKay on 90210. But his most recent role on TV's Riverdale introduced him to a new generation of fans. Both shows a tribute to the actor they knew and loved.

Number 5, Lil Nas X breaks the music charts with "Old Town Road."

LIL NAS X, AMERICAN RAPPER: I got the horses in the back. Horse tack is attached...

ELAM (voice-over): The country rapper has jammed with Billy Ray Cyrus topped the Billboard Hot 100 for a record 19 weeks. Just a year ago Lil Nas X was flying under the radar, but that all changed when he self-released "Old Town Road" on iTunes, Soundcloud and YouTube.

But it was a viral TikTok meme that turned his new beat into a banger.

LIL NAS X: Yes, I'm going to take my horse to the old town road...

ELAM (voice-over): The song hit a bump in the road when Billboard pulled it from the country charts, generating cries of racism. But the rapper turned it around and hit a string of personal and professional triumphs. He came out over the summer. His single went Triple Platinum and it reached Diamond status.

LIZZETTE MARTINEZ, SURVIVOR: I never really recovered from it.

ELAM (voice-over): At Number 4, Lifetime's bombshell documentary Surviving R. Kelly.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A development now involving R&B singer R. Kelly, the district attorney in Fulton County, Georgia is apparently now conducting an investigation following the release of that Lifetime docu-series called Surviving R. Kelly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, good morning.

ELAM (voice-over): The embattled singer, spent his year in and out of court defending himself against sexual misconduct charges dating back 20 years. The R&B star was charged on 18 federal accounts in Illinois and New York.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Free you R. Kelly they go and free you.

ELAM (voice-over): He has denied any wrongdoing.

R. KELLY, AMERICAN SINGER: I promise you, we're going to straighten all this stuff out. That's all I can say right now.

ELAM (voice-over): Kelly remains jailed without bond.


ELAM (voice-over): And Number 3, Avengers End Game, knocked out an epic win at the Box Office, becoming the highest-grossing film of all time.

Diehard MCU fans packed theaters to the tune of $2.8 billion worldwide. End Game surpassed James Cameron's Avatar, which held the previous global box office record for 10 years.


ELAM: End Game caps an 11-year buildup in the Marvel Universe which began with Iron Man in 2008. From Captain Marvel, to Black Panther, to Thor, and Guardians of the Galaxy, the Infinity Saga netted over $22.5 billion.

Coming in at Number 2, the final episode of HBO's Game of Thrones.

CERSEI LANNISTER, FICTIONAL CHARACTER: When you play the Game of Thrones, you win.

ELAM (voice-over): The series finale capped off a nine-year television and pop-culture phenomenon. Making it one of the most anticipated endings in television history. The build-up through season eight had viewers anticipating an epic ending for the future of Westeros.

The finale titled the Iron Throne brought in a series record of 19.3 million viewers.


LIZZO, AMERICAN SINGER: I'd be waiting for this one. Turn it up.

ELAM (voice-over): There's a new goddess on the popping hip-hop scene. Lizzo's meteoric rise makes her number one on our list. She's fierce unapologetic and her music is an anthem for self-love and body positivity. Lizzo turned her 2016 mainstream music debut into global success in 2019.

"Truth Hurts" topped the Billboard Top 100 chart for seven weeks. The music video has over 162 million YouTube views and she makes the splash with her confident message everywhere she goes.

2020 will be another big year for some of the newsmakers on our list. Lizzo is nominated for eight Grammy Awards, and watch for phase four of the Marvel movies to begin. Black Widow opens in May.

Stephanie Elam, CNN, Hollywood.


BOLDUAN: Stephanie, thank you so much. Fully endorsed list of being on the top of that list.

Coming up for us still, right now is of course one of the busiest travel times of the year. There's a new health threat though to travelers in at least five airports. What you need to know, next.



BOLDUAN: Just as an estimated 7 million Americans are expected to fly this holiday week, public health officials in Texas are issuing a serious health warning for some airline passengers. CNN national correspondent Athena Jones is tracking all of this. And she's here with me now. What's going on?

ATHENA JONES: Well, look, this is particularly concerning given the growing number of unvaccinated people. Measles was eliminated in the United States nearly 20 years ago but there's been an upsurge in cases since vaccine nations rates have declined. This year has seen the highest number of measles cases in nearly three decades.

We've been doing stories about this all year on outbreaks here in New York and elsewhere. Now we have five cities scattered across the country dealing with these possible measles exposures.


ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): This holiday week could come with an unwanted and dangerous surprise - measles. Authorities say people infected with the highly contagious virus traveled through at least five airports in recent days and may have exposed others to the disease. Just the latest in a string of similar incidents this year, now happening at the busiest time to travel.

An unidentified person visited the airport and several other locations around Austin, Texas between December 14th and December 17th, including a restaurant, a grocery store and a Target.

DR. MARK ESCOTT, AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH: Now, that individual became ill on December the 14th and developed a rash on December the 17th. On that same day, December 17th, he boarded a flight from Austin to Chicago United Flight 790 with a connecting flight to Virginia.

JONES (voice over): Health officials are working to inform people who may have been exposed.

ESCOTT: It's important to remember that measles can be a deadly disease.

JONES (voice over): In Chicago, health officials are investigating possible measles exposures around the same time at O'Hare Airport and two restaurants. The state of Virginia is investigating possible exposures at the Richmond Airport and a doctor's office.

On December 11th three unvaccinated children with measles visiting from New Zealand likely exposed travelers at Denver and Los Angeles international airports. The CDC is contacting passengers who flew on the same planes.

The measles virus spreads through coughing and sneezing and can live in the air for up to two hours. Symptoms can include a high fever, cough, runny nose, pinkeye and of course a red slouchy rash. On average, it takes about two weeks for the rash to develop and a person is contagious for four days before and after the rash appears.

The best way to stay safe make sure you receive the recommended two doses of the vaccine. Measles was declared eliminated in the United States nearly 20 years ago, but there has been an upsurge in cases as vaccination rates have declined. The CDC has reported more than 1,200 measles cases in 31 states and 2019, the highest number in nearly three decades.

ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES, NIH: I consider it really an irony that you have one of the most contagious viruses known to man juxtaposed against one of the most effective vaccines that we have, and yet we don't do and have not done what could be done, namely completely eliminate and eradicate this virus.


JONES: Now the CDC says the overall risk of getting a contagious disease on an airplane is low. But like any enclosed or crowded space, planes can create opportunities for transmission. Bottom line here, get vaccinated. Up to 90 percent of people who aren't immune and come into contact with this highly contagious virus will become infected. But if you've been vaccinated, you have a 97 percent chance of being protected against the measles.

BOLDUAN: Well that kind of statistics is really what I think drives the point how contagious it is but how effective the vaccine is - really is. Important especially during this busy travel period even though it might be something that we don't want to be discussing all the time. But we do and must. Good to see you.

JONES: Thanks. BOLDUAN: Thank you, Athena.

So across the pond friends, another annual Christmas tradition. The Christmas message from the queen broadcast last hour. Queen Elizabeth noting 2019 has been a tumultuous year. But she also looks forward to a new decade.


QUEEN ELIZABETH II, UNITED KINGDOM: The path of course is not always smooth. There may at times this year have been quite bumpy. But small steps can make a world of difference.


BOLDUAN: The royal family was out and about this morning, but in a break from tradition the duke and duchess of Sussex Harry and Meghan, they are spending their holiday in Canada and marking Baby Archie's first Christmas, they released an adorable Christmas card.

Thank you so much everybody, for being here with us on this special Christmas edition of AT THIS HOUR.

"Inside Politics" with Manu Raju starts right now.