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New Year's Eve Forecast; Fundraising Deadline Tonight To Qualify For Final Democratic Debate; Joe Biden Is Open To Picking Republican Running Mate; Biden Says He'd Appoint Obama To Supreme Court; Sanders Offers Doctor's Note Instead Of Promised Medical Report; Buttigieg's Record In South Bend Could Affect His White House Bid; Vladimir Putin Marks 20 Years In Power. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired December 31, 2019 - 13:30   ET



JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST: This is all going to fall apart by the time we get into the late evening hours. Going forward in time, it does start to break up around 8:00, 9:00 hours. Doesn't even make it to New York City.

So the big cities in the east will stay very dry. Skies should slowly start to clear as we go through the evening. At 8:00, it will feel like 39, feeling like 41 at 10:00. Actual temperature my midnight will be 41 in Times Square. It will feel like 34 but the skies will be clearing. So partly cloudy and definitely dry conditions, which is good news if you're standing out there all day.

Here's the New Year's Eve forecast across the country. Stroke of midnight, 27 degrees in Chicago, 30 Kansas City, Dallas 42, New Orleans 43, so a nice, nice New Year's Eve across the country.

Highs tomorrow looking like this. Pretty mild across much of the country. A lot of the country above average. And 55 degrees in Memphis, 57 in Atlanta, 48 in Denver and 41 in New York -- Brianna?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Jennifer, thank you so much.

And be sure to tune in tonight and ring in the New Year with the best show in town with Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen. "NEW YEAR'S EVE LIVE" begins at 8:00 p.m., right here on CNN. And there's nothing like it, I can tell you that.

Former Vice President Joe Biden pitching an unexpected running mate.

And it's Pete Buttigieg's last day as mayor of South Bend, Indiana. We'll have a look at the record he's leaving behind.



KEILAR: The countdown has officially started and we are now less than 12 hours away from a New Year and a new fundraising deadline for 2020 Democrats. Right now, candidates have until midnight to meet the DNC donor requirement in order to qualify for the next and final debate before the Iowa caucuses in February.

So let's talk about all of this with A.B. Stoddard, associate editor and columnist at "RealClearPolitics."

A.B., they're eyeing this. There are some who have already qualified and some just hoping that they can. If they don't, is that it? Are they done?

A.B. STODDARD, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think in a normal year, you definitely need to make that last debate, no question. There's something about this race that is very unsettled, I think. I don't see a lot of coalescing going on.

Yes, we hear these stories of when people are in the single digits in December and they come roaring back. Maybe it was fluid back then, too, in different cycles.

But I wouldn't be surprised if you have someone that has a passionate following like Cory Booker and they don't make the debate stage and they're caucus says, are you kidding me, I'm going to redouble my efforts and run around like crazy.

In Iowa, people were saying, it's got three places. Now people are saying maybe it has four. I don't think we know yet what Iowa, how it's going to matter, if we're going to split victories across Iowa, Nevada, South Carolina, New Hampshire. People are talking about a brokered convention.

I don't know yet that we're going to determine the momentum in the days following that January debate. I still think it's very open.

KEILAR: When do we not talk about the potential of a brokered convention. It is always a possibility, right?

STODDARD: I think as long as Bernie Sanders is in the race with a durable coalition of support and a concentration of funds and no interest in backing down but working for the party, being a movement leader, I think there's a very good chance he marches to a convention.

KEILAR: He may have learned something from last time, so we'll see.


KEILAR: Joe Biden was asked by a voter if he would pick a Republican as a possible running mate, and this is what he said.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I wonder if Joe Biden would consider choosing a Republican as a running mate.


(LAUGHTER) BIDEN: No, no, no, no, no, no, no. No, I'm serious.


BIDEN: Here's what I mean. Let me explain that. There's some really decent Republicans that are out there, still. But here's the problem right now, of the well-known ones, they've got to step up.


KEILAR: The other thing Biden said was, if former President Obama wanted it, he would appoint him to the Supreme Court. What do you think he's doing with this?

STODDARD: Well, I think, on Obama, he wants to keep the flame alive, and he has endeared himself to voters not only because of his decades of service apart from being President Obama's two-term president, but Obama is still one of the most unifying figures in the party and he wants to be associated with him.

So saying something like we could have him back in a key leadership position, being a Supreme Court justice, I think it warms the heart of Democratic primary voters.

But I think on the question of a Republican nominee as V.P., it's genuine to Joe Biden. I heard Doug Heye on your air earlier today saying he would work with Jesse Helms at the start of his career and Eric Cantor at the end of his career and what they had in common was they worked with Joe Biden on tricky policies challenges. Joe Biden meant it when he said he would consider doing that.

It would have to be a strange world we would be in heading into the nominating process in spring or summer. Maybe President Trump is in more trouble. There's more division in the Republican Party and he sees it as a unifying moment.


He has to pick someone and say, it's time to come together and put your partisanship behind you. He can't pick one and say now, before the primary votes start, I will do this. But it's genuine with him.

KEILAR: Can we talk about Bernie Sanders' health note, like his doctor's note? He promised a comprehensive health report by the end of the year. He recently had a heart attack. He's back campaigning. But a note, not what he promised, this comprehensive health report?

STODDARD: I think he feels this as a potential liability for him, a serious question about his fitness for office.

And I think that he's doing so well, he has no small ego and wants to keep going and wants to put this issue away. And if there's something that could scare people in a more comprehensive reporting of this, there's no question he's trying to hide it.

And, you know, the president is very secretive -- the president of the United States is very secretive about his health, and I think that this is not really surprising.

I don't know that voters or even his rivals will even push for full transparency on this issue. They would if we get into a Bernie Sanders moment this spring or summer.

KEILAR: Well, it was dropped on December 30th, right, this information.


KEILAR: So that's very interesting.

A.B., thank you and happy New Year to you.

STODDARD: Thank you. Happy New Year, Brianna.

KEILAR: This is the last day of the decade. It's also 2020 Candidate Pete Buttigieg's last day as mayor of South Bend, Indiana.

Our Abby Phillip takes a look at how his record there could affect his White House bid in the New Year.


MARK NEAL, SOUTH BEND FORMER DEPUTY MAYOR: What are we doing to promote business? I always like to think of trains as being commerce, right? That's the sound of commerce.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Pete Buttigieg's city, South Bend, Indiana, is vibrant again.

NEAL: For many folks, that's a sign of sort of the South -- the beginning comeback of South Bend.

PHILLIP: The Studebaker plant that was once the heart of this Midwestern industrial town, now at the center of its comeback story.

During Buttigieg's eight years as mayor, he not only led what he calls a turnaround city, but also deployed to Afghanistan, announced he's gay, and is now setting his sights on the White House.


PHILLIP: His small-town accomplishments, 3.7 percent unemployment, nearly $200 million in private investment downtown, a reinvigorated stadium, and tackling urban blight are a big part of his presidential campaign.

BUTTIGIEG: Washington experience is not the only experience that matters.


PHILLIP: Then there's what's happening outside of downtown South Bend. TYREE BONDS, BROTHER OF ERIC LOGAN: I mean, they don't -- 100 percent don't care about the community. They care about what's going on with downtown.

PHILLIP: Tyree Bonds lost his brother, Eric Logan, killed by police this summer and sparking racial tensions across Buttigieg's city. Now following him on the campaign trail.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like, why should you be the president if it doesn't like -- if he didn't go down (ph) to South Bend?

BUTTIGIEG: So, let's be really clear. Most people in South Bend believe I did a good job.

PHILLIP: But his black supporters here feel their voices are being drowned out, literally.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who chose these people as black leaders?

PHILLIP: This meeting ended in chaos, with City Council member, Sharon McBride, who supports Buttigieg, interrupted by protesters.

SHARON MCBRIDE, SOUTH BEND COMMON COUNCIL: I was born in the hood, raised in the hood. I love my city.

PHILLIP (on camera): This is personal for you?

MCBRIDE: It's personal, so it was very hurtful. But, you know, I love what I do.

PHILLIP (voice-over): Bonds was there, too.

BONDS: But what's he saying was the truth. Who put them in the place to say they was our black leaders because they was not our black leaders?

PHILLIP: Those close to him say this summer's protests changed Buttigieg.

KAREEMAH FOWLER, FORMER SOUTH BEND CITY CLERK & BUTTIGIEG SUPPORTER: And I think that was absolutely a learning experience for Pete. I think that he welcomed and maybe needed it if he's going to be -- if he's going to be the President of the United States.

PHILLIP: And, McBride feels some of the criticism unwarranted as this problem goes far beyond South Bend.

MCBRIDE: I don't think anybody can solve the problem with race overnight. In time, you could make steps and I think that, in South Bend, we have done so.

PHILLIP: Abby Phillip, CNN, South Bend, Indiana.


[13:44:25] KEILAR: And 20 years ago today, Vladimir Putin took over as acting president of Russia. We have a look back at his two-decade tenure marked by early missteps and confrontation with the West.


KEILAR: Vladimir Putin has held onto power in Russia through three U.S. presidencies so far and is accused of helping put President Trump in the White House. Putin marks two decades in power today.

And as CNN Senior Correspondent, Fred Pleitgen, explains, the strong- man politics that helped Putin's popularity in the beginning may be hurting him now.


FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): After nearly 20 years in power, Vladimir Putin continues to polarize, praising Russia's advances in hypersonic missile technology, which Moscow just announced it has deployed for the first time, and standing by President Trump as America's leader faces impeachment.

Putin's reign began after his predecessor, the embattled and fatigued Boris Yeltsin, announced his resignation in his New Year's address on January 1, 1999.


Vladimir Putin, the new strongman in the Kremlin, immediately laid out his ambitious plans.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translation): I've always said, and will continue to say, that the Russian state must be strong.

PLEITGEN: But his presidency got off to a rocky start. He was heavily criticized for his handling of the sinking of a Kursk nuclear submarine just a few months after he took office. The disaster killing all sailors on board. Faced with public anger, Putin didn't immediately return from his holidays to manage the crisis.

He also escalated the brutal war in Chechnya, eventually crushing the breakaway republic's rebellion at an immense human and material cost.

And Putin made clear he was going to be tough on terrorism.

PUTIN (through translation): We'll whack them in the outhouse.

PLEITGEN: Russian special forces raiding a Moscow theater taken over my Chechen rebels in 2002, leading to the deaths of more than 130 hostages. While more than 330 hostages were killed when Moscow's special forces raided a school taken hostage by extremists in Beslan, southern Russia, in 2004.

Meanwhile, Russia's economy and overall stability started improving, thanks, in part, to high international oil prices, boosting the president's popularity. After finishing two terms, Putin had reached the limit under Russia's

constitution. A solution? He swapped jobs with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev for four years. Medvedev then changed the constitution, extending the terms from four to six years, before Putin's return as president.

But even while he was prime minister, it was always clear that Putin was the man in charge. And the West was put on notice, Russia was returning as a force in international politics.

In 2008, the Russia military invaded Georgia, occupying South Ossetia.

Vladimir Putin was re-elected to his third term as president in 2012, but not all Russians were happy.


PLEITGEN: Massive protests engulfed the streets of Moscow. Russian authorities crushing the opposition movement despite international condemnation.

Vladimir Putin's second stint as president has been defined by confrontation with the West. In 2014, after an uprising unseated the pro-Russian leader of Ukraine, the Kremlin invaded and then annexed Crimea.

Russia is also accused of fueling and aiding the uprising in eastern Ukraine, which has led to thousands of deaths and the downing of a commercial airliner, killing everyone on board. International investigators blamed a missile fired from Russian military equipment for the tragedy. The Kremlin has remained defiant.

PUTIN (through translation): We think there is no proof. Everything that was presented shows nothing. We have our own version, but, unfortunately, nobody wants to listen to us.

PLEITGEN: Russian forces are supporting Syrian President Bashar al Assad against a rebellion in the Middle Eastern nation. Western country's saying Russia's heavy bombardment and frequent targeting of civilian areas amount to war crimes.

And Putin's Russia is accused of directly meddling in Western nations affairs, including a broad effort aimed at swaying the U.S. presidential election in 2016 in favor of now President Donald Trump. Putin denying he meddled, but acknowledging he wanted Donald Trump to win.

PUTIN (through translation): Because he was talking about normalizing U.S./Russia relations.

PLEITGEN: But normalizing relations seems out of the question after Britain accused Russia of using chemical weapons to poison former double agent, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter in Salisbury in 2018. Russia, once again, dismissing the evidence.

Twenty 20 years after taking power, Vladimir Putin maintains a strong grip on the presidency, having largely marginalized Russia's opposition. But international sanctions and isolation, along with a weak economy, have sent his popularity into a nosedive, as some Russians have grown wary of their long-standing leader.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Moscow.



KEILAR: Back to our breaking news. Protesters storming the U.S. embassy in Iraq in retaliation for U.S. airstrikes. The Trump administration sending in the Marines.


KEILAR: Ten Grammys, 11 platinum albums and the first artist to simultaneously top the pop, country and R&B charts, Linda Ronstadt is musical legend in her own time. And now a new CNN film tells the inside story of her meteoric rise to fame.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Linda knew a good song and she knew why it was good and better than that knew how to sing it better than you could sing it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you become that sharp of a song stylist, you get authorship in a certain way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I considered her a real -- she didn't write songs but she made songs happen the way she wanted to hear them.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: "I Can't Help It If I'm Still in Love with You," was a hit on the country charts. "You're No Good" was a hit on R&B and pop chart.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Linda became the first artist to have a hit on all three charts at the same time.