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Biden and Sanders Debate Ahead of Tomorrow's Contests; Germany Restricts Borders to Stem Virus Spread; Businesses Weigh Whether to Stay Open Amid Pandemic. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired March 16, 2020 - 12:30   ET



DR. GAVIN MACGREGOR-SKINNER, INFECTIOUS DISEASE EXPERT: -- I'm less lucky to touch my face. I've decreased the risk. That's the messages we should hear.

We should be actually saying, how do these other countries' (INAUDIBLE) so successful? How can the U.S. at the neighborhood level, the community level protect their selves and stop transmission?

JOHN KING, CNN HOST: So let's go to a couple of questions from our viewers then. How long does the virus stay active on surfaces, hand drills, doorknobs, mail, packages, et cetera?

MACGREGOR-SKINNER: Great question. We know this virus exists outside of the body and does survive and be -- and still be active on surfaces. But the question is, is not just how long, so what? It's about how do we clean and disinfect. It's an envelope virus, virus. It's the easiest of all the germs doing (INAUDIBLE) cure.

Let's teach people how to clean and disinfect properly to inactivate as many surfaces as we can in the virus to decrease that risk.

KING: Is this part of social distancing? I have a dental cleaning appointment at the end of the month, should I cancel that appointment?

MACGREGOR-SKINNER: Have you called your dentist? Again, we are now saying what, we try -- at the moment we're talking about don't make more non-essential trips. And then we're not helping people just to actually within the definition of social distancing, how to say, let's pick up the phone, call the dentist, what is the dentist think about this. Because if the dentist is way out in the country, saw the back country, some small little town, it's fine. If the dentist is in an area where there's a lot of bars, no, you shouldn't be going. But the dentist will be able to give you that advice.

KING: Appreciate it, Doctor. Keep coming and we'll keep answering questions for you at home, and on the big news of the day.

When we come back, coronavirus also impacts the 2020 campaign. A big topic at last night's potentially last Democratic debate between Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders.



KING: Welcome back.

Coronavirus is central to everything now including the 2020 campaign. Four states hold primaries tomorrow. That is a test of turn now to the time many Americans are being told, all Americans are being told to keep social distance. And the pandemic was a major topic in last night's debate between the former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

Biden touted his work on past crisis and his deep understanding of the federal government. Sanders said this crisis proves his point about the need for a government healthcare plan.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: With all do respect to Medicare for All, you have a single payer system in Italy, it didn't work there. It has nothing to do with Medicare for All. No one has to pay for treatment, period, because of the crisis. No one has to pay for whatever drugs you needed, period, because of the crisis. No one has to pay for hospitalization because of the crisis, period.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: One of the reasons that we are unprepared and have been unprepared is we don't have a system. We got thousands of private insurance plans. That is not a system.


KING: If you're running for president anyway, you're making it about presidential leadership. But it is interesting the magnification in the middle of this crisis, both Senator Sanders and Vice President Biden, one of them essentially tell voters, Democratic voters at the moment, but someone is going to be the nominee. Close your eyes, Donald Trump is the president now dealing with this, think about me. How that part play?

MOLLY BALL, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it was actually, to me, a perfect encapsulation of the difference between these two men's philosophies and their different campaigns. To Biden, this is a problem to be solved with management, with leadership, with having the right person in the job. You don't have to change the whole structure of the government. You just need good people in there who know what they're doing, who have experience, and who understands the mechanism of the government.

To Bernie Sanders, this is a systematic problem. This is about the systems we have in place and the need to overhaul them, perhaps, revolutionize them. And so, there was part of the debate that evolved into the same sort of tiresome back and forth about different healthcare systems that we have seen I believe one to 2,000 times in the Democratic debates already this cycle. But it was quite revealing exchange and that it really told you how these two men would approach the problem differently. In that sense, it's very enlightening, and I think for Democratic voters depending on which side of that argument they lean to, it did provide a very clear choice in that regard.

KING: And to that point as that we'll see later, we'll find out the ratings of how many people watched it. One of the questions is, will it have an impact if you're Senator Sanders, the math is against you and you know that. If Joe Biden has a big day tomorrow, he's going to pull away and the math goes to him probable to close to impossible for Senators Sanders.

In this new NBC/Marist poll is out, Arizona, 53 percent of likely Democratic voters said they support Biden. In Ohio, 58 percent support Biden. Illinois and Florida, the other big states voting tomorrow.

This could have been. This may well have been the last Democratic debate of the cycle. If Biden pulls away like this to Molly's point, you did have that contrast. Biden is essentially saying I know -- we don't need a revolution. You need a guy who can take the leverage of the government on day one and know how to work them.

TOLUSE OLORUNNIPA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, it was restoration versus revolution. Biden has been pushing restore this whole of the country. Bernie Sanders has been saying we need a revolution. We need to change the structure of the country.

And so far in the early Tues -- in the Super Tuesday states, in the early primary states, we've seen Biden's message went out. It's not clear that Sanders has a path for making his message stand up, but he pushed it very hard last night. He pushed Biden on some of his past votes. It wasn't the kind of night that you would expect in terms of reconciliation, bringing the party together, moving on from a contentious, large primary and sort of turning the page towards the general. It seems like Bernie Sanders is still willing to fight even though Biden's message is about restoration. He does need to tailor part of his message if he wants to expand his base to include some of those Bernie Sanders' voters who don't want just restoration, THEY want something more.

And we didn't really see much of that last night. We saw a little bit, but it will take a little bit more.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I do think that you got a sense last night of what Bernie Sanders is going for now. Look, his team knows the math. His team knows what tomorrow night looks like. And look, anything can happen tomorrow night. Things are a little different perhaps today than we expected going tomorrow night. But the polls are pretty bland about where they stand.

But it seems like when Bernie Sanders said, and I'm paraphrasing here, Joe's heart is in the right place, but, you know, it's one of the things where you understand that Bernie Sanders is trying to push Joe Biden.


He might not win this but he's trying to push Joe Biden to a very specific place. And you had Joe Biden come out and endorsed a proposal that Bernie Sanders had once help draft in terms of free college for those making under $125,000 a year. You had him endorsed Elizabeth Warren's bankruptcy bills. You've seen Joe Biden start to make that move as well to try in address some of the policy issues. And you can tell that Bernie Sanders even though he doesn't think he can win wants to try and bring Joe Biden as close to him policy-wise as he possibly can no matter what's going to happen going forth.

And so, I think there are some sharp exchanges last night, particularly based on Senate votes 10, 15, 20, 30 years ago. But I also thought that there was kind of, you got a window into how this is going to work going forward if Sanders isn't going to come through in the end and win.

KING: Right. For everyone who thought Senator Sanders going to come in essentially say, I know Joe is going to win. I'm going to push him left. He didn't do that. He still wanted to fight some things, there's no doubt about it. Biden did make an effort, there were times when Biden want to fight, too. He brought up Bernie Sanders' pas votes against gun control for example. He was not yielding ground. He did on occasion try to say, you know what, Bernie and I disagree but we'll get through this.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: If you become the Democratic presidential nominee, how will you appeal to supporters of Senator Sanders when you do disagree on so many issues?

BIDEN: He's making it hard for me right now. I was trying to give him credit for some things. He doesn't want to take the credit for things he wants to do.

Senator Sanders and I, both agree, we need Medic -- healthcare should be a right, not a privilege. We both agree we have to give -- deal with student debt. We both agree we have to deal with education and access to education. We both agree that we deal -- we have a new green deal to deal with the extra central threat that faces humanity. We disagree on the detail of how we do it, but we don't disagree on the principle.


KING: So there's an effort, you know, you can -- you know, if you're Bernie Sanders' supporter was a heartfelt enough, was a detailed enough, but an effort by Biden who understands Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders had some tensions, he wants to try to bring this together. After the debate, there was a call -- conference call with top members of the Biden campaign. His top Strategist Anita Dunn said this.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP) ANITA DUNN, BIDEN CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISER: Vice President Biden showed up to a debate tonight and two hours graciously dealing with the kind of protester who often shows at the campaign events on live television.


KING: I've done a few of these. This is number nine, and I'm going to pause it that that is not helpful calling Senator Sanders a protester on live television If you're trying to bridge this divide. I get the Biden camp perspectives, Sanders and especially his internet crew, they're prickly, they're difficult. You know, they don't want to realize the math.

OK, I understand that might be your perspective. However, that should be your inner voice, right, not your outer voice?

BALL: It seems a little (INAUDIBLE) especially given that Biden had a strong debate performance, right?

If you had a disaster's night, and you're trying to distract from that and maybe take some of the incoming fire onto the staff instead sure, then that's the kind thing of thing that you do. But if -- but when you do want to actually foreground the fact that for the most part, it was very funny to see as you alluded to both of these candidates sort of pulled in both directions trying to send -- broadcast the message of unity at the same time as they still were not really pulling punches on policy, continuing to take shots at each other, both of them and particularly I think Senator Sanders.

But look, with the campaign still underway, neither of them is talking to the base, their respective basis right now. Those are the people who've already decided who they're going to go out and vote for tomorrow in future contest. But there's this big -- we've seen this very large and mobile group in the middle of the sort of rank-and-file Democratic voters who are subject to persuasion, who we have seen move in incredible numbers in the primaries up to this point toward Joe Biden. So the message you want to send to them is that we are all in this together. And we do like each other even if there are going to be some people who refuse to get on board.

And so, I found that comment perplexing honestly. But, it will be interesting to see going forward when and if this campaign is over, how much bridge building there is versus that sort of prickly, sort of sense of well, we are investing, you have to get on board.

KING: We will see if it was a just long night maybe. Sometimes, that happens. We'll get some math tomorrow, meaning four states vote. And we'll see how that changes the tone, the tenor, and particularly the delegate math. We'll see.

Up next for us, the dramatic ways, countries around the world and businesses right here at home responding to the coronavirus pandemic.



KING: Disruptions of daily lives happening on a global scale. The latest numbers of coronavirus cases worldwide show us just why.

More than 6,000 people have died, and more than 160,000 people have been infected around the world. Italy, Iran, and Spain among the countries saying a recent spike in cases. More and more countries now unveiling traumatic measures like lockdowns and travel bans as the World Health Organization says there are now more cases outside of Mainland China than inside China.

Right now, Germany for example enforcing border controls with five neighboring countries including France. That move discouraged by the European Commission which is calling on member states do not deny entry to people who are sick and to try to keep goods flowing across those borders.

CNN's Fred Pleitgen is at the border of Germany and Poland right now. Fred, what are you seeing?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, John. Well, here you can really see what it's like when an economy comes to a screeching halt and public rightfully comes to a screeching halt. You can see behind me there's a bunch of trucks, there's a bunch of cars here that are essentially not stuck at the border but taking a very long time to get across the border.


And just to get our viewers up to speed. Normally, when you cross borders in Europe, it's almost like crossing state lines in the United States. You don't even know that you've just crossed into another jurisdiction. But right now, everything is going very slow. Every single driver that's actually allowed to cross this border has to get his or her temperature taken and then fill out a form.

Now what Poland are trying to do here and other European countries are trying to do as well is they're letting people who are from these countries back into their country and they're trying to let the trucks across to make sure that cargo keeps flowing. But as you can see, that's easier said than done. There are miles of traffic jams leading up to this border right there. And there were some people were pretty angry about it as well.

As you can really see how things have just come to a halt at this border and at other borders as well. As Germany as you've mentioned putting some border controls as well and in general is clamping down on public life making restaurants close a lot earlier and a lot of stores also having to close as well, as well as public spaces. You can feel everyday the situation changing here in a lot of European countries as they are trying to restrict the movement, trying to keep people from -- can (INAUDIBLE) in public places. And as you can see having a massive toll on these continents, economy, and on public life, John.

KING: Public life, the economy, excellent points. Fred Pleitgen at the border of Germany and Poland. We're watching this play out around the world.

And when we come home, the new normal here at home likely testing businesses in your community. With mandated closures or restrictions on businesses in at least some cities across nine states. And that number is constantly growing. It's a crisis forcing adjustments on the fly.

I want to bring in Mike Graham, he's the owner of the Jukebox Junction Restaurant and Soda Shoppe in Canton, North Carolina, and his cook Kathy Call. The restaurant now opened for carry-out only starting today. Thank you so much both of you for joining us.

Mike, I need to start with you. Can you survive these when you hear government saying these restrictions could be in place for seven week, eight weeks, possibly longer? Can your business survive?

MIKE GRAHAM, OWNER, JUKEBOX JUNCTION RESTAURANT AND SODA SHOPPE: Well, John, I am cautiously optimistic about this. I think we can survive. Right now, we're not charging people when they come in. They don't need to worry about what to do with the money.

You know, at this point in time, you know, I'm looking at trying to keep people calm, calm their fears, you know, and they don't need to worry about it. I got food and I get food. As long as I keep getting deliveries, I'll get through it. I may go bankrupt but it's more important for my family, my employees, and the people in this community supported me for over 17 years.

You know, I love them to death. You know -- and I can adapt. I've always been the person to adapt. I love the challenge. I love capitalism, but sometimes, you know, it's a good time to stop for a couple of months, get everything set, and make sure you got, you know, your infrastructure, key infrastructure like your electric, your water, your communications are so important right now. We need to keep those communications up, John.

KING: I think it's remarkable. I'm sorry, I was going to say I think it's remarkable of what you just said about community and about your willingness to go bankrupt if that's what it takes to keep people in the community fed.

And so Kathy, come in at that point. Twenty employees at the restaurant, Mike has said it's up to you. If you have stress and you can't work, if you have other things going on in your life and you can't work and then he's paying you right now. Just take inside experience, how much does that at least it seems, help what I assume as pretty considerable stressful for you and your family.

KATHY CALL, COOK, JUKEBOX JUNCTION RESTAURANT AND SODA SHOPPE: It's great. I love my job. So, with a boss like this, you can't beat it.

GRAHAM: She's being too kind, John.

KING: Well, I am going to come in after this -- after this is over, I'm going to come down and see how great of a cook she is. I bet it's pretty good. I'll let -- you can take my money (INAUDIBLE). Let me ask you again. You talked about the sense of the community, your willingness to sacrifice your profits and even possibly go bankrupt. As this plays out, your mom, Mike, is in an assisted living facility nearby and you can't go see her, right?

GRAHAM: Oh yes. I hope she's watching. Hi, mom. You know, I told them to put her in front of the TV so I could, you know -- she can see me. Because I haven't seen her for almost two weeks, you know, because I had probably just allergies but I don't know. No one is doing any testing, how the hell do I know?

Excuse me, sorry about that. But you understand. Come on, man. You know, it's like, you know -- it's not even organized chaos, it's just becoming chaos and we just need to stop. You know, stop, you know, quit playing games for a while, gentlemen, ladies, people in power.

You know, we can start that game over once everybody is safe. You know, the most important thing is to preserve life and protect people and property. That's all.


How hard is that to do, guys? I mean, you know, stop with this. Well, we made a great deal. You know, a deal, you're terrible in negotiations. The negotiations should have gone like this, hey Mr. Farmer, save people. You know, we really need your help at this time.

And if everybody comes through this really good, then we'll settle afterwards. I mean, this -- I mean, come on, quit playing the game, gentlemen and ladies --

KING: Mike, I'm going to bring you to Washington sometime. I'm going to come to eat at your restaurant but I'll bring you to Washington sometime and walk you around Capitol Hill and see if you can -- you might have a better job than some of the rest of us trying to get them stop playing the games.

I really appreciate it, Kathy and Mike coming in. We'll keep in touch as this plays out.

Thanks for joining us in the INSIDE POLITICS today. Brianna Keilar starts after a quick break. Have a good afternoon.