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Elise Stefanik "Fully" Supports Arizona "Audit"; U.S. Rolls Out New Incentives to Get More People Vaccinated; Biden Touts Jobs Plan As "Blueprint To Rebuild America". Aired 9-10p ET

Aired May 06, 2021 - 21:00   ET



RANDI KAYE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He was the headliner at an event at the Dural Country Club, the Dural Club, in Dural, outside Miami. And he spoke there, and just couple weeks ago, and he said that--


KAYE: --he addressed them head-on. So, we'll see if he takes it up tomorrow night, Anderson.

COOPER: Randi? Thanks.

KAYE: We'll be here.

COOPER: Thanks very much, Randi. Appreciate it.

The news continues. Let's hand it over to Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME." Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Appreciate it, Coop.

I am Chris Cuomo and welcome to PRIME TIME.

Do you want to avoid another terror attack on the U.S. Capitol? If so, then you need to start paying attention to what is passing as leadership on the four-month anniversary of the Insurrection in the Party of Trump.


REP. ELISE STEFANIK (R-NY): I fully support the audit in Arizona. We want transparency and answers for the American people. What are the Democrats so afraid of?


CUOMO: You got the answers from the Republicans in that state, and the other ones.

You don't want transparency, because the Republicans in that state are keeping the processes quiet. Maybe the fear is based on a reasonable suspicion of a farce to promote a fraud known as the big lie. But this is the talk that got us to that fateful day. Now, it is

fueling the ascension, of Trump's apparent choice, to replace the highest-ranking female member of Congress, in his party, someone who refuses to repeat the big lie. And that is the sum total of the difference. That is the test.

So now you see it play out. What will come of an audit carried out by a nowhere group called "Cyber Ninjas?" Go look up their website.

They have no experience in election monitoring. They're using secret processes that the State GOP is helping them keep secret. They're pursuing conspiracies like fraudulent ballots being flown into Arizona from Asia. So now, literally, these "Ninjas" are reportedly checking for bamboo traces on ballots.

Buying into the big lie is now called supporting the team in the Trump Party. Where better to make that pledge than in an interview with the poison populist and Trump pardonee, Steve Bannon?


STEFANIK: My vision is to run with support from the President, and his coalition of voters.

This is also about being one team. And I'm committed to being a voice and being a clear - sending a clear message that we are one team. And that means working with the President and working with all of our excellent Republican Members of Congress.


CUOMO: No, you mean a shill, not a clear voice. And listen to that. "The President." Does she mean Biden? He's the President. No. She means to advance the big lie. Trump is the President, because he's still in power, because he really won.

And to be clear, even Stefanik knows this is just about the big lie, and it's the only credential. How do we know she knows? Because listen to what she said about Liz Cheney, when she was up for leadership.


STEFANIK: Liz, I was very proud to nominate you to serve as our Conference Chair. That is the highest position of women in the Republican Conference. And we think you're a huge asset, in that role.

One of the things that you and I have talked about is the importance not just of supporting women candidates but reaching out to women voters with our message. Can you talk about how you plan to tackle that as Conference Chair?

REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): Well, thank you Elise.


CUOMO: She endorsed Cheney. Now she condemns her. It's all about the bona fides of the big lie. Conservativism is gone. Stefanik talks the big lie talk. She does not even walk the GOP policy walk, as much as Cheney did. Just look at the voting record. This tells you what it's about.

You guys who say "Look, I got to stay with them. I'm conservative," it's not your party anymore. "Yes, well, look, I'm a Reagan Republican, you know, I believe in," it's not your party anymore.

Stefanik only voted with Trump 78 percent of the time, over her congressional career. Cheney was 93 percent of the time.

The Conservative Club for Growth panned Stefanik as not a good spokesperson for the House Republican Conference. She's a liberal, they called her. Ooh, how, God forbid! 35 percent CFGF lifetime rating, fourth worst in the House GOP, so then how is she on the ascent? Because it's only about the big lie.

The evidence is clear. Conservativism was in conflict with Trumpism, always was. The conservatives swallowed him, because, and what he did, and what he said, because they wanted the power. But now, he has taken it over. He is winning.


The party is increasingly about opposing any Biden policy, debunking the idea of systemic inequality, "Three-Fifths Compromise, that was good!" and pushing the big lie. This is all clear. What is unclear is what can be done about it, and what it will mean for our democracy.

Better minds, Michael Smerconish, Charlie Dent, good to see you both, gentlemen.

Charlie, little perspective, person-to-person. You knew Stefanik. She came in what, 2014, 2015?


CUOMO: She was kind of like the new breed. "Let's work with the other side. Let's do this. Let's do that." How did you find her?

DENT: I knew Elise when she came to Congress. I had been in for 10 years. She was a young, vivacious, more moderate, pragmatic, young millennial woman.

And she could speak to constituencies that Republicans had difficulty with, women and younger people. And that was her brand. And she was very good at it. She's very adroit. She's very talented. She's very smart.

And I worked with her on issues like - I remember when Trump wanted to not allow the transgender to serve in the Military. She led the charge to help stop that from happening. I worked with her on that. I worked with her on Missile Defense at Fort Drum. So, I've had a very good positive working relationship with her. I saw her push back very hard, in meetings with Paul Ryan, when we

would meet weekly, to discuss policy and tactics, with the Freedom Caucus, just a few of us. And she would join me in pushing back against Mark Meadows, and Jim Jordan, and Mick Mulvaney, at the time. And she was very effective.

But then once that the impeachment hearing occurred, she - that brand changed, when she became more of a Trump loyalist.

CUOMO: So, what's her play, Mike?

MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN HOST, "SMERCONISH": Charlie Dent and I have Lehigh University in common. And I remember our first semester government class, where Dr. Frank Colon said, "Remember this. Political parties exist for one reason, and that is to win."

And even though a lot of folks' hair is on fire, those who have hair, Chris, at these revelations, and the way that GOP is playing this hand, it might be a winning hand, don't overlook that, notwithstanding the fact that it's untethered to reality.

2020 - 2020 was not a bad year for the GOP. Did well in the House, at least drew to a 50/50 draw in the U.S. Senate, picked up a Gubernatorial Mansion, did better in state legislatures, than did the Democrats. Donald Trump drives that base, even though he couldn't pull it off.

And I don't know if Charlie will agree with me saying this as an outsider. But when all is said and done, those Republican Members of the House, they don't care if Trump wins. They care if they win. And he will drive their base.

CUOMO: So, Charlie, and at the end of the day, we keep citing this statistic, but we need to put it in context.

It's 50/50 in the Senate. But the 50 conservative or whatever, whatever you want to call them, the 50 senators, on the Right, I still don't know what to call the party, I keep playing with it, represent about 20 percent of the U.S. population. Isn't that what this is really about? Isn't that what you see in a Stefanik?

There is no momentum towards the masses. It's about this shrinking pie of White, and often scared, people being scared by politicians like her, frankly. And you got to hold on to that, so you have to play to it. And that's the party. There is no "Big tent."

DENT: Well, yes, well, I think Chris, what you're saying is this. Republicans, too many Republicans, are trying to reject the diversity of the country. They need to stop fighting it, and embrace it, and find ways to appeal to folks, to vote for them. That's what they need to do.

And when they talk "Big tent," "Big tent" does not include Marjorie Taylor Greene, the QAnon folks, and these whackjobs on the extremes. I mean, that's not who we want in. We're trying to grow the party, certainly on the right, but more towards the center. CUOMO: Who's "We?"

DENT: That's how you grow the "Big tent." And that's how "We"--

CUOMO: Who's "We?"

DENT: That's what the Republican - we should be the Republican Party. That's what it should be doing.

To grow, to grow, to speak out, to speak - to meet with - go into the communities, like I used to have to. I would meet - I'd go to Diwali festivals to meet with my Indian American community. I go to mosques, at a big Syrian community, you know, Latino festivals. I mean, that's how you go to expand your coalition.

CUOMO: Native Americans.

DENT: You go talk to people and you get them to vote for you. What's that?

CUOMO: Native Americans, African Americans. "Three-Fifths Compromise," Michael--

DENT: Of course.

CUOMO: --we're hearing about. "Three-Fifths Compromise was a good thing." That's what's bubbling up from the bottom in the base areas. "Three-Fifths Compromise was to help end slavery." Native Americans, you know what is being said about them. This is the move in your party.

I don't know - Michael left the party a long time ago. Charlie, you just left office, but it's your party. You're trying to fight from the outside in. You guys lost. It's over. I mean, that's what Stefanik tells you.


That's what McConnell, shutting up, remember, what he said about the 6th? "Horrible! Horrible what he did! He can still be held responsible, Trump, even once this is over." Now, "I don't look backwards. I look forwards."

It's over. The question is what is the price, Michael? What is the chance that going into the next election, they can get so many people, so close, to believing that it's all a fraud, that we have something like January 6th on a different scale?

SMERCONISH: Sadly, I think it's a pretty decent chance. If 70 percent of Republicans, that's according to a CNN survey that I saw, agree with this narrative, then they're united in that purpose.

And I think it sets up a whole series of dynamics that are dangerous for the country, because people might not accept the outcome of the midterm election. And then where are we? If the successful strategy is one of Republicans sticking together on this issue, and they pick up the half dozen seats that they need, to control the House of Representatives, you know who'll be standing there, thumping his chest, and taking all the credit, and setting himself up as the nominee in 2024? That'll be Donald Trump.

So, this is what I'm trying to explain. As untethered to reality as it may be, it's a pretty decent scenario for him.

CUOMO: Right. And it's about this shrinking number of districts also, right? It's really the politics of the redistricting, Charlie.

If we look at the numbers - do me a favor, throw up that full screen.

If you see from 2012, 2016, 2020, here is the breakdown in her New York Congressional District.

Put up the numbers, please.

It goes from 52 percent Democrat 46 percent Republican to 40 percent 53 percent, Republican, to 43 percent 54 percent Republican. This was opportunism for Stefanik. It is not a coincidence that she went from talking "Big tent" to talking the "Big circus."

This is how you stay in. This is the choice your party made. As Mike says, this is the way to win, as far as they're concerned. Question is for how long?

DENT: Well, in her district, look, that was - that's a pretty Trump district up there. By the way, that district, I believe, was held by a Republican, for 100 years, except for four years, from 2010 to 2014. So, she's in a safe district.

No, she did have a more moderate pragmatic profile. She certainly has shifted, become much more Trumpian.

The challenge for Republicans right now is that it's taken there - there are illiberal elements within the party, that are moving it in this - in this bad direction, where Trump is, on, this kind of a warm feeling towards autocracy, feelings of this protectionism, and nativism, all the things we've talked about many times. That is the challenge in the party.

How do you - how do you move away from that? And we need to get principled leaders in the party, standing up, like Liz Cheney, talking about rule of law.

And, by the way, newsflash, there's going to be an announcement pretty soon. A lot of us are putting together principles about what a center- right movement should look like that embraces - that embraces tolerance that embraces the constitutional order, and all the things that we ought to be standing for, as a center-right country and a center-right party.

CUOMO: Well, look, I'll tell you what, I'm not in the partisan game, although I do believe there should be more than two parties. I'll tell you where you should start with your principles. Fair elections, and fan out all over the country, because I'm telling you, that's where this is headed.

Smerc and I, on our radio shows, and here are going to be talking, in the midterm elections, about how people don't trust the vote, all over the country, because of exactly what--

DENT: Right.

CUOMO: --Stefanik and the rest of these voices are doing right now.

Charlie, I got to jump. I look forward to hearing what the slated proposals are. You're always welcome to argue it here.

And Smerc, you're just a gift. Thank you very much.

The Trump Party--

SMERCONISH: Thank you.

CUOMO: --the Trump Party is, I'm telling you, you just have to look at what's happening. This is not my musing, OK? This is not how I feel. This is demonstrable as fact. Stefanik making the shift is pragmatic.

The Trump Party is about election suppression. They are going to say "The last election was fugazi. It was false. So, we have to make changes to make it fair." And every change that's being made is to undo something that got more people to vote.

Florida's Governor made a show of it on Trump state TV this morning. The latest effort to restrict voting rights was in Florida, now Texas, OK, two of the biggest states in the country.

A former Texas Elections Chief on why this is happening, next.









CUOMO: I really hope you understand what the point of discussing this shift, on the Right, is about. It's not incrementalism. It's not "Inside the bubble." It's not just about political parlor talk. I'm not into any of that. And you should know that by now. This is about what is coming next. And this isn't about some kind of apocalyptic fear. I'm telling you, they're going to attack the election process going into it because the numbers are working against them, on the Right.

The big lie is being worked into wisdom. It started as laughable, I'll give you that, especially with Republicans validating and certifying the votes in their own States. I got it. But not anymore. With repetition, and electeds, on the Right, at the federal level, fueling it, it is now becoming lore.

You see those vox pop places, where they talk to people on the street? And they say "What do you think about the election?" "Well I think Biden lost." "Well, how do you know?" "Well, we'll see."

Now what's the next step? You say it's true. Now you make it true. How? Law. Governor DeSantis of Florida joined Re-Trump-licans, in Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa, Utah, by signing a law to restrict voting access, OK?

I could show you him signing it. But as his office said, "It was an exclusive live streamed event with Fox."


Tonight, it is Texas, putting on a show. The House voting on a bill that among other things creates one set of rules for big Democratic counties and one set for the rest of the state.

The key is to remove whatever seemed to drive turnout in the last election, in places like Houston, where minorities live, in big numbers. Like what? Like Drive-Thru Voting, using arenas as voting centers, "Keep in line. Keep them there, nice and long lines, hot."

Waiting is going to be the new poll tax, a price that seems like it's race-neutral, "Because it's about money. It's not about color," but you're going to have to pay that price to exercise your right to vote, and you're going to wait, if you're a minority, any chance they can make it happen.

My next guest knows the reality in Texas. His name is Ron Kirk. He used to be the Secretary of State and the Mayor of Dallas.

Ambassador, welcome to PRIME TIME. Do I have any of this wrong?

AMB. RON KIRK, (D) FORMER DALLAS MAYOR: Chris, I don't know how much more I can add. I mean, you couldn't have made it plainer and more honest than you did.

And the reality in all of these States, Georgia, Florida, all those you just mentioned, and Texas, we are not solving a problem. This is not about correcting any flaws that were in the previous election.

And this is not about voter ID. Republicans have done a pretty good job of making this about ID. If I had one more person, say "I've got to show an ID to get on a plane, why can't I vote?" We already have some of the most restrictive voting laws in the state, this is precisely what you said, to make it more difficult for people of color, for poor people. But I think it's also going to make it more difficult for many of our senior citizens, Chris, who very much enjoy the privilege of either voting by mail or voting early.

And it's also the Republicans can not only keep the damage that they already have in Texas, but they are trying to breathe life into the lie that Donald Trump continues to feed to his base, that somehow the last election was stolen from him.

CUOMO: Now, one of the mistakes that is sometimes made, in combating these conspiracy theories, is we don't repeat it enough. Part of the weaponization of a conspiracy theory is repeating it. So some things bear repeating.

They say, "Transparency." Transparency is "I know who you are. So you show an ID. And everybody has a driver's license." Why does something that sounds so simple, wind up creating a problem in communities of color.

KIRK: Well, the reality is they've already done that, Chris. We already have voter ID requirements in just about every one of these States.

Now, the reality is there are States, particularly in the South, my mother and father weren't born in a hospital. Most Black and Mexican Americans weren't, because they weren't allowed to be. And so, they didn't have birth certificates, in some cases, then you couldn't get a driver's license.

But I want to be clear. This is not about the voter ID requirements. We've already fought that battle.

CUOMO: They say it's about safety.

KIRK: This is about those efforts--

CUOMO: And that's what I want to talk about. Here is the second problem.

"No, no, Ron, you got it wrong. It's about safety. See, and safety and security means got to shorten some of these periods, you know?

We'll make it - give you some time, but shorter, fewer places to drop it off, fewer people who can get it from other people, and deliver it, because that's safer. That's what we're trying to do. We're trying to make it so that people can't use fraud here."

What do you say?

KIRK: Well, according to the Republicans' own Attorney General Bill Barr, Donald Trump's own data security expert, whom me fired, for saying the last election was the safest, and one of the most secure elections we've ever had, this isn't about that. And Chris, I've got a very real concern, having grown up in the South, having seen firsthand what my parents had to endure, to vote, the combination of what we're doing in Texas, with our legislature almost unfathomably about to pass something called "Constitutional carry."


What we saw on our country on January the 6th, at our nation's capital, may become the norm among "Republican poll watchers," who are going to be armed to the teeth.

This is simply about creating an environment that makes it more difficult for people of color to vote. And it's going to bring an element of intimidation, the likes of which we haven't seen since the 1950s and Jim Crow.

CUOMO: I heard the other day, someone said, "Yes, yes, they should carry weapons, because that'll make them safe, and it'll keep them really safe, from the threat, which is people coming to vote." And that's what they want, fewer people to vote.

Ambassador Ron Kirk, we will not leave this alone. Every time a law is put up, we will show what it is, and we will show what it is not. And you are welcome here, sir.

KIRK: Well, Chris, thank you for everything that you are seeing in and doing to keep this in front of the American public.

CUOMO: That's the job. Be well. OK.

KIRK: Thank you, my friend.

CUOMO: Do you remember how the Re-Trump-licans voted on Pandemic relief? I do. It's an easy number to remember. Zero voted to pass Biden's aid package for millions of struggling Americans. "So, OK, so what?" Did you hear what they're saying now about it?

BOLO, next.









CUOMO: All right, I got a BOLO, Be On the Look-Out, truth abuse. Republicans are touting the benefits of COVID relief as they campaign in state.

But remember, every single Republican in Congress voted against President Biden's sweeping $2 trillion relief bill. Why? Because they oppose opportunistically, OK?

And here, we expose hypocrisy. That's the job of this show.

The benefits of the package are starting to be felt across the nation. Many of the struggling places have representatives that voted against their own struggle.

Vaccine funding, that's pushed COVID levels to its lowest point in months, economic relief, helping businesses open back up, Republicans all over the country are now promoting pieces of the very legislation that they opposed and voted against.

Why, because the opposition isn't about principle. It's out of pragmatism. It is to oppose, to throw you - so you are against Biden. They rally the base "We oppose! We oppose! We oppose! Tax and spend socialist!"

But they can't have it both ways. Not here!

This was Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis of New York back in March.


REP. NICOLE MALLIOTAKIS (R-NY): This bill is not tailored to the specific needs of our nation or its citizens.

This is an epic fail.


CUOMO: Is it?

In the weeks that followed, the first-term Republican would soon issue this, a news release that celebrated $3.7 million from the package toward community health centers, in her district, as one of her "Achievements."

Without shame, she said she prided herself on "Bringing federal funding to the district and back into the pockets of taxpayers (ph)." She didn't vote for it. She voted against it. And when she says, "I always like this part. It's the other part," that's BS, OK?

Republicans all wanted to go smaller. They said things like the $1,400 checks, and the extended unemployment benefits, and the health grants, it was too much. It was too soon.

Hey, that's fine. Those are legitimate arguments. But keep that same energy now.

Don't forget what House Minority Leader McCarthy told you.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): Help is not on the way. Help is not on the way.


CUOMO: Now, he's calling attention to a massive fund that would help struggling restaurants, as is Congressman Greg Pence. Sound familiar? He's the VP's former - he's the VP's brother, the former VP's brother. His tweet reads "Help is on the way."

Here was his brother, VP Pence, speaking against the bill, in February.


REP. GREG PENCE (R-IN): I rise today because the Democrats' newest proposal is yet again a political statement rather than a sincere effort at COVID relief.


CUOMO: Yes, that's his brother. That's his brother saying it, not the VP. The VP was railing against it. There he is now.

What's the point? Look, this is about having it both ways. Biden now is working to push Republican lawmakers to support his $2 trillion infrastructure plan. The guess? The Republicans will oppose, why? Well McConnell just told you, right? He will propose to oppose all Biden plans.

And if Democrats are smart enough to not give them an escape of due process, go through the process, go to committee, let it be marked up, put it on the floor. Let's see if any amendments from the Right are to compromise or merely to kill.

Then when they refuse to help, on the Right, and it gets passes anyway, BOLO, because if the Democrats muscle this through, you can expect that they will try to have it both ways. But not on our watch!

Now, interesting offer. Want a free ticket to the Super Bowl? NFL is now among the many businesses, cities, colleges, dangling delicious and tantalizing carrots to incentivize you to get vaccinated.

Plus, what could be one of the toughest fronts in the vaccine hesitancy battle? It's coming! Next.









CUOMO: "Vaccine hesitancy, vaccine hesitancy," keep hearing about it. Yes. What are you going to do about it?

So, there are more COVID carrots coming. Will it help get some of the 35 million more, who need to get the vaccine, so experts can get us to what they say is the estimate of herd immunity?

The NFL is in. They're offering 50 Super Bowl tickets to select fans, who share their stories about why they got vaccinated, or how they plan to. The New York Mets, the Yankees, free ticket to anyone who gets an on-site J&J shot.

There's more. Chicago, free concert series. Jersey, University giving students up to $1,000 credit. And, if you just want, free food or beer, some of the companies, out there, handing out freebies, just to get vaccinated.

Will it work? Keep in mind, the next front in our vaccine hesitancy battle is a real problem, because it's not us. It's our kids.

Let's bring in Dr. Ashish Jha right now.

The number here - well, let's put you - make you be a politician first. What do you think about the carrots? Do you think they'll work? Do you think that's the right way to go?



Look, the people out there, who have not gotten a vaccine yet, they're, a lot of them are on the fence. A lot of them are not sure they want to. But they're also not necessarily opposed to it.

If a carrot helps somebody jump off the fence, I love it. I think it's great. And so, I think it can only be helpful.

CUOMO: So, you hit them with the obvious, right? Some people believe if you get the vaccine, you get the virus. Not true.

You may have symptoms that make you feel like you have the virus, but that's the RNA technology, the science, helping the body learn how to fight the virus, so it approximates what that fight would be like. So, you tell them that a million times that helps with some.

Carrots, maybe more, that's not about science. That's about policymaking.

Now we get to what the problem is, OK? Let's put up these numbers from the Kaiser Family Foundation. I think this is going to be a huge problem.

When the vaccine is available, will you vaccinate your kid? Right away, 29 percent. Wait and see, 32 percent. Only if required by school, 15 percent. Definitely not, 19 percent.

So, you got 34 percent there that's saying "No," or "Only if they make me." Wait and see is a non-descriptive polling category, because it doesn't give you an inclination. Right away is only 30 percent. Those are terrible numbers.

JHA: Yes, here's how I see it, Chris. I'm more optimistic. Maybe like, first of all, 30 percent will get vaccinated, I'm in that group. By the way, I'm going to get my kids vaccinated. They're excited to get vaccinated when they can.

The wait and see, I totally get it. These are new vaccines. A lot of parents are going to say, "Just want to see how this goes." And I think it's going to go really well, because the data is really good. And I'm hoping that most of those parents then jump off the fence and get their kids vaccinated.

And then we may have about a third, who are on that like, "Only if you make me," or "No way," and maybe some schools will push some of those people over.

So, I remain optimistic here. I know it's a big hill to climb. We got to get all these people on board. But I do think we're going to get there, if we just keep plugging away at it.

CUOMO: And you have been wrong every time. You were wrong about your optimism, about testing, about what people would do with mask-wearing, about where the cases was going, about how to go with the vaccine.

So, you're brilliant, and it is amazing what you've done at Brown University with controlling cases. But the rest of the country has not been Brown University, at least not thus far.

Now, here is another problem that I'd like your head on, that you start losing the political battle, if the restrictions are too stringent, because it starts to look like a Big Brother move.

For example, summer camp, OK? CDC guidance. Campers and staff still with the six feet. Campers with a cohort, three feet, six feet, while eating drinking, masks all times, few exceptions. This is all a nightmare with kids. And it's been so long. Everything's reopening.

Families look forward, if they're lucky enough to afford camp, you know? I'm Italian. I can't take having my kids away from me. But for families that want their kids away, or for people who are more healthy emotionally than I am, this is too strict. Even Fauci said this is conservative and stringent. Why?

JHA: Yes, I think, look, CDC is just playing this super-duper save. I think it's too stringent.

Here's what I think is going to happen. As more and more evidence comes in, I think you're going to see the CDC revise it. I think it's going to happen in the next few weeks. And they're going to pull back on most of that stuff.

Outdoor mask mandates for kids in summer camp, I don't think so. So, I think you're going to see a lot of pulling back of this stuff, in the next few weeks, Chris. The CDC often sides on the err of - errs on the side of caution. I do think on this one, they're going to pull back.

CUOMO: I had a guy in my Marina, the other day. The fishing season is here.

And I saw him, and I put my mask on, when I was walking by. And he kind of laughed, and he said, "Let me ask you something. You drink?" I said, "Yes, I love tequila." He goes, "It's terrible for you." I said, "I know."

He said, "You still eat meat?" I said, "Yes, I do." He goes, "It's terrible for you. You're going to get cancer." I said "Well something's going to kill me." He said, "But you're putting that mask on."

And I think that there is a balance here, you know? If you have had COVID, if you get the antibodies, if you get the vaccine, they're still masking you up, they're still creating conditions, they're not giving you preferences, it starts to sound like overreach.

And it feeds the Ted Cruz's of the world, the Rand Paul's of the world, who was saying "They're just doing this because they can, not because they must." That's a problem.

JHA: Yes, here's how I think about it. I, first of all, I agree with you. Once people are vaccinated, there's very little that they should not feel comfortable doing. It's a - these are unbelievably effective vaccines.


So, the CDC, it's great organization. It's got great scientists. They tend to err on the side of caution. They're just very, very cautious people.

The bottom line is I think we have to make some of our own decisions, use our - use science and use wisdom and prudence. And the bottom line is everybody has slightly different risk tolerance, right?

There are people who like "Don't drink, don't eat meat, don't do anything that could possibly harm though," that's fine. That's not the rest of us. So, I think we're going to have to draw some lines here.

And I suspect CDC is going to come more in line with where most Americans are going to want to be, because like the summer camp guidance is really just far too stringent.

CUOMO: And then, when it's really going to be the real deal, when we'll be talking a lot, school in the fall. If they're not back a 100 percent, we're going to have huge problems. Dr. Ashish Jha, thank you very much. Appreciate you, brother.

JHA: Thank you, Chris.

CUOMO: All right, the U.S., we're making gains on another Pandemic front. We have more Americans vaccinated. The economic pandeming is therefore easing - the economic pandemic.

But the Wizard of Odds is here. He's going to show us how the turnaround comes with challenges. Forewarned is forearmed! Next.









CUOMO: All right, there's a big jobs report, out tomorrow, and it is expected to show more people heading back to work. Yay!

So the President went to Louisiana to push his jobs plan. Listen.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: The American Jobs Plan is a blue-collar blueprint to rebuild America, a blue-collar blueprint to rebuild America, to supercharge our economy, so we can move goods, get to work, become more competitive around the world.


CUOMO: I wonder if they'll start letting us wear sunglasses on TV now. It was always a "No, no." But the President's doing it.

All right, let's get into the numbers, OK? In terms of the practical and the politics, the Wizard of Odds, Harry Enten is here.

First, let's start with the basic. How do we feel about the economy?


Look, and this is amazing to me, go back at the beginning of the Pandemic, 65 percent of Americans thought it was poor. Even at the beginning of this year, 56 percent of Americans thought it was poor. Now only 45 percent feel it's poor. 54 percent, it's good. The last time we went through an economic recovery in the late aughts into the 2010s, it took about 9 years to 10 years to see this type of turnaround. And we've seen it in just a year span.

So, it's pretty clear that Americans are liking the way that things are going right now, at least significantly more so than it did, even at the beginning of this year.

CUOMO: Did you just say "The Aughts?"

ENTEN: I think I did say "The Aughts."

CUOMO: I thought you did too.

ENTEN: Why not?

CUOMO: Why not?

The jobs report, does it matter in the inclinations of Republican voters?

ENTEN: Not really. I mean, I don't believe so. I mean, look at - look at this. What is a very big problem, according to Republicans right now?

Look at this. 72 percent say illegal immigration, just 36 percent say unemployment. And the condition of infrastructure, right, Biden is really hoping he might be able to bring some Republicans along on him - with him, on that one, just 23 percent say that condition of infrastructure is a very big problem.

Here's the deal. We don't really vote on economics anymore, Christopher.

CUOMO: Who's "We?"

ENTEN: Americans really don't, for the most part.

CUOMO: Anybody?

ENTEN: Not really. I mean, during Trump's term, what we saw was what, for the first time, even as the economy was getting going, it really had no correlation with his approval rating.

This is what we've seen, as we're going into a deeper and deeper era of polarization, is that there's been this disconnect between how people feel about the economy and how they feel about the president. And it's something that folks like myself are continuing to study.

But I mean, one thing you can just note is that as soon as Biden took office, Republicans' views in the economy tanked, and Democrats views on the economy went sky-high. And I can tell you, the economy didn't change overnight. The only thing that changed overnight was the president.

Everything is about social issues these days, for the most part, and more than that, it's about the party that you belong to.

CUOMO: So, imagine if Donald John Trump had not seen the Pandemic as an existential threat to the economy, and listened to what you're saying, and said, "Hey, let me play to the Pandemic. And I'm going to be the Pandemic guy. If the economy gets hit, it gets hit, they don't vote on that anyway. I'm going to play to being the wartime president and the security guy," we may be in a very different leadership position today.

Let me ask you something. I want to skip to your fourth point. I'm hearing about this in so many sectors. "The economy is coming back. Places in the service sectors want to reopen. But where are the workers?" What are you seeing?

ENTEN: Yes, this is something that's so interesting.

If you just look across a ton of different blue-collar industries, you see in construction, factories, restaurant, trucking, what you see is that a lot of these places reporting that they cannot, in fact, get people to show up to actually go to work for them.

And this is a very strange thing about this economic recovery that we're seeing so far, is that, I think the Pandemic screwed with the economy in a way that a lot of people weren't used to, and businesses decided to do certain things.

So, for instance, what we saw was that they didn't necessarily put into place the necessary precautions, in order to ensure the workers that they can stay safe from the Coronavirus, right? We've seen a lot of unemployment packages that have come out. It's not clear what's exactly causing this.

CUOMO: Well you know what the Right says. The Right says that "People are making more money not working than working, so they don't want to come back to work, until the checks stop in September."

ENTEN: That's certainly the case for some folks. There's no doubt about that. But--

CUOMO: Even though that check is as small as it is, doesn't that mean that their wage structure is that screwed up?


CUOMO: That you'd rather make the employment - unemployment level relief check than the pay that you're making. So, what does that say about our pay scale?

ENTEN: I mean, that basically tells you that we're not paying people enough, right? I mean, I think that's the easy conclusion from that data. And we should pay people more, if we can't get--

CUOMO: Is there any other reason that they can't find workers?

ENTEN: Well, I think that there's one, as I pointed out, one reason why is if you're trying to put folks in a factory, and you don't have the social distancing that's necessary, I think that's a big problem.


We saw throughout the early parts of the Pandemic, that a lot of folks, in these factories, were getting sick, because the companies were not putting into place, the necessary proper precautions, to ensure that those workers could, in fact, be safe.

So, I think that there are a lot of different potential possibilities that are going on here. But the fact of the matter is, is there's no doubt that even though the economy is improving, that there are still some major issues in certain industries, just luring people back to work. And it's not just about luring people back to work.

I would love to go to slide three. I know you skipped it, Chris.

CUOMO: It's because I'm out of time.

ENTEN: Well, I would just say this. And that is that there are supply shortages as well. So, we're seeing it throughout different parts of the economy, right?

My fried chicken has become much more expensive to buy, because we're seeing shortages of that. Ketchup has become much more expensive to buy, or at least there's been shortages of it because people have been having a lot more takeout food, and you put those little ketchup packages in.

So, things have become really bizarre on this economy. There's no doubt it's getting better. But it's a bizarre economic recovery in a lot of ways.

CUOMO: It's more expensive for you too also because I'm not paying for it as much.

Harry Enten, thank you very much.

We'll be right back.

ENTEN: Thanks, sir.