Return to Transcripts main page

Cuomo Prime Time

CNN Projects New Jersey's Democratic Governor Narrowly Wins Reelection Against GOP Challenger; Kids Ages 5-11 Now Eligible For Pfizer's COVID-19 Vaccine; "Rust" Armorer's Attorney Suggests Sabotage In Deadly Shooting. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired November 03, 2021 - 21:00   ET




ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Busy night. The news continues. Let's hand it over to Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME." Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: All right, thanks, Anderson.

I am Chris Cuomo and welcome to PRIME TIME.

Breaking tonight, New Jersey's Democrat Governor Phil Murphy eked out a win against his opponent Republican, Jack Ciattarelli much closer than expected. CNN has just projected the win, for Murphy, who has been reelected Governor, by more than 22,000 votes.

Now, even though this is a big surprise, if it holds, you do have to give Murphy a little bit of a nod, because he will be, would be, the first Democratic governor, to get a second straight term, in four decades.

But because this was so close, when polls showed Murphy leading comfortably, it has to add to the concerns for Democrats. You have this, you have Virginia, and you have other strong signals that they need to listen to.

Now, I am going to give you something a little different, all right? I've been watching the coverage all day, just like you. I'm not here, to beat up on the Democrats. They do that, far too well, themselves. And I'm not here to say, "We learned something new, last night," like so many in the media, because we didn't.

Here's what I see. The simple rules of politics still apply. Democrats were given a mandate, to get things done. They haven't. So, the people, who put them there, were not as anxious, to come out, to reward them, for not doing what they said they would do. Turnout was lower. And, in a bunch of races, you saw the results.

This is not simply about the mood of the country, or Democrats misunderstanding the same, or some new reckoning, or reality. And any media saying otherwise, are trying to seem smarter than they were, the day before yesterday. Voters care about household issues, always, OK? What is also obvious today is that the Democrat reaction, so far, to the returns, maybe more of a problem than the returns themselves. They seem intent on eating their own more than feeding people what they want.

They should listen to Ted Lasso. Be a goldfish, shortest memory in the animal kingdom. Learn the lesson, and do better for people, with the power, they gave you. Don't obsess over the result.

Still, even if they do, and I think they will, for at least the rest of this week, I still don't think the Democrats have a five-alarm fire, as has been said. But if they do, it's because they have sat, and watched, and blown on the flames of a two-, three- and four-alarm fire.

People keep saying, "Get things done." They say, "What about inflation? What's going on with gas prices? What about all these changes to the messaging about COVID?" Did the Democrats speak to those issues? Did they do so well, and consistently? Will they now?

No small irony, the Democrats have bills that will do more, for people, who didn't vote for them, than those same voters have ever been offered before. But what did the Democrats do? They made their bills about how much they cost.

Price-tag politics can create a paradox. People can like the policies, but not the price tag. Look at the polls of Independent voters. It's exactly how they feel, like the policies, not the price tag. "That's not fair." Fair is the only four-letter word, doesn't exist. Perception is reality in politics. It's what you sell.

In Virginia, the real story is, a Republican showed you that you can win, on the same problems that Trump trumpeted, without being like Trump. Youngkin tapped into education, but as a culture war, Conservative anger over Critical Race Theory, which very few people know that much about, but it scares them.

Why? Because the issue gets framed as "White fright." "They're coming for you. You're to blame for everything. Now, you got to take your medicine," the idea of Big Government taking away your rights.

And Youngkin's opponent, Terry McAuliffe, played right into that fear.


TERRY MCAULIFFE, (D) VIRGINIA GOVERNOR CANDIDATE: I don't think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.



CUOMO: Now, the Governor was referring to parents getting involved, in what books should be part, of the curriculum.

But this is politics. Perception is reality. It's a spin game. And what he said was spun, and used, arguably, out of context. In fact, I think it was. But it doesn't matter.

It came off as tone-deaf, and insulting, to parents, something that the Left part of the Democratic Party, and their pundits, and their media pals, can do too often. And ultimately, in politics, talking down to people you want to raise you up is not a winning combination.

Democrats should not be shocked that parents want input about what their kids learned in school. And if they think people are, too dumb, to control their kids, or their bodies, watch them control their votes, in the midterms.

The GOP nominee, in New Jersey, Ciattarelli, also kept Trump at arm's length. But he made his campaign about a lot of the same themes, and hit those household issues. "Taxes, taxes, taxes, bad decisions by Democrats, tax and spend, businesses getting beaten up under Democrats." That was the message.

And the response should be focus on fixes that help with the obvious and talk about that, a lot. Will the Democrats? They didn't misread a mood. They are just intentionally not matching the mood.

Don't just look at Virginia. Look at Minneapolis, Minnesota. The idea that police have to go, or be reimagined, was crushed.

Look at Buffalo, OK? The Lefty fringe wins in the primary with an out- and-out socialist, OK? And then, the write-in candidate apparently killed it in the general.

A write-in candidate, often referred to as an "Other," OK? Yes, not here in Buffalo. The write-in choice likely seems to have been the incumbent. But he lost in the primary, and may still win. He wasn't even on the ticket.

What does that tell you? Do what you said you would do. Don't tell people, you know better, how to live their lives, than they do. And remember, this is a center-center-left country.

Those were all truisms, long before yesterday's races. And when you ignore the realities, you lose. You know who admits that? Someone who should know better!


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: What I do know is - I do know that people want us to get things done. They want us to get things done.

People are upset and uncertain about a lot of things, from COVID, to school, to jobs, to a whole range of things.

What happened was - I think we have to just produce results, for them, to change their standard of living and give them a little more breathing room.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CUOMO: And, Mr. President, with all due respect, you need to say those things a lot more, in a lot more places. Use the bully pulpit, or you will get beaten by people, who use it better than you do.

Instead of pitching policies that people should want, his party is bragging about the price tag. And, as I explained, there can be a paradox on that. They decided also to have this intramural fight, while the opposing team just pointed that out, and said, "This is getting things done?"

And, of course, yes, the Democrats are up against a party that is all about making them fail. But that's the state of play. And the team leader for that team, in the Senate, he has the right advice.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): The Democratic Party has wildly misread their mandate.

This was, in large part, a referendum on national issues.

Democrats should listen to the voters.


CUOMO: He should know. He fell into the same hole in 2018. You remember, the GOP with Trump? "Caravans! Brown Menace!" as I called them. Remember that?

What did Democrats run on, in those midterms? And yes, it was a first- term incumbent, and they have risk, and exposure, in the midterms. But what did the Democrats run on?

Did they fight that culture war, even though I believe they had incredibly high ground? There was no Caravan coming here, to kill you, and steal your jobs. It was all a lie.

No. Health care costs. Why? Because you guys care, about what matters to you, in everyday life, and you should.


The Democrats crushed him in 2018, forgot the lesson. Why, because we didn't see anything new. The rules still apply. And here's a tweak. What works on Twitter does not always work at the polls, OK?

The good news for Democrats is this was not the midterms. They have time. What will they do with that time? How will they sell what they do with that time? Now, here's what they better not do. Try to win a war of attrition. The Right is all-in on what's wrong. Can the Left show they can make things right? We'll see.

And we're going to see, right away, because the next battle is upon us, vaccines for kids. What's the message? What backs up the message? How is it delivered? How consistent is it? Does it change? And you better not use the M-word. Don't even use it. We have Dr. Fauci here, tonight, to make the case, to a parent, with concerns. You know who that is? Me.

Now, to the better minds, about last night, Stuart Stevens, former Republican Strategist, Scott Jennings, former Special Assistant to President George W. Bush.

Gentlemen, both, thank you for being with me tonight.

Scott, I start with you.


CUOMO: What was the lesson, for you, as Republicans, and then, the takeaway, you believe, for Democrats?


I think the lesson for Republicans is, and call me old-fashioned, but it's "Platforms work." Quite literally, the Republicans didn't ride a platform in 2020. And this time around, in Virginia, Glenn Youngkin, rode a platform.

He had issues, education, quality of life, economy, crime. He wrote down a list of things that he was worried about, because he was listening to his voters. He wrote down a list of things that he would do about it, reforming the DMV. These are things that affect your quality of life, and he ran on it.

And he never took the bait, of the fundamentally unserious campaign, run by the Democrats, which was solely focused on one thing. Lie about Glenn Youngkin, and try to turn him into Donald Trump. Stuart was part of it. It did not work because it wasn't true.

And had Glenn Youngkin taken that bait, he would have been drugged down into that mire, and I think he would have lost. But he stuck to a platform. He won on an issues-based campaign.

So, the lesson for Republicans, listen to the voters, ride a platform, run on issues. And I think the lesson for Democrats is if you thought you were going to run these midterms, all on Trump, you are sorely mistaken, because the party is not going to let you get away with it.

CUOMO: Now, throw a little comma in there, which is you also don't have to give Trump a bear hug, every five minutes, no matter how obnoxious and terrible what he says is. Let's see if that carries forward as well.

So Stuart, the main criticism is it was Terry McAuliffe. Sure "The Lincoln Project," with this stunt, with the Charlottesville people played into it. But Democrats all over the country are talking about Trump, like he was a step away from the White House.

Do you guys regret, what you did, at "The Lincoln Project," and that approach by Democrats?

STEVENS: No, look, I think it's very difficult, to look at what happened here, and say that somehow, "The Lincoln Project" interfered with a winning Democratic strategy.

The problem with Democrats - and had Scott Jennings has been running the Democratic campaign, he's a fantastic campaign manager, he would have known what to do. What he would have done is gone out and defined Glenn Youngkin very quickly.

Glenn Youngkin is someone, who wouldn't have won that nomination, without Donald Trump's endorsement. Donald Trump endorsed him seven times. Youngkin has said that he'll vote for Donald Trump, in 2024.

So, here you have someone, running for governor, in the State of Virginia, a key state, in the history of the United States of America, who was supporting a candidate, who attempted to overthrow the government of the United States, and says that he will support that person, before.

You have to go out there. Races will be about something. Scott is right. When you say that "McAuliffe didn't have enough of an agenda," I can't tell you the five things that Terry McAuliffe would have done, as governor.

But he could have won this race, if he had gone about aggressively defining, what the race was about, and defining his opponent. I mean, it's just kind of Politics 101.

CUOMO: First of all, this was a very - it was a close race. But I think that - let's finesse a point here, Stuart, and then I'm going to come back, obviously, to Scott, for the rejoinder on it.

Look, the insurrection was real. Attempts to make it anything other than it was are shameful and dangerous. I think that that's the only reasonable approach, to look at it.

But the idea that this is all going to be about tying somebody to Trump, and "This guy's, he's all about Trump, the guy's backing Trump," if people don't like Trump, you already got them. If people do like Trump, you'll never get them.

So, Stuart, the idea of this is about the democracy, isn't that almost a dead letter with Democrats, who haven't done anything, about securing voting rights, while they've been in power?


CUOMO: If it's such a big deal, if it's so bad, why can't they even get their own party to do something?

STEVENS: Well, that's a question to ask the Democratic Party.


And, look, I've spent 30 years, pointing out flaws, in the Democratic Party. So, I have a very good track record of that.

I think if you're saying what you said up front, Chris, the Democrats would be a lot better off, if they pass stuff that people care about, the answer is overwhelmingly yes. But what you have to do is you have to shape this narrative. You have to say what is at stake. This isn't a normal time.

The mistake that was made in Virginia is to run - allow Republicans, to run a race, as if this was a normal time, as if Donald Trump had been a normal president, as if the Republican Party wasn't asserting that the current President of the United States was elected illegally.

That's not what you should do. You can't do that. You can't treat this like a normal time. Now, you've got to go out, and you've got to dig the ditch, you're going to die in, and you have to fight for it.

And look, in 2002, the last time that a party in power gained seats? I was part of that. Scott was part of that. We nationalized that race.

CUOMO: Right.

STEVENS: We nationalized it around domestic security. That's what Democrats need to do about democracy. And they need to get about stopping Republicans, from using code words, like "Critical Race Theory," trying to ban the only Black Nobel Prize Laureate, in literature, in America, and call them out for what it is. Be aggressive.

CUOMO: Terrorism, domestic safety, whatever you want to call it, that was an easy sell, to the American people, because you gave somebody an "Other."

You gave them Muslim extreme Islamists. And they could all get together around the fact that they were all afraid of that caricature. You don't have that right now, even with the existential battle for the democracy.

However, Scott Jennings, there is an instruction, in Stuart's argument, for you guys. You're all quiet now about these election returns. You're just fine with them, because you won.

However, if your party falls back, into the midterms of, "I bet you it's rigged, if we don't win, I bet you it's rigged, if we don't win," are you worried about what kind of sell, that is, to the American people, that undercuts our democracy?

JENNINGS: Well, let me just address this issue, in the context of Virginia. Stuart and Company have argued that democracy is at stake, and these races should be framed around, how serious that issue is. And they've demanded that Republicans embrace that theory.

Well, Glenn Youngkin comes along, a conservative Republican, with a standard set of Republican ideas, to solve problems. And, at the same time, says "Joe Biden was a legitimately-elected president." He renounced January 6. He had nothing to do with it. He said it was weird and bad. He totally stepped away from all of it. CUOMO: True.

JENNINGS: Did not embrace it in any way, shape, or form. And still--

CUOMO: Except by accepting.

JENNINGS: --Stuart and the Democrats beat him about the head and face. And so, you can't have it both ways.

CUOMO: Well?

JENNINGS: You cannot demand that the Republicans do what Stuart wants them to do, and then when they do it, claim that they're Donald Trump Jr. anyway.

CUOMO: All right, true, true.

JENNINGS: It's not right. And it's not going to work.

CUOMO: All right, true. But you got to take the dudgeon down a little bit, because the guy took the endorsement. He had Trump talking for him, all the time. He said he's going to vote for Trump. So?

JENNINGS: Donald Trump didn't even go to Virginia. He didn't appear in the state, one time.

CUOMO: Well, I think that there are good reasons for that, especially when you look at the way now Governor-elect Youngkin took his phone call, which is to be like "Who are you?" afterwards, which I understand also.

I'm just saying, you guys won, you don't complain. You lose. You better not complain. That's all I'm saying. You got to put the democracy first. This was a good discussion, and I appreciate it. It is to be continued.

Scott Jennings, thank you very much, Stuart Stevens, also. You're both a plus. Appreciate you.

Now, one of the best ways to understand what just happened is to not just look at the parties, OK? And that play, look at the people, all right?

Let's bring in the Wiz, who's going to show us what brought Independents out this time, OK? And how did progressives run into so much trouble, across the country? Barely hanging on, in New Jersey, the answer is in the numbers, next.









CUOMO: Breaking news, Governor Phil Murphy, apparently wins reelection, in New Jersey. Race was very close. Now, you look at that, two ways. He is like the first Democrat, in decades, to win consecutive terms. But he was expected to win by a big margin. And he didn't.

Let's discuss with our Wizard of Odds, Harry Enten.

We're not going to focus on the parties. We're going to look at who came out and why. What do you have for us, in terms of why, the Democrats did badly, in terms of by the numbers, how bad?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: I mean, Virginia, and New Jersey, two different states. We were all focusing in on Virginia.

But, to me, the story is the exact same in both of those states. Look at the shift in the vote, from 2020 to 2021. The GOP actually gained more points, on the margin, in New Jersey, 15 points, and in Virginia, 12 points.

You were saying "Oh, you know, he's the first Democrat, to win reelection, since Brendan Byrne," I think, back in the late 70s. I'm not impressed by that.

The fact is, is that a lot of politics today are nationalized. And an incumbent governor, who at least, according the polling, was fairly well-liked, and he almost lost in a state that Joe Biden won by 16 points?

This is awful, across the board. And we've seen that, across contests, so far this year, special elections, where Democrats are vastly undergoing the baseline from 2020.

CUOMO: Very interesting. Voters, who didn't want Biden or Donald Trump--


CUOMO: --went to Youngkin, in Virginia, by a 2-to-1 margin. Unpack.

ENTEN: Democrats, Terry McAuliffe, wanted to make that campaign about Donald Trump. And look, Donald Trump was not very well-liked. His unfavorable rating in the poll was 55 percent. But Joe Biden's disapproval rating was 53 percent.


And that, I think, is the big problem here is Democrats want to make this about "The unpopular guy" on the other side. They have an unpopular guy, on their side. And the key part of that electorate, of the voters, who didn't like Donald Trump, and didn't like Joe Biden, they went overwhelmingly for Youngkin.

And this reminds me a lot of what we saw, in 2016, where there were a lot of voters, in fact more voters, who disliked Donald Trump than disliked Hillary Clinton. But Donald Trump was able to win, because he won the voters, who disliked both of them.

And we saw that exact same thing happen, last night, in Virginia. And that's a very worrisome sign, for Democrats, hanging in the midterms, given how unpopular Joe Biden is, at this point.

CUOMO: Also, people, who don't like Trump, came out 4 points less, than those who don't like Biden. Now, you can say, "Well, 96, 92, I mean," yes, but these races are all so close now that it matters.

Another interesting outcome, Minneapolis, the idea that, "Hey, we want to overhaul policing," it was crushed in Minneapolis, not the whole State of Minnesota, meaning that you had ethnic diversity in there, you had racial diversity in here, economic diversity in there.

What do you take away from it?

ENTEN: I mean, it's not - look, Minneapolis is a very, very Democratic city.

But it's not just that the police referendum, to basically reform the police department went down. Jacob Frey who, was the incumbent mayor who, was against, that reform, also, won.

So, it's not just a policy that lost. It was also the candidates, who championed the policies. So essentially, voters are rewarding those people, who are actually backing the police department, at least not wanting to reform in the way that that referendum did.

And we've seen that, throughout the country, is that for the most part, people actually like the police. They don't like "Defund the Police," which honestly is one of the worst slogans I've ever heard.

CUOMO: Harry Enten, you know what? You gave them more than enough already.


CUOMO: The Wizard of Odds, thank you very much. We're going to be - keep unpacking what we learn. I don't want to overwhelm them too much. You do a great job. And thank you very much, Wiz. Appreciate you.

ENTEN: Thank you, my friend.

CUOMO: A moderate Democrat, OK, boy, that's like, I don't even know, does that - that even exist now? What does a moderate Democrat think of the message, delivered by voters?

We're going to bring one in, and we're going to have a conversation, right after this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)








CUOMO: It's not just the media, linking the Democrats' loss, in Virginia, to the party struggles, in Washington.

Here is the President of the United States, today.


BIDEN: I think we should have - should have passed before Election Day. But I'm not sure that I would be able to have changed the number of very conservative folks, who turned out, in the Red districts, who were Trump voters. But maybe. Maybe.


CUOMO: Mr. President, again, with all due respect, it is your people, who didn't come out. And it's people, who put you there, who didn't come out, Independents, specifically.

Let's bring in a Democrat, in Congress, and a member of the so-called Problem Solvers Caucus, to discuss this. This is Representative Carolyn Bourdeaux.

It's great to have you on PRIME TIME.

And I want to remind people that you were the only Democrat, to flip a House seat, last year. And your district, Suburban Atlanta, none of what is being discussed, or should be discussed, is new to you. You learned nothing last night that you didn't already know from your own race.

So, what do you hope comes, from what happened?

REP. CAROLYN BOURDEAUX (D-GA): Well, good to be here.

And I hope what we do is we re-center ourselves, around messages, like the one that I ran on.

And people can go look at my closing ads. I ran on bipartisanship, fiscal responsibility, getting the economy, back on track, and addressing really serious pocketbook issues, for people, in my community, like health care.

And I think this is a chance, to reset, to take a moment, and really reflect on those, and then deliver on the promises that many of us made, during our campaigns.

CUOMO: It's the last part that you guys are struggling with.

How frustrating is it, for you, to have a basket of policies that are wildly popular, with the same people, who just voted against Terry McAuliffe, in Virginia, and yet it's being sold as really about the price tag?

BOURDEAUX: Yes, and that's been something I've talked about a lot with the - internally and with the administration that we need to focus on what is in these bills.

And I've been very pleased at how we've reframed the "Build Back Better" agenda, and what's in that bill. Very important to me, of course, is Medicaid expansion, the health insurance premium subsidies, bringing down the cost of prescription medications.

Those are all things I ran on. And I am looking forward to getting out there, and talking to people, about how we are delivering on our promises.

CUOMO: It was interesting quote that just came out from Representative Spanberger. I want to put up a text of it, and have you give me what you take from it.

Democratic Congresswoman, on Biden, "Nobody elected him to be FDR. They elected him to be normal and stop the chaos."

Agree? Disagree? And why?

BOURDEAUX: Absolutely agree. And we've actually talked about this. The election with Biden, it was about competence, kindness, up against chaos, racism, incompetence that we saw coming out of the Trump administration.

People wanted that sense of return to normal. They wanted an administration that got things done, that was competent. And I think, again, going back to sort of what I ran on, re-centering ourselves, around that message, is very important.

CUOMO: But if they didn't elect him to be FDR - just as a funny aside, when I interviewed him, during the campaign, he actually said he wanted to do FDR-like things.

But if that's true, then why would the Democrats put so much, into these spending bills, instead of picking things that were main ticket items, and getting some wins, getting some points, on the board, for people early-on?

BOURDEAUX: Well, if you know me, I've been a big advocate for getting the bipartisan infrastructure bill done. I thought that was a great bill. [21:35:00]

It was bipartisan. It addressed some really key needs, in my community, addressed climate change. So, I was very anxious, and continue to be anxious, to get that win, up on the boards.

But I like how we've reframed the "Build Back Better" plan. It is more focused. It's paid-for, something very important to me, fiscal responsibility. It's actually more than paid for right now, with more revenues being raised and being spent, so it'll actually leave some behind to help tackle the deficit.

So, I think we've got a good package here. It's much more focused as well. And I think we need to now focus on delivering, and getting the job done.

CUOMO: Congresswoman Carolyn Bourdeaux, thank you very much. Appreciate you.

BOURDEAUX: Great to be here.

CUOMO: A "Giant step forward," that's the quote that President Biden uses for the CDC's authorization of COVID vaccine for kids, 5 to 11.

Now, I believe this is the next battleground for Democrats and the Administration. How do you get people to give their kids this vaccine? This ain't the same game as having people like me and you take it.

Dr. Anthony Fauci is here, to have a real conversation, with a parent, who has real questions, next.









CUOMO: The darkness, 750,000 COVID deaths, in this country. The light, kids 5 to 11 are now starting to get the Pfizer vaccine.


JEFF ZIENTS, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR: Starting the week of November 8, our vaccination program for kids, ages 5 through 11 will be running at full strength.


CUOMO: You know why I showed you that, instead of footage of kids getting shots? Because I can't think of a worse way, to get parents, kind of geared up, to get their kids the vaccine, than to show needles going in the arms of kids.

Now, let's talk the real talk, with Dr. Anthony Fauci.

It's great to have you, Doc. I've been seeing you out there, doing the opening round of messaging, on this. I think it is critical. You're not a politician. But it is critically important, for the Biden administration, to have this conversation, and the messaging, be very clear.

Are you guys aware of the stakes here?


We have 28 million children, from 5- to 11-years-old, who will benefit, personally from a health standpoint, but also important in the ultimate control of the outbreak.

You could look at it from two vantage points, Chris. You look at the children, who have been infected, right now, from 5 to 11. The number of deaths, there've been close to 100 deaths.

There have been about 8,300 hospitalizations, about 2,300 incidences of this multi-system inflammatory disease, and about 2 million children have been infected. So, purely on the basis, of the protection of the children, it's important.

We also know now that children can induce spread infection, in the context of the school, and in the household. So, there are so many reasons why.

As you mentioned about messaging, it's critical, Chris, and I agree with you about that. Parents are going to ask very reasonable questions. They're going to want to know the data. They're going to want to be assured of the efficacy and the safety. And it's up to us, to make that information, very clearly available to them.

CUOMO: So, let's just go through a couple of the punch points.

The first one is, "We don't know that this is safe for kids. mRNA, yes, I know you guys have been working on it for a long time. But you're just basically cutting the dose for kids. We haven't really seen enough. It's too risky. I'll take anything. I'm an adult. My kid? I'm much more cautious."

What's the response?

FAUCI: Yes. Well, the response is that the safety profile is really quite good. The FDA, which is the gold standard, of regulation, throughout the world, takes very seriously. So, when they examine the data, of the safety and the efficacy, for the benefit-risk ratio, their advisors, and they themselves, made it very clear that the benefit clearly outweighed any risk. Getting kids infected is far, far worse than getting any rare event of an adverse event.

The CDC, and their Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, voted 14 to zero, for the regulation to be put into effect, to get the children vaccinated. A lot of thought and a lot of care has gone into this. Those are the kind of messages we have to get to the parents, who understandably would have reasonable questions.

CUOMO: Two more quick things. They just don't get that sick. And they're in school. And when there's a case, there's a case here, there's a case there, but doesn't really spread.

And in our family, everybody's had it, but ChaCha, the 11-year-old Carolina.

FAUCI: Right.

CUOMO: So, I don't know what's going on with her. But she didn't get it. Everyone around her has been sick. Her friends are sick. I don't want to give it to her.

Now, that's not true. I'll give her the vaccine. My wife has done the research. That's how she feels. So, I really don't even have a say.

But a lot of parents are going to feel that way. This kid has had people get sick around him or her. Nobody gets that sick. Why take the risk with the vaccine?

FAUCI: Well, it is true that about 50 percent of the children are asymptomatic. That's the first thing. But they can spread the infection.

Chris, you've got to look at history. We have vaccinated children, for diseases that have far less severity, far less mortality than what we're dealing with, now with COVID-19.

We really have a responsibility, to protect the children. You don't want to play Russian roulette with this. You don't want to say "Well, this kid doesn't get infected, so I'm not going to worry about the other child."

True. It is absolutely true. You can't walk away from it that the likelihood of a severe illness, in a child, is less than for an elderly individual, or a person, with an underlying condition.


But it is enough that you really want to be concerned about protecting the children. That's the rationale, together with the fact that you want to help to control the outbreak.

CUOMO: Now, when we start to get the data, of kids being vaccinated, the only thing that I ask is, as soon as you guys see things in the data, let us know. Good, bad or neutral. Don't let the numbers--

FAUCI: That--

CUOMO: --get ahead of the explanation of the same.

FAUCI: That has always been the case, Chris. And it will continue to be the case. I promise you that.

CUOMO: All right, because, you know? We know there have been problems with that, where you guys knew things, the CDC knew things, but they weren't telling people yet, or they did tell people, but they didn't tell them enough. We've learned the lessons. We know how to do it right.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, I really appreciate you coming on, having the straight-talk.

FAUCI: Thank you for having me, Chris.

CUOMO: All right, be well.

Now, the Baldwin movie set shooting, I hate that we're calling it that, but the "Rust" movie, whatever you want to call it, the legal team for the armorer, who was in charge of the gun, is now suggesting sabotage.

We have someone, who worked on "Rust," who quit the production, one day before, the deadly shooting, over safety concerns. Why? And what does a pro, make of the new explanation, from the armorer?









CUOMO: The lawyers for the "Rust" armorer, 24-year-old Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, that's her full name, have a new theory, to explain, how a gun that she was in charge of, ended up with a live round.


JASON BOWLES, "RUST" ARMORER ATTORNEY: There was a box of dummy rounds. And the box is labeled "Dummy." She loaded rounds from that box, into the - the handgun, only later to find out there is a, and she had no idea, she inspected the rounds, that there was a live round.

Now, we're assuming somebody put the live round, in that box, which if you - if you think about that, the person, who put the live round, in the box of dummy rounds, had to have the purpose, of sabotaging the set.


CUOMO: They don't know that any of that happened, by the way. They don't have any evidence of that.

OK, so what does it mean? We're going to talk about it with a crew member, because crew members are coming forward, and you're about to meet one of them, who wanted off of that set, because of unsafe working conditions, OK?

Our guest was "Rust's" Camera Chief. He left the day before all this happened. His name is Lane Luper.

Lane, thank you very much. Let me bounce a couple of tech questions, off of you, and then we'll talk about your situation.

First, do you buy the sabotage theory?

LANE LUPER, FORMER "RUST" CAMERA CHIEF, FORMER A-CAMERA FIRST ASSISTANT, "RUST": No. And if they have any evidence of that, they should be talking to the Sheriff, and not morning television shows. It's dangerous. And it's an irresponsible theory, to put out, on TV.

CUOMO: And you never heard anybody saying that they wanted to do something, like that, or have any inclination, of why someone would try to do something like that?

LUPER: No, absolutely not, Chris.


LUPER: A movie set's, it's a group of friends. Everybody there, they deeply care for each other.

CUOMO: Right. Look, I mean, their job, if there's any litigation, is going to be to cast doubt. That's what they're doing there.

LUPER: Yes, of course.

CUOMO: They don't have to prove it, remember.

But the idea that someone, who's an armorer, could load dummy bullets, and actually be loading live rounds and, not know it, even if they say they inspected the rounds, do you buy that?

LUPER: I mean, that would, in my opinion, that's sheer negligence. It's not paying attention to what you're doing. It's absolutely your responsibility, as the armorer, to make sure that you're properly loading the firearm, and inspecting it, before and after, and also not loading the firearm, until right before you're going to shoot.

You see, we actually have instructions for that. We have industry-wide safety bulletins that specifically spell this out.

CUOMO: Now, you left the job, right before, because of safety concerns. I want you to talk about it, in the context of the response, from the "Rust" producers, OK?

"Mr. Luper's allegations around budget and safety are false, patently. He had absolutely nothing to do with, or knowledge of, safety protocols or budgets. Safety is always the number one priority, on our films, and it's truly awful to see some using this tragedy for personal gain."

You make the case of why you had legit safety concerns.

LUPER: Chris, to borrow a phrase, from the producers, first of all, it's patently false that I'm not responsible for safety. Because it's everybody's responsibility, on set, for safety, everyone, from the production assistants, all the way up to the top producers. So, that's completely out the window, in my book.

As far as budgets, and things like that go, that whole argument, it doesn't matter. Because what happened was - is safety concerns were overlooked consistently. And it led to somebody dying, on a movie set. And that's the problem here, in my opinion.

CUOMO: Do you believe that your decision, to leave this set, had you ever done that before?

LUPER: No, absolutely not. It's unheard of. And, to be honest, I'm terrified of my own repercussion. For them to say that this is for personal gain, it absolutely isn't. I don't want to be in front of cameras. My whole career, I spent, behind them.

CUOMO: What was your biggest concern that made you leave the job?


LUPER: Well, it started out with all these red flags, throughout the entire course of the production. It started with a lack of safety meetings. It started with inexperienced key personnel, a lot of people being brought in from out of town.

It was one red flag after another red flag, until finally, there was the negligent discharges that happened on October 16, where, there were two firearm discharges that were not under anybody's control.

And, at that point, they should have stopped filming, pulled the firearm, out of circulation, per the industry-wide safety rules. But we kept filming anyway.

CUOMO: Got it.

LUPER: And they never addressed it. And I addressed it with the producers themselves.

CUOMO: Got it.


CUOMO: Look, Lane, I appreciate you coming forward, and doing this, and giving us some context, on these allegations that have just come out, and a feel for what was going on, on this set.

Thank you. Lane Luper, I appreciate you.

LUPER: Thank you so much, Chris. I really appreciate you.

CUOMO: All right, let's take a break. When, we come back, the handoff.