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At This Hour

CNN Poll Shows Most Democrats Favor Bigger Bill on Social Safety Net, Climate; Alex Murdaugh Arrested Again on New Charges; Gas Prices Skyrocket Across U.S., $5-Plus a Gallon in New York City. Aired 11:30-12p ET

Aired October 14, 2021 - 11:30   ET



KATE BOLDUAN, CNN AT THIS HOUR: That is what police are now calling a bow and arrow attack in Norway. Five people were killed, two others injured in the attack, and police have also now revealed that they had previously been in contact with a 37-year-old Danish man now charged in this rampage over concerns about radicalization.

Authorities say it was four women and one man that were killed. At this point, they've not announced what charges the attacker is going to be facing. We're going to track that for you.

But back in the U.S., new insight into what voters in the Democratic Party want as their leaders in Congress negotiate the size and scope of that massive budget spending bill. A new CNN poll shows that 75 percent of Democrats surveyed want to build that expands the social safety net for Americans and takes on climate change, 20 percent say they prefer a scaled-back version that costs less. House progressives are holding firm on getting the larger bill.


REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): I think we're trying to work as fast as we can, but we're waiting on two people to tell us what they agree on and what they want. Would we like to get it done by October 31st? Of course. But what we want more is to get it done, get it done right, pass both bills and get them to the president's desk.


BOLDUAN: All right. Joining me right now is one lawmaker at the center of this, Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth, he's Chairman of the Budget Committee, and this week announced that he will not seek re-election next year.

Mr. Chairman, I want to talk about that announcement in just a second, but on this big spending bill and how people are feeling, there's also independents that, in our poll, are evenly split between wanting a big bill, smaller bill, and no bill at all. Is that a problem considering independents were a big part of the Joe Biden victory? I mean, what is the message you see here? REP. JOHN YARMUTH (D-KY): Well, I think right now the most important thing for us to do is make a decision and move on it and then get out and talk about it. That's one of the huge mistakes we made with the Affordable Care Act and said we never really explained to the American people how it would benefit them.

And one of the problems we're facing right now is when you start rolling through the elements of the build back better act, there are so many that it's really hard for people to get their arms around. And you start with child care, pre-K, education, senior care, community college, and climate policy and Medicaid and Medicare expansion. So, it's a hard initiative to message. And we have to figure out again, we have to make a decision as to what we're going to do and then go out and make sure that the American people understand probably the benefit.

BOLDUAN: So I actually think what you're saying is a very important point because if this bill passes -- and this poll also said something I really thought was interesting, 25 percent of Americans think that their family will be better off from these bills. More than that think that they're going to be worse off. And more than that think that they will just be the same.

I want to play for you what Speaker Pelosi said when asked about what you're getting at, messaging, earlier this week.


REPORTER: Do you think you need to do a better job at messaging and going forward, how do you sell this, and, ultimately, you have to --

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): Well, I think you all could do a better job of selling it, to be frank with you, because every time I come here, I go through the list.


BOLDUAN: And as you know, Mr. Chairman, it is not my job or our job as journalists to sell the Democratic bill. But this is a problem for you guys. What do you do about it?

YARMUTH: Well, I think the biggest problem we had, and many of us have been preaching all year, don't talk about the top-line number, don't talk about whether it's the $6 trillion that Bernie Sanders originally wants or $3.5 trillion. That doesn't tell the American people anything. First of all, it's $3.5 trillion over ten years, it's half of what we spend on defense. But we shouldn't focus on that.

And, unfortunately, the battle has become that. The battle of Joe Manchin, particularly, has become over that number. And so, yes, I can't blame the media for reporting on that, but it does distract talking about the substance of the proposal. So, again, that's why it's so important that we get this done and we make the decision.

We had our leadership with meeting with (INAUDIBLE). I would say the committee chair is pretty much divided on whether to do a few things really well or do everything and tamp down a little bit (INAUDIBLE) arbitrary limit right now is Joe Manchin's problem, and not anybody else's. But both decisions have to be made and made quickly.

BOLDUAN: So interesting. All right, so you are among the highest ranking Democrats to not announce -- so far, you're not seeking re- election in the midterms. We saw the video that you posted about this. But why really are you retiring as, if you put it, you know you're going to regret your decision?

YARMUTH: Yes, well, it's certainly been a swift decision. Most of my good friends in the world are my fellow member, and it's a different kind of friendship you develop when you're all working together for a higher, higher purpose.


But you establish these relationships in very different ways.

And, you know, quite frankly, every politician has an angle (ph). I love to come on your program and others and talk about policy and so forth. But as I've told people, I knew when to stop playing pickup basketball, I knew when it was my time. I knew when (INAUDIBLE) I should move up from the backseat and this was just the right time. I'll be 75 when my term is over. I'm in good health. I just want to have more control over my time. But I don't plan to be to retire. I plan to be very actively both politically and hopefully on policy level as well.

BOLDUAN: Thanks for coming on, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate your time.

YARMUTH: You bet. Thank you, Kate.

BOLDUAN: All right. Coming up for us, Sanjay Gupta entered the Lion's Den for a marathon interview with controversial podcast host and a man who has questioned the need for COVID vaccines, Joe Rogan. Sanjay is here to tell us about it.



BOLDUAN: Just in to CNN, the White House has just confirmed President Biden will be meeting with Pope Francis during a trip to Rome later this month. The president and First Lady Jill Biden will travel to the Vatican before attending a two-day summit of G20 leaders.

President Biden is only second catholic American president, and this will be his first face-to-face meeting with the pope since being sworn in. The White House says the leaders will be discussing the pandemic, the climate crisis and caring for the poor. We'll definitely have more coverage of that.

But now, let's turn to this, the pandemic in a marathon interview between Dr. Sanjay Gupta and controversial and attention-grabbing podcaster Joe Rogan. At one point in this marathon interview, Rogan suggesting a good idea would be to purposely expose yourself to COVID. Listen.


JOE ROGAN, HOST, JOE ROGAN EXPERIENCE PODCAST: You know what I think you should do? I think you should get vaccinated and then get sick.


ROGAN: This is why. Because then you got -- the vaccine protects you from a bad infection, and then you get COVID so then you get the robust immunity that's imparted from having the actual disease itself, which is far more complex and comprehensive than you're getting from the vaccine that targets one specific protein, right?

GUPTA: You can make that argument, I think.

ROGAN: Yes, so that's the move, right? Get vaccinated, let it wane, and hang around with a bunch of dirty people.

GUPTA: Okay. Well, I --

ROGAN: And then get a lot of therapeutic on hand so you could take care of it quickly.

GUPTA: I will see your recommendation and give you one.

ROGAN: You should have come out with us last night. You probably would have caught it.

GUPTA: Yes. Now I know what your secret plan was. No. But so, for you, Joe Rogan --


GUPTA: -- I would say you've had it.


GUPTA: So, not get one shot of the vaccine.


GUPTA: Why not?

ROGAN: Because I have better immunity than I would if I was vaccinated.


BOLDUAN: Sanjay is here with me now. Sanjay, you sat down with Rogan for this. It was like, three hours long, I think, I remember you telling me. He is a provocateur. He is an agitator. He's made a career on this. And in the spring, he was undermining the need for vaccinating young, healthy people, though he said, don't take my advice on anything, and you knew all this going in. What did you want to talk about with him? Why did you want to do it? GUPTA: Well, look, it wasn't an easy decision, Kate. I think part of it was that I think that, you know, we live in a really segmented society and I think a lot of times we're giving these messages and people who want to hear the messages are showing up to, you know, hear it at certain places. But I think if you're serious about public health, you have got to try and reach as many people as you can, even people who don't normally listen to you or want to listen to you, frankly.

So, I don't know. It wasn't an easy decision to do it, but, you know, I think as a person who's been reporting on this pandemic for a couple of years, I thought it was a chance to maybe reach more people. We're still in the midst of things. There is still a lot of misinformation out there, a lot vaccine hesitancy, and it has real consequences. I mean, 90,000 people, Kate, preventable deaths over the last three months, that's just a punch to the gut. It really hurts when you hear that sort of thing. And I want to make sure that at least I'm doing everything I can to reach as many people as possible.

BOLDUAN: There's so much in this conversation. I want to play one part of it that kind of -- that really grabbed me. Let me play another part of this conversation for everyone.


GUPTA: So, would you now, with what you know now, and having had COVID, would you have wished that you had been vaccinated beforehand?


GUPTA: You almost got vaccinated.

ROGAN: Yes. But, again, I explained all that.

GUPTA: You got through it.

ROGAN: But I got through COVID pretty quickly.


ROGAN: That was my -- my thought was I'm a healthy person, I exercise constantly, I'm always taking vitamins, I take care of myself. I felt like I was going to be okay and that was true. It was correct. I'm happy I got through it. I don't wish it upon anyone.


It wasn't fun. But it wasn't the worst cold I've ever had, and I got over it fairly quickly, relatively speaking.

GUPTA: I think that's -- and, again, I am truly glad about that. I'm not -- all kidding aside, I don't think anybody wishes you ill. Everyone wants you to be well and healthy. But I think the question is just in terms of the nuance of this, it's not a strategy to recommend people get infected.

ROGAN: I'm not recommending anybody get infected.

GUPTA: So they should get vaccinated.

ROGAN: I think a lot of people should get vaccinated.

GUPTA: You're talking -- a lot of vulnerable people. If you just said vulnerable people --

ROGAN: Yes, older people, fat people, I think a lot of those folks. My real concern is this urge to vaccinate children, and I don't know what kind of data we have on the long-term effects of this, and I don't know what kind of data -- when you look at the study that show that the 12 to 15-year-old boys are four to six more times likely -- Is that the number? Whatever the number was, much more likely, that scares the (BLEEP) out of me.

GUPTA: Thankfully it's small number, period, right?

ROGAN: Right, period.


BOLDUAN: And, really, Sanjay, this is a perfect example of people who don't like vaccines, that don't want to be pinned down on why, and seem to just create doubt in the form of asking questions. I mean, what did you learn from this?

GUPTA: Yes, I mean, I think that was a big part of it. I think, you know, for Joe, he did almost get vaccinated. That was surprising to me because he had seemed like he wasn't in favor of vaccines for most people. And -- but he almost did it. He just didn't get it because of a logistical issue and then he got COVID.

But, yes, he raises these questions. Sometimes, you know, as I learn based on really faulty information, even based on some studies that have been debunked subsequently, I was surprised he was even raising some of those studies. But it gave me insight into how a lot of people think, Kate. I mean, you go online, you can search for anything nowadays and you will find confirmation of your beliefs. It's so hard to tell nowadays the difference between good information and misinformation.

BOLDUAN: And that's where responsibility comes from. This whole, like, listen to me, I have got a mic and I've got a huge podcast, but don't listen to me, is like a persona that I have a problem with people hiding behind. Like I'm just a dude with a mic persona has made him a bunch of money, but it leads me to just wonder why listen to the Fear Factor guy on this specific issue more than a doctor, which continues to be a question.

But it's good to see you, Sanjay. It's really interesting.

GUPTA: You got it. Thank you, Kate.

BOLDUAN: All right. Coming up for us, sticker shock at the gas pump.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's like do you want to eat steak or you want to fill up your tank?


BOLDUAN: What's driving up prices and what's being done to fix it? A live report, next.



BOLDUAN: Breaking news, Alex Murdaugh was arrested again, this time in Orlando, Florida. He's the man -- he's now facing new charges accused of stealing settlement money from his housekeeper's family. This is the once prominent attorney who also was recently released on bond after an alleged suicide for hire plot.

Let's get over to CNN's Martin Savidge. He has the details. Martin, what are you learning?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Kate. Yes, he was picked up in Orlando because it's believed that that's where he's been undergoing treatment for the self-admitted opioid addiction that he's been going through. He was arrested on charges that were put up by SLED, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, two counts of obtaining property by false pretenses.

What that means is that, essentially, as you pointed out, the misappropriation of settlement funds, court settlement, in the death of Gloria Satterfield. She is the longtime housekeeper of the Murdaugh family who died at the Murdaugh home in 2019.

Now, there were some real questions that had been raised by the coroner recently about how that woman may have died. But, regardless, there was a settlement in that case for her family, in which they were supposed to receive a significant sum of money as a result of a lawsuit.

The settlement was made, but the money never arrived to the family. In fact, they say to this date, they have not received a single penny. And it seems right now that what law enforcement is alluding to is the fact that that money was actually taken by Alex Murdaugh.

Now, where did that money go and what did he use the money for? Many believe that his drug addiction, the opioid addiction that he has admitted to, just wouldn't account for the millions of dollars because he's also now being investigated for allegedly stealing money from his own law firm. And then, of course, there's the tragic deaths of his wife and son back in June.

There are so many questions about this case. This is just one step, but he is under arrest again, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Unbelievable on top of unbelievable. Thank you, Martin, for that.

Let's turn now to this though. It is stunning how quickly gas prices have skyrocketed, and they are still rising. On average, gas is costing Americans $16 more to fill up their cars.

CNN's Vanessa Yurkevich is tracking this and all of its bad news right now, Vanessa, live in New York with more. What are you seeing?

VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: Well, we are seeing $4 a gallon across many states, including right here in New York City. Just behind me, $4.15 a gallon. This is becoming a little more of the norm. The national average, $3.29, and this is because consumers, Americans, are getting back on the road and OPEC, that's the group of the largest oil-producing nations, are not releasing any additional oil into the global marketplace.


We caught up with one driver who is making his way from the south on a road trip to the north, and he said it's just gotten more expensive to fill up his tank as he's gone up the coast.


YURKEVICH: We're not at peak. What does that mean for you?

GARY CHRISTENSEN, FILLING UP IN NEW JERSEY: Well, that means I might travel closer to home.

LEAH LAUBACH, LOS ANGELES DRIVER: It's getting kind of ridiculous because people are still trying to get back to work and it looks like also now I have to pay more for gas just to get to work.


YURKEVICH: Now, the big question for Americans is when is this all going to end? We are not at the peak yet so we could see these prices continue to go higher, Kate. We are at the mercy of the global oil market so we'll just have to wait and see and ride this out until these prices come down eventually. Kate?

BOLDUAN: Vanessa, thanks so much for tracking that. I really appreciate it. Much more on that to come, for sure, because, as she said, it's only getting worse for now.

Thank you for joining us. I'm Kate Bolduan.

Inside Politics with John King begins after this break.