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At This Hour

Big Names Hit the Campaign Trail; Nevada Race Could Determine Control of Senate; Biden to Speak Tonight on Protecting Democracy; Pelosi's Attacker on "Suicide Mission". Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired November 02, 2022 - 11:00   ET




KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. AT THIS HOUR, the Federal Reserve is set to order another big boost in interest rates, which leaves many asking, how much further do they have to go before inflation starts to come down?

A nation split on the fundamental question of voters' confidence in the vote result.

And exclusive CNN reporting of the bravery of one little girl in the middle of the Uvalde massacre, begging for help while law enforcement stood outside.

Thank you so much for being here. We begin with a critical decision from the Federal Reserve and the major ripple effects it will have on the economy and also potentially the election.

The Fed is expected to announce another big rate hike this afternoon, another effort to tamp down inflation. This would be the sixth rate hike this year. It comes as new polling shows that voters are most concerned about the economy and inflation, putting Republicans in a strong position ahead of the midterms.

The poll also showing enthusiasm among Democrats is significantly lower than it was four years ago. Two former presidents are hitting the campaign trail hard. Barack Obama in Arizona, former president Trump heading to Ohio tomorrow.

And we learned that Joe Biden will be speaking to the nation tonight about all of this, protecting democracy and election security. Let's start with Matt Egan, live outside the Federal Reserve.

What are we expecting this afternoon?

MATT EGAN, CNN BUSINESS SENIOR WRITER: Kate, today seems to be another pivotal day for the economy. In just under three hours, the Fed will take another dramatic step designed to get inflation under control. The Fed is expected to raise interest rates by 0.75 of a point.

That is actually big. We haven't seen anything like that in modern Fed history. You have to go back to the early 1980s under Paul Volcker.

Now this is, of course, raising borrowing costs. The Fed is trying to cool off demand, giving supply a chance to catch up. Virtually all Americans are feeling the impact here. These Fed rate hikes have caused the worst year for the stock market since 2008.

Credit card rates are near record highs. For the first time in 20 years, we have seven percentage points for mortgage rates. This is all, of course, raising concerns about a recession.

History shows that the Fed tends to react too late to inflation and then overreact. We have seen in the past that recessions often follow these inflation-fighting campaigns. That's what happened in the early 1990s, happened again in early 2000 and then again, around 2008. The stakes are massive.

BOLDUAN: There's a lot of pressure building on the Federal Reserve chairman on how he's handling the crisis. He's speaking this afternoon.

What could we hear from him?

EGAN: That's where the real drama is; 2:30 Eastern time we have a press conference with the Fed chair and investors, economists, business reporters will be hanging on every word from Jerome Powell.

Wall Street is hoping he's going to drop some hints that the Fed will eventually chill out with the massive interest rate hikes, maybe even pause to see whether the strategy is working, whether they need to do more or stop raising interest rates.

I think that's also what Elizabeth Warren and her colleagues are hoping for. But Larry Summers told our colleague Wolf Blitzer last night that would be a bad idea. He thinks the Fed has to do a lot more.

We learned today that private sector payroll growth accelerated last month. Job openings unexpectedly increased. I wonder if Jerome Powell will decide he doesn't want to telegraph what he's going to do next. There's just too much going on. He may decide he doesn't want to get boxed in.

BOLDUAN: Good to see you, Matt.

So with six days until the votes are tallied in the midterm election, perhaps no state is grabbing as much attention as the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Presidents Obama, Biden and Trump will all campaign there this weekend.


BOLDUAN: Jessica Dean is in Philadelphia wrapping it all up.

What's happening there today?

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're looking at this new CNN polling we released today. It's the issues that matter the most to voters.

If you take a look at that, look at the top line, it's the economy. It's the economy by a lot. It's 51 percent, the next highest is 15 percent, which was abortion. The economy is what voters are zeroing in on, what they care about the most.

We've seen that come out in polling again and again, leading up to this election. As we're six days away, we're starting to hear the closing arguments from the various candidates here.

One interesting race we've been following is the governor's race here in Pennsylvania, where the Democrat candidate, Josh Shapiro, is bucking the national trend. He talked a bit about what issues he's been discussing on the trail. Listen to him earlier today on CNN this morning.


JOSH SHAPIRO (D-PA), GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: Pennsylvania voters know how to walk and chew gum at the same time. They can care about rising costs and also their personal freedoms.

Those personal freedoms are under attack with this opponent, who wants to ban and criminalize all abortion, with no exception. So I lean in on protecting personal freedoms, also talking about the economy and crime.


DEAN: Those are the things that people have really focused on.

In terms of that Senate race, we're getting the closing ads and arguments from Mehmet Oz and John Fetterman. Oz released his final closing ad about him being a moderate.

And that's what I saw at an Oz rally, was him pitching to a room full of Republican-based voters for them to find their independent and conservative Democratic friends to talk to them about voting Oz.

So we will see how that all bears out now just six days away.

BOLDUAN: Jessica, thank you.

Former President Obama is traveling to Arizona today to campaign for Mark Kelly and Katie Hobbs. Last night he was in Nevada, campaigning for Catherine Cortez Masto, who is seen by some as the most vulnerable Democrat in the Senate. Manu Raju is in Vegas.


MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Democrats have been racking up major victories in Nevada for the better part of a decade. Next week, that trend could come to an abrupt end. First-time senator Catherine Cortez Masto trying to cling onto her seat amid a GOP offensive that could knock off Democrats up and down the ticket here. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): Catherine Cortez Masto rubber stamped Joe Biden's reckless spending.


RAJU (voice-over): Republicans seek to tap into voter anger over inflation and high gas prices. The polls showing the race is deadlocked between her and her GOP challenger, former state attorney general Adam Laxalt. Democrats are calling in the big guns.


RAJU (voice-over): As he joined musician John Legend in rallying Democratic voters, former President Barack Obama sounding the alarm.

OBAMA: Tuning out is not an option. The only way to save democracy is if we, together, fight for it.

RAJU (voice-over): But one person not at the Vegas rally, President Joe Biden, who Democrats have kept at an arm's length.

RAJU: President Obama is here today.

Why not President Biden?

SEN. CATHERINE CORTEZ MASTO (D-NV): There have been a lot of people who have offered to come here.

RAJU: Either on free election?

MASTO: I'm focused right now on this election.

RAJU (voice-over): Laxalt has aligned himself with Donald Trump.

ADAM LAXALT (R-NV), U.S. SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: So back in the Trump era, they tried to blame anybody they want. They can only blame themselves now.

DONALD TRUMP JR., FORMER PRESIDENT'S SON: Are you ready to take your country back?

RAJU (voice-over): But he's limited his interactions with the press, even dodging CNN's questions at an event last week, his campaign blocking access to the candidate.

Strategists in both parties say the two candidates are not well-known among the electorate.


RAJU (voice-over): More than 30 years have passed since his grandfather, Paul Laxalt, was a senator.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): The charmed life of Adam Laxalt, always looking out for himself.


RAJU (voice-over): Outside groups trying to define them across the air waves, dropping nearly $110 million in the past two months.

As she toured a major solar project, Cortez Masto touted renewable energy and the bipartisan infrastructure law.

MASTO: You're in a state that is a pro-choice state. My opponent is on the other side of that.


BOLDUAN: President Biden is going to be sounding the alarm about the need to protect democracy. He'll be delivering a speech tonight, highlighting the threat of election deniers as well. MJ Lee has more details.

This was added to his schedule.

Why is he making the speech now?

MJ LEE, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Two big things we expect to hear tonight. One, President Biden will directly address and speak to election deniers, really anyone who wants to undermine the election process.

Two, he's going to be condemning threats of violence, including politically motivated ones. This was a last minute update to his schedule. He'll speak tonight but I'm told by Biden advisers this is the kind of speech that they knew that the president wanted to make sometime soon.

But of course, their recent thinking has been shaped by what they have seen as a surge in anti-Democratic language. They've been watching some of these Republican elected officials and candidates say we may not accept the results of the election next week.

And then of course, a surge in threats of violence and, of course, sometimes not threats of violence but they end up becoming acts of violence.

They've been particularly alarmed, of course, by this attack on Paul Pelosi, Nancy Pelosi's husband. So all of this has gone into their thinking. It is interesting that this is a president who ran on the central theme of protecting democracy. So he's sort of bringing it back to that central theme.

BOLDUAN: MJ, thank you for that. We'll wait to hear what the president has to say.

Joining me for more is Gloria Borger. Gloria, we do have half of Americans are saying that, yes, they're at

least somewhat confident in elections today. But half have little or no confidence in elections.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Of course, it's so important that people have confidence in their elections but let's break down the numbers a bit more. If you break down these numbers, you see there's a real partisan divide here, Kate.

You'll see that 59 percent of the Republicans are not confident, 39 percent of Democrats but 51 percent of independent voters. More than half of independent voters also say they're not confident in the election. You know, that's a terrible state of affairs for Americans, that they don't believe their votes will be freely and fairly counted.

BOLDUAN: Yes, a long road, a high bar, a big hill to climb for the president. And also showing maybe damage done already with all the lies that have been told about the 2020 election and how that has permeated into the general voting population.

BORGER: And that affects enthusiasm, right?

If you think that your vote isn't going to be counted, maybe you shouldn't go to the polls. That's why Democratic enthusiasm is down so much. This explains it a bit.

BOLDUAN: Overall 27 percent of registered voters say they're extremely enthusiastic about voting this year. That's down from 37 percent, just ahead of the 2018 midterm and the decline, as we look into that, it comes almost entirely among Democrats.

Does that surprise you?

BORGER: No, it doesn't surprise me, because the Democrats are also not happy about the economy. They're not happy about inflation, along with everyone else.

When things are going well and you think your guys are going to win, you're very enthusiastic about going to vote. I mean, four years ago, 44 percent of Democrats were extremely enthusiastic about going to the polls.


BORGER: That number, 24 percent now. Quite a decline.

BOLDUAN: It is a decline. We're also in the middle of closing argument time, if you will, from candidates and the big names trying to prop them up.

I was just looking at yesterday. I want to play for everyone what we heard in that realm of closing argument from former President Obama and Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania. Listen to this.


OBAMA: So you see gas prices going up, grocery prices goings up, that takes a bite out of your paycheck. It's no joke. It hurts.

The question, though, you should be asking is, who is going to actually try to do something about it?

MEHMET OZ (R-PA), U.S. SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: So your job is how highlight the economy, crime and the border, right?

Three things. don't talk about the other stuff. You don't need to. Those are the kitchen table issues that everyone is worried about.


BOLDUAN: They're both hitting on what voters care about.

Who is having the most effective message around it, that's the whole ball game, right?

BORGER: Absolutely; 75 percent, according to our poll, 75 percent of voters think the country is already in a recession. Things are going -- three-quarters think the country is going in the wrong direction.

You can say, I feel your pain but we're going to be the ones to pull you out of the ditch. The Democrats can really pull you out of this ditch. It's a tough argument to make when a lot of voter are blaming the Democrats for getting you into the ditch.

That's a problem so they have to explain history, what happened during COVID, the war in Ukraine, et cetera, et cetera. It is very difficult for them to make. So I think, you have Oz standing up, saying, you have to worry about inflation, the economy, crime, I think his case is a lot simpler.

BOLDUAN: Yes, when it comes to the economy and what gets us into the ditch spans administrations and the triple effect of policies.

But that, when you're talking about, when you do that gut check and that vote, when you're in the voting booth or voting absentee or early voting, that is a more nuanced --


BORGER: How do you feel now?

BOLDUAN: Great to see you, Gloria.

The man accused of attacking Nancy Pelosi's husband has another date in court. Soon, family members could hear evidence that police are not releasing to the public. We have new details, next.




(MUSIC PLAYING) BOLDUAN: The man charged with the brutal attack on House Speaker

Nancy Pelosi's husband has another court date. We're also learning more about what he told investigators he was trying to do.

Charging documents say he told police he was on a, quote, "suicide mission," and he named several others as targets. CNN's new report members of the Pelosi family can listen to the audio of Paul Pelosi's 9-1-1 call, a call that police say likely saved his life.

Jamie Gangel, this is your exclusive reporting about what the family will hear and see.

JAMIE GANGEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This could happen as early as today, perhaps tomorrow. Kate, I think this will be critical evidence. Obviously this is not going to be easy for the family to listen to, certainly not easy to watch.

The DA has told us the video will show the attack, the moment he took the hammer and fractured Pelosi's skull. But that audio I think will give us a very important narrative about what was going on.

The pictures are obviously going to show us exactly what DePape did but it will hopefully give the conspiracy theories, I think we should call them lies, it can hopefully stop some of that, Kate.

BOLDUAN: On the details that have been coming out of these court documents, what DePape had with him, what he said to Paul Pelosi during the attack and what he said to investigators after the attack, all of that is striking. But there's even more out sticking out there.

What do you see?

GANGEL: One of the things we've learned is that, after he hit Pelosi with the hammer, that Paul Pelosi was knocked unconscious for, it appears, three minutes. When he woke up, he was lying in a pool of blood.

I think, to another note, it also shows Paul Pelosi's frankly extraordinary presence of mind, being woken up at 2:30 in the morning from a sound sleep, that he was able to convince the assailant to let him go to the bathroom, that he was able to make this 9-1-1 call to police and cryptically, very subtly alert them that there was someone in the house.


GANGEL: And, you know, something you mentioned, which I think we're going to hear more about, but DePape in these complaints is quoted as saying it was a "suicide mission," that there are other targets.

And in the federal complaint I was just looking at, when the police come to the door and they say to put down the hammer, DePape makes it clear he doesn't plan to surrender and he would, quote, "go through Pelosi."

So as the San Francisco police chief said to CNN last night, it's his opinion that DePape was prepared to kill Paul Pelosi.

BOLDUAN: You mentioned the conspiracy theories. But wrap that in to how deeply this man peddled into conspiracy theories leading up to the attack.

And Jamie, some Republicans have bristled at the connection between, you know, political rhetoric and this attack. I had Republican strategist Doug Heye on the show. I think he called it a crooked line from political rhetoric like the Fire Pelosi campaign from 2010 to violence that we see here.

GANGEL: The reality is that, while Paul Pelosi was assaulted and underwent a life-threatening attack, the target here was the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi. So I think it's pretty clear that there's a political connection here.

When we looked at DePape's social media, there were links to January 6th being called a hoax. There were links to Mike Lindell, Mr. Pillow. I think we just need to call these lies. But it is clear he was very wrapped up in this and it led to a political attack.

BOLDUAN: Jamie, great reporting, thank you so much.

GANGEL: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: We also have new reporting exclusive to CNN, a young girl calling for help from inside Robb Elementary, telling a 9-1-1 dispatcher, there were dead bodies all around. The new audio that's raising fresh questions about why it took law enforcement 40 additional minutes from this call to go in.