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At This Hour

Trump Ally Rep. Boebert Locked In Tight Race, Auto Recount Likely; SNL Faces Backlash Over Dave Chappelle's Return As Host; Twitter Suspends New, Highly-Touted Paid Verification System. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired November 11, 2022 - 12:30   ET



KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: As votes continue to be counted in this year's midterm election, one thing is very clear that both parties have spent a record amount of money. Matt Egan joins me now with more on this. Matt, just how much money are we talking about here?

MATT EGAN, CNN REPORTER: Kate, stunning amounts. More than a billion dollars on the five most expensive Senate races alone, this is spending by the campaign's and by outside groups from both parties. Those five states we're looking at Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona, Wisconsin, and Nevada, the most expensive race was the battle to control Senator Pat Toomey's seat, $264 million on that race alone. Most of that went to Republican Mehmet Oz who has conceded the Democrat John Fetterman flipping that seat from red to blue.

Let's talk about some of the spending on some of the races that have not yet been called starting with Arizona, where Republicans Blake Masters trying to oust Democrat Mark Kelly, another $221 million spent on that. Most of that going Kelly's way. And then in Nevada, $177 million spent there, most of that going to Democrat Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, who narrowly trails the Republican there.

And then in Georgia, right, that was another big one. That was number two on this list. $252 million spent there. That was before the runoff. More than $100 million to each candidate and, you know, it was just exactly 48 hours ago, that CNN projected this race is going to a runoff in early December. And the money is already pouring in for that runoff, $7 million so far, going to the Democrats, $3 million to Republicans. Here's the crazy thing, Kate, after all of the spending, social media ads, the commercials, it is possible that we end up kind of back to where we were, narrowly divided Senate that might be narrowly controlled by the Democrats.

BOLDUAN: So what is the return on investment, I think can be a debate for both parties for a long time to come getting back to campaign finance reform. Oh, it's good to see you, Matt. Thank you very much. I really appreciate it. All right, let's get back to another race we're watching closely, that tight race out of Colorado. Trump ally Congresswoman, Republican Congresswoman Lauren Boebert fighting to keep her seat facing a real challenge from Democrat Adam Frisch right now. This race is so close, it could trigger state laws, meaning an automatic recount.


Joining me now for much more on this is Colorado's top elections official Secretary of State Jena Griswold. Secretary of State, thank you so much. And first off, congratulations on your reelection to a second term as Secretary of State. I want to ask you about that in just a moment. But first, on this race, what can you tell us about vote counting, and -- when it comes to Colorado's third congressional district race, I mean, how many votes still need to be counted?

JENA GRISWOLD (D-CO), SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, thank you, Kate, for having me on and for the congratulations. And I want to thank all the nation's veterans for protecting our democracy and our nation and freedoms. When it comes to counting votes out here in Colorado, the counting continues. The Colorado election model is extremely accessible. We have weeks of early voting, same day voter registration. Vote by mail for all, where we just affirmatively send a registered voter ballot. But voters really turn out in the days leading up to Election Day and on Election Day, that just means it takes time for the County Clerks to process the ballots. So that's still happening across the state.

And on top of that, speaking of Veterans Day, military and overseas voters have until Wednesday to have their ballots be received. And also if a voter has a signature issue on their mail ballots they have until Wednesday to fix those signatures. So the process is ongoing. And what is the most important thing is that every vote counts?

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. Do you have an estimate of how many outstanding votes there are and where, what counties they're from?

GRISWOLD: Well, there's actually thousands of votes across the state. And that's because some counties are still processing. But in part, it's also because every county holds on to a specified amount of ballots until next Wednesday. And the reason that they do that is because as voters fix their signatures, and as overseas military ballots are continuing to come in, the vote of how a Coloradan can cast the ballot has to stay anonymous. And the only way to ensure that the vote stays Anonymous is to hold a certain number of ballots in every county to make sure that as results are released, no voter, the way they vote is actually disclosed in reporting.

BOLDUAN: When it comes to Colorado three, an automatic, in the state of Colorado, an automatic recount is triggered if the difference is 0.5 percent or less. When it comes to Colorado three, how likely do you think that this race is going to end up in a recount?

GRISWOLD: It's too early to tell. We need to be able to process the rest of the ballots. And then after that, we will do a bipartisan risk limiting audit which confirms the results followed by a bipartisan canvass. And then only then do I certify the election and it's determined whether we go into recount, there's two ways to do a recount in the state of Colorado, one is mandatory, which you just mentioned. But then candidates can also pay for a recount if they so choose. So we're a couple of weeks out from that determination. And again, we're just making sure that every vote counts because every voice matters in the state of Colorado and across the nation.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. Secretary of State, thank you so much for coming on and congratulations again on your reelection. It's going to be another very busy election cycle ahead for you and the state of Colorado. Thank you very much.

GRISWOLD: Thank you so much.


BOLDUAN: So Hurricane Nicole causing extensive damage. Look at this video you guys, causing extensive damage in Florida on Florida's east coast. The state is once again having to pick up the pieces from yet another storm, details are next.


BOLDUAN: The devastation in Florida from Hurricane Nicole is extensive and the video is really -- it's amazing to see in the worst sense and it's so saddening take a look at this damage along the state's East Coast, strong winds storm surge. You know the story because they've seen it so many times before just ripping homes apart. Many in the state are still recovering of course from Hurricane Ian's catastrophic destruction. Just six weeks ago, more than 30,000 customers are still without power.

Florida's governor Ron DeSantis has extended a state of emergency to all counties. And this has also become another deadly storm. At least five people have been killed. Let's go to Chicago now where work is at a standstill. After a disturbing discovery, officials say a noose was found at the construction site for the Obama Presidential Center. Let's go to Adrienne Broaddus. She's live in Chicago now with much more on this. Adrienne, I believe there's now more there's a reward being offered for information. What are you learning?

ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kate, that reward is being offered by the builders, Lakeside Alliance. And it's up to $100,000. That's for information leading to the person or group responsible for leaving this alleged noose on the construction site here at the Obama Presidential Center. This is what the Obama administration or the Obama Foundation, I should say, is saying in a statement they wrote, quote, this shameless act of cowardice and hate is designed to get attention and divide us.

We also heard from the state's governor, J.B. Pritzker, who condemned this hateful act saying in a tweet, quote, the noose is more than a symbol of racism. It is a heart-stopping reminder of the violence and terror inflicted on black Americans for centuries. This alleged noose was discovered Thursday morning. I spoke with a spokesperson from Lakeside Alliance. We traded e-mails today that person told me, anti- bias training starts for all workers and staff here next week. You might be wondering why you see activity behind us. They say that's to maintain safety and security here. Kate?


BOLDUAN: All right, Adrienne, keep us updated. Thank you so much.

So Saturday Night Live facing backlash over its choice for a host this weekend. How Dave Chappelle and NBC are now responding. That's next.



BOLDUAN: This weekend, comedian, Dave Chappelle, will be hosting Saturday Night Live. His team though right now is denying a report that SNL writers are actually planning a boycott over his past comments about transgender people. CNN's Jason Carroll joins me now. Jason, what is going on with this?

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, I think the bottom line is this. You know, people say memories are short. Well, memories are really long and there are a number of people who are still upset, still hurt over Chappelle's past comments. Now comes words that some at SNL are now actually questioning whether or not he was the right person to be chosen to host.


CARROLL (voice-over): Anticipation building at 30 Rock home of NBC and Saturday Night Live, where comedian Dave Chappelle is set to host SNL's post-Election Day episode this weekend.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is Dave. He tells jokes for a living. He's also about to host Saturday Night Live for the third time.

CARROLL (voice-over): But this time questions about possible problems behind the scenes. Chappelle's representatives pushing back on unconfirmed reports that SNL writers were staging a boycott related to the comedian's previous comments about the trans community, telling CNN, we've seen nothing to support media reports of a writer's boycott. In fact, the writers delivered over 40 sketches for Dave's consideration and collaboration. Chappelle has come under fire for comments about the transgender community and his standup routines most recently, in his Netflix special, "The Closer."

DAVE CHAPPELLE, COMEDIAN: Gender is fact, this is a fact, every human being in this room, every human being on Earth had to pass through the legs of a woman to be on Earth. That is fact.

CARROLL (voice-over): A Reddit user captured this Instagram story from SNL writer Celeste Yim, who wrote, I'm trans and non-binary. I use they, them pronouns. Transphobia is murder and it should be condemned. It is not clear if this was aimed at Chappelle. Yim did not respond to CNN request to comment about him hosting. News of Chappelle's return was met with some backlash on social media. And some point it out the show announced in September, it was adding its first non-binary cast member Molly Kearney. Chapelle began his post-election hosting for SNL in 2016, following the election of Donald Trump.

CHAPPELLE: All my black friends who have money said same thing when Trump got elected. That's it, bro. I'm out. I'm leaving the country. Are you coming with us? No, I'm good Doug. I'm going to stay here and get this tax break and see how it works out.

CARROLL (voice-over): And he continued in 2020 after Biden won.

CHAPPELLE: And I thought we're having a comedy show. I tried to walk meat in here.

CARROLL (voice-over): Now Chappelle is set for another go in front of SNL's is live studio audience, as both his critics and fans wait to hear what he will say next.


CARROLL: And CNN reached out to NBC about Chappelle, a spokesperson said the network is not commenting, you know, SNL ratings, as you know, have been sort of up and down over the past few years. But I think a lot of people are going to tune in to see exactly what Chappelle does during his opening monologue and how he handles himself.

BOLDUAN: I mean, Dave Chappelle is unique, a unique talent. And Dave Chappelle does speak his mind, that is for sure. It's good to see you Jason, thank you very much.

CARROLL: You too, you too. So the turmoil at Twitter is mounting by the hour. The social media giant just suspended. Its highly touted paid verification system that was talked so much about. Executives are quitting, advisors are bolting, and remaining employees are facing new threats from their new leader, Elon Musk. CNN's Oliver Darcy joins me now with more on this. Oliver, do people believe that we are watching Twitter's collapse right now?

OLIVER DARCY, CNN SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER: Yes, Kate, I think that's the real question that needs to be asked, can Twitter survive Elon Musk? And there are real questions about that, given the chaos that has consumed this company over the last couple of weeks since he took over. The latest example, of course, being that suspension of the Twitter blue feature that Musk had really hyped and rolled out in a chaotic fashion.

But I just want to walk people through what has happened exactly over the past two weeks since Musk took over. You've seen top executives flee the company or been ousted from the company, including, as of yesterday, the head of trust and safety who is a really key integral person over at Twitter. You've seen advertisers flee the company, because they are no longer essentially trusting that Twitter is not going to put their content next to hate speech, misinformation, things like that. You've seen employee morale tank after they laid off about half of the company. I was talking to an ex Twitter employee yesterday who compare it to the Titanic with employees looking for a way out, looking for lifeboats.


And you've seen the FTC also warned Twitter that they need to be in compliance with the federal regulations. And so this whole company is facing a mounting problems and Elon Musk in the meantime is sort of just tweeting through it. So I don't know what the future is, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Yes, well, we will find out together. It's good to see you Oliver, thank you so much.

And thank you all so much for joining us. I'm Kate Bolduan. "CNN NEWSROOM" with Ana Cabrera is next.