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Balance of Power in U.S. House Still Undetermined; Trump Expected to Announce Third Bid for White House Tonight; Wholesale Prices Rising More Slowly. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired November 15, 2022 - 11:00   ET




KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan. AT THIS HOUR, Republicans are on the verge of taking control of the House of Representatives. Here is a look at where things stand right now. Republicans have won, as you could see, 215 seats and need just three more to take the majority in the House.

A slim majority it would be but a majority; 16 races remain undecided. Now Democrats this morning, though, they are still celebrating after a big victory in Arizona, Katie Hobbs defeating Kari Lake in the governor's race there, the closely watched governor's race there. Let's get to it, where things stand.

John Berman is a here with a look at outstanding cases that will decide the balance of power.

Where do you want to begin?

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I think Republicans could taste it. And you laid out the numbers, 215 races called for the Republicans right now. They only need 218 to control the House.

That means three more -- Democrats would need 14 more and there are 16 uncalled races at this point.

Of those races, Republicans are leading in six. They just need three. Democrats are leading in 10 but they would need 14 to maintain control of the House. Let's dig in where the possibilities are for the Republicans.

It is all California, really blue state but red districts, where the Republicans are leading, including down here. California 41st district, Ken Calvert is the incumbent in a district that leans Republican. He's up by 5,000 votes with 77 percent in. Republicans feel good about this seat.

They also feel good about this one. I'm going to dig into California's 45th congressional district. Michelle Steele, she leads by 13,000 votes, 67 percent. And this is a Democratic leaning district. But it tends to favor Republicans in turnout. One more California race that could be good for the Republicans up

here, the 3rd congressional district, Ken Kylie, 9,000 votes ahead and this, too, leans Republican. So that is three. And to give them one extra, just look at Colorado. This is Lauren Boebert.

All that is left is overseas military and absentee. Again Republicans feel good about this. Democrats not so much. So you could see how Republicans get across that finish line and maybe even soon.

BOLDUAN: Good to have you here. Stick by, because a lot to happen this hour.

This afternoon House Republicans will be meeting to vote on their conference leaders. And Kevin McCarthy is clearly pushing ahead with his goal of becoming Speaker of the House. But before that, he does need to get through some of his own team. Conservatives warning that he does not have the votes yet.

Jessica Dean is live on Capitol Hill and tracking all of this.

A lot of this playing out behind the scenes.

What are you hearing about the challenges facing Kevin McCarthy?

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the bottom line, this is not the state of play that Kevin McCarthy thought he would have returning to Washington. He thought they would have a much bigger margin, that he would have more room to maneuver.

It was always going to be tricky with the House Freedom Caucus. But he thought maybe he could have more room to maneuver.

And John laid this out, this is a quite thin majority if they make it there. This is a thin one. We know that he held a closed door meeting with House Republicans trying to rally support around him. And Donald Trump has been calling people to try to get him across the finish line. But he needs to get a simple majority in the room.

He doesn't have to get to 218 until he's on the floor in January. So if he could get that simple majority -- and he's poised to do that. But Andy Biggs from Arizona is mounting a bid against him. And the House Freedom Caucus is not supporting him. Listen to Matt Gaetz.


REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): I think you'll see a critical mass say that we want to turn the page. We want new leadership and fresh faces and new ideas. And I could tell you that Kevin McCarthy does not have 218 votes to become speaker. I don't think he has 200.


DEAN: And we're going to see again these elections coming up this afternoon. And we'll see what comes out of them.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. Stick by. It is good to see you, Jessica. Joining me now is co-host of the "STATE OF THE UNION," Dana Bash.

So Dana, on all of this.


BOLDUAN: I mean Republicans are inching closer to winning the majority. John said they can taste it at this point.

What is the reality that must be setting in for what this new balance of power would mean in practice?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It is going to be incredibly, incredibly difficult to get things done. I want to be an optimist just as an American that they could work across the aisle and find bipartisan agreement on legislation, like we have seen in the sort of iconic history moments.

The most famous, of course, is Ronald Reagan the Republican in the White House and Tip O'Neill, the Democratic Speaker of the House. They found ways to work together. This is obviously a very different era.

And these are different kinds of districts where you have Democrats who are mostly from very, very blue districts, without a big incentive to work across the aisle and Republicans without a big incentive to work across the aisle.

That said, if all of these lawmakers are looking for a message from the election, it is, forget all of the extremes; find a way to get things done for us.

I just -- again want to be an optimist. I just don't want to be -- to have my head in the sand. And I don't think anybody should.

BOLDUAN: And Kevin McCarthy is in the best position to be speaker if Republicans take the majority. This is a job that has long eluded him from the mistakes he's made along the way.

Is anybody taking seriously any of the long shot challenges against him, as Matt Gaetz is talking?

BASH: No. You know this, Kate; you covered Capitol Hill with me. Matt Gaetz is not known for his experience in whip counting. But he probably isn't wrong that, right now as we speak, Kevin McCarthy doesn't have the 218 he needs to become speaker. That vote will happen in January by the entire House of Representatives.

And as Jessica just pointed out, what you'll see today is a vote for the majority of his caucus that he believes he's likely to get.

And people close to McCarthy, who I'm talking to, even before coming on with you, they are bullish on the idea that most of the Republican members, incoming and existing, realize there is just no one else who could get that magic 218.

We'll see. I remember standing outside of the room where they were voting in 2015. And Kevin McCarthy was sure he would be the Speaker after John Boehner announced he was leaving. And it fell apart for him. We'll see how it works out because this is all very dynamic right now.

BOLDUAN: Another thing that is happening, as Donald Trump is preparing to possibly announce he's running again for the presidency, a 2024 bid, reaction to that news from the Hill so far from Republicans is, not jumping on it and not jumping around excited about it.

I mean, just some of what the Hill team has pulled together is Mike Simpson of Idaho said, I don't think it is good for the party. And Mike Pounds said I want somebody who is going to unite our party. Jerry Moran of Kansas said I think we have a lot who are interested in being nominees.

Do you see this at this point as Republicans breaking from Donald Trump?

BASH: I would definitely not go to Vegas and bet on that because if we were to have bet on that notion at moments akin to this in the past, we would have lost a lot. The most important moment that we're talking about is January 6, where you saw the sort of baby steps out to say, OK, we're done with him.

And then it didn't happen. It didn't change. A lot of Republicans I'm talking to, I'm sure you are as well, Kate, say this is different because it is not about democracy but the power and we lost but I'll believe it when I see it.

BOLDUAN: It is good to see you, Dana.

BASH: You, too.

BOLDUAN: Former vice president Mike Pence is revealing new details about his fallout between him and Donald Trump over Pence's refusal to try to overturn the 2020 election.

This comes alongside Mike Pence rolling out his memoir today and also, of course, laying out many more hints of a 2024 run for president of his own on the very same day that Donald Trump is expected to announce that he is running again, his third presidential bid. Jeff Zeleny is watching all of this.

What is Pence saying about his split with Trump?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: He's definitely putting more distance with his former partner than we've ever seen before, at least when he gives interviews about his new book.

Actually in his book, some 500 pages or so, he talks about how he's proud of their accomplishments together and talks about his partnership with him. But it is the split, as Dana was just saying, what happened on January 6 is exactly is the moment that he's focusing on the most. And it took five days. [11:10:00]

ZELENY: The former vice president is saying it took five days for the president to start speaking to him again after January 6. And they were having lunch in the White House. And the president finally asked if Ms. Pence and their daughter, Charlotte, who was at the Capitol that day, how they were doing.

And he said they're fine.

And he asked the vice president if he was scared that day. And he said he was angry.

So just a sense of what was going on inside of this relationship which, by this point, had frayed and broken down. But the timing is just uncanny in the sense that the former president is poised to announce that he's running again tonight.

The former vice president is on the verge of doing so himself. And he explained his 2024 ambitions in a interview with David Muir of ABC. Let's take a listen.


DAVID MUIR, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: Will you run for president in 2024?

MIKE PENCE (R), FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, we are giving it consideration in our house, prayerful consideration.

MUIR: Do you believe you could beat Donald Trump?

PENCE: Well, that would be for others to say. And it would be for us to decide whether or not we would want to test that.


ZELENY: So this is just a sense of there are a lot of Republicans in the same headspace, thinking if they're going to run as well. But it looks like it is beginning this evening at Mar-a-Lago in Florida. Of course, Kate, the beginning of 2024, even when 2022 is not yet decided.

BOLDUAN: Good to see you, Jeff, thank you so much.

Let's go to Georgia, where governor Brian Kemp is set to testify today before a Fulton County grand jury, investigating Donald Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

Prosecutors are expected to be asking the governor about a phone call in which Trump allegedly asked him to convince slate legislators to overturn the results.

A judge had agreed to delay his testimony until after the midterms. Now that that is over and Kemp has another four year term, he is expected in court. A lot to discuss. Joining me is former Republican congressman and former Trump White House acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney.

Thanks for coming in.


BOLDUAN: I want to jump off of what Jeff Zeleny was talking about, the fallout between Mike Pence and Donald Trump. And I want to play for you what Mike Pence, as he's mulling a White House bid, said about Trump running again.


MUIR: Do you believe that Donald Trump should ever be president again?

PENCE: David, I think that is up to the American people. But I think we'll have better choices in the future.

The people of this country actually get along pretty well once you get out of politics. And I think they want to see their national leaders start to reflect that same -- that same compassion and generosity of spirit.

And I think, so in the days ahead, I think -- I think there will be better choices.


BOLDUAN: And you can see what Mike Pence is kind of laying out there.

Do you think Pence is a better choice, Mick?

MULVANEY: A couple of different things about that passage. That is really sincere. If you saw another politician do that, you might say it sounds like it is contrived. But he's being sincere about giving it prayerful consideration about there being better choices.

And I think he's going to run and he thinks he's a better choice. And there are more people asking that same question after the midterms. If Trump loses in 2020 or loses the House in 2018, loses the White House in 2020.

And we get -- we did not do well in the midterms in 2022, things a lot of folks looking around and Mike Pence knows that. And they're reaching out to Mike Pence and asking him how he feels. And so I think he's honest in the interview. And my guess is he will announce a run soon and he thinks he can beat Donald Trump.

BOLDUAN: And when it comes to Donald Trump, Republicans are sending some signals that they're distancing themselves now from Trump in a way that we have not seen before, including people that were really some of Trump's staunchest allies.

Mo Brooks comes to mind for me.

Do you think the break with Trump after the midterms, do you think it is real?

MULVANEY: That is a great insight on Mo Brooks. Most people you see criticizing the president right now were either never with him or were only sort of with him. When you see folks like Mo Brooks come out like he did -- and folks like me, who were at one time really hardcore pro- Trump, saying maybe we could do better, that is where you get insight.

The Liz Cheneys and Mitt Romneys of the world and "The Wall Street Journal" of the world, that is to be expected. When Mo Brooks comes out and said we could do better, then I think that is where you get an indication that this insight into the party is going deeper than people realize.

BOLDUAN: And this is the definition of time will tell because we've seen the waves come and go before. Senator Cynthia Lummis is another example. She voted against certifying the 2020 ecological results even after the insurrection.


BOLDUAN: And she's one of those that is now creating some distance from Donald Trump.

What she told "Politico" is this, in an interview, "The question is who is the current leader of the Republican Party?

"Oh, I know who it is," she said, "Ron DeSantis. Ron DeSantis is the leader of the Republican Party, whether he wants to be or not."

Do you agree with that?

MULVANEY: Yes, listen, Cynthia is, she's a no nonsense, down to Earth person. I think she's from Wyoming; in fact, I know she's from Wyoming. And this state was for Trump by 30 points.

So she's tapping into the mainstream of the party. When she's saying that, then it starts to become real. Keep in mind she's also friendly with DeSantis. We were in the House Freedom Caucus together and she has a personal relationship with Ron that she might not have with Donald Trump.

So that is very insightful. Look for those types of people in the coming weeks, especially after this supposed announcement tonight to see whether Trump really has lost some of the center of the Republican Party.

BOLDUAN: There is also a question about who going to run the run the Republican Party, the RNC. Ronna McDaniel has been the leader. And after what Republicans did or didn't do in these cycles, what do you think about her running for re-election after this midterm?

MULVANEY: I'm not a fan and I like Ronna. We got along well when I worked in the White House and I have no complaints about her personally. But we have a track record of losing with her in charge.

Again, we lost in 2018. We lost in 2020. We didn't win like we should have last week. When Donald Trump said we are going to get so tired of winning, this is not what we expected.

So if he's going to stay -- and it looks like he is-- I think someone has to go and we have to figure out a way to reinvigorate the RNC, to figure out a way for the party to win with Donald Trump still involved, including (INAUDIBLE) three chances of that now and not succeeded is I do think it's time for us to consider other people for leadership of the party. I don't know what the argument is to lead.

BOLDUAN: Would you at all be interested in that?

I'm not sure where things are for you these days.

MULVANEY: Neither do I. I got accused on a program of drinking too much Trump Kool-aid and then half an hour later of being a hardcore lefty. So I'm not sure where I am. My guess is probably --


BOLDUAN: Sometimes the answer is actually in the directly correct place when you're getting accused like that from both sides.

MULVANEY: When you're in the middle is where you get run over, in the middle of the run is where you get run over.


BOLDUAN: It seems like it. But who knows after this election what it is all going to look like.

MULVANEY: Kate, I never thought I would be considered the middle of anything having started the Freedom Caucus. But politics is a strange business. We'll see what happens. There is good leaders in the Republican Party. And if other folks step up, who feel like I do, then there's a chance for all action. I think it is healthy for the party, win or lose.

BOLDUAN: Mick Mulvaney, it is good to have you on. Thank you.

MULVANEY: Thanks, Kate.

BOLDUAN: A programming note: former vice president Mike Pence will join Jake Tapper for a live CNN town hall tomorrow night at 9:00 pm Eastern.

So a new measure of inflation showing encouraging signs for the U.S. economy today. What you can, should and should not be reading into this new report. That is next.




(MUSIC PLAYING) BOLDUAN: Another sign this morning that inflation is easing up. The

Consumer Price Index, that rose by 8 percent in October. While it's still high, it's better than economists were expecting. So let's get a sense of this. Matt Egan with here with more on this.

What do you see here?

MATT EGAN, CNN BUSINESS SENIOR WRITER: We're seeing more evidence that inflation is finally cooling off. Wholesale prices rising by 8 percent year-over-year in October. That is down from 8.4 percent in September. Month over month prices rising half as much as expected.

Now, 8 percent wholesale inflation is not healthy or normal. At almost any other point in the last 20 years, this would be a terrible number. But everything is relative. And this is another step in the right direction. This is the fourth straight month of cooling inflation year-over-year, as you could see on that chart.

We had wholesale inflation at nearly 12 percent back in March. This is obviously much better than that. This is the lowest level in 15 months. Now not surprisingly, food and energy do remain high. Anyone who has been to a grocery store or a gas station knows that.

But in some other areas, prices are declining. We saw a month over month price decline for passenger vehicles. It is the biggest drop that we've seen in more than five years. That is more a sign that some of these supply chain problems, the computer chip shortage is easing.

These are wholesale prices so we don't see these at the store. But the hope is businesses do pass along the easing prices to consumers. Now markets love this number.

As soon as it came out, we saw stock futures go straight up; as we speak the Dow is up 250 points, almost 1 percent. Even bigger gains for the Nasdaq. Kate, this is feeding some hope on Wall Street that, hopefully, the Federal Reserve is going to be able to soon stop slamming the brakes on this economy.

BOLDUAN: It is good to see you, Matt. Thank you so much.

Joining me for more is CNN economic and political commentator, Catherine Rampell. She's a columnist with "The Washington Post."

What do you make of this latest report?



RAMPELL: Especially coupled with some consumer price numbers that we got recently that were also not as hot as economists had forecast. It is suggesting that inflationary pressures are abating. And that is good for news for the economy. That is also good news for the Fed.

BOLDUAN: So this is going to then add up to meaning what?

Would you expect them to be considering and mulling over when they meet again next month.

RAMPELL: The Federal Reserve wants to see inflation slowing and see that happen without having much of an impact on the job market. And so far that has occurred. We've seen several consecutive rate hikes that would have been unheard of, three quarters of a percentage point.

And Fed chair Jay Powell indicated maybe they'll start to slow down. They'll keep on paying attention to the inflation and make sure keeping it under control. But they may not have to raise rates as aggressively.

And the numbers today indicate that they could possibly go down that path with a little bit more security, that inflation will still do what they want it to do essentially without having to tip the economy into recession.

BOLDUAN: And a big part of this whole equation is the job market. And taking a closer look at where the job market is and is headed, "The New York Times" is reporting that Amazon is playing to lay off something like 10,000 people as soon as this week.

This would be the largest layoffs in the company's history.

With these deep cuts and cuts we're seeing in other major companies, big name companies, will this spill over to other areas of the economy?

How does it?

RAMPELL: Well, right now, you're seeing the ax swinging in a lot of tech companies and a lot of Silicon Valley companies.

BOLDUAN: It seems like a bunch of different factors at play.

RAMPELL: There are some places like Twitter where there is mismanagement. And then there is FTX, where there is some funny business and maybe alleged criminal liability.

But in general any company whose profits are mostly in the future, i.e. tech companies for the most part, they are going to be deeply affected by the fact that this era of ultra low interest rates is coming to a close.

They were able to sustain business models with very cheap, almost free money with the expectations they could sustain a lot of losses in the near term and one day have big mega profits.

Now that interest rates are going up, their costs are higher. It is a lot more costly to sustain that business model. So you'll see runs really struggle as the cost of financing rises and I think you'll see a lot more Silicon Valley companies struggle.

BOLDUAN: And with Amazon, is this kind of like -- I don't want to call it a hangover but the fallout from the pandemic. Everyone's purchasing behaviors, changing so much in the pandemic in terms of how goods and services are ordered and delivered. And then the economy kind of opening back up again and people coming out.

Is that what we're seeing at Amazon?

RAMPELL: We've definitely seen consumer behavior go through this whiplash. There was a huge increase in purchasing goods rather than services. And some of the behavior is reverting backward and you're going to see retail and wholesale companies have to adapt to the new reality.

That could be what is going on with Amazon here. And I think you'll see that happen with other retail companies as well, particularly those that focus on goods that maybe people already stocked up on.

There was a lot of purchasing of durable goods, for example. So things like a new refrigerator or other kinds of appliances, a car. You don't need to buy those every few months. So those kinds of companies are, you know, are probably going to see some challenges in the months ahead.

BOLDUAN: We'll be watching it all play out and the effect on every other aspect of the economy that we're living in. Catherine Rampell, it is good to see you.

So sources tell CNN a bipartisan group of senators are now confident that they have the votes to pass a bill to codify same-sex marriage. And Chuck Schumer is now giving that bill a date. The Senate majority leader setting the process in motion for a first test vote on the measure to happen tomorrow.

The same-sex marriage bill will not set a national requirement that all states legalize same-sex marriage but it would require individual states to recognize another state's legal marriage. We'll be continuing to follow that right here AT THIS HOUR.

So several Ukraine cities are under assault. Russian airstrikes even targeting the capital city of Kyiv once again. We'll take you there, next.