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At This Hour

Bob Iger Returns As Disney CEO, Replacing Ousted Leader, Police: Patrons Subdued Gunman To Stop Carnage At LGBTQ Plus Bar; Democrat Concedes Colorado House Race To Lauren Boebert. Aired 11:30a- 12p ET

Aired November 21, 2022 - 11:30   ET




KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: The United States is facing down once again the possibility of a crippling rail strike. One of the nation's largest railroad unions has rejected a tentative deal brokered by the White House. Negotiators are now facing a deadline in early December to reach another deal. This news once again, though, brings the country back to the brink just ahead of the holidays. And the Association of American railroads estimates that it could cost the U.S. economy $2 billion a day if rail workers really do end up going on strike.

Now to a story that has all of Hollywood buzzing right now. Disney's Board of Directors is ousting its CEO, Bob Chapek, after a short and rocky tenure. It's now just his -- it's not just his ouster, it's who they're bringing back in that's also getting a lot of attention, Bob Iger, the company's longtime leader who had retired now coming back to run the media empire once again. Matt Egan joins me now with much more on this. Matt, what's happened, and what is happening?

MATT EGAN, CNN REPORTER: Well, Kate, I think the Disney board ran out of patience with Bob Chapek. His tenure was turbulent, right? The stock underperformed. There were some PR blunders. And then just two weeks ago, Disney unnerved Wall Street by revealing mounting losses at a streaming business at a time when investors don't really have patience for that. So, the board decided that they want to ride out the storm in the media industry by going to a trusted hand and it doesn't get any more trusted than Bob Iger.

I mean he's one of the most successful CEOs of his time. He built Disney into a real media empire, right? He went out and acquired Lucas Films, 21st Century Fox, Marvel, Pixar, he launched Disney plus. Wall Street is loving the fact that he's back. Disney shares were down on the year dramatically but up 7 percent this morning on this news.

But the fact that he's coming back is a surprise even to Iger. He had previously dismissed this idea. Listen to what he told Kara Swisher back in January about this.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP) KARA SWISHER, JOURNALIST: But one of the things -- CNBC polled 10 media executives anonymously about their 2022 predictions, and one was that you'll return to Disney.


SWISHER: I don't know. A Mickey Mouse character.

IGER: I would love that, yes.

SWISHER: There are rumors that you could become Disney CEO.

IGER: That's ridiculous.

SWISHER: Ridiculous.

IGER: I was CEO for a long time.

SWISHER: OK, all right.

IGER: You can't go home again. I'm gone.

SWISHER: Really? It's happened before. Starbucks?

IGER: I gave my ID -- I gave my ID up, my nametag up --


IGER: My office, my e-mail address, it's all gone. I think if I wanted to run a company, I'd still be running Disney. No, no, I did that.


EGAN: And now, he's doing it again. But he's going to face a totally different set of challenges. One, he's got to write the ship at Disney, figure out streaming, and cut down on the losses. But two, he's got to groom a successor, he's 71 years old. This is a two-year contract. Finding a successor may not be that easy. I think we've seen that in the last few years.

BOLDUAN: We will quickly see what kind of moves he's going to make, at least in the near term. It's good to see you. Thanks, Matt.

EGAN: Thanks, Kate.

BOLDUAN: So, investigators in Idaho are combing through hundreds of tips right now. And it is also, it -- after it has now been a week after four University of Idaho students were killed at an off-campus home. So far, authorities say that they have not found a weapon or a suspect or a motive, with so many questions -- with so many more questions than answers. Tonight, there will be a funeral service for one of the slain students, Ethan Chapin. Camila Bernal is live in Idaho with the very latest on this. Camila, what are you hearing from local police and officials at this point?

CAMILA BERNAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Kate. Well, they're not saying much. And that's the part that's frustrating for us reporters and frankly, for all of the members of this community. They did clarify information about the 911 call that went in at around noon on Sunday. They're saying it came from one of the roommates' phones. This is one of the surviving roommates. But they will not say who made that 911 call.

They're also saying that by the time police arrived on Sunday, there were other friends here at the house. They're also ruling out people. They say those two surviving roommates. They are not suspects in this case. They're also saying that they need to clarify some of the speculations, especially around the people that interacted with Kaylee and Maddie.

If you recall, we know that Ethan and Xana, they went out to a party, and were back home at around two in the morning. But Kaylee and Maddie, they went to a sports bar. Then they go to a food truck. There was that video that was circulating with them interacting with that man on a food truck. They're saying that man is not a suspect. Then they took a ride home, the driver, not a suspect. And then they called another man, and they're saying he is also not a suspect. But there's still, of course, a question of who did this and they're still really not saying much, Kate.

BOLDUAN: That's for sure. Camila, thank you very much for that.

So, the attack on the Colorado LGBTQ plus bar, forcing the owner of another bar, the Pulse nightclub, to relive that nightmare all over again. Look at all of those beautiful faces of the victims from that tragedy. The owner of the Pulse nightclub joins us next.




BOLDUAN: Colorado Springs, the latest American city faced with the pain and suffering coming from gun violence. This time it was at an LGBTQ plus bar that police say the gunman killed five and injured dozens. We're going to be getting an update later today on all of that.

Authorities credit two heroic patrons with subduing the attacker, pinning him down until police arrived. This attack on the gay community is all too real after the Pulse nightclub massacre. 49 lives were taken at that gay club six years ago. Dozens gathered in Orlando, Florida yesterday to show their support for the victims in Colorado.

And joining me now is Barbara Poma. She was the owner of the Pulse nightclub and the founder of the onePULSE Foundation. Barbara, thank you so much. I mean, you know this horror and tragedy better than most. Six years ago, those 49 people murdered in your club, the largest and deadliest attack on the LGBTQ community in history then. What went through your mind when you heard about Colorado Springs?

BARBARA POMA, OWNER, PULSE NIGHTCLUB: Not again. I mean, I just thought to myself, not again, we can't keep doing this. It was -- it was heartbreaking, it was traumatizing, it was horribly sad. It was just you have to take that moment to let yourself go there so that I could pull myself back together and figure out how to respond here locally.

BOLDUAN: I'm told you were able to reach out to the owners of Club Q, were you able to connect? Can you tell us about that conversation?

POMA: I haven't been connected to them yet. I did reach out and send an e-mail. I had one e-mail address that someone sent me, so I sent an e-mail out there. I'm looking to connect with them because I sadly know all too well how they're feeling, and what they're facing, and I would just love to be a source for them and just be an ear for them in any way that I could be.

BOLDUAN: And what kind of advice -- I mean, it almost seems impossible to kind of what to tell them in these moments, just like it's almost impossible to find the words in any moment of tragedy. What kind of advice would you give them in this moment?

POMA: I mean, just to talk to them about convening their community, about listening to each other, being there for each other to talk about what this means for them personally because you know when Pulse happened there -- I don't know if there were any mass shootings like this on private property before. So, for me, there was really no one to talk to about what did I do next and what did this look like and what next steps to take or not to take, and where to begin. So, just to be there for them to ask questions and just to guide them and just to -- just to share from my experience because it's a pretty lonely place to be sitting as the owner of the establishment, especially when you loved your community and you loved your job and what you were doing and so you're broken in ways that other people can't understand because you are that lonely party of one.

BOLDUAN: This brings up so many horrible memories for you and so many others. I mean, it was seen -- your nightclub, as well as this bar, Club Q was really seen as a safe haven. It's how it's been described to so many people -- by so many people even the police chief at the top of the show said that for the LGBTQ plus community. And that sense of safety shattered. I want to play for you something that someone who is inside the club said about this.


JOSHUA THURMAN, WITNESS: This is our home, you know, this is our base. We come here to just enjoy ourselves and this happens. It was so scary. I heard shots, broken glass, bodies.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh my, gosh. I'm sorry.

THURMAN: It was -- how? Why?


BOLDUAN: Why? And I know that's what so many -- I mean, I know that's a question in so many minds. I mean, with so many people asking how can this happen again? I mean, as someone who lived through this exact same horror, how do you answer that?

POMA: Let me start by saying that you know, when he talks about his safe haven, LGBTQ nightclubs are safe spaces for this community. It's sometimes is their chosen family and it's where they come to be completely free. And to have that taken away from you in such a horrific act of violence and hate-fueled purpose, it's just -- it's incomprehensible, the why is so complicated. There -- right now, there's so much hateful rhetoric out there, whether it be through legislation or just communities or hate groups that are for some reason, want to continue to attack the LGBTQ community.

Impulses situation -- we were a terrorist attack so it was cut very differently. The motivation was very different but the outcome was the same, the outcomes and attack and the loss on a public space that was really a home to so many.


And so, if you haven't gone to Club Q and you've didn't come to Pulse in Orlando, you've been to these places in your neighborhood. And you know what that means to you and that's like a home invasion and it's just something that people don't recover from.

BOLDUAN: Yes. Barbara Poma, thank you so much for coming on.

POMA: Thank you for having me.

BOLDUAN: Thank you so much. All right, we're going to -- there will be an update from investigators, from the police chief a little later this afternoon on the investigation into that Colorado shooting, we will bring that to you when it happens.

There's also this. A Colorado congressional race, few expected to even -- really even be a race, especially one that's razor-tight, with only a few 100 votes separating the candidates. We're going to talk to the Democratic candidate about why he conceded.



BOLDUAN: It was deemed the tight House race that few saw coming. Republican congresswoman Lauren Boebert faced a serious challenge from a former local city councilman, Democrat Adam Frisch. Frisch has now conceded in that race for Colorado's Third Congressional District. That's despite being just 554 votes behind Boebert, a difference that triggered Colorado's automatic recount rules.

Joining me now for more on this is Adam Frisch. It's good to see you. Thanks for coming in. This is a district, Adam, that on paper a Democrat really has no business in winning, which is what led to so many headlines of what a surprise it was that the race was a race and it was so close. If that's the case, why concede before the recount?

ADAM FRISCH, DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE, COLORADO: Kate, great to see you, and good morning to everyone out there. You know, let me say it this way. I want to be sincere. We made a concession. It wasn't an illegal concession, no concession is, but it was made with sincerity. The chances of the Secretary of State changing 550 or some votes is so tiny, that I just didn't want to change my view on life and politics about trying to be authentic and sincere.

And there were a lot of people that wanted to send us a lot of money, which was great. And maybe I'm crazy for turning that down. But we also had a lot of people out there in the country that were going to be insincere about generating a tremendous amount of money and using it for other things that had nothing to do with this race. And so we made the decision that we will concede, and I made that call to Representative Boebert a little bit before I went on the air on Friday afternoon.

Again, if there's more than a handful of votes, and I mean, literally a handful of votes of the change, we'd all be shocked. Again, the -- it was a sincere gesture. It wasn't a leak one, so if somehow the Secretary of State's office deems that we see more votes than the current representative, will be the one sworn in on January 3. There'll be a lot of legal wrangling between now and then I'm assuming, but again, I just don't see a path to victory as we laid it out.

BOLDUAN: So, we'll wait and see, I guess on that, but if it stands, as is, you know, as you well know, getting really close still doesn't get you to Washington, but it can send a strong message, which I think your race has. What do you think resonated with people?

FRISCH: Well, no, I think so. You know, I think, Kate, I took a big beating on Wednesday at loss big time, you saw a lot of people that were part of what I call this angertainment industry, that came from my friend, Dean Phillips, who's also a congressman who I grew up with back in Minnesota. The thing that resonated with me is when I talked about people just stopping that resonated with a lot of people. And that meant whether I was speaking in front of the most liberal groups I did, or some of the most conservative groups I did on the western slope in southern parts of Colorado.

I have said for 20 years, Kate, that if there was a get stuff done party, I'd be in that party. But that party has not been doing very well lately, and our country is suffering for it. And our district is especially suffering for it because, at the end of the day, we're resonated as people resonated that the current representative was not focused on the job at hand, which is representing constituents, she was focused on herself, and that came out loud and clear in the results.

BOLDUAN: You also didn't hold back in talking about the Democratic Party. I mean, you did what you'd -- you pulled off what you pulled off with very little help from the DCCC or the National Party. And you were candid about it in your concession remarks, saying that the Democratic Party has slowly eroded the trust of rural and working- class Americans, even saying they've been abandoned rural and working class Americans, the Democratic Party. So, what's your message to the Democratic Party now? FRISCH: Well, you know, with respect, Bill Clinton won more than 50 percent of the rural counties in the country in 1996. There's about 2000 of them defined by the Department of Agriculture. President Obama then went and won 25 percent of those 2000 rural counties. 2020, two years ago, Joe Biden, he won fewer than 10 percent of the rural counties. And so, we're left with a Democratic Party that's basically 20 big cities and a couple of resort towns. And that's just not a way to build true leadership path and more importantly than the party. It just does not serve the country when there's a monopoly.

Monopolies are bad in business and monopolies are bad in politics. And right now, the Democratic Party has a pretty strong monopoly on these urban centers. I don't think we're getting the best version of those Democratic -- the Democratic Party in those 20 big cities. And there's obviously a quasi-monopoly on the Republican side in rural America. And I don't think the best version of the Republican Party is out there.

I would love to see both parties fighting over every zip code in every community in every district. And that's just not happening. And so, I'm glad that I made a good run at this. We should have lost by 12 points.


And part of that had to do with just the ineffectiveness of our current leader. And we obviously ran a really good campaign with a really, really strong team. And now, you know, I made a lot of phone calls at the start of this race back in February, and basically, no one called us back out in DC or New York until Wednesday when everyone was shocked by our results. And if we go again, I'm assuming it's not going to take nine months to get those phone calls returned anymore.

BOLDUAN: Well, we'll standby to standby to see as you're just kind of still reeling and kind of coming off the high of this race and your concession on Friday if you do run again if you challenge Boebert again, but in the meantime, thanks for coming on. I really appreciate your time.


BOLDUAN: Thank you so much. And thank you all so much for watching, I'm Kate Bolduan. "INSIDE POLITICS" with John King starts after this.