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Wholesale Prices Rise In November As Fed Weighs Next Rate Increase; Pressure Mounts On Biden Admin. To Get Paul Whelan Out Of Russia; Brazil And Croatia Kick Off World Cup Quarterfinals. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired December 09, 2022 - 11:30   ET




BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN ANCHOR: Wholesale prices rising more than expected in the last month, dampening hopes that inflation is cooling. CNN's Matt Egan joins me now to explain So, Matt, that -- I guess the trend line is headed in the right direction but it's not coming down as quickly as experts have been hoping for.

MATT EGAN, CNN REPORTER: That's right, Bianna. I think there's some good news and some bad news in this report. Let me run you through the numbers quickly. Wholesale prices jumping by 7.4 percent year over year in November, that is high historically, and hotter than expected. Month over month point 3 percent. That is hotter than expected as well. Now, we follow these numbers because it shows how much inflation is in the pipeline. These are wholesale prices, and companies pass along these costs to consumers.

Now, the good news here is that yes, this inflation metric has improved. You know, it was nearly 12 percent at the peak back in March. As you can see on that chart, it is a big improvement, five straight months of cooling and this is actually an 18-month low. I think the bad news is that inflation hasn't cooled as fast as hoped, and it does remain very high historically. That's going to force the Federal Reserve to continue to raise rates, including at next week's meeting.

Now, we know that high inflation and the high borrowing costs have hit consumer sentiment but new numbers out today from the University of Michigan show that consumer sentiment actually ticked higher to start this month. As you can see on that chart, though, sentiment remains pretty low historically, well below pre-COVID levels. But, Bianna, it is starting to move in the right direction. And I suspect part of that reason is the fact that gasoline prices have plunged so dramatically. If food prices start to come down too, that could help boost sentiment even further.

GOLODRYGA: Yes, gas prices at a one-year low. And as you mentioned an important Fed decision next week expecting a half-point rise -- raise right as opposed to three-quarters of a point.

EGAN: Exactly. GOLODRYGA: Thank you so much, Matt.

EGAN: Thank you, Bianna.

GOLODRYGA: Well, President Biden's approval is hitting its highest mark in the last year in a new CNN poll. But Americans remain concerned about the U.S. economy. CNN's Harry Enten joins me now to break down these brand-new numbers. So, what's the trend line on Biden's approval rating?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: Yes. As you said, right, he's hit his highest mark in the last year. But it's still not that great, right? So, essentially, what you're looking at in our poll is that Joe Biden's poll rating is 46 percent. But that is up from where we were in October, 41 percent. It's the highest we've had so far this year.

Why is Joe Biden's approval rating going up? Well, if you look at folks, and you ask them, you know, how do you think the shape of the country is? Things are going well in the country today, it's now 35 percent. Again, that's not that all that good, but it is the highest number that we've had since last December. So, the trend lines going in the right direction, but the absolute number is still not awesome at this point.

GOLODRYGA: And the economy seems to be weighing on them. And yet, as we noted, gas prices are at a one-year low, Americans are spending this holiday season, so what gives?

ENTEN: Yes. I mean, essentially, if you ask voters, you know, where do you think the economy is at this particular point?


What we see is in our poll number that 53 percent still believe it's in a downturn. But keep in mind. Stabilized, not getting worse, and starting to recover, add up to 47 percent. So, we're basically split where more voters believe -- where more Americans believe that we're still in the downturn, but it's not that big of a gap.

And why do folks still believe that the economy isn't a downturn? Well, it's all about prices, right? As a result of recent economic conditions, have you bought fewer different groceries, cut back on non-essentials, cut back on holiday gifts, you can see all of those numbers at about 70 or 71 percent. So, it's not about jobs, it's about people having to pay more and that's really driving this sort of sentiment that maybe things aren't as good in the country as they should be, and therefore Biden's approval rating perhaps isn't as high as he wished it were.

GOLODRYGA: Yes. And a bit worrisome. Americans may be spending while we also know that they're tapping into their savings rate more than they have been recently. So, that is a bit worrisome. Harry Enten, always good to see you, my friend. Have a great weekend.

ENTEN: You too. GOLODRYGA: Well, American Paul Whelan remains in a Russian prison after Brittney Griner's release. We'll have the latest on the U.S. efforts to get him back home as well.



GOLODRYGA: Well, pressure is mounting this morning on the Biden administration to get Paul Whelan out of Russia. The former U.S. Marine was arrested by Russians nearly four years ago on espionage charges. CNN's Kylie Atwood is live at the State Department. As we know, the U.S. says that he is wrongfully detained and they say there are still channels and ideas and avenues to getting him home. What more are you learning?

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Well, listen, a senior administration official said to us last night that Russia essentially, it's in their best interest to continue talking to the United States about Paul Whelan because there are things in this world, in the words of that senior Administration official, that Russia wants. Essentially, they are in a position where they can get something out of the United States. And, of course, getting back Viktor Bout in return for Brittney Griner was a political win for President Putin. We're seeing that just today in Russia.

And so, the administration feels pretty confident that dialogue between the U.S. and Russia is going to remain open. It's significant that President Putin himself said today that that dialogue will remain open, that a future prisoner swap is in the realm of possibilities. And when you look at exactly what the United States has to offer, that's the key question here. And we don't have a direct answer to that.

But administration officials say that they are thinking of something more, something different. They're trying to be creative, thinking of new ideas that they can put on the table because even though the Secretary of State said yesterday that they had to -- they had exhausted essentially all options that they could think of to try and get out Paul Whelan at the same time as Brittney Griner. They're trying to go back to the drawing board now to see if they can push this forward and see if there can be any momentum created out of this prisoner swap, Bianna.

GOLODRYGA: Yes. As you have reported, this all came together within the last, what now, 72 hours ago, so I guess there is some hope that we can get Paul Whelan home soon too as well. Kylie, great to see you. Thank you.

Now, to the volcano erupting in Hawaii. Lava from the Mauna Loa volcano is now less than two miles from a major highway on the Big Island. Experts say the rate of the flow is slowing but there's no sign of it stopping. The massive lava field is now drawing quite a crowd. Officials say more than 14,000 vehicles have already driven on this viewing road since it reopened to the public. And now to a very cool moment in America. For the first time ever, every new dollar bill printed will be signed by two women, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and the U.S. treasurer, Lynn Malerba. Here they are at a Fort Worth Texas facility hand-signing a few bills to mark the historic occasion. Malerba also marks the first time a Native American signature appears on U.S. currency. And I do have to say Janet Yellen has some very nice penmanship. Great moment there. The new bill should be distributed and in circulation by the end of the year.

Well, something I've been watching during the commercial breaks at least, the World Cup quarterfinals are now underway. Which teams will go all the way? We'll have the latest from Doha up next.



GOLODRYGA: Well, the World Cup quarterfinals are officially underway, Croatia is taking on Brazil to become the first team to punch their ticket to the semifinals. CNN's Don Riddell is in Doha with more. So, I know it's 0-0, are we in stoppage time yet here? What's going on with the game?

DON RIDDELL, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, it's been a really frustrating game for Brazil. Remember what they did in their last game against South Korea, they thrashed them. Croatia who made the final four years ago has been a completely different proposition. And it is goalless heading into an extra 30 minutes of time. So, this game absolutely going down to the wire. We will see if Neymar can lift Brazil. They certainly had a much better first -- second half than they did in the opening 45, but Croatia very much hanging in there.

The winner of that game is going to get the winner of the game that I'm attending here tonight in Lusail, at this absolutely fabulous stadium. It looks like the world's biggest Plinius salad bowl behind me. That's where Argentina and the Netherlands are going to be playing. Of course, Argentina has Lionel Messi playing in his fifth and what we assume will be his final World Cup tournament.

He so desperately wants to win this tournament. He's been accused of walking a lot in this tournament so far. Certainly, the stats would back that up that he's contributed massively to their progress, scoring three goals and one assist. And for both Argentina and Netherlands, this is going to be their toughest match of the tournament yet, so really looking forward to that as well, Bianna.


GOLODRYGA: I still can't believe it's a 0-0 game for Modric and Neymar. Neither have scored yet. We'll be watching. John Riddell, thank you.

RIDDELL: You're right.

GOLODRYGA: Well, earlier this week, Kate sat down with U.S. Men's National Team Player Walker Zimmerman to talk about their World Cup run and the future of soccer in America. Here's their conversation.


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: And joining us now, a key member of the U.S. team, Walker Zimmerman. It's great to have you -- well, great to have you anywhere but especially in studio, thank you so much for being here.

WALKER ZIMMERMAN, U.S. MEN'S NATIONAL SOCCER TEAM PLAYER: Thank you for having me. It's so fun.

BOLDUAN: So much to be pumped about and proud of. Sure, not the way that you or any of us who were cheering you on wanted the run to end, but a truly amazing ride. How do you reflect on it now after a few days?

ZIMMERMAN: Still processing, honestly because it's a mix of two emotions. You have the high of accomplishing that childhood dream of playing World Cup, but then a couple of that with the disappointment of not winning the World Cup or going further in the World Cup. So, still kind of figuring that out. But it was an awesome experience and a once-in-a-lifetime, for sure.

BOLDUAN: For sure. And speaking of a dream, I mean, I'm sure everyone -- a lot of people know your journey but it's been a real journey for you. I mean, you were not originally on the roster, time passes, slots open up, and then you're a starter on the World Cup team. How do you reflect on that journey?

ZIMMERMAN: It's a whirlwind. And it's similar to probably a lot of other people's journeys in life. So, you have the ups, the downs, the highs, the lows, and it's managing, you know, to keep a steady mindset throughout the entire thing. And --

BOLDUAN: Do you think that adversity that made you even better? Because I -- you just like what you do in those moments and you always remember, I would always remember, like, I almost didn't get on this team, right?

ZIMMERMAN: 100 percent. It has to. I think that's what made this team so special is everyone had those experiences, you know. It's like everyone was a childhood prodigy and we're always destined to be on the team. You know, everyone has their injuries, their setbacks, but then they have their comebacks. And so, it was great to be a part of this team and to play in the World Cup.

BOLDUAN: And there were so many amazing moments. But one of the standout moments that I know everyone will remember is that huge play from you at the very end of the match with Iran were you able to clear the ball where it looked like it just made it past the goalie. What was that moment like? Because I remember, we were -- everyone was screaming at the television in my household.

ZIMMERMAN: Right. No. I mean, there's only a minute or two left in the game, it had -- it had been a very intense game, we obviously had to win -- hold on to the win to advance through the knockout stages. And it was kind of slow motion for me like I was just in the moment.

BOLDUAN: Says all great players --

ZIMMERMAN: It was like --

BOLDUAN: It's all in slow-mo.


BOLDUAN: It's sure, OK.

ZIMMERMAN: I don't even remember what happened. Just the right place, right time, the awareness and concentration that you know, anticipation of the worst. And so, it's like, OK, if this ball somehow gets by, like I was in that mindset and was able to be in the right place at the right time, and ultimately helped us get through the -- to the next round.

BOLDUAN: The win over Iran was obviously so critical in moving ahead. But it was also critical because of everything became bigger than just the match, obviously. And you've spoke -- you spoke really eloquently to that in some of the press conferences, the tensions between the U.S. and Iran, the families of the Iranian players being threatened for about the prospect of protesting. And I talked about it on the show after we saw it happen, but you in the -- and some of your teammates comforting -- the images of you guys comforting some of the Iranian players after the game. You'd said why you did it, which was you all know what a loss is like. And you all know that they've got a lot of stuff going on in the background, too. But what did you want to convey to them in that moment?

ZIMMERMAN: Just the human emotion of compassion, of love, you know. They are obviously competitors on the field. You know, we gave everything we had in that moment in that game. But I'm sure that there were so many other thoughts and emotions going on in their heads because of the situation going on in Iran. So, for us, it was, you know, appreciating them as competitors, appreciating them as people and knowing -- being sympathetic to what they were feeling. So, an incredibly difficult moment for them, I'm sure, not only losing in such fashion in the World Cup.


ZIMMERMAN: But then knowing what they were going to return to and just the stresses that they probably had throughout that entire tournament.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. The additional pressure not just performing on such a -- on such an amazing level on the world stage. So, every World Cup kind of renews the debate in the United States was -- which is, is this the moment when soccer makes its major breakthrough in the United States? What do you even think of that question as a soccer player itself? But what do you want soccer to mean and be after such an amazing run at the World Cup? Like what do you see going forward? What's your big take?

ZIMMERMAN: I am extremely hopeful. You know, I think that we're seeing the support increase year over year. And being a part of this World Cup, hopefully, we inspired some people, some young soccer players to hop on board and knowing what we have ahead of us. You know, you mentioned 2026, we'll be a host nation -- one of the host stations for the World Cup.


That's only going to grow this game. And so, us as players, we feel that excitement, we feel the energy. Just seeing the videos and clips of people celebrating at you know, their local bars or restaurants and all watching the game, you know, we feel that. And so, that makes us really excited. And hopefully, you know, moving forward, we're going to have a lot of -- a lot of players that are going to start playing this game.

BOLDUAN: Yes. You've made a lot of people proud that you probably -- that you'll never meet.

ZIMMERMAN: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: But it was really, really fun to watch the run. Thank you so much. Welcome back.


BOLDUAN: Great to meet you.

ZIMMERMAN: Thank you.


GOLODRYGA: And my money is on Team USA in 2026 here in North America.

Now before we go, tune in on Sunday night to find out who will be the 2022 CNN Hero of the Year. The All-Star tribute begins at 8:00 p.m. Eastern. "INSIDE POLITICS" with John King starts right after a quick break.