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The Lead with Jake Tapper
Biden Speaks on COVID Vaccinations For Kids Ages 5-11; Warning Signs For Dems After Virginia Loss, Tight Race In New Jersey; Eric Adams' Plan For NYC: "The Foundation Is Safety;" Armorer's Attorney Suggests Live Rounds Placed On Set As "Sabotage." Aired 4-5p ET
Aired November 03, 2021 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: Congratulations to all the sport sports fans there in Atlanta. It's been 26 years. You got it now.
THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER starts right now.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: A jolt to the Democratic Party.
THE LEAD starts right now.
An upset in Virginia and an unexpectedly close race for New Jersey governor that's now neck and neck. What it all means for the parties and the midterms.
And any moment, we're going to hear from President Biden speaking about the moment so many have been waiting for. Kids as young as 5 now getting their COVID shots.
Plus, was it sabotage? The stunning allegation today about that deadly shooting on a movie set.
Hello and welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Pamela Brown, in for Jake Tapper.
And we are keeping an eye out for the president right now. He's going to be speaking any moment on vaccines for children. Of course, we will bring that to you live as soon as that happens.
But first, we begin with our politics lead, and a kick in the donkey for Democrats. The New Jersey governor's race still too close to call. Democratic incumbent Phil Murphy holding a slim majority over Republican Jack Ciattarelli with the 86 percent of the votes counted. Republican Glenn Youngkin sailing to victory in the Virginia governor's race. Youngkin's win proves that a Republican can embrace Donald Trump's voters but hold Trump himself at arm's length.
Former Governor Terry McAuliffe's loss is a huge blow for Democrats and a warning sign for next year's midterms.
As CNN's Arlette Saenz reports, Democrats are eager to assign blame.
ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Republicans riding high after election night.
GLENN YOUNGKIN (R), VIRGINIA GOVERNOR-ELECT: All righty, Virginia! We won this thing!
SAENZ: With Virginia electing GOP businessman Glenn Youngkin as governor. Just one year after the commonwealth sent Joe Biden to the White House with a ten-point win.
YOUNGKIN: So on day one, we're going to work.
SAENZ: Democrat Terry McAuliffe who unsuccessfully made Donald Trump his main campaign target conceding this morning saying, while last night we came up short, I am proud that we spent this campaign fighting for the values we so deeply believe in.
Some Democrats chocking up the loss to inaction on the president's agenda.
REPORTER: What went wrong last night?
SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT): Failure to deliver.
SEN. TIM KAINE (D-VA): Our inability to come together and get a result hurt him.
SAENZ: Voters also putting Democrats on notice in New Jersey, where Biden won by 16 points, but now featuring a governor's race that's too close to call.
GOV. PHIL MURPHY (D), NEW JERSEY: We're all sorry that tonight could not yet be the celebration we wanted it to be.
SAENZ: The Republican drum beat sounding new alarms for President Biden who returned from a trip abroad overnight to a new political landscape.
In Virginia, the majority of voters disapproved of the president's performance. The independent and suburban voters who fueled Biden's 2020 win swung back to the GOP, which also expanded support in rural areas won by Trump.
YOUNGKIN: Friends, this is where our government will go. We will go to the people, for the people. It will be of the people.
SAENZ: The economy was at the top of Virginians minds followed by education with Republicans tapping into parents' frustrations over schooling from masks to what their children are taught.
SEN. MARK WARNER (D-VA): He touched a nerve and I think those of us on the Democratic side need to sit back and think about how to address it.
SAENZ: Throughout the race, Youngkin kept Trump at arm's length, focusing instead of local issues, offering an early blueprint for Republicans heading into 2022.
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): It could be one of the biggest election losses for Democrats.
SAENZ: In other parts of the country, centrist Democrats showing signs of strength, with Eric Adams elected mayor of New York City, and Minneapolis rejecting a ballot measure to replace the police department with the department of public safety.
And history also made with women of color elected for the first time as Virginia's lieutenant governor and Boston's next mayor.
SAENZ (on camera): After last night's results, Republicans are expanding their target list of Democratic races from 57 to 70 House districts that they are hoping to flip from blue to red in 2022.
Meanwhile, Democrats are absorbing the lessons learned from this campaign as they are facing an uphill climb to defend their majorities next year -- Pamela.
BROWN: Arlette Saenz, thank you.
Let's discuss with our panel. We're expecting to hear from President Biden any moment now.
But I'm going to kick it off to you, Scott, because you are the one who hasn't slept in like 24, what, 24 hours or so? So you probably have one of the most interesting answers I'm sure.
Look, Youngkin seemed to rewrite a playbook for how Republicans should run now in the post-Trump era.
Do you think that could be replicated across the country?
SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think the tactic in any individual campaign is based on the circumstances of that campaign and the jurisdiction. This was a Virginia governor's race. It's basically a blue state these days. So, he had to do what was required which was build the Republican coalition that could win in Virginia. That includes running up the score in rural areas. But it also includes trying to find a way for Republicans to again have a conversation with suburban voters.
And hey, call me old-fashioned but it looks like if you write a platform and you put a few issues in there and talk to people about what they care about, it works. Remember, last year, the Republicans didn't even write a platform. They didn't even try.
Glenn Youngkin ran an issues-based campaign. So, to me, as much as it is about Trump and all that conversation, there's something to be learned about picking out a few things. Schools, crime, the economy and saying, here's what I want to do about it. People responded to that.
BROWN: I'm going to interrupt. President Biden at the podium now.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Get my mask here.
Today is a great day for American parents, American families, and American children. We've taken a giant step forward to further accelerate our path out of this pandemic.
After months of rigorous and independent scientific review, the Food and Drug Administration, the FDA, authorized and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the CDC, recommended the COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 through 11.
For parents all over this country, this is a day of relief and celebration. After almost 18 months of anxious worrying every time that children -- your child had a sniffle or started to cough, well, you can now protect them from this horrible virus, because that would always worry that it was coming along.
Twenty-eight million more young Americans are now eligible for the protection of a vaccine, and my administration is ready -- we're ready from day one, today -- organized, and have a plan for this vaccination's launch.
As soon as next week, we'll have enough vaccine in enough places, and parents will be able to schedule appointments to get their kids their first shot.
And we've already secured enough vaccine supply for every single child in America ages 5 through 11.
And weeks ago, we asked states and pharmacies to put together their detailed plan to start placing their orders for these specially formulated vaccines for young children.
We started packing and shipping these orders last week, as soon as FDA authorized the vaccine.
And we've already sent millions of doses -- excuse me -- millions of doses, and millions more to come by next week. These doses will be available at approximately -- excuse me -- I beg your pardon; I swallowed wrong -- will be available in approximately 20,000 locations around the country.
These include places that parents know and trust: their local pharmacies, their pediatricians, family doctors, and children's hospitals.
Many of the vaccine sites will offer times on nights and weekends so parents can take their children to get vaccinated after work and after school.
We've also been working with governors, mayors, and local school leaders to bring vaccines to schools.
As of today, more than 6,000 school clinics have already been planned in school districts around the country.
These efforts will also ensure equity that is the center of our children's vaccination program, as has been -- as it has been the prac -- the vaccination program for adults.
We're making vaccines available at hundreds of community health centers, rural health clinics, and thousands of pharmacies and schools in our hardest-hit communities.
And we're sending out mobile units to reach where the people are.
The bottom line is: We've been planning and preparing for months to vaccinate our children.
Our program will be ramping up this week and more doses shipped out each day so that we have fully -- we are fully up and running by next week.
Now, I know that many parents have been anxiously waiting for this day, but I also know that some families might have questions. So, trusted messengers -- like your pediatricians, family doctors -- will be able to answer your questions, talk to parents about the importance of getting their kids vaccinated, and put your mind at ease.
We'll also be raising awareness and encouraging parents to get their children vaccinated, from our level.
Just when we've been doing -- that's what we've been doing since day one of my administration. And we're going to do everything we can to make these vaccines easily available and raise awareness of the importance of getting vaccinated.
So, parents of children ages five and older, please get them vaccinated. Because here's the deal: Children make up one quarter of the cases in this country.
And while rare, children can get very sick from COVID-19. And some can end up -- few -- but end up hospitalized. But they don't have to.
This vaccine is safe and effective. So, get your children vaccinated to protect themselves, to protect others, and to stop the spread, and to help us beat this pandemic.
Today, I also want to speak to America's seniors. While everyone is at risk of getting COVID-19, the evidence is overwhelming that older Americans are still, by far, the most vulnerable to getting the sickest.
And boosters -- boosters add an important layer of protection. Booster shots are free and effective, and every senior should get one. It's important.
Seniors are eligible to get your booster shot six months after you've been fully vaccinated. So, six months. If you got your second shot before May the 1st, you are eligible to get the booster right now.
And I've made it clear: We have ample supply of boosters.
And thanks to our planning and preparation, our booster program is off to a very strong start. Over 20 million Americans have now received a booster.
In fact, in just six weeks, we've already gotten boosters to about half the eligible seniors who received the Pfizer vaccine. Nearly half of the eligible seniors in just six weeks.
It took nearly 11 weeks to get half of all seniors their first shot for that -- when that program was launched back in December of 2020, just during the prior administration. So, as a -- this is a strong pace.
To our seniors: If you're eligible, get your booster now.
I'll conclude with this: Vaccines for children ages 5 to 11 and boosters [to] provide additional protection for seniors and others are two major steps forward that are going to accelerate our path out of this pandemic.
And this brings -- and this brings me to where we are and where we're going to go from here: Since early September, cases and hospitalizations are down now more than 50 percent. And over the past two weeks, cases and hospitalizations are falling in approximately 40 states.
A year ago, we had no vaccines. Just this week, we hit an important milestone: 80 percent of adults have at least one shot. That's four out of every five adults.
And for our seniors, over 95 percent have gotten at least one shot.
Overall, 193 million Americans are fully vaccinated, up from just 2 million the day I was sworn in. Over 20 million have enhanced protections from boosters. And we're now down from 100 to about 60 million unvaccinated Americans 12 years and older.
And I'm proud to say, Black and brown adults and Native Americans have gotten vaccinated at the same rate as white adults.
And one more thing. Our vaccination program is not only helping to save lives and beat the pandemic, it's helping our economy recovery and helping us grow. In the three months before I came to office, the economy was stagnant and creating only 60,000 jobs a month.
Since I've taken office, it's now averaging 600,000 new jobs every month. That's the average.
And one more thing. Vaccinating our children will help us keep our schools open -- keep our kids in the classroom, learning and socializing with their classmates and teachers.
I think every reporter in this room who has a child understands the difference of a child going to school and having to learn from home. It matters. It matters in terms of their not just physical health, their mental health.
You know, during this pandemic, we've seen just how important being in school is for our families and for our country.
A year ago, we were heading into a Thanksgiving where public health were -- experts were advising against traveling or gathering with family and friends.
Last Thanksgiving, for the first time, it was just four of us -- my wife and I, our daughter and her -- and my son-in-law. Later this month, our tables and our hearts are going to be filled, thanks to the vaccines.
We've made incredible progress over these past nine months, but we have to keep going. The pandemic is not yes behind us -- yet behind us, but we're getting there.
So, please -- please do your part. If you know someone who is not vaccinated, encourage them to get vaccinated.
And folks -- folks who haven't gotten vaccinated yet, please get vaccinated. It's easy. It's accessible. And it's free. Get vaccinated. You can do this.
May God bless you all.
And I'll take a few questions.
I'll start all the way at the end.
REPORTER: Thank you, Mr. President. Appreciate it.
BIDEN: Well, you're not all the way at the end, but that's okay. You're up.
REPORTER: As leader of the Democratic Party, how much responsibility do you take for the dismal results in Virginia and beyond last night?
BIDEN: Well, look, yesterday reminded me of -- that one of the scared rights we have is to be able to go out and cast our votes. And remember that we all have an obligation to accept the legitimacy of these elections.
I was talking to Terry to congratulate him today. He got 600,000 more votes than any Democrat ever has gotten. We brought out every Democrat about there was. More votes than ever has been cast for a Democratic incumbent -- I mean, not incumbent -- a Democrat running for governor. And no governor in Virginia has ever won when he is of the same -- where he or she is the same party as the sitting [resident.
What I do know is -- I do know that people want us to get things done. They want us to get things done. And that's why I'm continuing to push very hard for the Democratic Party to move along and pass my infrastructure bill and my Build Back Better bill. I think if we -- look, think about what we -- what we're talking about
here. People are upset and uncertain about a lot of things -- from COVID, to school, to jobs, to a whole range of things, and the cost of a gallon of gasoline.
And so, if I'm able to pass -- sign into law my Build Back Better initiative, I'm in a position where you're going to see a lot of those things ameliorated quickly and swiftly. And so that has to be done.
REPORTER: Mr. President -- Mr. President, given what you've said, do you take some responsibility? And do you think that Terry McAuliffe would have won if your agenda had passed before Election Day?
BIDEN: Well, I think we should have -- it should have passed before Election Day. But I'm not sure that I would be able to have changed the number of very conservative folks who turned out in the red districts who were Trump voters. But maybe. Maybe.
REPORTER: You won the state by 10 points, Mr. President.
BIDEN: No, I -- I know we did. But I -- we also -- I was running against Donald Trump.
REPORTER: Thank you, Mr. President. I have a -- what should Democrats possibly do differently to avoid similar losses in November, especially as Republicans are now successfully running on culture-war issues and false claims about critical race theory?
BIDEN: Well, I think we should produce for the American people.
Look, one of the things that is important to understand: If -- if they pass my legislation, we're going to be able to reduce the price -- people are going to see a reduction in the price of the drugs they -- they have to get because Medicare will be able to negotiate and lower the price of drugs.
If they pass my legislation, you're going to see that nobody -- and some of you who have children in daycare or children in childcare, you're paying up to $14,000 a year if you live here. You will never have to pay that much money if you live in Washington, or wherever you live. No more than 17 -- 7 percent of your income. They're going to see that, you know, they'll get tax breaks -- I mean, genuine tax breaks.
If that's Trump, then tell him I'm busy.
That was bad -- bad joke.
But anyway, but the -- but the point is that, you know, we have to move and make it clear that what we've done is increasing their -- look, people -- people need a little breathing room. They're overwhelmed. And what happened was -- I think we have to just produce results for them to change their standard of living and give them a little more breathing room. (CROSSTALK)
REPORTER: Can you just -- what's your message, though, for Democratic voters, especially Black voters who see Republicans running on race, education -- lying about critical race theory -- and they're worried that Democrats don't have an effective way to push back on that?
BIDEN: Well, I think that the whole answer is just to speak the truth, lay out where we are.
Look -- I'm convinced that if you look at everything from my view on criminal justice system, to my view on equal opportunity, to my view on economic issues, and all the things that I have and what I've been pushing in legislation -- each of the elements are overwhelmingly popular. We have to speak to them though. We have to speak them and explain them.
Look, I just think people are at a point -- and it's understandable -- where there's a whole lot of confusion. Everything from, "Are you going to ever get COVID under control?"; to "Are my kids going to be in school? Are they going to be able to stay in school?"
To "Whether or not I'm going to get a tax break that allows me to be able to pay for the needs of my kids and my family?"
And they're all things that we're -- that we're going to -- that I'm running on -- that we'll run on. And I think we'll do fine.
REPORTER: Mr. President, right here. Right here, Mr. President. Mr. President --
BIDEN: This ought to be good.
REPORTER: I think so, too.
About the way forward, Mr. President: As you were leaving for your overseas trip, there were reports that were surfacing that your administration is planning to pay illegal immigrants who are separated from their families at the border up to $450,000 each, possibly a million dollars per family.
Do you think that that might incentivize more people to come over illegally?
BIDEN: If you guys keep sending that garbage out, yeah. But it's not true.
REPORTER: So, this is a garbage report?
REPORTER: Okay. So, you --
BIDEN: Four hundred and fifty -- four hundred and fifty dollars per person. Is that what you're saying?
REPORTER: That was separated from a family member at the border under the last administration.
BIDEN: That's not going to happen.
REPORTER: Okay. And then just a follow-up, because you mentioned Trump a couple times.
When you went to try to help Terry McAuliffe in -- a couple weeks ago, before you left, you mentioned Trump 24 times. Do you still think that voters really want to hear you talking about Trump more than the issues affecting them every day?
BIDEN: Well, the reason I mentioned Trump -- I didn't count the times -- is because the issues he supports are affecting their lives every day and they're a negative impact on their lives, in my view.
Thank you all very much.
REPORTER: What is your message to congressional Democrats --
BROWN: We've been listening to president Joe Biden speaking there at the White House after the Pfizer COVID vaccine was officially authorized for kids ages 5 to 11. But also making his first remarks on the disappointing loss for Democrats in the Virginia governors race saying that the election results may have been different if Democrats in Washington passed his economic agenda.
So, let's discuss all of this.
Ryan Lizza, to you. It was really interesting because you've heard Senators Tim Kaine, Senator Warner come out and say bluntly that had Biden's agenda passed that maybe would have shifted the winds in McAuliffe's favor. You heard Biden said there maybe but that he didn't know if it could have counteracted those Trump voters.
RYAN LIZZA, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Especially the infrastructure bill more directly involved with the local issues that drove the race. And I thought that was very interesting. He's clearly looking at the exit polls and noticing the huge surge of support among rural voters and working class whites. Two stats.
Youngkin did 12 points better than Donald Trump last year among rural voters. Youngkin did 14 points better, get 76 percent of white working class voters.
For a Democrat to lose the white working class by 76 to 24 by 100 millionaire high financed Republican in Virginia is astonishing. And that, I think, is what Joe Biden was getting at there. Even his legislative agenda passing couldn't have overcome that surge in support.
BROWN: By the way, Kirsten Powers, author of "Saving Grace," I want to ask you because he was asked twice by Kristen Welker whether she should take responsibility for the loss in Virginia, and he didn't exactly. He talked about his agenda and that maybe if it passed it could have helped. Do you think he should take responsibility?
KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I don't think. There's no way to really know. It's not knowable whether that would have necessarily made a difference. If you look at the race that was run, that it was a legitimate outsider candidate running against a very insider candidate, and we are very much in an environment where people don't like insiders, and they tend to like outsiders. It's somebody who ran -- the Republican ran a very good campaign in terms of being able to appeal to suburban voters but also appeal to the Trump voters.
I think that Terry McAuliffe, obviously, really made a huge mistake when he said what he said about, you know, whether parents should have a say about what happens in schools. You can debate what he meant and whether that was okay but the point is, it's just a deadly sound bite for parents.
So there were a lot of things going on in that race that also aren't going to be that easy to replicate for a lot of other people as much as a lot of people are feeling that, oh, every other Republican is going to do this. Well, they can try to do it, but a lot of them are on the record like bear-hugging Trump, right?
So, in this case, it was a slightly different situation.
BROWN: What do you think? Is this a one off or --
JENNINGS: Insider/outsider business. It was just a year ago the ultimate insider of all time of American politics, Joe Biden, won the state by ten points. It's quite clear to me that there was a persuasion issue here. We did have some enthusiasm in the Republicans but McAuliffe got 200,000 more than Northam got when he won.
So, obviously, some Democrats turned out too. I think Democrats like Joe Biden are going to have to wrestle with this. Some who went to the polls and voted for him last year turned and voted for Youngkin. And I've heard Democrats say today, oh, it was all enthusiasm. If they'd only passed these bills, more Democrats would have turned out. Democrats did turn out. If that's their attitude, they're whistling Dixie past the graveyard.
Some women mad about their schools being closed, the mandates and treated like common criminals if they go to a school board meeting were mad about it and they voted and sent a message.
BROWN: Let's talk about that. Democrats have this big problem brewing in the suburbs. Youngkin won 53 percent of suburban voters to McAuliffe's 47 percent. This flipped from November 2020 when Biden carried suburban voters by eight points. So the question is, how do Democrats woo those voters back?
ZOLAN KANNO-YOUNGS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, for one, the outcome from last night and we're still watching other races now, but just talking to different Democratic strategists and even officials in the White House. One thing it does expose is the limitation of putting Trump on the ballot, right? If you are the Democrats here and if you're President Biden, when you go to campaign for McAuliffe, focusing on speaking about the, you know, your predecessor as opposed to speaking about your own agenda, it shows the limitations and how that can galvanize your base.
Speaking to a White House official today about the strategy going forward in terms of trying to galvanize and build support among these different groups, you can actually pick a comment from the president. He quickly turned from talking about how maybe it would not have built enough support even if his agenda passed to quickly turning to the progress made on negotiating prescription drug prices as well and touting those efforts that have been made. Speaking to an official in the White House today they've said that, look, that's a strategy going forward, that we're going to try to do one of those bipartisan issues that can appeal to people from various demographics. So you may see that as well going forward.
BROWN: But I'm just curious, because I mean I have a hard time keeping up with what's in, what's out. And I just wonder if that whiplash, the every day, the changes. I mean, just today, Pelosi said the paid leave is back in the bill. Just that back-and-forth whiplash is hurting Democrats.
POWERS: But if you listen to what Scott just said, people are upset about schools and all these other things. What does that have to do with what the Democrats are doing in congress? I just don't think that that is -- I think people were much more upset about what Terry McAuliffe said about parents than they were about negotiations in D.C. over a package that I'm sorry it takes time to actually negotiate something. So would it, in a perfect world, be better if the Democrats had done something yet? Would it necessarily mean that this race would have turned out differently? I don't think so.
And honestly, even if Terry McAuliffe had won, it wouldn't mean that the Democrats aren't in trouble looking down the road in the midterm elections.
LIZZA: I do think Biden being more popular would have helped the Democrats in Virginia.
LIZZA: Biden's popularity according to exit polls was 45 percent, right? That's 54 percent disapproval, his job rating. Donald Trump, the question was asked a little differently. His favorability rating. Essentially the same. A little bit lower, 42 percent favorability. But a 54 unfavorability. So Biden and Trump were about as unpopular in Virginia, right?
POWERS: Right. But what are -- but the point is, what are they unpopular about? Is it about negotiating or about the country is a disaster because of the coronavirus and businesses have closed and kids can't go to school and these others things. Or is it about the fact that Democrats can't have -- haven't reached a deal yet.
LIZZA: I think it's about a mismatch between what Biden is focused on in Washington and what you're talking about in this reconciliation bill which is complicated and has long-term priorities in it and what people who voted yesterday were thinking about as they went to polls, which is inflation, education --
LIZZA: -- economy.
POWERS: It's not about -- it's not about Democrats arguing over a bill. I just don't think that that --
BROWN: If you take a step back, what it does, I think, do is try to spotlight the results, shine a spotlight on progressives and whether they represent the majority of Americans because you have what happened in Virginia. You have this close race. And New Jersey that's a surprise and where the governor -- the incumbent Governor Phil Murphy ran on his opponent saying he's against mask mandates and vaccine mandates, and then in Minneapolis voters rejecting an aggressive bid to overhaul policing there.
POWERS: Yeah, which was never the position of the national Democratic Party, right? So it's not --
BROWN: But many progressives.
POWERS: Progressive activists but not progressives in congress. And so if we think about what's happening right now in Congress and the fighting that's going on, this is actually not a fight between progressives and centrists.
You have most Democrats supporting the president's agenda -- 48 of them supporting it.
Two people not supporting it, Sinema is starting to come around on the prescription drug stuff. And their opposition is not opposition to anything that is progressive. They're mainstream --
KANNO-YOUNGS: It's opposition to the price tag.
POWERS: No, Sinema's complaint has been she doesn't want to lower --
JENNINGS: But Manchin has been maybe we've spent too much.
POWERS: In his case that's true. Are you telling me all those 48 senators are having overly progressive positions? What's in that bill is mainstream. It is not -- it is Joe Biden's agenda and Joe Biden by no measure is considered like some far left person.
JENNINGS: He didn't run as one, but --
POWERS: And what's being opposed is -- and frankly, you know the main thing Manchin has been opposing has really been more about clean energy because of coal.
I mean, and what Sinema has been opposing has not been based on opposing it because it's too progressive. She's opposing things that everyone in her state supports. She's opposing lowering prescription drug prices which she's coming around on. She's opposing raising taxes on wealthy people. These are not -- these are mainstream issues.
BROWN: Quick final thought, Scott --
JENNINGS: I think that Joe Biden was very unpopular in Virginia. The New Jersey race if you want to look for was this a referendum on how well Biden is doing? No one was paying attention in New Jersey. The reason for Democrats to be in a dead heat there.
People went to the polls and sent a message. You can't change Washington by changing the governor of New Jersey but this country, this state, this party is off the rails. There's a leadership vacuum in the Democratic Party. And we found out how deadly that can be in elections last night.
BROWN: All right. Thank you all so much for that.
We have a lot to discuss. And we're going to go to Congressman Pocan who I believe is standing by ready to talk to us. He's a member of the Progressive Caucus and he's on the appropriations committee.
Nice to see you, Congressman.
You were just in a meeting with Speaker Pelosi and Democrats about the president's agenda. What was her message?
REP. MARK POCAN (D-WI): I think we want to get this done. We've been negotiating as you know for a number of weeks. We're down to just a few issues. But what we want to do is pass these two bills that Build Back Better agenda of the president's.
And that's what the American people are going to benefit from. Forty million American families get a tax cut, lowering costs from everything from child care to prescription drugs, creating jobs, many of which tackle climate change. $550 billion towards affecting climate change.
And it's paid for as you were all just talking about, largely by the wealthy and corporations that have not paid taxes for a long time.
So it's a popular agenda that the American people will actually benefit from. That's what we need to deliver. And she just wanted to make sure that we're able to get it done.
BROWN: You said they're down to just a few issues. If you could, just help us understand what that is, what she said and what the timeline is right now.
POCAN: Yeah, timeline isn't exactly clear other than rules is going to be meeting now to start a hearing. It could be a vote as early as tomorrow. So that's something we're looking forward, depending on how long rules goes.
But we know that as the people that you just had on the panel were talking about, this isn't a fight within the Democratic Party. I mean, 48 senators and over 200 members of the house are ready to go on this. A couple of senators we've been trying to get forward on a couple of issues.
And when we get this done and we will get this done, this will be a really big transformative change for many American families. When I look at what we're doing, it's probably as big as anything Congress has done since the '40s or '50s.
BROWN: Well, I've got to push back a little bit because progressives have been holding up the infrastructure bill in all of this during these talks. They want the two tracks. And you've heard Democrats pinning some of the blame on progressives for doing that.
Senator Mark Warner comes to mind. He was pretty blunt in pinning the blame on progressives. Let's listen to what he told our Manu Raju.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MARK WARNER (D-VA): Only in Washington could people think that it is a smart strategy to take a once in a generation infrastructure and prevent your president from signing that bill into law. And that's somehow a good strategy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: Congressman, he's talking about your caucus, progressives holding out voting for the infrastructure bill to make sure the Build Back Better bill is going to pass in the senate. In hindsight was that strategy a mistake?
POCAN: Since we had that strategy, we now have a prescription drug benefit that's going to be in the bill. Since that strategy, we now have family and medical leave in that bill, as well as many other things.
So, yeah, it was a damn good strategy because we've got more benefits for the American people and I think we're ready to vote on this because now this has enough that people will really see the benefit for their family and it's about time that real people got some benefits from their federal government.
BROWN: But what about -- do you think that the loss in Virginia, the fact that it was a tight governor's race in New Jersey, had anything to do with Democrats not actually passing that infrastructure bill? It was passed in August in the Senate. It was bipartisan. It could create jobs for investment.
How is that a good strategy to keep that hanging in the balance?
POCAN: Yeah, so my former colleague from Wisconsin, a Republican, Reed Ribble tweeted that Youngkin won because he had a better campaign, a better candidate and distanced himself from Donald Trump. So, if that's coming from Republican members of congress, I think that says a lot more than a bunch of people on Capitol Hill who like to pontificate about what happened.
Here's someone who actually understands the Republican Party telling you why that person was elected.
The good news is we had a record number of Democrats come out as well. It's just a high turnout election. But the good news is when we get this bill done, when people see they can pay no more than 7 percent of their income for child care, when they are getting a tax cut through the child tax credit for years going forward, that we're finally addressing climate change, those are all things that you haven't had a Congress do in a long time and we're going to deliver more than you've seen in decades.
BROWN: Do you think the recent election results showed that progressives are out of touch with what a majority of Americans want?
POCAN: I think I just said, just since last week what we did, people support family medical leave. That wouldn't have happened had it not been for progressives. People support reduced prescription drug prices. We just got that in because of what progressives did.
So, I think there's a lot of Washington rhetoric because there's a lot of special interest in this town who like to tell people what to think. The bottom line is when people have family and medical leave and pay less for prescription drugs, we now know where it came from.
BROWN: To be clear, you don't believe that progressives, Democrats are out of touch with what a majority of Americans want. With voters on the ground and what they want and care about the most?
POCAN: Yeah, those two issues I just mentioned are wildly popular.
BROWN: But the infrastructure bill could have -- some of the pain they are feeling like pain at the pump, the grocery store and so forth, jobs, the infrastructure bill could have addressed that.
POCAN: Actually build back better addresses it more. And in fact we've got 17 Nobel-winning economists who have said that when we pass both of these bills you'll actually have deflation -- not deflation, but you won't have the deflationary aspects we're having right now.
So, the good news is these bills will have that impact we're looking for. Right now, we'll face -- I'm a small business owner for 34 years. You know, we've got supply shortages. We've got all sorts of things because the whole world is coming out of COVID right now. And that's bringing some prices up.
And no question, that impacted how people looked at the election. But that isn't the impact of what we're doing. We're going to actually fix the economy and help American people at the same time, and inflation will not be negatively impacted by what we're doing. So I think we're going to -- if we have this conversation six months
to nine months from now, you're going to see exactly what I was saying. It's exactly what the Nobel economists also predicted.
BROWN: We'll be checking back in then.
I want to look ahead to the midterms. What lessons can be learned from the Virginia race? What should Democrats take away from this? Youngkin did flip the script when it came to education and parents' rights but cultural issues also played a major role in the election.
How do Democrats need to approach cultural issues?
POCAN: I think, first of all, the most important thing is people want us to deliver. I sat through and watched a focus group about six months ago and it was people who don't always vote, but when they, do they vote Democratic. And their number one thing is they wanted Democrats with majorities to get something done. We're about to do that with the two bills.
BROWN: But you didn't get it done before the Virginia race because progressives were holding up the infrastructure bill.
POCAN: Reporters -- I'm a journalism major. The only people who ask me when we're going to pass a bill are reporters. Back home what people is what is in the bill?
BROWN: But could the infrastructure bill could have actually -- it was passed in August.
BROWN: It's been four months. So that could have actually created -- you could have -- Democrats could have said they passed something. They had a win.
And you're saying that's what voters want. They want to see that Congress is working, that things are passing.
POCAN: None of those jobs would have been created yet. You guys are all an anxious sort.
BROWN: But you're saying you can run on a message of --
POCAN: If you let me finish, I'll be glad to.
BROWN: Go ahead.
POCAN: It's a lot easier if I'm allowed to talk.
BROWN: I've been giving you plenty of time to talk. Go ahead, Congressman.
POCAN: What I'm saying is when you have these two bills done, people will see what we've all delivered. The child care, the fact you're not paying more than 7 percent of your child care will save families $5,000 or $10,000 each, a single child in health care. The fact they're paying less for prescription drugs. The fact that we're finally addressing climate change and creating jobs to actually address that, that's what people will really see.
But you needed to get both bills done to get that done. And as I mentioned, just in the last week since we didn't vote on the infrastructure bill, we now have paid family medical leave for four weeks in the bill and a prescription drug benefit, and people will feel that.
BROWN: But you know the Senate is -- I mean, Joe Manchin has already said he is not go for that and you know that, right?
I mean, do you think it's going to pass through the Senate with four weeks of paid family leave?
POCAN: I think that what Nancy Pelosi was basically saying is we also have a say. Joe Manchin doesn't get to be the president. The president is the president. And the House of Representatives, Nancy, number three in line, she thinks it's extremely important, as I do, we have family medical leave. We now have that in a bill that we're going to put forward.
I think on the prescription drug benefit, Senator Sinema seems to be on board. If Joe Manchin wants to go back to west Virginia and explain why people aren't paying less for prescription drugs. I don't think he'll do that at the end of the day. I think it will work out.
So, I'm a little closer to these conversations. I feel like things are in a good place. I've got some assurances from talking to the president over the last several weeks. I am more optimistic I guess than you are.
BROWN: I'm not taking a stand one way or the other. I've just been covering this for many, many months now.
BROWN: I've been hearing a lot of the optimism from Democrats for the last four months and so that is why, you know, I continue to press with those questions.
POCAN: We call this the storm before the calm. And you're going to have this passed very soon. And then we'll be talking about, hopefully we'll spend as much time on the process as we do on the product, what's in the bill.
BROWN: Democratic Congressman Mark Pocan, we have been covering what's in the bill every step of the way. Thank you so much for coming on the show. We appreciate it.
POCAN: Sure. Thank you.
BROWN: Well, one Democrat with success last night, the next mayor of New York City. How he got there, next.
BROWN: In our politics lead, he is the second black man in history to lead the nation's largest city. Retired Police Captain Eric Adams is the next mayor of New York City.
Adams promising on CNN earlier today that he will get things done, but in his own way.
CNN's Gloria Borger recently spent time with Adams in Queens, New York, where he says it all started.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): For Eric Adams, it's been a long and deliberate trek from his childhood home in blue collar Queens to Gracie Mansion.
ERIC ADAMS (D), NEW YORK CITY MAYOR-ELECT: Right here was Ms. Brown. I used to her papers and errands.
BORGER: Not anymore.
How long have you wanted to be mayor? Is this the job you always dreamed of?
ADAMS: Not always dreamed of, but it happened 24 years ago.
BORGER: When a mentor gave him advice about climbing the political ladder, he took it.
ADAMS: He said if you want to be mayor, here are four things you need to do.
BORGER: So he got a masters degree and joined the police department, became a state senator. Then Brooklyn borough president.
ADAMS: So I'm on cue exactly where I'm supposed to be.
I'm the mayor.
BORGER: What exactly happens next is anyone's guess.
ADAMS: I'm evolving as a man, evolving as a dad. I'm going to evolve if I'm the mayor of the city of New York.
BORGER: All guided by a personal anthem.
BORGER: Frank Sinatra's "My Way."
ADAMS: It is just Eric Adams all the way, you know? I'm sure you knew that I bit off more than I can chew.
BORGER: And you played a lot?
ADAMS: All the time. Every day. Whenever I'm feeling as though I hit an obstacle, I throw on "My Way."
BORGER: His way has always been unconventional.
ADAMS: This is not a fashion trend.
BORGER: Taking on saggy pants in 2010, or teaching parents where to search for their kids' drugs.
ADAMS: Could be just a baby doll, but also could be a place you could hide drugs.
BORGER: Adams has never shied away from the spotlight.
ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I remember working on a story in Brooklyn. He was a state senator and in the trunk of his car was a podium so he could hold a press conference any time at any place that looked somewhat official.
BORGER: The Eric Adams story begins here at precinct 103 in Jamaica, Queens. In 1975, he says he and his brother were arrested for criminal trespass into the home of a go-go dancer.
ADAMS: They took us downstairs to the lower level and they kicked us repeatedly in our groin.
BORGER: The incident stayed with him and Adams later joined the police department on a mission to reform it.
ADAMS: Questions must be answered.
BORGER: Focusing on racial discrimination.
At age 61, Adams' belief in the power of his own life story --
ADAMS: I am you.
BORGER: -- became his campaign's main message.
ADAMS: I wanted to be felt. I wanted to tell New Yorkers different parts of my life, what it was like to be arrested. What it was like to live on the verge of homelessness. The people you represent was me.
So I wanted to really show them that their fears are my fears, and their worries are my worries.
BORGER: But how does this personal history, no matter how compelling, translate into governing?
People are worried about crime in the streets. They're worried that real estate is out of control. There's not enough low-income housing in the city. You name it. So what's your plan of action?
ADAMS: Foundation is safety. We can talk about all the other pieces, but we have to be safe. If we're not safe, tourism is not going to return. No business is going to stay if their employees can't ride our subway systems to get to their offices.
BORGER: How do you do that?
ADAMS: Well, you start to make sure you hit reset with the police department. You go to the precincts, talk to my offices and let them know, I have your backs. I'm going to be there for you. Darn it, if you don't understand the nobility of public protection, you can't serve in my department.
BORGER: He says reform the police, don't defund them. Reduce homelessness by repurposing empty hotels. Re-imagine school lunches that focus on healthy veggies, as he did, becoming vegan when diagnosed with severe diabetes five years ago.
You have said you're going to be misunderstood.
ADAMS: I'm going to be a broccoli mayor. Not going to like it when you eat it, but long term, you're going to see the benefits of it.
LOUIS: Only by New York City standards could you call Eric Adams a centrist or a moderate. It might be more accurate to say that he's a realist.
BORGER: He seems allergic to the activist left in his party presenting himself as pro-business and pro-union, helping the poor without driving out the wealthy.
ADAMS: In this city, we have 8.8 million people. Only 65,000 pay 51 percent of our income taxes.
If we lose those 65,000 because they feel unsafe, all because we don't believe that they are part of our ecosystem, you know what happens? We lose funding for our museums. We lose funding for our Broadway.
I'm proud to be a resident Bed-Stuy.
BORGER: Adams faced questions about whether he even lived in the city or in New Jersey.
And over the years, he's been dogged by ethics complaints, which he answers with derision.
ADAMS: I like to always say I'm a lion. And lions don't lose sleep over the opinions of sheeps. BORGER: "The Times" did an investigation that said that your
fundraising efforts pushed the boundaries of campaign finance and ethics laws.
ADAMS: They have their opinion, and I have my opinion. And I'm going to let people know how I feel all the time. No sign of suffering from me.
BORGER: Adams glides easily between New York's boroughs, the wealth of the nearby Hamptons and night life in the city that never sleeps, to the joy of photographers and his opponents.
CURTIS SLIWA (R), CANDIDATE FOR NYC MAYOR: Eric Adams is with the elites in the suites, the TikTok girls, trying to sort of live up to the Kardashian's at Club Zero. Come on, Eric. Come back. Come back to the streets and the subways.
ADAMS: I am the American dream.
BORGER: Back on the street where he grew up as he thinks about running the city. He also thinks of his mom who worried about him as he struggled with undiagnosed dyslexia.
ADAMS: Just always said, I just prayed for you, all of my children, I just prayed the hardest for you.
BORGER: She died earlier this year, leaving behind her well-worn and annotated bible.
ADAMS: It almost became an anchor because there were days we had nothing but prayer. This is the Bible that I'm going to place my hands on when I'm sworn in.
BORGER (on camera): Now Adams becomes mayor after beating a slew of more progressive Democrats in the New York primary. And given the disappointments for Democrats last night, Adams' playbook could really become the template for a party searching for success in 2022.
BROWN: It could be a clue, right?
BORGER: Yeah, absolutely.
BROWN: Being law and order candidate. Beat out the progressives there in New York.
So, great interview. Gloria, thank you.
BROWN: More claims of an unsafe set on the movie "Rust" as the armorer's attorney suggests the bullet may have been an attempt at sabotage by disgruntled crew.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [16:56:52]
BROWN: In our pop lead, could it be a case of film set sabotage? That's the new suggestion from lawyers for the "Rust" armorer who was charged with loading the weapon used by Alec Baldwin in that deadly shooting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JASON BOWLES, ATTORNEY FOR "RUST" ARMORER: There was a box of dummy rounds, and the box is labeled dummy. Hannah did take from that box, which she, by all accounts, should have been able to rely on. We're assuming somebody put the live round in that box which, if you think about that, the person who put the live round in the box of dummy rounds had to have the purpose of sabotaging the set.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: Let's get straight to CNN's Josh Campbell.
So, Josh, let's talk about that. So this armorer was in charge of, you know, loading the guns and so forth. Sabotage is quite a strong allegation. Have they provided any proof?
JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: No. None. No proof.
And the lawyer for the armorer there saying again something that is explosive. This claim that perhaps someone sabotaged either the firearm or placed live ammunition in the box of ammunition that was to be used, the so-called dummy rounds.
Now, Savannah Guthrie pressed the lawyer and asked if this is your operating theory, sabotage? The lawyer said this is one of the theories they're working on. Of course, we're still waiting for the FBI to complete his analysis which will give us more on the situation.
BROWN: And today, we're also hearing from the former head of the "Rust" camera department who actually resigned one day before the deadly shooting.
CAMPBELL: That's right. This is the latest person that we're hearing from, who says that he had concerns. He described safety on the set as a massive issue. Take a listen to his comments.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LANE LUPER, FORMER FIRST CAMERA ASSISTANT, "RUST": I think with "Rust" it was a perfect storm of, you know, the armorer, the assistant director, the culture on set. The rushing. It was -- it was everything. And the film industry we have things called safety bulletins that are an owner's manual for how to run a safe set. And they were ignored.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMPBELL: Now, the production company has said they received no formal complaints. They take safety seriously. They're conducting their own investigation.
But all of these complaints we're hearing about, Pamela, that there were employees on the set that felt unsafe, the reason those are so important is because I heard from the sheriff, the district attorney who told us they're not conducting this investigation in a vacuum. They will be looking backwards to see if there's a pattern here. Anything that could have contributed or even prevented to stop this tragedy from occurring on that set in Santa Fe -- Pamela.
BROWN: All right. Josh Campbell, live from Los Angeles, thanks so much, Josh.
And be sure to join our Jake Tapper Friday night at 9:00 p.m. for a CNN special report "Trumping Democracy: An American Coup", as he interviews key Republicans on the nation's brush with the end of democracy and Trump's 2024 plans.
I'm Pamela Brown, in for Jake Tapper. You can follow me on Twitter @PamelaBrown or tweet the show @TheLeadCNN.
Our coverage continues now with Wolf Blitzer and "THE SITUATION ROOM."
Have a great rest of the day.