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Nikki Haley Calls Vivek Ramaswamy 'Scum' in Debate; White House Says Israel to Begin Daily Four-Hour Humanitarian Pauses in Gaza; Interview With Fran Drescher. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired November 09, 2023 - 11:00   ET



KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: An historic deal in Hollywood. After the longest movie and television strike in SAG-AFTRA's 90-year history, they have struck a deal.

Fran Drescher, the president of SAG, joins us.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: All right, just a few minutes ago, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley addressed the high drama on the presidential debate stage, where she called another candidate scum.

SARA SIDNER, CNN HOST: Plus, as negotiations are ramping up to free hostages held by Hamas in Gaza, more foreign nationals are begging to leave Israel-Hamas war in Gaza.

This morning, we're hearing from a family whose loved ones are stuck at a border crossing.

We're following all these developments and much more. I'm Sara Sidner with Kate Bolduan and John Berman.


BOLDUAN: Collective bargaining works. That's the message this morning from President Biden, his first reaction to the tentative deal struck after the longest actors strike ever against Hollywood studios.

The walkout lasted 118 days. It cost the economy thousands of jobs, billions of dollars, with 160,000 actors essentially forced to hit the pause button on their work on current projects.

Here's more of the statement from President Biden just this morning. He also says: "When both sides come to the table to negotiate in earnest, they can make businesses stronger."

Here's what we know about the deal. Actors have locked in wage increases that have -- haven't been seen in 40 years, streaming compensation to a new level. A.I. is included in this deal, which has never been mentioned before in an actors deal.

Let's talk much more about this. We're joined now by the president of SAG-AFTRA, Fran Drescher, who I'm sure you have slept none because of these long, hard-fought negotiations that have lasted so long. Thank you for joining us.

How are -- how do you feel this morning? And, most importantly, what's the message that you have to your members?

FRAN DRESCHER, PRESIDENT, SAG-AFTRA: Well, how I feel is great relief and happiness that we stood firm, we held our ground, and we got a historic and seminal contract at a point in history where it was necessary.

And what was the other question?

BOLDUAN: Your message to members this morning?

DRESCHER: Oh, you know, I feel like I'm grateful that they hung in. I'm appreciative that they showed the support that they did for our negotiating committee.

All of the staff, everybody worked so hard. Working, riding side by side with Duncan Crabtree-Ireland is just a gift. And it's just we can really celebrate with this contract. I'm already thinking about the things I want to get in the next contract that we didn't get in this contract.

But we broke so much ground. There is so much language in this contract that covers so much new ground that has never been in any other contract before. And that was the point of this negotiation, to break a lot of new ground. And we did.

And, of course, we crossed the billion-dollar mark. And that too is historic. And we passed without objection, and that too is historic.

BOLDUAN: This still needs to be ratified by union members. Any question in your mind? I assume no, since you're looking to the next contract, but any question in your mind that this gets through?

DRESCHER: I don't -- no, not really, no, no.


DRESCHER: Because we have to go to our board. The board has to approve it tomorrow morning.


And then, from there, we get the member body to ratify it. And I feel like it's such a good contract. And our lowest-paid members who are in background, they got an unbelievable deal. And our expert from that community said they have never felt so represented, never seen -- he's been in seven contract negotiations, never seen his community fought so hard for.

And they got an incredible deal. It's not over. It's never over with contract negotiations.


DRESCHER: But it is historic.

And we got so much, so much important stuff, and improvements financially in so many different places, that I feel like we all on our negotiating committee slept much better last night than we have in months, because we have all felt the weight of responsibility of this strike, and needed a whole lot of fortitude to see it all the way to the point where we said, we can close it now.

BOLDUAN: Let me ask you about the road -- the road ahead.

DRESCHER: Because the most important thing...


BOLDUAN: Let me ask you about the road ahead, because, during these -- this strike and negotiations, I heard you call the studios tone- deaf, greedy, out of touch, and calling kind of the way they were operating at one point as disgusting.

The alliance representing the studios says, after this: "The AMPTP is pleased to have reached a tentative agreement and looks forward to the industry resuming the work of telling great stories."

What's the relationship like going forward? What's -- with the studios, with actors? What do you -- how does that feel? What do you say about that relationship now today?

DRESCHER: I think it's going to be business as usual and zero problem.

You can never take these things personally. As Frederick Douglass said, power concedes nothing without demand. It never has, and it never will. And the demands were made and met. And I'm very grateful that what we felt, what we said ignited a workers movement around the world. It rang like a clear bell tone.

And it landed in the ears of the AMPTP. They heard it, and they met the moment.

BOLDUAN: A.I., I'm really interested in this aspect of the contract included in this deal, which really has never been mentioned before in an actors deal.

Is the required consent aspect of this most important?

DRESCHER: Absolutely.

I mean, there was nothing in the contract that was consent. They didn't have to ask for permission for anything. And now they have to ask for permission for everything. And the last piece was put in place very late in the evening the night before. We -- you know, we passed without objection the motion to accept the contract and end the strike.

BOLDUAN: I have heard media watchers, media reporters, and analysts describe it this way, that the actors union, you all got a lot, and the studios, essentially, got very little, other than the ability to get back to work.

Do you see it that way?

DRESCHER: Well, they certainly got everything that we didn't get.


DRESCHER: You know, the -- it's a negotiation. They're going to win sometimes.

And, sometimes, they just have to accept where history is, and what needs to happen. And they may not have wanted to, because we're the employees. So, what are we going to give?

It's all about really understanding -- besides our art and being the biggest foundational contributors to the whole industry, it's up to them to concede certain things, so that we can feel honored and respected and protected and compensated.


And it's never easy, but, over time, which is always my secret sauce, time and patience, we came to a meeting of the minds. And I think that they were expecting a different kind of leadership. And they were in for a rude awakening.

But once you wake up and smell the coffee, it's hard to go back to sleep. And then we really just had to roll up our sleeves. And they knew that they were facing a different kind of leadership. And they had to lean in. And they did.

BOLDUAN: Well, the secret sauce of time and patience seems to have worked.

Fran Drescher, thank you for coming in.

DRESCHER: Thank you. Thank you so much. I appreciate your support.

BOLDUAN: Thanks -- John.

BERMAN: All right, this just in.

We're getting word, I believe from the White House, that Israel is going to begin four-hour pauses in military operations in Gaza each day.

Let's go to CNN's Jeremy Diamond for the very latest on this from Tel Aviv.

Jeremy, I use that language carefully. What exactly does it mean?


And it is interesting that this is coming from the White House and not from the Israelis at this point. But the White House's National Security Council spokesman John Kirby saying moments ago that Israel will agree to implement four-hour pauses, humanitarian pauses, each day to ensure that humanitarian aid gets through.

And this also seems to be linked to the effort to get civilians from Northern Gaza to be able to head to the south. We have watched, of course, over the last several days as Israel has established these four, sometimes five-hour corridors for civilians to head from Northern Gaza down to the south and not carrying out military activities in that area during that time span.

What isn't clear to me yet, based off of what John Kirby is saying, is whether these four-hour pauses are -- extend to the entirety of the Gaza Strip, if they extend to certain specific areas. That, to me, is not quite clear at this moment, as I'm reading some of this information.

But what is clear is that this is part of a broader effort by the United States to get Israel to pay closer attention to the humanitarian disaster that is unfolding inside of Gaza, to get Israel to pay closer attention to minimizing civilian casualties.

And this is all a part of the kind of drumbeat of international pressure that has certainly been mounting on Israel to heed those warnings more seriously and, of course, pressure that the White House and that the president is facing from some in his own party to pay closer attention to the plight of civilians inside of Gaza.

We have watched, of course, in recent days as the civilian -- as the death toll in Gaza of Palestinians has risen to over 10,000 people, of which 40 percent are children, according to the Hamas-run Palestinian Ministry of Health.

And so we are watching as Israel is now being pressured to implement these humanitarian pauses. We will see also a question, John, of whether or not this is related to those negotiations that are unfolding in Qatar, because we know that there has been a push to have some of these humanitarian pauses in order to allow some of those mediations over the release of hostages to play out in a more significant way.

So, whether all of these things are linked, whether this extends to the entirety of the Gaza Strip, to, me those remains questions here. And we will wait to see what the response is directly from the Israelis and if they confirm these pauses later today.

BERMAN: Again, very good points, all of them, Jeremy. This announcement came from the White House. The White House says that Israel will be an acting for-hour pauses every day in Northern Gaza.

What exactly that means and where is unclear. Also unclear if this is pause is with a capital P, I mean, how much military operations will be halted in this plan, if it exists.

Jeremy Diamond, we will get you -- let you have some time to do some digging on this. We will talk to you again soon.

BERMAN: All right, also, just moments ago, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, she commented on that high drama moment in the debate where she called an opponent scum.

What she now says she might have said otherwise.



BERMAN: All right, just moments ago, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley addressed the extreme tension on a Miami presidential debate stage that happened last night, when she called her opponent Vivek Ramaswamy scum.

This is how she just explained it.


BILL HEMMER, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: We heard you say, "You are scum."

Do you want to continue with that today? Do you feel the same way?

NIKKI HALEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Restraint, that's all I will say. That was showing a lot of restraint.


BERMAN: "That was showing a lot of restraint."

So this is the moment she was referring to. Listen.


VIVEK RAMASWAMY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Do you want Dick Cheney in three-inch heels, in which case we've got two of them on stage tonight?

LESTER HOLT, NBC ANCHOR: All right, Mr. Ramaswamy -- Mr. Ramaswamy, thank you.

HALEY: I'd first like to say they're five-inch heels, and I don't wear them unless you can run in them.


RAMASWAMY: In the last debate, she made fun of me for actually joining TikTok, while her own daughter was actually using the app for a long time.

So, you might want to take care of your family first before preaching to anybody else.

HALEY: Leave my daughter out of your voice.

RAMASWAMY: Adult daughter.


RAMASWAMY: The next generation of Americans are using it. And that's actually the point.


RAMASWAMY: You have her supporters propping her up. That's fine. Here's the truth.

HALEY: You're just scum.

RAMASWAMY: The easy answer...


BERMAN: "You're just scum," she says. And now Nikki Haley says that was showing a lot of restraint.

With me now, CNN political commentator Margaret Hoover and CNN senior political analyst John Avlon.

Margaret, you think that moment was hugely important.

MARGARET HOOVER, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: It was the zinger of the evening. And it wasn't even a planned zinger. I mean, that's why it was an authentic moment where she was actually -- actually just explaining to a neophyte politician the rules of the road in politics.

You don't go after people's families. You don't go after people's children. And Ramaswamy has run into this all over the place. He's a very green pol. And he also came out punching women all throughout the beginning of the debate.

He went after the debate moderator Kristen Welker. He went after McDaniel -- Ronna McDaniel Romney.


HOOVER: And then he goes after Nikki, and in a deeply personal way.

So I think -- we say about power that it doesn't make you into a stronger character, but it reveals your character. And I think, in that moment, you saw Nikki unguarded, but also being exactly who she was, and calling it as she saw it.

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I love you, but I think it's more than just the rules that are out in politics. That's basic human decency.

You don't bring kids -- a person's children into a fight. And if you do you get hard pushback. I think, as parents, we all understand that. And so, when she said, "You get my daughter's name out of your mouth," I think we know exactly what she meant.

Frankly, the scum has been a distraction. It was it was an extra hit. But that shows how fired up she was. You don't mess with people's kids. And it was -- it's not about politics. It's about decency and character.


BERMAN: Politically speaking -- and I know you guys are saying it's not about politics, it's about decency and character -- politically, what does she get from that?

Now, her main opponent here -- actually, if you had to rank her main opponents, Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis are one and two.

AVLON: Correct.

BERMAN: It's not Vivek Ramaswamy. But is it possible she gets something out of this beyond Vivek Ramaswamy?

AVLON: Yes, it shows strength. It shows strength, and strength of character.

And I think, as the only woman on that stage, not only is she really well-positioned, for example, to talk about abortion in a way that is the closest thing to a position that can unite the country and take a note from what happened the election of the previous day, but there's an importance from showing strength in all politics.

One of my favorite rules of politics is from Bill Clinton, which is that people will vote for strong and wrong every time.

HOOVER: I would...

AVLON: And so it's important to show strength, and I think she did.

HOOVER: Are you saying she's wrong?

AVLON: No. I'm saying -- I'm saying that, if people don't project strength, they will go for someone who's strong and wrong.

HOOVER: I -- that is all true.

About the abortion piece, if Republicans want to learn a lesson, finally, on this issue of abortion, in which they continue to get beaten time after time in the polls, they could do nothing better than to have Nikki Haley be the nominee for the party, because if you put a woman who can speak sensibly about this issue in a way that reflects nuance and of varying degrees of perspectives and also the gray around the issue that is a deeply sensitive issue, she would ameliorate this issue.

She would literally be a silver bullet for the Republican Party. So I don't know. The Republicans haven't really been in the business of winning lately. But if they really wanted to win, they would have a woman be the head of the ticket, not to mention that she lines up against Biden in the most favorable match of any of the Republican contests -- candidates in the contest.

BERMAN: Ron DeSantis, what did he do to help or hurt himself?

AVLON: I think, actually, Ron DeSantis had a good debate. And I think he was polished. And he's underperformed in previous

debates. But I still don't -- Gary Tuchman's Iowa focus group showed, I think showed, I think Nikki Haley won the debate. I think DeSantis showed that he was in that top tier. I think Chris Christie showed -- had a really strong debate, although he's having a hard time getting traction with the base.

And I think Vivek Ramaswamy and Tim Scott are fading away. I will say this. Ramaswamy is a good communicator. If you read a transcript of his closing statement, you will think there's something terribly wrong. I mean, we have gotten very used to sort of unhinged statements, good -- delivered charismatically and not calling them out.

But when you're saying, the president of the United States secretly a puppet and raising the specter of a war between American citizens today that the president needs to prosecute against fellow citizens, that's the kind of rhetoric that's seeped into the water level right now.

So I think -- I do think DeSantis has had a pretty good debate. But I do think that Nikki Haley outshone him.

BERMAN: Fifteen-second last word?

HOOVER: I think you're beginning to see the field narrow and winnow in a way that could give way to a different set of outcomes as we move forward.

Republicans learned the lesson that when you have 17 candidates or 16 candidates going into Iowa, if 15 of them divide the non-Trump vote, then Trump is going to get it. But Trump could very well end up not with a majority.

AVLON: And stop tiptoeing around Donald Trump, even last night.

BERMAN: John Avlon, Margaret Hoover, thank you both so much.

HOOVER: Thank you.

BERMAN: It was great.

AVLON: You too, guys.


BOLDUAN: Coming up: Another government shutdown is looming with no deal in sight. As you roll your collective eyes, we will head back to Capitol Hill to get a gut check on this one with only eight days left for them to get their act together.


Plus, same drug, new use, different name, wildly popular, the FDA giving the green light to officially approve of a diabetes drug to be used to treat obesity. We will be back.


BERMAN: This morning, the country is eight days away from a government shutdown if no deal is reached. And we're aware of no signs that a deal is about to be reached.

Joining us now from Capitol Hill, Congressman Greg Murphy, a Republican from North Carolina.