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Biden Celebrates 81st Birthday Amid Growing Concerns About His Age; NBC Poll: Voters Give Biden Poor Marks On Israel-Hamas War; Funeral, Memorial Plans Announced For Rosalynn Carter; Defense Secretary Reaffirms U.S. Support For Ukraine, New Security Package Announced; World Briefly Surpasses 2-Degree Warming Limit For First Time. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired November 20, 2023 - 13:30   ET





JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I hereby pardon Liberty and Bell.



BIDEN: All right. Congratulations, Birds.


BIDEN: Congratulations.

Look, now let me conclude --


BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: Congrats on being spared. President Biden saving two very lucky birds, Liberty and Bell, from being gobbled up during the annual White House turkey pardon.

The moment kicked off a milestone day for the president. Today is his 81st birthday, which he's marking it with a low-key family celebration.

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN HOST: And Biden's 81st comes as concerns over his age do continue to grow and his new approval rating shows that it is slipping, especially among younger viewers (sic).

CNN political director, David Chalian, joins us now.

David, what are you seeing in the new numbers? Break it down for us.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: It is not new that his age is of concern. We've been seeing that for a few months now in the polling. Most recently if you remember in our CNN New Hampshire poll last week.

Look at this. Among Democratic primary voters, likely Democratic primary voters, we asked, what is your biggest concern about Biden as a presidential candidate? Overwhelmingly, 56 percent, a majority of his own fellow partisans, say his age. Nothing else even close there.

And if you look at a brand-new NBC poll that came out yesterday, you see in the Trump-Biden matchup, a hypothetical matchup here, among voters 18 to 34, 46 percent Trump, 42 percent Biden. That's within the margin of error.

So no clear leader among that group. But the fact that that's even close and within the margin of error is a real problem for Joe Biden since that's a group that overwhelmingly voted for him three years ago.

SANCHEZ: The challenges for the White House aren't just about age. You have the specific new polling out about the White House's handling of the Israel-Hamas war that doesn't paint the White House in a good position, especially with the Democrats.

CHALIAN: Yes. This is why I think it is so important. We say, oh, the president is old, the oldest ever to serve. People are concerned about his ability to do the job so he has a problem with young people.

Well, it is also the Israel-Hamas war that's creating a problem with young people. And as you know, Boris, with his fellow Democrats.

So if you look at the NBC poll, they asked, are Israeli actions, military actions, justified in Gaza against Hamas right now? Among 18 to 34-year-olds, a plurality, 42 percent, say, no, Israel's actions are not justified.

If you look at it by party, you will see a majority of Democrats, if you go to that Democrat line on the bottom, 51 percent of Democrats say no.

Now, Independents, a plurality, 47 percent, say yes, Israeli military actions are justified. Overwhelmingly, two-thirds of Republicans say they're justified.

But this is a political problem for Biden because, obviously, he's aligned himself with saying Israel has the right to defend itself as it sees fit. He's offered lines of caution.

But it's a political problem within his own house. It's Democrats. It's young voters. These are key parts of the folks he needs, where he's a little bit out of step with on this major foreign policy issue.

MARQUARDT: Literally within his own house. We've seen discontent within the administration and the White House as well.

CHALIAN: Yes, there's no doubt.


There's still plenty of time to go before the 2024 election though.

CHALIAN: A ton of time. This is his to-do list of what work he needs to do between now and then.

SANCHEZ: Keep in mind, it's only Thanksgiving.

David Chalian, thank you so much.

MARQUARDT: And new details today on the funeral and memorial services celebrating Rosalynn Carter. They are set for next week.


The former first lady passed away peacefully on Sunday surrounded by family at her home in Plains, Georgia. Rosalynn Carter was 96 years old.

SANCHEZ: Yes. A champion for mental health causes and beloved partner and adviser to her husband. She and former President Jimmy Carter celebrated their 77th wedding anniversary in July.

We want to take you live outside The Carter Center in Atlanta with CNN's Rafael Romo.

Rafael, tributes for the couple, specifically for Rosalynn Carter, continue to pour in.

RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Boris, Alex. Good afternoon to you.

Condolences, words of support from many different parts of the country and world for not only the 39th president of the United States, but also for the entire Carter family.

And, Boris and Alex, many people have been very moved by that very heartfelt and personal message that the president issued shortly after the confirmation of his wife's passing on Sunday afternoon.

Among the things that the president said was that she was his equal partner in everything he ever accomplished. He said also that she always gave him guidance and encouragement.

And that as long as she was in the world, he knew somebody loved and supported him.

Earlier today, I had an opportunity to talk to the CEO of The Carter Center, Paige Alexander, and we spoke specifically about what the president had said about the passing of his wife.

Let's take a listen.


PAIGE ALEXANDER, CEO, THE CARTER CENTER: They knew this day would come and the fact that they wanted to make sure that they honored each other in whatever stage of life they were in. So this was a statement that he wrote and supported. It really indicated a partnership that they had together for 77 years and more.


ROMO: Boris and Alex, you mentioned this before, but this is something that people are talking about because the Carters were the longest- married presidential couple having celebrated their 77th wedding anniversary in July, which speaks volumes about their commitment and loyalty to each other.

The last time that they were seen in public was back in September, only a few days before former President Carter's 99th birthday.

They went to the Peanut Festival in Plains, Georgia, their hometown. Many people were glad to see them together, especially after, as you may remember, back in February, the president was put in hospice care at home.

And so former Presidents Clinton, Bush, Obama, Trump have also praised Rosalynn Carter specifically. They were honoring her exemplary role as champion for people suffering mental illness and also an advocate for women's rights.

As to the plans to honor the life and legacy of former first lady, Rosalynn Carter, next Monday, November 27th, there will be a wreath- laying ceremony here at The Carter Center where people will be able to pay their respects.

Then a couple days later, the funeral service will be held in Plains. And that's going to happen at the Maranatha Baptist Church that was the home church for the presidential couple.

Boris and Alex, back to you.

MARQUARDT: It is such an extraordinary love story between Rosalynn and Jimmy Carter.

Rafael Romo, at The Carter Center in Atlanta, thank you very much.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has made a surprise trip to the Ukrainian capital Kyiv to re-emphasize America's support for Ukraine. The message he brought with him was clear: We are with Ukraine for the long haul. We will be live in Kyiv.

And it's a milestone that scientists have been warning would have catastrophic impacts on planet earth. Well, we briefly just hit it. Stay with us.



MARQUARDT: The secretary of defense, Lloyd Austin, is back in Ukraine on a mission to reaffirm U.S. support for the war-torn country, despite growing U.S. aid and, frankly, attention for Israel's war in Gaza.

SANCHEZ: Yes, Austin arrived in Kyiv this morning for high-level talks. Senior U.S. officials have said funding for Ukraine is quickly running out.

But Austin was there to reassure President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that the U.S. is unwavering in its support. Listen.


GEN. LLOYD AUSTIN, DEFENSE SECRETARY: The message that I bring you today, Mr. President, the United States of America is with you. We will remain with you for the long haul.


SANCHEZ: Let's head to Kyiv with CNN's Anna Coren.

Anna, Secretary Austin just announced a new security assistance package for Ukraine. Tell us about that.

ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Boris, $100 million. It will go towards artillery shells, which are much needed here. There is a real shortage.

So President Zelenskyy very grateful to Lloyd Austin and the U.S. government for delivering that aid. It doesn't come close, though, to what is required.

You know, Ukraine needs weapons. It needs much more ammunition. It needs arms defense, air defense systems, it needs drones. There is a long laundry list of what is required.

But Lloyd Austin coming here today is a shot in the arm, you know, a real boost of confidence for Ukraine, that's felt overshadowed by what has been happening in the Middle East, you know, with the West very much focused on the war on Israel.

So, obviously, Lloyd Austin being here, the timing, you know, couldn't be better.

Let's listen to what the defense secretary had to say.



AUSTIN: I would point out that Ukraine matters. What happens here matters. Not just to Ukraine but to the entire world.

This is about the rules-based international order. This is about not living in a world where a dictator can wake up one day and decide to annex the property of his peaceful neighbor. That's not the world that we want to live in.

So this -- this is more than just Ukraine. This is about, again, the rules-based international order.


COREN: The defense secretary commended the Ukrainians on their grit, their ingenuity, their perseverance and their courage.

He said, you know, when the war began in February of last year, the world didn't think Ukraine would last a week. Well, now they're saying, you know, why hasn't Ukraine defeated Russia, a much bigger country, with much greater capabilities?

He said the mindset has shifted. And what Ukraine is possible -- has the potential to do, it's unlimited. So it needs the support, the long-term support, of the world.

And, obviously, Lloyd Austin arriving here today is a very positive sign.

MARQUARDT: Anna, how is President Zelenskyy explaining the need for more support? We now hear in Washington, having the Biden administration asking Congress to approve $60 billion. That supplemental funding bill is stalled in Congress.

What's President Zelenskyy's message to the Congress and the American population?

COREN: Well, I'm sure that behind-closed-doors there were serious conversations about that funding bill because this is something that Ukraine desperately needs.

And obviously, with support waning, interest waning, President Zelenskyy and Ukrainians, for that matter, are concerned that that aid will not come through.

What Ukraine needs is long-term commitment for all those things I listed beforehand to fight Russia.

At the moment, this is a war of attrition on the eastern and the southern front. The counteroffensive that has taken place over the last four months has not achieved the results, has not delivered the breakthrough that everyone had hoped Ukraine could deliver.

So it is at a stalemate. And we heard from the general here in Ukraine a couple weeks back saying, you know, the Ukrainians need arms and technology that are going to move the needle on the battlefield. At the moment, they do not have that.

President Zelenskyy's appeal to Congress is that if he does not get that $61 billion, then Ukraine could very well not be here. It will not stay in the fight.

You know, from the experts, Boris and Alex, that I've spoken to, if this funding is secured for 2024, Ukraine will be OK.

SANCHEZ: Major gridlock on Capitol Hill having an impact overseas on the battlefield in Ukraine. Anna Coren, thank you so much for that report from Kyiv.

Stay with CNN. We're back in just moments.



MARQUARDT: For the first time ever, the earth's temperature briefly rose above a critical threshold.

SANCHEZ: Yes, it's a threshold that scientists have been warning for decades could have catastrophic and irreversible impacts on the planet and its ecosystems.

CNN chief climate correspondent, Bill Weir, joins us now with a closer look at the data.

Bill, what exactly does this all mean? Put it in context?

BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: Well, on Friday, guys, we hit a level that many scientists have been warning about, didn't think we'd see this soon. Two degrees.

Actually 2.06 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. That was a threshold the Paris Accords tried to keep us at 1.5. But beyond 2 degrees is when we have so many warnings about tipping points, about methane bombs in the Arctic and ice sheet collapses.

There we are. See that red line at the top? All the spaghetti below it are decades, averages going back to the 1940s. Blue lines through the '60s and '70s.

But this year, the last 12 months hottest in the last 125,000 years at least. We've shattered every record imaginable in 2023. And here we are.

Now this doesn't mean we're staying there obviously. But what is interesting about this, this is not a one-day record or even one week. This is an average over decades there. The trend line is unmistakable that the planet is overheating.

MARQUARDT: Such an ominous spike there.

Bill, you mentioned the Paris Climate Accords. What does this mean for how effective, or not, it's been? Does it mean the agreement is not tough enough, that countries aren't doing their part?

WEIR: It's both. We're about to have our -- we're almost 30COPS in and emissions still going up. It went up over 1 percent last year.

For most of human history, fuels that burn were the cheapest option. That's what built the modern world. But right now, the two cheapest forms of energy humanity ever has seen are onshore wind and solar, plus battery storage. So the technology is there. But the Saudi Aramcos of the world, the

Exxon Mobiles of the world showing no inclination of winding down their business models.


So the U.N. looked at just what's in the books, just what's planned to be exploited in coming years, and says we will blow past not just 2 degrees but could hit 2.9 degrees Celsius warming.

That is over five degrees Fahrenheit. And that means much of the planet would be unlivable -- Boris, Alex?

MARQUARDT: Extremely scary warning.

Bill Weir, thank you very much for joining us. Appreciate it.

WEIR: Thanks.

MARQUARDT: Twenty-eight of Gaza's most vulnerable are now out of that war zone. The neonatal babies, many in critical condition, are now getting medical care in Egypt. We'll have more on that just ahead. Stay with us.