Return to Transcripts main page

CNN News Central

Biden Team Plots New Strategy to Combat Post-Debate Crisis; Hurricane Beryl Makes Landfall in Mexico; Any Moment, New U.K. Prime Minister Keir Starmer Speaks. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired July 05, 2024 - 07:00   ET



FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: The Biden team plotting a new strategy today as the pressure builds on the president to step aside after that dismal debate. A new aggressive travel schedule and a high- stakes one-on-one interview as the campaign tries to navigate this make or break moment.

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: A shark terrifying swimmers at a Texas beach on the 4th of July, how officials plan to keep each goers safe over the holiday weekend.

Plus, a political earthquake overnight in the UK, a Labour Party landslide ends 14 years of conservative rule ushering in a new era of British politics.

I'm Erica Hill with Frederica Whitfield. Sarah, John, and Kate are out today. This is CNN News Central.

WHITFIELD: This morning the Biden campaign team is putting its foot on the gas to convince voters the commander-in-chief is still up to the task, as his team desperately tries to recover from that now infamous debate performance and end talk of the president stepping aside. A brand new memo released by the White House lays out an aggressive July schedule for Biden starting today in the key battleground state of Wisconsin. And tonight, Biden faces a pivotal moment that could make or break his campaign. The president will sit down for his first television interview since the debate with ABC's George Stephanopoulos.

While Biden tries to save his campaign, Donald Trump is ranting on social media, railing against Biden and Stephanopoulos. Trump is also calling for a second debate against Biden to be, quote, no holds barred.

CNN's Priscilla Alvarez is live for us at the White House with the very latest. Good to see you, Priscilla. All right, so what's the latest? What's the strategy? How are they going to put things forward?

PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, this is absolutely a make or break moment for President Biden. Of course, after that debate, campaign officials and White House officials have tried to reassure allies by saying they will see the president more. They will see that vigor and aggressiveness that they talk about or describe the president as being behind closed doors. And, of course, over the last week, we have heard from allies who said they do want to see the president get out on the campaign trail and have these unscripted moments.

So, in a new campaign memo, they're laying out exactly that. In the month of July, a couple things, the president, the vice president, the first lady, and the second gentleman are all going to visit -- are all together going to visit every battleground state. The president is also going to deliver remarks at two conferences in Nevada, focused specifically on Latino and black voters.

He's also, according to this memo, going to engage in more off-the- cuff moments and interviews, and they're going to launch a $50 million paid media blitz. Now, of course, we did see the president yesterday at the July 4th celebration here at the White House, and when he was talking to military families, someone shouted, we need you. And this was his response to that.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: You got me, man. I'm not going anywhere. All right.


ALVAREZ: So, the president here trying to make clear that he is in it to win it, that he is staying in the race. But there are still a lot of questions, particularly over how the next few days unfold. Of course, tonight there is that primetime interview with ABC, an opportunity again for advisers to show, for the president to show that, that energetic self that comes out during some rallies is not just a fluke, that that is who the president is and that he is a viable candidate going into November. He's also going to visit today the battleground state of Wisconsin, and later over the course of the weekend going to Pennsylvania.

So, the campaign is trying to chart a new course here. They want to show again that the president is the candidate and the nominee for the Democrats come November, but they haven't calmed all nerves yet. Allies are still very much scrutinizing, very much watching what happens over the next few days. The president himself has acknowledged to a key ally that the next few days are crucial. So, we clearly are very much at a critical juncture here, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, indeed. Priscilla Alvarez with the White House, thank you so much. Erica?

HILL: Well, as President Biden works to convince voters and his own party, he is still the man for the job. Some Democrats are already looking ahead to a world where Kamala Harris sits atop the ticket. The vice president made a last minute schedule change to appear with the president for the Fourth festivities last night.


It's the first time she's attended that event with President Biden, stoking more questions about her future and also about who could serve as her V.P. if there is in fact a change on the ticket.

CNN's Isaac Dovere has some of this brand new reporting for us. So, what is the thinking, and, frankly, what is the planning this morning, Isaac?

EDWARD-ISAAC DOVERE, CNN SENIOR REPORTER: Good morning, Erica. Look, Joe Biden often says, don't compare me to the almighty, compare me to the alternative. His problem at this moment is that a lot of people are looking at Kamala Harris and doing just that. A lot of top Democrats saying that it is not up to speed what Joe Biden has been doing over the course of last week to salvage his campaign and that they are ready to move on, that they need to move on.

They are already starting to talk about things like how Kamala Harris would run this campaign, who her running mate would be, what it would look like. And, of course, Harris has had a lot of problems over the years, a lot of people doubting her. Even some of the people who have said a lot of bad things about her over the years saying to me now that they feel like they are ready to move to her, that she is a better option than Joe Biden. We'll see what it does for Joe Biden over the course of the next couple days with this interview and campaigning and whether it changes some minds.

HILL: I think there has been a lot made of the confusing messaging, the catch up that we're seeing from the White House. Yesterday, we learned CNN has the reporting that in that meeting with governors, a number of sources said that the president talked about needing to work a little bit less, not schedule events after 8:00 P.M., so he wasn't so tired.

I found it interesting that just a short time later, the White House then put out this more aggressive travel schedule. There still seems to be some real communication issues here.

DOVERE: Well, look, the president was meeting with those governors who came to the White House to hear from him how he felt like he was up to campaigning. And he said to them, I know that I need to change things up, one of the things we're going to start doing is no events after 8:00 P.M., I've got to start sleeping more. That was not, for a number of the governors in the room, the kind of message that put their minds at ease.

So, we will see what he can do again in this interview in the travel to Wisconsin today and more travel in the upcoming days, whether he makes them feel like he is up to the campaign. But what I've been hearing from people, even people who are close allies of Joe Biden, who stood by him for years, and want to stand by him now, is that they are skeptical of whether he's up to it. And they are saying to him and people close to him that they need to see something different out of him.

And if they don't see it, then I think you will see over the course of the next few days into next week a continuing shift away from him. If they do, then he may be able to turn this around.

HILL: All right. I appreciate the reporting as always. Thank you. Fred?

WHITFIELD: All right. People in the resort town of Tulum, Mexico, being told to take shelter this morning as Hurricane Beryl nears landfall. The storm's latest track and when it's expected to hit the U.S.

And screams of shark heard across a crowded Texas beach on the July 4th holiday. Officials blaming a single shark for injuring at least three people.

And out of control fireworks shooting right into crowds at a football stadium and injuring several people.



WHITFIELD: All right. Right now, Hurricane Beryl has just made landfall in Mexico after hammering the Cayman Islands yesterday. The storm weakened slightly to Category 2 earlier this morning, and it is expected to unload damaging winds and torrential rain over most of the Yucatan Peninsula.

The confirmed death toll in the Caribbean now stands at nine after a second fatality was reported in Jamaica.

Meteorologist Elisa Raffa is joining us now with more on where the storm is going and what its potential still is.

ELISA RAFFA, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, I mean, we're watching it make landfall right now, the center of the storm near Tulum, Mexico, with 110 mile-per-hour winds. It re-intensified overnight. You could see how symmetrical it was in the water, starting to lose a little bit of its shape as it gets on land, but still expecting dangerous storm surge of four to six feet in the area. When we're talking about rain, we're talking about four to six inches of rain across the Yucatan Peninsula, could find some totals up to 10 inches, which would cause some flash flooding.

After this, by tonight, we're looking at it getting back into the Gulf of Mexico here, where it could re-intensify? We do have some very warm waters here, warm for this time of year. So, it could get its act together a little bit more before it looks at another landfall somewhere in Northern Mexico or even South Texas.

We're finding this dome of heat and humidity, this area of high pressure, continuing to weaken some and move out of the way. So, that's allowing barrel to kind of make this turn to the north and start impacting Texas later on this weekend. We're talking about Sunday. We could even start to see some impacts. We could have some watches issued later on today.

So, there's that track you can see possibly another hurricane landfall as it gets into Texas. Either way, rip currents the entire holiday weekend. Fred? WHITFIELD: All right. And, Elisa, an extremely dangerous heat wave is intensifying on the West Coast. Here we go again. How long is this going to go on?

RAFFA: This is the problem, Fred, as a lot of these warnings last well into next week. I'm talking some of them even go until Thursday, because this is going to be an incredibly long duration event with temperatures well over 100 for a lot of these places.


Most of California under these warnings, parts of Nevada there, even going up into the Pacific Northwest, a place like Portland and Seattle that really don't have too much air conditioning.

Temperatures up near 120 degrees in Palm Springs. You could see multiple days straight going into next week, Bakersfield as well, Fresno with temperatures of around 111 going into Monday. Las Vegas could hit their all-time hottest temperature ever recorded at 117 and we're forecast to break that by Sunday. So, just incredible, we're looking at more than 500 records falling, a lot of them up and down the West Coast, both daytime highs and overnight lows because we just don't get this relief at night at all.

And like I said, the heat extends up towards Seattle. We're talking about triple-digit temperatures in Medford, Oregon, a lot of their old time records in jeopardy as well. So, just really thinking of those people, especially without that relief at night. Fred?

WHITFIELD: Sure. All right, Elisa Raffa, thank you so much. Erica?

HILL: In Texas, at least four shark incidents have beachgoers on edge and wildlife officials say they believe each incident was actually related to the same shark. All of this happening in the waters off South Padre Island yesterday. Authorities say two people were bitten, a third person was injured, though not bitten, and a fourth person felt a shark brush against them.

Meantime, in Florida, a shark bit a man on the foot, this happening in knee deep water, according to CNN-affiliate WKMG. That man was taken to the hospital and treated for non-life threatening injuries.

CNN's Rosa Flores is in Houston this morning with more. So, Rosa, specifically, these incidents in Texas, what more do you know?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, we're learning more about the intense moments when these beachgoers were very afraid of the shark, and law enforcement and first responders were trying to save lives. Let me start with the heroic acts by the U.S. Border Patrol, and we have some pictures that you can take a look at.

This is according to the CBP official, they say that two off-duty Border Patrol agents from the elite Border Star unit. Now, these men and women do this for a living, and they just happen to be at the right time at the right place. They ran into the water, according to this official, pulled the victim out of the water, and immediately started rendering medical aid.

Now, that included a tourniquet, and if you know anything about first response, if an individual needs a tourniquet, they could bleed out in a matter of minutes. Well, we don't know of any fatalities, and we don't know specifically the condition of this individual, but we do know that the life saving measures by these off-duty agents probably saved this person's life.

Now, the response was not just by land. It was also by air. Take a look at this video. This is from the Texas Department of Public Safety from Lieutenant Chris Olivares. He shared this video with us. The response by air was by a helicopter that was flying very low and also practicing some deterrence maneuvers to try to keep that shark away from shore, away from people and about the people that were there about those beachgoers and their fears related to this shark.

Our CNN Producer Amanda Jackson talked to a mother from Harlingen, Texas, this is in the Rio Grande Valley, two of her daughters were in the water when the shark was there. She says that, all of a sudden, she heard that her daughters were screaming, they ran out of the water, and she started seeing some blood running one of her daughter's legs. That's the 18-year-old that has the gauze around her leg.

The good news is that these were just scrapes. She is okay. But just imagine the scare of this mother who is seeing her daughter scream that there's a shark in the water and that they're running out of the water. Again, she's okay.

Now, there's another incident. CNN-affiliate KRGV also talked to the father-in-law of a man who was also a shark victim. He says that they were swimming in the water and all of a sudden his son-in-law went under. Take a listen.


RAYNER CARDENAS, SON-IN-LAW WAS BITTEN BY A SHARK: I turned around, he wasn't there anymore. I started swimming towards him and then he jumped up out of the water saying, shark, shark, shark. And that's when adrenaline kicked in and I went right after him.


FLORES: Now, Erica, officials say that there were at least four shark encounters, at least two people transported. And they say it's very rare to see sharks in this area. And I can attest to that. I grew up in the Rio Grande Valley. I grew up going to this particular beach. I can tell you that I never saw sharks growing up.

So, this is very notable. And, again, the good news here is that there were no fatalities. Of course, we don't know the conditions of all the individuals who either had an encounter or were bitten by the shark, but, again, officials there in South Padre Island said that nobody has died.

HILL: Yes, really something to talk about, as you noted off the top, somebody be those people being in the right place at the right time. [07:20:01]

Rosa, thank you.

Well, any moment now, the new British prime minister, Keir Starmer, set to speak in London, his party's landslide victory in this election, also leading to a dramatic shift of power in the U.K. for the first time in 14 years.

Plus, a criminal investigation launched after 11 Chinese swimmers who previously failed doping tests are now being allowed to compete in the Paris Olympic Games.


WHITFIELD: Live pictures right now out of London, right outside Buckingham Palace there and inside, we understand, that Britain's new prime minister, Keir Starmer, is meeting with the king right now. It's taking place as Starmer's Labour Party election landslide happened, crushing the Conservative Party, routing many of its top members from their seats in parliament, and ending 14 years of conservative rule.


It's a huge shift in power.

CNN's Nic Robertson is live for us outside 10 Downing Street, the prime minister's residence. And, Nick, the transfer of power happens in a blink, I mean, really fast. We've already seen an exit. Tell us what's happening.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: It's brutal. It happens in a blink. You have one minute, it's Rishi Sunak being prime minister out on the steps here saying that he was sorry, sorry to his party, sorry for letting them down, saying that he heard what everyone had to say. The cheers here are the Downing Street staff in the street. The podium has just been lifted out. They know that means if Sir Keir Starmer is just leaving Buckingham Palace now, then he will be here in about a five minutes time. So, the staff lining up here to welcome him when he arrives.

But Rishi Sunak saying he'd heard the criticism, he'd heard the anger from the country, and he was going to step down.


RISHI SUNAK, FORMER BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: To the country, I would like to say first and foremost, I am sorry. I have given this job my all. But you have sent a clear signal that the government of the United Kingdom must change, and yours is the only judgment that matters. I have heard your anger, your disappointment, and I take responsibility for this loss.


ROBERTSON: So, there he is, the new British Prime Minister, driving down the wide streets, linking Buckingham Palace to Downing Street, which will be his new home, his new office. He's been up, it seems, pretty much all night as the votes came in, 650 seats up for grabs. He needed 326 to get a majority. There are two still being counted. He got 412. The Conservatives got 121, a real trouncing for the Conservatives.

So, this crowd here waiting for Sir Keir Starmer to arrive. Now he has that majority, he can deliver on all the things, it would seem, if he's got the money, and it's not clear that he will have the money when he gets here and check the books that have been left by the Conservative Party, but he wants to improve the economy. He wants to improve the national health care system. He wants to improve crime and justice. He wants to develop a whole new job sector, grow a job sector in the green energy area. There's a lot he wants to achieve.

But the real work is when he gets here. He'll have several meetings. He's expected to appoint all his ministers, we understand, which is quite a rarity. That is the drive he has behind the job, four and a half years he has been waiting for this to enter Downing Street as prime minister. He has reformed his party. He has dragged it from the left to center left. He has vowed to work with whoever is in the White House, whoever becomes president later this year, vowed to work with them. He has a lot in common with President Biden but he has also vowed to work with whoever wins the next U.S. election. Fred?

WHITFIELD: All right. So, Nick, we got to get used to saying Prime Minister Keir Starmer of the Labour Party. But is this the same Labour Party of Tony Blair yesteryear?

ROBERTSON: It's not. I mean, Tony Blair did have a massive victory in 1997. It was absolutely a euphoria. He was a much more stylish, if you will, charismatic type of leader. There was real euphoria at his party's celebrations that night, and there was tonight. But Blair and Starmer are different. Starmer, they call him No Drama Starmer. Don't expect him to be flashy.

WHITFIELD: All right. That's easy to remember, No Drama Starmer. All right, thank you so much, Nic Robertson. I appreciate that.

All right, still ahead. Dr Sanjay Gupta's message to President Biden, it's time to undergo detailed cognitive and neurological testing and share the results.

And a shootout in Yellowstone National Park, what happened as one ranger was injured and the suspect killed.