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Biden Downplays Poll Numbers; Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) is Interviewed about Biden; Struggling to Maintain Weight after Weight Loss Drugs; Extreme Heat Continues in the U.S.; Israel Launches New Operation in Gaza City. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired July 08, 2024 - 08:30   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, this morning, as President Biden fights for his political life, one of the things that president and some of his supporters keep on saying is, the polls have always underestimated him. They say the polls showed he was going to lose in 2020. The polls showed that Democrats were going to lose in the midterms in 2022. That didn't exactly happen, so it wouldn't happen this time. Well, how true is that history exactly?

With us now, CNN senior data reporter Harry Enten for something of a history lesson, Harry.

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: Yes, history professor Harry Enten here at your service.

All right, so I just want to point out where the poles are now, where they were at this point back in 2020, and Joe Biden's worst position in the polls back in 2020.

Right now Donald Trump leads in an aggregate of national polls by about three percentage points. If you go back four years ago at this point, Joe Biden was ahead by nine points. This, right now, don't look anything like what we saw four years ago at this point. I then decided to take it a step further. What was Biden's worst 2020 polling position? He was ahead by four points, which basically match what he ended up beating Donald Trump by in the national popular vote. So, this three-point advantage for Donald Trump is Donald Trump's best position versus Joe Biden, whether you include the polls this year or you include the polls last cycle. The idea that the polls underestimated Joe Biden last time around, simply put, does not hold any water, Mr. Berman.

BERMAN: Not in the general election certainly. What about in terms of being underestimated in the Trump era in general?

ENTEN: Yes. So, I decided to expand upon our search. Who outperformed their July national polls? This is major elections during the Trump era. We can start in the midterms, right? Take a look here. This is the 2022 midterm.

BERMAN: Wow. ENTEN: This is the generic congressional ballot. In fact, Republicans were underestimated by a point. They outperformed their July polls in the actual result by a percentage point. You go back to 2018, Democrats did outperform their polls but just by a point. Basically the polls were right on at this particular point in the midterm elections.

We talk about the presidential race. Last time around, Donald Trump actually did better in the results than his July polls by five points. You go back to 2016. You see something very similar. That is the July polls actually underestimated Donald Trump. He outperformed his July polls. So, the idea in the Trump era that the polls have underestimated Democrats, whether it be in a Joe Biden matchup, whether it be a matchup against Hillary Clinton, whether it be in the midterms, at least in the national polling that right now shows Donald Trump in the strongest position, simply put, is not true.


If anything, the polls have underestimated Republicans during the Trump era, especially in the presidential races in 2016 and in 2020.

BERMAN: Well, on that front, I mean how unusual is it for a Republican to be ahead by this much right now?

ENTEN: Yes. So, let's go all the way back. Who lead in early July polls? Well, right now, Donald Trump is ahead. Go back in 2020, a Democrat, Biden. In 2016, Hillary Clinton, a Democrat. 2008, 2012, a Democrat. Even in 2004, where George W. Bush ended up winning, John Kerry was actually ahead in the polls at this point. You have to go all the way back to 2000, to George W. Bush being ahead in the early July polls, you have to go all the way back to the end of the 20th century, beginning of the 21st century, to find a Republican ahead at this. Twenty-four years. At this particular point, the idea that a Democrat is ahead, there are voters in the electric who are dealing with a poll position they have never seen before. And that is a Republican leading in the national popular vote, at least according to the polls.

BERMAN: A very unusual situation.

One thing I just will point out, Biden may be talking about the primaries in 2020 where he did not do well in Iowa and New Hampshire and then he ended up with the nomination, but that's a different animal.

ENTEN: That is -

BERMAN: That is a vastly different animal than at any kind of a general election setting.

ENTEN: Correct. In fact, if you were to look back at the 2020 national Democratic primary polls, they mostly had Biden, except for that little small portion, right -

BERMAN: Right. ENTEN: When he lost Iowa and then lost in New Hampshire and then lost in Nevada. But, overall, those primary polls had him ahead and then he won. And certainly when it came to the general election, the polls always had Joe Biden winning. There wasn't a single poll that met CNN standards for publication that ever had Donald Trump ahead in 2020. And now you have a slew of them. And the average, of course, definitely has Donald Trump ahead.

BERMAN: History ain't what he says it is on this front.

Harry Enten, thank you very much. Appreciate it.

ENTEN: Thank you, my friend.


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, joining us right now is the Democratic senator from Pennsylvania, John Fetterman. He was one of the first and fiercer supporters of President Biden in the wake of the CNN debate.

And what that analysis kind of gets to moving away from the polls, Senator, it gets to the questions and concerns surrounding President Biden still, his ability to continue running when and serve another four years.

You were with the president during his stops in Pennsylvania yesterday. What did you see being with him?

SEN. JOHN FETTERMAN (D-PA): Yes, I actually spent the entire day with the president and he was he - he was perfect. Whether it was in Philadelphia, or whether it was in Harrisburg, at every single stop that we had people were thrilled. I mean people were thirsty to have their picture taken with the president. And he was crisp. And he was engaged. And the Harrisburg event, it was actually in the 90s, and he was - he was crushing. He was just doing fine. It was like a perfect, normal kinds of Joe Biden that I've always seen. And I - he has to be really happy after that day because wherever we went, it was - they were all great events.

BOLDUAN: Did he falter at all? Did your interaction with him bring you any pause?

FETTERMAN: No, not - not at all. Not at all. He was - he was fully engaged, whether in private conversations that I had or publicly or interacting with the public anywhere at the point. He was just regular Joe and that's the - the Joe that I recognize.

BOLDUAN: You have five Democrats who have come out publicly to say they believe that you need a new Democratic nominee in order to run and win. There were calls yesterday, a high level call among House Democrats hosted by the Democratic minority leader, Hakeem Jeffries, to kind of take the temperature. And I want to read you what - some of CNN's reporting from that call which is, "one of the concerns expressed during the nearly two-hour call was that Democrats will lose their chance at the House majority if Biden is the candidate, one of the sources, adding that it was generally acknowledged the nominee should be Vice President Kamala Harris."

One of the people that CNN has learned was expressing that concern is Pennsylvania Democrat Susan Wild. Concern that if Biden stays in, it threatens their chances to win back the majority in the House.

Do you see that concern? What do you say to that?

FETTERMAN: Well, I - well, of course, I'm a big, big fan of Representative Wild, of course, and she's in a difficult race. She always is. She's in a really, really purple districts. So, there's always things in play here.

But I - regardless, I don't agree with any of the things that were said. And I want to see more people, if you really want to say those things, put your name attached to that rather than some kinds of leaking from a private meeting as well.


But it's just a couple emergence of the House. And I believe Joe Biden is actually the right Democrat right now.

And also I'd like to point out that sleepy Joe put Trump to bed in 2020, and I believe he can do this in '24. It's going to be close. Every time Trump's going to be in this ballot, it was going to be true in 2016, I've been saying that, same in '20 and same in '24. And your guest that was before me, he was talking about he was underestimated and things. Yes, he was. And it's going to be close as well. And we were supposed to get wrecked and '22 and we actually went great.

So, I - I'm not a poll denier, but I just don't think that this is the true picture of where we're at right now. And Joe Biden had a great day yesterday and - and that's why I'm going to stand with him.

BOLDUAN: Others - there are other Democrats who are not necessarily saying that Joe Biden should step aside, but that they are still not yet convinced that Biden has done enough to prove that he's still got it.

I want to play for you Senator Chris Murphy, and also Adam Schiff.



SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT): Personally, I love Joe Biden. I don't know that the interview on Friday night did enough to answer those questions. And so, I think this week is going to be absolutely critical. I think the president needs to do more.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): Given Joe Biden incredible record, given Donald Trump's terrible record, he should be mopping the floor with Donald Trump. Joe Biden is running against a criminal. It should not be even close. And there's only one reason it is close, and that's the president's age.


BOLDUAN: One of the things that Chris Murphy is saying is that he believes that this week is a critical one for Joe Biden to prove his doubters wrong. Do you agree that this week is critical kind of to decide what direction this candidacy is going to go?

FETTERMAN: I don't. I don't agree with that because it's Joe's campaign. And his campaign is - now it's going to continue through November. He's going to be our guy. That's our guy. Whether we go to Chicago and whether we go to the end in November, that's our guy.

And I - I have a lot of esteem for my colleague from Connecticut. But I just happen to disagree on that as well, too. And that's why - how - where we're at on that. And at least to his credit, he's willing to put his name to his words on that. But Joe Biden has been a great president, and he's acknowledged that. And I'm not going to chuck him for a rough debate. I know that better than anybody. So, that's where we happen to disagree on that point.

BOLDUAN: One final thing. CNN has also had reporting that Biden told Democratic governors last week that part of his plan going forward is to stop scheduling events after 8:00 p.m. so that he can get more sleep. Can he, or any president, be effective if they have to - if they have a cutoff time of 8:00 p.m. every night? I mean what happens when something does happen late. He seems to now be admitting that he's not at his best then.

FETTERMAN: Now, I really am not sure if that's even -- even true. I can't really report on that. But again, I - if he - if he has a bedtime, OK. But he isn't a liger like Trump. And again, and Trump is all about project 2025. I mean that's what we really should be voting on right now. It's like, do we want the kind of a president that is all about project 25. And anyone can read on that because that's what Trump is all about. That as well.

And again, if somebody wants to be outraged about some - some random story about bedtime, OK. But, you know, I - my money is going to be on the guy that just whooped his ass in 2020 and he's going to do it in this time again.

BOLDUAN: Senator John Fetterman. Thank you very much for coming on, Senator. It's good to see you.


BERMAN: All right, we have new reporting this morning on how hard it can be to keep the weight off if - even after enjoying success with one of the popular new weight loss drugs.

CNN's Meg Tirrell, who's done so much great reporting on this, is with us this morning.

What have you learned, Meg?

MEG TIRRELL, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, we know that millions of Americans have started taking these new medicines, like Ozempic, Mounjaro, Wegovy and Zepbound. And there are a lot of reasons, unfortunately, when people have to stop, when they don't want to. One is that these can be very expensive and insurance coverage is difficult. Another is sometimes people don't like the side effects or can't tolerate them, things like nausea, particularly when you're first starting the drug. These drugs have also been in shortage. They can be very frustrating and hard to find in pharmacies. And forth, some people just don't want to take a medicine for the rest of their lives.


Here's one person's experiences six months after stopping Mounjaro.


BRAD OLSON, FORMER MOUNJARO USER: I was pretty happy, you know, not too long ago to be able to bench press my body weight, which was something that I had never been able to do for a really long time.

TIRRELL (voice over): These days Brad Olson works out for more than an hour-and-a-half a day. He hikes, lifts weights, and he's totally changed how he eats.

OLSON: There's really no fast food or like restaurant leftovers anymore.

TIRRELL (voice over): It's all an effort to maintain the weight he lost taking Mounjaro, one of a new group of drugs, similar to Ozempic, that millions of Americans have recently started to try.

OLSON: Super-easy. Click like that, and then you just toss them.

TIRRELL (voice over): He took the drug for five months, losing 40 pounds.

OLSON: And I just felt like, well, I could do this temporarily and then maybe I could come off and like hold on to the gains, you know, if it works.

TIRRELL: What did your doctor thank of that plan?

OLSON: He thought that was not a great plan.

TIRRELL (voice over): Brad's weight peaked in 2009 at 280 pounds. He says he was 100 pounds over a healthy weight.

OLSON: I got to be so big that I couldn't go out. I couldn't run with the kids. You know, it was - it was - it was maybe a little scary. And that part would just make me feel so frustrated and angry at myself. I mean I would - I would experience a certain amount of self-loathing.

TIRRELL (voice over): He describes the feeling when he started the drug as a kind of revelation.

OLSON: You'll eat and eat about half of it and kind of get like, that's enough. And that just never happened to me before. Sort of like just dawns on you where you're like, wait, is this - is this what it's like for everybody else? Like - like and then - and kind of feeling like I've been, you know, gambling against the casino my whole life.

TIRRELL (voice over): But his insurance didn't cover it. A problem for many people on these drugs. And at about $1,000 a month out of pocket, Brad says he could only budget it for so long. And the evidence for what happens when you stop these drugs is not on Brad's side.

JORGE MORENO, MD, OBESITY SPECIALIST, VALE MEDICINE: I don't think it's fair to say it's about willpower.

TIRRELL (voice over): Dr. Jorge Moreno is an obesity specialist at Yale Medicine.

TIRRELL: For people who do come off of it, have you had patients who have been able to sustain their results over a longer period of time without the drug?

MORENO: Yes. So, I would say that that's a minority of the patients. Weight regain is also just like weight loss, heterogeneous. And that is where more research needs to be done. Why is the one patient able to keep the weight off after coming off these medications and why are some people gaining all the weight back?

TIRRELL (voice over): Brad is trying to beat the odds, but it hasn't been easy.

OLSON: I came away feeling like, if I gain it back, so be it. You know, I'm doing the best I can.

And then I think I also, you know, now find myself revisiting a lot of decisions I would make not to allow myself to experience something because I was fat and just kind of saying, like, don't do that again. Whatever you look like, don't do that again.


TIRRELL: And you can see how hard Brad is working to try to sustain these results. He is planning on climbing Mount Whitney, one of the highest peaks in the United States. But this is really hard, and it shows just how complicated weight and weight loss can be, guys, I mean studies show people typically regain half to two-thirds of the weight that they lost over the following year after stopping one of these medicines. But a study did show, 17 percent of people maintained at least 80 percent of their weight loss. So, it can be done, it's just really, really hard.

And what we learned from Brad is, he's being kinder to himself, no matter what happens. And that seemed like a really important takeaway.


BERMAN: That is important. He's trying. Send our best to him. Thanks so much for that story, Meg. Really appreciate it.

Kate. BOLDUAN: So, Boeing agrees to plead guilty to conspiracy to defraud

the United States, but the families of crash victims are furious and they're calling this a sweetheart deal.

And, blistering and deadly heat wave is still days away from easing up out west. We've got more.



BERMAN: The crew of a NASA mission to Mars has emerged from its year- long voyage that never left earth. The four-person volunteer crew spent 12 months in a simulated Mars environment at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. To be clear, they never left. They were inside the whole time. Didn't go home. No, nothing. They lived and worked inside this 1,700 square foot room to simulate a Mars mission. They practice Mars walks. They work through challenges. The types of things they would see on a real mission to Mars.

John Deere says it will lay off about 600 employees at three factories in Iowa and Illinois as it shifts production to a facility in Mexico. This is the latest in a string of layoffs by the farm-equipment manufacturer over the past year. Earlier this year, John Deere said it had - has had more than a 15 percent decline in revenue. It says it needs to move proactively to reduce production and inventory as customers stay cautious about making purchases.

A big wall of flames. That is how one resident in Santa Barbara described the Lake Fire, which is a fire burning there.


As of this morning, Cal-Fire says that wildfire has grown to nearly 19,000 acres and is only about 8 percent contained. Evacuation orders are now in place for nearby communities.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It looks like a volcano. You could see it like all along the hills and stuff. It was like a big wall of flames. It was scary.

JOY CHAMBERLAIN, SANTA YNEZ RESIDENT: It's so out of control. You can just see there's little fingers of fire in all different directions.


BERMAN: The cause of the fire is now under investigation.


BOLDUAN: So, people out west, similarly, getting no relief from record-breaking heat. Yesterday, Las Vegas smashed its all-time heat record, reaching 120 degrees. One person was killed, another person hospitalized from the extreme heat in Death Valley, California. Temperatures there reached 129 on Saturday and Sunday.

CNN's Natasha Chen is tracking all of this for us.

And it sounds like they're not - you're not getting any relief anytime soon. What's the latest?

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Kate, we were out all weekend talking to people in the Los Angeles area just trying to stay cool. And wild temperatures have hit 100 before, especially in the valley here. The duration is really what is making this so difficult.

If we can just take a look at a few different cities that have hit all-time records or daily records. We saw Las Vegas hit its hottest temperature ever on record, 120 on Sunday. And it has been over 110 degrees in Vegas every day since Wednesday. That is the longest stretch of that kind of heat ever for that city.

You mentioned Death Valley hitting 128 on Sunday. It could hit 130 by Tuesday. And that is over the weekend where we saw a motorcyclist die from heat exposure. A few other motorcyclists were treated on scene. Some others taken to the hospital.

And authorities said that due to the high temperatures, emergency medical flights, helicopters, were unable to respond as they generally can't fly over 120 degrees. And then, in Portland, you saw 100 degrees as well.

We also are seeing the CDC and other federal agencies start to track just out of 100,000 overall ER visits in a given area, how many of those are heat-related illnesses. And just looking at the data from Friday to Saturday, I did see those numbers tick up. And they especially marked areas on the long - along the West Coast where there were surprisingly high number of those heat-related ER visits. One spot in Nevada. One spot in Oregon.

Now, the multi-day nature of this is really what's creating a difficult situation, not just high temperatures during the day, but high overnight lows as well. So not really giving people enough adequate break to really get cool from this heat or get any relief from it. Of course, very dangerous for firefighting as well. You've got several large wildfires up and down the West Coast right now, including the Lake Fire in Santa Barbara. That is near what is now Sycamore Valley Ranch, what you might know previously as Neverland Ranch. And not in danger at the moment, but the U.S. Forest Service did say that that ranch does have some firefighting capacity themselves.

It's very interesting as we just observe these dry, hot conditions that people are just trying to get relief from and staying safe from, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Yes. Natasha, thank you so much.


BERMAN: All right, new this morning, the Israeli military has announced it is launching a new counterterrorism operation in Gaza City. The Israel Defense Forces says intelligence indicated, quote, terrorist infrastructure, operatives and weapons in the area. The IDF also announced a new round of evacuation orders for eastern Gaza City ahead of the operation.

Let's go to CNN's Jeremy Diamond, live in Jerusalem with the latest here.

Good morning, Jeremy.


The Israeli military, once again, launching an operation in Gaza City, putting troops on the ground as it plays this constant game it seems of whack-a-mole in the absence of a long-term strategy in Gaza. Military analysts say that the Israeli military is continuing to have to go back to areas of Gaza that it has previously withdrawn from as Hamas regroups and re-establishes itself in those areas. And the Israeli military then sending troops in once again.

It seems like the only thing that could stop this constant cycle would be a ceasefire in Gaza. And we know that those negotiations have picked up steam once again. Late last week it appears that Israel and Hamas arriving at more or less of a framework agreement to now be able to proceed with those detailed negotiations which are expected to continue this week in Doha, Qatar.

But as all of that is happening, the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, once again throwing what could potentially be a wrench in the process as he seems to be putting the interests of holding onto power and his coalition government, keeping his right-wing allies happy over the fate of these negotiations.


In a statement over the weekend, the Israeli prime minister's office saying that any deal that will proceed will be one that will, quote, allow.