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Biden: If SCOTUS Overturns Roe, Same-Sex Marriage Will Be Next; Biden Reminds Voters of Deficit of GOP, Predecessor "MAGA King"; Biden to Speak to Baby Formula Companies, Will Announce Steps to Address Shortage; Fast-Moving Brush Fire Destroys at Least 20 Homes in CA. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired May 12, 2022 - 14:30   ET




VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: The Supreme Court's nine justices are meeting today. This is their first private conference since the leak of a draft opinion that suggests they're set to overturn Roe v. Wade.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: It's hard to imagine that leak will not come up. Hard to imagine how they will address it.

The justices also likely to discuss the court's other outstanding cases involving the Second Amendment, religious liberties, climate change, and campaign finance.

BLACKWELL: President Biden is warning that the court's possible reversal of Roe would be just the beginning.

He said, "It's not just the brutality of taking away a woman's right to her body, it basically says there's no such thing as the right to privacy. If that holds, mark my words, they are going to go after the Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage."

CAMEROTA: Joining us now is CNN White House reporter, Kaitlan Collins, and CNN senior political analyst, Kirsten Powers.

Great to see you both.

Kirsten, I'm not sure I entirely understand the Democrats who have been using the slippery slope argument. And I'm not saying that it's not true, what they're saying.

But do they not think that it's enough that 50 percent of the country, that women are going to lose their rights? They don't think that's a motivating force enough and so they keep throwing in, you know, gay rights, et cetera, et cetera?

KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I mean, I know what you're talking about, because I have had that sense as well. I think that -- I think both things -- all of those things matter, right? So, obviously, gay rights matter. But I feel like they pivot very quickly away from abortion. And I think much more time could be spent on how extreme this decision is, if it comes out being what we've seen, even if it was only about abortion. Right?

And so, I don't think they're spending enough time focusing on that, on just how extremist this is.

And then, you know, then they could pivot to also saying, and by the way, if we use the same reasoning that's used in this, then this is just -- this is the tip of the iceberg, and we're going to see a lot of other rights eroded by this court.

BLACKWELL: Kaitlan, how much energy is the White House going to put into this issue specifically? We've reported that the president, up until a couple weeks ago, actually said the word abortion as president.

What's the path forward for the White House?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's an interesting position for President Biden to be in.

And that is right. He had not actually uttered that word until in recent weeks when, of course, we saw this leaked opinion come out. And of course, you have seen him talk about it since then.

He is the one who's making that argument that this isn't just about abortion rights. It's also about privacy and undermining, he believes, other access to that when it comes to other decisions that people make in their personal lives.

And so, when it comes to this issue, specifically, the White House is exploring options of what they can do once the ruling is final.

We're not expected to actually see what those are in their final matter until that ruling comes down from the Supreme Court. But it's pretty limited of what they can actually do.

And so I do think it raises the question of what the president is going to be urging Democrats to make when it comes to arguments on the campaign trail.

Because you saw yesterday, after that vote was blocked in the Senate, not just by Republicans, even though that, of course, is who President Biden decided to focus on.

Also a member of his own party voted against it, Senator Joe Manchin.

His main takeaway from that was telling voters they need to elect more pro-choices Senators come November so they could get something like that bill passed so he could sign it into law and it wouldn't matter what the Supreme Court ruled.

[14:35:00] But they are hoping it can be energizing in that sense. But it remains to be seen because, right now, if you look at polling, other issues are top of mind for voters.

CAMEROTA: Yes. For instance, inflation.

And we've heard Republicans, Kaitlan -- let me stick with you -- say they think the Roe v. Wade thing will actually rebound to their benefit and that Americans are much more focused on inflation.

And so you have also heard President Biden changing his rhetoric to, I think, his goal is to remind voters of what he thinks Republicans would do about the economy.

So, here he is talking about the MAGA king.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My predecessor, the great MAGA king, the deficit increased every single year he was president.

They don't want to solve inflation by lowering the costs. They want to solve it by raising taxes and lowering your income.


CAMEROTA: So, has that -- so, Kaitlan, has that been a decision made in the White House to start using that language?

COLLINS: And look how noticeable it is. Just in the last week or so, you have seen the president starting to use this phrase. He hasn't said MAGA king that much. That was the first time we heard that yesterday.

But he has started sharpening his criticism of Republican in recent days, using words like ultra-MAGA, saying that they have this extreme agenda, talking about how radical he believes the Republican Party is from when he served in the halls of Congress.

So he's really started to go after Republicans. But what I think he's doing behind the scenes is being blunt with Democrats about how challenging the landscape is ahead of them, the political landscape, of course, that is.

Because he was at a Democratic fund-raiser last night. Behind closed doors, reporters were in the room getting his remarks and he was very candid about what's ahead.

And he was talking about the importance of pushing ahead with messaging this fall for Democrats because he said inflation is, quote, "scaring the hell out of everybody."

Talking about how difficult that is going to be as an issue for Democrats to run against.

And so, that's why you've seen the president, time and time again, pushing this back on Republicans.

Saying that if you're comparing what he is doing with the economy, with what Republicans are going to do with the economy, he is arguing that voters will be better off by sticking with the president and sticking with his party, of course, Democrats, come November.

But he is acknowledging it is going to be a very tough landscape ahead of them.

BLACKWELL: Kirsten, on Roe, Democrats have run for the last three cycles as guardrails against what they believe this court looks like it possibly could do, overturn Roe.

As an example, let me play for you vice president now, then- Presidential Candidate Kamala Harris', in 2019, on what she would do to protect a woman's right to choose.


KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When elected, I'm going to put in place and require that states that have a history of passing legislation that is designed to prevent or limit a woman's access to reproductive healthcare.

That those laws have to come before my Department of Justice for a review and approval and, until we determine that they are constitutional, they will not take effect.


BLACKWELL: There's no federal preclearance for these laws, but she was applauded anyway.

The question really is, have Democrats overpromised and now are losing credibility here where they say, give us the levers of power and we will take care of voting rights, of gun safety, of a woman's right to choose?

POWERS: Well, I mean, I think there's an argument to be made that, you know, along the lines, you know, over many years, that there's more the Democrats could have done to protect women's rights in this area. And so I think that that's a fair criticism.

It's also true that if you believe in the right to choose, regardless of whether you're a Republican or whether you're a Democrat or whether you're an Independent.

Or even whether you identify as pro-life -- just because many people who identify as pro-life actually don't think abortion should be illegal -- there's no question that Democrats are the party that you want to vote for, you know, it's between the choices.

And I would say, well, you know, people are very concerned about inflation. Monmouth University just came out with a poll and the top two issues were the economy and abortion. And they were one point apart. So because of what has happened with the Supreme Court opinion leaking, it has rocketed abortion up to becoming a much higher concern for voters who are saying it's very important to me that the candidate that I vote for shares my views.

Whereas I think a lot of people became sort of -- you know, weren't treating this as the kind of hair on fire problem that it was.

BLACKWELL: All right, Kirsten Powers, Kaitlan Collins, thank you.


CAMEROTA: Well, more and more states are reporting shortages of baby formula. The president is now holding a meeting to address this issue, but parents are already frightened and frustrated.


BLACKWELL: President Biden will speak with baby formula companies and retailers today about a critical nationwide stock shortage and is going to announce how his administration plans to deal with the crisis.

Listen to this. Nationwide, 43 percent of formula is out of stock. In at least eight states, that shortage is 50 percent.


Kelly Bocanegra is the program manager for the Federal Women, Infants and Children Program in the San Antonio Health District.

San Antonio is experiencing one of the most severe formula shortages in the country.

Thank you for being with me.

We had on a mother from that area today who was considering taking her child to the E.R. to feed her baby. When parents call, out of formula, out of options, what do you tell them?

KELLY BOCANEGRA, PROGRAM MANAGER, FEDERAL WOMEN, INFANTS & CHILDREN PROGRAM, SAN ANTONIO: We're telling our parents to talk to our WIC office, call WIC office, and we will do everything that we can to help you find the formula that you are needing.

Texas WIC has -- is working with grocers very closely, trying to find and identify which areas are not having the supply needed.

So we do have several alternative formulas that they can choose from that are covered by WIC.

BLACKWELL: So, you are able to match these parents with formula, with resources?

BOCANEGRA: Yes, sir.


BOCANEGRA: There are several options that are available for them.

BLACKWELL: So, for the parents who are considering diluting the formula they have to stretch it or are looking at these homemade recipes, what are you telling those parents?

BOCANEGRA: Well, because babies need a specific balance of nutrients, you should not water down the infant formula.

Nor should you make homemade formula or give your babies cow's milks or goat's milk, because they don't contain the nutrient that a baby needs.

BLACKWELL: OK. So, stay away from those recipes.

BOCANEGRA: Yes, sir.

BLACKWELL: So we learned today that Abbott Labs, the company that makes the recalled formulas, they say that they could restart production in a couple of weeks, two weeks.

Formula could be back on store shelves in six to eight weeks, that's best-case scenario.

But if this goes on for another month and a half to two months, what's it look like then? I mean, what are the projections if parents have to wait another month or two?

BOCANEGRA: Well, again, Texas WIC is working closely with WIC grocers to help make sure there are options for WIC families to purchase.

Texas WIC has had an alternative option, so families can find a formula at the store to meet their baby's needs.

Texas WIC is also working with the vendor team to identify, like I said earlier, the specific stores and regions that may need assistance in getting an adequate supply.

BLACKWELL: All right, Kelly Bocanegra, thank you so much for your time and the work you're doing for all these families that are just simply trying to feed their babies. Thank you.

BOCANEGRA: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: So, a fast-moving wildfire is sweeping through southern California. Families are forced to evacuate. We're going to take you there next.



CAMEROTA: Developing at this hour, roughly 900 homes being evacuated as California fire fighters try to contain this fast-moving brush fire in Orange County. This video was shot just after the fire started yesterday. You can

already see the sky turning orange. Large plumes of smock taking over.

BLACKWELL: CNN's Nick Watt is there.

Nick, you got an update from firefighters today. Any word on containment?

NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Victor, they have set up a perimeter around this fire. That's a hose line and also a kind of fire break that have dug both with their hands and with bulldozers.

But the issue is the winds that whipped this fire up yesterday that brought it from nothing to basically 200 football fields in just a few terrifying hours, that wind is going to be back during the day today. So that is the fear.

So right now, what they're doing is trying to damp down and douse everything in this neighborhood that was hit pretty badly.

If you come down here, and try not to fall over this hose, this is one of the most affluent neighborhoods in California, multimillion-dollar mansions.

You'll see down here, this was a Mercedes. And the only way you can tell it was a Mercedes is from the hub cap. That's pretty much all that's left. Across the street, which we can't actually see right now, there's a Porsche.

And look -- watch it, don't get hit there.

Come over here. No matter how many fires I cover, this never ceases to amaze me. You'll see in a neighborhood, one house completely destroyed, the house next door is completely fine. Embers just fly through the air and they can hit one house and not another.

I mentioned the winds, but here, the winds are not the issue. The issue is acres and acres of dry brush. Back in January, 1 percent of the state of California was considered to be under an extreme drought.

We got new figures today. It is now 60 percent of California is in extreme drought. It is the driest spring we have ever had, and that is the issue.

Officials warn us this, listen, this is the new normal. Take a listen.


BRIAN FENNESSY, CHIEF, ORANGE COUNTY FIRE AUTHORITY: With the climate change, the fuels beds in this county throughout southern California, throughout the west, are so dry that a fire like this is going to be more commonplace.


[14:55:07] WATT: So they have just had a shift change on the fire line. New people, a whole new crew just came out.

They will be out here for 24 hours dousing down these houses, making sure there's nothing that's going to spark up and trying to make sure the fire doesn't once again jump that fire line and cause even more damage.

Guys, back to you.

BLACKWELL: Could be a horrible fire season.

Nick Watt for us there. Thank you, Nick.

CAMEROTA: Now to a sad milestone. One million Americans killed by COVID. President Biden sending a message to Congress about COVID funding and the pandemic's future. That's next.