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Fed Makes Historic Rate Move To Combat Rising Inflation; Reports From Battleground Ohio 9th Congressional District; Alex Jones: I Was Not Wrong About Sandy Hook On Purpose. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired September 21, 2022 - 15:30   ET



MARK ZANDI, CHIEF ECONOMIST, MOODY'S ANALYTICS: Yes, some concerns, but again, I think it's on the margin. I mean, I think the Fed did what investors thought they would do. And you know, clearly interest rates have to go up, they have to go up a lot more. Inflation is just way too high.

And they don't get it in here pretty soon, as Rachel mentioned, it will become much entrenched, much more difficult to root out, require much higher interest rates and ultimately a recession.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: So, obviously seeing the impact on the housing market. Housing sales in August down about 20 percent from August 2021, down about 0.4 percent from the previous month. But in the labor market we are not seeing the impact of these significant increases. Explain what is happening and why we're not seeing it yet.

ZANDI: Yes, you're right. I mean, job growth has been rip roaring. We've got over 300,000 jobs last month. The average monthly job growth over the past six months has been 400k. And just for context, you need about 100 -- we need about 100,000 jobs a month to kind of maintain a stable rate of unemployment.

So, that's strong and that's to some degree what the Fed is focused on. They're trying to get job growth down, cool off the labor market.

So, when you go to your boss and ask for that pay increase, Victor, you know, they don't want you to get 8 percent. Maybe a sizable increase but not 8 percent, because that would be inflationary.

So, that's what they're trying to do. I think they'll ultimately succeed. You know, you can see the effects of the higher rates in the housing market and that's going to start showing up in construction jobs.

And we are starting to see other businesses grow nervous about what's going on, what's going on in the stock market and in their business more broadly and they're starting to pull back a little bit. So, I suspect by the end of the year, certainly by next year we'll see much weaker job numbers.

Of course, when we get there, it's going to feel a little bit uncomfortable and that's when people are going to be really nervous about the possibility of going into recession.

BLACKWELL: Gas prices now, a 98-day slide has ended. It's now up just a few fractions of a cent, to put it above $3.68 a gallon for national average for regular. Are we expecting to hover here for a while or could we start to see an increase?

ZANDI: Well, if you look at oil prices -- gasoline prices are clearly tied very closely to oil prices -- they're pretty stable and low and consistent with that $3.70 a gallon for regular unleaded across the country. You know, there's a lot of risk though.

I mean, you know, a lot of what's going on in Russia, Ukraine, what Putin is going to do or not do. The European Union is imposing sanctions on Russian oil. They announced those back in June when oil and gasoline prices hit their all-time highs.

But they haven't implemented them. They're going to start implementing them late this year, early next, and it's not clear how that's going to go.

So, there's a lot of unknowns and uncertainty. But you know, right now oil prices feel pretty good. They're low enough to keep our gas prices around $3.75. If that's where we stay, you know, that'll be critical to allowing us to navigate through without actually going into recession.

Nothing is more important to the collective psyche and to our perceptions of our own finances and the economy's performance than how much it costs us to fill our gasoline tank.

BLACKWELL: We pass by the signs every day several times a day. Mark Zandi, always good to have you. Thank you.

ZANDI: Thanks, Victor.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: So, the midterm election is just weeks away. We're going to take you to the battleground state of Ohio. What's happening there next.



BLACKWELL: With midterm elections roughly seven weeks out, CNN's Dana Bash went to the battleground Congressional district, Ohio's 9th, to talk to voters about what they care most about.

CAMEROTA: And how they vote could determine which party controls Congress.


REP. MARCY KAPTUR (D-OH): How are you doing?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): You'd think a congresswoman in office nearly 40 years would already know most of the people here at the popular 818 Club.

KAPTUR: Are you a regular?

BASH (voice over): But it's new ground for Marcy Kaptur, whose Ohio district changed dramatically after redistricting, going from a safe Democratic seat to a place Donald Trump would have won in 2020.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're one of a few Democrats I would vote for.

BASH (voice over): For Kaptur, being a brand name in northern Ohio helps, but she's still a midwestern Democrat in a party increasingly run on the coasts.

BASH: Does your national party understand Democrats you represent?

KAPTUR: It's harder for us. What the coastal people, God bless them, don't understand is that we lost our middle class. We lost so many people who worked hard all their lives, including in many of these small towns.

BASH (voice over): Whether Kaptur wins this new battleground district will determine whether Democrats keep control of Congress or how steep the losses could be. She's relying on voters like Joe Stallbaum.

JOE STALLBAUM, OHIO VOTER: I'm in the Sheet Metal Workers Local 33 Toledo District.

BASH (voice over): A union that endorsed Ohio's Republican Governor Mike DeWine and Kaptur. His top issue this election year.

STALLBAUM: This time around it would be women's rights.

BASH: Really?


STALLBAUM: Yes, absolutely. What matters to me is that it's your decision to make. That person's -- that woman's decision to make. Nobody else's.

BASH (voice over): These men gather most mornings at Bud's Restaurant in Defiance, a new conservative part of Kaptur's district.

BASH: Is Marcy Kaptur somebody you'll vote for?


BASH (voice over): Joe Clemens is voting for Kaptur's Republican challenger, J.R. Majewski, endorsed by former President Donald Trump.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Go win your race. You're going to win.

BASH: Trump's endorsement is a --

CLEMENS: It means a lot to me. I like Trump. BASH (voice over): That's controversial, even here.

CLEMENS: He tried to overthrow our government and that's the bottom line and you guys can't see it. I'm sorry.

BASH (voice over): Majewski is an election denier who was at the Capitol on January 6th, though he insists he left when, quote, it got ugly.

BASH: Is that a deal breaker?

STEVE SANTO, OHIO VOTER: Oh, yes, for me. I would never vote for him. Not for any of those people that were there on January 6th.

BASH (voice over): Not a deal breaker for everyone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think that would influence me to vote against him.

BASH (voice over): CNN's K-file unearthed evidence Majewski repeatedly promoted QAnon conspiracies, though he's since denied being a follower.

Seth Peters (ph) isn't sure about him yet.

SETH PETERS, OHIO VOTER: So, I want to see how he would improve the area, how he would do in Congress.

BASH (voice over): Through his spokesman, Majewski declined an interview or to share details about any public events where he might answer such questions.

These midwestern voters are down on Democrats in Washington.

TERRY HOWARTH, OHIO VOTER: Biden's got this country, you know, Afghanistan, the border, inflation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And they are trying to separate themselves it seems like from Biden at this point. They say -- they say that in their advertisements.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Marcy Kaptur, she doesn't work for Joe Biden, she works for you.

BASH: You don't buy it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't buy it at all.

BASH (voice over): Most here say Kaptur, the longest-serving woman in the history of the House who would break that record for all of Congress if she wins, has been there long enough.

SCOTT BROWN, OHIO VOTER: Not that she's not a good person, it's just that I think she's been in office long enough.

BASH: What's your response? KAPTUR: My response is, when you come from this part of the country, all you have is your seniority. When you get there, you're outnumbered and you don't have the gavel. It takes longer to achieve something.

BASH (voice over): Still, disgust with divided political discourse runs deep.

STALLBAUM: I long for the days when we used to sit in a coffee shop or the cigar shop and we would debate the issues and then we would all laugh and we'd be friends at the end of the night.

BASH (voice over): It does still happen here at Bud's, in aptly named Defiance.

Dana Bash, CNN, Defiance, Ohio.


CAMEROTA: What a fascinating look into that district.

BLACKWELL: Yes, and to see Dana there with the construction workers --

CAMEROTA: In gear.

BLACKWELL: -- in the full gear.

CAMEROTA: Dana often has to wear a hardhat at work because of her beat that she covers, obviously.

All right, meanwhile, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones just spoke to reporters outside of the courtroom. What he's now saying about his despicable lies about Sandy Hook.



CAMEROTA: It's day six of the defamation trial against Alex Jones for monetary damages to Sandy Hook families in Connecticut. This afternoon the conspiracy theorist spoke to the media outside the courtroom.

BLACKWELL: But instead of addressing his lies about the massacre, he even blamed the families' lawyers. CNN's Jean Casarez has the latest. In this was happening outside while there was a testimony inside the courtroom.

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, you know, let me take you inside the courtroom first. David Wheeler, his son Ben was killed in 2012. He took the stand today. He said that after this happened that he and his family just insulated themselves.

They didn't even know what was going on the outside. A very close friend came to him and said you've got to look on the internet because your name is all over it. They're saying this is a hoax and you're an actor and you're a fraud. He said he went and he saw this name Alex Jones was saying all of

this. And he said he couldn't believe it. Then he went to his own Facebook account. People were telling him, we hope you burn in hell because you were lying. This was all a lie. He said he felt so belittled.

Now, this reason this trial is only for monetary damages is because according to the court Alex Jones and his team, they didn't hand over the discovery like they were supposed to do. Didn't follow the court orders. Finally, the judge issued a default judgment. So, he's libel for defamation, for intentional infliction of emotional distress, and now it's just damages.

So, Alex Jones, outside of the courthouse, had a totally different scenario to that liability on his part. Take a listen.


ALEX JONES, HOST, INFOWARS: I'm not the Sandy Hook man. I've already said I was sorry years and years ago. I've already tried to make restitution. We gave the court all the discovery. They defaulted us because they found there wasn't any evidence of premeditated master plans with Sandy Hook and all this garbage.

I think that the families are a victim of the process of these lawyers manipulating them and controlling them to go after the Second Amendment and the First Amendment.


CASAREZ: Now what the defense is trying to do on cross-examination with the families is to show that they are very strongly pro-gun control, because if they can get them to elicit that on testimony, then in argument, they can say that the families are biased. That they are magnifying the damages.


They are Exaggerating them, and they are not due and they are actually wanting to silence Alex Jones. But it's not working, because David Wheeler, the father I was just telling you about, he said he was raised with guns. His father went out, he went target practicing. Always for responsible gun control. Once he learned it was an AR-15, he wants more safety measures, but he's not against guns.

CAMEROTA: It's so sickening to listen to Alex Jones. Is just so sickening. Everything he says is so vile. But you know, here we are. I mean, this is what the families have been dealing with all these horrible years. Jean Casarez, thank you.

CASAREZ: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Thank you very much.

BLACKWELL: Thank you. Well, with mounting losses on the battlefield, Vladimir Putin is calling up hundreds of thousands more troops and issuing this veiled threat of nuclear war. More on that ahead.



BLACKWELL: Two winners of the third largest lottery jackpot in U.S. history have finally claimed their prize after nearly eight weeks.

CAMEROTA: What took them so long?

BLACKWELL: I mean, I would have rushed to the money. The Mega Millions drawing was worth $1.34 billion. It equals to a measly $780.5 million in cash.

CAMEROTA: I feel bad for them because they're going to have to split it. I mean, are they going to survive on that? These two people have agreed to split the winnings. They purchased the single ticket at a Speedway gas station in Illinois just north of Chicago. The winners want to remain anonymous. We're told they spent the past few weeks working with legal and financial advisories. Lottery officials tell us, they're over the moon.

BLACKWELL: Yes, probably are.

"THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts after a quick break.