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Interview With Presidential Candidate Asa Hutchinson; Gaza Hospital Director Says Facility Is Surrounded by Tanks; House GOP Pursuing Two-Step Plan To Avert Government Shutdown; Donald Trump Claims Jack Smith And His Family Despise Him; RFK, Jr.'s Polling and Election Impact; Abortion Rights Activists Look To Galvanize Voters After Big Wins. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired November 11, 2023 - 19:00   ET



JIM ACOSTA, CNN ANCHOR: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Jim Acosta in Washington. Good evening.

Tonight, former President Donald Trump back on the campaign trail in New Hampshire and once again Trump is praising dictators around the world. Listen to how he characterized Chinese leader Xi Jinping earlier today.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: President Xi is like central casting. There is nobody in Hollywood that can play the role of President Xi. The look, the strength, the voice. It's good to have a good relationship with Putin and Xi, and all these people that like a nuclear weapon. And Kim Jong-un, I have a good relationship with. These are tough, smart guys.


ACOSTA: The former president also showing some confusion over who is the current president.


TRUMP: The head of Hungary, a very tough, strong guy, Viktor Orban. They were interviewing him two weeks ago and they said what would you advise President Obama, the whole world seems to be exploding?


ACOSTA: Trump continued his attacks on Special Counsel Jack Smith, talking about Smith's wife and family. The former president repeated his accusations that Smith is, quote, "deranged" and a, quote, "Trump- hating prosecutor," continuing, quote, "His wife and family despise me much more than he does."

Turning now to the Republican primary, let's talk to the former Arkansas governor, Asa Hutchinson. He's joining us now. Governor Hutchinson, thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate

it. You know, this was the Republican frontrunner out on the campaign trail earlier today. I hate to start an interview with you talking about Donald Trump. But do all of these comments make you nervous about the prospect of him being your party's nominee in 2024?

ASA HUTCHINSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Absolutely. And that's why I'm working so hard. I'll be in 19 different cities in Iowa this week. But he clearly has an affection for dictators, and that is problematic in and of itself. And then secondly, he's wanting to assume more powers when he becomes president, that it's like he envies those that have that kind of power in dictatorial countries.

And so it's all problematic. And we want to win. Here in Iowa, the latest polls has, what, 57 percent of the people ready to move away from Donald Trump. We just need to expand that and make our case for the right steady kind of leadership based upon experience that I offer, and that's the case that we make.

ACOSTA: And let me ask you this. Trump confused Obama or confused Biden with Obama earlier today. He's had some of these mental slip-ups at least in events earlier this past week, on the same night they were having that Republican debate. He was talking about how Kim Jong-un presides over a country of 1.4 billion people. Obviously he was trying the talk about China but he mixed that up, too.

There has been some attention paid to these slip-ups, these screw-ups, that Trump continues to have out on the campaign trail. Are you concerned about his mental acuity?

HUTCHINSON: Well, clearly, he's trying to contrast himself with Joe Biden. But he's in the same age group. And so I think you have to have a lot of grace here for people who have slip-ups whenever they are speaking. Of course, he has the benefit of a teleprompter as well. But I think the key thing is that he has to be transparent about his age, he has to be transparent about his ability to lead, and I'm more worried about the powers that he assumes than a slip-up on a campaign trail, and that he would lead us in the wrong direction. That's what I'm concerned about.

ACOSTA: And what about your own campaign. You were just saying a few moments ago that you're going to continue on. There has been a lot of talk in your party about the need to coalesce behind an anti-Trump or a non-Trump candidate if you will. Is it time for you to drop out and make that possible -- help make that possible?

HUTCHINSON: I don't think so. I think most people that make the case we need to narrow the field they're talking about, you know, after the first four states. That's the case that Mitt Romney made. And there will be a time down the road that consolidation will happen. But the voters have to have an opportunity to express themselves, and you're going to see a lot of changes.

What you see today is not the way it's going to be next March. That's the case that I make. It's going to be different in Trump world. It will be different with the make-up of the opposing candidates. [19:05:02]

So let's give it some time. We're in this. We're getting on the ballot access. My ideas count, and that's why we're conveying the message to the voters across Iowa and New Hampshire.

ACOSTA: And not to pick at this scab too much, but if you don't make the next debate, does that force your hand a little bit and say, OK, that's it, it's time to get out? Don't you have to be in these debates?

HUTCHINSON: Well, actually, they keep narrowing it so much that -- and the listening audience continues to go down. I have some advice for their debates. Control the time. Make it more substantive about the issues, and get the people on there that, you know, should be engaged in the debate like the first debate. And so sure. I'd like to be on the second debate, it may -- or the third debate. It may or may not happen.

We're going to be continuing this campaign even though they're going to continue to narrow the field in that venue. I have more policy discussions at a diner in New Hampshire than I did on the debate stage.

ACOSTA: And one of the candidates in your party that is gaining some traction it seems is the former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley. A lot of folks think that she had a strong debate performance the other night. What do you think? Could you get behind her?

HUTCHINSON: I'm a fan of Nikki Haley. I think she's done well in the debates. And so we have a good line of communication. But I'm in it. I'm campaigning because my ideas are the best ideas for taking America forward. And as good as Nikki is, I really have some challenges with the fact that, you know, she wants to do away with normal trading relations, for example, with China that would really hurt our consumers in America and add to the cost of inflation. So hats off to Nikki for running a good race. We'll be out there competing.

ACOSTA: And this week your party suffered a string of losses, mainly over abortion rights. That was a big driver, as you know, and it seems that in contest after contest, even in red states like Ohio, voters are choosing abortion rights over limitations. Has the Republican Party gotten the politics wrong on this?

HUTCHINSON: Well, I'll tell you. The winning issue for us is the economy. The economy, families are struggling. That's what we lead with. Obviously this is an important issue on abortion, access, and the pro-life issues. And we have to speak the truth and honestly on it. And we have to manage it well with understanding of problem pregnancies and how we need to invest in maternal health care. And how we need to provide good alternatives to problem pregnancies.

As governor of Arkansas, I had to deal with a 12-year-old girl who went into foster care because she became pregnant through incest. A recognition of these challenges that are real in America and in life helps us to convey with more compassion. Let's stick with the economic message that is important for us. But we're going to have to deal with this abortion issue for some time as is debated in the states until we can get it right.

ACOSTA: And that leads me to this, Governor. Do you think your party has been caught a little flat-footed on the abortion issue, not really recognizing that there was going to be this groundswell of support in all of these states? In state after state, voters are choosing abortion rights be protected. What do you think?

HUTCHINSON: Yes, I think that after the Dodds decision, we thought the issue was settled, that it was left back to the states and the debate would continue there. But clearly, while it is in the states, we need to continue to fight the battles there. The Democrats are making it a national issue and a polarizing issue. So we've got to be able to improve our messaging, showcasing compassion and understanding, as well as conviction. And that's important for us to get that right and if we're going to win next year.

ACOSTA: Let me ask you this. The "New York Times" is out with a story and CNN has confirmed a lot of this reporting outlining Trump's second term immigration plans. He intends to round up undocumented people already in the U.S. and place them in camps, sprawling camps, as "The New York Times" describes it. He also would reimplement the so-called Muslim ban that he had when he was in the White House, as well as use Title 42 to turn back asylum seekers.

Do you support this plan?

HUTCHINSON: Well, I've looked at the plan and it addresses a critical issue.


We've got to address the illegal flow of migrants coming into our country without any control. And I have a plan to do that. Donald Trump's plan is short-sighted in a couple of ways. One, it would lead to chaos and it's complex. You need to have more congressional support as you take on those challenges and build the support for the border. And then thirdly, you need to recognize the importance of a legal path as well.

And that's where his plan is totally deficient. And one of the ideas that I have is a state-based visa program. Let's partner with the states. If they have a priority on ag workers, or if they have a need in the biotech field, let's allocate to them the ability to manage a visa program with security protections in place. That's a good partnership.

I was there in the Bush administration when we had responsibility with ICE to go out and to deport people who are here illegally. And while we wanted to do that and follow the law, every time we did that many of the community would rise up and say you're taking someone that has an 18-year-old that's in college, or you've got a high school student that's a star player on the football team.

And so there is a lot of compassion that goes with that, that Donald Trump has failed to recognize and part of the plans that he would have would actually be very chaotic for our society.

ACOSTA: He's also talking about what he would do to his political opponents if he gets back into the White House. Let's listen to something that he just said about this.


TRUMP: They have done something that allows the next party. I mean, if somebody -- if I happen to be president and I see somebody who is doing well and beating me very badly, I say, go down and indict them.


ACOSTA: Governor, you were just saying a few moments ago, you worked in the Bush administration, you've worked in the federal government. What do you think of a former president of the United States talking about weaponizing the Justice Department in that fashion? I thought from what I have heard in recent months, the Republican Party has said that the federal government should not be weaponized, that the Justice Department should not be weaponized. Here you have Donald Trump saying that's what he would do.

HUTCHINSON: The Justice Department should not be weaponized by either side. As a part of Justice Department family, you follow the rule of do right and equal justice and not get even. And Donald Trump is suggesting that the Justice Department and the tools of government and the power of government should be used to get even with people. That's not leadership. That's not the best of America.

It is wrong, it is not our justice system. And, you know, it's wrong for either side to do that. We can't take those tools and start pounding our enemies just because we want to get even with him. It is just flat wrong.

ACOSTA: All right. Former Governor Asa Hutchinson, thanks very much for your time. If you make any decisions about the future of your campaign, come on back. We'd love to talk to you about it. But in the meantime, best of luck out there on the campaign trail. Thanks for your time.

HUTCHINSON: Thanks, Jim. Good to be with you.

ACOSTA: Appreciate it.

In Gaza, reports of a hospital surrounded by intense fighting. Doctors Without Borders says people there are trapped inside. We'll have the latest, next.



ACOSTA: Now to the latest in the war between Israel and Hamas. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is again vowing to take, quote, "full security control" over Gaza by the end of the war, in addition to wiping out Hamas. This comes amid reports that Israeli forces are surrounding a major hospital in northern Gaza. Israel says Hamas is using the hospital as a shield for military operations but they deny that it is under siege.

CNN's Oren Liebermann is in Israel with more.

Oren, what can you tell us?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jim, from our vantage point here, we have seen, actually we continue to hear artillery right now. Sometimes more frequently. Sometimes a bit more intermittently. We've also heard fighter jets above as well as drones. We haven't seen many of the strikes landing.

That is the explosions that our teams here saw, for example, last night. And that seems to suggest the strikes themselves are taking place farther south in Gaza. Perhaps not too much but a bit farther south. We are on the northeast corner of Gaza.

Meanwhile several days ago, the IDF says it had surrounded northern Gaza and was working its way into the city. Much of the fighting from both the IDF and Palestinians in Gaza around Shifa Hospital, the largest hospital in the Gaza Strip, treating some 400 patients and where another 20,000 people have taken refuge. According to the Hamas- controlled Ministry of Health in Gaza, the hospital has been surrounded by Israeli forces and tanks making it impossible to bring anybody in or evacuate anybody from the hospital.

In addition, on top of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, there is dire shortages of electricity, food and water inside the hospital. Although the hospital itself wasn't struck, according to officials there, the main complex, that is, some of the outer buildings have taken damage. In addition, the generator took damage in the fighting. That shut down incubators in the neonatal intensive care unit as a result. Officials there have said three babies have died in the neonatal intensive care unit.

Doctors Without Borders says they're past the point of no return in terms of the medical condition, the medical state of the hospital systems inside the Gaza Strip. At the same time, they say bodies are piling up in Shifa Hospital because they can't be evacuated.

As you pointed out, Jim, the IDF says there is no siege on the hospital and that the east wing is open to bring anybody in or out who wants to be evacuated. The IDF says they've helped evacuated the Rantisi Hospital, the Al Nasr Hospital in Gaza, and they'll help evacuate the pediatric unit of the Shifa Hospital tomorrow, according to the IDF. In addition, they say they have taken over 11 military posts in northern Gaza as the fight, a brutal fight on the streets of Gaza continues -- Jim.


ACOSTA: And Oren, we're also learning of another air drop of Jordanian aid. What can you tell us about that?

LIEBERMANN: Jim, this one just announced a short time ago. This would be the second time Jordan has air dropped aid to its field hospital inside of Gaza. In a statement, they thanked -- the Jordanians, that is, thanked the UAE and Qatar for helping with supplies. There is no mention of Israel but something like that flying over Gaza and over Israel would have required at least some sort of coordination with the Israelis.

They sent some pictures out. They put some pictures out. Hopefully you're able to see these, of the aid that was dropped in. Perhaps providing just a little bit of medical supplies to alleviate the dire humanitarian crisis inside the Gaza Strip.

ACOSTA: All right. Oren Liebermann, thank you very much for that report. Very important details there. Thank you so much.

In the meantime, there are only six days left until the federal government runs out of money here in Washington. The Republican House speaker just revealed his plan to avoid a shutdown. Some of the members of his own party are already balking at that. We'll talk about that in a few moments. Stay with us.



ACOSTA: Earlier this afternoon, Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson released his two-step plan to avert a government shutdown as Congress faces another funding deadline this coming Friday but with the White House calling it a recipe for more Republican chaos, that's the White House quote, is this already dead on arrival?

Let's bring in Charlie Dent, former Republican congressman from Pennsylvania.

Charlie, great to see you. What do you think? Is this dead on arrival?

CHARLIE DENT (R), FORMER REPRESENTATIVE FROM PENNSYLVANIA: Well, it probably is dead on arrival in the form that he intends to send it over to the Senate. I suspect the Senate will reject it as sent. But it's not an irresponsible plan. He funds the government at current levels until the middle of January and he also funds the military construction and energy and water appropriations bills, and he does the rest a few weeks later, the other 10 bills.

So I don't think it's irresponsible. I would do it in one step, not two. But it's not reckless. There aren't any crazy cuts. There are not any wild policy riders added. But as I said, the Senate is probably going to insist that it be done in one step and they'll probably also want to add some of the emergency supplemental funding for Ukraine, Israel and the border. So we'll see, this is just the first launch but it's not a reckless first launch.

ACOSTA: Yes. And a lot of folks in the Freedom Caucus, in the House Republican conference, they wanted big spending cuts and they're not getting that. And I wonder what that means for Speaker Johnson. I mean, he is the speaker because of what took place just six weeks ago to Kevin McCarthy. I have to think that is guiding him to some extent. He's got to be thinking about that right flank.

DENT: Well, he does. But I think the right flank is going to give a lot of slack to Speaker Johnson. Much of the opposition by that hard right flank to Kevin McCarthy was personal. They also view Kevin McCarthy as an establishment figure. Johnson is seen as one of their own and there aren't many members to the right of Mike Johnson, so I think Mike Johnson is going to get a total pass on this funding bill.

And like I said, he's not going to be able to accommodate the hard right with those types of spending cuts. And a temporary funding. But remember, this spending bill, is this going to fund the government until only about January 18th or so. It's two months so it is going to fund it at current levels. So if you want to propose cuts, it would only be for a couple of months but again this is something that the Senate would reject out of hand.

So what he's put on the table, I guess that is responsible and -- but again I think the Senate will not want to do this in two steps. You basically -- it's this laddered approach that they talked about could lead to rolling shutdowns if you did it sequentially.

ACOSTA: Right.

DENT: If you fund the Justice Department on December 12th, the state on December 18th, you know, Justice Department, January 5th, you would set up cliffs and you would have potential shutdowns each time so I call them rolling shutdowns. He really hasn't proposed that. It's only a two-stepper. But like I said, the Senate is probably going to insist that it'd be consolidated and they'll probably add some of the supplemental funding for Israel and Ukraine.

ACOSTA: Yes. You know, they can barely pass one bill to keep the government running.

DENT: Right.

ACOSTA: I can just imagine what would happen if you had multiple bills that were necessary to keep the government running.

And, Charlie, let me ask you some 2024 items. Trump is -- I'm sure you saw this earlier today. This report in the "New York Times," CNN confirmed some of it. Trump is planning for the mass detention and deportation of undocumented immigrants if he gets back into the White House, even talking about sprawling camps where undocumented immigrants would be held. What do you make of that kind of proposal?

DENT: Well, what I've read about it strikes me as pretty reckless and nativist. Look, we need to secure the border. We need to fix the asylum system to be sure. But you have to be humane in how you deal with this issue.

One of the things he proposed as I just learned is that he intends to use military construction funds to pay for things that Congress would not maybe have appropriated on immigration. Now having written the military construction appropriations bill, that was my job. I saw Trump divert money for a border wall which frankly I thought was an egregious violation of Congress's Article One authorities.

And I think Congress should stand up for itself, and if Congress wants to appropriate money for some of these immigration policies, they may. But right now what I'm seeing Trump proposing is just seems to be rather nativist. But if he just simply wanted to do more border funding, if simply wanted to fix the asylum system and accelerate deportations for people in the country unlawfully, I think that's reasonable. But setting up camps and other things like that, it's pretty over the top.


DENT: And that's kind of the Stephen Miller wing and Steve Bannon wing of the party just, you know, running rough shod over that.


ACOSTA: Of course. Yes, and I think their signatures are on this latest proposal. And let me ask you one more thing. Trump was at this rally in New Hampshire earlier today and he once again went after the Special Counsel Jack Smith. He also talked about Smith's family. Let's take a listen.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have deranged Jack Smith. Have you ever heard of him? He's a lovely -- he is lovely man.

Did you ever see him with a purple little thing? He is a lovely man. The Trump hating prosecutor in the case he's -- his wife and family despise me much more than he does and he decides -- I think, he's about a 10, they are about a 15 on a scale of 10.


ACOSTA: Now, Charlie, you have the former president of the United States saying that Jack Smith's family despises him. What kind of dog whistle is that? What kind of signal does that send? And isn't that dangerous?

DENT: Well, I think it is dangerous and reckless. I would suspect that a judge presiding over such a case might want to intervene and sanction Trump for those kinds of comments. Essentially, he sounds like he's trying to instigate some kind of violence against Jack Smith have, you know, a federal prosecutor and his family.

So at some point, I think these judges have to hold Donald Trump accountable. I just have never heard this type of rhetoric.

Any other defendant in a case who would make these kinds of comments about judges or prosecutors, I think should be reprimanded and sanctioned and they would have a gag order shoved down their throats.

In Trump's case, you know, it's just another Saturday, right? ACOSTA: Exactly. What other defendant -- criminal defendant could do such a thing? Nobody. Charlie Dent, thanks, as always. We appreciate it.

DENT: Thanks, Jim.

ACOSTA: In the meantime, the roll of third party candidates could prove to have a major impact in this next presidential election. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. is polling higher than any Independent or third party candidate in more than 30 years, and CNN senior data reporter, Harry Enten joins us now.

Harry, when I saw your report on this, that really got my attention. I'm sure, it got a lot of people's attention, because for the longest time, people were just sort of writing off RFK, Jr. as a nonfactor because of a lot of the positions that he's taken and so on. Maybe not so much.

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: Not so much. I mean, look, the polls are the polls are the polls. No matter what you think of RFK, Jr., there are a lot of people who like him in this country, and if you look across those six swing states that "The New York Times" polled last week we spoke about last Sunday, look at how high RFK, Jr. is polling across those six states.

The lowest is 90 percent in Nevada, upwards of 25 percent in Michigan, among likely voters who are choosing RFK, Jr. There are only three other third party or independent candidates who polled above 20 percent this late in the campaign in the polling era, Ross Perot was one of them in '92, George Wallace, another in '68, and of course, John Anderson in 1980, and all of those ended up with more than five percent of the vote nationally at the end of the campaign.

So the fact is, this is a very real candidacy right now, at least according to this polling data.

ACOSTA: And what kind of impact could this have?

I remember Ross Perot, actually helping Bill Clinton, and there are some talk that RFK, Jr. might actually help Joe Biden. What is your sense of it?

ENTEN: I mean, look at those "New York Times" polls, right? Remember, we spoke about him last Sunday, as I mentioned a minute ago, and they were a disaster, a disaster for Joe Biden. But when you add Kennedy in the equation, look at how different it is.

Look at Arizona, Pennsylvania, these were five point Trump leads. You add Kennedy in the mix, all of a sudden those states are tied. Nevada, which we noted last week was an outlier, perhaps with an 11-point Trump lead, you add Kennedy to the equation, all of a sudden that lead gets cut in six.

What it does is it takes those polls that look like an abject disaster for Joe Biden and makes it one where you're kind of going, wait a minute, wait a minute, this race is too close to call. So it could be that RFK, Jr. could be a savior for Joe Biden, at least according to this polling data.

ACOSTA: Okay. I did not see that one coming, and Harry, what about Jill Stein? She announced this week a bid for the Green Party nomination. In any other election cycle, well, maybe except for 2016, folks might write this off as being a nonfactor. But when the margins are so razor thin, Democrats can't be pleased about this.

ENTEN: No, I don't think they're particularly pleased. You mentioned 2016, right? And you've looked at those great lake battleground states, states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin.

Jill Stein's vote total in all three of those states exceeded Trump's margin over Hillary Clinton. Now, she wasn't exactly getting a ton of votes there. The highest on that screen is 51,000.

But the fact is when you're dealing with such small margins, potentially heading into 2024, where we know the two-major party candidates are disliked and there's a lot of this satisfaction with Joe Biden on the left part of the Democratic Party.


The fact is, one percent of the vote in these swing states could make all the difference in the world and I don't think Democrats like Jill Stein in the campaign at all. If RFK is a plus potential for Joe Biden, Jill Stein is almost certainly not.

ACOSTA: And what about Joe Manchin running as a third party candidate? How might that affect things?

ENTEN: Yes. There was one poll that was taken on it. I guess, it's in the eye of the beholder whether or not you thought that Joe Manchin got a large share of the vote. He got 10 percent of the vote in that particular poll, that as many voters he was the choice for.

Ten percent isn't necessarily a lot. It's certainly not close to leading, but the fact is, in a close campaign, 10 percent, especially if it comes from Joe Biden, that certainly is a lot of votes.

ACOSTA: That is a lot of votes and could have a huge impact. All right, Harry Enten, as always, great stuff, very interesting. Thanks a lot for the time. Appreciate it.

ENTEN: Thank, Jim.

ACOSTA: Good to see you.

All right, good to see you.

ENTEN: Nice to see you.

ACOSTA: And be sure to check out Harry's podcast, "Margins of Error," the aptly titled "Margins of Error." You can find it on your favorite podcast app or at After a victory on the ballot in Ohio, abortion rights activists are looking to Florida next. That story coming up in just a few moments.



ACOSTA: Abortion rights activists are celebrating a big win in Ohio after Ohio became the latest state to enshrine reproductive freedom in its constitution since the Supreme Court overturned Roe versus Wade.

Six other states have moved to protect abortion rights including the red state of Kentucky, but Ohio is the first and only state under full Republican legislative control to see this happen, which begs the question, can a state like Florida do the same?

Joining us now is the vice mayor of Pine Crest, Florida and the executive director of the Florida Women's Freedom Coalition, Anna Hochkammer.

Anna, thank you so much for being with us. What do you think? Can you make that happen in Florida, what took place in Ohio?

ANNA HOCHKAMMER, VICE MAYOR OF PINE CREST, FLORIDA: I think the thing that people need to take away from Ohio, is that we cannot count out states that might lean a little bit red like Florida, that if we get the organization we need, we get the support we need, we can change the future for women and girls here.

ACOSTA: And why Florida? Why is it so important for this to happen in your state?

HOCHKAMMER: Listen, Florida is the third largest state in the nation. We have four million women and girls of reproductive age here. We are under a 15-week ban. When the Florida Supreme court declares that ban unconstitutional, that will trigger a six-week ban, which as we all know is a de facto total abortion ban for the women and girls of this state.

We're working as hard as we possibly can, encouraging everyone to go to, fill out that petition, mail it back, that our donors across the state and the nation should give anything that they can to help us protect the health, safety, and dignity of women in this state now and in the future.

ACOSTA: And do you think that the anti-abortion rights movement that was successful in getting Roe versus Wade overturned and bringing about Dobbs, do you think that they anticipated that this would be such an energizing force inside the Democratic Party where you've seen state after state after state do what just took place in Ohio?

HOCHKAMMER: Listen, I've been traveling across the state of Florida -- north, south, east and west. I've talked to people of every political persuasion. They all say exactly the same thing: Keep the government out of my family's personal decisions. I was born in 1973. I came into this world protected from all of the bad things that can happen to women when they can't get care and I'm the mother of three young women, two of them are still in college. I'm simply refusing to step aside and leave them a world where they are less safe than I have been, and I think a lot of people across the nation, and a lot of people in Florida feel exactly the same way.

ACOSTA: And Anna, I understand in recent days, you were on a conference call or in a meeting that involves the Second Gentleman, Doug Emhoff, the husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, where he made some comments about what the White House strategy might be in the 2024 campaign, and it sounds as though abortion rights is going to be a big factor, it is going to be a big issue.

HOCHKAMMER: I was really thrilled to be invited by a group called Men For Choice, which encourages men across the country to advocate for the women they love and for their families by getting involved in this issue. And yes, the Second Gentleman was there.

He was absolutely gracious in listening to the state of reproductive health rights here in Florida and said that the Biden-Harris administration understood that 2024 is going to be about two things -- Dobbs and democracy.

ACOSTA: What do you think? Do you think that's how this next campaign is going to shape up? That you're going to see a movement towards preserving and protecting abortion rights, maybe even doing something like some Democrats have talked about in Congress, which is to codify Roe versus Wade. Is that a possibility, do you think?

HOCHKAMMER: I have absolutely no idea what Congress is going to do. I don't think anybody has any idea what Congress is going to do. I do know what Florida is going to do.

Florida is going to get this constitutional amendment on the ballot, and it is going to win. I think the most important thing for all of us to focus on is the fact that abortion access is no longer a partisan issue. It's a bipartisan issue, meaning people from every political persuasion, including people who generally don't think of themselves as political at all support women's rights to make these decisions with their medical providers and with their families, with their religious leaders, if they have one.

Whatever happens in Washington, DC, I know it is going to happen in Florida. We're going to protect women and girls, and we're going to make sure that their dignity is enshrined in our Constitution.

ACOSTA: All right, Anna Hochkammer, thank you very much for your time. We appreciate it.

HOCHKAMMER: Thank you, Jim.

ACOSTA: All right, good talking to you.

In the meantime, a college football sign stealing scandal kept the University of Michigan's head coach off the field today. How the school plans to fight his suspension and what happened with Michigan earlier today? How did they fare against Penn State? We'll talk about that next.



ACOSTA: In college football today, the University of Michigan beat Penn State without head coach, Jim Harbaugh on the sidelines.

Harbaugh and the university are fighting a three-game suspension handed down by the Big 10 yesterday in connection to an alleged scheme to steal opposing teams play signals. The school asked the judge a temporarily halt of the suspension, but the court won't take up the case until next Friday.

"Bleacher Report" college football reporter, Morgan Moriarty joins us now.

Morgan. I guess they didn't need Jim Harbaugh on the sideline today. They still won, but what about winning in court?

MORGAN MORIARTY, "BLEACHER REPORT" COLLEGE FOOTBALL REPORTER: Yes, I mean, what an incredibly crazy kind of 24 to 36 last hours for Michigan.

Starting yesterday afternoon, Michigan was mid plane ride to Happy Valley when the Big 10 laid down this three-game suspension. There were reports that Michigan had no idea this came down until they hit the tarmac. Obviously, as you mentioned, Michigan did try to fight this in court. They were meeting with some judges late last night, but ultimately they were unable to get a hearing or a ruling on that. As you mentioned, that is next Friday.

So as a result, Jim Harbaugh although he traveled to Happy Valley on that plane, was not able to be with Michigan on the sidelines. Obviously, you know, it didn't affect them too much. They won 24 to 15 over Penn State, a huge win for the Wolverines. They are ten and oh now, and in the driver's seat for the Big 10 East.

A huge credit to Sherrone Moore, Michigan's offensive coordinator, who was the interim acting head coach for this game.

ACOSTA: Right.

MORIARTY: If you watched his sideline interview after the game, he was visibly emotional, saying he did this for hardball. How much this moment means for him. Blake Corum finishes with 145 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. It was remarkable.

But obviously, you know, without Harbaugh on the sidelines, it's a huge story, and what do they do now in the next two weeks? They have a game at Maryland next week, and that hearing you mentioned on Friday is interesting timing-wise because Michigan is going to have to travel on Friday like they did this week against Penn State. How does that play into this? Is Jim Harbaugh going to be waiting on the tarmac on a ruling? Is he going to be you know, waiting on you know, another separate plane to kind of see how it plays out?


MORIARTY: And obviously, you know, the biggest game that Michigan wants Harbaugh back for, I think they will be find against Maryland if they don't get a ruling in their favor. Ohio State on November 25th. Jim, as you know, this game means everything to Michigan and Ohio State fans.

If you beat Ohio State, and you lose the national title game, it's fine. That's a great season because you beat Ohio State. So really, really remarkable to see how this fight will play out and we'll just have to see what happens with this judge ruling next Friday.

ACOSTA: Yes. Well, I think they want to win the national championship, too. But let me ask you this, and I hate to throw you a curveball here. But I happen to be an alum of James Madison University. And my JMU Dukes, I believe today just went ten and oh, and there is this whole controversy over whether or not JMU is going to be allowed to play in a bowl game.

Apparently this weekend, the Jonas Brothers are going to play at James Madison for College Game Day. College Game Day is going to be at JMU this coming weekend. I think I'm going to be there as well. Sorry to our viewers who watch this program. But what is going on here? Why won't they let JMU play in a bowl game? And this just seems like, I mean, a little heavy handedness on the part of the NCAA.

MORIARTY: Yes, so I didn't know that you went to JMU, Jim, I did my research. I think it is an absolute travesty that the NCAA is not letting the Dukes play in a bowl game.

ACOSTA: Right.

MORIARTY: They're undefeated. They should have a shot at the college football playoff. The whole thing that the NCAA kind of leans on is when you transition into Division One and into a conference. They have this kind of probationary two-year period where you can't play in a bowl game. It makes absolutely no sense. It's wrong.

I think JMU is right to fight this. I hope you have a blast at game day and hopefully the NCAA will see the light and change the lines.

ACOSTA: Yes. I'm going to hold up a sign or something. I'm going to have to come up with one of those creative signs slamming the NCAA. As long as I don't get in trouble with work.

MORIARTY: I would love to do it.

ACOSTA: There you go. It is outrageous.

Okay, last year, they had to sit out having a bowl game. They did well in the SPC in their new conference and they sat out last year. Two years in a row. I mean, come on, they just moved conferences. It's not like they were stealing signs or signals from the other team or doing something like that, but --

All right, Morgan Moriarty, Thank you very much. Thanks for playing ball with me on JMU. And go, Dukes.

We'll be right back.



ACOSTA: President Biden honored America's veterans during a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery this morning. The commander-in-chief praised current and former service members who he said stand on the frontlines of freedom everywhere.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We come together today to once again honor the generations of Americans who stood on the frontlines of freedom, to once again bear witness to the great deeds of a noble few who risked everything, everything to give us a better future.


ACOSTA: The president also laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and gave thanks to the families of fallen servicemembers and they have our thanks as well.

Thank you very much for joining me this evening. Reporting from Washington, I'm Jim Acosta.

I'll see you again tomorrow night starting at 5:00 Eastern. "The Whole Story" with Anderson Cooper is up next.