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CNN: Biden Tells Ally Coming Days Will Decide If He Stays In Race; Sources: Trump Considering Waiting To Announce VP Pick; Beryl Threatens Jamaica With Life-Threatening Storm Surge. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired July 03, 2024 - 11:30   ET




ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Half past the hour now. Back with us on the breaking news, CNN Political Commentator and Former Biden White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield and Republican Strategist Doug Heye. Good to have both of you back with us.

I do just want to reset for people who are just joining us in this moment. Just a short time ago, my colleague, Senior White House correspondent MJ Lee reporting that there have been discussions that President Biden has privately acknowledged the next stretch of days are critical to whether he can salvage his reelection bid for president. This is according to a close ally who spoke with the president on Tuesday that he sees this moment in his clear-eyed. This also comes amid reporting from the New York Times that he's told an ally he recognizes he may not be able to salvage his candidacy if he can't convince the public in the coming days he's up for the job.

In the wake of that reporting from the New York Times, I spoke with a member of Biden's campaign staff. And I just want to play his reaction.


QUENTIN FULKS, PRINCIPAL DEPUTY CAMPAIGN MANAGER, BIDEN-HARRIS 2024: That is false. There are a number of rumors floating out there. The president is in this race to win it. He is the Democratic nominee. And from our perspective, we're going to continue to do everything we can to make sure that we're building a campaign apparatus to reach voters.

HILL: So, when you say that's false, the president has had zero conversations with anyone saying I may not be able to continue. I may not be able to win this race.

FULKS: That is correct. The president has been having conversations with a number of Democratic leaders. I'm talking to them. I think obviously, the president, in his own words, acknowledged a poor debate performance.

(END VIDEO CLIP) HILL: So just picking up here, some more the reporting from MJ at the White House, this person telling her the poles are plummeting, the fundraising is drying up and the interviews are going badly. He's not oblivious. The president knows what's going on.

Kate, I know you have said, and you said just a few moments ago, you believe he can continue in this race. You believe he can win that. The calls for him to step aside from both Democratic lawmakers and from voters from the American public are growing louder.


HILL: Do you believe he can survive them?

BEDINGFIELD: I do. I do. And here's why. I think we need to give it a little time. I think people are absorbing the debate.

I think as I said just a few minutes ago when we were talking, the president has things on his schedule over the next few days that are designed to showcase the fact that he has the verve, he has the energy, he has the winning message and that he's going to be able to be successful in the rest of this campaign. I think the polling that we've seen thus far across the board, again, we were just discussing this, but it doesn't show that the bottom has fallen out from underneath him, which is what might be what you wouldn't have anticipated based on the kind of breathless reaction after the debate on Thursday. That isn't actually what's happening to the race.

I do not disagree that the race is very, very close. That there are things that President Biden needs to do. That there are changes that probably need to be made in order to ensure that he can be successful this fall.


I think a lot of the battleground polling shows him, you know, one or two down in some of these key states he has to win. So, I'm certainly not disputing that it is a very close race, that it is going to require an all-out effort from President Biden and from the campaign. But I think -- as I said, I think there are opportunities for him over the next few days. I think he has to be out there showcasing it. And then I think we go from there.

HILL: Doug, how important do you think these meetings are -- specifically this meeting today, with Democratic governors? How important could that be in terms of the messaging that comes out of it for the president?

DOUG HEYE, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: It's important. But more important, I think Erica, is what we've missed over the past few days. So, you know, Thursday night when Jake and Dana asked their last questions, Joe Biden hasn't faced a question from a reporter that we've been able to see to this point. And we won't see any until we start to see some of the footage come out on Friday.

That's eight days. That is a political eternity. And it's what is driving some of this. Yes, Joe Biden was very good. In North Carolina. You usually are when you have a crowd cheering for you, and you're able to read from a teleprompter.

That's not a surprise. But we need to see more of Biden and more frequently in answering questions. And to me, Erica, it goes back to Super Bowl Sunday when the president decided not to do a live interview before the game.

Now, I never need to see any president on Super Bowl Sunday. But what the White House said is we don't want to politicize the day. OK, fair enough.

Then a few hours later, they put out a video, a cut and canned video of the president complaining about Doritos equity and how much ice cream comes in the tube. So, they did want to politicize the day. But the message that was sent was that they don't trust Biden to do a sit- down interview.

It wouldn't go well for him. And I think now, we know why if we didn't know that all along. And that's why while this race yesterday is still close, and it is still the movable object versus the resistible force, Joe Biden, that movable object is moving lower in the polls.

And the fundraising is the key. Fundraisers quite often are like the animals that will scurry before the earthquake. And if you see them abandon the campaign, you've got very real trouble.

HILL: Kate, let's talk about that interview. There is a sit-down interview with George Stephanopoulos coming up. It is a recorded interview. To Doug's point, why do you think they are opting against a live interview for the president?

BEDINGFIELD: Well, some of that is sometimes just a question of scheduling and when you can align the president's job --

HILL: Would you have pushed -- but wait. If you were in the White House, would you have pushed for a live interview? Would that be more effective in proving the point that this White House in this campaign wants to make?

BEDINGFIELD: Well, what I would have pushed for is to have him out earlier. I think live versus taped when you're doing a significant network sit-down is not as -- is not that big of a differentiation, to be honest with you. I don't think you know he's going to sit down and face George Stephanopoulos who's going to ask him I would imagine a lot of tough and direct questions as he has in the past when he's interviewed him.

So, to me, the distinction between live and taped on a major network interview is not all that significant. What I would have pushed for is for him to be out earlier. I think this is where I do agree with Doug. There has been a lag between the debate performance and when we're going to see him out again answering questions.

And I think -- you know, I think that has been -- it's been difficult to adjust the narrative -- shift the narrative back to Trump when it feels like those questions haven't been answered. So, I think seeing more of him and seeing him you know, have -- if we could have seen him more quickly, I think that would have benefited him. But we now have this interview on the books for Friday, and then campaign travel. And I think that's going to be a really good -- a good swing for him.

HILL: We'll be watching. Really quickly. We're just about out of time. But I was struck.

Congressman Robert Garcia told my colleague Sara Sidner this morning, the base is behind Joe Biden. The reality, Kate, is he needs more than the base to win this election. Is that misguided thinking to just look at the base?

BEDINGFIELD: No. I don't think that's misguided thinking at all. I think he has to -- he has to do two things here. He has to mobilize his base and put together the coalition that he was able to put together in 2020. But he also has to win a slice of those undecided moderate voters that he was able to win in 2020.

And I think where he has an advantage here, though, that has been lost in this discussion that has been so focused on his debate performance is that he's running against Donald Trump who is putting forward a message that does not appeal to those voters. And who put forward a message in the debate on Thursday night that doesn't appeal to those moderate swing voters?

One that was really focused on retribution. One in which he lied repeatedly. One in which he tripled down on, you know, his belief that women shouldn't have the right to make their own healthcare decisions.

So, Donald Trump is not running a campaign or putting forth a message that appeals to those voters. Joe Biden is. And so, that's where I think he has a big opportunity. And these next few weeks as he's back out on the campaign trail, I think will help solidify him.

HILL: Kate, thank you --

HEYE: Erica, what Donald Trump is doing is he's shutting the hell up. Donald Trump likes to talk a lot and tweet a lot. He's not doing much of that. He's letting the Democrats and Biden have this very negative conversation. And that is the smart and obvious thing for Trump and his campaign to do.


HILL: Kate, Doug, always good to speak with both of you. Thank you.

HEYE: Thank you.

BEDINGFIELD: Thank you so much.

HILL: Still ahead here. Donald Trump says he could announce his VP pick at the Republican National Convention. That is just 12 days away. Could the big running mate reveal though actually come a little sooner?

Stay with us. You're in the CNN news.


HILL: Donald Trump's packed Republican convention -- national convention rather gets underway in less than two weeks. And the presumptive nominee has not yet named his running mate.

CNN's Kristen Holmes joining me now. So, the parlor game really heating up at this point. Fueled in part by the South Florida rally which has now popped up on the schedule, what more do we know about it?


KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. So, Erica, originally, I was told by advisors to Donald Trump, by people in his orbit that they believed this was going to be the announcement. It is Tuesday in Miami. They sent teams ahead of time.

They did say that just because it is home to Senator Marco Rubio, who obviously as we have reported is on the shortlist, that that didn't mean anything to take no read into the fact that it was in Miami. However, now that we have seen in this post-debate narrative, particularly with the focus on Biden, everything seems to be in flux. I got a frantic call on Monday saying that anything that we had discussed about potential planning on that coming up -- upcoming Tuesday was no longer the case that they were trying to decide when exactly this rollout would happen.

But also, there was a lot of coasting and sitting back and trying to let this media narrative play out. Because if you'll remember, Donald Trump himself is usually in the media narrative in some capacity. And it's generally not always positive.

But instead, right now, the full focus is on President Joe Biden. And Donald Trump has been able to really not insert himself in any way. No tweets, no interviews, just laying low at his Bedminster resort in New Jersey.

Now, when it comes to VP, who is it going to be? Well, the speculation still mainly swirls around three candidates, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, Senator Marco Rubio, and Senator J.D. Vance. Anyone close to Donald Trump will tell you that they do not know who it is at this point.

In fact, they told us there are no warehouses somewhere set up that have giant banners that say Trump-Rubio, Trump-Burgum. They actually haven't done any of that. One person saying it's probably going to cost us hundreds of thousands of dollars to do it in the hours before the actual rollout. But that's where we are.

HILL: Well, the good news is all those things are much quicker in 2024 than they need to be --

HOLMES: It's true.

HILL: Even just a few short years ago.


HILL: Kristen, appreciate it. Thank you.

All right, just ahead. Jamaica now starting to feel the hurricane that has already devastated parts of the Caribbean. What Beryl could signal for the rest of the 2024 hurricane season?



HILL: Right now, Jamaica is starting to feel the powerful winds from Hurricane Beryl. That Category Four storm really maintaining its intensity as it approaches the island nation. Beryl could bring a life-threatening storm surge of nine feet in Jamaica.

We have some video to show you of the storm beginning to hit the north side of the island earlier today. When Jamaican official telling CNN the next 48 hours will be telling but he says the country is ready with hundreds of shelters activated and emergency services ready to respond. Jamaica's Prime Minister is blaming climate change for making this storm so intense and dangerous. Quickly, experts are warning Beryl could really just be the beginning for this season. This hurricane season is rising ocean temperatures, of course helped to fuel and generate more extreme weather.

CNN's Chief Climate Correspondent Bill Weir is with me now. So, when we look at this storm, we were already warned that 2024 could be a very intense hurricane season. What is it telling us though -- further telling us about what's ahead?

BILL WEIR, CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: CNN Well, Erica, what's interesting about Beryl is not just how fast it intensified, but where it formed. So, this storm actually came to life in the tropical Atlantic, a part -- a part of the ocean there were this time of year, there's usually enough cool water and Saharan dust to knock these storms down unless they move further south or north.

This one is just so strong that it overcame all of those historic forces to turn into a category five and -- in just a matter of hours right now. And we're at the beginning of the summer. These are the kinds of storms that usually don't form until the -- we have a -- you know, months-worth of built-up heat in September. And so, if this is happening now, you shudder to think of what storms could look like later in the summer.

HILL: So -- also, Bill, yesterday, President Biden was really rebuking people out there who are still denying the climate change science and reality. What more did he have to say?

WEIR: Well, this is some of the strongest rhetoric I've heard right now. The planet is really on the ballot in so many ways right now because the two candidates could not be farther apart on this issue. Donald Trump is vowing to undo as much of the climate work that's been done so far. Inflation Reduction Act, all those incentives for electrification, those sorts of things. But Joe Biden had this to say.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I quite frankly think it's not only outrageous. It's really stupid. Everyone who willfully denies the impacts of climate change is condemning the American people in a dangerous future. And either is really, really dumb or has some other motive on that. How can you deny this climate change, for God's sake?


WEIR: Obviously, in the post-debate fallout, there's a lot of concern not only among climate-conscious voters in the United States but people in this space around the world of Donald Trump. Of course, also Beijing vowing to pull the United States back out of the Paris Climate Accords again for a second time. And really pull the country out of the framework -- the legal framework that sets up climate diplomacy around the world, which would make it much harder to reenter later the way Joe Biden did.

And so how this turns out will have amazing ramifications when it comes to policies, incentives. Judges after the Supreme Court decision earlier this week, turning over the Chevron deference now. Judges will be making decisions about how much pollution can be allowed instead of experts at the EPA and other places like that. So, the stakes here are enormous.

HILL: Yes. It is sobering. Bill, really appreciate it as always. Thank you.


WEIR: You bet.

HILL: Thanks to all of you for joining me today in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Erica Hill. Be sure to stay with CNN. "INSIDE POLITICS" with Dana Bash sharts -- starts rather after a short break.

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