Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Newsroom

Biden Faces Critical Day Of Campaigning, Primetime Interview; Framework In Place For Ceasefire And Hostage Release Deal; FDA Approves New Medication For Treating Alzheimer's. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired July 05, 2024 - 11:00   ET




JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, you are live in the CNN Newsroom. I'm Jim Sciutto in New York.

Just a few minutes from now, President Joe Biden will leave the White House for a day that could reassure many skeptical voters or potentially deliver a death blow to a wounded campaign. It has been eight days since Biden struggled in the CNN presidential debate, raising serious questions about his fitness to lead in a second term.

Today, the President will hold an afternoon campaign event in Wisconsin, then sit down with George Stephanopoulos for his first televised interview since the debate. Joining us now is Larry Sabato from the University of Virginia Center for Politics. Larry, always good to have you on. You sit down with a lot of voters through the years in this cycle and many others. And you do a lot of data gathering. I wonder, what would you define as a success tonight? Well, what does Biden need to do to change to change the dynamic right now?

LARRY SABATO, CENTER FOR POLITICS DIRECTOR, UNIV. OF VIRGINIA: I don't think he can change the dynamic with one interview, I suppose you'd say stop the bleeding. And the bleeding has been bad, Jim. I mean, we've been looking at all the data coming in, all the surveys, some public, some private, and it's bad. And Democrats need to understand that things are not stable. And it is no longer close, the race between Biden and Trump no longer close.

SCIUTTO: That's bad. And by the way, CNN is reporting earlier in the week was that if Biden's team saw polls plummeting, that that would factor into the decision to leave the campaign. You're describing polls plummeting, right, not a minor move here, it seems?

SABATO: Well just take the four last week, including CNN's poll. All of them were in agreement, which you rarely see even with well conducted polls. Biden, who was really maybe even, maybe two points behind Trump is now at least in unison in these polls, six points behind. That's millions and millions of voters. And what is it that's going to restore them? A good interview, a good route? Come on. SCIUTTO: Yes, I hear you. It's early in terms of judging the support of potential replacements for Biden, CNN, of course, had a poll earlier, which showed that the Vice President Kamala Harris was among the closest to Trump and in a head to head but you do a lot of polling, is there enough polling to give a credible steer as to who might be the best or the strongest Democratic replacement?

SABATO: Not yet, because many of the alternates to Kamala Harris, who's the natural successor of being vice president, but there are a lot of -- the Democratic Party is bursting with talent, particularly in their gubernatorial ranks, but they're not well known outside their state. So you're comparing apples and oranges here, the Vice President is well known, many of these governors, people have a glimmer of who they are, but they don't have any strong opinion on them.

So it would be a matter of doing what some have suggested having three, four or five debates in various places around the country, getting them better known, and then we'd have an idea of where they stood relative to one another.

SCIUTTO: And that would require, of course, a decision by this President, first of all, a decision to leave the race, not clear that we're there yet. But then also a decision not to deliberately say, Vice President Kamala Harris is the person I'm going to throw my delegates behind. Last hour I spoke to Brian Stelter, CNN's former chief media correspondent of course covers media quite closely. Here's what he had to say about the debate tonight.


BRIAN STELTER, FORMER CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Astoundingly, Jim, the White House is almost portraying this interview as a cognitive test. Like it's some sort of televised doctor's appointment. The White House and the Biden campaign have raised the stakes for this interview as if it was not already important enough. So it is both the most important interview of the interviewer's career, Stephanopoulos, but most importantly, for Biden, as you said, his presidency is on the line here.


SCIUTTO: I mean, the trouble is, right. It's not a cognitive test. It's an interview and it to your point, seems your view is that that by itself is not going to do voters impressions here.


SABATO: That's correct. And every day is going to be another cognitive test for Biden. That's the burden of it. Look at what happened yesterday, Jim, this didn't get as much coverage as it might have. But every speech that Biden gave, whether it was at a rally or for the July 4th ceremonies, it was picked apart. And every time he had a slip of the lip, you know, which we all do. But every time he had a slip of the lip, it was analyzed and maybe over analyzed. That's what he can expect between now and forever. SCIUTTO: Is there any historical precedent that can inform our sense of what the effect of Biden dropping out at this stage of the race. I mean, folks bring up the LBJ example, but that was far earlier in the cycle in 1968, gave time for other candidates to emerge. I can't think of one, I wonder if you could think of one where a candidate left particularly a sitting president left at this stage of the race?

SABATO: No, there's no comparable sample. The 68 situation was totally different. I might mention Woodrow Wilson. He was bedridden with a very stroke. But he wanted at least at times to run for a third term. Believe it or not, he wanted to run for a third term. Finally, he realized that was physically impossible. It takes president a while to adjust to reality, not that that's necessarily going to happen now because if his staff and family are determined to block out other information, they'll probably succeed in doing so.

SCIUTTO: Larry Sabato, always good to have your long experience to share with us.

SABATO: Thank you.

SCIUTTO: A framework is quote now in place, Israel and Hamas are nearing an agreement, it seems, on a ceasefire and hostage release deal. This comes after yesterday's call between President Biden and the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. A senior administration official tells CNN the deal is, quote, very consistent with the one President Biden proposed publicly in May. That is three phases, the withdrawal of Israeli forces, the release of all living hostages, and the eventual reconstruction of Gaza. CNN's Jeremy Diamond is in Jerusalem. Jeremy, I asked the same question yesterday. How much closer are they this time with the proviso that things could fall apart, again, as we've seen before. But what is your stance in your reporting in the last 24 hours as to where this is moving?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, at this stage, Jim, I think it's fair to say that Israel and Hamas are closer than they have been to a potential ceasefire agreement, perhaps since the collapse of that last truce at the beginning of December. I don't say that lightly. But I also say it with a lot of caveats. And that is to say that nothing is agreed to until everything is agreed to, and what is coming now, this next phase of negotiations, detailed negotiations over the implementation of this agreement, the sequencing of the releases the identities of the Palestinian prisoners, to be released by Israel in exchange for those dozens of Israeli hostages still being held by Hamas.

All of that is what's now set to be negotiated. And all of those issues are very thorny, very difficult. And not only is that phase of negotiations expected to take somewhere between two to three weeks, according to one source, familiar with the negotiations, who I spoke with. But we know, of course, that the outcome of those talks is far from assured, a ceasefire deal is far from guaranteed.

But it is notable that we have now gotten to the point where a senior administration official is comfortable with saying that there is effectively a framework agreement between Israel and Hamas, although neither of those two parties seem willing to publicly say as much, instead there appears to be quite a bit of kind of cautious optimism at this stage. And what we'll be critical to see is how these first days of negotiations in Doha, Qatar, between Israel and Hamas is mediated by the Egyptians and the cutleries, how exactly those unfold. They will be critical to seeing if indeed a deal can be forged as they work through so many of those difficult issues in the days and weeks ahead, Jim.

SCIUTTO: A consistent dynamic here has been an open question. Does Hamas want to deal? But also does the Israeli Prime Minister want to deal open questions from some in the Israeli public and among the Israeli political leadership there? What is your sense of where Netanyahu stands on this right now? Is he willing to accept one?

DIAMOND: Well, listen, that we know that he has his own political interests and that one of the political interests going against this deal is the fact that many of the right wing members of Netanyahu whose governing coalition the men like Bezalel Smotrich, Itamar Ben- Gvir, who propped Netanyahu up as prime minister. They are firmly opposed to a deal that would end the war without succeeding in achieving all the goals.


And that's why we've heard the Israeli Prime Minister insisting that even if he agrees to the steel he could effectively restart the war at any moment. So he does have some selling to do to that coalition. We will see once we get all of the details of this latest framework, whether he's actually able to sell it to the members of that coalition. But there's no doubt that he is also coming under pressure from the other side. Benny Gantz, who was a part of the war cabinet left the government recently. He just spoke with Netanyahu today, urging him to move forward with this deal. And so Netanyahu was certainly hearing it from both sides, as he makes his own calculus going forward.

SCIUTTO: We'll see if the two sides come finally, together on this. Jeremy Diamond in Jerusalem, thanks so much.

Today in Tel Aviv, thousands of people took to the streets calling for the Israeli government to approve that ceasefire deal with Hamas. The protest was called Mother's Cry March. And in those crowds of people are the families and the mothers of many of the hostages taken on October 7th. Sunday will mark nine months since that day, nearly a year.

And joining me now is Amit Levy, her sister was taken hostages -- hostage. Amit, thanks so much for joining. I can only imagine the pain you and your family have been going through. I'm going to begin with just a quite basic question. How are you doing through all this?



LEVY: Thank you, sir. I mean, after nine months, waking up every morning and going to sleep every night, if I'm even able to sleep near my family, knowing that Naama is going through torture every day, physical and mental torture. And it's really hard. And now, like we just heard, there is some optimistic reports in the last couple of days. And we are really hopeful that this time they will be sealed. And we can Naama there on.

SCIUTTO: You said your family has not received any proof of life for your sister. Has the Israeli government been in contact with you about what they know if anything about her status?

LEVY: Actually, early on, we did get a live signal from the IDF. And I mean, we're hopeful that there are other things that they know about Naama that they just can't tell us because it would put her in danger.


LEVY: But we don't know in the last couple of months, at least that we know she was kidnapped alive. We saw it in the videos. We know that she was alive and OK. She was injured. But besides that she was OK physically. After about 60 days when other release hostages saw her and manner just before they were released. So we're optimistic about her being a strong survivor and getting back to us in best condition possible.

SCIUTTO: Who do you blame for the amount of time it's taken to secure most of the hostages released here?

LEVY: I mean, first and foremost, I blame the terrorists that kidnapped Naama and kidnapped and raped and murdered and tortured thousands of people on October 7th and before. So Hamas is a terrorist organization and I blame them and I blame everyone who supported them. And obviously, I also have a lot of criticism to the Israeli government and to other strong democratic governments like the United States and Germany and the United Kingdom and in Canada and every government that can push it more and put more pressure. And wasn't doing it enough for nine months, because if it was enough, they were already home, Naama would have already been home. It seems that maybe now, the pressure on Hamas, maybe was enough. And hopefully it will be enough to bring all the hostages back home.

SCIUTTO: Well, Amit, I appreciate you taking the time. And let me say we at CNN we hope that you and your family get new good news about Naama and very soon.

LEVY: Thank you.


SCIUTTO: And we'll be right back.


SCIUTTO: Right now nearly 7 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease, so many American families affected perhaps you know one of them, may be one of them. For decades, researchers have tried and failed to effectively treat this most common form of dementia. It is left patients and their loved ones with very few options. But now there are some new signs of hope. CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta spent five years investigating the breakthroughs in a documentary called The Last Alzheimer's Patient, here this Sunday. And here's a preview.


PAT CARVER, HUSBAND HAS ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE: It was probably only maybe three or four months into the study that I realized Mike wasn't asking repetitive questions the way he had been. And those stopped and those have kind of stayed away.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: You're a meat and potatoes kind of guy.


GUPTA: They're asking you to do a vegan diet.

MIKE CARVER, ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE PATIENT: Yes. I'm from Kansas City. There's meat there.

GUPTA: How hard was that for you?

M. CARVER: It was pretty difficult to start with, then I just had to turn around and say, this is the best I can do to stay alive. And I want to live with my wife, as long as I can.


SCIUTTO: Sanjay joins us now. Sanjay, Mike's story is incredible. And one thing that stands out to me from this story, from this piece, is the signs of hope here, right, because we're so used to discussing the bad tread lines. But what more did we learn from this study?

GUPTA: This was lifestyle changes alone, Jim. I think that's a significant headline. So Mike, was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's in his mid-60s. He's in his early 70s now. He went through this trial. And just to give you a sense of scale here, the trial was about five months, so 20 weeks or so. And the things that you heard some of what he went through, he is on a vegan diet, regular exercise, mild strength training, meditation one hour daily, and support sessions.

Pretty rigorous, but also very doable. But again, just these lifestyle changes alone, he was actually able to reverse the signs of cognitive impairment. Most patients, Jim, I'll tell you, when they get the diagnosis, they're told there's really not much we can do. You have to get your affairs in order. This is going to be a linear sort of acceleration of the disease. That wasn't the case with Mike.

SCIUTTO: Yes, and these changes, when you look at them are not dramatic, they're doable. They're very doable. So it's remarkable to see those results, a lot of talk as well about new drugs for early Alzheimer's. FDA recently approved one of them. How promising are they? I mean, do they show marked change or just sort of incremental change?

GUPTA: Yes. I mean, so the FDA did approve another drug. And I will tell you that this is the second medication that's been approved recently. There hadn't been medications approved for many, many years. So in that sense, there are these glimmers of hope in the world of pharmaceuticals as well, to give you some context, how effective are they? Well, you look at does something slow down cognitive decline? Can it stop the progression of cognitive decline? Can it even reverse it?

With these medications, it was really about slowing down the progression, about 29 percent with this particular medication. So again, these are patients who are told look, there's not much more to offer here. So here's a medication and infusion, it comes with risks, brain bleeds were did happen, and some of the patients are in the trial. And they happen more than you saw in patients who got placebo. So these were real brain bleeds. And these are what patients have to sort of balance, the potential benefit of slowing down cognitive decline with potential risks.

And I'll point out they're very expensive as well. I mean, you look at our healthcare budget. Jim, we spent $4 trillion a year on health care. Do you think about these medications, they cost tens of thousands of dollars for these single medications alone. That is the offer that a lot of patients get. But that's a large part of why I wanted to present this lifestyle trial by Dr. Dean Ornish, because again, within five months, the body is very biodynamic, the brain is very biodynamic, it can get bad quickly, and it can improve quickly as well. And that's what the study showed.

SCIUTTO: Yes. I mean, listen, those costs are high, particularly spread out across the medical, the healthcare system, and you have to make those judgments, right? I mean, folks don't like to make them. They want to have everything. But you have to make those judgments. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thanks so much.

GUPTA: You got it.


SCIUTTO: The Last Alzheimer's Patient airs this Sunday at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time right here on CNN. And we'll be right back.


SCIUTTO: This morning, Britain has a new prime minister, his name is Keir Starmer, longtime human rights lawyer. They're meeting with King Charles as is tradition. Then entering 10 Downing Street with his wife, Victoria, a short time later with throngs of supporters cheering him on. Things move quickly in the U.K., following the elections. A landslide victory for the Labour Party gives it control of the British government for the first time in 14 years. Starmer ends Rishi Sunak's 10 years as prime minister. The Conservative leader officially turned in his resignation this morning. CNN's Max Foster is in love London. Max, this is a seismic political change for the U.K.

MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Yes, so in the last election, Labour had one of its worst results ever. They've gone from that to having one of their best results ever. And the Conservatives are completely collapsed. And it's a complete shift in British politics. Having said that, the center ground has held, so we have a slightly left of center. The Prime Minister now when we did have a slightly right of center Prime Minister.

At the edges though, a lot of people talking about how Britain is bucking the trend in Europe because it hasn't surge to the right. But you have seen a surge to some extent of the right because you got the Reform Party gaining a few seats at one end. You've also got the greens at the left are getting some seats there. So Keir Starmer, it was -- he hasn't got the popular vote actually, the way the British system works. He has got a lot of power here so he is in a strong position going forward.


You said how quickly things can change, that's one way it's changed as well --