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Congressional Black Caucus Voices Support For Biden; Millions Without Power In Texas Amid Dangerous Heat; Study: Some Weight Loss Meds More Effective Than Others. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired July 09, 2024 - 11:30   ET



DOUG HEYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: This is an important document for the committee but ultimately, it's not something voters pay attention to. Even though delegates will vote on it, they don't really focus on it. The difference with this is given what an intense issue, some of these things have been for, Republican primary voters and delegates and certainly committee members are their issues on the floor not against Trump, but against some of the specific language.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Scott, let me wrap this segment up with you. Trump is claiming he knew nothing. His words. Knew nothing about what's called Project 2025, despite the fact that many of his closest advisors authored the proposal and irregularly echoes its policies in his various speeches. Will voters buy his claim? What do you think?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think that he likely hasn't read much of the documents coming out of a think tank. I think that's true today. I think it's been true for years.

I think some of this stuff he probably agrees with some of what he doesn't, but I think one of the reasons they put out the RNC platform was to say, if you really want to see what I'm running on, what I have blessed, what I am going to tell the people that I will do? Look at my platform, not some document that's coming out of a think tank. My name is on the ballot, not some think tank guy you've never heard of. That was a good piece of Jujitsu for Trump to do to get that platform out this week.

BLITZER: Scott Jennings and Doug Heye, to both of you, thank you very much.

Still ahead this hour. I'll speak with Democratic Congressman Gregory Meeks. He was in that caucus-wide closed-door meeting to discuss President Biden's campaign. Stay with us. You are live right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.



BLITZER: The Congressional Black Caucus says it's backing Joe Biden's reelection campaign big time, even as other Democrats insist it's time for the president of the United States to step aside. President Biden asked for the caucus's support last night in a virtual call with members. It comes as House Democrats are wrapping up a make-or-break meeting up on Capitol Hill this morning with lawmakers still divided over President Biden's future.

Joining us now is Democratic Congressman Gregory Meeks of New York. He's a key member of the Congressional Black Caucus and the ranking member of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the House. Congressman, thanks so much for joining us.

This Democratic caucus meeting is apparently just wrapping up right now behind closed doors. You were inside.

Give us your bottom line is set -- assessment right now. What is your conclusion about what President Biden should be doing?

REP. GREGORY MEEKS (D-NY): Now, it's a great -- it was a great listening session, a great meeting, and I want to take my hat off to leader Jeffries for bringing the caucus together so that we can all talk with one another. And I think what was clear to me in the meeting was that we're all United in understanding. And what everyone -- you know, may have different positions but we understand one thing. The existential threat to the United States of America is Donald Trump.

And the concern that anyone has is when you look at what's taking place with reference to decisions by the Supreme Court recently. Whether you look like -- if we look at some of the policies that existed by the former president, we know. And as we celebrate here the 75 years of NATO and we know the position of Donald Trump who feels that NATO is no longer needed and, you know -- and friendly with Russia on what's happening with Ukraine, who goes trying to wait us out. One of the things that I can say that came out in that meeting is we're united to try to make sure that we are focused together to make sure that we save the democracy in the United States of America.

BLITZER: But did many of your colleagues in this closed-door meeting that's just wrapping up now, Congressman, seem to have serious doubts about President Biden's leadership of the Democrats going into the convention?

MEEKS: I think that every member agreed with the great work that Joe Biden has done and could -- and can continue to do. Now, people -- members had different opinions as we always do. Thank, God, the Democratic Party is not the Republican Party. The Republican Party locks often in step with an individual who has been impeached twice who has been convicted -- as a convicted felon, as well as has lost in court about assaulting women. And yet, they go lockstep.

It reminds me of the '30s, how you had Hitler and Stalin. It was because individuals just went in lockstep with them as opposed to expressing and hearing there -- the vast voices of people that would prevent that from happening. Thank, God, I -- you know, when I was in that room, I was saying I'm glad that we have the diversity that we had in our room.

The diversity of ideology. The diversity of ethnicity. The diversity of religion. The diversity of Sachs. You know, (INAUDIBLE) that was important. And then we heard all of that and they made me proud to be in the room, to be a Democrat. And people are free to express because that's what democracy is about. Free to express what they feel to our leadership.

Our leadership was sitting there and digesting all of it. And well then take with it to the -- to the president of the United States and to others to show how we can do and what we need to do so we can make sure that we win the presidency. And win the House of Representatives. And maintain the majority of the Senate. That's what this is all about. And that's what we are united on.

BLITZER: Congressman, now you represent Queens in the U.S. House of Representatives. Your hometown newspaper once again just a few moments ago, The New York Times -- it's editorial board, published yet another editorial among other things saying this.

Democratic leaders should rely solely on the judgment of the few voters who turned out in this year's coronation primaries. They should -- they should listen instead to the much larger group of voters who have been telling every pollster in America their concerns for a long time. Mr. Biden has to pay attention to the will of the broader electorate that will determine the outcome in November.

What's your reaction to this second New York Times Editorial board editorial effectively calling for President Biden to drop out?


MEEKS: I wish the New York Times had written an editorial about the Republican Party continuing to support a convicted felon, an individual who has never cared about anyone but himself. I wish that we -- I wish the New York Times would have talked about how Republicans are just marching in step with him, how inadequate, how indecent, how inhumane that president is.

I didn't see that editorial board editorial with reference to talking to the Republicans and the can lay their support. So, how am I going to stay on to say that's a good editorial? If they are in fact want to talk about the facts, they should have done that the second that Donald Trump announced his candidacy because the New York Times knows what a disaster he will be to this country.

So, to just -- to try to pick on the -- to pick on Joe Biden or to talk about Democrats, they should have been first focused on an individual who we know -- who we know (INAUDIBLE) from New York. There's not one businessperson that can say anything good about Donald Trump. Donald Trump has always only cared about Donald Trump. And we -- and the New York Times should be on the Republican Party for standing side-by-side with him.

And -- you know, feeling that he is up nepotism of a king, which is exactly actually what the founding fathers did not want to do, is what they ran away from. And Donald Trump believed what he says in this even though he's a liar, as said by -- you know, many of his Republican colleagues plenty of times in 2016, you know whether it was Graham or Rubio or Cruz. They all have said, know who he is because they told you who he is. But here is the opportunity for the New York Times to let the people know who Donald Trump really is.

We know who Joe Biden is. A good man. A family man. A man that has been compassionate and who cares about human beings. And he's done that his whole life.

We also know about Donald Trump. And that's what the New York Times should be talking about.

BLITZER: I know we got to run, but is Biden the best, the strongest candidate to prevent Trump from being reelected?

MEEKS: Joe Biden has a record to prove that he's a leader. And he will prove again this weekend with NATO. You know, when I think about -- you know the 75th anniversary of NATO, it is stronger today.

Why? Because of Joe Biden. We now have Finland and Sweden in the -- in NATO into -- you know, stronger. We have the Pacific Islands in the -- and individuals from the South Pacific.

Like, I just met with the prime minister of New Zealand and Australia. So, the whole Democratic world, those of us who shared the same values, Joe Biden has led that and brought us together. History is also going to show that in these trying times, it was the leadership, the conviction, and the wisdom of Joe Biden that has made us stronger as democracies.

BLITZER: Congressman Gregory Meeks of New York. He's the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Congressman, thanks so much for joining us.

MEEKS: Thank you for having me, Wolf.

BLITZER: And still ahead this hour. After Beryl's wind and rain devastated parts of Texas and Louisiana, we're about to have a live report from the scene. Stay with us.



BLITZER: Right now, more than two million customers across Texas are without power as dangerously high temperatures descend on the state. Officials say it could take days or even weeks to get everyone back on the grid. CNN Meteorologist Derek Van Dam is on the scene for us in Houston right now. What's the latest there, Derek?

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes. Wolf. A combination of a hurricane, a heatwave, and a multi-day power outage is a nightmare scenario for anyone. And it's only going to become more common as humans continue to heat up the planet, fueling stronger storms like Hurricane Beryl that came bashing into the coastline of Texas just 24 hours ago, knocking out power to millions.

Here, just outside of Houston, what you're looking at behind me is a utility restoration. Multistate coordinated efforts to turn back the power to the people. But the race is on because a heatwave is descending in this area. So many people without power, not the opportunity to cool themselves off. If they're just doing basic cleanup from storm damage, going indoors is not going to bring any relief without electricity and air conditioning.

Harris County earlier this morning was over 70 percent without power in terms of customers. I drove through it in the middle of the night darkness. Trees down. Power lines down. It was treacherous and very dangerous.

Now, statewide, it's 2.2 million. But look at this next graphic because that shade of orange, that is a heat advisory. And that means heat index values here, Wolf, could top 105 degrees. It is brutal. And that means that the race is on to get back the power so people can cool down. Back to you.

BLITZER: All right. CNN Meteorologist Derek Van Dam on the scene for us in Texas, thank you very much.

Sometimes they seemed too good to be true. We're talking about the wildly popular weight loss drugs. There is certainly a lot of research you could do before making an appointment with your doctor and spending your money. Dr. Sanjay Gupta is answering your questions. He's here, and that's next.



BLITZER: This morning, researchers are putting popular weight loss medications to the test and found some were more effective than others. Let's go to our chief medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.


BLITZER: He's joining us right to explain in our new segment, "DR. SANJAY GUPTA ON CALL." He breaks down the latest science and health news and answers your questions. You can submit your questions by the way, using the code you see on the screen right now.

Sanjay, tell us, first of all, about the drugs in this study. And should these drugs which are relatively new, only be taken If you have a lot of weight to lose? What if you only want to lose five or ten pounds, should you take these drugs even though there are side effects?

GUPTA: Great questions -- important questions. A lot of people asking this. First of all, there's four main drugs that people have probably become accustomed to hearing about.

There's one class that's called the Tirzepatides and another class called the Semaglutide. They're made by different companies. Each of those companies has two drugs. One is for diabetes. The other for weight loss. And the -- what they essentially do, Wolf, is whenever you eat, you release hormones. Those hormones stimulate insulin. Those hormones tell your brain that you're full, slow down your gut. That's how they help you lose weight.

What this study is -- this new study was actually comparing the Tirzepatide drugs such as -- such as Mounjaro to the Semaglutide drugs such as Ozempic. And what they found was that all the drugs help you lose weight, at least five percent of your weight within the first year.


But what they found was that the Tirzepatides were actually more likely to make you lose more weight at the one-year mark. So, on average taking the Mounjaro type drugs, you lose about 15 percent of weight compared to the Semaglutide, eight percent of your weight.

Now, your question. If you're trying to lose just ten pounds versus 50 pounds, keep in mind this, Wolf. These drugs are really only approved for people who have clinical obesity. So, people who have a BMI, Body Mass Index of 30 or more, or if they have a body mass index of 27 with some other sort of existing condition. So, they're really designed for people at that very high end of their weight, Wolf.

BLITZER: Because there are major side effects, I'm told.


BLITZER: Tell us about the concerns people -- some people who need to lose weight are worried about the potential side effects.

GUPTA: And I think that that's a very legitimate concern. We'll put up the list of side effects here. And as you look at this you know, side effects like nausea and vomiting and things like that, keep in mind how they work.

They are slowing down how quickly food moves through your digestive system. That can be helpful in terms of weight loss but could cause a sort of side effects here. And what we find is that most people will have some sort of side effect, although, for the vast majority, it's pretty minimal side effects. That is another point of distinction again between Tirzepapatides and Semaglutides.

Again, I'm using these words because people have gotten to know these words. Some people are going to have more side effects with one class of drugs versus the other. And that's something you got to talk to your doctor about.

BLITZER: A lot more questions there still out there, Sanjay, but thank you very much for this information. Extremely useful. Sanjay will be back with us later this week to answer more of your questions about these very popular weight loss drugs. Scan once again, the QR code on your screen to submit your questions. Sanjay will be answering your questions. And to our viewers, thanks very much for joining me. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington. I'll be back later tonight, 6:00 p.m. Eastern in "THE SITUATION ROOM." Stay with us. "INSIDE POLITICS" with Dana Bash starts right after a short break.