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Scott to Challenge McConnell for Leadership; Billions at Risk of Hearing Loss; William Cohan is Interviewed about his New Book on GE. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired November 16, 2022 - 06:30   ET



DON LEMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is where the Republican civil war goes right now. It's moving to the Senate this morning. Florida Senator Rick Scott has announced a bid to challenge Mitch McConnell for the top GOP leadership role he has held for the last 15 years in the Senate. Scott saying that a big change is needed and it's time for new leadership in the Senate. Mitch McConnell says this.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): I think the outcome is pretty clear. I want to repeat again, I have the votes. I will be elected.


LEMON: Well, the tensions between the two senators heating up following the GOP's short comings in the midterm elections.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): Well, I never predicted a red wave. We never saw that in any of our polling.

SEN. RICK SCOTT (R-FL): Here's what happened to us. Election Day, our voters didn't show up. We didn't get enough voters. It was a complete disappointment.

MCCONNELL: It's pretty obvious, and all of you have been writing about it, what happened. We underperformed among independents and moderates because their impression of many of the people in our party in leadership roles is that they're involved (ph) in chaos, negativity, excessive attacks.

SCOTT: What are we running on? What do we stand for? What are we hell bent to get done? What - we've - you know - you know, there's no plan to do that. The leadership in the - the Republican Senate says we - no, you cannot have a plan. We're just going to run against how bad the Democrats are. And actually then they cave into the Democrats.

The Republican leadership caved in on the debt ceiling, caved in on a gun bill, caved in on a fake infrastructure bill and then we make it difficult for our candidates. MCCONNELL: Candidate quality, you'll recall I said in August, is

important. And in most of our states we've met that test, in a few of them we did not.


LEMON: So, let's bring in CNN's Jessica Dean, live for us on Capitol Hill this morning.

Jessica, good morning to you.

I was just reading before the show, election denial limits turnout for the GOP. That's in "The Times." Every major paper across the country is similar headlines.

What the former president stood for was exactly that. And the GOP believes that it limited their turnout.

So, what has been the reaction from the GOP after this announcement?

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. Well, Don, the fact of the matter is, Scott does not likely, at this point, have the votes to challenge Mitch McConnell. What is key, and I think what people can take away from this, is the fact that McConnell is being challenged at all. He's the longest serving Republican leader. Rick Scott is part of Senate leadership. So, every Tuesday they all stand together, ostensibly putting together a united front.

That is not what we're seeing spilling out into public view. You're really seeing the division between this party and which way they believe they should be pushing forward. You have Rick Scott on one side. You have Mitch McConnell on the other.

We know these elections are scheduled for later this morning. It is possible they get delayed. We have some senators calling for a delay in those elections. But you heard Mitch McConnell, he's confident he's going to have the votes.

The bottom line, again, is that this division is spilling out into public view. But this has been broiling for some time now, it's just really reaching a fever pitch, you guys.


POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: There is a lot of beef, Jess, as you know well, between the two for a number of reasons, including strategy and funding in the midterms. But also McConnell was really mad when Rick Scott, earlier this year, put out that policy proposal and it included sunsets to Medicare and Social Security. And that's a big deal for millions and millions and millions of Americans.

DEAN: It absolutely is, Poppy. And that was not part of what Mitch McConnell wanted to put out. It was not part of his message leading into the midterms.

And then we heard from Senator Scott, who kind of went rogue and did his own thing. And that was the message he believed was going to be the most effective.

And, look, he has some support within the Republican senators that believe that he is the way forward. But Mitch McConnell certainly does not see it that way. And you heard his assessment of what happened in these midterm elections about moderates and independents, about candidate quality. These are things he's been touching on, you know, that we've heard leading up to these elections.

He said back in August he was concerned about candidate quality. But really more -- also - also too about being united in their messaging. And that was not what we were getting from Scott versus McConnell. And now you're really seeing that play out. And we're going to see what happens later today.

Again, the key here is, will they delay this or will it actually happen this -- later this morning.

HARLOW: OK, Jessica Dean, on The Hill, thank you for the reporting.

LEMON: Chaos even as the -- in the minority. That's going to be something (ph) to watch.

HARLOW: That's right.

A troubling study says more than a billion of you are at risk of hearing loss. Guess what? From listening to your music too loud.

Plus this.


BEYONCE, MUSICIAN (singing): You won't break my soul. You won't break my soul . You won't break my soul, I'm telling everybody. .Everybody.


KAITLAN COLLINS: Beyonce has just tied her husband Jay-z for the most Grammy nominations of all time. Also ahead, the powerhouse artist that she is facing in a rematch at the awards.

LEMON: Behold, the titans of pop.



COLLINS: All right, just how loud are you listening to your music? Asking for a friend, because a new study says you might want to turn the volume down. A billion people are at risk of hearing loss from their ear buds.

So, joining us now to talk about this devastating development is CNN medical correspondent Dr. Tara Narula.

LEMON: What did you say?

COLLINS: I listen to -

LEMON: I'm sorry. This is -- too soon?

COLLINS: This is your IFP here that's causing issues.

LEMON: I know. Look, these things -- yes.

COLLINS: That's real.

LEMON: It's real. We have it -

COLLINS: IT's those and ear buds that are -

LEMON: All the time.

COLLINS: We're getting with the double whammy here.


COLLINS: But what does this study show because, I mean, we all, whether it's air pod, the ones that have cords, which is what I use -


COLLINS: We're all listening to stuff all the time.

NARULA: I mean noise is everywhere, particularly if you live in New York City. But, yes, we know that 340 million people worldwide suffering from some sort of disabling hearing loss. In fact, in America, that's about 40 million.

So, these researchers wanted to see, what is the effect on the youth and adolescent population. So, they looked at 33 studies over 20 years from 20 countries and they found that - they estimated that about one billion of those ages 12 to 34 are at risk for hearing loss based on unsafe listening. And by --

LEMON: One billion?

NARULA: One billion. And that was based on personal listening devices. So, phones, MP3 players and also entertainment venues. So, when you go out at night, clubs, concerts, all of that.


NARULA: So, they really are classifying this as a public health issue that we all need to pay a lot more attention to. I did yesterday as I was reading this study and listening to my music on my air pods.

HARLOW: You turned it down?

NARULA: Right. Exactly.

HARLOW: When I'm coming to work, by the way, all the - do you guys see this, all the club goers are coming out of the clubs. Like, literally, that was my - that was my former life. NARULA: At that hour. It was your life.

LEMON: We know you were coming out of the club (INAUDIBLE).

HARLOW: That was my former life.


HARLOW: But, what - what kind of damage can it recreate? Is it -- is it like permanent?

NARULA: Well, it can be. And so it can be from a single exposure to really loud noise or recurrent exposure that can be kind of cumulative over time. And our auditory system is really sensitive. We have these very delicate hair cells in the inner ear. You're born with a certain number. If you lose them, that can contribute to hearing loss. Also, the fibers - the nerve fibers in the ear are sensitive and those can get damaged.

And so when we're talking about damage, it's really from both the intensity, the frequency, the loudness, all of that together, the duration of exposure and -

LEMON: OK. So, it's inescapable.


LEMON: Sorry, not to - it's inescapable because your - your - my air pods talk to me, right?


LEMON: Poppy is texting you. Would you like to respond? Would you like to listen? Blah, blah, blah.

NARULA: I'm glad I don't have those guys.

LEMON: And then I'll be talking to someone, right, and then it will say, would you like to say I want a, you know, a half caf or whatever to Poppy? And I'm like, no. And the barista is going, what, you don't want the coffee? And I'm like, yes.

COLLINS: I need to redo (ph) this text.

HARLOW: This explains so much.

LEMON: Yes. But you can't escape it.

So then the question is, what do you do?

NARULA: Yes. Well, you've got to pay attention to the noise level.

So, first of all, you can turn down the volume. You can take a break. If you're at a concert, you know, maybe move away from the speakers. You can use earmuffs or earbuds to kind of block out the noise. If you have headphones, you can use the ones that block out the background noise so that - that allows you to lower the volume.

And then there are these cool apps that you can get on your phone that can tell you the decibels of sound. So, a normal conversation, 60 decibels. Anything that's really sustained and over 85 decibels for a long time, that's going to damage you. You - most music that we listen to, 105 decibels. Concerts, 112.


NARULA: That's a lot.

LEMON: We're joking a little bit but this is - I mean this is very serious.

COLLINS: Sometimes I have my earphones in, though, just so no one will talk to me, but I'm not actually listening to something.

HARLOW: I was just saying, my best friend does that so no one talks to her.

LEMON: Wait a minute, you've done that to me.


COLLINS: No, I have not. I would never do that to you.

LEMON: Yes, she has.

COLLINS: Like on planes and stuff.

LEMON: Yes, right.


NARULA: You're avoiding - avoiding social interaction, right.

HARLOW: Don't talk to me.

Thank you, Doc.

LEMON: It's the equivalent of the fake phone call. I can't talk because I'm on the phone.

COLLINS: A very important study.

NARULA: Thank you. Turn down the volume.


COLLINS: Thank you, Doctor.

LEMON: Thank you, Doctor. Appreciate it.

NARULA: Thanks.

COLLINS: All right, so what happened to GE. We have a new book that details the astounding rise and unimaginable fall of the iconic American company.


And the author of that book is going to join us here on set, next.


HARLOW: So, you all know the company General Electric. It is iconic. It sold everything from electricity to jet propulsion to MRIs. So, how did this American staple really break apart and find itself at the risk of disappearing. That is the question at the heart of a new book, "Power Failure: The Rise and Fall of an American Icon." It is on sale now. The author, William Cohan, looked to the history of GE, which is slated to divide into three separate companies, by the way, next year, and how its leadership contributed to its rise and eventual fall.

Let me read you this from the book.

Quote, the story of GE's glorious rise and distressing fall is not just the story of a power company or a jet engine company or a TV network or a fiance behemoth. It's a cautionary take about hype, hubris, blind ambition and the limits of believing and trying to live up continuously to a flawed corporate mythology.

We're so happy to have our friend, William Cohan, here.


He also, we should note, you worked a long time ago for GE Capital, one of their financial services divisions that was.

This book is stunning. It's remarkable. It's sort of the best look I've ever read at Jack Welch and how he led, and the good and the bad and everything in between.

So, congratulations and thank you.

WILLIAM COHAN, AUTHOR, "POWER FAILURE: THE RISE AND FALL OF AN AMERICAN ICON: Thank you, Poppy. And congratulations to all of you. It's really a privilege to be here with you.

LEMON: Thank you. Good to see you.

HARLOW: Thank you, friend.

LEMON: In the morning.


HARLOW: So you -- you open with this - this story about being at lunch in Nantucket with Jack Welch. He takes you to lunch. And after lunch - first, he's complaining about Immelt, his successor. And then he drives you home afterwards and he won't buckle his seat belt and the dinger keeps going off the whole way home. And he drives down the middle of the road and everyone has to move out of his way. You, obviously, open for -- the book with that for a reason. What does it tell us about him?

COHAN: Well, Jack was, like GE, iconic. He was a legend by then. I mean, literally, at the lunch, people like Phil Mickelson, who was playing golf at the golf course, came up and said hello to him. So, Phil Mickelson is coming up to say hello to Jack Welch. Then there was the CEO of Barclay's who came up and said hello. So, I mean, I was -- I knew I was in the presence or around an, you know, exceptional person.

He won't put his seat belt on. And then I was figuring, maybe he shouldn't even be driving at all, frankly. And then he drives down the middle of a pretty narrow road that, you know, goes down the heart of Nantucket. And I was thinking, well, if this is it for me, at least - at least my obit might say that, you know, I died with Jack Welch driving. So that was the best time.

HARLOW: But you also write about him having Jack magic, that's what you call it, and being a rare leader, CEO, who doesn't just fake listen to people, who actually listened to people.

COHAN: You know, Jack, of course, was very forceful and very strong minded, but he would also go into meetings with his top executives and be open minded sufficiently to have his mind turned around. You know, I tell the story of the creation of, you know, some of the networks on NBC, some of the shows, CNBC, MSNBC, if I can mention them, that David Zazlov (ph), you know, had a hand in starting. And, you know, Jack wanted to start a business network inside of NBC. And the way that all happened was he had to have his mind turned around. And he sort of led these executives to start this when others, you know, thought maybe it wasn't a good idea. But Jack was determined to do it.

This was the thing about Jack, he would make up his mind but then allow it to be turned around if something -- evidence turned that maybe there was a better solution.

LEMON: Is this the end of an era? The sort of - the celebrity - I look at -- even if you look at what's happening in media now, you have the celebrity CEOs of giant media companies and it's not so much anymore. Is he the - the -- sort of the end here of that?

COHAN: Well, I think it's -- what's incredible about this is that GE has been around for 130 years. I mean it is truly iconic. I mean everything we sort of took for granted about the company. And, I mean, technology was incredible. Like, the best jet engines, you know, the best medical equipment. I mean, you name it, the first electric cars even 100 years ago.

But it's a real passing -- end of an era. And so if the most valuable, most respected company in the world can sort of dissolve right before our eyes, what does that sort of necessarily say about, you know, Microsoft or Google or Apple, which, of course, did have once upon a time a very rough patch and then came back.

So, I mean, I think capitalism is very - you know, always is evolving and things come in and out. There was creative destruction that was - sort of been written about for years. It's very important that -- to understand the dynamics of various companies.

LEMON: It - this says something too about growth because everything now is shrink, shrink, shrink, cut, cut, cut. And he had a similar philosophy, but yet he grew it at the same time, which was, you know, quite a feat to do.

PHH: $12 billion to $600 billion.


COHAN: He - you know, when he took over CEO, the company was worth $12 billion. And when he left it was around $600 billion. So --

LEMON: And now it's breaking up.

COHAN: And now it's breaking up. So, if that can happen to a company like GE, I mean we -


COHAN: It can happen to any company.

COLLINS: But he seemed to blame so much of that on his successor.

COHAN: Successor. Which, of course, he chose, so -

COLLINS: Who he said he picked - he picked him. What - you know, what was your sense of what was truly driving that, because he was very open in his criticism when you spoke with him.

COHAN: Very open. Surprisingly open. Perhaps too open.

COLLINS: Did it shock you?

COHAN: Very much so. I mean, right, even before I could sit down at the lunch. And it was something he repeated often. And I said, Jack, but --

HARLOW: And tell people what he said.

COHAN: Well, I can't because -

HARLOW: Don't swear.

COHAN: Yes. He basically said he chose the wrong guy as his successor, Jeff Immelt. You know, and Jeff, you know, was a very smart guy and did very well for a number of years. But, obviously, under his watch the company started to deteriorate. And, you know, he could have chosen anybody he wanted. I said, Jack, but you chose Jeff. And he said, no, he made a big mistake.

LEMON: But why were you surprised then if you - because you said, you know, this guy driving down the middle of the road without a seatbelt and he was just very outspoken.


Why were you surprised --

COHAN: Well, that was when he was in his 80s. So, I mean -

LEMON: Yes, but why were you surprised that he was so honest about -

COHAN: Because he - you know, don't forget, I don't know if you don't remember, but the theatre of the selection process of choosing his successor was front page news for years.

HARLOW: Yes, it was.


COHAN: And he could have - you know, again, he had David Zazlof (ph), he had Dave Cody (ph), he had Dave Calhoun (ph), all who have gone on to great - become great CEOs. And he chose Jeff Immelt. He could have chosen Robert Nardelli (ph). He could have chosen Jim McNerney (ph).


COHAN: But he chose Jeff. He made a mistake, and he - he admitted it to me many times.

HARLOW: Can I - we're really interested in how this relates to leaders today. I mean look at Elon Musk and how he's leading Twitter right now. Look at what's happening in Silicone Valley, right, to all of these companies that seemed bullet proof.

COHAN: Facebook. Meta.

HARLOW: Right?

COHAN: Right.

HARLOW: What's the lesson from Jack Welch and GE that you write about possibly disappearing for these companies and these leaders, these guys? They're all guys, by the way.

COHAN: Yes, they - you know, too many of them are guys, that's true. I wish that would change.

Look, I mean nothing is for certain, right? I mean you think some place -- a company like GE, which is around for 130 years, can be around forever. It's just not true. I mean you think Google or Apple are going to be around forever. And, you know, the choice of the CEO is very, very important. Understanding your company, understanding the risks that are inherent in the company, understanding how that fits into the overall economic environment is very important.

COLLINS: Can you talk about what made Jack Welch tick? I mean he was just such - I was just so fascinated by this book. I think anyone should read it. But what -- did you get a sense of that?

COHAN: Oh, my God. I mean such a dynamism, even in his 80s, the twinkle in his eye, the energy, the enthusiasm. He was a - he was an only child. You know, he - he was not a big guy, but be excelled in athletics. He was always a leader. He always, you know, got people around him who believed in him. And, you know, look at the executives who spoke up for him so passionately as I was writing this book. Every one of them just loved the guy.

LEMON: Does social media change the calculation because you have now these people who run companies, they're on social media. You see them smoking pot. You see them in every aspect of their life.

COHAN: Yes, I don't - I don't know if Jack Welch and the way he behaved would be acceptable today.


LEMON: Yes. Thank you for that.

HARLOW: The book is great. Here it is. Super short, as you can see, 800 pages.

COHAN: It didn't take very long either.


LEMON: (INAUDIBLE). I said when you sat down, is this "War and Peace"?

COHAN: But it's a great read.

HARLOW: It is a great -

COLLINS: You can tell Poppy read hers.

HARLOW: I went - I - when I saw him a few days ago I said, who's your researcher. You did it all yourself.

COHAN: All myself. All the interviews, all the research myself.


HARLOW: Incredible. Congrats.

COLLINS: Really amazing.

COHAN: Thank you. Thanks for having me.

HARLOW: All right, William Cohan, thank you very, very much.

LEMON: Thank you, man.

HARLOW: All right, we are following breaking news about the Russian- made missile that hit Poland. What we're learning about where it likely came from.


[07:00:08] LEMON: Good morning, everyone. Wednesday,