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Dani Blum is Interviewed about a Diabetes Drug to Lose Weight; McCarthy's Math Problem in Speaker's Race; Michael Smerconish is Interviewed about Kevin McCarthy and Mike Pompeo. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired November 23, 2022 - 06:30   ET



DANI BLUM, HEATH REPORTER, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": The weight loss. So, it's really (INAUDIBLE).

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Every time you see someone who has either lost weight or whatever, I did the intermediate fasting and lost weight, and every - I mean people - it's just like a novelty now. They're like, hey, are you on the shot? Are you doing the shot? It's like -

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: But it's a shot into your stomach, right?

LEMON: It's a shot like you do a diabetes drug. So, people just automatically assume. And they think it's just OK. It's like - it's just like a thing. Like buying, you know, going to the store and buying it.

BLUM: Yes. So, it's an injectable medication. It can go in your stomach, your thigh or your arm. And, yes, it's become sort of increasingly popular. There's a lot of chatter about it on social media. You have celebrities saying they've used it. There was a really interesting report in "Variety" about essentially there are, you know, encrypted group chats of actors and people in Hollywood talking about it. So, it's definitely a big topic of conversation.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: And the issue here, it's not that unusual to use a drug, right, if it's off label or it's not for its explicit use. That happens with doctors a lot.


COLLINS: But the problem with this shortage and having all these celebrities use it and talk about it. I know Elon Musk having said he took Wegovy.

HARLOW: Right.

COLLINS: The issue, though, is if you have diabetes, and you need access to this medication and it's in shortage -

LEMON: Can't get it.

COLLINS: And you can't get it. So, what are they -- what's the solution there?

BLUM: Well, I will say there are two issues. The shortage is definitely, you know, something that is really impacting people. But also the medication hasn't been studied in people beyond the groups that it's approved for. So, if you are someone who doesn't meet the BMI criteria or, you know, the other FDA criteria for taking this drug, we just don't know if it's safe or not. And there are side effects. You know, this is not medication that I would consider, you know, taking super lightly. There are reports of people with extreme nausea, fatigue, vomiting. One doctor told me that some patients get such intense constipation that they go to the ER. So, a lot of considerations.

LEMON: Pancreatitis, right?

BLUM: Yes, that happens in rare cases. So, I do want to stress that, you know, there are a number of issues surrounding this drug. But in terms of people who need the medication and can't get it, I mean, the unfortunate truth is that medication shortages are not super rare in this country. The FDA currently lists, you know, I want to say, dozens of medications in shortage. I just wrote a piece about how Adderall is in shortage right now. And so doctors and patients are just doing their best. And there's not really a one size fits all solution. You know, the manufacturer is working on it. It's sort of just, you know, one doctor described it to me as feeling like she's in a hamster wheel just trying to make sure that her patients get the care that they need.

LEMON: Yes, this -

COLLINS: Yes, we've been talking about these shortages all week.

LEMON: There's also, I mean, listen, there's a sort of the have and have nots, right, because people -

HARLOW: It's expensive if you don't have a diabetes prescription and insurance.

BLUM: Yes.

LEMON: Yes. So, wealthy people, people of means, are using this drug to lose weight and, in the meantime, there are probably people who are struggling to afford their medications who can't get it.

HARLOW: Yes. Its's like $800 a time, I think.

LEMON: Or $1,000 depending on which one it - which drug, right? It was at - what is it, we, whatever it is, and (INAUDIBLE).

HARLOW: Wegovy.

LEMON: Wegovy, yes.

COLLINS: Yes, big questions about it. BLUM: Yes. Yes. And I was also just going to say, you know, the thing

about these drugs is that they're not meant to be a quick fix, right? So you're not supposed to inject yourself with these drugs for two weeks, lose 15 pounds, and then go off them and keep the weight. So, if you are, you know, having that expense and paying out of pocket for these drugs, what happens is that you're supposed to stay on them long term, essentially indefinitely, otherwise you run the risk of gaining the weight back. So, a number, again, of issues surrounding this.


HARLOW: I don't feel good about this.

LEMON: Thank you, Dani.

HARLOW: Thank you.

LEMON: Thank you. Appreciate it. Nice work.

COLLINS: Thanks, Dani, and happy Thanksgiving.

BLUM: (INAUDIBLE). Thank you.

COLLINS: All right, also this morning, the road to 218 is proving to be a pretty bumpy one for Kevin McCarthy. We'll talk about what is complicating his path to the speakership and why it may get even more complicated in the coming days.

LEMON: That was crazy. I read that wrong. I was like 2018? The road to 2018? What are they talking about?

COLLINS: We're going back in time, yes.

LEMON: Yes, I know. We're going back in time to the roads 218.

OK, look at this crazy video showing a waitress holding onto the hood of a speeding car after a group of teenagers dine and dash. We'll explain what's behind this.

HARLOW: Oh, wow.

LEMON: Did you see that?

HARLOW: Hadn't seen that. Not till now.




LEMON: All right, so, get this, rapper and actor Ice Cube says that he didn't shoot a movie because he didn't want to get a Covid vaccine, and it cost him millions.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ICE CUBE, ACTOR: And I turned down a movie because I didn't want to get the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) jab, you know. I turned down 9 million -


ICE CUBE: Because I didn't want to get the jab.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You didn't want to get, you know.

ICE CUBE: Yes, (EXPLETIVE DELETED) that jab and (EXPLETIVE DELETED) you all for trying to make me get it.


LEMON: OK. Well, Ice Cube confirming reports from 2021 that he missed out on a $9 million paycheck because he refused to get the coronavirus vaccine. Back then the coronavirus was still raging across the U.S. Many were hesitant about getting the vaccine and there was a lot of misinformation about how the shot could keep you safe and alive.

Well, since the start of the pandemic, there have been more than 1 million deaths from the virus. And experts have said over and over again that getting vaccinated is one of the best way to protect yourself.

In August of 2021, I went back to a hospital in my hometown of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It was filled with patients during the height of the delta variant surge. One doctor told me that he had never before seen a single illness take up 90 percent of the hospital's resources and beds. And I spoke with patients who hadn't gotten vaccinated before they were hospitalized. And I want you to see what they said.

Watch this.


LEMON: Why didn't you get vaccinated?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just hadn't had time, you know. I just didn't do it.

LEMON: So, you're not anti-vaccine?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, sir. No, sir.

LEMON: You were just kind of ambivalent about it?


LEMON: Do you regret it?





UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know if the shot would have helped me, but maybe it would have kept - preventing get worse.

LEMON: Let me ask you, why didn't you get vaccinated?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Me, myself, I thought that I was being safe because I've been quarantining since the beginning of the pandemic. The reason I didn't get vaccinated, my choice was, I wanted to wait, let this first batch go through, you know, see how it worked.

The good thing about me ending up here is everybody has said, OK if mom, of all people got Covid, it's time for us to get vaccinated.

LEMON: Why didn't you get vaccinated?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just apprehensive, you know. My husband got it -- vaccinated and wanted me to and I just thought, oh, I'll be careful.

LEMON: What do you say to folks now?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think everybody ought to try to get it, yes. Yes. It's just -- if it'll help prevent you from getting really sick, you know, it's going to do its thing.


LEMON: I think we have to keep that in mind. We send -- tend to -- I feel like we look back on the pandemic like, oh, we could have done this better. Of course, people are Monday morning quarterbacking. But I think people like Ice Cube need to be -

HARLOW: How they talk about it now.

LEMON: More responsible about how they talk about it now and how they talk about it then because, look, it would be great if everybody could miss out on $9 million - I had that, you know, sort of privilege, but they didn't. And you look at those people in the hospital and we have to remember, people did not know what was going on. That's why it was a novel virus, it was new, and they didn't know. So, people were acting, I think, in responsible ways that they thought were responsible then.

So, we just - I think we need to be more careful about that and not so flippant.

HARLOW: So -- fair. There's a lot of people I love close to me who still have not gotten vaccinated.

LEMON: And they're wrong (ph).

HARLOW: Medically, I agree with you. What I want to say is, I think the way we go about it has to not be

shaming them. So, I think there's a lesson learned from the pandemic about how we talk about it and educate and have empathy and understanding while also showing facts. That's all I'm saying.


HARLOW: I think shaming didn't work.

LEMON: Yes. Well, that's why -- that's why we did the people in the hospital to show --

HARLOW: Exactly. Not saying you did it.


HARLOW: I'm just saying largely there was a lot of shame, and I think that wasn't the right approach.


HARLOW: It didn't motivate people.

LEMON: I think it depends on what you think shame is. If - if you think shame is telling people the truth and being honest with them and tough love, but -

HARLOW: No. No, no, no, I think it's being - I think shaming people is when you're dismissive, I can't believe they did that. They don't know anything.


HARLOW: Right? There was a lot of that.


HARLOW: So, lesson learned.


Nothing? You don't - don't want to get in on this?

COLLINS: I mean, it's a real - it's a real issue that still persists now. I don't think it's just because of what came out of the White House. And I covered the White House during those years.


COLLINS: It also has to do with the ecosystem, where people get their news from. A lot of that these days.

HARLOW: Oh, yes.

COLLINS: And the White House is still dealing with this today. I mean look at the Covid briefing they had yesterday and they talked about how important they believe booster shots are, but very few people have actually gotten the booster shots.

HARLOW: And Dr. Jha is going to be on with us I think next hour talking about that.

LEMON: Yes. I think a lot of that had to do with our leaders who were misleading people or were not being responsible enough to tell people the truth.

HARLOW: They could have done so much more.

LEMON: So much more.

But, again, I don't want to Monday morning quarterback here because people were acting on information that they had at the time and we have to remember that.

COLLINS: Good, because it's Wednesday.


COLLINS: No Monday morning quarterbacking.


COLLINS: Big questions, though, for Dr. Jha when he comes on the program later.



LEMON: Straight ahead, though.

COLLINS: Also this morning, conspiracy theories, speaking of misinformation, impacting real life. The FBI has arrested a man for threatening the agency's director and a lawmaker because he claims Congress is running a child slave ring.

HARLOW: Also, the former secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, says the most dangerous person in the world is -- you'll never believe his answer.



COLLINS: For Kevin McCarthy, 218 is the magic number. Those are the votes he needs to become House speaker when Republicans take over in January. But with a slim margin, he is going to need every vote that he can get. And it's getting tougher. Five Republicans have now signaled they plan to oppose McCarthy for speaker. Meanwhile, while he was on the southern border yesterday talking about the GOP plans when they do take over the House, he said that they might impeach the Homeland Security secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas, if he does not resign first.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): If Secretary Mayorkas does not resign, House Republicans will investigate every order, every action, and every failure will determine whether we can begin impeachment inquiry.

KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We have a plan. We've been putting that forward. McCarthy has no plan. The Republican Party has no plan. They do nothing except do political stunts.


COLLINS: We should note, the DHS spokesman said Mayorkas has no plan to resign.

CNN's Melanie Zanona is live for us in Washington.

Melanie, you know, we've been looking at these numbers for McCarthy and it's not clearcut what his path is going to looks like. What is - what is the conversation on Capitol Hill right now?

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Well, it's all about the numbers game, Kaitlan. As you mentioned, he needs 218 votes in order to become speaker. And we don't know what the margins are going to be right now. But Kevin McCarthy is predicting he's only going to have 222 Republicans total in the House, which, doing the math he means he can only afford to lose four Republicans in the speakers race.

However, a fifth Republican just came out and said he is going to oppose McCarthy on the floor vote in January.

Take a listen.


REP. RALPH NORMAN (R-SC): There are a growing number of us who have lost faith in that McCarthy can do the job. And the speaker's the most important position at this point in time in this country.


ZANONA: So, what that means, Kaitlan, is Kevin McCarthy is either going to have to convince one of those members to change their minds or convince them to vote present or not show up to the vote, which would essentially lower the magic number he needs to become speaker.


And Kevin McCarthy better hope that there's not more Republicans where those came from.

COLLINS: Yes, we certainly know there's an effort to put more Republicans on the list.

But, Melanie, has McCarthy responded to this? And, also, is there anyone's whose name has been suggested to potentially takeover if he doesn't ultimately secure the votes to become House speaker? ZANONA: There's a ton of names floating around. No one would outright

challenge him. No one serious. But there are, you know, Steve Scalise, Jim Banks, Mike Johnson. There are names out there. None of those people would actually challenge Kevin McCarthy.

Kevin McCarthy himself has been meeting privately with some of his critics. He's been making phone calls. He has not cut any deals just yet. I expect those will come in the coming weeks. But he is also trying to publicly show his critics what kind of leader he would be. As you mentioned, he was at the southern border yesterday. He called on Alejandro Mayorkas to resign. He threatened him with impeachment. And those are some of Kevin McCarthy's strongest comments to date on the impeachment question. And, obviously, his right flank has been agitating for impeachment. So, clearly, those comments were designed to win over some critics, Kaitlan.

COLLINS: It is going to be a very interesting January. We've got a few weeks ahead of them. Melanie, thank you so much for that update.

LEMON: You know who I think we should bring in to talk about this? I think it should be CNN political commentator and host of CNN's "SMERCONISH," luckily his name is Michael Smerconish, because then that would be kind of weird.

Good morning to you, Michael.

So, what is going on with Kevin McCarthy? He's talking about immigration. He's talking about all that. Does he have the votes and also what he did at the border, is it a - is it a stunt? Should they be talking more about practical, real solutions to the immigration crisis?

MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, Don, I think it's all related. I think the reason that he's on the border is exactly because of this issue. His desire to be the next speaker of the House.

By the way, I think that Kevin McCarthy has the worst odds of being the next House speaker except for all the other Republicans, because you can't beat somebody with nobody. So, when the question becomes, if not Kevin McCarthy, who, there's really no name that you can fill in the blank that you'll be able to herd a sufficient number of cats to get to the 218 or whatever the actual number might be because they vote by surname, it could be 216. But I don't see anyone who could deny him, I guess is my point.

LEMON: Wait, wait, wait, wait, so you say he has the worst odds but yet you still think he's going to be speaker? Is that --

SMERCONISH: The worst - the - it was my attempt, my weak attempt at a pun. He has the worst odds except for all the others -

LEMON: OK, got it.

SMERCONISH: Because I don't see anybody with better odds than he does. LEMON: Yes. OK.

COLLINS: That's really interesting.

Also, you know, I want to talk about something that is fascinating to me. This is something that secretary of state -- former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said yesterday. He was talking to Semifor (ph). Obviously, he is someone who is widely considered to be potentially a 2024 candidate. And he was asked about who the most dangerous person in the world is. And, Michael, he said the most dangerous person is American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten. It's not a close call. Obviously, he's referring to the Covid practices that you saw put in place at the height of the pandemic. She was heavily criticized for that. Is she the most dangerous person in the world?

SMERCONISH: How about the guy who invaded Ukraine, or the one who keeps firing all those rockets in North Korea? I thought it was confirmation of Pompeo's strong desire to run for the presidency because what's he really doing? He's appealing to the GOP base on matters of parenting and education. Take a look at Glen Youngkin's playbook in Virginia two years ago. Nothing fires up the base, maybe with the exception of the border, like the education issues. So, a very curious choice of Randi Weingarten, really? I mean, I went back and I had to reread the question because I wondered, is it the most domestically threatening person? No, in the world, and he thought of her. Kind of ridiculous.

LEMON: Mike Pompeo, though, come on. You have all these people, why waste money and time and the American people's time. There's no path to the presidency for Mike Pompeo.

COLLINS: We don't know that.

LEMON: Yes, come on. Let's just be real. Michael?

SMERCONISH: Well, if it - OK, if - no, no, I have a response. I always have a response.

Look, it's -- it's Trump and it's DeSantis and then it's that whole stage full of individuals who showed up in Las Vegas last week. Do any of them have breakout potential? It's hard to say. It's hard to see at this moment because I get it, Don, you know, they're all kind of on that same playing surface.


SMERCONISH: But if something is problematic for Trump, an indictment or some other issue and DeSantis decides not to go, it could be any of them.

HARLOW: Michael, next time I want to talk to you about what Pompeo said about bringing back Schedule F. We're out of time. But that's a big, big deal to have a bunch of loyalists in all these government agencies, you know, like Trump tried to do. So, we'll see.

[06:55:01] Michael, thank you. We'll all watch you Saturday, 9:00 a.m.

SMERCONISH: Thank you.

LEMON: Happy turkey to you, sir.

HARLOW: See you, friend.

SMERCONISH: You too. Bye-bye.

HARLOW: All right, back to just the terrible breaking news overnight and our coverage of another mass shooting in America leaving six murdered at a Virginia Walmart. We're live on the scene and speaking to a state senator from Virginia, next.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He went in at 10:00 p.m. tonight and we received a phone call -- well, his wife received a phone call we -- about 10:18 saying that he had been shot.

What was really strange to us is that he clocks in at 10:00. So, he hadn't even been there ten minutes.


LEMON: Those are people affected by a shooting. This is CNN THIS MORNING.

And for the second time in four days, America sees another mass shooting.


A gunman opening fire last night inside a Walmart in Chesapeake, Virginia. This is what we know.