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Democratic Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) On Biden's Repeal Of D.C. Crime Law; Green Bay Firefighters Rescue "Little Doug" Once Again; Shark Tank's Kevin O'Leary On Inflation. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired March 03, 2023 - 07:30   ET



KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: While increasing others.

The White House is arguing that Biden's concern about softening some of those sentences has outweighed his broad support for the district to govern itself.


KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president doesn't support changes like lowering penalties for carjacking. So this piece is different but again, it doesn't change the administration strongly supporting HR 51, which would have made D.C. the 51st state. That is something that he still very much supports.


COLLINS: Statements like that though have not reassured city officials, including the attorney general who said, quote, "Any effort to overturn the District of Columbia's democratically enacted laws degrades the right of its nearly 700,000 residents and elected officials to self-govern."

Joining us now for more on this is Democratic Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware who reintroduced a bill recently that would grant Washington, D.C.'s statehood. Good morning, Senator, and thank you for being here.

Do you agree with the president on this?

SEN. TOM CARPER (D-DE): Yes. The -- what needs to happen here is the Washington, D.C. Council and the mayor need to work together. Their criminal code hasn't been updated for something like 100 years. They didn't get it entirely right when they made some -- went through their exercises over the last year or so. They need to fix it, including the carjacking that's been mentioned in the -- in the course of this.

They can do that. And once they do that we'll get -- the new criminal code will be in place. It needs to be put in place. The provisions in it that are 100 years old need to be updated. But they didn't have carjacking 100 years ago so this is a new -- a new wrinkle compared to what we started with.


CARPER: But this can be fixed and it shouldn't be that hard.

COLLINS: And the carjackings are --

CARPER: And in the meantime, the question, at least for me, is one who believes that it's -- that Washington, D.C. -- here's a -- here's a place they ought to -- per capita basis, they pay more federal taxes than any other state. They've got thousands -- tens of thousands of people who serve on active duty in the military. They don't have a vote in the House or the Senate and they ought to have that. That needs -- that needs to be fixed as well.

COLLINS: But given that, Senator --

CARPER: I default to the Golden Rule. Treat other people the way they want to be treated. And the people in Washington, D.C. ought to be treated well just like the people --

COLLINS: Is Senator --

CARPER: -- in East Palestine, that we're going to talk about here in a minute, should be treated the way we would want to treat our neighbors.

COLLINS: Yes, we're absolutely going to talk about that in a moment.

But given what you're saying that D.C. should be able to make its own decisions, why should Congress be getting involved here because that's what is happening?

CARPER: The people of Washington, D.C. deserve an updated criminal code. They also deserve a criminal code that says that carjacking should be a serious matter and it should be punished. And the mayor and the City Council have the opportunity to fix it now and they ought to fix it. And when they do it will be enacted. It'll -- that'll be -- it'll be yesterday's story. That's what needs to be happening.

COLLINS: You've argued that D.C. has the right though to govern itself, so does this move by the president not undermine that?

CARPER: No, I don't think -- I don't think so at all. In fact, if anything, it probably goes the other direction.

The -- you know, I've mentioned the Golden Rule -- treat other people the way we want to be treated. People in Washington, D.C. deserve a vote in the Congress, and the House, and the Senate. They've got more people than several states, they pay more taxes than a bunch of states on a per capita basis, and yet they don't have any representation.

I'm a retired Navy captain, Vietnam veteran. Yes, I used to be a voting officer when I was in my squadron, deployed to Southeast Asia. We had people in my squadron who were -- who were from the District of Columbia. They didn't get to vote when we were right in the middle of the war. That's wrong. We ought to fix this and we can fix this, too, at the same time and they need to. COLLINS: And I know you've said that's really important to you. That's why you reintroduced that bill.

But it's a little confusing coming from the White House because they did put out a statement of their policy on February 6 and it said Congress should respect the District of Columbia's autonomy to govern its own local affairs. And now the president is saying he will sign this Republican-led measure to overturn the crime bill that they've revised -- the crime sentencing that they've revised.

CARPER: I think we need to be practical here. Their criminal code hasn't been updated for 100 years. They need to update it.

And they've made a mistake with respect to carjacking. They shouldn't be relaxing the penalties for carjacking. If anything, maybe increase them. Carjacking is a serious problem across our country.

This can be fixed. Let's get it done. The mayor -- the mayor knows this. I think the council knows this. Let's get it done.

And after the -- after we resolve this let's turn the page in taking the next step and say now, how do we go about making sure that the people of Washington, D.C. -- all 800,000 of them -- have a voice and vote in the House and in the Senate, which I believe they deserve.

COLLINS: So, safe to say that you will be voting for this.

CARPER: I've had -- I'm lined up with the president on this.


CARPER: Let's get this done. The mayor knows what to do. I think the council knows what to do. Let's do it.

COLLINS: All right. Thank you, Senator, for that.

And I know you are also going to be chair -- you're chair -- the chair of this committee where we are going to see the CEO of Norfolk Southern coming and testifying next week -- Alan Shaw. He is someone that a lot of people have -- want to -- have heard from. He did not go to a town hall in East Palestine last night.


What questions do you have for the CEO?

CARPER: I think -- I think for us this is -- Sen. Capito of West Virginia -- she and I are the lead members of the Environment and Public Works Committee. We have jurisdiction over EPA.

I think the questions for us in the hearing we'll have next Thursday -- we've invited in a bipartisan group of senators who have offered legislation led by Sherrod Brown and others.

But we're -- I want to know and I think we want to know how did this happen. What has been done to address it? How do we make sure that this doesn't happen again? How would we want to be treated if we lived in East Palestine?

I went to -- I was -- during the Vietnam War I was a Navy (INAUDIBLE) and I had a lot of friends in all of Ohio, including east Ohio in this area. I want to make sure that they get treated the way that we would want to be treated if we were in their shoes. I think that's what guides us.

We have legislation that's been introduced. We're going to have a hearing on Thursday. We'll have a chance to hear what that legislation would do. I think at the end of the day, Norfolk Southern has to be held accountable.

The key is that we want to make sure that not only do we take care of the people whose neighbors and whose community has been turned on its head; we want to make sure that there's longer-term health concerns and that those are addressed.

EPA -- I will say this. EPA doesn't always get good credit for it but literally within hours they had a response team on the site -- on the site at the crash site. The head of EPA, Michael Regan, has been there I think two or three or four times already. And the EPA -- part of their responsibility is to hold Norfolk Southern accountable and we're going to do that.

COLLINS: And Senator, you mentioned that legislation that has been introduced by a bipartisan group, but do you think the railroad companies are going to fight that legislation?

CARPER: It doesn't matter so much what I think. We need -- we need to go -- all this regular order. We have a problem here -- a huge problem that needs to be addressed. There's going to have to be a legislative fix.

So we have several of my colleagues and Sherrod Brown have said this is what we think should be done. We'll have a chance to discuss that in our hearing. And as we go forward in the days to come we'll decide whether or not that's the right approach or if it needs to be tweaked in regular order here. Have hearings, decide, discuss, debate it in committee and on the floor, and then do the right thing and treat people the way we'd want to be treated.

COLLINS: Is this --

CARPER: And most of all make sure that this doesn't happen again. Do the best we can to ensure this kind of thing doesn't happen again.

I'm in Delaware right now. Delaware is where the Constitution was first ratified, gosh, almost 250 years ago. And it starts off with a preamble that says, "We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union" -- more perfect union. It doesn't say form a perfect union -- a more perfect union. And the idea was we knew we weren't perfect then and we're not perfect now and we can do better. We can do better than this and we will.

COLLINS: Senator, I know trains are one of your favorite modes of transportation and it's a really important issue to so many people and those in East Palestine. Thank you for joining us this morning.

CARPER: You bet. I ride the train four or five times a week. This is foremost on my mind. Thank you.

COLLINS: All right. Thank you, Senator.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: The astronauts aboard a SpaceX crew Dragon have officially docked at the International Space Station. We will show you their first moments inside the station next.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Eight years ago, these first responders saved the life of a newborn baby boy who stopped breathing. Now they are again going beyond the call of duty to raise money for heart surgery that the boy desperately needs. Oh, little Doug.



HARLOW: To space now. This morning, four astronauts successfully docked at the International Space Station after taking off in a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule from Florida on Thursday. NASA's Stephen Bowen and the first-time flyer Warren "Woody" Hoburg, along with colleagues from the UAE and Russia, will spend six months in space conducting science experiments and carrying out routine maintenance on the two-decade-old space station. They will take over from four astronauts currently there who will be returning home --

LEMON: Would you go?

HARLOW: -- at their -- are you kidding?

LEMON: Would you go to space?

HARLOW: No way. I can barely get on --

LEMON: Would you go?

HARLOW: -- a plane as it is. No. Kaitlan probably would


HARLOW: You're like a baller like that.

LEMON: I don't know if I would. I'm not so sure.

HARLOW: Don, you don't go flying either.

COLLINS: No one has invited me yet, so I haven't really contemplated it.

LEMON: Well, it's not --

HARLOW: You would never get in a rocket.

LEMON: It's not really about flying. It's just like going -- like you're away from the Earth and then if something happens you just go out into nowhere. I don't know.

COLLINS: It's probably a smoother flight than a domestic flight these days.

LEMON: Right on. Right on.

HARLOW: You're not wrong.

LEMON: So you're going to love this next story --


LEMON: -- right, because of what they're doing.

Firefighters in Green Bay who once helped save the life of a Wisconsin newborn have now come to rescue him once again. Eight years later, they helped Little Doug with health issues that nobody saw coming.

CNN's Adrienne Broaddus has more on the first responders who went beyond the call of duty.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, no -- I'm sorry.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, no -- that's fine.

ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Behl family kitchen --


BROADDUS (voice-over): -- is a battleground for Little Doug --

BEHL: I hit the (INAUDIBLE).

BROADDUS (voice-over): -- but his parents, Doug Sr. and Cami, say playful moments like this almost didn't happen because their son was born at home premature.

CAMI BEHL, MOTHER OF LITTLE DOUG: He was about 5 1/2 weeks early.

DOUG BEHL SR., FATHER OF LITTLE DOUG: His eyes were open but he wasn't breathing. Chad had him in his hand and he was carrying him downstairs.

BROADDUS (voice-over): That's Chad Bronkhorst --


BROADDUS (voice-over): -- now a battalion chief for the Green Bay Metro Fire Department. These three were among the six firefighters and paramedics responding to the unresponsive newborn call eight years ago.

JEFF HUGUET, RETIRED PARAMEDIC AND FIREFIGHTER: You are doing a two- finger for a while and then you're doing a thumb for a while.

BRONKHORST: I'll never forget when he let out a little bit of a scream. We were high-fiving in the back of the truck.

HUGUET: I was like, this is hope.

CAMI BEHL: They came to visit him in the hospital. They brought him a stuffed animal, which he still has.


BROADDUS (voice-over): They've kept in touch, attending birthday parties, trips to the fire station. And then, this summer, when a mechanical pump that does what Doug's heart can't began to fail they showed up.

BEHL SR.: Just again being right there for us.

CAMI BEHL: So we were in the hospital at Milwaukee. They had put him on end-of-life care. That's where the firemen were such a blessing because they had such a strong belief in him. They just knew this is a little fighter here and he is going to make it, and he is going to be OK.

BROADDUS (voice-over): They started a Dollars for Doug fundraiser so he could open his own bank account, one of Doug's wishes.


BRONKHORST: Yes, I cried. It was a punch in the gut just because of the connection we had.

HUGUET: Him coming back from day one was a miracle. I was like this miracle can't end.

BROADDUS (voice-over): Then a surprise the firefighters weren't expecting. Dr. Adachi, with Children's Hospital in Houston, Texas, took a chance by performing a lifesaving surgery.

DR. IKI ADACHI, SURGICAL DIRECTOR, TEXAS CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL: Little Doug is making history of our medical community. It's really rare and he survived.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, if this is what happens keep taking chances.

BROADDUS (voice-over): Now Doug is changing the batteries on the machine that pumps his heart and making big life deposits.

BRONKHORST: He has paid us in ways that you can't put any dollar amount on.

BROADDUS (voice-over): Adrienne Broaddus, CNN, Green Bay, Wisconsin.


HARLOW: They should call him miracle Doug, not just Little Doug. LEMON: The whole time Poppy is like oh.

HARLOW: I know.

LEMON: It's pretty cool, right?

HARLOW: Pretty -- just the best. And those -- you saw how choked up those firefighters got. I love that. I love that. Adrienne's reporting was great -- all right.

Turning the page here, right --

LEMON: Speaking of greatness.

HARLOW: Speaking of greatness --

COLLINS: "SHARK TANK's" Kevin O'Leary has invested in more than 50 companies. They employ about 1,500 people. Who better to discuss the state of the job market? What is going on? We have Mr. Wonderful himself here next.



HARLOW: It's a thing this morning. Welcome back. We'll tell you what the thing is in a moment. We hope your Friday is off to a great start.

We're taking a closer look at the economy and the job market, one of the important indicators we use to measure the health of the economy as the number of first-time jobless claims for unemployment benefits. That number fell to 190,000 last week, about 2,000 fewer than the week before. It means the labor market is still pushing along strong. It makes seven weeks straight of jobless claims under 200,000.

So who better to chat about this and a lot more? "SHARK TANK's" Kevin O'Leary has invested in more than 50 companies and employs about 1,500 people.

KEVIN O'LEARY, CHAIRMAN, O'LEARY VENTURES, "SHARK TANK" JUDGE: All venture startups -- average size about 30 employees.

HARLOW: Does it annoy you when people call you Mr. Wonderful or --


HARLOW: All right.

O'LEARY: I think it's an honor, you know. We think it was Barbara, 15 years ago, who was very facetious when I offered the first royalty deal on "SHARK TANK." She said oh, aren't you just Mr. Wonderful and I said yes.

COLLINS: Like, actually, I like the sound of that.

O'LEARY: I do like the sound of that. LEMON: Barbara Corcoran.


O'LEARY: My wife does not call me Mr. Wonderful, I can guarantee you that.

HARLOW: OK, so let's just start with why on earth it's so hard to hire and keep good employees these days.

O'LEARY: Over the last three years there's a new generation of worker, particularly in financial services and in technology and engineering, that has no intention of working in an office. They never have, they never will. People keep saying oh, they're all going to come back. They're not.

So when you're out there hiring now part of the negotiation is where they're going to work. And so if you're competing, which we still are because unemployment is under four percent. This is an extraordinary economy.


O'LEARY: We're supposedly going into a recession at full employment. It makes no sense. But the reality is pumping $3 trillion into the economy has provided a lot of liquidity. So we're hiring every day and we're competing every day, and we cannot get them in the office. Forty-four percent of our employees now across our venture portfolio work remotely and they ain't coming into the office, period.


O'LEARY: That's it. That's just the way it's going to be.

LEMON: How's that for productivity?

O'LEARY: I found that it hasn't changed anything because they don't know anything else. Some of them just got out of college and started working out of their homes. They've never worked in an office.

Basically, what it changes is it's project management. You say to somebody look, you've got to get this done by next Friday at noon. You don't really care when they do it -- and they're not working nine to five -- as long as it gets done.

So it changes the way you manage these companies. You're now project management on everything. It's not nine to five.

However, there's probably less private time on weekends. I call my employees 24/7. That's the deal. If you don't work in the office I can call you at 2:00 in the morning if we've got a crisis, and they're going to answer. That's the way they're used to it now.

And we have people working for us in India, in Vietnam, in Cambodia, in France, Switzerland, everywhere that have different skill sets. And here's the one thing that nobody saw coming -- and this is the competition of states. I don't put companies here in New York anymore, or in Massachusetts, or in New Jersey, or in California. Those states are uninvestable. The policy here is insane, the taxes are too high. We put them in Fargo, North Dakota because 40 percent of the people work elsewhere, including Boston.

So I was in a bit of a debate with Elizabeth Warren about this but I say look, Senator, we've got to move the companies out of your state because you're not investible anymore. You're punishing people if they're successful. You overtax them. You hit them with a supertax.

New Jersey -- what a mess. New York, uninvestable. And California --

HARLOW: Wait -- why is New York uninvestable?

O'LEARY: Try and do a project in New York.

LEMON: Absolutely.

O'LEARY: Try and build a data --

HARLOW: But yes, I'm asking -- Don's point -- is it beyond the taxes?


O'LEARY: Oh, the regulatory environment is punitive.

I had a project in Upstate New York behind the grid in Niagara Falls for electricity -- a global data center we were building. Eventually, it got so bad with the politicians in the local region and the state policy we moved it to Norway -- and all the jobs. Norway has it now. Thousands of jobs coming out of that.

I mean, that is -- that's New York -- uninvestable. Sorry, don't shoot the messenger. I'm just telling you the way it is.

COLLINS: Yes. I think we --

O'LEARY: That's it -- uninvestable.

COLLINS: -- hear some pushback from our elected officials in New York on that.

HARLOW: I was just going to say Kathy Hochul is one.

COLLINS: Yes, but wouldn't it --

O'LEARY: I'll debate them any time of the day you want --

COLLINS: We would love to set that up.

O'LEARY: -- particularly AOC.

COLLINS: I'd watch that.

O'LEARY: She's great at killing jobs. She kills jobs by the thousands. You know, another New Jersey problem -- where did Amazon take their jobs? They took them away from her. She threatened to sue them if they created jobs. I mean, this is a reality. It's a reality that the --

HARLOW: There's a little more to it but let's not relitigate that.

O'LEARY: Well, you know, sorry. I'm just telling the truth.

LEMON: He's saying what a lot of people are saying, especially what happened with that Amazon thing here in New York.

Just real quickly -- I don't want to hog the conversation but what was Elizabeth Warren's response when you said that to her?

O'LEARY: Look, I have a lot of respect for her because it's OK to have a debate about politics, but not policy. When you have punitive policy you're making a mistake. And I want to just put up my hand and say I don't agree, Senator, with your policy. I respect you as a politician -- a very successful one. She's very successful.

And that's the state where I grew my kids. I mean, our family grew up in Boston, Massachusetts. We left there to move to Florida like everybody else is because it's such a tough place to --

You know, this is a tough message. People really are critical about this but somebody has to call it out because this is a competition of states now and we don't put money there anymore. We put it in other places. And jobs are created elsewhere. Over time this is going to diminish New Jersey, diminish New York, diminish Massachusetts.

And California, out of business -- out of business -- el morte -- no business there. You can't do business there. I don't know what that place is going to turn into. Maybe a tourist zone, but no business. Imagine San Francisco -- you can't even walk at night out on the street -- sorry.

O'LEARY: So talk about what's happening though in other areas, not just on the coast. Because I'm from Alabama and hiring workers -- we were talking about a moment ago -- is a real issue. I have a feeling that we're -- they moved to paper checks that they distribute on Fridays because they were having difficulty getting people to actually come to work even five days a week. It's a real thing.

But when we talk about layoffs in the tech sector, which we talk about a bunch here -- but that's not reflected in the economy as a whole. That seems specific to them. But other than that you're not seeing the level of layoffs --


COLLINS: -- in that sense.

O'LEARY: The truth is that 65 percent of our economy is companies between five and 500 employees. And those are the ma and pa businesses that make up the core of the success of the American economy and they're doing quite well right now because the consumer is still really well financed.

And so you ask why do we still have inflation on core items like food and energy because there's a lot of money sloshing around the system. It's a remarkable time. Full employment. Rates going up at the fastest they've ever done since the '60s. And still, people are pointing to a lot of success in small business. Most of our companies are having very good quarters right now.

And people talk about tech. Tech is a little different. I mean, they over-hire and it got very frothy, and now they're cutting back. But tech is only 22 percent of the S&P. There are 11 sectors. What about the rest? They're doing quite well.


O'LEARY: And so it's an interesting time in America. There's a lot of politics. But I think we should all be focusing on policy now. It doesn't matter who's in the White House. It doesn't matter. If you remember JFK he was very pro-business, a Democrat. There's a lot of great Democrats that do terrific work in business. I don't care who is in the White House, I care about policy.

HARLOW: Can I ask you just then, finally, on policy, since you are so much about policy --

O'LEARY: I do.

HARLOW: -- you've already named -- made your name in business. You have a lot of thoughts for a lot of lawmakers. Why don't you run?

O'LEARY: Oh (laughing). I did run once. You know, I'm a Canadian, I'm Emirati, and I'm also Irish. So I ran for leadership in the Conservative Party in Canada in 2016.

And I want to make a comment that I think you'll appreciate. I have such respect for every politician I've met since then. It's the hardest job in the world to get up at four in the morning, campaign in a small town. Move to the next town, to the next town, to the next town all day long, working 20 hours a day. And then, the difference between celebrity and politics -- in celebrity, people don't like you. In politics, 50 percent of the constituency hates you.

LEMON: (Laughing).

O'LEARY: And that is a whole different --

COLLINS: It depends on what politician you are, but yes.

O'LEARY: I'm telling you I don't care what side of the bench you're on --

LEMON: It doesn't matter.

O'LEARY: -- there's a lot of crazy stuff happens to your family. And every politician will tell you this.

I respect them. I don't have to agree with them but I respect every one of them, even Elizabeth Warren who I don't agree on anything.

HARLOW: Appreciate you saying.

O'LEARY: It's true.

HARLOW: It's a way to disagree on policy --


HARLOW: -- and not attack. She's a fair person.

O'LEARY: She's a fantastic politician. She can really raise money. But boy, do I disagree with her on policy.

LEMON: Is there a discussion that needs to be had -- what you were talking about -- you know, places that are uninvestable right now.