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Drop in High School Grads Going to College; David Mandel is Interviewed about Writer's Strike and "White House Plumbers"; Oscar Leeser is Interviewed about Immigration; McCarthy to Address Israeli Parliament. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired May 01, 2023 - 08:30   ET



KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: I know. It's just a - it is amazing to see these little kids.

Larry, you should have let him keep your mic flag as he was playing with it there while you were talking to his mother. That was so cute.

All right, Larry Madowo, you've been doing great work, though, so, thank you.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Well, today, May 1st, marks National College Decision Day. And the pressure is on for high school seniors to confirm their enrollment with their school of choice. Some new data out, though, finds that over the last few years undergrad college enrollment has actually dropped nationwide.

Our senior data reporter Harry Enten is here with this morning's number.

Is it because it is so darned expensive?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: I think that certainly has something to do with it, people trying to save money. And let's just sort of get into this, OK?

New high school grads going to college, it's down four points from 66 percent for new high school grads in 2019 to 62 percent for new high school grads in 2022.

But it's very interesting when you look at the split of exactly what's going on here.

So, this is the new high school grads going to a four-year college. That has stayed mostly steady from 2019 to 2022. New high school grads, 45 percent of them are going to a four-year college in 2022. There was some dip during the Covid pandemic, but it's come back up.

Where it has not come back up, though, is two-year colleges. Back in 2019, 22 percent of new high school grads were going to two-year colleges. Now that is just 17 percent that are going to two-year colleges. And this is part of a along long line, Poppy. Back in 2012, 29 percent of new high school grads were going to two-year colleges, to just 17 percent now. Why? Because of a constant strong job market that makes that degree less desirable.

HARLOW: I also wonder how ChatGPT and everything changes all of this when, like, your whole job and everything is going to change.

There are places where we're seeing an increase in enrollment, though?

ENTEN: We are. So, trade schools.


ENTEN: Trade schools. Look at this, the change from 2021 to 2022, up 19 percent in construction. Culinary, up 13 percent. Mechanics, up 12 percent. But on the other end, right -- so this is about getting more money, right? You want to get more money, you enter these professions. Also about getting more money, look at the Ivy League acceptance rates. Look at this. Across the five schools that released the data, in 2020 the acceptance rate was 6.6 percent. Look at 2023, now just 4.6 percent. So, it's interesting, right, you've got the trade schools on one end and the Ivy League schools on the other, which are both becoming more desirable.

HARLOW: A lot of thoughts on there are so many great colleges out there.

ENTEN: There are.

HARLOW: It's about what you do with the opportunity.

ENTEN: It's what you do with the degree. That's exactly right. My mother went to city and state schools and she made a great life for herself.

HARLOW: I hope my husband is listening. He agrees.

All right, Harry, thank you.

ENTEN: Thank you.

HARLOW: Kaitlan.

COLLINS: I'm sure he is.

The "Super Mario Brothers" has just become the tenth animated movie to make $1 billion globally. But the success comes as another Hollywood writer's strike is looming potentially. We're going to speak to the executive producer and director of HBO's latest miniseries, which is out today, "The White House Plumbers," for his perspective on that and how the show has parallels to what's happening today, next.



HARLOW: The clock is ticking, trying to avoid a Hollywood writer's strike for the first time since 2007. In an industry increasingly dominated by streaming, writers are demanding changes to the way that they're compensated. If a labor deal is not reached by tonight, before midnight, nearly 98 percent of the Writer's Guild union members have voted to go on strike. That would bring production on film and television shows to a standstill.

Let's talk about that and a whole lot more about his new show, "White House Plumbers," premieres today on HBO and HBO Max, is the show's executive producer and director, David Mandel.

Dave, great to have you. Good morning.


HARLOW: The show is phenomenal.

MANDEL: Oh, thank you.

HARLOW: We had Judy Greer on a few weeks ago. I have loved what I've seen of it in the sneak clips I got.

But let's talk about the writer's strike. Is it going to happen? And if it does, what does it mean?

MANDEL: I, unfortunately, think it's going to happen. I am part of the 98 percent that voted for it. I'm the director of "White House Plumbers," but I'm a writer during the rest of my time in life. And it just, unfortunately, we have a situation where too many writers, certainly that I know, my contemporaries, guys in their 50s, women in their 50s who all of a sudden, even though this is supposed to be peak television, are not making a living. Like, are worrying about, like, how they're going to, like, pay their mortgage and stuff. And that just seems insane. And, unfortunately, I didn't tell these big companies who are crying poverty to make some of these deals they did, to go all in on streaming. That -- I was not consulted on that. So, I'm not quite sure why writers should pay for it.

So, anyway, I think, unfortunately, it's going to happen.

COLLINS: That's news. So you do think it's going to happen? We'll continue to track that, and, of course, what is at stake there.

We also want to talk about your new show, "The White House Plumbers," because it's out today. It's about Watergate, which I feel like so many people think that they know what happened, but this is from the perspective of those who orchestrated it. We've seen the first episode but I do -- I want to show our audience a clip of what to expect.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have to say, fellas, I'm impressed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You should have seen this guy operate. Gets the cleaning lady to let us in. Err ergo, all 100 percent legal. And they can't ID us. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, yes, good luck with that. And the best part,

when she leaves at night -

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, no, no, she doesn't even lock the back door.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Slip in, get into the filing cabinet, slip out. In -

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Without anybody knowing. Textbook black op.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to run your black bag op by Erlickman (ph), but I think he is going to like it. Great work.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think everybody prefers Odessa (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no, plumbers is better. Pretty clever.


COLLINS: OK, Dave, the show is funny, but it's -- you don't see it as a comedy, because this is real and it actually happened and there are implications for today's politics even.


MANDEL: Yes, I kind of called it all through production a really funny tragedy because it's absolutely horrible. These were -- these were people under assignment from the president of the United States working to subvert the will of the American people, to break laws. And yet sometimes the way they went about it, the very guise they were, their sheer desperation to get it accomplished was funny. You can't help but laughing, even though they aren't jokes. We're not writing jokes. It's just actually happening the way it happened. And it's unbelievable. So, like I said, a very funny tragedy.

HARLOW: Sort of goes to that, you can't make this stuff up.


HARLOW: Frank Rich, who is also an executive producer, called it a slapstick tragedy. And we had Judy Greer on, who told us the timing is sort of perfect right now. Do you agree?

MANDEL: Yes, you know, it's one of these very funny things. When we set out to make this show, it seemed relevant. It seemed important. Obviously, we'd been through a couple of almost impeachments and stuff. And now, here we are, just a couple of weeks after a former president of the United States is indicted in a courtroom in New York City. You sort of -- you can't plan these things. But the issues of Watergate are the same issues we're facing today.

You have a president sort of overreaching in the name of power. You have guys like sort of the Michael Cohens of the world who are such true believers that they're willing to put themselves out there for a president, for a, you know, closeness to power. And yet, at the end of the day, these are the first guys that get tossed to the side and go to jail.

So, I think this will give us -- I think "White House Plumbers" will give us a lens to kind of see what's going on today. Sort of a -- there's a real connection between Watergate and right now. So, that's my hope.

COLLINS: You had a premiere of the show in Washington. Bob Woodward was there. And I know the two of you spoke after. What did he say to you about it?

MANDEL: I mean, first of all, let me just say, it was so scary because basically you're having Mr. Watergate watch your Watergate show, which I - I do not recommend. But -- so I was very nervous. But afterwards he was fantastic. I certainly never want to put words in his mouth or dare I say ever misquote him, but he said that we captured the sort of clown show aspect of these guys and how dangerous they were and yet how often, like, weird and funny they were at the same time. And that made me very happy, needless to say.

COLLINS: Yes. All right, it's a fantastic show.

David Mendel, thanks so much.

HARLOW: Yes, congrats, Dave.

MANDEL: Oh, thank you. Oh, thank you.

COLLINS: Yes, everyone -- "White House Plumbers," it's really good.

HARLOW: It's great. It's great.

COLLINS: It's really funny.

Also this morning, the city of El Paso under a state of emergency as the mayor there says he has made a declaration in anticipation of the unknown consequences of Title 42. It's expiring next week. That's that border policy sort of at the center of debate in Washington. We'll ask what he's expecting.



COLLINS: The mayor of El Paso, Texas, has now declared a state of emergency, bracing for what is about to come at the crisis in the border.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MAYOR OSCAR LEESER, EL PASO, TEXAS: We're getting prepared now for what we call the unknown. And the unknown is what will happen after May 11th.


COLLINS: May 11th, of course, is when Title 42 is going to expire. That's that immigration authority (INAUDIBLE) because - it was in place because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Border authorities now predicting a surge of migrants after that. The pandemic-era restriction allowed the U.S. to quickly expel certain migrants into Mexico or back to their home countries.

Joining us now is El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser.

Mayor, thank you so much for being here this morning.

You see this up close and personal in a way that very few others do. What are your concerns about what May 12th is going to look like?

MAYOR OSCAR LEESER, EL PASO, TEXAS: Well, they're - we -- I got the opportunity to spend about four hours on Friday into Mexico and kind of look and see what is happening over there. And we went out there and we looked and other shelters are fairly empty, but the streets have a lot of asylum seekers on the street. We figure there was about 10,000 to 12,000 getting ready to come in on May 12th.

Our biggest concern is, after talking to some of the asylum seekers that have come in, that they're under the impression that after May 12th, they will have asylum into our country and we're trying to explain to them that that's not true. Our border is not open today. Our borders will not be open on May 12th.

So -- but they're coming across. We have quite a few already out in El Paso in the streets, and trying to talk to them. And when we talk to them they tell us that they're waiting for May 12th so they continue on to their next destination, because they're not coming to El Paso, they're actually coming to the United States.

COLLINS: Remarkable that you crossed the border, you went and you spoke with them yourself. What did they say to you when you told them that is not what happens on May 12th and doesn't mean that the border is open.

LEESER: Well, that's not what they've been told, and that's really a big problem for - for the United States, because as they're coming through the country, coming to the United States, they're told that after May 12th they'll have political asylum, they'll be able to come in. So, that's created a big challenge for us and that's what we're working on. We're working with the federal government. And we've had some conversations where we're trying to relay the message back into Mexico as they're trying to come across.

COLLINS: Do you think the federal government is doing a good enough job getting that message across? LEESER: Well, we just started doing that. You know, they - they have

the registration areas that they're doing all over the country and we'll continue to work with them to make sure that message is coming across. But, you know, as we see thousands of people already in the streets of El Paso, our job is to make sure that we keep them off the streets and make sure that we protect our asylum seekers, but also the community as we're moving forward.


So, we're opening up the state of emergency, which I've declared effective at midnight this morning was to make sure that we open up temporary sheltering for all the asylum seekers, to make sure we have no one on the streets. We don't want children to be exploited and we don't want to give - go in the wrong hands and create a bigger problem, not only for El Paso, for -- but for the country as a whole.

COLLINS: And I believe that state of emergency is set to go into effect for about seven days. Do you think you're going to have to extend it in the end?

LEESER: No, no, we will extend it. We -- next week we have -- we'll bring in front of counsel to have it ratified and they're doing (ph) it another 30 days. And we'll continue to do that as -- we know that, as I said, that I really believe that our immigration process is broken. Until it's fixed, this is infinity for us is the way I look at it and we really have to make sure we're prepared.

When I talked to the federal government the other day, I did tell them that I'm ready for May 12th. I'm not quite sure what May 13th will bring.

COLLINS: Do you think you're getting - well, are you getting the help that you believe that you need, the coordination that you need from the federal government at this time?

LEESER: At this point, we really are. I'm very thankful to Secretary Mayorkas. He's been very, very helpful. FEMA has been very helpful to our community. We actually have a lot of up-front funding so we can provide a service to make sure that, again, our asylum seekers are protected and that we get them off the streets.

COLLINS: Yes. And you hear from DHS officials, they say this was one of the number one things on Secretary Mayorkas' to-do list.

Mayor Oscar Leeser, I know you've got quite a time ahead of you. Thank you for giving us some of your time this morning.

LEESER: Thank you for the opportunity and you have a wonderful week.

HARLOW: Well, soon, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy will address Israel's parliament, the Knesset, during his first trip abroad to Israel as speaker. We're there live in Jerusalem right after this.



HARLOW: House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is about to address Israel's parliament. He's the first speaker to do that since Newt Gingrich in 1998. Just hours ago, the speaker had a private meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. McCarthy has vowed to invite Netanyahu to Washington if President Biden doesn't.

Netanyahu spoke with our Fareed Zakaria about U.S./Israeli relations on Sunday.

Listen to this.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: I don't know of many countries that have, within a few days, the leaders, the Democratic and Republican leaders of both sides of the aisle, coming to - coming to Jerusalem.

So, I'm - I'm confident about the strength of our alliance. Yes, President Biden did say that he had hoped we'd have a consensus -- seeking a consensus here on judicial reform. It's an internal matter, but I happen to agree with him, and that's what we're trying to do right now.


HARLOW: CNN's Jerusalem correspondent Hadas Gold joins us at the Knesset. That is Israel's parliament.

Obviously, really significant that he's here. First time we've seen something like this since Gingrich. Is there an indication on what he's going to say, what the focus is going to be?

HADAS GOLD, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT: Well, McCarthy actually just walked through this honor guard behind me to the parliamentary floor. And any second now we're actually expecting the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to also walk through this honor guard to the parliamentary floor where Kevin McCarthy, as you noted, will become the second speaker in Israeli history to address the Israeli parliament.

And we've all gotten a bit of a preview of what that speech will be like in some of the comments he's made so far. Essentially saying, this is his first trip abroad as speaker, and there's a reason for that. He wants to make it clear that the United States has no greater alley than Israel. It's a much different sort of tone of voice than what we've heard from the Biden administration, of course, President Joe Biden.

And I do believe Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu just walked by behind me towards the parliamentary floor.

But Kevin McCarthy essentially taking a different tone. Of course, if you remember, President Biden saying that Benjamin Netanyahu will not be getting an invite to Washington anytime soon. This, of course, related to the controversy over the massive judicial overhaul that Benjamin Netanyahu's government has been trying to push through. That is on a pause right now.

But Kevin McCarthy essentially saying that he wants to show that the U.S. has no greater ally, and even complementing Netanyahu directly, saying that in the United States they admire his courage and his leadership. Of course, he's really establishing himself as different than Joe Biden, saying that if Joe Biden does not invite Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House soon, he will do so, that he will invite Benjamin Netanyahu to address the U.S. Congress.

One of the things that McCarthy has not been mentioning, though, is the many controversies swirling around Benjamin Netanyahu from the judicial overhaul to, of course, the extremist ministers who are sitting in his government. I don't think we'll be hearing that from McCarthy. He'll likely, instead, highlight the enduring alliance, as he's been saying, between Israel and the United States, and the alliance, he says, that will continue.


HARLOW: A really significant day for Israel, for the United States. Everyone's watching.

Hadas, thanks for being there.

COLLINS: Also this morning, as we wait for more updates out of Israel, we're tracking this, the so-called grandfather of artificial intelligence has just lost his job. "The New York Times" is reporting that Geoffrey Hinton left Google where he worked for more than a decade. Of course he is a pioneer in artificial intelligence. Everyone in the business knows him. In 2012 he and two of his graduate students actually created the technology that became the foundation for the current AI, artificial intelligence, systems like ChatGPT. Hinton says he left Google so he can speak freely about the risk of AI. He said, quote, the idea that this stuff could actually get smarter than people - a few people believed that. I thought it was 30 to 50 years or even longer away. Obviously, I no longer think that. Hinton says that he's concerned that the internet would (ph) be flooded with fake pictures, videos, text, and the average person won't know what's real and what's not. He's also worried that AI technologies will, in time, upend the market, take over human jobs. He said, quote, I don't think that they should scale this up more until they've understand whether or not they can control it.

Certainly an alarming statement for him. We're going to talk to one of the people who signed the letters about how concerned they are about AI tomorrow on the show.

HARLOW: And that's an interview you want with him as well about that.


COLLINS: Yes. Well, and it's something you're hearing from Elon Musk. It's something you're hearing from so many of these tech giants.

HARLOW: Stephen Hawking has warned about it. Bill Gates.


HARLOW: Where does this go?

COLLINS: Its big questions.

HARLOW: It's a big question.

OK, much more on that tomorrow.

We're glad you're with us. We'll see you tomorrow.