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Op-Ed: "Painful To Say" But Biden Shouldn't Run For A Second Term; Police: Escaped Killer Armed With A Stolen Rifle; FDA Panel: Major Ingredient In Decongestants Doesn't Work. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired September 13, 2023 - 07:30   ET




PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN ANCHOR: A new op-ed penned in The Washington Post urges President Biden not to run again for president. Columnist David Ignatius writes, quote, "I don't think Biden and Vice President Harris should run for reelection. It's painful to say that, given my admiration for much of what they have accomplished. But if he and Harris campaign together in 2024, I think Biden risks undoing his great achievement, which was stopping Trump."

Now, recent polling suggests that many Democrats agree with Ignatius. Sixty-seven percent of Democratic-leaning voters say they prefer a different Democratic nominee.

I want to bring in CNN's Jeff Zeleny because Jeff, I think what's interesting about this is there have been plenty of opinion writers who have wrote a column like this. There's a reason why this is reverberating around Washington, D.C. both last night and this morning. Why?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: I mean, Phil, this is different in many ways. The biggest reason is that David Ignatius has been an admirer of President Biden and indeed, in fact, is an admirer of the president.

As you were saying there, his words "It is painful to say this" and his column and his argument is backed up by the fact that he believes that President Biden has been a successful president. He believes he has governed well.

And David Ignatius, Phil, as you know from covering the White House and as well as all of my time there -- this is someone who the president respects and speaks to, and knows and likes, as do many of the president's advisers inside the halls of the West Wing. That's why this is different. That's why yes, it's a familiar drumbeat. It may sound familiar to our viewers.


But it is different in the sense that it is coming in the print edition of The Washington Post, which President Biden reads every morning, and it is from David Ignatius. And he is basically saying that his legacy could be enhanced by not running.

But what does not -- expressed in this column is what's the backup plan? What is the plan B? The Democratic Party has essentially backed themselves in a corner here led by the president's intent to run for reelection. So for all of the handwringing and criticism of this, the reality is he is still planning on it and they are preparing full bore to do this.

His advisers, his fundraisers are meeting in Chicago tonight. The vice president is going there tonight to talk about the road ahead for the convention next summer, as well as fundraising.

So the train has left the station in many ways, but Ignatius is arguing that it is still time to pull back a bit if the president would decide to do so. That would surprise everyone in Washington but we shall see.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: So does this push the hand of Democrats to answer that question, Jeff -- and then what?

ZELENY: It hasn't so far. You know, this certainly is not a new criticism but it's just from a different voice.

I would be surprised. I mean, the senators who ran against President Biden four years ago have been quiet as church mice on this. They have not talked about the fact that there should be a challenge -- Sen. Sanders, Sen. Warren, Sen, Klobuchar, Sen. Booker, and others. So I would be surprised if Democrats would speak out against this because they are afraid of weakening the president. They do not want to do that.

Of course, given now this impeachment inquiry coming, that could strengthen him politically in the long term, but these concerns remain that David Ignatius expressed this morning. But this may be something that could get to the president in his head because again, he respects and admires him. They both do, each other, so much.


Jeff Zeleny, thank you.


MATTINGLY: Well, police reporting that the convicted murderer on the run in Pennsylvania now has a rifle with a scope. How that changes the search strategy now that he's armed. Stay with us.




PENNSYLVANIA STATE POLICE: Lock all external doors and windows, secure vehicles, and remain indoors.


MATTINGLY: Pennsylvania State Police warning residents that the search for the convicted killer who escaped a county prison two weeks ago is likely within a perimeter in Chester County's South Coventry Township area, about 20 miles north of the prison.

Now, police say Danelo Cavalcante stole a 22-caliber rifle from a garage of a local homeowner who fired several shots at the fugitive as he fled.

Joining us now to discuss, CNN chief law enforcement and intelligence analyst, John Miller. And Casey Jordan, a criminologist and behavioral analyst. Guys, thank you so much.

John, I want to start with you. The addition of the weapon and kind of where things stand right now -- how does that shift the law enforcement approach and perspective here?

JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: It won't shift their search strategy. What it does is it raises their risk factor, which is they were chasing an unarmed man and now they're chasing an armed man. And that includes the rules of engagement.

Now, they were authorized to use deadly force before they knew he had a weapon. The difference is knowing that he has a weapon, a law enforcement person would be very hesitant in most circumstances to shoot at someone who was running away as opposed to posing a threat directly at them. When that person has two murders on the docket and a rifle, that's now within the game.

HARLOW: I'm totally fascinated, Casey, by the fact that The New York Times went to a rural part of Brazil and talked to his mother who basically said the way that he was raised -- very poor and many times he went to bed hungry, et cetera -- he's learned to survive a lot.


HARLOW: When you hear that does that make you think he is even going to be even more successful at evading authorities?

JORDAN: He'll be successful at evading authorities but the bigger issue is that he is afraid of nothing. Because in his mother's words, his training was his suffering. So why did he break out of prison? Because he will not be contained.

He has lived a terrible life from the age of five. And this isn't to excuse anything but to just give some context to his mindset. He was shining shoes, working in the fields.

So it's not so much that he knows how to survive in the woods. I think that the stealing of the rifle, which has a scope and a flashlight -- it basically is sending a message I will not be taken alive. And his mother even says she's given up. She doesn't believe that he will be captured alive.

And that she thinks that because he really needs his complete freedom to simply sustain himself psychologically, everyone is in danger. Because if they close in on him I think you might see a situation like David Matt (sic) from the Dannemora prison break in 2015. He will just take as many shots as he can and he's going to give up the ghost because he's not going back to prison.

MATTINGLY: Which I think you kind of alluded to this the other day, as well, it seemed to be headed in that direction. What does that mean in terms of as they prepare for that potential moment if you are law enforcement?

MILLER: I mean, they have prepared for it in that the people leading the search -- you know, the pointy end of that spear has been the SWAT teams, which is why you've got the Pennsylvania State Police SWAT team, you have the local department SWAT teams. But ATF, Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, sent up 24 agents yesterday to comprise two additional special weapons teams. The FBI has their SWAT people there as well. This is all under a unified command.

But they understand his motivation to get away is the one thing that is driving him. And they also understand he has no compunction about taking lives. He's proven it at least twice.


HARLOW: How long do people have to heed these warnings of stay inside, lock your vehicles? I mean, you've got people with lives, trying to go to work, trying to get their kids to school. If this goes on for weeks and weeks and weeks --

MILLER: You know, people have to live their lives but they also have to have that heightened awareness.

As we saw just the other night, here's a guy who is in his garage working. He's got a handgun on him. He has the rifle leaning up against the wall.

And this fugitive -- probably, actually, on the run at that point trying to find a place to hide -- dashes into the garage not expecting to find a person. He spots the rifle, picks it up, and runs away with it and has been gone since.

So he is spontaneous --


MILLER: -- and fast-moving.


MATTINGLY: To that question, the -- if escape is his goal -- to stay free as long as possible, why would he want to run into the people who were forced to lock their doors right now and who are having their schools closed? Isn't he trying to avoid people at this point?

JORDAN: Yeah. I don't think that that's as big of a risk. I think he's making it up as he goes. He doesn't have a huge game plan. He did make mistakes, we know, by contacting friends and former coworkers. That's how we got the doorbell camera footage and know that he's clean-shaven. He is just doing this on a day-by-day basis.

I think it's an average citizen who will spot him and then it's about the response time -- the police -- how quickly they can get there. I do believe he'll be captured but I'm not sure it will be alive.

HARLOW: Thank you. Appreciate it, John, Casey. Thanks very much.

MATTINGLY: Well, an FDA panel says a popular over-the-counter decongestant found in medication for battling colds and allergies doesn't really do either. What's being done about it? That's ahead.

HARLOW: And a potential strike by the United Auto Workers union could happen this week, in just hours. Why the CEO of Ford says he's optimistic a deal will be reached before the deadline.



HARLOW: It's sad to say we're heading into cold and flu season and maybe the medication you thought worked well doesn't. An advisory panel to the FDA says a key ingredient in many of the over-the-counter cold and allergy medicines don't work to reduce nasal congestion. The FDA will not likely have to decide whether to keep those products on the market or not for that.

Meg Tirrell joins us, our medical correspondent. Oh my gosh, I was so --


HARLOW: -- stunned to see this report.

TIRRELL: This is pretty crazy. These drugs have been on the market for decades. And the main ingredient we're talking about here is something called Phenylephrine and it's in a lot of really popular brands like Sudafed, Mucinex, Vicks, Benadryl. I've got a couple here that I picked up at the pharmacy yesterday. And it's really just the oral form that we're talking about -- the pills that you take for nasal decongestants.

Phenylephrine is different from a drug called Pseudoephedrine, which a lot of people have heard of. That was put behind pharmacy counters in 2005 and 2006 because of the risk that you could use it to create methamphetamine. And so, you can still get it without a prescription in most states but you have to provide your I.D. to the pharmacist and go up to the counter and ask for it. So these became a lot more common in the last few decades.

MATTINGLY: First off, it looks like my medicine cabinet. Apparently, I'm going to have to throw everything away now.

But this isn't a safety issue, though, right? So what's the FDA actually being asked to do here? TIRRELL: Yeah. So it's not a safety issue. Essentially, there have just been a lot of studies that suggest these don't work. And this advisory committee to the FDA voted unanimously to agree that the studies show these are not effective.

And the problem is they're incredibly popular. More than 240 million bottles or packages of these cold and flu medicines were sold in 2022 alone, amounting to $1.8 billion in retail sales, and that's not even including online sales, Costco. It's just the retail stores. And so a lot of people are using these.

It's not a safety issue but the designation they get is generally regarded as safe and effective. And doctors are worried if you're using something that may not be effective perhaps you're not doing something that you could be doing to help yourself get better.

HARLOW: What are the companies saying?

TIRRELL: So the companies, of course, take issue with this. They say they do work. It's also going to be incredibly expensive for companies to try to change these formulations and switch out everything else. And so they are really taking issue with this.

And the FDA has not yet acted. This is an advisory panel. We'll have to see what the FDA does.

HARLOW: But the -- just to be very clear --


HARLOW: -- these ones work.

TIRRELL: Yes. Doctors tell us there are still alternatives that work. The main thing is -- so this is a nasal spray version of the same drug Phenylephrine that is expected to work because it works directly in the nose. The issue with the pills is that they get absorbed in the gut and they don't work where they're supposed to.

The other big one, of course, is Pseudoephedrine. You can still get that behind the counter. This one works really well.

There are other things like antihistamines, steroids that are nasal sprays, and, of course, saline. Doctors say these all can still help you out if you have a stuffy nose.

HARLOW: You know what Phil is doing this afternoon -- a full sweep of the medicine closet.

MATTINGLY: Because it's time. This is the -- this is the time of year where I'm sick for like the next 15 months. Not right now. I'll put the wall up.

HARLOW: Meg, thank you.

MATTINGLY: That's all right. Like, if it doesn't work, how are you selling it? HARLOW: This is so helpful.

MATTINGLY: Like, I'm sorry the companies have to change their formulas.


MATTINGLY: If it doesn't work, then what are we doing here, guys?

HARLOW: That's exactly right. This is so helpful. Thank you, Meg.

MATTINGLY: Thanks, Meg, as always.

Well, the deadline is almost here for Detroit's Big Three to reach a deal with the United Auto Workers union to avoid a strike. Ford CEO Jim Farley saying he's optimistic the company can reach a deal with the union but there are quote "limits." The union is asking for a 40 percent pay hike over four years, a cost of living increase, and other benefits.

CNN's Vanessa Yurkevich joins us live from Detroit just outside the GM headquarters. And Vanessa, Farley says negotiating teams pulling all- nighters at this point to avoid that strike. What's the state of play this morning?


VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: We are less than 48 hours away from a potential strike against all three major automakers, something we have never seen before. But we know that negotiations are progressing. Proposals are being traded at a rapid pace.

We are hearing from sources that General Motors has likely increased their wage offer beyond the 16 percent that they offered last week -- close to 20 percent. But, of course, as you mentioned, not the 40 percent that the union is looking for.

And Phil, just down the road, Ford held an unveiling of three new trucks that they have coming to the market next year. A lot of the people who made the trucks were in the audience and those same people could head on strike in just a matter of days.

We spoke to Jim Farley, the CEO of Ford, who said he believes that they can come to a deal in the next 48 hours. Listen to what he said about what they're willing to give in negotiations and what they're not.


JIM FARLEY, CEO, FORD MOTOR COMPANY: We put an offer in today that's our most generous offer in 80 years of the UAW and Ford. Pay increases, elimination of tiers, inflation protection, five weeks of vacation, 17 paid holidays, bigger contributions for retirement.

But we're optimistic we'll find a way forward. We have 48 hours to go. But we're not going to support a four-day workweek. (END VIDEO CLIP)

YURKEVICH: Ford said that they are making preparations for a strike. So is the UAW.

Later today, guys, we're going to be hearing from UAW head Shawn Fain at 5:00 p.m. on Facebook. He's going to lay out the state of negotiations with the Big Three and he's also going to be talking to members, guys, about preparations underway for this potential strike that would start at 12:00 a.m. on Friday -- Phil, Poppy.

MATTINGLY: The clock is ticking.

Vanessa Yurkevich, thank you.

HARLOW: House Speaker Kevin McCarthy launching an impeachment inquiry into President Biden. How is the Biden administration responding? We're going to be joined by Ian Sams from the White House next.