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Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) Will Not Seek Reelection; Firefighters Help Paralyzed Woman Get Out Of High-Rise; One-On-One With New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R-NH). Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired November 10, 2023 - 07:30   ET



PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN ANCHOR: Make this very clear. Top party officials and donors have moved quickly to bolster Justice, who is the most coveted prospect in their path to retake the Senate majority before Manchin retired.

Now, here's something that's important when you talk about why this matters so much. We're talking about the balance of power right now. Assuming Republicans are successful in flipping Manchin's seat, that would give Republicans a crucial 50th senator. That's not an assumption; you can pretty much mark that in.

If Republicans can flip just one other seat next year, that would give them the clear majority in the chamber. And if Republicans take the White House, Manchin's seat is technically all they need for a majority in the Senate with the vice president's tie-breaking vote if they hold on to all of their seats in 2024.

So, let's just work under the assumption -- and again, it's a pretty safe assumption -- that Republicans will be successful in flipping Manchin's seat. That alone gives Republicans that 50th crucial vote.

What about what else is on the map? These right here are all the Senate seats that are up in 2024. If Republicans can flip just one other seat next year it would give them that majority in the chamber. And if Republicans take the White House, Manchin's seat is all they would need for a majority to win.

So let's take a look at based on what's up right now and what will be up, all the seats that you see highlighted right now are considered targets. You will see there are much more frontline seats in the Democratic side than in the Republican side. Obviously, we already have Joe Manchin out. That means, at this point, Democrats are essentially taking that one off the map.

Then you look at the other seats that they have. Three seats were states that Trump won handily in 2020. Not just West Virginia, you have Jon Tester in Montana. You have -- you have Sherrod Brown in Ohio. You have a series of seats that right now, Republicans feel like are very much targets.

It's not that Democrats are bracing for those races, they will have to work to hold onto key states in swing states -- key seats in swing states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Nevada -- states Biden won, but won by less than three points.

In Arizona, Independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema has not announced whether she will run next year. It seems likely.

But Republican Kari Lake -- who ran for governor last year, embraced conspiracy theories and election denialism, and lost -- has already announced her bid.

Now, national Democrats say they are eyeing two seats right now as in play -- Texas and Florida -- states that have eluded them up to this point despite pretty significant investments and top-tier candidates. It's going to be a tough fight for Democrats if they want to flip either of those seats and an even tougher fight to maintain control of the chamber next year -- Poppy.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Phil, thank you. That is so, so interesting. We're going to talk more about what's going on with Manchin.

Hoppy Kercheval is with us. He is the host of MetroNews' "Talkline" radio show in West Virginia. Jonathan Kott joins us -- former senior adviser to Sen. Joe Manchin. Great to have you both.

Let me just start with you. You are the voice, Hoppy, of West Virginia. You really are. In the days of social media where everyone seems to tweet everything people listen to you. And you always get the first Joe Manchin interview. So we're really glad you're with us this morning.

You know, Democrats talk about this big tent party but oftentimes Joe Manchin wasn't really in that tent, and I think it felt smaller than big to him.

What drove him to this?

HOPPY KERCHEVAL, HOST, METRONEWS "TALKLINE" ON WEST VIRGINIA RADIO (via Skype): Well, Joe Manchin, throughout his career, going back to when he was governor, has always talked about this tent and getting people together around this -- around a table, figuratively or literally, and trying to work out agreements, bringing both sides together. He's said that a million times.

So I think the kinds of things he's saying now are what he's always said. And he has been very candid about his frustration with the political polarization of Washington and trying to get things done and bring together Republicans and Democrats. So I think he was really just done with how Washington works.

And going out now -- he says he's going to go across the country and see if there is a middle way. Are there other people in this country, or a lot of people that think like he does? And if so, then that may propel him to this third-party Independent run for president.

MATTINGLY: Jon, in our -- in our years of working with one another on Capitol Hill -- you on one side and me on the other -- I've probably asked you a million different times what some Manchin comment meant. What it really meant. And I'm pretty sure most of the time you would say it means what he said.

And I think that's a difficulty here, right? People try and define intentions or meetings behind what Manchin is saying oftentimes just listen to what he's saying. It'll tell you what he's going to do.

With what he's saying right now, what do you think he's going to do?

JONATHAN KOTT, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER TO SEN. JOE MANCHIN: I think he's going to do exactly what he said in his op-ed. He's going to travel the country. He's going to see if he can mobilize the middle and see if he can give a voice to those people that he actually thinks are there, like the 65 to 70 percent of the country that doesn't work on the fringes and doesn't care what happens on Twitter, and just wants to get stuff done in the middle.

He made my job a lot easier on the Hill because whatever he said was actually what he meant and what he was going to do, unlike a lot of politicians. So I do think he's going to get on -- he's going to get on the trial. He's going to be out there talking to people across the country and see if there is a movement to bring Americans together.


I mean, he's so tired of the bickering and the partisan fighting. He uses bipartisanship as a noun, a verb, and an adjective. It's all he talks about and all he wants. And I think he wants to see if he can bring that to the country.

HARLOW: Hoppy, Doug Jones, former senator of Alabama, said on CNN last night there's no question it will put Donald Trump back in the White House, and I don't think Joe Manchin wants that to happen.

Is that sort of the political calculus that if I get in as a third party, who does it take votes from, what does it mean, et cetera? Is that playing in his mind now as he goes across the country or is it literally a listening tour to see if enough people want this?

KERCHEVAL: I think just what Jonathan said. I mean, I -- I mean, Manchin has very good political skills. I'm sure he thinks about those things. I'm sure that other people talk to him about those things. But Manchin, for my money, is sincere when he thinks maybe there is a middle way. Maybe there is a way to stop the bickering and stop the polarized politics that go on, and see if more people think like that.

So I don't think he goes into this thinking wow, OK, I could get this person elected or that person elected. I think he's sincere when he talks about trying to appeal to a great middle and see if there is a way -- a way to change how the country approaches politics.

MATTINGLY: Jon, Manchin is nothing if not a very astute poll. He knows his numbers. He knows where things stand. He knows where his constituents are on certain issues -- on every issue, to some degree.

How do you think he'll gauge whether or not that kind of consolidation of the middle is there?

KOTT: I don't know yet. I think he's just trying to figure -- he's trying to figure that out right now and I think that --

MATTINGLY: That's what I was going to -- do you think he knows or is he kind of going into this without clear metrics?

KOTT: I don't think he cares about the metrics more as he cares about what he starts hearing from people.

Look, when -- you know, it made it a lot -- my job a lot easier because we didn't really have to poll a lot because he just got phone calls from everybody in West Virginia because he gave his cell phone number out to half the state, so he knew exactly what the state wanted. But now he's going to have to see that around the country and I don't know that he has a cell phone plan that lets him give his phone number out to that many people. So, he's going to have to take a different route to figuring that out.

HARLOW: Jon, thank you -- Hoppy. We really appreciate it, guys. We'll have you back soon I'm sure given that this is going to be in the headlines. Thanks.

MATTINGLY: Well, good news if you're shopping for a house. Mortgage rates just plunged. Hear how much a loan will cost you now.

HARLOW: These are live pictures out of Gaza as the IDF announces a six-hour humanitarian pause for civilians to go south and aid to get in. Israel insists the pauses will not change, though, its war effort.



MATTINGLY: Well, there is some goodish news for homebuyers this morning. Mortgage rates fell in the biggest one-week drop since November. Still pretty high but it's the second-straight week rates have fallen after increasing for the previous seven weeks. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to an average of 7.5 percent. That's a quarter percent drop ending November 9.

HARLOW: We will take it.

Two Florida firefighters going beyond the call of duty to help a paralyzed woman in a wheelchair get out of her apartment on the 31st floor after her building's elevators broke down. Our Carlos Suarez reports from Fort Lauderdale.



CARLOS SUAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With great appreciation and admiration, Haleigh Rosa welcomed Fort Lauderdale firefighters Johnny Jones and Chance Davis back to her home where, in August, the men and their captain responded to an emergency call.

Rosa, who is paralyzed from the waist down, was stuck in her high-rise apartment on the 31st floor after the elevator broke down.

HALEIGH ROSA, RESCUED FROM APARTMENT: That flood led to the elevators not working. So obviously, if the elevators aren't working and I'm in a wheelchair, I'm stuck inside.

SUAREZ (voice-over): Firefighters Davis and Jones had just finished a workout at their fire station and rushed over to Rosa's downtown apartment. After taking a working elevator up to the 44th floor in an adjacent tower, they were able to walk down 13 flights of stairs and get to her. Once inside Rosa's apartment, they had to gain her trust, then they all had to decide how to get her out of the building safely.

ROSA: They were very helpful from the start.

SUAREZ (voice-over): The plan, go back up the same 13 flights they just went down, but this time bringing Rosa and her wheelchair along with them.

ROSA: I might have suggested a piggyback ride because in all honesty, it seemed like a perfectly reasonable way to do it, and they agreed that was probably for the best.

CHANCE DAVIS, FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA FIRE-RESCUE: We figured that would be a little bit easier and safer. God forbid one of us tripped or whatever going down and we'd tumble down the stairs.

ROSA: They sign up to help people and that's exactly what they did.

SUAREZ (voice-over): Once in the stairwell, Rosa thought the encounter would make for a good video on TikTok. Davis and Jones didn't mind.

ROSA: I was trying to make it a little lighter and they were going along with it.

JONES: This is why we train.

ROSA: We're just making do. Am I choking you?

DAVIS: A little bit.

JONES: She was happy to get out of the building; we were happy to accommodate her. And then we were just going along with it. She was filming a TikTok video, which I wasn't even familiar with, and so we were just kind of having fun with it.

ROSA: Johnny, you got the wheelchair?

JONES: I've got it. I'm right behind you.

SUAREZ (voice-over): Fort Lauderdale's fire chief said he learned of the rescue scrolling on social media. CHIEF STEPHEN GOLLAN, FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA FIRE-RESCUE: To think

that 15 million people have seen that to date, that -- I can't even begin to say how proud it makes me of our agency and our firefighters that were there that day.

SUAREZ (voice-over): For Rosa and the firefighters, the rescue is something that will stay with them forever.

DAVIS: Definitely the most memorable just because of everything that has happened.

SUAREZ (voice-over): Jones and Davis aren't sure what to make of being called the TikTok sensation. Being prepared for anything is a part of their job.

JONES: I didn't really feel that until my kids started coming up to me and showing me all these views and all these notes and everything else. And it was just amazing to see all the recognition and all the people around the world that were actually following this story. That's when it really hit me that this is just way beyond us.


SUAREZ (voice-over): And for that, Rosa said she's glad she posted the video.

ROSA: Whee.

SUAREZ (voice-over): Carlos Suarez, CNN, Fort Lauderdale, Florida.


HARLOW: Wow, I love that story.

MATTINGLY: That was a good piece.

HARLOW: One day after skipping his party's debate, Donald Trump is talking about his plans if he's elected president. What he says he may do at the Justice Department.

MATTINGLY: And New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu joins us next to discuss Trump's comments, the state of the party, and many other things. That's coming up. Stay with us.



HARLOW: Not only did Donald Trump, frontrunner for the Republican nomination, skip his party's debate this week, he also suggested last night in an interview with Univision that he would possibly go as far as doing something that would weaponize the Justice Department against his political opponents if elected.

Listen to this.


DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Something that allows the next party. I mean, if somebody -- if I happen to be president and I see somebody who is doing well and beating me very badly, I say go down and indict them. Mostly, that would be -- you know, they would be out of business. They'd be out. They'd be out of the election.


HARLOW: Joining us now, Republican governor of New Hampshire, Chris Sununu. Governor, it's great to have you.

I want to give people a little more context on what he said. The journalist asked him: "You've said they've weaponized the Justice Department, they've weaponized the FBI. Would you do the same if you're reelected?" And then he said, "If they do this -- they've already done it -- it could certainly happen in reverse." So that's, I think, some more important context.

Does that worry you to hear him say that?

GOV. CHRIS SUNUNU (R-NH): Donald Trump saying outrageous, crazy, embarrassing things, frankly, shouldn't surprise anybody at this point. He -- I think he kind of feels like he has the opportunity to say whatever he wants and he's going to secure the nomination.

I personally don't believe that's the case. I think you have three or four very strong opportunities. We're still two months away from Iowa and a couple of months from New Hampshire.

Even a lot of his folks -- I saw some folks interviewing people coming out of that rally saying well, he's a frontrunner so we're going to support him, right? No. I think when people start realizing that other folks can make a move here he's going to be -- I would call it smoked out and have to actually engage folks on the debate stage and start watching what he's saying.

HARLOW: You think Donald Trump is about to get smoked out?

SUNUNU: He could. No, look, if -- he doesn't -- he has to win, right -- he has to win Iowa and New Hampshire and South Carolina. Otherwise, it will be seen as a -- as a major upset. Somebody else has to come in a consistent second to be the alternative.

And if gets down to that one-on-one race before Super Tuesday -- oh, goodness, yeah. I mean, all of a sudden, somebody's going to be within 10 points or less of him and he's going to have to really start engaging. He's not going to be able to avoid the fact that he's being severely challenged.

Most folks won't decide who they're voting for until well after Thanksgiving. That's just the nature of a voter and the nature of the base in Iowa and New Hampshire.

HARLOW: After some pretty heating political fights at the Thanksgiving table I'm sure in many households in America.

SUNUNU: That's right.

HARLOW: Governor, you've said a lot of nice things about Ambassador Nikki Haley, about Gov. DeSantis. And I'm so glad you came on the show this morning to endorse one of them. Where is your endorsement going?

SUNUNU: Well look, I don't know --

HARLOW: Come on.

SUNUNU: -- who I'm endorsing yet. I can tell you I think it -- I -- not yet -- not yet. If I endorse today you'll never ask me back on the show, right? So I've got -- I've got to --

HARLOW: This is not -- that is unequivocally not the case, Governor.

SUNUNU: Well look, I think there's clearly -- if you go back three months ago there were, like, 13 candidates in the race. I think you can effectively say there's three that have a shot here. And those are three governors -- Christie, Haley, and DeSantis -- the three that clearly did the best on the debate stage the other night -- five on the debate stage

Three governors are really pushing hard. Their numbers are actually moving a bit in Iowa and New Hampshire. And I think that's where a lot of the emphasis and focus is going to be. You see a lot of the consolidation there. And if you get past New Hampshire and get consolidated behind one -- well, there it is.

So folks said we weren't going to consolidate the field but we are. As a party, we really are consolidating the field and they're really being forced to engage not for 10 minutes in a debate but for 20 or 30 minutes and get into those details that Americans want to see.

HARLOW: The governor likes the governors, check -- I got it. But here is what you said about Vivek Ramaswamy, the business guy. This was July. Here it is.


SUNUNU: Ramaswamy, I've got to tell you, is exciting people. He gets people excited on stage. I think he's got to bring a little more to it other than just being the other anti-woke guy.


HARLOW: Did he -- did he bring more? You've seen three debates now. Still impressed?

SUNUNU: Uh, he brought more but it was enough to tell me that he ain't the guy to be president. I mean, it -- look, I think the third debate -- this last debate was just embarrassing for him more than anything. He tried really hard to be kind of an anti-establishment, outrageous type character but he just proved that he doesn't have the temperament for the job. He -- you know, if you're running for President of the United States, act like you've been there.

I think he tried to, again, take some shots at Nikki Haley. They were personal. You don't -- you don't go after somebody's family, somebody's daughter like that. That's just -- that's just a cheap shot. Nobody watched that debate and said oh, yeah, I'm now with Vivek -- no. If anything, he lost a lot of ground there and just proved that he doesn't have the temperament for it.

HARLOW: The issue of abortion, huge. We saw that on Tuesday night, obviously -- how many wins it turned out for Democrats. You've called the abortion issue, quote, "an electoral albatross" for your party.

Just so people know your position, in 2021, you did sign a law in New Hampshire to ban abortions after 24 weeks of gestation. But what is the solution writ large for your party to remove the albatross?


SUNUNU: You know, I think Nikki Haley and Chris Christie, to be honest, are answering that very, very well. It's a state's issue. That's what the pro-life group wanted and that's what the Supreme Court decided. States are going to decide.

Any time we're talking about a national abortion ban, we're in trouble. I don't care how many weeks you put on it, right, it doesn't matter. National bans or national prevention on that scares people as a whole. It's going to be decided by the states and I think that's where -- at least I think Nikki -- I don't want to talk for them but I -- that's my understanding of Nikki Haley and Chris Christie's position. And that's where it's going to be and that's the right answer.

HARLOW: There was a point a couple of years ago where Chris Christie did say that he would sign a 20-week abortion ban if it came to him.

Joe Manchin -- if he runs third-party, would he get your support? What do you think?

SUNUNU: No. Look, I'm going to support the Republican.


SUNUNU: You know, I know Sen. Manchin. I have a ton of respect for him. He does -- he does a lot of the work that other folks aren't willing to do in Washington. Whether he decides to run in a third party or just be kind of a leader and voice that America is looking for that says we want folks to be able to work together -- I'm not sure what his future plans are but he's not going away and nor should he. I mean, I think he's got -- he's got a tremendous voice.

A third party is going to be tough. There's no doubt about it. Even with Trump and Biden on the ticket, a third party would be tough because it has to be the right third party, and the right candidacy, and the right ticket, and all that. So we'll see where it goes.

But he's done a great job in Washington and he wants to be a leader for bringing America together. You can't -- you can't knock that at all.

HARLOW: New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, I know you're so sad you're not in the middle of all of this, running. Thank you very much for --

SUNUNU: I -- you know what I'm doing this weekend? I'm baking cookies and thinking about skiing up here in New Hampshire.


SUNUNU: I'm not pounding the pavement. I'm going to be enjoying time with family.

HARLOW: It sounds like a fabulous weekend. Thank you, sir -- Phil.

MATTINGLY: Well, Congress has only one week left to prevent a government shutdown. How will the new House Speaker Johnson navigate his conference to strike a deal?

HARLOW: Also this. Suspicious letters, some of them laced with fentanyl, sent to election offices. What federal law enforcement is saying, next.