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Campaign Issues for Biden; Milei Wins Argentinean Presidency; Weather Could Impact Holiday Travel; Flu on the Rise; News Surrounding Donald Trump. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired November 20, 2023 - 06:30   ET



ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You shouldn't also panic over them.


LOUIS: By definition this is something that hasn't happened before. So, nobody really has a playbook on how you deal with the oldest person ever to run for office.

I think they - they have some guidelines, though. And one of the things is they - they've got to go at him, they've got to make their case, you know? I mean, it shouldn't -- you know, you shouldn't be hearing, as a lot of your viewers are hearing on CNN for the first time what I'm about to say, which is that this administration did away with $127 billion worth of student debt. That's kind of important, you know? It's the kind of thing that somebody ought to be telling them about.

They've got to get their campaign operation in order and get it moving. They've got to talk about the environmental issues that we know young people care about. They've got to talk about some of the economy issues, the ability to get that first home that we know young voters care about. If you don't make the case, then they're going to just be left with "Saturday Night Live" and, gee, that guy's old. That's not really a winning formula. So, they're going to have to do a little better than that.

HILL: Michelle, part of - there have been those attempts, right, Bidenomics. There have been these attempts to point to, hey, here are all of the wins that we have had with Joe Biden as president. Is there enough emphasis, though, from the campaign on what a second term would actually look like to give some incentive perhaps to voters?

MICHELLE PRICE, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, "THE ASSOCIATED PRESS": Not -- not so much yet. And I don't think Bidenomics is the kind of issue that's getting the younger voters excited. You know, unfortunately, some of this is just how you reach them too. They are on getting their news from places like TikTok, where, for national security reasons the Biden campaign, the Biden administration is not on TikTok. But at this point we have not started to see any second term agenda that's getting people excited. There's a lot of talk about an emphasis on what he's done with his first term. But so far it seems like they're framing this race as just a stark choice between him and Donald Trump and what that would mean for the country.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Making things more difficult for the president is his staunch support of Israel and how Israel has been conducting this operation against Hamas after the terror attack. NBC polling shows only 34 percent of voters overall approval of Biden's handling of this war. And then when you look at Democrats, it's only 51 percent approval. But there is no indication from the White House that this president that he is going to change positions, especially given his op-ed over the weekend.

JAMAL SIMMONS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, I think that's right. But if you look at what the president has been saying, particularly in the op-ed, what he's said in other venues, he's hitting all the touchstones, talking about security for Israel, he's talking about opportunity for Palestinian, he's talking about two-state solution. I think they're focused on the fundamentals of getting this right from a policy perspective and I think that's the thing about age that matters here is that it does really have a level of wisdom and a level of gravitas and he brings it to it.

You know, I think about the counter version of this, right? Let's say the Democrats ditched Joe Biden. Let's say they also got rid of Kamala Harris, the vice president, and they decided to go find somebody new, right? We don't know anything about their background, we don't 'know anything about their families, don't know anything about anything, right, and then all of a sudden, let's say that person loses to Donald Trump. So, a year later we look back and say, OK, the economy was on the upswing, he was managing foreign policy crises, wages were up, inflation was down, all these things were working, but we just thought maybe he was too old, right?

HARLOW: We - we should note -

SIMMONS: So, if that happens, I mean Democrats would be like, what were Democrats thinking? That's crazy. And, by the way, happy birthday, Mr. President. Sorry. Sorry.

HARLOW: You were former communications director, we should also say, for the - for Vice President Harris.


HARLOW: But to your point, there are plenty of Democrats who could be in this and we know a ton about their backgrounds. There's plenty of governors, of example.

SIMMONS: You don't know anything about any of these people. We all have seen presidential campaigns, right? We think we know about them. And I've seen candidates who do this, right? You start off running like, oh, I was a governor of a big state. I was a senator. People have known me for a long time. And then they run for president and you're like, oh, but nobody knew about that one time when you were 35 and you had this, you know, real estate transaction and now we're going to spend a bunch of time talking about that for a year. So, we don't actually know very much about these people. It is a risk.

And remember this, at this point in 2019, Vice President Kamala Harris had gotten out of the race. We just saw a bunch of Republicans who have gotten out of the race in the year before we even got to the Iowa caucus, right? So, we - we would be launching a candidacy right now for somebody who didn't have the entire year to - for us to get to know them and then go into the election year at - with them at a pretty much unknown quantity.

HILL: I was struck by, over the weekend, an exclusive interview with CNN, Vice President Kamala Harris said, and I'm quoting her here, we're going to have to earn our re-elect. There's no doubt about it."

Errol, this is I would say the most stark terms that we've heard, not just from the vice president, but frankly from a member of the campaign, right, for re-election that --acknowledging the challenge ahead.

LOUIS: Well, this is somebody who's won at the local and state and national level who knows politics. And the reality is, you - you are going to have to go out there and make that case because, look, they - they -- the Democratic ticket is set, right? I mean let's just be real about it. We've got less than 60 days to Iowa. There are probably half a dozen states where you literally cannot get on the ballot at this point unless you - there's some expensive write-in campaign that you're willing to wage. So, this is - you know, it is what it is.

Now, you look at the numbers and the ticket is essentially set at this point. And there's a lot of people who are concerned about it.


On foreign policy, for example, George H.W. Bush had sky high - you know, in the first gulf war, sky high approval ratings right up until the time the public voted him out of office. I mean these things change. A lot can change between now and the next six months.

She is absolutely correct, they're going to have to mobilize their base. The Democratic Party is a coalition of movements, the environmental movement, the youth movement, women around abortion and so forth. They've got to go out and make this the case. They've got to get everybody excited, mobilized and get them to the polls. It's -- some of it is simply mechanical, but it's work that has to get done if they want to get re-elected.

SIMMONS: Let me say this, there's one danger that we have to -- the Democrats do have to pay attention to. When Jimmy Carter ran, and god bless Rosalynn Carter, when Jimmy Carter ran, he had a contest from the left from Ted Kennedy. When George H.W. Bush ran for president for re-election, he had a contest from the right from Pat Buchanan. Joe Manchin is only one of the potential candidates who could cause a president considerable harm because he could take a section of the voters who voted for him last time with him. The rest of these candidates who are running for president probably won't. Joe Manchin could be the real challenge.

HILL: We'll be watching all of it. We're going to have to leave it there for now.

Jamal Simmons, Errol Louis, Michelle Price, stay with us. Much more to discuss ahead.

Meantime, Argentina electing a new president over the weekend. A political outsider who's been compared to Donald Trump. How is Trump responding? That's next.



HILL: A right wing former TV pundit has won Argentina's presidential runoff election. Javier Milei won at least 55 percent of that vote, beating out his rival, Sergio Massa. Milei's campaign drew comparison to Donald Trump's here in the U.S. with promises to, quote, "break up the status quo." Similar to Trump's slogan of "drain the swamp," Milei's supporters chant what translates to "may they all leave." Journalist Stefano Pozzebon is joining us this morning live from Bogota, Colombia.

So, just give us a sense of how significant this victory is.

STEFANO POZZEBON, JOURNALIST: Yes, Erica, well, the victory for Milei is extremely significant and remarkable, also because just to consider the bigger picture, we were going from a long stretch of election victories for the center left and for progressives, here -- at least here in Latin America, for example, in the likes of Colombia, Chilie, Peru, but also dating back from the victory of Joe Biden in 2020 in the United States. And now Argentina has voted convincingly to the right, to this new, unexpected TV pundit.

This is happening because Argentina is going through the worst economic crisis of the last 20 years. The inflation - just think, the inflation is at over 140 percent in the country. And that's why the voters have decisively backed up the new guy, the person who promised to break up with this, (INAUDIBLE) and completely tear the house down.

But at the same time, this election will have consequences all across the nation. And it's interesting to listen to the very first word from Javier Milei just yesterday as he was proclaimed the new president- elect, as he was celebrating his victory and analyze a few of those words.

Take a listen.


PRESIDENT-ELECT JAVIER MILEI, ARGENTINA (through translator): I want to tell Argentina that today begins the end of the decadence of our country. Today we begin to turn the page of our history and return to the path that we never should have left.

Today we go back to the path that made this country great.

(END VIDEO CLIP) POZZEBON: You can see, Erica, already some things that are shared between him and Donald Trump, the idea of bringing the country back to a supposed greatness for his nation. And that's why I think it's so interesting to consider how this election in Argentina could eventually influence the rest of the elections we're going to have in this continent in the upcoming months.

Erica. Poppy.

HILL: Yes, something we'll be watching very closely.

Stefano, appreciate it. Thank you.

HARLOW: Meantime, back here at home, flu cases on the rise across the country. What do you need to know heading into the Thanksgiving holiday.

And intense negotiations are underway to secure the release of some of the hostages taken by Hamas. Where those talks stand this morning.



HARLOW: Multiple storm systems could have a big impact on travelers this Thanksgiving holiday on both coasts.

Our Allison Chinchar joins us from the weather center with more.

Middle of the country looks a little bit of yikes in the weather right now.

HILL: Yes, a little stormy there.

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, I was going to say, if you've got some travel plans today, whether it's in the air or on the roads, be prepared for at least a few delays in some spots.

This low-pressure system here that's sitting in the central U.S. is starting to spread some of that rain into the Midwest, but also we've got some pretty strong thunderstorms across the southern tier. And that's where especially this afternoon and this evening we really start to see that low pressure intensify and produce the potential for some strong to severe thunderstorms across much of the Gulf Coast region here.

The main threats are going to be the potential for several tornadoes, some of which could be very strong tornadoes, damaging hail and also large hail and damaging winds. Shreveport, Louisiana, down to New Orleans, and even up to Memphis are really going to be the target points for those storms.

Now, as the low-pressure system continues to progress eastward, it's going to take that potential for delays with it. So, by Tuesday, Chicago, down to Atlanta, Charlotte, Washington, D.C., all looking at the potential for delays there, not just at the airports, but a lot of the interstates. 95, 85, 70, and 40 likely going to have some pretty heavy rain at times. By Tuesday night into Wednesday, now you're really starting to see that transition to the bulk of this storm pushing into the northeast and even bringing some snow across portions of interior New England.

So, it's not just the rain, but you've also got the snow to contend with as well.

Poppy, back to you.

HILL: A lot to keep an eye on.

Allison, appreciate it. Thank you.

Well, just as we really start to get to the thick of holiday travel, there's also flu activity which is now on the rise across the country. Here to take a closer look, CNN's Meg Tirrell.

So, Meg, how bad is the flu forecast, if you will, right?

MEG TIRRELL, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, sometimes I do feel like a weather forecaster looking at all of these respiratory viruses and where they're up and where they're down. And right now we are in flu season. It has started. It's off to a little bit of an early start again, like we saw last year. Right now it's really bad. As you can see the dark red there in the southeast, south, and it's getting worse across the west, but really it's rising everywhere. And the CDC estimates already that 780,000 people have had the flu already this season.

HILL: Wow.

TIRRELL: Eight thousand people have been hospitalized and almost 500 people have already died from the flu. And it's not even the biggest virus out there right now. Covid and RSV are also circulating. Covid is still at higher levels. This is a look at emergency department visits for respiratory viral illness. And you can see there Covid still, they're all increasing and it looks small, but they're all increasing right now. And Covid still is the one that is causing the most illness, causing people to go to these emergency departments.

HARLOW: What precautions should people be taking around the holidays? Because so many people are getting on planes right now.

TIRRELL: They really are. And one thing that we've seen is that fewer people are worried about spreading Covid-19 this year. There was just a poll that came out last week from KFF that showed three quarters of people are not worried about getting Covid-19 over the holidays themselves, 68 percent are not worried about spreading it to others.


But the thing you really need to think about as you're getting together with family and friends is, who is the most vulnerable in your group. You know, if you have an elderly grandparent or somebody who's immunocompromised, you have to think about protecting them, even if you're not particularly worried about yourself. So there's no magical, new things to do. It's the same old things. If you have symptoms, perhaps stay home or at least test. Masks can be good in travel or crowded places. Hand washing. And, of course, vaccines. You've got them for flu, RSV and Covid-19 now. So, that's important too.

HARLOW: OK, Meg, thank you, as always.

Well, Donald Trump getting a big endorsement from the governor of Texas. What this means for the 2024 race.

HILL: Plus, right now, 28 premature babies being evacuated from al- Shifa Hospital in Gaza, across the border in Egypt. We're going to take you live to Cairo with some of those latest developments just ahead.




GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R-TX): We need Donald J. Trump back as our president of the United States of America. I'm here today to officially proclaim my endorsement for Donald J. Trump to be president of the United States of America again!


HARLOW: That is Republican governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, officially throwing his support behind Donald Trump for re-election. That is a big endorsement. And it came during Trump's visit to the border over the weekend and a week after CNN's reporting that Trump is planning a huge expansion of his hardline immigration policies that we saw in his first administration. If he wins, those plans include rounding up undocumented immigrants in large scale raids and arrest operations and placing them in detention camps to await deportation.

Back with us, Errol Louis and Michelle Price.

How much, though, does -- I guess maybe people thought he might endorse DeSantis, for example, but how much does that help Trump? Does it?

LOUIS: Well, it certainly does, although it helps Governor Abbott probably a little bit more. I mean it never hurts to get behind the guy who's 40 points up in the polls and, you know, given that Texas is a pivotal and large state that happens to come pretty late in the calendar, it will all be over by the time it actually gets to the -- the calendar gets to Texas. So, a very safe choice for Governor Abbott.


HILL: A safe choice for hearing more of these - of the immigration policies, as Poppy talked about, from the former president and just how hardline - how -- I can't get my words out, it's Monday morning, how hardline those are.

We - it's not surprising to see that coming from the former president as he's moving closer and closer, and yet we have seen how voters have reacted. What is the sense within the party, this is it, not going to deviate from this lane and this is what 2024 will look like?

PRICE: I mean this is what he ran on in 2016 too. This was his key issue. He's coming back to it.

You know, when you talk to Republican voters, this is a thing -- whether or not they live in a border state or not, this is a thing that they are concerned about. They point to fentanyl in their communities as a border issue. So, to have somebody like Greg Abbott, who is in a border state, that sends an endorsement to them of, this is somebody who knows this issue and he is choosing Donald Trump.

You know, we've seen Governor DeSantis has tried to make this an issue. He's made - it's key for him even as governor when he's been flying migrants to places like Martha's Vineyard. So, this -- for Trump to double down on this, this is what he made his campaign about, and now he's got the backing of a governor who's dealing with this every day, is kind of cementing him as the guy on immigration.

HARLOW: So, let's listen to how both Governor DeSantis and Nikki Haley responded overnight yesterday to - to Trump because they're still pretty measured in the way that they're willing to go after him.

Here they were.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL), 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The presidency is not a job for somebody that's pushing 80 years old. I just think that that's something that has been shown with Joe Biden. Father time is undefeated. Donald Trump is not exempt from any of that.

NIKKI HALEY (R), 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's not so much about Donald Trump and -- and, yes, his personality is not my personality and, yes, he says things he shouldn't say. We look so distracted right now. And when America's distracted, the world is less safe.


HARLOW: Strategically, Errol, do you think that's as far as they're going to go against Trump, or do they really have to ratchet it up?

LOUIS: She's really, really good. I mean, that incapsulated and she really sort of played out for voters people who are maybe a little bit anxious about Donald Trump but still don't necessarily want to stay home or jump to the Democratic side. And so she like literally a playing out, well, yes, he says different things but let's not get distracted. Let's all just move forward. That, I think, is the key.

I think there's a case that's starting to emerge that Nikki Haley, Governor DeSantis really are sort of auditioning for the number two slot on the ticket. That this is - this idea of trying to sort of throw him out or, you know, somehow pull off a surprise victory in less than 60 days in Iowa, a little bit more time for New Hampshire, is pretty much out of reach according to the polls. And so I think they're trying to sort of make the case that without alienating the Trump base, they deserve some consideration on a national ticket. And let's just leave it there for now. You know, perhaps as the number two, if fortune smiles on them, maybe they can snag the number one spot.

HILL: We'd love to get your take on - so we learned on Friday this judge in Colorado ruling that Donald Trump can stay on the primary ballot, but noting in pretty interesting language a portion of the ruling noting that, "the court concludes that Trump acted with specific intent to incite political violence and direct it at the Capitol with the purpose of disrupting the electoral certification," right, going on here, right, that he "engaged in an insurrection on January 6, 2021."

How do you see that playing out? Because that is the language that I think is getting the most focus and will likely be brought up in several other areas moving forward.


PRICE: Right. I mean this judge declared him an insurrectionist. That has never happened for a former president.