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Anderson Cooper Talks about Grief; Koch Network Endorses Haley; Cheney Blasts GOP; Democrats Losing Support of Blacks; Israel's First Lady Speaks about Attacks Against Women; Sir Richard Branson is Interviewed about Cutting Emissions. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired November 29, 2023 - 08:30   ET



ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: On him. Speaking with comedians, poets, filmmakers and musicians about how they have dealt with the loss of their loved ones. And the second season, which is out now, we're going to dig a little bit deeper into Anderson's personal journey with grief, and it includes conversations with a number of different guests. Among them President Biden.

And Anderson's here with that this morning. This is -- it is such a beautiful podcast. And I would say to a person, and everyone I know who has listened to it, they have been so touched and it has inspired them so much to talk more about grief.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, I mean it's something we don't really talk much about. And it's difficult to talk about. I certainly haven't talked about it much in my life. But it, you know, the one thing I do know about it, and I don't know much about it is just not talking about it makes it worse and just adds to the loneliness.

I started a podcast about grief while going through boxes of things that belonged to my mom and my dad, and brother, all of whom have died, and this idea of not talking about grief, which has sort of been my strategy most my life, it's hard and it's painful to talk about it, but not talking about it, it adds to the loneliness of it. It certainly has for me.

As Erica said, the podcast is called "All There Is." The second seen is just out. The first episode of the second season is just out this morning. I didn't think I was going to do another season but over the last few months I realized probably for the first time the importance of grieving and talking with others who have lived with and learned from loss.


COOPER (voice over): The basement in my house is still filled with boxes of stuff belonging to my mom, who died in 2019, and to my dad and brother, who died decades ago. There are photographs and letters and notes that have been sitting here waiting for me to find the courage to sift through them for nearly a year. I had started to go through the boxes last year during the first season of "All There Is," but I had to stop. I found it overwhelming. All this stuff brought up a lot of pain and sadness I had buried long ago as a kid when my dad, Wyatt Cooper, died, and then again when my brother Carter died by suicide. But it turns out grief doesn't stay buried forever.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have never shared anything like this before.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I lost my father when I was 10.

COOPER (voice over): I was reminded of that this spring when I started listening to more than thousand voicemails I've received during the first season of the podcast.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I had to grieve the person that I was.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have to endure it. We have to get through it.

COOPER (voice over): It took months, but I listened to all your calls. More than 46 hours of messages. And they moved me profoundly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We lost our son, Brad, eight years ago.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I want you to know my son's name. Ian Alexander Lahikainen.

COOPER (voice over): I learned the names of your loved ones. I heard your pain and your love. And I don't know how to explain it exactly, but it awakened something inside me and I realized now, for the first time, that I've never really allowed myself to grieve. And in burying that pain, I've also buried my ability to feel joy. And I don't want to do that any longer. I can't. I want to feel all there is. And so that's why I'm doing another season of this podcast. I need to talk with others living with grief and learn from them how I can, too.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think the impulse, at least for me, was just sort of how do I - how do I fix it, how do I manage it. And none of that works with grief. You can't fix it. You can't manage it. You can't push it away.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I was at a grocery store feeling like nobody could see me, and I was just screaming inside.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It felt like this unraveling of our family. Like to be the only one left and to have no one I could - I could really call and talk to and be like, remember when this happened?

COOPER (voice over): In the first episode I talk with author Francis Weller about what grief can actually do for us in our lives.

FRANCIS WELLER, AUTHOR: We're told to buck up, just to get over it, to rise above it, but we're never really taught how to be with it.

COOPER (voice over): And in the next episode I'll talk with President Biden at the White House about his grief and how he has come to live with it.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think it's critical people understand that they're always going to be with you. Your mother is in your heart every single day. Your brother. In your heart. You're they're. They're every single day. And there will come a time as you can sort of welcome that, that you have that, you had that, that it was there.

COOPER (voice over): There's a lot I don't understand about grief, but I do know that talking about it is the only thing that makes me feel less alone in it. And I hope it does for you as well.

The new season of "All There Is" starts Wednesday, November 29th wherever you get your podcasts.


MATTINGLY: How did this season -- recording this season change your approach?

COOPER: I mean, I literally, listening to all those voicemails, was like a life changing experience. And I do -- I discovered something in a box, an article, an essay my dad wrote 40 years ago titled "the importance of grieving."


And I'd never seen it before. And in it he writes about what happens to kids who don't grieve. And I realized, that's me. And so, yes, it - it's - I sort of had this awakening, I guess, it's cheesy to say -- call it that, but just in the last couple of months while listening to those voicemails about just how crucial it is to, you know, no matter how old the loss is, it doesn't go away unless you face it and try to learn how to. So, that's what I'm trying to do.

HILL: One of your guests there who said that we're never really taught how to live with it, right, how to live with that grief. And you recognizing how important it is to live with it, that it is a part of you. And that also -- I don't know if you find this, but I find, personally in my own grief, by recognizing that and keeping it alive, it keeps that person, right, for me, it keeps them alive.


HILL: And makes them alive for my kids and my family.


HILL: And that is a beautiful way to honor them.

COOPER: My first guest is this psychotherapist and author Francis Weller. And I didn't know him. A listener of the podcast sent me his book with a note, a woman named Cynthia (ph), her son John died in 2016, just saying, I hope there's something in this that touches you. And I opened this guy's book and it was really the first grief book I've read and it just blew me away. And so, he's the first guest. President Biden is the second guest next week.

HILL: It's beautiful the way you've opened up the conversation I think for so many people. COOPER: Thanks.

MATTINGLY: You know, to that point, and I know we've got to go but I get a lot of questions about you from people outside of CNN.

COOPER: Is he as pail as everyone - it appears (INAUDIBLE).

MATTINGLY: Never. No, not at all. Not at all.

HILL: Top of the - top of the list.


MATTINGLY: Your reporting either with CNN or with "60 Minutes," you know, your "Real Housewives" obsession and relationship with Andy Cohen, it runs the gamut. I have never seen - I've never experienced so many people connecting so deeply with a journalist's work than on the first season of your podcast. Thank you for being here. Please be sure to download the season 2 premier of "All There Is." It's out today wherever you get your podcasts.

Well, Nikki Haley getting a billionaire boost to her campaign. Will it be enough to topple Trump as the party frontrunner? Harry Enten going to be here breaking down the numbers.



HILL: Money from the deep pockets of wealthy donors is oxygen for any successful presidential campaign. And Nikki Haley just got a big old dose of it on Tuesday. The Koch backed group Americans for Prosperity announcing it is backing the former South Carolina governor's bid for the White House. So, of course, the big question now, will the endorsement and all the cash actually offer up the momentum that she needs to give Nikki Haley a real shot at overtaking Donald Trump?

The man with the answer, Harry Enten.

No pressure, Harry, but what do you got?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: I mean, look, I think a lot of people might say, OK, what the heck are the Koch brothers thinking if you look at the national polls? Look how far back Nikki Haley is. She's at just 10 percent. Donald Trump at 61 percent. She's not even in second place. Ron DeSantis is at 17 percent.

And you might say, OK, this might just be emblematic of wealthier folks not liking Donald Trump nearly as much as you see in our latest CNN poll. Incomes of 150,000 plus. You see Donald Trump is at 38 percent. Nikki Haley is far closer, 21 percent. So, are they just bias in some sort of way? I don't think that's necessarily it because if you take a look at the polls in Iowa and New Hampshire, this is Trump or choosing Haley, you see nationally Trump's ahead by 51. But look at Iowa, Nikki Haley's at 16, Donald Trump's at 43 percent. Or you look at New Hampshire, it's only a 22 point difference. So, I think they're looking at the early polls and saying, you know what, Nikki Haley has a real shot of defeating Donald Trump despite what the national polls are showing.

MATTINGLY: OK, let's do the history then. Does she? What's the precedent, Harry?

ENTEN: What is the precedent? Are there any candidates who have come back to win either Iowa or New Hampshire when they were down by 20 plus points at this point? Look at Iowa. George H.W. Bush won there when he was down by 20 plus points. Dick Gephardt in '88. New Hampshire, Gary Hart in '84, Pat Buchanan back in 1996.

And here's the other thing that I think you want to take a look at here. Non-Trump voters who have made up their mind in the GOP primary, look at that, just 24 percent in Iowa, just 29 percent New Hampshire. There is this large anti-Trump vote in the GOP primary they think can move around and maybe some money from the Koch brothers might help them move towards the Haley direction.

HILL: We will be watching.

ENTEN: We shall be.

HILL: Harry, thank you.

ENTEN: Thank you.

MATTINGLY: Thanks, buddy.

Well, we're seeing our first images of the U.S. military osprey aircraft that crashed off the coast of Japan. What we know about the six people who were onboard.

HILL: And CNN updating a copy of former Congresswoman Liz Cheney's new book. What she reveals about the relationship between Trump and the new House speaker. That's ahead.



MATTINGLY: Well, CNN has obtained exclusively a copy of former Congresswoman Liz Chaney's new book "Oath and Honor" ahead of its December 5th release. In it Cheney recounts a conversation with former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy after he visited Trump's Florida home six weeks after the January 6th attack on the Capitol. She asked, "Mar-a- Lago? What the hell, Kevin?" She says McCarthy responded, "they're really worried. Trump's not eating, so they asked me to come see him." Cheney said, "what? You went to Mar-a-Lago because Trump's not eating?" And McCarthy replied, "yes, he's really depressed."

On that note, Bianna, Astead and Josh are back with us.

I'm interested, Josh, we've heard -- Liz Chaney's been so consistent on her views of this, even before she joined the January 6th committee, certainly in the wake of it, now out of Congress. Where do you think this book lands in term of impact as we head into a year till the election?

JOSH BARRO, HOST, "VERY SERIOUS" PODCAST: I mean, you know, I think - I think Liz Chaney has had a lot of impact. And I think that, you know, the -- what - what she did in the lead-up to the 2022 elections and what Democrats basically, you know, to a certain extent sat back and allowed her to lead in a lot of the presentation on the January 6th committee, I think it was effective in peeling off a small but crucial slice of traditionally Republican voters who, like Liz Chaney, were very alienated by the president's actions around January 6th.

I don't know that the book additionally moves the needle beyond that, but I think that issue is going to continue to matter in 2024. I think you saw that in a lot of these Senate races in 2022 when you had candidates who really embraced the election denier position, who stood with the riots and the efforts to, you know, to overturn the 2020 election. That is an unpopular position. And messaging about that is one key component of the - of the Democrat campaign strategy for '24. And I think some of the messages that are in here will again be a part of that.

MATTINGLY: Yes, that's a really good point.

Astead, in terms of Democratic coalitions, that was one of them, and certainly in '22 a critical coalition. There's a lot of concern about is black voters. It is kind of the bedrock at this point in time.


MATTINGLY: You went home for Thanksgiving where people say don't talk about politics, and you were like, hold my beer, I'm talking to everybody about politics. Explain. Because your new podcast is excellent.

HERNDON: Thank you. I mean this was really fun to do. I mean it was done out of this kind of premise. You know, when we look back from the 2022 midterms, black turnout was one of the Democrats' weakest points. And then we have, in the last couple weeks, "The New York Times"/Sienna poll which also showed a real sea change in terms of black voters interesting and maybe not dropping off from Democrats or supporting Trump over Biden.

That led me to think, you know, might as well convene a focus group I know pretty well, be my family and friends. Get around folks around the Thanksgiving table and try to get deeper under the polls to understand kind of why this is happening. So, I leaned on kind of folks who knew my family, I knew folks from my dad's church and we got a kind of intergenerational group of black folks together and really just had a Thanksgiving dinner where we talked about all of this stuff.

I think a couple things really stuck out to me out of those conversations. The first is, I think, there's a real - a sense of shock that we're back here again. And I think people understand that when it comes to the prospect of Trump and re-election.

[08:50:01] That's really also true for Biden and re-election. People really mentioned how they saw him as emergency option in 2020 and they just assumed that there was a kind of implicit pinkie promise one term of it all and they are kind of surprised that we're back to be here again. It was just a sense of, like, oh, really?

The second thing I think is our generational split that we see across with Biden. You have a younger generation of black voters who are much less kind of tied to the representational aspect that I think Obama and others have the real legacy for. And they're much more distant from the kind of history of civil rights that says you kind of have to vote. And so this group was saying, really, what is this administration doing for me is an open question. They're much more likely to hold war or hold kind of other administration broken promises against them rather than a kind of older group.

And the last one we focused on was black men and the kind of a gender split that we see in the data because black men show a lot more interest in voting for President Trump than we have with black women. And you see the kind of concerns that you see across groups. The need for economic empowerment. An openness to kind of some Republican ideas. And we also have to say some uncomfortable topics. The changing language around gender and sexuality has made some folks uncomfortable because particularly we're talking about straight black men who were in this group.

And so, you know, I think that a lot of things come up in that discussion that shows the kind of ways that masculinity and kind of changing gender norms and language are kind of shifting the Democratic coalition.

But I think it was really just a fun time because we got to really get deeper under the why though we see those numbers shift and it's a big, big area of concern when we think about next year in 2024.

HILL: It's all fascinating and definitely one that deserves further conversation, right, especially as we head into 2024.

I do want to turn back to Israel for just a moment.

Bianna, I was struck by your interview yesterday with Israel's first lady. What you were - what you were really diving into and touching on, which you have made a focal point on your show as well, is this question of why we're not hearing from more human rights organizations, specifically those created to protect the rights of women in response to what we are hearing in terms of these allegations of sexual violence, of rape, that was used against Israeli women in this terror attack. What did she tell you?

BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN SENIOR GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Yes, listen, she, too, was shocked when these reports were first coming out and she didn't really comprehend just the complexity involved in the investigation and what ultimately experts said was premeditated in the sexual violence, the sexual assaults, the rapes perpetrated by Hamas against Israeli women. And as you said, it's been seven weeks now and there is a lot of

frustration among Israeli women going up to the first lady of the country, where are the women's rights groups? Where is U.N. women? Where are these organizations who stand for the protection of women, specifically when it comes to war crimes? And we've seen silence. And she said, this is just not acceptable. It's not acceptable for Israeli women, but it's not acceptable because it sets a precedent for women around the world.

So, we heard from a U.N. official who said a lot of things but didn't condemn Hamas in the interview I conducted yesterday. We will continue to be following this very important story though.

MATTINGLY: Yes, we will as well. It was a great interview.

Guys, thank you very much, as always.

There has been a breakthrough in aviation. The first ever transcontinental flight running on 100 percent sustainable jet fuel. Sir Richard Branson joins us live on set to discuss the remarkable achievement. That's next.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Virgin 100, clear for takeoff. Thanks for your well wishes. Both engines are running on 100 percent sustainable aviation fuel. We're ready to go.


MATTINGLY: That was a Virgin Airlines Boeing 787 taking off from London yesterday on the first transatlantic flight operated by a commercial airline using 100 percent sustainable jet fuel. Now, Virgin says Tuesday's test flight used 70 tons of clean fuel mostly made from waist cooking oils and animal fat, reduce emissions by 70 percent.

HILL: The U.S. Energy Department says sustainable aviation fuel, known as SAF, can potentially deliver the same performance as traditional jet fuel but at a fraction of the greenhouse gas emissions. There was no cargo, there were no paying customers aboard that demonstrate flight but Virgin Airlines founder Sir Richard Branson was on that flight and he joins us now.

Safe to say you were pretty happy with your flight over here to New York.

SIR RICHARD BRANSON, FOUNDER, VIRGIN GROUP: I was home with my daughter, so I'm very pleased to say it worked.

HILL: When someone hears this, I have to say, the first thing that I thought of was, is this sort of the equivalent of what we heard a few years ago of, I'm going to get the extra french fry oil and I'm going to use it in my diesel car, but we're doing it now for planes?

BRANSON: Not - it's not - not so different. I mean in 2018 we did a flight with 4 percent and people said it would be absolutely impossible for you - for you ever to be able to have sustainable fuel 100 percent. And working with Boeing and Rolls Royce and the Virgin Atlantic team yesterday really was a, you know, truly historic moment.

Now we know it can be - it can - it can fly, we could fly, we could have flown to L.A. We could have flown to Tokyo. We could have flown to anywhere in the world. Now we've just got to get the fuel companies and we've got to get entrepreneurs to start making enormous quantities so that, you know, our planes can fly on it. You know, we also have a cruise company. We would like our cruise company to be able to use it. And this will be an important part and sort of tipping the world into a clean energy world.

MATTINGLY: You know, one of your many well-known quotes, you said, "the world will always assume something can't be done until you do it." You've got some precedent here I think from the past in 2005 where you accomplished something people didn't think you could and kind of changed the landscape of things with the global flier.

BRANSON: Yes, that -

MATTINGLY: Is that this -- talk about scale here. How do you scale this up to your point about all of the entities that need to get involved?

BRANSON: Yes, so in 2005 we argued with Boeing and Airbus that they should build their planes principally with carbon fiber and not heavy metal. And they weren't sure it could be done. So, we built a plane called the Virgin Atlantic Global Flier, which was 100 percent carbon fiber. It flew nonstop around the world with Steve Faucet (ph) at the helm. And afterwards Boeing and Airbus came, they saw how it got done and now the plane that we few on yesterday was about 60, 70 percent carbon fiber. So -- and most planes now are being built with carbon fiber. And that - that in itself is saving billions, you know, billions of carbon going up into the atmosphere.

So now, you know, with the sustainable aviation fuel, we expect the same revolution to happen. I mean it took -- you know it took 15, 20 years, you know, to get enough planes to have made a real difference with -- by being built of carbon. Hopefully we can speed up the process with clean energy fuel.

HILL: It's more expensive right now, the sustainable fuel. That being said, the way I understand it, there isn't really a modification though that needs to be made of the engine. So, you can use it in existing planes?

BRANSON: Yes, so that's what's so exciting is we literally -- we could fly -- you know, if, for instance, America gets ahead of Britain in, you know, making sustainable aviation fuel, we could -- in one direction fill it up with sustainable aviation fuel while Britain is catching up and, you know, making enough sustainable aviation fuel to fly - to fly both ways. So, it's highly adaptable, highly -- and easy to use. And so, you know, I'm even thinking, you know, we should really, in order to speed up the process, maybe set up a fuel company ourselves. But I'm talking and talking -


HILL: I like it when the wheels are turning right in front of us.

MATTINGLY: (INAUDIBLE) watching it in real time. That was - that was - that is very fascinating.

BRANSON: (INAUDIBLE) but the demand -- the demand for this is going to be millions and millions and millions and -- of gallons. And the great thing is the government's - the government on, you know, both sides of the Atlantic, they were all with us last night congratulating us but also saying that they want to work with us. And the -- you know, the world in most areas, as far as getting to clean energy, there's an exponential growth in a whole lot of different areas.


BRANSON: This was the one area that people thought was going to be impossible and now it looks like aviation can also be fixed.

MATTINGLY: A major moment, one of many, you've had in your career.

BRANSON: Thank you.

MATTINGLY: Sir Richard Branson, congratulations. Thank you so much for joining us.

BRANSON: Thank you, Phil.

MATTINGLY: We're watching closely this morning as the final hours of the truce between Israel and Hamas are ticking away. As we speak, negotiators in the White House racing to extend it.

Thanks for being with us today. We'll follow all of that.

"CNN NEWS CENTRAL" starts right now.