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DeSantis and Newsom Debate; Israel Knew Hamas' Plans; U.N. Talks of Climate Collapse. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired December 01, 2023 - 06:30   ET



PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN ANCHOR: Well, there was a coastal battle playing out on the debate stage in Georgia. And some are wondering if it could be a preview of 2028.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis faced off against California's Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom. This was a debate Fox News dubbed "great red state versus blue state debate."



GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): There's one thing in closing that we have in common is neither of us will be the nominee for our party in 2024.

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): You have $6 or $7 gas. How do they - how do they afford that? These are folks that are blue collar people.

NEWSOM: You were talking about tax rates in this state.

DESANTIS: You're going to force everybody to buy an electric vehicles. How are they going to be able to afford electric vehicles?

NEWSOM: I don't like the way you demean people. I don't like the way you demean the LGBTQ community. I don't like the way you demean and humiliate people you disagree with, Ron.

DESANTIS: You have the freedom to defecate in public in California. You have the freedom to pitch a tent on Sunset Boulevard. You have the freedom to create a homeless encampment under the freeway and even light it on fire. You have the freedom to have an open air drug market and use drugs.


HARLOW: CNN political analyst Natasha Alford is here, political strategist Amanda Woloshen Glass, and CNN - I here with us as well, and CNN political analyst Leah Wright Rigueur.

It's great to have you guys.

Wow. It was just - just a little bit of it if you weren't up watching it last night.

Let's me begin with you, Leah, in terms of what they gained. What do you think DeSantis gained, what do you think Gavin Newsom gained? What did the country gain from that?

PROF. LEAH WRIGHT RIGUEUR, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST AND HISTORIAN: OK, so those are three really different things.

I'm not so sure that the country gained a lot. I think, in theory, the idea of two governors really duking it out to talk about policy issues and significant ideological differences is something that the American people have been missing for a really long time.


I'm not so sure that that's what we had last night. Instead, I think what we saw were two candidates who were really just pitching to their own audiences. I know Newsom said a lot about wanting to speak to Fox News viewers and, you know, introduce himself to new audiences.

HARLOW: Remember, he did that red state sort of tour.

RIGUEUR: Right. Right, he did this tour. He also has gone on "Hannity" before.


RIGUEUR: But it's also true that, you know, with someone who is a communicator like Newsom, it looks like a highlight reel, right? Like, this is perfect for later on as he is, you know, trying out for various positions, trying to raise his national profile.

I actually think the person who needed this the most was Ron DeSantis. His campaign is falling apart, it's flailing, it's all over the place and this was actually a different Ron DeSantis than we've seen before. It wasn't terrific, but it was a lot more energetic than we've seen him, and feistier than we've seen him in the past. And, for him, that's good enough.

HARLOW: A win for him.

MATTINGLY: Yes, Amanda, to that point, you know, the campaign needed it. It needs something, right? I guess my question was, is this that something in the sense of, can anything turn it around? Can anything change the narrative or trajectory narrative? And was last night it?

AMANDA WOLOSHEN GLASS, POLITICAL STRATEGIST: Clearly watching the debate last night, you're left thinking to yourself, what are we really doing here? We have Governor Newsom, an up and coming great communicator for the Democrats, debating Ron DeSantis, who is right now in third place. Obviously, Nikki Haley and Governor DeSantis are far behind President Trump in the polls. He's clearly trying to step out and gain traction. And it does add to the speculation with Governor Newsom, what are we actually doing? Are we waiting in the wings for a potential shakeup? Even President Biden said it himself that he could have his job, he's great. So, it certainly triggers thoughts about what's coming next. This was

a moment for Ron DeSantis to step out. Did he? I think yet to be seen in the polls, but he certainly needs a boost.

HARLOW: Here are both weighing in on the Biden/Harris economy right now.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): He thinks Biden and Harris has done a great job. He thinks the economy is working because of their policies for Americans, and they are not. And so what California represents is the Biden/Harris agenda on steroids.

GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (R-CA): Here's a guy who celebrated Bidenomics just this week, celebrating $28 million that came into your state because of the Chips and Science Act, one of the most significant economic plans since FDR. I'm proud of the work Biden and Harris have done.


HARLOW: Natasha, it's so interesting, despite what the data shows, we just saw the economy grew more than expected. People just aren't feeling it at home. And so, what do you make of how they address the economy?

NATASHA ALFORD, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, I thought this was a powerful moment for Newsom to be sort of the cheerleader that Biden and Harris can't be, right? The way that they've tried to articulate what they're doing with Bidenomics and what they've done in the administration, it doesn't seem like it's landing. But it felt as though Gavin Newsom was able to bring some energy to the message, right? Whether people believe it or not is a different thing.

But I'm already seeing, you know, the clips, as you said, Leah, they're circulating, right, people saying, Gavin Newsom handed it to Ron DeSantis. I think there are a lot of Democrats who feel like they don't have a strong voice. They believe in the message, they believe in what the administration has accomplished, but the people who are out front, Biden and Harris, aren't doing the best job of messaging. And so Gavin Newsom, I do believe he was talking to Democrats. He was trying to show Democrats, in a strong moment, in conversation with Republicans, and I -- because I wondered, I said, why would he agree to do this, but now it makes sense.


MATTINGLY: Let me ask you about that, though, to dig in a little bit further. Is it a president and vice president communication issue or is it a surrogate issue? Because I've always been struck that like the Biden team doesn't have that wide array, maybe like the Obama folks did or the Clinton folks, of really powerful surrogates that are always out, always talking, always touting. Newsom has been that over the course of the last couple months, was clearly trying to be that last night. I think to some degree it was. Is that an issue that they have, not in the campaign or in the White House but around them to some degree with Democrats?

ALFORD: I mean I see surrogates who are out there.


ALFORD: I see the people who are doing interviews with "the Grio," for example -


ALFORD: Trying to sell the message to the black community. But there's something about - there's like a passion that's missing, right? I think there's an excitement that's missing. I think people, when they think about 2024, particularly young people, they feel like it's more of the same.

And so even if you have the surrogates with the talking points, I think there's something about a charisma, this sort of intangible aspect of political leadership that Gavin Newsom was able to inject into our political conversation last night. And so, yes, I think that's something that you can't really explain, you just either have it or you don't. And I think he brought it last night.

HARLOW: Do you think Gavin Newsom overshadowed President Biden or highlighted the work of President Biden?


RIGUEUR: So, I think that's actually a way to sidestep the question. Gavin Newsom was able to do both, right? So, at one point, you know, Sean Hannity says, are you just a surrogate for President Biden, am I on stage with the president right now or is this somebody else? And I think his job was to be a surrogate, but it was also to introduce the nation to Gavin Newsom and to remind them that he is polished, that he can communicate, that he looked very presidential or vice presidential up on that stage. And I think he is readying himself, not just for war, but also for the chance and the opportunity, if it opens, to take the limelight.

HARLOW: Thank you all very much. We appreciate it. Good to have you.

There are new reports that suggests Israel knew about the attack that Hamas was planning for more than a year. Specifics as well. What this means for Israel's response now.

MATTINGLY: And a harsh winter ahead in Ukraine. Why western officials are worried about the counteroffensive against Russia.

Stay with us.


HARLOW: A new report from "The New York Times" and "Haaretz" on what Israel knew about Hamas' plans prior to the October 7th terror attacks, citing documents, emails, extensive interviews. "The New York Times" says that Israelis officials had Hamas' October 7th battle plan but did not act on it because they didn't think Hamas was capable of actually pulling it off.


MATTINGLY: Now, "The Times" report details that, quote, "Hamas followed the blueprint with shocking precision. The document called for a barrage of rockets at the outset of the attack, drones to knock out the security cameras and automated machine guns along the border, and gunmen to pour into Israel en masse in paragliders, on motorcycles and on foot, all of which happened on October 7th."

Back with us, CNN political and national security analyst David Sanger, and CNN military analyst retired Air Force Colonel Cedric Leighton.

David, it's stunning to read both the "Haaretz" report, your colleague's report last night, the scale of the reporting that went into "The Times" piece. U.S. officials also underestimated, in part because they share intelligence with the Israelis, the capabilities of Hamas. Is that at the core of all of this to some degree?

DAVID SANGER, CNN POLITICAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, I think the core is what the Israelis believe. This report, which was done by my colleagues Ronen Bergman and Adam Goldman is truly stunning. And you know what it reminds you of, Phil, are all the reports that we began to get a few weeks and months after 9/11 when we realized that, you know, the FBI knew that a group of people who became the hijackers were in the country and they knew about airplane training and so forth but they hadn't put it all together.

Well, what's difference in this case is this report, which the Israelis called "Jericho Wall," did put it all together and put it all together last year. They just didn't believe that Hamas was capable of pulling off something of this nature. We don't know whether it got briefed up to Prime Minister Netanyahu. We don't know how high those briefings got. But the plan that they had is clearly the plan that was executed.

And it then raises the question, had Israel responded differently, had it moved troops down to there, had it reinforced these areas and the technology that the - that Hamas was able to take out, the censor systems, the automated weapons and so forth, had they done that, they might have been able to prevent this entire thing from starting and thus prevent the war and the retribution from happening.

HARLOW: And, Colonel Leighton, also detailed in this reporting from "The New York Times," is that just three months before the attacks, so in July, there was a veteran analyst with unit 8200, which is Israel's signals intelligence agency, that said, look, Hamas is carrying out an exercise. It is almost an identical blueprint to what is mapped out here and what they had prior written down. But that warning was completely brushed off by a colonel in the Gaza division.

Yes, we don't know how high this went up, but the fact that it apparently went to a colonel who completely dismissed it, what does that tell you about how now they are operating in this offensive? COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Yes, Poppy, that's

one of the things that's kind of critical here. You've got to be careful about middle management in all of these situations. And, you know, when it comes to disregarding these kinds of warnings, it's always a bit of a black eye for the intelligence community. The collection here worked beautifully. The problem that you have is the analytical part in this particular case. So, it was a failure of imagination. And that failure of imagination, in essence what people tend to do is they tend to mirror image what they're themselves thinking or feeling or believing is possible onto the adversary. And in this particular case, that can have really fatal consequences.

So, as far as what's happening right now, it, you know, makes the Israeli intelligence services work doubly hard to get things right. But they still have to be very careful not to mirror image the kinds of things that they expect Hamas to do. They have to make sure that they understand what is possible, even aspirational, and act as if the aspirational might actually become reality.

MATTINGLY: David, I want to swing back to, obviously, the huge news of the morning, which is that there was no agreement reached to extend the pause for the hostage swaps. Military operations have restarted.

In talking to U.S. officials overnight and early this morning, I was told that there was no official Hamas proposal actually even made last night and that Hamas has claimed that they don't have the number of women and children needed to continue the structures as it was. The Israelis don't believe the later part.

I'm trying to say, why I enjoy having you on the show is, where I have gaps in my reporting, I trust you're wired enough to fill them in. Is the explanation we're getting right now in terms of dynamics accurate, if there are a dozen - a couple dozen women and children still unaccounted for, but Hamas says they don't have access to them, where are they?

SANGER: Yes, I wish we had the reporting to fill in this gap. We don't. And -- or at least I don't. And I think the reason is that people are quite uncertain. Look, we knew that there were, you know, somewhere just south of 240 hostages, some said 220 taken.


We now think, you know, that number's been reduced by a little under 100. But we don't know entirely who's got them. We don't know where they are. We don't know whether during the pauses that took place so far, when the Israelis could not have surveillance up there, whether some of the hostages were moved. You have to assume some were.

And so there's a huge number of unknowns in here. Presumably there is some intelligence now from the hostages who have been released that can help the Israelis piece together who the other hostages are, if they were in the same room, if they saw them, and so forth. But, you know, that is still going to be a little bit patch work.

I think the bigger issue here is, we had Secretary of State Blinken there, you know, all of yesterday and yet the Israelis still could not be talked off of starting this up again, even while negotiations were underway.

MATTINGLY: Yes, it just - it underscores just how broad, intense the dynamics are.

David Sanger, Colonel Cedric Leighton, we appreciate you guys. Thank you.

HARLOW: A worldwide warning. The globe nearing a dangerous temperature threshold. And a new report reveals what countries contribute most to the climate crisis, next.



MATTINGLY: Well, this morning, a dire warning from the United Nations, the world is on the brink of a climate collapse.

HARLOW: The World Meteorological Organization says 2023 is on track to be about 2.5 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than preindustrial times. That is just under the threshold that could pose a risk to human life. And that's why you hear that number so often. The report kicked off the U.N. Climate Summit in Dubai, where Britian's King Charles just spoke this morning.



KING CHARLES, UNITED KINGDOM: Some important progress has been made, but it worries me greatly that we remain so dreadfully far off track.


HARLOW: CNN chief climate correspondent Bill Weir joins us now.

Good morning to you.


HARLOW: That 2.5 degrees, we hear it all the time. It is crucial. Explain why and then what countries have the most work to do.

WEIR: Well, once we reach a certain point, you know, say we take it to three degrees Fahrenheit or something -


WEIR: That means the ends of coral reefs as we know it. It means the ends of mountain glaciers. It means ice sheets collapsing on both polls, sea level rise. Bad stuff. We're trying to avoid that. Keeping 1.5 alive at this point may not be practical because we've been flirting with it this year, but it has - it's there. And here we are. And really it comes down to the biggest 20 countries that are responsible for more than 80 percent of the population.

The big kahuna right now are China, a massive population, the United States, and India are the three. But this is a little bit deceiving a bit because China is expected to peak. While they are putting tons of coal new plants but they're also putting tons of solar farms out in the Gobi (ph) Desert, they're supposed to peak. Like, remember when we were trying to bend the curve for Covid?



WEIR: They're expected to bend the curve within the next couple of years or so. The United States has already done it by getting off of coal, shifting to better but still bad national gas, methane and coming down.

India is expected to keep going up because they're still struggling with poverty. The hope is that they can leap fossil fuels the way they leap frog land lands and went straight to cell phones in these developing countries. They're expected to go up here as well. But it's not just what's happening now, it's historic we've got to think about, too.


MATTINGLY: You know, and to that question, it's historic. You also talk about, you know, the smaller countries that expect help from the larger countries. Help that's been promised but never delivered.

WEIR: Exactly.

MATTINGLY: When you look at historic precedent, how is -- what's the fair way to address this?

WEIR: Well, if you look, this is going back to 1850, the beginning of the steam engine, the beginning of industrialization, right? Here is the - oh, I've got to touch this guy. Oh, sorry. Where's John King when I need him?

MATTINGLY: Seriously.

WEIR: There we go. This is the whole -- most of the world going back. This is the mountain range that they have built over time out of carbon emissions, right? This is - oh, guys, here we go. There's going to -- there we go.

And here we go, Russia is coming in there. And then the EU. Europe - Europe has a huge carbon footprint going back. Of course, obviously, they were some of the early adapters. But then India begins to catch up. The United States historically the most going back.


WEIR: And then China's mountain comes in right here. So, if you're part of the world, 80 percent of the world that was only contributing this mountain to the big problem and you're looking at these two big mountains, these guys need to step up. If you did it by according to fairness, the European Union would have to cut their emissions 90 percent by 2030.

HARLOW: Yes, that's not happening.

WEIR: The United States needs to do almost 70 percent. That's just what's fair right now.

HARLOW: Right.

WEIR: And so yesterday there was a big move and a loss in damages, a fund to pay these countries to help them with this problem. The estimate are that they need $100 billion a year. Yesterday the pledges were $100 million from Germany, $100 million from the UAE, $17 million just over from the United States.

HARLOW: Really?

WEIR: Yes. And some actors are saying that's embarrassing.

HARLOW: Despite having the biggest (INAUDIBLE).

WEIR: But it has to do with politics in the United States because Republicans don't want to pay climate reparations, as they're framing it, to other countries.

MATTINGLY: I'm just going to say, you -- you're more zen than John King ever would have been.

WEIR: Oh, no.

MATTINGLY: He would have broken this thing. He would have tossed it.

HARLOW: Of course Bill Weir is zen.

WEIR: No, I - this is his Ferrari. I got to drive it and I crashed it.

MATTINGLY: (INAUDIBLE). Professional. That was awesome.

HARLOW: Thank you. We're always so glad to have you on.

MATTINGLY: Bill Weir, we appreciate you, man. Thank you.

And CNN THIS MORNING continues right now.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Israeli-Hamas truce has expired.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They returned to the fighting in the Gaza Strip.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hostage negotiations are still ongoing despite resumed fighting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Seven days of these extraordinary hostage exchanges.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's the same Hamas. We are once back again out to destroy them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Congressman George Santos could be out of a job, threatening to take down his own colleagues if expelled.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It could be a close vote. There is a divide inside the GOP.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If we have an opportunity to start a new precedent, I'm pretty confident that the American people would applaud that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Governors Gavin Newsom and Ron DeSantis tackling all matters of policy in an often heated debate.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Gavin Newsom did exactly what a surrogate is supposed to do.

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): You almost have to try to mess California up.