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Primary Win In Georgia Puts Biden Over The Top; Today: House Lawmakers To Vote On TikTok Bill; NYT: Cars Share Driving Habits With Insurance Companies. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired March 13, 2024 - 06:30   ET




KASIE HUNT, CNN ANCHOR: All right. President Biden has officially locked up the Democratic nomination in the November election. And just like in 2020, it was the state of Georgia that officially put them over the top. Team Biden described it as the cherry on top.

CNN's Priscilla Alvarez joins us now from the White House.

Priscilla, good morning. It's always wonderful to have you.

Georgia, obviously, is going to be central to this general election. What are you hearing from the White House this morning?

PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is a state that's absolutely critical for the president this year, and its one again that he narrowly won in 2020. What's going to be difficult this year is that there aren't any key state races, so there's nothing to really bolster the voter turnout that we saw in previous years, which means that it's going to have to stem from enthusiasm for President Biden. The Biden campaign knows that.

Recall, this is one of the states the president visited over the weekend, right after the State of the Union. So this for them was the cherry on top because they just visited the state, so they saw some of that mobilization already happening.

Now, in a statement last night, the president said that he was honored to receive the Democratic nomination. Going on to say that the Democratic Party across the country have put their faith in me once again to lead our party and our country in a moment when the threat Trump poses is greater than ever.

So, now begins the pivot to the general election in earnest. And today, the president is headed to Wisconsin. Yet another state that he narrowly won 2020, where he's also going to try to mobilize voters and open the first campaign headquarters while also taking the time to tout infrastructure, which is another key theme for him going into November -- Kasie.

HUNT: All right. Priscilla Alvarez for us at the White House, Priscilla, thank you very much. All right. One other thing that's working potentially in President Biden's favor is this trend that we've seen emerge out of the Republican primaries. In many states, 20 to 30 percent of Republican voters basically are telling us they don't want Trump as their nominee.

And you can see it there in the numbers. A new focus group conducted by "The New York Times" is shedding light on how former Trump supporters are thinking about Novembers contest, former supporters. What those voters decide to do, could very well determine the outcome of the election?

Our panel is back. David Frum, staff writer for "The Atlantic", joins us now as well.

And, Kristen, I do want to start with you because this is your focus group for "The New York Times". And you talk to ten voters who backed Trump in 2016 and also in 2020, but who don't like him now.

What do you think is the most important takeaway from this? I mean, how would you have us understand what you've learned?

KRISTEN SOLTIS ANDERSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: The big thing that struck me from these voters was that they, many cases didn't love Trump to begin with, but had nevertheless made the bargain again that he'll be better on the economy. He may bring the kind of change I'm looking for in Washington. I think that there's too much of the same old, same old.

And they've now come to think that Donald Trump is not the change agent they were bargaining for. And while they may still give him a slight edge over Biden on something like the economy or something like even mental acuity, they were not of the mind that they could see themselves pulling the lever for him a third time.

Now, knowing what they know, things like the way Trump has handled his legal situation, things like January 6, things that many frankly Republican consultants are a little bit dismissive of because they matter so little to the Republican base do seem to have turned some of these two-time Trump voters away.

And I think that's what you're seeing pop up in these primary results where there is some segment of, hey, I participate in this process. Maybe I was with Trump before, but I just can't do it a third time.

HUNT: David Frum, what do you make of what these voters are telling Kristen?

DAVID FRUMP, STAFF WRITER, THE ATLANTIC: You hear a lot of people complaining that they don't like the selection that's been presented to them, a rerun of Trump versus Biden. Why don't react to that? Always my thinking, this isn't a show that has been cast for your entertainment. This is not some offering from television that you may like or dislike. This is your country.

And I think the thing that these voters that Kristen is talking about are wrestling with the thing that we all need to wrestle with is we feel air on inauguration day. As I said, referring to them, great American tradition of the peaceful transfer of power, that great American tradition is now zero years old because the last time there was a violent attempted coup.


And when your country has suffered that, you have to step up and whether you like the show or don't like the show, whether it is exciting to you or dull, fresh or new, it's -- it's your country. And I think these people are wrestling with something terrible happened in the United States in '21, something, unlike anything ever before seen in American history. And it's up to you to do something about it. It's not something on the TV.

HUNT: It does begged the question, Kate, considering all the things that have happened that Kristen walk through this litany of things that President Biden standing is where it is, right? It's a huge challenge for them. You mean why?

KATE BEDINGFIELD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think there are few reasons first, I think don't underestimate how -- not that I'm telling anyone at this table, but how fragmented the media environment is, how hard it is to be heard and to be heard in a way that where the audience feels that what you're saying is credible.

I mean, people self-select into the outlets and platforms that they want to hear from, that they feel like underscores their own preconceptions and so, it is incredibly hard to land a direct message. Obviously, the State of the Union was a great opportunity for President Biden. I think he seized it quite well but it's hard to do that.

I also think across the board, remember, essentially both of these candidates or incumbents and at a time when people feel frustration with it institutions, they feel frustration with, with government, you know, you have two candidates who kind of to what Kristen was saying and what she found in her groups and people say Trump no longer feels like this, you know, anti --

HUNT: He's not new anymore.

BEDINGFIELD: He's not new anymore. He doesn't feel like this anti- establishment guy anymore.

So these are two incumbents running against each other. I think, you know, remember, that task for Biden and the Biden campaign is to reconstitute the coalition that they built in 2020. So that's a piece of -- a piece of that is motivating their base. And a piece of that is reminding everybody exactly the stakes that David was talking about and reminding them about the worst of Donald Trump. I mean, that simply put, that's the task before them.

ZOLAN KANNO-YOUNGS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: But they also have a challenge with -- I mean, we've seen the campaign and the White House tried to make the contrast increasingly in recent months. But one other challenges also trying to translate what they've passed into actual tangible things that people can feel at this point.

Many of the Democratic voters that I talked to still, even when they see are presented with metrics on the economy, don't feel that economy that's described by the federal government. So trying to basically translate all of these bills that many are hard to for, many are hard to digest and trying to relay than a way that resonates as can be difficult.

And also, I mean, I think the comet got made as well on your focus group. You still do have the age to consider as well and trying to message that to voters that seemed to be on the mind of the president though. And the White House during the state of the union.

BEDINGFIELD: Yes. I think -- I think both of those are a case for putting forward Biden the fighter. I mean, it's -- you know, you want Biden who is from Scranton, who understands your life, who's working hard to -- who has your back. Both of those concerns this concern of I'm not feeling the impact of what he's done, you know, in my day-to- day life and also this concern about age, you know, seeing that more pugnacious Biden addresses both of those things.

HUNT: One thing that stood out to me, Kristen, too, in your groups is you asked at the very end, who do think is going to win? And there's only one hand that went up for Biden.

ANDERSON: Yeah. And in the group, we only had one person of the ten who said I have left the Trump train and to have gone to Biden. He was somebody who is very motivated by the issue of Ukraine, thought Biden would be much better on that.

So these were not voters again, who were saying, I'm off the Trump train and I really like Biden or I feel confident in Biden. There were real serious concerns about him. And for many of them, they felt like even if I can't quite get there with Trump, I know a lot of people who are still there. It just feels like Americas going to say we can't do what we've been doing the last four years. Let's turn things back.

So they were very much looking at the same polls that folks like me are looking at showing Trump up by a little and you're sort of assuming that that's what were going to see in November. I'm less confident that we know what November we will look like, but there was not a lot of confidence from these voters that Biden has got what it takes to get to November and succeed.

FRUM: Well, look, that Joe Biden coalition spans the space from Bernie Sanders to Ann Romney. So that's going to be a pretty fractious coalition and its going to have a lot of things that disagrees about that the Biden base needs to be reminded of the Biden programs.

But the people were actually going to put Biden over the top probably don't like the Biden programs very much. They're doing it to stand up for American democracy, to defend allies, to support NATO, to defend Ukraine. And they're doing it despite the Biden record. But it's going to be enough.

Now, these odds are very scary. I mean, if you're told there's a giant comet heading toward Earth and it's got up only about a 45 percent chance of hitting the planet, 55 percent chance it misses, you think -- well, I guess on balance that's good, but it's still a very unacceptable risk of being hit by a giant comet.


And that sort of where --

HUNT: Somebody call Bruce Willis.

FRUM: That's sort of where we are. And if you're told that the captain of the ship that supposed to detonate the device that averts the comet, maybe a little old, you say, well, maybe it would be get better to have a young person, but since the ship has left Earth already, we just better hope succeeds in its mission.

HUNT: Very interesting analogy.

All right, lets turn for a second to another headline out of Washington this morning. China is saying that the bill to lead -- that could lead to a ban on TikTok in the U.S. is an act of bullying and will backfire on America. The House is expected to vote on this bill today, it calls for TikTok's Chinese parent company to divest within the next six months or be banned from App Stores, and bipartisan -- it's got all kinds of bipartisan support.

This prompted TikTok to launch an intense pressure campaign to try to sway lawmakers. The company paid for influencers to come to D.C. to travel to make their case. And users are also getting notifications on the app and being encouraged to flood congressional offices with calls protesting the bill.

And, David Frum, this, if anything, led to intense backlash, right? There was a unanimous vote in the House Energy and Commerce Committee, something that hardly ever happens after all these offices got flooded, essentially by children's. Some of them are saying what is Congress like, don't take my TikTok away, but like who are you? What are the stakes here?

FRUM: Well, the stakes are TikTok is relying on more than sweet words. They're relying on check writing and they started by writing the checks to former President Trump and many of the people around them. And they are buying the former Trump world to come lobby for this Chinese state enterprise.

I think as we think about the many things that are wrong and with TikTok, one of the things we need to think about is they have one of the things they've done that as good as they've given the lie to this idea that the Trump world stands up for America first, or that Trump world is motivated by some geostrategic theory about China. Trump world is for sale, and that's one of the things --

HUNT: You're talking about the fact that Trump on his --

FRUMP: Trump flip-flopped and many of the people around him as well have been hired. So, one of the things that they have done that as good is shown us a little bit about the American political system and how it's really operating. That's not enough to offset all the bad things they do because it's mostly very bad. But that's one thing they've done that's good.

HUNT: Yeah. Kate, the Biden team has -- Biden administration has said they'll sign this if they get it. It's unclear what it's future is going to be in the Senate. Is that a risk with young voters? And what is -- what is your view?

BEDINGFIELD: Well, no, look, I think they have to -- they've obviously got to do what they believe is in the best interests of American national security. And I think they need to be able to make a case to the American people that they are standing up against Chinese influence here. So I think politically signing the bill makes sense.

Now, in terms of the tactical efforts that the Biden campaign that gets a little more complicated. The Biden campaign is on TikTok. They are reaching young people that way. There have been a couple of, I think really effective TikToks. They've used the president effectively on the platform so they'll have to think through how they, how they reach out to a young audience. And that way, that's obviously there -- that's a question of campaign strategy, but I think writ large, the Biden White House needs to do what they need, what they believe they need to do to protect our national security interests. And they can make that case to the American people.

KANNO-YOUNGS: It was interesting on the same day that this bill was basically getting advanced last Thursday, you had also TikTok influencer in the state dining room of the White House as well, getting ready to put videos out for the campaign on one side, you have bipartisan momentum in Congress to look tough on China. You have the White House where national security officials are also turned about ByteDance and the current owning structure of TikTok. Remember this would be ban to basically ban it from app stores to try and get to divest from its parent company.

But then politically in the campaign, really both nominees at this point see that TikTok can be key to galvanizing young voters?

HUNT: Yeah, for sure.

So lets, lets remember, this is the one thing the house of representatives and it seems to be able to actually quickly do is the span its next invited process can take two-thirds of the chamber to actually pass it. There's a whole lot of other stuff that they are not doing.

And I just say that to kind of introduce one of the other stories were following this morning, which is that Colorado Congressman Ken Buck, who essentially the peace out, he's leaving at the end of next week.

This is what he told our Dana Bash.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. KEN BUCK (R-CO): It is the worst year of the nine years and three months that I've been in congress. And having talked to former members, it's the worst year in 40, 50 years to be in Congress.


HUNT: I mean, look, I've covered Congress for a lot of years, Kristen. I try very hard not to be cynical about it.


Actually love covering a Congress and I feel like it is the kind of the beating heart of our democracy, but it has been a depressing time up there and, you know, Buck also told reporters, for example, that will impeachment has become something that is just for social media. It's not a constitutional issue anymore.

What is your sense of the state of things there and how it got that way.

ANDERSON: So I don't doubt that being in Congress these days is not that fun, and I will also say being in public office is not about having fun. It's about serving the people.

And so if somebody like Ken Buck has a compelling argument for what can he do two weeks from now and he is freed of the responsibilities of being in Congress that is going to advance some cause that he cares about, will actually move something forward. Then I'm all ears.

And there are many people there who say, yeah, I'm going to retire at the end of this term because this feels pointless.

But I do think it is such a sad state of affairs, the people who are good and qualified, no longer view being in public service as the best way to bring about positive change in our country because all it means is you're going to get more people trying to enter the process maybe don't have the right -- they're not there for the right reasons. In reality TV speak or you wind up with thinking, okay, well, we need to a changing of the guard in Washington, there too many people that have been there for too long. But then you lose institutional experience and you have a bunch of new people in there who maybe don't know how to govern.

So it's this real catch-22 where I've -- I am very sad about a number of the members of Congress who have announced they're retiring. And I think it's just a bad sign for things.

HUNT: We absolutely as a country need quality public servants, otherwise were lost and you're absolutely right about that point.

All right. Its 46 minutes past the hour. We've got your morning roundup now.

A marine anti-terrorism unit has been deployed to the U.S. embassy in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, amid why widening gang violence in the capital. The units working with its partners to try to restore security in Haiti.

Uvalde residents reacting to the city police chief's resignation Tuesday, just before the city council was expected to reject a report clearing local police officers of any wrongdoing during the tragic 2022 massacre at Robb Elementary.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The cowards way out, just like his officers

Well, damn it, man, when is enough enough?


HUNT: The city has asked for more time to assess the report's findings.

Health officials say seven of the eight cases this is of the measles virus detected in Chicago have now been linked to a migrant shelter outbreak. Experts from the CDC have arrived in the city to help with the response.

And Robert F. Kennedy Jr. says he has selected a running mate and well reveal the name within the next two weeks. His VP front runners include Aaron Rodgers. Yep, that one. Jesse Ventura, Tulsi Gabbard and Senator Rand Paul.

Where's my picture of Aaron Rodgers guys?

Kate, Aaron Rodgers for vice president. What's he doing here?

BEDINGFIELD: Well, I think he's just trying to generally raise awareness about his candidacy. I think Aaron Rodgers, obviously a very prominent anti-vaxxer as well. So they are aligned on this issue of public health. I think --

HUNT: Or lack thereof?

BEDINGFIELD: Or lack thereof.

HUNT: Yeah.

BEDINGFIELD: But yeah, I think -- I mean, this is the tummy. This is kind of similar to excuse me, spending the $7 million during the Super Bowl, right. I mean, he's trying to raise awareness of his candidacy, picking are saying he might potentially pick a celebrity to run with him in some ways, he's kind of borrowing from the Donald Trump school of PR, but at the end of the day, I think he's just -- he's trying to make people more aware of the fact that he's running

HUNT: David, what kind of threat does RFK posts here?

FRUM: Well, he's a candidate of this swirling some of internet delusion.

HUNT: I may remember that. FRUMP: Anti-vaccination mania of support for Putin's foreign policy. I don't know what other delusions he represents and so all -- what we've noticed, if you have friends who are caught in these things, you notice how they tend to cohere. I mean, it's like the old days of magazine deals that if you describe to "Good Housekeeping", they would send you "Sports Illustrated" practically for free.

And in the same way that if you subscribe to anti-vaxx, pretty soon you're supporting Vladimir Putin's foreign policy. I don't know why these two craziness has have to go together, but they do. And so his trying to coalesce and it'll be an interesting question whether more of those people come from the Trump-world that come from the Biden world.

On one hand, the Trump voters do seem to affirmatively like crazy candidates. So maybe the craziness speaks to them. But because the Biden coalition is so messy, so big, so heterogeneous, there may be a lot of loose pieces that you can pull it away. It's looser than the Trump coalition.

HUNT: Yeah. All right. Well, I guess were in for grueling slog, wild ride, you pick your phrase for the next year.

All right, up next here, is your car conspiring with your insurance company?


The secret exchange that could cost you money.

And we're going to introduce you to a robot that can imitate human voices -- yeah, it's a little creepy. We'll show it to you.


HUNT: Welcome back.

Every year, car companies release their latest models. They tout all the best bells and whistles that are come with them. And what you might not realize is some fancy tech in your car could actually be tracking your driving behavior.

A report from "The New York Times" found that drivers across the country were shocked to discover their insurance premiums had skyrocketed, sometimes over 20 percent after their vehicle sent reports to LexisNexis, which generates consumer risk profiles for insurance companies.


And that provides those companies with notes like how far you drive for how long, how fast you're going, how hard you brake, et cetera.

Here with me now is the author who wrote that piece, technology reporter for "The New York Times", Kashmir Hill.

Kashmir, good morning. Thank you so much for being here.

This is -- you know, this is kind of scary stuff can you help us understand how it is the drivers are being tracked without them even knowing about it?


So modern cars are basically computers with steering wheels instead of keyboards. They are collecting a lot of information about the people that are in them. And some of what they're able to collect is, you how far you drive, when you're driving, how hard you're hitting the brakes, how faster a cornering? And in the last few years, automakers have started collecting that information.

And so, it can be very revealing

HUNT: So, how did you figure out that this was going on? And it seems to be a particular issue for people who are driving cars made by General Motors. Why is that?

HILL: Yeah. So I have been looking this year at issues of data collection by cars and I was spending a lot of time in online car forums for people who drive Chevy Bolts and Camaros and Corvettes. And I started to see these reports from drivers that their insurance rates had gone up by 21 percent, sometimes its doubling and they said when they asked why, their agents would tell them pull your consumer disclosure file from LexisNexis when they did, they would have hundreds of pages of their driving data.

You know, every trip that they took, how long it lasted and this braking, accelerating the speeding data and they were shocked and when they looked at who provided it, it was General Motors. And so I started looking into this and some people thought that these people were conspiracy theorist on the driving forums, but it was absolutely happening.

And it was because of these new programs automakers are offering, that offer driver scoring or driver feedback. In the case of GM, it was OnStar smart driver. You can turn this on and it tells you how to be a better driver.

What isn't disclosed to the people very clearly who turned on, is that when they turn it on, the information is being shared with data brokers like LexisNexis and Verisk that work with the insurance industry

BURNETT: So how can people avoid this happening to them?

HILL: Well, I have some advice in the article at the end to find out if it is happening to you. I mean, one thing is if you're using these car apps, you have modern cars can connect to an accident you can, you turn them on and off, you know, count the horns remotely check that app and see if you have a program like this turned on a lot of people that had GMs had smart driver turned on and they weren't the ones who turned it on. They said they were unknowingly enrolled maybe when they bought the car at the dealership.

You can also get your concern do more file from Verisk, from LexisNexis. So you should go ahead and request that and see if they have your data. You can also request your information from your automaker, from your car manufacturer. You can do a privacy requests and yes, you what data they have on you.

HUNT: Is there any way -- I mean, to find out even if you're -- if you're brand does this at all?

HILL: Yeah, there is a site online. It's a vehicle privacy report. Again, there's a link in that story and you can go there and it'll -- you can put in your VIN number and it will show you what information your car is capable of collecting.

And basically, if you have a car and you've turned on connected services and it has a different name with every auto brand. For GM, it's OnStar. Subaru, it's Starlink.

You know, if you've turned on that connected service that means you're connected to the auto manufacturer into are sending data out. So if your cars guys good, if there's a navigation screen in your vehicle, if you can call roadside assistance from your car, you are sending data back.

HUNT: All right. Pro tips.

Kashmir Hill, thank you very much. It's great reporting. I really appreciate your time.

HILL: Thanks.

HUNT: All right. I will leave you with this. The future of artificial intelligence is here, and it is a little frightening. The British creators of a robot named a Ameca have released this eerie video. If this is a humanoid robot mimicking the speech of celebrities, including Morgan Freeman, Elon Musk, SpongeBob SquarePants.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can all say change your voice to the voice of famous people. Can you give me a demo?

HUMANOID ROBOT "AMECA": In the voice of Morgan Freeman, managing essentially been trapped in a robot body narrating my own escape.

In a voice of Elon Musk, imagine, if you will, a fleet of robots, rocket ships, each one smarter than the last.

In a voice of Spongebob Squarepants, oh boy. Oh boy. Oh boy.


HUNT: Oh, my God, the robot made its debut in 2021 and demonstrated an array of human-like facial expressions and eventually engineers hope to make the robot walk.

Okay. With that, thanks to all of you for joining us.

I'm Kasie Hunt. Don't go anywhere.

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