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Biden Campaign Planning 'Aggressive Travel Schedule' in July; Hurricane Beryl Weakens to Category 2 on Path to Mexico. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired July 05, 2024 - 06:00   ET


PAULA REID, CNN ANCHOR: It's Friday, July 5. Right now, on CNN THIS MORNING.





REID: President Biden determined to stay in the race as a divide grows among Democrats over his political future.

Plus --





REID: The power is shifting in Britain. The U.K. has a new prime minister and a new ruling party.

And Hurricane Beryl weakens to a Category 2 as it closes in on Mexico.

And Texas beachgoers terrorized by a shark during Fourth of July celebrations.

It's 6 a.m. here in Washington. Here's a live look at the White House.

Good morning, everyone. I'm Paula Reid in for Kasie Hunt. It's great to be with you.

With his reelection bid hanging in the balance, President Biden insisting he's staying in the race and he has a new strategy to keep him fresh and focused. More sleep, fewer work hours.

According to three sources, the president intends to stop scheduling events after 8 p.m. so we can get more sleep. And he does not plan to bow out of the race. Listen to these remarks at yesterday's Fourth of July barbecue at the

White House.


BIDEN: This could not be done without the families' support, so thank you, thank you, thank you. We love you, and I really mean it in the bottom of my heart. Thank you. Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Keep up the fight!

BIDEN: You've got me, man. I'm not going anywhere. All right.


REID: The Biden campaign is clear-eyed. They know the president must calm fears among his own supporters about his mental fitness.

But he didn't help his cause with these stumbles during a radio interview in Philadelphia.


BIDEN: I'm proud to be -- as I said, the first vice president -- first black woman, served with a black president. Proud to have been involved with the first black woman on the Supreme Court.


REID: Still, the Biden campaign is putting together an aggressive travel schedule in July, one that will take the president, the vice president, and the first lady and the second gentleman to every battleground state.

So, let's bring in CNN Politics White House reporter Stephen Collinson; Meghan Hays, former special assistant to President Biden; and Lance Trover, former spokesperson for Doug Burgum's 2024 presidential campaign.

All right. I want to start with you, Stephen. Yesterday, Biden talking about how -- you know, trying to shore up concerns about his mental fitness. But he also made a joke to a group of governors that didn't go over.

He said, quote, "I'm fine. I don't know about my brain, though."

What is the state of play for the president right now?

STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN POLITICS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: The problem for the president is a week ago, after the debate, we were sitting here talking about all of these questions about his fitness, his mental acuity. An opposition was building within his own party to the idea of him continuing to be the nominee.

Everything the White House has done and everything the president has said since then has exacerbated this question. It hasn't made it go away. It's still a big question. That's why the interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC tonight is going to be very important.

The president is traveling this weekend. He's got a big NATO summit next week, which will allow him to adopt the role of a statesman. But there is also a press conference there that is going to be very closely watched.

You saw those remarks last night. Everything the president does and says now, is under an extreme microscope. And any mistakes he make [SIC] play into this narrative that people -- a lot of voters can't see him being president in a second term when he's 86.

So, the political problem has not gone away. It's got worse, if anything.

REID: And Lance, this aggressive travel schedule, is this the right move at this moment?

LANCE TROVER, FORMER SPOKESMAN, DOUG BURGUM'S 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: He doesn't really have a choice at this point. I mean, he's got to get out there and try to stop the bleeding.

The problem is, as you dutifully noted, they've not stopped the bleeding. They've actually made it worse with these comments about you know, eight -- no meetings after 8 p.m.

And Democrats are reaching an inflection point really -- coming up really fast. The polling shows that Donald Trump is leading by six points. That is a massive lead in today's political society with their convention coming up.

I mean, if you went into election day, and Donald Trump's up six points, you're talking about a blowout of epic proportions.

So that's why they're really on a clock. He's got to not just stop the bleeding but really turn the ship around. And I'm not sure that he can do it.

REID: And Meghan, California's governor, Gavin Newsom, weighed in on these comments about Biden wanting to get more sleep. I want to take a listen to that.


GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): Look at his schedule. Look at the fundraising things that you don't see. All that work, the work you're doing behind the scenes, the phone calls you're making at all times of night. The alliance management, everything he's doing to prepare for NATO on this week. Work they're doing to land a deal with Hamas and Israel.

So that's called human. And God bless. I like when a president acknowledges they're human.


REID: So, the Biden campaign put out a statement referring to the fact that former President George W. Bush went to bed at nine; Barack Obama had dinner at 6:30.

Are comments like this, while humanizing, are they helpful at this moment?

MEGHAN HAYS, FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT BIDEN: No, but I also think that people need to realize that the president is very sarcastic. He's making jokes. They've said -- they've reported now that he said "I'm joking" after the brain comment and after the sleeping comment. It's just not unlike the president to be sarcastic and make jokes.

And this time it's bringing him -- you know, he's making fun of himself, which I actually do think is human. So, I do think that the comments need to be taken into context.

But also, he needs to be out there. He needs to be doing these things, because people need -- he needs to be showing the American people that he can do the job that they're going to elect him for. So, they don't have a choice but to get him out on the road and to be doing things.

And to be fair to him, he -- after the debate, he went to two different watch parties. He was at the Waffle House and a different watch party. He then landed in North Carolina. He greeted voters on the tarmac at 2 a.m. in the morning. It's not like he is not doing things. It's just now he's under such an extreme microscope that it's almost -- you can't reach perfect every single time, and that's what people are expecting. And that's just not a fair standard for him.

Does he need to be better and to kind of curb some of these things and be out there? Absolutely. But he needs to take this to the American people. Us, sitting back here, commentating on it is great and helpful, fine. But that's actually not who matters in this. It's the voters.

TROVER: Well, part of the -- part of the problem here, though, is you have other Democrats, House and Senate people who are calling on him to step aside.

You have a senator quoted yesterday as saying, "What I saw in the debate is what I've seen over the last two-and-a-half years."

These questions -- that's not helping him as he goes forward, no matter what he tries to do with these interviews.

HAYS: To be fair, only two members have called for him to step -- to step aside. I think people are letting this play out and letting him do his interview, go to NATO, have his press conference and, you know, give him an opportunity, which they should be. He's earned that respect here.

So, I do think that we need to -- like, the interview tonight is a crucial point for him.

REID: Yes. And let's revisit this interview tonight. The most significant moment for the Biden administration, really, in years.

COLLINSON: Yes. And one of the most significant moments in the 50-year political career in Washington of the president.

Let's face it: he's done probably hundreds of thousands of interviews. None of them, I don't think, are going to be as closely watched here.

One of the problems in the debate was that the president wasn't able to either lay out a strong, detailed case for what he would do in a second term, and he wasn't also able to effectively prosecute the case against Donald Trump, which to be fair, he has been doing for the last year. He's been arguing that Trump would be a massive threat to democracy and American values, and the soul of the country.

If he can do that, while it's only a television interview -- it's much different than a debate -- he could probably at least get some good headlines and buy himself a little bit of time.

The problem is that a lot of these Democrats are coming on TV talking about this right now, even the ones that are supporting him, are saying he's got to do a lot more. So, unless he starts to deliver with a lot more, as you were saying, the issue is not going to dissipate.

HAYS: And I think he is going to do a lot more, right? Like, he's going to Wisconsin today. He's going to Michigan on -- or I'm sorry, he's going to Wisconsin today. He's going to Pennsylvania on Sunday. So, he is -- he is going to be out there.

But I agree. I have been a firm believer. Let Joe Biden be Joe Biden. Get him out in front of voters. That's where he does his best.

REID: All right. We have a lot more to discuss with our panel.

Next, some Democrats are already moving on from President Biden and wondering who Kamala Harris might pick as her running mate.

Plus, Hurricane Beryl losing some steam after leaving a trail of destruction across the Caribbean.

And a stunning landslide victory for the U.K.'s Labour Party, the prime minister already conceding defeat.

And as we go to break, a look at last night's fireworks in Las Vegas.



REID: President Biden sits down with George Stephanopoulos of ABC News today, his first television interview since last week's debate debacle. It will air in prime time tonight.

Every word, every expression, will be closely scrutinized during what is arguably the most consequential interview of Biden's five-decade career. One bad stumble, one notable misstep could spell the end of his campaign.

Former President Trump is not waiting to watch before already attacking the credibility of Stephanopoulos and ABC, posting, "The meanest and most vicious interviewer out there is George Slopanapolis [SIC] of FAKE NEWS ABC, one of the worst and most vile Broadcasters in the business. Now, ABC and Liddle' [SIC] George, a tiny, angry man, can make up for their past indiscretions and journalistic failures by doing a real interview with Crooked Joe."


Now, I will note that Trump sued Stephanopoulos and ABC News for defamation in March for describing him as a rapist.

And with that, our panel is back. All right. Let's talk about this interview. Is this the right strategy right now? Does he have more to lose than to gain?

HAYS: He doesn't have a choice. He needs to do the interview. He needs to prove to people that he can go out there, and he can have a conversation off prompter and, you know, unscripted as everyone is saying. He needs to do this, and he needs to make it -- he needs to take his case to the American people. And the best way to do that is through an interview.

REID: And if he does well, is that enough to quiet these critics and these concerns?

HAYS: You know, I'm not exactly sure if it will quiet the critics. I think that any stumble, like you said, like last night, he stumbled in "The New York Times" article that was written.

So, I just think people need to realize that he is an imperfect person and an imperfect candidate, just like the rest of us. So there has to be some grace here. I just think it -- people are going to look at the content and how he's delivering his message and make their decision from there.

TROVER: The real question is, I think, when this will play out over time. Is the cake already baked on this? Because voters have had concerns about his age for many years. It's been reflected in polling for the last couple of years.

Then this debate happened. And so, it's really about can he get back some of the credibility he's lost after Thursday night?

But I really question that, because voters have had these concerns. They were kind of confirmed last Thursday night. And so, I'm not sure that one interview, two interviews, going out on the stump is really going to do it.

But I do agree with you. He has no choice. He has to go to it.

HAYS: Yes, absolutely.

REID: And we talked a little bit about what he needs to achieve. What is the No. 1 thing he needs to do? Not "not do." We know he can't stumble. He can't have a misstep, but what does he need to get across to voters? COLLINSON: So, he clearly has to change the narrative. He needs to be

talking about something else rather than his own personal state, his age. He's got to move it on from that debate.

If for instance, this Middle East situation appears to improve, that would be something else for the president to talk about. That's why I think the NATO summit, where he'll be standing with world leaders next week, will be a good picture.

But to your point, voters saw that picture. Fifty million people had that image of a president who appeared to be struggling, emblazoned on their brains. How a television interview will be watched by far fewer people, even with social media clips and anything else. It's going to require something like that every day for days and then weeks and keeping up the pace until November to mitigate the damage that's already been caused.

REID: It's a great point about the size of the audience. All right, panel. Stay with me. I know you'll be back, because there's so much more to discuss.

Next, Israel and Hamas getting closer to an agreement on a ceasefire and hostage release.

Plus, hurricane -- Hurricane Beryl zeros in on Mexico.






REID: This just in: new video from Utah, where several people were injured when fireworks went into the crowd. One person was hit in the face. It happened during the Fourth of July celebration at Brigham Young University.

No word on their conditions this morning.

Turning now to weather this morning, Hurricane Beryl has weakened to a still dangerous Category 2 strength and is bearing down on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.

The storm now has winds of 110 miles per hour. Mexico's president urging residents of Tulum to seek shelter, with the town expected to take a direct hit.

Let's get right to meteorologist Elisa Raffa. Elisa, where is Beryl right now?

ELISA RAFFA, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Getting very close to that landfall where the center of the storm will probably wind up somewhere around Tulum or Cozumel. As we go through the next couple of hours, hurricane-force conditions

picking up there on the Yucatan Peninsula this morning.

We did get some intensification overnight. It had a much more symmetrical shape. But you can see it has weakened some. You can see it kind of getting a little lopsided on that satellite.

But it's still a dangerous Category 2 storm with 110 mile-per-hour winds. We're still looking at storm surge up to four to six feet, heavy rain across the tip of that peninsula there. Four to six inches of rain, maybe up to ten inches in some locations. That could cause some flash flooding.

Now as we go through the weekend, it will kind of emerge tonight back into the Gulf of Mexico, where it could reintensify over very warm waters, maybe become a hurricane again as it sets its eyes on South Texas as we go into the weekend.

We've been talking about incredibly warm water temperatures with this the entire stretch. And it doesn't end, because like I said, the Gulf of Mexico, incredible warm, can give it another chance to get its act together.

This high pressure, this dome of heat and humidity, is weakening some, and that is what's helping it turn farther North into Texas and can open up those doors as we go through the weekend.

So, you can see the hurricane warnings for that imminent landfall there in Mexico; comes back into the Gulf overnight. And then we're looking at possibly another landfall somewhere in North Mexico, South Texas as we go into the weekend, possibly as a hurricane.

Regardless of where this exactly makes landfall, we're talking about dangerous rip currents all weekend for all of these beaches. Again, keep in mind, it's a holiday weekend, so people really need to stay on alert -- Paula.

REID: Elisa Raffa, thank you.

And next, Republicans already rolling out their attacks on Vice President Harris.

Plus, Alec Baldwin headed to trial. His bid to have his case dismissed, falling flat. That's coming up in your morning roundup.


And here's a look at the fireworks lighting up the sky in New Orleans. We'll be right back.