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CNN Tonight

Obama Says Democrats Need To Avoid Being A 'Buzzkill'; Bristol, Connecticut Ambush Left Two Officers Dead; Jill Biden Talks About Cancer Moonshot In Newsmax Interview; Biden Touts Student Loan Debt Relief As Application Process Begins. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired October 17, 2022 - 23:00   ET




LAURA COATES, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: We are now just 22 days off from the midterms and it is far from clear, frankly, which side is going to hold Congress next year. Debates in close races tonight as candidates try to push themselves over the top.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: And former President Barack Obama giving his party a bit of unvarnished advice on what to stop doing.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The life I am leading day to day. How does politics even -- how is it relevant to the things that I care most deeply about? My family, my kids, you know, work that gives me satisfaction, having fun. Not being a buzzkill.


OBAMA: Right?

UNKNOWN: A lesson for the Democratic Party.

OBAMA: And sometimes Democrats are, right? It's like sometimes people just want to not feel as if they are walking on eggshells and they want some acknowledgment that life is messy and that all of us at any given moment can say things the wrong way, you know, make mistakes.


COATES: Oh. Joining us now to discuss, CNN political commentator Jonah Goldberg, former Obama White House official William Jawando, and CNN political analyst Jonathan Martin. I'm glad to see you all here.

I mean, what do you make of that comment? The idea of it almost is a newer way of talking about P.C., political correctness.


COATES: The idea of not wanting to feel so uncomfortable about what is expected of you in this America.

MARTIN: Obama's office hours are open.


MARTIN: He does have tendency to sort of, I think, lecture the party. At times, frankly, when it is needed. I think he has never been shy about that. I think now he's out office, he's particularly willing to do it.

And to say things that, frankly, other people in the party would never say, right, which is we can come up as cold sometimes as Democrats, and people really don't like that.



MARTIN: Yeah, exactly. It's part of this cultural rejection of the party that isn't related to policy issues. I think he's trying to sort of tell Democrats that, look, you still as a Democrat and part of this country have to run a defensive style of politics. By that, I mean, you have to be constantly aware of proving to the voters that you are not what they think your party is.

CAMEROTA: And so, Will, is that how you interpret it? He was saying basically the Democrats are too woke? Is that what he was saying?

WILLIAM JAWANDO, FORMER OBAMA WHITE HOUSE OFFICIAL: I think it is do you want to be exactly right? Do you want to be exactly why do you want to cross every T and dot every I and get every detail right or do you want to win and relate to people?

I think, you know, sometimes, we make the perfect enemy of the good and you're trying to actually connect with the person. They are messy, they are problems, they are just worried about the day-to-day.

I think, sometimes, even though we get the policies right as Democrats, you know, we're giving people hearing aids, we're forgiving student loans, we're doing things that help people's daily lives, they feel a little disconnected from the perfection side of the party, which you're calling wokeness. I think that is a low the term but --

CAMEROTA: He was saying buzzkill. I mean, I'm just trying to interpret. Isn't that a code for like (INAUDIBLE)?

JAWANDO: Yeah, I mean, look, we want to have -- it is okay to mess up. We want to have fun. You don't have to be perfect. You know, I think you take that to the extreme with some of these crazy candidates that are super flawed and not smart, in case of Herschel Walker and others, but I think that appeal, sometimes, Democrats forget that gorgeous people, and I think it's a problem.

COATES: There's not one part I want to go on. I want to hear your comment. At the end of that clip, he actually uses his own mother-in- law as an example. It is not so bad how, I think, she is -- I don't want to --



COATES: -- the idea of, look, it is --


COATES: -- Michelle Obama would say that it is kind of like teaching her mother Spanish. Doesn't mean she needs to learn Spanish, but she's going to get some things wrong in the way that she's living and the way she is thinking about things, but to have little bit of political grace.

I wonder -- let's just play it. Why am I quoting? Let's just hear him.


OBAMA: Michelle talks about her mother-in-law -- her mother, my mother-in-law, who is an extraordinary woman. But as Michelle points out, she's 86. And sometimes, trying to get the right phraseology when we're talking about issues, Michelle is like, that's like her trying to learn Spanish. It doesn't mean she shouldn't try to learn Spanish, but it means that sometimes she's not going to get the words right, and that's okay.

And that attitude, I think, of just being a little more real and a little more grounded is something that I think goes a long way in counteracting what is a systematic propaganda that I think is being pumped out by Fox News and all these other outlets all the time.


GOLDBERG: I think there's a lot of things going on. I think there is a lot of -- in both parties, there's a lot of catastrophizing, which is (INAUDIBLE) part. This existential threat, this existential threat to democracy, existential threat to the planet, yada-yada-yada, which I think grinds people down a little bit. But I also think that there's essentially a very online vernacular that has taken hold in parts of the elite media and certainly in academia.

President Obama talks about teaching someone Spanish. A great example of this is Latinx, which is a way to degenderized the Spanish language, very popular. A lot of people in the 2020 democratic primary is using this phrase, and no one bothered to actually ask a lot of people in the Hispanic community whether they use the term or like the term until well after.

It turns out that only about 2 or 3% of Latinos in this country either are familiar with it at all or ever use it. And a lot of them find it condescending.

And there is this way where, I think, a lot of elite democrats and liberals think they're actually being inclusive because they talk to other elite people and academics who say, this is the inclusive language that we need to use and talk about birthing persons instead of mother.

And for a lot of normal Americans who might be with them in a lot of normal issues are just sort of like, I don't even know what language you're speaking.

JAWANDO: I think you have to be able to speak to fellow -- President Obama -- multiple languages, even if it's not an actual language. You have to be -- part of being an inclusive person is accepting. He said it great, having some grace.

You can try to be inclusive, you can take all the new data and things move, language changes, but also understand not everyone's moving with you. We are a big, diverse country. Things happen at different pace. And just accepting that and not judging someone either overtly or covertly because they're not where you are. I think that is an issue.

CAMEROTA: But who is President Obama talking to there? Because it's not Joe Biden. It's not that Joe Biden is accused of ever having to use exactly the right words.

MARTIN: He's talking to the strategists and the candidates and the Democratic Party who he knows are feeling cross pressures from the elite sort of academic and online crowd, as Jonah put it, but also have to be mindful of the broader electorate.

And What Obama is saying to those Democratic actors, the candidates and strategists, is look, a lot of Americans feel they have to walk on eggshells these days. They don't to say the wrong thing. They're well- intentioned. They are good-hearted people. But let's show them some grace, as we said, and let's not judge them.

Let's be a bit more careful because Democrats, we're going to pay a price if we are seen as being too darn preachy and too judgmental about people because they don't have the right precise phrase in 2022.

COATES: Maybe he's talking to them, but I think he's really talking to Republicans and talking to independent voters, and he's saying to them, listen, I know that President Biden is the head of the Democratic Party, let's be honest, I'm still Barack.


COATES: And so, people are going to look at me and think synonymous with the Democratic Party. And I'm telling you, I'm letting you know --


COATES: -- this is not trying to attack you.


COATES: This is an idea we can all sort of coexist. And I think he was trying in many ways -- you know the midterms are 20 some days away.


COATES: I think he is trying to appeal to the notion that there are some Democrats -- James Carville at one point made comments about the idea of being so woke as to remove Abraham Lincoln's name from different schools and talking about how DeSantis has capitalized on these very notions to try to use these talking points.

I think he's talking to Republicans. I think he's talking to voters who say, hold on, just so you know, we're on the same page --


COATES: -- don't think that the -- quote, unquote -- "extremes" govern the party.


CAMEROTA: Jonah, do you have thoughts on that?

GOLDBERG: What was the podcast that he was on?


COATES: Pod Save America?

GOLDBERG: Yeah. So, he wasn't talking directly to Republicans.



GOLDBERG: It was a candid shot, you know.


COATES: You know they're going to play it.

GOLDBERG: I get it.

MARTIN: He knew it was going to be --

GOLDBERG: I'm sure that's part -- I'm not sure it's part of it but the entire party is part of it (ph). I think what he is just generally trying to do is say something, as (INAUDIBLE) was saying, that is when the only guys who have to say the stuff and get away with it. Like he gets permission to sort of scold his own side and also appeal across the aisle by saying, hey, look, we make it -- the terms are wrong but that doesn't mean we're not right where the American people are.

MARTIN: But he has done this before. Going back for at least the last four or five years, he has repeatedly raised this issue about his own party. He constantly brought it because he knows a lot of the times democrats don't win elections. It is not because of the policy debate. It is because they're seen as culturally out of step with the broad swath of American voters. JAWANDO: It's all ethos, you know. I am my sister's keeper, I am my

brother's keeper, we are not a red America. It goes back to the core of who he is, too. But I do agree to Laura's point, he was talking to a wider audience there.

CAMEROTA: Is anybody going to pivot and change? When somebody hears that Barack Obama, does that change with some candidates?

JAWANDO: I hope so. I mean, look, I'm an elected official. I try to talk to everybody. I think some people would hear that there's going to be parts of the party that have these purity tests. And maybe to them, they'll think twice about it.

MARTIN: I think you'll see Democrats, especially those who are facing some tough polling numbers, the election start airing some ads that reflect the spirit of why the former president there is saying the least.

CAMEROTA: Thank you very much. Great conversation. Jonah, thank you. Will and Jonathan, stick around, we have a lot more to talk about. So, tell us what you think. You can tweet us at @alisyncamerota and @thelauracoates, and we will read some of your thoughts later this hour.




CAMEROTA: So, tonight, we're learning more about the deadly attack that killed two Connecticut police officers. The Bristol Police Department now releasing some of the bodycam footage of the shooting.

COATES: Authorities say the suspect fired more than 80 rounds, killing Sergeant Dustin Demonte and Officer Alex Hamzy, before being killed by wounded officer, Alec Iurato.

The footage we are about to play is from Iurato's bodycam. And I have to warn you, the audio in this clip alone is disturbing. You are going to hear screaming and you're going to hear gunfire.


UNKNOWN: Shots fired, shots fired. More cars, send everyone!

UNKNOWN: Officer shot! Officer shot!



UNKNOWN: Oh, my God.

UNKNOWN: What's the address?





UNKNOWN: He's dead (ph).



CAMEROTA: Let's bring in Republican strategist Rina Shah. We also have Will Jawando and Jonathan Martin with us. That was a lot more awful than I expected. That was awful --


CAMEROTA: -- to listen to. That was so horrible. That was a police officer who survived, and was wounded.

COATES: Just to give the context, too. I mean, they were apparently lured under false pretenses of a domestic violence call. Officers did what they were supposed, to do to respond to the scene to help. And it was an ambush.


COATES: Firing over 80 rounds. Just to kill the officers.

CAMEROTA: And, I mean -- so, that is Bristol, Connecticut. That is an awful, awful story. And then at least 54 police officers had been killed by gunfire this year so far. So, it is a very trying time, we know that, for law enforcement. Of course, it is trying time in terms of crime.

Is it fair, Jonathan, for Republicans to paint Democrats in this midterm as soft on crime or is this sort of a nationwide problem that you cannot pin on Democrats?


MARTIN: Is it fair or is it effective?

CAMEROTA: Those are both good.

MARTIN: Two different questions. I mean, in politics, there's a lot that is done that is not necessarily fair and that is suspect. But it is done because it has the possibility of offering a payoff at the polls. That is why they're doing. It is because they are finding every Democrat who, in the last couple of years, said anything remotely sympathetic about defunding of police, and if the candidate did that.

In the last couple of years, there were a whole lot of video about that tweet, that quote, and they're going to bang it on the head with it. Why? Because crime is up in a lot of American cities and it is on the minds of a lot of voters who they are speaking directly to that fact.

And I think you saw this really come into play at the start of the fall when gas prices went down over the summer. And, the GOP needed a better issue. An issue that was going to pop. And obviously, crime, they believe, could do that. And they believe that because they've got, like I, said these quotes and these clips from the last couple of years on Democrats saying that police should be defunded or at least should be looked at.

COATES: Take a step back from the literal attack on the officers, which -- the ambush is just so disgusting and so horrible to even think about. These are people who -- this is somebody's children and father. Taking it to the figurative now.

And the attacks are being done against law enforcement more broadly. The attacks recently about the FBI. The attacks about law enforcement in general. I mean, we can't look at it in the vacuum that there is rhetoric out there. Again, I'm not saying it led to this, but there is rhetoric more broadly out there that has people having a very anti- police sentiment.


COATES: And you put that in the same context as the crime discussions politically. I mean, what is the recipe making?

JAWANDO: Yes, I mean, it is a toxic brew. I think, you know, you bring up the good point. Obviously, sympathies to those families of those officers who were lost. That bravery of that officer who was able to neutralize the suspect. It is a dangerous job. They know that when they signed up. And that is never called for.

But you are bringing up a point like the delegitimization of law enforcement, whether it be federal, state or local, has been an issue. You combine that with -- you know, I often say if you're an African American in this country, you have the three pandemics in the last two years.

You have the health pandemic, you have the economic fallout, 40% of businesses disappeared, Black businesses during COVID. You have the racial justice moment, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd. All that happening at the same time where you felt (INAUDIBLE). And I think it created a sense of uncertainty.

And again, a question from that side of, are the people who are here to protect me here to protect me? And then you add in the rhetoric that you mentioned about the FBI. And I think you get this mix where people are like, I don't respect authority, and that is a problem.

CAMEROTA: Well, one of the interesting things that touched on is that it is effective. Okay? So, it's effective for Republicans to paint Democrats as soft on crime. But when you look at the numbers in terms of the amount of Democrats in Congress who ever thought that it was good to defund the police, it is a fraction, it is a tiny fraction.

I think that there's something like nine Democrats who just voted against the invest to protect the act, which gave like $2 billion in funding for police and more hiring and training at the local and state level. So, it is a very small percentage. But they're painting, they're using broad brush strokes to paint all sorts of Democrats that way.

RINA SHAH, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Yeah, you know those images of lawlessness that were from the summer of the Black Lives Matter movement that turned into riots in some places. And those riots were because there were bad actors. There were bad actors everywhere.

I think -- let's back up for a second. I think the conversation on policing in the past four years in this country, the national conversation has been hugely irresponsible from both sides. And I think one person who actually offers (INAUDIBLE) is Congresswoman Val Demings. And I say that as a lifelong Republican. Somebody who's a Democrat has come out here and pushed back.

I'm a former member of law enforcement. And this is just not the way to talk about this stuff. I'm not seeing more Democrats take that page on her playbook. I hope they do.

But I would say this. It is that in this moment of just policing, feeling like it's still such a heavy issue, how do we talk about it? We are the solutions. We can maybe look to the states.

I think in Virginia, Governor Glenn Youngkin, a Republican, has a really unique opportunity here. He is next to what is considered a very woke democrat-led city, Washington D.C. It could be a lot of experiments and sorts. Let's see how he handles crime. Let's see how he stuff on it. There's a lot of gang violence and whatnot emerging in the northern Virginia suburbs, affluent suburbs.


And the governor could have a real opportunity to do something here and show to the world that Republicans could be tough on crime in a way that could be bipartisan.

COATES: A lot of people are watching Virginia. And, of course, Glenn Youngkin, in particular. I'm sure people like DeSantis and maybe even Trump for the nomination.

Listen, the Biden family, well, they know firsthand about pain and loss due to cancer, which took the life of Beau Biden. Tonight, the first lady giving an interview to Newsmax, a conservative cable channel, about the Cancer Moonshot initiative. Let us see what she is saying about that, next. Plus, we are hearing some of what you are saying out there.




COATES: Cancer affects just about every American family. Tonight, first lady Jill Biden talked publicly about the Biden administration's Cancer Moonshot initiative, a program aiming to cut the death rate from cancer in half. She sat down for an interview with Newsmax, the conservative cable channel.

CAMEROTA: So, good for her.


CAMEROTA: Good for her for doing that, for getting the word out on any platform as she possibly can. Obviously, conservatives need to hear about early screening just like liberals need to hear about early screening. Let us hear how she framed it when she went on Newsmax tonight.


JILL BIDEN, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Cancer is one of these issues. You know, it's not a, you know, a red, a blue issue. Cancer affects every American. Cancer is such a terrible disease. But it is unifying people. They're all coming together to say, yes, let's work with one another and let's reduce the incidence of cancer, as we know it, and change the face of cancer. So, just like you said, it affects every American family.


COATES: You know, the idea of getting out of the media silos, so to speak, the expectation is that the president will go on certain networks, have conversations. This is one such instance that really blows all the water for good reason, the fact that it affects many families.

You know, Secretary Pete Buttigieg has gone on Fox News a number of occasions talking about issues, hoping to break through to the silo. In fact, he is on Fox News recently talking about -- I think it was the idea of even petroleum and other issues. Let's play a little bit about what he said.


NEIL CAVUTO, FOX NEWS HOST: There's a debate as to whether the president will resume taking money out of the (INAUDIBLE) strategic petroleum reserve, but we find out that we're even in that situation.

PETE BUTTIGIEG, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF TRANSPORTATION: You know, I definitely think we will be in a better situation wherein we are not dependent on a commodity that is largely being produced in foreign dictatorships.

Well, the state of play looks good. The Senate is working through this amendment process. There's still a lot of procedure to be gotten through, but we are within days, possibly within hours of seeing this historic legislation that's going to get us better roads and bridges. (END VIDEO CLIP)

COATES: I mean, it shouldn't necessarily be newsworthy that you've got cabinet members going on a lot of the networks. Yet, in the climate we are in, to have it not be acrimonious and about what people care about, not just the talking points, is impactful.

CAMEROTA: I also think that the issue for Democrats who choose to go on places like Newsmax or Fox, it is like, yes, he gets a fair hearing with Neil Cavuto and Bret Baier there, but he also -- Democrats know that then, in the next block, a few minutes later, in the next show, he will be sliced and diced and made fun of.

And so, are you legitimizing these networks when you actually go on and try to get the message out or is it worth it?

COATES: I mean, it's a catch-22, right, the idea of don't go on at all because people are going to believe that -- there's an opportunity to criticize you in the next block. Don't go on. Then won't go on with this. The only go on with certain networks.

I mean, damn if you do, damn if you don't. And who suffers? The people who are watching hoping to have information. It's the idea of what's going to happen next.

CAMEROTA: But good for he. I mean, absolutely good for her. There is no downside to getting that message out.

Okay, meanwhile, President Biden pushing back against critics of his plan to cancel some student loan debt as the application process officially opens. Is it the program with good idea? Is it going to cost all taxpayers more money? We're going to talk about that, next.




COATES: Well, it's official. The application process is now up and running for President Biden's plan to cancel the $20,000 of student debt for borrowers making less than $125,000 a year.

CAMEROTA: President Biden touting the release today and hitting back at his critics.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Republican members of Congress, Republican governors, are trying to do everything they can to deny this feat, even to their own constituents. As soon as I announced my administration student debt plan, they started attacking it and saying all kinds of things. Their outrage is wrong and it's hypocritical.

I will never apologize for helping working Americans and middle-class people as they recover from the pandemic, especially not the same Republicans who voted for $2 trillion tax cut in the last administration that mainly benefited the wealthiest Americans and the largest corporations.


COATES: The administration says that more than eight million Americans have already signed up since the beta version of the application went live just on Friday.

Back with, Rina Shah, Will Jawando, and Jonathan Martin. Jay Mart with a cool nickname. There you go.

MARTIN: Hashtag at Jay Mart.


CAMEROTA: You're Elco (ph), as we know, coming up.

COATES: I like that. But you know what's happening right now? This application -- first of all, we all know, back to the Affordable Care Act, how important it is for a website to function.

JAWANDO: Absolutely.


COATES: And when it doesn't function, all of the legislative gains can go away. It is working! What do you think?

JAWANDO: Eight million people apply. There's 40 million Americans with student loan debt over $1.7 trillion. Fastest growing. Only second to credit card debt. And it's a big deal. I mean, as Joe Biden would say --

COATES: He had a word.

JAWANDO: He had a deal. He had word to it, probably a deal, too. Look, he is right, the tax cuts for wealthy Americans, the PPP loans that members of Congress and other prominent Republicans, very wealthy people had forgiven.

These are people who -- I worked on the Senate Education Committee. We know that many people were targeted with these predatory loans. They did not get a good education for it. Some went to school, got a good education. And I think that this is a core of what American is.

We were the innovators of K-12 public education, not just for white male land owners. We stopped, and then other countries, Germany, other countries start giving post-secondary education for free because they know it creates jobs, wealth, brings people out of poverty.

Now, we want to make people feel bad and not help them when they struggle through the pandemic. I think this is a winning issue. I think it's the right thing. I think people are going sign up for it. COATES: It's not universal, is it? I mean, the idea, you already have

-- I mean, 22 Republican governors signed just last month opposing it. You've got lawsuits happening right now claiming that Biden did not have the authority to do so.

CAMEROTA: And they also think it's going to increase inflation and everything.

COATES: There's that.

CAMEROTA: What do you think about this?

SHAH: You know, any time, I think, you want to help people do better, that means not cripple them with certain costs and burdens, that's a good thing. I came out of college in the early 2000s. And so, I will tell you, this has been an issue for my generation. We are living with it. It hurts.

But there are people on my side of the aisle who think that this is unfair. And I don't fully disagree because, you know, this is helpful, but helpful enough. It feels like it's a little bit of candy. It was a promise that Biden made good on. And any time a politician fulfills a promise, I think that's a good thing.

But this is treating a symptom again. What about tackling the real problem? That is tackling the cost at the root. This is again a problem that the schools have put on us. And I do think that is what has been missing from the conversation. So, nice website, eight million people, all good and great.

But, you know, I have friends, for example, who right before the pandemic moved their loans to privately-held, and those people have no chance to forgiveness now.

I think there are some things we can do here. One of those things is capping here. Let's cap the interest rate at 1%, for example, for federal loans. Let's cap it at 2% for privately-held. Why are we not talking about some more remedies here? It feels like, okay, Biden did this, it's done, and Republicans are mad about it.

COATES: But is it -- I mean, what you propose, is that politically feasible?

MARTIN: Look, I think Joe Biden was reluctant about doing this. He dragged his feet on it for some time. He was very public, including on this network, at a town hall in 2021 when he was asked about it. He did not want to, as he put it, give a break to folks who went to Harvard and Yale. He eventually did do this.

I think he did this along with the marijuana issue in part because it is good politics going into a midterm election. Democrats always have a difficult time getting sporadic voters out of the midterms, especially younger voters. These are two potentially potent issues for younger voters.

That is why Biden is holding the event today at the White House. That is why he's bringing the line about Republicans and the hypocrisy on this. He is trying to get his side galvanized three weeks before the election. This could be a powerful issue.

The flip side, though, is there more support and energy for it? Are Democrats getting a reward for it more than they are suffering backlash against among voters who say, to your point, you know, I paid off $50,000 in student loans over 20 years, it wasn't easy, but now you're getting the free lunch? I am not sure which of those two --

CAMEROTA: What about, as Rina said, which the root of the problem, which is tuition has gone up exponentially more than wages and then value actually of an undergrad education?

JAWANDO: Couldn't agree more, bipartisan moment. If you look at the chart, it's like that, the cost of education, that is a problem. We do have to tackle the root. But let's do both things at the same time. It doesn't help you to fix the root of the problem when you're sitting here saddled with debt and you cannot get a job, you're struggling with health care.

I think we need to reduce that burden and fix that problem. That is a legislative fix. There needs to be -- higher education is changing. It's more online now for many people. That drives some costs down. So, it is going to -- I think it's the next housing bubble. There is no way that it can continue to grow at the same rate and with the return not being worth the investment.

COATES: But part of it requires a real paradigm shift about how we value higher education.

JAWANDO: Absolutely.

COATES: There is such snobbery as it's associated with the degree that you have. I mean, I'm a believer that the papers are only as good as the person who carries it.


But the idea and thinking about how we have a real snobbery surrounding higher education, we don't have the American dream as often tied to very other attainment as we do for what school you go to.

And so, I just wonder, as we are talking about these conversations and what needs to happen, is it realistic that that mentality can also change in the span of a presidential tenure, let alone congressional term?

MARTIN: Well, Biden, I think, has similar concerns about being seen as giving a break to people who are already privileged. They already had college degrees, but I think he obviously got over that concern. But yes, this gets to the heart of how the Democratic Party is is perceived. This is it's a very delicate issue.

They don't want to come off as being seen as, look, we're trying to give folks a break who went to college because there were people who didn't go to college who already feel, in some cases, like they're being looked down upon, and they're saying, well, you know, where is my break, too? And this is always an issue that Democrats are very sensitive about.

And to come back full circle here, it is why we saw President Obama earlier in that clip telling Democrats how to speak very carefully about some of these issues.

COATES: Well, it's one of those areas I will ask you. This time, it seems a little bit flat to me. It seems like this is one of the only areas that we talk about. I mean, I don't hear the same arguments being made about people who have their roads paid, how our taxes are done. I mean, people will say things like, why do I have to pay for the cost of public school? I don't have any kids.


COATES: My kids don't go there. My kids aren't in public school. All these things.


COATES: I mean, why is this so much a bit of a gravy train of talking points?

MARTIN: A flash point --

SHAH: Because it feels like another handout by the government and that's what it's always been on the right. it is like, we don't want handouts from big brother. We're going to do this ourselves. We're going to lift ourselves up.

COATES: Which is why it's never true.

UNKNOWN: It's true.

SHAH: Exactly, it is not always true.

JAWANDO: Don't take my Medicare.

SHAH: Here's the thing. I'm a big believer that not everybody has to go to college. I really feel that way. I didn't enjoy my collegiate experience. I thought it was a really lost four years for me, frankly. I feel like I learned more after I left.

That is not a slight at my school. That is not a slight at my -- who raised me. It's just a slight to the fact that I don't think college is really that valuable, to be very frank. But we don't talk about what is the alternative, vocational training, technical training. We talk on the right all the time about making America great and competing with everybody in the world.

CAMEROTA: We lost some of those. We used to have more vocational training.

MARTIN: Tim Ryan in Ohio, who was not a huge supporter, by the way, of President Biden's loan forgiveness thing. He is trying to focus more on issues like community college, tech training, and trying to sort of make Democrats relevant again with a lot of working-class voters.

JAWANDO: I just got to say briefly, yes, community college, yes vocational training, community college is less than $5,000 a year for most students, so that's a really important option, but this idea that we don't like handouts, I mean, we've handouts these tax breaks, the PPP loans, the trickle down --

MARTIN: It's selective, you're saying. You know, it's very selective.

CAMEROTA: We do like that but it is not for other people.

MARTIN: Let's give money to the job creators. You can't have it both ways.

SHAH: Will, should we pay for -- should the taxpayers pay for community college for everybody? Why --

JAWANDO: As a policy thing, let's have that debate. I think yes. I think the returns are far greater. You know, we have a thing now where we've shrunk the amount of patent holders to only the top 2%. There used to be a time in American history, the patent holders were equally divided around the wealth distribution. We have squeezed the innovation out of people because we can't give them health care, childcare, they can't afford to go to college.

I think if you open those things up, you're going to have more innovation, more economic growth. It's a debate we should have. But I think this is a good -- I saw it on Twitter described it as Drake in Beyonce, like album drop, he just did. You know, he's like, I'm going to do it, so get over it.

COATES: Ending (INAUDIBLE) moment. I would have all of you sound off right now and your tweets on with great Beyonce moment.


COATES: Your tweets are all next, everyone.





CAMEROTA: Okay, time to get your thoughts on tonight's topics. Your tweets are rolling in. Here is one. As an American Jew whose grandparents were from Hungary, survived the Holocaust, and then in 1956 had to escape when the Russians invaded, it sickens me what is going on in our country and that antisemitism still exists. Everyone should go to the Holocaust Museum, meaning not just Ye. COATES: It is a beautiful museum, too. You are engulfed in the history of it. I'm telling this. I never gone to the one in L.A. but in Washington, D.C.


COATES: Another one comes in. It says, as a Black GenXer who sat in the same Columbia classroom as President Obama, his comments sounded like a request for a political-correctness cease-fire for my generational cohort at the polls this November. I think that's what it was.

CAMEROTA: Okay, President Obama is saying the right things. Withdrawn Democrats, Trump weary Republicans and independents should be listening to him.

Those probably are the people who are listening to him, actually.

COATES: I mean, well, he knew that when he spoke, it will be broadcast in so many places. Some places picked apart. Other places, I mean, obviously praised. Other things condemned. We will see.

Keep those coming. You know where to find us, @alisyncamerota and @thelauracoates. Everyone, you can always be a part of the conversation. Join in, we want to hear from you. So, thank you.

CAMEROTA: #CNNSoundOff. Thanks so much for watching us tonight.

COATES: Our coverage continues.





ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. Tonight, what some candidates are saying and what that says about where we are as a functioning reality-based democracy.

First, Georgia Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker versus reality started with what is undisputedly true. In his college and pro-football career, he accomplished what most can only dream of. He is a three-time all-American running back, three-time player of the year with the national championship, and Heisman trophy to his name.

He played a Pro Bowl for some of the best teams in the league, competed in the 1992 Winter Olympics. In the late -- last administration, he co-chaired the president's council on physical fitness and sports.

All of that, in short, to say that Herschel Walker has plenty to be proud of. Among those accomplishments, though, is not a degree from the University of Georgia, as he has claimed, because he never graduated, let alone, as he also claimed, in the top 1% of his class. His claim that he was a high school valedictorian, he wasn't. And he suggested that he was an FBI agent.


HERSCHEL WALKER, GEORGIA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: I spent time at Quantico at the FBI training school.


WALKER: You all didn't know I was an agent.


COOPER: Yeah, he wasn't. He did claim he was obviously joking, which he did not make clear at the time.