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Seismic Changes To Come If GOP Takes The House And Senate; TikTok Abortion Debate Divides Generation Z; Florida And More States Are Opening Up Access To Legal And Medical Marijuana; Miami Dolphins Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa Says He Lost Consciousness After Being Hit. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired October 19, 2022 - 23:00   ET



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: So, with less than three weeks until votes are counted, our colleagues crunching the poll numbers say that Republicans are gaining momentum. If the GOP takes back Congress, the country could look and feel very different in a few months.

Here to discuss, we have Mark Sanford, former Republican governor of South Carolina, John Lawrence, former chief of staff for Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Robert Draper, author of the new book "Weapons of Mass Delusion: When the Republican Party Lost Its Mind."

Gentlemen, thanks so much for being here. Great to have you all in studio. Robert, you talk about this in your book. Can you paint a picture for us? What will it look like? What will happen for the next two years in this country if the Republicans win back Congress?

ROBERT DRAPER, AUTHOR: Well, the first thing that will happen, as Marjorie Taylor Greene told me, is there's going to be a lot of investigations. So, you can expect the GOP to take a kind of punitive form. You know, that there will be -- it will be a party of payback. They will be stripping people of their committee assignments the way Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar were. There will almost certainly be articles of impeachment advanced.

CAMEROTA: Against whom?

DRAPER: Yeah, yeah.

CAMEROTA: Against Biden?

DRAPER: Yeah, against Biden and perhaps some of his cabinet members. I think what will be more interesting is to see how the Republicans deal with issues like the debt ceiling and whether they will try to use social wedge issues attached to the debt ceiling to extract certain concessions from the president.

McCarthy -- Kevin McCarthy did that, of course, when he was majority whip in 2011, and it seems very likely we will see some version of that again.

LAURA COATES, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I mean, John, you know, it's almost like -- both have new books out, thank you very much. You have a book called "Arc of Power" where you talk about the speakership of Nancy Pelosi. You have seen this ebb and flow in the way the government operates. Sometimes, Democrats, sometimes Republican are in the majority. I do wonder in terms of, as he talks about, this payback mentality. I mean, retaliatory actions can't be a platform. Can it?

JOHN LAWRENCE, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF FOR SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI: No, I mean, ultimately, you are going to be judged on whether or not you are able to advance your own legislative agenda. Republicans have put out something called a "Commitment to America." It is a little thin. What is interesting about it is, unlike the 6406 that Pelosi did in 2006, those issues were picked because when they came up on the floor, they would be bipartisan.

The issues in "Commitment to America" are not designed to be heavily focused on oversight and investigation. But now, they're beginning -- McCarthy is talking about maybe cuts in social security and cuts in Medicare as part of the condition for passing the debt ceiling.

That kind of stuff maybe pushed by this extreme group that he could find himself, the speaker, leading, but it's not clear to me that there's public support for that.

COATES: Governor, who wins, though, in this? I mean, if that is -- if it's the party of payback, that is not a platform that -- or is it a winning message? I mean, do you think there's an appetite among American voters today to say, look, it is our time to be back in the majority. If you are Republican, we're going to stick it to them?

MARK SANFORD, FORMER SOUTH CAROLINA GOVERNOR: Let's separate policy from politics for one second, not that you can in Washington, D.C., but what I would say is sadly, as a fiscal conservative, there's going to be little change in Washington on the things that matter to me in terms of spending.

If you look at, again, the sort of miniature contract with America, it is very thin, to your point, John, on details, on anything that would actually limit government. So, it's more here, a little bit more there, and different constituencies perhaps.

But there is not -- for instance, earmarks (ph) came back in this Congress. They are not disappearing in the next one. There is no push on that. You don't see that in the contract. There is no real push with regard to streamlining government. That was talked about in "The Contract with America" that I was a part of back in 1994.

So, I think that, you know, the Washington machine is going to continue to run on. We can talk about big change. I think where you will see change, to Robert's point, is with some of the investigations. I think there will be payback.

But I think ultimately, even that will be driven in a political sense by who is at the top of the ticket. If Trump is still around and Biden is still around, investigations (INAUDIBLE). If they're not, I think you may see much less in the way of investigations because it is not to their political advantage to do so. COATES: In your new book --

CAMEROTA: It's really interesting.

COATES: I'm sorry. In your new book, you talk about McCarthy. That might be a change, of course, if Republicans are the ones who are in the majority. I don't know if it's a foregone conclusion that Kevin McCarthy is the leader, speaker of the house.

But you have a quote in the book and talking about this idea that, he made this elaborate show of establishing policy-focused task forces as an on ramp to being elected the governing party in Congress after the elections. But the idea of the party's energy was instead focused on bloodlust and who will be the next speaker, Kevin McCarthy. Talk about that.

DRAPER: Well, for one thing, yes, you are referencing, Laura, these policy groups that were set up by McCarthy, but a lot of people did not even attend them. Some of them never even actually convened. So, it was for show. It was for a way of suggesting that we are seriously focused on policy.


But to Mark's point, for example, the MAGA wing of the Republican Party is really the center of gravity right now, and they are not fixated on controlling deficit spending, for example. They are not fixated on the national debt. Instead, they are fixated on things like sealing off the border, critical race theory, and the various and sundry other social wedge issues.

McCarthy is very attuned to that. And while I think that he certainly has established members of the Republican Party who would like to see our fiscal house in order, as they say, taken care of, he is going to be dealing night and day with the MAGA wing of the party. It is far more focused on these things.

CAMEROTA: And just one more thing from your book. It sounds like Marjorie Taylor Greene will also have more of a starring role. Here is something from your book. You say, she said -- you, I guess, posed this question to her.

DRAPER: Right.

CAMEROTA: And she says to you, I think that to be the best speaker of the House and to please the base, he's going to give me a lot more power and a lot of leeway," she predicted.

DRAPER: Right. It sounds like bravado, but I think there's truth to it, not because Kevin McCarthy wants to do her any favors, but because, once again, he recognizes that the Trumpist wing of the Republican Party is the loudest voice in the room and she is the proximate disciple or person who represents Trumpism.

So, if McCarthy does not do that, Greene predicts, I think, not without cause, that there is going to be (INAUDIBLE) to pay for him. COATES: You were chief of staff to speaker of the House, Nancy

Pelosi, in your time on Capitol Hill. I'm just wondering, do you think it is a foregone conclusion that if Republicans are to reclaim the majority in the House, is Kevin McCarthy at the top of the list?

LAWRENCE: I think, as with all leadership elections, it's going to depend on who is elected. You know, we don't know what the composition of that caucus is going to be. We don't know what the demands are going to be made by Marjorie Taylor Greene and others of this new speaker.

In my book, "Arc of Power," I talked about running into John Boehner a couple of weeks after the election in 2010 when he took over as speaker and I congratulated him. He said to me, John, in six months, I will be more popular in your caucus than I am in my own.

The point being, he knew that he was going to become speaker because he had this huge infusion of two-party members who saw him as much of a problem as they saw Nancy Pelosi. I think those people look like James Madison compared to a lot of the folks who are going to show up here in the next few months.

And those are the people that a speaker McCarthy would have to go to pass a continuing resolution to keep the government open, to pass a debt ceiling, to keep the government from reneging on its debts. And, you know, when those votes came up in 2011 and 2012, the way they passed was with democratic votes. They never got more than 179 Republicans.

CAMEROTA: Well, one person who seems to have confidence that these will be sorted out is former Vice President Mike Pence. He spoke at Georgetown University tonight, and he was asked if he would vote for Donald Trump. So, let's listen to that.


UNKNOWN: Mr. Pence, if Donald Trump is the Republican nominee for president in 2024, will you vote for him?


MIKE PENCE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, there might be somebody else I would prefer more.


PENCE: What I can tell you is, I have every confidence that the Republican Party is going to sort out leadership. All my focus has been on the midterm elections and it will stay that way for the next 20 days. But after that, we will be thinking about the future, hours and the nations, and I will keep you posted, okay?



COATES: I didn't hear a yes or no. Did you?

SANFORD: I heard no.


CAMEROTA: I saw a Cheshire grin. What did you hear there?

DRAPER: The art of evasion. Yet again, we see that you cannot run against Trump. It's clear that Pence does not want Trump, but he really can't say so. To say so is to defy the MAGA base and to invite the wrath of Trump.

CAMEROTA: Oh, self-immolation --

DRAPER: Totally.

ANDERSON: -- to say no. So, he had -- I just thought his smile there, his sort of smirk of --

SANFORD: It is remarkable to a guy who stood adoringly, looking up at President Trump at press conference after press conference after press conference, to be where he is now.


COATES: True, but that was before the gallows --

SANFORD: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

COATES: Things have changed.

CAMEROTA: All right. Thank you all. Up next, "The Washington Post" doing a major analysis of TikTok videos that are focusing on the issue of abortion. The analysis is interesting. What they found and why one of the conclusions is that the social media platform is almost perfectly designed to further divide Americans on this issue.




COATES: Well, the social media platform TikTok is playing a very big role when it comes to hot-button issues like abortion. That is according to new analysis from "The Washington Post."

Nearly more than a thousand viral TikToks using the hashtag abortion. The post came away with two gigantic conclusions. One, abortion rights posts get more views than antiabortion posts. And two, TikTok is almost designed to maybe further divide us politically.

For more, I want to bring in one of the reporters behind the story, "The Washington Post" data columnist David Byler. David, thank you for being here. When I saw that story, first, I said to myself, all right, Laura, you are young enough to know TikTok still. I had to come for myself in that. The other part of it was, what did it actually stand for knowing how much we've got these media silos, how much we have people who are turning to TikTok for information and for advocacy.


Tell me what you find in the study.

DAVID BYLER, DATA COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: Right. So, we scraped the thousand sorts of most viral, most engaged with TikTok videos we could find that were about abortion, and we found a couple of things.

We found that for years, these TikTok users who have an audience that is primarily Gen Z, primarily millennials, they have been following the ups and downs of this debate, and you see a spike in viral videos whenever a major abortion restriction is passed or when Roe fell in the Supreme Court. So, you see that dynamic.

But you also see a situation where the side sort of have different tactics that balkanize. You have on the right sort of pro-life creators who sort of preach to the choir. And on the left, you have creators who will grab clips from the sort of creators on the right and then just dunk on them and debate and so on and so forth.

So, you have this sort of silo dynamics exactly like what you are talking about.

COATES: I want to play for the audience a little bit of what we are talking about. Let us play this. There is one where there is -- somebody who is opposing abortion rights. I'm going to play the flip side, the proponent of them, dealing with the opposition. Here it is.


UNKNOWN: There is no such thing as my body, my choice when it comes to being pregnant. It is no longer just your body. It is three parties. It is your body, the child's body with its own DNA, and the father.



UNKNOWN: So, we're here in New York City asking people their thoughts on abortion.

UNKNOWN: Do you know who you are interviewing?

UNKNOWN: Sorry. No.

UNKNOWN: I'm Alexander Sanger. I'm the former president of Planned Parenthood of New York. My grandmother was Margaret Sanger, who founded Planned Parenthood. You cannot make abortion go away by criminalizing it. All you do is you make it unsafe.


COATES: First of all, on the latter one, I mean, talk about a man on the street, the happenstance perhaps of that particular person. But the way that these videos are becoming increasingly viral, some actually wrap around images of very popular celebrities like Kim Kardashian and the like even though it's not about what she is saying but is using the image to get people in.

I wonder, when did you first notice that this hashtag was getting all this traction on TikTok in general?

BYLER: Yeah, well, we started sort of thinking about this story before the Dobbs decision, before Roe v. Wade was overturned, just over the summer as these sort of laws were being passed in various red states that were sort of pushing the boundaries on abortion rights, and we sort of found that there were these spikes, there were these moments of virality that were just different than what you saw on other media.

It is different because, you know, TikTok is a ground up media. Anyone with a phone can make a video. You can sort of have a man on the street interview, you can have a personal testimonial, you can have sort of a linear point by point argument. It's an everything goes medium. So, yeah, we started noticing just when the events turned that way and we started scraping these videos.

COATES: Everything goes, including misinformation, I presume, at times.

BYLER: Yeah. Just the volume of content on that platform is so high. I cannot think of a way that it would be humanly possible to regulate every single thing. So, when we were going through some of those top posts, we saw things that, you know, a medical doctor might say, oh, well, that's not quite right, in terms of the facts about abortion, or oh, well, this image and the way that it is done, (INAUDIBLE) this, that or the other.

And yeah, so, misinformation can thrive on these platforms because I don't know how anyone can regulate the whole thing.

COATES: David Byler, thank you so much.

BYLER: Thanks.

CAMEROTA: Well, I don't like this one bit. I don't like it one bit.

COATES: Which one, the Tik or the Tok?


COATES: All of it!

CAMEROTA: I mean, I like TikTok for dancing with my kids. I like that part. But I don't like that people are going there as their source of information. As you just bought up, there is misinformation. It's not a reliable source of information, and the fact that this is where people are going to get information on something as important as abortion.

Let's bring back to our panel. Mark Sanford is with us. Also, we want to bring in CNN political commentator Karen Finney. She is a board member of UltraViolet, a group that promotes feminist culture and political change. Robert Draper is also back with us. Robert, what's happening is these influencers on social media are now as influential as reliable journalistic sources.

DRAPER: That's right. A couple things are at play here. One of them is that I think TikTok represents the apotheosis of social media which is really not intended to persuade. It's intended to intensify. It's intended to harden pre-existing notions.

But to rely on TikTok as an information source invites the possibility as we've seen with some of these where antiabortion TikToks will say that the morning after pill is tantamount to baby killing. This is nuts.


I think that the story does engage in a little bit of what sounded to me like both (INAUDIBLE) by saying yes but then, you know, the pro- abortion or abortion rights people use profanity and stuff to make this a more emotional issue.

Well, it is an emotional issue. I mean, this is about a woman's body. And for those people who the life begins at conception, it is certainly emotional for them.

So, I don't think that that's inappropriate. I do think using it as an information source is a bit dubious.

KAREN FINNEY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It seems to me it's less, like you said, about persuasion and more about emotion and giving it out. I think particularly what we saw after the overturning of Roe v. Wade was just an outpouring of shock and grief that -- when we think about these ladies, they have more rights than we do, in this moment, in the United States of America.

The shock of that is a lot of what I thought I saw on TikTok and it is about more than abortion. It is about freedom. And I think the idea, particularly for a lot of young people, that they don't have that right anymore, it's an outlet for that emotion.

I do wish, though -- I will tell you one other thing. I'm also on the board of NARAL Pro-Choice America. One of the things we found is sharing stories, I think we've all seen this, the horrible stories since the fall of Roe and the dilemmas that women have found themselves in.

If there was more of that and there was less of the silo-ism, where people can actually learn by just listening to what is happening to women and maybe that would be more persuasive than whether someone is yelling at you or dancing out their feelings, I think that would be a little bit more effective.

SANFORD: I hear you, but I think the problem with this are the metrics of the way that TikTok itself is designed.

CAMEROTA: Yeah. Algorithm?

SANFORD: Right. Which is to say, I'm going to give you more of what you believe, and I'm going to give you more of what you believe, and if that is the construct, you're never getting to that point --

FINNEY: That's right.

SANFORD: -- where you can have the debate.

CAMEROTA: Governor, do you think people are still persuadable on abortion? Are there people out there who are still on the offence (ph)?

SANFORD: I can't find out. In my 25 years in politics, people who are on one side or the other, people locked in fairly early. There can be a life altering experience wherein people say, wait a minute, I had it wrong, I see it differently now, but that does not happen very often.

COATES: But the locked in early is fascinating because of who -- perhaps the demographic is that most relies on TikTok, right? A lot of people -- you are skewing younger. You are talking about maybe first- time voters so that they are looking at these resources. And so, maybe that is the capturable population of people and that is maybe why it is such a successful medium and also maybe a dangerously divisive aspect of how we talk about these issues.

DRAPER: Right, though not for nothing did the story conclude that overwhelmingly, the most viral videos were ones on the abortion right side because that tends to play to a demographic that placed a TikTok. By the way, Mark is exactly right that the algorithms are set up to (INAUDIBLE) what it is you want to eat.

FINNEY: And that is really dangerous, having lived through the 2016 election, having the scars to prove it. I mean, we learned that with Facebook, right? That people found themselves in silos where you were just getting fed more of that red meat and really hardening that partisanship. And that we have fewer places where there is -- let me watch this video and learn something and maybe hear a different perspective. I think that's the danger.

And because it's not an American company, we are not going to be able to see the kind of platform accountability measures that we are at least now talking about with Facebook, with Instagram, with some of these others, where we are also talking about danger to teenagers, right?

CAMEROTA: I agree. TikTok is shady. I mean, you know, I don't -- I mean shady in the sort of vernacular. I mean, we don't have a lot of transparency into it. And that is cause for concern. I'm surprised people don't talk about this more often. Who knows what TikTok is really doing to all of our brains, actually? COATES: That's part of the issue. I mean, you're talking about -- there's a lot of discussion in social media about accountability and responsibility. Often that comes down to, well, who is the onus on? Whose job is it to tell you or dictate, look, you don't get to be fed what you want to eat, or listen, I want you to hear the opposing position? That is more impactful, more important. Maybe it's an instance of, look, that's what I want to see. I mean, my Netflix algorithm, it's something I want to play, what I want to see. HBO Plus or anything else as well.


COATES: Essentially trying to tell me, that's what I want, maybe that's --

CAMEROTA: That's entertainment. That's why I'm having such a hard time with this. This is so conflicted. That's entertainment, cool. Send me whatever shows around comes you think I will like. But for something as important as this, it's dividing the country so much. I'm not comfortable with it just being confirmation bias.

COATES: Is it subjective what you think is important enough to vote on? That's democracy.

DRAPER: Well, that's right. And also, news flash, this is how a lot of Gen Zers get all of their information, by TikTok. And not just on the subject of abortion.


And the sheer profusion, as we were just hearing, of all of these are so many that makes it a wild west, makes it utterly ungovernable.

SANFORD: Going to your point, Allan Bloom wrote a book a long time ago called "The Closing of the American Mind" and it talked about basically the dumbing down of some of what we are learning which made -- it was a very different world back then. And this seems to me the opposite -- the full in to that dumbing down of the American mind, when you are getting your information in 32nd soundbites and it is bias towards what you want to hear. I think it's a very worrisome spot.

COATES: Well, there's a lot of worries going on in the world right now. I want to know how you are feeling about TikTok and its impact on the hot-button issue of abortion rights. Let us know what you are thinking. Got anything else that you want to say to Alisyn and me?

CAMEROTA: We are ready for it.

COATES: We are ready for it.

COATES: And Alisyn wants to know the list of (INAUDIBLE) movies to watch.


COATES: At @alisyncamerota and @thelauracoates.




COATES: So, next year, Floridians are going to be picking up chips and soda or candy at one convenient store chain, and they will be able to add a little something else to their cart. This time, licensed medical weed. Circle K announcing it is teaming up with a cannabis company to sell marijuana at 10 locations in the state starting next year, in 2023. The dispensers will be right next to the existing locations. It is another sign of really just how far marijuana legalization has really come.

Back with us now are Mark Sanford and Karen Finney, and CNN political commentator Scott Jennings who has promised to be the old (INAUDIBLE) his word.




COATES: How do you feel about this? I mean, it is very mainstream now.

JENNINGS: Yeah. I guess it depends on what state you are in. But yeah, it does feel like it has becoming more mainstream, and I think we are going to deeply regret it as a country, going down this road. I mean, you know, I spent a lot of time trying to tell my kids to make good decisions and have good judgment. Now, we are going to stick this stuff next to the slurpee (ph) machine at the Circle K. I think in 20 years, we are going to ask ourselves, what were we doing? What were we thinking?

CAMEROTA: Well, when I first read it, I though it meant recreational marijuana, and I was like, oh, that is not a good -- a pot drive- through? That's not a good idea. But I think medical marijuana is in a different category. I don't think -- obviously, that's not for recreational use, that's for pain management. I put that in a different category.

But I'm with you, Scott. Actually, I'm with you.

JENNINGS: You and me?

CAMEROTA: You and I on this together. And I --

COATES: (INAUDIBLE). CAMEROTA: I also -- I'm willing to be persuaded. But I don't understand the pot renaissance that is happening in this country right now. I didn't like it the first time around, back when it was illegal. I don't understand the sort of massive wave --


JENNINGS: You're in 50% (INAUDIBLE). It is terrible. It is like -- I mean -- who wants to -- honestly --


COATES: -- percentage points. Look at this Gallup poll. I want you to respond, Karen, please.


COATES: Per the Gallup poll, this is November of just last year. Sixty-eight percent of people think that marijuana should be legal. And if you look at the map on where it is legal, I mean, medical marijuana, we are talking about 18 states overall. Karen, what do you think?

FINNEY: I think a couple of things. Obviously, once trip to Circle K next to the slurpee (ph) machine, come on, it's mainstream. I mean, you can buy CBD products in the grocery store now. It's increasingly becoming more part of our daily life. We have a lot of veterans who use medical marijuana. It's becoming more ubiquitous in our society.

But what I would say is, I think what is going to be interesting in Florida actually and in some of these other states is the pressure to follow suit with what President Biden did at the federal level and rethink, because I think people are going to be rethinking, do we really want to be, especially given, we know the statistics, African Americans, three times more likely -- you know, harsher sentencing than white Americans who are just holding marijuana or maybe selling, is that really who we are as a country, given what that has meant with our criminal justice system?

And so, I think it's pretty (INAUDIBLE) Circle K. I think it certainly pushes that conversation more to the floor about, what are we really doing? How are we really thinking about whether it is recreational or medicinal? It's also interesting in Florida that you've got -- you know, Governor DeSantis is opposed to recreational. He does not like the smell. He is with you.


FINNEY: I would say, walking around New York, you can also walk through a cloud of cigarette smoke and cigar smoke, which I hate, but that's okay. But his opponent is for legalizing marijuana. It's interesting to see if that will play any issue at all in the election.

COATES: Governor, if this had been in your state, how would it have played? South Carolina?

SANFORD: Well, I think South Carolina is probably not the best state to ask if you are talking about legalization. We would be one of the (INAUDIBLE) states. But I think in political terms, the dam already broke on this issue. If you look at that chart you just threw up, basically with the halfway mark, we are well past that if you look at referendum and whatnot in other states. We are quickly moving to the 40-state mark.

And so, I think the dam has broken. I remember back in -- this is maybe 20 years ago. There was an article, front page, in National Review, written by Buckley, saying the war is lost. And we had been fighting that fight for 20 years. Going to your point on the criminal justice system and a variety of other things that come with the war, it had not work. And so, this idea --

CAMEROTA: You mean the war on drugs?

SANFORD: The war on drugs. The idea of trying something different. You need to think the context here. We are talking about 10 stores out of 600 stores that Circle K has and we are only talking about medical.


I think it's a worthy experiment, not the end of the world.

CAMEROTA: I agree with you in terms of, again, the medical marijuana. And I would be okay with legalizing marijuana. But I'm okay with legalizing it because alcohol is also dangerous.


CAMEROTA: And we live with it. And we've learned how to live with it. You've learned how to, I guess, teach your kids how to manage it. Your kids are probably a little too old, right?

JENNINGS: I hope so.


CAMEROTA: So, I am okay with that. I just think it's interesting how many people are getting high again, like how many adults are doing gummies and how many adults are part of this pot renaissance. They are really --

COATES: But you are saying like it never really went away --


COATES: I don't know that it went away. I think it was more because if it is legalized, it's more socially acceptable to do.

CAMEROTA: I guess you are right.

FINNEY: You can choose your own flavor, you can choose your own adventure these days. I mean, marijuana is like, do you want to be hungry? Do you not want to be angry? Do you want to be awake? Do you want to be sleepy? There are so many different strains you can, like I say, choose your own adventure, decide how you want to feel. That's part of the renaissance.

JENNINGS: On the medicinal piece, whenever I'm having a medical emergency, the first thing I think of is running out to the Circle K.


JENNINGS: If you go to the emergency room, could call my doctor or I could go to the Circle K and grab a rotisserie hotdog and whatever else they are selling. I mean, come on --

CAMEROTA: This is not for a medical emergency, Scott. This is not for a medical emergency.

JENNINGS: It is not people might disagree. They might say it is an emergency. The point of this is not to say, oh -- the point of this is just to get the foot in the door of just selling it.

CAMEROTA: I don't think that's right. I think that people actually do use it for pain management. I do think that is different thing getting high, for sure.

COATES: The lesson here is no one but you has ever grab the rotisserie hotdog, for sure.

JENNINGS: We don't have a lot of that where I come from.


COATES: A general rule -- by 11 p.m., it's that same one going around and around. It's not a renaissance.

CAMEROTA: No, no. That's an old hotdog (ph). Okay. Thank you, guys, very much. We want to talk about this. The Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa speaking out for the first time since suffering that concussion and revealing some scary details about that day. We will tell you what he is saying.

Plus, we are hearing from you on social media. That's next.




CAMEROTA: Miami Dolphins quarterback a make offense quarterback Tua Tagovailoa speaking out for the first time since suffering a concussion. Here is what he says about the hit that sent him to the hospital.


TUA TAGOVAILOA, QUARTERBACK, MIAMI DOLPHINS: Yeah, I remember the entire night up to the point where I got tackled. But yeah, after I got tackled, I don't remember much from there. Getting carted off, I don't remember that. But I do remember, you know, things that were going on when I was in the ambulance and then when I arrived at the hospital.


CAMEROTA: Scott Jennings and Karen Finney are back with us. Also joining us is former NFL player Donte Stallworth. Donte, what were your thoughts and what did you think as you watched that hit that he took where he got a concussion?

DONTE STALLWORTH, FORMER NFL PLAYER: It's tough. It's always tough. I think it's more tough now, honestly, since I have been out. There has been a lot more research and studies that have done on concussions. We understand a lot more about it than we did 10, 15, 20 years ago in the NFL.

But as a player, I understand his willingness to want to get back out there. That is kind of the mentality that we have been infused with throughout our entire career since we were children. So, it is something that is devastating. I think the NFL definitely has to make some amendments to the concussion policy and the protocol because --

CAMEROTA: He should not have been playing.

STALLWORTH: No. But I will note to the next couple of games actually that were played in the NFL. We had similar situations where a guy went down early in the game, third play of the game for the Indianapolis Colts, and he went down in similar fashion and was stumbling. They took him out for the rest of the game.

I think that, unfortunately, it took for us to see what happened to Tua, the egregious hit of the head on the ground, and then saw what happened afterwards. I think the culture has to change after that.

COATES: What is so crazy is thinking about -- we know about traumatic brain injuries. This has been something that has been studied. There have been movies about it, very popular as well. When you talk about the willingness to get back in the game, I often wonder where that motivation comes from. Is it the idea of the so-called heart of the champion or is I'm willing because there are consequences in my team and consequences to my career if I don't?

STALLWORTH: Yeah, there's a number of all that. I think, specifically, we are talking particularly about Tua, that actually played into him wanting to get back out there. He has had the situation where they are doubting him. They don't know if he was worth as high of a draft pick as he was and if he is a bust. And so, he comes out. This year is a relatively good year up to that point. And so, of course, he'll want to get back out there to continue to prove himself. It is the willingness.


You know, when an athlete breaks an ankle or they pull a hamstring, the mindset immediately goes to, how long am I going to be out and what do I have to do to get back out as soon as possible? There's a different mindset in the athlete's mind, especially in football where it is an extremely rough sport, and you have to kind of take on this tough mentality.

Unfortunately, sometimes, that tough mentality can hurt us and the fact that we want to get back out on the field even after an egregious hit like a concussion.

CAMEROTA: You two are having a lot of discussion during the commercial break because you are conflicted a little about this.

JENNINGS: Yeah, I am, because on the one hand, I see this highly talented guy, has been working towards this his whole life, and he (INAUDIBLE). And so, I think, well, he should be able to make these decisions.

But then I think about -- you know, he is only able to make decisions about whether he should play based on the information he is being given. I think about -- if I may ask you a question because you've been there, the advice and information these players get comes from a doctor who, I guess, one doctor got fired over this, right, for clearing him?

STALLWORTH: Yeah, there was a neurologist who is independent that was fired.

JENNINGS: And so, you're getting advice from the team. So, it's in its best interest for him to played. It's in the league's best interest for him to play. But I just wonder, sometimes, do most of these players have someone who don't have a conflict of interest giving them advice about what is best for them?

And again, he is an adult, and I tend to lean adults should be able to do what they want to do, but I wonder about the advice that they are getting because all -- he is not a doctor. All he knows is what someone told him his risk is. I am curious about that.

STALLWORTH: Yeah, I think it's hard to kind of put the onus on a player when they have had a head injury and expect them to be able to think rationally. So, we take a baseline test before the season starts to determine where our threshold is after concussion. When you take that test, they kind of see how far you have fallen off of your normal tests that you've done.

A number of those issues, I went through. Independent contractors were brought to specifically not be a conflict of interest to the player. We saw what happened where the Miami Dolphins guy was fired. So, we're still waiting on the investigation to see what actually happened and how that happened.

So, I think that is good to keep independent contractors, but at the same time, we are seeing a fail. There needs to be more amendments to what the NFL protocol is.

CAMEROTA: This is personal to you, Karen, for a variety of reasons.

FINNEY: Yeah, it is. As we all know, I had brain surgery last year, so I know a bit about it. When you are confronted with the fragility of the brain and the idea that in a second, I couldn't hear out of my left ear, I couldn't eat, I couldn't swallow, I couldn't talk, and you think about -- and I thought about it. I have had a great life, I am blessed, this is a 24-year-old young man.


FINNEY: The impact of one hit, one too many hits, and at that press conference, he said, they asked him about CTE and he is like, on average, you got to get hit six times, I've only been hit two times. He's clearly doing the math in his head. I'm thinking, no, I don't want to see that.

I think part of the onus has to be on us as fans to say, I don't want you to feel like you have to go out there and be a gladiator and hit harder and draw blood and get the scores up and play if you have a concussion or an injury because we have seen all of that. Why can't we just enjoy the game and say, okay, you're injured, that's okay. We can do something to take the pressure off, is what I feel like.

COATES: Donte, do you feel even now concerns of having played in the league?

STALLWORTH: I do. Like I said, after all the research that we have seen in the last 15 to 20 years, we know more and we understand more about how football specifically can lead to TBI, especially down the road for players, it's troubling.

You see a lot of these guys having issues, guys that when I was growing up in the 80s and 90s that I was watching, now having these issues. They don't remember how to get home after just driving to the grocery store when they've done it 100 times. Just little things like this.

It definitely concerns me which is why I've tried to be as big as an advocate for the players. I know the players, regardless if they can see and hear, they're going to want to play in the game. So, there has to be something more. We have to protect the players. I know that the NFL has tried to do things, but again, we have seen it fail recently.

JENNINGS: In your experience, do you feel like the fan base has gotten thirstier for more violence over the course of your career in dealing with football?

STALLWORTH: That's a good question. I will say, I am guilty of this because I love fantasy football, but I think fantasy football has made the players more -- look at players less human and more as commodities.

JENNINGS: I agree with that.

STALLWORTH: Yeah. And so, when guys get injured, the first thing that you will see -- I know Twitter is the worst place to go, but what you will see on Twitter, oh, my fantasy team, this guy was knocked out of the game with a head injury.


STALLWORTH: That's the conversation that is happening. Like I said, it's something that has -- there has to be some kind of systemic change. I know the NFL will because they have no choice. They have to make amends to this new policy but also -- I will say to answer your question earlier, what you are speaking about earlier, I think the violence of the game is something that drives the game. So, until we see these players more as humans and less as commodities, I think it will continue to be the way, unfortunately.

COATES: Perfect segue to talk about social media.


COATES: It's time for you all to sound off. We are going to read your tweets next and engage with you and join the conversation.




COATES: (INAUDIBLE) your tweets are continuing to roll in. What's the number one issue motivating you to vote? One person says economy, economy, economy.

CAMEROTA: Okay. The next person says, saving our democracy. I want to say climate and women's bodily autonomy, but without democracy, we will have neither. Thank you, Tina, for writing in there.

COATES: We were talking about that very point, right? Another person says, I am a recovering perfectionist. I'm now focused on being more resilient when things don't go perfectly.

CAMEROTA: That's good.

COATES: That's a good one.


COATES: Okay. (INAUDIBLE) recovering. I'm trying.

CAMEROTA: No, I've never been perfectionist. No, that has never been in my vocabulary. Everybody, take it down a (INAUDIBLE), good enough- ism. That's my creed. Try it out tomorrow. Good enough-ism. All right, meanwhile, you know where to find us, at @alisyncamerota and @thelauracoates. Thanks for watching.

COATES: Our coverage continues, everyone.