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CNN Tonight

Deranged Man Attacked Paul Pelosi; GOP and Dems' Best Campaigners Are Out; John Fetterman Appalled By The Rampant Attacks; Kari Lake Didn't Let Tragedy Go Into Waste; Race Is Now A Weighing Factor In School Admissions. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired October 31, 2022 - 22:00   ET




JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Thank you so much for joining us tonight. You can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and the TikTok at Jake Tapper. Our coverage continues now with lovable, loyal Laura, and awesome, adorable Alisyn. I like that. I did a little alliteration there and I challenged myself. I gave you each two adjectives.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Yes. You're really upping the ante.

LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: It was lovely.

CAMEROTA: Aren't you?


CAMEROTA: Aren't you ever insightful, Jake?

COATES: I was almost --

TAPPEER: That doesn't start with the (Inaudible).

COATES: -- Labrador retriever in the description, but that's fine. I'll,

TAPPER: The L adjectives, I confess the L adjectives I was a little hard pressed. I'm sorry.

COATES: That's OK. That's OK.

TAPPER: I appreciate, I would've -- I should've come in my Maleficent costume today. I'm giving you plenty of fodder to have other titles for me. That's OK. I appreciate it, don't you, Alisyn?

CAMEROTA: I really appreciate it, but I wish that you had brought at least a picture of yourself from Halloween trick or treating with your kids tonight. I would love to see the Maleficent.

TAPPER: What are the trick and treating? I've been -- I've been here all day.


COATES: Can't you picture --

TAPPER: What are you talking about?

CAMEROTA: We've already done Halloween.

COATES: I'm sorry.

CAMEROTA: We've already done Halloween at home with our kids.

COATES: We went to your house though, Jake, and you had the full-size stickers bar, so I appreciate that. Thank you so much.

TAPPER: We do have -- but how -- you went home and trick or treated?

CAMEROTA: Yes, I did. I did.

COATES: It's caught, I mean, wouldn't Ginger Rogers once say, Alisyn --

TAPPER: What the heck.

COATES: -- you do anything that men do just backwards and in heels.

CAMEROTA: That's exactly right. You want something done, give it to a busy one. OK.

TAPPER: OK. So interesting.

CAMEROTA: All right, Have a good show.

Have a good show.

CAMEROTA: Jakes, thanks so much. Happy Halloween.

COATES: Happy Halloween.


CAMEROTA: All right. Good evening, everyone. I'm Alisyn Camerota in New York.

COATES: And I'm Laura Coates. I'm already crying for some reason my humor makes me laugh. This is a CNN Tonight.

And what we're learning tonight about this horrible attack that put Nancy Pelosi's husband in the hospital with a fractured skull. Mind you. Well, it's just one shocking detail after another. The suspect who's now been charged with multiple serious crimes, including assault, attempted murder, and attempted kidnapping, allegedly, he had zip ties and tape, rope, and at least one hammer with him.

CAMEROTA: So, Laura, that court filing spells out how the suspect planned to hold Nancy Pelosi hostage and, quote, "break her kneecaps if she did not tell him what he wanted to hear." San Francisco's district attorney saying tonight, it appears the

attack was politically motivated, but all of this information and all of the facts from police officers who witnessed the crime are not enough for right wing conspiracy theorists who are spreading their own twisted baseless theories to their millions of followers.

And of course, Elon Musk was no different. So, let's start there. Let's bring in my panel, which is John Miller, CNN chief law enforcement and intelligence analyst. We also have journalist, Mara S. Campo, and Washington Post columnist Max Boot.

Great to have all of you here tonight.

John, as someone who for decades has dealt with evidence and just the facts, ma'am, it must be so frustrating to you to do all of this reporting and then see all of these strange, twisted, warped, theories crop up online from people with millions of followers.

And so, let's just debunk some of them tonight because I know that you have all the latest information. No. Paul Pelosi and the attacker did not know each other. Correct?


CAMEROTA: Very good. Was there a third person in the house at the time who opened the door for the cops?

MILLER: No. Paul Pelosi opened the door for the cops. And right after that was unconscious. So, they didn't get to interview him for literally till Sunday night, but they did interview the suspect and he said Pelosi opened the door. Since then, Pelosi said he opened the door, so they agree on that too.

CAMEROTA: And here is what the D.A. said today about the timeline. So she gave us more information that we hadn't known. So here's that moment.


BROOKE JENKINS, SAN FRANCISCO DISTRICT ATTORNEY: And at some point, during that encounter, Mr. Pelosi attempted to access the elevator in the home, which has a phone. The defendant then blocked Mr. Pelosi's access to that elevator. It was at some point after that, Mr. Pelosi asked to go to the bathroom, which is where he was able to call 911 from his cell phone.

The defendant realizing that Mr. Pelosi had called 911. Took Mr. Pelosi downstairs near the front door of the residence.


CAMEROTA: It's scary stuff, John, what more do we need to know?

MILLER: Well, one of the developments that came up today, which really hasn't been discussed is, there's a statement when DePape is interviewed by the FBI the capitol police, and the San Francisco police and prosecutors at the same time where he, where he has -- he's making derogatory comments about Hillary Clinton and Hunter Biden and usual parade of Democratic suspects for that genre.


But he says he was going to get Nancy Pelosi to lure one of them to the house. So, think about that for a second, Allie. It's a plan where he is. Kidnapped and held hostage the husband of the Speaker of the House, he's going to tie him up so that he, the suspect can take a nap while they wait for Nancy to come home because he is very tired.

Then when Nancy comes home, he's going to interrogate her, maybe break her kneecaps, and then force her to lure somebody else from the political spectrum that he wants to kidnap to the location. That's a lot.

CAMEROTA: Yes. And it's hard to see how this could be anything but political violence given all of that, know you that you've just talked about.

MILLER: I think if you look at that statue Title 18 U.S. code, 1 -- 115 and you read the statute. Anyone who assaults, threatens, threatens to assault the kidnapped hold hostage, a federal official to intimidate them from doing their job or a family member have said, he pretty much ticks every part of the statute.

CAMEROTA: Mara, there is nothing. There is no crime horrible enough in as is in our time that conspiracy theorists can't try to pervert in some way. Not 9/11, not Sandy Hook school shooting. They just, it's not bad enough for them. They have to make it somehow more twisted.

And I mean, the fact that Elon Musk, you know, pedaled this along with the Steve Bannons of the world and the Roger Stones it shows what -- how horrible judgment he has.

MARA S. CAMPO, JOURNALIST: Yes, I mean, it actually shows you how much deeper this goes than just kind of the random fringe conspiracy theorists who are trying to make this something that it's not. When you have the new owner of Twitter, the richest man in the world, and someone with the largest Twitter audience in the world, retweeting a conspiracy theory that has no evidence and it's completely baseless in the wake of this awful attack.

And when you hear the details about the attack, it makes it clear that this was much worse than any of us had initially realized. Even though we realized it was really, really bad, it was even worse than we realized.

And what that shows us now is a lot about the current political climate. You know, Dan Rather, the legendary journalist, has a metaphor that I love. He says, climate change did not create hurricanes, but it made them much worse. And it's the same with political violence. Political violence has always existed on all sides of the political spectrum, but today's political climate is making it much worse and it is a uniquely right-wing problem right now. We cannot both sides this, given what we've seen in the last few years.

CAMEROTA: Enter Max Boot. You wrote a piece for the Washington Post about this yesterday about how -- you -- it's not both sides actually. That the lion's share of this is right wing political violence and rhetoric.

MAX BOOT, COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: Absolutely. I mean, you saw that threats against members of Congress increased something like tenfold after Donald Trump was elected in 2016, he and his followers still engaged in violent extremist rhetoric.

Remember that Trump has been calling Speaker Pelosi crazy Nancy for years. Remember that this attacker in San Francisco was asking, where's Nancy, which is pretty much the same thing that the mob was asking on January 6th when they invaded the capitol. This is a sickness, but it's not divorced from the Republican Party.

And unfortunately, if you see the reaction of the Republican Party to what happened in San Francisco. You're seeing why we have this cycle of violence because Republicans are not denouncing the extremists in their own ranks. And you see a lot of Republicans really, really sick stuff, including Republican elected officials who are making fun of this, who are poking fun of Paul Pelosi, who could have easily died in this horrifying assault.

And then you see, of course, as you mentioned and we're discussing a second ago, you see all these insane conspiracy theories, which are being spread by potent Republican influencers like Dinesh D'Souza and many others.

So, there is a real sickness on the right here, which is when you have this combination of extremist rhetoric leading to extremist actions. And I'm very concerned because I don't see Republicans taking a step back and asking about their responsibility for creating this climate of hatred.

CAMEROTA: OK, friends, thank you very much for all of those insights. Laura, I'll hand it over to your panel.

COATES: You know, speaking of that very notion, I want to bring in our panel here. We've got CNN global affairs analyst, Susan Glasser, also political analyst, Seung Min Kim, and Andrew McCabe, CNN senior law enforcement analyst.

Before we begin, let's pick up where they left off, because it's not just the idea of the moral equivalencies and the false ones that are being drawn. It's becoming a punchline already. Here was the, you know, with Kari Lake out of Arizona already trying to look at this issue. You guys, from the perspective of keeping schools safe and using Pelosi as a punchline. Listen to this.


KARI LAKE (R), ARIZONA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: It is not impossible to protect our kids at school. They act like it is. They don't see Pelosi, well, he's got protection when she's in decent superior, her house doesn't have a lot of protection.



COATES: I mean, this is a very serious matter. It's not if he's out of the woods yet. And you know a little something about what happens when vitriol and rhetoric, Andrew, turns into the prospect of violence. I mean, we've seen a great deal, unfortunately.

What has been your reaction to what you are hearing from the law enforcement perspective, but also how this intersects your personal experience?

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Sure. So, we know, Laura, how this sort of language, this sort of rhetoric resonates with the very the furthest, most extreme segment of the population. Right? We've seen it often we've seen it in many cases recently. Cesar Sayoc who decided to put 16 pipe bombs in the mail, people he thought were enemies of Donald Trump.

Before that you had, the gentleman from North Carolina who traveled up to Washington, D.C. and shot up the Comet Ping Pong pizza restaurant following the conspiracy theories of QAnon. So, we know that conspiracy theories and this sort of heated rhetoric really resonates with that extreme population.

The problem is that we have political leaders, and to be clear, I'm talking about political leaders on the right, right now who know that that sort of language also resonates with their supporters. So they're willing to go there. They're willing to say things like you just heard from Kari Lake and from others, because the short term personal, political benefit is worth the risk that they're creating. And I think it's, it's despicable.

COATES: When you think about that, the idea of why it resonates. And the sort of the way of having and appealing to grievance politics, but the way it's flipped is almost like, well, you know, look what happens in her own house. The idea of those who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones was the take away that I had from that particular pun in part.

But the idea this resonates and politically speaking, when you think about this, why is it continuing to resonate, you think, in terms of how strategists think about this?

SEUNG MIN KIM, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think one reason why it's resonating and allowing to fester is that there aren't voices within their own party. Again, talking about the Republican Party that aren't condemning it, that aren't saying this is wrong. This is an act of political violence.

I will point out there are many Republican officials, Republican leaders who have conduct this violence. You have Kevin McCarthy reaching out to Speaker Pelosi checking on her family. She's OK. But I haven't heard many, if not all, Republican voices saying what Kari Lake is saying is wrong. What, the conspiracy theories that some on the right are spreading is wrong.

And when you don't have that, again, it's allowed to spread. It's allowed to fester and that's kind of what we're seeing right now.

COATES: And by the way, we're talking about what's festering. I mean, in part he wanted to break her kneecaps unless she told him the truth. And of course, what that truth is seems to be rooted in his vision of conspiracy theories and what to hold her to account to, and if she lied, different scenario. I mean, this is part of what we can't think of a vacuum.

They were calling for Nancy on January 6th as well. Speaker at the House, but it should strike people. This is somebody who is in the direct line of succession for the presidency. We're not talking about, I mean, just obviously anyone as a target be problematic, but this is vitriol that seems to consistently target her and I emphasize her.

SUSAN GLASSER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Yes, that's right. There's no question that, you know, Donald Trump and many of his followers have, you know, been very purposeful and specific in turning Pelosi and, you know, demonizing her now. Remember, this goes back, there's a long tradition that long predates Donald Trump, unfortunately, of misogyny in American public life. Let's be real about that.

Nancy Pelosi was the first woman speaker when she was elected speaker before Donald Trump was president. Republicans at that time made her into kind of the national face of their campaign to reclaim control of the House of Representatives. They demonized her at the time.

What's different and I think it's very important is this astonishing rise in the number of politicized threats of violence against members of Congress. That is what skyrocketed since Donald Trump was president. And of course, to your point about what was it that this attacker allegedly was saying. You know about Nancy Pelosi and the truth that relates very specifically to Donald Trump and the big lie about the election, and I think that's very important.

This is an agenda that has now become the Republican Party's agenda. But I have to say one final thing. I don't know about you. Listening to that clip of, it's not just what Kari Lake said. It's the laughter. It's the laughter that really, I find to be so haunting --


COATES: But didn't come from her. It came from those in the audience --

GLASSER: And that's why you asked the question, why do the politicians do it? Because it's popular. Because they're getting a laugh line of an 82-year-old man in the ICU fighting for his life.

MCCABE: That's absolutely right. Absolutely right.

COATES: When you think about this, I mean, you -- you're at a point. MCCABE: Yes, well, I mean, I think you talk about that demonization

of Nancy Pelosi. I mean, you see that in this attacker's own words that he viewed Nancy as, quote, "the leader of the pack of lies told by the Democratic Party." So that's the mindset that he brings into this, into this attack. That's what's motivating him to go after Nancy Pelosi in her home finds her husband takes him instead.


COATES: I mean, it's unbelievable. Alisyn, when you really think about where we are and what could have happened. I mean, there's a conversation of course, if the idea of the security forces that would've been present had Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House been in that home.

But I can't help but think back to that congressional baseball game, right? I mean, when you had but for Secret Service and those who were present because of the line of succession. What could have happened then too.

CAMEROTA: All true. And I think that, I mean, what your panel was just talking about, it's not just disagreeing with someone, it's dehumanizing the other side. So, you can laugh at them, you can call them names, you can think they're the leader of a pack of whatever, fill in the blank. Everything from, you know, wolves to demons, and that's -- it's leading to violence.


CAMEROTA: I mean, we just see the direct line. So, tell us what you think about why so many people cannot deal with facts and fall for conspiracy theories and what can be done, and anything else you want to say to Laura and me. You can tweet us at Alisyn Camerota at the Laura Coates, hash tag CNN Sound off.



CAMEROTA: Four new swing state polls show just how close these races are in the final days before midterms. In Nevada, the Race for Senate is in a dead heat between Catherine Cortez Masto and Republican Adam Laxalt. In Georgia, Senator Raphael Warnock is ahead of Herschel Walker, but still within the margin of error. And Mark Kelly holds a narrow lead over Blake Masters in Arizona. In Pennsylvania, John Fetterman has a slim lead

over Dr. Mehmet Oz, making it the Democrat's best hope for a pickup seat.

I want to bring in our panel we have CNN political commentator, Charlie Dent, journalist Mara S. Campo, and political analyst, Astead Herndon.

Astead, let's start with you and let's also look at where the big names are who are hitting the trail this week. So, Donald Trump will be in Iowa, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Ohio. President Biden will be in New Mexico, Florida tomorrow, Maryland. Pennsylvania this weekend, and then Obama, tomorrow, Nevada, Wednesday, Arizona, Pennsylvania this weekend. What does that tell us? What does that map tell us?

ASTEAD HERNDON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I mean, I think it shows us what we know are going to be the races that the Senate really comes down to, specifically that race in Nevada, the race in Arizona. When you look across to Georgia and Pennsylvania, this is going to be where the senators won and lost.

But in the Democrat's best hope here, they were hoping to have a little bit more offense on that map than they currently do. They're really playing defense and hoping to keep that kind of 50-50 split going, but they're calling in the big guns.

President Biden does have an agenda he can point to, even though that job approval rating hasn't been getting him called in. They're calling him President Obama who remains the most popular person for them in the party and bringing it in terms of endorsements, but it's not driving the base energy in the same way that they need.

They are coming in on a downward slope and not an upward slope no matter which Democrat you talk to right now.

CAMEROTA: Let's talk about whether or not former President Obama is driving the energy. So, he was in Wisconsin this weekend and he was there for the Democrat, Mandela Barnes, who's running against Senator Ron Johnson. And basically, he was joking about what's in a name. So, here's this moment.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I know these ads are running this way, that just because Mandela's name Mandela. Just because he is a Democrat with a -- with a funny name. He must not be like you. He must not share your values. I mean, we've seen this, it sounds pretty familiar, doesn't it?


OBAMA: Yes, so Mandela, get ready to dig up that birth certificate. Get ready?


CAMEROTA: So, I mean, obviously President Obama continues to be very popular. Maybe he does inspire based somehow. I know Charlie, you think that this won't make a bit of difference.



DENT: Because the midterm dynamic is pretty much set in stone. In fact, President Obama didn't have a particularly good midterm record himself. In 2010, Democrats were wiped out in the House. Then in 2014, they lost a Senate in addition to some House seats. So, I don't know. I think this is a consolation prize. I remember in

2010 when Bill Clinton came in against me twice. Joe Biden and Obama once, and I was winning all the polls. And I said to my pollster, what's this all about? What are they wasting their time here for? So, it's just a consolation prize for them. They're going to lose, but that's all right. Let them come up.

And so, this, I don't think it's going to make any difference. I mean, we know what the numbers are, things are kind of moving toward Republican side on the issues and you know, it's hard to fight, fight history. So they're going to try. But I don't think they're going to have a good outcome in the House for sure. And maybe not the Senate.

CAMEROTA: Mara, how do you see it?

CAMPO: Yes. Well, I have to agree with Charlie. You know, I think the question is what moves the needle at this point? You have seven races that are all pretty much within the margin of error. And while Obama certainly excites people, and it's so nice to see a political superstar. I mean, he almost forgot what a political superstar looks like until you see him in his element.

But the question is, does it move the needle? What are the closing arguments? You know, he's trying to make the argument that this is really, this election is really about a check on the Supreme Court that people have to make sure that their rights are protected on the state level. But is that enough to move people? Is that enough to move swing voters?

The question of, of inflation, you know, people are tying inflation to the president, so that argument really doesn't help because they blame the current administration for what's happening with inflation and the economy. So, the question is what gets people to the polls.

And we already have 20 million people who have already voted. So, it doesn't matter with those people hear because they've already -- they already cast their ballots. And so, everything that's happening right now makes no difference to them. So, all of this can be exciting. It can be a useful organizing tool when Obama gets people out to get out there and to get names --


CAMPO: -- and to make sure people are registered and they know where to vote and those types of things. But I don't see it changing anything in the outcome of these races.

CAMEROTA: In terms of getting people to the polls, Obama talked about that and basically cautioned Democrats not to be mopey. So, here's that.


OBAMA: But I'm here to tell you, the tuning out is not an option. Moping is not an option. We don't have time to mope. Don't get distracted.



OBAMA: Don't get bamboozled.


OBAMA: Don't fall for the Okey-doke that says nothing you say or do matters. You go out and what?

CROWD: Vote.


CAMEROTA: Pep talk, Astead.

HERNDON: Absolutely. And I think it's fun that we're going to hear more Democrats giving. I mean, I -- when you talk to Democratic strategists, elected officials, they'll talk about political nihilism among their base. The idea that their base feels so checked out, so disconnected from the system, so kind of pessimistic about the future that they're not receiving any political messages.

I think that's what the former president is trying to speak to right there. The problem for Democrats is, is that there's good reason for folks to feel like that, there is a real kind of broken system that that hasn't really delivered for Democrats on their biggest issues.

They keep running into a filibuster. They keep running into gerrymandering. They keep having to deliver those excuses for their base. To say why they did not follow through on those core campaign promises. So, it's kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy for the party where they're since they're not fulfilling that, they are then having trouble getting the base excited again.

CAMEROTA: Charlie, you, have talked, I think quite in an unvarnished way about John Fetterman, about how he's performing since his stroke and his word finding difficulties that you said were quite pronounced, you felt during the, debate.

So, Don Lemon sat down with John Fetterman. You'll see more of this tomorrow morning when the New Morning show launches here on CNN, but here is a piece of that.


DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Let me start with the aftermath of the violent attack on the House speaker's husband at their home. What did the attack in the subsequent conspiracy theories say about the state of our politics right now?

JOHN FETTERMAN (D), PENNSYLVANIA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: Yes. I just, of course I was appalled by that. And of course, the kind of vitriol that is out there in the political conversation out in America now is astonishing. It's unconscionable.

LEMON: On Elon Musk pushing conspiracy theories about Paul Pelosi and the attack on him what is your message to him as he takes over this giant megaphone that is Twitter.

FETTERMAN: No, I just am really just about just saying that I -- I just want to make sure that we use your enormous -- your enormous power to -- to just make sure that, you know, we don't have the kind of a platform where we push those kinds of theories.


CAMEROTA: Any thoughts on --

DENT: Yes. I feel sad for him. I, I just thought it was wrong that his campaign team trotted him out for that debate. He wasn't ready. And, and I'm sympathetic to people who have strokes. I lost my grandfather to a stroke, killed him immediately. I lost my aunt see, three days after one another aunt, 15 years in a wheelchair.

So, I'm very sympathetic. But at the same time, you know, they have just not been transparent about this, and I felt very strongly they should have replaced him on the ballot back in the summertime. They weren't transparent. They understated the problem. They had a -- they were forced into that debate. They shouldn't have done it.

CAMEROTA: Well, I mean, you could argue that doing that debate was the ultimate transparency.

DENT: Well, yes, but they should release the medical records. I mean, what's so -- what's so hard about that? I mean, just trust us. Everything is going to be OK. Well, you know, I'm very good friends with Mark Kirk, Senator Kirk. He had a master stroke one year in. He was very transparent about everything and you know, he -- and he's been paralyzed and we were all there a year. It took him a year to get back.

CAMEROTA: Yes. But I don't think that any medical records tell you exactly what day you're going to be better from a stroke and when you're not going to have word finding difficulties. I mean, I think that, you know, he did release it a letter from his doctor. I guess my point is that I don't know that that would've been satisfying.

But e either way, it's possible also that a one-on-one interview is an easier one to process than a debate. But we'll see tomorrow when Don's, on Don's show on the morning show, they have the full interview that everyone will see. Any final thoughts, Mara?

CAMPO: You know, I think the problem is that it raised too many questions. You know, there is a tremendous amount of compassion for John Fetterman and for his recovery in the process, but I think that that debate and some of the interviews that we've seen since, you know, now he's out there trying to do a little bit of damage control, but they still continue to raise questions about whether or not he is recovered enough to perform the duties required of him and whether or not his campaign has been transparent enough throughout this entire process.

CAMEROTA: Yes. Absolutely. Thank you, guys very much. Laura, so again, everybody should tune in tomorrow morning, six to nine. They'll see the full interview as well as CNN's new morning show.

COATES: We definitely need to do that. And I have to say I'm a little taken aback though, Alisyn, because I was looking at the substance of what he said, and I -- it's a, one of the constant refrains I hear from people is the emphasis they believe the media is unfairly putting on John Fetterman based on the stroke, and putting literally form over substance in terms of how people view the content of his message.


There he was talking about the attack on Mr. Pelosi and, but you see, you know, widespread conversations about how and what he's doing to communicate. And so, I'm just wondering if the voters in Pennsylvania have that same focus, transparency or not? I'm wondering, we have only eight days to go until we'll actually see what that looks like, but I'll be curious to see what happens.

CAMEROTA: Yes. I mean, he's their lieutenant governor, so they know him.

COATES: They know.

CAMEROTA: And they probably already have opinions on his record and on him prior to the stroke, but yes, we shall see.

COATES: Well, we know we won't see anytime soon. The Supreme Court's ruling on a very important case today because they could be poised to change the role of race, deciding who gets into college, and the question everyone is asking, especially today was, should race even be a factor?

I'll make my case, next.



COATES: Two schools. One is Harvard, the oldest private institution. The other University of North Carolina, the oldest public institution in the country. But because both accept federal money for programs, they have to answer the same question. Can you consider race and admissions without violating equal protection?

Now, one said, side says, absolutely you can. You should be able to consider race as long as not the only, or the sole decisive factor. It's got to be part of a holistic evaluation that considers other criteria, like extracurricular activities or sports or musical talent, or writing your grades. For some, whether your parents are alums.

And because race permeates every facet of our lives and as a root cause of many of the inequalities that presently exist in our educational system, we cannot be color blind. Now this holistic approach to college admissions is used by a huge variety of colleges, large and small, including by the way the U.S. Military Academies.


ELIZABETH PRELOGAR, U.S. SOLICITOR GENERAL: Petitioner seeks a sweeping ruling that would harm students as schools and colleges throughout the nation. A blanket ban on race conscious admissions would cause racial diversity to plummet at many of our nation's leading educational institutions.


COATES: Then there's the other side that answers the question by saying, no, you should not be able to consider race at all, and a university ought not to even be able to discover the race of the student or question it because they argue your race should not decide where you get to go to school or where you cannot.

After all they say, isn't that why we fought for integrated schools? Because race shouldn't matter. This argument holds that test scores and grades ought to be the primary consideration because they believe that these, these criterion are truly objective. And because the admissions office shouldn't be able to consider race, even just referenced as part of an essay or through their membership in affinity organization should be considered well, it has no or little value in how you choose a candidate. In fact, the court's newest justice questioned this very notion today.


KETANJI BROWN JACKSON, U.S. SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: Is there a risk of treating people differently by not allowing some applicants to talk about that aspect of their identity? I hear a process in which there's a form that says, tell us about yourself, and people can put all sorts of things.

I'm Catholic, I'm from, you know, Los Angeles. I'm a Latina. Whatever. But now we're entertaining a rule in which some people can say the things they want about who they are and have that valued in the system, but other people are not going to be able to.


COATES: And why? Because even knowing the race perhaps may factor into the admissions process, they believe. So, the question is, who is right on this answer? Whether you can use race as one of the factors or at all.

Well, nine justices, including three senior justices Chief Justice Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, who've all by the way previously dissented when they've had cases around whether to uphold affirmative action.

Look, if oral arguments are any guide tonight, six justices seem to say that race ought to be on the cutting room floor. But the why they say that is perhaps the most intriguing. It comes down to well, timing, shall we say.


JOHN ROBERTS, CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT: I don't see how you can say that the program will ever end. Your position is that race matters because it's necessary for diversity, which is necessary for the sort of education you want.

It's not going to stop mattering at some particular point. You're always going to have to look at race because you say race matters to give us the necessary diversity.


COATES: So, I guess it comes down to just how long things like affirmative action have to exist before we have reached equity and education. I mean, was it the conceptual 25 more years referenced in the 2003 decision and Grutter versus Bollinger, it's one of the last instances the Supreme Court had to grapple with this issue in full.

Or is it indefinitely as the justice seems to fear today, or maybe it simply as long as it takes for race not to be a factor in accessing wealth or accessing resources or housing inequality or economic inequality or opportunities in general. Or for race not to be a part of the effects of historical inequality and waiting for that to resolve.


Maybe it takes that long and maybe then the day after that, well race can be irrelevant.

Joining us now is CNN legal analyst, CNN legal analyst and Supreme Court biographer Joan Biskupic, Seung Min Kim is also back with us and CNN political commentator Ashley Allison is also with us now.

I mean, you think about where this is and that issue of the deadline. We've heard this argument in part before about the idea of America being more race neutral because of election of a black president, for example. Ideas surrounding us being colorblind, and the courts have really been teeing this up for quite some time. Especially the chief justice, right?

JOAN BISKUPIC, CNN LEGAL ANALYST & SUPREME COURT BIOGRAPHER: That's right. You know, it was the chief who in a voting rights case said, things have changed in the south. We no longer need the remedies, certain remedies of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. And he was incredibly animated today during this five-hour hearing. A very tense, a very fast paced too.

And the chief who's also operating as a bit of a traffic cop among all his colleagues was really dominating at part, including that clip you just played, Laura, but also because this is an area where he really has controlled. You know, a lot of people remember from June when he lost control of the decision that fully overturned Roe v. Wade, and there were a lot of stories saying, he's lost control of the court.

No. I've always felt that, you know, he, he lost control in a very defining case involving Roe. Yes, definitely. But when it comes to race and so many more issues, John Roberts is driving this car -- this court, very hard and to the right. And his idea --


COATES: And the destination is to end Roe -- is to end affirmative action?

BISKUPIC: Yes, yes, yes. Because think of what has already happened on the Voting Rights Act. Think of what he did in 2007 also on school integration plans that was in Seattle and the Louisville cases where not only was he with the majority, did you say that these integration plans to counteract, you know, segregated, housing patterns. You know, the lingering effect of segregation that those housing plans couldn't -- those school integration plans couldn't be taken into effect. But that's when he said the way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race. And he's also referred to this sorted business divvying us up by race. So, he sees it only as a negative.

COATES: And he's been very reductive in that notion, right? The idea, here's how you stop.


COATES: But think about race. Is that realistic?

ASHLEY ALLISON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No. And I think your point around the Shelby case where he started to lay the foundation of making race an issue. In 2013, the Shelby court case Holder v. Shelby, or Shelby v. Holder --


BISKUPIC: Shelby County versus Holder.

ALLISON: Yes. Was decided. Look where we are in voting rights right now. Look what's happening in Arizona around ballot boxes. When you make decisions like that and eliminate race section five, section two of the Voting Rights Act and say discrimination is not playing an integral part in our system. You have a constant erosion of protecting people's rights, which we are seeing in voting. Same, I think will happen with this case.

Look, I was in college when Grutter was argued. It was like how I cut my organizing teeth. It was the first protest I actually organized as a person. We went to the sixth circuit. I knew then I was a college student at Ohio State that a affirmative action was appropriate. It was benefiting white women just as much as it was benefiting students of color just as much as I know the whole basis of why we had to end segregation was because of race.

It like the concept that they say, we don't need it because we ended segregation because of race. No, we need it because we still know racism and prejudice and injustice and discrimination exists in our country.

COATES: And yet, thinking about that, I wonder how it's going to play politically. Because a lot of what was said, and they weren't talking about the current events and their arguments say in the same respect, but the idea of being anti-woke, the idea of wanting to ensure that the government stays out of our schools. The idea of thinking about this is no longer necessary.

This does play politically, and I wonder how these arguments are ultimately a decision to overturn it might play on a campaign trail?

MIN KIM: Well, it hasn't. I mean, this specific issue obviously hasn't been the hot topic. It has been legally, but it, I -- what it says to me also is just how, you know, we saw the overturning of the Roe versus Wade decision as kind of this systematic working by the conservative movement, by conservative politicians, by conservative, legal, poli -- or conservative lawyers as this big decades long project to overturn Roe versus Wade.

And it's similar way with affirmative action too. It is an issue that animates the right cultural issues, animates this conservative legal world as well. And to take down a decision that has been in place since 1978, I think would be another major victory for the legal movement and a validation of what they have done in the courts and in the Senate to put these conservative legal experts in place.


COATES: And yet, the question of course will come down to whether or not undermine the credibility further of the court. There's more to say about this issue.

And Alisyn, you know, when you think about where we are, I mean, just think of the conversations that are happening across this nation tonight is what, the day before early decision for many students across this country. And it's not going to impact those students, but the idea of college admissions, top of mind, year in and year out in perpetuity.

CAMEROTA: We know it well at my house. We are in the throes of it right now. There's no one getting any sleep at my house. But I loved what, I mean, I really appreciated how you spelled it out, Laura, because it was supposed to level the playing field and there was a hope that it would level the playing field in 20 or 25 years, but that seems to have been a very optimistic hope.


CAMEROTA: But it's complicated and I really appreciated how your panel discussed it.

All right. Meanwhile, ever wonder how much your coworkers make? Well, New York City is about to let you know. We'll tell you what's changing next. [22:50:00]


CAMEROTA: So, Laura, you and I have talked before about this very delicate topic, how much the people around us are paid, and of course it's a hot question in a lot of workplaces. Should you know your coworker's salaries?

COATES: Well, you know, now New York City, as you know, is upping the ante. Starting tomorrow most employers in New York are going to be required, required by law to give salary ranges to people that are applying for jobs.

And I know that you think that the transparency is key. You've got to be able to have it. I think it bodes well for other people, but I wonder if it causes more tension in the workplace and anything else.

CAMEROTA: Both. It is super helpful if you are negotiating your salary or asking for a raise. And it also can really piss people off.

COATES: Yes, I think the latter is probably infinitely true.

CAMEROTA: Yes. So, it's both.

COATES: Whatever out there. Yes, it's probably both. But you know what? Let's, while we plug that for a moment, put in a little pin in it. We're not going to skip Halloween, are we?

CAMEROTA: We're not.

COATES: It's nice Halloween. We're going to tell you which dates report the most hauntings after this. It might coincide with who reports our salaries.


COATES: We'll talk about it.

CAMEROTA: We'll find a tie.

COATES: Yes. There we go.

CAMEROTA: Fantastic.



COATES: Happy Halloween, everyone. You got a few hours left and Americans are putting on their costumes or leaving out candy and getting into the Halloween spirit. And while we're here, sadly not in costume, I will add, Alisyn maybe not --


CAMEROTA: I mean, we're dressed as anchor. Go ahead.

COATES: Yes, we are dressed as people on TV. It's wonderful. He wants to tell you -- got to tell you about which dates are reporting, get this, the most hauntings.

CAMEROTA: Right. So, there are haunted states, and thanks to our friends at Axios and the Shadowlands web site, we know the most haunted states. It turns out Wyoming is number one, the most haunted state, meaning it has the most quote, "unexplained noises and screams." OK. Who's doing all the screaming in Wyoming? Vermont is number two, and South Dakota is number three.

COATES: You know, that shocks me because you think about maybe open spaces, there's an echo chamber happening, I don't know. But also, where I'm from, by the way, is Minnesota and we ranked number 36. So.

CAMEROTA: Here's something curious.

COATES: We're not bragging.

CAMEROTA: New York where I am, we're far down on the haunted list. We're at number 43, which is weird because I hear a lot of unexplained screams around here.

COATES: I do too. Coming from our building, coming from other places, actually in D.C.


COATES: I felt we might hear a lot more screams for whatever reason in eight days and they'll -- but they'll be explained. They'll be explained noise.

CAMEROTA: Yes. So that's different.

COATES: That's the one way or the other.

CAMEROTA: That's a little different.

COATES: Won't wait.

CAMEROTA: OK. Tell us what you think. Have you ever witnessed a haunting? What's the spookiest place you've ever been? You can tweet us at Alisyn Camerota or the Laura Coates, and we'll tell you what everyone is saying later in the program.