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War of Words Escalates With Midterms Just Days Away; CNN Harry Enten Discusses Ohio Senate Race; Will Gas Prices Determine Who Wins In The Midterms? FCC Commissioner Calls For Ban On TikTok In U.S. Aired 11p-12a ET
Aired November 02, 2022 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LAURA COATES, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: We are now less than a week from the midterm election that will set the stage, as you know, for 2024 and the war of where it is escalating with control of Congress on the line.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: And already, nearly 28 million voters have cast their ballots. The early numbers are on pace to outdo even 2018's massive midterm turnout. Okay, so Laura, I think this is a good opportunity for some dueling panels --
COATES: It is.
CAMEROTA: -- where we can talk about the notable moments on the campaign trail today.
COATES: How much time do we have?
CAMEROTA: Let's do four minutes --
CAMEROTA: -- on the clock.
COATES: I'm writing it down.
CAMEROTA: I'll start. Clock, please. Okay. Let's bring in Georgia's Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan, CNN political analyst Astead Herndon, and journalist Mara S. Campo. Great to have you, guys.
Okay, so, somehow, Herschel Walker and Barack Obama are now beefing instead of -- Barack Obama is not running for anything, but still, it started, as you know, lieutenant governor, on Friday, when Barack Obama was in Georgia and he said this about Herschel Walker.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There's very little evidence that he has taken any interest, bothered to learn anything about or displayed any kind of inclination towards public service or volunteer work or helping people in any way. He's a celebrity who wants to be a politician. And we've seen how that goes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Okay, so then, for the last couple of days, Herschel Walker has felt the need to answer that. So, yesterday, he basically said, why doesn't Barack Obama go back to where he's from? Here's that moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HERSCHEL WALKER, GEORGIA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: Why don't he go back to where he's from and give back his million-dollar mansion. Where he has been all this time while people are dying on the streets? Where has he been? Where has he been all this time while these gas prices are going up? Where has he been all this time as people going to our school system and (INAUDIBLE) calling all parents domestic terrorists? Do you believe that?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: So, I mean, Barack Obama has been running for office. That's part of where he has been all this time. But also, Herschel Walker, according to local news from Texas, lived in a gated community for 10 years in an almost three million-dollar home.
MARA S. CAMPO, JOURNALIST: Yeah. It's kind of this pointless fight because, as you noted, Alisyn, Barack Obama is not running for office right now. So, why is he wasting time at these rallies criticizing Barack Obama when there are other things he could talk about when he is actually running for office right now?
And then at another point, he said, well, I'll put my resume against Barack Obama's, and I thought, oh, bless his heart. You know, first Black president. Nobody wants to vote against that.
CAMEROTA: First Black president versus fake deputy sheriff. Is that the resume? I assume he means the Heisman trophy winner.
CAMPO: Yes. But the issue is, when we're talking about Obama's criticism, and we've heard a lot of these criticisms from the very beginning, you know, people criticize his intelligence and whether or not he's prepared for office now, and these allegations and saying he's a hypocrite with his stance on abortion, but they don't seem to be working, because when you look at the poll numbers, they're barely moving, even after allegations come out suggesting that he is perhaps paid for these abortions.
So, the question is, why aren't these things working and what argument at this point will work?
CAMEROTA: What's the answer, lieutenant governor?
LT. GOV. GEOFF DUNCAN (R-GA): Well, I think this is entertaining to watch. I don't think it's changing anybody's mind. I think the real news story here is that Joe Biden is not there campaigning for Raphael Warnock and Donald Trump is not there campaigning for Herschel Walker. I think that is the real story. This is a proxy on Joe Biden in Georgia right now.
I think -- you are watching Herschel Walker climb up the polls not because he is doing any better, not because he is answering the questions or having answers to the allegations that are against him, it's because Joe Biden continues to be tied to the economy, and that is what Georgians are thinking about.
ASTEAD HERNDON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think that is a great point. I think, to go back to this, why is -- why is Herschel Walker making that argument against Barack Obama when he's clearly not in the race? He knows that drives energy among the base.
He knows that if Donald Trump isn't going to come down there, a way that he can reach to Trump base, a way that can drive small dollar money is to go after one of the party's biggest villains and Barack Obama.
He is doing this, too, because he is picking that fight intentionally. He thinks that drives republican voters to his side.
And when we look at poll numbers, yes, those scandals have not hurt him and it has been Republicans coming home, to the lieutenant governor's point, to the Republican candidate that really improved his standing.
CAMEROTA: In our final 15 seconds, lieutenant governor, you think, I think it's fair to say, that Herschel Walker is doing better than he deserves to be?
DUNCAN: It certainly is surprising. I think the catalyst moment was that debate. Normally, I say debates don't matter. But that debate matter. Raphael Warnock did terrible and Herschel Walker surely exceeded expectations.
CAMEROTA: Right on time. Did you see that, Laura? Nailed it.
COATES: You really did. It was almost an episode of the show melted. I love it. What will the cake recipe we make over here? We will take right now. Give me the clock. Give me the four minutes.
I want to bring in CNN political commentators Karen Finney and Charlie Dent, and former Obama White House senior director Nayyera Haq. Listen, I had a chance to talk to Senator Raphael Warnock today about his decision and views of one Herschel Walker. Listen to what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RAPHAEL WARNOCK (D-GA) (voice-over): My opponent, on the other hand, cannot bother himself to be truthful with us about the most basic facts of his life. Basic facts.
He claims he was in law enforcement, clearly wasn't. And claimed that he worked for the FBI, he clearly didn't. Claimed that he was valedictorian of his class, he wasn't. Claimed he graduated from the University of Georgia, he didn't. Claimed to have started a business that does not even exist.
Herschel Walker has a long history of imagining himself in certain jobs, and now I think he wants the rest of us to imagine that he has what it takes to be a United States senator.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: Well, imagine that, panel. What do you think about the idea -- I mean, the polls in Georgia are still deadlock, it seems.
NAYYERA HAQ, FORMER OBAMA WHITE HOUSE SENIOR DIRECTOR: This is beyond the imagination actually of Mitch McConnell even a few week ago when he said that he was concerned that they would not gain the Senate because of lackluster candidates, wink, wink, talking about Herschel Walker. But the challenge we are seeing is that the fact the lies actually don't really seem to matter for a large number of voters.
One of the things that Reverend Warnock, Senator Warnock did not mention was abortion. The fact that Herschel Walker has been accused of handing out abortion like candy, and he's a hypocrite in that regard because he is supporting policies that he himself would not actually want to see implemented.
COATES: Why does that not matter to voters?
CHARLIE DENT, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, FORMER PENNSYLVANIA REPRESENTATIVE: Look, I used to say, once upon a time and not so long ago, candidates used to matter. I would argue that they still matter but a hell of a lot less because we've become so polarized, so tribalized, it's red team, blue team.
That's what people are looking at. They're willing to overlook some seriously flawed candidates like Herschel Walker and others, and it may not matter at the end of the day. I mean, look, his numbers were kind of flat after the first abortion allegation. The second one, they went up a little bit. There is the third one, you know, that might go even higher.
KAREN FINNEY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I will tell you, it's interesting that Reverend Warnock was talking about trust, because President Obama also talked about trust, and that is a reminder to voters that if you have a candidate who, A, you can't trust to tell you the truth, B, as President Obama said, how do you know that he is going to be looking out for you when he is more loyal to trump than maybe he is to you?
That I think is meant to put a little bit of a wedge in there with voters to just say, can you trust this guy, when the chips are down, that he is going to do what is good for you or what is good for the ideology in the party?
DENT: Warnock, he is playing to those swing voters, the handful of them that are left. He wants to get that Kemp-Warnock voter. That Republican or independent -- that Republican or independent --
DENT: There may be enough. There are some Republican voters who will say, I can't go there, I can't go there, and they're going to holding those and will vote for the Democrat.
CAMPO: Voters aren't necessarily what you traditionally thought of them to be. They are often women of color who have children, of a younger generation. That is not who Herschel Walker is speaking to when he makes these comments about Barack Obama.
CAMPO: He is not speaking to a younger generation, millennials. He is not speaking to Black voters. He is speaking to a hardened set of white voters that are very pro-Trump, who are happy to see a comparison between Herschel Walker and Barack Obama as equals, simply because they're Black.
FINNEY: I would also say, having worked in Georgia in 2018, I think there is a little bit of mythology in a republican talking point. The hope is that if they vote for Kemp, they will vote for Raphael Warnock. I think the truth is they just won't vote in the Senate race. Actually, that ends up probably favoring the Democrats.
COATES: We'll see who's right. We only have about six days to go. But you know what? I'm fully confident. Alisyn, I'm going to hand it back because I feel like my panel just did the thing.
CAMEROTA: Wow! Wow, you also just nailed it. I have to hand it to you, Laura.
COATES: I will lean back on one elbow as I said it, and then it went ding.
CAMEROTA: Yeah, that's right. The body language and the timing. I do have to hand it, too. That was excellent.
COATES: Okay, fine. I've -- okay, now, I see the sarcasm is there. Fine. It doesn't mean anything longer. Go.
CAMEROTA: We want to know what you all think about what's happening on the campaign trail. You can tweet us at the @thelauracoates and @alisyncamerota, #CNNSoundOff. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CAMEROTA: We are continuing our nightly focus on some of the key races that will decide control of Congress. So, tonight, it's battleground Ohio. CNN senior data reporter Harry Enten is at the magic wall for us. So, Harry, what is the latest on the Ohio Senate race?
HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: Hey, Alisyn. So, let's take a look at the situation in Ohio in this tight Senate race. Right now, what we have is Republican J.D. Vance with a slight advantage over Tim Ryan, 47% to 45%, but that's well within the margin of error.
That being said, I'm a little skeptical that this race will end up as close as this. Why? Well, wwo reasons. First off, let's look at past polling errors in Ohio. How much better did the GOP do better than the final Ohio polls indicated? In 2020 president, the GOP candidate did seven points better. In 2018 gubernatorial race, the GOP did six points better. The same thing in 2016 president. And in 2014 governor's race, look at that, the GOP candidate did 10 points better that year.
But that's not the only reason why. Take a look at the Ohio presidential results over the last few cycles since 2008. What do we see? We see a clear trend towards the Republican candidates. So back in 2008, in 2012, Barack Obama won. But look at Donald Trump. These eight-point wins in both 2016 and 2020.
But here is the key nugget to keep in mind: If, in fact, J.D. Vance wins this Ohio Senate race, which is what I expect, the chance that Democrats win Senate control still 37%. But if Tim Ryan pulls the upset, look at this, the Democrats' chance of winning the United States Senate overall jumps all the way to 85%. So, we will just have to wait and see. Back to you, Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: Okay, Harry. Really interesting. Thank you for that.
So, let's bring in CNN senior political analyst John Avlon and Astead Herndon and Mara S. Campo are back with us. Okay, so, Fox had a town hall with Tim Ryan and J.D. Vance, not together but sort of one went first and then another one second, and they -- it was interesting.
They -- particularly, it is interesting on abortion because they said very different things, and the audience seemed to like both answers. So, let's listen to that moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. TIM RYAN (D-OH): J.D. Vance wants a national abortion ban. And he wouldn't be happy with these people going to Illinois. He wants them to have to get a passport and go to Canada. He called rape inconvenient. UNKNOWN: This is after 15 weeks, is what he has talked about.
RYAN: After 15 weeks --
UNKNOWN: So, what's your number? When you say you don't want it after --
RYAN: I think we go back to Roe v. Wade.
UNKNOWN: Which --
RYAN: Roe v. Wade was in the third term.
RYAN: In the third term of Roe -- in the third term of Roe v. Wade, you could only do it if there is some kind of medical emergency. We don't want J.D. Vance and Ted Cruz and all these guys in the doctor's office.
UNKNOWN: He said you want to ban abortion in Ohio and across this country. Is that true?
J.D. VANCE, OHIO SENATORIAL NOMINEE: Look, I'm pro-life. I am pro- life. Now, there is a federal piece of legislation moving through the Senate right now, and here's what it does. Very simply, it provides reasonable exceptions, but it also sets a minimum national standard, and I think that's a good idea. We should not, in this country, be aborting babies who can feel pain, who are fully formed. That's my view. And I'm certainly willing to support legislation that would make that a reality.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Mara, it is interesting. The crowd likes both of their answers. They were completely -- antithetical.
CAMPO: What's interesting about that is that we see that they're really going after the same voters, and that's part of the reason that we see this race so tight.
Because coming into this, there was this expectation that Republican candidate had the edge. You know, Trump won the state twice by eight points. The climate politically right now favors the Republicans. And the state already has a Democratic senator. So, the question is, would they send another Democrat to the senate?
But what we've seen happen with these two candidates is that Vance really got bruised during the primaries, had a lot of trouble raising money, and Ryan is the best candidate the Democrats could've possibly hope for. He is a moderate, he's a populist, he comes across as this blue-collar guy that everybody can relate to. He's able to raise a ton of money. And so, what we're seeing here with that Fox town hall is exactly that. They're both appealing to the same kinds of voters. CAMEROTA: What did you hear there, John?
JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: First of all, J.D. Vance said that he would back the national abortion ban. That's what he said.
AVLON: He got the applause for saying, I don't think we should be aborting babies when they can feel pain, which is basically a third trimester standard, which is what J.D. Vance was saying. J.D. Vance's applause line was about saying, we should stick with Roe v. Wade, and that's --
CAMEROTA: Tim Ryan.
AVLON: Sorry, Tim Ryan. And that speaks to the unpopularity of, I think, overturning Roe. Even in an Ohio -- that wasn't the response that the Fox hosts we're expecting from that crowd. But I think it speaks to the frustration folks feel when an activist court comes in and takes away right that had been on the books for 50 years, even in a state like Ohio. There's a commonsense balance here, and that's what they're both getting to in their own way. But back the national abortion ban is not a commonsense balance.
HERNDON: I think that's really true. It speaks to how the republican position, particularly before that Senate legislation was there, was really out of step with where the majority of kind of swing or moderate voters are. But that court's decision to put that issue back in the state legislatures for a lot of these states like Ohio with the state legislature is totally more conservative and out of step with where the median voters are.
And so, it goes back to these political structures like gerrymandering. It goes back to a court that's really not giving the voters real power on this, because the way that those maps are drawn, particularly in Ohio, means that they do not have a real say in how abortion plays out in that state. That's what Ryan is trying to hit at.
The problem for Democrats right now is I do think he's probably the best candidate they can have. J.D. Vance is probably a weaker candidate that Republicans can have, but the structural realities of Ohio are still trending in that conservative direction. And so, the best case for Democrats and the worst-case for Republicans could still end up in a republican win.
AVLON: Yeah, but let me say this. Look, Democrats have been committing malpractice by not backing Tim Ryan's race more aggressively. Right? I mean --
CAMEROTA: Why aren't they doing that? I mean, if he is the best candidate Democrats have, why are they not backing him? And before you answer that, he feels it, too. So, he is trying to turn lemons into lemonade? But he mentioned it during his town hall. So, listen to this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RYAN: I'm going to get in without any national democratic support, which is great, because I won't owe anybody anything. I feel really good about where we are. Average people are supporting us. The unions are supporting us. Working people are supporting us. That's all we need.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: That was today, not from the town hall. It's great that they're not backing me.
AVLON: Yeah. Johnson had a term for that, too, involving chicken. Look, here's the deal. His whole pitch is, I'm going to come in, I'm going to represent Ohio, I'm going to be my own man, I'm not going to vote lockstep.
And here's the added advantage of being true. He is a moderate guy. He has been running as a pro-worker candidate, anti-China. And really, his messaging is the best democrats have nationally right now when it comes to working class and middle-class voters. So, that reflects the fact that he's from Youngstown, he gets it. But I think the fact that -- why haven't Democrats back him?
AVLON: I think it's a Lucy in the football problem (ph). I think they feel like they get burned every time. You saw Harry Enten showing those polls in Ohio. You know, Ohio looks closed, and then it ends up pulling away at the last minute. So, we want to throw good money after bad.
Here's what candidate selection really matters. Even in a midterm, especially in a state like Ohio when you got a candidate like J.D. Vance, there's a lot like more Sherrod Brown than Tim Ryan, where J.D. Vance is a guy who wrote a very successful book, a venture capitalist, coming in a little bit from out of state compared to Tim Ryan's appeal.
So, I think Tim Ryan is a fundamentally strong candidate. I think Democrats committed malpractice by not backing him more aggressively. I think Barack Obama should probably go to a rally there. I think if you talk to people on the ground in Ohio and say, we need to make sure turnouts up in Cleveland, Cincinnati, you know -- why that hasn't been on the menu is beyond me.
CAMPO: We're going to see Trump doing a rally there the day before the election.
HERNDON: To that point, there's other reasons just besides win or lost the Democrats can invest in a place like Ohio. There has been such erosion for Democrats among those type of working class, particularly white voters, non-college white voters, that have made Ohio trend in that opposite direction.
And there's a lot of Democrats who make the argument that the reason to invest in these places is about building a longer-term strategy to really win those voters back. That maybe if it doesn't pay off in this election, it could pay off in future elections.
And so, by not investing here in Ohio, they made a similar decision in places like Florida, that argument for both of those candidates is that you're not just losing now, you're also going to lose -- you're also not building the infrastructure for the future.
CAMEROTA: That interesting. Friends, thank you very much. Laura, it's interesting because it does give Tim Ryan the opportunity to say, I don't even need them. I don't want them. I don't need them. As John said, I won't be in lockstep. But maybe he'd prefer the money.
COATES: I mean, one would think -- I mean, money makes the world go around. But the idea of the pipeline is so important they are thinking about the long game. But, you know, most politicians ought to be thinking about in playing.
Also, the idea -- I mean, he says he owes them nothing. There is something about the notion. It's not as if the top Democrat in the country, President Biden, has the highest in approval rating. So, maybe the 10-foot pole is not the most unwelcome notion here, but we shall see in just under a week, because winning the midterm elections may actually hinge, Alisyn, on two very important words: Gas prices.
COATES: We're going to talk about them, next.
COATES: A few days until the midterms, they're still upon us, and the question is, will the elections hinge completely on that 377 (ph) number?
Joining us now, CNN politics reporter and editor-at-large Chris Cilizza. Charlie Dent and Nayyera Haq are also back with us. First of all, I wonder, we're talking about the president today talking about democracy being on the ballot. It is a very theoretical concept albeit important. Gas they feel every single day.
CHRIS CILIZZA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER AND EDITOR-AT-LARGE: I understand why Joe Biden wanted to give the speech that he gave tonight. It has been an organizing principle of this presidency. I mean, when he ran, he ran for that reason, to protect democracy from the threat of Donald trump.
If I'm a democrat in a swing state or a swing seat, I would have preferred the president give a speech tonight about gas prices, inflation, and the economy, just because CNN poll out today, 51% of people said the economy is the most important issue affecting the vote.
COATES: Abortion is second.
CILIZZA: Abortion is second at 15. Still, that's -- I'm not trying to dismiss it, but 51, 15, I get why he did it. It is a through line of his presidency, and I think he's not wrong about the threats to democracy. I genuinely think that.
I just think that when people are talking about they go to get fill up their car, they go to get groceries, it's more -- you said theoretical. That's more practical. That's more every day. The theoretical argument, yeah, democracy, that's not great, we have to protect it, but I'm not sure people vote on that.
COATES: I hear people going off at the pump. It's always somebody is cursing (ph), right, at the pump?
CAMPO: Lady who will drive around to find 10 cents a gallon cheaper. Even if it is across the street, I will make that U-turn. Gas prices are political standing for feelings about the economy, not the fact about the economy.
Gas prices are sticky. Economists will tell you that once they hit a certain point, oil and gas companies, they realize, oh, people are willing to pay this, great, we will continue to make record profits, take those record profits, hand them to shareholders, pay out dividends, and we will not do things like increase production to make them lower or do anything to help the consumer. That's how the whole process works.
Saudi Aramco made $42 billion of profit this quarter. Exxon, $20 billion this quarter at a time of war and energy.
CILIZZA: If Joe Biden had said that, they would be (INAUDIBLE).
CAMPO: That is part of challenge of how our system works, but it just gets blamed -- blaming the president (ph).
COATES: I hear your but, go ahead.
DENT: Biden is better off talking about democracy than oil prices because he has been very demagogic on this issue. Look, demand fell during the pandemic and supplies were cut as a consequence. Demand came back up faster than supplies. That's why we're in the mess that we're in.
And talking about windfall profits taxes, that's going to further constrict supply. We did this in the 70s. It didn't work. It made the problem worse.
And frankly, many Democrats, they talk about the war in Russia having effect, it surely does, but so does the war on fossil fuel. That's not helping either. They want to phase out fossil fuels by 2030 or 2050. And so, these investors, they cannot -- they're not operating on an election cycle. If they're going to invest now, it's going to take time.
CAMPO: These investors are average voters, right? These investors are already making --
DENT: I'm talking about people who have to invest billions of dollars for production. They're not just looking at the next month. They're looking years out.
COATES: Unless you think that January 6th is not going to make an appearance in the segment on gas prices. Senator cotton actually had a pivot of the two. Listen to what he had to say about what Democrats are doing to remind you about January 6th. Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TOM COTTON (R-AR) (voice-over): You know the Democrats are always saying that never forget January 6th. Yeah, remember that on January 6th, gas was at $2.40 a gallon. It was a $2.40 a gallon because for four years, we had an administration that understood that American energy production, and specifically fossil fuels, natural gas, oil and coal, literally power our economy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: What do you think about that?
CILIZZA: So, I think that's an incredibly cynical piece of political rhetoric by Tom Cotton, saying, gas prices were low on January 6th, so everything is cool, right? But there's a New York Times poll about a month ago, close to a month ago, it said, people were asked, do you think there is an active threat to a democracy in the country? Seventy-nine percent of people said yes. They asked people, is democracy an issue that you're going to be -- protecting democracy an issue you're going to be voting on? Seven percent of people said yes.
That delta between those two is a huge problem when Joe Biden gives a speech like he gives tonight because I think people say, yeah, democracy, we do need to protect it, but it's not a voting issue. Economy, economy, economy. Fifty-one percent of people said that that's the issue that they care most about. Democracy is way down. I don't know if we have the graphic. I don't know if democracy --
COATES: Democracy wasn't on the list.
CILIZZA: -- on the list.
COATES: Democracy wasn't on the list.
CILIZZA: That doesn't mean it's not important. I want people to hear that.
CILIZZA: It doesn't mean that it's not important.
COATES: Actually, voting in elections --
CILIZZA: Voting in elections, sort of. It doesn't mean democracy isn't important. It doesn't mean that there's no real threat to democracy. There is. There are people running for office in Michigan, in Arizona, in Nevada who are in position in election, running for election offices, who deny the 2020 election. That is B-A-D, bad every single time. We should talk about it, and we should point out, but I just don't know if it changes how people are voting.
CAMPO: It's not about changing opinions at this point. One week out of an election is getting out the vote. If democracy is on the ballot, that could potentially motivate somebody who because it's raining, I wouldn't go out to vote. That's a theory of the case. Not saying I agree or not.
CAMPO: But it does make sense in a moment time to create a sense of urgency about the system that you're living in and the benefits you've had from being American.
COATES: What do you think is the idea of the economy -- It is a very big umbrella topic. It's the economy, stupid. It is a whole lot. I think about rent, I think about mortgage, I think about the idea of wages, all these things. Gas, of course, prior to that. Is that nuanced enough and specific enough to persuade the voters?
DENT: Right now, let's face it, Democrats are really running up against the issues right now. They're hurting on the economy, they're hurting on inflation, they're hurting on crime, and those issues seem to be trumping the other issues at the moment. I'm not saying abortions is not going to make an appearance. It will in some areas.
But democracy, I agree it is a big issue, but that's not what is driving most voters right now. They're feeling the pain at the pump, they see it at the grocery store, housing, they see it everywhere. This is a real issue, no way around it.
And Democrats can talk about it, but it's not making a difference. They can't -- they want to do something on inflation. Others cut tariffs. They don't want to do that because they're protectionists.
CILIZZA: The truth is, six days out, even if Joe Biden did give that speech I said he should give on the economy and inflation and gas prices, six days out, you know, the congressman mentioned earlier the very few people who are still undecided, maybe it reaches them. But I do think it's a base turnout thing.
I'm not sure that speech changes anything. I just know that if I'm a Democratic candidate sitting in a tough state, the president giving a speech about democracy and our poll saying, you know, the economy is by far the biggest issue, I would be like, dude, can we kind of scooch over here and talk about this?
CAMPO: -- tough race right now, you're actually not having Biden come into your state. Right now, you're having Barack Obama, right, who doesn't upset people. He brings swing voters out. They are crafting their messaging as well as they can, locally, because unfortunately, despite the fact that unemployment numbers and jobs are increasing, this feeling of the economy being bad is just not going away.
COATES: Well, as you say, it's also based on feelings. Alisyn, you can feel, whether the reality matches the perception or not, at the end of the day, how you feel about a candidate is going to be maybe the most persuasive motivation of all.
CAMEROTA: For sure. Do you want to have a beer with them? That's always the litmus test. But also, what we're talking about here is that, of course, we're all on our own bubbles, right, geographically, depending on where we live. And as Mara just pointed out, the people who live in a big city like New York City say, those millions of people, gas prices are not top of mind. They take public transportation, they walk, they probably can't even tell you what a gallon of gas is.
But obviously, you feel differently if you live in Washington State or somewhere else. And so, you know, it's not necessarily everybody's top issue.
COATES: It's true. But then there's the idea of if it's a vehicle and a way to get to work where the economy reflects the inability to have to make the choice between either I can afford gas or it's cheaper to stay home. I mean, just the idea of it, these are some of the really tense moments people are fighting right now. But you're right, it depends on where you are.
CAMEROTA: Meanwhile, an FCC commissioner thinks the U.S. should ban TikTok, which of course is used by millions of Americans and millions of teenagers. Our panel is going to weigh in on that, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: So here is a general rule that has nothing to do with politics. It has to do with being a decent person. If you read or see something on the internet, that has some grand theory about how some people, whether it's blacks or whites or Jews or Catholics or immigrants or gaze, that those people or the cause of all your problems, when you see or read something like that, it's safe to say that's garbage.
OBAMA: It is false. It is a poison that is dangerous, and we need to call it out as such.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: That was former President Barack Obama moments ago, excuse me, in Arizona talking about the spread of hateful divisive rhetoric on the internet. There's more to talk about with social media and the internet tonight.
There's also fears about the social media app TikTok, which is owned by a Chinese company. One of the FCC commissioners is calling on the federal government to ban TikTok. Brendan Carr says he's concerned about TikTok's handling of U.S. user data, and that the Chinese government may try to get a hold of that information.
We're back with John Avlon, Astead Herndon, and CNN correspondent Donie O'Sullivan joins us also. There's a lot to talk about actually with social media a bit, but TikTok, is he right? I mean, isn't TikTok sort of a recipe for user data disaster waiting to happen?
DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I mean, I think TikTok would say, isn't every app?
O'SULLIVAN: Obviously, there's this concern about China here, but I remember Trump talking about this back in 2020. Look, I mean, the FCC, the commissioner, the single commissioner who's the FCC chair, doesn't have that much to say.
CAMEROTA: I'm not saying that he doesn't have -- that he has the power to do it. I'm saying, is he right?
O'SULLIVAN: I mean, I think that a lot of people actually would say, maybe he's right because it's so damn addictive rather than saying, all of our data is being siphoned back to China. The administration, the government is talking to TikTok about this. the FCC commissioner is not part of those conversations.
But, I mean, I think, should there be a concern about it? Of course. But there should also be concern of the many other apps that we have on our phones.
CAMEROTA: Oh, I'm concerned. Am I being too paranoid, Astead?
HERNDON: No, I don't think you're being too paranoid. I think actually the concern is so vast, so wide, and so ingrained into our lives that you can kind of be sort of paralyzed. I am someone who doesn't have TikTok but has used TikTok, goes on TikTok, and knows that that data can be used and might very well be in that -- be in the hands of other folks.
I know that when I get on Instagram. I know that when I get on Facebook. I know that on Twitter. It is a real problem and there might be a specific problem with this app. But I think it has become so ingrained in how people get information, how people live their lives. It's going to be very hard to undo that.
AVLON: The practicalities of banning TikTok, you know, yeah, that is something that you've got to be very thoughtful about, recognize that folks are going to find ways around it. It's difficult to do. But which one of these is not like the others? TikTok because it's owned by the CCP. And that offers a major potential, not only for getting data information from American citizens, but also for influencing the algorithms in way that can communicate propaganda.
And so, that's something we need to do to be wide eyed about. There are problems about dissemination of disinformation through social media. God knows we need algorithm reform across the board. But TikTok does seem to be in a different category. That said, the impulse to ban things usually backfires.
CAMEROTA: Let's quickly talk about Twitter. Elon Musk, one of the things he's considering is charging people for blue checks. Meaning, they're verified accounts as the four of us are verified. That the issue is not I am paying eight bucks a month, although I do, it's that how we will know who's really who.
AVLON: That's the real issue here. This isn't about status with a blue check. This is about -- the original idea is, how can you verify that you're talking about real individuals as opposed to bots and trolls who distort the debate that we have right now?
Elon Musk said that one of the things he wanted to do was actually to increase transparency and make it easier to verify real accounts. Putting the stuff up for sale will presumably muddy that, and that's moving things in the wrong direction.
O'SULLIVAN: I mean, you know, in defense of Elon Musk --
O'SULLIVAN: I don't necessarily believe that he's necessarily coming from a good place, but let's give him the benefit of the doubt and let's just say he's not just trying to make money. But I think for so many people, and Alisyn, you left Twitter for a time yourself, for so many people, it's the anonymous trolls, the anonymous bots, particularly for women and people of color, that absolutely drowned out and abused people to push them off the platform.
So, I actually think that if we were to open, if Twitter was to open verification to more people, where people actually verified that and you have an option to say, you know what, I only want to hear from people on this platform that are willing to put their faces to their names, some people might be into that.
CAMEROTA: While at the same time allowing for anonymous accounts because those anonymous accounts are extremely important, particularly in societies dissonance in repressive regimes and whatnot.
HERNDON: I'm told we can see that good faith view of what Musk might be trying to do here, it's just that Musk hasn't earned that yet, right? It is just that in his own actions, in his own use of his Twitter account, it just not seemed to be someone who is trying to create an environment for clear and good information. So, it makes sense to me their explanation, but in the real life, I have a hard time believing it. CAMEROTA: Okay, in 15 seconds, John, can you just tell us what has happened in the World Series?
AVLON: A no hitter was just pitched in the World Series, first time since Don Larsen in 1956, and it was four combined pitchers. So, while our colleague Jake Tapper, you know, my condolences, his Phillies have been playing a great World Series, but big news tonight, no hitter, four pitchers, World Series Astros at the Phillies.
CAMEROTA: I could've told you all of that, Laura, as you know, but I wanted John to tell everybody.
COATES: I know you could've, I have every confidence in you, but that's a hell of a game, frankly. The idea of how long it has been. You're talking about the first pitcher, Javier? He went six scoreless innings. That is unbelievable to think about. I mean, people are paying thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars to watch the game live? They got quite a show.
CAMEROTA: I'm going to send Jake a condolence text right now. All right, it's time for --
COATES: And flowers.
CAMEROTA: Yes. It's time for all of you to sound off. We will read your tweets, next.
COATES: All right, time to sound off. Let's see what you're saying out there tonight. We got a tweet from E.T. Evans. It says, polls don't vote, people do. Get out and vote! Very true.
CAMEROTA: Absolutely. All right, this is about the interview that you did with the police dispatcher and her daughter who was a victim of an armed robbery. So, the police dispatcher and her daughter had me in tears right now, I can hear the emotion in the mom's voice. We all could. That was amazing.
COATES: That was unbelievable to think about. I still get chills about it.
COATES: And also, this one was from Carmella on morality. It says, the question is does moral excellence matter in this country anymore? Doesn't seem like it.
CAMEROTA: Well, we think it does, Carmella.
COATES: Hope it does.
CAMEROTA: Yeah. Me, too. You know where to find us, @alisyncamerota and @thelauracoates.
COATES: Everyone, thank you for watching. We are only a few days away from the midterm elections.
CAMEROTA: Our coverage continues, and we'll see you tomorrow night.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. We have just six days to until tens of millions of Americans exercise their democratic right to vote. President Biden has just issued a warning about the fate of democracy itself.
COOPER: We will get Senator Bernie Sanders's take on it.
First, the president, just before air time, he began by talking about the attack on Paul Pelosi and the alleged plot to kidnap, interrogate, and maim House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.