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Erin Burnett Outfront

Democrats Play Blame Game After VA Loss, Tight Race In NJ; Dems' Loss In Virginia Casts New Doubt On Biden Agenda; Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) Discusses About Pelosi Putting Back Paid Family Back To Bill Defying Manchin; Biden Reacts To Dems' Disappointing Election Night: "We All Have An Obligation To Accept The Legitimacy;" Eric Adams Elected Mayor Of NYC, Vows To "Get Stuff Done;" Armorer's Attorney Suggests Live Round Was Placed On Set As Sabotage. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired November 03, 2021 - 19:00   ET


RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Those are all people the Committee is interested in hearing from and they are still attempting to do so, Wolf.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: All right. Ryan, we'll stay on top of it together with you. Thank you very, very much.

And to our viewers, thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next the blame game. Democrats trying to make sense of Tuesday's election results now pointing the finger at each other. The White House warns the party needs to shift its messaging or risk a lot more losses.

Plus, defying Joe Manchin, Speaker Nancy Pelosi putting paid family leave back into Biden's massive spending bill, the price tag going up despite Joe Biden saying he's still against it. So where does this leave Biden's agenda?

And was it sabotage? The attorney for the armorer on the set of Alec Baldwin's film is making a shocking new allegation and this is shocking about that deadly shooting. Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, fingerpointing after a brutal blow to Democrats. The party now turning on itself after Republican Glenn Youngkin pulled off an upset in Virginia. And in New Jersey, the race for governor still too close to call. Democrat Phil Murphy currently leading by about 19,000 votes when polls showed him with an easy possible double digit win. It's almost 24 hours after polls closed and still not even calling it.

The President along with others in his party, blaming it on Biden's own stalled agenda.


know that people want us to get things done. They want us to get things done.

SEN. DICK DURBIN (D-IL): There ought to be a clear message to my party and all those who support it to get the job done.

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT): Failure to deliver. Congress has to deliver.

SEN. TIM KAINE (D-VA): Our inability to come together and get a result ...


BURNETT: Failure to deliver what? I mean Sen. Mark Warner was unafraid to touch what he sees is the third rail, calling out the left wing of his party.


SEN. MARK WARNER (D-VA): You can't win in Virginia if you only appeal to very liberal voters.


BURNETT: Well, progressives, the very liberal, pushing back hard. Here's the Chair of the Progressive Caucus, Pramila Jayapal.


REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): I think that there is no way that you can say that a 12-point swing in a state is due to Congress not passing a bill.


BURNETT: Well, that 12-point swing has sent shockwaves across the country and through the Democratic Party and let Democrats, once again, doing what they've been doing best lately, fighting each other.

It seems the only thing that they agree on right now is the tired trope of Trump. For months, McAuliffe made the Virginia race about Trump, but Youngkin actually never appeared with the former president. Instead, he kept focusing on issues that voters ended up caring the most about like education.


GLENN YOUNGKIN, (R) VIRGINIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: We're going to go to work on day one to re-establish expectations of excellence in our schools. We're going to raise teacher salaries.


BURNETT: Raise teacher salaries. And that's not all, Youngkin promised to pass the largest ever education budget for the State of Virginia, rebuild crumbling schools, keep schools open five days a week, to parents who've been homeschooling for 18 months. The list went on and on. But on the other side, they talked about education, not about budgets, not about pay raises, they talked about critical race theory.


TERRY MCAULIFFE, (D) VIRGINIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: What's Glenn Youngkin's education plan? He wants to ban critical race theory.


BURNETT: And it's true, Youngkin did talk about banning critical race theory in the final weeks of his campaign, but it's not even taught in the state. And what ended up mattering to voters where the dollars and cents, keep schools open, pay teachers, increase budgets.

If you look at the exit polls, the economy number one, education number two, followed by taxes in the pandemic. And by the way Youngkin promised to double the standard deduction in Virginia. He had specifics on taxes too. The big question now is how will the results in Virginia and the soon to come once in New Jersey play out among Democrats.

Jeremy Diamond is OUTFRONT live outside the White House. And Jeremy, how concerned is the President and the White House about what happened last night? I mean, this was a big blow.

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, no doubt about it. And listen, Erin, here at the White House and in Democratic circles, there's been a lot of soul-searching today and even some hand wringing among those Democrats and including some White House advisors who see warning signs here for the midterms.

But we didn't necessarily hear any of that soul searching from the President himself. Instead, what we heard from the President, he did not take responsibility for McAuliffe's loss in Virginia. But what he did say was that maybe, just maybe passing his agenda before that election could have made a difference, but he did not sound sure about it.

What he did sound sure about is what needs to be done going forward, between now and the midterms next year. The President talking about the need for action, the need for results, making clear that passing his agenda is important and ultimately saying that he believes that changing things, like the economy, like COVID and passing these two items will make a difference when it comes to the midterms next year.

And listen, that sentiment has been reflected by Biden advisors who I've spoken with today.


What's also been reflected is the fact that they believe that this strategy ultimately of running against Donald Trump was not the right one saying the Democrats need to be running, showing what they are for beyond just running against Donald Trump. Certainly that will be easier once and if Democrats can pass these two bills going through Congress right now, but a new sense of urgency definitely being felt here at the White House, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thanks very much, Jeremy.

Dana Bash is our Chief Political Correspondent and, of course, Co- Anchor of STATE OF THE UNION. Also with me, David Axelrod, former Senior Adviser to President Obama.

So David, Youngkin won some key groups here. And when I say key groups, I mean key, independents, suburbs. When you look at this, what is the most important takeaway for Democrats?

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, there are a couple. That's certainly one of them. The Democratic strength has been built up over the Trump years by making big inroads into the suburbs and among independent voters. Biden carried them by like 18 points in 2020 in Virginia. So the fact that Democrats lost ground in the suburbs is deeply concerning, should be to Democrats.

There also was a, you know, Trump was absent by Youngkin's invitation and yet the rural vote exploded in Virginia. And I don't know whether that's because there were, under the surface, there were communications from Trump to his supporters or whether it was reaction to Biden. But the Democratic Party's problems with rural voters in Virginia were more profound even than they were in the past. So these are warning signs for the party.

And we should point out, because I know a lot of commentary has been given about the quality of the McAuliffe campaign and so on. I mean, look at New Jersey, look at races on Long Island where county offices were lost. Look at the vote around the country. This was not just about Virginia.


AXELROD: This was a national message.

BURNETT: No. And Dana, David is making a lot of points here, but the point he made about Trump, Trump wasn't present. Of course, he tries to take credit for the win, but Youngkin did not run as Trump and he did way better than Trump in a lot of key things. So let me just break it down a little bit, as you both know the numbers.

Youngkin wins the suburbs, which Trump lost. Even among Trump's base, as David points out, Youngkin did better. So Trump won rural Virginia with 52 percent of the vote, Youngkin did 11 points better without Trump ever appearing with him at a rally. Trump wins non-college whites with 62 percent, Youngkin does 14 points better.

I mean, Dana, this is pretty stunning, because he was running in a sense very much as a moderate in many ways.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: In the general election and particularly in the last month or so when he got the momentum, he was running straight into the suburbs, straight into the arms of voters who were desperate for somebody to say we understand your frustration with education, with taxes, with other issues that are the more bread and butter issues.

But that is what is so remarkable about the Youngkin campaign, how unremarkable it is, if you look at the history of traditional Republican campaigns, if you take Trump out of this equation.


BASH: Because in the primary, he had to win a Republican primary and he did it by running to the right. In this day and age run into the right meant running towards Donald Trump and talking about election integrity and things like that. But then as soon as he won the primary, he ran to the middle.

And we haven't seen that in a real successful way, in large part in a blue state or a purple state, in large part because the former president pulls the candidate down or pulls the candidate back to either conspiracy theory questions or other kind of Trumpisms. And the former president didn't do that this time.

So the question about how this playbook is going to be used in the future for other candidates depends on how the candidate is and this was a candidate who was dancing on the head of a pin and did so like Fred Astaire. But it also depends on the former president staying out.

BURNETT: So David, there is all this blame going on inside the Democratic Party right now. So I mentioned the Democratic Sen. Mark Warner, obviously, of Virginia and what he said. Let me play more of it.


WARNER: Only in Washington that people think that it is a smart strategy to take a once in a generation investment infrastructure and prevent your president from signing that bill into law. You can't win in Virginia if you only appeal to very liberal voters.


So I hope we will take the lessons from Virginia that we need to govern in a pragmatic way.


BURNETT: David, you point out that it wasn't just Virginia and it wasn't. You point out Long Island. In Buffalo, New York moderate Mayor declares victory in a write in campaign over the Democratic socialist who was actually on the ballot and yet you have progressives pushing back today, Speaker Pelosi adding more into the bill when Manchin had already said it was above a price tag he's willing to do. It doesn't seem that anybody, at least in the immediate aftermath here is changing anything about what they're doing. AXELROD: Well, let me separate out these issues. Yes, you're right

about Buffalo, also in Seattle, in Minneapolis, you saw candidates getting elected. And certainly in New York City, who took a more moderate position on policing, which is another element of this and that's important to note.

In terms of what's going on in the Congress, I don't know how to read what the Speaker is doing here. And one of the theories would be that this bill may not advance in the Senate, the reconciliation bill but she wants to get both bills passed so the President can sign the infrastructure bill. And if it's going to go down anyway, maybe she's adding the things that should be in there.

BURNETT: Pack it in with whatever. Yes.


BURNETT: I guess, strategically it makes sense. You get one to pass and - yes, go ahead, Dana.

BASH: No, I just want to take a whack at that also. I mean, paid family leave, you both know this, is not a 'progressive issue' ...


BASH: ... when you look at the polling. It is wildly popular. So the Speaker looked at maybe some of the lessons from last night, the kitchen table issues, I can't think of more of a kitchen table issue than a woman or man having a baby and wanting a way to stay home for a little while. I agree with David, it's going to be very difficult to pass in this form in the United States Senate.

But if it is in the House bill, it gives moderate sort of frontline Democrats who are in tough reelection races the ability to say I voted for paid family leave.


BURNETT: Right. Which, of course, yes, I totally get that. I mean, it's interesting, a lot of these small businesses we're talking about got their taxes cut in half by Trump, still not providing paid family leave and going back to the taxpayers to get that, so there's a whole another layer to this.

BASH: Yes.

BURNETT: David, what do you think, though, about Glenn Youngkin himself? Ross Douthat, the Conservative Columnist of The New York Times tweeted, "I'll just say Glenn Youngkin should seriously consider running for president for '24." Really sophisticated guy, been around Washington his whole career, run one of the most prestigious private equity firms in the world, political neophyte in some senses, comes in like this. And as Dana says, like Fred Astaire, dances on the head of a pin. It can't just be locked, David.

AXELROD: No, look, he ran a very skillful campaign. I think that ought to get credit for that. I'm always a little leery. Now I know people will say I worked for a guy who got elected to the Senate and people were touting for President right away.

But I think you probably need to see how he dances once he's in the governor's office, because the dancing may become a little more challenging for him. But look, I think he is a very impressive candidate. There are these national headwinds that helped him along and there's no question about it. But they ran a very good campaign and campaigns matter.

BURNETT: Yes. All right. Thank you both very much.

And next, sources telling CNN the Democrats could vote on Biden's spending bill as soon as this week, but as you just heard, just getting the vote through doesn't actually mean the President has the support to actually get it to law. The latest on where things stand next.

Plus, alarming new details about the terrifying threats Georgia's top election official was receiving just hours after the polls closed in 2020. Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is OUTFRONT.

And a pivotal moment in America's efforts to end the pandemic, young kids across the United States now getting vaccinated.



BURNETT: New tonight, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi signaling she could bring a vote on one of Biden's spending bills to the floor for a vote as soon as tomorrow. And in a major strategic shift, Pelosi announcing four weeks of family paid leave is going back into the President's bigger spending bill, which, oh deja vu, after she indicated family leave is going back in the bill, Sen. Joe Manchin had to come out and say wait a minute, reminder that means I won't vote for it.


SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): Well, that's a challenge, very much of a challenge and they know how I feel about that.


BURNETT: Well, they do know how he feels about that. OUTFRONT now Congressman Gerry Connolly of Virginia. Congressman, I really appreciate your time, so much to talk to you about.


BURNETT: But first let's just start with this. I use the word deja vu, but it is almost like Groundhog's Day. All of a sudden the bills might come for a vote, but we don't even know what's in one of them. She says family goes back in, Manchin goes hold on, no. I said no. Does this just frustrate you? CONNOLLY: Very much and you would think by now we could have some

kind of conceptual agreement about what should be in the bill. And I think this is Speaker Pelosi basically saying we can't just allow one or two members of the Senate to determine the content of this transformative and very consequential bill and this is a priority for us. As you pointed out earlier, polls stratospherically and it belongs in the bill and she's putting it in the bill.

BURNETT: Okay. But he said he's not going to vote for it, so I mean, I guess let's just get from a purely tactical and strategic point of view. I don't know if you heard but David Axelrod just said, but is it possible that what she's doing is throwing your hands up in the air and saying, fine, we'll just pass it. We know you won't pass it. We know it won't become law. But we'll put our stamp on we voted for this. Is that possibly where she is?

CONNOLLY: I doubt it. I know Nancy Pelosi very well. She's very committed to this bill and what it stands for. And I don't think she sees it as a political pawn. I think she may be playing gambit here, that on balance Joe Manchin you've agreed to everything else in the bill, is this one provision so critical for you that you're willing to actually vote against everything else. And oh, by the way, you can't be the only persona in this drama who gets to act. We do too.


BURNETT: So the infrastructure bill, obviously, passed in the Senate in a very big bipartisan vote, 19 Republicans joined almost three months ago to pass that. And since then it has not become law because of progressives in the House. I mean, that's just the reality of it. They have said they wanted the other bill to come with it. This has been, I mean, they want it, but they want it their way.

So three months have gone by, it is not law. It is not law because of progressives in your party. Virginia's two Democratic senators are pointing specifically to that failure about the primary bipartisan infrastructure bill as a huge reason why McAuliffe lost last night. Obviously, you're sitting talking to me from Fairfax, Virginia. Do you agree?

CONNOLLY: In part, I think we shouldn't overstate it. Did it help to not pass a bill and to have stories about this function? No, it did not. Did it hurt? Yes, it did. Was it dispositive? Was that the really determining element that put this election one way or the other? No.

Voters don't think that way. There may be a handful who work in Capitol Hill who do, but the overwhelming majority of Virginia voters have lots of other things in their mind. They may, however, have the perception and that's where this comes into play that there's dysfunction and disorganization and chaos in Washington when we need things to get done.

And I think that narrative certainly set in. It was a part, a modest part contributing to the outcome last night.

BURNETT: Do you really believe that Build Back Better is going to pass and become law in some form? Do you still fully feel confident in that at this point?

CONNOLLY: I do. I think it reflects Democratic priorities. I think, I hope, after the results last night, a lot of people's thinking gets better clarified about what's at stake and what can happen if you continue this dysfunction. I wish we had done that a week or two ago, but better late than never.

BURNETT: Yes. It doesn't make you wonder though when you look at Virginia and you look at, I mean, New Jersey had poles with Murphy up at double digits. He's going to probably eke it out. Buffalo, you had a right in moderate win over a Democratic socialist on the ticket. Long Island, Minneapolis, Washington State, I mean, you're seeing a surge in moderation. Does it make you question some of these priorities that progressives have that, maybe their progressive priorities, but they may not be the priorities of a plurality of the voting American public?

CONNOLLY: In some cases, yes, but in some cases, no. I think, for example, if you look at the various elements of the Build Back Better bill, they are wildly popular. They're not just embraced by progressives. They're embraced by a broad slice of the American people and they poll very well.

So I think part of it is messaging, part of it maybe once a while too narrow of focus or presented as such. For example, you cited Minneapolis, clearly the issue there and by the way in Buffalo was law enforcement. Do we really want to dismantle our police department or significantly cut back on its funding when we're seeing a surge in crime in our communities and the answer overwhelmingly is no, including I might add in very effective communities.

Polling was done in Minneapolis right after George Floyd. The black community didn't want to defund the police. They want a police department that doesn't engage in brutality and violence against them, but they want a police department that's responsive to their needs when they have trouble or crime.

BURNETT: All right. Well, Congressman, I really appreciate your time and your thoughts. Obviously, a lot to think about right now. Thanks so much.

CONNOLLY: Thanks, Erin. Thank you.

BURNETT: All right. And next, chilling new details about the threats Georgia's top election official was receiving even before all the votes are counted in 2020. Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is my guest next.

Plus, New York's Mayor-elect Eric Adams. How did he go from trolling the subways to winning yesterday's race for mayor in a landslide. It is a remarkable story you'll hear in full tonight.


[19:28:06] BURNETT: New tonight, President Biden urging Americans to trust the

results of last night's elections, even though his party lost the crucial governor's race in Virginia.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Look, yesterday reminded me of the one of the sacred rights we have is to be able to broadcast our votes. And remember that we all have an obligation to accept the legitimacy of these elections.


BURNETT: We all have an obligation to accept the legitimacy of these elections. Pretty basic thing, but something, of course, that his predecessor Donald Trump has refused to ever say and he and his allies have been repeatedly, of course, pushed the big lie that the 2020 presidential election was stolen and rigged and their bid to overturn it.

OUTFRONT now one of the Republicans who fought back against Team Trump's efforts to push the big lie, the Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. He is the Author of the new book Integrity Counts. And I really appreciate your time, Secretary Raffensperger.

I read your whole book last night and I really enjoyed a lot of what you had to say, your personal commentary and also, of course, the timeline of exactly what's happened here. I want to start off though with what Joe Biden said today. We all have the obligation to accept the integrity of the election.

The election was fair. I mean, it's such a basic thing to say and yet it must have given you a great sigh of relief to hear him come out and say it.

BRAD RAFFENSPERGER, (R) GEORGIA SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, Erin, thank you. And that's why I wrote the book Integrity Counts, because I want to set the record straight. I go through a point by point very detailed analysis. I'm good with numbers. I'm an engineer and so I show how President Trump came up short.

But also the key points that maybe help people understand what exactly happened is 28,000 people skipped the presidential ballot, did not vote for the president at all, either of the candidates and they just skipped it. And then obviously, Sen. David Perdue, he got 20,000 more votes in metropolitan Atlanta than President Trump did.


And so when you see that kind of tail off, that helps explain it but we also, I run through my book, every single allegation was made and I include my letter to Congress, 10-page letter, responded and rebutting every single allegation.

BURNETT: And you did. And, you know, in your book, we learn the threats you have faced that started against you and your family. One day after polls closed, votes are still being counted. Your wife Tricia gets a text that says, hi, Patricia, this is getting really ugly. Do Brad a favor and tell him to step down immediately.

A week later, you write that she received the first sexualized death threat. I mean, horrific. You write about intruders breaking into the home of one of your family members. I mean, it -- it's awful. Will things ever go back to normal for you?

I mean, the president -- the former president, by the way, is out a few weeks ago still maligning you by name. Will things ever go back to normal for you?

RAFFENSPERGER: Well, at all times, I have always tried to be respectful in all my conversations, recognizing the positional authority that all people have. And people really when they hold high office, they really should have a higher standard of behavior because it really is very important. We set the standard, whatever office we hold and so I have tried to be very respectful of that.

Will we get it back? Well, we have been facing this -- Stacey Abrams talked about voter suppression. President Trump talked about voter fraud. Both of those destabilized society.

Obviously, President Trump took a whole higher level of that election disinformation but we need to get back to basics and need to have people understand that elections are safe and secure in Georgia and at the end of the day, we had a fair and honest election and I walk that line of integrity to make sure we would, and I stood the gap and I was not going to get budged off the truth. The truth was President Trump did come up short.

BURNETT: So I want ask you about this because in the book, you do include the full transcript of your now-infamous call with then- President Trump where he asked you to find just enough votes to flip the state of Georgia to his win column.

Okay. Now, there is six people on the call besides Trump and yourself. Yet, as I read this transcript in your book, the first-ten pages are Trump and a monologue. You go back and listen to it, it's 20 minutes. Talk about you knowing numbers. 20 minutes, he is going on this number here, this number here, 20 minutes straight, basically, without taking a breath.

Here is a quick taste of it for viewers.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: You will find at least a couple of hundred thousand of forged signatures of people. You don't need much of a number because the number that, in theory, I lost by the margin would be 11,779.

You had 18,325 vacant address voters. You had out-of-state voters. Dead people voted. And I think the -- the number is in the -- close to 5,000 people. The bottom line is when you add it all up, and then you start adding,

you know, 300,000 fake ballots. They are burning their ballots, that they are shredding -- shredding ballots and removing equipment.


BURNETT: So, in your book, you included, you know, in italics, sort of the facts, your takedowns of each of these points and on the call, you know, this goes on for 20 minutes. You sort of take a deep breath. And then, you respond exactly as you are in this interview. Very calmly.

Here is a taste of you.


RAFFENSPERGER: Well, I've listened to what the president has just said. We don't agree that you have won, and we don't -- I didn't agree about the 200,000 number that you had mentioned. I'll go through that point by point.


BURNETT: And you did, point by point. I just want to ask you, as I read this transcript, 20 minutes, the president of the United States calls you up on a diatribe reciting completely made-up conspiracy number -- theories about ballot burning, all sorts of other things, throwing numbers all over the place about dead people and shredded ballots and stuffing ballots. You are sitting there for 20 minutes.

Secretary, what went through your head?

RAFFENSPERGER: Be patient. President Trump wanted to say what he wanted to say. Be patient, listen to him. Give him the respect that the office requires. And then, I would respond.

You know, obviously, I felt that, in effect, because he had his lawyers there, we had our lawyer there, this was really -- could be considered anything I would say would possibly be used in a court of law. We already had lawsuits from the Trump campaign. So it would be very factual in what I said, very deliberate, and very calm. I thought that was the best approach to take. And I still do.

BURNETT: And one final question. You write about your son. Your oldest son and he died of -- of a fentanyl overdose. You talk about that and about how you had been through worse.

And as I read that, secretary, I'm thinking, you know, that you made that your motto. That you have been through worse. But it -- it -- it says so much, that that's what you turned to. As -- to give you strength to get through this unprecedented assault.

RAFFENSPERGER: Well, Trisha and I have been -- the death of a child is the worst thing that any parent could ever have.

[19:35:00] BURNETT: Yeah.

RAFFENSPERGER: Here, we are talking about really defending an election, standing up on the truth and really fighting hard that every vote that was cast would be counted. So it's the very least I can do for the people of Georgia but really everyone that has ever given their life as a service member in this country, fighting for our freedom.

So it was really to stand on the law, stand on the Constitution. It's very least but we have been in tough spots, before. And I knew we would get through this one.

BURNETT: Well, it's incredible as you write about it and I did really enjoy the book. I'm sure others will as well.

Thank you very much, Secretary Raffensperger.

RAFFENSPERGER: Thank you, Erin.

BURNETT: And next, New York Mayor-elect Eric Adams, just the second black man in history to lead New York City. The nation's biggest. And tonight, he is promising to get things done his way.


ERIC ADAMS, NEW YORK CITY MAYOR-ELECT: I'm going to be a broccoli mayor. Not going to like it when you eat it but, long-term, you are going to see the benefits of it.


BURNETT: And the shocking allegation that's being made by the attorney for the armorer on Alec Baldwin's film. Is sabotage to blame for the deadly accident?



BURNETT: Tonight, New York City Mayor-elect Eric Adams vowing to sit down with police and firefighter unions to talk about COVID vaccine mandates and this just hours after being elected. Gloria Borger sat down with him to reflect on his long journey from the streets of Brooklyn to Gracie mansion.


GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): For Eric Adams, it's been a long and deliberate trek from his childhood home in blue collar Queens to Gracie Mansion.

ERIC ADAMS (D), NEW YORK CITY MAYOR-ELECT: Right here was Ms. Brown. I used to her papers and errands.

BORGER: Not anymore. How long have you wanted to be mayor? Is this the job you always

dreamed of?

ADAMS: Not always dreamed of, but it happened 24 years ago.

BORGER: When a mentor gave him advice about climbing the political ladder, he took it.

ADAMS: He said if you want to be mayor, here are four things you need to do.

BORGER: So he got a masters degree and joined the police department, became a state senator. Then Brooklyn borough president.

ADAMS: So I'm on cue exactly where I'm supposed to be.

I'm the mayor.

BORGER: What exactly happens next is anyone's guess.

ADAMS: I'm evolving as a man, evolving as a dad. I'm going to evolve if I'm the mayor of the city of New York.

BORGER: All guided by a personal anthem.


BORGER: Frank Sinatra's "My Way."

ADAMS: It is just Eric Adams all the way, you know? I'm sure you knew that I bit off more than I can chew.

BORGER: And you played a lot?

ADAMS: All the time. Every day. Whenever I'm feeling as though I hit an obstacle, I throw on "My Way."

BORGER: His way has always been unconventional.

ADAMS: This is not a fashion trend.

BORGER: Taking on saggy pants in 2010, or teaching parents where to search for their kids' drugs.

ADAMS: Could be just a baby doll, but also could be a place you could hide drugs.

BORGER: Adams has never shied away from the spotlight.

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I remember working on a story in Brooklyn. He was a state senator and in the trunk of his car was a podium so he could hold a press conference any time at any place that looked somewhat official.

BORGER: The Eric Adams story begins here at precinct 103 in Jamaica, Queens. In 1975, he says he and his brother were arrested for criminal trespass into the home of a go-go dancer.

ADAMS: They took us downstairs to the lower level and they kicked us repeatedly in our groin.

BORGER: The incident stayed with him and Adams later joined the police department on a mission to reform it.

ADAMS: Questions must be answered.

BORGER: Focusing on racial discrimination.

At age 61, Adams' belief in the power of his own life story --

ADAMS: I am you.

BORGER: -- became his campaign's main message.

ADAMS: I wanted to be felt. I wanted to tell New Yorkers different parts of my life, what it was like to be arrested. What it was like to live on the verge of homelessness. The people you represent was me.

So I wanted to really show them that their fears are my fears, and their worries are my worries.

BORGER: But how does this personal history, no matter how compelling, translate into governing?

People are worried about crime in the streets. They're worried that real estate is out of control. There's not enough low-income housing in the city. You name it.

So what's your plan of action?

ADAMS: Foundation is safety. We can talk about all the other pieces, but we have to be safe. If we're not safe, tourism is not going to return. No business is going to stay if their employees can't ride our subway systems to get to their offices.

BORGER: So, how do you do that?

ADAMS: Well, you start to make sure you hit reset with the police department. You go to the precincts, talk to my offices and let them know, I have your backs. I'm going to be there for you. Darn it, if you don't understand the nobility of public protection, you can't serve in my department.

BORGER: He says reform the police, don't defund them. Reduce homelessness by repurposing empty hotels. Re-imagine school lunches that focus on healthy veggies, as he did, becoming vegan when diagnosed with severe diabetes five years ago.

You have said you're going to be misunderstood.


BORGER: Why? ADAMS: I'm going to be a broccoli mayor. Not going to like it when

you eat it, but long term, you're going to see the benefits of it.

LOUIS: Only by New York City standards could you call Eric Adams a centrist or a moderate. It might be more accurate to say that he's a realist.

BORGER: He seems allergic to the activist left in his party presenting himself as pro-business and pro-union, helping the poor without driving out the wealthy.

ADAMS: In this city, we have 8.8 million people.


Only 65,000 pay 51 percent of our income taxes.

If we lose those 65,000 because they feel unsafe, all because we don't believe that they are part of our ecosystem, you know what happens? We lose funding for our museums. We lose funding for our Broadway.

I'm proud to be a resident Bed-Stuy.

BORGER: Adams faced questions about whether he even lived in the city or in New Jersey.

And over the years, he's been dogged by ethics complaints, which he answers with derision.

ADAMS: I like to always say I'm a lion. And lions don't lose sleep over the opinions of sheeps.

BORGER: "The Times" did an investigation that said that your fundraising efforts pushed the boundaries of campaign finance and ethics laws.

ADAMS: They have their opinion, and I have my opinion. And I'm going to let people know how I feel all the time. No sign of suffering from me.

BORGER: Adams glides easily between New York's boroughs, the wealth of the nearby Hamptons and night life in the city that never sleeps, to the joy of photographers and his opponents.

CURTIS SLIWA (R), CANDIDATE FOR NYC MAYOR: Eric Adams is with the elites in the suites, the TikTok girls, trying to sort of live up to the Kardashian's at Club Zero. Come on, Eric. Come back. Come back to the streets and the subways.

ADAMS: I am the American dream.

BORGER: Back on the street where he grew up as he thinks about running the city. He also thinks of his mom who worried about him as he struggled with undiagnosed dyslexia.

ADAMS: Just always said, I just prayed for you, all of my children, I just prayed the hardest for you.

BORGER: She died earlier this year, leaving behind her well-worn and annotated bible.

ADAMS: It almost became an anchor because there were days we had nothing but prayer. This is the Bible that I'm going to place my hands on when I'm sworn in.


BURNETT: You know, Gloria, poignant moment there and, you know, of all the things he talks about, he has been so consistent about this from the beginning, right? Don't defund, as he said refund the -- the -- the police. He was on to something in New York city and it appears that he was on to something nationwide, given what we saw for the Democratic Party last night.

BORGER: Yeah. I mean, you know, he -- he is somebody who is trying to appeal to all constituencies and not push anyone aside and in a city like New York or in the country for Democrats, that may make a lot of sense. Now, you know, not only on public safety. But on -- you know, on a whole host of issues.

I mean, here's somebody who says, for example, that he is pro-union but he is also pro-business. And you heard him say, you know, you don't want to drive the wealthy out of New York City because you -- you need them for the tax base. So, we'll see if he can deliver. You know, it -- there are a lot of problems facing New York. And this is -- this is a big challenge for him. And he admits it.

But as he says, you are not going to like everything he does. But he is going to be out there and do it and he is going to answer every challenge he's got.

BURNETT: When he said he is the broccoli mayor, it made me think of Mayor Bloomberg, right? I don't care if you don't like it when I say you can't smoke inside.

BORGER: Right.

BURNETT: He didn't care and he did it. I wonder if there will be, perhaps, some of that ethos.

BORGER: Yeah, he told me he talked to Mayor Bloomberg about the response when he introduced the big gulp, for example.


BORGER: Because he wants to change school lunches. So --

BURNETT: Well, I hope he succeeds at that.


BURNETT: I got kids in public school and you know what? The -- what they are being fed doesn't match what they are being taught in the schools itself.

All right. Thank you so much, Gloria. Appreciate it.

BORGER: Thanks, Erin.

BURNETT: And next, did a disgruntled crew member deliberately add a live round to the props on Alec Baldwin's film? That is the claim being made by one attorney tonight.


JASON BOWLES, ATTORNEY FOR "RUST" ARMORER: We're assuming somebody put the live round in that box.


BURNETT: I mean, that's stunning. And it's the moment so many parents have been waiting for. Tonight, millions of young children now eligible for the COVID vaccine.



BURNETT: Tonight, the lawyer for Hannah Gutierrez Reed, the armorer on the "Rust" movie set making a stunning allegation about how a live round may have ended up in a gun used by Alec Baldwin, claiming the deadly shooting could have resulted from purposeful sabotage.


JASON BOWLES, ATTORNEY FOR "RUST" ARMORER: We're assuming somebody put the live round in that box which if you -- if you think about that, the person who put the live round in the box of dummy rounds had to have the purpose of sabotaging this set.


BURNETT: It's an incredible allegation and it comes as the head of the film's camera department who resigned a day before the shooting is now speaking out, saying safety on the set was a, quote, massive issue.

Josh Campbell is OUTFRONT. He's been covering this.

And, Josh, does the lawyer for Gutierrez Reed offer any evidence to back up this claim? It is a stunning claim, right? Saying that in a box of dummy rounds that are going to be used, someone put a live round in. I mean, that -- if that happened, I mean, this is incredible. I mean, do they offer any evidence?

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: No. No evidence. And as you mentioned, this claim is, indeed, explosive. The idea that someone tried to sabotage that set by placing a live round of ammunition, either in the weapon or in the box of ammunition that was supposed to contain dummy rounds. Again, that defense attorney for the armorer not offering any evidence to back up that claim.

Savannah Guthrie from NBC News pressed him and said, is this your operating theory? He said this is a theory but again no evidence to back that up. This is all coming as we are hearing from yet another former crew member complaining about conditions on that set. He said that it was a culture of unsafety, blaming not only the armorer but the assistant director and saying there were multiple times he felt unsafe. He actually resigned from the set the day before that fatal shooting.


Now, for his part, actor Alec Baldwin came out appearing to refute those allegations on Instagram. He reposted a message from a costume designer from that set and I will read part of it. You will pardon my language.

The story being spun of us about being overworked and surrounded by unsafe, chaotic conditions is bullshit.

So again, you have a lot of people that are saying that the set was secure, including the production company. Others saying not so. That they felt unsafe. Of course, the major question we have tissue-- I talked to the district attorney. I talked to the sheriff. They said they're not doing this investigation in a vacuum. They're not just looking at just one shooting. They are also looking backwards to see if there is a potential pattern of unsafety here that led to this tragic incident -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Josh, thank you very much. Sabotage claim just stunning. Obviously, you could have had exactly this outcome and if that happened, that person would have known that.

Thank you so much, Josh Campbell.

Next, millions of young children now eligible to get the COVID shot. So, what it means, next.


BURNETT: Tonight, a turning point in the fight against COVID. Young children across the United States now getting their first approved vaccines after the CDC okayed Pfizer's vaccine for kids aged 5 to 11.

The CDC chair Rochelle Walensky telling NPR's Steve Inskeep this morning that there was not one single severe side effect in the clinical trial among kids. That is fantastic news. And the administration says it hopes to have 20,000 locations for parents to get their kids vaccinated by next week.

And finally tonight, some exciting news. We want to welcome the newest member of the OUTFRONT family. Beautiful, little girl, Margaret Mei. Born to our executive producer, Susie Sue. Now, Margaret is just getting to know her two older brothers, Nolan and Nicholas, who adore her and show it by poking and prodding her.

So keep her safe, Susie and Dave. We are all so happy for you and your wonderful family.

Thanks for joining us.

Anderson starts now.