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Election Day in America; Biden's Domestic Agenda Hits Headwinds Back Home; CDC Advisers to Vote on Pfizer Vaccine for Kids; SCOTUS May Be Willing to Allow Challenge to Texas Abortion Law. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired November 02, 2021 - 05:00   ET



CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: It's Election Day in America. Big races could be a litmus test for the midterms. CNN is live on the ground in Virginia.

LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: It's the day parents have waited months for. A COVID vaccine for kids could soon get the green light.

ROMANS: Two key conservative justices seem open to allowing abortion providers in Texas to sue over the abortion ban there.

It is Tuesday, November 2nd. It is 5:00 a.m. exactly in New York. Thank you for getting an EARLY START with us. I'm Christine Romans.

JARRETT: I'm Laura Jarrett. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world.

We begin with three big stories colliding on this Election Day. The big race to watch today is in Virginia. The Democratic candidate for governor, a Biden ally, is hoping he's not punished for his party's infighting next door in Washington. The road block in D.C., down to just one vote -- one man, a moderate senator, who is once again pumping the brakes on Democrats domestic agenda.

ROMANS: Well, the president tries to push that agenda over the finish line. He remains overseas, at the U.S. climate summit where he is expected to speak this hour.

We have all angles covered this morning, starting with CNN's Sunlen Serfaty, live from a polling location in Arlington, Virginia.

Good morning, big day there.

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: It certainly is a big day, Christine. And this race is incredibly tight. That has national significance, and national implications going forward, not only midterms and the next presidential cycle but certainly how many candidates across the country are approaching their races going forward.

And this is something we saw both candidates in this governor's race, Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic candidate and Republican Glenn Youngkin argue not only local issues but the national significance for both of their respective parties going forward.

Now, in the final day of campaigning last night, we saw Glenn Youngkin really crisscrossing the Commonwealth of Virginia, again receiving the endorsement of former President Trump and former President Trump appeared at a tele-rally for him last night. Something that the Youngkin campaign certainly kept at arm's length, someone that they have constantly kept at arm's length during the duration of this campaign and Youngkin appearing last night on a campaign really with former Virginia governors, Republican governors, certainly to remind Virginia voters of past Republican successes in this commonwealth and focusing on local issues like education.


GLENN YOUNGKIN (R), VIRGINIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: All across this country, families are having the same discussions that you all, have I get notes all day long, for our kids too, stand up for the rights of our children, because we can't vote this year, you in Virginia do. We have problems in our school boards. We have problems in our schools. And stand up for us, Virginia.

Well, let me tell you, Virginia is going to stand up for them tomorrow.


SERFATY: Now, for Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe, he ran in large part on the promise that he could get things done like Biden has, he argues in the White House, but certainly the road blocks on the domestic agenda for the Biden White House has caused him some challenges throughout this campaign. So, we have really seen Terry McAuliffe focus in on tying his Republican candidate to the former President Donald Trump and that is something that he argued up until the end in his closing argument last night.


TERRY MCAULIFFE (D), VIRGINIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: Trump has now endorsed him for the tenth time today. Today. Today. Donald Trump issued two statements attacking me and endorsing Glenn Youngkin. Today, too. What does that tell you? The little MAGA people not excited as you thought?

I think people have been exhausted from the last four years of Donald Trump. Clearly fatigued and exhaustion from Trump.


SERFATY: And notably, Terry McAuliffe falsely claimed in his closing argument last night that Glenn Youngkin was doing an event with Trump as part of his final pitch. That is not correct. Youngkin did not appear at a tele-town hall with the former president. The former president just dialed into that call without him and Youngkin again was trying to keep Trump at arm's length arguing that he did not participate in the planning of that call and would not appear on that call. [05:05:03]

Christine and Laura, the polls open here in Virginia in just under an hour, certainly a big moment for both of these candidates in this governor's race but certainly a big moment for both of these parties going forward in elections, in the near future.

ROMANS: And if I ask you about the call that Trump dialed into, it was a call in support of Glenn Youngkin, yes?

SERFATY: That's right. The call was in support of Glenn Youngkin, it was something that the former president was really leaning into, I should say, appearing on election eve, certainly a very important moment for the campaign, and this was something that Youngkin had to answer for, over the weekend, while on the campaign trail, he said he didn't participate himself in the planning, and he would not participate himself but certainly indicated there could be some coordination of course between his campaign and the former president appearing before all of the votes are cast in person.

ROMANS: Thank you, Sunlen. Big day for you there in Virginia, thanks.

JARRETT: All right. The New Jersey governor's race, also one to watch today, as Democratic Governor Phil Murphy is taking on Republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli, a former state assemblyman. Several key mayoral races also in play.

In New York City, former Police Captain Eric Adams is taking on long time community activist, Republican Curtis Sliwa.

ROMANS: In Atlanta, 14 candidates are vying to replace Keisha Lance Bottoms. She announced in May, she would not be seeking re-election. This is also the first election where Georgia's new restrictive voting law will be enforced.

In Buffalo, New York, Byron Brown is seeking a fifth term as mayor using a write-in campaign. He lost the Democratic primary in June to India Walton, a self-described Democratic socialist.

JARRETT: And in Minneapolis where George Floyd was killed last year, Mayor Jacob Frey is fighting to keep his job in a tough reelection race there. We're also watching a ballot initiative that would replace the police department with a public safety department under the giant authority of the mayor and the city council.

ROMANS: All right. As President Biden tries to rally world leaders on climate issues, his agenda at home facing some headwinds. Key Senate Democrat Joe Manchin says he will not support the party's $1.75 trillion social safety net expansion until he sees greater clarity on its impact on the national debt.


SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): There's more of the real details are outlined, the basic framework are released, what I see are shell games, budget gimmicks, that make the real cost of the so-called $1.75 trillion bill estimated to be almost twice that amount, if the full time is run out, if you extended it permanently.


ROMANS: You got to have a way to pay for it, by raising taxes on rich people and corporations but he and his fellow Senator Kyrsten Sinema disagreed with that and there was a way to pay for it and made it a political impossibility.

JARRETT: And made that a political impossibility.

But interestingly here, House progressive leaders appear unfazed by Manchin. CNN has learned House Democratic leaders might put the social spending plan and the infrastructure bill on the floor as soon as tomorrow.

CNN's Kevin Liptak is traveling with the president in Scotland.

Kevin, what is the White House saying about all of this?

KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Laura, the White House also seems unfazed by all of this. The White House press secretary releasing a statement very quickly after Manchin's press conference yesterday saying in part we remain in confident that the plan will gain Senator Manchin's support.

Of course, the key words are will gain, an indication and acknowledgment after months of one-on-one meetings, phone calls, even breakfasts at the president's house in Delaware, he hasn't been able to convince Manchin to come along with all of this. And remember, it was only two days ago, in Rome, when the president said he believed that there could be a vote on these two bills this week.

Now, Democrats are pushing forward. They are confident in their ability to get these deals passed. Even as you said, progressives saying that they won't let Manchin here throw them of course.

Listen to what the head of the House Progressive Caucus Pramila Jayapal said last night.


REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): The president said he thinks he can get 51 votes for this bill. We are going to trust him. We are going to do our work in the house. And let the Senate do its work. But we're tired of, you know, just being continuing to wait for one or two people.


LIPTAK: So she is really putting the onus there on the president to bring Manchin around.

Now, this really comes at a very inopportune for President Biden. Remember what he is doing in Scotland, he is trying to restore American credibility on the issue of climate, and the way he's doing that is pointing to this massive bill, and the $555 billion that is included in there, for measures that would combat climate change. I'm told in meetings with foreign leaders here and at the G20, the president has been very enthusiastic about this bill. He's been highlighting the historic investment that it makes in climate change. And you have to remember, he already came here somewhat hampered, he had hoped to have a deal in hand by the time he landed in Europe. That wasn't able to happen.


But he has been somewhat optimistic, very optimistic in fact, in telling leaders that he thinks this bill will get passed soon. Now, today, the president is focused on methane and forests. He plans to announce a new rule at the EPA about cutting methane emissions. Very importantly, that rule won't require approval from Congress, or from Joe Manchin -- guys.

JARRETT: That is worth noting for sure. Kevin Liptak in Scotland for us this morning, thank you, Kevin.

ROMANS: All right. As for the climate summit itself, there's measured progress to report this morning.

Let's go to Phil Black. He's in Edinburgh, Scotland, for us.

Phil, what kind of progress are we talking about this morning?

PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christine, in addition to trying to get individual countries to drive down, to cut hard on they're missions in the short and longer term, there is a push at Glasgow to try and implement big new additional international agreements that target specific behavior and could meaningfully slow the warming of the planet.

One of these is going to be announced today by President Biden and a group of other key world leaders, more than 100 countries, are signing on to a deal that says they will end deforestation, by the end of the decade. This includes countries that have big agricultural industries that are a major driver of deforestation, it is set to cover around 85 percent of the world's forests, and there's money in there as well, about $90 billion in funding.

Activists say they want to see the detail, that they are cautiously optimistic, and this is something that is worth targeting, because the act of deforestation itself is responsible for around 11 percent of annual global emissions, and also by preserving forests and trees, you are safeguarding really important and powerful natural solution to climate change. Because of their ability to act as a climate sink. And pull large amounts of carbon out of the atmosphere -- Christine.

ROMANS: And, Phil, Kevin Liptak just mentioned for us the Biden administration proposed new rules for methane emissions, a key component of how most of the U.S. gets its power. Tell us more.

BLACK: Yeah. So, there is also an international push to crack down on methane, which is a very potent greenhouse gas. The Biden administration is implementing regulations, targeting the oil and gas industries, to try and prevent methane leaks into the atmosphere. And that's because there is this view internationally, recently advised in a U.N. report, that if you reduce methane emissions, that can be a really effective way of significantly slowing down climate change in the short term.

And that's helpful, because it helps keep the world, or will help the world get back on track toward achieving the big climate target of limiting average global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees around the end of the century -- Christine.

ROMANS: All right. Phil Black for us in Edinburgh, thank you so much. Keep us posted.

JARRETT: You know, all of these changes sound terrific in theory but the enforcement mechanism is going to be key here, right?


JARRETT: All right. Still ahead for you, just in time for Thanksgiving turkey with grandma, COVID vaccines for kids 5 to 11 likely about to become a reality.



JARRETT: A very big day in the fight against coronavirus. This afternoon, the CDC's vaccine advisers will vote on whether to recommend the vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 years old. Just last week, more than 100,000 kids tested positive for the virus.

The White House expects the vaccination program will be running at full strength next week.

Senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen has more.


ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Christine, Laura, on Tuesday, vaccine experts who are advisers to the CDC will be meeting to talk about Pfizer's vaccine for children ages 5 to 11.

Now, the FDA has given it the green light. External advisers to the FDA also giving it the green light. So, we will see what the CDC advisers have to say. And then after that, the head of the CDC, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, she'll weigh in and then it will be final.

Let's take a look at what a clinical trial showed when they tried the vaccine out on small children.

Pfizer says its clinical trial shows that the vaccine is 91 percent effective against symptomatic COVID-19. In other words, 91 percent effective at protecting children ages 5 to 11 from getting sick with COVID-19.

What Pfizer did is they gave about 1300 children the vaccine and three of them over time became sick with COVID-19. Now, they gave a smaller number of children, 663 of them, a placebo, a shot of saline that does nothing, and 16 of them became sick with COVID-19, so you can see they gave the placebo to a smaller number of children and a larger number of them, 16 of them became sick with the virus.

Now, if the vaccine advisers and if Dr. Walensky gave a green light to Pfizer's vaccine for children, it could be a matter of days before children start getting shot and it's interesting to note, children won't be getting the full dose that adolescents and adults have been getting, instead they will be getting one-third of the dose -- Christine, Laura.


JARRETT: Elizabeth Cohen, thank you for that.

Workers at large companies will soon be required to get vaccinated or face weekly testing. The Labor Department says details about this mandate for businesses with 100 or more employees are expected in the coming days. The emergency rule will also require employers to provide paid time off to workers so they can get their shot and paid sick leave to require from side effects of the vaccine.

ROMANS: Meantime, a judge in Chicago has paused the city's vaccine requirement for its police officers. The Fraternal Order of Police has been locked in an ugly battle with Mayor Lori Lightfoot over the vaccine for weeks now. Now, the judge says both sides need to hash the issue out of arbitration because the officers are unionized. Lightfoot says the union is not interested in even having a discussion.


MAYOR LORI LIGHTFOOT (D), CHICAGO: We've not done that. We've offered that multiple times, multiple times over the two months that we were attempting to bargain with them. It's just not correct that they're serious about getting a deal done. What they're serious about is obstructing, obfuscating and telling half-truths to lead their members astray.


JARRETT: And it's not just Chicago. A similar situation is playing out with first responders in New York city, where 2300 firefighters called in sick yesterday, the mayor says there will be consequences for firefighters who skip work to protest the vaccine mandate here.


Meanwhile, in Pittsburgh, all municipal employees must be fully vaccinated by December 22nd.

ROMANS: To protect and serve. To serve and protect.

JARRETT: And the first responders are the ones who have been facing such an onslaught of the virus from the very beginning.

ROMANS: You know, we should point out that most have been vaccinated. JARRETT: Have been vaccinated.

ROMANS: Most people who are sworn to protect and protect their communities, it is a minority who have got. In terms of firefighters, it's interesting because historically, there's been such a backlog of people who go to the fire academy and have to wait for years to get a house to be assigned to.

Maybe this is a time for new blood. Maybe you're going to see new people be able to come in through the ranks here in some of these cities.

All right. So much for the friendly skies. Another flight forced to divert because of an incident at 30,000 feet.



ROMANS: Welcome back. We have been telling you the Democrat's plan to pay for the new main Biden agenda bills in part by taxing the rich. But it appears they may cut taxes on some rich people while they're at it. Some observers expect the $1.75 trillion economic climate bill will include a repeal, at least temporarily, of that SALT deduction, that's the $10,000 cap on the federal deduction for state and local taxes which is a big issue in high tax states like New York and California.

Now, the bipartisan committee for a responsible federal budget says its analysis shows repealing that salt cap would more than offset planned tax hikes on the rich. The committee found that two-year SALT cap repeal would translate to a net tax cut for the wealthiest 5 percent, even with the planned tax hike on people who make more than that, the very, very high end. The SALT tax break is not in the agenda framework released by the White House last week but several Democrats from high tax states are pushing hard to get that SALT cap repealed at least temporarily.

JARRETT: More bad behavior in the not so friendly skies. The latest case, a Delta flight from Atlanta to L.A. was diverted to Dallas after what Delta described as an onboard customer disturbance.

Not many more details but so far this year, there have been almost 5,000 reports of unruly passengers on planes. More than 900 investigations have been opened two years ago, it was only 150, a huge jump there. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg says a no fly list for disruptive passengers should be on the table here.

ROMANS: A lot of attention on American flights earlier this week where a 20-year-old person punched a flight attendant twice, you know, concussion and face lacerations.

JARRETT: Really scary.

ROMANS: People are losing it. JARRETT: All right. Moments from now, President Biden set to address

world leaders at the historic climate summit in Glasgow. We will bring it to you when it happens.