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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

GOP Rallies To Senate Nominee Herschel Walker's Side In Georgia; Ryan And Vance Clash In Fiery Ohio Senate Debate; L.A. City Council President Resigns But Won't Give Up Council Seat After Racist Remarks. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired October 11, 2022 - 05:30   ET




CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Happening today, Senators Rick Scott of Florida and Tom Cotton of Arkansas head to Georgia to rally support for nominee Herschel Walker in a critical Senate race. Walker's campaign is reeling, of course, after reports last week that he asked a woman he was dating a decade ago to terminate two pregnancies.

CNN's Eva McKend has more.


EVA MCKEND, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER (voice-over): With just one week to go before early voting begins in Georgia, the Republican establishment going all in for Herschel Walker. Florida Sen. Rick Scott, chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton will stump for Walker in Carrollton, Georgia.

"I'm proud to stand with Herschel Walker and make sure Georgians know he will always fight to protect them from the forces trying to destroy Georgia values and Georgia's economy," Scott said in a statement announcing the visit.

The GOP show of support comes as Walker, who is staunchly opposed to abortion rights, confronts reports he paid for an ex-girlfriend to get an abortion and urged the woman to end a second pregnancy two years later. CNN has not been able to independently verify the allegations. Walker has repeatedly denied them.


HERSCHEL WALKER, (R) GEORGIA SENATE NOMINEE: The abortion thing is false. It's a lie, and that's what I said.

MCKEND (voice-over): With control of the U.S. Senate up for grabs, there are few signs Republicans are reconsidering their support for the GOP nominee.

REP. DON BACON (R-NE): Herschel needs to be -- come clean and just be honest. We also know that we all make mistakes. MCKEND (voice-over): For his part, Walker's opponent, Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock continues to avoid directly attacking his GOP rival over the allegations.

REPORTER: Herschel Walker, though, has continued to deny these allegations are true. Why shouldn't Georgia voters believe that? It's up t

SEN. RAPHAEL WARNOCK (D-GA): It's up to Georgia voters. And it's not up to him, it's not up to me. It's up to them. My opponent has trouble with the truth and we'll see how all of this plays out.

MCKEND (voice-over): Georgia Republicans don't think the controversy will hurt Walker even if more developments emerge in the coming weeks.

JAY WILLIAMS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: The Democrats have based their campaign on mental health issues that he actually expressed and talked about in his book, and are attacking him for stuff he made public years ago before he was even a political candidate.

MCKEND (voice-over): In a display of their commitment to Walker, the National Republican Senatorial Committee diverting additional resources to Georgia the organization had originally planned to spend in New Hampshire, home to another Senate battleground. A super PAC run by allies of former President Trump have also reserved nearly $1 million in Georgia to boost Walker.

This, as Democrats wait and see what impact, if any, the allegations will have among voters in the state.

FRED HICKS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: We need to get a sense of a) do people care, b) what do they care about? Do they care that he had -- that he paid for an abortion or is it really, again, the authenticity argument? So, I think after this week when people complete their polls and surveys, you'll see the change in strategy for both Republicans and Democrats.

MCKEND (on camera): Walker also fundraising off this scandal. An email went out to supporters that says "First, they did it to Clarence Thomas and now they're doing it to me." The former NFL star asking for donations to help him, in his words, clear the record.

Eva McKend, CNN, Washington.


ROMANS: All right. In Ohio, a tighter-than-expected Senate race and a contentious debate between Democrat Tim Ryan and Republican J.D. Vance. The two candidates sparred last night over immigration and abortion, with Ryan reaffirming his support to codify the right to abortion in federal law. Vance then seemingly blamed Ryan for the rape of a 10-year-old girl, noting she was assaulted by an undocumented immigrant.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) J.D. VANCE, (R), OHIO SENATE CANDIDATE: If you had done your job she would have never been raped in the first place. Do your job on border security. Don't lecture me about opinions I don't actually have.

REP. TIM RYAN (D-OH), OHIO SENATE CANDIDATE: But J.D. Vance lays money for the legal defense fund of the insurrectionists. This is the kind of extremism, J.D., that we wholly reject. You have video posts. Don't even try to deny it. We've got -- we've got your -- we've got your Twitter posts and everything else.

VANCE: So, I -- you know, I've got a -- I've got three little kids, including a 2-year-old. And one of the things that's true of toddlers and is also apparently true of career politicians is that they accuse you of doing the very thing that they do themselves.

RYAN: In Youngstown, on the stage, Donald Trump said to J.D. Vance all you do is kiss my ass to get my support. He said that.


ROMANS: A second debate is set for next Monday.

Let's bring in CNN political analyst Jackie Kucinich, Washington bureau chief of The Daily Beast.

Jackie, J.D. Vance is the Trump acolyte. Congressman Ryan's strategy here, you say seems to be leaning toward the middle there last night. What did you see?

JACKIE KUCINICH, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, THE DAILY BEAST (via Webex by Cisco): Yes, and that's been the -- Tim Ryan's campaign the entire time, right? He has been really going for those centrist, middle-of-the-road voters in Ohio. You saw him criticize President Biden. You saw him criticize Vice President Kamala Harris on border security.

So, really, you saw -- and then, you know, you saw there's no love loss after J.D. Vance -- on issues like abortion. So -- and authenticity. And whether he supports the January 6 rioters.

So, really, not only this race. It seems like this is something we've seen in many races across the country where there is a more moderate Democrat trying to undermine their Republican challenger.

ROMANS: Yes. You heard J.D. Vance there criticizing Tim Ryan for being a quote-unquote, like, career politician. But listen to Tim Ryan last night --


ROMANS: -- and how he was sort of distancing himself from party leadership -- listen.


REPORTER: Do you want President Biden to run again in 2024? RYAN: No, I've been very clear. I'd like to see a generational change -- Mitch McConnell --

REPORTER: Thank you.

RYAN: -- Donald Trump, the president, everybody.


RYAN: Like, we need a new generation of leadership.


ROMANS: That strategy, is guess, distancing himself from the team in charge to win Republican votes.

KUCINICH: Right. Well, right. I mean, Ohio has trended red, if not being a red state the last couple of cycles. So, as a result of that, you hear Tim Ryan running statewide. You need to do that.


And if you look at the polls this is a closer race than it should have been, in part because of the race that Tim Ryan is running, but also in part because of the race that J.D. Vance has run thus far. But this is going to be a really tight one all the way to the end, Christine, and I don't think Republicans really expected to be spending the money and having the attention on this race that we currently have.


Let's talk about Bernie Sanders. He wrote this op-ed. He said he's, quote, "alarmed" that the Democrats are making abortion their closing argument. He said that, quote, "While the abortion issue must remain on the front burner, it would be political malpractice for Democrats to ignore the state of the economy."

It's so interesting. He has spent his career talking about the minimum wage and income and wealth -- and wealth inequality.

What do you think about his criticism to the party?

KUCINICH: You know, it's been a really interesting cycle because you do have a lot of people from various sides of the Democratic Party weighing in on what they should be focusing on going down the pike. And the economy is issue number one for a lot of people, and abortion is issue number two if you look across the aggregate of these surveys across the country.

And we -- but abortion is one of the issues we haven't really seen as a campaign issue. There hasn't been the vast changes on a national level that we've seen over the --

ROMANS: Right.

KUCINICH: -- past year because of the Dobbs decision. So that is untested.

And I think it really does vary race to race. In some races, it is front and center because Democrats are courting those middle -- again, those middle-of-the-road voters -- suburban women, in particular -- and trying to really energize the Democratic base, which has seen this issue as a unifier. But in other races, the economy really is front and center with Democrats playing some of the things that they see as accomplishments coming out of Washington.

ROMANS: Right.

KUCINICH: So I don't think we're going to see any shortage of people seeing -- weighing in, though, as we get into these last months of campaigning before the November election.

ROMANS: All right, Jackie Kucinich, CNN political analyst. Nice to see you this morning. Thanks, Jackie.

KUCINICH: Nice to see you. Bye, Christine.

ROMANS: All right. Leaked audio leads L.A. City Council president to suddenly quit. And the Coast Guard trying to save fishermen who are fighting off sharks with their fists.



ROMANS: Welcome back.

The president of the Los Angeles City Council has resigned from her leadership role but not her seat after the leak of a damning recording.

CNN's Nick Watt has more.


NICK WATT, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): Mike Bonin is an L.A City Council member and father to a young Black son. Last year, they went to an MLK Day parade. City Council president Nury Martinez had some issues.


NURY MARTINEZ, PRESIDENT, LOS ANGELES CITY COUNCIL: It's like black and brown on this float. And there is this white guy with this little Black kid who is misbehaved. The kid bouncing off the effing walls on the float, practically tipping it over. There's nothing you can do to control him -- parece changuito.

WATT (voice-over): Translation: little monkey.

MARTINEZ: They're raising him like a little white kid, which I was like this kid needs a beatdown. Like, let me -- let me take him around the corner, and then I'll bring him back. WATT (voice-over): Bonin tweeted that Martinez "attacked our son with horrific racist slurs, and talked about her desire to physically harm him. It's vile, abhorrent, and utterly disgraceful."


WATT (voice-over): There were protests at her house. She resigned as council president.

She issued this apology. "In a moment of intense frustration and anger, I let the situation get the best of me and I hold myself accountable for these comments. For that I am sorry."

Recorded nearly a year ago, the audio was posted anonymously on Reddit, first reported by the Los Angeles Times. Those present were, reports the paper, all Democrats, all Hispanic.

Among them, labor leader Ron Herrera. He has tweeted, "There is no justification and no excuse for the vile remarks made in that room, period. And I didn't step up to stop them." He did not. And when Martinez described Bonin's son as an accessory, according to the paper, he joined in.

MARTINEZ: It's an accessory. When we do the MLK parade --

KEVIN DE LEON, COUNCILMEMBER: Just like -- just like when --

RON HERRERA, PRESIDENT, LOS ANGELES COUNTY FEDERATION OF LABOR: They used to have those statues in the -- in the plantations, didn't they?

DE LEON: And when Nury brings her Goyard bag or the Louis Vuitton bag --

WATT (voice-over): That last voice, councilmember Kevin de Leon. He's got big ambitions. He ran for mayor this year and the U.S. Senate seat in '18.

"I regret appearing to condone and even contribute to certain insensitive comments," he wrote. "I fell short of the expectations we set for our leaders."

WATT (on camera): This audio tells us a couple of things. One, it tells us the kind of language that some politicians are very happy to use when they don't think the world is listening. And it also speaks to the divisions amongst the left-of-center leadership here in Los Angeles.

Now, Nury Martinez is the daughter of Mexican immigrants, but she says this about Mexican immigrants from the state of Oaxacan. She says they are, quote, "short, little, dark people."

And of the district attorney here in L.A., who is Cuban-American, she says, "F that guy. He's with the Blacks."

Nick Watt, CNN, Los Angeles.


ROMANS: Wow, a lot there. OK, thanks, Nick.

The U.S. Coast Guard rescuing three fishermen from shark-infected waters. Their boat sank off the coast of Empire, Louisiana Saturday. The crew of the rescue chopper found them fending off sharks with bites on their hands. All three are now in stable condition after being airlifted to safety. Terrifying.

All right, a new round of Russian strikes on Ukraine a short time ago. "NEW DAY" live on the ground, next.



ROMANS: All right, let's get a check on CNN Business this morning.

European markets are lower as the Bank of England struggles to contain an economic crisis there with more support for pension funds. Looking to Asia, China's holiday spending during the nation's Golden Week plunged to 7-year lows. On Wall Street, stock index futures down just a little bit here this morning.

It was lower closes across the board to start a week full of inflation data and the beginning of the corporate earnings season. Nasdaq closing at the lowest level in more than two years. Investors grappling with Russia's escalation in Ukraine, rising gas prices now, and still, red-hot inflation.


And two recession warnings from big banks. Bank of America expects job losses in the U.S. economy of about 175,000 jobs a month sometime at the end of this year. And JPMorgan's CEO Jamie Dimon warned the country could be in a recession in under a year.


JAMIE DIMON, CEO, JPMORGAN CHASE: Currently, right now, the U.S. economy is actually still doing well. But you've got -- you can't talk about the economy without talking about the stuff in the future, and this is serious stuff. These are very, very serious things, which I think are likely to push the U.S. and the world -- I mean, Europe is already in a recession. It will likely put the U.S. in some kind of recession six to nine months from now.


ROMANS: All right. Looking at gas prices overnight, climbing nationwide, now up four-tenths of a penny to $3.92.

All right, the Chiefs rallied to beat the Raiders in an action-packed Monday night affair.

Carolyn Manno has this morning's Bleacher Report. Hey, Carolyn. CAROLYN MANNO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, good morning.

This one was a tale of two halves, and for the Raiders, ultimately, more disappointment here. I mean, expectations so high for them this season. The team brought in head coach Josh McDaniels and star receiver Davante Adams, but they have lost four games so far, each by only one score.

Vegas scored 17 unanswered points to open this game, but a controversial call late in the first half here, Christine. Derek Carr sacked by Chiefs' defensive lineman Chris Jones. But the refs calling for roughing the passer.

Andy Reid furious. He could not believe this. After the game, he said this really fired them up and gave them a little bit of juice, but very questionable.

So, the Chiefs trailed by 10 at the half before Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce put on a show. The pair connecting for four touchdown passes, three of them coming after the break.

Kelce had four touchdowns despite only having seven catches for 25 yards. The tight end is just so reliable. Those four touchdowns a "MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL" record.

So the Chiefs led by seven with under five minutes to go.

And check out this next play. Derek Carr hooking up with his buddy Davante Adams -- an absolutely bomb for the score. That 48-yarder would get them within one. But Vegas decides to go for two instead of the tie, and the Chiefs defense holding firm. Josh Jacobs stuffed at the goal line.

So, Kansas City wins by a single point. They are now 4-1 thanks to a huge night from Travis Kelce.


TRAVIS KELCE, KANSAS CITY CHIEFS TIGHT END: I just worked my tail off for these guys in red tonight. That's all I did for Kingdom. They showed up and showed out on a Monday night knowing everybody has got to work tomorrow, and they were here loud and proud.

And sure enough, our defense got it going and held them -- held them -- held it down early. And we started off a little slow but it got us fired up in the -- in the second half, for sure.


MANNO: The frustration visible for the Raiders. Davante Adams taking it a step too far here, shoving a production crew member to the ground who had run in front of him -- not cool. Adams apologizing afterwards on Twitter, saying that he was frustrated about the way that the game ended and felt horrible about it. Said that's not me. My apologies and I hope you see this. Elsewhere in sports this morning, less than 48 hours after clinching

the Wildcard Series in New York, the Padres made the cross-country flight to L.A. They will face the Dodgers in the division series tonight.

That game is the nightcap of a quadruple-header, which begins at 1:00 p.m. eastern. The defending champion Braves hosting the Phillies. TBS has both American League matchups, beginning with the Astros hosting the Mariners, and then the Yankees welcoming the Guardians to the Bronx in primetime. So, a big night for baseball.

And Bronny James is following in the footsteps of his dad, LeBron. Bronny turned 18 last week, celebrating by signing a name, image, and likeness endorsement with Nike. His father signed a lifetime deal with that company back in 2015 and that worked out pretty well.

Bronny is a high school senior and has not announced his college plans, but he was spotted at an Ohio State football game, Christine, with his dad last month on a recruiting visit. They have expressed some interest and he said that he wants to go to college, or at least that's the plan right now, so --

ROMANS: It's fun to watch him play. Have you watched him? Does he play like his dad, do you think?

MANNO: Yes, he's athletic. I mean, we're certainly going to see it. But a lot of people kind of touting him already as the next big thing.

And a pretty lucrative deal with Nike, potentially, if he can follow in his father's footsteps. I think a lot of people think he can.

ROMANS: Very cool. Very cool. Carolyn Manno, nice to see you this morning. Have a great rest of your day.

Thanks for joining me. I'm Christine Romans. "NEW DAY" picks it up right now.