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Joe Biden's State of the Union Address Highlights; U.S. Intel: Spy Balloon Part of Broader Chinese Military Operation; Nearly 9,500 Dead in Syria, Turkey from Earthquake. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired February 08, 2023 - 04:00   ET



CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Christine Romans.

President Biden his second state of the union address, the first before a newly divided Congress.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA) HOUSE SPEAKER: The president of the United States.


ROMANS: The president called for unity, telling Republicans he wants to work together instead of fighting for the sake of fighting. Still, he was heckled more than once by some unruly house Republicans.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Some Republicans want Medicare and Social Security sunset. I'm not sayings it is the majority.


Let me give you -- anybody who doubts it, contact my office, I'll give you a copy, I'll give you a copy of the proposal.

That means if Congress doesn't vote --


BIDEN: Well, I'm glad you see. And I'll tell you, I enjoy conversion.

BIDEN: You know, it means if Congress doesn't keep the programs, the way they are, they'd go away. Other Republicans say -- I'm not saying it's a majority of you, I don't even think it's even a significant --


BIDEN: But it's been proposed by individuals. I'm not -- politely not naming them. But it's being proposed by some of you. (REPUBLICAN MEMBERS DISAGREE)

BIDEN: Look, folks?


BIDEN: The idea is that we're not going to be -- we're not going to be moved into being threatened to default on the debt if we don't respond.

Folks --


So, folks, as we all apparently agree, Social Security and Medicare, is off the books now, right? They're not to default.


BIDEN: All right.


BIDEN: We got unanimity!


ROMANS: The president's theme throughout was let's finish the job and he encouraged Republicans to help him do it. That bipartisan message starting right at the top of his speech after congratulating Kevin McCarthy on his new job.


BIDEN: Speaker, I don't want to ruin your reputation, but I look forward to working with you.

You know, we're often told that Democrats and Republicans can't work together. But over the past two years, we proved the cynics and naysayers wrong.

Yes, we disagreed plenty. And yes, there were times when Democrats went alone.

But time and again, Democrats and Republicans came together. Came together to defend a stronger and safer Europe. You came together to pass one in a gen -- one-in-a-generation -- once-in-a-generation infrastructure law building bridges connecting our nation and our people. We came together to pass one the most significant law ever helping victims exposed to toxic burn pits. And, in fact --


ROMANS: The president of course was expected to highlight the economy and he did tout low unemployment and easing inflation. He also pushed again for minimum tax rates for billionaires and corporations. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

Look, I'm a capitalist. I'm a capitalist. But pay your fair share.

I think a lot of you at home -- a lot of you at home agree with me and many people that you know, the tax system is not fair. It is not fair. (Applause.)

Look, the idea that in 2020, 55 of the largest corporations in America, the Fortune 500, made $40 billion in profits and paid zero in federal taxes? Zero.


THE PRESIDENT: Folks, it's simply not fair.

But now, because of the law I signed, billion-dollar companies have to pay a minimum of 15 percent. God love them. (Applause.) Fifteen percent.


ROMANS: The president also called on Congress to get rid of junk fees.



BIDEN: We're going to ban surprise resort fees that hotels charge on your bill. Those fees can cost you up to $90 a night at hotels that aren't even resorts. (Laughter and applause.)

We -- the idea that cable, Internet, and cellphone companies can charge you $200 or more if you decide to switch to another provider. Give me a break. (Applause.)

We can stop service fees on tickets to concerts and sporting events and make companies disclose all the fees upfront.

And we'll prohibit airlines from charging $50 roundtrip for a family just to be able to sit together. Baggage fees are bad enough. Airlines can't treat your child like a piece of baggage. (Applause.)

Americans are tired of being -- we're tired of being played for suckers.


ROMANS: President Biden also talked up his legislative victories including the bipartisan trillion-dollar infrastructure law.


BIDEN: We've funded over 20,000 projects, including major airports from Boston to Atlanta to Portland -- projects that are going to put thousands of people to work rebuilding our highways, our bridges, our railroads, our tunnels, ports, airports, clean water, high-speed Internet all across America -- urban, rural, Tribal.

And, folks, we're just getting started. We're just getting started. (Applause.)

And I mean this sincerely. I want to thank my Republican friends who voted for the law. And my Republican friends who voted against it as well -- but I'm still -- I still get asked to fund the projects in those districts as well, but don't worry. I promised I'd be a President for all Americans. We'll fund these projects. And I'll see you at the groundbreaking. (Applause.)


ROMANS: The president took a defiant tone with Beijing. Here is what he said just three days after the U.S. military shot down that Chinese spy balloon over the Atlantic.


BIDEN: I'm committed to work with China where we can advance American interests and benefit the world. But make no mistake about it: As we made clear last week, if China threatens our sovereignty, we will act to protect our country. And we did. (Applause.)


ROMANS: Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders delivering a blistering Republican response to President Biden's state of the union calling the president weak and unfit to serve as commander in chief and drawing a sharp generational contrast.


GOV. SARA HUCKABEE SANDERS (R) ARKANSAS: I will be the first to admit, President Biden and I don't have a lot in common. I'm for freedom, he's for government control.

At 40, I'm the youngest governor in the country. And at 80, he is the oldest president in American history. I am the first woman to lead my state and he is the first man to surrender his presidency to a woke mob that can't even tell you what a woman is.

In the radical left America, Washington taxes you and lights your hard-earned money on fire. But you get crushed with high gas prices, empty grocery shelves and our children are taught to hate one another on account of their race, but not to love one another or our great country. Whether Joe Biden believes this madness or is simply too weak to resist it, his administration has been completely hijacked by the radical left.

The dividing line in America is no longer between right or left, the choice is between normal or crazy.


ROMANS: Governor Sanders has already signed a flurry of executive orders in her state one targeting Critical Race Theory, quote, to prohibit indoctrination in schools, another barring the use of the term Latinx on official state documents. She calls it indoctrination.

All right, still ahead, the downed Chinese balloon may just be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Beijing's surveillance.

But the Battle over Title 42 border roles may not and in the courtroom after all.

And LeBron James is truly the king, now the greatest scorer in NBA history.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lebron James a shot at history. And he got it!





BIDEN: And to my Republican friends, if we could work together in the last Congress, there's no reason we can't work together and find consensus on important things in this Congress as well. (Applause.)


ROMANS: President Biden appealing for bipartisanship in his state of the union address last night before a duly divided Congress. And to the new Republican House Speaker sitting right behind him. Let's bring in CNN senior political analyst and my friend Mark Preston. Hey, Mark, how are you?


ROMANS: A little tired, but, you know, state of the union night, always fun. What stood out to you in last night speech -- Mark?

PRESTON: Well, a couple things. One is that Joe Biden came in with a bit of energy that we haven't seen in a while. You will hear a lot in the next 24, 48 hours of people saying this is his best speech ever. I think that is probably a stretch.

But what we did see from him is a willingness to fight. And then we've heard him really layout what is probably going to be a campaign manifesto for the next couple years. Joe Biden appears to be running for president. All lights seem to be pointing in that direction. And Joe Biden really laid it out that he is willing to fight with Republicans over the next couple years to try to get things done. I don't think that he'll be able to get very much done in this divided Congress.

ROMANS: You know, he did appeal to that bipartisanship last night, right, and we also heard him spar with Republicans specifically over entitlement programs. Listen.


BIDEN: Instead of making the wealthy pay their fair share, some Republicans -- some Republicans want Medicare and Social Security to sunset. I'm not saying it's a majority --


BIDEN: Let me give you --


BIDEN: Anybody who doubts it, contact my office. I'll give you a copy. I'll give you a copy of the proposal.


BIDEN: That means Congress doesn't vote --

Well, I'm glad to see - no, I tell you, I enjoy conversion.



ROMANS: He's getting them on the record that they will not touch Medicare and Social Security. But what do you make of that moment and how that may help or hurt this idea that he wants to finish the job together with Republicans?

PRESTON: Well, a couple things. One, you have to wonder is the big winner of the state of the union speech is it AARP. I mean honestly. I mean, with these entitlement programs now, you have Republicans on the record saying that, you know, basically booing, you know, that they will do anything to them.

But there is a bit of truth to it. I mean, you know we saw Senator Rick Scott from Florida, he was a Republican leader in the past Congress, who suggested that this was one of the things that the Congress should do to try to lower the deficit, you know, at this point.

You know, Joe Biden talked about bipartisanship at the very beginning of the speech. We saw this real warmth of bipartisanship. But he did throw a lot of red meat as well. He certainly was playing to a Democratic base and I was really stating the point that he will fight the Republican Congress. But I think that a lot of Democrats -- simply on the progressive side -- didn't think that he will fight enough for their issues. Maybe there a little bit more alleviated after what they saw him say last night.

ROMANS: You know, he talked about jobs. We knew he'd talk about the economy. And he'd be optimistic about the economy but say there is more work to be done. He talked about recent economic issues. You know, the wind isn't blowing in his favor for a few months now on the economy, inflation starting to decelerate, jobs are strong. But a recent poll shows the majority of Americans think he has not done much, right. We know that people -- there's this lag between how people feel about their kitchen table economics and what the numbers say. Did this speech change any of that?

PRESTON: Well, you know, what's interesting, he said, you know, let's finish the job, let's finish the job, which really sounds like a campaign slogan. And it has many ways it has many meanings. Let's finish the job in the next two years, let's finish the job in the next six years because I'm running for president again. And I think that is what he was trying to convey.

Now to your point, his problem is, not only do folks think that the economic policies are not helping them right now, but even Democrats right now according to a new A.P. poll, less than four in ten Democrats want him to run for reelection. You know, he hasn't been above 50 percent in approval rating since August of 2021.

So even though Joe Biden might have had a good night tonight, I think he's a lot of trouble ahead of him over the next two years -- Christine.

ROMANS: Also at the Capitol, Mark, were the parents of Tyre Nichols and Biden sharing a very personal conversation. Listen.


BIDEN: Here's what Tyre's mother shared with me when I spoke to her, when I asked her how she finds the courage to carry on and speak out. With the faith of God, she said her son was, quote, "a beautiful soul" and "something good will come of this."

Imagine how much courage and character that takes.

It's up to us, to all of us.


ROMANS: That famous Joe Biden empathy. But what do you make of his remarks on police reform in particular?

PRESTON: Well, you know, it's interesting, he didn't go as far as to say that I want the specific George Floyd legislation approved. And he talked about what he has done through executive order. There may be some movement in Congress, but, Christine, he really showed that one of his greatest strengths, and we saw this on the campaign trail and ever since he's been in office, is empathy. He lowers his voice, he gets very serious, people kind of dial into him. And that was a success last night.

ROMANS: All right, Mark Preston, nice to see you. Thank you, have a great morning.

PRESTON: You too.

ROMANS: All right, the Biden administration says it plans to end the COVID-19 public health emergency. It will terminate the Trump era border policy known as Title 42 and make the current Supreme Court case moot. The health emergency is set to expire May 11. The Justices are scheduled to hear arguments March 1 on a challenge to lifting Title 42, which has allowed migrants, of course to be swiftly expelled at the U.S. southern border.

And the spy balloon shot down off the coast of South Carolina is part of a broader Chinese military surveillance program -- that's according to U.S. intelligence. Sources tell CNN the program has carried out at least two dozen missions in recent years, at lease least six over U.S. air space. Oren Lieberman has more from the Pentagon.


OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Bit by tattered, bit salvage teams have pulled the remnants of the Chinese high-altitude balloon out of the Atlantic Ocean, learning its secrets now just a matter of time. The first covered parts already at Quantico for FBI analysis.

CNN has reviewed parts of an Air Force report from last April that show the trajectory of one high altitude balloon that flew around the world in 2019 during the Trump administration. According to the report called People's Republic of China high altitude balloons, the balloon was launched and controlled by China as it drifted near Hawaii, and over southern Florida at 65,000 feet.

But it's unclear when the U.S. first became aware of the 2019 balloon or its intent.


The House Armed Services Committee hearing on the threat China poses to national security focused on this balloon.

REP. MIKE ROGERS (R-AL): Make no mistake, that balloon was intentionally launches a calculated show of force. We have to stop being naive about the threat we face from China.

LIEBERMANN (voice-over): The commander of northern command and NORAD Gen. Glenn VanHerck, acknowledged there was an awareness gap that allowed three balloons to overfly parts of the United States during the Trump administration. China's initial apology for this latest incident they claim was a weather balloon, has turned into indignation. China says the balloon debris doesn't belong to the U.S. and they want it back.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator)What I can say is this airship belongs to China, and not the United States.

LIEBERMANN: Shortly after the U.S. downed the Chinese balloon on Saturday afternoon, the Defense Department reach out to China to see if it was possible to set up a call between Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and his Chinese counterpart, minister of national security, Wei Fenghe. The Pentagon said on Tuesday that was rebuffed. China rejected an

opportunity to have a call, a very high-level call between Austin and his counterpart. This is important for a number of regions. First, Austin, as well President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Anthony Blinken have called on the importance of diplomacy and communication, especially during a time of heightened tension with the competition between the U.S. and China.

But it's also noteworthy because in China's first statement at they acknowledge responsibility for the balloon, they also called for diplomacy to handle the heightened tensions. Instead, now as this has evolved, China rejecting the opportunity of diplomacy, perhaps a tit- for-tat, since Blinken canceled his visit to Beijing.

Oren Liebermann, CNN, in the Pentagon.


ROMANS: All right, Oren, thank you for that.

Quick hits across America now. People who live in East Palestine, Ohio still under evacuation orders this morning. The controlled burn of toxic material from the site of the train derailment is over, but officials are waiting on more data from air quality.

Gabby Petito's family releasing a selfie showing her face injured on the day she was interviewed by Utah police for a domestic disturbance call. The family is suing the police for negligence.

Embattled U.S. Congressman -- Republican Congressman George Santos expected to face a House ethics investigation. Santos faces questions about fabricating his past and questions about his campaign finances.

Ahead, the FAA in the hot seat in Washington after dangerous close calls on the runways.

And next, the race against time to find survivors after the devastating earthquake. A live report next.



ROMANS: Rescue crews are racing to find survives in the rubble as the death toll climbs to almost 9500 in Turkey and Syria after a devastating earthquake. Turkey's president is expected to visit the disaster areas near the epicenter. CNN's Becky Anderson is live in southern Turkey with just the emotional, the emotional situation on the ground. What can you tell us -- Becky?

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: And we're just being moved away, this digger is just coming out. It's dragging out concrete from what is a disaster zone here. This was behind me an eight-story building at 4:15 Monday morning. And it is now noon on Wednesday, 53 odd hours later, and the building is completely destroyed. But -- and this is a great but here -- there is a family caught

underneath that rubble, they have been there for those 50 hours, it is a gentleman and his two kids, and this team just heard them tapping. They have been in contact with them for some hours over this period of time. By mobile phone, if you can believe it, they're caught in a void it seems underneath the building. They were on the fourth floor of this eight story building and the rescue crews are now through and just getting -- they are through the first four floors two -- very, very close they believe to this family who are still alive.

Now you've got to worry about the risks of hypothermia for anybody who is still alive in any of the buildings that have fallen apart here as a result of that massive earthquake on Monday. It's got a bit warmer, I have to say, today, but it was minus 6 overnight as we've been working, and it has been extremely cold across this region since Monday.

Nearly 10,000 dead at this stage, tens of thousands are injured. And UNICEF now saying many of those who have died will be children, many of those who are injured will be children.

But there rare glimmers of hope. I have to reinforce that and this situation here is one of those glimmers of hope. Again, let me just stand away so you can see what's going on. This is a search and rescue team -- a local search and rescue team. And I have to impress upon you volunteers, local volunteers using spades, drills, oftentimes their hands. This is such a delicate operation. The digger is actually just drawing away the debris that is now part of the extraction.

There is a big crane here just to my left which has been in operation this morning. The building you see to the lefthand side of this site is exactly the same as the building that was standing Monday morning. It is a remarkable situation. Sadly the building to the left has been listing to the left since we've been here the last 24 hours and there is a real concern that that building could come down.

But at this stage, everybody here just willing, willing these rescue workers to be able to get to this family who as I said they have heard them knocking. So they are very, very, very close at this stage.

President Erdogan is due in this region in the hours to come. And this is close to but not at the epicenter of the earthquake. And this is a relatively new town, a lot of the buildings here are untouched, relatively untouched, but there are pockets around this time like this which are scenes of shear devastation. Hearts breaking. But listen, in a situation like this, it's also heartwarming to see the efforts that are being made to save those who may be still alive. And the efforts of being made by people around me who are bringing soup and hot tea to the rescuers, coffee, anything that they need. Because many of these people have been on the site now for 50 hours in the bitter cold. Back to you.