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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

Abortion Issue Boosts Democrats in State Races; Israel Opens Four-Hour Evacuation Window in Gaza; Secretary of State Blinken: Clear That Israel Cannot Occupy Gaza; House Censures Rep. Tlaib Over Israel- Hamas Comments. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired November 08, 2023 - 05:00   ET



OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, everyone. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Omar Jimenez. It is Wednesday, November 8.

But after last night's election results, it's a great day for Democrats. It's 5:00 a.m. in the East, and they may still be celebrating victories they notched in elections across the country.

In Ohio, a decisive vote in favor of enshrining the right to abortion in the state's constitution. The issue has been a proven a political winner for Democrats since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year.

Ohio abortion advocates couldn't contain their excitement last night.


LAUREN BLAUVELT, CO-CHAIR, OHIOANS UNITED FOR REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS: There was no choice. We had to win. We had to end the ban. Winning was our only option and we did it together.


JIMENEZ: Abortion was also a major factor in Virginia where CNN projects Democrats will now control both houses of the state legislature, having won a majority in the House of Delegates, flipping it to Democratic control.

And then in the governor's race in deep red Kentucky, Democratic incumbent Andy Beshear fended off his Republican challenger Daniel Cameron.


GOV. ANDY BESHEAR (D), KENTUCKY: This wasn't my win. This was our victory. It was a victory that sends a loud clear message, a message that candidates should run for something and not against someone.


JIMENEZ: So with all of that good news for Democrats, Republicans also scored some wins Tuesday. In Mississippi, incumbent Republican Governor Tate Reeves beat back a strong challenge by Democrat Brandon Presley. Yes, a second cousin of Elvis. And there's new polling out for President Biden that isn't exactly great for him, showing Donald Trump narrowly ahead of Biden in a hypothetical rematch, 49 percent to 45 percent.

Wrap that in with tonight's GOP presidential debate, once again minus former president Trump, and we have a panel, plenty to talk about.

We've got Matt Mowers, senior White House adviser -- former senior White House adviser, State Department, former Republican nominee and now president of Valcour. CNN political commentator and former Clinton campaign spokesperson Karen Finney, and Jackie Kucinich, CNN political analyst and Washington bureau chief for "The Boston Globe".

Welcome, everyone. Great to see you. Glad that you are up with us.

So, Matt, let me start with you. You were a GOP congressional nominee. Given what you saw last night, how should Republicans running for re- election last -- next year interpret what we saw last night?

MATT MOWERS, FORMER STATE DEPARTMENT SENIOR WHITE HOUSE ADVISOR: Well, first and foremost, start raising a heck of a lot more money. I mean, you can look at the political dynamics of every race and what it all means, and we will. But it's fairly tough to draw a thread between Mississippi to Kentucky to Virginia to New Jersey to draw too many conclusions. But one thing was crystal clear, Democrats outspent Republicans in every single race and by a significant margin.

You look at Kentucky, for example. You actually had campaign to campaign, Andy Beshear outspent Daniel Cameron almost 5:1. Outside spending brought it closer parity, but still a 2:1 spending margin. In New Jersey races, 4:1. And Virginia, it was almost 2:1, although you had Glenn Youngkin out there campaigning and raising money for the Republican candidates.

So, I tell them, get on the phone, start raising money because that is what it's going to take in election next year.

The other thing, you have to keep it focused on local issues. You actually saw some bright spots for Republicans even in the Northeast. You look at New Hampshire, Republicans took control of the Manchester mayoral race. He kept it focused on local issues, crime and taxes. Actually (INAUDIBLE) farm out to national Republican saying, I don't want to nationalize this race, I want to focus on the issues that what my voters care about and he succeeded. So stay local and raise a lot of money I would tell Republican candidates across the country.

JIMENEZ: Well, one factor we saw play out over the course of this, we saw it play out in the midterms is abortion is driving voter enthusiasm, at least some on the Democratic side, and it builds on what we saw during the midterms including places like Wisconsin, Michigan, and now in Arizona, activists are gathering signatures, to put a similar question on the ballots. So, we could see that be a factor in the coming elections as well. And, Jackie, so my question to you, not that these elections weren't

important, but they weren't part of a presidential election cycle. How big of an impact do you expect abortion ballot measures to have on voting come November next year?

JACKIE KUCINICH, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think one thing we're seeing in Ohio, it wasn't just Democratic voters who came out to vote for this. You saw in areas where Trump actually won and outperformed Biden in that state.


And it really did show across the country -- I mean, Beshear campaigned on the fact that he thought that Cameron's stance was too extreme on abortion.

In Virginia, across the board you saw a lot of these candidates use abortion front and center as part of their campaigns. So I -- this -- it would be shocking if this wasn't front and center in the presidential race and across the country, we're seeing ballot initiatives starting to gather signatures, places like Arizona, potentially Florida, potentially Iowa.

This is going to definitely be a part, a major part of the conversation in 2024. No doubt.

JIMENEZ: And, of course, there were questions how much would that enthusiasm carry over from the results that we saw again in some midterm races. But I think that it is clear based on what we saw, it's still very much front of mind for, yeah, of course, as you mentioned, not just Democrats as far as those came out.

Now, Karen, big night for Democrats, but they still have on confront a bit of reality when it comes to 2024 at least as far as polls go. It is still early, but polling does show challenges ahead for the Biden campaign. That said, could last night's results provide some momentum for Biden or do you see those two things as separate?

KAREN FINNEY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think it gives us a view into where the voters are and what issues are mobilizing voters. You know, all due respect to Matt, I knew that he would talk about being outspent because if you can't win on the excuse, talk about how you were outspent.

But let's talk about that for just a moment because in Kentucky, you know, Beshear he also would not -- not only was he contending with his opponent, he had five super PACs running ads against him largely anti- Biden ads. And look how handily he won by focusing on the issues.

He didn't just talk about reproductive freedom. He really talked about what he was doing with the infrastructure money, what he had been doing around some of the hurricanes and other issues that they had in the state, around jobs, around building communities. So I think that part of what it tells us is that stay connected to the voters, talk about what they care about, and, yes, reproductive rights continues to be, not surprisingly, about the seventh time people have gone to the polls and made it very, very clear where they stand.

And I also think in Virginia, the fact that Glenn Youngkin, it was a bad night for Glenn Youngkin who put a lot of his own personal political capital on the line and really came up short.

So again, I think that there are some tea leaves that Democrats can take a look at and say, look, these are not great polls, but we are a year out and how do we use this time over the next year to make sure we are doing the work to win the election.

JIMENEZ: And so, Matt, I let you can respond to some of what Karen said. Part of -- I mean, yes, spending is one thing but obviously how do Republicans get around the issue of many of their instances on abortion here?

MOWERS: Look, every state is going to be different. Let's not forget that Brandon Presley, the Democrat in Mississippi, of course, was running as a pro-life Democrat and there was even a lot of coverage about how Democrat voters would respond to that.

But it has to be tailor-made. We do a lot of work in New Jersey for the down ballot races. And there were a number of Republicans actually win Biden -- districts that Joe Biden won by 18 points.

So it is going to be incumbent on every Republican to navigate the dynamics of their district. You're not going to see one overarching national answer on abortion. Roe v. Wade isn't going to permit for that -- overturning, Roe v. Wade, the Dobbs decision, won't permit for that. It will be a state by state issue. So every Republican has to navigate the dynamics of their own district that way.

And look, for Andy Beshear, I give him credit. Look, he was incumbent governor who ran a smart campaign, focus on the issues and he won as an incumbent governor. There is a lot of benefits to that.

Again, I'm not trying to discount some of the other issues at play. I will say that incumbent governor with a bigger war chest nine out of ten times does win re-election and that was the case in Kentucky.

JIMENEZ: Yeah, and one thing that I want to make sure that we try to get through, Jackie, you can take this, that over in Virginia Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin obvious spent a lot of money and political capital to try to get a Republican majority in the state legislature. The results clearly a blow for his agenda.

But do you see any reverberations nationally for Republicans there?

KUCINICH: I mean, the entrance of Glenn Youngkin as dark horse presidential candidate was sort of fan fic to begin with, particularly because of where we are in the cycle at this point. And there has been a lot of discussion about what does happen to Glenn Youngkin after his tenure as governor?


Perhaps this will quiet the 2024 talk. But we'll have to see going forward what he does and where he goes. But certainly his ambitions are pretty clear.

JIMENEZ: Yeah, we will see how that affects things moving forward. But, look, believe it or not, we didn't get to a lot. We're going to run this back a little later this hour. Thank you all for being here.

All right. Coming up for us, still ahead, the stage set for tonight's GOP debate in Miami. What is different this time around?

Plus, a new window to get out of Gaza. The announcement just a short time ago from Israel Defense Forces.

And just hours from now, Ivanka Trump on the witness stand in a New York courtroom.

More ahead.


JIMENEZ: Happening now, the Israeli military has opened up another humanitarian corridor for Gazans to evacuate from Gaza. It's just a four-hour window that closes at 7:00 a.m. But given the widespread electricity and internet outages in the area, it's not clear just how many people will learn of the chance to move.

CNN's Gustavo Valdes is live in Tel Aviv. So, Gustavo, good to see you.

What more are the Israelis saying about the humanitarian window?

GUSTAVO VALDES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is an important part of the day because it is when they allow the people who have been registered, who have been vetted, who met some kind of special criteria to be allowed out of Gaza. A lot of them are injured people, people with some kind of illness that required urgent care, and also foreigners.

Yesterday, for instance, in this four-hour window, only 600 people were allowed to get out of Gaza. So there are thousands of people waiting for this opportunity, but only a few get the chance.

And also the (INAUDIBLE) in Gaza informed that they are seeing trucks with aid going into the Gaza Strip.

JIMENEZ: And, Gustavo, you know, we are following some comments from Secretary of State Antony Blinken out of the G7 right now, and he talked more about the long term prognosis for the area, and potentially life after this war. What are you hearing on that front?

VALDES: So, yesterday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel is ready to take over security in Gaza, at least for the foreseeable future. But not everybody seemed to agree that this is a good idea.


ANTONY BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE: One, Gaza cannot continue to be run by Hamas. It is also clear that Israel cannot occupy Gaza. Now, the reality is that there may be a need for some transition period at the end of the conflict. But it is imperative that the Palestinian people be central to governance in Gaza and in the West Bank as well, and that, again, we don't see a reoccupation.


VALDES: Antony Blinken in Tokyo where he's meeting with G7 leaders, they all agree that they don't support a ceasefire in the Israeli offensive but they are calling for a pause for humanitarian reasons.

JIMENEZ: Gustavo Valdes, thank you so much. Please stay safe.

Coming up for us, hear from the congresswoman just censured for what she said about the Israel Hamas war.

And people in Philadelphia waking up with something that the city has never had before. That's next.



JIMENEZ: Quick hits now.

The House has voted to censure Michigan Democrat Rashida Tlaib over her comments on the Israel-Hamas war. Just before the vote, the first Palestinian American member of Congress rose to defend herself.


REP. RASHIDA TLAIB (D-MI): The refusal of Congress and the administration to acknowledge Palestinian lives is chipping away at my soul. Over 10,000 Palestinians have been killed. Majority, majority, were children.

But let me be clear. My criticism has always been of the Israeli government and Netanyahu's actions. It is important to separate people and governments, Mr. Chair. No government is beyond criticism.


JIMENEZ: Tlaib had posted a video to social media of protestors chanting "from the river to the sea", which the Anti-Defamation League says has long been a rallying cry for those seeking destruction of Israel.

Democrat Gabe Amo is the projected winner of Rhode Island special congressional election. He will be the first Black person ever to represent the state in Congress.

And not far from there, former Philadelphia City Council member, Cherelle Parker, will become the first woman to lead the city. She'll be only the city's fourth Black mayor and first woman.

Now, warm weather today across the southern tier of the United States. More than 45 record high temperatures are possible over the next couple of days.

So let's go to meteorologist Derek Van Dam.

Derek, what are we looking at here?

DEREK VAN DAM, AMS CERTIFIED METEOROLOGIST: Good morning. Yeah, good morning, Omar.

You know, I think that we're desperately trying to hold on to summer as best as we can. The weather maps have anything to say about it, we are, right? So, for the next couple of days, we'll enjoy the warmth while we can, but things are going to change and that will happen quickly from west to east, which we see in just a minute.

But in the meantime, Wednesday to Friday, so today through early parts of the weekend, 45 record highs. Look where that is located across the Southern Plains, the mid Mississippi River valley and into the Tennessee region.

Now, check this out, this is impressive mercury in the thermometer. I mean, we're talking about lower 90s in the middle of November. This high temperature in Borger, Texas, is shattering the daily record high temperature, but it also was the hottest day for that particular location in the month of November.

So that puts it into context how warm it has been and of course that's going to change as I mentioned already, cool air is going to sweep eastward, thanks to a cold front and we'll see a dramatic drop in our temperatures. The mercury and thermometer will take a nose drive by nearly 30 degrees in some location, look at today's high in Amarillo, 80 degrees, tomorrow, it will be 51, more of the same for Lubbock, Dallas, Shreveport, to Little Rock, about a 25 to 30 degree temperature swing from today versus tomorrow.

So keep that in mind as you plan your week, you can see the extended forecast for larger cities, St. Louis to Chicago, Atlanta, we all cool down through the course of the week and it's thanks to this cold front here that is moving eastward that will allow for the change in our temperatures.

By the way, that is a bit of snowfall on our map northern Michigan. Marquette, yeah, the flakes, they're flying already.


So, winter is coming.

JIMENEZ: That's a wide range, and it reminds me that there is a fake fall where it feels like fall, where it feels like fall, and, all of a sudden, it's super hot and then we're back. So, we'll see you.

VAN DAM: I'll take it.

JIMENEZ: Derek Van Dam, thank you.

Coming up for us, brand new CNN polling just hours ago, Biden versus Trump in a rematch. It's not great news for the president, at least as far as what the polls show.

And Ivanka Trump under oath. She takes the witness stand in just a few hours at her father's civil fraud trial.


JIMENEZ: Hi, everyone. Thanks for getting up early with us. I'm Omar Jimenez.

It was a good night for Democrats across the country with election victories driven in large part by abortion. It was a major issue in the fight for the Virginia legislature, which Democrats won last night by adding control of the House of Delegates, to the state Senate where they already had the majority.

In Ohio, abortion was literally on the ballot. Voters there approved an amendment enshrining the right to abortion in the state --