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FEMA: Intense Natural Disasters Likely To Be "Our New Normal"; Other Red States Could Follow Texas' Lead On Abortion; Gov. Newsom Rallies Voters In Los Angeles Ahead Of Recall. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired September 06, 2021 - 12:30   ET



MAYOR TOM MURPHY (D), MAMARONECK, NY: Well, I'm very glad the President of the United States is there to show because and, you know, the emergency declaration is really going to be helpful. What this community needs more than anything else, John, we were promised an Army Corps of Engineer plan a few years back and under the Trump administration, it was cancelled.

We have our Senators and our Congressman Jamaal Bowman, all pushing to get that into hopefully, I heard you talk about the Infrastructure Bill. Hopefully, they can get that into the Infrastructure Bill this year. And finally, give some relief to the people of this community who have been suffering for generations, this kind of flooding, but it just gets worse.

You know, the floods used to come every 20, 25 years. Now it come in every three, four, and five years. And as we know from global warming, we're a community on the Long Island Sound and it's going to hit us harder and harder in the decades to come. So, you know, I beseech --

JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Forgive me to interrupt. But I want to talk about -- I want to talk specifically about that. I want you to listen here. This is the FEMA director and Cedric Richmond, he's one of the President's top advisors in the White House talking about what you're just talking about, that the world has changed, that these storms, these floods are coming way more often. Listen.


DEANNE CRISWELL, FEMA ADMINISTRATOR: I think this is going to be our new normal. We saw intense weather events in 2017. Last year was a record number of hurricanes and a record wildfire season.

CEDRIC RICHMOND, SENIOR BIDEN ADVISER: This once in a century storms are starting to come almost every other year. They're bigger, they're stronger, they wreak more havoc.


KING: So what is the challenge whether you're the President of the United States or United States Congress, or the Mayor of a village, in the sense that the philosophy used to be these come every 50 or 100 years, we'll clean up, we'll deal with it, and then we'll have 50, 100 years until it happens again.

Now it's happening, as you noted, every couple of years. What do you need to change at the local level, whether it's zoning, whether it's business restrictions, whether it's how close to the water people can live, and what kind of help you need from Washington?

MURPHY: You know, we're going to need possibly help in the future, you know, strengthening our infrastructure to withstand the storms. We know we've had a lot of infrastructure of the community, the fire department, and mental health facilities that we have in this community that was severely damaged. So we're going to need help from the federal government rebuilding those.

But, you know, we also need help, you know, we have sea walls that needed to be raised, you know, we have, you know, sewers, that was built 100 years ago. We were an old suburb, you know, we were the first suburbs outside of New York City.

So all our infrastructure that we're relying on, some of it was built, you know, during the WPA and some of it, you know, was built before that. So we really need help from the federal government to get back on our feet and get ready for the future because we can't abandon communities like Mamaroneck, New York.

You know, this is a vital community of 20,000 people, some of the most -- one of the most diverse communities in New York, you know. And, you know, we need to look out for each other the same way we pay tax dollars to help New Orleans survive this storm by strengthening their levees. And, you know, I have no problem with that. I think we should all look out for each other. But now it's our turn with folks need to look out for us.

You know, people in my community have suffered long and hard, and they really need a break. And I'm really hopeful that, you know, President Biden being the empathetic man that he is, and the wonderful people that we have representing us in Congress, that we can get the ball into the end zone this time.

KING: Mr. Mayor, I appreciate your time. I know you're very busy right now dealing with this crisis. Please keep in touch in the weeks and months ahead as you go through your checklist to see if what you're promised and what you need are being delivered. We'd like to continue that conversation, appreciate it, sir.

MURPHY: I certainly will and thank you for this opportunity.

KING: Thank you.


Up next for us, the new highly restrictive Texas abortion rules now in effect and they're being studied by a handful of other conservative Governors who say they may try to copy them.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: Texas is now the most restrictive state in the nation when it comes to abortion rights. And there may be efforts to copy that new law in other conservative states. The Texas rules, no abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy marking giant setback for abortion rights advocates and they open a new chapter in abortion politics.


REP. VERONICA ESCOBAR (D-TX): Women are going to take their health into their own hands, it will impact young women, poor women and women of color. Texas is now a very dangerous place for women and children. We're going to see more states basically import this law and do everything possible to create the most hostile conditions for women in our country.


KING: Our panel is back with us on this special Labor Day edition of Inside Politics. We just show you to the Congresswoman's point some headlines from around the country. Governor DeSantis says he'll look more significantly at abortion ban after Texas law takes effect.

We have a South Dakota public broadcasting. We have Governor Noem reviewing abortion laws. I'm sorry, we'll have -- get that up there if we can. In POLITICO, abortion becomes a huge motivator in governor races.

The question is, let's set the politics aside for a second. In the immediate right now today, if you're a woman in Texas, your life has changed dramatically. Your rights have changed dramatically. We're going to watch this play out we'll know a lot more in a month in two months than we do today but this is a giant turning of the page.

TIA MITCHELL, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, THE ATLANTA JOURNAL- CONSTITUTION: Yes, what we see is that many abortion clinics are turning women away and that the number of abortions in Texas has decreased dramatically since the Supreme Court decided to allow this law to take place because there are clinics that are just, you know, number one, they don't want to be sued, they don't want to be noncompliant with the law. And the law, as it exists is so restrictive, that most women are arriving simply too late to be able to have a legal abortion.


KING: And then comes in inevitably because of the calendar and because these other states or a number of other states that have restrictive abortion laws are now saying, should we copy Texas or should we just wait until this will make its way up to the Supreme Court along with some other laws that will?

But there's the debate now about does this help or hurt politically? You do have a lot of left of centered groups saying this should prove to be a motivational force in the governors' races this year and perhaps in 2022 midterms. Fair? PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I mean, I think that's fair. I think you're always, at least I'm always a little bit reticent to dive immediately into what this means, particularly because it's only a weekend and I think it's caught a lot of people off guard, if you weren't paying attention to the Fifth Circuit and weren't paying attention necessarily to the shadow docket in the Supreme Court.

I think the reality is, this is a massive issue. It always is a very significant issue. It is a huge significant issue for both bases of each party. But I think the interesting element is, you know, depending on how the question is written, Roe v. Wade, as always, majority support, abortion rights is always majority support.

And so how does each party try and operate within kind of this new reality to however extent -- however long it last, particularly because I think you kind of nailed it on the head with governors. This is going to become a litmus test for conservatives. I don't think there's any question about that.

And I think the question on the Democratic side is, all right, how do you leverage this? How major of an issue do you make this particularly when you have somebody who sits in the White House right now who's clearly has said his administration is all in searching for some way to block this or to counter this. But when it comes to abortion, specifically, it's not something that the President likes to talk about on a regular basis.

KING: It's not something he likes to talk about on a regular basis. And so, and then you have the issue of the President and named Supreme Court Justices at the end of the last term. There's a lot of pressure from liberals on Stephen Breyer, the eldest member of the court, a Democrat to retire, they want to get a younger court member in because you don't know.

Does Biden have one term? Do the Democrats have more in the White House? Listen to Senator Amy Klobuchar over the weekend saying, if you need to think about this again, Justice Breyer, Texas, should be the gateway.


SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: If he is seriously considering retirement, and he said he would do it based on not only his own health but also the future of the court, if this decision doesn't cry out for that? I don't know what does.


KING: Add that to the very complicated politics of this.

KAROUN DEMIRJIAN, CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Right. I mean, look, I think that the Democratic Party still has PTSD from the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and what happened with Amy Coney Barrett, which is a big shift in terms of ideology of who took the seat. And if these cases do get to the Supreme Court, it seems pretty obvious which way they're going to be decided. It'll become not just state by state but the whole nation.

So yes, there's a lot of anxiety in the Democratic Party to say, look, we -- while you have a Democratic president who can pick a Democrat, liberal leaning justice, do it now before the court gets even more conservative than it is. But this is I mean, this all ends up coming down to one person, right? There was pressure like that on Ruth Bader Ginsburg back in the day too, it didn't happen.

And we know that no matter what happens, even with the amended filibuster rules that make it pretty easy for Supreme Court Justice to get through. It's a 50-50 Senate split. It's ugly politics when you do a Supreme Court nominee, add that to the mix of things that the Biden Administration may have to deal with in the balance of 2021.

KING: And you mentioned the president, Phil, I just want to read this is from POLITICO Magazine over the weekend article by Ruby Cramer, Biden may soon find the line he's walked over four decades of public life as a politician of ostentatious faithfulness, who always insists his faith as a private matter, no longer available to him.

He is a devout Catholic. He is a more conservative Democrat when it comes to these issues. He is now prochoice on the record, which you mentioned, it's not something he likes to talk about. It's not something he likes to push his views on others at a time when the pressure in the party is going to be, take the lead.

MATTINGLY: Take the lead and make this the focal point to some degree and do everything you possibly can to fight. The interesting thing in talking to Democrats over the course of the last couple days about this is this idea of, we get it. You have your legislative agenda.

We get it, you need to deal with hurricanes, you need to deal with foreign policy issues. This should now move above everything else. And you've seen it, advocates say that with voting rights, you've seen a number of different issues.

And the President has made clear, this is what I'm focused on. This will be the thing that matters most in the end for the party and for the country. Democrats are saying we have something else now, you need to focus on that and how will he respond to that is going to be very interesting.

KING: The point you made earlier about a weekend both in terms of the policy implementation in Texas and other states to follow and then the politics we got a lot to learn as we go through this. Appreciate everybody coming in on this Labor Day holiday.


Coming up for us, just moments ago, the Governor of California Gavin Newsom rallying voters, California is recall election now entering the final stretch.


KING: Just moments ago, the California Governor Gavin Newsom wrapping up a rally. That as the California recall election enters its final days just eight days now until the recall election takes place. Democratic Governor calling in some heavy hitters for help. Vice President Kamala Harris campaigns with Newsom Wednesday.

He held rallies over the weekend with Senators Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren. And this Labor Day, the Governor is highlighting his backing from some of California's most powerful unions.

Seema Mehta is a political writer for The Los Angeles Times who's covering the recall campaign. Seema grateful for your time. As we mentioned the stress, let's just listen to the Governor just moments ago at this Labor Day rally in his view framing the stakes.


GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): Question is, what will likely voters do? What will you do over the course of the next eight days to determine the fate of future not just of the current Governor of the state of California, but the future of this state?



KING: A month ago, the numbers for the Governor look dicey. Right now they look pretty good. But Democrats still seemed pretty nervous, calling in the Vice President, calling in those key Senators over the weekend. What is the nervousness about turnout grumpy voters because of COVID and other issues?

SEEMA MEHTA, POLITICAL WRITER, LOS ANGELES TIMES: This is an election unlike any election we've ever had before. Everyone received a mail ballot because of COVID. It's an off year, it's September. It's not a time when people are used to voting. So no one really knows exactly who's turning out. I mean, we see, we know that 5.7 million Californians have already returned their ballots and Democrats are outnumbering the Republicans like more than two to one.

But we also we've seen a change in voting patterns where Republicans who used to vote by mail are now much more voting day of the election because of former President Trump questioning the validity of mail-in ballots. And they have also seen weakness among young voters and Latino voters in particular. And these are two groups that historically are harder to pronounce in nonpresidential years and there are two key parts of Governor Newsom's coalition.

KING: And California is complicated. We have viewers all around the country. They might not understand five giant media markets and how much money it takes to compete in that. And sometimes calling in, you know, the Vice President of the United States who of course, is a Californian, Senator Warren, Senator Klobuchar, former presidential candidate, sometimes that helps, but sometimes not so much. What is your take on whether it does or does not help Governor Newsom in this case?

MEHTA: I mean, he's clearly still trying to turn out his base like this is not an argument to people in the middle. This is an argument to Democratic base voters. And if you look at as he mentioned, California is an incredibly expensive media market. In August, when we saw this change in the polls from when it was looking really tight to looking slightly better for him, he spent $36 million. That is a huge amount of money in like about four weeks.

And, you know, you see the ads is airing. It's Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, these are people, again, and Bernie Sanders in particular is super popular with young voters here and Latino voters here. So he's totally trying to make sure because the concern with the polling was never that Democrats didn't favor him. They just were not as enthusiastic as Republicans were about voting in the recall election.

KING: Is there a risk in the Governor's strategy, which is again, for viewers who don't understand, there are two questions on the recall ballot. Number one is, should we recall the Governor? And if the answer that is yes, then you move on to number two and you vote on this long list of people who say they would like to be the next governor of California, Gavin Newsom is not on that list. So what he is telling people is vote no, don't even turn the page. Is there a risk in that strategy?

MEHTA: Absolutely. I mean the Democratic Party and Gavin Newsom made this bet that, you know, not by not having as a Democrat replacing the candidate on that a prominent Democrat on that second question that they could frame this as a Republican, you know, power grab an effort by Republicans to do what they cannot or have not been able to do in a state wide election since 2006.

But the danger is, I mean, if the Governor is new -- is recalled the next for Democrats the danger is that the next Governor will almost certainly be a Republican. And right now with the way that the polling is, the current front runner on that list is Larry Elder who's national syndicated, you know, conservative talk radio host, who I mean, yesterday when he was speaking at a church he said, you know, he doesn't see the need for sex education in schools.

So if Democrats took a gamble here, and so if they -- if Governor Newsom is recalled, this day it's going to look very different. I mean, he will be blocked by a Democrat, you know, the Democrats in the legislature, but you will have some authority. And I think beyond the day will, you know, there'll be a lot of second guessing about, you know, bad decision, bad strategy.

KING: What are you going to look for in the final week in the sense of you make a key point, we can see which ballots are returned for mail ballots, we can tell whether they're from Democrats or not. But we won't know until the day of turnout until the 14th?

MEHTA: Right, and that's the question. So we're going to find out tomorrow more about how many more people have voted, I mean who is voting. One of the key or two of the key things I'm going to look at are those young voters and those Latino voters to see if that if their numbers are taking up. The other question I have is in L.A. County in some other parts of the

state, they started opening voting centers on Saturday, so we'll actually get to see, you know, where you can actually go and cast your ballot in a traditional way. So we'll get to see if, you know, if Republicans are voting in that area too. So we should get to more information to that.

KING: Seema Mehta of the L.A. Times, grateful for your time and your reporting on this. We'll keep in touch over the next eight days. Appreciate it very much.

MEHTA: Thank you.


KING: Ahead for us, the Taliban claimed victory against resistance forces in Panjshir province and say all of Afghanistan is now under their control.


KING: Topping our Political Radar today, the Taliban plans to announce a new Afghan government in a few days that according to a spokesman. Exactly what's that government will look like he says remains to be seen. This is the Taliban now claimed to have captured Afghanistan's Panjshir Valley, the final stronghold of the resistance. One week ago today, the last U.S. service members left the country after a chaotic and deadly exit in 20 years of war.

Starting today, more than 8 million Americans lose their unemployment benefits. The end of the emergency federal program comes of course as the Delta variant has COVID cases surging nationwide. And it comes on the heels of a weaker expected -- weaker than expected jobs report from the federal government.

Melania Trump said to be happy and relaxed since leaving the White House and she has no plans no desire to return. Sources tell CNN the former First Lady is now enjoying life, staying out of politics, not making any public appearances, and rarely interacting with their husband's political staff at Mar-a-Lago. Instead, it's reported she fills her days with spa treatments and spends time with her son Barron and her parents.

This quick programming note, they're World Cup champions but their biggest battle is happening off the field. Hear from the players fighting for equal pay and women's rights in the film LFG tonight at 9:00 p.m. right here on CNN.


Thanks for spending your day with us this Labor Day. Appreciate your time. Hope to see you back here tomorrow. Erica Hill picks up our coverage right now.