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Inside Politics

Biden: "Hypocritical" GOP "Playing Russian Roulette" with U.S. Economy; Biden: Refusal to Raise Debt Limit "Dangerous & Disgraceful"; Biden: Meteor is headed to Crash into our Economy; Whistleblower: Facebook Prioritized Profit over Public Good; CDC: "Safest Way" to Spend Holidays is "Virtually". Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired October 04, 2021 - 12:00   ET




JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: --I disagreed with Medicare for all for example I disagreed but I lay that what I thought would be important. For example I think the Build Back Better Program is required that we, in fact, have the best education available to us and I'll be speaking to this in detail tomorrow.

But look, here's the situation. How can we in an ever competitive world, increasingly competitive world, how can we not meet the educational standards, at least other countries are working toward? Nobody is reducing the number of years they want their children to go to school, or people are going to school.

You've heard me say before is my wife says, if we don't, if any country out, educators are going out, compete us look what China's doing. Look what the rest of the world is doing. They're investing. They're also investing in things that relate to ability for people to go to work, and stay at work.

We have several million women who can't go back to work because they don't have any way to take care of their children. So to give a tax cut, to work and mom to be able to afford daycare is that bad? That's a bad idea. I think it's a darn good idea. We'll get people back to work.

So there are a lot of things in the legislation I'm going to be talking about across the country that I think the American people overwhelmingly support. But the idea that somehow this is somebody else's legislation, this is what I wrote.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: $7 trillion, say, a $2 trillion reconciliation bill, would that be acceptable to you?

BIDEN: Again, as you know, it's not a smart thing to negotiate with yourself in public. Let's see, we're in the process of continuing to talk to all the parties and see what we can get done.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you so much, Mr. President. Two questions first, you said our progress in the negotiation but today will save you only have 40 books. So what is this problem? And another question for an international news that was big yesterday about the control of papers?

Do you have a reaction; you could fight against corruption as the papers - the Pandora Papers. You've said you could fight against corruption in the core of your national security policy. So what is your reaction? And do you plan to do anything about it?

BIDEN: We're looking at that right now. The first part of your question was what?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: --progress? What does progress look like?

BIDEN: Winning a surprise. Last question for you --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just want to be very clear; can you guarantee that the U.S. will not reach the debt ceiling that that will not happen?

BIDEN: Knowing kid that's up to Mitch McConnell.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So it is possible that the U.S. will not pay its debt? That is our --

BIDEN: Can you believe that that will be the end result? Because the consequences so dire? I don't believe that. But can I guarantee it? If I could, I would, but I can't. Thank you all very much I appreciate it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: --that the deal is off the high demand is not included. Do you support that? Where do you stand on that, sir?


DANA BASH, CNN HOST, INSIDE POLITICS: President Joe Biden at the White House talking initially about the debt ceiling and about how crucial he says it is for America not to renege on his debt. This is Dana Bash. I'm in Washington in for John King. I want to thank you for joining me for "Inside Politics".

You have been listening to a very lengthy, what turned it into a press conference. The president also talked about the very real, very live negotiation that continues over his agenda, both on traditional infrastructure and on the social safety net.

We're going to get to that in a moment. But first, I want to go to Kaitlan Collins at the White House to talk about the whole reason for that event, which is the debt ceiling. Kaitlan, he used words like hypocritical, dangerous and disgraceful to describe the Republicans had a lot of metaphors in there said they're playing Russian roulette, and then talk broadly about the debt ceiling coming like a meteor headed to crash into our economy.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And those comments there at the end, were probably the most notable where he was asked if he could guarantee that that X day that date two weeks from now, where the Treasury Secretary has warned there will be catastrophic consequences if the U.S. does reach its debt limit on October the 18th.

He says he can't guarantee that that won't happen. He said, it's up to Mitch McConnell, as part of this broader speech where he was really putting all of this on Republicans saying that it is up to them to participate in this process, or he said, at least not stand in the way so that they can vote to either raise or suspend the debt limit.

And so this is incredibly notable where the president was discussing about this because one path that they've discussed pursuing and the thing that Mitch McConnell has said and that he said in a letter to President Biden, which he said he got just a few moments before he came out here today, and we'll be talking to McConnell is saying that Democrats need to use reconciliation process to raise the debt limit.

That of course is the process that they are going to be using that is Democrats only to try to get that bigger package that we've been talking about that bigger package on social - the social policy and climate change bill to get that passed with just Democratic support.


COLLINS: And Mitch McConnell and Republicans have said they need to use that as well to raise the debt limit. But the president there did not rule that out, but said it would be complicated and a cumbersome process. And of course, it's also one that they would need to start very soon in order to avoid that, that fiscal cliff that October 18th date actually coming to fruition and so he didn't rule it out.

But he did seem to say he is not is not something that the White House wants to see happen. Incredibly notable also is what he was talking about, not just when it comes to the debt limit, but his broader domestic agenda, saying that he has 48 votes in the Senate.

But if two people are standing in the way, of course, without naming them, we know exactly who they are Senator Joe Manchin and Senator Kyrsten Sinema, who the White House was deeply involved in those negotiations with last week over what the path forward on this is going to look like.

And he was saying he's got 98 percent of his party, but he's missing those two votes in the Senate. One other notable aspect of that entire back and forth with reporters Dana was where he was asked about some of the tactics, tactics that you've seen activists using over the last several days.

Kayaking up to Senator Joe Manchin's houseboat that he lives on in Washington also following Senator Sinema into the bathroom that is something he said we believe were inappropriate tactics. But he said it's part of the process of being a politician in his view.

BASH: Kaitlan, thank you so much for that recap. I appreciate it. I want to come here inside the studio around the table. We're very lucky and that we have people who can actually turn what we just heard into English much the way Kaitlan did. My panel is Eva McKend CNN National Political Reporter Ryan Nobles CNN Congressional Correspondent and Jackie Kucinich, Washington Bureau Chief at "The Daily Beast".

Ryan, you spent your time running around Capitol Hill. One of the things actually several the things that the president said about the debt ceiling and that date, that cliff is October 18th. So in a couple of weeks, it is really important to underscore.

This is about paying the debt already incurred. Republicans are their tactic, their strategy is to try to lump it all together. And to say no, this is about all the big, big numbers that we're hearing about 1.41, which is the bipartisan bill, whether it's going to be 3 trillion for the social safety net, or 2 trillion, they're giant numbers.

So Republicans are saying, OK, we're not going to do this, but suggesting it's because of that spending. But the reality is the spending that occurred previously, a lot of these Republicans supported, especially during the Trump Administration, that's the - that's what raising the debt ceiling is to help pay for.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's exactly right. And furthermore, there is a mechanism for them to pass this on the floor of the Senate without a single Republican vote without going through this process of a supermajority; they could just allow the bill to come to the floor.

But Republicans instead are using this - using a political posture here to force Democrats into a position to try and make this all on their backs. But if Mitch McConnell just said, you can vote on it, they could pass it not every single Republican would have to vote for it. And the debt ceiling problem would be solved.

But instead, they're forcing them to go through this reconciliation process. And that makes the process so much more complicated for a number of reasons. First, you only get so many cracks at the reconciliation process. They definitely want to use it at least one time to pass through the Biden agenda.

Secondly, there's just a timing issue. Can they get it all done in that short period of time that they have left before the deadline? And then the other, which might be the biggest reason that Chuck Schumer's a little reluctant to do this, is because you have to go through this process called "Vote-o-Rama", which allows Republicans to bring a series of amendments to the floor, that forces Democrats to take tough votes on issues of it down.

BASH: They can close it down.

NOBLES: Yes, that could turn into political issues. Now, the parliamentarian did rule this week not to get into the weeds down.

BASH: I think we're already there.

NOBLES: Yes, exactly. But that, you know, if they do a, you know, a reconciliation piece that is just focused on the debt ceiling, that would limit the type of amendments that could be brought to the floor, but still, you have to deal with this process. It's all part of the reason that they prefer Mitch McConnell, just take his foot off of this situation, say, let it come to the floor, and we'll vote on it and we'll move on.

BASH: So for people who might have missed the beginning of the president's remarks, I want to play what he said specifically about the Republican approach to obstruct on raising the debt ceiling.


BIDEN: So let's be clear. Not only are Republicans refusing to do their job, they threatened to use the power, their power to prevent us from doing our job, saving the economy from a catastrophic event. I think quite frankly, hypo critical, dangerous and disgraceful Meteor is headed is headed to crash into our economy.


BASH: And Jackie, the McConnell strategy/ argument?

JACKIE KUCINICH, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, THE DAILY BEAST: Is that Democrats can do this on their own and but I think when you cut through it, as Ryan said, they're trying to slow this down. They're trying to make this as painful, politically painful as humanly possible.


BASH: But do you think they're open to that criticism?

KUCINICH: That it's hypocritical? I don't think Mitch McConnell has ever blinked at being called hypocritical ever. I direct you to justice Amy Coney Barrett? And of course, yes, and a host of other issues I don't think he really minds, sticks and stones, you know, but he's still, you know, is in control of the situation.

But yes, I think this does boil down to politics. And that's it. And they're just trying to slow this down and make it so it's harder for Democrats to pass the agenda that Biden has everything, everything riding on.

BASH: Yes. And Eva, I wanted to switch to the other topic, which is a big one, which is his agenda. I mean, nothing short of that. Such a telling moment, when he was asked about whether or not the fact that he's being really tough on two Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin listen to his answer.


BIDEN: I need 50 votes in the Senate. I have 48.


EVA MCKEND, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER: Well, there it is. And he doesn't want to isolate them, because he knows that he needs them. But at the same time, I think we hear that frustration. I will say in the weeks ahead, moderates are going to face the tougher messaging battle, right?

Because in the coming weeks, we're going to learn what's going to come out of this reconciliation package if it's not point 3.5 trillion, it's going to be under that. And so what comes out is at home health care, is it dental and vision benefits for seniors, and now moderates had to make that argument.

And so we are going to see this continues to play out in the weeks ahead and probably a lot more of this from President Biden. He's walking a tightrope, not trying to offend any part of his qualities.

BASH: And it's so true. And I thought another really telling part of that press conference was about the fact that all of the policies that he wants, the new policies that the new deal that effectively he wants in place.

They are his policies, God loves them, not Bernie Sanders, they are his policies, things like paid family leave things like making the child tax credit permanent, and others that you know, used to be considered, "Progressive", progressive ideas. They are the full makeup of the Biden agenda. He said, I wrote them.

NOBLES: And that's why progressives were so frustrated this week. I talked to Ro Khanna I think on Wednesday, you know, after -- it must have been Thursday, right before the first deadline was eclipsed. And he emphatically said we aren't the ones holding up the Biden agenda. We are the ones carrying out the Biden agenda.

So the idea that somehow the moderates had flipped the script to make it seem that passing that bipartisan infrastructure bill before the reconciliation package was done, was somehow part of the Biden playbook just wasn't true. And I think progressives won that argument.

And I do think the way the White House behaved in terms of their lobbying shows that Biden wants both people not just Democrats.

KUCINICH: Yes, just really, really quickly. You know, he said, it's not Bernie Sanders agenda. He is taking a Bernie Sanders tactic which is actually talking about what is in this bill, rather than just the numbers, which has been a mistake going up to this from perspective of Democrat.

BASH: You're absolutely right. And the question is what are they going to do? Pramila Jayapal told me yesterday that there may be talking about scaling back all of the bills, but I mean, the policies but you know we'll see how long? It's going to take a long time to figure that out.

Up next, a Facebook whistleblower comes forward saying the social media giant knowingly pumps its users full of hate, and anger and lies about it. Stay with us.


[12:15:00] BASH: First, she dropped startling new allegations about Facebook choosing profits over safety and truth and tomorrow she'll testify on Capitol Hill. Former Project Manager turned whistleblower Frances Haugen says the social media giant knows its platforms are used to spread hate violence and misinformation and tried to hide that evidence.


FRANCES HAUGEN, FORMER PROJECT MANAGER: I've seen a bunch of social networks and it was substantially worse at Facebook than anything I'd seen before. Facebook over and over again chose to optimize for its own interests like making more money.


BASH: Facebook is pushing back against Haugen's accusation that helped fuel the interaction writing in part every day, our teams have to balance protecting the ability of billions of people to express them openly with the need to keep our platform a safe and positive place. We continue to make significant improvements to tackle the spread of misinformation and harmful content. To suggest we encourage bad content and do nothing is just not true.

Haugen is scheduled to testify before a Senate Subcommittee tomorrow. Let's bring in CNN's Donie O' Sullivan. Thank you so much. I think I got her name right Frances Haugen. I want to make sure not to mess that up.

But on her - I think one of the first questions that that I have and I'm really looking forward to talking to you since you know more about this than really anybody I know. We've heard accusations and we've heard reports about Facebook prioritizing profits over truth before how is this different?

DONIE O' SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean, I think there's almost fatigue of on Facebook scandals. Now you know, going back through the years of Russian trolls, Cambridge Analytical, all these data breaches. Two things that I think are different here is one is that I mean this is essentially coming from the horse's mouth. She was at the company until just May of this year.


SULLIVAN: And also she is using the company's own internal research the company's own documentation essentially to call the company out. So it's putting Facebook in a very difficult situation now where they are trying to discredit downplay, or as they claim that this research is being taken out of context.

BASH: Yes. And they do, which I want to ask you about in a second. But let's listen to what she says linking the Capitol riot to Facebook and letting its guard down after the November election.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HAUGEN: They told us we're dissolving civic integrity. Like they basically said, oh, good, we made it through the election, there weren't riots, we can get rid of civic integrity now. Fast forward a couple months, we got the interaction.

And when they got rid of civic integrity, it was the moment where I was like I don't trust that they're willing to actually invest what needs to be invested to keep Facebook from being dangerous. And as soon as the election is over, they turn them back off, or they change the settings back to what they were before, to prioritize growth over safety. And that really feels like a betrayal of democracy to me.


BASH: It's a huge accusation.

SULLIVAN: Yes, I mean, look, that is one thing we're trying to clear up here with Facebook. Facebook is saying that that team that she was on that she says was dissolved that was actually integration to another team. So Facebook was trying to quash that.

But what we're still trying to get some clear answers on is Facebook did have some guardrails in place in the lead up to last November's election, whether they dropped and what guardrails they dropped in terms of the spreading of misinformation, particularly about the election, in the critical period between the election and the insurrection.

I think that is something we need clarity on and I think that is something hopefully we learn more about tomorrow when she testifies.

BASH: And Facebook, as you alluded to, is saying that the responsibility of violence on January 6th lies with the people who inflicted the violence and not us, and so on and so forth. The other argument that they're making is that these documents, she took thousands, and thousands of documents that she copied before she left are taken out of context.

The studies and surveys, even the ones that say, Instagram, which is a part of Facebook plays on the fears and the psychological realities of teenage girls, even that they say is taken out of context.

SULLIVAN: Yes. And I mean, I think that last point that you made on the teenagers and predicting the effects, mental health effects on young girls, particularly, I mean, I think that is what hits different about this scandal more so than any of the political or data scandals we've seen in the past when it comes to Facebook.

This, unfortunately, is a very, very relatable story for many young people, for many families across America, who know somebody in their life whose use of platforms like this have contributed to the detriment of their mental health.

BASH: It's such an important point. And I mean I know I have a lot of friends with teenage daughters, and Instagram is a very, very scary place for them because of this, because of what it does to their mental health. And it happens across society. Donie, thank you so much I appreciate it. We're looking for your coverage of this hearing tomorrow.

And new CDC guidance about celebrating the holidays, we'll talk to the Former FDA Commissioner about that and more on how long COVID will actually last? Stay with us.



BASH: The CDC just released new recommendations on how to celebrate the holidays safely. Guidelines say delay travel until you're fully vaccinated and that the safest way to celebrate is virtually with people who live with you or get together outside, six feet apart.

Joining me now is Dr. Scott Gottlieb, Former FDA Commissioner and Author of "Uncontrolled Spread: Why COVID-19 crushed us and how we can defeat the next pandemic". Thank you so much for joining me, Dr. Gottlieb.

I want to talk about the book in a minute. But about those CDC guidelines, Americans have been dealing with this pandemic now, as everybody knows, for more than 19 months. I want you to listen to what Dr. Fauci told my colleague, Kate Bolduan last hour.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, PRSIDENT BIDEN'S CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISER: The best way to assure that we'll be in good shape as we get into the winter would be to get more and more people vaccinated. I will be spending Christmas with my family. I encourage people, particularly the vaccinated people who are protected to have a good normal Christmas with your family.


BASH: He was saying that he was misinterpreted something he said yesterday, suggesting maybe it was too soon to say whether people could get together for the holidays. But broadly speaking, you know what the CDC is saying? Do you think these holiday guidelines are realistic? What will you be doing for the holidays?

DR. SCOTT GOTTLIEB, FORMER FDA COMMISSIONER: Well, look, I think that there are some things in the guidelines that is good, practical, common sense that people can adopt to try to improve their safety in that setting. But the bottom line is people will want to get together for the holidays for both Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I'll be getting together with my family. I think you need to judge your own individual circumstance. You know what the prevalence is in your community what the risk is in a setting in which you're going to be pulling people together.

Do you have young kids who are unvaccinated who may be asymptomatic and you have older people in the setting who are at risk of COVID if they contract it?