Return to Transcripts main page

Inside Politics

Trump's Iowa Rally Hints At 2024 Presidential Run; U.S. Economy Still Five Million Short Of Pre-Pandemic Employment; Democrats Face Tough Choices In Trimming Plan; Biden Approval Falls To New Lows On Key Issues; COVID Cases, Hospitalizations, Deaths Decline As Delta Wanes; How Tight Is Trump's Grip On The GOP? Aired 8-9a ET

Aired October 10, 2021 - 08:00   ET




PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN ANCHOR: The Trump train stops in Iowa three years until the next election, 11 months after the last one.


MATTINGLY: Plus, the president says his Build Back Better plans will turbo charge a slowing economy.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: These bills are about competitiveness versus complacency. Opportunity versus decay.

MATTINGLY: Democrats still divided on what to include.

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): I don't believe that we should turn our society into an entitlement society.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): Poll after poll showed that what we are trying to do is enormously popular.

MATTINGLY: And has the U.S. finally, finally turned the corner on COVID?

DR. VIVEK MURTHY, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: Overall I think we have made a lot of progress, but it's not a reason for us to take our foot off the accelerator.

MATTINGLY: INSIDE POLITICS, the biggest stories sourced by the best reporters now.


MATTINGLY: Welcome to INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY. I'm Phil Mattingly in for Abby Phillip.

The frontrunner for the 2024 Republican nomination, well, he was in Iowa last night. If you're wondering who that is, it's former President Donald Trump where he is more popular in that state than when he left office. 53 percent of Iowans say they have a favorable view of it.

Iowa politicians, well, they're noticing. 88-year-old Senator Chuck Grassley, the dean of the state's congressional delegation, who is now running for his eighth term, readily accepted Trump's endorsement on stage at the rally.

Still, Trump remains obsessed with 2020. And he spent much of the rally focused on the lie that he won the election, mocking party officials he says want him to move on.


TRUMP: Sure, think to the future. You shouldn't go back to the past. The single biggest issue. The issue that gets the most pull, the most respect, the biggest cheers is talking about the election fraud of 2020 presidential election.


TRUMP: CC'ing all Republican officials who say it's the media that hasn't moved on.

Joining me now with their reporting and insights, CNN's Lauren Fox, CNN's Michael Warren, CNN's Eva McKend and Tamara Keith of NPR.

All right, well, Iowa visits. We all know what that means. That's a thing that occurs. Traditionally not with the former president, who got whipped by seven million votes in the prior election. But here we are.

And Mike, what's so fascinating about what we saw last night was just -- it was such a good window into where the party is right now. And I think you look at the Iowa numbers, where the former president is right now, but at the same time we got this Pew poll that I want to put up where it says, you know, Republicans and leaning Republican independents who say Trump should remain a major political figure, 67 percent, number. Should run for president again, only 44 percent.

Now that's much higher probably than anybody else that's currently potentially in the field. But that's not a huge number for somebody who used to be the leader of the party and presumably still is.

MICHAEL WARREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's pretty soft support. It doesn't mean he can't build on that. That 67 percent number looks pretty good. And those of us who look back to 2015, 2016 remember covering, oh, there's no way, he can't get a majority. Well, he waltz right away all the way to the nomination.

I look at last night in Iowa and a few weeks ago in Georgia. It's like a standup comic trying out new material in some of the smaller clubs. He's trying to see what people talk about. I mean, you heard him say, this is what gets people excited. This is what gets people to clap and to cheer is talking about the 2020 election lie. So he's testing out these lies.

He's trying to figure out -- I mean, I have to imagine that the majority of Iowa Republicans, people who supported Trump were paying attention, or celebrating maybe the University of Iowa beating Penn State last night. They weren't paying attention, they weren't at this rally. But he's trying to sort of stay in the mix, trying to remind his diehard supporters, I'm still here. I'm not on Twitter, I'm not on TV all the time but I'm still here.

It's a reminder to those voters, to try to kind of stay at the tops of their mind. The question here is, do other Republicans look at those soft numbers and think, there's an opening here? I mean, people like Mike Pence, he's thinking about running for president regardless of what Donald Trump does. He's looking at those numbers and seeing an opportunity. Maybe not the path to the nomination but an opportunity to get there.

MATTINGLY: I mean, I can't imagine scheduling a rally as the same day as the biggest Iowa football in like 20 years. But, you know, neither here nor there. But I think one of the things that's most interesting is you see the numbers 44 percent say he should run for president again.

You hear from anti-Trump Republicans who feel like this is a moment where they're better positioned than they have been since 2015 where they always thought they were positioned well and turned out not to be at all.

But if you really want to know where the party is, look at what their elected officials are doing right now. For example, as we mentioned in the opening, Senator Chuck Grassley. Take a listen.


TRUMP: I'm thrilled to announce tonight that Senator Chuck Grassley has my complete and total endorsement for re-election.


SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY (R-IA): If I didn't accept the endorsement of a person that's got 91 percent of the Republican voters in Iowa, I wouldn't be too smart. I'm smart enough to accept that endorsement.


MATTINGLY: Always appreciate Senator Grassley saying what he really feels.


MATTINGLY: And what's actually true, right? But I think that's the point. Right? If you want to know, if you're a current elected official or if you're running in a primary, you are desperately seeking and hoping for the former president's support. Is that the correct read right now? They basically feel like they don't have another choice?

EVA MCKEND, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: He feels like he needs it. You know, at 88 years old I would think that he would be principally concerned about his own legacy. That he would want to be remembered for all of the work that he's done in Congress and I think a lot of people will automatically just tie him now to Trump and Trumpism. So it's an interesting choice. But it is a choice that he feels like he has to make.

I mean, look at the party and I also think about look at Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell. Everyone -- where does that leave him? Now he's like the loneliest man in Washington at this point, right? Because every Republican sort of has to bend to Trump in order to stay viable and stay of interest to Republican voters.

MATTINGLY: Yes. We've seen this so many times, taking him on is of no net benefit to a Republican, and if you ask McConnell for comment I'm pretty sure he'll say I have no observations about that.

We do want to spend to what's actually going on right now that pertains to the last president and his time in office, notably the January 6th Committee is really starting to ramp up. You see the first round of subpoenaed officials. They were given a deadline to give depositions next week.

You have Mark Meadows saying he's engaging with the January 6th Committee, Kash Patel engaging with the committee, Steve Bannon defying the subpoena. Dan Scavino hasn't responded yet but has received the subpoena.

Trump's lawyers have said they cannot comply due to executive privilege. The White House says, at least in this particular instance, executive privilege will not cover this. It's very confusing.


MATTINGLY: But things are happening, I don't know how fast. But what's your read on kind of where things stand right now?

TAMARA KEITH, NPR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Things are happening. The White House has determined that the former president's desire to claim executive privilege is not -- is less relevant that the need to get information about what happened on January 6th with the first traunch of documents.

And the White House has said that it's going to be on a case-by-case that they are going to consider the document request individually and there could -- they're not say they are going to turn over absolutely everything.

The thing with presidents and executive privilege is whoever is in office is also imagining themselves out of office. And there's a precedent that they're trying to protect. Thus far they're saying the precedent is -- doesn't matter. They want these documents out. But there could come documents that they aren't willing to turn over to the committee for Trump.

MATTINGLY: Yes. No, it's fascinating because this is unchartered territory in terms of the precedent. This isn't about Trump, this is about the Office of the Presidency and how a council operates going forward, plus the court battles we're almost certainly going to see. It will be super interesting.

You know, at the same time, Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats released their report paints a really damning picture of what happened in the lead-up. Just to go through a couple of bullet points here. In the wake of the election Trump pressured the Justice Department nine times to overturn the election results.

Trump considered installing loyalist Jeffrey Clark to lead the Justice Department. White House counsel Pat Cipollone called proposed plan a murder-suicide pact. Then chief of staff Mark Meadows requested the Justice Department open election fraud cases.

Look, I get it. People are tired of it. People want a memory hole that Republicans don't want to talk about it. This is absurd. Like this is as close to a coup as you could possibly get. I don't think I'm overstating or being hyperbolic here. What's the sense on Capitol Hill right now of where things stand when you look at this information?

LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, depends who you ask. If you ask Democrats they will tell you that this is serious. They will echo exactly what you just said. This is as close to a coup as you could potentially get without any kind of violence. And obviously violence occurred on January 6th. Then you ask Republicans, they haven't read it. That was the statement that they gave over and over again on Thursday.

It was a busy day. People were dealing with the debt ceiling, but the reality is, it is a refrain we have heard time and time again on Capitol Hill. They haven't seen the tweet. Now they haven't seen this report. We'll ask again next week. Perhaps people have had an opportunity to dig back in. You know, Senator Cruz said he was planning to read it. Other Republicans on the Judiciary Committee saying they plan on reading it.

We'll follow up. But look, at the end of the day, Republicans want to move on from this even if they aren't ready to move on from president or former President Trump.

MATTINGLY: Didn't see the tweet. Didn't see the report. Oh, I was there on January 6th. I'm pretty sure I saw when I was being evacuated into an undisclosed location. Good times. And we're all back in the same place.

All right. Coming up, is a Christmas tree shortage in America's future? The White House and I certainly hope not.



MATTINGLY: Democrats are betting that a strong economy next year will help them beat history and keep control of Congress. Now to be sure, there are still 13 months until Election Day, but the signs right now, the data right now certainly isn't ideal.

Let's take a look right now at the most recent data we got. The jobs report. Coming in at 194,000 jobs added in the month of September. Much fewer, much less than what economists were projecting at the point in time. Now there are caveats here. There was definitely positive wage growth, there were upward revisions compared them to two prior months, seasonal adjustments that are a little quirky here.

But that's not a good topline number and that's not the expansion that the Biden administration was promising or hoping for. And here's why it matters more than anything else. Look at the topline in terms of jobs added since the pandemic. Now overall obviously significant drop in March in 2020. Now there's been a significant recovery.


However, if you take the line through, still five million jobs short of where they were when the pandemic started. Obviously still a lot of ground to make up. And part of the reason why? Look at this right here. This is the issue that I think when you talk to a congressman, when you talk to White House officials they are very keen on. Working or looking for jobs in the past two months, women down 350,000. Men up 321,000. This number, this issue matters a tremendous amount.

Now in the overall economy what else matters to the average American? Gas prices. And gas prices in October 2021, they are at its highest point since October of 2014. $3.19. Now obviously there are a number of issues as to the reason why, but trying to explain OPEC Plus to a person who has to fill up their tank at $3.19 doesn't necessarily work super well if you're the White House.

Another looming and very real issue going on. Supply chain. Take a look at some of these headlines. Americans is running out of everything. Christmas at risk, a supply chain disaster only gets worse. Your holiday turkey may be harder to come by this season.

Look, this is the first time the economy has come out of a once in a century pandemic in, well, a century. This is complicated and people have been trying to figure out how to address some of these issues for the better part of the last nine months or longer.

Yet they are stubbornly still very real and still an issue at the White House and the administration has to deal with. The president, however, wants people to look at the bright side.


BIDEN: Jobs up, wages up, unemployment down. That's progress. Right now things in Washington, as you all know, are awfully noisy. Turn on the news and every conversation is a confrontation. Every disagreement is a crisis. But when you take a step back, and look at what's happening, we're actually making real progress.


MATTINGLY: Jeff Stein from the "Washington Post" joins the conversation right now.

And Jeff, I think when I said there were caveats to the jobs report, and they kind of flicked past them. Several CEA officials probably threw their coffee cups against the wall because those caveats matter a lot. And I get that, but so does general sentiment, so does the feeling inside the country about what's going on right now.

You pulled up the most recent Quinnipiac poll, what's the state of the economy, only 27 percent said excellent or good. 69 percent said not so good or poor. What's your read right now? And you talk to White House economic officials more than anybody in town that I know of in terms of their feeling, their sense of things and how they want this to progress.

JEFF STEIN, WASHINGTON POST WHITE HOUSE ECONOMICS REPORTER: The main thing President Biden stressed and the White House officials will tell you is that this jobs report came during the height of Delta. This was a report that came when we had more cases, 1/3 more cases than we do right now. And so they're optimistic that as that fades, as that recedes, the jobs number, the economy overall will improve.

But to be clear, we pushed eight million or so people off of unemployment. Reduced that number by a huge amount. And we had evidence from Republican states that that was not going to boost employment.

And so we see after unemployment was cut to the bone we have almost 3 percent of those people finding jobs. This was the single worst jobs number of the Biden presidency and the second worst since we've begun with recovery of COVID in May of 2020.

So that is really a scary sign. And I reported that senior White House officials had warned about this outcome, were very worried that this would be the consequences of cutting off unemployment benefits for millions of people, many of whom I've heard from in the last week who are really struggling and the president went ahead and did it anyway.

MATTINGLY: Yes. It was a fascinating dynamic inside the White House as they were trying to figure that out. And to your point, you reported this in real time, there were very, very firm positions inside the economic team that this was going to be a significant problem and yet they decided to move forward as they did.

Tamara, one of the things -- we've heard a lot about supply chain when you sit in the White House briefings, when you talk to White House officials. I want to put this up. The American Christmas Tree Association says if I can give one piece of advice to consumers right now, it's find and buy your Christmas tree early. There's an American Christmas Tree Association. I found that to be completely fascinating. But --

KEITH: Of course there is.

MATTINGLY: There's an association for everything. But this gets to a point here of, what are real people actually feeling, seeing about this economy that is going to drive kind of their sentiment? How they view things right now? This is one of those things that feels like it will stick out. How do White House officials deal with that? KEITH: Yes. And supply chain concerns are the kind of thing that

aren't abstract. It means, you can't get chlorine for your pool or you -- you know, you can't get your turkey or whatever it is. There are empty shelves or things that used to be at Costco that just aren't there this week. It's a real thing that people see and as a reminder.

The other thing is that at the same time that there are still long- term unemployed, there are women who can't get back into the work force because schools closed erratically because of COVID, all of that, there are also labor shortages at the very same time that are combining and conspiring with the supply chain problems to cause frustration. Just general frustration.


And this is a period and it's a challenging period for the White House because there's this malaise, you know, in addition to the economic concerns. There's just this feeling that we thought maybe we'd be in a better place by now.


KEITH: That, you know, Joe Biden ran on returning to normal and it just doesn't feel normal. But of course it's a once in a century pandemic.

MATTINGLY: Yes. You're not allowed to use the word malaise I don't think in Washington after the last 40 years. But, Jeff, it's a critical point. Right? It's not just the economy, stupid. It's always been the economy and COVID. They're completely interconnected together. And you talk to White House officials they feel like they're coming out of Delta. They feel like the economy is in position. You know, the latest jobs report was on a time that's not necessarily representative of now, so perhaps.

Meanwhile Congress was considering just wandering itself into a catastrophic ditch. This past week they avoided so on the debt ceiling. Here's my question. Mitch McConnell was very adamant about his position on the debt ceiling. He was not going to give Republican votes. There was no way in heck. Mitch McConnell never does anything without his conference knowing where he is and generally being behind him.

Mitch McConnell stunned his conference, stunned reporters, stunned the White House when he decided to pull back on his threat. Why?

FOX: I think he was viewing the situation as dire and that Republicans were in a position where they may see a rules change happen on their watch. Remember one of the options Democrats had at their disposal was that they may be able to change Senate rules in a way to pass this with a simple majority vote without going through a lengthy budget process, which was their other option.

Now Joe Manchin said that he was never serious, he was never actually going to go off that cliff, but I think there were some conversations happening and some Republicans that I talked to said that if we had doubts about why McConnell was changing his mind at the last minute, we should talk to McConnell about the conversations he might have had with Manchin or Sinema about the filibuster.

That was something that he was concerned about. We also should note that McConnell is close to the business community. Many leaders in Washington are. They're having regular conversations and there was a growing fear that even if you don't walk up to the debt limit deadline, you could get very close to it and still cause pretty -- you know, pretty severe and catastrophic problems on Wall Street and for the market and for the economy overall.

MATTINGLY: Yes. And I think if you watch McConnell closely, he had a sense that this wasn't -- his assumption is that Democrats would blink. And he had a sense whether or not they didn't want to or maybe they didn't have the votes to go through reconciliation, that that blinking wasn't necessarily coming and this was about to get really bad.

Before we have to go to break, former president Trump attacked Mitch McConnell last night at his rally. Former president Trump attacks Mitch McConnell on a pretty regular basis. Mitch McConnell never comments on said attacks.

But it does matter for his conference because McConnell's conference in large parts supports the president both public and privately. Where does that leave things with the Senate Republican conference given the fact we're going to be dealing with this again in five weeks, six weeks, and many other major issues during the course of the next month?

MCKEND: I would imagine behind closed doors they trust his leadership. You know, they all took the opportunity to punch him in public. Not all of them, but many Republicans to punch this reversal. But I've seen Democrats time and time again be outmaneuvered by McConnell.

So whatever his reasons for doing this, I feel like he has already -- is already one step ahead and that many Republicans quietly, privately are happy that he did what he did and he is there as the leader to make those tough decisions and take the heat for them.

MATTINGLY: Yes, and it's worth noting. McConnell wants chaos right now given the fact the domestic policy agency which we're about to talk about next is still very much moving.

The man has his biography titled "The Long Game" for a reason. As we said, long game and McConnell together.

All right, coming up next, the big battle on Capitol Hill isn't between Democrats and Republicans, it's between Joe Manchin and Bernie Sanders.



MATTINGLY: Democrats at this moment are deeply divided over what to take out of President Biden's Build Back Better plan. Now the White House and leading progressives have a very long list of substantive and liberal priorities they want to stay in there at a cost of $3.5 trillion. Senator Joe Manchin says some of those things have to go.


MANCHIN: My number has been $1.5. I've been very clear. I don't believe that we should turn our society into an entitlement society. I think that we should still be a compassionate, rewarding society.


MATTINGLY: Senator Bernie Sanders is fed up.


SANDERS: If protecting working families and cutting childhood poverty and entitlement, it is wrong. It is really not playing fair that one or two people think that they should be able to stop what 48 members of the Democratic caucus want.


MATTINGLY: All right, Fox. Those one or two people are the difference between 48 votes and 50 votes. You need 50 votes to pass anything. That is why they matter. However, this has been simmering behind the scenes for several months now. It burst into the open over the course of the last five or six days. How do you reconcile where Bernie Sanders is and where Senator Manchin is?


FOX: Democrats are looking at two options right now. One of them is to have more programs and do them for a shorter amount of time. Dial things up and dial things back essentially.

Moderates would prefer a different strategy. Take some of the programs out. You can't do everything well. And focus exactly what this package is going to be.

If you take a step back and think about the fact that if Democrats did paid family leave as just one massive bill, it would be a huge accomplishment for the Democratic Party.

What some folks are starting to get a little bit nervous about behind the scenes is the messaging. How do you talk about what is in this bill? How do you make it clear? Especially if you run the risk of starting to roll these programs out, something backfires, something doesn't work the way that you wanted it to?

That's a problem because you could potentially be right in the throes of the midterm elections. So that's sort of the options the Democrats have right now. But how you reconcile what Sanders wants and what Manchin wants when they're talking about a difference of $2 trillion? I don't have an answer for that. I don't think Democratic leaders do either at this point. MATTINGLY: Yes. And Jeff, you've dug in on this in a couple of pieces

about kind of the push and pull here. You know there was -- the Progressive Policy Institute kind of laid out -- all right, this is what a $2 trillion plan could look like. This is not the roadmap or anything like that.

But it gives an idea of kind of where things stand. Where $2 trillion plan, you have a smaller expansion of the child care tax credit, universal pre-K or means testing, green energy tax credits, higher Obamacare subsidies, paid family leave partially. That leaves out Medicare expansion, free community college, subsidized health care, subsidized elder care, affordable housing.

You look at the things that that would leave out -- again this isn't the roadmap. It's an outside group's idea. Those are -- you know, elder care and child care are huge components of what the president and his team wanted to do.

One thing I can't get a read on and you wrote about it this morning in a great -- where does the White House come down on the policy right now on what needs to be in and out?

STEIN: So this is a really good question. I think in Washington we have these very abstract sort of esoteric debates -- 1.5, 2, 3 -- and that that becomes the dominant narrative, what is the number.

And underlying that $1 trillion disparity is critical programs from the view of many experts and economists for making sure that people have housing, making sure that the elderly have long-term care.

I would say the White House's perspective from those I've talked to -- they agree sort of with the dynamic that Lauren was laying out, that it's better to have a few programs that work very well, that are durable or are effective, that they can take to the voters, that they can show we did these things that changed -- noticeably changed our lives rather than having 20 programs that sunset in a few years, in a way we could see people are eliminated quickly.

The problem with that approach, according to these White House officials, is that while in theory that might be what they want to do, the reality is they have these threadbare margins in the House and the Senate, and every single member of the Senate has their thing that they want to make sure gets through.

For Senator Bob Casey, it's the rider for long-term care provision. He wants his thing in. Maxine Waters in the House wants housing in. Senator Bernie sanders is adamant that Medicare be expanded to cover dental, vision, hearing. 44 million seniors who don't often have the access to dental care. Nancy Pelosi is adamant that the Obamacare exchanges be shored up.

So very competing demands. And even if theoretically you want to build on to a few things, that is very complicated with the legislative reality of the difficult amount they have.

MATTINGLY: That's such a good summary of what's going on right now and how complex things actually are.

Tamara, I want to get -- you know, Lauren hit at the point about like frustration over messaging, kind of where things stand. Take a look at the Q poll we've continued to cite. Support for Democrat particular, the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill sitting at 63 percent. The $3.5 trillion social spending program bill, the economic and climate package sitting at 56 percent.

This has been the reality now for literally the entirety of the administration. Now look at Biden's latest numbers in that Q poll. Overall 38 percent; coronavirus 48 percent; (INAUDIBLE) 58 to 65 percent. Economy, 39 percent; foreign policy, 34 percent; Immigration, 25 percent.

There's a disconnect here which I think has been enormously frustrating for White House officials. How do they manage that side of things? The politics of this as Jeff lays out what they're doing on the policy side.

KEITH: And they keep saying, our ideas are popular. Really, our ideas are popular. They keep saying that. And in fact they are. They poll quite well.

The challenge -- one of the challenges that they have right now is there's so much disagreement about precisely what's in it that it's hard to go out and campaign and say you're going to get child care. Or you're going to get child tax credit because they just don't 100 percent know that they're going to be able to promise it and it's going to be there.

Meanwhile, former President Trump was campaigning against a litany of things that may or may not actually be in the bill last night but he's out there beating up on it and they're having a harder time with their proactive positive sort of message other than, you know, you need a safety net, we need to reshape the relationship between the American people and the government. The government needs to work. That's sort of the broader pitch.


KEITH: But the specifics, they don't quite have that.

MATTINGLY: Yes. I mean that's at the core of kind of Biden's entire presidency to some degree. But fascinating is Republicans haven't really formulated a full-blown opposition with tens of millions of dollars on (INAUDIBLE) and we're pretty far down the line and yet -- this kind of gets to the broader point here.

This isn't just a micro Capitol Hill debate obviously from a policy perspective. It's nationwide. And extraordinarily substantive. But there's also the Virginia governor's race right now where in your story Senator Mark Warner from Virginia made clear that something needs to happen before that race, at least on the infrastructure plane.

[08:34:57] MATTINGLY: And take a listen to what Terry McAuliffe had to say.


GOVERNOR TERRY MCAULIFFE (D-VA): We have to get Democrats out to vote. We are facing a lot of headwinds from Washington as you know. The president is unpopular today unfortunately here in Virginia. So we have got to follow through.


MATTINGLY: Subtle. We've got about 30 seconds left. But explain how these dynamics go over (ph) to the race.

MCKEND: Yes. I mean leave it to Governor McAuliffe to say exactly what's on his mind maybe at not the right moment. You never want a sound bite like that, but listen that is the pressure he's feeling in tis race. And we have a very interesting dynamic in the Virginia governor's race where both of the leading candidates, both Democrat and Republican, feel as though they have to keep their party leaders at an arm's length. And that is their best strategy.

The only thing that McAuliffe needs from President Biden and Democrats in Washington is to deliver on policy priorities so he can run on them. But nothing else.

MATTINGLY: That's it? Just that small task of doing that thing they haven't been able to do over the course of the last several months. It's going to be fascinating. There's so much tied to what's going on right here.

Not tied to it -- triple double, crunch wrap. Jeff, your position -- are the supply chain issues going to have an effect on your Taco Bell order later today?

STEIN: I already had four before I came onset.

MATTINGLY: I respect that.


STEIN: I think, you know, that's a very scary prospect that the supply chain could affect Taco Bell. But we are seeing -- at least I won't be affected by the Christmas tree shortage as a Jew so that's good.

Supply chain issues I think the White House is extremely concerned about right now. We are hearing calls from industry groups to essentially use the U.S. Navy to begin bringing stuff on shore.

We've seen double digit increases in the price of bringing containers over from China. And really what's driving that is this huge shipping consumption patterns brought about by the pandemic where people aren't going out. Live events, (INAUDIBLE) is down. People ordering huge amounts of stuff online.

And if the pandemic ebbs, maybe that rebalances. But until then, what the White House initially said was almost necessary transitory inflation, could be -- we could be looking at many more months of supply chain shocks.

MATTINGLY: Yes. It's very real. I went back to it just because I think it's extraordinarily important right now. And also I wanted to get in the Taco Bell thing. Follow Jeff on Twitter if you want to understand what that's all about.

All right. Up next, we're likely just weeks away from a COVID-19 vaccine for younger children. Could that speed the end of the pandemic?



MATTINGLY: The worst of COVID's delta-fueled summer surge may be behind us. Now, the numbers of course, still far too high -- nearly 100,000 cases a day. However, compared to a month ago there are fewer cases and fewer hospitalizations.


DR. SCOTT GOTTLIEB, FORMER FDA COMMISSIONER: If I was trying to put an end point on when this delta wave kind of has moved through the country, it's probably Thanksgiving.

And then on the back end of that we're going to have hopefully a vaccine available for children. And at some point before the end of the year we probably will have the orally available drug from Merck if things go well. And that undergoes a favorable review.

And I think those two things are going to be sort of the book end on the sort of pandemic phase of this virus.


MATTINGLY: Joining me now is CNN medical analyst Dr. Leana Wen. And Dr. Wen, I want to get right into what Dr. Gottlieb was saying there because you had a piece out a couple of days ago this week basically about kind of how the pandemic could end or will end hopefully which lines up very much with what Dr. Gottlieb was just saying here.

And I want to pull up some of the bullets here. You have must have vaccines available to children. That seems pretty close by. Must have antiviral pills. Pretty big break through on that over the course of the last couple of weeks. Must have free and accessible testing, put an asterisk by that based on where things stand.

What's your read now, given how you've laid out how things could end, of whether things will end sometime soon?

DR. LEANA WEN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Well, I think we have to redefine what it means for the pandemic to end, as in ending the pandemic is not the end of COVID-19. COVID-19 is probably going to be endemic; it's going to be with us. But it's a question of turning it from this existential crisis that determines every aspect of our lives right now into a manageable problem.

And I actually think that we're not that far away. I think we could realistically get there by early spring of 2022 because we're not far as you said from getting a vaccine for younger children. That's necessary because if we don't, then parents are unable to live their lives and have to be thinking about whether schools are safe and whether going to work is safe. So that is really necessary, but we're not that far.

The second thing is having oral out-patient treatment. Also really important because people are going to stay unvaccinated. That's going to be a major strain on the health care system.

And so if you have an oral pill that turns an emergency into something that's manageable. That's also good and also maybe helpful for people with breakthrough infections.

But the third thing is something that we're not that close to as you said about testing. We really need to get to the point that other countries have with widespread testing that everybody could get a test that they so wish before going to school, before going to work, even friends and family getting together for dinner should be able to take a rapid test right before going to that event.

We need to get to that type of widespread testing and we're nowhere close in this country right now.

MATTINGLY: And that's remarkable to me given the amount of time and given the initial focus on testing.

One thing I wanted to ask you about. President Biden was I think rather candid about something earlier this week and that came to the mandates. Take a listen to what he had to say.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I know that vaccination requirements are tough medicine. Unpopular with some. Politics for others. But they're life-saving. They're game changing for our country.

Businesses have more power than ever before to change the arc of this pandemic and save lives and protect and grow our economy.


MATTINGLY: Dr. Wen, I know the White House prefers requirements to mandates. You couldn't get them to talk about mandates or requirements for the vast majority of the first nine, ten months in office. Now they're here fully behind them say they're being effective.


MATTINGLY: Was it a mistake to wait so long to take the bath that they've started to take and do they need to be more stringent in the weeks ahead? DR. WEN: Yes, I wish that the Biden administration came on board with

requirements earlier. Remember that they had this Fourth of July celebration at the White House itself where they did not require vaccines.

And so that said, I do think that they have really embraced vaccine requirements, which is great, but I think they should go further in two ways.

One is around travel. Domestic travel. Planes, trains, interstate buses. That's one way to make travel even safer but it's also a way to further incentivize vaccination.

And the second thing is we really need a proof of vaccination system. I can't believe that we're still reliant on this piece of paper that's easily forged, that many people are forging. And I think that's something that the federal government really needs to step up and do more around.

MATTINGLY: And it doesn't fit in your wallet which is very frustrating. One last question with the time we have left. Are you concerned about parents' willingness to get their children vaccinated? I know it's the discussion a lot of parents with younger children, my family included are having. How to navigate this as it becomes a reality?

DR. WEN: Right now I'm not concerned and that's because we don't have the data yet. I'm very much looking forward to the October 26th meeting with the FDA. The CDC also is scheduled to meet the week after which I think needs to be moved up because why should we waiting another extra week before -- between the FDA and CDC. we need to see those data. And then I think parents have a decision to make about everything that's about risks and benefits.

And I think in particular, there are so many families that are really desperate to get their kids vaccinated because maybe their kids are going to school in areas that don't require masks. Maybe their kids also have underlying medical conditions and I think that there will be many families really, really eager to be first in line.

I say go for it. Let those families that really want to get their kids vaccinated go first. And then we know that there is going to be a much larger group that's in the in the wait and see category. That's also fine.

Really we will be turning to our pediatricians who are experts in childhood immunizations and who we count on for other aspects of our children's health and well-being. And so I think world -- This is going to be a gradual process, but I think that's ok.

MATTINGLY: Yes. Definitely gradual but very important process.

Dr. Leana wen, thanks so as always for your time and perspective.

Coming up, how to deal with Trump when you are a Republican on the ballot, this year, next year, every year from here on out. [08:47:19]


MATTINGLY: In the most watched election of the year, a delicate balance for Virginia GOP candidate Glenn Youngkin. Try to give a nod to Trump's fake voter fraud concerns while still appealing to the moderates and independent that are actually critical to reversing the states' clear blue trendline of the last several cycles.


GLENN YOUNGKIN (R-VA), GUBERNATURIAL CANDIDATE. I think we need we need to make sure that people trust these voting machines. And I just think like, I grew up in a world where you have an audit every year

In businesses you have an audit, so let's publish it so everybody can see it, and I think when we press forward with this, we're going to just make everybody comfortable that we, in fact, have an election system that everybody can trust.


MATTINGLY: Make everybody comfortable. You've been covering this race very closely. You've been on the ground here. Talk about what Glenn Youngkin is facing right now in terms of this balancing act and whether or not he's succeeding on what we're seeing.

MCKEND: Well, Youngkin has the challenge of having to effect appeal to every type of Republican. And we see him, sort of trying to lean into Trumpism but in a cautious way.

He doesn't begin his rallies with a nod to the former president even thought the former president has endorsed him. But he is leaning in to base issues.

Just last week I was with him on the campaign trail and he has gone all-in on this issue of parental rights, and that is an umbrella to bring in what some conservatives define as critical race theory, which is just an umbrella term for Racial Equity Education, but it also brings in arguments over mask mandates and vaccine mandates, and that is an appeal to base voters. So I don't know if his strategy is going to get him the other folks that he needs.

But he thinks he seems to be getting them as well. He said he didn't realize in oldtown Alexandria that there were so many older Republicans. That he is seeing enthusiasm. (CROSSTALK)

MATTINGLY: And it's interesting. He's focused on the school issues very much . and if you talk to people in northern Virginia that has become a very prevalent issue.

So that's Virginia, we're obviously all keeping a very close eye on that. There is also the Ohio senate race Michael Warren. Not as much of a balancing act for the majority of the candidates who say take this tweet from Josh Mandel where he tweet, a school shooter was released on bail yesterday but there are still January 6th protesters in solitary confinement.

This is Biden's agenda. That is also apples to oranges. And if you want to know how dedicated to principles Josh Mandel is, just Goggle Josh Mandel pictures with Kasich, with Romney, with McCain, any of the other people he used to be tied to, he's very different now. Why?

WARREN: Well, there is this push to the right among this big open primary in this Ohio senate race. There is, however, sort of a rare sighting. There is one candidate who is running as a non-Trump Republican. It's a rare thing in the Republican party these days, but tis person sees an opening.

His name is Matt Dolan (ph), he is a state Senator from the Cleveland area. He's looking at people like Josh Mandel, like JB Vance, even like Jane Timkin, the former state party chairwoman, a very establishment figure, who is going after that Trump endorsement and saying, there is another lane.

There is a George Voinovich lane, a John McCain Lane, a Mitt Romney lane, a Mike DeWine the current governor of Ohio who is a Republican who's facing a sort of Trumpian challenge from the right in the primary.

Dolan thinks that he has an opening here and is able to appeal to that sliver of the Republican primary electorate who's not necessarily on with Trump 2024, he's not looking for a Trump.


WARREN: The good thing where Dolan is, Trump has already said Dolan is not getting his endorsement, and so he has a little bit of freedom here.

The big question is whether or not he can actually get a plurality in the primary. You don't have to give an outright majority is whether he can get a plurality in the primary. You don't have to get an outright majority, but a lot of higher Republicans I speak to say there is no way you can be even perceived as anti-Trump and hope to win in a Republican primary in Ohio where Trump won even more votes in 2020 than he did in 2016.

MATTINGLY: Yes. And Tamara real quick, with the time we've got left. You know, you see this kind of positioning right now in two very different states. You also have presidential candidates. You've got Mike Pence positioning himself, Nikki Haley.

You can pretty much go down the line of everyone who has been to Iowa the course of the last couple of months. What's the lane that's going to work. And is there any way to know right now what lane is going to work?

KEITH: It all depends on whether the former president runs. And then -- and then there is no lane. There is just his lane. But right now all of these people are positioning themselves hoping that they'll have a shot. But Trump blocks the sun. And he does that on purpose, which will make it pretty hard for any of them to gain traction if he's in, and it's not clear when he'll make it official or if he'll make it official, but he certainly is making all the noises.

MATTINGLY: Yes. you don't show up in Iowa and have a big rally if you're not thinking about it, at least. And also you lose all your juice if you announce what you're going to do right now, which means I don't think he's going to announce anything any time soon.

All right, guys. Thanks for another stellar day.

That's it for INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY. Join us back here every Sunday at 8:00 a.m. Eastern time. And the weekday show as well at noon Eastern.

Up next, "STATE OF THE UNION WITH JAKE TAPPER AND DANA BASH". Dana's guests included Dr. Anthony Fauci, Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe and Senator Amy Klobuchar.

Thanks again for sharing your Sunday morning. Have a wonderful day.