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Poll: Only 27 Percent Of Parents Will Vaccinate Their 5-11- Year-Old As Soon As Shot Is Available; Top House GOP Recruits For 2022 Embrace Trump's Big Lie; Trump Teases VA Trip For GOP Gov. Candidate Youngkin, Sources Say Unlikely To Happen Before Election Day. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired October 28, 2021 - 12:30   ET



JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Some new numbers today illustrate the giant challenge as the Biden administration prepares now to urge parents of children's ages five to 11 to get them COVID vaccines. The government green light for those shots appears just days away and 28 million children would become eligible but parents aren't so sure it's a good or more importantly, not so sure it's a safe bet.

Let's look at the numbers. These come from the Kaiser Family Foundation. Would you vaccinate your five to 11 year olds when the shot is available? Twenty-seven percent of parents of those children say right away, 33 percent say they want to wait and see, 5 percent say only if required, and 30 percent three in 10 parents of children aged five to 11-year-old say definitely not. So it's only 27 percent will be lining up right away. So why, why is there hesitancy? Seventy- six percent of parents in this poll said they're worried about long term side effects, 71 percent said they're worried about serious side effects, 66 percent said they're worried about fertility problems if their young children now get this COVID vaccine.

Let's bring in Dr. Jonathan Reiner to discuss. He's a Professor of Medicine and Surgery at George Washington University. Dr. Reiner is there anything in the data I get, I have a 10-year-old, I get parents want to ask questions, is there anything in the data, let me start here, that suggests if a kid now ages five to 11, boy or girl gets this COVID vaccine, they might have fertility problems?

DR. JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: No. There's no, there's nothing in the data to suggest that. And there's nothing in the data to suggest that that happens with adults either. This is Facebook medicine. What parents need to focus on is evidence based medicine. That's what doctors focus on. There's also no biologically plausible mechanism through which that would occur. But if you were constructing a disinformation campaign, boy, that's exactly what you would tell parents of a young child that, boy, we don't know what this is going to do to your child's fertility going forward. It's based on no data, there is no evidence to suggest that, zero.

KING: I think you make a critical point that, you know, people should talk to medical professionals they trust not go on the internet.

REINER: Right.

KING: As they try to serve these things, ask your questions. But there are, look, I'm a parent of a 10-year-old I've been reading for the last week or so about this rare potential heart issue. So, you know, 76 percent say they're worried about long term side effects, 71 percent say they worry about serious side effects. What is your message to a parent? And what questions might they be asking legitimately and where should they get the answers if you're talking about a child in that age group?


REINER: So I encourage every parent to make an appointment now to go to your pediatrician to talk to them about getting this vaccine. The data suggests that if we can vaccinate, let's say 70 percent of eligible kids, assuming the FDA approves this vaccine for 11 year olds, so we can vaccinate about 70 percent. It's about 20 million kid, we will prevent about a million infections, about 5,000 hospitalizations.

And what parents need to understand is if a child is hospitalized with COVID, that child is in danger. And this vaccine can prevent those hospitalizations. Now you mentioned myocarditis, it is a rarely seen, but quantifiable side effect of vaccine principally seen in sort of teenage boy populations. The incidence following the vaccine has been variably described, somewhere between 40 to 70 cases per million people vaccinated.

By and large, those cases of myocarditis are very mild and it's also important to parent understand that the virus itself is a much more potent inducer of myocarditis than the vaccine. In a person infected with COVID has a 16-fold higher likelihood of developing myocarditis then does a person who has not been infected. And the FDA has put together all kinds of scenarios. I read their briefing book for their committee, and they put together six different scenarios looking at the benefits in terms of reduction in infection and hospitalization and ICU admission and death, compared to the risk of vaccine induced myocarditis and hospitalization for that, or ICU admission for that.

And in basically every scenario except the lowest risk scenario, the vaccine comes out superior in terms of preventing hospitalizations, the benefit far outweighs the risk. This has been very well studied. What I would tell parents is that look, we have a lot of data about giving vaccines to children. We know when to look for side effects. These vaccines have been very well vetted throughout the world in 4 billion people and we expect these vaccines to be very safe in kids. And kids can get pretty sick from COVID. So have this conversation with your pediatrician.

KING: That's great advice. Dr. Reiner, I'm grateful for your insights as always. Watch -- you can watch our experts here but also with any parents just pick up the phone as Dr. Reiner says, make an appointment, talk to somebody you trust, don't trust what you read on the internet. Dr. Reiner, grateful as always.

Up next for us, some brand new CNN reporting on the big lies next generation Kevin McCarthy's Young Guns program critical to his hopes of becoming the next Speaker of the House, a nearly half of its price recruits are Trump echo chambers lying about the 2020 election results as they seek power in the 2022 midterms.



KING: The best and the brightest or the next generation of big liars, this new reporting from CNN's Melanie Zanona this hour. At least a dozen of the House GOP's most prized recruits for the midterms have sown doubts about the 2020 elections, embracing former President Donald Trump's deceitful battle cry as they seek to flip the chamber next year. These House candidates are part of leader Kevin McCarthy's Young Guns initiative. That's a program that puts the money and the muscle of the House GOP's campaign arm behind rising conservatives in competitive House races.

In other words, the man who would be Speaker of the House is actively supporting candidates who are lying and helping Trump undermine confidence in our democracy. Melanie Zanona joins the panel for the conversation. You know, they're out there. Republicans who think it's in their best interest whether they believe it or not, to promote the big lie. But here you have the combination of these young candidates in competitive races who would come to the House perhaps under a new Republican majority, getting active financial support from the man who would be Speaker even though he knows they're lying.

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Right. And it's not just the Marjorie Taylor Greenes or the Lauren Boeberts of the world. These are candidates in competitive races who are considered promising recruits who have met key fundraising benchmarks. So they are a core part of the strategy to take back the House. And our reporting finds that at least a dozen of them have embraced the big lie in some ways.

Let me just list off some examples. Eli Crane in Arizona has called out to decertify the 2020 election expand auditing efforts. Derrick Van Orden in Wisconsin, he said there's a tremendous amount of fraud and he actually attended the south steel rally on January 6th in D.C. There's Jake Evans in Georgia, he signed on to a lawsuit seeking to overthrow the mail out -- the mail ballots in Pennsylvania. And then there's Karoline Leavitt in New Hampshire, who when my colleague Alex Rogers asked whether he -- she believed who won the election, responded Donald J. Trump.

So I mean, clearly these candidates feel like this is what they need to do to position themselves in a GOP primary, because this is what their voters believe. And that's because GOP leaders are not calling out these election lies. But Democrats, you know, they're clearly going to seize on this in the midterms. And we asked the House GOP campaign arm whether they thought it was appropriate that some of their candidates were embracing these lies.


And here is what the NRCC comms director said, Democrats are desperate to talk about anything but the fact that their reckless policies have led to skyrocketing prices -- crisis on the southern border and a nationwide crime wave, so clearly not wanting to go there.

KING: We call that non responsive. I think it's what a lawyer -- I just -- again, I would read any candidate out there you could say, oh, that candidates just outside the mainstream that candidates a crackpot, you can say whatever you want, but the endorsement from the leadership. This is the young guns mission statement, the young guns program identifies candidates across the country, who embody the principles of the House Republican Conference, and show promise of running a successful campaign.

So forgive me, but that's the good housekeeping stamp of approval from the House Republican leadership for candidates who are lying and telling a lie. This is not about what day it is, or about how much they would spend on this program. It's about the roots of American democracy and Trump's lie that the election was stolen.

BRITTANY SHEPHERD, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, YAHOO! NEWS: And it's clearly very lucrative. You know, I think it's pretty shocking that when we always say, there are no other -- no a whole other universe or whole another world. But clearly, with Kevin McCarthy on their side, this is where the Republicans are, right? And so where they want to be, and it's working for them. I mean, Democrats are kind of slowly wishing that they get Trump into this so that they can come and try to campaign and raise money.

But the thing is, Democrats aren't super good at getting folks to come out in these crucial midterm elections. And so I think the question is, is fear enough of a motivator is lying enough motivator with enough money behind it? So let these people go from nominees to, you know, unseating Democrats in a way that could be very detrimental for democracy.

And to the statement, Melanie just read, look, the Republicans have every right to campaign against the Biden agenda. They have every right even, you know, their normal political hyperbole about this issue or that issue. But do they deserve to be listened to, I mean this, do they deserve to be listened to when they're actively embracing people who are just -- that building was attacked, they were all at risk. They continue to support people who are trying to wipe that off the map and to say Trump won, he did not.

MARGARET TALEV, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: But I think this is actually like a real challenge for mainstream journalism, because now you're taught, there's two sides to every story. There's not actually two sides of the story. Like there is a noble truth. The election was legitimate. Joe Biden was elected president, legitimately he is the -- legitimately elected president of the United States, the election was not stolen. So that's got to be the starting point. How do you interview a candidate when there is no baseline for truth where the premise of the candidacy is built on a miss truth on misinformation?

I think that's a real challenge. And we're all talking about this from a political, domestic political perspective. Is it going to work for Democrats for Republicans? Can they get away with it, but if you move the lens back and you look around the world, there are rising authoritarian movements all over the world. And, you know, you might believe in American exceptionalism. This is part of that when the genesis of the candidacy is premised on a deliberate miss truth. It poisons the well, fundamentally.

KING: It poisons the well and the country could use a competitive two or three party system. But I have a hard time listening to a party that is foundation is based on a lie. What's the point of going into that house if the foundation is based on lie?

HEATHER CAYGLE, CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER, POLITICO: Yes, and I think this is to Margaret's point, something that we also struggle with on the Hill when talking to Republicans who voted to decertify the election. And there are frankly journalists who are asking really legitimate questions about their position and where they are now. And is this where the party is going and I've seen them get screamed at by Republican members. And, you know, fake media, fake news media. So it's a challenge.

KING: Yes. The former presidents in the Wall Street Journal today with another letter repeating lies until they push him aside, it's not a -- it's a perfectly legitimate question. That's your problem. Not ours.


Coming up for us, five days left, just five days in the Virginia governor's race and Donald Trump teases a last minute visit, guess which candidate says please, and which says thanks, but no thanks.


KING: You see the magic while here, some will throwback Thursday. Virginia 2020, Joe Biden wins the state by 10 points. We have it up because it is five days now until we count the votes in the Virginia governor's race and Donald Trump. Well, he just couldn't stay out. That does not mean he's getting in. The former President said in his statement yesterday afternoon that he would be visiting Virginia soon. But even Trump's own staff quickly called it a tease and says no, the former president is not coming to Virginia before Election Day. That is a relief to Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin who knows the race will be won or lost in the suburbs where Donald Trump frankly remains toxic.

Let's take a look at where the candidates, the big surrogates are in the final days. It tells you a lot. Here's your map of Virginia suburbs up here in northern Virginia but not only here, suburbs down around Virginia as well, suburbs down here in Norfolk, Virginia Beach, a lot of suburban voters and black voters. Let's look at where Glenn Youngkin has been. Yes, he's been out here. You see the red out here. He's been in the Roanoke area. Southwest Central Virginia, if you will, you see all that red, that's where the voters are. But look where he's spending a lot of his time. These are Democratic strongholds.

You see the blue in the map, the blue in the map up here in the suburbs. Glenn Youngkin knows he needs to cut into the Democratic vote in the suburbs, or else he can't win in a blue state of state that leans blue at least like Virginia that's where the Republican has been. Let's take that away and show you where not only Terry McAuliffe has been but Terry McAuliffe's friends, high profile friends in these final days.

You see the President, the Vice President, the former president, the First Lady, Stacey Abrams of Georgia, she's down here, giant African American turnout is necessary for McAuliffe down here. The Richmond suburbs for Obama and Jill Biden-Harris Biden up here in the Northern Virginia suburbs, the suburbs are everything Trump is toxic in the suburbs, which is why Terry McAuliffe wishes that was not a tease. He wishes Trump would come. If you listen to Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic candidate, he's actually running against Trump.



TERRY MCAULIFFE (D-VA), GOV. NOMINEE: It's issues like education. Glenn Youngkin wants to fall Donald Trump. On COVID, Glenn Youngkin is already brought Donald Trump's anti science agenda to Virginia. Women will die from unsafe illegal abortions here in Virginia. I will always be a brick wall to protect woman's rights against politicians like Donald Trump and Glenn Youngkin who want to make abortion illegal.


KING: CNN's Jeff Zeleny joins the conversation. Pretty apparent, transparent what Terry McAuliffe hopes essentially Youngkin-Trump.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. And he's been trying that for weeks, if not months. And it is working to at least a small degree, but perhaps not a large degree. If that was the case, this wouldn't be so close here. And that is what worries some Democrats. Yes, there are five more days to go. But the next three days, absolutely critical because that is the final days of early voting. As of this morning, 867,646 people have already voted early. It will be more than a million by Saturday, the end of early voting. It might be much more than that.

How much of the vote Democrats can bank and how much Republican voters in the early vote will certainly go a long way to what is going to happen on Tuesday. But this Trump's strategy absolutely is designed for one reason. McAuliffe campaign is trying to find those Biden voters. They're absolutely out there. He won by 10 percentage points in the Northern Virginia suburbs by an overwhelming margin. So they're trying to find all those voters who may be, nah, on McAuliffe that they don't like Trump.

KING: Right, they don't like Trump. And we saw that in 2018. We saw that again in 2020. Suburban voters so, if you live in Virginia, you may have gotten this in the mail, you would think oh, look, the Republican candidate must have sent me this because Glenn Youngkin, has been endorsed by Donald Trump, and says so right there. They got a quote from Glenn Younkin right here. They said this guy is like Donald Trump. I said, thank you very much. They have a quote from Donald Trump over here. Glenn will truly make Virginia great again. So you would think oh, I got a Republican flyer in the mail today. You have to flip it over to the other side where it has another quote from Donald Trump and Youngkin will do all of the things we want a governor to do.

It's down here. You can't read it on your T.V. screen at home because it's deliberately hard to read. It is the Democrats who pay for this. To mail it out to people, they are they so want to tie Glenn Youngkin to Donald Trump that they're spending their money.

TALEV: Right. If those Democrats accidentally mailed that mailer to Republicans, they can actually boost turnout in a lot of Virginia. It's really interesting, my colleague, Lachlan Markay, has been tracking this. And there have already been like, dozens and dozens of ads and a lot of money spent so far with this kind of split messaging where it's trying to tie Republicans to Trump, but it's actually the Democrats doing it to try to sabotage someone in a, you know, future election or a primary.

In this case, though, I think we talk about whether Virginia is a bellwether, here's why I think it is, because like Virginia has been a swing state. They used to be a red state that's been trending blue for a long time, what conservatives I talked to now just say it's a blue state. It's not a swing state anymore. The country, population wise, overwhelmingly favors a candidate like Biden over a candidate, like Trump, but that's not how the Electoral College works. And that's not how the Virginia election is going to work if turnout isn't high.

And so this is another example, Virginia is a microcosm of the truth, that it doesn't matter what your numbers are, if they -- if your voters don't turn out, and this turnout effort is like this battle for motivated Republican voters versus Democratic voters who were really confused about are they supposed to be excited about Biden, are they supposed to be excited about Terry McAuliffe? These guys were going to get infrastructure, they can't get anything done. It's that turnout is the big question.

KING: And so Youngkin is in the suburbs. You guys have to win all the suburbs, but he has to cut in significantly to what have become big Democratic margins, especially if you look at the growing Northern Virginia suburbs. So if you listen to Glenn Youngkin, he says number one, Terry McAuliffe is from the past, we don't want to go back and number two, think about schools.


GLENN YOUNGKIN (R-VA), GOV. NOMINEE: Terry McAuliffe is the godfather of the modern day Democratic Party. Terry McAuliffe thinks that government should be between parents and their children. I want parents to make sure they understand that as their governor I'm going to go work for them, I'm going to make sure that parents have a role in their kid's education.


KING: One of the things that frustrates Democrats is they actually will tell you privately they think he's done a pretty good job. They think that, you know, they disagree with on some of the issues I think he's hyping stuff about like banning books and things like that but they would tell you under their breath guys done a pretty good job.

SHEPHERD: Especially in the suburbs right, the White House wants to make this one on child tax, you know, child tax credit cuts, but they weren't able to deliver on uncovering for care went from, you know, 14 to six to zero now in this plan. That's why Biden went up to the Hill so please, please do this. And if they can't someone like Youngkin can might be able to come in and live with our and take that seat away.


KING: People like Joe Biden and Terry McAuliffe keep promising you things and where is the delivery, where is the delivery? We will see. Appreciate your time in Inside Politics today. Hope to see you back here at this time tomorrow. Erica Hill picks up our coverage right now. Have a good day.