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Inside Politics

CDC Expected to Approve Pfizer Vaccine for Kids 5-11; Biden: "Eyes of History" on Climate Summit; Biden: Climate Inaction would Condemn, "Generations to Suffer"; One Day Left in Tight Race for Virginia Governor; Biden Outlines Key Climate Benchmarks at Global Summit. Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired November 01, 2021 - 12:00   ET



KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: --for the rest of 2021. How about it? It good to see you doctor, thank you so much!


BOLDUAN: Thanks all for being with us this hour. I'm Kate Bolduan. "Inside Politics" with John King starts right now.

JOHN KING, CNN HOST, INSIDE POLITICS: Hello and welcome to "Inside Politics". I'm John King in Washington. Thank you for sharing the incredibly busy news day.

It is a defining week for the American President Joe Biden is abroad this hour at a global climate summit. At home progress on his agenda is moving but in fits and starts. Negotiations over a key priority may scramble a plan to vote on everything tomorrow.

Plus, the Supreme Court right now hearing the biggest issue of this term, a challenge to a restrictive Texas abortion law and a true toss up in blue leaning Virginia, who wins the Governor's Race, will tell us a ton about the national mood from COVID restrictions from the Biden Presidency.

We begin a packed hour though with President Biden and the Global Climate Summit now underway in Scotland. Most on hand including Mr. Biden agree the fate of humanity hinges on the willingness of these leaders to be bold.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: It's simple will we act? Will we do what is necessary? Will we seize the enormous opportunity before us? Or you're really condemn future generations to suffer?


KING: Yet as what is labeled as COP26 unfolds in Glasgow we already see political reality undermining the global urgency the science demands. China and Russia two major carbon emitters did not show India is there but hesitant to slow down its coal production as its energy demand skyrockets.

President Biden's goal is to persuade the world that U.S. boldness will not replace four years of Trump climate denial. But even as he promises to lead by example, and make record American clean climate investments, the big Biden green initiatives do remain in limbo back home here in Washington and Congress.

Let's get straight to our Chief White House Correspondent Kaitlan Collins in Scotland for us. Kaitlan the president tried trying to say America will lead how's it going?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's the big question that is really on every leader's mind, which of course is yes. We see that President Biden is committed to this. He has made this an underpinning of his campaign and of course, now his presidency.

But one big question that was raised by his predecessor is how long that last does? And this is something that President Biden seems to be acknowledging directly, as he did in that speech earlier that opening remarks but now, just a few moments ago, John, even in a smaller session with the Prime Minister Boris Johnson and other world leaders in the room.

President Biden apologized for Former President Trump exiting the Paris Climate Accords. Of course, that was a deal negotiated in part by his product by excuse us, Former President Trump's predecessor, President Obama.

And President Biden apologized for him leaving that saying that it sort of put the United States behind when it comes to these steps that he is now calling on other nations to join the United States and taking. And so he gave this speech earlier, John saying that he believes the world is essentially at an inflection point when it comes to climate change.

And they need to make changes not just by the year 2050, which are these goals, of course, that we've seen so many nations set, but also by 2030 and talking about the importance of taking steps now in this decade to make those changes.

And he did not lay out any new short term goals, though a lot of the goals that he talked about were the ones that he had mentioned at that climate summit he held virtually at the White House earlier this year.

And you've seen him at the summit he's accompanied by his Climate Envoy, John Kerry, also his main climate advisor, a position that he created inside the West Wing, Gina McCarthy is there in these meetings with world leaders about what they need to do now.

One thing that I did notice from his speech earlier, though, John is the president did not call out China directly, even though of course, we know the world's biggest polluter is absent from this climate summit as China's President Xi Jinping has not traveled and about 21 months since the Coronavirus pandemic.

But the president was talking about how this cannot just be an effort by one nation it has to be a global effort to confront climate change. And he was saying in that private session earlier where he did apologize that Glasgow and this summit here is not the end of the road but they do feel like it's important to lay down markers of where it is they'd like to go.

KING: Kaitlan Collins kicking us off from Scotland, Kaitlan thanks for the live reporting with me in studio to share the reporting and their insights CNN's Manu Raju Tia Mitchell of "The Atlanta Journal- Constitution, CNN's Jeremy Diamond and Coral Davenport of "The New York Times".

The UN Secretary General saying today we are digging our own graves. Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister of the UK opening the session by using a little Hollywood listen.


BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Welcome to Glasgow and to Scotland, whose most globally famous fictional son is almost certainly a man called James Bond, who generally comes to the climax of his highly lucrative films strapped to a doomsday device. This is not a movie and the doomsday device is real. If we don't get serious about climate change today, it will be too late for our children to do so tomorrow.



KING: The rhetoric constantly escalates. And you have doomsday rhetoric digging our own grave, the president talking about this inflection point to the actions that are they willing to commit? Are they ready to commit to actions that match the rhetoric?

CORAL DAVENPORT, ENERGY ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY REPORTER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: The short answer is no. Right now, all of the countries that signed on to the Paris Climate Agreement, including the United States of course, President Biden reentered the Paris Climate Agreement on his first day in office, have committed to taking actions that would lower their emissions that was sort of the deal of the Paris Climate Agreement.

But right now, even if every major emitter actually was able to follow through with what they're - what they're able to do, then the world would be on track to heat over two degrees Celsius, probably between two and three degrees Celsius that puts us on track for severe devastation for billions of people suffering from heat waves, climate, refugees, major storms, major flooding, sort of a world that would be completely different from the world we recognize and one from which there's no going back. That's if all of the countries meet their commitment.

KING: That's if all of the countries meet that commitment. So you heard Kaitlan Collins saying the president did not publicly today, a call out China. He did yesterday talked about how it's frustrating not just to people around the world, not just to the scientists who have been demanding action forever, but even to him that the big players skipping up.


BIDEN: Not only Russia, but China basically didn't show up in terms of any commitments to deal with climate change. And there's a reason why people should be disappointed in that. I found it disappointing myself.


KING: If it's so disappointment, Jeremy, what is the White House strategy here is that the idea that you don't want to be overly publicly critical and hope to pull them along some other way? Or is it there are so many issues with China right now the president's not looking to pick a fight?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean, I think you're seeing a little bit of both, frankly, you know, the president has, in recent weeks been pretty clear about the fact that he's disappointed that China and Russia are not attending these summits although he did say on the G20 front, he saw an opportunity to better align with European leaders and kind of focus on their shared agenda.

At the same time, we know that Secretary Kerry has had a number of meetings with his Chinese counterparts same for the National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan. So there is both a public and a private approach to trying to get China to be more committed to this issue.

But I think that ultimately what we're seeing from the president on this trip is, you know, one of the biggest things that a president can do on a big issue, like climate change, or any other national security or global issue is be kind of a moral voice for the world.

And I think that we're seeing a return to that, especially after the four years of President Trump ignoring and frankly, chipping away at the progress that has happened on climate change. We're seeing President Biden use his voice as a global leader to try and galvanize action. Whether or not it actually happens at the summit is another question.

But that's what administration officials have said. This climate summit is a start, they believe for more action--

KING: Four years of Trump's denial where the United States essentially walked away from a giant global conversation. The goals of the summit are find an emissions cutting plan and coal financing, create a global carbon market boost renewable energy investments, funds to protect developing nations funds to stop forestation around the world.

Can the president make the case everybody has to do their part, even some of the key pieces of his plan are still in limbo, the way he wanted to go about it. Joe Manchin said no from a coal producing state, West Virginia. So they're still at the drawing board.

MANU RAJU, CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And look, he can be a moral voice but actually getting concrete action in the United States is a totally different question, because he does need Congress to agree with what he wants to get done.

And what we've seen as they had to drop in the efforts didn't build back better plan, a 50 percent reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions over the next decade, because of the opposition of Joe Manchin.

They have added about $550 billion in clean energy and renewable energy efforts as part of that plan. But will that go and now as far as what they're saying at this conference? That's another question.

KING: Well, he at least knows the answer that by the end of the week.

TIA MITCHELL, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, THE ATLANTA JOURNAL- CONSTITUTION: He hoped so but I don't think that's guaranteed, because they're still working on it. And there is still so much disagreement. And I think that's really what helped him go into this summit with not the strong hand that he wanted. He doesn't have any assurances back at home.

KING: So what's the metric? The scientists essentially say, we've squandered a decade or more to do something by what metric would you say if we look in six months are they starting to do actual things? A year from now, if we sat at this table again is they making progress? What is the metric or two for people out there, who might want to take OK, just talk, are they going to do something?

DAVENPORT: There's a set of really specific actions that President Biden really desperately wants his administration in Congress to take that could actually allow the U.S. to cut its emissions enough to reduce to sort of, you know, give the U.S. its own contribution to renewing global emissions.

One is this package that's on the Hill right now, as Manu mentioned, about $500 billion in clean energy tax credits, if that passes, and if that is could take the U.S. to a meeting about half of what President Biden has promised to the rest of the world that's really big deal.


DAVENPORT: The problem is the U.S. only has about eight years left to meet the rest of its pledge. So how does he get? How does he cut the rest of those emissions? He wants to do the rest of that, mostly through executive action.

Through new regulations from the EPA, through new rules that would basically force us automakers to quickly rapidly turnover and pretty much only build and sell electric vehicles. The question about that is, as we've seen so clearly, from the Trump Administration, you know, President Obama did rule like that President Trump rolled them all back? So President Biden is going to the world and saying, look, we can get halfway there with this bill that's just on the cusp of passing. And then we'll get the rest of the way with these rules. But it's very clear that that those you know, don't necessarily stand permanently.

KING: --subject to American politics as we watch that play out. Well, we will watch it play out. We will. Right now, the Supreme Court hearing arguments in the controversial Texas abortion law will be live at the High Court and see the crowd outside next.



KING: Today right now the Supreme Court is hearing arguments on whether the Justice Department and abortion providers can challenge the restrictive Texas abortion law? The law bans abortion when a heartbeat can be detected. So essentially at around six weeks, there are no exceptions in the Texas law for rape or incest.

Today's arguments come exactly two months after the High Court allowed the newly passed law to go into effect. It was a slim five to four ruling back then, and one of the courts conservators would have to switch sides for that vote now from that vote now to stop the Texas law.

Outside the court and listening to the arguments of CNN's Jessica Schneider so Jessica, the question is would one of those five conservatives who said Texas could implement the law would one of them switch sides now to stop it among those the court watchers are watching closely is the Trump appointee? Justice Amy Coney Barrett, let's listen to a bit of her today.


AMY CONEY BARRETT, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm wondering if in a defensive posture in state court, the constitutional defense can be fully aired.


KING: Jess help to translate that for people watching as to the significance of Justice Barrett raising that question.

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this has been a very procedural argument, John a bit difficult at times to follow along. But the key takeaway from especially Amy Coney Barrett's sound bite there is the fact that she's questioning along with at least one other conservative justice by my count the structure of this Texas law.

That's what's the issue is that play here the way that Texas has essentially tried to evade federal judicial review here. So far, they've been able to avoid the judicial review the fact that this law is still in effect, despite the challenges that have been ongoing for more than two months now. It took effect on September 1st. Amy Coney Barrett, effectively asking here about the structure of this law in particular, the fact that this law says even if an abortion provider is sued, which at least two doctors have been so far. When they go into court, they cannot use as a defense, the constitutionality of abortion.

They cannot go forward and say to the judge, well, the Supreme Court has held that abortions are legal. It is constitutional for a woman to get an abortion prior to viability 22 to 24 weeks that's part of the law here that's being questioned.

At issue here is whether or not the Justice Department and the abortion providers can even challenge this law because Texas has tried to evade all challengers to this law? And that's the crucial issue here that the Supreme Court justices are now weighing in on and will ultimately decide, John.

KING: And as you know better than most we have to be careful when we listen to arguments. Sometimes the justices can ask skeptical questions to make you think they're going one way and in the end, they go another way.

Another conservative and Trump appointee people are watching closely thinking he might strike an allegiance here and alliance with the Chief Justice John Roberts. And swing back the other way is Brett Kavanaugh. Had we heard anything interesting from Justice Cavanaugh today?

SCHNEIDER: We have heard some interesting things, John; in fact, he asked the lawyer for Texas, he said; listen, if Texas can pass this law, stopping abortions in its state, what's to stop another state from passing a law on a constitutional issue like gun rights.

What's to pass a state from allowing private citizens to sue people who own certain guns that are the issue here? Texas has put all of the power of enforcement into private citizens, allowing them to sue to essentially enforce this law as a foe as opposed to state officials.

And by doing that, so far, they've been able to evade judicial review, they've been able to let this law continue without being stopped. But the whole point now is have they been doing that in an improper manner? And should courts be able to step in here, so other states can't take advantage of this structure and try to craft laws similarly, John?

KING: Very complicated legal argument within a very fascinating issue Jessica Schneider, grateful for the quick reporting outside of the court. We will of course, stay on top of the arguments today and ultimately where the court heads with this one just thanks so much.

When we come back, it's election eve in Virginia, where a close race for Governor is being watched for its national message. How President Biden and Donald Trump playing in that race and we'll map out what matters most and how next?


KING: Election Day is tomorrow and the Virginia Governor's Race is getting the most national attention and this map tells you why it's getting attention for good reason. That race the Governor's Race is a tossup one year after Joe Biden carries the Commonwealth of Virginia by 10 points Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin both in this final campaign date where the race is likely to be settled.

Right up here in the Northern Virginia suburbs where we will see that campaigning is today comes to an end? With me to share his insights and expertise on this race is Kyle Kondik. He's the Managing Editor of Sabato's Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia Center For Politics. Kyle, grateful for your attention and experience on this last day.

Let's start let's go through the state. I'm going to start down in the Roanoke area the southwest corner of the state which anyone can see that we're looking at a presidential map. It is very deep red with the exception of just right around Roanoke.

How important is the Republican base and what in recent years has been the Trump base to Glenn Youngkin not only percentage wise but in terms of coming out of the woodwork?


KYLE KONDIK, MANAGING EDITOR OF SABATO'S CRYSTAL BALL AT THE UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA CENTER FOR POLITICS: Exactly, right. I mean, look, it's just a question of what the, you know, what the turnout is and what the margins are going to be? And look, the Democrats have been losing ground in that part of the state for years.

And so what you're probably going to see is not only are the margins, you know, outrageously good for Republicans, but also that they're going to be better than they were in the past. And, you know, for all of the focus on the suburbs, you know, they're still, you know, there aren't that many votes in those individual counties, but they do add up.

And you know, the bottom may continue to kind of fall out for Democrats in that part of the state and that's a key part of the statewide margin.

KING: Right, we'll watch those votes. I want to go back in time a little bit; I just want to go back in time to make a point. I'm going back to 2004. We're using a presidential map here, because people are more familiar with it.

But George W. Bush is the last Republican to carry Virginia in the presidential election. I'm just going to make a couple of marks up here. And I'm going to make a couple of marks down here. And then I'm going to come through time to show something that's where we were in 2004. You see 53/45 If you round up 54/46 there that's 2004. Then you come back here, here's where we were, by 2020. You bring it up here; you see all the blue, all the areas though they were red, now they're blue. That's the suburbs, the suburbs, Kyle around Richmond, the suburbs around Washington.

And if you want to look at why that happened, here's one of the reasons that has happened. You look back at the census from 1990 back when Reagan and H. W. Bush were winning Virginia, George W. Bush, the state used to be 77percent white now it's just shy of 60 percent White, the black population is held relatively steady, just shy of 20 percent.

But look at this back in 1990, 3 percent of Hispanic voters in Virginia now it's 11 percent. Asian voters were 3 percent in 1990 now it is 7 percent. And much of the demographic changes have happened right, Kyle with the population growth right up here across the river in the Northern Washington suburbs.

KONDIK: Yes, that's right. Virginia has become more diverse. It also is a fairly highly educated state. And we know that for your college attainment has become an interesting dividing line in politics, particularly amongst white voters.

You know that there are a lot of white professionals, white college educated folks, particularly in Northern Virginia and some other suburban areas that may be used to vote Republican but they don't anymore.

And then it's a question can Glenn Youngkin claw back some of those voters after Donald Trump kind of pushed them away from the Republican Party? But I think it's also important to note that those trends kind of predate Trump, although Trump accelerated them certainly in Virginia.

KING: Is an excellent way to put it. So what are you looking for in terms of the metrics? You had this unusual early voting because of COVID early voting thing, rules were put in place in Virginia kept them into place.

Republicans tend to turn out more on election day, when you're going to you're going to get to bed early tonight, because you're going to have a late night tomorrow. What metrics are you looking for tomorrow as you go through the day that tells me where are we headed?

KONDIK: You know I don't necessarily know if we're going to learn a whole lot during the day. But I will say that when you know, when the votes start coming in, first of all, it's going to be different than what we're used to in Virginia, you know, in 2020, the Election Day vote was tally first and so even as the state was easily called for Biden, you know, Trump was leading throughout most of the night.

And then, you know, once all the mail-in early votes got counted, it was clear that Biden won the state very comfortably. This time, a lot of those votes are going to be counted first. And so, McAuliffe may be doing really well to start the evening but then as Election Day comes in

Youngkin is likely to catch up and that's when you know if he's going to surpass McAuliffe, it might be later in the night, and then it could sort of ping pong back and forth as the Election Day vote is recorded.

You know, we'll get some of the red rural areas maybe earlier in the night and then the Election Day voted some of the bluer suburban counties might come in later. And you know that there's also the possibility that this thing that could be so close that maybe we don't even know the winner on Tuesday.

KING: Tomorrow's election night, let's hope we don't have another election week but Kyle grateful for the insights. That's why election Tuesdays we brew a little bit more coffee, Kyle Kondik grateful for your insights.

And as Kyle was just noting, you get the vote down here tends to come in quick. That's why Donald Trump early in the Virginia count in 2020, Trump pulled out to a big lead because this came in and the suburbs countered a bit later.

But we know it's the Northern Virginia suburbs that are likely decide this race if its close, both candidates will and they're both candidates also campaigning there over the weekend talking a lot about schools and parents.


GLENN YOUNGKIN, VERGINIA GOVERNOR NOMINEE: Terry McAuliffe wants to put government between parents and your children. America is the greatest country in the world. We're going to talk about it in schools, but we're also going to teach the chapters that are dark and abhorred. Because if we don't know where we've come from, we can't know where we're going. But I will ban critical race theory from being in our schools.

TERRY MCAULIFFE, VERGINIA GOVERNOR NOMINEE: What's Glenn Youngkin education plan? He wants to ban critical race theory. Well, let me explain it. It's never been taught in Virginia. He's ending his campaign on a racist dog whistle. We have a great school system in Virginia. Dorothy and I have raised our five children of course parents are involved in it.


KING: That has become the parents right school choice critical race theories become a vehicle for frustrations over masks over books over just about everything.