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Today: CDC Advisory Panel Vote On Pfizer Vaccine For Kids; Biden Pledges To Cut Planet Warming Methane; Pence Says He Looked To James Madison As He Certified Election. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired November 02, 2021 - 12:30   ET



JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Doctor, grateful to see you on this important day. I just want to show just in terms of the impact on cases, one in four of all new COVID infections this past week meaning 100,630 were among children. How important is it 28 million children in this age group, what will the green light from the CDC and the government do to the fight against COVID?

DR. RICHINA BICETTE-MCCAIN, MEDICAL DIRECTOR, BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: Well, I'm hoping that that green light gives parents some a bit of hope that this vaccine is safe and is effective, while the risk of children getting severely ill. And being hospitalized or dying from COVID is low, that risk still does exist. And if I were a parent of a young child in that age group, any gamble that puts my child's life on the line is a risk that I'm not willing to take.

KING: You see in the polling what I'll call the Facebook Effect on medicine, in that there are parents out there who are hesitant because they've seen things online that say, if my kid gets this vaccine, he or she is going to have fertility problems down the road. Any truth to that?

BICETTE-MCCAIN: That is completely unfounded. The American Academy of Pediatrics has come out and said that there is no evidence that any of these COVID vaccines, affect fertility, nor do they affect puberty. We also have heard from the American College of gynecologist and obstetrics that they recommend that women and pregnant women get vaccinated because they also agree that there's no risk of fertility issues associated with the COVID vaccine.

KING: So help put it into context in terms of the case count that we've all looked at every day for 18, 19 months now, at times depressing. The trend line overall is down, down from the last month but up in recent days, just in the last week, the case count started trickle back up a little bit 74,000 new infections a day.

Again, when you have this universe of 28 million children now ages five and 11 eligible for vaccines. If a big percentage of those kids get vaccinated not only are they safe, but what will the impact be at schools out in the community when these kids are out doing sports or things together? How could that affect these numbers? BICETTE-MCCAIN: You know, John, although the numbers are down trending, when we look at the two distinct peaks and COVID cases, which were the winter and then the summer surge back in December, January, February, although more people overall were being diagnosed with COVID, the proportion of children that were being diagnosed with COVID was actually less back then, as compared to now.

So that shows that more children are getting COVID even though total cases are lower, that has a substantial impact on the community because again, although children may not get as sick, they can pass it along to older adults and immunocompromised individuals who could potentially be hospitalized or diagnosed with severe disease.

KING: Right. And we're talking about children in this context. If you look at just the rate of Americans getting their first dose, this is all Americans eligible getting their first dose. It's down, down 20 percent from last week's, pretty low number 137,000 Americans initiating vaccination this on a day Dr. Bicette-McCain.

We also learned that Johnson & Johnson put out new efficacy numbers that show it's vaccine, about 74 percent effective that's below the Pfizer vaccine. It's below the Moderna vaccine. What do you believe the impact of reading those numbers, learning those numbers should be as people consider vaccines, whether it's the first shot or a booster?

BICETTE-MCCAIN: Well, I think first and foremost that we in the medical community may need to change our recommendations as it comes to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. It's looking like the Johnson & Johnson vaccine should no longer be recommended as a one-shot regimen because you are right, John, that one shot does have lower efficacy as compared to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine.

Not only that, but there was a recent study released that examined over 600,000 U.S. veterans that showed the rate of declining efficacy is extremely drastic for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as compared to Moderna and Pfizer. That being said, although we may want to change the recommendations from one shot to two shots, there is still I think a place for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine with those with special considerations.

KING: Dr. Richina Bicette-McCain, grateful on this important day for your expertise and insights. Thank you.

BICETTE-MCCAIN: Thank you, John.

KING: Thank you.


When we come back, President Biden breached the global climate summit on a new U.S. plan to cut methane emissions. We'll have a live update from Scotland, next.


KING: President Biden today unveiled an aggressive plan to cut methane emissions in the United States and he urged nations participating in a global climate summit to follow suit. The Biden plan aims to slash 41 million tons of methane by 2035. That effectively is more than all of the carbon dioxide emitted by cars and planes in the year 2019.

Methane is the second most abundant greenhouse gas. It is about 80 times more potent and carbon dioxide and a major catalyst in warming the planet. Our chief White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins joins us live now from Scotland. Kaitlan, a promise from the President to act aggressively here at home but also a request that others help.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, because the President has been saying, you know, this is not just an effort that needs to be made by the United States but all of these nations. And that's what you've heard from other world leaders here, including the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson talking about the steps that they're taking.

But President Biden's number one goal has really been to show these other nations and other leaders that the United States is serious this time about combating climate change and that they are taking real steps to try to do that. And so these new rules from the EPA that the President has proposed here while over season and here in Glasgow at this climate summit does deal with having tighter restrictions on methane emissions. And it goes further than the rules that you even saw that President Obama had, because this would apply to existing facilities.


And of course, we know that scientists have said if you can significantly cut down on methane emissions, that it would significantly slow down global warming, more warming more than other steps could. And so the President, of course, has been stressing the urgency of this, John, and saying that the goal here and the importance of the goals that they are setting here, when it comes to the rhetoric, and what promises they're actually going to deliver on is not just setting these lengthy goals for years in 2050, but also acting in this decade.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And I keep referring as many of you do to this decisive decade. We got to figure what we're going to do. It's not just between now and 2050. What we're going to do between now and 2030, is going to impact significantly, what will we -- whether we'll be able to meet our longer-term commitment.


COLLINS: And, John, I want to note that while the President is here, of course, his hours are closing down. He is going to be leaving to go back to Washington soon. But we did just hear from the White House that President Biden did meet with Prince Charles, of course, who has been here making his own arguments for global efforts on slowing down global warming. And the White House says that they underline the need for ambitious commitments and concrete actions among partners worldwide.

They talked about some initiatives that you've seen from Prince Charles as well once at the Queen talked about in recent days. And so those are conversations President Biden has been having on the sidelines here, John. We should note that of course, this all ties into the President's domestic agenda back at home.

And we are told President Biden has not directly spoken with Senator Joe Manchin since he gave that press conference yesterday casting doubt on whether or not he's going to support the President's plan, which of course we know does include those hundreds of billions of dollars for climate change and folds into the promises that he's making here today.

BIDEN: Five or six-hour flight home, Kaitlin Collins, Air Force One has phones. We'll see if one of those calls plays out whether he waits until he gets back or does it in the air. Kaitlin Collins, appreciate the live reporting from Scotland.

When we come back, we know Donald Trump wanted Mike Pence to block certification of the 2020 election results. And now we know where Pence found the advice to say no, that's next.



KING: Mike Pence is sharing new insights into what shaped his decision on January 6th to defy Donald Trump. The former president of course wanted the then Vice President to refuse to accept Electoral College results from several states. But Pence told the conservative audience in Iowa last night, he followed his faith and the advice of a founding father.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is the name of the person who told you to buck the President Trump's plan and certify the votes?

MIKE PENCE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: James Madison, Psalm 15 says, you keeps his oath even when it hurts. And the only role of the federal government was to open and count the electoral votes that were sent by the states, you've got to be willing to do your duty.


KING: The panel is back with me, two interesting dynamics there. One is that Pence is not flinching here. He understands. He made that decision. He's going to have to stand by it for better or worse as he plots his political future. And he does. And he's explaining it now. The other thing is that young conservative asking the question, this has so taken root in the Republican Party, that as he travels, he has to answer for it.

MARGARET TALEV, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. Who told you to do that? KING: Right.

TALEV: It's like, what do you mean?

JACKIE ALEMANY, AUTHOR, WASHINGTON POST'S "THE EARLY 202": And what are they going to do with that information?

TALEV: Right. Yes, right. Where are you going to find the guy and then --


TALEV: But, you know, it's James Madison, a former president of founder, you know, a, like, part of the like the core guy behind the Federalist Papers, behind the Constitution, what Mike Pence is saying is, this was never a choice for me. This was never a choice.

But he's going to have to keep answering and answering and answering. And you know, the thing is, like, there was a time not that long ago, I don't know, maybe like, six years ago, when invoking a founder of the Constitution, the Federalist Papers, and the Bible would be enough.

KING: Right. That should protect you in Republican politics.

TALEV: And you're covered.

KING: Right.

TALEV: And you can see now, how I mean, how much things have changed.

KING: Right. You're part of this fascinating reporting in the Washington Post. It's just fantastic details and documentation of what happened in the lead up and on January 6th and after January 6th. This is just a piece of it on this particular episode of Trump and Pence.

Speaking from the Naval Observatory, Pence explained that the Vice President's duty was ceremonial and that his authority was limited no matter how badly Pence may have wanted them to serve a second term, Trump was unforgiving. You don't have the courage to make a hard decision, he told Pence.

So this will live on forever in the Trump-Pence dynamic which will carry over into 2024. But the idea that this has so taken root in the Republican Party is even more stunning in many ways.

ALEMANY: That's exactly right, John. And in all seriousness, Pence, actually was receiving an advice from a very serious and well-regarded cadre of lawyers, people like Greg Jacob, who actually was under siege with Vice President Pence when the insurrection happened.

But we uncovered in our reporting over the weekend by a call -- a group of 75 posts reporters that worked on this January 6th project for months that Greg Jacob had actually written an op-ed that went unpublished detailing some of the constitutional arguments that were being made to convince Pence to overturn the results of the election. Pence sat in meetings he listened to people like John Eastman. And even John Eastman actually eventually conceded to Pence's lawyers that, yes, the 12th amendment was not well drafted. There was scholarly debate over it. But ultimately, he had told Jacob in these conversations that not one Supreme Court Justice would ever agree with a decision if Pence did reject the electoral count and send it back to the state legislators.


But you're exactly right that I think the after portion of our project is what I think is most terrifying for American democracy, that a such a substantial part of the Republican electorate has embraced these claims of election fraud, and believe that Joe Biden is not the legitimate president.

KING: And then a slice of that group is willing to go even further. This is a survey poll from the Public Religion Research Institute poll. Do you agree that patriots, they used the term patriots may have to resort to violence to save the United States, 30 percent of Republicans say that that's a possibility, 70 percent of independents, only 11 percent of Democrats.

Of that 30 percent of Republicans who say you may have to resort to violence, look at where they get their information, 40 percent trust far right news, the most 32 percent trust "Fox News" the most, 22 percent trust mainstream news the most.

So 72 percent of them, if you look at those numbers, are, forgive me, get, don't forgive me actually, getting their information from news organizations, I'm going to put that in quotations, who to this day continues to tell them misleading, if not lies about what happened in 2020.

AYESHA RASCOE, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, NPR: Well, that's the thing. If you tell people your vote doesn't actually count. This is no longer a democracy and your lives are at stake, then they start to take that seriously and go, well, if my vote doesn't count then I have to do something about that. And maybe I do have to get violent. And so that's what you're playing with.

And today is Election Day, right? And so if some results come out that people don't like, or they're going to say, well, my vote didn't count. I voted, but I didn't get the result that I wanted, therefore, we need to fight back. That is the problem.

ALEMANY: And I just want to read a two pretty startling statistics that we found from our reporting. But election officials in 17 states since January 6th have received hundreds of threats. And over a third of the 390 Republican officials running in statewide elections throughout the country have embraced this idea of election integrity and are running on some sort of platform that Joe Biden isn't illegitimate president.

KING: Right. That is -- we need a competitive two or multiparty system in this country but that part is scary that there you have a next generation of candidates running essentially on the foundation of a lie -- of a lie. It is frightening.

This quick programming note, Jake Tapper explores this in more detail at CNN new special report Trumping Democracy: An American Coup begins Friday night right here 9 o'clock Eastern on CNN.

Up next for us, more on today, today is Election Day, New York, Boston, Buffalo, Minneapolis, among the places making big choices today.



KING: Election Day and it's big choices top our Political Radar today. New Jersey governor were incumbent. Democrat Phil Murphy faces a challenge from Republican Jack Ciattarelli. Murphy has served as governor since January 2018 and says his handling of the COVID pandemic is one reason he deserves a second term. Ciattarelli says New Jersey needs a Republican who will cut taxes.

New York City Mayor the Brooklyn Borough President and former NYPD Captain Eric Adams won the crowded Democratic primary earlier this year. Today he faces Republican Curtis Sliwa, a media personality and the founder of the Guardian Angels. Sliwa own 16 cats, one of whom you see he brought with him when he cast his vote this morning.

The current mayor Bill de Blasio is term limited, cannot run for a third term. In Boston, my hometown, the next mayor will be historic no matter who wins. Two women are on the ballot today progressive city councilor Michelle Wu and more moderate Boston City councilor-at-large Annissa Essaibi George. The mayor's race in Minneapolis largely framed around police and the death of George Floyd.

Incumbent mayor Jacob Frey facing 16 challengers, Minneapolis voters also were deciding if they want to replace the Minneapolis Police Department with a new Department of Public Safety.


JANAE BATES, COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, YES4MINNEAPOLIS: It does not abolish the police department, it does not even really dismantled the police department. What it does is it makes it possible to expand it so that it becomes the Department of Public Safety so that you can add other qualified professionals to it.

CHIEF MEDARIA ARRADONDO, MINNEAPOLIS POLICE: Now as Chief, I can't tell you what ballot question number two will achieve for your public safety if it passes, because no one including the authors of the ballot or those supporting it, have clearly stated that either.


KING: Let's ask the panel members to give us a favorite race Margaret.

TALEV: I'm watching the Lieutenant Governor's race in Virginia. We've talked so much about the Virginia governor's race but either way, the lieutenant governor is going to be a woman and it's going to be a woman of color, woman with a background in cybersecurity, woman with a background as a military veteran.

KING: Jackie?

ALEMANY: I'm going to be in part keeping an eye on the Airbnb be as the pandemic has exacerbating the affordable housing crisis. I'm going to be watching these towns and cities out west that are going to be holding ballot initiatives on rent control and housing. This is also something that I think labor Democrats and Republicans are going to be closely watching.

KING: Ayesha?

RASCOE: I am looking for there is a ballot measure in Detroit, Michigan to decriminalize therapeutic use of mushrooms. So this is about shrooms and, you know, therapeutic use of them and there's been a march towards decriminalization of some of this stuff, so we'll see what happens.

KING: You're planning to move to Detroit. It's a personal interest.

RASCOE: No, it's just a personal, you know, personal interest. We'll see what happens.

KING: Right. They say all politics is local. I already talked about my city getting a new mayor. So the executive producer of this program, you know, if I didn't do this, I wouldn't have a job tomorrow. At least they'd make it difficult for me. Let's look at this headline from Buffalo. Buffalo picks its favorite wing. That's good. That's good headline there. Buffalo picking a new mayor today, one of the candidates is a self-declared socialist that's fascinating to do. What else? Anything else, quickly got 20 seconds?


TALEV: Can't beat socialism in Buffalo.

KING: It can't be wings.

RASCOE: Yes. Are they going to have rams or blue cheese with the wing, that's the question?

KING: See it's tough to be mayor. Tough questions from people like this. I got a ranch in the air right there.

Thanks for spending your time with us in Inside Politics today. Stay with us. I'll be here all night counting votes. And don't go anywhere, busy day. Ana Cabrera picks up our coverage right now.