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Inside Politics

Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-WA) Is Interviewed About Dems Defeat In VA, Close Call In NJ; Buffalo Mayor Declares Victory Over Socialist Challenger; Now: Kids Get Vaccinated Across U.S. After CDC Approves Pfizer Shot. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired November 03, 2021 - 12:30   ET



JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Today dissecting the big loss in Virginia and the close call in New Jersey is yet another source of Democratic division. Moderates say the climate might have been better if progressives had a lot of final vote on a big infrastructure plan weeks ago. But progressives blame moderates for the delay because the moderates keep trying to shrink the size and the scope of a second Democratic spending plan.

Democratic Congresswoman Suzan DelBene from Washington State joins us now, Congresswoman, grateful for your time. You're a more centrist Democrat aligned with the moderate wing. Other progressives, right, is this your fault and more specifically, Senator Manchin and Senator Sinema, because this has dragged on for so long because of the debate over how big?

REP. SUZAN DELBENE (D-WA): You know, the only thing that matters is passing strong legislation to help the American people until we actually get across the finish line. We haven't helped anyone. And so we all sink or swim together. And what we need to do is realize we need to 218 votes in the House, 50 in the Senate. That is the math that needs to happen for us to get legislation to the President's desk. And it's time for folks to decide.

There's been so much focus over time about a number, a number who doesn't do anything for folks, people talking about process. We need to talk about the substance, what -- the critical things we're doing to help the American people and get them done.

KING: You're right. A lot of the change proposed by Democrats in the President is fundamental. It would rewrite the social safety net. Is there any sense of remorse or guilt, you say we all sink or swim together? There may be Terry McAuliffe sunk, because Democrats couldn't figure this out sooner?

DELBENE: Well, I think we had a missed opportunity and not passing the infrastructure bill last week. Because the more we get things done, the more people see governance work, the more we actually help our communities. And, you know, the purple districts across the country, folks who represent purple districts like mine. Across the board, we hear from constituents that they want to see governance work, they want to see us talk, make the tough decisions, get things done, and we need to get it done.

KING: Is it some of this is not your fault, in the sense that you have such a narrow majority, three votes despair in the house that might go up to four now I guess there was a election yesterday, but three votes despair in the House, no votes despair in the Senate.

So Democrats are trying to do a lot in one piece of legislation knowing there are no Republican votes. In hindsight, might have been wiser to say, you know what, we'd love to do all these things but let's just pick two or three, pick extra child care tax credit, maybe free pre-K, and not try to do it all so that you could get it done sooner?

DELBENE: Well, I'm chair of the New Democrat Coalition where 95 members of the House Democratic Caucus, and we've always focused on the substance, which is talk about what we need to do, what are your priorities, like the child tax credit, like making sure we have premium subsidies so that folks have affordable health care coverage, making sure we address climate, making those priorities I think it's very important, we had a lot of folks focus on numbers versus substance and priority.

And that definitely slowed things down. But we're having those debates right now on getting the substance right, which is so important, making sure that we are helping families and workers and communities, something I've championed, like the extension of the child tax credit, that's what's going to make a difference for folks across the country.

KING: Are you just great at being publicly optimistic? Are you really not this worried in the sense that if you look at the metrics, forgive me, but if you look at the metrics of where the President's approval rating is where the wrong track numbers in the country are a what just happened in the suburbs in New Jersey and Virginia, if you're a Democrat, you're thinking, wow, we saw that happen in 2009. And we got wiped off the map in 2010.

DELBENE: You know, it's our responsibility to make it happen. And that means that we have to come together and pass strong legislation. Good policy is good politics, and we need to get that policy across the finish line. That's got to be our priority. I wish we had done it sooner. But we have an opportunity to do it right now and make transformational change for folks across the country.

KING: Congressman Susan DelBene, grateful for your time today. And we'll stay in touch in those days ahead as you try to finally figure this out. Appreciate it.

DELBENE: Thank you.


KING: Thank you. Up next for us voters reject the defund police movement across the United States. And nationwide the trend now seems to be in favor of candidates who stress law and order.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: To crime in politics now and another important message from voters yesterday, defund the police of course became a slogan for some progressives in the wake of George Floyd's murder, but voters on Tuesday made clear, at least in many places that they disagree. In Minneapolis where Floyd was killed, voters rejected a proposal to replace the police department with a new Department of Public Safety.

In Buffalo, a Democratic socialist, India Walton looks like she will lose to a write-in candidate. That write-in candidate is the incumbent Mayor Byron Brown, who had been defeated in the primary. Brown ran ads in the final weeks of the campaign highlighting Walton's plan to cut millions from the City Police Department.

The panel is back with us now. Again, you don't want to override these things. However, these are Democratic cities Minneapolis where George Floyd was killed voters saying well, no, no, we'll keep our police department we can have a conversation about brutality. We can have a conversation about police and race, but we're not changing the name of the police department.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. And you saw something similar in New York, right? You have the election of Eric Adams, former police officer but also in some ways critic of some of the tactics of police departments and police brutality more generally. I think it's a mixed bag there was a headline out of Philadelphia for instance, that Philadelphia police officers can no longer stop vehicles for low level traffic violations like, you know, a busted taillight or something like that.


So in small ways, there is some progress being made on reforming police departments because of some of the racial inequities. But you did get a something of a message here in some of these states about defund the police not being the slogan that is going to really be effective for these voters.

KING: You mentioned Eric Adams who won in the New York City Mayor's race, doesn't get a lot of attention the day after the election, because the big win for him was back in the Democratic primary. But that was a big win. He ran against several progressives, many of whom wanted to defund or deemphasize or change the police department in fundamental ways. We asked earlier is Glenn Youngkin a new model for Republicans? Well, let's listen. Is Eric Adams, a new model for Democrats?


ERIC ADAMS (D-NY) MAYOR-ELECT: We have to deal with public safety. When you talk about disbanding police departments when crime is increasing, you're not being progressive, because you're not dealing with the safety of people who are impacted by that. So let's be practical and progressive, not preach to people, but provide services to people.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KING: We were talking earlier, Maggie, you know, not everybody is Glenn Youngkin. If you're Republican thinking, how did he do that? You can't copy him. Here you have, as Nia said, a former police officer, as someone who was, you know, he says mistreated by the police himself in his youth. So it's hard to copy. But how he communicates? Is that a lesson for Democrats?

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think so I do think Eric Adams is a unique figure in New York. I think that he was the borough president of the most populous borough when he was very well known. So by the time voters started paying attention to this race, these races all have unique factors.

But I do think he has been pretty unequivocal about there is a bridge too far on language. And there is a bridge too far on policy. He has made no bones about it, he made no bones about it in the primary. And we should note, it wasn't just that he won, it was a very crowded primary field in New York City on the Democratic side, if you added up the aggregate of the people who are not pro, the defund the police message, they outweighed the rest, and it was still a pretty low turnout. I think this offers a path forward.

But I also think that you have individual politicians like a Chuck Schumer, who is the majority leader who is worried about his own personal politics, and he is going to continue to listen to the people on his left and elevate those voices. And until that changes, I don't know, Democrats are clear --

KING: To that point, he was one of the people who endorsed the self- declared socialists running for mayor in Buffalo. She beat the incumbent in the primary, then he comes back to beat her in a writing campaign, which is not easy, which is not easy to do. And the race, this is from our CNN politics, right up. Attracted national attention is a proxy battle between progressives and moderates. Walton had called for redirecting 7.5 million from the Buffalo Police Department budget.

So the question always is just like Terry McAuliffe thought being like Joe Biden was helpful to him when he got into the race. At the end of the race, it was not. Ms. Walton, the socialist candidate wins in a primary. But something changed between primary day and Election Day.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: It absolutely did. And we've seen it happen again and again, across the country, including last night, Shontel Brown was elected as a member of Congress, she won a big primary against Nina Turner just a few months ago, a similar type of dynamic. So I think we have enough evidence.

And as Maggie said, we cannot say this enough after elections, yes, we can over read this. But there is enough evidence to show that there is a sense of this. So wokeness, in the party, whatever you want to call it is, you know, at a divide with what the majority of American people are saying.

So again, this hangover from, you know, the Bernie-Clinton race, or the Bernie-Biden race is still lingering out there in the party. And we know where President Biden is. He's never been supportive of defunding the police. So he's struggled, you know, perhaps to get his party to follow along and communicate that. But that is one of the big takeaways from yesterday. The party must not be quiet.

KING: But will it, could Democrats get in a room in the sense that, you know, New York City Democrats and Buffalo Democrats don't often get along within the state of New York. You know, Maggie is laughing because she has lived this. It can be two different worlds, Minneapolis in the middle of the country, Democrats, they're different from Democrats you might find in San Francisco and Boston and New York City. It's just a fact of geography.

TOLUSE OLORUNNIPA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. And this is a very emotional issue. This is not necessarily an issue that a lot of Democrats want to negotiate on. They think this is an issue of life or death and they are willing to stick their foot in the ground on some of these issues when it comes to Black Lives Matter and when it comes to public safety, so the fact that crime is going up and, you know, some of the initiatives would defund the police, makes it very hard to negotiate on issues like this.

KING: Is again another one of the fascinating you get answers from elections. Sometimes you also get questions. There's a lot of things we're going to have to sort through, appreciate everybody coming in today.


It is a pivotal moment in the fight against COVID happening right now all across the United States. Look at the pictures, young children getting their first approved COVID shots.


KING: You see the images right here, young children today taking immediate advantage of their new status. The CDC last night gave the green light to Pfizer's vaccine for children ages five to 11 years old. And Dr. Fauci says this is just the beginning.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISER TO PRESIDENT BIDEN: It's a good thing. We'll hit the ground running. And probably by the beginning of next week, we'll be at full speed.


KING: Dr. Megan Ranney joins us now to share her expertise. She's a Professor of Emergency Medicine, Associate Dean of Public Health at Brown University. Dr. Ranney, it's great to see you on this day. I'm in a great mood today. Not only because I was up all night counting votes which I love but because my son who's 10 years old will soon be able to get a COVID vaccine after 19 months of, you know what.

It's two doses the Pfizer dose given 21 days apart, it's a third of the size of the dose that adults received, or even anyone over 12 received. How important is this moment A, for children, but then B, for the broader COVID fight.


DR. MEGAN RANNEY, PROFESSOR OF EMERGENCY MEDICINE: As a fellow parent of a 10-year-old boy, this feels unbelievably momentous for those of us that do have five to 11 year olds. But it's also a really important step forward for our country, in terms of keeping COVID under control. Now, that's for two reasons.

The first is obviously it protects our kids. Although COVID is less dangerous for our littles than it is for older folks, it is still dangerous, right? It's one of the top 10 causes of death for kids in this age group, nevermind long COVID and hospitalizations, and all the other side effects.

It's also important because kids are drivers of spread. And we're seeing in other countries, including the U.K., that unvaccinated kids back at school are driving community spread of COVID. So the hope is that as we get this younger age group vaccinated, it's going to just help cut down on the overall number of community cases. And keep all of us including the vulnerable, a little bit safer.

KING: Well, let's follow up on that point. Because if you look at the trends, right now, after a couple of weeks of being encouraged, there's a little bit of a pause, and I'll look at it this way. If you look at it by our map of the states, you starting to see some red and orange again, and you have 10 states that are trending in the wrong direction, the red or orange means more new COVID infections now than a week ago, and the deep red states Minnesota, Iowa, and Nebraska among them, that means 50 percent more new cases or more new cases this week, compared to the data last week.

And if you look at cases overall, Dr. Ranney, we were coming down two months ago at 164,000 new infections, the seven day average down 55 percent since that September high, but it is up 5 percent in the last week. So you start to see a slight trend back up again, having lived through this winter surge, and this winter surge. How important is 28 million more children now eligible for vaccines to try and to stop that trend going that way?

RANNEY: You know, it's going to be huge. Now this winter, even in a worst case scenario is not going to be as bad as last winter, because so many of our highest risk adults are fully vaccinated and even boosted. But with these little kids being vaccinated, it is going to stop that spread.

So many of us have been worried about what happens as the weather gets cold as everyone goes indoors. As those windows start getting shut in schools and ventilation gets worse, having the kids vaccinated helps to stop that and helps reduce the inevitable winter surge, keeping our hospitals free for other acute cases. And again, helping to keep all of us a little safer.

KING: And so help this has gone from theoretical to now it's real. You see the pictures of those young children getting their vaccines, 27 percent of parents, I'm among them, say I'm going to do it right away as soon as I get an appointment, 33 percent say wait and see.

Let's address that group right there. They have some hesitancy maybe they've seen on the internet fertility questions or they've heard about potentially for some rare heart condition. What -- how would you address the legitimate concerns parents might have and what is forgive me internet quackery?

RANNEY: You know, it's a normal thing as a parent to want to know more before you do something for your kid, I think back to when my kids were born and I was researching car seats and cribs and strollers, the number of hours I spent figuring out what was going to keep them safest. It's normal to have those questions about this vaccine, right? So I'm not casting dispersions on anyone who wants to know more.

Here's the important information to know. These vaccines have been given to hundreds of millions of people across the globe. There are no new long term safety effects being identified. It is a tremendously safe and effective vaccine. And we know that COVID itself has tons of bad effects, both short and long term, including effects on fertility on the heart, on the kidneys, nevermind God forbid that worst case outcome of death.

So I would encourage parents to ask their pediatricians or family doctors questions but then to take a breath of relief that this is a safe and well tested vaccine.

KING: Amen, Dr. Ranney as always grateful especially on this very important day, appreciate it very much.

RANNEY: Thank you.


KING: Ahead for us, election history made last night in several American cities.


KING: Topping our Political Radar today, CNN now projects Michelle Wu will be the next mayor of my favorite city, Boston. Wu will make history in this role as the first woman and person of color elected to lead the city.


MICHELLE WU (D), BOSTON MAYOR-ELECT: We're ready for every Bostonian to know that we don't have to choose between generational change and keeping the streetlights on between tackling big problems with bold solutions and filling our potholes to make change at scale and at street level.


KING: CNN also projects Ed Gainey will be elected mayor of Pittsburgh. Gainey also makes history as the first black mayor in that city.


ED GAINEY (D), PITTSBURGH MAYOR-ELECT: You prove, that we can have a city for all. You prove that everybody can change.


KING: Over in Ohio, CNN now projects the Democrats Shontel Brown will take Marcia Fudge's old seat in Ohio's 11th congressional district. CNN also projecting Republican Mike Carey will be elected to Congress in Ohio's 15th congressional district with each party picking up a seat that will make the balance of power in the House of Representatives, 221 Democrats, 213 Republicans, still one vacancy.


Thanks for joining us in INSIDE POLITICS today. Hope to see you back here this time tomorrow. Don't go anywhere, a very busy News Day. Ana Cabrera picks up our coverage right now. Have a good day.