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Return of Paid Leave to Biden Bill in Limbo Over Manchin Opposition; Dems Splinter on Agenda After Election Day Defeat; Democrat's Blame Game Rages; Economy, Education, COVID Fatigue Big Lessons from VA; Biden Admin Announces Jan 4 Deadline for Millions of Americans to be Fully Vaccinated. Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired November 04, 2021 - 12:00   ET



JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Hello and welcome to "Inside Politics". I'm John King in Washington, busy news day for us. Right now a court battle over the insurrection a judge deciding whether to give lawmakers access to call records visitor log gigabytes of files Former President Trump wants to keep secret.

Plus the Biden Administration giving companies more time is delays its vaccine mandate for large employers until January. And Adam Kinzinger says he will not go quietly into political exile. New reporting this hour we will share with you on the Trump critic's future plans.

Up first though, the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wants to vote on the Biden social safety net tonight. Yes tonight and then a vote on infrastructure tomorrow. This act quickly moves well, it's a reaction to Tuesday's vote, a rebuke of President Biden and his party. Speaker Pelosi just moments ago offering her take on Tuesday's Virginia loss and the near loss up in New Jersey.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): Any sign of progress is always good for the public when they understand what it is. And I think they understand infrastructure pretty well. So it would have been better if we had it was not a good night.


KING: Let's get straight to the White House and our CNN Senior White House Correspondent Phil Mattingly. Phil urgent talk urgent tone does not guarantee actual votes. What do -- we what do we know?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's exactly right. Look, if you listen to what the Speaker saying it's very much tracks with what we've heard from White House officials over the course of the last 24 hours that while they're not going to take the blame for the loss in Virginia.

And it's not necessarily attributable to the legislation that the loss happened at all. Certainly they feel like all the loss does is give them more of a reason than any to push forward and push forward as quickly as possible.

And as you noted, our colleagues, Daniela Diaz, Manu Raju reported that Speaker Pelosi said in a private meeting that they may have votes as soon as tonight on the $1.75 trillion economic and climate bill and the infrastructure bill as soon as tomorrow morning.

The key issue there is do they have the votes? Publicly, the speaker said she'd let people know when those votes are going to be. But the reality is nothing matters nothing actually moves forward until you've asked to actually whip the votes.

And one thing everybody's keeping an eye on right now is moderate members of the House if you want to get a sense why they may not be as public they may not be as focused on but take a listen to what one of the monitor members of the Senate said.


SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): We don't have the numbers that FDR had, or that Lyndon Baines Johnson had in order to get some major legislation done. We don't have those we can't go too far left. This is not a center left or left country.

We are a center if anything has a little center right country. And this means that's been shown. And we ought to be able to recognize that they're just pushing him left people are pushing for the left. And that's not Joe Biden.


MATTINGLY: John, the interesting element with that last piece of sound there from Senator Manchin is this is the president's proposal. The President is the one who put a $3.5 trillion proposal on the table.

He proposed it actually, during his campaign; progressives have made that point repeatedly. But while, Senator Manchin and house moderates aren't exactly monolithic. They have different issues and different problems.

The reality is right now as House Democrats work urgently to try and count the votes. Is there a myriad of issues they're trying to wrap up right now, whether it's on immigration, whether it's making the tax policy piece of this actually work. But the other just knows the exact scores; they got a Joint Committee on taxation score that should move things forward a little bit?

No CBO score for at least a week. Can leaders rectify that in some way and get the vote going forward? That's the big question for the next several hours.

KING: For the next several hours. Again, I would say Phil Mattingly appreciate you kicking us off live from the White House. With me in studio to share their reporting and their insights, Jackie Kucinich of "The Daily Beast", "POLITICO's" Laura Barron-Lopez and Seung Min Kim at "The Washington Post". I say we're waiting again, because they were supposed to be vote last

week. There's been talk even before that of when they would get to this. Democrats realize that this is part of what voters don't like that Joe Biden ran on I'm calm.

I get government, I know how it works. We're going to be efficient. We're going to do things we're going to get things done for you in a non-Trump chaotic way. And instead we get more maybe we'll vote maybe we won't. But we're in meetings, we'll talk.

LAURA BARRON-LOPEZ, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, POLITICO: Yeah, Democrats are aware of the fact that the sausage making this back and forth the inability to come to a consensus right now. Whether it's in the House or in the Senate is not helping them in turn, it's not helping Biden with his approval rating and getting something done that he can go take to the public and campaign on for Democrats.

They're very aware of that. But they also will say that they don't think that the sausage making, you know, dilemma and problem is what hurt McAuliffe and Virginia that ultimately that it was the economy.

It was the impact of Biden's low approval rating, which there are a lot of factors that have contributed to that not just the inability to pass this package. But it was also the fact that Democrats didn't particularly have a response on it.


BARRON-LOPEZ: Parents concern about COVID restrictions in their schooling and also, the attacks by Republicans on critical race theory, which isn't technically taught in Virginia.

KING: Isn't technically thought in Virginia. But I do think the Speaker there; she didn't want to say much because she's not sure what does going to happen next few hours. But her point about if you're doing things and getting things done at all, always looks better than not getting things done.

You just feel tossed to some of that Joe Manchin at the top of the program. He has been the key here the curse many House Progressives would say, but he has been the key in the sense that House Progressives don't want to vote for something and House moderates, a tough districts don't want to vote for something.

Only to see it get torpedoed in the Senate because they don't want that vote on the record in a campaign. Let's listen to a little bit more of Senator Manchin because listen here, tell me if you agree. He's starting to think we can negotiate more.


UNIDENTIFED FEMALE: Paid family leave.


UNIDENTIFED MALE: The Democrats in the House are putting it back in the bill.


UNIDENTIFED MALE: That changed your view on it at all.

MANCHIN: John, I don't think it belongs in the bill. John, I love this. I love to expand to, to dental to eyes two ears, everything that you that we've talked about, it'd be wonderful. Let's get our finances in order, John. That's all you go out and buy everything you see and everything you want, even if you can't afford it. And you say I'll worry about the debt later. I don't think so.


KING: He says the message from Virginia and New Jersey is that voters want the Democrats to move back to the center and he thinks the package should be even shrunk some more and yet Speaker Pelosi wants to bring a boat to the floor tonight. Will she do that without knowing is Joe Manchin finally ready to pour some cement?

SEUNG MIN KIM, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: If you had asked us that question, maybe a couple of weeks ago, we would have said no, because her strategy was very clear.

They were going to effectively, quote pre conference things with the Senate. So her moderate members did not have to vote on provisions that the Senate was eventually going to take out, for example, on immigration.

But that strategy really has changed over the last, you know, several days, when Democrats in the House have realized they just need to get it out there, get it to a vote, then put the pressure on the Senate to make their own provisions and make their own asks.

But just understand one thing about Joe Manchin here and why he's taking the attitude that he is in, television interviews and whatnot, is that he doesn't need this reconciliation package. He is He is fine without it.

Obviously, a reconciliation package can get some done something some of his priorities that he wants, but it's the rest of the party that is desperate for this legislation. That's why he holds so much leverage here.

KING: But he does hold leverage. But one of the things that frustrates I'm using a polite word many in the party is that he's so public about it in the sense that he is part of a family. The family has a problem right now; the family just lost a Blue State Governor's race. They were president Biden won by 10 points a year ago, the family almost lost in New Jersey, where the president won by 16 points just one year ago.

And if you look deep into the results in New Jersey, Republican inroads in the suburbs in the northern part of the state, Republican flipping blue collar like Scranton, Pennsylvania, Joe Biden voter type voters in the southern part of the state in Virginia, Republicans came out of the woodwork that's good for Republicans.

It's not good for Democrats, if you're in a competitive race. And again, Republican inroads in the suburbs, Republican flipping county in the center part of the state, when did -- getting something done has to be part of the democratic answer, doesn't it?

JACKIE KUCINICH, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. And that seems to be what you're hearing, Nancy Pelosi said, but even Joe Biden said that he doesn't know that getting things passed would have saved Terry McAuliffe in Virginia.

He was pretty clear about that yesterday. But I think when you put them both together, the -- I don't know if it would have saved them. He also couldn't hurt at this point, particularly when you're looking at the surface infrastructure bill, that they've been so bad that there is agreement on, it's just being held up for leverage by one group or the other. And that I think the pressure particularly on that is going to get that through is going to increase on Democrats in the House.

BARRON-LOPEZ: And also, you know, pollsters that I was talking to today, whether they're Republican anti Trump pollsters or democratic pollsters, were saying that Democrats need to start being able to sell what Biden's agenda is.

And they can only really start doing that as soon as things pass, you know, he needs -- they think that it would have an impact if Biden were going out on the road more to be able to fully explain what's in the infrastructure package, and what's in this second families and jobs package? But to do that, it has to be completed and done and everything agreed upon. And so the president can't do that yet.

Other Democrats can't do that yet. But another thing that they took away from Virginia was the fact that Democrats turned out in big numbers in Virginia, and yet that still wasn't enough. So they have to focus on trying to persuade the other voters with their agenda.

KING: Yes, they do. They have a lot of work to do. And to that point, the art of the segue coming up for us the Democrats urgent election autopsy voters this week rebuked President Biden and they sent messages to the Democrats on schools and on crime. Two Democratic campaign Veterans join us next to sort out what went wrong.



KING: The autopsy is already underway and the findings are critical as Democrats try now to avoid a 2022 midterm route. What do I mean by autopsy? Well, Democrats will be studying even though Phil Murphy won reelection, Democrats will be studying the suburbs in Northern New Jersey.

Yes, they're still blue. But the Republican candidate Jake Ciattarelli really made major inroads in the suburbs, which had been keyed for the Democrats throughout especially the Trump age in American politics. That's not the only place though. Look down here. See this red in

Southern Jersey right here. Those are blue color voters. You go back to Phil Murphy in 2017 when he first won, he won those counties.

They flipped. Joe Biden won those counties easily. They flipped. Democrats have a problem not just in the suburbs, but they lost a lot of blue collar workers. Now let's move down to the Commonwealth of Virginia.

That one goes from blue to red. What's come forward to 2021 you have a new Republican governor he just met with the Democrats to discuss the transition what a Democrats have to worry about?


KING: Number one, Republicans is energized. They came out of the woodwork Glenn Youngkin, the Republican outperforming Donald Trump in rural conservative Virginia, that's a problem. But again, in the northern Virginia suburbs, they're still blue. But the Republican candidate narrowed the margins. That's what you have to do in competitive elections.

And down here in Southeast Virginia Glenn Youngkin flipped two counties there and one just south of Richmond, that Biden won handily that the last Democratic governor won handily Mark Warner, who is a Former Governor, now Senator from Virginia says one problem in the campaign is Democrats sounded too liberal.


SEN. MARK WARNER (D-VA): You can't win in Virginia. If you only appeal, the very liberal voters, maybe that can work in certain other states. It doesn't in Virginia. We will take that the lessons from Virginia, that we need to govern in a pragmatic way and give this president the wins, that I think the American people will win by as well.


KING: With me to share their insights in their expertise two Democrats with a lot of experience at this Margie Omero Principal at the Democratic Polling Firm GBAO, Paul Begala, Democratic Strategist and a CNN Political Commentator.

I want to start with this, which is always the North Star of American politics, but especially in midterm elections, and that is that the President of the United States right now, at this moment has a 42 percent approval rating.

If the Democratic President does that 42 percent The Democratic Party is in trouble. That is just a fact. The question is what to do about it? And you see, tell me if you think I'm wrong. I see one of the issues is disconnect from what the president says and what voters see.

The Afghanistan withdrawal will be smooth and orderly. It was not whether you agree or disagree with it; it was not. Inflation will be fleeting. It is not. He gave a speech in July when the COVID numbers looked great on July 4th, and gave the impression that we were coming out of the tunnel.

It's not his fault, the Delta variant happened. But it happened. Is that a problem? And how does the president fix it, that he seems disconnected from the realities of a lot of voter's lives?

MARGIE OMERO, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER: Well, I don't know if he seems disconnected. I think we need to meet voters where they are in terms of what they're experiencing, whether it's inflation or something else.

But also point to something getting done and aspiration to work together, which is something that we should be holding Republicans accountable for being obstructionist, on the Hill for seemingly having no plan at all other than obstruction and doing nothing?

So I think it's not just about describing what people are feeling. It's also coming together and saying what are we going to do to really heal the country work together, show that government can, you know, do important things, the things that really helped the president have very strong numbers in the beginning of this term?

KING: If you have lived through this Bill Clinton. You were in the Clinton White House and you know, in the first midterm election, wham. Newt Gingrich become Speaker. Obama was president wham wiped out Republicans -- Trump had the same problem.

Nancy Pelosi became Speaker. So this is not -- this is not unique to Joe Biden, that the party in power has trouble out of the box. But you do see when you look again, you know, the suburbs were gold for the Democrats in the Trump age, Glenn Youngkin and also the Republican candidate in New Jersey made significant inroads.

I think Democrats should be even more worried about those blue collar counties in Southern New Jersey that flipped what is wrong? Where's the disconnect between a GOP Joe Biden one them so easily one year ago, Paul?

PAUL BEGALA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: And I think this is the first thing is do we have a problem, right? Third, still Democrats in the denial's caucus? Oh, it's just Harper. No, it's a heart attack. Are they better take very bloody seriously, by which I mean, voters picked Joe Biden, and to an extent that the rest of the Democrats because they wanted progress, getting things done and unity.

What have we seen from Capitol Hill, you've covered it every single day, and we see stalemate and division, right? And so it's been a perfect storm. The left on the Hill tells voters we're not delivering for you. We're not getting your childcare.

We're not getting your, OK, this moderates, we just saw Joe Manchin do it. The moderates are saying we're too liberal so that liberals are depressing the Democratic base; the moderates are alienating the swing. And the Republicans then sweep into that with this divisive, critical

race theory, cultural, racial dog whistles that are a more effective strategy when the Democrats aren't delivering on middle class economics. And so the Democrats can do a lot to change this and they buy God better.

KING: You mentioned the dog whistles. I want to bring this issue up. Because I think again, it's a challenge of how do the Democrats deal with it? Because you're right, when you talk about critical race theory of Virginia, and it's not taught in Virginia schools, that's a dog whistle, that's a dog whistle to people who maybe lived in an affluent white suburb 20 years ago, and they're seeing a lot of diversity and a lot of change.

And they're thinking, oh, my God, I'm worried about this. But how do Democrats deal with it? When it does prove if you look at the exit poll, Margie, look at the issues in Virginia economy and jobs in education.

Economy and jobs part of the COVID Frustration is the Democrats problems there and perhaps as the virus is tamed, that number is different next year or that number works to Democrats advantage maybe by next year.

That's possible. The education issue, traditionally a Democratic issue one of the -- one of the challenges is some Democrats forgive me my language you can disagree if you want get elitist about this, and they say, you know horseshit, it's not taught in the Virginia schools. So forget it. This won't work, but it does work. So what is the answer how did Democrats talk about this and take it on?


OMERA: OK. So there are a few things. First of all, when people say education, it doesn't mean necessarily that everyone's thinking about critical race theory. There are lots of things happening. You've had schools, particularly in parts of Virginia closed and shut down for a long time. And so there's a lot happening with COVID, et cetera.

So I would not just say anybody who says they're concerned about education, that their one concern is what preventing their child from reading, beloved in their senior year? So at the same time, I also want to note that this discussion about CRT was not effective for Republicans on the right all over the country.

You had school board races in Ohio, you know, that did not slip, you had a huge investment in a recall effort at the school board level in Wisconsin, those did not flip. So this isn't just --.

KING: It only work in Virginia, because Terry McAuliffe said in a debate, you know, I'm not going to listen to see -- he has said something that frankly don't.

OMERO: You know, I don't think we don't. I don't know, I think there is -- I think there's a lot to unpack it. It's not just simply one issue. Now, how do we talk about it? I think you say, first of all, you have to acknowledge this is not being taught in public schools.

At the same time, we should be teaching complete, honest history to our students. And this should not be something that politicians are using as political football. And that way, you are recognizing that people are hearing something and you're addressing it. But you're also noting, like, look, what is the issue here? The issue is we should be teaching actual history, not what politicians want.

KING: What again, I want to circle back to the president, since he's always the north star of this, Abigail Spanberger, who's a vulnerable district in Virginia, quoted in "The New York Times" a fascinating piece by Jonathan Martin today, essentially saying he wasn't elected nobody elected Biden to be FDR.

They elected him to be normal and to stop the chaos. You touched on this a little bit earlier. Paul, we watched it. This is not -- I'm not criticizing any president, presidents when you get repudiated an election. Do you stay just double down? Or do I attack and do something different? In the Clinton days Bill Clinton did a lot of things different.

He did small things like school uniforms, little things to try to prove people. I'm doing little things. They won't change everything, but they might help your life today. Must Joe Biden do that?

BEGALA: Yes. Yes. He needs to listen to Mark Warner. You know, this, elite-ism; it's not so much left or right as it's uptown. OK. You're from Dorchester. I'm from Sugarland, Texas; people where we come from don't much like it.

If they if somebody tell us, I'm better than you. I'm sweating -- by the way, in my case, they always are, but so quiet. We don't like that, you know, and it makes it makes voters they hear this, this cultural and educational elitism from the Democrats, and they react to it.

So I guess like for me, I think with Democrats, how to save up critical racers. It's not taught in our schools. But I don't have a critical race or ever critical jobs theory. I'm going to pass an infrastructure bill that's going to put you back to work; a childcare bill will let you go to work. That's my theory. They are going to divide you on race. I'm going to unite you on work. Why can't Democrats do that?

KING: Well, we will see an interesting year ahead. The reset now to the midterm starts now. If you start today, it looks bleak. But a year is a very long time. We'll continue the conversation. Come back in.

We'll keep doing it. I'll try to keep my language a little more. Another horrific COVID milestone plus Brando details straight from the White House its federal COVID Vaccine mandate will take effect in January. It will impact millions of American workers.


[12:25:00] KING: White House rolled out new details of its COVID vaccine mandate plan today and one is a concession to the business community. The Biden plan calls for federal contractor's employees of large companies and some health care workers to be fully vaccinated by January 4th.

Initial drafts of the mandate set December 8th as the deadline for contractors. But many employers had voiced concerns that early December date might exacerbate supply line and other workplace issues that could impact the holiday season. The president trying to tamp down those concerns with a statement today insisting there have been no mass firings or worker shortages due to vaccine mandates.

Also today, top Biden pandemic experts are up on Capitol Hill testifying before Congress and they are facing more pushback on this mandate question.


SEN. RICHARD BURR (R-NC): It's hard to tell people who have had COVID that they're now under a mandate, mandate by the federal government to be vaccinated.


KING: Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo joins us now to share her expertise Professor of Infectious Diseases at the University of Alabama Birmingham. Dr. Marrazzo help us the politicians get involved in this to help us with the science. Senator Burr's point was a lot of Americans have had COVID. So he's his view?

Well, they have enough immunity built in. They don't need to be mandated to get a vaccine scientifically. Does that make sense? Or should if there's a mandate everybody, no exceptions?

DR. JEANNE MARRAZZO, PROFESSOR OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA BIRMINGHAM: Yeah, I wish that it was as easy to just call everything black and white in this pandemic, right? That's been the problem all along John.

The key issue is that immunity is really complicated. And if we really understood immunity to Coronaviruses, we would not have the common cold. So let me just say a couple things about immunity from previous infection versus the immunity you get from the vaccine.

There's no question that most people will generate a good immune response to natural infection, and it probably protects you for several months. That's why we don't see people getting COVID like six weeks after their first infection.

The question is how long that lasts and what does it really look like in everybody? It's probably not the same in everybody. It's probably not as robust and it probably doesn't last as long another everybody. The vaccines in contrast we know very well what kind of antibody what kind of immunity you get?

So there's no question that combined they're probably fantastic but with the vaccine you're really going to do well.