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Sen. Joe Manchin Raises New Objection To Social Spending Bill; Negotiators Race To Reach Climate Deal As Calls For Action Grow; Experts Warn Colder States May Face Winter Surge. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired November 12, 2021 - 12:30   ET



TOLUSE OLORUNNIPA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: But in terms of actual political pressure, he does not subject to that. He basically says, I'm going to do what's best for my constituents or what's best for my own political fortunes, given the fact that he believes that West Virginia is much like Southwest Virginia that we saw during the Virginia governor's race that went incredibly for Republicans.

And he believes that the country is a center right country. So he does not feel like he has to sort of follow the whims of the progressives in his caucus.

JOHN KING, CNN HOST: And to that point you just made about Virginia. Look, you know, those are the things that can change dynamics in this town, that Democrats did get the infrastructure bill passed, they had to reverse the strategy on the House, that they had four months to do it, they decided to decouple and to vote for it.

We look down here because we should look at the granular details of negotiations but up here, have the Democrats either from the president's approval ratings, the Virginia -- the Republican winning the Virginia governor's race, and the razor thin Democratic win in New Jersey. Is there a calculation any different about, you know, OK, maybe we'll also eat our piece, take a smaller bill we don't like?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's the ultimate question here. I think there is a belief that they have to get something done. But the problem is, the longer they wait to do something, the harder it's going to become. Because once we get into the midterm election season, everything gets harder.

Legislating essentially stops on Capitol Hill, which is why there's such a push by the leadership, get it done now, because things are going to get harder. But Manchin is clear. He's not going to go faster than he wants to go. So if they get it out of the house next week, when will they get to the Senate?

When will they get an agreement with Manchin to have a bill that can go through the process, which could take at least a week to do will happen before Thanksgiving, after Thanksgiving, will it get closer to Christmas, will it go into the New Year, which is what he wants. But then if it goes into New Year, it gets harder for some moderate. So -- KING: You get into an everything, everything, the closer you get to the election year, everything gets harder. Once you're actually in the election year, I would argue everything gets almost impossible given the margins.

But again, every day it's out there something happens, including a report from the government that says inflation is running rampant, like it hasn't been 30 years. Joe Manchin again raises his hand and says, well, maybe we shouldn't be spending more money. The White House Chief of Staff says, no, that's wrong.


RON KLAIN, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: I think if your concern is the cost of living, it's a concern we have here at the White House. That's a concern, Senator Manchin shares. The Build Back Better bill is the best answer we have to bring those costs down. And it brings down costs for everyday people.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: That's your argument. Does Joe Manchin agree?

KLAIN: Well, we'll see when Joe Manchin votes.


KING: It is again, it's remarkable given the margins and Manchin seeks the spotlight, so some of his colleagues get upset about that. But then you have this big issue like inflation. What does Joe Manchin think? It's like everything that happens in your life. You have to think what is Joe Manchin think even if on the surface, I think it has nothing to do with him.

JACKIE KUCINICH, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: And that is the reality that Democrats find themselves I mean because they didn't have Joe Manchin, they wouldn't have the majority.

KING: Right, right.

RAJU: And as he often says, liberals if you want to weaken my influence, elect more liberals, he's in the position that he's in right now. Maybe he'll run again in 2024. At that point, we'll see if he can win given how red his state is, but he's probably the only Democrat who can hold this.

KING: 2024 for a long way off and yet it's not. We'll continue that conversation.

Up next for us, right now, it is decision day at the International Climate Conference, two weeks of talks and a ton of worry the end result is too timid.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The draft picks is actually too weak at the moment so they need to do more.



KING: Negotiations continue with what is supposed to be the final day of the big United Nations Climate Summit in Glasgow, Scotland. The goal after two weeks of talks are specific global commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to slow the warming of the planet. Activists warn the price of failure is catastrophic, more disastrous floods, water shortages, increasingly parts of the planet that are simply not livable anymore.

Protesters outside the big event in Glasgow say richer nations like the United States are unwilling to step up and do their fair share. Hundreds of delegates staged a walkout at the summit's main venue today. Let's get some perspective now from Kim Cobb. She's the Director Global Change Program at Georgia Tech. Kim, thank you for your time today.

The Glasgow meeting, you know, had a who's who of world leaders, the who's who of world celebrities coming in and activists on this important issue. One of the goals was to try to get firm commitments to slow the warming of the planet to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Aspirations or do you see firm commitments coming out of this summit?

KIM COBB, DIRECTOR, GEORGIA TECH'S GLOBAL CHANGE PROGRAM: Well, there have been some wins in the bag, so to speak. Of course, it'll really depend on how those pledges go home into concrete policies back across the nations that are gathered there.

But always this was going to be a marathon, not a sprint in terms of labeling this a success or a failure, probably the wrong framing, we're going to have to have a series of sprints year on year to try to ratchet down ambitions and ratchet up ambitions and, you know, collect those pledges to limit warming to that 1.5 degrees C. Coming into this party -- Conference of the Parties in Scotland warming was more on track to be 2.7 degrees Celsius. So we have made some progress.

KING: And so it's interesting the way you say it, you know, it's just the world we live in. People want to say, did you succeed or did you fail? Do you get a passing grade or do you get failure grade? That's a human instinct, if you will. You talk about maybe trying to come at this from a different perspective.

Again, some of the language matters when you get these global agreements. Then you get to does everybody do their part, but they're trying to have specific language about accelerating the phase out of fossil fuels and coals.

And what one of the big conversations in Glasgow was that actually leaving the specific references in there because some countries and some interest try to water down the language, welcome to a fact of life here. Do you see at least an advancement of the clarity of the conversation?


COBB: I mean, absolutely, yes, along several fronts. So at Glasgow, we saw some really big improvements on methane, which is a short-lived very powerful greenhouse gas, and some of our near term winds that we might expect in terms of reducing warming over the next coming decades, big wins there.

Deforestation coming up again with agreements pledges by Brazil and Indonesia, where the deforestation is most rampant contributing 10 to 15 percent of global emissions every year, signing those kinds of pledges is big progress. So at least we are talking about the right knobs. We are -- they are there to be drawn down in coming years.

And again, the frame here in Glasgow is going to be aimed at requesting countries to come with more ambitious pledges next year, rather than the five years reconvening timescale put forward in Paris. So, again, this idea of multiple sprints through this most critical decade, kind of a precedent that might be set at Glasgow.

KING: And help someone who doesn't track the issue closely as you do understand this debate that we've seen play out into the final hours about reparation, some call it or other people just say the big -- developing nation should step up and do more. Both in the rearview mirror to help out less developed countries that have been punished by climate changes, and then looking forward to help those countries deal with issues that they might not be able to afford to in their own right.

COBB: Yes, certainly one of the big sticking points is going to be around that climate finance tool. In Paris $100 billion, committed to low-income countries to help them adapt to the coming climate impacts that are caused by big emitters in rich nations historically.

And so at Glasgow talking about how to increase the ambitions of that climate finance fund, recognizing that loss and damage has already occurred across many countries of the world, from climate impacts of the past and present, let alone those of the future.

So how can we create a framework where rich countries can help little countries really weather these coming impacts and obviously a topic of immense concern around climate justice in Glasgow.

KING: One thing that is very different at this summit is after four years of Trump administration denial that this was even an issue. You did have Biden administration, the President himself and a big aggressive team from the United States go and say, America is back and ready to lead. Again, those are welcome words to those who are involved in this issue. What specific actions do you see from a Biden administration a U.S. point of view that you find encouraging or any that might be discouraging?

COBB: Well, certainly the United States was critical in advancing that methane pledge where 100 countries came together and committed to reduce methane emissions 30 percent by 2030. And again, the IPCC report that just landed about climate change in August noted that methane was one of those, most important levers to reach for in terms of achieving near term reductions in warming as well as delivering benefits in terms of air pollution in terms of less ozone production.

So the U.S. playing leadership role there, obviously a need to come back and bring that home in terms of policy in the administration. So that's one clear place. Obviously, the role for the United States and thinking about that climate finance mechanism also critically important with John Kerry noting that the United States is ready to discuss their role in shaping what that agreement might look like in terms of the low income countries demands.

KING: Kim Cobb grateful for your help understanding all of this, really appreciate it. Thank you.

COBB: Thanks for having me.


KING: Up next, another COVID winter is just ahead. What it means, probably depends a lot on where you live.


KING: Thanksgiving is in two weeks, the official start of winter a little more than five weeks away. You all remember our first COVID winter, it was horrific. So how will this next one be? Well, let's take a look at the numbers. If you see where we are right now just by the numbers, well, you could say it looks somewhat better, 73,000 new COVID infections is our average right now plateau and trickling up a little bit though, in the last week.

If you go back one year ago, we were nearly twice that, 135,000 new infections this week, one year ago. And look where we got, it was horrific, it was painful, it was deadly. Now, vaccines were not widely available then they are now when you come over here. They're also our new treatments available. So it should be, it should be a less horrific winter.

But if you look at the map, you do already see the cold effect, if you will. These are the states trending up in orange and red, 14 of the 50 states trending up, 15 holding steady, 21 the green states reporting fewer new COVID infections now compared to a week ago. If you look at the red and orange, a lot of it, most of it is in the northern half of the country where it's getting colder. That is what worries a lot of the experts.


DR. ASHISH JHA, DEAN OF BROWN UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: And we know what happened last year. We saw big spikes in cases right after the holidays. So that's what I am worried about as I look out to the next few weeks. Places where you're going to have people were unvaccinated getting together. People are going to get infected particularly in the northern half of the country where the weather has gotten colder.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KING: Let's bring in to share his expertise and insights. Dr. Peter Hotez. He's the Dean of Tropical Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine, Dr. Hotez grateful for your time today. Follow up on what we just heard there from Dr. Jha and as we do so, I just want pop up here different states are reacting in different ways to where we are. The Colorado Governor you see the case count here in Colorado, that's the blue line. He just decided everybody in my state should go out and get a booster shot.


He's jumping ahead of the federal government, if you will, saying do it. The governor of Mississippi meanwhile, where see the red line, the cases are higher right now that's worse than Colorado, if you will, is about to wipe away the COVID emergency declaration. He says we're done. We can get back to normal. What is this colder season about to bring?

DR. PETER HOTEZ, CO-DIR., TEXAS CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL CENTER FOR VACCINE DEVELOPMENT: Yes, I think we're in for another winter wave just like last year. And you're right. It may be mitigated somewhat by having about half the country vaccinated. But that's the problem.

Only half the country is vaccinated, John, and we're seeing the consequences now this happening first of this winter wave coming in Colorado, Minnesota where it looks really dire. And so I'm extremely concerned that we've just got too many unvaccinated individuals.

I think the other piece of this, John is the fact that we are seeing some waning immunity with the mRNA vaccines and so while the vast majority of hospitalized patients are still among the unvaccinated 80 percent, we do have about 20 percent in Colorado who've been at least partially vaccinated. So the Colorado governor made this very interesting decision for universal boosters for everyone over the age of 18.

I think medically it's actually the correct decision to make. What worries me is it is going rogue given the fact that he's jumping ahead of the CDC and FDA. So I think it's -- that could be concerning in terms of undermining confidence in the CDC and FDA. So it's important that they all get on the same page as soon as possible.

KING: Right. Do you think that the federal government should essentially say he's right, we wish he had waited, but he's right, if you lie, say in the context, as you mentioned, the rates, you know, 68 percent of the country's partially vaccinated, just shy of 60 percent fully vaccinated. And have the fully vaccinated about 13 percent have gone out and gotten a booster.

Those who are eligible going to get a booster, when you have a governor saying everybody go protect yourself and do this. Should the federal government make boosters available for everybody or is that they're -- what they would say now is we'll get there in a few weeks, we're not ready yet.

HOTEZ: Yes, I think the federal government will get there. Remember, we have seen a lag in the Centers for Disease Control collecting data on the ratio of vaccinated to unvaccinated hospitalized patients. I don't think I've seen the numbers yet for the month of October. So that I think, that's also underlying it.

So do you think the FDA and CDC are moving in that direction. Remember, there's also a difference in philosophy about whether what's the goal of vaccination is it to prevent hospitalizations and deaths, which I'm sure everybody agrees with, but they're in -- people like myself feel that's also we have to worry about the effects of long COVID and that we should be vaccinated to prevent infection as well.

I also think that's extremely important. So there has to be kind of a meeting of the minds and I suspect this is going to happen with the FDA and CDC fairly soon. In some ways, the tip of the spear though is happening in Colorado.

KING: Dr. Hotez as always, sir, grateful for your time and your insights. Appreciate it very much.


Up next for us, here she goes again. Lisa Murkowski once beat the tea party with the writing campaign. Donald Trump is the opposition this time.


KING: Topping our Political Radar today, President Biden will meet virtually with China's President Xi Jinping on Monday. The virtual meeting comes of course amid heightened tensions over Taiwan, trade, and human rights.

In a new video Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski announces she's running for reelection in Alaska next year. You might recall former President Trump has already endorsed a challenger in that race. But Murkowski who has the backing of Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell advises Alaskans to ignore outsiders.


SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI (R-AK): In this election, lower 48 outsiders are going to try to grab Alaska's Senate seat for their partisan agendas. They don't understand our state. And frankly, they couldn't care less about your future.


KING: Senate Leader McConnell, by the way, says he will not attend President Biden's White House signing ceremony on Monday for the big bipartisan infrastructure bill, despite spending the week back home and Kentucky touting all the projects that new law will fund.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: I've got other things I've got to do other than go to the signing ceremony. But this bill was basically written in the Senate by a bipartisan group of Republicans and Democrats. Nineteen Republicans voted for it. I was one of them. I think it was good for the country and I'm glad it passed.


KING: Leader McConnell also nudging Democrats today drop any thought of expanding the Supreme Court. In a new op-ed he tells Democrats leave the court as it is with nine justices writing, as this month's elections confirmed, Americans did not hand Democrats any mandate to let radicals transform the country.

Just moments from now, we are told the Republican candidate for New Jersey Governor Jack Ciattarelli will concede the race. CNN projected Governor Phil Murphy won reelection more than a week ago but it was so much closer race than Democrats anticipated. Murphy won by roughly 74,000 votes.

Stronger than yesterday, well, it may well bring true for Britney Spears today. The pop star's attorneys back in court in Los Angeles. The push Spears petition to end the conservatorship that has controlled her life and finances for more than a decade. Appears father, Jamie Spears, has suspended as conservator -- conservator, excuse me, back in September.

This quick programming note former Governor Chris Christie joins Dana Bash on the new series Being, the hard charging politician shares what it's like to go from Trump supporter to sharp Trump critic, Being Chris Christie airs Monday at 10:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN.


Thanks for joining us today and this week on INSIDE POLITICS. You have a fantastic weekend. Hope to see you back here on Monday. Ana Cabrera picks up our coverage right now. Have a good day.