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Mortgage Rates Climb Back Above 5 Percent; White House: GOP "Pushing An Extreme MAGA Agenda"; At Least 14 GOP Nominees For Governor Have Disputed The Legitimacy Of The 2020 Election. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired August 11, 2022 - 12:30   ET



JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Let's get to CNN's Matt Egan to go inside the numbers. Matt?

MATT EGAN, CNN BUSINESS REPORTER: Well, John, inflation is still way too high. But there is a growing sense that perhaps the worst is over. And today's report was encouraging on that front. It showed that wholesale prices rose by 9.8 percent year over year in July. And month over month, we actually had deflation. Prices fell for the first time since April of 2020.

Now, here's why this matters to all of us, this report measures inflation that's in the pipeline. And if prices are cooling off at the wholesale level that should eventually translate to less sticker shock for consumers. But let's be clear, at any other point in recent history, 9.8 percent wholesale inflation would be alarmingly high, but it actually qualifies as improvement right now, because as you can see on that chart, it is a bit lower than what we had been seeing. It actually was above 11 percent in recent months.

Now, it's -- this is raising some hopes that maybe inflation has peaked. We also got some new information suggesting that maybe the jobs market is peaking too though. New numbers out today show that initial jobless claims rose in the latest week to 262,000. That is still historically low. But it is the highest since November and in sign that the red hot jobs market is cooling off just a bit.

KING: Perhaps just a bit. Another indicator out today about mortgage rates, which way they're heading?

EGAN: They are heading back up. You know, the Federal Reserve is fighting inflation by raising borrowing cost aggressively. And nowhere is that more obvious than the mortgage market, the average for a 30 year fixed rate mortgage is now 5.2 percent. That is below the recent peak of nearly 6 percent. But from a year ago, from a year ago, you can get a mortgage for under 3 percent. Now, the hope is that if inflation cools off, that can allow the Fed to calm down with its interest rate hikes and allow for mortgage rates to settle in and give some more certainty to both home buyers and home sellers, John.

KING: Matt Egan, grateful for the important update. Let's bring the conversation back into the room. For anybody watching at home, they're concerned about the family budget, can we take a vacation this gasket if it keeps going down? When the food prices come down, in this town, it's how do these data points impact the congressional elections both the House and the Senate, home for an August recess now. When Democrats left, did they feel better? And if so how much better because they've passed a few things, number one. And at least there's some indication that, you know, those lines on inflation and gas prices are at least starting to go down.

TIA MITCHELL, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION: I think Democrats feel a lot better. We've seen, you know, messaging from the White House saying listen, look, gas is under $4 a gallon, prices are coming down. We've got some good reports. I think Democrats believe they're -- they have momentum going into the midterms. But again, what we're hearing from Republicans and I think what people are still feeling at home is things are still expensive.

Gas is still $4 a gallon, that's still expensive in a lot of people's eyes. So, yes, things are improving. But there's still a long way to go. So I think Democrats can't celebrate too much, because then they'll look like they're out of touch.

KING: Right. You can't get out ahead of how people feel. The data points tell you one thing. It's how people feel is -- that's how they vote. So here you mentioned the White House. This is a memo from the White House Communications Director and one of the President's top advisors, Anita Dunn and Kate Bedingfield. This is a choice for the American people, President Biden and Congressional Democrats taking on special interests for you and your family, or congressional Republicans extreme, MAGA agenda that serves the wealthiest corporations and themselves.

A part of that is the Democrats believe they're going to finally pass this pared down package, but it has some pretty significant investments and changes to climate and health care. And the Democrats want their members to go home and say we're taking on big pharma, for example, and the Republicans are all going vote no.

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Yes, and the messaging is so important here, because a lot of the benefits of this bill aren't going to be felt for a long time, certainly not for the midterm elections. And so it does come down to the sales job that the White House is going to be doing, that these Democrats on the campaign trail are going to be doing. But they are facing a number of challenges, including not getting distracted or sucked into the Trump show. And the White House does seem to be cognizant of that.

A senior official told our Jeremy Diamond that Biden is going to be laser focused on legislative accomplishments, but isn't going to be, you know, shy about calling out Trump. But I do think there's a balancing act there.

KING: And normally a midterm election is almost exclusively about the party in power. The President's first midterm election, so the Democrats trying to bend the arc of history, if you will, and say OK, you might be frustrated with us. But look at these guys. You can't trust these guys.

OLIVIER KNOX, NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, THE WASHINGTON POST: It's right in the memo. It's right in the memo, choice, right, choice, not referendum. That's what they're desperate to push. I will believe in a sustained comprehensive messaging campaign by this White House when I see it. They have promised this repeatedly over the last year and a half, it has not materialized. And you hear from a lot of congressional Democrats that they're frustrated about that, that they really wish that Biden and more of his surrogates would come and would spread this message.

But, yes, it's all about saying, this isn't about the Biden record, at least not exclusively. It is also about the other side of this ledger. For a while they were just praying that Donald Trump would announced before the midterms. One of the things that I've heard from Democrats about leaving now live in D.C. is they are happy about the Kansas vote. They're looking at the Kansas vote on abortion. And they're saying, look at the number of Republicans that we got to say, no, we need to protect access to abortion. And they think that that's another issue where they can do this choice dynamic and say, look at what they're -- look at what they favor compared to what we favor.


KING: It's much more interesting for me when they go home, we watch them at home, as opposed to what they say here, because at home, they have to interact with people who get to vote in November. But you talk about that, the White House is trying to, you know, frame this as a choice, right, to turn just don't be just mad at us. Look at those guys as well. This is Bernie Sanders on CNN last night, does this help or hurt?


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): Unfortunately, we have two corporate Democrats who are preventing us from doing what has to be done. So to my mind and the Senate -- what this election is about is the need to get three or four more progressive Democrats into the United States Senate. So we can finally do what the American people want.


KING: He wants to elect more Democrats, but he says they need more Democrats, not because of Republicans. And he would say that if you get, you know, if you extended the conversation. But he's singles out there, corporate Democrats.

MITCHELL: Yes, I don't know if it helps, you know, with the camaraderie in the dining room amongst the 50 senators. But I do think it resonates with voters, because you hear voters saying that, like we need some more Democrats, because we want to see more out of Washington. And we know we can't do it with the current 50 that we have. I think the question isn't really about can the Senate expand his Democratic coalition? It's if on the House side, Democrats, if they lose, then it doesn't matter if you get to 53 or 54 Senate Democrats, if the Republicans are in control in the House, because it ain't happening.

KING: Americans over the last 25 years plus even longer than that, just tend to favor divided government, whether they think about it that way is one thing, but that's how they vote. We'll watch this how this plays out.

Next, a disconnect among Democrats in Congress on a giant issue in the midterm campaign. Moderate Democrats want to boost police funding, progressives want more police accountability.



KING: This week confirmation that police and policing continue to fuel the Democratic Party divide. Vulnerable House Democrats want to pass bills that boost police spending and make clear to midterm voters that the party in no way wants to defund police departments. But progressives say that won't happen, at least not this week, until the legislation is changed to also add provisions to improve police accountability.

Our reporters are back with us. So walk me through some of this, I just want to put up on the screen here. Here's some of the people negotiating this. You have Joyce Beatty, she's the chairwoman of the Black Caucus, Pramila Jayapal, who's the chairwoman of the Progressive Caucus, Josh Gottheimer represents a group of centrists and moderates who are in more battleground districts. And they think it's important that they pass a bill that increases police funding, especially for small departments that are strapped on resources. Why is this hung up? And is there going to be a resolution?

ZANONA: Well, I think there's like the policy dispute and also the political dispute that's in play. When it comes to policy, the Congressional Black Caucus and progressives are pushing for accountability language, these moderates want something that they can count on the campaign trail and combat these Republican attacks, that they're soft on crime before these midterm elections. But I think the broader political push and pull that you're seeing within the party is that these moderates feel like they're the ones at the risk of losing their seats in November that the party should be essentially catering to them, or at least putting them in the best position possible.

But then, you have progressives who say they're the energy and the backbone of the party, they've already compromised so much, including that initial $3 trillion reconciliation package that has now been pared down. And so that's sort of the tug of war you're seeing internally.

KING: Inflation in the economy tend to be the issues that drive the economy, tends to drive any election. But then what are the subset issues that mobilize people or what are the subset issues that peel off independents or drive people this way or suburban voters in key states. You're from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Georgia not only a big Senate race, but the governor's race where crime if you turn on your T.V. is a big issue? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Stacey Abrams supported defunding the police. Abrams is on the board of a group pushing to defund and even abolish police. They pay Abrams, and she voted to bankroll anti-police groups. Stacey Abrams is dangerous on crime.

JAMES, RET. POLICE LIEUTENANT: I spent 40 years in law enforcement in Georgia. Brian Kemp is lying about Stacey Abrams.

DENNIS, FMR. DEPUTY SHERIFF: Flat out lying about Stacey Abrams, and the police, I don't believe it.

DALIA, DISTRICT ATTORNEY: And the legislature, she funded law enforcement all over the state.


KING: How is it playing?

MITCHELL: So Melanie really laid out, you know, that push and pull. So in Georgia, particularly in metro Atlanta, there is a crime problem. And voters are very concerned about it. They want more policing, more policing takes money. But you also have progressives, you have the activist that say, money may not solve the problems. And meanwhile, we still have lingering problems when it comes to police accountability, police brutality, you know, qualified immunity, Georgia is the home of the Ahmaud Arbery. And we just seen those officers held account, I mean, I'm sorry, the people who killed him held accountable. But that became a law enforcement issue as well.

So there are a lot of documented cases in Georgia and many other states, where progressives are saying, when are we going to get to that? It might not be the politically expedient kind of cause. But it's something that progressive voters and particularly people of color, who are the backbone of the Democratic Party and a lot of states do care a lot about.

KING: And so it's a complicated issue. And B then you have a very diverse, complicated Democratic Party. Stan Greenberg, a veteran Democratic pollster wrote about this in a July memo just a couple of weeks ago. He said things are looking better for Democrats and he thinks the Democrats can actually do a lot better than people think, given that it's a Democratic, you know, Democratic president in the midterm but he wrote this, crime hangs over this election. The biggest worry, this is after doing a big battleground state poll, the biggest worry if Democrats were to win control of Congress would be a surge of crime and homelessness and attacks on police. A major part of our diverse base accepts Trump's dire warning that America has never been more at risk from crime, open borders, disrespect for police, and a lack of pride in America. And he goes on to say in that memo that he simply thinks the party does not have a message on crime right now. It's just too many voices.

[12:45:23] KNOX: Yes. So let's look at President Biden, right, leader of the party, President of the United States. He's been trying to thread this needle for a while. He resolutely rejected to defund the police slogan all throughout 2020. That's not the problem. The problem is he's been disappointing the progressives on this quite a bit. And now the moderates are a little annoyed that he's not weighing in more on this debate. So what they've been trying to do is say, look, take these unspent COVID money, take that and maybe try to work that into your law enforcement budgets.

So that's kind of a hands off, like up to you at the local level kind of way. But what Greenberg's pointed out, it's very interesting, the degree to which voters, some Democrats, some parts of our industry have bought into the crime messaging, right. Obviously, the open border messages, you know, is enormously powerful among Republicans, particularly among Trump voters. But it's interesting to see all the primaries at a 20 year low. It started to pick up in to -- it picked up a lot, actually in 2020, all around the country. And yet, we're focusing on a handful of cities and towns that are, oddly enough run by Democrats.

KING: And so one of the ways to make it, one of the ways to help you politically is to resolve this debate sooner rather than later. The house is coming back on Friday to deal with the climate and health care bill, but they're not prepared, right, not ready?

ZANONA: There's not a lot of time on the legislative calendar, basically, they have to pander to get it done, or they don't. So we'll see if they pull through.

MITCHELL: And I just want to say, you know, the root causes of crime could be addressed by things other than throwing money at police departments. So Democrats will say they have tried to address it with things like helping low income families, jobs, education, and those are things again, there's not a lot of appetite for that. But those are the root causes of crime in a lot of places across America.

KING: Eighty-nine days to vote, we'll see how it plays.

Up next for us, 40 states into the midterm primary season and one giant and troubling trend, election deniers are running to control voting in key swing states. And so far, a lot of them are winning.



KING: We're deep enough into primary season now to see some clear trends. And one of them is beyond troubling. Election deniers are gaining a deep foothold in the Republican Party and on the November midterm ballot. Some of these candidates who still say Joe Biden didn't win fairly, are hoping to win jobs that would give them enormous influence over elections. There are at least 10 states, you see them there, from Alabama and Arizona, to Connecticut, New Mexico and beyond where Republican nominees for Secretary of State are election deniers. Our Daniel Dale has been tracking all this. And Daniel is with us now. Let's start there. The Secretary of State's jobs, that's the person responsible for overseeing elections, overseeing the vote counters.

DANIEL DALE, CNN REPORTER: Yes, critically important jobs. Hugely important in 2024, when, as we know, we might have another Trump campaign and in swing states in some conservative states where Republicans are favored, we have election deniers on the ballot. So we're talking about people like Mark Finchem of Arizona who has a long history of truly bonkers claims, John, about everything from QAnon style pedophilia stuff, to COVID misinformation, to election misinformation claims. Trump won. He was at the Capitol on January 6th outside. He was a key early organizer of the so called Stop the Steal Movement in Arizona. He's still trying to decertify Biden's victory in Arizona even though that's impossible, and he's called for the imprisonment of both his Democratic opponent and the current Secretary of State who's now running for governor.

We also have people like Jim Marchant in Nevada, a former state legislator. His nonsense has also gone beyond 2020. He has claimed that in Nevada, they haven't elected anyone in decades. He said they have all been installed by a deep state cabal. So this is absolute nonsense. He tried to get his own 2020 congressional defeat overturned by a court. He says he would not have certified Joe Biden's 2020 victory if he had been Secretary of State. And he's so committed to this, John, that he even fomented doubts about his own victory in this Republican primary. He said, well, he's not sure if he's confident in it, there could be anomalies so with person after person spreading this nonsense.

KING: And by your account, at least 14 Republican election deniers running for governor and in some states, Pennsylvania among them, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the governor appoints the Secretary of State.

DALE: Yes, so that's like a two for one race, you know, you elect nominee Doug Mastriano, you're probably going to get both him and an election denier in that other position, overseeing elections. Mastriano spread a whole bunch of election lies again. He was outside the Capitol on January 6th. He sent chartered buses to the Trump rally that day.

And so this is a very important race. We have Kari Lake gubernatorial nominee in Arizona who has been extremely aggressive, forceful, and calling the election stolen says, it's sickening disqualifying for her former Republican opponent in the primary, not to say the same. She has also called for jailings, calling for the imprisonment of the Secretary of State even call for the imprisonment of journalists who have she says spread lies about the election. They are telling the truth, she is spreading lies.

KING: And even here at Maryland, Dan Cox, the Republican nominee for governor, I just want to read from him. I've been in touch with our wonderful president, the only president that I recognize right now.

DALE: Right.

KING: He still says Donald Trump.

DALE: It's 2022, right.

KING: It is 2022. Yes, math is math. Daniel, appreciate you're keeping track of that. That's very important for us.


Thanks for your time today in Inside Politics. We'll see you back here this time tomorrow. Ana Cabrera picks up our coverage after a quick break. Enjoy the day.


ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: Hello, I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. Thanks for being with us. Lots to talk about today. First let me take you to Cincinnati. These are live pictures right now, they're in Ohio where officials are getting ready to give us an update on a suspect to apparently breached an FBI office and brandished a gun. We're getting deep tells on that. We'll take that presser live as it happens.


We're also learning right now some new details as former President Trump faces growing legal pressure.