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Inside Politics

Dems Look To Abortion As Key Midterm Motivator, While Republicans Rely On Inflation And Crime; King And Queen Consort Arrive At Scottish Parliament. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired September 12, 2022 - 12:30   ET



KRISTEN SOLTIS ANDERSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: And so while Republicans had a big advantage on enthusiasm in the spring, if you asked voters, how excited are you to vote? Do you intend to vote? How motivated are you, et cetera? Republicans used to have a pretty big gap on that question. CNN's most recent polling, that gap has closed between Rs and Ds. That's what's making that trend line you just showed closely.

JOHN KING, CNN HOST: And part of that enthusiasm is based on the issues at least that the Democratic voters see us, first and foremost, to them. This is from a Marist poll, not CNN polling. But if you look at this inflation, abortion, health care, the January 6th hearings, you see where they were in July, you see where they are now. Inflation as an issue is down some. Abortion as an issue is up. Health care as an issue is up? Is that what is driving this? And I guess the challenge for Democrats, if you're in a better place now than you were six weeks, eight weeks, 12 weeks ago, how do you sustain it for eight more weeks?

MARGIE OMERO, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER: Well, it's coming up at the issue of abortion. It is so salient for so many people. And it's not that inflation is not salient. It's not that people still don't feel concerned about the direction of the country or uneasy about how we're all getting along politically, because obviously, we still hear that, but I've been moderating focus groups for 25 years. And when you start off the conversation, they don't really know whether they're there to talk about, you know, what's on your mind, how's the country going?

People would rarely talk about abortion. Now it comes up, before we even suggest it. It comes up in every single group and people are talking about in really personal detail. They're sharing personal stories, they're mad, they're angry. And we're seeing it all across the country with all kinds of different audiences.

KOTB: And if you're seeing it all across the country, we talked about the House races, and we'll get more into this in more granular detail in the next eight weeks. But House races are a different beast in the sense that they're drawn mostly less competitive for the most part, but there are some key House races. But if you look at the statewide races, this is the 538 Senate election forecasts. And again, don't focus on the numbers as much, you see the lines crossed. Republicans were once heavily favored to take majority of the Senate now 538 says actually Democrats are favored to keep control of the Senate statewide races involved the suburbs. Is that where Republicans have the greatest risk or the greatest danger, if you will, a campaign that months ago, we thought it'd be about inflation, crime, maybe the border in the suburbs is now about abortion and tolerance and that's different?

ANDERSON: Well, I think it is still about the economy. I mean, as much as an issue like abortion has risen in importance, it is still in that number you showed inflation is still top. And so I think that's why you see so many Republicans, almost no matter what they're asked about, they come back to wanting to talk about the economy, because it's an issue that remains pretty potent in those suburbs where folks are still having to drive long distances for their commutes, you know, gas isn't $5 a gallon, $3.80 a gallon isn't great, either.

So I think Republicans still feel like as long as the economy remains something that voters are still upset about, it's also still one where when we ask which party do you trust more to handle this issue, Republicans have a slight advantage. That's why they still think they've got a shot. And those --

KING: Kristen makes a key point, and that we can look at the data and say gas prices are down 80 days in a row. Other prices are down a little bit, the data may show that but I've covered a lot of campaigns where the voters don't feel it right away. It takes a long time for the voters to believe it. Should Democrats still be worried about that?

OMERO: Absolutely. I mean, every candidate running for office on the Democratic side, on the Republican side should want to talk about the economy, should want to talk about their plan and vision for where we're going, should be able to understand what families are going through and that includes things like gas or housing prices, in addition to what's happening with abortion restrictions around the country. But you can tell that Republican candidates know that their positions are not popular because of the way they pivot.

When asked about abortion, they'll say something and then quickly move to a different topic. And that's what you do when people are not going to really like your answer. And so that's what we're seeing around the country because two thirds of Americans according to the work we've been doing for navigator, say they support a national bill codifying Roe, you know, protecting abortion rights around the country.

They oppose national bands. They want to protect access in their state. So a lot of these candidates are -- Republican candidates are on the wrong side.

KING: Right. I'm going to end this last question, we'll start with you, the Democrat. Where's the President? First midterm election is normally a referendum on the President. I know they're trying to turn this into a choice, make it other issues, I get that. But if you had a -- if you had a client right now don't disclose any particular client, right now, President wants to come to your district or your state. Is that a different answer today than it was three months ago? Or is he still weak?

OMERO: Look, I think the President's numbers have been proving, have been improving. That's what numbers show nationally. And I think it's up for every candidate to figure this out for themselves in what makes sense in their state.

ANDERSON: I think you have to look at how the President did in that state in 2020. And I think there's a reason why if you are say a Democrat running in Georgia, you might be more reluctant to stand on stage with the President than say in a state like Pennsylvania.

KING: It might be interesting to watch the last primary in New Hampshire, tomorrow that's another one. Ladies appreciate you're coming today to raise the curtain, come back, we'll go race by race, state by state as we go through the next eight weeks. President Biden is speaking this hour at Boston's Logan International Airport. Boston, that's my favorite city. He's touting some new improvements funded he says by the bipartisan infrastructure bill.



JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Now we're finally doing some about it. We're finally getting it done. We're turning infrastructure weakened from a punch line with my predecessor into an infrastructure decade on our watch.


KOTB: President's next up is in a beautiful place Dorchester, Massachusetts, hometown to yours truly.

When we come back, King Charles pays an emotional tribute to his mother, the Queen. His first address to Parliament as monarch and what Charles sees as the weight of history live in the U.K., more of our special coverage, that's next.


KING: Any moment now King Charles III will receive a motion of condolence and attend to reception in the Scottish Parliament. With me now live from Edinburgh, CNN's Richard Quest and Isa Soares. Isa, let me start with you. You're on the Royal Mile, you have seen this remarkable scene of the Scottish people coming to say farewell to their beloved Queen.


ISA SOARES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Indeed, and it has been incredibly emotional and really moving tributes that we've seen very poignant of course, said so many people Scots to me today, that of course the Queen who had to leave love and affection for Scots and who had those strong ties of attribute to Scotland. There are many ways that she died in Scotland in Balmoral, her beloved Balmoral. And I think many Scots here today were incredibly proud of what they saw today but moved by the scenes, scenes of silence, of respect, solemnity. This something that moved a lot of people many of whom wouldn't -- weren't able to talk to me.

And what we are expecting is, of course, the Queen's coffin to lay at rest in St. Giles' Cathedral, and then you'll have expect to see a line, a long line of people wanting of course to go in there and to show an outpouring of love and respect for a Queen, they said, has defined so many generations and then serve them steadfastly, even those, John, even those who say they're not pro monarchy had something, had something wonderful to say about the Queen, saying, look, I'm not sure whether it's the King who has huge shoes to fill, whether he'll be able to keep this union together. But I think he's had a good teacher, and I think he'll do a great job but on the whole, majority of people here, feeling -- having some mixed emotions, but wanting to be part of history.

KING: And Isa as you speak, we're watching King Charles III arrive at the Scottish Parliament along with the Queen Consort Camilla. And Richard Quest to that point, as we watch this, we're seeing a lot of formal ceremonies, we're seeing a very important farewell to the Great Queen Elizabeth, but we're also seeing some of the beginning work of the new King as well.

RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS EDITOR-AT-LARGE: Yes, and we're seeing a third change of outfit for the king. He started the day in a full suit, a mourning suit in London. He changed into a suit, his military outfit of Commander for the procession of walking behind the hearse. And now he's wearing Scottish attire. He's wearing a kilt and wearing which I will endeavor to find out which tartan he is wearing for you when I can. And that will be entirely appropriate.

Because remember, he comes here as King of Scotland, yes, King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, King of Scotland, and of course of the Scottish church. And even when he was Prince of Wales, he had a separate title here in Scotland, which is Duke of Rothesay, which now, of course, goes to his son, Prince William, the Prince of Wales, so John, a lot of titles and a lot of shifting about. And now the pictures you're looking at, as the King prepares to come in to meet the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, whom he had an audience with, and who he will meet again.

Interesting, John, they -- all the political parties, those who want independence, those who want Scotland to break from the United Kingdom, they still say they want the royal family, they want Charles to be King, but they want him to be King of Scotland only. So they come in this very, very difficult time. And here we have the King about to meet the political leaders of Scotland, where he will then receive the, as you say, address of condolence from the Scottish politicians.

He will respond, John, in the way that he did back in London, at the Palace of Westminster earlier today.

KING: And Richard, I guess one of the questions as we watch the handshakes and the greetings here is the new King is very well aware of the views of the First Minister of Scotland and their -- her views about the referendum, and keeping him, recognizing him as the King of Scotland. The question is, how much in public and maybe would it be any different in private? Does he weigh in on his own views on that? Or does his transition from Prince to King make him more mum?

QUEST: Good question, John. We'll never know the full answer to that. My guess is he stays mum, like his mum, for the simple reason that she wouldn't have expressed a view and I'm not sure he would have expressed the view even as Prince of Wales, the view is always it's up to the elected people. Now you'll remember, the queen got herself into a little bit of hot water when before the last referendum she was quoted by somebody who heard her say, I hope you'll think very hard about this vote.


That was taken as an indication that Her Majesty wanted, obviously the union to stay together. The King, King Charles, I suspect will take the same view. Nobody's in any doubt, I think, as to his view, that it should remain, but he will not prosecute a claim one way or the other. He will be assiduous, I believe, in carrying that middle line of what the people want, the people shall get. And there you see former political leader, Lord Steel, David Steel, and others from the Scottish Parliament.

KING: And as we wait for the proceedings, Isa Soares on the ground, I may need to interrupt you if the parliament proceedings begin, but when you -- as you encounter the people coming to wish, say farewell to the Queen, is that something on their mind the referendum a possible referendum down the road? Or is this more about paying their respects to Queen Elizabeth?

SOARES: I think what the emotions we saw being stirred today, John, I think there were definitely more human than political emotions, I think it's fair to say. But when I asked members, many Scots here and those in Balmoral of course, they know the King so well, many said they were worried that the perhaps they -- this might be a time to push, of course, for push further for independence, but hoping, of course, that the King's ties to Balmoral and to Scotland remain and that, of course, that he like his mother, who was the glue and the cement, John, that held this country together, that he will continue that.

And of course, you know, the King had was part of so many charities, and spend so many time at a Scottish home of Birkhall in -- at the Balmoral estate. So everyone I've spoken to, I think it's fair to say, some had was slightly hesitant, had mixed emotions about whether he would make that one of his main challenges. But on the whole, people believe that he is a good King, that his heart is in the right place, and that he too, like his mother will keep the union together.

So of course, doubts, concerns over whether he will be the sort of dutiful King that we saw with the mother the years of service and duty, but on the whole, no one was being political. Everyone was just taking in the moment reflecting on what the Queen has done for Scotland had strong ties, an ancestry ties, of course, ancestral ties to Scotland, but also what the next stage of history look like. So yes, applause John, I would say affection, not much descent, but of course concern, concern that Nicola Sturgeon will continue to call for a second independence referendum.

KING: You're watching live pictures there. That's Soares on the ground for us in Edinburgh. You're watching King Charles III, the Queen concert, Camilla entering the Scottish Parliament, they will receive a motion of condolence for the death of Queen Elizabeth. Our CNN contributors, Sally Bedell Smith, Trisha Goddard are with us as well as we watch this, and forgive me if I need to interrupt if the proceedings begin.

We talked a bit earlier in the program just about this moment. You have a week of farewell, but also important critical news first steps, business getting about the business of being King. What is this -- what is to you the significance of this moment we're about to witness in the parliament?

SALLY BEDELL SMITH, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think this is -- it's for him, obviously, giving him their condolences, it's recognizing the green service. I think one thing that is going to be interesting to watch apart from how he conducts himself as King is what William does with his new title in Scotland, the Duke of Rothesay and the other one that is the prince -- when he was Prince really loved was Lord of the Isles. And I think he is not as closely associated with Scotland as his father. And I think he's going to have to step up and be more visible and perhaps take over some of those initiatives.

KING: Let's listen in.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth. On behalf of all members of the Scottish Parliament, I would like to convey our sincere condolences to Your Majesty, to the Queen Consort, and to all members of the royal family. Not only leading our national mourning, but grieving for a much loved mother, grandmother, and great grandmother. The thoughts of this Parliament and the people of Scotland are with the royal family at this time of grief.


But although we meet today, at this time of sadness, this moment provides us with an opportunity too, to reflect on Her Majesty's remarkable life, and in particular, her bond with this Parliament. We were reminded of Her Majesty's commitment to an affection for this parliament every time we sit. On our establishment in 1999, Her Majesty gifted the chamber, gifted the Parliament the beautiful mace, which sits in the well of the chamber.

The words inscribed on it integrity, compassion, wisdom, and justice, have guided and inspired us and will continue to do so. And these values were clearly reflected throughout Her Majesty's life. Her Majesty described this Parliament as being rightly anchored in the history of Scotland, and spoke off the grit, determination, humor and forthrightness of the people. These were qualities that occupied a personal place in her own and family's affections. And generations of people here in Scotland reciprocated that affection. And while today is a day of sadness, of reflection, and expression of our sincere sympathy, it is also a day to recognize and be thankful for Her Majesty's long reign, her service to this country, and her friendship to this Parliament. For in her we have indeed, had a true friend and supporter with us at every step from our first opening ceremony in 1999 to the opening of each subsequent session, and on our important anniversaries too.

The pandemic meant that our opening ceremony last year was delayed from its usual summer date to October, and COVID meant the precautions were in place. But Her Majesty was determined to join us and demonstrated the importance of her relationship with the Parliament and the people. We, 129 members, each invited a community representative, a local hero to be a guest at that ceremony and recognition of their selfless service to those in need during the pandemic.

Her Majesty stopped and spoke with every single local hero waiting for her, asking about their contribution, and thanking them sincerely for their efforts, young and old from the length and breadth of Scotland, their delight and pride her receiving Her Majesty's time and interest was abundantly clear. A true demonstration of the time, Queen Elizabeth invested in the relationship with this Parliament and the people.

In my role representing the parliament, I was privileged to enjoy two private audiences with Her Majesty following my appointment in 2021. And I very much valued her insight and her wise counsel. So while we mourn today with the royal family, and with the people of Scotland and others far beyond, we also give thanks as a nation and as a Parliament for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, Queen of Scots, for her extraordinary life and work.

And before I invite the First Minister, to move the motion of condolence, I would ask you to join me in two minutes silence and please stand as you are able.


Thank you. Thank you.

Today's business is consideration of a motion of condolence in the name of Nicola Sturgeon, and I now call on Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, to speak to and move the motion of condolence.

NICOLA STURGEON, FIRST MINISTER OF SCOTLAND: Your Majesty's, presiding officer, members of Parliament, honored guests, it is my solemn duty and my honor to move this motion of condolence on the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth. For people across our country, this is a time of profound sorrow, while the nation's grief is for our Queen, the royal families is for their beloved mother, grandmother and great grandmother.

Today on behalf of the Parliament and people of Scotland, I offer my heartfelt condolences to Your Majesty's and to the Duke of Rothesay, the Princess Royal, the heirs of Inverness and Forfar and to all members of Her Majesty's wider family. When Queen Victoria died in 1901, Arthur Belfer led tributes then in the House of Commons. He commented that the grief of the country was in part because they were marking the end of an epoch, the beginning of which stretches beyond the memory of any individual whom I am now addressing. Those words are just as true for us today.

Most of us simply do not remember life without the Queen. When as Princess Elizabeth, she gave a radio broadcast from South Africa on her 21st birthday. She was addressing an empire that still included India. When she became monarch, Winston Churchill was prime minister. In an ever changing and often turbulent world, Her Majesty has been our constant. She has been the anchor of our nation. Our personal recollections are often intertwined with memories of her reign.

I was nine years old when I first saw the Queen. She visited Irvine, my hometown in July in 1979 to open the Magnum Leisure Center. I was one of hundreds lining the streets with my mum, and by luck, we ended up close to her car as it passed by. Nine-year-old me was absolutely convinced I had caught her eye. That nine-year-old kiddo could not have imagined more than 35 years later, being in the front passenger seat of another car, this time with the Queen at the wheel driving through the Balmoral estate.

In recent days, other leaders have shared stories from Balmoral of barbecues cooked by Prince Philip as the Queen leads the table. These are memories I treasure too. Special times in what was clearly their happy place. I did, however, experience one rather tense moment at Balmoral. My husband and I were with the Queen before dinner when the drawing room light started to flicker.

To my great alarm, he was after all in the presence of Her Majesty, my husband suddenly let up and darted across the room. Peter had spotted the cause of the flickering light. One of the Queen's young corgis, a beautiful pop called, Sandy, was eating through a lamp switch. Thankfully, tragedy was averted and Sandy emerged unscathed, do not before the stair and taking off from his mistress.


Just like all my predecessors as First Minister, and all prime ministers, I deeply valued the time I spent alone with the Queen. Her words of wisdom, counsel, and humor will stay in my heart for the rest of my life. However, the memory I cherish most is not from Balmoral or from audiences at Holyrood.