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New Fetterman Ad Focuses on Stroke, Family; Kemp-Warnock Voter Phenomenon Emerges In Georgia; Consumer Sentiment Rises Despite Blistering Inflation. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired October 14, 2022 - 12:30   ET



LAURA BARRON-LOPEZ, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: There's also current senators like Senator Ben Ray Lujan, who are survivors of stroke that are currently sitting in the Senate. So it's not, you know, to your point, it's not out of the realm of possibility that there are people who have suffered, you know, strokes and other potential disabilities that then go on to serve their country, whether it's in the Senate or in the house.

JOHN KING, CNN HOST: People dealing with challenges, medical challenges, other challenges, sometimes they're good for a conversation because they help people understand. But to your point about Democrats having a little bit of jitters here, Fetterman's campaign himself clearly sees this as an issue because you don't put money behind something unless it's an issue. This is a brand new T.V. ad up today.


LT. GOV. JOHN FETTERMAN (D-PA), SENATE CANDIDATE: After my stroke, I was just grateful to see Gisele and our kids. Politicians spend so much time fighting about the things that don't matter. I'll always be focused on what does, access to health care, lower costs, good jobs, more time with those we love. I'm John Fetterman. And I approve this message.


KING: Just proof right there, it costs money to put ads on T.V. in Philadelphia, a little less money but still pay a lot of media markets from Philadelphia across Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, to Allentown and out of Pittsburgh.

DANA BASH, CNN CO-ANCHOR, STATE OF THE UNION: You know, usually when you have the debate over the debate, it's like what we're seeing in Arizona, you know, one campaign sending a chicken after another candidate and it just being more about being afraid to confront one another on the issues.

In this particular case, it's, I think, probably more of a negative for Fetterman in the eyes of the viewers, the voters rather, because they want to see whether it's using closed caption or in some other way that makes sense for his current physical state that he's OK, cognitively. And that's the argument that he's making that his brain is working. It's just the motor skills that he needs to go from his thought process to his mouth. That's where he needs extra help. If they can find a way to do it, presumably, it would help assuage the voter's concerns that you're hearing from Democrats here.

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And part of the thing here, you know, when I was out in the -- in Pennsylvania during the primary, this is pre stroke, so much about John Fetterman's persona was just the way he was able to connect with voters where he was able to talk to voters go back and forth and engage on any number of issues. And for a very long time, that was his way of campaigning. It's much obviously much different now. And that's one reason why not just his health, but just not being able to do that kind of thing on the campaign trail, the retail politicking, which could be hurtful in the final weeks ahead.

KING: More politics ahead. But this is a bit of a pivot. But we have Manu at the table and we have two ladies who have considerable experience covering Capitol Hill. Yesterday if you're watching us as the January 6th hearings unfolded, during one of the breaks our intrepid chief congressional correspondent tried, tried to do his job.


RAJU: Mr. Raskin, Mr. Raskin, can you discuss this subpoena? Mr. Kinzinger, what is the purpose of this subpoena, we were live on CNN right now. Can you explain the subpoena?

REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): Hi everybody. Just watch. We'll get back to everything else.

RAJU: Mr. Raskin, can you explain this, we are live on CNN right now. Can you explain the subpoena for Donald Trump? Is this for documents for interviewing?


KING: You got to coming, going into coming from my cars with Raskins there, A for effort anyway.

RAJU: And look, they were actually, that we didn't show Zoloft (ph) then blowing me off, the late Lauriel (ph) also blowing me off.

KING: The program is only an hour.

RAJU: Exactly, exactly. But I'm glad the world can see the fact that I get blown off most days.

BASH: The tactic of telling them that they're live on television right now is genius. That's what you got to do. I was actually concerned for you on the other end before that happened, because they were -- you were talking and they were coming from behind you. And I thought, you know, Manu has so many amazing talents, but he doesn't have eyes in the back of his head and that is such --

RAJU: Well, I was positioned exactly where they were going, John, because --

BARRON-LOPEZ: And now you could just kind of do it in Hill.

BASH: Well said.


KING: Mic drop. Laura Barron-Lopez get the mic drop.

BASH: Very, very good.

KING: Next week.

RAJU: Yes. Hey, yes, I'll try anything for the interview, John.


KING: Up next for us, back to some dicey politics, Georgia and its giant midterm roll. There's a Senate debate tonight. And there's evidence there in Georgia and elsewhere, this election season might include a lot of ticket splitting.


KING: Tonight, a debate in the Georgia Senate race that could well determine which party controls that chamber come January. Republican Herschel Walker is embroiled in character controversies. And if you look closely, there's a small but important polling shift in favor of the Democratic incumbent Senator Raphael Warnock. Georgia also has a big governor's race this year. Incumbent Brian Kemp has for months held a small but steady polling lead. And Republicans are hoping Kemp can perhaps have a coattail effect that helps Walker. But CNN's Michael Warren has some new reporting from Georgia that suggests we might see something that is becoming less and less common in our polarized times, ticket splitting, meaning Georgians who vote Republican for Governor then switch to support Democrat Warnock for Senate.

Michael joins our conversation. And to that point, I just want to read one of the voters you've encountered in this reporting. This is Gabriel Burks, his a black Democratic leaning voter. Kemp hasn't done nothing wrong as governor. He's opened up, meaning COVID, I've got nothing against him. I'm with him on the gun law, too. I don't like Herschel, something's wrong with him.

Important because if you -- especially in presidential years, ticket splitting has just become a lost. I was going to call it an art, the lost thing in politics, people they vote party at the top of the ticket and they tend to go down. You're seeing evidence that we're going to get ticket splitting in Georgia.

MICHAEL WARREN, CNN REPORTER: And John, we should be clear it is not a large number of voters here who are likely to split their ticket. But we know Georgia is a closely divided state and is likely to be closely divided in this upcoming election and that's what both of these parties are considering and targeting. And I've talked to people familiar with the Kemp campaign as well as the Warnock campaign. They know that there are a perhaps a critical mass of voters, that they fit in really two buckets and the first person that you mentioned from this story, black men, generally men, not women, who are Democratic voters, but are willing to give Kemp another a second term.


They like what he's done with the economy. They say they really have nothing against him. They don't say to have anything can Stacey Abrams, the Democrat, but they sort of want to stick with the horse that Georgia has. The other group of these swing voters really white college educated, upper middle-class voters in that ring of northern suburbs of Atlanta places you probably know very well. Dunwoody, Sandy Springs, Roswell, Alpharetta, these are places that went for Biden, went for Democrats in the 2018 midterm elections, but their traditional Republican voters. They want to vote for Republicans.

And Herschel Walker is just a bridge too far. And I have to say, all of the scandal that we've been discussing now for almost two weeks is the talk throughout not just political operatives in Georgia, but regular people. They know it --

KING: So help me, so help me where this guy fits in the spectrum you just described. I just won't vote for Herschel. We need someone who can do more than just fog up a mirror.

WARREN: Yes. You know, this is a young father in a park in Alpharetta, Georgia, just north of Atlanta. Look, this is -- he wants to vote for Republicans. But Herschel Walker, I think this is the -- these are the type of voters he needs to be winning over in these final weeks of the campaign. A lot of Republicans think he can do that tonight in Savannah in this debate, if he performs well, and maybe addresses some of these issues. But it's a problem and Republicans are trying to catch up.

RAJU: It's such an interesting dynamic because I -- when I was out there, too, I talked to a number of voters who are Republican voters who are not going to vote for Herschel Walker, because those issues that you laid out. And it is -- the real interesting dynamic here, too, is Georgia is a runoff state. That means if one of the candidates does not get above 50 percent, there is a runoff after November election. And it's very possible, neither might because there is a libertarian in this race. And the question, Republicans are hoping that they can keep Warnock, obviously under 50 percent.

But the runoff adds a new complication, because that means Brian Kemp won't be on the ticket in the runoff. And how does that affect the Republican candidate down ticket when that hope some of those Kemp voters will ultimately lift up Walker at the end of the day, that could have a big impact.

BARRON-LOPEZ: The other thing I think that could be interesting tonight, too, is how much does Senator Warnock actually push on abortion when it comes to Herschel Walker, because we saw that as a scandal, more details about all the scandals surrounding him were coming out around abortion last week that Warnock really stayed pretty quiet on it and decided to say, I'm just going to focus on what I'm going to do on health care and not, you know, viscerally or aggressively attack Walker on it, so.

KING: You make it political if you do that. He's trying to leave it to the substance. The ticket splitting idea, again, if you go back and look at the last two presidential elections, it's almost non-existent. But this campaign, it's interesting to watch. You know in Georgia, you have a Republican incumbent governor, you mentioned even some Democrats say, You know what, I like this horse, I'm going to stay with it don't want to disrupt, we're going.

You have the same test if you go up to New Hampshire, where you have a Republican incumbent governor, Chris Sununu, who's favored against the Democratic candidate, Tom Sherman, and then you have the Democratic Senator Maggie Hassan and her Republican opponent, Don Bolduc, who is back in the election denying camp, he's gone back and forth a few times.

But again, an example where you think, you know, at the top of the ticket, you vote one way, do you make a conscious choice that I'm a Republican, or I'm a Democrat, and you go straight up the ballot? Or do you go back and forth?

BASH: I was just going to say the thing that both Chris Sununu and Governor Kemp have in common is that they backed Donald Trump specifically backed Donald Trump on the election lies. It was much more vivid and much more urgent and impactful in Georgia because Governor Kemp by saying no, I'm not going to just find 11,000 plus votes out of thin air kept Georgia in the Democratic column for Joe Biden and maybe ultimately, in the Senate.

So that is, if you -- if you're a Republican Party, honestly looking at what it takes to win in purple-ish states. You take the Donald Trump fealty question and that factor out of it, Republicans have a better shot with Democratic voters, not just independents.

RAJU: Yes.

WARREN: The one thing I will say as well is Georgia has had a lot of elections over the last two years, a lot of it closely determined elections.

KING: That's understatement.

WARREN: Yes, in those runoffs. And I think that does create a sort of more sophistication among those swing voters. They actually pay attention to these things, what candidates say what -- and that's why they're in a position to say, I can pick and choose I don't have to pull a lever for one party. It comes from having to vote for these people over and over.


RAJU: But it's such an interesting phenomenon that you mentioned the states that will play out, Ohio another one is a huge one. Tim Ryan, the Democrat needs those Mike DeWine, the governor's to come over to his side because DeWine is almost certainly going to win probably by a healthy margin. But can he pick up pick off those Republican voters.

KING: Right it's interesting, the state, there you have an incumbent Republican governor and the two candidates. Ryan is a congressman but you don't have an incumbent senator. Then you have Pennsylvania where you don't have an incumbent in either the governors or the Senate race, but people say we'll see a lot of ticket splitting there. It's going to be fascinating to watch as we go.

Up next for us, a brand new report out today says consumers, that means you feel a little better about the economy. But other data show inflation remains high and stubborn that complicates things for the Fed and for the Democrats.



KING: Brand new economic survey released today shows Americans were feeling a bit more positive at the beginning of the month, the University of Michigan's Consumer Sentiment Survey ticked up a little bit from September, but that better mood could be short lived. Another new report today shows retail sales are flat, that signs perhaps of a pullback on big purchases because of new proof, high inflation isn't going away as fast as the Fed had hoped. Let's get some insights from our chief business correspondent, Christine Romans. Christine, easy to get dizzy looking at all the data this week, where are we?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CHIEF CORRESPONDENT: You know, there's just so much and it's really messy. I mean, that consumer sentiment number I think is really important. Jobs are still plentiful, and the consumer still is doing OK, the consumer much better heading into, you know, troubled waters this time than it was in 2008 or 2009. So I was actually relieved to see that Consumer Index a little bit better, you know, gas prices are off their highs, they're ticking up a little bit, but still apparently manageable for most consumers. So that's why I think you're seeing that number get ticked up. But everything else is so confusing, like inflation is the only thing that's not confusing. Inflation is high. And it looks like it's stuck there.

KING: And so let's go through some of the others, inflation is high, which means the Fed will feel continued pressure to keep not only raising rates, but raising rates significantly, which has an impact, essentially, what six months if it now has not done at least as quickly what the Fed had hoped it was do. And then you look, I just want to put up on wages versus inflation. This is what matters to people across the country, especially people who are struggling month to month with high gas prices, high food prices, maybe college costs, inflation up wages, not as quickly.

ROMANS: Yes, and you talk about food costs are up, rent costs are up, college costs are up, the costs for just about everything is up, wages are rising. And in fact, ironically, the Fed is concerned about how fast wages are rising because that can feed into that, you know, inflation story. But that gap between those two lines is something that I think really drives people when they start to think about who they're going to vote for come this fall, it's the Feds job to tamp down inflation. I think the six months mark that you just brought up is very, very important.

There's a big lag in monetary policy, when the Fed does something it can take some time to be felt. So there is also a concern, the Fed was too late John, then they started jacking up interest rates, and they'll likely do it again, many things, because these inflation numbers above 75 basis points. But then what happens? What if they're doing it too hard, too fast, and they can't calibrate quickly enough and they really hurt the economy?

KING: And so then we look at every little indicator we get to try to AC the data, but then try to understand the psychology behind it, the consumer psychology retail sales out this morning, up 8.2 percent year over year, but when you get to the right side of the screen there, suddenly flat. What does that tell you?

ROMANS: So these numbers are not adjusted for inflation. So what it tells me is that people are still spending, that consumer is still strong, but they're buying things that maybe cost less. They're switching to, you know, off brand products at the stores, right, or they're pulling back in some other way. So maybe they're spending the same amount of money on goods, but they're not getting the same number of things because inflation is eating into their purchasing power. These numbers again, so interesting to me that the consumer keeps spending, the consumer seems to be in pretty good shape.

Still, we're worried about what could be happening down the road, but the job market is still strong. It's just, John, it's a mix of economic indicators we've never seen this sort of exact mix before. So nobody really knows what's going to happen next.

KING: Which is why we're grateful to have you in the chair to help us try to weed through it even -- and to be honest enough about the uncertainty. Christine Romans grateful for your time.


Up next for us, Vladimir Putin warning today NATO needs to be careful but he also says Russia is dialing back the scope of its missile strikes in Ukraine.


KING: Topping our Political Radar today, the Russian President Vladimir Putin said there's no need for quote, more massive strikes against Ukraine quote, at least for now. Those comments coming after a week of deadly strikes on civilian targets across Ukraine, Putin says Russia is not out to destroy Ukraine and he insisted though its actions are quote, right.

Today the British Prime Minister sidestepping a giant question, will she resign? PM Liz Truss gave that non answer at a brief press conference outside 10 Downing, that following an important economic flip flop. The Prime Minister now says she will raise the country's corporate tax rate. When she took office, she vowed to reverse the plan type. Plus also dismissing her finance minister and now hopes her new moves come a UK financial market's free fall. Important news CNN, K-file reporting on a Democratic House candidates attempt or a campaign makeover, New Mexico's Gabe Vasquez deleting tweets calling the oil and gas industry quote extremely toxic and quote irresponsible now trying to position himself as a moderate Vasquez calls the industry quote extremely important.

This issue could prove key in a very tight race with the fossil fuel industry looms large. President Biden signing an executive order today with the goal of lowering prescription drug costs for Americans, Biden directing the Department of Health and Human Services to look into how to do it, a report due back to the president in 90 days.

In Florida, Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, making it easier to vote in counties that were battered by Hurricane Ian, three counties will be able to set up more early voting sites and extend the early voting period. Some residents will also be allowed to have mail-in ballots sent to different addresses and the vote outside of their precinct.


Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders joins Jake Tapper tonight in prime time to discuss what Democrats must do in his view to win the upcoming midterm elections. Catch that interview tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN. Thanks for your time today on Inside Politics. Ana Cabrera picks up our coverage right now.