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Inside Politics

Dems Dispatch Biden, Obama As GOP Eye Blue Bastions; Vulnerable Dems Emphasizes Economy & Democracy After Biden's Speech. Aired 12:30- 1p ET

Aired November 03, 2022 - 12:30   ET



MARIANNA SOTOMAYOR, CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: And what does the U.S. Capitol police need? We heard from Tom Manger, the U.S. Capitol Police Chief, that they need more resources. They do need more officers. But I won't be surprised already if you hear from the more far right members of Congress saying we don't need any more surveillance, why are you doing this. And the far left debating, we cannot fund the police any way shape or form.

ZOLAN KANNO-YOUNGS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: You just mentioned a good point as well, which is that for the public, when they see security details, they think of the Secret Service, right? But the Secret Service isn't just out protecting a building, not just even out protecting just their branch protecting a member of Congress, they also have an intelligence arm that is sharing information, also speaking to local police departments to gather information on emerging threats.

I'd covered the Department of Homeland Security in this way, they would always say when you talk to them that this was also a pivotal part of the organization. Does -- is the Capitol Police going to get something like that, because in the meantime, until Congress acts, the vulnerability is still there. And it's not just Pelosi as well. You've had members of Congress that are now dipping into their campaign budget at times to get private security details because of this void insecurity for members as well.

JOHN KING, CNN HOST: And it's a different version of a conversation we've had many, many times after 911 after the January 6th insurrection at the Capitol is that what is the intelligence, what intelligence needs to be improved here in Washington? But also what about coordination with local police departments like San Francisco? There was a Capitol Police there -- because Pelosi lives there, there's a small unit there but.

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, but there's -- that's been real issues post January 6th, improving the information sharing. But, you know, one of the questions you mentioned the Secret Service, they -- when they are around a principal, a head of state by the President of the United States, things are essentially shut down. You can of course, go up to the President if you see Joe Biden in a rally. Difference with members of Congress is the accessibility, being able as a constituent to go over and talk directly to the member of Congress that we view ramp up security that could limit that accessibility that allowed members alike and that's the issue that they're going to have to resolve.

KING: Well hopefully they can all get in a room, Democrat, Republican actually have a conversation about it. They don't have conversations about much maybe this will get them in a room. We'll see what goes from there.

Up next for us, the Wild West, the 2020 map shows blue up and down the coast and then across to Nevada and Arizona but Republicans see 2022 as an opportunity for coloring a lot of red.



KING: Flashback here to November of 2020, after the election in 2020, the West Coast has long been good to Democrats, filled in blue in presidential elections for back and back and back. You have to go back to Ronald Reagan's days to find red out there on the West Coast. Nevada, increasingly Democratic and presidential elections. You see here, New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona as well, blue, blue, blue, right? Well, this year, let's come forward to 2022. And you look at the map when it comes to Senate races. Republicans think we might be able to take away a Democratic seat in Arizona, maybe take away a Democratic seat in Nevada. That's the one they're most confident about. Republicans say watch.

We might have a shot in Colorado, maybe out in Washington State. Is that over ambitious? We'll watch. But we do know those campaigns are in play and Democrats are nervous. Now let's look at the House. This is the current House of Representatives. In the rural states up here, a lot of red but look at California, Oregon, Washington State, a lot of blue there, blue in Arizona blue in New Mexico. Look at the competitive races though. When you look at the competitive seats, Democrats are on defense in a lot of the west across the country they are.

But look out west and all these states and all these competitive districts, Democrats on defense, which is why Kevin McCarthy, the Republican who thinks he would be speaker, he's from California, of course. He looks at the entire map, but especially out here, and he says, wow.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA), MINORITY LEADER: This is exciting. You're seeing places we haven't seen before, very competitive. I'd watch Oregon, Nevada, Rhode Island, Connecticut, we're playing in seats where you're watching Democrats now funneling money to seats that Biden won by 20 points. That is unheard of that they're worried. They're worried about coastal seats in California.


KING: Our great reporters are back with us. He's right. When you look at the map, Republicans, look, they're looking at several districts, more than a handful in California, a couple in Oregon. If you look at the west, traditionally more and more blue, and yet, what's the biggest issue?

SOTOMAYOR: Well, crime, also just rising gas prices, there, gas prices are way above the national average. And people are seeing that every single day, crime as well. If you're looking at those bigger cities, I know in Oregon, they're really making that issue kind of pointing -- Republicans are pointing back to the 2020 protests that happened there. And reminding people that this is, you know, this is what America is like under Democratic leadership. And it seems to be resonating upon those.

KING: Right. And somewhat bad timing in the sense that whoever's the President has very limited control over gas prices, it's more of a global issue. But look at this map, this is from AAA. Sometimes we overcomplicate things. That's a pretty simple way to look at it. The darker, the deeper the red, the more the gas prices are above the national average. That means the entire west coast. That means, you know, Nevada, then you look still high out there. You can come to the Midwestern battlegrounds in northeastern battlegrounds too where prices are higher. But if you just look up and down that West Coast, you think, oh, OK, now I get it. That's why all those districts are in play.

SEUNG MIN KIM, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. And you also look at how the rise and fall of gas prices is also tracked with the rise and fall of Biden's approval ratings. There is a correlation there. And I think it's no surprise or that's -- it's no surprise why the administration has tried to at least say things or take some steps like releasing barrels from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, or the President floating a windfall tax earlier this week on gas companies.

And I also think too, to back up Kevin McCarthy's point, his point is also proven if you look at the President's schedule for this week. He's leaving on a trip. He just left for New Mexico. And I think if you look at where he's traveling in the final days of the election, they are blue areas. So he is in full triage mode, trying to shore up Democrats who may have won New Mexico statewide, or House Democrats and Biden plus 11 and beyond districts in the in San Diego and in the Chicago area. That is a President and a White House that is on defense now.


KANNO-YOUNGS: Right. If you have an indication of the concern that Democrats have for gas prices, look at the White House Twitter account, look at Ron Klain's Twitter account as well, when it was going down often celebrating. It's a number that White House officials that those around President Biden have been tracking so closely, you were mentioning some of the actions that they've took for this, that is reflective of the concern that those in the party have and an awareness that this is an issue. We talked about other issues that are obviously important as well. But this is an issue that does tend to sway voters because they feel it day to day.

KING: I feel like day to day and they see it day to day. If you're not -- it's just not a day you're filling up, you're driving by one, two, three, maybe 10 gas stations. Especially out west we drive longer distances to a lot of places. And also if you look at the districts along the west coast, everywhere in America, but especially those California districts that this step of Oregon, they hit the suburbs, right? They hit the suburbs, and that has been the tug of war, the suburbs revolted against Donald Trump came for the Democrats, but inflation and crime issues driving some back.

Look at this poll of "The Wall Street Journal," which economic plan makes life easier amongst suburban white women. Back in August, the Democrats had the advantage as we get close to the Election Day right now, 50 to 35, a 15 point edge for Republicans. That's a lot of House districts, potentially, if that holds.

KIM: And in that "Wall Street Journal" poll, if you look at white suburban women overall, not just on the issues, there was a massive swing against Democrats from August until now. And that is a demographic that really propelled House Democrats into power in 2018. So the fact that they're swinging back to Republicans that they are, you know, now that Trump is not technically on the ballot this time around, and that the issues are so focused on these kitchen table issues, and these at home issues such as crime and inflation, certainly a concern for Democrats.

KING: So that's why you have Obama -- Barack Obama, the former President in Arizona, a state Maricopa County has essentially become a giant suburb. Phoenix in the suburbs around it fast growing, telling people, there's a woman running for governor, you know her because she was in your home for 10 years as a T.V. anchor. She's very well known to the suburban women of Arizona, Barack Obama says don't vote for her.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If we hadn't just elected somebody whose main qualification was being on T.V., you can see maybe give it a shot. What's the worst that could happen? Well, now we know. It doesn't just work out just because somebody's been on T.V. It turns out being president or governor is about more than snappy lines and good lighting.


KING: It's trying to, you know, essentially turn Kari Lake into Trump.

SOTOMAYOR: Right. But you know, a lot of people, if you are a familiar face, especially back home, that's something that people have voted on. We've seen many examples of that even in some house districts like South Florida, where you have broadcasters on T.V., Democrats trying to make that, you know, experience argument, but it can only go so far.

KING: Well, we'll see. Five days out, we're going to do. [12:43:08]

Up next, we get the campaign insider's perspective, what matters most in the final days and is it too late to fix a problem?


KING: We are just five days out and Republican midterm confidence is growing. The Iowa Republican senator for example, Joni Ernst, leaves no wiggle room telling POLITICO this. The GOP is quote, going to get the Senate next Tuesday. President Biden asking voters to think again, making his case last night that Republicans are a threat to democracy, and that Americans should make that paramount when filling out their ballot. Is Senator Ernst right? Can the President turn the tide this late?

Let's ask two strategists who know what can and cannot be done in a campaign's final days. Republicans Scott Jennings, Democrat Paul Begala are here with us. Scott Jennings, let me start with you. Joni Ernst, now the latest Republican to say we're going to be in the majority she's going to be in the majority. That's the map of the competitive races. Republicans are hoping to keep Pennsylvania, the incumbents not running and hoping to flip Georgia where Herschel Walker is the candidate, a candidate many would concede has some flaws. Those are the two you're still nervous about?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, look, they're incredibly close races in Georgia, the possibility of a run off I think is still quite likely, although people are very bullish on how Herschel Walker has closed the campaign. So I think if there is a runoff, it's likely Walker would have finished ahead of Warnock. The Atlanta Journal Constitution this week, their final survey had Joe Biden 37 percent. It strikes me it would be very difficult for a Democrat incumbent to outrun that number, if you believe that number.

And in Pennsylvania things are tracking the correct way for Dr. Oz. But again, it's an incredibly close race. So if you're a believer in the macro wins of politics, and you'd rather be the Republicans, and if you're a believer in the micro issues that these campaigns have, maybe if you're a Democrat, you feel a little like you're still on the game there. So knife's edge, I'd rather be us than them.

KING: You'd rather be us than them, you say. Paul, the President came at a very important speech last night because he's telling the truth when he says there are a whole bunch of Republicans who deny simple math in the process who deny the last election. Yet there's some grumblings from Democrats that they, A, don't want the President because his polling is underwater, as Scott noted on T.V. at all, or if he's going to be talking, they want to talk to you about inflation. I want you to listen here, the Democratic candidate for governor in Pennsylvania and Senate in Ohio saying, we can do both.


REP. TIM RYAN (R-OH), SENATE CANDIDATE: We have to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time in the United States. It's a complicated country, which means you need good leaders who can focus both on the economy and preserving our democracy.

JOSH SHAPIRO (D-PA), GOV. CANDIDATE: Pennsylvania voters Republican and Democrat, they know how to walk and chew gum at the same time, Don, they can care about rising cost. They also care about their personal freedom.



KING: We met in a campaign when we had more colorful language like a turtle doesn't get an offense posed by accident or like a pig squeal under a gate. The good old days are gone, I guess. But was the -- is President helping or hurting Democrats by talking about a fundamentally critical issue?

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think it helps. It helps. It helps at the margins. OK, it's not what the election is going to be about. I wish it were. But Scott is right, Jennings is right. But first off, just notice how much smarter Scott Jennings is than Joni Ernst. I'm sure she's plenty bright, but she's either dishonest or dumb when she says I know we're going to carry the Senate. Nobody knows anything. And it's a little bit of an insult to the voters.

I think what the President did last night is motivate a lot of Democratic base voters who I think quite rightly are worried about the existence of our democracy if these Trumpy election liars get in. And it creates a permission structure for a lot of sensible Republicans to say, well, yes, I don't want that. I'm not happy with inflation. I'm not happy with crime. But gee whiz, I don't want to turn out.

So you always want an issue that can unite your base and the swing voters. Again, it's not going to be outcome determinative. But I liked what he said I'd love to speech last night, I'm a base Democrat.

KING: Scott Jennings back to you. You are intimately familiar with Senator Mitch McConnell, you come out of his operation and how he thinks. He wants to be the Republican leader again. He has been frustrated and campaigns past where he thought he had the wind at his back. And bad candidates have cost him that. What is he doing in these final days? Is he moving money around? Is he getting -- is the working candidates trying to shift resources? Or is it simply too late now you just have to wait and count?

JENNINGS: I think the final bets by the outside groups and both parties have largely been made. You saw the Senate Leadership Fund, which is McConnell's outside group make some big bets earlier this week, the Democrats are doing the same. And you can tell a lot if you don't like polls. And you know, I'm a little skeptical of it myself, these days, you can tell a lot about what the parties are doing by where the money is going, Democrats moving money to very blue areas, and Republicans moving money into places where they think they've got a real chance now, such as even Washington state, which is if you talk to Republican strategist today, it's live and they think it's a tied race. So what he's doing right now is talking to his donors, and I'm sure and telling them that there's a real chance for Republicans to put a check and balance on Joe Biden's agenda. And ultimately, that's the closing message really, for the Republicans is, if you don't like the direction of the country, they control everything. We control nothing. And if you want to put at least a little bit of pump the brakes on this, you got one shot, it's vote Republican.

KING: Paul, you were in the Clinton White House in the first midterm in 1994, they lost the house and Newt Gingrich became speaker, they called it the Republican revolution back in the day. I know that's a bad memory for you. But just what is it like, what is it like, what is the Biden political team going through right now knowing that if the polls are right, at least the House is going to be gone and he will be a -- this will be a very Bill Clinton presidency was fundamentally different when Newt Gingrich became speaker, how might the Biden presidency be fundamentally different?

BEGALA: Well, you'd have to prepare. First off, it does look more likely than not that the House is swing Republican, they only have to gain five seats, and the average historically is over 30. So that's a really tough one. The Democrats now are doing just what Scott said, though, triage requires that you first defend your own before you advance. So they're trying to protect, Democrats who are already in office from getting swept out in this way. But you're right, we lost 53 seats in the Clinton midterm.

By the way, Obama lost 63, Trump lost 42. So this should be with inflation higher and the president less popular, this should be 70, 80, 90, it's not going to be because Mr. Trump has fallen into so many of these races and disgraced the Republican brand in the eyes of so many Republicans. Yes, will it be enough to help the Democrats to hold on? I don't know. But they are actually -- they're going to leave a lot of seats on the table with their embrace of election lies and Donald Trump.

KING: We will continue this conversation obviously in the five days ahead and after the election when we do know the fall out. Great to have you both back for your perspective on what comes next, Scott Jennings, Paul Begala appreciate it very much. Thank you.

BEGALA: What comes next is Houston victory tonight though. Go Astros John, I got to represent my entry.

KING: Of course he does.

BEGALA: Go Astros.

KING: Of course he does. I can't blame a baseball fan, all right, Paul.


On election night, join us right here, the World Series will be over. Join us for our special coverage starting Tuesday, November 8th, 4:00 p.m. Eastern learn what's happening in your state, in your county, and all around the country. And you need proof Democrats are nervous in New York. Guess what, Hillary Clinton, Vice President Kamala Harris getting the trail there.


KING: Topping our Political Radar today, the prosecution rests. After four weeks of government witnesses, the Justice Department ending today its side of the historic seditious conspiracy trial against five leaders of the Oath Keeper. Those five stands accused of plotting to storm the Capitol. All five defendants have pleaded not guilty.

Hillary Clinton and the Vice President Kamala Harris, part of the big Democratic names heading to New York tried to help pull Governor Kathy Hochul across the finish line. Governor Hochul in an unexpectedly tight race, crime has been the dominant issue there.

A top Trump aide will testify before a grand jury investigating the former president's handling of classified materials at Mar-a-Lago. A D.C. judge granted Kash Patel immunity for any information he provides. He now joins Mark Meadows Senator Lindsey Graham is supposed to Trump associates who have been told by courts they must testify in cases exploring his conduct. Meadows and Graham will testify the different case that the Georgia probe into Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election.


Thanks for your time today in INSIDE POLITICS. Hope to see you tomorrow. Ana Cabrera picks up our coverage right now.