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261,000 Jobs Added In October, Unemployment Rises To 3.7 Percent; Unemployment Ticks Up To 3.7 Percent In Final Pre-Midterm Jobs Report; Dem Sen Candidate: GOP Fueling Inflation Problem; Trump Ally Tom Barrack Acquitted On Foreign Lobbying Charges; Elon Musk Makes Mass Layoffs At Twitter; Final Inside Elections Projections: GOP Gains 13-30 House Seats; Battle For Control Of The Senate Down To The Wire; CNN: Trump Aides Eye Third Week Of Nov For 2024 Announcement. Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired November 04, 2022 - 12:00   ET



JOHN KING, CNN HOST, INSIDE POLITICS: Hello, and welcome to Inside Politics. I'm John King in Washington. Thank you for sharing your day with us. A final midterm grade if the American economy, overall, it is quite strong, jobs still going up, wages up again too, but inflation is going up faster. It's a complicated picture and we know it is issue one, as we close this midterm campaign.

Plus, big shifts toward Republicans in House races. Democrats, though still in play to hold the Senate. And Oprah wants to help the TV mogul who made Dr. Oz a star, says she would vote for his Democratic opponent in Pennsylvania.


OPRAH WINFREY, MEDIA MOGUL (voiceover): If I lived in Pennsylvania, I would have already cast my vote for John Fetterman for many reasons.


KING: And big political news that connects two important planning at the Justice Department, eight say Donald Trump, but announced the 2024 presidential run just 10 days from now. That won't stop the investigations, but it could change how they are managed.


DONALD TRUMP, 45TH U.S. PRESIDENT: Now in order to make our country successful and safe and glorious, I will very, very, very probably do it again. OK. Very, very, very. Get ready. That's all I'm telling you very soon. Get ready.


KING: Back to that story a bit later. But up first for us, new data on your number one issue. The American economy keeps adding jobs and adding them at a robust clip. Take a look. The top lines, we are not in recession. 261,000 new jobs added last month in October. The unemployment rate did tick up a bit to 3.7 percent. Wages also up, climbing even more than economists had anticipated.

Overall, these numbers tell us the American economy is resilient. And it is weathering global turbulence better than say Europe or China. But and this is a critical but, the wage growth is not enough to outpace inflation. And because of that, it's unlikely this last jobs' report before election day will significantly change how you feel about your bottom line, which we all know is driving many, many midterm choices.

With me in studio on this important day to share their reporting and their insights, CNN's Dana Bash, CNN's Audie Cornish, Laura Barron- Lopez at the PBS NewsHour, and Bloomberg's Peggy Collins. Peggy Collins, to you first. I just want to put up the headline numbers.

You know, 261,000 jobs added. The unemployment rate ticking up a bit, in some ways, because of good news. More people are out there looking. People getting off the sidelines saying, this a good time to go look for a job. Again, the fundamentals, the bones of the economy are strong. And yet, there's the big butt of inflation.

PEGGY COLLINS, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, BLOOMBERG: That's right, John. I think one of the key takeaways for us was that the economy is starting now to show signs of slowing, but not crashing, right? So that means a couple of things, the Fed is going to keep jacking up interest rates in order to try to cool that inflation down.

We did see that women's jobless rates climbed and really drove the unemployment rate going up to 3.7. So that is concerning. But we also did see a lot of jobs added in healthcare and we needed that in the economy.

KING: Right. So, let's look across the sectors, before we move on to the politics. Healthcare 53,000 new jobs, professional and technology jobs are up, leisure and hospitality jobs are up, manufacturing jobs are up again. Again, the fundamentals of the economy, especially when you take in the global factors, China is in a slowdown, Europe, especially the U.K. in an economic funk.

You mentioned if not crashing, it is this economy playing out. The Fed is going to keep raising interest rates for a period TBD ahead. But is it playing out as they would like? Is it slowing at the right pace? A lot of people worried they're going to tip it into recession.

COLLINS: That's right. Well, I think for them, it is somewhat good news today because they are seeing some signs of that cooling. But remember, the Fed is still jacking up and that's on a lag, right? You know, this week, they raised again, 75 basis points, but it's going to take some time to go into the economy. We're already seeing mortgage rates, for example, at 7 percent. So, it's going to be a question of whether or not it tips over too fast.

KING: So, the mortgage rate part. Stay by, we'll come back to some economics as well. But let's get to some of the politics of this because we are days, we count the votes on Tuesday, many of you, millions of you have already voted. Look at wage growth versus inflation. Wages are up and normally the president would be doing handstand, saying your wages are going up over the course of my presidency.

But the red line is CPI. That's the consumer price index that is inflation, which gets to this point from the Republican pollster Frank Luntz, that there's a lot here for a president to brag about, except add up inflation, that means families can't afford things.


FRANK LUNTZ, REPUBLICAN POLLSTER: Every week, I raised the Republican projections for the House, and for the first time, I now think that is 51-49, that it will be 51-49 in the Senate for the Republicans that as the economy takes center stage and particularly affordability, not inflate affordability.



KING: It's a smart way to translate. It's the impact of inflation that families are having trouble affording the basics.

LAURA BARRON-LOPEZ, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, PBS NEWSHOUR & CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. That's right. I mean, the president has been trying to today really zone in on those things that you said are actually good for the economy, which is the manufacturing jobs, his White House has been out in full force today, talking about the fact that that means renewable energy jobs, which are potentially higher pain, you know, manufacturing jobs.

And the president was pretty defiant. He said that he wasn't going to accept that higher job numbers, higher - lower unemployment, more jobs was actually something that was bad for the American people. But again, you know, I just got back from Michigan, and a lot of people are talking about the cost of living, and they are talking about inflation. You know, the one thing for Democrats, which is that could potentially be a counter acting measure for them is, again, abortion, which I know we'll talk about later.

DANA BASH, CNN CO-ANCHOR, STATE OF THE UNION: The thing is, all of those things can be true. And all of those things are true at the same time. The problem that Democrats have is that even though wages are up, even though the unemployment rate is down, again, true, those are facts. It doesn't matter when you are a human being at the grocery store, trying to afford money - try to afford eggs and milk and everything else that is basic fundamental for your family and it's much harder. That is so much more visceral.

KING: Right. You can look over the horizon, and say, OK, the America - the bones are strong. We'll be OK when we get through this storm, but the storm is impacting a lot of families, which is why it's interesting. So how does Democrat on the campaign trail deal with this Cheri Beasley, former state Supreme Court Chief Justice in North Carolina, running for the United States Senate. She's a Democrat.

In a tough year, in a tough state for Democrats, but her opponent is a Republican incumbent in the House. So, most voters say, I'm mad about inflation, I'm going to take it out on the party in power. That would be the President Biden and the Democrats. says, Cheri Beasley says wait a minute, what about him?


CHERI BEASLEY, (D) NORTH CAROLINA SENATE CANDIDATE: We paid more in this country for prescription drugs than any other country in the world. And Congress can fix that. We also know that corporations are seeing 70-year record profits, and using the cover of inflation, to jack up prices on things that we need. Congress can fix that.

And Ted Budd has been in Congress for six years, rather than fixing it, he's been helping it. He's taking thousands of dollars in big pharma and voting against lowering the cost of prescription drugs, taking thousands of dollars in big oil.


KING: It'd be fascinating to see if she can pull that off because, you know, that national headwinds are against the Democrats.

AUDIE CORNISH, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: That's a race to watch for sure, not for the reasons you're talking about. There's a lot of going on in North Carolina. But you know, we did mint, several billionaires out of the pandemic, I mean, what goes up must come down. And if you weren't took advantage of those mortgage rates, of those refinance rates, of those low car rates, of the retail frenzy that happened out of the pandemic.

Yes. If you're one of those businesses, if you're part of that industry, you're feeling it now, right? Because now the government is saying, hey, maybe we need to dial back. And I don't know how you manage that, right? Like, I don't know how you tell the American people, some of this is from your own demand, because you're still traveling, you're still going to restaurants, you're still shopping, and main street businesses are having trouble holding on to workers.

I also want to just bring up the fact that, you know, maybe Silicon Valley and Wall Street should not be the best measure of the fears of the recession. They tend to raise a lot of boogie men and then push back the moves if they decide to make them at all.

And I don't - I do have some reluctance to say like, you know, this is really bad, and everyone is feeling it. Because it's not just about the price of milk, there are other factors going on, with people saying, hey, maybe we need to dial back, maybe we shouldn't hire so many people after they've had a really good run for the last couple of years.

KING: And that also feeds into the politics because people out in America who are struggling here, New York and Los Angeles or San Francisco and Washington are talking about things, and they say, that's not the way, it's not relating to my everyday life. That's an excellent key point.

Need to bringing out some breaking news, just in a not guilty verdict in the trial of Tom barrack. You might remember, he is a close Donald Trump friend, who played point man back in 2016 for the Trump, in 2017 for the Trump inauguration. CNN's Kara Scannell has the details on this important case. He was on trial for breaking foreign lobbying laws. Kara, what happened?

KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, John. So, the jury deliberated for about 13 hours over the past few days. They came back just a while ago, with a unanimous verdict of not guilty on all nine counts that Tom Barrack was accused of acting as a foreign agent for the United Arab Emirates. Prosecutors say that he was serving as a back channel, trying to influence U.S. foreign policy. That was during former President Donald Trump's campaign and the early days of his presidency, for the benefit of the UAE.

His assistant Matthew Grimes was also charged on these counts. He was also acquitted. Barrack was also charged of lying to the FBI, six counts of that and obstruction of justice acquitted on those counts, too. So, this is a big loss for the Department of Justice. They have been really trying to bring many more of these cases, whether they're foreign agent cases or undisclosed foreign lobbying cases under the fairest statute and the record has been mixed.


They've been trying to do the same to crack down on national security risks and infractions. Well, in this case, they lost it across the boards, Tom Barrack, he testified in his own defense, which a lot of defendants don't do, but he was taking the stand. He testified that he was not acting as a foreign agent. He's a wealthy real estate developer. He was saying he was doing this for his business and his interest, and the jury believed his side of the story. John?

KING: Kara Scannell, important breaking news. Kara, thank you. Move on to another big important story today. It's a very tough morning at Twitter. Nearly half of the company's employees now out of a job. A noon deadline for staffers to be notified, just passed about 10 minutes ago. The layoffs come as part of a massive reorganization plan brought on by the new owner, Elon Musk. Let's get to our senior media reporter Oliver Darcy. He has more details, Oliver?

OLIVER DARCY, CNN SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER: Yes. It's a very, very difficult day over a Twitter. Like you said, most of the employees or all the employees who are affected by these mass layoffs should have been notified by now. They should have received an email basically letting them know whether they should show up to work on Monday or not.

Throughout the morning, we have seen them post on Twitter, though, that they have been or some of them have been locked out of company accounts, company devices, presumably because they are affected by those layoffs. A number of these employees have been handling this very difficult day with in really good stride actually, John.

They've been reminiscing on the times that they had at Twitter. The people they made friends with, the memories they made over at the platform, and you know, I was just texting with one ex-employee, and he told me basically that being terminated from the company was almost a relief. He said it would have been punishment to continue to work at that company, and now he'll get severance and can find a job elsewhere.

The way this was executed John, though, could land Elon Musk in some hot water. There are laws regarding, how you can conduct a mass layoff and Twitter employees have filed a class action lawsuit basically accusing him of violating those guidance.

KING: Oliver Darcy, we know you'll keep your eye on that suit and the continued turmoil as Twitter has its new very controversial new owner. Oliver, thank you. Up next, back to the midterms. We map out the final shift in our midterm race, rankings 22 House contests are shifting all but two of them, tilting to the right.




KING: Your votes will color in this map when we count, the count begins on Tuesday night, of course. This is President Biden's first midterm election. In our new and final, race rankings strongly suggest he is about to share a painful experience with Barack Obama and Donald Trump meaning, he is about to lose the party's majority, his party's majority in the House.

CNN partners on our rankings with Inside Elections, the Publisher and Editor Nathan Gonzales is here with us. So, this is the blank map. 435 House districts. Let me flip maps over here. So, we look at the House battle for control. Because all of the races that you have helped us rank and it's mostly your work, I give you get the credit for it are here, dark red, solid Republican, dark blue, solid Democrat, and then everything in between including the gold, which is the tossups.

I want to bring up your big shifts, because the shifts are important as we get to the end, right? Democrats essentially five races, they could only afford to lose five seats, and you lose the majority. You have shifted 22 races, House races, in your final rankings. 20 of those 22 moved toward Republicans. Some of them were solid Democrat, they moved now toward lean Democrat.

But the general trend toward Republicans. Your old projection for the House was the Republicans would gain somewhere between eight and 25. You now project Republicans 13 to 30. That is a much bigger number. Why?

NATHAN GONZALES, EDITOR & PUBLISHER, INSIDE ELECTIONS: Well, within that range, you see that 13. If it was 13 seats, that would mean whichever party, if everyone wins the party that we think that they're favored in and the tossup split evenly, then that would be a plus 13, still enough for a majority. But that's - that would be under typical circumstances.

And right now, it looks like the shield - the wind is blowing for Republicans. And that's why we get close to 30. Because we're expecting undecided voters to break for Republican candidates, Republicans to win a disproportionate number of those close races and start to get to the upper end of that puddle.

KING: So, let's quickly stay in the House for a minute. Let's go because your changes are coast to coast, and I think that's what makes it important. It's not just one region. It's not just one kind of Democrat that you have back on their heels. It's coast to coast.

So, let's start right here. We started in Virginia too, and you bring up this race. It's in the southern part, southeastern part of Virginia, many Americans know Elaine Luria from the January 6 committee. This is a tough district anyway, but you now have moved this one. Why?

GONZALES: Right. Well, this is a Trump 49 percent district. And so, and even though the two camps are running, even in this environment with late breaking voters, this is not a place where as a Democrat, you want to go into election night even and this is going to get a lot of attention because it should be one of the first ones where we know the results.

KING: Right. Well know that one of the east coasts, so we talked about coast to coast. Let's come back out. And you move over as we go through these and let's pop right in the middle of the country. You bring up Iowa too. This is a district in the middle. There are a couple in Iowa, you have changed, why?

GONZALES: Yes. Well, this one, Congresswoman Hassan looks like she'll be OK. Cindy Axne, the Democratic Congresswoman in the other district. She is, again, she's probably running fairly even with her opponent, but you don't want to be tied in a very - tied in this environment if you're a democratic incumbent.

KING: And so, we went east coast to the Midwest. Now, let's go all the way out west to a Democrat, another Democrat who has become a big national name. People see her in these hearings. She asked provocative questions. She's a favorite of progressives Katie Porter's district, you still have a tilting democratic but shifting toward the Republicans, why?

GONZALES: Right. Two Orange County area districts this one, and then the 49th district where the Republicans are feeling very bullish about California. We'll see if they end up getting that. These are places where Biden won with 55 percent. I'm not sure if Republicans get all of them, but even if they get a few, that still means a big night for the GOP.


KING: Price of gas, among the issues out there. So, let's shift over to the Senate. I have to switch maps to do this. Stay with me for one second. We come up here. And so, this is the race rank. As I just remind people, we start here, 50-50. Democrats have the majority only because the vice president gets to break the tie. So, this is where we rank the races right now. The light reds, those are lean Republicans. You see North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin. The light blue there, that's it tilt democratic or lean democratic, and tilt democratic there. The orange or the gold, excuse me is the tossups. You don't change any of the rankings here. But you are a bit more bullish on Republican chances of picking up more. You used to have it the range was plus one Republican to plus one Democrat. Now you see a possibility of plus two around the Republican Senate side, why?

GONZALES: Basically, we have a half a dozen Senate races that are within a few points of each other. And we're seeing Republicans close fast that were playing catch up in states such as Arizona, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania. And the question is, can they get over the line in these races? And so, that's where I think the opportunity - there are more opportunities for Republicans right now. It's just a matter of can they get over that.

KING: And so, for people out there, as we take through some of these races. I'm just bringing up the candidates. When you change your rankings or change your projections, we just walked through a little bit. So, people out there thinking, what are you looking at just polling, talking to the campaigns? What are the dynamics as we go through?

GONZALES: At this point, it's a very quantitative measure. We're looking at polling public, private, partisan, nonpartisan, we want to see it all because these are individual races. These are not national. These are not national contests. But we are seeing a national trend with Republicans. They're in good position because the late - those undecided voters are prioritizing the economy or their frustration with the economy. And that is helping fuel them here at the end.

KING: Fair to say that's the most vulnerable Democratic Senate incumbent.

GONZALES: Yes. Yes. I mean, if Republicans aren't winning Nevada on election night, then the night has started to go much differently than what they expected.

KING: Well, we're ready for that night, Nathan. We're more prepared because of your help. We appreciate it very much. For deeper dive into these race ratings. It's worth taking. Look, check out the CNN election center online at, and click on the politics tab, and then go up to more on the midterms. Up next for us. Donald Trump hits the road for 2022. Republican candidates and talks, of course, about the 2024 comeback.




KING: Most Republicans believe focusing on inflation should dominate, dominate, dominate. The GOP's midterm campaign closing argument, but Donald Trump and the Trump rally are back for the final days. And he has another idea.


PRES. TRUMP: Now, in order to make our country successful, and safe and glorious, I will very, very, very probably do it again. OK. Very, very, very. Get ready. That's all I'm telling you very soon. Get ready.


KING: In fact, CNN is now told by Trump allies that the former president wants to declare his 2024 candidacy soon after we finished counting the midterm votes. Nothing is locked in, the sources tell our colleagues, but 10 days from now, 10 days from now, November 14 is one target date. Our great reporters are back at the table.

Mitch McConnell if you're watching, call in. We'd really like to know what you think about this. Republicans think they're on this trajectory to a very, very, very good election year. That's about the last thing most of them want to hear right now. Whatever its planning is, do it after but don't talk about it.

BASH: Very, very, very probably true. That is definitely not even a probably, definitely true. Look, this is kind of something that every Republican you talk to has made peace with, expects. This is going to be their life, it already has been their life, but even more so their life following. The point that you're trying to make is don't get them off course because they believe that they are on a very good course now, heading towards Tuesday, don't do anything that is going to change that.

To use the term that I've heard from more strategists than I've heard in any election cycle, I think this is baked in. That voters are pretty clear that Donald Trump has not gone away and will probably be returning to this state.

CORNISH: Yes. I disagree that it's like a problem. I mean, the whole point is to get people excited. They're excited. He excites the base. This is exactly why you have Oprah being trotted out and Obama being trotted out, right. It's like the end and he comes out and says, hey, here is yet another reason to come out, is I'll be there too. And there's plenty of people in the party at this point who are excited about that.

BASH: Yes. I think, I know exactly what you're saying. It's definitely a base motivator, but it's also a divider. What they have been able to do with Mitch McConnell's guidance and others is three things, the economy, crime, and immigration. Stay focused on those issues, and they are worried that Donald Trump is -- (CROSSTALK)

CORNISH: But it's only a divider of the voters you're talking about actually turnout, right? The swing voters, the independent voters, and yes --

(CROSSTALK) BASH: And that's such a good point, which is why Joe Biden this week, came out and said, oh, remember that guy, Donald Trump. He's still out there, Democrats---

KING: Well, another thing Joe Biden came out and said just yesterday, trying to tie this to this is, if you give them power, you're not going to like what happens including, and maybe some Republicans would like this, this.


JOE BIDEN, 46TH U.S. PRESIDENT: From I've already been told is they went back to the House and Senate, they're going to impeach me. I don't know what the hell they're impeach me for. Recently, they said, we should stop talking about that till we win. Well, all kidding aside, think about it. So much is at stake.


KING: Audie rightly talks about Trump as a motivator for the Republican base. We will see if just seeing him, maybe turn somebody, you know, in the suburbs away. Is that a joke from the president or is he believed that that making that case, which is whether he's going to be impeached or members of his cabinet, certainly in the House we're going to hear talk about that. Does that motivate Democratic voters?