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New Era: GOP House Majority Win Complicates Biden Agenda; LA Mayor-Elect Karen Bass Promises To Tackle Homelessness; Pelosi Clears The Deck For Generational Shift In Dem Leadership. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired November 18, 2022 - 12:30   ET



JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Talk about what you've already done, because you don't have a lot of optimism that you're going to be able to do anything else.

TOLUSE OLORUNNIPA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. And he also will be spending a lot of time implementing some of the things that have been done in the past. He's talked about how people haven't quite seen the impact of things like the infrastructure bill, the Inflation Reduction Act, some of the things that are going to kick in next year. So they will be spending a lot of time talking about things that they've already done and trying to implement them and get some support for that.

The other thing they'll be trying to do with the President speaking to business leaders today is presenting a split screen contrast with what Republicans are doing. The Republicans want to focus on my family and all of these controversies and try to gin up controversy around things that don't matter to the American people. All I'm leading, using my executive authority to try to fix the economy.

So there's a little bit of politicking going on, even as the President will be, you know, taking on the idea of divided government realizing that there's not as much that can be done legislatively, but there's a lot that can be done message wise, and this is one message she wants to put out.

KING: Might be more than a little bit, might be more than a little bit of the politics you've done. But if you're the President, or if you're the Democrats, you ran the campaign saying keep us in charge. And we'll codify Roe v. Wade. We'll try to pass that expanded Child Tax Credit. We'll do more, even more than we did last year on climate change. And we'll continue funding to Ukraine. All of that is a at a minimum a giant question mark, in terms of getting any significant legislation passed through a Republican House, the answer is zip zero nada, right?

KASIE HUNT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Yes, it is. And that's the flip side of the coin here. I mean, that the Biden administration can essentially blame Republicans for all of that, right? And that's not something, that was not something that they could do when they controlled the House and the Senate and the White House. They could not turn around and say, well, I would, we would have done so much more if not for these Republicans who stood in our way at every turn. Instead, they were dealing with Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, and they had to kind of shoulder that blame themselves.

So I think that's going to probably eventually become part of what Biden is saying, because I mean, especially some of the at the top of that list, I mean codifying Roe versus Wade, forget it. It's off the table.

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's going to be just all messaging. I mean both side chambers for --


KING: And so for people watching out in the country who think really Washington again, anything, anything, can they do anything on, let's say, guest worker program. Businesses need that, the dreamers, bipartisan agreement on that, the border. I think the American people do want more border security, but they also might be tolerant toward the dreamers who knows, there's no way they can do small things.

I'll say, no, no, and no. There's virtually no way that they can come together on this stuff unless something dramatically changes the calculus. Now there will be pressure points. There will be -- they'll have to fund the government, they'll have to raise the debt ceiling, those lead to negotiations. But those -- that will be very difficult to do. And those will lead to negotiations. We talked to a lot of House Republicans over the last couple of days, some of them making very clear, they want to use those as pressure points to deal with the border, deal with other issues. But that can potentially lead to a shutdown if Democrats disagree and potential debt defaults.

KING: So to that point, before you jump in, I just want to read this was at a piece you wrote with your colleagues on "The Hill" the other day that just jumped out at me, having lived through, covered the White House during a couple of government shutdowns and having lived through, government shutdowns benefit nobody. Social Security offices closed, the military has to worry where you're going to get their checks. Most of that gets figured out. But there's no -- the financial markets go crazy. Brian Mast, Republican of Florida said, nobody's ever really like government shutdowns. But I think you're in a different state of play right now, where people will be in part, pining for government shutdown. Who is going to be pining? Who not involved in politics, living in real America trying to juggle lingering pandemic, inflation, uncertain economy, kids in school, higher gas prices, who out there is pining for a government shutdown?

MARGARET TALEV, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I don't want to over read the results of the midterms. But I do think one of the messages from Independence was, can we stop it with the crazy stuff and just get some stuff done, right? That's a -- OK, it's an oversimplification, but it's --

KING: It's a fair, I think it's fair.

TALEV: I think there, if something requires an affirmative vote of both chambers, it will be very, very difficult to get it done. There are some fledgling efforts underway. I think they mostly still live in the fantasy realm, but they are real. They are centrist Democrats talking about whether they can bring over some whatever's left of moderate Republicans or people in trouble in districts in terms of voting on individual things, in terms of flipping party affiliation, in terms of all that stuff. I don't see it, but it's an effort. I mean, it exists.

I do think like, if you look at -- if history is a guide, there is the idea that President Biden would tack back towards the center to run towards 2024. I don't even know if the senators like a thing anymore. But I think you talked about Middle America, about rural voters, about manufacturing workers. I think that's the way that the Democrats are going to try to retorque that branding effort, but I think a lot of this is 2024.

HUNT: Yes, I mean, it's clear, I mean, to your point about independence that there is some pining for something of a center or at least a governing center that can get some things done. But I -- just the as much as we've talked about how Donald Trump has been damaged by these midterm elections, there's still a Republican base that demands a different style of politics and it's the one that Brian Mast described there and it's going to mean we lurch from crisis --


KING: And as the 2024 campaign begins and Donald Trump has already started his piece of that the pressure on them to follow the base. You're right, you're absolutely right.

Up next for us, North Korea drawing global condemnation, that after testing a missile that, yes, could have the range to reach the United States.


KING: United States and its allies are condemning North Korea's latest launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile, one of its most powerful yet. Overnight, the vice president Kamala Harris calling an emergency meeting with allies she is at the Asia Pacific Economic Summit in Thailand. She wanted that meeting to discuss the missile launch.



KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This conduct by North Korea most recently is a brazen violation of the multiple U.N. Security resolutions. It destabilizes security in the region, and unnecessarily raises tensions.


KING: Japanese officials say that missile landed off their coast but their analysis is that it had enough range to reach the mainland United States. CNN's Paula Hancocks live for now in Seoul, South Korea with more. Paula, what do we know?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, we've certainly heard over the past five years that these ICBMs could have the range to hit mainland United States if they're fired at a regular angle. And it was no different today hearing that from Japan's defense minister. As you mentioned, though, at that APEC summit in Thailand, there was an emergency meeting called by U.S. Vice President Harris with the leaders of South Korea, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, they all condemned the launch and they all pledged to work closer together.

There was a very swift physical reaction though from those in the region. We saw Japan sending some jets up into the air. In fact, one F-16 fills the vapor trails of the missile itself. We also saw a joint drill from the air forces of the U.S. and South Korea. They were simulating an aerial attack on some missile launches, mobile missile launches. The Joint Chiefs of Staff here said that that was a direct message to North Korea, basically telling them that they are able to pinpoint where they launch from and they can attack if need be. John?

KING: Paula Hancocks live for us in Seoul. Paula, appreciate the live report.

Back to the United States now, Karen Bass about to make history and about to face some giant challenges. The Democratic Congresswoman next month will become the first woman to serve as mayor of Los Angeles. In her first speech as the mayor-elect, Bass outlining her top priorities.


REP. KAREN BASS (D-CA), LOS ANGELES MAYOR-ELECT: I will be a mayor for you, the people of Los Angeles, my message is we are going to solve homelessness. We're going to prevent and respond urgently to crime and Los Angeles will no longer be unaffordable for working families.


KING: CNN national political reporter Maeve Reston live for us in Los Angeles. Maeve, it is history Mayor Bass had a lot to deal with.

MAEVE RESTON, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: Or some pretty lofty goals that she outlined in that first speech yesterday. I mean, the homelessness, 40,000 people living on the streets in Los Angeles. And that became the central issue in this race along with crime and also corruption at City Hall. But the challenges that she faces are immense, you know, in terms of building affordable housing, getting wealthy neighborhoods to agree to allow that housing in their neighborhoods.

And she's talked about her experience as a coalition builder, someone who can come in and kind of shake up City Hall, bring that change that voters we're looking for here, John. But as you know, this ended up being a much closer race than perhaps she had expected at the beginning, because her opponent Rick Caruso spent more than $100 million, the most expensive race in the city's history. And it was a fascinating one to watch. But huge challenges ahead.

KING: Part of the history is that we will now have black mayors in America's four largest cities, so we could put them up on the screen for you, you see them there in Chicago, in New York, in Houston, and now in Los Angeles. Mayor Eric Adams is a former police officer, Maeve, you know that well, and he has tried to reposition the Democratic Party on policing and crime. I want you to listen to Mayor- elect Bass talking to Wolf Blitzer yesterday. It sounds like she's trying to do a bit of the same here. Listen.


BASS: I don't believe putting police officers on the street alone solves -- will solve crime. There are some neighborhoods that want to see an increased police presence and that should be the case. But there are other neighborhoods that want to see other solutions. You have to stop crime when it happens. But you also need to double down and triple down on preventing crime so that it doesn't occur again.


KING: Walk through that challenge and she comes out of the progressive movement. A lot of Republicans have used the defund the police lines from some progressives against the Democrats. She seems to be saying it's a mix of things there.

RESTON: Yes, some real nuance on that that we saw from her throughout this race. Rick Caruso had called for 11,000 officers on the street, while she had talked about bringing police staffing levels back up to 9,700 officers. And she had also talked about hiring more civilians so that police officers could be freed up to be out on the streets because she had done so much work on criminal justice reform. But she really had to be careful about not being tagged with, you know, that label that Republicans have tried had to put on Democrats with the defund the police movement.


So she talked about lots of different strategies to address that problem. And her own home was burglarized during the race. And she talked about feeling like a victim in that and was able to relate to some of those concerns that voters had raised on that issue. John?

KING: One of the many big post-election transitions to keep an eye on, Maeve Reston grateful for the live report from L.A.

Up next for us, history then and now, historian Douglas Brinkley joins us on Nancy Pelosi's legacy and his new book tracing the birth of America's environmental movement.



KING: This week generational change and a giant challenge for Democrats Nancy Pelosi is stepping aside after two decades as the House Democratic Leader. Her place in history is a short, the first woman to serve as a party leader In Congress, the first woman to serve as Speaker of the House and a long list of major legislative achievements. Presidential historian Doug Brinkley joins us now to share his perspective. Doug is also the author of a new book called, "Silent Spring Revolution: John F. Kennedy, Rachel Carson, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, and the Great Environmental Awakening." Doug grateful for your time today, I want to try to do some connective tissue with the book in just a second. But first, Nancy Pelosi's place in history will be what?

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: It's large, I think she's maybe the most important Speaker of the House in American history. Now some like James K. Polk use the speakership to become president. In the 20th century you had people like Joseph Cannon, during the Theodore Roosevelt Taft era who loom large Republican from Indiana. Sam Rayburn often talked about as one of the greats during Eisenhower, and Kennedy and Tip O'Neill, due to his friendship with Ronald Reagan as epic stuff.

But Nancy Pelosi has a legacy that is so large, not just for shattering the glass ceiling of being the woman. But I think the Affordable Care Act, I mean, that really has provided so many people with ability to pay for operations, surgical procedure saved lives. And Obama and Harry Reid saying, it couldn't be done without Nancy Pelosi. That's a big feather in their cap.

And John, I don't think she's going away. She's going to be in the temple as she calls it, the Capitol. And like John Lewis, who stayed as a icon in the -- in Congress until the very end, she will be there instructing these new generation of elected officials in the Democratic Party on what to do, how to do procedures. She's now the grand leader of the Democratic Party. And she's not going away, she'll be a big asset for these freshmen, Congress, men and women of this entering class.

KING: She we'll be doing that at a time most people foresee gridlock. You'll have a small Republican House majority, Joe Biden, is the President a small Democratic majority in the Senate. Hard to get much done, which is why I want to get to the question about this, you write in the book about the birth of the environmental movement, the power of Rachel Carson, but then Democratic and Republican Presidents in an era where we had Bobby Kennedy assassinated, Martin Luther King assassinated, Watergate, Vietnam.

And yet, yet despite all those things that tore the country apart, the environmental movement gained traction and grew. The climate movement now, not so much, given the polarization in Washington, why does it have to be so?

BRINKLEY: You know, in 1960, John, scientists were Time Magazine's people of the year as a class of experts. And so there was this period that Democrats and Republicans believe the data, believe the empirical information they were getting and can make judgments accordingly. So Rachel Carson wants DDT banned, or etches towards saying that in her book of 1962, it's banned in 1972 by Richard Nixon and William Ruckelshaus, the first head of the EPA. You know, the Endangered Species Act, a very progressive legislation to protect our world's wildlife, it passed 92 to nothing in the Senate in 1973, because everybody thought we needed to save our charismatic flora and fauna.

That all ended with not just with citizens united really before that, when things divided between the energy lobby and oil gas extraction industries, versus the environmentalists. So if I go to Ohio, John, where I'm from, and give a speech and say, let's clean Lake Erie, let's make it so we can swim it in and then fish, and then I will get a bipartisan standing ovation. But if I use the word environment, I am seen as a stalking horse for the Democratic Party.

That's unfortunate that we're divided like that, because we all share the same air and water and we all love our national heirlooms that I write about in the book, ones that were created during the Johnson years and Kennedy years like Canyonlands National Park and Utah or the North Cascades and Washington. These are our Cosmo halls, these are Westminster Abbey's. It should bring us American pride that we can have a new beautification movement and start taking the climate of science seriously and find ways to do some mitigation efforts to end these epic wildfires in California or these mega floods in the Midwest or droughts or hurricanes like Ivan.


KING: Doug Brinkley, I wish we had more time today but I'm looking forward to reading this staring at the mountains on my annual snowboarding trip, I promise you that. Appreciate your time, sir.

BRINKLEY: Hey, thank you John.

Up next, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas here in Washington.



KING: Topping our Political Radar, the Georgia Republican Governor Brian Kemp tomorrow joins Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker on the campaign trail for the first time that according to the Walker campaign, Walker facing the incumbent Democrat Raphael Warnock in the December 6th runoff.

The nation's capitol, look at this, getting into the holiday spirit. The 2022 Capitol Christmas Tree is here. It will be lit on the west lawn of the Capitol later today. Thanks for your time watching INSIDE POLITICS this week. Have a good weekend. Ana Cabrera picks up our coverage right now.