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Inside Politics

White House: Israel Will Begin 4-Hour Pauses In Gaza Each Day; Five GOP Candidates, Minus Trump, Spar At 3rd GOP Debate; Republicans Still Struggling With How To Talk About Abortion; Nikki, DeSantis Clash Over China At Third Debate; Haley To Ramaswamy: "You're Just Scum"; Biden Rejects Polls That Show Him Trailing In Battleground States; Biden To Illinois After Troubling Polls, Favorable Election Results; Biden To Appear Alongside Top Surrogate Illinois Gov J. B. Pritzker. Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired November 09, 2023 - 12:00   ET



DANA BASH, CNN HOST: Today on Inside Politics, four-hour pauses. The White House says, Israel agreed to stop its attacks on Hamas for four hours every day to allow aid to get in and civilians to get out of Gaza.

Plus, fighting for second place. Five Republican candidates make their case to voters on the debate stage. They trained most of their fire on each other rather than the far and away frontrunner. Can anyone break through?

And a CNN exclusive, Kevin McCarthy is speaking out. His message to eight Republicans responsible for removing him as speaker will give you a hint. It's not friendly.

I'm Dana Bash. Let's go behind the headlines at Inside Politics.

I want to start with a major development in the Israel Hamas war. The White House says, Israel will begin four-hour daily pauses in northern Gaza. This announcement came just minutes before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a statement saying, there would be no ceasefire without the release of hostages held by Hamas.

CNN's Jeremy Diamond is live in Tel Aviv. Jeremy, what are you hearing?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Dana, the White House's National Security spokesman John Kirby saying that Israel will begin implementing four-hour pauses in areas of northern Gaza in order to allow for humanitarian assistance to flow in and to allow civilians to flee the area.

He said that Israel would announce the timing of these pauses three hours ahead of time. And also of course, this comes as the U.S. has brought significant pressure to bear on Israel to increase its focus on the humanitarian situation in Gaza and to take more care as it relates to civilians in the Gaza Strip. But the Israeli prime minister's office, I just got off the phone, Dana, with a spokesman for the prime minister who is reiterating that statement that there will be no ceasefire until a significant number of hostages are released.

What the Israelis are saying, Dana, is that they are establishing these evacuation corridors for civilians, also four hours, but these corridors, Dana, they have been already going on since Sunday. For the last five days, we have watched as Israeli troops have established these evacuation corridors for civilians to flee from northern Gaza to the south. And these corridors have lasted about four hours.

They've been extended yesterday as well as today for some additional hours. In fact, yesterday, Dana, about 50,000 civilians fled from the north to the south using these corridors, according to both the Israeli military as well as U.N. monitors. And so, we have to kind of read between the lines here and some of the politics that are at play, the Israeli prime minister does not want to use the term ceasefire.

He doesn't even want to use the term humanitarian pauses. He has, however, expressed an openness in the past to little tactical pauses, as he has termed them. The White House for its part wants to show that it is acting as it relates to these humanitarian pauses. And it also believes that talking about humanitarian pauses will help the negotiations that are happening in Qatar over these hostages to be released. They believe that this will help those negotiations along.

And so, at the end of the day, what seems clear, Dana, is for the last several days, the Israelis have been pausing their military operations in certain parts of northern Gaza to allow civilians to flee. It appears that they will continue to do that, perhaps there is a bit more formalization of that effort, as the White House characterizes these pauses. Either way, they are essentially talking about the same thing, it appears.

BASH: They are, and appropriately for a show called Inside Politics. You just described the domestic politics for both the United States for President Biden, of course, for Prime Minister Netanyahu quite well. Thank you so much for doing that for us, Jeremy. Appreciate it.

And turning now to what is happening in the 2024 race here in the U.S. Last night's Republican debate Chris Christie, Nikki Haley, Ron DeSantis, Vivek Ramaswamy and Tim Scott were there. Donald Trump was once again not.


One big issue how to talk about abortion? Tuesday's election results showed once again that most Americans do not want abortion bans. So, does the GOP needed better message? Has Nikki Haley cracked the code? Or will any amount of messaging change the fact that many just don't like that abortion policy?


NIKKI HALEY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't judge anyone for being pro-choice. And I don't want them to judge me for being pro- life. So, when we're looking at this, there are some states that are going more on the pro-life side, I welcome that. There are some states that are going more on the pro-choice side. I wish that wasn't the case. But the people decided. Let's focus on how to save as many babies as we can, and support as many moms as we can, and stop the judgement. We don't need to divide America over this issue anymore.


BASH: So that was Nikki Haley. And we also want to hear from what her rival said on that issue because there wasn't consensus.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We're better off when we can promote a culture of life. You got to do a better job on these referenda. I think of all the stuff that's happened to the pro- life cause, they have been caught flat footed on these referenda and they have been losing the referendum.

SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC): We need a 15-week federal limit. I would challenge both Nikki and Ron to join me at a 15-week limit. It is in our nation's best interest.


BASH: We want to bring in our panel to discuss, CNN's David Chalian, Leigh Ann Caldwell of The Washington Post, and Ramesh Ponnuru of the National Review. Thank you, one and all for being here. I'm going to start with you. From the point of you and obviously, you come from the National Review, what was sort of your overall takeaway of what you saw last night?

RAMESH PONNURU, EDITOR, NATIONAL REVIEW: Well, the overall debate was sort of another crabs in a barrel, kind of debate, where everybody wants to be the rival to Donald Trump and everybody wants to stop everybody else from being that rival. The abortion division was I think, revealing of a party that has not quite figured out how to respond to the post Dobbs political environment.

I think that Nikki Haley had a tone on this issue that a lot of Republicans are probably thinking that's the right tone to strike. But whether the particulars are there, whether she can go on dodging on some of the policy specifics, that's another question.

BASH: OK. So, I'm glad that you mentioned that that was probably one of the biggest understatements that I've heard lately, and that Republicans haven't figured out how to talk about abortion. Also, it is a big difference on -- not a big difference, but a genuine difference on abortion policy.

It was really striking. We've talked about this about what you heard from Ron DeSantis. Basically, going after the pro-life, some of the pro-life movement for not getting it. I talked to Tim Scott after the debate asked him about what DeSantis had said. Listen to his reaction.


BASH: Governor DeSantis was pretty tough on conservative activist. He called it the pro-life community.


BASH: Saying that the pro-life community was affected, these are my words, not his words, asleep at the switch. And that is in part why Republicans and those who are anti-abortion are losing these referenda across the country. Do you agree with that?

SCOTT: I don't agree with that whatsoever. I don't understand why he said what he said. There's no reason to insult the pro-life voter unnecessarily.


DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: It was a head scratching moment. Obviously, an opportunity for Tim Scott, who's out there competing in Iowa with DeSantis. To take advantage of here, I would just, you know, it's particularly odd because of Ron DeSantis's path and strategy for the nomination, which is, it's sort of Iowa or bust for him.

And so, that is a largely evangelical driven electorate. This is a very important issue for those voters. And so, to say, you know, the pro-life movement is flat footed on this stuff, and they have to get their act together just seems discord with a politician who is in desperate need for their votes to show and for them to show up on caucus night for him.

BASH: OK. So that -- -

LEIGH ANN CALDWELL, EARLY 202 CO-AUTHOR, THE WASHINGTON POST: Go ahead, do you want to make, no, go.

BASH: OK. So, that's obviously one of the big issues of abortion. Another is just the dynamic of seeing Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis, in particular, trying to sort of battle it out and find their footing it to be in place to be number two to Donald Trump and it really showed up on the issue of China.


HALEY: Then we will go and end all formal trade relations with China until they stop murdering Americans from fentanyl, something Ron has yet to say that he's going to do.

DESANTIS: You know, Ambassador Haley said, somehow, I wasn't doing, she welcomed them into South Carolina and gave them a land near a military base, wrote the Chinese ambassador a love letter saying what a great friend they were.


HALEY: Yes, I brought a fiberglass company 10 years ago to South Carolina. But Ron, you are the chair of your economic development agency, that as of last week said Florida is the ideal place for Chinese businesses.


BASH: Is that going, I mean, it talks about why this?

CALDWELL: Well, there is a movement around the country and conservative states to pass laws or do something to prevent Chinese investment in those particular states. That was the crux of the conversation, but it is an attempt to out hock each other within the Republican Party on this issue of China.

And so, taking a step back in this debate, let's be clear. There's two primaries that are happening in the Republican primary. You have the Donald Trump primary where he is all alone. And then you have this other primary that is happening where they're doing normal things like campaigning in early state on debating on issues, but they're not intersecting.

And so, the challenge for these candidates is to try to enter into the Donald Trump primary they haven't been able to. And I think one of the most, getting back to the abortion issue, one of the most telling things about the biggest thing that came out of this debate was how divided the Republican Party is on the issue of abortion. And that was going to be a moment, even if these people aren't the Republican primary candidates that Democrats are going to continue to use heading into 2024.

BASH: Yes. No question about that. So, and on the issue of trying to out hawk each other on China. Vivek Ramaswamy, I think was kind of trying to do that. But also, at the same time trying to appeal to the youth voters when he really went after Nikki Haley, not her, but well, went after her by doing so invoked her daughter. Listen to what happened. And then my question to him afterwards.


VIVEK RAMASWAMY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In the last debate, she made fun of me for actually joining TikTok, while her own daughter was actually using the app for a long time. So, you might want to take care of your family first.

NIKKI: Leave my daughter, have your voice.


RAMASWAMY: The next generation of Americans are using it. And that's actually the point. You have her supporters, propping her up. That's fine. Here's the truth. Here's the easy answer.

BASH: Why bring up somebody's family member? Isn't that a little bit of a of a blow below the belt?

RAMASWAMY: No because it's not a sin for a young person to be on TikTok. I think the error is somebody sanctimoniously lecturing the rest of the country about the perils of it, while actually failing to set an example of leadership a little closer to home.


PONNURU: I think that we can easily identify the two candidates on the stage who dislike each other the most. You know, I think that people under normal circumstances would react negatively to the name calling that that Haley engaged in. But under these circumstances, I think a lot of people are going to understand it.

BASH: OK. We have to talk about what you mentioned, which is, there is a frontrunner, his name is Donald Trump. He did have an event at the same time approximately, in southern Florida. Let's listen to what he said.


DONALD TRUMP, 45TH U.S. PRESIDENT, 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's time for the Republican establishment to stop wasting time and resources trying to push weak and ineffective RINOs and never Trumpers, that nobody wants, and nobody is going to vote for, did not watchable. You know, the last debate was the lowest rated debate in the history of politics. So, therefore, do you think we did the right thing by not participating?


BASH: And now you might ask, what were the candidates who were on the stage saying about him?


CHRIS CHRISTIE (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'll say this about Donald Trump, anybody who's going to be spending the next year and a half of their life, focusing on keeping themselves out of jail and courtrooms cannot lead this party or this country.

HALEY: I can talk about President Trump. I can tell you that I think he was the right president at the right time. I don't think he's the right president now.

DESANTIS: He owes it to you to be on this stage and explain why he should get another chance.


BASH: I assume that you agree with Leigh Ann, there's sort of two parallel universes.

PONNURU: But let's not forget to know that Trump's position now is that the 2024 primary is settled with the 2020 election isn't. I mean, there's something particularly ridiculous about what his, you know, this populist saying, we don't need the people to vote.

CHALIAN: I think also, we just have to realize because of the nature of how these two universes are not intersecting, as you said. These debates are not going to be very helpful in bringing that together, obviously, and I don't think a lot of the traditional back and forth of messaging on the trails were coming to a point 67 days before I went out.


Where it's like, namely the DeSantis and Haley campaigns are going to have to prove themselves on the ground organizing voters, getting to show up on caucus night to see if they could overtake Trump or get close enough to alter the dynamic of this race. That's the base of this campaign that we're in it now.

BASH: OK. Before we go, I just want to play another moment, very interesting moment from last night. During the debate, Vivek Ramaswamy came out hot, he went after the RNC chair, saying that she should resign and she's responsible for all the GOP losing, also criticized her for even holding the debate with some news organization other than a conservative one. I asked her about that.


BASH: I have to ask you first about what the Vivek Ramaswamy said. He went after you personally.

RONNA MCDANIEL, RNC CHAIRWOMAN: He did. I'm not going to do that. I'm always going to focus on the Democrats. I will say this, Dana, this Republican on Republican inviting, I'm not running for president, so I'm not in this primary isn't helping our party. And if you can't take a tough question, then you probably shouldn't be running for president.


BASH: Might drop emoji. All right guys -- -

CHALIAN: I'm not going to do that particularly, and then completely -- -


BASH: With a smile and in heels. Everybody standby, pretty soon, Joe Biden, the president is going to arrive in Illinois, hoping to drum up momentum for his reelection campaign. Can he beat back the political headwinds that he is facing? We're going to talk about that next and see what he says about that question.



BASH: A short time ago, President Biden addressed for the first time a string of recent polling that setting off alarm bells among Democrats, showing him trailing Donald Trump in multiple swing states.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why do you think it is you're trailing Trump in all these swing state polls?

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We don't need the polls. Ten polls. Eight of them I'm beating him in those states. Eight of them. You guys only do two, CNN and New York Times. Check it out. Check it out. We'll get you copies of all those other polls. No, I don't.


BASH: Obviously, the chopper was very loud. He was less loud. He blew it off and saying that he's not worried about it. And he made the comments before heading to Illinois, where he will be working to sell weary Americans on his economic agenda. He's going to be at an event alongside union workers, auto workers, in particular.

Priscilla Alvarez is live in Belvidere, Illinois with more on the president's trip. So, I know you've been talking to your sources in the Biden camp about how they are really dealing with the struggles that he's having on the political front, despite what they're saying publicly.

PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. And they are remaining competent. They point to the strong showing in on Tuesday, where they had a lot of wins and gains. And also, pointing to the fact that polls are polls, and here in Illinois, the president is going to be selling his economic agenda before a friendly crowd, and that's union workers.

Remember union workers buoyed the president's bid in 2020. And it is, who he is going to be appealing to in the months to come. Now, notably, the president is going to meet with UAW President Shawn Fain. Now, they have not endorsed anyone yet. But recall the president went to the picket line during the UAW strike.

And sources I've talked to say that the president's actions are moving in the right direction for that possible endorsement by going to the picket line by administration actions that led to the reopening of plants. And also, that Fain even standing with the president today is support in and of itself. So that is what the president is going to be focusing on today.

But zooming out here, Dana, this is Illinois. It's a state that the president won, and it's also political headwinds are converging on that. And also border security where tensions have flared up as migrants have been arriving to Chicago. Dana?

BASH: Yes. Illinois, not a swing state. He's there for many other reasons. Thank you so much Priscilla. Appreciate it. And our panel is back with us. It is interesting to see that he does need to really court union workers, really core voters, I should say, who are more and more going the Donald Trump/Republican route. They came back a bit when he was on the ballot in 2020, but they're concerned about it.

CALDWELL: They're absolutely concerned about it, and given the polls, they should absolutely be concerned about it. Now, what's interesting is what happened on Tuesday where Democrats did relatively well, especially in, you know, some swing states, Virginia, even, you know, some places in New York, Kentucky. And why there's such a disconnect between President Biden's polling and how voters have performed in this midterm election.

Now Democratic sources that I talked to say, look voters when it comes down to, when they have to pull that, push that button in the voting booth. They like the Democratic policies. They like Democratic ideas. They can take out their frustration and polling questions, but they're not necessarily going to do that when they vote, they think. We'll see how that stands next year when Biden is at the top of the ticket.

CHALIAN: Yes. Along with a guy named Donald Trump on the top of the ticket for the other party. And the Biden team is clearly just relying on that contrast, they think is going to be sufficient enough to heal a lot of these woes.

They also point to the fact that what you see in the polling is, he's experiencing diminishment of support among some traditional Democratic base constituencies, African American voters, young voters, Latino voters, and they think they will have an easier time trying to bring them back into the fold than if they were on some huge campaign to convert people that would otherwise not be inclined to support a Democrat. It's a lot of ifs.


I will just say, President Biden's tone in response to the polling was quite different from Vice President Harris's tone yesterday, when she went before microphones and cameras, which by the way, they're both clearly doing a bit more this week. I think that is also a reaction of the both, where she said, we have our work ahead of us to get out there and make this case re-election. She was not dismissive of it. She was more acknowledging of it. It's interesting that he took a different approach there.

PONNURU: So, I think that the optimistic gloss on the elections is it shows that these polls about Biden are misleading about what the actual outcomes going to be. But the pessimistic way of looking at it for Biden is, no, it shows that there is a problem personalized to Joe Biden, it's not the Democratic Party is in bad shape, is that he personally is in bad shape.

BASH: What do you think about that?

CHALIAN: Yes. No, I totally agree with that. I think that clearly, look, it's not just Tuesday night's results. That's the latest evidence, special elections on this year, the better than expected performance in the midterms last year. This is a Democratic Party that is not having a brand problem with the American people right now, that's pretty clear from how people are voting.

But Joe Biden does have a problem with his standing with the American people. And in addition to the angst about the economy, which is a big part of it, it is also his age. We see that there. That's something he can't do anything about between now and next year. BASH: Right. There's nothing he can do, nothing anybody can do it, right, we all are. But what they are trying to do inside his world is trying to amp up the argument, the message that the vice president talked about, which they believe is getting lost about all of the policies that he has in place, that workers should like. Listen to what the Illinois governor said about that.


GOV. J. B. PRITZKER (D-IL): Jobs have been saved, jobs have grown as a result of what the president did to help reach an agreement, UAW with the auto makers. And we're very pleased and I must say the workers there, their families have benefited from the fact that we have the most pro-worker president, probably in history, but certainly in my lifetime.


CALDWELL: He's not wrong. I mean, every single most Democrats I talked to, especially in Congress, say, in their state, they're seeing job growth, they're seeing chips plants opening, there's a sore all sorts of things that the Congress and the president has signed into law that is coming on to online. But politics is also about perception. And voters don't see that, and they don't feel that and when they still go to the grocery store, and it's still more expensive. That's what it comes down to.

BASH: Yes. Which is why they are out to trying to change the perception, which is what politics is also about. Thank you so much, everybody. Up next on the record, a new exclusive interview. CNN's Manu Raju spoke with a pretty angry Kevin McCarthy who slams the Republicans who forced him out of his speakership, especially to certain congressman from Florida.