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Inside Politics

Haley Takes Aim At Trump In "Moral Clarity" TV Ad; J.P. Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon Urges Donors To "Help Nikki Haley"; Biden Hits Trump On Health Care In New TV Ad; Republicans Voice Skepticism On Trump's Renewed Focus On Obamacare; WAPO: McCarthy Told Trump "Fuck You" In Phone Call After Ouster; CNN Speaks With Family Member Of Freed Israeli Hostages. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired November 30, 2023 - 12:30   ET



JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: I'm struck by one thing at a few of her events this week, she asks people in her rooms, in her rallies, how many of you are seeing me for the first time? And more than half of the crowd raised their hands.

DANA BASH, CNN ANCHOR: So that's so interesting.

ZELENY: I was struck by that in Derry, New Hampshire, just on Tuesday evening at the Opera House, where we've all been to so many events over the years. So people are just tuning in. So she's trying to introduce herself through this ad, but she's also making the point she's like, it's time to leave behind the chaos and the drama.

Of course, the translation for that is Donald Trump. She's trying to walk this tightrope again between appealing to anyone but Trump Republicans and sounding OK to those who actually like Donald Trump.

BASH: Yes. And, of course, we should say this is the first ad from her own campaign --

ZELENY: For sure.

BASH: -- her campaign like -- or she, like all the other candidates, have Super PACs that have been airing ads and doing all kinds of spending. So we talked about her good week. A lot of new donors. The biggest are the Koch brothers. And there are also some very important names who are coming out for her.

Ken Langone talked about it earlier this week. Wall Street titan Jamie Dimon said this, "Even if you're a liberal Democrat, I urge you, help Nikki Haley too. Get a choice on the Republican side that might be better than Trump.

SEUNG MIN KIM, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. Really fascinating words from Jamie Dimon there. Another huge endorsement, too, is the endorsement of the Koch Network, which goes, you know, not just picking up the backing of a massive conservative organization, but what I think is really key for Nikki Haley here is just the organizational grassroots power that the Koch Network has particularly, and that they're going to deploy in New Hampshire on her behalf.

So I think that, look, you know, I think we've all been kind of I don't know if presuming is the right word, but thinking that Donald Trump is on the way to getting the Republican nomination again. But it is still too early to count Nikki Haley out. And as Jeff said, she does seem to be peaking at the right time.

And what I find really interesting is that she started to have her momentum, I feel like started to rise after the first debate, where she started to do very well and she hasn't dipped. She's just kind of been on this steady trajectory up, and it'd be really interesting to see how far that goes.

BASH: But the person who is still far and away the front runner is Donald Trump. And he got the attention of the Biden campaign and kind of everybody else this week when he put out the following on his social media platform. "I don't want to terminate Obamacare, I want to replace it with a much -- with much better health care. Obamacare sucks".

That -- I mean, really subtle. That, as I said, caught the attention of the Biden campaign. They already have an ad cut. Let's listen to that.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thanks to President Biden and Vice President Harris, families can afford medication now. The Biden administration lowered the cost of prescription drugs and passed laws to make healthcare more affordable. The idea that we could go back to the policies that helped the rich get richer and left so many people behind, I don't want to go back. I can't go back.


BASH: OK. So backstory, obviously, is we all lived for years and years the promise to repeal Obamacare, which was --


BASH: -- never found. They never did it. They couldn't do it for lots of reasons. And the Republicans, now that Obamacare has been in place for so long, is now something that people see as something that they like, they don't want to take away. Our colleagues here have reporting, some Republicans sound alarm after Trump revives focus on Obamacare.

Republicans are really unhappy about this. Kristen Holmes and others say, "Health care was a loser in 2018 and it's a loser now. Talk about the border, talk about the economy. Talk about no more foreign wars. Don't talk about health care." These are Republicans that they are speaking to.

CALDWELL: Yes. Remember when the House voted several dozen times to repeal Obamacare and never was signed into law, oddly. And the infamous John McCain thumbs down --

BASH: Yes.

CALDWELL: -- tried it, done it, failed. So no one has been talking about Obamacare as a campaign issue for years, since that 2018 losing campaign for congressional Republicans. And so the White House, the Biden campaign and Democrats are thrilled. They want this to be a campaign issue. It's something they can run on that is good.

BASH: Because they won back the majority the last time. Not talking about Donald Trump when he was in the White House, but really talking about the fear of taking people's health care away.

OK, everybody, stand by because, Leigh Ann, we've got some new reporting that you were responsible for. We'll talk about that. Kevin McCarthy allegedly dropping the F bomb during a tense phone call with Donald Trump. A closer look at what sparked the frenemies feud, next.



BASH: We're getting a new glimpse inside the roller coaster relationship between former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and former President Donald Trump. Today, the Washington Post is reporting a phone call between Trump and McCarthy after McCarthy was ousted from the speakership.

The reporting is, "During the call, Trump lambasted McCarthy for not expunging his two impeachments and not endorsing him in the 2024 presidential campaign, that's according to people familiar with the conversation. Quote, 'F-you,' McCarthy is claimed to have then told Trump".


I want to bring back our panel on this, including Leigh Ann Caldwell, because, Leigh Ann, this is your reporting. Very interesting that he is -- he, McCarthy, is telling people that he told the former president to blank off.

CALDWELL: Yes, that's absolutely right. And so the McCarthy team says there were no curse words that were said, but this is how McCarthy is recounting this conversation. And it was a tense conversation in the sense that McCarthy said, why didn't you save me? Why didn't you do anything when I was being ousted?

And Trump said, well, why didn't you endorse me? Why haven't you expunged my impeachment? And so it was a very tense phone call. But my colleague Paul Kane reminded me this morning that this is a similar interpretation that McCarthy had after January 6, when he said that he had a very -- he, you know, cursed out the president after January 6, saying, what were you doing? What were you thinking? And then the president had said on the record that, no, that was not how that phone call went. So it's just very interesting in their relationship. They have talked and they have texted since our sources tell us. And also the relationship between Trump and McCarthy has always been on again and off again. Sometimes it's codependent, and sometimes it's not on great terms.

BASH: Codependent, I feel like there's one picture that speaks volumes about that term codependent. And I don't even need to probably explain to my -- there you go. I don't even need to say it to the control room --


BASH: -- because everybody knows what I'm talking about, codependent. January, the end of January 2021, after you said, Leigh Anne, that he recounted some tough words with the president, former president, he goes down to Mar-a-Lago, and he changed.

ZELENY: He might as well have been holding a life raft there, because that's what Kevin McCarthy was giving --


ZELENY: -- to former President Donald Trump, something 22 days after the insurrection, a week after he left office. Trump was on the verge of becoming isolated and marginalized by Republicans, and Kevin McCarthy revived him, resuscitated him and here we are. But loyalty is a one way street, as the former speaker is finding out.

BASH: Yes. McCarthy also spoke at the New York Times DealBook Summit and talked more about, in his own words, we have about his relationship with Donald Trump. He said, "I have an interesting relationship with Trump. I do not criticize him on television because I don't think it's right, and I know it drives him crazy. And I don't know I'll have any influence if you do that. But my personal conversations with him, we have very clear personal conversations".

KIM: Right, right. Well, interesting. I think we can all agree that that's accurate that they do have very interesting interactions. But, you know, like Jeff said, it's just -- there are so many other instances where, you know, loyalty has not translated for Donald Trump in the way that you would think.

Because if Kevin McCarthy is the person who is broadly credited or blamed for resuscitating Trump after the insurrection, then you would think that particularly when McCarthy is having his own political troubles, that Trump would exert some of that influence over House Republicans in terms of trying to keep Kevin McCarthy in power. But he didn't do that, and they are where they are.

And it's just your -- the reporting was fascinating. It's just -- another chapter in chronicling this very up and down relationship that we've seen for some time now.

BASH: While we're on the subject of Kevin McCarthy, we talked about the balance of power in the context of George Santos. And if he is ousted, the Republicans will have one fewer vote. Question is also whether Kevin McCarthy is going to stay. Obviously very different reasons from George Santos.

Let's just remind people you see on the screen there, 222 to 213. Here's another thing that McCarthy said on that topic to the New York Times. "If I decide to run again, I have to know my heart -- in my heart, I'm giving 110 percent. I have to know that I want to do that. I also have to know if I'm going to walk away, that I'm going to be fine with walking away. If you just got thrown out of speaker, you'd go through different stages, would you not? And then you got to turn around and make a decision."

CALDWELL: Yes. So the decision time is coming. In California, you have until December 8th to file for reelection. Because he's an incumbent, he's given an extra five days, so he has until December 13th. And my sources tell me that he is seriously contemplating leaving, but he hasn't made that decision yet.

BASH: OK, guys, thanks. Great discussions, great reporting. Appreciate it.

Up ahead, we're going to speak with an Israeli man who's relieved some of his family members have been released by Hamas. But they are still holding out hope for one other family member still inside Gaza being held hostage. We'll be right back.



BASH: After seven weeks, an enormous sigh of relief for one family in Israel.


(Speaking Foreign Language)



BASH: That's Hadas Kalderon reacting to news that her children, 12- year-old Erez and 16-year-old Sahar were being released by Hamas. The children have since been reunited with their mom, siblings and some extended family. Their father, Ofer, is still being held hostage, though.

Joining me now is Hadas's cousin Ido Dan. Ido, you were -- look at that smile on your face. We were talking during the break and you were smiling. And I don't think I've seen you smile, understandably so. And we've spoken several times. I know that you've seen the children, Erez and Sahar since they were released. You were at the hospital with them. How are they doing?

IDO DAN, FAMILY MEMBERS RELEASED BY HAMAS: Well, first of all, I cannot even express the joy and happiness and relief that I'm feeling with all of the extended family. They came thinner, pale, their eyes a little bit, you know, I can't really express that, but it seems like, you know, these eyes tell a story that we will have to kind of unveil step by step, very slowly, because we don't want to kind of trigger the trauma.

So we've been advised to actually not interrogate them or ask them too many questions. Just to hug them, be with them, feel their heartbeats, just smell their hair and hug them. And that's what I did. And actually, I'm afraid I did a little bit too strong because I couldn't control my hugs. I hope I didn't break any bone there. But they're just superheroes.

BASH: I know that you have been told not to, your words, interrogate them, kind of let them take their time and reveal what they want about their time in captivity. Did they offer anything without being asked?

DAN: Well, they did say -- I mean, they were very nervous and it seems like they went through a lot. And they said that they were scared to death. That's what they said. And the second thing they told me is, what's up with our dad, with Ofer Kalderon? I mean, is he coming back too?

And I promised them that he will. And we are -- you know, we keep -- that's the -- I mean, it's unbearable that we had to mourn Carmela and Noya last month. And now we have the joy of them coming. And if it's not enough, we are still very worried about Ofer because he's still in danger.

So it's pretty amazing that, you know, this situation doesn't let us really celebrate. We just pause for 24 hours, we celebrate and then we continue full power to bring him and actually to bring the rest of the hostages, because we became -- all of the hostages' families, became like one family because of this, you know, mutual faith.

BASH: Sure.

DAN: Fate, sorry. And we're now working together to bring them. But the kids themselves, I think that physically, it's reversible. They seem strong physically. What we don't know yet is the depth of the trauma and what they've been through.

BASH: Yes.

DAN: But they are real heroes. They did tell us one thing -- I mean, they did tell us two stories. I cannot really reveal them because of -- we've been asked by the Secret Service not to tell it on TV, but I can just share with you that their wheat and humor saved them at least twice during this period.

And they are just amazing kids. It's just unbelievable that they went through this and they're still in mental fits as it seems. But again, we'll have to take it step by step in their own pace.

BASH: You mentioned that their father, Ofer, is still inside Gaza, is still a hostage. Any information about his whereabouts? And would you like the Israeli government to extend the truce until all remaining hostages, including their father, is released?

DAN: Well, this is an awesome question. Thank you for asking that. Sorry. In fact, first of all, I cannot really reveal what we know about his whereabouts and his status right now. We do know some. But we do think that Israel must exhaust this period to release as many hostages as possible, ultimately all of the hostages, before it continues to eradicate Hamas, ISIS, and all this, you know, threat for the future.


Because, you know, the mission of fighting against Hamas is long term goal to protect citizens. And right now, we have citizens in captivity and they have to be least as soon as possible. And actually we had a lot of pressure on the Israeli government to do so.

BASH: Right.

DAN: And we're very happy that they're doing that.

BASH: Well, that's good that you --

DAN: I just want to say one thing, Dana.

BASH: Yes.

DAN: OK. Sorry.

BASH: Go ahead.

DAN: OK, one thing. I do want to thank personally President Biden and Roger Carstens for their continuous support and also Qatar and Egypt, who played pivotal role in that effort --

BASH: Ido --

DAN: -- in the release that we're seeing right now. And we're very, very grateful for them. And also for Macron, the French President, Manuel Macron --

BASH: Thank you.

DAN: -- and his team in Israel. And we just think that all this pressure and all the --

BASH: Right.

DAN: -- goodwill of many, many countries brought Sahar and Erez back to our arms and to their mom's arm.

BASH: Well, thank you for adding all of that. Appreciate it. Thank you for coming on with your smile. We do understand it's bittersweet. Thank you very much.

DAN: Thank you.

BASH: Thank you for joining INSIDE POLITICS. "CNN NEWS CENTRAL" starts after a break.