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Inside Politics

Biden Campaign Marks 51st Anniversary Of Roe V. Wade; Judge Judy Stumps For Nikki Haley In New Hampshire; Tim Scott Claims He Texted Nikki Haley Before Endorsing Trump; Haley Says That's "Not True"; DeSantis Bows Out Of GOP Presidential Primary Just Days After Disappointing Iowa Caucus Showing. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired January 22, 2024 - 12:30   ET




DANA BASH, CNN ANCHOR: Fifty-one years ago today, abortion became a constitutional right. The Biden campaign is using the anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade decision to focus on the consequences of the 2022 Dobbs decision that overturned Roe and what the 2024 race means for the future of abortion rights in America. Moments from now, Vice President Kamala Harris will kick off a nationwide reproductive freedom tour in Wisconsin.

CNN's Priscilla Alvarez joins us from Waukesha, Wisconsin, where Harris is about to speak. What do we expect, Priscilla?

PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Dana, Vice President Kamala Harris is expected to take direct aim at former President Donald Trump laying the groundwork for what will be the central democratic message in the 2024 campaign. And it's notable that it's the vice president that is kicking this off. She has been a leading voice on this issue and is expected to play a central role in 2024.

Now, her argument is coming here to battleground Wisconsin. This is a state that Biden eked out a win over Trump in 2020, and also a typically red suburb here in Wisconsin. And her argument is going to be that former president Donald Trump appointed three Supreme Court justices, conservative Supreme Court justices, and that is what led to the overturning of Roe.

She's also going to speak about the harm and confusion that has occurred since the Dobbs decision, pulling on specific examples of what that's looked like, particularly here in Wisconsin, where those pro or the Roe bans were invoked after that was overturned. And she's also going to be talking about an ad that was released by the campaign this week.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Two years ago, I became pregnant with a baby I desperately wanted. At a routine ultrasound, I learned that the fetus would have a fatal condition and that there was absolutely no chance of survival. In Texas, you are forced to carry that pregnancy, and that is because of Donald Trump overturning Roe v. Wade.


ALVAREZ: All of this part of a broader rollout that's going to include a campaign appearance tomorrow with the Vice President and the President on abortion.

BASH: Priscilla, joining me from Waukesha, Wisconsin. Get used to Wisconsin. You're going to be there a lot. We all are. Thank you so much. Appreciate it.

And up next, she's known for speaking her mind, the one and only Judge Judy. I had the chance to speak with her yesterday right here in New Hampshire, where she is campaigning for Nikki Haley.


BASH: Is this part of why you are supporting her because she's a woman?

JUDY SHEINDLIN, FORMER JUDGE, TV SHOW HOST: No, I would support her if she were a frog. She's capable. She's capable. She's poised.




BASH: America's favorite TV judge, Judge Judy Sheindlin delivered her final verdict in the race for the White House ahead of New Hampshire's make or break primary. She is not a very political figure. She says she's only publicly endorsed one presidential candidate ever, and that was Michael Bloomberg in 2020.

I caught up with her here and asked why Nikki Haley.


SHEINDLIN: I met Nikki Haley about a year ago because I was impressed with her four years ago. And when she decided to dip her toe in the water, I said, it's someone who I could embrace, but I first have to meet her. So we spent some time together.


And I was impressed enough with what I heard and her history to travel 1,700 miles tonight to convince whoever I can in the state of New Hampshire that Donald Trump should not be president again, and that Joe Biden should not be president again.

And Nikki Haley is a chance for America to redeem its rightful place in the world. That's the reason. That's an honest, long-winded reason.

BASH: I read that you said neither Biden nor Trump would know a Houthi --

SHEINDLIN: From a salami.

BASH: -- from a salami.

SHEINDLIN: Well, I said that they wouldn't know Houthi from a salami unless someone whispered in their ear, that would be to Donald or put it on a teleprompter, which would be President Biden. I don't think that either of those two men have the intellectual gravitas to govern this great country.

I'm not a Trump basher. I lived in New York City for many years. He got Wollman's Rink up and running, and my mother loved ice skating. But even Donald knew, years ago, that he wasn't going to be president. Even he didn't think he was going to be president. It was a lark.

BASH: And then he was.

SHEINDLIN: It was a lark. And then he was. And without getting into all of the controversy as to why, he did a couple of things that I agree with when he was president, but chaos follows him. And right now he's embroiled in legal, financial, personal, civil, criminal actions.

You need someone who is totally focused on being president of the United States. I never saw greatness and neither did anyone else in the then 50 years that Joe Biden was in public office. He was an ordinary guy. He tried president twice and backed out. There was a reason for that.

How it comes about -- for the same crazy way it came about that Donald Trump was president for four years, that was the same finessing that gave us Joe Biden. Neither one of those two men should be president for another four years.

Joe Biden is now older. I'm not getting -- trying to get into with you what everybody talks about with regard to his cognitive ability, but I know he's my age. I run a big -- and I said in my heart, I run a big business. I'm the matriarch of the family of 20 plus. I make decisions that affect hundreds of people every day. I need a nap in the afternoon. So does Joe Biden, probably too.

Nikki Haley is better. She's young. She's vital. She's focused. She has the intellectual capacity. She's measured. She doesn't get ruffled by bullies. Stand her ground. Respond respectfully. I mean, if you listen to her at the United Nations, she commanded respect. Well, that's what I'm looking for in a president. Again, someone who commands respect.

I know, Donald -- I know that Biden does not. I believe she does. That's why I traveled 1,700 miles here.

BASH: One last question. Nikki Haley, is it part of why you are supporting her because she's a woman?

SHEINDLIN: No, I would support her if she were a frog. She's capable, she's capable. She's poised. Men can be capable, poised, direct, honest. I don't think she's any of the negatives that I see in the opposition right now. I certainly don't think that she's a bully. I certainly don't think that chaos follows her.

I certainly don't think that she's unfocused because of everything else that's going on in her life. And I know that she is cognitively stable. I think she's a woman. Great, but I would vote for her if she were a girl.



BASH: And now to a text message that may or may not have been sent. I spoke to Senator Tim Scott yesterday about endorsing Donald Trump instead of his fellow South Carolinian, the woman who put him in the Senate, Nikki Haley.


BASH: Did you call her beforehand to give her a heads up? Have you talked to her since?

SEN. TIM SCOTT (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: We had text several times since I got out of the race. So we've had a conversation at least once. We've had multiple texts back and forth.

BASH: So just to be clear, you texted after you got out of the race, but you didn't give her a heads up before you endorsed her opponent?

SCOTT: Actually, I texted her the day before --


SCOTT: -- I made my announcement.


BASH: A few hours later, I was here in New Hampshire and saw Nikki Haley. Here's what she said about that alleged text.


NIKKI HALEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: That's not true. He didn't call. He didn't text. He didn't tell me that he was going to do this down and talk because we had only spoken once since then. I said, I'd love to sit down and talk about endorsement. He said, I'm getting with my team to figure that out and I never heard anything else again until his endorsement.

BASH: Did he -- when he told me he texted the day before, did he text somebody on your team?


(END VIDEO CLIP) BASH: In response to that, an aide at Tim Scott told me that the senator texted Nikki Haley on Thursday, the day before he endorsed Donald Trump, to let her know he'd be making a decision soon. And there's that.

Coming up, it started with so much hype, landed with a thud. We're talking about Ron DeSantis's campaign and we will into what went so wrong.



BASH: After days of staffers pushing back on rumors of an early exit, Ron DeSantis dropped out in a Sunday surprise. In new terrific reporting out today from CNN's Steve Contorno, Jessica Dean, and Kit Maher, campaign insiders had this, among other things, to say. "What he didn't have was room for error running up against a popular former president. And the DeSantis campaign made many of them, his advisers, allies, and supporters have acknowledged to CNN in interviews."

Quote, "Every single thing that could have not gone as we had hoped or planned for went horribly wrong." That is according to one close adviser.

I'm going to bring my panel back to talk about this. First of all, I encourage everybody to check out that reporting on It's really, really good. Let's just go to the not so way back machine of last week. And this headline in Politico, was an op-ed written by Alex Castellanos and Curt. Anderson, two Republican operatives, "The DeSantis Team Ran the Worst Campaign in History". I mean, that is super-duper harsh. But, Jeff?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Look, I mean, this campaign will be studied for a long time for the things that they tried to do. They tried to revolutionize this campaign by effectively outsourcing everything to a Super PAC. That turned out to be not a good idea.

All of this is the issue of the candidate. The candidate himself came into this race so confident because he just won a huge reelection in Florida. And running for president is very, very different and it's very, very difficult. So I'm thinking of one moment in my mind that really crystallized how dysfunctional this all was.

There was a parking lot just north of the Quad Cities in Iowa last month. The DeSantis campaign bus was parked there. The Never Back Down Super PAC bus was parked there. It just, among voters, who was running what. What was going on -- collision between this but he didn't bring it. His ground game didn't work, but this is all on him.

He became a much better candidate actually as we saw in town halls and other things. But I just wonder if he had done all of the events if he had talked to people, taking questions from voters at the beginning, would this have ended differently? Perhaps not, but it's on him.

BASH: Good.

JACKIE KUCINICH, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: No, I was going to say, he also had -- in addition to, you know, everything you just named, he also had former President Trump deluging him --


KUCINICH: -- with negativity.

BASH: I'm sorry to interrupt.

KUCINICH: I'm sorry I will let you --

BASH: No, because you were mind melding here, Jackie, because that's exactly what I was going to play. Let's play an example of what President Trump and his allies did before Ron DeSantis even got into the race.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ron DeSantis was struggling big time in his primary race for governor of Florida. Polls revealed DeSantis was failing so bad, he was losing by a staggering 17. DeSantis was saved by the endorsement of President Trump. Trump's support was so powerful. Just two days after the endorsement, DeSantis took a commanding lead.


BASH: So completely pummeled him. Didn't stop doing that. I talked to Governor DeSantis the morning of the Iowa caucuses that -- I think that was just last week, right?

ZELENY: It was.

BASH: OK. Just last week and asked about whether or not he regrets getting into the race as late as he did, given the attacks he was getting from the former president.



GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): Here's the thing. I made promises to the voters in '22. I had to deliver on, turned around and launched a campaign, but I had to do what I said. And so I can now say I've delivered on 100 percent of my promises. I got elected to be able to do those things, not to just run for another office. So I don't think there's any way you could have done it any different and been -- I couldn't have been true to myself.


BASH: That was a long interruption, but I just wanted to help make your point.

KUCINICH: No, no, no. But it's shown right there, not to mention just it was day after day after day and then married with the unforced errors by the DeSantis team. I mean, let's remember, his launch was a total disaster on the Social Network, formerly known as Twitter, where it was glitchy.

You couldn't hear him --

BASH: Yes.

KUCINICH: -- and it just opened the door to all sorts of other problems that they just couldn't get out of their own way and they were getting all of this incoming.

BASH: And Astead, 30 seconds, he didn't connect with voters --


BASH: -- in a natural way that most candidates did. He did get better, but not at first.

HERNDON: Absolutely. I think that's the core problem to me. His campaign only went one direction from the moment it announced until now. And that's a problem. But Ron DeSantis came into this campaign working from his own premise. He didn't just want to win. He wanted to win his way with his message. That is a level of confidence, somewhat hardiness.

I think it's really indicative of a first time candidate that staked it all, his brand kind of won this race. And I think he's receiving the blowback because of that. He didn't want to just be the nominee. He had to kind of revolutionize the party to Jeff's point. And that's a tall task.

BASH: Thank you all. Great discussion. Appreciate it.

And thanks for joining Inside Politics. Thanks to MaryAnn's Diner where we are right here in Amherst, New Hampshire for hosting us today. CNN News Central starts after the break.