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Haley: Goal Is To "Be Stronger Than Iowa" In NH; Biden Pushes Abortion As GOP Votes In NH; Harris Spotlights Abortion Rights In Pitch For Reelection; New Hampshire Voters On Their Top Pick For The Primary. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired January 23, 2024 - 12:30   ET



NIKKI HALEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: But he ran up to credit card to do it. Everybody knows that's not sustainable. We can't run our households like that. You sure don't want to run government like that. And what should chill everybody is the fact in two years, we'll be paying more money on interest payments in our defense budget. That's not OK. And we don't want Russia, China and Iran to see that happen.

DANA BASH, CNN HOST: We spoke exactly at this time last week, the day after Iowa. You've now been running around, campaigning very hard in New Hampshire. What have you learned this week in New Hampshire, and even before that, over the past few months campaigning, that you wish you knew then, that you know now, about how to approach this campaign?

HALEY: I mean, look, I think campaigns are all about learning and lessons, and you have to be very flexible. I mean, to me, New Hampshire, and actually Iowa to a certain extent, it's very much like South Carolina. I mean, I grew up where campaigning is a contact sport. You've got to touch every hand. You've got to answer every question.

You've got to be out there. You've got to go to donners. You've got to go to breweries. You've got to go -- that's how South Carolina is too. So from that standpoint, you know, I think that came very natural to me. What you learn is what people in New Hampshire care about. They care about a northern border. No one talks about that.

Everybody talks about the southern border. They care about the fentanyl flow. People hear about that, and New Hampshire's been hit very hard. They care about transparency and education. You know, I mean, there's certain things that they care about that is different than other parts of the country, but they're just as important.

And so I've learned a lot from them. And I love that granite staters, they wear their feelings on their sleeve. They tell you exactly what they think. And you know what they think? They don't understand why we have an open border. They don't understand why Joe Biden's done nothing to secure it.

They don't understand why Republicans and Democrats are both spending like drunken sailors when it's their tax dollars. There's a lot they don't understand. What they do understand is they're ready for a new generational leader. They're tired of the peacocking, they're tired of the political class, and they want to see something get done.

BASH: You wish you got in this race?

Oh no. I can't. Look, I have a lot of energy. I've never met anyone that can keep up with me. I can't keep up with her. I mean, I can't tell you how impressed I am. The fact that she hits the last event of the day with the same energy, enthusiasm, spending the time with voters as the first one.

GOV. CHRIS SUNUNU (R), NEW HAMPSHIRE: She's the last one out of the room. I love that about her. She just wants to connect with people.

BASH: Thank you both for stopping by. Nice surprise to see you. Appreciate it.

And up next, the first joint appearance by President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on the campaign trail this year. Their big focus, the issue they think will send them back to the White House for another term.



BASH: President Biden's reelection campaign has its eyes locked on New Hampshire and seeks to draw a stark contrast between the president and what he -- who he believes is going to be his opponent, Donald Trump. They have a rally today in support of abortion rights.

MJ Lee is there, live in Northern Virginia, where the president and vice president are going to speak. They're going to be together, MJ, for the first time since the 2024 campaign started. You've been reporting for many weeks now about the fact that they are sort of rearing to go and now here they are.

MJ LEE, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And Dana, I'm not in New Hampshire today where many of my colleagues are and where all of the political action is today because that is not the -- where the Biden campaign is today. Instead, we are here in Northern Virginia where the Biden campaign is offering their counter programming to everything that's going on in New Hampshire.

And you're right, that this is going to be an event that is largely focused on the issue of abortion and reproductive rights, an issue that the Biden campaign believes will be hugely mobilizing going into November. This is clear that the Biden campaign wants it to be clear to voters that they are not competing in New Hampshire. That the president's name is not even on the ballot, that there are no delegates up for stakes, up for grabs. And so this is why we find ourselves here.

Now, this is going to be an event where the president himself is going to be introduced, we are told, by a campaign official by a woman, a Texas woman, who said that she nearly died because she could not get access to abortion in her home state. So, again, very much leaning into these testimonials. And as for New Hampshire, the Biden campaign obviously is very much closely watching what happens in the Republican race. You know, this could be the night they believe where they find out whether this is going to be sort of the unofficial beginning of the general election for them.

And as we have reported, there are plenty of Biden campaign officials and allies and other Democrats we've spoken to who are impatient and they're eager to unofficially, again, begin that general election matchup between Biden and Trump, and they would like for more voters to start believing that reality for the campaign as well.

BASH: MJ Lee, thank you so much for that great reporting as always.

Lisa Lerer and Eva McKend are back here with me. Hi, guys. Nice to see you again. Let's just follow up on what MJ was just talking about. And to set up this conversation, I want you both to listen to what the Vice President, Kamala Harris, told our colleague, Laura Coates, while they were traveling in Wisconsin yesterday.


KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are here in January, and I'm going to tell you, in these intervening months between now and the election, I am going to do exactly what I'm doing here in Wisconsin, which is traveling the country to remind people of not only what is at stake and the harm that is occurring every day, so many women silently suffering, but also remind them of the connection between their vote and an outcome that puts back in place the protections of Roe.



BASH: You know, just the contrast in seeing and hearing that, and seeing and hearing the candidates here, particularly Donald Trump, and it's really all about him, and about the kinds of things that he says he will and won't do. But it's really about him. For them, it seems as though that their argument is beginning to be almost don't worry about who's on the ballot. Worry about what's on the ballot. And that is abortion number one.

EVA MCKEND, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: Right. And, you know, the reason why they are centering this is because it continues to be a winning issue. You know, when I travel across the country to battleground states, and I speak to voters, I'm surprised at all of the demographics that are concerned about reproductive rights.

It's not only women or young women, it's older women, it's men -- the men in their lives, it spans racial lines. So black voters in Georgia, for instance, they're also concerned about this. And so that is why they are centering this, but it's not the only issue that Democrats can run on. There are real anxieties across the board about the economy, about quality of life.

So I'm interested to see how this can be a both end conversation and how they talk about those other issues as well.

LISA LERER, NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES: And I think what Democrats have seen since 2016, this election after election after election, independent voters have rejected Donald Trump. And that Donald Trump has really been the greatest energizing force Democrats have had with their own base.

So by making this race a referendum, or attempting to make it a referendum, not as much on President Biden and what he has done over the past four years, but on Donald Trump and what he would do if elected for another four years. Democrats believe that's a position of strength. That's a playbook that has worked for them, you know, in three cycles, two midterms and a presidential in the past. So that's part of what we're seeing them try to do.

BASH: You know, and the other -- one of the many challenges that President Biden and Kamala Harris are going to have is the coalition of voters that got them in office in the first place, keeping them together, particularly progressives who are not happy for a number of reasons.

I want you to listen to what Ro Khanna, who is a very prominent progressive lawmaker, said on that issue.


REP. RO KHANNA (D), CALIFORNIA: My message to young folks and to progressives in this state is you don't have to agree 100 percent. You -- there is room for you to have different opinions and push us in Congress, push this president. But let's make sure we win this election so we can have a progressive future.


BASH: He said that here, in New Hampshire.

MCKEND: He did. You know, Dana, I think that this is really insufficient. And I think that people that sort of buy this aren't speaking enough to young progressive voters and are sort of underestimating how angry they are on a whole host of issues.

I'm really watching Capitol Hill right now and what becomes of these negotiations on the border, on immigration. They cannot afford to cede any constituency. And I think that this response from Congressman Khanna is too cavalier.

BASH: Yes.

LERER: The issue, of course, is not that these voters vote for Donald Trump. It's that they don't vote at all, right? And that's really important. Democrats can win if they put together that coalition that elected them in '20. And young voters and liberals, progressives are a really important part of that coalition. They have to turn out for Biden.

BASH: Appreciate it. Nice to talk to you. And up next, John King takes us for a swing around New Hampshire talking to voters about who they're supporting and how their thoughts have evolved over this campaign. His latest in his series, |All Over the Map", next.



BASH: CNN's John King has been all over the map talking to voters about their choice for president here in New Hampshire. Some told John that issues like immigration and their financial well-being are pulling them aboard the Trump train.

John joins me now. He's back in Washington getting ready for tonight's coverage. So, John, you've been talking to these voters for months. How are their views evolving?

JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Dana, it's interesting. Governor Haley earlier in that interview said she has out hustled, out smarted the other Republican candidates. That may be true, but we found from these Trump voters who have a long list of complaints about Donald Trump, that she hasn't quite connected to them because they view her as a traditional politician.

One example, Deven McIver lives there, it's Thornton, about 2,700 people live in this small town. As you can see, it's on the way up toward the White Mountains. He works in construction. He sees the MAGA people on the side of the road on the weekends, he says he laughs at them and rolls his eyes, thinks they should be home cleaning their yards.

But listen, he says he doesn't trust traditional politicians, but Donald Trump, he believes, will help him on two critical issues.


DEVEN MCIVER, NEW HAMPSHIRE REPUBLICAN VOTER: I know he'll fix the border. He'll work on the economy. With Trump, I was doing pretty good. I was able to save more.

He is definitely different. Sometimes he's not his own best friend. But he's different. We have other branches of government to deal with it. They can keep him in line. He can't have everything he wants.


KING: So you hear there, he thinks, yes, Trump, if you reelect him, he'll hit the guardrails again. But Deven McIver thinks the other branches will keep him in line.

Another voter down here, Andrew Konchek is a commercial fisherman. He lives here in Dover. He thinks Trump's the only one who will save his job.

[12:50:04] Trump opposes the green energy wind farms. They want to build off the coast here. So listen to Andrew Konchek here. He says Trump will save his job, and he says he's voted for him today, even though he goes home to a wife who doesn't like Trump.


ANDREW KONCHEK, NEW HAMPSHIRE REPUBLICAN VOTER: I want Trump because he supports fishermen, you know, and this obviously is my livelihood. I don't like the way that he speaks sometimes. He can be a little ignorant and rude.

KING: When you hang your Trump flag, what did she say?

KONCHEK: She said I was ruining Christmas and wanted me to take it down. And she took it down and then I put it back up.


KING: And Dana, listen to this. Caitlin Konchek, I sent you the video of them going to vote with each other earlier this morning. The other day we were there, she was a Haley voter. She told her husband after voting today, because he told her Trump's the only one who will save his job, save their livelihood, she decided in the end to actually vote for Donald Trump.

So that's Haley's problem, trying to connect with some of these voters. So just quickly, what would Nikki Haley have to do tonight? To surprise -- if you see what I just did in the magic wall, let me stretch it out a little bit. The areas you see in the gray at the bottom of the map, these are the suburban counties in Southern and South Central New Hampshire. The light gray, those are the suburbs.

That is it. Up here, you get to the rural areas. That's Trump country, Dana. If Nikki Haley is going to pull off a New Hampshire surprise, she's going to have to do something she was unable to do in Iowa. Run it up in the suburbs, along the coast, southern New Hampshire, along the Massachusetts border. We'll count them tonight.

BASH: I wish we had time to run that video that you sent me. You should put it on social media. The body language between your fisherman with the hat, with Donald Trump and his hair, and his wife, classic.

KING: And yet, she voted for Trump.

BASH: Thanks so much, John. There you go.

We're going to have much more here in New Hampshire next. Thanks, John.



BASH: A quick reminder, our live coverage of the 2024 New Hampshire primary starts today at 4:00 p.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.

Thank you so much for joining Inside Politics. Thanks to Chez Vachon, where we are right now, in Manchester. That was Linda behind us, who's been treating us very well.

And thank you for watching. CNN News Central starts after the break.