Return to Transcripts main page

Inside Politics

Haley Campaigns In SC Tonight Despite Calls To Drop Out; Trump Moves Closer To Nomination After Dominating In Iowa, NH; New Haley Ad: "Biden, Too Old, Trump, Too Much Chaos"; Trump Warns Haley: "I Don't Get Too Angry, I Get Even"; Sen. Scott Won't Taunt Haley, Despite Push From Trump; Jon Stewart Returning To "Daily Show" As Producer, Part- Time Host; Autoworkers Union Expected To Endorse Biden Today; Biden Faces Anger From Progressives Over Israel-Hamas War; VP Harris Becoming Key Campaign Voice On Central Issues. Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired January 24, 2024 - 12:00   ET



DANA BASH, CNN HOST, INSIDE POLITICS: Today on INSIDE POLITICS, the party of Trump. It is now even more clear what GOP voters want, Donald Trump. Here in New Hampshire, they delivered a double-digit historic victory for the former president.

Trump won more votes than any candidate in any New Hampshire primary ever, in an electorate of Republicans and independents he won, big vaguely you might say. Old voters, young voters, men, women, white voters, voters of color, you name it. Making it all but certain, Trump will be the GOP presidential nominee for the third time in a row.


DONALD TRUMP, 45TH U.S. PRESIDENT: We had one hell of a night tonight. When you win Iowa and you in New Hampshire, they've never had a loss. We're way up on everybody. We're way up on Biden. We have an opportunity to do something so amazing.


BASH: Yet last night's results have some warning signs for Republicans and their battle ahead. I'm Dana Bash. Live from Marianne Steiner (ph) at Amherst, New Hampshire. Let's go behind the headlines at INSIDE POLITICS.

Donald Trump does seem to be on a glide path to the Republican nomination. Every day more party leaders are calling him the presumptive nominee. But Nikki Haley says, she isn't nearing the end of her campaign. Even after losing here in New Hampshire by 11 points. And in Iowa, she lost by more than 30.

The Haley campaign is hoping that they can turn it around in her home state of South Carolina. She's holding a rally there tonight and just bought $4 million worth of ad time in that state. But more and more Republicans say it's time for her to call it quits, including this from the chair of the Republican Party.


RONNA MCDANIEL, RNC CHAIR: I'm looking at the math and the path going forward. And I don't see it for Nikki Haley. I think she's run a great campaign. But I do think there is a message that's coming out from the voters, which is very clear. We need to unite around our eventual nominee, which is going to be Donald Trump. You're telling Nikki Haley that she needs to get out. I just don't see the path and the math. I hope she reflects tonight. I think it's time to move forward.


BASH: I want to get straight to CNN's David Chalian, who is at the Magic Wall to break all of this down. Let's start with Nikki Haley, who says she's not backing down. Show us the reality.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: I will show you some of the reality that I think informed what you just heard there from the chairwoman, who by the way is supposed to be neutral in this process. That didn't sound that way. Take a look here. This was how Republicans split their vote in New Hampshire last night, Dana.

So, among self-identified Republicans in the New Hampshire primary, which is half the electorate, Donald Trump wins them by 49 points. Is that right? Or how about the -- yeah, 74 percent to 25 percent.

OK. So, you have to understand. If you look at the map all the way out from now to June, the far majority of voters in this process are self- identified Republicans. That is a strength for Trump and a weakness for Haley.

In South Carolina, her sweet home state, as she says in this next one, Independents are not going to be nearly as large of a share most likely as they were in New Hampshire, that was such fertile ground for here.

In 2012 when it was just a Republican contest, Independence only made up a quarter of the electorate in the Republican primary. In 2016, it was 22 percent Independence as a share of the overall Republican primary electorate. Nikki Haley had 44 percent Independent share yesterday and still came up short by double digits.

And then take a look here, Dana, among white born again or evangelical Christians. In the 2016 Republicans, South Carolina primary, two thirds of voters identified themselves as white born again or evangelical Christians. Two thirds.

Just look what happened in Iowa last week among this same voter group and it's not a monolith, obviously, but Donald Trump won a majority of white evangelical Christians out in Iowa 53 percent, Nikki Haley was only 13 percent. You could add up all the opponents of Trump in this voter group and Donald Trump still had more.

BASH: David, I want to bring our friend and colleague Jeff Zeleny in, who is here with me -- now was here with me last night. What are your thoughts on those numbers that David just showed us?


JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, it's a dramatically different electorate. And if Nikki Haley was going to have a big rise and up in this race, it needed to start here in New Hampshire. So of course, she has things going for her as she goes to South Carolina.

As she said last night, voters know her record. It's harder for Donald Trump to as she said makeup lies about it. But the reality is the state has changed dramatically, even since those numbers that David was talking about there. We've seen the huge population growth in South Carolina, particularly during the times of COVID.

It's become a Trumpy state, no doubt, but she is going to test the proposition that her story and her connection to South Carolina is strong enough to really dramatically change this. So as big as Donald Trump's comeback has been in Iowa and New Hampshire after his defeat, hers would have to be almost as big in a primary for something like this to happen in South Carolina.

BASH: I mean, we joke that, David, as I toss back to you that Nikki Haley says that she was the Tea Party candidate back in 2010. It's so long ago, when it comes to our politics and might as well have been like the new deal. Things have changed so incredibly much.

Let's look ahead and use what we saw last night to analyze some of the pitfalls that Donald Trump is assuming he is the nominee might have in the general election.

CHALIAN: And Dana, we should put a note of caution around this. When we're talking about independence in the context of a Republican primary. A lot of those Republican leaning and may put on their Republican jersey in November, but probably not all of them. And in New Hampshire that independent streak is real.

Look at this Trump deficiency with Independents last night versus Nikki Haley. It was 44 percent of the overall electorate and Donald Trump loses them by 19 percentage points. 58 percent for Haley, 39 percent for Trump. College educated voters. This is another weak spot for Donald Trump and part of his downfall in 2020, and his party's downfall in the 2018 and 2022 midterms.

Nikki Haley won college graduates roughly half the electorate, 56 percent to 42 percent, a slightly smaller share than non-college graduates in New Hampshire. But again, a Trump weak spot. And then this is going to be on Trump's to do list when Nikki Haley does eventually come to the reality that Trump is most likely going to be the nominee here.

84 percent of her voters in New Hampshire last night said they would be dissatisfied if Donald Trump is the nominee as he's likely to be. That is a mission for Donald Trump and his team to start healing the party and bring those people into the fold once his nomination is assured, Dana?

BASH: So fascinating, great analysis and reporting, as always. David Chalian, thanks for doing it for us. Joining me and Jeff here in New Hampshire to discuss this and so much more, CNN's Kristen Holmes and Bloomberg's Mario Parker. Hello. Happy day after primary day.

Let's just kick off where David left off. And Kristen, you spent so much time and are going to spend even more time covering the Trump campaign. Do they acknowledge any of the -- we shouldn't take away this big victory. He had a very big victory here, as we noted at the beginning of the show. But now it's already on to the next phase, the most important phase -- the general election. Do they acknowledge some of the bumps that we'll have in the road that David was talking about?

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. I think that they know that they have an imperfect candidate when you're talking to the campaign. That's why you're seeing them do a lot of behind-the-scenes work using data. You're trying to target -- Republicans trying to target Independents by attacking their opponents and linking them to things like social security, like they did here in New Hampshire.

One of the things that they have done, and they did it in Iowa, it was a big part of their strategy. And it will be in a general election is expanding the electorate to be an electorate that favors Donald Trump. And in particularly feel like they can do this if the approval ratings of Joe Biden remain low.

Because what they're trying to do is find people who support Donald Trump or could support Donald Trump but have never voted before. Instead of necessarily going to those groups like Independents or college educated voters, that they might not be able to siphon off.

BASH: That's so interesting. Before we get there, Nikki Haley is still very much a candidate in this race. And that is, despite the fact that more Republicans even and especially Republicans who are not big fans of Donald Trump are coming out and trying to put pressure on her to drop out. John Cornyn, Republicans need to unite around a single candidate.

He is a top-ranking Republican Senator Marco Rubio, who she endorsed in 2016. He did not return the favor. He endorsed Trump and said instead, donor money is going to be wasted. Deb Fischer another senator. It's time for the GOP to unite and make Joe Biden a one term president, and yet Mario, she's not on the air -- going on the air shortly. She told us on this program yesterday that she was going to put $4 million into ads into South Carolina. They're putting their money where their mouth is so to speak. And these are some of the ads are going to run.



BASH: Mario?

MARIO PARKER, NATIONAL POLITICS TEAM LEADER, BLOOMBERG: Yes. Look, we're at the point of the game here where people are starting to look at the scoreboard. The time is running out. Nikki Haley is down by a whole lot. And you're wondering. Well, maybe I'll stay around and see if something dramatic happens at the last play. Or maybe I get in my car and beat the traffic, right? That's essentially what we're looking at with South Carolina.

There is -- you can't rule it totally out. I mean, it's less than a one percent shot though, right? As you all mentioned, like the composition of the electorate has changed underneath our feet there. It's a more Trumpy in South Carolina.

For donors, if you want to play in presidential politics, she's the only game. In town if you're worried about the toxicity that comes from donating to Trump's campaign. And so, hey, you just push your chips to the middle of a table. And let's see if you can at least make something stick, one into South Carolina and then Super Tuesday.

BASH: We got to talk about last night, the speeches. Nikki Haley, let's just start with her. She did congratulate Donald Trump and then she went for the jugular.


NIKKI HALEY (R) 2024 GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I want to congratulate Donald Trump on his victory tonight. He earned it. Republicans have lost almost every competitive election. Trump is the only Republican in the country who Joe Biden can defeat. This court case, that controversy, this tweet, that senior moment.


BASH: And then Donald Trump in his victory speech, talked a lot about her.


TRUMP: I don't get too angry. I get even. Ron came in second and he left. She came in third and she's still hanging around. I find it a life you can't let people get away with bullshit. OK, you can't. You just can't do that. And when I watched her the fancy dress that probably wasn't so fancy. Come up, I said what she doing? We won.


BASH: You know, the playbook is in any traditional world, which of course, he's not traditional, which is why he's who he is, is you wish her well. And then you talk about your own success and then you move on. And he could not help himself. It was nasty to use his term.

ZELENY: It was. And this was something that was clearly under his skin. She was in his head, it could have been a moment that his advisers were telegraphing that this was a moment to pivot to the general election and ignore her, dismiss her. But that, of course, is not in his DNA.

What he gave her was a sense of what's coming in South Carolina. There's a long history of really nasty South Carolina primary fights in the Republican race. The Republican side of things, and this is going to be the modern-day version of that. But I think that one other thing was clear. He was so different from Iowa. In Iowa, he was actually trying to be magnanimous and look like he was having one of the best nights of his life.


HOLMES: Yeah. And using the word uniting the party, uniting the country ---


ZELENY: The question I wonder is, did he sort of keep his race going longer by some Haley supporters being like, you know what, we don't want that guy. He's kind of rude to her.

BASH: You know, I was texting with one of Haley's donors who said, she raised a lot of money off of that speech. I mean, we'll see if that comes forward. I just -- before we go to break, I got to ask about that Tim Scott moment last night. I'm going to play it and then I'm going to talk to you, Kristen, about on the other side.


TRUMP: Did you ever think that she actually appointed you, Tim, and think of it appointed and you're the senator of his state, and she endorsed me? You must really hate her.

SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC): I just love you know.

TRUMP: No. That's why he's a great politician.


BASH: You were there.

HOLMES: It was actually awkward. I mean, it felt awkward. It felt awkward in the room. And you saw Tim Scott the second that he started talking about it, kind of tense up and start walking towards it. It was -- I mean, there was almost not even a pause between him getting to the microphone to say no, I just love you.

And of course, if you follow Senator Scott's career at all, you know, this is not his brand of politics. He doesn't want to be out there saying he hates Nikki Haley even though he did endorse Donald Trump. And I was told by someone close to Donald Trump that they believe that it puts Scott in a really bad position that Scott was not happy with those remarks.

Of course, it gets down to, you know, he did endorse Donald Trump. He knows who Donald Trump is. He knows his politics and he know how he talks. But I don't think it was a moment that was going -- was very good for Senator Tim Scott or for Donald Trump or particularly as they're going to use Tim Scott ahead of South Carolina. They want him to be out there campaigning for him.

[12:15:00] BASH: When you jump on the Trump train, you never know where it's going to take you. And he's learning that like many people have learned at before and probably will in the future stand by everybody because up next, just as Donald Trump seems poised to clinch the nomination. As we've been talking about a prominent critic is set to return to late night TV. Jon Stewart is heading back to The Daily Show. We'll have details next.


BASH: Some breaking news from the world of media and politics. Jon Stewart is coming back to The Daily Show as executive producer and part time host. CNN Oliver Darcy has the story from New York. Oliver?


OLIVER DARCY, CNN SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER: Yeah, Dana. This is huge news in the entertainment and political worlds, Jon Stewart is going to be returning to The Daily Show. He'll host once a week on Monday. And the first episode which Stewart drops Monday after the Super Bowl next month. And of course, this is not only big news in the entertainment arena, but also the political arena.

Stewart, someone who is known for those really stinking, sharp monologues that are exposing hypocrisy among politicians. He's really someone who was able to cut through the political noise using humor, like no one else.

And so, this is unquestionably going to have some impact on the 2024 race. He's going to have plenty of material to work with as the election season heats up between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. And I'm sure a lot of people are going to be paying attention to what he says.

BASH: Really interesting. Thanks for that reporting, Oliver. Appreciate it. Back on the campaign trail, President Biden just locked up a key endorsement from one of the biggest unions in the U.S. Soon the nation's largest union of auto worker rather is expected to endorse him at an event in Washington D.C. The move could help boost Biden with blue collar and union workers as well as in the key battleground state of Michigan.

CNN's Arlette Saenz is covering the campaign and joins us live from the White House. Arlette, what are you hearing?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Dana, President Biden will speak a little bit later this afternoon at this conference for the United Auto Workers and it is expected that the union will throw its support behind Joe Biden in the 2024 race. It comes as both Biden and former President Donald Trump will be making a play for union and working-class voters.

Of course, Biden stood shoulder-to-shoulder on the picket line with the UAW just this past fall as they were in those contract negotiations with the Big Three automakers. The president has really tried to fashion himself as one of the most pro union presidents in history. But one big question is whether this endorsement from the union will actually translate down to the rank-and-file members who are a part of that union. We have seen former President Trump really trying to make a play for these working-class voters, especially in the Midwest voters who might feel that democratic policies have left them behind.

And so, it really presents one of the battle points for Biden and Trump going forward. Of course, one of the big states where this could play in is the battleground state of Michigan where President Biden narrowly defeated Trump back in 2020.

And if you take a look at the breakdown of how union support fell during that state-- during that race, 62 percent of union households backed Biden, 37 percent backed Trump. That is something that the Biden team is hoping to replicate, but it remains unclear at this time, whether they can or if Trump will siphon off some of that support from union board voters.

Of course, this is all coming as the Biden campaign really feels that this is becoming a two-person race that the teams are entering the general election matchup at this time after the Trump won the state in New Hampshire and something that Biden has been trying to stress over the course the past day.

BASH: Yeah, he sure has. Thank you so much Arlette for that reporting. And my panel is back. Mario, I want to start with what Arlette was just referring to when it comes to Michigan just as a kind of way to zoom in on what this means in a very important state. Yes, it is true that Joe Biden beat Donald Trump with union workers in the last election 62 to 37 percent.

And we just want to put some context around that. Look at 2016, Michigan, is a state that Hillary Clinton lost, Donald Trump won then, she only got 53 percent of the vote. And that is one of the key parts of the so-called Biden coalition that led him to victory in places like Michigan, this union vote, and the idea that he is somebody who can appeal to them. Michigan will have other problems, which we'll talk about in a second. But just on this subset of his coalition, how critical is the UAW?

PARKER: It's very critical. I would argue that Michigan is maybe the crown jewel of his prospects to return to the White House in 2024. It capsulate so many of the challenges and opportunities that he has. Donald Trump has been using is a key part of his stump speech is to create a wedge between union workers and auto -- union auto workers and Biden by honing-in on the EV push, right.

This is the centerpiece of Biden's legislative agenda. Biden, of course, has been courting Shawn Fain. He went out to the picket lines in order to win the strike -- exactly. And so, there's that -- that issue as well.

And then some of the other stuff that's bubbling up in Michigan, right. Some of the dissent between the depart different wings of the Democratic Party over the Palestinian -- the Gaza war in Israel, also black voters, maybe some apathy there in Detroit as well. So, I would argue this is a huge win for the White House today.

BASH: So, I want to pick up on that and talk about what happened yesterday. There is a lot going on here in New Hampshire. So, it's understandable that maybe what we saw in Manassas, Virginia. It was the first joint appearance between Kamala Harris and Joe Biden official campaign appearance. They went to Virginia to push the issue of abortion. Let's listen to that.



JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Trump says he's proud that he overturned Roe v. Wade. He said, and I quote, there has to be punishment for the one that exercising the reproductive freedom. He describes the Dobbs' decision as American. But for American women, it's a nightmare.

KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES: Former President Trump handpicked, handpicked, three Supreme Court justices because he intended for them to overturn Roe. He intended for them to take your freedoms.


BASH: So that was the very carefully crafted message that they wanted to launch their campaign with jointly. Then here's what happened in the crowd.


BIDEN: Joe had a chance to sit down.



BASH: This happened over and over and over again, Jeff. And look, we see protesters. I saw them at a Trump rally, and we see them everywhere. This is we're highlighting this because A, it's a White House event. And B, it's not just a random protest. It speaks to a very big concern that the White House the re-election campaign has because of progressive angst and anger over his support for Israel's the way the White House says it is Israel's right to defend itself.

ZELENY: For sure. That is going to be a soundtrack to this reelection campaign. And Biden officials know it and are bracing for it. The difference is, as Mario was saying this is a key part of the Biden coalition in Michigan and beyond. But what's so different about this? We've all seen anti-war protesters to use that that term, certainly back in the George W. Bush reelection race.

But those were protesters from the outside if you will. These are people from inside Biden's coalition. That's what is so different about this. And they need -- the White House needs these people either to neutralize their support or to get them back on board. And that is very, very difficult to do.

So, nevermind the optics of that, I mean, to have the president erupted some 14 times or so are White House team. So that was there. But this is a challenge going forward. And there's really little he can do about it. In the short term, the damage may be done.

BASH: Before we go, I want to highlight some great reporting from our colleagues. Priscilla Alvarez, Betsy Klein, Arlette Saenz and others in the White House. Talking about the way that the campaign is going to continue to use Kamala Harris. A fired-up Kamala Harris becomes the Biden campaign's voice on some of its most central political issues. How, how critical is this?

HOLMES: I think it's critical for Joe Biden. I think that for Republicans, it's actually a good thing on their front because they believe that she is a polarizing figure. I understand the urge to use her and the desire to use her and what she brings to the table.

But I also think that -- I mean, if you listen to Nikki Haley speak, she talks all the time about how you're not really voting for Joe Biden, you're voting for Kamala Harris. That's who's going to be the next president essentially referring to his age. They think that is a talking point for that as well, quick button.

PARKER: No, I think Kamala Harris, somebody we saw her kind of find some of her footing last year, right. Reproductive issues is right there in her wheelhouse as well. Again, the campaign has dispatched her to Wisconsin to Georgia. Again, as I mentioned before, just showing up some of their support with black voters.

BASH: OK. Thanks so much, everybody. And Nikki Haley is moving on to South Carolina saying she is more electable than Donald Trump. Up next. We're going to speak to a Republican strategist about whether she's right.