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Biden in Wisconsin to Tout $3.3 Billion Microsoft Investment; Noem's VP Prospects Take a Hit; RFK Jr. Says Doctors Found a Dead Worm in His Brain. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired May 08, 2024 - 12:30   ET




DANA BASH, CNN ANCHOR: President Biden is campaigning today in Wisconsin. It is his fourth visit to the badger state this year. He is there to highlight a new $3.3 billion dollar investment by Microsoft in a new artificial intelligence data center. It is one of the many such announcements he has made in key states in recent weeks, trying to turn around polls that show him trailing to Donald Trump in most national and battleground state polls.

Joining me now for more on his campaign strategy is Michael Tyler. He is the Biden-Harris Campaign Communications Director. Thank you so much for being here. I appreciate it. Let's start with what the president is doing today shortly actually, while he has been generally crisscrossing the battleground states, as I said, all told, unveiling $866 billion in development.

So the question is what I mentioned, which is the race still looks like a toss up to us today. Are there any signs that you are seeing that these efforts, like what he is going to do in Wisconsin, are moving the needle?

MICHAEL TYLER, BIDEN-HARRIS CAMPAIGN COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Well, I think there are a couple of things. First, thanks so much for having me. I think as it relates to what the president is doing today, he is of course there in his official capacity in Racine, announcing $3.3 billion in investment. I do think it stands in stark contrast to Donald Trump's fraudulent economic record of broken promises to American workers.

He showed up in Racine when he was president, golden shovel in hand, promising the eighth wonder of the world and 13,000 jobs. That eighth wonder never showed up. He did the same thing in cities like Warren, Michigan and Lordstown, Ohio, where he promised auto workers that the factories wouldn't close. We saw six auto plants close under Donald Trump's presidency. So, you have one candidate who has a track record of breaking his promises to the American worker, and you have another in Joe Biden who is keeping his promises to American workers, and that's a choice that we think the American people are going to fundamentally understand as we move forward in this election.

I think as it relates to the polls, to the second part of your question, first, there is as many polls at this stage in the race where were up is when they are down. But I think as it relates to polling right now, we are not going to put too much stock in any of those. We are going to focus on doing the things that we know we need to do as a campaign in order to win this election in November. That's why were out today with another $14 million in advertisements that are going to run across all eight battleground states. That's why were scaling up our physical infrastructure in the states. We've got 150 offices across all the battleground states. By the end of May, it will be up to 200.

That's why we are deepening our organizing presence, working with small businesses so that they can be staging locations for a lot of our programmatic efforts on the ground, again, in all the battleground states. And you take that against what Donald Trump is doing, the lack of infrastructure, the fact that they are closing minority outreach centers, the fact that the president -- today's is Wednesday, he could be campaigning, Donald Trump could be, but he is down in Mar-a-Lago. No matter where he is --

BASH: Michael?

TYLER: Yeah. Go -- no matter where he is, whether he is on the stump or down at Mar-a-Lago, he is not doing the work of communicating directly with the voters who are going to decide this election. He is just screaming to an echo chamber of MAGA extremism to his base.

BASH: I just want to jump in because before you talked about the infrastructure that you are building, just going back to the first point you were making about the economy and the contrast between Trump and Biden. I hear what you are saying about polls, but it is hard to argue with the fact that on the question of the economy and who voters see as more successful, that they trust more on the economy, that Trump has an edge over Biden every step of the way. So, how are you going to convince voters of what you just said? That Trump -- that the economy wasn't great under Trump when that is not how a lot of them feel.

TYLER: Yeah, that's precisely what this campaign is for, for reminding people of the incredible progress that we have made under Joe Biden. Wisconsin is an example of what we've seen across the country, 15 million jobs that have been created under this presidency, 800,000 manufacturing actually jobs that have been created under this presidency.


TYLER: Record-low black and Latino unemployment under this presidency, for example. And we are going to contrast that against, again, Donald Trump's fraudulent economic record when he had power. Black America, for example, the thing that went up by the end of his presidency was the unemployment rate, as long -- as well as the uninsured rate. These are the facts and this is exactly why you run a relentless campaign from now until November to compare the records and compare the vision where we are going to take this country under another four years of either Joe Biden or Donald Trump. And we are confident that if we deliver that message day in and day out from now until November, the American people are going to know that there is one candidate who is fighting for them in Joe Biden and another candidate who simply fighting for himself no matter where he is in Donald Trump.

BASH: Over the past few months, you mentioned some of the new ads and the strategy that you put out today. But, there had been dozens of ads focused on a variety of issues -- abortion, health care, infrastructure, green energy. What is the most effective messaging that you have seen so far that you are going to sort of double down, triple down on in the six months ahead?

TYLER: Well, yeah. Listen, we know that voters are going to take all of these issues with them when they go to the ballot box in November. And so, it is important for us to talk about everything that is at stake in this election. The economy, of course, matters but our fundamental freedoms and our very democracy matter as well. And that is what the voters are telling us. And so, we are going to continue to talk about the contrast of visions for where we want to take this economy, whether we are going to want to continue to build it from the middle out and the bottom-up, as Joe Biden knows that we need to do, or are we going to return to the failed trickle-down approach that Donald Trump tried where it was nothing but handouts to the super-rich and corporations.

We are going to talk about the issue of abortion, are we going to restore Roe as Joe Biden wants to do or are we going to continue to see the chaos play out in states across the country that Donald Trump has created? We are going to talk about our very democracy. We are going to continue to protect and defend our democracy or are we going to tear down the very fabric of it by having somebody who wants to rule as a dictator on day one, if they are able to return to power in Donald Trump? That's what this election is going to be about, and that's what we are going to communicate to voters from now until November.

BASH: You mentioned that the former president is spending most of his time in court in New York. I want to ask you just sort of generally speaking, what do you think at this point matters more to voters, and will determine the outcome of the election? Voters' perception of the economy or the verdict in Trump's criminal hush money trial?

TYLER: Yeah. I think the voters want to know what these candidates are going to do for them. In Joe Biden, we have a president and a candidate who demonstrates every single day that he wakes up fighting for them, to create jobs, to lower the cost, cap the cost of insulin at $35, cap prescription drug price --

BASH: So the answer is the economy?


TYLER: (Inaudible) $2,000, but we are also talking about Donald Trump, who when he is out on the stump or outside of the courthouse, he is talking about -- he is bragging about the role that he played in overturning Roe and banning abortion across this country. He is talking about terminating the ACA, so that we no longer have protections for people with pre-existing conditions. He is talking about a bloodbath and ruling as a dictator on day one. So these are the things that the voters are going to take to the ballot box with them in November.

BASH: All right. You've just -- for the record, you definitely talked about issues and not what Trump is doing in the trial and the potential verdict. And that is very telling. I appreciate your coming on and sharing your campaign strategy today, Michael, thank you.

TYLER: Appreciate you having me.

BASH: Tonight, on 'OutFront' CNN's Erin Burnett will have an exclusive one-on-one interview with President Biden. He is going to sit down with Erin to talk about what we just discussed, the economy and other plans for a second term. That's tonight on Erin Burnett 'OutFront' at 7 Eastern, only here on CNN.

Up next, she's had a rough couple of days, not what a prospective running mate wants to hear from the man at the top of the ticket. We'll dive in next.



BASH: South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem has taken hit after hit on television this week about the story she tells in her own new book about how she shot her poorly trained dog and about not really meeting with North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un despite saying she did.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Over the last week.

GOV. KRISTI NOEM (R-SD): I should not have put that anecdote in the book. I'm not going to talk about my meetings.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your anecdote indicates that it happened, right?

NOEM: I'm not --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did the dog story come up in your conversation with Trump?

NOEM: I talk to President Trump all the time. Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you bring up -- with Trump?

NOEM: Yes, enough Steward (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you bring up the dog with Trump?

NOEM: This interview is ridiculous, what you are doing right now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When you recorded your own audio book, you didn't notice --

NOEM: I am not going to discuss about my meetings with world leaders.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am not asking you to. I am asking you about recording the audio.

NOEM: Did you want to talk about something else today?


BASH: Now, Noem had been a top candidate to join Donald Trump's ticket. Here is what Trump himself said about her yesterday.


DONALD TRUMP, (R) 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I liked her a lot, so I don't want to comment on anybody on the list. But she had a rough couple of days, I will say that.



BASH: Governor Noem was scheduled to be on this program, "Inside Politics" today. Her team reached out to us weeks ago to book her here and we reconfirmed earlier this week, she abruptly canceled last night. We want to say, governor, you are of course, welcome on the program any time.

Back with the panel. I read the entire book, even down to Appendix B. 240 pages in, there is a lot in there, a lot beyond what we saw.


BASH: And I do hope to be able to talk to her about that. But I wanted to just talk about sort of the raw politics of this and where we think things stand, not just with her, but how this plays into the very important question and move that Donald Trump has to make for VP.

LAURA BARRON-LOPEZ, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, PBS NEWSHOUR: Yeah, her reaction is a little bit funny simply because she is a public official. She is the governor. She put in her book these details and then she gets upset when the press then proceeds to ask about these details, whether it is her anecdote about Kim Jong Un or her killing her dog Cricket. When it comes to the VP stakes for Donald Trump, I think, look, ultimately Donald Trump is going to make his decision based on who is the most loyal to him and he isn't someone who is necessarily fond of dogs himself. So, I am not sure that this is necessarily entirely disqualifying for her in the eyes of Donald Trump.

BASH: And she does talk in this book a lot about a lot of different topics that would and will ingratiate her to Donald Trump. I mean, something that didn't get any coverage was what she talks about with regard to COVID and she very much was an outlier, keeping everything open in South Dakota. And when she talks about the federal response in her book, she -- which a lot of conservatives are still angry with Trump about, she kind of talks about what happened and tries to shield him from it and blames others.

EVA MCKEND, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: Yet and still, Dana, this is going to be a torturous process for all of these contenders because all indications are that the former president is really relishing this process. He says it is great for all of them out there to be stumping for me and he is quite sort of enjoying this. They have a difficult task at hand. They have to indulge in his 2020 conspiracy theories. They have to prove to be prolific fundraisers. They have to defend him at every turn. And then, ultimately, do all this without debasing themselves, right? Not doing so to the point of embarrassing themselves and making themselves look too lowly. So, it is a difficult task for all of these contenders.

HANS NICHOLS, POLITICAL REPORTER, AXIOS: He is outsourcing the vetting. The vetting is going to be done by all of us. It is going to be done -- I mean, Dana, you and I met in 2008 where there was a little-known governor from a small state who was plucked from obscurity became the vice presidential nominee for Republican candidate. And that was Sarah Palin.

And so, sunlight is the best disinfectant. There is going to be a lot of conversation and a lot of scrutiny on all the candidates. Donald Trump is effectively outsourcing it and you said it is torturous. I think we should have a different approach. I think this is fun, this is dynamic. This is the process but it is probably torturous for the candidates themselves.

BASH: Oh, yeah.

NICHOLS: I can see the point.

BASH: No question, great discussion. Thank you all. Coming up, stranger than fiction, RFK Jr. is now saying a worm ate part of his brain. Our very own brain doctor, Sanjay Gupta, is here next.



BASH: I know it sounds like a sci-fi movie, a presidential candidate with a worm in his brain, but apparently it is not. 'The New York Times' is reporting that independent presidential candidate, RFK Jr. said in a deposition in 2012 that a doctor told him a warm got into his brain, ate a portion of it, and then died.

RFK Jr. says he has recovered from the memory loss and brain fog that the worm caused. CNN has reached out to the campaign about the story. Last week, the campaign was asked about RFK Jr.'s health issues impacting his run, a spokeswoman called it "hilarious," and said that that was hilarious given his competition.

We have now got CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta with us, who of course is a neurosurgeon. This really is a real thing? DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, this is a real thing. It has a name, a neurocysticercosis . What that basically means is, typically, and again, were just hearing this from the deposition, so we don't have medical records, but what it very much sounds like is something that happens when people eat pork that has been undercooked and the larvae from the pork can actually, that is not been killed by my cooking enough, gets into the bloodstream and then can travel all over the body. That's what can happen.

It can show up in different organs around the body, yes, including the brain. And let me show you, I think we have an image of what this might look like on a scan. You can see what happens is that these larvae will get into the brain. It is not eating the brain, first of all, it is just sort of finding a home in the brain. And then eventually, those purple dots that you may see on the image there, that is sort of these cysts that form around it. They sort of create these walls around the larvae in the brain. And that's what people will see on a scan.

It can cause symptoms in people not typically memory loss or cognitive problems, but more headaches, sometimes people might have seizures, or many times they are just found incidentally. What I mean by that, Dana, is that he may have gotten scans because he was having some issues. They find these things, but it doesn't mean --

BASH: Yeah.

GUPTA: -- that they're necessarily related in some way.

BASH: Which is what he said in that deposition, that he went to a doctor, the doctor actually who treated his uncle, Ted Kennedy who had a brain tumor, and that's when they said that this is what they thought it was. You've actually operated on people who have this type of worm before?

GUPTA: So sometimes, because in the process when these worms get into the brain -- again, they are not eating the brain, but when they start to die, they can cause a lot of inflammation in the brain and people might have significant symptoms. So, you saw that scan that I just showed you.


GUPTA: So if you're looking at a brain model like this, typically where these cysts end up being is closer to the surface of the brain. So, what we would have to do is, actually, make a little opening in the skull and then go down and actually remove that cyst, which is something that does happen. Typically, again, it is from people who've eaten undercooked pork and we sort of put the story together, get the scan, and it all fits. By removing that, you can actually get a lot of relief of the symptoms. Again, most times people do not need surgery. And many times, it can be treated with medications alone. But in rare cases, an operation is necessary. I've done that, many neurosurgeons have.

BASH: That's all I have to say to that. (LAUGH)

GUPTA: You should come visit me in the OR sometimes, Dana. I'll take you in (ph).

BASH: I -- you definitely do not want because then I'll end up being part of the patient team there. Thank you for being on. Thank you for explaining it. Thank you for bringing your model brain and your actual very giant brain --

GUPTA: My actual brain.

BASH: -- that helps explain all of this.


BASH: Sanjay, thanks. And thank you for joining "Inside Politics." "CNN News Central" starts after the break.