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Inside Politics

Supreme Court To Hear Arguments On Gender-Affirming Care For Minors; Sources: Biden Preparing For Different Versions Of Trump; Violent Clashes Outside Los Angeles Synagogue. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired June 24, 2024 - 12:30   ET




MANU RAJU, CNN ANCHOR: The Supreme Court said this morning that it will hear arguments on whether states can ban transgender care for minors. According to the Human Rights Campaign, nearly half of states in the United States right now have enacted such restrictions.

CNN's Paula Reid joins me now to discuss. So Paula, what more have you learned about this case?

PAULA REID, CNN CHIEF LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Manu, this is the first time the court is really going to delve into the complicated and politically fraught issue of gender affirming care. And, of course, we're still waiting to wrap up this Supreme Court season, but here the justices, they have selected a blockbuster case with nationwide implications to be heard next term.

Now this case specifically focuses on a transgender care ban in Tennessee. The state law enacted last year bans hormone therapy and puberty blockers for minors and also imposes civil penalties on doctors who violate the law. Now a number of states have put in place similar bans. Right now, nearly half of all states have bans on transgender care for minors.

Republican lawmakers who support the ban say decisions about care should be made after an individual becomes an adult. But opponents argue that in addition to violating the civil rights of trans youth, the law also conflicts with parents rights to make decisions about their child's medical care. The Biden administration, along with families of transgender minors, challenged the Tennessee law and a similar law in Kentucky.

But the Supreme Court specifically agreed to hear the challenge out of Tennessee. And Manu, the case will be heard in the fall.

RAJU: Another significant case by the Supreme Court and big decisions this week as well.

All right, Paula Reid, thanks for that.

And which is three crucial days to go until the first presidential debate right here on CNN. We'll ask former White House communications directors for Donald Trump and Joe Biden for their advice to their former bosses.



RAJU: The most memorable moments in debate history, and the ones that probably have the biggest impact on the race aren't all about policy. They're the rehearsed jabs, the off the cuff moments, the frustrated sigh, and some are positive, like when Ronald Reagan helped neutralize questions over his age, with this response to his younger rival, Walter Mondale.



RONALD REAGAN, 40TH U.S. PRESIDENT: And I want you to know that also, I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit for political purposes, my opponent's youth and inexperience.


RAJU: Sometimes there's a gaffe that illustrates a problem a candidate already had. Like Mitt Romney's struggles with women voters.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We took a concerted effort to go out and find women who had backgrounds that could be qualified to become members of our cabinet. I went to a number of women's groups and said, can you help us find folks? And they brought us whole binders full of women.


RAJU: And some missteps don't even require a candidate to say something wrong. During the first presidential town hall, George H. W. Bush got caught checking his watch as a voter asked him a question, he would go on -- we ask him a question, then, of course, he would go on to lose to Bill Clinton a month later.

So to help us talk through all this are -- and how candidates will prepare for these moments trying to steal their moments on the debate night, we have CNN Political Commentator and former Biden White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield and former Trump White House Communications Director Mike Dubke. Thank you both for coming in.

How much you guys have obviously dealt with various aspects of post debates, post spin and all the rest? And how much of the debate is when you prepare for it as a candidate is about creating those positive viral moments or just simply just avoiding harmful ones or I guess both, especially in this time where memes and social media and these quick 10-second videos can drive the perception after the debate?

KATE BEDINGFIELD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. Well, yes, a lot of debate prep is about driving toward the things that you hope you're going to make the overarching narrative coming out of the debate focus on, right? But there's also a risk of over preparing.

I think for a lot of cantina (ph), Ronald Reagan famously had that moment. I'm going to bring he was also an actor and a terrific performer. And so, you know, sometimes over cranking on trying to create or fabricate a moment that feels real can be a mistake, can kind of be a trap.

Really the goal of prep is for your candidate to zero in on the three or four arguments that they really want to drive throughout the night. And then you work through different situations. How do you pivot back? How do you really, you know, go in with the knife when necessary? But it's more about prep.

It's more about internalizing those arguments, being ready to make them. And then also working through how you engage with the camera. I mean, I think that's one thing that's going to be interesting and sort of unique about this debate this week. You know, no audience essentially solely playing to the camera, solely playing to the TV audience at home.

That's something that Biden historically has been good at. If you go back and look at the 2020 debates, he had a lot of moments where he really, you know, went straight to camera and talked about how what he, you know, what he was proposing to do was going to impact you at home. So a lot of prep is working through how to work the camera and I would expect you'll see some of that on display this week too.

RAJU: How do you see it?

MIKE DUBKE, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: No, I couldn't agree with you more. I think the worst thing that can happen is over preparing for these debates because then you're wooden, you're cold, you're afraid of making mistakes. So these viral moments, we'll be seeing, you know, many more of these.

I was going to check my watch. I mean, you know --

RAJU: A five minutes or so, more than that.

DUBKE: I didn't know you were going to show that one.

BEDINGFIELD: I was going to say (ph), so.

DUBKE: Yes, exactly. But you really can get kind of frozen in place. So the key is to stay loose, to be ready, to have your three -- two, three, four things that you want to convey and then take advantage when you can.

RAJU: So over the weekend, Trump was talking about should he be nasty at the debate, should he be not nasty at the debate. Here's a little look of what his past debate performances, at least one of them, looked like.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: 1,800 nuclear warheads, and she's playing chicken, look, Putin, from everything I see, has no respect for this person.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well that's because he'd rather have a puppet as president of the United States.

TRUMP: No puppet, no puppet.

CLINTON: And it's pretty clear my Social Security payroll contribution will go up, as will Donald's, assuming he can't figure out how to get out of it. But what we want to do is to replenish the Social Security trust fund.

TRUMP: Such a nasty one.


RAJU: You work for Trump --


RAJU: -- do you expect him to come out like that?

DUBKE: Well, I do expect him to come out with like that. The problem for him is going to be the microphones being off. And the fact that there's no audience --

RAJU: Probably a benefit.

DUBKE: Well, I actually do think it's going to be a benefit. And I -- as I was thinking about this, this may be more problematic for the Biden campaign than really for Donald Trump. A lot has been made of the debate in 2020 when it was seen that President Trump was interrupting candidate Joe Biden at the time way too much.

And it became this kind of that was the story of the whole debate with the microphones off, he's not going to have that ability and without the audience, you're not going to get that kind of background noise. I think it's -- I don't know that we've had a debate with the microphones off of the opponent for the entire debate. I know it's happened in parts of debates.

So this is going to be a very interesting I think first look for this June debate before we get into the real campaign.


RAJU: And what if, you know, what if Trump comes out very disciplined, you know, not interrupting and measured?


RAJU: How does Biden respond to that?

BEDINGFIELD: Well, look, I think there's reason to expect that we're going to see that. I mean, both again, because the mics are going to be muted and the format is just not going to lend itself as much to, you know, the overbearing, shouting, interrupting. But also, like, the fact that you see Donald Trump asking his crowd, should I be nice? Should I be nasty? And we've seen other reporting that suggests he's, you know, while he won't really fully admit it, he is taking PrEP a little more seriously this round.

I mean, he knows this is a big moment for his campaign, and I think there's every reason to expect that he'll be the most disciplined version of himself. I think what the Biden campaign has to do, and then what Joe Biden has to do, obviously, is go at the substantive weaknesses that Donald Trump has.

Regardless of stylistically how he's presenting himself, Donald Trump can present himself as the suavest debater of all time. He still has to defend January 6th and the things he said about January 6th. Abortion, the fall of Roe, the fact that he's bragged about the -- putting justices on the Supreme Court who brought Roe down.

I mean, these are substantively issues where he is out of touch with most of America, but certainly with the moderate swing voters, we're going to decide this election. So, Joe Biden's got to drive to the substance there, regardless of how Trump is presenting himself stylistically.

RAJU: I want you to take me -- you guys are operatives, skilled and veteran operatives, take me inside the war room in a night like this. There was, of course, that you mentioned the -- there was the sigh, the infamous sigh of Al Gore in 2000. He let out a big sigh and it became a several sides and it became a sort of the debate afterwards.

This is how our friend and colleague Nia-Malika Henderson wrote about the perception shift in the aftermath of that and said "The post- debate spin effectively turned a debate night victory into a loss for Gore in the days that followed. Columnists mocked him and pundits had a talking point."

So, as a former communications director, what are you looking for that night to change the perception in the aftermath?

DUBKE: Right. Well, I think it comes after the debate. So this is -- I'm sorry I'm saying this on CNN because you're hosting the debate, but sometimes I don't even watch these debates. I read the spin afterwards because the spin is almost more important than what's set on stage, especially if there isn't a viral moment. If there's not that one thing that somebody can point to or that one interaction between the candidates.

So winning the post-debate in my mind is almost as important, if not more important than actually winning on stage that night.

RAJU: Do you agree?

BEDINGFIELD: So, well, I will say as somebody who's been involved in a lot of these debate war rooms, they are moving in real time. They're moving very quickly. You have teams of people who are watching, waiting for the moment where, you know, Trump, if you're the Biden war room, stumbles in a way that illustrates the point you want, and then you just seize on it.

I would really, you know, explain to your viewers here, you can't imagine how many people move very quickly to write up talking points, get a statement out, start calling reporters. Put together talking points for the people who are going to be in the spin room following the debate to Mike's point, helping shift and drive the narrative.

RAJU: Well -- yes.

BEDINGFIELD: There is an operation that makes that happen.

DUBKE: And it's not even just that now, Kate. It's all the memes, all the video, all the --

BEDINGFIELD: Absolutely.

DUBKE: -- everything else that comes out. Not just trying to spin reporters, no offense.

BEDINGFIELD: Absolutely.

RAJU: Yes.

BEDINGFIELD: Oh, absolutely. Digital is very well integrated --


BEDINGFIELD: -- into the war room.


RAJU: We flood our inboxes.


RAJU: Thanks for that. And we want -- you all to watch the debate.

DUBKE: I know, I know. Well, and -- but this one's so historic because it's so early.

RAJU: Yes.

DUBKE: So we'll see how this one works out.

RAJU: And we'll see the impact it will have. Thank you both for covering and talking.



RAJU: A reminder, we're just three days away from the first presidential debate of the year, of course, hosted by CNN. Don't miss President Joe Biden, former President Donald Trump. They go head to head Wednesday -- Thursday at 9:00 p.m. We'll be right back.



RAJU: ?President Biden is weighing in on the violent clashes outside of Los Angeles Synagogue on Sunday. He posted on X, "I'm appalled by the scenes outside of Adas Torah Synagogue in Los Angeles. Intimidating Jewish congregants is dangerous, unconscionable, antisemitic and un-American." He was talking about this scene yesterday.

Pro-Palestinian activists were chanting anti-Israel slogans in front of a synagogue in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood, and that led to violent altercations. There was at least one arrest. Now, antisemitic incidents in the U.S. have skyrocketed since the October 7th attack in Israel, more than doubling in 2023, according to the ADL.

CNN's Camila Bernal is following the latest from L.A. So Camila, what can you tell us?

CAMILA BERNAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Manu, another violent clash here in Los Angeles between pro-Palestinian protesters and counter protesters, and this time, as you mentioned, outside of a synagogue. I want to show you some of the video of police in riot gear pushing these protesters out of this area.

They were trying to get everyone out of the temple and you could see just how violent some of that got as those police officers tried to move those protesters. There's additional video that I want to show you because it also gets extremely violent at some point when in a video you see two people who appeared to be wrestling.

There's obviously shoving and screaming and violence all around and you see them there on the ground and people around them kicking them. You know, there's also videos of people who have bloody faces and mouths and it's just incredible when you look at these images and just what happened there outside of a temple.

There's also another video that was circling on social media where you see a woman who is being thrown an egg. This was a pro-Palestinian protester.


You know, there's people who were chased, people who were punched, who were thrown to the ground. And so, again, just very violent scenes of people who were yelling and shoving. This was both verbal and physical as you're seeing there on the video. We know at least one person was arrested for having a spiked flag.

And we were told that others were injured and went to the hospital. It's unclear exactly what the severity of those injuries were, but I spoke to the volunteer security director at the synagogue who told me that people were taken to the hospital and who said that people came looking for a fight, Manu, and they got one. So again, just violence that is now being denounced and being essentially called out by leaders here in LA and really around the world. Manu?

RAJU: Yes. Leaders denouncing antisemitic instances have been on the rise since October 7th. Camila Bernal, thank you for that report from Los Angeles.

BERNAL: Thank you.

RAJU: And thanks for joining Inside Politics. CNN News Central starts after a quick break.