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Post-Debate CNN Poll Of Polls: Trump 49 Percent, Biden 44 Percent; West Point Cadets Reflect On Service And Sacrifice; Biden Speaks With Netanyahu On Potential Ceasefire And Hostage Deal; Netanyahu Authorizes Negotiations To Begin Detailed Talks With Hamas. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired July 04, 2024 - 12:30   ET




DANA BASH, CNN ANCHOR: Waiting for the data. Democratic lawmakers and people close to the president tell CNN that the Biden campaign is asking for time to digest incoming polling data to figure out their path forward if there is a different one to take.

CNN's new post-debate poll of polls shows Trump with a five-point lead nationally, 49 percent to 44 percent. That's the widest margin that he's had all year.

Joining me now is Republican pollster Frank Luntz. Thank you so much for being here. Happy Fourth to you. You track the numbers, you do focus groups. What are you seeing right now about the reality of the way that people who are the most likely to vote and have the most impact view the race right now?

FRANK LUNTZ, REPUBLICAN POLLSTER: Well, clearly the debate had an impact and I want to compliment you personally and the people at CNN for doing such a great job for being able to navigate what was an impossible situation. And, obviously, we're looking at a reset of the environment right now. And the question is, how low does the president go?

We had a change of about 3 percent overall. And it's not that Trump went up, it's that Biden went down. I think that that is what's most significant. That Trump's numbers are staying relatively stable. And Biden's numbers have weakened.

The question I have to ask is, would anyone do any better than him? And has everything now been baked in with the two of them sitting side by side that basically it's going to stay this way to the end of the election? I can't answer that right now.

BASH: How about sort of the Trump side of things? We've heard obviously a lot, understandably so, about President Biden, about the effect of the debate, about where he stands. Democrats, I'm sure you've heard this as well, say, wait a minute, what about the fact that Trump didn't tell the truth 30 times? And about the fact that even in the Wall Street Journal poll, almost two-thirds of Americans say that the term authoritarian fits with Donald Trump. Have you seen any shift there, or is it to use your term, baked in?

LUNTZ: I've seen a shift against both of them. I've seen that 70 percent number climb where the public says, I don't want either of them. And I realize that makes your viewers on the 4th of July and such an important day. I realize that that's frustrating to them, but that's how people feel.

The discussions this afternoon and this evening over fireworks and barbecues is going to be how do we ever get into this situation. And quite frankly, I don't see this as a battle for the next election. I see this as a battle for the next generation and where we are headed as a democracy, economic freedom.

Everything about who we are as Americans is up for grabs over the next --

BASH: Well, talk a little bit about that. Forgive me, Frank, but talk a little bit about that because I know you've been saying that this is a moment in our politics and our country that is about far more than Donald Trump or Joe Biden.


LUNTZ: I've been trying to bring this in all the focus groups I do and all the interviews I do. I want the public to realize that we are angry with each other, that we're more than just frustrated, that we stop listening, that we stop showing respect, decency, civility, and that we shouldn't take this for granted. That it's not something that necessarily bounces back.

The fact is we were in worse shape today than we were in 2020 terms of this civility. And at some point a democracy breaks. And I think it's far better for us to have this conversation now before it breaks than it is to try to repair.

BASH: Well, let's talk about the best of our democracy. And that is people who serve this country in the United States military. You recently spoke to students at West Point about why they serve. Let's show some of that to our viewers.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As a gold star son, I've witnessed in my own family, what sacrifice does and what sacrifice means. This calling is a calling for something greater than myself. I was born in Iraq, sir.

LUNTZ: And why are you here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm here because I want to serve the nation that gave me the American Dream. I don't know many members in this room, but I feel a connected tissue. Right? We all believe in each other and believe in where America can go. And it makes me emotional, Dr. Luntz, because there's so many people in here that came from different backgrounds, cultures. And we have that tissue of wanting to make the United States of America a better place.

LUNTZ: You don't swear an oath to the country. You don't swear an oath to the president. You swear an oath to the Constitution. What does the Constitution mean to you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just putting myself in the shoes of our Founding Fathers. When they were writing that, they were writing of a dream. They were dreaming of something better. And to even see that dream come to where it is today, it's really moving.


BASH: I saw how emotional you got there, Frank. And I know you do a lot of work teaching at West Point. So you have a lot of interaction with these wonderful young people. Talk a little bit more about that and about what you learned there and about what you learn through your interactions on a regular basis.

LUNTZ: So I'm trying not to lose it now because I'm supposed to be professional. And these are young men and women who understand that they may, at some point, be asked to give the ultimate sacrifice. And I'm emotional.

And it was a very hard focus group for me to moderate because of the stories that they were telling. And this is the best of America. At the very moment that I'm describing to you how we tear each other apart, these men and women bring each other together. Sacrifice, service, something that we teach our young people, courage, conviction, commitment.

They are not just the best of America, they're the best anywhere and I want to celebrate them and I want Americans to know on this 4th of July that these young people at West Point, they've got our backs. And so we should have to -- sorry.

BASH: That's OK. Hey, Frank, I'm going to interrupt you because why don't you -- I know there are some who are there with you. Why don't you have them come over real quick so we can thank them.

LUNTZ: Well I'm going to show you how disciplined they are. Because this is a news network.

BASH: Yes.

LUNTZ: They actually can't.


LUNTZ: Because there's no politics, there's no partisanship.

BASH: That makes sense.

LUNTZ: We discuss democracy. We discuss the Constitution. But at West Point, there's no woke.

BASH: Yes.

LUNTZ: There's only service to the country.

BASH: Yes. Yes. Well, I don't -- well, I don't know what you meant about the woke part, but I understand that they can't be in uniform and be on a show that suggests that they are doing anything that's political.

Most importantly, please thank them for all of us here at CNN for not just what they brought us in that focus group, but for everything that they do. And thank you, Frank, for bringing it to us and Happy Fourth.

LUNTZ: And Happy Fourth and thanks CNN, and thank you for doing this. You didn't have to. You did it and we're all grateful for it.

BASH: Thanks Frank.

And coming up just into CNN, President Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu just spoke on the phone about the war that is happening in Gaza. We will get a readout next.



BASH: Just in, President Biden just wrapped a phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. I want to go straight to the White House. CNN's Arlette Saenz is there. Arlette, what are you learning?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Dana, President Biden spent some time on the phone today with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss some developments relating to a possible deal between Israel and Hamas on the release of hostages and an ultimate ceasefire.

Now, Vice President Kamala Harris, I'm told, also joined this call. A source say -- mentioning to me that she has joined many of these calls between Biden and Netanyahu in the past. But, of course, it's interesting given the current political dynamics at play here in the U.S.

But this call between President Biden and Netanyahu comes at a time when Israeli officials have indicated that there could be some positive movement relating to getting to a hostage deal. Netanyahu has told his team that negotiators should be entering into conversations to talk about the framework for this plan.

It comes at a time when you'll remember back in May, President Biden said it is time for this war to end, and he had laid out this three part proposal for Israel and Hamas to pursue. Talks had stalled out for a bit.

[12:45:10] But over the weekend, I'm told, the U.S. presented some language that they had hoped might bridge the gap between Israel and Hamas. This specifically focused on the gap that exists between phase one and phase two. Phase one would call for a six-week ceasefire and the release of some hostages.

And while in that phase one phase, they would begin negotiations to try to get to phase two. Our understanding is that the language that the U.S. proposed specifically tried to deal with the scope. And what the -- those negotiations and phase one would cover.

So we will see what else emerged -- emerges from the Israeli side, as well as Hamas. At a time where this is a significant movement, there is no guarantee that a deal will finally be reached. There is a possibility that the two sides through their mediators may be beginning in negotiations in earnest.

Of course, this all comes as President Biden is fighting for his own political survival back here at home. The conflict between Israel and Hamas has been a source of tension with some members of the president's party, especially when you think about young voters who are displeased with President Biden's handling of this conflict.

So we will see what else emerges in this coming days as Israeli officials have expressed some type of cautious optimism following this latest response from Hamas.

BASH: Wow. I mean, listen, at this point, any sliver of hope is better than what we have seen in the past several weeks and even longer. So, it is good news that they are speaking and that they are expressing just a modicum of optimism.

Arlette, thank you so much for that report. Appreciate it.

BASH: And we are celebrating America on this 248th anniversary of its independence. So coming up, a preview of tonight's star studded CNN Fourth of July Special. Singer Gavin DeGraw will be here live. Don't go anywhere.




BASH: Finally, right here in the heart of D.C. tonight, you have to tune in because it's going to be amazing. Join CNN for an unforgettable Fourth of July music celebration I'll be hosting along with my colleague Boris Sanchez. And there are going to be a lot of must see musical performances. Among them, Gavin DeGraw, who is right here in studio with us right now.

It's so good to see you.


BASH: I have to say it's a little sort of surreal to be rocking out to your music and you're sitting right here. But it's very cool.

It's -- have you done this before? Have you been in D.C. as part of the July 4th celebration?

DEGRAW: I have. I've been here a few times in the past. We've done the performance in front of the Capitol before --

BASH: Yes.

DEGRAW: -- with the orchestra, things like that. This will be the first time in this particular location where the stage is this time. But very cool. We're with the Air Force Band. It'll be an amazing show. They're an amazing band. And we're looking forward to it.

BASH: What's it like for you to be here in D.C. on July 4th?

DEGRAW: Nostalgic. It feels important. It feels like the right place to be for me. I've got a family that was in the military, so it means a little bit something on a personal level for me. And also Fourth of July is the anniversary of when my grandfather had died. He was a combat vet.

BASH: Wow.

DEGRAW: World War II combat vet. And so it's a special day for me.

BASH: He died on July 4th?

DEGRAW: On 4th of July, yes.

BASH: Wow.


BASH: Wow. So like the greats, like Thomas Jefferson and --

DEGRAW: That's how I feel.

BASH: And President Adams.

DEGRAW: Absolutely, yes.

BASH: So that sounds a lot.


BASH: You mentioned that you are going to be performing tonight with the Air Force Band.

DEGRAW: Right.

BASH: They were part of our celebration last year. Needless to say, they're amazing.

DEGRAW: Sure. Yes, they are.

BASH: What's it going to be like performing with them?

DEGRAW: I think it'll be pretty spectacular. Typically, I don't play with this many musicians on --

BASH: How many are there? Do you know?

DEGRAW: -- in a particular night. My guess is there's probably about 50 of them. I didn't take a head count last night --

BASH: But a lot?

DEGRAW: -- because I'm going over some stuff. Yes, it was a like real -- a real orchestra, you know? Typically I'm on tour with four or five other people, you know, an organ player, drummer, bass, guitar an extra key -- you know, an extra piece or two, every once in a while. But this will be, you know, the full shebang as it were, right?

BASH: Yes. I bet it's going to be emotional.

DEGRAW: It will be. It will be. The setting, the day. Hopefully the weather holds out.

BASH: Yes. Give me both.

DEGRAW: Fingers crossed, right? I know. Yes, it's true. Every time you play outside, you know, God's your partner. So you're just really relying on, you know, what the decision is going to be with the clouds.

BASH: You mentioned that you come from a military family. You were just telling me before --


BASH: -- the segment. It's your parents. Your parents served, both of them.

DEGRAW: Yes, yes. My mom was army reserves. My dad was in the army. My granddad was in the army. My great uncle Jack -- yes, a lot of family members served, so it's an honor every time 4th of July comes around. It's a little bit more special.

BASH: Tell me about, you are on tour now.


BASH: You have a new album coming out September 27th?

DEGRAW: Yes, that's right. I actually recut my first record.


DEGRAW: The record that song that played at the top of the minute there was on. That was a big hit for me. My first big hit. And so I recut the entire record 20 years later. It's the anniversary record. And we just did the more mature version of it. You know, this is me as a full grown adult recutting that material and the songs have grown with me and the productions have grown with me and my singing has matured and it was time to do it again.


BASH: Well, look forward to hearing that. And --

DEGRAW: Thank you.

BASH: -- more importantly, look forward to being with you tonight on a call (ph).

DEGRAW: I look forward to it. I look forward to it more. This is an awesome honor. Thanks for your time.

BASH: No, it's -- the honor is ours. And, you know, it's nice to have a little fun these days.

DEGRAW: Absolutely.

BASH: And you bring us fun and joy and great art.

DEGRAW: That's my job.

BASH: Thanks.

DEGRAW: Appreciate it.

BASH: Nice to see you, Gavin.

DEGRAW: You as well.

BASH: And you can see more of Gavin. Less important, myself. More important, my colleague, Boris Sanchez. That is tonight, CNN's 4th of July Special. Enjoy live fireworks from across the country and watch these must see musical performances. It all starts 7:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

Thank you so much for joining INSIDE POLITICS. "CNN NEWS CENTRAL" starts after a quick break. Don't go anywhere. Happy Fourth.