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Laura Coates Live

Biden Tries To Reassure Dem Governors In White House Meeting; New CNN Poll Of Polls: Trump Widens Lead Over Biden; ABC News Moves Up Biden Interview To Air Friday Night. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired July 03, 2024 - 21:00   ET




JIM SCIUTTO, CNN HOST: New images coming into us, from Jamaica, where Hurricane Beryl is hammering the island nation, with heavy rains, sustained winds of about 130 miles per hour.

Jamaica's Prime Minister is cautious, but remained optimistic, said the worst that could have happened so far has not happened.

The news continues. "LAURA COATES LIVE" starts now.

LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: Breaking tonight, an extraordinary meeting wrapping up at the White House, just moments ago, as Democratic governors raced to Washington, D.C., for a critical face-to-face talk with President Biden.

Now, he is insisting publicly today that he is not leaving this race. New details however, on what sources say Biden's privately telling his allies. And there is brand-new sound of the President admitting that he quote, screwed up, on debate night.

Plus, pressure continuing to build, as a second House Democrat now publicly calling for the embattled incumbent, to abandon his reelection bid.

And is a succession plan taking shape, as we are speaking here, tonight? Well, a senior campaign aide says the President is keeping his Vice President Kamala Harris, intentionally close today, to send a clear message. Here's what it is. He's with her.


So, a crisis meeting, in our nation's capital, on this Independence Day Eve. Instead of firing up their barbecues, preparing for some hometown parades, a group of Democratic governors has paraded themselves, to the White House, this evening. Many others joined the huddle on Zoom.

And there were 25 in total online and in-person. Yes, that's governors from half the entire country. Why? For some straight talk with the President of United States, on whether he can really lead the party to victory, in November, up and down the ballot, and govern another four years.

Now, several governors took to the microphones, after that meeting, and standing by the President. Yet Governor Tim Walz, from my home state of Minnesota, insisting that Biden is fit for office. You have Governor Wes Moore of Maryland, a Biden surrogate, also maintaining his support.


GOV. TIM WALZ (D-MN): Had a great conversation with the President.

He has had our backs through COVID, through all of the recovery, all the things that have happened. The governors have his back.

GOV. WES MOORE (D-MD): We always believe that when you -- when you love someone, you tell them the truth. And I think we came in, and we were honest about the feedback that we were getting.

We said that we would stand with him.


COATES: Also notably there, Vice President Kamala Harris. Now, why is this notable? I mean, she's the Vice President after all, right? But it places her in the same room, as some of the very men and women, who could become her challenger, should Biden end his bid.

A senior campaign adviser tells CNN that the President is keeping Harris intentionally close by, inviting her to join the meeting with governors, about his future, sharing lunch, in his private dining room today, and taking part in a call with campaign staff. Now, the overarching message, according to that adviser, he's with her, should he step aside.

Now, several party officials and advisers say that plans are already underway, somehow, for Biden to immediately throw his support behind the Vice President, release his Democratic delegates, that's the key here, and maybe the war-chest money, and ask them to do the same, in the hopes of avoiding a contentious fight to leave that Democratic ticket.

But in the meantime, Biden was defiant, in that all-staff call today, with his entire campaign team, trying to rally the troops, saying "No one is pushing me out. I'm not leaving. I'm in this race to the end."

Despite acknowledging privately that dropping out of the race is not out of the question, a source says that he's clear-eyed, not oblivious to a scenario, in the next stretch of days, where if polls are plummeting, and fundraising is drying up, and interviews are going badly, it might prompt him to accept it's just not working, unquote.

Now, this is all coming after the debate that upended everything. And tonight, there is brand-new sound of Biden talking about his performance, on that stage, in a brand-new radio interview.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I had a bad night. And the fact of the matter is, that, you know, it was -- I screwed up. I made a mistake. That's 90 minutes on stage. Look at what I've done in 3.5 years.


COATES: Let's get right to a pair of reporters and sources inside the Biden team.

Katie Rogers is a White House correspondent for The New York Times.

And Evan Osnos is a Biden biographer and writer for The New Yorker.

Glad to have you both here tonight.

The news is not changing. Katie, let me begin with you here.


Because this group of governors, I mean, it's a tough crowd. Even though they're Democrats, some of them and their names have been floated as potential replacements. He is surely aware of that. And they are unlikely to be fooled, as politicians themselves, by a sort of outward-facing brave face.

So, what do you think he told them to get that statement out in cameras, today?

KATIE ROGERS, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, NEW YORK TIMES: I think, based on the reporting that's coming out of that meeting, at least one of those governors was very straight with him, about the fact that they personally thought that Biden seemed fine for his age, but was very clear about the fact that voters, in their state, do not feel the same way. So, it was a pretty clear-eyed conversation, it sounds like.

There were three governors, who came out afterwards. And Walz of Minnesota said, we have his back, he had ours. The President wants to win in November. We all agree that winning, and finding a path to victory is the most important thing.

So, that sounds to me, like the tenor of that meeting was them, supporting him now, and wanting to know more from him about what specifically he will do to stay on the ticket, and win.

COATES: Any reporting, Katie, about why -- well, some were on Zoom, but 17 others were not in front of the camera, at the very least, actually 22. Do you know why these three were chosen?

ROGERS: To come out?


ROGERS: I had asked a staffer to one of the governors, about why the ones who were in-person, why not come out and show a big show of support? And this person had said, they agreed on this particular group, this small group to come out.

So, there was not any discussion about showing a united front, which shows you a lot about the different opinions of the people in that meeting.

And also, a person in Biden-world points out to me that this was not exactly the sampling of governors that the President might want to look to, for really full-throated support, right now.

COATES: A great point.

Evan, I want to turn to you.

And I think about Newsom or Whitmer, or Pritzker, those whose names have been floated. And they're not in front of that camera. I mean, certainly, Wes Moore has been floated, for years now, as a possible contender for the presidency. But he was in support as a surrogate of Biden.

But then there's this reporting, Evan, that the -- there is this succession plan taking shape, that he is keeping Vice President Kamala Harris closer to him in the event that he should transition to her for the campaign, and leave the ticket.

Call me a skeptic. But I do wonder, is it a factor of keep your Vice President close, or your potential challenger closer?

EVAN OSNOS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, he is aware of the dynamics between Presidents and Vice Presidents. After all, he was a Vice President.

I remember him once telling me during the vice presidency, that he always was conscious of the fact that, as he put it, Al Gore seemed to be sometimes running for president, even while he was in the vice presidency.

So, Joe Biden's sensitive to any appearance that somebody might be putting some distance between him and the President. And he hasn't felt that way about Kamala Harris.

I have to tell you, I think that one of the things she's done, over the last three-and-a-half years, that has been important to this White House, has been staying close to him. She hasn't been -- you haven't seen stories of her getting out, getting some distance, maybe landing a point here and there against him, when he's weak. So I think--

COATES: Some would that's to her detriment in the public eye.

OSNOS: It has definitely been one of the reasons why she's not more visible.

But I think, right now, when you might have a president? And I think we certainly do have a president, who is facing the prospect of what will his legacy be. One of the things is did he establish the prospect of making history again, with another president, putting somebody in a position to make history again. And I think, after all, the first decision he made, as a -- major decision he made, as a nominee, was who his vice president would be. And this is something that he's still proud of.

COATES: And we're still not hearing who Trump's VP contender is. He's kind of gone radio-silent on this very point.

But Katie, to the frustration of many voters, over the years, with this disconnect between what a politician says in public, versus what they're saying privately. In private, the messages, according to reporting, seems to be different, even if the White House is saying otherwise. And we should point out that CNN has similar reporting.

But in your article, you quote a quote, key ally of the president as saying this. "He knows if he has two more events like that, we're in a different place" by the end of the weekend.

So, the idea of two more instances, will voters and donors be that generous to give him a three-strikes-and-you're-out rule?

ROGERS: I mean, clearly, Biden's strongest allies in elected--

COATES: Your sigh tells me a lot just now.

ROGERS: Oh, no, I'm just exhausted.

No, I think -- I think, clearly, his most vocal allies are out there, right now, in an effort to advocate, to buy him time, and give him time, make his case. He wants to run. He is in control of the party. And it's his decision. And that is all true.


But donors are angry that they feel, some of them feel like they were misled about the President's condition. Elected officials have been grousing privately that the President did not reach out to them, personally, until today. He sort of went down a list of leaders.

You know there is -- publicly, yes, the President is staying in. He told his campaign staff today that. But of course, he's staying in. Of course, he wants this to work out and for the page to turn. Whether or not he can -- he can address the private concerns that are becoming more public is another issue.

COATES: Evan, it is his decision to make. He has earned the delegates. But he has many voices in his ear. And one of them is, of course, his partner in life, and the first lady, Dr. Jill Biden.

Do you know if there is the support, among her own team, for her continued support in this manner?

OSNOS: It is a speculation, I don't know. But what I can tell you is that she has been, and I think the little bits we've seen publicly, is that she has been adamantly, almost fiercely supportive of him. The more he gets pushed and knocked back, the more she digs in, the more she leans into this. This has been at the core of their relationship for decades.

And you have to remember, she was, after all, around, after the 1987 presidential race, when he and the family, in many ways, felt that he'd been pushed out. And she didn't like that. They took a lesson from that, which is we will never let somebody do that to us, again. That was sort of part of the family lore. And so, the armor is thick on that one, I think.

COATES: That's an interesting comparison point. I think people forget about the breadth and scope of just how long they have been in this political machine.

Evan, Katie, thank you both so much.

OSNOS: Thank you.

COATES: And earlier, you heard President Biden speaking to a radio host, in Wisconsin. It was one of two that were taped interviews that he did with Black radio stations.

And the second interview was in the key battleground state of Pennsylvania. He spoke to my next guest, Andrea Lawful-Sanders, of WURD's "The Source" in Philadelphia.

Andrea, nice to see you. We hear you often. So, good to see you here today. How you doing?

ANDREA LAWFUL-SANDERS, RADIO HOST: Oh, thank you so much. It's good to be here. Thank you for inviting me.

COATES: Well, everyone's been talking about the debate. You scored a huge interview, in being able to converse with the President of the United States.


COATES: And, of course, you asked him about the debate performance. It was -- there's also a lot of questions about his future. What was his response?

LAWFUL-SANDERS: He said he did not do well in the debate. But it was 90 minutes out of three years that he had been president, that he had a staff of people around him.

He has created a lot of changes across this country. And he began listing them off. When the COVID happened, and he was giving $1,400; and when he lowered the cost of insulin; he went and named some of those things that he had done in the three years that he had been President.

I was listening to see if he was lucid. And he absolutely was, yes.

COATES: Now, I do radio in the morning. And I'd tell you, difference between radio and television, it's like a camera goes in front of some people's faces. And the same person, who gave a dynamic interview, on radio, had some kind of a lobotomy by the time the camera comes in front of their face.


COATES: And so, I always think about the way radio, you have to have a special set of skills, when you are the interviewer, let alone the interviewee.


COATES: He was not on camera. It was a scenario, where he could have very well had someone with him.

Did you judge that at all? Or was he quick on his feet? Was he responsive immediately?

LAWFUL-SANDERS: I did judge that. And he was responsive immediately. I checked his -- and listened, because as a radio show host, you can tell if someone is reading something.

COATES: Right.

LAWFUL-SANDERS: Or if they're talking, speaking on their feet.

He was speaking on his feet. He really got involved in saying things like, Philadelphia, the amount of money that he has given to Pennsylvania alone, the student loan debt relief he has done, what he has given to HBCUs, what he has done in terms of Affordable Care Act.

He talked about the Supreme Court, and how they are taking away our freedoms and our liberties.

He discussed Donald Trump, and the fact that he wants to be a dictator.

I mean, incredibly lucid.

And I have to say this to you. When the debate happened, last week, myself and a few other WURD hosts were doing live commentating, and we were all concerned. Just, let me just tell you, it's best to be clear. We were all very concerned. And folks were trying to figure out, what do we do next?

What I began noticing, on our WURD listening audience, from our listening audience, was that they were saying we don't care if you rolled him (ph). We are not voting for anybody other than Donald Trump -- other than Joe Biden. They do not want Donald Trump, right?


LAWFUL-SANDERS: And so, I thought this would have been the turning point for many of them.


Now, I have to be fair in saying to you that we have some young voters, and some Black men, who are having issues about voting for Joe Biden. They don't really like either one of them. And so, there have been conversations about third-party voting. But when they saw what the Supreme Court had done, in recent days, they all said, oh, no, we don't have a choice acceptable for Joe Biden in this election.

And so, I hope, tomorrow morning, when the interview airs, on WURD Radio, that we will hear some of what he said to me.

I asked him about the debate.

I asked him about what he has done for Black folks, in Pennsylvania specifically.

I asked him, you know, every year we talk about this is the -- this is an election, that means something for our lives. I asked him about why is this so different? And he went on to discuss that.

And then, I asked him, what would you say to people, who are deciding to sit this election out? And so, he gave really lucid answers for all of that.

So, I hope people listen tomorrow.


LAWFUL-SANDERS: And let us know what their thoughts are.

COATES: Well, listen, talk radio listeners, they will not be shy about telling you exactly what they think about everything that you discuss.

LAWFUL-SANDERS: Absolutely, oh lord.

COATES: Real quick, Andrea, I have to ask you, did you ask him specifically, about the calls for him to step down? And would he support Kamala Harris, if she were to elevate--


COATES: --to top of that ticket?

LAWFUL-SANDERS: I did not. I did not.

COATES: Right.

LAWFUL-SANDERS: I had four questions that I was allowed to ask him.


LAWFUL-SANDERS: And I asked him those four questions.

But on Friday, when we go back on air, I'm going to ask the people, to give me their opinions, on what they thought of the scuttlebutt about his stepping down.

COATES: Did they -- they didn't provide the questions. You obviously had your own questions for him. But you had a total of four you could ask. LAWFUL-SANDERS: I did.

COATES: That's you mean?


COATES: Andrea Lawful-Sanders, I can't wait to hear this interview. Thank you so much. Good to hear you in my ear. And now, I see you in front of me as well. Thank you so much.

LAWFUL-SANDERS: It was such a pleasure talking to you. Have a good evening.

COATES: You too.

Well, ahead. The world is closely watching what's happening here at home. What some of our allies are saying about the prospect of Biden leaving the race. And NATO's coming to Washington, next week, setting up another major test for President Biden.

The top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee is here.



COATES: The uncertainty around President Biden's future, fueling fear among America's international allies.

The Polish Foreign Minister posted immediately, after the debate, "It's important to manage one's ride into the sunset."

A top ally of former German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, posted "Democrats have to rethink their choices now. And Germany must prepare at full speed for an uncertain future."

And the former Swedish Prime Minister called the debate "Fairly disastrous."

Even the Ukrainian president, in the middle of fighting a war, found himself answering questions about President Biden's age.




HORDERN: Would you do your job at 81?


ZELENSKYY: Oh. Wow. I don't know. It depends. It depends on many things. Of course, it depends on, on your health, and who is around you, your team and et cetera. And the United States now, not in war, I think -- I think being worried a little bit in other things. I don't know. I don't know. I only can to wish good -- good health.


COATES: Those questions won't be far from anyone's mind, when the NATO summit kicks off, in Washington, next week.

My next guest is the Ranking Member, of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Democratic congressman, Gregory Meeks.

Congressman, hello and good evening to you.

I have to say that--

REP. GREGORY MEEKS (D-NY): Good evening to you.

COATES: Hello.

Hearing that response from the Ukrainian president. Obviously, he's talking about wartime, and his job is not just leading a country, but in the war times that he finds himself in, in the nation. And the whole globe is watching for these very reasons.

But CNN's reporting is that foreign diplomats watched the debate with quote, horror. And I'm wondering how worried you may be, about some of our allies sounding their concern, at a moment like this.

MEEKS: I watched the debate in horror also.

But I also know the work that President Biden had done, to strengthen NATO, to make sure that we're dealing with our allies in the Indo- Pacific, to get Japan and South Korea talking for the first time, to work with the Quad, bringing nations together.

I've been in the room with him when we've had these conversations. And we were talking about dealing with the Venezuela, and what was taking place in Central and South America, talking about Haiti. So, I've been there with him, having this conversation.

So, I have no question of what his ability is, and what he has done to help unite and make the international world, at least those that are democracies, stronger.

And so, but that night, that debate, it was horrible. There's no question about that. And I think that he has the opportunity now, as he said, and he continues to say, watch him. And he will be doing interviews and other things. And I think he needs to do a press conference or two, so that people can see who he is, and that he is on the job and doing the job.

COATES: A press conference, including live question-and-answer sessions, would obviously perform that particular role.

And you strike an important point here, Congressman, about the idea of what a debate can show, and what governance can show, and how voters are evaluating both, in their own right. One would certainly want governance over one night of performance. However, there's a lot of attention on the NATO summit, happening here, just next week. And there are those who say he won't have many more chances to demonstrate governance, and the experience that you say you've had with him.

Could America's standing in the Alliance be jeopardized or hurt in any way, if Biden is not on his A-game in those rooms, next week?

MEEKS: He's been there. He's going to be on his A-game. He's been there.


I just saw him, and was with him, in Normandy, just a few weeks ago. And everybody was raving about him and his that -- his conversation and his -- the way he was talking to President Macron. So, there was no question or no issue then. When he talked at the State of the Union, there was no question or no issue, then. So, to me, this is a one-out.

And I think that because it was so horrible, now he does have the obligation, to have this interview with Stephanopoulos, on Sunday, to do a couple of some town hall meetings, and to do a press conference, talk to the media, in that regards.

And I know there's a lot saying that, he will do it without a situation, where he's reading something, or anything of that nature, without a teleprompter. Although I'd say, I've never seen a news media generally work -- they work with teleprompters also. Anytime I go on, they have a teleprompter in front of them, three. So, I don't see why he's getting criticized for that also.

COATES: Well, yes, their interview coming up on Friday with Stephanopoulos will be very telling to see what that entails, and how he thinks on his feet in the moment.

But then again, there is that divide between have voters, whether it's the economy, whether it's in the administration and beyond, how they feel about something and how a governor -- a governor, a president, a congressperson wants them to feel about an issue. So, we'll have to see.

Also, we're told that during tonight's Democratic House leadership meeting, several people told Hakeem Jeffries that he should tell the president to leave.

Did that happen? And where do you stand?

MEEKS: I haven't talked to Leader Jeffries, since that meeting. I'll have another conversation with him.

But I'll tell you this. I'm not going to bet against Joe Biden. Because I did once in 2020 primaries. I bet against him, because he had, in my estimation, two bad debates, at that particular time. And people forgetting about that. And they wrote him off. I wrote him off, after the second bad debate. And -- but he became the President of the United States. And I began to work with him. And I could see and talk to him and know that he had the -- his experience paid off. And thank God, we had his experience with all that's going on around the world, what's taking place in Ukraine and in the Middle East, and dealing with Venezuela.

So, is that -- so I think that Joe Biden will show he is, and he has been a president at the right time. And history will reflect that. All those things--

COATES: You have--

MEEKS: --that he brought together.

COATES: Excuse me.

MEEKS: History is going to reflect the great accomplishments of the President.

COATES: You haven't spoken you said, to Leader Jeffries, since that call. But on that call, were there people, members of Congress, who believed that President Biden should no longer be running?

MEEKS: I wasn't on that call. I have not heard that. I've talked to several members. And I think that the members that I've talked to, most of them want him to run as president. They think that he would be the best candidate to beat Donald Trump.

And I think that also, when you talk to others, what they want to know, they want to watch. They want another opportunity. The debate was horrible. And so, they want to see him interact with the media or with -- in a town hall meeting. They want to see him interact to see whether or not that was a one-on or whether there was more there to it. And I think that he's beginning and putting on his schedule. He's going to do just that.

COATES: Well, we shall see how it all unfolds, in those opportunities, to hear more from the President of the United States.

Congressman Gregory Meeks, thank you so much for joining me this evening.

MEEKS: Thank you for having me.

COATES: Well, new numbers show that Donald Trump is widening his lead, after that debate. That's next.



COATES: President Biden, now privately acknowledging to those closest to him that the next few days are so critical, in his fight, to save his reelection bid. And today, we're getting a better sense of the real political fallout, from last week's debate performance. A new CNN Poll of Polls, a combination of the four most recent national polls that meet CNN's standards, finds President Biden beating President -- President Trump beating President Biden by five points. It is the first Poll of Polls, this year, showing the candidates separated by more than three points.

Joining me, tonight.

Former senior adviser to Senator Mitch McConnell, Scott Jennings.

And Democratic strategist, Julie Roginsky.

Thank you both for being here today.

Julie, let me begin with you here.

To put a bit of a finer point on this, The New York Times has a new poll out today that shows Biden losing to Trump 49 percent to 43 percent. Now, that's a three-point swing towards Trump, since the last poll that came out, last week.

And that's not good news for a Biden White House that are trying to downplay the debate's impact on this race, right?

JULIE ROGINSKY, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: It's not good news. And for the life of me, I don't understand why it's taking so long for the President to get out there, and to dispel what happened, last Thursday.

Look, it should not be taking over a week for him to sit down with George Stephanopoulos, or another reporter.

It should not be taking this much time to put together town hall meetings, or even to have a collection of governors come to the White House, to hear his case.

It should not have taken him this long, to call Chuck Schumer and Hakeem Jeffries.

It seems that for some reason, and I don't know what that reason is, that the West Wing seems to be paralyzed, and the campaign seems to be paralyzed.


This is a messaging problem for the President. If he is serious about staying in this race, and he's serious about proving to not just his own base, but to the rest of the country that this was a one-off fluke, last Thursday? Then by all means, he has got to do a better job of getting out there, and dispelling what happened last Thursday. Otherwise, these polls are going to continue to trend in the wrong direction.

COATES: Scott, you -- I wanted your thoughts on this. But particularly, to Julie's point, about getting out there? What would that look like? Are we talking-- SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, let me--

COATES: --Stephanopoulos and there's others. But what does that look like to get out there? What's the most effective way?

JENNINGS: Well, let me answer Julie's question about why it has taken so long, for the President to get out there. He can't. The last time he did an unscripted event, was the debate.

It'd be like, if you called Kentucky Fried Chicken, and said, I'd like to interview Colonel Sanders. Now, his face is on the bucket. He doesn't make the chicken anymore. In fact, he's not even alive anymore.

This is what the Democrats are asking people to do.

COATES: Hold on. Do you actually have your chicken bucket, on TV, right now?

JENNINGS: Vote for the face on the bucket. He doesn't make the chicken. He's got into kitchen.

COATES: I'm going to give you a hard time, for a second. Hold on.


COATES: You actually bought the chicken bucket?

JENNINGS: Well -- well, yes. I'm in Kentucky. Do you not have -- I mean, I'm in Kentucky. Of course, I have one.

COATES: No, I don't have one in my studio. No, I do not. Forgive.

JENNINGS: But my point is this.

COATES: Go ahead. Go ahead with your point. Go ahead.

JENNINGS: My point is this. Where the presidency is not just a phase, it's not just a brand on the bucket. The presidency is a guy, or a girl. And that person has to stand up every day, get up every morning, go to work, answer questions, sit with world leaders, take foreign trips, and not need more than 12 days to recover from it.

We don't vote for faces on the bucket. We vote for people, strong leaders, who can execute in the office. And that's the Democrats' problem right now. They don't have a strong candidate, who can actually do what Julie just said, which I agree with, get out there and prove they're vigorous enough to hold the office.

So, it works for a restaurant. But it does not work for the presidency. And that's why these polls are going the wrong way. And they're going to keep going the wrong way. And by the way, he ain't getting any younger. It ain't going to get any better tomorrow, or the next day, or five months from today, I can assure you.

COATES: Julie, interestingly enough, this is that-- ROGINSKY: Look--

COATES: --more than once we've seen the fried chicken bucket come into Congress. I was -- a Tennessee congressman, at one point, he brought it in. Remember that moment?

But I'm going to -- I'm going to belabor the analogy, Julie, and ask you this. And I can't believe I'm going to do it.

Isn't the point for voters, who has the most meat on the bone? I mean, it's one thing to have the actual form of it. But in reality, Julie, it's about the substantive responses. And to that point, Donald Trump has been criticized, because he did not provide substantive answers.

What do you think?

ROGINSKY: First of all, I grew up in New Jersey. So, if you want to have some White Castle analogies, I can talk to you. KFC is not my -- KFC is not my bag there, Scott.

JENNINGS: I'll give you one. Joe Biden--

ROGINSKY: But I'll--

JENNINGS: Joe Biden's campaign stinks worse than a White Castle right now. I can assure you of that.

COATES: Oh, Lord.

ROGINSKY: Well let me -- let me just say -- let me say this. The Supreme Court gave Joe Biden, and Democrats, the golden opportunity, the other day, to talk about what is at stake in this election.

And what is at stake in this election is an unhinged Donald Trump. I don't care how well he plays golf. I don't care how well he can do an unhinged rally, for three hours, like Fidel Castro.

But what it did is give, an opportunity, for the White House, and Democrats, to talk about the fact that if Donald Trump was allowed back in the White House, the Supreme Court has effectively taken off the guardrails from him, to be able to do everything that he's already said he's going to do.

Whether it was threatening to open fire, on protesters, as the Secretary of Defense said he wanted to do, the last time he was in office, whether it's to lock up Liz Cheney, whether it's to build quote-unquote, camps, to detain people, all of these things are things that he has said he's going to do. And the Supreme Court has allowed him to do it.

For the life of me, I don't understand why the White House is not out there, pounding the drum, on a daily basis, to try to change the subject, and to say that what is at stake here is the difference between a decent man, who may not be the guy that you want to have there, he may not be your first choice, and an Armageddon, which is what's going to happen with Donald Trump, if he gets back in again, and that's what's going to happen to this country.

You want to talk about NATO? Gone.

You want to talk about Zelenskyy, who you just had a clip of? Ukraine, gone.

You want to talk about him praising China's Xi Jinping? He just did it.

So, there's a messaging problem that I -- that I plead with the White House, and I plead with Democrats, at the national level, to please understand. You have to explain what the stakes are. The President needs to get out there and explain what the stakes are. Because it's not just about whether Joe Biden has lost a step. It is about the fact that the alternative is so much worse.

COATES: Scott, Trump has stayed basically silent, amid this entirety of all the fallout from the debate.


COATES: Are you surprised by that? And is he sitting pretty, hoping that Biden does not do what Julie recommends?

JENNINGS: No, they are doing exactly what they need to do, which is nothing. He's running -- of his three campaigns, this is the best- managed, best-run campaign.


And it's obvious to me, he wants to win. The way he conducted himself at the debate, the way he's handled the last few weeks. I mean, remember, coming out of that conviction in New York, to right now, has been the strongest period for Donald Trump's campaign. He's got a cash infusion.

He's way up in the polls. The polls you showed tonight. I mean, if he wins the national popular vote by five or six points, you're talking about the House going bye-bye for Democrats. You're talking about Joe Biden dragging down maybe seven Senate seats. We're in landslide territory, if these polls hold. So, Donald Trump is doing exactly what he needs to do.

And I don't have much to say beyond, listening to Julie, plead for the White House to do something except one thing. They don't have a messaging problem. They have a candidate problem. And most Democrats seem to know that.

The only people that don't know it are the Biden family. You got Jill Biden on the cover of Vogue. You got Hunter Biden now running White House senior staff meetings, apparently. I mean, it seems to me, you're going to have to drag these people out of the White House by the fingernails, Julie. I'm sorry to tell you.

COATES: Well you got 25 governors though.

JENNINGS: You're stuck (ph) with it right now.

COATES: 25 governors. And three came out in front of cameras today to show their support for the President.


COATES: They're not members of the Biden family.

JENNINGS: Once again, behind closed doors, Joe Biden rides unicycles, and juggles knives. I mean, he's as big -- he looks real good behind closed doors. Let me tell you. That's what we've been hearing for three-and-a-half years.

These governors are now participants in the biggest cover-up in American political history. The condition of Joe Biden has been hidden from us, for three-and-a-half years. Now, these governors are complicit in it.

We all saw with our own eyes, Thursday night. We don't need governors to tell us behind closed doors, he's fine. I saw what I saw, and so did every other American.

COATES: It's quite the accusation, the level that 24 governors, and the D.C. Mayor, all complicit in a cover-up, especially when, I mean, there have been a number of members of different administrations, and Congress included, who have not answered questions, about the state of their physical or mental being. And we know what I'm talking about.

Scott, Julie, thank you both so much.

JENNINGS: See you.

COATES: Don't bring back chicken to my show.

The Biden team, now ramping up its media strategy, to try to turn things around. The new ad blitz, the new interviews, and the coming presidential press conference, all next.



COATES: All right. We've got breaking news, on President Biden's first sit-down interview, set for this Friday.

ABC News is now moving up the release of that taped interview, with Biden. Instead of waiting until Sunday, it will now air as a primetime special, Friday night, along with a transcript of the unedited interview.

Joining me now to discuss is Sara Fischer, CNN Media Analyst, and Senior Media Reporter at Axios.

Sara, this is significant. I mean, moving up to Friday evening, to primetime, and then the unedited part is very significant. What's behind the decision, do you think? SARA FISCHER, CNN MEDIA ANALYST: Well, you were just saying that Biden has been telling aides that these next few days are critical. And so, what I think you're seeing is the urgency, wanting to get his message out faster, wanting the American people to see him, to feel his competence faster than perhaps even Sunday.

And by the way, Laura, normally, the press news cycle moves fast. Two days, though, is not something that the White House would have bended strategy for. But in this situation, it shows you how pressing this moment really is.

COATES: You think it's his decision to move it up, not ABC's?

FISCHER: I mean, ABC has a lot of value in bringing it sooner.

COATES: Right.

FISCHER: But they also have value in bringing it to their Sunday show, right? So, I can see both sides having an input here. But there's no question that this helps the White House. If this is a decision that needs to be made, in the next few days, getting that message out sooner helps President Biden.

The other thing, Laura, is that he needs to prove that he can do these unscripted moments, multiple times, right? So you want to get the interview out, and get reception out, before you determine whether or not you're going to book more.

Remember, he's doing a lot of things on his own terms, right? He's doing press conferences. He did that trip to Raleigh. But those are scripted moments. He needs to show the public, he needs to show donors, he needs to show Democrats, that he can do non-scripted interviews. But until the ABC one comes out, they can't book others.

COATES: And of course, normally these debates are much later in the campaign seasons. They're usually back-to-back, and you have that time to course-correct. Next one's in September, and that's after both conventions, after both nominations. So, it's a whole different ballgame, right now.

But is this interview, with Stephanopoulos, the whole ballgame?

FISCHER: It's the biggest ballgame because, like I said, it's going to determine whether or not his team is comfortable putting him out in other unscripted moments.

It's also worth noting, ABC has that debate in September. And so, this is a moment for Biden to develop a repertoire with the network.

This moment also is critical, Laura, because if Biden does want to make this decision, in the next few days, he also has to rely on all the people around him, making sure he's informing their decision.

He knows that his inner circle, right, his family, his close advisers are going to be watching this interview, like a hawk. He doesn't want to put it off anymore. COATES: You know who else is watching? Megadonors. I mean, people who are wondering whether they want to keep giving money.


COATES: And in fact, The New York Times is reporting that Reed Hastings, who is the Netflix founder--


COATES: --and a Democratic megadonor is publicly calling for Biden to step aside.

Is he just the first perhaps domino of Hollywood leaders to make these statements?

FISCHER: I've been on the phone with people, from Hollywood, all day. I cover media. That's part of my beat. You saw other folks, like Ari Emanuel, express concerns.

He's definitely losing the room in Hollywood. And that's a huge deal, Laura, because he's had the support of Hollywood, this whole campaign. Remember, Colin Jost, coming to the White House Correspondents' Dinner, and giving a tearful almost report in support of Joe Biden. You had megadonors all lining up behind these fundraisers, with Stephen Colbert, with Jimmy Kimmel.

So, Biden losing Hollywood is a very big deal, Laura. And this does not seem like a one-off incident. It does seem like, when I'm talking to sources, he's losing the room in Hollywood.

COATES: Losing the room in Hollywood, though, does it mean that support goes to Trump? Then could mean the pressure to have somebody else in his place, would the room be heralded if it was Harris, you think?

FISCHER: It's not the same, no.


And by the way, on the Trump point. A lot of Hollywood is Jewish. And there's a lot of folks, who have been frustrated with this White House's response to what's happening in the war with Israel and Hamas. And so, this was really important contingency for him to be able to prove that he's the leader they should put their support behind, not Donald Trump.

COATES: And yet, the frustration for campaigns can be that Hollywood is not the average person, average voter, in America. There's a huge disconnect. I wonder will it translate to the voters.

That's the big question why this is being moved up as well, Sara?

FISCHER: Yes. And I -- the big question, too. It's not just anymore, the big donors, right? It also is small dollars. And that's where Donald Trump has done so well. Even with his indictments, even with everything happening in his trials, Donald Trump has been getting a huge uptick in small-dollar support. Democrats have historically always won that game. And so, for Biden, this is critical, especially as the money (ph) gap closes, leading up to the next few weeks.

COATES: Sara Fischer, thank you so much.

FISCHER: Thank you.

COATES: Well, here's a pressing question, this Fourth of July Eve. Who do voters trust more to unite the country? Is it Biden? Or is it Trump?

And can the boss, Bruce Springsteen, and his anthem, "Born in the U.S.A." even bring America together anymore? We'll explain ahead.






COATES: Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the U.S.A." An American anthem, you're sure to hear as we come together to celebrate Independence Day, tomorrow.

But four months out from Election Day, a united America seems maybe as unlikely as ever. More than a third of Americans, 39 percent believe that neither Biden nor Trump can handle uniting the country. It's a problem that maybe even Bruce can't fix, some 40 years after the release of that album, which inspired the Glory Days of bipartisanship.

My next guest, tonight, veteran rock music critic, Steven Hyden, Author of the new book, "There Was Nothing You Could Do: Bruce Springsteen's "Born In The U.S.A." and the" Death of the American Heartland.

A really fascinating book. And you wrote that Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the U.S.A." was, quote, "A new spin on an old American political dream about "meeting in the middle." In the mid-eighties, the middle was Bruce Springsteen."

So, what was it about him, and his music, that allowed people to sort of see him as a bridge in that middle ground?

STEVEN HYDEN, AUTHOR: Well, I mean, I think it starts with that title track. It's a song that, on one hand, is a pretty scathing critique of America. It's about this disaffected Vietnam veteran, and how he was abandoned by his country. And yet, the music is so uplifting. And, I mean, the thing about that song is that there's still people today that hear it, and they hear those big drums, and they hear the chorus, and they think it's just like this patriotic song. But it's actually much more nuanced than that.

And I think Bruce Springsteen was an artist, who really tried to capture the totality of America and its music, the great parts, and also the not so great parts.

COATES: So many people obviously know the hook. And I wonder if people know the full story, as you've described it, a really important thing to go through, and think about what the music and the story is telling us.

And "Born in the U.S.A.," it might be one of the most widely-used songs, in American politics, over the last, what, four decades. But it is quite misunderstood, as you talk about it. It may sound patriotic. But the way that it's being used, I mean, it really is a commentary about what it's like, on issues that are of such consequence to politicians, to voters, to this very day.

And actually, shortly after the song was released, President Ronald Reagan said this. America's future rests in a -- well here, listen to him.


RONALD REAGAN, 40TH U.S. PRESIDENT: America's future rests in a thousand dreams inside your hearts. It rests in the message of hope in songs of a man so many young Americans admire. New Jersey's own, Bruce Springsteen.



COATES: Talk to me about this moment, because you write about that significance of this effort to wrap their arm around Bruce, who'd become this great unifier. But there were some things that soured in the years to come.

HYDEN: Yes. I mean, I think Bruce Springsteen is someone, who has always been, especially in the last 20 years, has been pretty upfront on where he stands politically, and endorsing candidates from the Democrat Party, and speaking on certain issues.

But there's always been an element too, where people on the right look at Bruce Springsteen, and they take what they feel like he represents about America. This hardworking guy, playing three-hour shows, every night, sort of someone who is, again, critical of America, but still believes in the American Dream, and the American sort of ideal.

So, it really goes back to the beginning, with Reagan making that speech, I think in a probably like a pretty cynical way, trying to exploit this very popular star. But we still see that today. Again, like a lot of famous rock stars, pop stars, people take what they want. It's like a Rorschach test, really.

COATES: It really is. It almost reminds me of the James Baldwin statement, right? I love America more than any other country in the world, and that for that reason, I reserve the exclusive right to criticize it.

HYDEN: Exactly.

COATES: Steven Hyden, thank you so much. Nice to see you.

HYDEN: Thank you. Thanks for having me.


COATES: Welcome to a second hour of LAURA COATES LIVE, on this Wednesday night.

A 124 days until the election. And right now, Joe Biden's presidential campaign finds itself on a cliff's edge. I mean one misstep away from a free-fall that could end his campaign. President Biden, in private, now appears to recognize at least some of that.