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Pulse of the People: Suburban Women Voters On What Will Drive Them To The Polls; CNN Reality Check: Costly Ads Blanketing The Airwaves Ahead Of Midterms; President Trump Stokes Fear Over Immigrants Ahead Of Election. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired November 01, 2018 - 07:30   ET



[07:33:53] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: All right, time for another one of our signature voter panels. This time, a group that political pundits say could decide this election -- suburban, college-educated women. They are part of a book club that started in 2004 and up until this week, they have never discussed politics.

That changed when we sat down in one of their New Jersey homes and we went there.


CAMEROTA: Is it true that you never talk about politics?

KIM HARWANKO, NEW JERSEY REPUBLICAN, SUBURBAN VOTER: We talk about issues more than we talk about politics.

CAMEROTA: How do you avoid talking about politics in this day and age?

FRAN FURTADO, NEW JERSEY DEMOCRAT, SUBURBAN VOTER: I've known Jeanne for years. We've talked about everything under the sun but never politics because I was afraid that I wouldn't like her politics and I did not not want to like anything about Jean.


CAMEROTA: OK, well, I'm scared to introduce these next questions now. I mean, I do this with a lot of trepidation.

Do you feel comfortable telling me which of you, by a show of hands, would identify yourselves today as Democrats?

[07:35:01] Which of you today, show of hands, would identify as Republican?

I mean, you guys are half and half and that's so fascinating.

Which of you, today, feels very motivated about the midterms? Show of hands.

How are you feeling?

JEANNE ANN: Just fatigued, I think -- fatigued from the whole thing.

CAMEROTA: How many people are feeling fatigued?


CAMEROTA: Deborah, go ahead.

DEBORAH DEWEY, NEW JERSEY DEMOCRAT, SUBURBAN VOTER: I just want to get to the election and then, you know, hopefully, everybody can come to some type of civil reasoning and managing what should be managed in this country. That cooler heads will prevail and that civility will return.

CAMEROTA: I like your optimism. I mean, I really do. I really do. I think that a lot of people are hoping for that.

How are you feeling, Denise?

DENISE PANYIK-DALE, NEW JERSEY DEMOCRAT, SUBURBAN VOTER: I have to go by what my moral compass says, and if I were to have a word cloud, like, form above my head, it would have the words civility, moral compass, and choice. I hope that the rest of the country follows back to that point of civility.

FURTADO: This year, I will be voting straight down the Democratic line. And my speech bubble would say words matter and the words that are out there every day are just eating at me. And the only way for me to fight that -- little me -- right now, is to vote against what he stands for or who's standing behind him.

HARWANKO: I just have a really strong feeling about women right now and I think it's time for us to really rise us. Wouldn't it be great to have more women in politics? I'm all about the women.

CAMEROTA: And, Cindy, how are you feeling? What are you voting on this time?


CAMEROTA: And do you feel that the job situation here is good or bad?

RUGGIERO: Much better, much better. The more jobs, the better people feel, the more money, disposable income. It keeps the economy going. I think there's nothing negative about that.

PANYIK-DALE: I do believe that jobs are important. I have experienced job loss myself in the past five years, which has also opened my eyes to our health care situation.

CAMEROTA: That if you lose your job you lose your healthcare.

PANYIK-DALE: If you lose your job then you lose your health care.

CAMEROTA: And that happened to you?

PANYIK-DALE: That happened to me.

RUGGERIO: We were promised that we were able to keep our health care if Obamacare went through and our premiums doubled.

DEWEY: We have to discuss the issues. We have to discuss what's happening to the -- with the opioid crisis. We have to discuss what's happening with medical insurance.

Those things aren't being talked about and when they do, they get drowned out by some new breaking news.

CAMEROTA: How many people feel the opioid crisis in their own lives and are worried about it here in New Jersey? All of you have felt the opioid crisis here.

JEANNE ANN: I don't think there is a person who is unaffected -- who doesn't know a family member, a friend, a coworker, a relative of your family friend or coworker.

CAMEROTA: The Trump administration has talked a lot about the opioid crisis and has talked about making that a priority. Do you feel any progress?

JEANNE ANN: I think education and awareness. That's the only -- those are the only areas that I've noticed an improvement in.

HARWANKO: I mean, it's an epidemic. Come on, people, we've got to -- we've got to do something.

RUGGIERO: We've got to get somebody in there that's going to move us in the right direction and we can't keep doing this and expect 14,000 people coming up through Mexico to be going to the --

CAMEROTA: And where are you getting that number of 14,000?

HARWANKO: Where are you getting that number?

RUGGIERO: No, 14,000.


CAMEROTA: It started at seven but now they're -- it's now down to 3,500.


RUGGIERO: Let's say seven coming up through Mexico. How can we pay for their education, their health care, when all of us on this side are paying more and more and more? And if somebody loses their job here shouldn't we be taken care of first?

CAMEROTA: So you're worried about immigration.

RUGGERIO: Only coming in the illegal way, not the legal way. Come in the legal way and you are more than welcome.

CAMEROTA: I mean, it is legal to seek asylum.

RUGGERIO: Well, I hope Trump changes that.

CAMEROTA: You don't want any asylum seekers?


FURTADO: Immigration is an issue. It's the basis of our country and how we were formed and building a wall is not how to fix it.

CAMEROTA: How many of -- a show of hands -- feel that the president is trying to gin up fear or gin up this story before the midterms?

[07:40:00] DEWEY: A fear motivates people and I think that is the basis for anything that he does.

CAMEROTA: Do you feel there's a real crisis?

DEWEY: In what?

CAMEROTA: At the border. Do you think this is a crisis?

DEWEY: At the border, do I think there is? Is there an issue, yes. Is there a crisis, no.

PANYIK-DALE: I also agree that seeking asylum is not illegal. It is not coming to the country illegally.

I think that human rights are a very important thing. I think that our country has been very much built on the fact of human rights.

JEANNE ANN: I feel like we should take pride in the way our country was formed and how we welcomed immigrants. If we're committed to having immigrants then we have to have the support for them as well, I believe.


CAMEROTA: OK. I'm happy to report they're still friends.

BERMAN: That's to me what's most interesting about this, but go ahead.

CAMEROTA: OK. They did need wine immediately -- this was at 2:00 in the afternoon and they did immediately need to go have some wine because they have studiously avoided talking about this because you can see how quickly the fissures are exposed and what could be some hard feelings. But they have avoided it for all of those years.

BERMAN: You need to be able to have book clubs with people you don't agree about politics with.

CAMEROTA: Yes, for sure. By the way, they're not just a book club -- they're not just readers. They also are authors. They wrote a book, as a book club, called "Novel Women" about a book club. It' available on Amazon.

BERMAN: It's very meta (ph), by the way.

CAMEROTA: Yes. I'm going to kill you.

This called "Novel Women." You should pick up for your book club.

BERMAN: This is called "Amanda Wakes Up" by Alisyn Camerota. You should pick it up for your book club.

CAMEROTA: Also a good book club book, but -- and thank you. You're the best P.R. agent in the world. They are reading it for their book club for January.

One more thing. Tomorrow, you will hear from all of them about how they feel about the tone of the president and how it is affecting them.

BERMAN: I think we got a preview right there. That'll be very interesting.

The midterms will go down as the most expensive in history. So what is all that money paying for? A reality check, next.


[07:45:48] BERMAN: The midterm elections will be the most expensive in history -- nearly $5 billion with a "b" spent as candidates make their final push. So what's that money paying for?

CNN senior political analyst John Avlon here with an expensive "Reality Check."


So, if you do want to find the truth in politics follow the money. And from the money spent on television ads alone you can see the state of play really clearly.

In our bitter polarized politics we have seen a 61 percent increase in negative T.V. ads over the last midterms. That's according to the Wesleyan Media Project.

There's more money pouring into ads as well, with nearly a quarter billion dollars flowing into Florida's T.V. sets alone.

Nationwide, take a look at the top Senate and gubernatorial races by spending and note that the money is mostly heading to states that Donald Trump won in 2016. That's a sign Republicans are playing defense.

Now, Donald Trump has said this midterm election will be all about him, but this 60-second ad from his campaign with the $6 million spent behind it has nothing to do with him. It features a white, suburban mom -- a key demo at risk for Republicans -- reflecting on how the improved economy is benefitting her life. Now shown at all, Donald Trump.

And a quick irony alert. If you look closely, the first media voice used to validate improved job numbers is our own Christine Romans, with the CNN logo neatly erased.

But if Trump is nowhere to be found in ads like that it's because maybe he's not helping.

Take a look at what's really on voters' minds -- health care and the economy -- and political ads are catering to that. In fact, 54.5 percent of all Democratic ads are focused on health care. For Republican candidates, health care is the second issue behind taxes, if not lower.

Trump's signature issues are way down the list. Immigration doesn't even appear in the top five issues among Republican governor and House candidates.

During Obama's first midterms, the Tea Party wave demonized health care reform with fact-free talk of death panels and government takeovers. But now, Obamacare is popular and Republicans seem to be suffering from their focus on repeal at the expense of replace.

So we see Tea Party Gov. Scott Walker, of Wisconsin, saying he supports preexisting condition coverage in ads despite his long record of actively opposing the ACA.

Arizona Republican Senate candidate Martha McSally with an impressive military record is trying to hug Obamacare's preexisting coverage as well, despite cheerleading its repeal in the House, telling colleagues in one vote "Let's get this f-ing thing done."

Many Republicans who tied themselves to Trump in the primaries are finding it may be a bit of a problem in the general. Take Florida's Ron DeSantis who ran an ad literally indoctrinating his children to the glories of Trump. But that's a bit of a tough sell in a swing state general.

Other candidates just want to ignore the bitter partisan politics and pivot to the warm and fuzzy, literally.

Take Virginia's Dave Brat who ran to the right of Eric Cantor, opposing even to the prospect of bipartisan immigration reform. Well, now he's campaigning on puppies while touting his bipartisan credentials.

But while Brat poses with puppies, Donald Trump just released an online video that's being called worse than Willie Horton and that's hard to do.

So as Trump takes his play to the base tour across the states many Republicans, especially in swing states, are running away from their records as well as Trump's device of rhetoric. And that's your "Reality Check."

CAMEROTA: Puppies work. I mean, I think we can all agree on that.

BERMAN: That's my takeaway from that.

CAMEROTA: Yes, that's my takeaway, John. Thank you very much.

BERMAN: All right, John, appreciate it.

The president's midterm message "be afraid" -- will it drive his base?

Maggie Haberman, who's had some really fascinating reporting and observations about a number of things, joins us next.


[07:53:15] CAMEROTA: All right.

Five days to go to the midterm elections. President Trump's strategy of sowing fear and division to help the GOP continues with a stunning new example this morning. The president has posted a video on Twitter that demonizes immigrants in a just new and shocking way.

Joining us now is "New York Times" White House correspondent and CNN political analyst Maggie Haberman.

So, what is the president doing? I mean, this is coming from the President of the United States five days before the midterm and this video is so grotesque. And, I mean, of course, the facts are -- so, he has found an illegal immigrant who murdered people -- and there are examples of that.

What all the research suggests -- the Cato Institute has obviously studied this for years and years -- is that actually, on any given day, any year, Americans are more likely to commit violent crimes than immigrants or even undocumented immigrants.

But as we know, the president is not encumbered by facts and statistics. So, what's he doing?

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Well, he's doing the same thing he's been doing for four years.

You are looking at a campaign in its final days -- we said this about 2016 as well -- that has echoes of 1968, of the Richard Nixon campaign that did something very similar with its ad imagery focused on people of color, violence -- urban violence, in particular. It is looking to inspire fear.

I think it is worth knowing that as far as we know, that video is not airing on television. Maybe it will turn out that it is airing on television.

But the ad that the Trump campaign -- the reelection campaign is actually airing on television is a very soft ad aimed at suburban women that doesn't feature President Trump. So that tells you a lot about where the differences between what he says and where things actually are and what they know they actually are. But this is in keeping with what we have seen him do for days.

[07:55:03] We expect he's going to talk about immigration, albeit briefly, later today. It sounds like he's going to repackage a lot of the themes he has been saying.

This ad should surprise no one but, yes, it is shocking.

BERMAN: There are signs -- and yes, it may fire up his base and yes -- and put some Democrats in red states in a tough position.


BERMAN: But there are also signs that some Republicans think he's going too far.

Arizona and Nevada -- Republicans tell Jeff Zeleny -- our friend Jeff Zeleny -- that the Republicans don't want the president there and he's not going there.

Paul Ryan spoke out against the president's claims about birthright citizenship and the president responded to Paul Ryan, saying Paul Ryan "should be focusing on holding the majority rather than giving his opinion on birthright citizenship. It's something he knows nothing about. Our new Republican majority will work on this."

When you read that tweet from the president, you read something subtle in the subtext.

HABERMAN: Very -- so subtle. It was don't blame me when you guys lose and when -- or when the House that is the same party as I am loses. The buck stops many other places but not with me. And I think that you can expect you're going to see that several times over the next couple of days.

Look, the president and his advisers are aware that the House map is not good for them. The Senate map does look better. The Senate map looks like it could net at least two. Again, we don't know. It's a volatile situation with all of these districts and states.

But when you are working at -- Paul Ryan made that statement as he was campaigning for an embattled House candidate, so that is what Paul Ryan is doing.

And what the president is doing is turning this into an up or down referendum on himself, which in these House districts is not particularly helpful, especially with the number of retirements Republicans are facing.

CAMEROTA: You know, we just had Rabbi Myers on from the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh and he expressed what you and I have talked about before, which is that when you interact one-on-one with --


CAMEROTA: -- President Trump, he is a different person.

HABERMAN: One hundred percent.

CAMEROTA: The rabbi was surprised --


CAMEROTA: -- by the personal touch and the warmth that the president showed.

Why doesn't the president show that in public at the rallies and on T.V.? He doesn't think that people would respond to that? He doesn't think that's affective?

HABERMAN: I think it's just not the side of himself that he prefers showing as his public image. He has crafted this public image over many decades and he likes the image of being a tough guy even though, as you and I both know, he doesn't really like interpersonal confrontation. He would say all kinds of things about both of us to his aides that he would never actually say to our faces.

But, you know, in person, he is funnier, warmer. He is not screaming as much. And look, I mean, I have been screamed at by him and you may have as well, but it has tended to be a lot more toned down than what you would see publicly. He does have that in him.

One of the things that bothers me in terms of the current reporting conventions is to describe his Twitter feed as a real-life snapshot of what he's thinking. Sometimes that's true, sometimes it's an act. And that's part of the problem is that there is such a disconnect between what he can do and what he does do. So --

BERMAN: One of things he's said about his visit to Pittsburgh was that he was really well-received. "The office of the president was shown --


BERMAN: -- great respect. We were treated so warmly."

It was odd to comment on something like that when you are visiting victims of mass murder to be talking about how you were received.

HABERMAN: Well, he turns everything into something about himself. And so, I think this is not a huge surprise.

It was, I think really grading on a curve here. It was a lot more subdued than I think people were hoping it was going to be. That he was going to stay more in the criticism of those who had criticized him.

But certainly, this is not -- this day was supposed to be about the President of the United States paying his respects to people who were victims of an atrocious domestic terrorism incident. The worst attack on Jews, as far as I know, in this country. And he, of course, turned it into how much respect he was paid.

And we see this over and over again. There is just a fundamental misunderstanding by him or a lack of interest in learning about what the office of the president is supposed to symbolize and mean here as opposed to in countries that are non-constitutional democracies.

This is just -- and he did this video with that tweet and it was like a celebration of his own performance. I've literally never seen this in my life -- that before -- and I've covered lots of shootings, I've covered lots of tragedies, I've covered lots of both natural and manmade horrors. I've never seen an elected official do something like that.

BERMAN: Maggie Haberman, great to have you here with us. Thank you --

HABERMAN: Thank you.

BERMAN: -- very, very much.

Go read her interview with Barbra Streisand, by the way.

CAMEROTA: Pancakes.

HABERMAN: Thank you.

BERMAN: Pancakes, OK.

CAMEROTA: That's all I have to say -- pancakes.

BERMAN: All right, 8:00 here in the east for NEW DAY.

Joining us now is the Democratic nominee for the governor of Florida, Andrew Gillum, the mayor of Tallahassee. Mayor, thank you so much for being with us.

Look, President Trump was in Florida last night --


BERMAN: -- rallying with your opponent Ron DeSantis, the former congressman there.

I want to give you a chance to respond to something the president said about you on the stump. He was talking about your policies on the borders and immigration -- listen.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Andrew Gillum wants to throw open your borders to drug dealers, human traffickers, gang members, and criminal aliens. And, Gillum supports --