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Idaho's Vote Recount Finds Nothing; Nurse Resists COVID Vaccine; Dan Shaughnessy is Interviewed about Tom Brady's Return to New England. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired October 01, 2021 - 08:30   ET




BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Idaho officials have validated the results of the 2020 presidential election after a partial recount. Claims by My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell of widespread voter fraud across this state prompted the recount. Claims that have been completely debunked.

And joining us now to talk about this and the big picture is CNN political analyst Carl Bernstein.

You know, Carl, this is really -- this is just one little data point on this big graph of democracy in peril, this week, this month, this year. How are you seeing the trouble that the U.S. is in right now?

CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, democracy is in peril because the Republican Party has become the party of Trumpism and the party of disenfranchisement. And what we've seen in Idaho, what we have also seen in Arizona, in these supposed recounts ordered because of supposed voter fraud is, it doesn't exist. It's part of the big lie.

The big lie is not just about the lie that Donald Trump did not lose the election a few -- a few months ago, but rather it looks toward 2020 and the idea -- sorry, 2024, and the idea that we are going to have another, quote, rigged election. They're setting this up so that there can be no legitimacy in our electoral process.

And the Republican Party has been taken over by this movement that is the most radical, political movement of our lifetimes, that has come to power in any form in Washington, in our state legislatures. But I think what we really need to acknowledge here is that we are in a civil war in this country. We are in a cultural civil war, such as we've never seen since 1860 to 1865, and that the radicalism of the Republican Party today is almost comparable to a secessionist movement in this country because of what the Republican Party now advocates in a kind of Trumpism, doesn't need Donald Trump anymore, he's fanned the flames, he has ignited them and the movement and we need, in journalism, particularly in the media, to start looking at what's going on in the country outside of Washington.

KEILAR: Republicans are not fixing their internal problem, right? They're leaning into it. So what should Democrats be doing that they're not doing?

BERNSTEIN: First of all, let's look at the Republicans. They're being very successful at what they're doing.


Given the astonishing ideology to which the Republican Party has become enslaved, disenfranchisement, controlling through authoritarianism in the United States. Let's take a moment to look at what General Milley said. The head of our military said of Donald Trump's movement and Trumpism that they are like brown shirts, that they are like Hitlerism. This is the chief of our military, a great hero incidentally for coming forth, unlike many others who have served in the Trump presidency, and saying these things aloud.

The Republican Party has become captured by this movement. And that's what we need to look at. It's not just these incidents that we see. Let's look at January 6th and how that was revved up and incited by those around Donald Trump, if not by Donald Trump himself, and how the Republican Party is trying to suppress legitimate investigation of what happened on January 6th.

So we are in a real civil war, a cultural civil war in this country, such as we haven't seen in 100 years. And we, you know, we keep, in media and politics, looking at our country and in Washington as if it's disconnected from our culture itself. We need to start covering our culture. And what has happened in the last 20, 25 years in this country, Donald Trump was able to enflame and ignite. And that is where we are today and that's the real story.

KEILAR: So what do -- Carl, what do you mean -- can you explain that? Explain that more. What do you -- what do you mean by that?


KEILAR: I mean there's been a lot of reporting where, you know, folks have gone out and looked at, at least some of that. What do you think's missing?

BERNSTEIN: I think that it needs to be at the top of our agenda to understand that what happens in Washington, that, quote, our political culture and, quote, our media culture is disconnected from this larger cultural phenomenon that goes so deep into who we are as a divided people. A divided people the likes of which we have not seen in 175 years. And that includes the anti-war movement days of the 20th century. This is something very different. The division that is -- that is separating and polarizing us in this country is vicious. It is deep. It is full of hate and anger. And most of that hate and anger is resting on big lies. It is somewhat one sided in terms of who is responsible for this. And it is this far right movement of authoritarianism that Donald Trump was able to exploit so successfully.

We need to look at who we are as a people, not just as who we are in politics, not just as who we are in media. And, yes, we examine social media. Let's look at the people. Let's go out into the country, talk to the people, look in these towns and in cities and urban areas and what the divisions are and what is being advocated in the name of republicanism today that is a foreign alien ideology to this country, the which -- the likes of which no party in our history has embraced a majority or minority, one of the two parties has never embraced a radical agenda such as we are seeing today, going back to -- until the Civil War.

KEILAR: Carl, great to speak with you this morning. Thank you.

BERNSTEIN: Good to be with you.

KEILAR: Seventy-seven percent of adults in the U.S. have now gotten at least one COVID vaccine shot, but there are still tens of millions holding out, and that includes healthcare workers.


ANDREA BABINSKI, NURSE, GUNDERSEN HEALTH SYSTEM: This pandemic, this vaccine, this virus, the science is constantly changing.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: But don't you, again, with all your knowledge as a nurse, don't you draw a line when it comes to a --


KEILAR: Sanjay asking there if she draws a line when it comes to a contagious disease. He will join us, next.



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Nearly 200 million adults in the U.S. have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Seventy-seven percent, which is an impressive number that should be celebrated. But there are still some who are resistant. And most perplexing among that group, some healthcare workers on the front lines of the fight against COVID.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta back with us.

And, Sanjay, you spent some time talking with a nurse in Wisconsin.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: This surprised me a bit, John. We know that the healthcare workers may be reluctant to get vaccine and they might even mirror the population of the United States. But you also believe that, you know, healthcare workers, they're surrounded by good knowledge, they see what's happening to patients in the hospitals, so that should sway their opinion.

Listen to part of our conversation.


ANDREA BABINSKI, NURSE, GUNDERSEN HEALTH SYSTEM: Shouldn't be a choice between a personal healthcare decision and, you know, the job that we love.

GUPTA: You would lose your job over this?

BABINSKI: Obviously, it's heartbreaking. It's -- it's almost like a grieving process to tell you the truth.

GUPTA (voice over): Andrea Babinski is among the tens of millions of Americans who are eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19, but haven't. And what's more, she's been a nurse at Gundersen Health System in Lacrosse, Wisconsin, for more than 12 years.

BABINSKI: Ever since this mandate came down, many, many more people are quitting and leaving healthcare in our specific hospital. And we're not just talking nursing department, we're talking the EAs, which is the housekeeping department. We're talking dietary, laundry, respiratory therapy department.

GUPTA: At Gundersen, about 85 percent of the staff have been vaccinated. But a small group has, instead, staged protest at the hospital, including Andrea herself. One of her specific health concerns, blood clots.

GUPTA (on camera): If you were my patient, let's say we were having this conversation in a patient room instead, I would tell you, look, I hear your concern about clotting, but if you have a clotting disorder, you should get the vaccine because you'd be at increased risk of clotting if you got the disease.


BABINSKI: Know that very well with this pandemic, this vaccine, this virus, the science is constantly changing.

And I understand that science is changing as we find out more things.

GUPTA: But I think with the vaccines, I think when you have close to 6 billion shots that have now been administered around the world, and have data, you know, trial data from last year that shows the safety and the effectiveness of these vaccines and then real world data over the last nine months, it really does make a strong case.

BABINSKI: I'm not anti-vaccine. I'm not anti-COVID vaccine. But, at the end of the day, informed consent is what we all honor in nursing. I've stood up for a lot of my patients over the years that were feeling pushed into something. And, you know, it's -- it's their body. It's -- it's -- it's a choice that they should make for themselves and that I should make for myself.

GUPTA: And certainly, as a doctor, I'm very familiar with informed consent. But don't you -- again, with all your knowledge as a nurse, don't you draw a line when it comes to a contagious disease? I mean the idea that you're working in a hospital where there are sick people and vulnerable people and you could potentially be a carrier of a virus and not know it because you might not have any symptoms --

BABINSKI: I have had multiple co-workers test positive for COVID in the last few weeks that are fully vaccinated. And so I think a much safer option would be, you know, regular testing for all of us, vaccinated and unvaccinated alike.

GUPTA: I'm not saying that this obviates testing or, you know, wearing PPE and all those things. I don't think you with say, hey, I'm never going to wear a seat belt unless I -- unless I also have an air bag. You know, of course you'd wear a seat belt. You know, it just -- I've never gotten in a car accident, there I don't need to wear a seat belt. I knew a guy who wore a seat belt and still died, therefore we don't need seat belts, they obviously don't work. It's scientifically grounded evidence that you as a nurse are more equipped than most of the country to understand and learn and preach, frankly, rather than -- rather than sewing this doubt. It just -- it worries me. It worries me about where we go now and it worries me about where we might go if there's another pandemic.

I've got to leave it with just saying, I think you should get vaccinated. And -- and, I don't know, will you think about it?

BABINSKI: Will I think about getting vaccinated?


BABINSKI: I -- I feel like I've put a lot of thought into this already. As far as right now, I'm -- I have no plans to get vaccinated, but I -- I'm willing to keep the conversation open to -- with -- with -- listen -- still listening to others' point of view.

GUPTA: Is there anything that would convince you to get vaccinated?

BABINSKI: Not at this point, but, I mean, I guess never say never.


GUPTA: It was a really fascinating conversation, John.

I've got to tell you, I was -- I thought I would convince her. I really did. I feel like I can convince people. She understands the risk reward proposition. The disease is far worse, exponentially worse than the vaccine. For her it was really about this mandate. And, you know, we keep saying we can't disentangle things from politics. That -- that's what it manifests into, I think, you know, two years into this pandemic.

BERMAN: You convinced thousands if not tens of thousands to get vaccinated, Sanjay. I think it's safe to say that. That was an interesting conversation. Thanks so much for coming in, Sanjay.

GUPTA: You got it. Thank you.

BERMAN: All right, it is the biggest sports story in maybe forever. Tom Brady back where he belongs in New England on Sunday.


[08:50:34] BERMAN: He cometh home. Tom Brady will be back in New England this weekend for the first time since leaving the Patriots for the Buccaneers less than two years ago and just eight months after winning a Super Bowl for Tampa Bay. His seventh.

Joining me now to discuss is "Boston Globe" sports columnist Dan Shaughnessy. He's also the author of the soon-to-be-released book, "Wish it Lasted Forever: Life with the Larry Bird Celtics." Which I also wish lasted forever and I will read the heck out of that book.

That aside, this is -- I'm going to throw this out there, the most anticipated regular season football game ever. Am I right?

DAN SHAUGHNESSY, SPORTS COLUMNIST, "THE BOSTON GLOBE": Oh, I think it has to be. I mean there's maybe been a situation where at the end of the season, the game was playoff implications on the line. But there's not a lot of buildup for that. It happens the week before and it all comes to a head.

This thing has been circled for two years, since Tom Brady left New England. And you knew he wasn't going to play here in the first year he was in Tampa. But then when the schedule came out for this season, 2021, there it is, week four. It's been circled in New England for a long, long time. Highest ticket prices anyone has ever seen for a regular season game. It's like getting a ticket on a Jeff Bezos rocket to the moon or something. I mean it's very hard to score a seat in the -- in the building for this thing.

BERMAN: All right, who needs the win more, Tom brady or Bill Belichick?

SHAUGHNESSY: Oh, I think Belichick needs it more in this case. I mean both guys are securing their legacies. You know, six Super Bowls together. Belichick going to the Hall of Fame. He may stick around long enough to pass Don Shula with the most wins of any coach ever.

Tom Brady, seven Super Bowl championships. His legacy's secure.

But in this particular meeting, I think Belichick must just want to get this week over with. There's been so much buildup. He hates this kind of thing. His team's 1-2. They've lost two home games. Terrible game last week at home against New Orleans.

Brady's 2-1. Super Bowl champs. If they lose this game, it will hurt, but they're going to be fine. They're going to be in the playoffs. They should go deep in the playoffs. They have a talented roster.

The Patriots, if they lose at home, they're 1-3. There's humiliation having Brady come in and beat them. And if the game gets out of hand, and it's a rout, it won't be comfortable for Bill late in the night there for sure.

BERMAN: No, I do think the fans will end up cheering for Tom Brady. I think they probably will at the beginning also.

SHAUGHNESSY: Yes. BERMAN: Look, you know in Boston sports, we need a villain. We always need a villain. Oftentimes you are the villain. That's an aside. But who's the villain here? I have a hard time saying that anyone is actually the bad guy in this.

SHAUGHNESSY: Well, everybody takes sides around here. It's very tribal. I mean when Bill Parcells left, you had to choose between Kraft and Parcells. You know, when Roger Clemens left, you had to make your choices. People make their choices.

Right now the popular sentiment is with Brady because he's gone off and won. He left. He went and won a Super Bowl. So if you're Belichick, you look bad. If you're Bob Kraft, who's always trying to please both parties, the owner of the Patriots, he feels bad because he looks like a stooge for not keeping the guy, as does Belichick. It looked like a 42-year-old quarterback, maybe time was up, OK, Tom, have fun out there, you go ahead and you go to Tampa. But then he wins the Super Bowl the next year, now he comes back into your house, you know, it's tough for Bill and Bob right now.

BERMAN: He can come back into my house anytime.

Dan Shaughnessy, great to see you. Thank you so much for being with us this morning.

SHAUGHNESSY: Thank you. Thanks.

BERMAN: Moments from now, House Democrats back at it on Capitol Hill, trying to find a way forward on two signature pieces of Joe Biden's agenda. We have coverage after this.



KEILAR: Today's CNN Hero found a way to get food that is thrown away to the people who need it most.


MARIE ROSE BELDING, CNN HERO: I was 14 when I started building MEANS. I was 23 when we were honored. And to get this award and to have our work shown in its full breadth was just so incredible. And it really changed the narrative that we've been up against, that we were just kids, this was just a club, that, no, our entire hearts and souls were poured into what we were doing at MEANS and that we were having this large-scale national impact.

Since then our budget has more than quadrupled. We were able to, thanks to a pretty great grant, invest more than $4.1 million in small restaurants across nine U.S. cities. And I'm so grateful for all the opportunities that heroes opened up for all of us.

So, thank you. And congratulations on 15 incredible years.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KEILAR: Fifteen years of everyday people making the world a better place.

You can go to for more information on the life changing work that is being done by other CNN heroes all around the world.

BERMAN: And before we go, just in, Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh has tested positive for COVID. In a statement from the court, we're told he has no symptoms, and the rest of his family tested negative. He is fully vaccinated.


CNN's coverage continues right now.