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Eric Adams Elected As New York City's Second Black Mayor; Children Get First Approved Vaccine Shots Across The U.S.; Democrat Phil Murphy Pulls Ahead In Neck And Neck New Jersey Governor's Race. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired November 03, 2021 - 07:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[07:30:00]

ERIC ADAMS (D), NEW YORK CITY MAYOR-ELECT: But provide services to people.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: There have been critics who say that the national Democratic Party, right now, is suffering from some runaway wokeness. How do you feel about that?

ADAMS: Well, I think it's imperative that we have a discussion with debate, we have conversations pre-election. But once that election is over, post-election, you have to become a GSD-elected -- get stuff done. You have to get stuff done.

And the reality is to continue to debate after the election is just a failing solution for the people on the ground. And we can't -- I say this over and over again. We can't be so philosophical and theoretical that we're just simply giving out and throwing out terms instead of looking on the ground at what people need.

And that's what I'm hoping the party that I love -- the Democratic Party -- realize. We must get back on the ground and impact the things that are important to people.

BERMAN: Let me ask you a few things about the city, which you will be running soon enough.

There's a vaccine mandate in place for police officers and firefighters. Will you keep that in place?

ADAMS: Well, right now, the -- we have one mayor. And I was clear on that but I'm going to encourage the mayor what I stated on the last few days of the campaign trail. Speak with the unions. I reached out to these -- some of the union leadership late last night and they stated that Eric, we want to sit down. We have not been able to sit down with the mayor.

Listen, they are incredible messengers. If we're going to get through this COVID crisis, you get -- we get through it by communicating with incredible messengers to speak to their rank and file.

I hope the mayor -- and I am encouraging him to do that. To sit down with the unions and come to a resolution. And if he doesn't -- if this is still going until January, I am going to sit down with them and we're going to get this resolved. We have to defeat COVID and make sure we don't have crime in our city.

BERMAN: Well, they're on unpaid leaves -- the ones who have -- who have not been vaccinated. Don't they have a right to know if they might be able to get paid as of January first or whenever it is your inauguration day is? I mean, at this point, you are mayor-elect, so there's one mayor-elect. You could tell them what their situation will be in January.

ADAMS: Yes, but look what that -- look what that does. It says to the mayor I handcuff him to be able to sit down and negotiate a solution. If you know when you sit down at the table that no matter what happens you're going to not have to deal with what the current mayor stated, that is unfair. I would not want someone to do that to me as a mayor and I'm not going to do it to this mayor.

Here's an opportunity for him to bring about a resolution.

BERMAN: Yes.

ADAMS: And when I inherit this situation, I'm going to bring about a resolution.

BERMAN: You talked about policing and how you think defunding the police is the wrong message. You made that clear in the primary, which was some time ago. Anything new you've learned about that overnight?

ADAMS: No. I know that on the ground where the rubber meets the road that it doesn't matter if you are a Democrat or a Republican. When that bullet discharges from a gun and it strikes a person, no one asks if it's a Democrat or a Republican.

We must be safe in our city. Safety and justice is the prerequisite to prosperity. That's the foundation that we can build business on, families on, and that is the foundation that we need in this city -- and I'm going to continue to say that. As a person that wore that bulletproof uniform, I know how important it is for our city to be safe.

BERMAN: So, based on your victory last night, based on the referendum we saw in Minneapolis last night, do you think -- I don't want to call it a movement, but do you think that push among some progressives is dead now?

ADAMS: No, I don't, and we need a balance in our country. There's nothing wrong with good dialogue. That's what we are as Americans and I'm excited about that.

But what we must do after the election -- we must move from the debating to actually performing for our city. That is what is happening. We are having this prolonged election even after we are elected to office. And so, I encourage those who have different theories about how we should go about governing, but we have to get stuff done in our city and in our cities across America. BERMAN: What do you think -- last question here. What do you think voters around the country -- New York City and elsewhere -- how do you think they feel about Joe Biden's presidency this morning?

ADAMS: Well, I think it's a combination. Listen, I am a fan of President Biden. He inherited a real mess from the former president and he has attempted to move us forward.

He has brought in economic resources that cities are in need of -- his infrastructure bill. So much he has done around bringing resources for education and helping us get over the COVID crisis. So, I think people realize his heart is in the right place.

We need to really unite our federal lawmakers so that we can push through what he's attempted to do. And I -- listen, I believe he's a -- he's a president that believes what has impacted everyday American citizens and I'm in support of that.

[07:35:09]

BERMAN: New York City mayor-elect Eric Adams, appreciate you being with us. Congratulations.

ADAMS: Thank you. Take care.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: The race for governor in New Jersey still too close to call this morning. Republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli is now only 65 votes ahead of Gov. Phil Murphy. This is really a shocking result for Democrats. It's a wake-up call here in this state that President Joe Biden won by 16 points just a year ago.

Let's talk about it now with Congressman Josh Gottheimer, Democrat from New Jersey. He's also the co-chair of the Problem Solvers Caucus.

How are you reading this close race in New Jersey? What's the takeaway?

REP. JOSH GOTTHEIMER (D-NJ): Well, in the end, first of all, Gov. Murphy will win. He will win reelection.

And my takeaway, overall, in this election is that people want action. They want results, they deserve results, and that's what I hear about at home all the time, and frankly, it starts right now.

And this week I'm really hopeful that we will take action on infrastructure. We'll get this done. We'll reinstate the state and local tax deduction with -- called SALT, and get people's taxes down.

But the bottom line is I think this is a wake-up call for all of us that people want results.

KEILAR: People want results.

If you're looking at Virginia, for instance, Youngkin kind of flipped the script on McAuliffe when it came to education.

But cultural issues also played a major role in this election. How do Democrats need to approach cultural issues?

GOTTHEIMER: Well, you know, I'll just tell you what I hear about it at home all the time. People want to make sure we stand by our firefighters and law enforcement, and our veterans. They want to make sure we take care of the drinking water and make sure it's clean. They want to make sure they can afford to pay their bills.

So those are all things that I've been fighting for and working for and I think that's what people want us to be talking about -- you know, real practical issues that they care about. Childcare and making sure they can afford childcare and get to work. So -- and fix -- of course, fix their roads and bridges. You know, I think everyone gets sick and tired of hitting those potholes. They want to make -- get their commute times down. They want to know their train works.

That's why, actually, the legislation we're considering in Washington right now is so important. It's bipartisan -- the infrastructure package. I think this is a sign that we need to come together and work together, just like the mayor just said -- the mayor-elect just said -- and take action for them. And frankly, it's time.

And I think right now in Washington we have that opportunity to put real points on the board for the country and for families. And that's what I think we should continue to focus on.

KEILAR: You are a moderate. Is there a bit of feeling among moderates today in Washington to progressives -- you know, I told you so? You should have passed infrastructure, as you just mentioned.

GOTTHEIMER: Well, I'm not really into the blame game. I'm into, actually, how do we move forward and get things done. I see this as a real opportunity for us.

KEILAR: But that's about the future, right? That's about the future.

GOTTHEIMER: Yes. Well, no, I think -- that's why I think we need to come together and act. I think we can't afford to -- we've got a big tent party in the Democratic Party. I think fighting among ourselves doesn't do anything. That's not why we're elected.

People want us to work together and they want us to work across the aisle. They want common-sense ideas. So, I think we should get to Washington and do what people hired us to do, which is to get things done.

And again, we have an opportunity now with our bipartisan infrastructure package, which was passed out of the Senate back in August. It's ready for us to act and ready for us to get to the president's desk.

That's everything from fixing our drinking water to broadband, to our roads, bridges, and tunnels -- the tunnels between New York and New Jersey called the Gateway tunnel. It's 113 years old and crumbling. We can fix that, right? There's -- we fix our transit.

There's a huge opportunity right now to act and we could do it together, Democrats and Republicans. I think we should get that done.

And the reconciliation package also needs to get done because that's childcare. That's reinstating the state and local deduction, or SALT, right, to get taxes down for people and make things more affordable which again, is something I hear about all the time.

So, I think the lesson from all of this is it's time to act. People expect us to act and that's the wake-up call here. They want us to act.

KEILAR: All right, Congressman Josh Gottheimer. Thank you so much.

GOTTHEIMER: Thanks for having us.

BERMAN: So, beyond all the election news, it's a huge day for parents in terms of this pandemic. Children ages five to 11 can soon get vaccinated, and Dr. Anthony -- and when I say soon, I mean like today. Dr. Anthony Fauci joins us live to discuss this milestone moment.

KEILAR: Plus, the murder trial for Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse is underway. Hear the dramatic opening statements.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:44:02]

BERMAN: All right. And we do have breaking news in this closely- watched governor's race in New Jersey. Phil Murphy, the incumbent Democrat, is now leading the Republican Jack Ciattarelli by about 1,600 votes. This is a change and a big change.

Overnight, Ciattarelli was up 61 to 65 votes total, but some new ballots have just been counted. Phil Murphy now with a lead. There are more Democratic votes from Democratic areas out there. It's possible this lead will grow. But a significant moment in this race.

We'll take a look where those votes came from. We'll come back to you in just a few minutes.

KEILAR: Big news there we're watching.

And also breaking this morning, kids ages five to 11 are getting their first COVID-19 shots after the CDC authorized Pfizer's vaccine for the 28 million kids who are in this age group.

[07:45:00]

Joining us now is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, as well as chief medical adviser on COVID-19 to President Biden, Dr. Anthony Fauci. Dr. Fauci, it is great to see you this morning on what is such a big day here.

I want to start with what parents need to know. So, first, where can parents get their kids vaccinated?

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASE, CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISER ON COVID-19 TO PRESIDENT BIDEN (via Webex by Cisco): Well, right now, what had happened -- and this has really been going on now for a week or so in anticipation of the possibility, which turned out to be the reality that this would be authorized by the FDA and recommended by the CDC, and it has occurred.

And the -- and the formulations, which are a different formulation -- a different dose and a different formulation will be now available in pharmacies, in pediatricians' offices, in children's hospitals, and in certain community locations. So, that was what the preparedness was about.

So, it's a good thing. We'll hit the ground running and probably by the beginning of next week we'll be at full speed. So, parents should consult with their pediatricians, consult with their family physicians, consult with their pharmacists and they'll be able to know exactly where to get this particular vaccine for their children from five to 11.

KEILAR: I was thrilled to find out that at my 5-year-old's school they're actually having a drive for vaccines at the school, which makes it incredibly easy for parents like me. And yes, this, actually scheduled several days ago before this became official.

FAUCI: Right.

KEILAR: There are parents who are hesitant -- even people who have gotten the shot themselves. What do you say to them?

FAUCI: Well, it's understandable. I mean, parents are always very concerned about their children. I mean, I have adult daughters but if my daughters were in the age range of five to 11, I would definitely get them vaccinated.

But I would ask the kind of questions that parents should and will ask about the safety, about the efficacy, about why it's important to protect the children. Although children statistically -- when they get infected, they do not get the incidence of severe disease to the level of adults, particularly elderly adults do. But they're not exempt from getting sick.

And we see that in children who can be hospitalized. There have now been about 700 deaths among children -- not obviously all within that younger age group. But children are vulnerable. They can get infected and they also can spread the infection, once they do get infected, within the family unit.

So, there's a lot of reasons to get the children vaccinated. And we're very pleased that it's gone through the appropriate process of scrutinization by the FDA, who have authorized it on an EUA. And now, the CDC, last night, with their advisory committee have made the recommendation, which is very good. I'm looking forward to seeing this rollout in a very successful way.

KEILAR: Yes, and it's a third of the dose. This isn't what adults have gotten being given to their kids, to be very clear.

I do want you to address a myth that is kind of pernicious that this affects fertility. That is something --

FAUCI: Yes.

KEILAR: -- that parents are worried about for their kids. Can you talk about that?

FAUCI: There's no indication whatsoever, even any mechanistic feasibility that would -- it would affect fertility at all. In fact, in the millions and millions of doses -- and billions of doses that have been given worldwide of the vaccine, there's no indication whatsoever that it has anything to do with fertility.

Giving it to a child -- you have to at least look for a plausible mechanism of what that would be, and there is none. There is none.

KEILAR: That's so important to note.

You mentioned the hundreds -- you know, almost 1,000 children, as you said, of all ages who have died. And I also, though, want to note the other risks to kids -- potential long-term risks that we don't know about when it comes to them contracting COVID.

FAUCI: Right.

KEILAR: What do you say to parents about that?

FAUCI: Well, that's just another reason to get the children vaccinated. There is something called long COVID. It is seen in adults and it is seen in children to a lesser percentage -- but it is seen in children.

And what that is is that a person -- even a child -- can get infected, can get COVID. It could be mild, it could be moderate, or it could be severe. And when you clear the virus, in essence -- you're so-called past the acute stage -- often it takes a considerable period of time of getting back to normal. And that's characterized by chronic, almost sometimes debilitating fatigue, muscle aches, sleep disorders, and things like that.

So, you don't want them to get infected in the first place, and sometimes when they do, they have persistence of symptoms. Yet again, another reason to get the children vaccinated.

KEILAR: And so, now that they are starting to get vaccinated, what's the end game here? Is this low-level transmission we're talking about or does this get to zero spread?

[07:50:00]

FAUCI: Well, I'm not so sure we're going to get soon to zero spread but we want to get out of the pandemic phase and into a very good control phase. You know, there are different levels of approach and control of a particular outbreak. You go from pandemic to deceleration going down, to then control. You go to elimination and eradication. I don't think we're going to get to eradication. We've only eradicated one viral disease and that's smallpox. But you can get it down to a very low level if you get enough people vaccinated. And a low level is one that doesn't interfere with how we function in society. Because right now, as we all know, this outbreak is having a very profound effect on how society functions throughout the world. We want to get those cases down low enough that it may not eliminate it completely but it certainly is not going to be a public health issue.

KEILAR: Yes, that it can really reduce the risk in schools now that kids are back in them.

I wonder with the benefit of hindsight now, looking back on school closures in so many places, do you think that schools were kept closed for too long in some places?

FAUCI: You know, I think it's very difficult to go back in the retrospect to scope and figure that out. There were so many complicating issues going on. It's better to look forward right now. I think it's going to make the issue of schools much easier and much safer as we get more and more children.

Before, we would surround the children with vaccinated people, like adults, like teachers, like school personnel. Now if you have the children, in addition to the personnel, that diminishes the risk considerably.

KEILAR: Yes. You know, I do want to press you on this because as a parent of school-aged children myself, and with the threat of another potential pandemic, I think that's one of the things we've discussed -- that this could happen again. You know, that's an important question that is about the future --

FAUCI: Right.

KEILAR: -- what we should do with school closures.

Do you -- do you think that this could have been handled better and that there would have been a way to keep schools open and mitigate the risk better?

FAUCI: You know, the answer is we have to be humble and modest. We always can do better -- always. And that's the reason why you continually look about lessons learned -- you know, the idea about getting masks and getting masks worn in school. No doubt masks make a difference.

Vaccinations are going to really make a big, big difference. And I think a combination of these things -- hopefully, sometime in the future, we can not only get the kids back to school but we can get rid of the masking situation. We've got to do it in a step-by-step fashion.

But you're absolutely right. We've always got to examine what we've done and try and see next time, and maybe even as we're living through it now do better and better. We can't assume that we've done things perfectly, that's for sure. KEILAR: We saw so many schools do different things. And I wonder if you look back on some of the schools that, for instance, they opened sooner but they took those mitigation efforts -- the masks. Maybe they split the class in half so there was a morning and an afternoon so they could distance.

I mean, is that something now, as you look back, you say maybe that was a better route?

FAUCI: Possibly, yes, and I think that's the reason why you've always got to look back and see what worked and see what did not work to be prepared for the next time.

But again, viruses sometimes act differently. I mean, not every virus is going to be in the situation where it'll have the same impact on schoolchildren as other viruses do. So, you've got to not only have lessons learned from the past but make sure you extrapolate that to what you're dealing with in the present. Bottom line, you can always learn more than you know right now.

KEILAR: Yes. They are our babies, after all.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, thank you so much.

FAUCI: Thank you for having me.

BERMAN: All right, the breaking election news. Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy, moments ago, pulled ahead of the Republican in this neck and neck New Jersey governor's race. We'll bring you the very latest, next.

KEILAR: And hundreds of QAnon adherents turning out in Dallas in search of dead celebrities.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:58:34]

KEILAR: Good morning to viewers here in the United States and around the world. It is Wednesday, November third.

And welcome to the morning-after edition of election night in America, still going on. It is still too early to project the winner of the governor's race in New Jersey. We are, though, getting some new vote totals in by the minute that are changing the dynamics of this race.

Just moments ago, the race flipped, putting incumbent Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy ahead of his Republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli. The difference now separating the candidates is just over 1,600 votes. There are still votes outstanding. Now, mostly, it seems they're from Democratic areas, so we're going to show you exactly where that is here in just a moment.

The fact, though, that this is even close is seen by many as a win for Republicans going into races here in the midterms. So, let's go now to Berman who has all of the news at the wall. It's really interesting when you get into this sort of microscopically. You can see why Republicans can look at this and champion it even if they don't pull out a win.

BERMAN: Yes, and we're watching the democratic process at play this morning as the votes still continue to be counted in New Jersey. And as of now, Phil Murphy, 1,667 votes ahead. If you've been watching all morning long, you're saying hey, Jack Ciattarelli was up by 65 votes just an hour ago.

So, what happened? Let me tell you what happened. It was Hudson County, New Jersey, home to Jersey City, where you can see Phil Murphy's got 73 percent of the vote.