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8 In 10 Americans Say Biden Not Doing Enough To Fight Inflation; Ukrainian Nurse Who Lost Legs In Blast Dances With Husband; Alabama D.A. Who Worked With Fugitive Officer Joins New Day. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired May 05, 2022 - 07:30   ET




BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: We're looking at some of the numbers here of the increase in costs for certain items -- items that people cannot avoid purchasing.

Was Joe Manchin right about the impact of spending under this administration on inflation?

BERNSTEIN: Well, I think if you're trying to understand inflation and our spending or our fiscal policy, you have to consider a couple of things.

First of all, let's look at Europe. They didn't do the same fiscal or monetary policies that we did and their inflation is also historically elevated. And I think the last reading over there was 7.5% year-over- year. That's not quite as high as ours but it's a historic high for them as well.

So, we're seeing inflationary pressures across the globe. Putin's price hike is very much in the mix now with its pressure on commodity prices -- particularly, food and energy.

But here's the thing. You also have to ask yourself what did we get for this economic heat -- for the spending and rescue plan. Well, evictions hardly increased at all. Typically, when we've had unemployment go up as high as it did -- it was almost 15% -- we saw more evictions.

We saw households in much worse shape. We saw child poverty usually go up. In this case, child poverty went down because of measures that we took.

And again, household net worth, household --

KEILAR: But Jared, let me as you. You said it. You said it. You said Europe's inflation isn't as high as ours. So was Manchin right?

BERNSTEIN: No. I think that the international comparisons of where inflation is undermines this point that somehow U.S. spending was responsible for this.

If you look at inflation across advanced economies, I could have cited Canada or Mexico. Their inflation rates are about the same as ours. So, if you -- if you look across international comparisons you'll find inflationary pressures everywhere.

Now, we all did different fiscal policy but what did we all have in common? The pandemic. So, the pandemic had impacts on supply chains. It had impacts on people's ability to go to work. And, of course, that led to supply site snarls and that boosted inflationary pressures.

The thing you have to ask yourself with all these polling results and with all these inflationary pressures of which we are acutely aware is, is this country -- is this economy in a position of strength to face what's coming at us, especially compared to other economies that face the same pressures? And I think the answer, if you look at our job market, if you look at our GDP growth, if you look at household -- how household's incomes are doing, how their savings are doing, you would conclude that we are approaching this moment from a position of strength.

KEILAR: But Americans -- they don't feel good about it, right? You're looking at --

BERNSTEIN: No, understood.

KEILAR: At least they're feeling -- they don't feel good about it. Can you tell the American people that we're not headed for a recession?

BERNSTEIN: I can tell the American people that we are in a much better position when it comes to that recession question than pretty much any other advanced economy I've seen. But probably more importantly, I can tell the American people that --

KEILAR: So you can't rule it out is what I'm hearing.

BERNSTEIN: Hold on. Let me -- let -- you can never rule anything out, so that's not really a relevant question.

Let me -- let me make the point. The key point here is less about forecasting and probabilities. That's a very uncertain game right now. It is what are we actually doing concretely to meet the challenges that we know American households face. Yes, I've ticked off a lot of positive indicators about this economy. We're approaching this from a position of strength.

It does not mean that we don't appreciate the challenges that they face. The president talks about that every time he speaks. And we are under marching orders from this president to do everything we can to ease inflationary pressures.

Now, we've done so at the ports. We have things moving from the ports more quickly than they have in years. There's records in terms of throughput there. Goods on the shelf are now about 90%, which is about where they were pre-pandemic. We have a labor market that by some metrics is the strongest labor market on record.

So we're working as hard as we can to ameliorate these pressures, and I think that's the most important message we have to communicate to people right now. We understand this challenge and we're doing everything we can to meet it.

KEILAR: I have a question for you about this abortion draft decision -- and hang with me because it does make sense why I'm asking you about this.

If it stands, what do you expect that the effect is going to be on women participating in the workforce and in the economy?

BERNSTEIN: Yes, that is such an important question. And for all the other extremely important questions, that's one we probably haven't heard enough of over the past couple of days.

Some of our most rigorous and high-quality economic research -- and by that, I mean research that really establishes causation -- asks about this very question. And it finds that when you deny access to reproductive rights in general but abortion rights in particular to women, they have persistently worse economic outcomes.


Financially, it's like losing a job. It's like being evicted. It's like losing health insurance. It's like going to the hospital in terms of its impact on their finances. If you look at occupation, earnings, education, maternal health -- all of those indicators are significantly damaged when we restrict access to abortion.

Again, some of our highest-quality research consistently finds that, and it finds that these effects are most pernicious for women of color and for younger women. So this is a -- it's a justice issue, it's a liberty issue, it's a women's right issue -- of course, health issue, first and foremost, personal decision. But it is also at its core here an economic issue, particularly for younger women and women of color.

KEILAR: So then, Jared, would you expect that red states would take a bigger hit economically?

BERNSTEIN: Certainly, I would expect, based on a set of research that shows the devastating and persistent economic cost to women who don't have access to abortion, especially if you're someone in a state who doesn't have the income to go to a different state. So again, we are looking at another kind of inequality to American kind of dynamic here.

Look, if you're a wealthy person in a place without access you can probably get yourself to a place where you -- where you can access an abortion. But if you're someone who doesn't have those resources -- and again, this is what the research show unequivocally -- your financial conditions, your occupational opportunities, your education, your earnings, your health -- we've seen solid results in terms of family formation. So there's just -- all of these costs will fall most severely on those who are unable to access abortion should Roe come down.

KEILAR: Jared, it's great to have you this morning. Thank you so much. I really appreciate you being here.

BERNSTEIN: My pleasure.

KEILAR: We are continuing to follow the news out of Mariupol where officials say intense attacks continue on the besieged Azovstal steel plant a day after Russian forces breached its perimeter. The latest on the evacuations there ahead.

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN ANCHOR: And a Ukrainian nurse who lost both of her legs in this war is sharing her first dance with her husband in a moment that has now gone viral.

We'll be right back.



MARQUARDT: Brazil's president is taking aim at Hollywood stars who have been urging Brazilian youth to vote in the latest election. In particular, Leonardo DiCaprio, the actor who has been calling out the Brazilian president about the Amazon Rainforest in a series of tweets by DiCaprio.

Now, CNN has reporters bringing you the latest developments around the world. Let's begin with CNN's Max Foster.


MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): I'm Max Foster.

President Jair Bolsonaro and Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio are butting heads yet again. The Brazilian president told DiCaprio to keep his mouth shut after the actor urged young Brazilians to vote.

The actor tweeted, "What happens in Brazil and the Amazon, and the upcoming October elections matters to us all." But Bolsonaro disagreed. He said the Amazon is a matter of Brazilian sovereignty and accused Leo of serving special foreign interests. He ended his Twitter rant with a jab to the actor, "Good job in the "The Revenant!"

KRISTEN FISHER, CNN SPACE AND DEFENSE CORRESPONDENT (on camera): I'm Kristin Fisher in Washington.

A change of command ceremony up at the International Space Station. NASA astronaut Tom Marshburn handing over the ceremonial key to a Russian cosmonaut. Now, this type of change in command happens all the time at the International Space Station, but this one takes on some added significance given the current geopolitical tensions over the war in Ukraine.

Now, both NASA and Russia's space agency Roscosmos say that this partnership continues uninterrupted and it's something that NASA astronaut Tom Marshburn really drove home during this ceremony. He said, and I quote, "The lasting legacy of the Space Station is very likely to be international cooperation and a place of peace."

HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): I'm Hadas Gold in Jerusalem.

After a flurry of angry condemnations from Israeli officials following the Russian foreign minister's anti-Semitic remarks, Israeli officials have mostly remained quiet in recent days, even as Russia has amped up the rhetoric.

Russia tacitly allows Israel to strike Iranian-backed targets in Syria where Russia has a major military presence and it's something that Israel sees as vital to its defense. So while some Israeli media are reporting that Israeli officials plan to start sending more defensive military equipment to Ukraine, analysts don't believe that despite these diplomatic tangles Israel will start changing its Russia policy.


KEILAR: Despite the Russian bombardment, there are daily signs of perseverance and strength coming from all corners of Ukraine. And a nurse who lost both of her legs in a blast just a few weeks ago is just another case study in civilians overcoming the odds. She's sharing a first dance with her husband in this video, as you can see.

CNN's Scott McLean live in Lviv with, Scott, what is just an incredible story.

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It really is an amazing story, Brianna.

Look, these newlyweds are only 23 years old and, of course, a lot of 23-year-olds figure they've got all the time in the world to get married and to celebrate life's big milestones. But when the bride lost both of her legs and four fingers on one hand, the groom quickly realized that in war, you can't take any time for granted.



MCLEAN (voice-over): An unusual first dance -- newlyweds in a hospital room -- watched more than a million times online -- viral because the 23-year-old bride is recovering from having both legs amputated. It's been barely a month since Oksana Balandina stepped on a landmine in her hometown of Lysychansk.

OKSANA BALANDINA, LOST LEGS IN BLAST: (Speaking foreign language).

TEXT: I felt like I was flying in the air. I felt a terrible noise in my head. I fell to the ground. My husband started calling an ambulance, and I felt that my feet and my legs were in a hole. When I looked down, they were gone. I understood everything. I didn't want to live anymore. MCLEAN (voice-over): Oksana and her new husband Viktor have been

together since they were teens. They have two children together. Marriage was always in their plan someday, but after the blast, Viktor decided that day was overdue. The pair got married in a civil ceremony and came back to their hospital room for an impromptu reception.

BALANDINA: (Speaking foreign language).

TEXT: I had tears in my eyes. I was happy and joyful, but I missed my legs.

VIKTOR VASYLIV, WIFE LOST BOTH LEGS IN BLAST: (Speaking foreign language).

TEXT: I was happy. Happy for myself, happy for her. She was happy. She wanted this for a long time. Not under these circumstances, but still.

MCLEAN (voice-over): The video was taken by a friend who posted it online. It's now been shared and reposted around the world.

VASYLIV: (Speaking foreign language).

TEXT: I knew that she was strong, but I never thought she was as strong as she was these last five weeks.

MCLEAN (voice-over): She'll need a lot more strength. With her current treatment in Lviv, their kids are staying with their grandparents across the country for the foreseeable future.

MCLEAN (on camera): How has it been for your kids?

VASYLIV: (Speaking foreign language).

TEXT: They were afraid to approach me. They understood their mother was in pain. That she could be missing something. That she had no legs. It was stressful for them. But we told them that she will have other legs -- not real, but different.

The next time they visited, they were already fighting over who will be the first to push their mother in her wheelchair.

BALANDINA: (Speaking foreign language).

TEXT: I am missing them very much.

VASYLIV: (Speaking foreign language).

TEXT: I am missing them very much. We are missing them.

MCLEAN (on camera): Why do your kids make you so emotional?

BALANDINA: (Speaking foreign language).

TEXT: We have never been apart for that long with them. And I'm like missing a part of myself. MCLEAN (voice-over): In a few days, Viktor will take Oksana to

Germany to be fitted for prosthetics. Soon, she hopes she'll be walking down the aisle. They're already planning a formal church wedding with all of their friends and family. Until then, they hope that people take a small lesson from their story.

BALANDINA: (Speaking foreign language).

TEXT: That life is wonderful. That you don't need to give up. That you have to fight for your life and grab your life because life is a wonderful thing.


MCLEAN: Now, Viktor says that the wedding was his way of making sure that he knew that Oksana knew that he was committed to her no matter what. There was also a much more practical reason though, and that's that the pair had to get married in order for Viktor to be able to accompany his now-disabled wife to Germany to get those prosthetics fitted. Because, of course, right now, Brianna, fighting-age men are not allowed to leave Ukraine.

KEILAR: Yes, it's such a good point. Scott, that is an amazing story and we thank you so much for sharing it with us.

It was beautiful. Grab your life because life is a beautiful thing, she said.

MARQUARDT: So rarely do we hear these positive stories. But it just -- it just goes to show again, of course, that we talk about the end of this war -- when that can happen -- and it will end one day. But these lives are just impacted forever and she's just starting her life.

KEILAR: And also, the mines, right? This is a very real threat.


KEILAR: If you are on the roads in some places, as we understand it, and -- I mean, I've heard of some people in traffic jams and maybe they want to like wander off the road for a quick little pitstop and people will yell at them get back on the road. They don't want people going into fields. Stuff that you would take for granted you cannot do because there is a huge danger of losing your limbs.

MARQUARDT: And those mines are going to be there for a very long time -- not just on the roads, but in the fields where farmers are out working. It's just -- it's horrible.


But our thanks to Scott McLean for that rare good-news story amid this horrible war.

Now, come home. That's what a colleague is saying for the corrections officer who reportedly ran off with an inmate who was charged with murder. That colleague wanting her to turn herself in.

KEILAR: And why one comedian is calling the Dave Chappelle attack, quote, "the beginning of the end of comedy."


MARQUARDT: It has now been nearly a week since Alabama corrections officer Vicky White and inmate Casey White -- they are not related -- they went missing, though, and there is still no sign of them. Vicky is now the subject of an active arrest warrant for allegedly permitting or facilitating the escape of an inmate, Casey White.

But the people who knew her and worked closely with her say that this comes as a complete and utter shock.


And joining us now is someone who says he did work with Vicky almost daily for 17 years, Lauderdale County district attorney Chris Connolly. Mr. Connolly, thank you so much for joining us this morning.

As I mentioned, it has been a week. What more do we know about this search? How's it going?

CHRIS CONNOLLY, DISTRICT ATTORNEY, LAUDERDALE COUNTY, ALABAMA, WORKED WITH VICKY WHITE FOR 17 YEARS (via Webex by Cisco): Yes. We've got state and federal, and local authorities all working night and day to try to capture these folks.

MARQUARDT: Do we have any sense of where they might be going?

CONNOLLY: You know, we don't, and I'm not -- I'm the prosecutor so I'm not -- I'm not all in the middle of what they're doing. But I just know they're working very hard to capture them.

MARQUARDT: How many forces are out there? How many officers are out there? What size of a search is it for the -- for the -- for Casey and Vicky White? Again, they're not related.

CONNOLLY: I can't give you a number. I mean, they're -- I just know they're here working at the courthouse and they're out in the field working, and they're tirelessly working to try to bring these people in.

MARQUARDT: Are there any indications about the nature of the relationship between these two individuals?

CONNOLLY: You know, our sheriff has categorized as a special relationship, and that's based on I think inmates they've talked to as well as some independent corroboration they got of that.

MARQUARDT: So, what's your sense? Do you believe it was a romantic relationship?

CONNOLLY: You know, I'm beginning to believe that. I would have never thought that in a million years. It's such a shock that she's involved in this and it's just stunning.

MARQUARDT: Can you tell us what kind of access she had to Casey White? How much she was around him. How a relationship might have developed.

CONNOLLY: Well, he was in and out of our jail since the charge was made of capital murder. So, she was a co-director at the jail so she had whatever access she had. I mean, she had unfettered access to him. Of course, he's not in a -- in a cell by himself. He's in a -- he's in a dorm-type cell, so --

MARQUARDT: And I understand that when he went back to a state prison that she continued to stay in touch with him.

CONNOLLY: I mean, that's what the sheriff is saying now -- yes.

MARQUARDT: We're hearing friends saying that this is a total shock. They say that they believe she didn't act alone. That there must have been someone else involved.

Is there any indication of that? Do you think someone else could have -- could have helped her?

CONNOLLY: I don't think there's any indication of that. You know, she was a longtime trusted employee at our -- at our jail and she just exploited the system and really misused the trust and the credibility that she had gained over the years as a -- as a great employee. And that's why it's so shocking.

MARQUARDT: You've known her for around two decades, I understand. What more can you tell us about her, but also how she was in her job?

CONNOLLY: Well, professionally, she was the most solid person. We've got great staff at the jail and she was solid. She wasn't a big talker but if we needed something here at the courthouse she was somebody we could call and she could make those kind of things happen. And -- I mean, she was just a solid employee. That's -- again, that's why myself and everybody else that knows her are just shocked by this.

MARQUARDT: And one of the things that people are pointing to to indicate that she might have been complicit in this is that she recently sold her home -- and not only sold her home, but sold it for well below asking price. And then filed for retirement as well. How suspicious do you think that is?

CONNOLLY: Oh, clearly, lots of planning went into this. I mean, she exploited the transport system that Friday. Our jail vans to bring inmates for hearings leave at 9:00. She didn't -- waited until 9:30 and indicated she was going to take him to the courthouse for a mental evaluation. A total lie. So, she exploited the system.

MARQUARDT: And Mr. Connolly, in case Vicky White is watching this right now, what would you say to her?

CONNOLLY: You know, I would hope she would come home. I mean, I think she's in danger. So I would say come home. MARQUARDT: All right, Chris Connolly. We have to leave it there.

Thank you so much for your time this morning.

CONNOLLY: Thank you.

MARQUARDT: All right.

NEW DAY continues right now.

And a very good morning to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. It is Thursday, May 5. I'm Alex Marquardt here with Brianna Keilar this morning. John Berman is off. Thank you so much for having me.