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Christine Todd Whitman and Andrew Yang are Interviewed about a New Third Political Party; U.S. GDP Drops; Tracy Morgan and Maven Morgan are Interviewed about Shark Week. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired July 28, 2022 - 08:30   ET




BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Andrew, who's joining you, Elon Musk?

ANDREW YANG, CO-CHAIR, FORWARD PARTY: We're going to have an exciting announcement about new people and leaders from every sector of American life joining the Forward Party in the days to come because, again, 62 percent of Americans want this. The people watching this right now want this. You just keep being told you can't have it. But the fact is, this is the time. This is the opportunity for people to come up and fix our politics.

KEILAR: But is he - I've got to ask, is - is Elon Musk one of those? You said Elon Musk? Elon Musk one of those?

YANG: I'm sorry?

KEILAR: Is Elon Musk one of those?

YANG: Well, Elon Musk did support my presidential campaign. And let's just say, again, we're going to have some very exciting announcements in the days to come.

KEILAR: He can be a divisive figure.

Governor, who else? Who else do you want to see? Who else would be willing to do this?

WHITMAN: Well, as Andrew said - as Andrew said, we're going to be announcing a lot of names, impressive names. Names that have money behind them, names that have political experience behind them, names that are respected by the American people. That's what we care about. We care about people who will instill confidence in the American people and so we can start to move forward.

You'll be hearing a lot. You'll be - it will -- you'll see that this really has substance. This isn't just some fly by night thing that we thought, wouldn't that be nice to do. This has been carefully thought out. We're going to have a convention in a year, in 2023, and pull this together, come up with a platform and be able to have candidates that will agree with the forward position and be on the ballot in the states. We have -- individual states have different methods of whether they allow candidates on the ballot, how you get on the ballot. We're researching and have researched all of that.

This is a very thoughtful approach that we're taking. And you're going to see, we'll be on the ballot. We'll be able to present candidates to the public.

KEILAR: All right, I will - I will tell you, you've piqued some skepticism but also I think some curiosity. So we'll be watching.

Andrew Yang, Governor Whitman, thank you for being with us.

WHITMAN: A pleasure.

YANG: Thank you so much.

KEILAR: So just in, the highly anticipated GPD report and jobless claims numbers have been released. So, what it means, next.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: And JetBlue announces plans to buy Spirit Airlines. How is this going to affect your air travel?



BERMAN: All right, it's one of the numbers people have been waiting for. Just moments ago, the GDP report on second quarter earnings released, or second quarter economic growth.

Chief business correspondent Christine Romans here with the numbers.

What do they say?


These -- this is the biggest gauge of the U.S. economy, right, and it shrank 0.9 percent in the second quarter. And that's after a shrink of 1.6 - or a decline of 1.6 percent in the first quarter. You can see it was a rip roaring 2021. The U.S. economy last year, the strongest since the Reagan administration. And now U.S. economic growth is slowing here.

Now, as you know, the beginning of a definition of a recession is two quarters in a row of a decline, but that's just the beginning. You have to look at the entire set of economic numbers out there. We still have a pretty strong labor market.

When you look at jobless claims, that number just came in. That is, of course, a read of how many people for the very first time filed for jobless benefits. That number, 256,000. Down a little bit from last week, which is the number that was revised higher. These are numbers that could be trending up a little bit, but from a very, very low base. So closely watching these labor market numbers as well. It is a strong labor market, many people say, is why the U.S. economy is not technically in a recession right now.

KEILAR: Why - OK. And is that the only number? What other numbers are you looking at that are pointing in opposite directions? It's this kind of push/pull that we're seeing.

ROMANS: Oh, absolutely. The consumer is still in a pretty good position, although we're starting to see signs of cracks there. But, overall, consumer balance sheets are much better today than they were at the beginning of the last big problem we had, 2008, 2009, that big recession. There has been a recession since then, of course. The Covid revision. Very short. Only a couple of months in the beginning of 2020.

We won't know for sure, by the way, until the National Bureau of Economic - well, these guys, the NBER, put together a committee that studies all the numbers and in hindsight decides if there was a recession.

What I can tell you these numbers show us is a very strong economy last year is now slowing.

KEILAR: All right.

Also joining us now -- Christine, thank you so much.

Also joining us now, CNN business correspondent Rahel Solomon, CNN's senior political analyst John Avlon as well.

Rahel, what are you tracking here?

RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: So, I was just looking more closely at what we were seeing in consumer spending. So, we're seeing consumer spending slow but still positive, right? And it's a continuation of the trend we saw last quarter. Folks are still spending more on services, less, however, on goods, which we have already seen. And Powell, by the way, mentioned yesterday that we are clearly seeing signs of slowing, but we're not seeing signs of a screeching halt just yet, not yet at least here.

KEILAR: This -

BERMAN: I'm looking - I'm sorry, I'm pouring through the numbers here to try to get a read on this. And, obviously, it goes without saying, John, there's a political implication to all of this, right?


BERMAN: A president is often judged by how the economy does.

And Christine took it head on, and I'm glad she did, because some people look at this and say, hey, the second quarter in a row of negative growth. What does it all mean in a political context?

AVLON: Look, politics is perception. A second quarter numbers start to seal people's perceptions going into the fall. That said, this is kind of a push me/pull me economy, right? I mean,

on the one hand, the labor market is excellent. Interest rates are rising, but they're far lower than they've been over the last several decades. Inflation is a very big deal, but gas prices are coming down. So you have all these contradictory impulses. The gap deals - I think perceptions are worse some ways than the reality in terms of the macro economy. But, ultimately, it's about how people feel in their own personal pocketbook.

ROMANS: And that's psyche is so interesting. Gas prices fell again last night another couple of pennies. I mean we've seen gas prices come down 60 cents in a month. There was all this hyperventilating on the way up about how terrible gas prices were, but it's not giving any relief to consumers on the way down here, which is why it's so important, I think, that in the peaking inflation story, which a lot of people are starting to talk about, is that going to filter through to help people feeling better about things because right now it's this self-fulfilling recession talk of prophecy of people say they feel terrible, they're behaving like they feel terrible and does that drive you into a recession.


KEILAR: You talked yourself into one, right, that sort of question.

ROMANS: Right. Exactly.


KEILAR: So, what are the solutions at this -- what else can be done, even as we see kind of all of ducks moving their feet so suddenly and so quickly under the water, right?

ROMANS: Well, can - can I bring in - can I bring in this Manchin/Schumer deal overnight.

AVLON: Thank you. Yes.

ROMANS: I mean you're talking about reducing drug prices and capping your out of pocket prescription drug costs at $2,000 a year. That's a big deal. You're talking about a tax credits for low income and middle income drivers for electric vehicles. That's a big deal. There are things in there that are meant to lower the costs of everyday items for people. And it looks as though, and you can talk about the politics of whether it happens or not, but it looks as though they're targeting this more directly. That's been a criticism of stimulus and investment in the economy before that was just money going out the door. This looks pretty targeted to me to people who need relief.

AVLON: And Larry Summers made that point earlier, you know, talking to John.

Look, I do think that yesterday could look in the rear view mirror as one of the biggest legislative days in recent American history if you look at its impact on the economy, between the Chips Act, about China competitiveness. BERMAN: A huge technology investment.

AVLON: A huge deal.


AVLON: All right. You know, and then, on top of that, the surprise Manchin/Schumer deal that deals with lowering prescription drug prices, has implications for the economy, raises revenue. So those two - those two factors, which are political, are also countervailing forces to this number.

SOLOMON: And let's talk about sort of the right now of it all, right? I mean Larry Summers said earlier this morning that it's anti- inflationary. We've seen a lot of economists weigh in on this overnight. But for right now, Americans who are dealing with higher borrowing costs as the Fed tries to tame inflation, they're dealing -- continuing with inflation.

So, I want to point out, like, let's say you're carrying a credit card balance of about $5,000, which Bank Rate tells me is about the average right now. If your interest rate, if your APR is about 17 and a quarter of a percent and it goes up three quarters of a percent to 18, if you're carrying that $5,000 balance and you make the minimum payments, it now takes you six months longer to pay that off and it adds about $300 to your balance.

So, for the right now of it all, people who are more paycheck to paycheck, people who are not seeing their budgets stretched, it still hurts.

BERMAN: If you're Jerome Powell, if you are the Fed chair, yesterday, the Fed announced they're raising interest rates, you know, three quarters of a point, what do you think of this report today?

ROMANS: Gosh, I don't know. I mean they're going to look at every report case by case. And he did say yesterday that if there are signs of a slowdown, they might have to take their foot off the - off the gas there of those - of those -- that's why the market rallied yesterday, by the way, because they were expecting that maybe if you see softness in growth here, that the Fed won't have to be so aggressive down the line. Who knows?

I mean these numbers have been so volatile. You know, we're all talking about a recession, I think we need to be talking about a reset. We're coming from the best growth last year since the Reagan administration. Before that you had GDP that plunged some 30 percent in the crisis. We're just trying to figure out what is the baseline here.

BERMAN: To a certain extent, and this is going to be hard for people to hear, this is the kind of reaction that Jerome Powell might want to see, which is things cooling off a little bit.

SOLOMON: He certainly - and that he certainly wants to see things cooling. He doesn't want to see things sort of ice cold, right? I mean you want to see sort of a pulling back, a gradual pulling back, to bring a bit more balance in terms of the supply of goods and services, which right now are limited because we're still dealing with supply chain issues and the demand for those goods and services.

KEILAR: But let's put up that the GDP graphic again because you guys, and you said this, Christine, you know what people are going to do when they look at this.

AVLON: Sure.


KEILAR: They're going to look at those last two blocks, and they're going to say, well, looks like a recession to me. Feels like a recession to me. And you say what to them?

SOLOMON: Except unemployment is at 3.6 percent. Except that we're seeing hundreds of thousands of jobs every month. Except that companies are still hiring.

Now, anecdotally, we are starting to hear these reports that companies are starting to think of slowing their hiring, or they are starting to announce some layoffs, but it's not being reflected certainly on a large scale. So, we still have the strength in terms of people are still employed and wages are going up. However, inflation is still at 9.1 percent. So, it's all very nuanced. I mean Powell said yesterday, these are not normal times.

AVLON: They're not. And we're trying to get to a goldilocks zone. But, I mean, so much of the economy is about confidence.


AVLON: And when you look at that bar -


AVLON: Right now you see enormous growth of 2021, down this year, but at least you have signs that the government, legislatively, is taking some action that could have an impact on regular (ph) people's lives.

ROMANS: Well, they have the scalpel. Congress has the scalpel.


ROMANS: There's a machete over at the Fed, right? So, if you're trying to really very carefully tailor things, you know, Fed -- Jerome Powell has a machete, Congress has the scalpel to find the places where they can provide relief. But they also have, you know, a whole bunch of people there with differing elections coming up that are - they're driving agenda.


ROMANS: I will say, these numbers will be revised. No question. We get this reading three times for a reason. And Jerome Powell said this yesterday, the U.S. economy is massive, dynamic, complicated.


It still is the envy of the world. It takes a lot to figure out those little changes. This is a number that could turn positive, it could turn more negative. We don't know yet, but there are two more reads on this.

BERMAN: Christine Romans, Rahel, John, thank you very much.

KEILAR: So, this just in, JetBlue announcing a new deal to buy low- cost carrier Spirit Airlines, potentially creating the nation's fifth largest airline. The agreement comes after Spirit canceled its merger with Frontier because it didn't have the support of shareholders. JetBlue has made an all-cash offer of almost $3.8 billion, significantly more than Frontier's bid. Experts say the deal could lead to higher fares for the industry.

And also just in, new CNN reporting on the proposed prisoner swap with Russia. The Biden administration frustrated at Moscow's lack of response to the offer to trade a Russian arms dealer for Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan.

BERMAN: So, comedian, actor, now shark expert Tracy Morgan, now his daughter Maven, they're here previewing their new show for Shark Week.



BERMAN: All right, this is the 34th official Shark Week taking place on The Discovery Channel. And, tonight, there will be a special hosted by a familiar face.



TRACY MORGAN, ACTOR AND COMEDIAN: Hey, what up, y'all? It's me, Tracy Morgan. You might know me from "SNL," "30 Rock" and "The Last OG." But what you don't know is I'm the great grandson of Jacques Cousteau, and I'm very proud of that, OK? And another thing you don't know is that I love sharks.

Sharks are my favorite sea creatures of all. And I want to share my favorite ones with you, America. So, I sat down with some shark scientists to document their behavior.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, there's something there! Keep on it!

MORGAN: And to show you the coolest and most insane stuff that these sharks do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Watch out above you. There's a huge one up here, brother.



BERMAN: So, joining us now to discuss the Shark Week special, "Sharks: with Tracy Morgan," actor and comedian Tracy Morgan, and his daughter and co-host Maven.

Our thanks to both of you for being with us this morning.

Tracy, let me just first ask, before we get to our real interview with Maven here, you say you love sharks. Do you mean you love them and want to spend time with them, or you love the idea and are fascinated by sharks?

TRACY MORGAN, ACTOR AND COMEDIAN: Well, actually, I love them, and I do spend time with them because I have a 20,000 gallon shark tank in my backyard. So I actually spend time with them, me and my daughter.

KEILAR: And what -- OK, well, now we have to ask the question, and what kind of shark is in there?

T. MORGAN: Well, I have black tips, white tips, gray reefs, leopards, catfish sharks. I have all kinds of sharks in my tank.

BERMAN: So, Maven, we do understand that your dad knows a lot about sharks, loves them, and is fascinated by them, but you're an expert too. Tell us what you like about sharks.

MAVEN SONAE MORGAN, TRACY MORGAN'S DAUGHTER: Well, I like that they are so, like, swimming and they love water. Like I like water. And they love to eat fish like I love to eat fish. They're kind of like humans.

KEILAR: They're kind of like humans. Are you -- you're not afraid of them, Maven?


KEILAR: No? Not at all? Well, I'm afraid of them. Why should I not be afraid of them, Maven?

M. MORGAN: Well, usually they -- sharks will attack people if you were to, like, like hurt them or go in their business then they would attack. But if you just left sharks alone, then they wouldn't attack.

KEILAR: So true.

BERMAN: Tracy, you're smiling, you're laughing at Brianna's question, like, why should anyone be scared of sharks. Do you think it's not reasonable to be scared of the ginormous creatures with very big teeth?

T. MORGAN: Well, actually, it is reasonable to be afraid because you're in their territory. You're in their home. But if you relax and you don't splash around, because sharks are attracted to splashing. It feels like a wounded fish or old fish or weak fish. So, if you just maintain and relax, and know exactly where to, like, fend them off, you'll be fine. If you know how to fend them, hit them in the nose, in the front nose, they'll go away.

KEILAR: Yes, I definitely would not be OK.

T. MORGAN: Except for bull sharks.

KEILAR: Except - yes. Yes.

T. MORGAN: Bull sharks are very -- bull sharks -- bull sharks are very -- they -- they - they are unpredictable.


T. MORGAN: They're very unpredictable.

KEILAR: No, because different sharks are different, right? So, tell us about doing this --

T. MORGAN: Absolutely.

KEILAR: Can you guys tell us about doing this show because I just think it's so special that you get to share this thing that you're so passionate about and I just love the clip that we ran, Tracy. It's so fun. I mean people love Shark Week, but this is so fun what you are doing here.

T. MORGAN: Well, my dad introduced me to the marine life. And I love marine life. And we have to do what we have to do to save the world's oceans. And all the creatures in it. So, I wanted to be a part of this because ever since -- I've been watching Shark Week for so long. I even put it in "30 Rock" when I say live every week like it's Shark Week. That came from watching Shark Week. Tina Fey took that and ran with it.

And, actually, my daughter knows more about marine life than I do.


I learned from her. She has everything in the house. She has cone snails. She has emori (ph) eels. She has everything. And she knows all their functions. So I learned everything from her.

BERMAN: And you wouldn't do this show without her, we heard. You wanted her to be part of this, Tracy?

T. MORGAN: Absolutely. Because if you ask my daughter right now, what do you want to be when you grow up?

M. MORGAN: Marine biologist.

T. MORGAN: So, she had to be a part of it with me.

BERMAN: That is fantastic.

KEILAR: Love it. BERMAN: Maven Morgan, we appreciate you being with us and bringing Tracy along for the ride. Thank you, both, so much for your time.

T. MORGAN: We thank you. Thank you very much.

M. MORGAN: You're welcome.

BERMAN: Live every week like it's Shark Week. And it's on all week on Discovery. Tracy Morgan presents "Sharks with Tracy Morgan," it premieres tonight at 8:00 p.m. on Discovery, of course. Owned also by our parent company.

Just in, we're getting word that the call between President Biden and his Chinese counterpart began moments ago as tensions rise over the issue of Taiwan.

Stay with us.