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New Day

Rubio and Demings Spar in Florida; Headlines from Around the World; Reena Ninan is Interviewed about the Iranian Athlete who Competed without a Hijab; Racial Disparities Among Infants; Removing Snyder from NFL Ownership. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired October 19, 2022 - 06:30   ET



SE CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think that was a signal in a couple ways. It was a signal to his base and to President Trump, former President Trump, that he wants to return to Trump's America first kind of era of policy making when it comes to foreign policy. I think that pleased a wing of his base and we know Kevin McCarthy still really wants to please Trump and his supporters, wants to be speaker of the House if Republicans take control. So I think - and I think it was a signal to Republican voters who are thinking about the economy, inflation, recession and how we're spending money.

SHANE GOLDMACHER, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": I mean I think that when you look at what a Republican Congress and a Democratic White House is going to look like, it's going to look like ugliness and gridlock on some really basic things. Things like raising the debt ceiling. Things like, do we give funds to Ukraine over the war that's happening, right? And I think what McCarthy's doing, he's drawing a line and saying, if you're going to come and want money from me, you're going to have to give me something back. Even if it's something you think is just basic needs, you're going to have to give me something in exchange.

BERMAN: Yes, a preview of evens to come. Interesting way to look at it.

President Biden, today, after talking about abortion yesterday, the White House making very clear, they aren't going to talk about the economy, they are going to talk about energy and gas prices today, releasing the last bit from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

It's interesting, gas prices were rising and Democratic fortunes seem to be slipping along with that. Actually, gas prices have now dropped again a little bit from last week. So, if you're the White House, you know, are you just sitting there with your fingers crossed hoping prices go down?

CUPP: You can't - yes, you can't play whack a mole, right? And Joe Biden, I think, is trying to outmaneuver this very weird gas market. And so you're seeing -- you're seeing him respond with policies that are meant to sort of work around it, but you can't. And, honestly, I think Joe Biden's probably less relevant in these

midterms than the White House wants to think. I think if you are concerned about the economy and crime, you're going to vote Republican, period, dot. And if you're concerned about abortion and voter suppression, you're voting Democrats. It doesn't -- I don't think Biden is looming as large over this midterm as maybe they think he is.

GOLDMACHER: I mean I think the challenge for Democrats is if voters - and "The New York Times" just did a poll about this - if voters are thinking about the economy, they're voting overwhelmingly for Republicans.

CUPP: Right.

GOLDMACHER: So, Democrats want them to think about basically anything else when they're going into the voting booth.

The problem is that most voters are thinking about the economy. So, how do you give an economic message while trying to get people not to think about the economy. And that's the box that the White House is in. And they're doing an event today. But that's the challenge.

BERMAN: Yes, I mean, the gas prices thing, people see the gas prices. It's just the one number that's in their face every day.

CUPP: They feel it.

BERMAN: And they know if, oh, it's cheaper than it was yesterday. It's more expensive than it was a month ago.

CUPP: And they're not rationalizing, well, that's Ukraine and maybe not Biden's fault and this is how this -- they're not rationalizing that. And that's understandable. But, honestly, I don't think - I don't think Biden's the driver. I think it's really these -- the pocketbook issues and then the issues on the left, like abortion, which is, I think, a huge turnout driver for Democrats. And then things like crime and voter suppression.

BERMAN: SE, Shane, thank you both so much for being with us. Appreciate it.

The latest on the Iranian athlete who just returned to Iran after competing without her hijab.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Plus, high levels of radiation at a Missouri elementary school causing the campus to close indefinitely.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We recognize that you are being faced with a situation not created by anyone in this room and over which you have no control.

We sincerely apologize.




BERMAN: Just a brutal political stretch for British Prime Minister Liz Truss. In a few poll, more than two-thirds of adults in the United Kingdom say conservative lawmakers should replace Truss as leader. She's barely been on the job for like a month and a half.

CNN's reporters are covering the latest from around the world.


SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Scott McLean in London, where British Prime Minister Liz Truss' political life may well be on the line today as she takes questions from opposite leaders and her own party. She has already been forced to scrap almost all of her economic plans and replace her chancellor to try to regain the trust of her party and the markets. But a new poll shows she has dug herself a very deep hole. Three quarters of people say she cannot regain public trust and two-thirds of people think the conservative party should replace her as prime minister.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Will Ripley in Taipei, Taiwan.

When it comes to the issue of China trying to take control of this self-governing democracy, analysts speaking to CNN warn it's not a matter of if, but when and how. Ian Easton, author of "The Chinese Invasion Threat," tells CNN that China is engaging in the largest tailored offensive military buildup that the world has seen in at least a century. He says their biggest military strength is their size, the size of their missile force, their amphibious force, their air force, their cyber capabilities, their space capabilities, and, of course, their navy, which is on track to have dozens more warships than the United States as they continue to grow their numbers. U.S. intelligence says that Chinese President Xi Jinping has ordered his military to develop the ability to take control of Taiwan by 2027 but has not made up his mind if he'll do it.

NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER: I'm Nada Bashir in London.

And, in Iran, pro-rock climber Elnaz Rekabi received a hero's welcome upon her return from the Asian climbing championships in South Korea. But fears for her safety remain after she was filmed competing without her mandatory hijab, in violation of Iran's strict dress code for women. In an interview with state media, the Iranian athlete said she had competed with her hair uncovered accidentally and apologized for any confusion caused. But human rights groups have expressed concern that she may have spoken under duress and fears she could later face harsh repercussions.


KEILAR: Let's bring in veteran foreign affairs correspondent Reena Ninan. She is a former anchor for ABC News and CBS News. [06:40:02]

I want to talk to you about that last story that we just saw here as we're looking, Reena, at Elnaz Rekabi because it's just so hard to imagine, in this climate in Iran, an athlete forgetting to wear the hijab.


KEILAR: And there are - there are now these questions about whether it's under duress that she's made these comments about saying this was an accident.

NINAN: You're absolutely right, Brianna. A lot of people are wondering if that was, in fact, some sort of a forced confession and having to say that and admit it.

You know, it's interesting she chose to come back. And her family is there, which a lot of people don't realize is sometimes a struggle. Even if you make it out, you leaving -- you're leaving family members behind. And that becomes a problem as well.

What people are also -- human rights activists and people who are watching the situation are saying is, they want to know what happens to her now. You know, you saw this arrival of her at the airport, her making this statement. She repeated what she said on Instagram, saying that she had just forgotten to put on her hijab because she was rush to do this competition at the last minute but does she get sent to a prison. I think a lot of people are wondering - wanting to see what happens in the coming days to her and her case.

KEILAR: And so this happens, of course, with this backdrop of these nationwide protests in Iran. Where do these protests stand now in their fifth week?

NINAN: Yes, you've got over 150 cities in many cases. There's so much momentum it's not concentrated on one area. You've got so many young people involved in the situation.

What's interesting, just yesterday, I believe, Britney Spears had tweeted out a 13 word statement in support of the protesters in Iran. And the Iranian state media came right after her, attacking her, talking about her conservatorship. That's all they had to fight back.

And what many people don't realize is, when you're dealing with what is essentially this war on the ground in Iran, you can't do what you've done with Russia and Ukraine by arming the Ukrainians with HIMARS. So, what do you do? What does the west do in a situation like this?

What happens is, it's amplifications of these voices. Britney Spears has 52 million followers. It might sound insignificant having her tweet about foreign policy, but she is able to amplify the voices and the cases inside Iran right now, putting more attention. That's not what the regime wants. Sixty percent of Iran's population is under the age of 30. They

understand this digital revolution that's taking place and how to get that message out.

I also have to say, the Iranian regime is pretty savvy and understands how to crack down on that, whether it's finding the people from their balconies and their windows shooting these images and going in to take their phones away. They've understood that - just how influential it is when these messages and these videos get out to the rest of the world.

KEILAR: It has been, at times, a navigation. Some choices have been made about how much do you amplify what protesters are doing. And do you amplify them to the point of maybe undercutting them? This is from an American perspective. And I say this because it's interesting, former President Obama recently said on the "Save America" podcast, that his initial stance on Iran's 2009 green movement protests, he regrets that he tread rather lightly. This is what he said.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: And when I think back to 2009, 2010, you guys will recall, there was a big debate inside the White House about whether I should publicly affirm what was going on with the green movement because a lot of the activists were being accused of being tools of the west and there was some thought we were somehow going to be undermining their street cred in Iran if I supported what they were doing. And in retrospect I think that was a mistake.


KEILAR: You know, maybe when Britney Spears is saying something it's not so hard for a president to navigate or for leaders to navigate.

NINAN: It's a great point. It's a great point.

But it's interesting that President Obama has come out in this moment to share that and say it because sometimes silence, especially by leaders of the west, and leaders of democracies in particular, when you don't come out forward, that reticence, that silence is viewed as sometimes not being in support as aggressively of these protesters.

You know, what's interesting is, the crackdown, it got harder in August when they released these new guidelines especially. And how did the story of Mahsa Amini get out there? It was a journalist who went to her hospital bedside, took these photos. And when she died, she put them out and amplified them to the rest of the world.

And I think that's what you're seeing now is people looking in the west to figure out, how do we amplify without taking the momentum away and also jeopardizing the lives of these people.

In 1979, when this revolution took place, it took a year, and it was organizing in mosques and different places, from the oil industry, to bazaars of people holding these protests. We're not seeing that right now and these protesters don't have the mosques to organize. But they are finding voices digitally and trying to get that message out. And it's still continuing. And the pressure is still on.


It took a year, Brianna, it took a year in 1979 for the regime to collapse.


NINAN: And the pressure still mounts.

KEILAR: Yes, could it happen now? We just don't know.

NINAN: Great question.

KEILAR: We will see. Iranian women have certainly tapped into something.

Reena, thank you so much for the discussion.

NINAN: You bet. You bet.

KEILAR: Black infants conceived through fertility treatments, like IVF, are at a significantly higher risk of death than white infants. We have details behind the new study, next.

BERMAN: And, today, former President Trump will answer questions under oath in the defamation lawsuit brought by former magazine columnist E. Jean Carroll.


KEILAR: A troubling statistic. Black newborn babies are about twice as likely to die before their first birthdays as white newborns. And now a new study finds the disparities are even greater when the babies are conceived by IVF or other forms of infertility treatment.

CNN health reporter Jacqueline Howard joins us now.

Jacqueline, tell us more about what this new study says.

JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH REPORTER: Well, Brianna, first, this study is so heartbreaking when you think about infant deaths. And the study also shows how racial disparities in health care can be deep- rooted. They can be pervasive.

The researchers looked at more than 7 million babies born here in the United States. And you see her on the screen, they found that neonatal deaths were higher among black babies, two-fold higher among infants born to black mothers when they were conceived without assistance.


That disparity rose to four-fold higher when infants were conceived via reproductive assistance like IVF and other - excuse me, and other technologies. And, Brianna, the researchers told me that they thought that disparity would actually be smaller when they looked just at mothers who underwent these assisted reproductive technologies, like IVF. But, instead, the disparity grew. We went from two-fold to four-fold.

BERMAN: So, Jacqueline, what advice did doctors have for women who may be undergoing fertility treatments?

HOWARD: You know, the doctors had advice for women, but also for other physicians. They said that physicians need to take a close look at this and make sure that they maintain care after a baby is born. And then for mothers, I spoke with one study author who said the data might be surprising, but this should not dissuade mothers from getting the fertility treatments they need. Instead, have a plan in case something goes wrong.

Have a listen.


DR. SARKA LISONKOVA, ASSOC. PROF. OF OBSTETRICS AND GYNECOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA: I was really surprised, to be honest. I would advise to have a good support from your health care team, from your family. Have a plan if there are some complications.


HOWARD: So, have a plan if there's some complications. But again, Brianna and John, this is heartbreaking data and something that the researchers are encouraging the health care community to take a close look into.

KEILAR: Yes, heartbreaking. An unacceptable disparity.


KEILAR: I'm so glad you're looking at this.

Jacqueline, thank you.

BERMAN: This morning, a Missouri school board is shutting down a grade school found with unacceptable levels of radioactive waste inside. Jana Elementary School is switching to virtual instruction after a report found contamination in classrooms, the playground and elsewhere. The school is in a town that was part of the atomic weapons program during World War II. Remote learning will be in place until students can be assigned to other schools.

So, where's the beef? The court-appointed special master expressing frustration with the limited information he's getting. The new reporting ahead.

KEILAR: And why Tom Brady is comparing playing in the NFL to serving in the military.


KEILAR: An NFL owner says there may already be enough support to force Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder to sell his team.

Andy Scholes has this morning's bleacher report.



So, the NFL owners meeting in New York this week. And after they concluded yesterday, you know, they were asked about Dan Snyder as they were leaving. Colt's owner Jim Irsay, he was the first and only one to speak out. He said that Snyder should be removed.


JIM IRSAY, INDIANAPOLIS COLTS OWNER: I believe that there's merit to remove him as owner.

I think it's something that we have to review. We have to look at all the evidence, and we have to be thorough in going forward. But, you know, I think it's something that has to be given serious consideration to.


SCHOLES: The House Oversight Committee and the NFL are both investigating workplace misconduct allegation against Snyder during his tenure with the Washington franchise.

The Commanders in a statement called Irsay's comments highly inappropriate. Commissioner Roger Goodell says there's no reason to speculate on Snyder's future until the investigation is complete. Twenty-four of the 32 owners would have to vote to remove Snyder, which has never happened before in the NFL. No vote is expected this week. The earliest it could happen would be in December.

All right, Tom Brady, meanwhile, had Kevin Durant on his "Let's Go" podcast this week. And when discussing how they each approach a new season, Brady made this comparison.


TOM BRADY, TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS QUARTERBACK: I almost look at like a football season like you're going away on deployment to the military.

KEVIN DURANT: Yes. Yes. Yes.

BRADY: And it's like, man, here I go again. And there's only one way to do it. And as much as you want to have this playful balance with the work balance -


BRADY: You're going to end up doing exactly what you've always done, which is why you are who you are.


SCHOLES: And, you know, guys, a lot of people pointing out on social media that military members don't get paid $25 million when they get deployed. But it appears Brady was just trying to make a comparison that he's so involved in his team and it takes so much of his time that he feels like he's not present at home. At least that's what it appears he was trying to point out.

KEILAR: Yes, I mean, look, I think some major caveats here Yes, he makes so much money. And I saw a lot of military Twitter kind of lighting up about that.

But also football, it isn't war. I know maybe sort of he feels like or he's making that comparison and - you know, I haven't been through a deployment. I've been on the other side of one while my husband has been. And I think, though, if you're trying to kind of be generous here,, what he's saying, right, is that intensity of having one job and kind of switching between that job and then coming home to domestic life is tough, and that's true. But, he has so much money to blunt the effects of that, it's just not reality, right?

SCHOLES: Yes, I mean, it's tough to be a very well, high paid super star athlete and compare yourself to someone who's got to go, like you said, Brianna, into a deployment and some, you know, most time very tough situations. It's not the comparison I think you ever want to be making.

KEILAR: Because $25 million inevitably makes folks maybe a little out of touch about things. Maybe that's what we're watching here.

NEW DAY continues right now.