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Democratic Candidate for Arizona Katie Hobbs Reports Break-In at Campaign Office; Pennsylvania Democratic Senate Candidate John Fetterman Campaigns after Debate; Second Woman Accuses Georgia Republican Senate Candidate Herschel Walker of Paying for Her Abortion; Texas Department of Public Safety Expected to Give Update on Investigation into Uvalde School Shooting; Railroad Unions Voting on New Contract. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired October 27, 2022 - 08:00   ET



BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: And this break-in coming amid reports of voter intimidation in Arizona. The Hobbs campaign claims this is the person responsible. I should say CNN has blurred out the face here because police have not yesterday identified any suspects.

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Hobbs' campaign manager saying that the candidate and her staff has faced death threats throughout the campaign, and she was quick to blame Hobbs's Trump backed Republican opponent Kari Lake who is an election denier who they blame for spreading dangerous information. Here is how Lake responded.


KARI LAKE, (R) ARIZONA GUBERNATORIAL NOMINEE: I'm saddened that Hobbs and her camp would try to pin this on us. It's defamatory and it's wrong. And it's so obvious what's happening. Her own party is attacking her. She's trying to deflect her own abysmal campaign and the fact that nobody even knows where her campaign office is. The person who broke into it probably didn't even realize it was a campaign office. It's really sad.


MARQUARDT: So let's get straight to CNN's Kyung Lah in Phoenix. Kyung, what is the latest on this alleged break-in?

KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The latest that we're hearing is the Phoenix police is that they are indeed trying to figure out who exactly is responsible, in essence looking for a suspect. But the Hobbs' campaign says they are taking an inventory. They're trying to figure out if any sensitive material was taken, but pointing out that it's still quite early in their discovery that there was a break- in at their campaign headquarters.

What we are now hearing is that the video, those still images that you are seeing of that man was from the internal campaign office, pictures that were taken from CC-TV, security camera footage from the Hobbs campaign. Even though no one knows who this person is, and we've blurred out his face because police will not confirm that this is indeed someone who they are looking for. They campaign pointed the finger at the Republican nominee Kari Lake. She is the opponent, the person who Katie Hobbs is running against. The campaign manager releasing this statement, saying, quote, "Let's be clear. For nearly two years Kari Lake and her allies have been spreading dangerous misinformation and inciting threats against anyone they see fit. The threats against Arizonans attempting exercise their constitutional rights and their attacks on elected officials are the direct result of a concerted campaign of lies and intimidation."

As you pointed out, Alex, and Brianna, Katie Hobbs is the sitting secretary of state who has defended the truth of the 2020 election.

MARQUARDT: And Kyung, what else is Lake saying about these accusations from the Hobbs camp?

LAH: Last night Lake had a campaign event after all of this news broke, and she was asked a question by CNN, asked, do you know anything about this? Here is the statement from the campaign. And Kari Lake then fired back, and she said that this whole thing sounded made up and compared it to the case of the actor who was convicted of making up a crime and reporting it to the police. Take a listen.


KARI LAKE, (R) ARIZONA GUBERNATORIAL NOMINEE: This is absolutely absurd. And are you guys buying that? Are you really buying that? This sounds like a Jussie Smollett part two. I can't believe that she would blame my amazing people, blame me for something like that. I don't even know where her campaign office is. I'm assuming it's in a basement somewhere, because that's where she's been campaigning.


LAH: A lot of vitriol between these two candidates in the heated race for governor of Arizona. Twelve days left until Election Day. Alex, Brianna?

MARQUARDT: Yes, really unexpected turn in these final hours of that race. Kyung Lah in Phoenix, thanks so much for that report.

KEILAR: So this morning Pennsylvania Senate candidates John Fetterman -- Pennsylvania Senate candidate John Fetterman's debate performance, I should say, fueling concern in his party about his narrow lead in the critical race against Mehmet Oz. A shift could have nationwide consequences as Pennsylvania represents the Democrats' best chance of picking up a seat in the Senate. CNN's Athena Jones is live for us in Philadelphia with the very latest here. What's going on there, Athena?

ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Brianna. You could say reaction to Fetterman's debate performance Tuesday night is somewhat mixed. You have political observers including Democrats saying they would not have advised him to debate Dr. Oz given that he's still recovering against from this stroke he's suffered five months ago and he's going up against a long-time TV talk show host in Oz. There are others who argue that this was a profile in courage. You're seeing people all over the country, candidates shirking debates for lesser reasons.

And yes, it did come after a good deal of pressure from Oz, but they say it's a good thing that Fetterman went out and debated.


Here is John Fetterman himself on the stump in Pittsburgh talking about his experience during that debate on Tuesday night. Take a listen.


LT. GOV. JOHN FETTERMAN, (D) PENNSYLVANIA SENATE CANDIDATE: Doing that debate wasn't exactly easy.


FETTERMAN: Knew it wasn't going to be easy after having a stroke, after five months. In fact --


FETTERMAN: In fact, in fact, I don't think that's ever been done before in American political history before actually.


FETTERMAN: You know, after that stroke I got knocked down, but I got back up.


JONES: Knocked down and got back up, that is part of the message we're hearing over and over again from John Fetterman. And as for how this debate will impact the election itself, it's important to mention that before the debate more than 600,000 votes had already been cast, early votes cast here in Pennsylvania, more than 70 percent of those votes by Democrats. That's a small fraction of the roughly 5 million votes cast during the 2018 primary, but it gives you some sense, 600,000 is not insignificant.

Still, some Fetterman supporters say that while they are still going to support him, they were worried that fence sitters would be scared away by his unsteady performance and go towards Dr. Oz. Brianna?

KEILAR: Fetterman's team has seen some advantage in one of Oz's moments, right, about abortion during the debate?

JONES: Exactly. And this is part of, I guess the good news, you could say, coming out of the debate for Fetterman's team. Check out this tweet from the candidate saying that his team raised more than $2 million from small dollar donors after Tuesday night's debate. That tweet was sent around 3:30 in the afternoon. So that was just as of then. His campaign said it is using that money to air ads highlighting Dr. Oz's debate answer that got a lot of attention, saying that abortion should be left up to women, doctors, and local political leaders. They believe that that is a message that is going to have an impact. A lot of prochoice voters here in the state of Pennsylvania and they want to make sure that gets out. They're using the money his campaign raised after that performance in order to do this. Brianna?

KEILAR: We'll see how that plays in Pennsylvania and other states as well. Athena, thank you so much.

An unnamed woman who claims she was in a long-term romantic relationship with Georgia Republican Senate nominee Herschel Walker says he pressured her into having an abortion in 1993. CNN has reached out to Walker's campaign for additional comment. He called it a lie at a campaign stop in Georgia.

Joining us to discuss this is CNN's senior political correspondent and anchor of INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY, Abby Phillip. Abby, obviously this comes -- this isn't the first one, right. So this is the second time, the second accuser of Herschel Walker.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN ANCHOR, INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY: Yes. This is just yet another data point for Georgia voters as they are already, by the way, casting their ballots. And again, in Georgia it's a tricky situation. I think that you saw some hesitancy on the part of Senator Raphael Warnock to really go after the abortion part of this because for Democratic voters, it's not the fact of the abortion that is problematic. It is the hypocrisy of it all. It's the fact that Herschel Walker has said that he opposes abortion in all cases and that he would allegedly have these incidents in his past.

So I think it's just yet another data point. But also, just generally, Herschel Walker has been the candidate who I think Republicans from beginning knew had a lot of skeletons in his closet. That may be very well coming to bear. But the interesting thing is that Republican voters seem to be saying it's all fine. And the question now becomes what do independent voters think, what do moderate voters think? And will it affect their vote choice?

MARQUARDT: Abby, do you think because this is the second accusation that this may not move the needle and that perhaps at the end of the day the Republicans who are coming out for Herschel Walker are really coming out for control of the Senate rather than Walker himself?

PHILLIP: Yes, I think that is entirely possible. I think Walker can probably count on -- and you can see this in the poll numbers. This is a candidate who has had a lot of troubles in this campaign, and yet he is in a competitive race. Georgia is a competitive state. And so it's neck and neck even in spite of the background that surrounds him in the state.

And you're seeing Republican voters, a lot of these are the Trump diehards who say about Herschel Walker what they said about Trump, which is that this is all just a witch hunt. This is what they do to conservatives. They smear them. And that is the basis on which they are just ignoring the accusations and going out to vote. [08:05:03]

But I do think if there's a narrow sliver of voters that both candidates are going after who will be determinative in this race who are taking into consideration all this information and voting based on whether or not they want either one of these men in the Senate representing them.

KEILAR: Couple days now since the Fetterman-Oz debate. Where do you think things stand right now in Pennsylvania? And can we really know?

PHILLIP: I think this is really a similar situation in a lot of ways to what Alex was just talking about. How much of the Fetterman performance at that debate was already baked into voters' expectations of a candidate that they know has been recovering from a serious health incident? I think voters have known about John Fetterman, that he's been in recovery since he suffered his stroke many months ago when he spent a while, frankly, off the campaign trial.

So is it already baked in? I don't know. And I think there's another factor that Democrats are hoping works in their favor, that voters will actually look at that debate performance in a sympathetic way. I think you heard it in Fetterman comments on the campaign yesterday where he said I knew that this was going to be hard. They want people to empathize with that.

But at the same time, I think that Oz was able, without a lot of resistance, use the debate stage to move -- to push forward on some key arguments on the economy and on crime that Fetterman did not have the ability to push back against. And I think that may also be a problem for Fetterman. It's not just how he performed. It's whether he was able to block and tackle in a debate settling and show voters what the other side of the argument is against Dr. Oz.

KEILAR: No, it's such a good point, Abby. Thank you so much, Abby, for being with us this morning.

PHILLIP: Of course.

KEILAR: In just a couple hours the head of the Texas Department of Public Safety is expected to give an update on the internal investigation concerning the actions of officers on the day of the Uvalde school massacre. I want to bring in CNN's Shimon Prokupecz who is live for us in Austin. Shimon, what are we expecting that we're going to learn today?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, for one thing, Brianna, I think this is going to give the families an opportunity to come here and finally face an agency, a state agency, the Department of Public Safety, that's been running this investigation that, of course, has been behind many of the misleading information that has been put out there so far in the five months since this happened. And so for families this is going to be a big moment, because they're going to come in here and they're going to be able to confront, essentially, the head of this agency and raise their issues and raise their concerns. And we're also told that they're going to be calling on him to resign.

All of this following all of the reporting that we here at CNN have been doing regarding what the DPS did on the day of the shooting and what they didn't do and how several of the officers from the Department of Public Safety have been under heavy scrutiny, under an internal investigation for their actions that day. One has been terminated. Another one has been suspended. Another one was fired after leaving and joining another police department, the school police department.

So there are a lot of questions exactly as to what the Department of Public Safety did on the day of the shooting. Much of the blame has been put on the local police there in Uvalde for the actions that day. But now we're going to have an opportunity for families to confront the state officials here.

We're also expected to get an update on a timeline, some kind of enhanced timeline that is going to tell us exactly when officers in different agencies arrived. And we're also likely going to learn some information regarding the internal investigation. So there's going to a lot of information. How satisfying that is going to be for families certainly is going to be top of mind here. And it's really, I think, so much about the families today who are going to have an opportunity, Brianna, to come here and face the officials who have been holding on to so much of this information.

KEILAR: They deserve to know, and we all deserve to know the lessons that are being learned from that. Shimon, thank you, as always, for your excellent reporting on this.

MARQUARDT: This morning a second railroad union is rejecting a tentative labor deal with the major U.S. freight railroads over the lack of paid sick days. Nearly 61 percent of the union workers voted against the five-year contract even though it included 24 percent raises and $5,000 in bonuses. It does raise the chance of a strike next month that could cripple the economy. CNN's Vanessa Yurkevich joins me now. Vanessa, how bad could this be?

VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: This really puts the fear of a potential strike back on the table. There are 12 unions that have to vote on this tentative agreement that President Biden was so instrumental in getting done to avoid this nationwide U.S. rail strike that was set to happen last month.


Here is where we stand. We have six unions that have voted yes to ratify this agreement, they are okay with. Two, though, have voted no. And that is where the problems start.

You have the Brotherhood of Signalmen, they are the recent union that for the down a disagreement. And it was not close, 60 percent said no, 40 percent said yes. This is coming on the heels of a second union that also voted against this agreement.

Now we have to look at where these four union stand who are yet to vote. The two that we really need to keep an eye on are the BLAT, and Smart Unions. These are the engineers. These are the conductors that made the trains go. We need to watch how they are set to vote later in November.

But the key here, Alex, is even if these unions all vote to ratify this agreement, if these two unions who have voted no already can't come up with a new agreement, and they authorize a strike, all of the other unions will follow suit and honor the strike of these two unions, setting it up for a really scary scenario where you can have tens of thousands of rail workers going on strike in the next month or so, Alex.

MARQUARDT: Do we know, Vanessa, why those voters -- why those members of voters against the agreement?

YURKEVICH: They want paid sick time. As it stands right now in the agreement, the unions are saying hey, we are not going to take unpaid six time as it exists, but the companies, the rail companies are saying right, now hey we've been giving you a ton of wage increases, we've given you a ton of bonuses, but for these members, they don't want paid sick time, they want paid sick time. They work throughout the entire pandemic, and they say this is what they deserve.

The key really, is what how these other for vote in the next couple of ways to see if there's really a big showdown, again in November, Alex.

MARQUARDT: Yeah some really significant economic impacts.

All right. Vanessa Yurkevich, thank you so much that report.

KEILAR: This just, Prince Harry will publish his much anticipated memoir this coming January, it will be titled "Spare". And he plans to support several charities with the proceeds from the book sales.

Joining us now is CNN's Max Foster.

Fascinating name here, of course, a reference to the idea that William is the heir and Harry is the spare.

MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: And that's how they grew up wasn't. It Harry was often called a spare. I think this is his, you, know analysis effectively of that.

As we understand at the book starts with those are very poignant moments during Princess Diana's wedding when you saw her two young son walking behind the coffins and how the whole world would look at these two young boys and thinking, what are they feeling, what would become of them.

So, this is Harry's perspective from that point on and trying to answer those questions as you say somebody will be going to charity. He has had quite a large advance on us and he'll go worldwide in January. Obviously, some nervousness back here in London about what's going into this book, will there be more criticisms of the royal family? It's been made very clear to me that neither Kensington Palace,

representing Prince William or Buckingham Palace representing Prince Charles will be commenting at all on this. They haven't had a preview of this either so far. So, we'll wait to see within it.

But I think, you know, everyone talking about, it so it's going to do well. We'll have to wait and see what he has to say.

KEILAR: It also has this sort of double entendre effect. I think of Andre Agassi's memoir, "Open", right, which had that as well, the idea of being open and very revealing. This idea of being the spares it's also this idea of maybe, perhaps, sparing himself from what happened. That certainly seems to be the view that we've gotten from that camp of Meghan Markle and Harry that they were sort of sparing themselves from the royal family.

FOSTER: There's obviously real frustration amongst both of them that they have never been able to get the story across, and he saying this is his story. I, think this is you know, the narrative of his time of royal life, royal working life. This is his chance to tell his truth. Whether or not it is the truth, we'll have to see because they'll be people I'm sure, argues elements of. It and but it's his, truth and I think that's a really important perspective on everything we have learned about the royal family in recent decades.

KEILAR: Yeah, it will be a popular book, no doubt. Max, thank you so much.

So, what's behind the unprecedented surge in RSV and at the respiratory infections this year? We will discuss with three doctors from across the country, next.

MARQUARDT: And with recession fears looming, new GDP numbers coming out in just a few minutes.

And, world leaders gathering in Croatia to discuss Russia's aggression in Ukraine. We'll be speaking with Croatia's prime minister about the summit.



MARQUARDT: This morning, scientists are saying that the earliest RSV infections in children this year is probably because of the immunity gap. And that came from within two years of isolation during the pandemic. Doctors and pediatric hospitals are saying that they are starting to reach capacity.

With more on how RSV is impacting other parts of the country. We are joined now by three physicians experiencing this early rise at their respective hospitals.

Dr. Nipunie Rajapakse, pediatric infectious disease specialist at the Mayo Clinic Children Center in Rochester, Minnesota. Dr. Frank Belmonte, the chief medical officer at Advocate Children's Hospital in Illinois. And Dr. Meghan Bernier, medical director of the pediatric intensive care unit at John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.

Thank you overturning us this morning. We really appreciate it.

I want to go to you, Dr. Bernier, first. Tell us about the surge and what you're facing in your hospital.

DR. MEGHAN BERNIER, MEDICAL DIRECTOR, PEDIATRIC INTENSIVE CARE UNIT, JOHNS HOPKINS CHILDREN'S CENTER: We are currently having a surge here in Baltimore metro area. It currently is keeping our hospitals and emergency rooms full. We are seeing infants, toddlers and young children being admitted with respiratory viral illnesses. Both, RSV rhinovirus, we're starting to see some influenza. And there is still COVID around. So it is stretching our capacity to its limits.

KEILAR: And Dr. Rajapakse, what about you with the Mayo Clinic?



We've had children admitted to our ICU and our general ward. We've been experiencing the same surge that other areas have so far, we have something that we are wandering closely and preparing for that does happen in our area.

MARQUARDT: In terms of staffing into a question of whether hospitals are really being pushed to the limits, Dr. Belmonte, wondering how your hospital -- how the staff there is handling things?

DR. FRANK BELMONTE, CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER, ADVOCATE CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL: So, it has been very taxing. We have seen increased values and our merchants departments by 30 to 40 percent over the last three weeks and we are working very closely with all children's hospitals in the region. But we start every morning with about 20 to 30 children in our network that we are seeing in emergency rooms, waiting for inpatient beds. And then our team works to discharge patients who can go home and admit the next group of patients. But it has been very busy.

KEILAR: Dr. Bernier, we are seeing our reporters out at some of these hospitals. We are seeing, I mean, just heartbreaking images in some cases of intubated babies. I know this is the worst of it, but what are you seeing that you do not normally see on that extreme level? And what can parents and caregivers do to try to head this off at the pass?

BERNIER: So, a couple of different things. I think the volume is very high right now and that's atypical for this time of year. They wait times and community emergency departments and children's hospitals are stretching to longer than they have ever been. And so we are seeing those children very, very ill which is the extreme RSV rhinovirus and variable illnesses.

And so, what is also very different this time is the older children that we're seeing who are falling ill with these illnesses, three and four year olds who would normally have a few seasons of respiratory viral illness under their belt, but they've lacked that over the past couple of years. We always expect him to get, them for toddlers to be ill and need extra support. But it is three and four-year-olds who are also struggling.

For parents, it is talking with their pediatricians about how to monitor their children at home. And when to present four karat emergency centers, or the pediatrician's office. And then also using well respected resources like the American academy of pediatrics. For references on how to care for their children.

MARQUARDT: Dr. Rajapakse, you are in Minnesota. Your state gets cold. We are only in October. Now how much worse you think things are going to get in the winter?

RAJAPAKSE: Unfortunately, I do think with the upcoming colder weather, with holidays and people gathering, more and with the removal of some of these preventative measures that we have been using over the last couple of years, like masking, I think this is going to get worse before it starts to get better, unfortunately.

So really encouraging everyone to do what they, can at this point, to try to prevent as much respiratory illness as possible. Including things like making sure your families COVID vaccines and boosters are up to date. Anyone over six months of age is eligible, making sure that your kids and anyone over six months of age in your family are getting their flu vaccine this year. It is very important because we have not seen a lot of influenza in the last couple of years, seven is going into this season with less immunity, less protection from prior infections.

KEILAR: Dr. Belmonte, there is no RSV vaccine. But we understand that there are some really promising developments right now. We actually heard from Dr. Jha, from the White House, who said this could come and maybe about a year. What kind of difference would that make if that was available?

BELMONTE: In a typical year, we don't see the type of hospitalizations that we are seeing now. So, most kids actually get RSV, they have a cough in cold symptoms. They managed to get home.

This is an atypical year at as our other preventers just said. You know, certainly, our infants that are premature are at higher risk. And I am sure continued development on the vaccine will be beneficial for certain populations.

MARQUARDT: All right, it is the message we keep hearing. Those flu and COVID vaccines are absolutely critical.


MARQUARDT: Doctors, thank you so much for your time and expertise this morning. We really appreciate it.

Dr. Meghan Bernier, Dr. Frank Belmonte, Dr. Nipunie Rajapakse, thank you

Now, a troubling new revelation about the gunman who killed a teacher, and his student today St. Louis School. How his family tried to get him some help.

KEILAR: And House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reaffirming America's commitments to Ukraine during a summit in Croatia. The prime minister of Croatia joining us next.