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New Day

Elon Musk Completes $44 Billion Takeover of Twitter; Today, Biden, Harris to Campaign for Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D-PA) in Philadelphia; Putin Says, West is Playing Dangerous, Bloody, Dirty Game. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired October 28, 2022 - 07:00   ET



ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: And, Alex, Orbit, the Astros' mascot, just came by. He's wanted to give us his prediction for the World Series. Orbit, what do you got? Astros in four, all right, we'll see how it goes. Alex?

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN ANCHOR: I'm shocked that's what he's predicting. I'm shocked. Andy Scholes in Houston, thank you very much, sir. Enjoy the game tonight.

All right, New Day continues right now.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: The bird is freed, that is a quote, it's not my quote just to be very clear. Elon Musk sending a message moments after taking over Twitter.

I'm Brianna Keilar with Alex Marquardt this morning.

MARQUARDT: Happy Friday.

KEILAR: Happy Friday to you as well. John Berman is off this Friday.

And the Tesla and SpaceX billionaire, Elon Musk, completing his $44 billion acquisition last night. Once in charge Musk was quick to show the door to top Twitter executives. He fired the company's CEO, the chief financial officer, the chief legal counsel. He first agreed to buy the company all the way back in April and then he spent months trying to get out of the deal.

MARQUARDT: In an effort to reassure advertisers, Elon Musk posted an open letter explaining why he bought Twitter, saying, quote, there's currently great danger that social media will splinter into far-right wing and far-left wing echo chambers that generate hate and divide our society.

So, what happens when one of the world's richest men controls the world's most influential media platform?

Joining us now CNN Correspondent Mark Stewart and CNN Chief Business Correspondent Christine Romans.

Mark, I want to go to you first. Was it a surprise when Musk came in and took out the top layer of Twitter's leadership team?

MARK STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I don't think it was a big surprise at all, Alex, in the sense that when you have a change in ownership, it is natural in many situations to bring in our own people or at least if you're going to have some kind of philosophical shift to bring in new players. It's really no different than a sports team, with new ownership, bringing in new coaches, perhaps looking for some new players.

I think the question is, is how much further is Musk going to cut? He has mentioned before, at least in some conversations, of having mass layoffs. That's something that may come a little bit clearer today. Although with an organization like Twitter, you simply can't fire everyone. You do need people to keep the ship going.

I think it will be interesting though to see who he leans on in the future. He has forged a relationship with former Twitter Founder Jack Dorsey, almost as an adviser to Musk. It'll be interesting to see if his influence helps dictate the next steps ahead.

KEILAR: Christine, what do you think Elon Musk's Twitter looks like?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: No one knows for sure here. No one knows what he's going to do. He's a very unpredictable leader, to be very clear about that. I mean, he's been trying for months to get out of this deal.

Now, he's telling advertisers and he's telling the public that he's not doing this to make money, he wants to have sort of like an open public square for people to talk and make sure that we don't have right wing and left wing echo chambers in this country. But the question is what kind of guardrails is he going to put up for this global public square, right? And is he going to let people like Donald Trump and other people who have been banned back on the platform? He has, in the past, said that he is not in favor of permanent bans.

So, with 11 days to go before the midterms, what will this platform look like as people are heading to the polls? I think no one knows the answer to that.

MARQUARDT: Well, Mark, is that the biggest challenge? On the one hand, you have him self-proclaimed free speech absolutist, and on the other, he's talking about making sure that this is not a free-for-all hellscape, as he called it. How does he reconcile that?

STEWART: Right. In fact, yesterday in his note to advertisers, he said that he wants to inject some humanity and he recognizes the big burden in all of this. And that is challenge, how does he reconcile all of this? I mean, if we see a return to people who have been banned on Twitter, like former President Trump, for example, if he suddenly appears on Twitter, that will perhaps offer some kind of indication as to where things are going.

I think it's also going to be telling to see exactly if he leaves the platform as is. And what I mean by that is he has made some comments and overtures that he would like to see Twitter as perhaps an all-in- one platform, a place to get information, a place for messaging. Is that something he aggressively takes a start on, perhaps as early as today?

KEILAR: Is it already a hellscape, Christine, I think, is sort of the question.

ROMANS: I mean, you guys -- are you guys on Twitter? I'm on Twitter. I mean, even with --

KEILAR: I personally am saying maybe yes, but --

ROMANS: Look, I mean, there needs to be better guardrails, especially for disinformation.


And that has been the real problem for all of these platforms, is how do you allow free speech and at the same time not allow hate speech or misinformation that can really poison the electorate. So, that's what's he's stepping into here.

I'm going to be very curious to see if he reverses some of these bans. Would he let an Alex Jones, for example, a provocateur, conspiracy theorist, onto the platform? Is he going to be sort of like very libertarian about this and just let it be a free-for-all? I don't think anybody knows what it's going to look like. But we all know how important it is, right, what an important platform it is. What kind of steward will he be? We just don't know.

MARQUARDT: I'm personally very curious to see whether he unblocks me.

KEILAR: I was going to say, I hope so. I hope he unblocks everyone that he's blocked, but mostly you, Alex.

MARQUARDT: He blocked me two weeks ago, clearly he's not a fan of my free speech or pre-reporting.

KEILAR: I think it's more of the reporting on Elon Musk that's been the issue with you, Alex.

MARQUARDT: Lots of questions.

All right, Mark and Christine, thank you very much.

KEILAR: Sick children, full beds, long wait times, this surge of pediatric RSV cases that we're seeing, it is filling up hospitals across the country.

CNN's Adrienne Broaddus is on the frontlines of this health battle. She's at Children's Hospital in St. Louis. Adrienne, tell us what you're seeing there.

ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, good morning to you. We all know hospital staffing has been a challenge across the country, and this children's hospital in St. Louis is no different. But doctors say they're doing their best to manage. But that means patients showing up here will have to pack some patience.


BROADDUS (voice over): A visit to this emergency department might leave you waiting hours.

DR. KIM QUAYLE, DIRECTOR, ST. LOUIS CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL: A few hours, unfortunately, we do our best to shorten that. But just with the overall surge of patients that we're seeing at this time, it's very difficult to have people seen immediately when they get to an emergency department.

BROADDUS: Dr. Kim Quayle is the medical director of St. Louis Children's Hospital emergency department. She says the number of children treated here with RSV is concerning.

QUAYLE: If you compare volumes to last year, we're seeing about a 300 percent increase in RSV cases. It's just a very striking peak and we don't even know if we peaked yet.

BROADDUS: Respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, is most serious in infants, young children, elderly people and those with weakened immune systems.

That cough led this California mother to seek treatment for her two- month-old daughter.

CYNTHIA LAYTON, CALIFORNIA MOM, CHILD HAS RSV: We noticed that she was coughing a lot and had a really runny nose. And so we took her into the doctor and they tested her, and sure enough she had RSV.

BROADDUS: In Missouri, weekly RSV cases more than doubled over the past month and are more than five times higher compared to last year, according to the CDC.

QUAYLE: We are at capacity on many days and it's one patient in, one patient out.

BROADDUS: Across the country, pediatric hospitals are filling up. 14 states, plus D.C., more than 80 percent full. Four of those states more than 90 percent full, Rhode Island, Texas, Kentucky, and Minnesota.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Looking back at pictures, you could see it in her eyes that they were just puffy. I was in panic mode. It was just -- it was terrifying. We didn't even think to like go to a hospital that was in network. It was like let's get to the closest hospital.

BROADDUS: On top of comforting parents, Dr. Quayle says she's dealing with staffing shortages accelerated by the pandemic.

QUAYLE: We're bringing in our nurse managers who usually do administrative task, they're now at the bedside helping to take care of patients.

BROADDUS: Dr. Marcus Schabacker, who runs a nonprofit organization focused on health care safety, said this should be a warning.

DR. MARCUS SCHABACKER, PRESIDENT AND CEO, ECRI: We all should be alarmed, because when nurse/patient ratio increases, meaning fewer nurses have to take care of more patients, patient safety is at risk.

BROADDUS: A problem that gives Quayle pause.

QUAYLE: I think everyone is a little bit nervous.


BROADDUS (on camera): And Dr. Quayle says part of the fear is the unknown because they have seen this shift in seasons. Meanwhile, she also notes it's sometimes challenging to tell the difference between RSV or the flu. She encourages parents if their child has a fever, difficulty breathing or is turning pail in the face or blue, seek help immediately. Brianna?

KEILAR: Definitely the breathing and the color, certainly. Thank you so much, Adrienne Broaddus, for that report.


MARQUARDT: And this morning, the White House is jumping into campaign mode with under two weeks until the midterm elections. Today in Philadelphia, President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are set to make a rare joint appearance together to drum up support for John Fetterman in the critical Pennsylvania Senate race.

CNN's Arlette Saenz live in the White House with more. Arlette, this is a big display of support for Fetterman.

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it is, Alex. And President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will be speaking at a fundraising dinner for the Pennsylvania Democratic Party. Democrats expect to raise about $1 million for their party this evening.

But it's also going to offer the president an opportunity to once again reinforce his messaging when it comes to the economy, as he's seeking to draw a contrast with Republicans on things like prescription drugs, social security and Medicare and also taxes. And yesterday campaigning in Syracuse, New York, President Biden spoke very starkly about the threat he believes Republicans pose to the economy in this instance when it comes to raising the debt ceiling.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: Unless we yield to their demands to cut social security and Medicare, they're determined to cut social security and Medicare and they're willing to take down the economy over it. There is nothing that would create more chaos or do more damage to the American economy for that to happen, if it were to happen.

(END VIDEO CLIP) SAENZ: Now, this comes as the White House is keenly aware of the economic anxiety that so many Americans are feeling, the president trying to really lean in to his arguments that Republicans will pose a greater threat to the economy if they take control of the House and Senate.

MARQUARDT: And, Arlette, how much more are we going to see the president on the campaign trail before the midterms?

SAENZ: Well, today appearance in Pennsylvania marks the president's 19th trip to the commonwealth since taking office. He'll be here boosting John Fetterman, also Shapiro, the Democratic nominee for governor, as well as other candidates.

And then tomorrow, he's actually set to early vote in his home state of Delaware. And next week, he'll be hitting the campaign trail traveling down to Florida. That's a state he's been trying to make a political event appearance at for quite some time, the first one canceled when he had COVID, then later canceled due to the hurricane. He will be campaigning there with Charlie Christ, the nominee for governor, as well as Val Demings, the nominee for Senate.

Later in the week, he will go to New Mexico, a state you don't typically see a president go into in the final weeks before the election, before wrapping things up. He's expected to have an appearance in Pennsylvania in that final weekend of the campaign as he is trying to boost those candidates there in a state where they feel that they could possibly be helpful to Democrats.

MARQUARDT: All right, a very busy few days ahead. Arlette Saenz at the White House, thanks very much.

KEILAR: And joining us now, CNN Senior Political Analyst Nia-Malika Anderson and CNN Political Analyst Jonathan Martin.

I first want to start with this hot mic moment that we heard with Chuck Schumer talking to President Biden. Let's listen.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): The state where we're going downhill is Georgia. It's hard to believe that they will go for Herschel Walker.

That seat, we're in danger in that seat. We'll see.

It looks like the debate didn't hurt us too much in Pennsylvania, so that's good.


KEILAR: Oh, man, the hot mic moment.

MARQUARDT: They never learn.

KEILAR: They never learn. That aside, this is some pretty honest analysis here. NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. I love the candor. I love the honesty. You don't get this. You get Democrats who are hopeful when they get on camera about some of these races.

Really interesting, some of the behind the scenes, look at how they really feel about this particular race, particularly Georgia, the idea that it has tightened. I think Democrats were very hopeful that some of the revelations and allegations about Herschel Walker would expand what looked to be like a Raphael Warnock lead at least in some of those polls and now you see it's certainly tightening.

And you tell sort of in the way that Warnock himself is campaigning, that it's a much tighter race. Herschel Walker did much better in the debate than I think Democrats and a lot of people thought he would, so, yes, to get that unvarnished. Look, Democrats are nervous. These races are tightening as they usually do down the stretch.

MARQUARDT: We also heard Schumer there talking about the Pennsylvania race, saying that the Fetterman performance in his debate against Oz didn't hurt us. Clearly, that was concern, Jonathan.

JONATHAN MARTIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think it's wishful thinking on Chuck Schumer's part. Chuck has no scientific knowledge of what the impact of the debate was a day later on a tarmac in New York. He's trying to buck up the president. And at the same time, I think his talk about Georgia is also about trying to get Biden's help to raise money further in Georgia as well.

Look at that map that you showed on the screen there. What's remarkable is two things. First of all, the ubiquity of Biden in Pennsylvania cannot be talked about enough. Look, it's an important state. There's no question about it. The Senate could hint to Pennsylvania. But Biden is there so much in part because it's a close trip to Washington and in part because he can't go a lot of other places because they don't want him there.


That map has Obama going to Georgia and Nevada in the final days of the election, not the current president. Why? Because Biden is not wanted in those states by the Democrats on the ballot and Obama can come and get voters stirred up. That's the real story of this final week, a former president more welcome, more of a draw in more parts of the country than the current president of the United States.

HENDERSON: And the fact that he's going to Florida to me only suggests that they really don't think they have any chance in Florida really at all in those races, the Senate race and the governor's race.

MARTIN: And New Mexico is an important governor's race but there's no Senate race happening in New Mexico this year. And Biden, again, he is going there because the larger story is where he can't go. So, that's why he's going to New Mexico.

KEILAR: Do you guys agree with his assessment of Georgia? HENDERSON: Listen, all these races are going to tighten. I think 90 to 95 percent of voters have likely made up their mind. And in the closing weeks, you see some of these polls tighten because people were starting to make up their minds. But, sure, if you privately talk to Democrats, they are a little more concerned with that race.

You saw Warnock in some of these polls up by six or seven points, that seemed to be very unlikely. No one is believing a poll like that. Most people think it will likely go to a runoff and then we'll see what happens in December.

MARTIN: I think it's likely to go to a runoff but there's a chance that Walker could win outright on a really Republican night, especially if Brian Kemp, the incumbent governor on the top of the ticket, is winning by five or more points could bring Walker across the goal line, as they say in football.

MARQUARDT: So, if things are so tight and Democrats are so worried and so many voters have made up their minds, why are we only seeing Obama out on the campaign trail now?

MARTIN: This is what he typically does, the former president, who does not do a lot of current politics, likes to stay out of it for the most part. But I think most Octobers he does come out and do a handful of campaign events for down ballot candidates. That's sort of been the tradition that he's had since leaving the White House in 2017.

His wife is not going to be on the campaign trail, to the dismay of some Democrats, who would love to have her out there as well. But it's so striking because the Obama/Biden relationship is one -- it's a friendship but it's also a rivalry too. And I think for Biden to see Obama out there campaigning in states where Biden can't go, look, let's put this way, it will be noted in the building.

HENDERSON: And, listen, he does well in terms of rallying African- American voters, young voters and also suburban voters as well, white voters. So, you'll see him in different states. You're right, they really wish Michelle would be out there too.

MARTIN: And the key word is rally too. Biden simply is not the orator that Obama is, and Biden doesn't do those kinds of large rallies. Well, doesn't draw the crowds that Obama could draw but also just in terms of the delivery. That's not Biden's strength. Biden's strength is empathy in a small group. You saw the clip there in Syracuse. Biden is not a wholesale politician in the way that Obama is.

KEILAR: Yes, very different, very different. Jonathan, Nia, thank you so much to both of you.

MARTIN: Thank you.

MARQUARDT: And Vladimir Putin is downplaying fears of a nuclear standoff in Ukraine and he's blaming the west for pretty much everything. Putin says that western elites are playing a dangerous game by blaming Russia for the world's problems.

Let's talk more about this with CNN's Matthew Chance. Matthew, what else did we hear from the Russian president?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I mean, Alex, pretty astonishing. I mean, he spoke at this annual forum outside of Moscow for about four hours and he basically outlined his kind of parallel view of the world, which was quite incredible. He talked about how the west ignited the war in Ukraine, even though, of course, it was Russia that invaded that country back in February of last year. He blamed western countries for playing what he called a dangerous, bloody and dirty game around the world. And also, perhaps more realistically, said that the world was on the brink of the most dangerous decade since the end of the Second World War.

Just take a little listen, give us a taste of what the sort of things were that Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, was talking about yesterday. Take a listen.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT: Russia is just defending its right to exist and to freely develop. Power over the world is what the so- called west is banking on. But this is a dangerous game.

We never intentionally said anything about the possibility that Russia could use nuclear weapons.


CHANCE: I mean, there you have it, Alex. I mean, Russia -- Vladimir Putin saying Russia just tried to defend its right to exist, as if that's been threatened, and saying he never basically threatened the use of nuclear weapons, whereas we know over the past couple of months in particular that the nuclear rhetoric coming on out of Moscow has been increasingly frequent. I mean, he's often saying, look, we have got all these weapons and we'll use them, it's not a bluff, things like that.


A couple of days ago, the country, Russia, launched an exercise from land, air and sea, demonstrating their ability to conduct intercontinental ballistic missile strikes. And so the idea that nuclear rhetoric has not been routinely coming out of Moscow is astonishing to hear that Vladimir Putin saying this and to think he actually believes it too, Alex.

MARQUARDT: Yes. The hypocrisy is just shameless.

Matthew, of course, Russia still has the backing of China and Putin said that the U.S. has been wrong to destroy its relations with China over the issue of Taiwan. What exactly did he say?

CHANCE: Yes, China is perhaps the big diplomatic, political, economic support for Russia right now. Vladimir Putin speaking in glowing terms about Beijing, saying that it was an unprecedented situation they were in, in terms of the closeness of their relationship. Both countries he said were committed, to paraphrase him, bringing trade relations to an even higher level.

He also made it clear that he believed Taiwan was part of China and he criticized the United States for interfering with Taiwan. He was very disrespectful towards U.S. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, saying why did they send this grandmother to Taiwan just to provoke the Chinese, a reference to Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan earlier this year.

And so, Russia and China, you know, very much, at least as far as Moscow is concerned, on the same side when it comes to the division of the world, as it is at the moment, Alex.

MARQUARDT: Yes, not surprising but just remarkable. Matthew Chance in London, thank you so much for that.

KEILAR: This morning, dramatic video shows panicked passengers during an emergency landing after severe weather left their plane damaged.

Some people actually began saying goodbye to their loved ones. And shocking images later showed the damaged aircraft with its nose cone missing and its windshield smashed.

CNN Aviation Correspondent Pete Muntean is with us now. My goodness, what happened here?

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Can you imagine the terror of these passengers on board this flight LATAM Flight 1325? It was on its way from Chile to Paraguay. Sort of a double-whammy here, you think about this in two episodes. They first hit weather on the way to Paraguary then landed in Brazil. They had to divert. Then they waited there for about three hours, the passengers stayed on the airplane, and they took off again into this bad weather once more.

And that's when you see this incredible video from inside of the cabin that lightning essentially lighting up the inside of the plane as if it was bright as day. The turbulence so intense, you can see bags there at some points actually go up to the ceiling of the plane because the turbulence, the bumps were so hard, really got a heck of a ride in this.

You know, look at the damage afterwards, too, of the exterior of the plane. That's the nose cone of the plane. That's where the radar typically is. That's where the radome is. And the windshield there, you can see that, it cracked by this. There had to be some hale in this really intense thunderstorm. That is ran air turbine of the Airbus A320 that comes out when you lose electrical power on board. That's inside of the windshield. That's radome, once again, really, really incredible damage to this plane after it plowed through this thunderstorm.

You have to wonder what the judgment call here was by the crew in the cockpit. Why did they decide to take off into a thunderstorm so bad? What was the pressure under them to do this? And why did they do this when passengers were so terrified? I mean, really a bad judgment call here, I say as a pilot, not a great call.

MARQUARDT: How are the passengers? Was anyone hurt? MUNTEAN: 48 people on board this flight. And we know that aviation authorities in Paraguay will investigate this. We know that the airline is cooperating with this and we've heard from the aviation authorities in Paraguay that, thankfully, nobody was hurt.

We've also heard from LATAM, the airline here, and they say that they will support the passengers in any way they can, they regret the incident and they are cooperating with this investigation.

So, what will be interesting here is whether or not they really dig into what the pilots were thinking. There are some reports out there on the ground in Brazil, they may have just tried to avoid a bureaucratic mess or maybe they were trying to get out of the pilots timing out for their duty time, the regulations on that. So, we'll see. I mean, there are a lot of big questions here about why this crew would put these passengers in such an incredible situation and such danger.

KEILAR: Thank God they're still alive.


KEILAR: Pete, thank you for that.

A warning from the NYPD reflecting growing security concerns for the midterm elections.


MARQUARDT: Plus, an arrest in the break-in of Arizona Democratic Governor Candidate Katy Hobbs' campaign office.

And mortgage rates now topping 7 percent, a 20-year high. What home buyers and sellers need to know, that's coming up.


MARQUARDT: Police in Phoenix, Arizona, are making an arrest in the break-in at the campaign headquarters of Arizona's Democratic candidate for governor, Katie Hobbs. The 36-year-old suspect was booked on a burglary charge. Authorities say that he told them that he, quote, just needed a place to stay for the night because he was cold.

Hobbs and her Republican opponent, Kari Lake, have been trading attacks following the arrest. The Hobbs campaign calling the suggestion that the break-in was staged preposterous while Lake fired back, accusing Hobbs of knowing that Lake's campaign had nothing to do with it but still perpetuating the lie.

KEILAR: And as we approach the final days of the midterm election season, the New York City Police Department is advising what they call elevated vigilance.

Now, it's important to point out that there are currently no credible threats to New York City polling sites, candidates or workers, but the NYPD's intelligence department warns they'd be priority targets for.