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Kemp and Abrams Debate; Patricia Murphy is Interviewed about the Georgia Debate; RSV Vaccine by Next Year; Truss' Phone Hacked; East Coast Braces for Rain; Bills Win Against Packers. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired October 31, 2022 - 06:30   ET




STACEY ABRAMS (D), GEORGIA GOV. CANDIDATE: Abortion is a medical choice. And as such, it should be that a woman has the ability to make a decision until viability. And that decision about viability should not impact her life or her health. That is a decision that should be made between a doctor and a woman as a medical choice

EVA MCKEND, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER (voice over): The debate comes as the final week of early voting is underway in the state and continues to shatter previous records. Almost 1.5 million people have voted in person and nearly more than 150,000 via absentee ballot. Republicans have cited the surge in early voting as proof that claims of voter suppression are overblown.

But Abrams continued to argue the state's 2021 voting law is harmful.

ABRAMS: The right to vote is sacred to me.

And it is an abomination that SB-202, a law that has allowed racist, white supremacists to challenge the legal authority of citizens to vote.

GOV. BRIAN KEMP (R-GA): So, for Ms. Abrams to continue to try to manipulate and scare people at home and - and get them to believe that this is a state where it's hard to vote in is just outrageous.

MCKEND: The candidates also had two differing opinions on Georgia's economy, with Kemp touting his record and Abrams arguing that some are struggling.

KEMP: We have the lowest unemployment rate in the history of the state. We hare the most people ever working in the history of our state.

ABRAMS: In this Georgia, right now, people are feeling economic pain. And, unfortunately, under this governor, the pain is only getting worse.

MCKEND: Both sides were fired up when the debate turned to the issue of crime. Kemp accused Abrams of wanting to, quote, defund police departments. Something she quickly shot down. Paving the way for a back and forth over law enforcement and the state's concealed carry law.

KEMP: There are 107 sheriffs across this state that are supporting my campaign because they know I will have their back. They also know that I will be on the front lines standing beside them to go after violent criminals, street racers, street gangs and human traffickers.

ABRAMS: I am not a member of the good old boys clubs. So, no, I don't have 107 sheriffs who want to be able to take black people off the streets, who want to be able to go without accountability. I don't believe every sheriff wants that, but I do know that we need a governor who believes in both defending law enforcement also - but also defending the people of Georgia.


MCKEND: Now another notable moment came when in the context of Abrams voicing concern about women potentially facing investigation for miscarriages in the wake of Georgia's six-week abortion ban, Kemp shared that his own wife had suffered a miscarriage years ago.

It's hard to tell whether this moves the needle here at all or if people are already pretty baked in, in who they will support in this contentious governor's race. We know that already more than a million people have voted during the early vote period.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, early voting going like wildfire in Georgia to be sure.

Eva McKend, thank you very much.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Let's bring in political reporter at "The Atlanta Journal-Constitution," Patricia Murphy.

Patricia, what did you think about this debate and do you think it is going to, at this point in time so close to the election, going to move the needle?

PATRICIA MURPHY, POLITICAL REPORTER, "THE ATLANTA JOURNAL- CONSTITUTION": Yes, I thought this was a really strong debate for Stacey Abrams, specifically because of that hour long debate. More than 10 minutes of that was a back and forth on the abortion issue. That's a lot longer than they've ever debated on that issue before and it's something that really favors Abrams. The 2019 bill that was passed, that's Georgia's six week abortion ban, is broadly unpopular here in this state. So, if Abrams can keep the debate in the areas where she knows that most Georgians agree with her, that's where she wants to be, and that's where that debate was last night.

Now, will this move the needle for any Georgians? I think the question is, will it move more Georgians to go vote. I think people's opinions of these candidates are pretty baked in, but I think Abrams, last night, was able to tell anybody who's worried about the abortion issue, that's an issue that - where they agree with her and where they can go make a difference. She said specifically, if I'm the governor, we've got the votes in the house and senate right now to repeal this bill. So, I think that was an important moment for her.

I also think though we're hearing a lot from Republicans around this state about her specific comments on law enforcement, about those sheriffs wanting to take black people off of the streets. Republicans are going to hammer her on that. Crime is the number two issue here in the state, all across the state, and not just in metro areas. And so I think that's an area where Republicans feel like they're going to really be able to stop any momentum that she might have gotten last night.

KEILAR: This is a much tougher rematch for her against Kemp this cycle. And you have this great analysis piece in the "AJC" where you write about this. You say one of the biggest challenges for Stacey Abrams 2.0 is Brian Kemp 2.0. The Kemp of 2018 was easy enough for Abrams to paint as a cartoon villain. He as a Trump-endorsed, gun- wielding, round-up-the-illegals-in-my-pickup secretary of state who had stayed on the job to oversee his own election.


But four years later, the governor is now a sworn enemy of Trump, specifically because he refused to throw the 2020 election in Trump's favor.

Do you think, in the end, that action of Kemp's ultimately may be his saving grace here?

MURPHY: The -- his decision to go up against Donald Trump, I mean, who could have ever seen it turning out this way? That absolutely fueled his just total dominance of the GOP primary. In May he beat Donald Trump's hand-picked candidate by more than 50 points. We did not see that coming. And certainly we didn't see this coming that Brian Kemp, who really was caricatured throughout 2018 by all Democrats, especially Stacey Abrams, as being sort of a tool of Donald Trump's.

Through his own actions and really through no political gain that anybody saw in the moment in 2020, that has really inoculated him against that charge that he's a Trump crony. Obviously, he's not. And we've definitely seen some cross-over appeal, not just from independents but from some Democrats who said, listen, Brian Kemp did the only thing I wanted him to do in 2020, and that was stand up for the state of Georgia. So, we know that that's helped him a lot.

Will it help him on Election Day? It's helping him so far. We'll see what happens, though.

KEILAR: It seems in the governor's race it is advantage Kemp. In the Senate race it seems it is advantage - maybe small advantage Raphael Warnock. So, I wonder if you're hearing from voters -- do you see any situation where people may actually split their ticket, where they're voting for Kemp as governor but they're voting for the Democrat in the Senate race? MURPHY: Yes, we have spoken with those voters. We've talked to the

Kemp/Warnock voters who some people say, I don't see how anybody could get there and support these two men at the same time whose politics are so very different. Most of those are Republican voters who tell us they just can't get there with Herschel Walker yet.

It's a very easy race to nationalize, but because of the allegations that have come one after another after another on Herschel Walker, it's created just a very chaotic feeling around that campaign. So, for Raphael Warnock, who's an incumbent, those Republicans know what kind of a senator he's going to be. He's run a very issue focused, economic focused campaign so far. They feel better about Raphael Warnock than they do about Herschel Walker.

Obviously, Herschel Walker is working really hard to turn out the Republican base to counter that. It's a small number of crossovers, but it's an important number. And if this does go to a runoff, we know it will be because of those GOP voters who just couldn't get there with Herschel Walker yet.

KEILAR: Yes, a very good point.

Patricia, great column. Thank you so much for being with us this morning.

MURPHY: Thanks so much.

KEILAR: The U.S. may have its first vaccine for the respiratory illness RSV by next year. We'll have details next.

BERMAN: Plus, the death toll rising to 134 from a bridge collapse in India. Rescue crews scrambling to find survivors in the water.



BERMAN: As hospitals across the country experience an early surge of the respiratory illness RSV, new vaccines to fight the virus could soon become a reality. Four candidates are in the final stage trials and several others have reported encouraging early results.

With us now, CNN's senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen.

Elizabeth, talk to us about these promising results.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: John, if ever we needed a vaccine for RSV, well, this is the year that told us that with so many hospitalizations, with so many children sick.

Let's take a look first, as often happens, they're testing out this vaccine. They started first in adults. And you do that because you want to start first in adults for safety reasons. What they found for these trials that they've been doing from about four companies is that more than - that so far it's showing more than 80 percent effective at preventing infections that require medical attention for the first season after the vaccine. So that's some of the results that they're getting. That is really promising.

And when we look at children, they're a little bit further behind, but they're trying two things. They 're trying an antibody shot right after birth. Seventy-five percent effective at preventing RSV infections that would require medical attention. And trials for children are underway. So, hopefully soon there might be some relief.


BERMAN: Hopefully soon, but the surge is now.

So, how soon could these vaccines become available to the public?

COHEN: So, Ashish Jha, with the Biden administration, has said, look, it could be that next fall we might possibly have a vaccine available. But it seems, from what we've been seeing, that that would be for adults. Obviously important, RSV can be very dangerous to older Americans, but for children it's probably going to be considerably longer than that.


BERMAN: All right, Elizabeth Cohen, thank you very much.

COHEN: Thanks.

BERMAN: Calls to investigate this morning after a report claims former British Prime Minister Liz Truss that her phone was hacked.

KEILAR: And an about face in Brazil. The country bringing back a leftist leader in an historic election.



BERMAN: The death toll continues to rise in the collapse of a suspension bridge in western India. New video shows the moment it happened. And we do want to warn you, this is disturbing video.

You can see the bridge swaying, and then the cables just snap. Wow. Authorities say at least 134 people, including children, have died. It's estimated about 200 people were on the bridge. Rescue teams are still searching for survivors. Officials say the structure just reopened to the public last week following repairs.

KEILAR: This morning, growing calls in the U.K. for an investigation after a newspaper reported former Prime Minister Liz Truss' phone was hacked when she was the foreign secretary. The unconfirmed report claims agents suspected of working for the Kremlin were behind it.

CNN's Bianca Nobilo is live in London with more on this.

What can you share with us about this incredibly alarming detail?

BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is deeply alarming. So, the U.K. government is now facing growing calls to investigate this matter, which is an unconfirmed media report that the former prime minister, Liz Truss' phone was hacked while she was foreign secretary. She was foreign secretary between September 2021 and September 2022. So, through all the key months of the escalation leading up to Russia's invasion of Ukraine and then covering a large amount of that period.

Now, what we know so far from the report is the U.K. "Mail on Sunday" newspaper alleges that personal messages between Truss as foreign secretary and other international foreign ministers pertaining to the war in Ukraine, among other things, were hacked. In addition they claim to personal messages between Truss and her former chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng, who's known to be one of her closest political friends and allies. The paper also alleges that the content of those messages could have been used for blackmail potentially.

Now, another detail which is causing alarm in the opposition parties is that the paper claims that this hack was reported and revealed during the conservative leadership contest that ultimately saw Truss be appointed as prime minister.


And that the information was suppressed.

The other key detail in this story is that the paper claims those behind the hack were suspected to be agents of the Kremlin.

Now, the U.K. government says it has robust procedures in place to protect against cyber threats, although it won't comment on individuals' cyber security arrangements. You can understand why the opposition parties, the liberal democrats and labour, are saying this presents immense security issues, threats to national security and warrants an immediate investigation.


KEILAR: Certainly can.

Bianca, thank you so much for the latest on that.

BERMAN: This morning, rain showers set to drench the East Coast just in time for Halloween.

Chad Myers is with us this morning.

And, Chad, I see you decided to go it as meteorologist again this year.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I did. I have a new tie, though, hey, you know, so.

A couple showers here across the East Coast right now. It may be a wet commute into your work. But this is what the radar is going to look like. The computer thinking ahead. Here's what it's going to look like at 5:00. And you should think ahead too. Either have a poncho with you or maybe the umbrella along with you because there will be showers. Now, there will be places where it doesn't rain, but these scattered

rain showers are going to keep moving. I think the heaviest stuff will be in the Carolinas, also around D.C., Baltimore, and then by 8:00 or 9:00, even on up toward Philadelphia.

So, in between the rain drops, if you can, temperatures are nice. I mean I can remember so many Halloweens where in Buffalo I had this parka or a snow suit on, on top of my costume because it was so cold. We don't have that today. Even for the Midwest, back out towards the west, temperatures should be fairly mild, John.

BERMAN: All right, everyone loves candy, Chad, even a meteorologist.

Thanks so much for being with us this morning.

MYERS: You're welcome.

BERMAN: The Supreme Court could soon overturn a major precedent on affirmative action. The case is going before the court this morning.

KEILAR: And Republicans are riding a wave of optimism into the closing week of the midterm elections. We have new CNN reporting, next.


SEN. RICK SCOTT (R-FL): We're going to get 52 plus. Herschel Walker will win in Georgia. We're going to keep all 21 of ours.




BERMAN: All right, the Patriots with a glorious, decisive win over the New York Jets that the media is, frankly, scared to cover. There were some other games. I understand the Packers lost to the Bills.

Coy Wire has this morning's "Bleacher Report."

Hey, Coy.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: A team that is playing for a ticked off Bill Belichick is a very dangerous team. Look out John Berman.

Now, look, On paper this matchup between the Bills and the Packers, it seemed like it was going to be the marque matchup. You had Josh Allen and the Bills, they're favored to win the Super Bowl. And then you had the four-time league MVP Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.

Unfortunately for Green Bay fans, they don't play this game on paper. Fortunately for Bills fans, I'll say it again, Josh Allen. He can run it. He scrambles 20 yards here. And, John, look at him put this DB on skates. I mean he's 6'5", 235 pounds. It's simply not fair. And we all know he can throw the ball too. He's second in the league

in pass yards behind Tom Brady. He's second in passing touchdowns behind Patrick Mahomes. That one there to Dawson Knox put them on the board first.

Next possession, Bills star receiver Stephon Diggs puts a double move on Rasul Douglas and leaves him in the dust. Diggs is now tied for the league lead with seven receiving touchdowns on the year.

The Packers did give some hope with Romeo Doubs making a spectacular catch here. Outstanding focus. But, in the end, Buffalo rumbles 27-17. They're atop the AFC at 6-1. Packers falling to 3-5 for the first time since 2006 back when Brett Favre was in his second to last season.

John, you have to see this. DJ Oetting builds a special Halloween costume for his son Easton, who's battling a rare genetic disorder every Halloween. This year the five-year-old gets his own Zamboni. Easton's a huge Edmonton Oilers fans. So, the ice cleaner is all decked out proper like. The NHL's social media team called this costume of the year.

I wish you a very happy Halloween, my friend, and lots of love and hugs from down here in Atlanta.

BERMAN: I love that costume. I'm going as the Zamboni guy next year.

Coy Wire, thank you very much.

WIRE: You got it.

BERMAN: NEW DAY continues right now.


KEILAR: Affirmative action could be the next major precedent to fall.

I'm Brianna Keilar, with John Berman, in person this morning.