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New Day Saturday

Trump Holds Rallies In Wisconsin, Michigan As States See Surge In Cases; Biden Focuses On Health Care, ACA With Voters In Michigan; Europe Struggles To Contain New COVID-19 Spikes; At Least 69,000 New Cases Reported In The U.S. Friday; More Than 20 Million Votes Cast In 45 States And D.C.; Treasury Secretary: Getting Something Done Before The Election Would Be Difficult; Senate Judiciary Committee To Vote On Barrett Nomination Thursday; Disneyland And California Governor At Odds Over Reopening. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired October 17, 2020 - 07:00   ET




DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And we will soon be ending this pandemic.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's not disappearing. In fact, it's on the rise again. It's getting worse as predicted.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Pay attention to the facts. It is a deadly, highly contagious virus. The virus is now winning.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: More than 20 million Americans have already voted, according to data from 45 states in Washington, D.C.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I see it as probably being one of the most important elections in my entire lifetime going forward.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think more of the millennial and younger are a little bit more aware, and maybe are more wanting to get out there and vote.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY WEEKEND with Victor Blackwell Christi Paul.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: You can just see the sun there on horizon. The light to peak up a little bit. We hope you've got some sunshine in your future today. Thank you so much for spending the morning with us. We have a little more than two weeks now until the election. And this weekend, both President Trump and Former Vice President Joe Biden you're focusing on some key Midwest battleground states. President Trump campaigning in Michigan and Wisconsin, specifically.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: So, he's scheduled to host two big rallies thousands of people, masks optional, no social distancing. You know how these things go. Both of the states are seeing huge spikes in COVID-19 cases. Let's start with Sarah Westwood at the White House. Sarah, the

President is on the defense trying to hold on to stay to one in 2016.

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Victor and Christi. And the Trump campaign is out in full force this weekend with little more than two weeks until Election Day. The President, perhaps, trying to make up for some of the time that he lost when he was essentially sidelined for more than a week during his struggle with coronavirus.

As we saw through the end of this week, he is set to hit multiple states per day on this homestretch of the campaign, and that continues today where hours from now he will travel to Wisconsin and Michigan for a pair of campaign events. But that is coming against the backdrop of a potential spike in the Midwest. Wisconsin where he'll hold that rally in Janesville today saw record infection cases for two consecutive days ahead of the President's visit today. But yesterday in an event aimed at seniors, the president struck an optimistic tone about the U.S. progress with coronavirus.


TRUMP: My heart breaks for every grieving family that has lost a precious loved one. I feel their anguish and I mourn their loss. I feel their pain. I know that the terrible pain that they have gone through and you lose someone and is nothing to describe what you have to bear is nothing to describe it.

My message to American seniors today is one of optimism, confidence and hope. Your sacrifice has not been in vain. The light at the end of the tunnel is near. We are rounding the turn.


WESTWOOD: Now it's not exactly the case that America is rounding the turn when it comes to COVID-19. Yesterday, the U.S. registered more than 68,000 new cases. That was the highest one-day total for the U.S. since July. So, still surges in a lot of places around this country.

The President's remarks there really fit with a strategy that we've seen from him all along. His approach has been to downplay the virus, to downplay the possible outcomes. That's not necessarily a message that has been gaining traction among voters, though, because he heads into this final stretch of the campaign behind in many battleground states and with Joe Biden leading by a wide margin nationally.

Now, as you guys mentioned, at some of these campaign events, we're not seeing a ton of social distancing. And even though masks are encouraged, they're not required. And we often see guests at the President's campaign events without face coverings when they attend.

The Governor of Michigan, Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer, her office released a statement ahead of the President's visit there today saying: "We always are concerned when there are large gatherings without masks and social distancing. There is a risk of an outbreak when this happens. So, we encourage people to wear their masks and practice social distancing."

Of course, the President may be attempting to make up ground during these stops. He has a lot of ground to make up as we've mentioned in the polls, and he is heading into the final debate of the campaign this week with a full slate of campaign events, Victor and Christi.

PAUL: All right, Sarah Westwood. I appreciate it, thank you so much. And I just want to reiterate some of these numbers for you. Wisconsin -- Michigan and Wisconsin, two of those states where the President's holding these rallies today, she said, they are seeing spikes in coronavirus cases. Michigan recorded more than 2,000 new confirmed cases and 14 people who died yesterday.

The U.S. Surgeon General says cases in Wisconsin are "going in the wrong direction." But take a look at this. Right now, we know at least 30 more states have a rise in cases compared to last week in 14 states reached their highest ever seven-day average of new daily cases.


BLACKWELL: Joe Biden is expected to campaign in North Carolina tomorrow. Yesterday, he spoke with voters in Michigan.

PAUL: Yes, CNN's Arlette Saenz is following the latest from Washington. So, Arlette, I know there are some big names that are going to be hitting the trail for Biden. What are you learning about what's to come here?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christi and Victor, Joe Biden is back in Delaware today, but he does have some big figures out on the trail for him today. Elizabeth Warren is out in Wisconsin and former NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson is in his home state of Michigan hitting the stump for Joe Biden. But pretty soon Biden will have help from the biggest name in Democratic politics.

Former President Barack Obama will be hitting the campaign trail in Philadelphia on Wednesday. This is his first appearance for Joe Biden, and what will be just a handful of several stops he will be making in the final two weeks before the election. The Biden campaign believes that the former president can help mobilize Black men, Latinos and young voters out to get out to the polls for Joe Biden.

Now this will be a solo stop. Joe Biden is expected to be deep in debate prep on Wednesday, ahead of his second matchup against President Trump. But there is a possibility that the two men could appear together in those final days before the election.

Now, for Joe Biden's part, he was in the battleground state of Michigan yesterday where he once again honed in on the coronavirus pandemic and criticize the President's response. Take a listen.


BIDEN: He said I think last night, in his town hall, I didn't have the pleasure of hearing it. I was doing one myself. He said, we have turned the corner. And my grandfather, fitting in might say we're here, he said, he's gone around the band. Turn the corner. My Lord, it's not disappearing. In fact, it's on the rise again. It's getting worse as predicted.


SAENZ: Now, in these final weeks before the election, Joe Biden is really honing in on the issue of health care. As the campaign believes it extends to so many facets of the election right now from the coronavirus pandemic, to the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, and to Republicans efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act.

This is something healthcare was a winning recipe for Democrats back in 2018 when they won back the House, and that's a recipe that the Biden campaign is hoping to replicate heading into the election. Now, tomorrow, Joe Biden is heading to the battleground state of North Carolina. He'll be campaigning in Durham as early voting is underway, and he's trying to mobilize his supporters to get out and these final 17 days before the election, Victor and Christi.

BLACKWELL: Arlette Saenz for us. Arlette, thanks so much.

PAUL: So, as you saw there, the dueling town halls Thursday, we now know, the Biden came out well ahead of the President, now has just one more try, obviously. The President does to try to reach voters on that national stage when he and Biden meet Thursday in the final presidential debate.

BLACKWELL: Let's bring in CNN's Brian Stelter. Brian, how close were the numbers?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I think most people expected President Trump to prevail in this rating face off. But instead, it was Joe Biden, with 14-15 million viewers on ABC. That compares the 13 million for Trump on three different channels: NBC, CNBC and MSNBC. So, Trump went in here hoping to beat Biden in the ratings. Actually, the opposite happened. Biden was ahead.

What does that mean? Does that speak to Trump fatigue? Does it show that people are tired of watching the President and his antics on stage at these events? Or does it just mean people are more curious about Biden, they want to check him out one more time here in mid- October. The ratings probably mean a lot of things. And obviously, votes matter a lot more than ratings. But it was a big surprise to see Trump losing to Biden in this head-to-head race.

PAUL: You know, when you talk about numbers and optics and how many people were there, how many eyeballs there were, that's a trigger for this president. How's the Biden campaign reacting to that?

STELTER: It absolutely is. This President is a Nielsen kind of sore. I remember a decade ago, he used to send me scribbled messages about his apprentice ratings. When he didn't think I was giving him enough credit, he cares deeply about T.V. ratings. We've not heard him comment on this ratings race. But we have heard from the Biden Campaign Spokesman T.J. Ducklo saying

yesterday, turns out more people were interested in watching a leader with a clear plan to get this pandemic under control and Americans back to work, versus this is the Biden campaign saying a combative chaotic liar whose incompetence got us into this mess. So, the Biden campaign taking a victory lap when it comes to that came to that ratings race.

I think now, looking ahead here. There was supposed to be a debate last Thursday. We would have benefited if this had been a real debate between the two candidates. There is, as you just mentioned, one more debate: next Thursday, and moderated by NBC's Kristin Welker.


So far, it seems like both candidates will show up. And we never know what the President's going to do next, maybe he'll end up trying to get out of it or objecting to the debate commission. But that's going to be really critical for this president behind in the polls, that's going to be his last chance to make a pitch to 60 to 70 million viewers all at one time.

BLACKWELL: And the President seems at least checking his Twitter account, more comfortable tweeting elements of his stump speech and going out from these rallies than what happened on Thursday night. Was he able to get the message across better than he was, than he was able to at the first debate?

STELTER: I think that deep story that the President's telling is that he's up against everybody and everything, that he is, it's a campaign of resentment against the so-called deep state and the media and every institution you could imagine. That's the story he tells at the rallies. And that's the story he told about the NBC town hall. He said Savannah Guthrie was against him. He said NBC was against him.

So, if you take away what he's saying, just think about the message he's relaying, it's this grievance campaign, that the you know, everybody's aligned against him, and (INAUDIBLE) his voters. That's what he's trying to tell people and that's what he did with the town hall as well. But obviously, we know in the polling that grievance campaign does not seem to connect to a majority of Americans.

PAUL: Stelter, polling a probably seven days stint at this point, if not longer, you're going to see him tomorrow, too.

STELTER: I'm just warmed up for tomorrow.

PAUL: There you are. Thank you for getting out for us this morning as well for being with us. Brian Stelter there. He's going to be on. Of course, his show "RELIABLE SOURCES" tomorrow. That's at 11:00 a.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.

BLACKWELL: All right, speaking of that town hall and we heard this at the President's rallies when he says the CDC found that 85 percent of people who wear masks, contract the coronavirus. We got a fact check for you. Actually, you know what? I'll drop the teas, it's false. We'll give you the truth.

PAUL: Containing COVID is obviously a struggle around the world. We're going to check in on the situation in Europe. Several countries, they're imposing new restrictions again, this is due to a surge in the cases that they are seeing.



BLACKWELL: Coronavirus cases, the numbers are rising again on the same aircraft carrier that dealt with that major outbreak earlier this year.

PAUL: Yes, the Navy says a "small number of sailors tested positive for COVID-19 aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt," that they were transported off that ship for isolation purposes now.

BLACKWELL: And back in March, the handling of the outbreak aboard the carrier led to the controversial firing of the ship's captain. It's followed by the resignation of the then Acting Secretary of the Navy. The USS Theodore Roosevelt returned to sea, that was in May after it's a few weeks in port in Guam because of that outbreak.

PAUL: And let's talk about Europe because they're struggling to contain the coronavirus this morning. Several nations now are enforcing new safety measures and restrictions as a result. The World Health Organization says, listen to this, roughly 80 percent of countries across the continent are seeing spikes in hotspots.

BLACKWELL: Europe seven-day average of new cases now outpaces that of the U.S. and more than 120,000 new cases. And among the countries that are driving up the number as Germany. Citizens there are being asked to do more to help contain the spread. France, Russia, and the UK are also trending in the wrong direction. Our international correspondents have the latest.


JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR EUROPEAN CORRESPONDENT: The coronavirus case numbers here in France have been going in the wrong direction. And as a consequence, the government is going to impose a curfew which will go on for four weeks in 10 major cities. That means, that people will have to stay off the streets be between the hours of 9:00 in the evening and 6:00 in the morning. And there'll be 12,000 police out on the streets to find people who don't comply with that. In a country that values its nightlife in a big way, it's going to put a considerable damper on things.

FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Another grim milestone for Russia as the country continues to see record numbers for new coronavirus infections. For the first time, the authorities in this country recorded more than 15,000 new coronavirus infections in the span of a single day. Now, the main hotspot in this country continues to be where I am right now, the capital Moscow. We saw more than 5000 infections in the span of 24 hours and all this is happening despite the fact that the Russians have already approved two coronavirus vaccines, none of which actually went through the phase three tests and trials to determine whether vaccines are safe and effective.

Now, the Russian authorities seem to be acknowledging that vaccines aren't going to be available for the broader public anytime soon, and they're urging people to abide by anti-pandemic measures.

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: London has raised its COVID alert level too high. That is the middle tier and starting on Saturday, Londoners will be banned from meeting anyone outside their household in an indoor setting. That means no meeting your friends at pubs, bars or restaurants. Meanwhile, here in Manchester, the Mayor is in an open standoff with Prime Minister Boris Johnson over his plans to raise the alert level of this city to very high, the top tier.

The mayor argues he's unwilling to gamble the economy of Manchester over what he says is an experimental strategy. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has responded by essentially hinting at an ultimatum saying that he hopes the mayor will reconsider and engage constructively, otherwise the Prime Minister says, he will intervene to save Manchester's hospitals and the lives of its residents. The Prime Minister went on to say that the situation in Manchester is grave and gets worse with each passing day. That means the clock is ticking to get a grip on the virus.


PAUL: And thanks to some Abdelaziz there, Fred Pleitgen and Jim Bittermann for bringing us the headlines.


BLACKWELL: Let's bring it now Epidemiologist and CNN Contributor Dr. Abdul el-Sayed. Doctor, good morning to you.


BLACKWELL: So, the new cases are climbing again. Let's put the chart up. Just shy of 70,000 new cases yesterday, just 10 percent off the all-time high of around 77,000. You and others have warned that once the fall and winter hit the new case, numbers would explode. I did not expect to hit 70,000 so soon. Is this earlier than you expected?

EL-SAYED: I'll be honest, I was saying middle of October, and I'm very frustrated that it looks like this is exactly the timing that we're seeing. And what we're seeing right now is not just high levels of cases. And I want folks to put themselves in the mental mind space, we're not looking at linear growth, right. People are used to thinking a little bit more every day. What we're seeing is increases that increase every single day, and that's what we call exponential growth.

And it's looking like this surge is starting to follow on albeit slower, but still consistently exponential pattern. And I'm really worried about what that means, through the end of this month into November. And all of this, whether it's here in the United States, or as your correspondents just showed us in Europe, all of this is being driven by the same structural changes in our behavior. People going inside spending, more time indoors, having a little bit of mask fatigue, and, and, and, and pandemic fatigue, all of that a really wicked brew that may lead to real transmission everywhere.

And I want to put one more note on this, when we saw this kind of transmission earlier on in the pandemic in March and April, the virus hadn't seen it everywhere. At this point, the virus has had more than six months to get to every nook and cranny of our country. And so, as these structural behavioral changes, increase, the probability that we're going to start seeing outbreaks in every spot, small part in big part of our country goes up. So, this really is a harrowing time and people have to be careful and follow those recommendations.

BLACKWELL: So, what do we do? I imagine that people who are going to wear a mask are wearing masks. Europe, they are starting these, these lockdowns and some restrictions again. Dr. Fauci has said that this can be controlled without the type of lockdown that there really isn't a huge appetite for -- you're at the intersection of public health and politics, what, what do we do?

EL-SAYED: Well, I think number one, people have to recognize that the only way that we can avoid the kind of lockdowns that we're starting to see in Europe, is by doing the things that we need to do to protect ourselves and protect our communities. And so, you said, you know, the people were going to wear masks here, wear masks. I'm asking other people who weren't going to wear masks to wear masks, right?

And as we wear masks, let's not make as many, you know, as many efforts to take them off, we'll say, as we did in the past, because at the end of the day, the mask is only valuable for you as it's on your face. And I see a lot of folks wearing masks under their nose, or maybe wearing masks slung over an ear so that they can, you know, look like they were wearing a mask or choose to just take it off entirely to spend a long dinner at a restaurant.

And so, it really is about our choices, and we've got to make the right ones. But the second point here is to say that if things do start to accelerate, and we get to a point where transmission is so high and so fierce, that the only way to do it is through lock downs, then there's going to have to be leadership to do that, because we've got to do what it takes to protect our communities. And we've seen the ravages that this virus can have, and this surge has the potential to be way worse than it was in either the spring or the summer, simply because of the changes in behavior here. And so, we've got to be careful.

BLACKWELL: Let me play this lie, the President's been telling, and then I want you to tell us what the truth is. This is from Thursday.


TRUMP: But as far as the mask is concerned, I'm good with masks. I'm OK with this. I tell people to wear masks. But just the other day, they came out with a statement that 85 percent of the people that wear masks, catch it so -- SAVANNAH GUTHRIE, HOST, NBC NEWS: They didn't say that. I know that study. That's, that's --

TRUMP: That's what I heard, and that's what I saw.


BLACKWELL: So, what's the truth?

EL-SAYED: The truth is that this what he's, he is misquoting a study that was done, which is called the case control study. And just to explain the design here, you got a certain number of people who got sick, and then a certain number of people who didn't get sick, you match them up, and you look at the differences in how they behaved. Now, here's the thing, right? Once people already knew they were sick, they went back and ask them did you wear masks?

And they said, 85 percent of them said, yes, we wore masks. But like we talked about Victor, there's a difference between being very fastidious about wearing your mask and, you know, wearing your mask when, when you feel like wearing your mask. And, of course, when you're already sick, and someone asked you, did you do anything that you were supposed to do to protect yourself?

Most people say yes, of course I did, right? When, when sometimes that might not be the case. And so, you're talking about a very small number of people in a very specific kind of study design that were asked after the fact after they got sick if they wore masks.

And so, he is misquoting that article again to try and politicize masks wearing to play to his base so that there looks like there's two sides to an issue. The science is quite clear on this question mask wearing protects folks from COVID-19. It protects communities from COVID-19. And regardless of what the President wants to misquote a study, this is the truth, and this has been consistent with all of the science that we've seen.


BLACKWELL: Dr. Abdul el-Sayed, always good to have you, sir. Thank you.

EL-SAYED: Thank you, Victor.

PAUL: All right, coming up. I know you're wondering: why Congress and the White House can't find some common ground on this new stimulus deal? The politics that are at play. We'll talk about that when we come back.


BLACKWELL: 17 days left until the official Election Day, the one on your calendar. But already, this election season, more than 20 million votes have been cast in 45 states and in D.C. We've got a lot of pictures for you right now.


This is Atlanta. There are people in line already, 7:29 Eastern. And this is exactly where people were waiting for up to eight hours to vote earlier this week. Voter enthusiasm and concerns about the coronavirus pandemic had contributed to a surge in early voting. Next hour, we're going live to Atlanta with the latest on the early vote there.

PAUL: And as millions of people are struggling financially during this pandemic, some of you may be wondering when, or even if you're going to see a second stimulus check? That's all up in the air at this point.

President Trump's been urging Congress to pass a big stimulus bill. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin still at a stalemate. Senate Republicans balked at the $1.8 trillion package -- trillion-dollar package, I should say that Mnuchin offered Pelosi.

So, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has set up a vote for Monday on what is a scaled-back stand-alone bill we're told, costing about $500 billion. Money would be to extend the small business Paycheck Protection Program.

Let's talk to Jim Tankersley, he's economics reporter for the New York Times. Always good to have you with us, Jim. He's also the author of the Riches of This Land: The Untold, True Story of America's Middle Class.

As we get started here, I want to listen to something notable that President Trump said regarding the stimulus at this town hall on Thursday. Let's listen.


TRUMP: The problem you have is Nancy Pelosi. She couldn't care less about the worker, she couldn't care less about our people, and we should have a stimulus. And I want a stimulus, the Republicans will approve a stimulus. The problem is she doesn't want to do it because she think is -- thinks it's bad for her election.

We should have stimulus. This was not our people's fault, this was China's fault, and she's penalizing our people. I'm ready to sign a big beautiful stimulus.


PAUL: Jim, fact check that for us. Will you please?

JIM TANKERSLEY, ECONOMICS REPORTER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Sure. Well, you know, in any negotiation as the president well knows, you need a multiple parties on board to make a deal happen. And in this case, it's certainly not just Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats who are not willing to find the compromise that would get everyone onto -- on the board.

The Republicans in the Senate, for example, are nowhere close to being on board with a 1.8 trillion or 2 trillion or 2.2 trillion as the Democrats in the House want bill. And President Trump hasn't personally intervened here to get his party on board to bring all the sides together.

So, what we've had over the course of now several -- frankly, maddening months for people who watch these talks, is a very slow march of discussions that have not led anyone to an incentive to actually say, OK, fine, we'll make the deal on your terms instead of mine.

Everyone, all sides here really seem to think they are just fine going into the election without a deal.

PAUL: There is a strategy to this, pros and cons for both parties: Democrats and Republicans in sitting on this, and not doing anything about this prior to the election. Let's talk about both of those. First, let's start with Republicans, what is their incentive to hold onto this?

TANKERSLEY: Well, the big -- the big incentive for Republicans is twofold. The first is ideological. There are a lot of Senate Republicans who just don't think the economy needs stimulus right now or would do better with more stimulus.

But you also have to think about their electoral calculations. Many Senate Republicans aren't so much thinking about this election as future elections, future primary elections in 2022 or 2024. And they want to be on the correct side of fiscal conservatism for their base for those elections. So, they're resistant to a big deal. And I think that's making it hard for Mitch McConnell and the president to get the votes in the Senate for a large package.

PAUL: What about the Democrats?

TANKERSLEY: Well, the Democrats -- as the president alluded to the Democrats, do not have a huge incentive here to give the president a big win right before his election, which has basically put them in the -- in the negotiating position of they're willing to do a deal that is mostly on their terms. They have watched as the president has come closer and closer and closer to their position over the last few weeks. And the president frankly make it -- made it easier on them when he abruptly called off negotiations on Twitter, which then he almost immediately reinstated.

So, the Democrats basically keep telling me, look, we want a deal, we want to do something but we don't know if Republicans are going to be there for it, and so, we're not going to compromise on important things to us and reach a deal until the president and the

administration come to us.

PAUL: OK. So, last couple of seconds here. What is the takeaway for people who are sitting at home wondering, I don't know how I'm going to pay my rent this month? I mean, what is the realistic timeline for this?

TANKERSLEY: I think it's very unrealistic to think that we're going to have a deal passed, the Senate and on the president's desk before the election. There is some possibility that, that could happen after the election, but many people in Congress are preparing for the thought that the next stimulus bill for the economy might not come until after the next presidential inauguration next year.

PAUL: All righty, Jim Tankersley, grateful for your thoughts this morning and your expertise. Thanks for being with us.

TANKERSLEY: Thank you for having me.


PAUL: Of course.

So, every Saturday, we're highlighting cities across the U.S. with resources to help you if you need help right now. Grab your phone or a pen and a piece of paper to write some information down here. Because we wanted to make sure that you know that there is help out there.

So, if you are in Kansas, first of all. If you want to be tested for coronavirus, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment has compiled a list of places across the state on their web site. So, you can search by county with their interactive map.

If you live in Topeka, Doorstep is a non-profit group helping locals with day-to-day needs. They have an array of services, including clothing, food, prescription assistance, dental, and gas vouchers. And they do have some rent help as well. So, they're taking calls from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

So, let's go to Kentucky now. Dare to Care offers a mobile pantry program that distribute fresh fruit, vegetables, non-perishable items to people that are in the community who are at risk of hunger throughout the greater Louisville area.

The organization also has a senior outreach program. If you are in declining mobility health or medical issues, are also on you're -- are problem for you, you can go to their web site, Find a location near you there.

And in Louisiana, the Second Harvest Food Bank asks that you call in 211 for food and supply assistance. There are workers available 24/7 to help you find the closest community food pantry and distribution centers that you need.

As always, we do recommend calling these places prior to going there to confirm hours and requirements. But we hope that maybe that can gives you a little bit of guidance.

BLACKWELL: So, Judge Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed, she will not be the first parent on the Supreme Court -- you know that. She has seven children, but that's not some sort of record for the court even in the last few years.

So, why did senators, according to New York Times analysis, reference her minor children and her family role more than in any confirmation of a nominee in recent history?



BLACKWELL: 19 minutes until the top of the hour now. Judge Amy Coney Barrett has sent more documents to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Here is what happened, earlier this week, CNN's KFile reported that she had not initially included multiple public events on her questionnaire to the committee.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote next Thursday on whether to advance Barrett's nomination to the full Senate, and there were four days of hearings this week. Maybe you saw some of them.

Joining me now is senior columnist for the Daily Beast, Sophia Nelson. Good morning to you.


BLACKWELL: So, you, this week, you wrote that -- and let me quote you here, that hell broke loose when you said that you found Judge Amy Coney Barrett to be likable, but you would not confirm to vote her. Explain what happened and why you wouldn't vote to confirm?

NELSON: Well, I heard in a -- at little bit one of your earlier segments, when you were talking this fact with the Senate, had brought up how much she was a mom and how many times, and that's the likability factor.

And what I was saying on my Twitter feed was to my followers, I might not vote for this judge, her philosophy might not be mine. However, she's likable. She is very likable. And that's what they want, because when women are powerful, Victor, whether it's Kamala Harris or whether it's Hillary Clinton who wasn't likable, and that came up time and time again, it can backfire on us. So, if we're likable, we're palatable, it often works in our favor.

BLACKWELL: So, when you heard that reference to her family over and over, let's put up the numbers here for our viewers. This is the New York Times' analysis. They analyzed son, daughter, wife, husband -- all the mentions of family. And these are the recent nominees who had children -- minor children under the age of 18.

68 references for Barrett. Now, yes, she has seven children, but Scalia had nine children under 18 at the time of his confirmation. We had nine children, some were under 18, and only about 16 references here.

And you heard that and it was endearing. And some others might wonder -- well, didn't ask the men that question, why they're asking her about her children and talk about family so often?

NELSON: Well, come on, we know the answer to that. There's a double standard still. Yes, it's 2020, and yes, we've come a long way. However, we still have a long way to go. Look at the way Kamala Harris has talked about still. Look at the disrespect, even Senate colleagues don't want to pronounce her name right.

To make Judge Barrett, who is a federal judge, she's going to fill the seat of a beloved justice in Ruth Bader Ginsberg. And by the way, guys, she is going to fill the seat. They have the votes.

And so, what I was saying to folks is you kind of going to have to get yourself comfortable with this. The game that they're playing is, and by that, I mean, the Republicans on the Senate committee is, she is this wonderful mom, she's got two black children that she's adopted. She is a great lady. And it plays also really well with their base, Victor, as they have a severe gender gap right now going into this election.

BLACKWELL: Let's look at this exchange from Senator Ted Cruz. Now, on -- I believe that was Tuesday, Senator Cruz went on a 26-minute monologue. He didn't ask the judge to respond to anything, and then he asked her four or five questions. Here's what he asked Judge Amy Coney Barrett.



SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): Judge Barrett, do you speak any foreign languages? How about music, do you play any instruments? For you and your husband, you've got seven kid, how did -- how did you all manage through the lockdowns and distance learning? What was that like in the Barrett household? What led you and your husband to make the decision to adopt? It's, I think, one of the most loving and compassionate decisions any family can make. So, your children have been wonderfully well behaved. I think you're an amazing role model for little girls. What advice would you give little girls?


BLACKWELL: No question about jurisprudence. Your children are well behaved. What can you tell the girls of this nation?

Let me move on because I got other things and not a whole lot of time. You say that the media only likes women when they are liberal. What supports that?

NELSON: Yes. I mean, if you go through and you're citing my piece in The Daily Beast, which folks can read. And what I talked about, I went through like the most beloved women in United States every year, the most popular, the most admired.

There, if you -- if you look at 10 women, Victor, nine out of 10 are going to be what you call liberal political democratic women. Again, like a Michelle Obama or Hillary Clinton or a Kamala Harris or, you know, whoever happens to be in the public view at that point, you get very few conservative women.

But I also think back to your point about this notion of likability and the kind of questions that senators like Ted Cruz asked the judge. Again, they're playing to their base.

You wonder why the Republican Party has a gender gap, Ted Cruz showed you why they have a gender gap. They don't know how to talk to women. They don't know how to engage women. They're still in some Neanderthal kind of world that is stuck in someplace that the rest of us don't understand. And so, that's what the genesis of those questions was.

But on the likability factor, if we're all telling the truth, the icons in our country right now are more liberal democratic women. They just (INAUDIBLE). Nancy Pelosi, et cetera.


BLACKWELL: But, so, let me -- let me ask you this. Then, doesn't the latter point challenge the former point? And you suggest that the media only likes women when they are liberal, but if Republican senators don't know how to talk to women.

And let's look at this. There have been more democratic women elected to the Senate in the last 50 years than Republicans, elected to the House, elected governors. Three women on national tickets. One in Sarah Palin in 2008.

Is it -- is it less a reflection of the media and more reflection of the electorate's disapproval of the Republican's platform, and how the Republican Party elevates or does not elevate women?

NELSON: I think it's both and not either-or. For example, in this cycle, more Republican women are running than ever before for Congress, both House and Senate. Many of them will not win because they're in districts where they can't win, Victor. But your point is well taken. My point is, we don't hold up conservative women, and Judge Barrett, I think, is someone worthy of being held up even if I disagree with her judicial philosophy or some of the way she approaches jurisprudence.

BLACKWELL: Sophia Nelson, thank you so much for waking up and speaking with me this morning.

NELSON: My pleasure.

BLACKWELL: I'm going to tweet out the piece because I think it's fantastic.

NELSON: Take care, Victor. Bye-bye.

BLACKWELL: All right, you too. Christi?

PAUL: So, still ahead, there is uncertainty, there is anxiety in the happiest place on earth. Disneyland and the governor of California, they're about this morning over reopening the park. And in the meantime, there is a threat of layoffs for the people who work there.


[07:52:50] PAUL: Glad to have you with us here. Disney wants to reopen its theme park in California. California's governor says, not so much.

BLACKWELL: And who's caught in the middle? The thousands of a Disney employees were facing layoffs and uncertainty. Let's go to CNN's Stephanie Elam with more.


STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Disneyland, it's known as the happiest place on earth. But for some people, it's more than a slogan.

MARK GRIFFIN, HOLIDAY DECORATION DESIGNER, DISNEYLAND: My return to Disney is like my return to home. I start there as a teenager.

ELAM: Designer Mark Griffin gives Disneyland that holiday magic. And to stance, he's worked more than a decade at the park. This month, he was told it would all be coming to an end.

Disney announces that they're laying off some 28,000 employees. How did that impact you?

GRIFFIN: It's devastating. We're all worried about our livelihood. I'm worried am I going to be able to stay in this house? Am I going to keep a roof over my kids' heads? You know, I'm 52 and I'm on food stamps for the first time in my life.

ELAM: After Disney World's full reopening in July, Disneyland hoped to reopen as well. But California's summer COVID-19 spike led Governor Gavin Newsom to toughen his approach, delaying reopening indefinitely. On October 12th, he repeated his health-first approach to theme parks.

GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): There are cities, there's small cities, and there people from all around the world that descend, not just people that are proximate to these theme parks that come together and mix.

ELAM: Earlier this month, Disney fired back. Its chief medical officer tweeted, "We absolutely reject the suggestion that reopening Disneyland is incompatible with the health-first approach. We have taken a robust science-based approach."

The longer that Disneyland stays closed, the harder the impact on the economy. And it's not just Disneyland employees. The entire region relies on the tourism that comes here because of the park.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 264,000 jobs lost in the Anaheim area during COVID.

ELAM: Anaheim's Chamber of Commerce launched a campaign to push back against the governor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's reopen theme parks and reawaken our region.

ELAM: 19 state lawmakers agreed, telling Newsom of news reports that outbreaks simply aren't being traced back to these theme parks that have already reopened. But Newsom wants his own answers. He sent his health officials to inspect safety protocols at Disney World in Florida and to tour California parks.


ERIN GUERRERO, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CALIFORNIA ATTRACTIONS AND PARKS ASSOCIATION: And we wanted to show them first hand, it's not what you're thinking. Walking through a park and seeing all the different signage, the plexiglass, the staff that they'll have there, very visibly cleaning all the high touch surfaces.

ELAM: Not everyone is jumping to reopen for the sake of the economy.


ELAM: Ines Guzman is a housekeeper at the Disneyland Hotel, and one of nearly 3,000 unite here, local 11 service workers at the park.

GUZMAN: I love my job.

ELAM: She wants to go back but is worried about the virus.

GUZMAN: If I bring that home, I can lose my mom, my children. That's a deadly disease.

ELAM: Mark Griffin, agrees safety is priority one, followed closely by a return of the magic.

GRIFFIN: We make the magic. The thought of losing that, I'm in kind of withdrawals from that.

ELAM: Is it part of your identity.

GRIFFIN: It's definitely part of my -- Disney is my identity.

ELAM: Stephanie Elam, CNN Anaheim, California.


PAUL: It is a sad situation, I know. We're just keeping our key fingers crossed that you can all get back to work.

NEW DAY continues in a moment. Stay close.