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New Day Sunday

Trump Trailing Biden In Battleground States, GOP Strongholds; Trump Tries To Win Over Voters In Nevada, A State He Lost In 2016; Trump Holds Rallies In Michigan And Wisconsin Even As Both States See Record Surges In COVID Cases; Whitmer Aide Slams Trump Over "Violent Rhetoric"; Twitter Removes Tweet By Trump's COVID Adviser That Undermined Wearing Masks; Biden Campaigning In North Carolina Today, Harris In Florida Monday; Obama To Hit Campaign Trail For Biden Next Week; More Than 22 Million Ballots Have Been Cast So Far. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired October 18, 2020 - 06:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Governor Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan is now responding to President Trump's call to have her jailed.

CROWD: Lock her up. Lock her up.


RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: This is extraordinarily dangerous. Immediately after the FBI uncovers a plot to kidnap and possibly kill her.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president is not changing his tune. Continuing to insist despite all evidence to the contrary that we are turning the corner on coronavirus.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're hearing that his Minnesota rallies last month are now being blamed for more than a dozen COVID infections.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE There is now a long track record of rallies that have led to infections.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In just three weeks the CDC says that we could be having up to 6,700 new hospitalizations each and every day.


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

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Beautiful shot to start the day. Good morning to you. Looking at San Francisco.

Listen, we've got 16 days now left until the 2020 Election Day. Twenty-two million people have already cast their votes. CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. Today former Vice President Joe Biden's trying to lock in a lead in North Carolina. That's a state President Trump won in 2016.

BLACKWELL: And President Trump meanwhile is trying to close the gap in Nevada. He lost that state the first time around.

PAUL: So the latest national poll has Joe Biden in front. His campaign manager, however, says do not get complacent.

CNN's Sarah Westwood is at the White House. So, Sarah, we know President Trump's waking up in Nevada this morning. Again, he lost that state in 2016. What do we know about his strategy and what we'll see today?

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Good morning, Victor and Christi.

And, yes, that state is one that the president lost by under three points in 2016, and it's perhaps a sign that the campaign is trying to preserve alternative paths to 270 electoral votes for the president if he has hopes of winning re-election. He's also been spending some time in states that he won handily in 2016 like Georgia and Florida.

And also with his packed schedule hitting states that he won by just a hair in 2016 and that he is perhaps hoping to try to turn his way again. Like Wisconsin and Michigan, those are the two states that we saw him campaigning in yesterday despite the fact that coronavirus cases in both states are on the rise, and local officials have warned about holding such large gatherings in both of those states.

Now while he was in Michigan, the president went after the Democratic governor, Gretchen Whitmer, for keeping the schools closed and many facilities closed as the state battles coronavirus. Those comments raised some eyebrows because the FBI just recently foiled a plot to kidnap that governor, Governor Whitmer, and the president just weeks later is going after her there.

Governor Whitmer responded pretty quickly on Twitter. And I want to read you her response. She said, "This is exactly the rhetoric that put me, my family, and other government officials' lives in danger while we try to save the lives of our fellow Americans. It has to stop."

And interestingly, one of the aides to the governor, her deputy digital director, also responded on Twitter saying that violent rhetoric is directed towards the governor every time the president goes after her like this in a rally. She wrote, "I am the Governor's Deputy Digital Director. I see everything that is said about and to her online. Every single time the president does this at a rally, the violent rhetoric towards her immediately escalates on social media. It has to stop. It just has to."

Now, we expect the president to maintain a very demanding schedule like this during this final sprint to Election Day, Victor and Christi. BLACKWELL: Sarah, we also on Twitter saw the White House adviser, Dr. Scott Atlas, really the only member of the task force we see in the White House, pushing this false narrative that masks do not work in trying to control the spread of the coronavirus. What's going on here?

WESTWOOD: Yes, Dr. Atlas posted on Twitter undermining the confidence in the effectiveness of masks, questioning whether they are effective in preventing the spread of coronavirus. That goes directly against the advice from Trump's own administration, from his CDC that people should be wearing masks when they're in public settings, when they're around people who are not members of their household. That tweet was flagged and subsequently removed by Twitter for violating the rules, spreading disinformation about masks.

But, again it just fits a pattern. For many Trump administration officials offering conflicting and often just wrong information about coronavirus leading to public confusion and sometimes the greater spread of the virus continuing in this country, Victor and Christi.

BLACKWELL: All right. Sarah Westwood for us at the White House. Thank you.

PAUL: Well, former Vice President Joe Biden in North Carolina as we said today. President Trump won that state in 2016. But the Biden campaign's strategy wants to lock in voters in those key states, the swing ones.


BLACKWELL: Let's go to Jason Carroll this morning. Jason has the latest for us. Jason?

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Victor and Christi, as expected, the campaign putting much of its time, resources, and energy into battleground states, and states where they're doing early in-person voting. They're seeing some of those same images coming out of places such as North Carolina.

For his part, Vice President Joe Biden will be in Durham, North Carolina, today, speaking to voters, telling them to be patient and to get out there and vote. Senator Kamala Harris will be doing the same in Florida on Monday. She'll be making two stops there.

Biden not out on the campaign trail on Saturday, neither was Harris. Biden met with advisers from his campaign on Saturday. Harris, for her part, as you know a couple of people within her orbit tested positive for COVID-19. So out of an abundance of caution they physically kept her off of the campaign trail for a few days. She did test negative for COVID-19 on Saturday.

So looking ahead, again, you've got Biden. He's going to be in North Carolina today. You've got Senator Harris in Florida. She'll be there on Monday. Jill Biden will be in Pennsylvania on Monday. She will be in Michigan on Tuesday, Jill Biden.

But Wednesday is the big day. That is the day that former President Barack Obama will be out there campaigning for Biden. He's going to be doing that in Philadelphia and -- and a number of Democrats are saying if there is one surrogate that you want out there stumping for you, that would be the one -- Victor, Christi.

BLACKWELL: Jason Carroll, thanks so much.

Let's talk about where we are in this race. Sixteen days now left until the Election Day. Fifteen percent of the total ballots cast for president in 2016 have already been cast.

PAUL: More than 22 million ballots is what have been cast across 45 states and the District of Columbia thus far to this date. This is according to a survey of ballot data by CNN, Edison Research and Catalyst. We need to tell you Catalyst is a data company that provides data, analytics and other services to Democrats, academics and non- profit issue advocacy organizations.

BLACKWELL: Now the information coming in from 27 states that report party affiliation so that Democrats are leading the way with more than 5.4 million ballots cast so far. Republicans have cast more than 2.4 million votes there.

Keep in mind, the polling shows Democrats prefer voting early or by mail. Republicans prefer to vote on Election Day. We also have to say that although these are Democrats who cast their ballots doesn't mean that they necessarily are guaranteed to vote for the Democratic candidate.

PAUL: Right. Among 36 states reporting ballots cast by gender, more than 7.3 million men have voted, they are being outpaced by the nearly 9 million women who have cast ballots today. Let's bring in Mark Preston, CNN senior political analyst to talk about that. Women are a key part of this, we know, Mark. Good morning. It's so good to see you.


PAUL: I want to listen here to a woman in Florida that Jeff Zeleny spoke with. She voted for President Trump in 2016. Here's what she says today.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's so dishonest. And the worst is that whenever he is caught in a lie, he blames it on somebody else. It's always somebody else. He's impossible.


PAUL: And then let's listen to President Trump last night in Wisconsin. Actually, this was in Michigan. I apologize. Let's listen to what he had to say, specifically to women.


TRUMP: Women, suburban women, you're supposed to love Trump. Suburban women, they should like me more than anybody here tonight because I ended the regulation that destroyed your neighborhood. I ended the regulation that brought crime to the suburbs, and you're going to live the American dream. And that's what you're going to do.

Can I ask you to do me a favor? Suburban women, will you please like me? Please.


PAUL: All right. So he was referring when he was -- he was talking about destroying your neighborhood, he was talking about his interpretation of Obama-era fair housing rules and low-income housing. But I want to -- I want to check that, Mark, with you because he also was using or did not stop the crowd from yelling "lock her up" which we had heard. That was for the Michigan governor. Last time it was for Hillary Clinton.

We also have heard him talk about Savannah Guthrie and how she conducted herself, that she was very angry. We heard something similar in 2016 from him about Megyn Kelly in a debate.

He needs these women's votes and I'm just curious because this illustrates this consistent derogatory view of strong women.


What is the calculus in his mind, in his campaign, that the language he's using is going to benefit him?

PRESTON: Now, Christi, that's entirely unfair for you to think that I could actually get in the mind of Donald Trump.

PAUL: Sorry.

PRESTON: Look -- and I'm only kidding. Look, let's go back to several years ago, right, before he became president. He stood on a debate stage in really a hollowed political place for Republicans, the Ronald Reagan Library. Sat on a debate stage and turned around and made a derogatory comment about the looks of one of his Republican contenders, you know, Carly Fiorina, that he was challenging.

So, Donald Trump lives in a bygone era. You know, I often think, Christi, is he running a campaign from like 1954? Is this a campaign that would -- that would perhaps work in a way that it is not working now if it was 50 years ago? And perhaps that is true.

You know, if you listen to the tone of how he asked for their support last night, it was very condescending. And it's a tone that is not going to work very well, I think, at this point with suburban women. And we are seeing that play out in the polls.

Now, specifically why did they support him last time? Well, if you look at last time, Hillary Clinton was a very polarizing figure. You know, there are a lot of people who didn't like her personally. They also didn't like about how the fact that her husband had served two terms, she had served her adult life in government, and that there was this idea that she was entitled to become the next president.

That's all gone right now. We have seen what has happened with COVID- 19, we have seen the incompetence of what happens when people are dying when our government is not taking care of them, Christi.

PAUL: So there's also this reporting from Arlette Saenz that the Biden campaign manager, Jennifer O'Malley Dillon, in a memo that I think is going out today says, we need to campaign like we're trailing even though the majority of the polls show that they're double digits ahead of President Trump. Some will argue it seems like 2016. The polls said one thing and election night said another.

Is that the contention, that people will vote for him and they just won't admit it? Is that a contention that's still valid on a sizable scale or is that what Biden's concerned about?

PRESTON: Yes. Look, it's not only that. People forget the stock market is doing very well right now. So as well as we are seeing these terrible unemployment numbers, we are seeing people die, our loved ones die, we all know someone who has been connected to this awful disease.

The fact of the matter is the stock market is still doing well. So, if you're doing well and you still have a job and the stock market's doing well, then that's a concern right now if you're a Democrat. And specifically, Joe Biden got two pieces of good news this week, right? He got that he's continuing to be ahead in the polls and he has a huge cash advantage over Donald Trump. Except you don't want your supporters to know that. You want your supporters to know that you're against the ropes or at least you want them to think you're against the ropes, because otherwise complacency will lead to defeat. And I think they're very, very, very cognizant of that as they look at what happened in 2016.

PAUL: So how do you think that's going to shape what we see this week in this last debate? First of all -- and we'll talk about both sides, but what is the one takeaway you think each of these candidates needs to leave the American voter with once that debate is over? Let's start with Vice President Biden.

PRESTON: I think he has to show that he has energy and that he has focus and that he has command. The empathy will come through. I think Joe Biden could do well if he makes no mistakes.

Donald Trump, on the other hand, I think that he has to show empathy, he has to show that he's in control. But we haven't seen him show any of that in this campaign, let alone in this presidency. So I don't necessarily think he's going to take that advice. It is going to be quite a show, though, I think, this last debate.

PAUL: All right. Mark Preston, we are so grateful to have your expertise and your thoughts this morning. Thank you for waking up early for us on a weekend.

PRESTON: Hey, thanks for having me.

PAUL: Always. Thanks, Mark.

So the conversation continues later today on "STATE OF THE UNION." Jake Tapper is joined by Lara Trump, Delaware Senator Chris Coons, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker and Fareed Zakaria. "STATE OF THE UNION" airing at 9:00 Eastern, right here on CNN.

BLACKWELL: Still to come, there are two places in the U.S. where COVID-19 cases are trending in the right direction. Just two states. Health experts are warning that the surge has the potential to get far worse.

PAUL: Also, comedian Seth Rogen tells CNN's Chloe Melas what's getting him through the pandemic.


SETH ROGEN, COMEDIAN: I smoke weed from the second I wake up. Whatever you need to do to get through the day, as long as it's not hurting other people, do what you got to do.




BLACKWELL: Record-breaking wildfires in California have burned about a million acres, and that's just over the past month.

PAUL: Thousands of firefighters are battling nearly two dozen raging fires in the worst wildfire season in California's history right now.

As the coronavirus surges across the country, there are just two states, just two, that are trending in the right direction right now, Missouri and Vermont. They recorded above 10 percent improvement in the average number of cases over the past week.

BLACKWELL: Now, cases in Connecticut and Florida have increased by 50 percent or more. CNN correspondent Polo Sandoval joins us now from New York with the latest. Polo, this map is starting to look like what we saw in April and May and then again in July and August. We're seeing the -- what some people are calling the third peak.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We tracked these numbers every day. Of course, the experts do, as well, Victor. And just to give you a better sense of just how the current situation is looking like across the country right now, consider that back in mid-September the average daily new COVID case count was about 34,000.


Now, showing about a 60 percent increase according to officials. That number is 55,000. Experts saying that fall surge that they've been talking about, it's certainly under way.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) DR. ABDUL EL-SAYED, EPIDEMIOLOGIST AND PUBLIC HEALTH EXPERT: I'll be honest with you. I'm extremely worried. And epidemiologists have been predicting a fall spike for a long time.

People are starting to move indoors, are starting to be lax on social distancing. Now you're starting to see spread everywhere. And so you're going to see many multiple-fold the number of cases than we saw in the spring if this surge persists.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): President Trump has been on a rally blitz as 10 states break COVID-19 records. In Minnesota public health officials say they've so far traced at least 20 cases of the virus back to rallies held by the president last month or to related events.

DR. SEEMA YASMIN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: This is so heartbreaking because it was predictable and inevitable that when you have people congregating on mass, not wearing masks, not doing physical distancing, barely using hand sanitizer, those are the perfect conditions in which you get the spread of the coronavirus from one person to another. They very quickly become these super spreader events.

SANDOVAL: New Mexico is reporting a 101 percent increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations so far this month. And in New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo, conceded Saturday that the city would likely see an increase in the transmission rates as schools reopen and cooler weather drives people inside.

DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CHIEF OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, MASSACHUSETTS GENERAL HOSPITAL: Dr. Fauci warned us that we may very get to 100,000 cases, and I suspect that we will. Because we're not doing anything to mitigate this, right? I also worry that, you know, what we see today is increasing in cases and they continue to increase. What we see two weeks from now is escalating deaths.

SANDOVAL: On the vaccine front, Pfizer now says it won't seek emergency vaccine authorization before Election Day but hopes to later in November.

DR. PETER HOTEZ, PROFESSOR AND DEAN OF TROPICAL MEDICINE, BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: Maybe by the end of November we'll know whether any of the three vaccines that are in later stage phase-three trials the AstraZeneca Oxford vaccine, the Moderna mRNA vaccine, and the Pfizer BioNtech mRNA vaccines, whether any of them are actually working and are safe. And once we get that signal, then we can start to begin releasing it to the public possibly through emergency use authorizations.


SANDOVAL: Here in New York, the concern continues to be certain pockets here in New York City that authorities are certainly looking at. Yesterday the governor announcing their fall approach. The so- called micro-cluster strategy. What I'll be doing is as opposed to looking at counties that have been affected or even neighborhoods, they're going to be looking at specific blocks that are seeing large COVID numbers.

Those certain blocks would then have to implement certain strategies here and measures to bring those numbers down. The goal here, Victor and Christi, is to try to limit some of the effects for some other regions that are perhaps not seeing such high COVID numbers.

PAUL: All right. Good to know. Polo Sandoval, thank you.

BLACKWELL: Italy is struggling to contain the spread of the virus. It just registered a new record high in daily cases. The number of deaths, though, is still low.

PAUL: CNN senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman is outside a COVID testing facility in Naples. And, Ben, we understand that they are doing some shifting in terms of what they're going to do to try to keep those numbers back down again. This was a country that was hit so hard before. How are the people that live there dealing with this new reality that they may see the worst of it yet again?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, well, the government here is taking measures to try to limit the spread. For instance, here in Naples, in the Campania region they've closed schools and the universities earlier this week. Restaurants are supposed to close their doors at 9:00 p.m. We were in a restaurant at 9:00 p.m. yesterday, and there were still people going in. So implementation is still a work in progress so to speak. But certainly here in Naples, there does seem to be a real effort to try, for instance, to increase testing.

Now, here at this hospital, we have been outside for a few hours. They're testing about 1,000 people a day, seven days a week. It's a fairly quick process. It's free.

And Italians who tend to be very critical where criticism is warranted, most of the people coming out seem to be very happy with how the process is being conducted. Now, if you look at the numbers, even though, yes, we're definitely in a second wave here, yesterday almost 11,000 new cases were recorded which is getting near to double the height of the -- the numbers we saw at the height of the pandemic.


But if you look more closely at the numbers, Christi and Victor, there's a difference. I mean, for instance, the testing is now five times higher than it was before. And the deaths are just 1/20 of what they were back in March. So even though if you look at the number of new cases there might be reason for worry, people seem to feel that the government has learned lessons from the pandemic earlier this year. And therefore, there's not the sense of gloom and doom that seem to weigh so heavily on Italy earlier this year -- Christ, Victor.

BLACKWELL: Understood. And we'll see how much of what's happening in Europe will happen here in the U.S. as we're seeing spikes, as well. Ben Wedeman there in Naples for us, Thanks, Ben.

PAUL: So the outcome of the election obviously still uncertain. Joe Biden winning one constituency it seems -- celebrities. Sean "Diddy" Combs is the latest to endorse Biden. Here's the question, do you care about celebrity endorsements? Brian Stelter is talking about that next.




SEAN DIDDY COMBS, RAPPER, ENTERTAINMENT MOGUL: Say what you want about Biden, I can't say I love the pick either. But, hey, we got to get him in office. And then we got to hold him accountable.

He wasn't born Republican, he wasn't born Democrat, he wasn't born independent. He was born black. And we have to cease our political power.

It would be irresponsible of me to have us hold our vote hostage. But it would also be irresponsible of me to just let this moment go by. The world is watching.


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN NEW DAY: Rapper and Entertainment Mogul, Sean Diddy Combs there, endorsing Presidential Candidate Joe Biden. He's just one of a lot of celebrities who are backing Biden in 2020.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN NEW DAY: Do celebrity endorsements matter? Let's said discuss it now.

PAUL: I love the smile you have on your face when you ask that question.

BLACKWELL: Joining me, Chief Media Correspondent, Anchor of Reliable Sources, Brian Stelter.

Stelter, so a lot of big names in entertainment are backing Biden in 2020. Same thing happened with Secretary Clinton in 2016. Are they influential? Do voters care?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: I hear your skepticism, Victor, and I share your skepticism. I think endorsements matter most when they are surprising. And, in general, Hollywood celebrities endorsing the Democrat is not a surprising story.

I think what Diddy said is really important though, because Diddy is going further and also launching a new movement, he's calling the Black Party, to empower African-Americans to focus on not to just voting but then making sure candidates in office are delivering on their promises. So he is combining his support for Biden with something bigger than Biden.

You know, in 2016, Diddy said, I'm not -- you know, I would think we should hold our vote to Hilary Clinton, withhold our vote for Clinton, again, as an attempt to try to gain power and gain support for a different policy issue.

So it's notable that he saying it in that way, for me, in that way. Think about some of the other endorsement in recent weeks we've heard about for Biden. Taylor Swift, who has so many young female fans, Dwayne the Rock Johnson, who would never endorse anybody for -- in a political race before. I think that was sort of more surprising and that's a little more important. And around the margins, these things matter because casual voters might hear about them on Instagram or TikTok, and might be one more on ramp to decide their vote.

And actually the more important endorsements this year though are the Cindy McCains. They are the Republicans who are supporting Biden. Again, surprising, unusual and it gives them on-ramp to certain voters who might need another nods to go to the polls.

Trump on the other hand, he has not had many of these celebrities endorsement or the surprising Democrat endorsement over Republican. Although Kirstie Alley did come out over this weekend and TikTok a lot of her Tweeter fan who are supporting Trump.

PAUL: That's a great analysis. That makes so much sense. I want to ask you about Saturday Night Live as well. They took on the dueling Trump town halls with Biden. Let's take a look.

STELTER: Oh, yes.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've given every audience member a glass of warm milk and a blanket. Now, who's ready to have some fan with facts and figures?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, just last week, you tweeted that Osama bin Laden is still alive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn't tweet it. It was a re-tweet, which is short for really smart tweet.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Okay, but you can't just do things like that. You're not just someone's crazy uncle. You know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Really, because this conversation we're having right now was a preview of Thanksgiving dinner. And a lot of American household have crazy uncles, stand back and stand by.


PAUL: All right, Brian, what's your take?

STELTER: That's a preview for Thanksgiving dinner that I'm dreading Thanksgiving. I hope it can be a lot funnier than that.

I think SNL -- you know, as we've always said, it's hard to top real- life politics right now. And, you know, they are trying for a couple more weeks. Every week, they are alive up until the election. They are trying. But these town halls, it's hard to parody some of what's going on on stage.

BLACKWELL: Do we know if Jim Carrey is the permanent Biden on this show or is he just doing it a for while, because I miss Jason Sudeikis?

STELTER: I know. I said last week, if people love or hate this impression, it's a strange choice. It's a very risky choice to bring in Carrey. They did say he is Biden for the season. So, presumably, that means if the Biden wins the election, he will be with us in the spring.

BLACKWELL: All right.

PAUL: We will find out. Brian Stelter, always good to see you, sir.

STELTER: Thanks.

PAUL: You're going to be able to see more Stelter too on Reliable Sources.


That's today at 11:00 right here on CNN. Be sure to pick up a copy of his new book too, Hoax, Donald Trump: Fox News and the Dangerous Distortion of Truth.

BLACKWELL: Restrictions, stay-at-home orders because of the coronavirus pandemic have led to a lot of challenges for families, especially those who are providing care for some loved ones.

PAUL: Yes. Comedian Seth Rogen is hoping to spread laughs, trying to support those of you who are in need.

CNN Chloe Melas, spoke with them about it. Hey, Chloe.

CHLOE MELAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER: Good morning Christi and Victor. Actor and comedian Seth Rogen and his wife Lauren have made it their mission to bring awareness to Alzheimer's through their non- profit organization, Hilarity for Charity. And they spoke to me about hosting their first-ever virtual event next week.


LAURA ROGEN, ACTRESS & SCREENWRITER: Unfortunately, Alzheimer's has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My grandfather, on my mom's side, had it, passed away when I was 12. And then my grandmother was diagnosed a few years after that and she passed away when I was 18.

And then at my college graduation, my mom started repeating herself, and, you know, deep down, I just knew. And over the next two to three years, eventually we got, you know, a diagnosis of early onset Alzheimer's. She was barely 55 years old.

SETH ROGEN, COMEDIAN: Because there's a pandemic sweeping America, we are doing a virtual gameshow where we will have celebrities kind of captaining teams and people can watch or participate as members of the teams.

L. ROGEN: We can announce.

S. ROGEN: Yes, so far some of the people, Jim Gaffigan on (INAUDIBLE), Billy Eichner.

MELAS: Rogen told me that comedy is needed now more than ever during this COVID-19 pandemic. But it's not just jokes that are getting him through this tough time.

S. ROGEN: I smoke weed from the second I wake up until the second I go to sleep. And then I wake up in the middle of the night and smoke weed then as well.

I think there should be no shame in doing what you need do to make your life more livable, be it smoke weed, take medication, read, go for walks, you know, disengage from things you --

L. ROGEN: By watching reality television.

R. ROGEN: And watch reality television even though you know it's garbage, you know. I think like whatever you need to do to get through the day, as long as it's not hurting other people, do what you got to do.


MELAS: Seth and Lauren also spoke to me about the importance of being political on their social media platforms and the importance in voting in next month's election.


R. ROGEN: As someone who moved to this country from another country but became a citizen and has the ability to vote, I view it as something that I have responsibility to do, as someone who participates in American society. I voted -- we voted yesterday by mail, which is a safe and secure system.


MELAS: Christi and Victor, their Hilarity for Charity event is going to be held on Wednesday. And since it's a gameshow, viewers are actually take part and interact with them and all of the other celebrities.

BLACKWELL: All right. Chloe Melas, thanks so much.

Up next, the vote on Supreme Court Nominee Amy Coney Barrett set for this week. We will get a preview of what could come when we come back.



(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: Amy is going through right now. She's good. She's done amazingly well. It's amazing to watch her compared to some of these radical left senators. It's like if from a different ball game, right? It's like, go ahead, go ahead. Hold up, we'd like to see your notes. Okay, here they are, there's nothing. Unlike Joe, she doesn't need notes.


BLACKWELL: As President Trump has rallied Michigan yesterday talking about his Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett's performance during a Senate confirmation hearing.

PAUL: Yes. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he plans to put Barrett's nomination on the Senate floor this Friday.

CNN's Ariane de Vogue has been looking into it. Ariane?

ARIANE DE VOGUE, CNN SUPREME COURT REPORTER: Christi and Victor, barring any surprises, Judge Amy Coney Barrett is going to be voted out of the Senate Judiciary Committee by Thursday. That sets the stage for the entire Senate to vote on her confirmation by the end of this month. That's remarkably fast. It will be just a little over a month since Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away.

And the Democrats don't have tools in their toolbox to stop this. Already, some are saying that if they win the election, if the Senate is taken by the Democrats, there might be some move to change the number of justices on the Supreme Court.

Keep in mind, the Constitution doesn't set the number of justices. In history, we've seen six, we've seven. But, really, since 1869, it's been set at nine. And remember that President Roosevelt, he tried to change the number in 1937, and that wasn't very successful.

So if she does get confirmed, almost immediately, she would have to deal with a real flurry of voting rights petitions we're seeing before the Supreme Court. And if we had a situation like we had back in 2000 during Bush v. Gore, where the Supreme Court was called on to decide the election, she'd be sitting on the bench.

And most critically, a week after the election, the court is going to take up the Affordable Care Act. The Trump administration is asking for the entire law to be invalidated. She would also be sitting to vote on that.

Now, during her hearings, she didn't say a lot about her record but we know that she has had very conservative opinions in the past. So it's going to be a big week coming up. Christi and Victor?

PAUL: And we will be on it for you all week long.

Also tonight, be sure check out an all new episode of the CNN original series, First Ladies.

[06:45:04] Tonight's episode explores the life and legacy of Nancy Reagan, one of most hands-on first ladies in U.S. history. Here is a preview.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Reagan carries an unprecedented 49 states in the '84 election. And Nancy's eye turns toward securing his legacy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In 1997, I asked her, was there some area that you felt you had an effect? And she said, oh, no, no. Ronny knew exactly what he wanted to do from the moment he was elected. And then she paused and very, very softly added, well, maybe the whole Russian thing.

And I was like, the whole Russian thing? You mean the main thing of his administration?


PAUL: The CNN original series, First Ladies, airs tonight at 10:00.

BLACKWELL: So I watched the Michelle Obama and the Jackie Kennedy episodes, and it is so well done, so well-produced.

PAUL: So fascinating, yes.

BLACKWELL: And you will learn something. So be sure to watch tonight. It's really well done.

Let's turn now to the coronavirus and sports. Nick Saban, you know, that the coach had contracted coronavirus, did not keep him off the sidelines for one of the biggest games of college football season. We'll let you know who came out on top in this battle between undefeated Alabama and unbeaten Georgia.



BLACKWELL: For the second time in franchise history, and if you didn't hear that because I rushed through it, the second time the Tampa Bay Rays are going to the World Series.

PAUL: Carolyn Manno has the story in this morning's Bleacher Report. Good morning, Carolyn.

CAROLYN MANNO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, good morning to you both.

2020 has been really rough for so many people. but if you are a Tampa sports fan, at least you've had plenty of distractions. The Lightning had the Stanley Cup, the Bucks have Tom Brady, and now the Rays have the American League Pennant.

Tampa setting the pace early in last night's game, quite a battle here in this winner-take-all game seven with the Astros. The legend of Randy Arozarena continues to grow, smashing a two-run shot in the first inning, his seventh of the post season, setting a new rookie record.

Arozarena is raking after missing the first five weeks of the season with coronavirus. He wasn't even called up to the Rays until the end of August. And now, he's the American League Championship series MVP. So the Rays, the team with the third lowest payroll in baseball, are in the World Series for the first time since 2008 with a 4-2 win.


KEVIN KIERMAIER, TAMPA BAY RAYS OUTFIELDER: You sit here and look at this group of guys, and I always say we don't have a whole lot of household names, but at the same time, people are making a name for themselves right now. And if they don't know the names by now, they better learn them, because we've got some boys who can play.


MANNO: So, the Rays will face either the Braves or the Dodgers.

Powered by back-to-back homeruns in the first inning, L.A. avoiding elimination for the second time in less than 24 hours, beating Atlanta by two. And this right here is one of the best catches you will ever see. Mookie Betts at the warning track makes the leaping catch into the wall to save a run from scoring and quite possibly the Dodgers' entire season. That sets up the decisive game 7 later tonight for the National League Championship. The World Series set to begin on Tuesday.

And in case you missed it last night, a coronavirus scare did not keep Alabama Coach Nick Saban from the sideline. After testing positive for the virus on Wednesday, Saban returned three straight negative tests 24 hours apart, the last one coming yesterday morning. So the second- ranked Crimson Tide trailing by four at halftime to number three Georgia, but the second half belonged to Bama, three touchdowns in a ten-minute span, including this bomb from Mac Jones to Jaylen Waddle. Alabama wins by 17 to remain undefeated.

And lastly for you this morning, Florida Coach Dan Mullen is self- isolating now after testing positive for COVID-19. Earlier in the week, the number ten Gators paused all football activities. They postponed this weekend's game against LSU after 21 players tested positive. The SEC also announcing Florida's game against Missouri scheduled for next Saturday would be pushed back until Halloween.

Mullen faced widespread criticism a week ago when he said he wanted to see 90,000 fans at Florida's next home game, Christi and Victor. He apologized for the remarks on Wednesday.

BLACKWELL: All right. Carolyn Manno, hopefully, he recovers and does well. Thank you so much.

PAUL: Carolyn, thank you.

So, early numbers suggest this election is going to see massive turnout. Critics say there are unprecedented roadblocks to voting this election though.

Coming up, we're speaking with the executive director of the film, Rigged, the Voter Suppression Playbook. He says voter suppression, much like COVID-19, continues to evolve, mutate and become even more effective.



BLACKWELL: Social distancing has helped protect a lot of elderly people during the pandemic. But being cut off from friends and family has had a draining effect on their mental and emotional health.

PAUL: Yes. Since 2014, CNN Hero Carol Rosenstein has been using music to help people who battle dementia and Parkinson's and other neurodegenerative diseases. Well, now her work is crucial more than ever.


CAROL ROSENSTEIN, CNN HERO: COVID just makes this doubly difficult for people to sustain their levels of wellness because they've got so much isolation going on, going to see people deteriorating faster.

But we can provide a great substitute that it's going to keep us healthy and well during quarantine.

Music is medicine for the mind. The complexity excites so many centers in our brains. All of that excitement miraculously pushes neurotransmitters that help us function.


Medicine with a side effect? It is pure joy.