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New Day Sunday

Three Pence Aides Test Positive For COVID-19; NYT: Mark Meadows Sought To Keep News Of VP Office Outbreak From Becoming Public; New Cases In U.S. Top 83,000 For Second Straight Day; Tropical Storm Zeta Forms In The Western Caribbean, Expected To Become A Hurricane By Early Tuesday; Pennsylvania Supreme Court Rules Mail-In Ballots Can't Be Thrown Out For Mismatched Signatures; Pennsylvania Voters Concerned About Future Of Fracking Industry. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired October 25, 2020 - 07:00   ET



COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Their first win against a top ten opponent since 1987. Imagine the scene in the locker room.


COACH: This is a special thing. You guys are a special group. I'll tell you.

CROWD: We love you, coach!



WIRE: The coach believed in his team. They believed in him. An all- time great win for Indiana.

Christi, Boris, back for you.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: A feel-good win. So fun to watch.

Coy Wire, thank you so much.


WIRE: Got it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On Saturday, more than 83,000 Americans tested positive for COVID. Among them Marc Short, the chief of staff to the vice president.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now it seems that Vice President Mike Pence's bubble is perhaps getting burst built coronavirus.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You have to lead your life and you have to get out. You have to be vigilant.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's also saying on one hand it's no big deal and on the other hand his other strategy is herd immunity.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are breaking records that we don't want to break.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: There's going to be a dark winter ahead unless we change our ways.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're rounding the corner. In fact, we've rounded some corners that we've gone all the way around the block and we're back to where we started from in March.



PAUL: I'm Christi Paul. We're so grateful to have you with us.

SANCHEZ: And I'm Boris Sanchez, in for Victor Blackwell.

Good to see you, Christi. Thanks for getting up early again.

Listen, there's that national outbreak again that is hitting new heights with coronavirus and now there is also -- there are some new cases outbreaking in the White House, three this time, in the inner circle of Vice President Mike Pence who leads the coronavirus task force.

SANCHEZ: Yeah, and, remember, there's just nine days to go before with the election, and now the "New York Times" is reporting that the White House tried to keep news of this outbreak from becoming public.

PAUL: CNN's Sarah Westwood now joining us from the White House.

So, you know, last hour we were reporting, too. We just got the reporting that there are actually three pence aides who have tested positive for COVID-19. You said something, too, that was striking. You saw something from vice president pence late yesterday that you hadn't seen earlier in the day in terms of mask-wearing. Why was that so significant and what do you think it reads into what we're hearing from the vice president's office about these positive tests?

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yeah, Boris and Christi, it was the first since that something was amiss last night when Vice President Mike Pence stepped off Air Force Two in Washington last night returning from a day of campaigning in Florida. He was wearing a mask.

He was about an hour behind schedule and he didn't do his normal wave to the press from the top of the stairs of his airplane. He just walked down and walked over to Marine Two and shortly after that had taken off, he was returning home, we got the statement from the vice president's office that his chief of staff Marc Short was sick. So perhaps an indication during the flight pence was informed and we

don't know the exact timeline of that. We also learned just hours earlier, CNN and others reported, that learned that Marty Obst, the top adviser to Pence, had also tested positive and "The New York Times" and "The Washington Post" are reporting that at least one more member and perhaps even more than that of the vice president's staff has tested positive, so it does seem that an outbreak on Pence's team is under way.

Now, luckily the vice president himself has tested negative, but he spent a lot of time around short just over the past few day. They were on a multi-day trip and hit Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania together, but despite all of that, the vice president's office made the controversial decision last night also to maintain Pence's schedule. He is still set to head to North Carolina later today to maintain what is likely to be a very aggressive schedule during the last nine days as they head to Election Day.

And "The New York Times" is also reporting that Mark Meadows, Trump's chief of staff, sought to keep under wraps the news that short was positive. Now, we must look at the reasons why the vice president's office is saying it's okay for Pence to keep traveling because recall that when President Trump, the first lady, campaign manager and many others tested positive just a few weeks ago, the vice president's office said he was cleared to continue on to his debate, to continue in-person campaigning because he wasn't in close contact with Trump or anyone else who tested positive in the days before.

Now the vice president's office is acknowledging, yes, he was a close contact of Short, but now their reasoning for allowing him to continue is because he's technically an essential worker and they are following CDC guidelines for essential workers that do allow workers to keep showing up for work even without symptoms even if members of the household or a close contact does test positive for the reasoning for allowing him to stay on campaign trail is different for this outbreak.

President Trump briefly addressed this yesterday when he returned to Washington. He said he'd heard perhaps in flight that Short had tested positive but that he's quarantining and he's going to be fine.


Of course, it raises a lot of decisions we've seen from the White House to continue traveling, often to hot spots that continue to flout mask-wearing recommendations as well, Boris and Christi.

SANCHEZ: Yeah, and given the lack of transparency we got surrounding the president's own positive COVID test, I doubt we'll get much more from the White House as far as the proximity that Vice President Pence had to Marc Short, the timeline of Marc Short's negative versus positive test, and especially when you consider there's reporting that the chief of staff was trying to keep this under wraps.

Sarah Westwood, thanks so much for the reporting.

PAUL: Yeah, Sarah, thank you. So, let's bring in Dr. Rob Davidson into the conversation. He's an ER

physician in Michigan and also executive director of the advocacy group, the Committee to Protect Medicare.

Dr. Rob, good to have you again. Thank you.

I want to give clarity here, I think there are -- there's maybe some confusion here. The CDC has new definition of what a close contact includes. It means exposures that add up to a total of 15 minutes that are spent six feet or closer to an infected person. Now, as we heard from -- from Sara there, the vice president's office in a statement says the president will maintain his schedule in accordance with the CDC guidelines for essential personnel but they also admitted that he's been in close contact with Marc Short, specifically the chief of staff.

They were together in some of these states Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania on this aggressive tour that they have been going on for rallies. Should -- should the vice president be going to North Carolina today?

DR. ROB DAVIDSON, EMERGENCY ROOM PHYSICIAN: He should not, according to CDC guidelines. He should be in quarantine for 14 days and the claim that he's an essential worker is an absolute farce. I'm an essential worker and the person at my grocery store is an essential worker. The vice president in his capacity as vice president is indeed a essential worker and he can carry out those duties while in quarantine.

He's now a candidate for vice president going around the country trying to convince American people he should be re-elected and in that work he's not an essential worker and is putting people at risk.

SANCHEZ: So, I want to ask you about "The New York Times" report that Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, sought to keep information about the Vice President's office outbreak from becoming public. It's not the first timing that we've seen these reports. When Hope Hicks, the close adviser to the president first tested positive for COVID, there were murmurs around the White House about how to keep that information from getting to the American people.

From your perspective, what would be the benefit of keeping that sort of thing under wraps outside of political considerations?

DAVIDSON: I think it's purely political. They understand that their excuse for trying to continue his work carries in weight, not based in fact or science. And so, they didn't want him to get out because they want him on the trail as long as he can be.

You remember, just 10 days, Senator Kamala Harris' campaign said a lot of people whom she was not in contact with suspended travel for a period of time, and they were extremely transparent. I think this just highlights a significant difference between these two different operations.

PAUL: Let's discuss what's happening, where you are there, 3,000 plus cases and 35 deaths just yesterday. That is a new report, you want to point out. Michigan's chief medical executive and chief deputy for health in a statement yesterday said this, if rates continue like this, we risks overwhelming our hospitals and having many more Michiganders die.

As an ER doctor on the frontlines of this, what are you seeing right now?

DAVIDSON: Yeah, I'm in rural. I'm in west Michigan and we didn't suffer significantly in the first wave that hit back in April when we started the lockdown, and we're one of the highest states.

We're now, a lot of rural Midwest -- in the Midwest is seeing outbreaks and we are, and we're seeing more cases than we've ever seen before. Hospitals around here are reporting positive rates of about 6 percent, 7 percent which is over that threshold of 5 percent, telling us there's significant transmission in our units. We're really starting to fill up.

In my rural hospital, we rely on transferring patients to tertiary care centers frequently when they're extremely ill, and we're having significant delays in getting that done and she's right. This could result in significant deaths of COVID-19 patients but also of other patients seeking urgent care.

SANCHEZ: Yeah, not something you want to hear.

Dr. Rob Davidson, thank you for the perspective this morning.


PAUL: So former Vice President Biden is heading to Georgia this week. He's looking to flip a state that no Democratic presidential candidate has won since 1992.


SANCHEZ: Yeah, Biden is also looking to add Florida to his Florida column, sending out his top surrogate, former President Barack Obama.

CNN's Arlette Saenz reports.


ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Former President Barack Obama traveled here to the critical battleground state of Florida reminding voters they helped deliver the White House for him in 2008 and 2012 and asking him to do the same for Joe Biden this time around.

He also predicted that if Biden wins Florida, the election will basically be over as he encouraged volunteers and supporters to keep up their work for the former vice president.

And while Obama touted the work and leadership style of his former partner, he also took aim at President Trump, slamming his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and also criticizing President Trump's behavior in office saying that it's knots normal.

And President Obama also spoke about the upcoming interview that President Trump did with "60 Minutes". Take a listen to what the he had to say.

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When "60 Minutes" and Lesley Stahl are too tough for you. You ain't all that too tough. If you've got to walk out of a "60 Minutes" interview, then you're never going to stand up to a dictator.

If you're spending all your time complaining about how mean reporters are to you, you're not going to stand up to Putin.

SAENZ: While Obama was here in Florida, Joe Biden campaigns in Pennsylvania, holding a ride and rally with musical artist Jon Bon Jovi. That event took place in Luzerne County, a county that President Trump and Joe Biden won back in 2008 and 2012, but a county that President Trump flipped in 2016.

Biden trying to make a play for those Obama-Trump counties as the election nears, and both Obama and Biden had a message when it came to early voting. They have reached that point in the campaign where the Biden campaign is really focusing on turnout as the election is now just nine days away.

Arlette Saenz, CNN, North Miami, Florida.


SANCHEZ: All right. Thanks for that, Arlette.

From the Sunshine State to the Empire State, now, people are taking advantage of early voting in, no. This is actually the first year that voters can cast ballots early in that state for a presidential election.

PAUL: Yeah. I mean, in New York City alone, look at the lines. More than 93,000 people voted yesterday. I mean, look at that. They were wrapping around polling locations and all the day down the street, as you can see. We did speak with a few voters and here's what they told us.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's an honor to me to wait the two hours. It's an honor to me to wait the four hours because my ancestors didn't get anything.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want minorities in the school system just to have more money in the budget so that there can be things for these kids for when -- for the future.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Positive change. So much divisiveness, so I think that's what we want right now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want us to be better as a country. I think there's a lot of injustice and things that need to be fixed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm looking for somebody what is going to calm America down.

I have an autoimmune disease and I'll risk it. I'll risk it. I thank God I can walk, I can get out and I'll keep my distance.


PAUL: Good for them.

Discussing with us now the latest, I want to bring in "New York Times" political correspondent and CNN political analyst, Alex Burns, with us.

Alex, good morning to you.


PAUL: Let's start with the breaking news this morning that three aides, now three, close to Vice President Mike Pence have tested positive for COVID-19 and your paper is reporting as well that the chief of staff wanted to keep that quiet.

What can you tell us this morning?

BURNS: Well, that reporting on Mark Meadows from my colleagues is real consistent with what we've heard over the last month ever since the first outbreak of the coronavirus in the Trump administration, that Meadows has consistently tried interject himself into the communications strategy of the White House and of the Trump campaign often with really negative results.

I think you're seeing that right now, that the lack of transparency first around the president's health condition and now around this apparent outbreak in the vice president's office is a really serious issue of national concern and political concern and to make sure that the virus is on the front burner for all voters right now at a moment when the president himself is desperately trying to change the subject.

PAUL: Yeah. It's not what he wants to talk about, how he has to because it's coming out of his own White House now.

I do want to read something for all of us that you wrote yesterday about Vice President Biden's struggles building a coalition with police unit. He said, you wrote he's presenting himself as a criminal justice reformer and a friend, to diligent police officers, a critic of racism and rioting alike. But Mr. Biden has seen his are formal support from prominent law enforcement groups continued to disintegrate.


How deep is that disintegration and what's causing it?

BURNS: It's pretty deep, Christi.

And when you look at Joe Biden's record over the years, this is a guy who was in the Senate was kind of seen as a patron saint of police officers and in his current campaign you have the major national police unions all backing Trump and even sort of less prominent police groups either sticking with the president or staying silent because Joe Biden is simply seen by much of their membership at this point as being on the wrong side of law enforcement issues.

This is a challenge for him. Maybe at this point, more for governing and for the campaign, because he's clearly done a good job of reassuring American voters that he is in favor of public safety, that he is not tolerant of violent rioting, protests that get out of way in ways that disrupt public order.

But he's promised as president he would bring police groups and social justice activists to the same table to pass an agenda. If there's one person in his party who maybe hats history of relationships with police groups to do that it's probably Joe Biden, but the environment has just changed so much since the last time he was on the ballot.

PAUL: So I also want to talk about some "Washington Post" reporting this morning that President Trump has privately told donors, GOP, holding the Senate looks to be, quote, very tough because some of the party senators are candidates that he cannot support, specifically according to an attendee of a fund-raiser in Nashville, specifically this person said there are a couple senators, this is from the president allegedly, there are a couple of senators I can't get involved in. I just can't do you lose your soul if you do.

I can't help some of them this. I don't want to help some of them.

So does that mean that the president himself is undermining some of these races, that Republicans need?

BURNS: Well, I think a lot of Senate Republicans would say that the president has been undermining them in other ways all along, even when he has been explicitly reporting Senate Republican candidates. But, look, this is really a deep reflection of how he sees his role within the Republican Party which is that he is kind of this singular figure of distinct importance for everybody else on the ballot for the GOP and that he kind of pick and choose who he wants to associate himself with.

He doesn't clear sort of broad responsibility to candidates down ballot the way previous presidents or nominees would have done. You know, I think he's also trying to spin up either for the public or even for his own benefit his own sort of personal encouragement, a narrative with what's going on in this election is that he's doing quite well and Republican senators are doing poorly.

That's obviously not really the case. They are both doing poorly right now and viewed from Capitol Hill, the Republicans I talk to there see this as less of a choice about is the president going to be there for Republican Senate candidates and more about Senate Republican candidates going to be able to get the distance they need from an unpopular president.

PAUL: Good point. Alex Burns, your perspective is always appreciated here. Thank you so much.

BURNS: Thanks a lot.

PAUL: Absolutely.

And coming up this morning on "STATE OF THE UNION WITH JAKE TAPPER", House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 9:00 a.m., right here on CNN.

SANCHEZ: As the president continues to downplay the pandemic, there are alarming spikes in cases across the country. And still ahead, we'll take you to where the situation is so dire that one governor is requesting help from the army to deal with overcrowded hospitals.

PAUL: Also, fracking fears in Pennsylvania following Thursday's presidential debate. We talked with voters in the swing state about their concerns for the future and how it would affect their choice at the polls.



PAUL: It's a mad dash in the U.S. to try to just cope with the measures, what measures need to be taken to curb this ongoing surge of coronavirus cases and also to keep hospitals from getting overwhelmed.

SANCHEZ: Yeah. It's a difficult situation, and it keeps getting worse. The United States reporting more than 83,000 new infections just yesterday. That's the second highest number yet during this pandemic, and it fell just short of the record that was the set the previous day on Friday.

CNN's Polo Sandoval joins us this morning.

And, Polo, we just learned that Dr. Anthony Fauci spoke to the BBC about a timeline for a potential coronavirus vaccine.

Is there good news?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. Boris, as you can many ma, especially when you see the numbers, there's a lot of hope hanging on that vaccine so as you mentioned Dr. Anthony Fauci adding some insight, some insight on where he thinks we may be in terms of a vaccine in his conversation with the BBC. Dr. Fauci saying that he expects, first, you know, whether or not it will be effective possibly by the end of this month, possibly early December, but at the same time cautioning people here in the country around also around the world that we may not have this sort of global vaccine program or people actually getting this until possibly mid to late 2021. So, that's certainly an update there. Now, when you look at numbers again, very alarming pattern that tells

a story that's very different from what the president is sharing on the campaign trail, that we're rounding a bend or a curve.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Did you hear them the other night? It's going to be a cold dark winter

SANDOVAL (voice-over): While the commander in chief is making light of his opponent's warning that the pandemic is worsening, health experts are not laughing at the increase in infection rates or at the sight of so much red on this map.

It's clear that the predicted fall COVID-19 surge is in full effect. In Texas, the governor's requesting an army hospital take in none COVID patients after El Paso surpassed 1,000 infections on Thursday, state officials say it's putting a strain on hospital capacity in the region.


Facing record COVID-19 cases, three Tennessee counties reinstated mask mandates that were previously allowed to expire.

And on Saturday, New Jersey cites its highest COVID-19 case count since May. Governor Phil Murphy pleading with his citizens to stay vigilant, writing on Twitter, this virus has not gone away simply because we're tired of it.

DR. CARLOS DEL RIO, EXECUTIVE ASSOCIATE DEAN, EMORY UNIVERSITY MEDICAL SCHOOL: We have grossly mishandled the pandemic, and the fact that it's taken off again just reminds us how we are not learning from our mistakes it, and we could have avoided this by doing right thing, but we don't seem to learn.

SANDOVAL: The director at University of Minnesota's Center for Infectious Disease, Research and Policy fears we may soon hit six- digit daily numbers. That's ahead of federal holidays when they said more Americans could let their guard down and opt to visit family and friends and drive surges into the middle of the year.

DR. MATTHEW HEINZ, HOSPITAL PHYSICIAN AND INTERNIST: We have to get to a point when they are taking the COVID vaccine once those are FDA approved and available and making sure that we ca get to a level where it can spread around rampantly like it is right now.

SANDOVAL: COVID-related level deaths while not at levels seen during the summer spike are starting to climb again. The most recent weekly national death average was recorded at 771 people, the highest it's been in a month.


Officials this weekend saying social gatherings are moving indoors with some parts of the country getting much colder this week, and, of course, as we go into the fall and into winter and as for New York state, there are a couple of hot spots and areas of concern near the Pennsylvania border, but authorities saying they are addressing that with this micro-cluster approach where they are focusing on specific streets versus counties or regions -- Boris and Christi.

SANCHEZ: Thanks for breaking it all down for us. Polo Sandoval reporting from New York.

PAUL: So breaking overnight, take a look at your screen here. This is what we're watching. Tropical Storm Zeta just formed in the Caribbean and is expected to become a hurricane by Tuesday. We're going to tell you where it's forecast to make landfall when we come back.



PAUL: Breaking overnight. Tropical Storm Zeta just formed in the Caribbean and is expected to become a hurricane and that's supposed to happen by Tuesday.

SANCHEZ: Yeah. It's a very slow-moving storm.

Allison Chinchar is tracking it for us.

Good morning, Allison. What are you seeing?


Yes, I can't emphasize enough how slow this storm is actually moving. In fact, it's moving north at just one-mile-per-hour. You and I could actually walk faster than this storm is moving. The sustained winds with this particular storm are at 40 miles per hour, gusting up to 50 as it continues to churn through the western Caribbean.

It will continue its track to the north making it into the Gulf of Mexico and likely in just the next 24 to 48 hours. Once there it's expected to intensify into a category 1 hurricane before continuing its path up to the Gulf Coast of the U.S. where it's likely to make landfall, likely sometime on Wednesday.

Where the landfall point, is that's up for speculation and debate because if you take a look, a lot of these models really vary as toss where they want that exact land fall to be. In fact, even with our most two reliable models that we look at, the American and European, the American has more of a focus around Mobile, whereas the European looks at more like Central Louisiana coast.

So, again, those will get more narrowed down as we get closer to the landfall time, but the real take away part is here, regardless of where it makes landfall, rainfall is expected to be very heavy up and down the East Coast, basically from Louisiana, all the way over towards the panhandle of Florida. Widespread amounts two to four inches, but once you get closer to the landfall area, you're talking four to six to eight inches of rain as system pushes inland. If it makes landfall in Louisiana, this would be the fifth storm to

make landfall in the state in just one calendar year. That would tie, guys, Florida back from 2005 also having five landfalls in one season.

PAUL: And let's hope they don't make that. Allison Chinchar, thank you so much.

SANCHEZ: And a win for Democrats in a crucial battleground state. Pennsylvania's Supreme Court has ruled that mail-in ballots cannot be challenged or rejected for signatures that don't match versions that are on file. It's the latest legal challenge Republicans have lost in a slew of bids to make vote-by-mail practices in the state more strict.

But it's not just Pennsylvania, there's still a number of unresolved court decisions that could still reshape voting practices across the country.

Joining us now to discuss is the president of Repairs of the Breach and the co-chair of the Poor People's Campaign, Bishop William Barber. It sounds like we're having some difficulties with Bishop Barber's signal. We're going to wait to see if we can get him back up. Sounds like he's up now.

Bishop Barber, apologize for the inconvenience. We've had some issues with all the working from home and speaking remotely this way.

Thank you for joining us.

We're just days away from November 3rd, and you've been working hard to restore and maintain voting rights across the country. Tell us about the campaign.

BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER, PRESIDENT, REPAIRERS OF THE BREACH: Well, we've been working hard, you know, because extremist Republicans have for years used something called positive polarization to divide the country for political gain, especially in the South, and they have depended on voter suppression because they know and they have known that if the people come together, black and white and brown, especially poor and low wealth in the South and in other parts of the country, the so-called solid South and Silent South and Southwest is more an illusion than a reality.


But all of these attempts at voter suppression is fear, fear. And so, what we've seen is lying and fake drop boxes and threats to intimidate voters at the poll to stop the vote count. What we're doing is we've amassed over 43 state coordinating committees, over 200 organizations, 5,000 people who are doing peer-to-peer calling to ten million voters in states if poor and low wealth people vote en masse between around 19 percent they fundamentally shift who gets elected to the Senate and to the White House.

And we're also working with Forward Justice, a legal body and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund to be ready for these legal challenges. Listen, voter suppression has to be met one way, with voter aggression, voter participation and voter determination. That's the only way you beat it back and that's what we have to do.

SANCHEZ: You mentioned voter determination. We've seen for several days people waiting in very long lines trying to get the early vote in.

You've been on the ground in some of these states. I'm curious what you've seen and how concerned you are about how long people have had to wait in line, especially in a pandemic.

BARBER: Well, it shouldn't be this way, you know, but many of these places, they intentionally did not plan. They could have expanded the number of polling places. They could have made sure the lines were longer.

But, you know, there comes a time when you push people down too far and you push them back too far that you actually make them stronger so people are deciding to stay, not -- I come from a state in North Carolina where right after the Shelby decision in 2013 Republicans said now that the headache has been removed, and they past the worst voter suppression bill since Jim Crow, and we fought for four or five years and we beat them.

The courts have to agree, and the Supreme Court, that what they said what they did was a form surgical racism, racism with surgical intention so when you see in North Carolina 17 days of early voting, that's from the movement. We fought for that. We wanted that. That didn't happen so much because of the party. It happened because the movement filed suit and went to court and stopped them from unpacking it when the NAACP and the Moral Monday Movement when I was president of the NAACP in North Carolina.

So, we fought too hard and what people are saying is, there's no way in the world we're going to fight -- 1,200 of us went to jail during that period of time. There's no way we're going to fight and won these rights and held on to them and not use them. So, people are saying, I don't care what you -- how long. I'm going to take my water and I'm going to put on my mask, I'll take a folding chair if I need to, I'll sandwich if I need to, but the one thing I'm going to do is focus -- it's almost like in South Africa, when people first got the right to vote. If you remember how long the lines were.

People didn't care because they are sick and they are tired of this -- of this neo-fascism. They are sick and tired of all this oppression and they know, they know, they know it's this racism, this division is not helping us. This inept response to COVID is killing us.

People are dying from poverty. People are facing eviction, but this is what they know. If we vote, we can turn this around. People are not living in the illusion anymore. They understand the power that they have.

SANCHEZ: Now, Bishop Barber, I do want to ask you about another aspect of your work and specifically helping the poor and the less fortunate.


SANCHEZ: It's been months since the last relief aid package was passed by Congress, and the chances of actually reaching a deal before Election Day are very, very slim. What does it mean for folks who are struggling that politics continues to keep Congress from taking care of Americans?

BARBER: Yeah. Well, it's not so much politics as it is Mitch McConnell and his cadre of people in the Senate who have chosen to protect corporations over the people. It's not so much politics as it's meanness and racism. It's people who would rather treat corporations like people and people like things.

The first CARES Act, 83 percent of the money went to banks and corporations, and McConnell held it up and he said early on, he and Trump, that what they wanted was a bill that protected corporations from liability. They wanted a bill that would give another $250 billion to the wealthy for tax cuts and they wanted a fighter plane.

So, from day one, he's not been about the people. It's never been about the people. Even before COVID, they wouldn't pass living wages. Even before COVID, they were trying to take away people's health care.


But what is shows people is what this election is really about, it's really about your life. It's really about where we're headed in the country. It's really why we have to have a fundamental change politically, and so, what the poor and low wealth people don't recognize is there are 63 million poor and low wealth people in this country, 34 million didn't vote last time, but millions of them are saying not this time.

Eight million people have gone deeper into poverty since May. That's 53,000 people a day have gone into poverty since May, but those people are saying we're going to vote.

Poor and low-wealth people now make up 30 percent of the electorate, my friend. They are the power bloc, the expansion and I say to Democrats in these closing days, talk to them this, call their names and say them and let them know if you pass -- if you win and you pass living wages, 49 million poor and low-wealth people will come up out of poverty immediately.

If you pass health care, millions of poor and low wealth people will not have to sit and die because they don't have health care. Talk to them. They will reward you at the ballot box. They will expand this electorate and then once you win, be true to your promises and do what you said.

SANCHEZ: All right. Bishop William Barber, thank you there. Thank you so much for time. And please stay with NEW DAY.

We'll be right back after a quick break.



JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: By the way, let me get something straight here in coal country, I will not ban fracking, period. I'll protect Pennsylvania jobs, period. No matter how much times Donald Trump says it.

Unlike Donald Trump, I don't think big oil companies need a handout from the federal government. We're going to get rid of the $40 billion fossil fuel subsidies and we're going to invest it into clean energy and carbon capture.


SANCHEZ: Playing cleanup yet again. That was Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden clarifying his position on fracking in Pennsylvania again yesterday in the wake of an awkward moment at Thursday's presidential debate.

PAUL: And this is an issue that's so important, an important industry in the battleground state of Pennsylvania.

CNN business and politics correspondent Vanessa Yurkevich is in Pittsburgh is in Pittsburgh this morning.

Vanessa, always good to see you.

I understand you talked to some voters about it. What are they telling you?


You've heard so much about this issue of fracking in the presidential debate and vice presidential debate and both candidates are making their pitches to key voters in this battleground state, and this issue of fracking is especially important for voters in western Pennsylvania as they get ready to cast their votes.


YURKEVICH (voice-over): In western Pennsylvania, natural gas is king.

EMANUEL PARIS, SENIOR PROJECT MANAGER, ALEX E. PARIS CONTRACTING CO., INC.: The natural gas city put this area on the map.

YURKEVICH: Fracking or the drilling for natural gas in shale rock has transformed the economic landscape of this area. Today the industry employs nearly 30,000 people in the state.

(on camera): Where would your company be today if not for the natural gas industry?

PARIS: I'd say pretty nonexistent. YURKEVICH (voice-over): Emmanuel Paris' contracting business is almost

100 years old but almost didn't make it. When the coal industry stated to fade in the '90s, the company was just barely hanging on, but then came fracking. So they pivoted, providing piping and construction to natural gas companies.

PARIS: So, our company went from approximately 250 employees to 400 to 650 within years.

YURKEVICH: And that's why he's watching closely what President Trump --

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Joe Biden will ban fracking and abolish Pennsylvania energy.

YURKEVICH: -- and Joe Biden are saying --

BIDEN: Let me get something straight here in coal country, I will not ban fracking, period.

YURKEVICH: In the last weeks of the presidential race, the future of the fracking industry here is directly tied to voters' livelihood and for Paris, that decides his vote.

PARIS: President Trump has had a more clear perspective with keeping fracking going with minimal regulations where Biden in the past and through the campaign has kind of gone back and forth on what he wants to do.

YURKEVICH: Before the pandemic, the industry was already shedding jobs because of over production of natural gas bringing down prices. The pandemic only made that worse.

Paris laid off 130 people last week.

SHARLO TKALCEVIC, OWNER, T'S LOCKER ROOM BAR AND GRILLE: If they are not working, then I don't have a business.

YURKEVICH: Sharlo Tkalcevic owns the only restaurant in her small town in west Pittsburgh.

TKALCEVIC: Everything is good?

YURKEVICH: More than 50 percent of her business is from oil and gas workers. She's seen a dramatic slowdown.

TKALCEVIC: Almost like a domino effect and it could be disastrous in my eyes if, you know, first the pandemic and then fracking is banned.

You guys all right back here?

YURKEVICH: Twelve years of hard work to keep the doors open cover the walls.

(on camera): What would it mean to have to give this all up?

TKALCEVIC: It worries me a lot. Sorry.

YURKEVICH: It's okay.


TKALCEVIC: It would mean a lot because I've worked hard for this and for it to just go away over night.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): For Dave Roule, it did go away overnight. After 26 years in the industry, he was out of a job as a single parent at the height of the pandemic.

DAVID ROULE, PROJECT MANAGER: It was tough because you didn't know how things were going to go on a month-to-month basis, you know? At the time, I wasn't even sure if I could take care of my own daughter.

YURKEVICH: He sold his home and moved into a rental condo. He didn't qualify for unemployment. Finally, after seven months, he found a new job after dozens of rejection letters.

ROULE: That was probably more than 50. I actually kept a folder in case I ever needed it but it was a lot.

YURKEVICH (on camera): Are you still concerned about your job security?

ROULE: I think we have to be. I mean, because you just never know how things are going to turn out. So absolutely.


YURKEVICH: Now, President Trump won thee key fracking counties around Pittsburgh in 2016 and voters we spoke to seem to so far be on the side of President Trump. Now, remember, he won the state by just about 40,000 votes. That means that Biden doesn't have to flip the counties. He just has to get enough support in order to flip the state back.

Back to you, guys.

SANCHEZ: Vanessa Yurkevich from Pittsburgh, thanks so much.

PAUL: We'll be right back.

SANCHEZ: We'll be right back after a quick break.



PAUL: All right. So, human kindness from a five-year-old boy in Georgia who wrote a book to help you get through COVID. "Wade Through the Pandemic" chronicles the highs and lows of Wade Williams' life.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did you tell me? Why did you want to write this book?

WADE WILLIAMS, 5-YEAR-OLD: To help kids through the pandemic.

UNIDENTIIFED MALE: He said he wanted to help kids through the pandemic, and so obviously we couldn't be hands on, helping him not as much as pre-COVID.


PAUL: And his book, by the way, is on Amazon. Congratulations to them and thank you for thinking of other people and how to help us get through this, Wade.

And thank you for being with us.

Boris, good to have you here.

Make some great memories today.

SANCHEZ: Thank you so much, Christi. Hope to see you soon.