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CNN Live Event/Special

President-Elect Biden Calls For End To "Grim Era Of Demonization"; Vice-President-Elect Harris Celebrates "A New Day In America"; President-Elect Biden: This Is A Time For Healing, I Pledge To Be A President Who Unifies The Nation; Biden Calls For Cooperation In Washington; Harris: Americans Chose Unity, Hope, Decency And Truth. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired November 07, 2020 - 21:00   ET




WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: If you love Coldplay, Hall & Oates, Tina Turner, you love that fireworks show, as I did. I love that music. You see the extended families of the President-Elect and the Vice President-Elect, a true moment in history. The President-Elect, Joe Biden, using this, his first speech since his victory to try to unify the country.

He is calling for an end to what he called this "grim era of demonization". This was truly a historic night as the nation saw its first woman and first woman of color. The Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris also addressed the country using very, very powerful words. Jake, this was a moving night after a truly, truly historic several days.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN GIST: That's right. After a very hard-fought ugly election and in many ways started in 2019 with President Trump on a phone call with the President of Ukraine, trying to get dirt on Joe Biden, knowing how tough a competitor Joe Biden would likely prove to be. And indeed, he proved to be just that. Here he is, in his first speech to the country as President-Elect. Talking about the need to give each other a chance, he said.

He said he's lost a few elections. He knows what it feels like talking to the 70 million Americans who voted for President Trump. He said, but let's give each other a chance. And as he noted, Wolf, he also said let this "grim era of demonization" begin to end here and now. He said the American people, they want us to cooperate. And Dana, that's going to be a tall order in Washington D.C. We'll see if anybody on the other side of the aisle is willing to try to cooperate with him.

DANA BASH, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. We'll see. That was the clear headline. If there is a sound bite to take away from this speech that encapsulates this speech, I totally agree, its let this "grim era of demonization" begin to end here and now. And it was also so classic, Joe Biden, this whole speech. If you paid attention for one second to his message during the campaign, it's no different now than the last year and a half, since he announced he was going to run again, "The Bible, The Ecclesiastes" talking about the fact that it's a time to heal.

And also, the fact that he reached back to history and tried to connect the moment he thinks this country could be in because of the coronavirus, because of all racial injustice and all the other crises that are coming together reach back to Lincoln, reach back to FDR in 1932, and of course 12 years ago when he was the Vice President or Vice President-Elect to the historical moment of Barack Obama becoming President-Elect.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN NEWS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: And part of the purpose of the speech is to refocus the intention of the American public. There is a lot of noise right now because of the manner in which he had to wait several days in order to be able to do this, but one of the problems with the vote count taking a little bit longer is that it was a little bit more difficult to assess the scale and the scope of this Joe Biden victory.

But he said tonight that he believes that this is a clear victory, a convincing victory and a victory for "We the People". He also said that he believes that he has a mandate. But it's not the mandate that you might have expected him to stay focused entirely.

TAPPER: There they are. The first family and the second family, President-Elect and Vice President-Elect and their spouses, the future First Lady of the United States and the future Second Gentleman, the future Second dude, Doug Emhoff, Vice President-Elect Harris' husband. I'm sorry, Abby go ahead.

PHILLIP: It is - you might expect him to say I have a mandate to do this laundry list of policy ideas. But he said the mandate given to us from the American people is that they want us to cooperate.

TAPPER: That's right. That's - and that's such a great observation, because previous Presidents, what they do is they come out and they say this is what I was elected to do. And this is what I'm going to do, whether it's President Obama or President Trump, President George W. Bush. This is the first time we've ever heard a President-Elect come and say let's compromise. I'm going to give some stuff up. You guys give some stuff up.

And I think that after four years of the Trump presidency and the tumult and division led by a president who sought to exacerbate and further divide, this might be the mood that obviously a majority of the country, where they are, where a lot of people are any way. But it's certainly interesting. The mandate that he is calling for is a mandate of working together and compromise in treating each other with basic decency. And you know for a lot of people tonight, that's going to sound pretty good.

BASH: And let's talk about Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris and her speech which gave a nod to so many parts of her life and of America's - the fabric of America that got her to where she is. To me, one of the most - one of the standout lines that she had was when she said Joe had the audacity to select a black woman. That was such a subtle, maybe not so subtle nod to I thought President Obama, who wrote the audacity of hope. That didn't seem to be an accident to me. And, you know, she gave - she gave Joe Biden the credit for selecting her, in addition to giving black women across the country, across history the credit for getting her to where she is today, not to mention her mother, which I don't care what your political affiliation is, if you don't have one, just if you have a beating heart, that was pretty remarkable.

PHILLIP: And I think it was a nod also to what she knows. There was a little bit of debate about whether Joe Biden picking a black woman was the obvious choice, or the easy choice because of how important black people and black women have been to his political life, especially in this election. And she made it very clear that she thought it was not the easy choice. That it was actually a courageous choice on his part.

And giving him credit for that I think was part of what she was trying to do. I also thought - I was just struck, honestly by the Biden campaign giving Kamala Harris, frankly the space to give a speech that spoke to the people who are looking at her and seeing themselves in her. And that is not necessarily typical on a night like tonight, which is typically about the President-Elect, but Kamala Harris is the other half of the ticket. The Vice President doesn't really have a job description but they know that she represents a lot, and they let her say a lot that was really meaningful to a lot of people.


And she talked specifically about this idea that because people haven't seen women like her do that job, that they might think that it can't be done. And she often brings up her mother, saying that you have to move forward unburdened by what has been. And I think that that's - that was a very strong message for a Vice President to give on a day that a lot of campaigns would say you know what? This is about just Joe Biden.


PHILLIP: I think it says a lot that they said, you know what? We're going to have Kamala Harris speak to the American people, to the millions of people who see themselves in her.

TAPPER: It's smart. For any number of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that Joe Biden's personal story is powerful, but I mean, my god, Geraldine Ferraro, Sarah Palin, Hillary Clinton, it has taken a long time, a long - way too long.


TAPPER: To have a woman elected on a ticket. And Vice President-Elect Harris isn't - she is not President-Elect Harris, she is Vice President-Elect Harris. But still, it is a big achievement. It is a big moment. Other women paved the way for her, like I said, including Sarah Palin, Geraldine Ferraro and Hillary Clinton, but God, it's taken too long.

PHILLIP: Yes. TAPPER: And what a wonderful moment and grace of President-Elect Biden to understand that. And not just give the space to her personally, because I do think that they will have a partnership, as other Presidents and Vice Presidents do, but to understand the significance of that to tens of millions if not hundreds of millions of people.

BASH: No question. And just one of other thing I was thinking about was the President-Elect now talked so much about the soul of the country. It's one of his favorite phrases. But his personal soul was his son who passed away about five years I guess it is now, four or five years ago. And the fact that Coldplay was playing there after they were done, a friend of the family texted me to say that this song was Beau's favorite, and that it was played at his funeral.

And so there is a lot of symbolism and emotion that goes along with this. And anybody who has lost somebody knows that when there is a big moment of elation, there is always something missing and Joe Biden has at times grieved, particularly two children, which is unimaginable.

TAPPER: Yes. I knew Beau. He and I were about the same age, and that was a big loss. That was a big loss. Not just for his family and his friends, but just for the world of politics. He was a good guy. And there are going to be a lot of Americans that are now meeting the Biden family for the first time. It's going to be tough to get to know them all with those masks on.

But eventually, people will figure out which one's Finnegan and which one is Ashley and which one is Naomi and all the rest. But they won't get to meet Beau. And that will be a shame. And I do think that that is also as Vice President-Elect Harris noted, one of the reasons why she was picked.

BASH: Yes, absolutely.

TAPPER: Because she was Attorney General of California while he was the Attorney General of Delaware. They were contemporaries. They knew each other. They were friends.

BASH: Yes.

TAPPER: And she understood what he lost, not just by the sense of loss, but by the person who was lost. Because Beau really was - he really was a great guy. He really was.

PHILLIP: Yes. That relationship that she had with Beau is what helped create her relationship with Vice President Biden in some ways. And over the past year, after they were on the debate, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were on the debate stage together as competitors after that, now infamous moment of that little girl was me, a lot of people wondered if that would poison their relationship for a long time. And consistently over the past year or so, talking to people close to her and close to him, the message was pretty clear that this is - and I think emblematic a little bit of what Joe Biden is like as a person, it fell away. He didn't hold the grudge indefinitely.

[21:10:00] TAPPER: He doesn't hold grudges.

PHILLIP: He doesn't hold grudges indefinitely in that way. And so just the fact that they are now President-Elect and Vice President-Elect is a little bit of the story of what Joe Biden is like as a person that a former competitor who injured him politically at a critical moment would then become the person that he ran with to victory is part of that story.

And they have a real friendship. He genuinely likes her and vice versa. And as you said, Jake, I think Beau Biden, you always hear Joe Biden talking about how he wanted Beau Biden to have his senate seat and potentially to do what he just did that is not going to happen. But there is - it's such a bittersweet moment I'm sure for that family tonight.

TAPPER: Yes. He does not hold grudges. The future First Lady Jill Biden, she acknowledges she's the one, she's the one.

BASH: It's usually the spouse.

TAPPER: Yes. She is the one that remembers who has wronged the President-Elect. Let's go to Arlette Saenz in Wilmington, Delaware, Arlette, an emotional moment for the Biden's and for the Delawareans who came to celebrate with their favorite son.

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it certainly was, Jake. This was really a hometown crowd coming out to see their native hometown son as he has become President-Elect. And really everything that you heard from Joe Biden tonight, were really hallmarks of his campaign. Yes, he said from the very beginning that people should not - people may be opponents, but they shouldn't be treating each other as enemies and calling for an end to the demonization of other people, as you've seen play out over the course of the past few years.

But this was really such a personal moment for Joe Biden and his family. You saw him up there with his grandchildren, his children, Hunter and Ashley. We really haven't seen Hunter out on the campaign trail. But tonight, he was there, embracing his father.

And, you know, before Joe Biden got into this campaign, he said he knew that the race could be very tough on his family as they were expecting the President to turn to very, very personal attacks. That is something that you saw play out over the course of the campaign, including in that final month. And really, tonight is almost a moment of satisfaction for this family after all that they have endured over the course of the past 18 months.

And Beau Biden certainly loomed large over everything tonight. You heard the Democratic Nominee, now President-Elect. I'm going have to get used to saying that, you heard him talk about his favorite Hymn, On Eagle's Wings. As the fireworks played that there was the song of sky full of stars by Coldplay, Beau Biden's favorite band, Chris Martin performing at Beau Biden's funeral after he had heard that Beau Biden was a fan of his music. So you saw those personal touches in the event here tonight. And I also want to talk about how Joe Biden made references to his faith. He is a very, very devout catholic. He will be only the second president who is catholic to be in that White House, and over the course of his speech, he referenced Ecclesiastes, saying that this is a time for the country to heal. He also made reference to that Hymn, On Eagle's Wings. I grew up catholic.

I remember hearing that Hymn in mass over and over. And this is just something that Joe Biden really wears on his sleeve. He is a man of faith. He is likely to go to church tomorrow, as he normally does on Sundays, as he really has had faith at the center of his life and his campaign as now he is heading to the White House.

TAPPER: All right. Arlette Saenz in Wilmington, Delaware, thanks so much for that reporting. And I let her, if I could just know. Put her back on screen for one second, if you can. You've done a great job covering this campaign. You really have.

SAENZ: Thank you.

TAPPER: You've worked really hard. You've been on the road for two years. So congratulations on all the hard work. You've really done a wonderful job covering the Biden campaign for CNN. So thank you so much. It is - she brings out the fact that President Trump brought up Hunter as a line of attack, and he certainly was quite a topic among Republican circles. At the end of the day, you have to just assume, you have to just conclude that the American people heard those attacks and said no, that has nothing to do with my life. At least the majority of them did.

BASH: President Trump was impeached because of his interest in attacking Hunter Biden. I mean, that was basically established by the house as part of his impeachment. And once it got - once it became real, once Joe Biden became the nominee and they started to, you know, go head to head in a General Election, the President tried, and it didn't work.

I mean it worked with the people who were already going to vote for him, not with the people who he needed to persuade for lots and lots of reasons, primarily because who cares for these people? Their thoughts were who cares about that right now when there is an economic crisis, there is a pandemic and so many other things that need to be - need to be fixed.


TAPPER: Yes. My kid can't go to school. My son can't go to school. I don't know why you're talking about his son. My son can't go to school because of this pandemic you're failing to control.

PHILLIP: And then on top of that, I felt like one of the strongest moments for Joe Biden in dealing with this came in one of the debates. I think it was the first debate. In one of the inaudible back and forth between the two of them but you could hear in Joe Biden's response talking about Hunter Biden struggling with addiction, and you could hear in that response a father's love for his son. I mean, at the end of the day, that's where Joe Biden is coming at this situation. Now, you know, I'm sure that this will not be the end of this conversation.


PHILLIP: That if there is in fact a Republican Senate, we will probably hear more about it. But from Biden's perspective, Hunter Biden is his son, his last surviving son. And I think that a lot of Americans actually do identify with loving somebody who deals with addiction, which is not - it's just a fact of the Biden family. It's a fact of Joe Biden's life, and we'll see if that comes up again. But I think he confronted it in an effective way in that first debate.

TAPPER: Yes. And I think this is also an example of questions about the Republican Senate that Joe Biden is going to - President-Elect Biden is going to have to deal with and the direction that they want to go. The Republican Chairman of the Senate of the Homeland Security Committee issued a partisan report with taxpayer dollars about Hunter Biden and more a month or so before the election. Is that the direction that Mitch McConnell wants to go? Is that where he senses the nation is right now? They want the senate to be studying Hunter Biden's business deals?

PHILLIP: Well, the American people are dealing with the coronavirus crisis and an economic crisis.

TAPPER: Well, he let it happen last time. I mean, but despite that, Joe Biden is here saying I want to compromise. The American people want us to compromise. What do you think? We'll see what Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has to say about that. Anderson?

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Jake, as President-Elect Biden said tonight, he is talking about the, trying to end this, what he called the "grim era of demonization". David Axelrod, you have a little bit of experience of coming into the White House.


COOPER: And facing a Republican Senate. Is that possible, to end this "grim era of demonization"?

AXELROD: I think it's hard. You know what was striking to me about this speech - for the American people put their faith in Joe Biden today. And what you saw in his speech was his faith in America and in our ability to overcome even this. But what it's going to take is changing the system of rewards, the incentives that politicians feel to be obstructionist. And to - the bases of political parties tend to reward that.

And the question is whether he can - whether the American people, who I think agree, the majority of Americans agree with this message, they're frustrated that our different - that political differences get weaponized and that the parties seem to be vying for advantage rather than working on solving problems. While we're in the middle of a crisis and if - what he needs to do is rally the country and change the incentives for the politicians to cooperate. And if it becomes politically costly not to, then I think you'll see action.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: To me this was a speech that was oddly normal. We've gone through the Trump Presidency where continually we say this is not normal. And this speech was a very normal speech from a President-Elect who is optimistic and who is not full of grievance.

And what we are used to hearing from a President who has never reached beyond his base is grievance, complaints, name calling. And what we heard tonight was somebody who said in the middle of a pandemic, that this country can do anything it wants.

And what was also striking to me was that Joe Biden didn't mention Donald Trump. We didn't hear his name. He couldn't report to us that he had received a phone call from the President because he has not received a phone call from the President, so far as we know. So this speech did not mention the current President or his generosity or anything else because it wasn't there.

But in a way, I'm sure it's reassuring to the American public to not hear about American carnage anymore, but to hear about American hope. And when it comes from Joe Biden, and you know a lot about his life and what he's been through in his life, a lot of tragedy in his life, and he still comes out at the positive end of it.



BORGER: And hopeful. I think that says a lot about the man. And I think we'll learn a lot more as he continues.

COOPER: It was also interesting. You know he just won an election in which he received more votes than anybody has ever received. He mentioned it once. But there was not a repeated refrain of can you believe it?

BORGER: Right.

COOPER: They've never seen anything like it. It was incredible. People are talking about it.

BORGER: Right.

COOPER: More votes than anybody else. The leaders they called me, they said they've never seen anything like it. We're all just used to...

AXELROD: You're going to miss this.

COOPER: Which world is use to...

AXELROD: You're going to miss this.

COOPER: But I - it really just struck me when he had one line. And I was sort of waiting for oh, wait, well, this is now a different person and a different style, and, you know, for better or worse, it's what will be build the way going forward.

BORGER: And what about those crowds? You know he mentioned the crowds, and he mentioned what he was watching on television. But he didn't go on and on about it and say we're the biggest crowds in the history of any Presidential Election.

VAN JONES, FORMER OBAMA ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: To me, boring is the new thrilling, right? Predictable is the new exciting, and normal is the new extraordinary. That's where we are. Like literally just say boring, straight forward hopeful speech is thrilling. People are texting me. They're in tears. It just gives a sense of how much people have been wanting for a shift in tone in the country. I thought it was great to hear him. But I also thought it was great to hear Kamala. I'm sorry.

COOPER: No, no.

JONES: I want to decode some of the stuff that Kamala did for the base of this party. First of all, she walked out to Beyonce. Drop mic. Just the fact that somebody being in the White House, they can walk out authentically to Beyonce was amazing. People were like going nuts about the walkout song.

She had a line, Kamala says you marched and you organized for our lives, "Black Lives Matter" and then you voted. Encouraging the direction into electoral political again, "Black Lives Matter" has gone from been a moment, to a movement to a machine. They're now very sophisticated about getting voter turnout that kind of stuff. She's (inaudible).

She says black women are the backbone of our democracy. The colored girls, so-called, Donna Brazile, Mignon Moore, they organized to make sure that the contribution of black women into this party was recognized by having Kamala or at least a black woman be the Vice President. She is getting a little bit of love back to the colored girls and Donna Brazile and those guys.

And then she mentions 100 years, the 19th amendment going beyond just women of color to all women. So she was doing like, when you're from the grassroots, you're looking at it, that you know us, you still love us you still see us. And she was dropping lots little things like that. She did her job to keep this party with her, and I think that's important. Now watch her role. Watch - she is going to keep doing stuff like that, giving those little nuggets of love to the base.

COOPER: Senator? And I guess the question that started all this was about ending the "grim era of demonization". Is that possible?

RICK SANTORUM (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes. That's the phrase that a lot of people sent me stuff on. I'll be honest with you. I took that as someone who's been - that both sides are demonizing. I don't think, at least I took it as, he wasn't necessarily pointing to Donald Trump.

JONES: Oh, I agree with that. SANTORUM: But I think a lot of Republicans took it like he was pointing to Donald Trump. But I think everyone recognizes that both sides demonize. And so I accepted that, and maybe the good nature. And I would just say to my Republican friends that I think it's, I think you need to give the President-Elect the benefit of the doubt that he meant it on both sides.

But really, other than that, I didn't hear any dog whistles and which was David, you were saying this is a sincere attempt to try to reset, be the traditional presidential boring. There wasn't anything that was particularly soaring or grand or anything. It wasn't Barack Obama between the roman columns. It was just sort of lunch bucket Joe giving a fairly straight forward...

COOPER: Which is fine?

SANTORUM: No, I'm just saying.

BORGER: The thing I didn't hear...

SANTORUM: Is this - and my question, is this the first acceptance speech given before a concession speech, in American history? I don't know. Maybe they didn't do those things before. I mean that's the thing...

COOPER: But will there be a concession?

SANTORUM: Well, that's the other question. So that's...

BORGER: There wasn't a phone call.

JONES: Let me take two things, I want to correct with Mary J. Blige, not Beyonce, sorry, but's oh ooh, ooh.




JONES: But just the idea, that kind of a walkout song was awesome. People were excited about that. But the thing I didn't hear in Biden speech.

COOPER: Being able to walk the fact of Mary J. Blige.

JONES: She did it well. But I didn't hear them say anything that about anybody. And that's, listen, you've got one part of the party - of our party that is look, the billionaires, the 1 percent, et cetera, none of that is there. You have a part of our party that is tough on some of these questions around some of the racial challenges.

He handled that very deftly. And he didn't say anything bad about the Republicans. He didn't say anything bad about - he didn't say anything bad about anybody. And then the optics, it looked like a family picnic at the barbecue, very inclusive and then the faith. He was so strong on the faith, and the whole idea of On Eagle's Wings. I think he lifted us up On Eagle's Wings. So I just think that this is a new style. And with new because it's classic and its old and it's timeless and it's welcome back on the American stage.

COOPER: She could have walked out by the Mary J. Blige's no more drama.

JONES: So that would be a little more to settle.

AXELROD: It's a project that he laid out is it may be straight forward, it may be simple, but achieving it isn't. And it's really - basically what he is saying is if we don't cooperate, if we don't find a way to work together, we're not going to make any progress. And I think that is a - I'm sure that there are a lot of people out there, Democrats who said that's not going to work. We'll never get cooperation. And what he is saying is we're going to try. We're going try.

COOPER: Well, that was - the thing of Bernie Sanders, when he was running, one of the things he always said when you asked the question, well, what, you know, how you going to convince anybody to, you know, congress doesn't just roll over and kin of do these huge programs you want hit inside. Well, we have to have a massive turnout and we got to capture the Capitol Hill.

And the question was well, what if that doesn't happen? Well, that's the situation that Joe Biden finds himself in, now. They haven't taken over the senate. They actually lost, you know, Republicans gained seats in the house. So we're going to see what happened in terms of how much of a big agenda can you get through, you know. That doesn't seem like you can.

BORGER: So the message is perfect, though, in a way, even before the results that you outlined, which is as he said tonight, let's give each other a chance. Here we are. I'm not walking in here demonizing you. You don't do that to me. He said let's give each other a chance. Stop treating our opponents as our enemies.

COOPER: We're going to continue this conversation. We've got to take a quick break. Our coverage continues in a moment.




JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let this "grim era of demonization" in America begin to end here and now. Refusal of Democrats and Republicans to cooperate with one another is not some mysterious force beyond our control, it's a decision, a choice we make. And if we can decide not to cooperate, then we can decide to cooperate. And I believe that this is part of the mandate given to us from the American people. They want us to cooperate in their interest, and that's the choice I'll make.


COOPER: That is clearly the section of the speech that's getting the most attention tonight. And Rick Santorum, to your point earlier, you heard the Vice President Biden not saying, blaming Republicans for an era of demonization. It was Democrats and Republicans and saying it's a choice we both make.

SANTORUM: Right. And that's why and when he said that, I said, OK, he is talking about both sides, not just talking about Trump. He is playing fair. And that's really important. And if you're going to go out there and you're going to reach out, you can't slap people at the same time you're reaching out to them. And so that was the choice. So I was listening for dog whistles, and nothing - that was one that sort of again, then I thought no, that's not it. And so, and that's number one.

Number two. I mean he's got to start thinking about, I mean obviously he is going to do his COVID thing, and that's great. But as far as what he's going to do to reach out, obviously he could have some impact on these negotiations that are going to be occurring on the next COVID package, the next cares act package, and whether there is a - Nancy Pelosi basically said I need all these things or I'm not going to do this. And her membership I think paid a little price for that.

I think that - I don't think that ended up being a good strategy for her because it sounded like the President was willing to do $2 trillion. It wasn't enough. So I think can the Vice President come in and start shaping that as a way to show that I'm willing and have I the strength to negotiate this and get Nancy Pelosi to do - because that's one of the things Republicans are going to look at. Can he get Nancy Pelosi to be reasonable? Can he get the house to be reasonable?

JONES: I think she has been reasonable. I mean just in defense, and then we can move on. But I mean, it's not just money, it's where the money goes and how the money is transferred. And so he can get in and try to help but I don't think she is...

SANTORUM: Well, that's right. It's not just money. It's also liability issues for businesses. I mean there is a lot of an issue here. Can Joe Biden during this transition time where he is now the leader of the party, even though he is not president, because this is something unlike most times where you don't have something that needs to be done between now and January when the president comes in. This is something that needs to - can he have an impact.

JONES: If the President of United States doesn't concede...

AXELROD: Yes. I mean if the president not going to - if the president going to sign up - first of all, let's point out that...


SANTORUM: It's not the president; it's the senate that's the problem.

BORGER: The senate is the problem.

AXELROD: Senator McConnell has been...

SANTORUM: That's unfair. It's not that - President Trump is...

AXELROD: Understood. You're talking about after Biden takes office?

SANTORUM: No, I'm talking between now and then.

AXELROD: Two months?


AXELROD: Well, the President of the United States is going to have to assign whatever they do. And - but my point is only that McConnell has been unenthusiastic about a relief bill and he's made that very clear.

SANTORUM: That's right.

AXELROD: But on a...

SANTORUM: But something needs to get done.

AXELROD: On the demonization point. I thought it showed admiral - I think it was the right thing to do. He showed admiral restraint because the fact of the matter is yes, there has been demonization on both sides over time, but demonization has been sort of the project of this president. I mean, that's how he operates every single day. He is demonizing people in very, very caustic personal terms.

That's one of the things people were weary of. So I think he was right to do what he did. I think it was the right tone. The last thing I would say is, he also set - he set up a contrast by being very, very serious about this virus that is currently engulfing communities here and saying I will spare no effort or commitment to turn this pandemic around. And he treated with a sense of gravity that I think a lot of Americans feel.

COOPER: The other question of course is what in this interim phase in which we are at the worst point we have seen in this pandemic in terms of cases, you know, again, in a relationship with the White House that at this point is not even recognizing him as President-Elect, what can he actually do?

BORGER: Well, he's got a president in office. He has got Tony Fauci and Deborah Birx. He is going have to his own COVID task force. He can get together an awful lot of testing, planning, whatever. Can he enact it right now and get a spending bill that he can immediately from on day one, I'm sure there are certain things he can do as President, perhaps through executive order. I don't know what they are. But you know that he is going to move to do that. He has already warned the American public, by the way that it's not going the happen overnight.

I can't - he said at one point you know, this - we're not going to eradicate COVID overnight, but we're certainly going to work on it a lot harder. What he did tonight, if there ever was an olive branch that was to be extended to the Republican Party and to Donald Trump, it was extended tonight. And I stand corrected. He did mention Donald Trump once. He said to those who voted for President Trump, I understand your disappointment tonight. And then said I have lost a couple of elections myself.

COOPER: Empathy.

BORGER: Something again, empathy, but to Donald Trump and his supporter, something we're also not used to hearing, Anderson, this is another humility from the President-Elect. But he did, he was the peacemaker tonight. I got - so now the burden is on the other party right now.

COPPER: We're going to continue this discussion. We've got to take a quick break, more ahead.




KAMALA HARRIS (D) VICE PRESIDENT ELECT: And what a testament it is to Joe's character that he had the audacity to break one of the most substantial barriers that exists in our country and selects a woman as his Vice President.


But while I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last.


COOPER: Kamala Harris reflecting on the extraordinary moment in history that she is living through, that all of us are living through and witnessing in her election as Vice President-Elect, along with - Former Vice President-Elect, Joe Biden. You know, we talked -- Van was talking a little bit about sort of, how Kamala Harris may be used in terms of some of the things she talked about tonight that were sort of giving signals to folks in a variety of different communities in sort of grassroots groups. David, just in terms of the relationship that Obama had with Biden, how do you see him - that informing his setting up relationship with Kamala Harris in terms of what jobs she's going to have?

AXELROD: When Biden met with Obama to talk about the Vice Presidency, what Biden said to Obama was I don't need a portfolio, but I do want to be the last person in the room before you make the big decisions. And they developed that kind of relationship. They had lunch every week, and he did -- the fact is Obama did detail to Biden really significant portfolios and responsibilities running the recovery act, trying to put the government together in Iraq, and so on.

I think he is going to find things, meaningful things for Vice President Harris to undertake. She obviously is going to play the role that Van described. But there is so much work to do. COOPER: Yes. She's also got - obviously her profile - I mean her age, her - the Joe Biden's age, the potential that he may only serve one term.


AXELROD: This is unique, Anderson. This is a unique political situation because rarely does it - never has a Vice President entered office on the first day as the kind of presumed frontrunner for the nomination four years later. And because of the dynamic that we've been discussing here, because she is seen by many on the left of the party as sort of their - their person in the administration, the person who is going to bring different voices into the discussions and so on, there is also pressure associated with that. So it's a really unique situation that she's going to have to navigate.

COOPER: Pressure which - I mean it takes some of the pressure off President Biden in that term, but for her, I mean if she is thinking about the next step, you know if four years the President-Elect Biden decided not to run, if she does not respond to the left of the party.

BORGER: Right.

COOPER: That is going to be - that is going to harm her down the road. And yet clearly if there is going to be a lot of, you know, compromises being done, there is a lot of folks on the left of the party who are not going to be happy.

AXELROD: Here is the thing. She's got to navigate through the primary. If she - we should - we're getting way ahead of ourselves. But what we've seen what Joe Biden has proven is and frankly Barack Obama did as well, you win a General Election by speaking to the broad sweep of the country. And I don't think that she wants to - she need - and the other thing is, you're Vice President, Biden was impeccably loyal, even on things that he didn't agree on. And never did he - that leaves the room when he disagreed.

COOPER: Yes. But how does Biden deal with the far left of the party?

BORGER: Well, that remains to be seen. And maybe Kamala Harris helps him in that sense. But look, these relationships, and David knows this better than anyone between a President and Vice President can be very fraught because they don't know each other well. Sure, they know each other, but they're not buddies, just like Obama did not know Biden.

And many times, and we saw this with Bush and Cheney, you pick somebody, and I think Obama thought it was going to be that way with Biden, you pick somebody who you think will not be competing against you at some point because they have their own political interests at heart. So when Bush picked Cheney, it was like I'm never going to run again. And I think with Biden, the presumption was that he had no interest...

COOPER: Absolutely.

BORGER: the presidency. And then lo and behold, he did in 2016, and now of course he's President-Elect. So you have to tell the President it is in this particular case his agenda, and you will abide by it, but you'll give him your best advice if you think he is messing things up with the people in the base of the party that she connects with in many ways better than he does with progressives.

COOPER: How do you think Biden deals with the left of the party, if he wants to end demonization, if he wants to reach across the aisle?

JONES: It's easier. It's going to - assuming we're going to have divided government. It's going to be easier for Biden because he can just say I can't get that deal done with McConnell. Kamala is in a tougher spot. Because she's got to deal with now and later, my favorite candy, now and later. She's got to deal with the now and the later. And so part of the thing that she's got manage is can she get herself over the next two to three years to a place where she is kind of like Barack Obama.

In that Barack Obama was able to keep the left close to him because we just loved Obama. You know, he meant something to us. We had an irrational emotional attachment to him. And so we could forgive him some of his moderation. She has to get there. She's got to - she's got find a way that she can be in some ways above the split in the party. There is a split in the party between the moderates and the left. If she gets pulled in, to either side of that, it's going to be tough for her.

COOPER: I got to get another break in. But we're going to continue this discussion. We'll be right back.


HARRIS: And what a testament it is to Joe's character that he had the audacity to break one of the most substantial barriers that exists in our country and selects a woman as his Vice President.




BLITZER: I'm Wolf Blitzer with more of our special coverage. President-Elect Joe Biden delivering his victory speech tonight with a plea for unity and a promise to work to heal and rebuild the nation, Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris calling this a new day for America, a message underscored by her history making presence on stage. The celebration playing out in cities across the country, where Biden and Harris supporters partied into the streets, into the night. The incoming President capping an extraordinary day where he sealed his victory by claiming a mandate to lead the country in a new direction.



BIDEN: Folks, the people of this nation have spoken. They've delivered us a clear victory, a convincing victory, a victory for "We the People".