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CNN Live Event/Special
CNN Covers The Fourth Republican Presidential Debate; There Killed In UNLV Mass Shooting. Aired 11p-12a ET
Aired December 06, 2023 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
VIVEK RAMASWAMY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you would asked me three years ago, is there some chance January 6 is an inside job, I would have said that was crazy talk.
I would say, looking at the facts of the video footage that have come out, that it is shocking, that you still haven't gotten a clear answer of how many federal agents were in the field that day.
Look at now the video footage of actually throwing explosives and rubber bullets into what was a peaceful crowd, then releasing to the public what came in response to that. But now, look at the video footage that was released, and I'm glad we're talking about it because viewers deserve to look at that footage, Capitol police literally letting people in who were then now prosecuted. Some of them gone on to commit suicide because of what the government is doing. That is the case of entrapment.
I think the government has not been transparent about this, which is why I then brought up another case where the government now, 20 years later, would declassify documents, tell us that they lied to us at the time.
DANA BASH, CNN HOST: Eight hundred and fifty people --
RAMASWAMY: I do think we have a government that consistently lied to its people.
BASH: An inside job suggests that everybody was -- who attacked the Capitol was hard to --
RAMASWAMY: I didn't say that. I didn't say that, but I was saying that there is case -- there's entrapment going on. There's entrapment going on and this looks like a case of entrapment. If you look at even over the last --
BASH: What do you mean by entrapment?
RAMASWAMY: Entrapment means that the police go to people to do something otherwise and the otherwise wouldn't have done, and then they arrest them for actually doing it.
BASH: And you don't think it was actually the former president who --
RAMASWAMY: Let's -- why do you think that was the media narrative? Now, look at --
BASH: We heard him -- we heard him with our own ears.
RAMASWAMY: -- case and see what you think about this, right? You guys said this for a long time, about the Gretchen Whitmer kidnapping plot, suddenly gone silent after it comes out a trial that -- absolutely, that was a case of entrapment, which is why those people were acquitted.
So, I'm saying this is somebody who, on the other side of this, as a biotech CEO, somebody who was even anti-woke. But if I was looking at this, I would have said aloud that this is crazy talk. But if you actually get into the details, I think it is startling, how much the government has systematically lied, and I think it's both parties over the course of the last 25 years --
BASH: But on the January 6 --
RAMASWAMY: -- the left used to be better pointing this out are being skeptical of the government. But now, it is the right.
BASH: -- which is the most -- which is the most aggressive offensive attack on the U.C Capitol, on democracy itself, that we have seen in our lifetime and in many, many lifetimes, to say without evidence that it was an inside --
RAMASWAMY: I'm not saying without evidence. I think that what we're seeing now is the video footage that has come out. I was in a different place before a lot of that evidence came out. But you have to respond to the evidence. What is your response? What is anybody else in CNN response to the video footage that was released of Capital police literally just peacefully allowing people into the Capitol --
BASH: What we know --
RAMASWAMY: -- or shooting into peaceful crowd?
BASH: -- is that 850 people have been convicted of crime.
RAMASWAMY: But the reality is many of them were convicted before that information was released.
BASH: Do you think that former President Trump has anything to do with this?
RAMASWAMY: You're bringing up a really good point and your audience and everybody deserves to know the truth about this. Normally, there is a rule in constitutional law. It's called the Brady rule. You have to turn over exculpatory evidence to the other side. In this case, it wasn't turned over because the DOJ said Congress was sitting on it.
BASH: Okay. I want to --
RAMASWAMY: Now, Congress has released it. That's why I said I would pardon many of those peaceful protesters because --
BASH: I want to go to something else that you said, which I think --
RAMASWAMY: It is not a left to right issue. I think this is a -- this is a civil libertarian issue that --
BASH: I want to go to something else that I -- that you said that I think is really important to explore, and that is the great replacement theory.
BASH: That, I'm sure you know, is a theory that has been adopted by white supremacists who believe that people of color, Jews, are trying to overtake the white people in America. It has been used in mass murders from -- not even just America, worldwide, in New Zealand --
RAMASWAMY: -- may have mean a lot of different things. But I will be very specific about what I think because I posted this yesterday, even before this debate. I've been very precise. I encourage people to look at 10 hard truths I posted yesterday, including that video footage from January 6 for our last discussion. People should view it.
Look at the video I posted yesterday of Biden and Mayorkas 10 years ago expressly discussing -- and these are Biden's words, not mine -- about non-white populations exceeding white populations in the U.S. through immigration and that being not a bad thing. His words, not mine. I think we should be able to have this conversation in the open without using fringe theories.
BASH: Okay. But when you use this term great replacement theory, that is -- that is --
RAMASWAMY: That is exactly what that --
BASH: But you understand -- but you understand that that term is something evokes antisemitism --
RAMASWAMY: Evokes piece of this. I'm against antisemitism, and I've spoken accordingly.
BASH: Okay. But people who have looked at that --
RAMASWAMY: But I think we also have to admit the truth of what is happening, Dana.
BASH: But it is not --
RAMASWAMY: This is coming through Biden's own words --
BASH: But this is being -- this is being used --
RAMASWAMY: -- over the course of 10 years ago.
BASH: -- for killings in Buffalo, for killings in Poway, California.
RAMASWAMY: If it was a Republican saying the same things that Biden said 10 years ago --
BASH: You understand how dangerous it is?
RAMASWAMY: -- somehow you call it a conspiracy theory.
BASH: It's not even just a conspiracy theory. It's dangerous because --
RAMASWAMY: I disagree. I think what's dangerous is the suppression of open dialogue.
BASH: -- it is helping to incite violence --
RAMASWAMY: Well, look, I think that we need to have more open dialogue in this country. When you tell people that they can't speak --
BASH: -- and discrimination.
RAMASWAMY: -- that is when they scream. If you tell people they can't scream or object, that is when --
BASH: It's the term. Great replace theory.
RAMASWAMY: And so, you and I share something in common. We don't want to see violence in this country. I think the way we are going to get there is close the gap between what people say in private and what they will say in public.
Right now, there's a gap between those two things that is as big as I've seen in my lifetime. I think that is dangerous. I think that is a good way to get January 6 being a preview of what's to come in this country. Unless we're able to have open conversation --
BASH: And it's not --
RAMASWAMY: -- without people being labelled --
BASH: When people hear great replacement theory, it is a dog whistle.
RAMASWAMY: -- as a racist, conspiracy theorist or xenophobic or whatever.
BASH: Because of what it means to be --
RAMASWAMY: To be crystal clear, I'm a kid of immigrants. I'm proud of that. Legal immigrants who came to this country. But when the Democratic Party and Biden, leader of the Democratic Party now, as recently as 10 years ago with Mayorkas sitting at his side, expressly talking about non-white population exceeding white populations, that being a good thing, and immigration policies they've advanced to achieve that result remain in Mexico which they are not enforcing, let us have that debate rather than saying this is a dog whistle, this is going to cause violence.
What I'm worried about is that we are going to have -- I would say -- I want to be careful in the way I speak about this because I don't want to get to a place about violence. I want -- I was skating on thin ice as a country right now. But as a leader, it is important to give people the permission to say in public what they will otherwise say in private. A lot of it grounded in truth. To be able to have that debate without labeling somebody --
BASH: Let me just ask you one question --
RAMASWAMY: -- a xenophobic or racist or a denier or anything else.
BASH: -- and I'm going to let you go. I'm going to let you go. Let us just say -- I'm not going to use the term anymore because it is a dog whistle for people out there who are looking for reasons to go after people of color and Jews. But --
RAMASWAMY: We are going to agree to disagree on the importance of --
BASH: Let us just assume -- let us just assume that that was something that was happening. Is that so wrong? What is wrong with people of color --
RAMASWAMY: First of all, let me just pause right there.
BASH: -- being a majority in this country?
RAMASWAMY: Let me just pause right there. This is a legitimate discussion for us to have. But we can't have it both ways to say that this is something that were actually advocating for. It's an express policy, and we acknowledge that it's part of an express policy objective, then let's actually get to the debate about whether this is good or not for the country. Right?
And so, I embrace that. But thank you for getting to a useful place rather than just saying anybody who's saying this. If a person on the right says it's a conspiracy theory, if a Democrat says it is immigration policy. In my view, I don't care about skin color. I could care less with skin color. Do you share that ideal of this country?
BASH: Let us go back to Charlottesville. The "Jews will not replace us" comes from the great replacement theory. I know you have to go. But just go back and look at that.
RAMASWAMY: But I would say go back and look at people that are watching this, the videos that Mike Johnson has released, of Capitol police allowing them in. We should be able to at least have that debate in the open and air the video of Biden saying exactly what otherwise is described as a conspiracy theory with Mayorkas 10 years ago.
Let us have honest debate. We can disagree. But don't call, label somebody an insurrectionist or a racist of a homophobic or denier or anything else as a way of silencing debate. We should talk about on the merits. And that last question you asked is exactly what many Republicans also want to be debating in the open whether or not --
BASH: I agree merits, facts, that's what we need to be doing.
RAMASWAMY: Amen. To show the videos. I think that will be good for the viewers.
BASH: Thank you so much.
RAMASWAMY: Thank you.
BASH: I appreciate it. Anderson, back to you.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Dana, thank you very much. Back with the panel here in New York.
DAVID URBAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Lot to unpack.
SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: None of these debates have helped Ramaswamy. When he started the debate season, he was at seven. Today, he sits at like four. I mean, he has gone down after each one.
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: The more people get to know him, the less they like.
JENNINGS: Yeah. I mean, not showing up for the debates would have been a great idea --
-- because then no one would know, you know, what they know about him now. He really -- if -- there's only two people on that stage that have even some percentage chance of taking on Donald Trump. Everybody knows it. It's DeSantis and it's Haley.
And yes, Christie is running a New Hampshire-focused campaign, but if you are going to get down to one or the other, you know, the amount of time he takes up tying up the stage, I mean, it obviously helps Trump because, you know, we don't get down to the main event.
JONES: It sure hurts the country, though. That guy is dangerous. That's dangerous, when those people were saying Jews will not replace us, Jews will not replace us.
That slogan sits on top of a very sick and twisted view, that if you bring enough people of color here, we are so deficient, we are so stupid, we are so unwanted that we will be zombies to fill out the ranks for some Democratic Party agenda that Jewish people are manipulating and driving forward.
That leads to violence. That puts at risk Jewish people. That puts at risk people of color. It is wrong. And the smug, condescending way that he just spews this poison out is very, very dangerous because he won't stop Trump, but he's going to outlive Trump by about 50 years. And you're watching the rise of an American demagogue that is a very, very despicable person.
JONES: And I was shaking listening to him talk because a lot of people don't know that is one step away from Nazi propaganda coming out of his mouth.
URBAN: But the good thing, Van, you can take respite in is the more people hear him, the less they like him, right?
As Scott just pointed out, the numbers continue -- his numbers continue to plummet. I guarantee you, after this debate, his numbers will continue to go down. The more people hear him, I think -- look, I think for your perspective, right, it's better that Vivek talks more and more and more because people will hear what he has to say and reject it more and more.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST: But I will say --
URBAN: It's incredible.
COLLINS: I do think he did more damage to himself than anyone else he went after tonight. But to your point, and I have heard this from people, I've interviewed him many times, the way and what he was just doing with Dana there, he explains these conspiracy theories that he puts out there and he tries to say that there is evidence to back them up. That there actually is video of the January 6th, the fact that it was an inside job, which he says he's learned. Talking about the great replacement theory.
He uses this kind of reasonable tone and talks about video evidence and videos that he has put out without actually able to cite that --
URBAN: There are none.
COLLINS: -- right there. There are none. He did the same thing with 9/11 where he tiptoed up to having it be this conspiracy theory. And when we confronted him on it, he claimed the reporter made up the quote, that he had not said the quote. We said, okay, we'll take you at your word. The next day, the reporter published audio of him saying the quote. But he does this all the time where he uses this reasonable tone, and he says, well, let everyone just see this, let everyone see this.
You can see the January 6th footage. The DOJ has it. They've arrested 1,200 people who have been charged with crimes, as Dana pointed out there. But he uses the reasonable tone to make people who aren't paying close attention, who aren't fact checking it, think that maybe it's legitimate.
ALYSSA FARAH GRIFFIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, first and foremost, he's damaging to the country. That's just -- that's just unquestionable. He is also very damaging to the republican brand. The reality is most Republicans don't want to go anywhere near the great replacement theory. I don't even like saying it. We're actually trying to make inroads with minority communities.
GRIFFIN: There's black voters, Hispanic voters.
JONES: Ironically, you're doing quite well.
GRIFFIN: Well, no, and even to Scott's point, I think there's a huge opportunity with the war in Israel to make inroads with Jewish voters. So, for him to go out and espouse that, you know, as part of a GOP platform, is damaging to the party.
But I'd say he is a symptom of something that Donald Trump created. Donald Trump came out as a demagogue. He espoused things that often weren't true, people bought it, and he often went unchallenged. He's trying to do it.
But there's something about him that's a bit more insidious. He is educated. He does speak well. There is like a calmness to what he's saying. Now, as of now, the voters are rejecting it. But give this guy 10 years, it might sell a little bit more.
JENNINGS: I think the normalization of this breezing past, this racism and bigotry, he's doing it. A lot of people on the left are doing it on antisemitism right now. I mean, there are people on the left today demanding to see the evidence that Hamas raped these women and mutilated their bodies at the beginning of this war. And they're sort of breezing past, well, I haven't seen any witness testimony, so I don't know. It's just some things that just happened. I saw a member of Congress doing it.
So, I take your point, and I think it is vital that we discuss it because it strikes me that on the fringe of the left and maybe on the right, but certainly on the left right now, you mentioned Charlottesville, somebody did, we're having like 100 Charlottesvilles a day in this country right now.
And I think in the context of this campaign, whoever wins the nominations, however this debate unfolds, we cannot normalize and explain away using reasonable sounding conspiracy theories or whatever because the people that we hate are the ones being victimized. We cannot do it. we cannot do it.
JONES: Nobody is going to argue with you about that. I thought this was a better week. Sheryl Sandberg (ph) and other people went to United Nations and said, you know, rape is not resistance. We've got to make sure that you've got a whole generation of young people who -- they don't understand some of these longstanding conflicts.
And the idea that -- you know, Nelson Mandela was a freedom fighter. He never raped anybody. He never kidnapped anybody, his grandmother. If he used weapons, he went after soldiers and infrastructure. Those are freedom fighters. Hamas is not. Hamas has a reign of terror. So, there's a lot that has to be sorted out here. You're correct. And you mentioned a little bit earlier, the Democratic Party coalition is under some particular stresses and strains now because you have some working-class men of color that are beginning to follow the white working-class men into the republican column. You have some Muslims who are beginning to feel discouraged by Biden's position, but you also have Jewish Americans who also feel discouraged by what's going on in the party.
So, there can be some reorientation, some stresses on the party's results of this. But here is one thing we should be able to agree. No hate. Don't hate Jewish people, don't hate Muslims, don't hate trans people, don't hate immigrants, don't hate China or Chinese people. You can disagree with them on policy.
There's just too much hate. And frankly, I don't like when I see it in my party, and there were edges of it tonight in your party. We've got to come together against the hate.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN HOST: I just want to say one quick thing about just on the great replacement theory, and Dana got at this. This was something that was the rationale for multiple mass shootings, including antisemitic mass shootings in this country and around the world.
The idea of voicing it on a debate stage and then trying to rehabilitate the term is extraordinary.
COOPER: And also sort of plead ignorance on what term --
PHILLIP: Right. And then say, well, we're going to try to have a conversation about the substance of immigration policy. The great replacement theory is not about immigration policy. It is fundamentally about hate. There's power in saying these things on a stage like that. I think Vivek Ramaswamy knows that. And that is what makes it, I think, so beyond the pale on that particular point.
You know, you have deranged people who have actually killed in the name of this theory, and you cannot ignore that. You can't pretend, but it does not matter. It's inextricably linked to that term. People should understand that when we talk about this issue.
COOPER: And is his strategy using this, I mean, that soliloquy he did of all these conspiracy theories, is it just reach out to all the fringe folks out there to try to boost his numbers a little bit?
URBAN: It seemed that way, right? I mean, he threw everything in there, but the kitchen sink. It's 9/11, right? I mean, anyway back, I mean, this is --
JONES: The greatest hits.
GRIFFIN: Deep track.
URBAN: Yeah, deep track.
JENNINGS: What's the likelihood that if you believe one, you might believe them all?
COLLINS: Should have asked him if the moon landed.
GRIFFIN: Yeah, moon landing.
URBAN: But it is sad, right? And Van, to your point earlier, you know, you said we had a good week. We had a terrible week in Congress. These three college presidents from some of the most illustrious colleges in America couldn't answer a simple question, right? To the point of, you know, where do you stand on antisemitism? There was silence. It was deafening. And, you know --
JENNINGS: It was worse than that. Where do you stand on the term genocide against the Jewish people? They're all having to put out cleanup videos today. It was a terrible week on that front.
GRIFFIN: But can I say I am horrified and terrified by the antisemitism I've seen from some of the far left? I've called out with Rashida Tlaib, failure to condemn sex crimes against Israeli women. But we also cannot mention that the GOP frontrunner dined with an actual neo-Nazi not that long ago. We have to call it out on both sides because there is a scary extremist on the far left and far right that has no business being in the mainstream of politics.
JENNINGS: The purging of this antisemitism out of both parties ought to be a real goal for both parties because it has no place in American politics. It really doesn't. And yet it is ascendant. It is ascendant right now.
JONES: I think most people can agree on three things. A secure homeland for both people, no hate, and protect the babies. I think that's pretty straightforward. You want Jewish people and Palestinians to have secure homeland. You don't want hatred against Israelis, Palestinians, Muslims, or Jews. And you don't want civilians being put in harm's way, either directly on purpose by Hamas or indirectly in a reckless way by Bibi.
I think most people, if you just sat down and talked about it for more than 15 minutes, you'd arrive there. The problem is you have these social media algorithms that are pulling people into more and more extreme positions. And you have very little conversation. You have yelling. You have people talking about each other, not to each other.
And much more importantly, this young generation on these campuses, when I was young and on campus, I said a lot of dumb stuff. You know who I said it to? The guys in my dorm room. And you know what? The sophomores told us, freshmen, sit down, shut up, and listen. And we kept that ignorance contained, and we learned and got better.
The problem you have now is you have people who are getting bombarded with these devices. The algorithm is giving them a bunch of information. They're saying stuff that is completely ridiculous, and the whole world hears it.
And so, we have a responsibility. It's not ageism. But we have a responsibility to say to this next generation, you may not know, but you're getting pimped and used by Iran on some of this stuff. You may not know, but there are influence operations that are designed to get you to upset and to say things are going to hurt people's feelings. It might lead to violence on whatever these issues are. And we need to be more careful with what we're doing here.
Now, I hope those college presidents are more effective at addressing the young people on their campus than they were with Congress. But if they're not, somebody needs to, because young people are being misled. Their passions are correct. What's happening overseas is awful. What's happening to the Palestinians in Gaza is awful. And the whole world sees that. Hearts are being broken.
But you can't use the pain of that to then smuggle in antisemitism or smuggle in all Israelis is this or all Jews that. When that starts to happen or Israel itself, the whole country, even when you got millions of people out there marching for democracy in Israel, just a few months ago, all Israelis are this negative way, that's called bigotry.
You can stand up for Palestinians and still love Jewish people. You can stand up for Palestinians and not hurt people in Israel. And if you're young people and you have the whole world listening to you, you got to do both. Otherwise, you're being used.
JENNINGS: I think our political leaders, the adults in this country, have to be strong enough to stand up to these people, wherever they are, whoever they are.
But you're exactly right. There are people in this country that have wisdom and they have positions of leadership. Whether they're college presidents, David, whether they're candidates for president, whether they currently hold office, have a little backbone, listen to Van.
And even if they're in your party, even if you think they're supposed to be voting for you, have the courage to tell them to shut up and put the bigotry away. JONES: On both sides.
COOPER: All right, everybody stays. There are more in the debate ahead, including reaction from a member of the Biden campaign who watched tonight. We'll be right back.
BASH: Some Democrats who watched tonight's republican debate might have done it for whatever amusement they can take from seeing members of the opposition go after each other.
However, for some other Democrats, tuning in was a professional obligation, including my guest right now, Biden-Harris deputy campaign manager, Quentin Faulk. Thank you so much for being here. I was sort of joking, not joking with you, that you've never been to a republican debate before.
QUENTIN FAULK, BIDEN-HARRIS DEPUTY CAMPAIGN MANAGER: I have not. Hopefully, this will be my last.
BASH: I'm sure. Let's start with what we heard on the debate stage tonight. The argument that several of these Republican candidates made was that Democrats want Donald Trump to be the nominee. And because there were -- mostly, Chris Christie made that argument because you think the -- you're more likely to beat Donald Trump than the others. What if it's not Donald Trump? Any of the candidates on stage tonight make you more worried than others?
FAULK: No. Unfortunately, not. Look, at the end of the day, what we saw tonight was a complete failure from anybody on the republican side. Called Donald Trump out for his rhetoric, for his agenda that he wants to do.
Less than 24 hours ago, Donald Trump on primetime television told the world that he would rule as a dictator. And tonight, Nikki Haley, Ron DeSantis, Vivek Ramaswamy refused to say that it made him unfit to be president of the United States. They're all from the same camp.
None of them are calling out Donald Trump for saying that he overturned a woman's right to choose, that he killed Roe. None of them are saying anything about him saying that he would repeal ACA and rip health care away from 40 million Americans. They're all cut from the same cloth and they're all trying to do the same thing.
So, for us, whether it's Donald Trump or anybody else that we saw on that stage tonight, it's all the same thing. We know what the end result is going to be. So, for us, it's just a matter of prosecuting the case, which, you know, that's what we're going to do. BASH: So, let's talk a little bit about prosecuting the case and the people you need, uh, in the Biden coalition to win reelection. We had a new poll out today. You might've seen it. And in part of it, the -- more than -- excuse me -- fewer than half of Black voters, only a third of young people approve of President Biden's job performance. Why do you think that is?
FAULK: Look, I think that right now, you know, it's a tough time in America. It's very early. You know, polls this early out are not normally indicative of how elections end up.
But our campaign has not been taking any of these voters for granted. We've hit the ground running with a $25 million ad, really doubling down on constituency media, talking to Black voters, Latino voters. We know we're going to have to mobilize voters and reach them all across the globe, you know, in a very fragmented media environment, and that's where our posture is.
So, for us, it is really just a matter of doubling down and making sure that we communicate, and that's what campaigns are for. So, you know, again, we need to bring this back and focus on the stakes of this election. It's going to be a choice between President Biden and the accomplishments and the things that he's doing and where Republicans want to take this country. I think it's very clear where they want to go.
BASH: But it could in the case of, again, some members of the Biden coalition who are unlikely to vote for Donald Trump, the more likely scenario is that they might just stay home. That's a big potential red flag for you.
FAULK: Well, look, it is a red flag when, you know, voters are willing to stay home or vote for your opponent. So -- but again, we have to communicate with these voters. We have to be out pounding the pavement. We've already started with some of our early hires, as you may have seen. We announced that in South Carolina. They are going to continue to roll out stuff in a battleground states because we've got to organize and communicate to these voters.
But again, we have to get back to talking about the stakes of this election. You know, we have to talk to these voters about what we've accomplished and where we want to take this country. But again, Donald Trump is saying that he wants to be a dictator.
And so, there's going to be a mixture of what we want to do, but also a mixture of look, this is where Republicans want to take you and this is what Donald Trump, in the case who has already been a president, what he's done. So, we have to communicate that.
BASH: I want to ask you about the report tonight in "Politico," that one of the Biden donors named Amed Khan, I believe I'm saying his name right, if I'm not, forgive me, he quit the National Finance Committee of the Biden reelection campaign. And what he said to "Politico" about the president's stance on Israel, steadfast support of Israel was -- quote -- "This is bullshit. You make moral compromise being involved in these politics." Is that concerning to you? FAULK: Well, look, one, you know, if he was on our National Finance Committee, I'm sure he has contributed and has helped raise money to get the president elected. And so, for that, we thank him. It's a very difficult time in America right now for a lot of people.
When it comes to what's going on in the Middle East, Joe Biden from day one has approached this not as a politician, but as commander in chief and doing everything he can to keep America safe.
But this is also a clinic in leadership and in stark contrast with what the Republicans are doing. President Biden from day one has said that, you know, antisemitism, islamophobia has no place in American system. He has done everything he can to keep people safe.
And so, in stark contrast with the Republicans who are calling for a Muslim ban, throwing our allies under the bus, praising terrorists, right, they don't understand foreign policy.
Joe Biden is the only person running for president of the United States that has the wisdom and experience to bring people to the table to get deals done.
And a lot of this work of diplomacy is done behind closed doors, as you know. And so, for us, I'm sorry that donor feels that way, but it doesn't change anything from our campaign, the message and the narrative that we're going to continue to drive moving forward.
BASH: Quentin Faulk, thank you so much. Appreciate it.
FAULK: Thank you, Dana.
BASH: Thank you. I would say nice to be here but you've already expressed how you feel about being here, but I appreciate it.
FAULK: Thank you so much for having me.
BASH: Anderson, back to you.
COOPER: Dana, thanks so much. Back with the panel. Worrisome, the Democratic Party, what they are facing right now. Obviously, these poll numbers are got to be of concern.
JONES: Yeah. I think there are three groups that are possibly headed for the exit right now. Hopefully, they'll come back. But you do have -- I think working class men of color are increasingly feeling despondent and moving away from the party.
I think a lot of Jewish Americans feel unsupported. They feel supported by Biden's stand, but don't feel as supported by the rest of the progressive movement. But at the same time, you have Muslims who feel that Biden has been too lacking in sympathy for what's happening to the Palestinians.
A lot of young people, all they're seeing from these devices is Gaza babies, Gaza babies, Gaza babies. It is shocking the younger people in our coalition that this is going on. They've never been exposed to it when it comes to Syria or Yemen or anything like that.
And so, you've got Muslims who are headed for the doors, Jewish people, young people in working class, male color, all at the same time, and that's what those numbers look like.
And I think it's going to take some real leadership inside the Democratic Party to hold this coalition together and to walk through some of these issues about what's happening overseas in a way that makes us stronger as a country and as a party and not more divided.
URBAN: And I would say also, don't forget economic pressures, right, as well. So, you have economic pressures, you have inflation that are -- if you look at working class Hispanic families, right? And again, African American men who are working, in blue collar jobs and can't afford to pay for gas and things. It's really -- the economic issues are also driving a lot of Democrats away from the party as well.
The the Biden administration -- I think this gentleman who was on here is whistling past the graveyard a little bit here saying, like, oh, it's early yet, we're going to turn this ship around. I don't think they're going to turn it around anytime soon. And they've got to get going quickly.
JONES: I have more confidence than you do. And I thought you did a good job pointing out some of the horrors from Trump this week saying he's going to be a dictator. Taken five minutes to say that maybe he won't be a dictator the whole time. So, I think the Democrats have some wind at our back as well. But these are real problems, and they're showing up in the numbers.
JENNINGS: Biden said this week at a fundraiser, the only reason he was running is because of Trump.
JONES: That was -- that was --
URBAN: It's a quiet part out loud.
JENNINGS: I mean, effectively, the slogan is, it could be worse. I mean, what he's telling all these groups you're talking about, Democrat coalition groups, it could be worse. I mean, is that -- does this inspire confidence in you or anyone else? I mean, it wouldn't be if I were a Democrat. I thought that was a very candid yet seriously weak moment.
JONES: Every now and again, Biden might make a gaffe. Every now and again, every now and again. Look, right now, I think the party is under some stress. It shows in the numbers. But as you get closer, I don't think he's swissing past the graveyard. I understand what you're saying. But I do think we're not making a strong case for Biden. We're making a strong case against Trump. At some point, you got to balance that back out, and I think we'll be able to.
GRIFFIN: And I think with these sorts of seismic shifts that we're seeing right now, potentially in the liberal coalition, I think the fact that you have a situation where Joe Biden likes to say, you know, compare me -- don't compare me to the almighty, compare me to the alternative, well, of course, liberals aren't going to turn out for Donald Trump. But if enough of them just stay home, that puts Trump over the edge.
That's the five-alarm fire that you guys have to be worrying about. I think to some degree, the fact that this is the first time I think I've seen a Biden surrogate at one of these debates, that seems like a delay. They should have been campaigning six months ago. They're very behind the eight ball.
JENNINGS: These young people, 18 to 34 in our poll, he had a 34% approval rating.
JONES: That's Palestine.
JENNINGS: I mean, that is --
JONES: That's Palestine.
JENNINGS: -- and so, to your point, maybe they don't think, well, I'm going to vote Republican this time. Maybe they just stay home.
JONES: Or they vote for RFK, Jr. or they vote for --
JENNINGS: That's right.
COLLINS: It's not even just that it's the Muslim Americans in states like Michigan where he won by 155,000 votes that that could make such a crucial difference. On what he said last night, he said, if Donald Trump was not running, I don't know that I'd be running. But, of course, he noted Donald Trump is running, and he obviously clearly sees him as a Republican nominee even though he has not clinched that yet.
But you saw President Biden do something that the White House often sends him to do when he makes a remark, which you called a gaffe, that the White House would say something they wished he had not said. He came out to reporters at the White House last night after he got back --
URBAN: To clean it up, yeah.
COLLINS: -- after being in that fundraiser. It's pitched black outside on the South Lawn. He doesn't typically speak then. He came over to reporters, the lights were so bright, he kind of had to shield his eyes, and he walked that statement back, because they realized that that is a mistake of a statement to say that the only reason you're running is because Donald Trump is in the race and Donald Trump is not the nominee.
GRIFFIN: But even strategically, it also just doesn't factually bear out. A generic Democrat does better head to head against Donald Trump than Joe Biden does.
And that's the disconnect that I feel like the Biden team is missing, is they, in fact, may be holding on to the one guy who cannot beat Donald Trump head to head.
JENNINGS: He ran for two reasons, Charlottesville and Trump. We're now having all these Charlottesville and Trump is ascendant. Trump is on the rise and so is antisemitism. If you were a Democrat who bought into that in '19 and '20, from that perspective, you might conclude this is a failed presidency. He's not done either of the two things he said he was going to do.
JONES: Well, I appreciate you speaking for the people in my party.
But I'm sure that makes a lot of sense to you.
JENNINGS: Well, some of your people are now in my party.
JENNINGS: I got to try to co-exist.
JONES: And vice versa. With abortion, you're sending some our way. So, this whole thing is switching around. It's not a left-wing period. It's not a right-wing period. It's a turbulent volatile period. And leadership matters. And campaigns matter. And I agree that the Biden campaign has still has an opportunity ahead of itself to clarify the case.
There's a lot that I think Democrats are proud of that Joe Biden has been able to do. If Joe Biden were to quit right now, he'd be on Mount Rushmore.
When you look at -- for us, when you look at all the stuff that he has done when it comes to infrastructure, when it comes to climate, when it comes to anti-Asian hate, I mean, you go down the list, the problem is to make the case going forward, that he's the guy that can help us go forward.
We are in a world where I do believe that someone like Biden with his foreign policy experience is going to be critical. I don't think you want a Donald Trump and whoever he puts on the ticket to try to handle this big mess that's going on overseas.
But right now, you have to be a dishonest person to say the Democrats are united and inspired. We are not. But you have to be, I think, maybe not a good student of history to understand we are still very far from the election. A year out from the Obama win, a year out from the Biden win, the numbers look very different. They will look different by the time we get a chance.
URBAN: But Van, to the point that you're making, the Biden administration to date still hasn't convinced the American people of any of those accomplishments, right? You said they'd be on Mount Rushmore, but the people don't -- you know, time and time, poll and poll, poll after poll after poll shows, you know, right track, wrong track, wrong track, right? Satisfaction with the president, your life, bad, right?
So, he hasn't done a good job. What's going to change between now and the election that is going to suddenly convince those people that inflation is not -- that interest rates aren't really 8%, that you can afford to go buy a house now, you can afford to put in that car payment, right? You can afford to go to college. Like, what's going to change? I don't know how their messaging is going to change.
JONES: I think you get a combination. First of all, if you think it's bad now, wait until the Republicans have a carte blanche to do all the stuff that they want to do, which is going to make most of those things worse. I think that's an important point to make.
I think if you feel that this is turbulent and unstable and you're scared, I don't think you put, to use our friend (INAUDIBLE), a drunk driver in the White House. So, I do think there's going to be a case to be made as you get closer.
But I think it's okay. I feel it's okay. People are hurting and uncertain. And it's not just Democrats across the board. There's pain out here. Change is hard, even change you want. You know, I had a son graduate from high school. I thought that was great change until it happened. Then I started crying. I'm like, my baby, you know? Even change you want is hard. These are changes people don't want.
And so, leadership matters. What I think -- what my fear is, I -- look, I don't see in either party the kind of moral clarity, the kind of maturity, the kind of empathetic leadership that we deserve. It's going to be -- honestly, it's going to be which of these -- people are going to be voting for what they want. They're going to be voting not to lose what they have.
URBAN: But I just think that being -- I think like -- you go back to this guy in -- at the poll. Gary Tuchman asked the Trump voter. He said, well, why are you voting for Trump? Well, he has done this already when he was there. The economy was better. We weren't in any wars.
URBAN: So, that's what the Republicans -- that's what Trump is going to be running on. I've done it before when I was there. You didn't have brackets around your 401K. Your numbers were going up. We weren't in wars, gas was $2 a gallon, and people are going to be nostalgic for that. That's what people are going to vote on.
COOPER: All right. Everybody, thank you. Coming up, more fact checking on the debate tonight, specifically the question of what Nikki Haley once said about policing social media.
COOPER: Like the previous three debates, we heard a lot of claims tonight, confidently spoken, that are just not true. Here to separate fact and fiction, our chief investigative correspondent, Pam Brown.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN ANCHOR AND CHIEF INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, well, Anderson, Nikki Haley, for her part, she was on the defensive tonight after the other candidates attacked her policy proposal to push social media platforms to require name identification. Here's what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIKKI HALEY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What I said was, that social media companies need to show us their algorithms. I also said there are millions of bots on social media right now. They're foreign, they're Chinese, they're Iranian. I will always fight for freedom of speech for Americans. We do not need freedom of speech for Russians and Iranians and Hamas. We need social media companies to go and fight back on all of these bots that are happening. That's what I said.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: So, that's not exactly what she said initially here, Anderson. Our fact check shows Haley is backtracking on her original proposal. She did initially propose banning anonymous speech for everyone on social media platforms, saying on Fox News back in November, every person on social media should be verified by their name, it's a national security threat. Now, she later walked back that proposal to focus solely on foreign actors online after right-wing criticism.
So, Ron DeSantis and Vivek Ramaswamy, they were correct to push back on Haley for backtracking on her proposal. But Ramaswamy claimed that she's advocating for doxing, and that claim in particular is misleading, Anderson.
COOPER: All right. Pam, thanks so much. Let's go back to Dana.
BASH: Anderson, thank you so much. Joining me now is our colleague, Jeff Zeleny. Thank you so much. It's great to -- we -- actually, we were watching right over there during the entire debate. And one thing that was interesting, and we watched it real time, was the last time Nikki Haley was kind of the catching fire -- catching fire but also taking in fire.
[23:45:02] She really fought back particularly against Vivek Ramaswamy. He really got under her skin at the last debate. She said, you know, get your -- my daughter's name out of your boys or whatever she said.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Called him scum.
BASH: And she called him scum.
BASH: This time, it was very different. She's ready for it, and she was also ready to approach it in a new way. Let's watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAMASWAMY: At the first debate, she said that only a woman can get this job done. That's what she said. After the third debate, when I criticized Ronna McDaniel after five failed years of leadership of this party and criticized Nikki for her corrupt foreign dealings as a military contractor, she said that I have a woman problem.
Nikki, I don't have a woman problem. You have a corruption problem. And I think that that's what people need to know. Nikki is corrupt. This is a woman who will send your kids to die so she can buy a bigger house. This is the problem, using identity politics more effectively than Kamala Harris is a form of intellectual fraud. And there are donor puppet masters wielding their puppet right up here tonight.
UNKNOWN: Governor Haley, would you like to respond?
HALEY: No. It's not worth my time to respond to him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: What do you make of that?
ZELENY: Look, she was biting her tongue. She clearly was doing this strategically. You could tell there. She was on the verge of wanting to jump in. But look, she's in a different place than she was at the Miami debate just a month ago. Her performance really, uh, has been something of a crescendo through each of these debates. She's one candidate who has benefited the most without question.
But tonight, she is in a different place. She has new supporters behind her, new donors behind her. And she was trying to look presidential in respect there. I was texting with the supporter of hers who lives in Iowa. They said, they were, uh, happy she didn't take the bait because he's not worth it.
ZELENY: So, we will see how this goes on, but I think it was somewhat strategic. But you talked before about alliances here. There are some very interesting alliances in this debate. Chris Christie came to her defense. He said he was not doing it intentionally. But I think it had the same affect there. So, I think she did herself a lot of good tonight, but as did the Florida governor, Ron DeSantis.
BASH: Yeah, let's talk about that a little bit, because he -- he was a different candidate on the debate stage than we've seen. Really, since these debates started, he was much more aggressive. He very much knew exactly what he needed to say, what he wanted to say. But he had a really clear audience in mind.
ZELENY: He did. His audience was were Iowa Republican voters. I mean, that's where all of his hopes now are resting upon, those Iowa Republican voters. He's really the only social conservative left in the race, so he was trying to get his record across, really regurgitating all that, at the same time attacking Nikki Haley. So, that was his --
BASH: Yeah, he had the apple (ph) memorized there.
ZELENY: He was just, you know, regurgitating it not in the most poetic way perhaps, but I think he's got his point across there. But, again, talking to those Iowa voters who were -- you know, our focus on the caucus is 40 days from tonight.
There was another big match tonight in Iowa that a lot of Republicans I was talking to are watching. That was the women's basketball game between Iowa State University and the University of Iowa. Caitlin Clark, a stellar player, hit the 3,000 mark tonight. So, that's what some Iowans were talking about, not this race.
BASH: I mean, listen, we're here in Alabama, so they understand that sports trumps all --
ZELENY: For sure.
BASH: -- especially when you're talking about college sports. The other thing that we have to talk about is the Trump factor. And Chris Christie was so intent like he has done on the campaign trail, much more on this debate stage than any other, to call his opponents out and say, you're not standing up to Trump. And basically, he's going to be the guy if the polls are right. And I'm paraphrasing here, we're all going to regret it.
ZELENY: Right. And time is running out. And that argument he has been making all year, it's not a new one, but it really hasn't resonated or been accepted that much by Republicans.
But I do think, you know, in the quiet minds of Republicans who are still deciding and there are still Republicans still deciding, that might resonate some. But, of course, he was focused on New Hampshire, which is where all of his hopes are as well. But 40 days from tonight, that's when the voting begins. BASH: Okay. Thank you so much, Jeff. Anderson, back to you.
COOPER: Dana, Jeff, thanks so much. Coming up, we're going to switch from politics and update on all we're learning tonight about the mass shooting in Las Vegas today. Three people murdered. Police is still trying to determine the motive of the shooter who is dead. A live report, next.
COOPER: Three dead, a fourth hospitalized, in a mass shooting earlier today at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas. Police still sketching out a motive for the shooter who's dead but whose identity has not yet been released. It was six years ago, as you may remember, when the city was the site of the worst mass shooting in U.S. modern history. Fifty-eight people were killed at a country music festival.
Lucy Kafanov joins us from Las Vegas with the latest on what happened today. So, talk about the details we know.
LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Anderson, the university is right behind me and, you know, we still see law enforcement very much participating in this active investigation on the scene. An ambulance left just moments ago and the shelter in place order was actually only lifted in the last hour. That's because authorities had to go in building by building to clear the campus.
Now, as far as the gunman, police are not revealing his identity to the public yet because the next of kin in terms of the victims are still being notified. But law enforcement sources tell CNN that he is a 67-year-old career college professor who has connections to schools in Georgia and North Carolina. Now, his connection to this university and, of course, his motive at this time are still unknown.
Reports of shots fired started coming in at around 11 45 a.m. local time near the Beam Hall Building. This is home to the University of Nevada's Lee Business School. Police say that the shooting actually began on the fourth floor of that building. It then moved down through multiple floors.
The sheriff said that the suspect was -- that police engaged with the suspect and -- quote -- "neutralized him outside." And let me set this scene for you. This was a very busy time on campus. It's study week. Students are preparing to take finals and then go home for winter break. So, it was a very busy environment.
Police even say that outside of the Beam Building, there were tables set up where students were playing Lego games and eating. The sheriff had told us that a lot more lives could have been tragically lost had the university police not heroically engaged a suspect outside, taking him down. You know, yeah, that's basically what we have from the sheriff.
COOPER: Do we know more about the victims and the one person who's in the hospital?
KAFANOV: Well, unfortunately, the identities have not yet been released because, again, authorities are still notifying the families and the next of kin. We simply know that three people tragically lost their lives. One victim suffered a gunshot wound. They were initially reported as being in critical condition at a hospital. But in the latest press conference, the sheriff said that victim is now in stable condition.
We also know, Anderson, that four students were taken to local hospitals with panic attacks. Obviously, a terrifying experience. And, of course, it's not lost on anyone that this same city suffered one of the worst mass shootings that you referred to in U.S. history back in 2017. So, a lot of trauma that's likely to be percolating for the days to come.
COOPER: Yeah. Lucy Kafanov, thanks very much. Appreciate it. I want to thank also my colleague, Dana Bash, in Tuscaloosa. The news continues, so does CNN's live coverage of the republican debate number four with CNN's Laura Coates and Abby Phillip, next.