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CNN Live Event/Special

President Joe Biden And Former President Donald Trump Face Off In Historic Presidential Debate; Anderson Cooper Interviews Vice President Kamala Harris; Daniel Dale Fact-Checks The Presidential Debate; Erin Burnett Interviews Senator Marco Rubio. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired June 27, 2024 - 23:00   ET



DAVID URBAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: That's the thing Joe Biden is going to fact-check him on? Something that was proven false?

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: We're going to have more with the panel out here. A lot of notable moments, painful moments from tonight. But as we've been talking about, perhaps a single defining one as well, this one early on.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Making sure that we're able to make every single solitary person eligible for what I've been able to do with the COVID -- excuse me, with dealing with everything we have to do with -- look, if we finally beat Medicare --

JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Thank you, President Biden. President Trump?

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, he's right, he did beat Medicare, he beat it to death, and he's destroying Medicare.


COOPER: That was one notable moment early on. Let's go to Erin in the spin room. Erin?

ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: That's right. You know, that was a moment. I'm sure Anderson, that you, your panel, me, my panel, and people around the country, that was a painful moment to watch. It was early on in the debate, and Adi, Kaitlin, and Chris are here, it was very early on. Chris, it seemed from that moment, that was it.

CHRIS WALLACE, CNN ANCHOR: I think it was even before that moment when he first started speaking, President Biden. And the raspiness, the hoarseness in his voice, that was at 9-11. And, you know, there were several minutes when Jake and Dana were setting the rules, so it's got to have been less than 10 minutes into the debate, and he totally lost his train of thought and ended up saying Medicare just out of the blue.


WALLACE: You know, we've heard so much from the other panel about their reactions to this. I think ever since, and I've had this conversation so often --


WALLACE: -- that after the midterms, if Joe Biden, after a remarkably successful first two years and a remarkably successful midterm for a first-term president, had said, you know, I'm the transitional president --


WALLACE: -- and I'm moving on and sending it to another generation, but he was unwilling to do that and Jill Biden was unwilling to do that. And ever since then, we have been --

BURNETT: I'm just -- I'm just -- as you're saying that, I'm only interrupting you Chris because that is a watch party, that's live right now, Jill Biden. Joe Biden is joining her at the watch party she was at, in Atlanta. Obviously, a response that does not match what seems to be the broader response. They're cheering for him right there, as you can see.

CROWD: Four more years! Four more years!

BURNETT: Four more years.

WALLACE: Do we want to watch that or --

BURNETT: No, no, no, we don't have to.

WALLACE: Okay. Anyway, I was just going to say that the two of them decided after November of 2022 that he was going to seek the presidency when there were so many people who thought he should have turned it over to a new generation.

And this has been, quite frankly, a car accident in slow motion that we've seen over and building and questioning it and, you know, as has been pointed out, Joe Biden sought this debate at this remarkably early time because he knew he was losing and he needed to change the narrative. And he did change the narrative. He sunk his campaign tonight.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST: Well -- and we're in the spin room right now. This is where the surrogates and allies of the campaign come to spin their candidates' respective performances, and it is going to be an immense challenge for Biden's surrogates.

We have Governor Gavin Newsom here and also Georgia Senator Raphael Warnock in the back of the room. There are Trump campaign aides in here as well. No reporters are talking to them. Every reporter in here has just swarmed the two Biden surrogates that are inside this room.

And I think what I'm most struck by after listening to that entire performance and talking to the Biden campaign officials and covering President Biden myself, his first two years in office, was part of his closing statement there. He made no mention of abortion or Donald Trump's felony conviction, the two things that they have talked about the most.

The fact that that is the biggest contrast between President Biden and former President Donald Trump, obviously, the felony conviction, but also what they've done on reproductive rights, and the fact that three of the justices who helped overturn Roe versus Wade were put on the Supreme Court by former President Donald Trump.

But on January 6th itself as an issue, Donald Trump lied about January 6th. He downplayed his own role. And he also claimed that police officers were ushering people in that day. They've testified they were actually overwhelmed and outnumbered, and that is why people were able to get into the Capitol that day.

And President Biden, who delivered an address on the anniversary of January 6th and said that Donald Trump was holding a dagger to the throat of democracy, did not seize on that moment --


BURNETT: So, can I just for a moment, because we can hear him, and this is happening right now. So just in this moment, he's at a watch party, they're cheering four more years, he's speaking. What I'm curious about, okay, is, does he know how bad this was at this moment? He walked out to his aides. Does he know? I mean, you can hear him a little bit on the mic.

WALLACE: If he doesn't know, that's more alarming than anything. You know, he's not the first president who's had a really --

BURNETT: Since we can hear it, why don't we listen to a little bit of it?




BIDEN: Heading to North Carolina.


All right. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I want to go home with you. Thank you.


BURNETT: All right. So, there he is. Thank you, thank you. The rousing applause. Going to that party.

COLLINS: He wasn't a third that vibrant or vigorous inside -- inside the debate, Audie. AUDIE CORNISH, CNN HOST AND CORRESPONDENT, PODCAST HOST: Yeah. I mean, I think fundamentally, I think a lot of Americans saw Donald Trump they recognize tonight, right? His mannerisms, his quickness, and his response. And, as you talked about, lies and information that was incorrect.

Unfortunately, they also saw a Joe Biden maybe they don't recognize. This is not the person who was quick on his feet or fast to parry or to respond quickly to misinformation, to respond quickly to lies.

WALLACE: He hasn't been that Joe Biden in a long time. This was the --

CORNISH: Well --

WALLACE: This is culmination of a process.

CORNISH: Perhaps, but it also was stark. You know, before I went into this conversation, I thought about the idea of infirm versus unstable.


And I think that Joe Biden did not do enough to mitigate the idea that he is infirm. And Donald Trump was able to mitigate looking unstable. When I think about how he talked about abortion, for instance, trying to show that he was not extreme in some way.

I know people are pointing out his lies tonight. That is also something that Joe Biden was to be doing in a more effective way and did not. And so, it's sort of hard to be here now and say this is what's said and that was said, like, that's your job on the stage to also jump in quickly.

BURNETT: There were also moments where the sentence would end and there was maybe an attempt to have a back and forth between them. Obviously, because of the mics, they weren't able to do that. And then there would be another question.


CORNISH: You have to use your time effectively. And unfortunately, the president did not do that.

WALLACE: I'm going to pick up on that. I mean, there was a question asked about what are you going to do for Blacks and Black voters, which is a constituency that Biden is in terrible jeopardy of losing. He finishes his statement. And the moderator, I forget which one, says, you have 49 seconds left, basically almost half of your two minutes. Then he's asked about Social Security, and I think it was Dana who says, you have 82 seconds left.

I mean, he wasn't able to even fill the two-minute time he was given. The other guy's mic goes up to talk about Black voters and protecting Social Security.

CORNISH: And not to -- I don't speak on behalf of Black voters, but that was a great example of an issue where both of them sounded just like wild. What is the policy? What is a black job and a black child care? It was like, what is happening? It was very similar to the end when they started going off about golf. Why? I mean, those are those moments where I think as a voter, you're just like, these are the options and it doesn't feel great.

COLLINS: One of the number one concerns that you hear from parents in this country, parents have to quit their jobs because it's less expensive for one person to not work instead of having to pay for child care. Neither of them gave a substantive answer on that. They were both answering questions about very different topics. I mean, Chris and I turned to each other and said, this is a question about child care costs.

CORNISH: A lot of clumsy kind of response.


COLLINS: But I'll note that the mics -- and that was -- the Biden campaign agreed to that. They wanted that because they were so frustrated by how that first debate in 2020 went on this issue. And you did see Biden not using his time effectively with that -- with those times where Trump was not answering the question.

I mean, Trump was asked three times if he would accept the results of the 2024 election. Obviously, a critical question as we find ourselves in a state where he sought to overturn the election results here and was indicted and had his mugshot taken about three miles from where we're sitting right now. And that was not a moment that became a point of focus.

It was like watching a debate with someone who is not a convicted felon and is not also under all of these criminal charges. I think that is a question of why President Biden himself, who brings it up in other moments, did not use it more effectively. They used it in the one moment where he brought up Stormy Daniels as well.


COLLINS: Donald Trump denied having sex with her in another surreal moment in this debate. I don't think that that's ever been uttered on a presidential debate stage. But it was something that you see President Biden talk more about from -- from the White House or in front of donors.

CORNISH: Even Trump's attempt to spin January 6. I just thought, oh, here we are in one of the most bizarre moments, right? The idea that actually on January 6, there was a lot of good things happening. And if you just think back to that, it was just so sort of a wild way to spin that.

COLLINS: How does this happen?

CORNISH: And again, Biden --

WALLACE: I thought it was a pretty effective way to spin.

CORNISH: Well, it would be less if the president could respond to it.


WALLACE: Right. Yeah.


BURNETT: Chris, he goes to six days of preparation at Camp David.

WALLACE: More than that.

BURNETT: And they know the rules.

WALLACE: It was more than a week.

BURNETT: Okay, they -- so, more than a week. They know the rules. He practices with the mics. He knows every one of these questions is coming, and yet he couldn't fill the time. Now, I just want to -- let's see what the White House is saying.


Sources close to the White House are saying he had a cold, wasn't feeling well. I mean, as you would expect, that came out early on in the debate. But what accounts for someone with so much experience, doing so much preparation, and this became the outcome?

WALLACE: Honestly, I think the question answers itself. He wasn't capable of doing any better than he did. He had it all. He --

CORNISH: There's a world where he prepared to not go over the two minutes.

WALLACE: That he was incapable tonight on the biggest of stages that he saw. He, in effect, dictated. And with all of that preparation, he was incapable of doing better than he was. And you can't come back from that. You can't be in a state where tens of millions of Americans watch you and come up empty. And that's what he did tonight.

BURNETT: He almost seemed a bit nervous at the beginning, Audie.

CORNISH: We could read all kinds of things into the facial expressions and, you know, the utterances. But I think at the end of the day, we heard the partisan panel start to wistfully look in the air and talk about what if he wasn't on the ticket.

And I think that kind of language and the kinds of things that you're going to see over the next 24 hours is really going to be the important conversation. This debate was early. Is it early enough for there to be some other discussion, more fulsome, taken more seriously? And we'll find that out.

WALLACE: And one of the questions I have is, who -- if Joe and Jill Biden don't make that decision on their own, is there anybody in the party? Because, you know, the party's system has been so weakened. There were a group of people that came to Richard Nixon in August of 1974 and said, you know what? You got to leave. You're -- you don't -- you have four votes in the -- in the Senate and you either resign or you're going to be removed from office. I'm not sure there's anybody with that kind of authority in the Democratic Party who could go to Joe Biden and say, it's time to say goodbye.

COLLINS: And they said that President Biden had a cold and he was recovering from that. That came about 50 minutes into the debate --

CORNISH: Into the debate, yeah.

COLLINS: -- after he had been on. Obviously, they're passing that on -- on background to reporters who are tweeting it. Voters who are watching at home, millions of them who have never even considered having a Twitter account, are not going to see that.

And it's not really going to -- to help reassure voters because we do live in this moment where President Obama had a really terrible first debate. His own aides will now admit it, that he came off and he wasn't prepared and he wasn't ready, and Mitt Romney surpassed him in that debate.

What's different about this is that voters already had quite high concerns about President Biden's age. And this was a moment where they were hoping it would look more like the State of the Union address and how he came out there and how he dealt with the Republicans who were heckling him. Here in this debate, President Trump would give his answer and President Biden would come out and say that's a lot of malarkey, that's a lot of foolishness.

But he didn't have the same demeanor that he did in 2020, where he looked directly at the camera and said, it's not about this, it's about you at home who are having these moments. He wasn't smiling and laughing as much as he was in the first debate. It was a very different demeanor and how he handled Trump.

Trump, on the other hand, was not even making eye contact. He wouldn't even look at President Biden or in his direction as he was trying to stick to -- to the messaging or he would redirect a question about in general of his resigning into Biden and Afghanistan. He was taking those moments. And that is something that the Trump campaign worked with Trump on privately.

And I can tell you, obviously, this is the Trump campaign, this is what they're saying. They could not be more thrilled with how tonight went and feel really good about it. And they were nervous going into this debate, of how Donald Trump would do. And now, they're walking out of it feeling pretty good.

BURNETT: Yes, certainly. Maybe didn't expect --

WALLACE: Somebody -- somebody sent me an emoji, a top person in the Trump campaign. Just for flames, for dumpster fire flames. Another one wrote, train wreck. They couldn't feel better about it. And they should feel good about it. BURNETT: All right --

WALLACE: It was a very good night. And the one thing I will say for Trump, and there's no question, he lied about a lot of stuff --


WALLACE: -- but he also showed real discipline. And, you know, one of the big questions -- you talked about unstable versus un-firm. He was not unstable and he was very controlled, and controlled even in the lies.

COLLINS: But he called --

WALLACE: He had discipline.

COLLINS: He called Biden a Manchurian candidate. He lied about late term abortions and completely misrepresented what happened on January 6th as well.

BURNETT: Well, there were many there were many things that were not true, but --

WALLACE: But it was not a repeat of 2020.

BURNETT: It's unstable sort of perspective. All right, all stay with me for more reaction. Anderson, I know we've got to hear what the White House has to say now.

COOPER: Yeah. I want to bring in senior White House correspondent MJ Lee, who covers the Biden campaign, how they're seeing this tonight. Yeah. What are they saying?

MJ LEE, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, well, Anderson, obviously, a ton of Democrats, voters, elected officials were tuning in tonight, really nervous and really desperate for President Biden to give his A performance. And after his performance, it has really set off panic.


There was one Democratic congressman I was in touch with who was on Capitol Hill at a watch party with a number of other lawmakers. And that moment early on in the debate where President Biden was talking about the national debt and seemed to lose his train of thought, paused for several seconds and then gave a confusing answer, he said that when that happened, the entire room was just completely silent and in shock, and that this member's own reaction was that he wanted to jump off of a bridge.

And he said that throughout the course of the 90 minutes of the debate, he and the other lawmakers in the room felt like Donald Trump looked young and Joe Biden looked old, and that Donald Trump seemed to mostly be on the offensive and that Joe Biden seemed to be mostly on the defense. Democrats, he said, are just panicked right now and don't even know what to do. I mean, these are some really devastating reviews for a Biden campaign that really wanted to use tonight to dispel this notion that President Biden is too old for a second term.

You and I were just talking about right before the debate how Biden advisors were hoping that for tonight, a lot of Americans would be tuning in and seeing a President Biden that was more than just the 5, 10, 15-second clips that they often see on social media where he does look feeble or older. And now, we have another example of the kind of moment that is sure to go viral on social media.

The Biden campaign, I should note, is obviously trying to do their best to offer their best spin. You know, they have pointed out moments from the debate that they say, you know, landed better for President Biden on January 6th, on the abortion issue. They're also saying that for President Trump, when he was being more vicious and being more personally insulting, that that wasn't a good look for him.

One source familiar with the campaign's thinking said, yeah, the president had a slower start, but he did warm up both on substance and on style. But I have to tell you, Anderson, so far, I haven't heard a convincing argument or spin on the president's overall performance, either from the White House or the campaign.

COOPER: MJ, thank you. CNN's Kristen Holmes has some new reporting from the Trump camp. What are you hearing tonight?

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Anderson, I mean, you just heard a lot of what MJ had to say. And because of that, it's no surprise that Donald Trump's team is currently celebrating the outcome of the debate. They believe that Donald Trump won handily.

And there's really two reasons for that. One, as Kaitlin noted earlier, they were nervous going to the debate. They had done a lot of preparation. They had really encouraged Donald Trump to stay on message.

But there's always that chance that Donald Trump is going to go rogue. They don't believe he did. They believe that the former president did exactly what they wanted him to do and what he set out to do, which was to just stay focused on message, to not go overtly with the attacks on Joe Biden and his family, to not be too aggressive, and to look hinged, to look like somebody who could be the next president of the United States. They believe that he accomplished that.

Now, the other part of this, of course, is what we just heard from MJ. We are hearing Democrats both privately and publicly talk about Biden's debate performances. They have been, Trump's senior advisers, closely monitoring social media, looking at the clips of people saying that Joe Biden looks feeble and weak, talking about the fact that Joe Biden had a number of pauses. They believe that obviously adds to their case that they won the big debate earlier tonight.

And in fact, there had been some rumor and speculation that Donald Trump might show up here in the spin room. I spoke to one senior adviser who said, why would he do that when he just had such a remarkable performance? He doesn't need to go out there and do any spinning. They want him to just get in his car and go home and take the win. That's where they are standing right now.

And again, they were nervous going into this. They had done extensive preparation, despite the fact that they said that Donald Trump didn't need to prepare. They'd even been watching old video clips. They are very happy tonight on their way to Virginia, where he'll hold a rally tomorrow.

COOPER: Kristen Holmes, thanks very much. Back here with the team outside the debate hall. John King, I mean, what happens now?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A couple of things happen. Number one, we wait. I would say we should wait. We won't, but we should wait a week and see how this settles out in the polling, particularly in the battleground state polling and particularly among the most important subgroups.

What happens right now is, I would just say that if the Trump people are running around saying they won the debate, we'll see if that holds up. Biden lost the debate. I don't know if Trump won the debate. The early indications we're getting, again, from pollsters and party strategists who were talking to people in focus groups and doing dial groups, is that Trump actually fared pretty poorly on the issues, and his tone was negative.

So, I don't think we -- we don't have any evidence before us right now in the hour after it ended that Trump gained a lot of new voters. Put it that way, right? Did he hurt himself with the Trump base? Absolutely not.


And so, Donald Trump is going to get 40 something. He's going to get 40 something. Did he grow tonight? I'm a little skeptical of that.

The main issue, though, is the president of the United States, the incumbent. Again, I don't know that the old rules apply because he's running as a former president. But this is my 10th one of these. And when the incumbent is running, the American people are being asked. Keep what you got. Do you like what you got? Stay the course. That was not a stay the course performance from a president who, when he walked on stage, knew the fundamentals of this race were already bent against him.

They had 38% approval rating. Sixty plus percent of the country thinks we're on the wrong track. And as Abby noted earlier, there were already significant doubts about, can you do this for four more years? It's the toughest job in the world. And so, even in the middle of the debate saying he had a cold, I have a cold, I get it, I get it, that sucks, but, you know, he's the president of the United States. When the phone rings at 3:00 in the morning, the world doesn't matter if you have a cold or not.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN ANCHOR: And the president did intensive preparation for this debate. I mean, that's the other part of this.

COOPER: And they signal that repeatedly.

PHILLIP: Repeatedly. I mean, he was in Camp David. All of his top advisors were there. They were preparing him as well as they possibly could for this moment.


PHILLIP: He came in here saying -- sorry, Van, just a moment. He had to solidify. It's not just his base. It's who voted for him the last time around, right? Now, who voted for him last time around was enough for him to beat Donald Trump. Donald Trump can stay just where he was the last time around. And if Joe Biden erodes so significantly that it's less than what Donald Trump got, Donald Trump wins. Okay? That's how the math works here.

So, he has to bring back all of those people, whether they're Democrats or not, who cast a ballot for him. Was he able to do that tonight? I don't think there's anybody who thinks that he was.

JONES: Well, I tell you, I am starting to get the pushback now from people who are not in agreement with us. I just want to get --


I just want to -- listen --

URBAN: Didn't watch the debate.

JONES: No, no, actually did. A major Black leader just called me and kicked my butt. And so, I just want to give the other side, which is -- which is that Republicans would never throw their guy overboard. Even if they had a guy that had felony convictions, if they had a guy that led an insurrection, if they had a guy who was a serial liar, they would never throw their guy overboard.

And there are people who are angry tonight that the Democratic Party leaders are already abandoning Joe Biden. They're saying that we already know that he's older and slower, but what he stands for matters. What he was -- if you -- as I said, if you wrote out what he said, if you listened to it, the substance of what he said is true, the Democratic Party, and there's a pushback beginning to say, if Democratic Party is too scared to stand up for Joe Biden, other people will.



JONES: Yes, sir.

AXELROD: Listen. I believe this. I think when we see sort of voter surveys and so on, of people who watch the debate and so on, they're going to be a lot different than -- than -- than you might think because I don't think Donald Trump had a great night. And I think on -- on -- on substance, Biden did fine. But that wasn't the big question about Biden.

But here's the thing. People can love Joe Biden. Lots of Democrats do. I worked with him. I have deep respect for him.

JONES: Yes, sir.

AXELROD: But as you said earlier, the stakes are enormous. You said democracy is on the line.

JONES: It is.

AXELROD: And so, it becomes less an issue about loyalty to one person than to the idea of how much are you willing to fight.


JONES: I want to give a voice to other folks.


KING: Let me jump in quickly on this point that Van just made, because one of the reasons I started this voter project is Washington is often wrong about these things. So, I'm always skeptical when all the elites in Washington or the people who live comfortable lives in Washington. This is -- this conversation is not just Washington. I want to make that clear. This is Democrats across the country who are watching, Democrats who live in competitive areas, Democrats who love Joe Biden. It'll be interesting to see how it shakes out.

But the other question I would just raise is, there's -- there has to be a conversation with the president after tonight. Right? Some of those conversations will be from people who say, sir, you should step aside. But if you -- if you want to take Van's position out there, the main organizing impetus in the Democratic Party is keep Donald Trump in retirement, keep him out of the White House. So, if you won't step aside, what are the conversations about what to do about tonight? Those will have to happen.

So, my question for the people who know best and the one who knows the best is sitting right over there, is, who can have that conversation with the president?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Who's the only person in the party?

KING: I mean, Bill Clinton or Barack Obama might call him, but I don't know if that would matter. Is it Jill Biden, Ted Kaufman? Who is it?

KATE BEDINGFIELD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, yes, Jill -- Jill Biden is the single most important person in terms of sharing criticism, in terms of being direct --

KING: But will she?

BEDINGFIELD: -- opinions. Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. Yes. And I imagine that there will be -- there will be serious conversations within the president's inner circle, people like Mike Donilon, people like Steve Ruscetti (ph), people like Anita Dunn, who will have very direct conversations with the president. He is not somebody who shies away.


He is absolutely -- I think, as was said earlier, he's absolutely somebody who is stubborn and resilient, but he's actually not somebody who shies away from having tough conversations and having direct feedback. So, yes, absolutely, I have to imagine there will be direct discussions with him about how to adjust the campaign for this.

But I also think to this point about waiting to see where actual voters land on this is critically important before -- before -- you know, before the elites sitting at this table determine that the rest of the country hated the performance. I think we've got to see what voters have to say.

COOPER: All right. We're going to take a short break. When we come back, Vice President Kamala Harris will be joining us.


COOPER: The first debate of the 2024 presidential campaign is now history. The fallout from it is just getting started. Joining us now is Vice President Kamala Harris. Madam Vice President, thanks for being with us.

CNN's John King has described a panic inside the Democratic Party right now because of President Biden's performance in tonight's debate. He has been hearing from Democratic lawmakers and others around the country.


Some within your own party are wondering if President Biden should even step aside. What do you say to that?

KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Listen, first of all, what we saw tonight is the president making a very clear contrast with Donald Trump on all of the issues that matter to the American people. Yes, there was a slow start, but it was a strong finish.

And what became very clear through the course of the night is that Joe Biden is fighting on behalf of the American people on substance, on policy, on performance. Joe Biden is extraordinarily strong. And that cannot be debated.

COOPER: On substance and policy and performance tonight, I mean, the president's performance tonight clearly was disappointing for his supporters. CNN is reporting Democratic lawmakers watching the debate were worried about the president's performance. One said it was a disaster. Another called it a train wreck. Those are Democrats especially worried that Biden did not punch back on Trump's lies.

HARRIS: Listen, people can debate on style points, but ultimately, this election and who is the president of the United States has to be about substance. And the contrast is clear. Look at what happened during the course of the debate.

Donald Trump lied over and over and over again as he is wants to do. He would not disavow what happened on January 6th. He would not give a clear answer on whether he would stand by the election results this November.

He went back and forth about where he stands on one of the most critical issues of freedom in America, which is the right of a woman to make decisions about their own body. He has been completely ambiguous and all over the place about where he stands on that issue, despite the fact that he hand-selected three members of the United States Supreme Court with the intention that they would undo the protections of Roe v. Wade. And that's exactly what they did.

And just three years ago, we commemorated the two-year anniversary of Dobbs, wherein women across our country have been denied emergency health care --

COOPER: All that may be true.

HARRIS: -- had suffered miscarriages to the point that --

COOPER: All that may be true. But the president of the United States was not able to -- to put -- make that case to Donald Trump on the stage tonight. I mean, you debated against then Vice President Trump -- excuse me, Vice President Biden four years ago, and he was a very different person on the stage four years ago when -- when you debated him. You must -- I mean, that -- that's certainly true, is it not?

HARRIS: Anderson, the point has to be performance in terms of what a president does. A president who incites an insurrection against the Capitol --

COOPER: But that is what is scary for people watching this.

HARRIS: But I got the point that you're making about a one-and-a-half- hour debate tonight. I'm talking about three and a half years of performance in work that has been historic, whether that be infrastructure. The former guy, the other guy -- the other guy on the debate stage --

COOPER: But is that the man -- the man who we saw on the stage tonight, is that the person you see --

HARRIS: The person that you saw on the debate stage that has for the last three and a half years, up until today, performed in a way that has been about, whether it be in the Oval Office, negotiating bipartisan deals so that we have an infrastructure, a real infrastructure plan where we're putting trillions of dollars on the streets of America to upgrade our infrastructure, whether it be the person I see in the Oval Office who is meeting with heads of the military and the Intelligence Community and in the Situation Room, ensuring the safety of America, the person I see in Joe Biden on the world stage convening world leaders who often ask for his advice, most recently just during the G7 conference.

So, I'm not going to spend all night with you talking about the last 90 minutes when I've been watching the last three and a half years of performance.

COOPER: But this was a debate that your campaign wanted. You pushed for this debate at this moment. Obviously -- I mean, you can't honestly say -- I mean, can you say that you are not concerned at all having watched the president's performance tonight?

HARRIS: It was a slow start. That's obvious to everyone. I'm not going to debate that point. I'm talking about the choice in November. I'm talking about one of the most important elections in our collective lifetime.

And do we want to look at what November will bring and go on a course for America that is about a destruction of democracy, electing a man who has said he'll be a dictator on day one, or do we want to continue on a course that's about strengthening America's economy, building and creating 15 million American jobs, over 800,000 manufacturing jobs?

I got that this is the after-play for the debate, this conversation that I'm in, and I understand why everyone wants to talk about it.


But I think it's also important to recognize that the choice in November between these two people that were on the debate stage involves extraordinary stakes. And there's one person on that stage who has the endorsement of their vice president. And that's Joe Biden.

COOPER: Neither person on that stage --

Mike Pence is nowhere to be found in supporting Donald Trump, and that's why he has to look for -- that's why he has to look for someone else to run with him, who, as we know, will embolden and rubber stamp whatever he wants because they're going to have to make a choice to not be Mike Pence and to put Donald Trump over their country.

COOPER: Neither person on that stage tonight made the argument as coherently as you just did. You mentioned reproductive rights. I'd like to just play that exchange that we saw tonight.


TRUMP: Under Roe v. Wade, you have late-term abortion. You can do whatever you want, depending on the state. You can do whatever you want. We don't think that's a good thing. We think it's a radical thing. We think the Democrats are the radicals, not the Republicans.

BIDEN: For 51 years, that was the law. Fifty-one years, constitutional scholarship said it was the right way to go. Fifty-one years, it was taken away because this guy put very conservative members on the Supreme Court. He takes credit for taking it away. What's he going to do? What's he going to do? In fact, if the MAGA Republicans -- he gets elected and the MAGA Republicans control the Congress, and they pass a universal ban on abortion, period, across the board, at six weeks or seven or eight or 10 weeks, something very, very conservative, is he going to sign that bill? I'll veto it. He'll sign it.


COOPER: To someone who watched this debate tonight and has serious concerns about the president of the United States, what do you say to them about what they just saw?

HARRIS: They saw the fact, they witnessed the fact that if Donald Trump were elected to be president of the United States this November, he will sign a national abortion ban. Take him at his word. He said he would when he was president before. He said if it came to his desk, he'd sign it. There's no reason to believe anything would change.

A national abortion ban means that folks in New York, California, Maryland, all these other states that have protected the right of a woman to make decision about her own body and not have the government tell her what to do, will be at risk. That's what you should take away from that discussion.

COOPER: And just --

HARRIS: Joe Biden was very clear.

COOPER: I know we have to go --

HARRIS: He will sign back into law the protections of Roe v. Wade.

COOPER: The person we saw tonight --

HARRIS: It's a big issue, substantive issue.

COOPER: -- the president we saw tonight on that stage, is that how he is every day?

HARRIS: The Joe Biden that I work with every day is someone who, as I have said, has performed in a way that has been about bringing people into the Oval Office, Republicans and Democrats, to compromise in a way that is extraordinary these days because it just doesn't happen, but Joe Biden can make it happen.

The Joe Biden I see is someone who goes to our allies around the world and strengthens NATO to the point that there are two new members of NATO who, just about four years ago, people said, is NATO even have a reason for existing?

The Joe Biden I know is someone who has delivered 800,000 new manufacturing jobs and bringing manufacturing back to the United States, not shipping jobs out like Donald Trump did. So, that's the Joe Biden I know.

COOPER: Vice President Kamala Harris, I appreciate your time tonight. Thank you.

HARRIS: Thank you. Good to be with you.

COOPER: Back with the panel. Joining us as well is Biden biographer, Evan Osnos. Evan Osnos, you have watched President Biden a lot. What did you make of tonight's performance?

EVAN OSNOS, PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN'S BIOGRAPHER: You know, I don't think there's any other way to put it. This was clearly a person who was diminished from where he was on the debate stage four years ago. I think for a lot of Americans who don't follow politics closely, they saw that and they were shocked.

You know, I will tell you, Anderson, what I -- what I see now and over the course of the next few hours and days is it's going to come down partly to how Joe Biden makes sense of this, because his self- mythology has always been, okay, I'm the guy that gets knocked down and I get back up.

That is -- in some ways, it could be a real impediment to him if he's not going to be able to listen clearly to what people around him are going to say. There has to be some very hard conversations.

And if he is in some ways occluded by that story that he tells himself, that he can always prevail, that's going to interfere with his ability to be a clear strategic thinker.

COOPER: And the panel here, John King.

KING: I just want to make observation about your interview with the vice president. The Republicans are going to probably disagree with me. I think one of the greatest acts of political malpractice I have seen in my lifetime doing this is that they kept her under wraps for three years. Now, she's out on the road. She has great appeals.


Does she have weaknesses? Yes. Do Republicans view her as a liability? Yes. Are her polling numbers great? No. But she has appeal with the pieces of the Biden coalition where he is hurting the most.

And when you go into inner city of Milwaukee, what do Black Americans say? Where's the vice president? Where has she been? They want the president, too, but she's right there. Is she a feisty communicator? Good on television. And they kept her under wrap for three years. Now, she's out there busy on the campaign trail.

I know in places, I know in Republican places, you know, you'd beat her up, but in a close competitive race, when you need all hands on deck, that is an asset that should have been working for them from day one.

And Joe Biden was vice president for eight years. If there's anyone who should have understood how hard it is to be vice president, how hard it is to establish an identity as vice president, it's him. And again, she has churned her staff. She has issues. There's no question about it. But she also has potential star power. And on issues like reproductive rights and in the Black Street community, she is a great asset to this team, and they have kept her under wraps.

URBAN: I would say two things, John. She was in charge of the border. That was her job at the beginning of the presidency. I think she was largely absent from that. So, you could say -- say what you want. I just want to give a quick plug for our colleagues who I think -- not our colleagues, but Anderson, your colleague, Dana and Jake.

COOPER: Oh, yeah.

URBAN: They did an incredible job tonight. The debate went flawlessly. It was -- everybody in the world was watching to see if it was going to be a fair debate, if they were going to be favoring one side or the other. They played it right down the middle.

COOPER: Sure did.

URBAN: And America is the better for it. So, I just want to say a great, great job.

JENNINGS: I'll second that on Jake and Dan. A lot of Republicans were coming after our colleagues this week and they totally made history tonight. America needed this conversation. They did it.

Let me -- let me just take the other side of this Kamala Harris debate. It is a fair question to ask right now, what is going on inside the White House every day? Is she currently making more decisions in the White House than we know? Who is making decisions in the White House right now?

We're talking about this in terms of can Joe Biden win an election and serve for four years? I want to know -- I want to know what's happening on a day to day basis. To me, she is the big story tonight because her position in this administration, in this campaign, has become magnified by a thousand right now.

COOPER: All right --

UNKNOWN: She is always --

COOPER: Sorry, we got to take a break. Given all the talk tonight about the truth and lies in the debate stage, we're joined by the fact-checker, Daniel Dale. Also, ahead, Republican Senator Marco Rubio. A lot ahead. Stay with us.



COLLINS: The candidates' performance and demeanor tonight notwithstanding. There is the crucial question of the truth, of what was actually said on stage. And our fact-checker Daniel Dale joins us now. So, Daniel, what stands out to you? DANIEL DALE, CNN SENIOR REPORTER: What stood out was the staggering number of false claims from former President Trump. On first count, Erin, I counted at least 30, 30 false claims. Now, President Biden also made false claims, at least nine false or misleading statements on first count.

I'll give you some of them. He said he's the only president in a while who didn't have any troops dying anywhere in the world. Troops have, of course, died on his watch. He said he has put in a $15 per shot cap on insulin in Medicare. It is a $35 a month cap. He said it's a $200 cap on overall drug spending in Medicare. It's $2,000 a year.

He said the border now has fewer crossings than when Trump was in office. That's generally not true. He said or at least strongly suggested unemployment was at 15% when he took office. It was actually 6.4. He said Trump wants to get rid of Social Security. Trump doesn't. He said billionaires pay 8.2% in taxes. It's much higher.

He said Trump told Americans to inject bleach amid COVID. We know Trump made foolish comments about scientists studying disinfectant injection, but didn't frame it as advice to people. And Biden said the Border Patrol endorsed him. No, unions that supported the border bill he'd supported never endorsed him (ph). In fairness, the president did appear to clarify that one.

Now, the Trump list. It is way, way longer. So, deep breath. He said some democratic states allow people to execute babies after birth, an egregious lie that is illegal in every state. He said everybody, even Democrats, wanted Roe v. Wade overturned. Roe was supported by two- thirds of Americans, even more Democrats. He said every legal scholar wanted Roe overturned, abortion returned to the states. Legal scholars have told me directly this is not true.

He said U.S. currently has the biggest budget deficit ever. No, that happened under Trump in 2020. He said the U.S. currently has a record trade deficit with China. That also happened under Trump in 2018. He said Biden personally gets a lot of money from China. Zero evidence of this. He said there were no terror attacks during his presidency. In fact, there were multiple attacks. He said Iran didn't fund Hamas, Hezbollah, other terror groups under his presidency. Iran, in fact, did.

He said Biden wants to quadruple people's taxes. That is pure fiction. He said the U.S. has provided way more aid to Ukraine than Europe had. It's actually the opposite. He said the U.S. has provided about $200 billion in Ukraine aid. It's closer to $110 billion. He said 18 or 19 million people have crossed the border under Biden. That is millions too high. He said many of these migrants are from prisons or mental institutions. His own campaign cannot corroborate this.

He said Biden has only created jobs for illegal immigrants. Total nonsense. He said Nancy Pelosi turned down his offer of 10,000 National Guard troops on January 6. There's no evidence she even got such an offer. It was the president, not Pelosi, who had the power to deploy the D.C. Guard. He said Pelosi now acknowledges she turned down the troops. No, her office tells me this claim is still a lie. He said he deployed the National Guard to Minneapolis in 2020. Actually, that was the Democratic governor. He spoke of -- quote -- "ridiculous fraud" in the 2020 election. Zero evidence of any widespread fraud. He said NATO was going out of business before he took office. Completely, clearly absurd. He said the U.S. was paying 100% of NATO before he came along. The U.S. made up about 71% of NATO defense spending, not 100.

He said he, not Biden, is the one who lowered insulin prices in Medicare. He did it for some seniors, but Biden did it for far more. He said Biden indicted him. Again, no evidence Biden has had a personal role in any of these four prosecutions. He said Europe takes no U.S. cars. Just not true. He spoke of food prices quadrupling under Biden. That's a wild exaggeration, though they are up.


He said Biden made up the idea he called dead service members suckers and losers. No, "The Atlantic" magazine reported that, and then former Trump chief of staff John Kelly corroborated it. He said Biden called Black people, -- quote -- "super predators for 10 years." Biden never once deployed that phrase, let alone for 10 years, though he did at least once speak of -- quote -- "predators" without specifying it was about Black people.

He said his Trump tax cut was the largest in U.S. history. Not true, though, in fairness, Biden also said this. Trump said China and others stopped buying from Iran under him. China never stopped. He revived his pet lie. I don't know how many times he had done it, that he signed the Veterans Choice Program into law. Barack Obama did that in 2014. Trump signed an expanded version in 2018. And finally, Trump said Biden got rid of that Veterans program. Biden has not done that.

BURNETT: All right. Well, Daniel Dale, thank you very much, going through every single one of those, clearly long list. And I'm joined now in the spin room by someone on the shortlist of candidates who could be selected as Donald Trump's running mate, the Florida Senator Marco Rubio. And Senator, I appreciate your time.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL): Thank you.

BURNETT: All right, well, you know, I want to talk about the appearance of everything, as we've been talking about, but what Daniel Dale just -- just finished when he went through every single one of those points, does that give you pause?

RUBIO: Well, first of all, some of those things, the last one he talked about was the V.A. Choice. The V.A. Choice Program has actually not been fully implemented. It has been undermined in its implementation. So, I think what Donald Trump is saying is that basically, this was in place. It was expanded.

The Biden administration has actually slowed it down and impeded its implementation. I don't remember all 30 of them. He went through and, obviously, we don't have to go through the Biden ones either Suffice it to say that I think tonight, we all are in politics, I'm in office, you guys cover it, but there are millions of people watching who basically want to ask themselves, were we better off under Trump or were we better off under Biden? Did I have more money in my pocket? Was the world safer and more secure? Was the country safer, more secure?

And I just think more and more Americans are concluding that they were better off in the four years Trump was president than in the four year, three and a half years that Biden has been president. I think that's the core issue of this campaign that's going to decide it.

BURNETT: Even with COVID? I mean --

RUBIO: Well, I mean --

BURNETT: -- it was bad.

RUBIO: Yeah, COVID was bad, but Trump didn't create COVID. COVID impacted the entire planet.

BURNETT: That was how people felt. That was what they lived through.

RUBIO: Sure, but I mean, how was -- what does Trump have to do with COVID? On the contrary, they got -- they -- I vividly recall when he implemented the travel ban from China, I want to say January, maybe February of that year, it was Nancy Pelosi and people like that. They were criticizing. I think Biden called them a xenophobe for the China ban. And we wish we would have done it earlier in hindsight.

So, I mean, he invested a massive amount of money, which we had to do an Operation Warp Speed that came up with not one, but three vaccines. So, if you think about our efforts and the patient protection program, which is bipartisan, the administration was a key part of --


RUBIO: -- saved main street America when everything was being shut down, including states that were shut down for a year. So, even those things, he doesn't get enough credit for. But, obviously, COVID was an anomaly in human history, something that happens once every hundred years and never -- hopefully never happens again. But overall, people have recollections of those years in which they had more money in their pocket. That's a fact.

BURNETT: So -- so I want to ask you about some things as you sit here, as his surrogate, that he said tonight that are important to you. And I want to start with NATO. Um, the issue of NATO came up and what he thinks about NATO. I want to play that for you, senator.

RUBIO: Okay.


BIDEN: This is a guy who wants to get out of NATO. Are you going to stay in NATO? (END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Are you okay with that? He shrugged.

RUBIO: Well, I think this is the negotiator in him. I was in the Senate when he was the president. And he would talk to these guys, not like a politician would normally, but he basically is trying to negotiate so that our partners do more.

Interestingly enough, the Eastern European countries all punch above their weight in terms of how much they contribute. Poland is an example. The Western European countries have been slower to come to the table and do more. Now, Germany has going after the Ukraine and others have gotten going a little bit more.

But the truth of the matter is that NATO has been an unbalanced alliance for a substantial period of time. And we tolerated it during the Cold War. But now, I think we have to -- it has to be reexamined. So, it's not so much about getting out of NATO, but you have to use some sort of leverage and negotiating tactic to force countries --

BURNETT: So, that's what you see --

RUBIO: -- that have these massive social safety nets to spend a little bit more money on their own defense.

BURNETT: So, you see it as negotiating. I mean, I know you led legislation that would have required an act of Congress before a president of the United States could withdraw the country from NATO.

RUBIO: Sure.

BURNETT: Did you do that because you were worried about Trump?

RUBIO: No, I think that Congress has an important role to play in an alliance, which is basically a treaty. But by the same token, I would tell you, and I think -- by the way, Biden -- I mean, Trump is not the first president in American history. Virtually, every president in American history has complained about the Europeans not spending more.

And why would they? They have these massive social safety net programs. They don't want to take money out of that and put more into their defense. Some of these countries are highly capable of doing more. You look at the attrition of French military capability and other military capabilities from multiple European countries.

BURNETT: Well, they're offering to put troops on the ground if necessary.

RUBIO: Well, but you need to invest for 10 or 15 years. They can't even get their troops there. We would have to transport them like we had to do when we sent them to North Africa or help them by getting their troops to North Africa. These are legitimate points.

[23:55:00] If we want to have a strong NATO, every country has to do their part. And that's what he's saying. And I think he should have as much leverage as possible to get that done.

BURNETT: So, you're sitting here. You're a surrogate for the former president. This is the most important event of this campaign so far. There's supposed to be another debate. We don't know if there will be. This might be it. Are you the VP?

RUBIO: Oh, I don't know the answer to that. No one has told me I am. I haven't -- have any reason to think they've even been thinking about it this week. But we'll know who it is at some point in the next two weeks. And the good news for Republicans, and I'm sure you've had others on the air tell you the same thing, but it's the truth. We have eight or nine people that I think could do a great job. It really comes down to who the president thinks would do a good job.

And either way, whether I'm in the Senate or I get a chance to serve in the executive branch, I want to be a part of these issues that we're facing at this moment in our nation's history because they're that important. But that's his decision to make.

BURNETT: So, can I ask you? Because there's one thing I want to get. You and the president, former president, both live in Florida.

RUBIO: Yeah.

BURNETT: Now, according to the Constitution, state electors have to vote for a president and a vice president, one of whom shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves.

RUBIO: Oh, is that still in there?

BURNETT: That's still in there.


So, you can't get the 30 electoral college votes in Florida if you've got two people from Florida on the ticket. So, would you move? Would you establish a presidency somewhere else?

RUBIO: Listen, that would be presumptuous of me to talk about that. The job has not been offered to me. I am not the vice-presidential choice. No one is right now. We'll cross bridges when we get to them. Tonight is about the debate. I'm not trying to evade you. I honestly don't know who he's going to pick.


RUBIO: And, you know, those are things that you have to make decision on. We'll figure out, whoever it is that they pick, what it is they need to do to make their candidacy possible. But, ultimately, I think, and I'm not trying to get back to the debate, I do think it's an important night. Maybe this is the last debate. I don't know. I hope it's not. But if it is, I think there's an element here that -- look, I don't take glee in it in saying this but, clearly, the president struggled tonight. And I do worry about the impact that that has in Beijing, in Tehran, in places where -- in Moscow where adversaries see that and perhaps feel emboldened to be more adventurous in their attitudes towards the United States because they feel our president is somehow struggling.

You know, that's not a good thing for our country. And I think that was painfully obvious tonight. I haven't watched what people are saying on the shows, but we saw that tonight. I do think that's a factor here. I really do.

BURNETT: All right. Well, Senator Rubio, I appreciate your time. And thank you very much. And coming up, the results of our flash poll of voters' opinions of tonight's debate. Our David Chalian is going to join us with all of the numbers, the details, the analysis after this.