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State of the Race with Kasie Hunt
Candidates Clash at Republican Debate without Trump; U.S. House Committee Holds its First Hearing on Biden; Trump & Biden Visit Michigan Amid Autoworkers Strike; Senate, House at odds on Funding as Government Shutdown Looms; One More Thing. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired September 28, 2023 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KASIE HUNT, CNN ANCHOR: Showdown in Simi Valley, seven Republican presidential candidates took the debate stage at the Reagan Library
battling to take on the absent front runner Donald Trump. And you're looking at live pictures from Capitol Hill where House Republicans have
begun their first hearing in their impeachment inquiry into President Biden.
Where's the evidence? Is there evidence? We'll discuss with the panel ahead. Plus, I'll address that impeachment inquiry in my interview with
Democratic Senator and Biden campaign co-Chair Chris Coons. Hello, everyone. I'm Kasie Hunt to our viewers watching here in the United States
and around the world.
It's 11 am in Washington Thursday, September 28. There are 403 days until Election Day. This is today's "State of the Race". Welcome so what did we
take away from the second Republican debate last night, seven candidates took the stage in what may have been their last big chance to steal the
spotlight from Donald Trump.
The Former President skipped the debate again to meet with working class voters in Michigan. We are going to get to all of that in just a moment.
But first I want to show you this according to the latest CNN poll of polls. Donald Trump is leading his main rivals for the Republican
nomination by about 20 points combined.
It makes a rematch of 2020 seem even more likely, despite the fact that Trump is a four times indicted person and is also facing numerous civil
lawsuits. And right now U.S. House Republicans starting their first official hearing of the impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden you
can see it here.
They claim that he profited from his son's business deals and abused his office. But the White House repeatedly denies this and Republicans have yet
to back up those claims with any kind of proof. Impeachment inquiries have usually had a higher bar to begin, but two days before the government runs
out of money and likely shuts down.
This is what they decided to do, their goal, of course, a political one, to bring Joe Biden to Donald Trump's level in a way and potentially make
voters question his eligibility. Let's dive in with today's panel. Lanhee Chen worked on Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential campaign as Chief Adviser.
Karen Finney, a CNN Political Commentator who served as Spokesperson for Hillary Clinton's 2016 Presidential Campaign and Leigh Ann Caldwell, a
Political Reporter for The Washington Post and the Co-Author of the Early 202 Newsletter thank you all for being here, it's wonderful to have you on
day two of "State of the Race".
I want to make sure that we show everyone a little bit of what played out on the debate stage last night because while you know I do think in the big
picture, there are some questions about how much these debates do matter in terms of President Trump's dominance over the field, it is very clear that
they still are having some impact on the race for second place.
And I don't think we're going to learn till Iowa or New Hampshire voters start to have a say how this is actually going to go down. So let's start
with this moment between Nikki Haley and Vivek Ramaswamy. Just because I think it's going to be the moment that if we're still talking about this
debate in a couple of months. This is what we're going to be seeing. Take a look at how she responded to him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIKKI HALEY, U.S. REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Honestly, every time I hear you, I feel a little bit dumber for what you say. Because I can't
believe they hear me. -- talk situation. What they're doing is these 150 million people are on TikTok. That means they can get your contacts, they
can get your financial information, they can get your email and they can just say messages -- .
VIVEK RAMASWAMY, U.S. REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let me just say -- this is very important -- .
HALEY: -- If you've got a new -- make -- in China, not America.
RAMASWAMY: Excuse me -- .
HALEY: -- now wanting kids to go and get on this social media. That's dangerous for all of us. You were in business with the Chinese that gave
Hunter Biden $5 million. We can't trust you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: OK, Lanhee, I'm just going to come around said she won that one. She won that round. She really stood out again, that she stood out the first
LANHEE CHEN, FORMER MITT ROMNEY PUBLIC POLICY DIRECTOR: Yes, you know, I think, look, the polling all indicates that she would be the most plausible
Republican challenger to Joe Biden. She would be in a very strong position. She had a good first debate. I thought last night she really built on that
And I think listen, she addressed a lot of issues that I think Republican primary voters care about. She addressed the immigration, she addressed the
economy and she addressed the role of the Chinese Communist Party and influence activities throughout the world and particularly in the United
So I think that she really positioned herself well. Now, the fact that she went after Vivek Ramaswamy is telling, because I think there's a sort of
personal animosity, it feels like there. But beyond that, there's probably some empirical reason she did it as well. I mean, in the polling, there's a
threat there from Vivek Ramaswamy.
HUNT: Yes, I mean, do you have reporting on what their personal relationship is like? Because I will say, I also saw some clips.
Unfortunately, I think we have them ready to go. But afterwards in the spin room, he was clearly pretty like, touchy about what had gone down on stage.
I know that there's animosity between Tim Scott and Nikki Haley. But yes, it sure is, and looks comfy between Vivek and Nikki Haley on that stage.
LEIGH ANN CALDWELL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think that no one on that stage likes Vivek. Obviously, in the first debate, and it was
definitely obvious last night to especially when Vivek completely changed his tactic and his personality from the first debate where he was, you
know, throwing insults left and right.
And then last night, he said, these are all good people. We're all friends. There's just a little bit of differences. And so but Nikki Haley has
effectively both in the first debate, and the second debate, shown a clear command of the issues. She's the only woman up there not afraid to throw
And she is, you know, we'll see if this momentum helps her. But I think that she did absolutely continue her streak from the first debate.
KAREN FINNEY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: But the second part of I agree she won. And I think she probably said what everybody on the stage was
thinking. But the second part was really indicative of what a lot of the debate was a lot of cross talk hard to hear, hard to get any clear thoughts
And the thing is, that's kind of the tempo, frankly, have primary season debates. The first one ever, but you know they're feeling each other out.
The second one, everybody goes into hard. The third one tends to be when they pull back a little bit and realize.
OK, I actually have to say something memorable beyond like a clip because clearly last night, you know, there were a couple of one liner that people
clearly had prepared. Some deployed wealth, some not so well.
HUNT: I think Haley's was a little stronger than we have Chris Christie calling Trump Donald Duck.
FINNEY: Exactly. Yes, but I don't think if you're a viewer, you didn't get more of a sense of who are these people? What are their ideas? And how are
those eight a lot of jabs at, you know, Joe Biden, some factual, some not so factual, but you didn't necessarily get a sense of OK, why would I vote
for this person over any other over Trump?
HUNT: So one question I do have, though long here is that there does seem to be some sorting in the bottom of the field, there is still a contingent
in your Republican party that wants somebody that's not Donald Trump to get this nomination. They had all pinned their hopes on Ron DeSantis.
And the reality is the Ron DeSantis balloon has been deflating over the last few months. And there's been this kind of searching around for someone
else. Do you think that Nikki Haley made the case tonight that that somebody else should be her last night?
CHEN: I think she made the case whether the polling will reflect that, you know, we'll see. But I do think what this is all about who is the person
that's going to end up one on one with Trump? And so we can talk about this mattering or not mattering at the end of the day, it does matter.
Because the person who comes out to face Trump is going to have to perform well, in these debates, and Nikki Haley has met that bar. Tim Scott kind of
came out last night, I thought and had a much more aggressive showing was really much more of what people thought he could be, whether it's enough or
not, we'll see.
To say this, I thought had a credible night. So this is all about hanging around until figuring out who the alternative is going to be?
CALDWELL: I was just going to say it was just so fascinating. This debate ignored Donald Trump it ignored it acted as if it was almost a normal
Republican primary. And the front runner was not a four times indicted person. There were no questions about that. There were no questions about
the other side about impeachment.
And so it was almost as if this was a debate just with those candidates that were on the stage. And the polling suggests that this is much more
complicated than that. And this is not an election season that we've ever seen before.
HUNT: Yes, no, that's a really, really good point. And I'm glad you raised the fact that because this is really that we talked about Donald Trump as
being the elephant in the room, but the elephant in his room is that he is indicted four times. If he gets the nomination, he's going to have to run
with that and the Republican Party.
I mean, hey, they might love, the party might love them, but independent voters have shown several times they weren't caring you were going to jump
FINNEY: Well, I was just going to say I mean the other thing that was really stark last night, you know, we can't ignore it was at the Reagan
Library. And I think, last night's debate, the tone, the tenor, the comments, was just dramatically pointed out. This is no longer the Reagan
Republican Party. This is a Donald Trump Republican Party. And it couldn't have been clearer last night.
HUNT: I'm so glad you went that went down.
But there was one issue in particular that really stood out to me in no small part because it was at the Reagan Library and that's Ukraine. So
we've got a little bit of a series of how all of the different candidates addressed it. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RON DESANTIS, U.S. REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's in our interest to end this war. And that's what I will do as President. We are not going
to have a blank check.
TIM SCOTT, U.S. REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Our national vital interests, is in degrading the Russian military. By degrading the Russian
military, we actually keep our homeland safer. We keep our troops at home.
RAMASWAMY: We have to level with the American people on this issue. The reality is just because Putin is an evil dictator does not mean that
Ukraine is good. This is a country that has banned 11 opposition parties that has actually -- . So, this is a country whose, President just last
week -- .
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Vivek if you let Putin have Ukraine, that's a green light to China to take Taiwan. Peace comes through strength.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: I mean, Lanhee. Wow!
HUNT: And I mean, again, to underscore this has been the party of Reagan. I mean, you and I were there when Mitt Romney took that stage back in 2012.
And, you know, won the nomination on a platform that lined right up with where Ronald Reagan, was the party is just not there anymore?
CHEN: Yes. I mean a recent CNN polling shows that I think between 60 and 70 percent of Republican voters actually are not interested in continuing to
support what's happening in Ukraine. And that actually number goes up, the more conservative the voter gets, right?
So in some ways, what Vivek Ramaswamy outlined last night is a position that's more consistent with where a lot of Republican primary voters are,
in fact, I think it's most of Republican leadership, whether in Congress or frankly, other candidates in this race, who really seem to be out of step.
And so it is incumbent upon people like Tim Scott, like Nikki Haley, like Mike Pence, who believe that the United States should continue to be
supportive of Ukraine to make the case for why and it is a split. Usually in primaries, you don't get a clean split like this. This is an issue where
you see a very clear divide in the party.
FINNEY: Well, that also mirrors what we've seen Congress --
HUNT: One second, Karen, I don't want to cut you off. But we do have a little bit of breaking news here, which is that Former President Donald
Trump has told the Daily Caller, he is not going to be attending the third debate, which is scheduled to happen in early November, in Miami.
So this, Justin, he has said, "They have to stop the debates because it's just bad for the Republican Party. They're not going anywhere. There is not
going to be a breakout candidate", Karen.
FINNEY: Well, OK, I guess I should say this. I agree with him. They're not the debates. I mean, they're having I think a marginal impact. Obviously,
not surprising, though, that Trump won't show up because he's decided he doesn't need to. I mean, I think I saw one assessment that actually,
everybody has combined.
He's still beating them in the polls by a pretty significant margin. So from his perspective, it's a waste of his time. And again, as we've been
discussing, it's really a race to for second place and or to see, can I hang out long enough that if something happened, perhaps I can just enter?
I wouldn't go if I were him either.
HUNT: Yes. Leigh Ann?
CALDWELL: So my take of the debate last night was that it seemed kind of small, little petty. The candidates were back and forth at each other.
There were no two candidates who were asked the same question. So that was a lot of just talking points. There was no actual debate back and forth.
And Donald Trump is the clear front runner, as we all know he's proven that it doesn't hurt him to not be there. So I understand why he wouldn't jump
in now. But you know his strategy is working so far.
HUNT: So far. It is all right, the first committee hearing underway and the impeachment investigation of U.S. President Joe Biden, as members attempt
to prove some connection to his son's business dealings. We're going to break it down right here on "State of the Race".
HUNT: Welcome back to "State of the Race", where we are monitoring the first impeachment hearing into President Joe Biden underway in Washington.
These live pictures from Capitol Hill as House Republicans start to publicly make their case to link President Biden to his son's foreign
Let's underscore this key fact. So far, no evidence has been presented just allegations around what Republicans are calling abuse of power, obstruction
and corruption. Democrats say the evidence doesn't exist and that the impeachment process is being fueled by politics and driven by the election.
They alleged that Republicans are trying to hurt Biden's re-election chances by muddying the waters and distract from the criminal charges that
face their front runner, Donald Trump. All right, back to my panel now and look, the reality here, Karen, is that impeachment proceedings are always
political, even though people try to you know, it's a political process.
And, you know, Republicans will argue that Nancy Pelosi did certain things with the process. And that's part of what justifies it here. But the
reality was that in that case, at the very least, they were dealing with actions, that action had actually been taken by the President.
And in this case, they are dealing with the actions that were taken by the President's son. I want to stay a little bit in the realm of the political
here, though, which is to say, it does seem like voters are starting to get a little bit confused about what's going on. Republicans want to muddy the
And that does seem to be coming through a little bit. Do you think that's the case as a Democrat who's advised campaigns and many people -- ?
FINNEY: Sure, absolutely. I mean, when there are polls, asking people whether or not they think Joe Biden had anything to do with it, and voters
are saying, may be yes, it is working. And that is mean again this is an example of how Donald Trump has taken over the Republican Party.
This is a Trump strategy lived through in 2016, where the goal is? You think I'm a crook, well, they're a crook. And you just throw everything
into the muddy the waters as much as you can, which is part of why I think it's so important. We continue to point out there's a lack of evidence.
And even as we saw yesterday, and some of the evidence, they tried to put forward this sort of batch of messages that weren't even from the timeframe
when Joe Biden was either President or Vice President.
HUNT: I -- cut you off, Karen. You're making a great point, because we actually have some sound that relates directly to that. Because what Karen
is saying is that they claim they have all this evidence. There is a timeline.
It takes place at a time that is different from when Joe Biden was actually the Vice President of the United States. And when reporters asked very
straight-forward questions about it, in the briefing that was held yesterday, it became very clear that the people leading this inquiry didn't
have a lot to go on. Just watch it for yourself.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JASON SMITH (R-MO): I would encourage everyone in this room to look at those 700 pages, if you think its OK with what's in it, and we live on two
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you explain the timing then of the August 6th WhatsApp message? Why is that evidence of some wrongdoing?
SMITH: I'm not an expert on the timeline.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But if he's not the president or the vice president at that time, where where's the wrongdoing? He wasn't even a candidate for
president at that time.
SMITH: He was a candidate on August 6th of 2017.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How does that demonstrate that there was some sort of political influence being put over him if at that time, he is not a
political he's not an elected official?
SMITH: I'm definitely not going to pinpoint one item. I think we've outlined --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You presented it; these are the first thing that you brought up.
SMITH: So apparently you don't agree with that. It's a report that you disagree with.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not that I don't agree with that. I'm asking you to explain it.
SMITH: I'll take the next question.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: I mean, Lanhee.
CHEN: All right. Look, I think that the argument here is that what the impeachment proceeding allows for is a much more broad set of powers to
discover the kinds of things that could potentially implicate the president. That's the theory of the case. The politics are undeniable,
I mean, obviously, the more that you can create some sense of similarity between former President Trump and President Biden, the more it benefits
Republicans in an electoral context, if Donald Trump's the nominee of the Republican Party. So I don't think there's any mystery to what's going on
HUNT: What are you sorry, Leigh Ann, go ahead?
CALDWELL: I just want to just to push back just a little bit, Lanhee, on the Impeachment Inquiry, giving them more of a process. It actually
doesn't. The Republicans are in the house majority, they already have subpoena power, and they can already get access to all of this information,
if they request it.
What it does do is it, if there is something, if it is taken to the court system, the Impeachment Inquiry, gives them the more, more, more staffed in
court. But the problem is they haven't actually taken that impeachment inquiry vote in the House of Representatives to even give them that greater
standing in court.
FINNEY: Well, because they know they don't actually have the votes. I mean, the goal here is not to actually vote and go to the court. The goal is not
even to really try to impeach the president, the goal is merely as Kasie said, to just muddy the waters. This is something we saw the Republicans
particularly Donald Trump was wildly unsuccessful at doing during the 2020 election.
Because people feel like they know Joe Biden, they didn't they don't buy that he is corrupt the way that they're trying to say. And you know, I do I
continue to believe that one of the things about why this is so dangerous is at the heart of it we're talking about, and Hunter probably did some
things that are unethical, we wouldn't like but he was he's a recovering drug addict.
And I do think that there are a lot of people have a lot of compassion and know people, I have many my own, some of my own family who behaved
horribly, while they were using. And I think it's something you know, it does keep coming back to that. And there's no evidence to suggest that that
the president did anything other than try to help his son get help.
HUNT: Yes, I mean, the problem is going to be if there is something that that does come up, that is actually evidence, but I think we're right to
continue to point out that there isn't. Lanhee let me ask you. So for our viewers who are just meeting you, for the first time you worked on Mitt
Romney's presidential campaign, he's obviously been very outspoken about Donald Trump.
And the way that he doesn't like the way the party has gone, you yourself ran for a top state government position in California, you echoed some of
the same themes. And in that campaign, to even get this inquiry started, there was a massive divide inside the Republican Party in the House.
And you had a number of Republicans who I would argue are more aligned with certainly the way you've talked about the fact that this inquiry period
would be bad in a general election for them, people who want in Biden districts, do you buy that?
I mean, as much as we have talked about the implications for Democrats and how this could work, and it could be hard for the Biden team, and they do
have to worry about it. There are also Republicans who say, hey, this is a bad idea for us. Do you agree with that?
CHEN: Yes, I do. If you look at some congressional districts around the country, that are marginally Republican, where Republicans might have a
small lead, or they're actually seats where there are more Democrats. First of all, the challenge of having former President Trump at the top of the
ticket, it's going to turn out a bunch of Democrats.
It's going to be very difficult for those Republicans already creating a headwind. Then you add on top of that, the question, the direct questions
around did you vote to authorize the impeachment inquiry? There are very specific things that are going to put these members in very, very difficult
position. So it's tough, you know, and there are very few marginal Republican districts as it stands.
CHEN: And the notion that you would put those in jeopardy potentially I think, is very challenging. So yes, if you're looking at this from
California, Colorado, states where there are these marginal districts you might be concerned.
HUNT: Yes, I mean, there are fewer and fewer of them. But Leigh Ann, they're the ones that make the majority. Kevin McCarthy has like this much
majority in the House of Representatives.
CALDWELL: Absolutely. And that is why there has not been that impeachment inquiry vote as you guys both mentioned. But also if you go back to Donald
Trump's first impeachment and Gallup polling from the beginning of the impeachment to this to the end of the impeachment, his numbers rose six
points. And so this could very much backfire on Republicans and hurt those most vulnerable Republican members.
FINNEY: I was in the Clinton administration; it certainly worked for Bill Clinton. So to some degree, but also let's not forget this is happening
against the context. So the other question, you could ask your members, so were you there trying to save the economy in the budget? Or were you in the
hearing the fake hearing to try to, you know, the inquiry into Joe Biden, we can't forget, we're hours away from a potential government shutdown.
And again, this is how they're choosing to spend their time. And I do think there's always a question, how did you use your opportunity to lead? What
did you do? Oh, you tried to impeach a president, you didn't try to fix health care costs or do anything you know, to make my life better? You were
at the service of Donald Trump.
HUNT: Certainly a lot of the mega base, so to speak, is looking for them to do things like what comer is doing, again, those independents. Those sneaky
independents that decide presidential elections, different set of interests.
All right, coming up next, Donald Trump is courting working class voters in Michigan. This after President Biden joined striking auto workers, what
Trump is doing to try to win over the union while appearing in a non-union facility coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, 45TH U.S. PRESIDENT: You know we're competing with the job candidates are all running for a job. Now they're all job candidates. They
want to be in the, they want to do anything, secretary of something. They even say VP, I don't know. Does anybody see any VP in the group? I don't
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: Well, that is classic Donald Trump for you. The main parties do not have nominees yet, but Trump and President Joe Biden already in general
election mode. You saw it there; Trump took aim at his fellow Republicans on Wednesday as you saw characterizing the debate as a failed job
The former president skipped the debate. He spoke at this invite only event in Michigan and there were some union members in attendance. But the venue
was a non-union auto part supplier near Detroit. The visit came just a day after President Biden's Michigan trip. And he made history the current
president by joining striking auto workers on the picket line. Our panel is back with me.
Lanhee Chen, Karen Finney, Leigh Ann Caldwell, that line where he's like looking at them like oh, they just want me to give them a job next time and
maybe they want to be vice president.
But like, I don't think any of them are vice president material. I mean, it's classic Trump, but it's also a pretty like on point, estimation of
actually the status of the race and the Republican Party, Lanhee.
CHEN: That is Donald Trump's unique gift, which is stating the obvious in a way that makes people want to watch. You know, it's interesting.
HUNT: His campaign in a single --
CHEN: The counterprogramming makes a lot of sense. He's speaking to Republicans. He's also speaking to Democrats. I mean, the notion that he
would go and try and attract a constituency that is not traditionally supportive Republicans. And this reflects yet another split within the
Republican Party, I think in terms of do you adopt policies that are perceived as being more union friendly, even if they run counter to what
traditional conservative economic policy might look like?
FINNEY: Or even if they, sorry, even if they run counter to what you actually did as -- But that's all classic Donald Trump like, facts don't
matter, the record doesn't matter. I'm just going to come and tell you what I think you want to hear. And the other thing that was sort of interesting
is the reporting suggests that many of the people who were there actually were not union workers, and were brought in yet they were holding signs to
suggest that they were.
And I think this is something we have to be very mindful of in this election, which is, we're going to see Donald Trump once again, try to
fleece America About who he is and what he stands for. But he has a record he was president. So I think holding him accountable to that to me
HUNT: So I think that that is exactly the challenge. I think the Biden campaign seems to recognize that that's the challenge, because Lanhee I
think to your point, and you know, we were talking through this a little bit yesterday here on this panel as well, that this is really about
Donald Trump speaking to the culture of the white working class voter that feels left behind in a way that the Democratic Party has not quite frankly,
been as adept at doing lately. And they buy into that they identity, they make that cultural identification, despite the policy differences that you
correctly point out, Karen, the Biden campaign is trying to do this.
We played this ad yesterday, too. But I think it's worth showing everybody again, because I think it really does distill what the Biden campaign
believes is going to be their central messaging challenge as we go through the entire next year plus. Take a look at this first really general
election attack ad from the Biden campaign.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He says he stands with auto workers. But as President Donald Trump passed tax breaks for his rich friends, while automakers
shuttered their plants and Michigan lost manufacturing jobs. Joe Biden said he'd stand up for workers, and he's delivering passing laws that are
increasing wages, and creating good paying jobs. Manufacturing is coming back to Michigan, because Joe Biden doesn't just talk, he delivers.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I'm Joe Biden, and I approve this message.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: So Leigh Ann Caldwell, let me get you in on here. What's your assessment of? I mean, that seems like the right message that they need to
be on using voters are going to buy it.
CALDWELL: So the problem with any campaign that Donald Trump is involved in is that it's not a policy focused campaign. It's not a fact based campaign.
And that's not why voters like Donald Trump; he really plays into people's emotions.
So not only was he at this event last night, this non-union event talking about workers, it was a very dark speech he gave really getting into
grievance politics, which is central to what he is and how he is able to kind of create this, this massive support behind him.
And so what -- and good message from President Biden trying to reshape the discussion, that Donald Trump is very good at reshaping and his way or
manipulating whatever way you want to say that.
HUNT: Yes. And some of its threat based too, right, which is also goes to that dark theme, take a look at what Trump had to say to union leaders.
Now, the union leadership has withheld their endorsements so far from President Biden.
That seems to be more aimed at trying to get the White House to do things to kind of show their support more than it seems like a real possibility
for Trump to actually get a UAW endorsement. But he's paying attention; watch what Donald Trump had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Your leadership should endorse me. And I will not say a bad thing about them again, and they will have done their job. They will have done a
proper job. In fact, if they endorsed me, they will have the easiest labor, leadership job anywhere in the country. And just have to sit back and watch
as your auto industry reinvent.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: I will not say a bad thing about them again.
FINNEY: I want to actually go back though, to something you said about the sort of culture that he's tapping into with white working class voters
because this was something we confronted in 2016.
And one of the things that we realized too late and that we saw in the data afterwards when we heard that, we did kind of what Joe Biden did. We said
raise the minimum wage and health care and policy and policy that are not what voters were feeling.
What they were feeling as white working class voters was where my place is in a changing multiracial democracy. I see immigration, I see women get,
you know, rising in the ranks, I see, you know, people of color, where am I? Where do I fit in?
And so I think what's important is part of the way to push back is not just to hit them with the facts. But to again, make sure everybody sees
themselves at the table having a place and how we go forward. I think that's part of why you're going to hear President Biden again today,
talking about democracy trying to bring people into kind of a shared vision about what is this country about? What are we founded on? And how we're all
a part of that?
CHEN: I don't think that's going to be enough. Because I think the shift for white working class voters is complete. They are not Democrats; they
are Trump Republicans, by and large. And the notion of I mean, I get I get, like, but I get that the democracy message is appealing. It's very high
I think in this kind of an election is going to be how do I feel? How do I feel about my pocketbook? How do I feel about my family? How do I feel
about my culture? Those are the questions that are going to predominate. And Donald Trump has the ear of a lot of people in that white working class
And I do think the shift is complete, by the way, they're not just Republicans. I'm not even sure they would be Republicans. They're Trump
CHEN: And that shift in this election is going to be crucial in states like Pennsylvania and Michigan, and places where Joe Biden's got to do well, if
he wants to win this election.
HUNT: those were Reagan Democrats if I -- .
HUNT: -- one point.
FINNEY: But we won't be buying last time, so happen again.
CHEN: They did, but you know what, the economies in a different place now than it was last time. And they feel differently now than they did last
time. That's a challenge.
HUNT: Well, and Biden -- owns it right.
HUNT: Like he's in charge of it.
HUNT: So he's got an answer for that. All right well, up next here, is there any way that House and Senate can reach a deal to avoid a U.S.
government shutdown? I'm going to go with likely not. But we are going to ask Senator Chris Coons and talk to him about the stalemate and the chances
of finding an agreement before the deadline coming up on Saturday night, that's next.
HUNT: In just a few hours, President Biden is expected to take a direct aim against his past and possibly future rival, Donald Trump. The president
calls the former president and his populist supporters a threat to democracy. In his speech later today, President Biden is expected to say,
"There's something dangerous happening in America, there is an extremist movement that does not share the basic beliefs of our democracy, The MAGA
Now this is not the first time that President Biden has spoken out against those who support the former president. Just a year ago, Biden gave this
fiery speech hitting at the MAGA movement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: Donald Trump and the Maga Republicans represented extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic. There's no question that
the Republican Party today is dominated, driven and intimidated by Donald Trump and the migrant Republicans. And that is a threat to this country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: So we're going to bring you that speech live here. It is scheduled for 2.45 p.m. Eastern Time 7.45 p.m. in London. And with less than three
days to go until a government shutdown, there is no indication that any deal is imminent to avoid one.
The Senate is advancing a bipartisan stopgap spending bill or at least they're trying to advance it that would keep the government open through
mid-November. But what's in that bill seems to make it a non-starter for the house speaker and the bill that he is promoting. Here is what Speaker
Kevin McCarthy has to say about some of the key differences between the House and the Senate versions of just, you know, keeping the lights on.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He says that it's a non-start of the house.
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): I don't see the support in the House. I don't understand where somebody would want to stand with President Biden on
keeping an open border and not keep government open. When you look at how it funds government, it also puts in HR 2 that would secure our border. And
I think that would be very important to the rest of the nation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: There is no indication at this hour that McCarthy can muster up enough Republican votes to get that version of the bill through the House
of Representatives. And it does seem as though right now, McCarthy is intent on putting his version of the short term bill on the House floor on
Friday. That's tomorrow.
It's not clear he has the votes to get it through the House. And in fact, he had an incredibly tense exchange this morning with Matt Gates, who was
of course leading the charge against him and trying to rally supporters to embarrass Kevin McCarthy again on the House floor. Now, of course you have
what's going on parallel in the Senate.
That process is being led by Chuck Schumer, the majority leader and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, they came to a deal. It included a couple
of things that the house isn't happy about, including aid for Ukraine. It did not include border funding, which is something that Kevin McCarthy says
that he needs. Let's listen to a little bit of what Chuck Schumer had to say about what the problem is here. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): The solution remains clear. Speaker McCarthy needs to stop letting the Maga radicals drive his decisions and do the
obvious and sensible thing. Follow the Senate's lead and pass a bipartisan CR to prevent this reckless shutdown. We hope he will come to his senses
and emulate what we are doing. Bipartisan, bipartisan, bipartisan, it's the only way, the only way to avoid a shutdown.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: All right. So that's what Senator, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer had to say. We also heard from Senator Shelley Moore -- -capital, a
Republican who actually seems to agree with Schumer in saying if you got to deal you got to make a deal. And of course, this goes back to the fact that
Republicans and Democrats had agreed to all of this earlier this year.
Joining me now to try to figure out what is going on, Senator Chris Coons of Delaware. He is the Chair of the Senate Ethics Committee, as well as the
Co-Chair of President Biden's reelection campaign. Sir very honored to have you here on our second broadcast, its "State of the Race".
And let's just start right there at the shutdown. Because the reality is, at this point, it's looking like millions of Americans aren't going to be
getting paychecks come Sunday morning. Because quite frankly, there's a small group of Republicans in the House that seem to be holding the entire
thing hostage, do you think there's any hope at this hour of avoiding a shutdown?
SEN. CHRIS COONS (D-DE): There is hope. But I don't think it is likely given the obstruction of a few Republican senators here, who are slowing
down the process of our taking up and sending to the house, the bipartisan package that is advancing in the Senate. And given the determination of an
extreme small faction in the Republican majority in the House, who are threatening to strip speaker McCarthy of his seat as speaker if he tries
I think we are at real risk of a shutdown this weekend. And if you'll just take a moment and think about what that means for us, around the world,
leaders like Xi Jinping are telling other national leaders, other countries, that the United States has a political system, so broken and
flawed that the United States is an unreliable ally, and not a credible partner, and no longer able to stand up to them and to meet our
This moment, a federal government shutdown helps make Xi Jinping's case for him. I am encouraged that in the Senate, we have sustained broad bipartisan
support for investing in Ukraine and their brave fight for freedom against Russian invasion and occupation. And that we've come to a balanced
agreement on investing in meeting America's needs for disaster relief.
But in the house, they continue to flail around and fail to make any meaningful progress. The one thing speaker McCarthy hasn't tried is
bipartisanship. And I hope he will take up that challenge and move forward in the coming days.
HUNT: Yes, now I want to pick up on that with you in a second. But I'm really glad you framed it that way and kind of this global context, because
I want to dig in on some pretty breaking news here. Because my colleague Manu Raju is reporting on what Rand Paul is doing over in the Senate.
He has been threatening to and for you know, our viewers who may not be as intimately familiar with the process, as you and I are any single senator
can basically derail the process because you need everybody to agree if you want to move quickly to actually get something done. That's of course
required with a Saturday night deadline.
And our reporting now is that Senator Rand Paul has basically said, nope, sorry, you can't do that this quickly. And it's because of Ukraine. What do
you have to say to your colleague, Senator Paul, and what impact does this have across the world?
COONS: Well, I would hope that Senator Paul would recognize that getting an up or down vote on whatever his issue of the day is, should be his pathway
towards being heard. But slowing us down, preventing us from moving forward, making a stay here through the weekend, we'll have the inevitable
consequence of a likely federal government shutdown.
That means all U.S. armed forces, all federal law enforcement, border patrol agents will be forced to continue working without pay. Once we get
into a shutdown, as you've seen in the past here, it often lasts not a day or two, but for weeks. That has an impact on millions of American families
that have an impact on our place in the world that has an impact on our economy.
Look, whether you care about meat inspections, or air traffic control, whether you care about a safe environment or cancer research. The federal
government does lots and lots of things that contribute to the safety, the health and the well-being of the American people shutting that government
down. Putting folks on furlough has real costs and consequences.
HUNT: I want to ask you briefly about how speaker McCarthy, the reality is he could do this. He needs to do it honestly in a bipartisan way most
likely, he could easily do it with Democratic votes. However, there is a threat hanging over his head that Republicans would then be strip him of
his speakership in this motion to vacate or that he might need Democrats to help him stay Speaker of the House.
Would you urge Democrats in the House to help Kevin McCarthy keep his gavel if he is willing to keep the government running with bipartisan votes?
COONS: Yes. But that depends, of course, on what the path forward looks like, and what commitments the speaker would make in terms of what we would
be able to do together through the rest of the year. Look, Democrats don't need to vote for Speaker McCarthy. They would simply need to vote present,
and thus reduce the number of votes that are available to try and force him out of the speakership.
So if the Democratic Caucus in the House were to choose this path, they could commit that they would all vote present. And then those who are
trying to punish speaker McCarthy would fail. That's obviously a decision for House leadership.
But it's my hope that we will, on the other side of this, discover that we have a functional governing bipartisan majority. So far, House Republicans
seem more interested in chasing Twitter followers and raising their profile than actually governing.
HUNT: I think, I think you mean x, sir.
COONS: Yes, x, forgive me.
HUNT: But your point is well taken. So look, I've got you here at the Biden campaign co-chair. One, we did some reporting on this earlier in the week
that the president himself is starting to deal with, you know, his, what poll say is a very significant issue for voters of his age, with a little
bit of humor.
But it's noteworthy because he's basically been not dealing with it all with it at all until now. I want to show you what he had to say when he
stood next to Maxwell Frost, who is the First Gen Z member elected to Congress, take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: Do I remember when I was young? We have some in common. I got elected the Senator. I was 29-years-old. Only difference was he was
eligible when he got elected to take off. I had to wait 17 days to be eligible. That was 827 years ago, but it was a while.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: I mean, Senator, what are your thoughts here because this is a significant concern for voters.
COONS: I'm sorry, you cut out there briefly.
HUNT: This is a significant concern for voters that President Biden might be too old to actually get the job done. What do you say to them? And what
does it say that he's handling it this way?
COONS: Well, look, I think it's appropriate and important for President Biden to speak to this issue and frankly, to speak to it briskly and with
humor. The question here is too old for what? Too old to be President of the United States well, compared to whom?
Compared to the former president, who's been indicted now, dozens and dozens of he's been indicted four times, with dozens and dozens of charges
that relate to his attempt to overthrow our government and undermine our democracy.
In contrast, Senator, Vice President, President Biden is a seasoned national leader who understands how to meet the needs of the average
American family by delivering legislative solutions. He has an incredible record over the last two years; we have the lowest unemployment in our
We have 13 million new private sector jobs, we have a growing manufacturing sector, he's reduced prescription drug prices, and he's delivered the most
significant action against climate change, ever. Look, his record of accomplishment is significant.
HUNT: I am sorry to have to cut you off, because I have I've heard you say this, we are up against a very, very hard break.
HUNT: And I just want to be able to say thank you very much for spending some time with us today.
COONS: Thank you.
HUNT: Thank you, Senator Coons, thanks for joining us, we'll be right back.
HUNT: Welcome back to "State of the Race". My panel rejoins me now. Before we go, we want to ask for one more things on the campaign trail or in
Washington that you all are watching in the coming days. We got 30 seconds. Lanhee, what are you looking for?
LANHEE: I'm going to be at the California Republican Party convention this weekend fall convention actually it's interesting because former President
Trump, Ron DeSantis, Tim Scott, Vivek Ramaswamy are all going to be there.
But it really is an interesting chance to see is there the possibility that the party in California makes a decision, for example, on our party
platform to move in a different direction from where the National Party is. And really stoked debates about whether the Republican Party can be viable
in blue states again, so I'll be there. I'll be watching up close and personal.
HUNT: I have a feeling of somebody like you, not Donald Trump that's going to do that. But I don't know if he's in your party in California is there,
FINNEY: All right, big picture. The State Department just launched a new initiative, about music diplomacy, using American artists and musicians to
build relationships with our world.
HUNT: Soft power.
FINNEY: Soft power, really fun night at the State Department last night and Tony Blinken, our Secretary of State actually got in the action and got up
and played the blues. It was it was just incredible.
HUNT: Who knew -- a lot better than I thought it would be, very surprised.
FINNEY: I was like -- it was excellent.
CALDWELL: Yes. So Sunday, the government is very likely going to be shut down. But most of the country is probably not going to feel it yet.
Instead, they're probably going to be watching Taylor Swift at the Jets game against the chiefs this Sunday.
HUNT: I mean, those Kelsey jerseys are selling like hotcakes. I got to get me a Jason Kelsey, Eagle's jersey, just to make --
CALDWELL: I know.
HUNT: All right, thank you guys so much for being with us today. I really appreciate all of your insights. I am Kasie Hunt and that's the "State of
the Race" for today, Thursday, September 28. You can always follow me on Instagram and on the platform formerly known as Twitter. "One World" is up
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