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State of the Race with Kasie Hunt
Search Ongoing for "Armed and Dangerous" Suspect; Israel Conducts more Airstrikes, Raids in Gaza Amid New Warnings of Hunger and Disease; Biden Voices Doubt about Death Toll in Gaza; Democratic Rep. Dean Phillips Launches White House Bid; Democrat Dean Phillips to Challenge Biden in 2024 Primaries; Investigators say they've Found Suspects' Phone. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired October 27, 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 HOST, STATE OF THE RACE: Good day, I'm Kasie Hunt. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. It is Friday,
October 27, 11 am, here in Washington and we start with the manhunt in Maine. A suspected murderer remains on the loose right now after twin mass
shootings on Wednesday.
Robert Card is considered armed and dangerous. Officials say they found the Army Reservist phone and a note he left behind. But the note doesn't
explain a motive. Meanwhile, the search is expanding. Authorities say they found the suspect's vehicle and a gun near a boat launch.
That raises the possibility he may have escaped by water. Here's what officials said at a news conference just a short time ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL SAUSCHUCK, COMMISSIONER AT MAINE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY: The suspect in this case is not in custody that continues to be our focus. And
I think if you look at these two things, we have an investigative bucket with a great deal of resources that are investigating the crime what
occurred. And there's clearly an apprehension team here.
Even though we're going to be active with the search and the investigative side, always in our mind, we're going to be looking for the suspect and
making sure that the people that are involved in these various searches to -- are safe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: Authorities say that they've converged on Card's last known address at least twice but his whereabouts remain unknown. He is accused of
murdering 18 people at a bar and a bowling alley in Lewiston. The father of one victim says he hurt his son Joey Walker scene here died after picking
up a knife and trying to stop the attacker. He spoke earlier to CNN.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEROY WALKER SR., FATHER OF MURDER VICTIM JOEY WALKER: None of us would have ever believed this if we would have asked each other. Five days ago if
this was a possibility, nobody would have believed it, nobody wouldn't think it. We really have a loving community.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: All right, let's discuss all of this with my panel. Andrew McCabe is a CNN Senior Law Enforcement Analyst and Former Deputy Director at the FBI.
Juliette Kayyem is a CNN Senior National Security Analyst. She is a professor at Harvard University and Former Assistant Secretary of the U.S.
Department of Homeland Security.
Colonel Cedric Leighton is CNN Military Analyst and retired U.S. Air Force officer. And Evan Perez is CNN'S Senior U.S. Justice Correspondent, thank
you all for being here. And Evan, I just want to start with you because this press conference just wrapped up a couple of minutes to go.
EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR U.S. JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
HUNT: It seems like some of the answers to the questions weren't terribly satisfying. I mean, there's still some real questions about the timeline,
the night of the response, those questions had been asked yesterday, we heard from our Shimon Prokupecz on the site. What did you learn from what
they had to say what -- ?
PEREZ: Yes, I mean, there's not a lot of illumination in those answers that they provided today, they seem to be trying to hold on to a lot of
information. And look, I mean, they were very quick, early on to provide the picture and certainly be on the lookout for this man. And that's
exactly what they need to do.
But I think one of the problems that I think you're detecting is that this is a trail that has gone pretty cold for them, and they are starting to try
to figure out how to reset and try to find this man. Now, this is what you and I were speaking about previously was, you know, this is a place where
you can go hide in a lot of places, right?
It's a sparsely populated area. And so for law enforcement, you know, they're now sort of going back to square one. This suspect has had a lot of
lead time. He's had a lot of advanced time. And one of the things that I think you're also seeing is a sign that this is a suspect, who knew ahead
What he was going to, how he was going to get away, and made some plans as to how to evade? And that's really, really difficult for the State Police,
for the FBI, for everybody. You can have a lot of technology. And they're using every bit of technology. But there are some basic things that he's
done to help evade. And that is, you know, he ditched his cell phone. That was it's a key thing. It's a way --
HUNT: -- to track you.
PEREZ: Right, exactly. And it's one of the first things that they tried to do. Now they're going to go do some search warrants, they said, to look at
some of the electronics. Like, for example, they're going to look at his search history. They're going to look at where he's been in the last few
Every place that he's been, they're going to go search to see whether he stashed something for instance that could help him get away. These are the
basic things that they're going to start doing now. And I'm not sure why it's taken this long to do.
But that's one of the things they just told us at the press conference. The other thing is this is somebody who was, you know, clearly knew this
locations, these two places that he's going to, he probably knew or was familiar with some of these victims. And so that's going to be a lot of
part of this investigation. And a lot of this investigation is going to be what motivated him to do this? Why was he doing this?
PEREZ: The note doesn't exactly say a motivation, but it does give an insight into his frame of mind.
HUNT: Al right where he was. Andrew McCabe, can I get you to weigh in on what we heard from them at the top of this news conference here, because
they're focused now on this search in the water, basically, because, of course, his car was found at this boat launch. And that suggests, you know,
he had a powerboat registered to him.
At one point, there was a Jet Ski involved. They provided some details in terms of divers that are going to go into the river. Can you help explain
kind of what they're looking for here? And how these pieces could help the next phase of the search?
ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Sure. So I think everyone's first impulse is to kind of jump to the conclusion that they
suspect that the shooter might be dead in that water. And now, you know, that's what they're looking for. Certainly, that's one of the things
they're looking for.
But their interest, I'm sure is broader than that. If he had as Evan has explained a plan of escape. It's no coincidence that he went to that boat
launch, right? Maybe he had another vehicle stashed there, maybe he had a boat stash there and it was some sort of a relay point. If that's the case,
it's just as likely that he may have disposed of things in that water.
He may have thrown the gun in the water, he could have like, changed his clothes and taken the clothes that he wore was obviously filmed at the
shooting, wearing and throwing those into the water. So those are just two examples of the things that investigators might be looking for.
They typically do this with either boats, man operated boats, or remotely operated watercraft that includes some sort of sonar detection. And so
they'll put that watercraft in that area, and they'll conduct a grid search going back and forth, essentially looking for things that are anomalous.
Things that don't, you know, shapes that you don't get a perfect picture, but you get shapes and sizes of things that maybe shouldn't be in that area
and maybe cause raise a question for further investigation, every time they see one of those things where they get a reading like that off the sonar.
They then actually have to send divers in to investigate to see what those things are up close. I don't know what the water condition is there. But in
smaller bodies of water, this can be really tedious because they're, you know, when the water is murky, hard to see in its very tough circumstances
for the divers, you always end to end at a time.
There are all kinds of safety requirements that slow that process down. So I think we should expect to see that activity taking place. But it probably
could go on for some time. Before we get any sort of sense of whether or not it's going to be fruitful.
HUNT: OK. Cedric Colonel, can you expand on what skills this person Robert Card may have had from his military training around? How to use a body of
water? We've talked a lot about survival in the woods. But how that may play into this?
COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Yes, Kasie, you know, there are a lot of different factors here. But he seems to be the
quintessential outdoorsman, in some ways in data. He's probably proficient in land navigation. And it sounds like he's also proficient in using boats.
You know, being able to navigate the rivers in the area, he may have had some dive experience. I'm not sure about that. I don't think we've really
heard whether or not he's very, you know get that kind of a certification. But regardless, he, you know, has probably had at the very least land
And that does include crossing bodies of water in the military, especially when the army trains for this kind of thing. The ranger training, for
example, does include that kind of training. So those are the kinds of things that the police need to look at, that he has those skills, he could
have used, you know, the water as a means of escape.
And he may very well have gone somewhere. That's why the Coast Guard is involved in the search as well. So this could be something that would be
part of that.
HUNT: OK. Juliette, one of the senses I got from that press conference is that they're clearly feeling some building public pressure to have more
answers than they do. Was that your read and do you think that's unfolding?
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: So it's interesting that we haven't I'm not from law enforcement. I'm from Homeland Security.
And I think that the reason why I say that is just because I think the lack of information to the community about how they should live their lives is
not appropriate. I think that's a nice way of putting it anymore.
People understand that there are manhunts people understand that police have to keep certain things quiet about the nature of the manhunt about
what they're finding. People get that now, I think what was so unbelievably odd and I'll be honest, frustrating about that press conference is you have
lots of people and locked down and shut down.
And it's like a sentence in a 34 minute press conference about, well, we're making assessments and having conversations, but with whom, I mean, what we
have to remember is public safety exist based on the public trust. It's not just whether they get the bad guy, does the public have confidence in them
understanding what the public is going through.
People will stay inside, as we certainly know, if they know why they're staying inside, if they believe it's for a reason, if there's a hot, you
know, hot search instead, you know, there's conversations about the days and weeks ahead, in terms of the search, and no conversation about this
reeling community about people who you know, want to mourn together, want to rebuild their lives, kids need to go back to school, it's Halloween.
Those are also the conversations that public safety needs to have with the community. I hate criticizing in the midst of it. But it is 48 hours later,
you cannot sustain pretty firm on this, you cannot sustain an indefinite lockdown without communicating to the public, why? It cannot be a default
for our failure to control arms and mass shooting, honestly, I mean, you know, this is we have to accept this.
HUNT: Right. I mean, Andrew McCabe, can I get you to weigh in on that, as someone who has familiarity with you know, what happens in these kinds of
investigations? It does seem to me, I mean, I feel like I keep asking. So when do they lift this lockdown, if this guy just disappears?
These people can't stay out of school forever. I mean, what are out of work? And you know, in this kind of, I mean, obviously, the fear may
persist. But what is your sense of what's going on behind the scenes and when there might be some sort of update about a change in status there?
MCCABE: Sure. So I mean, provisionally agree with Juliette's read on the press, not just the recent press conferences, but really the ones that
we've seen all along there clear sense of reticence about sharing additional information with the public, I totally understand that I've been
on the other side of managing and giving these press conferences.
We've seen every flavor of this, right? Over the course of crises, and many, many mass shootings, we've seen big, very sophisticated, police
agencies handle this burden. And we've seen the smallest kind of out of the way places does it as well. And everybody has a different style.
This group seems to really reluctant to even acknowledge facts that are perfectly obvious to the public. And I think repeatedly doing that you get
what you have what Juliette referred to, as these people start to lose faith in the agency's ability to work the case to find the culprit, to
build the case to prosecute someone if that's appropriate.
And that's really critical for the police department. So I think kind of being a little more upfront about this would help them. However, in terms
of the lock downs, you know, they really need to lay out some sort of an expectation for the public, even if it's just to say, look, as long as we
have leads to follow up here in this area.
We're going to ask that you locked down that could take a day that could take a week or more. But police like work with us, once they get to the
point where they've exhausted every local lead, and they really think or they have good reason to believe that he is outside the area, then at that
point, there's no reason to maintain the lockdown.
And so if you could at least set that out for the public to understand like, OK, I get it. They really believe he's here. We're going to keep
really hunkering down until they exhaust that. But there is some light at the end of the tunnel, at least in terms of not having to stay locked in
MCCABE: But you know, I said, nobody wants to criticize they get an incredibly hard job right now.
HUNT: Of course.
MCCABE: But being a little more forthcoming, I think would be helpful.
HUNT: Right. Yes. It's, I mean, it's just very briefly, Evan -- .
PEREZ: I'm going to go real quickly. You know, one of the things I think, what you're seeing is also, there are places where there's very little law
enforcement, visible presence, and that's what's also going to drive the questions that you're asking, which are very reasonable. If I don't see
cops, searching my neighborhood, then why do I need to worry about it?
HUNT: Yes. All right, Andrew McCabe, Juliette Kayyem, Evan Perez, thank you guys very much for being here. I really appreciate it. Still ahead, the
U.S. President is voicing skepticism about the reported death toll in Gaza what the Hamas controlled Palestinian Ministry of Health is doing. They're
pushing back at Joe Biden skepticism.
HUNT: Welcome back, new warnings of hunger and disease in Gaza and more Israeli airstrikes and raids as U.N. officials urged rapid unimpeded access
to help those in need. Israel is allowing a handful of aid trucks a day to enter Gaza but nothing close to the 450 that we're heading in daily before
Hamas launched its October 7 terror attack in Israel that sparked the Israeli response.
The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Ramallah drawing on sources in the Hamas controlled enclave. Now says more than 7300 people have been killed
in Gaza in this war, President Joe Biden voicing doubt Thursday about the numbers coming out of Gaza.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I have no notion that the Palestinians are telling the truth about how many people are killed. I'm
sure innocence hadn't been killed. And it's oppressive, waging a war, but I have no confidence in the number that the Palestinians are using.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: In response, Gaza health officials published a statement listing the names of more than 6000 documented deaths, their words since October 7.
International Diplomatic Editor Nic Robertson is in Sderot, not far from the Gaza border. Nic, good to see you, thank you very much for being here.
What is the latest here on this back and forth?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, when it comes to the numbers, there's a breakdown in trust, Palestinian Authority Health
Department, which is obviously run by Hamas have their set of figures and these figures to the Israelis certainly sound high.
There is no way for the Israelis to check what the Palestinian Authority is saying. And I think this is part of what we're hearing from President
Biden, by Hamas putting out you know, names of the people that it says had been killed. That's its way of trying to prove its point but to a degree
it's the perception on either side of what the other side is saying whether the other side is telling the truth.
And it's the perception writ large across the region and the Arab world, generally speaking here tends to buy what the Palestinian health officials
inside of Gaza are saying. They see that the numbers there are exceptionally high. And if you talk about it in relative terms, compared to
the last a big incursion with Israel back in 2014, the numbers of deaths apparently are much higher, certainly for Hamas.
This helps bring additional pressure on Israel through the international community for a ceasefire, for a humanitarian pause for pressure on Israel
to stop its bombardment. I know Becky Anderson is in Qatar, where she is following the talks that are underway there for a ceasefire or a pause in
So that hostages can be released but from where we stand tonight, it's the guns that are talking. We've been able to hear a lot of artillery shelling
from Israeli IDF positions going in to Gaza, some very heavy detonations air bursts we've seen this evening as well.
And this is on the back of what the IDF is describing as incursions, limited incursions that then withdraw at the end of that operation, but
expecting those to continue through the coming days. So a lack of trust is perhaps an understatement. But that's where we're at. It is the guns that
are talking and of course, Hamas today firing rockets into Tel Aviv and hitting an apartment building there.
HUNT: Yes, lack of trust very succinct and sharp way to put it. Nic Robertson, thank you very much for that report. I really appreciate it. Our
panel is here, CNN Military Analyst and retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Cedric Leighton back with us and we're welcoming Andrew Desiderio, Senior
Congressional Reporter for Punchbowl News.
And CNN's Chief National Affairs Correspondent, Jeff Zeleny. Welcome all. Jeff, let me start with you. Because this question about the numbers. I
mean, the White House this happened, of course, during the press conference, the President held with the Prime Minister of Australia.
You saw him there say no casting doubt on these figures that the Health Ministry had put out. John Kirby also gave a briefing at the White House on
Thursday. Here's what Kirby had to say about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KIRBY, U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY COORDINATOR FOR STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS: We all know that the Gazan Ministry of Health is just a
front for Hamas to run by Hamas, a terrorist organization. I've set myself up here. We can't take anything coming out of Hamas, including the so
called Ministry of Health at face value.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: So I will say, you know, our colleagues here who've spent a long time many years working with this organization have typically found these
accounts to be accurate. But obviously, circumstances have changed pretty dramatically. But the part that I wanted to ask you about and kind of focus
on here was the fact that the President said this at a news conference.
And kind of the way it created this confrontation between him and this ministry it amidst a very combustible conflict. And we have seen the
President sometimes make these comments when he's been briefed by things. Sometimes we have to follow up and say, hey, did you really mean that? Here
we see Kirby saying, yes, he did.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF U.S. NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: He didn't mean it. And oftentimes, we've, you know, over the years wondered if the
President was misspeaking or just stating the truth that his advisors didn't necessarily want to just say, and this was an example of that.
But look, I think with I mean, it's something we've known, obviously, that Hamas is in control of the Health Ministry, and it's having John Kirby sort
of refreshed that statement from the White House podium is important because this has become such a politically inflamed issue, at least
domestically speaking about the hospital, about the various of fact checks and things.
So this is something that the President has been pretty consistent and clear on here. But that does not mean that going forward, I mean, this is
going to be something that will be living with I mean for the next several weeks even longer, probably if a ground invasion, incursion happens here.
So But the President is pretty clear on that.
HUNT: So one of these things, Andrew, this is playing out in the domestic political sphere, in no small part because the President's own party has
some members in it, who, frankly, are looking at and, you know, spreading on social media. This list by the Hamas controlled Palestinian health
organization has put out.
I mean, it is very dramatic to see all of these names laid out, right? And they're starting to I think the some pressure from the progressive wing of
the party on the President. President doesn't seem to be moving at all, away from the pro-Israel stance the way he is clearly saying this is how I
see the world.
This is how the United States sees the world. But there is increasing noise from his left flank. In Congress, it's small, but it's loud and it's
causing a lot of tension.
ANDREW DESIDERIO, SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER FOR PUNCHBOWL NEWS: Small, loud and causing a lot of tension as the perfect way to describe it.
I actually interviewed Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer in the days after he returned from his trip to Israel. He is obviously the highest
ranking Jewish elected official in U.S. history. He feels very passionately about this. When he told me about those members of Congress who were
basically backing up the position that it was Israel that bombed the hospital.
He said why would they take Hamas's position, right? And that really inflamed tensions. On the left, you saw members of the House who have been
on the opposite side of that issue, calling out Chuck Schumer more directly. But Schumer's argument was basically this it was that when you
have this misinformation out there about who did what?
And sort of, you know, who was killed, how many people were killed, things like that? This really has the potential to fuel anti-Semitic violence, not
just in the United States, but around the world in that region. And one of the things he warned is that, you know, after it was the sort of assessment
from the Palestinian Health Ministry about the hospital bombing was kind of parroted out there.
That people in the Middle East in the region would not really believe the truth, what he sees is the truth, which is what President Biden has said as
well, which is that Israel did not bombed the hospital, that it was an errant rocket from Palestinian Islamic Jihad. So this is going to be an
issue going forward in the Democratic Party. And you see very upper rung leaders like Chuck Schumer, leaning into this issue very hard.
HUNT: Right, Cedric, let's talk briefly about we've had some significant developments in the last 24 hours, you heard Nic Robertson touch on it,
wait a second raid into Gaza, he seemed to suggest he didn't call them the drums of war. But that, you know, the sounds that were around him point,
you know, kind of underscored this feeling that we are getting closer to something.
We also have, you know, are reporting that something around the hostages may be imminent. How do those two things? How are they interacting at this
point, because it does seem like Israel has been holding off in no small part because of the hostage negotiations?
LEIGHTON: Yes, Kasie, I think that's absolutely true. The Israelis have been holding off because of the hostage negotiations. And because they
don't want to get bogged down in something akin to what they did before in Gaza, which was this long standing occupation.
And that becomes a real problem for them as far as the hostages versus the incursion, invasion prospect. It seems as if both are operating on parallel
tracks right now. So on the one hand, if the hostage negotiations are successful, then the incursion or invasion, there's going to be held back
for a bit.
In other words, hostages come out if they if they are freed. If that is not the case, then you can expect a military operation to take place almost
immediately once that's no.
HUNT: And if it's only, I mean, even if it's a significant number of hostages, I mean, there's still our latest numbers, I think 229 people,
even if they were to release half of them, there still would be 100 people in there.
LEIGHTON: Exactly. And that is going to definitely affect the calculus. The Israelis are going to get into a situation where they're going to lose
patients at some point with all of this. And they have a lot of political pressure to go ahead and actually do something about this because of what
happened on October the 7th.
The problem is if you do something, then you risk the lives of the remaining hostages, however many there may be.
HUNT: Right, they're coming under pressure from those families, but in some ways, I mean, it's just an impossible set of decisions to make. All right,
Colonel Cedric Leighton, thank you very much for being with us, Jeff and Andrew. Andrew, I'm sorry, I have to say thank you to you as well.
I really appreciate your time. Please come back soon. Jeff is going to be back with us. We're also going to talk about President Biden facing a
challenge from within his own party in next year's elections. Congressman, Dean Phillips, a Democrat expected to officially launch his presidential
run in just a few minutes in New Hampshire.
We're going to take you there live. That is Mr. Phillips right there. I think that might be where you file in Secretary of State's office in
Concord, New Hampshire. Jeff Zeleny is that?
ZELENY: It is
HUNT: It is and we have both been there quite a few times. It's a new guy now. Anyway, we're going to bring you more live from there when we come
HUNT: Welcome back to "State of the Race". I'm Kasie Hunt live in Washington. And here is live Concord, New Hampshire where at any moment; we
are expecting House Democrat Dean Phillips to officially announce he's challenging President Biden for the Democratic nomination in 2024. Earlier
he told CBS News, why he's decided to enter the race against an incumbent president from his own party.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. DEAN PHILLIPS (R-MN): I think President Biden has done a spectacular job for our country, but it's not about the past. This is an election about
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: Phillips says that he is worried about polling data that shows former President Trump beating Biden in a rematch of 2020. Phillips is 54. He's a
three year term congressman from Minnesota. Let's bring in CNN National Correspondent Eva McKend in Concord, New Hampshire, Eva, good morning to
You are standing in front of the Dean Phillips for President Campaign bus. This is without a doubt a very long shot situation, but certainly one that
the White House can't be happy about.
EVA MCKEND, CNN U.S. NATIONAL POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: They aren't Kasie. But listen, Congressman Phillips has been telegraphing this for weeks. He
argues that it is time for President Biden to pass the torch. He says look at the polling, look at his age. It is a time for new generational
leadership. But Philips faces long odds.
He already missed the deadline in Nevada. I asked him about this. Why didn't he mount this campaign a year ago? And he basically says, listen,
I've been leaning on Democrats for a long time to do this. And now here I am sort of suggesting that he's been forced to this point to make this
election pitch. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIPS: Here's the President Joe Biden, he is going to lose the next election. The numbers are horrific. If you're a democratic voter and you
care about 2024, it matters and the absence of any competition, any alternative is antithetical to democracy. And I think it's important that
Americans have choices at a time like this. And there's an exhausted majority who absolutely wants change and I'll make my case.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCKEND: So Philips comments not totally in isolation, Kasie, we know from our own polling at CNN that two thirds of Democrats say that they want a
new candidate. But still, you know, if you speak to people here as his bus was pulling up, people were asking who is Dean Phillips? A lot of people
across the country do not know who he is.
He says he knows he'll be laughed off the stage essentially in the beltway, when he's more concerned with Democratic voters and believes that they have
an appetite for his campaign Kasie.
HUNT: All right, Eva McKend, very nice interview. Thank you very much for bringing some of it to us. I appreciate it. Let's bring in our panel now,
Gloria Borger, CNN's Senior Political Analyst Paul Begala, a Democratic Strategist and CNN Political Commentator.
And of course, we still have CNN's Chief National Affairs Correspondent Jeff Zeleny back with us. Paul Begala, I got to start with you because I
really do want to know what's going through the heads of people in the White House. I mean, I guess I just keep thinking like man I got to be so
annoyed about this.
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, I bet they are. First off, we just named a House Speaker who everybody had to Google. Now we have to
Google it was challenging Joe Biden in the Democratic Party. Congressman Philips makes the point; the president's poll numbers are weak. Most
Democrats see that and say, let's strengthen him, let's bolster him.
He is a leader. Dean Phillip is not going to beat Joe Biden. So the best he can hope for is weaken Joe Biden, but his argument is not on issues. He
doesn't think Biden's been wrong about jobs or health care. He simply just thinks he's too weak. And so he's going to weaken him more. To me, it
doesn't make any sense. But I bet you the Biden people are pretty darn angry.
HUNT: You know it's interesting to me, Paul because, you know, this argument is being made actually right now on both sides of the aisle.
Because I mean, look, the polling shows this is not just a President Biden problem. There are a lot of Republicans that are also not happy with the
idea of Donald Trump, a lot of Americans want another choice than the choice this isn't, you know, potentially repeated the choice they faced in
Here was Ron DeSantis, of course, Governor of Florida last night with my colleague, Kaitlan Collins, saying the same thing about the front runner
for his nomination, take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RON DESANTIS, FLORIDA GOVERNOR: And we need somebody who's going to be able to win the election, very important that you get that done.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And you don't think Donald Trump can beat Joe Biden.
DESANTIS: I don't.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: So Jeff Zeleny who is right, Ron DeSantis or Dean Phillips, because they both seem to think that their respective party front runner is not
going to win.
ZELENY: Look, we don't know the answer to that, obviously. I mean, we have about a year and a week to find out. But look, I mean, there is fatigue. It
is so clear talking to voters of all varieties as we travel across the country. There is fatigue with former President Donald Trump; there is a
fatigue and a level of dissatisfaction with the current president.
But that said what Democrats believe and the White House is talking to an advisor this morning to the president, and said look like once it becomes
clear that President Biden is going to be the Democratic nominee. And once it becomes clear if former President Donald Trump will be the Republican
nominee, if that should happen.
They believe that that is something that once again will help Joe Biden that that just the idea of a Trump presidency will help Joe Biden. We will
see we will see the answer to that. But the reality here of Dean Phillips, if he was serious about doing this, and he has been talking about it for a
long time, he's pretty late.
He's not on the ballot in Nevada. He's just going to a New Hampshire where the Democratic primary really isn't even happening this year. So yes, he's
going to go on to South Carolina, we're told and Michigan. But he's pretty late doing this. And who's to say that he can beat Donald Trump or the
Republican nominee as well. So this sort of it looks like a primary and might like feel like it but not sure it really is.
HUNT: Yes, no, I mean, I think that that's a good point. And Gloria Borger, a couple of things here, I mean, Jeff Zeleny just mentioned South Carolina
that Dean Phillips does to plan to go on South Carolina, but I couldn't help. But notice the South Carolina Democratic Party Chair, Spain called
Dean Phillips, "Distraction".
Because any serious Democratic candidate would understand that black voters in South Carolina have been the backbone of the Democratic Party. So you
have that on the one hand, you know, they're really kind of twisting a knife there at Phillips and getting, you know, South Carolina, obviously
sent Biden to the White House.
And then we also have the, you know, the competing reality that 67 percent of Democratic voters told our pollsters they want somebody else, for
president 33 percent said that they wanted Joe Biden. So you have Philips kind of entering into the middle of this, causing some trouble. But at the
end of the day, it doesn't, to the point that Jeff was making it, it doesn't seem to make any fundamental difference.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: No, it may be too little too late. He's entering the race too late to even qualify for the Nevada
primary. And he is somebody who's not well known. I mean, his first campaign ad, which is in New Hampshire says, I love New Hampshire, I went
to summer camp there. I don't know how that's going to go over with the New Hampshire voters.
And I think, you know, in a way people, people are unhappy on both sides with their choices. As you point out, two thirds of Democrats are saying we
don't want Biden. And what this is really about and I think Phillips goes out of his way to point it out is this question of generational change, as
opposed to being opposed to Biden's policies who's going to try and make some differences, for example, on crime, he's going to go there.
He's going to go there on the border. He's going to go there on defense spending, as more of a populist than Biden, but he's been with him almost
100 percent of the time. So it's very difficult for a candidate to say you know vote for me and not him when I think he's terrific.
And you know Ramaswamy may be having a bit of that problem in the Republican primary when he talks about Donald Trump. But when you hear
Philips talk, it's like, I like Joe Biden. But the real problem is he's too old.
HUNT: Right. I mean, the reality is, this can be what makes a party primary difficult when you have a very popular or sort of incumbent style front
runner, I mean, Bernie Sanders faced this challenge with, with Hillary Clinton in 2016 as well. We do have a little bit Paul Begala of that ad
that Dean Phillips put out as he launches this bid; let's take a look at it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIPS: It's also where I learned to love my country. And that's why I'm back. As a candidate for president in the place where we begin, where
presidential candidates stand before you, the voters walk through the snow, listen to your dreams, and hear your concerns. And most of all, discuss how
we're going to work together to move to the future.
We've got some challenges, that's for sure. We're going to repair this economy, and we are going to repair America as long as we do it together.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: So I have to say Paul, that wasn't the portion where he talks about New Hampshire. But it is the part where he kind of actually, you know, has
an argument that digs at Joe Biden in a potentially difficult way. He says we're going to repair the economy, and we're going to repair America. I'm
not going to lie.
That sounds a lot closer to make America great again than it does to bionomics, right. I mean, how much of a thorn could he be for the White
House as they try to, you know, make the argument that hey, you know, you might not feel like the economy is good, but we swear it is. And it's the
president's, you know, the president should take credit for that.
BEGALA: Well, yes, I think Congressman Phillips might do better with that argument if his name were literally someone else. Once they see this Dean
Phillips, they're not going to -- look, I don't know much in life. I know that Dean Phillips is not going to be Joe Biden.
Here's why no, this has been tried before. I cannot think of a time in all of American history that an incumbent president was defeated for re
nomination in his own party. Teddy Roosevelt couldn't do it against William Howard Taft.
Ronald Reagan couldn't be Gerald Ford. Pat Buchanan, not exactly in Reagan's class couldn't be George H.W. Bush, so it's not going to happen.
But in all three of those cases, the challenger within the party weakened the incumbent president enough that the other party took the White House.
So if Dean Phillips wants to register as a pro Trump super PAC, he'd probably be more honest.
HUNT: All right, thank you for that. Our panel is going to stick with us because as we can see, the presidential race has gotten complicated, more
ahead on with my panel on the race for the White House.
HUNT: Welcome back to "State of the Race". My panel rejoins me now. And look, I want to check in for a minute. Jeff Zeleny is on the Republican
side of this race. Because we are, you know, it's almost the end of October, November and December. The Iowa Caucus comes up here in January.
I mean, the fundamental reality remains that no Republican has managed to really put a dent in Donald Trump's you know, trip toward the Republican
nomination, even though he's been, you know, he's facing four trials essentially.
Governor DeSantis is trying very hard all of a sudden to do it. He did not do this at the beginning of his campaign. But there was you know, a couple
days ago, I noticed a tweet from the DeSantis war room. They said breaking; today we were unveiled unveiling the Trump accident tracker, a way of
recording how long the former president can go without a workplace accident on the campaign trail.
Why is this needed? We'll explain. Basically, they're tracking Donald Trump's gaffes. In many ways it's as though they're trying to compare him
to the current President Joe Biden, who Republicans obviously are eagerly, you know, they're very excited to point out when President Biden makes a
verbal gaffe or a misstep.
And the DeSantis people are now out there trying to do that work. What's the impact do you think? I mean, too little too late it seems?
ZELENY: Look, I think very little impact. I mean, they can have these conversations on Twitter. The reality is that Donald Trump is in firm
command of this primary. It makes you wonder if the, if the entire Republican rivals including the Florida governor would have acted like that
In March, if you think back to that period before the indictment started, there were some real questions and concerns about the health and future of
the Trump candidacy. Of course, he has rallied the Republican base, and his rivals have largely watched all this happen with the exception of Asa
Hutchinson and Chris Christie.
But now, several of them are firing back because time is running out. So for the Florida governor now he basically has put virtually all of his eggs
in the Iowa basket, if you will. This is someone who started with a campaign he was going to go across the country. He had the super PAC, which
is largely supporting his campaign was doing a field work in California of all places and several states.
Now it's all to Iowa. So basically that is what has happened. So over the next two and a half months, their voters still do have open minds when we
travel to Iowa and talk to voters, so some are looking for a change. But beyond that, this is still Trump's primary and something dramatic would
have to happen for it to be yanked away from him.
HUNT: Yes. So Paul Begala, I don't know if you were able to hear some of what Jeff Zeleny was saying there. But you know, in talking about what's
going on there, you know, I guess I can't help but wonder where the Biden White House is right now on the state of the Republican primary.
And in particular, I mean, they haven't, they've started making some changes around how they deal with criticisms of Biden's age. They obviously
aren't in a position to be able to do what the DeSantis campaign is doing and trying to point out like, hey, this guy's got some perhaps age related
flaws as well.
BEGALA: Yes, I do think that the Biden people, maybe the Dean Phillips challenge, which I think they probably find very annoying. Maybe it's an
opportunity to do a little sparring to show OK, you think I'm too old, and then knock the guy out. I suspect they'll do what most presidents do, which
is foolish. I'll rise above it.
This is beneath me, no, you're in a fight. The only two ways to run for reelection are unopposed and scared. And Joe Biden is not unopposed. Vis-A
-vis Mr. Trump, I think they're taking note that no one's been able to land a glove on him. It's really astonishing how powerful his hold is on the
Republican mega base.
And these are some quality candidates running against him. I'm not impressed with DeSantis's talent, but he did win Florida by 19 points.
Nikki Haley, Tim Scott, Chris Christie, these are impressive people, none of them been able to really land a -- on Trump.
HUNT: Gloria Borger, kind of big picture here. Do you think the Biden White House is going to look back on this period of time when they really have
run a pretty classic rose garden strategy campaign and wish that they had mixed it up a little more?
BORGER: From the people I talked to, the answer is absolutely not. I mean, they feel that, at this point, Biden should remain above the fray pretty
much. You don't hear him talking about Donald Trump's 91 felony counts, et cetera, et cetera.
He's got plenty of surrogates out there who are going to do it. At some point however, when it appears that its mano (ph) -- or mano you're going
to hear Joe Biden talk about Donald Trump's problems with the law and his record et cetera.
But at this point and they do have the benefit of the Rose Garden by the way. And the president is busy these days and showing that he is busy by
heading to Israel, by going to Ukraine, et cetera, et cetera. So they feel that they can show his strength by doing and certainly they weren't going
to get involved in the middle of the speaker fight, right.
BORGER: And that showed how discombobulated the Republican Party is. And they just stepped back and watched it as did the Democrats in the House.
HUNT: Pop some popcorn let them do it to themselves. It's fair enough.
HUNT: Gloria Borgia, Paul Begala, Jeff Zeleny, thank you very much for being here. I'm very grateful. And right now, a massive manhunt is in its
second day as police searched for the man suspected of mass shootings that killed 18 people in Maine. We're going to have the latest on that case up
HUNT: Welcome back. New clues today in the Lewiston Maine mass shooting that killed 18 people as a manhunt has hundreds of police officers swarming
the area. CNN has learned that investigators have recovered the shooting suspect's cell phone and a note that he left, but the note does not give a
motive for the shootings.
Robert Card is considered armed and dangerous. And schools and businesses remain closed for safety reasons. CNN's Senior Law Enforcement Analyst
Charles Ramsey joins us now. He's the former Police Chief here in Washington DC and former Police Commissioner in Philadelphia.
Chief Ramsey, thank you very much for being with us today. I want to start with the cell phone because fact that they recovered it, it may give, they
may be able to get some information off of it. But the fact that he left it behind is also very telling and makes the search that much harder now.
CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, yes, first of all, they get a search warrant to go through the phone; check his text
messages and so forth, his contacts, all that sort of thing. But I mean this guy had this planned out. I mean, and he knows that you can track a
cell phone, so he wasn't going to have a cell phone with him. So he left it behind.
Now he may have a burner phone, one of those prepaid phones that you can buy at a store. But he doesn't have the cell phone that actually belongs to
him. So that just makes it a little more difficult for the police to be able to track him. But you know, again, it just shows a level of
sophistication on his part.
HUNT: Right. We heard from law enforcement in Maine earlier on today, not a lot of details about any of the things that they have recovered. They say
that they're protecting the investigation. Instead, they focused on kind of what they're doing next, which involves searching the river.
You've been in these kinds of situations where there's been tension between the public's interest in knowing things especially public on lockdown, and
the pressures on law enforcement in terms of protecting things that they need to protect. What do you think is the right balance here? Do you think
these officials in Maine are striking the right balance?
RAMSEY: Well, each case is going to be different, but there's always some information that you just don't want to make public. Because you're still
the primary focus right now has to be on catching this individual. And of course, you know bad guys watch television too. So you don't want to put
too much information out.
I think that maybe this will change now because I was listening to the press conference. And they came right out and said they're going to have
more press briefings. And my concern was that they weren't providing enough updates. When you've got people on lockdown, you've got businesses closed,
you got people that are afraid and can't send their kids to school.
You have to communicate on a regular basis to kind of keep them as informed and as calm as you possibly can. And hopefully from this point forward,
they will do that, because the information has really not been flowing too freely from up to this point.
HUNT: Yes. I know people often cite the NTSB and how they work in the wake of airline crashes as the model for doing that. Perhaps we will see more
frequent updates from them. Chief Charles Ramsey, thank you very much for being with us today. I really appreciate your insights.
RAMSEY: Thank you.
HUNT: And I am Kasie Hunt. Thank you very much for watching. Don't go anywhere though. CNN's coverage continues after this quick break, stay with