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State of the Race with Kasie Hunt
IDF Ground Troops Move Deeper into Gaza; Mike Pence Suspends Presidential Campaign; Trump Expands Support in Iowa as Haley Ties DeSantis; Democrats Make Election Denial Part of 2024 Campaigns; White House Aims to Counter Antisemitism on Campuses; One More Thing. Aired 11a- 12p ET
Aired October 30, 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: Donald Trump surprise far ahead in Iowa, New polling puts him up nearly 30 points in the Hawkeye State. With
less than three months to go as Nikki Haley comes from behind in the race for second place. Will it matter? All as Donald Trump's Former Vice
President, gives up his bid to keep Trump from winning back the White House with Mike Pence is fall says about election lies and power in the
Plus the alarming rise in anti-Semitism on college campuses what the Biden Administration is doing to combat hate. Good day, I'm Kasie Hunt to our
viewers watching in the United States and around the world. It's 11 am here in Washington, Monday, October 30. There are 77 days until the Iowa
caucuses, 371 days until Election Day. This is today's STATE OF THE RACE.
What's going on in U.S. politics but first we're going to start in Israel and Gaza where Israel's ground assault intensifies as the humanitarian
situation in Gaza turns more desperate. Israeli troops say they advanced deeper into Gaza overnight. Israel's military says they killed 4 senior
Hamas operatives and dozens of Hamas fighters.
A new video shows an Israeli tank apparently opening fire on a passenger vehicle. The footage was taken by a freelance Palestinian journalist. The
IDF tells CNN Hamas uses civilian equipment inside Gaza. It's not clear who was driving the car or their condition.
Meanwhile, tensions are rising with Lebanese militant group Hezbollah in the north on 60 minutes. Vice President Kamala Harris was asked whether the
U.S. could be drawn into the fighting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAMAL HARRIS, U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: We have absolutely no intention or do we have any plans to send combat troops into Israel or Gaza period?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: Period. I want to bring in my panel, CNN Military Analyst, the retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Cedric Leighton. Stephen Cook is a Senior
Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies for the Council on Foreign Relations. And Laura Barron-Lopez is a CNN Political Analyst and White House Correspondent
for "PBS Newshour".
Thank you all very much for being here. And, Steven, let me start with you. Because, you know, there are obviously a couple pieces to what's going on.
You have, you know, the kinetic ground action, but also over the weekend, it seems like we heard from the administration from Jake Sullivan, about
very real fears of this escalating beyond where it is.
What is it's obviously something we've been talking about since the conflict began? But the tenor seems to be a little more intense in recent
days. What do you attribute that to?
STEVEN COOK, SENIOR FELLOW FOR MIDDLE EASTERN STUDIES FOR COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: Well, it's clear that the Hezbollah and its Iranian
patriot had been interested in opening a second front, the presence of American forces there have thus far deterred them. But Hezbollah sees
itself as the resistance par excellence.
And there is a real opportunity here for them to support Hamas in the south by opening up a second front. This is consistent with their views of
themselves as their ideological inclinations. And from a strategic perspective, there's an Iran, it would be a good thing to do to further
weaken Israel, as well as the United States.
HUNT: What is your sense of how much control Iran has or doesn't have over these, because obviously, they fund them? They're very tied together but
can they? I mean, if the Iranians don't want an escalation, can they prevent an escalation? Or is there a risk there?
COOK: There's varying degrees of autonomy, Hamas has more autonomy than Hezbollah for example. Hezbollah has in many ways become an expeditionary
force for Iran during these very troubled periods in the Middle East. Of course, Hezbollah can stumble into a war, even if Iran doesn't want them
That's exactly what happened in the summer of 2006 when they kidnapped three Israeli soldiers, and it resulted in a summer long war with the IDF.
So yes, the Iranians may not want them to do it, but they still may end up fighting a war with Israel.
HUNT: They might end up in an anyway. OK, interesting. Cedric Leighton, one of the things that, you know, as this all kind of unfolded over the
weekend, this additional, you know, the ground incursion into Gaza, that the escalation on the part of the Israelis, there was chatter about some
sort of major hostage deal in the hours beforehand.
And I think I wondered how much that shatter was an attempt to get the Israelis to back off on their plans to go in. What was your sense?
COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Yes, my sense was that it was kind of like that Kasie, because what the Qataris were trying to do
within, were the principal negotiators and all of this at least it seems to be the case at the moment. They were trying to get things stalled in terms
of military operations.
Make sure there's military operations weren't progressing so that the hostage negotiations could continue and potentially result in some kind of
a release of the hostages. I don't think Hamas was going to release all of the hostages. I think that would have been a bridge too far. But I do think
that they could have possibly released some of the foreign hostages.
So that might have been a bit of a break for them. But unfortunately, things didn't work out that way at least so far, they haven't worked out
HUNT: Laura, you cover the White House. I mean, what is your sense of where they are in terms of being able to influence the Israelis to conduct
themselves the way the White House would prefer to see them do it?
LAURA BARRON-LOPEZ, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, well, publicly the White House, you know, and the President as well as his advisors will continue to
say that they're standing by Israel. But they are also now trying to shift their rhetoric a bit from what we saw at the very beginning, when the
attack first occurred on Israel by Hamas.
And the President, whether it's in phone calls and readouts of those phone calls with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, or Jake Sullivan on CNN
saying that we are trying to make clear to Israel, that humanitarian aid needs to get to Gaza as quickly as possible that can't be stopped.
Also, there really big push to make sure that communications were brought back online after we saw them go offline in the White House, you know,
pushing Israel aggressively saying that can't happen again. So this is we've seen the President with his phone calls, and you know, in his private
conversations with Israel and other officials to try to make sure that the civilian casualties are minimized. They won't necessarily say though,
whether or not they think that Israel is conducting a lawful war.
HUNT: Yes. All right, for more on this, I want to go to CNN, Jeremy Diamond, who is now with us from Southern Israel. Jeremy, can you bring us
up to speed in terms of what you're seeing, what's unfolding today, Laura was talking about communications being restored to some degree in Gaza.
And that possibly, you know, being part of the White House push and that is being part of why that happened?
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, there's no question that the U.S. has been pressing the Israeli government to not only allow more
humanitarian aid into Gaza, but also to restore those communications and those telecommunications have been starting to be restored throughout the
day, which was also frankly giving us a better picture of what is happening inside of Gaza as we enter day four now of this expanded Israeli ground
We recently saw a video from a Palestinian freelance journalist inside of Gaza, showing Israeli tanks in Southern Gaza City, which is further south
than where they initially entered in this ground incursion in the northern and Northeastern part of Gaza, which was right behind me here, that City of
Beit Hanoun was one of the first targets that appears of this expanded Israeli grounds operation.
But we're now seeing Israeli forces really stretching further into the Northern half of the Gaza Strip. Now, as all of this has been happening,
the Israeli forces saying that they have targeted over 6 carried out strikes on over 600 targets inside of Gaza that includes anti-tank missile
posts, command centers that Hamas uses.
But also that underground infrastructure, dozens of miles of tunnels, that stretch underneath the Gaza Strip, which Hamas fighters use, to evade
Israeli forces could also use them to ambush Israeli forces as they enter these towns and cities inside the Gaza Strip. And what's also clear is that
even though we haven't seen that kind of overwhelming force of hundreds of thousands of Israeli troops invading the Gaza Strip.
We are going to see a steady buildup of forces inside of Gaza. As we enter, as I said, this fourth day of expanded operations, Israel's defense forces
spokesman saying that Israel is going to continue to add troops inside of Gaza. And we're also seeing evidence that fighting is continuing to expand
not only the aerial bombardment.
But also we've heard outgoing artillery fire, tank fire, and we're also hearing a lot of machine gunfire indicating ground forces is engaging Hamas
militants on the ground.
HUNT: All right, Jeremy Diamond, for us in Southern Israel. Thank you very much for that reporting. Stay safe out there. I want to bring this
conversation back here. And, Steven, just as we sort of understand a little bit more about what this looks like. I find myself wondering and as Jeremy
was talking there.
We played Kamala Harris in the intro right? The Vice President saying absolutely no American boots on the ground, period, and apparently like
you'd get to weigh in on this as well. I guess I was wondering.
Does that actually apply to the hostages as well in the event that there's a hot hostage rescue negotiation? I mean what would the calculation be in
for U.S. officials?
COOK: Well thus far the administration has been very, very clear that this is an Israeli operation and that they are giving advice to the Israelis,
who have their own, you know, very well trained Special Forces operators who are very good at this hostage rescue thing. I think the more salient
issue is those forces around the region who are coming under attack from Iranian linked militias.
And what that means we've already seen the United States conduct airstrikes on those groups, if they escalate, what will happen next.
HUNT: Yes. Sir, did you agree?
LEIGHTON: Yes. Well, yes, basically, I do agree with Steven, I think the key thing here is the U.S. forces are going to be capable of actually going
in and taking part in a hostage rescue operation. But generally speaking, when it's an Israeli show, the Israelis will actually run those kinds of
hostage rescue operations.
And the likelihood is if one were to occur, it would be an Israeli operation and not an American operation.
HUNT: Are there, what kind of how do I put this, what kind of capabilities does the U.S. have or knowledge that the U.S. has, that the Israelis don't
LEIGHTON: They're pretty similar. And in fact, the U.S. when we started our hostage rescue operations and our ability to actually create units like
that we borrowed a lot from the Israelis, the Israelis to the Entebbe raid in the 1970s. That was something that was kind of a model for U.S. and
other counterterrorism forces.
There are some things, some technologies that the U.S. has, that the Israelis may not have, where they may have a variant of it. So it's not
exactly the same. They also haven't really worked together in real world hostage rescue operations on a consistent basis.
So it would be one of those things where they wouldn't have that interoperability that you would need in an operation like that at least
that would be a hindrance. So that would be the kind of thing that would prevent or at least mitigate the idea of putting U.S. forces in that kind
of a situation.
HUNT: Fascinating. All right, Colonel, Stephen Cook, thank you both very much for being with us today, I really appreciate it. And still ahead here
Donald Trump way out front in the latest poll of Republican Presidential candidates in the critical State of Iowa. But there is one surprise the
candidate who is now tied for second place, will discuss.
HUNT: Welcome back today the gold standard Des Moines Register Iowa poll gives us a new look at the first caucus state. Less than three months out.
It tells the same tale we've been hearing. Donald Trump maintains a massive lead over his top rivals even expanding it a bit in spite of, because of
his ongoing legal troubles.
You can see the numbers Trump now favored by 43 percent of likely caucus goers. That's more than double the support of his nearest rivals, rock
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley. They are both up at 16 percent. Haley is really the headline here she is up 10
points since the last poll in August. The new poll released after Former Vice President Mike Pence made this announcement on Sunday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: This was not my time. So after much prayer and deliberation I have decided to suspend my campaign for President
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: Not my time he says. Kristen Holmes joins me now. Kristen, what do you make of this?
KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN U.S. NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think you mentioned the Haley thing that is a huge part of this. The other part of
this is just how sticky the support for Donald Trump really is. And that's when you look at the part of the poll that shows the caucus goers that
support Trump, how many of them have already made up their mind?
And that is 63 percent that is a huge amount of people within that 43 that has made up their mind. Now if you go to DeSantis, it's down to 30 percent.
Haley 26 percent. So what you're looking at right now is that even at the low number of 16 percent, only 30 percent say their mind has made up for
Or on the other number the 26 say their mind is made up for Haley, which leaves a lot of flexibility, 63 percent not a lot of flexibility there. Now
I do think one interesting thing to note is over the weekend, I was at RJC when Pence dropped out and I asked almost every event goer that I talked to
who they were supporting.
And almost every single person said Nikki Haley, or Donald Trump. Now the reason this is interesting to me is because there was no mention of Ron
DeSantis. Now this is a very specific crowd. It is a crowd that Trump can appeal to because of his record in the Middle East while he was in office,
as well as Haley can appeal to because of her foreign policy chops.
But again, it was very interesting that just months ago, DeSantis was right up there. Number two with someone they were considering over Donald Trump,
and that was just not the case over the weekend.
HUNT: Yes, that's actually that's fascinating, Kristen, and, you know, for those who maybe aren't as steeped in this as you and I mean, the Republican
Jewish Coalition, you know, homes by the Adelson out in Las Vegas really does bring out this traditional conservative hawkish crowd.
Quite frankly, a lot of the views held by those folks are kind of out of vogue here in Washington. It is very interesting to me that they're the
alternative that they're picking, it seems as Nikki Haley. All right, Kristen Holmes, thank you very much. I always appreciate your reporting.
Our panel is here with us, Doug Heye, Republican Strategist, Former Communications Director for the RNC, CNN Political Commentator, Karen
Finney, also a Former Spokesperson for Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign. And Laura Barron-Lopez is still with us, as well.
Doug, as our Resident Republican, I'm going to start with you. And I actually, I'm glad that Kristen mentioned the RJC because this and we're
kind of telling you're seeing the story that the Iowa poll tells play out on the trail right in various ways. One of those ways was at the RJC, where
both Donald Trump and Nikki Haley spoke.
Take a look at what Trump and then Haley had to say. And you'll see they're kind of going after each other watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, 45TH U.S. PRESIDENT: If I were President the attack on Israel would never, ever have happened. I think you believe that, right? If you
believe that Ukraine would never have happened, inflation would never have happened.
NIKKI HALEY, U.S. REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: As President. I will not compliment Hezbollah. Nor will I criticize Israel's Prime Minister in
the middle of a tragedy and war. We have no time for personal vendettas. I will also not compliment Chinese communist President Xi, nor will I call
North Korea's Kim Jong-Un my friend.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: All right, so Trump wasn't really going after Haley. They're just sort of asserting various things but Haley really went right at Donald
DOUG HEYE, U.S. REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Was she? I didn't hear Donald Trump's name in there.
HUNT: -- time --
HEYE: And what we see so often from Republicans is that sort of hesitancy to go after Donald Trump directly and by name.
And Patrick McHenry long-time friend his favorite band is talking heads and whenever something weird is happening in Washington we've had a lot of that
HUNT: Yes, we -- .
HEYE: -- that just says same as it ever was as same as it ever was. That's I think the poll from the Des Moines Register is illustrative of that this
poll is almost a mirror of what we've seen time and time again. And the reason for that is Donald Trump's opponents are hesitant to go after him
No better example of that than indictments when not only do they fail to criticize their opponent, which they would do in any other race with any
other opponent, they reinforce his messaging. So where do we expect Republican voters to go?
KAREN FINNEY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Right, I mean, I think it's interesting, right, that because Nikki Haley has been gaining ground both
in New Hampshire and Iowa action last couple of polls.
FINNEY: And I wonder if maybe what she's unlocked is exactly what you just said. You don't have to mention him by name. You have to be firm about me.
She was very firm about I'm not going to do this. I'm going to do that. So maybe that's I don't know, we'll see, because also her style is much less
confrontational and sort of bullish in the way that the fantasy is. Maybe that's what's resonating with Republican voters.
HUNT: Well, I mean, part of it is, I mean, if you're a woman, you have to campaign, there are certain things where she can do it -- . And she does
she does do that. I mean, one of the things I do think it does I take your point about not saying it by name, but this is all also new material,
The compliments for Hezbollah, Israel's Prime Minister, right, she's doing that in the moment. I think that the indictment thing is much more salient,
right that like people are not willing to go after his, like, the very obvious major flaw that this guy has his Republican rivals are not willing
to touch and --
HEYE: Will they touch it, they reinforce his messaging, and they say Donald Trump is a victim.
HUNT: Right? Yes, it's cover, right? I mean, I do think it helps explain what we're seeing here the other piece of this, Laura, is that Ron
DeSantis, who previously was kind of seen or held up or at least hoped for as a savior for the portion of the party that doesn't want to see Donald
Get the nomination has really he's not tied with Haley in that Iowa poll, and the two of them are going after each other on the airwaves. Let's play
a little bit of this. The Super PAC was supporting the Santa has never backed down is airing this ad. Here's a little piece of it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Communist Party owned high tech company got 200 acres, 5 miles from an army base.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think China is really in good faith doing quite a bad day or two really great friends of ours.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nikki Haley questionable judgment, dangerous from China.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: So Nikki Haley's super PAC supporters did not let this, or this has not gone unnoticed by them. Here's how they responded, watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ron DeSantis can't stop lying about Nikki Haley. DeSantis gave millions to Chinese companies. DeSantis even voted to fast
track Obama's Chinese trade deals, Ron DeSantis his line because he's losing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: Ouch Ron DeSantis loosing.
BARRON-LOPEZ: Yes, I mean, look, DeSantis's team clearly sees Nikki Haley is one of their biggest sets right now for further runner up position,
because again, both of them are double digits behind the Former President, but she's gaining on him and she could potentially surpass him and become
the person that these voters pick if they want a separate option from Trump.
She's also distanced herself far more from Trump than DeSantis has on a host of issues including foreign policy. DeSantis has aligned himself much
more with the Former President on foreign policy than Haley has. I do agree with Doug though, which is that when it comes down to it, when push comes
Haley has said she would vote for Trump again, which is essentially what all of them are using as this way to tell the base. Please vote for me. I
won't go against the leader.
HUNT: So here's the big picture, right? We're talking about I think your comments are spot on in terms of how they're dealing with each other. But
the bottom line is the only way, Doug, anyone's going to come anywhere close to Donald Trump is if this field consolidates, right?
If Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley are fighting with each other ahead of Iowa, the only way I see somebody coming close to potentially touching this front
runner is if there is someone that comes out of Iowa with that looks like they could actually win, right, if there's a surprise out of there. Do you
see a world where if all these guys are still in the field, that's a remote possibility.
HEYE: Yes, we have a debate coming up Donald Trump will not be there. So we know the top vote getter at that debate will be somebody who's at 16
percent, whether that's DeSantis, or Haley, or it's 7 percent of your rebate on down the line and ultimately, in the Olympics.
We remember who's at the top of the podium, not who's second and third, and this is the challenge. I think for these Republicans, they need to remember
the nomination, and that the ad that you showed and Haley's response goes to this. The nomination doesn't go around Donald Trump.
It goes through Donald Trump, so whether he's there or not, he's smart not to be at these debates. You have to take him on directly and Haley is good.
She has strong moments at debates, foreign policy, and the current news is a great opportunity for, but she's got to take it.
HUNT: Yes, it really does --
FINNEY: -- really interesting to see if she can consolidate some of that support from some of the others to again have a little bump. She's a bump
coming out of that debate and can show a little bit of momentum that could also start to convince voters she could be a winner. And what do we know
people like the winner they liked the person they think is got the momentum and they want to be left out.
So that could actually benefit her and I wouldn't be so fascinating to see if at the end of the day, it is the style of a woman and the way women have
to campaign you touched on this which is very different than men which she has embraced. That actually is the road to through Donald Trump into the
HUNT: Be very interesting to see. All right, let's push pause on this because, up next we got how 2020 election denial is affecting the 2024
campaigns for President hits you better deny it and for Congress.
HUNT: All right, welcome back to STATE OF THE RACE. I'm Kasie Hunt. We're live in Washington. The new Speaker of the House Mike Johnson may not have
been particularly well known before last week, but he played a leading role in the effort to block certification of the 2020 election results.
You can see Johnson in this video is from January 6, 2021. He's speaking on the House floor urging congress to vote against certifying the electors
from some states. And in fact, Johnson was behind a number of legal efforts that had tried to cast out on President Joe Biden's win.
And a new piece out today on cnn.com, our Stephen Collinson writes, "Democrats are already trying to make Johnson's record on election
credibility into a liability as the 2024 campaign heats up, with Republicans seeking to cling to their House majority". And Stephen
Collinson joins us now, along with Doug Heye and Karen Finney, who are still with us.
Stephen, as you know, I'm an avid reader and a big fan of your sort of big picture columns here. And you also look at this in the context of the
presidential election, as well as the race for the House. And you can see it in Mike Pence dropping out.
I mean, I think we all remember what it looked like when Vice President Pence was standing next to President Trump through all those events through
all the Trump Administration kind of looking up at him like this, right? He did the right thing on January 6 and look where it got him with Republican
voters. And that's essentially what you write about here.
COLLINSON: Right. And the irony, as you point out with the fact that Pence stood with Trump over and over and over, deeply loyal, but when it came to
January the 6th, he follow the constitution, and that is what's got him into trouble. But I think that tells us a lot about the state of the
I think truth is less important in the modern Republican Party than Trump in many ways. And looking back, I think we have to question why that Pence
thought given his involvement in refusing to certify, in refusing to block the certification of Joe Biden's presidential election, when he thought he
had a viable path to the Republican nomination.
My experience of talking to Republican voters is that even those who want someone other than Trump, or looking at other candidates, there's no
appetite to re-litigate what happened on January the sixth to question Trump's necessarily election fraud allegations.
And I think you've seen that in the way that Haley for example and Ron DeSantis have, have dodged around this question. They've criticized Trump
saying it's time to move on to get rid of the drama. But they've not gone after him on the election issue. Maybe that's political cowardice, but
there's no, there's no path and Republican Party for someone that does that.
HUNT: Right now. I mean, there isn't Doug. And I mean, look, I was at the Capitol complex on January 6, and the chants were, you know, I heard the
people chanting hang Mike Pence, right. And, you know, I would say, having covered him for a while, and I think, you know, a lot of the people around
I think he views his role as a little bit more divine than perhaps, you know, some of us who are not, you know, who don't have religion quite at
the center of things, the way that Pence does. But to Steven's point, I mean, how, how do Republicans get out of this world around this at all? I
mean, it seems like a basically permanent feature.
HEYE: I think the short answer is they don't.
HEYE: And what we've learned, not just from you know, Mike Pence's challenging. Mike Pence didn't get anywhere in Iowa, which is Evangelical,
heavy, neighboring state governor, that should have been a good place for Mike Pence in a normal world.
HEYE: But we also saw this with Steve Scalise and Kevin McCarthy. Donald Trump doesn't give points and Republicans are always trying to they're
hustling to score points with Trump. But he doesn't give points. He only takes them away one at a time. And he determines when he takes that away.
And I think that's if you're the new speaker, and you're trying to define yourself in the country, as Democrats are trying to do as well. It puts you
in a very difficult bind.
FINNEY: But I think they can't get around the fact that particularly those 18 Republicans who are in Biden one districts, they voted for not only an
election denier, but someone who was part of overthrowing of the plots, essentially, to overthrow the results of the election. They will have to
answer for that.
There's no question, we don't have to, Democrats don't have to do much to define that. That is just a fact. And the second piece of this is, I think
it does, you know, in 2020, 2022; we have seen we continue to see Americans are concerned about democracy.
And you cannot articulate you know I've heard Republican talked about the constitutional that, if you are for the constitution, you cannot also be
for overthrowing an election. That is not constitutional principles. Granted, that argument didn't work in a Republican primary for Mike Pence.
Although I think there were some other issues like the fact that he was part still part of the Trump Administration. He was not a fresh start or
moving on. At the same time, we've seen again, across a number of elections and polls, Americans are concerned about the state of our democracy.
And so that does create a brand for the Republican Party starting at the top with Donald Trump, then going to the speaker, that this is not a party
that will stand up and protect democratic principles. We already see Trump now moving on to another branch of our government, and that is the courts.
And so as he systematically works to undermine our government and our democratic institutions, that is also part of the Republican Party's brand.
HUNT: Stephen Collinson, I mean, I take your point on how you can wrap this brand together. But do you think independent voters vote on this, vote on
the democracy issue?
COLLINSON: I was actually surprised in the midterms about how effective President Biden's democracy message was that a lot of pro Trump candidates
were the same threat to democracy that he was. Presumably that could be the same if Trump is on the ballot, opposite him in November 2024 there were
other issues that probably could run the election.
I think there's a lot of in Washington, a lot of people underestimate how important the high interest rates are out in the country, that's really
hurting people. But if the Democrats can make this about the election, and let's not forget, Donald Trump is probably going to spend much of next year
on trial, that is going to bring the question of what happened in 2020, his own criminal liability right to the front of the election conversation. So
it could be a very powerful issue for Democrats, I think.
HUNT: I mean, Karen Finney, there's definitely you can see it in the national polling. And, you know, we don't officially put out the results of
internal polling here at CNN. But when I talked to sources that are seeing data that, you know, people are gathering out there in the country.
There are some significant warning signs for the president and for Democrats. I mean, how much of that do you buy? And do you think these
issues, the democracy issue we're talking about abortion, as well, as a, you know, very galvanizing issue? Is that going to be enough?
FINNEY: Well, you have to take all of it very seriously. And recognize that this is going to be a tough race to win, period, full stop, our country is
much divided. We've seen that in the Republicans, we've seen that among Democrats. So and a lot can happen between our Election Day, a couple of
I think next year, though, when the election becomes more relevant and real for Democratic voters and independent voters, because we don't have a
primary. So it's not the same. I mean, there's, you know, a couple of --
HUNT: Yes. Like I do -- out there saying Joe Biden can't's --
FINNEY: Right, and then New Hampshire were there anyway, I won't go into all that. But I do think when it becomes more of a binary choice that is
when folks will have to really ask themselves who do you trust to lead this country? And the other thing I would say just quickly about the democracy
The thing about democracy, it is connected to the autonomy; it is connected to reproductive freedom. Because if a party cannot effectively govern, if
what you have seen is chaos, if what you have seen is someone who is all about retribution and attacking democratic institutions, that's not good
for your pocketbook, either.
That does not -- that does not make markets feel very good. That does not help the economy and the global economy. So I think people recognize that
that's just not good for them, either. And you know, going back to governing by tweet, I just don't think people have the stomach for it.
HUNT: Doug, I mean, the phrase --
FINNEY: Or reacts.
HUNT: -- Twitter, is what it is, that the phrase that Karen brought to my mind was Joe Biden's you know, claim, don't compare me to the Almighty
compare me to the alternative. And I mean, where do you come down on this? I mean, do you think that Donald Trump is, Hillary Clinton campaign
obviously made the mistake of him by thinking, Oh, Donald Trump be the best person to run against.
For Joe Biden, would he be better off running against Nikki Haley if she could actually do it? Or would that be a death sentence for him? I mean,
who, who's right? DeSantis who says Trump can't be Biden or Dean Phillips, who says Biden can't be Trump?
HEYE: I don't think we know is the reality. I think a lot of Republicans, you know, we saw in Iowa, Trump is not at over 50 percent. We'd like to see
in Nikki Haley or somebody younger to make more of a contrast, but the reality is positive or negative. Donald Trump is a ball of energy. And Joe
Biden isn't. And for those independent voters --
HUNT: That's why the age thing cuts for Biden; they are only three years --
HEYE: As Biden is going to be more than a year old or a year from now because he ages faster in a job those ages you faster. And I think that's a
real challenge for Biden.
FINNEY: Trump is the one who didn't know what city he was in yesterday. Let's just --
HUNT: Let's remember that he's finally gotten on to this.
HEYE: Everybody who's going to, any music concert in their lives are seeing the team, seen a band say, hey, Cleveland, we love you and over in Chicago.
FINNEY: Yes, but you don't want; you might want that that's OK, if it's a band that's not OK. If it's your president with his finger on the nuclear
codes, just -- .
HUNT: I think both of you actually have points here. But I think fundamentally, when you meet you just look at the video of the two men they
just, they read completely differently. Alright, we're going to spend the rest of this year talking about this. So, but right now we actually do have
to go to break, so still ahead we're going to take a look at the alarming rise of anti-Semitism on college campuses and what the White House is
trying to do about it.
HUNT: Welcome back. We've got some breaking news. Hamas has released a new video showing three women who are believed to be captives taken in the
October 7 attack on Israel. We are not showing the video right now. We're describing it. It shows them seated in plastic chairs facing the camera.
One woman addresses Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying that he promised to release them. She makes a reference to a press conference by
families of the hostages "Yesterday". It suggests that the hostage video was filmed today.
The women don't show signs of physical mistreatment but it is possible that the statement was made under duress. This is a breaking story and we will
bring more to you as it develops now that we want to go to a shocking display of anti-Semitism in southwestern Russia as hundreds of people
stormed an airport Sunday to meet a plane arriving from Tel Aviv.
People shouted anti-Semitic slogans and tried to get the past tried to get to the passengers aboard the flight. Russian authorities closed the airport
but not before the riot had injured more than 20 people. This is part of an extraordinarily troubling trend of rising anti-Semitism around the world,
including here in the United States.
2022 was America's worst year on record for anti-Semitic incidents according to the anti-Defamation League. And Cornell University is now
investigating one such incident after threats were made against Jewish students on an online discussion forum over the weekend. The University
says they alerted the FBI to the messages.
Cornell's president says "Threats of violence are absolutely intolerable, and we will work to ensure that the person or people who posted them are
punished to the fullest extent of the law". Amid this rise in anti- Semitism, the White House says Homeland Security in the Justice Department is in contact with law enforcement at college campuses.
Joining us now is CNN White House Reporter Priscilla Alvarez. Priscilla thanks for being here. What else is the White House is trying to do about
this extremely alarming trend?
PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, these actions amount to a mobilization of the administration to combat anti-Semitic incidents. That
means mobilizing a variety of departments including the Department of Homeland Security and the Justice Department, both of which are
disseminating public safety information to college campuses.
And also importantly, holding multiple phone calls with campus law enforcement as well as state and local law enforcement to guide them to
help them assist them in whatever they may need, but also to hear from them.
Now, the Department of Justice also announced this morning that they are going to operate $30 million in grants to combat hate crimes and rising
threats to again help these communities. So the federal government is doing what it can and providing assistance and guidance to these campuses, as
they see a rise in these incidents.
And also fully aware of what is happening abroad with the Israel and Hamas conflict now here at the White House, the second gentleman, Doug Emhoff,
will also be involved in events this week, to combat these incidents.
HUNT: All right, Priscilla Alvarez at the White House for us. Thank you very much for that report. And joining us now to further discuss this rise
in anti-Semitism is Jonathan Greenblatt, he is the CEO of the anti- Defamation League, Jonathan, thank you very much for joining me today.
JONATHAN GREENBLATT, CEO, ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE: Thank you for having me.
HUNT: I just want you to kind of give us set the stage for us a little bit here, because I got to tell you, the things that are happening right now I
never really expected to see in the United States, I suppose that that was naive of me. I'm a GW University graduate, we had an incident on that
campus, obviously, what's happening at Cornell, with very real threats of violence is even more disturbing. What does this all mean?
GREENBLATT: Well, look, I think many of us did not expect to see these events unfolding right here in America. But the fact of the matter is it
could happen here. I mean, a mob, you know, tearing through an airport in Russia searching for Jews, to Lynch is terrifying.
But it's equally terrifying for a student from Cornell University to find on the general message board these posts to "Slit the throat of Jews". And
you know it's terrifying at the Cooper Union in New York City last week. The security pushed Jewish students into a room and barricaded it because
there was such a mob of anti-Israel protesters.
And when the mob identify these Jewish kids were in this room, they bang down the windows and chanted globalize the Intifada for anyone who doesn't
remember what that was. The Intifada was a series of terror attacks, bus bombings, disco bombings, where civilians were slaughtered in Israel in the
So globalizing Intifada from the river to the sea, this is anti-Semitism. This is threatening Jews worldwide. And keep in mind those two weeks ago,
the Head of Hamas announced the, "Global day of jihad"; where Jewish parents get their children home from school synagogues close, some Jewish
nonprofits close their offices.
So the threats are real. And all of this is happening against the backdrop of the highest number of anti-Semitic incidents. ADL has ever tracked in
America. So the intensification and the expansion is terrifying to Jewish people. And it's not just a Jewish problem, let me just say that very
clearly, Jews may be targeted.
But this is an attack on our democracy, threatening people because of how they worship or where they pray is on American. And so these Hamas
supporters, these people boosting messages of terror, they're not just threatening Jews. They're threatening all of us.
HUNT: So you mentioned the rise in anti-Semitic incidents, you found that it's risen nearly 400 percent since October 7 compared to the same period
last year. And last year was the highest year on record no?
GREENBLATT: Correct. I mean, again, that we're dealing with an elevated level of acts of harassment, vandalism and violence before these last few
weeks. And it's not just unique to America. In the UK, the number of anti- Semitic Acts was up 13 times over the same period last year. In France, some 400 percent just like here in Germany much the same as well. So it's a
HUNT: Jonathan, can you help me understand? I mean, this is something and my colleague Jake Tapper really put his finger on it over the weekend when
he was talking about Marjorie Taylor Greene and her resolution against Rashida Taleb in the House, one on the right, one on the left.
The reality is some of the rhetoric around Jewish people coming out of right wing nationalism during the Trump Administration was just horrifying.
And now a lot of what we're seeing on these college campus seems to be coming from the political left. How is that, what ties these two things
GREENBLATT: Well, look, we have a MAGA movement on the right and a Hamas movement on the left. And you know, I don't think some of the MAGA types
really represented whether traditional GOP was and these Hamas types don't represent what the traditional Democratic Party has been. And look of the
truth is, is that the normalization of anti-Semitism is why this is happening.
When you say things like the great replacement theory, or you demonize George Soros, when you say things like anti-Zionism is OK, from the river
to the sea. These may feel different to some, they may come from different political sources. But the outcome is the same.
Anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism. The great replacement theory is anti- Semitism and this kind of extremist language being normalized. It emboldened anti-Semites. And it threats all of us. So I think the question
is less, you know, Marjorie Taylor Greene versus Ilhan Omar, both of whom are very problematic.
And the truth is, we've got to focus on how the mainstream Democrats, the mainstream Republicans stand up and say no. And I will tell you this, I'm
leaving here to go meet with the Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona. And I'm going to press him on what the administration will do to keep
Jewish college students safe.
There was an announcement this morning and it was great, it was important President Biden has been rock solid. But we need to make sure that whether
it's these student groups that are literally providing material support and enabling a Hamas presence on campus.
Or whether it's these universities, which are not, you know, literally enforcing your own obligations under the law, to keep Jewish students safe.
We need to make sure whether it's the FBI or DHS or education or the White House that our government is keeping Jewish kids safe. That's all we're
HUNT: All right, Jonathan Greenblatt of the ADL. Thank you very much for your time today, sir. I really appreciate it.
GREENBLATT: Thank you.
HUNT: All right. We'll be right back.
HUNT: Welcome back to STATE OF THE RACE. My panel rejoins me. Before we go, I want to ask them all for one more thing on the campaign trail or in
Washington, you're watching in the coming days. We've got about 30 seconds each. Doug, what are you watching?
HEYE: We're seeing a lot of Attorney Generals band together to sue Meta. And if there's one thing that's --
HUNT: Base -- right?
HEYE: And if there's one thing that's popular, Republican or Democrat, it's beating on beating up on social media.
HEYE: But the reality is, there's still much more that we need to learn and the lit solve a problem when we haven't fully diagnosed the problem is a
typical Washington thing to do. It's not always effective.
HUNT: Yes, I'm glad my kid is still four but this concerns me already. OK.
FINNEY: Next week there's an election. How about that? One of the ones that I'm watching very intensely, I think a lot of folks are in Ohio, where you
have a ballot initiative called issue one, which would essentially codify Roe v. Wade and protections for reproductive rights into the state
It's been an interesting to see the way the right has chosen not to argue on the facts, but to use misinformation disinformation and make it even
harder to even get this initiative on the ballot to win. And so, we'll see in the outcome of that how reproductive freedom is still playing in this
country as a mobilizing issue.
HUNT: Yes Laura?
BARRON-LOPEZ: Starting in a courtroom in Denver today, a lawsuit is being heard that would determine whether or not former President Donald Trump
will be disqualified to be on the ballot in states like Colorado under the insurrection clause of the constitution.
One thing that I think some people misconstrue about that insurrection clause is that it's whether he aided or abetted an insurrection against the
constitution, not against the United States. So this is likely to go all the way to the Supreme Court, but it's going to come --
HUNT: Yes, it's going to be very interesting to watch. And I will say I'm with Karen, I'm watching the elections coming up next week. I would add
actually the state of Virginia to the sense that those elections may give us about how abortion politics are going to play.
We have seen that be a very significant factor of the last couple of elections. Thank you all for being with us today. I'm Kasie Hunt. That's
the STATE OF THE RACE for today, Monday, October 30th. You can always follow me on Instagram and on the platform formerly known as Twitter. "One
World" is up next.