Return to Transcripts main page

State of the Race with Kasie Hunt

Blinken in Israel, Pushes for Protection of Civilians in Gaza; IDF on "Very High Level of Alertness" at Lebanese Border; House Democrat Slams Speaker over Israel Aid Bill; Virginia Governor Candidate about Next Week's Elections; Ohio Amendment Serves as Test for U.S. Abortion Rights; U.S. Republican Candidate Nikki Haley on the Rise. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired November 03, 2023 - 11:00   ET




KASIE HUNT, CNN HOST, STATE OF THE RACE: The top U.S. diplomat in the Middle East Antony Blinken pushing for a pause in airstrikes while back

home more than a dozen Senators in the President's own party demand that too. Plus it's almost the first Tuesday in November. We are just days away

from Election Day in America. What we could learn about abortion rights and everything else on voters' minds.

Award winning Ohio Columnist Connie Schultz joins me live. And Nikki Haley rising in polls after strong debate performances that of course mean Donald

Trump is attacking her; the next Republican debate less than a week away.

Good day everyone. I'm Kasie Hunt to our viewers watching in the United States and around the world. It's 11 am here in Washington Friday, November

3rd. Four days until this year's elections five days to the next Republican Presidential Debate and 367 days until Election Day. This is today's "State

of the Race".

Protecting civilians in Gaza while not forgetting the horrors of the Hamas massacre that sparked the war, those pointed messages coming from U.S.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken during his latest visit to Israel; Blinken talked to reporters after meeting with Israeli Leaders and he

recounted in vivid detail images that he saw today that were provided by the Israeli government showing the horror that two young Israeli children

experienced while a terrorist blew up their family shelter and then shot and killed their wounded father.

Blinken stressed what he says is Israel's right and obligation to defend itself. But he also did say how Israel does that is hugely important.


ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: We need to do more to protect Palestinian civilians. We've been clear that as Israel conducts its

campaign to defeat Hamas, how it does so matters. It matters because it's the right and lawful thing to do.

It matters because failure to do so plays into the hands of Hamas and other terror groups. There will be no partners for peace if they're consumed by

humanitarian catastrophe, and alienated by any perceived indifference to their plight.


HUNT: This trip follows reports that President Joe Biden and his top advisors have been increasingly escalating their warnings to Israel. But if

they don't protect civilian lives in Gaza, they will lose public support and endanger their operations against Hamas. Ed Lavandera is in Tel Aviv

for us, Ed, high stakes day in Israel this morning.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh no -- no question as the Secretary of State visiting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli war

cabinet as well as the Israeli President. Much of what Secretary Blinken spoke about was the efforts to increase humanitarian aid and shipments into

Gaza to help civilians who have been so severely impacted by this war.

But there's really no clear movement on the Biden Administration's efforts to try to get Israel to be more restrained in its bombardments, and its

attacks in Gaza. In fact, after the meeting, President Benjamin Netanyahu saying this afternoon that they do not support any kind of ceasefire until

Hamas releases all of the 241 hostages that it has held for almost a month now.

So and this kind of goes in line with what Israeli military officials and political officials have been saying over the last several days, that they

fully intend to continue increasing military pressure inside of Gaza on those Hamas fighters.

In fact, they are reporting that they have completely surrounded Gaza city and the areas mostly in northern Gaza. And this is the area where Hamas

fighters have been launching military strikes and using the sophisticated tunnel systems that stretch for dozens of miles under that civilian

population in Gaza.

And that is what ground forces in the ground operation inside of Gaza are trying to dismantle. So clearly the Israeli government here shows no

willingness to change those plans and those efforts until hostages are released. So Secretary Blinken speaking more about the humanitarian efforts

that are being done to help civilians inside of Gaza and also trying to get both sides to look toward the future as to what -- any kind of solution to

this will be -- what it will look like in the future.

HUNT: All right, Ed Lavandera for us in Tel Aviv, Ed thanks very much for that report. Let's discuss with today's panel Mark Kimmitt, Retired

Brigadier General of the U.S. Army and Former Assistant Secretary of State for Political Military Affairs under Former President George W. Bush Bruce

Hoffman a Professor at Georgetown University and Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations Farnoush Amiri she is a Congressional Reporter

for the Associated Press. Thank you all for being here.


General, I want to start with you on the topic of the ceasefire before we kind of get into some of those, it was clear that the Secretary of State

was emotional after what he saw on his trip. But just on the question of the message from the United States that Israel should be doing more to

protect civilians. From a military perspective, do you think they could be?

BRIGADIER GEN. MARK KIMMITT, U.S. ARMY (RET.): Well look, the issue of going after these targets inside of Gaza is the exquisite balance between

military necessities in collateral damage. The Israelis will tell you, well, that's as much to blame. The much of the blame should go to Hamas for

intentionally doing this.

HUNT: Right.

KIMMITT: They may scope down a little bit on their low value targets. But I don't think that they will cease going after those high value targets, even

if their collateral damage estimation is very high.

HUNT: Bruce, what do you think is the balance for the Israelis right now, in terms of receiving this message from the United States? I mean there is

to a certain extent, you know, a strategic calculation to be made, in terms of what it would mean, if you know, world opinion swings so far in a

different direction that the United States starts acting in a different manner.

I mean obviously, the U.S. has been very strong in standing with Israel here and behind the scenes, military support, intelligence support, et

cetera. But there potentially is a risk here for the Israelis. I mean, is that part of the calculation right now or not?

BRUCE HOFFMAN, PROFESSOR AT GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: Well, it's certainly part of the calculation. Israel is trying to thread the needle between

dealing Hamas this crushing blow that they have repeatedly promised to do but also achieving that aim of destroying Hamas without completely

alienating the United States and the world.

I would say at the moment, their highest priority is consolidating that sealing off of Gaza City of splitting the north of Gaza from the south. And

also of getting some quid pro quo, if they do go along with a pause that right now is the case they want something in return. And we're dealing with

an unprecedented situation with over 240 hostages seized.

HUNT: Right. What I mean -- you say it's a quid pro quo. Give us an example. What are they looking for?

HOFFMAN: What Hamas is willing to do? I mean, there are two parties to any conflict. So the pressure is on Israel for a pause, but what will they get

in return? The problem with a pause is that inevitably, militarily, it always benefits the defenders not the offense. It throws the offense off

balance, deprives it as of momentum just when its troops after waiting three weeks have gone in. So Israel wants something tangible in return as

anybody does in these types of negotiations.

HUNT: Right. So Farnoush, we talked a little bit through you know what Blinken's day was, like, this morning in Israel. And he detailed you know,

how the Israelis showed him more deeply disturbing a video of what happened on October 7th. And Antony Blinken got emotional talking about that. He of

course, has very strong ties, personal ties to Israel. Take a look at what Blinken had to say.


BLINKEN: It is striking, and in some ways, shocking that the brutality of the slaughter has receded so quickly in the memories of so many, but not in

Israel, and not in America.


HUNT: So he says not in America. But the reality is that the political winds have been shifting as the bombardment has gone on as civilian

casualties in Gaza have mounted. And clearly and this is happening, especially in President Biden's own party, and you're seeing that on

Capitol Hill, which you cover every day. That's part of this.

FARNOUSH AMIRI, U.S. CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER FOR AP: Yes. I mean, even yesterday when you know Senator Dick Durbin, one of the top Democrats in

the Senate came on your network and was asked point blank, you know, is a humanitarian pause enough? Should we be calling for a ceasefire?

And he said, I think we should. And you know I followed up with him five seconds later in the halls of Congress. And I asked him to clarify and he

said you know, the word ceasefire in Washington has become this really powerful and dangerous for Democrats, you know, to call for it. You see

what's happening to progressives in the House who have called for ceasefires.

They're being attacked by APAC. They're being attacked from all sides from Republicans, and as well, so I think they're, you know, the definition that

Dick Durbin gave is a ceasefire, but he is following in line with Biden and the Biden Administration by calling it a humanitarian pause because they

know that the ramifications, the political ramifications of what calling for a ceasefire would mean.

HUNT: Bruce, one of the things here that is difficult for the Israelis is that it is very easy to see the results of their bombings, right? You see

the smoke clouds obviously the authorities in Gaza are counting the dead.


The death of any child is an absolute tragedy. The Israelis in response and Mark is weighing too in a second has been, if you're trying to fight Hamas,

they're using civilians as human shields. You are someone who knows so much about how these groups really operate.

Sometimes I feel like it's hard to kind of put -- to really understand like, what that means to use people's human shields? What kind of things

Hamas does to like, keep people in the areas where the Israelis are going to strike?

There has been a discussion today too about them hoarding aid that comes in to the territory. Can you just put a little bit of meat on that bone to

help people understand what's really going on here that the Israelis don't always have time to say?

HOFFMAN: Well first and foremost you know from the Israeli point of view, there was a ceasefire what the Hamas calls -- the ceasefire from the 2021

war that Hamas broke. So that's why I think that nomenclature of a ceasefire, really -- .

HUNT: It's totally unacceptable.

HOFFMAN: -- precisely.

HUNT: Interesting, OK.

HOFFMAN: Secondly, I think there are two parallel societies in Gaza. I mean, that's the problem. There's the one that's above ground, and that we

all can see. And then there's the so called Gaza Metro, which reputedly runs for 500 miles, and that's the underground city.

And Hamas has built this parallel network where it conducts its own business, mostly out of sight, because of course, there'll be targeted by

Israel. But at the same time, you have normal life going on, on street and with civilians that have no place to go in some cases, and have been put,

in essence, in the front lines by Hamas.

Terrorism is always a strategy of provocation. Terrorists to try to provoke their enemy to do something that the terrorists believe will enhance their

narrative. This is exactly what we're seeing right now.

HUNT: How does that play out militarily?

KIMMITT: Well, I think what it does, is the politics could actually constrain what the military is able to do. They've got a pretty good plan

right now. And it may well be that the IDF will stop its ground invasion, because there is a natural pause point right now, once they've surrounded

as Bruce said, once they've surrounded Gaza, they could actually pause for a while.

But I don't think that they will stop their air war. If they see a target, if they find a target, they're going to attack that target. And we would do

the same thing.

HUNT: As many people pointed out directly after the attacks of October 7th. Alright, Bruce Hoffman and General Kimmitt, thank you as both very much.

Have a wonderful weekend. Farnoush is going to be back with us later on in the show.

The Israeli military says that they are on a very high level of alertness at the Lebanese border currently conducting a wide scale operation in that

area. Those comments ahead of today's speech by the leader of Lebanese Militant Group Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, he praised the October 7th

Hamas attack on Israel and said it was 100 percent Palestinian planned and executed.

Alright, let's bring in CNN's Ben Wedeman who is live in Beirut. Ben, can you help us understand the significance of this figure how often he does or

doesn't speak in public and how we should interpret the words that he had for today?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Hassan Nasrallah is hugely significant as a figure in the Middle East in the Arab and Muslim

World. And he does speak on occasion, not all the time, but regularly. But what was significant with this speech is it was the first time he had

anything to say, since the 7th of October.

And there was a lot of anticipation about what he was going to say, when he started speaking just a few minutes after 3 pm local time, we heard a huge

volley of celebratory gunfire, when he ended an hour and a half later, it was a much more muted one, because I think at the end of the day, there was

huge anticipation about what he might say.

And he didn't really come out and say it. He's essentially said that all possibilities are open. He didn't rule out the possibility of a regional

war. But he didn't actually lay out what Hezbollah's next steps will be.

Yesterday, at this time, on the border between Lebanon and Israel, Hezbollah conducted 19 strikes on Israeli positions, the highest number

we've seen so far, but it was always within what's known as the rules of engagement and unwritten understanding between the two sides, that any

exchange of fire will be essentially limited to military targets along the border itself. And until now, that has largely been the case.

Now he did say that the attacks of the 7th of October were a political military, psychological earthquake for Israel which of course, had assumed

that it had Hamas kind of in a box under control. Now, what's interesting is that I've been in contact with Hezbollah supporters since the speech was

over. They also seem to indicate that it doesn't represent an escalation what they heard.


One told me that the basic message was to Israel. We're ready for a regional war if you want it. We also heard him say that he holds the United

States responsible because of its significant military, political and diplomatic support for Israel. But as far as the two carrier groups

floating on in the Eastern Mediterranean, Nasrallah said, we're not scared of them. We've never been scared of them, Kasie.

HUNT: CNN's Ben Wedeman, thank you very much for that report. I really appreciate it. Up next here, House Speaker Mike Johnson picks a political

fight as Congress tries to rush emergency aid to Israel and stages a showdown with Senate Democrats. Will it work? What does Israel stand to

lose, ahead?


HUNT: Welcome back to the "State of the Race". In his opening move as Speaker of the House Republican Mike Johnson paired emergency aid to Israel

with a hardline Republican priority, earning a veto threat from the White House and setting up a showdown with the Democratic Senate. Senate Majority

Leader Chuck Schumer called the bill, a joke.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): The hypocrisy here is that by cutting funding to go after tax cheats. He will actually explode the deficit by billions and

billions of dollars. What a joke? The Senate will not be considering this deeply flawed proposal from the House GOP.


And instead, we will work together on our own bipartisan emergency aid package that includes aid to Israel, Ukraine, competition with the Chinese

government and humanitarian aid for Gaza.


HUNT: All right. Let's bring in our panel now Farnoush Amiri is back with us. Matt Mowers, Former Senior Adviser in the Trump Administration and

Karen Finney, a CNN Political Commentator and Former Senior Spokesperson for Hillary Clinton's 2016 Campaign, thank you all for being here.

Matt, this move by Mike Johnson, is something that has angered according to, you know, our reporting and sources I've talked to has angered

conservative Jewish groups of which there are several there are, you know, typically very influential with the Republican Party. I talked yesterday to

Dan Goldman. He's a Democrat, but he is very involved in Israel issues. And I asked him about this take a look what he had to say.


HUNT: Have you heard any rumblings or personal discussions from conservative pro-Israel groups, such as APAC, about their frustration with

the Speaker and his move here?

REP. DAN GOLDMAN (D-NY): Yes, I think privately APAC is upset because APAC realizes that this is a bad long term precedent. It is bad to condition,

aid to Israel on anything.


HUNT: It is bad to condition aid to Israel on anything. I mean, honestly, that's why I was surprised about what Mike Johnson did.


HUNT: I mean, as someone who knows all these Republican figures on Capitol Hill, I mean, why do you think he did this? Do you think it was a mistake?

MOWERS: Sure. I mean, I think if you were to get to the heart -- hearts of Mike Johnson really asked him in an unscripted moment, he's not looking to

do this either. What he's doing is reflecting the reality, the politics in this conference, though.

You have some folks who are true believers. People like Chip Roy from Texas for example, he don't believe he should have any new spending, regardless

of how you know good and necessary needed it is if it doesn't have an offset.

So there is the ideological element there. You also have the fact that he knows that he could not get right now, a majority of the conference likely

to support funding for both Ukraine and Israel and a whole host of other issues, even if it has some that border funding that the Senate is talking

about. So he's using this as an opening salvo in negotiations with both the White House with Chuck Schumer, as well as by the way Republicans in the


KAREN FINNEY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: So two things on that. Number one, it shows he is as locked in as Kevin McCarthy is to the politics of his

conference, right? And that is more so.

HUNT: -- more so --

FINNEY: That just not exactly bode well as we head towards the fiscal cliff. Second of all, with the news that the Wagner Group is going to

supply weapons to Hezbollah it is also incredibly reckless and dangerous to our national security to say, we're going to cut out Ukraine to aid also

cruel, cutting out humanitarian aid to Gaza.

But cutting out the aid to Ukraine means we're not standing up to Putin. And Putin is already showing us he is willing to play games in the Middle

East with -- and that impacts our national security. So the lack of understanding of sort of that chess game is very disturbing.

HUNT: So there was a Democratic Congressman who actually crossed party lines, he voted for the Speaker's package basically he said look, they're

trying to play a political trap for us. I'm not going to play. He's a strong supporter of Israel Jared Moskowitz. Here's how he talked about

this. And again, he voted with Speaker Johnson to you know push this bill forward. But here's what he had to say about what's going on here.


REP. JARED MOSKOWITZ (D-FL): What Mike Johnson has done here in his first week of being Speaker is quite -- being asked on terrible leadership. You

know right now you know the world is in crisis. As someone who's a man of faith, a man in the Bible you know to put the holy land in jeopardy like

this, I think was a total miscalculation. I'm sure it'll make a -- I'm sure the NRCC is super stoked. But I think it's disappointing.


HUNT: I mean Farnoush, there's a lot there. He's basically the same cool I gave you know this up and the Republicans are looking at this strictly from

a political perspective. But that argument you know looking at Mike Johnson as a man of faith, a man of the Bible.

I mean, if anything that piece of it actually surprised me about what the Speaker decided to do in terms of I mean, we can talk about Ukraine in a

minute. But in terms of strictly Israel conditioning aid to Israel on anything is not something typically that evangelical Christians would be

interested in.

AMIRI: I mean if you take a step back and you look at it beyond Israel. I mean, the House of Representatives in Congress in general have not made

supplemental requests pay for it. They've never required pay for it in like years. It's just not a thing. When the White House sends an emergency

request, the House and the Senate take it up.

Obviously they have different versions of what they want that to be. But for him to even with -- regardless of it being Israeli to include a pay

for, for this is stunning on its own. But in addition to that I mean what Moskowitz and many others I mean -- I spoke to Brad Schneider, who is very

pro-Israel Democrat who told me this was one of the hardest votes he had to vote against.


And like APAC was planning on voting on scoring the vote for a lot of these Jewish Democrats and Democrats in general. And they decided to hold back

just because they saw the position that they were putting these folks and who have been loyal to Israel who have never voted against any single

dollar bill Democrats more than Republican in any funding bill. And in this was just like, a really stunning move by --

HUNT: It's really stunning --

FINNEY: Yes, I was just going to say, as Chuck Schumer also pointed out, the reality of this is it actually increases the deficit, because you're --

by taking the money back from the IRS, you're actually reducing revenues to the United States. So it's not even what they say -- they're not doing what

they say they're doing. They're actually increasing the deficit, protecting rich people and endanger national security and endangering aid to Israel so

good job.

HUNT: Well, I was on with a Republican who said basically like well, I don't believe what the CBO has to say, because to your point, the CBO did

say that this actually will make the spending crisis worse. Matt there -- we've talked a lot obviously right now about the pressures inside the

Republican Party about this.

However there are increasing pressures on Democrats as well. And there are 13 Senators I'd like to put them up on the screen, who wrote a letter

calling for a short term cessation of hostilities in Gaza. This is a wide range of Democrats. OK from you know Peter Welch of Vermont from Tammy

Baldwin is a progressive who's on this letter.

But then you have Mark Warner from Virginia, who is not somebody who typically is on, you know the left of the Democratic Caucus in the Senate.

What message does this send to the Biden Administration?

MOWERS: Well look, it shows that there's going to be mixed messages across coming out both parties right now around Israel, right? I mean, right

you've got Joe Biden out there, President Biden. You got Antony Blinken literally in Israel right now, who's saying that Israel has every right to

respond any way they need to the attacks that they -- the terrorist attacks that they just went through a few weeks ago.

And now you have a significant number of Democratic Senators saying, wait a minute, maybe you shouldn't go in unrestricted. May be we should actually

be telling you how to run this war that you need to go in. That's sending mixed messages too.

It's part of the reason why really you need presidential leadership not just when he's traveling abroad where I think President Biden has been

unequivocal in his support for Israel. But also back here in Washington D.C., he needs to bring leaders to the table together.

He should have them all in the Oval Office and should actually get something done that can't be bipartisan can be nearly unanimous so that we

can show in on a message of unity coming to the United States right now -- supporting Israel -- back.

HUNT: -- yes.

FINNEY: Yes. I just point out that yesterday the President did actually start to say in our own reporting right that they believe this position is

increasingly untenable, and that part of the message Antony Blinken would be delivering is it's weeks not months before --

HUNT: You are running out of time.

FINNEY: -- you're running out of time. So to your point, I think they are trying to balance those messages and you know who knows what they're also

saying privately.

HUNT: Right. Well, that's always the rub. All right, we've got much -- we got a lot more to talk about here today. Because up next voters are voting

the first Tuesday in November coming up fast early next week. What we're going to learn about the political landscape here, coming up next.



HUNT: Welcome back to "State of the Race". I'm Kasie Hunt. We're live in Washington. It is the first Friday in November, which means that next week

brings the first Tuesday in November, which means voters are voting. Here's a look at some of the issues that are going to be on the ballot next week

in Ohio.

Issue one is a ballot measure to enshrine abortion rights in the state's constitution. In Virginia, abortion is effectively on the ballot if

reporters there give Republicans total control of legislature, they would likely ban abortion in the last southern state where women can legally get


And Governor's races are taking place in Kentucky and Mississippi. My panel is back with me to talk more about this. So Karen, I mean, this is a

situation where honestly, I think the thing we're going to be talking about the most is going to be the issue of abortion, because this has been

something that has really swept through the voting public in a way that I think took even I mean, I know -- I certainly talked to a lot of people in

your party who said this is going to be a big deal. It's going to be big deal.

It was an even bigger deal, I think. And even in some of these red states, voters rejected bans on abortion. What is your sense of where the

electorate stands? And is that still kind of at the forefront here?

FINNEY: As an issue it continues to be at the forefront. It's interesting - - pro-America now reproductive freedom for all have conducted polling right after 2022. And it showed that about 80 percent of Americans were concerned

that a Republican Congress would pass more restrictive measures.

And if you think about that, in the context of what we've seen happen in these special elections, where voters are clearly saying we want to protect

Roe V. Wade and reproductive freedom. Part of what's working in the electorate is both a desire to protect reproductive rights.

But a fear exactly what you said in your intro of what Republicans would do, whether it is in the state legislature or whether it is in congress, in

terms of restricting those rights. And so I think we're going to see -- it's going to be a mobilizing issue next week in Virginia, in Ohio,

possibly also in places like Mississippi and Kentucky.

HUNT: Yes, it's -- I mean the challenge, obviously, is always that and you know, we've seen when it's an up or down test on an issue, voters are in

one place. When it's a test in terms of candidates, it becomes more complicated, because then you have to vote for a person, you don't exactly

know what the person is going to do.

Glenn Youngkin, Governor of Virginia was on FOX News this morning talking about what's going to happen in his state. There's a lot of speculation

about what Youngkin himself might do in the wake of these elections. But here's what he had to say about how he thinks things are going to play out

in Virginia.


GLENN YOUNGKIN, VIRGINIA GOVERNOR: Well, we have a ton of momentum going into the final day of voting on Tuesday. And you're exactly right, just 24

months ago, Virginia was totally controlled by the progressive left and the state was lost. And in 24 short months, I believe common sense conservative

policies have allowed it to be found. We're going to hold our House and flip our Senate. But these races are incredibly tight.


HUNT: So Matt Mowers, you see a lot of kind of internal polling and data that kind of rolls through. What's your sense of what's going to happen in

Virginia? Which way is it -- which way is the wind blowing in these final days before the election?

MOWERS: Well, if you look at the numbers, I was talking to Governor Youngkin's team earlier today, actually about those elections. The top

issues you're seeing voters actually concerned about are the same things you're seeing in national surveys.

You're seeing them care about the economy. You've seen them caring about crime. And a lot of them are still talking about immigration, giving the

images they see of the humanitarian crisis on the southern border, more so than abortion.

Now Governor Youngkin is actually been forward leaning and said, you know what, I want to tell you what my position is on abortion. We are going to

have restrictions after the first trimester, but we're not going to do anything in the first trimester.

And they believe that as a winning issue and solution for a lot of these suburban voters to say that's a common position amongst these voters on

abortion, that there should be restrictions after the first trimester. But ultimately, it's still the pocketbook issues, not to mention the fact that

these Democrat Governors as well as Joe Biden have terrible approval ratings in these swing districts.

I looked at a poll at South Jersey last week. It's a Democratic leaning district traditionally. Joe Biden is upside down by 16 points. 16 points in

that district right now. Trump is only upside down by six points in his favorable rating. It shows you where the political winds are blowing right


HUNT: Farnoush are you picking up any of that in your conversations with members of Congress?

AMIRI: I mean, I think abortion for Democrats has been they've known that this is bad for Republicans. And the more that they push it, obviously now

they have a Speaker who is you know very vocal about his anti-abortion stance. So they see this as a winning thing for them next year.


And so many of the other issues kind of fall pale to abortion for Democrats, like they know that if Republicans push it, they can push the

issue and win back the House next year.

HUNT: Right. So obviously, the House is going to be on the ballot next year. So obviously is the presidential race. That is our 367 day away

election today. And really, the narrative right now is kind of the rise of Nikki Haley in the battle for second place.

It's enough that the man who has stood in first place all the way along has started to notice. How do you know that Donald Trump has noticed you? Take

a look at what he had to say about Nikki Haley.


DONALD TRUMP, 45TH U.S. PRESIDENT: The people in Iowa, they get it and we're up way up. And we have -- we have competition that's not so good

there or anywhere else, for that matter. You see where Ron -- is now in third place, can you imagine? Bird Brain is number two, Bird Brain.


FINNEY: You know, you're doing well when you get a nickname, come on Kasie.

HUNT: Yes, you do. Right and I'm flashing back to that. Remember, they put a birdcage outside of her hotel room in Iowa.


HUNT: Matt Mowers, is this a real thing, this battle for second place? And let's talk about Nikki Haley too --

MOWERS: It's still early. If you look at early state polling, in particular, Iowa and New Hampshire specifically, you have a majority of

voters say they can actually change their mind by the time the Caucus or the primary comes along. We see that every four to eight years and that

often does happen.

And it's actually very difficult to figure out exactly what the electorate is going to be in a lot of these early states, in particular, New

Hampshire, because you really don't have competition, no offense to Dean Phillips and Joe Biden on the Democratic side in New Hampshire.

So if you're an independent state, like New Hampshire, there's one show in town, which is the Republican primary. How that's going to change the

makeup of the electorate? No one's going to be able to put their finger on the pulse of that, probably until about the weekend or a week out from the

election in January.

HUNT: What is your take on Nikki Haley's rise here?

FINNEY: You know we've talked about this. I think what's interesting is her style. Again, women have to campaign very differently than men do. And it

will be interesting to see if she is able to continue this momentum. And is the key to taking on Donald Trump the way Nikki Haley has done it, which is

not as much of a sort of bullish attack the way Ron DeSantis has done, but actually more of a laying out the here's who I am, here's what I will do.

And here's why I'm different than the guy who is number one. And she's taking them on more than I think some of the men have actually not quite

naming the one who shall not be named, but actually taking him on a little bit more.

HUNT: So speaking of the others who have tried to take him on, Ron DeSantis is someone who when he first got in, barely took on Trump at all, everyone

was kind of waiting to see was he going to do it? Was he going to do it? He didn't, until all of a sudden he started to lose and now he is. The latest

round of how this is going, let's just say it's not policy oriented. Take a look.


RON DESANTIS, FLORIDA GOVERNOR: This is no time for foot fetishes. We've got serious problems as a country. I know Donald Trump and a lot of his

people have been focusing on things like footwear. I'll tell you this. You know, Donald Trump can summon the balls to show up to debate, I'll wear a

boot on my head.


HUNT: And now their campaign is literally selling golf balls Farnoush?

AMIRI: How would you wear a boot on your head? That would be hard.

HUNT: You know that's a really good point.

AMIRI: I am trying to --

MOWERS: This is a firm in supreme who runs every four years in New Hampshire does wear boot on his head at every campaign event. He's

literally been on the ballot for president more than often than not. So maybe Ron DeSantis could take some pointers from -- .

FINNEY: But can we just as a tall woman who has dated men who are a little bit shorter than me --

HUNT: I love this.

FINNEY: -- once we're comfortable with it, those are the guys that actually have some staying power. It's the ones who try to pretend or try to you

know, the guy who wears a boot to be taller but says I'm not wearing the boot to be taller. That's the guy you got to watch out for. And I'm telling

you women know exactly what's going on here.

AMIRI: -- years in boots and heels, we know.

HUNT: I'm sure do. And there's of course Nikki Haley was on -- Charlamagne Tha God saying like well I can run in my high heels. So no, I think she

don't wear --

AMIRI: She can't run on them, yes.

HUNT: So he wins this round. All right, still ahead here abortion rights once again at the forefront of American politics. Could a key vote in Ohio

be a game changer in the 2024 presidential elections?



HUNT: Welcome back. If it is the first Tuesday of November, people are voting in America in this year. We're all watching Ohio where abortion

rights remain the number one focus on the ballot on November 7th. Issue one, it is an up or down vote to decide whether to enshrine abortion rights

into the instate constitution?

If majority vote yes, it will establish the right to "Carry out one's own reproductive decisions including on abortion". The amendment would still

permit bans on abortion after fetal viability around 23 or 24 weeks. Since the overturning of Roe Versus Wade, even red states like Kansas and

Kentucky have voted against abortion restrictions.

This is a critical test though, as voters will have to affirmatively support abortion rights instead of voting against changing the status quo.

Joining me now is Pulitzer Prize-Winning Columnist and the Author of the Newsletter, Hopefully Yours on Substack, Connie Schultz. Connie, I'm so

grateful you decided you're willing to join us today. Thank you for being here.

CONNIE SCHULTZ, PULITZER PRIZE-WINNING COLUMNIST: I always try to say yes to you, Kasie.

HUNT: You're very sweet. Let's talk about what this is going to mean. And it is tricky. There are a lot of voters in the state of Ohio, that are a

little confused about what they're voting for, what they're voting on. Do they say yes? Do they say no? How do you expect this to play out on


SCHULTZ: Well, the language is confusing on purpose, right. I mean the ballot issue does not contain all of the language of the amendment. It

limits it to abortion rights when it's actually also about pregnancy care. It's about access to fertility treatments and contraception. So there's


And you're right, this time in August, the issue one vote was no. Now the issue vote, issue one vote is yes, if you want it to pass. There are a lot

of signs out there now saying exactly that. I just saw a whole batch of them earlier this week at an event for activists who are doing get out the

vote training.

And the sign says this time vote yes. The polling is showing that it's close. But so far, it's on path to pass, but it really is going to be all

about turnout.

HUNT: So Connie, there was a vote and you kind of you alluded to it in August. For some of our viewers around the world who may not have fully

understood that, it was a very significant result in terms of how Ohio voters feel about that. What in your words do you think we learned in

August about where people are on reproductive rights?


SCHULTZ: Right. Well, I'm shocked that the entire world is not following Ohio. Of course they're not.

HUNT: I am.

SCHULTZ: I know you are. And I appreciate it. In August the issue was, what percentage of voters were you going to require? And there's clarity to even

get it on the ballot. That went down because we should have a right the majority of Ohioans voted agreed that voters should have a right to vote on

constitutional amendments, right?

That's pretty basic. That attempt failed the same people behind that and including, unfortunately, Catholic Bishops, the Secretary of State who's

supposed to be neutral full disclosure as you know I'm married to Senator Sherrod Brown. The Secretary of State hopes to replace him in the Senate

next year in that election.

So he's been tinkering with that. And he's made very clear he's against abortion rights, and yet he's also overseeing the election. So there's been

a lot of that boiling around here, but none of its working. Ohioans were smarter than that. I have to say it was -- I was delighted by the outcome,

I expected it.

I didn't expect it to be quite the great margin that it was. And that's why I'm optimistic that this time as well. We know that the majority of

Ohioans, regardless of their politics think abortion should be available to women should be safe and legal. And that's what I'm counting on. As long as

they understand that they have to vote yes.

And again, that's why so much of the publicity around it right now, the efforts are to make sure that voters know that. They're trying a lot of

different things. I don't think any of it's going to work.

HUNT: I appreciate your disclosure. And I was going to mention it just in the context of my next question for you, which is to kind of broaden out

beyond the question of reproductive rights to the way politics has evolved in Ohio.

And I know because you've been very you know you're involved in your, in your husband's campaigns, you have a lot of information and data, and you

spend a lot of time thinking about how the electorate has changed or hasn't changed in Ohio.

It's really gone from a true swing state in the elections for George W. Bush to one that is pretty solidly red. And I'm interested in your honest

assessment of you know I mean, your husband is, you know, on the ballot. How -- and the ways in which the state of change are going to affect him?

And do Democrats have any hope of starting to win statewide federal elections there again?

SCHULTZ: Well, I always smile when I hear it's a deep red state now because in here come Sherrod Brown, right, the statewide elected Democrat.

HUNT: Yes.

SCHULTZ: And I understand it's going to be even more challenging next year. You know, I'm his wife. You're going to expect me to say the following. I

think Sherrod is going to win. But I'm not going to say that if I don't believe it, I wouldn't be appearing on television right now.

What I do find encouraging, in addition to Sherrod's race, is just watching the bench bill for Democrats in the state. There's been a lot of work. Liz

Walters is the new Chair of the party here. And I've known her for many years. I don't have to be a Democrat to see how much she has been able to

reach out and grow the field of candidates who are going to be able to run for office in the future that was missing.

We really needed to see that in this state. It's not -- I'm a -- I'm a liberal, out of gratitude in my life, right? I grew up in a union family.

And without the women's movement, where would I be even as a journalist, as a columnist, I'm liberal out of gratitude. So I've always been looking for

that. And now I'm seeing a lot more signs of hope.

HUNT: So the other piece of this and you know, I spend a lot of time talking to members of Congress from the Midwest because while Ohio has

become a red state, you know, the sort of Midwestern blue wall is what sent Joe Biden to the White House. And it's going to be critical in the next

round of elections.

And honestly, Ohio shares a lot in common with many of those states. And some of the same sets of challenges, the same forces that have changed

things that are, you know, that affect politics. And there have been some warnings I will say. Some Midwestern Democrats, some of my sources who are

trying to kind of wave the flag and say to the White House to Democrats in Washington, hey, you got to pay attention. We're losing to Trump basically.

I'm wondering are you picking up on some of those warning signs where you are that would be applicable here. I mean, do you think that the White

House needs to be paying more attention or doing something differently, to be talking to voters in the Midwest that they will need to win in 2024?

SCHULTZ: One of the things I think Democrats in general are really not very good at and the White House needs to get better at is trumpeting all the

accomplishments. And we've seen so much of that economically in Ohio and other Midwestern States.

But, you know, Democrats reside very much in the head often in terms of leadership. And I agree with you that there needs to be more conversations.

It's not the voters are stupid. It's that voters are busy. They're preoccupied and they're distracted. And I think that we take all that into

account, we start pointing out more of the things that Democrats have done.

I'm not as worried about Trump as some because I've said in too many focus groups about him in the last few years. And I can see why many of his

voters are peeling off? They're really tired of the vitriol. They're tired of him being indicted how many times now. And -- in Ohio, they're tired of

broken promises.


I will never forget his saying to people in Lordstown don't move after the plant shut down there. Don't move. Don't try to find another job or don't

go to a, you know, a union job in another state. We're going to bring those jobs back never happened. And people are not stupid.

They may be, as I said, really busy right now. It's very hard to tell right now, what's going to be happening this time in 2024. And we know that about

the polling. I don't put a lot of stock in any of the national polls coming out right now because most people aren't paying attention yet.

HUNT: All right. Connie Schultz, thank you so much for being with us. I really appreciate your time, and I hope you'll come back.

SCHULTZ: I will. Thanks, Kasie.

HUNT: All right. Thank you very much. Up next, Donald Trump's son Eric is done testifying today in the New York court. Trump and his brother Don Jr.,

are accused of being involved in a scheme to inflate the net worth of the Former President and the Trump Organization for financial gain.

Today's session began with an exchange between the judge and a Trump lawyer who pointed to allegations from a right wing website, that the judge's

principle clerk is politically biased. The judge defended the clerk and said trial issues are being decided right down the middle. Eric Trump spoke

moments ago.


ERIC TRUMP, SON OF FORMER PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: And a witch hunt that this woman is under, the witch hunt that this person is under to get my

father for political purposes, is disgusting. They dragged on and on and locked into it as collateral damage. They only want her names in this thing

because it's sensationalized -- . We've done absolutely nothing wrong. We have a better company than they could have ever imagined.


HUNT: All right, and we are less than a week away from the next Republican Presidential Primary Debate. When we return look at Nikki Haley's rise on

the campaign trail.


HUNT: Welcome back. The third Republican Presidential Debate set for Miami this coming Wednesday. Former President Donald Trump again likely to hold

his own rally instead of showing up on stage. But Candidate Nikki Haley is getting ready to walk back out there as she rises through the ranks on the

campaign trail due in no small part to her previous debate performances. CNN's Jeff Zeleny has the story.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Nikki Haley is having a moment in the Republican Presidential Race.


ZELENY (voice-over): The question is whether she can turn it into a winning one. That's precisely what Haley was trying to do in New Hampshire working

to solidify herself as the leading alternative to Donald Trump. Handshake by handshake table by table, the Former South Carolina Governor is making

her case in increasingly urgent terms.

HALEY: And we're right there. So it's about getting as much support as we can. We have a country to save it.


HALEY: We have a country to save.

ZELENY (voice-over): With a Former President still dominating the Republican primary. Haley is focused for now on the race for second place

rising through the ranks and the narrow lane of anyone but Trump. She has settled into a solid second in South Carolina. Is battling for runner up in

New Hampshire and is locked in a tie in Iowa with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis polls show with Trump holding a commanding lead in all three early

voting states.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Her numbers are moving surging. There is -- one thing I know about politics is there is such thing as political momentum. I think

she's got a lot of political momentum coming out of the first and second debate.

ZELENY (voice-over): New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu is keeping a close eye on Haley as he decides which Republican to endorse. The third debate

next week he believes could be a turning point. Haley and DeSantis are on a collision course, a preview of which has been playing out in dueling ads

from the respective Super Pacs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Governor Nikki Haley helped the Chinese company set up shop five miles from our base. On land she gave them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ron DeSantis, he's lying because he's losing.

ZELENY (voice-over): Heidi Mahoney (ph) is a Republican ready for change. She considered DeSantis but is sold on Haley.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think she's tough. I think we need that. We need her strength.

ZELENY (voice-over): Mahoney concedes it's an uphill battle persuading Republicans to move beyond Trump. But she says Haley has the best chance to

win back to the White House.


Haley is campaigning with an air of confidence, eager to weigh in this week on The Daily Show about whether DeSantis wears lifts in his cowboy boots.

HALEY: We have always said don't wear him if he can't run on them. So we'll see if he can run on them.

ZELENY (voice-over): Yet she strikes a dead serious tone on foreign policy challenges like Israel and Ukraine.

HALEY: When you look there's an unholy alliance. It's Iran, Russia and China. And let me tell you, I've never been as worried as I am today that

America is acting like it is September 10 all over again. And we better remember what September 12th felt like because we're there.

ZELENY (voice-over): She's embracing the momentum, but told us her defining moment is yet to come.

HALEY: My moment will be on Election Day.

ZELENY (voice-over): Jeff Zeleny CNN, Nashua, New Hampshire.


HUNT: All right, I'm Kasie Hunt. That's the "State of the Race" for today, Friday, November 3rd. You can always follow me on Instagram and the

platform formerly known as Twitter. Have a wonderful weekend, don't go anywhere. "One World" is up next.