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State of the Race with Kasie Hunt
Trump Skips Third Debate, says Republicans Should "Stop Wasting Time" on Candidates "Nobody is going to Vote for"; Haley Responds to Ramaswamy: "You're Just Scum"; Haley: Republicans need to be "Honest" on Abortion; Republican Field Splits over U.S. Support for Ukraine; Republicans Voters in Iowa React to Last Night's Debate; One More Thing. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired November 09, 2023 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KASIE HUNT, CNNI HOST: The Republican Presidential Debate, still just a race for second place. Front runner Donald Trump just miles down the road
mocking his rivals, as he holds a comfortable lead. On the stage foreign policy dominating with tough talk and is really Ukraine and China. But it
got personal too, Nikki Haley calling Vivek Ramaswamy just scum after he attacks her daughter.
And Congress again taking government funding to the cliff's edge; we will ask Republican Mark Green about that and also about military aid for
Israel. 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 Thursday,
November 9th, just 67 days until the Iowa Caucuses only 361 days until Election Day. This is today's "State of the Race".
He is way ahead of the poll -- in the polls repeatedly skipping Republican Presidential Debates. Donald Trump's big lead poses a big problem for his
challengers. How to win over the base that remains loyal to him no matter his legal troubles or his repeated false claims that the 2020 election was
rigged? At his solo rally in Florida Wednesday night Trump scoffed at his Republican rivals and said their debates are meaningless.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, 45TH U.S. PRESIDENT: I was watching these guys. They're not watchable. Somebody says, oh, some one of those dumber ones. He doesn't
have the courage to stand up. Well listen, I'm standing in front of tens of thousands of people right now and it's on television. That's a hell of a
lot harder to do than to debate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: The AP did report that arena only seats 5200 people. It turns out that the Republican front runner didn't get much attention during the
debate that was held just miles away in Miami although the candidates did get a few shots in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS CHRISTIE, U.S. REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'll say this about Donald Trump, anybody who's going to be spending the next year and a half
of their life, focusing on keeping themselves out of jail and courtrooms cannot lead this party or this country.
NIKKI HALEY, U.S. REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I can talk about President Trump. I can tell you that I think he was the right President at
the right time. I don't think he's the right President now.
GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): He should explain why he didn't have Mexico pay for the border wall. He should explain why he racked up so much debt. He
said Republicans were going to get tired of winning. Well, we saw last night. I'm sick of Republicans losing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: But well, anything these guys say sway the minds of Republican voters or are these debates which as we've noted, Trump keeps skipping a
meaningless race for second place. CNN Political Reporter Alayna Treene joins me now, Alayna, good to see you. It seems like the basic reality here
is that if these debates mattered; Trump would be on the stage now?
ALAYNA TREENE, CNN REPORTER: Well, that's what he is trying to make it seem like Kasie. And I will say without him on the stage, it really does give
these debates that type of second billing feels. And Donald Trump recognizes that he escalated his attacks and his mockery of the primary
process last night by hosting this counterprogramming rally, uh, just down the road and on the doorstep of the third Republican Debate.
And, you know, Donald Trump, I will say he's focusing a lot of his messaging last night on the crowd himself. He didn't talk a lot about his
primary challengers and his opponents who are just down the road. Instead, he tried to talk a lot about Joe Biden, the Hialeah where this rally was.
This city is 96 percent Hispanic and he leaned into that his messaging was a lot of really geared toward Cuban Americans at one point, comparing the
Biden Administration to the Cuban regime. He also played on fears of immigration.
But I think by and large, you really heard him try to portray his campaign like a general election rematch against Joe Biden and really be seen as by-
passing his primary challengers to look like this is just a two way race between him and the President.
HUNT: Yes. No, it's -- it makes a lot of sense honestly from a strategic perspective for their campaign to do it. And of course, that Cuban
community has really moved and turned out for Republicans and helped make Florida not a swing state in recent years. Alright, Alana Treene thank you
very much for joining us. I appreciate it.
Let's dive into all of it with today's panel. Kristen Soltis Anderson, CNN Political Commentator and Republican Strategist, CNN Political Commentator,
Karen Finney also joins us along with Tim Mitchell, the Washington Correspondent for "The Atlanta Journal-Constitution".
Welcome to all of you. It's wonderful to have you. Kristen, let me start with you. As someone who spends a lot of time with Republican voters and
talking about all of this, it really doesn't seem like there's any movement in this race. Do you think any of that changed after this debate?
KRISTEN SOLTIS ANDERSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: There's been a little bit of movement under the surface in terms of who is second place? Who is
third place? But who's first place has not changed in months, that dynamic has stayed pretty stable.
And I'm not sure that anything that happened in last night's debate will change that. Moderator Lester Holt, I thought asked a very valuable first
question, why you and not Donald Trump? And the candidates answered it somewhat. But the reality is they need to be answering that question with
every answer they give. Otherwise, they really are just fighting each other for second place.
KAREN FINNEY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You know I don't know if I agree with that. And I'll tell you why. You know, I think the common wisdom has
been you got to take him on, you got to take him on. Chris Christie has been doing that it hasn't been working, having run against Donald Trump in
I can tell you, I mean, look at what happened in the primaries there. People sort of ignored him, and then they tried attacking him. And that
also didn't work. I continue to think Nikki Haley may have the right strategy. You know, and this is a unique thing for women candidates,
obviously, they have to campaign differently.
She seems to be trying to be a little bit more of the truth teller, like on abortion, she said, I'm going to have to have the votes setting up a very
good argument for a general election contest. So it does feel like and you would know better than I Kristen, but as Republican voters perhaps are
getting more concerned about, well, what if he is in jail?
What if maybe I should have a number two in mind? This idea of who's the number two that actually matters? And she seems to be making slow and
steady gains. I think people have decided Ron DeSantis is not the one. I think Ramaswamy we can all agree it's not going to be the guy and Tim Scott
just barely seems to show up for these debates. So I really think we got to keep our eye on Nikki Haley.
HUNT: I mean I don't disagree with that at all. It was interesting Tia Tim Scott brought his girlfriend to the debate, which was one of the fuzzier
moments that happened. I couldn't tell if it was obviously was part of the narrative with him as a single guy, but also maybe like, hey, like, I might
not be on the next stage. So you could probably come visit this one. But I mean part of this, right, is that there are too many candidates on the
stage so right?
TIA MITCHELL, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION: And there I mean, I think it's very telling that the most viral moment of last
night's debate, was all the conversation me and others were having on social media about was that a soft launch of Senator Scott's girlfriend or
You know, and he has struggled to make moments for himself. He struggled to create a lane for himself among a crowded Republican field. And a lot of
people believe he may be one of the ones who drop off after this debate. He -- I know there are a lot of people who support Tim Scott, they were ready
to spend money on Tim Scott.
But they were waiting for like the signal that his campaign was truly catching fire. And that still hasn't happened. And so I think he's losing.
He's running out of time in the people who really want to support him as someone who can be a standard bearer for the party after Trump. They're not
HUNT: Kristen, what do you think about how Scott's run this race?
ANDERSON: I think he has shown that he's a very good Senator. And would frankly be a very good choice for Vice President if Donald Trump is looking
for someone who pretty much toes the party line and can be a good advocate for Trump's message. But what Tim Scott hasn't done is differentiated, why
him and not the others? And so after that first lackluster debate, he just hasn't caught fire.
Now, the big thing that's going on in the undercard situation is that well, Nikki Haley, I think I totally agree had a very strong night and she had a
first two debates that were strong. Her problem is that the other four didn't all fall on their faces.
That Ron DeSantis probably had a better night in this debate than his last two. I still don't think he's as strong as Haley in this setting. But it
wasn't terrible. And so her big problem now is not only just Trump's still hold the majority of Republican voters, but she's also going to struggle to
clear that field as quickly as would be necessary to get that head to head matchup with Trump.
FINNEY: You know, it's interesting, though, the other thing that's happening as this dynamic plays out is it feels like Trump is actually
running a version of the basement strategy because we really don't see much of -- and I think his team is very intentional about that.
What do we see? We saw a little bit of a clip from his rally. We're not seeing -- remember in 2016 in the primaries he would have the dual screen
empty podium waiting for him while the other candidates were trying to break through.
We see him in court than we see him make these, you know, statements of defiance. So actually less, maybe more and I think that's probably part of
why he is remaining so strong in the polls, because we haven't been exposed to the daily outbursts and chaos and crazy the same way we were in 2020 and
HUNT: Well, and Tia the fundamental reality also remains that he is no longer in charge. So the things that he says and does aren't affecting
people's families directly.
MITCHELL: Well, I think that's part of it. I also think he's handcuffed in a lot of ways. And that's limiting the things I think he would like to say.
There are gag orders and bond agreements that prevent him from saying some of the things he'd like to say about these cases about feeling persecuted.
But I do think his platform has changed. He was de-platformed on social media, and then added back. He does not have the megaphone he enjoyed
during his four years as President, and that does matter. But in the -- where it matters right now, where he's able to reach voters where voters
are listening, are those stock Trump supporters that can sway the Republican primary.
So it doesn't really matter that, you know, mainstream channels aren't seeing much of Trump as long as his base is and that they're ready to turn
out for him at the polls. And everything indicates right now that they are.
HUNT: Kristen, I'm glad it just because I have you here. I've become a little bit obsessed with this question about whether or not a conviction
would move voters for Trump. And there is some polling that shows about 6 percent in some key swing states might say they can't support Trump, if
he's convicted. We're talking about, you know, swing independent, maybe some Republican voters. Do you buy that? Or do you think all of this legal
stuff is already baked in?
ANDERSON: I think in terms of Republicans abandoning Trump on the merits saying I liked him, but he got convicted. And now I think he's not the
right guy, because I think it's bad that he got convicted. I'm skeptical of that. Republicans in general think that the legal case against him is
improper that it's illegitimate, et cetera.
However, think of it like a billiard ball. If that hits one ball moves something else into a pocket. If that causes Trump to become further and
further down in the polls against Biden. Right now he's very competitive, if not up on Biden, so Republicans can dismiss his electability concerns
for now. If a conviction means suddenly Biden is running up the scoreboard on him in polls --
HUNT: I guess that's what I mean, do you think that happens?
ANDERSON: I don't know if it happens fast enough to spook them before a bunch of delegates are already banked. We're already too far down the road.
But that's how if this was going to affect the primary at all, how I would see it unfolding?
HUNT: Karen, what do you think about this?
FINNEY: Well, I thought was interesting. And I know you're going to talk about this later. But Gary Tuchman last night, CNN's Gary Tuchman did a
really interesting, had a conversation with a group of voters for the third -- the third time, and you were starting to hear them say, well, just in
case if he's in jail, or if something happens, I think I go with.
And for the most part, it was Haley. Couple said DeSantis. Couple said Ramaswamy. But that just suggested to me that it's starting to creep into
the back of people's minds. And to that point that is the one thing that Chris Christie is doing that may actually be effective.
FINNEY: Whereas he's not rising in the polls. He is the person who's out there constantly harping on those ideas.
HUNT: You know it's so interesting that you mentioned that, and I should have asked to cut this sound because he was on "Morning Joe" this morning,
Christie saying over and over again, that he was not going to leave the race ever, not until the convention.
Because in the event of something like just like exactly what you say happened, that he would still be available, but we'll see obviously, how
that matters. All right, let's push pause here. We're gonna have much more debate coverage coming up.
But developing this hour, the White House says Israel will implement a four hour pauses in areas of Northern Gaza each day, to allow for humanitarian
assistance and to allow civilians to flee. John Kirby, the National Security Council Spokesman said Israel would announce the timing of the
pauses three hours beforehand.
He also said, "We've been told by the Israelis that there will be no military operations in these areas over the duration of the pause, and that
this process is starting today". And in a short -- in a statement just a short time ago, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said there
will be no ceasefire without the release of hostages held by Hamas.
We will keep you updated as this develops. But don't go anywhere because abortion didn't come up on stage until over an hour into the debate after
losing badly on the issue Republicans are still struggling to figure out how to talk about it after the fall of Roe that's next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VIVEK RAMASWAMY, U.S. REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I want to laugh at why Nikki Haley didn't answer your question which was about
looking at families in the eye. In the last debate, she made fun of me for actually joining TikTok while her own daughter was actually using the app
for a long time. So you might want to take care of your family first.
HALEY: Leave my adult daughter -- your voice.
RAMASWAMY: -- done. The next generation of Americans is using it. And that's actually the point. You have her supporters propping her up. That's
fine. Here's the truth -- easy answer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: You're just scum. Things got ugly and personal last night between Nikki Haley and Vivek Ramaswamy. And Haley was not the only woman targeted
by Ramaswamy. We'll have more on that in just a second. But our panel is back with me now.
And you know what let's just start right there with Vivek and women. You alluded to this Karen. And I wanted to put everything together in one
place. Let's just show everybody the series of attacks that Vivek Ramaswamy mounted last night only on women when there were plenty of men available to
also attack watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAMASWAMY: He got trounced last night in 2023. And I think that we have to have accountability in our party. For that matter Ron if you want to come
on stage tonight you want to look the GOP voters in the eye and tell them you resign.
I will turn over my yield my time to you. Because I'm going to use this time because it's actually about you in the media and the corrupt media
establishment ask you the Trump Russia collusion hoax that you pushed on this network for years. Was that real? Or was that Hillary Clinton made up
disinformation because he might want to take care of your family first?
HALEY: Leave my daughter -- your voice.
RAMASWAMY: -- done. The next generation of Americans are using.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: OK. So I also forgot about Hillary Clinton there's a fourth woman in there too --
HUNT: -- pretty standard I guess right?
Not to make light of it. But I mean look like. Let's also show OK, the men -- let's still show the video of the debate stage right. So Nikki Haley is
the only one -- sorry, that's the moderators. We'll start there. Lester Holt and Hugh Hewitt, the only moderator that gets attacked is Kristen
Welker right there my former colleagues sitting in the middle of that stage.
Let's look at the debate stage. All men except for Nikki Haley 1, 2, 3, 4 men obviously Vivek one of them the only person he goes after his Nikki
HUNT: What is this? What is going on? I mean, I asked what is going on here. I think I know what's going on here. But I want to know what you
think is going on?
FINNEY: Yes, I think you know what's going on. It's it. Look, it's always a cheap hit, right? Go after the women as a way to appeal to that, you know,
macho men vote man voter potentially. But here's the thing that I think is -- one of the things that's happening with Ramaswamy.
His negatives are going up because at the same time, people actually don't like watching a man attack a woman in that way. With Hillary, it was a
totally different phenomenon, because for some reason, attacking her didn't feel like the same to people.
Not enough to make light of that. But you know, and one of the things on the flip side, if you notice, with Nikki Haley, and this is something
female candidates have to be mindful of. When they attack, their negatives go up higher, and it's harder to get them back down.
For men, actually, the cost of those attacks is much lower. So I suspect he felt like I can attack these women. It's going to make me seem sort of
tough and macho. They're women of color. By the way, we should mention that.
FINNEY: It's a cheap hit. But I always --
HUNT: -- Rhonda McDaniel.
FINNEY: Mine is Rhonda McDaniel yes.
HUNT: -- who else we got in there? But yes --
HUNT: -- we will take it.
FINNEY: But also attacking someone's children --
HUNT: That is usually way off limit.
ANDERSON: Nikki Haley's daughter.
HUNT: There's another woman that he attacked. And it's astounding.
FINNEY: It was way out of bounds.
ANDERSON: There was straight demonstrated by both Nikki Haley and Kristen Walker was extraordinary. I mean, if she had taken one of those five inch
heels that Ramaswamy had also made fun of and impaled him live on stage. I'm not sure that the jury would convict in those circumstances.
I mean, they essentially treated him like a bug and an annoyance until they no longer could. What would be most delicious would be if Rhonda McDaniel,
who leads the RNC who sets the criteria for these debates were just to happen roll out criteria for the next debate. They're just above the
threshold because so sad that Vivek Ramaswamy has been falling in the polls because people don't like him when they hear from him. I don't know why.
HUNT: And you know what, she doesn't have the power right to do that. So we'll see if she'll -- if she'll take it. Really, I mean, your point about
the daughter I -- about Nikki Haley's daughter. I mean, it -- I was -- I shouldn't -- I wasn't -- I guess I wasn't surprised that he went there
because he showed willingness to but it was a level that we rarely see even in by the standards of our politics today.
HUNT: So Tia I want to -- let's talk a little bit about this. I happen to not believe that abortion is a fundamentally a women's issue, although it's
often talked about that way. But -- and it was talked about that way in the wake of the wins the Democrats put on the board on Tuesday night in states
around the abortion issue.
There was a lot of discussion about suburban women and what they were willing to do or not do, although, I would argue the margin in Ohio shows
that a lot of men voted in favor of abortion rights as well. Let's show everybody what the candidates?
It took them over an hour actually to get to abortion last night. Foreign policy is obviously dominated much of the news for good reason. But let's
take a look at how these Republicans answered on abortion because it -- we have seen that it is very tough for them to message on this in the wake of
Roe. So here's how they tried to do it last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HALEY: When we're looking at this, there are some states that are going more on the pro-life side, I welcome that. There are some states that are
going more on the pro-choice side. I wish that wasn't the case. But the people decide it.
SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC): We need a 15 week federal limit. Three out of four Americans agree with a 15 week limit.
DESANTIS: You got to do a better job on these referenda. I think of all the stuff that's happened to the pro-life cause they have been caught flat
footed on these referenda, and they have been losing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: So let's focus in on Nikki Haley to start there because she has had a unique approach to this saying like I don't judge you if you're pro-choice.
MITCHELL: Yes. I think it's interesting that she continues to talk about what is realistic? What is achievable versus her own personal views? And I
think that does allow -- a lot of people give her credit for having a more nuanced answer to the question.
Less of what we heard from Tim Scott, for example, about no we need a federal ban. I think in general, what a voter hear from Republicans, is
that under Republican leadership, or without safeguards in place access to abortion is at risk. So in that way even when a Nikki Haley says oh well, I
don't fault you if you're pro-choice.
She also said, hey, I personally would like to limit abortion. So that's going to matter when voters have to make a decision, whether it's about
Nikki Haley, or whoever else is the Republican on the ballot?
HUNT: Yes. I know it makes sense. Kristen, the Ron DeSantis answer, basically saying to pro-life activists, like, hey, you're not doing a very
good job, you know, getting these things, winning here. And he's also trying to by the way, win in Iowa with lots of evangelical conservatives
who happen to be activists in this very movement. What do you make of DeSantis?
ANDERSON: Well, I think he views this as a part of his strategy to put himself to the right of Trump and a whole host of things, abortion,
immigration, et cetera. He has always thought that his lane is to get to Trump's right. And that's how he's going to pull conservatives away. This
is just a piece of that strategy.
I do think a problem is that DeSantis' early argument was I'm more electable than Donald Trump. And then he passes a six week abortion ban in
Florida, which winds up not being the most popular policy, and it does undercut a little bit of his argument. I'm the one that knows how to win
swing state America.
And so frankly, Donald Trump getting to DeSantis' left or center or whatever you want to call it on this issue, has actually kind of made Trump
look more centrist and therefore maybe more electable than DeSantis. I really think that the confused politics of that and DeSantis trying to hit
him from the right has undercut that electability argument that DeSantis tried to make and has not yet succeeded that.
HUNT: Yes. All right, we're going to have much more on the debate because foreign policy did take center stage. We'll look at what candidates had to
say about Israel, Ukraine and China up next.
HUNT: Welcome back to "State of the Race". I'm Kasie Hunt. We're live in Washington. Last night's Republican Debate was more than anything we've
seen so far honestly the foreign policy debate. The candidates were aligned on some issues they all declared strong support for Israel as they fight to
But the 2024 hopefuls sparred over trade relations with China. And some of the more heated comments came over America's response to the war in
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DESANTIS: Biden wants $105 billion, 60 most of that Ukraine, including some of it going to pay pensions for bureaucrats and salaries. That is a totally
ridiculous use of American tax dollars.
RAMASWAMY: Sort of framed this as some kind of battle between good versus evil. Don't buy it.
HALEY: I am telling you, Putin and President Xi are salivating at the thought that someone like that could become President.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: So there was Nikki Haley's little shot back at Vivek. Our panel back with us now. And we are joined by CNN Military Analyst, Cedric Leighton.
Thank you so much for being here, Colonel. So the one thing I do want to pull to, before we really get started, in terms of talking about Ukraine is
something else that Vivek Ramaswamy said, which his campaign has since tried to clean up has said was misunderstood.
But it certainly came across on the stage as though he was calling Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the President of Ukraine, a Nazi, which is, of course
distinct part of the Russian messaging on Ukraine. Take a look at what Vivek Ramaswamy had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAMASWAMY: Ukraine is not a paragon of democracy. This is a country that has banned 11 opposition parties. It has consolidated all media into one
state TV media arm that's not democratic. It has threatened not to hold elections this year unless the U.S. forks over more money that is not
democratic. It is celebrated a Nazi in its ranks the comedian and cargo pants a man called Zelenskyy do it in their own ranks that is not
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: So "The New York Times" kind of wrote through this, his campaign says that's not what he meant a spokesman woman from Mr. Ramaswamy did
acknowledge it without context. His remark could be easily understood. The claim is that he was talking about Zelenskyy applauding an actual Nazi in
Canada and actual Former Ukrainian Nazi in Canada when he was on a visit there regardless.
Kristen, this is a remarkable -- thing to have coming from a Republican debate stage at all. What is going on here and like to basically to pull on
messaging that is coming from Vladimir Putin. I mean, it just seems so much more transparent to me than it often is.
ANDERSON: So it's best if you think of Vivek Ramaswamy as Donald Trump's stand in under study, what have you on the debate stage, especially when it
comes to matters of foreign policy, also attacking women. But in terms of foreign policy, he is taking on that role.
And so it is true that out of the five on the stage, four of them relatively aligned. Ron DeSantis has been a little wobbly on this question.
ANDERSON: Got him in trouble with the donor class, frankly, early on in the campaign. But Vivek is the one taking the no more aid Ukraine, hate
Volodymyr Zelenskyy line. And what he has to say on foreign policy is way off the mark. But it's also not so different than what you would have heard
if Donald Trump had been at that podium instead.
HUNT: It's really interesting. Cedric can you sort of -- I mean, there was a lot there that, you know, Vivek make a lot of claims about the state of
Ukraine and elections and all of those things. But can you help us understand and just underscore why Ukraine is important to American
security and why these other candidates are making the opposite argument from Ramaswamy?
COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Yes, Kasie. The big thing about Ukraine is right at the doorstep of the rest of Europe. And
when you look at the NATO alliance and every single 30 member state of the NATO alliance, Ukraine is kind of the key to everything there if Russia
takes over Ukraine, then the problem becomes that the NATO alliance gets weakened and the American security is impacted by that as well.
So what Vivek Ramaswamy was saying is basically incorrect on so many levels for example, when it comes to the election, in Ukraine, the presidential
election that is due next year. That the reason Zelenskyy is considering postponing, that is for security reasons.
It is not to the standard. I'm a dictator. I'm going to take over like Putin would have done. He is basically conflating all of the things that
Zelenskyy stands for, with other people, including people that have come before in Ukrainian politics. Zelenskyy was basically the cleanup guy. And
Ramaswamy is not seeing him as that. And that is basically at odds with the fact.
HUNT: I mean, Karen, this also kind of ties into many Republican. Some of them are conspiracies. Some of them I'm not so sure I would go so far as to
call them conspiracies but certainly questionable in their factual basis about Hunter Biden ties to Ukraine that the Biden Administration has I
mean, how much of that is what we're here?
FINNEY: Well, I think it's quite a bit of it. I mean he was clearly trying to lump together and associate.
So Kristen was saying, not just with what Trump has said. But with we're hearing from frankly, a lot of the far right members of Congress on some of
the things. He sounded a little Marjorie Taylor Greene to me with some of those comments.
And so I think he is trying to attack but he also remembers sort of attacked her as being, you know, the Dick Cheney in heels. That's where we
started talking about heel heights. So he's clearly trying to position himself as you know, the America First. She's going to make us go out into
the world and actually defend democracy.
HUNT: Right. You know, it's funny, you mentioned that because I mean, the heels cracks have gotten a lot of eye rolls, and some people like, oh, this
isn't serious. But calling her Dick Cheney in high heels, actually, is pretty meaningful.
ANDERSON: It is. And there has been a big generational shift within the Republican Party on questions of, what ought America's role in the world to
be? When I look at survey data on things like should we aid Ukraine, or if say, China were to invade Taiwan tomorrow? What should we do?
Older Republicans generally have that view, that America can do good in the world that we are best when we are projecting our power and telling the bad
guys to stop being bad. Younger Republicans are very much a post 9/11, post Iraq, post Afghanistan generation, not only do they have the fiscal
concerns, hey, we're going to inherit all of this debt, we can't send money around the world.
But also, they have never really seen a lot of good examples of American military might project it around the world for what they view as good, so
huge generation gap on Republican.
LEIGHTON: And that's a really great point, because when you talk to people who lived through World War II have very few of them around nowadays.
HUNT: My grandfather --
LEIGHTON: -- there you go. And you know, so when you talk to them, and you talk to people overseas, who've experienced World War II, and then they
experience the communist side of Europe, they know what good America can do.
LEIGHTON: And that's the model that they should really take a look at. You know what happened in Iraq and Afghanistan? Those are separate issues. But
what happened in Europe, post-World War II is really a model for building up states that were once enemies and making them friends and making them
useful for American foreign policy, as well as the policy around the world.
FINNEY: And younger Europeans. I was just in London for a conference and the number one questions political conference from younger Europeans was,
what's America going to do in Ukraine? Because as you pointed out, it's -- for them it's very real, the threat of Russia. But they seem to know more
about the importance of America's role in the world than some of our own voters.
HUNT: It's really interesting, all right. Cedric Leighton, thank you very much. I was really enjoyed having your perspective at the table. And while
those foreign policy debates were raging on stage, Congress has yet to pass a bill to send critical aid abroad. We're going to talk to Congressman Mark
Green, up next.
HUNT: Welcome back. While Republican candidates pledged full support for Israel on the debate stage last night Congress has yet to send an aid bill
to the President's desk. And the House is leaving town today without voting on several government funding bills after Republican Leaders realized they
don't have enough votes to pass them.
And a potential government shutdown, now just eight days away. Republican Congressman Mark Green shares the Homeland Security Committee. And he joins
me now. Congressman, I'm very grateful for your time today. Thank you for being here.
REP. MARK GREEN (R-TN): Yes. Thanks, Kasie, for having me on.
HUNT: Let's start with them pulling these funding bills. What happened? All right, it looks like we just had a little bit of trouble getting access to
Congressman Green. Mr. Chairman, can you hear me now?
GREEN: Yes, I got you loud and clear now.
HUNT: OK, sorry to sound like a Verizon commercial from the early 2000s. But let's start on why these funding bills were pulled from the floor
GREEN: Yes, so we had a few amendments that were attempted yesterday on the bill that would have gotten some of the folks and they didn't pass. And so
they tried to move the bill today without those individual supports and found out that they didn't have them. So you know they got to go back and
renegotiate and try again.
HUNT: How convinced are you that the government is going to be open a week from tomorrow?
GREEN: I'm -- no one wants a government shutdown. You know, I was here when the first or the last shutdown happened. And it was purely a homeland shut
down. So there wasn't this chance that military wouldn't get paid. In this shutdown, the approach bill for DOD hasn't been passed.
So this means that soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines won't get their paycheck and no one wants that scenario to happen. So there's plan B,
there's plan C, but I think it's really admirable of the new Speaker to just push as hard as we can on as many other apropos (ph) bills as we can
get done, and then go to that plan B.
HUNT: Speaking of the new House Speaker, Mike Johnson, there have been some complaints that he has not been candid with your members about what he
intends to do in terms of avoiding a shutdown. Do you feel like you have a good understanding of what his plans are and are prepared to support him?
Or do you have questions?
GREEN: So here's what happened yesterday evening. I went into a meeting a group of probably 25 of us, he was holding these meetings all day long
meeting in small settings, listening, taking notes. And I'm not sure the decision has been made exactly on the fine details of those plan B's and
plan C's, but this Speaker is listening.
And he's taking notes and proposing ideas and getting feedback on all those ideas. The plan has to be put together, essentially by the end of today. So
I imagine that'll be done and then we'll be filed and be set for a vote next Tuesday. That's how I understood the meeting last -- share our
perspective -- .
HUNT: All right, we might be losing the Congressman a little bit there again. So well, thank you, Congressman Green for right now. I do have
another story. I was hoping to show all of you. We'll see if we can get him back and finish our conversation on the other side. But let's first look at
how voters are reacting to last night's debate.
CNN's Gary Tuchman has been speaking with the same group of Republican voters in Iowa. That's of course where the Caucuses will be held about two
months from now. Here's what they had to say about this last debate, watch.
HALEY: There would be no Hamas without Iran.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): For this third Republican Debate, we paid our third visits in Nevada, Iowa, and the county seat of Storey
County to watch the debate on television with county Republicans. Most of them saying they are still undecided about which Republican they will
support in the Iowa Caucuses, when it was all over we ask, what they thought the headline of the debate should be?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Foreign policy takes center stage.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: GOP stands in solidarity supportive of Israel.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And much more civil debate tonight.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trump won another one --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because he wasn't there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right.
TUCHMAN: Up there?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: More substance less spectacle.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Third time's a charm.
TUCHMAN: All right, third time's a charm. So we're going to talk about the three times. The first time we were here, most of you said that Ramaswamy
won "Won the debate". The second debate, most of you said DeSantis did. Haley came in second both time.
So my question is, who do you think, "Again, won the debate"? It's not scientific, but we've been with the three times now. Do an alphabetical
order. Who thinks Christie won the debate? And zero? Who thinks DeSantis won the debate, 1, 2, 3 and 4? Who thinks Haley won the debate, 1, 2, 3, 4,
5 and 6? Who thinks Ramaswamy won the debate, 1, 2 and 3? Who thinks Scott won the debate?
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Nikki Haley came in first place with the Story County group this time around.
TUCHMAN: Why do you think she won?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think she was attacked by people. And that means that they fear her and I think she's strong and she reacted appropriately. And
she's not a pushover.
TUCHMAN: But Parker, he's the Mayor here of Nevada. Why do you think she won?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think with foreign policy being center stage, it really plays into her strengths. And they spent a lot of time on that
topic. And we saw her go toe to toe with tyrants of the UN. And you can see you're doing that as President.
TUCHMAN: Why do you think DeSantis won?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, unlike the other candidates, he's aside from Scott he actually holds office right now. And that office is in the executive
branch. So everybody else says what they would do or what they did 10 years ago. DeSantis says what he's doing now and what he's going to be doing once
he changed his position.
TUCHMAN: And what about those who went for Ramaswamy?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think he wasn't afraid to speak his mind. And I felt like everybody else was kind of in sync with each other and didn't really
vary as much as he did. And he just wasn't afraid to go against Ukraine.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): 12 of these 13 people voted for Donald Trump in the 2020 Presidential Election. One is a newly registered Republican who did
not vote for Trump.
TUCHMAN: So 12 of you voted for Donald Trump for President, but only two of you are ready to caucus for him. Why is that? Who wants to speak about
that? Why aren't you ready to support Trump?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. I like the Donald. He's not perfect. But I think it's possible if he gets felonies that the Democrats are going to take him
off the ballot. And so we need DeSantis as our backup plan.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Every single person on our panel says they've seen multiple Republican Presidential Candidates in person during this campaign
cycle. So they're certainly active, loyal Republicans, which makes it all the more interesting that most of them are still undecided. Gary Tuchman,
CNN, Nevada, Iowa.
HUNT: Really loved these pieces that Gary Tuchman has been doing really interesting. I believe Congressman Green is back with us to talk a little
bit more about this.
There he is excellent. So sir, since we were just showing everyone what was going on with the debate there and particularly those comments from the
final voter that Gary Tuchman talked to about possible convictions for the Former President. You've endorsed Donald Trump for President.
HUNT: If he were to be convicted, would you continue to support him?
GREEN: If he gets a felony charge? That's what you mean.
HUNT: Yes, if he is convicted of a felony.
GREEN: -- most of the states don't allow you on the ballot. In fact, many states, you can't even vote if you have a felony charge. So if that were
the case, then we'd have to go to plan B. I think from a legal standpoint.
HUNT: What's plan B?
GREEN: Well, for me, if I had to pick -- is that what you're asking me who I'd pick? Who's my second choice?
HUNT: Sure. Yes. I mean, you said -- you're used to you're used to playing with Plan B, you explain it to me what it means.
GREEN: I did -- I, OK, I owe you that. I probably if I had to go to plan B, it probably be DeSantis. I liked the fact that he's run a state, third
largest state in the country. And, you know, I'd say I agree with him on about 95 percent of his policy. So I think Ron would be my choice. Plus,
he's a veteran, and I spent 24 years in the military, I deployed to combat so I have a connection there.
HUNT: Would you -- if Donald Trump refused to stand down from the nomination because I mean, frankly, the timing of this means that these
convictions could come after he's already locked up the nomination. Is there a plausible plan B for the Republican Party, if that happens?
GREEN: Well, it's all about you know, the convention. And this is the same issue for the Democrats too right? But in their case, they have the super
delegates. So if they -- if Biden continues to tank in the polls, right, they're going to have to do something at their convention.
And your question really kind of depends on hinges on whether or not something like that were to occur before after the convention so that that
remains to be seen of course. Not -- most of these cases is I guess, Trump. I mean, they're all bogus and they're going after him really it's
leveraging the DOJ.
And these local district attorneys against the campaign opponent of the guy they love. So it's all, I don't think anything's going to come up.
HUNT: You're the Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee. So you have a very good understanding of what classified information means? And why it's
important to protect it? Do you have any concerns about how the Former President handled classified information after he left the White House?
GREEN: The only thing I'd have to do is I'd want to talk to the President himself, and I haven't had a chance to do that. He has the ability as the
President, you know, to declassify stuff and whether or not he did or didn't, you know, I don't know the details of that.
What I do know is that a steel dossier was completely manufactured against this guy. We spent $45 million on a Special Counsel all because it was made
up. So when it comes to the evidence against Donald Trump, you know, I want to see it with my own eyes, and I want to talk to him.
HUNT: OK. Fair enough. Let me ask you about one of the issues that really came into focus earlier this week on Tuesday, when Republicans especially
in Virginia were surprised, in many ways that Democrats won handily and it's been attributed in large part to abortion politics.
Glenn Youngkin, won by pushing for a 15 week ban, he wanted to use slightly different language, but it was a test of whether or not that was something
voters would say it was a reasonable compromise. Where do you come down on this? Do you believe that the 2024 Presidential Candidate should campaign
on a nationwide abortion restriction?
GREEN: No. Look, I believe in the Constitution of the United States, and the Supreme Court has ruled on this issue. And if you believe in the
Constitution of the United States, the Supreme Court has ruled this is a state's issue. They overturned Roe V. Wade, which was about whether or not
a state could have its own policy versus the federal government.
So this is in the states. Now, on the Virginia piece, I would submit to you that Virginia is a blue state. Youngkin is an outlier, because the issue
the assault on basically on parents who were petitioning school boards and that catapulted him and gave him a victory.
And unfortunately, for a lot of people, it falsely set expectations for Virginia. I think Virginia is a blue state. So I'm not so concerned about
that loss. And -- but I do believe that, to answer your question, the Supreme Court has made a decision this is a state's issue. Let's let the
HUNT: All right. We don't have time to talk about Ohio, which is a red state that voted in favor of abortion rights. But I do take your point
about Virginia. Congressman Mike Green thank you very much for joining me today, I really appreciate your time.
GREEN: Thank you.
HUNT: All right, coming up, my panel rejoins me with "One More Thing" stay with us.
HUNT: Welcome back to "State of the Race". My panel rejoins me. Before we go we always ask for "One More Thing" on the campaign trail. Washington
across the country you're watching in the coming days. Your thoughts 30 seconds each, Kristen?
ANDERSON: I'm going to watch and see if any of the polls that are inevitably going into the field over this weekend actually show movement as
a result of that debate that happened on Wednesday night. The scoreboard is all that matters. We can debate all day long did Nikki Haley win? Did Tim
Scott lose but with all the matters of the numbers we will know soon enough.
HUNT: Yes. Fair enough. Karen?
FINNEY: Coming down the pike very quickly. Will we have a government shutdown? I would predict yes. Just given the way Congress has been acting
the last few months. But it'll be interesting to see how the new Speaker handles it. Is he able to get a deal that you know appeases his whole
caucus? What will Democrats do? Stay tuned.
HUNT: Yes, indeed. Stay tuned. Tia?
MITCHELL: Well, speaking of the race, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has some fresh swing state polling of Georgia voters on ajc.com. It shows Biden
and Trump pretty much neck and neck within the margin of error, but Trump a little bit ahead. There's also some polling on how Georgia voters view that
government shutdown possibility if it happens they will blame Republicans more than Democrats more than the White House but a lot of polling new
fresh data on ajc.com.
HUNT: Yes. And to that point, I mean, I'm watching honestly, the House Speaker for the reasons Karen outlined. Also, because there are still
questions about aid for Israel aid for Ukraine, all these other critical things, a series of tests for him, then nobody honestly knows how he will
score on them.
Thank you all for being here with us today. I'm Kasie Hunt. That's the "State of the Race" for today, Thursday, November 9th. You can always
follow me on Instagram and the platform formerly known as Twitter. "One World" is up next.