Return to Transcripts main page
State of the Race with Kasie Hunt
Manchin has Strong Ties to Centrist "No Labels" Group; Republicans to Leaders to Release Spending Bill Text Tomorrow with Government Shutdown Deadline Next Friday; Sen. Tuberville on Pentagon Blockade: "I'm Still Dug in"; Trump on Israel-Hamas War: "Let this Play Out"; Congressman-Elect Gabe Amo is a Former Biden Aide; One More Thing. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired November 10, 2023 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KASIE HUNT, CNN HOST, STATE OF THE RACE: Well, Republican candidates pledged full support to Israel on the debate stage last night, you know
what actually? We're going to start our "State of the Race", talking about Senator Joe Manchin, who is a centrist, moderate and spoiler.
The West Virginia Democrat is not running for reelection, making it much harder for Democrats to keep the Senate and leaving us wondering, is he
going to run for President? Plus shutdown ReedEx (ph) one week from today, government funding runs out -- speaker keep the lights on and keep his
brand new job. Plus a fresh face on Capitol Hill, I'll speak with newly Elected Representative Gabe Amo, the first black man to represent Rhode
Island in Congress.
Good day, I'm Kasie Hunt to our viewers watching in the United States and around the world. It is 11 am here in Washington, Friday, November 10th.
There are 66 days until the Iowa Caucuses just 360 days until Election Day. This is today's "State of the Race".
All right from blue to red, that is the near certain scenario for Joe Manchin Senate seat in West Virginia after the Democrat announced he will
not seek reelection to the Senate next year. His decision puts a big dent in Democrats efforts to retain control of the body. And it could cause even
bigger headaches for the White House as speculation swirls. Manchin may explore a third party run for President. He certainly seemed to leave the
door open for that when he addressed what's next for him on Thursday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): What I will be doing is traveling the country and speaking out to see if there is an interest in creating a movement to
mobilize the middle and bring Americans together. We need to take back America and not let this divisive hatred further pull us apart.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: All right, let's dive into all of this with today's panel. Terry Sullivan, Founding Partner of Firehouse Strategies and also served as
Campaign Manager for Senator Marco Rubio in 2016. Also, here is Ashley Allison. She's CNN Political Commentator, Former White House Senior Policy
Adviser for President Obama and Molly Ball, Senior Political Correspondent for "The Wall Street Journal".
This is an excellent crew to have on Friday at the end of a very busy week. So thank you guys all very much for being here. Ashley, I think I got to
start with you on this Manchin stuff. Because the White House I mean, they put out a very complimentary statement of Joe Manchin, which probably was
the right thing to do. Because failing to do so might, you know, nudge him in the direction.
ASHLEY ALLISON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: As you say --
HUNT: You don't want him to go.
HUNT: Because this has been, they historically have had a very good relationship. But there's been a lot of tension in it lately. Can you help
us understand what that tension is? What the White House expects Joe Manchin to do? And how they are thinking about grappling with if he gets in
what might happen?
ALLISON: Well, the first thing I think the White House is probably frustrated about is that him not running definitely probably means that
seat is going to become Republican, which means it makes it harder for us to hold the -- Democrats to hold the Senate. So if you think you're going
to win in 2024, as Joe Biden you are immediately thinking like, oh, goodness, this is going to make it harder for me to pass my policy agenda.
The second thing they're probably thinking is like; please don't get in this Presidential Race. There are enough sigh detractors, with a Cornel
West or Jill Stein now in the RFK. That hurt both Joe Biden and Donald Trump.
But Joe Manchin, I mean, the "No Labels" effort, that's probably what he would run on. They've raised a significant amount of money. They've
actually done some of the foundational work they need to do to get on the ballot in many, many states.
And the likelihood is that Joe Manchin would be able to pull off a lot of Republicans that Joe Biden probably was able to win in 2020, and would need
to win in 2024. Now will Joe Manchin run and if he runs, is it likely he will become President? No, but it doesn't make it harder for Joe Biden to
become President? Yes.
HUNT: Yes. No, I mean -- and for folks who are not, you know, as familiar as we may be at this table with "No Labels". It is "No Labels" is a --
they've always built themselves as a centrist group. They're run by a pair of longtime Democrats who now are on FOX News a lot, at least one of them
is. It's kind of a funny organization that's existed in Washington for a long time.
But to Ashley's point, Molly like they really have done some of the legwork here, which makes it potentially different. And we can actually put up a
poll so this is from the CNN poll that came out earlier this week. They did the head to head national matchup with Donald Trump and Joe Biden.
Remember Trump's ahead of Biden if you leave these candidates out. But when you add in Robert F. Kennedy and Cornel West, its clear Kennedy is pulling
from both Donald Trump and Joe Biden from my understanding of kind of the back end of the data. It's not as clear that Cornel West is pulling from
anyone except for Joe Biden.
But that does show you a little bit of the appetite. And voters say this too they want other people to run, which almost makes this third party
situation even more complicated. And we should probably also know Jill Stein threw her hat in the ring.
And Hillary Clinton basically if it -- depending on the day they blame Jim Comey, sometimes they blame Jill Stein, there's a lot of people blame to go
around for her loss in 2016. But they really think it was a problem for them.
MOLLY BALL, SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, WALL STREET JOURNAL: That's right. And look, like you said something like three quarters of American
voters would prefer not to have a Trump Biden rematch like it looks like we're going to get next year. And Manchin has participated in some of "No
You saw him leaving the door wide open in his retirement announcement yesterday. "No Labels" has said that they would likely put a Republican on
the top of their ticket. In part to assuage this freak out among the Democratic Party, that they would serve as a spoiler that would serve to
The idea being that a Republican on the top of the ticket makes it more likely that they're pulling more of those sort of Never Trump Republicans
cutting into the maybe the reluctant Trump vote, at least as much as the Biden vote. But this is something that the Democratic establishment has
been very concerned about for many months now.
"No Labels" is planning to pick a candidate at a convention in Dallas in March. And so right now, what they've been doing is actually said is
they're raising a lot of money and they're securing access to a lot of ballots in different states.
HUNT: So Terry --
TERRY SULLIVAN, FOUNDING PARTNER, FIREHOUSE STRATEGIES: Well, just to say the reality is if the Democrat leadership was smart, they replaced Joe
Biden -- as the nominee as Joe Manchin. I mean --
HUNT: They put Joe Manchin on their ticket?
SULLIVAN: On their ticket as a Democrat.
HUNT: I'm not sure.
SULLIVAN: I'm not sure, he's -- crime.
HUNT: I don't know that there are --
BALL: -- Democratic results.
SULLIVAN: But when I tell you, he had a better shot. I mean, Biden is losing every single poll and every single battleground state out there
right now. I think Joe Manchin is a stronger candidate for Democrats than Joe Biden.
HUNT: I have a hard time buying that black voters would be more excited to turnout for Joe Manchin. I mean, there's a lot of anger in the Democratic
base at Joe Manchin.
SULLIVAN: I totally agree. There's more anger at Donald Trump. And right now their problem is beating Donald Trump because at the moment, things
look pretty darn grim. And that's why everyone is panicking.
And you've got everybody from David Axelrod on trying to say, well, maybe we should leave the door open for another person this that. And what I'm
saying is, as a Democrat -- or as a -- as someone who's a Democrat, he is the best shot to win middle of the road voters.
HUNT: OK, fair enough. And just to play devil's advocate for a second on this. What do you think if Manchin -- I kind of want to set aside your
premise, I guess. This is what I would say. Because I find it impossible that -- I mean, something horrible, you know, can happen, we don't know.
But as long as Joe Biden is here and saying I want to be running for President, I think that that's going to be it which leaves Joe Manchin on a
third party ticket. It just -- I don't see any world in which he doesn't pull more from Biden voters than Trump voters. What is your view of that?
SULLIVAN: That's probably the case. I'm very biased, because when Joe first moved to D.C., I was his neighbor.
HUNT: Joe Manchin?
SULLIVAN: Joe Manchin, yes. Sorry not Joe Biden.
HUNT: Right on a boat?
SULLIVAN: So we were both neighbors for the first year of his Senate and he's a phenomenal guy. That being said look, I think he does heard Joe
Biden. And the -- I think he would appeal also away in some areas of Trump voters. I think he fits this unique space of these blue collars. There used
to be called Reagan Democrats that Trump does it very good.
HUNT: There are a lot of them in West Virginia. Yes.
SULLIVAN: West Virginia. But think about that, Pennsylvania over there in the media markets that overlap. I mean, he's going to do well amongst the
voters that both Biden and Trump were battling over, specifically in Pennsylvania, but in a lot of places in that rust belt.
HUNT: So to read in all of our viewers who have no idea that Joe Manchin lives on a houseboat when he's here in Washington. And by houseboat I don't
picture like your classic. I'm not sure what the TV show is that had that old houseboat that looks like a floating RV, no. This is a yacht, I think
BALL: If he avoids --
HUNT: He avoids calling it that for obvious political reasons. But it is definition.
ALLISON: It is a very nice boat.
HUNT: It is a beautiful boat. And Terry also is an avid boater, which is what we're talking about. But look, I want to play a little bit because the
other thing here is -- and we were -- talking a little bit with Ashley about the relationship between Manchin in the White House. I had Manchin on
this show -- which I think our inaugural episode actually, and he wouldn't say that he would commit to voting for President Joe Biden. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: You say President Biden; you think has moved too far to the left? So my question to you, if the election were being held today, would you vote
for Joe Biden for reelection?
MANCHIN: Well, I never thought about that, because I have not gotten to that point yet. I think there's an awful lot to be sorted out before he can
HUNT: So you're not saying yes. You are not saying yes, you would vote for him for reelection today?
MANCHIN: I'm not saying yes or no on this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: OK. So I also -- you know, I've known Joe Manchin for many years. He's always been personally very nice to me. Ashley, the idea that a member
of the Senate has not thought about who they would vote for President is patently absurd.
ALLISON: Yes, it's ridiculous. That's not they thought.
SULLIVAN: He's just taking it one day at a time. You know, that's Joe.
ALLISON: He's not being honest there. Everyone has thought about who they would probably vote for sitting at this table and sitting in the halls of
Congress and the Senate. I mean, this is why it's interesting that Joe Manchin is not running because of that kind of interaction and slight dig
to Joe Biden.
Joe Manchin has -- you know when folks came out in support of changing the filibuster rules, which would change the threshold you would need in the
Senate to pass laws, like voting rights, like police reform, like many things that Joe Biden's base wanted him to pass.
And the reason why some of the voters in this poll young voters, voters of color, he's in a little bit of shaky territory with. Joe Manchin prevented
those things from happening. He wouldn't -- Joe Manchin and I just say Kyrsten Sinema who is also on the ballot for Senate, this cycle, but that's
kind of a tenuous relationship between the two.
Its like -- it's kind of like -- remember whose team we're on. You're a Democrat. We're supposed to be aligned and get our agenda. And Manchin
hasn't been that great of an ally, I would say to the White House.
HUNT: Well on the basis really picked up on that. All right, we're going to push pause. We got a lot more to talk about because we're a week away from
yet another looming government shutdown if you can believe it. Will the new House Speaker makes smoother sailing? We'll discuss up next.
HUNT: All right. By tomorrow, Republican Leaders are hoping to release the language of the bill that they plan to use to avert a government shutdown.
A source tells CNN that the timeline is fluid and could still change. But that would allow for a potential floor vote as soon as Tuesday which is
really cutting things close.
The government set up to run out of money a week from today. Congressional Correspondent Lauren Fox joins us live now from Capitol Hill. Lauren, good
to see you. The reality is that hallway is dark behind you, because all these guys have left town, even as this funding is set to run out.
And you know -- you and I have both covered enough of these to know that this is where experience actually really matters. Because moving this back
and forth from the House and the Senate to actually do it in time for a deadline is no easy task. How confident are people that they're going to be
able to pull it off?
LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I think everyone is curious and waiting to see how Johnson decides to precede here. You
mentioned that tomorrow we could see legislative tax. The problem right now is that we do not know what that legislative text will say? What way
Johnson is going to proceed?
There are really kind of two different options on the table right now, veteran appropriator's moderates. They've been imploring their new Speaker
to simply do as clean of possible of a short term spending bill. Get it passed out of the House. Send it to the Senate and live to fight another
day, in January when they can have a longer protracted spending fight.
But you have some on the right who want Johnson to sort of do this complicated tap dance. This two-step process in which some government
agencies would run out of funding on one date other government agencies would run out of funding on another date to give themselves the maximum
number of opportunities to have a fight over the fiscal future of this country.
But one of the things that we are awaiting for is what does Johnson decide to do? He has been meeting, trying to get as many ideas as many opinions as
he possibly can. But that can be a liability too Kasie, because when you're new to the job, it's good to take in feedback. It's good to be a listener.
But at the same time, you do have to eventually make a decision. And that is what we are staring down right now. What will that decision be? And how
complicated will it be to get the House and Senate on the same page before that November 17th deadline on Friday?
HUNT: Always by the seat of the pants, Lauren Fox. I'm so sorry you have to go through this again, my friend. And I'm sure I will see you next week.
Thanks very much. Have a good weekend. Our panel is back with me now.
Molly Ball, we also heard from Kevin McCarthy, the ousted Speaker who spoke to my colleague Manu Raju for "Inside Politics" this Sunday. Let's just say
like he didn't hold back. I want to show you a little bit of what he had to say, watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (D-CA): The conference is not united and it hasn't solved the problem. If those they had taken out and myself, and you just
put somebody else in and you haven't dealt with the consequences for those who put us in this place. And I mean, that's why you look -- we're still
wondering whether government is going to be shut down or not. That's a real challenge. And we're going to have to heal ourselves.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: So basically, he's saying, yes you know, we didn't fix any of the problems. Because you know he got thrown out, we should remind everybody
because he averted a government shutdown.
BALL: Indeed. And if anything, the process that led to the installation of the new Speaker, Mike Johnson emboldened the faction that throughout Kevin
McCarthy. They feel they got what they wanted. And they are -- they now feel that they have even more, say in the process.
At the same time you know there are still a lot of hurt feelings among the moderates in the Caucus who are tired of the divisions, tired of the poison
pills, tired of the sort of conservative antics that don't actually produce results. Because none of this is going to get through the Senate, none of
it is going to get across the President's desk.
I do have to say, with Kevin McCarthy being on -- I saw someone on Twitter refer to this idea of a two-step or laddered continuing resolution as the
stairway to Kevin. So that's what I'm calling it. But so they can do that if they want to, but the Senate is not going to do that. And we did see
last time that they can get this done in minutes or hours if they want to. But it is likely to come down to the wire again, and it's a big test for
the new Speaker.
HUNT: Can I just say to Ashley you know I mean I was the Congressional Correspondent for a long time. I've covered a lot of these battles. The
suggestion that the way to do this temporary funding measure is to create a series of small crises -- is -- it embodies everything that has made it
impossible to govern in Washington.
HUNT: I mean it has been you know setting even Trump aside just the way that they pay for stuff here. It is governance by crisis. It is lurching
from one crisis to the next. It makes for sloppy legislating. I cannot imagine how the fall is going to go if actually they do this "Ladder". How
would the White House approach something like that, because it seems like a nightmare for them too?
ALLISON: It is. I mean look, the White House is not a campaign. And so, I think I would wonder also how the Biden campaign would approach that. I
would be saying like, look at this, again, the Republicans cannot govern.
HUNT: The campaign message is very straightforward.
ALLISON: Yes, you know, they are chaotic. We are very clear. We want to do funding for seniors and for roads and for bridges, and for veterans and all
of the above, and really push the Republicans to look like they're the chaos caucus and I mean, it perhaps will be.
The one thing I'm interested though is, will the Biden White House, go to Jeffries and say like, you look, let's try and do this in a bipartisan way.
But the problem is Republicans don't want to do it. Those eight that threw out Kevin McCarthy, they'll say, I dare you to try and do this with
Democratic support, because you'll be next on the hit list.
SULLIVAN: Yes. But let's not forget, it's the eight Republicans and every single Democrat who threw out Kevin McCarthy.
SULLIVAN: They voted against him. They voted against him, and now they're up in arms. How can Republicans do this?
HUNT: I will say. Kevin McCarthy, we didn't show the part in the interview, but -- I mean he blames the eight Republicans like let's be clear.
SULLIVAN: 100 percent. Maybe did not stick together. But at the same time for a little bit disingenuous for Democrats to say oh like, how could the
Republicans let this happen? We need responsible leadership. It was political gamesmanship on both sides.
HUNT: Nancy Pelosi never let it happen.
ALLISON: I know.
SULLIVAN: You're right. But you know what? That's a difference is that the Republican Party is having these fights out in the open in a very messy
SULLIVAN: Democrat Party, guess what? It forces, the Kyrsten Sinemas and the Joe Manchins out of the party. And that is the difference. And that is
a problem for them.
HUNT: Well, so what does it mean, you're somebody who's -- you know you've worked on Republican campaigns? We've got a Republican presidential primary
going. I mean, how are the Republicans in the House making the guys trying to run for President look?
SULLIVAN: I don't think there's a whole lot of three dimensional chess going on. It's more checkers. I don't think the guys in the House are
thinking of anything beyond the personalities in the House right now. And look, let's be honest, they don't need to because at the moment, there's
not much of a Republican primary going on, on the Republican side. Unfortunately, it is Donald Trump just running away with it and everyone
else fighting for a very, very distant second place.
HUNT: Yes. All right, let's sort of change gears slightly but although we're going to stay on the theme of government dysfunction. And this time,
obviously, funding stakes are very high. But national security stakes, arguably higher, although they're interrelated.
Tommy Tuberville, Senator from Alabama Republican is still holding up every single military nomination. The Senate has to -- usually it's a very
routine thing. They do it in bulk by unanimous consent. There are no objections. But every single you know General Admiral of a certain rank,
obviously the heads of the services et cetera.
None of that has been going through because of the hole that Tuberville has. And there was another confrontation about it on the Senate floor on
Thursday. So let me show you what Senator Tim Kaine, he's a Democrat. He's from Virginia. He's got a relatively mild mannered personality. And he
represents huge numbers of military service members and veterans who live and work in Northern Virginia. Take a look at what Kaine had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TIM KAINE (D-VA): To be playing, none of these 364 has anything to do, any responsibility over the policy with which my colleague from Alabama
finds significant disagreement. These individuals are in a limbo that is very painful to them. And it is my hope that because my Senate colleagues
did not object to them when they were for the Armed Services Committee.
He might see fit on Military Day in Alabama, and on the eve of commemorating the Marine Corps 248th birthday and Veterans Day to finally
allow them to serve in the positions that they have earned.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: And of course, it is Veterans Day here in the U.S. Molly Ball. This is becoming something -- I mean, yes, Kaine is a Democrat. It's going to be
Republicans ultimately going to have to push Tommy Tuberville on this, but they're over it too.
BALL: They are. And we saw that last week when a number of his Republican colleagues went after him in an extraordinarily -- an extraordinary
confrontation on the Senate floor. But look, the Democrats are loving this issue. And that's part of why they haven't given any concessions to
They also could have ended this. I think Kaine needed special permission to bring three easels on the floor are rarely seen display. And so they get to
go after the Republicans on two fronts on the military which traditionally has been a Republican strength.
They attacked the Republicans for weakening the military and on abortion which we've already seen the Republicans have an unpopular position on and
are on the ropes about. And so you know they never miss an opportunity to attack over this.
Tuberville's position, I spoke with him this week is that, if this is such a damaging and dangerous thing for the military, why isn't the White House
and the Pentagon coming to the table and offering him some kind of concession?
But the reason his colleagues are so mad at him is that this could result in a rules change that really disempowers the minority. Really disempowers
the Republicans by weakening their power to put these types of holds, which are a common tactic for the minority in the Senate.
HUNT: Right. I know for sure. All right, let's press pause here. We got much more to talk about the Biden Administration, under growing pressure in
the Arab World. We're going to show you what the Secretary of State is saying about the awful death and destruction in Gaza, that's next.
HUNT: Welcome back to "State of the Race". I'm Kasie Hunt live in Washington where President Biden is under growing pressure to ease
Palestinians suffering in Gaza. Cables from American diplomats in the Arab World are delivering stark warnings to leaders back home that the military
campaign in Gaza is "Losing us Arab publics for a generation".
A cable from the U.S. Embassy in Oman obtained by CNN says, "We are losing badly on the messaging battle space". The message is a private snapshot of
diplomatic alarm over the growing anti-U.S. wave sweeping the Middle East. Secretary of State Antony Blinken seemed to reflect that concern during a
stop in India earlier today, watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Far too many Palestinians have been killed. Far too many have suffered these past weeks. And we want to do
everything possible to prevent harm to them and to maximize the assistance it gets to them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: Lots to discuss, joining for our panel, Molly Ball and Retired U.S. Army Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt and the Senior Vice President of the
Center for Strategic and International Studies, Jon Alterman thank you all very much for being here.
Jon, let me start with you on what we heard from Blinken today. Because that's you know a starker message and the administration has been
delivering so far.
And clearly, you know, the CNN reporting reflects some growing alarm, at least according to our diplomats in the region about how public sentiment
is turning? How did you view Blinken's comments?
JON ALTERMAN, SENIOR VP, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: You know Blinken is trying to bridge an increasingly widening gap between
Israeli sentiment, which is we're going to ensure nothing like this ever happens again. We are going to really change Gaza fundamentally.
And the rest of the world that says civilians upon civilians upon civilians is being killed. Why are the 10,000 Palestinians reportedly killed, somehow
less meaningful than the 1400 Israelis? I think Blinken is trying to bridge this gap. Partly, the President decided to initially embrace Netanyahu as a
way to have leverage with the Israelis. I think --
ALTERMAN: -- the insistence is OK, so that leverage has to start paying off, and Blinken is trying to -- as trying to help with that, but it's
HUNT: It does seem like to a certain extent, we know. And we've reported that this message has been delivered in private quite a few times. But now
it's being delivered in a more public way.
ALTERMAN: And we're seeing it, you know, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs says -- has also been delivering -- starting to deliver public messages to
the Israelis about where are you really trying to go here? I'm surprised that it's so public so clear, at this point.
HUNT: General, do you agree with that? I mean are you surprised at how public it's become? And what concerns I know last time you were here? I
mean, we were talking about how public sentiment in the Arab World really matters. Obviously, the humanitarian suffering is devastating. But if we're
going to talk about it from a security perspective, it's also important to American security.
BRIG. GEN. MARK KIMMITT, U.S. ARMY (RET.): It really is. But I think the real issue is the Israelis are somewhat immune to public opinion, because
as Jon said, they see this as their December 7th. They say you did not hold back, when the Japanese attacked. You fought for four years. Your casualty
rates were far less than the casualty rates of the Japanese.
You in fact, use an atomic bomb against the Japanese. Nobody was talking about humanitarian pauses. Nobody was talking about ceasefires with the
Japanese. And that's the mentality, as Jon said, within Israel right now.
HUNT: So Molly Ball, we actually heard from the front runner for the Republican Presidential Nomination on this issue, which is why we're going
to play it. Just take a look at what Donald Trump said about what the U.S. should be doing in Israel, right now watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, 45TH U.S. PRESIDENT: So you have a war that's going on, and you're probably going to have to let this play out. You're probably going
to have to let it play out because a lot of people are dying should have never started. There is no hatred, like the Palestinian hatred of Israel,
and Jewish people and probably the other way around also. I don't know, you know, it's not as obvious, but probably that's it, too. So sometimes you
have to let things play out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: What do you make of that?
BALL: Well, I think in one sense, he makes a good point, which is that this is not an American war. This is a war in the Middle East. We clearly you
know, Israel is our ally, and we supply them with a lot of weapons. But this is not an American war.
And, and so -- and on the other hand, another thing that his comments do point out is that the Republican Party is pretty unified on this issue, but
the Democrats are deeply divided. The Republicans have not had any trouble unequivocally taking Israel's side, not expressing any of these concerns if
anything -- cheering for a more aggressive response for the most part.
And you saw the -- you know, the House pass Israel aid, as one of its first things when it got back up and running. But the Democrats, as you
mentioned, have taken a lot of fire. Joe Biden has taken a lot of fire from his base. We've seen these protests all over the country.
We've seen him lose ground with those groups that he was already having trouble getting enthusiasm among particularly young voters, particularly
non-white voters. The cause of the Palestinian people is -- has been something that liberals have been organizing and rallying around for a long
time now and they see this conflict in those terms.
So I wonder if the President has been surprised by the reaction that he has gotten to his particularly his initial standing by Israel, but it's
something that has really ripped the left apart in a lot of ways and I think it's going to be a continuing political problem for him.
HUNT: Trump also -- unfortunately we don't actually have the video. But we do have a transcript from this interview where he talks about and if we
could put that up on the screen just so I can take a look at it.
He basically -- he says, I think Israel has to do a better job of public relations, frankly, because the other side is beating them at the public
relations front. Jon, what do you make of that?
ALTERMAN: Yes, I think everybody has his or her own version of this. One of the things that's striking about this war in particular, is this is a war
that people are seeing on their phones. They're seeing narratives on their phones. They're seeing images on their phones.
We have platforms that privilege, things that elicit emotional reactions. And whereas previous war -- I mean, CNN was in some ways as an institution
created in the Gulf War, and there was a single narrative that people were getting.
Now there are millions and millions of narratives. Everybody has a different one. Everybody also thinks that everybody else is beating them.
Everybody else has more power. Everybody else controls the narrative. This sense of victimhood, that everybody feels in this conflict. And I think the
way the media is unfolding, is helping every single person feel like a victim.
HUNT: Go ahead.
KIMMITT: Yes, I would simply say, take a look at Ukraine and Russia. Ukrainians had been extraordinarily good at the same types of public
relations that now Hamas is being credited for. So there is an issue of public support in these types of conflicts.
It is the blood. It is the oxygen that allows a country to continue to fight. And the only one -- way you can maintain support for the country is
in these types of media in this day and age. Hamas wins this one. Ukraine is winning that one.
HUNT: What do you make of the fact that Trump -- I mean, basically criticize the Israelis? Like you have a PR problem? You're not doing this.
You're not doing this right.
KIMMITT: Well, nobody does anything, right, except for President Trump. But I think he -- but I think he does have a record of bringing some level of
diplomacy to the Middle East. Abraham Accords, moving the Embassy to Jerusalem. And all of that achievement has just fallen apart, fallen by the
wayside in the wake of October 7th.
HUNT: In the comments, he said there. Alright, Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt and Jon Alterman, thank you guys both very much for being here. I
really appreciate your time. And Happy Veterans Day!
ALTERMAN: Thank you.
HUNT: Have a restful one. All right, I talked with game -- ahead I talked with Gabe Amo, he's was elected to Congress this past Tuesday and one of a
handful of big victories for Democrats.
HUNT: Welcome back to "State of the Race". One of the big winners in Tuesday elections Gabe Amo, a Former Biden aide who won Rhode Island's Open
House seat; Democrats set to become Rhode Island's first black male member of Congress. And Congressman-Elect Gabe Amo joins me via Skype from
Providence. Gabe, thank you so much for being here.
GABE AMO, U.S. HOUSE DEMOCRAT-ELECT: Thanks so much for having me. I'm honored to be on your show.
HUNT: So I will say I understand winning an election is always exciting. Having covered Washington in recent years, do you know what you are in for?
And can you help us understand why it is you would like to join the body that is the House of Representatives considering the recent track record?
AMO: Well look, I'll be honest with you. You're not alone in that query in that sentiment. But you know I've been in Washington. I had the opportunity
to work in two White Houses, most recently working as a senior aide to President Biden as a primary liaison to Mayors local elected officials
across the country.
So what I believe is that we need a Congress that is solutions oriented that's focused on solving problems and addressing the opportunities we have
in communities across the country. So I do know what I'm getting into. And I think there's no better time to get in than when it's a little difficult.
HUNT: Fair enough. So a couple landmark events throughout the course, it's been a very busy news week, quite honestly. On Tuesday, you know, Democrats
swept it basically, a lot of the elections we have been watching very closely, including abortion in Ohio and the House -- the State Legislature
in Virginia, the House of Delegates in the State Senate. However, it's come against the backdrop of some pretty tough polling for your former boss,
President Biden. In your view, what is the disconnect?
AMO: Look, I think, in so many ways, what we saw on Tuesday, encapsulates what we need to do, which is put forward the stakes. You know, it is not an
academic exercise, when people know that their freedoms are on the line.
And so whether it's its reproductive freedom, whether its freedom to thrive in this economy, whether it's freedom from gun violence, things that I
talked about throughout our campaign when people know that there are elected officials and candidates who are standing up for those fundamental
freedoms, they will speak resoundingly.
And Tuesday is just an example of what we will be able to do when we connect that message. And we have our messengers, certainly me I will be on
the road and making the case both here in Rhode Island's First Congressional District, and to my colleagues in Congress that we have to be
talking about solutions and solving the challenges that we face in this country.
HUNT: Fair enough. But again, I will say, you know, the President risk -- the most recent CNN poll, has Donald Trump up 49 percent Joe Biden at 45
percent. That's just the top line number. I think some of the more critical challenges for the White House come when you dig into those numbers that
show that there are -- there are a higher number of black men who would support Donald Trump than previously.
It seems like the White House that the President has lost some ground among some critical constituencies. Young people as well. You know, people that
share your profile, in a number of ways, what is it that the White House is not doing that President is not doing that's allowing that to happen?
AMO: Well, we have work to do in telling the story of the first couple of years of the Biden agenda. And ultimately, people don't understand the
complexities and nuance of the historic legislation that's come across.
So we have to talk about investing in people investing in places. Talking about, you know, infrastructure as an abstract term doesn't work for
people. But when you speak specifically to what it means for job creation, what it means for protecting our environment?
What it means for lowering the cost of prescription drugs? And it's real, and then it's not an abstract concept. So we have to do that work. But we
also know that at this same point in his Presidency, President Obama was behind in the polling as well.
So I would not be driven by what the snapshots are today, but more about what the work is ahead to communicate to voters across this country that in
Voting for President Biden and Vice President Harris having a Democratic Congress.
I'm hoping that we can have a Speaker Hakeem Jeffries, and move forward the agenda that we've started. And unfortunately, the dysfunction of the House
Republican Caucus has us on the brink of a shutdown yet again. And so that's a real clear contrast and presenting those options will help us.
HUNT: Yes. Back to -- back to my question, of course, about why anyone is - - I mean, honestly, I shouldn't joke about it. It's actually having covered Congress for a long time. I think it's a very serious issue that there are
fewer serious people willing to run because of how dysfunctional the government can be.
And I think no matter what party there, you may, one may be a part of we need serious, strong people to be part of our government. One question I do
have for you, as you're campaigning Rhode Island's a blue state. So obviously, and you were -- your harder race was the Democratic Primaries.
You were talking to other Democrats. But I am curious about whether you heard people raise concerns about President Biden's age.
AMO: You know, I think it was a data point that came up. But more importantly, quite candidly, was how government is impacting people's
lives, right? And I spoke to a lot of seniors who are in senior centers at public events, who said they saw great vigor out of the President, and they
appreciate the experience and the wisdom that he brings forth.
When I talk to Democratic primary voters and general election voters, they care about experience. They care about the muscle memory of making tough
decisions, and having accomplished things for the American people. And that is something that the President uniquely possesses.
And I say that having experienced it firsthand, but also taking that message on the road. And, you know, a testament to that is the fact that I
was successful in my election talking about the Biden Harris agenda, talking about the President's strengths.
HUNT: All right, Congressman-Elect Gabe Amo, thank you very much for joining us. I'd love to catch up with you when you get to Washington. And I
hope you'll come back.
AMO: Thank you so much. I really appreciate you having me on today.
HUNT: Have a great weekend. All right, coming up next, Iowa's first in the nation caucuses just two months away and this week the states' voters have
been weighing Governor Kim Reynolds recent endorsement of Ron DeSantis over Former President Donald Trump. This is so rare for an Iowa Governor to do.
So how's the movement playing out? CNN's Gary Tuchman spoke to some Iowa voters to find out.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN U.S. NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds endorsing Ron DeSantis over GOP Frontrunner Donald Trump is
the talk of the Hawkeye State.
TUCHMAN: Are you a fan of the Governor?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I am.
TUCHMAN: Did you vote for him?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
TUCHMAN: Who do you vote for in the Presidential Election 2020?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trump.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Nick Linters (ph) is the owner of a store called "Old Station Craft Meets" in the City of Waukesha, Iowa.
TUCHMAN: -- facts that she's endorsed DeSantis will that make you consider voting for DeSantis instead of Trump in the Caucus?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I haven't really made up my mind yet. But I wouldn't say that her endorsement factors into my decision.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): It's a long standing Iowa tradition that the Governor doesn't endorse a candidate before the Caucuses. But the Governor charting
her own course is just fine with many we talked to.
TUCHMAN: What do you think of the Governor of your state?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love Kim Reynolds.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Gina Campos -- voted for Reynolds in 2022 and Trump in 2020.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If he is the Republican Nominee, I will vote for Trump. He wouldn't be my first choice for as a Republican Nominee at this
TUCHMAN: So does this decision by the Governor to endorse Ron DeSantis influence you might you vote for DeSantis because the Governor has endorsed
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I'm undecided right now.
TUCHMAN: So you don't have any influencer?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
TUCHMAN: But your respect your right to do it and not to remain neutral?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): The City of Waukee is in Dallas County, which hasn't gone for a Democrat at the presidential level in the 21st century. Former
President Trump won Dallas County by less than two percentage points in 2020.
Governor Reynolds won the county but more than 11 points in 2022. She's popular here. So it's easy to find people not bothered by the breaking of
tradition. Rob Grove (ph) is the Chairman of the Joaquin Area Chamber of Commerce.
TUCHMAN: Could her decision sway you to vote for DeSantis?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not necessarily.
TUCHMAN: So it doesn't necessarily influence you what she said?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It doesn't. It doesn't. But it's another consideration, right? It's someone that I --
TUCHMAN: -- because that's what she wants people to do.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely, right. I mean, that's the purpose of an endorsement, definitely. But I think Iowa has a lot of educated voters and
a lot of educated folks, and they'll make their own decisions.
TUCHMAN: Well, what about you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will make my own decision.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Jeff Warmoth has owned Waukee Hardware for a quarter century. The store is a pillar of the community. It's been around since the
1870s. He's met Governor Reynolds and respects her.
He does have concerned though, about what the endorsement could lead to.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She made a risky move, just because if DeSantis doesn't get it and Trump does get it, I think Trump will have some retribution for
her not being on his side.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Plenty of positive feelings about the Governor here, but there are exceptions.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So I'm very strong Trump supporter.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Nick Gruber (ph) says the Governor's endorsement was a poor thing to do.
TUCHMAN: So the fact that she endorsed a candidate you think is poor because she did not endorse Trump.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right.
TUCHMAN: If he did endorse Trump, would you still think it's poor? Or would you have been happy?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I've been happy with it. I'm in turn will support here.
TUCHMAN: So it's not the principle of her not staying neutral. It's the candidate she's endorsed?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right. I don't like one she endorsed.
TUCHMAN (on camera): The latest Iowa polling from the Des Moines Register shows that Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley are tied for second with 16 percent
each, significantly behind Donald Trump, who has 43 percent. DeSantis obviously, hoping the endorsement helps him close the gap Gary Tuchman,
CNN, Waukee, Iowa.
HUNT: And our thanks to Gary for that report. And now this which is almost the opposite of that kind of politics, we just saw. Dwayne "The Rock"
Jonson says he was approached by multiple political parties to see if he would run for President.
The professional wrestler turned movie star says it happened after a poll from "The New York Daily News" showed that 46 percent of Americans would
vote for him. Here's Jonson talking about it on Trevor Noah's new Spotify podcast, what now?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DWAYNE "THE ROCK" JOHNSON, ACTOR: In 2022, I got a visit from the parties asking me if I was going to run and if I could run?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wow.
JOHNSON: And it was a big deal. And it came out of the blue.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wow.
JOHNSON: And it was one after the other. I was moved by that. And the reason why I have given that response that's truly what the people want.
And of course, I will consider it. And after that response, that's when the parties --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: The parties, I have many questions about that. Jonson says it's never been his goal to be in politics. But he has pretty openly shared his
interest in running for President in recent years. In case you thought we were done with our trend of celebrities being involved in our politics,
apparently we are not. 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 in Washington
across the country that you're watching in the coming days your thoughts, 30 seconds, Terry?
SULLIVAN: Yes. Look, are Democrats going to get out over their skis using the abortion issue as a political issue? It's inherently political. But the
reality is, is that both parties over the last several decades have hyperpolarized politicize this issue for political gain on the ballot.
Question is, are Democrats doing that now? And how -- when is there going to be a blowback?
HUNT: Well, I think they keep answering that and we just keep saying that they're not over their skis. Now we will see, actually, what's yours?
ALLISON: There have been ongoing protests about the escalation in Gaza and a lot of the bombing that is happening and folks are calling for a
ceasefire. Dems have definitely -- Joe Biden was very clear yesterday. He did not think a ceasefire was possible and a lot of his base is upset with
Elizabeth Warren was approached by someone saying 68 of my family members have been killed in Gaza. What are you going to do? Some -- I'm interested
to see how the Dems are going to start responding while their base 80 percent of their base support a ceasefire? And they're not aligned with it.
And will they change their position moving forward? I'm really curious over the next couple of days.
HUNT: You can definitely feel the ground.
HUNT: Molly Ball.
BALL: We were talking about earlier about no labels. I spoke yesterday to the founders of a new committee that is trying to draft Mitt Romney and Joe
Manchin to run as a ticket on the "No Labels Unity Ballot" when they have their convention.
They're planning to raise money, do polling and try to convince these guys to get in the race. Because if there's anything that America needs right
now, it is to more 76 year old white men to run for President.
HUNT: In fairness I think I think Mitt Romney looks good 10 years younger than 76-years-old.
HUNT: -- certainly than any of the -- many of the others. And I will say, I am continuing to watch Mike Jonson, who is, you know, two heartbeats from
the Presidency. But brand new to the job with a monumental task of making sure our troops are still getting paid by the end of next week, when right
now funding is set to run out.
All right, and especially I should add, on this Veterans Day, we should be focused on that. Thank you all for being here today. I'm Kasie Hunt. That's
the "State of the Race" for today, Friday, November 10th. You can always follow me on Instagram and on the platform formerly known as Twitter. "One
World" is up next.