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State of the Race with Kasie Hunt
Republican Tim Scott Suspends Presidential Campaign; Trump Bashes "Radical Left Thugs That Live Like Vermin"; Phillips: Everything I Do Is To Beat Trump In 2024; Phillips: I Don't Want Anybody Attacking President Biden; New Speaker Faces Republican Showdown Over Government Funding; House Speaker Unveils Two-Step Plan To Fund Government. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired November 13, 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: And then there were seven. Tim Scott drops out of the race for president with Republican voters, clearly not interested in
his brand of hope and optimism. In the Democratic race, Dean Phillips challenging Joe Biden saying, the president should pass the torch and that
he's too unpopular to win reelection. My interview with Phillips ahead.
Plus, just over four days until the government runs out of money and House Republicans are once again fighting among themselves.
We'll go live to Capitol Hill. 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 Monday, November 13. There are 63 days until the Iowa caucuses, just 357 days until Election Day. This is today's State of the
The Republican presidential race has one less candidate today. South Carolina Senator Tim Scott suspended his campaign. The announcement late
Sunday caught donors and aides by surprise. Just days earlier, Scott and four other Republican candidates had duped it out on the debate stage in
Miami. Scott broke the news in a TV interview and left the door open to a future presidential run. Clearly the interviewer was as surprised as the
rest of us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TIM SCOTT, (R-SC): It will not be as a presidential candidate. I am suspending my campaign. I think the voters who are the most remarkable
people on the planet have been really clear that they're telling me, not now, Tim. I don't think they're saying, Trey. No, but I do think they're
saying not now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: Trey Gowdy's face. Recent CNN polling showed Scott sitting a distant fifth in the race. He launched his campaign back in May, his focus,
optimism and hope.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT: We need a president who persuades not just our friends and our base. We need a president that persuades. We have to do that with common sense,
conservative principles, but we have to have a compassion for people. We have to have a compassion for people who don't agree with us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: It seems like the Republican base was clearly not interested in that message. Let's dive into all of this with today's panel. Matt Gorman, a
former Senior Advisor for Tim Scott's campaign. We're thrilled to have you back.
HUNT: We also have CNN political commentator and Democratic strategist Maria Cardona, and Seung Min Kim, CNN political analysts and an Associated
Press White House reporter. Matt, for those of us who -- for those who don't quite understand when someone like you is working for a candidate, we
can't have you on our panels who analyze. But we're thrilled you're back.
HUNT: So much we love you. But seriously, you're also in some ways here in a newsy capacity, because we're all trying to understand how this happened.
How did you learn that Senator Scott was dropping out? And what motivated his decision?
MATT GORMAN, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER FOR TIM SCOTT CAMPAIGN: Look, I wouldn't like I kind of most of the other folks. It was just like a jets gaming
piece. And you know, but -- -
HUNT: Sorry to interrupt you.
GORMAN: No, no. Look, I think he took stock of the weekend. You know, he left Iowa. He had the flu, wasn't feeling great. But I think he took stock
of the weekend. And he realized that there just a path wasn't there. You know, we had next debate coming up in a couple of weeks. He had to hit a
certain number of polling threshold.
But even you know, through Iowa, it wasn't about money. We had plenty of money to go to go on if we needed to like, look, these things are -- these
things are a slog, and it's very personal decision to make these sorts of things. And if you kind of wake up and say like, I can keep doing this, but
there's no path. I think it's time and he really realized it was probably time to end it.
HUNT: What was your sense of why Tim Scott did not catch fire because he had a lot of optimism and promise.
GORMAN: That's a good question. I think, you know, he approached the race, thinking that look, we've lost eight out of the nine last national
elections. I ran many popular votes in a row, right, to actually win as conservative but also governance conservatives. We need to win the popular
vote. We need to win the House in the Senate.
So, the clip you showed, how do we bring people into the tent? And I think that was his motivation to get in this race. He felt like he had something
to add. Now look, you know, I think people are just getting to know him. He walked in this race with not a lot of name ID. But yes, you're right, I
think there was an optimistic positive message there. At least, enough people in the party weren't appetize to.
HUNT: Yes. One of my sources on election night this week, was talking about a different candidate. But basically, Glenn Youngkin basically said, you
know, people aren't interested, the Republican base is not interested in that kind of politics right now, they want a more angry politics.
And before we open it up to the rest of the panel, I do just want to ask you, there have been questions about what Tim Scott will do next. He said
explicitly himself, he won't endorse anybody. There were some suggestions. Well, maybe he would be Trump's vice president. I think you and I are aware
that there are reasons why that is unlikely to happen. Can you help us understand why?
GORMAN: I mean, look, I'll take him at his word on all of that. You know, you don't get in this race to be the vice president, right? Like you don't
-- if you're not -- like he wasn't enough of a national figure. If you're a skier governor, if you're something like that. There's understandable that
you get in this to get a build a name and a profile for yourself.
We're talking about somebody who had done the rebuttal staging (Ph) and spoke in a prime slot at the GOP convention. He didn't need kind of his
image boosted among the people that would make those sorts of decisions. I'll take him at his word. I believe that's the case. And I think we always
shave that was a campaign was, you know, going to be a great vice president. It's like, well, wait a minute. You say that about Nikki Haley.
You say that about Tim Scott. Like, what's the common denominator, right? So, I think that it's, I mean, we always chafed at.
HUNT: Yes. Maria, I mean, you know, the reality is that it's likely Tim Scott would have been a tougher opponent in many ways for Joe Biden, than
some of the other available Republican candidates.
MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. You know, I think that's true. But I also think going back to the reason why he didn't catch fire
and you talked about it, and I think it is important to underscore, this is not the moment in time right now in the Republican Party.
When you have a MAGA base with somebody who the person that they support by massive margins is somebody who actually talks very openly about the
politics of retribution, the politics of vengeance, that anger is something that not just Donald Trump knows is what riles up his base, is what his
base wants and craves. And Donald Trump is giving it to them.
If you had every single Republican candidate saying no, this is not what is good for the country, I'm going to lead in a positive, optimistic way. Tim
Scott probably would have won. I agree. I think he's got a lot of tremendous attributes.
I actually think it was really smart for him to get out now. He didn't say anything to piss off Trump. And we know that that's got to be something
that if you want a future in Republican politics, that's got to be something, he might very well be offered the vice-presidential slot. I
think it would be very smart of Trump to do that actually.
HUNT: I mean, so -- I mean, I might agree with you, except that here. I just want to show everybody what Tim Scott said about whether he's going to
endorse another candidate. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT: I'm going to recommend that the voters study each candidate and their candidacies, and frankly, their past and make the best decision for
the future of the country. The best way for me to be helpful is to not weigh in on who they should endorse.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: So, I'm just going to say that if you don't endorse Donald Trump, right now there's no way that you're going to be Trump's vice president.
CARDONA: That's probably true. That's true. But you never know, Donald Trump might look back and say, what do I need to win? And what he needs to
win is somebody who's going to bring in more people into that tent. And Tim Scott could be somebody to do that.
HUNT: Perhaps, and we'll see. But look, I want to -- your points about Trump and sort of the darkness of the way he campaigns. And Seung Min, I'm
going to put this one to you. Is a good segue into what's really been going on with the Republican frontrunner over the past couple of days. Donald
Trump was in New Hampshire, actually the same day I was up there interviewing Dean Phillips, giving a Veterans Day rally.
So, the backdrop a day that were celebrating people who sacrificed everything for the country, who fought for their country, put their lives
on the line for the country. And this is how he talked about some people who call this country home, watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, 45TH U.S. PRESIDENT: In honor of our great veterans on Veterans Day, we pledge to you that we will root out the communists,
Marxists, fascists and the radical left thugs that live like vermin within the confines of our country that lie and steal and cheat on elections and
will do anything possible. They'll do anything, whether legally or illegally to destroy America and to destroy the American dream.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: So, Seung Min Kim, The Washington Post headline pointed to that and said, this echoes Hitler, this echoes Mussolini. I mean, this kind of
language, you know, honestly, I think there were most of the stories about this didn't come out until 24 hours after it happened, right. There is a
sense that a lot of this is par for the course is not unusual or outside the norm. I think it's important to underscore that, in fact, it is. What
did you hear in those remarks? And what are your White House sources telling me about what they heard?
SEUNG MIN KIM, ASSOCIATED PRESS WHITE HOUSE REPORTER & CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I mean you're right that it's not out of the usual for
Trump, but it is out of -- but it's certainly out of the ordinary and out of the realm of appropriateness for what is appropriate and political
rhetoric or any sort of rhetoric. And I think that what we -- I mean, everyone writ large should be doing at this point is really listening and
scrutinizing Trump a lot more closely than perhaps we already have.
I think, you know, no offense to your former candidate, but I think it's a pretty safe bet that President Trump will be the Republican nominee and
will face Joe Biden. And despite the liabilities of either candidate, I mean, this is a 50-50 country, that means the former president has a very
legitimate shot at the presidency.
So, I think on top of just reporting what those comments are, and putting them in historical context, it's also incumbent on us to really look at
what he's saying, what he promises he'll do in office, and really report that out and really tell the public what he's planning on doing. Should he
get a second term?
HUNT: No, I think it's a very important point. Because I want to talk a little bit about his immigration policy in a second as well. But let's
stick with what we heard from him on Veterans Day. My colleague, Dana Bash, asked Ronna McDaniel, the chairwoman of the RNC about this over the
weekend. Take a look at how McDaniel responded.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RONNA MCDANIEL, U.S. REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE CHAIR: I'm not going to talk about candidates that are in a contested primary that you can talk to
him about what he's saying.
MCDANIEL: You can talk to him about what he's saying.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: So, Matt Gorman, the chairwoman of the RNC can't say that, calling the other side vermin, isn't a bad idea.
GORMAN: Yes. Look, it goes back to I think, you know, there was an opportunity, I think, for more optimistic message that was a little bit
more inclusively. And look, there are some candidates in there who can still kind of bring that in there. But I worry that having a party that has
to defend this sort of thing, you know, for a year on end, is why somebody like Tim got in the race in the first place, right?
HUNG: But so why would Senator Scott not take on Trump more directly on things like this?
GORMAN: See, that's always the tough part, right? Like you always hear -- I would always hear from cable news that he's just got to take on Trump. He's
got to take on Trump. Well, I'm sure, it has that been done before? I think how has that worked out, right?
Like there's always this kind of like I'm not -- I'm just not you like, it's lazy analysis that all you need to do is just confront Trump. That's
how you beat him. That's like it's not exactly that simple, as someone who was on the other side of this two days ago.
I think the key is and Tim spoke about this is, what issues do you take him on that you actually care about. If you take him on from a political point
of view. If you take him on his good politics, that's when you see the base start to distrust you and actually reflects a kind of almost comes back at
you. Tim took them on and a couple issues on abortion, for instance, really didn't hear much from either Trump or the base kind of dismayed by that.
HUNT: Yes. I mean, look, I don't -- I'm not trying to tell you that, when I've looked at this, I've never tried to say, all you got to do is take him
on, it will work. But at the same time, we've also got a lot of evidence now that not taking him on well so, just work.
GORMAN: That's a conundrum, right. That's the thing it's very unique when these things come, there's no solid answer.
HUNT: Right. All right, we got to push pause. Because coming up, we're going to hear from the House Democrat challenging Joe Biden for president,
my interview with Dean Phillips. Up next.
HUNT: Welcome back. Democratic Congressman Dean Phillips raised some eyebrows, among other things when he announced a primary challenge against
President Joe Biden. The Minnesota Democrat now under intense pressure from many as in his own party. Even Phillips believes he's hurt his own
political career, but he's running anyway.
And not setting a limit on how much of his multimillion-dollar personal fortune, he's willing to invest in his campaign. I sat down with Phillips
at the historic New Hampshire Institute of Politics, one of my favorite places on the trail to discuss his presidential bid and whether it will
hurt President Biden.
HUNT: Why did you start your campaign in New Hampshire?
REP. DEAN PHILLIPS (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Its where presidential campaigns have started for 103 years. And there's a beautiful history here.
What I found in New Hampshire, which is so remarkable is the civic engagement that I really don't see the same all around the country. People
who take this so seriously, and they've been doing it for generations.
It's where candidates come and walk through the snow and answer people's questions. And they are -- it's part of the cultural. It's embedded here,
if you will, in a way that's really remarkable. And I'm here to meet people. I'll be in South Carolina shortly, on Michigan than every other
state. But there's a great history here that I really admire in this very place to seeing the faces on the walls.
Eugene McCarthy, Minnesota Senator back in 1968, doing something very similar to what I'm doing now for very similar reasons. And to walk in the
same places in similar shoes is really a gratifying, and I think important to start to the campaign.
HUNT: Well, for those who don't know, Senator McCarthy ran in 1968 against a sitting Democratic president who ultimately decided not to run. Do you
think that McCarthy's bid damaged the Democratic president? And will your bid do the same?
PHILLIPS: No, I think he did just the opposite. And I'm glad you asked that question. I think what he did is open the door to others, which by the way,
I've been calling for the better part of a year for President Biden to pass the torch. And by the way, I respect the president. I want to make it very
clear. He's a good man. He saved our country. I think in 2020, he was probably the only Democrat who could have beaten Donald Trump. I think in
2024, he may be among the only ones that will lose to him. And that's why I'm doing this.
But I think what Eugene McCarthy did in 1968, was actually helpful. I do believe Johnson would have lost. It opened the door to Bobby Kennedy, who
had he not been assassinated. Absolutely, I believe, would have won that election in 1968. And I think we need more of that kind of courage. People
who are willing to torpedo their own career, which I believe I've done.
HUNT: You believe you torpedo your own career?
PHILLIPS: I think if you listen to the conventional wisdom, based on the response of the Democratic Party, I think it's fair to say. And people who
are willing to torpedo their career to save the torpedoing of the country. I would like to think we need more of those people.
HUNT: How will you feel if history looks back on this and shows that you torpedoed Joe Biden and gave the country Donald Trump?
PHILLIPS: The only way to torpedo Joe Biden is to maintain the status quo. And that's what the numbers are saying. That's what the polls are saying.
That's what people like James Carville and other pundits and other pollsters around the country increasingly saying the quiet part out loud.
And as I reflect on my decision, it was singular. I'm doing this for a single reason to defeat Donald Trump. That's what I ran in 2018.
I woke up the morning after the 2016 election. My daughters were in tears. I promised them I would do something. I flipped a district that had not
been won by a Democrat since 1958. You were there, you were there right before the election in 2018. And that's why I did this. I was in the House
Chamber on January 6, 2021, when a sitting president inspired an insurrection against his own country.
I'm not going to sit down now. The only reason I serve in Congress is because I needed to resist a man who is probably the most dangerous in
American history, if not world history. That's why I'm doing this and to sit down or shush up or get back in line. Now, I would be a dereliction of
So, I'm entering the race because someone needed to do it. And now I'm in it to win it. But I asked the president to pass the torch, I asked other
candidates names that everybody knows to do it, to jump onto the stage, they wouldn't do so. And as I reflect on the answer to the question, no,
I'm going to be a creative to Democrats. That's the whole point.
I'm running into primary. I'm not doing what Cornel West is doing. Not doing what Jill Stein is doing, not doing what Joe Manchin might do. I'm
doing it the way that we should, which is to enter the Democratic primary. If the president beats me in New Hampshire and Michigan, all around the
country, that's good. He looks strong.
If I forced the president to have to get out in campaign, basically for the first time, because he didn't have to campaign in 2020. And he appears
well, and he debates, and he's strong, makes a good case, that's good for him. I could win this. I intend to win this. Or I could open the door for
others who might be better positioned to beat Donald Trump.
So, looking at it from any of those four scenarios, this is a creative. Most importantly, if I do not succeed on March 6, I will wrap this up with
grace, I will get behind either the president or whoever the eventual nominee is, with the same passion, the same energy, the same incentive, and
the same need that I'm giving to my own campaign.
Those are my five points. And I don't understand how somebody could look at that and say that would be somehow helping Donald Trump. I'm doing this to
ensure he does not become president.
HUNT: So, one of the advantages that you have, considering your background that other potential candidates may not is a vast personal fortune. You
have already said, you're willing to commit up to $2 million to this campaign. How much are you prepared to spend to try to win?
PHILLIPS: Yes. We needed seed capital, and I did that. And I will probably have to put in a little bit more. But this will not be a self-financed
campaign. Let me make it that very, very clear. And I don't take PAC money. I don't take lobbyists money, never took member money, don't give it, don't
receive it. And I don't have a leadership PAC, which makes me I think the only member of the entire Congress, 535 people that refuses to do it that
way. The money will be paid back to me, it's a loan, and I needed seed capital.
HUNT: Do you have a top dollar figure that you're willing to invest?
PHILLIPS: No because this is so important. I again, I will not be self- financing my campaign, I will need to because we are drawing a wonderful support from around the country. I started my day every day with $5 donor
calls, thank you calls. They're the most extraordinary part of this whole campaign. I asked my staff to sit with me, because these are the people
that need to be heard.
These are the people who cannot afford life in America right now. These are the people who are so angry, so angry about what's happening in Washington.
And I asked, I asked my staff to join me because I want them to hear from the very people who are unheard, underrepresented, underappreciated, and
I've had enough.
HUNT: So, I'm glad that you mentioned PAC money, because obviously PAC money is different from Super PAC money. But Steve Schmidt, who has been an
adviser to you, it's been reported is planning to leave and found a Super PAC to help you in these critical states, you mentioned New Hampshire,
South Carolina, Michigan. Do you want that help?
PHILLIPS: Well, first of all, you got to play by the rules until you can change them. I found citizens united, I think was a despicable decision. I
think it's been destructive to democracy.
HUNT: But that's a yes, you will take superficially.
PHILLIPS: I can't, as you well know. I can't deny support from anybody that wants to get in and considering -- -
HUNT: I know you can't probably want to do.
PHILLIPS: The answer is yes. The answer is to achieve what we need to achieve, to overturn the status quo, to ensure that Donald Trump is
defeated. Absolutely any candidate who aspires to do that has to do the same thing. What he, Steve Schmidt or anybody else might do, and by the
way, I'm sure there will be others. That's up to them, but I think it's very important.
HUNT: Anything is why as to put attack ads against Joe Biden on the air in Michigan, a swing state.
PHILLIPS: I'm not going to be attacking President Biden.
HUNT: Do you want the Super PAC to attack President Biden?
PHILLIPS: I do not want. I will make it really clear. I do not want any Super PAC. I do not want that there was certainly this candidate won't. I
do not want anybody attacking the president. He's a good man. I respect him. He did a good job.
But what I do want and what the country needs is the truth, which is every single poll, national poll. He's down five to nine points in battleground
states. He's losing in five of six of the battleground states. His approval numbers are historically low. The own rivaling only Jimmy Carter, who got
slaughtered, of course, in that election, and that people need to know.
HUNT: Jimmy Carter also had a Democratic primary.
PHILLIPS: Yes. And he had it for Democratic primary challenger because he's going to get slaughtered in the election. It's the same circumstance,
again, Ted Kennedy did not cause Jimmy Carter's problems. I did not cause President Biden's problems. These numbers, these polls, that does taste
around the country, 80 percent of this country wanting different options than President Biden and Donald Trump. That's not Dean Phillips that caused
that. I'm just the one that said it out loud.
HUNT: Congressman Clyburn has made known his concerns about your running and essentially saying you've disrespected a core constituency in the
Democratic Party. Have you reached out to African American leaders inside the Democratic Party as part of your bid?
PHILLIPS: Well, I'm deeply connected to my black brothers and sisters in the party.
HUNT: And you talked to them about your bid and ask for their support?
PHILLIPS: First of all, I don't have a sit. There's not a single member of the Democratic caucus, not a single member, that brown, black, white,
anything that will say publicly what everybody's talking about privately, which is the president's likely defeat at the hands of Donald Trump. That's
the truth. And to answer your question very directly, I have extraordinary respect for Mr. Clyburn, extraordinary.
A gentleman, a man with whom I've worked very closely to do the very work that I know he knows is important for the black community, the brown
community, and frankly, the entire American community. I sat at the leadership table with him, the Democratic House leadership table,
positioned to which I was elected by my peers. First of all, if he feels I've disrespected anybody, I apologize.
But if it's because I was in New Hampshire, speaking with voters here that that was disrespectful to black voters. I take exception to that, because
when I'm in South Carolina shortly visiting with black voters, that is not disrespectful to Muslim voters in Michigan, and when I meet with them, it's
not disrespectful to Hispanic voters in Texas. And when I meet with them, it's not disrespectful to Asian voters in California any more than meeting
with them in California is disrespectful to white voters in New Hampshire.
And let me tell you, the offense that people in New Hampshire took to that is much more important than anything that affects me. But that saddens me
because I think that's actually part of the problem in America right now.
HUNT: Congressional Black Caucus, the Urban League, the NAACP, there's an infrastructure of people who spend their lives working on black
empowerment. Did you reach out to them before or after you started your campaign?
PHILLIPS: If I had reached out to anybody before I -- by the way, my campaign started two weeks before I announced. I've only been at these two
weeks of course, I'm going to be speaking to everybody, every day, not yet. But I've spent my entire life in Minnesota, making these very investments
both time and treasure, energy to try to make life better for people, not by imposing what I think needs to be done just the opposite.
HUNT: So much there. Coming up, the panel returns to talk about that interview with presidential candidate, Dean Phillips.
HUNT: Welcome back to State of the Race. I'm Kasie Hunt, live in Washington. You just saw my interview with Dean Phillips, who's launched a
longshot bid against President Biden for the Democratic nomination.
Joining me now to discuss is David Axelrod, CNN senior political commentator, and former senior adviser to the former president, Barack
Obama. David, you are very popular among the Biden administration right now.
DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. Well, I didn't imagine that I would be. But that's not really my role is to, I'm not
running for anything.
HUNT: Fair enough. I want to come back to that. But let me start with the interview with Dean Phillips and kind of your take on what's going on here.
Because as I see it, and correct me, just correct me if I'm wrong, but there are two things here that I think make this something that could
potentially concern the White House, they obviously view him as a longshot. He is a longshot.
But he made clear to me that he's willing to invest, he wouldn't put a limit on the amount, the number of millions he's willing to invest. He can
put money behind what he wants. And two, the Biden team moved to the primary and left President Biden off of the ballot in New Hampshire, a
state that, you know, has a reputation for being independent, changing political narratives. That seems like a major risk to me.
What did you hear in the interview that stood out to you? And do you think the Biden team is making any mistakes and how they're dealing with
AXELROD: Well, look, you know, I was interested in his sort of interpretation of history. And I liked Dean Phillips. I think Dean Phillips
was a very sincere person. I think he's a bright person. I think he believes he's doing this for the right reasons. But, you know, he was born
a year after the 1968 election.
So, just to clear up some of the historical issues here. It was a different nominating process than you know, there were party bosses and primaries
were important, but they weren't determinative. And right up until June, there was a question about who the nominee would be. And so, you know, that
is not the way the primary system works today, it was completely revamped in 1972. And so, the kind of McCarthy scenario isn't quite the same.
Secondly, no sitting president has ever endured a primary challenge, a serious primary challenge, and won the nomination, I'm sorry, won the
general election. They have all won the nomination. And I'm very certain that if President Biden were to get a primary challenger and Phillips is
one, you know, others, I think he would be the nominee of the Democratic Party.
To me, this is all his decision as to whether to move forward or not. He's clearly made it. And now the question is whether he is going -- now that
he's moving forward, whether he's going to move forward full speed ahead and start framing this as a comparative race and not a referendum on him,
In terms of Phillips, I don't think he has -- I think this is -- he was tucked into this to some degree by some consultants and strategists. And
that often happens in politics, but it feels more like a grift for them that an opportunity for him to me.
The other thing that stood out to me was his comments on inflation and so on. He was with Biden on every one of these major policy decisions. So,
he's going to have a hard time critiquing policies that he has wholeheartedly supported. I just think this is an ill-fated venture on his
part, well meaning, but ill-fated.
HUNT: Do you think it has a chance to hurt the president?
AXELROD: I'm sorry. Do I think he has a chance to -- -
HUNT: Hurt the president?
AXELROD: Oh, well. Yes. I mean, I don't think there's any doubt. Look, you heard the interview. I mean, anytime you have someone out there in your own
party running millions of dollars of ads, and he says, I'm not going to run, attack as, we'll see. We'll see. But if he is just running positive
ads about Dean Phillips, and the need for leadership for the future.
I don't think he's nearly going to get to the place he goes. Steve Schmidt is going over to run a Super PAC, you know, Steve is pacifist.
HUNT: No, you're right.
AXELROD: And so, I don't expect that he is going to sit there and run positive ads about Dean Phillips. So, you know, I don't think it's helpful
to Biden. I think Biden, will, you know, Dean Phillips is not going to be the nominee of the Democratic Party. But it's just one more thing that
Biden has to contend with. And I don't think it's going to be helpful to him.
HUNT: All right. Sir, before I let you go, I got to ask you, Jonathan Martin reported in POLITICO today that the president called you a word that
because we are live in London, I am not allowed to say on television, but it starts with a P and ends with K, your response?
AXELROD: Well, he wouldn't be the first I guess, in my many years in politics. Listen, I understand he was irritated because I raised concerns
that many, many Democrats had. And again, you know, my feeling is either get out or get going. And but the status quo the way they were approaching
the campaign, this sort of what me worry, attitude about the campaign was not going to get him to where he needs to go.
And the stakes are so high, Kasie, this isn't, you know, Mitt Romney or John McCain, or anybody else on the other side about this Donald Trump,
it's a fundamental question as to what American democracy is going to look like, the day after the next election. So, the stakes are very high. He
knows that. But I think he needs to take a sober look at the whole landscape.
And, yes, he's committed to moving forward. I get that. He ought, but he ought then, look at what his campaign is doing, and what they need to do,
and get out of this sort of referendum frame and go after Donald Trump every day, because Donald Trump will be the nominee of the Republican
Party, that may be uncomfortable for the press.
But I will tell you a whole lot of people got in touch with me after that, after I made my feelings known to say, I'm glad someone said it. And if the
end result of it is that they take a hard look at their campaign and get it and sort of turbocharged it and turn it into a comparative race now. Then,
you know, I'm glad that I said it, and I'll live with the fact that the president is unhappy with me.
HUNT: Well, we will see how this all plays out, it definitely. I can appreciate that you heard from people who agree but are less willing than
you are to speak publicly. So, thank you for that. And thank you very much for your time today, sir. I really appreciate you joining us.
AXELROD: Hey, it's a thrill to be with you, Kasie. Thank you for inviting me.
HUNT: And sit with us. Yes, I know. I'm thrilled to have you. All right, see you soon.
AXELROD: I look forward to till that time (Ph).
HUNT: All right, the panel rejoins me. Now with some quick thoughts on this interview. Maria, let me start with you as the Democrat at the table. What
was your takeaway?
CARDONA: So, I think there's so many things about Dean Phillips, that puts him in a bind. And David Axelrod was the one -- underscored the one that I
thought the most, which is from the very beginning, when Dean Phillips started saying making noise that he wanted to do this.
He said, the last thing he wanted to do was hurt Biden, continued to talk about how much he liked him, how much he respected him. And he voted 100
percent of the time for every single one of the policies that he now says, are hurting the country. So, he does not have any credibility on that
whatsoever, because of what he has said before and because of how he has voted before. That's number one.
Number two, I think he does understand that he completely has now ruined his political career. And so, then what is this? I think it's a vanity
project. I think it's a vanity project that hurts him and frankly, makes his Republican adviser. Let's underscore he is a Republican. Yes.
HUNT: -- -aggressively to elect Democrats. Right that way.
CARDONA: And he's been taking money from a hugely conservative, Harlan Crow, who, you know, we now know what his role was in supporting Clarence
HUNTL Yes, the Biden campaign is very interested in that?
CARDONA: Yes. No, absolutely. So, I think on so many of those levels, he's ruined his credibility, and he's not going to win. So, I don't understand
why he's doing this.
HUNT: Seung Min, it does seem like Phillips has torpedoed his career in the Democratic Party. He's basically been thrown out of the Hill.
KIM: Right, right. I mean, he has had to get rid of his leadership position that he had among the House Democratic Caucus. He is kind of becoming this
persona non grata among Democrats. But I will say, and Axelrod pointed to this as well, both Dean Phillips and Axelrod himself are pointing to
private -- or are discussing publicly concerns about Biden that many Democrats won't say privately.
I just spoke to several over the weekend for a weekend story about how Biden is -- how Democrats feel about Biden in '24. And I think a lot of
Democrats are just kind of at the point where they're saying, look, I would not have wanted him to run, but we are kind of where we are.
So, we kind of have to make the best situation with what we have at this point. But certainly, Phillips could hurt just because he's putting all
this kind of anti-Biden contrast out there. So certainly, Biden is not happy with that.
HUNT: Well, honestly, Axelrod's point about Steve Schmidt who is running this Super PAC reportedly not being a pacifist and that's kind of why I was
obsessed with Phillips' answer on Super PACs. I mean, some Democrats want to use that to criticize him for being willing to take outside money and
paint him as a hypocrite. I think the problem is like, millions of dollars of contrast on the air in Michigan right before a general election. That's
a recipe for disaster.
All right, the panel is coming back. The new House speaker up next, says he has a plan to avert the looming government shutdown. But will some members
of his own party stand in the way? It's sounding like, yes. We'll have the latest. Up next.
HUNT: All right, welcome back. We're going to turn out to Capitol Hill, where the clock's ticking just over four days to avoid a government
shutdown. And the new speaker is facing the same hurdles as the last one. A funding plan unveiled by Speaker Mike Johnson over the weekend, already
getting pushback from hardline members of his own party.
Just look at this. Congressman Chip Roy tweeted my opposition to the clean CR announced by the speaker to the GOP cannot be overstated. CNN
congressional correspondent Lauren Fox joins us now live from Capitol Hill. Lauren, always good to see you. So same as it ever was, or is Mike Johnson
going to get a honeymoon here on this shutdown situation?
LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I mean, we're going to have to see, Kasie, just how dug in some of these conservatives are. The
reality is, he doesn't have the votes to get this passed with just Republicans. He's going to need some Democrats to step up and help get it
across the finish line.
There's a couple of reasons why they might actually go ahead and do that. One time is running out. This deadline is coming up on Friday at midnight.
Two, this bill, despite the fact that it is sort of this two-step programming, where some government funding expires in mid-January, other
government funding expires in early February.
It doesn't include any spending cuts. And that is a big victory for Democrats. That had been a red line for them, something that they had made
very clear that if a short-term spending bill included any cuts to government agencies, they weren't going to be backing it. So, despite the
fact that this plan is not exactly what Democrats wanted, it does give them some room to keep having negotiations in January and February on a fuller
one-year spending plan.
Now, there is a little bit of daylight right now between the White House, the White House spokeswoman putting out a statement on Saturday, basically
saying that this plan was not something that the White House liked.
But on the other hand, like I noted, a lot of Democrats keeping that door open on Capitol Hill, because at the end of the day, Johnson is going to
need House Democrats to get it passed out of his chamber. Meanwhile, the first hurdle for Johnson is going to be the fact that he has to get a
procedural vote passed first before they go to the underlying bill.
That process is going to get started in the House Rules Committee today. Then if that goes through the floor tomorrow, we're going to be watching
very closely to see whether or not some of those conservatives who say that they're not supporting the underlying bill, whether they'll help with sort
of this procedural step.
Traditionally, it's the majority party who's responsible for passing those procedural votes. But if he cannot get the votes with conservatives, we'll
be seeing whether or not Democrats stepped in to help or if he tries to pass this with a sub sent -- excuse me, a suspension of the rules, which
requires a two thirds majority of the House. Kasie?
HUNT: All right, Lauren Fox, thank you very much for joining us. I know you got a long week ahead. So, I really appreciate you starting us off. All
right, let's get back to our panel now. Matt Gorman, Maria Cardona, Seung Min Kim, all back with us. Seung Min, let me go to you to just kind of
follow up on what Lauren was saying there.
I'm going to put up the element on my sheet is called GOP no vote tweets. It includes Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, Congressman Chip Roy,
Congressman Warren Davidson. Davidson says, I will be voting, NO. Marjorie Taylor Greene says, I am voting no to this clean CR. Chip Roy, of course,
100 percent opposes. These are -- this is the same kind of thing that sunk Kevin McCarthy as Lauren was talking about. Do you think it's going to be
different this time?
KIM: It's really unclear because what the plan shows first of all is that Speaker Mike Johnson same as Speaker McCarthy before him needs Democratic
support to keep the government open. In theory that would give Democrats some leverage to extract what they want out of whatever funding bill that
has to pass the Congress by Friday.
But you also have, like Lauren pointed out, because there aren't spending cuts in this bill, you do have Democrats, a lot of Democrats keeping their
powder dry. Dean Phillips, who you just talked to, said he would come back from the campaign trail to vote in favor of this plan later this week.
So, we don't know how many of those Democrats would be out there, not wanting to kind of, you know, instigate this fight further and just kind of
continue on with what Johnson wants to do. But it is certainly correct that Johnson has the same problem that McCarthy had before him, that there is a
big part of his right flank that just don't want to go along with what the leadership wants to do.
HUNT: Matt Gorman, let me show you the flip side of this, which is Congressman Michael McCaul, talking about the imperatives that Republicans
have to, you know, actually govern the country, watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARGARET BRENNAN, CBS NEWS MODERATOR, FACE THE NATION WITH MARGARET BRENNAN: So, can Republicans vote together to pass this proposal, this
short-term funding agreement?
REP. MICHAEL MCCAUL, (R-TX): We're going to have to. I mean, there's no choice here. I mean, the world is on fire from where I sit. It is too, you
know, urgent. We can't sit back and do nothing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: The world is on fire. Matt, how do you think they resolve this?
GORMAN: I think you're right. They have to get this done. There's no choice. And we can't keep going to these every single time, we go through
these machinations where we come very, very close to shutting down the government or defaulting our debt ceiling every single time.
Look, I got to go back to the point I made earlier in the show. That's why it's so crucial. We get bigger majority. So that way, a small handful of
lawmakers aren't dictating this for essentially the entire Congress. So, at the end of the day, I think Democrats will keep their powder dry, make
Republicans work for it, and then eventually get their votes. But it's going to be a little bit arduous until then.
HUNT: Maria, do you think Democrats are going to do what Matt just suggested?
CARDONA: I think Democrats are going to wait and get their guidance. And they're meeting about this right now from Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries
because that is who's going to be essentially guiding what the strategy is. But then we also have to make sure that whatever they do, whatever the
House does, is going to be in conjunction with the Senate.
I mean, let's remember the process here, right, that's how you actually pass the bill. And then ultimately, the White House. The White House
doesn't like this. So, there's a lot of process here. And you know, Congressman McCaul is right, the world is on fire. But the problem is in
terms of what is going on in the Congress, the arsonists are in his own party. And I think that is going to be what Americans are going to look at.
You know, Matt says that they are going to need bigger majorities in order to govern well, I'm sorry, Matt. But right now, what Republicans are
proving is that they don't have what it takes to govern. They don't want to govern. A lot of them in their party have no interest in it. And so, this
gives Democrats a great contrast to run on in 2024 for bigger majorities for them.
HUNT: Matt, your name has been invoked?
GORMAN: Oh. Thank you. Look, at the end of the day, when you have a small in the House these things, this is how they happen. You have a small folks,
wanting it needs themselves and they make a lot of demands, Republicans and Democrats to see that. But again, you need bigger majority. So, you want to
govern the way you want to govern as a party. It's as simple as that, no matter what party.
CARDONA: Take lessons from Pelosi, who had the same exact small margin, did not have -- -
GORMAN: A very, very different time.
HUNT: All right, that I roll man. I'm going to have someone in my tech team, turn it into a gift for you because you deserve that at this point,
especially after the last 24 hours that you've had. All right, before I let you guys go. I do want to ask you for one more thing on the campaign trail
in Washington, on the road that you're watching for in the coming days. 30 seconds each. Seung Min, I'll start with you.
KIM: Yes. We didn't talk about this in our last block. But the fact of Ukraine aid as still a major priority for Congress at this point. Remember,
after Congress didn't include it in their spending bill, the White House warned about how the money could run dry in a matter of weeks. Well, it's
been weeks now, but Congress still has no plan on what to do with Ukraine funding. So, we're all watching that very closely.
HUNT: Fair enough. It's a good point. Maria?
CARDONA: The issue we were talking about earlier about the politics of hate and division. Donald Trump also focused on what his horrendous immigration
plan would be if he got another four years, and he pulled no punches. He talked about deporting the 12 million undocumented immigrants, putting them
in mass detention camps, all around the country, re-looking at, taking away birthright citizenship as a Latina and an immigrant and a naturalized
I'm wondering if naturalized citizenship is next, are we going to be on the chopping block too, a great contrast going into 2024 about how draconian,
divisive, xenophobic and racist another four years of Donald Trump would be.
HUNT: I am glad you mentioned that his immigration policy that broken the times over the weekend. Maria, we didn't get to it earlier and I really
wanted to. So, thank you for bringing it up. Matt Gorman, what's your one more thing?
GORMAN: With now Tim Scott and Mike Pence out of the race in Iowa. What happens with the evangelicals out in Iowa, that will set the tone I think
for the caucuses, right. But half of the electorate in Iowa for their caucuses are evangelicals.
Half of those, according to our internal polling showed there persuadable are open to someone other than Trump. With now DeSantis coalescing support
with Kim Reynolds, does the influential conservative Bob Vander Plaats also then endorse him, and do others follow suit Katie (Ph) consolidate the
evangelical vote and maybe raises numbers.
HUNT: That's a great point. And I'm sure we're going to be learning a lot about that here in the final, just a couple of months now until the Iowa
caucuses. Thank you all for being here. And thanks to all of you for watching.
I'm Kasie Hunt. That's the State of the Race for today, Monday, November 13. You can always follow me on Instagram and the platform formerly known
as Twitter. But don't go anywhere, One World is up next.