Return to Transcripts main page
State of the Race with Kasie Hunt
Trump's Alarming Rhetoric Draws Comparisons to Dictators; Congressional Delegation Returns to U.S. after Israel Visit; Biden Balancing Foreign Crises, Low Poll Numbers, Heading Into High-Stakes Meeting with China's Xi; Speaker Johnson on Government Funding Bill "We'll get it done"; Speaker Johnson Moves to Circumvent Hardliners and Pass Bill to Fund Government with Democratic Support; One More Thing. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired November 14, 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: Words matter and Donald Trump's words are getting pretty dark. The Republican front runner is giving speeches evoking
violence and calling for the prosecution of Americans he dislikes. What does that mean for the country and the election ahead?
And President Biden about to fly to California for a high stakes meeting with China's President Xi. Well, back in Washington a government shutdown
looms, as Speaker Johnson struggles to unite his party. Will Democrats bail him out?
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 Tuesday,
November 14th. There are just 62 days until the Iowa Caucuses 356 days until Election Day. This is today's "State of the Race".
All right, Donald Trump's vision for a second term is coming into focus and it's darker than ever. The Former President and his campaign are
threatening their political enemies, with language that echoes dictators past.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, 45TH U.S. PRESIDENT, 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We pledge to you that we will root out the communists, Marx's, fascist and the
radical left thugs that live like vermin within the confines of our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: So a Trump Campaign Spokesperson responded by calling critics of Trump's words, snowflakes. And he added that those critics will be crushed
if Donald Trump returns to the White House. A source tells CNN that Trump is planning mass arrests and deportations of undocumented immigrants if
And we're also learning more about Trump's intentions in the wake of his 2020 loss from former -- Trump's Former Election Attorney in that
interference case down in Georgia, Jenna Ellis told prosecutors that even if he lost the election challenges that he had launched in the courts,
Trump had planned to remain in power.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JENNA ELLIS, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN ATTORNEY: He said to me, and I kind of excited to him, well, we don't care and we're not going to leave. And I
said, what do you mean? And he said, well, the boss meaning President Trump and everyone understood the boss. That's what we all called him. He said
the bus is not going to leave under any circumstances. We're just going to stay in power. And I said to him, well, doesn't quite work that way you
realize and he said, we don't care.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: So that's a lot. Let's dive in with today's panel. Alex Conan is a Partner at Firehouse Strategies and the Former Communications Director for
Republican Marco Rubio's Presidential Campaign, Chuck Rocha is a Democratic Strategist and Advisor -- was a Senior Adviser and Bernie Sanders Campaign.
And CNN National Correspondent Kristen Holmes is also with us. She has the distinct privilege and or burden of covering the Trump campaign day in and
So Kristen look, I want to show a little bit to everyone of what we were just talking about, right? So some of these threats that the President's
making, we saw the comment he made about vermin in that speech over the weekend. But here he was on Univision talking about what he would do if he
were President, to people who didn't agree with them, can you take a look?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: If I happen to be President, and I see somebody who's doing well and beating me very badly, I say, go down and indict them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: And then I also want to show you this Donald Trump to "The National Pulse" in an interview, again, using language that echoes some of the worst
memories in in modern Western history take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: It is a very sad thing for our country. It's poisoning the blood of our country. It's so bad and people are coming in with disease. People are
coming in with every possible thing that you can have.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: So Kristen there's a lot here. And you know, I do think honestly, some of the press were slow to pick up on that vermin bite, partly because
we've all it seems gotten used to hearing Donald Trump say terrible, horrible things, frankly.
But the reality is we're only 62 days out from Iowa and he is the far and away Republican front runner the chances that he is going to be you know
running what is guaranteed to be a tight election as the Republican Nominee at this point is that those chances are higher than ever.
As someone who's covered him and listen to all of these words, does this feel like an escalation to you? Is it more of the same? What does it
portend for the campaign to come?
KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN U.S. NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it certainly feels like an escalation in his rhetoric. I mean, there -- this is what he has
done since 2015. He has always tried to be outlandish. He entered the race by saying that immigrants crossing the border were drug dealers and
rapists. And that was something that we all were in shock over at the time.
Now, obviously, that shock has worn off. And so we're at the next level of all of this. We talked about the poisoning the blood of our country. I
mean, those are words that have been used by authoritarians for decades. And this is his take on immigration.
And I think we need to be very clear here when we see an interview in "The New York Times" with Stephen Miller talking about their plan for
immigration. That is not Stephen Miller, going rogue on his plans for immigration. That is the campaign putting out Stephen Miller to put out
For the next term should Donald Trump be elected? So those mass deportations, those mass detentions that's not something to write off as
Stephen Miller being Stephen Miller, that's something to take very seriously and this language to take very seriously as what Trump intends to
do for a second term.
HUNT: You I mean, Kristen, I think one of the things we learned too, you know, I covered the 2016 campaign from the road. And I think there was a
certain -- actually was with Bernie Sanders for quite a bit of it, and Hillary Clinton as well but I was with Republicans ahead of time.
There was this sense that Trump was saying outlandish things. Now, I'm not sure if it was nobody thought he was going to win the election, or nobody
thought he would actually follow through, but he wasn't taken seriously. And then he got into office, and I covered the whole Trump Administration
from the Hill and he was actually doing these things. It does seem like we have to believe what He says.
HOLMES: Yes. And I think the one thing to really take into consideration here, and this is what I continue to point out to our colleagues and our
reporting is. The scary thing is not just the rhetoric itself, it's not just saying he's going to do these things.
What you should really be focused on is the fact that behind the scenes, he has teams of people, allies, lawyers, who are working on trying to figure
out ways to do some of this stuff where they can circumstance -- circumvent the legislative branch.
So we'd be giving the executive that power. They have people looking at the Constitution, trying to write executive orders. That is what you really the
focus should be on. It's not just that he's saying this. He actually now is trying to implement it before he's even in office, so that when he gets
there on day one, they have the legal maneuvering to try to get this done.
HUNT: And of course, this has put us back into a space where members of Congress in Trump's party are being asked to answer for him. Although in
this case, we have an example of somebody who put some distance between himself and the Former President. Here is a Republican Congressman Dusty
Johnson from South Dakota, when asked about Trump's rhetoric.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. DUSTY JOHNSON (R-SD): I can't defend that rhetoric. Admittedly, some folks on the left have very different views about how to run the things
like the southern border and this government spending than I do. I want to beat him, but I want to beat him with rhetoric that I think is a little bit
more hopeful, positive and helpful than what we just heard.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: So Alex Conant, you're the Republican at the table. I mean look, Dusty Johnson is correct. Like it's possible to critique the Biden
Administration policies and to run against them without going to like blood poisoning and mass deportations.
ALEX CONANT, PARTNER, FIREHOUSE STRATEGIES: Yes, which is, I think what all the other Republican candidates have been doing and they're losing. Like,
we're -- as you pointed out, we're 62 days away from the Iowa Caucuses. This is when you would expect the race to naturally begin to tighten.
Now the Republican primary voters are fully tuned in and about to have to make a choice. I think Trump really wants to dominate the conservative
media landscape for the next two months. And so I would expect a lot of incendiary rhetoric a lot of far right rhetoric, knowing that the other
candidates knowing that Nikki Haley and even Ron DeSantis are not going to repeat what he's saying.
And he can dominate the Conservatives for next few months, secure the nomination, and then I think if he wants to win, we'll see him pivot back
to a more restrained discipline campaign. So that --
HUNT: So do you think this is a deliberate primary strategy?
CONANT: I think whenever Trump -- yes, 100 percent. Trump has -- Trump is speaking to Republican primary voters right now. He understands first
things first, he needs to lock down the Republican nomination, and he's close, but he still has two months to do it. And I think this is when you
would expect it to tighten. I think he's going to try to be increasingly aggressive in securing conservative votes right now.
HUNT: So Chuck, to follow up on Alex's point. We had some what my colleagues and I thought were -- it was a pretty interesting press release
from Susie Wiles and Chris LaCivita the two top Trump Advisor. "The New York Times" summed it up this way.
Trump campaign officials tried to downplay -- play down contentious 2025 plans. Many aspects of those blueprints though are based on Donald Trump's
own words his campaign website and an advisor with whom the campaign has asked to speak.
Now, these 2025 plans that's referring to immigration ideas, this rounding up immigrants, and it was a time story. And these advisors put out this
press release basically saying, oh, you know, nobody speaks for us. But us this is speculative. It seems clear to me that they're concerned about what
this would mean in a general election for Donald Trump.
CHUCK ROCHA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: And I think Donald Trump and his team know a few things that we all kind of know whether each side of the aisle
that you're on, which is he is not doing good with independent voters in any polling that you see in the suburbs, where you just saw Democrats win a
lots of elections in the off year election cycle.
So what he needs to do, as the guy here who runs campaigns every day for a living is he's got to find new voters. Guess what he finds new voters? He
finds them with this rhetoric of trying to get folks who aren't in the system everybody flashback to the last election that we had.
There were a whole lot of people in rural America who had never voted who showed up to vote for --
HUNT: You're talking about 2016 or 2020?
HUNT: 2020. But he lost?
ROCHA: He lost in 2020. But more people voted in the Republican Party that had ever voted. And with who you have Joe Biden running, where there's lots
of softness in youth numbers and Latino numbers, they see a strategic advantage to try to get new people with this rhetoric in rural America to
show up in places like Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.
HUNT: Ohio, unlikely to be on the board. But I take your point about those other two states. All right, Kristen, thank you very much for being here. I
really appreciate your time. Alex and Chuck are going to come back with us because coming up the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee
just returned from Israel. We're going to talk to him about that visit after this quick break.
HUNT: The U.N. says only one hospital in Northern Gaza is still operational. The Al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza City is the last facility that
can take patients according to humanitarian officials. Others have been shut down due to nearby military action or lack of power, oxygen, food and
Meanwhile, UNICEF says more than 700,000 children have been displaced in Gaza. They are calling for an immediate ceasefire. The House of Foreign
Affairs Committee's top Democrat Congressman Gregory Meeks just returned from a trip to Israel. And he joins us now live from Washington.
Congressman, thank you so much for being here.
REP. GREGORY MEEKS (D-NY): Good to be with you, Kasie.
HUNT: So let me just start there with your trip. What did you take away from it? And how do you think the Biden Administration should be
approaching this right now based on what you learned?
MEEKS: Well, I think the Biden Administration is doing it just right. You know, focusing on trying to make sure that we have a humanitarian pause so
that we can get -- I mean, it's devastating when you think about the number of innocent Palestinians that are dying.
You need to have that humanitarian pause to get more to safety, but at the same time, make sure that Hamas -- and we've got to focus on who is the
cause of all the deaths, deaths of Israelis and deaths of Palestinians is Hamas.
So understanding that, we've got to make sure that Hamas is devastated. And so therefore, you got to go after Hamas, the infrastructure, the tunnels,
you know, where they are hiding and utilizing Palestinians as shields, all of that has to be exposed.
And I think that what the administration is doing is talking about to be more precise with strikes, to talking about how we can work collectively
together to get this pause to get more people to safety, but also to say that we're not going to give Hamas what it wants.
You know, they would like to have a ceasefire, so that they can continue to either move some of their strategic posts and places or plan additional
attacks on Israel and or its soldiers. So you can't give Hamas what it wants. But you can try to find ways to get some of the Palestinians to
And we've got to be able to do both get the hostages, the Israeli hostages released. And so that's all of what the Biden Administration is doing and
working and talking to various countries, whether it's Israel, whether it's Egypt, Jordan, whether it's Qatar. So that I think that's -- you know, it's
trying to get these things done on a tragic situation because of Hamas.
HUNT: So you do not believe that now is the time for a ceasefire?
MEEKS: No, ceasefire does not help. A ceasefire does not help the Palestinian people in getting them to safety. Because in fact, you will
find that Hamas themselves, you know, you talk about the amount of individuals that were killed, a number of them were actually killed by
Hamas rifles, if you go look at some of what's going on preventing folks from escaping, as well as them hiding or utilizing the Palestinian people
But what we must do is to think and consider and help the Palestinian people. And the way that you do that, and I think that's what the world is
crying for, is to get them to safety, get them out of the way of the combat that has taken place between Hamas and Israel, because there's very much
real fighting that's going on, on the ground.
And I think that as Israel continues to invade on the ground, and starts to -- encircling Gaza City, that also will then give the way to have some more
routes outside for humanitarians. And the focus they can make is maintained on just the hand to hand combat battle between Hamas and the IDF. The
problem is Hamas wants to go after civilians and utilize civilians to protect them. They want to kill them in both ways.
HUNT: Congressman, what do you have to say to your Democratic colleagues, Rashida Tlaib among them, but there are others, who are calling for a
ceasefire? Why are they misguided?
MEEKS: Well, again, as I say, I think that they would -- they want to do, and if the purpose is to try to make sure that we're saving lives of
Palestinian people, then a humanitarian pause does just that. When you ask them, why do you want a ceasefire?
It is to save the lives of the Palestinian people. A humanitarian pause will do just that. If you ask them is Hamas a terrible group that you want
to get rid of? I think they will say that. Yes. So you don't have the ceasefire. There was a ceasefire on October the 6th. It was Hamas who
violated that ceasefire.
HUNT: Yes. Congressman, let me ask you about the short-term funding bill that is headed to the floor today. It does not include aid for Ukraine or
for Israel. Is that a mistake?
MEEKS: Yes, it's a huge mistake. I think that if you look at they're all kind of interrelated. We know that Vladimir Putin is looking at what's
taking place here. It's a huge mistake. The world is looking at America for leadership.
We should come with a supplemental that includes Israel funding, Ukrainian funding, humanitarian aid funding, those are all crucial and critical for
the rest of the world to see that the United States is standing by our friends and allies huge mistake to play politics with our national security
HUNT: Your Democratic colleagues -- yes, your Democratic Colleague in the House Jake -- told me this morning that he believes Democrats should be
willing to negotiate with Republicans on border security policy and money in exchange for making sure Ukraine money gets out the door. Do you think
that that would be an acceptable path?
MEEKS: You know border security is a big question in the United States. Yes, I think that we should discuss border security. And the administration
has also said they're willing to, you know, put that on the table. So we should have a conversation and maybe include something in there with
regards to border security. And have that one package I think that is important and something that I wouldn't be willing to negotiate.
HUNT: Are you going to vote for the CR today?
MEEKS: I'm waiting to see exactly how they do it and what the Republicans vote happened. I'm told that they may try to put it on suspension. I'm
confused about the two-tier steps and things of that nature. But the most critical part for me is the spending limits.
If the spending package is what was agreed upon when we had the debt ceiling agreement, then that's something that I may be able to vote for,
because I don't want to shut the government down. But if they tried to change that agreement and not put this spending package at what we had
agreed to previously, as was before, then that's something that I could not vote for.
HUNT: All right, Congressman Meeks, top Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the House, excuse me, Ranking Member. Thank you very much for
MEEKS: Thank you for having me.
HUNT: All right. CNN's Nic Robertson was taken to a hospital in Gaza yesterday under IDF Score. He joins us now from Southern Israel near the
Gaza border. Nic, this was just remarkable reporting. Tell us what you learned.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, when we drove into Gaza, the first thing that impacts you is just how much destruction there
is. And we went five miles into Gaza to the Al-Ren TC Children's Hospital (ph).
This was took us through residential neighborhoods where an areas where there's shopping, malls, stores, that sort of thing where there are hotels,
everything that we saw had been touched by destruction flattened, burnt, charred bullet holes in it, shell holes in it.
We didn't see any civilians, any people there. The place that we finally got to buy the hospital the IDF was still fighting a battle with Hamas
nearby. There were gunfire exchanges; there was tank fire, a few 100 meters away from the hospital. Inside the hospital the IDF showed us what they
said were weapons discovers that they've made in places they said they believe that hostages might have been held a chair that had rope around by
the legs that had some women's clothing on it.
A woman's hairband, they said that these were things that might mean that they've been hostages. They're not definitively that they would do DNA
tests on it. There weren't some other things. They pointed out a motorbike they said they believed Hamas used in the October 7th attacks.
All of this, they said indicated their belief that Hamas had been using the basement of the hospital. And this was one -- this was the reason that they
said that they wanted to get into the hospital. The hospital was evacuated. The doctors are forced to take the sick children out of the hospital as the
IDF wanted to get into it.
And ultimately broke their way in at the back of the hospital because they said they were taking gunfire from around the front of the hospital. There
were tunnels nearby as well. But the IDF didn't say those tunnels connected to the hospital.
But indicative of the network of tunnels, the IDF said, runs through the civilian neighborhoods, one of them, they said was connected to the house
of a Former Hamas Commander so all of this for the IDF, painting the picture of Hamas, using hospitals as a place to shield their operations,
and therefore setting out the case, if you will for why the IDF is going -- wants to get access to other hospitals.
But I think the big take away from us, because it's very hard to -- you know -- to come to -- come to a conclusion on the evidence that we saw,
because even the IDF said they still have to do DNA tests and all those sorts of things. The big takeaway has to be the massive amount of
destruction that we saw in Gaza. I went into Gaza after the 2014 incursion, the scale and scope of what we saw, much bigger than back then.
HUNT: All right, Nic Robertson, for us in Southern Israel. Nic, thank you very much. I really appreciate you taking the time. I know you've had a
really long couple of days. All right up next here on "State of the Race", a preview of tomorrow's Biden Xi meeting in California with the U.S. and
Chinese Leaders could accomplish as they stare down economic concerns at home and wars abroad in the Middle East and Ukraine.
HUNT: Welcome back to "State of the Race". I'm Kasie Hunt. We're live in Washington. Any minute now President Biden is scheduled aboard Air Force
One and head out to California for the APEC Summit and a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Both leaders head into this highly anticipated sit down with domestic struggles as wars rage in the Middle East and Europe. President Biden is
balancing those foreign crises with low poll numbers. Oh, and by the way, we're busily trying to avoid another government shutdown set for Friday.
David Culver joins me now from San Francisco where that Summit is taking place, David, always good to see you. What's on the agenda here? And how
high are the stakes?
DAVID CULVER, CNN SENIOR U.S. NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Kasie, good to see you as well. So this is a relationship that's been described as
complicated. But the reality as we know it is it's damaged. And it's going to take a lot to repair the U.S. and China's relationship because of what
has been going on over recent months and even now going back several years.
So coming to this point in of it that is an accomplishment to have President Xi Jinping on a plane right now headed here to San Francisco. It
shows that significant steps have been made in recent months, mostly at the cabinet minister levels to bring this meeting to fruition between these two
But if you go back to the G-20 last year, and we saw on the sidelines, President Biden meeting with President Xi, there was hope coming out of
that, that perhaps there'll be some stability in the world, something that is obviously desperately needed.
But then we saw a few months later, the Chinese suspected spy balloon that was shot down over the U.S. that derailed President -- Antony Blinken --
Secretary of State rather Antony Blinken's visit to visit with President Xi in Beijing.
And then we saw a breakdown of military communications between the U.S. and China in an area that is highly contested, talking about the South China
Sea in the Taiwan Strait. So it's brought us to this point, which is obviously desperately needed to find these repairs and this reestablishment
of dialogue between the two countries.
And so what are the areas of potential cooperation well, one we're hearing is fentanyl. We know that is a huge crisis within the U.S.
And one that is directly linked to China through the precursors, the ingredients to make fentanyl, but then go to Mexico or put together by the
cartels there and smuggled into the U.S.
Another area of dent of cooperation, reestablishing those communication lines between the two militaries. Also Israel and Hamas, and looking at
that conflict and perhaps some resolution there and the climate that's expected to be one of the agenda items that perhaps both sides can agree
upon, Kasie. But we know that this is obviously a relationship that is so badly fraught, that at this point, one meeting is not going to suffice.
HUNT: Yes, for sure. All right, David Culver, nice to have you covering this China story from the side of the Pacific Ocean, thank you very much,
it's always great to see you. Alright, the panel is back with me. Alex Conant, I want to start with you on this. Because, you know, I can't help
with -- this through a political lens, in addition to, you know, a policy and geopolitical one.
The reality is China has been a central feature on the Republican campaign trail, and Biden is sure to face criticism for what if -- for how he's
handled China honestly -- no matter what he does, right? Let's just put that out there.
But I'm sort of curious what your sense as you watch this unfold, and we're talking about kind of what's at stake here in this meeting as someone who
advises Republican presidential campaigns, how are they going to look at this? Like, what is the lens they're bringing to it? And what are the
stakes for the President from that perspective?
CONANT: Well, I think there are two things going on. I think one of the White House wants to have some wins, which means that they want to make
some deals with China, where they really don't want as a crisis next year during the election year that would be bad for the economy, be bad for
national security, and would ultimately be bad for Biden.
So I think they want some deals to bring some stability to the relationship. But what the Republicans are going to be looking for are does
Biden make any concessions? And if so, they're going to label him as weak on China. So I think the White House is walking a very fine line by between
how do you make deals with China, whether they're diplomatic deals, national security deals, economic deals, without being called weak by the
HUNT: Right. Now, I mean, and one key thing, of course, is the military to military communications resuming which mean, the whole goal of that is to
avoid you know a hot war that was the result of a misunderstanding.
HUNT: But you could paint it pretty easily as them --
CONANT: My prediction is that we get pandas back in Washington, D.C. as a result. I mean, those are the sorts of deals at the White House are looking
HUNT: Understood, I will take pandas, I missed the pandas.
CONANT: I already miss them.
HUNT: Chuck, you worked for Bernie Sanders Campaign. And honestly, he's critical of China and the Democratic Party's relationship with China,
NAFTA, the past of it for a different set of reasons than the Republicans; although sometimes it ends up sounding like you guys are singing the same
tune. Can you help us understand how this is going to be viewed by progressives and the President's party?
ROCHA: I think this goes back to the economy, inflation and other tensions that we were talking about. I think that's a big part of this. I remember
back when Republicans were free traders, when we were fighting them on China, when they were good with trade relationships with China, Donald
Trump turn that on its head.
A lot of Middle American are using this as a ploy of they're the bad people were the good people. To your point, what do we want to evolve into this
relationship is making sure there's no wars, making sure that the pandas come back that there's some positive there. Because what they don't want is
anything that makes us look weaker, or that we count to the Chinese, which is political, you know hot fire for a lot of voters.
CONANT: I totally agree.
HUNT: No, I think we can all agree on the pandas.
ROCHA: I think we're there with the pandas, not partisanships --
HUNT: Bipartisanship in Washington. Alright, Farnoush, this whole, of course, takes place. You know, I don't want to let the show end without
talking a little bit about Mike Johnson, and where he's going with the shutdown here. What is your latest reporting in terms of how this is all
Because we've got Johnson expecting to put this on the floor under suspension of the rules, which is, you know, fancy talk for two thirds
majority of the House would have to vote for it. Where are Democrats right now on this? And where's the hard, right?
FARNOUSH AMIRI, CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER, ASSOCIATED PRESS: I mean Democrats see this as a win, right? This is Nancy Pelosi era funding, that's going to
be continued into mid-January and early February. So for them the fact that this has no poison pills, the fact that this continues democratic funding
priorities, and that they don't have to make any difficult decisions and slashing any programs like WIC or SNAP or any of these things that would
HUNT: Yes, Women, Infant and Children is WIC, just to translate that for our audience.
HUNT: And SNAP is food stamps.
AMIRI: And SNAP is food stamps, thank you. And, you know, I think for them, they see this as a win. Obviously, the White House came out with a scathing
response when the laddered CR proposal was put out. But if you notice, Senate, Democrats and House Democrats did not do that.
They have been very, you know, timid about this approach because they know what the alternative to this could have been, right? Alternatives could be
-- 8 percent cuts to you know, federal spending and that would impact those programs like WIC like SNAP. So they see this as a win.
They're not going to come out and say that obviously for political reasons. But I mean, this is for most people for the hard right, this is a loss
because while they got the structure that they wanted, they did not get any of the spending cuts or concessions that they had.
HUNT: Right. And let's look at how Mike Johnson just earlier today tried to spin this, if you will. Well, there are two -- there are two pieces of
this. One is the reality facing him. And the other is the message he's trying to send to his hard right flank. So for my producers in the control
room, the shorter 16 second sound bite first, please. This is the reality that faces -- that Mike Johnson faces. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MIKE JOHNSON (R-LA): When we have a three vote majority, as we do right now, we don't have the votes to be able to advance that right now. So
what we need to do is avoid the government shutdown. Why, because that would unduly harm the American people. Troops wouldn't be paid on, you
know, we know all the effects of that. And so we have to avoid that. And we have responsibility to do it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: So there is Mike Johnston, Political Realist, who of course is approaching this problem basically the exact same way Kevin McCarthy did.
Kevin McCarthy got deposed. Here is Mike Johnson's message to the hardliners, several of which were part of deposing Kevin McCarthy, take a
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNSON: We're not surrendering, we're fighting. But you have to be wise about choosing the fights. You got to fight, fights that you can win. And
we're going to and you're going to see this House Majority stand together on our principle, and we're going to do that. But the shutdown would occur
on November 17th.
Look, it took decades to get into this mess, right? I've been at the job less than three weeks, right? I can't change. I can't turn an aircraft
carrier overnight. But this was a very important first step to get us to the next stage so that we can change how Washington works.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: So Alex, he says I can't turn an aircraft carrier overnight. So he's clearly realizing what every Speaker in the Republican Party before has
realized. They're currently letting him try. How long do you think this honeymoon phase lasts?
CONANT: Well, that's a good question. I think the White House wants to have a fight. The White House wants a shutdown, that they can blame the
Republicans. And you look at Biden's poll numbers over the last two weeks; a fight with some conservative House Republicans right now would be really
So I think the White House while they don't want to continue to fund the government with CRS, they're content to let this fight roll over into next
year. And then Mike Johnson's bet, who also doesn't want to have that fight, because he knows that's bad for his majority.
I think Mike Johnson is thinking, look, if I can buy a couple of weeks, maybe we can buy some appropriation, we can pass some appropriations bills,
maybe we'll be in a stronger position for that fight. But look, the House Republicans are a mass majority, that slam is not an easy job. I think
there's a reason nobody wanted it to begin with. And the White House is going to get their fight, whether it's probably not going to be this week,
but they're going to get the fight.
ROCHA: Look, all I can think about and I keep talking about these House races is these 18 Republicans that are in races where Biden won, like this
is where the House is going to be decided. There are also four Republicans in districts at Biden won as well. This is where the House is going to be
The margins are going to be small from now on Kasie. There should be no more of the super majorities, like we had in the 80s and 90s. There will be
minimal margins most of these races, as you know, and you've rewarded or decided in the primaries. So they're just feeding the base a lot of this.
But these middle House members, will they put up with this is what I'm waiting to see.
CONANT: They want to shut down either.
ROCHA: Right. Right, because it get blamed on them.
ROCHA: It's losing the election.
HUNT: They don't want. They don't want to shut down. I mean, look, I take your point about the increasingly smaller number of swing districts. But
that said we also have seen wild swings in the electorate in ways that I'm done predicting. I'm done predicting.
Just Farnoush, can I ask you about how Mike Johnson is kind of doing behind the scenes kind of from your reporting on the Hill? Like what are you
hearing from members as you talk to them about how he's managing these difficult relationships? Who he's pulling in? I mean, he doesn't have any
of this experience, like whose staff is he relying on? How is that all going for him?
AMIRI: Yes, I mean, it's really interesting. I think just the point of the space they're giving to him to mess up is astonishing Matt Gaetz on this
networking yesterday and talked about how the exact same situation that McCarthy got -- is different. Because, you know, Johnson said he was going
to do a CR.
And so like -- that to me -- is the most fascinating thing. But behind the scenes, I mean, Johnson has relied a lot on these, you know, conservative
staffers that are from the Republican Study Committee, which is, you know, the largest caucus of Republicans on the Hill. But also --
HUNT: And the oldest, which is --
AMIRI: Yes, and so these are the foundational, fundamental establishment, who Johnson is not a part of right. Johnson is not a Freedom Caucus member,
but he aligns with them on several things. And he votes with them as well on a number of things.
But I think what he's relying on is, you know, McCarthy staffers. They have been helping him, you know, with his communications, you know, dealing with
the press is not easy on the Hill. We don't make it easy for them. And --
HUNT: There are a lot of us that only wanted -- him.
AMIRI: Yes. So I mean, I think he's doing -- he's having to have his hand in both.
HUNT: Yes, very, very interesting. All right, thank you guys. We're going to take a quick pause, because as this familiar deadline looms we've been
talking about, us staring at the government shutdown.
We're going to talk more about the House Speaker with Congresswoman Debbie Dingell up next.
HUNT: Alright, as the clock ticks down yet again toward a possible government shutdown on Friday, House Speaker Mike Johnson, as we've been
discussing in the same bind that lost his predecessor, his job. Johnson is reportedly exploring options to fund the government with supportive
Democrats. He's looking stage left because he sees clear resistance from hard liners on the right.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. CHIP ROY (R-TX): I'm disappointed in this bill. And I certainly hope that this bill is not going to proceed as it's currently structured.
REP. ANDY OGLES (R-TN): -- just another clean CR that continues this -- continues the status quo is not going to be acceptable.
REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): I think it's a failure. I'm not voting for a clean CR. I'm not carrying on Nancy Pelosi's budget.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: All right. Congressional Correspondent Lauren Fox joins us live now on Capitol Hill, Lauren, always good to see you. What do we know right now
about what Democrats are planning to do about this? Because it does seem like Republicans are moving forward with this plan to put this on the floor
under suspension of the rules, which means they need Democrats.
LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and they need a lot of Democrats. Kasie, it's not just a couple of handful of Democrats. It is a
large number. And that is why Democrats met behind closed doors this morning. Interestingly, as leadership came out of that meeting, they were
very open to this proposal from Johnson.
But they stopped short of saying the Democrats are going to back that. Now reading between the lines, one of the reasons for that, of course is, may
be the fact that Democrats want to hold the suspense just a little bit longer. You also had Rosa DeLauro, who is the Top Democrat on the House
Appropriations Committee, who has been frustrated with this bifurcated approach that Johnson laid out with some of the government expiring on
January 19, some of that funding expiring on February 2nd.
She actually rose in that private Democratic caucus meeting. A source in the meeting told me and told her colleagues, they can't be a cheap date.
Behind the scenes, conversations are ongoing between Democrats and the House Speaker to see whether or not there's any future spending agreements
that they might be able to reach in the interim.
But obviously, Democrats don't want to shut down, right. Democrats do not want to go into a Thanksgiving with Congress still trying to figure out a
path forward to fund the government, which is why Democrats are very likely to support this proposal when it comes to the floor in the four o'clock
hour later today.
But it is interesting. The Democrats just want to hold on a little longer to some questions, some suspense. When we asked Jeffrey's if Democrats were
going to back this bill on the floor at four, he said, we'll have to wait and see, Kasie.
HUNT: Wait and see. All right, Lauren Fox, thank you very much. I'm glad that it sounds like everyone's Thanksgiving is going to be saved, although
let's see what happens this afternoon. And joining me now to talk more about this is Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Dingell of Michigan.
Congressman, it's always great to see you. Thank you so much for spending some time with us. Let me start with where Lauren left off. Do you plan to
support this continuing resolution to keep the government open later today?
REP. DEBBIE DINGELL (D-MI): You know we're still listening to leadership talking among ourselves having serious conversations. I don't think anybody
thinks this is the way to do the budget. But it certainly is not as bad as the first multiple-laddered approach. It is a clean continuing resolution.
It is not making significant cuts to many programs. It authorizes the Agriculture Bill for another year, which is critical to many programs that
I care about. So we still have to figure out what's going to happen at supplemental funding. I'm worried about Ukraine, and we're desperately
about humanitarian aid in Gaza.
So I think nobody wants to shut the government down. It would be the most irresponsible thing for us to do. We have to make sure that we don't keep
it open at a cost. And I think we will continue to move forward in sort of the tone of at least this is a clean resolution. And we'll see where we are
HUNT: All right, fair enough. I do want to ask you, you mentioned Israel and Gaza. I know you were one member of Congress of a group who viewed
graphic video from the government of Israel earlier today. I'm wondering if you can share your reflections based on what you saw, did it change how
you're thinking about things?
DINGELL: It was horrific, does not change what I think had already been described to me. I've been accused of lying when I talked about it. But I
have been very clear that I unequivocally condemn what Hamas did. I've also been very clear I have constituents who have lost family in Israel, and I
have many constituents who have family in Gaza that have lost family.
I don't want to see innocent Palestinians die. I don't want to see any war crimes. And there is -- I don't want to see people dying on any side. We
are at a very, very horrific place. But what we saw today was absolutely evil.
HUNT: Absolutely evil, very, very, very, very difficult. Congresswoman, let's change on a lighter note, I suppose, if you suppose and how you think
about it, and talk about a Joe Biden running against Donald Trump. Your home state of Michigan, of course, you have been arguing vociferously in
And you have said behind closed doors as well that Michigan should not be taken for granted, that it is going to behave like a swing state in 2024.
The Biden Administration and President Biden himself have come in for quite a bit of criticism in the wake of those New York Times polls that showed
that Trump is currently ahead in the state of Michigan.
And there's been a lot of sort of -- it's almost like there's a little bit of a reckoning going on. And my question for you is, whether you think the
Biden campaign is currently rising to the challenge that they're going to face, since many have described it, and you tell me if you feel this way,
that it is an existential one against Donald Trump.
DINGELL: So I want to be very clear. I have said -- as you do know, Kasie, you're one of the people that believed me when I said this in 215 -- and
I've been saying for months Michigan's a purple state, it is not a state that can be taken for granted. And I was very much focused about what was
happening in the Union House.
Now we've had additional pressures in the Arab American community. But I've also been in the Union halls, and I'm seeing member sees it the President
stood with workers in during the UAW strike. I know there's still a lot of work to do. Quite frankly, I know there's work to do. The governor knows
that there's work to do.
We're prepared to roll up our sleeves and get the work done. I continuously say he's not getting enough credit for what he did. I've met with my state
legislators, and I told them they needed to stop taking credit for federal dollars. They did get them into their district.
But they need to thank Joe Biden for his leadership and the programs that he's gotten passed to get those dollars there, because if he doesn't do
well, they're not going to do well. And you're starting to see more people talk about it. So, we got it to your way, you know me and polls, I don't
believe any of them.
I'm going to work my -- I'm going to work very hard, take nothing for granted. And I know what we got to do to win Michigan next year.
HUNT: And you actually were much more accurate about Michigan than the polls were at the time.
DINGELL: I was. I want to say something, Donald Trump is dangerous. And Donald Trump is not someone anybody can take for granted. He does have a
fine line in Michigan. And I've talked to some of them this weekend. So I know what we're up against. So I take nothing for granted. And I take it
HUNT: So speaking of the threat that Donald Trump poses, I actually want to ask you about Dean Phillips. I interviewed him over the weekend in New
Hampshire. And it's been reported that Steve Schmidt, who had been very involved in convincing him to run in the first place, is now going to run a
Super PAC, that will air ads in states, South Carolina, New Hampshire, early primary states, but also in Michigan.
And, you know, when I talked to David Axelrod about this yesterday, Axelrod said to me, well, you know, Steve Schmidt's not a pacifist. And I have
never seen, you know, a super PAC predominantly do positive ads in a presidential campaign.
What I hear when I hear that is that there's going to be a lot of negative ads on the air in Michigan against Biden, in this Phillips challenge.
Phillips told me he's going to -- he's not going to say no to this money. What do you say to him? And what do you think the risk is there?
DINGELL: Well, look, Dean and I have worked together. He's a colleague. We talked about his running for president. I was very honest with him about
what that meant. He is going to be on the ballot in Michigan, the Secretary of State announced it. And by the way, Michigan is an early state, fought
hard for that for 30 years.
So I plan on talking to Dean, and I want to make sure that Dean does not ensure re-elect Donald Trump. So if you have a super PAC, you're not
supposed to -- you're supposed to have a clear delineation. And he's not supposed to impact the content of those ads. But it is my hope that
Democrats on Democrats is not going to occur so that we are not helping to re-elect Donald Trump. And that is also one of my very, very serious
HUNT: All right, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, thank you very much for joining us today. I really appreciate it. It's always great to see you.
DINGELL: Thank you.
HUNT: All right, coming up next, my panel rejoins me with "One More Thing", stay with us.
HUNT: Welcome back to the "State of the Race". My panel rejoins me. And before we go, we always like to ask for "One More Thing" on the campaign
trail in Washington. You're watching in the coming days 30 seconds each. Alex, what's your "One More Thing" today?
CONANT: I'm watching now that Tim Scott dropped out of the race. Mike Pence, of course dropped out two weeks ago. Does the establishment begin to
rally around Nikki Haley in particular? She's got some momentum coming out of the debate so far.
If the establishment starts to rally on her in terms of money and big name endorsements, does this make a competitive race? Or does Trump continue to
lead by 40 points going into Iowa?
HUNT: Very good, very good question to watch Ron DeSantis. Chuck, "One More Thing".
ROCHA: With all the press around Trump, Biden and even the Senate now with Manchin stepping out, what I'm watching are these House races. 18
Republicans in districts that Biden won, they're going to start spending money now, Kasie. Now that's what I'm really watching is are they going to
distance himself from Biden? Are they going to run the Biden? There's going to be a lot of interesting news in these House races.
HUNT: All right, Farnoush.
AMIRI: I think the most interesting thing and it's happening in the House that happen in the last hour and it's going to continue throughout the day
is efforts by Republicans and Democrats to spotlight the other crisis that's happening across the world.
In Ukraine and Afghanistan, there is a hearing that started earlier this morning where a woman whose husband is being held hostage in Afghanistan is
talking about what that's like and how the spotlight has shifted from that. And so, I think it is really interesting for us to remember that there are
many other things also going on right now.
HUNT: Very, very important. And I will say, the last thing I'm watching or the thing that I'm watching my "One More Thing" are these third party
candidates, something that is going to simmer I think here for a while, but really stands to shake up the presidential race in a significant way.
Thank you all for being here with us today. I'm Kasie Hunt. That's the "State of the Race" for Tuesday, November 14th. You can always follow me on
Instagram and the platforms formerly known as Twitter, don't go anywhere. "One World" is up next.