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State of the Race with Kasie Hunt
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KASIE HUNT, CNN HOST, STATE OF THE RACE: Happy Birthday, Mr. President. Joe Biden turns 81 today, reminding voters of the very thing they say is their
biggest concern, about giving him a second term. Plus, Donald Trump on the border, the draconian immigration policies he is promising in a second
Trump term. And amid a troubling increase in antisemitism, Ron DeSantis just can't seem to condemn Elon Musk for agreeing with an antisemitic
Good day, everyone. I'm Kasie Hunt. To our viewers watching the United States and around the world, it is 11 a.m. here in Washington. It's Monday,
November 20. There are 56 days until the Iowa caucuses, only 350 days until Election Day. This is today's State the Race.
President Joe Biden is turning 81 today. It will be a quiet celebration at home, as polls show the President's age is voters' top concern about
sending him back to the White House next year. The oldest President in American history, currently on track for a rematch against Donald Trump.
Trump is just three years younger. If he is reelected, Trump would become the oldest President ever at the end of his second term.
Let's dive into all this with today's panel, former Chief of Staff at the Department of Homeland Security, Miles Taylor, former Deputy Press
Secretary to Vice President Kamala Harris, Ashley Etienne, and Senior Congressional Reporter for Punchbowl News, Andrew Desiderio. Thank you all
for being here.
Ashley, I'm so sorry. You get to be the Democrat at the table.
ASHLEY ETIENNE, FORMER DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY TO U.S. VP KAMALA HARRIS: No. I am having a great day. It's President's birthday. He is a fantastic
President. I'm ready.
HUNT: There you go. Well, let's just start by, you know, this is obviously something that has been very challenging for the President's advisors. And
for a while, they basically, the strategy was ignore it. Pretend it didn't exist. They shifted gears a little bit a few months ago, and they started
having the President basically joke about it. So, I want to show everyone kind of some of them -- the latest comments we've seen from President Joe
Biden about how he is getting up there in years.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I've never been more optimistic about America's future than I am today. And I know I only look
like I'm 30, but I've been around a long time. I tell you what, someone said, "You know, that Biden, he's getting old, man. I tell you what." Well,
guess what? Guess what? I can -- and, you know, the only thing that comes with age is a little bit of wisdom. I -- but I -- I've been doing this
longer than anybody. And guess what? I'm going to continue to do it with your help.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: Ashley, what do you make of how the White House deals with this challenge?
ETIENNE: Hey, I think they're handling it as they can and should, right? There is nothing you can do about the man's age. I mean, making light of it
I think is the right way to do it. But, it looks like the framing of this - - of his age is they're shifting gears as to how they're talking about it now. Now, the emphasis is on experience. When the world is sort of raging,
you've got two wars. You've got antisemitism and Islamophobia raging on college campuses, people dying in their churches, in the grocery stores,
all over the country. They're sort of framing it up is like, who would you want it the wheel here? You want someone who is not only empathetic, but
has the experience to unite the nation. You've got a Congress that's in complete disarray. Who has been able to bring Congress together the pass
these big bills? It's Joe Biden.
So, they're shifting gears not just like making fun of in light of it now, but really talking about it, and how it matters to people in terms of the
experience and what that delivers for the American public on issues they care about.
HUNT: Right. Miles, why do you think it is that -- Biden and Trump are basically the same age, realistically. They're obviously the same
generation. But, I think we can put up -- we did a poll recently of New Hampshire voters and we asked people to rate a candidate as "very good or
good" on various issues, one of which was fitness. And you can see in these numbers. There it is. See at the bottom. 35 percent rate Trump is very good
or good on fitness. It's 10 percent higher. Only a quarter of New Hampshire voters rated Biden as good or very good on his fitness kind of a stand in
for age. Why does Trump get more credit for this than Biden?
MILES TAYLOR, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF, U.S. DEPT. OF HOMELAND SECURITY: Well, look, neither of these candidates is a spring chicken. And I think there is
nothing that Democrats wish they had more than a "DeLorean ala Back to the Future" to take Biden back to when Biden seemed more energetic. And in
fact, words in polling that voters most associate with Biden are old, slow and confused, and that's not good news for him. The reason I think Trump
gets a little bit of an edge there is because he seems funnier. He seems more vigorous when he is out there at the microphone, and voters see it.
This reminds me of former television host Chris Matthews used to have something that he called the man with the sun in his face test, and he said
if you look back since the age of the advent of television at who was the presidency, you can look at every factor, policy and polling and what their
background is. But, the best predictor of who won the presidency was the person who seemed like they were outside. They were vigorous. It was the
man with the sun in his face. And I think this election is going to be no different. If Donald Trump seems a little bit more vigorous, he is going to
have an edge with voters. And we are seeing that, because 77 percent of Americans think Biden is too old to be President, and Donald Trump, for
better or for worse, scores better. Only 50 percent of Americans think he is too old to be President.
So, voters are telling you in bipartisan margins that they think Biden seems to have a slower step.
ETIENNE: Can I just say --
HUNT: You like jump, edging -- jumping. Yes. Go. ?
ETIENNE: Yes. I mean, because here is the thing. Polls are not predictors of where -- how people are going to vote and with the true sentiment of the
American public. Democrats have been outperforming these polls, dating all the way back to 2018. There is these constant questions about whether or
not Joe Biden is a drag on the Democratic Party. The reality is, he has performed better than any President at this stage for the past 20 years in
terms of off-year elections and midterm elections. So, there is no truth to this notion that Joe Biden's age is depressing Democratic voters or even
Republican or independent voters at this point. So, I think it's just --
HUNT: I think we haven't had a straight test on Joe Biden since 2020 --
HUNT: -- on this question. Like I realized we've had democratic elections. Democrats have done well. But, that's not the same thing is his name
actually being on the ballot.
TAYLOR: Well, this is the place where I love Ashley, and I want to respectfully --
ETIENNE: No, you don't.
TAYLOR: -- I love Ashley, and I want to respectfully --
ETIENNE: That's a Washington line.
TAYLOR: -- disagree with her, which is that, look, when you see that 77 percent of voters think Biden is too old, well, your assumption could be,
well, probably a large portion of those are Republicans and that's skewing the numbers. Under the age of 45, Democrats under the age of 45, 78 percent
of them think Biden is too old. So, the demographic that he is going to need most in this election, young people going out and being excited are
really worried about his age. I think it matters for the President. And I think the best way for the White House to deal with this is what they call
take the piss out of it. He should make more jokes about it. He should be out there running ads with his aviators on in his Corvette. He has got to
play to this instead of running from it.
HUNT: So, Andrew, you spend all your time talking to members of Congress, kind of day in and day out. What do you hear from them about this question?
We're always trying to get what are people saying privately they won't say publicly? Obviously, Democrats won't trash him publicly about his age with
the possible exception of David Axelrod, whose quote I'm going to get to in a minute.
ANDREW DESIDERIO, SR. CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER, PUNCHBOWL NEWS: Or Dean Phillips.
HUNT: Or Dean Phillips. But, they're worried about it. Right?
DESIDERIO: Right. Exactly. And they won't say it publicly. But, what I hear from Democratic Senators all the time privately is, if Joe Biden has a
Mitch McConnell-like health moment in public between now and Election Day next year, that could be the nail in the coffin for his campaign. Of
course, I'm referring to the two times that Mitch McConnell throws up in public, reminded people of how old he is, reminded people that he has been
in the job for a while, and maybe said to some people, hey, we need a new leader. We need a new Senate Republican leader, and it could feel the
opposition. They're worried about the same thing happening with President Biden here.
And another thing I wanted to mention about polls too, one of the things that President Biden's allies say to push back on the age narrative here is
that he has got a lot of experience, especially on the world stage, dealing with foreign policy crises. Look at how he has handled the war in Ukraine.
Now, the war in Israel. You look at his approval of his handling of the war between Israel and Hamas. There was a poll that came out over the weekend
that said only 60 percent of Democrats approve of how he is handling that war.
So, I think there are some warning signs there, even on big issues like foreign policy and global affairs that President Biden has long hung his
hat on as I'm the guy who has got the experience to deal with these global crises.
HUNT: Right. Right. No. Fair enough. Definitely built-in warning signs. Let's talk a little bit about David Axelrod, Ashley, because he actually,
it was reported in POLITICO, that he was called a P word with the K at the end. There are several options there. I'll let you Google it. But, it was
reported that that's the word that the President used for David Axelrod. So, Axelrod talked to Maureen Dowd over the weekend in a column and she
wrote, "I think -- I'm sorry, Axelrod says, "I think he has a 50:50 shot here," he being Biden, "but no better than that, maybe a little worse. He
thinks he can cheat nature here and it's really risky. They've got a real problem if they're counting on Trump to win it for them. I remember Hillary
doing that, too."
HUNT: So, I mean, honestly, it's not clear to me that he is -- if he is talking about his age or his chances to win the election, because this
cheat nature, that mean -- there is -- I guess that that's the thing that's so hard to talk about, right --
HUNT: -- what Andrew said, like something bad can happen at basically any moment.
ETIENNE: Well, and you can't -- again, you can't change the President's age.
ETIENNE: It's not much -- you can't control for that.
But, here is the other thing. I'm just surprised that David Axelrod did not sort of reflect on his experience working for President Obama when at the
same point he was polling below Mitt Romney. There were questions about whether or not Barack Obama was going to win a second term purely based on
the polls. So, it's just shocking to me that I think that Axelrod would take that position. But, it's also not surprising because it is a concern.
And I don't disagree with what anyone said. I mean, it is whispered about. It is brunch talk. But the reality is, when he is -- when Americans have a
binary choice and they have since 2018 --
ETIENNE: -- do you want Donald Trump? Do you want the MAGA Republicans? Or do you want Democrat led by Joe Biden? And we win that race every time. And
so, I think that's where the confidence comes from the party, but understanding that the age is a factor, but there is nothing we can do to
control for that.
HUNT: Well, Ron DeSantis basically said, well, they're both too old. Pick me. Take a look at what he had to say over the weekend.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RON DESANTIS, U.S. REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The presidency is not a job for somebody that's pushing 80-years-old. I just think that that's
something that has been shown with Joe Biden. Father time is undefeated. Donald Trump is not exempt from any of that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: OK. So, somebody pushing 80-years-old. Father time is undefeated, Miles. And he says Donald Trump is not exempt from any of that. I mean, the
reality is we have a lot more information about Joe Biden's health than we do about Donald Trump's health.
TAYLOR: Yes. And I think everything we know about Donald Trump's health is probably a lie. I mean, I was there in the Oval Office one day when there
was bad news, and he urged the Press Secretary at the time, who was Sarah Huckabee Sanders, to go rush out his physical because he knew that would be
good news. Why did they know it was going to be good news? My supposition is most of it wasn't true. Now, I'm not a doctor. But, all of the glorious
things Trump's doctor said about him can't possibly be true for a man who eats McDonald's every day, and drinks Diet Cokes.
But, that said, people see it more with Biden. And that's where you can't tell voters they're wrong and he is not old. Old is old. And a lot of
Americans have sat down with an aging parent or uncle and had to make that tough decision and say, I think you need to think about getting some extra
help at home or maybe going into a facility. And I hate to say it, but they see President --
TAYLOR: I've had those conversations with the grand parent and you're seeing clips of President Biden.
HUNT: I do understand what you mean.
TAYLOR: You see him being slow in the step in the way --
ETIENNE: Can I just -- can I offer something now?
TAYLOR: -- he would say to a family member
ETIENNE: It could just be the wrong format.
ETIENNE: I mean, I've been saying this for a long time. They've sort of made the President a one-trick pony.
ETIENNE: You put him behind a podium.
ETIENNE: You give him a speech, and that makes him look stale and stiff and old.
HUNT: And you can also compare those moments to exactly -- honestly -- -- sitting here wishing I had pulled some old debate clips, because you can
see how different he has become.
ETIENNE: Absolutely. So, it could just be an issue of putting -- you're are a communicator. You were -- it could be an issue of putting him in a
different format --
ETIENNE: -- where people see him where he is actually more energized --
TAYLOR: They worry about gaffes.
ETIENNE: -- right, less frequently, best format.
TAYLOR: They weren't enough gaffes, but I think they should let Biden be Biden. I agree with you. It is like let him go out there. Let him be off
the cuff. It's when he is best. It's when seems most energetic, and how he is going to compete with Trump. So, I completely agree with you. Less
scripted settings, more let the President be himself.
HUNT: Yes. There are a couple of moments that, I mean, Biden on the union picket line, Biden driving --
HUNT: -- Ford-150 Lightning --
HUNT: -- that's sort of stand out.
ETIENNE: And that's nostalgic Biden voters --
HUNT: Yes, for sure.
ETIENNE: -- and Democrats. Yes.
HUNT: All right. We got to push pause here because we got a lot more to get to you. Donald Trump returned to the U.S.-Mexico border to get the
endorsement of Texas Governor Greg Abbott, and he also promised "the largest domestic deportation operation in American history".
HUNT: Welcome back. Donald Trump's team is in a Washington, D.C. Appeals Court, arguing against a gag order issued by the judge overseeing his
federal election subversion case. That's of course separate from the gag order that Trump has in his New York Civil Trial. This weekend, Trump was
back on the campaign trail, visiting Texas right near the border with Mexico. And there, he previewed his hardline immigration policy and ramped
up his anti-immigrant rhetoric.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, U.S. REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You can take over that border, and we're going to make it. We had the most secure border
history. Now, we have the most unsecure border in the history. I believe really of the world. I don't think there has ever been a country in history
that's had a border where millions and millions and millions of people are flowing into our country, and many of those people, you don't want them in
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: OK. My panel is back with me now. Miles Taylor, you're honestly the perfect person to talk about this because you worked in Trump's Department
of Homeland Security, and you've seen kind of up close what he actually means when he says stuff like this. Should we believe that he is going to
do the things he says he is going to do if he is reelected?
TAYLOR: I mean, look, I'll say I'm a conservative when it comes to border security, and Donald Trump could not be more disingenuous when he says
this. The thing that Trump does not understand and he didn't understand when we told him again and again and again when he was President, is that
the President of the United States doesn't have dictatorial powers to secure the border. A lot of what we're seeing with insecurity at the border
is legislative. It requires a change in the law. It requires comprehensive immigration reform from Congress. And this is where I'm going to come to
Joe Biden's defense.
The border chaos is not some direct result of Joe Biden's decisions. Donald Trump himself was not able to secure the border because he refused to go
engage with Congress and strike a bipartisan deal. And I know Joe Biden would like to do that. But, there is not a Congress willing to strike a big
bipartisan deal. The one caveat to that is, it looks like there might be a possibility with a trade and aid funding to Israel and Ukraine, to strike
some kind of a border deal, but it's not going to be the big comprehensive reform that's needed. So, when Donald Trump says he is going to secure the
border, he can't possibly do that if he is not talking about working with Democrats to pass comprehensive legislation.
HUNT: Sure. I mean, I take your point on securing the border. I guess I was more focused on mass deportation of -- and rounding up people that actually
live in the country. And --
TAYLOR: He is going to do that --
HUNT: -- making good on --
TAYLOR: -- and that's going to be terrifying.
HUNT: -- some of these things.
TAYLOR: I mean, one thing that I will say that people don't realize is, Trump can only deport so many people if he becomes President again, because
Immigration and Customs Enforcement is relatively small. But, what's scary is that at the end of the Trump administration, there were conversations
about deputizing other agencies to bring more and more federal agents into this mix. And I do think you're going to see door-to-door knocking in this
country. It will be a terrifying nationwide mass deportation effort.
They've even talked about kicking immigrant children out of U.S. public schools as a way to punish them and deter more illegal immigrants from
coming to this country. That is, in my view, next level cruelty.
HUNT: Yes. It's also creates -- there is a lot going on there. Ashley, when you -- I mean, here Trump makes some of these statements down at the
border. I mean, the reality is, to Miles's point, border security is a vulnerability for the President with independent voters, right? People want
a more secure border. But, it's clear that even Trump's team sees this kind of planning and this kind of rhetoric. Some of it was reported in the New
York Times around Project 2025, that was kind of the Trump supporters in the wilderness version of this, but that -- the campaign is basically had
to try to say, no, no, we wouldn't actually do this. Only we know what our plans are. They see danger in the general election if this kind of rhetoric
continues, and yet the President is down at the border basically using these words.
ETIENNE: Yes. I would have loved to hear you unpack that. Yes. There is a lot there, because we have to -- that's the conversation we have to start
to have as a nation, which is, who are we going to be? Who are we and who do we want to be, and whether or not that aligns with Donald Trump's
vision, everything that Donald Trump says I believe that he is going to do? I saw them up close on the other side, fighting every day tooth and nail
against the President, and I believe everything he says.
But, here is the other question, as -- to get back to Miles's point about the supplemental, the President has an opportunity here. He has an
opportunity to really, to some degree, upset some factions of the Democratic Party, progressives primarily, and strike a deal that's more
aggressive and forceful on the border, less balanced than we would like, that would inoculate this -- inoculate him and nullify this as an issue
going into the election. As I said, as we talked about previously and as we all know, the President actually did not and could not stop the money to
fund the border wall. So, you've got a combination of building a border wall and potentially strong supplemental funding federal funding to secure
the border could put him in a stronger position with those independent voters, to Miles's point.
HUNT: So, is that going to happen?
DESIDERIO: Well, that's the big question, right? It's going to be required if President Biden and Democrats and most Republicans want to get aid for
Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan out the door. I was at the Halifax International Security Forum over the weekend with a group of Senators who were saying to
their foreign counterparts, it's going to take us striking a narrow, targeted deal on border security, border policy changes, in order to get
that foreign aid package. And I want to read to you something that Senator Peter Welch, a very progressive Democrat from Vermont, told me about the
border, and I think it's very revealing about where Democrats are on this.
He said, "We Democrats have to do something about the border. I think it's a real issue. The situation at the border is a lot different than it was 10
or 15 years ago, and maintaining the same type of policy is not a sustainable position."
DESIDERIO: I mean, that is an endorsement of changing border policies, after the last few months Democrats have been saying no, no, no, we're not
going to touch border policies as part of the national security supplemental. So, I think it is an acknowledgment that this is a
vulnerability for Democrats, for the President in particular, and they can't escape it even at these major national security conferences overseas
where they're going.
ETIENNE: I mean --
HUNT: Yes. It's a good point.
ETIENNE: -- I was in Chicago, and I saw that the streets lined with tents and migrants from all over. And it was a sad sight and state of affairs.
And I can understand why governors and Democratic governors and Democratic mayors all over the country are pressuring the Biden administration to do
something about this. So, I think we should all be watching to see how this shakes out, because I wouldn't be surprised if he caves a little bit to
Republicans on border issue.
DESIDERIO: He is going to have to, to get Ukraine aid.
HUNT: For sure.
HUNT: All right. Let's shift gears just a little bit, because we've had a lot -- there still is this Republican presidential primary underway, even
though Donald Trump would like us to believe that it's not actually happening, and thinking about the possibility of a Trump administration
that's rooting out people from their homes. It's obviously cruel, but it's also incredibly chaotic, which is kind of a hallmark or was a hallmark of
Trump's first term. And Nikki Haley, who is one of his rivals that is basically on the rise right now, was on the campaign trail over the
weekend, attacking Trump on that. Take a look at what she had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIKKI HALEY, U.S. REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's the chaos of it all, right? And so, I think he means well, but the chaos has got to stop.
And over and over again, we feel it. And you look at the elections from last week or two weeks ago when we lost again, that's chaos. So, it's not
so much about Donald Trump, and yes, his personality is not my personality, and yes, he says things he shouldn't say. We look so distracted right now.
And when America is distracted, the world is less safe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: Miles, I find what she says to be so interesting, because we've talked about how well they want to attack him on his legal vulnerabilities,
etcetera, etcetera. But, this actually is Trump's possibly biggest vulnerability.
It's the reason why independent voters told us in exit polling and other places that they voted for Joe Biden instead of Donald Trump in 2020
because he was chaotic all over the place. I mean, are these attacks from Haley, I mean, sticking maybe?
TAYLOR: Well, I agree with Nikki Haley on almost everything except the first part when she said I think he means well. I know Donald Trump, and I
don't think he means well. But, I will tell you, that is resonant to voters that are independents, but also this tiny segment of disaffected
conservatives that Joe Biden won over in 2020 in which he'd really liked to have again in 2024 as a firewall against a second Trump presidency. Those
conservatives didn't like Donald Trump, because they saw him not advocating for small government, but a government so big that it's inside your head
every single day, every tweet in the news. We're all still a little bit nauseous from experiencing that from 2016 to 2020.
So, I think it's savvy that Nikki Haley is calling that out and saying, do we really want to do that, again? I think it might be one of the best
talking points to get conservatives to choose someone else.
HUNT: Ashley, you look skeptical.
ETIENNE: No. I mean, I appreciate that she is taking Donald Trump on, because she is the only one that's demonstrated any level of courage to
take Donald Trump on. But, the point is that she keeps -- everyone is handling him with kid gloves. So, we look weak in the nation. We -- and I
mean that we can't stand up to this guy who -- we all agree 70 percent of Republican voters want an alternative, right, that he should not be the
President, all these --
HUNT: It's also kind of like a classic damned, if you do damned, if you don't type of thing. I mean, if you don't attack him, then there is no --
ETIENNE: But, no one has done it with a level of consistency, precision that I think is penetrating. That's my point.
HUNT: Right. I mean, I think the challenge is that if you do it too aggressively, you turn off the bass and they turn -- I mean, I think that's
why she has got that. Well, he means well in there --
HUNT: -- right, because the base voters would reject it outright otherwise.
DESIDERIO: Yes. She is trying to hedge. Right? And I think a lot of this goes back to what we talked about all the time, which is a lot of
Republicans, establishment Republicans here in Washington, particularly in the Senate, believe that Donald Trump is just a loser in terms of elections
for them, right? Republicans have a really good shot at taking the majority come 2024, and they are genuinely fearful that having Donald Trump at the
top of the ticket for them will make things worse for them and potentially lose them key races in some of these states that are really must win for
them if they want to get back the majority.
So, it's not just referencing the chaos. It is saying, hey, look at the guy's record when it comes to elections for us. It's not good.
HUNT: Yes. No. He is straight up a loser. He has lost Republicans elections across the board --
DESIDERIO: To Democratic Senators in Georgia.
HUNT: Right, basically since he was one to one back in 2016.
All right. Up next here, Elon Musk last week endorsed an antisemitic conspiracy theory. So, what did Florida Governor Ron DeSantis have to say
when he was asked about that?
HUNT: Welcome back to State of the Race. I'm Kasie Hunt. We're live in Washington. Florida Governor and Republican presidential hopeful Ron
DeSantis is facing criticism today after he refused to condemn Elon Musk for endorsing an antisemitic conspiracy theory. A post on X last week
falsely accused Jewish people of pushing hatred against whites, and Musk responded by writing "You have said the actual truth." My colleague Jake
Tapper pressed DeSantis a number of times on Elon Musk. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DESANTIS: I did not see the comment. And so, I know that Elon has had a target on his back ever since he purchased Twitter. I think in the advent
of these attacks, the amount of antisemitism that we've seen has really surprised me, and you have seen it on both sides. I know Elon Musk. I've
never seen him do anything. I think he is a guy that believes in America. I've never seen him indulge in any of that. So, it's surprising if that's
true, but I have not seen it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: So, separately, on Saturday, there was this, 20 neo-Nazis marching, about 20 neo-Nazis marching, in Madison, Wisconsin. The Anti-Defamation
League says that there has been a 388 percent increase in antisemitic incidents in the U.S. since the Hamas attack on Israel.
My panel is back with me. I have to say that scene in Wisconsin, I am kind of like I was on the fence about whether I thought we should put it back on
TV, but I just was so -- I just -- I really can't imagine that it's what -- that it's actually happening in America in 2023. I mean, what happened in
Nazi Germany is like barely history. And you think that we would have learned more from it.
But, Miles Taylor, you are very kind of familiar with tracking how the government tracks and looks at these kinds of threats. Where do they come
from? How dangerous is the antisemitism that we're seeing explode in the wake of this war in Israel?
TAYLOR: Well, this is very real, and anyone who is watching who would say it's just -- it's only 20 guys in Wisconsin, or it's just a couple of
people here in there don't know the stats, because there has been an absolute explosion in terms of federal investigations into domestic
terrorist groups, most of whom are white supremacist groups or motivated by a far right ideology. That's not coming from me. That's coming from the
Federal Bureau of Investigation. I mean, when Donald Trump came into office, there were roughly 1,000 domestic terrorism investigations in the
United States. By the time he left, that increased fourfold to about 4,000 domestic terrorism investigations, and that level has remained high.
We just saw the FBI Director testifying about it the other week on Capitol Hill. It's their biggest national security worry right up there with China
is the explosion in domestic terrorism threats. And a lot of that is also targeting the Jewish community. I mean, you see across the country right
now, Police officers standing guard outside of synagogues, because this fear that some of that violence is going to spill over and result in actual
attacks. We saw the attack when Trump was President on the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pennsylvania. And those are the types of acts of violence that
authorities are worried about right now.
So, it's very real, and I think it's the highest level we've seen in terms of anti-Jewish threats in the United States in the modern era.
HUNT: Let's turn back to Musk specifically to. Ashley, the White House put out this statement after Musk posted what we showed, "It is unacceptable to
repeat the hideous lie behind the most fatal act of antisemitism in American history at any time let alone one month after the deadliest day
for the Jewish people since the Holocaust." I mean, honestly, Elon Musk's Twitter has allowed some of the worst of human -- the worst of the way
humans talk about this to flourish.
ETIENNE: Yes, no. And I think the White House, the Vice President specifically and the Second Gentleman announced a national strategy on
HUNT: Because Doug Emhoff, of course, is Jewish.
ETIENNE: Yes. Islamophobia. And he has traveling from college campuses, increasing federal funds to college campuses, to protect students' rights,
and also, in fact, filing seven discrimination complaints against universities that are not protecting students. So, nevertheless, I mean, I
say all this to say that the White House is clearly hyper focused on this particular issue, very sensitive, as you stated for a lot of reasons about
it, but it puts a spotlight again. I mean, this is just a pattern on the part of Elon Musk, and from my perspective, it puts a spotlight on these
social media platforms and how they're serving as engines of hatred, and hate, I should say, not hatred, but hate.
And the question is, Congress going to do about it? I mean, it feels like we're sort of just resigning ourselves to the fact that there is nothing we
can do about it. But, actually, there is something -- so anyway, it brings in this point about not just X, but then TikTok, as you stated as well.
What are we going to do about these platforms that now feel like engines of hate?
HUNT: Well, I mean, in the politics of trying to regulate these platforms, I mean, there is a reason that you saw DeSantis kind of tying themselves in
knots over what Jake was pressing him on. Right? And it's because it's become untenable in conservative circles to say that there should be any
limits, basically, on any of these platforms. There is the anger that Trump was de-platformed in the wake of the January 6 insurrection. Nikki Haley
has come out and said we should ban TikTok. That's become a flashpoint in the Republican primary.
I mean, Andrew, is there anything on the horizon to try to deal with this considering what we're seeing, or is it too thorny still?
DESIDERIO: Well, definitely too thorny. One thing I want to say at the outset is that, as the Anti-Defamation League and others have chronicled,
antisemitic hate is not as often publicly condemned as other forms of hate, and I think that's one of the things we're seeing at play here, especially
ever since Hamas's horrific attacks on Israel. I don't think I want to say is about what Congress can do about this. They're going to appropriate an
extra $1 billion for this national security grant program that allows for places of worship churches, synagogues, mosques, etc., to take grant money
from the federal government to boost up their security. And it's obviously troubling that that's even necessary in today's day and age, but they
aren't going to plus up that fund as part of the funding bills for next year, because they see that it is necessary.
This is something that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has been leading the charge on. When it comes to these tech platforms, TikTok and
others, where this sort of hate can be disseminated more easily and sort of more exposed to the public than it ever could be -- could have been in the
past, there is a bunch of legislation out there. There has always been legislation about trying to regulate social media ever since what happened
with the 2016 election. What we're seeing now is real warnings that the 2024 election could be -- could make 2016 look like child's play in terms
of how foreign actors were able to manipulate the algorithms, in terms of how they were able to gin up hatred and sort of get people to attend these
rallies that were fake in 2016, just to stir up this chaos.
And foreign governments are looking at that, for sure. Russia is looking at it again. China is looking at it. And that's something that Congress really
is paralyzed right now in terms of addressing, because they can't come to any sort of bipartisan agreement on it. There is all these plans out there.
The elements of a deal are there. But, there has been no deal. And they really -- they have not shown an interest. And I think that is going to --
the urgency is going to heighten especially, as Miles mentioned earlier, with artificial intelligence becoming a huge flashpoint in the 2024
election as well.
HUNT: Yes. I mean, to that point, Miles, quick last word on kind of your sense of --
TAYLOR: Well, look, quickly on the threats of the Jewish community, I think it is good that Congress is going to plus up those funds. They used to
oversee those funds. And that's how I referenced earlier, Police that sit outside of synagogues, that's how some of that's possible, and can deter
attacks. But, we are seeing that rhetoric jump the tracks to violence. So, whether it's Elon Musk or Donald Trump, I think that you have the
possibility that folks on the right are going to fan the flames of this rather than try to lower the temperature.
ETIENNE: And surprisingly, the right and the left didn't come together to condemn it on the House floor. I mean, that actually is a bigger statement
ETIENNE: -- that actually I think would penetrate the American public to say, hey, we stand together as one nation, both parties. This is not who we
are any longer. This is not what we should support, and condemn not just these acts but the President.
HUNT: Yes. All right. We'll continue this important conversation.
Still ahead here, former President Jimmy Carter says she was his equal partner in everything he ever accomplished. Remembering the life and legacy
of former First Lady Rosalynn Carter.
HUNT: Welcome back. It is time for an annual tradition at the White House. President Biden is pardoning the National Thanksgiving turkeys on the South
Lawn. It is the 76th anniversary of this Thanksgiving tradition. This year, Liberty and Bell will be spared the dining room table.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: I just want you to know it's difficult turning 60.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: All right. Joining us now is Larry Sabato. He is the Director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. Larry, I'm thrilled to
have you here. Welcome to State of the Race.
LARRY SABATO, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR POLITICS, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA: Thank you, Kasie.
HUNT: So, let's start by talking about, it's Biden's birthday. Right? And voters tell us that his age is one of their overwhelming, if not the
overwhelming concern that they have about giving President Biden a second term. What do you see in terms of how this affects him and his reelection
chances? And do you agree with this sort of conventional thinking right now that Trump is running ahead of Biden in a general election?
SABATO: Well, I don't, and the reason I don't believe it is because polls are not election, and votes are very different than polls. And it's a year
ahead of the election. Loads of things will happen that will change people's perceptions. And this age issue is a perfect example. It's not
going to change. The good news for Biden is he won't have another birthday before the election. So, if there is less of an opportunity to make it a
major issue, he'll already have the election over with one way or the other by the time he turns 82.
But, in the scheme of things, it's a legitimate concern. But, assuming Donald Trump is the Republican nominee, how much difference is there really
between 77 and 81? I say that as somebody who is 71. I'm not ageist. I'm just simply saying I don't think there is a whole lot of difference there.
SABATO: You can argue.
HUNT: But, voters do.
SABATO: Neither candidate should be that old.
HUNT: Yes. Yes. I know. I don't -- I mean, look, I don't disagree they're close in age. But, voters do seem to have a different perception. I want to
put up this quote from David Axelrod. We talked about this a little bit earlier in the show. He talked to Maureen Dowd. The President reportedly
hurled an insult at Axelrod for something similar. An Axelrod told to Maureen Dowd, "I think he has a 50-50 shot here, no better than that, maybe
a little worse. He thinks he can cheat nature here and it's really risky.
They've got a real problem if they're counting on Trump to win it for them. I remember Hillary doing that, too." It's not clear to me that he is
talking about cheat nature. That sounds like he is very squarely talking about his age. But, he is also talking about the election more broadly. I
mean, they do seem -- the strategy does seem to be to wait until there is a direct contrast to send the President out more aggressively and let that
contrast do the work for them. Do you think that's going to be an effective strategy?
SABATO: It's not going to be enough to remove age as a consideration. I do think the White House can put the focus more on how Biden thinks, how he
processes issues, what he knows, how his experience matters, because frankly, in the comparison between Biden and Trump on those scores, Biden
does a lot better than Trump. So, there are ways (inaudible). If you're looking for Joe Biden to hop skip and jump his way to Marine One, he is not
going to do terribly well. But, that's true for a lot of us who are younger.
HUNT: Larry, speaking of people who are younger, much younger than me now as well, but the university students that you teach every day at the
University of Virginia that surround you on campus, Joe Biden is really struggling with this group, particularly in the wake of the war between
Israel and Hamas. We're also seeing them very influenced by TikTok, other social media platforms. What's going on with the kids and Joe Biden?
SABATO: Well, you're right in your evaluation of that. And they do surround me a lot, sometimes for ill purposes. I'm about to go see some of them in a
few minutes. But, I would tell you this, Kasie. What they haven't done yet is to realize this election will end up being a choice. And Joe Biden isn't
perfect. And they already have identified things they don't like that are coming from the Biden administration. But, they're going to have to go back
(inaudible) about the Trump administration, but they're going to have to go back and do a comparison, because every election is a choice when it comes
to a young voter or an old voter.
I think that's the ace in the hole for the Biden campaign. They're going to have find young (inaudible) of what the Trump years were like, and what
these potentially future years will be, judging by some of the stories that have been coming out of the New York Times and CNN and others.
HUNT: All right. Larry Sabato, thank you very much for joining us. I really appreciate you coming on. You've been doing this since I started as a young
political reporter. So, I'm a longtime admirer, and I hope you'll come back.
SABATO: Thank you, Kasie. Very nice. Thank you.
HUNT: All right. Up next here, the U.S. is mourning the loss of former First Lady Rosalynn Carter. She died over the weekend at the age of 96,
after being married to former President Jimmy Carter for nearly eight decades. Carter is being remembered for her advocacy on mental health
causes as well as her commitment to humanitarian work. Wolf Blitzer has much more on her life and legacy.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST (voice-over): A soft-spoken small town girl, Rosalynn Smith Carter became one of America's most charming first ladies.
Born in Plains, Georgia on August 18, 1927, she was valedictorian of her high school class, and met and married Jimmy Carter when he was in the U.S.
JIMMEY CARTER, 39TH U.S. PRESIDENT: My love and respect and cherish and honor, my wife Rosalynn.
BLITZER (voice-over): When Mr. Carter's father died in 1953, they moved back to Plains to manage the family's peanut farm.
ROSALYNN CARTER, FORMER FIRST LADY: I didn't want to go home. I was having a good time. I think I had -- thought I had outgrown Plains, Georgia was
had gotten a little too big for my britches. I'm only padded for about a year after we got home.
BLITZER (voice-over): They had four children, three boys, Jack, Chip and Jeff, and later daughter Amy. In 1962, Jimmy Carter entered politics and
Rosalynn hit the campaign trail.
ROSALYNN CARTER: Campaigning was fun up to a certain point because I got to travel and see the whole country. The most fun are the people you meet.
BLITZER (voice-over): She supported her husband's successful bids to become Governor of Georgia and later President of the United States.
JIMMY CARTER: So help me God.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congratulations.
BLITZER (voice-over): Mrs. Carter was actively involved in her husband's presidency, attending Camp David meetings and cabinet briefings. She was a
strong advocate for equal treatment of the mentally ill.
ROSALYNN CARTER: If they had coverage for their mental illness, then the overall health care costs would come down.
BLITZER (voice-over): When the Carters left the White House in 1981, they spearheaded a new challenge, habitat for humanity, building houses for the
ROSALYNN CARTER: The whole community has come together to get rid of poverty.
BLITZER (voice-over): A year later, they established the Carter Center, a foundation devoted to promoting human rights, resolving conflicts and
eradicating diseases. Mrs. Carter continued to focus on reducing the stigma of mental illness.
ROSALYNN CARTER: I'm really, really proud. I've been very impressed.
BLITZER (voice-over): Another focus, caregiving, an issue close to her heart, as she told a congressional Committee.
ROSALYNN CARTER: It's been part of my life since I was 12-years-old. And my father was diagnosed with leukemia at age 44. We lived in a very small
town, and all the neighbors rallied around, but I still vividly remember going to my secret hiding place, the outdoor premier, if you can believe
that, to cry. Betrayal could be alone.
BLITZER (voice-over): In 1999, Rosalynn and Jimmy Carter were honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest honor for
JIMMY CARTER: Rosalynn and I have visited now more than 150 nations in the world.
BLITZER (voice-over): Mrs. Carter was often irritated that her husband was praised more for his achievements after his presidency than those of his
administration. But, she accepted that was politics.
ROSALYNN CARTER: It doesn't matter what you do, you are going to be big criticized for it. And so, do what you want to do.
BLITZER (voice-over): And they were remarkably close first couple. Jimmy Carter used to say Rosalynn was much more than his wife.
JIMMY CARTER: It's always Rosalynn to whom I turn for the primary advice, and we make the decisions together. She is the matriarch. When our 11
grandchildren and our four children have a problem, they call Rosalynn first because they know that they'll get a sympathetic ear.
BLITZER (voice-over): She remained by his side, occasionally joining with other first families, and later supporting each other in their twilight.
She was dementia and Mr. Carter in hospice. And in the 39th President, Rosalynn Carter got more than just a husband.
ROSALYNN CARTER: My life with Jimmy Carter has been more adventurous than I ever dreamed it would be.
HUNT: Welcome back to State of the Race. My panel rejoins me. Before we go, we always like to ask for one more thing on the campaign trail in
Washington that you're watching in the coming days. 30 seconds each. Miles, what are you watching?
TAYLOR: Yes. Well, look, it's actually outside of the United States, and it's how it applies here. So, there was just an election in Argentina, a
pretty wild candidate who has been called the Trump of Argentina One. But, one of the things we saw in that race is something we're going to see in
2024, and it's the exploitation of artificial intelligence to spread misinformation and disinformation. In fact, there was a video that notched
millions of views of the winning candidate talking about selling human organs at a market. In fact, that campaign was rife with misuse of
artificial intelligence. It's something we're not talking about enough here. It's going to lead to a disinformation explosion. I think the big
takeaway is U.S. agencies need to be looking at how to leverage these tools to protect the election, not just fearing AI --
TAYLOR: -- but getting ahead of this.
HUNT: Terrifying. Ashley.
ETIENNE: So, reports now that more and more people are going to be home for Thanksgiving. It's a key time where everyone is around the table. We
typically talk about everything from religion to politics, right? When I worked in the Obama White House, it was a key moment in which we would
disseminate our top messaging to people all around the country, our validators, volunteers, etcetera, asking them to initiate these
conversations to talk about the President's accomplishments. So, I'm curious whether or not Joe Biden will, he was at the White House with me,
whether or not he'll do a similar thing, especially giving all of this talk about polling, his age, etc. It seems like a great opportunity for people
to -- for them to reinforce his message outside of the bubble. Take the message outside of the bubble to talk about his accomplishments.
HUNT: I have to say politics and Thanksgiving table is literally the last thing.
DESIDERIO: Well, over the weekend, I traveled with a group of Senators to the Halifax International Security Forum up in Canada. The big question
that senators were asked was, when and how is the United States going to appropriate more aid for Ukraine? Their answer was that it's going to
depend on a bipartisan deal on border security, not something that foreign counterparts are used to hearing when it comes to America's commitments on
the global stage.
DESIDERIO: But, it was a message that both Democrats and Republicans delivered to their foreign counterparts.
HUNT: OK. All right. Thank you everyone for being here. I'm Kasie Hunt. That's the State of the Race for today, Monday, November 20. You can always
follow me on Instagram and the platform formerly known as Twitter. One World is up next.