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State of the Race with Kasie Hunt
Israel's Cabinet Approves Deal To Release At Least 50 Hostages In Exchange For A Four-Day Truce; Hamas: 150 Palestinian Women & Children Prisoners To Be Released From Israel Jails As Part Of Deal; Biden Ad Campaign targets Two Key Battleground States During Thanksgiving Football Game. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired November 22, 2023 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KASIE HUNT, CNN HOST, STATE OF THE RACE: Good day, everyone, I'm Kasie Hunt to our viewers watching in the United States and around the world. It's
Wednesday, November 22. It's 11 a.m. here in Washington, 6 p.m. in Israel and Gaza, and we begin our coverage there. We are just hours away from a
four-day truce in the Israel-Hamas war after the two sides agreed to a breakthrough deal to release at least 50 hostages currently held in Gaza.
In exchange, 150 Palestinian women and teenagers will be freed from Israeli jails. The IDF says it will continue to target Hamas infrastructure right
up until the truce begins. Families of the hostages remain understandably anxious as they wait for word on their loved ones. But, finally, they do
have a reason to be hopeful.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GILI ROMAN, SISTER HELD HOSTAGE BY HAMAS: We are thrilled to know that maybe tomorrow we were going to see people here with us again, not
necessarily my sister, but it's important to state that every life that can be saved, every child, every mother, every woman that can come back to
safety here with us, is very moving, and it will be a very happy moment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: All right. Let's bring in Senior White House Correspondent MJ Lee with more on this. MJ, the White House obviously played a critical role in
this. What's the latest you're hearing from them at this hour?
MJ LEE, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, what we do know is that there are potentially three American citizens who could be in the mix of
that initial 50 hostages who are released. As you know, Kasie, yesterday, we were talking a lot about Abigail Edan. This is the three-year-old
toddler, the youngest known American hostage being held in Gaza. There is hope that she is going to be released in the mix of the first 50. But then,
U.S. officials also confirmed that there are two adult women as well, who are American citizens. And Deputy National Security Adviser Jon Finer said
on our air this morning that the strong expectation is that these three people, Abigail, and the two adult women would be among those 50 hostages
that are first released.
Of course, the Biden administration has been intensely focused on getting these hostages out. They have said all of them need to come out. But,
understandably, they have been even more so focused on the Americans, the around 10 unaccounted for Americans believed to be in Gaza. So, there are
still a lot of questions right now about the other seven or so that are unaccounted for. We don't know, for example, whether we might be talking
about male adults. And so, they wouldn't end up meeting the criteria since the first group really is just women and children.
But, what U.S. officials are saying is that they hope that the deal is designed in such a way to incentivize Hamas to continue releasing more
hostages after that initial 50. So, if they're able to round up 10 more hostages, for example, then that would lead to another extension of a day
in the pause and fighting. So, this is potentially a situation where that pause in fighting, this truce as we are calling it, could be extended
beyond those four initial days. But, needless to say, the execution is just going to be so key. Officials have said even just getting the hostages out
could be an activity that takes not just hours, but even days, not to mention just the medical support that they're going to need once they are
actually physically out of Gaza.
Obviously, a lot of just relief right now that a deal was finally struck after the weeks of negotiations. But, I think really until these hostages
start to physically get out of Gaza, there is not going to be a sigh of relief that the deal was really done and executed to get these people
actually out of Gaza.
HUNT: All right. MJ Lee from the White House, and you've been doing so much reporting on this in recent days. Thank you very much for being with us
Let's discuss this all with today's panel. Peter Bergen, CNN National Security Analyst, Cedric Leighton is a retired Colonel in the U.S. Air
Force and CNN Military Analyst. And CNN Chief National Security Correspondent Alex Marquardt. Thank you all for being here.
Alex, we start with you just in terms of the behind the scenes in a lot of these negotiations, especially in the U.S. role. I mean, what do we know
about how this came about?
ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, it was an excruciating process, to borrow a word from a senior administration
official. It was something that the U.S. has obviously been working on since these hostages were taken back on October 7. On October 20, we saw
two American hostages released. They were the first ones, the mother and daughter from Chicago, the Raanans, and that indicated to the
administration that Hamas was essentially willing to play ball and release more hostages.
Then there was a question of whether they could get the hostages out, more hostages out before Israel's ground invasion started. And we had reported
that there was pressure from the U.S. side to delay -- for Israel to delay their ground invasion. And what --
HUNT: And then a lot of that was about the hostages?
MARQUARDT: Absolutely. And -- but what Hamas was not offering was identify -- was names and ages of who they actually had. And so, Israel didn't have
much faith that Hamas would release more hostages. So, they decided to go into Gaza on October 27. And then what followed was weeks of furious
negotiating. Qatar was really at the center of all this because they're the only ones alongside Egypt who speak directly with Hamas. This was
spearheaded from the U.S. standpoint in a large way by the CIA Director Bill Burns, who was conferring with his Israeli counterpart David Barnea,
who, by the way, is back in Doha today. And of course the Egyptians and Hamas speaking -- Egyptians and the Israeli -- and Qatar speaking directly
But, it was really only in recent days that Hamas was able to come up with 50 names, identifying who the -- this first group was, and they were
actually able to get this deal across the finish line. And of course, it's extremely tenuous. It's extremely complex. There are many ways in which it
could fall apart. But, this is something that really is being seen as a diplomatic coup by the Biden administration, because it was something that
was such a focus for him and for his top officials.
HUNT: Yes. So, speaking of the ways in which it could fall apart, the Deputy National Security Adviser Jon Finer was on our air earlier today.
And he was asked about what could potentially happen beyond this, and he was quick to caveat and say, hey, we got to get this finished first. Take a
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JON FINER, U.S. DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: What we will be looking at is whether there is a way to build on what is happening over the next
several days to get more hostages out. That remains a high priority, including any remaining Americans after these hospitals are released. And
we will be focusing on that over the coming days. But, first things first, we've got to get the people who have been agreed out of Gaza.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: So, Peter Bergen, I mean, you're very familiar with how these groups operate, and what can and might go wrong, and something like this over the
course of the next four days. I mean, what are you looking for as this starts to unfold?
PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, we know that some of the passages are not held by Hamas itself. Some are held by Palestinian Islamic
Jihad, which is a smaller group that was very involved in October 7, and it's sort of dedicated to killing Jews and Israelis. So, that's one kind of
wildcard. We know that also potentially other criminal gangs may be involved. So, it's not just Hamas has all the cards in its hands. And
secondarily, the communications between the Hamas political leadership in Doha and the Hamas Military leadership in Gaza are uncertain, because
obviously they're conducting a war in Gaza.
BERGEN: So, I mean, there a lot of things that could go wrong. But, I mean, one hopes that -- I mean, so many people have said that is happening. And
there is a -- each side has a strong interest in making this happen, Hamas for the four-day pause, and Israel, because this is a huge political
problem for the Netanyahu government in Israel, and also, obviously, for the United States getting Americans back. So, there is strong incentives
for everybody to kind of make this work.
HUNT: What do you --
MARQUARDT: Hamas could get hundreds of Palestinian prisoners also out of Israeli prisons --
MARQUARDT: -- this ratio of three to one. So, at least 150 in this initial phase with a potential for more.
HUNT: Yes. Cedric Leighton, from a military perspective, I mean, what does Hamas get from the pause? I mean, it seems like it's an opportunity to
regroup. Right? And two, what are the sheer logistical challenges of moving the hostages through Gaza right now?
COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST, & U.S. AIR FORCE (RET.): Well, there are events actually, because they're in different places. So,
Hamas has told us that the hostages are not in just one location. But, as Peter mentioned, you've got so many different groups that probably have at
least some of the hostages, and they're just pretty groups. Not all of them are showing the same playbook as Hamas. And that's going to complicate
things to a large extent. And there were logistical challenges of moving from point A to point B, making sure that they are not targeted during this
run-up to the ceasefire. That is also a major concern that Hamas, and frankly, the Israelis should have. So, those are part of the challenges.
The other thing that Hamas can gain from this is a pause, like you mentioned, to regroup, Kasie, but also it gives them a chance to kind of
ascertain where the Israelis are. So, from an intelligence gathering perspective, Hamas can gain something from that as well, because they'll
see where the Israelis are positioning themselves. Are they're moving forward? Maybe they're moving back in some tactical areas, and they're
looking at that and seeing what they can do to maintain some degree of power within Gaza.
HUNT: Right. So, Alex, kind of big picture here. I mean, obviously people are kind of jumping ahead and saying, OK, Israel is leaving the door open.
They've given us this list of 300 names, right? That's more than the number of people that they've agreed to release. Israel is kind of leaving the
door open to say, hey, if you keep giving us these hostages back, we will continue to give -- release more people. There seems to be some optimism.
There seems to be a lot of political pressure on Netanyahu to kind of get this done. Do you get the sense -- I mean, what do you think Netanyahu does
next? But also, at what point does Hamas feel like they're giving up all their leverage if they give away these hostages?
MARQUARDT: There is a huge -- there is a major question about leverage. And I think that's when we're talking about the men in there and the Israeli
soldiers and the questions of how many they have. That is the biggest amount of leverage that really Hamas has in this situation. Netanyahu
essentially has two competing forces that he is dealing with, immense pressure from the Israeli public to get all of the hostages out. And
remember, there are some 236. So, even if these 50 come out, you're still going to have the vast majority who are inside. And then there is also the
pressure to continue with his operation to dismantle Hamas and eradicate them.
What Netanyahu has made clear and he said this last night before the cabinet meeting, is that when this pause is over, whether it's four days,
five days, six days, whatever, they're going to go back to the fighting. They'll go back to the fighting, presumably the negotiating would continue.
What we have seen from the U.S. side is growing discomfort with the way that Israel is prosecuting this war with the extraordinary number of
deaths, more than 12,000 in Gaza now, and the extraordinary level of destruction.
So, will the pressure from the U.S. side grow on Israel to slow down its military campaign, to make it more targeted, which is something that
they've been doing in the past few weeks to reduce the number of airstrikes and do more sort of surgical counterterrorism operations on the ground? The
last thing that I'm told will certain -- will continue, should continue, if all goes according to plan, is the aid coming into Gaza. One of the big
demands by Hamas was that hundreds of aid trucks, 300 per day be allowed to come into Gaza. And what this deal says is, regardless of how long this
pause lasts, that those 300 per day would continue, because that aid is so desperately needed.
HUNT: Yes. Peter, I mean, from Hamas's perspective as they think about what to do next and how to balance this question of, OK. Aid comes in. OK. We
have more time to regroup. OK. We can give up more hostages. But, on the other hand, as Alex points out, there is this group of particularly Israeli
men that they seem interested in holding. I mean, what is the consideration for them? I mean, obviously, they seem willing to give women and children.
Do they want to hang on to these men? I mean, how does this kind of group think about it?
BERGEN: They held on to Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier, for five years. So, I mean, that is kind of -- we can expect that they're going to hold on
to the Israeli soldiers for a long time. But, as Alex sort of indicated, there are multiple different clocks as in any war running. There is a
domestic political clock in Israel about, we want revenge for October 7, but we also want our hostages back. There is the American political clock,
which is increasing dissatisfaction at the White House and elsewhere, and include particularly in the Democratic Party about what's going on. There
is the broader international Arab world and their kind of views about this. And all these clocks are running at different speed.
And then there is finally the actual military clock, about how long it would take to actually do this operation, which really could be several
months, given when we think about urban warfare, for instance, the fight against ISIS and Mosul, which took nine months. Yes.
HUNT: Yes. Quick last word, Cedric.
LEIGHTON: That's exactly right. The nine months that it took us to do Mosul is kind of an indicator, and that's why the U.S. had dispatched a three-
star Marine general at the beginning of this conflict to advise the Israelis on what we went through and to hopefully get them to move things
in, as Alex was mentioning as well, to a much more precise level when it comes to targeting, and the fact that the targeting has basically been
imprecise with the Israelis is a significant concern, not only to the political leadership, but also to the American Military leadership.
HUNT: Of course. All right, Cedric Leighton, Peter Bergen, Alex Marquardt, thank you very much for being here.
We are going to talk politics here in a minute. But, I want to leave you with Abby Onn. She has got three relatives being held by Hamas. She spoke
to us earlier today. I think it's just really important that we remember what these families are going through every day. Watch, and we'll be back
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ABBY ONN, RELATIVE OF THREE HOSTAGES HELD BY HAMAS: I don't know one person that this hasn't touched. It turned our lives upside down. I barely work.
This is a full-time 24/7 job where you're not eating. You're not sleeping. This is what you think about if your eyes close at night and when you wake
up in the morning, and it's all consuming. It is something that we are not processing. We're just living through until every one of these hostages are
home and our soldiers are safe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: Campaign ads for President Biden served up as we celebrate two great American traditions, Thanksgiving Day and NFL football. The ads are going
to run in the battleground states of Michigan and Wisconsin during Thursday's games.
(START VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, Joe Biden has traveled far and wide, Scranton, Pennsylvania has never left him. He knows what life is like for working
people. And those middle class life is too expensive right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: This as polls show his support slipping in Midwestern swing states that are key to winning a general election. His numbers are also slipping
among young voters. And trying to grab that political election fumble is a group supporting the campaign of democratic Congressman Dean Phillips. They
have released ads directly challenging President Biden's electability.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The threat is real. Trump is winning. It's time to pass the torch.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: All right. My panel joins me now, Sarah Chamberlain, Republican Strategist, Founder of the Republican Main Street Partnership; Maria
Cardona, CNN Political Commentator and a Democratic Strategist, and Jackie Kucinich, CNN Political Analyst and Washington Bureau Chief for the Boston
Globe. Welcome. I feel like I should have written into that script that the Detroit Lions might actually win on Thanksgiving Day, although Lord knows
if I say that.
HUNT: They're playing the Packers. That's why those ads are airing in those two states.
Jackie Kucinich, let's start on that Dean Phillips. It's a Super PAC ad that has ties to Steve Schmidt, the Republican --
JACKIE KUCINICH, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, THE BOSTON GLOBE, & CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes.
HUNT: -- Strategist. And they are actually putting money behind a message that is critical of President Biden. Right now, we expect it's only going
to be on the air in New Hampshire. But, New Hampshire is a swing state. It has leaned up further democratic in recent cycles than perhaps it used to.
But, there is a real risk here. And the Biden team has really kind of been back on its heels on the polling news. Obviously, the hostage situation is
a big diplomatic breakthrough --
HUNT: -- that Biden is going to be able to tout going forward. But, what are they worried about going into Thanksgiving?
KUCINICH: So, first of all, we should say that Biden is not even on the ballot for the primary in New Hampshire because of all the frokost (ph)
with the DNC, which Maria could talk about much better than I could. And Dean Phillips is not going to be the President. However, the message that
he is putting out there is Biden's biggest vulnerability. And it's something he can't really get away from. He is old. He just had a birthday.
I mean, that is something that --
HUNT: We do not age in reverse.
KUCINICH: No. We do not. It's not a Benjamin Button. So, the fact that you have a challenger like Dean Phillips, which is this quixotic campaign,
going after his main vulnerability, I think there is a lot of concern that something like that could leave a mark, and it's hashtag unhelpful for
HUNT: Yes. One -- I've heard it called an unforced error. Let's put up. In fact, we have a poll, a CNN poll of Democrats in New Hampshire, and they
did -- 65 percent of them did say that they plan to vote for the Biden, right, and that's the one for President overall. But, there it is. 65
percent would write-in Biden. 10 percent support for Phillips. Basically, the same amount of support for him is there is for Marianne Williamson, a
self-help author. So, take that as you will, Maria Cardona.
MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, & DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Yes.
HUNT: But, I was struck by -- I mean, I'm interested in your take on this. Obviously, it's because the DNC wanted to move the calendar around. I know
you're intimately familiar --
HUNT: -- with it. But, when you look at those frames of the Biden ad as well, it's almost like they're trying to counter not just -- not directly
Phillips ads or anything like that, but the perception that he is not a young man. He is like jogging up the steps and aviators and like --
CARDONA: No. Absolutely.
HUNT: He is going to work.
CARDONA: I think it is super smart of them to do that, because to Jackie's point, everyone knows he is old. It's not something he can get away from.
It's not something he can try to erase. I think what they're trying to do is to remind people, not just of his vitality, but of his experience, of
his knowledge, of how long he has been in this space. And that is a good thing. They are trying to flip it on his head, because we do live in a
world that is on fire, and everything that is happening in Israel and the Palestinian Gaza, Ukraine, right, that demonstrates how much we need
somebody that is in charge, that knows the history, knows the leaders, knows the nuances and really understands at their core all of these issues.
Dean Phillips is not that person.
And so, to Jackie's point, it is unhelpful, and it's kind of a head scratcher to me when Dean Phillips says -- Oh, he respects Joe Biden. He
really likes Joe Biden. He thinks Joe Biden has done a great job. That's BS. This is completely based on ego. It's completely based on the fact that
he wants clicks, because what he is doing is not helpful to Joe Biden. In this polarized electorate, every single little thing counts.
HUNT: Well, it also, probably -- he is also very rich, which is what enabled him to do this.
CARDONA: Yes. Right. Exactly. Yes.
HUNT: Sarah, I mean, to that point, I mean -- and this -- welcome to the table.
SARAH CHAMBERLAIN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST, & FOUNDER & CEO, REPUBLICAN MAIN STREET PARTNERSHIP: Thank you.
HUNT: Thank you for being here.
CHAMBERLAIN: Thank you.
HUNT: And we have sort of a variety of Republican stripes that come and join us. And so, forgive me for not -- I'd be interested to know what you
think about, broadly, Trump being the likely nominee of the party, and how you look at this the fact that any little thing -- I mean -- because that
really is the stakes, right? Every little thing moving it one way or the other. It's -- we're not just talking about a generic Democrat and a
generic Republican. We're just not.
CHAMBERLAIN: We're not. But, we have to talk about something. In January of 2025, the two top candidates for the Republican Party and Democrat Party
combined will be 160-years-old. Like, is this really what we're doing here? We do think Trump will be the nominee. Nikki Haley is certainly going to
be, I think, number two. So, if Trump stumbles or legal problems catch up to him, she'll be ready to go. I think she'd be great. I think she would
defeat Biden pretty handily. But --
HUNT: Polls do show she does better against Biden than Trump does.
CHAMBERLAIN: She certainly does. She certainly does. But, right now, the Republican Party is going to have Trump. I mean, it's just the way it is
going to be at this point.
HUNT: So, one of the other things that Phillips is bringing to this conversation, for better or for worse, and this was in a Atlantic piece by
Mark Leibovich, who -- for those of you who don't know Mark, he is a -- does these sort of -- these profiles that kind of get at the character of
people in interesting ways.
And so, this was a quote that he got from Dean Phillips on Kamala Harris. Phillips says "I hear from others who know her a lot better than I do that
many things she is not well positioned. She is not well prepared, doesn't have the right disposition and the right competencies to execute that
office." Jackie Kucinich, that is -- there is a lot there.
KUCINICH: Yes. It's a lot to unpack. So, I can say I saw the reaction to that you could see from space, particularly from black Democrats,
particularly from women, particularly -- again, Democrats. There are -- now -- they're -- and within Democratic circles, no one says the quiet part out
loud that there is a lot of concerns about Vice President Harris becoming the top of the ticket. But, how he phrased it? Not great.
HUNT: Right. I mean, because they're -- I mean, look, the reality is a lot of it can be -- it's a lot less fraught to have a conversation about the
idea that Kamala Harris would likely lose. Most Democrats I talked to think she would likely lose the election. Right? And that's like the number one
concern. That's much different from saying she is not well compared, doesn't have the right disposition and the right competencies.
CARDONA: That just underscores a horrendous trope about a black woman at the top of the table.
CHAMBERLAIN: Thank you. I agree.
CARDONA: It is a misogynist. It is racist at its core. He is parroting extremist MAGA Republican talking points.
CHAMBERLAIN: And what he said about a man.
CARDONA: And it's disgusting. Exactly.
CARDONA: He would not say that about a man. And about Democrats being concerned about her being at the top of the ticket, every Democrat I talked
to actually thinks she would -- she is incredibly prepared to be at the top of the ticket. I would love to see a debate between her and Dean Phillips,
not that she would ever give him that opportunity and she shouldn't.
HUNT: After that. Yes.
CARDONA: But, she would blow him out of the frickin' water.
HUNT: Well, when I talked to Dean Phillips up in New Hampshire as well, he acknowledged he hadn't spoken to any of the -- there're honestly groups
that have spent -- people that have devoted their lives to empowering black voters like the NAACP etc. They make a critical campaign or architecture
the Democratic Party and talk to any of them. But, Sarah, you wanted to jump in on Phillips's comments.
CHAMBERLAIN: Well, I just --
CARDONA: Thank you.
CHAMBERLAIN: -- as I said, I don't think that would be --
CHAMBERLAIN: -- (inaudible) about a man.
CARDONA: That's right.
CHAMBERLAIN: I mean, whether you think she is competent or not, you don't say that out loud. And I do think it is racist, and I think it's directed
towards more women at this table. I think we should not be afraid of that.
CARDONA: Amen, sister.
HUNT: All right. Coming up, we're going to talk about Nikki Haley who is surging in the polls, and how ahead -- how her Republican rivals continue
to take notice and are trying to take her down.
HUNT: Welcome back to State of the Race. I'm Kasie Hunt. We're live in Washington. An update now on the Israel-Hamas truce. An Israeli official
tells CNN, it's scheduled to begin Thursday at 10 a.m. local time, which is 3 a.m. here on the East Coast of the U.S. Most of the Palestinian prisoners
eligible for release are male teenagers. Some of them are as young as 14. Meanwhile, the IDF say that they are continuing to target Hamas
infrastructure ahead of the truce.
Now, some Republican presidential candidates, would be rivals to President Biden, are praising the hostage deal, but still criticizing the President.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you believe that President Biden deserves some credit if that ends up working out and hostages are released?
RON DESANTIS, U.S. REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I think that's premature. We'll see what ends up happening. But, I think this -- so far,
what he has done is he said one thing and then not necessarily followed through.
VIVEK RAMASWAMY, U.S. REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We need to prioritize bringing those Americans home. I will say this is -- this is
probably the first time in a while I've been and we didn't pay ourselves back for --
CHRIS CHRISTIE, U.S. REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There needs to be a deal made. I hope the Biden administration is working hard towards getting
it done, because those folks need to stop the suffering of those innocent people who were taken hostage by the terrorist organization Hamas.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: All right. So, our panel is back with me. I mean, Jackie, the reality for these Republicans is that -- I mean, I do think President Biden is
going to get credit for this hostage deal. And it may -- his actions in Israel may hurt him with the progressive base, but the independent swing
voters, I think, by and large are going to be with him.
KUCINICH: Which is, I think, why you didn't hear DeSantis in particular say anything specific about Biden. We'll have to see how this goes into because
he didn't want to get over his skis. Vivek Ramaswamy doesn't really have a whole lot of foreign policy experience, and he is kind of a guy -- and has
been kind of all over the place on this issue. So, it's even hard to take what he says seriously at this point as a candidate. But, the other two
didn't really criticize Biden, if you really listen to what they're saying. They're kind of keeping their powder dry there.
HUNT: Yes. They're being a little bit careful. We may talk about Ramaswamy and his 9/11 situation in a second. But, first, I just kind of want to talk
about how this primary is going broadly, because Nikki Haley, really, Sarah, and you pointed this out, has become -- she is certainly having a
moment, and timing can be everything in American politics. And she is speaking right as voters are starting to head to the caucuses in Iowa and
the first primary in New Hampshire. So, naturally, the thing that happens when you start to succeed is that people attack you. There is a new group,
a new DeSantis-linked Super PAC or a Super PAC that is supporting Ron DeSantis, who obviously sees Haley now as his chief rival there, even
though everyone is way behind Donald Trump. That's kind of a separate thing.
But, this ad that the Super PAC has put out, attacking Nikki Haley is really something else. And based on some comments from our panel earlier, I
think it's going to get some reaction. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We know her as crooked Hillary, but to Nikki Haley, she is her role model, the reason she ran for office.
NIKKI HALEY, U.S. REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I often say that the reason I got into politics was because of Hillary Clinton. She is actually
the reason that I made the jump.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: I love that lettering?
CARDONA: That makes you like her even more.
HUNT: I mean, just like the laugh at the end, Maria.
HUNT: I mean --
CARDONA: Yes. Again, this is they are trading in tropes, misogynist tropes, racist tropes. And what I'm actually afraid of is -- as Nikki Haley goes up
in the polls, she is going to get attacked by everyone. But, just imagine if it ends up being Nikki Haley really trailing Donald Trump. The kind of
attacks that he will unleash on her, I think is something that we don't even know what they are, and they will be misogynist. They will be racist.
And so, I just think the Republican Party and all of us need to be prepared for that. But, that underscores how difficult it still is today to be a
woman and a woman of color running in politics.
HUNT: Can I just say to Sarah, I mean, I actually covered Nikki Haley's run for her gubernatorial office when she became Governor of South Carolina,
and she was kind of written off as the Tea Party candidate long shot of winning, and she did it while she took on some pretty nasty attacks.
There were people who claimed to have had an affair with her that she had cheated on her husband. There was a horrible slur thrown at her in
reference to religion. And she quite frankly took it -- in some way, she used the Trump playbook of just denying it and attacking her rivals, and it
worked for her. And you have seen her kind of use that same set of skills on the debate stage when she talks about her high heels. She takes these
attacks and she turns them. I mean -- I know you focus so much in your work on women's engagement in politics. I mean, what do you see in her?
CHAMBERLAIN: I think she is fantastic. The suburban women that were polling, she is their top candidate. They really like her, and she does
turn the attacks back. And if Trump does attack her, I think she'll do the same thing again. But, that is an embarrassing ad. Hillary Clinton, whether
you're Republican or Democrat, as a woman, she really was the first woman who broke through. And all of us, whether we like or her not, her politics,
we do have to admire how far she really went. So, I think that's very unfortunate. But, Nikki Haley is up to it. Look what she said to Vivek. I
mean, I think that --
CHAMBERLAIN: -- and I think he went up in the polls because she had the guts to do that.
CARDONA: Good for her.
HUNT: All right. So, speaking of Vivek Ramaswamy, he was recently asked a very straightforward question from a voter that references a conspiracy
theory about U.S. government involvement of the attacks of September 11. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was 9/11 an inside job? When we talk about our government and calling out truths --
RAMASWAMY: Here is the truth that the government suppressed. Saudi Arabia, an intelligence operative from Saudi Arabia was in this country receiving
the terrorists, some of whom were the hijackers on those planes. These are just facts. These aren't declassified documents. This isn't like conspiracy
theory stuff. This is 20 years later, just from the government. But, they lied about it initially, but they tell the truth 20 years later when the
documents are declassified. Our government has systematically lied to us ever since and long before.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: I mean, in some ways, Jackie, Vick Ramaswamy's campaign is really all of the conspiracy theories on the internet almost like come to life in a
KUCINICH: Yes. What was it? Christie called him like a chatbot GPT of -- this is -- yes. This is sort of that, and it's for attention. I mean, you
have to imagine that's why he does it. So, we're talking about it, which is he had his moment where he was rising. But, I think at this point, voters
who are actually going to -- now they're actually thinking who they're going to vote for, you're seeing him drop like a stone. Now, whether these
conspiracy theories will end up being part of a future campaign for Trump, maybe. Who knows? Anything is possible. But, for him, it just -- he is kind
of on -- like, there is not a lot of credibility there at this point.
CHAMBERLAIN: People probably don't understand, my late husband was a CIA agent. I mean, these men and women, they give their lives to this. And they
don't make a lot of money. And for him to say that, I actually take much offense to, even personally as well as --
HUNT: I'm sorry.
CHAMBERLAIN: -- for our country, because he is just wrong. I mean, he really is just wrong.
CARDONA: But, you know why it's even more pernicious, to your point and yours as well, he is talking about this. And he is young, right? He
purports to be represent a new generation. We've all seen all of the gross TikTok videos that are coming up about 9/11 and about what happened, and
about Osama bin Laden supporting him. This is what that feeds into. And it gets to something that is so nefarious and poisonous into our politics,
that, yes, he has no credibility, thankfully, but this stuff gets into the bloodstream of the younger people in this country, and that's what he is
doing, and that's why it's so dangerous.
HUNT: And we've certainly seen many more in the fragmenting of our media universe, right?
HUNT: It's much easier for this kind of information to spread.
HUNT: All right. Can Democrats flip a traditionally red North Carolina blue? We're going to talk to one person who says yes. Congressman Wiley
Nickel will join us.
HUNT: Welcome back. After weeks of war between Israel and Hamas, we are now just hours away from a major breakthrough in the hostage crisis. Hamas has
agreed to release at least 50 women and children who were abducted during the October 7 terror attacks. In exchange, Israel will pause its war in
Gaza for four days and will release 150 Palestinian prisoners, including women and teenagers.
Let's get more now from CNN's Oren Liebermann live in Tel Aviv. Oren, we're expecting this to start to unfold at 3 a.m. Eastern Time?
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So, that's 10 a.m. Local Time. That's exactly right. That's when we're hearing the pause in fighting is supposed
to go into effect. And whether it's exactly there, give or take a half an hour here or there, that's not significant. What is significant, however,
is that the deal is in place, and sometime after 10 a.m., after we see that pause in fighting, we expect to see the first Israeli hostages released,
the first group of 10 or 12 or so, women and children who will leave Gaza for the first time after nearly seven weeks of fighting, and then will make
their way back into Israel. That will be accompanied by whether it's at the exact same time, whether there is a short difference in time, again, that
part not important.
But, there will also be a subsequent release of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails, women and children. And this will play out over and over
again over the course of four days until it becomes 50 Israeli hostages released for 150 Palestinian prisoners. Crucially, there is a chance for
this to continue. Israel has made clear that for every 10 Israeli hostages released there would be another pause in fighting for a day, and a
subsequent release of more Palestinian prisoners. Israel put out a full list of 300 women and children who could be released. So, clearly, setting
up the possibility that this extends beyond the initial four days.
Now, it is also worth noting that we see continued fighting in Gaza, Israeli airstrikes in northern Gaza. We have seen red alerts indicating
rocket fire coming from Gaza. That doesn't mean the deal is off. It just means, Kasie, that the pause in fighting hasn't taken effect yet. We expect
to see fighting pretty much up until that minute. And then, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made it clear that the fighting will continue when
the hostage for prisoner exchange is over.
HUNT: So, speaking of, Netanyahu, Oren, I mean, he has been under incredible political pressure inside Israel to make this happen for the
hostage, the families of the hostages. Is that -- does that help explain why there is so much hope and interest in pushing this past just four days
and 50 hostages?
LIEBERMANN: Well, there is a lot of different pressures he is facing, one is the domestic pressure from the families of the hostages and they have
tremendous public support to bring home as many as Netanyahu can, not only the first 50, but to make it happen such that more come home, all the women
and children and then all of the hostages, which includes soldiers who would likely be much harder to bring home because Hamas can try to extract
the far higher price. But, there is also a tremendous amount of international pressure to make sure this isn't just a four-day pause that
this continues into a wider ceasefire.
Now, that might be very difficult for Netanyahu to accept. But, I think he is also fully aware that the longer the pause the harder it is to continue
operations and fighting at the scale we have seen Israel carry out up until now.
HUNT: Yes. Fair enough. All right. Oren Liebermann in Tel Aviv, and you've had a very long day, I thank you very much for being with us. I really
All right. So, what is the impact of this deal on the temporary truce? Joining me now is Congressman Wiley Nickel of North Carolina, a member of
the House Financial Services Committee. Congressman, thank you very much for coming on the show today.
REP. WILEY NICKEL (D-NC): Thanks for having me, Kasie.
HUNT: First, I want to start with the news. I want your reaction to the developing news out of Israel and Gaza. What is your reaction to the
hostage deal and this temporary pause?
NICKEL: Yes. This is a necessary first step, and it's going to return innocent women and children to their homes. I think that's very important.
But, it's just a first step, and there has got to be a lot more that needs to happen to free the rest of the hostages who were taken from Israel.
HUNT: Congressman, you have ties to the Jewish community yourself, if you are willing to explain that. I'm also interested to know, have you
personally experienced any of the increased antisemitism we've been seeing in the U.S.?
NICKEL: I represent a very diverse district, and my constituents certainly have been impacted. We've seen antisemitism on the rise in recent weeks
here. And that's something that I've been very vocal about. And we need to do a lot more to make sure that the Jewish constituents that I represent
know that they should be able to feel safe.
HUNT: All right. Let's turn to politics. You used to work for Joe Biden, actually. Now, you're one of the most vulnerable House incumbents in 2024.
You've pressed the president to try to put North Carolina as a state back on the map, to put it in play in the general election. Do you think the
President right now is doing enough to -- is campaigning hard enough to ultimately be able to defeat the likely nominee Donald Trump in 2024?
NICKEL: I think what I do know is that the Biden campaign is focused on North Carolina, and rightly they should be. It was the state that Biden
lost by the smallest amount of all states. So, it's a state that they've got to win if he is going to be reelected. So, North Carolina will be
ground zero in this next election. And we're going to see a ton of visits. We're going to see a lot of money being spent in our state, because we are
a true 50:50 state. And frankly, with our race, I think we've provided a good roadmap to do that. I'm one of only six Republican -- six Democrats
who flipped a Republican seat in the last election, and we campaigned on women's rights. We campaigned against MAGA extremism, and we won by three
points in a district that people didn't think we were going to be able to win.
So, when you put that message out there, those are the things that North Carolina voters care about. And the Biden team, they're on the right side
of these issues.
HUNT: So, Congressman, have you endorsed Joe Biden for President in 2024?
NICKEL: No. I don't think they've done the Joe Biden endorsement stuff.
HUNT: Would you like to endorse him here today?
NICKEL: I think if the choice is Joe Biden or Donald Trump, I'm definitely going to choose Biden, because democracy is on the line in this election.
And we've got to make sure that we have someone in the White House who will protect American democracy. That was what I campaigned on. That's how I got
elected to Congress. And it's going to be the choice, I think, in this next election.
HUNT: Do you want Joe Biden to be Democrats' choice for President in 2024?
NICKEL: I think he is the only real choice right now, and he has done a great job. And I think that's what folks should know. We have an
administration with a record of great accomplishments in the last Congress. This Congress is another story. The Republicans who are in control of the
House have accomplished nothing for the American people. But, in the prior Congress, we got a lot of good things done, and that's a good record to run
HUNT: Do you want Joe Biden to campaign for you in 2024?
NICKEL: Well, I'd like to have a district I can run in, and right now my congressional district is gerrymandered into oblivion. So, we've got
lawsuits that are going to be coming in the next days. But, the place that my seat is gone is one that no Democrat, not even Jon Tester could win in a
seat like the Republican supermajority in the legislature drew in North Carolina. We've lost three, maybe four seats, just with the stroke of a
pen, mine being one of them. So, I think there is a great conversation to be had about why extreme partisan gerrymandering is so bad for our country
and our Congress. But, I'm in a weird spot --
NICKEL: -- with my district where, right now, it doesn't exist in a way that any democratic win.
HUNT: I do appreciate your candor, honestly, I -- it's very rare that I ask a question like that, and I get such a candid answer. So, thank you for
that. Let me also ask you, considering the major issue is -- has been with voters in our polls tell us is President Biden's age. There is a lot of
concern about it. There are also questions about whether Democrats would be prepared to support Kamala Harris as the number two on the ticket. Are you
confident in her ability to serve as Commander in Chief should that be necessary?
NICKEL: Yes. She came to North Carolina's 13th district just weeks after I was sworn in, and impressed a lot of people. I think she is doing a great
job. And I think the question that voters will have next year is, I think Joe Biden has said a number of times, don't compare me to the almighty.
Compare me to the alternative. And the alternative is Donald Trump, and he would destroy American democracy. That's the fundamental choice that voters
are going to confront. And there is a huge difference there.
HUNT: And are you confident that that is going to be enough? Because the White House does seem to think that that -- they can engage the campaign
that way, that when it is him versus Trump, voters are going to vote against Trump in enough numbers to get Biden reelected. There are clearly
Democrats who are nervous about that theory of the case. Are you one of them?
NICKEL: I think we're just so far away from this election, and it's almost a year away. So, at any polling, anything that you see, it's just too
early. And I think what -- the way I kind of trying to make sense of this is, Democrats in Congress, like myself, we focus on moderate voters in the
middle. That's what we talk about. We talk about things that matter for people in the center. My Republican colleagues only talk about things that
matter for the far right extremists in their base, and they rev up their base. You see the polling, and they do better. But --
NICKEL: -- when we get our voters motivated, we focus on turnout, closer to the election, you see these polls shift. So, I think kind of that's where
we are. It's really early.
HUNT: All right. All right. Congressman Wiley Nickel, thanks very much for joining us. I really appreciate your time.
HUNT: All right. A somber anniversary here in the United States. Today marks 60 years since the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. It was
a turning point in American history, as the promise and optimism of Kennedy's presidency were suddenly and cruelly cut short. Today, President
Joe Biden put out a statement, calling Kennedy a war hero, Senator, and statesman who changed the way Americans saw themselves.
HUNT: Welcome back to State of the Race. My panel rejoins me. Before we go, I just want to ask for one more thing on the campaign trail in Washington
you're watching in the coming days. So, your thoughts, Sarah.
CHAMBERLAIN: I'm watching New York redistricting, and Santos.
HUNT: Very, very smart. It could change the balance of power in the House. Maria.
CARDONA: The upcoming supplemental, we need to keep Democrats from horse trading money for Ukraine for an absolute destruction of our asylum system
process. We don't need to do that.
HUNT: Republicans demanding significant changes in border policy. Jackie.
KUCINICH: Mind you with -- about the waning influence of debate the cycles. It's made it winnowing on the Republican side, but Trump hasn't even showed
up. He is at the top of the polls. And then you have the Commission on Presidential debates, announced their lineup, and no one even is committed
to going, and the GOP has said they're not.
KUCINICH: So, will that continue? We'll see.
HUNT: Yes. No. It's actually a great point, and the general election debates we've seen in -- all through modern history, also in jeopardy, I
will just say, my one more thing is that I am very thankful that my family is home and safe, and that I am thinking of all of the families who have
loved ones who are being held abroad, the hostages in Gaza, and others who are not able to be with their children on a holiday. I'm very privileged
and very lucky. And I hope all of you will join me in thinking of all of them. Thanks to all of you for watching. I'm Kasie Hunt. This is the State
of the Race for today, Wednesday, November 22. You can always follow me on Instagram and the platform formerly known as Twitter. One World is up next.