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State of the Race with Kasie Hunt
All 41 Workers Rescued From Collapsed Tunnel In India; Israel And Hamas Clash in Gaza, Violating Shaky Truce; Source: CIA Chief In Qatar To Push For Wider Hostage Deal. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired November 28, 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: Good day, everyone. I'm Kasie Hunt to our viewers watching in the United States and around the world. It is Tuesday, November
28, 11 a.m. here in Washington. We have breaking news now out of Northern India where all 41 workers who had been trapped in a collapse tunnel under
the Himalayas have now been rescued. They were trapped more than two weeks ago. Rescuers had to bore a hole in a mountain in order to provide an
escape route, drilling through the last two meters of rock by hand. CNN's Vedika Sud is following the developments for us. Vedika, what's the latest?
VEDIKA SUD, CNN REPORTER: What we do know and it's confirmed by the government as well as officials on the ground that all 41 of these men have
been extracted from the tunnel that partially collapsed on the 12th of November. Today is the 17th day that they were inside the tunnel. But, it's
nothing short of a miracle to see them out there, being whisked away in those ambulances that you see on your screen to a hospital where they will
be checked for physical and mental trauma, in fact, and it will take some time before we can ascertain what the condition really is.
But, there is a lot of celebration that we've seen both inside the tunnel and outside. It's taken 17 days of hard work really of disappointments, of
the breakdown of heavy machinery that the rescue teams were depending on to bring these men out. But, today is a day of celebration for those on the
ground, for family members, for the rescue teams who worked around the clock, for the government officials there, and for those men who themselves
are heroes really for having stayed inside that tunnel trapped in about a two kilometer space for over 17 days in the dark.
They were being given and supplied water, food, medicine, mobile chargers, Vitamin D, through pipelines. And now, they're out because of this tunnel,
rather this pipe that was built through the debris over the last few days. You were right in mentioning that the last two meters were a huge
challenge, and the last two meters were drilled manually because the machines had broken down.
And these men on the ground drilled through, inserted that pipe in, extracting those men out on stretchers. They were put on wheels and they
used the pulley system using ropes to gently pull them out of that pipe. That pipe was about 50 meters long, three meters in diameter. That's still
narrow given that you're pulling human beings out of the pipe really.
But, now all is done. They've wrapped up this first huge leg of the ops. The focus now is to understand how these men are doing mentally and
physically, and of course emotionally. Back to you.
HUNT: All right. Vedika Sud for us. Thank you very much for that report.
And right now, a brief clash in northern Gaza is raising concerns about the extension of a fragile truce between Israel and Hamas. But, both sides
still expected to stick to an agreement that could see 10 more Israeli hostages freed from Gaza today in exchange for 30 more Palestinians
released from Israeli jails. Four days of calm have allowed joyful family reunions like this one. U.S. and Egyptian officials are in Qatar to discuss
the next phase of the war, hoping to build on the humanitarian pause. Israel says it is willing to extend it further.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK REGEV, SENIOR ADVISOR TO ISRAELI PM: As long as they keep releasing hostages till the day, the humanitarian pause will continue. So, people who
want to see the pause continue should be putting pressure on Hamas continue to release hostages.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: So far, the war has been concentrated in northern Gaza. But, even parts of the south where Palestinians have been told to flee have been
decimated. The World Health Organization now warning the spread of disease could be even more deadly than bombs.
Let's bring in my panel to discuss. CNN Military Analyst, Colonel Cedric Leighton, CNN Global Affairs Analyst, Kim Dozier, and Senior Political
Correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Molly Ball.
Cedric, I want to start with you just because we have been seeing this or we saw this skirmish that seems to have violated the terms of the truce
agreement. What is your understanding of what happened there? The Israelis seem to say that there are relatively minor injuries to some of its
soldiers. So far, the truce still seems to be holding, but this is kind of a concerning sign.
COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST, & U.S. AIR FORCE (RET.): Yeah. It is definitely, Kasie. So, so far what we know about this is that
the -- apparently Israelis opened fire on Hamas terrorists as they came close to Israeli lines. They thought that there might be some offensive
actions they might be -- in placing bombs in the area, IEDs in particular, and that is something that has concerned the Israelis from the start of
this. So, in response to that, the Israelis opened fire, and perhaps we're not sure about casualties.
But, that's one thing that created a bit of a problem in this case. So, is it going to create other conditions? I don't think so. I think it is minor
enough that it won't, but it's definitely something we have to watch.
KIMBERLY DOZIER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Just to add on, I just happened to be -- the latest IDF announcement is that it was three
explosive devices detonated adjacent to IDF troops in two different locations in northern Gaza. Plus, some militants opened fire on the troops,
but it says light injuries. So, it just underlines the tension, and the kind of thing that we have, what, a day and a half left in the current
extension, something like that. 76 hostages released so far. But, there is a total of 90 women and children. So, we probably have enough time to get
rid -- get out the rest of the women and children under the framework of the deal despite this.
But, it already shows it's fraying. And it's as if each side is preparing to get back to fighting because the expectation is that Hamas will ask for
more to turn over the male hostages, at least the male hostages who are either serving IDF soldiers or of military age. They might hand over some
of the elderly ones.
HUNT: Right. Molly Ball, we've seen the administration obviously engaged a very high level on this throughout. Secretary of State Antony Blinken
heading to the region. And kind of what is the expectation as we head toward what are potentially the final days of the women and children being
the ones that are exchanged, and the conversation turns toward a different population?
MOLLY BALL, SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Well, as you mentioned, the American government has been involved at a very high
level in all of this. The CIA Director, Bill Burns, also in Qatar today to facilitate these extremely fragile and delicate talks. I mean, I think
every time there is a little bit of a hitch in the exchanges or an exchange of fire, like there has been, it underscores just how fragile and how
difficult this is. And if the next phase -- the President himself has expressed a desire for the pause to continue to be extended and for
hostages to continue to be released. We've seen the Israeli public in large part calling for that as well.
But, I think there is an expectation that this could fall apart when further demands are made by either side, particularly if Hamas wants to up
the ante in terms of what it's asking for in exchange for male hostages being released. And that could lead the whole thing to fall apart. And I
don't think anybody expects that Israel will forego its planned offensive in southern Gaza. I think everyone expects that that will eventually take
place. And the question also then will be, what has Hamas been doing all this time? Because the Israeli expectation has been that they will take
this as an opportunity to rearm and take positions.
HUNT: Yeah. I mean, Cedric, to that point. I mean, can you just speak to what is possible both on the Hamas side, also on the Israeli side? Have
they gathered more intelligence? What does this mean for their troops as well?
LEIGHTON: Yeah. In essence, both sides have done that, Kasie. They've gathered more intelligence. And you see the way in which they're advancing
through the different areas. Right now, northern Gaza is basically a wasteland. But, in some ways, that's ideal for an ambush. That's ideal for
placing IEDs and things like that. And it's also ideal for reconnaissance operations.
So, Hamas is doing that. Israel is doing the same thing. They're going through and trying to figure out where are the remaining hostages being
held. What other things can they do in terms of targeting? That's going to be a principal concern, because Israel is under a lot of pressure to be
more precise in its targeting. Whether or not they can technically do that is a completely different question. But, they're going to have to at least
show that they're trying to be more precise in order to keep U.S. s support, especially on Capitol Hill.
HUNT: Right. I was going to say, Kim, I mean, there was a briefing for -- I mean, Democratic Senators heard from IDF officials and others, and there
has kind of been this expression. I think the way that they've been framing it is saying, we want Israel to stick to -- if we're going to be sending
American money to Israel, we want it to be used in accordance with American values, including following the laws of war. I mean, how much of that is --
I mean, is there concern among the Israelis about how this is playing out here?
DOZIER: There is concern that lawmakers don't understand what it's like on the ground and what kind of enemy they face. But, there is also concern in
the White House about this Democratic turn against Israel. And senior administration officials briefed reporters last night, saying that we have
message Israel. We have told them, frankly, that the Southern Campaign can't look like the Northern Campaign. It's got to be more careful. It
can't have as wide a displacement of Palestinians. And they say that the Israelis are receptive to that.
We've also heard from people like Barak Ravid from Axios, who is very plugged in, that the next campaign is going to be much -- next stage is
going to be much more targeted raids, the kind of things that we've seen over the years in the West Bank and Gaza where they don't come in and smash
They raid specific houses and go after individual targets.
HUNT: Yeah, I mean, Molly, even if they are able to do that, I mean, there is still going to be -- obviously, we've seen so many more pictures of the
absolute devastation in northern Gaza that have been able to kind of come out in the course of this pause. There does seem to be a changing tide of
political public opinion, certainly here in the U.S. I think it's probably even more pronounced overseas. But, just from kind of where I sit as a
political reporter who is listening to all of these, members of Congress talking about -- I mean, they're reflecting what they're hearing from their
How do you think that this evolves, presuming, as you say, everyone assumes this Southern Campaign is going to unfold, does this pressure -- I mean,
how much of an impact do you think it has?
BALL: Well, I think we're going to see it play out in Congress in the congressional fight over the aid to Israel that is going to begin this
week, right? We are seeing several Democratic Senators and not just the far left, not just Bernie Sanders talk about placing conditions on the aid to
Israel, something that the Democratic Senators are expected to discuss among themselves today. That's yet another pressure point on an aid package
that already faces multiple controversies. You have Republicans who don't want to approve the Ukraine aid. You have these separate border talks that
are now being attached as a condition to passing the full package that the administration wants of aid of both Israel and Ukraine.
So, it's going to be a tremendously difficult needle to thread for all of the congressional leaders, Republican and Democrat who in bipartisan manner
broadly want to see this passed. But, it's just going to be incredibly tricky to get all the votes. And so, I think we're going to see the
sentiment that you mentioned, the increasing international pressure on Israel and the domestic pressure from the political left that is -- that I
think is weighing on some of these liberal Senators.
BALL: All of that is going to be brought to bear on this aid package in Congress.
HUNT: Yeah, for sure. All right. We're going to push pause, but our panel is going to be back with us for this. Coming up, new details as former
Israel -- Israeli hostages are reunited with their families. What one father told CNN? After this short break.
HUNT: There are still 173 hostages in Gaza, including six Israeli children, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office told us today. So far, Hamas has
released 69 hostages, and we're seeing the emotional reunions of Israeli families. The Avigdori family was reunited last night at Sheba Medical
Center. Tight hugs and kisses from loved ones to the newly released mother and 12-year-old daughter. Licks and kisses from the family dog for these
three Israeli children. As for the first time since their return, the brutes (ph) kids met -- saw their dog Rodney. 12-year-old Eitan Yahalomi is
seen here getting a big hug from his mom, reuniting after spending 51 days in captivity. And Emily Hand, who turned nine in captivity, runs here to
greet her father.
CNN's Clarissa Ward talked to Emily's Father Thomas Hand in his first interview about the reunion and Emily's first quiet words to him.
THOMAS HAND, FATHER OF 9-YEAR-OLD HOSTAGE RELEASED BY HAMAS: Emily (ph) should be here in minutes. Like -- believe it, and all of a sudden, the
door opened up and she just ran. It was beautiful. Just like -- and just like I imagined it, you know, running together. I squeezed. I probably
squeezed too hard.
Certainly, when she stepped back a little, I could see her. Her face was chiseled like mine. Before she left, it was jumpy, curly, young kid. She
lost a lot of body weight and the color. I've never seen her so white. The other and the most shocking, disturbing part of meeting was she was just
whispering. I couldn't hear. I had to put my ear on her lips, like this close and say, what did you say? I thought you were kidnapped. And --
CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: She said I thought you were kidnapped?
HAND: She thought I was in captivity. They thought they'd kidnapped me. She didn't know what hell happened apart from that morning. So, she has
presumed everyone is kidnapped or killed or slaughtered. She had no idea.
HUNT: All right. Our panel is back with us now. And I mean, Molly Ball, I - - it's -- I mean, I can't help but think of my own children as I watched -- listened to these parents and family members talk. We also just into CNN
from the aunt of Eitan Yahalomi, who is 12-years-old. He has said that the -- his Hamas captors forced him to watch footage of the October 7 attack,
which of course were the horrific attacks that killed -- massacred so many. He is 12-years-old, and they made him do this.
BALL: It's heartbreaking. It's really just heart-rending stuff when you see the incredible brutality. And obviously, it's also tremendously
heartwarming to see these children reunited with their families. It must feel miraculous to them not having known if these kids would ever come
back, and with so many having met a much worse fate, it's just on a human level hard to watch, frankly.
HUNT: Yeah. It's really hard to watch. I mean, Kim, one of these family members was on tape, basically saying that maybe she thought -- she says,
well, maybe I was naive. I thought maybe they had been treated well. I thought maybe he was OK. But, clearly, what happened to some of these
children is an extension of what we saw on October 7 in terms of the kind of a -- I don't want to call it joy, but the sort of the enthusiasm for the
HUNT: -- and the enthusiasm for the suffering of these people.
DOZIER: And you can only do that if the people you're attacking aren't people to you anymore. And that's one of the things that we've seen in this
conflict, that some of what they're taught in schools, some of the propaganda on TV.
And then, some of the things that happen in day-to-day life hammer home this message that changes how they see the other side and makes that kind
of violence possible. But, what we're also hearing from these different groups of hostages is that they were held in pockets.
Part of that was to hide them from the Israelis. But, it also seems to have determined whether or not they got really poor treatment, or OK treatment,
because we saw one of the early on hostages who was released hugged one of her captors on the way out. And that's the problem looking ahead.
A lot of the remaining hostages apparently are being held by Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which is its own separate extremist violent entity, and has
raised issues like we think troops should only be released back to Israel if we get back every one of the 8,000 or now 9,000 some odd Palestinian
prisoners being held in Israeli jails. That's a non-starter. And that is partly why I keep hearing from Israeli officials that the only way this is
going to work for future negotiations if it happens under fire with them attacking
LEIGHTON: One of the things, to caveat on to what Kimberly was just saying, this is kind of a hostage taking technique, separate everybody out, make
sure that you make it more difficult for any hostage rescue attempt when it comes to this kind of a thing, and you look at the way in which they've
done this, and in some ways, coordinated with all these different groups between Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, several criminal groups.
There is some coordination obviously there. But, the degree of a treatment, how the treatment changed among all these groups, really indicates the
different levels of sophistication that you're dealing with here and preparedness for this operation.
So, Hamas was clearly prepared to do this. The fact that they're using, in essence, psychological torture on these children and on these women is
indicative of what else they might be capable of.
HUNT: Yeah. It's honestly just gut wrenching. I mean, Colonel, is there anything that you've seen or heard from some of these hostages, as this
information has started to come out about their experiences, that is actionable intelligence for future rescues, or anything along those lines?
LEIGHTON: There are some little snippets that you hear in public, most of that kind of information the Israelis are going to keep really closely
held. But, there are some things where they will say, we were moved so and so often. We were in tunnels all the time.
There were certain people that came in to see us. That kind of thing where we were kept away from people is another story that we heard. So, those are
all indicators of how they're being treated, and in some cases of where they're being treated. And when it comes to intelligence gathering, it's
all about putting all those little pieces together, like we always used to say in the wake of 9/11, connecting the dots.
LEIGHTON: This is what the Israeli intelligence forces have to do at this point in time, is connect all those little dots. What was the color of the
room? How did it look? Did you see any daylight? How often were you moved? Those are the kinds of questions that they'll be asking, and then they will
try to use that as a basis for further action. Could it be a hostage rescue attempt? Who knows? But, that's the kind of thing that they're looking at,
and they're trying to put pressure on Hamas, or making Hamas think that they know more than maybe do.
HUNT: Right. Maybe they do. All right. Colonel Leighton, Kim Dozier, thank you both very much for being here with me today.
All right. Coming up next, we can talk politics, a move that maybe could have reshaped the Republican presidential primary field. Nikki Haley's
campaign gets a major endorsement and a boatload of money that comes with it.
HUNT: Welcome back to State of the Race. I'm Kasie Hunt. We're live in Washington. Just a short time ago, Nikki Haley's campaign got what could be
a huge boost. The influential and deep pocketed Koch network, largely financed by billionaire Charles Koch, says they are going to back Haley in
the Republican primary race.
CNN Congressional Correspondent Jessica Dean joins us now. Jessica, always good to have you. I'm going back and forth, because on the one hand, this
is a lot of money and a lot of organization. On the other hand, we've seen a lot of outside groups spend hundreds of millions of dollars, and have
absolutely no effect on who won the race. What is your kind of latest reporting on how this came to be, and what it could mean?
JESSICA DEAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That is such an apt way to kind of lay this out, Kasie, because you're exactly right. It could go
either way. So, let me just set the stage for everyone. Of course, Donald Trump continues to be the frontrunner in national polling and early state
And what we're seeing is this dynamic playing out between Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and South Carolina -- former South Carolina Governor and
Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, to be the Trump alternative. So, that is what makes today's endorsement by Americans for Prosperity so key, because
as we're seeing those to really jockey to be the Trump alternative, this is a big boost potentially for Haley. Why? Because this affiliate -- this
group has millions and millions and millions of dollars that they are going to pour into ads in early states, Super Tuesday states, for Nikki Haley.
They have data, direct contact information for the voters that she is going to want to reach. They also have an army of conservative activists that can
go out and talk about this. The question, though, to your point is, will it make a difference? Will it actually make a difference? We have seen this
time and time again where groups try to come in and really throw a lot of money at a candidate, at a situation to influence the outcome of the race,
and especially against a former President Donald Trump. That has not proven to work.
But, we see so many people within the Republican Party, even independents, you can call them the establishment. But, there are also some, as you all
know, who supported Trump, even maybe worked for Trump in the -- when he was in the White House, and then when he ran in 2020, who would like to see
somebody new. And so, the question is, who are they going to coalesce around? And can it happen in time for January 15 when the Iowa caucuses are
and when voting starts in this primary to actually make a difference? And that's the question.
Of course, Haley saying that she is honored by this. Her campaign delighted to hear this news. The DeSantis campaign calling this an in-kind donation
to Donald Trump, essentially making the case that DeSantis remains the only person that can beat him and win in general election. Of course, Haley and
her team have been trying to convince voters, but also donors, that she is the person that can do this. And so, what we're going to see now, the big
question, Kasie, is, how does this play out?
DEAN: Does this actually make a difference? And what is their ground game situation like? If we get into Iowa, what kind of real difference can they
make? And that's the big question.
HUNT: Yeah. It is the big question, Dean. Jessica Dean, thanks very much for your reporting. I really appreciate it.
Our panel is here. Sarah Longwell, Republican Strategist and the Publisher of The Bulwark, Ashley Allison, CNN Political Analyst, former Obama White
House Senior Policy Advisor, and Molly Ball is still with us.
She is of course Senior Political Correspondent at The Wall Street Journal. Thank you all for being here.
Sarah Longwell, you are our resident -- former -- are you officially a former Republican? I'm so sorry. It keeps (inaudible).
SARAH LONGWELL, U.S. REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST, & PUBLISHER, THE BULWARK: Yeah. You can call me like a renegade independent now, I guess, but longtime
HUNT: OK. Longtime Republican --
LONGWELL: Trump campaign.
HUNT: -- renegade independent, now spends a lot of time talking to Republican voters --
HUNT: -- thinking about looking at what they want, what they're willing to do. And actually, I'm so sorry, Sarah. I'm going to get to you and we're
going to hopefully continue this conversation.
But, I want to take a moment. We're looking now live at Rosalynn Carter. She is being moved, of course, for her tribute service today. This is going
to be held in Georgia before her formal funeral service is held in her and former President Carter's -- service in their hometown. Here you see her
casket being moved into this hearse in preparation for the journey to the location where this tribute service is going to be held. Rosalynn Carter
and Jimmy Carter, of course, had the longest marriage in presidential history.
And Molly Ball, since I know you have spent so much time covering Presidents -- forgive me for not knowing off the top of my head, how many
administrations you've covered over time, Jimmy Carter, someone whose legacy obviously has evolved dramatically from the time that he was in the
White House. Rosalynn, in many ways, the first really modern First Lady, taking the role that she had held there, and stepping into it in a way that
perhaps we hadn't seen before.
BALL: That's right. I am not old enough to have covered the Carter administration. But, I did build houses with the Carters a few years ago on
one of their Habitat for Humanity trips, and which was itself testament to the incredible legacy that the pair of them left. Jimmy Carter in his
statement on his beloved wife's passing, characterizing her as an equal partner in everything that he accomplished. And that really became a model
for future First Ladies, regardless of the sort of shape of their respective marriages. She set an example for how First Ladies could be
champions for causes, be partners to their husband's presidencies, be spokeswomen for various different ideas that they wanted to promote.
So -- and then, both Carter's famously were almost as well known for their post presidential as their presidential activities, and all of the
worldwide diplomacy that Jimmy Carter was involved in after he left office, in many ways, had a better reputation for that than he did for his very
difficult one term in office.
BALL: But, always, as you mentioned, they had this very, very long marriage. They were the only presidential -- the only occupants of the
White House to move back to their hometown --
BALL: -- after living in the White House and living on that very modest farm in Plains Georgia and continuing to speak for world peace and for
other causes that they cared about, I think really left a legacy that will never be equal.
HUNT: Right. I mean, the legacy of humility that they lived out in their private lives after leaving the White House, I think, is the kind of
example that -- I mean, honestly, it's a rare one, and I their kitchen appliances, for example, are -- they've refused to replace them inside this
small farmhouse despite the fact that he was the leader of the free world. It's not something that honestly you've seen from other -- not to take
anything away from other former first families, but they have not been willing to live out. The cars have really been living out the values that
And Ashley, I was touched the reports of the final moments for Rosalynn that -- the former President who has been in hospice himself with her, was
turned to face her so that he could speak to her in her final moments, really says so much about him, about their relationship. They, of course,
part of the Democratic Party -- your Democratic Party. How are others that that you are in touch with remembering the Carters here in these moments?
ASHLEY ALLISON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, & FORMER WHITE HOUSE SENIOR POLICY ADVISOR: Well, I think the story you just told about her final
moments, and many of us, as a millennial being almost too young to remember the Carter presidency.
But, seeing them live out like Habitat for Humanity was a volunteer opportunity that so many of us as young people got involved in and might
not even realize what -- that that was part of his legacy.
ALLISON: But, as he got older and we learned that his health was deteriorating, really starting to learn more about what he stood for, and
in a moment in our country right now where it is so divisive and it is so - - wars are going on, really just the love that those two had for each other. And is it possible for us to mirror some of that love and the world,
is what I think some of us are reflecting more on, as we see her take her final journey. And that -- I think there was -- it was reported he'll be
there, because he is so ill.
HUNT: Yes. Yes.
ALLISON: He is ill and fragile and wanting to make sure his health is good, but to say I will absolutely be there for my love, in her final moment.
HUNT: He couldn't miss it. I know. It's really remarkable.
All right. Joining us now from the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum is CNN's Nick Valencia, who has been covering this up for us. Nick,
take us through the former First Lady's final journey here.
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yep. The motorcade carrying her remains, the remains of the former First Lady, have just started to depart towards
Emory University where her tribute service will be held between 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. There are crowds here, were set back about a few 100 yards from
where this activity is happening.
There are crowds lining the area where her Hurst is now moving. And it's a very somber atmosphere here. It is a gorgeous and Christ day, a sunny day
here for another day to remember the legacy of just a phenomenal and remarkable woman of the State of Georgia and beyond, a tireless advocate
for mental health, for caregiving, and really kind of a President in her own right. She was inextricably linked in the life of her husband of 77 and
a half years, and he referred to her often as the boss.
And this day here is going to be, Kasie, really all about her. We've spoken to a lot of people who know her, and some have said that she would think
that this is a bit of a fuss, all the attention on her. But, her grandson, Jason Carter, said that this was designed by her, that she envisioned this
and they're carrying out to the last details of her liking exactly how she wanted this day to go about. It is going to be a remarkable cast of guests
here. It's an invitation-only service, including all former First Ladies as well as former President Bill Clinton, and most importantly, the former
President, President Carter himself will be here.
There is a lot of concerns on whether or not he would be well enough to attend. As we all know, he has been in hospice care since earlier this
year. But, he was so determined, in fact, to attend the service of his high school sweetheart, that he had a new suit reportedly tailor-made because
all of his old suits just simply don't fit anymore.
The grandson of Jason Carter has been speaking to CNN. They say Mr. Carter is not expected to make any remarks, verbal remarks. They say they won't
hold it against him really if he can't stay for the whole entire service. He is in declining health. And Jason Carter says he is likely in the final
days of his life, of his very distinguished and storied legacy himself.
But, this day, make no mistake about it, it is all about the former First Lady. There is going to be a performance by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra,
as well as country music star Garth Brooks. And there is going to be a medley of hymns to really underscore the importance of faith and her
devotion to Christ in her life. A lot of people in Georgia and throughout have been coming here to pay their final respects and say their final
goodbyes to the former First Lady. She was lying in repose since yesterday, about 3 p.m. She arrived here yesterday, and the members of the public came
by here between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Then I was talking to some of those people that were leaving, and I ran into a 10 year-old-boy yesterday who said he really didn't know much about
Rosalynn Carter but understood that his parents really looked up to her, that they were inspired by her. So, they decided to come and say their
final goodbyes. So many people just can't say enough good things about Rosalynn Carter. She was just such a dynamic person.
And in fact, I had the pleasure of meeting her a few years ago, her husband, the former President and herself were trick or treating in Candler
Park, one of the beautiful in-town neighborhoods here locally. We didn't know what was happening. I was at my friend Matt Schofield's house, and all
of a sudden the Secret Service black car pulled up in front of the house and out popped the former President, and Rosalynn Carter was right there.
They were just such a lovely couple. They start to take pictures with every single person. I am so grateful to have that anecdote in my life here, and
that memory of my life, just a great day for all of us. And today, it's just another great day to celebrate this wonderful, wonderful woman. Kasie.
HUNT: No. I'm glad you had a chance to share that, and I think that that's a theme that we keep hearing about the Carters, and we were just talking
about what their -- how their house still looks the same. They just possessed this kind of element of a fundamental normalcy that allowed them
I think to really connect with people in a way.
But, today is -- it's harder to access often and kind of our celebrity- driven, phone-driven culture. So, it's nice.
VALENCIA: So well played.
HUNT: I'm glad you --
VALENCIA: So well played.
HUNT: -- had a chance to experience that for yourself, Nick. Thank you very much, and I'm sure we're going to see a lot of you throughout the rest of
the day as this tribute service unfolds, as we just were seeing the casket of Rosalynn Carter's is en route to today's attribute service.
You were a moment ago looking at live pictures of President Joe Biden along with his wife, First Lady Jill Biden, on the tarmac in Marietta, Georgia,
where they are en route now to the tribute for the former First Lady. All of the living former First Ladies, in addition to the current First Lady,
are going to be attending this tribute service today. Please do stay with us. Our panel is going to be back with us after a quick break.
HUNT: All right. Our panel is back, Sarah Longwell, a former Republican but longtime Republican Strategist, Ashley Allison, CNN Political Analyst, and
our Democratic Strategist Molly Ball, Reporter with The Wall Street Journal. So, I honestly want to just start to let viewers into the
conversation we've just been having on set about Nikki Haley, because there is this news that the Koch's are going to put money behind her. All of a
sudden, it does seem -- this is one kind of piece, Sarah, of a broader story about Nikki Haley and her rise. I mean, as somebody who has left the
party over Donald Trump, how do you see this?
LONGWELL: Well, if Nikki Haley were to become the nominee, that would be the greatest thing that could happen for the Republican Party, for the
country, and for the world, because it would mean that Donald Trump --
LONGWELL: -- because Donald Trump would be moved -- he would be moved out of the party. I just think that the path to that happening is
extraordinarily narrow for her even with this latest endorsement. But, I love this endorsement. It's really good. They bring a ton of other donors
with them. It is not just Charles Koch. They bring a massive apparatus for door knocking and a ground game.
They do bring lots of information. I just know from talking to Republican voters, week in and week out, that they still want Trump. She represents
kind of a before Trump time that voters really don't want a lot of Republican voters. They say that she is establishment, that she is a rhino.
HUNT: It was funny because she was the Tea Party candidate.
LONGWELL: I know.
HUNT: She was the OG outside the establishment. Yeah.
LONGWELL: But, it's a testament to how much the party has changed, though, that they can use some of the things against her from her governorship,
like taking down the Confederate flag. Like that's now like a negative --
HUNT: Posing racism. Yeah.
LONGWELL: -- for her. That's right. Yes. But, I think --
LONGWELL: -- I would love to see her win this. I just think the -- and the biggest problem is that, could she surprise us in Iowa? Yes. Could she do
really well in New Hampshire? Yes. Could she win her home state of South Carolina?
HUNT: Entirely unclear.
LONGWELL: I don't think so.
HUNT: Yeah. Ashley, briefly.
ALLISON: Well, I -- Trump is still the -- most likely going to be the nominee. I still think Iowa and New Hampshire, they're the curve. They're
the curveball states. They like to pick somebody who is not the prominent one. So, if she -- I don't think it's going to be Iowa. I think it could be
New Hampshire. But, to this Koch endorsement, it's big, because it just is like money that you don't have to think about raising because of their
ground game, because of the ads they'll buy on air. And I think it can help her.
LONGWELL: And hurt DeSantis.
HUNT: Indeed. All right. Let's push pause on this, because we're joined now by a very special guest, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, who is a member of the
Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committees. He joins us now. Senator, I'm very grateful to have you on the program today. It's nice to see you.
SEN. TIM KAINE (D-VA): Glad too, Kasie. You bet.
HUNT: Let's start with the news that has -- we've covered for the first half of the show, which is the hostage deal, the evolving news out of
Israel and Gaza. And I know a number of your colleagues have started to express their concerns behind the scenes about the way in which the war has
been conducted, the way Israel is conducting the war.
And there has been some conversations about whether or not future aid to Israel should be conditioned on perhaps them following the laws of war, for
example, and that's very rare, because this aid to Israel is -- has typically not been conditioned. Do you think that it should be?
KAINE: What we're grappling with, Kasie, is we want to make sure Israel has the ability to defend itself against Hamas. But, this shouldn't be a war
against Gazans or Palestinians. And so, we're trying to look at aid to Israel in a way that meets that balance where Israel can defend itself
against Hamas. But, we care a lot about the delivery of humanitarian aid to civilians. We care about minimizing civilian suffering. And so, we're
trying to find a balance in the package on this.
And look, we're having similar discussions about Ukraine aid. You've got to find balanced ways to do it. So, those discussions are ongoing. But, I feel
confident we're going to get to a robust aid package that will be very focused on defending Israel from Hamas.
HUNT: Do you think the Senate package is going to have conditions on the aid to Israel?
KAINE: The conditions language, I think, is a little bit of a red herring. We don't do budget bills, and just do blank checks. If I was doing a budget
bill for the Department of Education, it would clarify how the money was to be used. And so, I think you will see an aid package for Israel that will
be robust, but that will try to accomplish numerous goals, defend against Hamas, provide humanitarian aid, and minimize civilian suffering.
HUNT: Yeah. Are you confident that Israel has followed the laws of war in their conducting of this war?
KAINE: I will say this. I am concerned about inadequate delivery of humanitarian aid into southern Gaza. I'm very concerned about that. And
I've raised that in letters to the President and others. There was a border crossing into southern Israel, Kerem Shalom, that I think needs to be
opened if there is going to be significant food and water into southern Israel -- into southern Gaza. I think that needs to happen. So, we are
And I know the President and his two, to reduce violence against Palestinians on the West Bank, increase humanitarian aid to civilians, and
then do what we can do to just minimize suffering of people. Remember, people who live in Gaza are under the thumb of Hamas. They're not the same
as Hamas. And we need to make sure that we're protecting civilians to the best degree we can.
HUNT: Right. Senator, I want to bring the conversation home, because I know you have been -- I've seen you late at night on the Senate floor --
HUNT: -- as a critic of your colleague Senator Tuberville around this issue of him holding up military nominations. I want to show you a little bit of
what Senator Tuberville had to say in an interview he did last night, and then I'd like to get your reaction. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TOMMY TUBERVILLE (R-AL): We've had hundreds and hundreds of terrorists come across the border. And you know what? We could care less, not we, the
Biden administration. Eric, it is going to get us in so much trouble. We're going to have a 9/11 attack every few weeks if we don't watch it. It is out
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: Tuberville also said in that interview that we have the weakest military that we've had.
What do you have to say to Senator Tuberville?
KAINE: He is basically pleading guilty to the sin that he is charging others with. I mean, he is hurting our military. Don't listen to Tommy
Tuberville and don't listen to Tim Kaine.
Listen to the American Legion, the American Legion, millions strong, have stepped up and said that Tommy Tuberville's blockade on military
nominations is hurting this country. And we need to stop it. And I am convinced, Kasie, that one way or the other we will get these military
nominations through before the end of the year. But, it's been an absolutely shameful display by Senator Tuberville.
HUNT: Senator, let me ask you also about at politics generally in the unfolding presidential race, because we are just a couple -- seven weeks
out from the Iowa caucus on the Republican side.
HUNT: I know it's no longer too early, if you can believe that.
KAINE: Yeah. Right.
HUNT: Do you have any concerns about President Biden's ability to run this campaign and then serve a second term?
KAINE: No. In fact, I'm going to be a ticket made of Joe Biden's because I'm running in Virginia in 2024, and I am planning on running a very
vigorous campaign, promoting what the Biden administration has done with historic infrastructure bill and other accomplishments, manufacturing,
veterans, gun safety, and I'm going to be promoting it, and I'm expecting Joe Biden to continue the trend of winning electoral votes in Virginia that
would have been unthinkable when I got into politics. But now, it's happened in the last four presidential elections, and I think it's going to
happen again in 2024.
HUNT: Do you think it's possible he could lose to Donald Trump?
KAINE: Look, is it possible? Yes. It's possible. There is no reason to be complacent in a nation that is divided like the U.S. is. We just had a
really successful election night in Virginia, Kasie. But, what success meant is, we have a two vote majority in our House and a two vote majority
in our Senate. In other words, narrow majority. So, you can't take anything for granted. I know that's the way the Biden campaign will view this race,
and that's the way I view it too.
HUNT: All right. Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia, thank you very much for joining me today. I hope you'll come back, sir.
KAINE: I will. I will. Glad to be with you, Kasie.
HUNT: Wonderful. Thank you so much.
All right. Let's bring our panel back now. And I mean, honestly, this conversation, Molly, that we're having about Nikki Haley plays into this
broader question in my mind around Joe Biden, because I do think there is a sense that if the Republicans could nominate someone other than Donald
Trump, it might be more of a cakewalk for Joe Biden. Who knows if that's actually true? Those assumptions have gotten a lot of people in trouble in
But, I honestly think Democrats will be a lot more nervous running against Nikki Haley than running against Trump.
BALL: I think that's true. I mean, I think we've seen and with the caveat that these polls are not predictive a year out. But, we have seen multiple
polls that ask voters the hypothetical of who do you like in a Biden versus Trump versus who do you like in a Biden versus Nikki Haley rematch, and
Haley tends to do much better in those polls. There are a lot of voters out there who strongly dislike and will come out to vote against Donald Trump,
no matter what. That segment doesn't exist for Nikki Haley. She is someone that the electorate would have to get to know.
And so, Republicans broadly, the Republican base hasn't really been persuaded by the electability argument that candidates like Haley and
DeSantis have been making, in large part because Biden looks so weak to them that they don't believe that it would take a candidate other than
Trump to beat him. But, this has been a major idea that Haley and DeSantis and others have been promoting. And I think this endorsement gives her a
boost, not primarily in terms of money, but in terms of legitimacy and momentum.
BALL: If we see a consolidation around her that enables her to claim momentum and to talk about that in next week's debate, for example, if we
have more and more of the big money donors in the Republican Party, who can say I look at this person and see a President, see someone --
BALL: -- with the stature to be the nominee, that is a huge asset for her if she can deploy it.
HUNT: Yeah. And it's all happening at the right time too.
Sarah, this brings me, though, to Chris Christie, who I don't want to play the sound just because we're tight on time. But, basically, he is attacking
Nikki Haley on the issue of abortion, which just tells you he is thinking about the fact that like Nikki Haley is a threat to him in New Hampshire.
He wants to be able to win or at least come in second in New Hampshire.
But, the reality is, if she is in a position to consolidate this more than he is, because let's be real, a lot of the Republican base really doesn't
like Chris Christie, is he standing -- I mean, is he -- is -- could we credit Chris Christie with Trump winning if he takes out Nikki Haley in New
Hampshire? I mean, what's going on there?
LONGWELL: Yeah. It's like beat for beat what happened in 2016. If Chris Christie stays in this race and attacks Nikki Haley or anybody else other
than Donald Trump, which is his ostensible reason for running to take on Donald Trump, if he is attacking anybody else, he is not doing the job he
said he was going to do to get into this primary and he should get out. And one thing we know from polling is that if Christie gets out, a lot of his
people go to Haley.
Right? That's where they're going, because she is consolidating both the kind of anti-Trump and they move on from Trump vote which gets to be decent
size especially in a place like New Hampshire. And so, yeah --
HUNT: But, he is polling 50 percent in New Hampshire, Trump is.
LONGWELL: Yeah. He is. This is -- I mean --
LONGWELL: -- New Hampshire is the place where Nikki Haley could really make a play, but you got to get these other guys out, not DeSantis, actually,
because he splits the Trump vote a little. But, Christie has got to move on. Maybe he gets one more debate here, and then I think it's this time.
HUNT: He told me that he'd straight up, no. He is not --
HUNT: -- leaving for New Hampshire.
ALLISON: Well, I mean, actually it is the Democrats. She is like --
ALLISON: I agree with Sarah, though, on that point. It is like when you look at the polling numbers, most of his folks would go to Nikki Haley. The
one thing I will just say is, if Nikki Haley becomes a nominee, that 35 percent of Trump's base, though, do they show up for her, and I don't know
ALLISON: -- if they don't, that part of the Republican coalition makes it more likely that a Joe Biden could win. So --
HUNT: Yeah. No. It's a very good point. I'm glad that we're going to leave that as our last word here. And I do want to say thank you very much to our
panel which has rolled with many things today. And thanks to all of you for watching. I'm Kasie Hunt. That's the State of the Race for today, Tuesday,
November 28. You can always follow me on Instagram and the platform formerly known as Twitter. Don't go anywhere. One World is up next.