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State of the Race with Kasie Hunt
Negotiations Ongoing In Hopes Of Extending The Truce; Source: At Least One American Expected To Be Released Today; Haley On Trump: "Chaos Follows Him". Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired November 29, 2023 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KASIE HUNT, CNNI HOST: Liz Cheney, Kevin McCarthy and Donald Trump's appetite after the insurrection. In her new book, Cheney says McCarthy went
to Mar-a-Lago after January 6 because Trump was depressed and not eating. She calls House Republicans "Trump's enablers and collaborators", once she
says -- even called Trump "Orange Jesus". CNN has an exclusive look ahead. Plus, President Biden comparing himself to the alternative in Colorado,
touting his infrastructure achievements and attacking those he calls MAGA Republicans. And as the clock runs out on the Israel- Hamas truce, some
Democrats in Congress want to put conditions on aid to Israel. I'll ask Democratic Senator Michael Bennet about that.
Good day, everyone. I'm Kasie Hunt to our viewers watching in the United States and around the world. It's 11 a.m. here in Washington, Wednesday,
November 29. There are 47 days until the Iowa caucuses, just 341 days until Election Day. This is today's State of the Race.
Welcome. We're going to get into all things politics and the 2024 election this hour. But, we want to begin with a critical day in the Israel-Hamas
war, an extended truce due to expire within hours. And while we are expecting another exchange of Israeli hostages for Palestinian prisoners
soon, it could be the last unless the truce is extended once again. Qatar which is spearheading negotiations involving the U.S., Israel, and Egypt,
says they're hopeful an extension will be announced by the end of the day. A senior Israeli official says his country is trying to see whether there
is a possibility to extend it. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is on a diplomatic mission that will take him to Israel. He says continuing the
truce is a top priority
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: We will be focused on making -- doing what we can to extend the pause so that we continue to get more
hostages out and more humanitarian assistance in. We'll discuss with Israel how it can achieve its objective of ensuring that the terrorist attacks of
October 7 never happen again, while sustaining and increasing humanitarian assistance and minimizing further suffering and casualties among
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: All right. Let's bring in Ivan Watson. He is live for us in Beirut. Ivan, what do we expect to see if this truce expires without an extension,
even if that does seem unlikely?
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. Well, I think, to be frank, we are going to probably see Israeli -- Palestinian civilians
being killed again, because until this truce took place, in about six and a half weeks of fighting, the Israeli Military killed more than 14,800 people
in Gaza. That's according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health out of the West Bank.
The Israeli government, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made it clear that once the truce ends, he wants to resume the military operations. And
if they continue the way they were going before this six-day pause, then we can assume that the death toll, the Israeli slaughter of Palestinian
civilians in Gaza, 14,800 people in six and a half weeks, more than 6,000 of them, children, will likely resume again.
And on top of that, there is a second major threat to the civilian population there and that is disease. The World Health Organization says
that more than a million Palestinians in Gaza have been displaced, and that disease is running rampant, acute respiratory illness, diarrhea, chicken
pox, jaundice, lice. And we have senior officials in the WHO saying even now that more people could die in Gaza of illness than from the Israeli
bombardment. If you add conflict to that, the situation is dire indeed. So, let's turn to the Qatari government, which is sounding this note of
optimism that perhaps there could be news, I mean, extension of the truce. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. MAJED AL-ANSARI, QATARI MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS SPOKESPERSON: We don't have people on the ground. We get the information on the hostages
from Hamas day by day, according to the list agreed between both sides. So, what we are quite sure of right now is that there is very positive news
regarding the availability for the hostages that can be released in the next couple of days. But, I can't comment on the details of what's
happening in the negotiating room at the moment. But, it is happening in a positive environment, and it fills us with hope that we will be able to
announce something positive by the end of the day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WATSON: So, with U.S., Qatari, Israeli and Hamas officials, all talking -- open to the possibility of extending the truce, we just have to watch
closely to see if that announcement could come in the hours ahead. Kasie.
HUNT: All right. Ivan Watson for us in Beirut, thank you very much for that report.
Let's dive into all of this with today's panel. Daniel Davis is a retired Lieutenant Colonel, four-time combat deployed at Defense Priorities, and
host of the "Daniel Davis Deep Dive" on YouTube, Washington Post Columnist Josh Rogan, and CNN Political Analyst, White House Reporter for the
Associated Press, Seung Min Kim. Welcome all.
Josh, let me start with you kind of on what you are looking for as you're talking to sources in the region about both this extension, and then -- I
mean, inevitably, this truce is going to end.
JOSH ROGIN, COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: Right. CIA Director Bill Burns is in Doha or was in Doha Tuesday. Secretary of State Blinken is on his way
to Israel. They're working on what they call more for more. That means after we get most of the women and children out of Gaza, at least the ones
that Hamas knows where they are, then what?
We're talking about the soldiers, the military-age men, some of the dead bodies that Hamas has in its possession, in exchange for Israeli-held
prisoners that may also be man or military members. That seems like the way forward with one sticking point. Hamas wants that to lead to an end in the
siege and an end of the military operations. Israel is not going to agree to that. So, eventually, the truce will end. Best case scenario, I think,
is it goes on for a few more days. More lives are saved. More humanitarian aid gets in.
But, on that fundamental point, which is, are the operations are going to continue or not? No matter what Bill Burns or Antony Blinken says, the
Israelis are going to go back in and they're going to keep going. The question I think is, how hard and how long and whether or not they do to
the south of Gaza what they did to the north of Gaza, which is creating the humanitarian catastrophe that we see today?
HUNT: Yeah. I mean, that's a great question for you, Colonel Davis. What do you see as the imperatives for the Israeli Military in any Southern
Campaign in Gaza?
LT. COL. DANIEL DAVIS (RET.), HOST, "DANIEL DAVIS DEEP DIVE", & U.S. ARMY (RET.): Well, you know, I think the big issue with Israel is they got to
figure out what is their objective? What is their political outcome? You're using military power to achieve a political outcome. Now --
HUNT: He said the elimination of Hamas.
DAVIS: Netanyahu says the elimination of Hamas so that he can bring peace to Israel. What he is doing with military will not bring that peace. I've
seen it myself in Afghanistan several times, to where the more Taliban you kill, the more the enemy, the more you make, especially when you're killing
so many people. And we think we've seen a lot of people killed now.
When you get into the southern part where now almost two million people are squashed, the casualties can go even higher than that. And there was a
great piece in The American Conservative by Doug McGregor, who is pointing out the real risk to Israel if they're even seen as trying to destroy the
Hamas people and drag them out, that could actually lead to an expansion of the war and possibly even a regional war.
HUNT: You mean, destroy the Palestinian people.
DAVIS: Right. Yeah.
HUNT: Not Hamas. Right. Seung Min Kim, I mean, what he just laid out there is a central challenge for the Biden administration, and they are being
pressured on their left by young progressives in the party who see what's happening, and perhaps for different -- the Colonel just kind of laid out,
the military and strategic reason for not necessarily going about it this way, because you don't want to create -- radicalize more people who are
seeing these horrible things happen. But, there is a political imperative for the President as well at home.
SEUNG MIN KIM, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, ASSOCIATED PRESS, & CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. It's actually been really interesting to me how the White
House, how the President has responded to that pressure from the left. You do have them assuaging people privately, Muslim American leaders in private
meetings, even members of their own administration who've been really distraught about the bombing campaign in Gaza.
But, in terms of their overall strategy, aside from maybe rhetorically highlighting the need for humanitarian aid, their strategy hasn't changed.
President Biden is someone who has strong convictions on this issue, and no kind of pressure from the progressives in his party have changed that.
What I thought was really interesting last week was when he said, I was traveling with him in Nantucket for the holiday, obviously, a lot of that
Thanksgiving holiday taken by the news of the hostage deal and the progression of that, he was asked about the debate in Congress and in the
party about conditioning aid to Israel. He did tell us that he thought it was a worthwhile thought.
But, he then added, but I don't think I would have gotten this far, that we would have gotten this far in terms of the hostage agreements and getting
people out if I had endorsed that at the beginning. So, he feels that this overall strategy kind of validates his sort of kind of tune out the noise
HUNT: Right. Well, Josh Rogin, one of the things The Washington Post was doing some, I believe, it was The Washington Post reporting on this today
about then-Vice President Biden's feelings about how this was dealt with when Obama was President and he was Vice President, and how he is doing it
differently. And of course, it ties in. Bill Gates had criticized Biden on his -- saying he was wrong on every major foreign policy issue. This
basically ever happened. Do you -- what do you -- what's your sense about what's important in terms of how Biden thinks about this?
HUNT: And is he having any second thoughts?
ROGIN: No. I mean, I think Seung Min is exactly correct. This is who Joe Biden is. This is how he has always been. He has been a Senator for 50
years, and he has been one of the most pro-Israel Senators for all that time, and he is not about to change now. And that's something that I think
not only congressional Democrats have to deal with but also his staff.
The Washington Post has reported there is a lot of unrest amongst young staffers. And it doesn't help Biden necessarily that President Obama has
taken a public position that's more sympathetic to Palestinians than he has, because it shows Democrats, especially progressive Democrats, that
there is another way to go about this. And they kind of makes them feel like Vice President isn't responding to their concerns. He is trying.
They're making an effort.
They know they're losing voters. They're hemorrhaging support amongst young voters and progressive voters. That's a huge problem for them. But, it's
not one that they're willing to resolve by putting conditions on Israeli aid, because then they will lose their pro-Israel supporters, and then
they'll have lost both of them. So, it'll be an even worse position.
ROGIN: So, they're stuck between a rock and a hard place. And I don't think they have a clear way out. That's why they're pushing for an end to the
hostilities. But, their influence with the Israelis is slim to none.
HUNT: Right. Of course, the reality in a presidential election is that do they think those young progressives are going to go to a Donald Trump, they
ROGIN: Or just say, no.
HUNT: Probably not. But, they might stay home. That's a big risk. So, at least two sources tell CNN at this hour that at least one American is
expected to be released today in this latest hostage exchange. And final word to you, Colonel. That's actually one less American than negotiators
had been hoping would have been released as part of this, and honestly, the first four days of this and we're now past that. What do you think that
means for these negotiations?
DAVIS: Yeah. I think that that -- I've been an advocate of that from the beginning, that Israel should do everything in their power to get as many
hostages back as it is, no matter what that may cost some temporary tactical loss on the battlefield. And as I say, lost, meaning that they
won't gain something. But, ultimately, it's not going to matter because the power disparity between Israel and Hamas is so great that Israel is going
to continue to win. But, if they go without that, then hostages are going to be dead, but the outcome won't be different.
HUNT: All right. Colonel Davis, Josh Rogin, thank you guys both very much for being with us today. Seung Min Kim is going to be back with us in a few
But, right now, the final goodbye for former First Lady Rosalynn Carter. You were looking at pictures from just moments ago. They show her husband,
the former President Jimmy Carter entering the church in their hometown of Plains Georgia.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIKKI HALEY, U.S. REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have been underestimated in everything I've ever done, and it's a blessing because it
makes me scrappy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: On the campaign trail today, George H.W. Bush called it the "Big Mo", and it seems to be with Nikki Haley in New Hampshire. Yesterday, Haley
celebrated an endorsement from billionaire Charles Koch's Americans for Prosperity Action. Their support for the former South Carolina Governor
puts her in a much stronger position because of the infrastructure and influence the group has across the country.
And it's the kind of endorsement that rival Ron DeSantis desperately needed. It really underscores his fall from first place in the race for
second place. But, the fundamental reality that underscores remains unchanged. Donald Trump is far and away the frontrunner despite Haley's
success. Haley, of course, served as Trump's Ambassador to the United Nations. This is how she is now talking about him on the trail.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HALEY: The truth is, rightly or wrongly, chaos follows him. You know I'm right. Chaos follows him everywhere he goes. And with a country divided
like we are and distracted, by the way, and a world that's got threats pointed all at America, we can't afford any of that chaos.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: Distracted by what? She left hat unsaid. CNN's Jeff Zeleny is on the trail live for us in Manchester, New Hampshire, where Haley has appearances
today. Jeff, it's always great to see you. Even better to have you on the road. She says she has got momentum and she can feel it. You're the
reporter who can actually tell us whether that's the case. What do you feel up there?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF U.S ATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Kasie, it's definitely true. We've really seen it grow a bit of a crescendo debate by
debate by debate. Her crowds have gotten larger. We've seen that here in New Hampshire as well as Iowa and South Carolina, the first three early
voting states. So, she does have momentum. The question is, what does that mean? The quote from her you just heard, you just played is a real
interesting example of her task here. She is trying to walk a very fine line, trying to take a velvet hammer, if you will, to the former President.
I call it the Trump tightrope. She is trying to win over the -- anyone but Trump Republican voter, and she is doing a pretty good job on that.
However, her challenge is trying to win over some Trump voters, some Trump supporters, because he still controls the vast majority of the Republican
Party. So, that is the task ahead of her. We all know endorsements don't win campaigns. But, they do create a sense of a momentum, as you said, and
that can help win campaigns. So, certainly, this is not game over. But, she believes it could be the beginning of trying to reach that head-to-head
matchup with Donald Trump that she so desperately wants.
HUNT: Jeff, what's the sense of the sort of brewing battle between Haley and Christie? Because Christie is ostensibly in this race to make sure
Donald Trump doesn't become President. That's what he says his reason, basically, for being is. But, it does seem like it could be a question of
consolidation of the field in New Hampshire, and that that ultimately could prevent anyone from taking on Trump. Is that -- what's the conversation
like about that right now?
ZELENY: You're absolutely right, Kasie. Chris Christie could stand in Nikki Haley's way to a strong second place finish here in New Hampshire, or a
strong showing. We will see. One metric I'm looking for is next week. Does Chris Christie, the former New Jersey Governor, qualify for that Republican
debate, the fourth debate in Alabama? As of now, he is not quite reaching the threshold in terms of the Republican National Committee qualifications
for the polling. So, if he does make the stage, that's a sense that he lives to fight another day. If he does not make the debate stage, we've
seen what happens to other candidates when they don't qualify for the debate. So, that is certainly something we're keeping an eye on.
Also here in New Hampshire, what does the Governor do? What does Governor Sununu do? Does he decide to offer an endorsement? And if it's not him,
Chris Christie. If it isn't Nikki Haley, that's another sort of challenge for Chris Christie. So, there are 55 days until the New Hampshire primary.
I think a lot will happen between now and then for Chris Christie. So, we will just wait and see how that goes. But, there is no doubt he could be in
her way here. Just as an Iowa, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley are head to head. That's not the situation here as much. She is in a
firm second place. So, again, that's some high challenges for Chris Christie.
HUNT: Yeah. No, for sure. All right. Jeff Zeleny for us in New Hampshire. You're reminding me of just how chilly it gets on the campaign trail.
I got to go dig out those warm boots before I get to the point where I'm out there with you. Thank you very much, Jeff. I really appreciate it.
All right. Let's get straight to our panel, Republican Matt Gorman joins us. He worked on presidential campaigns for Tim Scott, Jeb Bush and Mitt
Romney. Paul Begala is here as well. He is a CNN Political Commentator and a Democratic Strategist. And Seung Min Kim is back. She is a CNN Political
Analyst, White House Reporter for the AP. Thank you all for being here.
Matt Gorman, you were most recently working for one of Nikki Haley's rivals, actually from her home state of South Carolina. So, I think you
guys were particularly watching what was going on with her? What do you make of the momentum that she has here?
MATT GORMAN, VICE PRESIDENT, TARGETED VICTORY, & FORMER SENIOR ADVISOR FOR TIM SCOTT CAMPAIGN: It's real. But, even as Jeff said, it's really just
based around the debates. The debates are the one time where people come together, and there is the opportunity for movement. Other than that, there
really isn't. I think it's unique and that it's different than four, eight years ago, except from this fine show, of course. You're not getting the
day-to-day coverage of the election. And so --
HUNT: And even here. We're mostly covering the war.
FORMAN: Exactly. And even about -- even say before the war. So, it's harder to break through. It's hard have moments in between these debates, which
make them so much more important. And Haley has met the moment in each of those debates. That's why you're seeing what you're seeing.
HUNT: Paul Begala, to that point, do you think that's going to ever force Trump onto the debate stage?
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No.
BEGALA: No. I don't. I don't think he feels like he needs to. I don't think it'd be a good idea for him, frankly. Nikki Haley has been the class of the
field in these debates. She is a really good debater. And Trump has his skills, but debating is not one of them. And I think actually it would be
great for Nikki Haley if he got into the debates.
HUNT: Well, he used the debates in 2016 to basically win the thing outright.
BEGALA: In the primaries. But, he didn't have some -- she has a really deft touch. You just saw in that clip. DeSantis, God bless him. He has got all
the like the touch of a bulldozer. He just -- he is clumsy. And I'm sorry, I'm not a fan of his talent.
BEGALA: I admire his success. But, she is a much more talented candidate than DeSantis. And she may be able to thread that. Keep in mind, Iowans
decide really liked (ph). Trump is still between 44 percent and 54 percent in every poll I've seen in Iowa. In a multi-candidate field --
HUNT: And he is well below 50 percent in the DMR, in the Register poll. Yeah.
BEGALA: He was 43 percent, I think, in that one.
BEGALA: But, that's still a dominant position in a multi-candidate field. And interestingly, when you look at the Des Moines Register poll, the
second choice of DeSantis voters is not Haley. It's Trump. So, you're right to point out that Haley may have a problem trying to -- with Chris
Christie, trying to fish in the same pool, but she actually needs DeSantis in there to soak up a few of those Trump voters, and then get him one-on-
one maybe in her home state of South Carolina. But, she is, I think, their best chance. I don't know how great a chance she is.
HUNT: All right. Well, so, she talked a little bit earlier today on Fox News about "playing for second", since this is a race for second place.
Take a look at what Haley had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HALEY: This isn't just about the presidency. This is about governorships up and down. This is about House seats. This is about Senate seats. This is
about truly riding the ship to get us back to where we need to be. We can do this. I know we can. But, in order to do it, it's going to take a lot of
courage, courage for me to run and courage for every one of you to know. Don't complain about what happens in a general election if you don't play
in this primary. It matters.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: All right. We're going to have to cut out of that and our political conversation to go to CNN's Jeremy Diamond. We find him close to the
Israel-Gaza border, in the town of Kerem Shalom. Jeremy, you have some breaking news.
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. That's right, Kasie. We have some sad news that the Israel Defense Forces are currently assessing, and that
is that Hamas is now claiming that Kfir Bibas, the youngest hostage being held by Hamas, just 10-months-old, alongside his mother and his sibling,
Ariel, that they have all been, according to Hamas. The Israeli Military says that it is currently assessing those claims. It has not yet confirmed
the veracity of that claim by Hamas' military wing. But, they have informed Bibas' -- the Bibas family relatives of this claim by Hamas.
The Israel Defense Forces also saying in a statement that "Hamas is wholly responsible for the security of all hostages in the Gaza Strip", saying
that Hamas must be held accountable. Hamas' actions continue to endanger the hostages, they say, which include nine children, and saying once again
that Hamas must immediately release all hostages. Of course, the world, the entire world has been closely following the case of the Bibas family since
they were taken hostage on October 7. You will remember and many people will remember the images of Shiri Bibas, the mother, holding her then nine-
month-old son Kfir and her other son Ariel, who I believe is four - four- years-old, yes, four-years-old, both of them with red hair and taken captive.
The mother looking terrified. And now, Hamas' military wing is claiming that they have been killed. We also know that Hamas -- that the Israeli
Military actually said earlier this week that the Bibas family was not being held by Hamas, but rather being held by another militant group in the
southern Gaza City of Khan Younis. We cannot confirm the authenticity of that. But, clearly, if this is true, very sad news, as their family has
been waiting, Kasie, day by day to see whether or not they would be on the list of the next batch of hostages to be released.
I've spoken with Yifat Zailer, who is a cousin of Shiri Bibas, and I can tell you that she has had her hopes -- was getting her hopes up about the
possibility that they could be released when this deal for women and children actually came through. And then, it has been an excruciating wait
day by day as they were informed day after day that their family was not on the list of hostages. And now, Kasie, if Hamas' claim is true here, it
appears that they will not be coming home. They did not provide an assessment of the status of the father of the family, Yarden Bibas, who was
also believed to be taken captive on October 7. But, again, the Israeli Military currently assessing the veracity of that claim.
HUNT: Jeremy, what's your sense of how this may impact negotiations to extend this truce?
DIAMOND: It is difficult to say. I mean, the Israeli Military says that they have a list of all the women and children being held in Gaza. There
are still, of course, other women and children who are believed to be alive, who are held by Hamas, and other militant groups in Gaza. And we
know that there are active negotiations right now to see if this truce can indeed be extended to allow for the release of additional women and
children. I also spoke earlier today, Kasie, with a senior Israeli official who we asked about the possibility of expanding this deal to men and
soldiers as well, and that official said that, look, we are focused first on getting all of the women and children out for Hamas to uphold its end of
this initial phase of the deal, before moving on to broader negotiations about men and soldiers being held captive in Gaza.
HUNT: All right. Jeremy Diamond, thank you very much for that report. Of course, sad news that the assessment has been made, that the youngest
Israeli hostage is not alive along with some of his family members. We'll be right back.
HUNT: Welcome back to the State of the Race. I'm Kasie Hunt. My panel is back with me. Of course, we have that sad news out of Israel. And forgive
me, we may have to return to Israel breaking news. But, in the meantime, let's continue, Seung Min, that conversation we were having about Nikki
Haley. She was talking about her momentum. But, she was saying, and this is the part that really stood out for me, I don't play for a second. We're in
second place now. We have one more fellow to catch up to, and the momentum is growing. The plausibility of that, I will say, I covered Nikki Haley's
race for Governor. She was a distant third.
HUNT: And she did surprise everybody in the end. But, that, of course, was pre-Donald Trump.
KIM: Right. Right. I mean, she has been, as Paul mentioned earlier, the most deft campaigner throughout this whole race. And I would be -- I mean,
there is a lot of talk about the kind of the need to consolidate that anti- Trump vote. And so far, the other candidates not named Trump in the race, have been so resistant to do that, which is why we were talking about
Governor Chris Christie earlier. He said on State of the Union earlier this week that that's not how voters vote. If I drop out, the New Hampshire
voters who support me aren't necessarily going to go to Nikki Haley. And while that may be somewhat true, I defer to you, you two experts on that.
The fact is that the other non-Trump candidates in the race aren't giving voters that option because they are continuing to stay in the race. So, how
much Nikki Haley can mobilize all the additional momentum that she has behind her right now to an actual victory over Donald Trump? I still think
it's a far way to go. But, one thing I'm watching for is if the Biden campaign starts to single up Nikki Haley a little bit more. They're not
doing that quite just yet. But, we'll keep our eyes peeled at that.
HUNT: Right now, honestly, the comparison with Trump is a little bit more helpful. And we have some fun things to talk about why that is? Because Liz
Cheney has written a book, and I just want to bring up some of the -- our Jamie Gangel was the first to get a hold of this in a CNN exclusive. And I
think the one that -- it's getting the most attention, and I think you'll understand pretty easily, why is a conversation that Cheney recounts that
occurred between her and McCarthy in the immediate aftermath of January 6? Because you'll remember, Kevin McCarthy went down to the House floor, laid
blame for the insurrection at the feet of President Trump, and just weeks later, went down to Mar-a-Lago and took a photo of himself standing next to
Now, a lot of people say this was a resurrection for Donald Trump. I think it's possible the narrative is a little more complicated that McCarthy had
realized that Trump still had a lot of power in the Republican base and was trying to resuscitate himself. Either way, it's a critical moment. So then,
this conversation plays out. Cheney, when she finds out he has gotten to do this, says, "Mar-a-Lago? What the hell, Kevin McCarthy?" McCarthy says
"They're really worried. Trump's not eating. He is not eating, so they asked me to come see him. The conversation then continues. Cheney, "What?
You went to Mar-a-Lago because Trump's not eating?" McCarthy, "Yeah, he's really depressed."
Matt Gorman, I mean, there is the picture, right? There is the picture of the two of them. I mean, I mean, I remember -- I honestly remember where I
was when I saw that pop up on my phone. And I was like, yeah, I mean, having been at the Capitol, and you know, a lot of people that were there
were still pretty traumatized at the time that picture was taken. I guess I was laughing about this morning, because I thought, man, if he is
depressed, he must have known he lost the election.
GORMAN: Look, I got nothing against Liz Cheney. I just don't understand what's new here with -- like, she writes a book. That's fine. But, like, if
you like Liz Cheney, you're going to buy the book. If you don't -- she is like changing one mind here. Right? And so, I think you've also seen a lot
of these books. They just -- they've gone down in sales drastically from when Trump was in office or right after. So, look, she is kind of not
really treading a ton of ground here.
And I guess -- I think I'm saying this before a little bit when it came to Nikki Haley. I think people are exhausted by the politics, I think, which
is ironic because we live in a no more polarized society. And everything we do in life is mostly a cultural war. But, I think this kind of daily
political is kind of exhausting. And I just don't see what's new here.
BEGALA: I think what's new is a potential threat to Trump's dominance in the Republican Party. We've covered and we should, the erosion that Biden
has had on his left, and it's real, and they should be panicked about it in Biden land. None of the Trump people seem to be at all concerned about
erosion among Republicans. This could create a permission structure.
Trump got 94 percent of Republicans against Joe Biden, 94 percent, and he still lost. So, if he slips to 84 percent, he is through. And I do think
that Nikki Haley, Liz Cheney, these threats to democracy, they can help erode some of the moderate Republicans, not the MAGA, most committed, but
some of those moderates the same way that Biden has a risk of losing on his left.
HUNT: Well, can I pick up on that, Paul? Because one thing I feel like I've heard a lot of Democrats say to me, that they learned in the midterm
elections, is that democracy as an issue was actually a salient thing. Do you believe that? I mean, were you surprised to see some of that stuff come
out of the midterm elections? And how much do you think? Because, this -- I mean, Matt, I take your point that, OK, there is not -- we're not so far
treading major new ground aside from sort of jaw dropping.
I mean, look, lots of realities of covering the Trump administration, had many jaw dropping moments. But, it does remind voters, Paul, that this is
how Donald Trump -- and not just Donald Trump, but Kevin McCarthy and Republicans in the House treated democracy when it was threatened.
BEGALA: Right. A lot of pundits said Biden and Harris, Vice President Harris spoke out on this right before the midterms as well, that they
should have stayed on gas prices. Well, they didn't. They shifted, and they won. Essentially, I mean, they cut their losses in the House and won the
Senate. I think it's very salient.
I think that Biden's key to victory is threats to democracy, threats to abortion rights, which we'll get to, and frankly, threats to the middle
class, which Biden has not gotten to. He needs a populist economic message. He stuck his toe in this week by saying, well, Trump will eliminate
Obamacare. OK. That's a good start. But, he needs to put middle class economics on a referendum and have those three things. He is a threat to
our democracy. He is a threat to your abortion rights, and he is a threat to your middle class healthcare and Social Security.
HUNT: Well, speaking of the threat to healthcare and Social Security, this has popped up into the conversation today. Here is a tweet from Donald
Trump -- or not a tweet, a truth -- we can call them that, opposed on some platforms somewhere from Donald Trump. And he writes, I don't want to
terminate Obamacare. I want to REPLACE IT with much better healthcare. Obamacare Sucks." OK. So, this is a battle that Republicans fought for his
entire administration. And I just want to remind you how this ended.
Here is John McCain, the great departed John McCain, who decided to sink it himself in a very late overnight vote. There it is. There is a thumbs down
with that arm that doesn't lift above his shoulder because of the things that he endured when he was a POW in Vietnam, a record that was then
disparaged aggressively by former President Donald Trump.
Matt Gorman, why, and Seung Min jump in here, would Republicans want to revive this debate?
GORMAN: Trump doesn't care. He doesn't care about Obamacare, because he says whatever is on his mind. He didn't want to repeal Obamacare when he
was President in 2017. He is -- he claims, and I actually kind of agree, he just went along with it because most of the party said they've been doing
this. He is like, whatever. And --
HUNT: Agree with --
GORMAN: Exactly. That was the thing, because 40 million people on healthcare on that or whatever. Let's go on with it. Right? So, you
remember too, after they passed, he goes and says, well, it was actually really mean what our Republicans in the House did. He doesn't actually care
about this. And so, he'll pop off and he'll go on to the next thing, though I don't think he actually wants to run on this. Republicans really don't
want to run on this day to day.
GORMAN: And so, it'll be out in the next year.
HUNT: Right. And now that we're going to -- you just watch. There is going to be anonymous quotes from Trump, people being like, well, we really -- we
are working on an alternative. We promise it's there.
KIM: Yeah. Well, I mean, I think if there is one basic political lesson that came out of the Obamacare repeal debate, even the abortion debate,
voters do not like it when you take something away from them, especially something that they've had for, in the case of Obamacare, over a -- almost
-- it was like five or six years at that point, and in terms of abortion rights, decades. So, that's a classic political problem that Trump for
reasons that I just don't understand decided to dive in and give a gift to Democrats.
HUNT: I mean, it really was a gift. Paul.
BEGALA: Yes. I think the Biden campaign should send President Trump a fruitcake. It doesn't look like he missed a lot of meals actually. Kevin
McCarthy looks very robust around the waistline. But, yeah. This is -- let's watch. Let's see how aggressive the Biden shop will be, because I
think President Biden has been far too hesitant to invoke the name of his predecessor. He is not going to win a referendum on Joe Biden. He is only
going to win a comparison, right, a choice with Donald Trump, and they need to do seven things in alphabetical order, attack, attack, attack, attack,
attack, attack, attack,
HUNT: There you go. All As. I mean, to that point -- I mean, Biden is going to be -- he is going to Colorado. He is going to hit Lauren Boebert as a
MAGA Republican. I do think you're starting to see exactly what you're talking about. They sort of have realized, hey, don't compare me with the
almighty. Compare me with the alternative that Joe Biden likes to say. Thank you guys very much.
With President Biden visiting his home state, just ahead, Colorado Senator Michael Bennet will join us for a live interview. We're going to get his
thoughts on the President, and what Democrats need to do about the war between Israel and Hamas.
HUNT: Welcome back. We have an update on the breaking news that we're following here. The IDF assessing Hamas claims that the youngest Israeli
hostage and family members are no longer alive. We are hearing from their family statement, from the Bibas family, says "Our family has learned of
Hamas' latest claims. We are waiting for the information to be confirmed and hopefully refuted by military officials. We thank the people of Israel
for their warm support, but kindly request privacy during this difficult time. Thank you very much."
All right. With that, joining me now is Michael Bennet. He is the senior senator from Colorado. He sits on the Intelligence and Finance Committees,
and the Democratic Senator joins me live now.
Senator, I'm sorry to have to start this interview off on this somber note. But, for audience members who don't know you as well, I know your mother
survived the Holocaust. And I'd like your reaction to this potential news about this youngest hostage, and your reflections on the truce that we are
seeing play out right now.
SEN. MICHAEL BENNET (D-CO): Thanks, Kasie. I mean, a tragedy but beyond belief that an infant could even be separated from her parents or his
parents and then killed. I spent yesterday morning watching the video of the Hamas onslaught into Israel with my colleagues here, and I was thinking
about my mom the whole time.
Yes, as you mentioned, she survived the Holocaust. She was separated from her parents for three years, told that her parents had been killed. In her
case, she survived and her parents survived, but the trauma, those experiences last generations and generations and generations. And
unfortunately, one of the things that we all learn who live long enough is that there is really nothing new under the sun.
Human -- the human condition can -- and human beings themselves can create circumstances of violence that are beyond imagination and have to be dealt
with and have to be protected against. And that's a situation that we're in today, not just in the Middle East, but in Ukraine as well.
HUNT: Yeah. The devastating reality. Well said. Senator, I want to ask about your continuing role and how this is going to play out as a Senator,
because you are considering an aid -- a security package that would include aid for Israel. I want to show you what some of your colleagues have said
about the possibility of conditioning aid to Israel. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BEN CARDIN (D-MD): I don't think it's necessary. I think that President Biden has been very influential in Israel's policies during this
conflict. So, I don't -- Israel is an ally and friend. So, no.
SEN. THOM TILLIS (R-NC): I should (inaudible) Israel. I don't think we should second-guess them. I don't think we should set timelines or
parameters on how they go about addressing the murders, the rapes, the beheadings, the torture that I observed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: So, Senator Cardin, a Democrat, Senator Tillis, a Republican. Where do you stand? Should the U.S. condition aid to Israel?
BENNET: I think that that's a debate, Kasie, that we're going to have. And I'm not chickening out of your question. I think it is a debate. It is a
debate that we should have. And there are strongly held views on every side of this. I think it is important for people to remember, and it is really
important for people to remember this because I think they forget it, or that -- or sometimes, social media says something different.
This attack by Hamas was a terrorist attack. Israel, it's not just they have the right to defend themselves, they have to defend themselves. And
Hamas' strategy is to use innocent human beings to protect themselves. That makes Israel's position incredibly difficult.
And having said all that, for those of us that actually have high aspirations for democracy and have high aspirations for Israel, Israel will
have to meet the highest standard in its conduct of this war. And that -- that's -- in the end, I think that's going to be important for Israel. It's
going to be important, as I said, for those of us that are supportive of democracy.
So, we'll have a debate about whether there should be conditions. What those should look like? I think it's important for every country that we
work with to honor international law. And I suppose this debate we're going to have both in the Middle East and with respect to the armaments in
Ukraine, that's another issue, Kasie, we can't forget is the critically important funding for Ukraine that has to happen here in the next couple of
HUNT: But, what about you personally? I mean, do you trust Israel to conduct itself along the laws of war, or do you think that the aid needs to
be conditioned to ensure it?
BENNET: I think that any -- I think that whatever -- whenever we send aid to anybody in the world, the United States has to conduct oversight. The
Congress has to conduct oversight. Whether that has specific conditions attached to it or not, or the more general conditions that attach to aid
are right way to go, that's -- that is a discussion that we want to have.
And there are strong points of view on both sides of that. My view is what I just said. I mean, that -- the outcome is what I just said about how I
think Israel needs to conduct this war, how we get there as the United States, how we get there as Israel's friend, how we get there as a
supporter of democracy. That's -- those are the questions we're going to debate. And I think we're going to get to the right solution.
I would say, I think President Biden deserves a lot of credit for the influence that he has had in -- on the battlefield here.
HUNT: Speaking of President Biden, he is in your home state of Colorado today. That mission is political. He is going to Lauren Boebert's district
where he plans to label her a MAGA Republican. Are you confident in President Biden's reelection campaign strategy?
BENNET: Well, I think she would love to label herself that. So, that probably from her point of view is not an insult. I do know that the
President went -- obviously, I'm not there today, because I'm here. The President went to see us win in Pueblo. What an amazing story, 850 new jobs
paying a salary between $20 and $29 an employee, and those new employees.
BENNET: -- $200 million of new investments.
HUNT: But, do you think voters have him credit for that, though?
BENNET: That's what a campaign is about, Kasie. I mean, I just ran into -- I just got reelected in 2016. And he is out there touting what he should
tell, which is, not only did he turn the page on Trump's chaos, he delivered the first bipartisan infrastructure bill since Eisenhower was
President. He delivered the first bill to bring back in industry, the semiconductor industry, since Ronald Reagan sent everything to Southeast
Asia and to China. And he passed the Inflation Reduction Act, which is the reason why we're adding those 200 jobs in Pueblo right now, paying all that
money. And by the way, capping drug prices for seniors at 2,000 bucks. That sounds pretty good to me. And if he is making that pitch, I think he is
going to be able to win.
HUNT: Do you have any nerves at all about his ability to conduct a second term in office?
BENNET: The only nerves I have are for the state of our democracy. And the -- and my concerns about that have to do with whether we're going to elect
a President that's committed to the rule of law, that's committed to the idea that Americans are going to have different political points of view,
but they should be included in a political debate, and whether we're going to elect a President who is going to help reduce income inequality in this
country, create opportunity, lift the middle class so we can have a thriving democracy.
For me, the choice is absolutely clear that Joe Biden versus Donald Trump. I have no trouble making that choice. And I think the record that President
Biden has is one that when he litigates it in front of the American people, is one that the American people are going to want to support.
HUNT: Senator, before I let you go, your colleague on the Republican side of the aisle, Senator Tommy Tuberville, has told -- it's being reported,
has said that he is possibly ready to lift his hold on military nominees soon, but not today. What's your reaction to that, and do you have any
understanding of why that might be?
BENNET: Yeah. Well, I think it's because he has finally heard from his Republican colleagues that they're out of patience with him. I wish that
they had told him that six months ago or eight months ago when he started this insanity, because maybe we would be in the position of having filled
at this momentous time in the world history, we'd have been in position of having filled all of these military appointments that Tommy Tuberville has
prevented. And if he relents, we'll understand what a political game this has all been, because the circumstances have not changed.
BENNET: He has been damaging our national security. And his position, by the way, on abortion in this context has not only been extreme, it's been
completely false --
HUNT: All right.
BENNET: -- in his description of what the Biden administration has done. So --
HUNT: All right.
BENNET: -- I hope he will -- I hope he stops.
HUNT: All right. Senator Michael Bennet --
BENNET: Sorry to go on for so long.
HUNT: No. No.
BENNET: It's nice to see you, Kasie.
HUNT: I'm sorry that we're out of time. I really appreciate --
BENNET: Thanks for having me.
HUNT: -- you taking some time to be with us.
BENNET: Thank you.
HUNT: I hope you'll come back soon.
BENNET: I will. Thanks.
HUNT: All right. Coming up, my panel rejoins me with one more thing. Stay with us.
HUNT: Welcome back to State of the Race. Our panel rejoins us. Before we go, we always want to ask for one more thing on the campaign trail or in
Washington they're watching for in the coming days. 30 seconds. Matt Gorman.
GORMAN: Looking at the impactful battle of the ground game in Iowa, the caucus is where the ground game actually matters. Bob Vander Plaats has
endorsed a Santa show up before Thanksgiving. That brings with it a lot of evangelical ground support, church captains bussing with the caucuses. Now,
the AFP has endorsed Haley. It's not just about donors and money. It's one of the most impactful ground games in our party.
The battle, the ground game is on.
BEGALA: Abortion politics, the issue that will not go away for the Republicans. The Texas Supreme Court yesterday heard arguments on a case in
which women were - are alleging -- they're claiming it's a fact that they needed a medically necessary abortion for pregnancy they wanted, but it was
very complicated, and there was real threats to their health or life. The State of Texas is saying we can ban those abortions too. It's in front of
the Supreme Court. This is an issue that will not go away for Republicans, and it has hurt them even in the reddest states like my beloved Texas.
HUNT: Seung Min.
KIM: Congress is trying to strike a deal on immigration. Stop me if you ever heard this before. But, this time, it's really important. It's a
smaller agreement that they're trying to reach on asylum provisions. And it's basically to pair with massive amounts of Ukraine aid to pass through
Congress as fast as possible. The President, the White House has warned over and over that Ukraine really is shorting -- or falling short on
supplies on aid. They need this desperately. But, Republicans say it has to be paired with border provision. So, that's really putting the onus on a
small group of negotiators to reach a deal on immigration, which we know is basically impossible to do.
HUNT: Yeah. I know, for sure. It's been -- they've been trying for decades now, at least since I've been doing this.
All right. Thanks to all of you for being with us today. I'm Kasie Hunt. That's the State of the Race for today, Wednesday, November 29. You can
always follow me on Instagram, the platform formerly known as Twitter. Don't go anywhere. One World is up next.