Return to Transcripts main page
State of the Race with Kasie Hunt
Trump Wins New Hampshire Primary; Haley Vows To Stay In Race; Haley Campaign Looks Ahead To South Carolina After New Hampshire Primary Loss; New Hampshire Voters Make Their Voices Heard. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired January 24, 2024 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
AUDIE CORNISH, CNN HOST, STATE OF THE RACE: Record turnout in New Hampshire gives Donald Trump a record-setting victory. The former President coasted
to an easy win in the Granite State primary on the heels of a similarly easy win in Iowa. His path to the Republican nomination looking more
certain than ever. Plus, Nikki Haley just released her first campaign ads in South Carolina. Can she overcome Trump's massive polling lead in her own
home state? I'll be joined by the co-chair of President Biden's reelection efforts, Senator Chris Coons. Is the Biden campaign ready for likely Trump
Good day, everyone. I'm Audie Cornish, in for Kasie Hunt, to our viewers watching in the United States and around the world. It is 11 a.m. here in
New York, Wednesday, January 24. And there are 10 days until the South Carolina Democratic primary, 31 days until the Republican contest there,
and only 285 days until Election Day. This is today's State of the Race.
As it stands now, Donald Trump is two for two in his quest to capture the Republican presidential nomination after scoring a decisive victory in the
New Hampshire primary. However, Nikki Haley promises to fight on. And it was a double-digit win last night for Trump. He picked up more than 54
percent of the vote. That's compared to Haley's 43 percent. And after his win, the former President -- after his win in Iowa, the former President
had struck sort of a conciliatory tone. Last night was different. Instead of celebrating, sources describe him as seething over Haley's refusal to
drop out of the race.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, 45TH U.S. PRESIDENT: Who the hell was the imposter that went up on the stage before and like claimed a victory? She did very poorly,
actually. Just a little note to Nikki. She is not going to win. When I watched her, the fancy dress that probably wasn't so fancy, come up, I
said, what is she doing? We won.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CORNISH: Haley actually did congratulate Trump for winning New Hampshire, but she also vowed to stay in the race as it moves to her home state of
South Carolina next month.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIKKI HALEY, U.S. REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: New Hampshire is first in the nation. It is not the last in the nation. This race is far from
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CORNISH: CNN's Kristen Holmes was at Trump's victory speech last night. She joins us now from Amherst, New Hampshire. Kristen, we've talked a lot about
sort of how Trump and his whole world is looking ahead to a possible next term. And one of the things that was interesting last night was like who
was on stage with him? Can you talk more?
KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN U.S. NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. I mean, look, it was the who's who of Trump world, and now the modern Trump world, which has
adapted since the last time he was in office. We saw Marjorie Taylor Greene, Tim Scott, Vivek Ramaswamy. He was there with his son Eric Trump,
and Laura. Notably missing, Melania, his wife, as well as his daughter Ivanka, and Jared, who have taken a backseat this campaign. There has been
a lot of questions and speculation about who would be in the next Trump administration.
But, one thing that is clear is that Donald Trump values loyalty. And these are the people who have pledged their loyalty to him, some of them like
Marjorie Taylor Greene or Kari Lake back in 2022 when it was much harder for Donald Trump to get endorsements when a lot of Republicans were shying
away from the former President.
So, you're looking at a lot of kind of jockeying for future administration positions as well as that speculation around Vice President. But, his team
really isn't there yet. They're not doing any sort of officials vetting. They're not talking to anyone. And part of that is because Donald Trump
himself had told them not to do so until he had secured at least two of these contests. Now, he has. So, we should see some movement in that area.
But, right now, it's still kind of just trying to get through this primary season and pivot to the general election.
CORNISH: All right. Kristen, thanks so much.
I want to dive into this with today's panel. Basil Smikle, Democratic Strategist and former Executive Director of the New York State Democratic
Party; Pete Seat, former White House Spokesman in the George W. Bush Administration and a former Spokesman for the Indiana Republican Party, and
Seung Min Kim, CNN's Political Analyst and White House Reporter for the Associated Press.
So, first, I want to talk a little bit about the speeches because they set the tone for the next couple of weeks.
Basically, Donald Trump comes to the stage and he immediately is talking about Haley, frankly. Right? There is not this long conciliatory wind up.
Seung Min, can you just kind of set up what we saw last night?
SEUNG MIN KIM, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, ASSOCIATED PRESS, & CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. I mean, it was quite the different tone that we heard from
Donald Trump after his win in the Iowa caucuses, which was frankly almost magnanimous towards his opponents, and certainly what you heard last night
was not that. He made a lot of angry comments towards Nikki Haley. You heard Kristen talking earlier about how privately he was seething that she
refuses to get out of the race, and the impact that it has, because we know that Donald Trump is going to continue with this rage, with this public
rage and this private anger towards Nikki Haley as long as she stays in the race. And how that handicaps him here is that that prevents him from really
focusing 100 percent of his energy on Joe Biden.
Now, we were -- Joe Biden and his team have basically kick-started the general election. They are focused on Trump. They haven't focused on Trump
for a while. But, to them, Donald Trump's resounding victory in the first two contests really sealed the fact that that will be his general election
opponent. But, for now, Donald Trump is still really focused on Nikki Haley. And the longer he stays in the race, that's going to be primarily
where his attention is going to be.
CORNISH: And she is focused on both of them. She started to spend money in South Carolina, something like $4 million in ad buys. And there is a
positive ad and of course there is a negative ad. And what's interesting is this focuses on both Biden and Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Biden, too old. Trump, too much chaos. A rematch no one wants. There is a better choice for a better America. Her story started
right here, America's youngest governor, a conservative Republican, and boy did she deliver.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CORNISH: So, it's hard to find two metaphorical wars at once. Basil, can you help me understand? When you look at this, do you think that Biden
should be concerned, or there is just like two frontrunners ignoring her?
BASIL SMIKLE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST, & FMR. EXEC. DIR., NEW YORK STATE DEMOCRATIC PARTY: Well, there is one element of it that I think might be
concerning to Democrats, which is that a good chunk of this country doesn't want to see the rematch. I think she is right in that regard, that a lot of
American voters don't want to see a rematch between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. But, I do believe that a lot of these attacks on Donald Trump, for
example, including talking about his mental stability and his age, contribute to the fact that Donald Trump is seething that she won't get out
of the race. So, I think he sees that as a lack of loyalty, a lack of fealty to him, given all that he may have done for her and her career, as
he sees it.
So, I do think that the doubling down on the attacks against him may have worked a month ago, six months ago, but at the -- after New Hampshire,
going into South Carolina, even though she is up on streaming platforms, apparently, I just don't think it has the effect that it would in trying to
make this about a moderate against a conservative in Donald Trump.
SMIKLE: The look ahead to the general election, I also think doesn't really work.
CORNISH: Don't knock streaming, Basil, get us in trouble.
Pete, I want to bring in you as well, obviously. I actually want to put the same question to you about trying to take on basically -- make a
generational argument. I understand it for a general election and a general audience, but she is moving on further through Republican primaries. So,
maybe you can get us inside the thinking.
PETE SEAT, FMR. WHITE HOUSE SPOKESMAN, GEORGE W. BUSH ADMINISTRATION, & FORMER SPOKESMAN, INDIANA REPUBLICAN PARTY: Well, first off, as a
millennial, the generational argument speaks to my heart and to my mind. Unfortunately, for Nikki Haley, it's not speaking to voters. They may say
in polling that they're concerned about the age of Joe Biden, which they should be, and potentially Donald Trump, which they probably should be too.
But, so far, we're not seeing that reflected in the actual voting data, in election night data.
Now, Nikki Haley going to South Carolina, a candidate's home state should be like the free space on a bingo card. She shouldn't have to spend that
much money to do well in her home state. But, if you look at the score card, the endorsements are going to Donald Trump. 13 members of Congress,
the governor, statewide elected officials are with Trump. Only one is with Nikki Haley. She is running ads, reminding South Carolinians what she has
done. And that's a problem that she has to pick up.
CORNISH: Pete, I want to jump in here for a second, because you're right. She is going to meet like a phalanx basically of old friends and foes from
South Carolina. I don't want to interrupt your point. I want to add to it, because the RNC Chairperson Ronna McDonald -- McDaniel actually spoke last
night as well and in a way kind of made it clear how she feels about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RONNA MCDANIEL, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE CHAIR: I'm just saying look at the path and the math, and I think you have to reflect tonight. If
you're on the Haley campaign and say if I'm not on the ballot in Nevada, if I'm not going to maybe win my home state, I just don't see the path and the
math. I hope she reflects tonight. I think it's time to move forward. And I think Donald Trump is going to be the nominee.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CORNISH: Pete, let me come back to you about the path and the math, as she just said, because Haley won 73 percent of moderates in New Hampshire.
Trump won just one in four. Trump is obviously not a moderate candidate. But, does he even want moderate votes, like -- are we just sort of seeing
the dismissal of this portion of the electorate because they're either not enthusiastic enough or are not turning out?
SEAT: Well, this is a Republican primary. So, you're trying to reach Republicans, which -- of course, there are conservatives and moderates in
the Republican Party. But, I think Nikki Haley's vote total was in large part because of those unaffiliated voters, some Democrats that came into
the Republican primary because Joe Biden wasn't on the ballot there. But, if you listen to Nikki Haley, if you read her campaign strategy memo they
put out yesterday, their only rationale for staying in this race right now is that they're already in the race. I'm calling this the Forrest Gump
campaign. Remember when he ran across the country in the movie, he is like, well, I've gone this far. I might as well just keep going. That's Nikki
Kaylee's -- or Nikki Haley's rationale right now is she is in the race. She might as well just stay in the race.
CORNISH: At the same time, Seung Min Kim, we're looking at the exit polls. It shows that 61 percent of New Hampshire Republican primary voters said
that they would be satisfied with Trump as the nominee, but 38 percent say they would be dissatisfied. I mean, what -- can you give us a sense of how
that's viewed in terms of Trump's odds in general, right, that there is still a significant number of voters who are unhappy with him as an option?
KIM: Right. And that data right there is what Democrats are really focusing on this morning and last night after the New Hampshire primaries, because
at some point, Trump is going to have to start building a general election coalition. And that, if you talk to Biden campaign officials, is something
that he cannot build. They say that Trump's, what they call, extremist policies, and the fact that he continues to deny the election, that is not
going to get the voters back that Trump lost in 2020. So, they feel that Trump has a really uphill battle in rebuilding that coalition that can win
him a national election.
We just got off a call with Biden campaign officials about an hour or so ago, and they say that, look, in Iowa, Donald Trump performed worse amongst
suburban and college-educated Republicans. They look towards other sorts of sectors of the voting electorate that say that Donald Trump is actually
doing worse on that they will -- that he would need in general. And yet, you look at the numbers in New Hampshire, that -- there are -- there is a
swath of Republicans who just will not vote for Donald Trump. And that is what's giving hope and faith to a lot of Biden campaign officials this
CORNISH: OK. We're going to have more conversation after this, Basil. I want to get your thoughts as well. But, we've heard plenty of speeches from
the candidates. What do the voters actually have to say? Well, CNN spoke to a lot of Republicans in New Hampshire yesterday, and we're going to hear
what motivated their choices. That's coming up next.
CORNISH: The people of New Hampshire have made their voices heard in the voting booths. CNN spoke with several Republicans and independents asking
that key question, who did you vote for and why? Let's take a listen to what some of them had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think there is one candidate that's really standing up for America. So, that's how I voted.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah. For Donald Trump.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I like Trump. Let's get some rough edges on his personality. But, I do like his policies.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was a Trump supporter for many years. And now I'm a Haley fan. I think it's time for a change.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you like about Nikki Haley?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Several things. One thing, she is not done with Trump.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nikki Haley, for example, did you ever give her any thought of potentially giving her your vote?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, because I just very strongly feel that Trump should be our President.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I like her. I like her. But, I'm going with the popular vote. I want to make sure we have a change of the guard here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, part of it is you believe that Donald Trump can beat Joe Biden.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CORNISH: All right. Bringing back our panel to talk here. I'm from New England, and one of the things people should know is that there are a large
number of what they call unaffiliated voters in New Hampshire. So, they may be partisans, but they just may not be registered with a party. And so,
this is an opportunity, one of the primaries where you can get independents. You can get people kind of switching designations just to
vote in another primary. It's also why it's so closely watched by politicos.
Now, Basil, I want to start with you just because that number says a large number of people don't want Trump. That doesn't mean they do want Biden.
So, what is the opportunity for Democrats there? Is there actually a pickup?
SMIKLE: I mean, I do believe that there is, because, look, and you heard it from one of the gentlemen that was interviewed that he likes Donald Trump
but he understands the rough edges of his personality, which is just a great lie. But, what it suggests is that if you're a Donald Trump
supporter, even if you think the party should go in a different direction, you really feel strongly about Donald Trump, and whatever it is you feel he
provides for the country. And that's an important matchup for Biden and the Democrats.
It's a clear contrast that the Democrats have. And if you listen to what the Democrats have been saying, particularly Biden and Harris in the last
few days, they've been really talking a lot about reproductive rights. The Biden campaign and Biden himself was in South Carolina, for example. So,
every step that they're making right now is a look toward the general election. It is presenting a clear contrast with Donald Trump and Donald
Trump supporters, and has the -- and it has the ability to say, for example, to suburban voters that you want stability, you want good
governance, but you also don't want your rights to continuously be abrogated and pulled back. And I think that's a -- that is going to be a
winning message for Democrats because it has been in 2020 and certainly in the midterms in 2022.
SMIKLE: Pete, to you, what happens to whenever Trump or his dream deferred? Like where do people go now? How do they spend their time? It just == to
me, this looks like a movement and its constituency is cable news.
SEAT: No. They take up a new hobby, knitting, painting, I don't know, something. But, they've been through this more than once. Let's dial back
to 2016. The primary came to my home state of Indiana, a very rare occurrence, in May, and that's when Donald Trump finally secured the
That's when the general election actually started. So, I think we're all itching. It's January 2024, and we're all saying he needs to pivot to the
general. He needs to pivot to the general. There is a lot of time between now and the election. The economy is going to play a huge role in what
happens in the general election. And right now in a primary is an opportunity for voters to cast a protest vote. It's a lot different to cast
that same protest vote in a general election when the winner will sit behind the resolute desk.
CORNISH: It's interesting, to your point, in terms of the exit polling in New Hampshire, the top issues that people said they were interested in,
including -- included immigration, included the economy, included foreign policy. But, when we did this poll back in October, I think immigration was
actually first. And so, you see that infusion of independence. You see like a different energy coming into that primary, and things start to switch.
So, Seung, you were just on a -- Seung Min, you were on a call this morning. Are the Biden folks saying we're really just going to take it to
Trump now? Are they saying, actually, we're going to really finally talk about kitchen table issues in the economy? I know Treasury Secretary Janet
Yellen is speaking. What do they think is the best move out of the gate here?
KIM: I think they believe that they can do both, that they can talk about what they believe are improving economic indicators under President Biden,
despite polling show -- showing that President Biden still remains underwater with voters in terms of their approval on his handling of the
economy. They feel like they can continue to tout the approved economy, his legislative accomplishments, while contrasting Donald Trump and what he
would do when it comes to the economy, for example, looking at the Trump tax cuts that heavily lowered that corporate tax rate. They feel that his
seizing on those types of policies would really help create that contrast for voters. So, it's not just Biden and Trump, but what Biden would do and
has done and what Trump will do and has done.
So, you're going to see that contrast and a lot of several different issues that are coming up that will be priorities for the campaign. Healthcare is
another one. That's something that they talked about this morning. Obviously, you had President Biden this morning talking about the record
enrollment in the ACA -- or the Affordable Care Act enrollment period. And the Biden campaign is using that opportunity to remind voters that
President Trump has -- had repeatedly tried to repeal the Affordable Care Act and has vowed to do again, should he be elected President.
CORNISH: The other issue that's coming up a lot is immigration, obviously. But, it's -- just having covered Congress, it is just one of those issues
that it never goes anywhere, like people talk about it. There is a bipartisan attend, a bipartisan 15. A bunch of people meet in rooms, and
then it's a sort of nothing.
So, Basil, like how can Biden deal with this? Right? It's not like he can rely on Congress to help somehow and Trump wouldn't support that even if
they were interested.
SMIKLE: Well, it's true. And it's one of those -- and as you said, it's one of those really vexing issues because every time we -- there is an attempt
to fix it, it just gets kicked down the curb. And I think when you see that tension here in New York with New York's mayor, for example, who has
routinely gone after the Biden administration in terms of their lack of help and what he feels is their lack of help and support, and has been at
outs in many ways from the Biden administration, members of the same party.
So, I do think it's been really vexing for a lot of Democratic mayors in cities. But, what the Biden administration has done is quietly said to
them, look, we will find ways to solve this issue. We will create a liaison with the Homeland Security for your city to try to get you support, to try
to expedite some of these hearings. I think the governors of individual states have also stepped in a little bit more. That friendly fire, if you
will, is not good for the administration.
But, I do think that over time, the issue itself will subside as a sort of broader issue for the electorate, but it will be a proxy for other things,
for example. In the suburbs, it would be a proxy for crime. It would be a proxy for sort of progressive governance. Right? And I do think that the
Biden administration has an ability to push it back on those -- in terms of those narratives. But --
SMIKLE: -- I do think he has found a way to work with individual mayors and governors to try to clamp down on the friendly fire.
CORNISH: I've asked about immigration. I've asked about the economy, about moderates, and yet, I feel like Nikki Haley had the line of the night last
night in her speech about what she thinks the stakes are and the likelihood of the outcome for this election.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HALEY: Most Americans do not want a rematch between Biden and Trump. The first party to retire its 80-year-old candidate is going to be the party
that wins this election.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CORNISH: People still ask me like in the mall and stuff, is this really it? Like, oh, you work into -- you work for news? Like is this -- are they
really -- is it going to be these guys?
Seung Min, like, how is the White House thinking about this, this idea that people are saying we don't -- this is a meh election.
KIM: Right. Meh is the right word to say. And we've also done polling at the AP that bears this out as well, that this is a rematch that they do not
want to talk to voters who are basically despondent about the choice that they will have to make in November. But, the Biden campaign is very well
aware of those figures. They know that. The President has some work to do when it comes to his approval ratings and whatnot with voters. But, they
really, again, it just keeps going back to that contrast that they want to make. They really felt up until recently that voters were kind of going
about their lives. They're not politically engaged in the day-to-day machinations like you -- that -- like the four of us are. They really
haven't grasped the fact that Donald Trump will likely be the Republican nominee. And they feel that.
Their job right now is to really lay out the stakes of what a Trump second term in office would be. And they feel that if they can sufficiently make
that case, then President Biden would win reelection.
CORNISH: And just a quick last thought here that this is, by doing it again, this is the election we all need maybe to settle once and for all
how we feel about the direction of the country and not think that what happened during the Trump years was some sort of fever dream that could
just be ignored in some way or rethought. This is when people are really going to put down their feelings and make a choice.
We're going to come back and talk in a bit. But, first, President Biden will give a speech to the United Auto Workers union today. Sources tell CNN
the union set to give him its endorsement.
CORNISH: Welcome back to State of the Race. I'm Audie Cornish live in New York. Now, even as a write-in, President Joe Biden won last night's
Democratic primary in New Hampshire by a giant margin, and he is back on the campaign trail today in a sense, but he is actually staying a little
bit closer to home. This time, he is set to speak at a United Auto Workers conference in Washington, and sources tell CNN the union is expected to
endorse him. Biden went to join UAW picket lines in Michigan back in September in a historic show of solidarity from a sitting President.
Arlette Saenz signs joins us now at the White House. Arlette. I feel like a Biden has been pursuing this support, formal support for some time. Can you
talk about sort of the significance of this moment?
ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, this expectation that the UAW will endorse President Biden today could actually add another
element for him to campaign on as he is trying to woo working class voters back to his campaign come November. It comes as the President has already
made clear that he believes that the general election has started, saying - - telling voters that the New Hampshire primary results last night showed that Trump will be the Republican nominee that he will face off against.
And it comes as both Biden and Trump will be trying to make "working class blue collar voters" a focal point of their campaigns. That is something
Biden has tried to stress over and over when he touts himself as the most pro-union President. You've also seen former President Donald Trump trying
to win back some of those working class voters, particularly in the Midwest, disaffected voters who feel that the Democratic Party has not done
enough to help them.
But, this UAW endorsement wasn't always a given. They had been withholding this endorsement for quite some time, expressing some concerns about the
fact that Biden's energy policies were helping to transition, the transition to clean energy and electric vehicles. You have heard Shawn
Fain, the UAW President, speak out quite forcefully, saying that he believes that a Donald Trump presidency would be a disaster. Ultimately,
Biden did stand shoulder to shoulder with the UAW as they were in those contract negotiations with the big three auto companies.
But, one really big question going forward is, how much of this endorsement will matter? If you're getting the union leaders all on board with Biden,
is this something that will actually trickle down to the rank and file members within the union? That is a play that Trump is trying to make
towards those working class, everyday union members.
But, if you take a look at a state like Michigan, and you look at the support from back in 2020, about 67 percent of union households backed
Biden and 36 percent backed Trump. So, that is something that Biden is hoping to replicate heading into 2024. But, there are still really big
questions whether Trump might be successful in wooing those working class voters, especially when you think of states in the blue wall, such as
Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.
CORNISH: Arlette, thanks so much for this context.
So, the panel is back. And guys, I'm obsessed with this topic, because while union membership itself is not up, union actions are. And if we think
about the last year in the U.S., you had Starbucks workers. You had hotel workers in California. You had screenwriters. You had actors. Right? You
had writers. I think at one point, the special effects guys were taking union action. So, how the public views unions has shifted in a way. And
Basil, I want to know if you could talk about what the White House or what Democrats see in the opportunity there?
SMIKLE: Well, I would add another layer to that, which is that you have a lot of other unions organizing, as you talked about Starbucks and so on, in
areas that had previously been sort of looked down upon, like workers in nail salons, workers in carwash -- in car washes, for example, many of whom
are immigrant workers. So, there is this larger effort. Even as you see, in some cases, union membership declining, there is an attempt to expand this
-- the reach of unions, if you will, across the different types of jobs and industries. And that's where I do think that the Biden administration
really does have an advantage in being able to say that, look, his administration, Democrats broadly, they are the party that is trying to
bring more people into the workforce.
And if we pair that with the great jobs numbers, there is this message and narrative that I do think the administration is starting to pivot towards,
which is even if you don't give him credit for the economic numbers themselves, let's talk about how you actually make plans for your economic
future. The tweak there is, let's talk about your economic aspirations. And I think that that's where the language coming from the White House, the
economic numbers and the partnership with the union, both membership and rank and file, really does gel.
CORNISH: And Pete, ever since the Reagan Democrats kind of came into play for the Republican Party, there has been this sense that Democrats have
struggled, maybe, with this constituency. That maybe even the rank and file has a different perception than union leadership, especially in Detroit.
But, at the same time, Trump went to talk to union workers and basically said, you don't need the union. So, can you help us square this? Like, what
is the path for Republicans if they want to pick up any votes there?
SEAT: Well, there is a distinct difference between the endorsement of the union and the support of union members. I know Arlette touched on that, and
it's been mentioned here, but we cannot underestimate or understate that reality. Joe Biden says he has been the most pro-union President, sure, for
the union, for the organization itself, not necessarily for union members. And that's the argument that Donald Trump, that Republicans are going to
make. Joe Biden supports neutrality agreements. He wants to muzzle employers from talking to their employees during unionization talks, and he
is going to do everything he can to tilt things in favor of unions. Is that something that union members want? Not necessarily. So, I think it's going
to become a major part of this campaign, particularly in a state like Michigan, that's a battleground state.
CORNISH: I also want to talk about the other constituency that they're pursuing those people who are concerned about abortion rights. We've seen
in Republican states, Kansas, Ohio, etc., where voters have actually turned out to say they don't want any abortion bans in their state. So, yesterday
in Virginia, President Biden was set to give this major address on this issue. And in the midst of it, he gets interrupted by some hecklers on more
than one topic. But, I want to talk about one in particular which was on the topic of Israel and Gaza. So, just to give you a sense of how it played
out, let's take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Jill and I had a chance to sit down --
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Genocide Joe, how many kids have you killed in Gaza?
AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
AUDIENCE MEMBER: (Inaudible).
AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
BIDEN: -- to help so many women.
BIDEN: MAGA Republicans are trying to limit all women in America from getting a safe and effective medication --
AUDIENCE MEMBER: (Inaudible).
AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
BIDEN: There is one other person who doesn't have a clue about the power of women in America: Donald Trump.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CORNISH: So, people there were yelling Genocide Joe, right, referring to the number -- high number of deaths in Gaza, especially of Palestinians, in
this war between Israel and Hamas. Now, he was there to address an issue that's supposed to appeal to especially young women. That was the thought.
But, when you take a look at older voters, right, and what they think about Biden's handling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, what do we see? Right?
Like, they approve. You move a little down the scale, right, to voters who are under the age of 30, and that number shifts majorly. So, while the
focus has been on college campuses, it does seem like there is a generational issue. And Seung Min, how is the White House thinking of this?
KIM: Right. It's -- I mean, I traveled with the President frequently. And I can't remember a time since basically a couple of weeks after the war
started in early October that there haven't been protesters along the motorcade or that his events haven't been interrupted by demonstrators.
Yesterday's event certainly was the most disruptive. And now, they -- this was actually something that the campaign also addressed this morning. And
when he was -- when they were asked about the frequent interruptions that he got yesterday, likely the interruptions that the President will get in
the future as it relates to the war in Gaza, and they say that the President is very sympathetic to their concerns.
Like, throughout policy, he has tried to make it clear of the humanitarian concerns that he also shares in Gaza. And they also say that how he has
been able to handle those protesters, for example, yesterday, being interrupted more than a dozen times, speaks to his experience, speaks to
sort of his background in this kind of political arena that he is able to not get too riled up and not get too knocked off. But, certainly, you have
a broad message that they want to promote tomorrow -- or promoted yesterday on abortion and he was certain -- they were clearly knocked off that
because of the focus from the base elsewhere on this other issue.
CORNISH: Pete, I want to move to you, because when we look at who do these young people trust just to handle the Israel-Hamas war, the former
President doesn't do a lot better. And this is despite his experience with the Abraham Accords, right, during his tenure, but despite him saying that
there is no wars under his watch, but it's not like people look to him and see a solution.
SEAT: Well, I think these young people are completely misguided in how they view this war that's taking place right now. But, it's something that Joe
Biden and his team are going to have to grapple with. Young people right now are an integral part of their coalition. And if those young people
don't show up to vote for him, it's going to hurt him in those critical battleground states. I don't know how he addresses it. The Biden
administration, the Trump administration will support Israel. America supports Israel. So, they're going to have to find a way to message to
these young people if they want to bring them into the fold.
CORNISH: Well, Pete Seat, thanks so much. Basil Smikle and Seung Min Kim, thank you so much for the lively conversation. Appreciate you.
SMIKLE: Thank you.
CORNISH: OK. Still ahead, we'll talk more about President Biden's reelection chances with the co-chair of his national campaign, Senator
Chris Coons. Stay with us.
CORNISH: With the Republican field down to two and perhaps soon just one, President Joe Biden is taking the gloves off, gearing up for the general
We're joined now by a co-chair of his national reelection campaign, Democratic Senator Chris Coons. Welcome to the program.
SEN. CHRIS COONS (D-DE): Thank you. Great to be on with you.
CORNISH: I've been hearing that there is some new reporting that key Biden advisors will soon move from the White House to the reelection campaign.
These include his 2020 campaign manager Jen O'Malley Dillon, and one of the members of Biden's inner circle, Mike Donilon. And what the reporting is
from our team is that this is intentionally designed to quiet the concern from leading Democrats, including those from former President Barack's
orbit. So, can you give me a sense of is this a kickoff or is this catching up?
COONS: Well, President Biden had a record year of fundraising last year. He has an amazing record of legislative accomplishments to run on, and a
strong team in Wilmington, Delaware, at his campaign headquarters. These two seasoned senior advisors who are going to join the Wilmington office,
the Biden-Harris reelection campaign, are critical parts of his team. This is typical of what happens for a president running for reelection that
folks who are senior advisors in the White House at some point move over to the campaign side.
The president continues to have full confidence in his campaign team. And we'll see him this weekend in South Carolina with yet another campaign
field event. He kicked off his reelection campaign efforts this year at Valley Forge in Pennsylvania, at Charleston in South Carolina, lifting up
this past week of the concerns of reproductive freedom and the right to choice to protect abortion rights here in the United States at a --
COONS: -- joint appearance with Vice President Kamala Harris. So, I think the President's campaign is well underway.
CORNISH: Now, this is a very different election from 2020. In that case, it feels like the -- that Joe Biden won. He had to campaign during the
pandemic, right? So, different in terms of events, approach with the public. But also, he was then saying, look, I'm going to kind of save you
from chaos and get back to normalcy. Now, voters are going to be judging him off the last four years his record, and yet that seems to be the part
that even Democrats are saying isn't being said loud enough. Here is Jim Clyburn, obviously, of the House Democrat.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JIM CLYBURN (D-SC): This so-called Rescue Plan, the infrastructure bill, the CHIPS and Science Act, the PACT Act, Inflation Reduction Act. All
of these things make up a legislative -- legislative successes that's been unrivaled by anything. You have to go all the way back to Lyndon Johnson,
and find anything close to it. We have got to do a better job of penetrating this, because the misinformation is great.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CORNISH: No one knows more than Jim Clyburn about campaigning for Joe Biden, right, in a heated moment. But, this criticism seems to be leveled
at you guys, at the team that you're not doing enough. Can you -- what's the response to this right now?
COONS: Well, the response is what's happening on the ground and in people's lives, and we're seeing real change as a result. Let me pick one quick
example. As Congressman Clyburn knows all too well, those of us with family members who have diabetes, as his late wife did, have just experienced a
huge change in cost. $35 a month now is the cap for insulin. It used to cost hundreds of dollars a month for anybody with diabetes. This is
impacting millions of families. And we saw just last month, consumer confidence take the biggest positive jump in 30 years.
So, that great legislative record of accomplishments that my friend and fellow co-chair Congressman Clyburn was talking about is having an impact
in record job creation, in record low unemployment for the longest period in modern American history, and with reducing costs on things like
CORNISH: Before I let you go, I know that there are negotiations going on right now with the supplemental funding bill, and importantly, apparently
to the voters, certainly in New Hampshire, on border and immigration issues. And yet, the Republican Senate conference, understanding is things
got really heated in their meeting. So, what does this mean for Democrats? How do you get to deal with folks who kind of can't get a deal with
COONS: Well, that's part of the challenge of this Congress. The House has been a mess. They went weeks and weeks without a speaker. They threw out a
Speaker in a manner that hadn't happened before in our republic. And right now, we are at the table in the final steps with a deal, and Republicans
need to decide if they can accept it. If, as they have said over and over in the last few years, if there is in fact a crisis at the border and
President Biden and Democrats in the Senate have negotiated to a strong border secure already package, they need to be willing to accept it or take
the responsibility for millions more crossing our border or coming to our border for the human suffering of families that are paying coyotes to be
smuggled to the border with the United States.
This package includes critical funding for Ukraine, and Ukraine cannot make it any further this winter in their brave fight against Russian aggression.
It also includes critically needed humanitarian assistance funding that's needed in countries from Sudan, to Gaza, to Ukraine, to Somalia. So, I am
pushing my Republican colleagues to get to the table and finalize this deal and accept it because it's what we all need to move forward.
CORNISH: Does jamming that many things into a bill ever really work for getting it moving?
COONS: I'm sorry.
CORNISH: Does jamming that many issues into a bill ever really work? Right? You talked about Ukraine --
CORNISH: -- border, etc. That's a lot.
COONS: Yes. I've only been here 13 years. But, we've seen several big packages that include a variety of different provisions. And some folks
will vote for it because they really care about the humanitarian relief. Some folks will vote for it because they really care about border security.
Some folks will vote for it because they really care about Ukraine. But, in the end, compromise requires saying this is as good a package as we can
get. Don't take my word for it. Two Republican senators, Senator Tillis and Senator Thune, said just a few days ago, even if President Trump is elected
and they take control of the Senate, they won't get a stronger border deal than the one that's on the table right now.
CORNISH: Very good context. Senator Chris Coons, thank you for joining us.
COONS: Thank you.
CORNISH: South Carolina voters were among those carefully following the New Hampshire primary results. Ahead, we're going to hear what they thought.
CORNISH: Now that the New Hampshire primary is over, all attention is on South Carolina. So, what do voters in the Palmetto State think of last
night's results? Here is CNN's Gary Tuchman.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know you have a long to go. But, at least at the moment, some of the places you need to fill in --
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): We watched CNN's New Hampshire primary coverage with loyal Republicans from South Carolina, what
could be a crucial primary state. Most of the people we watched with are planning to vote for Donald Trump. Nine of these 13 said they will vote for
the former President.
TUCHMAN: And Donald Trump made it clear in his speech he thinks this is over. Nikki Haley says she is continuing. Who thinks it's over? You do?
Tell me why?
RENATA DASILVA, SOUTH CAROLINA TRUMP SUPPORTER: Because the results that we got tonight, that was the answer for her. It's over.
TUCHMAN: What do you think?
MACKENZIE DAVIS, SOUTH CAROLINA TRUMP SUPPORTER: I agree. I do think that it's over. We'll see when South Carolina -- but I think that it's over.
TUCHMAN: Do you think Nikki Haley should stay in the race?
LARRY KOBROVSKY, REPUBLICAN CHARLESTON COUNTY COUNCIL MEMBER: I think it would be a very tough road for her. I think you look at our state, our
governor, and both our senators and five of our six congressmen all came out for Trump.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Two people on our panel are planning to vote for Nikki Haley.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She said she is going to stay in the race and we'll see what she does. I think at the proper time she'll make that decision. But
right now, she is not at that position -- at that decision yet.
DICKIE SCHWEERS, SOUTH CAROLINA HALEY SUPPORTER: I think she should stay in the race. I think she has come from behind in other races and I think she
has four weeks, I believe it is, to make some changes in her campaign. And I think she needs to really drive her message home to South Carolina
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Notably, 12 of the 13 people in our group tell us they thought Nikki Haley was a good governor.
GRAHAM HORSMAN, SOUTH CAROLINA TRUMP SUPPORTER: Well, I think it's undeniable that Nikki Haley had a good track record as governor. But
President Trump had a good track record as President.
MAMIE RAND, SOUTH CAROLINA TRUMP SUPPORTER: I don't know if it's so much that she wouldn't do a good job at that. I just think she is the wrong
person for the job at this time.
TUCHMAN: Why is that? Why is that?
RAND: I just think Donald Trump has made a presence in our world. He has made hard decisions with other leaders all across the world.
TUCHMAN: It's a survey we've done in Iowa and a survey we did in New Hampshire. Is Donald Trump fit for the presidency if he is convicted of one
of these felonies against him? Raise your hand if you think he is fit for the presidency even if he is a convicted felon. High -- raise it high so we
can see you. Raise your hand if you don't he's fit for the presidency. All right.
SCHWEERS: I'll qualify that. I think he -- it would need to go through all the appeals right on up the ladder. And if he is still guilty, then I don't
think I would find him fit.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): The South Carolina Republican primary is on February 24. Gary Tuchman, CNN, Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.
CORNISH: A glimmer of what's ahead. I'm Audie Cornish, and that's the State of the Race today, Wednesday, January 24. Stay with CNN because One World
is up next.