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State of the Union

Interview With Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN); Interview With Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA). Aired 9-10a ET

Aired December 01, 2019 - 09:00   ET




DANA BASH, CNN HOST (voice-over): Put up or shut up? President Trump's been railing against the impeachment process.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Crooked politicians not giving us due process.

BASH: And now Democrats are trying to call his bluff, giving him a deadline to participate in impeachment hearings. Will the president decide to have his lawyers make his case in Congress?

And ad wars. Democrats hopefuls blanket the Iowa airwaves, spreading their message by digging deep into their wallets. How will the advertising blitz change the race?

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I compete by talking to actual voters and not just going on the airwaves. That is how I'm going to win.

BASH: We will ask presidential contender Amy Klobuchar about her strategy next.

Plus: Thanks, Obama. In Iowa, the race is on to grab some of the former president's 2008 magic.

PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: A different young presidential candidate with a funny name.

BASH: But what is President Obama's message to the 2020 hopefuls?


BASH: Hello. I'm Dana Bash, in for Jake Tapper in Washington, where the state of our union is gearing up.

Today is the first day of a month that could define the Trump presidency. And we're heading into a critical week, as the impeachment inquiry moves into a new phase.

Tomorrow, members of the House Intelligence Committee are expected to review its impeachment report before it goes to a vote on Tuesday, according to a committee official. The report will then be delivered to the Judiciary Committee ahead of its first impeachment hearing on Wednesday.

While Democratic lawmakers spent their holiday preparing for a potential impeachment, President Trump spent his holiday avoiding it, celebrating Thanksgiving with a surprise visit to U.S. troops in Afghanistan and preparing to travel to London to mark the 70th anniversary of NATO, all while the president and his legal team are facing a deadline of Friday at 5:00 p.m. to decide whether they will mount a defense before the House Judiciary Committee.

Joining me now is 2020 presidential candidate Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, also a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Thank you so much for coming in. Appreciate it.

KLOBUCHAR: Thank you. Great to be on.

BASH: So, key witnesses who might have firsthand knowledge of what President Trump's involvement was, people like White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former National Security Adviser John Bolton, they all haven't testified.


BASH: But the House is moving forward anyway. Would you like to see those witnesses testify during a Senate trial?

KLOBUCHAR: You know, you always like to hear more testimony. And maybe that will happen.

But I think the point that Adam Schiff has made is, you don't want to allow the administration to play rope-a-dope with the courts and have this delayed and delayed and delayed. They have to make a decision, and they're going to move forward.

Having additional witnesses is always helpful. And that may -- the president claims he wants everyone to testify, so why doesn't he let them testify?

BASH: Right. That's -- I get that. That's true about the strategy that House Democrats have in the House. But it's a whole new world in the Senate.

Do you think that there's a way to compel those people to testify in the trial?

KLOBUCHAR: There may be.

When you look at past impeachment hearings, negotiations happen about who the witnesses are and how they're going to testify. All that's going to happen.

But the biggest obligation here, Dana, is to go forward with this. It's -- James Madison -- I always like to cite him because he was 5'4'' -- that's my height -- for a president.

And he said at the Constitutional Convention that the reason he wanted impeachment provisions in there is because a president could betray the trust of the American people to a foreign power.

That's what happened here. That's why we're going forward. That's why you saw those incredible diplomats and military personnel and people like Lieutenant Colonel Vindman, who said to his dad: It's OK. I can tell the truth in America.

They're simply coming forward and telling the truth. And I see this proceeding as part of a much bigger -- bigger theme with this president. He is someone that puts private interests, partisan interests, and his own political interests in front of the country's.

BASH: So let me ask how it could affect you, Amy Klobuchar, candidate for president.


BASH: I was traveling with Vice President Biden in New Hampshire recently, and pretty much all the voters I talked to who came out to see him said that they were deciding between him, Pete Buttigieg, and you.

So you are now -- because of impeachment, you are now going to likely be in Washington for the beginning of 2020, and not out with the voters, as you just said, in your campaign is the way that you really connect with people.


So, as someone who just started to gain traction, will you be at a disadvantage because of this trial?

KLOBUCHAR: I meet whatever obstacle is put in front of me. And this is more than an obstacle. It's my constitutional obligation.

But I have many people that are going to be out there for me if I can't leave for a few weeks. That includes my husband and daughter, who are excellent campaigners. But it also includes all of our endorsers.

I have more endorsers of elected and former electeds in Iowa than anyone else.

BASH: But they're not you.

KLOBUCHAR: And that includes -- I know, but I just picked up the mayor of Fertile, Dana, Fertile, population 362. She could be out there for me.

The governor of Minnesota has already been down in Iowa. He's an incredible campaigner, lieutenant governor, highest ranking American Indian elected in the country.

BASH: One last question about impeachment. Then I want to move on.

From what you have seen, is there any chance that you would vote to acquit the president? KLOBUCHAR: At this point, I don't see that.

But I'm someone that wants to look at every single count. I have made very clear I think this is impeachable conduct.


Let's turn to some issues in the 2020 race. A big debate on the campaign trail this week has been about four-year college. You do not support free four-year college, I should say.

You say you're not for -- quote -- "sending rich kids to college for free."

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called that point of view a -- quote -- "GOP talking point," saying universal systems should benefit everyone and rich kids would go to elite private schools anyway.

How do you respond?

KLOBUCHAR: Well, first, I think she was responding to an ad that Mayor Buttigieg had put out.

BASH: But you have the same position.

KLOBUCHAR: Yes, but, in fact, I have had this position from the very beginning at the CNN town hall, in which I made very clear -- and I made my mark with this position.

But I would have done a different kind of ad that might have brought some people with me more.

And that is this. Let us look at our economic needs and match them to our education system. And that means making it easier and more affordable for kids to go to college by doubling Pell Grants. That also means making loan repayments much easier.

But what would I make free? The one- and two-year degrees. Why? Fastest growing area of jobs.


BASH: But not giving...


KLOBUCHAR: We're not going to have a shortage of MBAs or CEOs.

BASH: But not giving it to everyone, is that a GOP talking point?

KLOBUCHAR: No, I don't think it is. I think it's a talking point for our economy.

And let me explain why. We're not going to have a shortage of MBAs or CEOs. We're going to have a shortage of plumbers in the next 10 years. We're going to have 74,000 openings for electricians. We're going to have over a million openings for home health care workers.

The way you approach this is by saying, let's make it easier for people to afford school. Let's try to direct people into the areas we know we're going to have jobs. And let's respect the dignity of work.

For those jobs that don't pay as well, let's make sure people have access to child care and retirement, higher minimum wage, making it easier to organize unions. That is a different message than just a negative message.

BASH: So, let me ask you about your stump speech.

You have added a new line over the last several weeks. You say -- quote -- "We can't afford to screw this up."


BASH: What do you mean by that?

KLOBUCHAR: I mean by this, if Donald Trump gets elected, shame on us.

I mean that we need to bring our party together and bring with us independents and moderate Republicans, just like I have done in all my races...

BASH: So...

KLOBUCHAR: ... where I have run in suburbs, rural, and in urban areas.

BASH: So are you saying, if one of your competitors who is less moderate than you is the nominee, you're going to screw it up as a party?

KLOBUCHAR: What I'm saying is, we need to put someone at the head of the ticket that can actually bring people with us.

And I am the only one on that debate stage that has led a ticket over and over again where I have brought in suburbs, rural areas, and urban areas in a big, big way. And every time I have led a ticket, we flip the statehouse in my state. And I can do the same nationally.

I think that matters. I think that experience of winning and knowing how to build that coalition matters. And that is the argument I'm going to keep making.

BASH: But there seems to be a subtext in that -- in the phrase "We can't screw this up."


I -- I also think that we have to have a platform that is big and bold, because there is not a monopoly on big ideas, but that brings people with us.

And that is why, from the beginning, I'm the only one on the stage that did not get on -- member of Congress did not get on that bill that would have kicked 149 million people off their health care in just four years.

BASH: OK. So, I'm going to get to health insurance in a second.

First, I want to ask about one of your competitors in the so-called moderate lane that you just described, Pete Buttigieg. He talked in the last debate about suggesting that anti-LGBTQ discrimination helps him understand racism.

Let's listen.


BUTTIGIEG: While I do not have the experience of ever having been discriminated against because of the color of my skin, I do have the experience of sometimes feeling like a stranger in my own country, turning on the news and seeing my own rights come up for debate.



BASH: So I talked to the mayor afterwards. He told me that being black in America is by no means the same or equivalent or in some ways even comparable to the experience of being gay.

But Kamala Harris didn't see it that way. She said his comment was misguided, not productive, and a bit naive.

What do you think?

KLOBUCHAR: I don't think it's equivalent. But, at the same time, he has a right to make what arguments he wants to make.

I think what's key here is that, yes, I have not had that experience of going into a maternity room and saying to a doctor, my hands are swollen, and the doctor doesn't listen, and then you lose your baby.

I have not had that experience of being -- making so much less than white people do, which so many of African-Americans have that experience every single day.

But what I do know is the answer. I do know the answer is economic justice and making sure we give opportunity to more people of color, and we give them the opportunity to go into those jobs that are so high-paying, like tech jobs.

The second thing I know is, no one is going to get their rights if we shut them out from voting, which is why I have been a leader on voting rights from the very beginning. And that's why I emphasized that in the debate. It's why I did an event on that in Atlanta. And it's what I talked about when I was in South Carolina the last few days.

BASH: Let me -- I said I would get to health care. Just really briefly, your plan is -- is not on automatic Medicare for all, like you said, but allows people to buy into a public option. It's similar to Vice President Biden's plan. He says his plan would cover 97 percent of Americans, which means 10 million Americans would still be left without insurance.

Yes or no, would your plan also leave millions of Americans with no health insurance?

KLOBUCHAR: What my plan would do is cover millions more Americans than where we are right now. And we have to start somewhere.

And the other thing that I think gets lost in that argument is that it would make health care more affordable for everyone, because, when you have a nonprofit public option, it brings down premiums for everyone.

BASH: But some people -- millions of people would not have insurance still.

KLOBUCHAR: Immediately, not everyone would be covered, but they would have a much better ability to buy in and to get insurance and to get covered that they -- that they don't have now. I can't force everyone to be covered, but it would give them a much bigger option.

And in addition to that, we must take on the pharmaceutical prices, something that has gotten lost in this debate, which I don't really think is real, Dana. I don't think it's real, because you have got major leaders in our own party that have problems for Medicare for all.

But what is real is, people need more help with mental health care, long-term care insurance, taking on Alzheimer's, and taking on pharma prices. Those are the things we should be focusing on, on the debate.

BASH: Senator -- Senator Amy Klobuchar, thank you so much.

KLOBUCHAR: Thank you, Dana.

BASH: Appreciate it.

KLOBUCHAR: Great to be on.

BASH: And my next guest worked on the past two presidential impeachments, and now she will consider the case against President Trump.

I will ask her how it compares next.

And the president has a big decision to make: Should his lawyers appear before Congress to defend him?

Stay with us.


[09:16:53] BASH: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION. I'm Dana Bash.

This week, the House Judiciary Committee will begin considering whether to draft articles of impeachment against President Trump.

For one of the Democrats on this committee, this is the third impeachment inquiry she's going to be a part of. Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren worked for three proceedings -- on them -- against President Nixon, President Clinton, and now President Trump.

And the California congresswoman joins me now.

Wow, that's quite a history you have there. Thank you for joining us today.

So, your committee will hold its first public hearing in the impeachment inquiry on Wednesday, just hours after the...


BASH: ... House Intelligence Committee is expected to approve its report and send it over to your committee.

We have seen a lot of public testimony in the last few weeks. What's the biggest question left in your mind ahead of the beginning of your hearings?

LOFGREN: Well, I think, you know, unlike some of the other proceedings, we got the best evidence at the very beginning.

The "do me a favor, though," phone call laid out really a this-for- that, improper scenario, where the foreign aid that had -- was the law to be released was being held for a personal political reason. And all of the testimony subsequent to that really just buttressed what appeared at the beginning.

The shocking thing to me is that the people who could have come forward and perhaps given a more benign explanation were -- were prevented from doing so by the president, which does make you infer that they really could not exonerate the president.

The question now is what to do about it.

BASH: So, there is a very real debate, as you well know, in your caucus about how narrow the articles of impeachment should be, whether they should be limited only to the Ukraine issue, or whether it should be broader to also include parts of the Mueller report.

Where do you stand?

LOFGREN: Well, I think we will get into that. We haven't started drafting articles. And I don't think we will until after the hearing this week.

BASH: But what do you think they should be? Should they be broader? LOFGREN: Well, I think the evidence that is being presented to us by

the Intelligence Committee really focuses on the Ukraine matter, so -- as well as the obstruction.

So, I'm sure that will be -- if we do articles -- and that's not a foregone conclusion -- that would be the central thrust, I would assume.

BASH: You really don't think it's a foregone conclusion?

I mean, you said that the evidence was there from the -- from the summary transcript of the July 25 phone call.

LOFGREN: Well, here's the question.

It is, in the Constitution, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors that is the cause for impeachment. And there's -- there's meaning to all of those terms. And that's what our hearing this week will be about. What does the Constitution mean when it says that?


I have got a report from the Nixon impeachment that goes into the history on that. It's on my Web site, if anyone wants to read it.

And the question is, should that misconduct result in impeachment? And we need to sort through the severity, the risk to the Constitution, the risk to our national security that the president's actions pose.

BASH: Well...

LOFGREN: It's not just misconduct.

I mean, there's plenty of misconduct in the history of the United States among presidents, but it's not all impeachable.

BASH: So you talk about the history there.

Of course, you are steeped in it. You are the only member of Congress, as I mentioned, who worked on both the Nixon and Clinton impeachments.


BASH: You even wrote one of the articles of impeachment against Nixon while working for a Congress member.

LOFGREN: Yes, I did.

BASH: So, the Intelligence chairman, Adam Schiff, says, President Trump, his conduct has been far more serious and beyond anything that Nixon did.

You were there. We're seeing pictures of it.

Do you agree?

LOFGREN: Actually, I do agree.

The president -- President Nixon's misconduct related to trying to use the levers of government to hide the Watergate burglary to -- his misconduct had to do with trying to throw the election.

But at least it didn't involve involving other foreign nations. If you take a look at the -- what the founding fathers were concerned about, it was the interference by foreign governments in our political system that was one of their gravest concerns.

Nixon's behavior didn't fall into that range. So, in that way, this -- this conduct is more serious.

BASH: So, I have to circle back to the -- what we were talking about a moment ago, which is that you're saying it's more serious than what Nixon did.

And yet you're not ready to go there on flatly saying that the articles of -- at least one article of impeachment will pass.

LOFGREN: Well, I -- here's what I want to do.

I want to let the process play out. We're going to have our hearing. Then we will have debate that includes all the members of the committee, including the Republican members.

We have invited the president or his counsel to appear to provide information. And let's see this process play out.

You know, if we have got it wrong -- it doesn't look like we do, but I would welcome an opportunity to reach a different conclusion about the president's misconduct.

This is not a great time for the country to have a president revealed as doing something so counterproductive to the national interest. It would be wonderful if there were some benign explanation. I'm struggling to think what it would be at this point, but we have to at least allow for that possibility.

And -- but if the president's behavior is as it appears so far, that is a very serious matter that threatens our constitutional order...

BASH: So, let's go back to...

LOFGREN: .. as well as our national security.

BASH: Let's go back to 1998.

You railed against Republicans then after President Bill Clinton's impeachment.


BASH: You suggested the Republicans were engaged in -- quote -- "American fascism," calling it a partisan lynching and a Republican overthrow of government.

So, if House Democrats do go forward and impeach the -- President Trump without any Republican support, would you call that a Democratic overthrow of government?

LOFGREN: Certainly not.

My concern with the Clinton impeachment was that there was no high crime or misdemeanor. Lying about sex does not disrupt the constitutional order. It doesn't threaten the national security.

I mean, we're not pursuing President Trump's lying about sex. I mean, his former lawyer is in prison because he lied about the president's affairs. That has nothing to do with undercutting the constitutional order.

If we were pursuing President Trump because of his cover-up of his affairs, that would be improper. And we're not going to do that.

BASH: So, let me ask you another thing about the -- the strategy going forward that you have talked about, which is that you have said that it's important to have consensus moving forward on impeachment.

So, given that, do you feel confident and comfortable going forward even if there is no Republican who comes along and votes yes along with Democrats?

LOFGREN: Well, I'm hoping that each one of us in the House, no matter what our party affiliation, will take a look at the evidence and do what's right for our country, upholding the standards of the Constitution.


I know that each member of Congress takes an oath to defend the Constitution when we take office. And I -- I have got to believe that the members of both parties that look at the evidence will make sure that that oath is adhered to.

BASH: Have you...

LOFGREN: I wouldn't assume that...

BASH: Go ahead.


LOFGREN: ... that members will -- will just ignore their obligations under the Constitution.

BASH: OK, one last question. You are a veteran member of Congress. You have relationships across

the aisle. Has any Republican even suggested to you that they're considering it?

LOFGREN: I haven't directly asked members if they are considering a vote for it.

But I have talked to members across the aisle who are very concerned and -- and disturbed by what the president has done.


Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, thank you so much for joining me. I appreciate it.

LOFGREN: Thank you.

BASH: And Democrats in the House are moving on to a new phase of the impeachment inquiry, but have the public hearings done enough to convince their constituents back home?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To many of us, there appears to be nothing there.

When you listen to...






TRUMP: We had a great two weeks. Watching these crooked politicians not giving us due process. Not giving us lawyers. Not giving us the right to speak.


BASH: President Trump will get a chance to defend himself in the impeachment inquiry should he choose to accept it. He has to inform Congress this week whether his lawyers will participate. Let's discuss with our amazing panel.

David Urban, will they or won't they?

DAVID URBAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I would bet that they will not.

BASH: Good move or not? URBAN: I think it is a great move. Listen -- so several things. First of all, there is a hearing on Wednesday and nobody knows who is showing up. We don't know who the witnesses are. So why would you participate in a hearing you don't even know who the witnesses are.

Number two, I think it is best in their best interest to wait until the actual trial. This is a foregone conclusion what is happening in the House. And I think if you're going to -- if you're going to send your lawyers up, you wait until it gets to the Senate until there is actually a hearing.

KAREN FINNEY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: But the point is, right, two things, one, the report is going to be coming from the intelligence committee. I think it is available as of 6:00 tomorrow for people -- so people can't say they didn't get to see it, then it gets released, then they start hearings in the Judiciary Committee to start drafting the articles of impeachment. And, you know, the president has said, oh, I'm not getting due process, which is absolutely not true. This is a very similar process to what they did with President Bill Clinton.

They will have the opportunity to ask for certain witnesses to be called to have lawyers present, the president doesn't want to be there that's fine but I do think it's an important -- it's important that the Democrats are trying to follow a very specific process to build their case, to build the narrative about what happened. That is exactly what you saw Adam Schiff do over the last couple of weeks.

BASH: So -- go ahead.

HILARY ROSEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I was going to say there is another reason why I think they should participate which is that there are multiple areas that the Judiciary Committee is going to consider in the articles of impeachment. There is the underlying crime itself and they're going to decide whether or not that meets the standard of high crimes and misdemeanor that the president bribed and extorted a foreign government to get money for his domestic political use. But then there is an obstruction of justice charge.

And the president not participating in this process, continuing to stonewall the Judiciary Committee, not giving documents, not giving testimony, not participating in the process, I think accelerates the impetus for an obstruction of justice charge. And, by the way, that's actually not constitutional. And you might just get some members of Congress who think, you know what, this might not rise to the level of impeachment, what he did with Ukraine, I disagree but they may say that, but it will be impossible for them to say that he's not obstructing the process.


URBAN: I just say the cake is baked. Why participate in at point. The outcomes is foregone --

DOUG HEYE, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Donald Trump is going to defend himself he's just not going to do so most likely in the form that the Democrats choose. He will defend himself on Twitter. He will defend himself in pool sprays and gaggles outside of the White House. He'll define himself at rallies. We'll hear no shortage of words for Donald Trump on this, whatever they ultimately may be.

BASH: Doug, I want you to look at this -- everybody as well because while people were hopefully taking a break and digesting their turkey, a lot happened this past week with regard to impeachment. Just look at some of the headlines.

Trump knew of the whistle-blower complaint when he released the aid to Ukraine. Giuliani pursued business in Ukraine while pushing inquiries. Witness testimony and records raise questions about the account of the president's "no quid pro quo." And it goes on and on and on.

Doug, you understand the DNA of House Republicans very well. You worked there for a long time. Explain to people how this does not -- none of this is seeming to penetrate the House Republican conference.

HEYE: Yes. I would say impeachment is in the eye of the beholder on -- in both parties. For Republicans --

BASH: But are facts?

HEYE: Facts are really what you're hearing from your constituents at this point which is not exactly the most refreshing news in the world but what Republicans hear when they go home is, you better stand behind the president. And so tomorrow is going to be a very interesting day, I think, for Democrats because House leadership will sit down with some their members, the House Democratic leadership as do Republicans, and they'll be asked, what are you hearing in your district? What are people saying to you? And these swing Democrats, how many of them are going to say, I'm getting killed back home?

Republicans are getting killed back home from their constituents saying stand by the president. Are Democrats being pushed in the same way -- swing Democrats --

BASH: Did you peek into the rundown of the show? Because that's exactly what we're going to show.

URBAN: To Doug's points, 13 -- there are 31 Democrats in seats that president won, Trump won.


Thirteen of those are Romney, McCain-Trump districts, right? That the president -- the Republican president has won those districts the past three elections.

BASH: OK. I'm going --

URBAN: Are those guys going to walk the plank?

BASH: Hold on. Hold that thought because this is what I was referring to with Doug looking at our plans for the show. One of those, I believe, fits that bill definitely is in a Trump district is Mikie Sherrill. She is a congresswoman who like other Democrats who

are in Trump districts went at it, went toe-to-toe with their constituents in town halls. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you going to go along with the impeachment or will you have the courage and we can't spend the next year investigating? Let the voters decide who their president should be --

REP. MIKIE SHERRILL (D-NJ): I did not run for office to impeach the president. The president crossed a line for me.


BASH: To our Democratic operatives?

ROSEN: Very important --


ROSEN: -- what she said which is she did not run for office to impeach the president. That is why Nancy Pelosi is determined to get this out of the House

before the end of the year. Because House Democrats do not actually want to spend the next year talking about impeachment. Congress members like Mikie Sherrill reluctantly came to this because they care about national security. We saw she was one of those signers of that final letter that pushed Speaker Pelosi over the line that said we cannot let a president manipulate foreign aid this way. It is against the constitution. It is a dishonor to our troops.

They reluctantly are doing this. They want to get it moving. But to suggest somehow that this is a political thing that is going to hurt them, I don't think so.

BASH: She doesn't want to be defined by it but Republicans are going to make her.

ROSEN: But you know what? She has a long time to make this up and nobody believes that members like Mikie Sherrill are actually doing this with pleasure.

FINNEY: And I think there are two things we should pay attention to, number one, going back to what Hillary said, people understand obstruction of justice. They understand a president who thinks he's so far above the law he doesn't have to participate, he doesn't have to give you any documents. That's an argument that you're going to see Democrats make and I think it's going to be effective.

But the second thing is what the speaker said, the woman -- the question she said, she didn't say she didn't support impeachment. I didn't hear that. I heard her say is this what you're going to spend your time on. So here is the thing we have to member. The mood in the country particularly in a lot of these Democratic districts, particularly among -- this is why we're seeing these white suburban women moving in droves away from the Republican Party, they are sick of the drama of Donald Trump. And what they are about to get is a whole lot more.

BASH: We have to take a quick break. Real quick.

HEYE: All of those headlines should be a disaster to for the president. CNN's own polling showed that two weeks of impeachment hearings in the House intel committee didn't move the numbers at all, that has to concern Democrats.

BASH: OK. Everybody stand by. We have a lot more to talk about. Don't go away. People in Iowa they can't turn on their TVs these days without seeing a Democratic campaign ad. What are they seeing and whose ads are the most effective? You want to watch this. Stay with us.




JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We need a leader who can, on day one, stand with our allies.

TOM BLANCHARD, CLINTON, IOWA: Through his whole career he has fought for our cases. Bernie fights for the average Joe.

MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D-IN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: These are big ideas. We can gather the majority to drive those big ideas through without turning off half of the country.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'll make big investments in American research, American industry and American workers.


BASH: With just 64 days until the Iowa caucus, who is counting? I guess we are. Candidates are taking their messages directly to the voters in their living rooms, not to mention on their social media feeds. We're back with our panel.

Hilary, Iowa, the big question right now is is it as important as it has been historically -- which I guess even historically there is a mixed bag.

ROSEN: Sure it is. If it weren't important everybody wouldn't be focused on elections. It is nine weeks away. And everyone, you know, Iowa is the first stop for legitimacy in the presidential race.

So, I think though I'm like most Democrats I just want the candidate who's going to beat Donald Trump. And so I think that the race is wide open because of that. And so you look at how the up and down of Iowa and how many times the leader 10 weeks out isn't actually the person who wins Iowa. I think we may be in that situation today. The same thing with New Hampshire. And the same thing with South Carolina. So I can't remember the last time that the Democratic race has felt this up in the air.

FINNEY: I think that is in part because this whole race has been about fear of losing to Donald Trump but the desire to be inspired, right? And I think you've seen voters kind of going back and forth trying to decide it is part of why I think we're having this conversation about Elizabeth Warren and "Medicare for all."

ROSEN: It is the head or the heart.

FINNEY: Exactly. So it's we like her. She's inspiring. It sounds like a good idea but we need to know more and how that's going to work before we're on board fully.

But, look, I think the thing we can't forget is that the calendar is now designed or laid out in such a way Nevada, South Carolina, will be very important. You cannot win the Democratic nomination without proving your ability to win in a diverse electorate. That is just a fact these days. And that is only 10 percent of the delegates available. So we could -- I think we should all prepare for a process that is going to go quite long because it's -- again with so much volatility and then we've got Bloomberg doesn't even start participating until after the first four I think the numbers are going to jump around a little bit.


BASH: Not bad for Republicans.

HEYE: No, but I would say two quick things on Iowa the people forget. One, is it a fluid -- it is a fluid state until caucus day. This will change 10 times not just between now and the new year but until the actual caucus you will see -- who maybe up a week ahead may come in third place because it's that tight.

The other thing is it's not necessarily about winning Iowa. Iowa is about winnowing the process down and who immerges from Iowa regardless of who comes out on top.

URBAN: I'd say to Doug's point about waiting until the last minute to make a decision that is going to be an advantage to a larger group or the members who aren't going to be able to participate because they're going to be sitting in the trial of the president, right? So Senator Warren, Senator Sanders, Senate Klobuchar, who else am I missing --

HEYE: Booker.

BASH: Harris.

URBAN: Booker and Harris.

So half of the field will be sitting in the well of the Senate not being able to speak or move or campaign in Iowa. So they will be -- they will be out of the process there for quite some time. ROSEN: The winnowing process, I would just say that if you don't win Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina or Nevada, your ability to stay in really dries up. I mean, from money, from constituency, from staff.

BASH: So let's talk about Elizabeth Warren. She -- her star was rising, her polls were going up and over the past week or so we've seen them -- her poll numbers broadly go down a little bit. Let's just look about -- look at a CNN poll out this week. Warren slipped five points. Quinnipiac 14, CNN/DMR -- Des Moines Register, 6 percent.

Is this -- is this just kind of par for the course because Iowa in particular or the race in particular is to fluid or is there something specific, namely the fact that she put out a very specific Medicare plan which is, by definition, extremely controversial?

ROSEN: I think that she tripped on the third rail of health care and that essentially Democratic voters have woken up and said, you know what, we actually had a health care system that was getting better, Obamacare was working. Union members were fighting for health care with companies are starting to do wellness programs, I think that her jumping on board with "Medicare for all" and then trying to figure out how to pay for it has been a misstep. And, look --

BASH: Do you think it is a choice?

ROSEN: I think Elizabeth Warren is one of the best economic communicators we have in the party today. I think she describes the process of working families, the struggle of the tension between rich people and poor people better than anybody else. The problem is is that she just tripped up in a way to move to the Sanders team and I do think she had a choice.

HEYE: And she tripped up after -- sorry.

ROSEN: She had a choice to get -- to be smarter sooner. If she had done her transition plan when she announced it, I think this might actually be a different conversation today.

HEYE: And she tripped up after weeks of not having a plan for how to pay for it and other Democrats criticizing her. So we had this big unveiling that turned out to not go well for her so the setup or the drama on that was significant.

URBAN: But to Karen's point, no one is going anywhere any time soon.

BASH: Exactly.

URBAN: Elizabeth Warren, may her numbers -- may take a dip but she's in this for the long run. And I think --

FINNEY: A dip, not a drop.

URBAN: A dip, not a drop. And I think, you know, you're not going to have a candidate in my opinion until July. I mean, I think it's going to be a long, long summer. FINNEY: It may be and I know you are hoping for that.


FINNEY: But I also --

URBAN: I projected --

FINNEY: Look, there's another piece of this which is you have to having been through one health care problem in the '90s. Who have -- people are afraid, right? When you are taking something away and you're saying, I'm going to give you something back. And that's the one thing I've been surprised about.

Bernie doesn't care because he's -- he just does what he does. But for Warren, she has got to understand it's not just about how you're going to pay for it. People want to understand what it's going to mean for me.

BASH: Well, thank you all for helping to digest your Thanksgiving here on Sunday morning. Appreciate it. It was a great discussion.

And up ahead, the 2020 candidates may not agree on the right message to defeat president Trump, but as they fight to win Iowa, are they consulting the same 2008 play book? That's next.



BASH: Welcome back. We are still -- there are still 18 people running for the Democratic nomination, and there's one person who could help narrow down that field but he's not going there.



BASH (voice-over): With President Obama staying on the sidelines of the Democratic primary, some 2020 hopefuls are doing what they can to draw a personal connection to the last Democratic president, especially where it all started for him, in Iowa.

OBAMA: It is good to be back in Iowa where Mayor Pete Buttigieg certainly seems open to comparisons with Obama and his message of generational change.

BUTTIGIEG: When I was knocking on doors in rural Iowa for a different young presidential candidate with a funny name.

BASH: And if this drum line with Senator Kamala Harris in Iowa looks familiar, it's the same one that Obama marched with in 2007. In an Iowa campaign video Harris reminisced about breaking barriers and --

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Campaigning for a senator by the name of Barack Obama.

BASH: And, of course, former Vice President Joe Biden has made his relationship with the president he served with central to his 2020 pitch.

BIDEN: Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

Barack and I never disagreed on the strategy.

Barack and I did a pretty good job.


BASH: In a race where most Democrats say their top priority is finding someone who can beat Trump, Obama is giving some hints about how to do it.

The former president warned the 2020 field to remain -- quote -- "rooted in reality."

OBAMA: The average American doesn't think that we have to completely tear down the system and remake it.

BASH: But he also gave a nod to progressives in his party.

OBAMA: I wouldn't run the same campaign today, in this environment as I ran in 2008.

BASH: So, for those looking to take on the Obama mantle, his message seems to be you need your own.


BASH: Happy Thanksgiving and thank you for spending your Sunday morning with us.

Coming up, what history can teach us about impeachment. Fareed Zakaria has that next.