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State of the Union
Remembering Cokie Roberts; Interview With U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm; Interview With Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ); Interview With New York City Mayor-Elect Eric Adams; Interview With Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA); Interview With Gov. Larry Hogan (R-MD). Aired 9-10a ET
Aired November 07, 2021 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DANA BASH, CNN HOST (voice-over): Done deal. President Biden is ready to break ground on his infrastructure bill.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Finally, infrastructure week.
BASH: But as moderates hold the line on his social safety net bill, can he deliver that too? I will speak with Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and House moderate Democrat Josh Gottheimer.
And new playbook? Republicans made gains with voters who backed Biden, raising hopes for a House GOP takeover next year.
GLENN YOUNGKIN (R), VIRGINIA GOVERNOR-ELECT: Let's climb that hill together.
BASH: Have Republicans found a way to manage the Trump factor? GOP Governor Larry Hogan joins me in moments.
Plus: Message received? Democrats point fingers about their election losses. What lessons should the party learn?
ERIC ADAMS (D), NEW YORK CITY MAYOR-ELECT: We must get back on the ground and impact the things that are important to people.
BASH: The mayor-elect of New York City, Eric Adams, is here, as well as Virginia's Democratic Senator Mark Warner.
BASH: Hello. I'm Dana Bash in Washington, where the state of our union is feeling some whiplash.
After a bruising Election Day for Democrats, President Biden spent the weekend celebrating a significant win, bipartisan passage of his $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, which passed the House overnight Friday with the support of 13 Republicans and gives billions of dollars to the nation's bridges and roads, as well as broadband, water and energy systems.
Saturday, the president heralded a victory, calling it a monumental step forward as a nation. The president is still pushing Democrats on the Hill to pass the other half of his domestic agenda, the $1.75 trillion social spending bill and climate bill.
The administration had hoped to pass this legislation together, but the timeline for the larger bill slipped last week after moderates in the House demanded more information on the bill's cost.
Joining me now, someone who was deeply involved in the push for the infrastructure bill, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm.
Thank you so much for joining me.
JENNIFER GRANHOLM, U.S. ENERGY SECRETARY: You bet.
BASH: Nice to see you in person.
GRANHOLM: Yes, likewise.
BASH: It's a very large piece of legislation, almost law.
I want to narrow in on a couple specific parts of it. The president said yesterday that the bill will -- quote -- "reduce supply chains' bottlenecks now and for decades to come" and -- quote -- "ease inflationary pressure."
When can American families expect to feel that relief?
GRANHOLM: Yes, it's -- this is a really great question, because, obviously, this -- the president is focused really in the short term and in the long term.
In the short term, these inflationary pressures, the price of fuel, for example, is high at the top of his list. And so the question is as, we move out of COVID, we know that that has been creating these supply chain bottlenecks. And that includes in the fuel sector as well.
And so the Energy Information Agency, which is in the Department of Energy, has its forecast for the winter coming up in two days. And we will be looking to see what the prices are looking like there.
But know that the -- all of the economists that the president has been relying on suggest that there is a transitory nature -- nature to the inflation problem as we move through the pandemic. And we want to make sure that we get everybody vaccinated, so that we can unclog the bottlenecks that we have been seeing.
BASH: And this bill, almost law, will help?
GRANHOLM: The bottlenecks in supply chains, for example, for batteries, for electric vehicles, there is $5 billion that has been put into making sure that we're actually building the electric vehicles and the guts to those vehicles. That's in the infrastructure bill. Putting people to work in good- paying jobs will certainly help. So, there's -- with the two pieces, it's going to be two million jobs per year that are created, good- paying jobs. And investing in our nation for the future is critical.
BASH: And there's a lot on climate and on electric vehicle chargers.
BASH: When will that network be ready? And when do you think the majority of drivers will be using electric vehicles?
Well, as you probably know, the auto industry itself has said that they want half of their fleet to be electric, new vehicles sold, by 2030. This is a transition, that, right now, we're not there yet. But we want to make sure that one of the reasons that people aren't buying electric vehicles to the extent that they could be is because there aren't charging stations.
And so there is a significant amount in the bipartisan infrastructure bill to build out that network. Right now, charging stations are largely in places where electric vehicles already are. So it's a chicken and egg. We want to fill that out, so rural areas, poorer areas have access to the fuel that's necessary.
And then, in the Build Back Better agenda, there will be incentives to be able to purchase electric vehicles that will bring the cost down to the same level as gas-powered vehicles. That all -- all of that is happening. This is part of the long term. The build out of this will occur over the next few years.
It's not going to happen in one year. It is a multiyear bill. So this is why the president has his eye on the future to make sure that we get the clean energy necessary to make sure that the United States is taking advantage of this new global economy.
Having just come back from Glasgow yesterday, it is really important for us to stake -- to take a stake in this whole clean energy economy. And that's what this bill starts.
BASH: Let me ask -- yes.
And let me ask you. You're talking about all these things that you say that it's going to do. I don't need to tell you Tuesday night was not great for Democrats. There is now a Republican-elect governor in Virginia. Republicans almost pulled off an upset in New Jersey.
You are a former governor. What lessons do you take away from Tuesday night?
GRANHOLM: That we -- thank God, and I think that the Democrats in the House got this message very loud and clear -- pass the bill, right? And pass the second part too, because these contain things that everyday people care about.
The governor of Michigan today, Gretchen Whitmer, ran on the phrase, fix the damn roads. And that's what this bill does. It fixes the damn roads. It fixes your bridges. It gets broadband to real people. It fixes your homes, so that they're not leaking energy. It invests -- the second part invests in child care, which we know we're the only industrialized nation that doesn't help families with child care.
These are the basics. Bringing down the costs of living for real people, so that you're not paying $500 a year to fix your car because you ran over a pothole.
BASH: Well, you mentioned cost of living. I got ask you about gas prices.
BASH: So, according to AAA, the national average gas prices is now $3.42 a gallon. Bank of America is predicting crude oil prices could soar another 50 percent by next June.
Could the average gas price in America be $4 a gallon in the United States soon?
GRANHOLM: Well, we certainly hope not. As I say, the Energy Information Agency is going to put out their forecast this week.
The president is all over this. Of course, every president is frustrated because they can't control the price of gasoline, because it's a global market. You can call upon increased supply, which he has done. And OPEC is, unfortunately, controlling the agenda with respect to oil prices. OPEC is a cartel and it controls over 50 percent of the supply of gasoline.
BASH: Is there anything that the Biden administration can do about OPEC?
GRANHOLM: Well, he can call upon them to increase supply. And they have chosen this past week not to do that.
So, that is going to increase the choke hold on access to affordable fuel at the pump. And so the president is looking at all of the tools that he has.
BASH: What about the Strategic Petroleum Reserve?
GRANHOLM: That's one of the tools that he has. And he's certainly looking at that. And I think we will be looking at that forecast that's coming out on Tuesday to make...
BASH: Should Americans in what will likely be a cold winter -- most of them are -- expect to pay higher prices for heating their homes?
GRANHOLM: Yes, this is going to happen. It will be -- it will be more expensive this year than last year. We are in a slightly beneficial position, certainly relative to Europe, because their choke hold of natural gas is very significant. They're going to pay five times higher.
But we have the same problem in fuels that the supply chains have, which is that the oil and gas companies are not flipping the switch as quickly as the demand requires. And so that's why the president has been focused on both the immediate term and the long term.
Let us get off of the volatility associated with fossil fuels and associated with others who don't have our country's interests at heart and invest in moving to clean energy, where we will not have this problem. And that's so much of what these two bills are focused on.
BASH: Secretary Granholm, thank you so much for coming in.
GRANHOLM: You bet.
BASH: Nice to see you. Appreciate it.
And our next guest, Congressman Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey, has been leading centrist Democrats on both the infrastructure and social spending bills.
He is the co-chair of the moderate Problem Solvers Caucus and is one of six centrists who is holding up passage of President Biden's social policy bill until there's more information about its cost and how to pay for it.
Congressman Josh Gottheimer joins me now.
Thank you so much for coming in -- or for being on, I should say.
You were a key player in negotiating this agreement with the progressives. It allowed the bipartisan infrastructure vote to happen. I know you spoke directly with President Biden. Take us behind the scenes. What did he tell you and how did it play out?
REP. JOSH GOTTHEIMER (D-NJ): Well, first, thank you so much for having me.
And, obviously, this is a big win this week for the country and the people I represent in Jersey, in terms of investing in the infrastructure the secretary was talking about, our roads, our bridges, our rail, getting the Gateway tunnel between New York and New Jersey built, our water and broadband, so, so much.
And it was bipartisan, Democrats and Republicans coming together. And the president, we -- I must say, we -- there was lots of back and forth, of course, between some of my colleagues to get this across the finish line. The president really helped...
BASH: How so?
GOTTHEIMER: ... working with both sides, trying to bridge some of the divide.
Well, making suggestions. Part of what we were doing, Dana, and toward the end, is making it clear the information that we needed to move forward on the Build Back Better reconciliation plan.
And when we come back in a couple of weeks, I'm optimistic we will have that information from the Congressional Budget Office that will be consistent with the expectations that we received from the data and the White House and the Treasury Department, which I believe is essential to making sure that this bill is paid for and responsible, given how much good is in there, like reinstating the state local tax deduction with lower taxes, and helping with child care and pre-K and fighting climate change.
And the president really was just -- there were issues we were trying to work through and make it clear to our colleagues that we need that information to move forward to do the responsible thing, but that, immediately, we had to vote on the bipartisan infrastructure plan, which, as you know, Dana, has been sitting in the House waiting for action since early August.
GOTTHEIMER: And you're talking about two million jobs a year on the line, and we wanted to get those shovels into the ground.
So, to me, it was -- he really helped bridge some of the divides, and we were able to move forward and get that vote done.
GOTTHEIMER: And we're going to get to the president's desk now.
BASH: So, let's look ahead. All eyes are now on that $1.75 trillion package, new social safety net programs, climate provisions.
Here's what Senator Bernie Sanders said on Twitter about the timeline for passing the social safety net bill. He said: "Conservative House Democrats committed to voting for the Build Back Better Act no later than the week of November 15. Their constituents are watching. They must keep that promise, no excuses. Every Democrat must vote to address the needs of working families and climate change."
What's your response? Is it going to pass the House the week of November 15?
GOTTHEIMER: So, we -- in our statement, we made it very clear. And what we committed to was that we believe the information will be back on that week from Congressional Budget Office, more of the data to ensure that this bill is paid for and does the responsible thing fiscally.
And we plan to move forward, because it's going to meet our expectations, I'm sure. But, again, what's most important, and I'd say to Senator Sanders and to everyone, is that this bill is fiscally responsible and paid for. These investments are key for our country and for our future.
I talk about for the -- my district how important it is to reinstate SALT and get tax relief for middle-class families. There's so much in there that matters. So I think we should all celebrate for the country this past -- this vote. And, of course, we're optimistic about moving forward here.
BASH: I just want to be clear on what you're saying.
Are you saying if the Congressional Budget Office says it is paid for -- you want it to say it's paid for. But what your statement said is that if it is -- quote -- "inconsistent with the White House analysis," meaning it's not paid for, adds to the deficit, that you're going to keep working.
So does that mean you would be a no if that's what the CBO says?
GOTTHEIMER: What we understood, we received a slew of data this past week from the Treasury Department and from the White House and some early Congressional Budget Office analysis.
We're going to receive -- we're expecting to receive more in the next seven to 10 days. We expect it all to match up with what was presented, and we will move forward.
BASH: OK. That's...
GOTTHEIMER: I don't -- that is what I believe will happen.
And, again, Dana, I think we all agree that the reconciliation package, the Build Back Better legislation, is critically important for our districts, districts like mine. So my expectation will be that we will be moving forward, and we will have another thing to celebrate action, which is, Dana, really important for the country.
They want to see us moving forward for them and fighting for them.
BASH: Let me ask you the...
GOTTHEIMER: And that's what I expect will happen.
BASH: Let me ask you the flip side of that, and just directly. Do you need the Congressional Budget Office to say that the bill is paid for in order to vote yes?
GOTTHEIMER: What we're looking for are CBO tables, which score sections of the bill which we will be receiving, and we already have some data, so there's -- we expect the information we receive -- that we receive to be in line with what we received from the Treasury Department.
And we will, at that point, I'm sure, be ready to move forward. But we just want to make sure we get that data and that we're able to align it with what we have received ready.
Listen, I think what's most important for people to understand is, the responsible thing to do when you get a piece of legislation like this is to do a full analysis and to understand the impact on your district and the families in your district. And that's what I'm looking at to make sure that, when we vote for this and give the country this win, that we deliver the way we should deliver.
And so there's so much in there that matters for my district, from reinstating SALT and lowering taxes, as I said, to child care...
BASH: Well, let's talk about that.
GOTTHEIMER: ... to pre-K. So we want to get this done, yes.
BASH: Let's talk about reinstating SALT.
You know, progressives are opposed to the details of your plan. And SALT, of course, stands for state and local tax deductions, which were taken out in the Trump tax cut.
They say that it is beyond acceptable that the top 1 percent could actually get effectively a tax cut from this bill. Are you confident that what you are going for, which would allow wealthier Americans to have their tax deduction on a state and local level, will be included?
GOTTHEIMER: Well, first of all, in my district, in Bergen County, New Jersey, where the median property taxes is over $15,000, and a law enforcement officer and a teacher together are making $200,000, and their taxes went up in 2017 when the state local tax deduction was gutted by the red states.
For them, this is -- for working class and hardworking families, middle-class families in my district, this will equal a tax cut for them, because their taxes went up. So this is -- this is really about making sure we make life more affordable for them.
I get it. For Bernie Sanders, if you're in Vermont, it's a different situation, right?
GOTTHEIMER: The property taxes, I think median property taxes are $4,000, not $15,000, right? And the median income is not $100,000. It's $40,000.
So I understand it's a different place. But if you're in New Jersey, Northern New Jersey, where things are more expensive...
GOTTHEIMER: ... this is a middle-class issue. It's about tax -- it's about tax relief for them. And that's why it's got to happen. And we have been working very closely with Senator Schumer and with Congressman Suozzi and Sherrill and Pascrell...
BASH: Right. GOTTHEIMER: ... and others to get this across the finish line,
because, where we live, taxes went up, not down, in 2017.
BASH: So, Congressman...
GOTTHEIMER: So, we have got to make life more affordable for them.
BASH: You mentioned New Jersey.
Your Democratic Governor Phil Murphy won his reelection on Tuesday by less than 3 percentage points in a state Joe Biden won by 16 points. The longtime Democratic leader of the state Senate, as you know, lost to a candidate who spent under $2, 500 on his campaign. What happened there? And how nervous are you about holding on to your seat in 2022, looking at what happened?
GOTTHEIMER: Well, the big lesson for me that night, and I think for a lot of us, is that people want action, right? They want results for our -- for families.
And whether that's clean drinking water or fixing the potholes in their -- when they drive to work, and so they don't have to spend hundreds of dollars a year fixing their cars, or not sitting on Jersey transit and getting those trains moving faster.
I think, to me, the lesson is, we need action for them. And that's why the infrastructure bill, getting that passed, the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which had 13 Republicans in the House and 19 in the Senate, truly a great bipartisan win for the country, is so important.
And I think, when we get the Build Back Better legislation across the finish line and get them SALT relief and tax relief and tax cuts for them, I think that's also going to help. But you got to get things done. And I hope that's the lesson everyone took. It's a lesson we took this week. It's why I worked so hard with my colleagues to get it across the finish line and get that first bill done.
And that's what I heard from the president.
BASH: Thank you.
GOTTHEIMER: He wants to get it done, which was why I was so grateful for his leadership. But that's why it's so important.
BASH: Thank you so much, Congressman. Thank you so much for joining me this morning.
GOTTHEIMER: Thanks for having me. Great to see you.
BASH: Has the Republican Party found the way to handle the Trump factor?
Republican Governor Larry Hogan is with me next.
Plus: A year ago, President Biden won Virginia by 10 percentage points. What went wrong for Democrats there Tuesday night? Virginia Senator and former Governor Mark Warner is coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FMR. GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-NJ): We can no longer talk about the past and the past elections. No matter...
CHRISTIE: No matter where you stand on that issue, no matter where you stand, it is over.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: Former presidential candidate Chris Christie speaking yesterday.
He, of course, backed former President Trump in 2016, but is now warning against his 2020 election lies, as some in the Republican Party feel a new sense of hope after Tuesday's election night.
Until Trump decides whether he will run again in 2024, the party will have found maybe another way to win without him.
Well, let's talk about that.
Joining me now is Maryland Republican Governor and possible presidential hopeful himself Larry Hogan.
Thank you so much for coming in.
GOV. LARRY HOGAN (R-MD): Good morning.
BASH: Let's talk about what Glenn Youngkin did in Virginia. He had a delicate balancing act that he seemed to pull off. He appealed to the Trump base, the Republican base, and he didn't alienate independents and suburban voters.
What did you learn from the Youngkin playbook?
HOGAN: I think first of all, Glenn Youngkin did a terrific job and he connected with voters.
Terry McAuliffe tried to make it all about Donald Trump. I mean, every time he opened his mouth, he talked about Trump. In the election, really, Youngkin tried to focus on solutions to problems and focused on issues. And I think voters want to hear more about what you're going to do for them, rather than what you want to say for or against the former president.
And Youngkin, I think, balanced -- he did what we did in 2018 and 2014, which was fire up and energize the base, while also appealing to suburban voters. It's not a -- it's not a choice between, do you want to turn off the base or do you want to appeal to a broader audience?
It's what I have been talking about for more than a year, that we have to have a bigger tent, that we have to have a message that resonates with people that are swing voters.
BASH: One of the things that he was able to do is keep his distance in a certain way from the former President Donald Trump.
Midterms -- the midterms coming up are quite different. Trump is already very involved. He's planning on hitting the campaign trail. Are you worried that that will hurt Republicans?
HOGAN: Well, I'm concerned about it.
It's obviously an issue to contend with. And if the former president interferes with primaries and tries to help nominate folks that are unelectable in a general election in, say, swing districts and purple states, that's going to hurt.
But, look, this has been a constant problem. Like, I was reelected. I ran 44 points ahead of President Trump in Maryland in 2018 in between him losing by 30 points in 2016 and 20. So, it is possible. The Democrats have been trying to make it all about Trump. And I think that's a mistake.
I also think the Democrats -- Joe Biden ran as a centrist, saying he was going to bring the country together. I think that's why he won. But he's -- the kind of out-of-control wokism and far left Progressive Caucus that almost screwed up the infrastructure bill I think is going to hurt him.
And you mentioned the fact that the former president is already getting himself involved in primaries. I think one of the reasons why Glenn Youngkin was so successful is because, yes, he had the endorsement of the former president, but he stayed out of it.
And there's no guarantee in other states where he feels like he has more popularity that he will not get more involved. What's your message to him?
HOGAN: I think that's going to be something that we're going to have to contend with.
I mean, he's likely not going away, regardless of what the future holds for him. But if the Republican Party wants to be successful at winning elections, I agree with the clip you showed from my friend Governor Christie, who said, we can't look back and constantly relitigate what happened in 2020. We got to look to '22 and '24.
And we have got to have a message that appeals to more people. It's not about the former president. But there's no question Glenn Youngkin did a good job of not alienating that base. But Trump never set foot in the state, which was a great thing for Glenn Youngkin and for the country.
BASH: Let's talk about the bipartisan infrastructure bill that passed House finally. Only 13 Republicans voted for it.
BASH: I know that you were a big supporter. You helped get it to the finish line with your lobbying.
But House Republican leaders lobbied their members to vote no.
HOGAN: Well, it's a long, sad story, but it finally had sort of a happy ending.
I worked on this for a year at the NGA. I held a summit in April where the Problem Solvers and Josh Gottheimer and Brian Fitzpatrick, his Republican co-chair -- we had 29 Republican votes at that time. We crafted the basic size and scope of this bill.
BASH: So, what happened?
HOGAN: What happened was President Biden agreed to a bipartisan compromise that did not include any of the far left stuff on the second package, and then changed his mind and backtracked.
It passed overwhelmingly in the Senate with 69 votes. The House should have taken it up the next day, and it would have passed overwhelmingly with 29 votes. But two things happened.
One, the Democrats broke the agreement and tried to conflate the other far left bill that has nothing to do with infrastructure and say -- the progressives hijacked it and said, we're not going to vote on this unless we get everything we want. Well, that's not what a compromise is. And it's not what the president agreed to.
You also had all that time. Several months went by, and you had President Trump attacking Republicans on infrastructure. You had to progressives saying, they have to be together. And Republicans said, hey, I don't want to be a part of that.
BASH: Well, the president is going to sign this likely into law next week.
BASH: You're a candid guy. Is this a political win for him?
HOGAN: I think it is.
I think it could have been a much bigger win. I mean, he nearly snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. It should have been an overwhelming win back in August. And I think he should not have let it get sidetracked by the progressives in the House. I think that was bad for Joe Biden.
I think that was reflected in the election results, because I think they misread the mandate. Joe Biden won a very narrow election by winning swing voters. And they're not where the Progressive Caucus is, I can assure you. And the vast majority of Americans are not for the second bill.
BASH: I want to ask you a couple of COVID-related questions.
There is an approaching deadline for President Biden's requirement that federal workers get vaccinated. You have a lot of federal employees who live in your state of Maryland. Where do you stand? Do you support that?
HOGAN: Well, look, I -- we have been very, very successful in vaccinating. We're one of the most vaccinated states in America with one of the lowest case rates and lowest positivity rates anywhere in the country.
We have now vaccinated nearly 87 percent of all adults, so we're trying to get that last 13 percent done. We have been encouraging everyone as strongly as possible to get the vaccine. Obviously, the president can mandate federal employees who work for him, but I'm not sure it's a good idea.
I think we should continue to try to make sure we get everybody vaccinated. But there are obviously some -- we just got a 400-page set of regulations late Friday, which we haven't reviewed, on what exactly he's trying to accomplish. Those court cases already put it on hold. There's legal, constitutional questions that have to be answered.
Look, I agree with the president we need to get everybody vaccinated to get out of this pandemic, but I don't think the way he's going about it is the right way.
BASH: Before I let you go, your second and final term as governor is coming up next year.
Your phone was reportedly blowing up on Tuesday with people urging you to run for the Senate next year. Will you?
HOGAN: You know, it's not something I have ever really focused on.
I'm not sure blowing up is the right term, but a lot of people...
BASH: What is it?
HOGAN: A lot of people have been encouraging me.
HOGAN: It's not something that I'm really taking a serious look at.
I'm very concerned about the direction of the country. Somehow, I'm going to continue to stay involved, because I care. I care about the future of the Republican Party and the future of the country. But I'm not sure what I'm going to be doing next year or... BASH: So, are you not seriously looking at the Senate because you're more interested in the presidency?
HOGAN: You know, I'm just interested in being the best governor I can be for the next 14 months.
BASH: Oh, come on, Governor.
HOGAN: And we will figure out what the future holds.
HOGAN: But I'm going to be a part of the discussion.
Thank you so much. Appreciate you coming in. Good to see you in person.
HOGAN: Thank you for having me.
BASH: Thank you.
And one of the first people to congratulate Democrats on the passing of their infrastructure bill Friday, the man who just lost his race for Virginia governor, Terry McAuliffe.
Well, he called the new law a big win -- or soon-to-be law a big win for Virginia. But you have to imagine that, privately, his language was probably a bit more colorful, since he's been pushing for Democrats for months to pass the bill before the election that he ended up losing.
Well, joining me now is the Democratic senator from Virginia, also former governor of Virginia, Mark Warner.
Thank you so much for joining me, Senator.
SEN. MARK WARNER (D-VA): Thank you, Dana.
BASH: So, you also have been calling for this bipartisan infrastructure bill to pass for months.
Had that happened, would Terry McAuliffe be the governor-elect of Virginia right now?
WARNER: Well, Dana, what a difference a week makes.
If we were having this show a week ago or two weeks ago -- and, remember, we have had two major things happen, one, a great jobs report, 531,000 new jobs, another couple hundred jobs added in preceding months.
If we could have had this bipartisan infrastructure bill, which -- Larry Hogan is right. The House could have passed it in August. We could have spent the last three months going around Virginia talking about clean water systems, improving our transportation system, making sure our airports didn't appear to be Third World, making sure every home in Virginia had high-speed broadband connectivity.
We have got a lot of coastal areas. Finally, the federal government is stepping in on resiliency. Or an issue like the country's going to buy 25,000 new school buses over the next five years. Chances are, they're going to be electric.
Wouldn't it be great if we actually made those buses in America or in Virginia? We have money for that in this infrastructure bill.
So, yes, I think, if we could have been talking about that win and showing the kind of job creation that actually has been taking place, things might have been different.
BASH: Different, in that you think Terry McAuliffe could have pulled off a win?
WARNER: Absolutely. Absolutely.
I mean, this was a -- the voters of Virginia and the voters of America gave us the presidency, the Senate and the House. They expected us to produce. They have been hearing about this bipartisan infrastructure bill for months.
And I'm very proud of the bill. I was one of the so-called gang of 10 that put it together. Is it perfect? No. But it is the first time in 50 years, 50 years, we have made this kind of investment.
BASH: So, the flip side of what you're saying is that the Democrats, who control Congress, the Democrat in the White House, by not getting this done, they're responsible for Terry McAuliffe's defeat.
WARNER: What I'm saying is, I wish the House would have moved earlier.
But all of us know, I know as well, we need to pass the second half of the president's agenda as well. I wish we would have spent less time talking about top-line numbers and more time talking about what's in it.
For example, we all know we want to see the economy come further back. We want to deal with the supply chain issues. Part of dealing with the supply chain is getting folks back to work.
One of the most important ways we can get people back to work is if we have child care that's affordable and universal preschool. That will get particularly women workers back into the workplace.
BASH: So, you mentioned the...
WARNER: We want to make sure we all get vaccinated, make sure that people feel safe.
Those are things, particularly at least -- the preschool and child care are part of the president's -- second part of his agenda. BASH: So, those are two of many provisions in the other bill that is
now waiting to get passed in the House.
Is there anything that you want to change? Because, as you well know, it takes every single Senate Democrat to vote yes for this second bill to ultimately pass.
WARNER: Well, I think things like child care, preschool make a lot of sense.
I think lowering price of prescription drugs. I talk a lot about insulin. I have got a type 1 diabetic daughter. I can afford to pay for that insulin. Many families cannot. This new bill will cap insulin for every family about $35 a month. That is an enormous benefit to many millions of families.
Making sure we take the appropriate moves towards making sure we have a cleaner energy, dealing with climate change. I think one of the things that's kind of thrown us all for a loop, I think most all of us, the vast majority of Democrats, thought that the way we would pay for most of this is by getting rid of some of the Trump tax cuts, going ahead and raising corporate rates, capital gains, and rates for folks that -- at the high end.
BASH: Yes. Senator...
WARNER: So, the fact that that is not the case means we got to get that -- the pay-fors right. And I think that will still take a little bit more time.
BASH: Senator, I just...
WARNER: But I'm prepared to vote for this bill once it gets out.
BASH: You're prepared to vote for it.
I just want to take it up to sort of 10,000 feet and ask you about something that your fellow Virginia Democrat Abigail Spanberger had to say. She said that President Biden and his agenda -- about this. She said: "Nobody elected him to be FDR. They elected him to be normal and stop the chaos."
So are you misreading what Americans wanted out of this president, out of the Democratic Caucus -- Democratic Congress that is now in control?
WARNER: I think what the American people wanted was to do rational, pragmatic things. That's what I tried to do when I got elected governor 20 years ago, when Virginia was a very red state.
I think the initial plan against COVID in March was what the economy needed and Americans wanted. I think the infrastructure investments were long overdue. But I do think, coming out of COVID, when virtually everybody's life
has been dramatically changed, thinking about and putting forward proposals about child care, about preschool to get folks back into the workplace, to recognize that we have been talking about bringing down the cost of prescription drugs for 30 years, and we're finally going to do it, and recognizing we have got to grapple with climate change, I actually think that is what the American public hired Joe Biden to do.
And I think, once we do it, I think you will see the president's numbers dramatically improve.
BASH: I want you to listen to what Democratic strategist James Carville had to say about what he thinks went wrong for Democrats.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES CARVILLE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, what went wrong is this stupid wokeness.
I mean, this defund the police lunacy, this take Abraham Lincoln's name off of schools, that -- people see that.
And it's just -- really have a suppressive effect all across the country to Democrats. Some of these people need to go to a woke detox center or something.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: Are Democrats too woke senator?
WARNER: Listen, I don't support defund the police.
Matter of fact, I think you saw Democrats all around who were successful -- the new mayor of New York, who you're going to have on, has talked about investing additionally in our police forces. Are there ways that we need to make that policing more community-based?
Absolutely. The notion of what happened in Virginia -- there is not a school in Virginia that teaches Critical Race Theory. But the governor-elect, Governor Youngkin, stirred up the cultural pot there.
BASH: That's true.
WARNER: I hope he governs in a different way. I want him to succeed.
BASH: Can I just stop you there for a second? Can I just stop you there for a second?
That is true that there -- that it's not in the Virginia curriculum at all. But did Democrats miss a chance to signal to parents, in particular, that they understand their anxieties? I have talked to Democratic candidates and others who say that they didn't really have a good answer to questions about children and what -- not only what they're being taught in schools, but the anxiety post -- or as we're coming out of the pandemic.
WARNER: Dana, I think Glenn Youngkin touched a nerve that was felt in Virginia, but, frankly, felt all over the country.
And I think, sometimes, our response, yes, we need to make sure that we increase teacher pay. Matter of fact, we have put -- the federal government has put more money into education both under Trump and under Biden in the last 18 months after -- through COVID than ever in our history.
I do think we need to acknowledge that it's been hell for every parent living through COVID, disrupting their life. I think we need to thank our teachers. I think we need to thank our school board members. And I think we needed to have acknowledged the challenge that parents have felt and that we need parents' involvement in their kids' education.
And, candidly, when we think about additional funding for school, I think one of the most important things we need to have talked about and should be talking about is, I think a lot of those kids and a lot of folks, frankly, that have been working in schools are going to need some mental health assistance.
I think the aftermath of COVID is not going to be simply solved as we get these schools reopened.
WARNER: But getting schools reopened does require the kind of hard choices this president has made about vaccines.
BASH: Well said.
Senator, thank you so much for joining me. Appreciate it.
WARNER: Thank you.
BASH: And he's the incoming mayor of New York City, and he's got a unique history and a unique message.
Eric Adams joins me next.
BASH: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION.
New York City elected a new mayor on Tuesday.
Eric Adams says he's a progressive, but with a different approach. And many see his message as a blueprint for Democrats across the country.
Joining me now is New York City mayor-elect Eric Adams.
Thank you so much for joining me this morning. I appreciate it.
ADAMS: Thank you.
BASH: So, you said that national Democrats can't be so philosophical and theoretical that you just throw out terms, instead of looking at the ground and looking at what people need.
So, what was happening on the ground in this election? And how did Democrats who are not you miss it?
ADAMS: Well, I believe, clearly, we should be known for what we did, the infrastructure bill.
That is what we must use as the blueprint, doing real things. I say this over and over again. New Yorkers and Americans, we are not complicated. We have a covenant with government. We pay our taxes. And government, we are supposed to give goods and services to the agencies.
And we continue to give a dysfunctional product every year, not educating our children; 65 percent of black and brown children don't read proficiency in New York City. We have rats that are running rampant in our city, not picking up the garbage. Public safety is really a real problem, not only the action, but the perception.
And so we need to get back to the basics. And that is what I'm going to do as the mayor of this city.
BASH: New York City struck a deal on Thursday with major city worker unions over its vaccine mandate. And it comes after you said you would revisit how we are going to address the vaccine mandates.
What did you mean by that? Are you prepared to fire thousands of workers who don't get vaccinated?
ADAMS: Well, I think the mayor did what I was calling for during the last few days of the elections.
I say something simple. Let's communicate. I don't know what happened in our country where we believe that yelling at each other is a way of coming to a solution. Let's seek to understand, so we can be understood.
The mayor sat down with a group of union leaders, D.C. 37 being one of them, the largest municipal union in our city. And they were able to come to a compromise and understand how to move forward. That is what I'm going to do. People talk about me sitting down with gang members. People talk about me meeting those people on the street who were anti- vaxxers and engaging in a conversation.
I'm going to force New Yorkers to do what we're not seeing on a national level. And that's just communicating with each other.
BASH: But on the vaccine mandate, will you -- assuming that that is still in place with the current mayor, will you keep that in place? And will it mean, effectively, that people who won't get vaccinated will not work for New York City?
ADAMS: I believe in the mandates. Let's be clear on that.
We have done an amazing job. Over 80 percent of New Yorkers are mandated. Many of our municipal employees are as well. But when you look in the crevices of those last numbers that are not, some are legitimate issues.
Like, one young lady I spoke with, she has a religious exemption for all of our children. They're 20-something years old, never vaccinated in schools. So, why are we all of a sudden telling her we are no longer going to respect that?
And so, if there are real health care issues, real religious exemptions, we need to look at that and weed that out of those who are just on the street trying to bring about disorder in our city.
BASH: We had really good news this week. Children as young as 5 years old can and are getting vaccinated now.
Do you think you will be able to lift the mask mandate in New York City schools this school year? And, if so, when?
ADAMS: I hope so.
We're going to do it with the science. That is crucial to me. Let's follow the science. But I hope so. I think part of the development and socialization of a child is that smile. I cannot tell you. I look for that smile when I go visit schools. Not being able to see the smiles of our children, I believe it has a major impact, and not only that, not being able to identify the child.
I walked past my brother the other day who had on a mask. So I think it's imperative that we can find a safe way to do it. I look forward to getting rid of the masks. But it must be done with the science, that we're not going back to turning our city and closing it down.
BASH: Mr. Mayor-Elect, I have to ask you about a tweet that you sent out this week that you're going to take your first three paychecks in Bitcoin.
Would you encourage businesses in New York City to accept Bitcoin or other cryptocurrency?
ADAMS: We're going to look at it. And we're going to tread carefully. We're going to get it right.
But there's something else that I wanted -- I wanted to send a signal. This city was the Empire State. We made empires. Now we are destroying empires every day. This is a center of innovation, self-driving cars, drone development, cybersecurity, life sciences.
And so when I talked about blockchain and Bitcoins, young people on the street stopped and asked me, what is that? What is it about? We need to inspire the energy again.
BASH: Can you explain in 30 seconds what it is for people who don't know?
BASH: Can you tell us, tell viewers who aren't really sure what Bitcoin is?
ADAMS: Even experts will have a challenge doing that.
It is a cryptocurrency. It is a new way of paying for goods and services throughout the entire globe. And that is what we must do, open our schools to teach the technology and teach this new way of thinking when it comes down to paying for goods and services.
BASH: I have to ask you about something that a former top economic adviser, Jason Furman, for Obama said.
He said that not only is this bad economic strategy for New York City. It's a bad investment decision. And he said it's like the mayor announcing I'm going to buy Amazon stock and then put in place policies that benefit Amazon.
What's your response?
ADAMS: Well, I respect his opinion.
But notice that I'm using my personal money. I lost thousands of dollars in the stock market during the stock market crash in my retirement fund. Volatility is part of some of the investments that we make. And so he has his analysis. I have my analysis, that I want to make sure that this city becomes a center of innovation, no matter what that innovation is.
And this is what the human spirit is about, not being afraid to look at every area of innovation as we move our country and city forward.
BASH: Mr. Mayor-Elect, I neglected to congratulate you at the beginning of the interview. So, congratulations to you.
BASH: Look forward to speaking with you again. I appreciate it.
ADAMS: Thank you.
BASH: Thank you.
ADAMS: Thank you.
BASH: And Sunday morning shows like this one have a storied history.
Most of that history was made with male hosts, and they were interviewing male politicians. But Cokie Roberts was one of the first women to change that. She passed away two years ago, but her husband and fellow journalist, Steve Roberts, who was also my professor at George Washington University, he's out with a new book, "Cokie: A Life Well Lived."
It's filled with stories about who she really was and how she got there.
BASH (voice-over): It was 1989. Senator John Tower was trying to navigate questions about rumors of so-called womanizing. He then turned to the only female interviewer on the panel, Cokie Roberts.
FMR. SEN. JOHN TOWER (R-TX): What is your definition of womanizing?
COKIE ROBERTS, ABC NEWS: Well, I think most women have a -- know it when they see it, Senator.
STEVEN ROBERTS, AUTHOR, "COKIE: A LIFE WELL LIVED": It was emblematic.
And countless women all over the country said, yay, Cokie, because no man would say that. No man would feel it. No man would understand that.
BASH (on camera): As somebody who is a co-host of a Sunday show, I can't think of a more apt role model than Cokie Roberts.
It was incredibly unusual to see a woman sitting there with the big boys.
(voice-over): Full disclosure: For a time, my father, the one sitting in the chair, was the executive producer of the show.
S. ROBERTS: She was an enormous inspiration to young women, including you, over many years.
People would look at her on TV and hear her on the radio and say, I can be that smart. I can be that strong. I don't have to hide who I am.
BASH: Who Cokie was came from years of rejection in journalism because of her gender.
COKIE ROBERTS, ABC NEWS: You had men saying to you "We don't hire women to do that" with their hands on your knee.
Honestly, we cared less about the harassment than we did about the discrimination.
BASH: The only reason she was hired at NPR, which propelled her career, was because of two women, Nina Totenberg and Linda Wertheimer, who became lifelong friends. Cokie spent a lifetime paying it forward, advising countless young people, especially women, including yours truly.
S. ROBERTS: It wasn't just that she modeled a life that so many young women wanted to emulate. It's that's she encouraged them.
I love this photograph.
BASH: Cokie was part of a political dynasty.
S. ROBERTS: You wonder, how could she be so knowledgeable about Congress? There she is 4 years old.
BASH: Cokie's father, Congressman Hale Boggs, was House majority leader. Her mother, Lindy, won the Louisiana seat after he died.
For 42 years, Steve and Cokie Roberts lived in this suburban D.C. house where she grew up.
S. ROBERTS: There have been many presidents in this house. Lyndon Johnson, Lady Bird Johnson came to our wedding in this house.
BASH: The wedding was in their garden. Her father invited the entire House Democratic Caucus.
(on camera): How many people were here at your wedding?
S. ROBERTS: Fifteen hundred.
BASH: How many?
S. ROBERTS: Fifteen hundred.
BASH (voice-over): They were married 53 years. The first 10, he was the star reporter at "The New York Times."
They moved around the globe for his job. Then she became the star.
C. ROBERTS: George, how does the president deal with this?
BASH (on camera): You wrote: "Jealousy is a virus that could have easily infected our relationship. I was determined not to let that happen. And so was she. Besides, I was Cokie's biggest fan."
S. ROBERTS: I always was. And I was probably less surprised about her success than she was.
BASH: What would you say to men who have Cokie-like wives or spouses or partners?
S. ROBERTS: Realize how lucky you are. Realize that you have a full partner.
BASH (voice-over): It's been two years since Cokie died. His loss is still palpable. S. ROBERTS: Anybody who's been in a long marriage will tell you that,
if you're that fortunate, the loss is that much greater. The hole is that much bigger.
BASH (on camera): My favorite quote now maybe of all time: "Few of us can be a TV star or a bestselling author. Every one of us can be a good person."
S. ROBERTS: Well, that's the real lesson of the book.
BASH: And the lesson of Cokie Roberts.
S. ROBERTS: Yes, it is, because so much of what she did was out of the public eye.
And so many people now tell me, I want to be like Cokie, I'm trying to emulate Cokie, including me.
BASH: Thanks, Prof.
And thank you for spending your Sunday morning with us.
Fareed Zakaria is next.