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State of the Union

Interview With Rep. Andy Levin (D-MI); Battle for the Hispanic Vote; Interview With North Carolina Senatorial Candidate Cheri Beasley; Interview With Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL). Aired 9-10a ET

Aired October 30, 2022 - 09:00   ET




DANA BASH, CNN HOST (voice-over): Despicable act. Lawmakers denounce political violence after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's husband was attacked in their home.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Enough is enough is enough.

BASH: As political danger grows, what more can be done to stop it?

And midterm countdown. Republicans look to expand the map on Election Day.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): We're not just going to see a red wave. We're going to see a red tsunami.

BASH: Democrats put a former president on the campaign trail.

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Democracy is at stake in this election.

BASH: What choice will voters make? I will speak to the Republican running his party's efforts to retake the Senate, Rick Scott, next.

And from battleground North Carolina, Democratic Senate candidate Cheri Beasley is ahead.

Plus: GOP outreach. Democrats have always counted on Latino support, but is that changing? Our trip to two key states to track the GOP effort to win over Hispanic voters.



BASH: Hello. I'm Dana Bash in Washington, where the state of our union is counting the hours until the votes are counted.

We are nine days out from the midterm elections, and all the close races keep getting closer, as Republicans grow more confident about their position and Democrats worry even about races they have not lost in years.

This weekend, the man Democrats believe is their best messenger, former President Barack Obama, rallied voters in key battleground states, trying to jolt turnout and counter Republican attacks over the economy, as poll after poll shows voters' chief concern is inflation.

But hanging over the political world this weekend is the shocking attack of the husband of the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi. Last night, Pelosi said her husband Paul continues to improve after a man broke into their San Francisco home shouting "Where is Nancy?" and beat him with a hammer, a horrible attack that Pelosi said left her family -- quote -- "heartbroken and traumatized," and prompted her fellow lawmakers to voiced concern about their own safety and those of their family.

Well, here with me now to talk about all of the latest with just, again, nine days to go until Election Day, Republican Senator Rick Scott, who is leading his party's effort to retake the Senate.

Senator, thank you so much for joining me this morning.

Let's start with the attack on Pelosi's husband Paul Pelosi. What is your reaction?

SEN. RICK SCOTT (R-FL): It's disgusting. This -- this -- this violence is horrible.

That's happened. We had a door knocker in Florida that was attacked. I mean, this stuff has to stop.

One thing I did when I took over the NSC a year-and-a-half ago is, I went to the Federal Election Commission to say, could our candidates and our senators use their campaign dollars to pay for security? Because, as you know, House and Senate members don't have security, most of them, outside of D.C.

So, a lot of it, we got to say, let's have a -- we can have a heated conversation about the issues, but this violence has got to stop. This is horrible. And my heart goes out to Paul Pelosi, and I hope he has a full recovery.

BASH: We have learned that the suspect's social media shows that he embraced conspiracy theories about the 2020 election and January 6.

I want you to listen to what President Biden said yesterday.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's one thing to condemn the violence, but you can't condemn the violence unless you condemn those people who continue to argue the election was not real, that it's being stolen, that all the -- all the malarkey that's being put out there to undermine democracy.


BASH: Is he right? Should Republicans do more to reject conspiracy theories and dangerous rhetoric?

SCOTT: I think what we have to do is, one, we have to condemn the violence, and then we have to do everything we can to get people -- make sure people feel comfortable about these elections.

We have got to -- we have got to do everything we can to get people comfortable that this election in nine days is going to be free and fair, that people's votes are all going to be counted fairly, they're not going to be diluted.

And so that's one thing I have tried to do at the NRSC is get people to make sure we're ready. I tell people, go to the -- go to the polls, vote. Go to the polls and be poll watchers, so you can see that these elections are going to be fair -- fair.

And we have got to work on it every -- every cycle and get it better every -- every -- every cycle.

BASH: To be fair, Senator, most of your Republican colleagues, even those in the Trump White House, said that the 2020 election was free and fair. And that has not stopped the conspiracies from flying.


So, is it important for people from the top of your party, the former president on down, to tone down the rhetoric about the conspiracies that might instigate somebody who was unhinged, like the man who went into the Pelosi home?

SCOTT: Dana, I think what's important is everybody do everything we can to make these elections fair.

We have got Hillary Clinton saying the '24 elections could be stolen. We have got Stacey Abrams saying she didn't -- she didn't lose. You know, so my job is do everything I can to get people to feel comfortable that these elections are fair and then tell people, get out to vote, go be a poll watcher.

And when we have the opportunity, let's make our election laws safer. Let's make sure that you have voter I.D., you don't have ballot harvesting, you have monitored ballot box. That makes people feel more comfortable that the elections are going to be fair.


And just to be clear -- I want to move on -- but there is no evidence that they weren't fair in 2020.

I do want to move on to something that's happening -- happened in your home state of Florida, which is reporting that there were antisemitic displays around yesterday's Florida-Georgia football game in Jacksonville. There are photos on social media of people holding antisemitic signs along the highway.

The message "Kanye is right about the Jews' was apparently projected on the side of the stadium. What's your reaction? SCOTT: It makes you mad.

I became governor in January in 2011. And we were dealing with this at one of our universities. We have dealt with it -- I have had -- I have dealt with it as governor. And this antisemitism, one, I mean, it's disgusting. It's wrong. We have to push back against it.

And, I mean, we have got to understand, we -- we are blessed. We live in a country where we need to accept people. We need to do -- we can cherish our differences, but let's -- let's accept people and let's all live in a country that we -- we have got -- we have got the best opportunity in the world.

So, let's quit dividing ourselves and quit attacking other people, and just talk about how we make this a better place. So, I -- this stuff is disgusting to me. I have never understood it. And it's disgusting to me.

BASH: Well, let's talk about your midterms agenda. Democrats say that one of your proposals that -- which would sunset all federal legislation after five years jeopardizes Medicare and Social Security.

You have previously said that those programs need to be preserved, reformed and protected. So, just a simple yes or no, do Republicans want to cut Medicare and/or Social Security?

SCOTT: Absolutely not.

And the Democrats just cut $280 billion, all Democrats in the Senate and House voted to cut two $80 billion out of Medicare just two months ago. And then they want to say Republicans want to cut something?

Democrats have done this.

BASH: Senator...

SCOTT: Joe Biden, when he was senator, said he wanted to cut Medicare and Social Security.

I believe we got to preserve them and make sure we -- we -- we keep them. What I want to do is make sure we live within our means and make sure we preserve those programs. People paid into them. They believe in them. I believe in them. And I'm going to fight like hell to make sure we preserve Medicare and Social Security.

BASH: Just want to correct the record. The Democrats' plan, which is now law, didn't cut Social -- excuse me -- it didn't cut Medicare benefits. It allowed for negotiation for prescription drug prices, which would ultimately bring down the price and the costs for Medicare consumers.

But I want to ask the next question, which is about raising the eligibility.

SCOTT: OK. Can we just finish that, though?

BASH: Sure.

SCOTT: It cut 280 -- Dana, it cut $280 billion out of Medicare. That means we're going to have fewer lifesaving drugs. It cut $280 billion out of Medicare.

They can say they want -- they did all that. They cut $280 billion out of Medicare.

BASH: It didn't cut benefits.

SCOTT: It will reduce lifesaving drugs.

BASH: It didn't...


SCOTT: You cut $280 billion out of Medicare, something is going to happen, Dana. Come on. I mean...

BASH: OK. All right, but I -- all right, I want to -- we can debate that and for a long time, but I want to focus on you and the Republicans and what you want to do right now.

Do you support raising the eligibility age for Medicare and Social Security?



Do you support cutting back on Medicare benefits or reducing Social Security payments in order to keep the program solvent?

SCOTT: No. And I don't know one Republican that does.


SCOTT: And I know Joe Biden proposed -- he believed in these things. He said it publicly when he was a U.S. senator.

BASH: Let's talk about another part of your plan, which calls for permanently extending the 2017 Trump tax cuts.

Many economists say that could make inflation worse. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says it would add almost $3 trillion to the deficit. So how is that fiscally responsible?

SCOTT: Well, here's -- here's my experience.


I cut taxes and fees 100 times as governor of Florida, and my revenues grew, all right? Revenues grew with the Trump tax cuts. They didn't go down. They grew with the Trump tax cuts.

Inflation is caused by not living within our means, by having a government that spends more than it takes in by causing a regular -- a regulatory environment that makes it difficult for people to produce foods, make it have a regulatory environment that causes gas prices to go up, have diesel prices to go up, and natural gas prices go up.

That's what causes inflation. Inflation is not caused because you cut taxes. Government is not -- government does not create the economy. Individuals create the economy. Businesses create the economy, not government.

BASH: Well, if -- OK. Well, I -- on the question of inflation, the Congressional Budget Office is the one that said that reviving the Trump tax cuts, extending them permanently, I should say, would add almost $3 trillion to the deficit.

You think they're wrong?

SCOTT: That's -- that's assuming you don't grow the economy. I mean, I cut taxes 100 times and -- and fees 100 times as governor, and our revenues grew, because you start building the private sector.

We got to make government smaller, the private sector bigger. That's what we have to do. This idea that government can build an economy is just a complete fallacy, and it's never worked anywhere. It doesn't -- it's not worked. As we get bigger and bigger government, we get more and more inflation. I mean, it's very consistent.

BASH: The election is just nine days away. You have been crisscrossing the country. Senator Chuck Schumer was caught on a hot mic. I know you probably saw this. He gave his midterm assessment. He's optimistic about Pennsylvania and Nevada, not -- but he said he's going -- the Democrats are going downhill, rather, in Georgia.

So which battleground states do you think Republicans will win on Election Day? How many Senate seats will the GOP control next year?

SCOTT: We're going to get 52-plus. Herschel Walker will win Georgia. We're going to keep all 21 of ours. Oz is going to win against Fetterman in Pennsylvania. And Adam Laxalt will win in Nevada.

But I think we have every reasonably we can pick up with Blake Masters in Arizona, with Don Bolduc. I will be going to North Carolina -- New Hampshire today. I think Don Bolduc has every reason believe he's going to win. But we have got shots in -- with Tiffany Smiley in Washington, Joe O'Dea in Colorado, Leora Levy in Connecticut.

We -- this is -- this is our year. The Democrats can't run on anything they have done. People don't like what they have done. They don't like high inflation. They don't like gas prices, food prices up. They don't like an -- the public doesn't like an open border. They don't like -- they don't like high crime.

And that's what the Democrats are known for. I mean, they have done all these things. Democrats did it.

BASH: Senator -- Senator, we're...

SCOTT: They did it. And they are going to -- they want to run away from it.

BASH: We're almost out of time.

Before we go, President Trump is going to campaign with your Florida colleague Senator Marco Rubio in Miami ahead of Election Day. The rally, notably, will not feature your successor as governor, Ron DeSantis, who is also on the ballot this year.

Should Governor DeSantis be at that rally with Donald Trump and Marco Rubio?

SCOTT: Well, that's a choice everybody makes. I mean, I know President Trump is trying to make sure we get a majority back in the Senate.

He's -- he's spent, I think, $20 million in ads. He's doing rallies. He's helped us raise money. He's doing voter contact. So, I know he wants to help us win. I'm doing everything I can to help Republicans win all across the country. We have -- we have canvassed. We have gone all over the country.

I was with Ronna McDaniel, the chair of the RNC, last week.


SCOTT: Tom Emmer at the NRCC is doing the same thing.

BASH: So, you're OK with Governor DeSantis not being there? You're OK with Governor DeSantis not being there?

SCOTT: Oh, yes. It's a choice he makes, yes, absolutely.


Senator Rick Scott of Florida, thank you so much for joining me.

SCOTT: Have a good day. Bye-bye.

It's one party's chance at history in North Carolina. Democrats look to erase a 14-year losing streak by sending Cheri Beasley to the Senate. And she joins me next.

Plus: Are Democrats taking a big slice of their voters for granted? Well, we went out West to take a look at Republican outreach to Hispanic voters. That's coming up.



BASH: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION.

Now we want to spotlight another close race that will help determine control of the Senate, North Carolina.

That's where the former chief Justice of the state's Supreme Court Democrat Cheri Beasley is competing for an open seat against Republican Congressman Ted Budd. North Carolina has not elected a Democratic senator in more than a decade, but Democrats, including former President Obama, who backs Beasley in a new ad, are hoping she can break that streak.

Here with me now is North Carolina's Democratic Senate candidate, Cheri Beasley.

Thank you so much for joining me this morning.

Let's talk about what's happening on the ground there. Early voting is under way in North Carolina, as you know. A new poll shows inflation is the number one issue for North Carolina voters. You just heard Senator Rick Scott's attacks on your party when it comes to inflation.

Democrats here in Washington control the House, Senate and White House. Are you satisfied with how President Biden the Democrats in Washington are handling inflation?

CHERI BEASLEY (D), NORTH CAROLINA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: You know, Dana, I can certainly tell you, having traveled to all of our 100 counties in North Carolina, folks want to know that the Senate is going to lower costs.

People are feeling everything from pain at the pump to the cost of prescription drugs and everything in between. And in the greatest country in the world, folks should not have to make choices around buying groceries or school supplies or high-priced medication.

And Congress really can fix this. I mean, we know that the greatest factor really is the supply chain. And we know that, in this country, we pay more for prescription drugs than any other country in the world. And Congress can fix that.

We know that corporations are seeing 70-year record profits, historic profits, and using the cover of inflation to jack up prices on things we need. Congress can fix that. My opponent is Congressman Ted Budd. And he's not trying to fix it. He's helping it.

In fact, he is taking thousands of dollars from big oil to vote against lowering gas prices and taking thousands of dollars in corporate PAC money from big pharma to vote against lowering prescription drug costs.


We need a senator from North Carolina who's going to fight hard to lower costs for folks here in the state. And that's exactly what I'm committed to doing.

BASH: Let's talk another issue that Democrats across the country are trying to make a rallying cry, and that is abortion rights.

Where you are in North Carolina, women can receive an abortion up to 20 weeks into pregnancy. Your sitting Democratic governor says he will protect abortion rights. So do you think abortion might not be as big of a motivation for your supporters because their rights aren't immediately at risk in North Carolina?

BEASLEY: Well, abortion is a real big issue and our fundamental freedoms.

I mean, we're talking about, who makes the decision? Is it a woman and her doctor? Or is it politicians up in Washington? Congressman Budd is leading the charge and aligned himself with the most extreme faction of his party on an absolute ban on abortion, without exceptions for rape, incest or risk to a mother's health.

And so for a woman who is sexually abused, it means that she's forced to carry the pregnancy to term. For a woman who has an ectopic pregnancy or septic uterus or miscarriage that her body won't release, it means that she's not able to get the lifesaving treatment that she needs, which is an abortion, and it means that women will die.

And as long as our freedoms are on the line, I'm going to fight, and I'm going to fight to make sure that Roe vs. Wade becomes the law of the land. And we can -- we can -- we can walk and chew gum at the same time. I'm prepared to fight to lower costs and to fight for our freedoms.

And what we know is that there is no place in the exam room between a woman and her doctor for Congressman Ted Budd or any other politician -- politician up in Washington.

BASH: Another poll last week showed the number two issue concerning voters is rising crime rates.

Homicides and robberies are up in Charlotte, North Carolina. Assaults are up in Raleigh. The Southern States Police Benevolent Association in your state supported you in 2014 and in 2020. Now they're supporting your opponent. And what they're saying is, it's because they don't like the defund the police movement.

Now, I know you don't support that, but is that message undermining Democrats like you right now?

BEASLEY: You know, I have been a judge for over two decades and chief justice of the Supreme Court of North Carolina.

I have worked with law enforcement, I have held violent offenders accountable. And I created the first human trafficking court in North Carolina. I don't support defunding the police. I know police officers need funding. And I know they need funding to keep our communities safe and themselves safe.

And I also know that we must invest in community-based intervention programs to stop the cycle of violence.

BASH: You don't support it.

BEASLEY: Ted Budd has...

BASH: You don't support that. I understand. But some of your Democratic colleagues nationally do. And Republicans have seized on that and used it as sort of an attack

against you. And it cost you, it appears, a big endorsement in your state. So is that a problem for you, a Democrat, running in a place like North Carolina?

BEASLEY: Well, Ted Budd has been in Congress for six years, so we don't have to wonder about what he will do.

And on four separate occasions, he has voted against funding for law enforcement, even to include tackling our opioid crisis, which is huge in North Carolina. I have worked with law enforcement. I'm very grateful to have been endorsed with sheriffs -- by sheriffs and other law enforcement officers in the state.

And they're endorsing me because they know that we have worked in tandem keeping our communities safe. And the reality is, Ted Budd and national Republicans are trying to frighten folks about my record.

Ted Budd certainly is, because he cannot defend his own. They are spending millions of dollars against me to distort my judicial record. And it really does a disservice to folks in North Carolina. But the reality is, they're the ones who are worried. They wouldn't be spending that kind of money if they didn't know we can win this race.

BASH: "The New York Times" reports that some black Democrats believe that you're not getting enough support and other black women are not getting the support this cycle.

Two black congresswoman, Alma Adams and Barbara Lee, say the national Democrats, again, are not doing enough. Do you think your party is helping black women like you and making your candidacy a priority this cycle?

BEASLEY: You know, I am very thankful -- and I said early on in this race that this would be a North Carolina-centered, people-powered campaign. We have done very well.

There's a lot of energy and enthusiasm for our race. And, certainly, folks nationally know how important North Carolina is. I'm grateful for where we are. We are doing amazingly well in this race. There's a lot of energy and excitement. We have nine days before Election Day. We're working hard. We're working hard for every single vote, and we're really feeling very hopeful about the outcome.


BASH: Cheri Beasley, the Democratic candidate for Senate in the state of North Carolina, thank you so much.

And I want to note, we did ask Ms. Beasley opponent, the Republican Congressman Ted Budd, who you heard a lot about just now, to join us. He declined.

And just ahead: a front-line perspective. A Democrat who lost his primary battle tells us what he thinks will happen to his party on Election Day. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


REP. LEE ZELDIN (R-NY), GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: I'm running to take back our streets.

GOV. KATHY HOCHUL (D-NY): You can either work on keeping people scared, or you can focus on keeping them safe.

TUDOR DIXON (R), MICHIGAN GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: What these parents are talking about are not textbooks that will help children learn about themselves.


GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER (D-MI): Do you really think that books pose a greater danger to our kids than gun violence does?

JOE O'DEA (R), COLORADO SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: On inflation, Michael Bennet was right there.

SEN. MICHAEL BENNET (D-CO): We have had an economy for 50 years that's benefited people at the very top like Joe O'Dea.


BASH: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION.

You saw there candidates in New York, in Michigan, in Colorado make their closing case to voters.

And my panel joins me now.

Congressman Levin, thank you for coming down from the great state of Michigan.

One of those campaigns that we saw was the governor's race there. My understanding is that it's tightening. And, certainly, the public polls are showing that. How do you think things are shaping up on the ground in one of the most important races in the nation?

REP. ANDY LEVIN (D-MI): I think Gretchen Whitmer is going to win.

And it's tightening, but it's -- I'm not real worried about it, because she's run a fantastic race, very grounded in what Michiganders care about, reducing the cost of living, fixing our infrastructure. We just realized in a poll that Michiganders still care about fixing the damn roads is a big priority.

And she's really been doing that. The orange barrels are everywhere, Dana. And she's taking care of business, and she's going to win reelection.

BASH: OK. So let's expand our aperture a little bit. Scott Jennings, you are close with Senator Mitch McConnell. You worked for him for a while. And I know that you're keeping close tabs on where the Senate stands right now. What are you hearing?


Obviously, the public polling nationally has started blowing in the Republicans' direction. Some of these Senate races, Pennsylvania, Georgia in particular, you can see some of the numbers this week.

But people aren't too hung up on polls, and you try not to get irrationally exuberant at the end of an election. But what you are hung up on are the fundamentals. The generic ballot nationally seems to be moving towards the Republicans; 30 percent of the country thinks we're off on the wrong track, Biden still persistently low.

Those conditions exist in these Senate races. And it would just be historically unusual for the party in power to outrun the president when he's in such poor shape, so positive odds right now.

KAREN FINNEY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: So, Democrats, we are -- I have agree with the congressman. We're feeling good.

I mean, there's a couple of things. Number one, we have certainly stopped what could have been a red wave. That is not to say we're going to win everything, but I think -- I don't think we're going to see a wave in the way that we saw, for example, in 2018, where we had a blue wave; 57 percent or so of new registrants post-Dobbs are women.

So a lot of it for us is going to be about turning out women, and a lot of these women, older women in particular, very concerned about Social Security and Medicare. And the Republicans do not have a good message on that. It's part of why you heard President Obama talking about that yesterday so forcefully in Wisconsin.

I think the other thing is, Democrats made really strong investments in ground game. And so part of what we're looking at -- I agree with Scott about the polls. It's about early vote. It's about mail ballot, mail-in ballot. Where were they requested? Where are they coming back in?

And, so far, very strong. In most places, it looks like they're either going to reach or exceed 2018.

KRISTEN SOLTIS ANDERSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think it's very important to tread carefully when reading too much into...

BASH: And we should say you are a Republican pollster.

SOLTIS ANDERSON: Yes, I'm a Republican pollster. I always encourage caution, regardless of who's up or down, in terms of interpreting early vote data, and so on and so forth, because the last election we had was in the middle of a pandemic, where things were all up in the air.

It's a new and evolving world. I do think that Republicans are feeling good, and for good reason. When I do a poll, we ask, who are you voting for, candidate A, candidate B, or are you undecided? And undecided is not an option at the ballot box. Undecided, you could stay home, you could leave it blank, but these voters, a lot of them are going to make a choice.

And what I'm seeing is that they're very concerned about the economy. They're very concerned about inflation. They're very concerned about an issue set that tends to favor Republicans.

BASH: You are the only one at the table who was on the ballot this year. Unfortunately, you lost your primary, but you have just recently faced voters.

What do you -- what do you think about what Kristen said?

LEVIN: Well, obviously, historically, an off-year election right after we have a new president is tough for the president's party.

That said, I think Democrats in Michigan, certainly, and around the country, in Congress, House and Senate and in the state races, are getting the message that we have to talk about the cost of living. Republicans have no plan to reduce the cost of living.

BASH: Were Democrats slow on that?

LEVIN: We were slow. We were slow on the messaging. And we can't just talk about women having autonomy over their own bodies. That's super important.

We have to talk about how we have acted to reduce the cost of living on student loans, on prescription drugs, on health care costs. And we will continue to do so. And the Republicans are counter to reducing costs for Americans on all those basic kitchen table areas.

BASH: Can I just throw in here, as we continue to the discussion -- you mentioned former President Obama.


I want to play what he said last night in Milwaukee as he's making his case to voters.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Own the libs and getting Donald Trump's approval, that's their agenda.

They're not interested in solving problems. They're interested in making you angry, and then finding somebody to blame. And they're hoping that that will distract you from the fact that they don't have any answers of their own.


JENNINGS: I have to say, I love seeing Barack Obama on the campaign trail in a midterm. From my perspective, he's been one of the most successful midterm Democrats of all time.

You go back to 2010 and 2014, amazing results when Barack Obama gets involved in a midterm. I think the fact that he's out there also tells you what we know about the election. Joe Biden can't be out there. So this is the only person they can put out.

They have -- Democrats have bet everything on abortion, everything. And with nine days to go, it's Social Security, it's Medicare, it's fear. It's -- and then -- finally, it's, we made a huge mess, and what are you going to do to clean it up? It's too late. It's not going to work.

FINNEY: Yes, so those are great talking points, Scott, but a couple things.

I do feel like the 2018 midterms, when Barack Obama was out there, went really well for Democrats. And we have seen President -- the president out there, the vice president.

But here's the thing -- couple of things. No Democratic candidate is solely running on reproductive freedom. Let's be clear. And, by the way, it is about freedom, which is part of the conversation about democracy.

However -- and Kristen knows this when it comes to polling -- it's not just about one issue. It's about the intensity that people feel about a cluster of issues. Black voters, number one issue, protecting voting rights, number two issue, white supremacist violence, above jobs and wages, above inflation, in terms of top concerns, right, because that impacts your ability to participate in the economy.

For women, many women can hold two things at one time. Yes, she may be worried about the economy, but let's not forget -- and I will say it, because even though I know some have been criticized -- reproductive freedom is an economic issue for women.

The majority of people who have abortions in this country already have children, and they're worried about, can I afford to have more children? So they can hold -- the voters are holding more than one issue? I don't think anybody knows exactly what's going to be the one thing that's going to drive people and how they vote on Election Day.

SOLTIS ANDERSON: I would not just going to be one issue and that you can't just ask people -- they're not going into a voting booth and saying, well, my one issue that I'm voting on is X and so, therefore -- but I do think that voters in this election, they are feeling very insecure about things.

They're feeling insecure economically. They're feeling insecure sort of physically. That's why you see issues like crime and immigration are also a big piece of the issue mix. But it's also that sense that our country just isn't in a secure direction.

When you ask people that right track/wrong track number, they feel like things are off. And it's because they feel like we're divided, because they feel like we as a country just can't get anything done. They feel like institutions aren't working. And that manifests as well, Democrats being concerned about, are elections going to get stolen, Republicans concerned about, are elections going to get stolen?

They have very different approaches or beliefs about what is driving that. But that sense of insecurity is what I think is the overall atmospheric in this election. And I do think, at the end of the day, that's favoring Republicans.

LEVIN: Dana, I agree with that. And I'm not going to throw pollsters under the bus altogether, but I am kind of done relying on polls to figure out what's going to happen.

BASH: It's a good he's not your client.


SOLTIS ANDERSON: That's OK. I'm not...


LEVIN: No, really.


FINNEY: We agree. We all actually agree with that.


LEVIN: We -- people are -- this is a very difficult moment for our country.

We have come through the worst pandemic in a century. We have got a war in Ukraine, a horrifying war that Russia is prosecuting. And we have got inflation at home, a lot of difficulties.

People can hold one, two, three, four things. The American people are really smart. They can hold these things all together. And they are going to vote for Democrats because we have started to act to help them on their kitchen table.

BASH: You have 10 seconds.

JENNINGS: I think, if you're not talking about inflation, and you haven't been talking about inflation, you ought to be super nervous. And that is virtually every Democrat in the country.

FINNEY: Not true.

BASH: Thank you all so much for that wonderful discussion.

And up next, we're going to go out West and ask a big midterm question: Can Republicans convince Hispanic voters to turn away from the Democratic Party? I got an up-close look at how they're trying to do that.

Stay with us.



BASH: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION.

Hispanic voters have long voted blue, but Republicans made some inroads with Hispanic voters in the last election, and they're trying to expand on that with efforts across key states this midterm election.

We traveled out West to see the GOP pitch firsthand. And we went to Nevada, also to Arizona, with an immigrant Mexican -- or -- excuse me -- Mexican immigrant who mixes Spanish and English on the trail.


CISCOMANI: I'm Juan Ciscomani.


CISCOMANI: I'm running -- running for U.S. Congress.

BASH (voice-over): Running in Arizona's Sixth District, a key race in the battle for control of the U.S. House.

CISCOMANI: I can answer any questions for you before you vote.

BASH: Juan Ciscomani was born in Mexico, immigrated here to Tucson, Arizona, with his family at age 11.

CISCOMANI: Nice to meet you.

BASH: He's also a Republican.

CISCOMANI: I'm someone that grew up here in a very Democrat area in the state of Arizona as a first-generation Hispanic Republican.

So, that really puts me in a different light, I think, of saying, well, how do you see the issues? I see them very uniquely.


BASH: As a conservative, especially on economic issues he believes are driving voters this year, all voters.

CISCOMANI: When people ask me, hey, what are the Hispanic issues we should be focusing on, I kind of chuckle a little bit and I say, well, there are no Hispanic issues. There are issues that impact everyone. I'm paying the same thing for gas, milk and eggs that the person next door is paying, that they're not Hispanic.

Thank you all for being here.

BASH: To make that point, he invited local small business owners to his campaign office to discuss their challenges.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): It's affected us a lot, the economy.

BASH: There are only 13 Hispanic Republicans now serving in the House.

Ciscomani is one of 33 Hispanic GOP candidates on the ballot this year, part of a concerted leadership effort to boost their ranks in the chamber.

(on camera): Do you feel comfortable with the way that leaders in your party have expressed themselves vis-a-vis the Hispanic community?

CISCOMANI: Well, I can only control how I express myself with the Hispanic community. And I am very proud of the way that we have done it.

BASH (voice-over): They argue Democrats are taking Hispanic voters for granted.

CISCOMANI: I think the Republican Party is recognizing that it's right there for the taking if the right message is there, and the right messenger as well. And that's where candidates like myself come in.

Helder Toste is doing just that.

HELDER TOSTE, NATIONAL REPUBLICAN SENATORIAL COMMITTEE: I'm here with Vamos, which is an effort to get Latinos to actually go vote.

BASH: Running a new program for Senate Republicans called Vamos. We walk with him through neighborhoods in Nevada as he searched for votes in growing Hispanic communities.

(on camera): We're just a few miles from the Vegas Strip. This, as far as I know, has historically been pretty blue.


I mean, traditionally, Democrats have gotten 80, 90 percent of the vote here. So the reason we're here is to get votes where we traditionally haven't shown up.

BASH (voice-over): He uses a special app microtargeting potential voters.

TOSTE: We have loaded in all of the different names of the voters that we're trying to talk to. This particular voter is a weak Republican, which means they're on the team. They don't always show up in the general election.

Hi there.

BASH: This GOP ground operation is in nine states with critical Senate races this year. TOSTE: The whole point of the program is to just talk to Hispanic

voters, because when you're in a get-out-the-vote phase, these voters are the ones that get left behind.

MARIA MELGOZA, ARIZONA VOTER (through translator): I haven't decided which party I will go with.

BASH: Maria Melgoza is exactly the kind of voter Republicans are trying to attract.

MELGOZA (through translator): Biden promised many things, but I feel like he hasn't delivered. And the other party, I don't know much about it.

BASH: She said, until now, neither Republicans nor Democrats actually asked for her vote.

(on camera): With my broken Spanish, I got the gist.


BASH: She's a Democrat, only voted Democrat. And now she's not sure.

TOSTE: And now she's on the market.


BASH (voice-over): Back in Tucson, Arizona...

ENGEL: I'm Kirsten Engel. I'm running for Congressional District 6.

BASH: The Democrat running in the crucial House contest against Juan Ciscomani rejects the idea that her party takes Hispanic voters for granted.

ENGEL: Every single voter is important in this district. This is a diverse district. And I certainly will not take anybody's vote for granted.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And thank you for Roe...


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... for making that a big part of your message.


ENGEL: Well, it is.

BASH: Kirsten Engel argues her GOP opponent is out of touch here because he applauded the reversal of Roe v. Wade.

ENGEL: I'm there to fight on this issue to make sure that women are respected, that this is an issue that they can continue to make for themselves, with their family, with their doctors, with who they want to confide in. CISCOMANI: Jenny. Nice to meet you, Jenny.

BASH: It's an issue Ciscomani encountered while courting voters he says Republicans don't engage with enough.

CISCOMANI: Even if you don't vote for me, which would make me really sad...


CISCOMANI: But, if that happens, I still want to talk to you and get your thoughts and opinions and see what -- how you see things, because my job as representative will be to represent everyone.

IVELIESSE DEFRIETAS, ARIZONA VOTER: Make my uterus my body part to be my -- whatever I want to do with it.

BASH: Iveliesse Defrietas is a Latina approving Ciscomani right. Issues among Hispanic voters are the same as everyone else.

CISCOMANI: I consider myself pro-life, and with exceptions, of course. So that's where I am.

DEFRIETAS: I don't think this should be your job to tell me what I can and can't do with my body as a female.

BASH: Ciscomani did not win her vote, but both he and Republicans across the country trying to engage Hispanic voters argue the GOP mission is larger than one vote and one race.

CISCOMANI: We show up now, and we show up these communities while they're growing so that, when they start voting and participating and putting up candidates, they can say, I'm a Republican and I'm voting for Republicans, and they represent me, and they show up.


BASH: And up next: He is married to one of the most powerful women in the world. The first ever second gentleman on that and his candid advice for other men.



BASH: It was a first, understandably overshadowed by another very important entry into the history books.

In 2021. Doug Emhoff became the first ever second gentleman. He's also the first Jewish person in the role.

I spoke to him about leaving his job to help support his wife and the message he hopes to get across to all men in my new CNN special, "Being the Second Gentleman."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BASH: I think there are a lot of men who intellectually want to

support their female partners, and then, when it gets to that point, it's hard.



BASH: It's hard on your ego. You say you have a healthy ego. Have there been moments like that?

EMHOFF: Yes, I -- like I said, you have to put your ego aside, though, and it's not about you.

And I will be on -- I will be giving speeches, and one of the things I say is, men need to support women.

Don't just think you're being supportive. Don't just say you're being supportive. Be supportive.

One, it's the right thing to do. And then, men, OK, you need to actually do it. Don't just think you're doing it. And then the women in the audience start looking around and smiling.

Sometimes, it's hard. And, sometimes, it's not what you expect, but it's the right thing to do. And if I can set an example doing it, I'm very grateful for that.


BASH: You can watch the whole special, "Being the Second Gentleman," on demand on, CNN apps and through your cable provider.

Thank you so much for spending your Sunday morning with us.

The news continues next.