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State of the Union

Visit to Auschwitz; Interview With Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC); Interview With Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). Aired 9-10a ET

Aired April 23, 2023 - 09:00   ET




DANA BASH, CNN HOST (voice-over): Legal for now. The Supreme Court allows abortion medication to remain on the market.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): We go on to fight another day. We are standing up for women's rights.

BASH: But Democrats warn the abortion battle is far from over, as Republicans struggle to find their message. I will talk to Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar.

And a duel over debt. As the country barrels toward a potential default, pressure is building for both sides to make a deal.

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): President Biden has been missing an action.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They're going to default unless I agree to all these wacko notions.

BASH: Can the U.S. avert an economic catastrophe?

Plus: Rematch? As President Biden prepares to announce his reelection bid this week, Donald Trump's GOP rivals are struggling to gain any ground. Is 2024 going to look a lot like 2020?


BASH: Hello. I'm Dana Bash in Washington, where the state of our union is beginning to feel a lot like 2024.

President Biden is preparing to officially announce his reelection bid as soon as Tuesday, four years from when he announced his last bid for the White House. The long-expected announcement comes as his administration is celebrating a win, even if a potentially temporary one, on abortion, after the Supreme Court moved to protect access to the abortion pill mifepristone, prompting praise from Democrats and mostly crickets from Republicans.

The battle over abortion is shaping up to be a key campaign issue, as the 2024 field comes into focus. We're also following breaking news this morning. Late last night,

President Biden announced American diplomats and their families were safely evacuated by helicopter from Sudan's capital, Khartoum. It came amid escalating violence between the Sudanese military and a paramilitary group.

The Biden administration is coordinating with Americans still in Sudan, but making it clear a broader evacuation is off the table.

Joining me now, a top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

Senator, thank you so much for joining me this morning. We have a lot to get to, but let's start with that evacuation.

There are still estimated to be thousands of American citizens still on the ground. The government isn't currently considering another evacuation. So, what is your reaction, and how is President Biden handling all of this?

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): Well, I appreciate the effort to get our folks out of the embassy that serve over there. The military did a very successful operation.

Yes, I'm worried. You have got thousands of people in the middle of a civil war. And have we been late about sort of telling them to leave? Could you see this coming? Those questions will be asked and answered later on.

But, right now, if I were an American in Sudan, I would shelter in place. And, hopefully, we can find a way to end the fighting, get humanitarian aid, and get our people out.

BASH: Let's turn to the fight over abortion rights.

Senator, you have been a leader on this issue. Just before the midterm elections, you proposed legislation to ban abortion nationwide after 15 weeks, with some exceptions. On Friday, the Supreme Court ruled that mifepristone...

GRAHAM: Right.

BASH: ... will continue to be accessible to Americans. Did the court get that right?

GRAHAM: Yes, I think what the court is going to do is send it back for a little more evaluation.

But the issue is, was the drug lawfully approved? Did the FDA follow its own procedures, chemical abortion safe? So, those issues will be decided by the court. The idea of mailing the drug, sending the drug through the mail, runs into a statute called the Comstock Act. The Supreme Court will sort all this out here in the coming months, and I will live with whatever decision they make.

BASH: Well, you mentioned the Comstock Act, which I should tell our viewers bans every article, instrument and substance, drug or medicine, things that are used for abortion, from being in the mail.

It's a very old statute on the books.

GRAHAM: Right.

BASH: Do you believe that the Supreme Court should use that as a way to ban this abortion pill?

GRAHAM: Well, I think it's a law in the books, and it was there -- it was placed there for a reason.

But sending the abortion drug through the mail is -- is a big change in how it is provided. In 2000, when it was first approved, you had to have four visits to the doctor. In 2021, the Biden administration said you don't have to even consult a physician anymore and send it through the mail.

Is that safe? Is that -- has the FDA gone too far? Have they used the procedures in place to make such a dramatic change? That's what the court will decide.


BASH: Former President Donald Trump's campaign said this week that the Supreme Court got it right when they ruled abortion was a state issue.

But here's what former Vice President Mike Pence said yesterday in Iowa.


MIKE PENCE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't agree with the former president, who says this is a states-only issue. I mean, we have been given a new beginning for life in this country.

I think we have an opportunity to advance the sanctity of life, move it ever closer to the center of American law.


BASH: Senator, I have heard you say both on this issue, that it is a state issue, but now you do support a federal ban. So who's right here?

GRAHAM: Right.

Well, I have been supporting a limit on late-term abortions for -- since 2015. I had a bill to limit abortions at 20 weeks, with exceptions for rape, incest, life of the mother. Seventy percent of Americans support limiting abortion when the -- when the unborn child can feel pain; 50 of 53 European nations limit abortion at 15 weeks or less.

BASH: But my question is, is it a federal issue or a state...

GRAHAM: The modern Democrat -- yes, it's a human rights issue. Does it really matter where you're conceived?

At 15 weeks, you have a developed heart and lungs. And to dismember a child at 15 weeks is a painful experience. It's barbaric. It's out of line with the rest of the civilized world. Only North Korea and China allow abortion demand up to the moment of birth, except the Democratic Party.

What the Democratic Party proposes on abortion is barbaric. Abortion up to the moment of birth, taxpayer-funded...

BASH: Well...

GRAHAM: ... I think is barbaric. I welcome this debate.

BASH: Well...

GRAHAM: I think the Republican Party will be in good standing to oppose late-term abortion, like most of the civilized world.

BASH: Just for the record, Roe went up to viability.

But I just want to button this up. The...


GRAHAM: No, that's no -- no, no, quit covering for these guys.

No, no, no, your -- media, you keep covering for these guys. They introduced legislation that allowed abortion demand with taxpayer- funded -- you paying for it, the taxpayer, up to the moment of birth. That was their position in Washington. That's the law they want to pass. And nobody in your business will talk about it.

It's barbaric.

BASH: Senator -- Senator, I'm not covering for anybody. And you know that.

GRAHAM: Yes. Yes.

BASH: And when I have Democrats on -- and I have had Democrats on -- I have asked...

GRAHAM: OK. Well, just report -- report the facts.

BASH: I have many -- all of them about their position where -- where they believe this issue should be.

My question for you, sir, is about...

GRAHAM: Well, I can tell you how they voted.

BASH: My question for you, sir, is about President Trump, who you have endorsed to be president again. Is he right in saying that this issue should be a states' issue?

GRAHAM: He said yesterday, I think, at a speech in Iowa that he opposes late-term abortion.

Here's what I believe, that anybody running for president who has a snowball's chance in hell in the 2024 primary is going to be with me, the American people, and all of Europe saying late-term abortions should be off the table. Seventy percent of the people oppose late- term abortions.

I am confident, over time, that's where our nominee will be. I am confident that no Democrat will answer the question of, when do you draw a line? They never get challenged. I welcome this debate.


GRAHAM: I welcome this debate. Should we be like China and North Korea or should we be like Europe when it comes to late-term abortion?

BASH: OK, they do get challenged.

But I want to move on to something that is very important to you, which is the Middle East.


BASH: You recently returned from the Middle East.


BASH: You met with the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and Saudi Arabian Prince Mohammed bin Salman.


BASH: Israel has been normalizing ties with Saudi Arabia. They want to make that a top priority.

You have been very critical of the Saudi prince -- crown prince in the past. Listen to what you said a few years ago.



GRAHAM: I introduced MBS three years ago, two years ago in town, hailing him as the new vision and the new voice of the Mideast, embracing his agenda of reforming Saudi Arabia, only to be played like a fiddle.


BASH: So what makes you think a deal between these two countries is possible...


BASH: ... now that the crown prince -- how do you -- how are you sure that he's not playing you like a fiddle again? GRAHAM: Well, time will tell on it.

But what I see on the ground, I spent four days, Dana -- and thanks for bringing the topic up. They have changed pretty dramatically their economy. They're trying to modernize their economy. Women can now drive. Women can go out to dinner without a male escort.

I met 20, 30 entrepreneur Saudi women that were very excited about the changes. I also went to Israel. And here's why I went. The Biden administration is trying to build on the Abraham Accords started by President Trump.

And the biggest prize, for lack of a better word, would be to get Saudi Arabia to recognize Israel and vice versa. And the Biden administration is trying to do that. And I want to help them. I think the Biden administration is right to want a normalized relationship with Saudi Arabia, based on the changes I see, and eventually have Saudi Arabia and Israel recognize each other, which would be the end of the Arab-Israeli conflict.


It'd be the biggest change in the Mideast in modern times. And I want to help President Biden and the parties do that, if we can.

BASH: Back to the U.S. and specifically the Judiciary Committee. You're the ranking member on that committee.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, she's been absent for health reasons. You and other Republicans blocked the Democrats...


BASH: ... attempt to temporarily fill her committee seat.

If she resigns, isn't just absent, but actually resigns from the Senate, will you allow this committee seat to be filled?

GRAHAM: Yes, if she resigned, I would make sure that whatever we did in the past when members resigned would be followed.

As to Senator Feinstein, she is a wonderful person. She's been a very effective senator. I hope she comes back. We had Mark Kirk out for four months. No Republican asked that his seat be temporarily filled. This is about four or five judges they can't get out of the committee.

I voted for seven or nine judges yesterday -- a couple of days ago. I'm very capable of supporting Democratic nominees, but they're four or five that are just out of the mainstream, and they want to replace Dianne Feinstein's seat for the judges. But I hope she comes back.

But if she does resign, I would be in the camp of following the president of the Senate replacing the person, consistent with what we have done in the past. But I hope she comes back. I hope Dianne gets better. She's a wonderful person. BASH: So, if the precedent shows that you have or that the committee

has actually replaced a member who has resigned from the Senate, you would follow that again?




BASH: I want to turn back to 2024.

You have endorsed former President Trump, as I mentioned. There are two candidates in the race from your home state of South Carolina, former U.N. Ambassador...


BASH: ... and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and your colleague in the Senate Tim Scott. They have announced their own runs or, in Tim Scott's case, an exploratory committee.


BASH: Why shouldn't South Carolinians vote for one of their own?

GRAHAM: Well, both of them are just incredible people. Tim is the ranking member on Banking, the world's nicest man. Nikki was a tremendous voice at the U.N.

The reason I'm with President Trump is, I thought he was a good president on the things that mattered the most. We had a secure border. We destroyed the caliphate. We had energy independence. I think he's the right person to fix the problems that we face to undo all the damage by Biden.

It's not anything about Nikki or Tim that I find fault in. It's about the ability of President Trump to get things done that should be done. I'd like to see him have another term. I'm not supporting him because I find fault in others. I'm supporting him because I think he was a very effective president across the board economically and on national security.

BASH: OK, Senator Lindsey Graham, thank you so much for joining me this morning.

GRAHAM: Thank you.

BASH: As President Biden moves from talking about running again to actually doing it, we will talk with one of the president's former campaign rivals, now a Senate ally, about how to win the White House in 2024.

And a tough week for Governor DeSantis. As former President Trump scoops up endorsements on his home turf, can Trump's potential rivals cut into his early lead? Stay with us.



BASH: Forty-eight hours and counting.

Joe Biden is set to announce his reelection bid as soon as Tuesday. The octogenarian commander in chief will be 86 years old by the end of his second term if he's reelected. And Democrats will need to find the right message to convince the American people that Joe Biden is the right person for four more years in the Oval Office.

Joining me now is Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.

We have a lot to get to, Senator.

KLOBUCHAR: Great, Dana.

BASH: First, I want to give you a chance to respond to what you just heard from your colleague Senator Graham. He said Democrats are pushing to allow abortion up to the point of birth. Is that your position?

KLOBUCHAR: No, it is not.

I think Senator Graham knows where the American people are on this. They are with Democratic leaders. And the people of this country believe that the women of this country should be able to make their own decisions about their health care, and not politicians. And they don't want Ted Cruz in the waiting room.

So, what does this mean? What just happened? Well, the Supreme Court correctly decided the case and basically said, we can still -- women of this country, you can still get the medication abortion drug that has been deemed safe for over 20 years after a four-year review.

Yet it was three Trump-appointed judges that basically tried to put their beliefs over the American Medical Association and the doctors of this country. That's what this case is about. And I think what you see when Senator Graham is bringing up bills from, what, the Comstock Act, that is literally passed, Dana, in 1873.

That is 10 years before the "Yellowstone" prequel, OK? That is at a time when health care, when you were treated for pneumonia through bloodletting. It is back in the ages of the Pony Express. The American people do not want to go backwards.

And what I heard today is that Republican leaders in Washington aren't backing down on their opposition to reproductive freedom. They are doubling down.

BASH: President Biden has did taking more aggressive actions on abortion that you and your fellow Democrats in Congress have called for, like declaring a public health emergency for reproductive rights, providing abortion services on federal land, covering costs for people to travel outside their home states to get an abortion.

Do you think that he needs to use those powers that he has more aggressively to shore up abortion rights?

KLOBUCHAR: I actually think the Biden administration has been quite aggressive.

They just won a major case in front of the U.S. Supreme Court that's going to allow the women of this country to continue to access a safe drug. They took it on aggressively. They made excellent arguments, and they won.


It now goes, of course, to the Fifth Circuit, to a different panel of judges. And I think you're going to see the Justice Department at the helm leading the way to protect the women of this country.

BASH: So the other proposals that you put out there after Roe was reversed that the Biden administration hasn't done, are you comfortable with that, or should they take more steps?

KLOBUCHAR: Well, let me tell you what makes the most sense, and Joe Biden knows this. We know that. That's passing the Women's Protection Act, which is led in the Senate by Tammy Baldwin, Patty Murray, Dick Blumenthal.

A number of us support it. It would codify Roe v. Wade into law. And unlike what Lindsey Graham was talking about there, it simply codifies Roe v. Wade into law.

BASH: Yes.

KLOBUCHAR: And that has worked for years. And that is the way to go, so you don't have a patchwork of laws in this country, with women in Texas having to take a bus to Illinois or Minnesota just to access reproductive health care.

BASH: Senator, we are potentially weeks away from a catastrophic -- catastrophic default on America's debt.

Democratic Senator Joe Manchin called President Biden's refusal to negotiate with Speaker McCarthy a deficiency of leadership. Tammy Baldwin told CNN, there's no reason we shouldn't sit down and resolve these big issues.

So, should President Biden negotiate with Speaker McCarthy to avert a default?

KLOBUCHAR: Well, of course, President Biden should sit down with Speaker McCarthy.

But let me put an idea out there. The proposal that McCarthy has put forward, that belongs in the budget. We just passed a budget with 18 Republicans voting for it in the U.S. Senate. That's what governs now. Our main goal right now is to make clear that we are going to avoid

default. The last time when this was in the air, we literally went down in our credit rating back in 2011. What we will see, the repercussions of this are huge, if you go forward as McCarthy wants.

What will happen? You will literally see interest rates go up for mortgages, for loans. You're going to see the stock market plummet again...

BASH: Senator...

KLOBUCHAR: We can't afford -- we have just come out of this pandemic.

BASH: But, Senator...

KLOBUCHAR: Our economy is strong. Unemployment is low. We don't want to go the wrong way.

So, my proposal is debate this stuff, yes. The budget is being debated right now. That will be decided at the end of the year. That is a place to debate this, not right now with the brinkmanship. Ronald Reagan said it. Stop the brinkmanship on the debt.


KLOBUCHAR: Don't let it default. Donald Trump said it.


KLOBUCHAR: ... right now...

BASH: But you said that President Biden should negotiate, but you don't think that they should be linked, is what you're saying?

KLOBUCHAR: He should negotiate on the budget.


KLOBUCHAR: That is the place to negotiate.

And they should start those negotiations now, not using the American people and their mortgages as hostage, because, right now, we have got to simply make clear we're going to avoid default and get this behind us. We pay our bills.

BASH: Senator, you are a key member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

As you know, your colleague Senator Dianne Feinstein has been absent for a while with some health issues, and Republicans are blocking efforts by you and others to replace her temporarily on the committee. You just heard Senator Graham tell me that, if Senator Feinstein actually resigns her seat, he will follow precedent and allow a replacement on -- for her on the committee.

So, do you believe, given that, Senator Feinstein should resign? KLOBUCHAR: I believe that -- first of all, Senator Graham said some

good things there.

I completely disagreed with what he said about allowing a temporary replacement. They should have done that. However, I was glad to hear that he wants to see Dianne come back. I want to see her come back too. And Senator Schumer just talked to her last week, and she has said she's coming back shortly, and that will solve this problem.

Secondly, if any member resigns, whether it was Senator Feinstein or anyone in the future, I was really glad to hear Senator Graham say...

BASH: Yes.

KLOBUCHAR: ... that he would follow the regular rules and there would be a replacement.

So I think all of that was actually good news.

BASH: Some of your Democratic colleagues have said, regardless of the situation on the Judiciary Committee, that it is time for Senator Feinstein to resign.

KLOBUCHAR: Again, she has served our country well. She has said she is coming back.


KLOBUCHAR: And we await her return.

And I have made very clear, at some point, when we have debt ceiling votes and the like, there may be another consideration...

BASH: Senator...

KLOBUCHAR: ... that she will have to make with her family.

But, for now, it is very clear. She said she's coming back, and that will resolve the problem.

BASH: President Biden is expected to announce his reelection campaign on Tuesday. He will be 86 years old at the end of his second term, if he, in fact, wins.

And the fact is that many Democrats worry about his age. Even "The New York Times" editorial board, which is not exactly a bastion of conservatism, this weekend wrote that candidates shouldn't pretend, as Mr. Biden often does, that advanced age isn't an issue.


These are concerns that are not going away, and you know that. So how do you think President Biden could overcome that?

KLOBUCHAR: President Biden has such a strong record to run on. He has gotten this country through the pandemic. He has the backs of

the American people. And Americans know that, whether it is passing landmark legislation to bring down pharmaceutical prices, whether it is this investment in infrastructure that's going to bring high-speed broadband to every part of the country, including rural areas in my state, or whether it's bringing back manufacturing.

He has the back of the American people. He believes we should make things again in America, invent things, export to the world. And he has stood up for the women of America, and he has stood up for our democracy.

He is going to have an incredibly strong record to run on. And he is a steady hand, when you look at what's out there right now with Donald Trump and what we're hearing again. People don't want that chaos back again.

BASH: Senator Amy Klobuchar from the state of Minnesota, I appreciate it.

KLOBUCHAR: Very good. Great to be on, Dana.

BASH: And up next: Does Ron DeSantis need a reset even before his campaign begins?

We have new comments on 2024 from the Florida governor after a bruising week. We're going to talk about that and more with our panel. Don't go where -- don't go anywhere.




REP. BYRON DONALDS (R-FL): So, if you ask me a decision between Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis, what I'm looking for is somebody who can come in day one and get America back on track. Donald Trump has done it once.

He can do it again.

REP. CORY MILLS (R-FL): We have got a great governor. He's done a tremendous job. But what we need is a person who can actually lead on day one.

REP. CARLOS GIMENEZ (R-FL): I think the governor has done a great job in Florida. There's nothing -- I'm not -- it's not against Governor DeSantis.


BASH: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION.

And my panel joins me now. What you just heard were a series of Republican House members from DeSantis' home state of Florida coming out and supporting Donald Trump, just as DeSantis is here in Washington.

What do you think of that move, Scott Jennings?


I mean, look, Donald Trump's the establishment candidate in this race. He was the president. He's running for president for a third time. These are establishment politicians, and they tend to stick together in campaigns. It doesn't mean he's going to win. But I wouldn't expect an insurgent candidate like DeSantis to get too many establishment endorsements.

BASH: But that -- that was -- that was very tactical, and when they did it.

JENNINGS: Sure. Oh, and it was, by the way, for the Trump campaign, extremely smart, tactically wise, and it created a narrative on DeSantis this week.

But when you're running the insurgent kind of campaign DeSantis is, you're not going to get all the elected politicians who are afraid of Donald Trump to come to your side. I don't expect that at all.

BASH: Speaking of DeSantis, we do have some new sound from him speaking last night in Utah. I want to hear what he has to say and talk about it on the other side.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): Republicans need to shake the culture of losing that has developed in recent years.

The time for excuses is over. We must get it done.


DESANTIS: If we as Republicans provide a fresh vision for American revival, then Republicans will win all across the country.


BASH: Paul Begala, he keeps talking about Donald Trump without talking about Donald Trump directly.

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Pathetic. He's just terrible at this.


BEGALA: He won his reelection by 19 points. I'm very impressed. Florida is a tough state to run. I do admire that.

But good night. He is -- if you're going to go against Trump, go against Trump. If you're going to be the insurgent, sound like Scott Jennings, OK? Hire Scott Jennings.


BEGALA: No, I mean it.

Scott, you just articulated it far better than Governor DeSantis did. He said he kind of wanted the endorsements, but then Trump got them all. He was like, you remember -- this is a Florida guy. Jose Canseco was a great -- one of the greatest sluggers who ever lived, played in the '80 and '90s.

But he's a terrible fielder. And this is DeSantis as a baseball player. Canseco one time went out to catch a fly ball, and it bounced off his head, and went in -- it went over the fence for a home run. That's what Governor DeSantis did this week.


BEGALA: He's pathetic at this, and I'm begging him to get better. I don't want Trump. I'd much rather have DeSantis, because he stinks at this.

BASH: Sarah, do you want to continue -- do you want to continue the baseball metaphors?


SARAH MATTHEWS, FORMER DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Can't contribute on the baseball metaphors.


MATTHEWS: But I do think that DeSantis has a point with that electability message.

And in a recent poll from "The Wall Street Journal" that was conducted by Trump's own 2016 pollster, it showed Trump losing to Biden by three points, and it showed DeSantis winning against Biden by three points. So that would be my message to the folks that are endorsing Trump: Do you want to keep losing?

Because I certainly don't as a Republican, I'm tired of losing, and I want to win. And so I think that any other candidate would be better to put up against Biden than Trump.

KAREN FINNEY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: But you can keep saying that, and it doesn't make it true.

Now, I know, for folks who watch FOX News, that seems like that's how you do things. You say it over and over, and then that just creates the reality you want. But the truth is, DeSantis has also time and again just shown he is running farther and farther to the right and being increasingly extreme.

And his own people have admitted concern about how do you then run in the general election. So, in terms of the electability argument, at least Donald Trump can say he won-ish in 2016, didn't win in 2020, but they haven't let go of that either.

I mean, I'm not sure that argument will really work for DeSantis, given that he cannot -- as Paul has been saying, he doesn't seem to have the it. Like, I can't imagine him on a debate stage with Donald Trump. You can't talk around him. You're going to have to debate him.

BASH: He did win in 2016.

JENNINGS: A hundred percent of the professional Democratic class wants Trump.

FINNEY: Thank you.

JENNINGS: A hundred percent of the political media wants Trump. A hundred percent of the Trump people want Trump. And 100 percent of the supposed pillars of virtue never-Trumpers, they also want Trump.


It is a coordinated campaign by all this -- I mean, when you have got Donald Trump's people tweeting out MSNBC links to attack Ron DeSantis...


JENNINGS: This is how they make a living. It's crazy. You don't want DeSantis, because he will beat Joe Biden.

Virtually -- we could pick somebody out of the Peoria phone book, and he would beat Joe Biden. You have to have Trump.


FINNEY: Scott, Scott, my friend -- I don't -- no, Scott, my friend, I do not want Donald Trump. I think that is terrible for America. I think it sends a despicable message to the world that we will take any crook to be our president. I'd rather have DeSantis over Trump.

And I think we'd still beat him.

BEGALA: Oh, absolutely. I think most Democrats would be very confident -- I mean, Ron DeSantis is -- he is not getting to the filing deadline, OK?


BEGALA: I'd much rather run against him.

And I would rather the Republicans nominate someone other than Trump, someone who's not crazy, chaotic and corrupt. And the rest of their field. I would say that, I don't support them on the issues, but the rest of them seem like really good people with different ideas.

But just, I'm telling you, he's the SpaceX missile -- rocket, except it at least got to the launchpad.

FINNEY: Right.

MATTHEWS: But can you imagine if Republicans are able to nominate someone like a Ron DeSantis, who's in his 40 s, and he's running against Joe Biden, who's 80?

And, with Trump, at least he neutralizes the age issue. I agree. He's a threat to democracy, which is why I do not want to see him be the nominee. But you can't deny that, for Democrats, if Trump is the nominee, then that does neutralize the age issue.

BASH: Sarah, that is a perfect segue...


BASH: ... into a sound bite that I want to play from the president from back in March of 2020. And here's what he said on that issue.


BIDEN: Look, I view myself as a bridge, not as anything else. There's an entire generation of leaders you saw stand behind me. They are the future of this country.


BASH: It's a very long bridge. It's an eight-year bridge.

JENNINGS: A pretty rickety bridge, by the way.

FINNEY: Actually a pretty strong bridge, where we are now able to be sitting around the same table, which we could not do in 2020 or 2021, and an economy that, while people still have a lot of anxiety, is actually doing better.

It is also a bridge, though. I go back to what he said when he first got in the race, the soul of America. Let's talk about where this country is right now. We had three incidents this week where young people were shot for just being in the wrong place. Why? You have people on the right, like Donald Trump, basically saying, we're each other's enemy, right, again, fueling that suspicion and that divisiveness and that destruction of our American democratic institutions and our culture.

You have young voters who will outnumber older voters who are for reproductive freedom. They are for climate change. They are for gun safety measures. And so the way the demographics of this country are changing, I get it. White establishment is terrified of it.

Joe Biden is a bridge, and he has been trying to keep a bridge. He has a very stellar record to run on. He actually also has a record of promises made and promises kept. And people are generally pretty happy with that.

JENNINGS: This is an amazing campaign speech.

Joe Biden is an old man. The American people do not want him to run again, and they don't want Donald Trump. This is a rematch nobody wants. Democrats don't want Joe Biden, but, apparently, they're going to go along with it.

It's crazy to me that 80 percent of the American people would rather do anything else, but the political system is going to give them the rematch they don't want. Biden is not popular. His policies are not popular. He didn't win. Donald Trump lost it. The Republicans could do anything else and beat this guy, and we're not going...

FINNEY: He won and defied history in 2022.


BASH: Paul Begala, what's the advice that you would have or you do have for President Biden when it comes to the age issue, which is not going to go away?

BEGALA: Show, don't tell.

People -- I don't mean to bang them. "The New York Times"' editorial was like a classic of opinion stupidity. They said he should have more press conferences. Well, you're the press.

BASH: Well, what's wrong with that?

BEGALA: Because you're the press. You want more press conferences.


BASH: How about a press conference?

BEGALA: OK, but that's not what -- the American people are not sitting around and say, boy, I wish Dana Bash would ask Trump more -- I mean, Biden more questions.

Show it. He showed it in the State of the Union address, right? In a, I thought, unpleasant way, Republicans interrupted him. They booed him. He bested them. That's hard to do, OK? I have written a lot of State of the Union addresses. I have attended a lot of them.

In real time, to argue them down and take Social Security as a win was masterful. And it showed all the energy and acuity that his conservative detractors say he lacks. This will happen again on the fight over the default. Democrats believe that Republicans want to push us to the brink of default.

And the Biden folks, they know that their man is itching for this fight. And he will show again, instead of telling, I'm not too old, he will show them by performing and by besting them. And they are 20, 30 years younger. You know what? He made mincemeat out of them. He made chumps out of them. And he will do it again.

MATTHEWS: I will say, though, it will be really interesting to see -- in 2020, Biden was able to get away with campaigning from the basement because of COVID. And so, in 2024, he is going to have to be out there more. Obviously, he's the incumbent president, so it's not going to be as rigorous of a campaign schedule for him, not going to have competitive primary or anything like that.


But I think he is going to have to be out there doing more campaign- style events. And it is interesting that his team is choosing to announce via video next week his candidacy.

BASH: Reportedly.

MATTHEWS: But it is smart, because they can -- they can control the message, because he is prone to gaffes.

BASH: We're going to have to leave it there.

Thanks for a great discussion. Appreciate it.

And when we come back, a very different conversation. That's something that we want to show you, leaving politics aside, and looking at a deeply personal and emotional trip to Auschwitz.

My important conversation, including -- included here with the rapper Meek Mill during a march for the living on the modern-day fight against ancient hate.



BASH: (AUDIO GAP) mostly Jews, including my own great-grandparents, during the Holocaust.

Now, more than 80 years later, I returned with my colleague and friend Wolf Blitzer to walk the same forsaken ground where both of our families had their humanity stripped away and their lives taken.


BASH: I have never been here.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: You have never been here?

BASH: No, I have never been to Auschwitz. I have never been to any of these camps.

BLITZER: Ever since I was a little boy, I knew my parents were Holocaust survivors. I knew my dad was from here.

BASH: He was from Auschwitz?

BLITZER: He was from the town here, which had a Yiddish name Oswiecim. This is so painful for me. It's so personal for me, because all four

of my grandparents were killed during the Holocaust. And two of them, my paternal grandparents, my dad's mom and dad, were killed here at Auschwitz.

BASH: And your dad's siblings didn't survive.

BLITZER: One sister survived, one younger sister. The others were all killed.

At the end of the war, they were liberated at Bergen-Belsen. And they were taken on this forced march by the Nazis.

BASH: Yes, the death march.

BLITZER: The death march, yes.

BASH: That's how my great aunt died, we believe.

BLITZER: And that's -- my dad's younger brother died in that death march.

BASH: My great-grandparents, they were Hungarian. So they were safe until 1944 in Hungary, because Hitler didn't invade there until close to the end of the war.

So, my grandparents were in the United States, and they were receiving some letters from my grandmother's parents. And, as the letters came, they were getting more and more dire.

And we have the final letter that says: "Until this moment, at least I could hold myself together, but now I have to write a farewell letter to my dearest children. My heart is getting very heavy. I must stop after every word and collect myself in order to continue writing."

And they were saying goodbye before they came here.

BLITZER: They knew what was about to happen.

BASH: They knew what was going to happen by that time. They knew.

I'm looking around, and I'm thinking I don't even know if they made it into the barracks.


BLITZER: They just got off the train, and they went to the gas chamber.

BASH: Yes.

BLITZER: This where they believe my grandparents were killed.

BASH: You think your grandparents were killed right here?

BLITZER: Yes. I mean, this -- in this gas chamber, in this crematorium. It's terrible. And they just threw the bodies in there.

BASH: Like they were nothing, not people.

There are so many people here, because today is the March of the Living.

BLITZER: Yes, it's a special day, yes. Yes.

BASH: And it's called March of the Living because...

BLITZER: The Nazis took them on death match.

And, today, we're doing the March of the Living, which is so powerful. And people from all over the world are here.

BASH: People from all over the world come.

(voice-over): Including rapper Meek Mill, an invited guest of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft...

ROBERT KRAFT, OWNER, NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: It behooves all of us to stop all kind of hate.

BASH: ... who started an organization to combat growing antisemitism, Stand Up to Jewish Hate.

(on camera): Why was it so important for you to come here?

MEEK MILL, RAPPER: First of all, I think it's important for me to learn humanity's history. I wanted to come here and see this for myself and learn about it for myself.

BASH: Kanye West has sent some really antisemitic things. How do you see your role here in trying to beat that back?

MEEK MILL: We're two different artists. We represent two different things.

Even when he was speaking on things, I wasn't educated to even know right from wrong, but I know a lot of the things he was saying was wrong, because it sounded like hate. And now that I have had the education, I will definitely spread the word to people in my culture about what I have seen and what I felt at that concentration camp today.

BASH: What did you see and feel?

MEEK MILL: Seeing terror, pain. Some of it, you can't really explain. It was -- it was not nice to see.

BLITZER: I'm really happy that they have kept this place...

BASH: I was thinking about that.

BLITZER: ... so that people can see it.

BASH: Yes.

BLITZER: And they know it was not some myth.

BASH: Did I ever show you this necklace?


BASH: This is Matilda Vidor, my great-grandmother. She was killed right here in Auschwitz.

And she gave this locket to my grandmother the last time they saw each other in Hungary. And then my grandmother gave this to my mother. And when my son, Jonah, was born, my mother gave it to me. This is my most prized possession.


And I wanted to wear it here, hoping that she somehow knows somewhere that her legacy lives on. What you always say, Wolf, about when your father would see you on TV...

BLITZER: He said, this was revenge. For him, it was satisfying, not just to see his son on TV...

BASH: Yes.

BLITZER: ... but to know that a child of Holocaust survivors was reporting the news.

BASH: The best revenge is to survive and to thrive.

BLITZER: Yes. That's why it's so important that we educate and we show the world what was going on. And that's what we're doing.


BASH: Thank you so much to Wolf for that absolutely remarkable trip.

And may all of their memories be a blessing. And, most importantly, may the world never forget.

We will be right back.



BASH: Before we go, some exciting news.

We have two new members of the CNN family. Gayle King and Charles Barkley are teaming up for a show called "KING CHARLES." I absolutely love that name. The two veteran personalities will bring their unique perspectives for a no-holds-barred look at the major issues facing the country. The show debuts in prime time here on CNN this fall.

On behalf of all of your new co-workers here, welcome to the team. Can't wait to watch.

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

The news continues next.