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tv   Washington Week  PBS  November 2, 2018 7:30pm-8:01pm PDT

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robert: countdown to the mids. i'm robert costa, welcome to "washington week president trump: these illegal caravans will not be allowed to the united states. they should turn back now because they're wasting their time. robert: on the eve ofhe midterm elections president trump hammers a hard line on immigration. democrats looking to take back power are campaigning on kitchen tables, issue with the party's biggest name on the trail. the s tuesday might be most important election of our lifetime.ti poans will always say that. but this time it's actually true. rort: plus -- a mass shooting inside a putsburg synagogue l community and country shaken with new questions about
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political rhetoric in these divided times, next. announcer: this is "washington week." funding is provided by -- >> kevin. >> kevin. >> kevin. >> advice for life. life well planned. learn more >> funding isyrovided b newman's own foundation, donating all pfits to charity and nourishing the common good. through tricia ewi the ewing foundation committed to bridging cultural differences in our communities. the ethics in excellence in journalism foundation. the corporation for public broadcasting and by o contributionsur pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
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once again from washington, moderator, robert cossa. robert: good evening. the final week of the midterm campaign season has been visceral and raw, from the grief overas thecre of a pittsburgh synagogue to president trump and many republicans issuing dark warnings about migrants. esident trump: these are not angels. these are not little angels. these are tough people. and we're not letting them into our country. they're not coming in illegally. robert: the president has said he wants to take executive action to end bthright citizenship and revamp the y process. am he's also asked the pentagon to send up t 15,000 troops in the southern border. and offer these rules of engagement. >> when they throw rocks like the way they did at the mexican
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belief, consider it a rifle. robert: paul ryan says the president lacks the right to strike doan -- striken birthright. what a week. and the elections are on tuesday. joining me tonight amy walter, national nal editor for "the cook political report." jake sherman for politico. yeah mitch alcindor for the pbs newshour. and carl hulse, chief washington correspondent for the "new york times." o when you thi the closing days of this midterm election, what does it mean for voter intensity on both sides? amy: the voter intensity has already been ramped up to a place we' never seen before. we're hearing talk about turnout in the midterm elections that could reach levels we haven't
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seen in 100 years. we've already had a boiling caldron. and the question is now is it going to overflow? if you're a republican sitting in one of these competitive house districts, you wan president to be closing in on the economy and how good things are lookingy especia the new jobs report that was out today. but he wants to talk about the h issu has animated his campaign and his presidency, which is immigration. and if you're in theoretically if you're aepublican in aeep red state that might help you. but i don't -- i don't think we que know yet if this push on this issue is going to do more to alienate voters or whether it's goi to be enough to keep maybe some of these competitive red states in hand. robert: you were on the ground in florida reporting there. how is this issue playing you look at the president
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putting out an ad tying democrats to people who kill police officers. what is it like when voters are seeing it on theirwitter feed and talking to their neighbors? yeah mitch: it was -- yamiche: it was a man that entered during the bush administration and pardoned by joe ar potato. that's what the president was doing. i think this elect comes down to fear. my reporting in florida makes me feel on the democratic side that there are people w are calling themselves nationalists. people are talking about birthright citizens. and you have people saying haitian-americans suld not be americans. and i'm haitian-american. and it hit me on a differentl. le another congressman said these
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people are going to ruinr country. people are worried that they are coming out of fear of what's happening illegal that they're going to come in a large part invade the counthe. that's message that they're getting from the president. it's all about fear. robert: some voters may have that fear and may come out on tuesday. but what about suburban voter who is may be more moderate? >> i think this is the story about this election. it'ste bifur what helps you in the senate, hurts you in the house. so you ha -- the president is drumming up his base. anoworking really hard to that. but at the same time, the things he's doing and the tactics he's employing are alienating some of these suburban voters and coastal states cala, and florida where their house seats are at risk. got a feeling today, just social media, that people were not rea ting greatthe troops at the border. even some people in the
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military, this is going too far. i think the question we're going to be asking oselves on wednesday and thursday as we analyze these results is did the president's push go too did it drive away voters or energize voters in nevada and arizona, states with big hispanic populations. but i think that, you know it's cutting both ways if the president. robert: jake, you're a long time student reporter on house speaker paul ryan. and you sat down for anie inte with pence. he came out onnt the presi position on birthright but most of the party is backing the party. why is that? >> the speaker did what he thought was just stating a fact that you can't aer the constitution with a pen. that's not how our government rks. and i think what you saw this week is the party tried to get in sync with the president who was stating something that was well outside mainstream.s once congr comes back into town, you will find a lot of people after the election who
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nwill think it's wise to change the constitution or to raise the prospect of changing the constitution unilaterally. that has to be dones many members of congress have already said through the legislature. one thing that i keep hearing from republicans who are involved in elections and spending money in the election is chaos is something that they are -- that voters are not interested in. it's the number one animated issue in every poll. a lot of things you've seen putting a massive troop presence that rivs our presence in afghanistan at the boarder with mexico, changing the constitution again unilaterally, these are not necessarily thingt oters are going to say, oh, this is the party i want to keep in power. that's a big-timemagine going into the mid terms this week. >> when he said all the bombs and the attack at the synagogue stopped his momentum. hehinks it stopped his momentum because he thinks it stopped the mediaoverage because of issues he cared
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about. people look at that and say this is t much. we need to -- we need to make a change. we have to do something here. we can't go on like that's where i think -- >> yeah, i mean, that's a real irony of how the president's closing argument now versus 2016. i think part of the reason the -- for the president's sucss in 2016 was that he actually ratcheted down. he was disciplined. he stayed offwier. the focus was all about hillary clinton and the investigation and the-mails. and so he looked as he would say -- i can be superpresidential. and that was the message. i know you might be worri about -- i know all this other chaos but i can bepl dised. now, he spent the last two weeks doing what so many voters dislike the most about him. so if you think about werre things two weeks ago, the spotlight was on the things that trump can do well, which is i
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got a supreme court justice appointed and confirmed. i told you i was going to do it. i followed through. success. now the spotlht isn things that people dislike the most about him which is the temperament and the chaos. robert: why isn't the attention on friday? on friday there was a better than expected jobs report. employers grew5000 jobs. and grew 50%. then administrat the president talked about it today, but it been closing on raw politicians, immigration. >> we call president trump but he's also chief of staff trump. he's press secretary trump. he's the chief enmer. he doesn't feel like talking about the economy. he knows it's doingthell. thing he thinks that's going to get republican over the finish le is this idea of us
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versus them. look, america is browning. do you want t o futuref america to be these people? great ou want it to be again? whatever that means. so while the president is happy about the economy, it'ot core -- the core thing that he thinks is going to energize people. >> you know, brandon buck the top advisor to paul ryan who tweeted right after the jobs repo, this is what we're going to be talking about for the next three or four days. robert: he's a pretty rye guy. i >> can't tell you why so many people are smacking theirth hea the president is not just talking about the economy which is a good story. the stock market is up. people have more money in their pockets. it's given a boost to theom ec it's something that -- >> well, i think this is why a lot of people who are in our business are still wondering, areohe runs going t -- returns going to be what they think? because the environment has not been as bad in past midererms
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the economy is tanking. so in some ways if the republicans take a big whack, of going to be out proportion to what they should have gotten given the usual economy message of a midterm. >> that's why we don't like to predic much because there are other issues that come up during the hard of an election. a tough issue last saturday. e president traveled to pittsburgh to pay respects to the victims of the mass shooting fside the tree o life. 11 worshippers were shot and kill. thentdefamation league says it's the deadliest anti-semitic attack in u.s. there were peaceful protests with people singing and praying in hebrew. a friend of "washington week" lives just blocks away from the synagogue. he wrote this week, for now, it has happened here. for millions across the wounded nation, we are the focus of
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anguish and anger and sace. the it can happen anywhere place of the moment. and we know given the tempo of tragedy in these times that the title won't be ours for long. how does this all factor into voters as they think through this election, they think through their choices? think carl had it exactly right, it was the sense of where the spotlight med from where we're talking about sort of the process. we're talking about kavanaugh the supreme court, even a little bit about the economy to talking about civility, about violence, about all the issues that, again, of the weaknesses of trump really were the big spotlight on that. the other thing about this election is that there's a this late breaking stuff and there are a whole lot of issues is h little has actually changed in terms of voter perceptions of this president since 2016. i looked through the last poll
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that "e wall street journal," nbc poll put through, and the president's approval rating among all those different we talk about. we talk about white voters, women, white educated they basically feel almost exactly the same about the esident today as they did in 2016. so a lot of these events are happening. it's creating this idea that there's so much activity and yet, i think people -- people have been baked in to how they're going to vote in this election for some time. >> why didn'tes the cononal leaders and many members of congress join the president in pittsburgh? >> i think they thought he was toxic. and it was going to be -- they didn't know it was going to half. i mean, that could have been a bad they don't want to be embracing the president because he makes these issues about himself. and he has made that about himself over the past few days nd the media coverage making himself the victim. the media portrayed them being protest. i was greeted warmly. i think they thought it was way
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too risky and they didn't need to be there. i lso spent tuesday in pittsburgh when the president was there. i was posing the question to people outside those funerals for those people who were massacred for these people that were murdered. and the majority of people did not want the president there. republicans, democrats. the people they talked to said, we just wan to be able to grieve in peace. he's not a consoler in chihe. not someone who showed empathy in the way president bush and president obama has. he tweeted they showed me a lot of respect. he's going there to show hists resp there were hundreds of protestors. there are people who told me, i don't want to president here. i'm trying to see it in the jewish faith in all the good t thint are happening now. but people -- the environment was that no one wanted president trump there exct the police union chief who said yeah, he's here to pay respects if the
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officers. environment. toxic robert: when you think about the nrcc. they're not breaking with president trump am what's happening in pittsburgh. but they are raising some questions about mobes of their own party like congressman steve king. his association with national lism and different far right groups. and nrcc distanced themselves. does that show unease at this moment? >> it shooe that the party not want to be associated with es spoused white supremist views. cad if democrat in every district in ame before this week could say the nrcc who supports steve king, who supports white supremacists and arrative a republicans really want. i will say, the nrcc, the republican congressional committee is pretty risk a verse when it comes to thing like
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this. members of congress pay dues into the organization. this was aat rely in the realm of bold moves a relatively bold move in the election season. robert: there's been much talk about the possible of a blue wave and the battle of control of the house in the senate. but let's remember, there are 33 gubernatorial race this is yearn republ currently hold 36 governor's mansions compared to 16 democrats plus bill walker. and one of the mostot contested race this is year is in georgia. that's when democrat stacy abrams hopes to become the nation's first female african-american governor. she's running neck and neck with brian kemp. carl, we were talking about -- all week about how gernor's races matter in georgia and the midwest. >> i think this is the most important aspect of this election. we're in washington. and, you know,, we tend to focus on governor's races are huge
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for two big reasons.e, t sets them up for reea portionment. and after the0 2 senses, they'll be in charge of cutting the house districts. two, you could have new democratic governors in the het of trump base in the midwest, in wiscoin, ohio, illinois really wasn't but -- so they will be in place for the 2020 elect now, we all know that governors have a lot to do with how elecons are conducted and enthusiasm in the state. think the governor's races are the story in this election. >> why are they running from health care in gubernatorial races and elsewhere? >> in some of these states their running on expanding micaid an states that have had republican governors, the issue of medicaid was actually popular with voters. buthe republican governor and the republican legislature did not push forward on that. carl makes a good point on that
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we are spending a whole lot ofn atn on florida and georgia because we could have the firstn african-amerovernor. it is getting so much energy and intensity. and we're going to have a lot of discussions after the election about what it means to have young, progressive candidates of color on theopf the -- either at the top of the ticket or in a governor's mansion. but the midwest has gotten very little attention, not just about how many governors democrats couldlect, but right, this was the blue wall that was supposed to stop president trump. that's wha democrats had thought. >> so that's where the wall wasw >> thel was -- >> carl. >> but there are ao senate races in all those places. and the democratic senator who are up in those states are running do an easy victory. that was supposed to be where
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we'll see if indeed thisrump was, you know, his strength in that part of the country had real deep roots and what democrats may come out of this election saying we got governorships and senate in those states. >> what about i frida? you have andrew gillam. ron desantos and stacy abrams. they're trying to stoke t democratic election. are they going to be successful from what you've seen in your reporting? e been talking to democratic pollsters who a cautiously optimistic. looking at early voting, they say that rublicans are showing up more than democrats right now. but just in my reporti, i was interviewing newly arrived puerto rican voter who is came after hurricane maria who are angry with the president and have not forgotten about the fact thatng he was thro towels to voters.
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it was to physically get people there. i t cnk the demss are -- democrats are trying real hard to turn out. in my conversations with republicans, i've been surprised for the ability to look at republican voters and think of his rhetoric as strong as someone who is taking it to the man and looking at the same sort brass rhetoric and calling democratic unhinged and crazy. think that's something people have done because they say, you have to be strong. so even if he's a little brash or horse face, that's what you have to do to get yourro messag . robert: republicans, are they nning to protect preexisting conditions? they used to run against president obama's health care law. >> they're running -- they're running on the health care law but not on the health care law. they're running on what's in the health care law without running on theor able care act which the republicans have voted to dismantle or straight r ueal
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something close to 70 times. and this is going to be -- this is probably the biggest failure if you look at this house republican majority, a house majority that wasn built 2010 on the health care law, on the prospect that if only we got back the white house we would repeal it and tentially based on the information at hand going to be dismantled based on their inability to do anything on the health care law. and it's really kind ofnn sg that big arc -- i want to get back to something amy said. if you're look at the midwest and the house seats that are up in the midwest, you're very quickly seeing the majority that was built i 2010 really starting in 2010 kind of recede a little bit. u're seeing members of congress kind of the vanguards who helped prop up this majority. the randyou hulkburnse starting to see them get in trouble.
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it's fascinating wat the arc of the republican party. robert: when you think of beto o'rourke, against ted cruz, how is the immigration issue playing in texas? >> i don't know if beto o'rourke is you're going to bring a whole bunch of new people into the process that have never been part of the -- especially a midterm electorate. in some cases they might notve urned out in any election if you can increase your base vote, that's what's going to put you over the top. interesting enough where beto o'rourke is doing best, at least when you look at the state and theongressional districts, he's doing best in those inner ringban affluent districts which are less diverse. and not as strong in some of the rio grande area which is more heavily latino. but this is going to be a fascinating discussion among democrats about d we pick the
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candidate who can motivate and turn out those new voters like georgia,florida, texas i they success? or do we go with the mod until the midwest which i more sort of centurist and kind of going to that older base? robert: any lessonsbout the money that was spent? >> you know, this is an interesting election for democrats because they had two ings they often get criticized for not having, an issue and money. they had a ton of money. andy it rea came in for them in small donations. they have been able to fund serious companies. now some republicans are just starting to advertise. we're seeing a couple of guys who were cffght guard. stephen king put up an ad. the democrats had money this time. but they also did have an issue. people complained there's not issues in these campaigns. to what jake was saying. think about they the house in 2010 on health care being against it,
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obamacare. 2019 they'lletay it if they run on the other side. >> i think about this interview i had with an e.m.t. who doesn't have health care. he'sen in an ambulance. ight hours spend in a hospital, it would wreck any family forever. ca he's a repub voting for a democrat. robert: michael bloomberg the former new york city mayor spent over $100 million that come wensdz you may not -- wednesday you may not want to think about it, 20, -- 2020. thanks everybody for being here. watch the coverage of the midtermct ens. yeah mitch and amy will be there. we want to pay tribute to the 11 members of the tree of life synagogue who lost their lives last week in pittsburgh. good night.
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>> funding is provided by --fi ncial services firm raymond james. newman's own foundation, donating all profits from newman's own food products to charity and nourishing the common goo the ethics in alism nce in jou foundation. ku and patricia ewing through the you wish foundation, committed to bridging cultural differences in our communities, the corporations for publicdc brting, and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
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