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tv   Inside Politics  CNN  February 25, 2019 9:00am-10:00am PST

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be redone. i think that was the shortest awards show. >> it actually wrapped up at 11:15. okay, brian, we've decided. thanks so much for joining me today, everybody. "inside politics" with john king starts right now. welcome to "inside politics." i'm john king. thank you for sharing your day with us. president trump heading to vietnam this hour for a second summit with north korea's kim jong-un. the president predicts it will be, his word, tremendous. and brace yourself for a big week while the president is on the world stage. washington's big dramas include long-time fixer michael cohen's hush money to women. ten candidates on the trail this weekend. bernie sanders preparing for a big town hall tonight.
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the search is on for this campaign's version of hope and change. >> the best way to bring that promise of america to all americans is to go big on the issues we take on. on education, on health care, on infrastructure and gun violence. to be bold in the solutions that we execute and to do good in the way that we govern. go big, be bold, do good. go big, be bold, do good. go big, be bold, do good. >> did you get that? back to politics in a moment. we begin with the big screen test that poses high drama and high stakes for the president. he leaves today for vietnam for a second summit with kim jong-un. but michael cohen is in court about hush money paid to women.
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we know the president grades such things differently than they do at the think tank. he loves the images. he said no rush with kim as long as he agrees to get rid of nuclear weapons. >> right after this meeting i leave for vietnam where i meet with chairman kim and we talk about something that, frankly, he never spoke to anybody about but we're speaking a lot, and i think we can have a very good summit. i think we'll have a very tremendous summit. we want denuclearization. >> now, remember after the singapore summit, the president said the nuclear problem was solved. just yesterday his own secretary of state made clear, no, it most certainly was not. >> do you think north korea remains a nuclear threat? >> yes. but t >> but the president said he
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sdechb doesn't. >> no, he didn't. >> he tweeted, there is no longer a nuclear threat from north korea. >> what he said was the stance the chairman made substantially takes down the risk for the american people. >> for the record, jake tapper was correct. sara, what's the white house goal for this summit? >> reporter: one of the main goals of these meetings will be to gauge north korea's willingness to denuclearize and try to secure some kind of clear, verifiable step toward that goal. there have been disagreements between intelligence officials and president trump about just how committed north korea is to its nuclear arsenal, and we expect to see these talks be more substantive, perhaps more intensive than what came out of that inaugural summit in washington, which was no more than a meet and greet. the president wants to put more meat on the bones toward the
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diplomatic efforts to north korea. they hope to use the backdrop of vietnam which was once hostile toward the u.s. as an example of the kind of economic revival kim jong-un could secure for his country if ehe were to soften hs stance to the u.s. but we don't know what concessions president trump is going to seek from north korea, although he's been striking a very optimistic tone about the likelihood of progress. that's not an attitude shared throughout the administration, though. there is an adviser close to the president who says he could pursue too much in search for some kind of breakthrough, and it's not clear that north korea will be receptive to that kind of talk. >> julie pace with the
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associated lopes, jackie cosinik with "the daily beast "snoochlt. >> the president is right when he says they're not firing missiles in our neighborhood. michael cohen is going to be up before congress, a house committee asking him publicly for the first time about everything from stormy daniels to trump tower moscow to a whole bunch of other issues. my question is will the president keep his focus on chairman kim, or will he be furious about what's happening here in d.c.? >> i think there is no doubt he'll be watching what's happening in d.c. in the middle of the night in hanoi. we suspect he'll have a full day with kim on thursday, but perhaps something on wednesday as well. so this could be right in the middle of two delicate meetings. certainly michael cohen's situation has really infuriated the president. this is someone who, despite what he says publicly about cohen being level-headed, this
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is someone really central to his business. >> for decades. >> for decades. what he has full insight into is trump's businesses and that is part of trump's identity, and his children are also tied up in the businesses presently. it's hard to imagine he'll not be paying attention to what's happening back here. >> chairman of the house committee now. democrats are in charge of the house now. they lay out some of what the democrats hope to ask mr. cohen about. >> did they go beyond what he told us about moscow trump tower into other areas as well? who would have been aware of the false testimony he was giving? what other light can he shed now that he's cooperating on issues of obstruction of justice or collusion? what more could he tell us about the trump tower new york meeting or any other issues relevant to our investigation. we think he has a lot to offer. >> that's a lot of ground the president would prefer not be
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uncovered. >> that's right. i think this would be a high stakes meeting under normal circumstances, but considering the fact the president is going into the summit with this happening back home, having covered cohen the ins and outs of michael cohen and everything going on with him for a while, i always thought what would be most newsworthy about public testimony is not just the news michael cohen could potentially make in that hearing room, but the effect it will have on the president's sort of mental state, right? he's going to look up and see potentially michael cohen while he is in vietnam say things about him that he's either going to disagree with, or as julie was saying, may infuriate him. we know the president is unpredictable in a lot of ways. he can be volatile in the decisions that he makes, but when he sees these headlines, we have no idea what he'll do in a setting like this. >> i think it will be how
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credible michael cohen seems at these hearings as to how upset the president will be. if he comes off as someone foolish, because you know that's what house republicans, that's going to be the open hearing. that's something the president can see on tv. fees able to tear him down in a way, i'm sure the president will delight in that instead of be worried. and also how it's taken in fox newsland, frankly. because that's who the president listens to and how it reflects back to him. >> the cohen testimony publicly, again, he says the president was aware he was breaking campaign finance laws by paying karen mcdougal and stormy daniels. all that will apply to everything. schiff said on abc the democrats are prepared to subpoena mueller, to get documents and
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get mueller to answer questions. kamala harris, listen to her here. she said she hopes most of it are made public, but if parts aren't made public, she believes the democratic intelligence committees and other committees can get the classified materials. >> i believe that given in particular all the misinformation that we can, i think rightly, believe we've heard that it is important the american public receive as much information and that we be as transparent as possible. so i am an advocate for transparency, i am an advocate for a public report, and certainly that we in the united states congress would receive all of the supporting information, be it a classified hearing or not. >> carrie, help me with this one. she's a former local d.a., former state attorney general. the prosecutor tries cases all the time and they may think in their bones someone is guilty. she is saying congress should have access to the work product,
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and if you have to do that in a classified setting, so be it. >> i think they'll fight over it. whether they end up getting it is another thing. there are different congressional committees that michael cohen is going before this week. he's going in a public hearing in front of the house oversight committee and that's the one where they'll get into the stormy daniels payments and the campaign violations and what donald trump's role was in all of that, and the trump organization related financial issues. separate from that is what adam schiff is talking about, chairman of the house intelligence committee. he's talking about the closed hearing that's going to be before his committee as well as the closed appearance that michael cohen is going to make before the senate intelligence committee. that's where they'll get into the potential classified information where michael cohen might be providing information about the trump moscow project or other things related to involvement that pertains to those committees' classified
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ininquii inquiries into the russian investigation. whether he'll get it, it will be discussed, fought about and potentially litigated. >> house democrats right now are really ramping up this pressure on william barr before the report is finished so sort of say, look, if there is a precedent at the doj, which clearly there is, if you're not going to prosecute someone, you don't release this information. that's exactly what barr said in his confirmation fight. but they're saying impeachment is not a legal matter, it's a criminal matter. if the president did something that was untoward or misconduct of some sort but it's not a legal issue, we still deserve the right to know. you heard schiff talk a little this weekend that if doj doesn't turn this information over, it's, quote, an effective cover-up. >> the argument is the president undermined himself by pressuring
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the justice department to hand over the clinton investigation files. she was never charged and the president said, turn over some of your work product to congress so they can look at this. now the democrats say, okay, if you did it for her, now you have to do it for him. this is donald trump jr. on fox news this morning. he says there is nothing here -- the way he says it, the energy in which he says it shows even the trump family is watching mr. cohen and how all this stuff plays out. >> we function the way we function. we always have and we always will. they're not investigating actual crimes anymore, they're literally trying to find something they can make a big deal of. i've been hearing this for two years where everyone is going to jail. they actually haven't found anything that relates to this. what they're doing is putting incredible pressure on regular guys that couldn't afford millions of dollars in legal fees and got him to slip up and say something incorrectly. that's all that happened. there are no actual crimes.
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>> the national security adviser lied. paul manafort was convicted and cut a plea deal. gates cut a plea deal. i could go on. michael cohen cut a plea deal. we can call them regular guys if you want. >> even from what we know that robert mueller put up, there are a whole host of unknowns including donald trump jr.'s involvement in a trump trial hearing. there may not be any crimes, but there is a tremendous amount that people around trump have done. >> there was a redacted version of a special counsel sentencing memorandum against paul manafort who was the campaign chairman and who the prosecutors say was committing crimes while efhe wa the campaign chairman and all the way through his plea agreement. >> they didn't use the term regular guy, but they said he was really good at lying. regularly, let's put it that way. up next, president trump
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prepares for a big fight on tariffs against china, but he likes the tariffs already in place. >> billions and billions of dollars of tariffs a month. every month, billions of dollars. i love it personally. i love it. alright, i brought in ensure max protein... to give you the protein you need with less of the sugar you don't. (straining) i'll take that. (cheers) 30 grams of protein and 1 gram of sugar. ensure max protein. in two great flavors.
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i can't tell you how well we did with our trade talks in china, and it looks like they'll be coming back quickly again and we're going to have another summit. we're going to have a signing summit, which is even better. so hopefully we can get that completed. but we're getting very, very close. >> president trump just this morning sounding optimistic about finalizing a trade deal he hopes to sign with china's president. because of that optimism, a big shift in the white house. president deciding to delay an increase in tariffs on $200
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billion worth of chinese exports. alison is live with wall street. >> you can see the dow up 180 points. you can see that optimism tone from the president now this morning and the optimistic tone he took on twitter over the weekend. a trade deal between the u.s. and china becomes more and more of a reality and as the president delays thon loosening the tariffs on china. i have seen fear kind of subside over the past several weeks. we watch an index called the vic. it's actually way below since august. this was before the feds came out and briefly pushed all the major indices in bare market
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territories. today you're seeing a lot of relief in the market on words from the president and his tone. one thing to keep in mind, the stability, at least, in this market really hinges on whether or not there will be an actual deal signed and whether or not it can be enforced. that is key here. one trader telling me this market is really one negative headline about trade away from a reversal and from president trump possibly changing his mind, which is a possibility. john? >> just make sure none of them read twitter. allison kosik. we've seen the volatility up and down in the negotiations. who got what and did the president get? he said he would be the president that finally stood up to china on chinese behavior that's been an issue for
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decades. did he move them? >> if you are someone who thought china's behavior really needs to change in a fundamental way, you're probably not pleased with what we're learning china has agreed to. it looks like they're going to agree to buy more natural gas and soybeans from the united states, that they will take a tougher line in terms of property, but these are all things china was probably going to do, anyway. so if the test of an agreement is did you force them to do things they weren't inclined to do, we haven't seen them make fundamental movement in terms of no more forcing americans to transfer their technology to chinese companies, no more sub as i h sidies to chinese. >> that gets to the point of can
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i get to the finish line. the markets have been through this, the ups and douns wns of . americans have been through it, the farmers. anything could happen in the next 6 0 to 90 days, we just don't know. but that confidence there from the president, he thinks president xi is coming soon to mar-a-lago and they're going to sign something. >> nothing is official right now. officially there is nothing in writing, there is not some official readout that we've gotten, and this idea there might be a summit at mar-a-lago i think significantly raises the possibility that she could actually be a guest at trump's place in florida and talks fall through. nothing is for granted or for certain right now. i would say the one thing i think we can count on in this situation is when it comes to
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policy, we talk a lot about how the president doesn't actually care to get into the details of a lot of policy issues that are complicated. we talked about this during the health care debate, that he never actually learned the issue. trade, i think, is the one issue that falls in a different category. he cared about it in the beginning, he cares about it a lot right now, and it is important to him to get trade right, and it's fundamental how he sees the united states' role in the world. >> it's also a point to get him reelected. is this about if president trump was going to be the president who broke china, who got china to be a more responsible player in the world stage, is this more conventional? a more conventional deal you might see under any other president, get the best deal, don't disturb the markets. the president's numbers are down. especially if you look at some of the midwestern states. it doesn't mean he can't pull off another electoral victory, but he's got his work cut out for him. if you look at wisconsin there, if you look at iowa there, if
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you look at michigan there, three states the president won last time, he's got some work to do. maybe the president decided we push, we pushed, we pushed, now it's time to cut a deal. >> this is the first president who approached china through the lens of the reelection possibility. look, americans have a habit of wanting something from china and not getting it. george bush tried to push china on things like property theft, but north korea is more important, iran is more important. obama wanted changes in behavior from the chinese but climate change was more important. so with this president, what the chinese have sensed just like his predecessors, there were things he wanted more than fundamental change. he wants a higher dow, he wants farmers selling more soybeans, he wants to get reelected and he wants those college votes and those states that matter to him. that means that sometimes the chinese who began from a point of very little leverage now have a lot more leverage than they thought. the very fact, i think, the
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president is pushing hard toward a summit in some sense boxes him in to having something to show for all this. >> the chinese know the art of the deal. >> but he's blunted the impact in a way, too. what is it, $7.7 billion have been paid out to farmers in order to -- so while this is being tied up, they're not selling soybeans and crops to china. so what happens when these sub as i h subsidies stop? are they going to be dormant? >> you have those states and you pointed out on the map these are states of big agricultural industries, where they stopped or feared seeing a negative impact. but trump just wants to be tough on china. this is actually something politically popular to show that you're being tough on china, but those people may be different, the voters of the states he
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needs to win. >> if he claims victory even if it's perhaps not as good a deal as they could have gotten, they're going to listen to him. even this deal here, you have to look at what he did with nafta, too. republicans were cautioning him against this hard line with tariffs saying, this is going to blow up in our face. it will be interesting to see if the party reorients itself, if he's able to land another deal after renegotiating nafta. >> i think we've seen the party more hawkish on china are not getting their way. a lot of trade hawks were happy that john was put in charge of this. but the last week suggests that the president has been a little less sympathetic to that hawkish view. on the hill, people like marco rubio, tom cotton. these are senators that want a tougher line on china. but in the end the president did not listen to them. >> we'll watch this play out. this is a fascinating moment.
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we're moments away from the president getting on air force i. up next for us here, bernie sanders pleading for everyone to play nice as elizabeth warren issues a challenge to the very, very crowded 2020 democratic field. e best simple salad ever? great tasting, heart-healthy california walnuts. so simple, so good. get the recipes at walnuts.org. why didn't you book your on a travel site?on at hilton.com, i get the price match guarantee. and i can choose from their 14 different hotel brands, so i get the right hotel for every member of my family. like a doubletree for my cousins who love their warm chocolate chip cookies. a homewood suites for my uncle who likes a long stay. a hampton for my sister and her kids. that's a lot of syrup and the waldorf astoria beverly hills for me. but i thought your family vacation was in miami? it is. i hear they're having a great time. book at hilton.com and get the hilton price match guarantee. if you find a lower rate, we match it and give you 25% off that stay.
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here tonight, on the other side of that wall behind me. you'll find the 2020 candidates more crowded than last time. one key ally is ready to fight for voters who were attracted to sanders last time. elizabeth warren saying, quote, she won't hold any fundraisers or dinners or phone calls for wealthy donors. any time you see a presidential candidate talking to voters at a rally or local diner, those people are spending three to five times as long with wealthy donors, all behind closed doors. warren said she will choose a nominee whose time is not for sale to people who can write big checks. this takes senator warren on another step toward pac money. and big money sees it as a cancer for politics.
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that was a sore spot for sanders in 2016 and, he hopes again, in 2020. you did a report on this this morning. warren is trying to carve out the sanders space. sanders announced it last week. she's trying to get out there ahead of him and literally take some of his people. >> in a lot of ways, she actually doesn't have a lot to lose by making this announcement as novel as it seems, because the people she was going to get to support her campaign in a big way were never going to be the wealthy donors and she was never going to be the person who wanted to do knethese glitzy fundraisers and dinners. this goes along with the message she was sending already. i think the fascinating thing will be how other democrats respond to this. we know how bernie sanders responds to this. his model is very similar, but yeah, i think she's going after that model and the supporters who would have been supportive
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of bernie sanders last time, the kamala harrises and cory bookers of the world, do they take this as an implicit challenge to them and that they're the candidates going out in the field to wealthy donors. >> the reason kamala harris will have to go after those wealthy donors is they won't have enough grassroots support, at least at this stage. from a messaging side, it's good for warren to do this, but there is a practical side. if she can't get enough grassroots money, can she stay competitive in a field that's going to have some candidates with big outside money, but also some candidates like a bernie sanders, a beto o'rourke, if he gets in, may suck up all that grassroots support money she's trying to get. >> bernie sanders did that all through 2016.
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he also raised $6 million in a day. he has served notice that his people are out there. >> i was going to jump off that and say that number, the $6 million, a lot of people saw that and said, bernie's still got it, but warren using a piece of playbook, and last time he was only running against hillary clinton. there are at least half a dozen candidat candidates carving out the same sort of space he had last time. how does he make himself unique? also he's older, he's white and he's a man. these are not the demographics of getting women in politics and minorities. >> the question is, when does it get more prickly, if you will? when does kamala harris say something and he says, well, when did you learn that in a big fundraiser? when does this get pointed in the debates? that's a few months down the
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road. bernie sanders has a town hall with wolf blitzer tonight. he said, let us do our very best to engage respectfully with our democratic opponents. talking about the issues we are fighting for, not about personalities or past grievances. remember that our struggle is bigger than a tweet or a facebook comment. and remember that our primary goal. bernie sanders is trying to say, can we quiet this down a little bit? >> this is unsustainable, but they all seem to be trying not to say anything nasty about the democratic side. everyone is trying to be very cool. a lot of them are, in fact, colleagues in the senate right now. you'll see that until it becomes clear that they can't do it anymore, then it's between them and voters. and i think the other test with this small donor, it is -- how much is this a gimmick? because when we get to a general election, you mean to tell me
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they're not going -- they're going to try to go against the rnc trump money machine with just small donors? >> whether they like it or not, there will be pacs around them, there will be an incredible amount of money in a general election for the democratic base. >> you are so right some of this is about messaging, too, for elizabeth warren when her numbers officially come out. when they're lackluster, she'll be able to say, of course they're lackluster because i'm not going to the big donors for checks. >> she said i look forward to the debate stage. remember, it was just clinton and sanders. clinton and obama went at it, too. we just noted cnn's wolf blitzer moderates our town hall tonight with bernie sanders. that's at 8:00 p.m. eastern. you don't want to miss that. who mike pence considers the
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topping our political radar today, house speaker nancy pelosi put a test to the most controversial issues. she announced she wants to put a new gun control bill up for a vote this week on all firearm purchases. >> mr. president, if you want to talk about emergencies, this is an emergency. when we bring up our legislation this week, we will pass the bill on the floor of the house to prevent gun violence. >> warren buffett says he knows who he would like to see get into the presidential race and that's fellow billionaire
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michael bloomberg. the chairman saying if bloomberg announces he's running for president tomorrow, he would get behind it. he says he knows how to run things. they don't agree on everything, but he says bloomberg stands behind everything and has goals for america. there was deadly violence saturday over the government refusing humanitarian aid from the united states. pence talked to the self-declared interim president on the regional crisis. pence said they will step up getting aid into venezuela and make peace with the officials aligned with the maduro regime. >> what we've seen in the past two days wasn't a bold stroke by a triumphant leader, it was the desperate act of a tyrant clinging to power with violence and intimidation. our efforts to date will not
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only continue, they will be increased. despite maduro's brutality, we will press on. >> the vice president also reiterating all options are on the table, he says, when it comes to resolving the crisis in venezuela. up next, what voters in iowa think of the increasingly crowded 2020 democratic field. that's not a bug, that's not a bug! (burke) hit and drone. seen it, covered it. we know a thing or two because we've seen a thing or two. ♪ we are farmers. bum-pa-dum, bum-bum-bum-bum ♪ ♪ ♪ t-mobile will do the math for you. right now, when you join t-mobile,
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sto iowa officially opens the 2020 voting in 30 days. democratic voters say it's a bit like house or car hunting, yes? many say their caucus preference next february will be shaped by their frustration that their state went red in november 2016.
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morg's in waterloo, by the way, a great stop for breakfast. >> i live down the road, married for a long time. i have three kids. i've been a democrat my entire life but maybe haven't been as involved as i should have been. >> i've lived in waterloo since 2016. i grew up in the northern side of the state. i was one of the supporters for senator obama in 2017. i helped out in '16 with the clinton campaign. >> i worked at hawkeye community college and a taught esl to most of the immigrants and refugees that came. i try to see every candidate that i can, list ton ten to the questions, see how they -- everyone has their own shpiel, everyone has their own stuff, but there are some that seem to be more fitting in what the
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midwest is kind of looking for. >> are you at the stage where you're looking at who you want, or are you still trying to sort through what you want before you can get to a who you want. >> what i hear people saying is, you know, we are just done with this drama, we are done with the tumult and chaos that's been the last couple of years. we want regular order. we want somebody to govern well and competently with research and scandal free, good people. so some of that style, that sense of professionalism in government is more important right now than what i consider kind of the red flags of the things that, of course, maybe we would all love. maybe we would all love -- >> like gun control. >> i love the new energy, i really do, in the party. i think we ought to keep
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proclaiming that. but every time somebody says medicare for all, there is a whole bunch of people that just kind of go, back off. >> but there are passionate people who would say, no, we need the ideas, we need the deal, we need this and that. >> bernie sanders is great at bringing the ideas out. they've been widely adopted. there's probably half the candidates right now saying the exact same thing he said two years ago. now let's get someone who can unite. >> we need to elect someone who can win, because the constitutional norms that are being eviscerated on an almost day-to-day level, this person wants to do affordable college but not free college for everyone, so i can't support them in the general election. we don't have time for that. >> this is kind of a weird a analogy, but i have a realtor and she said people go in and they look for a house.
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somewhere else they decide within the first 15 seconds whether that house is for them or not, and then the rest is rationalizing. >> if you look at some of the conversations that go on, particularly among younger voters, you will look at senator sanders having a pretty high rating from the nra early in his career, you'll have joe biden voting for the crime bills in the '90s which senator sanders also voted for. you have -- there is the history, there is the baggage in this sort of me too racial justice era that these candidates have to address. >> that's interesting. stuff that happened 30 years ago is easy to take out of context, you know. 20 to 30 years ago, acceptable behavior was different, the political necessities were different. i'm a big believer in second chances. >> i would love to see a different face. i mean, i love joe biden. i caucused for joe biden, i
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caucused for bernie. but i would like to see things shaken up a bit. maybe a woman, just something that looks different that brings in a new mix, and i think that would energize people who have not felt like they're part of the system. >> it's a great group. it's not scientific, but it's always great to sit down and talk to voters in these early states. the voters are often way ahead of the candidates. there is three people at the table, but a lot of these voters, yeah, they love the new deal, yeah, they want the rich to pay more, yeah, they want medicare for all. they can't agree on how to do this, but especially in iowa, democrats feel guilty, almost shameful, that trump carries their state and they want someone to win it back. >> i've heard that over and over again this cycle, we just want somebody who can win. i think sometimes we can get caught up in what the activists and what some of the loudest voices in the democratic party are talking about which is some
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of the policies you're talking about, they're setting them up as litmus tests. i have heard more from voters that they just want someone who can win. they don't care necessarily. they would like those policies but they just want someone who can defeat trump. if they had to give up on some of those policies, that would be okay. >> some of those policies make some a little bit nervous. i met one voter that the medicare for all, she's worried that perhaps those loud voices are chasing away some folks who actually aren't really happy with the trump administration and may want a new person. >> people in iowa have more pit counties, they call them, than any other state. trump flipped them from obama and that's hard to do. >> they're so eager to do the hallmark and they want to go to these rallies and campaign events. i haven't come across any voters in iowa who expressed concern that there were too many people in the field. they see that as their privilege, that they get to sort of do these job interviews with
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the various candidates and feel out, what is the policy they stand for? i think they have to figure out on a number of issues, do they want someone like trump or someone else? do they want certain policies? these are all things they need to figure out in the next year. >> the pragmatic stance you see among voters, and we're seeing it also in the how else of representatives. nancy pelosi, there is a reason that medicare for all is not going to get a house vote through congress. there's a reason you have a lot of people signing onto these bills and endorsing things like the green new deal, but privately a lot of people are expressing concern about this, and that shows you the cautious approach you're not hearing a lot about, but there are certainly democrats, not just voters, including in washington who are very cautious about these. >> if you noticed, that was a great breakfast. a little extra time for me at the gym today. after the break, brianna
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keilar begins. have a great day. what makes this simple salad the best simple salad ever? great tasting, heart-healthy california walnuts. so simple, so good. get the recipes at walnuts.org.
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i'm brianna keilar looiive m cnn's washington headquarters. right now donald trump is on his way to vietnam to meet with north korea leader kim jong-un. the two will sit down for their second one-on-one summit and the united states is hoping

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