tv Inside Politics CNN March 18, 2019 9:00am-10:00am PDT
welcome to "inside politics." i'm john king. thank you for sharing your day with us. beto o'rourke is proving there are bucks to back the buzz. the democratic congressman reports a new fundraising record in the last 24 hours taking in -- get this -- more than $6 million. plus, mission accomplished but at what price? senator lindsey graham is now a feisty trump defender and the white house is about to give him a big reward. how was your weekend? at the white house the chief of staff feels compelled to say the president is not a white supremacist. another top trump adviser takes issue with her husband whose weekend tweets question the president's mental fitness and suggest he's getting worse. >> i don't share those concerns,
and i have four kids and i was getting out of the house this morning before i got here and talked to the president about substance, so i may not be up to speed on all of them. >> back to that drama in a moment. we begin this hour with a big new record by one of the democrats, big big new faces. beto o'rourke campaign announced it raised $6 million before going live. it topped even bernie sanders' campaign which reached $5.9 million in its first day. kamala harris brought in 1.5 million. beto o'rourke blitzed through iowa and minnesota the past several days. america has staying power in a crowded and wide open race for the democratic nomination. mj joy joins us.
wow, it's a wow even higher than what we thought with bernie sanders. >> reporter: that's right, john, and for other candidate watching beto o'rourke and the start of his campaign, they should be worried, as you noted. the closest other candidate to come to this kind of number was bernie sanders, and at that moment when he put out his number, we were all wowed by that number, right? $5.9 million. as you say, kamala harris is 1.5 million. beto o'rourke clearing showing, and he said so himself this morning, that he believes you can run a presidential campaign based on a grassroots strategy, based on just going after these small dollar donations, and the big question that's been looming over beto o'rourke and his presidential campaign has been, can he do whatever it was that he did in texas that got people so energized and so excited? can he do that on the national stage, right? when it comes to the fundraising, we seem to have at least the answer for now that he is able to pull in that kind of money, but a lot of other questions still remain to be seen in terms of whether he can build out a team that can handle
a presidential campaign. it's notable that beto o'rourke still does not have a campaign manager. can he build the kind of infrastructure that you need for a national campaign? and then, of course, where is he on the important policy questions? that still remains to be seen as well, john. >> remains to be seen, but that money does make a statement. we will see where we go from here. mj, appreciate the live reporting. mj in jackson, our town hall and elizabeth warren right there. it is a huge statement. we could show you some of the headlines from the first week on the campaign. axios talking about gaffes, apologizing for being a white male, saying he's mortified. when you can report $6 million after being coy the last several days about the money you raised,
what is the message about beto? >> i think the message is he is going to be a big fundraiser. it's also important because this is a long campaign. if you're going to be viable a year from now when we're deep in the primary season, you'll have to have enough money to sustain the campaign. i think he's sending a message that he does have grassroots support. some of what he did in texas is at least transporting very early at a national level. i do think one of the questions of how he sucks up this campaign is how he uses his money. he didn't have a big team around him in texas. running for president is a much different situation. you are running multiple senate races at once all across the country, so how is he going to use that money? that's a test for all the candidates as they go from the early phase to the next phase, which is building out an organization and actually running a real campaign. >> he's doing it -- backwards isn't the right word, but
unconventional. the idea he's raising all this money, he's running around with a handful of aides, doesn't have a campaign manager yet, can't tell you some things on policy issues, but -- >> like an overwhelming amount of content. trump does that very well. i was trying to keep pace with beto in iowa behind his dodge caravan that he's driving around with his aides in. he's doing eight rallies a day, he's speaking to packed crowds. there is an energy around him at this stage and the money illustrates that in a pretty striking way. he was able to raise a lot against ted cruz. the question was whether he could raise a lot competing amongst fellow democrats, and he proves that with this. the challenge, as julie pointed out, i think some of the specifics that he needs to build a campaign apparatus around him, and he is sort of light. when you ask him specific questions, he's very inspirational and works up a crowd, but in the end he
sometimes doesn't answer a simple policy question. that's maybe okay at this early stage, but if it continues that could be a problem. >> on the issues today, beto o'rourke still campaigning. some people saying he's lucky because he's a former congressman. he doesn't have to be in washington for votes so he can stay out campaigning with his dodge caravan and his aides. don't go over the speed limit. listen to beto talking about climate change. >> if you think 400,000 appear rehepg -- apprehensions on the southern border with mexico is a problem, wait until the southern hemisphere is no longer habitable by human beings. you don't want to sign your kids to that fate. the green new deal has been laid out, the framework with that incredibly ambitious proposal and does not attempt to disengage our action to climate with the need to rebuild this economy so it works for everyone. >> again, as the campaign moves
on, all of the candidates, not just congressman o'rourke, where would you pay for a green deal? but tapping into the energy that is the democratic base. >> i think we have to be careful because we're all plugged in, we'll be looking at every single statement he makes. when people talk about gas and all that, i think at this point and this environment, the idea that these misstatements here and there is really going to derail a campaign is probably unlikely. i think people have a much higher tolerance level than they may have had in the past. when you look at him apologizing for certain things, in this day and age a lot of people don't apologize for much, but i think part of the reason people used to do it is you can apologize and move on. that's kind of what you see him doing. it is very early. it's only been like a week. >> no idea who you mean by some people just don't apologize. you've been spending most of your time tracking hamle hamlet
delaware. the question is when does joe biden officially start running? some say it was a gaffe, some say probably not, the announcement he was going to run. >> i'm totally getting criticized by the new left. i have the most progressive record of anybody who would run. [ cheers and applause ] >> i mean anybody who would run. >> he's running. you have a very smart piece up on cnn politics right now about the pressure on biden. when you see the beto o'rourke fundraising numbers, money raised in small donations on the internet, that brings it in contrast. he's going to have to go to big
events and raise money. those numbers we don't expect on line. what's the current mood in the biden vibe? >> biden and his team are closely watching the figures that have come out. also him waiting to come in has given him a chance to size up the field. now they're working, trying to get all the elements in place to put him in a position where he can see his command of the field once he enters. so they're working on lining up major endorsements, including from black lawmakers who could be key to support for a biden candidacy as you move beyond iowa, new hampshire and into states like south carolina. they're also looking into gaming out the scenarios of what a rally would look like. they're looking at a kickoff rally in wilmington, his home state, and also scranton, pennsylvania which is central to that biden middle-class message. that's where he was born, so it could be a natural place for him to go back to. there's also been some discussion about potentially
picking a running mate early that would generate some enthusiasm among democrats and also try to focus this race during the primary against president trump. and you've seen the former vice president in his speeches really go after president trump, showing that he's trying to make this a direct match-up between the two. >> out of the box, because he's made us wait, number one, and because of his experience, and because he's a more traditional candidate, you think the parties are looking for something different. he has to be close to perfect, and i think he gets that. joe biden got tongue-tied over the weekend when he was unable to properly deliver a very simple line about his decision to run for president. get used to it, another low i.q. individual. that's the substance-based discussion we're going to have in the campaign against the president. >> you thought of amy klobuchar and her announcements in a snow globe or whatever, and beto and his hand movements which are significant. the guy moves his hands quite a bit. but to the point -- i think beto
and biden are occupying some similar and interesting space, and both sort of draw out the other's weaknesses. biden has a deep resume but a problematic one, and beto has a very light one. biden is older and beto brings out that generational change. so the two of them sort of fighting over some similar political terrain, not as lefty and progressive as the left field. >> and biden may be waiting until april because he wants to wait until after the first quarter fundraising numbers. he's going to have to do this the old-fashioned way. it's unlikely he would get a $6 million grassroots piggy bank in his first number of hours, so he wants to wait until after everyone else has to put out their money before he gets in the game. >> biden hasn't run since 2008, so these e-mail lists that people have are extensive and biden has a lot of catching up
to do. >> we will watch. interesting statement today from mr. o'rourke. two remarkable defenses about the president's character and, some say, his state of mind. pardon the interruption but this is big! now with t-mobile get the samsung galaxy s10e included with unlimited data for just $40 a month. your control. like bedhead.
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the president making clear today he thinks it is unfair that his character is being questioned because of his response to the massacre in new zealand. the media of the president tweets it is working overtime to blame him for the attack in new zealand. no one here is blaming the president for one second for the attack. but they are blaming him for his reaction to it. why does he spend the weekend airing grievances about john mccain and general motors while the world discussed hate and violence? included in this debate, two remarkable white house statements in the span of 24 hours. the first from the white house chief of staff.
>> the president is not a white supremacist. i'm not sure how many times we have to say that. and to simply ask the question every time something like this happens overseas or even domestically to say, oh, my goodness, it must somehow be the president's fault speaks to a politicization of everything i think is undermining the institutions we have in the country today. >> the second statement came today from presidential counselor kellyanne conway. the weekend into monday debate about what the president did and didn't say about new zealand and why he felt it important, again, to disparage senator mccain than say something supportive about muslims included conway's husband. george conway is a well-established critic of his wife's boss. his twitter yesterday, quote, his condition is getting worse. followed up with a tweet today from the pages of the diagnostic manual for mental disorders. kellyanne conway reacting on the white house grounds a bit earlier. >> no, i don't share those concerns, and i have four kids
and i was getting out of the house this morning before i got here and talked to the president about substance, so i may not be up to speed on all of them. >> phil mattingly joins the conversation. i'm not even sure where to begin in the sense that, again, the president's airdes would push back and say a lot of this is media creation. that was kellyanne conway's husband that tweeted those things. he keeps doing it and he knows she'll be asked about it. the fact the white house staff has to keep saying the president is not a white supremacist, i don't know what to say about that. >> it's usually not a good sign if you have to go on air on a sunday show and say that. i thought more impressively, we have to keep saying this over and over and over again. if that's the case, take a step back and ask the question why. i think you make a good point here. this isn't the outward blaming of the president for what happened, it's more of a sin of omission. this isn't the most difficult
part of politics, being compassiona compassionate, showing empathy, showing sympathy for something like this, and it's kind of low-hanging fruit. it's a couple tweets, it's a solid statement, it's not a denial of what's actually happening and then everybody would leave it alone. i think the reality for white house staff generally is that the president doesn't respond to this in a nofrmal way. to be fair, the president doesn't respond to anything in a normal way and that's why he's in the white house. it's just low-hanging fruit. >> the president was asked, do you think white supremacy is on the rise? he said, no, i don't. the statistics are overwhelming and he's against that. you could ask about this issue. how about this? >> but we should not and cannot and must not ignore the real and serious danger posed by domestic terrorists. we, too, have seen the face of such evil with attacks in places
such as charlottesville, pittsburgh and charleston. and in the wake of the new zealand tragedy, i want to make one thing very clear. we will not permit such hate in the home laland. there is no room in this great nation for violent groups who intimidate or coerce americans because of their race, religion, sex or creed. >> great example. a great example. so why won't the boss follow the lead, if you will, or lead his deputies? >> that is the issue right there. this is coming from secretary nielsen wheor you'll have a statement from sarah sanders. but you're not hearing that same language from the president. and even though he responds to everything not the way a normal president would, if there is an attack by a muslim or an attack on a muslim, you will hear from the president very quickly
saying, you need to do this, you need to do that. but here you're getting one statement, i'm sending out my condolences, and then you don't hear anymore on it. >> an attack on immigrants in the united states here is where we get into this problem. mick mulvaney is probably very frustrated he spent his weekend answering these questions. there is a difference in the way the president responds when there is an attack on a muslim overseas or a muslim living in the united states than another kind of attack. >> you go into the community, you meet people, you share empathy with them. she asked the president to show love and support for the community. no response at all from the president. now, the president has every right to have his opinion and to be mad about things, but again, you're the leader of the free world, and when the world is having a conversation, a, just
feeling horrible and sharing the pain in new zealand to just deciding you'll air your grievances about everything. >> they are out sort of explaining his comments. they need to get that phone taken away. this is not a new observation, it's been a theme of his presidency, but executive time and being alone and tweeting illustrates who he is and what he's doing, but his advisers struggle to put that back into context or to rein that in. >> you can't. he is the most transparent president in many ways, and that is what was most important to him this weekend. other people had a different opinion. that was what was most important to him. up next, a 2020 campaign question for the president. is he losing at least his grip on the republican party? but first, democratic presidential candidate amy klobuchar finds some swag at the local t-shirt shop. spending some money.
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this is beyond wifi, this is xfi. simple. easy. awesome. xfinity, the future of awesome. senator lindsey graham is celebrating a big reward today. vice president mike pence will be on hand next weekend to kick off the republican senators' 2020 re-election campaign, giving approval to a senator that once called him a bigot and a jackass. the trump ally is a remarkable flip and proof on the president's hold to the
republican conservative base. remember, 12 gop senators broke just last week on the vote of the border wall emergency. and we are reminded that not long ago, and with lindsey graham's help, there was a different tone with america than the current president. >> americans have the duty to regulate who comes in and when. in meeting this responsibility, it helps to remember that america's immigrant history made us who we are. amid all the complications of policy, may we never forget that immigration is a blessing and a strength. >> seems like a long time ago, doesn't it? remember mccain, kennedy, bush? lindsey graham was a key player in that. everyone said when lindsey
graham flipped, why did he do this? part of it was to ward off a primary challenge in 2020. >> this is why. it shows lindsey graham's political astuteness to do what he has to do to get re-elected but not necessarily living up to the principles of john mccain and this weekend he spoke out. it seems so formulaic how those responses go and there is not much push-back to presidential attacks. >> you can put up on the screen here, the president tweet aid number of things about senator mccain this past weekend. we understand the president is upset that john mccain did not vote with him on health care. john mccain died seven months ago. the president again, on new zealand weekend, decided to tweet all this stuff about last in his class, other stuff about john mccain.
you expected lindsey graham to push back at the president. he didn't push back at all. he says, john mccain stepped forward to protect his country, defending john mccain, but not one word about, president trump, just stop. >> when you talk about a dark stain on -- that's very personal. that's not saying i don't like how he voted on this, this is him saying i don't want him to be celebrated. when we had the video of bush, all i can think of is bush lost that fight on immigration. now you have a totally different tone because that is where the republican party wants to be. >> it's such a good point. the republican party is no longer the party of mccain and bush and the old lindsey graham. it is the party of donald trump and the new lindsey graham. they want to take a tough line on immigration, and for all of
the talk, and there continues to be chatter, about weakness in trump support among republicans. he has a hold on the vast majority of republican voters. it's why the small crowd of people mostly in washington and new york who are desperately trying to find somebody to primary him in the 2020 election are having such a difficult time. this was trump's party. >> i was watching this weekend on michael smerconish who says he's going to run, ends how steep. he thinks he can get going on this. his argument is the old republican party is a lot better than trump's republican party, and he wants to make the case. >> well, you know, the trump party, if i may, trumpism is the natural heir of the know-nothing party of the 19th century which, like the trumpism, was founded on anti-immigrant fervor. they hated in that case catholics, the catholics coming in from germany and italy.
they had violent rallies just like trumpism. they believed in conspiracy theories just like trumpism. and that party just disappeared into the mist. i think the same thing is going to happen with trumpism. >> is there anybody who thinks -- whether that's right or wrong in the long run? >> in the short term, it's not. i looked at the national vote, actually covered it very closely. flip it and look at the inverse of it. look at the republicans up for re-election in 2020. i believe all but susan collins voted with the president on that, and even terry garber in colorado is considered a challenge. i want to see where they see the power in the party, but i think senator graham, it's not just political with him, but it's a very big piece of this. it's also a calculation of, if i
want to get anyone does, that's how senator gram moved forward in health care. graham has made the same calculation that many in the republican party has, which is talk about speaker paul ryan, talk about the majority. i can ensure that. >> in the meantime, let's get done what we can get done, but in the case of lindsey graham, a lot of republicans have made conversions. ant not as big as this one. >> stay in the race, just don't be a jackass. he's a racist, xenophobic bigot.
>> i think he's crazy and i hate that he's in the campaign and i'm not. >> he's not fit to be president. he did win, by the way. >> i like the president. i want to help him. i hope he's successful. he's been a friend to me and he says some things i don't agree with. so if you don't like working with me to help the president make the world a better place, i don't give a [ bleep ]. >> that was the same guy. coming up, senator bernie sanders weighs in at being an old white man in a campaign where some democratic voters think they want the opposite. the best home to be in is your own. home instead offers personalized in-home services for your loved ones. home instead senior care. to us, it's personal. -it's our confident forever plan. -welcome to our complete freedom plan.
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topping our political radar today, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff take issue with the "wall street journal" report that the pentagon is working on plans to keep the troops in syria to keep on working with kurdish fighters. general dunford said the story is factually incorrect that the president is drawing down u.s. forces. he did, however, have talks with turkey along the syrian border. melania trump adding to her beloved project for children. she introduced to the group youth programs. that group founded by the george w. bush foundation to bring various industries together to try to improve programs. an acknowledgment by senator bernie sanders said he needs to keep part of his platform to make another serious run for the
democratic presidential nomination. he says he needs to explain what democratic socialism means. he also weighed in on an older white man is really what democrats want right now. >> they say we want more diversity in our politics. i campaigned very hard for women candidates, for african-american candidates, for latino candidates. but when i hear people, democrats and independents talking, what they say mostly is that we desperately must have a candidate who can defeat donald trump. >> up next, will the president's big battle with general motors save jobs in the heart of trump country? -a-dub ducky...♪ and then...there's national car rental. at national, i'm in total control. i can just skip the counter and choose any car in the aisle i like. so i can rent fast without getting a hair out of place. heeeeey. hey!
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a factory in china. it's personal for the president because they told the workers not to move or sell their homes, that he would save their jobs. and plant moving to ohio just added to their interest which is crucial for the president heading to ohio this week to visit an army tank plant. a scene is unpresidential marketing to some. they're saying they cannot afford to revisit the issue later. >> in the meantime, jobs may begin seeping out of the country. when you tell a businessman politician can we meet several months from now, he's just saying can we meet and accelerate this faster. >> what he gets right and wrong about the plant closure.
>> john, this lordstown plant is a political problem for the president. he vow ted to workers they woul keep their job in america, specifically in ohio, and this rivals the gm plant closing in 2017. >> the jobs in ohio are all coming back. they're coming back. don't move. don't sell your house. >> those jobs coming back, he said, but the bully pulpit of the presidency and the twitter megaphone did not trump the realities of global business. the gas-powered sedan made there, the chevy cruz, wasn't a huge seller in the u.s. gas-powered sedans are less popular right now to trucks and suvs. the future as gm sees it is an expensive thing for the ohio
plant closure. it was called right-sizing capacity for the realities of the marketplace. but the presidents of gm make a different statement in lordstown selling the facility. the president casting around for blame, even criticizing the local union president, telling him to get his act together and produce. now, these tactics may seem familiar. think ford, think carrier -- that's the air conditioner and furnace maker -- the president leaned hard on them from keeping their facilities from expanding to mexico. gm issued a statement. gm said the ultimate future of the unallocated plants will be will be resolved between gm and the uaw. >> christine romans, thanks for the breakdown there. this is classic trump.
a lot of people say he shouldn't be picking on specific companies, telling them to do specific things, and the president says, sorry, this is why i got elected. to some of the workers, that is why he got elected. he speaks to workers in the blue collar states in a way -- at least with the last campaign they felt he was talking to them about the issues without it going over their head. >> and it's effective in some respects. he did the carrier deal right after they moved to indiana. the people i talked to on the ground in cincinnati were thrilled that he was doing something, that he was using the bully pulpit to yell, scream, bang the desk and try and change things. i think that probably more than whether or not there will be tangible effects of what happens in lordstown is what the president is going for here. ohio is a very important state. he considers these his people, and he's making it clear to them that he's there to work for
them. the problem is how long does that last when there are no tangible results in the end. >> partly the reason democrats haven't spoken to these voters is because they are not in control of the global economy, so there are going to be business decisions that some of these companies are going to make. we've seen this over the last several years, the last couple decades, really, especially with manufacturing and the auto industry that we are just no longer going to be in a place where you have all these manufacturing plans in the united states, so you've seen other presidents, other politicians talking about things like retraining and moving into different industries. that is not as clean an argument as some of the things trump is saying. it may actually be more realistic and that's a challenge for trump as he gets into his re-election. >> don't move, don't sell your house is a lot more understandable to a voter than we'll get you in a training program. to that point, the president did raise hope, raise expectations.
listen to the auto workers union who said, yes, when the president came through here in 2016, he talked tough. but look around. it might be tougher in 2020. >> some folks i know have switched gears, right? when he came here and said all these great things, they were on board with that. the fact that we've seen our k-mart distribution center close, all these brick and mortar businesses are closing and now lordstown which will affect really thousands of jobs and the supplier base around it, people are starting to wake up. >> that's the contrast. if you look at the national unemployment numbers, they're fantast fantastic. unemployment is at 4% or below. that's fantastic. but whether it's globalization, au automizati automization, these are things
that the president has no control. >> he's trying to project he's still fighting for people but the results are different. in areas all around the country, coal plants, he says he's going to bring back more coal. more coal plants closed in the first two years of his administration than obama's four years. he's still projecting he's on the side of coal workers, he's on the side of these workers in the gm plant. i think whether or not people sort of wake up, as the union president says, or not is a key test for 2020 and his re-election prospects. alexandria -- ilhan omar talking fences this time.
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ilhan omar is going old school for a change as she tries to reset her image. she started a trend of criticism on tropes. she tried to state her views. she has support for israel but also says the cause needs more attention. without a state, though, the palestinian people, she says, live in a state of permanent refugeehood and displacement. this, too, is a refugee crisis and they, too, deserve freedom and dignity. don't take the op-ed to mean
she's giving up twitter entirely. she says, i'm real. you can't muslim-ban us from congress. to continue the fight with the president there, which as a democratic politics makes perfect sense, but the idea she thought or someone around her convinced her to write this op-ed. if you read the op-ed, there are things you can disagree with, but it's a very well-thought-out approach to foreign policy in which she says if you're going to hold iran to a tough standard, why not do that for egypt, the emirates? saudi arabia, she says we cannot continue to turn a blind eye. it's a thoughtful piece by someone who has faced a storm of criticism. >> when you read that piece it's not completely out of line with where other democrats have been on certain issues. i think we all know that twitter is not a great forum for an in-depth policy of great discussion. the reno marason omar got into e
is not necessarily because of her policy views on this really frought issue. it's because the language, the rhett i can, the tropes that she was using, one op-ed in the "washington post" does not mean she will not continue on that track, and that's where she really got into a lot of trouble. >> but it shows she wants to spell it out, maybe be given a second chance. >> she wanted to give a full picture of herself. obviously right now she has stirred a lot of attention and not necessarily in a good way. this is what i believe. i've been characterized in a lot of ways, but this is kind of the full picture of what i'm trying to accomplish, but, of course, there have been issues about the tr tropes, et cetera. >> we'll see where it goes. also congresswoman omar conventional to judge janine disappearing this weekend. she said things just racist about congresswoman omar.
she disappeared fort weeke the . the judge tweeting, bring back judge jeanine shapiro. contin -- pirro. criticizing her patriotism is not right. >> it gets to what we were talking about earlier on what trump cares about and decides to weigh in. with the new zealand crisis, this is another example of him defending those racist comments. before we go today, i want to put on the record the house committee conferring with that panel. they will hold a hearing on the rise of white nationalism in the near future. no date set. thanks for joining us today on "inside politics."
it's a busy news day, if you haven't noticed. brianna keilar starts right now. have a great afternoon. i'm brianna keilar live from cnn's washington headquarters. underway right now. after a 24-hour tweet binge, two people close to the president in the right wing have to defend his tweets and show that he is not a white supremacist. after personally attacking the late john mccain, lindsey graham gives a tepid defense of his best friend. and we're now learning the message president trump heard from the reverend. and joe biden is attempting to one-up