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tv   The Lead With Jake Tapper  CNN  October 19, 2020 12:00pm-1:00pm PDT

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welcome to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. we begin with breaking news just moments ago in the midst of a worsening pandemic. president trump just attacked the nation's top infectious disease expert, dr. anthony fauci, for the third time today. >> i think really dr. fauci is a very nice man, but we let him do what he wants to do, he gets a lot of television, he loves being on television, we let him do it. sometimes he says things that are a little off, and they get built up, unfortunately. he's a nice guy, i really like him, but he's called a lot of bad calls. >> called a lot of bad calls. on the contrary, a long list of health experts say they're truly bad calls, downplaying the virus
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in february and march, pushing unproven drugs, undermining the wearing of masks as earlate as t week. those bad calls are entirely president trump's. trump's latest broadside against the leading infectious disease specialist in the nation was done on twitter and on a call with campaign staffers. on the call trump stunningly called dr. fauci a disaster and made a completely baseless claim that there will be half a mi-- would not be half a million deaths if president trump had listened to him about the coronavirus. the president also telling campaign staffers today people are, quote, tired of hearing fauci and all these idiots. you know, idiots, doctors and scientists who are trying to keep the ship steady and save
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american lives. as president trump not only continues to deny the reality of the pandemic, refusing to get the u.s. to a safer place with widespread testing and contact tracing so as to identify and isolate the virus, not only is the president refusing to do that, he's actually doing the exact opposite of what health officials say we should all be doing. he is recklessly holding mass gatherings and rallies, mostly maskless, no distancing. we already know of trump campaign events where people have caught the virus. at any moment president trump will kick off more of these potential superspreader events, two of them in arizona today despite the fact that new coronavirus cases in arizona are up 15%. and across the united states, more concerning signs. the three-day total of new cases over the weekend was the highest from friday to sunday total since july. let's get right to cnn's kaitlan collins. kaitlan, this pandemic is getting worse and worse again in
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the united states, and yet president trump, instead of focusing his energy on attacking the virus, attacking dr. fauci multiple times today. >> reporter: yeah, jake, with 15 days to go before the election, the president's most consistent messaging today have been these sustained attacks on dr. anthony fauci, which are not new but the president has revised them today after that 60-minute appearance yesterday where the president has made fun of him calling for masks and social distancing. he was having a rally 15 days before the election, but the president was in on the call and went after the infectious disease specialist. >> every time he goes on television, there is always a bomb. there's a bigger bomb if you
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fire him. to listen to him, i would have 500,000 deaths. >> reporter: then he went to criticize him on the type of mask he wears, and he did it again ahead of this rally, jake, continuously going after dr. fauci. some are sticking up for dr. anthony fauci including one retiring at the end of his term, but he says, dr. fauci is one of our country's most distinguished public servants. he has served six presidents, starting with ronald reagan. if more americans paid attention to his advice, we'd have fewer cases of covid-19 and it would be safer to go back to school and back to work and out to eat. the president is saying it's
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going away with absolutely nothing to back it up. >> i will say dr. fauci is a symbol to many americans of knowledge, of facts, of science, of empathy, of decency. i guess in that sense, it's not a surprise that trump would come out against him given that president trump is at odds with many of those values. it's also not just dr. fauci who is concerned about the advice president trump is putting out there. dr. deborah birx, tell us us mo -- us more about that and her concerns about dr. scott atlas who is not an infectious disease specialist who is on the coronavirus task force. >> reporter: at the beginning of the pandemic, dr. birx was someone who was almost always by the president's side. she was at briefings, she was on air force one with the president, she was always there and she met privately with the president a lot, and he listened to her when it came to the response on the pandemic at times. now she has seen that power taken away from her and taken
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over by dr. scott atlas, the newest member of the coronavirus task force who has backed up the president's claim. all weekend he was talking about mask wearing which is something twitter took down, saying it's misinformation, saying masks do not work. dr. birx has been frustrated by that, and according to the "washington post," she went to the office of the vice president to complain about dr. scott atlas being on the task force and saying he needs to be removed, because he is now increasingly the person the president is listening to. you can see that in a lot of the president's tweets and public remarks, because they echoed things dr. atlas has said. of course, the president himself has been saying a lot of these things long before dr. atlas joined as well. >> a great way to start off national character counts week, president trump attacking the latest leading infectious disease specialist. kaitlan collins, thank you so much. appreciate it. vice president biden may be leading in the polls, but the campaign warns supporters, trump
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can still win this race. they are telling supporters to campaign like we're trailing, but joe biden isn't even on the campaign trail today. what's the strategy? >> reporter: no, jake, joe biden is back in wilmington, delaware, keeping a little lighter schedule at the beginning of this week as he is preparing for that next match-up against president trump. biden is expected to be working with his advisers in the coming days as he prepares for that now second presidential debate against the president. biden is a meticulous preparer for these types of debates. essentially the biden campaign is planning their strategy for the debate this time will pay off as he prepares to face off against the president. one thing the biden campaign is waiting to hear about is whether the commission on presidential debates will make any changes to the debate rules. that is something that was talked about in the wake of that first chaotic debate.
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the biden campaign said they would welcome some rules changes. i asked the former vice president about that the day after the debate, and he told me he had hoped there would be a way to have a civil conversation over the course of the debate. so the debate commission is meeting this afternoon to determine whether there will be any changes. it's not guaranteed that there will be, but that is something that is under consideration. and as this campaign is getting into those final two weeks before the election, the campaign is warning its supporters and activists and donors to not become complacent in these final two weeks. a lot of national polls and some battleground state polls have joe biden leading, but they want to ensure their supporters are remaining active and engaged. the campaign manager jenni dillon sending out reports over the weekend telling them, if there's one thing we learned
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from 2016, it's that we cannot underestimate donald trump or his ability to claw his way back into contention in the final days of a kak pain. we cannot become complacent because the very searing truth is that donald trump did still win this race. >> it's absolutely true. if you look at the polling of key battleground states, biden is ahead but it's within the margin of error. anything, really, could truly happen. arlette saenz, thank you so much. sung min kim, let me start with you. the health experts are warning the pandemic is going to get worse. every health expert says that. do you have any sense at all, do you have any idea why he would, the president, spend so much time attacking dr. fauci and other doctors and scientists as idiots? i get that -- well, i don't know. tell me exactly -- why?
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what is even the purpose of this? >> i mean, they're presenting facts, and they're presenting facts of a situation that the president clearly doesn't like. i mean, he has for weeks, if not months, been downplaying the severity of the pandemic, especially as the situation gets more severe, as it gets colder, and as the pandemic continues to go on. but they are out there presenting facts, presenting a reality that the president simply doesn't like. that's why you hear him go and attack the messenger. you have heard him on the attack of dr. fauci earlier today, you heard him attack the media. that's kind of weirdly his closing message for the last couple weeks. i will point out, as kaitlan pointed out earlier, the pushback coming from fellow republicans from senator wegan
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saying if people paid attention to dr. fauci, the country would be in a different place, and if you put the senator on truth serum, he would be talking about himself if he said more people should listen to dr. fauci. >> i get that that passes from courage, that statement from senator lamar alexander who is not up for re-election and can really honestly say whatever he wants. he has plenty of money, he's a respected figure. why not just say, president trump, stop attacking anthony fauci. stop lying about anthony fauci. what is the reason -- i get, like -- i get that some republicans on the hill are just complete sycophants, like gates or whatever, but there are others who know better, lamar alexander among them. why not just say, stop attacking anthony fauci, donald trump? >> that's a really good question and something we've been asking for the last four years.
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talking to the people who have had to navigate president trump for the first term of his office. they don't want to become the target of attacks. you have seen what happened to senator republicans who have been pretty blunt and aggressive against the president. bob corker and jeff flake among them. >> former senator bob corker and former senator jeff flake. >> exactly. if you want some sort of career after president trump or some sort of legacy or history, it's hard to kind of navigate a president of your own party who is so willing to attack you with a tweet or with a comment so easily and feels no guilt over it. >> it's perhaps no surprise that the president's remarks of fauci come after fauci went on "60 minutes" last night. i want you to hear his answer
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about the president getting coronavirus himself? >> were you surprised that president trump got sick? >> absolutely not. i was worried that he was going to get sick when i saw him in a completely precarious situation of crowded, no separation between people and almost nobody wearing a mask. when i saw that on tv, i said, oh, my goodness. nothing good can come out of that. >> we saw just there images of the rose garden event in which individuals who later got the coronavirus, including former governor chris christie who was in the icu because of it, are featured with no masks on, holding hands, touching hands, hugging each other. the president, seung min, he must know his behavior. he must know holding these big rallies is reckless for his supporters. so what is the idea here? is it just his ego needs it, he needs to hear the roar of the crowd, it doesn't matter if people in front of them get the
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virus? >> well, a lot of it is part of his underlying campaign strategy. if you figure his rallies are kind of -- are his signature way to campaign and energize his base and collect key data by his campaign of these people that show up to his rallies, it's such a critical part of his re-election campaign and a critical part of how he won the presidency in 2016. it was difficult for him to give that up once the pandemic was raging on. you saw them trying to hold teller rallies, oholding smalle meetings. it just didn't work. so he's trying to replicate that magic of four years ago. why one expert warns that four weeks from now could be the darkest period yet for the pandemic in the united states. 15 days out, mill yonds of
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in our health lead, while president trump attacks with laser-like focus dr. anthony fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, one scientist is warning that the next 6 to 12 weeks are going to be, quote, the darkest of the entire pandemic. today 27 states are showing an upward trend and 12 saw their highest 7-day average for new daily cases. just yesterday hospitalizations also on the rise. alaska, montana, wisconsin posted high numbers. iowa, nebraska, south dakota and
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wyoming at record highs. i wanted to know if you have an opinion on why president trump is attacking the nation's leading disease expert in the middle aftof a pandemic and wha you think about that. >> it's deadly, it's the worst time and it's insulting to an expert who has served through ebola, pandemic flu, so many more. it's frustrating when we're setting new records for covid-19, and we're not just trump but other officials as well just berate science and scientists. it's extremely frustrating. >> there is a body count as a result. we see it. infectious disease michael ostraholm is predicting the next few weeks will be the darkest time of the pandemic so far.
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do you agree? >> i do. i look at the trend lines and look at the numbers, and right now we're seeing a 60% increase in new cases compared to mid-september. we just recorded 70,000 americans newly diagnosed with covid-19 in a single day. that's the highest daily case count we've seen since july 24th, and the same with hospitalizations. they're higher now than they were since august. we're hearing about icus whether it's in el paso, whether it's in the midwest, capacity of having only one icu bed left. i'm worried about this patchwork pandemic where the hot spots are everywhere but worse in some regions. if you're looking for some good news, only two states are reporting a decrease in cases. meanwhile 27 states are showing an increase in cases from 10% to 50%, and in the case of florida and connecticut, they're seeing an increase of more than 50%. so all of that put together,
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plus the fact that we're not even in the worst part of the flu epidemic yet, that normally hits us really hard in january-february time, and if we're seeing this with covid-19, it means the conditions are ripe for the spread of flu as well since the same measures, wearing a mask, hand hygiene, physical distancing are the same things that can protect us both from coronavirus and finfluenza. >> the nih director, dr. francis collins, said that as the number of hospitalizations tick up, an increase in deaths will likely follow. how do you interpret the hospitalization numbers? >> there is always a lag between when people first get diagnosed, about one to two weeks between that time and being hospitalized and then a further lag with deaths. we are getting better at decreasing the amount of time people spend in the hospital. we're getting better at treating covid-19, but we're still averaging almost a thousand deaths a day in the u.s. and by some estimates, we could see 389,000 reported covid-19
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deaths by the end of this year. so we could be seeing about 2,000, 2,500 deaths every single day. that's where we're headed. when you look at the case counts go up each day, as i mentioned, and you look at hospitalizations go up, that just means we need to be prepared for the death count to increase as well. >> avoid crowds, wash your hands, wear masks. dr. seema yasmin, thank you so much for your time today. we appreciate it. when will we get an explanation of the illness that is holding up the search for a vaccine? what cnn now knows about the pause in trials for the vaccine. that's next. to stir that fire, university of phoenix is awarding up to one million dollars in scholarships through this month. see what scholarship you qualify for at
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we're back with our health lead now, and it's been one week since johnson & johnson paused its coronavirus vaccine trial, and we still do not have detailed information as to why. we do know that a participant in the trial became ill, but johnson & johnson and the fda refuse to answer questions about the exact nature of that illness. joining us now, cnn's senior
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medical correspondent elizabeth cohen. elizabeth, transparency is very important. what have you learned? >> reporter: you know, jake, not only do we not know those details that you mentioned about what happened to this patient, what kind of illness, there are even more basic and straightforward things that the company isn't telling us and that the fda says they are legally prohibited from telling us. for example, we don't know the answer to the basic question, did this recipient get the vaccine or a placebo? they say the experts don't even know, but it seems we should know that by now. it's been more than a week. the second question is, is this the first pause for the trial? it's possible this is not the first pause. when you ask that question, you don't get an answer. to point out why this is so important, there are only four phase 3 clinical trials for covid vaccines going on right
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now. let's take a look at them. pfizer and moderna both started july 27. johnson & johnson and astrazeneca were paused and didn't go on for very long. two out of the four are on pause, so what public health advocates are telling me is we need to have more transparency about the nature of these pauses given that half of the trials are on pause. jake? >> and the public needs to have confidence in these vaccines before we're going to inject this stuff into our arms. j & j is behaving in the exact opposite way it needs to. new york's andrew cuomo, the governor, says he and the government has sent a letter to the white house regarding any dispute of the vaccine. what are their concerns? >> their concern is, hey, you're asking us to vaccinate essentially our entire population. we need more details from the federal government about how we're going to do that and how
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we're going to get paid to do that. they say they need more information. what financial help are you going to give us? what about people who are uninsured? who is going to pay for that? and you say -- you meaning the federal government -- say this is going to be free, but hey, the drug remdesivir which is on the market right now, an antiviral for covid, that was supposed to be prfree and was fe in the beginning, but now people have to pay for it. so there is a question about how they're trying to execute this vaccine on nearly the entire population and experts feel like they're not getting the answers they need. >> in an interview on "60 minutes," dr. fauci called the environmental impact disturbing, and there are no claims that it affects the heart. what does this show? >> this is the disease that causes a great deal of inflammation, and that's really problematic for the heart.
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so let's take a look at a study that came out today that looked on other studies and sort of assessed the cardiovascular injury. what they found is one-quarter of hospitalized patients with covid have myocardial injury. that's a fancy way of saying older heart injury. they tend to have diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease. those are the patients that usually end up on a ventilator, they are at risk for long-term heart problems. this virus is very different from the flu and other viruses in that it does seem to cause this inflammation that is problematic for not just the heart, but the pulmonary system and other body systems as well. >> it's not just the 250,000 deaths, which is absolutely horrible, but for many whose health will be bad for the rest of their lives. in the money lead, the dow is dropping about 400 points right now with pressure on
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washington, d.c. to set another stimulus bill. it's been months of stalled negotiations trying to get something passed before election day. a staggering 8 million have entered poverty since may, 8 million, which makes a deal even more important. manu raju, what are you hearing? is there confidence they will be able to come up with an agreement by tomorrow? >> reporter: there is not much confidence on that, jake. right now nancy pelosi is speaking with secretary mnuchin by phone. they have a lot of differences and nancy pelosi last hour spoke to her democratic caucus on a private conference call. i'm told by multiple sources on that call she laid out the vast differences that continued to exist between the administration and her position, and while she said that she's optimistic, something she's been saying for days, it's a realization that a
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lot needs to change over the next day for them to get a deal before the election. the reason why nancy pelosi has set tuesday evening as a deadline is because it needs to go through the legislative process of both the house and the senate, and to get that done in just under two weeks before the election, that would be very difficult to do unless they get that deal tomorrow night. a lot of skepticism, jake, not just on the price tag but the policy differences, a lot of them, and can they bridge it? most people don't believe they can, jake. >> and in the senate, mitch mcconnell keeps pushing a bill that doesn't even meet nancy pelosi halfway, it talks about meeting liability expenses for people treated unfairly in the workplace. what's the thinking there, and is there any talk of him even just allowing a vote on the mnuchin compromise if there is one? >> he hasn't said exclusively if
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there is a compromise on the bill. they said they would consider any deal that is reached. but they made clear that theriot pos -- they are opposed going anywhere near the price tag nancy pelosi is suggesting. even if they cut a deal, most republicans are opposed which makes it almost impossible to have a deal before the election, jake. >> manu raju, thank you so much. one of the president's allies are trying to qanon the race against former vice president biden. i'll ask if this is the way of the republican party now. you can't claim that as a dependent.
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in our politics lead today with parts of the republican party embracing the untethered, deranged conspiracy theory of qanon that democrats are running a secret cabal of satanistic cannibalism against the government, it seemed like it would only be a matter of time until someone from the republican party and someone from fox would try to spread that slime all over the bidens. that happened yesterday with a deranged segment from fox host maria bartiromo and republican senator ron johnson of wisconsin. the clip is so gross and
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irresponsible, i'm not actually going to air it for you. but suffice it to say, it involves allegations about the most hideous of crimes and zero evidence, none at all, just tons of wildly irresponsible, pathetic and groundless speculation. that segment has not been assailed by republican colleagues and bartiromo is complicit. i don't know how these people sleep at night about what they're doing to the nation or the political party. joining me now, retiring congressman francis rooney of florida. congressman, you're a man of honor, of decency. it must disturb you when a republican senator goes on fox and makes an abhorrent suggestion like that on national tv with zero evidence. >> i just watched the clip and i felt it was, as you said, long on allegations and short on facts. and a little bit disturbing that they would be doing that. it's better to speak from facts.
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if they have something to say that's based on reality, say it. there is no evidence that the vice president is weak on china. he's been plenty strong on china. i think everybody is plenty strong on china. >> this obviously, the allegation is of a more personal nature involving illegal child pornography and a member of the biden family. again, no evidence, no facts, just wild speculation. >> i had to turn it off on that part. i couldn't take that part anymore. i stayed through the china part and the ridiculous burisma part saying a meeting happened when the vice president said it didn't. come on. >> i heard the republican say senator ron johnson's comments are wildly inappropriate. he is the leader of the senate committee. are we to accept that people of the republican party are going to embrace qanon and just level
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wildly irresponsible allegations and there is no accountability? >> this is a very strange time, jake. certainly nobody ever gave this blind loyalty to george bush. if they had, we would have had to work so hard to try to get immigration reform and nafta dr passed. i don't think it's good when one rolls over for another. that's not what our democracy is built on. i think it's important that people speak up about this stuff. i heard that tape and was disturbed by it. obviously hunter biden was used by the ukranians. you don't make 60 million on a board unless something comes of it. they can say there are facts but there are none. >> if they want to say relatives are no longer able to cash in on power for people, i'm all for
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it. i don't think republicans ln pa -- will be passing laws like that for obvious reasons. president trump has repeatedly refused to condemn this qanon group. even as soon as last week at the debate, the fbi says it's a potential domestic terrorist group. they are openly embracing qanon candidates and attacking democrats using similar themes about child porn, child molestation. why? at what point does -- is there just, like, is power not worth it? >> well, the ends aren't supposed to justify the means, right? that's the judeo christian ethic. we seem to be in the mode now that whatever happens is okay as long as it gets us where we want to get. i don't think that's good at all. this qanon thing is just like this business with the poor
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michigan governor. we should be deflating these extremists' outbursts, not embracing them. >> so in an interview with the ft. worth star telegram, republican senator john cornyn of texas has been very loyal to president trump, but i'm guessing president trump is not polling particularly well in texas, and certainly senator cornyn, who is up for re-election, could be hurt by that. cornyn described his relationship with the president as, quote, maybe like a lot of women who get married thinking they're going to change their spouse and that doesn't usually work out very well. cornyn has also said he has privately disagreed on issues with president trump such as using money for the defense on the border wall, et cetera. if he loses to the senate next
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week, do you think it's president trump's fault? >> i remember speaking in 2018 about, how are we going to win an election where nobody goes to school, no suburbs and no women? i think the narrow republican base that we've seen is a very scary thing to me, because i do believe our free enterprise economics is the next better thing. we don't seem to have it right now. yeah, i think the narrowing of the base could really continue to undermine the republican party's ability to have part of the government. >> i guess the last question i have for you, sir, is, was it worth it? the republican party is a great party. america needs a strong, vibrant republican party based on facts and truth and principle. has it been worth it for the judges and the tax cuts? >> that's a really good question. when you look at the undermining
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of our base and the threats to our future, and you look at some of the things that have happened -- like, i think the tax cuts were a little more one-sided and they could have done a better job with tax cuts and things like that, but there's been a lot of damage. there is a lot of scar tissue there. i don't know what we're going to do something going forward. i have urged a 4-year campaign with the leadership to try to broaden our base. george bush tried to make the ban on salt permanently. he got the everglades restoration plan done. we used to have a foot in the violent world and the gun world. now we don't have a foot in any of those worlds and those are really important to young people. >> retiring congressman francis rooney, thank you for joining us, and thank you for your decency. we really appreciate it.
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extraordinary early voting numbers, 28 million ballots already cast with two weeks to go. 28 million. it's a game on today in a state that was decided before. stay with us. do it. it's from optum, a health care company that's trusted by millions of people. you don't have to sign up for anything. just go to and get a coupon to use at your pharmacy. that's it. i opted in. i opted in. you can, too. opt in and save big today. some things are good to know. like where to find the cheapest gas in town and which supermarket gives you the most bang for your buck. something else that's good to know. if you have medicare you may be able to get more benefits without paying more through a medicare advantage plan. call now to request this free guide. learn
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proposition 16 takes on discrimination. some women make as little as 42% of what a man makes. voting yes on prop 16 helps us fix that. it's supported by leaders like kamala harris and opposed by those who have always opposed equality. we either fall from grace or we rise. together. proposition 16 provides equal opportunities, levelling the playing field for all of us. vote yes on prop 16.
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with 15 days to go until election day, more than 28 million ballots have been cast. early voting kicked off in five more states today, florida lines started forming before sunrise as cnn's abby phillips reports in our latest installment of "making it count." >> there is a chance your voice not counted, why risk it? >> reporter: just 15 days to go and many voters are not taking chances. almost 28 million votes have been cast nationwide and that represents 20% of the more than 136 million total ballots cast four years ago. as of friday, ballots are now available in all 50 states and d.c. with in-person beginning in the coming days in swing states. today under way in 52 of
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florida's 60 counties including the big ones including broward and miami-dade. 2.4 million ballots have been cast in the sunshine state. that is only about 260,000 ballots fewer than all of the mail-in ballots tallied in 2016. >> i did have an absentee ballot but i wasn't comfortable with everything you hear on the news, so i just decided to come in myself for this election specifically. >> reporter: so so far, 30% of ballots coming from republicans, 49% democrats, and 20% with no party affiliation which political experts say is a growing trend in florida as more voters turn their backs on both parties. in georgia, early voting continues to shatter records. >> over the last seven days plus so far today, we have seen over 1.56 million voters.
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>> reporter: georgia has seen a massive 363% increase in absentee ballots cast by mail over 2016. over the weekend, early voting kicked off in nevada as well. >> my wait time was less than a minute. i just walked in and did what i had to do. >> reporter: today in colorado, vote counting begins as does in-person voting. meanwhile, president trump continues to give democrats every reason to be concerned about a potential peaceful transfer of power if he were to lose to joe biden. >> they say, if you lose, will you have a friendly transition? i say i want a fair election. >> reporter: cnn now learning that congressional democrats, the biden campaign and outside groops groups are working to contingency plans and preparing for a post election battle and a war aimed at combating misinformation about voting. jake, we are so close to election day but several states
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are still in limbo about how long voters will have to receive their ballots after election day. among them, pennsylvania and now north carolina's board of elections said they will accept ballots up to november 12th by 5:00 p.m. as long as they are postmarked by election day. >> thank you, abby phillip. president trump unloading on the nation's top infectious disease expert as the president ignores and holding more rallies. insanely great value. choose. all. three. ready when you are.
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scott wiener immediately went to work,
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making sure families could put food on their tables, defending renters facing eviction, securing unemployment benefits, helping neighborhood businesses survive. scott wiener will never stop working until california emerges from this crisis. the bay area needs scott's continued leadership in sacramento. because we know scott is fighting for all of us. re-elect scott wiener for state senate. welcome back to the second hour of "the lead." united states is nearing 220,000 deaths from coronavirus. the highest number in the world. the number of new daily cases of the virus is on the rise once again in the u.s. yet, president trump today has been trashing the nation's top infectious disease .