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tv   The Lead With Jake Tapper  CNN  October 19, 2020 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT

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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 expert.
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on twitter, to reporters, and on a campaign call, the president called dr. anthony fauci a, quote, a disaster. he wildly falsely claims that the nation would have more than double the number of deaths if he had listened to fauci's advice. it's not true and a stunning, yet, sadly, not surprising attack given the president's clear disregard for the science on controlling this pandemic and his own reckless attitude toward the virus as can be scene in the rallies he is hold all over the country. he holds two more big rallies again today in arizona. let's bring in cnn's kaitlan collins. it would be great if the president attacked the virus with the same energy he is attacking dr. fauci. >> yeah. two weeks to go. the president's main message to voters today at least is attacking dr. anthony fauci. he just went after him for the fourth time today and let's remind viewers, the president is currently on mountain time because he is in arizona but he has gone after dr. fauci four
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times today and starting with the call this morning and a few moments ago at this rally in arizona criticizing the nation's top infectious disease expert and criticizing joe biden by saying he'll listen to dr. fauci. that is a criticism against joe biden in the president's eyes. he is going after him. it started with that unprompted comment from him this morning on call that was meant to rally campaign staff in the last few days before the election. >> reporter: with 15 days to go until the election, president trump is attacking dr. fauci as infections are rising in multiple states. >> people are saying, whatever, just leave us alone. they are tired of it. people are tired of hearing fauci and all of these idiotic people who have gotten it wrong. fauci is a nice guy. he has been here for 500 years. >> reporter: in a call meant to rally his campaign staff the president went after the
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nation's top infectious disease expert calling dr. fauci is a disaster. >> fauci is a disaster. if i listened to him we would have 500,000 deaths. if there is a reporting you can have it the way i said it. i couldn't care less. >> reporter: the president's onsloo onslot after he disputed coronavirus claims. >> he sometimes equate wearing a mask with weakness. >> does that make sense to you? >> no, it doesn't. of course not. >> reporter: fauci told cbs news he thinks deep down trump believes in science, though this weekend the president mocked joe biden for listening to scientists. >> he has lockdown. he'll listen to the scientists. if i listened totally to the scientists, we would right now have a country that would be in a massive depression instead of we are like a rocket ship. >> reporter: while trump was attacking him today, dr. fauci was accepting a leadership award
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from the national academy of medicine where he said this. >> we have a lot of challenges ahead of us and i can't help thinking that we are really, you know, going through a time that is disturbingly anti-science in certain segments of our society. >> reporter: tension between trump and fauci has been building for months, but fauci isn't alone. "the washington post" reports that dr. deborah birx is also frustrated because the newest member of the coronavirus task force dr. scott atlas has consolidated power by backing the president unscientific views. atlas was rebuked by twitter this weekend after he posted masks don't work which the media site labeled misinformation. trump is ignoring guidelines and holding two outdoor rallies in arizona today. >> today is the best single day i've ever felt on either campaign. we are going to win.
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i wouldn't have said that three weeks ago. two weeks ago, i don't know. i wouldn't have said it. >> reporter: the president's attacks on dr. fauci have caused another republican try to distance themselves from the president today, lamar alexander, the senator from tennessee, who was tweeting about dr. fauci and praising him as a distinguished public servants noting he served under the last two presidents. they said if people listened to dr. fauci there would be fewer cases of coronavirus in the country. we do not expect the president to stop these attacks on dr. fauci as his campaign is clearly using fauci in an attempt to appeal to voters. >> and not even mentioning trump's attacks on dr. fauci. i want to bring in senior
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medical correspondent dr. sanjay gupta. he said people are tired of hearing from fauci and said all of these idiots. yesterday was suggested there is mitigation fatigue and people are tired of giving so much. trump's language is, obviously, harsh and inappropriate and politically ridiculous, but what message are you hearing from the administration? the idea that azar is talking about fatigue when it comes to dealing with this virus, is that helpful? >> no, it's not at all helpful. there is a complete loss of civility here. we have been talking for months about the bright line that has been drawn between science and politics, that people people entangling them. there is science and anti-sentenanti anti-science clearly in this country more than 20 years i've been doing this job. in terms of people giving what they have to give up, the virus spread to the point it did in this country because things weren't done initially and we
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have been playing catch-up so long. that is the real issue here. what are the things that people need to do in order to bring this curve downward? fauci, others keep saying you don't need to shut things down again. it's five things. masks and social distancing and avoiding bars and large crowds and washing your hands. is that too much to ask in terms of people have to give so much in order to start returning things to some sense of normalcy? that is not going to do it right away and we hope there is vaccine and promising therapeutics but the idea of basic public health behavioral without shutting things and the same people saying we can't shut things down aren't doing the things to prevent that from happening is the problem here. it's infuriating. >> we are asking a lot of some people. we are asking a lot of our front line health care workers and asking a lot of our first responders. we are asking a lot of our children who have to do remote
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education. we are not actually asking that much from adults, although i've never heard so much whining in my life. >> i know. i fully realize you say there are people who don't have the luxury of being able to work from home and do zoom calls and stuff like that. we did not need to be in this position. i've tried hard in your program the last several months not to look in the rearview mirror. i find that is not helpful. we have to fix the problem at hand. we can't whine. it's a patient saying i refuse to do the treatment and gets upset several months later when the disease has progressed. what is doctor to do at this point? you probably need more aggressive treatment. i'm not going to do that either. i'm upset at you for even suggesting it. what am i to do at this point? if the country were a patient, what is the doctor to do at that point? that is the situation we are in. >> comparatively we are in a worst place than any other
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western or wealthy nation. today you spoke to dr. fauci and you asked him about vaccines and who should be taking a vaccine when and if they are shown to be safe and effective. what did fauci have to say? >> well, you know, this question came about this idea there is going to be more than one vaccine and which one comes out first? will the second and third generation be better? what i really wanted to get at with him. i asked him is this like ipho s iphones? i'll wait for the iphone 12 and not get iphone 11? here is how he answered. >> you'll see a hierarchy of recommendations of who should get the vaccine and i think you have to factor into that how effective it is and what risk category you, as an individual, are in. >> so, basically, jake, no surprise there. if you are considered high risk, health care workers, people who are elderly, people who have particular preexisting condition are going to be first 234 line.
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they probably shouldn't wait. as time goes on and we will keep an eye on this obviously through the beginning of next year into the summer, there will likely be other vaccine candidates that come out and some may be better for different reasons. a quick example. some vaccines may be very, very good at preventing disease, preventing illness i should say in people who are predisposed to that. for children, the goal is to prevent disease but to also really make it so they have lower virus counts in their nose and mouth so they don't spread as much. there may be different options for different people depending on the situation. >> dr. scott atlas is a neuroradiologist. he is not an expert on infectious diseases but president trump on fox spewing his nonsense that the president likes so he is now on the coronavirus task force alienating the other doctors on the force, doctors who are experts on infectious disease. i can't think of anything more emm emblematic that twitter had to
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remove from tweet from dr. atlas. it was false and it was against masks. >> look. right. it was false. he wrote masks question members of the task force called -- but you probably saw some of the response, tweets to dr. atlas' tweets even from the members of the task force. masks, yes. it's ludicrous. no wonder the country has whiplash on this sort of thing. dr. atlas may be a smart guy but we should not listening to him at this point. it is harmful. it is dangerous. he will be upset that i've said this but how can he -- the science around masks decreasing
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transmission at this point is very clear. when you wear a mask, you decrease transmission roughly six-fold and according to literature that came out in april. in the beginning it wasn't clear that asymptomatic people would spread this as much. once that became clear, masks became a necessity. 69% roughly and that is self-reporting. the numbers may be lower than that. 74,000 deaths if we increase mask wearing to 95%. everyone watching could be part of a movement that could save, you know, 74,000 lives just by putting two ear loops on your ear and a third of the country is still saying, no thanks, i'll pass, ain't going to do it. dr. atlas does not help this. >> it's worse than that, right? the ama should get involved. he is violating his hippocratic
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oath, should do no harm. he is doing harm. coming up, what biden says about dr. fauci. one expert says our darkest days of the pandemic are yet to come. stay with us. a live bookkeeper is helping customize quickbooks for me. okay, you're all set up. thanks! that was my business gi, this one's casual. get set up right with a
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week is leading up to thursday night's debate. joe biden is off the campaign trail today. he is here in wilmington, delaware, doing debate prep so see if they add any public events heading into thursday. when you talk to the biden campaign the one thing they will consistently continue to say what they feel about is the continued contrast between president and biden how they have talked about covid-19. as you have been talking all day today, the president going after anthony fauci and continuing to say that the country is turning a corner when it comes to the coronavirus pandemic, a very different tone and message from what we have seen from joe biden. he just released a new statement and i want to read a part of it. it says --. so, again, just honing in on that contrast that the biden
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campaign believes is critical heading into thursday night. i should note even though this sounds obvious, one area where we also continue to see that contrast is in the campaign rallies that president and they are holding. president is continuing to hold crowded not social distancing distanced events where the biden campaign is talking about the protocols and cautions they are taking at their own events. they are continuing to be forthcoming when it comes to the test results for joe biden and kamala harris on all of the covid-19 tests they have been taking recently. >> thank you so much. appreciate it. let's discuss with jeff zeleny and abby phillip. it's stunning and indecent that president trump continues to attack in personal terms and smears and lies dr. anthony fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert.
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is there any strategy or his sense of grievance and unhinged nature as we get closer to election day? >> yeah. i think if you talk to trump advisers, they always come back to trump being the counter puncher. in this case he is counterpunching against fauci saying leave me out of this political debate. the problem for the president's campaign is that they are trying to use fauci as a source of credibility in their campaign ads, while the president is also attacking him. that is the part where there seems to be really not much political strategy at all and it seems to be the president giving in to his instincts and own grievances when it comes to wanting to downplay how fauci is respected by the american public in general. >> jeff, the biden campaign is warning democrats to not be complacent, that this race is closer than public polls suggest. and there is a real fear among democrats there could be a repeat of 2016 they go into
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election night thinking they got it in the bag and who knows what is going to happen. it is not outside the realm of possibility that trump could ends up winning some of these key states where biden is up now but it's within the margin of error. >> reporter: it absolutely is within the margin of error. we should start every conversation for the next 15 days most sitting presidents win re-election. this is still the president's re-election that he has the whole controls of the federal government and he is using many of them to his extent. the captain secretaries are blanketed across the country. the trump family is blanketed across the country. you saw mj there. joe biden is preparing for the debates. democrats are preparing in a different way here. we believe the democrats believe they are in command of this race but there was the campaign manager jennifer o'malley dillon sending out a message warning democrats not to be complacent. they need them to go out and wait in lines and there is still a worry about litigation. there is a worry about people
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being turned away at the polls. so really what all this boils down to is the ghost of hillary clinton still hangs over this race, particularly the end of this race here, the final couple of weeks. democrats do not want to take anything for granted but you're right in these battleground states it is a margin of error race and why president trump is talking like he is talking about dr. fauci. he is trying to get out his base and ring every single person who may not have voted four years ago and like him personally to come out and vote and mofg the other side as well. everything he says motivates democrats and independents who are disgusted by all of this. >> it's not tough to think about imagine a suburban republican woman outside pittsburgh hearing trump attacking fauci and saying, that is it, i'm with biden. abby, president trump on a campaign call today trying to project confidence. take a listen.
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>> as of today, this is the single best i have ever been in any campaign. we are going to win. i wouldn't have said that three weeks ago. >> we should know three weeks ago the president was infected with coronavirus and perhaps battling for his life, so i believe three weeks ago he wouldn't have said it. he probably was more focused on trying to breathe. what do you make of that? >> i don't think that that jibes with what, you know, we are seeing publicly but also even what his own campaign is seeing. three weeks ago, shortly before the president contracted coronavirus, they were going into trying to push supreme court justice. that actually could have been something that would have been helpful to motivating the conservative base in some ways and could have been something that could have potentially changed even the topic of this campaign but it was overshadowed by a massive coronavirus outbreak within the white house. so the president is actually in perhaps a more precarious
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position now than he was then but he wants to project confidence to his campaign because of a slew of stories that have indicated that inside the campaign there is a lot of finger pointing going on and a lot of back biting happening and a lot of questions how they can really use the little time that they have, 15 days and the little money that they have, the most effectively to get as close as they can in the key states. a a lot of time left and a couple of key swing states could make a huge difference in terms of how close the president gets to the critical 270 votes. >> pennsylvania, wisconsin, arizona all within the margin of error and florida. jeff, one advantage biden has going for him he has a lot more money. biden campaign is up with ads during five nfl games and with this focus on the pandemic and the president's mishandling of it. biden's campaign clearly sees that as the closing message.
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>> reporter: they do. they see it as the top issue on the minds of voters and getting worse. this is happening as the coronavirus numbers are going up really in states across the country. so people are living this in their own lives and they are seeing the president saying it's not a problem. they are not seeing that so that is so unusual about this campaign. i can't recall a closing message that is so dovetailing with something that is happening in real life here. that is what the biden campaign is doing. no question the money advantages that they have is something that never anyone would have expected. after all this is over, regardless of who wins, there is going to be a lot of examination how the trump campaign spent all of this money because they had a big advantage in the beginning. democrats warned and general o'malley warned in that memo republicans can write a check to basically put all of this on parody so we don't know how the financial advantages is going to be two weeks from now. right now, it's advantage biden. >> look.
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the other side from biden, the trump side, they are willing to clearly say or do anything to win in terms of the allegations they are willing to make. thank you. from the president to the pandemic. how an alarming number of new coronavirus cases would have states change their rules who must quarantine. before we talk about tax-smart investing, what's new?
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in our health lead. one of the most ominous warnings we have heard in this pandemic yet. the next six to 12 weeks we are told will be the darkest we have seen. look at that map. 27 states trending upward with cases with 21 states holding steady. as nick watt there is more signs the virus spread is not under control. >> reporter: chicago is now averaging more than 500 new covid-19 cases every day. the most since late may. >> make no mistake, we are in the second surge. these numbers are extremely troubling. and consistent what we have been seeing across illinois and really across the country and the world. >> reporter: in 14 of our states right now, a test positive iterate so high, it tells us the spread is out of control. >> you cannot say that we are on the road to essentially getting
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out of this. >> reporter: cruel irony, new jersey and connecticut with cases qualifying to apply for the covid-19 travel restrictions they imposed on other heavily infected states. >> people are getting tired. the american people have given so much and we are seeing mitigation fatigue right now. i just hope that we have so much promise in the weeks and months ahead. >> reporter: a vaccine? a week after johnson & johnson pulls its trial following an illness in a volunteer the company and fda won't tell cnn if that volunteer was actually receiving the vaccine or even if this is the first pause. >> we do have vaccines and therapeutics coming down the pike but when you actually look at the time period for that, the next 6 to 12 weeks are going to be the darkest of the entire pandemic. >> reporter: this past month nationally the average number of new cases a day exploded, up 40%. >> there is nothing to stop this the way things are going on.
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>> reporter: there is a silver lining of sorts. the death rate per case has declined. >> it's attribute to modern medicine. we have tools in our arsenal now. >> reporter: but we still do not fully understand the long-term impacts of this virus on the millions who make it. fatigue, difficulty concentrating, lung issues. >> the other thing that we are seeing is a bit disturbizing that the degree of cardiovascular that may be insignificant but i don't know that now. >> there are several studies that show this virus can attack the blood vessels, the lungs and damage the muscles in the heart which could potentially lead to death further down the line. here in california, the governor has just created a scientific safety review work group and
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that group will review any vaccine that has been approved by the fda before it is distributed here in california. as the governor says, we are going to lead with the science. jake? >> nick watt, thank you so much. joining me now, is the dean of brown university of school of public health dr. ja. let's start with the crazy news from the campaign trail. president trump attacking dr. anthony fauci, calling him a disaster, calling him an idiot who has been around for 500 years. what is your response? >> jake, first, thank you for having me on. second, this is very sort of disturbing, upsetting to hear the president say this. we are in the middle of the worst pandemic in a century and dr. fauci is america's most respected infectious disease expert for good reason. he is best there is. to attack him personally is very
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unfortunate and it is not going to help the country out. right now, we are heading into a difficult fall and winter and attacking your best experts is not what you want to be doing if you're president of the united states. >> he is undermining a leading health care voice who the american people, according to polls, overwhelmingly rely on and respect. i don't doubt that there are going to be trump supporters who change their view on fauci because of that, that could have dire health consequences. >> shallow. dr. fauci isn't just somebody that the public respects. all of us in the medical field who study these things look up to him as the best there is. so undermining him and undermining his message really makes it so much harder to control this virus, so much harder to control this pandemic. i think the president is doing a great disservice to dr. fauci
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but really to the country. >> clearly, we are in the middle of a search. how long do you think the case counts will continue to rise? >> we have some ways to go here. it will not naturally top off. it may go on for many weeks or months if we don't get our act together. i do believe -- you know, i've heard a doctor say next 6 to 12 weeks is our darkest but it depends on us. i think there are models how to turn this around but we have to really, you know, sort of commit to doing those things. it won't happen naturally. >> the state of new mexico reported a 100.1% of increase in covid hospitalizations this month and a record number of cases three days in a row. how do we get this back in control in these states that are demolishing records? >> basically, what has been happening over the last six weeks is since labor day, many of us have been sounding the alarm we see cases go up and states have been ignoring it and
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hoping that it would sort of magically disappear. guess what. it doesn't do that. now we are getting into trouble. if you look at one state that has done a fabulous job since labor day is california. what they have done is had a very aggressive policy on increasing testing. they have gone after counties where they have seen case increases and done micro targeted closures and california case numbers are actually down since labor day. the only major state to do that. so it tells us we can do this but it requires leadership and focus and getting out of a denial moment that a lot of governors and mayors, not just the federal government, is engaged in. >> california new announced that government is reviewing any fda approved coronavirus vaccine before it's distributed. do you think other states will follow suit? is this smart or is it just another road block to getting a vaccine into the bloodstream of americans? >> i believe states have an important role in public health
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but i actually don't support state-based reviews of the fda. i do think that the scientific process of the fda so far remains sound. the scientists are still there. look. obviously, if the administration or somebody runs a political kind of, you know, circles around the scientific process, then i will understand states stepping in. but at this point, i am hopeful that the save guards are still there and let the federal process work out. >> 40% of residents in nursing homes with covid-19 were asymptomatic prior to testing according to a new study in the journal of the american medical association, jama. what does that tell you about the importance of at any timing? >> this is something many of us have been saying since march or april. we need an aggressive approach
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to testing asymptomatic individuals because while they spread it, some of those people who then get it go on to develop severe complications and deaths. the only way to stop this is by aggressive surveillance testing. part of my frustration for why the administration has downplayed testing and hasn't built up the national inferen infrastructure, it makes it harder to test people. >> chris christie said nobody from the white house called him after the party in the garden. states giving president trump the advantage as he eyes the possible path to victory. does he have one? he sure does. stay with us.
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campaign staff he feels he has never been in a stronger position than he is right now. and he claims he is confident he will be re-elected. polls suggest now that biden has a clear upper hand both nationally and in individual battleground states but in this environment and with the shadow of 2016, we know anything is possible. what are any possible paths to a trump victory? cnn's resident forecaster harry anton joins us live to discuss. what are president trump's options here? >> right. i think essentially there are
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two options when i'm looking at the polling data, right? the first option is essentially that he captures either michigan, pennsylvania, wisconsin or option two is that he carries both nevada and new hampshire. keep in mind in these different scenarios we are assuming trump wins all of the states he won by one points, two points in 2016. talk about option one first. he needs to win either michigan, pennsylvania, or wisconsin. one of those states on your screen in yellow. here is why the pathway could be different. take a look at the polling. we see joe biden has a lead seven to eight points in those states and 50% or greater. option two he carries nevada and new hampshire and if he does that sh even that, even if he loses trump gets 170 electoral votes. look at the polling in nevada
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and new hampshire. joe biden leads by seven points and above 50% in nevada and new hampshire at this point. >> a few states you're labeling as wildcards right now. which state are those and why are they so important? >> right. essentially arizona, florida and north carolina. in all of the scenarios i laid out i gave to president trump. here what is important to point out. former president joe biden leads in all three of those state at this point by three or four points. in joe biden wins in any of those wildcard states the path for trumps goes good-bye and very quick. in an interview with the ft.
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worth star telegram, jon cornyn describes his relationship with the president maybe like a lot of women who get married and think they are going to change theirs spouse and that doesn't usually work out very well. senator cornyn saying he disagreed with president trump using defense money to build the border wall. joining me now, to discuss this and the future of the republican party is long time republican strategist stewart stevens. you're no supporter of president trump and you've joined the lincoln project, republicans working to prevent president trump's re-election. to see a republican incumbent in texas try to distance himself from a sitting republican president, i've never seen anything like that. >> that is because it's never happened. this is kind of personal for me, jake. i worked in senator cornyn's first race for attorney general, his only race for attorney general and then his first race for the senate which was really his only tough race. the person i knew then was very
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smart, self-reflective, kind. i kind of don't recognize this guy. i don't understand. like a lot of these people under trump i don't recognize them. he is in texas and trying to walk away from trump. the other thing he is saying he gave advice to trump that trump didn't take which is sort of an odd argument for u.s. senator to be making like i'm ineffective with a member of my own party as president. it seems to me to be a lose/lose and maybe a lose/lose/lose when you throw in the reference to women. this isn't a confident campaign. i think senator cornyn thinks he has a tough race and probably looks that way and i think every republican is feeling this supposed feeling of trump creep
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and fall out. >> president trump could be reflected. the polls don't suggest that but we don't know what is happening two weeks and one day. i want to ask you as a long time republican. watching a party that historically had great presidents and great politicians, eisenhower, reagan. seeing this party embrace conspiracy theorists like qanonand allegations made by joe biden and his family that we won't even touch. what do you think when you look at the gop? obviously, the guy you worked for the last presidential race you worked on mitt romney is trying to do what he can to stand against the tide of lies and indecency but seems alone where he is standing. >> look. i think it's always difficult when you're in the middle of something to realize what is happening. i don't think we have ever seen
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in american politics a complete collapse of a party as the way the republican party has collapsed. if somebody held a gun to my head and said tell me what it is to be a conservative and republican in america today, i would say absolute me. -- i would say shoot me, i have no idea. in the reagan era said words could bring bodown the berlin mall. i only compare it to the collapse of communism and soviet union. it collapsed and what is happening to the republican party, it's just collapsing. >> it's depressing because there are a lot of us who are not members of any party who want there to be a thriving smart republican party out there. i don't understand what
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politicians who know better who are republicans officials, let's pick run at random. senator marco rubio of florida, what they are thinking when they watch the party, you know, president trump today is attacking dr. anthony fauci. his goons are spreading lies and sleazy stories nobody thinks are accurate. what is the senator rubio think when he sees this? >> you'd have to ask him. i really don't understand it. what breaks my heart these politicians are the era of a greatest generation and courage is standing up to dr. president donald trump. courage is standing in a boat after you just got shot. that is like tens of thousands of people like my dad did. they came back and thought it was normal and built a life. these politicians can't stand up
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to donald trump? everything that they said in 2016 like senator rubio, they know it's about donald trump. they know it's true and only gotten worse. i wrote a book pretty pessimistic about the republican party about a lie and about a year ago and turns out it was way own optimistic. i never thought we would end up in a situation there was no platform for the party, just oath of loyalty. it's extraordinary and i don't see it going to change except by sheer fear. trump has proven there is no line of principle that pretty much he can cross with the republican party will rise up and disagree with. i spent decades working in this party and only thing i can look at it now is say burn it down. just burn it down and start over. i think that is what is going to happen. same thing that happened to the republican party in california which is in third place.
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it may take longer than we think but it will happen. donald trump is going to lose. a chance he could win and a chance i'd be drafted by the eagles but it's not happening. >> we might need you on the o-line, stuart, for the record, when it comes to the eagles. the book is called "it was all a lie." a very heartfelt time about his time in republicans and has happened to the republican party. thank you for your time. appreciate it. how run republican trying to hold her senate seat is juggling a complicated relationship with president trump. that is next. okay, you're all set up. thanks! that was my business gi, this one's casual. get set up right with a live bookkeeper with intuit quickbooks.
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senate seat in iowa and a tight battle with the democratic challenger issernst. >> she was facing a tough re-election fight in iowa and then this. >> what is the price of soybeans in iowa? you grew up on a farm and you know this. >> i think you asked about corn.
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>> i -- >> depends on what the inputs are but probably about 550. >> you're a couple of dollars off here because it's 1005 but we will move on to something else. >> uncomfortable moment in the middle of iowa's harvest and election season for a once rising republican star there could in 2016 by playing up her farming roots in tv ads. >> i'm joni ernst and i approve this add. >>. >> as a young girl i plowed the fields of our family farm. >> reporter: a big challenge could be head winds from president trump. he won by nine percentage points in iowa in 2016 but he is now locked in a tight race with joe biden. >> it is a tough, tough, tough year! but you know what? i'm going to finish first!
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>> reporter: two weeks before the voting ends republican fortunes and their senate majority are tied to the president. >> the terror of this is trump takes down the whole ticket, the whole republican side of the senate. >> reporter: we caught up ernst as a motorcycle ride. senator, is president trump complicating your race? >> no. i would say i'm running my own race. >> reporter: what about the suburbs? does that complicate your path there? >> i think, again, in the suburbs, i've met with suburban women and they are really concerned about law and order that type of issue and that actually is an issue that draws them closer to the president. >> reporter: that is unclear. her democratic opponent teresa greenfield believes issues like health care are more pressing. >> i will tell you health care is number one. certainly during covid-19 that has elevated that conversation and that very difficult health pandemic coupled with economic crisis, you know, iowans are concerned for sure.
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>> reporter: greenfield real estate executive and often talks about growing up on a family farm and her farming facts came in handy during that debate last week. >> what is the break even price for a bushel of corn in iowa this week? >> well, a bushel of corn is going about 368 today and 369 and break even. really depends on the amount of debt someone has. >> reporter: jeff zeleny thanks. our coverage on cnn continues right now. ♪ >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news! >> welcome to our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." we are following breaking news. the u.s. coronavirus death toll has now just topped 220,000 people with more than 8.2 million confirmed cases. tonight, one health expert is warning that the darkest weeks of the pandemic still lie ahead. but even as the country moves
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into this second