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tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  October 21, 2020 5:00pm-6:00pm PDT

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be done for it to be efficient this time. i appreciate your time so much. the significance of ratliff who has been accused of acting politically joining with christopher wray doing it together. thank you for joining us, anderson starts now. >> thank you, erin. i want to go back to cnn's every van perez to go deeper into this. evan, if you can talk about what came out of this press. can you hear me, it is anderson? can you go into details of what we heard from the dni and chris wray? >> we heard from john ratliff that both iran and russia have gained access to voter
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registration system and appear to at least have access to that data. the question is what can they do with that. with iranians, according to ratliff, they were behind a series of e-mails. democratic voters were getting these e-mails. >> florida and alaska and one other state. they were being threatened to say you have to change your registration. we'll be watching you. that was the concern that the fbi had about these threats that voters got around this country. i have never seen the fbi do a hurry press conference like this. it gives you an indication of how worry they are of the next
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couple of weeks and the potential for foreign countries to try to do influence operat n operations that could cause chaos in this country. >> i want to read something that john ratliff said at this press conference. i find it confusing. he said to that end we have already seen iran sending spoofed e-mails designed to intimidate voters and damage president trump. you may have seen some errreporg on this or you may be the recipients of these e-mails. any claims allegedly are fraud and not true. the transcript got a little in accuracies. he's saying those e-mails that people received, that democratic voters received saying we know
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you are a democrat, you need to vote for trump, we are going to be watching you and threatening democrats to vote for trump. he's saying somehow that's designed to damage president trump? is it designed to damage joe biden? >> yeah, it is a little confusing just to see that. i think what he's going after and i am trying to figure out exactly how he sort of rationalizing this. i think because these threats were being proported to come from the proud byoys who are support supporters of president trump. in that way trying to undermine president trump. the larger point that ratliff is not capturing that this is about so many chaos in this country. the iranians don't really care. they want to divide americans
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and exploit the division that already existed and use some of the messages people are getting. they know this is a divided country. people are going to amplify some of these things and put people up against each yoother. >> did ratliff and christopher wray, he's a straight shooter, he's not as politician. his entire career has been an attorney. he's been criticized heavily by the president. ratliff come fs from the world politics. he's an id log. i guess why i am asking this question about why he sort of shaping this to damage trump. did chris wray or he said anything abtd out it? >> they said very little about it. they have not seen any activities to see what they are
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doing with that information that they obtained. this is the same activity that the russians had back in 2016. we know they were into some systems and ended up not doing anything. it is possible of a repeat of that. they're simply getting into see how the system works. we can't rest easy and we understand some of the states were told to patch up some of their systems and make sure these countries can't get in there. >> one of the things that ratliff is trying to emphasize meant to damage president trump is not the activities that the russians doing it. we know they are doing it to try to support and prop up president trump's campaign. they want trump to win. you heard from chris wray at his
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point is simply that you know president trump -- american voters need to be careful of what information they are getting online and what they are spreading. >> evan perez, appreciate it it. stick around. i am sure you will be getting more information. joining me now andrew mccabe and analyst rick hassen and juliet kaiyem. >> it sounds like i did not see this press conference. it sounds like they did go into detail on russia but the dni is saying that this iran activity of threatening democratic voters was designed to hurt trump.
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>> that's a great question. provisionally, the feedback they held this conference about election meddling by foreign power so close to the election itself, shows you how far we have come to 2016. >> the administration opted not to go forcefully of election meddling. what you are seeing is an intelligence community and certainly the fbi and joined by the dni trying to lean forward to have that sort of inoculation effect to let people know that they should be consumers of what they see online.
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whether or not they're trying to help or hurt president trump, i would like to see more about that. there should be really solid analysis under-pending that judgment. i don't think we got enough details. >> juliet, it jumps out at me at this stage that they're not talking about russian efforts and the iranian efforts as being somehow against president trump when those e-mails were sent out to democratic voters threatening them and telling them to vote for trump in a round about way hurts president trump because people think it is the proud
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boys and link it to trunkmp. it is just trying to scare democrats about voting for biden. >> that would what a rational person would believe. >> i don't think we need to apologize for being skeptical of ratliff. he does not deserve the luxury of a politicalness of the stage given of what he's done the make it clear that they view for example some of the russian information about biden is accurate. the fact that the fbi director was there. my take away is this. other countries are messing with us. they are getting caught easily. they knew they're going to get caught. this is a public information campaign to mess with us.
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the purpose is to go after democrats. i don't get how this hurts donald trump. here is the good news, it was acknowledged and there was a press conference and there is no evidence that votes were changed. i look at the good news the next two weeks. i think this is an important statement and i think what we have to remember is the iran wriranian iraniansairanian iranians and the russians know they're getting caught. >> i want to bring in evan perez. i understand you got something? >> no, what juliet is
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underscoring because a lot of information we don't have about the fbi and the intelligence committee that sort of explains about this activity and what the russians are doing. one of the things i think the guests were pointing out is the fact of having the fbi director there. ratliff has seen as a partisan person and i think this was to give confidence to the voters especially democrats. >> i want to play from intelligence ratliff. >> we have confirmed voter registration information have been obtained by iran and separately by russia. this could be used by foreign actors to attempt false information to registered voters to cause chaos and undermine your confidence in american
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democracy. we have seen iran speent e-mail design to spook voters of social unrest to damage president trump. >> what you heard from the fbi. >> if you listen to that word obtain, almost anyone can obtain voter registration. the russians being able to break into databases and sniff around and undermine voter confidence. this may simply been buying or down loading from the internet of what you can do from voter information including parting registration and the iranians
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took that registration information look for democrats and send out these proud boys e-mails. it is really cryptic. it is an attempt to send discord information. it is a good thing that the fbi is getting in front. i am not sure why they had to call a press conference so quickly and not hit it the next morning. >> david, any kind of impact? >> i think you are right to be skeptical around politics around this. why it matters and who they're trying to help politically right noi. what matters is getting that information out so that voters are awared to the suspect when they see some fishy e-mails trying to create a division,
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that's what's important. far more so than this notion that ratliff is putting out there about iran trying to hurt trump. i don't think we have enough information to understand whether they are doing that in some way that actually has electoral impact. >> i found it interesting that is the spin he's putting on it at this stage but i think the point is absolutely right. we don't know a lot of details on the russian side at this point. i want to remind people, why are the proud boys know and why does the foreign agency -- utilizing them as a proxy for donald trump.
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foreign intelligence watch our debate as well, they know about conspiracy theories and the white supremacy groups that the president aligns himself with and takes days to separate himself. there is a bigger story here which we have all been seeing. >> we are not the only ones freaking out or disturbed by president trump's behavior. here is this group that no one heard of and aligned with trump and we are going to use their e-mails to go after to scare democrats. that to me, that begins with donald trump at a debate and not condemning a white supremacist group that some democrats are afraid of. we don't know who these democrats are.
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if donald trump lives by this information, he'll also be harmed by this information. that's what we are seeing. i am really glad that the legitimate people in the intelligence committee came out. i am glad they came out and said stop messing around and alerting us. we were the audience. >> andrew, just in terms of what the u.s. had been doing the last several years in the wake of 2016 to prepare for and try to stop russian interference and other countries, there has been a lot of reporting the last three years of president trump not wanting to hear his people bringing up russia, and briefers being told, don't bring up russia. russia immediately to him equates to an attempt to
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delegitimize him as president. what has been done. if the president of the eyunite states is not the one sending out the miessage that's countering this information. it is not a whole government effort to stop this stuff. >> that's absolutely right, anderson. this is a threat that's so significantly that it should be led by the president of the united states. it should have supported with legislation and proactive measure which was not. in 2016 we were learning these things as we went. this is the first time we have ever seen interference of this
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level. we stood by and watch while the russians probe the voter registration system in every single state and that's not an insignificant thing. it is not just about changing the vote tallies on election night but if a foreign actor can get into the registration system and actually eliminate records they can shift the balance of who can cast the vote. it is still an insidious threat. i am quite sure the fbi and dhs have spend a lot of time learning how these systems work and finding vulnerability and coaching states and companies that produce electoral infrastructure on how to kind of bolster their ability to defend from a cyber attack but we all know that cyber attack change every single day. the threat is constantly shifting and if you are not on top of it today then tomorrow
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you are behind a game and you will get burn. >> i want to play what christopher wray says. >> we have been working for years as a community to build resilience in our election infrastructure. today that infrastructure remains resilient. you should be confident that your vote counts, early unverified claims should be viewed with a healthy dose of skepticism. >> he struck a very different tone with ratliff. what's also printeresting is th if the disinformation of campaign, if part of the message is foreign actors can send in ballots and mail-in ballots, the
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irony is that's nothing that the president of the united states has not been claiming. what the fbi director there is saying is don't listen to the disinformation coming from russia or iran that mail-in ballots are vulnerable. he's saying the president is spreading this stuff and don't listen to that information either. >> you have to give him credit. the next homeland session with the president could be an awkward family dinner where half the family hates the other half. there is no question you can interpret the director's comment there as a reputation of the consistent attack this president left the last few weeks on our
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voting system. christopher wray is a very careful and smart lawyer. he's not someone that's prone to hyperbole or over state things. that's a strong statement from him and it is a direct statement that we heard the president say. >> it is fascinating to watch it in realtime. i want to thank you all. i want to bring in johnpodesta, he joins us now. i wonder what your reaction is of what we are hearing tonight from the fbi and the dna. >> anderson, i am glad they are out there and they are saying something about it.
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and as it has been noted that ratliff -- and i think that's actually damaging, too. >> he's a politician, he's not a person from the intelligence committee and being non partisan. >> it is good to have the facts that there is foreign interference going on. we have the story earlier that the president was informed a russian agent was feeding russian information with rudy giuliani. so we had the president who really done everything he can to solicit information. he has not done what he needed
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to do to try to protect american democracy and americans from foreign interference in the election. >> it does really strike me and what chris wray was trying to counter was not only the disinformation coming from whether it is iran or russia about mail-in balloting and voting, it is also disinformation coming from our own president. >> well, he's been peddling this for months. he's trying to set up a contact in which he can somehow after the fact if he loses claim that the election is unfair. there is no evidence to that. chris wray testified to that on capitol hill and scolded by the president for skatating what hi professional opinion was.
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what we need to do is rely on the facts and information of our intelligence community to help our election officials and also reassure voters. they can vote. they ha cast your vote and your vote will be counted and the system will be protected and there are a lot of professionals overlooking that system and trying to make sure that's exactly what the results is. >> do you see this as a big change of the decisions that were made back in 2016 about being so close to the election and whether to go public? >> look, the green irony there was jim comey says he didn't
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want to say it during the election that russians were interfering in the election and reopen the e-mail case and i think that did a lot of damage to secretary clinton. so i am glad cris wrhris wray i taking the position that he's going to let the american people to know what's going on. >> we have bruins eaking news o this. wray is not delivering the kind of election boos with investigations he's been calling for. what on earth now is going on? what have you learned? >> john dawsey is with us.
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>> christopher where he says the fbi had nothing more to add and following the president of the comey investigation in 2016. the president wanted them to be publicly. he's calling an investigation into hunter biden, calling them criminals. these law enforcement are coming under scrutiny with the president. but the fbi for a lack of a public statement or indication that they're investigating hunter biden and these different revelations and aides at the white house, christopher wray is likely to be removed as fbi
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director does not matter how it ends. >> is that regardless of whether the president wins or loses? if the president loses, he'll be a lame duck but i guess he can still fire the fbi director. >> we were totll it is a high possibility. he'll have time from november to january. and the fbi director serves extended terms. the president obviously fired g jim comey and christopher wray. our indication across the government is he's looking for a new fbi director one way or another after the election. >> josh dawsey, thank you. >> i want to go back to andrew mechan mccabe who's been listening in. we were just discussing
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christopher wray and as being a straight shooter and very clear tonight in his comments basically not sort of following the line of the very political director national intelligence in the way he was characterizing the interference that they say is going on from iran and russia. we'll try to get back with departme deputy director mccabe. tonight's other big story is president obama going after president trump in a way we have never heard. we'll have all that when we come back. i will send out an army to find you in the middle of the darkest night it's true, i will rescue you
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before we talk about tax-s-audrey's expecting... new? -twins! ♪ we'd be closer to the twins. change in plans. at fidelity, a change in plans is always part of the plan. "the washington post" reporting, the president weighs in on firing director christopher wray. does it make sense he would fire somebody if he loses the election that he would still fire the fbi director? >> well, you know i think with president trump you have to be careful of using the word "does not make sense." we see him do things like this
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many times in the past when it makes no sense and it creates problems for him. at the end o f the day, this president of the day does not like to hear anyone telling him something he does not want to hear. i know that all too personally. he does not want independent leaders who follow the rule of law and obey their oaths. he wants people to do his political will. my hat is off to chris wray. >> the fbi director's term is normally ten years, if i am wrong about that? >> that's right. >> even if he's fired by this president and joe biden was elected and wanted to, he could rehire him, i assume.
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>> he certainly could. >> anderson, it is important to remember the ten-year term does amount a certain amount of politics and the real purpose behind a ten-year term was to prevent a second instance of a -- >> if you are christopher wray, you are head of the fbi, what can you do to protect the integrity of your investigations from the president if you know he does indeed seek to fire him? >> well, i can only reach back to my own experience as acting director. i knew and the small team we were working with at the time, we knew in order to protect the
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getti integrity of the investigation, we have had to make sure everything we knew was uploaded into the fbi system and could not be removed or discarded. i felt strongly that if someone were to come in as an ex director for the purpose of limiting the russia investigation and shutting it down in a way the president wanted us to, they would not be able to do so to create a record. i expect director ray is thinking along the same line. he's preserving his own thoughts and observations in some sort of way that'll be memoirize. >> what sort of a message does it send to the fbi?
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he already talked about not guaranteeing his attorney general and what he did to his last attorney general and frankly did nothing but push through a lot of conservatives on federal judges doing exactly the president's bidding but except he recused himself from the russia investigation. what kind of an e if he can would it have in a second trump's term to have this fbi director also fired. >> the biggest concern among and we all should have is certainly fbi people have is if there is a second trump's term and if he decides to fire director wray, the question is who does he bring in behind chris wray, we have seen a steady decline and talent and ethics quite frankly of the people who president trump put into position.
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the current dni, a political figure undermine the effects of that role. i am sure the fbi people are very worried right now. if they lose the director they have, what does the next one look like? if president trump follows his typical course, he's going to look for someone who'll do his will and not someone living up to the requirements o f the jobs and holding the constitution. >> it has been a busy night. this was the lead. former president of the united states given the clearest demonstration yet. the fact is former president do not criticize sitting president the way former president obama did this evening. what he said in philadelphia, for anyone who simple reminder
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of how far from normal this is. one former president going off on the current one. >> i never thought donald trump would embrace my vision or continue my policies but i did hope for the sake of the country that he might show some interests in taking the job seriously. but it has not happened. he has not shown any interests in doing the work but helping anybody but himself or his friends or treating the presidency like a reality show that he can use to get attention. by the way, his tv ratings are down. you know that up sets him. this is not a reality show, this is reality. the rest of us have had to live with the consequences of him
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proving himself incapable of taking the job seriously. at least 220,000 americans have died. the former president zeroed in on the current president's co complacency and boasted the job he has done. >> korea identified their case at the same time as the united states. their per capita death toll is 1.3%. in canada, 39% of what ours is. other countries are struggling to the pandemic but they're not doing as bad as we are because they got a government that's actually paying attention. that means lives lost and an economy that does not work. just yesterday, when asked if he would do anything differently.
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tr trump said, "not much." really? not much? nothing you could think of that could have helped some people keep their loved ones alive? >> president obama went straight to the one thing that remains constant was nothing or should nothing to do with -- >> our democracy is not going to work when our leader lie everyday and make things up. we become immune to it. fact-checkers can't keep up and look. this notion of truthfulness and democracy and citizenship, these
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are not democratic or republican principles, they're american principles. they're what most of us grew up and learning from our grandparents and parents. they're american values. we need to reclaim it. we have to get those values back at the center of our public life. we can but to do it, we got to turn out like never before. >> this comes on the eve of the final debate of nashville. also factoring in breaking news, and new cnn's polling in two battleground states.
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joe biden now, his polls hold the lead. it is a dead heat in florida. vice president biden spent the day preparing for tomorrow. our m.j. lee is joining us now. m.j., president obama is obviously among the most or most effective circuit that biden can ask for. >> there is not a better or more compelling circuit for joe biden than barack obama making a case to voters why they should vote for biden. we saw him do that earlier this year at the national convention, we saw him do that earlier today in philadelphia. you think about the case that biden is making for himself and candidacy. first of all, he has fashioned himself this candidate of decency and he ran on the
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accomplishments that he gained at the obama's white house and there is no better person can attest to that. talking about the fact that he knows him personally and knows his family's story. i thought one thing that was so interesting was that obama really leaned into this idea warning voters don't even believe the polls right now that shows biden leading. don't take it ail for granted baa us you remember what happened in 2016, everybody expected donald trump would lose and in the end he won. that's a message that's echoed by the biden campaign as well. his campaign manager has been saying in recent days, i want to run as though we are trailing in the polls. obama demonstrated that by choosing pennsylvania the first state as he want to do his solo
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campaign. trump won narrowly in 2016. this time around according to this poll that came out and other polls out of pennsylvania, biden has a 10-point lead in the state. again, obama choosing to campaign there demonstrates that you know this is not a moment of the campaign where the biden's campaign wants to be taken anything for granted. >> m.j. lee, appreciate it. >> reggie, this is not normal for a formal president takes to the trail and talk abos about t current president like president obama did tonight. why did you think he did it? >> thank you for having me tonight. thank you for doing such a great job. when you look at the remarks that president obama made in
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philadelphia, i think it was based around the idea that wanting to remind people that their voice matters and everyone's voice matters and the president's voice and voters in pennsylvania and michigan and voters in north carolina. what we do matter and has an impact on the country and it has an impact on our decency as a country. if you go back and look at 2016, you look at pennsylvania and michigan and north carolina, you know, the margins were so slim and with a few additional voices that may stood in a long earler and had a better plan and making sure they had all the things they're taking care of and in order to be able to vote or participate. those are the thing that is barack obama was trying to highlight by articulating what happens when you don't vote, you
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end up with donald trump. >> the president spend more time referencing president trump than he referenced him than he previously had. he talked about a secret chinese bank account. it is startling. do you think it is personal for president obama? is it a concern of the country and all the thing that is obamacare and his signature accomplishment is now being challenged in the court? >> look, i think when you talk about the affordable care act or obamacare. i think that's about the american people but it is also personal. if you really look at some of
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the motivating factors that inspired him to fight for it the way he did was really around this idea that his mother passed from a terminal illness and when she was in her final days, she spent more time worrying about how to pay her bills than how to live her final days in dee scen i think that's a personal thing because he understands that there are so many americans that have gone through it and have gone through it and will go through it in the future and having he'll caalthcare as a ba human right is one of the things that happens for the country's the new deal. >> look, you know, for me and i
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can't speak for him specifically but when i look at where this country was in 2015 and where i look at where we have gone today, look, there is nothing more important and i could not imagine that there are many people including the president that we would say that there is something more important than making sure that people are well-informed about the difference in choices and people are inspired and galvanizing around making sure and believeribelieveing their voice matters. president obama said to a group of young african-american community that you know a lot of people are saying nothing has changed but in actuality, for
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people saying that, they did not live through the 4'40s and the '50s and '60s. this process works when we participate and when we make our voice heard. when we don't, we end up in places like we are already there. >> reggie love, thank you. >> more now on florida and pennsylvania pollings moments ago. john king is joining us now. 13 days out. >> eye djoe biden had a lot of advantage. the big debate tomorrow night. think of that as the final cross road, joe biden goes in with not only this advantage but another >> campaign cash on hand, $63 million for the trump campaign. plus, biden has wealthy friends as well, if you will. biden campaign plus groups
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supporting him, $65 million compared to $388 million for the trump campaign. in the battleground states $513 million to $326 million, to a lopsided spending advantage right now and money in the bank heading into the final ten days of the campaign. let's say joe biden has a shaky debate or donald trump has a particularly strong debate. the biden campaign could come out thinking, all right, we need to protect. one scenario you think of is the president takes away the toss-up states, iowa, ohio, north carolina, georgia, florida. the president could flip arizona back to him. he won all those states in 2016 perfectly within the realm if he comes out of the debate with momentum. then the biden campaign becomes prote protect. wisconsin, michigan and pennsylvania. biden then would protect them. but, anderson, imagine this. what if biden thinks he has a
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strong debate. they come out of the debate thinking, not only do we have a lot of money, we had a strong debate. number one, you think not only do you have money, michael bloomberg is spending money in florida for you. future ford super pac money. blowing the republicans away in fund-raising. so there is a lot of money to spend. again, then you are thinking if you have a strong debate then this is still going to hold true. you will be leading in michigan, pennsylvania and wisconsin. guess what? you are in arizona. you are even leading a little bit. you are in play in georgia. maybe a little behind but competitive in ohio. even close in texas and florida. so then if you are biden, a lot of democrats will be saying you come out of that strong, think big, think bold, think about making a statement. you take florida if you are joe biden, came over. the president can't win without florida and its 29 votes. if you get north carolina back, there is no way the president can win. plus get what?
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there is an important senate race there. two senate races in georgia. a senate race in iowa. a senate race in texas and, wow, if the democrats won texas, what a statement that would be, plus a lot of legislative races there. if biden comes out of the debate feeling strong, not only is he leading on the map, not only does he have a ton of money, then democrats start thinking, why don't we start thinking about a blow-out. >> john, stay with us. i want to bring in david chalian and abbie phillip. david, your take on the state of this race right now. obviously after 2016 there is skepticism about polling. the new polls in florida, pennsylvania, what are they telling you, david. >> there is skepticism, but i want to show you findings inside that florida poll to show you where joe biden's strength is coming from. take a look, if you look at the white vote in our poll in florida. you see that while donald trump is still winning whites 54% to 42%, that's a 12 point margin there. that is nothing compared to the
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fact he won whites by 32% in 2016. a group he won by four points in 2016 in florida, he's losing them by ten points here 51% to 41% to joe biden in florida. and seniors, a critical constituency, 65 and older. he won them in 2016 by 17 points. he's losing them by 8 in this poll. so joe biden isn't just sort of galvanizing the folks that were there with hillary clinton and boost them more, he's actually carving into some of donald trump's 2016 coalition. >> the fact that the trump campaign the strapped for cash right now, i guess it puts more pressure on him to deliver his closing message. hillary clinton did outraise and outspend candidate trump and still lost the presidency. >> that's true. she did outspend and outraise and was more of an establishment candidate. but this is a president who started with a billion dollar
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war chest. he's been raising money for this re-election effort since he was inaugurated back in 2017. so it is surprising that he's coming into this final stretch really struggling with the financial part of this. and what it means for him is that he's spending so much time having to shore up these parts of the country that he absolutely must win in order to get to 270. timing time and money even in north carolina is time and money that can't be spent chipping away at the blue wall, chipping away at wisconsin, michigan and pennsylvania. that's why it's significant. the president has a lot more holes to plug than joe biden does. and so, you know, he's got to win florida. there is no path without florida. instead of focussing all of his money and effort there, he has to spread it thin across the map. >> obviously president obama spoke in philadelphia for hillary clinton in the final days of the campaign. it wasn't enough.
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he made a very personal appeal back then. he said, you know, do it for me, essentially, that this is really important. this time you're saying do it for you, that it's -- you know, it's important for the country. do you think it matters this time? or i guess i should say where does the biden campaign think that obama's voice is going to help them? >> let me switch maps and go through a number of different perspectives. it didn't work last time, so everybody should have a little skepticism, but we're in a different climate. president obama was in philadelphia right here. if he can turn out african-american votes, help motivate them in philadelphia and in the suburbing around it, joe biden can win pennsylvania. if he wins pennsylvania, he's on his way. we can move over to michigan, right? how many times have we said hillary clinton lost michigan. one reason she lost it is because turnout was down, down from when obama won in 2012, down from 2008.
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so his direct appeal, his popular appeal with african-americans is more than that. he's also very popular in the suburbs. he said hustle, don't take anything for granted. it's aimed at young voters and african-americans. he said this guy doesn't take the job seriously. that's what you hear from suburban women in focus groups. why doesn't the president just do his job? that was president obama talking to the suburbs. yes, african-americans in charlotte, but the suburbs will decide north carolina. the suburbs around raleigh durham. we talked a moment ago about how biden has a chance. if he comes out of the debate he has a chance. barack obama knows something about it. i'm going back to george bush's win in 2004. you come over here, you come over here, you come over here and you come over here. barack obama knows what it's like to be involved in a wave
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election because that's what we had in 2008. when you have a wave election, you change the map. that's 2004. you see that red? that's 2008. you change a map. barack obama knows what it's like to have the opportunity in a wave election. he will help joe biden any way he can. not all these changes are permanent. he lost indiana, north carolina went back, but democrats do see the potential. the combination of trump's unpopularity, the demographics of the nation, they see a chance to change the map and they think barack obama can help. >> david, we saw this unusual press conference with the dni and the fbi director. it was very hastily called. is there -- i mean, is there a possibility that this was hastily called because they were -- the administration, you know, didn't want president obama's speech directly attacking president trump to be front and center on the, you know, on the news all night? >> i mean, am i being too naive if i say let's hope not?
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let's hope not why this was called. let's hope it was called to inform the american people about foreign activity happening in the election. but does this administration and the way it's conducted itself get the benefit of the doubt really? no, i don't think they do. we have no evidence, no reporting to suggest that they were trying to knock barack obama off the headlines, anderson. and the message that the dni and the fbi director was putting out is important for voters to hear and be aware of when they're getting this incoming potentially very fishy information. so i don't want to undermine that because i think it's important that voters hear that and stay vigilant about it. but it is hard not to ascribe political motives to almost everything that is coming out of the administration, especially when you were talking about "the washington post" piece. this is a president that seems prepared to get rid of his fbi director and attorney general because they're not following his orders to investigate his opponents. >> abbie, tomorrow night's
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debate, how important do you think it is for president trump and joe biden. i mean, would a stumble by joe biden have a big impact, do you think, on the race? >> i think it is far more important for president trump than it is for joe biden at this point. remember, the last impression that president trump left the american people with was that first debate performance in which some people came away from that basically saying that they believe he acted childishly, that he was unable to control his anger. those are some of the comments that undecided voters gave us in a focus group directly after that debate. the president needs to change that perception, but specifically in the minds of some of these really squishy biden potential biden voters, people who really don't know that they want to vote for biden, but they are not sure they can stomach another four years with donald trump. >> thanks so much. quick reminder, don't miss the
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final debate tomorrow night right here on cnn. special programs begins 7:00 p.m. eastern time. i want to hand it over to chris for "cuomo primetime." >> thank you, anderson. i am chris cuomo and welcome to "prime time." both iran and russia are actively interfering with our election right now. this comes from the head of our intelligence community just tonight. >> we would like to alert the public that we have identified that two foreign actors, iran and russia, have taken specific actions to influence public opinion relating to our elections. we have already seen iran sending spoofed e-mails designed to intimidate voters, incite social unrest and damage president trump. >> now,