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tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  October 29, 2021 9:00pm-10:00pm PDT

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are you a christian author with a book that you're ready to share with the world? get published now, call for your free publisher kit today! you could be able to get your kids vaccinated against covid as early as next week. john berman here in for anderson. the fda has just approved pfizer's shot for children 5 through 11 years old, pending cdc approval next week, parents could soon have a decision to make and we've got an expert standing by with answers. also, the virginia governor's race with potentially massive national implications.
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a dead heat between democrat terry mcauliffe and republican glenn youngkin. the former governor versus the uneasy recipient of a trump endorsement with the former president a wild card in the wings. this as security ratchets up in northern virginia with warnings from federal authorities about a possible terror plot. more on that breaking news shortly. first cnn's arlette saenz in norfolk. vice president harris just finished speaking at a mcauliffe rally. what did the vice president have to say? >> reporter: well, john, four days out and it appears to be anyone's race as most recent polls have shown a tight competition between glenn youngkin and terry mcauliffe, which has caused some anxiety among some democrats in virginia after president biden won here by ten points just one year ago. mcauliffe brought in a heavy hitter tonight, campaigning with vice president kamala harris, who talked about the national implications of this race. take a listen. >> now, you all know that every
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four years when this election happens for governor of virginia it's a tight election, it's a close election, and it is a bellwether for what happens in the rest of the country. >> what happens in virginia will in large part determine what happens in 2022, 2024 and on. >> reporter: now, mcauliffe really also ramped up the pressure on glenn youngkin tonight. and what's particularly interesting also about virginia is that typically this race goes to the party that is not in power in washington. one exception being terry mcauliffe in 2013. he's trying to make that happen once again this year. >> arlette saenz, what is glenn youngkin's closing message in this race as it heads into its final days? >> reporter: well, glenn youngkin spent the day across virginia campaigning today and
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really leaned into a lot of the issues that he's been talking up, things like education and taxes. one issue that glenn youngkin is trying to stay away from, though, is former president donald trump. we've seen democrats really trying to tie youngkin to donald trump throughout this campaign. trump has even signaled that he might be calling in to an election eve telerally with a conservative radio host. now, youngkin insists that he is not coming here to virginia, and for the most part he is really trying to stay away from talking about trump, trying to avoid that nationalization of this race that democrats have tried to tie him to as they're trying to connect him with the former president. >> arlette saenz for us in norfolk. thank you very much. here now to talk more about this race and especially the significance being attached to it by democrats for what it could foretell about next year's midterms, cnn political commentator, senior political commentator david axelrod. also with us cnn political analyst and axios managing editor margaret talev. david, i have to say it's pretty
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stark to hear the vice president of the united states go to norfolk and say what happens here next week will largely determine what happens in 2022 and 2024. that's laying it all out there. that's not playing coy. >> it really is. yeah, i hope someone told her that this was being videotaped because that tape is going to be played again and again and again next wednesday if this doesn't work out for terry mcauliffe. but you know, john, this is a very close election. it's become a turnout election. and the challenge for the incumbent party in every one of these kind of off off-year elections is how do you motivate your base. and that's what she was trying to do. she was trying to raise the stakes and get across to people that it is absolutely imperative. there are more democrats than republicans in virginia. now, a separate problem is youngkin is winning if you look at the "washington post" poll today, youngkin is winning independents by a large margin. joe biden carried them by a similar margin.
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i think it was 18 points in 2020. that's a separate issue. she's trying to get democrats to come out and vote on the theory that republicans may be more motivated. yeah, she's invoking the stakes. but there's a down side to it because if you say this is going to tell us what's going to happen in '22 and '24, if the results come back badly on tuesday, well, you've written the story. >> the fact is, margaret, president biden won this state by ten points. what does it say about the political environment that's neck and neck? >> john, it's so true, how you go from a ten-point margin of victory to a dead heat says a lot about the fact that joe biden's the president now and guess what, there's still a pandemic and the economy's in bad shape and democrats haven't passed their infrastructure plan and, you know, the pandemic didn't help donald trump in his final months as president and
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now the enduring pandemic isn't helping joe biden. he's underwater. mcauliffe feels like that's pulling him down. there's a couple of groups that are going to be really important when we talk about turnout on tuesday. one is black voters. that's why you see kamala harris campaigning. the democrats are bringing in jim clyburn to see if he can play the closer role the same way he helped joe biden in the presidential election. but it's also white suburban women. are they going to turn out and who are they going to vote for? so it's these sort of dual turnout and messaging initiatives in the closing days that are going to be really important for terry mcauliffe. and you know, youngkin is this interesting figure. he kind of has the mitt romney vibe and he's keeping a distance from trump kind of but courting the trump voters and throwing out a lot of chum in the water about transgender issues, all the sort of cultural stuff. he's a really interesting candidate but has tried to keep a distance from trump in theory because trump is not the president and not currently a candidate for office. i think as we move into the
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midterm season and trump either does or doesn't assert himself more even if youngkin does win republicans will be emboldened by it but i think the challenge of that kind of messaging, keeping your distance while courting that base, is probably going to become increasingly difficult for republicans. >> david, let's talk about what glenn youngkin is doing because he has specifically targeted the issue of education and what he calls critical race theory, even though it's not taught in virginia schools. but saying that parents should have much more control over what their kids are taught in school and i think capitalizing off a lot of the anxiety than existed among parents after covid and all the issues with masks in schools and whatnot. what does that mean for democrats? if this is successful for glenn youngkin what does that mean for democrats going forward? >> well, there's a big caveat here, which is that terry mcauliffe sort of handed him this bludgeon in a debate when he said i don't think parents should tell teachers what they should teach. and there was a big backlash to
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that. and the youngkin campaign jumped on it. education's become a much larger issue because they've sent -- they've focused on it in the last few weeks. and yes, they've done it in a way that raises cultural issues, as margaret mentioned, not just the issues that you raise but also transgender. there was an incident involving a transgender student that they've raised as part of this campaign. so he is trying to invoke trump-like themes while behaving unlike trump in terms of tone and demeanor and staying away from trump. we'll see. i think republicans are going to be watching closely. you know, trump, i think one of the things that's so hilarious is like the youngkin campaign has like drones and radar up to make sure that trump doesn't cross the state line between now and tuesday because they know he's terribly unpopular.
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in this "post" poll today people who said trump's endorsement would make a difference, 37% said negative and 7% said positive. trump is not a plus. but you know, trump, he wants to claim a piece of this victory if it happens. and so he's going to try and find a way to put his imprint on this between now and tuesday. or highly likely he will. that's not good for youngkin. >> what about that, margaret? that trump may be calling in to this pre-election rally. he can't seem to stay away. clearly he's got people who tell him it may be better for youngkin if you do stay away, but trump seems to desperately want to get in. >> yeah, for sure. and i think in this case you don't know what's going to happen until it happens or doesn't happen. but i think what's really interesting about it is again, if youngkin is successful, it's going to be a boon for republicans and a horror show
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for democrats. but i'm just not sure it's going to be good for donald trump. in fact, it could have kind of a counterintuitive effect that it shows a different road map, that keeping a distance is a successful road map in certain states, and that would be complicated messaging for trump. so i think that's part of what's going on here. >> well, who's going to be the person who tells trump that he can't go places because he's not popular? that's a difficult message to deliver, one that he's not -- that's not the sort of thing he would take well. yeah, i think this is going to become complicated for republican candidates. he's great in primaries. and youngkin took advantage of that. but he's not great in general elections in competitive environments. >> david axelrod, margaret talev, thank you very much. just a few days left to go. now to the breaking news which can only raise tensions in one of the commonwealth's most densely populated areas and home to so many washington lawmakers, policy makers and federal
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workers. cnn's senior legal affairs correspondent paula reid joins us now with the late details of the ratcheted up law enforcement president in northern virginia. what are local officials saying tonight and has the fbi weighed in? >> reporter: good evening, john. authorities in northern virginia have announced an increased police presence in the region friday amid warnings from federal authorities about a possible terror plot. now, authorities are still determining the validity of the threat. but as a precaution federal and local law enforcement are investigating and taking steps to ensure that potential targets are safeguarded against an attack. now, the fbi and the department of homeland security briefed state and local law enforcement officials in maryland, washington, and virginia on a possible terror plot in the region in the coming days. now police chief kevin davis said at a press briefing friday that the fairfax county police department had received information concerning potential public safety impacts to malls and shopping centers across the region. davis declined to provide any specifics on the threat but
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called it a regional matter. and to his knowledge no individuals have been identified in connection to the threat. now, as for the fbi, the washington field office declined to comment on the situation but said that of course the fbi takes all potential threats to public safety seriously and will take all appropriate steps to determine the credibility of the information they receive. >> so i have to imagine this causes particular concern on a weekend when a lot of people will be shopping or celebrating halloween. how worried should residents be? >> reporter: it's a great question. law enforcement say they believe an announcement like this has a public safety value. they want to make sure the community, people have their eyes and their ears open for any suspicious activity. of course this threat warning comes as u.s. officials have raised concerns about domestic and foreign terror threats. for example, at an intelligence and national security event on thursday homeland national security chief john cohen said the threat environment in the u.s., john, is more volatile and complex than at any time in recent memory. >> paula reid, thank you so much
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for this report. next, another anti-trump republican lawmaker decides not to seek re-election. what congressman adam kinzinger's departure means for the future of his party and the grip the former president has on it. and later a live report from rome where president biden only the second catholic president ever to meet with the pope. ever to be president met with pope francis today. ... like their ability to lick, wag, and love with the best of them. join subaru in helping underdogs find a loving home and celebrate all dogs during our third annual national make a dog's day. in 2016, i was working at the amazon warehouse when my brother passed away. and a couple of years later, my mother passed away. after taking care of them, i knew that i really wanted to become a nurse. amazon helped me with training and tuition.
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looking at your full financial picture. making sure you have the right balance of risk and reward. and helping you plan for future generations. this is "the planning effect" from fidelity. one of the former president's fiercest republican critics is retiring from congress. meaning the already few just got fewer. adam kinzinger announced he would not seek another term in the nearly five-minute video in which he decried the politics of a certain someone without ever naming that certain someone. >> we've allowed leaders to reach power selling the false premise that strength comes from degrading others. as a country we've fallen for those lies and now we face a poisoned country filled with outrage blinding our ability to achieve real strength. it has become increasingly obvious to me that as a country
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we must unplug from the mistruths we've been fed. >> for his part the leading purveyor of those mistruths remained true to form. he put out a statement today referring to the 10 republicans, congressman kinzinger included, who voted to impeach him. it says "2 down, 8 to go." and that's all it says. perspective now from former congressman and former republican scott rigell. he left the party after the insurrection saying he could not stand seeing his former colleagues "hold on to the proven falsehood that the election was stolen." also with us, cnn political commentator and republican strategist scott jennings. scott jennings, to you. what does it say that someone like adam kinzinger, a military veteran, a lifelong conservative, has concluded he has no place in the house republican caucus? >> well, he has obviously been one of the most visible anti-trump voices, and obviously had fallen under the gaze of donald trump.
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and it would have made it difficult for him to win a primary. what made it even more difficult of course is what the democrats did to him in illinois. they gerrymandered the state of illinois to the point where they did it to him once before and he survived a primary a few years ago and this time they threw him in with another member of congress. so it was a case where donald trump hating adam kinzinger and democrats gerrymandering the map converged to run kinzinger out. now, he's 43. think i he's got a long future ahead of him. he's obviously a courageous guy. he speaks what's on his mind. and that's i think to be applauded. that authenticity is to be applauded in our politics. he's got a long future ahead of him. i don't know what he's going to do but i think we need more people, not fewer frankly in politics who are willing to say exactly what's on their mind even if it's not within vogue in their party at that moment. >> congressman, you and adam kinzinger were freshmen in the house in 2011 and i mentioned that since then you've gone so far as to actually leave the republican party altogether. what does this move say to you beyond just maybe he felt like redistricting was hurting him?
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what does it say about what he thinks about the party? >> well, i had the privilege to serve with adam for six years in the house of representatives. he was widely respected then. his credentials as a conservative were impeccable. but he did cross the line, crossing the line of donald trump. and i'm so disappointed to see him leave because i really think it will -- i think it hurts the house. i think it's a loss for illinois. and i think it's a loss for our country. we need more men and women who are courageous like adam is. and i encourage every american to watch the video that he put out. it really gives insight as to where our country is right now and what we need to do to get on a better track. >> scott jennings, you know this. adam kinzinger is often referred to by the likes of president trump as a rino, republican in name only or a moderate in shorthand there. but you know he's conservative. his voting record, he rarely broke the ranks here. so on policy matters, you know,
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he's as republican as you can get. his only crime in the mind of trump is crossing trump. >> yeah. i mean, that's what donald trump defines a good republican as, is loyalty to him. and in some cases you have people who are quite loyal to trump who are also conservatives. and in adam kinzinger's case you have someone who's quite loyal to the traditional platform of the party and broke with trump on his personal conduct and personal behavior. that's just not acceptable to the former president. he sees that activist loyalty as weakening the republican party. i think the party needs to be a big enough tent to have more people in it, not fewer. the politics of addition always smarter than the politics of subtraction. but it's the people like adam kinzinger who fled the republican party in 2018 and 2020 in these suburban communities, cost us in the midterms in '18 and obviously cost donald trump the white house. the party's trying to regain those kinds of voters in this virginia governor's race on a new issue set.
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but it's that adam kinzinger style suburban sort of republican that really went from loyal republicans over to the democrats. and to win in 2024 we're going to have to have all the people trump brought and all the kinds of people that would like an adam kinzinger. and being divided i think is a very real recipe for losing the white house again. >> congressman, the former president's response was "2 down, 8 to go." i mean, is that a sustainable model? >> no. he's just mocking those of us who hold a different view. i think a member could have cast a principled vote against impeachment. but i'm convinced that so many members of congress, of my own former party, suppressed their conscience and their better judgment out of fear and i think submission to donald trump. this is not good for our country. wherever one is on the political spectrum. and i'm just sorry to see donald trump go after adam. i'm not surprised that he did. but it's not good for our country.
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>> congressman, do you wish he had stayed? do you wish kinzinger had stayed? >> well, i think he would have had a tough time as scott had mentioned because of redistricting. it would have been an uphill battle. but there's no question that the center of the house of representatives has evaporated. to get 218 votes, which is needed to pass legislation, members of the party in power, the leaders of that party, really can't count or even look for a coalition across the aisle. they have to get 218 votes in their own caucus or conference. and that leads to extreme hard right legislation and now with pelosi with extreme hard left legislation. it's not good for our country. >> well, we're all represented by the scott caucus tonight. congressman scott rigell and scott jennings, i thank you very much for being with us. >> thank you. >> thanks, john. >> next what pope francis and president biden talked about today and what the pope's message says to american catholics who are doing battle over abortion.
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the world's two most powerful members of the catholic faith met today. president biden and pope francis exchanged warm greetings in public during the president's private audience the pontiff apparently weighed in on the debate raging in the american church about whether catholic politicians who support abortion rights should be denied communion. president biden told reporters
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the pope had called him, quote, a good catholic and said that he should continue receiving the sacrament. cnn's phil mattingly is in rome for us tonight. phil, this was obviously not just a historic meeting in terms of geopolitics but really a personal one for a president of deep faith. what details have you learned about this meeting? >> reporter: yeah, it's a great point. it's deeply personal because the relationship the president has with pope francis, the relationship the president has with his faith. john, as you know well, the president doesn't talk much about his faith. when you talk to the president's advisers about his catholic faith, they make very clear it is very personal to him. he doesn't view it through a political prism. that was kind of the undergirding of the meeting, is his respect i think in faith, in pope francis, i think the faith itself. i think that's what drove what aides are calling a deeply personal meeting and a long meeting. one senior administration official who is in the group of aides that was waiting outside the one-on-one meeting said at one point, actually at several points the cardinals were making clear how exceedingly unusual it
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was that the meeting had gone past 30 minutes and then 40 minutes and then 50 minutes and continued to go. 75 minutes one on one. another 15 minutes exchanging gifts. i think it all just underscores that, one, these two men know one another. they've communicated since pope francis became pope back in 2013. his visit to the united states back in 2015. and obviously they've been in contact since the president became the president of the united states. but also i think more broadly on the issues themselves when it comes to the pandemic, when it comes to refugees, when it comes to inequality, these are issues the president obviously has made central to his presidency and the pope has made central to his papacy. and those were all issues that were discussed during these meetings, john. >> based on what we saw, and we can't really know what happened behind closed doors, but based on what we saw they seemed to enjoy each other's company. phil mattingly, stay right there. i want to bring in cnn political commentator, a former massachusetts democratic congressman, joe kennedy. congressman, president biden obviously only the second catholic president in u.s. history. the first was your great uncle,
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president john f. kennedy. so what do you make of the rapport that the two men, the pontiff and the president, seem to have? at one point the president said "god love you" to the holy father. >> it's a good thing to say to the holy father. i think that's true, right? so look, i think phil hit it right on. this is obviously a deeply consequential meeting for any president, all the more so for somebody who is a devoted catholic, catholic as president biden is. someone who i think john, as you know, i think as everybody knows has seen more than his fair share of tragedy in his life. and in those trying times turned to his faith to get him through it. and i think when even political opponents of president biden will say he is a good and decent man. and it is that decency that i think you saw come through today, that you saw connect the holy father and the president of the united states. remember, the holy father when
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he visited the united states back in 2013, he visited a prison. he washed prisoners' feet. he went back to those franciscan traditions, the name that he claimed when he became pope, about service and about sacrifice. and i think those values go right through the values of joe biden's life and his public service. >> so phil, i know the president said that pope francis told him that he should continue receiving communion, that he is, quote, a good catholic. what more do we know about that? and what more do we know about whether the controversial issues such as abortion came up during the meeting? because as we know, the u.s. conference of catholic bishops has sought to rebuke the president for his stance on abortion rights. >> yeah. so the president said that abortion did not specifically come up. a senior administration official who spoke with the president after the meeting told me that
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the president said the same thing to that official, that the issue of abortion did not come up. but the president in terms of what he relayed that the pope told him, those are very significant comments. those are very significant comments because the pope knows very well what's going on in the united states in particular right now in terms of a very heated battle inside the faith between the conservative side of catholicism and i think to be frank more aligned with where president biden is in terms of -- i don't want to say jesuits are aligned necessarily with being for abortion rights. but where the president is in terms of how he views his faith. and i think the pope being willing to say not only does he believe president biden's a good catholic but that he should keep receiving communion directly relates to what you're talking about. the u.s. conference of bishops meeting next month, weighing whether or not they can try to push forward to say that any politician that supports abortion rights can no longer receive communion. the pope has been on the record
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saying he didn't believe that was necessarily the route to go, didn't believe that people should be judging others. however, this makes pretty clear on an issue that has come up repeatedly in the first nine or ten months of president biden's term that the fight that might be happening in the united states in the catholic church doesn't necessarily extend to the vatican. >> congressman, this is obviously something your great uncle dealt with back when he was running for president. but for catholic politicians today it has evolved into something i think very different. so how do you countenance the struggle between the u.s. conference of catholic bishops and the type of catholic and the type of politician that you want to be? >> look, this has been an issue obviously that's been a live one for a while. i think what phil articulated is also right here. you've got an issue that for a series of reasons has become for a set of believers in the conference of bishops in the united states, has become essentially the most hot-button and almost not quite a litmus test but close to it. what you've also seen from the
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holy father is a focus on a broad array of values, particularly social justice doctrine, that i think is prevalent to the franciscan part of the catholic church, the jesuit part of the catholic church as phil indicated, about service. the pope has leaned heavily into refugees, into climate change and the impact of climate, into poverty and social justice issues. and those are areas that the biden administration has leaned into strongly as well. i think what you see from both is a recognition that the holy father's position on this is very, very clear, that's not going to change. but there's a wide variety of values that unite president biden and his interpretation of the faith and that of the holy father and we could focus on those rather than others that seek to divide. >> by the way, the holy father stands on who should receive communion, also very consistent, hasn't changed one bit. he feels very strongly that all should be able to receive it. phil mattingly, joe kennedy, congressman, thank you both so much. >> thank you. >> more now on two traditions, the one established by john f.
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kennedy and the other far older one perpetuated by joe biden. cnn's tom foreman explains. ♪ >> reporter: when the first catholic president met pope paul vi tensions were rife. the italians loved john kennedy while conservatives back home wondered if he would bow to religious tradition and kiss the pontiff's ring. kennedy shook hands, and the potential clash vanished. u.s. presidents have been meeting popes for just over a century. each encounter closely watched for friendship and friction. when lyndon johnson and richard nixon discussed the vietnam war in separate meetings with pope paul, the conversations reportedly grew heated. john paul ii was the first pontiff to visit the white house, where he and jimmy carter, a devout protestant, found common ground. >> we share a belief that the church must in no way be confused with the political community nor bound to any political system.
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>> reporter: ronald reagan talked about arms control and summoned vigorous praise for the pontiff. >> in your travels you've inspired millions, people of all races and all faiths. >> reporter: george w. bush did the same. >> his holiness, pope john paul ii, has championed the cause of the poor. >> reporter: only to be criticized for looking too casual when he met john paul's successor, pope benedict. some meetings have been relatively short, some surprisingly long. but all are unique such as when barack obama noted pope francis is not merely a great man of peace but also a funny one. >> i can't share all his jokes. they were all clean. [ laughter ] >> reporter: so it is that these meetings are always a peculiar blend of piety and politics between two of the most influential souls on the planet. with both knowing the whole world is watching.
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john? >> they seem to have a comfort level that you're not used to seeing by leaders of this ilk. tom foreman, thank you very much. coming up, the fda grants emergency use authorization of pfizer's covid vaccine for kids age 5 to 11. but more steps are needed before any child can get the shot. i'll talk it over with leana wen, cnn medical analyst, doctor and parent, next. for what yo. [ ferry horn honks ] i mean just cause you look like someone else doesn't mean you eat off the floor, [ chuckles ] or yell at the vacuum, or need flea medication. oh, yeah. that's the spot. only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty, liberty, liberty, liberty ♪ ♪ ♪
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are you a christian author with a book that you're ready to share with the world? get published now, call for your free publisher kit today! a major development in the fight against covid. pfizer can start shipping vaccine doses for children ages 5 to 11 now that the fda has granted emergency use authorization. two more steps are needed before children in that age group can get the shots. first cdc advisers will meet tuesday to give their take on the vaccine. then the cdc director needs to give the green light. it seems that that is likely to happen still a few days from now. joining us with more is cnn medical analyst leana wen, baltimore's former health commissioner and author of "lifelines: a doctor's journey in the fight for public health." dr. wen, cnn's elizabeth cohen talked about this development with the key pfizer executive overseeing vaccine research.
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and i want to play a clip of that interview. let's listen. >> ability to vaccinate children frees them up to attend school with reduced risk of outbreaks that limit in-person learning. i think for many children school is a safe space as well as obviously the important role that it plays in their education. and for many children it's actually a place where they get meals. so this has really a profound effect beyond the important prevention of covid-19. >> a profound effect he says. as a former public health official and as a parent and after more than a year and a half of living in this pandemic, how much of a game changer is this? >> i think it's a total game changer for parents and families. there are so many parents who've been worried about going to work because we're afraid of bringing back covid to our unvaccinated children. we also worried about our kids going to school maybe surrounded by others who are not masked and
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may not be taking the same precautions in their homes. and so i think this will change things so much. and also there needs to be a conversation to be had in time too about what is the layer of protection that vaccination can replace as in at some point if all the other kids in a class are vaccinated can we get rid of masks, especially if we have testing and are able to lower the level of covid in the community. >> what do you think about that? >> i think we should have that kind of conversation now, in fact, about what is the off-ramp for masking. i think that will also be a powerful incentive for vaccination. for example, if an entire soccer team is vaccinated, they don't need to be wearing masks around one another. if one entire class is vaccinated they don't need to be wearing masks anymore. that will also give a strong incentive for parents who aren't really sure about vaccination. >> so when cdc advisers meet on tuesday, what exactly is it that they will be deciding? >> yeah, so this is the third out of a four-step process.
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the fda advisers met earlier this week. the fda has now signed off. the next step is that the cdc advisers are going to be meeting. and then the cdc director has to sign off. so four steps. i think we should all be very reassured that our regulatory agencies are working as they should, that they're following this very rigorous process. they'll be discussing i think a key question which is are they going to be making a recommendation for all kids, 5 to 11, to be getting the vaccine or are they going to be saying some kids, those who are at high risk, should be getting the vaccine and other kids may get the vaccine? they're eligible to get the vaccine. we'll see what they say. but i do think that by wednesday, as early as next wednesday, we should be able to see children 5 to 11 be eligible to getting -- and able to get shots in arms. >> as soon as wednesday. as a parent of older children, when my kids got vaccinated it changed my life. it just did. so i know parents of younger children will soon feel that way as well. you among them. dr. leana wen, thank you very much for being with us. up next, more on covid.
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more on covid. conspiracy theories from the anti-vaxing movie tearing couples apart. >> i truly have been to hell and back, fighting cancer for the last 2 1/2 years. and he just acts like i should obey his wishes and not get the vaccine and throw everything to the wayside and throw everything against my oncologist's recommendations. i say, screw him. i got over 3,000 likes on that. >> covid-19 spirecy theories have complicating relationships. we spoke to one breast cancer patient, whose oncologist told her to get the vaccine and her husband told her no. >> he was rude to me. he said if you get the vaccine,
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we will no longer be together. okay. >> reporter: now, she is filing for divorce. she asked to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation. >> at the start of covid, he was careful. >> oh, yeah. he would wash his hands. he would sanitize his hands, he would put on a new mask every time. he was fanatical about it. but then he went from one extreme to the other. >> reporter: why didn't he want you to get vaccinated? >> he had heard, with all his research, that the vaccine will shed to him if he hangs around people who have been vaccinated, and that it will change his dna. >> reporter: cnn has reviewed dozens of her husband's social media posts where he shared baseless conspiracy theories regarding the covid-19 vaccine. some of the facebook posts include lies that the vaccine is spreading the virus, that it
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alters people's dna, and that it's being used to depopulate the world. i mean, those beliefs, that sort of delusion, is that the man you married? >> mm-mm. no. i don't even know who he is anymore. he's not the same person. it's like a switch got flipped. >> reporter: she's not alone. others have taken to social media to express concerns about their marriages because of covid-19 misinformation. >> i've spoken to about half a dozen couples who their relationships have kind of fallen apart under the weight of viral anti-vax disinformation. some are getting divorced. >> reporter: jasmine cook covers tech misinformation and conspiracy theories for huffpost. she's currently writing a book about the human toll of misinformation. >> a lot of their spouses didn't buy into conspiracy theories or misinformation before the pandemic. it's heartbreaking. for many of the couples i've spoken with, vaccines have been
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a breaking point. >> reporter: ultimately, you would think you would be getting a divorce if it wasn't for misinformation, covid, the vaccine? >> no, i don't think so. i don't think we would be getting a divorce. there's other things too. you know, no marriage is perfect. but, you know, that was the driving force. >> reporter: companies like youtube and facebook have been criticized for allowing covid-19 misinformation to spread on their platforms. youtube says it has banned misleading videos about any vaccine and facebook says it prohibits misinformation about the covid vaccine. but many of her husband's posts still remain on facebook. how did it feel to watch the man you married, the man you love, go down this rabbit hole? >> it was sad. it was really sad. but -- and i thought, i got to pull him out of this. but you can't. it's not something that i think -- it's got to be up to
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that person. >> reporter: what's your message to those people that -- >> the makers of those? >> reporter: yeah, the makers, the people who are pushing this disinformation. >> get a life and just -- you know, you guys just need to stop this nonsense because it's harming people. it's actually harming people. >> reporter: and john, we learned this week from the leaked facebook documents that companies like facebook don't really have as much of a handle on covid misinformation as they might project publicly. but important to point out here that that woman said that her soon-to-be ex-husband wasn't just facebook and online where he was getting this vaccine disinformation and misinformation. it was from outlets like oan as well. so it's a very, very toxic misinformation landscape. >> it's come to this. donie o'sullivan, thank you so much. up next, meet the top ten cnn heroes of 2021.
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here at cnn we're proud to salute our cnn heroes who make the world a better and safer place. here's anderson with the top ten cnn heroes of 2021. >> from philadelphia, a pediatric surgeon who saw covid-19 ravaging communities of color. she built trust and brought testing and vaccinations to more than 75,000 people. from san francisco, a man building understanding and confidence using his journey with adhd and dyslexia to help kids with learning differences thrive. this man helps formerly incarcerated men and women like himself to find jobs and build careers.
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from colombia, this woman brings ecofriendly energy, safe water, and sanitation to struggling colombians living in remote areas. this woman from pittsburgh, maine, monitors 2,500 miles of coastline, providing lifesaving support and medical care to thousands of marine animals. from bali, indonesia, this restaurant owner has sent tons of plastic for recycling and provided food to thousands of families during the pandemic. and in simi valley, california, michelle hernandez turned her profound grief into sustaining support for the widowed. this oncologist walked away from her beverly hills private practice to save women around the world from dying of preventible and treatable cervical cancer.