tv The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN December 22, 2021 3:00pm-4:00pm PST
at helpfosterchildren.com happening now, breaking news, the white house is welcoming the fda's authorization of the first pill to treat covid-19, promising a dramatic reduction in hospitalizations and deaths. there is the question, when will infected americans be able to get the pill and see the benefits? also tonight, the desperate scramble for covid-19 tests just ahead of the holidays as the omicron variant spreads to all 50 states. we're going to try to clear up the confusion about which test to take and where to get it. another breaking story this hour, the january 6 select committee is setting its sights on jim jordan on the day of the
chemical riot. we want to welcome our viewer here in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer and you're in "the situation room." >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. >> we begin with the breaking news. on the fda's authorization of the first pill to treat covid-19. let's go straight to our athena jones in new york. top health officials say this could be a game changer as the omicron variant rips through the country right now. >> reporter: that is right. a potential game-changer in this new pill that is highly effective against hospitalization and death. the key thing here is that you have to take it within the first five days of having symptoms so ma means focusing on tests and getting tests back to people. in a season of setbacks, a glimmer of hope. >> the pfizer team has a v
promising and now authorized tempe treatment for those at risk. >> reporter: the fda granting pfizer's new anti-viral pill paxlovid. >> folks who tax paxlovid early, within three days of symptom on set had a 90% reduction in hospitalization or death compared to those that took placebo. so this is very potent agent. >> reporter: one problem, the treatment has to be administered within the first five days of symptoms making it hard to come by tests all the more important. even as walgreens and cvs limit the number of tests customers could buy at once in the face of sky high demand. the news coming as researchers in south africa who first detected the omicron variant say the country has passed the peak of its outbreak. but it is a different story elsewhere. omicron now dominant in the u.s., just weeks after being identified here is helping drive new covid-19 case numbers back
up to levels last seen three months ago, in the midst of the delta surge. new infections jumping more than 20% over last week. nearly 70,000 people hospitalized with the virus. new york state breaking the record for highest new daily cases. almost 29,000, up nearly 24% from the previous high set on monday. >> i'm pretty worried that the surge that we're going to see in the coming weeks is going to be worse than the surge that we saw last winter. >> reporter: covid deaths rising 11% over last week as the cdc reports covid-19 was the third leading cause of death in 2020. and life expectancy dropped by nearly two years. despite the spike in cases, holiday travelers do not seem deterred with the tsa screening around 2 million or more people aday for the past six days. the cdc director reminding travelers -- >> how safe your holiday is about how safe you are in the time leading up to the holiday.
>> reporter: and as isreal gets ready to roll out a fourth dose of the covid-19 vaccine, for medical workers and the immunocompromised and those over 60, they will follow the science. >> if you have a booster, you have a high level of protection against overall infection particularly against hospitalization and death. the most severe outcomes of covid. >> reporter: meanwhile after the united kingdom reduced the isolation period for vaccinated people who test negative twice from ten days to seven, new debate over whether the u.s. should follow suit. >> we're examining those data now and doing some modeling analysis to assess that and we anticipate that we'll have some updates soon. >> reporter: and when it comes to that all important testing, new york city is looking to ramp up efforts, setting a new record of 170,000 daily tests surpassing the previous record of 120,000. and mayor bill de blasio said
the city is be adding additional covid testing sites to bring the total to 119. five additional sites will be just for handing out at-home tests and that will start tomorrow. wolf. >> athena, thank you very much. let's bring in our pandemic experts. dr. paul offit, the author of the book "you bet your life." also with us, dr. peter hotez, codirector of the texas children's hospital center for vaccine development and author of the book "preventing the next pandemic." dr. offit, this new pfizer pill could keep a lot of covid-19 covid patients out of the hospital. how big of a game-changer do you believe it could potentially be? >> well i think it is important, and think where it may have its best niche that there are a lot of people in this country who don't want to get vaccinated but they seem to be perfectly willing to take medicines like hydroxychloroquine or ivermectin, here is a product that does work.
if they could take it within the first five days of illness, i think we have a significant reduction in hospitalization and in that group because that's the group that is most likely getting hospitalized these days, it it is the unvaccinated group. so we'll see how it plays out. >> yeah, and dr. hotez, the fda is authorizing the new pill for high-risk patients high-risk patients, how much discretion will doctors have to prescribe this pill. >> i think they'll have a fair bit of discretion but the big problem is we have to have the pill. the problem is the production schedule that i've seen is will not be here in abundance for quite a while maybe not even in term for the omicron surge. and the other depends on having widespread availability of testing so that is going to be a big issue as well. and as mentioned right before us is the fact that you have to give these anti-viral drugs very early, because there is two phases, when the virus is
replicating and that big host inflammatory response, so you have to give it very early on. >> in today's white house briefing, dr. offit, dr. fauci brought up a study from skrld that reflects the data come in from south africa that omicron is less severe than delta. it is too early to say if that is the case here in the united states, but will you be looking to see if that is sctrue here a well. that is important. >> if you look at the south africa data, when you saw the beta variant come into south africa, dramatic increase in cases and hospitalizations and deaths came down. then the delta variant came into south africa, dramatic increase in cases and hospitalizations and deaths and then that settle down. and then omicron came into south africa and dramatic increase in cases not as many hospitalizations and not a big increase in deaths at all which also seems to bep the new york city experience. where you have the high left vaccinated community, where although you've been vaccinated say with two doses of an mrna
vaccine which is not going to prevent mild illness, you see a lot of cases but maybe not as many hospitalizations an deaths, we'll see how this plays out. this is a major surge in cases but is it also a major surge in hospitalizations and deaths. i fear again for the unvaccinated. i was on service a couple of weeks ago at our hospital and what we see are people who are unvaccinated, their families are unvaccinated, the siblings are unvaccinated, we need to vaccinate the unvaccinated. >> i wish they could get vaccinated. there is a decline in cases after the omicron spike. do you expect the united states to follow that trend? >> well, it could be nice. i mean, but when you look at the actual curve, the way it is looking in south africa or the spike, it is only now just starting to come down. and we've seen that before for instance in the u.k. where it starts to come down and you think, well, we're out of that wave and then it gets stuck
about half way down and then it plateaus for periods of weeks or sometime sometimes months. and so we have to be calculating about that downward slope in africa. and the other piece i'm looking at, if you notice both in south africa and the u.k., that omicron peak dove tailed right on the delta peak an there is some thought that possibly the reason it appears that omicron is milder is because you're getting a lot of reinfections and so that previous infection is not getting people as sick and requiring hospitalization. but as paul pointed out, if you're unvaccinated and no previous infection, you may still be very, as susceptible to illness and hospitalization and death to omicron as any of the other variants. >> you have to be krafl. they are considering shortening the quarentine people who get people down from ten days, move that they just made in the u.k. that is now seven days.
is that the right step? >> well it is interesting. there were months in singapore looking at people who were vaccinated and had mild illness and compared to people who were unvaccinated but had a mild illness and found that although in the first day or two both shed as much infectious virus that the vaccinated group didn't sheddi shed infectious virus as long. it is interesting to repeat with the omicron variant, but i think it is a good move. >> gentlemen, thank you very much for joining us. and we'll have much more on the pandemic coming up later this hour. just ahead, one of the most vocal trump loyalists in congress now a target of the january 6 select committee. is there any -- that jim jordan will sit down with the committee for an interview. stay with us. you're in "the situation room." ♪
ray loves vacations. but his diabetes never seemed to take one. everything felt like a 'no'. everything. but then ray went from no to know. with freestyle libre 2, now he knows his glucose levels when he needs to. and... when he wants to. so ray... can be ray. take the mystery out of your glucose levels, and lower your a1c. now you know. try it for free. visit freestylelibre.us
my family's been devastated by covid-19. and we're not alone. we've all had to find new ways to keep going. and cue has made that easier. with cue, you get lab-quality covid-19 test results in just 20 minutes. speed and accuracy. it's just for the nba; it's for you too. cue health. the official covid-19 home test of the nba. go cue. go you.
ok, let's talk about those changes to your financial plan. bill, mary? hey... it's our former broker carl. carl, say hi to nina, our schwab financial consultant. hm... i know how difficult these calls can be. not with schwab. nina made it easier to set up our financial plan. we can check in on it anytime. it changes when our goals change. planning can't be that easy. actually, it can be, carl. look forward to planning with schwab. schwab! ♪ (vo) the more we do with our phones, the more network quality and reliability matter. and only verizon has been the most awarded for network quality 27 times in a row. that means the best experience with calls,
texts and data usage of any major carrier, according to customers. there's only one best network. the only one ranked #1 in reliability 16 times in a row. we are building 5g right. there is more breaking news we're following here in "the situation room," the white house, excuse me the house committee vest investigating the capital siege seeking to interview another top trump ally. evan perez is working the story for us. for the second time this week
the select committee has asked a republican lawmaker to answer questions and this time key trump ally jim jordan, what raw learning? >> reporter: that is right, wolf. and jim jordan played a major role in the period between the election and january 6 trying to support the president's efforts to overturn the election results and that is the reason why the committee wants to talk to him. they want to talk to him because he has said in interviews that he communicated with the president, according to committee, they know of at least one such communication, perhaps additional. they also say that they know he was in touch with people inside of trump -- trump associates in the willard hotel war room on the day of january 6 and the days before. and they also say that they have -- they know that on january 5th he had forwarded a message to mark meadows, the former chief of staff of the former president, detailing this
proposal, detailing a way for mike pence, the former vice president, to essentially overturn results from a number of states, the electors from a number of states. so all of these things, they know that they believe jim jordan could be a key witness to the effort they have, they're making to try to uncover what happened on january 6 and days preceding that. of course we know this is a tall order. scott perry has told the committee he is not going to comply with this voluntarily interview request and we haven't heard from jim jordan. >> in a television interview he said he has nothing to hide then he should come forward and answer some questions. joining us now ro khanna, the deputy whip of the progressive caucus. thank you so much for joining us. so you know congressman jordan admitting to speaking with former president trump on january 6 and pushed trump's big
lie so what took the select committee, from your perspective, so long to try to get information from him knowing he's obviously not very likely to cooperate? wolf, chairman thompson has been very methodical and has been getting the witnesses. my hope is that representative jordan, who i serve with on the oversight committee, just comes forward and shares what he knows. i mean, he has worked with me and others on the oversight committee. ip think if he is transparent and shares some of the texts that he had with president trump, if he shares what he knows, then we could move forward. would you hate -- i would hate this to come to a subpoena. >> how far do you think the select committee would go. would you support a subpoena against him, he's a colleague of yours in the house. >> would yoi would support what chair deems appropriate and if he's stonewalling, the chair may see no other approach. but i hope it doesn't come to that. look, i serve with
representative jordan, he could be tough, he is certainly verbally very tough, but i hope he will honor congress and just share the information. testify, answer the questions and then we could move on. it would be really unfortunate if he stonewalls. >> let me turn to another issue while i have you. mitch mcconnell made it clear today he would be very happy for joe biden to become a republican saying manchin would be -- senator manchin would be, quote, more comfortable in the gop. do you agree with mitch mcconnell on that? >> absolutely not. i know senator manchin. look, everybody is disappointed that he's not supporting build back better but senator manchin supporting the american rescue plan and infrastructure and supported universal preschool and some climate investment so i look forward to continuing to sit down with him and president biden and getting him to a yes.
he is certainly welcome in the democratic party and i believe he will stay in the democratic party despite mitch mcconnell's christmas wish. >> the chair of your house progressive caucus pramila jayapal told me the other day here in t"the situation room," they don't know how they could negotiate with someone whose word they cannot rely on. do you trust joe manchin? >> i do take him at his word. wolf, in washington, i don't think it is productive to question each other's motives or analyze that. our job is to get something done. now, senator manchin and i have a philosophical difference, i think joe biden can resolve that. he tried with the framework. it didn't quite work. we could try again. but, remember, barack obama didn't pass the affordable care act until march of the second year of his first term. so we still have time to get this done. >> senator manchin left the child tax credit out of his
$1.8 trillion counter proposal compromised offer to the white house last week. do you believe a bill without that child tax credit included could pass the house? >> no, i think it would be very tough. but if senator manchin wants to negotiate and i know he has some concern there may be some couples over 200,000 that get some of the child tax credit, then we could negotiate that. my point and many of the progressives' point is in christmas season, how are you going to take away $300 per kid for working families who need that to help buy food and buy toys. it just seems cruel to do that. and their $300 a month expires january 1st and extending that is one of the most important things that we could do. it is one of the most important things that we could do at this time of the year in the holiday spirit spirit. >> we'll see what happens. thank you so much for joining us. >> thanks, work. happy holiday to your family. >> and to you as well.
liz, you nerd, cough if you're in here! shh! i took mucinex dm for my phlegmy cough. what about rob's dry cough? works on that too, and lasts 12 hours. 12 hours?! who studies that long? mucinex dm relieves wet and dry coughs. xfinity rewards are our way of thanking you just for being with us. enjoy rewards like sing family fun nights! rent sing for $1 then belt out all your favorite tunes from the movie with sing karaoke. plus, see sing 2 in theaters with buy-one-get-one free fandango tickets. join over a million members by signing up for free
the vice president is being monitored we're told as she continues to get regular covid tests. she tested negative by the way early this morning. all of this comes as many americans are scrambling to get a covid-19 test. and they often are facing some very real problems simply trying to get the tests. let's go to brian todd outside here in washington, d.c. brian, you have a lot of good information about covid tests to share with our viewers wax are you -- what are you learning. >> reporter: people are up against two big obstacles. confusion eefr which test to get and a shortage at pharmacy stores like this cvs. this is not ideal as the omicron variant really takes hold. from california to d.c., the lines of people waiting to get free covid tests, many of them unable to buy test kits in stores are now extending around city blocks. and to say patience is wearing thin is putting it mildly.
>> very frustrating. i've been looking for a test all week for a few days now. all of the cvss mere me are out. they don't expect to get any until friday. >> reporter: the demand for test kits is so high, that cvs, walmart, amazon and walgreens are limiting the number of kits customers could buy. but many couldn't find them at all. >> everything is full because of the holidays. >> reporter: compounding the problem, many people are confused over what kind of covid test to get. >> so it is kind of confusing on what is correct and what i need to get to be able to go home for christmas and see my family and all that stuff. >> there are three big categories of tests and within each of those categories there are of course a bunch of different manufacturers, a bunch of different ways that you could do the tests. it is all awfully complicated for the average american to figure out. >> reporter: over the counter at-home tests from his manufacturers are now authorized
by the fda. experts say they all work well. >> in general, for the purposes that most people are using tests today, which is to ask am i risk to others around me, the rapid tests you could pick up on the shelf tend to perform very, very well for that use. >> reporter: there are three basic categories of tests. there are laboratory pcr tests, pcr for poly more us chain reaction, those are the most accurate, more expensive tests done if labs which amplify the virus's genetic material that may be in your system. experts say the pcr test is what you want if you want to figure out whether to go back to the office or travel. there are also rapid antigen tests which people could conductality home which are cheaper and could return results in as little as 15 minutes. >> the anti-jen test, that rapid at-home test is the right thing to do if you want a rapid time sensitive assessment of whether or not you are infectious right before you go into a gathering.
>> reporter: and there are antibody tests which could indicate if i have protection from a previous infection or vairk. no matter what kind of test you want to take, because of the test kit shortage, it is important to make your test count. if you have just one test available -- >> if you feel symptoms, come on, don't use the test right away. a a assume you are positive and isolate and quarantine. use the test on day two or day three. >> reporter: and another key piece of advice we're getting from experts as many of us are now going to more holiday gatherings, if you have a test at home and you're going to or hosting a gathering, take the test as close in time to the gathering as you can. not one or two days before the gathering, not a few hours before the gathering, but maybe 20 to 30 minutes before, so you could get the most accurate gauge of what to do. the experts we spoke to say we're all going to have to ride this out for maybe one or two more months before the test kits
are more widely available to all of us, wolf. >> brian todd, excellent information. let's turn to holiday travel. one of the big reasons so many people are actually trying to get out there to get covid tests right now. our aviation correspondent pete muntean is joining us from reagan national airport outside of d.c. covid is not stopping people from traveling for the holidays, is it? >> reporter: no, wolf. and the numbers are really close to what we saw back in 2019 before the pandemic. just yesterday, the tsa screened 1.98 million people at airports across the country. that number 99% of the same day back in 2019 just shy by only about 2300 people. you know, this really kicks off this huge holiday rush, 20 million people according to the tsa starting tomorrow and going until january 3rd. the tsa said tomorrow will be one of the busiest days for air travel. but aaa reminds us that the vast
majority of people will drive. 100 million people traveling 50 miles or more, it projects, that number off only about 7% from what we saw back in 2019. dr. fauci said it is safe to travel. so long as you are fully vaccinated and boosted and airlines underscore that flying is safe and you're chances of getting covid on an airplane are low because of the heavily filtered air on board and the federal transportation mask mandate now still in place until march 18th, 2022 and the tsa and the faa announced a new partnership, if you defy that rule you could lose your tsa pre-check for good. wolf. >> not good if you want to avoid waiting in long lines. pete muntean at reagan national. thank you very much. just ahead, we're on verdict watch as the jury in the manslaughter slaughter of kim potter deliberates for a third day.
right now we're following day three of jury deliberations in the trial of former police officer kim potter charged with manslaughter in the shooting death of daunte wright. cnn's adrianne proudous is in minneapolis for us. how long has the jury been deliberating? >> reporter: wolf, 23 hours and today silence. no questions on the record at least from members of the jury. so far on the record they've asked three questions, and including that telling question
we heard from them yesterday. members of jury wanted to know what steps they should take and how long they should continue to deliberate if a consensus couldn't be met. the judge instructed them to continue deliberating and here is more of what she said. >> you should decide -- >> i've never had a hostage situation. >> the crisis negotiation. >> yes. >> that involved -- >> you should decide the case for yourself but only after you have discussed the case with your fellow jurors and have carefully considered their views. you should not hesitate to reexamine your views and change your opinion if you become convinced they are erroneous. but you should not surrender your honest opinion simply because of other jurors disagree or merely to reach a verdict.
>> reporter: and if this jury doesn't reach a verdict by tomorrow night, the judge has indicated at least during jury selection she said she would not keep this jury from their families leading into the holiday. she said she would suspend deliberations friday through the 26th and resume on the 27th. so they've been stopping around 6:00 p.m. every day, wolf. that is 20 more minutes here in minneapolis. we'll see what happens. >> 6:00 p.m. central time. we'll stay in close touch. thank you very much. let's get more on all of this. our legal analyst joey jackson is joining us. the jurors only started deliberating on monday. so what does it say that there is still no verdict and they're already asking for guidance if they can't reach a consensus? >> yeah you know, wolf, two things to keep in mind. the first thing is a process issue. and that is remember what we have. we have a situation where you need 12 jurors to reach a unanimous conclusion as to what me believe the verdict should be.
that is pretty remarkable considering three or four people getting together would have various opinions, et cetera. when you get a group of people in a room and there is diversity, perspectives and opinions, et cetera, you may have in fact a lot of discord. so that is not unusual. and if you look at this jury, we know the jury to be primarily white. we know this there are two asians, six men and six women and we also know that like any other jury they're trying to get it right. the second issue is that it is not unusual to have a jury come back before a judge and to say, you know what, your honor, we're having a hard time, we can't reach consensus, you could guide us and the judge to instruct them that, listen, there is no jury that woe ko be better than you. this is aur process. go back and try to get it right. and i say all of that to say that this is part of the system of justice, could they be hung, potentially. but could they reach a consensus? maybe so. they've been working very hard. they've been working all day without a note. and so it tells me nothing other
than their trying to get it right, do their civic duty and render conclusion that is just and fair. we'll see what they do within the next 20 minutes. >> you follow this trial closely from the beginning. what do you think, joey, they're hung up on now based on these questions? >> you know, i really think that it is a jury nullification case. what does that mean in english? you have a authority that could connect with someone and they could understand and sympathize with someone to forgive an excuse that. so in this particular situation you have two narratives. on the the one hand we know as we're looking at miss potter there, she essentially admitted to all of the elements of case. she said she was sorry, she said it was a mistake. she said she didn't mean to harm or hurt anyone. all of those things would amount with an officer of 26 years to recklessness or carelessness of a criminal variety. so the prosecution is saying,
hey, hold her to that standard. it doesn't matter whether someone is nice or you like someone, it matters whether they violated the law. look at her training. on the other hand you have the defense arguing that a mistake is not a crime. she was cron trite and she's a good person and let her go. so you have a struggle with some jurors saying she knew better, this was reckless or at the least negligence and other jurors saying i don't know. i think that she was a really -- really upset about what happened and contrite about what happened and let's give her a pass and i think you're having that dynamic. and the defense had an expert psychologist who indicated that you could make a mistake, even if you are seasoned, even if you are experienced and i think the jury could be relying upon that to further excuse her conduct. and i think that is what the factions is batting about. accountability or not accountability, do we give her a pass, that is the argument if
the jury room. >> we'll see what happens. joey jackson, thank you very much. there is more breaking news next. president biden just speak out about the latest effort bzs to fight the surge of the omicron virus variant here in the united states. way for you to sell your car. whether it's a year old or a few years old. we wanna buy your car. so go to carvana and enter your license plate answer a few questions. and our techno wizardry calculates your car's value and gives you a real offer in seconds. when you're ready, we'll come to you, pay you on the spot and pick up your car, that's it. so ditch the old way of selling your car, and say hello to the new way at carvana. ray loves vacations. but his diabetes never seemed to take one. everything felt like a 'no'. everything. but then ray went from no to know. with freestyle libre 2, now he knows his glucose levels when he needs to. and... when he wants to. so ray... can be ray. take the mystery out of your glucose levels,
and lower your a1c. now you know. try it for free. visit freestylelibre.us (kate) this holiday, verizon has the deal that gets better and better and better. get iphone 13 pro, on us, when you trade in your old or damaged phone. here, the phone everyone wants, on america's most reliable network. better? (guy) better. (kate) that's not all. the new iphone, and up to 7 entertainment subscriptions for your family. like apple music, apple arcade, and more. better? (family) better. (kate) not done. the new iphone, the entertainment, and up to $1,000 when you switch.
just moments ago president biden spoke about the omicron variant crisis. and his new push to send 500 million rapid test kits to americans across the country. listen to his remarks in an abc news interview with david muir just a little while ago. >> go to the pharmacy, we hear this over and over again, empty shelves, no test kits. is that a failure. >> i don't think it is a nature. i think you could argue that we should have known a year ago, six months ago, two months ago, a month ago, i've ordered half a billion of the pills. 500 million pills. excuse me, 500 million test kits that are going to be available to be sent to every home in america if anybody wants them. but the answer is yeah, i wish hi thought about ordering half a billion pills two months ago before covid hit here.
>> but we're nearly two years into the pandemic and you're a year into the presidency, empty shelves and no test kits in some places three days before christmas when it is so important. is that good enough? >> nothing has been good enough. >> let's discuss with our chief national affairs correspondent jeff zeleny from the white house and gloria borger and john kasich, the former republican governor of ohio. so, jeff, you covered the president, what do you think? >> reporter: wolf, repeatedly throughout this interview with david muir which was recorded this afternoon, president biden is confused and was confusing the half a billion tests that they've ordered with the half a billion pills. pills were in the news today with the pfizer approval of the anti-viral. so he corrected himself. but that was one thing that stuck out to me. and simply the administration and the president leading the charge here not accepting any responsibility at all for this lack of testing. we've seen these images across
the country, long lines, just the inability to get tests. and yes, omicron came on very quickly here. but it has been almost a month since thanksgiving where they knew this was coming so he wishes he could have acted faster than -- explains why he didn't. but the question also is the at-home test for january, there was no sense from administration those will be sent out early in january as the president suggested in this interview. >> and gloria, what do you make of what we heard? >> well, agree with jeff. i think there was a little confusion there on the part of the president. although he did end up correcting himself at one point. but it is not as if testing is a new issue. testing is not a new issue. testing is something that doctors in this country had been talking about since the beginning of covid. and we have always known that
we've had a lousy testing process in this country. and that people need to be able to self test at home and so heading into the holidays, particularly knowing that omicron happened around another holiday, thanksgiving, that there aren't more tests available is kind of appalling. and there are a lot of folks who say that there are regulatory issues surrounding it, so break through the red tape and make sure that these tests are available. and at this point, i think it is a little late. and it is very worrisome given the fact that omicron spreads so dramatically. >> you know, governor kasich, the president keeps saying that no one could have seen these new variants coming. but experts have predicted these types of mutations would in fact develop? >> well, you know, i really impressed by what goria just head h to say about the lack of preparation and we all know that. they should have been ahead of the curve.
but there is one other thing that troubles me, wolf. kind of the confusion that we heard out of him, it is really important for our country and for those people who are in the biden administration that may hear this, joe biden needs to be stronger and clearer in all we know he has passion on this issue with the virus. but be clear about what you want to do. what else do you have passion on? because, wolf, i'm -- i'm sad to say this -- i have people saying is he really know what he is doing? and it would be really important for the country, for him to be able to be clear and direct and passionate about the -- the few things that he really cares about. he needs to get back up, and he needs to be stronger. and by the way, the praise he gave to trump yesterday and trump's response -- that is somewhat of a christmas miracle. but that's a good thing to see happen. but we need joe biden to show
that he's got it together, and he knows what he is doing. it will give confidence to people in many, many other ways. >> jeff, as people are waiting in long lines simply to get a test, they can't go to a drugstore and find these home-rapid tests. do officials at the white house -- you cover the white house -- do they realize that so many people see this as a failure on the part of the biden administration? >> look, i think they do. they realize they see these lines, they see these images across the country. but a bigger challenge is here they are hoping that this will be a rapid surge. they saw some positive news, which they believe is positive news, out of south africa that this sort of burned out fairly quickly. so, they are hoping that is the case here. but, wolf, what they are doing if that is not the case, those at-home tests they've ordered -- the president said right there, everyone who wants a test will get one. that simply is not true. every health expert says you
will need so many more tests that than that. so, even half a billion sounds like a lot. it's an open question, if even those can be produced. but there will be a lot more needed. so, testing remains. as we end this year here, you know, at the second year of a pandemic, test reeg mains the central issue. yes, it's complicated no doubt but that remains the big frustration here. vaccinations and boosters, obviously, are much more important actually than testing but test reeg mains a vexing pa of a challenge for this administration. >> because the covid experts, all the briefers from the white house, the cdc, the f -- they all say, gloria, you got to go get tested even if you are fully vaccinated and you are boosted and all that. before you go to a christmas party or new year's, get yourself tested. people want to go out there. they want to see their grandma. they want to go out and get tested but they can't find a test, so what are they supposed to do? >> well, and that's a key question, wolf. i think it's frustrating for the american public, who finally may
be beginning to see that, yes, testing is the key to stopping the pandemic in its tracks or, you know, when you have these variants come along, you just keep testing. you make it a part of your life. you make it a part of your week. you do it a few times a week and if you have access to those tests and they are cheap or they are free, you will do it. and if the government is telling you to do it and you are willing and you want to go be able to see your family or your children or grandchildren and you want to do it but you can't find a test, who do you get angry at? you get angry at the government who is telling you to do it but you can't figure out how because the tests aren't available. >> in the interview, you know, governor, with david muir on abc news, david also asked the president about whether he was thinking about running for re-election in 2024. listen to this clip. >> you said you would absolutely serve eight years if elected. do you plan to run for re-election? >> yes. but look.
i am a great respecter of fate. fate has intervened in my life many, many times. if i am in the health i'm in now, if i'm in good health, then in fact i would run again. >> and if that means a rematch against donald trump? >> you trying to tempt me now. sure. why would i not run against donald trump? that would increase the prospect of running. >> all right, governor, what did you think? >> i can't believe in that interview about all these things that are happening, he is asking about what is going to happen three years from now. so i am not impressed with david's question. look i mean, who knows what is going to happen? but i want to repeat what i said and, that is, the -- you know, he's got to be stronger than he is appearing. and in regard to his praising donald trump yesterday, having trump say go out and get a vaccine, we need people to get vaccinated. we need 'em to go get the booster and there is also understand good news about these
pfizer pills that could keep you out of the hospital. i haven't done all the work on that but that is good news, too. so while we get all the negative things, there's some things we can -- i hope brighten our day a bit. wolf. >> yeah, i thought it was interesting the president spoke about fate, instead of simply saying yes i will run again, he also spoke about faith and his health and all of that. all right, guys, thank you very, very much. we will continue our coverage right after a quick break. this is your home. this is your family room slash gym. the guest bedroom slash music studio. the daybed slash dog bed. the living room slash yoga shanti slash regional office slash classroom. and this is the basement slash panic room. maybe what your family needs is a vacation home slash vacation home.
find yours on the vrbo app. ♪ ♪ christmas music ♪ ♪ ♪ if your dry eye symptoms keep coming back, what?! no! over the counter eye drops typically work by lubricating the eyes and may provide temporary relief. xiidra works differently, targeting inflammation that can cause dry eye disease. it can provide lasting relief. xiidra is the only fda-approved non-steroid eye drop specifically for the signs and symptoms of dry eye disease. one drop in each eye, twice a day. don't use if you are allergic to xiidra. common side effects include eye irritation, discomfort or blurred vision when applied to the eye, and unusual taste sensation. don't touch container tip to your eye or any surface. after using xiidra wait 15 minutes before reinserting contacts. ♪
this holiday, ask your doctor about xiidra. umph! [upbeat acoustic music throughout] we've been waiting all year to come together. ♪ happy holidays from lexus. get $1500 lease cash toward a 2022 rx 350. ♪ ♪“i got you babe” by etta james♪ ♪ get groceries, gifts, & more fast and easy. so last minute guests are the only thing you'll be waiting on.
various challenges to the biden vaccine mandate. we will, of course, watch that very closely. to our viewers, thanks very much for watching. i am wolf blitzer in the situation room. you can always follow me on twitter and instagram @wolf blitzer. you can tweet the show @cnn sit room, situation room also available on podcasts. look for us, cnn.com/audio or wherever you get your podcasts. "erin burnett outfront" starts right now. out front next. breaking news. president biden on the defensive, and pushing back against criticism that his administration was caught off guard by the omicron variant. plus, the january 6th committee wants to speak to congressman jim jordan. trump ally who says he spoke to the former president multiple times on the day of the insurrection. will he cooperate? and a texas election official claims the state's republican attorney general threatened and even tried to indict her over the handling of the state's free and fai