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tv   Washington Week  PBS  October 23, 2020 7:30pm-8:01pm PDT

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refrigerated are devices that require power. pack or restock emergency supply kit. insured backup power sources are safe to operate. to learn more, visit safety action b7 the ntenders make their case! >> work at learning to liveha n >> learning to live with it? come on, we're dying with it! >> a final showdown, as case numbers spike nationwide. >> donald tmp is not suddenly going to protect all of us. he can't take epthe basic s to protect himself! >> and president obama rallies in philadelphia with turnout in pennsylvania and new brattle grounds itical. move ahead with their majority on the line. next. announcer: ts is "washington week."
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announcer: consumer clular. additional funding is provided by -- the estate of arnoanld adam koo and patricia yuen through the yuen foundation committed to bridging cultural efferences in our communi the corporation for public broadcasting and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. once again, from washington, moderator rot costa. robert: good eveninand we ome. where does this race stand? well, in recent mowers, i pressed my sources to be candid. veteran democrats told me they remain confident. they believe the surge is a sign of enthusiasm on their side. they believe vce president biden is steady enough and amid a deadly pandemic with case
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numbers spiking to record levels nationwide, they argue that stead and centrist will and in the states, they're trying to turn blue. but t rublicans told me not to count out president trump who is reviving his playbook from 2016 with rallies, grievances, and brutal attacks. they also se uptick in g.o.p. registration in some states and they insist that in nal days trump can paint biden as a progressive and connect with americans who are restless and frustrated by this pandemic. joining me tonit are three first rate political reporters. towels towels,oluse olorunnipa, joining us from nashville. susan page washington bureau chief r "usa today." cal sma khalid, politi public radio and co-host of the n.p.r.olitics podcast.
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let's begin with that debate in this exchange on the pdemic. president trump: it will go away and as i say, we'e rounng the turn, we're rounding the corner. it's going away. >> 220,000 americans dead. anyone who's responsible for that many deaths s uld not remain as president of the united states of america. robert: toluse, you wrn e i the paper today that the president's aides privately urged him to try to make up ground in this debate by avoiding constant inteuptions. but inside the caaign, and the white house, tonight, do they believe it enwagh to alter the fundamental dynamics? toluse: no one who watched last night really saw it as a game-changing debate. they saw it as sort of the status quo. the president did better than he did in the first debate in terms of his mood and not eming -- not coming across as ngry, not coming across as a bully.he did not interrupt as m
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a lot of his aides said allow joe biden to speak and allow there to be a contrast of the different ideas on the stage. and that happened. we heard from boeen. we heard from president trump. and they did have very different vis and visions for where they want to take the country. now, a lot of the things the president said when it camto him on the defensive. was saying we're rounding the turn. everything is going to be ok. everything is going to fe. and 24 hours later we hit a new record, more than 80,000 cas in the united states just over 24 hours. so it's clear that the president is really on his heels when it comes to the coronavirus pandemic. he wants it to be in the rear-view mirror. but as we're getting close tore election day it is the number ss e on the minds of lots of americans and it's not getting better in many cases, in many parts of the country it's ge robert: asma, on health care, not just about the handling. pandemic. it's also the future of the affordab care act whichaces a reckoning in the courts. inside the biden campaign do they believe his attack on the president's health care
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sition, the administration's position on the affordable care act, is breaking through with key voters? asma: democrats feel extraordinary confident on issues of healare. i've been hearing that actually for weeks. argument for them as they've been trying to push back against the nomination of judge amy coney barrett. you know, i think to sort of echo toluse talre, what i've been hearing from voters, and for mont especially as we've seen covid cases continue to rise in some key ba leground states like michigan and wisconsin, is this frustration by the president's you know, i rlly cannotemic. overstate that. i hung around outside of a ballot drop in detroit. and these are people who have personal stories. someone who lost a cousin in the pandemic. these are not abstract problems. and this is where democrat feel they have an advantage. and to underscore that, a day after the debate, jo we biden back home in delaware delivering a speech yet again on how he would handle the vi coros pandemic.
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and this is a point that he has been trying to emphasize for months. it's a pnt where he has campaigned and broadly democrats feel they have an advantage. robert: susan, what abou t immigration? the predent's a hard-liner on this issue. but he attacked vice president biden's record with president how is this issue going to play out in states like arizona and across theunbelt? susan: well, immigration of course is the issue that campaign from its earliest days five years. ago but th takeaway, i think, from the debate last night was not about concerns about the border. it was about 540 children who were takenr from thrents at the border for whom their parents cannot now be fnd. they're now in the care of the united states or in the care of other elatives. that is a pretty heart breaking situation. and one that the pnt didn't really show empathy on. it's really a lot like the coronavirus. where the president trong
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views, he goes on the attack. but it's joe biden who is ng expresmpathy about the situation that is actually affecting people in this country. robert: toluse is the strategy here from president trump? does he actually believe he cst vice president biden as a liberal in the closing days? u saw himseize on vice president biden's answer on on transig out of an oil industry economy at the end of the debate. that where we're going to t hear more of i next few days? toluse: yeah. i spoke to a few campaign officials today. and tht said thapresident's closing argument against joe biden is two-fold. one, they want to paintinimum saz a creature of washington. someone who spfent almost h a century in washington without much accomplishments. sort of getting into the mode of washington, following the ways of washington and president trump is an outsider. he is a businessman. he's someone whoven though he's an incumbent president, he's running as the insurgent. they said that he was able to do that by his constant
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repetition last night of why didn you get it done, joe biden? why didn't you do it during your eight years as vicnd presidenthy not your six terms in the senate? that was something he pressed a repeated the campaign expects in a to continue. they also felt that joe biden gave them a gift by what now sort of being seen as sort of a biden style gaffe where he said he wanted to transition away from oil and gas within just a few years. and move netzero emissions. that is something that president trump pnced on. he said that is a major thing that you're saying. you're essentially saying you're going to get rid of an entire industry maybe even get rid of millions of jobs in places texas and also, you know, tying it to fracking and s naturaln places like pennsylvania. so the campaign wants to really highlight those comments by joe biden on energy while also painting him as a creature of washington, someone who spent 47 years in the city and they're going challenge his record as tohether or not he was able to get enough done robert: let's stick with
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pennsylvania. because former president barack obama camp week. part of the biden campaign's push to turn out his core voters. his message concentrated on character. >> i never thought donald trump would embrace my vision sore continue my policies. but i did hope for the sake of the countryt he might show some interest in taking the job seriously. but it hasn't happened. the thing is this is not a reality show. this is realy. robert: asma, it's about philadelphia and turning out urban voters, turning out suburban voters. it's also about that in detroit. you were in michigan this week talking to voters. what does it mean to have former president obama back on the trail? asma: you know, i was struck and actually out with him on that trip to pen earlier this week. and you know, to me, he had audiences of democratic core base voters he was trying to reach.
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certainly the activistsithin the party. but a very key constituency of the democratic party that it seems like he was specifical t spki is what i would call disillusioned democrats of 2016. the people, largely young, black and brown voters, who perhaps did not vote in 2016 or maybe voted and left the top of the blan you know, he held a drive-in car rally, president obama, where a lot ofis act were there. but prior to that, he actually held a pretty small roundtable with aelect group of african-american men a. dozen or so people there and one of the consistent themes of questions that came up from people was how do you get fks who are just -- you know, dis affected and disillusioned wit this process and don't feel like voting makes a difference, how do you get them to aually participate this year? and president obama's m message there was his his view progress can be slow. progress cannot necessarily happen as quickly as folks may want and acknowledged that under his own administrion, they were not able to really combat systemic racism or
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police reform in ways that maybe he even would have hoped.t but t's better than sitting out the process entirely. and i will say, you , bob, this is a theme that i heard a lot when i was out in detroit l. w could make the argument the election was so close in 216 that had you had, you know, a lot more sort of african-american turnout in wayne county or even arab american turnout from dearborn, you might have seen a different election res and those are the folks that i was really interested in spking with. i think there is a recognition among many of them that the stakes are different thi time around. regardless of how they feel personally about joe biden. d bert: susan, can you bu that a little bit? because what we're seeing from president trump, and i was talking to some trump campaign officials earlier today, is of cour they're trying stoke the base in western pennsylvania, in westn michigan, central pennsylvania, but they're also trying to depress the docratic vote. going after vice president biden on the 194 crime bill and going after vice president biden on immigration and the
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obama record. how does that calculus play out in all of these states? asma: susan: yes. and we moved within last 11 e days of ampaign to persuade undecided voters if there are any of them left in trying to turn out the voters who are already for you. and that's why we see president obama out there speaking to democratic audiences saying please go to the polls. it is possible to depress democratic turnout as i s depressed in somees placn 2016. and i actually think that's the ggest problem with president comment on transitioning away from fossil fuels and on racking in the debate last cause it can be used in a state like pennsylvania to be -- raie some qutions about maybe the personal economic consequences of electing biden. not that those voters will then go out and vote for maybe they won't go out and bother to vote. this is a problem that ve esident biden is going to have if he wins. the pressure between progressives who are v hy happy r what he had to say
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about fracking. and transitioning away from fossil fuels. but at odds with some of these more centrist, more moderate voters from energytates like w pennsylvan are concerned about that policy. robert: in all of this, is playing out as senate republicans arworried about a blue wave sweeping through swing states and ne even rd states. such as texas, and georgia. here is how some senate republicans are handling that rising tide. i was the first republican to speak out against repeal of the affordable ce act. >> i am proud to be the only u.s. senator with a 100% voting record with president trump. >> president trump complicating your race? >> no. i would say i'm running my own race. robert: toluse, inside the g.o.p., there's a lot of unease. but very different approaches them. how is the white house going to play it in the final few days in terms of where they go and
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what the president says? toluse: yeah. it seems the wte house is really focused squarely on president trump's re-election now. would love it if the side benefit to that is that al sl thesenate republicans also get elected. but they are really focused on the electora trying to make sure president trump gets to 270. they aren't listening to any ep senatelicans. they want to keep him away or at arm's length. they're going where president trump needs to go to try to win. me of these senate republicans do want to keep the presidentt arm's le like susan collins, are not embracing the president. they are trying to show thr distance from him as they fight for their political survival. but a lot of these senatere blicans need president trump's voters. people like lindsey graham in he needs president trump's voters to see him as an ally of hoe president, as someone is on the president's team, as he faces a sprising competitive re in south carolina against jaime harrison. he realizes that if president trump supporters vote for
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president trump and leave his name blank or vote for a thid pay candidate or cross parties to vote for his opponent because maybe they don't think he's a stron enough supporter of president trump, he could lose as a result. so even as s e of thes republicans are trying to put some distance between themselves and the president, because they realize that his ti sprofle gs are pretty -- approval rate rgs pretty low and not doing very well with the suburbaand moderate ters they need to win in their specific states, they realize that they do need the presiden and to come out in high numbers. so you're not going to see as s muaration as you might with the president who is struggling so much in the polls. rort: senator collins, fascinating, our friend nathan martin at the "new os york times" pd a story today saying senator collins once considered even running as an independent in02 2to make sure she could win up there in maine. but asma, as we look at this map, we're seeing the biden campaign which is flush with cash starting to look at georgia. texas, senator cornyn is on edge there, he's skid about his re-election. how realistic is it to have become a blue
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tsunami that goes across plkees georgia, maybe even mississippi, alabama, democrats were talking about that today as well? asma: sure. bob, i think to me that's perhaps one of the mo interesting questions this cycle. but it's also the question that i think when you pe it to democratic strategists, quite candidly they're very anxious about even discussin that question given the results of what happened in 2016. there was a point during the 2016 cycle where hillary clinton's campaign was ambitiously talking about arizona. that was the same day that the mey letter came out and the race dramatically shifted shortly after that. so i do think that there is this anxiety. you could argue maybe it's rooted in reality or a notng some democrats about being overly optimistic about the that beiid, you know, you g map. look at ad spending and i believe the biden campaign according to ad analytics is -- advertising locally in about 19 states. i mean, that's a really ambiti they have the money to do that.
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kamala harris herself was campaigning today in georgia. and we all know that where both the candidate and his running mate go, that scompretches a l certain le- expresses a certain level of intensity of where they feel the state means. and to me hewas struck by send at they chose to i'm still -- myself a little skeptical about this idea tha - unle take a state like georgia. unless that state actually goes at the top of the ticket, were joe biden or donald trump, i just don't see the sen flipping. we're in a situation where research has shown people don'tk split their tis as much as they used to. there's not a lot of nuance there. d so i'm really skeptical of the sense that we're going to see the president win a state say like texas but we're going to see someone lie john cornyn lose his seat. robert: susan, you're writing a biography of speaker pelosi. sheaches attacked by president trump -- she was attacked by prese ent trump at bate who said -- maybe republicans could even gain the house
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majority back. ongoing stlled stimulus ne ttiation. coul lack of a stimulus hurt president trump amo house ats, how do you see that? susan: well, some house democrats especially from moderate districts have been very concerned about the failure to getogether on even a half a loaf deal to get some more relief out there for the costs across the cntry of the pandemic. but the politics of that is complicated. and i think there was also a caulation by some democrats that giving half a loaf, making a deal for aid, was liky to help president trump toive him talking points and braggin ghts about delivering more so i think you have seen those talks get slow walked byan pelosi. i think she wants to have a bill passed. maybe she doesn't wan to ha a bill passed just for -- you know, just quit yet. maybe we'll see that happen in that nows more likely. e
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robert: toluse, judge amy coney barrett is headed to likely confirmation on the senate floor next week. this going to be a galvanizing event for republicans or has it actually faded into the background a bit? historic addition of a new supreme court justicefin the l days before an election is now sort of a footnote. being raefl talked about by s democrats or republicans even though it's historic move and a move that breaks with a lot of precedent. and it does gae a lotf democrats who are saying, you know, for this reason, i'm going to turn out and show my dissatisfaction with the republicans moving forward to fill this seat in the final days of the election. even though they held open a seat when president obama made it his nomination more than nine months bthe 2016 election. so there is a lot of question about whether or not this will impact the ce when it comes to turnout on the republican side.
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it does remind a large number ep oflicans why they voted for president trump even though they don't like his personalit they don't like the way he handles himself in office. they do like a lot of his . polici they do like the fact that he appoints conservative jtices and willing to push through this justice and make sure that he leaned on republicans to make se that this choice was added before the election and not allow this to b held over until after. robert: so we have a few minutes left here. i' call thia lightning round. asma, when you talk to the kbiden campaign, and thnow all these attacks on hunter biden are coming, they were coming at the date as welgo is hng to continue to hold back to be restrained in response? asma: you know, my sense is they don't take that as a serious allegation. they have been discussing and telling us that this is part of a disinformation, misinformation campaign and given what we saw happen duerin 016 election, i would say they're very hesitant to engage in that top. robert: susan glasser, the early voting numbers are huge.
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but how do you interpret a of that infor? is it actually a boon for the emocrats or hard to say? bank so that's a boon for the democrats, right? weon't know whether it is cannibalizing voters who would voters in.tion day or get new there are signs the extraordinary numbers t new voters and reflects democratic enthusiasm about this election. robert: toluse, where is vice president pence going to headed in the final few days of this campaign? toluse: he's going to be doing something similar to what president trump is doing. which is traling multiple rallies a day. going to a number of these swing states, trying to co republican voters that even if you don't like the president's personality, look athat we've done. he's been much more on message than president trump. he does not get distracted a does not go down all of these rabbit holes of scandal. so i do expect him to be delivering a very clear and coervative point of view that he and president trump have rd over the for
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and trying to convince moderate voters, trying to convince wh republican votermay be on the fence to stick with the trump-pence ticket and not for joe biden and kamala harris. so i do expect him to be a much more discipl campaigner than president trump. and also to be quite asager and active as president trump on theig campatrail. robert: asma, you were in michigan. so many sen e republicans a nervous. but are democrats nervous about senator peters up there? asma: you know, i will say democrats to me in michigan, i came back and told my editor this, i feel like michigan when you speak to democrat is one of the most optimistic states for them. and i say that for ait mue of reasons. one is if you look at018, democrats did phenomenally well up and dw,n the -- you k when you look at the seats.atorial race and senate ey e very optimistic and we hear the president routinely calling out to diff demographic groups like suburban women, suburban women were key in mich they remain a key demographic group.
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and by and large from the on nversai've been having, they seem to be rather disillusioned with president d trump's hng of a variety of issues. robert: final question, real quick, susan. does speaker pelosi and president trump cut a deal for the before the election? susan: i think it's hard to do h that befor election. but i think it is more -- likely to have onee ar the election in the lame duck. robert: lame duck deal. we'll keep an eye out on all of at. that's it, though, for tonight. another big week in washington mes to a close. many thanks to our reporters, toluse olorunnipa, susan glasser, and asma khalid. thank you very much for joining us. and thank you all for joining us. as close to the news as we can. next week, we'll prsent a special report taking you insi a key battleground state. to underand this election, u must understand pennsylvania. until president trump -- rt robe: with revealing
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conversations with vers -- >> i've seen a lot of nastiness. robert: will the keystone state predict again where in election is headed? >> the working man isetting nothing. robert: i'm robert costa. join us for a "washinon week" special report. i'm robt costa. good night from washington. [captiong performed by the national captioning institute, which isnsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] announcer: corporate funding for "washington week" is provided by -- >>n whee world gets complicated, a lot goes through your mind. with fidelity wealth management, a dedicated advisor can taylor advice anda recommenons to your life.
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that's fidelity wealth management. on for 25 years csumer cellular has been offering no contract wireless plans designed to help people do more of wt they like. r u.s.-based customer service team can help find a plan that fits you. to learn more, visit robert: announcer: babbel. boeing. additional funding is provided by the estate of arnold adams riand koo and pata yuen through the yuen foundation, committed to bridging culture -- cultural differences in our communities, the corporation for public broadcasting and by t bution to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. at
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