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Cease-Fire Underway in Gaza; U.S. Push to Strengthen Trade with Africa; Interview with Mike Bloomberg and Penny Pritzker; Paul Flips on Aid for Israel; Lawmaker Dems Wage War on Whites

Aired August 5, 2014 - 07:30   ET



CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to NEW DAY. The cease-fire between Israel and Gaza now more than six hours old and more importantly it's holding. Israel says it has withdrawn all troops from Gaza. For their part Hamas fired rockets just before the truce, but has not since.

So let's bring in former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a staunch supporter of Israel who flew there, you'll remember, to protest the FAA flight ban. We also have U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker. They are co-hosts of a historic U.S.-Africa conference from Washington that's going on this week.

Important work to be sure, but Mr. Mayor, while I have you let's get to a couple of news issues at hands. The cease-fire, do you believe it holds? Do you believe this is a real step towards peace negotiation?

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY: Chris, I don't know, and I don't think anybody you've ever had on your show knows. Only we'll find out with time. It requires both parties to follow an agreement. If they do, they do, and if they don't, they don't, and all the talking heads aren't going to change anything.

CUOMO: Simple enough, and then it gets more complicated because you look at the U.S. and the U.N. They come out with strong words about what they see as a series of wrongful attacks surrounding U.N. shelters, the U.N. going so far as to say that maybe these attacks by Israel were war crimes. Do you agree?

BLOOMBERG: I think if somebody attacked America, we would not have a proportional response. We would have an overwhelming response and Israel doesn't have any choice. If you fire rockets at them, they have to go after the source of those rockets.

If you want to create chaos, you put that source in the middle of a bunch of innocent civilians, but Israel doesn't have any choice, and the U.N. and the U.S. in this case couldn't be more wrong. Israel has a right to defend itself, which everybody says, yes, except that they don't want to let them do it. They have no choice.

CUOMO: When you've relied on that analogy before about if it were the U.S., nobody would complain, but given the fact that the rockets from Hamas, the attacks by Hamas are frequent, but also frequently largely ineffective, doesn't that give a little bit more support to the idea of that Israel does seem to be using much more force proportionately than what it endures?

BLOOMBERG: Chris, we should get on to the African summit, but just let me say if your kid was sitting there and a rocket missed your kid, you wouldn't say let's not try to stop the rockets because it didn't hit my kid. I don't think so. Come on, that's ridiculous.

CUOMO: All right. Let me ask you about something else then. We have this guy at Mt. Sinai right now being tested for Ebola. People are scared, Mr. Mayor, they are. You know how people get shaken very quickly. What can you tell people to calm their fears about whether we're set up in the city and other cities to take on something like Ebola, which is relevant enough comes from Africa and may come into the U.S.?

BLOOMBERG: Chris, it's sort of like the guy kills his parents and then tries to throw himself on the mercy of the court because he's an orphan. You're creating this kind of fear. There's no reason to have fear. We have the Centers of Disease Control run by Tom Friedman, who used to be my commissioner of the Department of Health and mental hygiene in New York.

This is their specialty. The people at the hospitals know what to do, and they will take care of it. It is a major problem in other parts of the world, and we have to make sure that we get some resources to help them control this, and hopefully research will find a ways to prevent this from happening again.

But the people here don't have any risk, no matter how many times you want to make it into a good story.

PENNY PRITZKER, U.S. SECRETARY OF COMMERCE: Chris, I think the opportunity today is to talk about the Africa summit. We've got an extraordinary day ahead of us with over 40 African leaders attending the business summit, over 100 American CEOs, over 100 African CEOs, all coming together to talk about the opportunities in Africa.

CUOMO: What do you see, Secretary Pritzker, as the biggest, best opportunities right now?

PRITZKER: Well, you know, one of the things that's really exciting about what's happening in Africa is you've got six of the ten fastest growing economies. You've got projected GDP growth in Africa for the next 10 years of over 6 percent, and you've got -- but you've got American exports going to Africa supporting 250,000 American jobs.

Well, we're just at the beginning of this opportunity, and that's why we've brought everyone here today is to begin to say, well, the president is going to announce $14 billion worth of deals, particularly in the power sector and in the energy sector, which is fundamental in order for the African nations to grow their economies.

They need to have power, something we take for granted, but today is a day, it's catalytic and an opportunity for everyone to come together and build on the relationships that exist to do more business.

CUOMO: The African Growth and Opportunity Act, this has been a big deal since President Clinton signed it and in 2,000 does have its critics while there's opportunity there it hasn't met expectations. What do we need to do better?

PRITZKER: I don't know why you said hasn't met expectations. We know that trade with Africa has gone up to almost $27 billion, and non- petroleum trade has gone up about five times since GOA was passed. There's so much more to do, and that's what we're here to try and promote is the opportunities that exist in Africa for American businesses.

And therefore, for American workers and partnerships that can exist with African companies that can create jocks and good economic growth in both places, so this is really a very exciting time.

CUOMO: I think that one of the basis of criticism is people see the situations of living standards in Africa being so unsustainably low despite efforts now over a decade old. What do we need to do more of to help stimulate the African side of the equation?

BLOOMBERG: You have to have more economic activity. That will create jobs. People will have the dignity of being self-sufficient and the wherewithal to get an education for their kids and get medicines, and these things build on themselves.

The difference now than in the past is today technology is there to help, which it wasn't before. Before you had this long process of building infrastructure over decades, and today you can leapfrog pretty much right to the end game.

Today half the people in Africa have smartphones. Today virtually every country has a stock exchange. Virtually every country has an airline. Those things were inconceivable 20, 30 years ago, so the pieces are there, and now American business has to understand this is a great market for them.

That will be good for jobs in America and for African countries that will give them services and -- and ability to create companies and an economy that they need.

PRITZKER: And what I'm seeing is the African leaders are excited to have our businesses there. They want to do business with American companies. They like the fact that American companies come and respect rule of law. They are transparent.

They have, you know -- we treat our -- our workers well, and, you know, American companies invest in the communities where they are doing business. So this is -- you know, there's a lot of positive opportunity here that we're trying to take advantage of.

CUOMO: Well, hopefully the message comes out in strong because the act needs to be reauthorized by September 2015. That means dealing with Congress, and if you think that establishing relations with Africa is tough, boy, you've got a big job there. You're going to need, Secretary Pritzker, you're going to need the help of the man on your left. Mr. Bloomberg, thank you very much for joining us. Mr. Mayor, Secretary Pritzker, thank you.

BLOOMBERG: Chris, let me add --

CUOMO: Yes, sir.

BLOOMBERG: We need the woman to my right to do a good job for us and the president made a great appointment. She is doing the work. She is not sitting grandstanding. She is actually creating something and this country is better off for it.

PRITZER: Thank, Mayor Bloomberg.

BLOOMBERG: Always been in love with her.

PRITZER: We have a good partnership.

CUOMO: Mr. Mayor, keep your amorous intentions out of this discussion. It should be purely professional. Secretary Pritzker, we congratulate you on your work. Let us know how to help going forward. Thanks to both of you. I know you have you a lot of important work. I'll let you go. Thank you.

PRITZKER: Thank you.

CUOMO: That mayor, he's always got his crushes.

Coming up on NEW DAY, the question, should the U.S. cut aid to Israel? Rand Paul says no, but has he always felt that way? We'll go to the tape on "Inside Politics."


CUOMO: Welcome back. It's time for "Inside Politics" on NEW DAY with Mr. John King. A lot going on in the Middle East. Big decisions to be made by the U.S. You'll take it on -- John.

JOHN KING, CNN HOST, "INSIDE POLITICS": Kate and Chris, good morning to you. Also a lot of Republicans, who want to be president seem to be showing up in Iowa this week, among them Rand Paul. Let's start with that.

And with me this morning to share their reporting and their insights is Jackie Kucinich and Nia-Malika Henderson, both of "The Washington Post."

Let's start with this, Rand Paul is in Omaha, Nebraska. He was asked a question saying you've proposed to cut off U.S. aid to Israel and Rand Paul says, no, I didn't.


SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: I haven't really proposed that in the past. We've never had a legislative proposal to do that, so -- I'll answer the question. Can you misstate my position, but then I'll answer the question, OK? That has not been a legislative position. We've never introduced anything to phase out or get rid of Israel's aid.


KING: Now that's Rand Paul yesterday in Omaha, Nebraska. Here is Rand Paul January 2011 talking to my colleague, Wolf Blitzer.


PAUL: I don't think funding both sides of an arm race, particularly when we've got to borrow the money from China to send it to someone else, we just can't do it anymore. The debt is all-consuming and it threatens our well-being as a country.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST, "THE SITUATION ROOM": Just to be precise, end all foreign aid, including the foreign aid to Israel as well, is that right?

PAUL: Yes.


KING: Yes. Yes. Just to be clear, end all foreign aid, including to Israel, yes.


KING: How do you mesh yesterday with that?

KUCINICH: When you talk to Republicans about Rand Paul, the number one concern they have is about his foreign policy, so I think this is an area where he's going to have to start softening his stances, and I think we're starting to see that with the speech in Nebraska, and I think he said it again in Iowa.

KING: How does a politician handle that? A good politician in my view looks the camera in the eye and looks the questioner in the eye and said here's what I thought and you spent more time and it's more nuanced and complicated and eyes have changed. You can look people in the eye and say I've changed my position or I'm open to new ideas now?

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, "THE WASHINGTON POST": It's rare that politicians have actually done what you propose there and I think we've seen this with Rand Paul or other issues as well, not only with Israel and foreign aid, but also with the Civil Rights Act in 1964, him saying that he supported it and had certain problems in seeing that it possibly infringed on the rights of private business owners.

And even in that situation, he hasn't really talked about evolving. That looks like a fresh-faced Rand Paul from that earlier clip. He clearly has evolved. His ambitions have certainly evolved as well, but hasn't figured out a way to really balance where he was before and it almost is like you felt on early on. There was an intellectual exercise being a devil's advocate and introducing ideas very much in keeping with his father, but now he's facing a different prospect.

KUCINICH: The libertarian appeal only goes so far.


KING: As he evolves, especially if he want to be the Republican nominee for president, get over the Republican foreign doubt over his policy needs to say it better than you mistake my position, say misstate my current position. One thing to give him credit for, Iowa, Nebraska, among the most white states in the country, if you will.

Rand Paul has been making the case for some time that he thinks the Republican Party needs to change and to do more to reach out to African-Americans and Hispanics. Listen to this.


PAUL: I want to see the party get bigger and so I talk everywhere I go about how do we have a more inclusive and more diverse party because America's increasingly diverse and we're going to have to, if we think we can compete?


KING: If this is a conversation for country, also a conversation within the Republican Party. Rand Paul has his skeptics. A lot of people say your past view on civil rights, how did you get here? Here's a congressman speaking to Laura Ingraham, he turned to conservative guest and said.

Look, if your party doesn't deal with the problems with the Latino voters, you'll never win the White House again and he said your party has problem with voters of colors. His response.


REP. MO BROOKS (R), ALABAMA: This is a part of the war on whites being launched by the Democratic Party and the way in which they are launching this war is claiming that whites hate everybody else.


KUCINICH: We'll leave that to you. He's part the National Republican Party has for every person like Rand Paul that wants to reach out. There are people like Mo Brooks, who say inflammatory things like that. We see it almost every election cycle at this point.

KING: To be fair to him, he said his point was all Americans want a secure border, all Americans want economic growth, which is fine, but when you include in that sentence as part of a war on whites?

HENDERSON: To her credit, Laura Ingram in that interview said we think you're going a little bit too far with that characterization, but I think Jackie is exactly right. This is the problem that Republicans have and I guess, the issue also is whether or not there's a sort of lingering effect for the party when Mo Brooks says this.

Democrats are able to characterize the entire Republican Party as out of step with the mainstream, how does Rand Paul work around that? How does he try to rebrand the entire Republican Party?

KING: The point Mr. Fournier was making, the presidential level the Republicans can do fine at the house level, but it's very hard to see the Republicans being competitive.

Let's move on to another issue, the president of the United States, one of the things he hopes for, as we get into the final couple of months of this midterm election year, is hoping Americans finally believe the statistics about the economy.

Listen to the president here in an interview with "The Economist" asked about corporate complaints that his administration has too much regulation. The president is saying give me a break. The economy is getting better.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They always complain about regulation. That's their job. Let's look at the track record. Let's look at the facts. Since I have come into office, there's almost no economic metric by which you couldn't say that the U.S. economy is better and that corporate bottom lines are better. None.


KING: You hear the president there trying to make the case with a little emphasis there. He gets worked up about this and in part you canned his position. Six consecutive months of job growth above 200,000. Unemployment rate is down.

Look at your 401(k) two years ago versus now, gross was 4 percent in the last report put out by the government. An increasing number of Americans think the economy is getting better, but the president and his party don't seem to be getting any political credit.

KUCINICH: The public perception still if you look at a real clear politics average just under 40 percent of people think he's doing well in the economy. Because there is that disconnect he is talk about this all he wants. It's still for whatever reason not getting to people.

HENDERSON: The reason is because what's not getting to people is cash in their pockets. The average hourly income only rose like one cent, one penny over the last month or so. So that's what people are feeling, that they still don't have enough cash in their pockets.

They still can't buy all the groceries they want at Walmart or Piggly Wiggly. The president can talk all he wants. People don't understand the economy based on the economic metrics of the stock market. KING: Personal experience, your neighborhood experience, neighbors, friends and family experience trumps anything coming out of Washington. We'll see if it can be turned into a not so bad year as opposed to a horrible year. Jackie, Nia-Malika, thanks for coming in.

As we end, it was the president's birthday. If you tuned in to late night comedy just about everybody decided to take a shot. This is Craig Ferguson noting the president shares a birthday with a famous driver.


CRAIG FERGUSON, HOST, "THE LATE, LATE SHOW": It's also the NASCAR champ, Jeff Gordon's birthday. Jeff Gordon and President Obama are very different, of course. What is a guy who spent his whole life turning left and is hated by NASCAR fans, and other one, Jeff Gordon, Jeff Gordon, yes.


BOLDUAN: That's pretty good. You got to think about it. Race car driver, you spend your life turning left.

BOLDUAN: That's true. That's absolutely right.

CUOMO: What was the skeleton thing? Is that always there?

BOLDUAN: Is that his shtick?

CUOMO: Are we just ignoring the skeleton thing?

KING: Laughter, mystery, intrigue.

BOLDUAN: Exactly.

CUOMO: What's NEW DAY is all about -- John.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, John.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, a cease-fire holding in the Middle East. Can a lasting agreement be reached? Anderson Cooper is going to be joining us live once again in Israel, coming up.

CUOMO: Plus a second American confirmed with the virus, now coming to Atlanta, and then this, a man in New York thinks he might have the deadly virus. He's being tested. He's been quarantined. What happens if he does? Is it that big a deal? We'll take it on.


CUOMO: Breaking overnight, cease-fire, can Hamas and Israel stop fighting for 72 hours and begin peace talks. What will happen next? Anderson Cooper live in Israel. >

BOLDUAN: The American missionary battling Ebola in the air on her way back to the United States. The secret serum that may save her life and new information on the patient now quarantined in New York. Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins us live.

PEREIRA: Taking the stand, the dramatic moment in court when the man accused of shooting an unarmed black woman on his porch testified. Why he says he pulled the trigger.

CUOMO: Your NEW DAY continues right now.

BOLDUAN: Good morning, and welcome once again to NEW DAY. It's Tuesday, August 5th, 8:00 in the east and this is just one step in a long quest for peace, but so far a 72-hour cease-fire has brought hostilities between Israel and Hamas militants to a halt for now.

For the first time in weeks, no rocket-fire, air strikes, warning sirens or crumbling buildings. All quiet for seven hours to this point despite one last exchange of fire minutes before the pause took effect.

CUOMO: Where are we in the process of finding negotiations for peace? The Palestinians are already in Cairo, that's where the talks are supposed to happen. The Israelis say they'll head there, too, so long as the cease-fire holds.

So that's what makes this 72 hours so critical.