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Interview with Senator Bill Cassidy; U.S. Navy Deploys USS Cole to Yemen Coast; Patriots Pull Off Historic Comeback Win in Super Bowl LI; Super Bowl Ads Take on Political Tone; Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired February 6, 2017 - 10:30   ET


[10:30:00] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Is, you know, of course, very complex. But here's how he put it when he was campaigning.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We will be able to immediately repeal and replace Obamacare. Have to do it. And we will do it and we will do it very, very quickly. We're going to repeal it and replace it. And we're not going to have like a two-day period and we're not going to have a two-year period where there's nothing.

We're going to be submitting as soon as our secretary is approved, almost simultaneously, shortly thereafter, a plan. It will be repeal and replace. It will be essentially simultaneously. Probably the same day. Could be the same hour.

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The first order of business is to repeal and replace Obamacare.


HARLOW: OK. So that is not happening. Is that welcome news to you that they're going to take a bit longer on this, that this is going to be more of a year-long, at least, process? Or do you believe it misguiding the American people to say it can be done like that?

SEN. BILL CASSIDY (R), SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE: I have a different interpretation than you, Poppy, on what all this means. Clearly we've said all along that it will happen simultaneously. In the first reconciliation bill, which will occur soon, there will be parts that are repealed and the nature of the repeal begins the replacement. The president, Republicans have always said, we'd like to keep provisions such as if a child wishes and the parents agree, the child may stay on the parents' insurance until age 26. That will not be repealed. Therefore it is part of the replace.

Later in the year we'll have another bill that's probably 60 votes required to pass. That will be, again, partly repeal, partly replace. And our proposal, we then pass off to the states to choose between options. Almost all of which we think will choose what we call the better choice, far different from Obamacare. And if that -- what the president means is next year is when the states choose between those options. Then we're entirely on the same page. JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: So, Senator, I -- you know, I've read your

plan. It is complete in great detail. I'm wondering if you know what the president's plan is to replace Obamacare.

CASSIDY: We've spoken to a high ranking official within the president's inner circle. And the broad outlines of what they're talking about are the broad outlines of what we're talking about. Giving the options back to the states to choose between several. But having a new relationship --

BERMAN: So the White House -- the White House is OK with the idea that if a state wants to keep Obamacare, they can?

CASSIDY: So under our plan, states can stay with the status quo. We did not speak to that directly. On the other hand, whatever we give the states the option to do, they can theoretically stay with the status quo. We don't think they will because the status quo is so awful.

HARLOW: But that's the core of your plan and it sounds like you're saying --

CASSIDY: That is not the core. And Poppy -- Poppy, you said that earlier. That is not the core of our plan. The core of our plan is that there is a new relationship between the federal government and the state government and the federal government doesn't tell the states what to do. We give them a choice. Frankly, we think most of them will opt for what we call the better choice, which is far different than Obamacare.

HARLOW: So the president told "The Washington Post" in an interview a few weeks ago essentially that he wants to see everyone covered, universal health care. And that's something that surprised a lot of leaders in your party, including the House speaker. Since you've been in close contact with the White House on this, do you get the sense that that is still the president's plan, to have some sort of -- some form of universal health care?

CASSIDY: Well, universal health care is different from everyone being covered because if you will, universal health care might imply single payer. I think the president wants a robust and full responsive insurance market. As an example. I can't speak for him but I imagine that's the case. On the other hand the president repeatedly said he wanted all to be covered, taking care of those with preexisting conditions with no mandates at a lower cost.

He speaks passionately about the forgotten person. Now the forgotten person should not be forgotten when it comes to health care reform. I expect the president to keep those promises.

BERMAN: Just because we want to get you on the record on this, Mitch McConnell talked about it, Ben Sasse did, too. Your view of what President Trump said about Vladimir Putin saying the United States, we're not so innocent, do you agree with that statement?

CASSIDY: There is no moral comparison between us and Russia. Russia, whether under the USSR, another name if you will for the Russian empire, all the way through now, systematically either has murdered their people in the past or denied them human rights. There is no moral equivalency between our country and theirs. Everyone makes mistakes, we know that. We've made our share. There is no moral equivalency between us and they. And so I did not hear the president's remarks, but as you present them, I would disagree with them.

HARLOW: Senator Bill Cassidy, appreciate you coming on.

CASSIDY: Thank you.

[10:35:02] BERMAN: All right. We got some live pictures to show you right now, I think we do, of President Trump's motorcade, at least we've been told, it's heading right now to the airport. There he is.

HARLOW: There you go.

BERMAN: The president leaving Mar-a-Lago heading to the airport in West Palm Beach. He's going to head to Tampa right now for a face-to- face meeting with officials from U.S. Central Command. Stay with us.


HARLOW: President Trump boarding Air Force One now, heading from Mar- a-Lago to MacDill Air Force Base. That is where he will be getting his first briefing with Central Command as president.

He'll also speak with coalition representatives and senior U.S. commanders. He will have lunch we're told today with some of the troops there.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcoming President Trump's new sanctions against Iran, calling for responsible nations to do the same.

[10:40:06] President Trump saying his actions against Iran aren't bullish but warranted.


BILL O'REILLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Sanctions. That's how you're going to start with them.

TRUMP: Just started.

O'REILLY: But you're moving a carrier, right?

TRUMP: I never talk about military moves. I always criticized President Obama where they have an announcement that they're going into Mosul or they're going to someplace, and they give the name, the date, the time. I don't believe in that.

O'REILLY: So you're not real bullish on Iran at this point?

TRUMP: No, I'm not bullish. I think they have total disrespect for our country. And I understand. That deal -- I would have lived with it if they said, OK, we're all together now. But it was just the opposite. It's like they're emboldened where they follow our planes, they circle our ships with their little boats, and they lost respect, because they can't believe anybody could be so stupid as to make a deal like that.


BERMAN: So the president didn't want to talk about it but it does turn out the U.S. has deployed the USS Cole, a destroyer, to the Gulf of Aden.

Here to discuss right now, retired Commander Kirk Lippold, a former commander of the USS Cole.

Commander, thanks so much for being with us. We should not that there are sources inside the Pentagon tell us that the Cole was headed to the Gulf anyway as part of a routine rotation. Nevertheless, it does show that the U.S. does have a presence in the region. You have commanded there, you know, face-to-face with Iran in some cases. What are the dangers?

KIRK LIPPOLD, FORMER USS COLE COMMANDER: Well, the biggest danger is going to be that we saw last week with the attack by the Houthi rebels sponsored by Iran when they attacked the Saudi ship that's out there unfortunately killing two Saudi sailors.

The U.S. Navy is routinely at the tip of the spear, defending the sea lanes of communication to make sure the world economies can fly -- or sail on the oceans. So it's good that we are putting USS Cole there. It's not a signal but it is a routine deployment maneuver.

HARLOW: So this comes in the same week, Commander, that General Flynn said we're putting Iran on notice. He, though, didn't give any details as to what that means. And then the president echoed those words with no further details.

Do you think that's a good thing to say -- you know, just to raise the alarm bells, I suppose, in Iran, or do you think that it is potentially just more confusing than anything because they didn't say what that means?

LIPPOLD: Well, I think it's a good signal to send in that when you put someone on notice, you're saying you're raising the profile, that we are watching you, we are watching your moves, we are going to keep track of what's going on. I do agree with the president, though, we don't need to be discussing to the length and depth that we used to of the military maneuvers and who is going to be where.

Putting them on notice, USS Cole is in a position right now where if they needed to conduct operations with Tomahawk missiles, for example, they can do that. And we want to see those kinds of things going on but we don't need to tell the world where our ships are positioned and what operations they're prepared to conduct.

BERMAN: There are people who look at that message, putting Iran on notice, and saying it's a different message that we're sending to -- United States is sending to the Russians in the Ukraine and Crimea. The United States under President Trump has not put the Russians on notice, not officially, not Admiral Flynn -- General Flynn nor the president himself. Do you think that the difference in language is warranted?

LIPPOLD: I think it is warranted because right now the Middle East, especially with Iran, is extremely volatile. When you look at what Iran has done in the last few years, with their extensions and power moves, the Houthi rebels in Yemen, in Syria, they're meddling in Iraq, the continued problem we're having with cross-border stuff going into Afghanistan. Iran is truly a regional threat. And we need to look at it in that measure because they have already threatened to shut off the world's oil supply through the Strait of Hormuz.

Russia, while they have done bad things in the invasion of Georgia, clearly in the invasion into the Ukraine, they're not arising to the level where they are an immediate and direct threat to the United States. Overall they're a destabilizing influence in eastern Europe. We need to keep an eye on them, keep the NATO coalition of partnerships strong. But if you are to prioritize, Iran is clearly a much more immediate threat than Russia.

BERMAN: All right. Former USS Cole commander Kirk Lippold, thanks for joining us. Appreciate the expertise, sir.

LIPPOLD: Thank you, John and Poppy. Pleasure to be on.

HARLOW: Still to come, John's favorite subject this morning. It's a game that may have just cemented --

BERMAN: Not may, it did. It did.

HARLOW: OK, let's re-start. This is a game that did cement Tom Brady's legacy as the best quarterback ever in history and ever in the future if you ask John Berman. The unbelievable come-from-behind victory is next.

BERMAN: Yes. Past, present, and future. Also I understand there were some commercials during the game, in between the football. And that some of them had a subtle or not so subtle political tone. We'll discuss that, coming up.


[10:48:53] HARLOW: What a night. What a comeback by none other than this guy's favorite team, the New England Patriots.

BERMAN: They won Super Bowl LI. They set very conceivable record on planet earth.


BERMAN: It was the biggest comeback ever. It was the first overtime game in Super Bowl history. It was the most passing yard ever for a quarterback by Tom Brady. He's the first quarterback ever to win five Super Bowls. And then there was this. There was this catch by Julian Edelman. Now this guy, by the way, was a college quarterback, a seventh round draft pick, never played receiver before he got to the pros. And somehow he miraculously kept that ball off the ground. This was Tom Brady's reaction to that catch. I spoke to him a few minutes ago in Houston.


TOM BRADY, QUARTERBACK, NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: Yes, I saw the catch on those beautiful screens in that stadium. And that was a ridiculous play. I mean, just unbelievable. He's always someone I'm looking for. And it was a big situation. And, you know, we've had a few catches like that go against us. It was nice for once to go for us.


BERMAN: Ten years ago they had one go against them like that. This one was much, much better to watch.

CNN's Cory Wire is joining us now live from Houston. Coy, this game was ridiculous.

[10:50:05] COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I'm looking down at the screen just because your joy is helping ease my pain a little bit, John. I played three years for the Falcons. And my former teammates, I wept with them all night long.

But hey, look, the Patriots were down 21-3 at half time. To the most explosive high scoring team in the NFL this season. The Falcons. But a few words at half time by the greatest coach of all time Bill Belichick kept the team locked in. They came out blazing hot the second hot.

And I'm going to show that catch again because it is what some are calling the greatest catch in Super Bowl history. And darn it, I agree. Julian Edelman, my goodness, you're like Houdini, pulling a rabbit out of a hat with this. We're watching this in slow-mo but look at this. I mean., this led to the game-tying touchdown in two- point conversion, which sent the game into its first ever overtime in Super Bowl history.

The Pats would win the toss and then James White would take the toss on the first drive and hit -- go ahead for the game winning score. An historic 34-28 win over my Falcons. And afterwards I was amongst the men who all season felt like it was them against the world in the wake of deflategate scandal, people calling them the cheat-riots. And all they had was their families and their fans. But what an emotional win for Brady there with his family.

He said that his mother has had health issues the past 18 months. She didn't make it to a game all season. Well, she was there for this one. You can see the love, the record-setting four-time Super Bowl MVP, five-time champ Tom Brady, hoisted that Lombardy trophy.

And I caught up with Roger Goodell, owner Robert Kraft, even Dick Grump, on the field afterward and they all said that Tom Brady is absolutely incredible.

Guys, it was a surreal moment. And I felt the confetti flying over the air, I wish it was a color confetti.

John Berman, but I congratulate you and the entire Patriots nation for giving us one of the greatest comebacks in sports history. Super Bowl LI, my goodness, I want to forget it by I'll never forget it.


BERMAN: No. Cory Wire, you're such a Mensch, and I got to say, the Atlanta Falcons were a great team.


BERMAN: And they played really, really well. And I thought you were right the whole game. Right up until the very end, I thought you had it.

Coy Wire, thanks so much for being with us.

HARLOW: Had your voice to say the news this morning.

BERMAN: My voice went to bed at half time because I thought they were going to lose, and then my wife woke them up with the news and they wigged out. I mean --

HARLOW: Can you wait to get home?

BERMAN: No, I can't. One of my sons, though, still think she's messing with him.

HARLOW: He doesn't believe her.


HARLOW: Well, CNN is going to wear her pass.


HARLOW: Her jersey this afternoon.

Still to come for us, for so many the Super Bowl is about the ads. Not so much this game. A different tone, though, from all of the ads this year. We're going to dive into that with Brian Stelter, next.


[10:56:45] BERMAN: All right. The Super Bowl, it made a whole lot of news. Yes, there was some record-setting game which changed my life forever.

HARLOW: Best ever.

BERMAN: There were also the commercials, which made a lot of news for political reasons. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Inside these lives, we could bring out the best of each other and believe. United. Inside. These lines.


HARLOW: Some of the more high-profile ads this year were provocative, you just saw some of them, a reflection of the polarized political climate that we're living in.

CNN's Brian Stelter is with us now. What's your overall takeaway from the ads?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Some folks are saying that these advertisers like Coca-Cola and other big brands were trying to troll President Trump with messages of diversity and inclusiveness. The reality is a lot of these ads, though, were written many months ahead of time. Made ahead of time. Not nothing who would be elected. I don't know if they would have looked as controversial if Hillary Clinton were in the White House.

Well, you know, there was at least one ad made last minute, Airbnb produced this ad last Thursday and we can see what the CEO wrote on Twitter, he said, we decided to make this just the other day. And here's the ad itself, talking about inclusiveness with the hashtag of #acceptance. And so that was striking.

You also just showed the 84 Lumber ad. This was an ad showing a mother and child seemingly trying to cross the border into the United States. The 84 Lumber crashed during the game, and I'm still having a hard time getting online on to it because you had to go watch the rest of the ad on the Web site.

BERMAN: Look, I'm not sure you even have to be trolling President Trump but it could be responding to the dynamic that's in the culture right now where these things are being discussed.


BERMAN: And in that sense do you see it as taking a stand by some of these companies?

STELTER: Certainly. Corporate America, we've seen across the board, we've seen many companies come out against the travel ban, for example. We've seen so many companies reaffirm support for equal rights for gays and lesbians at a moment when there was concern about Trump maybe rolling some of that back. But there was also some comedy. Do we have to show this ad?

HARLOW: We do.

STELTER: This one reference to Trump, look at this, from a hair care company.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Awful hair. So it's up to you to do your part by making up for it with great hair. And we mean all hair. His hair. Their hair. That baby's hair.



STELTER: There we go. Four years of awful hair, a reference to the president. We don't know if the president was watching by then, though. You know, he left his Super Bowl party early and headed back to Mar-a-Lago. But I'm assuming he was still watching when your team won the overtime.

BERMAN: At the end of the game, at the end of the game, he did tweet about Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.

STELTER: That's right. And he predicted a win by the Patriots by eight points.

BERMAN: He got it wrong.

STELTER: So he was close.

BERMAN: He got it wrong. Brian Stelter --

HARLOW: Half right, half wrong.

BERMAN: Great to have you with us on the debut of the show. Thanks so much.

HARLOW: Thank you very much. What do you think? Do you want to come back tomorrow morning?

BERMAN: Let's do it again. Let's do it again.

HARLOW: All right. He'll be back tomorrow morning. I'll be back tomorrow morning. We hope you'll be back tomorrow morning. Thank you for joining us. I'm Poppy Harlow.

BERMAN: I'm John Berman. "AT THIS HOUR" with the great Kate Bolduan starts now.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan.