Return to Transcripts main page


Cruz & Sanders Face Off on Obamacare; Plans for Obamacare; Storm Takes Aim at Northeast; Patriots Celebrate Win; Conway talks Fake News; Search for Communications Director. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired February 8, 2017 - 06:30   ET


[06:30:00] SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Companies and those in government whose solution is, let's have even more government control.


CRUZ: This thing didn't work at all.

TAPPER: Senator Sanders.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: You know -- you know I find myself in agreement with Ted. He's right.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): But disagreeing on solutions.

SANDERS: Let's work together on a Medicare for all, single payer program so we're finally going to get insurance companies -- private insurance companies out of our life.

CRUZ: The answer is, empower you, give you choices, lower prices, lower premiums, lower deductibles.

MALVEAUX: Cruz arguing that proposals to replace Obamacare will continue to protect people with pre-existing conditions, a key tenant of the law.

CRUZ: All of them prohibit insurance companies from cancelling someone because they got sick. They prohibit insurance companies from jacking up the insurance rates because they got sick or injured.

SANDERS: I cannot believe what you just said. It's a direct contradiction to everything you ran for president on.

MALVEAUX: Sanders also giving tough advice for the salon owner feeling restricted by the law.

LARONDA HUNTER, SMALL BUSINESS OWNER: How do I grow my business? How do I employ more Americans without either raising the prices to my customers or lowering wages to my employees?

SANDERS: I'm sorry. I think that in America today everybody should have health care. If you have more than 50 people, yes, you should be providing health insurance. (END VIDEOTAPE)

MALVEAUX: As Republicans are grumbling about how quickly they can repeal Obamacare, President Trump is conceding this week that replacing it is not going to happen immediately, as he promised on the campaign trail, but could take up until next year to complete, Chris.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: That's what made the debate so interesting. As you know, they're going to wind up somewhere in the middle. Which ideas will win out?

Suzanne, thank you very much.

Repeal and replace Obamacare, as you're hearing all morning, is easier said than done. Is there actually a plan to even do that? Let's give you the facts, next.


[06:35:52] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Here's how Obamacare worked. You had a lot of politicians in Washington who said we're going to mandate every coverage on earth. And it sounds really good.

We should have a system, I believe, where you can choose to get the policies that meet your needs.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I) VERMONT: What Ted is really telling you is they will not guarantee coverage for you.


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Senators Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders facing off over the future of Obamacare at a CNN town hall debate. Was there any plan on replacing it? Any common ground?

Let's bring back our panel. We have David Gregory, Abby Phillip, Matt Lewis and Jeffrey Toobin.

David Gregory, I'll start with you. Fascinating, right, to hear both of these guys on opposite sides of the issue, but where does it leave us?

DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Confused, I have to say, because we're really going back to the original Obamacare debate, which is, how do you move the market in a sufficient way to guarantee coverage for millions, tens of millions of Americans, without government putting its finger on the scale to really bring all of that leverage to the market to provide those guarantees. That whole debate about federal mandates. And if you create a situation of choice and access, do you still get sufficient numbers to keep prices low. And one of the areas of Obamacare that has not worked very successfully is getting younger, healthier people to get insurance to ultimately pay for those older and sicker people who need to use insurance more. The other political piece is if they do take Obamacare away without an immediate replacement, as we've been saying for weeks, it becomes a huge political problem because you -- it's very hard to take a benefit away once given. There are a lot of people who are benefitting from Obamacare. And it's not at all clear that the president or Republicans are set in their own strategy of what replaces it, which means a lot of debate and a lot of political capital that has to be expended to campaign for what that ultimate replacement is, while Democrats keep churning the political issue.

CUOMO: Well, you know, Abby, what was interesting last night is that Cruz is a good example of what the Republicans want to be on this issue, and Bernie Sanders isn't representative of his party in the main. He doesn't like ACA either because he thinks it should be more inclusive than it is right now.


CUOMO: He's one of those outliers. In these polls when people say they don't like Obamacare, everybody assumes it's because they think it does too much.

CAMEROTA: Goes too far, right.

CUOMO: He wants it to go even farther. But do the Democrats own this basic problem, which is, you can't cover everybody and have it be cheaper for everybody with the way things stand right now.

ABBY PHILLIP, REPORTER, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Well, you know, interestingly enough, I think Democrats are actually in probably one of the better positions they've been on this issue in quite some time because what Republicans are finding is that they want to give everybody access but they are recognizing that it's actually expensive to do that and in order to make the insurance market work, they have to provide some kind of subsidies. So you're seeing Republicans actually moderate their expectations for what they're going to do with this bill, and Democrats are kind of sitting back and saying, hey, I told you so. It's actually a lot harder than it looks.

I mean I think what we're going to end up with is a lot of the same basic structures of Obamacare, but with some tweaks on the edges. They're going to call it repeal and replace. Parts of it are going to be changed. But by and large the basic structure of the bill is going to be largely the same. You're going to hear a lot of talk about taking power away from Washington and moving it back to the states. There are going to be some structural changes. But in order to keep the parts of the bill that people like, pre-existing conditions, keeping your kids on your insurance until they're 26. Republicans are finding themselves having to keep large chunks of this bill in place so as to not totally upset the apple cart and really destabilize the marketplace.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I don't buy that. I actually think they're going to burn this thing to the ground. And they promised to burn the thing to the ground. And if a lot of people lose insurance, too bad. That's what the Republican Party stands for. CAMEROTA: Well, that's not what Senator Lamar Alexander, he's a

Republican senator, is saying. He's already talking about repair. He's not saying repeal or replace anymore. Let me read to you his plan. He says, "I think of Obamacare like a

collapsing bridge. If your local bridge were very near collapse, the first thing you would do is send in a rescue crew to repair it temporarily so no one else is hurt. Then you would build a better bridge, or more accurately many bridge, as states develop their own plans for providing access to truly affordable health care to replace the old bridge."

[06:40:24] Matt, it --

TOOBIN: That's just gobbly-gook (ph).

CAMEROTA: I mean --

TOOBIN: It's like -- what does that mean?

CAMEROTA: I don't know what it means but I like the metaphor.

MATT LEWIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I -- no, I think -- I think that it's a sign that Republicans are not going to burn it down. You know, look, I don't like Obamacare. My premiums went up. And -- but this notion that we're going to get rid of Obama's legacy I think is a false one. Obama did something that can't be repealed. That is, shift the paradigm whereby it is now the expectation of government to provide access to health care, whatever that means. So I don't see Republicans going backwards to a -- to putting -- throwing people off of insurance. I -- you know, a couple of weeks ago I called several conservative leading health care experts and said, I wanted to write a piece that was like the -- this is how Republicans are going to repeal and replace. You know what --

TOOBIN: But what does that even mean "access"? Universe -- I mean I thought Bernie was very good on this last night. You know, we have universal access in this country to BMWs. All you need is money. It -- we -- shouldn't we have universal access to health insurance if you can pay for it?

LEWIS: All the plans that Republicans have --


TOOBIN: And if the government isn't going to pay for it, I don't have it.


LEWIS: I don't think Republicans are going to -- I don't think there is the political will -- I think it is untenable for Republicans to create, to repeal and replace with something that insures less people than they have now.

TOOBIN: Have you -- have you met any Republicans lately?

PHILLIPS: I think --

LEWIS: I think I've probably met more than you have. I know some --

TOOBIN: Well, I --

LEWIS: Some -- Republicans are some of my best friends, but they care about winning elections. And to throw people off of insurance, I think, is very politically untenable. They're going to call it Trumpcare.

CAMEROTA: But you think they are going to --

TOOBIN: Absolutely. Absolutely.

CAMEROTA: You think they're going to throw millions of people, tens of millions off of their insurance.

TOOBIN: I don't know about tens of millions, but many millions.

CAMEROTA: Well we're at 20 million, right?

TOOBIN: We're at 20 million, but they're --

CUOMO: More than 20 million.

TOOBIN: A lot of people.

CUOMO: More than 20 million.

GREGORY: But -- but I think you --

CUOMO: Final point, we got to go.

GREGORY: I think just some of the policy issues, I think some Republicans, including the president, want to retain popular aspects of Obamacare, which makes this burning it down to the ground --


GREGORY: Both politically and technically difficult for them.

LEWIS: Right. Exactly right.

CUOMO: You know what --

LEWIS: Trump doesn't want to do that.

CUOMO: Right. You know what the one problem is for the people in understanding this? Not only is it complex, it's been greatly distorted. And that's where we come in. Over time today and going forward, we're going to give you the facts of what happens with these different changes that you'll hear about.

CAMEROTA: With a lot of bridge metaphors.

CUOMO: Yes. Although, really, the problem isn't the bridge, it's the amount of car traffic on the bridge. That's really what --

CAMEROTA: Way to run with it. I like that.

CUOMO: Millions in the northeast are bracing for a major snowstorm. There will be no laughing when this stuff hits the ground. We'll tell you why. A weird combination of weather is coming this way, next.


[06:46:46] CUOMO: A state of emergency declared in Louisiana. Seven tornadoes just tore through that state. Check out this massive twister that was spotted in eastern New Orleans. Officials say its winds exceeded 135 miles an hour. The path of destruction is really horrible. So many families are now displaced. All the kinds of property damage you're used to seeing, they were all put there in ugly combinations. The governor said that the Lord blessed them because no one was killed, which is amazing. And also very few injuries reported.

CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh.

CUOMO: But the need is great. Help if you can.

CAMEROTA: Just incredible when you see those pictures.

So there's this significant winter storm that is taking aim at the Northeast. Millions of people are bracing for a lot of snow. Significant amounts.

Let's bring in CNN meteorologist Chad Myers. He has our forecast.

Hi, Chad.


We talked about this yesterday. A storm coming in over Chicago and Iowa right now, headed to New York. You wouldn't know it though. It's going to be 60 degrees or almost in New York City today. Tomorrow, snow storm. Yes, probably five to seven inches in many big cities. But this is not a coastal bomb nor'easter. This is not going to be that 20 inch snow maker because it isn't going to last very long. It's going to be snowing by 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning, but it will be over by noon, gone completely offshore. You don't get 20 inch snowfalls if you only get six hours' worth of snow.

Now, an inch an hour or two inches an hour, sure, it could start to pile up and we even have some spots that could pick up a foot. Likely all Poconos, though, and likely down east Maine and all the way into Nova Scotia. For New York City, I'm thinking probable somewhere in the neighborhood of five to seven. The same number that I had yesterday. Maybe more on up toward coastal parts of Connecticut.

So what tomorrow looks like. Is it going to be a problem? Yes. Why? Because it's Thursday. This snow doesn't come in on the weekend. New York City looks like a snow globe.

CAMEROTA: That's pretty, Chad. CUOMO: Chad, looking like King Kong.

CAMEROTA: I like it.

Thank you, Chad.

CUOMO: All right, so the Patriots were partying through the streets of Boston celebrating their fifth Super Bowl. Andy Scholes has "The Bleacher Report."

How was it?


You know, this may have been the Patriots' fifth Super Bowl parade, but this one extra special. Not only because of the way they won, but also because all the fans consider this the ultimate revenge to Rodger Goodell for "deflate-gate."

Now, thousands of fans turning out for the party in the snow yesterday. And Tom Brady, well, he was having a blast with his seven- year-old son Benjamin, who was jabbing left and right. And then at the end of the parade, Brady took the mic to thank all the fans that were there.


TOM BRADY, WON 5TH CAREER SUPER BOWL ON SUNDAY: Yes, that game was hard. That game was real hard. But you know what, we're going to remember this one for the rest of our lives.

We got your back. We know that you got our back. And that's number five. Hell, yea, that's number five.


SCHOLES: Now most fans across the country just dreamed to go to a championship parade one day for their team, but for 15 years old Patrick Magilaguti (ph), it's nearly a yearly ritual. Look at this poster, 15 years old, 10 championship parades. Boston fan base, by far the most spoiled in the entire country.

And finally, still no sign of Tom Brady's Super Bowl jersey. The Houston Police Department holding a press conference yesterday saying they are taking this case very seriously and they have their top guys on it.

[06:50:07] But, Alisyn, I'm not sure that jersey will ever turn up.

CAMEROTA: Yes, it is missing in action. Those were some awesome moves by Tom Brady's son. That was great to see him doing that.

SCHOLES: He had them down, that's for sure.

CAMEROTA: All right, Andy, thank you very much. So the White House is reportedly ramping up its search for a new

communications director after Press Secretary Sean Spicer's rocky start. We discuss, next.



KELLYANNE CONWAY, SENIOR PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER: No, I don't think CNN is fake news. I think there are some reports everywhere, in print, on TV, on radio, in conversation that are not well researched and are -- and are sometimes based on falsehoods.


CUOMO: There's your headline. President Trump's councilor, Kellyanne Conway, saying what we should all know is the facts. CNN is not fake news. She was disputing a claim made repeatedly by the president of the United States.

Let's discuss the implications of this dynamic and some other news that was made. We've got senior media correspondent, host of "Reliable Sources," Brian Stelter, and CNN media analyst Bill Carter.

This has always been about feeling not fact.


CUOMO: The president playing to advantage with a populous that is negative on the media, that's negative on everything. It worked to his advantage. It was always false.


CUOMO: And now we hear the truth from his councilor.

CARTER: Well, and I thought it was interesting. I thought the whole approach -- her whole approach yesterday seemed different to me. It was not as combative. She obviously was conciliatory because CNN did not put her on. She was thanking. And I think they're a little concerned about the blowback that they're getting and they -- and they need her to be able to get out there and spin.

She's great at it. She's been very skillful at it. But, you know, Jake didn't take it from her very much and pressed her to say it's not fake news and she did say it. Now, I don't think that Trump will now automatically stop saying it because he probably will go back to saying it. But it is --

[06:55:16] CUOMO: But doesn't it mean something that his counselor, who is smart as hell --


CUOMO: You know people can criticize Kellyanne. She's a big voice in that White House. CARTER: She's very smart.

CUOMO: She's very smart. And she said, no, CNN is not fake news. Doesn't that expose this for what it has always been?

CARTER: It should. It should, but I -- I don't think the next time he gets enraged about something he won't go back to it. I think he will go back to it.

CAMEROTA: I appreciated that she was willing to be on the record and say that. And I think that that does go a long way towards mending fences. And I don't know what happens the next time the president says it, but we have, on tape --


CAMEROTA: On record, her saying that she knows the truth.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Especially knowing her boss was probably watching, she was contradicting her boss by saying that. But Trump oftentimes tries to have it both ways. He may call this network fake news, while watching this network and reacting to it in real time. Maybe even making some decisions based on what he sees on cable news.

I did think it was important that Trump -- that Tapper was getting to the underlying issue in every interview which every Trump aide, which is, can we believe you? Can we trust you? And he said several times, I'd like to ask you more about policy, but if there's issues about the truth, about disregard for the truth, about things like the murder rate, then we can't get beyond that disregard for the truth.

CUOMO: Well, we'll -- we'll play that sound, because it's not about our feelings. It's not about, you know, oh, we feel better or even -- I don't care about mending fences. For me it's, you want to do your job, the facts matter. And if they are going to play with the facts and then blame us for not reporting how they play with the facts --


CUOMO: That's not fair. Here's this proved to you with the murder rate.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: To say that there was a spike in murder rates in -- between 2014 and 2015 is true. To say -- and to say we need to bring that down and we need to have law and order, all that, fine. He said it was the highest murder rate in 47 years and the media doesn't report it. And again, Kellyanne, the media doesn't report it because it's a lie.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, SENIOR PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER: But I think he is relying upon data perhaps for a particular area. I don't know who gave him that data.


CAMEROTA: Well, there you go.


CAMEROTA: And that's the problem. He is --

STELTER: She couldn't quite say he's wrong, but she came close.

CAMEROTA: But I think that she zeroed in on something. He does get his data, his information from somewhere. Some people have suggested its info wars (ph) --

CARTER: Right. Exactly.

CAMEROTA: It's really kind of --

CARTER: Some of that (INAUDIBLE) --


CAMEROTA: (INAUDIBLE) websites. But it's just not real data. And she acknowledged that.

CARTER: No. And she -- and she did. And I think that's where I think they're getting to, is that they can't keep pushing this narrative. He went through the whole campaign using his own facts and, you know, his supporters didn't seem to bother him and it never cost him. That's the point, it never cost him.

CUOMO: He said that. He said that --


CUOMO: In making the context that he provided, our president, for why he says this is.


CUOMO: I've used that line in speeches for a long time.

CARTER: Right.

CUOMO: And people were always wowed. They didn't know it. They didn't know it because it's not true. If he knew that it worked for him, he kept saying it.


CUOMO: It's false. Our job is to say those things. And he knows that. And he's been undermining us as a result.

CARTER: Yes. And it's been effective. But I think they've reached a point where they think it's getting too negative. There's too much attack on them. They don't think Spicer can handle it. I don't think they need her to come out and do it. His credibility is a question and her credibility took a huge hit when she made up that massacres thing.


CARTER: And she had to come back and apologize for that because they need her to be able to come out and push back when they're being criticized.

CAMEROTA: Sean Spicer, Jim Acosta at CNN has reporting that they are considering hiring a communications director because Sean Spicer has been doing dual duty on this. What is -- how is this going to play out? What --

STELTER: Yes, press secretary is a full time job usually.


STELTER: Normally you have a separate person running communications, thinking a week and two and three weeks ahead.

CAMEROTA: Meaning strategy. Comes up with a strategy and somebody (INAUDIBLE).

STELTER: (INAUDIBLE) Jen Psaki coming up who did that strategy -- that's right, and normally that's how it would be set up. Spicer's been doing both. It would seem even right now, even just one of those jobs is a full time job. But there's a broader issue here. Acosta's reporting, and others reporting, that Trump is disappointed by Spicer's performance.

CUOMO: Right.

CARTER: Right.

STELTER: Making time to watch the briefings and he's disappointed (INAUDIBLE).

CUOMO: Right, but there are two components. The one thing is, director of communications is a real strategic position and it requires dedication. What they're not able to do right now, and we see it in these miscommunications --


CUOMO: Is they're not able to read in. They're not able to study in and formulate their arguments because they're always in react mode to the president.


CUOMO: Putting in a director of communications is irrelevant if everybody doesn't stay on the same page.

CARTER: Right.

CUOMO: That's their problem.

STELTER: The other issue is Trump thinks he's his own best press secretary and his own best coms director.

CAMEROTA: Yes. There you go.

CUOMO: Maybe right.

CAMEROTA: Guys, thank you. I know we'll see you again in an hour for more talk.

Thanks to our international viewers. For you, CNN "Newsroom" is next. For our U.S. viewers, NEW DAY continues right now.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: We literally cannot be recognized on the floor of the Senate.

[07:00:01] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stated that a sitting senator is a disgrace.

WARREN: Senator Sessions obviously isn't going to stand up to the president's campaign of bigotry.