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President Trump's Address to Congress; Trump Delays Signing New Travel Ban; Warriors on Edge After Durant Injury. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired March 1, 2017 - 05:00   ET


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: These books are likely to be released in 2018. The Obamas plan to donate a significant portion of their author proceeds to charity, including the Obama Foundation.

[05:00:03] Former President Obama's previous books were published by the same company. Both of them will be writing books. It's unclear whether the same publishing house that would get each of them but $60 million.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: You've got to generate a lot of revenue to make up that.

ROMANS: Well, you know, they don't give up that kind of money unless they think they're going to sell an awful lot of books, probably instant best-sellers, no question. And, you know, maybe the first word we hear from these two.

BRIGGS: Eric Holder says the return to politics is coming with Barack Obama very publicly.

EARLY START continues right now.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am asking everyone watching tonight to seize this moment, believe in yourselves, believe in your future, and believe once more in America.


ROMANS: A big change in tone as President Trump lays out an ambitious agenda in his first address to Congress. How far did he go on immigration, on health care, on all of these issues affecting American families and their paychecks? All that, plus the emotional high point everyone is talking about this morning.

Good morning, everyone. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm a tired Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: You are, because we had to stay up late to watch the speech.

I'm Dave Briggs.

Dream bigly is Donald's favorite paper, the POTUS, let's see if he likes that headline.

It is March 1st, by the way, if you can believe it. The White House hoping this morning, President Trump's speech provides a reset of sorts. In an address to a joint session of Congress, Mr. Trump cast a more presidential image than we have seen so far. After about an hour mostly sticking to the teleprompter as he ran through his policy goals but not a lot of answers on how to pay for them as usually the case. The president offered up this challenge to lawmakers.


TRUMP: The time for small thinking is over. The time for trivial fights is behind us. We just need the courage to share the dreams that fill our hearts, the bravery to express the hopes that stir our souls, and the confidence to turn those hopes and those dreams into action.


ROMANS: The president recapping many of the greatest hits from his campaign promises. Several times we saw all Republican lawmakers standing and all the Democrats sitting, stuck to their seats. Perhaps the most poignant moment of the night, though, came in a tribute to one of the president's special guests.

I'm going to get into all of this with Salena Zito, a CNN contributor, "Washington Examiner" reporter and columnist for the "New York Post", and Greg Valliere, political economist and chief strategist for Horizon Investment.

We talked about that poignant moment when he was talking, when we had this huge standing ovation for the wife of the slain Navy SEAL. That moment, she was sobbing. And applause -- let's listen ton a little bit of that.


TRUMP: Ryan died as he lived, a warrior and a hero, battling against terrorism and securing our nation.

Ryan's legacy is etched into eternity. Thank you.



ROMANS: So, Salena, that moment was so powerful. And many are saying the speech, the whole event was incredibly presidential for Donald Trump -- a new tone, a new image.

What do you think?

SALENA ZITO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, absolutely. From the moment he walked out on the dais and spoke out against anti-Semitism and stretched out through the entire one hour I think 12 minutes of the speech, it was incredibly presidential. The tone was perfect.

You know, he hit -- you know, look, there's going to be partisan things that people aren't going to like. It's normal for a Democrat and Republicans to split their clapping based on who's up on the stage.

But, you know, he brought himself into a sort of a new era. He showed everyone he is president. He knows how to behave as commander in chief.

And that moment, concerning Ryan Owens' wife and his legacy, I can't imagine anyone didn't at least have a lump in their throat or weren't, you know, crying because that was incredibly powerful.

[05:05:09] BRIGGS: Indeed it was. Greg, let's talk now about some policy if we can. Move towards immigration. Earlier in the day, he really made some news talking about immigration reform.

ROMANS: Yes, he said he'd sign a bill. If they had compromise, he'd sign a bill.

BRIGGS: Right. How big of a surprise is that to you?

GREG VALLIERE, POLITICAL ECONOMIST: Astonishing, as we look back on yesterday as the pivotal day in his administration. A speech, as great as his speech was last night, talking about immigration reform, sounding conciliatory -- now being a cynic, I would say you can't say one speech that totally turns things around, I have a hunch that people will look back on yesterday as a real turning point.

ROMANS: Greg, he talked about tax reform, he talked about a big infrastructure bill, he talked about how he's going to have something that's going to satisfy everyone -- I don't even know how that's going to be possible, but satisfy everyone on Obamacare.

Did he give you the broad-brush strokes on what so many in the market that have been expecting here that he's going to get this done?

VALLIERE: Not enough, Christine, to be frank, Christine. He did not talk about how he'd pay for any of this stuff. There were a lot of gaps.

ROMANS: Right.

Salena, we heard from Van Jones who has been a real critic of the president. He said this is the moment that the president seized the presidency when he was watching that speech, watching that moment with the Navy SEAL's wife. Tell me, do you think he has cowed his critics? Did the president manage to reach across the aisle last night?

ZITO: I think he had a number of point where he reached across the aisle. I mean, first of all, he called for unity and he called on projects that they can work together, and specifically infrastructure, which is not only important to Democrats and Republicans, but it's also incredibly important to voters. If you look around, if you see, you know, the crumbling bridges, or even, you know, the decaying water and sewer systems which impact daily lives.

We remember last year with Flint, Michigan. You know, these are the things that are really important to people. Not only do they make their communities and transportation better in their communities, but they also create jobs. And I think that's the one really key policy that he can bring people together.

ROMANS: I think you're right. I want to play that sound. And then get Greg's thoughts on the other side. If you listen to what he says about infrastructure. He's sort of talking about all of this money spent in the Middle East that could have been spent at home. It almost sounds like something Bernie Sanders, a progressive, would have said, who has been against America's foreign policy for so long.

Let's listen to that tone.


TRUMP: America has spent approximately $6 trillion in the Middle East, all the while our infrastructure at home is crumbling.

With the $6 trillion, we could have rebuilt our country twice, and maybe even three times, if we had people who had the ability to negotiate.



ROMANS: And he says buy American and hire American. That's something that really resonates I think with the folks who voted for him.

BRIGGS: Sure. But he's in Congress, he's going to have to get this through congress, Greg, with a $1 trillion infrastructure with tax cuts, with the increasing defense spending. How is this going to resonate when he sits down with Senate and House leadership today?

VALLIERE: Well, first of all, he doesn't have to worry about the Democrats. They're still in the wilderness. They don't have much of a plan.

It's the Republicans he has to worry about, and a lot of them are uneasy when they hear him talking about spending $1 trillion on infrastructure. He was critical of the drug companies and their pricing. He sounds like a protectionist obviously on trade.

So, it's the Republicans he's got to agree with. And right now, the big story if you want to get into the weeds is Obamacare, there's no agreement among Republicans on how to replace it.

ROMANS: Let's listen to what he said about Obamacare, because he's making a lot of promises. Earlier this week, he said headlights care is more difficult than anybody really thought. And now, he says he's going to have a plan. Listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Action is not a choice; it is a necessity. So I am calling on all Democrats and Republicans in Congress to work with us to save Americans from this imploding Obamacare disaster.

With reforms that expand choice, increase access, lower costs, and at the same time provide better health care.

The way to make health insurance available to everyone is to lower the cost of health insurance, and that is what we are going to do.


[05:10:03] ROMANS: With reforms that expand choice, Salena, increase access, lower costs and provide better health care. Well, that is the magic combination.

ZITO: Right. Well, I mean, look, the key things here are action. He used the word, he used it effectively. He's essentially saying to the American public, not only do I want action, I demand action.

These guys, these Democrats and Republicans, they're going to have to go make the sausage, right? And it's going to be tough and it's going to complicated. He also said that the other day, you know, it's much more complicated than people think or that I thought people make fun of him.

But, you know, a lot of times he uses words in a very different way. He was reminding people the sausage-making is going to be ugly but I demand action, and that's what I'm going to deliver to you. I think the three key words out of that whole speech if you want to sum it up was "seize the moment." I believe that Trump, that is his sort of rallying call.

BRIGGS: If it's going to be cheaper --


BRIGGS: We're going to talk more about this in the next half hour. But, Christine, if it's going to be cheaper or better, everyone is going to be covered, there are major concessions that have to come from somewhere --

ROMANS: When he squeezed those --


ROMANS: Salena Zito, Greg Valliere, thanks for getting up so bright and early. Just come back in about a half and hour. And we'll continue to analyze the speech.

You know, the president last night repeating one of his favorite and frequent claims about the job market.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: Tonight, as I outline the next steps we must take as a country, we must honestly acknowledge the circumstances we inherited: 94 million Americans are out of the labor force.


ROMANS: Now, that is technically true. And the latest figures are actually a little higher. 95 million American adults are not part of the labor market. In the past, the president has said, 94, 95 million people want a job. But, no, 95 million people are not in the labor force. And there's a difference. Very few want a job.

Let me pull down the numbers for you -- 44 million people are retired. More than 15 million people are in college or job training. So, they're not counted in the labor market. Another 15 million people are disabled. Not technically part of the labor market.

Nearly 13 million people are not looking for a job because they're taking care of a family member. You know, in some states, child care costs are higher than college costs. So, people, by their own choice they're taking care of a family member instead of working.

There are some people who want a job, they can't find out, roughly 5.5 million have looked for work in the past year. They are not part of the labor force. Another 7.6 million Americans searched for a job in the last month. Those are the unemployed, and they are considered part of the labor.

So, we saw during the election that many Americans feel that the economy has left them behind. And the president capitalized on that angst masterfully, but he's overstating it when he talks about the 95 million that are out of the labor force. It's misleading to bend those numbers.

It's also interesting to me, that what you talk to so many of these CEOs, they're talking about labor shortages. They're talking about 300,000 manufacturing jobs that are available right now that they didn't fill. They're talking about infrastructure bills that the president talked and they're wondering how we're going to recruit people for those jobs?

When you look at the labor statistics more recently, the people who are quitting their jobs is rising because people feel confident about how tight the labor market is and they're going to find something.

BRIGGS: How are they going to find people to build that wall along our southern border.

ROMANS: I know. There's a little joke among CEOs that they must have a guest worker program to build the wall.

BRIGGS: Can you imagine the outcry if that were true?

ROMANS: Yes, we'll see how that works out.

BRIGGS: President Trump willing to go where his predecessor would not on the terror threat. How is the Middle East reacting to the president's call to fight radical Islamic terror?


[05:18:07] BRIGGS: President Trump was scheduled to sign a reworked travel ban today. But last night's congressional address was so well- received, the White House is scrapping that plan so they can capitalize on the positive buzz. The new travel ban will be signed later this week. CNN has learned it will exclude green card and visa holders, while revising or eliminating language that prioritizes certain religions.

But last night, President Trump used language his own national security adviser won't when it comes to combating terrorism.


TRUMP: Our obligation is to serve, protect, and defend the citizens of the United States. We are also taking strong measures to protect our nation from radical Islamic terrorism.



BRIGGS: So, how is the president's speech playing in the Middle East?

Let's go live to Amman, Jordan, and bring in CNN's Jomana Karadsheh.

Good morning to you. How is it playing there?


Well, we haven't had any specific reaction to this speech just yet. You know, overall, when you talk to government officials, you talk to people in this region, they're very much adopted this attitude of wait and see. They still don't know what exactly to expect from this new U.S. administration.

Of course, that travel ban last month increased the concerns among people about how this administration is going to be dealing with the region, with the Islamic and Arab world. When it comes to the use of that term, radical Islamic terrorism, that is not something that people in this region are going to accept or be happy about.

You take one example, one of the key allies of the United States. One of the top countries in the fight against terrorism is Jordan, for example. And the king of Jordan, King Abdullah, for the past couple of years has really been urging the west to make this differentiation between religion and ideology, saying that extremist ideology is not Islam.

[05:20:06] And it is the Muslims who are fighting those who he describes as the enemies of Islam. Then you have others in the region like the Iraqis, for example, who will tell you that they are the ones who are the victims more than anyone else of this radical extremism that we're seeing. And they are the ones in that -- on the front lines of this global fight against terrorism.

So, this is not something that is going to go down well with most countries in this region, Dave.

BRIGGS: Jomana, thank you.

There's not, Christine, appear to be a softening on that term "radical Islamic terror."


BRIGGS: He'll stick to that.

ROMANS: And his national security director has said, you know, it's not helpful, you know, it's not a term that he uses but the president going right ahead with that.

All right. The Golden State Warriors holding their breath waiting for the results of an MRI on Kevin Durant's knee. Coy Wire has more on this morning's "Bleacher Report", next.


[05:25:22] BRIGGS: Golden State Warriors fans holding their collective breath this morning after Kevin Durant goes down with an injury.

ROMANS: Coy Wire has more on this morning's "Bleacher Report."

Good morning, Coy.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christine and Dave.

This injury could have implications around the entire league depending on the outcome of Durant's MRI, a power shift in the NBA. It could be likely.

Early in the first quarter against the Wizards, check this out, teammate Zaza Pachulia falls backwards into Durant's leg. Durant's leg, you know, hyper-extends leg a bit, and Durant hopped away holding that left leg. And he did play the next two possessions. That's a good sign.

That he was taken back to the locker room by trainers and did not return after that. Results from the MRI should come in some time today.

Another devastating injury, this time coming from the world of tennis. At a tournament in Acapulco, this one career-ending for this unlucky moth. Watch American Taylor Fritz trying to get rid of the moth. The ball girl comes over and just one swift step ending the moth's run there in Acapulco.

Moth, may you rest in peace after that one there.

All right, the regular season is wrapping up in college hoops. And that means senior night is happening around the country. This week, Kentucky senior Derek Willis taking advantage of a spotlight popping the question to girlfriend Keely Potts there, sending out a sweet to congratulate the couple saying he liked so he put a ring on it.

Derek-Keely, we wish congratulations.

Boise State hosting Fresno State last night. Check out the ball getting wedged in the shot clock there between the backboard. And they don't know what to do.

They're using the ball. They bring a mop out to try to dislodge this thing because you can't play with the thing up there. They can't reach this thing. So, in steps in 8-year-old Hunter Hill climbing the goal like a tree in the backyard. His pops lifting him up there initially and look at him. He becomes the hero, the crowd started chanting "MVP! MVP!"

He also got a big old hug from the mascot after that. You got to love that, guys.

ROMANS: Eight year olds are just so -- they're good at everything. You need somebody to help you fix your phone, figure out your phone, you find an 8-year-old, you know?

BRIGGS: Hold them and let him dunk it, though. Let him score a bucket out there.

That's good stuff, Coy.

ROMANS: Thanks, Coy. Nice to see you.

WIRE: You too.

BRIGGS: Thanks, man.

ROMANS: All right. President Trump before Congress for the very first time this morning. We'll give you the reaction to what he said, what he didn't say. A lot of buzz this morning about the president's agenda and his speech.