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Macron, Le Pen Advance To Runoff In French Election; Defense Secretary Mattis Arrives In Afghanistan; Millions Of People In The East Brace For Severe Storms; Poll: 96 Percent Of Trump Voters Would Support Him Again; Trump Tries To Downplay Importance Of 100-Day Mark. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired April 24, 2017 - 06:30   ET



IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: -- 15 years of hard labor for various charges that the North Koreans have pressed against them. There have been other Americans and foreigners who have been snatched in the last couple of years. Almost always from Pyongyang Airport and at the very least, they usually face weeks if not months in North Korean custody.

When they have been released, they've had to make a videotape confession or apology. So we are following this case and we'll bring you updates as we get them.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK, Ivan, please do. Thank you very much for the update from there.

So French voters rejecting the establishment. Choosing a political novice and a far-right populist to compete in the run-off election for president. What this means for the outcome in May when NEW DAY continues.



CAMEROTA: The results are in and France's two most unconventional presidential candidates are headed for a run-off election on May 7th. What did their success say about France, Europe and state of the world?

CNN's chief international correspondent, Christiane Amanpour, joins us live from London. Hi, Christiane, give us your take on what happened this weekend.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Look, everybody was watching this with a microscope because it would say a lot about the state of the world as you just described. Europe is breathing a sigh of relief because the polls were right leading up to this first round.

And Macron, who was one point ahead of Le Pen, actually came out two points ahead of her in the first round. So what is this? For the first time in 60 years, since World War II, the establishment center left and center right party, Republicans and Socialists have failed to make it into the second round.

You have on the one hand the very, very far, extreme right Marine Le Pen, National Front, and you have the other, which is not the extreme left. It is an insurgency from the center. That is Emmanuel Macron.

He has talked about reforms and managed immigration and talked about sticking with Europe and free liberal trade and economy. Unlike his opponent, Marine Le Pen, who is talking about suspending all immigration and pulling out of the E.U. and ditching the euro and going back to the franc.

Even the conservatives say that would bankrupt France. So that's what you have, two very clearly competing visions now for the run-off into the second round on May 7th.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: So how do you handicap this next round? Do you think Macron has some kind of big advantage going into it? What do you see in the parallels to what we just went through in our election?

AMANPOUR: Well, here's the thing, what we have seen in Europe since the beginning of this year towards the end of last year is a gradual push back against this wave of nationalism, populism, and anti- establishment insurgency.

What we had in Austria was a mainstream winner in the end. What we've had in the Netherlands, as we reported just last month was the center winning in the Netherlands. That is what people now in Europe certainly are hoping will happen in France.

So in order to handicap what we understand from all of the other candidates now who lost in this first round is that they are asking their voters to vote for Macron. They said France cannot vote for a barely concealed racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, anti-immigration.

Not just that anti-free trade, anti-Europe, we cannot vote for that extreme. That is what all of the other candidates have said. So they assume that those voters are going to go towards Macron and the polls say that in a second round, he would beat her.

They say something like 60 percent to 40 percent, but you never take anything for granted. We just don't know. We are going to be reporting it. We are going to be waiting and watching and seeing.

And of course, the very far extreme left candidate who made a surprising surge, he hasn't indicated which way he will advise his voters. We will have to wait and see.

But people around this neck of the woods believe that it is the beginning of a push back towards some sort of normalcy, but also knowing that there is a need for reform on many levels.

CAMEROTA: As you point out, Christiane, polls have been wrong and there are always surprises in store. The U.S. obviously just experienced that so there all of these comparisons being made between the dynamic of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, and now Macron and Le Pen. And seeing if there will be a big surprise in France. Of course, there was a big surprise with Brexit. So this is the era of surprising things being able to happen.

AMANPOUR: Absolutely. I think 2016 was that era. You had Brexit which went the way it did. Many believed sort of opened the flood gates. Almost gave permission for this kind of populist, nationalist kind of voting to go on.

If it can happen in the land of keep calm and carry on and the land of common sense and a cup of tea, it could happen anywhere, and it did in fact happened in the United States.

[06:40:01]I would have to say, though, again that we have seen a gradual push back. Some people are saying that, you know, certainly some political leaders in Europe, is this a return to common sense politics?

Again, everybody knowing that there are real issues out there. There is real (inaudible) in the system particularly in France. They must perform their labor, employment laws, and the like.

They are though one of the countries along with Germany that under pins the very existence of the E.U. and the liberal political and economic and trade world order that's been in existence since the end of World War Ii.

So there's a huge amount at stake. At the same time people understanding that there needs to be reform and the polls were correct in France. They predicted Macron would be ahead of Le Pen in the first round.

CUOMO: It was interesting that this first set of numbers seemed to reflect that those flurry of terrorist activity last week seemed to send a flight to a calmer head. It could have cut either way, right? It could have made people even more afraid to something more extreme.

AMANPOUR: Well, here's the thing, I know that every time something like that happens, we all go into a massive panic and a meltdown. But if you look at what happened in Britain, we had the same kind of maniac who mowed down people on Westminster Bridge and knifed a policeman to death, and then he was shot to death.

It didn't actually change the body politic here. People understood that there was limited and we're living in this era right now. As one of the French politicians said, we are an era now of sort of gangster neighborhood terror.

Nobody believed that this was an ISIS planned attack. This man in front was known to the authorities. He had threatened police before and clearly people in France took it for what it was. Scary, something that has to be sorted out, but it wasn't a terrorist attack that affected the vote.

CAMEROTA: Christiane, thank you for all that context. Great talk to you.

AMANPOUR: Thank you.

CUOMO: All right, we got some poll numbers on President Trump, historically, he is at a low this 100-day mark, but depends who you are asking. We are going to break it down what the numbers tell the president that is good news and bad news.



CUOMO: Breaking news, Defense Secretary James Mattis arriving in Kabul. He is slated to meet with government officials including the Afghan president. He is also going to be visiting the headquarters of a NATO-led mission to train and advice Afghan Security Forces. Secretary Mattis' visit comes days after the U.S. military dropped the MOAB, the mother of all bombs, on ISIS terrorists in Afghanistan.

CAMEROTA: The State Department calling for an investigation into the death of an American paramedic in an accident working in Eastern Ukraine. This is the first death of a member of the European watchdog group, OSCE. The U.S. urging the kremlin to pressure Russian-backed rebels into honoring a ceasefire agreement in that region.

CAMEROTA: Heart pounding video out of rain-ravaged Tennessee. Firefighter has to go in flood waters and rescue a teenager trapped and clinging to a light pole. Fortunately, he was pulled to safety. Kid's OK.

Powerful storm now ready to strike the east. CNN meteorologist, Chad Myers, has the forecast. Important side note on that, the kid was biking through the waters. The first responders say if you don't have to be out there, don't be out there, and certainly don't test.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Putting first responders at risk, really. I mean, you are getting in the way of other rescues as well by doing silly things like that. So yes, this will be a big day today. We almost have tropical-like moisture coming onshore here. Almost like a low pressure center dragging up the moisture from like Miami, Florida.

You know how hard to can rain in Miami. This is what we are going to see across North Carolina. North Carolina isn't Miami. It is mountainous. It is rough out there. The terrain with 6 inches of rainfall will make more flooding.

Now this is very hard with Matthew. This is not a Matthew 25-inch rainfall. There will be flooding and roads washed over. There will be roads washed away with this kind of rainfall, 6 inches of rainfall in less than 24 hours.

We saw the pictures yesterday in Tennessee. They will come out of North Carolina tomorrow, Alisyn. Be careful out there, this is a very heavy rain event, almost tropical in nature.

CAMEROTA: OK, very good to know, Chad. Thank you for that.

So the latest poll numbers show historically bad numbers for any president's first 100 days, but are the diehard Trump supporters experiencing any buyer's remorse? That's next.



CUOMO: Two new national polls reveal President Trump has a historically low approval rating ahead of his 100-day milestone, but among Trump supporters, those who voted for him, his numbers are soaring. Look at the screen, 96 percent. Do you regret supporting him? They say no.

Let's bring in two voices who understand the polls of Trump supporters, CNN contributor and "New York Post" columnist, Salena Zito, who is in Ashtabula, Ohio, interviewing Trump voters, and CNN contributor and author of "Hill Billy Elegy," J.D. Vance.

Salena, we know that you have been punching your train card and driving all over the place once again up and down the coast and into the heartland. How do you explain the numbers? The historic low, but with, you could argue, unprecedented resolve among the base.

SALENA ZITO, CNN COMMENTATOR: Well, I think what we're seeing is that essentially nothing has changed since November 8th at around midnight where Trump voters are really happy and very optimistic. The people that did not vote for him are sort of in shock and can't believe it.

People that didn't vote for him still can't believe that Trump supporters are happy and optimistic. In American politics, geography is everything in polling. If you look at the polling numbers, if you look at the inner cities and first ring out, suburbs, the urban suburbs, he is in about 29 percent or lower in approval ratings.

But if you go into that second and third tier out, the exurbs and the rural areas, his numbers are soaring. Like you said, they are incredibly positive and you know, these are --

CAMEROTA: The people you talked to, what are they really enthusiastic about in his first 100 days, Salena?

ZITO: They are very optimistic. First of all, they love the Supreme Court pick. They are just incredibly pleased with that. But they are also looking at the way he approaches government and that he is -- they like that he is an outsider. He is disrupting. They like he is not doing things the way that they are typically done.

They understand that because he's not a politician and because Washington has had, you know, decades and decades of sort of the grind where not a lot of things are getting done and not a lot of legislation is getting done swiftly.

They are OK for now. This can change. All presidents end up having a problem with their supporters. But for now, they're fine at the pace in which his legislation is getting done and not getting done.

[06:55:05]CUOMO: Well, he wanted to grow. That's one problem, right. So one of the headlines out of the numbers is he is not expanding the way he wanted to. But in terms of the base, J.D., I was at the group, (inaudible) of the Earth, people fighting the opioid epidemic in New Hampshire all weekend long. That's why they voted for Trump. I was with a bunch of Trump voters this weekend.

They said he said he was going to help us. He hasn't helped us. Where is it? Other people are on hard times like a lot of people in this country and they are like, look, I'm waiting. He said he was going to make my wages higher. I'm waiting on that. If he doesn't deliver, he will lose. Same test for every president, no?

J.D. VANCE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Absolutely. I think the thing we're seeing and it is hard for us who obsess over every single day of the news cycle. Obviously, it's been a pretty chaotic first 100 days, is that a lot of people are giving him time to see whether they're lives are made better by the Trump presidency.

So, you know, we see a lot of chaos and a lot of disruption in Washington. They may be like that, but what they are also really waiting for is whether he makes their particular circumstances better. A lot of them say, well, maybe it is being chaotic. Maybe we like that. Maybe we don't. Fundamentally, he hasn't been in office long enough for us to see results one way or another.

CAMEROTA: You know, we have checked in with Trump supporters since before the campaign and during the campaign, obviously during the presidential election and during these 100 days, and one of them told us it is like Christmas every day. They think because of his executive orders and the way he speaks about their issues.

However, coming up in the 7:30 east coast hour, we have our latest check in with some of the diehard Trump supporters. Something like 96 percent of people who voted for Trump would do it again. So no voters' remorse. There was one man however on our panel who really believed in him and who does have some regrets.

CUOMO: So he's in the 2 percent.

CAMEROTA: He's in the 4 percent, 96 percent.

CUOMO: It's 96 percent, 2 percent and then there was 2 I don't know.

CAMEROTA: OK, then he's in the 2 percent and I'll play for you how he is feeling today.


SCOTT MCCOMMONS, VOTED FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP: I voted to send him to Washington strictly because I thought he would make change. Nobody would push him around. You know, he's used his power against people. I think that's wrong. It's been a disaster in the first 100 days. If I were to vote again tomorrow, I would not vote for him.


CAMEROTA: So Salena, he's talking about stylistically, he wished that Mr. Trump would be acting differently. Do you hear anything about Twitter or his style when you're out on the road?

ZITO: Yes, I mean, a lot of people -- first of all, people don't use Twitter the way we do, right? A lot of people are like I'm working most of the time. I don't pay attention to that. When they do catch it in the news or newspaper, no, they don't like that.

In terms of what he is trying to do, again, like I said, they are happy. Also, I should mention that a lot of people think and I tend to agree with this that the 100-day thing is sort of the false number.

Even though he has said in my first 100 days I'll do this. Nobody is holding that number to them. People have this sort of two-year number in their head and that seems about normal.

CUOMO: Right. Once again, J.D., we are seeing that an issue has been made relevant because the president has made it so. He made the 100- day thing big. FDR started the 100-day measure. He did it because America was in crisis. Government had no confidence among the people and he wanted to show that he could help when it mattered. I'd say that measure is as relevant today as ever. What do you think will be the measuring stick as to whether or not President Trump got it done? Do you think it is the midterms?

VANCE: Yes, I think the midterms are going to be the first measuring stick and obviously there will be another measuring stick in 2020. But the thing that I would encourage people to think about and whether Trump voters eventually try to discard him or turn against him is are their lives getting better?

Are their wages rising? Is the opioid epidemic getting better? Are people feeling generally like their towns and their cities are catching up a little bit to these coastal economic power houses? Because that's one of the things that really drove Donald Trump's election is this regional inequality.

This sense that my hometown is not growing even though the economy seems to be doing pretty well nationally. Those are the sorts of metrics that get judged in two-year and four-year timeframe.

And so that's why I think even though you're right that Trump has made the 100-day timeframe an important part and we know that Donald Trump will make something important one day when it suits him and unimportant the next day when it doesn't suit him.

I suspect that's going to happen here and really a lot of his voters are going to be looking at this in a much longer timeframe. The thing that folks would do well to remember is that a lot of the marginal Trump voters, the voters who really gave Trump the margin of victory in Ohio and Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, they were Obama voters in 2008 and 2012, and they didn't abandon the Democratic Party --