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Interview with Jon Ossoff; UPS to Charge More for Holiday Shipments; Trump Faces Major Test in Georgia Special Election; Kushner Breaks His Silence Then Breaks Twitter. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired June 20, 2017 - 08:30   ET


[08:30:00] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: The most expensive House race in U.S. history. And many see it as a referendum on President Trump and the GOP agenda.

Joining us now is the Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff.

Good morning, Mr. Ossoff.

JON OSSOFF (F), GEORGIA CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: Good morning, Alisyn. Great to see you again.

CAMEROTA: Great to have you here with us. Do you see whatever happens today as a bellwether for something bigger than this district?

OSSOFF: Well, the contrast in this district is between a career politician, my opponent, Karen Handel, who's notorious for cutting off funding for life saving breast cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood or a fresh voice who wants to work across the aisle and get things done and grow our local economy, work to make health care more accessible and affordable for women and folks with pre-existing conditions.

CAMEROTA: Yes, but don't you think that this race also has national implications?

OSSOFF: Well, clearly there's a lot of national interest. I'll leave it to the pundits and folks on CNN to assess the national implications. But what I think is clear is that there's unprecedented intensity and interest by volunteers and voters alike here in the Sixth District. Today is the day for folks to make their voices heard. The polls are open. And it's important that everyone participates.

CAMEROTA: Yes, there's not only a great intensity and interest, there's also a lot of money, as we just said, so there has to be a reason, Mr. Ossoff, that all of this out-of-state money has poured in to your campaign. How do you explain it?

OSSOFF: Well, out-of-state money has poured in on both sides. It's become a little bit of an arms race. I'm proud of the fact that my campaign is powered by small dollar grassroots fund-raising, with an average contribution of less than $50, while my opponent's campaign has been bailed out by the same old special interest super PACs, peddling deception, fear-mongering and hate here in Georgia for months now.

CAMEROTA: Look, I hear what you're saying. You want to see this race as about you against Karen Handel. Understood, you've worked hard. But do you not see the national implications of this race? Do you not think that it's at all a referendum on Donald Trump?

OSSOFF: I'm sure there are national implications. It's not my place to assess them. I leave that to pundits and commentators. My job is to make the case that I'll do the best job possible representing the people of Georgia's Sixth District and what they want is representation that's focused on them and not this national partisan political circus. They want representation that's focused on growing metro Atlanta into an economic powerhouse, that's focused on improving quality of life at home, that's focused on defending their access to health care, and that's why I remain focused on the issues and the priorities that are going to be improve the quality of life for the folks I hope to serve, rather than getting into prognostications about midterm elections or implications for Washington.

CAMEROTA: As I'm sure you know, there was this negative campaign ad about you. It was put out by this right-wing PAC. And it's linked you to this horrible event that unfolded at that GOP baseball game. Let me just play one little portion of this ad.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now the unhinged left is endorsing and applauding shooting Republicans. When will it stop? It won't if Jon Ossoff wins on Tuesday.


CAMEROTA: What did you think when you saw that ad?

OSSOFF: What can you even say? The man is fighting for his life. It's got no place in the political attack ad. This is exactly what Americans are sick and tired of. And it's exactly why the folks in D.C. have clearly lost the plot. Clearly don't understand what people care about. Don't understand that most people out there, most people down here in the real world, want unity, what a commitment to getting things done that improves life for them. And don't want this kind of fear-mongering that's disgraceful and has no place in American politics.

CAMEROTA: So, Mr. Ossoff, if you do win, you do go to Congress, what do you do about the atmosphere that you walk into that many describe as the most toxic ever? I mean, really, other than words. Because we've heard a lot of words after this shooting by people. But what would you do, you know, actually to try to change this horrible partisan rancor?

OSSOFF: Well, look, everyone's asking what the national implications for the race are and maybe the lesson would be this, that voters in Georgia, a coalition of folks across the political spectrum, Democrats, independents and Republicans, want people in Washington to work together to improve life for them. To focus on economic growth, economic development, opportunity, prosperity, health and security.

The things that really matter to the folks who are watching at home. Rather than what's become a national political circus that's completely lost touch with the daily concerns of Georgians and folks across the country.

CAMEROTA: What about health care? A lot of people think that this also -- that your race also is a bellwether of how people are feeling about health care. As you know, Republicans in the Senate are engaged right now in crafting some sort of plan. They're doing it behind closed doors, much to the dismay of Democrats who held a late-night session about this, railing against it.

[08:35:04] Do you think that your race is connected to this?

OSSOFF: Well, it's on everyone's minds. And the health care bill that the House passed is deeply unpopular in this district. It guts protections for Georgians with pre-existing conditions. It's bad for women. It's bad for older Americans. It's deeply unpopular. My opponent Karen Handel persists in supporting it.

What we need is a bipartisan commitment to improving the laws on the books, to lower premiums, to improve access and improve quality of care. But what Congress has seen fit to do, as Congress so often sees fit to do, is to pursue partisan objectives. To try to notch a win for this or that political party. Rather than coming together to improve life for people.

CAMEROTA: Jon Ossoff, we have to leave it there. But I do want to note, congratulations on your engagement.

OSSOFF: Thank you very much. I'll pass that along to Alicia.

CAMEROTA: Please do. And I like to think that I somehow played some role in badgering you into it.

OSSOFF: I don't think that that's the case, Alisyn, but if it makes you feel good to think that way then fine.

CAMEROTA: Thank you. It does. Thank you very much for being on with us this morning. We're obviously watching with great interest.

And we should note to everyone that we invited his Republican challenger, Karen Handel. She declined to come on the show today. But we'll see what happens next -- Chris.

CUOMO: I like the way he shut you down on that.



CUOMO: By the way.

CAMEROTA: If you like to believe that you're --

CUOMO: Yes. That was good. And that works for you, too.

All right. President Trump's son-in-law and top adviser Jared Kushner breaking his silence and then breaking Twitter. Hear what he sounds like for yourself ahead.


[08:40:45] CAMEROTA: Time for "The Five Things to Know" for your NEW DAY.

Voters in Georgia's Sixth Congressional District heading to the polls in a high stakes special election. Republican Karen Handel and Democrat Jon Ossoff running neck-and-neck.

CUOMO: Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell pushing for a vote on a health care bill before the July 4th recess. Democrats protested the secrecy of the GOP plan on the Senate floor last night.

CAMEROTA: U.S. leaders furious with North Korea over the death of American college student Otto Warmbier. Senator John McCain accuses Kim Jong-un's regime of murder. President Trump calls North Korea brutal but says the U.S. can handle it.

CUOMO: French officials say the man who deliberately rammed a car into a police van in Paris was on a radicalization watch list. And that weapons and explosives were found in the car. Four of his family members are in custody.

CAMEROTA: NASA says the Kepler space telescope has identified 219 possible new planets beyond our solar system. They include 10 with similarities to earth. Boosting the chances that they could sustain life. Something might be out there.

CUOMO: Is there life elsewhere, Camerota?


CUOMO: Good to know. For more on "The Five Things to Know," go to for the latest.

CAMEROTA: OK, time for CNN Money now. The first official day of summer is tomorrow. But UPS is already thinking about Christmas. And its plans could cost you more.

Chief business correspondent Christine Romans joins us now from our money center. Very unseasonable.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: I know. Merry Christmas, you guys. For the first time, UPS will charge an extra fee for holiday deliveries. You can blame online shopping, more Americans are doing their holiday shopping digitally and Amazon has sold a billion items last season. Traditional retailers ramp up their online deals to compete. They all rely on UPS, FedEx, and the Postal Service to hand all those extra shipments. In fact UPS' delivery volume doubles around the holidays, forcing it to hire additional workers and extra delivery vehicles but this year UPS will charge retailers to offset those costs.

Fees range from 27 cents for ground shipments to an extra 97 cents for faster delivery, and they'll start the week of Thanksgiving. The extra charge forces retailers to decide if they'll eat the cost or pass them on to you and me. That may prove difficult. As competition increases, shoppers are reluctant to pay more shipping fees.

Certainly every holiday season, Chris, I tell people, don't settle for less than free shipping -- Chris.

CUOMO: Yes, it's true. And I'll tell you what, you are right. The shift to online shopping is amazing. I see it even with the kids.

Thank you, Christine.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

CUOMO: All right. So the special congressional race in Georgia is today. And whichever party wins, you're going to hear about it. Will it be a referendum on President Trump? That's the bottom line. Next.


[08:47:19] CUOMO: All right. Georgia's going to get the attention today. They have the big special congressional election. Voters choosing between Republican Karen Handel and Democrat Jon Ossoff, who just discussed the high-stakes race with us.

Will today's race be more than just about that district?

Let's get the bottom line with CNN senior political analyst Ron Brownstein.

How do you see it, Professor?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Look, I think inevitably, Donald Trump is the reason we are talking about this district and this race. Tom Price, who gave up the seat to become Health and Human Services secretary, has never won less than 62 percent of the vote in this district. Mitt Romney and John McCain both won it by about 20 points in the 2008 and 2012 presidential election.

The reason it is competitive at all is because Donald Trump's most significant underperformance relative to other Republicans is his weakness among the kind of college-educated white voters, suburban white collar, white voters, who are in this district and districts like it. In fact this district has more college-educated white voters, a higher share of white in this districts have college degree than any other Republican House seat in the country.

So while Jon Ossoff was strikingly on message during your interview and obviously is trying to appeal to Republicans to kind of minimizing the direct attacks on the president, he is the reason we are having this conversation and why this race is even close at all I think. CAMEROTA: Right, but if Jon Ossoff gets close to Karen Handel but

doesn't win and gets, you know, within a couple of points, that may be really interesting for numbers crunchers like you. But once again, in these special elections, it means Democrats don't get a win and then what?

BROWNSTEIN: Absolutely. I think, look, there are two that kind of -- planes on which this exists. On the plane of thinking about 2018, first of all, special elections, as you know, have an imperfect relationship in predicting what happens. So either way, whether this come also out by a couple thousand votes, either way, you know, it's hard to kind of generalize from that to guarantee what's going to be.

I would say that from a predictive point of view, it doesn't in the end matter that much, whether he wins or falls a few thousand votes short, both of them tell you the same thing, that there are more suburban white collar Republican leaning voters willing to vote Democratic in the Trump era but not so many more that Democrats are guaranteed to take back the House. In practical terms, it will, Alisyn, though, have an effect in terms of recruiting and fundraising and momentum.

So all of that is very real. But in terms of looking at the underlying preferences of voters, a couple thousand votes either way probably doesn't tell you that much. If it's a bigger margin, that may be more important.

CUOMO: But the psychology is going to be there either way regardless.

BROWNSTEIN: Yes. Absolutely.

CUOMO: If you get a win and the Democrats need a win, they don't need to be close. If they get a win, that's big for them. If the Republicans get a win, it's big for them. What's the big read there?

[08:50:03] BROWNSTEIN: Yes, look, I think, you know, the general trend, Chris, in modern elections is that attitudes towards the president are increasingly influencing both House and Senate races. Consistently now over 80 percent of the people who support the -- approve the president's job performance, support his party's candidates in House elections according to exit polls and over 80 percent who disapprove oppose his party candidate.

If you look at the early polling in the New Jersey and the Virginia governor races, which starting tomorrow will be our next obsession, plus their coming this fall, enormous correlation with 80 percent roughly or more of the people who disapprove of Trump saying they're going to vote Democratic, which is why the Democrats have big leads in New Jersey and Virginia.

This is important because this is the kind of district that Democrats are most likely to win if they are going to win back the House. 23 House Republicans in districts that Clinton -- Hillary Clinton carried, about two-thirds of them are districts like this with a lot of suburban white-collar voters. So this is the kind of place that Democrats have to win. Most of those places lean a little more Democratic. This is, after all, the suburbs of a southern city, not the suburbs of Philadelphia or Denver or New Jersey where those other Democratic opportunities are.

But this is -- this is indicative of the kind of places they need to win. So psychologically, I agree with you, it's very important for them to get over the top. Even if, as I'm saying, the predictive value doesn't change that much or there goes a couple thousand votes either way.

CAMEROTA: Ron, what do you think is most motivating people? Is it their feelings about Donald Trump that's going to turn them out to the polls today or health care?

BROWNSTEIN: The two are interrelated. I think the health care -- it is fascinating to me, and it is indicative of the challenge Republicans face, that Karen Handel has consistently misrepresented the health care bill and just flat-out misrepresented it as arguing that it provides better protections for people with pre-existing conditions when in fact it allows states to undermine the protections that the ACA created.

And that I think is indicative of the challenge that Republicans will face . Defending this bill if, in fact, they do pass it. Less relevant here is the Medicaid issue which could be more of a problem for Republican senators in those blue-collar interior states.

CAMEROTA: OK, Ron, thank you very much.

BROWNSTEIN: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: OK. So wait until you see this next story. He is the highest profile, least heard person. Jared Kushner has finally revealed his voice. Care to --


CAMEROTA: Care to guess what it sounds like? We're going to reveal it to you next.


[08:56:19] CUOMO: "Good Stuff," all right. One woman who beat throat cancer is paying it forward. (INAUDIBLE) Adams has been in remission for a year, so what does she do? She wanted to show her appreciation for life by helping to feed children in need.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They motivate me. If I'm not down here to do this for my community and my babies, I just don't want to go on.


CUOMO: I mean, she's literally feeding kids. She does it at her home at dinnertime. She said her battle with cancer took a lot away but it did not touch her ability to give. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tina is one of them kind that comes along every now and then, once in a lifetime.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: God got me here for a reason. If he want me, he would have went on and took me.


CUOMO: We all get knocked down. The question is how do you get back up. Thank you for showing us the right way.

CAMEROTA: That is a beautiful message. OK. A little levity now. Five months into the Trump presidency, a huge White House mystery has finally been solved. No, it's not the Russia probe.

CUOMO: That's for sure.

CAMEROTA: It's what Donald Trump's son-in-law and top adviser Jared Kushner sounds like.

CNN's Jeanne Moos has the big reveal.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He has been seen but not heard. Silently watching President Trump sign orders. Jared Kushner is usually in the middle of the action but publicly mum.


MOOS: Sitting at the president's side, but never a peep out of him.

JOHN OLIVER, HOST, "LAST WEEK TONIGHT": Have you ever heard him speak? Seriously? What does his voice sound like?

MOOS: But we now know the president's son-in-law doesn't really sound like Gilbert Gottfried, because at a session with technology leaders Monday, Jared Kushner finally used his vocal cords.

(On camera): So without further ado, drum roll please. We present the actual voice of Jared Kushner.

JARED KUSHNER, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE ADVISER: The Department of Defense, for example, still uses eight-inch floppy disks.

MOOS (voice-over): No wonder nobody focused on what he was saying.

KUSHNER: The Trump administration got it done.

MOOS: "I don't believe it. This is like finding out mermaids have legs," tweeted someone stunned to find Kushner has a voice. Others drew parallels. "Jared Kushner's voice sounds like a young Michael Cera." MICHAEL CERA, ACTOR: Yes. I'm Mr. Manager.

MOOS: Kushner's silence was mocked on "SNL."

ALEC BALDWIN, ACTOR: And I'll send in my little Kush-ball, Jared Kushner. I know you don't like talking but why don't you take it away? God, you're such a cute little twink. And live from New York, it's "Saturday Night."

MOOS: Kushner is a guy with a Twitter account but no tweets. A cover story in "TIME" with no interview. He once tip-toed past his wife as she was being interviewed.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on. Come on, Jared.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, Jared, you can't just walk in and not say anything.

MOOS: The silence sidekick has finally found his voice.

KUSHNER: It's working and it's very exciting.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.



CAMEROTA: It's working and it's very exciting. He speaks life.

CUOMO: Well, look, you know what, sometimes it is the better option, is to say less and do more.

CAMEROTA: We cannot compute those words. That is not what our business is.

CUOMO: It is also a different feel for this administration. But that's still -- he's been doing it and it's getting him a lot of attention.

CAMEROTA: All right, let us know what you think. Use your fingertips for your words. Meanwhile, it's time for "CNN NEWSROOM" with John Berman always seen and heard.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Did Chris Cuomo just say sometimes it's better to say less?


CUOMO: Yes. In that position.

CAMEROTA: Yes, he did. CUOMO: Not in mine.

CAMEROTA: The irony, John --

CUOMO: And in your position right now --