Return to Transcripts main page


Republican Unity; Thomas Freidman's New Book; World Series Game Two; America's Opioid Epidemic. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired October 26, 2017 - 08:30   ET


[08:30:00] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Very quickly. Republican unity, on a scale of one to ten, what do you rate it?

REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R), ILLINOIS: Oh, it's a ten. I mean it's just wonderful.

No, look, it's -- we're having this like open food fight right now on the national and the world stage. It's pretty embarrassing if you're a Republican to watch this stuff happen. But it's not, you know, going to -- going to change my mission out here, which is to make America an example of self-governance to billions of people and to continue to try to make us stronger domestically. But it's not fun to wake up every morning and see a new, you know, little spat going on in our party.

CAMEROTA: Well, you know, with a food fight, just duck, that's the general advice.

KINZINGER: That's a good one.

CAMEROTA: Congressman Adam Kinzinger, thank you very much.

KINZINGER: You bet. Take care.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: It's a ten the way the response in Puerto Rico is a ten. And, by the way, that place is still in crisis and we're not going to forget about it.

There is new information raising questions about how far the Clinton and the Trump campaigns were willing to go to get dirt on each other. But there are also big differences in what was going on and big differences in the implications. We're going to talk with journalist and author Thomas Friedman, next.


[08:35:01] CUOMO: There are several developments about what's happening just really in our political society and our society overall. There's this new window into politics. Guess what? It's ugly. But we're learning a little bit more about what both campaigns, the Clinton campaign and the Trump campaign, were doing to get dirt on the other. Joining us now is Pulitzer Prize winning author Thomas Friedman. His

"New York Times" best-seller "Thank You for Being Late," is now available in paperback, by the way, so you can go and get it.

One of the most passive aggressive phrases there is, thank you for being late, by the way.


CUOMO: Nobody says that and means it, Tom. Remind us quickly, why should I read that book?

FRIEDMAN: Sure. Well, you know, Chris, I think it has a lot to do to explain what's underlying (INAUDIBLE) our politics right now, and that's that we're in the middle of three accelerations all at the same time. These are the three largest forces on the planet, which I call the market, Mother Nature and Moore's Law. So the market for me is digital globalization. When we put that in a graph, it looks like a hockey stick. Mother nature is climate change by diversity (ph) lost soaring (ph), and Moore's Law is the speed of technological change.

Now, one of the things it's doing is really changing the education requirement of everyone. The days when you or I could go to a four- year college and then dine out on that degree for 30 years, that is so over. Today you have to be a life-long learner. That is a real challenge for a lot of people because you've got to go back to school constantly, long after you've left the home and mom and dad aren't there to say, "Chris, have you done your homework," because the country is really built by people who, we told them what to do, and, you know what, they did it well. They built our country. But just sort of doing what you're told now is not enough.

I read a quote in the paper back from my friend Hillary McGowan (ph), she's an educational specialist. She says, never ask your kid today what you want to be when you grow up, because whatever it is, it's going to be gone unless it's a policeman or a fireman. Only ask your kid how you want to be when you grow up? Will you have an agile learning mindset? Will you be predisposed to being a life-long learner? And that is a huge challenge for people. And I think it's one of the things roiling society now. So when a political figure comes along and says, I'm going to stop the wind. You know, you're not going to have to worry about that life-long learning stuff. I'm going to bring back your coal job. It's not a surprise to me.

CUOMO: Well, and there's more, though, that's going on.


CUOMO: That's what we're so excited to have you on today.

What are we seeing with Corker and Flake?


CUOMO: And you can look at it in the micro level. What are the fractures in the GOP? Who are they? How strong is the base? What does that mean? You look at the polls, you get your answer. The reason that you're only hearing from people who are leaving is because the president is strong in his party.


CUOMO: And if you go against him, you may not get re-elected.


CUOMO: And this is one active enemy, this president.


CUOMO: So that's the answer in the micro.


CUOMO: But the macro, Tom Friedman, that's what I need your mind on.

FRIEDMAN: Well, here's the --

CUOMO: Where are we --


CUOMO: In terms of who we are and what we value?

FRIEDMAN: That's a good way to put it, because there's actually three debates about that. So there's a debate, first of all, in the Republican Party. Who's the Republican? Bannon is trying to redefine the Republican Party around populist nationalism and protectionisms, and he's up against McConnell and Ryan, the establishment Republicans, who are saying, no, we're about that pro-business global party. That's one fight, you know, going on. Then there's a fight between traditional Democrats and traditional Republicans. That's, you know, McConnell versus the Democrats and Republicans in the House. We want to have tax reform. You don't. We want -- you know, we want to support these policies, you don't. That's the -- that -- so the first one is kind of about --

CUOMO: We want to score a win.

FRIEDMAN: That's right.

CUOMO: We want to make sure it's a balanced budget --

FRIEDMAN: Exactly.

CUOMO: You know, debt neutral. We can't do that.

FRIEDMAN: Traditional issues. The first is, you know, what is it -- what is a Republican? The second one is almost like, what is a Democrat? We Republicans say this who we are, who are you? The third debate, though, Chris, which I think is the most important is, who are we as a country. And what Corker , what Flake, what other Republican critics have been about, but also, I think, opposite many Democrats and just plain old folks are worried about is, who are we as a country when we have a president who is undermining the two central pillars that define our democracy, truth and trust. And we have a president who comes out every day and -- almost every day and lies about something and undermines truth. What does that do for our -- how can we have a democracy when the -- when the man in the bully pulpit is lying as he breathes, that's one challenge, and how can we have trust, which is also a requirement of a democracy, when we have a president who really wants to just be president of his base and is basically dividing the country every day? That is the third debate going on. And it's disturbing a lot of people like myself and it's got people like Corker and Flake literally leaving the Republican Party saying, not interested in that first debate with Bannon, not interested in even that second debate so much with Democrats. We see a fundamental threat to our system. That's what George W. Bush was saying. That's what McCain was saying in these speeches. I think --

CUOMO: There's a problem, though.

FRIEDMAN: I think that's a hugely important debate.

CUOMO: There's a problem and it is a contextual issue in both matters. The contextual issue is to quote Billy Joel, Trump didn't start the fire.


CUOMO: All right.


CUOMO: This division has always been real.


CUOMO: And it's been ignored. The second is that they like what he says. Who's "they"? The people who have legitimate gripes. You know this.

FRIEDMAN: That's true.

CUOMO: I don't need to tell you.


CUOMO: I was raised by a man who spoke only to these people, by the way.


[08:40:02] CUOMO: He was hated by the elites.


CUOMO: And he used to tell the elites, I hate you too.


CUOMO: So I'm familiar with this. How it shifted from a Democratic tendency to a Republican one is a discussion for a different day.


CUOMO: But the president has seized upon something that was real. Has he exacerbated it? A fair criticism, fair argument.


CUOMO: But here's the biggest problem. Corker and Flake, what do they represent? They represent the problem.


CUOMO: So when you have people who represent the problem, represent the thing that is not trusted, when you have the bad guy essentially telling you, this guy is criticizing the bad guy, it's not a good thing, you lose the people. And that's my concern is, who is going to bring us together, because people don't trust politicians. That's what's benefiting the president.

FRIEDMAN: Well, let's try to disaggregate that point. I think there's two questions there. One is when people say, this is what the base wants. Here's what worries me. If I know anything about your dad, he had more than a first paragraph. He actually had --

CUOMO: He had like 100. That's why I never wanted him on television.

FRIEDMAN: That's right. Yes, that's right. He had a second and a third paragraph. What do I mean by that? You know, when I listen to Trump on trade or Bannon attacking globalist and elitists and pushing all these protectionist policies, I'm always saying to myself, what's the second graph. Could you tell me, Mr. Bannon, actually, what is your alternative economic tax policy that is actually going to deliver for these people you say are hurting in the real world and can you show me an example of a country that's pursuing it? North Korea, is that -- is that what we look like? Or not North Korea, which one?

Now, why do I say that, Chris? I just came from London. Spent a couple days in London. You go to London today. You see what happens when people say, that's what the people wanted and they have no second graph. Turns out the people wanted Brexit, they wanted to break off from the European Union, they wanted to disconnect in a connected world. And Boris Johnson and all those people were out there saying, boy, you know, our health care system is going to get rich now. It's going to be no problem. We're going to get everything we want.

Turns out, Boris Johnson had no second paragraph. You go to London today, they are completely in a mess. They have no idea what to do. There people who are in charge have no idea how to pull this off. There was no second paragraph.

Ask Bannon, what's your second paragraph. Show me the actual policy that's going to deliver for these people who you're telling me, they want this. They want this red meat from Trump. But the red meat, sometimes, you know, you've got to have the rest of the meal. And you've got to have breakfast, lunch and dinner too. So you throw people red meat and they love it and then what comes next? These people have no second paragraph.

And we saw that. Trump said, I'm going to give you the greatest health care in the world. He got in and they took -- said to Congress, give me a health care bill. He had no idea.

CUOMO: But so far he's got a good defense, which is the kitchen's broken. But this is a good conversation to have. Your points are always right on target. Tom Friedman, thank you for making us better. Always good to have you.

FRIEDMAN: Thank you.

CUOMO: Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: That's a really good conversation, but I have to interrupt it for sports.

The Dodgers and Astros facing off in one of the most dramatic World Series games in recent memory. The epic 11th inning finish to game two next in "Bleacher Report."


[08:45:39] CAMEROTA: Game two of the World Series played out like a dramatic Hollywood movie. Andy Scholes has more on Houston's epic win in the "Bleacher Report."

Hi, Andy.


This "Bleacher Report" brought to you by the new 2018 Ford F-150.

I tell you what, last night's game, one of the best World Series games of all time. The drama from the ninth inning on was just incredible. The Astros tying the game in the ninth on a solo home run by Marvin Gonzalez. Then in the 10th they took the lead after back-to-back home runs by Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa. But the Dodges weren't done. They tied the game on this single by Kike Hernandez to keep the game going. So we go to the 11th. And that's when George Springer, the hero for the Stros, hitting a two-run home run. The Astros get the epic win, 7-6 to even the series at a game apiece. The fall classic now going to move to Houston for game three tomorrow night. First pitch just after 8:00 Eastern.

And, Chris, the eight home runs in game two, a World Series record. Also, this was the first time in any post season game ever that there was five home runs in extra innings.

CUOMO: in extra innings.

SCHOLES: Which is just incredible to think about. It was an incredibly exciting game.

CUOMO: Who wins, handsome?

SCHOLES: I have Astros in six. And I'm a native Houstonian. I make no secret about that. I'm a huge Astros fan. I'm fingers crossed. I just think it's our time.

CUOMO: As biased as you are good looking.

All right, Andy, thank you very much. Appreciate it.

Now to an incredible story of two sisters, both addicted to opioids. One of them eventually got hooked on heroin, which is not unusual. The president is preparing to declare a public health emergency. Could a plant help and be a curb to this crisis, next.


[08:51:32] CAMEROTA: We do have some breaking news right now. CNN has just learned that President Trump is expected to announce today that the nation's opioid crisis is a public health emergency. Addicts, of course, are desperate for some solution. Could the answer be a little known plant? CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, has more with this.


PATRICIA SLAVIN, FORMER OPIATE USER: Everything hurts. You're sick. You're nauseous. You're throwing up, diarrhea. Your will to live in gone.

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Withdrawal from opioid drugs. Many will tell you that you continue to use because after a while it's no longer about getting high, it's to chase away the feeling you're about to die. For Patricia Slavin (ph), it all started four years ago with abdominal pain and a prescription for Dilaudid. It was the first time in her life she'd ever taken an opiate.

SLAVIN: They upped the dose, and it just got to the point where I was taking a very high dose of pain medication. I had to get on pain management.

LISA VINSON, FORMER OPIATE USER: Every month they say, how are you? And I'd say, well, you know, it's not really helping as much. I'm still in a lot of pain. OK, well, add this to it. This bill. And then this patch.

GUPTA: Lisa Vinson, Patricia's younger sister, also had abdominal pain. Over the past 10 years she's has five operations, including a hysterectomy. And, yes, she also had lots and lots of narcotics.

VINSON: The torn between not being able to care for my family or, OK, I can take care of them if I just take some more pills.

GUPTA: Within months, two sisters, Lisa and Patricia, were both addicted to opioid painkillers. But things would soon turn even more desperate for Patricia.

SLAVIN: Every time they'd give me more, my body would just get immune to it. But then if I didn't have it, I'd get sick, sick, real sick.

GUPTA (on camera): So what did you do?

SLAVIN: There was a guy that I worked with. His wife had a lot of -- but she didn't like them, she didn't take them, so he would sell me what she had so that if I ran out, then I still had some.

GUPTA (voice-over): But one day, that same guy didn't have any pills and offered up a cheaper alternative, heroin.

SLAVIN: And the rest, as they say, is history. It just went downhill from there.

VINSON: She called asking for money for more heroin and I told her I will not send you money for drugs. I will not. But I will buy you kratom.

GUPTA: Kratom. Around the world, kratom, an herb, has been used for centuries to help people manage pain, but also for the withdrawal from opium. Lisa new from personal experience.

VINSON: The reason I started taking it was because I didn't want a withdrawal. I had no idea that it was going to help me with the pain like it did.

CHRISTOPHER MCCURDY, MEDICINAL CHEMIST: We definitely believe that this could be a solution to -- or part of a solution to the opioid crisis that we're currently in.

GUPTA: Christopher McCurdy is a medicinal chemist. He's also one of just a handful of scientists in America studying the South East Asian plant.

MCCURDY: I don't see anything that rivals or even comes close to the ability for -- for this plant to serve as a potential treatment.

GUPTA: And yet, in the U.S., it is banned in six states and the DEA considers it a drug of concern over worries of potential addiction and even some reported deaths. According to McCurdy, that concern is because kratom is not regulated and has been mixed with other drugs.

[08:55:07] MCCURDY: Definitely there needs to be regulatory measures put into place with this plant material, but there's a huge wealth of anecdotal evidence out there, and some scientific, that there's definite medical potential for this plant.

GUPTA: For something so promising, you may be wondering why others, including big companies, haven't investigated it. Part of the problem, it is a plant, and that means no one can patent it.

MCCURDY: There's no financial incentive for any drug company to really pursue developing this into a drug.

GUPTA (on camera): How does the future look for you now, your family, all your teenage kids that you have?

VINSON: Bright. It looks beautiful. I have hope.

GUPTA: How confident are you that you won't go back to heroin?

SLAVIN: Never fully confident. Never fully.

GUPTA: Why not?

SLAVIN: It's -- it's a powerful -- it's a powerful, powerful drug. But I think as long as I have kratom, as long as I can get it, me personally, I'll never go back.


CAMEROTA: Sanjay, this is incredible. First of all, it's astonishing that I've never heard of kratom. Obviously, I'm in the news business and I know lots of people who struggle with addiction.


CAMEROTA: And so is this -- would this be a cure for addiction?

GUPTA: Well, it's -- it's interesting. And this is something that we come across quite a bit in that you have something out there that shows a lot of promise, but for various reasons it's not even studied adequately, Alisyn. So, you know, you don't -- you don't have data on this sort of thing.

There's a -- you know, for hundreds of years it's been used in other countries. We know the scientific community here is now starting to pay more attention. But because it's not regulated, there have been these reports of it being contaminated with other products, people getting sick from it, and that's why I think the DEA has had sort of a hands-off approach on this.

What astonished me, as it sounds like it astonished you, is just how much evidence there has been that makes this worthy of further study, regulation, so people can buy a product that has some data behind it and that they know is safe. That's the key, I think, going forward with kratom.

CUOMO: We don't know what the answers are, but we know we've got to keep asking the right questions.

CNN "NEWSROOM" with Poppy Harlow and John Berman is going to pick up right after this quick break.