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New Jersey's Governor-Elect Talks Election; Democrats Sweep Races; Vegas Performer Defies Gravity; Halliday Dies in Plane Crash; UCLA Players Face Shoplifting Charges; Dan Rather on America. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired November 8, 2017 - 08:30   ET



[08:30:22] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PHIL MURPHY (D), NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR-ELECT: This is one of the first major elections since Donald Trump was elected. Tonight, New Jersey sent an unmistakable message to the entire nation. We are better than this.


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: All right, it was a big win for Democrats in New Jersey. Phil Murphy winning the governor's seat, defeating Chris Christie's lieutenant governor, Kim Guadagno.

Joining us now is the governor-elect of New Jersey, Phil Murphy.

Congratulations, Mr. Murphy. You look very happy this morning.

PHIL MURPHY (D), NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR-ELECT: Thank you, Alisyn. I am very happy. Thanks for having me.

CAMEROTA: We've been entertained by how you seized the stage last night in the sort of rock-star leap on to stage that people -- people have been talking about. So I know that you're quote relieved and happy. But, here's my question, do you think that your win was a referendum on Donald Trump?

MURPHY: Well, I think first -- first of all, I had John Bon Jovi in the house, so I had to -- I had to brush off my rock star chops when I got on stage.

I think it's, first and foremost, a referendum on the failed economy in New Jersey and failed leadership in New Jersey, frankly. That's mission number one, that the economy in our state was topic number one throughout the entire campaign.

Clearly after the president was elected and inaugurated, all the ill winds that have been blowing our way out of Washington have become part of our daily reality as well. Let there be no doubt. We're the tenth or eleventh largest state in the nation, in many respects the most diverse state in the nation. So almost anything that's coming out of Washington, health care, taxes, environment, you name it, is going to have an impact in New Jersey.

CAMEROTA: I just thought it was interesting because so many of our pundits say that what happened last night is a message to Donald Trump or it's a bellwether for the midterms. But that's not what the voters in your state said. I mean when CNN has exit polling and they asked the voters what motivated them, let me just pull it up for you. The reason for your vote, to support Donald Trump, 11 percent, to oppose Donald Trump, 28 percent, President Trump not a factor, 59 percent. I mean is it possible that you and the pundits are misreading how the voters are feeling yesterday?

MURPHY: No, I don't think so. If you had followed us around -- and I know you just played a clip from my speech, 92 percent of that speech was about New Jersey and failed leadership and, more importantly, what we need to do together going forward. Well, if you had followed me around the campaign trail, you would have been hearing me talk, you know, over 90 percent about New Jersey stuff. Our economy needs to be stronger, fairer and needs to work for everybody, not just for some. We need to reignite some of those engines we used to dominate, like the innovation and infrastructure economies.

So, no, we've been overwhelmingly focused on what we need to do within the four walls of our state. But you can't ignore a president who many in our state feel does not stand for the same values that we stand for. So you've got to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time.

CAMEROTA: It seems like one of the big energizing factors for voters, though, was the unpopularity of Governor Chris Christie. Here's an exit poll on that, 77 percent of the voters disapprove of the job that he has done, versus just 22 percent approve.

So, Mr. Murphy, what is your first order of business towards repairing your state or bringing both sides together in this divisive climate?

MURPHY: Other than getting my voice back, it will probably come in two varieties. Number one, overwhelmingly the economy. We have to get this economy going again and we have to make it fair again. It's become profoundly unfair. We have among the biggest inequities of any state in America.

And secondly I'd say getting back to the things that we used to so proudly stand for. You know, we are a progressive blue beacon state that many other states used to look to for leadership on issues like women's health and the environment. And we've gotten away from that. So it's reigniting the economy, making it fair again, and, separately, getting back to standing for the things that we used to so proudly stand for.

CAMEROTA: OK, this just in from former President Obama. I don't know if you've see this yet that he just tweeted about you. He said, this is what happens when the people vote. Congrats to Ralph Northam and Phil Murphy of New Jersey and congratulations to all the victors in state legislative, county and mayors races. Every office in a democracy counts.

Your thoughts? MURPHY: Amen. I spoke to the president -- I spoke to the president

last night. I spoke to President Clinton, Vice President Biden and many others. I think one point that President Obama made, I t's an important one in our state. This was not just about our lieutenant governor, our next lieutenant governor, Sheila Oliver, who's a rock star, and myself, but this was a whole up and down the ballot referendum. I'm in Hoboken right now. We have the first Sikh elected American -- mayor, rather, in American history, in Ravi Bhalla. That's one example of many up and down our ballot. And we're incredibly proud to stand with everyone who won last night.

[08:35:23] CAMEROTA: OK, last question. Bon Jovi or Bruce Springsteen?

MURPHY: I love them both. But Jon is one of our closest friends. Jon and Dorothea are dear friends of ours. He was with us last night. We were proud to have him and many, many hundreds of other friends with us.

CAMEROTA: All right. There you go. Thanks for not dodging that. Governor-elect Phil Murphy, thanks very much for being with us.

MURPHY: Thanks, Alisyn.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, let's get "The Bottom Line" with CNN political director David Chalian.

The Democrats needed this. obviously the headline is going to be, you know, the governor's races, but they really needed the state seats, and that's where Democrats have been so dominated. It's hurt them so much with redistricting. But what do you believe the headline is?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: I think the headline here is the sweeping Democratic victory, a bigger margins than either party predicted. You are right to look at the state legislative races.

Guys, this is what it looks like when the resistance shows up. And by resistance I don't just mean the people you saw marching in the streets the day after President Trump's inauguration. I mean Democrats. Just take a look at the makeup of the electorate in Virginia yesterday. It was a little more Democratic and less Republican than it was just last year when Hillary Clinton won the state by five points.

Democrats were showing up to vote. And there's a reason for that. And it's President Trump. You really can't read the magnitude of these results across the country. Manchester, New Hampshire, mayor for the first time being a Democrat in a decade. Seeing what's going on at the county level in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Democrats winning back control of the state senate in Washington state. The Virginia state house of delegates. In addition to the big marque gubernatorial races, this is one complete response on the year anniversary of Donald Trump's election to what happens in a 60/40 anti-Trump nation when they go to vote. CAMEROTA: And so, David, is there any way to connect what happened

last night to 2018, or is there so much ground between last night and that day next year that it's just way too soon for Democrats to take a victory lap?

CHALIAN: There is so much ground. There's no doubt about that, Alisyn. And you know that political environments can change rather rapidly based on external events.

But we did see inklings of this, let's say, in 2009, the year after President Obama was elected, that did foreshadow a huge 2010 takeover of the House for Republicans that year.

There are some lessons here and I think they're in the suburbs because that is where a lot of the congressional battles are going to be fought out next year. And the suburbs were turning out in huge ways against the president and for the Democratic candidate.

You also see it in this divide we've been talking about for the better part of two years now. White college-educated voters, which used to be sort of a staple of the Republican coalition, in the Trump era they have drifted away. Ralph Northam in Virginia yesterday actually won a majority of white college educated voters. There you see it, 51 percent to Gillespie's 48 percent. That is an improvement upon the inroads that Hillary Clinton made there last year. And that was a big deal when she was doing well with white, college educated voters. Northam even improved that performance.

CUOMO: Look, I mean, obviously, one of the reasons this is getting so much hype is, of course it matters for the midterms if, if all caps, you see the Democrats continue to do things that respond to their challenge because there party is just as much in the dumps as the Republicans in polls, also subject to what the GOP does.

And that takes us to Paul Ryan. We saw Congressman Scott Taylor, he's taking one path. He's there in Virginia, a decorated war veteran. He's saying the divisive rhetoric beat us last night. That is a brave position to stake out. Paul Ryan, not known for political bravery when it comes to President Trump and opposition. Today is a big day for him.

CHALIAN: It is a big day. And you're right to point out the immediate aftershocks being felt on these election results because it is Paul Ryan's challenge to get tax reform through, Chris. And that is where we're going to immediately feel the response to where the electorate is. Will Republicans, as they are trying to rally behind tax reform, though, some divisions within the party are being exposed right now, will they see some returns here, some competitive district Republicans who are going to be a lot more worried this morning than they were yesterday about their prospects and rethink this tax bill or how they want to position themselves around it.

Paul Ryan may want to try and write this off as some local elections. We'll see. But I bet he's going to use it to say, this is why we, as a Republican conference, must pass big ticket legislation. It is demanding them to get something to the president's desk and show an accomplishment.

[08:40:08] CAMEROTA: OK, David Chalian, thank you very much for "The Bottom Line."

CHALIAN: Thanks, guys.

CUOMO: All right, so, other story for you this morning. The sports world is heartbroken this morning over the shocking death of former pitching star Roy Halladay. We have the story for you in the "Bleacher Report" next.

CAMEROTA: But first, despite losing part of his leg in a motorcycle crash, a Las Vegas performer is living his dream. His story in "Turning Points."


ANDREW MONTGOMERY: I first saw "Le Reve" nine years ago in Vegas. 2015, I saw a flyer for an addition. And I was like, you know what, like, I think this is my chance.

LOUANNE MADORMA, "LE REVE" CASTING DIRECTOR: We held up his picture and we said, this is the guy.

MONTGOMERY: And then four days after that audition, I was actually struck by a car on my motorcycle while riding home from work. I had three surgeries to try and save my foot.

My doctor has basically told me that amputation seems to be the best option.

I think I made the decision to kind of get back up probably after a week of being at home. And that's when I started fighting.

I had gotten my first prosthesis. I immediately hit the gym as soon as I could.

MADORMA: And then he started sending me videos. And he ran and did a round off backhand spring.

MONTGOMERY: From the day that I started walking, to the day that I walked back into the audition room, it was eight months. Then one day I actually -- I got the call to join the cast. I was completely beside myself.

I have four different prosthetic legs that I use for the show. I don't think I can take for granted every second that I get to spend out on that stage because there was a time where it never could have happened.



[08:46:01] CUOMO: All right, the sports world is mourning the loss of a former Cy Young Award winner, Roy Halladay. He died yesterday in a plane crash.

Andy Scholes has more in the "Bleacher Report."

What a shock. Affected so many people.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Certainly did, Chris. You know, Roy Halladay, one of the best pitchers of his generation, winning two Cy Young Awards. This "Bleacher Report" presented by the new 2018 Ford F-150.

Now authorities say Halladay was piloting a small single engine aircraft when it crashed in shallow water off the coast of Florida yesterday. He was the only person onboard the two-seater plane. And police say they received no distress calls. The NTSB is investigating the crash. Halladay was 40 years old and leaves behind a wife and two children.

All right, three UCLA basketball players, including Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball's brother LiAngelo, could face up to ten years in prison for allegedly shoplifting from a Louis Vuitton store in China. The three players were released on bail earlier this morning, according to ESPN. Now, the Bruins, they're in China to play their opening game of the season on Friday. LaVar Ball, LiAngelo's father, also in China with the team, and he told ESPN, quote, it ain't that big a deal. Well, it could be a big deal because China has a near 100 percent conviction rate. And, Alisyn, according to ESPN, the three players are not being allowed to leave the hotel there in China until this legal process plays out, and that could take days, weeks, even months.

CAMEROTA: That does sound like a big deal, Andy. OK, thank you very much.

So one year ago today, Donald Trump won the presidency. And last night Democrats swept their races. What does this mean about where we are as a country? Legendary journalist Dan Rather is going to join us live to talk about it, next.


[08:51:54] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D), CALIFORNIA: It's a new day for Democrats. I think that the electorate, the Democratic electorate, woke up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I support the president, not blindly. If I agree with him, I say it. If I don't, I don't. And I think that last night was a -- was a referendum.


CAMEROTA: All right, lawmakers on Capitol Hill reacting to the Democratic sweep last night exactly one year after Donald Trump's historic win.

Joining us now to talk about all of it is legendary journalist and former CBS news anchorman Dan Rather. He has a new book, "What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism."

Dan, great to see you.

DAN RATHER, AUTHOR, "WHAT UNITES US": Great to see you again. Thanks for having me.

CAMEROTA: How do you characterize where we find ourselves today?

RATHER: Well, it's a perilous time for the country by any objective analysis. This is a dangerous period for the country.

CAMEROTA: Because we're so divided?

RATHER: Partly because we're so divided, and partly because, to use a phrase that your colleague used earlier, because of the tone at the top. That Americans are better than this tone. I mean the policies of the Trump administration are one thing, but the tone of the administration, it's a tone that gives a wink, wink to bigotry and the divisiveness of the country.

And I think part of the analysis of the returns from last night was, the country gets that. We have a collective conscience in the country. And that collective conscience, I think, is beginning to reassert itself.

That -- I read the election returns, not so much as we love the Democratic Party, we love the policies they stand for. I mean health care is obviously a big issue for them. But that's not what this is about. There's an ebb and flow to American politics. And when either side goes too far in one direction, one of the great things about our country, and one reason that I'm so optimistic about it, and one of the reasons in the book, "What Unites Us" is so strong on hope is that, you know, I have great confidence in the American people. And they hearing what's being said at the top. And I think what you're hearing at the polls is a collective, we don't like this.

Now, having said that, I think it would be too early for the Democrats to celebrate too much. I saw sometimes last night they're sort of moon walking in the end zone. It's way -- it's way too early for that. Next up is this Alabama Senate race.


RATHER: The election on December 12th. And that will be the next big battleground. Democrats are decided underdogs, but you can bet that they will be reemphasize that race hoping against hope that what happened last night will carry over to Alabama.

CUOMO: Few candidates characterized the divisiveness of Donald Trump more so than former chief judge down there, Roy Moore. So he is an interesting example of what's going on. But as you're saying, Democrats underdogs in there, no matter what the polls say righted now.

Your perspective is so powerful. Just looking at the last month. We know the month ended October 31st. That's a birthday in your home. Happy 70th birthday. Good for you.

RATHER: Thank you.

CUOMO: Enjoy it.

The month was book-ended by two of the biggest mass massacres we've seen in our country's history. And in between that there were all kinds of political maelstroms that play into bigotry and divisiveness. It's easy for us to say, this was the worst. It's never been like this before. What does your perspective teach you about where we are and where we've been before?

[08:55:19] RATHER: You know, if there's anything in the book that I'm sort of proud of is at least a small bit of historical perspective among the lines you're talking about. Having said this is a dangerous and perilous time for the country, I don't think we can doubt about that, but we've been through these things before.

The 1960s, people tend to forget, those who were alive during the time -- many Americans were not alive then -- extremely divisive. Every bit as divisive, maybe more so than now, in a different way (INAUDIBLE). This is a unique period. But the '60s were very divisive. But what happened is after wobbling a bit, the collective conscienceless of the country held steady. It's one of the chapters in "What Unites Us" is steady.

We Americans have a lot of faults. We don't have a perfect country. But we are a steady people. Not in every decade and in every way. But that's the reason I think we'll come through this present period. It may be a long, dark valley, but we'll come out the other end and I think we'll come out better than ever because there is a steadiness about us as a people and as a society and that's what fuels my hope.

CAMEROTA: Dan, I was interested to read that you said you would love to be in the current White House press briefings. And I am interested in that since some of the journalists who are there are frustrated by them. What are the burning questions that you would have for the press secretary, Sarah Sanders?

RATHER: Well, it depends on the flow of news in the day. I don't want to dodge the question. But, listen, I was a White House correspondent for 10 years. I loved every moment of it. The (INAUDIBLE) was there. And, sure, i loved being in the front row and given the day's news try to bounce a question off the press secretary.

But the press briefings have changed a great deal. For one thing, the White House press corps has gotten really humungous. It was large when I was there. It's now gotten very large.

But, you know, I love covering politics. And if you love covering politics, you have to love being in the White House briefings.

CUOMO: But you set a standard there at a time when people didn't directly question power in the form of the president. We all remember the clip from you going back and forth in a direct exchange with the president. Do you ever think about in terms of legacy, the affect that you had in setting that standard, the effect that you had in covering storms, which has now led so many of us to have to go out there and get blown around.

CAMEROTA: Chris has had to chase that mantle.

CUOMO: Because you did it with this, you know, complete calm and ease, which is almost impossible, as we've learned. But your legacy, do you think that that was something that you're now seeing played out today?

RATHER: Well, to a certain degree. But I appreciate the compliments. But I never think about legacy.

Look, I'm a reporter who got lucky, very lucky. And I have a lot of faults and flaws. But I am -- I'm deep into gratitude. I don't think about legacy. I do think that during the 1970s, when we had this wide- spread criminal conspiracy led by the president himself, which we called for shorthand Watergate, it was very important to remind one's self as a journalist and to remind the public, that our president are not descendants of sun kings, they are -- they are another citizen that we've honored with the highest honor we have, and, therefore, that they should be asked the tough questions and tough questions should have follow-up. Because, you know, running through my own time as White House correspondent, and I'm sure -- I know many of the people in the White House press room now --


RATHER: It's true of them, that all the worry about President Trump and the tone he set that links to bigotry and all of that, we need to remind ourselves that no president is stronger than the country as a whole. The country's a whole lot stronger than the new president.

So anything that I did during that time that supports that tone, well, I'm happy for it. But in terms of legacy, you know, everything in television, I'm sorry to tell you, is so (INAUDIBLE) that none of us in television are going to have anything approaching a legacy.

CAMEROTA: Dan Rather, great to have you here. Great to talk to you.

RATHER: Thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate it.

CAMEROTA: The book again is "What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism."

Great to talk to you.

RATHER: Thank you. Thank you very much.

CAMEROTA: All right, CNN "NEWSROOM" with Poppy Harlow and John Berman starts right now.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, good morning, everyone. I'm John Berman.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Poppy Harlow. A year to the day after Democrats suffered a defeat they considered

unthinkable, they are savoring some pretty big victories this morning. Despite no small problems on the national stage, Democratic are basking, not only in the glory of their wins from Virginia to New Jersey to Georgia, but also in voter's repudiation of the president. In Virginia today, Democratic Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam is governor-elect after walloping former Republican Party Chairman Ed Gillespie.

[09:00:04] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)