Return to Transcripts main page


Trump Talks ISIS; Puerto Ricans Change Florida Politics; North Korean Defector will Survive; Small Towns use Technology. Aired 9:30- 10:00a ET

Aired November 23, 2017 - 09:30   ET


[09:30:00] DAVID DRUCKER, SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, "WASHINGTON EXAMINER": Traditional thank yous and greetings from the American people.


DRUCKER: I think it probably went over really well. And for the parts that were political, that obviously his political opponents won't like and that some of us might think are unbecoming, I don't think it's going to bother them one bit.

CABRERA: All right, we'll see the fallout, or if there is any. Maybe they'll be very gracious about how he addressed them and we'll hope to learn more from their conversation after the media left the room.

Thank you, David Drucker and Amie (ph) and Salena (ph) as well. We appreciate all of you.

And coming up, will a surge of Puerto Ricans that are now moving to Florida change the state's politics for years to come? We'll discuss.


[09:35:03] CABRERA: Welcome back. You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.

As Puerto Rico continues to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Maria, tens of thousands of residents are fleeing the island. They are moving to Florida, the nation's largest swing state and one with major political implications.

Let's discuss with Ana Navarro, CNN political commentator, and Patricia Mazzei, the political reporter for "The Miami Herald."

So, Ana, we know how important Florida is in electing a president. State officials there say almost 170,000 Puerto Ricans have left Puerto Rico and moved to Florida. Could they have some serious electoral power now?

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Oh, I think absolutely. Look, we're going to get a taste of it next year in the 2018 elections when we have statewide elections. There's going to be a Senate race. There's going to be a governor's race. The area where most Puerto Ricans moved to in Florida is what's called

the I-4 corridor. It's in the central part of Florida, around Orlando area, Tampa. And it is the most coveted area of Florida.

We are a swing state. A few votes can make a difference. And you better believe that hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans coming to Florida and coming to Florida very unhappy with what the federal government and the Trump administration has done in Puerto Rico can make a difference and affect the elections here.

It is not a coincidence that people like Marco Rubio and even Rick Scott, the governor here, have been so active in advocating for Puerto Rico. It is not only because it's the right thing to do, it's also the politically smart thing to do. Look, I think Maria may do what Hillary couldn't do, beat Donald Trump in Florida.

CABRERA: Maria, the hurricane, of course.

A reminder of just how close it was there in Florida this past election, Trump won Florida by about 100,000 votes. Percentagewise, 49 percent, Clinton's 47.8 percent. But we also know Clinton won the Latino vote by a very huge margin, in fact, 62 percent to 35 percent.

So, Patricia, should Republicans be worried?

PATRICIA MAZZEI, POLITICAL WRITER, "MIAMI HERALD": Well, I think it depends on how many Puerto Ricans actually stay for the long term. When we interview the new arrivals, they say they want to go back to the island.

Now, that is a big question, will they be able to? Will they have jobs to go back to? Or by the time the island is back to some sense of normalcy, will they just have settled in Florida for the long haul.

And then the second question is, will they register to vote, because the Puerto Rican vote has underperformed in Florida, especially in midterm elections. They have not exercised their political muscle. They have stayed home and not gone to the polls when it's a non- presidential year.

And so, if they register as independents and maybe don't get reached -- you know, get into the political gubernatorial race and the Senate race because they're still more concerned about the politics back home in Puerto Rico, then they might not be as big of a force as some political observers say they could be.

CABRERA: We also understand there's been an influx of white Republican-leaning retirees from the Midwest moving into Florida.

So, Patricia, do you think they could cancel each other out in that way?

MAZZEI: Well, before the 2016 election there were predictions that the huge number of non-Cuban Latino voters in central Florida, like Ana was mentioning, would help Hillary Clinton. But, in fact, the white rural vote just went above and beyond what that growth had been in the I-4 corridor. To give you an idea, the number of Puerto Ricans in Florida doubled from the year 2000 to the year 2015, and still Clinton lost Florida. So really, like Ana said, this is such a close state that it's all going to be gains or losses at the margin.

CABRERA: And, Ana, we know there are still major problems happening in Puerto Rico. Nearly half of the island is still without power. And as you pointed out, the way the Trump administration has responded to the hurricane there does not look good. When you poll Americans, 70 percent in the latest poll, majorities in both parties, in fact, think that Puerto Rico is not getting the help it needs. This is the new poll from Kaiser Family Foundation. The number has actually grown to -- from 63 percent last month, number of Republicans climbed from 38 percent to 52 percent who are concerned. So is this a problem for the administration, Ana?

CABRERA: I think it is, Ana. Look, one of the problems that Hillary Clinton had in Florida and nationwide is that she really wasn't able to ignite the passion within the minority communities, without -- with Latino communities like Barack Obama was able to do before her. But anger, wanting to get even, wanting to hold somebody accountable is a very strong force for passion.

I remember, for example, in 2000, just how angry so many Cuban Americans were at the way that the Clinton administration had dealt with the Elian Gonzalez saga and they kept saying, come November, we will remember, and they did. If these Puerto Ricans come here and they mobilize and they register to vote -- and let's remember, Puerto Ricans are American citizens. They are U.S. citizens. They don't have to go through immigration process. They get a right to vote the minute they set foot here.

[09:40:15] And, Ana, I just want to -- I want to thank you for talking about Puerto Rico because what you say is true. And today as so many of us sit to tables of bounty, we can't forget that over 50 percent of Puerto Ricans, millions of Puerto Ricans, are still today without power, without water, without the basic necessities and living in a devastated island. They need our help. They need our thoughts.

CABRERA: We won't forget.

Ana Navarro, Patricia Mazzei, thank you both for spending part of your holiday with us. Happy Thanksgiving, ladies.

NAVARRO: Thank you. Same to you.

CABRERA: A darning dash, fleeing from a brutal regime was captured on camera and made headlines around the world. And now the doctor treating the North Korean defector says he will survive. Details ahead.


[09:45:14] CABRERA: His dramatic escape to South Korea made headlines and now the North Korean defector you see in this video running across the demilitarized zone is recovering in a hospital. He was shot and wounded in several places by North Korean guards as he fled, but the doctor who operated on him says he will survive.

CNN's Anna Coren is live now from Seoul, South Korea.

Anna, what is this trauma surgeon who operated on that man saying about his condition now?

ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ana, Professor Lee Cook-Jong says that he is lucky to be alive. This is a 24-year-old North Korean soldier who made this daring escape from North Korea, described as a suicide mission. And according to U.S.-led U.N. Command, no other North Korean soldier has ever attempted this, and that is using a Jeep to try and get across the DMZ, and then racing across on foot.

But that is exactly what he did under a hail of bullets. He was hit at least four times, mainly to the chest, abdomen, and to his arms and knee. And then he managed to get 50 meters across the border, where he collapsed against a wall. And it took some 40 minutes before South Korean soldiers got to him. He was then medevaced to (INAUDIBLE) University Hospital where he was in the care of this Professor Lee.

Professor Lee says that he'd lost more than 50 percent of his blood. He had virtually no pulse and was virtually dead. They performed life- saving surgery, managed to stabilize him, and place him on life support.

And, interestingly, Ana, when they opened him up, they found these parasites, dozens of parasites, some up to a foot long. And that is an indication of poor hygiene and malnutrition. And you have to remember that North Korean soldiers are treated better than everyday civilians. So it just goes to show how dire the situation is there in North Korea.

But this soldier, he is now conscious. He is talking. But doctors say that he is depressed and probably suffering from PTSD, Ana.

CABRERA: What an incredible will to survive.

Anna Coren, thank you for that update.

And now for something totally different this morning. Technology has been getting kind of a bad rap for replacing workers with machines, but our Laurie Siegel has a different story for you. How it's helping small businesses to grow and thrive.


[09:52:09] CABRERA: It's a story playing out across many small towns across the country. A big factory closes its doors, leaving thousands without jobs, struggling to survive. But now some of them are turning to technology to help turn their lives and their small businesses around.

I want to bring in CNN's senior tech correspondent Laurie Segall, who went to one of those towns in Iowa. She's my twin today, joining us now.

Laurie, talk about how they're using technology to really make a difference.

LAURIE SEGALL, CNN SENIOR TECH CORRESPONDENT: It's incredible. You know, it's this idea of using tech to build out their own small businesses. And having covered tech for a while, I'll say this, I'm sensing a growing sense of responsibility in Silicon Valley for leaders to understand the impact of their technology all around the country. It's why I've interviewed Jack Dorsey, the founder of Twitter and Square multiple times in San Francisco and in New York. But this time he wanted to meet in Webster City, Iowa. Take a listen.


SEGALL (voice-over): Webster City, Iowa, population, 8,000. It's a small city and the economy revolved around a factory called Electrolux. It once employed as many as 2,300 people. When it closed in 2011, many lost their jobs, including Jeff Pingel.

JEFF PINGEL, FORMER ELECTROLUX EMPLOYEE: I was going to work here until forever, you know.

SEGALL: He took me to where Electrolux once was. Now, just an empty field.

PINGEL: And when they made the first announcement, one lady that just bought a house, and she grabbed her hair and pulled out handfuls of hairs. And when we picked up, she pulled out so much hair that it had chunks of flesh in it. I mean it just was devastating to people.

KAY ROSS, WEBSTER CITY RESIDENT: There were no cars downtown on main street anymore. You drove through and it was just cold and ugly and gave you a sense of despair.

There were people who were just absolutely convinced that the town was going to dry up and blow away.

SEGALL: When Electrolux closed, many people who lost their jobs started building out their own small businesses. And over 40 of them are using Square to accept payments.

Founder Jack Dorsey, who also created Twitter, came in town to connect with the people using his technology.

JACK DORSEY, SQUARE FOUNDER: This is a good case study and a good model for how I think we can continue to invest in small cities and small towns and small communities.

SEGALL (on camera): Today, I'm getting stopped on the street by someone who says, I lost my job too. Today there's this real sense of pain and resilience and a reality when our cameras go away and when the founder of Twitter goes away, there's some complicated questions that this city has to answer to.

This factory went to Mexico, but a lot of these jobs are going to be replaced by automation. Does that impact you guys? Do you think of that?

JERRY KLOBERDANZ, FORMER ELECTROLUX EMPLOYEE: Deal with it every day. Every day there's jobs that are getting automated.


KLOBERDANZ: But there's somebody who has to repair that equipment. And you have to program that equipment. You have to operate that equipment.

SEGALL (voice-over): PWC estimates that by 2032, 38 percent of the jobs in the United States are at a high risk of becoming automated.

[09:55:05] SEGALL (on camera): What do you think the future is for these folks who will inevitably be left behind?

DORSEY: I think it's a fixed mindset to say that they'll inevitably be left behind. Where one effort goes away, another is created in its place. And I believe that. But it does take -- it does take work and it does take responsibility of our companies, of our organizations, of our governments to help prepare people.

CODY SLEITER, WEBSTER CITY RESIDENT: AI and automation, they may be precise, but they'll never outdo the strongness and the willingness of the American worker.

SEGALL: What's your message for the tech community?

SLEITER: This country was built on blood, sweat and tears, not micro clips and gold plated circuit boards and everything else. One thing I know for sure from living in a small town is, if you knock us down, we're going to get back up and we're going to be twice as better.


SEGALL: I think you can sense that there. This is such an incredibly resilient town in Webster City. A good example for other towns all across the United States. There are complicated questions when it comes to the future of work, but it's good to see this town be so resilient. So we're wishing them a happy Thanksgiving and all around.

CABRERA: OK. Bending, not breaking. Embracing the change.


CABRERA: Laurie Segal, thanks for that awesome story. So uplifting.

Coming up here in the NEWSROOM, some breaking news on that missing Argentinian submarine. We are live with the details. Don't go away.