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King Calls GOP to Dump Bannon; Shattered Dream Helps Hockey Player Find New Purpose; Doug Jones Pulled off Win. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired December 13, 2017 - 08:30   ET



[08:31:49] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: One of the immutable rules of politics is that when you lose, you blame. And Republicans are blaming former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon for the bruising and unexpected loss in Alabama. Bannon encouraged President Trump to fully endorse Roy Moore. He made it into an "us" versus "them" battle and he lost. And, remember, this all came despite these accusations of sexual molestation and assault.

Republican Congressman Peter King from New York tweeting this morning, after Alabama disaster, GOP must do right thing and dump Steve Bannon. His act is tired, inane and morally vacuous. If we are to make America great again for all Americans, Bannon must go and go down. Congressman King joins me now. Congressman, thank you very much. If I don't get to speak to you again, Merry Christmas to you and the family.

REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: You, too, Chris, and your family as well.

CUOMO: Why Bannon? Why is he such a big deal?

KING: You know, I was even raising this not even so much as a political issue, almost as a moral issue. This guy does not belong on the national stage. He looks like some disheveled drunk that wondered on to the political stage. He's not representing what I stand for. I consider myself a conservative Republican. I consider myself an Irish Catholic. And he sort of parades himself out there with his weird, alt-right views that he has. And, to me, it's demeaning the whole governmental and political process.

This summer I called on the president to fire him from the -- you know, from the White House. And I think last night Alabama was not just a political statement, that was really just a revolution (ph) by people at his style, at his type of divisive views, which were the political/governmental, whether he was involved in the White House, trying to undercut the president on his foreign policy, whether he makes -- he encourages racial division. This is not the type of person we need in politics. And last night's election was a manifestation of the revolution (ph) by the American people.

CUOMO: Peter King, I know where you're from, and I know you like to knuckle up every now and then, but did you just call Steve Bannon a disheveled drunk? KING: No, very precise, I said he looks like one.

CUOMO: Now, you know that them's fighting words when it comes to Steve Bannon.

KING: Absolutely.

CUOMO: Is that a fight that you want to take on?

KING: I have no problem. Listen, you have to fight for what's right. And, again, he's attacking the president's daughter the other night when he took a shot at Ivanka Trump, mocking her expression, a special place in hell. This person, to me, Bannon, does not belong on the American political scene. And there's nothing there that I identify with and there's nothing there that really (ph) good Republicans or good Americans should identify with.

CUOMO: Steve Bannon is largely credited with architecting the Trump connection to his base, that Bannon knows that base and that's why the president relies on him whether he is in the White House or he is out on the hustings doing his thing, as we saw in Alabama.

So how do you separate Bannon from the president in terms of what you guys need to adjust in your party?

KING: Yes, I think the president is a different person from Steve Bannon. In fact, he's the president that won all those primaries before Steve Bannon even got involved. If anyone won the last election, it was President Trump. I think Bannon got too much credit for it. I think that, again, by the time Bannon came onboard, the president had already won the primaries and the convention. So --

[08:35:03] CUOMO: You didn't back Roy Moore. The president did. The president said he denies the allegations as good enough for me. Can't have a Democrat. The seat matters more than the allegations. That was the message, at least to my ears. Did you agree with that?

KING: No, I didn't. In fact, I was on with Wolf Blitzer the other night and I specifically said no. Wolf asked me that question, I said, no, I would not endorse Roy Moore. That there are issues that are more important than politics.

And it's not just the allegations against him, which were serious, but anyone can have allegations made. It was really the perfunctory way he tried to deny them. But even on Sean Hannity's show, to me he was almost being cavalier about his denial, the whole attitude, that whole tone. And so, no, I said before the election that I was not supporting Roy Moore. I didn't make a big issue out of it because the last thing people in Alabama need is some guy with an accent like yours or mine or your brother's coming down there and telling them how to vote.

CUOMO: Hold on a second. You think that you and I have the same accent?

KING: Well, you and your brother sort of do. Yours is a little more -- CUOMO: No, no, no, I think you and my brother sort of do. There's

something that politics does to that, you know, eastern Queen and east persuasion. I don't have that. Don't lump me in with you guys, Peter King.

Let me ask you something else.

KING: Well, I'm trying to give you some status, Chris. I'm trying to move you up in the world here.

CUOMO: I don't know if that takes me up or down, that's why I'm trying to keep my safe distance right now.

KING: All right.

CUOMO: Let me ask you something.

KING: Yes.

CUOMO: You made an important point. You said that you think that this was a little bit of a moral position, that this was a moral event what happened in this election last night. And to the extent that that is true, what do you see in terms of, well, where does this go next? That tweet that Trump sent to Gillibrand, OK, even if the White House is right and the president didn't mean it the way the senator took it and a lot of other people, as you know, as a sexist smear, the "USA Today" says he basically called Gillibrand a whore, let's say that's wrong. Doesn't' it show a basic insensitivity to decency that's not about political correctness, it's about just doing the right thing and being the right way. Do you need to call that out as well?

KING: Yes, I was actually on a national show yesterday morning when that tweet broke. I said that the president was wrong. And, again, you know, what his intent was, I'm not even going into that. The fact is, the president always lashes back. He feels he has to win every fight. He's the president of the United States. You should not get involved in that. You should stay above that. And he just, again, has to realize, he's the commander-in-chief. He's the leader of the free world and not be getting involved with fights with everyone that comes along.

CUOMO: But you fight. You don't fight like that. You wouldn't say that to a woman.

KING: No, actually, I get along very well with Kirsten Gillibrand. We don't agree with a lot, but we work very closely on issues like 9/11 and the health care bill and (INAUDIBLE) --

CUOMO: Right. And I'm not saying there's a double standard. I'm just talking about decency.

KING: Yes.

CUOMO: The way you talk about people matters. And is that a little bit of the takeaway from last night, that decency does still matter. There is a bottom. There is a too far that you can go with disrespect of minorities and sensitivities and issues?

KING: Yes, I think the president, again, should stop those type of tweets and he should realize that, again, you can attack somebody -- listen, I just said this morning that I think Bannon looks like a disheveled drunk. And the reason I said that was, he goes out of his way to put on this every man image, when he's a Goldman Sachs millionaire.

But, no, as far as actually going after somebody personally, I try not to do it. Again, we can throw punches, we can hit each other hard, but you try not to hit low.

CUOMO: Congressman Peter King, other than the whole thing about the accent, which is just woefully incorrect, I appreciate your perspective on the show today. You're always welcome on NEW DAY.

KING: Well, that's to create a whole new issue. Maybe I come from the Irish-American part of Queens. Maybe that's what sort of made me -- I work on the sunny side, so I sort of have that sort of semi-Irish immigrant accent, I guess.

CUOMO: Well, you are beloved in Queens and not just because of that stellar head of hair that you maintain to this day.

KING: Thank you, Chris.

CUOMO: Best for Christmas to you. You're always welcome here.

KING: And you too. Thank you, Chris. Bye, now.

CUOMO: Alisyn.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: What could he possibly have been talking about? You speak the Queens English.

CUOMO: You think that I sound like him?


CUOMO: Yes, I get it.

CAMEROTA: It was your joke. I think I stole it from last week.

CUOMO: I don't sound like him.

CAMEROTA: No. No, he's wrong.

CUOMO: Right.

CAMEROTA: Your brother --

CUOMO: Oh, absolutely sounds like him.

CAMEROTA: Has a much bigger accent.

CUOMO: Straight Archie Bunker. Straight Archie Bunker. I don't sound like that.

CAMEROTA: No, you don't. You don't. You -- I wouldn't say --

CUOMO: Attacks (ph) first.

CAMEROTA: You don't have a Midwestern accent, which you're claiming right now, but you're not your brother, I agree.

CUOMO: No. No, I'm not. But, you know, the business has cleaned it up a little bit. That's all I'm saying.

CAMEROTA: That's true. That's true.


CAMEROTA: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson making an overture to North Korea. Is he on the same page as the White House?

CUOMO: All right, but first, Travis Roy (ph) was paralyzed just seconds into his first college hockey game, but he turned a shattered dream into a new purpose. Here is his story in "Turning Points."


TRAVIS ROY, FOUNDER, TRAVIS ROY FOUNDATION: Many of my earliest memories are of playing hockey. And I had some big goals from an early age.

When I first got a scholarship to Boston University, they were the powerhouse in the country in the mid-'90s. That first game was the best day of my life, and by the time it was over, it would turn into the worst.

[08:40:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a BU player down in the corner. Oh, it's Travis Roy.

ROY: My body, it wasn't responding.

They exploded my fourth and fifth cervical vertebrae.

The rehab and the recovery was tedious. It was slow. I just have a little bit of my right bicep. I figured I've got to move on and establish this new life and new identity.

I graduated in 2000. When I was on that rehab floor and I'd see other families going through this, it turned out I had great insurance. Well, there are families that didn't have any of that. So that was -- that was when I thought, well, maybe we can raise some money that can help cover some of these expenses for other spinal cord injured survivors.

We started the Travis Roy Foundation. There's times in our lives where we choose our challenges and there's other times when the challenges simply choose us. And it's what we do in the face of those challenges that really defines who we are.



CUOMO: Time now for the "Five Things to Know for Your New Day."

Number one, Democrat Doug Jones pulls off a major upset in Alabama, defeating Republican rival Roy Moore. Jones is the first Democrat in decades to clinch a Senate seat in that ruby red state.

CAMEROTA: The president tweeting just moments ago that he knew Roy Moore would lose, that's why he initially backed Luther Strange. This comes after Mr. Trump tweeted congratulations to Doug Jones last night.

CUOMO: A new diplomatic overture from the U.S. to North Korea. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the U.S. is prepared to talk with Pyongyang with no preconditions. But the White House doesn't appear to be on the same page.

[08:45:06] CAMEROTA: The suspect in the New York subway bombing goes before a judge today. He faces a slew of terrorism charges. Authorities say he mocked President Trump to FaceBook before the attack writing, quote, you failed to protect your nation.

CUOMO: Donald Trump Jr. appearing before the Senate Intel Committee today in a, quote, closed staff interview, as it investigates Russia's election meddling. The president's eldest son is not expected to invoke attorney/client privileges about conversations with his father, like he did before a House panel last week.

CAMEROTA: OK, for more on the "Five Things to Know," go to for the latest.

CUOMO: All right, so which factors put Doug Jones over the top in Alabama? This is the big part of an after election analysis, the why. And we have it for you in "The Bottom Line."


CUOMO: Well, it's a shocker, but Democrat Doug Jones is heading to the U.S. Senate after pulling off this big-time win in the solidly red state of Alabama. It had been 25 years since they put a Democrat in a Senate seat.

[08:50:11] Why did he win? Let's get "The Bottom Line" with CNN's senior political analyst, Mr. Mark Preston.


MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, you know what, Chris, you're absolutely right. Look, last night Doug Jones needed a royal flush, which you never get in a card game. But the fact of the matter, he did. It all came down to key demographic groups.

Let's first look at race right now. When you look right here, blacks made up 29 percent of the electorate last night, which is two points higher than what we saw when Barack Obama ran in 2012. And in doing so right here, Doug Jones got 96 percent of the African-American vote. We saw what Barack Obama did with the robocall. We saw that key surrogates, such as Cory Booker went down to Alabama to try to get out the vote. Clearly that was successful.

Let's take a quick look at the white voters now, too. So it's wasn't just what we saw with black voters, but with white voters here. Now, it looks like Roy Moore dominated with white voters. In many ways he did. But if you look at historic data, this is not a good showing for Roy Moore. In fact, if you go back to previous elections, the Republican candidate won four out of five white voters. So clearly not as strong showing.

Let's move on to the gender gap right now. When you look at female voters right now, Doug Jones got 57 percent, Roy Moore got 41 percent.

But look at this striking number that we saw right here. Mothers with children under the age of 18 broke two to one for Doug Jones. They moved away from Roy Moore. That is a huge number and in many ways you have to wonder if it had to do with the sexual misconduct allegations and accusations against Roy Moore.

Did it play a factor? Fifty-two percent of the people who voted yesterday said that those allegations were probably true. Forty-two percent said that they were false. And I've got to tell you, that 42 percent is troubling given all the information that we've seen. But, again, electorally, that certainly helped Doug Jones.

Now, moving on, the urban rural divide. We talk a lot about this, specifically in last night's race. If you look at here in urban areas, Doug Jones won 85 percent. Roy Moore only picked up 14 percent.

Let's look at the rural vote, though, and you look at these numbers here, and this is very, very, very important because, as you see right here, Roy Moore picked up 51 percent, but Doug Jones got 47 percent. And when you look at the suburban vote, these are the areas that are outside of the cities. And certainly in a state like Alabama, it gets very rural very, very quickly. In many ways what we're seeing here is probably a protest vote by moderate and centrist Republicans who did not want to support Roy Moore.

Alisyn. Chris.

CAMEROTA: OK. So, Mark, we just had Congresswoman Debbie Dingell from Michigan on. She said it's way too premature for Democrats to take some sort of victory lap right now. It's hard to extrapolate something that happens in Alabama to mean that it's going to happen for the midterms.

What do you think going forward? Is it time to start our countdown clock on the screen for the midterms?

PRESTON: Well, you'll --

CUOMO: First two states, (INAUDIBLE) just told us --

CAMEROTA: Texas and Illinois.

CUOMO: Texas and Illinois. Will this translate?

PRESTON: It will in the way -- and let me take the Peter King interview and tie it together with the Tom Perez interview that you did as well, Alisyn. When you said, what was the takeaway from him, he didn't come out and say it, but here's the takeaway. The takeaway is that you allow the Democratic candidates who are up for reelection, there are 26 of them now, going into 2018 to run their own elections. We also heard Tom Perez say that the DNC went in early, but they went in quietly. So you will not see the national party go into states such as Indiana, such as Wisconsin and other states such as that. So you will see Democrats certainly raising a lot of money, but I suspect you will not see the national party playing a role in some of these states that are traditionally Republican. And let's forget -- not forget, going into 2018, ten of the states where Democrats are running for re- election, Donald Trump won. And of those ten, he won handily by double digits.

CUOMO: All right, but since then we have seen -- there is certainly a civil war going in -- within the GOP. And it had been that Bannon was throwing the punches. Now he is taking them. That New York congressman, Peter King, you know, he is a rock-ribbed Republican. Here's what he had to say about Bannon.


REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: This guy does not belong on the national stage. He looks like some disheveled drunk that wondered on to the political stage. He does not represent anything that I stand for. I consider myself a conservative Republican. I consider myself an Irish Catholic. And he sort of parades himself out there with his weird alt-right views that he has and to me it's demeaning the whole governmental and political process.


CUOMO: What's your take on that, Preston?

PRESTON: So much for harmony, right?

Well, I will tell you this, I think that had Roy Moore won, we would see a civil war that would get even bloodier because it would embolden the likes of Steve Bannon to go into 2018, recruit candidates to run against Republicans and also cause a bigger headache. No question about it, the Republican Party right now needs to find its way heading into 2018. There are a lot of worried people.

[08:55:08] But I will say this, Republicans this morning, such as Peter King, Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, they're breathing a sigh of relief that Roy Moore cannot be used against them heading into 2018.


CAMEROTA: Yes, that's interesting, in some ways this is a win for the Republicans and a loss for Democrats. You know, that's not what it likes like ostensibly, but, of course, how they manage this over the next couple of months, it could be flip-flopped.

CUOMO: And, look, it's a win for Democrats, right, but only until 2020. This isn't a full six--year-term.



CUOMO: So there's still a lot to be decided.

Mark Preston, thank you, my friend.

PRESTON: Thanks, guys.

CAMEROTA: OK, CNN "NEWSROOM" with Poppy Harlow and John Berman will pick up after this very quick break. We'll see you tomorrow.