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EARLY START

Democrats' Biggest Test in Effort to Retake House; White House: "Political Stunt by the Eagles"; Iconic Designer Kate Spade Dead at 55; U.S. Job Openings Outnumber Job Seekers. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired June 6, 2018 - 04:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[04:30:30] CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Hear the music? That means it was Super Tuesday. That's the Super Tuesday, the big primary music.

Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Dave Briggs. It is 30 minutes past the hour.

Let's give you the big picture: Democrats need 23 seats to retake the House. Ten are competitive in California. Seven were won by Hillary Clinton, and those are what they are targeting on primary night.

Overall, the biggest test so far, these Democratic efforts to retake the House, the California primary. And Democrats have been worried about the state's top two or jungle primary system, concerned too many Democratic candidates could split the vote, shutting them out of districts they hope to flip in the fall. Already some evidence that may indeed be the case.

ROMANS: One big contest has been settled. The race for California governor. A Republican has made it on to the ballot which could help significantly with down-ballot races come November.

CNN's Kyung Lah is live for us this morning. She's in Newport Beach where she's been all night.

Kyung, break down California for us.

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Let's start with the governor race that you were talking about. This was something that the GOP was sweating bullets over whether or not the Republican might make it through. If you don't have a Republican at the top of the gubernatorial ticket, it's certainly going to affect everyone below.

Republican, John Cox, makes it through. The president tweeted his support, urging Republicans to go out and vote. He makes it through.

Gavin Newsom, lieutenant, Democrat, also the decisive victor.

But here is where there are some anxious bellies on the Democratic side. The House races that you were talking about, the Hillary Clinton districts that Clinton won, that the GOP still maintained control over, California 48 is one the Democrats believed they could flip. Dana Rohrabacher seen as vulnerable. This is one that they see as winnable.

But look at the numbers tonight. Rohrabacher makes it through. He's the incumbent. That was expected.

It's the number-two slot, there are two Democrats duking it out. And you can see that Keirstead and Rouda, they are separated by just 73 votes. If there's just one of them, that would have been a decisive Democratic victor.

Here's the wild card -- Democrats yet are not convinced that they have that second slot secure even though it looks like it. Trailing at 1,100 votes is a Republican. They are still nervous about this, too close to call.

Let's look at California 49. This is Darrell Issa's seat. He is retiring. If you look there, you see where the at-large numbers of Democrats who have jumped in, if you add up the three Democrats, they would have beaten the top vote-getting Republican. They have three Democrats in there. That divided and diluted the Democratic vote.

So, here is the lesson for the -- for the Democrats here. If you have too many candidates, it's too confusing a ballot, Dave and Christine. Then you have a split vote -- Dave, Christine.

ROMANS: They've had so many good candidates and so much energy. And then you have so many candidates.

BRIGGS: Yes.

ROMANS: The downside.

BRIGGS: It's really backfired.

ROMANS: All right. Kyung, come back to us in a few minutes. Thank you so much.

In other results, CNN projects Deb Haaland has won the primary for New Mexico's first congressional district, putting her on track to become the first Native American woman in Congress. In South Dakota, Congresswoman Kristi Noem, well ahead in the Republican primary for governor, making her the favorite to become the state's first female governor.

BRIGGS: And in New Jersey, Mikie Sherrill, a navy vet and former prosecutor, leading the primary in the 11th district. She has more than twice the total of the leading Republican, Jay Weber.

Let's bring about politics senior writer and analyst Harry Enten.

Harry, good to see you, sir.

ROMANS: Good morning.

HARRY ENTEN, CNN POLITICS SENIOR WRITER AND ANALYST: Good morning. BRIGGS: Let's take a look at these California primaries and we've talked about the jungle primary and the fear for Democrats that they're boxed out. There's one that we weren't looking at, the 10th. What are you seeing there?

ENTEN: In the 10th district, Jeff Denham, who's the incumbent Republican, is well out ahead. The question is the second slot. The second-place candidate is a Democrat, but he's only about 600 to 800 votes ahead depending on the count. There we have it at about 700, somewhere in that neighborhood.

And that has been a very, very tight back and forth. We think that Josh Harder, the Democrat, is probably going to end up claiming that second slot, but it's too close to call at this hour.

ROMANS: Let's look at the 39th, too, because you've got another retiring Republican there, Ed Royce. He's retiring in the 39th in California. You see this one is tight, as well.

Look at the -- well, I guess not so much. You know, Gil Cisneros --

BRIGGS: Lottery winner.

ROMANS: Yes, there you go.

[04:35:01] What do you make it here?

ENTEN: Well, the first thing I would say is, it's good if you win the lottery. Apparently, you can then run for Congress, so I would like to win the lottery, although I wouldn't run for Congress.

I would say that probably the Democrats escape there. That district has a lot of Los Angeles County in it. The vote tends to come in late. So, I expect the Democrats would dodge the bullet. Those were the late numbers coming in, suggested the greatest chance of a lockout. The results clearly indicate they will not be locked out most likely.

BRIGGS: Let's be honest, how many Americans are going to run for Congress after winning the lottery? You got to give Cisneros credit, right? No one's saying they're going to run for Congress --

ENTEN: I would hoard it all and invest the money into the bank and probably some stocks. But then again, I'm a statistician, so that's what I probably do.

BRIGGS: Nothing fun? No boat, no helicopter, no plane?

ENTEN: Maybe. I --

BRIGGS: You're a numbers guy.

ENTEN: I'm a numbers guy. You know what, maybe get some better takeout. It's not very good --

ROMANS: I tell lottery winners, grill the money, don't spend the money. Grill it, don't spend the money.

BRIGGS: So, speaking of numbers, let's go back to the California governor's race. Cox gets in. It appears a huge sigh of relief for Republicans. Being boxed out there would have meant what come the general?

ENTEN: The big fear for Republicans was that if you did not have a Republican at the top of the ticket, you would not get turnout in the key congressional races that Democrats and Republicans agree will be competitive in the fall. What happened was Cox got a late endorsement from Donald Trump. That endorsement clearly seemed to help, he sort of rose in the polls. And Villaraigosa, former mayor of Los Angeles, was thought for a long time to be the second-place guy. Clearly, he has fallen well short, at least this hour.

ROMANS: A lot of people asking how much is a Trump tweet worth literally in terms of the financial impact.

BRIGGS: The guy is 87 percent with his own party. President Trump. So --

ROMANS: Right.

What about the takeaways about turnout, enthusiasm and Democrats, and the Trump -- proxy for Trump policies around the country?

ENTEN: Well, I would say that on the Democratic side if you were against Trump, that helps in Democratic primaries. The candidates who are most vocal against Trump seemed to do very, very well.

On the Republican side, it's the exact opposite. What you saw in Alabama, second district, you saw Martha Roby who had disendorsed Trump during the 2016 campaign, she ends up falling short of the 50 percent necessary in the district. She'll face a runoff later on.

ROMANS: Wow.

BRIGGS: All right. Let's step outside of California. Are you seeing a trend nationally or particular race that surprised you overnight?

ENTEN: I would say a trend is that women candidates continue to do very well if you look across the board, heading into this evening on the Democratic side. Races in come no incumbent was running, women beat men candidates 70 percent of the time.

Tonight, Iowa one, Iowa three, New Mexico one, New Jersey, 11 -- women candidates won across the board. And not only are they, but look at Iowa three where Cindy Axne in the final poll by "The Des Moines Register." She ends up winning that primary by over 30 points. So, clearly a big --

BRIGGS: But down by one?

ENTEN: Down by one.

BRIGGS: Wins by 30. ENTEN: Wins by 30. So, clearly a lot of enthusiasm among -- for

women among Democratic voters.

BRIGGS: And something wrong with the polling there.

ENTEN: Just a late break --

ROMANS: I think she's a small business owner, too. There's also that worked for her.

Let's talk about Montana. John Tester's an example of the Democrat facing a tough road in November. What do you make of those Senate results?

ENTEN: Well, the -- there was the auditor in that state, the Republican auditor areas, Matt Rosendale. That race was much tighter than expected. Although I will say that there was some late talk in Republican circles that in fact Russ Fagg would do better than expected. Rosendale faces an uphill climb in the general election if only because Tester's well liked.

But this is another state, if you look across the Senate races, where it's a very red state. I would not count Rosendale out yet.

BRIGGS: That is going to be a massively expensive race in the general. Republicans have a lot of attention on there. What's the most interesting races in the Senate come the general? Is that the number-one circled for Republicans?

ENTEN: I would say that it is one of them. I would say West Virginia, Missouri, Indiana, North Dakota, those are all going to be heavily invested races from Republicans. Interestingly, one red state where Democrats actually have a shot to pick up a seat would be in Tennessee where the former governor, Phil Bredesen, is doing fairly well in the polls so far.

BRIGGS: And Democrats certainly circling Nevada where they are looking to take --

ENTEN: Nevada, Arizona, and Tennessee. Those are the three pickup opportunities Democrats need to win two and then not lose any or pick up three and lose one to take control.

ROMANS: All right. Harry Enten, thanks so much. Nice to see you this morning.

BRIGGS: Great stuff, my friend.

ROMANS: Bright and early.

All right. Let's do business here quick.

Facebook facing backlash for again sharing user data, this time with a Chinese company the U.S. intelligence calls a security threat. Facebook gave four Chinese device-makers access to data including Huawei, which has closed ties to the Chinese government. [04:40:04]U.S. officials warned Huawei smart phones could be used for

spying. Huawei denies this.

Facebook admits to sharing data with dozens of device makers, Apple, Samsung, Blackberry. It began forging partnerships in 2007 before app stores existed, allowing companies to build versions of Facebook compatible with their devices. Now, it's winding down the agreements including the agreement with Huawei. It is still recovering from the other crisis when Facebook exposed the data of 80 million users to a third party without their consent.

BRIGGS: Yes, expect to hear from Marco Rubio on that issue.

ROMANS: Yes.

BRIGGS: He's been all over it.

All right. Will the Philadelphia eagles pulling a fast one on the White House? Of course, they canceled the celebration, and President Trump held his own. We'll discuss next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[04:45:09] ROMANS: All right. The White House claims the Philadelphia Eagles are to blame for the cancelation of Tuesday's Super Bowl celebration at the White House. The White House accusing the players of pulling a political stunt, the administration insisting the decision was about national anthem and not about crowd size or racial issues.

The president held an alternative celebration without the Eagles on the south lawn. It lasted seven minutes. Mr. Trump singing along to some of the words from the "Star Spangled Banner" and "God Bless America."

(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)

ROMANS: This event to feature patriotism did feature some controversy, at least one person taking a knee during the anthem. Someone yelling this at the president --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop hiding behind the armed services and the National Anthem.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you very much, everybody --

(BOOS)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: The president's decision to cancel the Eagles celebration is having a ripple effect on the NBA finals. Players from the Cavaliers and Warriors not expecting to visit the White House any time soon. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEBRON JAMES, CLEVELAND CAVALIERS: It's typical of him. I'm not surprised. No matter who wins this series, no one wants the invite anyways. So, it won't be Golden State or Cleveland going.

STEPH CURRY, GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS: I agree with LeBron. Pretty sure the way we handled things last year, kind of stayed consistent with that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: Curry saying it's true the political will try to divide us for political gain.

Last year, the world champion Warriors were disinvited by the White House after some players criticized the administration.

ROMANS: President Trump goes to FEMA headquarters today for a briefing on the 2018 hurricane season that just began. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders noncommittal when asked if the president would still rate the federal response to hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico a ten out of ten.

BRIGGS: First lady Melania Trump will join the president for the trip to FEMA, making it her first public appearance in front of reporters in nearly a month. She appeared Monday at a private Gold Star families reception.

ROMANS: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell canceling most of the Senate's August recess. McConnell says it will allow lawmakers to pass spending bills and approve more of president Trump's nominees. Republican leaders and the president have been frustrated by Democratic filibusters slowing progress in the Senate.

The decision heads off a potential spat with the White House that could hurt the elections. The decision is not sitting well with Democrats, though. many of whom would rather be home campaigning.

BRIGGS: Republican senators say President Trump has promised to give Congress a vote on any nuclear deal he strikes with Kim Jong-un. That's significant because an agreement would need broad bipartisan support. GOP senators say any deal would be in the form of a treaty which requires the support of two-thirds of the Senate. Mr. Trump and Kim Jong-un will meet for the first time next Tuesday morning, Monday night eastern time, the Cappella Hotel on Singapore's Sentosa Islands.

In the Oval Office Tuesday, the president suggested the summit could last a couple of days.

ROMANS: Kelly Sadler, the White House press aide who made the inappropriate remark about John McCain's health, she's out of a job. Sadler was quietly let go Tuesday. It's not clear if she's relocating within the administration or leaving entirely. Said was widely criticized -- Sadler was widely criticized when she said McCain's opposition to Gina Haspel as CIA director didn't matter because he was, quote, dying anyway.

The White House refused to condemn the remark. Sadler did not apologize publicly.

BRIGGS: The mounting scandals around EPA administrator Scott Pruitt starting to weigh on Republican senators. Emails show Pruitt had one of his aides reach out to Chick-fil-A about his wife becoming a fast food franchisee. The emails were obtained by the Sierra Club using a Freedom of Information request. One of Pruitt's top staffers also told investigators she searched for rental properties for the Pruitts for several hours a week over the course of several months, sometimes during work hours.

Iowa Republican Senator Joni Ernst calling Pruitt, quote, as swampy as you get.

ROMANS: Friends and family of Robert F. Kennedy will hold a memorial at Arlington National Cemetery to mark the 50th anniversary of his assassination. The service will include remarks from former President Clinton, as well as Kennedy family members. Questions have been raised recently by RFK's family about whether convicted Kennedy assassin Sirhan Sirhan was actually responsible.

All right. For the first time in at least 20 years, there are more job openings than workers to fill them. Will that finally boost wages? CNNMoney is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[04:54:29] ROMANS: At least 192 people are missing in Guatemala since the Fuego erupted on Sunday. The death toll overnight rose to 75.

Another explosion on Tuesday sent rescue workers scrambling for cover. Hot gas, molten rock still streaming from this volcano. Everyone in the area ordered to evacuate. The eruption on Sunday was the biggest in four decades for the Fuego volcano.

BRIGGS: In Hawaii, hundreds of homes destroyed overnight as searing lava oozed through an area filled with vacation homes.

[04:55:00] Officials say the losses in Kapoho and vacationlands development would more than double the 117 homes confirmed destroyed, making it the most destructive day since the Kilauea volcano began erupting May 3rd.

New aerial photo show lava has completely filled Kapoho Bay. There have been at least 12,000 earthquakes around the Kilauea summit since the eruptions started.

ROMANS: The suspect who allegedly stole an armored personnel carrier, that's right, an armored personnel carrier, and led Virginia state police on a two-hour chase is in custody this morning The man surrendered after taking the vehicle from Ft. Pickett, a national guard base 80 miles north of Norfolk. They say the armored carrier was not equipped with any weapons. Charges against the driver who has not been identified are pending. BRIGGS: Shock and sadness following the apparent suicide of iconic

designer Kate Spade. She was 55. A New York police source says spade was found hanged by a scarf tied to a doorknob.

Officials say a suicide note was found at the scene. In it, spade addressed her daughter and her husband, though the context is not totally clear. The designer launched the Kate Spade brand in 1993 and opened her first shop in the city three years later. Many fans and friends including celebrities like Chelsea Clinton and Ivanka Trump posted fond remembrances on line.

ROMANS: The Miss America pageant is getting a major makeover. The next edition of the 97-year-old event will be the first without swimsuits. Gretchen Carlson, who chairs the organization's board of directors, says they will no longer judge contestants on physical appearance. The official Miss America twitter account tweeted a short video of a white bikini going up in a puff of smoke.

Instead there will be a live interactive session with judges highlighting achievements and goals. Carlson says the Me Too Movement is driving the changes.

All right. Let's get a check on CNNMoney this morning. Global stocks higher today after the Nasdaq hit its second straight record high. A rally in tech pushed Wall Street higher. Corporate tax cuts fueled another buyback bonanza in May.

American companies spent a record $201 billion buying back their own stock. Apple made up nearly half of that. Last month, Apple pledged to spend $100 billion on stock buybacks.

This is my favorite chart of the year. Of -- actually I would say of a generation. For the first time in at least 20 years, there are more job openings than workers to fill them. But the Labor Department says the ratio of unemployed workers, jobseekers to job openings, dropped below one in April. That's the first time since it started keeping track in 2000.

When you look at the top of that blue chart there, that was the worst of the financial crisis. Frankly, that was when there were seven or eight people for every job available. There were seven people per job. Today there are a record 6.7 million open jobs, 6.3 million Americans are unemployed.

That low ratio could boost wages. Wage growth has picked up in recent month, but not by much yet. So, why can't the unemployed workers just fill the open jobs, right? Match them together. Then everybody's hunky-dory.

Two reasons -- location, open jobs aren't in the same place as people looking for work. And skills, the available workers might not have the skills employers need.

JetBlue does not want your emotional support hedgehog on its flights. The latest airline to tighten rules for emotional support animals. Starting July 1st, only cats, dogs, and miniature horses will be allowed on board, banning hedgehogs, ferrets, snakes, spiders, and animals with tusks.

JetBlue also wants more documentation about an animal's health and behavior. You can't just show up, folks. It's citing risks from untrained animals in the cabins. Unlike pets, support animals don't have to be crated and ride for free. Airlines have seen a huge spike in recent years --

BRIGGS: You got through it. You got through a tough read.

ROMANS: I know there are people who need this. And I know that there are others who have abused this. The airlines, you know, there have been dog bites on some of the planes. Imagine sitting down and you sit next to a guy with a big white rat on his shoulder. That would just totally freak me out.

Now, on line, people are mad like we don't want your snot-nosed kids on the plane next to us -- I pay for my snot-nosed kids.

BRIGGS: This is very true. We want to hear from you, America. Who brought the emotional support hedgehog on a plane? Who spoiled the party for everyone?

ROMANS: I know. And --

BRIGGS: Was there really an emotional support hedgehog?

ROMANS: I am pro emotional miniature horses.

BRIGGS: We can all agree on that.

OK. EARLY START continues right now with election results from eight states on primary night.

(MUSIC)

ROMANS: Oh, yes. That's the primary music, politics for breakfast. Good morning and welcome to EARLY START, everyone. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: Delicious. I'm Dave Briggs. Wednesday, June 6th, 5:00 a.m. in the East, 2:00 a.m. in California.

The numbers are coming in. Constantly updated as we check out the Democrats' efforts to retake the House. The biggest test thus far of the Democrats' effort there, the California primary.