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Day Four of Kavanaugh Confirmation; Talks on Syria; Bredesen Leads over Blackburn; Remembering Burt Reynolds; NFL Kicked Off its Season. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired September 7, 2018 - 06:30   ET


[06:30:00] JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Because, guess what --


AVLON: There is none.

But -- but, beyond that, look, I think there were -- Mitch McConnell warned that Kavanaugh could be a tough confirmation because of the documents. And we're starting to see those come out.

Pat Leahy pointed to a possible incident of perjury involving his 2006 confirmation when he denied having anything to do with Bill Pryor's (ph) nomination. That's ancient history, but there seems to be evidence that he didn't tell the truth to Ted Kennedy.

There's this question about e-mails saying "spying" that were directed to him, also from Pat Leahy when Republican staffers seemed to have been breaking into computers on the Democratic staffers at the time.

So there's baggage. But, in general, Kavanaugh has comported himself fairly well, but no one should, you know, take too much comfort of what Susan Collins believing that, you know, we're good with Roe. There's not a lot of evidence to suggest that, as David just pointed out, especially with that e-mail.

CAMEROTA: All right, John, David, Seung Min, thank you all very much.

So, crucial talks are happening right now about the future of Syria and its years long civil war. There is so much at stake. You can see all of the aftermath on your screen right now of what's been going on. So we have a live report for you from Syria, next.


[06:35:19] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, happening now, a pivotal moment for the future of the war inside Syria. The leaders of Russia, Iran and Turkey meeting at this hour for talks on the war. This as fears grow of a possible military offensive to take the final rebel stronghold.

CNN's Frederik Pleitgen live in Damascus with the very latest.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, John, and the fate of the civilians who are inside that Idlib province, the last place that's still controlled by the rebels, really in the hands now of Russia, Turkey, and Iran. Those talks going on right now where the Turks essentially (ph) want to stop some sort of offensive from starting. However, the Russians and also the Syrians here on the ground are saying they believe that this is a hot bed of terrorism. There are some Islamism groups that are in that area and they say that that situation needs to be dealt with as fast as possible.

Now, there's huge concern about the civilians that are still inside in the province. Some 3 million by some estimates. And the U.S. has already warned both the Russians, the Iranians, and also the Syrians as well that if there's something like, for instance, chemical weapons used, that there will be repercussions and that there will be a response by the United States.

I want to give you a lay of the land, though, as we've gotten some info. Apparently the entirety of Idlib province is surrounded by some of the most elite troops of the Syrian military. Of course the Russian air force in action as well. There have apparently been again air strikes on Idlib province early this morning. Unclear what those are about. Whether that's the beginning of an offensive or whether that's just to sort of soften up targets in that area.

Also, there could be a confrontation between the U.S. and Russia looming in Syria as well. Our own Barbara Starr reporting apparently the Russians have warned the United States on two occasions at least they would be operating and possibly conducting strikes in an area close to where U.S. troops are situated. A place called Alton (ph) in the Syrian dessert. Of course the U.S. saying they would respond to that as well.

So as you can see, guys, a lot going on here in Syria right now. A lot of things that could be pivotal, not just for the war here in Syria, but also for a possible confrontations between the U.S. and Russia as well, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Absolutely, Fred, and we will have more on Barbara Starr's reporting about that region very soon.

Thank you so much for your report.

So, brand new polling could be making Republicans nervous today as Democrats look to take control of the House, maybe even the Senate. Is the blue wave strong enough for that? We break it all down, next.


[06:41:34] BERMAN: For people who live and breathe political polling, there was one number from one race late yesterday that made us say, oh, wow. Oh, wow. Tennessee might be in play for Democrats trying to win back the Senate.

Joining us now, CNN politics writer and analyst Harry Enten, rain man. Thank you for joining us.

We're talking about Tennessee. We're talking about Democrats Phil Bredesen. Let's put the number up right now. Up two points in his race over Marsha Blackburn, member of Congress right there. This is a state, Tennessee, that Donald Trump won by, what, 25 points?


BERMAN: What's -- rain man, what's going on here?

ENTEN: Look, this is a matter of, it turns out that sometimes politics is local. Not all politics is national. Phil Bredesen, in that poll, had a favorable rating among likely voters of 61 percent. He was a well-liked governor. And compare to Phil Bredesen's favorable rating was to where Donald Trump's was in that poll. Trump's was in the 40s, despite it being a very red state. One that he won by 26 points just two years ago. And so, to me, this is an example of Phil Brendesen's able to override the natural red tilt of the state because he was so well-liked as governor.

BERMAN: So what you're seeing there is Phil Bredesen's a good candidate and Donald Trump's approval ratings, while good, aren't great.

ENTEN: Sure. Exactly. And that's it.

BERMAN: Talk to me about Tennessee now. Tennessee is not a state that a lot of people were focused on when you're talking about Democratic control of the Senate. What does this mean for the overall chances there?

ENTEN: It gives Democrats a Senate math in which they could take control. Remember, they need a net gain of two seats, but there are only nine Republican seats that are up. And so you need to pick up at least two. And then, remember, Democrats are defending a slew of seats. They are defending 10 seats in states that Donald Trump won back in 2016. So if they can say win in Arizona, let's say they can win in Nevada, and they can win in Tennessee, that's three seats. And then they can afford to lose one of the seat that they're defending. And most of the polling does, in fact, indicate that they're probably, at this point, if you were going to pick one seat they were going to lose would be North Dakota. So they could lose there and still pick up control of the Senate if they win in Tennessee as that poll indicates.

BERMAN: Liberal Twitter obsessed with Texas. Obsessed with Beto O'Rourke --

ENTEN: I know.

BERMAN: Him beating Ted Cruz. But it seems to me what you're saying is that Tennessee might be a better shot at a pick up (ph)?

ENTEN: Absolutely. Look, I understand that Beto O'Rourke is seen as the next Robert F. Kennedy, right? I get it. There have been a ton of glowing profiles of Beto O'Rourke. But the fact is, if you look at the polling, O'Rourke, has been consistently trailing Ted Cruz in that -- in Texas by about 5 percentage points. Phil Bredesen, on the other hand, in Tennessee, has actually consistently been leading Marsha Blackburn.

BERMAN: Battle for the House right now. I know you've got something coming though shortly about that, but where do you think it stands?

ENTEN: I think right now, if we're looking at the House overall, we do, in fact, see that Democrats are favored. I would say if they need a net gain of 23 seats, where my estimate may end up, and we'll see it in a few weeks, is that they'll probably pick up around 30 to 35 seats and they are favored, but Republicans still have a chance to maintain control.

BERMAN: And there are some individual polls coming out over at "The New York Times" race by race where Republicans are doing fine --


BERMAN: But --

ENTEN: Right. If you look at "The New York Times," my buddy, Nate Cohn has been putting out some fantastic numbers. A lot of close, close races. But two things to keep in mind. Number one, if there are a ton of close races, but most of those Republicans, even if half -- if only half follow (ph) the Democratic side, they'll probably take control. And, two, what we know historically is that incumbents, at this point, tend to poll better than where they ultimately end up.

BERMAN: Former President Barack Obama hitting the campaign trail. Big speech today. And we understand, going out to some places in a fairly major way. I'm curious about what the impact will be, because one of the things that we've always said about President Obama, a very effective political machine for --

[06:45:07] ENTEN: President Obama.

BERMAN: For Barack Obama.

ENTEN: Right.

BERMAN: Not really for many other folks, especially in midterm elections. Do you see this being effective?

ENTEN: I will say that his favorable ratings are sky high. He is about the most popular candidate or politician in the entire his country. His favorable rating in a CNN poll early this year, 66 percent. Compare that where Trump's is in the low 40s. So he's far more popular than the president of the United States.

Of course, I've always been of the belief that most voters don't necessarily listen to out of state politicians on who they're going to choose, especially in a general.

BERMAN: Well, where is he going to be? If -- if he is to be effective, where would he be effective? ENTEN: He would be effective in African-American communities more so than any other, and perhaps some young voters, but African-American communities more so than any other. And so whatever states where he can go where African-American candidates are -- where African- Americans make up a large percentage of the population that would be. I'd also point out Illinois, right? He still has very good home -- standing in his home state and there are a number of competitive congressional elections there, such as in Illinois 6, Illinois 12. These are the places where I would send Barack Obama.

BERMAN: Harry Enten. If rain man and Serpica (ph) had a kid, it would be you and he'd be good at bowling.

ENTEN: Well, I think -- I thank you for that. And "Rain Man" was a fantastic movie, I will point out.

BERMAN: Appreciate you being with us. Thanks so much, Harry.


ENTEN: Thank you.

BERMAN: "Serpica" was a great movie.

CAMEROTA: It is, but I -- the connotations are a little dark.

BERMAN: He's tough. I'm just saying -- I'm just saying Harry's tough.

CAMEROTA: Oh, he's tough. Got it. No, he's not going to rob a bank.

BERMAN: And he's from the Bronx. I mean --

ENTEN: Yes, I'm from the Riverdale section of the Bronx, so let's not put it (INAUDIBLE).

BERMAN: You're from the Bronx. You don't have to go there. (INAUDIBLE) --

CAMEROTA: Part scrabble (ph), beautifully manicured lawns --

ENTEN: Williamshill (ph) is very tough.


Thank you, Harry.

ENTEN: Thank you.


So we're going to remember legendary movie star Burt Reynolds this morning. We look back at his life and his unforgettable characters, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [06:50:39] CAMEROTA: Hollywood is remembering actor Burt Reynolds as a trailblazer, an icon, and all around cool guy and the bandit who stole our hearts. He died Thursday at 82. His career spanned five decades, and Bur Reynolds seemed to have as much fun off screen as on.

So here's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): From clean shaven, to mustacheo, to bearded, Burt Reynolds' brand was good old boy.

BURT REYNOLDS, ACTOR: Breaker one. Breaker one, this is the bandit.

MOOS: When "Smokey and the Bandit" made it big at the box office, sales of that Pontiac TransAm soared. Cool behind the wheel. Cool with the ladies.

REYNOLDS: Why don't you slip into something comfortable.

MOOS: He called Sally Field "the one who got away."

Burt was married twice. His second marriage to Lonnie Anderson ended in a nasty divorce that was fodder for the tabloids and earned Burt a consoling call on "Larry King Live" from a fellow actor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean forget all this crap that's going on in your life. You're a super man.

MOOS: Years later --


MOOS: In his memoir Burt said, I wasn't interested in challenging myself as an actor. I was interested in having a good time.

But he did challenge himself in "Deliverance."

REYNOLDS: You don't beat it. You don't beat this river.

LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": Anything you turned down you regretted?

REYNOLDS: You mean women wise?

KING: Either way, women or film?

REYNOLDS: That was a crude and sexist remark and I apologize to everyone for it.

MOOS: But he did turn down roles in films that became huge, from "Star Wars," to "Terms of Endearment," to "Pretty Woman." He said yes to "Boogie Nights."

REYNOLDS: Jack Horner, filmmaker. I make exotic picture films. MOOS: His role as a porn filmmaker won him a Golden Globe.

And then there was the time he bared all on a bearskin rug in "Cosmo" magazine. He later said he regretted it for taking attention away from his serious film "Deliverance." Boy, did he deliver in appearances with Johnny Carson. Their whipped cream battle as cream of the crop comedy, But Reynolds didn't just play a good old boy, he lived it.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


BERMAN: That's great. I want to say this --

CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh.

BERMAN: That after swimming lessons, I would bike to the Acton (ph) Movie Theater to see "Cannon Ball Run" and I liked it. I want to announce that right now.

CAMEROTA: And the reason you're telling me that is because "Smokey and the Bandit" was not your thing.

BERMAN: I didn't watch "Smokey and the Bandit."

CAMEROTA: OK, because I walked to the movie theater in Shrewsburry (ph) and we saw it over and over sneaking in, other after the other. I think we'd pay for the first one but then we liked it so much my friends and I stayed for the next one, which you could do back then. And I saw it -- I mean I probably saw that movie seven times.

BERMAN: A movie about CB's and Coors beer.

CAMEROTA: Breaker one-nine. Breaker one-nine.

BERMAN: What if you got a script saying, like, I want to do a movie about CB's and Coors.

CAMEROTA: I'd be in.

BERMAN: All right, football is back. The NFL kicked off its new season last night. Our Andy Scholes was at the game in Philadelphia. The "Bleacher Report" is next.


[06:58:10] BERMAN: The Philadelphia Eagles kicking off the NFL season last night unveiling their first ever Super Bowl championship banner.

Andy Scholes rubbing it in, in Philly, with the "Bleacher Report."

Hey, Andy.


You know, fans here in Philadelphia were super hyped up and pumped last night to celebrate this Super Bowl one more time. And then the thunderstorms came in. The game and the celebration delayed about 45 minutes while we all waited for the storms to pass. Once it did, the Eagles unveiled the championship banner. That was really the highlight of the night for a long time. The first time that this game was a snooze fest. And so many penalties.

But then in the third quarter, the Eagles running their famous Super Bowl play, the Philly special. A little different version this time around. Head Coach Doug Pederson calling it Philly Philly. And that really got the crowd into it.

But this game, it would come down to the very last play. And just like the playoffs last year, Matt Ryan would be incomplete to Juilo Jones. Eagles hold on to win on banner night by the final of 18-12.

Now, Philly native Boys to Men singing the national anthem before the game. The only player to demonstrate during the national anthem was the Eagles Michael Bennett. He stood with his teammates for much of the anthem before then sitting on the bench near the end. Now his teammate, Malcolm Jenkins, who has raised his fist in the past and stayed in the tunnel during the preseason during the national anthem, he didn't do either last night. And after the game he explained his decision to change up what he was doing.


MALCOLM JENKINS, PHILADELPHIA EAGLES: I think it was a huge thing for us to turn the attention towards the issues, and not only the issues, but what players are actually doing in their communities to effectuate change. And so we're -- you know, we're trying to move past the rhetoric of, you know, what's right or what's wrong (INAUDIBLE). And we're just going to focus on the systemic issues that are plaguing our communities.


SCHOLES: And I asked Jenkins after the game if he was going to continue to do what he did last night during the anthem and throughout the season. Guys, he didn't give me a yes or no answer. He just said he's going to continue to do good work in the community.

[07:00:09] CAMEROTA: OK, Andy, I mean I'm just wondering if that rain delay is a metaphor for the entire stormy season.