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Hurricane Florence is now a category three hurricane; Serena Williams calls out what she says is blatant sexism at the U.S. Open; President Trump's false tweet claiming unemployment rate is lower than the GDP for the first time in 100 years. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired September 10, 2018 - 10:30   ET



POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: -- big picture when it comes to likability (ph) and the president because we know how involved the president wants to be in midterms. How much he will be on the road with these candidates, in Texas there happy, right for Cruise.


HARLOW: But Mulvaney (ph) said this, you may hate the president and there's a lot of people that do, but they certainly like the way the country's going. If you figure out a way to subtract from that equation how they feel about the president the numbers go up dramatically. Ouch.

ENTEN: Yes. I mean look, that would be very nice if you could do that. Maybe you could teach me that magic trick and maybe I can get a free Wendy's meal or something like that.

HARLOW: Wendy's again. You're always with Wendy's with you.

ENTEN: I do love Wendy's. But yes, I mean look people like the direction the counties going, certainly more so than they did during the Obama years. They like the way the economies going. The problem here is that Donald Trump is so unpopular that's he's basically brining down a bunch of republican's with him, if you believe the polling numbers.

HARLOW: What is going on in Tennessee? There you have Marsha Blackburn running for senate against the democrat Phil Bredesen, the former governor. And it's neck and neck.

ENTEN: I mean look, if your talking about likability matters here's the race that illustrates that more than any other. Because Phil Bredesen a democrat, Tennessee is a state Donald Trump owned by 26 points. But Phil Bredesen a democrat has a favorable rating of 61 percent. Because they love the way he was governor back in the early 2000's. He was a very popular candidate, and despite some attacks that some republican's have thrown at him he has managed to maintain a high favorable rating.

HARLOW: And remember out going Tennessee senator Bob Corker whose seat their running for. Anything but sort of a glowing endorsement of Blackburn, he said she'd get his vote but that's about it.

ENTEN: Yes, I mean look Bob Corker and Phil Bredesen have been friends for a very long time. Back to when they were both mayors in Tennessee. And you know I think that's an illustration of a good personal relationship. But I do feel that there are a lot of people who have voted in republicans in recent elections in Tennessee who might have formerly been voting for democrats who feel that same way. And that's why Bredesen is doing so well.

HARLOW: OK, good to have you. Harry, thank you very, very much. So our Marty Savidge went to take a closer look at that race. Why the democrat Phil Bredesen is proving to be a tough challenger in Tennessee.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's dove season in Tennessee. But Phil Bredesen's hunting something much more illusive in this reliably red state. He's a democrat aiming to win the senate seat of retiring republican Bob Corker. And many believe Bredesen actually has a shot.

The former Nashville Mayor and two term governor is a moderate who is widely known and liked.

LOGAN YARDELL, BREDESEN BACKER: Mr. Bredesen has a proven track record for fighting for this state against the federal government or with the federal government.

SAVIDGE: But Bredesen isn't the only popular politician in the state.

Do we love Tennessee?

SAVIDGE: Donald Trump swept Tennessee, putting 61 percent of the vote and 92 of 95 counties. The last time Bredesen faced voters he got nearly 69 percent of the vote and won every county. But that was 12 years ago and Tennessee's a lot redder.

Is popularity enough for him?

TOM INGRAM, POLITICAL CONSULTANT: No, he will have to persuade enough of the middle undecided, undetermined voters that he will be independent of the democratic national leadership if he goes to Washington.

SAVIDGE: Which means attacking Trump, a tactic democrats can use elsewhere won't work in Tennessee.

Do you go after the president?

PHIL BREDESEN, TENNESSEE GOVERNOR: No, no I make a point of saying I'm not running against the president.

SAVIDGE: Bredesen may not be attacking Trump, but Trump is attacking him.

DONALD TRUMP, US PRESIDENT: This guy, we'll 100 percent vote against us every single time.

SAVIDGE: The presidents backing republican congressional firebrand (ph) Marsha Blackburn. She's a Trump stalwart which conservatives like.

Is that appealing to you? Does that work for you?

RICHARD DION, BLACKBURN SUPPORTER: Yes. I'm pro Trump, all the way.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think Marsha more fits with were I am politically.

SAVIDGE: We repeatedly reached out to the Blackburn campaign for an interview. They never responded. Blackburn's message is simple. As she told FOX News, a vote for Bredesen is vote to put democrats in control of the senate.

MARSHA BLACKBURN, US SENATE NOMINEE: What their going to do is to repeal the Trump tax cuts. Their going to push for government run single payer healthcare. They are going to push to abolish ICE.

SAVIDGE: That kind of polarize politics may fire up her base. But it could turn off moderate republicans.

INGRAM: It's a risk. I mean she's got to tell us who she is. Not who Trump is.

SAVIDGE: According to campaign officials and election finance records Bredesen's already winning support from some of Tennessee's top GOP donors. Tom Cigarran co-owner of the National Predators hockey team, and Pitt Hyde the founder of AutoZone.

Do you think there's still a place for a moderate like yourself in to day's very polarized political environment?

BREDESEN: Yes, I really do. I think the people are - that a lot of real people are just yearning for someone to find some compromises. And just to stop - to stop the standing on the opposite sides of the room and shouting at each other, and throwing bricks at each other. And start to move some things forward.

SAVIDGE: Martin Savidge, CNN Bell Buckle Tennessee.



HARLOW: Fascinating report, Marty. Thank you for that. Coming up next for us, Serena Williams calls out what she says is blatant sexism at the U.S. Open, and now her fellow male tennis stars are running to her defense.


HARLOW This morning, Serena Williams is fined $17,000. As many in the tennis world, including many of her male colleagues are accusing the umpire of sexism after she lost the U.S. Open final to Japan's Naomi Osaka. Here is how it unfolded.

She was warned by the chair umpire, Carlos Ramos, after he said that her coach was giving her signals from the stand, which is illegal.


She says he wasn't. Later, Serena slammed her racket in frustration. That's another automatic violation. And because of the earlier strike against her, she was docked a point.

Well the, she, right there, approaches the ump, calls him a thief. She was penalized an entire game for that. He said it was verbal abuse. She lost what could have been her 24th Grand Slam title. This is what she said after the match.


SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm here fighting for women's rights and for women's equality and for all kinds of stuff, and for me to say thief and for him to take a game, it made me feel like it was a sexist remark. I mean, like how - he's never took a game from a man because they say thief. For me, it blows my mind, but I'm going to continue to fight for women.


All right, well this is just a few weeks after she spoke in detail about the discrimination that she's also faced as a new mother. Let me read you what she told Time Magazine for this cover story.

"It would be nice to recognize that women shouldn't be treated differently because they take time to bring life into this world."

With me now, Sean Gregory, who wrote that Time cover story and spent a lot of time with Serena Williams at her home, et cetera, perfect voice to have this morning. Thank you for being here.


HARLOW: So you've written, obviously, since this all unfolded over the weekend, and you said, "amidst the ugliness of the U.S. Open final, both Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka offer lessons." What are they?

GREGORY: I think from Serena's point of view the lesson was how she turned things around during the awards ceremony, and it was a very - it was devolving (ph). I mean, I was there. I've been to a lot of U.S. Open finals. The loudness of the booing, the crowd was really, really turned against the umpire, and by turning against the umpire it kind of looked like they were turning against Osaka, and Serena Williams felt that during the ceremony and kind of took over and said everybody, let's stop booing. Let's have a nice moment here, and kind of helped the fans appreciate what Osaka did.

And the lesson from Osaka really, she's really good. And she's really, really good, and she's the future of American tennis, and she deserved to win that match.

HARLOW: You know, we have seen so many of Serena's male counterparts - Andy Roddick. James Blake, you know, famous tennis player, tweeted, "I will admit I've said worst and not gotten penalized." People point to Rafeal Nadal with that same ump having a very different outcome. And then you heard the champion on the male side yesterday, Novak Djokovic, say this. Let's listen.


NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Maybe this umpire should not have pushed Serena to the limit, especially in a Grand Slam final. He did change the course of the match and, in my opinion, maybe unnecessary. We all go through out emotions, especially when you're fighting for a Grand Slam trophy.


HARLOW: What does it mean to her broader fight? You know her broader fight for true equality for women to have all of those men standing in her defense this morning.

GREGORY: Yes, it's really, really important, and Serena throughout her career has had darts thrown at her, racism, sexism, and this is the next thing that she's taken and tried to turn it into a positive. And yes, having the male players on her side really, really helps her stance big time.

HARLOW: Talk about the time you spent with her, with her, her husband, with their daughter, I mean, on her overall fight because it is so far beyond the U.S. Open, beyond this match. I mean, it is a fight for true equality when it comes to gender, when it comes to race, and when it comes to being a parent, a working parent.

GREGORY: Yes, so she - when she came back from having her daughter, she pushed for rankings to be changed, for her ranking not to be docked just because she was pregnant. So that was another thing that she kind of added to her ledger. But, you know, Serena Williams over her career has kind of taken a step forward to move beyond tennis, and she's become and outspoken voice over the last 10 years for so many other things, and here we see another example of it. And she's kind of stirring the national conversation once again.

HARLOW: What do you think her goal is in all of this beyond tennis? I mean, few people from the outside journalists get to spend as much time with as you did for this cover story. I mean, she almost died first of all, you know, any aftermath of having her daughter, and to come back like this, it's extraordinary and it has certainly changed her perspective. What is her goal in the end on all of this?

GREGORY: I mean, her goal is to be remembered as an athlete in the same veil as like a Muhammad Ali in the sense of being bigger than her sport. And so, she's taken on these issues. And from a tennis point of view, the remarkable thing of what she's done is that week that I spent with her in early August, she had the worst professional loss of her career and she was going through a very tough time. She had learned that her - the man who murdered her sister was released from prison. She had all this going through her mind a month ago, and I - you know, so I saw her practice that week. She was working hard, but I wasn't about to bet that she was going to make the U.S. Open final, you know? It was only a month later. So what she has accomplished here. It was only a month later, so what she has accomplished her is really remarkable. Obviously it didn't end the way that she wanted it to. But it was still an unbelievable story.


And another upside is that we have a new player, Naomi Osaka--


GREGORY: Who has a very very bright future.

HARLOW: Extraordinarily. And frankly, maybe it is a win in the end for everyone, because we're all talking about this. And not just talking about who won a match or who didn't win a match, right?

GREGORY: Yes, sometimes these controversies, they're ugly in the moment but there are some broader lessons to be learned.

HARLOW: That's a fascinating story, with a whole new lens now given that people should go back and read it if they haven't. Thank you very much.

GREGORY: Thank you.

HARLOW: Appreciate you being with me. So, the economy is great. No one is disputing that, and that's a great thing. But not everything the president says about it is true. Why a claim he made this morning is just flat out wrong, next.


HARLOW: This morning, the president is making a claim about the economy that is just not true. He tweets that the unemployment rate is lower than the GDP, lower than economic growth for the first time in more than a century, more than 100 years.

Again, it's just not true. You actually don't have to go back 100 years or even 20 years. Our chief business correspondent, Christine Romans, here with the facts which are important this morning.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's happened 62 times. 62 times. So, the president's wrong that this is the first time it's happened in a 100 years.

And even when you look at GDO statistics, Congress will tell you that before like 1948, the post World War II ear, that GDP was kind of squishy. Those numbers were a little squishy to measure.

So we kind of like to just look at the post World War II era, but this has happened before many many times. Two examples where this has happened in recent, we chose the second quarter of 2000. June 2000, GDP was 7.5 percent; the unemployment rate was four percent.

Let's fast forward to 2003, seven percent economic growth, 6.1 percent unemployment. So I don't know why the president's putting those two statics together in the first place. And looking at that inflection point and saying that this somehow shows how magnificent his economy is, because that's really not relevant. And it's happened a bunch times.

So it raises questions about how the president is processing economic information and what he thinks is important for the people around him to think this or maybe he heard this or misheard this n a radio show or on a TV show or a TV interview. But it - it's just not true.

What is true is the economy is strong.

HARLOW: Very strong.

ROMANS: And you don't need to exaggerate or lie-

HARLOW: Anything.

ROMANS: Or - or embellish because GDP growth, 4.2 percent. The unemployment rate's 3.9 percent, those numbers stand up well.

HARLOW: And especially job growth for some of the places where the president has done the best.

ROMANS: Right.

HARLOW: And - and among groups in which a president has performed the best. Blue collar job s, right?

ROMANS: A fascinating piece by our former colleage and friend Heather Long-


ROMANS: In the Washington Post this morning pointing the blue collar job growth fastest rate that we have seen in three decades.

Yes, since 1984, 3.3 percent, the best rate for good producing jobs. I mean this is - this is good. This is good news. And it shows you that ten years in to the recovery, it maybe is broadening out a little bit.

One of the complaints about the recovery is that it had been slow and that (inaudible) quality had worsened. Maybe this is a good sign of that. So again, it goes to the credibility issue.

The economy is strong and the president tends to throw superlatives and facts that are - are just wrong. And I don't know how that advances - advances the conversation.

HARLOW: Something that was confounding to me playing out yesterday is that he president seems to be giving Ford Motor-

ROMANS: Right, yes.

HARLOW: Ford, a big American car maker business advice, saying hey, you should build these smaller cars here in the U.S. because you said you're not going to build them in China anymore. But Ford had to correct the record-

ROMANS: Right.

HARLOW: With this statement yesterday. What happened?

ROMANS: It's - this is fascinating. So a few weeks ago, we found out that Ford was going to get rid of this plan to build a small car in China and ship it to the U.S.

HARLOW: Right.

ROMANS: It was this-

HARLOW: Because of the tariffs-

ROMANS: This hatchback - right, the president's tariffs made it untenable for them to build this little car in China and ship it to the U.S. market. So the president tweeted that's fine, build them here. These can built in the United States. And Ford said no, we really can't.

We're only going to sell 50,000 of them. We won't - that scale isn't big enough to make a profit. And really quite honestly, the focus in this country right now for the automakers is selling SUVs and electric vehicles and - there's a different focus.

It's not these small cars. The small cars would - they could've made then in China and instead f sending them here, they're going to keep making them in Europe. They're going to sell them around the rest of the world.

They're not going to - so Ford's saying very quickly I will poit out, they're saying no, we're not going o take business advice from the president. We will not be building that small car in the U.S. after all.

HARLOW: OK. Thank you, Romans for being here and that important fact check on all of this-


HARLOW: Good to see the job growth that we are seeing.

ROMANS: And it's real.

HARLOW: Appreciate it. Ahead, Hurricane Florence is now a category three hurricane. The path, millions of people are in the way along the east coast. We'll have much more on this straight ahead.

[10:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARLOW: The first Sunday of the NFL's regular season saw two players kneel during the national anthem. Miami Dolphin's wide receivers, Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson continue their protest of police brutality and social injustice.

Dolphin's defensive player, Robert Quinn didn't kneel, but he did raise a fist on the sidelines during the anthem. The former 49er's quarterback, Colin Kaepernick who was the first to protest during the anthem took notice.

Here's what he wrote on Twitter in part quote, "They have not backed down, even when attacked and intimidated. Their courage will move the world forward."

Also this, a special moment a the Arizona Cardinal's home opener, Cindy McCain, the wife of late Senator John McCain was the honorary captain at Arizona's game with Washington on Sunday.

Cindy McCain met with Cardinal's wide receiver, Larry Fitzgerald beforehand. Fitzgerald was a very good friend of Senator McCain. And after the game, Mrs. McCain posted a tweet thanking the team and Fitzgerald for the touching tribute.

The Cardinals also tweeted out a photo of her hugging Fitzgerald, do you see it right there? The star wide receiver spoke at John McCain's memorial in Phoenix.

Thanks so much for being with me today. I'm Poppy Harlow in New York. I will see you back here tomorrow morning. Let me pass it over to my colleague, Kate Bolduan.