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Democrats Face Off In First Primary Debate Of 2020; First 10 Democratic Candidates Spar in Miami; Candidates' Political Stock Price After First Debate; Interview with Governor Jay Inslee (D-WA), Presidential Candidate. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired June 27, 2019 - 01:00   ET

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


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: All right our live debate coverage continues with a special edition of "CUOMO PRIME TIME" right now. Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, thank you very much, Anderson. I appreciate it. Well, that's it. Round one is in the books. You could say that the election has now officially begun. So I know everybody likes to be high-minded about this, I don't. Who won? Who lost?

Look, the big thing you saw on the stage tonight was that your two big frontrunners weren't there. You didn't have Biden, you didn't have Sanders. You did have Elizabeth Warren. She was treated like the front-runner. Did she perform like that?

You're going to hear some new names. You're going to hear Julian Castro a little bit. You're going to hear Tulsi Gabbard. You're going to hear better O'Rourke maybe not in a good way, maybe yes. So I say let's take a look at the different metrics and figure out who rose and who fell.

We will look at Elizabeth Warren because you got to treat the polls with some respect. She was supposed to deliver. Did she? All right, our primetime primary politicos are going to dissect it all and we're going to bring in a man who will argue he won the night. Governor Jay Inslee is here. Let's test his take.

And you don't have to wonder what the President thinks he was watching and live tweeting on his way to Japan. Our lucky night or top of the morning here in New York City, let's get after it.

All right, half the candidates who qualified for the first debates have made their opening statements to you if you watched. Some even made them in Spanish this evening. The question is where any speak in the right language to win over Democratic voters? Let's get to our primetime primary with Elaina Plott, Sabrina Siddiqui, and a man named Mark Preston, if I have it right.

So again, I love the high-minded talk. I don't think it's what about. What is it about, we get to these things. These are contests with winners and losers. Who won?

ELAINA PLOTT, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I would have to say Julian Castro won.

CUOMO: Why?

PLOTT: All he had to do as anybody at the bottom was break out. All Elizabeth Warren had to do was tread water. He was the person who accomplished the exact thing he needed to do and then some.

CUOMO: OK, Siddiqui?

SABRINA SIDDIQUI, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think that both Julian Castor and Cory Booker were able to rise above a very crowded stage. There are two people who came into this debate without a great deal of name recognition and I think that they both had moments on issues like immigration, access to abortion.

And so they probably have done a pretty good job of now implanting themselves in the minds of voters. Elizabeth Warren, I think that she was easily driving the conversation around income inequality for a lot of the debate. For the second half, she may have faded somewhat into the background but she certainly came out of this also unscathed.

CUOMO: Who lost? If there are winners, there are losers.

MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Donald Trump lost right because he wasn't the main point of conversation. You know, Elaina and I were talking about this in the -- in the green room beforehand. Donald Trump wanted to be part of the debate. He wasn't necessarily part of the debate which was good because this wasn't a debate about Donald Trump, this a debate about who was going to carry the flag to the Democratic Party in November of 2020.

But I do think that if you look at the winners, "winners," let's not talk about people, let's talk about manufactured moments, right, because it was all about moments and Julian Castro certainly came out and was able to grasp it. He was almost too cute by half in some ways for me. Meaning he was very successful. He clearly won the night in the sense. He's going to have a lot of media exposure.

CUOMO: Take a step sideways and tell people what was happening. It was him and Beto O'Rourke.

PRESTON: Right.

CUOMO: And he had obviously been waiting for a moment to go at Betto O'Rourke specifically you know, to your point about finding a way to break out. That was someone who was a step or two, it's almost like a NASCAR race right. That car is one or two spots ahead. How do I pass that guy? How did he pull it off?

PRESTON: Well, a couple of things. One, they went right to the core issue of the state that they're both from which of course is immigration. And what Julian Castro tried to do was to act in and certainly did so ineptly that he was more attuned to how the law works and why we're in a situation we're in which when you're looking at these presidential debates that's kind of what you want, right. You want somebody who actually understands policy and knows how to enact it.

However, I will say this. He kept coming back with these -- with these manufactured moments. I thought Julian Castro did a really good job. I just don't think it's staying power. I don't -- I don't think it's enough gas in the engine to keep -- you know to catapult him from one percent to seven percent.

PLOTT: But I did -- all I think he had to do was survive tonight, somebody that low in the polls. And the reason I do think he was able to surge tonight like he was is because he came in I think tactically with a different plan than everyone else. He did not go on that stage trying to outdo every single other candidate. He came in wanting to outdo Beto O'Rourke.

And when you kind of narrow it down to that one more manageable contest, it's so much easier I think to hit a home run then try to out -- you know, out run, outdo, outperform every other person.

SIDDIQUI: It was very clear --

CUOMO: Pragmatically he winds up being true. It was gamble but -- and we know it had to be planned, one, by its delivery, two, by its content because what is the knock on O'Rourke that he's wide but now shallow and he doesn't have the depth on policies and that's exactly what he was mining with that.

Let me ask you about something else. Bearing, bearing matters to me. We had a little division on the team when we were talking about this before. It matters to me about how you present, how you come across. I believe it is a concern for Warren. Not I have a plan. She's smart as hell. Everybody knows that.

When I met Elizabeth Warren at ABC News during the economic crisis in 2008, we found her at Harvard Law School, we brought her in to start to an analysis about tariff and (INAUDIBLE) because no one understood it. She wound up catapulting herself into a policy position. Very smart, bearing, talk to me about this, Sabrina.

SIDDIQUI: Well, I think that she spoke very authoritatively about the issues and she addressed such a wide range of policies. Like you said, she has a plan for everything whether it's health care, student loan debt. She talked of course about breaking up corporations, about a well tax.

And I think that when it comes to Warren she obviously has very nuanced details on any policy that she's up there talking about. And the real question is whether or not some of these issues that are driving the conversation and Democratic primary are going to be a litmus test for voters when they go to the polls.

And you know you see that also with Bernie Sanders and to some extent, it helped her that he wasn't also standing on that stage because it allowed her to really own that conversation versus in terms of the progressive movement, right, as a leader of the progressive movement. And the question, of course, will be is that what the primaries are ultimately going to be about or is it going to be about who is best position to defeat Donald Trump.

CUOMO: And let's give a nod to that, Mark, because I think that there's a good chance it is. As Nancy Pelosi said, everybody has got a plan. Everybody has got a plan. Can you take a punch? Can you give a punch? Do you look presidential? Do you feel better than the others? On that register, who made a difference to you tonight?

PRESTON: You know, I was -- I was impressed with Cory Booker but I was impressed with Cory Booker because I was with Cory Booker down in Georgia when we did a CNN Town Hall with him and I got to see how he interacted with people so I had a feeling -- I actually had a feeling for every one of these candidates on stage because we've done town halls with every one of them.

I think Elizabeth Warren did well. I mean, I think she held her own. I think that you know, some people said that she was kind of fading towards the end, but I think that she did well. I mean, look, Castro came out as a fighter. In this part of the Democratic primary, you've got to be a fighter.

CUOMO: You heard what happened when Governor Inslee said the biggest threat to the world or whatever it was the way he put it is Donald Trump. Yes, it was one of the bigger cheer moments of the night.

PRESTON: But there was also another cheer moment that kind of caught me a little off guard and I don't think I took it the same way as other people did. And that's when Inslee talked about what he has done for healthcare and how that has helped women his own state, how he has actually passed legislation.

Klobuchar turned around and in sucker-punched him. And I was just wondering, it wasn't as if he was saying he's better than everyone else, he was saying listen, I'm the one that's got this done. I just felt that was kind of a sucker punch that came out of nowhere.

Now again, I'm probably in the minority and I will get killed on Twitter for saying that but it just seemed to me that it was.

CUOMO: A lot of this will play out there on Twitter. And one of the metrics winds up being how much is a new political reality for all of us. By the way, it used to be that we would do phone-in polls after these things and see what people were saying in real time.

Now it's how many people looked up plot after that. When she said to Cuomo yes, you look like a chauffeur. You know, so when we look at that metric, Beto O'Rourke they were looking up but who knows if that's for good or bad reason. Cory Booker, they were looking up, right?

PLOTT: Tulsi Gabbard.

CUOMO: Tulsi Gabbard, they were looking up. Do you think they were looking up each of those people for the same reasons?

PLOTT: I think no. I think if anything, if it were me, I'd be looking at Beto O'Rourke to say why is this somebody I've been hearing about is you know, the next JFK you know, after this performance, I saw this evening. If it's Tulsi Gabbard, I think I'm wondering who is this remarkably articulate person that I've heard little to nothing about who made a congressman of 17 years in a Rust Belt State look a little foolish on stage?

Of course, I'm referencing their exchange on 9/11, al Qaeda, and the Taliban. She spoke I think really authoritatively and really calmly I think in a way that is going to matter and resonate with voters. I do think she had that presence, that bearing that you're referring to.

CUOMO: What do you think the lesson is for the people tomorrow night on what they saw tonight?

SIDDIQUI: Well, I think that the reality here is -- and you heard a lot of people mentioned Donald Trump. Every single candidate who's standing on that stage is running on an anti-Trump platform. So the real question is what are you really articulating in terms of what you would deliver as president and also what are the various degradation in terms of policy among what is a very crowded and diverse field of candidates, and to what extent are you really recognizing who drives the Democratic base which I think you saw a lot of that from Cory Booker for example who talked about intersectionality and he kept talking about people of color and was very clear in addressing the racial disparities when he's talking about income inequality, LGBT issues.

I think that's what made him stand out for example, really recognizing you know, that the Democratic base is primarily comprised of people of color, of young voters, and people who really want to hear much more clearly about how these candidates want to address not just income inequality but some of the very specific disparities that affect the people who are ultimately going to be going to the polls.

CUOMO: I agree with all of that here. I'm wondering, let's take a break and when we come back, let's talk a little bit more about this and this, right, because you're right, but there is this to talk about intersectionality.

Politics has to get simple at a certain point. And I think that the concern with the left -- and this may be misplaced, but beating this president is so all-consuming. And people say well, it always is, right? You always want -- you're the out party, you want to -- not like this. It's existential for them. And I wonder if that is going to overweight the expectations. Because if you look at Biden, what does he got going for him? Name recognition, but what else does he have going?

Everybody keeps saying I think he's the guy to beat -- you know, and they keep saying it as a comma. Oh, I don't like what he said about that either, comma, but I think he's -- so let's talk about this. Let's take a break and we're going to look at two things when we come back. One, what is tonight mean for tomorrow night. Sabrina was laying that out well. Let's now boil it down. What seems to matter most after tonight? Let's get after that.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [01:15:00] CUOMO: All right. We are back here, post-debate, we have Elaina Plott, Sabrina Siddiqui and Mark Preston. So, we talk about who does well, that means, people did not do well, and that's important.

Because even with this recent template of a gazillion candidates that we saw in 2016 for the Republicans, now the Democrats are doing it, but they have the same challenge, which is people are going to have to go.

And I know, Preston, people will say it's too early, Cuomo, stop. We haven't even had a single vote. But, come on, that's what these things are a measuring contest. We're talking about who resonated tonight, who popped and how, who faded tonight, who's hurting after tonight?

PRESTON: I mean, looking badly, Beto O'Rourke is, "hurting" but let's note, he's hurting in June of 2019, so there's plenty of time to get to the hospital and get fixed up and get back out there. Let's not forget, he has -- he does have an incredible following. He can raise an incredible amount of money, and he has an attraction.

So, I just think that, like, tonight, he's going to get back pressed, bad pressed in a couple of hours, people pick up the papers. I don't think that's the end of him this early, but I will say this, when you do look at the John Delaneys of the world, I would even say the Tulsi Gabbards of the world, I just -- I don't see them moving much beyond, perhaps, the CNN debate in July. I just don't see how they do that.

PLOTT: Here's why I think that, you know, the June of this year argument, maybe is a bit different from what it was in 2015. You know, people like to say, remember at this time in 2015, Jeb Bush was leading the primary and, you know, look what ended up happening.

At this point, though, you have Joe Biden commanding such a huge swath of voters, at least based on this early polling. It was not like that in the Republican primary. It was, you know -- the disparities between numbers were not so high. I think it was much more plausible to believe that each candidate had a chance to make up ground.

PRESTON: At least five of them.

PLOTT: Right. And for that reason, I do think that Beto O'Rourke is hurting a lot after tonight. I think to lose any ground at this point, because Biden has so much of the share of the voters right now, is not a good thing.

CUOMO: I also think Castro also made a calculated bet that paid off two ways, Beto O'Rourke had to step up. My employees is always the case on my show, are feel free to disagree, but -- because sometimes, they just say things to be provocative, but Beto would've been having his apple polished by the media for some time. He could raise a lot of money.

Preston, you know this better than anybody. The Democrats throw all their resources at him to try to beat Cruz. He got a lot of artificial help, let's call it, in that race. He didn't organically design his own -- his own fund-raising, he got help.

PRESTON: Well, he got help by those who want to do help him. He was not -- he was not a darling of the Democratic Party, that's for sure. They didn't even want him to run initially, Chris, I mean, they --

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: Once he was in there (INAUDIBLE)

PRESTON: And then all of a sudden, he started to raise money. I will say this, Beto O'Rourke on a stage of 10 people is a lot different than Beto O'Rourke on a stage --

CUOMO: With the media --

PRESTON: -- one-on-one.

CUOMO: -- polishing his apple. I mean, people pick favorites in this business. He needed to come tonight and show, I was the favorite for a reason early on, and he didn't do that.

SIDDIQUI: I certainly think that he was really held up by the media, as an example of somebody who is a rising star in the party, very much stemming from his almost defeat of Ted Cruz in the Texas Senate race, really over-performing in a very conservative state that has slowly, slowly been trending blue.

And now, you have seen him struggle, and not really take off in what is a very crowded field, someone like Mayor Pete Buttigieg who wasn't on the stage today, he will be on that stage tomorrow. He, perhaps -- he's taken some of the attention away from someone like O'Rourke.

But one of the reasons why I think Beto is getting some of this bad publicity from tonight's debate is because he did launch his candidacy around the issue of immigration, coming from a border state like Texas.

And that is the vulnerability, I think that someone like Julian Castro saw, was to kind of get beneath a lot of the surface level talk of everyone being in favor of reversing Trump era policies and saying, how far are you actually willing to go, because this administration has been using the process of crossing the border, illegally, as a means to separate families at the border.

Are you in favor of making illegal border crossings a civil offense and no longer a federal crime? Is every Democrat on the stage going to embrace that? We don't yet know, but I think that's where Castro saw an opportunity to kind of get beneath a lot of the lofty rhetoric that you hear from candidates like Beto, on immigration and say what is your actual plan?

PLOTT: But not even, I totally agree with you, and it's not even just Castro wanting to say how far are you willing to go on this issue, but how much do you actually know about this issue? I think O'Rourke and Buttigieg are similar, at least, in my opinion, in this way. They have a really shiny, nice veneer, but the media kind of perpetuates narratives that it wants to be true, so you had Vogue recently calling Pete Buttigieg, the sexy guy who's also a policy wonk.

[01:20:09] I don't remember at any point reading really definitive piece on Pete Buttigieg's policy agenda.

CUOMO: He actually said the opposite. He said I'm not going with policy. He tells right now --

PLOTT: Exactly.

CUOMO: I'm going with introducing myself. Tomorrow night is the night for Buttigieg, tonight was for O'Rourke. Buttigieg is another guy who's had his apple polished up by the media.

PLOTT: And he's got to breakthrough that veneer and show -- because there will be some, sort of, Castro on that stage tomorrow, I imagine, trying to break facade --

CUOMO: Right.

PLOTT: -- that veneer, and the way that he did for O'Rourke.

CUOMO: Right. And you've got to scrap. You know, I mean, well I do appreciate the subtlety of the intelligence of different positions in understanding, especially when it comes to a reckoning of the left. But at the end of the day, it's a scrap.

That's what a debate is, especially when you have a dozen people up there on the stage, what's the test for Biden tomorrow? The test for Biden is to not get drawn into a fray with somebody who is considered beneath him, right?

And I know that -- nobody is beneath him. Yes, they are. This is a ranking system, and his mistake with Booker was getting drawn into a situation where he made Booker on equal footing with him, even though Booker did have the high ground in discussing race, as an African- American man, and what it meant to be called boy versus son. That's the temptation for tomorrow night.

PRESTON: Well, sure. And also, I think, you know, going into tomorrow night, I was talking to several of the campaigns, you know, who were going to be on stage tomorrow night. I will tell you from just my discussions with them, as this was going on tonight, how they were preparing, so (INAUDIBLE) is now changing --

CUOMO: Yes.

PRESTON: -- because -- and if you think about it, you don't necessarily have to be prepared to go in there, to go in with a detailed policy proposal to win tomorrow night. What you have to do is be able to go in and make that moment, OK? So, it doesn't even have to be a question to you. It could be a question to you, Cuomo. It could be a question to you, Elaina. And it's from my ability to jump in and then seize that moment. We saw Julian Castro do that, we saw Bill de Blasio tried to do that successfully at some points, and I think you are going to see Bernie Sanders really go after Joe Biden tomorrow, not in a personal way, but strictly on policy.

CUOMO: You know, what? And let me -- here's another little clue (INAUDIBLE) there is no not in a personal way. You come at me on the debate stage, there's only one way for me to take it. Did you see Beto O'Rourke's face tonight?

You can say as much, oh, Elaina, I respect you very much, and (INAUDIBLE) Atlantic, and everything you do, you know, but you stink, you know? I mean, that's it. All you hear is that you stink, and that's all you're responding to.

I will make a bet that Joe Biden is going to have a moment tomorrow night that's going to go something like this, a finger point at whoever says it, that, don't you say about and then fill in the blank, where he is going to have to show that when it comes to bumping heads, I am a tough guy, I'm here to fight, and I'm here to win.

I don't know who it's going to be with, but somebody is going to be put to a test against Biden, if they step down, they're done.

PRESTON: So, if I'm writing Biden's debate prep, what I would suggest is you give him a lot of rest tomorrow, you don't put him on edge, and when he goes out there, he doesn't to the point, right, because that doesn't look good. You've got to do the JFK thing. He's got (INAUDIBLE)

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: And then he's going to show himself. No, but seriously, because to your point, he could go, that's what he gets derailed when he's tired, you know, when he's hungry or what have you. I've known the guy for many years, as have you. He's extremely brilliant and he's probably going to be the smartest guy on that stage tomorrow, certainly when it comes to debate.

CUOMO: Let's see. Are you start in small little doses, of quick hits back and forth when you weren't expecting? That's why we watch. This was great. Stick around. Thank you very much. I appreciate all of it, but you, not so much, as always.

Debates are about winners and losers. You've got to keep it simple in politics because that's really the way we process, not as experts, but as voters. Now, how does it translate into metrics of the magic of the alchemy of politics? That's why we bring in the wizard of odds, O-D-D-S, Harry Enten, up late, kind of looks like he does that anyway, who should be worrying tonight? He tells us, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[01:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK) CUOMO: All right. There were 10 candidates on stage tonight, two hours of airtime. You know what that means. There were precious commodities to be had. Candidates will going to find moments, candidates were going to miss moments. So how do we measure them, how do we figure out who's up and down? Let's discuss with our very own wizard of odds, Harry Enten. Good to see you, brother.

HARRY ENTEN, CNN POLITICS SENIOR WRITER AND ANALYST: Shalom, brother.

CUOMO: You can thank Susan for that nickname, the writer on the show.

ENTEN: My aunt loves it.

CUOMO: It's so good. And my (INAUDIBLE) was screwing it up, they're like, what do they call him the wizard of odds? He's so tall.

ENTEN: My dogs would've gotten it right.

CUOMO: I know, O-D-D-S. Now, one thing before we get into the numbers.

ENTEN: Yes.

CUOMO: You are saying this before, people should benefit from your wisdom. We should project into the future that Elizabeth Warren will have to answer for her full-throated claim that she's going to get rid of private insurance. That is something that will become less easy to sell, as she moves even through the primary, right?

ENTEN: Yes, I think that's exactly right. Look, Medicare for All is popular with Democrats, but we also know that Democrats are learning for is someone to beat Donald Trump. Electability is more important than it's ever been in a democratic primary.

And the fact of the matter is, is that Medicare for All is not that popular among the general electorate once they know it gets rid of private insurance. So, to me, yes, Elizabeth Warren did fine tonight.

Yes, she perhaps did not do as well and Google searches were, perhaps, I would've thought she would, she fell behind in that. Yes, maybe she didn't speak the most despite being in the center of the stage, but, overall, fine.

But in terms of projecting out towards a general election, I think there could be some problems for her down the road.

[01:29:58] So give me your sense of the searches showing up and down but also why so people get that it's not just random.

ENTEN: Yes. I mean look, if you were to project someone who very much jumped ahead of where they were, Castro most certainly did. His jump was something along the lines of I think 4,000 percent or something like that according to Google, which when they sent down the email earlier -- and there's no doubt part of the reason that he jumped in searches was because of how he went after Beto O'Rourke. And there is that real sort of fight between the two of them. He made this plan, I'm going to go after O'Rourke. I think he is soft. And I think there is no doubt that he came out ahead of that fight and that was why his Google searches jumped.

And I'll say one other thing, look, Castro needs the donors. He needs to get up to 130,000 donors in order to make those debates comes September. And this is the type of performance and I think can get him up to that mark.

CUOMO: Anybody else stand out in terms of a move that you could measure?

ENTEN: I think one other person would be Cory Booker. Cory Booker to me was someone whose is searches where in fact the highest for most of the debate. And look, Cory Booker's this type of guy that the sort of smart people, the analysts, you know, when we are going back and forth -- not that I'm necessarily a smart guy but you're a smart guy.

You know we go back and forth and we say hey this is someone who seems to be underperforming. He has very high favorable ratings. He's someone who could appeal to the African American community, and yet those poll numbers haven't necessarily reflected that.

But the fact was he got in the most amount of words tonight. The fact was his Google searches were quite high and I think his performance was also quite good. So he is someone who I think could jump say from 2 percent to 3 percent to say 6 percent to 7 percent. And you may say to yourself, wait a minute, Harry, that's not that large of a jump.

But remember what we often show in these sort of panels or the pulse of the top five candidates. Getting to 6 percent or 7 percent could get him into that say top tier of the first five candidates.

CUOMO: Some people look good. Some people got to look bad.

ENTEN: I think that's right. And I would say that the one person in terms of what I would say would look bad would be Beto O'Rourke. This is someone who was leading in Google searches for most of the month of March once he got into the race.

This is someone who just generally-speaking has been well liked on Google, a lot of people searching his name. And the fact was his Google searches in fact were not that high tonight despite the fact that he was the center of attention so often.

And I think part of the reason was this performance and there were a lot of different candidates who are able to get after him. It wasn't just Castro, it was also Bill de Blasio who was way out on the side of the stage and he was able to get after him and make O'Rourke look like the candidate, to me if there was one thing that O'Rourke has always -- they've always said he doesn't have a lot of substance. And to me this type of debate is one in which seemed to prove his detractors correct.

CUOMO: Why did Castro get the pop and de Blasio did not? ENTEN: I think the reason he got the sort of pop was number one he got in a lot more words then de Blasio did. And I think that was -- it wasn't just one moment. It was moment after moment after moment after moment after moment.

And the other thing that I will point out is look, Democratic voters are more diverse than they've ever been. Bill de Blasio is just another white guy. And the fact is that Castro is the only Latino candidate running in this race. And I think that he is someone that, you know, if you're watch these candidates in their stump speeches has been quite impressive. And I think he was able to connect to audiences this evening.

CUOMO: Wizard of Oz -- thank you very much. To be continued --

ENTEN: To be.

CUOMO: -- and then some.

All right. So, does our political brain trust see the same trends? What does it mean for round two which is just like hours from now? We're going to have someone here who helped Biden with his debate prep and two other big cheeses with big thoughts. Next.

[01:33:22] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: All right. So here's what we know.

Cory Booker, Tulsi Gabbard -- they got big surges in Google searches after tonight in their first debate. But Julian Castro may have made the moment of the night, ok. On a night when most of the candidates were, you know, not really wanting to mix it up.

The two from Texas, Castro and Beto O'Rourke, got after it on immigration.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JULIAN CASTRO (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Title 18 of the U.S. Code, Title 21 and Title 22 already covered human trafficking --

(CROSSTALKING)

REP. BETO O'ROURKE (D-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If we (INAUDIBLE) known smuggler or drug trafficker --

CASTRO: I think that you should do your homework on this issue -- .

O'ROURKE: -- we're going to make sure that they're deported.

CASTRO: -- if you did your homework on this issue --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is an issue that we should and could be talking about for a long time,

(END VIDEO CLIP) CUOMO: Now, let that be a little window into the reality of politics. You can Kumbaya all you want. You can "my friend", and "with all due respect", and "I'm not going to come after no one even if the media wants me to" -- taking shots distinguishes people in debates. Ok?

Now let's bring in Alexandra Rojas, Jennifer Granholm who knows a little something about debate prep I'm told when it comes to the former VP Joe Biden, and Mr. Chris Cillizza.

Cillizza -- you always like to disagree.

CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Hello.

CUOMO: But admit I'm right. When it comes to debating on a big stage with a lot of people, this whole idea of I'm going to be positive and I'm going to win with my niceness never works. You pop by giving somebody a good pop in the nose and that's what Julian Castro did tonight.

CILLIZZA: Yes, I didn't like to do it but before they pulled me up on the screen here I was nodding in agreement with you because you're right.

CUOMO: Very rare. Very rare.

CILLIZZA: And Governor Granholm can speak to this better than any of us because she's been in the arena here. But what I will tell you is elections are choices, right. That's a primary and a general election.

Now the choice is usually were obvious in the general election, but in a primary it's a choice too. And how do you create the sense of what you are choosing between? You don't talk about all the things you agree on. You talk about things you disagree on.

And you have to be willing to throw a punch. I still remember Tim Pawlenty, he comes in to the 2012 first debate, governor of Minnesota, comes into the debate promising he's going to take on Mitt Romney, the front runner. The question goes to him, it's primed for him because it's a hanging curveball for him to smash. He takes a pass. He drops out of the race two months later because you do have moments.

[01:39:54] I heard Preston say it's only June 2019. He's right. But the truth of the matter is when you have 24 candidates in a field, there are moments, particularly if your name isn't Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, or Elizabeth Warren, you've got to hit the ball when it comes to you. You've got to draw contrast. So yes, you are right.

CUOMO: Right. Draw contrasts is the key there.

Alexandra Rojas, who do you think made the biggest difference for themselves tonight other than Julian Castro? I

ALEXANDRA ROJAS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: : Well, I mean, I think this might be a hot take, the real winner of tonight wasn't even on the debate stage and that's Bernie Sanders. I think that our progressive movement has completely transformed the debate and pulled the conversation on progressive terms.

So just to call out the fact that I think that is absolutely massive from where we were before. And we are already seeing like on a day like today where we have, it's a year anniversary from the youngest congresswoman ever elected to congress -- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. That's massive. A 70 percent marginal tax rate taken as a serious policy proposal right in the beginning was absolutely huge.

But I agree with, you know, I think what happened in that exchange with Beto O'Rourke and Julian Castro where Castro didn't have very much to start and really utilized this public moment of accountability during a debate to make a clear contrast. So I think that for anyone that's sort of a newcomer, I think that Castro definitely did great.

But Elizabeth Warren I think proved that, to quote her, the politics of small ideas is over, and that a bunch of people, most of the people onstage, were debating over what are the -- you know, how they are going to be the true fighter for working people and transform the lives of working people with big ideas.

CUOMO: Yes, I hear you. But I'll tell you what, I had three difference Republican consultants who are active right now for the opposition to the Democrats going like this when they heard 70 percent tax rate. And they heard Elizabeth Warren say that she wants to get rid of private insurers.

CILLIZZA: Medicare for all -- yes.

CUOMO: Now, Jennifer Granholm -- Governor I left you for third because I want to take a to for tomorrow with that. Lessons from tonight for Joe Biden for tomorrow. What did he hear, what did you hear tonight that he has to be aware of when he's on the stage tomorrow?

JENNIFER GRANHOLM (D), FORMER MICHIGAN GOVERNOR: . Ok So without revealing any strategy or anything --

CILLIZZA: Yes, yes. I know. I know.

I got you . I got you.

GRANHOLM: I know what you want. I know what you want. But I'm not going there. But let me just say that if I'm the front runner, you want to absolutely watch and take a lesson and you have to try to figure out what are the topics that weren't cover tonight, what are likely to be covered tomorrow.

I do think though that tonight you had a theory of the case on the part of particularly two of the candidates, and Elizabeth Warren always has a theory of the case and she always inserts her personal experience and values to demonstrate why she thinks it's important that we know that government is not working for everyday people and that is working or we've constructed government in such a way that is working for people who, not people but entities that have, who write the rules. She super consistent on that. Tim Ryan was actually really consistent in his theory of the case which is that we cannot ignore people in the industrial Midwest and in places in this country where people feel unheard. Having a cohesive theory of the case I think is a really important strategy for anyone.

And yes you've got to have your moments but I do think that if you're the front runner that's less important than obviously people who've got 1 percent or 2 percent or 3 percent

CUOMO: Gov -- let's play a game for a moment. We'll let Cillizza and Rojas be the judge.

GRANHOLM: I'm afraid of this now.

CUOMO: Let's say that you are Governor Granholm, you are you, you're nobody else. I'm going to ask you to be a proxy but you're the front runner in this hypothetical contest.

GRANHOLM: Here we go.

CUOMO: After you give an answer I say, you see? And that's the problem with Granholm, old thinking. Love her, great, not where we are anymore. You've got to get with where it is. It's time for new ideas. She's not right for this anymore. All due respect, love you, love you, you've got to go. How do you respond to that?

GRANHOLM: If I am somebody who's been in office awhile, whether I am Bernie Sanders or I am Joe Biden or anybody, of course this is a race about the future. It's not a race about the past. So

CUOMO: What are you going to say when I say that to you?

GRANHOLM: I'm going to say that. I'm going to say Here is my plan for the future.

CUOMO: That's it.

GRANHOLM: That people care about.

CUOMO: Just a plan. You're not going to hit me back?

GRANHOLM: It depends on who you are.

CUOMO: It's me -- Gov.

GRANHOLM: It depends on what I know about your past.

CUOMO: It's me the guy with the big head.

GRANHOLM: But I don't think so.

For you, I would wallop you and I would take you out. But you, you know, I don't know what percentage in the polls you are either. I don't want to really be punching down at you. Because you know I'd be punching down. CUOMO: Good point.

GRANHOLM: And honest --

CUOMO: That's a good point -- Gov.

Now Cillizza, pick up on that. You can't punch down.

GRANHOLM: No, you can't.

CUOMO: Go ahead and then we give the last point to Rojas. Go ahead.

[01:44:56] CILLIZZA: So I think it's important to remember that, this debate, this Wednesday night debate, is a different animal in truth than the Thursday night debate. And the reason why is the number one candidate in the Wednesday night debate in terms of polling is Elizabeth Warren who's around 12, 13, 14 percent.

That's the best she's been in polling ok.

Cory Booker who is was standing directly to her right is at 2 percent in the polls. Beto O'Rourke who was directly to her left is at 4 percent and falling. You're not going to have that tomorrow night, tonight.

Because you've got Joe Biden in the middle, right. Joe Biden is the front runner. No debate, right.

Then you're going to have Bernie Sanders. You're going to have Pete Buttigieg, you're going to have Kamala Harris. You're going to have a lot more of sort of A-team as we would define it looking at the polling. So the dynamic is I think a little bit different.

I don't know that you can look at tonight, I mean Wednesday night, and extrapolate all that much. But I do think the governors right about this. If you are Joe Biden and let's say Marion Williamson attacks you, there's no profit, although Donald Trump would probably attack back, but there's no profit politically speaking in attacking people who benefit from attacking you.

CUOMO: The President went at the least core of the U.S. Women's soccer team today. But Rojas --

CILLIZZA: I mean I love when he attacked Rand Paul during the 2016 debate -- (CROSSTALKING)

CILLIZZA: -- but Rand Paul was at 2 percent.

CUOMO: Listen, the President gets a pass. Nobody on the stage tonight or tomorrow night --

CDILLIZZA: Correct, totally different animal.

CUOMO: But Alexandra, give me your take on this.

GRANHOLM: Can I say though?

CUOMO: Yes, go ahead -- Gov. But then I have to get to Rojas.

GRANHOLM: Just very quickly and I'm sorry to interrupt but I just think that Marion Williamson and Yang both had great tweets tonight in response to the debate, both of them freaking out a little bit because they don't speak Spanish. They were, you know, playing in as well as Trump playing in.

CUOMO: You can get a translator. Let's do this. I don't want to rush this. Rojas let's take a break. On the way back, you go first, ok. On this debate stage you have to fight your way in. you've got of fight your way -- no, no.

ROXAS: I guess so. I guess so.

CUOMO: No, no. You're doing great.

ROJAS: I'll definitely do it next time.

CUOMO : No, no. We'll have you back in just a second.

GRANHOLM: My money is on you.

CUOMO: Governor Jay Inslee drew one of the loudest applause lines tonight. It wasn't about any of this big thinking or here's my best plan. It was a very simple proposition about who he wants to be president and why. Does it get him traction?

He is here to write his own performance and that of what he saw on the stage next.

[01:47:27[ (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: What is the biggest geopolitical threat to the United States? That was the question. Governor Jay Inslee's answer got applause.

GOV. JAY INSLEE (D-WA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The biggest threat to the security of the United States is Donald Trump.

(CROSSTALKING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: One of the hardest attacks on the President. It was actually surprising how few attacks there were on the President. Let's bring in the Washington governor.

Governor -- congratulations on making it through the first debate. Do you believe that you improved your fate tonight?

INSLEE: I think so. I think that I was able to articulate why I am a unique candidate in the sense that I was the only candidate that has really pledged to make defeating the climate crisis the number one priority in the United States. The organizing principle of my administration every single day. And I do believe that's necessary because it's not job one it won't

get done. That plus my vision, which has been called the gold standard in my success as governor was my 100 percent clean energy bill. Yes, I think we depicted a governor who has been very successful creating the best economy but also a way to defeat the climate change crisis.

CUOMO: All right. So let's look at that potentially biggest plus and minus of the night for you, and please qualify either of my choices as you see fit. The big plus is why we picked the soundbite in the introduction here. You came long and strong against Donald Trump.

Do you believe at the end of the day the man or woman who makes it out of this field must be the one that gave the Democrats the best chance of not checking boxes for a progressive agenda, but of being able to defeat the current president?

INSLEE: Well I think that if we have a person with our values of progressive values, which show that we build an economy through progressive values -- look I've got the best economy and the United States because we have the highest minimum wage, because I've got teachers the biggest pay increase, because I have the best family paid medical leave, because I've done net neutrality.

These progressive values have created for economic growth. And I think a candidate like myself who believes that and has actual achievements and stripes on their sleeves is a person to beat Donald Trump, to demonstrate that his trickle down economics is a failure. And we can produce economic growth. That's the way to beat him. I'd like to be in that position.

CUOMO: Do you think the economy is the best argument against this president given all of the differing growth metrics that seem to play in his favor?

INSLEE: Yes and I will tell you why. I think what Donald Trump does not understand is look, one half of the American workforce has not had a pay increase in 20 years. The reason is we are not treating union square, we don't have an adequate minimum wage, our tax system has been hugely skewed to the wealthy, we are not providing an adequate access to education for our kids.

All of these things are things that I have actually made progress on as a governor. And if we do these things, those half of the people are going to have some hope again. And they deserve it.

We've got to build an economy that works for everyone. I've got a good way to do that which is following the Washington state model. D.C. can't build a bird house I've built the biggest infrastructure program in my state\s history. That's what we need in this country.

[01:54:58] CUOMO: The moment that you had with Senator Klobuchar where she pointed out after you were talking about your record with reproductive rights that there were women on the stage who had done a lot as well, it came off as a dig. How did you interpret it? INSLEE: Well look, I respect everybody on that stage tonight, men and

women. They have all stood up for a woman's right of choice, they have all pitched in. I did want to point out however though, I have been able to actually pass legislation. That is very important. Which is women should have not only the right of choice in the abstract, but we have to ensure that insurance companies will give women access to coverage for their right of choice. They have to have access to contraceptives.

And I have passed a bill to assure that for women as one of the things we have to do as a civil right together with codifying the Roe v. Wade decision in federal civil rights law. So what I was pointing out, I do think it's important that speeches are great, accomplishments can even be better. I've got a boatload of that of got as governor of the state of Washington.

CUOMO: Do you want to be president of the United States more than anything you've ever wanted in your entire life?

INSLEE: No. I asked a woman to marry me 46 years ago and I have to go with that as my top. I've been pretty lucky. But I do feel compelled, this is a passion not only for all the progressive things I believe in, but I do have three grandchildren and I understand the consequences in their lives if we do not have a president.

Look, this is our last chance, this next administration. We will either make defeating climate change the central organizing principle of the next administration, or our goose is cooked. So I have a personal commitment to my three grandkids and every kid in the world, and I think that's worth fighting for.

CUOMO: Smart answer you gave on that question. The person man or woman who says that it's more than anything they've ever wanted better make sure when they go home they're alone.

Governor, thank you very much. Or certainly they will be after that answer.

INSLEE: Thank you.

CUOMO: Thank you for tonight and good luck going forward.

INSLEE: Thanks for having me. Thank you.

CUOMO: All right. Not even close to finish. I've got another person who was on that debate stage tonight. How do they think they did? Next.

[01:57:31] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)