CNN.com - Transcripts (2024)

Interview With Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL); Interview With Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT); Interview With Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI). Aired 9-10a ET

Aired July 07, 2024 - 09:00 ET

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

[09:00:53]

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DANA BASH, CNN HOST (voice-over): Digging in. A defiant President Biden tries to turn around his campaign.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm staying in the race!

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

BASH: But has he done enough to reassure his own party that he can win and govern four more years? Democratic Senator Chris Murphy joins me next.

And zeroing in. Donald Trump lets Biden's troubles take the spotlight while his party gears up for its convention and his V.P. pick. What will that reveal about how Trump would govern? Republican Senator Marco Rubio, a potential running mate, is here exclusively.

Plus: All in? More Democrats urge Biden to pass the torch.

REP. MIKE QUIGLEY (D-IL): Step aside.

REP. LLOYD DOGGETT (D-TX): I think we would be better off if we had a new candidate.

BASH: With top officials set to meet in the next 24 hours, will Biden lose more support? Our panel of experts is here to break it down.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BASH: Hello. I'm Dana Bash in Washington, where the state of our union is anxious.

Today, President Biden is on the trail in Philadelphia trying to stave off calls to step aside from the 2024 race, but there are new signs that Democratic opposition to his candidacy is only growing. On Friday, Biden stepped up his campaign schedule and sat for a probing prime-time interview, where he declared he will not drop out and said he's the best candidate to take on Trump.

But, by Saturday, five House Democrats had publicly disagreed, calling on Biden to step aside. Today, top House Democrats are set to meet on the question of the president's future, while, in the Senate, Intelligence Chairman Mark Warner is arranging a meeting among his colleagues tomorrow, as some lawmakers weigh whether to make their private concerns public.

Here with me now is Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut.

Thank you so much for being here.

President Biden, as you well know, is fighting for his political life after his debate performance last week. He sat for a 22-minute interview with ABC News on Friday. He downplayed Democrats' concerns. He rejected polls showing him losing to Trump. And he defiantly said that he would only drop out if -- quote -- "the lord almighty came down and said, 'Joe, get out of the race.'"

What did you make of the president in that interview?

SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT): Well, Dana, thanks for having me.

Listen, I think there's no doubt that the president's performance at the debate has raised questions for voters, not questions about his character or his decency or who he cares about or who he fights for, but questions as to whether this is still the old Joe Biden.

Now, I have worked with Joe Biden. I have been on the phone with him. I have been in the room with him. This is one of the most effective presidents that I have ever served under. I have watched him repair this nation's reputation all around the world. I worked with him on the 2022 gun bill that would not have happened without his detailed support and intervention that saved lives all around the country.

I also watched the debate. And I think it's pretty amazing that 90 percent of the conversation is around Joe Biden's style, when, up on that stage, Donald Trump was engaged in a level of pathological lying that we have never seen before in a debate.

He endorsed political violence over and over and over again. It's a statement on our politics that we're not talking more about Donald Trump.

Now, that being said, voters do have questions. And, personally, I love Joe Biden. I don't know that the interview on Friday night did enough to answer those questions. And so I think this week is going to be absolutely critical.

I think the president needs to do more. I'm not advising this campaign, but, if I were, I would probably suggest that the president get out there and do a town hall, that he do a press conference, that he show the country that he is still the old Joe Biden, one of the best retail politicians this country has ever seen.

The president says he can do that. I trust that he can. And I think this week is going to be really critical for him to answer those remaining questions. And let's just be honest. I think there are still questions out there in the minds of many voters.

[09:05:07]

BASH: So let me just ask you straight this key question. Do you think President Biden should remain on the Democratic Party's ticket as the nominee for president?

MURPHY: Well, I take the president at his word. He said that he believes that he is up to do this job. I have seen him do this job at an absolutely exceptional level.

No president has had this level of legislative accomplishment in their first four years as Joe Biden. I think that he's got to go out there this week and show the American public that he is still that Joe Biden that they have come to know and love. I take him at his word. I believe that he can do it.

But I think that this is a really critical week. I do think the clock is ticking.

BASH: There wasn't a no and there wasn't a yes there. It sounds like you're in a wait-and-see mode?

MURPHY: Well, listen, I support Joe Biden, period, stop.

But I know that there are a lot of voters out there that need to be convinced that Thursday night's debate performance was a bad night. And, ultimately, I'm supporting Joe Biden. I'm going to vote for Joe Biden, but the president needs millions of votes.

And I think the president needs to make some moves this week to put himself out there in a position to answer those questions. And if he can't do that, then, of course, he's going to have to make a decision about what's best for the country and what's best for the party.

BASH: Have you spoken to the president since the debate?

MURPHY: I have not.

BASH: OK.

You are, of course, as you have just mentioned, a very close ally of the president. Do you want him to be reaching out to more people like you? Would that help? Or is it more important for him to get out and do the things that you just described, town halls, unscripted events, interviews and the sort?

MURPHY: Well, let's remember that the president still has to run the country. He continues to be the leader of the free world. There's news breaking overnight that we may be closer than ever to a cease-fire agreement in the Middle East, a cease-fire agreement that will have been midwifed by this president and his team.

So, this president, I think, is best served by continuing to show the American public that he can run the country well, that he can help lead the free world. But to the extent that he does have time to campaign, I think it is more important for him to be out there speaking directly to the public in an impromptu way.

Again, this is a president who has been one of the best person-to- person politicians that this country has ever seen. I think the public has a question as to whether that is still Joe Biden today. And he can answer that question this week if he gets out there in a town hall setting, in an unscripted setting, and shows the American people what he said to be true on Friday night, that he still can lead this country in the way that he has for the last four years.

BASH: I'm told that your colleague Senate Intelligence Chairman Mark Warner believes at this point it would be best for President Biden to end his campaign. He's trying to organize some of your colleagues, maybe even you, to go to the White House maybe to deliver that -- to deliver that message directly.

Have you spoken to Senator Warner, and would you be part of any group of Senate Democrats to go to the White House and have a direct conversation with the president?

MURPHY: Listen, I -- I don't know of that effort. I have spoken to Senator Warner, but I will let him speak for himself.

Listen, I think you are right to note at the outset of this program that there's a lot of anxiety in the country and in the party today. And that's because the stakes are so high. That's because Donald Trump presents an existential threat to democracy. He has advertised he is going to transition this country from a democracy to a dictatorship.

He is going to continue the work to take away women's right to reproductive health care choices on their own. He is going to do another massive tax cut for billionaires and corporations, taking money out of the pockets of ordinary, average Americans.

So yes, the stakes are very high. Yes, this party wants to make sure that we are in a position to win. Joe Biden has made it clear that he believes that he can be the candidate that will deliver us victory. And, this week, I think the president needs to engage in the kind of interaction with voters that will prove to those that are skeptical out there that he can do the job.

And if he can't do that, then he's got a decision to make about what the path forward is. He deeply, deeply loves this country. And I know that he wants to do whatever is necessary in order to make sure that Donald Trump doesn't become president and destroy this democracy.

BASH: Do you believe -- you're a seasoned politician? Do you believe that, at this point, Joe Biden could beat Donald Trump and stop the litany of things that you just listed from happening?

[09:10:11]

MURPHY: Oh, absolutely.

Listen, I think the president needs to answer those questions that voters have. If he does that this week, I think he will be in a very good position and we can get back to what this campaign needs to be, a contrast between Joe Biden, a decent, honorable man of character, and Donald Trump, a pathological liar who has advertised that he wants to endorse and mainstream political violence in this country.

But, again, if the president is unwilling to do the things necessary to restore voters' confidence or answer voters' questions, then, of course, he has a decision to make about what the best path forward is for the country. But if he answers those questions this week, there's no doubt that he can win this race.

BASH: One of the things that George Stephanopoulos asked the president was whether or not he would undergo a cognitive or neurological test to show the American people that he had a bad night and he doesn't have a physiological decline.

He said he didn't want to do that because he said every day leading the free world is effectively a cognitive test. Do you think he should take a medical exam?

MURPHY: Well, I don't really know what the substance of those tests are, whether the measurement would be impactful for voters that have questions.

I think it's much more important for the president to be in a conversation with voters this week in an unscripted way to show that he is still the old Joe Biden. I think that would be a much more effective way to answer people's questions than some medical test.

The president will decide what the path forward is, but, again, I think this can't be a business-as-usual week. I think that Friday night's interview did not answer all the questions that people in my state have. They want to believe that this is still the old Joe Biden, but they need to see more from the president, and I hope that we see that this week.

BASH: OK, last question.

If the president does at the end of maybe this week, you're saying that that really is his effective deadline, decides -- or people decide around him that he is not the best person at this time to be the Democratic nominee, do you think that the party should rally around Vice President Kamala Harris, that she should be at the top of the ticket, or should there be a more robust discussion and debate before or even at the convention?

MURPHY: Yes, I don't think that's a necessary or helpful conversation right now.

But I will say this. Kamala Harris has been an extraordinary vice president. She has been a major part of this administration's domestic and international successes. She's somebody that I know and trust.

But, right now, I think the focus has to be on the president using this week to do the things necessary in an unscripted way in order to answer the questions that voters have. And if that doesn't happen, then, obviously, the president has a decision to make. But I think that all of that has to happen in the coming days. I just think that the clock is ticking. This is going to be a really important and vital week for the country and for the president that so many of us know and love.

BASH: Senator Chris Murphy, thank you so much for coming on and sharing your insights. Appreciate it.

MURPHY: Thank you.

BASH: Some Democrats are exploring what a Harris-Trump race would look like. We're going to talk about that ahead.

And is there a sign, a new one, that Donald Trump could pick my next guest as his vice president?

Senator Marco Rubio is here after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:17:57]

BASH: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION.

Donald Trump is set to be officially nominated at the Republican National Convention next week, where Trump has also said that he will announce his vice presidential pick.

Here with me now from Miami is one of the top contenders, Senator Marco Rubio.

Thank you so much for being here this morning.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL): Thank you.

BASH: I want to start by looking ahead to just what's going to happen in the next couple of days for the GOP in Milwaukee. And that is, delegates are meeting to adopt the 2024 party platform.

Now, for four decades, the Republican Party's platform endorsed a national abortion ban. Donald Trump opposes that, as you well know. He thinks it should be left to the states. There are a lot of conservative groups who are not happy about the potential to change the platform.

Do you support changing the official party platform to Trump's position that it should be a state issue?

RUBIO: Well, I think our platform has to reflect our nominee, and our nominee's position is -- actually happens to be one grounded in reality.

The reality of it is, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. And what that basically means is that now it's not states, it's voters at individual states who will get to decide how and to what level they want to restrict abortion, if at all. Some states will have restrictions. Some states will not.

And so I hope that our platform will reflect our nominee. I also think it's important to remember the Democrats, their last platform basically endorsed abortion paid for by taxpayers at any time without any restrictions.

So I think, really, the question here is whether they are going to have a radical plank of their platform that basically requires Americans to pay for abortions at any time for any reason up until the moment of birth. That was their platform four years ago. Let's see how -- what it looks like now when they meet again.

BASH: I'm not sure that's entirely true, but I want to focus, if I may, on what your party is doing...

RUBIO: Oh, it is.

BASH: ... and something that the head of the Susan B. Anthony group told me this past week.

She and others, Tony Perkins as well, have said that they are concerned that removing the federal ban from the platform will depress enthusiasm for Donald Trump among core anti-abortion grassroots voters. Does that worry you?

[09:20:15]

RUBIO: Not really, because I don't think there's much of an option here.

It looks like, no matter who the Democrats nominate -- it looks like maybe Kamala Harris would be the most liberal presidential candidate in American history -- or a continuation of whoever's running the White House now with Joe Biden as its figurehead, the issue is that they are going to be radical.

There's only one pro-life candidate in this race, and it's Donald Trump. I think his position on this has been that -- the reality, and that is, you can't -- you can't pass a federal law now, even if we wanted to. You couldn't pass one.

But states, individual -- not states, voters in individual states now have the ability to influence what abortion laws look like in their state, and they can have that debate about how restrictive, to what level, what exceptions, and so forth. You couldn't even have that debate before the Supreme Court opened that up.

All the Supreme Court ruled was that this was a political issue, that this was an issue that now voters would be able to decide via the people they voted for or voted against at the state level, and that's the reality.

BASH: Let me ask you about the Supreme Court and a huge ruling that they issued on Monday, that Donald Trump has broad immunity for official acts related to January 6, the attack on the U.S. Capitol. When you voted to acquit Trump in his impeachment trial for January 6,

you said -- quote -- "Let history and, if necessary, the courts judge the events of the past."

Well, this ruling by the highest court in the land precludes lower courts from doing what you suggested, at least with some actions, like conversations with the Justice Department. Are you comfortable with that?

RUBIO: Well, first of all, I'm uncomfortable with the fact now that we have a president who has targets political opponents.

That's what's happened under Joe Biden. Every -- when Donald Trump was president, I can't think of a single prominent Democrat who was chased around, persecuted, prosecuted. All the -- it's funny to me to read these people and hear these people out there warning about all the horrible things they ridiculously claim Donald Trump is going to do if he becomes president again.

They're the ones that have been going after their political opponents. Donald Trump has been the one that's been very clear that his vengeance is going to be by winning and making America great again, not going after his political opponents. He said that in your debate that you hosted.

BASH: Senator, there's no evidence...

RUBIO: And they're the ones that have gone after political opponents.

BASH: There's no evidence that Joe Biden has gone after political appointments -- opponents. His Justice Department has...

RUBIO: Well, the evidence is in the headlines every day.

BASH: Well, the Justice Department is also going after...

RUBIO: Every day you open it up, it's some other Republican going to jail somewhere.

BASH: ... Democrat -- your colleague Bob Menendez has -- is in trial right now.

So, there's no evidence that Joe Biden is specifically going after -- and my question for you, as a Republican...

RUBIO: Well, they only go after Democrats that don't do everything the Democrats want them to do.

BASH: ... somebody who could potentially be on the ticket, is whether you are comfortable with the way that the Supreme Court ruled and, frankly, not just about January 6 and about the potential for what Donald Trump could do with that power, but any president in the future, Democrat or Republican.

It's a big precedent that the Supreme Court set. RUBIO: Well, I think what the Supreme Court did is, it clarified what

the law is. And that is you cannot go after presidents for official acts and there's a presumption of immunity for quasi-official acts or semi-official acts or exactly the terminology they used on it, not -- they were pretty clear about that.

And I think that's -- it's unfortunate that we have to have that conversation in America today, but understand why this has become topical, why we now have to discuss this issue, because it is clear that we have reached an era where there are people in American politics who believe that our courts are now a weapon that can be used against their political opponents.

You look at what their efforts and what they have done in the courts to persecute and prosecute Donald Trump, they have tried to bankrupt him, they have tried to silence him, they have tried to jail him, they have gone after his allies every single day.

BASH: Senator...

RUBIO: And some of these are ridiculous charges.

BASH: Senator, Donald Trump has said...

RUBIO: Yes?

BASH: ... that he would go after Joe Biden, that he would go after members of the Biden family.

That's never something that we have heard Joe Biden say.

RUBIO: Donald Trump has said that his -- no, he hasn't. And your -- I watched the debate. You guys did a great job. i watched it.

And he was asked, and he said, my vengeance will be winning and restoring America, making America great again. He did not say, I'm going to go after them and so forth and I'm going to put them in jail.

BASH: Not at the debate, but he has said it elsewhere. Not at the debate, you're right, but he's said it elsewhere.

RUBIO: He has repeatedly said -- he has repeatedly said that his revenge will be to make America great again, to undo all their bad public policies.

BASH: Well, let me ask you.

RUBIO: By the way, he was president for four years. He didn't go after Hillary Clinton. He didn't go after Joe Biden. He didn't go after Barack Obama. He didn't go after any of their consultants.

BASH: So you feel comfortable -- you're telling me right now...

RUBIO: We didn't see under him what we're seeing now.

BASH: You're telling me right now that a second Trump administration would not go after any Democrats, any of his political opponents, full stop? You can -- you have confidence that that wouldn't happen?

[09:25:08]

RUBIO: Yes, he was president before, and he didn't do it then. He's already said that he wouldn't do that.

He will be too busy undoing all the damage of this disastrous presidency.

BASH: Let me ask you something else about the future.

RUBIO: He will be too busy securing our border and making America prominent and respected in the world again.

BASH: Speaking of what a Donald Trump next White House would do, there is a conservative effort. It's called Project 2025. And it includes several former Trump administration officials.

They are arguing,and they have in their platform, if you will, to purge thousands of civilians -- excuse me -- purge thousands of civil servants from federal agencies, vastly expand the power of the presidency.

And I want you to listen to what one of the leaders of Project 2025 said this week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEVIN ROBERTS, PRESIDENT, HERITAGE FOUNDATION: We are in the process of the second American revolution, which will remain bloodless, if the left allows it to be.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BASH: Are you comfortable with that?

RUBIO: Well, he's not running for president, is he? I mean, our candidate is Donald Trump. I didn't say Donald Trump say that.

Donald Trump's running on common sense, on restoring common sense versus the lunacy of the last four years in the far left and the shadow government that now is running our country with Joe Biden as its figurehead. That's what he's running against.

I mean, think tanks do think tank stuff. They come up with ideas. They say things. I -- look, I like Heritage Foundation. I agree with some of the things they stand for. But there's a bunch of scholars and people that turn around and work on different projects.

But our candidate for president is Donald Trump.

BASH: Mm-hmm.

RUBIO: And Donald Trump is running on restoring common sense, working-class values, and making our decisions on the basis of that, not on ideological lunacy, which is what we have seen over the last four years under Joe Biden.

BASH: Is that what Project 2025 is? Is it ideological lunacy?

RUBIO: No, I think it's the work of a think tank, of a center-right think tank, and that's what think tanks do.

I can assure you, I don't have them with me today, but I have seen plenty of write-ups, frankly, not just from left-wing think tanks, but from columnists and others who are opinion writers who have actually come up crazy ideas that are now the policies of the United States under Joe Biden, things like, I don't know, letting people into our country and releasing them because there's no danger.

Now we see that there is danger. Things like attacking American energy. And, as a result now, the cost of living for all Americans has gone up.

BASH: Senator...

RUBIO: Those are radical ideas that began in the faculty clubs and in the think tanks of the far left that are now the policy and the laws of the United States in 2024.

BASH: Yes, just for the record, the numbers at the border are the lowest now than -- since 2021.

But I want to ask the question right now, which is, just eight days...

RUBIO: Ten million people are in our country illegally. They're murdering people every day.

BASH: Just eight days from now, the Republican Convention begins. Donald Trump is expected to announce his vice president. He's holding a rally in Florida on Tuesday. What's the latest that you have heard? Any meetings, any conversations?

RUBIO: Well, like I would tell you on television today.

BASH: Why not?

RUBIO: Look, I have heard nothing. I know nothing. You probably know more than I do about it.

Donald Trump has a decision to make. He will make it when he needs to make it. He will make a good decision. I know for certain that I will be out there over the next three or four months working on behalf of his campaign in some capacity. I know that I will be in the Senate and I will have an opportunity to continue to do that.

And, either way, all I care about at this point and what I care about the most is that we can't afford another four years like the last four. And I'm willing to help in any way I can.

And -- but, as far as making an announcement, that's up to him and their campaign. And I don't have one for you this morning. That's for sure. BASH: The Constitution says that presidential electors cannot vote

for a president and a vice president who are both from their state. You and Donald Trump are both residents of Florida.

If you're chosen to be his running mate, are you willing to move to another state or resign your Senate seat?

RUBIO: Well, I'm not -- that's presumptuous. I don't know. I have no idea who he's going to pick.

And those -- like I said, we will confront those issues when they come. But I think it's comforting for Americans to know that, when Kamala Harris becomes their nominee, she can't pick Gavin Newsom, because I don't think we can afford as a country to have two Californians with their crazy policies become the law of the land. So, that's reassuring.

BASH: Senator, you haven't thought about this at all?

You haven't at all had any discussions with your family, with your advisers on the what-if? Do I have to leave Florida? Do I have to resign my Senate seat?

RUBIO: Well...

BASH: That's not something you have even considered?

(LAUGHTER)

RUBIO: I think when -- I think it's presumptuous to talk about any of those things in public, because the president hasn't made -- President Trump hasn't made those decisions.

When he makes those decisions, no matter who he picks, then those conversations will happen regarding whoever he picks. But we're not there yet. But we will be soon, one way or the other.

[09:30:01]

BASH: I just want to note for the record you used the word public. You don't want to have the discussions in public.

Thank you so much.

RUBIO: Well, because they're not mine to have. They belong to the campaign and they belong to the president. And I don't know who he's going to pick, but he will pick somebody good. I'm sure of that.

BASH: Senator, thank you so much for joining me. I appreciate it.

RUBIO: Thank you.

BASH: And are President Biden's problems about to grow when lawmakers come right back here to Washington?

Michigan Congresswoman Debbie Dingell will join my panel next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BIDEN: It was a bad episode, no indication of any serious condition. I was exhausted. I didn't listen to my instincts, in terms of preparing, and it was a bad night.

[09:35:06]

I don't think anybody's more qualified to be president or win this race than me. If the lord almighty came out and said, "Joe, get out of the race," I would get out of the race. The lord almighty is not coming down.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BASH: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION.

My terrific panel is here.

And I'm going to start with Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, straight in from the great state of Michigan.

What are you hearing from your constituents? What should he do?

REP. DEBBIE DINGELL (D-MI): I'm hearing lots of things.

So I think this is not as clear-cut as anybody wants it to be. I have heard many people express their concern. They're worried about democracy. I think that one of the things you have to really understand, even my colleagues are worried about what's going to happen and what will happen to democracy.

But I will tell you, I had people in parades shout at me: "Tell him to stay. We have his back." Union halls: "Why are people saying this?"

I really do think that, as much as you're hearing a lot of different opinions from other people, that's what's happening.

BASH: Did you have people saying, it's time for him to step aside as well?

DINGELL: Of course I do. I mean, I'm -- I have people feeling very strongly that way. There are a lot of very strong opinions out there.

BASH: What are you hearing from your fellow Democrats, and what do you think he should do?

DOUG THORNELL, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, he's made it clear he's staying in this race.

And I think it's really important, as Democrats, that we go back to the core issue in this race, and that is the contrast between the two men and their character. And if we are focused on talking about a twice-impeached convicted felon who is only out for himself, versus a decent honest man who has put the middle class first, I think this race can stabilize.

I think you're looking at -- I think the Biden people will point, and they did, to a Bloomberg poll this morning of battleground states that show the race essentially tied. I know there are other polls that say other things, but, in some key states, the president is either ahead or it's within the margin of error.

He does have a big week ahead of him with NATO coming up. He's doing some events today in Harrisburg and Philly. That's important. They need to flood the zone. And what I have heard from the campaign and from the White House is that's what they're going to do.

So it's kind of what the congresswoman said. I think people are -- it's that people are -- it's still a little bit anxious out there.

DINGELL: And I got to say this. We got to stop talking about this. We spent a whole week. Republicans are having a great time.

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Stop talking about it? I mean, it...

DINGELL: I mean, no, we need to get back to talking about Donald Trump and his performance and all the issues that are at stake and the contrast. This has been -- you guys are having a great time.

(CROSSTALK)

JENNINGS: How can we stop talking about it? It's only the commander in chief of the United States we're talking about. He's not just a candidate.

DINGELL: I agree.

(CROSSTALK)

DINGELL: Which is why we need to be talking about Donald Trump and all the things that he's done and how he wants to be a dictator and how he wants to make -- thinks Roe v. Wade is the greatest thing that he ever did, how he wants to give your billionaire tax friends a tax cut, and thinks January 6 was a great thing.

JENNINGS: You give me too much credit. I wish I had some billionaire friends.

You have got colleagues, public and private, who want Joe Biden to step down. You have got a lot of colleagues in your conference who want him to get out of the way. And what they're really saying is, we don't have confidence in him to lead for the next four years, which really means they don't have confidence in him to lead today.

This is not a campaign problem. This is a White House problem. There are real questions about whether he's acting independently. He said, by the way, in his interview with Stephanopoulos the other night he wanted to do three things, restore decency. Now he's got Hunter Biden running the White House senior staff meetings.

He said he wanted to do something for the middle class.

BASH: Well, Hunter Biden's not running the White House Come on..

THORNELL: That's crazy, Scott.

JENNINGS: I'm sorry. I'm just reading the journalism. I'm pro- journalist here. I'm reading the journalism about Hunter Biden running the ship here.

He said he wanted to help the middle class. They're being ravaged by record inflation. And he said he wanted to unite the country. And he is the most divisive, unpopular president in the modern era. He has failed by his own standards. And now his own party is petrified that you're headed for a historic wipeout in the fall.

Now, I think they're dug in like Alabama ticks. I don't think this family's going anywhere, even as Democrats want him to get out of the way because they know what's coming, a landslide, landslide.

BASH: Let me bring Shermichael in here.

I know you spend a lot of your time talking to voters, doing focus groups. What are you seeing and hearing?

SHERMICHAEL SINGLETON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I do.

And this is fascinating. So I have a national syndicated radio show on SiriusXM. I'm on an African-American channel. And all of my listeners, and I mean, all of them, are standing resoundingly behind the president.

Now, I think the president should get out. As a strategist, elections are not about what you did over the past four years. They're about what you're going to do over the next four years. I understand the point of the congresswoman that, if you're a Democrat, you want to be able to articulate your case in terms of the differences between your opponent.

But the president isn't in a good position to do that right now because there are very serious questions about the president's cognition. And I don't believe that those questions are going to dissipate because of one interview. I think you're going to need several interviews.

And I think the question, strategically speaking, is, if you're running the Biden camp, real-life campaign, what happens if this occurs again? So, if you're a Democrat, you have to really ask yourself, do you want to take the risk of having a candidate that could lose by six or eight points?

[09:40:07]

BASH: Let me just ask the congresswoman, because you said -- and I completely understand that you want to not talk about this, and you want to talk about Joe Biden -- I mean, talk about Donald Trump. It makes perfect sense. I just want to put up, five of your Democratic colleagues have now

said that they want Joe Biden to step aside. You know what happens when Congress comes back to town, which is going to happen this week. And you and all of your members are going to be talking to one another and talking to reporters and getting asked questions.

So the conversation isn't going to go away. How do you see this week going vis-a-vis those conversations and the pressure mounting on Joe Biden or not?

DINGELL: So, first of all, I want to say, I will talk about it because we have got to talk about it.

I just think that, for a solid week, we haven't talked about Donald Trump or the mistakes that he made that night or what the election's about. And I would like to get back to that contrast.

I am telling you that Congress is supposed to be reflective of the population in this country. And there are colleagues that feel very strongly he should stay, and colleagues that have publicly expressed, and a lot of people in between.

I think Hakeem Jeffries, as the leader of the Democrats in the House, has done an outstanding job this last week listening to his members, putting his finger on the pulse, hearing where they want to be. I think he's going to listen to where they are this week. I think there's going to be -- the media is going to swarm.

You're going to -- they're going to be putting kerosene on a fire.

BASH: Can Joe Biden win Michigan right now?

DINGELL: I think Michigan is a purple state. I have said that.

(LAUGHTER)

DINGELL: It's going to go down to Election Day. And I now am going to go -- forget the debate.

BASH: But is it getting worse for him there after the debate?

DINGELL: What I -- I wish the campaign would listen to those of us on the ground that know what we're doing.

And I was saying that six months ago.

(CROSSTALK)

JENNINGS: Dana, can we just talk about an issue for one minute on Friday night? Can he win Michigan? I don't know. I'm not sure what Democrats he's going to win right now.

(CROSSTALK)

JENNINGS: The entire thesis of the campaign, the entire thesis of the campaign was, democracy's on the ballot. And when George Stephanopoulos asked him, well, if you lose and all

these bad things come to pass, will you be OK with that? And he said, well, as long as we gave it our all.

Now, if I was a Democrat who's been -- hasn't blinked since January of 2017 or one of these never-Trumpers who's worried about all this, and I heard Joe Biden admit that it's all just a facade, that it's all just a talking point, I would be freaked out right now to find out there's no animating issue for this campaign. It's just a grift.

(CROSSTALK)

THORNELL: An animating issue? It's about character. It's about your candidate, who is a convicted felon, who is a twice-impeached president, who is only out for himself, versus an honest and decent man who's always put the American people first.

That is the issue.

(CROSSTALK)

DINGELL: Who says he wants to be a dictator.

(CROSSTALK)

THORNELL: If we don't get back to that...

(CROSSTALK)

THORNELL: .... an opportunity.

BASH: Real quick, and then we have to get a quick break in. We're going to come back.

SINGLETON: The problem for the Democrats is viability. The president currently is not viable.

THORNELL: According to...

(CROSSTALK)

BASH: Everybody, stick around.

THORNELL: That -- polls don't suggest that. The polls do...

(CROSSTALK)

BASH: Guys, we have to sneak in a quick break. I promise you are going to get time afterwards.

(LAUGHTER)

BASH: Stick around. How the uncertainty in the Democratic Party could affect Donald Trump and who he picks for his running mate.

Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:47:37]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FMR. SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ): The next vice president of the United States, Sarah Palin of the great state of Alaska!

SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R-UT): Join me in welcoming the next president of the United States, Paul Ryan.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES (R) AND CURRENT U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The next vice president of the United States, Governor Mike Pence.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BASH: Ah, memories.

Well, we're going to see some version of that very, very soon when Donald Trump decides who his running mate is.

Welcome back to everybody.

You saw Marco Rubio this morning.

SINGLETON: Yes.

BASH: What did you think?

SINGLETON: I thought he did well. I mean, I think Rubio is an intriguing candidate for a lot of reasons. You have seen the available data showcase that there's some substantial movement within the Latino community towards Republicans.

I think it's potentially exciting to have someone to excite that base. I think it would certainly be challenging for Democrats in states like Arizona, Nevada, where there are large Latino populations.

I think Scott's raised a very great point, though. How do you deal with the residency issue? Maybe we'd be able to figure that out a month or two before the election. But I thought the senator was well- composed and showcased that, if chosen, he would add something to the ticket, which is important for someone like Donald Trump.

BASH: Does it matter? I mean, there's always the question, does it matter? Does it not matter?

(CROSSTALK)

JENNINGS: Easy to overread it, don't you think?

It's easy to overread these things?

BASH: Yes. JENNINGS: I mean, Trump's got an embarrassment of riches, Burgum, Rubio, Vance, Tim Scott. They're all great for different reasons. And maybe they help on the margins.

But this election has really become mostly just about Joe Biden and his fitness. And who Donald Trump chooses, I think, is a very marginal choice. That having been said, I think all these people are great. He's got a pretty full basket here.

THORNELL: I'm not sure why anyone would want to be Donald Trump's vice president after how he treated Mike Pence, I mean, coming out of the January 6 hearings where it was reported that he supported hanging the vice president.

That...

DINGELL: He kind of doubled down on it after...

(CROSSTALK)

THORNELL: I mean, I just -- I'm not sure if I would want to be on that ticket.

Look, whoever it is, it's going to be someone that Trump believes he can overshadow, who will likely be a yes-man or-woman. And I don't think it's really going to make a difference in the campaign.

BASH: Except that it does set up the next generation.

I mean, that's -- there's lots of reasons that it's important, but that's also one of them.

DINGELL: It sets up the next generation. I haven't seen any of the Republican vice presidents go anywhere in the last decades or two.

[09:50:05]

But I'm going to come right back at you and say this election is not about just Joe Biden. I think it's also about Donald Trump's competence. I mean, do remember, we were talking about...

(CROSSTALK)

JENNINGS: I agree...

(CROSSTALK)

DINGELL: ... '25.

And he -- when he goes on some of his rants, it scares me to death.

(CROSSTALK)

THORNELL: And where has the president...

(CROSSTALK) BASH: Do you agree that...

JENNINGS: Yes, I agree it is about -- and, in fact, I agree so much, because I was reading the "USA Today" this morning. And they have issued a survey in which, in their polling, 51 percent of Americans say they approve of the job that Trump did when he was in office and only 41 percent approve of Joe Biden today.

So, on this, Congresswoman, we agree. It is about Donald Trump.

DINGELL: But I'm also -- can I just tell you guys that I'm always the wrong person to talk about polling?

(LAUGHTER)

DINGELL: Do you know how many people across this country told me I was crazy when I told you guys that Donald Trump would win In 2016? Oh, the polling doesn't show it. You don't know what you're talking about.

I have a gut, and it's a good gut, and I was right. He won Michigan and he won the presidency. Polls are...

THORNELL: And, look, in 2022, there were a lot of people who were saying there was a red wave. I did a bunch of House races. There was no red wave. Democrats had a really strong night.

I'd also wonder, where's Trump been for the last 12 days?

BASH: Fifteen seconds.

DINGELL: Loving every minute of what we're doing in our circular finance broad.

THORNELL: I agree with that.

DINGELL: So we need to get out of it and start talking about him.

(CROSSTALK)

SINGLETON: I think this race is going to be similar to 2020 in terms of a marginal victory.

And I think President Trump, the importance of choosing the proper running mate is to be able to increase those margins in Georgia and Nevada and Arizona, Wisconsin. If the former president can at least win those states alone, that gets him to around 276, 278. That's a victory.

(CROSSTALK)

THORNELL: Yes, but it's a ticket that's going to support ending Social Security and Medicare, getting rid of -- raising the cost of prescription drugs.

SINGLETON: But that's for the president to make that case. Doug, I'm not certain if he can.

(CROSSTALK)

THORNELL: Well, but that's what's on the line.

JENNINGS: We have had two panels. Can someone just wish the United States of America a happy birthday?

BASH: There you go.

JENNINGS: We have been kicking ass 248 years, and it's worked out pretty well.

(CROSSTALK)

DINGELL: We all agree.

(CROSSTALK)

BASH: That is something we can all agree on.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

BASH: Guys, thank you so much.

Don't go anywhere. We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:56:09]

BASH: As you heard from Democrats on this show, this is a critical time for President Biden. And coming up, he's going to give remarks at a Philadelphia church. We're going to bring that to you live at noon.

Thank you so much for spending your Sunday morning with us.

Fareed Zakaria picks it up next.

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