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Hickenlooper's Response to VP Pick; Trump Claims ISIS Defeat; Fed Signals No Rate Increase in 2019; Chickenpox Vaccine and Concerns. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired March 21, 2019 - 09:30   ET



[09:30:34] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back.

Democratic presidential hopeful John Hickenlooper has a lot of folks scratching their heads this morning for questioning -- a question that was asked to him about gender diversity on a presidential ticket. When asked if the former Colorado governor would consider a woman as a running mate during CNN's town hall last night, here's what he said.


DANA BASH, MODERATOR: Governor, some of your male competitors have vowed to put a woman on the ticket. Yes or no, would you do the same?

JOHN HICKENLOOPER (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, again, of course. But I think that we should be -- well, I'll ask you another question, how come we aren't asking --

BASH: But I'm asking the questions.

HICKENLOOPER: I know. I know. But how come we're not asking -- we're not asking more often the women, would you be willing to put a man on the ticket?

BASH: When we get to that point --


BASH: I'll ask you that question.


HARLOW: All right. He clarified his remarks after by saying not asking the same question of a woman inherently discounts female candidates' chances of becoming the nominee in 2020.

But CNN's Greg Craig (ph) noted that, well, a reporter actually did ask Senator Elizabeth Warren that exact question last Sunday at our town hall in Memphis. Watch.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was wondering, would you consider picking a man for your vice president?

WARREN: I'd want somebody who's going to get out there and fight on behalf of working people. That's what matters most.


HARLOW: CNN's senior political reporter Nia-Malika Henderson, and our chief political correspondent Dana Bash are with me.

Good morning.

Great job last night, Dana.


HARLOW: I love that moment, like, when we get to that point, I will ask you that question.

Can you just tell us, Dana, what you thought when you heard that and, more importantly, like what the audience -- how the audience reacted?

BASH: I kind of got what he was trying to say, which -- or what he was trying to put across --

HARLOW: Right.

BASH: Which is, I know I'm a white guy. And this is a question that is being asked of guys who are running for president in a field that is the most diverse in the history of this country. And because I'm woke -- which I think he was trying to put across there -- I'm going to have -- you know, put out the notion of, well, wait a minute, we should be in a place where women are -- things are so inverted that women are so ready for being president, then the question is whether or not a man can even make it on the ticket. I really think that's what he was trying to say. And it didn't, obviously, come across -- at least his people didn't think it came across that way because he and his aide clarified afterwards to Dan Merica that that's sort of the gist of it.

But, look, the reason I asked that question is because it is an issue. It is something that Cory Booker brought up, I believe unsolicited, and if not he had an answer in a nanosecond, because he understands, even as a member of the diverse field, Cory Booker understands that there is a yearning for gender equality as well on the ticket.

HARLOW: Nia, what do you make of the statement and the cleanup?

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: You know, I think -- you know Dana used the word "woke" there. I think in some ways the truly woke response would have been, how come women aren't being asked if they can -- if they would run with another woman, right? Could there be a double-woman ticket? That would, I think, be a -- you know, show a real sort of evolution in terms of how people think about women in politics. And that is a question that hasn't really come up with these women candidates yet. And we'll see if it does and see if that's something they would be open to. Traditionally the thinking would be that they wouldn't want to do a double-woman ticket because it would be too off-putting to the general electorate. So we'll see where this goes.

Good job last night, Dana. I thought it was a fantastic town hall down in Atlanta.

BASH: Thank you.


HENDERSON: I'm here in Manchester, New Hampshire, covering Beto O'Rourke, who's doing this ten-county tour.

What's interesting about this field is, even as much as we talk about how diverse it is, this could actually be a field that is half white men, right?


HENDERSON: So far there are five white men who are running. There are two Johns who are running who are white men. So -- so, you know, in some ways, as much as it's diverse, it still is a field that's likely going to be half white men at some point if Joe Biden gets in. It looks like he might. You obviously have Beto O'Rourke and Bernie Sanders and a number of other white men. And there's been this conversation about whether they're at a disadvantage.


[09:35:00] HENDERSON: None of the metrics show that they're at a disadvantaged. I don't even know if any sector in the world where a white man could be seen as a disadvantage.

BASH: And can I just throw one thing in there, if I may, Poppy --

HARLOW: Yes. Yes.

BASH: Because we're -- obviously, this is a really interesting discussion about women and how we fit into the broader discussion and his answer last night.

But when you talk about diversity, one thing that he made a point of saying, because an audience member did ask him this very question, like you're a white guy and, you know, why should you be the nominee effectively, is that there is a diversity of views as well and of experiences. And in a field where you have a lot of the candidates running left, for example, on -- let's say health care. On -- we talked a lot about substance last night.

HARLOW: Yes. BASH: He is very open about the fact that he does not support Medicare for all. He does not support getting rid of private insurance. He thinks that's the wrong way to go based on his executive experience. So that makes him different from other candidates in his belief on that issue, but also different in that he is a long-time mayor, a two- term governor and so there is diversity in that way.

HARLOW: Yes. Except for the fact that he was reticent to embrace the word capitalism and the label capitalism.

BASH: Which he did last night. He got it last night.

HARLOW: Which he did. I knew you were going to make news on that front.

Both of you, quickly, before you go, I know you read the Margaret Sullivan (ph) op-ed in "The Post" this morning about sort of the amount of media attention paid to the boys -- the three B boys, right, Bernie, Beto, and Biden. And some of the really soft coverage that some of them are getting.

Nia, you wrote what I thought was a really important column a month or two ago on, you know, Beto O'Rourke and some of the treatment he's gotten that a woman wouldn't necessarily get. What do you think?

HENDERSON: Yes. And, you know, at least so far a lot of polls show that even as we talk about the sort of yearning for diversity and yearning for women, at least by (ph) the metric we've seen so far, the white men are leading the polls, are leading certainly also in the fundraising as well. And we'll see how Beto O'Rourke is received. And he'll be here in an hour or so. He's been getting large crowds. There were folks lined up around the corner at this point for him. So, we'll see. But he certainly has gotten the kind of treatment I think that you wouldn't see a woman getting, right? The cover of "Vanity Fair." Him there, the sort of Reagan-esque echoes there. We just haven't seen it in terms of the treatment of women. And, we'll see, we've got a long way to go. This thing's just started. So we'll see where we end up.


BASH: Yes, no, I agree. I do think -- I'm not sure I entirely agree with that. There definitely is the b factor, the bro factor, not just the first names --


BASH: Which we talked about. I know Nia and I a lot.

But I think people like Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren are getting their due and they're out there talking about substantive issues and they're working their you know what's off.


BASH: And people are listening. It's the beginning. HARLOW: All right. Ladies, thank you both.

BASH: Thank you.

HARLOW: We'll keep having this conversation.

Dana, great job last night. Really fascinating.

HENDERSON: Thank you, Poppy.

HARLOW: All right. See you, guys.

President Trump claims ISIS' last stronghold in Syria will, quote, be gone by tonight. So, has the terror organization been wiped out there? We'll take you on the ground in Syria with the latest.


[09:42:34] HARLOW: President Trump announcing the end of ISIS in Syria is imminent. Here he is just yesterday.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In 2016, everything red is ISIS. When I took it over it was a mess. Now, on the bottom, that's the exact same, there is no red. In fact, there's actually a tiny spot which will be gone by tonight.


HARLOW: Here are those maps that the president was referring to. He tweeted them out yesterday. On the left, the president claims the red indicates ISIS before he took office. On the right there is now. Claiming the ISIS fighters would be defeated overnight.

So let's take you there. Ben Wedeman is on the ground in eastern Syria.

Ben, what are you seeing?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Poppy, well, that was last night and today is today. And what we're seeing is that there is still a very small strip of land along the Euphrates River that is occupied by ISIS. Precise numbers of jihadis inside, their family members, we have no idea. But they're still there. War planes are still flying overhead. We occasionally hear some gunfire in the distance. And officials with the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces are very clear. They're explicit that the operations are ongoing. ISIS has yet to be defeated. Some people are still surrendering who are inside. We understand that the Elhoul (ph) camp, where many of the family members of ISIS have gone, that 2,000 arrived today, many of them in very bad condition after having been inside this encampment behind me that is now under control of the SDF.

But, yes, operations ongoing. When will victory going to be declared by the SDF? It's not at all clear. Today is Newroz, which is the Kurdish new year's. And there was some expectation that they might announce it today, but I've been told by spokesmen for the SDF that, no, there will be no announcement today.

And until that happens, we understand -- the understanding was that the first announcement of final victory over ISIS as a territorial entity, the announcement would first come from the SDF, and then from the White House. So it's not altogether clear why President Trump has been jumping the gun.

And this is not the first time he's declared victory. I believe it's either the third or fourth, but it's not over yet.


[09:45:00] HARLOW: And it's because of you, Ben Wedeman, and your brave team being there on the ground in eastern Syria bringing us the facts that we know what's going on. Our deepest gratitude to you. Stay safe and thank you for the reporting, Ben.

To Mozambique, where the official death toll now stands at more than 200 in the aftermath of that deadly cyclone. The number is expected to rise dramatically. Remember when we showed you these images yesterday and the amazing video of rescue workers saving people off roofs and in trees? It's just remarkable. Heavy rain continues to be the challenge in the hardest hit areas. Ninety percent of the city of Beira has been destroyed. Homes and businesses completely flattened.

All right, deliberately exposing your child to chickenpox instead of getting the vaccine? What? The Kentucky governor said that's what he did with his own children. Our Dr. Sanjay Gupta will be with me, next.


[09:50:21] HARLOW: All right, so the U.S. and china finally coming back to the negotiating table here over trade. China announcing this morning trade talks will continue in Beijing next week followed by a second meeting in Washington early next month. At the same time, the Fed's decision on two big things, keeping interest rates where they are, also saying they expect lower growth for this economy.

Our chief business correspondent Christine Romans is here.


HARLOW: Good morning.

A great time to be patient, the words of Fed Chair Jerome Powell.


HARLOW: This is what the president wanted --

ROMANS: I know.

HARLOW: But maybe not for the reason he wanted, right? ROMANS: I know. Be careful what you wish for. You know, the president had really gone on and on almost insulting the Fed and the Fed chief about higher interest rates last year. So now the Fed has said, look, we've looked at the data and we think there's going to be slower growth in the U.S., 2.1 percent is the growth rate they're expecting in the U.S. for this year. So they're going to pause. And they -- they had -- had penciled in two rate hikes for this year, Poppy. Now they're not going to do that. It doesn't look like any rate hike is penciled in.

And so the markets got nervous because the market -- people are saying, wait a minute, things might be a little less robust than we thought and there are concerns about Europe and China.

HARLOW: Yes. Lowering their economic growth forecast for the year to 2.1 percent.


HARLOW: Why? Citing sluggish housing data.


HARLOW: Household spending. Reduced business investment.

But let's just take a walk back in memory lane.

ROMANS: Let's.

HARLOW: And let's listen to the president, this was at a cabinet meeting in 2017. I think. I think it was in a cabinet meeting. But here's what he said about growth.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, we're not talking about removing them. We're talking about leaving them. And for a substantial period of time because we have to make sure that if we do the deal with China, that China lives by the deal.


HARLOW: Here's -- my fault because he did say in the cabinet meeting -- that was the wrong sound bite, my fault. Here is what he said, quote, we're at 3.3 percent GDP. I see no reason why we don't go to 4 percent, 5 percent, 6 percent.

Romans, that was just a year and a half ago. Now the Fed is saying 2.1 percent.

ROMANS: And at the time we thought that that was too -- too hyperbolic, if you will, of this president. And he -- now the official forecast from the White House is three percent growth. You know, if you look, a Federal Reserve target of 2.1 percent growth and the White House at three percent, that's a big disparity. The White House this week, the Council of Economic Advisers said that

if you get more deregulation, a trillion dollar infrastructure plan, and more tax cuts, then you can get to three percent growth. So you can see it's a heavy lift.

HARLOW: You need Congress to help you with all those things.

ROMANS: That's right. It's a heavy lift. It's a heavy lift.

HARLOW: Is it significant that the Fed raised the jobless rate prediction?

ROMANS: I'm not sure. You know, I think that the Fed went out of its way to say the job market is still very strong and the U.S. economy is strong, just not as robust as they had thought later last year.

I also think it's significant that the Fed -- the Fed chief pointed out specifically that things slowed more rapidly than they thought from the fourth quarter until now.

HARLOW: Yes. Good point.

ROMANS: So some -- there's some switch that has flipped here.

HARLOW: Thank you, Romans.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

HARLOW: Appreciate it.

A quick break. We're back in a moment.


[09:57:33] HARLOW: All right, so this morning news that the governor of Kentucky says he deliberately exposed his nine children to chickenpox. Governor Matt Bevin made the surprising revelation in a radio interview Tuesday. Listen to this.


GOV. MATT BEVIN (R), KENTUCKY: Every single one of my kids had the chickenpox.


BEVIN: They got the chickenpox on purpose, because we found a neighbor that had it and I went and made sure every one of my kids was exposed to it and they got it. They had it as children. They were miserable for a few days and they all turned out fine. This is America and the federal government should not be forcing this upon people. They just shouldn't.


HARLOW: All right, Bevin did say he does support parents who choose to get their kids vaccinated.

Our chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta has more.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's worth pointing out, Poppy, that before the vaccine -- the chickenpox vaccine was available in the mid-90s in the United States, there were a lot of people who got chickenpox. And I got chickenpox. Maybe you got chickenpox. And the vast majority of people did fine. You're talking about millions of people who got chickenpox every year.

But also keep in mind, Poppy, besides the fact that it was a few miserable days and you had, you know, dozens of these blistering rashes all over your skin, that there were, you know, some 10,000 people who got hospitalized every year with chickenpox. There were 100 to 200 deaths every year from chickenpox as well. So it can be a serious disease. The vast majority of people OK, but it can be a serious disease.

Let me -- let me show you what happened after the chickenpox vaccine was introduced. You had 3.5 million cases of chickenpox prevented every year, thousands of hospitalizations prevented every year and, you know, probably 100 deaths prevented every year, as well.

And that's really, I think, what it comes down to. Am I immunized against chickenpox because I had the chickenpox? Yes. And that's probably where the governor is right, that if you've had chickenpox in the past, you do -- you are immunized against it. The chickenpox vaccine does provide around 90 percent protection against chickenpox as well. It's not 100 percent, but it's pretty good. And when you get the vaccine, you're also protecting people who can't yet be immunized, like young babies, for example.

So what this really comes down to is, what is the price you're willing to pay to be immunized against chickenpox. Are you willing to go through the several days of discomfort, possible hospitalization, in rare cases even death, or are you willing to get the vaccine and possibly protect not only yourself but people around you, as well.


[10:00:05] HARLOW: All right, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thank you for setting the record straight.