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Biden Announces Run for President; Tom Perez on Biden Entering Race; Tornados Hammer Texas. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired April 25, 2019 - 06:30   ET

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


[06:30:00] ALEX BURNS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Are the heart of what Democrats ought to be looking for.

The rest of what you just mentioned, he really left on the table, and in a way that I think would surprise a lot of his supports, that he is such a sympathetic figure to Democrats and, you know, I've spoken to a couple other people who polled the Democratic primary privately and the level of affection for Joe Biden personally, largely because of his relationship with Barack Obama, and the level of sympathy for Joe Biden, because of the tragedies that Americans know he and his family have gone through, really profound. He didn't touch on basically any of that, right? So I think we can see this as a statement about what Joe Biden -- how Joe Biden wants to stand on his own and also sort of leaving some questions about how he's going to talk about himself when he actually gets out there on the trail because -- it's a very forceful opening statement, but that's what it is.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: You brought up Barack Obama, the former president of the United States. We have some brand new reporting on where he is on all of this, this morning from Jeff Zeleny. A person close to Obama offers this after the Biden announcement. President Obama is excited by the extraordinary and diverse talent exhibited in the growing line-up of Democratic primary candidates. He believes that the robust primary in 2007 and 2008 not only made him a better general election candidate, but a better president, too. Because of that, it's unlikely he will throw his support behind any specific candidate, preferring instead to let the candidates make their cases directly to the voters.

However, he goes on to gush about Joe Biden also -- or his spokesman Katie Hill goes on to gush about Joe Biden. President Obama has long said that selecting Biden as his running mate in 2008 was one of his best decisions he ever made. He relied on the vice president's knowledge, insight and judgement throughout both campaigns and the entire presidency. The two forged a special bond and remain close today.

So, Arlette, you know, Biden is not going to get the Obama endorsement, at least not any time soon. But how do you think he will use the Obama presidency to promote his candidacy?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, I think Joe Biden gave us a big clue about that just a few weeks ago when he told reporters he described himself as an Obama Biden Democrat. That's making it very clear that he is ready to fully embrace the mantle of the Obama administration and use their progress, their record during that time as part of his argument for why he should be president.

But, you know, Barack Obama and Joe Biden have maintained a very, very close friendship. You know, they're kind of a little bit of a political odd couple when they first got started. But over the years developed that bond, which was really cemented even deeper after the passing of Joe Biden's son Beau Biden back in 2015. And we know that Biden and Obama do speak frequently. Last summer they were seen out grabbing lunch together in Washington, D.C. That's not a public appearance that Barack Obama has done with many of the other Democratic contenders.

But we do know President Obama has sat down and listened to other candidates as they have been seeking advice for how to run in this election. But, as of now, we're not expecting that type of endorsement from President Obama for any of the candidates going forward.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: And so, David, back to Biden -- what looks like Biden's plan and Biden's direction. You know there are some candidates who won't speak President Trump's name, or try to avoid it, a la Voldemort. But he is taking the opposite tact and he is going right at President Trump. He's already running against -- I mean in, you know, his video, he's running against President Trump and everything that he thinks President Trump stands for. And that's just interesting to see his tact.

DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I just think it's such a concern, such a priority for Democrats as they think about this huge field and who will lead the party. To say who can take the fight to Trump and who can deal with Trump's incoming. Feeling like Democrats weren't able to do that effectively before. So I think that becomes a key part of the rollout, to answer that question right away, to say, I can speak in a language that can take Trump on, that can appeal to his voters, as well as our own primary voters and I can do that effectively.

Plus, I think Biden is saying in this video, as I mentioned before, he's going to attack who Trump is and contrast that with who Americans are. That is a very high-minded, very poetic approach to a primary campaign. And he knows, as we all know, how fractured the Democrats are going to be. Is he the guy who can bring everyone together? Right out of the gate he shows more promise than anyone else.

CAMEROTA: All right, David, Arlette, Alex, thank you very much for helping us get through our breaking news this morning. Obviously be on standby. There's a lot happening this morning.

[06:34:51] We do want to get to other stories, though, because, for the first time, Kim Jong-un and Vladimir Putin meet in Russia. What did both leaders talk about? What are they doing without President Trump? We'll bring you all those details, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CAMEROTA: Kim Jong-un and Vladimir Putin meeting face to face for the first time. Their three and a half hour discussion ended just a short time ago.

And Matthew Chance is live in the room where it happened. That's where the two men just had dinner.

What did they discuss, Matthew?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Oh, yes, they had a -- they had a big reception here with opera singers singing, classical music being played. They had three and a half hours of discussions. They spoke in very general terms about what exactly they talked about, peace on the Korean peninsula, improving bilateral relations and all that. But it was very short on specifics, at least their public statements.

They're (ph) going (ph) to be quite specific about what they had because we've just come into this room where all their delegations and the two leaders sat. This is the table on which they sat. Check this out, they had sweets and bread and I think that's sort of bulgur wheat and beef. But this is interesting. Look, it's a little cheesecake, a chocolate cheesecake with a North Korean flag and a Russian flag on it as well.

And so, yes, we don't have a great deal of detail about what they discussed, but, you know, some greater color about what the two leaders ate during this reception.

[06:40:08] Alisyn.

BERMAN: I'll take it, Matthew.

Matthew Chance for us, where this meeting took place with the menu and the cheesecake all right there.

Thank you, Matthew.

So, moments ago, Joe Biden officially entered the 2020 race for president with an interesting and surprising campaign video. How does he change the makeup of the Democratic field? We're going to ask someone in charge of the Democratic Party. The chairman of the Democratic National Committee joins us next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CAMEROTA: There are now 20 presidential candidates in the race for the Democratic nomination. Former Vice President Joe Biden officially jumping into the race just moments ago.

Joining us now is Tom Perez. He's the chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

Good morning, chairman.

TOM PEREZ, CHAIRMAN, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE: Good morning. Great to be with you again.

CAMEROTA: Great to have you on this exciting news morning. Joe Biden has just made it official by putting out his first campaign

video in which he takes the fight directly to President Trump. He basically goes for the jugular in terms of bringing up the Charlottesville episode right away.

How do you think Joe Biden changes this race?

[06:45:03] PEREZ: Well, we welcome the vice president into the race. The video, I thought, was a very powerful. And what he's reminding us is that, yes, health care is absolutely on the ballot. Economic fairness is on the ballot. And our democracy as we know it is on the ballot because this is, as he points out, a battle for the soul of our nation.

And I welcome all these candidates because they're all talking about their values. And what we need and what we will see over the course of the next year and change is a spirited campaign on the Democratic side where we are going to -- we're looking for a candidate who can both take on Donald Trump, can inspire people to build an America that works for everyone and can take the fight to Donald Trump and win.

CAMEROTA: Do you think that -- do you think that vice -- former Vice President Joe Biden is such a household name that he ends up eclipsing some of those other 19 candidates?

PEREZ: Well, I think we'll find out over time. We have a robust field. I think it's a great challenge to have. I've had the privilege of working with just about everyone. I worked very closely with the vice president and it was an honor to do so. It was an honor to work with other candidates in the field.

And what I think the American people are finding throughout this campaign is that we have a deep bench. And people -- every candidate is talking about values. They're talking about making sure that America works for everyone. They're talking about health care as a right for all, not a privilege for a few, pointing out that climate change is real and we've got to do something about it. And as we saw in today's video, pointing out that our democracy as we know it is on the ballot.

And those are powerful moments. And I think we're going to be seeing candidates who are going to inspire our better angels because Joe Biden and all of the candidates in the race, they understand that we all succeed only when we all succeed. And they're not going to run these zero sum campaigns where I only succeed if you fail. That's the politics of division. That's who Donald Trump is. That's not who the Democrats are.

CAMEROTA: I want to ask you about the values as you've stated them for the DNC moving forward.

As we all know, Russians hacked into the DNC computers and changed the course of the election. Maybe not the outcome, but certainly the course of American history. And now everybody is grappling with this and what to do. So you've put out this statement saying, the Democratic National Committee will not encourage the theft of private data, nor will we seek out or weaponized stolen private data for political gain. And I'm calling on you to put country above part and publically pledge that the Republican National Committee will do the same.

Here is the statement that we've received from the RNC on that topic. They say, any breach of our political organizations, regardless of party, is an affront to all of us, and we should come together as Americans to prevent it from every happening again. It's important we do all we can to safeguard our future elections.

Are you satisfied?

PEREZ: Of course not. I mean this -- this should be a lay-up. I mean what the vice president's video points out is that Charlottesville should have been a lay-up for President Trump. That wasn't about right versus left, that was about right versus wrong. And what we saw in the 2016 election, a foreign adversary -- and not just any foreign adversary, our -- our most -- our fiercest foreign adversary attempted to interfere with our election to help Donald Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton. And what we said in 2016, and my predecessor asked her counterpart at the RNC back then to do the same thing, don't use stolen information. That's what we're saying again.

CAMEROTA: It sounds like they're saying that. I mean when they say it's an affront to all of us, any breach of political organizations, and we come together to prevent it, it sounds like they're saying that.

PEREZ: Well, and then you see the reporting in yesterday's news about the former Homeland Security secretary, who expressed concerns about this happening again, and was told, you can't bring this up in front of Donald Trump.

We are at war right now. It is a cyber war. Unfortunately, because our commander in chief is compromised, the federal government is asleep at the switch. And that is why the DNC and others in the Democratic Party ecosystem are working tirelessly to make sure that we are protecting our data, making sure -- we're working with every campaign to provide cyber security training because we can't expect help from the -- from this administration.

CAMEROTA: But what if you get something really juicy, say President Trump's taxes, then should one of the Democratic candidate be able to air those?

PEREZ: Well, that's going to be a product of a subpoena process where we are --

CAMEROTA: Maybe. I mean maybe it's going to be leaked. What if that's leaked to you? Are you saying that the Democrats shouldn't use that?

PEREZ: Well, again, I think we -- we are entitled to that. If you look at the law that Chairman Neal of the House Ways and Means Committee is using, it's a very -- it's very clear. It's not -- it doesn't say you're entitled to taxes unless it's the taxes of the president of the United States. So firmly believe that we will get access to those. CAMEROTA: Right. I just mean -- I just mean the tactics. I just mean

that -- you're sticking with this, even if you get juicy oppo research of some kind about President Trump through ill-gotten tactics somehow, you are sticking with this position?

[06:50:11] PEREZ: Well, here's what I'm sticking with. And this isn't about right versus left. This is about right versus wrong. A foreign adversary, Russia, they hacked the DNC, they hacked others. They did so with the intent to interfere with our presidential election. And what we said in that letter is, when we have such activity, if someone calls you and tells you, I'm going to rob a bank, your response should be, I'm going to call the authorities. When the Russians called Donald Trump and said, I got dirt on Hillary Clinton, they should have called the authorities. Instead, they said, tell us what you got. That's not right.

And what we're saying is, we need to restore the basic institutions of our democracy. That should have been a lay-up. But, again, as we saw in the reporting, the Homeland Security secretary --

CAMEROTA: Yes.

PEREZ: The former one, wasn't even allowed to bring it up.

We are at war. It is a cyber war. But our commander in chief is compromised. That is a problem. And that's what we're trying to address

CAMEROTA: Chairman Tom Perez, we really appreciate you being on NEW DAY this morning. Thank you.

PEREZ: Always a pleasure to be with you.

CAMEROTA: John.

BERMAN: All right, deadly storms strike in Texas. Chad Myers will tell us where they are headed, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:55:05] BERMAN: Search and rescue operations underway this morning in the eastern Texas city of San Augustine. Strong storms spawned a tornado, leaving behind significant damage.

CNN meteorologist Chad Myers has the forecast.

Chad.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: John, that weather is not over. It is moving into Louisiana right now and even later today, the western parts of Florida and into Mississippi. A lot of lightning on the ground. Tornado watches in effect still for a little while longer out there and a severe thunderstorm watch as this line of weather moves into this green and yellow area. That's where the chance and the risk of severe weather will be today. This is a forecast radar. This is what the radar should look like all day long. So we move you into New Orleans, into Jackson, into Baton Rouge. Very big cities in the way of these storms as they roll east and eventually toward Panama City and Pensacola and the like. So this is a dangerous day here across parts of the south.

The storms will be in the northeast tomorrow, but not as severe certainly as it moves on by. And just when you thought it was safe to go outside, we have a low coming in from the northwest and, yes, Alisyn, rain to the east. But this purple, that's snow. It's too late for this.

CAMEROTA: That's not possible. Redo the map, all right, Chad, by the time we get back to you.

MYERS: OK, I'll work on it.

CAMEROTA: OK, thank you very much.

We have more on our breaking news. Former Vice President Joe Biden has just jumped into the race for president. His campaign video is already making waves. We will show it to you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:00:01] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

CAMEROTA: All right, good morning, everyone. Welcome to your NEW DAY.

We do begin with breaking news.

END