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RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel Live On New Day; Beyond The Call Of Duty: First Responder Donates Kidney To Firefighter; Series Finales For "The Big Bang Theory" And "Game Of Thrones. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired May 17, 2019 - 07:30   ET



[07:30:15] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: The number of challengers lining up for a chance to take on President Trump in 2020 continues to grow. A record-setting 23 Democratic hopefuls vying to become their party's nominee.

The president also faces one Republican challenger, former Massachusetts governor, Bill Weld.

So joining us now to talk about all of this is the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, Ronna McDaniel. Great to have you here, Ronna.

RONNA MCDANIEL, CHAIRWOMAN, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: Thanks for having me your last day in this studio.

CAMEROTA: Yes, I know, it's bittersweet. We're leaving here and moving to a bigger, flashier studio with more toys, so you'll have to come.

MCDANIEL: Well, congratulations. I'll bring you a housewarming present at your new studio.

CAMEROTA: Thank you. I'll look forward to that.

Meanwhile, let's talk about your fundraising numbers. You are killing it. Let me just pull up for everybody your numbers -- how you're situated versus the DNC, OK?

So, here are your latest numbers. You have $15.9 million that you have fundraised in April alone -- record-setting. In March, it was $15.5 million; in February, $14.6 million; in January, $15.7 million. And that's -- I mean, doubling basically what the DNC is.

What is driving your success with this?

MCDANIEL: Well, the support for the president continues to be strong among small-dollar donors and major donors. They recognize we're going to be up against a well-funded Democrat field.

And it gives me an advantage as party chair to start getting to these battleground states early and focus on voter red. And I will tell you, I work at this, too, as party chair. This is most of what I do -- is raising money to prepare for the election. So we're very pleased with our team and our success so far.

CAMEROTA: Oh, it's a testament to whatever your secret sauce is for raising all of this money.

Are there particular issues that are driving the fundraising?

MCDANIEL: It's across the board. With the small-dollar donors, immigration is a huge issue.

But with our major donors, they're looking at what the Democrats are proposing. This lurch to the left with socialism and some of the things that they're proposing -- the 70 percent taxes.

And they're saying, you know what, we like a free market system. We don't want the government taking over every decision-making process in our lives, so let's stick with what we're doing.

And the economy is doing well. And they recognize that jobs are coming back, wages are up. They're seeing that and they're saying President Trump's delivered.

CAMEROTA: And so you must feel very confident. I mean, generally, I'd say 99 percent of the time the side with the most money wins, and so you must be feeling very confident.

And just -- let me pull up one poll. This is a recent Fox poll where Biden beats President Trump 49 percent to 38 percent. So how do you explain that -- those numbers?

MCDANIEL: Well, I think it's early and we've got to let the Democrat process play out. You're going to have a lot of debates with these 23 candidates. Biden's the frontrunner. We'll see how much they go after him.

And I do think there's a little bit of a honeymoon period. We saw that with Hillary Clinton. Her favorables were very high before she got it. And then, as people started vetting here and looking at her record, they go, you know what, maybe not.

So we'll see how that pans out. There's a lot of time between now and November.

CAMEROTA: Do you worry that the restrictive Alabama abortion law, the most restrictive in the country, will hurt Republicans?

MCDANIEL: I look at Alabama -- it's a predominantly pro-life state -- and they're saying we want to let the Supreme Court decide. They've been very clear that they've crafted a law that will go to the Supreme Court that decides how far can states go to govern on this issue.

Obviously, New York has passed a very different law that's allowed abortions up to the due date. And so, Alabama represents Alabama. They don't want California dictating to them how they should legislate. And, Roe v. Wade just didn't go far enough in saying where do the

states get the right to determine governance on this issue.

CAMEROTA: But do you worry that there's no exception for incest or rape? That that ends up hurting Republicans? I mean, you've heard some Republicans -- I'm thinking of Kevin McCarthy -- already speaking out about their discomfort with that.

MCDANIEL: Yes, and there's Republicans on varying degrees of this issue. It's a very personal issue.

We are the party of life. I think that this debate has been set off by a lot of things that we've seen from Democrats recently. Forty- four Democrats in the Senate said if an abortion fails you can't provide lifesaving care to the child. I think most Americans would disagree with that.

I think Ralph Northam, the governor of Virginia, who said let the baby be born and then let's decide if it lives. I think most Republicans would disagree with that.

CAMEROTA: I think he's explained that that was a massive misstatement.

MCDANIEL: But he did -- but he did say that and Democrats haven't condemned that.

And then you have the New York law that's gone so far to say on a due date, a mother can terminate the pregnancy.


MCDANIEL: So I think there's a wide spectrum and Roe v. Wade has not decided these issues --


MCDANIEL: -- and it's going to go back to court.

CAMEROTA: But, I mean, I guess I'm just wondering -- you, as the head of the RNC -- are you comfortable with saying that -- I mean, there is this test case. A 12-year-old incest victim would have to carry her rapist's child.

MCDANIEL: And that's egregious. I mean, my heart goes out to that little girl.

I think we are the party of life. I think there's a broad spectrum. You don't have a litmus test to be a Republican.

[07:35:00] But it's interesting that Tom Perez has been on this show 10 times -- 10 times since he's been chair -- the head of the DNC. He's never been asked a question about whether he agrees with abortion on a due date.

CAMEROTA: Well -- MCDANIEL: It's only Republicans that get asked that question.

CAMEROTA: I mean, I know --

MCDANIEL: So why are Democrats posed the same tough question?

CAMEROTA: Listen --

MCDANIEL: We always get asked and have to qualify why we support life. Why don't Democrats get those same questions?

CAMEROTA: Well, that's because -- well -- I mean, I'm asking you this because it happened this week and because it's so restrictive.

MCDANIEL: Yes, but he's been here 10 different times.

CAMEROTA: And we've invited you 10 times, Ronna.

MCDANIEL: Yes, but he's been here 10 times and he's never been asked a question about does he support whether a woman should be able to abort a baby on the day that it's due while she's in labor.

CAMEROTA: I don't think that any --

MCDANIEL: I think that's extreme.

CAMEROTA: But, I mean, I think that we're getting off the topic here.

MCDANIEL: That's an extreme --

CAMEROTA: It's too extreme.

MCDANIEL: But that's the Democratic Party. It's been four days on this Alabama law.

CAMEROTA: It is not the Democratic Party. They're not talking it on the due date. I mean --

MCDANIEL: Four days.


MCDANIEL: Alabama is different than California. Their voters can make a determination --

CAMEROTA: Understood.

MCDANIEL: -- do we want this to govern us.

CAMEROTA: But, I mean, I guess I'm just asking you are you comfortable with no exception?

MCDANIEL: Listen, personally, I would have the exceptions. That's my personal belief.

But we are a party that is a broad tent. You have -- we have -- if you agree with us 80 percent of the time, I want you to be a Republican. We don't have a litmus test as to whether you can belong to our party.

But we are the party of life. However, we have senators, like Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, and governors on different sides of that.

Tom Perez, the head of the DNC --


MCDANIEL: -- has said if you are pro-life, you cannot be a Democrat. We will not support you.

CAMEROTA: OK, moving on to tariffs. As you know, there are some people who voted for President Trump who are farmers and who say that his tariffs now are hurting them.

Here is -- I'll just play for you one Ohio farmer who explains the effect that it's had on him. Listen to this.


CHRISTOPHER GIBBS, OHIO FARMER: We're in a freefall out here in agriculture. We've seen a 30 percent decrease in the prices of soybeans. The geopolitical turmoil that the president has thrown into the mix over the last year -- the markets just don't have anywhere to go.


CAMEROTA: Are you worried about losing those voters?

MCDANIEL: I think the president has done the right thing in standing up to China. I think it's been too long that our country has allowed China to impose $500 billion in tariffs on our country -- or allow a $500 billion trade deficit with our country and not allowed our products into their country, on top of stealing intellectual property.

Chuck Schumer agrees with the president. This is one place where Democrats and Republicans do agree.

If we do not stand up to China right now, when we have a booming economy, when we're in a position of strength -- we are going to allow them to continue to take advantage of our intellectual property, and our farmers, and our manufacturing, and we will never have an opportunity to negotiate.

It has been unfair what China has done to the United States of America. I'm proud of our president for standing up.

CAMEROTA: And so if Walmart -- since Walmart is raising its prices and if farmers are feeling the heat, that's just a byproduct -- that's just an unfortunate byproduct? I mean, you're willing to take those consequences with that?

MCDANIEL: The long-term gain of our country standing up to China, who is using this $500 billion surplus to build their country, is something that we have to do because we are in a position of strength.

We need to stand up to them. It's been unfair trade practices. We know they've been stealing intellectual property to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars a year.

Chuck Schumer agrees with the president. This is the time where we have to stand up.

Our economy is booming right now. What people don't recognize is China's not booming. They are having a struggle right now.

This is the perfect time to say to them let's have fair trade. We're not asking for an imbalance. We're saying let's be fair.

Let's not steal intellectual property. Let's not have currency manipulation. How about you don't subsidize products and then send them into our country and not allow our products into China.

So this is a very important step for the president. It shows that he cares about the American people and the long-term future of our economy.

CAMEROTA: Ronna McDaniel, chairwoman of the RNC, thanks so much for being here.

MCDANIEL: Thanks for having me.

CAMEROTA: We'll look forward to seeing you in the new place.

MCDANIEL: Thank you.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, thanks, Alisyn.

The company that administers the SAT exam making a major change to try to level the playing field. We'll have the details on that, next.


[07:43:12] CAMEROTA: The pilot of an F-16 fighter jet ejected just moments before it crashed into a warehouse near the March Air Reserve Base in Northern California. These incredible pictures on your screen show the plane went right through the roof of the building.


CAMEROTA: My gosh, look what happened inside. Officials say a hydraulic failure led to the crash.

No one inside the warehouse was hurt, but five people on the ground were injured.

BERMAN: The College Board, the company that administers the SAT exam, will now assign an adversity score to take into account a student's social and economic background. They say it will be implementing an environmental context dashboard, which measures factors like the crime rate and poverty levels of a student's neighborhood.

The idea is to better capture an applicant's resourcefulness to overcome challenges and achieve more with less. The colleges can all decide what to do with this information.

CAMEROTA: We have major cat news right now. Grumpy Cat has passed away. Her frowning face, John, grace countless memes all over the Internet. She even had her own line of toys, comics, perfume, and sneakers.

I believe I interviewed Grumpy Cat at least once. She was rather silent.

Her own T.V. -- Lifetime T.V. show -- Christmas special she had.

Now, Grumpy recently struggled with complications from a urinary tract infection and unfortunately, she did not recover. Grumpy Cat dead at the age of seven.

BERMAN: She was 49 in dog years. What do you say, RIG -- Rest in Grump?

CAMEROTA: That's exactly what you say.

BERMAN: There are television producers who devoted their whole careers to tracking Grumpy Cat.

CAMEROTA: As if we knew one of those.

BERMAN: All right.

[07:45:00] CAMEROTA: All right. Meanwhile, a 911 first responder went beyond the call of duty by donating a kidney to the firefighter who needed it. But he's not the only one who saved a life and CNN's Tom Foreman explains.



TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You could say the story started way back in 1969 when the New York Mets upset the heavily- favored Orioles to win their first World Series.

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL ANNOUNCER: The Mets are the world champions.

FOREMAN (voice-over): You could say that, but that was before Brian Cooney's time.

FOREMAN (on camera): You didn't even know about the Miracle Mets.

OFFICER BRIAN COONEY, PORT AUTHORITY, LAGUARDIA AIRPORT: No, I'm too young to know. I was born four years after.

FOREMAN (voice-over): So, we'll get back to the ballgame. For now, what you need to know is Brian is a Port Authority police

officer at LaGuardia Airport. He was also a 9/11 first responder -- a guy who knows about going beyond the call of duty.

COONEY: I've always been excited about helping people.

FOREMAN (voice-over): So when he heard a call for organ donors, he stepped up and said he would give a kidney, no matter who needed it.

COONEY: There's no real impetus. It's not that someone, in particular, was sick or any one story. Knowing that it's going to make such a big difference is a pretty good feeling.

FOREMAN (voice-over): It turns out the recipient was surprisingly, a fellow public servant, Al Barbieri, diagnosed with kidney cancer and waiting for a donor more than a year.

AL BARBIERI, VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTER, KIDNEY RECIPIENT: I was a young, healthy guy. I was a firefighter. I was active duty and responding to calls.

All of a sudden, here I am -- you know, I'm the guy who's sick, and you're not used to being the guy who's sick.

FOREMAN (voice-over): Al's wife, Debbie, was going to give him one of her kidneys.

DEBBIE BARBIERI, WIFE OF AL BARBIERI: Like, I wasn't compatible.

COONEY: All right, it's game day.

FOREMAN (voice-over): But then, something else surprising happened.

COONEY: We're here, ready for surgery.

FOREMAN (voice-over): Since her husband was being saved by Brian, a stranger, Debbie decided to pay it forward and offer her kidney to anyone who needed it.

D. BARBIERI: I never thought I was going to even be a match to anybody and then we got the phone call and I was shocked.

FOREMAN (voice-over): Shocked because the day Brian, Al, and Debbie all went into surgery, so did 74-year-old Ed Kranepool -- the last stop on this short chain of remarkable kindness. He got Debbie's kidney.

And who is he?

ED KRANEPOOL, FORMER NEW YORK METS FIRST BASEMAN, KIDNEY RECIPIENT: I've had two good teams in my life -- the Mets and my group today.

FOREMAN (voice-over): That's right, Ed was the first baseman for those Miracle Mets so long ago.

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL ANNOUNCER: A home run for Ed Kranepool. FOREMAN (voice-over): A local hero.

COONEY: I'm a Yankee fan and --


COONEY: -- I feel like -- I feel like nothing's going to change that.

FOREMAN (voice-over): But then, they were all heroes this day, hitting a grand slam of giving.

A. BARBIERI: With this transplant, I'll be able to see my children -- I'll be able to see them graduate, I'll be able to go to their weddings, I'll be able to see my grandchildren, and that's very special to me.

FOREMAN (voice-over): Tom Foreman, CNN, New York.


BERMAN: What a lovely story. And that Tom Foreman -- man, can he write. I didn't see the Met twist at the end. He teased it at the beginning, but then it delivered.

CAMEROTA: Yes, he does that.


CAMEROTA: You know, sometimes people are wonderful. That's what we learn on this show --

BERMAN: You keep telling me that.

CAMEROTA: -- almost every day.

BERMAN: You keep telling me that.

CAMEROTA: Sometimes people are terrible -- and we hear a lot of that also -- but sometimes they're wonderful.

BERMAN: I'll let that sink in.

All right, so winter came. Now, the end of "GAME OF THRONES" is near. And it's not the only blockbuster T.V. show coming to an end. We'll discuss, next.


[07:52:38] BERMAN: Two of the most popular shows in television history are coming to an end.

After 12 seasons, CBS's "THE BIG BANG THEORY" aired its final episode last night. This, as millions of fans wait to see who, if anyone, will sit upon the Iron Throne in HBO's last episode of "GAME OF THRONES" this Sunday.

Joining us now is Bill Carter. He's a former "New York Times" media reporter and a CNN media analyst who watches a lot of television.


BERMAN: Let me just play, Bill, what was your favorite moment --


BERMAN: -- from this finale --


BERMAN: -- last night. Let's just play it so people can see "THE BIG BANG THEORY."







BAILIK: I know. Can you believe it?

PARSONS: That's a good point. What if I'm dreaming?


PARSONS: We won the Nobel.



BERMAN: Win the Nobel Prize in the final episode.

CARTER: The Nobel Prize, yes.

BERMAN: Bill, you --

CARTER: Kind of a bang to go out with.


BERMAN: It's a historic show. I mean, this is literally a show --

CARTER: And it really, I think, is the entire last of an entire generation of comedy because comedy like this is never going to be done again, I don't think because --

CAMEROTA: Why? CARTER: The format is out-of-date -- the idea that you do a 3-camera comedy on a stage with an audience. Very few shows do that anymore. And to build up an audience that they had -- way over 20 million viewers a week at their height. And then, the reruns are on all the time -- all the time. That kind of show isn't being made anymore.

CAMEROTA: But here's what's so crazy. It's so successful.

CARTER: It's --

CAMEROTA: Maybe people should make those kinds of shows.

CARTER: Well, that -- but how do you do it? The networks don't have the big audience draw anymore and people don't watch television the same way anymore. That's the fundamental of it.

This show was interesting because it had this mass appeal but it had no critical support for a long, long time because people said oh, it's so passe to do a show like this with people laughing. And yet, it had massive numbers of people.

And I used -- I used to talk to my son about it because my son is a standup comedian, and he would put down this show. And I said but there are 20-plus million people laughing at it. It's not funny.

It is funny to them -- they're laughing. That makes it funny.

BERMAN: CBS was doing this longer than anybody. They held on longer --

CARTER: They were, and they still are doing shows like that. But I just can't see another show breaking out like this. They -- you know, maybe something happens -- some phenomenon happens.

[07:55:05] CAMEROTA: But what was its secret sauce? I mean, before we get to "GAME OF THRONES," what made that so successful?

CARTER: You know, it's good characters -- characters people thought were funny and they came to really like them. They were nerdy guys, you know, and they grow -- and they grew them.

They didn't stay the same. They had to grow up, they had to have girlfriends, they had to have relationships. They were terrible with women and they had -- you know. So they made them a little bit more flesh and blood and real.

BERMAN: All right. "GAME OF THRONES" could not be more different --

CARTER: It could not be more different, yes.

BERMAN: -- in that --

CARTER: Nobody was killed off in "THE BIG BANG THEORY."

BERMAN: Yes, the first episode -- or the first season.


BERMAN: Talk to me about "GAME OF THRONES" and why this is an end not just to a phenomenal television show --


BERMAN: -- and series, but an end of an era, as you see it.

CARTER: Well, I just -- I can't imagine a show having this kind of mass appeal because people want to watch it every week.

Most of the shows that are high-premium shows like this now are done by Netflix. Everybody watches on the wrong schedule, all right, so we don't have to wait every week to sit together and watch. And that's what's changing this shared cultural experience of everybody watching "GAME OF THRONES."

And then some people getting so upset because this isn't the ending we wanted. We wanted something different and we'll all get on social media and we'll protest the same thing. That isn't going to happen, I don't think, anymore.

And I think the idea of -- by the way, spending what they spent on this show is almost insanity. But also, I just don't think that creating that excitement is going to be possible.

CAMEROTA: But, I mean, this is -- I'm confused about your sounding the death knell of these kinds of shows when they've been so successful.


CAMEROTA: I mean -- and we do like to have a whole universal shared experience.

CARTER: We do.

CAMEROTA: That's equally important in our culture.

CARTER: We do -- it is.

CAMEROTA: So why are you sounding (INAUDIBLE).

CARTER: We've always like that. We've loved that. We've all -- we all watched the "MASH" finale.

CAMEROTA: Of course.

CARTER: We all watched the Beatles at the same time. We all watched "SEINFELD" --

CAMEROTA: "SEINFELD," of course.

CARTER: -- at the same time --

CAMEROTA: So -- CARTER: -- right?

CAMEROTA: So why are you saying it's over.

CARTER: Because are people watching on devices and they're choosing when they watch. And they record a show and they watch later, and they -- so they don't have to watch all at the same time. And that -- and the impetus to all share it isn't there anymore.

And I think what's also being lost is a kind of cultural touchdown. Like if you have 20 million people or more watching and you say -- you know, Khaleesi, they know what you're talking about. A whole lot of people know what you're talking about.

But not that many people are going to know, like, the characters from "MRS. MAISEL" or a show like that because it's watched differently.

BERMAN: Do you think we should just give up, Bill?

CARTER: No, we shouldn't, because what's great -- it's great if your -- if you like television and you like better television, better television is being made this way. It's just a big massive hit that's going to be so much harder to find.

BERMAN: Who is going to sit on the Iron Throne, Bill? Who is going to sit on the Iron Throne? Do you know?

CARTER: Arya. I don't know.

BERMAN: I mean, there's never going to be another character like her because she's the best show -- best character in television history. Can you agree on that?

CARTER: I agree, she's way up there -- a fantastic character. Every young girl should emulate that character.

BERMAN: Every young -- well, every human --


BERMAN: -- should emulate Arya because she's badass.

CAMEROTA: All right, I'll start watching.



CARTER: You've got a lot to do. You've got a lot to catch up on.

CAMEROTA: I really do.

BERMAN: Thank you very much.

CAMEROTA: Thank you very much. Great to see you, Bill.

CARTER: It's great to be with you.

CAMEROTA: All right. The comics are having a field day with the New York City mayor's presidential bid. Here are your "Late-Night Laughs."


STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, CBS "THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT": Yet another new Democratic candidate pushed his way into the clown car. I'm talking about New York City mayor and Frankenstein's monster's lawyer, Bill de Blasio. You hear the hometown crowd warmly receiving that.

SETH MEYERS, HOST, NBC "LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS": New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today that he is running for president. Come on, Bill, everyone knows the next step after mayor of New York is insane lawyer.

JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, ABC "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE!": He was on "GOOD MORNING AMERICA" today where he showed that Donald Trump isn't the only one who can come up with cunning nicknames for his opponents.

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK CITY, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald Trump is playing a big con on America. I call him "Con Don."

KIMMEL: Good one, Bill. Sick burn. I call him "Con Don." He really puts the blah in de Blasio.


CAMEROTA: Ruthless.

BERMAN: I don't know if it was the campaign launch you necessarily want but he's getting attention, so there's that.

New revelations about Michael Flynn's cooperation with the Mueller probe. NEW DAY continues right now.


DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR, "EARLY START": Was the escalation between the U.S. and Iran one big misunderstanding?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: U.S. officials have images they assess shows that Iranian freighters are carrying missiles.

REPORTER: Are we going to war with Iran?


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): They dropped the ball on this.

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: People connected to the Trump administration reached out to Michael Flynn, even after Flynn was cooperating.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They know that the president is being investigated for obstruction. He was trying to influence Flynn.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): They are stalling. This is part of a directive to stonewall the Congress.

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): They're more interested in subpoenas than solutions.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

CAMEROTA: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to your NEW DAY. It is actually Friday.

BERMAN: It's Friday.

CAMEROTA: I'm going to ignore what the teleprompter says right now because clearly, people have had too many donuts in the control room

BERMAN: They're gaslighting you.

CAMEROTA: Yes, I can see that.

BERMAN: They're gaslighting you. It says it's Thursday. It's not -- it's Friday.

CAMEROTA: It's not. It's Friday and it is 8:00 in the East, and this is our final