tv CNN Newsroom With Fredricka Whitfield CNN November 4, 2018 12:00pm-1:00pm PST
tornados. this is toward s the tuesday morning period. vote in the morning. if you live in the east, vote in the morning. you may want to wait until afternoon. >> fair warning for all. appreciate it. we have so much more straight ahead and is it starts right now. hello again. thanks so much for being with me this sunday from washington, d.c. closing arguments from the current and former president on what's at stake come election day. with just two days to go, republicans and democrats are pulling out all the stops. president trump, vice president pence, former president obama and former vice president biden are dominating the campaign trail with stops in indiana, pennsylvania, tennessee and georgia. and now georgia is the focus of a new investigation. the office of the state secretary of state, brian kemp, who also is the republican
candidate for governor is accusing the democratic party of hacking into the system to expose vulnerabilities we are awaiting details and in the meantime, it's a very busy day. following candidates and big name backers in illinois, florida, and georgia. let's begin in macon, georgia. soon to arrive if not already. sarah west road is there. what will be the message? >> well, fred. president trump review what is he will display in favor of brian kemp. this is as tight as they come. one of the most closely watched gubernatorial contests in the country. the secretary of state of georgia skipped his last debate with stacey abrams to be here with the president. abrams has been using that against him and looking to make history on tuesday by becoming
the first black woman to be governor not just of georgia, but any state of the in the country. president obama and oprah winfrey came down to campaign on behalf of him. if neither gets 50% on tuesday, this race will move into a run off. that's why president trump is coming here today. he wants to stop that run off from happening. georgia is one of the only stops on the 11-rally campaign tour that doesn't have a competitive senate race. the president has been spending time in montana, tennessee and missouri where they are hoping to defend the house seed or pick off a democratic incumbent. the president is speaking to reporters with the expectations about election day. he said it has been difficult to come out on behalf of the house. he previewed the words of support he will be delivering in favor of kemp. take a listen. >> the georgia campaign of brian
kemp has been extraordinary. a lot of people are voting and a lot of republicans are voting because they want to see george ja ia go forward. if he gets in, georgia goes forward and that's what people want. >> the president has five rallies left on his schedule including the one tonight before election day. he will be heading to tennessee and we are likely to see him double down on his trumpian message of immigration, focusing on the caravan of central american migrants inflaming passions around what has been his central focus heading into election day. fred? >> thank you so much. we will check back with you. former president barack obama also on the campaign trail. he is in gary, indiana, holding a rally with joe donnelly who is in a tight race to hold on to his indiana senate seat.
a recent poll shows don low with a narrow three-point lead over his republican challenger, mike braun. ryan young is in chicago where obama has another campaign rally scheduled later on. ryan? >> reporter: the former president is scheduled here and you can imagine in his hometown there is a lot of energy behind that. he will make the appearance here. you can call him a heavy weight here in the city. people have been waiting in line for hours in the rain to hope to hear from the president. this will take a different stage. common will perform and they will have a concert atmosphere. obama has been throwing punches on the campaign trail. it's that energy we have talked to people in the crowd that they want to hear. i was talking to one woman who said in her neighborhood, more people have been getting out the vote than ever before and they are trying to start more caravans to make sure early voting and the vote on tuesday counts so much more than it has before. when you think about the race
that so many focussed on nationwide, there is a race for governor here and if more money has been spent in the last year than any governor's race across the country. $200 million has been pumped on to the the airwaves and some are nasty. when you talk to the people in the crowd, they want to see a step back from that political wrangling in public. listen to president obama on the campaign trail friday talking about politicians and whether or not what they have been up to. >> what we have not seen the way we are seeing right now is politicians just blatantly, repeatedly, baldly, shamelessly just making stuff up. that's what they're doing right now all the time. don't be bamboozled. don't be hood winked. when words stop meaning
anything, when truth doesn't matter, when people can just lie with a band on, democracy can't work. >> we are two hours from the president hitting the stage. the crowd is filing in. i'm talking to the people who are students at this college. they seem energized and asked them, it doesn't look like millennials will be voting in record nobnumbers. it will be interesting to see if the president and dick durbin will fire this crowd up. >> surrogates of the candidates can see there is a lot at stake. people are pumped up in record numbers of early vote turn out. we will see what tuesday brings as well. ryan young, thank you so much in chicago. the investigation looming over georgia's election. the office of the secretary of
state, brian kemp who is also the republican nominee for governor claims the democratic party tried to hack into the system in an attempt to expose vulnerabilities. kaylie har kueee hartung is in d we are still awaiting evidence. where is the momentum behind this investigation? >> that's right, fred. the secretary of state's office is not providing us with any evidence to explain why decided to open the investigation into the georgia democratic party where they say there was a failed attempt to hack the voter registration system. they said they can't comment on an ongoing investigation. so further information has been given to us other than the fact that this investigation has been opened. brian kemp's gubernatorial campaign has been much more direct in how they are correlating the information in i saying the democrats tried to
expose vulnerabilities in the voting system. the democrats say these claims are skurulous. they are 100% false and the director of the party saying we did not create, discover, or attempt to take advantage of the deeply vulnerable system run by the secretary of state. stacey abrams was on state of the union with jake tapper and shared her reaction to the news of the investigation. >> i heard nothing about it and my reaction is this is a desperate attempt to the part of my opponent to distract from the fact that two federal injureds found him derelict in his duties to force them to count absentee ballots and those to be allowed to vote. he is desperate to turn the conversation away from his failures and refusal to honor commitments and the fact that he is part part of a nationwide system of voter suppression that will not work. we are going to outwork him and
outvote him and we are going to win. >> all of this news comes as we are learning from claims from the coalition of good governance that is involved in some of the litigation against brian kemp in relation to those allegations of voter suppression. the organization claiming that the online database that is used to update the polling say that that system has been open to manipulation. the secretary of state's office said the ises a s the secretary of state's office said the ises aystems are secur. it has been contendious and allegations being levelled back and forth and we heard the calls for brian kemp to step down from his role as secretary of state as he runs for the state's top office. stacy abrams and jimmy carder called for him to resign and he continues to refuse to do so.
>> no further comment from kemp who will no longer be at a debate with stacey abrams, but appearing with the president in macon? >> that's right. we will see him on stage shortly in macon. we have to delineate between the statements his campaign is making versus the statements his office of secretary of state are making. those statements we received today have come by way of spokes men, not from brian kemp himself. we will see if he address this is controversy on stage next to president trump later today. >> kaylee hartung, appreciate it. in the key battle ground state of florida, the governor's race is getting a lot of attention. the mayor of tallahassee is trying to flip the state and beat former congressman, ron desantis. the poll shows it's a dead heat between the two with gillum holding a one-point lead, well within the margin of error.
people are turning out big numbers to vote early with four million casting ballots in the state of florida. rosa flores is in miami beach in an early voting location. president trump and president obama have campaigned there in the last week. how potentially influential? >> reporter: very influential, for sure. people are busy with two things. first being bombarded by political ads. there are so many in this state, you can't watch without watching one. then the early voting. take a look behind me. i'm at the miami beach city hall and this line has been steady for the last hour. just yesterday, 33,000 people voted in miami-dade, but if you look at early voting for the state of florida, hear this. almost 4.5 million people have
voted. that's according to the florida secretary of state. you know, florida is known for nail biting races because elections here are won by razor-thin margins. i want to show you the nail biting break down of that 4.5 million. 1.8 million of republicans. 1.7 million are democrats and then there is another block of no party affiliation or other. those are 835,000. it's no mistake that we have seen major a-listers closing the mid-term elections here in florida. president trump has been stumping for republican ron desantis. desantis of course is the candidate that had the political ad where he is teaching his son how to build a wall with building blocks. of course president obama was here in miami on friday for andrew gillum. for dems it's like a passing of
the baton from president obama to andrew gillum. we learned that even p. diddy will be in tallahassee stumping for andrew gillum. you know, fred, when you think about florida and elections and these nail biting races, you are going to have to get a gel manicure this time around if you are thinking about this. if you are going to be watching the elections. we are talking about razor-thin margins this time around. >> people are inspired for so many reasons to get to the polling stations. the early polling station like where you are at least on tuesday. as the democrats fight to regain the senate, florida is one seat that they think they can hang on to. the incumbent, bill nelson is facing a tough battle from rick scott. how close is that race and hoe topical is that for voters and how much do it inspire them to
get to the polls? >> it's nail biting, fred. we can't describe it any way else. let me show you the numbers. this is the latest cnn poll issued thursday. here you go. bill nelson, 49% of likely voters. rick scott, 47% of likely voters. that is within the margin. we are talking about razor-thin elections, that's what we are talking about. that's why they're bringing a-listers into the state of florida to close the mid-term election in their favor. there is a misconception that most of florida voters are senior citizens. hear this. this time around, 52% of registered voters are millenn l millennials. gen-xors and jen zers. when you look at health care and the statistics there, if you
look at the top 10 counties in the country, it is top five are in the state of florida. when democrats talk about health care and preexisting conditions, that's one of the reasons why. it's so important for this young building block and the rest of the people in this sunshine state. >> 52% are millennials orig gen-xors. >> president trump and president obama are making pitches in key races. their messages are in sharp contrast two days before the mid-terms. will there words really make a difference on tuesday? we will discuss, next. rings) it's open! hey. this is amazing. with moderate to severe ulcerative colitis, are you okay? even when i was there, i never knew when my symptoms would keep us apart.
so i talked to my doctor about humira. i learned humira can help get, and keep uc under control when other medications haven't worked well enough. and it helps people achieve control that lasts. so you can experience few or no symptoms. humira can lower your ability to fight infections, including tuberculosis. serious, sometimes fatal infections and cancers, including lymphoma, have happened; as have blood, liver, and nervous system problems, serious allergic reactions, and new or worsening heart failure. before treatment, get tested for tb. tell your doctor if you've been to areas where certain fungal infections are common, and if you've had tb, hepatitis b, are prone to infections, or have flu-like symptoms or sores. don't start humira if you have an infection. be there for you, and them. ask your gastroenterologist about humira. with humira, control is possible.
ensure coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, and protect social security and medicare. vote for a democratic congress; for an economy that works for everyone. independence usa pac is responsible for the content of this advertising. there lots of people who are confused about which medicare plan is right for them. hey, that's me. i barely know where to start. well, start here with me, karen. i'm a licensed humana sales agent. well, it's nice to meet you, karen. i'm john smith. hi, john. at humana, we know you're unique. so you have different needs from other john smiths. yah, i've always thought so. and together, we can find a plan that's right for you. great! i go to the doctor a couple of times a year. and i have some prescriptions. but i'm never fully sure of what's
covered and what's not. with humana's all-in-one medicare advantage plans, you get coverage for hospital stays, doctor visits, and part d for an affordable, and sometimes, no monthly plan premium. do you have any more information? sure. i'll get a decision guide in the mail to you today. they're free. finally. someone who understands the real me. your health and happiness is important to us. call or go online now to get your free decision guide. call a licensed humana sales agent today. ♪ all the tools you need for every step of the way. make it, squarespace the 2018 mid-term elections are looking more like a proxy war between the sitting
president and his predecessor. they are stumping hard for republicans and democrats and this might be what people in their rallies in georgia, tennessee, indiana and illinois can expect to hear today. >> one of his accusers, false accusations, just came out a little while ago and said it was all a lie that she never met now justice kavanaugh. it was a made up story. she made up the story. it was a lie. it was a total lie. it was fake. >> they promised to take on corruption. instead, they have racked up enough diindictments to field a football team. i didn't have anyone in my administration get indited. i just thought that was how you were supposed to do things.
>> senate of the conservatives fund and former republican attorney general, ken cuccinelli is a legal commentator. a former democratic member of the statehouse and a cnn commentator also with us. cnn analyst. good to see all of you. ken, you first. we heard president trump say he is not focusing his rallies on the economy. he said this before getting on air force one on the way to georgia. i'm quoting him now. i want to focus on the economy, but you people don't like to focus on that. they would much rather focus on immigration. you laugh because we all laughed. he is the one who has been bringing up immigration and carav caravan. what is going on? . >> this week is about the case for the president and the
ex-president. we heard president obama's comments to the crowd where they laugh. people who already agree with him laugh at that sort of thing. the same is true for president trump. he is talking to the republican base about the things that fire them up the most. now, what matters to them most in their life is the economy which is true of democrats and independents, but it doesn't drive passion which is what's going on in this last weekend to make sure as many people from your political base turn out as possible. the immigration situation has not been resolved. it propelled the president in 2016. certainly each through the primary and into the general. because it's not resolved, it's still a matter of concern to the base and worth talking about. it's timely news with the caravan coming up and being in the news the last two weeks. that's what he's doing. they laugh about what they'd
like to talk about. what they are talking about is what they think is effective at this stage of the election with two days to go. >> so this is all about winning votes. what wins votes? the strategy of fear or the strategy of setting the record straight? that's what you see in the contrast between the sitting president and his predecessor. >> this may sound strange coming from a democrat, but playing on the cultural wars does not work, however if anyone wants to look for statistical analysis to prove it works, they see that donald trump is president of the united states. the democrats's closing message is not whether or not you are talking about andrew gillum or stacey abrams or andy kim from the congressional level down to the united states congressional level. they are not talking about donald trump and the caravan that is 1300 miles away. they are talking about the economy and health care. i think the bet the democrats
are making is the country is weary of having these u.s. versus them battles. whether or not that bears out to be true is yet to be seen. a lot of this build up is like tyson versus holyfield. hopefully nobody bites anyone else's ear off on tuesday. >> hopefully not on set. >> we'll see how this all plays out. democrats are taking a bet on what we always do which is not are inially getting hand to hand combat. republicans and donald trump are doing what they do best. play on fears and all the isms that people want to stamp out. >> the president does want to run again in 2020. the outcome of this mid-term, how much might that have an impact on poising him for 2020? >> it will shape his final two years. you can learn a lot by looking at the travel itinerary of president trump and former
president obama. president trump is appearing in small town, rural, prepond rantly white. president obama is appearing in diverse, big cities. that i think is the tip that we are going to see an election that will see a divergence between the two americas. nbc "wall street journal" and "washington post." each had a 20-point gap between the way college educated voters were voting, mostly democratic and non-college educated people were voting, mostly republican. to repudiate president trump and affirm him. they're making gains and finding it much tough onner. we could have a very divided, vergent result. >> barack obama is there in gary, indiana. campaigning for joe donnelly and making his way to chicago. the concentration of populous while it must be in the metro
areas, you can't underestimate the power of the rural areas. is that an asset for the president then? >> look, the better predictor of president trump's travel itinerary is close senate races. he is not playing in the congressional house races except for the ones in these contested senate race states. and florida is one of them. montan a west virginia, indiana and missouri. those are where he is going. whether they are rural -- where do you find a big city in montana? you don't. >> you are talking about the house races. the reason he is not playing in the house races is they have especially none -- the places that can decide the house around the big metro areas, he is looking at 36% approval. they are not republicans. it's a reflection of where we
are. i would argue the way he is closing the campaign is a form of trash. the republicans running in the areas will say this closing argument rather than the e economy makes their life harder and it does strengthen republicans as well as the kind of more rural houses. i believe he is drawing air fire wall trying to prevent the republicans from falling off the table and in the process acknowledging that he cannot help and save the suburban republicans and can't save the house itself. >> these congressional races -- go ahead. >> i think the house is definitely more problematic than the senate. the senate map has a lot of opportunities for republicans and conservatives, which is why my organization has been so active in this cycle and those are in state that is the president won in 2016 with democrats who have been on the
other sides of the issues. you can characterize it however you like. in these states, the majority of people support the president on immigration. they support his economic policies and so on down the line. you have people like joe donnelly and jon tester and clair mccaskill on defense on substance. they are out of step with their states. that's the problem democrats have in those races. that's what the president is focusing on and what the candidates are seeing on. we will see how it plays out in two days, but that's why the focus is there. >> this is a particularly unique mid-term election. while this mid-term can be very sleepy, voters are apathetic. it's different this time. two presidents are dueling. this is almost a presidential race here. what is it about this that president obama for very long kept quiet, but now he is putting a lot on the line for
any democratic gains. >> it's not are inially these two presidents being mobilized. it's the candidates below that. as much as we talk about, the u.s. senate and the house because we are in washington, d.c., there are a lot of people looking at the races that are right below that. as much as he was campaigning for bill nelson, he was very much there for andrew gillum. he was not there for a candidate in georgia. he was there for stacey abrams. if you look in wisconsin and michigan and you look at iowa, these secretary of state races, you are starting to see the democrats are doing something they evaporate dohaven't done i period of time. as much as barack obama is there for bill nelson or there for joe donnelly per se, it's an entire ticket. the candidates are driving the excitement. >> it's more than the democratic
ticket. president obama is talking about that right now. he said this really is about civility and character. let's listen to him real quick in gary, indiana. >> it is because of the efforts of folks like you that we abolished slavery. we ended the great depression. and workers won the right to unionize. and women won the right to vote. that's why we had a civil rights movement. and a worker's rights movement. and lgbt movement. because people fought for it. and by the way, every time we gained a victory, we moved the country in a more generous, more
progressive direction. usually there is somebody that's pushing back. wanting to preserve the status quo. we get periods of progressive advancement, but conservative retrenchment. in the closing weeks of this election, we have seen repeated attempts to divide us with rhetoric, to try to turn us on one another. it's an old playbook where the powerful and the privileged say whatever it takes to protect their power and their privilege. even if it hurts the country, even when it puts people at risk. the good news is, indiana, when you vote, you can reject that kind of politics. when you vote, you can be a check on bad behavior.
when you vote, you can choose hope over fear. you can choose a bigger, more prospero prosperous, more generous, kinder version of america. where all of us, whoever we are, whatever we look like. whatever our last name is, however we choose to love or pray, we can all come together to shape our country's course. indian a that's what joe donnelly stands for. that's what you can vote for on tuesday. remember, progress never comes without a fight. every time we pull closer to those founding ideals that all
of us are created equal, the status quo pushes back. you win the right to union and then somebody wants to bust your union. you win higher minimum wage, congress decides we won't raise it for 10 years. you win the right to vote, they try to make it harder for you to vote. making this country better has never been easy. joe mentioned 10 years ago, i was campaigning for president [ applause ] -- i had no gray hair at the time. victor oladipo was showing me a picture of me and him together. proud of victor, by the way.
but he was showing me a picture and he looked the same, but i don't. but you know what, i earned this gray hair. when i was- >> former president barack obama making jokes about earning his gray hair, but he is getting to the bottom of trying to inspire the vote by reminding people about the meaning behind the vote. let's get back to my panelist. ron and ken. this is a telling moment. quintessential obama. >> i saw him deliver that speech in atlanta before a big crowd. what is striking about this is there are very, very few democratic candidates who are choosing to engage directly with president trump over his rhetoric and the issues he is stressing. they are keeping their heads down and trying to talk about health care especially.
i think that's a missed opportunity. if you look at where the democrats have the biggest opportunities if are gains, it's in these white collar suburbs and they are morally offended about how president trump has presented himself. president obama is doing bash any democratic leader. drawing attention to that choice. this is not only a qualify interest, but values. >> those who may feel conflicted. >> it is the swing white collar suburbanites who are doing well and that is a place where republicans at a greatest risk because of the kinds of issues that former president obama is highlighting in these speeches as he goes around the country. >> for shows you how gifted former president obama is. i watched his speech in florida and georgia and i chuckled and i said 44 has his swag back. you see him.
he's out there and eloquent and being an under arrestator. democrats have not done well. engage trump on the level of coup cultural war. it's afraid to definitely into it. it's a fear and it's something that i keep harkening on. >> a fear of backlash? >> andrew gillum has done well. when you are a black candidate, you walk on eggshells and you think you have to run fast or work harder and be smarter and all of those things. you are almost petrified of your own blackness. andrew gillum is doing all those things as barack obama is doing. we have been here before. women in this country, gays and black folk and hispanics. we have to reject that politics of fear. every time we attempted to make progressive policy changes moving forward, there have
always been people on the other side. that person today is donald trump. >> he said the character of today is on the ballot. he is saying what the democratic congressional leaders want to fight on bread and butter, lunch bucket economics. why are republicans facing the kind of risks they are with unemployment at 4% that are doing the best? it is because of those concerns about the values of the country. >> i'd like to hear your input. if president obama is trying to reach independents or republican voters, they say we celebrate the economy and we just don't like the rhetoric and don't like the style of the president. why isn't the president trying to appeal to them. why is he only speaking to his base as opposed to expanding the base and appeal to those who are uncomfortable with his rhetoric and celebrate the economy? >> well, as president obama did so well in 00 anti-a8 and 2012,e
numbers of who wins in a down election like the mid-terms. as much interest as there is relative to other mid-terms. it is still a mid-term and not reaching presidential levels of participation and we heard president obama do the classic thing that politicians do and say we are loving and everybody is with us. the other side is mean and divicive. he did that through his presidency and he was divicive after promising not to be. i would also note as the head of the senate conservative fund, i was glad to hear the extraordinary drop off in applause when president obama switched from his general themes that he was expressing to and now, the person who personifies that here in indiana is joe donnelly. woo! joe donnelly cooperate hauldn'tn
much heart from that, but i do. i don't find this close surprising and i don't think it is going to affect the tenuous house races that you heard discussed. the die is cast there. i have seen dave, >> brabra brad, and barbara and jennifer is not talking about the economy. i have seen mail where they are doing the same. the messages are not gone. they're being delivered and delivered right to the doorstep. >> we shall see how influential if at all. thanks to all of you gentlemen. appreciate it. don't miss our special preelection edition of prime time tonight starting with anderson cooper. cnn tonight with don lemon. it begins right here on cnn starting at 7:00 eastern time.
welcome back. president trump and former president obama campaigning hard two daysa, way from election day. the democrats are working to regain the majority in the house and while they may have a good shot at it, john king explains the battle for the senate is a very different story much. >> for all the mid-term talk of a big blue wave, it is advantage republicans when you look at this map. the fight for control of the senate. this map has always been tilted against the democrats because of the races at play this year.
10 democratic incumbents in the states the president won. 20, 30, or even 40 points. can they get a senate majority? they can, but it's difficult. 49 republican and 45 democrat. you see the six gold states. those are the toss upstate stat. here's the challenge. if nothing else changed, the democrats would have to run the states. get florida, tennessee, missouri, nevada, arizona. that would get you 51 to 49. it's possible if the democrats have a huge night tuesday, they can retake the senate. this is why that seems unlikely or difficult. in this scenario, republicans only have to hold tennessee where marcia blackburn is ahead. if they won only tennessee and nothing else changed, that would be 50-50. the vice president would break the tie and the republicans are
still in control. if you look at the map, the republicans think they will hold and maybe can add seats even in a blue year. why do they think that? in the house races, the president is a drag. in the senate races in florida, arizona, and tennessee, the president's numbers, you may say that's not great. only in tennessee is he above 53%, but higher than the national average and up from the last poll in arizona. up from the last poll in nevada and up from the last poll in florida and tennessee. later in the campaign when he was focusing on the senate races, his standing in the states that matter is improving. republicans think they may lose the house, but they may hold or even gain when it comes to the senate. >> john king, thank you so much for the break down and don't miss how it all shakes out on tuesday on election night in america right here on cnn starting tuesday at 5:00 p.m.
eastern time. . it's hard to keep up. in washington, one party is calling the shots and the middle class isn't being heard. we need a new congress that will cut taxes for the middle class, ensure coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, and protect social security and medicare. vote for a democratic congress; for an economy that works for everyone. independence usa pac is responsible for the content of this advertising.
first, it continues to pay paramedics while we're on break. second, it ensures the closest ambulance can respond if you call 9-1-1. vote yes on 11. recently, more than $20 million has been spent in the race for superintendent of public instruction to attack my friend tony thurmond's record. well, i've worked with tony, and no one is more qualified to lead our state's schools. that's why tony thurmond is the only candidate endorsed by classroom teachers and the california democratic party. because tony will stand up to the donald trump-betsy devos agenda and has always protected our local public schools. join me in voting for tony thurmond. let's put our kids first.
than 48 hours before election day, and much of his closing message has been focused on stoking fear of undocumented immigrants. here's what he said today on his way to a rally in georgia. >> the level of fervor, the level of fever is very strong on the republican side, so i can't speak to the blue, but i can speak to the red. there's a lot of energy out there. they want to see border security. they don't want people pouring into our country. they don't want open borders. >> the president's hardline anti-immigration rhetoric is a stark change from the message today from the head of the rnc, speaking to jake tapper on cnn's "state of the union." she says we should be sympathetic and welcoming of migrants who want to come to the u.s. >> we know good people are trying to get in this country too. they see the prosperity. they see the economic growth. they're coming to this country because they see it as a beacon of hope. we need to find a legal way to
get people here. we feed need to find a way to fr immigration system. >> all right. with me now is congressman ryan costello, republican representative from pennsylvania. good to see you. so you decided not to run for re-election because of the divisive political environment. so what is your reaction when you hear the president campaign on fear and intimidation? >> well, i take the chairwoman's comments more to heart in terms of the fact that we have the highest wage growth in over ten years, lowest unemployment in 49 years, more money for veterans' health care, more money for nih funding, which is going to improve public health outcomes by modernizing a lot of pharmaceutical drugs and medical discovery devices, as well as more money to fight the opioid epidemic. we have a positive message. i have never subscribed to the fact that we need to double down and get divisive on the
immigration issue. i think that we would do much better if we would be talk about how we're going to reform the immigration system from everything from our visa program to dealing with the daca children who now are actually adults. this caravan issue is a bit of a side show. i don't buy into it. that's not going to motivate -- >> but what do you believe is the motivation for the president? he seems to believe that there are gains in talking about that even though before he boarded air force one on his way to georgia, he was asked about that. he says, you know, i want to focus on the economy. i'm quoting him now, but you people don't like to focus on that. i'd much rather -- you'd much rather cover immigration. so he's placing blame on driving the conversation elsewhere, when it's the president who keeps bringing it up, caravan, invaders. that's the language. >> i think you and i can both agree he's trying to have it both ways. but i would say that in competitive house districts, the focus should be on the economy
and what we have done in congress, and the caravan issue is not something that's going to generate positive political results for republicans in those districts. to the round table you had a little earlier, i think many of them were even saying that your congressional candidates are focused on an economic issue, not an immigration issue. i think in the closing two days here, those messages are in competition with one another, and i'm concerned that for swing voters, those who maybe haven't determined how they're going to vote, i would much rather have them be focused on and lean into a positive economic message than the caravan issue. >> okay. while the congressional races are big, there are gubernatorial races getting a lot of attention, particularly two states who stand to make history in these races. the democratic nominees are black. we're talking about florida and
georgia. if they win, they could be the first to lead those states. so in the florida governor's race, you had republican nominee ron desantis a while back imploring voters not to monkey it up. now days ahead of this election, you've got the former georgia governor making this reference to the florida contest, listen. >> public policy matters. leadership matters. and that's why this election is so cotton-picking important in the state of florida. i hope you all don't mess it up. >> all right. some taking offense to the cotton picking and saying, you know, that is code language. why this tactic? >> so i wouldn't respond to what desantis said, but i think in this instance -- look, the
synonym for gosh darn is something you don't want to say. a euphemism for that, is that phrase. so you can take it that way, but i really do not think that there was anything intended inappropriately by that comment. i don't know the agricultural secretary at all, but that is a general way that people -- i don't use that phrase. i'm from pennsylvania. but that is not -- i don't take it that way. >> i feel like you're struggling over that. does this exemplify how it might be difficult for some republicans to explain the meaning behind these incidents and it's a difficult sell? >> oh, sure. well, i think it's a very sensitive issue for sure. i think that's because of some of the -- i mean, there were phone calls against the florida gubernatorial candidate, which are disgusting. so when you have inappropriate
things said, and then you have something like this, which i think was not intended the way some may be taking it or are trying to take it. there's a cumulative effect. so therefore, you have to be that much more sensitive and sensible when you speak. my guess is the secretary will come out and make plain there was no intention to speak about it in that way. >> all right. we'll leave it right there. congressman ryan costello, thank you so much. and we'll be right back. ♪