tv The Lead With Jake Tapper CNN October 21, 2020 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT
>> announcer: this is cnn breaking news! >> welcome to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. we begin the second hour of "the lead" with brand-new cnn polling from two pennsylvania and florida, two key battleground states. one final debate tomorrow for candidates to make their closing arguments to the american people. let's get right to cnn political director. david, where do the candidates stand in these two critical states? >> reporter: they are critical to the path of 270, jake. we are seeing a pattern here form. take a look at the florida numbers. brand-new cnn poll conducted there is no clear leader. a margin of error race. joe biden at 50% and donald trump at 46% but the margin of error is plus or minus four points and no clear leader in this big electoral prize. different in pennsylvania. look at that race. joe biden has a clear lead, 53% in pennsylvania among likely
voters compared to 43% for donald trump among likely voters in pennsylvania. this fits where we are seeing biden has real strength in the upper midwest rust belt region of the country where the sun belt states have been a bit more margin of error races. >> david, we know that more than 40 million americans have already voted this election. what does this poll tell us about early voting in pennsylvania and in florida? >> this is just so fascinating and how different the biden world is voting versus the trump world plans to vote. among those already voted in florida, biden is getting 71% of those votes. trump is getting 27%. among those who tell us they still plan to vote in florida, trump beats biden among those voters 56-40. you see the huge amount that joe biden is banking with the votes that already voted and similar in pennsylvania. among those who told us they
already voted in this poll, 88% biden and 10% trump. but look at the universe still plan to vote and trump is winning those voters who haven't yet voted 54% to 42%. a story here about enthusiasm. we see a slight enthusiasm advantage for trump here. state of florida among likely voters 58% of trump voters in this poll say they are extremely enthusiastic about their vote. 49% of biden voters say the same. in pennsylvania, it's not quite as big a gap there. but, still, numerically, trump voters 61% he has an edge in terms of people are enthusiastic about their vote versus 56% of biden voters who say so in the commonwealth of pennsylvania. >> that is another reminder, david, the election results that
we learn on election night might actually favor donald trump if you don't count the ballots that have already been sent in which is why it's important to count all of the votes before we declare a winner one way or another. let's bring in abby phillips and nina into this conversations. usually the polls are good for joe biden but pretty significant enthusiasm gap in florida favoring trump. >> yeah, that is pretty notable and struck out at me. enthusiasm gap in seems almost in general in some of the other states maybe not as large in florida in other states. i go back to what kate baldwin reported in michigan and talking to black women voters there who -- some of whom said i'm not super jazzed by voting for joe
biden but i'm going to do it any way because i think that this is a critically important election. the coronavirus in particular pushing people to do that. this time around, you know, i think last four years ago, last election, the enthusiasm gap was a significant issue and a significant problem. this time around, i think the fundamentals are a little bit different. i think people are feeling a sense of urgency that perhaps they didn't feel before and i think the coronavirus has made this election more visceral for many americans. people might not be enthusiastic by voting for joe biden the polls show they don't dislike him as much as they disliked hillary clinton four years ago. >> four years ago said what have you go to to lose? and people now know. biden holds the lead in both florida and pennsylvania among key demographics. women, voters of colors, voters age 65 and older. that is very worrying for the trump campaign.
>> especially those seniors numbers. if you look to 2016, seniors made up about 21% of the electorate in florida and pennsylvania. trump won seniors in florida by about 17 points. he won seniors in pennsylvania by about ten points. so this swing has got to be worrisome for the campaign particularly because it's something you can't fix easily. this is a campaign that is about covid and it's also about character and, obviously, seniors have been hit most of all hardest in many ways by covid and in character, all of those issues about the president's behavior and his twitter feed and comments on race. any number of issues that bedeviled this president in terms of character. seniors also care about that. so you've seen the president try to do any number of things. he had 200 dollar drug prescription cards he was supposed to send out and doesn't look like that is going to happen. he'll have this moment at the
debate but not clear you can turn this around particularly with those seniors. the other groups it's not really surprising that biden is leading among women and leading among people of color. it will be about turnout of those groups and about margin with those groups. but these seniors numbers a real reversal fortune for this president and for republicans more broadly. >> david, joe biden is looking to pennsylvania and the rust belt as his main path to victory. in pennsylvania, there is this massive divide among white voters when it comes to education level. white voters who have four-year college degrees support biden over trump 63% to 35%. those who do not hold college degrees favor trump by 59% to 35%. what do you make of this? >> this is one of great divides in american politics now. we saw there starting in the clinton/trump race and know the white noncollege vote eased trump's base and especially
noncollege-educated men. when look at a at that white college-educated vote anding it what hillary clinton was doing and turbo charge it for joe biden and white women college degrees is powering that to a big advantage for joe biden. >> abby, one demographic where biden is struggle -- i'm sorry, david. one demographic that biden is struggling is with latinos in florida. this poll suggests biden is underperforming hillary clinton's 2016 showing in the state among latino voters. 52% backed biden and 45% trump. clinton won 62% of this group according to exit polling there. how big of a problem is that for biden or does he make up for that with all of the seniors that he is winning over? >> you just hit the nail on the head there. i think what he makes up with seniors, with independents, also a group that donald trump won in florida last time around is enormous and really important to
why joe biden is at 50% and donald trump is 46%. watch the latino number in florida specifically because we know it's not monolithic at all. yes he is underperforming where clinton was which is something the biden campaign is consistently trying to work on. it's a small sample and 10% margin of error so some caution there with that number. this has been on joe biden's to do list for months now and he still doesn't seem to be quite at sort of the clinton levels and, of course, she ended up losing that state any way. >> that's right. abby, last night, president trump was in the great commonwealth of pennsylvania. take a listen to an interesting admission from the president. he was at a rally in erie. >> before the plague came in, i had it made! i wasn't coming to erie! i have to be honest. there is no way i was coming here! i didn't have to. i would have called you and
said, erie, if a chance to win, go out and vote. and then i got hit by the plague. hello, erie, can i please have your vote? >> really saying the quiet part outloud there. >> how is that a pitch to voters? i really don't want to be here talking to you but i have to because i want you to get out and vote. the president supporters would probably love something like that from him, the sort of i guess they would call it self-deprecating humor but i think it's not true as well and we should point out that this really has been a very stable race. joe biden has been, according to the polls, leading president trump for a long time, pretty consistently, in fact, in many of these states. that trend perhaps you could argue was exacerbated by the virus but there has been some fundamental weakness for president trump all along in
this race and now, when it's crunch time, that situation is really bad but he may be right in one respect which is that there are parts of that state that he should have locked down, parts of that state where he should have very large margins and that is going to be one of the big things that we look for on election night is in the places where he is supposed to do well is he doing well enough to overcome joe biden's strengths in more of the urban areas of the suburban areas around the big cities in pennsylvania. >> yeah. i mean, the trump team was worried about biden from back in 2019 when the president was pressuring ukraine to give him dirt. this is not just because of the pandemic. nia, the biden campaign is warning supporters the race is a lot closer than pollsters say. the party is still reeling from their shock of hillary clinton losing. "the new york times" is reporting that some democrats are beginning to consider that there might be a landslide.
i want to underline i am not saying that. some democrats are saying this to "the new york times." >> you know, i was talking to a democrat earlier from who saying the same thing. maybe there would be a landslide. she said she would never want to say that publicly because of where this thing is and because of what happened in 2016. another democrat i talked to said she is afraid of the unknowns. in 2016 all of these things were going including russian interference and algorithm and facebook and digital ads and a strategy that wasn't necessarily visible to the clinton campaign so one of the things she is afraid of as well as voter suppression. there are efforts, known and unknown, about what republicans are trying to do to depress and suppress the vote and keeping democrats up at night so i don't know many of them will be publicly proclaiming they are expecting a landslide come
november. >> thanks to all of. appreciate it. when asked what he would do differently in handling the pandemic if a chance to do it again? the president said, quote, not much. that is next. a major coronavirus vaccine developer is saying about the safety of its vaccine after one of its volunteers died. stay with us. 133 million americans have pre-existing conditions
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in denial and on the attack in the final stretch of the campaign asked what he would could differently when it comes to his handling the coronavirus on sinclair television america this week. well, listen to the president's stunning answer. >> is there anything that you think you could have done differently if you had a mulligan or a do-over on one aspect of the way you handled, what would it be? >> not much. >> not much, the president said. not much. with more than 221,000 americans dead from coronavirus, more than 8 million infected, tens of millions of americans facing economic hardship and kids not able to learn in classrooms, president trump is saying that he would not change much about his handling of the pandemic. a remarkable claim, given that the u.s. has both the highest death rate and the highest infection rates in the world according to official numbers and the fact that the virus is, right now, again, on the wrong trajectory. no expression of regret for
downplaying the virus in february and march and not for getting aggressive nationwide testing and contact program up in march. not much president trump said. as kaitlan collins reports for u now president spent much of last night's rally going after dr. anthony fauci and the presidential debated and joe biden and the governor. >> reporter: president trump's closing message to voters has been a series of attacks on the news media and his own health experts. >> you have t watch what we do to soy 60 minutes. you'll get a kick out of it. do what dr. fauci says, wear a mask. >> he spends every day on the road and heading for noorge after downplaying the pandemic in pennsylvania. >> pennsylvania has been shut
down long enough. get your governor to open up the state. >> reporter: at one point the the president said his chances of being re-elected was altered by the fallout from the pandemic. >> before the plague came in, i had it made! i wasn't coming here to erie! i have to be honest. no way i was coming. i didn't have to to. then we get hit by the plague and i had to go back to work. >> the president is holding large rallies that contradict guidelines from the federal government. the health and human services says -- >> i speak for him. our strategy is reduce cases, reduce hospitalizations, reduce mortality that is the message of this administration and the strategy of this administration. >> reporter: trump maintains nothing he could have done differently when it comes his
coronavirus. >> not much. it's all over the world. >> reporter: he is planning to release a record of his interview with "60 minutes" after he abruptly ended the interview. >> ipts to mahe wants to make ss a fair shake and no deceptive editing going on. >> reporter: he will be in tennessee tomorrow after the debate after new filings about the extent of the president's money troubles. trump is badly outmatched by joe biden whose campaign was $177 million on hand and trump only has e6e$63. one has broken with him utah senator mitt romney telling cnn today he didn't vote for president trump. jake, ahead of that final presidential debate tomorrow night we are told the president is not doing formal prep sessions like he did for the last debate. those are the sessions that were tied to so many of his close
advisers getting coronavirus eventually in addition to that rose garden event. instead he is doing things like going to north carolina to hold another rally with supporters, though it's a state that we should note is seeing record numbers of new cases right now. >> won't be helped by a rally with no masks or distancing required. thank you. right now, former president barack obama is in the great city of philadelphia as part of his campaigning for his former vice president joe biden in a critical battleground of pennsylvania. jeff zeleny reports for us the biden campaign hope they can promote three key groups of biden supporters as biden is on the debate trail. >> reporter: former president barack obama is back on the campaign trail making his first stop of the 2020 race where he left off in w67. >> 2016. >> are you fired up? are you ready to go? >> reporter: four years ago, donald trump won pennsylvania which is exactly why obama is
starting his push for joe biden in philadelphia. his first in a series of appearances over the final two weeks to boost enthusiasm for biden obama is making a direct appeal to younger voters. >> your generation can be the one that creates a new normal in america, one that is fair and the system treats everybody equally and gives every opportunity. >> reporter: he is working to solidify support among black supporters in pennsylvania and other key battle grounds. the biggest test yet of obama's political clout. after coming up short dog during the last president race despite his aggressive campaigning for hillary clinton. >> i'm betting the wisdom and decency and generosity of the american people will once again win the day. and that is a bet that i have never, ever lost. >> reporter: this time, obama has a new argument in his arsenal. the record of trump's first term. a case he spelled out during his
democratic convention speech also from here in philadelphia. >> donald trump hasn't grown into the job because he can't. the consequences of that failure are severe. >> reporter: he is also injecting himself squarely into the fight for democratic control of the senate, making personal appeals and new television ads for challengers. from south carolina. >> if you want a senator who will fight for criminal justice reform, lower college costs, and make health care affordable, you've got to vote for my friend jamie harrison. >> reporter: to georgia. >> you do not find a lot of people in washington and exactly why we got to get him there. >> reporter: to maine. >> help elect gideon and make sure if joe biden wins he'll have a senate ready to work with him to move our country forward. >> reporter: and in michigan for gary peters. >> gary was there every step of the way helping save the auto industry, protecting the great lakes, covering preexisting conditions. ♪ >> reporter: yet there is little doubt obama's chief focus is on
trump. and the feeling at the the president's campaign rallies is mutual. >> he campaigned harder than hillary clinton did for hillary and it just made her stronger. i want him to campaign so much. i want him to campaign. you know? because we are going to do even better. >> now the former president, jake, is beginning his stop here in philadelphia right now at a meeting with black leaders at a community center in north philadelphia. this is one of the specific audiences the former president is trying to reach black men. they believe that they need to increase their support for the biden campaign as well as younger and latino voters and exactly why mr. obama is out on the campaign trail right now. jake, he'll be appearing here at a drive-in rally and one of the things biden campaign has been doing but different from the last time the former president appeared on the campaign trail but he will be making the case for joe biden. there is no question this is
about biden and trump but a chance for the country to take a measure of the two men barack obama and donald trump. jake? >> jeff zeleny, thank you. breaking news. the cdc is changing what it considers to be close contact with the coronavirus patient. we will discuss what that might mean for you with dr. sanjay gupta next. you want immune support you can trust. at nature's way, that starts with quality ingredients. like our sambucus - made from elderberries grown and picked at their prime. choose the way to quality immune support, choose nature's way sambucus. you can't claim that because it's inanimate! [ sigh ] people ask ... what sort of a person should become a celebrity accountant? and, i tell them, "nobody should."
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there is not a single state in the united states, not a single one, trendsing right now in the right direction when it comes to covid cases. 26 states are reporting a rise in cases over the last week. yet, some officials in the white house are still pushing this herd immunity approach which could mean theoretically as many as 2 million dead americans. the surgeon general is calling this a deadly strategy. >> normal life is all we want. you know what we want? normal life. >> reporter: sure. we all want it! but we can't have it! not yet. nowhere close. cue, the actual experts. >> this looks like we are going to have a very difficult fall and winter. >> we are about a week away from starting to enter a period where we are going to see a rapid
acceleration in cases. >> reporter: more than 60,000 new cases yesterday, most in three months. >> soon, it will be 70,000 cases. but, obviously, the major implication of this dramatic rise in cases will be in two weeks a dramatic rise in deaths. >> reporter: yesterday, we lost 933 lives to this virus. >> you'll start to see closer to 2,000 deaths per day. >> reporter: average new case counts? not a single state is trending in the right direction. not one. but schools are open in many places in michigan, infections now reported in 84 of them. infections among kidsjumped3% in just the first two weeks of this month. very few serious cases or deaths in those under 18. but. >> those kids live with adults, right? and those kids bring that germ back home to adults. >> reporter: in el paso, texas, more tests coming back 306 now than ever. in california, under new
guidance, disney land might not reopen for months. some of us are tired, given up on masks and distance. for others? >> probably giving up isn't the right term. most of them never started. >> reporter: some due to a wink from the white house and twitter just took down a dr. scott atlas post undermining masks. he is now the president's closest covid adviser and promotes herd immunity. let it rip among lower risk -- >> we should be fine with letting them get infected, generating immunity on their own. >> reporter: today, the surgeon general pushed back hard. this could overwhelm health care systems and lead to many complications/deaths. >> take a nice deep breath. >> reporter: a vaccine might bring normal life moderna and pfizer meeting with an fas advisory committee tomorrow to discuss efficacy, safety manufacturing but not to present
new data for trials, not yet. today in washington, a march. pleading for a vaccine that is safe. we have just heard that a volunteer has died during the astrazeneca oxford university trials down in brazil following careful assessment, oxford university tells us there have been no concerns about safety. we have no further details but those trials continue. >> jake? >> all right, nick watt, thank you. i want to bring in cnn chief medical correspondent dr. sanjay gupta. i want to start with what president trump said today when asked if he could do it all over again, what he would do differently when it comeds s to handling the coronavirus pandemic. he said, "not much." what is your response?
>> it's totally absurd to think ghae the best we could do is beat the did the in the world. anybody can look at the right side of the screen and as they have heard so many times if they watch your show we are not 5% of the world's population' make up nearly 25% of the world's cases. it's, obviously, a huge shortcoming here. i think what is lost sometimes in all of this, jake, when does it mean to have done something? the president often talks about the travel restrictions but that clearly wasn't enough. i want to show you some hyperlocal data. we were collecting this from arizona. remember, arizona going through the spring and just how significant the impact was over there. when they lifted stay-at-home orders, no surprise beginning in june and end of may, they had a significant increase in the overall number of cases. 151% increase but look at the second line, jake. 75% decrease over about three
weeks from mask requirements, limiting some of these large public gatherings, and certain business closures with mostly meant bars. okay? 75%, jake. that is a hyperlocal piece of data. imagine if that had happened around the country. we would be in a much different position by this point. that was end of july august sort of time frame. we would have bent the curve and wouldn't be dealing with the situation we are dealing with right now. >> that is just leadership. not even the manhattan project for testing and contact tracing that you and i have been discussing literally since february and march. the cdc just redefined what they mean when they say close contact with a covid patient. now it's consider high risk if you're exposed to a person for a total of 15 minutes. before, it was at least 15 minutes of continuous exposure. how big of a deal is this? what does this mean? >> i think this is a pretty significant deal. as you point out if you're with an infected individual close
contact the fine is at least 15 minutes within six feet. what they found from a person up in vermont, a corrections officer who, over a period of time, had these brief interactions. 22 brief interactions around a minute each for a total of 17 minutes total and none of them would have qualified as a close contact under the previous guidance, but as a result of those brief interactions, that corrections officer contracted covid virus. it is redefining a little bit of how we look at these context. i think it's going to be really important when we think about the types of interactions. we would say if you pass by somebody in the halfwillariway quickly is not probably considered a close contact but if you say hello to a someone within six feet and may not know they are infected this guidance is saying we have to watch out for. i think -- look. i heard that and i think it will change how i think of these
interactions. i was taking some solace in the 10 to 15 minute and saying in the back of my mind of close contact. now i think, you know,, obviously, you always got to maintain the distance and got to wear the mask and stuff like that. think about that now. even a couple of minutes counts. >> bad news. the virus is surging and hospitalization numbers are also going up. but if you look at this graphic, the hospitalization numbers is not as high now as in april or july. how do you interpret this data? >> this is going to be very interesting to watch. i think there is a few things that are happening here. one is that there are younger people who are becoming infected. the numbers continue to go up but the hospitalizations don't go up at the same right. that is potentially good. we are also getting better at taking care of these patients. i want to show you. the likelihood of dying if you went to the hospital with covid at the beginning of this pandemic, about 25%. can you imagine? 25%. if you went to the hospital you
had a 1 in 4 chance of dying. in may/june, 7.6%. people were less at risk dying who were hospitalized but more likely to be discharged. you might be having shorter hospitalizations. people are often being hospitalized for 10 or 11 days and hospitalization duration shortened and this probably brought the numbers down. jake, look. it may still go up. younger people becoming infected but as they spread this to more vulnerable populations, we may still see sadly that surge in deaths. >> dr. sanjay gupta, thanks so much. good to see you, as always. biden ran a ad in the world series game the unbelievable cost of the ad and a look at the strategy is next. ing trip... ...when their windshield got a chip. they drove to safelite for a same-day repair. and with their insurance, it was no cost to them. >> woman: really? >> tech: that's service you can trust. >> singers: ♪ safelite repair, safelite replace. ♪
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in our 2020 lead joe biden's campaign spent an limited $4 million to air one ad during last night's commercial during the world series and they plan to air another one during game two tonight. david axle rod joins me now. i want to start i didn't want the world series ad that ran. let's play a part of it. >> there is so
much we can do if we choose to take on problems and not each other.
and choose a president who brings out our best. joe biden doesn't need everyone in this country to always agree. just to agree we all love this country. and go from there. >> so this was an ad guaranteed to be seen by millions during one of the biggest sporting event of the year. was this the right message? it's basically joe biden is a nice guy and donald trump isn't. is that enough? >> first of all, let's stipulate that any ad that samuel i don't think narrates even if he was reading the greek alphabet is going to get people's attention. i do think -- look. this is a closing argument, jake. you know, remember where biden began the campaign with his ad about charlottesville and the need to come together and unite as a country. unity is a very big theme of his campaign and if you look at the polls that cnn released today,
you can see why. in florida, he has a 17-point edge on who will unite and not divide the country in pennsylvania, i think it's 33 -- 23 points. and that is a very big advantage in a country that is weary of being divided. it is a contrast that works for him with the president. so especially at a time when the president is going out and being more and more divisive. i think it's a strategically very sound. >> a new report from the wesleyan media project find 5 million ads have circled between senate and house races and more than double the ads in 2012 or 2016. oversaturation and people don't pay attention any more? >> first of all, what it underscores to me is that i got out of the business too early. >> true. >> but leaving that aside, you
know, there is some risk that have but, you know, the thing about -- that's interesting to me with this national ad strategy of biden, one of the reasons he is buying national ads is that the local markets in these battleground states are so saturated that it is less costly to buy national ads than it is to buy local ads market-by-market. the other thing it does, he is getting, for the same price, he is hitting states that are expansion states like ohio, for example, iowa, and that is he is very effective. right now, what they are trying reach -- this is another reason to buy during ballgames they are trying to reach low information voters. they are not trying to reach people who watch "state of the union." they are trying to reach people who aren't paying a lot of attention to this campaign. they are the only people left who really haven't made up their minds on this race. so the slots they choose are really important.
>> the trump campaign rolled out a series of ads targeted it seemed at senior citizens. according to axios, the trump campaign spent eight figures on ads such as this one. >> together we rose to meet the challenge protecting our seniors, getting them life saving drugs in record time, sparing no expense. president trump tackled the virus head on as leaders should. >> we should also note this is also the ad where dr. fauci was included although he said he wants that ad to come down and he was edited and taken out of context. seniors were a reliable voting block for trump in 2026 opinion could be critical to whether or not he is elected. regardless of the politics do you think this ad is smart? >> you know, i think a coronavirus ad is smart. whether this ad is smart is a different question because listen to the words. he says he is recovering and so is america. they are watching these ads at the very moment that they turn
on the news and see a second surge bearing in on us and so there is this disconnect and this has been the problem for trump from the beginning. he has tried to spin the virus rather than confront the virus and people have recognized that and so he continues to have poor grades on dealing with the virus. let me say one thing about dr. fauci and his use of fauci. it is so telling that he calls fauci a disaster on his call of his campaign workers and then runs ads with fauci as a validator because he know he is more trusted than trump on the issue of the coronavirus. >> yeah. david axelrod, thank you and appreciate your insights. up next a disturbing discovery in the court documents of border parents of 545 children separated from them at the board and parents cannot be found and why it may be impossible to track them down. next. new projects means new project managers.
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parntsents of over 500 chiln at the border cannot be found. the children some just babies were separated from their families between 2017 and 2018 for a way for the trump administration to deter illegal board crossings. they say hundreds of the parents may have deported. priscilla, where have the kids been living since separated from their parents? >> these are children that were released from government custody before june 2018 and now are living in the united states with a sponsor.
now that could be a relative on or about a family friend. i want to underscore here, jake, that these are families that have been separated for years as a result of a trump administration policy on the u.s./mexico border to separate families. and what we learned in court filing last night is that, yes, parents of 545 children cannot be located by lawyers who have been appointed by the court to identify them. hundreds of these parents are believed to have been deported making tracking them all that more difficult. we know of these children because of a watchdog report last year of finding thousands more believed to be separated than previously acknowledged. so now in these court filings we are seeing the ramification of these policies to today. lawyers are trying to find these parents and that includes phone
calls, on the ground efforts. one of those groups justice in motion told cnn in statement it is, quote, inaan arduous and ti consuming process and now the pandemic in the way and they halt their searches until resuming them again now. we know the toll this takes on children. a government watchdog report last year found that children that were separated had, quote, heightened feelings of anxiety and loss so the hope here is to find these parents and quickly. >> priscilla alvarez, thank you. the final presidential debate is tomorrow. president trump is slamming it as unfair without any evidence he is claiming that the commission on presidential debates is shifting the focus away from foreign policy to help joe biden. joining me now, is former republican senator of missouri john danforth who is a member on the presidential debates on 1994. good to see you, sir. what is your reaction to the
trump campaign once again asailing the integrity of your bipartisan commission? >> well, i don't think it's a matter of the commission so much. we can certainly take criticism. but the big problem is the effort to undermine the legitimacy of the election. that really is a serious matter because our country depends on people having confidence that elections are fair and if the strategy of a campaign is to say, look, this hasn't been fair, we have been cheated, we would have won but for cheating by the other side but for fraud, then we are really heading for problems after the election. so it's a serious matter. it's not just the feelings of people on the commission. >> your republican senator you were the conscience in your
party for nearly three decades. what did you think of the first debate? >> well, i think it was not a good opportunity for the american people to be educated about the positions of the two candidates on various issues. we received -- we were really inundated by complaints by watchers of that debate who said this has been a terrible debate. we haven't been able to hear. the candidates were talking at the same time. and we couldn't make out what they were saying. so people felt that they were deprived of what they should have been able to get out of that debate. >> do you think muting the candidates for portions of tomorrow night's debate will help? >> no. it's not really muting. back in the summer when the conditions of the debate, the rules of the debate were negotiated with the two parties,
it was agreed by everybody that at the beginning of each of the 15-minute segments, each candidate would be able to speak interrupted -- uninterrupted for a period of two minutes and all we were saying is that for that two-minute period of time, the microphone would be open for the candidate speaking, not for the other candidate, so he would have the uninterrupted opportunity, and that concept of the uninterrupted two minutes was reiterated by both candidates as recently as within the last week. it's the same rule. just an enforcement that have rule. >> president, we still don't know when he tested negative before he was diagnosed positive with coronavirus. we don't know if he tested negative or tested at all within
72 hours of the debate which were the terms and the rules. are you making sure that president trump has tested negative and that all of the members of his team wear masks during the debate? >> yeah. i don't know the answer to that question. i know that where it came up was with regard to the second debate which was to be the second debate, the town hall debate. and we took the position then that we were -- we could not be certain that one of the candidates wouldn't be infectious and in order to protect the 60 some odd production member, member of the production staff, plus the citizens who would be there, it should be conducted remotely. of course, that was -- but it was a decision made solely on the basis of safety. >> senator john danforth,
republican of missouri, good to see you, sir. thank you for coming on our show today. we appreciate it. you can join me for the final presidential debate tomorrow night. cnn's special coverage begins at 7:00 eastern and then we will cover after the debate as well. follow me on facebook and instagram or twitter. our coverage on cnn continues right now. . ♪ this is cnn breaking news. >> welcome to our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." we are following breaking news out of the centers for disease control and prevention. the director dr. robert redfield saying only moments ago that the agency has now updated its definition of a close contact with a covid-19 patient to include multiple brief sxoo exposures. the united states has passed 220,000 coronavirus