tv The Lead With Jake Tapper CNN November 4, 2022 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT
they thanked dan for his service and then they assured him that i was not alone and i look back at that and i think, no one could have asked for a better advocate because not everybody got to do what we did. for example, go to a private hospital that was number two in the nation for traumatic brain injury, to transition home and be able to wait for a new home. when you have time to reflect, you realize all along the journey, all along the journey, they were there. (light music) the white house gets the goldilocks scenario it wished for. "the lead" starts right now. the last economic report card before election day is now out.
just enough jobs added to tout and just enough lost that it may start to cool the economy. but how will voters see today's numbers as they head to the polls? plus, donald trump very big on the very for 2024. >> i will very, very, very probably do it again, okay? [ cheers and applause ] >> but will federal investigations catch up with him first very? and kevin durant tries to talk about the anti-semitic comments that got his teammate kyrie irving suspended and now forced to clarify what he meant. welcome back to "the lead." i'm john berman in for jake tapper. it's crunch time. four days left for candidates to make their closing arguments to voters before tuesday's
election. the trend suggests the republicans are well positioned to take the house, but control of the senate rests on a knife's edge which means every race is criminal. democrats got a moral boost today shows the u.s. economy added 261,000 jobs last month. but a separate measurement of the unemployment rate ticked up to 3.7%. this is the last economic mood check before an election day in which voters say the economy is the top factor in their vote. meanwhile, former president donald trump is intensifying his game of footsie with 2024. sources tell cnn, his aides are eyeing the third week of november as an ideal launch for his run for president. cnn tracking key races and issues across the country. let's start off in georgia where early voter ends today. what are you hearing from voters? >> reporter: john, it is really a number of issues that voters are identifying as top of mind.
you could be in atlanta and speaking to folks there and they say reproductive rates, hospital closures, climate change. earlier today we were in newman and folks expressed concern of the overall direction of the country and the economy. more than 2 million georgians have voted during this early vote period. that ends today at 7:00 p.m., but folks can vote on election day on tuesday. still the candidates busy making their closing arguments across the state. we were with herschel walker in newman, senator warnock off the trail today attending a funeral for his longtime mentor. chris christie on stage right now and stacey abrams doing her bus tour as well. so many georgians have already voted, still trying to convince voters ahead of election day. john? >> a few feet away from chris christie and brian kemp. thank you very much. to wisconsin now.
senator ron johnson, the republican senate candidate there, is taking the maybe i will, maybe i won't approach to accepting election results. >> that's right, john. all of these candidates are in their final stretch bus tours and these latest comments from senator ron johnson came at one of those stops in wisconsin where he was asked point-blank if he would accept the results of tuesday's election and he didn't outright say yes. instead, he said, i sure hope i can, but i can't predict what the democrats might have planned. we just got out of an event with his democratic opponent, lieutenant governor barnes who said that this type of answer was predictable and that johnson is showing everyone exactly who he is, someone who is incredibly arrogant. barnes referenced a situation in milwaukee where the former deputy election commissioner was just -- has now been charged after allegedly obtaining military ballots for fake voters
and then sending them to a republican state lawmaker who then turned it over to law enforcement. according to the criminal c complaint, she said she was trying to make a point about flaws in the absentee ballot system. but, of course, moving forward, no votes were affected. but state election officials say what has been affected is public confidence and they hope to try to recover some of that in the days heading up to the election. we heard from the state elections administer who told us there would have been numerous other checks to prevent these requested ballots from actually being counted and she is confident that that would have been the case even if they hasn't been self-reported here, john. >> omar, great to see you. let's go out west now to arizona where polls show the senate race is neck and neck. here's more from kyung lah. >> thank you for being the tip of the spear. let's go manufacture this red
wave. >> are a republican resurgence pledges blake masters, in the final stretch, closing with this message. >> they made life in america, life in arizona more dangerous and less affordable. >> reporter: that resonates with this small business owner and mom of four. >> a lot of things have changed since biden went into office. food has definitely gone up, it's crazy. >> reporter: what she does not worry about is donald trump, urging masters to lie about the election, like republican gubernatorial nominee kari lake. >> look at kari. if they say how is your family, she said the election was rigged and stolen. you're going to lose the base. >> i'm not going soft. >> reporter: what do you say to moderates who are concerned about the economy, but they're also concerned about what you're saying about the 2020 election, the election denials. >> i don't think they're
concerned about what i say about 2020. the most important things by far are inflation, crime and the border. >> reporter: mark kelly will test that belief with a message of his own. labeling masters as extreme on abortion, social security, and democracy. >> blake masters has some beliefs that are just dangerous for arizonians. somebody who thinks they know better than everyone about everything, letting them make decisions for you is dangerous. >> i am a registered republican. >> reporter: election deniers at the top of the republican ticket is why keith greenberg is at the democrat's rally. >> the republicans have some momentum, but i think arizonians are smart enough to know how to vote properly and protect democracy. >> reporter: the husband of former arizona congresswoman gabby giffords, kelly is leaning into his experience as an
astronaut and his service as a navy combat veteran. >> he is actually a top gun. >> reporter: propelled in these last hours by a democratic powerhouse. >> if you got election deniers serving as your governor, as your senator, as your secretary of state, as your attorney general, then democracy as we know it may not survive in arizona. that's not an exaggeration. that is a fact. >> reporter: and you heard blake masters there in our interview talking about the border. that is where he is right now. i want you to take a brief look at this. this is the top of the republican ticket here in the state of arizona. they are walking along the border right now. this is the press conference right before they did that, a photo finish, john, on a closing image on border security. john? >> and that's the image they're looking for there. kyung lah in scottsdale, thank you very much. a lot to discuss in the home stretch just four days to go.
abby phillip, i'm very, very, very happy to see you. >> me too. >> donald trump on the campaign trail in iowa with some very, very unsettled statements about running for 2024. >> it's happening. more than likely. >> let's listen. >> i will very, very, very probably do it again, okay? very, very, very probably. get ready, that's all i'm telling you. get ready. get ready. >> you were very, very patient to wait for him to speak there. look, the trump aides are saying they're eyeing the third week of november to launch the campaign. we're going to talk about the legal upper indications of all of that because the law factors in all of this. if you're a republican how excited are you to have donald trump put himself in there with just four days to go. >> i think republicans at this point knew this was just going to happen and they had no -- basically no control over it. the interesting thing about how
the republican party broadly deals with trump is that they do want him to be involved where they think he will be helpful and there are races where trump's enbdorsement has propelled mediocre candidates into a winning shot. but i think broadly -- especially if you're in the state of georgia, for example, you want trump to wait until the dust has settled in the midterms and it sounds like he's not going to wait. the state of georgia is probably the one race that may not be really settled by next week because they have a runoff system. and if trump announces in the middle of this month of november, he's going to insert himself into that race one more time, which is just -- you know, it's rocket fuel for democrats who are very motivated often to vote against him. >> that's a good point. he could be announcing his run in the middle of a runoff in georgia. s.e. cupp, very happy to see you as well. at the same rally where trump
anno pseudo announced he was running for president again, marjorie taylor greene said her party would cut off aid to ukraine if they win control of congress. watch this. >> under republicans not another penny will go to ukraine. [ cheers and applause ] >> our country comes first. >> not another penny, s.e. is that a message that republicans want four days to go? >> it's a -- it's a message some in the republican party that have been radicalized to decide to back putin and his talking points really do believe. it's not widely held across the country helping ukraine is very popular, people still think that that's important. and some people, when you look at polling, say they want to help as long as it takes. but there is this fringe wing of
the republican party aided by, you know, tucker carlson and some right-wing media folks, some conspiracy theorists who really have hitched onto putin and tried to villainize ukraine and their president and make it look like there's some nefarious interest in backing ukraine that aligns with democrats and in some cases nazis. it's weird stuff. but she is speaking to her audience and her audience i'm sure agrees with her. >> bakari sellers, i'm very happy to see you this afternoon. president biden is talking about what might change in washington if republicans win control of the house, especially on tuesday. listen to his warning to democrats about what republicans might do? >> i've already been told, if they win back the house and senate, they're going to impeach him. i don't know what the hell they're going to impeach me for.
recently they said we should stop talking about that until we win. [ laughter ] well, all kidding aside, think about it, so much is at stake. >> so don't let them win and impeach me is sort of the message there, bakari. what do you think of this and the other things that the president has been trying over the last week? >> i think he was just talking facetiously about them impeaching him. we all know that they may try, particularly in the house republic caucus. but that won't have any level of success when it makes it to the senate. what he is saying and what he's been preaching the past week is that democracy is at stake. again, this isn't to rile up the base. this is not to maybe convince any republican to flip the script, but what this is talking to are those voters who find themselves in the middle who need an issue to hang their hat on. and where you have voters in the middle of the country who are
not too far right, not too far left who are looking at candidates and cannot decide which one, what the president is trying to do is give them the issue of democracy as one that they can vote for. and most times, democrats, if not all times, democrats win that issue. you have blake masters and many others who continue to dillydally in these conspiracy theories. he's saying democracy is at stake, vote like it matters. >> i think we've waited this long to talk about oprah winfrey. but she came out and endorsed john fetterman in the pennsylvania senate race. this is significant -- look, oprah, her endorsement is always significant, right? it's significant because mehmet oz became a star because of oprah winfrey. because oprah winfrey put him on tv a lot over the years. she's coming out and endorsing the guy that oz is running against, bakari. when oprah winfrey endorsed barack obama back in 2007 and 2008 it was a big deal. is this going to help four days
before the election? >> it is. and the reason it is going to help -- the reason it is going to help is because there are people out there who are not paying attention to this race. there are people who are not watching cnn right now, who go to their 9:00 to 5:00s, who are not on social media, who live their everyday lives outside of the bubble of politics and they will be touched by oprah winfrey saying go out and support somebody who is not dr. oz. go out and support john fetterman. i anticipate this helping particularly in the city of philadelphia. i tell people that pennsylvania goes, as philadelphia goes. if philadelphia comes out in extremely high numbers, it's going to bode extremely well for the next u.s. senator, john fetterman. this definitely will help. >> stick around. much more to discuss. we've got some new cnn reporting on the election stunner that could be coming for new york
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brand-new cnn reporting on new york democrats preparing for what could be stunning losses next tuesday. i want to bring in senior reporter, isaac, what are you hearing? >> democrats in new york are very, very worried about a lot of races in the state. that's the governor's race with kathy hochul, running against lee zeldin. but it's also house races all over the state specifically in the suburbs of new york city. and a lot of what this race is focused on -- or these races are focused on in these closing couple of days is crime and fears of crime specifically in new york city. what you have here is a fight now between democrats who say maybe eric adams, the mayor, who has talked a lot about crime but talked about how terrible a lot of the crimes that are going on in the city are, and what terrible shape the city has been in, may be overhyped to some
democrats. the situation that the city is in, and maybe played into a partisan narrative. the adams' folks telling me, look, this is a man who was elected because of crime, because he spoke to where the voters were, and voters would have been better off following his lead, figuring out how he talked about crime and what to do about it. you have people like kathleen rice, she's retiring from her seat this year, a former district attorney who said she feels like there's been too much focus from adams on improving nightlife. people want to feel safe before they go out to a club and they really want to see more results happening to deal with what republicans are appealing to voters on in this race. >> all right, isaac, thank you very much for that. let's discuss. abby phillip, first to you, the idea of blaming eric adams, two-fold. what do you think of that? >> i think there's going to be a
lot of blame to go around if new york ends up being a really bad night for democrats on tuesday. but it's not just new york, it's also places like oregon. it's across the country. i think democrats now are realizing that, look, republicans may or may not have been demagoguing on crime, but you cannot throw numbers at voters and tell them they're wrong about how they're feeling and i think figuring out a mess around crime, it was too late for democrats to figure that message out before it became ingrained in the psyche of voters. >> kathy hochul, this is what she said this morning on cnn about why she thinks republicans are having success focusing on crime. >> because they're being dishonest about it. they're not having a conversation about real solutions. i just think people need to know really what's on the line here as someone who has been working in the trenches, rolling up her sleeves, getting the job done and not running around the state staying all you have to do is
repeal bail law and all the crime will disappear. >> s.e., she says republicans are being dishonest. is it that simple? >> it's not. crime is not imaginary. you know, i was a new yorker, i still write for a new york paper. and every day there's a story of some wacko pushing someone on the tracks, stabbing someone in the park. but there's a feeling to what abby was saying that you cannot combat with that kind of flippant attitude that kathy hochul insists on having about this issue, as if it's on her side. it's not. new yorkers feel unsafe and democrats need to deal with that. >> changing the subject again, bakari. you got the oprah question. let's do jimmy kimmel for you. he's talking about the contest in nevada.
>> you know that creepy cousin in every family no one wants to sit with at every thanksgiving. that's adam laxault. these people think jfk is coming back from the dead. jfk isn't coming back, even if he did, he wouldn't be voting for you. >> oprah is one thing, but do you think this is helpful for the democratic incumbent there in nevada? >> i don't really know what that was, to be completely honest with you. i don't know what the messaging was. i don't know the reasoning behind it. i don't know the timing of it. i don't know who asked for that. and if they asked for it, they probably need to be fired. i love jimmy kimmel. i love the fact that people are speaking up and speaking their minds. i'm never somebody who says shut up and stay in your place, but be on message and have a message. i think going back to what s.e. and abby were saying, democrats don't have a message to combat crime other than the fact that, yes, republicans are being
dishonest about it. yes, crime rates are higher in states like alabama, mississippi, south carolina and georgia which are all run by republicans than they are in places like new york city. but you actually cannot be dismissive. and i think even ads by jimmy kimmel come off as being dismissive. we have to talk to voters about their concerns. >> all of you, have a wonderful weekend. abby is going to be working much of it. she's going to continue the discussion on "inside politics sunday." word on the street is donald trump could be days away from announcing his next white house bid. how much might federal investigations complicate or maybe motivate his plans? i remember when i first started flying,
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back with our politics lead. members of the january 6th committee set today as the deadline for donald trump to respond to their subpoena. sources also tell cnn the justice department is mulling a potential special counsel to investigate trump for various matters if he does run in 2024. i want to bring in sarah murray and elie honig. a special counsel that would oversee some of the investigations into the former president, what would this mean? where would they start? hasn't a lot of investigating already happened here? >> yeah, john. this would be a midstream appointment of special counsel. what the special counsel would
do is take all the investigation that's been done to date and take it over from there. it's important to understand, a special counsel does not necessarily have special powers, per se. a special counsel has the same powers that any federal prosecutor, any u.s. attorney would have. you can investigate, go to the grand jury, issue subpoenas, you can indict. all the things we saw robert mueller do. there is a bit more separation and independence if you get a special counsel who is free to operate without daily oversight from the attorney general. so the question for doj is going to be, is there enough of a conflict of interest if donald trump announces his run for the presidency in 2024 that they would need to appoint a special counsel. >> about that, aides are eyeing the week of november 14th for trump to announce his 2024 run, two weeks from now. what would that mean? would the special counsel start right after that? >> look, people at doj are watching this too, right?
they've seen trump sending these signals -- more and more signals that a run could be eminent. we don't know when a special counsel would start in part because they haven't made a final decision about whether they're going to move forward with the special counsel. obviously, though, a big consideration in this is donald trump becoming a presidential candidate. and as ellie was saying, part of o this has to do if they know there's going to be a political firestorm as they continue to investigate donald trump, particularly when he becomes a candidate. so they're looking at the possibility of the special counsel to say, you know, could this insulate us from some of the criticism that would for sure rain down on them if joe biden is the president, he's running against donald trump and joe biden's update is investigating donald trump. >> sarah, any talk about one or two special counsels? >> i think the goal would be to have one special counsel that is overseeing these various investigations, but, again, no final decision has been made yet. >> today is the deadline for donald trump to respond to the
january 6th committee subpoena. i haven't heard that he's done anything as of 4:30/2 p.m. eastern time. if he doesn't respond, what's the likelihood that the justice department would ever seek a prosecution for defying the subpoena? >> yeah, john, the clock is ticking. no signs of a response just yet. if donald trump defies the committee, there's three hurdles that would have to be overcome if we saw any kind of prosecution of donald trump. first, the january 6th committee itself would have to vote for contempt. we've seen them do that four times so far with mark meadows -- peter navarro and -- i'm blanking on the fourth one. they've done it four times so far and they've charged two of them. steve bannon, exactly. thank you. if the house committee votes on it, then you have to go over to the full house. they have to vote on it. you need nancy pelosi's support, you need every democrat to
support it and finally doj would have to decide if they want to charge. two of the four has been charged so far. bannon and navarro have been charged. that's a lot of hurdle that is have to be overcome before we see criminal charges against donald trump for contempt of congress. >> thank you so much. have a great weekend. the leader of the oath keepers, stewart rhodes, testified in his defense today that the group's seditious conspiracy trial. what did rhodes say on the stand today? >> he had to say his full name to the jury, took the stand and he really became his own character witness today. it was clear he was trying to get the jury to see his soft, caring side after the jury for weeks now has been seeing the often violent and angry political rhetoric coming out of rhodes, text messages and secret recordings where he's talking about different things, talking about the potential of a civil
war coming and bloody battles in the lead-up to the january 6th attack on the capitol and after the attack happened. now, rhodes put on what i would call a big show of emotion. he choked up at least three times on the stand when talking about his life and talking about his beliefs. he billed himself to the jury as nonviolent, a believer in the constitution, a fighter for what is right. he choked up when he was talking about the death of his mother and he grew up poor and his mother is partly mexican american. he nearly cried talking about a ceremony that happened after he had founded the oath keepers in 2009. there seems to be a strategy on the defense side to show the jury this kinder, gentler, soft side of him because they have seen literally four weeks of all kinds of violent rhetoric coming from his messaging. >> a soft side, but what did
rhodes say about whether the 2020 election was valid, which, of course, it was. >> it's a new wrinkle coming from roads who wrote an open letter to the president before the january 6th insurrection. he tried to get the president to invoke the insurrection act because he believed that donald trump should not concede. what he's testified to, though, on the stand -- and you're seeing there pictures of the members of the oath keepers there that's highlighted, some of whom are on trial for seditious conspiracy alongside rhodes. but he testified that he did not believe that donald trump nor joe biden won the election. he said the presidential election itself was unconstitutional and in his opinion, several state election laws were changed by executive fiat and they were not changed legislatively. he believed it was a fair, free election because of the laws
being changed. one last thing, rhodes made clear that he's a yale-trained lawyer and a graduate of yale. but he did not say something else which was that he was disbarred in 2015. john? >> sarah, great to have you there. great to have you following the trial. thanks so much. so talk about awkward. employees at twitter are posting their pink slips today on twitter. the platform's new ceo elon musk seems preoccupied with sosomethg else. help you get there. asas you plan, protect and retire. ♪ introducing the new sleep number climate360 smart bed. the only smart bed in the world that actively cools, warms and effortlessly responds to both of you. our smarsleepers get 28 minutes more restful sleep per night. prov quality sleep. only from sleep number. the chef chicken sandwiches at panera,
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twitter's hot mess is our tech lead. major layoffs today, but elon musk didn't mention that in a tweet. instead he complained about money. twitter has had a massive drop in revenue, he writes, due to activist groups pressuring advertisers, something he calls extremely messed up. let's bring in sarah fisher. what is musk talking about here
and what are advertisers saying? >> advertisers are expressing a lot of frustration. those activist groups that you mentioned, color of change, the naacp, are arguing that twitter has become more filled with hate speech but really what they're frustrated about, john, is elon musk's own behavior, tweeting out that article that had misinformation about the attack on paul pelosi. some of the other things that he's done has made people think that he doesn't take brand safety, hate speech, violence, seriously on the platform. >> as to the layoffs, our friend doniw o'sullivan obtained the email of twitter telling the employees to stay home. if your employment is impacted, you'll receive a notification
with next steps via your personal email. what are you hearing about the process and how many employees have been let go? >> it's been complete chaos. out of the 7500 twitter employees, around 3600 have been let go. and some of the teams that have been impacted are the ones that advertisers care about. teams that look on things like trust and safety. but the reporting is right. a lot of the communication about layoffs has been so chaotic. one of the things we saw last night is that twitter users were slacking each other messages saying it's been great working with you for the past five years, or ten years. they thought if they don't get slack access after midnight, that's when they knew they would be cut. >> wow. what a day it must have been for all of those people. thousands of employees. thank you so much. next, nba star kevin durant's clarification today after saying the brooklyn nets
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week of non-apologies and after last night's suspension, erving finally said he's sorry in a post on instagram. l.z., what do you make of the apology and timing only coming after the suspension? >> well, i think it's pretty evident to everyone that once his money got impacted in a significant way, he had a different perspective in terms of whether or not to apologize. we're, i think, pretty used to kyrie irving being somewhat contrary to popular opinion, or better yet, facts. but he has now wandered into an area that he didn't think it would impact in society, and he's beginning to understand just how real the anger is. >> you know, so much of the focus has been on him, the nets and the nba. i've been much more interested in his teammates, and also the public, the fans, all of whom have agency here, all of whom at any point could have said i'm
not going to cheer for you, i'm not going to play with you, or i'm going to make a public statement. and kevin durant, his most famous teammate, he initially weighed in saying the team should have, quote, kept quiet about irving's comments and tweet of the anti-semitic documentary. after that, though, durant tried to qualify and said i see some people are confused. i don't condone hate speech or anti-semitism. i'm about spreading love always. so, again, back to my original point, how come every player on the nets, how come every player in the nba isn't out there saying, this anti-semitic stuff is just offensive? >> well, you're asking me to speak for men in a league that i've never played in. i've covered but never played. so i can't speak on behalf of the entire nba. what i can tell you is this, this is a conversation that is
extremely complicated. and i do believe that we oftentimes forget the fact that these are entertainers and that nba players, nhl players, et cetera, it's the only profession i can think of in which entertainers are required to give you political views as soon as they get done playing a game, et cetera. so i would like to see grace in terms of how they handle these complicated questions because in society we have problems answering these complicated questions and no one has a microphone asking us to answer questions right after we get done with work. so i understand people are upset with kevin durant. i encourage you to read the story on espn.com and it gives you a background of what the organization is trying to do behind the scenes to get kyrie to apologize. and perhaps durant gave that answer because he knew that was happening behind the scenes. >> that is interesting. and there was a lot going on behind the scenes. again, i guess what i was
asking, what got me thinking about all of this is something you wrote, an opinion article in the "l.a. times" as kanye west was tweeting. you said i kept trying to pull the artistry from the artist, even though i knew they were one and the same, and then one day i just stopped. what that indicated to me, a reminder, we all have agency here, when someone does something like kyrie irving does, any one of us can make a statement in our own way condemning this. >> yes, yes, and there are a variety of ways that we can that in addition to not cheering for kyrie irving. such as how was the film being distributed, who was in charge of distributing the film? why aren't there conversations about that? i understand the anger toward kyrie because he's popular, an athlete and using his platform in a way i do not approve. but he is not the only person involved in terms of the
distribution and making of this film, let alone people having access to the film. so we all do need to take account in terms of where we fit into this conversation, not just kyrie irving, but all of us. >> look, it's a great point. your piece was wonderful. it really did open up my eyes to a lot of different things. always great to see you. thanks so much for being with us. >> thank you for having me. so it is a tight fit on airplanes these days, but is that a safety hazard? the calls to stop the seat squeeze next. now ports can know where every piece of cargo is. and where it's going. (dock worker) right on time. (vo) robots canan predict breakdowns and order their own replacement parts. (fororeman) nice work. (vo) and retailers can get ahead of the fashion trend of the day with a new line tomorrow. with a verizon private 5g network, you can get more agility and security. giving you more control of your business. we call this enterprise intelligence. from the network america relies on.
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i love san francisco, but i'm working overtime to stay here. now is not the time to raise taxes. i'm voting no on propositions m and o, because the cost of everything is going up. san francisco collects more tax revenue than nearly any city in america. but our streets are dirty and public safety is not getting better. i'm working hard to live within my budget. the city should too. join me in voting no on m and o. now is not the time to raise taxes in san francisco. vote no on m and o. so... i know you and george were struggling with the possibility of having to move. how's that going? we found a way to make bathing safer with a kohler walk-in bath. a kohler walk-in bath provides a secure, spa-like bathing experience in the comfort of your own home. a kohler walk-in bath has one of the lowest step-ins of any walk-in bath for easy entry and exit.
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shrinking seats, overlapping elbows, limited legroom on flights. now the federal government is considering whether to regulate airline seat sizes. cnn's pete muntean has more on the quest for comfort. >> reporter: luxury is what flying was supposed to be. but these days, legroom is shrinking, as passengers are getting larger. >> things are definitely getting too small on planes. >> we're dying. it doesn't matter what airline it is. >> i can't imagine seats or aisles being smaller than they are today. >> reporter: now the federal aviation administration is considering whether to stop airlines from making seats smaller. >> evacuate, evacuate, leave everything, come this way. >> reporter: the agency is under a congressional mandate to study whether seat size could slow an evacuation. but in 26,000 public comments, many focused on comfort. >> the idea is that the more people you can jam into a plane,
the more money you'll make. >> reporter: fliers right president paul hudson said airlines are trying to squeeze out more profit. this week six u.s. senators told the faa to act urgently and not wait for seats to get any smaller. so i decided to put airlines to the test. two things necessary for this little experiment. a ticket and a tape measurer. on this united airlines flight, legroom was right at the industry standard, 30 inches. but it all depends on the airline. legroom can get tighter on ultra low cost carriers. 27 inches is what we saw on this allegiant airlines flight flyers rights proposes 32 inches legroom and seats that are wider, dimensions it says would fit 90% of americans. >> that would make a huge difference. >> reporter: the airline industry's top lobby said it would not compromise on safety, but told the government to stay out of regulating passenger
comfort. the faa and the department of transportation declined our interview requests. >> their position to date has been, how uncomfortable you are is between you and the air carrier. >> reporter: there is one airline making some news here and you might be surprised to learn that spirit airlines is buying new airplanes with thinner seats. it could mean an extra 2 inches of legroom, john. >> pete muntean, i thank you and our knees thank you. tonight jake tapper is interviewing actress kerry washington at 9:00 eastern, and then chairman ron mcdaniel and amy klobuchar from-minute is sunday night at 9:00 eastern and again at noon. our coverage continues in "the situation room." happening now, we're