Full transcript of “Face the Nation” on October 18, 2020

On this “Face the Nation” broadcast moderated by Margaret Brennan:

  • Tom Perez, Democratic National Committee Chairman
  • Reince Priebus, Former Republican National Committee Chairman, CBS News Political Analyst
  • Adm. Mike Rogers (Ret.) Former Commander, U.S. Cyber Command, Former Director, National Security Agency
  • Raphael Bostic, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President & CEO
  • Dr. Scott Gottlieb, Former FDA Commissioner  

Click here to browse full transcripts of “Face the Nation.”

MARGARET BRENNAN: I’m Margaret Brennan in Washington. And this week on FACE THE NATION, the unprecedented challenges of 2020 are playing out on the campaign trail as the country faces yet another COVID-19 crisis point. Across the U.S. nearly twenty-seven million people have already voted, despite the challenges of casting a ballot in a pandemic. In a bitterly divided country, it may be the only thing Americans can agree on: The importance of voting in campaign 2020. With just sixteen days left before Election Day, President Trump hits rallies as usual, even in red zone states with dangerously high numbers of COVID cases.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP (Janesville, Wisconsin): We win Wisconsin, we win the whole ballgame. It’s–
(Crowd cheering)
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP (Janesville, Wisconsin): What the hell do you think I’m doing here on a freezing night with forty-five-degree winds?
MARGARET BRENNAN: And it’s an all-out push for every voting group, particularly those where former Vice President Biden is picking up support.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP (Johnstown, Pennsylvania): Suburban women, will you please like me?
(Fort Myers, Florida): We love our senior citizens.
MARGARET BRENNAN: For the former vice president, it’s a referendum on President Trump.
JOE BIDEN: The only senior that Donald Trump cares about– the only senior is senior Donald Trump.
MARGARET BRENNAN: And a challenge to hold his temper when faced with Republican attacks and allegations of wrongdoing.
MAN: Mister Biden, what is your response to the New York Post story about your son, sir?
JOE BIDEN: I know you’d ask it. I have no response. It’s another smear campaign. Right up your alley. Those are the questions you always ask.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We’ll talk with the head of the Democratic Party, Tom Perez, as well as former Republican Party chairman Reince Priebus. Plus, we’ll take a closer look at our election security with former head of the National Security Agency Admiral Mike Rogers. We’ll also hear from former FDA commissioner Doctor Scott Gottlieb about this latest surge of COVID-19. The head of the Atlanta Federal Reserve Raphael Bostic will join us to talk about those hardest hit by the pandemic.
It’s all just ahead on FACE THE NATION.
Good morning. And welcome to FACE THE NATION. Coast to coast and around the world, the number of new coronavirus infections continues to rise. There are almost forty million cases worldwide, more than eight million of them right here in the U.S. On Friday there were sixty-nine thousand new reported cases. That’s the highest since July. With just over two weeks until Election Day, Americans are now able to vote in all fifty states, and they are going to the polls in record numbers. We’ve got a lot to get to. We begin this morning with CBS News national correspondent Mark Strassmann in Atlanta.
(Begin VT)
MARK STRASSMANN (CBS News National Correspondent): COVID America’s third wave is so widespread, blindfolded you could throw darts at a map and probably hit a hot spot, like Colorado–
JARED POLIS: This is the most since late May.
MARK STRASSMANN: –and Nashville–
JOHN COOPER: Our key metrics are not going in the right direction.
MIKE DEWINE: This thing has roared back.
MARK STRASSMANN: Roaring by any measure into a public health crisis. Twenty-six states are in the red zone for new infections. In all, thirty-six states have new cases trending up. Five states have positivity rates higher than twenty percent, especially shocking, South Dakota’s rate, thirty-six percent, and Iowa, just under fifty percent. Madison, Wisconsin, responded by opening a two-way drive through. On one side people pull in for a COVID test. On the other, they get a flu shot.
WOMAN: We’re really trying to prevent a twindemic. We don’t want a lot of flu and COVID happening at the same time.
MARK STRASSMANN: COVID’s also on the minds of voters and these poll workers in California, PPE is a must. In the Houston area, election workers have their temperatures taken every day.
CHRIS HOLLINS: Voters are not screened because it is their constitutional right to vote. We cannot prevent them from entering a voting center.
MARK STRASSMANN: With sixteen days until the election, early voters keep stampeding to the polls. From coast to coast, masked voters spent the day in lines. In Nevada, standing for four hours. In Georgia, more than ten hours. Pandemic or not, election experts predict Americans may cast a record one hundred fifty million ballots.
(End VT)
MARK STRASSMANN: For all the talk that a vaccine is imminent, COVID America’s next few months could be rough, with colder weather, holiday travel and gatherings, disease experts predict the viral spread could accelerate. The spike in new cases could be dramatic and daunting. Margaret, that new vaccine can’t get here too soon.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Mark Strassmann in Atlanta, thank you.
The recent spike in coronavirus cases is prompting new lockdowns throughout Europe. CBS News senior foreign correspondent Liz Palmer is in London.
ELIZABETH PALMER (CBS News Senior Foreign Correspondent/@CBSLizpalmer): Good morning. The COVID infection rate in a couple of the world’s top hot spots, that is Brazil and India, has actually been declining a little lately. But in Europe, the virus is back with a vengeance.
(Begin VT)
ELIZABETH PALMER: In Paris and eight other French cities, police are enforcing a new curfew, checking that anyone on the street after 9:00 PM has good reason. And Germany, where rigorous testing had kept infection rates low, is facing a COVID surge, too.
(Crowd performing)
ELIZABETH PALMER: This is Prague in June. A vast public celebration of what Czechs believed was the end of COVID there. They partied too soon, and are now battling the worst outbreak per capita in Europe. Britain is also hard hit. It’s imposed a patchwork of restrictions that includes no visiting anyone in another household, even family. In Liverpool, the worst-hit area, hospitals are once again filling up, just as they did this spring.
WOMAN: We’re overwhelmed, and it’s not winter. It’s not even winter yet.
ELIZABETH PALMER: To raise the country’s battered morale, ninety-four-year-old Queen Elizabeth appeared in public for the first time in seven months, unmasked, but in what must be the safest place in the realm–the military’s biodefense lab. Tests of the Oxford vaccine considered one of the frontrunners are going incredibly well, says the project’s director. And there was a ray of hope from Kate Bingham, head of Britain’s vaccine task force.
KATE BINGHAM: But I do think we have a– a shot of seeing the two leading candidates, seeing efficacy of those this side of Christmas.
ELIZABETH PALMER: But in Yiwu, China, they don’t have to wait that long. Doses of a Chinese COVID vaccine made by a state lab were offered to the public as an experiment for sixty dollars a shot. It took only two and a half hours for supplies to run out.
(End VT)
ELIZABETH PALMER: Here in London, the deputy chief medical officer has said that the rollout of the vaccine could start in December. And already a training program for health workers to give the shot is in the works. Margaret.
One Campaign 2020 battleground state also has the distinction of being one of the hottest red zone states in this country. Wisconsin saw a record four thousand one hundred and five new cases on Friday alone. President Trump campaigned there on Saturday. CBS News White House correspondent Weijia Jiang reports.
(Begin VT)
WEIJIA JIANG (CBS News White House Correspondent/@weijia): President Trump drew thousands of supporters to a Southern Wisconsin airport hangar on Saturday night. The state is grappling with grim, record highs for new positive COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and daily deaths. But the President claimed the end of the pandemic is near, praising his performance.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: We’re rounding the corner. We’ve got the vaccines all that. But even without it, we’re rounding the corners.
WEIJIA JIANG: Even after contracting the coronavirus himself, Mister Trump hosted rallies in seven states last week. The campaign tells CBS News it took strong precautions at all of them. But at each of them, few people wore masks as they stood shoulder to shoulder.
WOMAN: I do not believe that the masks are going to do what they say it’s going to do. I don’t believe that it’s– that it’s the cure-all that we’ve all put it out there. I believe it’s a symbol of fear.
WEIJIA JIANG: In Michigan, the crowd repurposed a familiar chant after the President criticized Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s efforts to control the virus.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: The schools have to be opened, right?
(Crowd cheering)
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Lock them– lock them all up.
WEIJIA JIANG: On Twitter, Whitmer wrote: “This is exactly the rhetoric that has put me, my family, and other government officials’ lives in danger…” She was the target of an alleged kidnapping plot by a group that disagreed with lockdown measures. President Trump is also pouring time and energy into the Sun Belt states.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: We will have a red wave, the likes of which they’ve never seen before.
WEIJIA JIANG: But Republican Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska warned constituents of a blue tsunami, blaming the President for a possible Republican bloodbath in the Senate.
(End VT)
WEIJIA JIANG: President Trump plans to make two to five campaign stops a day from now until November 3rd, according to a senior campaign official. Today, he will hold a rally outside of Reno, trying to flip this state he lost in 2016. Margaret.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Weijia Jiang in Las Vegas.
We want to take a closer look now at two states that went to President Trump in 2016, but now are putting Vice President Joe Biden in the lead. In the typically Republican state of Arizona, former Vice President Joe Biden is three points ahead of the President. In Wisconsin Mister Biden is at fifty-one percent, and Mister Trump five points behind him at forty-six percent. CBS News elections and surveys director Anthony Salvanto is in Westchester County, New York, to tell us more. Good morning to you, Anthony. Why is President Trump trailing in these states?
ANTHONY SALVANTO (CBS News Elections and Surveys Director/@SalvantoCBS): Well, good morning, Margaret. So, from the Rust Belt to the Sun Belt, two states that could be pivotal in the Electoral College count. Let me show you what’s going on. First of all, views on how the candidates handled themselves personally, Joe Biden with a significant edge on the President there. Always an important part of voters’ calculus. But let me show you this: Such a big part of the President’s base in Wisconsin and in other states has been that white non-college vote. He won them by a large gap in 2016. Well, his margin with them this year is down. In this case in Wisconsin from sixty-two to fifty-two percent. And you might say well, he is still winning them. Yes, he is. But for candidates it’s about margins, it’s about running up the score with groups that support you. Joe Biden cutting into those margins now. That’s important. And then this, Margaret, and it partly explains why views that the President is mostly concerned about the wealthy and the elite as opposed to the middle class. Now, neither candidate getting a majority saying they con– they’re concerned mostly with the middle class, but still an edge for Biden there. And then maybe the most important group of all as we head towards election night, millions of ballots are already coming in, people voting by mail across the country. Well, Democrats tell us that they’re supporting Joe Biden. They’re casting their ballots early. And we see a big lead for Joe Biden among ballots that have already been cast in both Arizona and Wisconsin. I suspect when we get to election night, we may say that Joe Biden has a lead on ballots that have been cast already, and then it’s a question of how many of the President’s supporters will turn up on election day to try to put him over the top. Margaret.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Anthony, the state of Wisconsin has a serious coronavirus outbreak right now. Is that impacting what voters are thinking?
ANTHONY SALVANTO: Views on coronavirus has– have been very connected to vote in all of these states. Margaret, let me show you this. Views on who would handle the outbreak better. Joe Biden has an edge in both of these states. And then this, where it really connects to vote, you see Arizona seniors, such an important part of the electorate there, well, a bulk of them feel that the President’s coronavirus policies have put seniors specifically more at risk. And the thing here, Margaret, is that of these seniors, almost all of them, ninety-five percent, who feel the President, has put them more at risk are voting for Joe Biden. Margaret.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Anthony, this is the home stretch. I mean what are the closing arguments and how are voters responding?
ANTHONY SALVANTO: So, we asked people, what do you want politics in the next four years to be like? And of the things that they said, well, the folks who said that they wanted it to be exciting, well, in these states the President has a slight lead. But for those who said they wanted politics in the next four years to be calm, Joe Biden has a large lead. The trouble for the President and the advantage for Joe Biden is that more people told us they wanted things to be calm. Margaret.
MARGARET BRENNAN: It’s about tone there. All right. Anthony Salvanto, thank you very much.
Joining us now is CBS political correspondent Ed O’Keefe. We caught him this morning in between campaign travel and quarantine. Good morning, Ed.
ED O’KEEFE (CBS News Political Correspondent/@edokeefe): Good to see you.
MARGARET BRENNAN: It’s good to see you in person—
MARGARET BRENNAN: –I don’t know without the Zoom screen.
ED O’KEEFE: I know. It’s nice to be back.
MARGARET BRENNAN: It’s good to have you back at the table.
ED O’KEEFE: Absolutely.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So, tell us about we just heard– what we just there. I mean, when we look at Joe Biden’s schedule, we didn’t see him campaign yesterday. We will see him today. What is his strategy? Because President Trump clearly feels he needs to be out and very visible.
ED O’KEEFE: And at this point, the Biden campaign doesn’t feel that way much at all. He’s– he’s in North Carolina today. The Tar Heel state has begun its early voting. This is a state that the Biden campaign believes, hopes they can take back. But they look at the same kind of polling we do, state by state surveys. Those are the only ones that matter at this point. Don’t worry about national horse race numbers. Look at those state by state numbers. They see single-digit advantages, as we do, for Biden. And they worry that if they can’t keep their base motivated, if they can’t keep convincing people to show up, whether it’s earlier on the day off they’re going to be in trouble. This week is mostly about the big prep. He will not be seen again after today until Thursday night in Nashville at that next debate. So, they are going to keep him focused on that. That’s a signal that they believe this is still a very big opportunity for them to provide one last big contrast with the President and that they have to prepare him for potential attacks from the President. The other thing they’re going to continue to do is spend the record sums of money they’ve raised.
ED O’KEEFE: More than three hundred million dollars in the month of September alone; they’ve got more than four hundred twenty million dollars in the bank, that’s going into advertising, that’s going into direct targeting of their supporters across the country through text messaging and e-mail to continue to turn out people. One hundred million dollars alone being spent on what they call voter education or compelling people to show up and vote.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Outraising and outspending the Trump campaign.
ED O’KEEFE: In big ways, in historic ways. By the end of this election, they will have spent more than– well, near– nearly half– more than half– more than five hundred million dollars. I can’t do math this morning. I’m sorry. Too much– too many numbers. But the point being that is a record sum.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Crazy amounts of money.
ED O’KEEFE: Never been done before.
MARGARET BRENNAN: And we’re also seeing that in the other races, not just the presidential race. Another key finding that Anthony Salvanto had in his Battleground Tracker had to do with the Senate race out in Arizona. Mark Kelly, Democrat there, really widening the lead against Martha McSally, the Republican incumbent in that race. This is John McCain’s old seat.
ED O’KEEFE: It is.
MARGARET BRENNAN: What– what is happening in Arizona?
ED O’KEEFE: Well, Mark Kelly, the former astronaut, the husband of the former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is the one example across this country we have found where the presidential candidate may ride the coattails of somebody further down the ballot. He’s been a huge help to the Biden campaign in Arizona.
ED O’KEEFE: They’re convinced they can win that race. They can take back that state for the first time since the 1990s. He raised more than thirty-eight million dollars in the third quarter. Any other cycle, that would be a huge sum.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Astronomical, I might say.
ED O’KEEFE: Astronomical. You might say exactly, especially for an astronaut, but dwarfed by the fifty-seven million raised by Jamie Harrison in South Carolina, who’s running against the Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham. And just because you raise big money remember–
ED O’KEEFE: –doesn’t mean you win. Just ask Beto O’Rourke, who raised huge sum two years ago and came up short. That could still happen this year for of these Senate candidates.
MARGARET BRENNAN: No, key point. And we will have much more to talk about in– ahead in the show about that race. Ed, so good to see.
ED O’KEEFE: Good to see you.
MARGARET BRENNAN: FACE THE NATION will be back in a minute. Stay with us.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We want to turn now to election security and Admiral Mike Rogers. During the last election, he was the head of the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command, which runs military cyberspace operations. Good morning to you. This is–
ADMIRAL MIKE ROGERS (Retired) (Former Commander, U.S. Cyber Command/Former Director, National Security Agency): Good morning, Margaret.
MARGARET BRENNAN: –this is the most watched, potentially most complicated election in the midst of a pandemic that our country has seen. I know in 2016, after the fact, you said you wish more had been done in terms of direct public action before the election took place. What do you think about now? How secure are elections?
ADMIRAL MIKE ROGERS: So, I am very confident that we’re going to have an election that will allow us to vote as citizens, that will accurately reflect the results of that voting and will generate a set of results that we can believe in. I think a lot of work has been done. The biggest challenge to me in some ways is the context in which this election is occurring. We’re a very polarized and divided nation right now, and we’re in the middle of a significant health crisis. So I think there’s a few things we need to be mindful of. The first is the turnout, based on everything we’ve seen, will hit record levels. We need to be prepared for longer lines and a longer process. There’s just a whole lot more voters. And, for example, trying to man polling centers in the midst of a pandemic when historically many of your poll workers are older individuals, for example–
ADMIRAL MIKE ROGERS: –it’s just going to present a challenge. So it’s going to take longer. We should be ready for that. Number two, we need to remember elections are run on a state level, so the processes are different. And what is legal and a structure in one state is not the same in another. We need to recognize that and not view that as, hey, there’s something wrong because someone else is doing something differently than I am in this election. Number three, I– I think we need to be mindful it is unlikely that we’re going to get a result when we go to bed the night of the election.
ADMIRAL MIKE ROGERS: It is very possible, but I think we just need to be ready, given the amount of turnout, given the number of mail-in ballots. In some states, for example, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, you can’t start counting mail-in ballots until the actual Election Day.
ADMIRAL MIKE ROGERS: So we need to be ready for a result that doesn’t come out that same night. The last two points I would make, I think, remember, our system allows for legal challenges, legal challenges to process, legal challenges to outcome. That doesn’t happen historically all that often at presidential levels, but it often happens at congressional and other levels. We need to let that process play out. And, lastly, remember, there’s time built into this process.
ADMIRAL MIKE ROGERS: States do not actually have to complete the certification process until the middle of December. So let’s just be calm. Let’s participate. Let’s do it peacefully without violence, and then let’s let this system play out just as it has for almost two and a half centuries.
MARGARET BRENNAN: No, it’s important expectation setting that you just did there. I want to get to your old line of work and your expertise on the intelligence front, because we know U.S. intelligence says that right now Russia is trying to basically manipulate the public, spread disinformation about the election specifically to hurt the Democratic candidate and some Kremlin-linked actors trying to boost the President. Can Russia, at this point, actually change the outcome of the election by altering votes? Do they have that capability?
ADMIRAL MIKE ROGERS: So, do they have capability? Yes. Is it likely? No, and we haven’t seen anything to date that would suggest that we’re certainly seeing in cyber the same level of activity that we saw back in 2016. I would say where I think the Russians are doubling down is a little less on cyber activity directed directly against voting infrastructure. Think about voter registration, the actual machines we use to cast ballots, the computer systems we use to tabulate ballot– voting ballots. I don’t think you’re seeing that same level of activity. Rather, I think, what you’re watching the Russians do is really double down on the idea of using disinformation via social media and other paths to attempt– to continue to polarize our nation, to incite violence, to incite hatred and to attempt to pull us apart.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So to that point, you know, there’s been a lot of speculation that this week some of the information about Joe Biden’s son Hunter that has circulated in tabloid in New York Post may be the result of a hack and dump operation. This is speculation at this point that it could have come from Russian military hacking of a Ukrainian gas company where Hunter Biden served. Do you see any justification for that speculation at this point?
ADMIRAL MIKE ROGERS: Margaret, I don’t know the specifics of this case. Again, my view would be, let’s let it play out, let’s investigate it, let’s get some factual evidence, let’s get the metadata and let’s see if this is accurate or not. I’m just not in a position–
ADMIRAL MIKE ROGERS: –really to speculate. I’m not a fan of speculation.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, it’s being compared to the hack and dump operation that happened, as you know, back in 2016. A lot of Democrats alleging that it is that. So when you say you see Russia doing a disinformation and access– spreading disinformation, is that the kind of thing you’re talking about?
ADMIRAL MIKE ROGERS: That could be an element. So when you look at a disinformation campaign, you see the Russians using false identities. So you might think you’re talking to a fellow American from the Midwest when actually you’re talking to a Russian troll in St. Petersburg.
ADMIRAL MIKE ROGERS: So using false identity, using false information, attempting to manipulate images, the use of videos that are distorted to create an impression that is not based in fact, to try to energize individual’s emotions, their prejudices, their viewpoints, to galvanize them, to work against, if you will, an outcome that brings us together.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Very quickly, what is the thing to watch on election night to know if our elections are secure or not?
ADMIRAL MIKE ROGERS: So if you saw an effort on the part of a foreign entity to attempt to manipulate or deny our election processes, the things I would be looking for are, number one, do you see widespread–
ADMIRAL MIKE ROGERS: –and I’m not just talking about one or two places, but you see widespread challenges associated with voter registration rolls?
ADMIRAL MIKE ROGERS: People show up, they give their license and it doesn’t match.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We will watch that–
ADMIRAL MIKE ROGERS: I will be looking for attempts–
MARGARET BRENNAN: Sir, I’ve got to interrupt you. I’m so sorry, but we will be watching that. Thank you for flagging it. Admiral Rogers, thank you for joining us. We’ll be right back.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Americans are voting now or getting ready to vote in the next two weeks. For more information on how to vote in your state, go to CBSNews.com/Vote. We will be right back.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Welcome back to FACE THE NATION. We want to go now to former FDA Commissioner Doctor Scott Gottlieb, who is in Westport, Connecticut. Good morning to you.
SCOTT GOTTLIEB, M.D. (Former FDA Commissioner/@ScottGottliebMD): Good morning.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We have now eight million infections in the United States, record hospitalizations. In terms of the red zone areas the White House is concerned about, twenty-six states fall into that category. Where are we headed as a country?
DR. GOTTLIEB: Probably the most difficult phase of this epidemic. I think the next three months are going to be very challenging. There’s really no backstop against the spread that we’re seeing. We’re probably two or three weeks behind Europe. And Europe’s in a very difficult position right now, too. I think as we enter the winter, we’re going to see continued spread. There’s forty-two states where hospitalizations are rising. There’s forty-five states where the rate of transfer, the RT is above one, meaning they have expanding epidemics. And there’s really no backstop. There’s not going to be an intervention that really thwarts this short of the– the ability to get a vaccine, which is probably an event that happens late in next year.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You point out–
SCOTT GOTTLIEB: I lost my sound.
MARGARET BRENNAN: I can still hear it, Doctor Gottlieb. I think we’re working on being able to reestablish his audio. Doctor Gottlieb, can you hear me?
Okay. We’re going to work on fixing that, and come back to the conversation with Doctor Gottlieb in a moment. But we’re going to turn now to another important conversation with the head of one of the twelve banks that make up the Federal Reserve System. That’s Raphael Bostic. He joins us from Atlanta this morning. Good morning to you.
RAPHAEL BOSTIC (Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President and CEO/@RaphaelBostic): Good morning, Margaret.
MARGARET BRENNAN: There was a front-page story in The Wall Street Journal just yesterday that pointed to the South, the area of the country you watch most carefully, and said it’s been largely– largely unscathed economically by the pandemic. It’s got a 6.9 percent unemployment rate, the lowest of any region as of August. When you look at those numbers, does it vindicate the political decision by governors in the South to go ahead and reopen against the advice of health officials?
RAPHAEL BOSTIC: Well, Margaret, I don’t know that I would say vindicate. As Doctor Gottlieb was just saying, we’re still very much in the midst of this crisis. And one– one of the reasons I think that the South has benefited is because the virus came to us after it had been to California on the West Coast and New York. And so we had got to learn some things about how we might be able to operate and do our economics with the virus with us. And I think that has turned out to be something that’s been quite helpful.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Important caveat there. When you look at Atlanta, in particular, I know you’ve pointed out in recent interviews that eviction levels are higher than where they were a year ago. What are some of the indicators that you are watching that make you concerned rather than optimistic, as the White House paints us to be on a clear upwards trajectory?
RAPHAEL BOSTIC: Well, I’m definitely concerned, and I’m concerned because as I go around and talk to people and businesses in the district, what I see is two real stories going on. In some segments, the economy is re– recovering and rebounding in a very robust way. But in other segments, things like hotels and restaurants, small businesses in particularly minority and lower-income communities, those places are seeing much more difficult situations. Now when– if you were to graph this, after the great decline that we saw in March and April, the recovery looks something like this where you have a number of sectors that are going up. This is what I call a less than sign. And in other instances, you’re not seeing any recovery at all. And so those segments where we’re not seeing that recovery, that’s really what I’m concerned about as we move forward.
MARGARET BRENNAN: A– a dis– disjointed recovery is kind of what you’re sketching out there. You know there was one number that I saw, I read about this week that really stood out to me. And I want to– I want to share it with you. And it paints this picture of white-collar and working-class America being on really different trajectories. According to the latest Household Pulse data, between seven and eleven million children in this country live in a household where children just didn’t eat enough because their household couldn’t afford it. This is the richest country in the world. We’re being told that the economy is recovering. This doesn’t say that to me at all. What does this indicate to you?
RAPHAEL BOSTIC: Well, first of all, we have to recognize that– that the issue of food insecurity is something that we’ve had in this country for a long time. It’s not new, and it’s not just a result of the virus. But what the virus has done, it has put a wedge in our economy. And for all those who have been in less– in more precarious situations it’s made them even more precarious. And so those that are been in– those that have been in distress are in much more distress, while others are not really feeling that at all. And I think it’s important to recognize that whatever people are experiencing, there are a lot of other Americans out there who are struggling and are on the edge. And that– that evictions data is just one example of that.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Black Americans have recovered just over a third of employment that they lost during this pandemic. This speaks to what you’re talking about in terms of different experiences. According to the Fed, only thirty-four percent of black households own stocks. You’ve been writing and speaking a lot lately about widening inequality in this country. What needs to be done about it?
RAPHAEL BOSTIC: Well, first of all, we have to acknowledge that there’s a problem and we have to be willing to talk about it. You know my institution has– has for a long time not been willing to be out in front to talk about the importance of racial inequalities. I actually think that that’s been a mistake. And I– what we’re seeing is many more of my colleagues jumping up and being willing to talk about this. In terms of what to do I think there are two dimensions on this. One is that we have to change the trajectory for the– the generations to come so they have good schooling, they have good training, they have real access to capital, and they can progress just like everyone else. But we also have a lot of people today who are trying to benefit from this economy and participate in it.
RAPHAEL BOSTIC: So we need to make sure that we’re providing resources and infrastructure to help those people as well.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You know, Joe Biden has been calling for the Fed to start regularly reporting on racial gaps. Your name appeared in a number of reports this week as a potential member of a Biden administration, either as a Treasury secretary or head of the Federal Reserve. Are those jobs you’d be interested in?
RAPHAEL BOSTIC: You know, Margaret, there’s so much going on right now that I am not thinking about that. I’ve got a pandemic. I’ve got an economic crisis, and I’ve got my own bank to worry about in terms of the– the policies that we’re doing. So I’ll let things play out as they– as they will and we’ll just see how that– how that goes.
MARGARET BRENNAN: All right. That’s not a no. Thank you. Thank you, Mister Bostic.
We will be back in a moment.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We want to go back now to Doctor Scott Gottlieb. We have fixed that technical issue, we hope. You were just saying, Doctor Gottlieb, that we were headed into a very difficult period. You– you still predict the vaccine as an event well into 2021. When we look at what’s happening right now, there’s such an outbreak in the Midwest. In Wisconsin, they had their highest daily case total since the pandemic began on Friday. And residents are being told to avoid crowds. But the President held a rally there just yesterday. He seems to not be adopting any further health restrictions even after having recovered from the virus himself. How dangerous is this?
SCOTT GOTTLIEB: I think it’s problematic, and I think it’s adding to the challenges. Look, the spread we have right now is with the mitigation that we have in place. And so we are taking some steps. If we weren’t taking those steps, if people weren’t wearing masks generally and some states weren’t adhering to some mitigation tactics and we weren’t testing and tracing, then we’d have much worse spread. And if you look at the White House strategy, they’ve come out against universal masking. They’ve come out against testing asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic people. They say testing should be reserved just to the vulnerable. They want businesses and schools reopened, as we all do, and they are against targeted mitigation like closing restaurants. There was criticism of New York when New York kept the restaurants closed. So it begs the question, what is the strategy? And I think the strategy is just to endure the spread until we get to that vaccine. And the reason that’s problematic is because even if you get companies filing applications at the end of November, which is what they’ve said. And I’m on the board of Pfizer, one– one of the companies developing one of those vaccines. It will take FDA two to four weeks to turn that application around. Then it will take us another two to four weeks to get the initial tranche of people, the most vulnerable who are indicated for the vaccine, vaccinated. Then they need to get a second dose and that happens in the next three to four weeks. And then it takes two weeks for the immunity really to kick in. So you’re looking at a situation where the first tranche of people to get vaccinated really won’t be protected from the vaccine probably until February and maybe March. And so that’s a long way off. We’re going to have to endure this wave of spread right now. And it’s probably likely to be the biggest wave that we endure without the benefit of a vaccinated population. So we’re going to have to rely on those mitigation steps.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You’re talking to us from Connecticut. That’s a state in the yellow zone. I know you plan to vote in person. But if you live in a red zone state, if you live in the Midwest right now, how safe is it to go out in the midst of an epidemic and vote?
SCOTT GOTTLIEB: Look, I think it’s– I think it’s possible to protect yourself, but you’re going to need to take precautions. You know, the– the biggest risks are the settings where we let our guard down. And when you talk to the governors about where the spread is occurring, it’s occurring in congregate settings where people feel more comfortable, a local Elks Club, a large family gathering. I think when you go out to vote, the voting places are taking precautions. They’re– they’re sequencing people carefully. They’re cleaning the voting stations in between voters. Their– their lines are going to be long, but they’re going to take precautions inside those settings. And I think when people go out to vote, if they wear a high-quality mask, they can adequately protect themselves. The biggest risks are the settings where we are not on our– on guard, where we let our guard down, where we are not taking those kinds of precautions. So I think you can vote safely, even in places where there’s high prevalence. But you’re going to need to be careful.
MARGARET BRENNAN: And when you say high-quality mask, you mean not a cloth one, is that right?
SCOTT GOTTLIEB: Quality of mask matters. That’s what the studies show. And so if you wear a procedure mask, that’s going to protect you better, and if you’re going to get N-95 masks that’s even better.
MARGARET BRENNAN: When you said large family gatherings are a major source of spread, are you advising people not to celebrate Thanksgiving?
SCOTT GOTTLIEB: I think people need to weigh their individual risk. If you have people in your family who are vulnerable, I think it’s advisable to try to continue to protect them. We have two or three very hard months ahead of us. I think this is probably going to be the hardest phase of this pandemic. The good news is that we have a lot– a lot of medical treatments and better medical care so we’re going to do a better job of preserving life. The bad news is I think we’re going to end up infecting a lot more people. And so, you know, we need to get through these next two to three months. And we’ve made it this far. I know people are exhausted, but we’re in this about eight, nine months now, and we have a short period of time to go. We’re probably in the seventh inning of the acute phase of this pandemic right now.
MARGARET BRENNAN: And quickly, we keep hearing about these therapeutic breakthrough drugs. How widely available will they be since we know there are likely shortages?
SCOTT GOTTLIEB: Well, they’re going to have to be rationed. These are the therapeutic antibody drugs. They’re going to have to be rationed, and I think there’s going to be challenges distributing them. Right now the plan is to distribute them at emergency rooms. So you’re going to have to compel people who are largely well, people who have the infection but haven’t yet really developed symptoms because those are the people most likely to benefit, to come into an emergency room to get infused.
SCOTT GOTTLIEB: That’s going to be a challenge.
MARGARET BRENNAN: A challenge in the midst of a pandemic. All right. Doctor Gottlieb, thank you for your analysis and advice.
SCOTT GOTTLIEB: Thanks a lot.
MARGARET BRENNAN: And we’ll be back in a moment.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We want to go back now to the presidential campaign and check in with both sides. First, we go to the chairman of the Democratic Party, Tom Perez. Good morning to you.
TOM PEREZ (Democratic National Committee Chairman/@TomPerez): Good morning. Pleasure to be with you.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, our CBS Battleground Tracker shows this morning that your candidate, Joe Biden, has the edge in both Arizona by three points, five-point lead in Wisconsin. A lot of that, though, ultimately is going to be dependent on turnout. Do you think the Democratic Party has done enough in the midst of this pandemic to drive up either easy balloting or ability to go to the polls?
TOM PEREZ: Well, I always caution people never get on the poll-er-coaster. We take nothing for granted and the enthusiasm, Margaret, has been all over the country. You saw the early vote totals in Wisconsin. Over a quarter of the people have already voted in Wisconsin. They voted absentee. You look down in Florida, 2.4 million people voted down there. And what’s really interesting is the Democrats are overwhelmingly turning in their ballots. And three hundred and fifty thousand of the Democrats that have turned in their ballots haven’t voted in the last two elections. So it’s not just people who are voting for convenience, it’s people who haven’t turned out. And that shows the enthusiasm for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. We have a lot more work to do, but we’re expanding the battlegrounds. We’re competing in places like Arizona, Texas–
TOM PEREZ: –Ohio, Iowa, Georgia, and elsewhere. And– and that’s because we have a candidate who I think is just uniquely qualified to bring people together. He does have a plan to deal with our crisis–
TOM PEREZ: –our coronavirus crisis, our economic crisis. He is a uniter. He’s not a divider. And that is why Joe Biden is making the progress he’s making.
TOM PEREZ: But we have more work to do and folks got to get out there and vote.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, and the Bi– the Biden campaign has emphasized that, you know, that– that lead is a lead, but it– it still could be neck and neck. And, interestingly, when you look at our Arizona poll, the majority of likely voters in Arizona, fifty-six percent, give Democrats more blame than they do to Republicans over the President for not getting an economic relief package to them right now. I mean Americans are in an economic emergency and these negotiations remain more or less stalled on Capitol Hill. Do you think that strategy of holding out for a bigger, better deal is going to backfire for Democrats?
TOM PEREZ: Well, it’s the Democrats who passed a bill five or six months ago and the Republicans did nothing. They’re moving heaven and earth to fill a Supreme Court seat so they can undo the Affordable Care Act and undo coverage for people with preexisting–
MARGARET BRENNAN: But this is blame being–
TOM PEREZ: –conditions. But they did next to nothing.
MARGARET BRENNAN: –passed around to you now. This is backlash. These are what people are saying they see–
TOM PEREZ: Well– well, I don’t–
MARGARET BRENNAN: –blame being put here with the Democrats in their view.
TOM PEREZ: Well, I– I– I– in the last week, I have traveled both to Arizona, to Nevada, and to Florida. And– and what I’ve heard from voters throughout those travels, I was with folks in Orlando on Thursday, people working at Disney World. One person is about to– she’s going to lose her health care coverage on Thanksgiving Day. That’s when she loses her health care. But the Republicans don’t want to pay for COBRA coverage for people who’ve lost their coverage, who’ve lost their health care, they’ve lost their jobs. That’s unconscionable. And people understand this is a health care election. In the middle of a crisis we have a President who wants to undo coverage for people with preexisting conditions. He wants to turn the clock back on health care. And it’s the Democrats that have been fighting for it. And that’s been a big sticking point–
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, fighting–
TOM PEREZ: –in these–
TOM PEREZ: –negotiations.
MARGARET BRENNAN: –but talking and doing are two different things. And– and not doing is what Democrats are getting blamed at for here. But I want to ask you about when you’re talking about get out the vote efforts, yesterday there was a court that– that ruled in Republicans favor when it comes to a rule in Michigan about mail-in ba– mail-in ballots needing to be returned by 8:00 PM on Election Day. This is a state that could really be decisive. How much of a setback is that?
TOM PEREZ: Well, we’ve been organizing early in Michigan. We’ve been organizing early elsewhere. And in Wisconsin, for instance, back in April, the– the Republicans tried to weaponize the pandemic because they wanted to win a state Supreme Court case. And we won that case. We won it decisively because we outhustled them. We outorganized them. We turned out absentee voters in droves. The same thing that’s happening in Michigan. Voters have options in Michigan, thanks to a ballot initiative in 2018. And they’re using those options. And you look at the early vote totals and again, Democratic energy. And so we will continue to fight in courts–
MARGARET BRENNAN: So, you don’t see this is as damaging?
TOM PEREZ: Well, I would rather– I– I believe democracy works better when everyone can cast their ballot and every ballot is counted. We’re in an unprecedented pandemic here, and courts in other states have allowed votes that were postmarked by Election Day to be counted as long as they’re received within a short period of time after Election Day. This court did it differently. I disagree categorically with that ruling. But we are moving ahead in Michigan. We’re moving ahead everywhere. And again, the pandemic in Michigan–
TOM PEREZ: –the pandemic everywhere. This is a crisis. People understand this President has no plan. His closing argument in Michigan is “lock her up.”
TOM PEREZ: He’s fanning the flames of division. He doesn’t have a plan for the coronavirus. He doesn’t have a plan–
TOM PEREZ: –for the economy. He’s divisive. Joe Biden is bringing us together.
TOM PEREZ: People in Michigan remember that it was Joe Biden and Ba– Barack Obama who saved the auto industry–
TOM PEREZ: –when Republicans were letting it die.
MARGARET BRENNAN: All right. Tom Perez. Thank you very much, Chairman.
We’re going to turn now to CBS News political analyst Reince Priebus, who was formerly Republican Party chairman. He was also the first White House chief of staff for President Trump, and he joins us from Kenosha, Wisconsin, his hometown this morning. Good morning.
REINCE PRIEBUS (Former Republican National Committee Chairman/@Reince/CBS News Political Analyst): Good morning, Margaret.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Open up the Washington Post today, I see that you have, as they report, re-entered the Trump campaign mix. They say you’re advising him on strategy, including coaching him in that recent NBC town hall. Says you are concerned about the President’s chances. Is that right? You’re concerned that the President is headed for a loss?
REINCE PRIEBUS: No, not at all. In fact, I’m not concerned about that at all. I’m– I’m– I’m concerned about early vote. I’m concerned about absentee ballot voting, but I’m always worried about early vote and absentee ballot voting. I haven’t reemerged. I have always been helpful to the President, helpful to the RNC. But, look, you know, early vote and where we’re– we’re at in a pandemic and having five times more people vote in Florida than ever before, these are unprecedented times. The polling is all over the map. This is something that’s going to come down to the wire, and I hope and expect the President to win.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, what are the battleground states that you think he can win? Because as you heard from our poll, Joe Biden is at an advantage here.
REINCE PRIEBUS: Well, first of all, Margaret, I mean these polls are really, really complicated to measure. I mean, what we have in this country we have never seen before. We have– we have regional– aside from, you know, working class white voters, suburban women, one of the other things that’s going on in this country is that President Trump is winning in these rural parts of the country in unprecedented numbers. I mean we have northern Wisconsin, that’s like center of Wisconsin to the north, President Trump won by eighteen points in 2016.
REINCE PRIEBUS: Today, he’s pushing thirty points ahead in rural America with enthusiasm off the charts. Yes, it’s a little bit down in the suburbs. But the hard thing for these pollsters, Margaret, as you bring up, is that they can’t measure this kind of disparity between the rural parts of this country and what’s happening in the suburbs. So, the real–
MARGARET BRENNAN: So you think he’s still going to win in Wisconsin?
REINCE PRIEBUS: Well, I got to tell you, I– I saw the CBS poll this morning, and I’m not spinning you, I was slightly encouraged by it because in the RealClearPolitics average in Wisconsin in 2016, the President was actually down by six and a half points and he won.
REINCE PRIEBUS: But also, Margaret, Gary Johnson got a hundred and six thousand votes as well in 2016. So he’s not– Trump didn’t just win Wisconsin in 2016 he they said he would lose by six and a half. He won. Plus, another conservative candidate got a hundred and six thousand ballots. So when you ask me–
MARGARET BRENNAN: But one of the things–
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yeah, one of the things, though, with Wisconsin that our– our Anthony Salvanto, our pollster, pointed out, though, is that base, that white, non-college-educated voter that came out strongly for the President back in 2016, that margin is– is shrinking in terms of what we are seeing right now. Why do you think there is that erosion?
REINCE PRIEBUS: Well, I don’t know if– if– if it’s an erosion or not, Margaret. I mean, you know, clearly, I think one of the things that you’re going to see over the next couple of weeks is that the President’s going to be pivoting, talking about the economy. I think this upcoming debate is going to be really important that the President is that, you know, likable, fun, have a good time. Let Joe Biden speak, and let Joe Biden defend the Obama economy. Let him defend why ISIS was running wild and burning people in cages.
REINCE PRIEBUS: Let Joe Biden defend why he was the one guy that didn’t want to go forward with the Osama bin Laden raid.
REINCE PRIEBUS: Let him defend the Iran deal. Those are the things that I think, you know, pivoting to the economy that those voters are going to be listening to. But, you know, look, I think it’s really complicated.
REINCE PRIEBUS: I don’t think anyone can predict early vote and what’s happening–
REINCE PRIEBUS: –right now in this country.
MARGARET BRENNAN: –it is hard to predict and it is incredible that we are in the midst of a pandemic that is shaping so much, which is, I mean, how do you not address that though? Do you really believe that there is not a political cost to the deaths that we are seeing in this country? I mean, I look at Wisconsin where the President just had his rally, and the majority of likely Wisconsin voters tell us the response is going badly. Forty-nine percent of them say the Trump administration has hurt Wisconsin’s effort. So, they think the President is hurting–
REINCE PRIEBUS: Well, clearly, I mean–
MARGARET BRENNAN: –not helping.
REINCE PRIEBUS: Well, I– I think it’s going to be important for the President to remind everyone that it was he who shut down most travel from China. It was he who developed a task force. It was he that helped pass the– the– the CARES Act, at two trillion two weeks after the country was shut down. I mean, the– while by the way–
MARGARET BRENNAN: But hospitals are getting overwhelmed–
REINCE PRIEBUS: –while– while by the way–
REINCE PRIEBUS: Well, look, I mean, granted, Margaret. Sure, no one likes what’s going on in this country. No one likes that their kids are at home and no one likes that a lot of these states are shut down by Democrat governors. That’s all true–
REINCE PRIEBUS: –but the question is would this person over here, Joe Biden, have done things better or differently?
REINCE PRIEBUS: And I don’t think Joe Biden’s made that case–
REINCE PRIEBUS: But– but– but the point is– is that I think that– that the upcoming debate–
REINCE PRIEBUS: –is a great opportunity for the President to make that case to the American people–
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, we will be– we will be–
REINCE PRIEBUS: I think he’s doing well in Wisconsin.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We will be watching. We’ll see if he takes your advice. Thank you, Reince.
We’ll be right back.

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