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tv   State of the Union with Jake Tapper and Dana Bash  CNN  July 11, 2021 6:00am-7:00am PDT

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♪ hello. i'm jake tapper in washington, where the state of our union is looking to the skies. virgin galactic billionaire richard branson is set to boldly go where no superrich guy has ever gone before, launching to the edge of space on board his own supersonic space plane called the vss unity. the unity will take off on a carrier plane and then after a brief flight it will launch at least 50 miles above the earth roaring well past the speed of sound. the passengers will experience a few minutes of weightlessness before coming back down to earth. soon we expect to see branson and his crew heading to the launch site. we'll bring you that when it happens. first, back on earth, the
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delta variant is now the dominant covid strain in the united states and we're seeing case numbers heading in the wrong direction in areas with low vaccination rates. for those who are vaccinated, there is new confusion about booster shots. pfizer is raising questions about how quickly americans may need another third shot as the fda and cdc say, no, no, not yet. joining me now, the president's chief medical adviser on the covid-19 pandemic, dr. anthony fauci. dr. fauci, thanks for joining us. i want to start with this new reporting from reuters today that israel, the government of israel, is beginning to administer pfizer boosters. third shots to people they consider vulnerable. here in the united states the cdc and fda say we do not need booster shots. do you think boosters could theoretically help vulnerable people? >> well, certainly they
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theoretically could. what the cdc and fda were saying is that right now, given the data and the information we have, we do not need to give people a third shot, a boost, superimposed upon the two doses you get with the mrna and the one dose you get with j&j. but that doesn't mean we stop there. they continue -- i mean, there are studies being done now ongoing as we speak about looking at the feasibility about if and when we should be boosting people. so this isn't something that we say, no, we don't need a boost right now. the story is ended forever. there's a lot of work going on to examine this in real time to see if we might need a boost. but right now given the data that the cdc and the fda has, they don't feel that we need to tell people right now you need to be boosted. >> and as you know, pfizer disagrees. pfizer is recommending a booster, a third shot. i wonder, are you worried at all
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that if the cdc and fda change their recommendations and boosters do become recommended in a few months, that some americans will see this as -- some demagogues in the media in politics will portray this as another flip flop and it will undercut trust in the fda and cdc. >> well, jake, you have a very good point there. inevitably, something like that will happen. i think what people need to understand, and it's really important to understand that, that when you have an organization like the cdc and the fda that are responsible for the regulatory components of what we do, as well as the public health, when they make a formal recommendation, it has to be based on data that's evidence that proves we need to go in this direction. before you get that data, there will always be people, well-meaning people and well-meaning companies will say,
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you know, the way we look at the situation it looks like you might need a booster so let's go ahead and give a booster. but that's not a formal recommendation. i mean, even individual phys physicians, we know some physicians right now that are saying, i want to take the extra step go the extra mile with someone who might actually have a lower level of immunity. those are the things that are out there but if you're looking at formal recommendations from organizations, it's always based on data. and as we've said so many times, jake, data evolves. you get more information as the time goes by. so when you get to the point, where you have enough information to make a firm recommendation, that is not flip-flopping. that is making recommendations as the data evolve. and i know sometimes it's difficult tond that, but that's what happens when you get formal recommendations from
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organizations like the cdc and like the fda. >> the cdc used to track what are called breakthrough infections. that's fully vaccinated individuals who have been infected with coronavirus. they used to track it. now they have stopped. they're only tracking breakthrough cases that result in hospitalization or death. does it not seem premature to stop tracking all breakthrough cases given the fact that there's this even more contagious delta variant, not to mention the questions about boosters? shouldn't the cdc just continue to track breakthrough infections? >> and they will be doing that, jake. you make a very good point. one of the important issues, and you didn't ask this, but it is important to emphasize, that the vaccines that we have now, even when you have breakthrough infections, the protection against severe disease, hospitalization that might ultimately lead to death is still very, very high in
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effectiveness, well into the 90s. even though you do get these breakthrough. the question that you're asking is a great one and you'll be seeing much more testing being done. this is being very actively discussed right now. >> the number of new cases in the u.s. has almost double noud from its lowest point up to 19,000 new cases a day from about 10,000 new cases a day last month. the delta variant is causing more than half of new infections. we know the u.s. has more than enough vaccines for everybody who is eligible. why are we not able to stop this? what is the problem with getting as many people as possible vaccinated to stop this pandemic in the united states? >> you know, jake, it's an inexplicable pushing back on the part of some people about getting vaccinated. i heard it when you were talking just awhile ago to the congressman about the idea of people saying you have -- government is knocking on your door trying to force you to
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vaccinate. that is not the case at all. we're getting trusted messages to try and get people to understand and appreciate why it's important for their own safety, for that of their families and for the community in general. there's no reason not to get vaccinated. you make a very good point. there are places in the world, many places, where the vaccination availability is practically nil. those places would do anything to get a vaccine. we in the united states have enough vaccinations to give to everybody in the country. and they are life saving. we've got to put aside this ideological difference or differences thinking that somebody is forcing you to do something. the public health officials, like myself and my colleagues, are asking you to do something that will ultimately save your life. and that of your family and that of the community.
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so, jake, i don't know. i really don't have a good explanation, jake, about why this is happening. i mean, it's ideological rigidity, i think. there's no reason not to get vaccinated. why are we having red states and places in the south that are very highly ideological in one way, not wanting to get vaccinations? vaccinations have nothing to do with politics. it's a public health issue. it doesn't matter who you are. the virus doesn't know whether you're a democrat, a republican or an independent. for sure, we know that. and yet there is that divide of people wanting to get vaccinated and not wanting to get vaccinate chd is really unfortunate because it's losing lives. >> the conservative political conference cpac is going on this weekend. i want to play for you a clip of one of the speakers from that event yesterday. >> they were hoping -- the government was hoping that they
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could sort of sucker 90% of the population into getting vaccinated. and it -- and it isn't happening, right? younger people -- >> i'm going to cut him off right there because he just goes on to just say things that are not true about the vaccine. but what i wanted to get your reaction to is, the crowd cheering when this gentleman talks about how the government was not able to achieve a 90% vaccine goal. thecheered. as a public health official, what's your reaction when you hear that? >> it's horrifying. i mean, they are cheering about someone saying that it's a good thing for people not to try and save their lives. i mean, if you just unpack that for a second, jake, it's almost frightening to say, hey, guess what. we don't want you to do something to save your life. yea. everybody starts screaming and
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clapping. i just don't get that. i mean, and i don't think that anybody who is thinking clearly can get that. what is that all about? i don't understand that, jake. >> on the other side of the political spectrum, the former health and human services secretary under president obama, kathleen sebelius, said this week that she's frustrated. she thinks it's time for the biden administration to push schools and businesses and others to mandate the vaccine. she said specifically, quote, i'm trying to restrain myself. but i've kind of had it. you know we're going to tip toe around mandates. it's like come on, i'm over that. i want to make sure people i deal with don't have to so i don't transmit it to my granddaughter. sebelius is giving voice to the frustration a lot of americans have about how it seems like society is bending over backwards to not offend people who refuse to get vaccinated. you know, people who are vaccinate individual to wear masks on airplanes because airplanes don't want to mandate that you have to be vaccinated
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to fly. i know you've been very clear that the government isn't mandating vaccines, but do you think it's generally a good idea for businesses or schools to require vaccinations? >> right. i have been of this opinion, and i remain of that opinion, that i do believe at the local level, jake, there should be more mandates. there really should be. we're talking about life and death situation. we have lost 600,000 americans already, and we're still losing more people. there have been 4 million deaths worldwide. this is serious business. so i am in favor of that. one of the things that will happen, and i think the hesitancy at the local level of doing mandates is because the vaccines have not been officially fully approved. but people need to understand that the amount of data right now that shows a high degree of effectiveness and a high degree
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of safety is more than we've ever seen with the emergency use authorization, so these vaccines are as good as officially approved with all the is dotted and ts crossed. it hasn't been done yet because the fda has to do certain things. but it's as good as done. so people should really understand that. but they are waiting now until you get an official approval before. and i think when you do see the official approval, you'll see a lot more mandates. >> dr. anthony fauci, thank you so much. appreciate your time today. >> thank you, jake. good to be with you. our first view of billionaire richard branson climbing aboard his space plane coming up. plus, the push by some republican lawmakers to keep people from getting a life-saving vaccine. why? that's next. does it worry me? absolutely. sensodyne sensitivity and gum gives us a dual action effect that really takes care of both our teeth sensitivity as well as our gum issues.
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welcome back to "state of the union." i'm jake tapper. we're waiting for bit llionaire richard branson to launch into space. after 20 years and 2400-mile-an-hour service members killed, president biden is forcefully defending his decision to understand the loechct war in history saying it's highly unlikely that the taliban will take over in afghanistan despite troubling gains over recent weeks. joining me is afghanistan veteran, pilot in the air national guard and republican congressman from illinois adam kinzinger. thanks for joining us. i want to start with afghanistan. over the past two decades, hundreds of thousands of american service members, including yourself, deployed to afghanistan. 2,448 american service members
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and dod employees lost their lives to this war along with nearly 4,000 private contractors and untold numbers of afghan civilians. tens of thousands of americans have suffered physical and emotional wounds. as the u.s. leaves, i guess the big question is, was it all worth it? >> well, look, jake, you know, you're, i guess, following in the outpost of that real kind of human story that happened there. i very much appreciate putting a real life to the people that fought in afghanistan. you know, i think if we could go back to 2001 and use our magic wand i'd fight the war very differently. make sure the taliban would be kicked out. you engage in building or protecting afghanistan in a far different way than we did. but without having the benefit of hindsight, i think we'll get an answer to that question soon because i think if afghanistan, as it unfortunately appears is
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going to happen if the government collapses, kabul falls. we see the rise of the taliban again and safe haven for terrorists to train, we might realize that afghanistan, though not fun for us and though it was a big sacrifice, was certainly not worth having that be a safe haven. i hope i'm wrong but we might see that. >> nato's combat mission formally ended back in 2014, although, obviously, the u.s. and nato allies stayed there for other purposes, including training. seven years later u.s. troops still there. here's what president biden had to say about that in his speech a few days ago. >> nearly 20 years of experience has shown us that the current security situation only confirms that just one more year of fighting in afghanistan is not a solution. but a recipe for being there indefinitely. >> then biden turned and asked critics of his, and i'll put it to you, how many thousands more american daughters and sons are
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you willing to risk and how long would you have them stay? i know these are tough questions. what would your answer be? >> and i think it's a really kind of unfair question for the from the have posed because, look, there's never anything that feels worth, you know, sacrificing american lives for, but that's what leadership is about. leadership is recognizing that, yes, you can't ask the american people, do you want to sacrifice, you know, your sons and daughters? of course they'll say no. but leadership is leading people to say look, i have the foresight of knowing, though, however, that without that sacrifice, it's actually going to cost your sons and daughters lives potentially here at home. and i think the tragedy of afghanistan, look, president trump, basically put president biden in the situation where he would either have to increase the numbers in afghanistan or bring them all home. president biden went in there and basically we get asked all the time. what was the mission in afghanistan? the mission was to create an afghan government that can defend itself. they were pretty close to that.
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you know, the u.s. and nato was only carrying out 2% of combat missions. most of those targeting isis. the rest was stiffening the spine of the afghan government that was willing to fight as long as they knew the u.s. had their back. and now you're seeing this collapse. not because they weren't heroic in fighting but because everybody turned their back on them. again, jake, i hope i'm wrong. with all the troopss home, we realize we should have left years ago and afghanistan can defend itself and women are treated well. i just don't see that happening. unfortunately, a lot quicker than we thought. >> president biden says his administration is going to begin evacuating some of the 18,000 afghan translators and others who worked with the military forces along with their families. the plan is to send them to these neutral third countries, not to the united states, not to guam, which has been proposed. while the applications are being processed. do you think the biden administration is doing enough to save these people? >> well, i think they have stepped it up in recent days.
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i don't think they had a plan when this announcement was made. i think this announcement surprised a lot of the administration. the announcement to leave afghanistan. you know, there's problems with bringing them to u.s. territories in terms of having constitutional protections if they're found out maybe that they didn't -- they weren't fully vetted correctly. but this has to be our number one priority, and the problem right now, jake, we can have a neighboring country or any other country say, sure, we'll take them. now we have to evacuate 18,000 people out of a country that is 80-some percent possibly controlled by the taliban in which people, no matter which district they live in are not able to cross districts and travel to the airport to get out. i think it's great to theory, and i hope we can do it. i just logistically don't think it's possible at this moment. it's going to be a massive tragedy. this is going to affect, not just a tragedy watching these translators that gave their lives for our country be killed, it's also going to be a tragedy in the next war whenever that happens and we have to convince
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the locals to be on our side. >> let's turn to domestic politics. a number of your republican colleagues are expressing outrage over president biden's call for door to door outreach to encourage americans to get vaccinated. congresswoman marjorie taylor greene compared those going door to door to nazi brown shirts. congresswoman lauren bobert called them needle nazis. some said it reminds them of soviet russia. what's your take on that? >> it's absolute insanity. what president biden said and maybe he could have said it slightly different was, we're willing to come to your house to give you the vaccine. at no point was anybody saying they're going to break down your door and jam a vaccine in your arm despite your protest. this is outrage politics that is being played by my party and it's going to get americans killed. we are on a -- our party has been hijacked. my hearparty has been hijacked. we can put out this outrageous
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stuff on twitter. yeah, i'm getting all these retweets and everybody knows me. i'm famous but this plane is going to crash into the crowned. if you're a republican vote doer not listen to marjorie taylor greene. the vaccine is safe. covid is real. get vaccinated. because if you are going to listen to the outrage, by the way, in march, she's bragging about donald trump creating the vaccine and now she's saying basically the vaccine is going to kill you. i call on leader mccarthy. i call on every leader in the republican party to stand up, say get vaccinated, and to call out these garbage politicians. these absolute clown politicians playing on your vaccine fears for their own selfish gain. >> you are vaccinated. i'm vaccinated. the vaccine is the best protection there is against the deadly pandemic. thank you so much, congressman kinzinger. appreciate your time. >> you bet, jake. we are waiting to see billionaire richard branson and his flight crew cross the final frontier. plus, coming up, the man
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expected to be new york city's next mayor flipping the script on democrats and police in some ways. should candidates across the country be following his playbook? the democratic nominee for mayor, eric adams, joins me ahead. what's the #1 retinol brand used most by dermatologists? it's neutrogena® rapid wrinkle repair® smooths the look of fine lines in 1-week, deep wrinkles in 4. so you can kiss wrinkles goodbye! neutrogena® ok everyone, our mission is to provide complete, balanced nutrition for strength and energy.
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[ "me and you" by barry louis polisar ]
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♪ me and you just singing on the train ♪ ♪ me and you listening to the rain ♪ ♪ me and you we are the same ♪ ♪ me and you have all the fame we need ♪ ♪ indeed, you and me are we ♪ ♪ me and you singing in the park ♪ ♪ me and you, we're waiting for the dark ♪ welcome back. we're about to see history in the making as billionaire richard branson and his crew prepare to launch themselves into space. we're seeing these cars driving to the launch sites right now. joining me in what's being called space port america which is the site of the virgin galactic launch is cnn innovation and space correspondent rachel crane.
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rachel, you probably never covered a launch quite like this. get us up to date on what's going on right now. >> that's right, jake. this is certainly a launch like i've never been to. and did i get a sense of jealousy in your voice there? you wishing you were in my place? this is a pretty cool assignment because in typical branson fashion, it's not just about the space flight but also about the event and spectacle surrounding it. so we have a musical performance that's set to happen upon landing. tons of vips on site. as you can see, a large crowd behind me. we just saw the soon-to-be astronauts walk out of the hangar, get into their vehicles, head out to the runway. soon they'll be boarding their vehicle. now the vss unity which will transport them to space hais mad to the mother ship eve set to take off in about an hour. vss unity will be released from eve. it will be in free-fall for a
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few seconds before that rocket motor ignites. shooting them off to space. the mission specialist on board, they'll experience about three gs before they have about four minutes of precious weightlessness before gliding back here to earth greeted by, you know, this huge crowd that has come to wish richard branson well. and we have heard on twitter that elon musk is expected to be here. so you know there's a lot of competitive spirit between these billionaires who have their space companies that are so outsiders like to peg it the new space race so to speak but it certainly seems that elon musk, as well as jeff bezos wishing branson well and the virgin galactic team well on this space flight today. >> you spoke with branson ahead of this launch. how is he feeling about this big day? >> well, jake, he was ecstatic. he said he's never been happier in his life when he got the call from his team saying that he
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could actually board this flight. you know, it's been nearly two decades in the making for him. richard branson was inspired by the moon landing when he was a child. he's always been a daredevil. we've seen him do these large stunts before like doing a crossing in a hot air balloon. it's all been building up to this moment of space flight. he's been saying that he's been wanting to do this since he was a child. today, you know, his dream is becoming a reality. he has his friends and family here to see him take this flight. so a lot of momentum has been building up for him personally leading to this flight but also in the space community because this is seen as ushering in a new era of space tourism with virgin galactic and blue origin sort of opening up the final frontier to the rest of us. when i say the rest of uof course, the early adopters, throwing down big bucks to get on these rides. virgin galactic has sold tickets at $200,000 a pop. we don't know what the going price for blue origin will be to
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fly on their new shepherd system but we do know one seat was auctioned off to be on the upcoming july 20th flight with jeff bezos. jake, that seat went for $28 million. so, of course, the ticket prices for these flights right now are still incredibly high, and the company saying as the market continues to grow, hopefully that price will drop. so folks like -- i know myself. i don't know about hyou. the idea is to have more people experience the joy of space and seeing spaceship earth from above. >> rachel, very nice to offer to pay my $28 million seat fee. i appreciate it. i didn't know you had that kind of cash but we'll check back with you in a little bit. first, however, what if i told you that an armed former police officer running on a law and order platform seems quite likely to become new york city's next democratic mayor? and the second black mayor in
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that city's history? that's exactly what eric adams is on his way to becoming after going against the grain of recent democratic party politics and winning the city's wild democratic primary. the democratic mayor eric adams joins me now. i want to start with crime which is an issue you highlighted during the race. murders in new york city rose dramatically in 2020 compared to 2019. they are up another 11% so far this year. gun arrests almost doubled in june over last june. and you have made combating crime the central issue to your campaign. assuming that you win in november, what should new yorkers expect to see that will be different bringing back stop and frisk, reinstating that plainclothes unit going after illegal guns. what will change? >> a combination of things. number one, i believe for the first time we are going to see a coordinated effort between the president, the governor, the
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mayor, to go after the flow of guns in our city, which is extremely important, but then right on the ground, how do we deal with the intervention aspects of it. we want to see the remake of an anti-gun unit. that's going to do precision policing, focusing on gangs and guns. we're going to have a coordinated effort to ensure our gun suppression unit receive the resources they deserve, and then we're going to be extremely comfortable going to our judges. stating we can't have people who participate in gun violence and they're out the next day. that's unacceptable. we need to send a clear message that our streets are going to be safe. >> one of the issues you talked about that a lot of national democratic politicians don't is the fact that most gun crimes are not committed with so-called assault weapons. they're committed with handguns and most homicides are not these horrific mass shootings. they're one-offs. lots of them every day.
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beyond what you just mentioned, in terms of laws, in terms of state or city or national gun laws to try to stop gun violence, what do you think would work, and do you think the priorities of national democrats may have been misplaced? >> yes, i do. i believe those priorities, they really were misplaced. and it's almost insulting what we have witnessed over the last few years. many of our presidents, they saw these numbers. they knew that the inner cities, particularly where black, brown and poor people lived, they knew they were dealing with this real crisis. and it took this president to state that it is time for us to stop ignoring what is happening in the south sides of chicago. in the brownsvilles, in the atlantas of our country. and so it is extremely important that just as we became energetic after we saw mass shootings with
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assault rifles in suburban parts of our country, which we should have, we should have also focused on the handgun. the numbers of those who are killed by handguns are astronomical. and if we don't start having real federal legislation, matched with states and cities, we're never going to get this crisis understand control. >> the united states isn't going to ban handguns. so what are you proposing be done about it? >> and they should not have to, to ban handguns. but let's look at those particular gun dealers where there's a real correlation, a connection with the guns that are used in our streets. those who are -- those states with lax gun laws where you can walk into a gun shop with a license and walk out with the gun. let's look at all of the feeders of how guns are making their way into our cities. something simple as here in the port authority. we should have spot bag checks.
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people are able to get on the greyhound bus and come into our cities with bags full of guns with a level of comfort. so we need to zero in on that handgun and you will see the decrease in many of these shootings. but then we must have long-term plans of the feeders of violence in our country because it's more than just dealing with the immediate shooting. before that young person gets a gun, he was denied an educational opportunity somewhere in the city. that's the real crime that we are fighting. >> there's also in washington a big effort to policing reform. talks in congress are stalled right now, negotiators say, it might actually fall through. in part because they can't strike a deal on qualified immunity, which is a policy that shields police officers from civil liability when they're on the job. you support eliminating qualified immunity, but democratic whip jim clyburn says he's willing to accept a deal without that provision. what do you think? would that be a mistake? >> well, i support it with an
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asterisk. we need to be clear on that. i don't believe a police officer who is carrying out his job within the manner which he was trained to do so should be open to a lawsuit. if he's chasing an armed person who is discharging a weapon and that police officer discharges his weapon and an innocent person is struck by that, that weapon, we should not have that officer open to a lawsuit. but when you look at the case of a floyd case where clearly the officer went beyond his scope of responsibility, that officer should be open to a lawsuit. and so i don't believe we should be suing officers who are doing their job and some of the hazards of their job, but those who step outside of those boundaries and recklessly carry an act that causes life or serious injury, they should be open to being sued personally. >> let's turn to the coronavirus pandemic. los angeles county has recommended masks even for vaccinated individuals in indoor
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public places. they are doing this as a precautionary measure because of the delta variant spreading. what about new york city? would you recommend that vaccinated individuals wear masks indoors? >> yes, i do. i believe that we should err on the side of being cautious. clearly coronavirus is a formidable opponent. it is changing every day. there's a lot that we don't know. but we should spread facts and not fear. let's let the science dictate the policy. we have amazing scientists here in this country. allow them to dictate the policy we should carry out for health, but i'm in complete support. i still wear my mask from time to time when i'm in crowded settings and whatever we can do to ensure that we don't repeat the pandemic experience that we had, we should lean into that. >> your election was thrown into some chaos by inaccurate results from the new york board of elections early on in the process. the board of elections has been
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a patronage job in new york for years. it's been slow and incompetent for decades. if you win in november, do youing state lawmakers should professionalize or remake the board of elections? >> yes, i do. we need to move deeper into the 21st century. we need to utilize technology. would you believe when they did ranked choice voting they introduced it in january. they were not ready. the pandemic hit. and then right now, the only person that's in the room when they push the button to determine the ranking is one person? that is not transparency. that is not how we should move towards reform in this area. so i say, yes. i'm hoping the state will come together and put in place some real reform that would professionalize the operation. and then pay the employees better. give them the equipment they need. let's move this important process forward. >> i want you to take a listen to what white house chief of staff ron klain had to say about
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your victory last week. >> i think that the coalition that mr. adams put together in new york is not dissimilar to the coalition that president biden put together. a coalition of working class voters, african-american voters, overwhelmingly. and voters who want to see progress on core issues. >> do you agree, and do you see the biden/adams coalition, if you agree, of voters as the path to victory for democrats in 2022 and beyond. >> he just made a small mistake. he said similar to. i duplicated it. i was encouraged when i saw what the president did. and i knew what i was hearing on the ground that every day new yorkers, just like everyday americans. they wanted not a government of just an ideological approach, but a pragmatic approach. we want to be safe. we want to be employed. we want to be able to educate our children. when i saw the president speak a
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blue collar plain talk understood the need of everyday americans, i was encouraged. i stood my ground, and that was the pathway that i knew and the numbers really communicated clearly when i captured four of the five boroughs, everyday blue collar new yorkers. i'm a blue collar candidate. i'm proud of what the president did. i'm looking forward to us finally making working class people at the top issues -- the top issues of working class people to be finally addressed in this country, and i'm looking for that partnership with the white house. >> eric adams, the democratic mayoral nominee, best of luck to you, sir, and thanks for joining us us. >> thank you. take care. we are just moments away from witnessing history. billionaire richard branson is poised to launch into outer space. so let's focus on this story now. i have a panel of space experts with me. let me start with garrett
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reeseman. we're just moments away from seeing these astronauts walking out. you've been in their shoes before. what's going through their minds in this moment? is it just sheer terror, exhilaration? what are they feeling? >> i hope it's not terror. they should be very excited. i remember going to the launch pad both times and i was like positively giddy with excitement. we were making silly dad jokes and stuff. i think we were just so amped up, ready to launch off the planet, that it was more exciting than anything else. >> nothing wrong with a dad joke. charlie, let me ask you. there's some debate going on about whether this even counts as outer space. the u.s. government defines outer space as 50 miles. some international organizations say it starts at 62 miles. jeff bezos' company blue origins suggested branson will have an asterisk by his name. what do you think?
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>> i think it's silly, jake. thanks for having me. discussing the difference of maybe 6 to 10 miles in space as to whether these people reach space. in the united states, 50 miles. a lot of international organizations claim it's 62 miles. but i think it's foolish. i think this qualifies as space. and good for them. >> hakim is here with me in studio. so private space travel seems to be picking up steam as an industry. i was talking to a friend of mine who was a big friend of science fiction and he said in all the books he read in the '50s and '60s it was always billionaire industrialists going off into space and never governments. do you think the space tourism by private companies is the future of space travel? >> well, it looks like it currently. we have a situation where we have private/public partnerships
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right now. so it looks completely private but it really is a private/public partnership. and what we're seeing today is not the standard rocket going into space that we normally see. so this model that we're seeing today could be the future. because it's less expensive than a traditional model. >> explain what you mean when you say private/public partnerships because it looks entirely private. but you're saying the government has something to do with this? >> whenever you see something going into space, nasa has some involvement. there are space ports, a lot of infrastructure that goes into these missions. that's happening behind the scenes. so, yeah, it's a public/private partnership. and much the same way that aviation is. >> kristin fisher is at the launch state, cnn's new space and defense correspondent. first of all, kristin, welcome to the cnn family. it's great to have you here. i'm very excited. >> thank you so much, jake. >> i want to ask you.
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we're so glad to have you here in time for this historic day. i want to ask about safety for you because virgin galactic had a crash in 2014 that killed one pilot, regrettably, and seriously injured another. the ntsb found it was due to human error. what kind of last-minute safety checks are going on right now? >> so right after that accident back in 2014, the ntsb found it was human error but also blamed it on the spaceship's builder saying that scaled composites should have anticipated that that kind of human error could happen. and so what they did back then was they put what's called an inhibitor in to keep that kind of human error from happening again. the chance of something like what happened in 2014 happening again very slim. but as you know, jake, space flight always a very dangerous and risky business. right now they are going through all of their final checks. we already had one weather delay this morning. and in terms of what the crew is
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going to be doing to stay safe, they are actually going to be wearing parachutes on this flight. remember, it is a test flight. but right now, all system goes for launch, and again, those corrections, those course corrections made to the spaceship after that deadly accident back in 2014. but really just amazing how far virgin galactic has come. remember, jake, a lot of people thought virgin galactic would never get to this day after that accident. and now here we are just minutes away from richard branson himself taking flight. >> all right, kristin. we're going to squeeze in a quick break. vi virgin galactic engineers are preparing for all systems go for this historic flight. we'll be right back and miles o'brien will be with us. stay with us. sensodyne sensitivity and gum gives us a dual action effect that really takes care of both our teeth sensitivity as well as our gum issues. there's no question it's something that i would recommend.
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welcome back. we are now just moments away, we're told, from witnessing history as billionaire william branson is poised to fly to out of space. we're talking about this with a panel of space experts. there seems to be a riff between branson and bezos who is planning to do his in about nine days. what do you make of that? >> reporter: branson said he doesn't view this as a race, the more the merrier, but he did say he was planning to do it next
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summer, so when bezos said he was planning his in nine days, branson quickly planned this one. you might say, so what, it's just a gold-plated bungee jump, but this is a time to bring attention to the world of space and the way you open up a new economy and a new realm is by doing a lot. the rich seem to be first, and as time goes on, hopefully the price will go down and more will go. only 55 people have been to space. that's not enough. >> garrett, let me ask you, do you think this is opening up an era of space tourism that will someday be accessible to people who are not billionaires or even millionaires? >> certainly. and those of us working in the commercial space industry, as i was doing back at spacex, have been anticipating this day for a long time. this is just the beginning. and as miles mentioned, it's not
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unlike what happened in aviation. in the early days of aviation, it was the jet set that got to go in commercial airliners and it was millionaires and people would dress in black tie to go in these airplanes, and now we have southwest and everybody can go. i think we'll follow that same progression, it's just going to take some time. >> charlie, richard branson is quite a personality. he has cheated death any number of times, surviving a sinking fishing boat, a hot air balloon crash, a skydiving mishap, a botched bungee jump. obviously we have nothing but hopes that nothing bad will happen today with his historic launch. what do you make of him? >> i think he's great. from everything that -- the little i know about richard branson, he's very creative. he's a fantastic businessman, and he's a great people person.
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space flight right now are for the risktakers. we have a long way to go. miles called it a golden-plated bungie jump. i like that. we're bringing space around the world, around the country to people to experience space, be comfortable with space. we have a long way to go to make space safe. it's still very risky. probably similar to the risk that we took on space shuttle. >> joaquin, let me ask you, you're probably thinking, i don't know what these billionaires are doing because we ever a lot of problems on this planet in terms of health, jobs, et cetera. why not view this as, boy, these people have too much money?
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>> maybe they do have too much money, that's not for us to decide, but what we're seeing here is the fact that the economy today is not a zero subgame, right? we create economy, so we can do both. we don't have to choose can we go to space or take care of ourselves? we can do both. the thing about space also is it's opening up a whole new economy. so as we talk about, oh, is the price going to go down? are we going to get to go in this economy? who knows, maybe 20,000 in the future. >> garrett, let me ask you, there is this difference in terms of what branson is going
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to attempt today and what bezos is going to do in nine days. they have noted that today's virgin galactic launch will be 100 times more harmful to the environment, plus i believe bezos is going farther out into space? tell us about the differences. >> it's so funny, they make such a big deal about these differences, and they believe it is, as miles pointed out, good marketing. as charlie said before, it doesn't matter. there is no discreet moment where the air goes away and all of a sudden there's space. so you could define it however you like, and it really doesn't matter. you know, what is different, though, what i should point out is these attempts that branson and bezos will be doing are suborbital. in other words, you go straight up and come straight down. you end up landing from the same spot you took off from.
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that is very different than orbiting around the earth. you have to go four times as fast than you do to go straight up and straight down, but that takes 16 times as much energy. it's a much harder problem, and that is a different proposition. what bezos and branson are doing, it's kind of the same, but don't tell them i said that. >> christian fisher, let me go back to you. tell us more about what we're about to witness. >> reporter: i tell you, this certainly feels like a richard branson event. he's certainly one of the more flashy space barons, and today is no different. add the fact you have elon musk here, it feels like a richard branson event. i it's so easy to get sucked into this story line. branson has said his ultimate
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goal, of course, to get more people into space, to experience what astronauts call the over-effect, but that feeling of going up into space, seeing the curvature of the earth, seeing that there are no boundaries between countries, the thinness of the ozone layer and then coming back and trying to make the world a better place. that's what today is all about, jake. >> amazing. christian fisher, thank you. fareed zakaria continues our live coverage right now. this is gps, the global public square. welcome to all of you in the united states and around the world. i'm fareed zakaria coming to you live in new york. in this hour, the billionaire richard branson is set to go to space. in just 30 minutes he takes off near truth and consequences, new mexico in


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