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tv   Smerconish  CNN  January 15, 2022 6:00am-7:00am PST

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unforced errors. i'm michael smerconish in philadelphia. it's a big weekend in the nfl. but i'm not talking about football. it's the biden administration. and by now you know the president's week was a disaster. covid is not contained. the messaging is a mess. and the supreme court struck down the president's employer mandate. supply chain problems persist. inflation is at its highest level in 40 years. build back better is nowhere. any effort to protect voting
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rights lacks the votes necessary for a filibuster carveout. and there's a question how to react to russia, amidst reports that it's ready to raise a false flag as a pretext to invade ukraine. it's enough for biden to be envious of boris johnson. against this backdrop, hosting a byob garden party while the rest of the nation is in lockdown, that's a walk in the park. no wonder the president's approval rating according to a survey released by quinnipiac university stands at just 33%. the white house response was to argue that quinnipiac is an outlier. and that the real number according to a 538 average is 43% approval. as in we know things are bad, but they're not that bad. while some of the vexing issues are arguably beyond the president's control, many were missteps. not the sort of things you'd expect in a washington lifer who campaigned his season and experience. take the tuesday speech, the
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president hoped for a momentum shift with a trip to georgia. perhaps his exuberance was borne of beer muscles from the positive reaction to the speech he delivered on the january 6th anniversary. this is biden again seeking to project strength through spite. only this time, without donald trump as a target, he missed the mark. his comparison of today's opponents to his voting rights measures to the racist of the civil rights era was an overreach and offputting. at the "wall street journal," peggy noonan herself a former ronald reagan speechwriter wrote this, the speech itself was aggressive, intemperate, only offensive but meant to offend. it siemed for those there's only the democratic party in america. that's it. everyone else is an outsider who can be disparaged. it was a mistake on so many levels. noonan was right, where bass
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biden's political savvy and those who advise him? what made him think that a fire and brimstone speech delivered in atlanta would reach its intended audience of two, a senator in west virginia and another in arizona. if sinema and manchin have season us anything they're not susceptible to that type of speech. the only way to get their votes if gettable are through private persuasion, not bombast. and the president from the left, his remarks were seen as too little and too late. stacey abrams didn't even attend the speech in her home state, citing an unspecified scheduling conflict. really? the only thing tangible to come from the speech, a four pinocchio rating from "the washington post" for the president's false claim that he'd been arrested in the context of the discussion of the civil rights movement. compounding the tuesday trip on thursday, for the third time in the last year, biden headed to
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capitol hill to meet with democrats behind closed doors. and came back empty-handed. another rookie mistake. who allows the president to put the prestige of his office on the line with a visit to cajole lawmakers without knowing in advance that the deal can get done? like a summit. with a world leader. you only make the trip to capitol hill when you know you'll have something to announce, when it's over. in this case, senator sinema didn't even await his arrival. instead, she took to the floor and announced while she backed two new voting rights measures she will not support an effort to weaken the filibuster. and not to be outdone, soon after the presidential meeting joe manchin then released a statement announcing that he, too, was against ending the filibuster. in the final analysis, though, what matters to the american public is the economy. and considering the pandemic and notwithstanding inflation, it nevertheless remains remarkably
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strong. when we get past covid, the president's unforced errors may be forgotten. and people may again vote with their wallets. but for right now, his mistakes and the pandemic loom large. i want to know what you think. go to my website and answer this week's survey question, will biden bounce back? my cnn colleague julian zelizer wrote an essay at under the head line can biden presidency doomed? his answer is no. he points to history where many presidents have faced this stage but have been able to recover from moments like this. professor, thanks so much for being here. i would point out it's such a polarized environment. is it fair to compare what's going on with biden to what went on with reagan, obama, clinton, et cetera? >> yeah, polarization doesn't start in 2020.
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obama, clinton both faced, for sure, the problems of a polarized electorate, even if they've become worse. and presidents have to be measured and evaluated in the circumstances of the moment. and presidents in difficult times, you can also the same with reagan, still are able to find ways to strengthen themselves and recover from these periods. >> well, reagan is often, you know, the measuring stick for modern presidents. for what reason, i'm not exactly sure. but let's go with it. where was ronald reagan at this stage in his first term? >> well, in 1982, times were tough. the country is in a major recession. unemployment will go to over 10% at one point. conservatives, many of them are not happy with ronald reagan despite who he was, that he's not going far enough on issues such as reproductive right it's. and many moderates and democrats
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for sure are upset with his efforts to gut the social safety net and his ramping up of cold war rhetoric. so, in '82, it culminates with midterms that are very good for the democrats and house of representatives which they control. and yet '83 and '84 will look very different. >> and in 1984, he wins a landslide election. i'm not even sure if landslide elections are even possible name, against walter mondale. are things as bad now as they were for biden? for now, none of the groups ma fueled biden's 2020 victory are happy. young people are frustrated that he hasn't followed through on vows to combat climate change and student debt. women are worried that plans to expand family leave, child care and universal pre-k are stalled as abortion rights erode and
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schools struggle to stay open. moderates in both parties who once cheered booiden's centrist approach worry that he's moved too far left. and voters of color are furious that he hasn't done more to protect their voting rights. this is a worse scenario than those faced by clinton or obama? >> i'm not sure you can make that comparison. certainly in times, i read it going through the piece where the same kinds of questions are being raised about reagan who, remember, never even had control of the house of representatives. obama in 2010 is another example, is really struggling. the affordable care act, an incredibly contentious -- republicans are mobilizing through something called the tea party. and it culminates in the 2010 midterms which obama calls aisha l a shellacking for his party. the conditions are bad. and none of the three presidents
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were happy going into the midterm season. >> by the way, i left out "w." you probably as well. because of the unique situation of september 11 which queued the whole situation. in your piece at you said when obama left he had a 59% approval rating. professor zelizer, is it possible for anybody in this climate to get to 59%? >> yeah, that's a great question and i'm not sure. i do think that's a place where the total polarization that we're seeing makes it hard for any president of either water to achieve popularity. i think our measure has to be at this point, can a president ho hover in the low 50s and not fall in the low 30s as opposed to them winning a large swath of the nation. i'm not sure we're in an era in the future where any president will be able to do this during the course of their term. >> finally, historically,
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looking at modern history, what has turned? has it will be legislative achievement, or has it been some kind of event that we can't even fathom on an international stage or national stage that a president respond stos a crisis? >> three elements, one is circumstance, reagan benefitted from the economy in '83 and '84 and was able to run on the slogan. in '84, it's morning in america again. part of it, second, is the way in which presidents can characterize their opposition, as extreme lifts. after the opposition gained strength. we saw this with obama in the tea party in 2011 and '12. bill clinton, president clinton did it with speaker newt gingrich in '95 and '96, when the government is shut down. and finally, legislative achievements are still possible, or big moments on the international stage. in 1983, reagan pushes through
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congress with bipartisan support, a major social security package, and '95 and '96, clinton after oklahoma city pushes counterterrorism package. so those are the three factors, i think, allow for a rebound to happen. >> it just feels like the closer we get to the midterm election, the less the odds. of there being any give by any of the legislators necessary from what the president is looking to accomplish. professor, thank you so much for being here. your piece is really provocative. and has great anecdotal data in. i hope people will read it. >> thanks for having me. >> what are your thoughts? tweet me @smerconish. on the facebook bepage. from the world of twitter, will you just please get off his back. ann, i have a question for you, ann jones, if the fact were the same, you know i'm about to play some what aboutism now, but so be it, if on donald trump's
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watch, in fact i was in the same position in donald trump's watch and i did go through the litany. and, frankly, people like you said, oh, he deserves it and moved on. you got to be fair. how can i ignore in good conscience, the way the week has gone for the president of the united states. remember now, i want to know what you think, go to my website and answer this week's survey question. this will be very interesting. will, not can, i'm asking will biden bounce back? result at the end of this hour. up ahead, to lay claim to being the party that takes covid seriously, are the democrats implementing policies so strict that they're endangering their die-hard base? and there are entire websites devoted to anti-vaxxers who end up dying of covid, horrible, right? but might they be morally defensible? we'll go there, next.
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well, here's a moral question peculiar to these days. is it wrong to mock people who publicly crusade against the covid vaccine and then die of the disease? or does it drive home the message about saving lives? there are entire websites devoted to some mockery, sorry, touts those who end up the icu, intubated or dead from the disease. one recent case of this kind of tasteless touting inspired two dueling pieces in the it's in unl "the new york times." and after lobbying publicly against the vaccines passed away at age 46 of covid complications, he was unvaccinated.
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ernby's cause, posted some are sympathy notes, others are not. in response to the filing on, nicholas goldberg wrote i don't understand how crowing over the deaths of others furthers useful debate or increases vaccination rates? but a few days later, goldberg's colleague published a column expressing the exact opposite, mocking anti-vaxxer's death is grueling but might be necessary. michael is with me now. he's also a pulitzer prize winner. michael, let's talk at the outset, you're not talking about the everyday people who sadly contract covid and die. you're talking about people with a platform, right? >> that's correct, michael. in my column, i made a distinction, i pointed out that the unvaccinated really fall in
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three categories. there are those who can't get vaccinated for legitimate reasons. small children, people with genuine medical contradictions of vaccination. then there's a certainly large group of people who have been duped into resisting the vaccine, duped by misinformation ands did information about the vaccine. and sort of nonsense about preserving our premiums in the face of this peal. real targets who are important here are those who spent the last few months or years of their lives, crusading against sensible, safe policies, such as vaccination, social distancing and what have you. and ended up paying the ultimate price for their own -- basically their own falling. >> i want to put on the screen the paragraph i highlighted from your column. it's this. mockery is not necessarily the wrong reaction to those who
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publicly mock anti-covid measures and encouraged others to follow suit before they perished from the disease, the dangers of which they belittled. expand on that. >> sure, you know, we have sort of a cultural habit, not speaking ill of dead, of treating the deceased, looking at the good they've done during their lives. i'm not sure that in this case n that's entirely appropriate, because so many of them actually have promoted reckless, dangerous policies. and as i wrote there, they took innocent people along with them. so is mockery the only response? well, i don't know. but as i wrote, every one of these deaths is a teachable moment. and unfortunately, we haven't been learning from the lesson that we should be hearing from it. >> many, i'm sure, will be watching this who have read your piece and say, wait a minute,
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what about civility. in your column, you say civility is a fraud. what do you mean? >> yeah. you know, the argument that we can disagree but we should always be civil i think usually is in the hands of hypocrites. this argument is designed for distract from what is being said. even if it's being said isn't the most forceful, possible way. so, yeah, when we hear about these people have died, they've left family and friends behind them, we should be civil about them, i think the problem there is that in this context, what we're doing is erasing the harm they've done to their communities, to their families, and to themselves, and i don't think that harm is something that we should be erasing. i think we should be underscoring it. mockery -- well, maybe that's one way. maybe it's not the only way. but i don't think it's
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necessarily the wrong way. we need to find some way to remind people of what was going on. what the deceased were saying and doing, before they paid this price. >> you're in orange county. kelly earnby was an orange county politician. she's not been gone a month. to those who say her life included a lot of good public works. that's what should most be remembered, you would say what? >> well, i would disagree, i would say her crusade against vaccine mandates. and she was crusading against these mandates even before covid. she crusaded against a vaccine mandate in california that was designed to protect school children from being infected with measles and polio and whooping cough. so, as i said, these were policies that were enigmaable to
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the community. in orange county, we have a crisis in our hospitals and icus as reported in "the new york times" it's taking time to get people transported to the hospitals. we have nine hospitals that had to bring on extra wards, emergency wards, to deal with the onslaught of covid. this is a consequence of the sorts of policies that kelly ernby championed during her life. do you want to forget about it, do you want to ignore it? i don't think so. >> michael, a quick comment, when i hear of someone who dies in a motorcycle and wasn't wearing a helmet. i'm nonetheless sad for their loss. poor son of a gun is gone, maybe the helmet would have saved their lives. a fair analogy or unfair analogy? i'm limited on time. >> no, this is different.
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covid is an infectious disease. motorcycle accidents are not. they affect just the motorcycle driver or rider. covid affects everybody. we need communal policies to combat it. >> i know you're getting a huge reaction. mostly favorable or unfavorable? >> well, i'm getting mostly unfavorable reaction in my emails. but it's clear from other metrics that people are reading the column. i think a lot of them are agreeing with it on your own website, awe you ran a poll. and if i read it correctly, two-thirds of your respondents are in agreement with what i wrote. >> 10,000 people responded on my website yesterday or the day before, and two-thirds agreed with your sentiment. that's true. michael hiltzik, thank you for your willingness to get up early and talk about this. i appreciate it. >> happy to be here. >> let's see what you're saying
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via my own facebook, youtube, twitter,ettal. not popular, but they are been doubly victimized. lack of critical thinking skills and disinformation. look, i get his argument at the end, when i raised the helmet. the motorcycle helmet. that is an instance of, yeah, don't tread on me. individual liberty. i'm going to make this decision on my own behalf. and what michael hiltzik is saying is about those who have a platform and have used the platform to advocate against vaccines generally. now, they've gone beyond the motorcycle scenario. and they're having an impact on themselves but on everybody else as well. i want to remind you go to the website, i've got an equally provocative question today, will biden bounce back? will biden bounce back? make sure you're voting on that. results ahead. up ahead, with schools
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continuing to zigzag between hybrid and remote because of covid, one lifelong democrat ultimately put her kids in charter school. i'll ask her why she feels her party is making her feel politically homeless. and, come on, you knew i was going to talk about this, can 2024 be a rematch of trump v. clinton new york post calls it a horror meeting. and then "wall street journal" pin opinion. i will a ask one of the authors how come?? the living room slash yoyoga shanti slash regional office slash... and this is the basement slash panic room. maybe what your family needs is a vacation home slash vacation home. find yours on the vrbo app.
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we have breaking news. a tsunami advisory has just been issued for the u.s. pacific coast in the wake of a volcano eruption in the island nation of tonga. of the national weather service warning residents of pacific northwest move off the beach and harbors and marinas in the areas. the agency also warning that strong currents and larger waves are possible along the coastal areas. the first wave may not be the largest. estimated arrival for the first wave started at 8:35 a.m. pacific time in long beach, washington. those on the coastal areas should stay out of the water and away from the shore. cnn will continue to update as the situation progresses. question now, are democrats' covid policies endangering their core base? a recent piece in the atlantic caught my eye titled "why i soured on the democrats covid school policy set me adrift from my try."
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in it, writer angie schmidt describes herself as a loyal right wing democrat and disenhanded. she joins me now, author of the book right of way. angie, you're not a trumper now adrift, what changed? >> last year, my son was enrolled in kindergarten at the cleveland public schools. while all of the neighborhood catholic schools went back to school in the fall as recommended by the american academy of the pediatrics. at the time, cmfv and some of the other districts decided to go remote. i stuck with the school district for a while. but it ended up being a full year before they allowed the children to return. it wasn't until march, march 2021. and then they didn't -- they didn't even return full time at
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that point. they only offered him two days a week. >> you wrote this line, you said the left-leaning red rourkal response to the pandemic seems out of line with stated democratic values. how? >> right. it was a disappointing to me to see how long concern there was for the welfare of the children in cleveland, quite frankly. you know, there was a full year where no kids saw a teacher at all. that included kids with disabilities. they were forced to do things like occupational therapy over zoom. meanwhile, as i mentioned the private schools continued without major incident the whole time. and all of the suburban districts in that area as well at least returns three months sooner. >> this is not just a cleveland story, right? the stats you cite in your piece are pretty stunning and sad. 30% of those kids who were out of school are now in a home where there's no internet access. but speak to the broader issues. if you see them, for the
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country. >> right. i mean, we saw this same kind of response in a lot of blue -- largely blue states and cities. san francisco did the same thing. even little blue outposts like ann arbor. i know parents that were really upset. summerville, massachusetts, was another one that went for broke on school closures. the sad thing there was a lot of data the whole time that shows that schools were relatively safe. safer than the broader community. and they had high costs, high social costs for kids and it was ignored by the party -- a lot of the people who call themselves part of the party that claim to believe in science. >> so you're adrift from the democratic party. but not quite a republican. where do you fall these days? >> no, i don't like republicans either at all. so, i'm really hoping that the democrats will kind of come back to reality a little bit on this issue. i think a lot of people have really dug in their heels.
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and they've gotten really kind of overexcited about fighting with the other side. and we've lost track of certain things that are important, including the interest of children. i'd like to see the interest of children, especially low-income children prioritized once again by the party. and i think we lost sight of that a little bit. >> i mean, one party seems who apt to shut down, supported by unions. we just saw what transpired in chicago. and the other seems to want to open with a laissez-faire policy and we act as if the pandemic never even exist? >> right. i know, there was such an opportunity for one party to come through and sort of occupy the rational middle ground and expand on what the data was telling us. instead, it seems like democrats were more eager to oppose whatever trump said. and i think that people kind of got caught in the middle and there was huge repercussions for
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public education and low-income kids across the country. >> yeah. well, i agree with you. angry schmidt, thanks for being here. your son who is in school. appreciate your time. >> thank you. >> checking in with your facebook comments from the world of twitter. what do we have? it's more important for children to be alive and healthy than it is for them to attend school in person. why can't people see this? >> laurie, i don't think it's necessarily one or the other. you've heard me say before, i delivered a commentary here on it last week. i think we've sacrificed the interests of children to benefits of interests perceived of adults. and i also believe it's not just their physical well-being, but it's their emotionalal and mental well-being as well. it's going to take a long time to unravel the impact of a son like hers for a full year not have exposure to children his own age. i want to remind you, answer the
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survey question go to the website right now -- will biden jojoe biden biden bo back? still to come, former president donald trump holding another rally, even though he hasn't announced 2024. and any next guest announcing hillary clinton, is he seeking to be provocative or is this for real? douglas shone is next. better skin from your body wash? try olay body wash with skincare super ingredient collagen! olay body wash hydrates
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with joe biden down in the polls and this vp not doing any better in 2024 might the democrats turn to hillary clinton? that is the provocative thesis of my next guest. democratic consultant douglas sc schoen. he and andrew stein have a piece titled hillary clinton's 2024 election comeback. it got big traction. the hill said she may be the democrats' best hope. and hillary's best option, and "washington post" called this a horror movie in the makes. "newsweek" saying don't count on it. former president trump continues to be a juggernaut thwarting others from entering the race.
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tonight, trump holding a rally in arizona. he will be 78 on election day 2024. bernie sanders, 83, president biden, 81 about to turn 82. hillary clinton, by comparison, a youthful 77. and though political playbook was dismissive about signs of thesis, reports bill and hillary clinton says the former first couple sees an opportunity to insert themselves back into public live. douglas schoen joins me now, he's the co-author of a brand-new book called "america: night or die, how to save our democracy." doug, what did you want to come from "the wall street journal" piece? and did it work? >> well, i think i accomplished my goal of making it clear, the democratic party is sinking, michael, given the approach joe biden and kamala harris are taking. and i think my answer to your
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poll question is, no, i don't see them being salvageable, given they're taking the same path they have, rather than what secretary clinton and bill clinton have proposed which is repositioning back to the center. getting back to a set of policies that are more both affordable and accessible. for the american people. and to recognize that unless the party changes and embraces people like secretary clinton who is a centrist and president bill clinton who put forward centrist policies with me and my firm in the mid-'90s, the party will be doomed in 2022. and i daresay, michael, 2024 as well. >> to your point, she sat down with willie geist this week. in fact, i'll play a short snippet to that interview because i think it tethers to what you just said. >> i think that it is a time for some, you know, careful thinking
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about what wins elections and not just in deep blue districts, where a democrat and a liberal democrat, or so-called progressive democrat is going to win. >> i like the fact that she's rocking the purple in that interview. you're not in cahoots, right, you haven't spoken to the clintons, she had no idea you were going to write this, and you've written similarly about her in the past. all true? >> all true. and i believe what she is saying now is where the party needs to go and if bill and hillary clinton reinsert themselves as you suggest is possible based on the politico reporting, that's all good. look, you remember, as do i, 1960, richard nixon lost. '62, he lost to pat brown for governor of california. '68, the new nixon came back and was re-elected. he was repositioned.
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and my argument is where the party has no deep bench. the president and vice president are increasingly discredited with the president down at 33% approval in the quinnipiac poll. secretary clinton and bill clinton offer a breath of fresh air, repositioning. and as i say with andrew stein in that piece, a possibility for change that no sorry democrat offers as we sit here today. >> so, you predict there will be some level of re-emergence after the 2024 -- pardon me, after the 2022 midterm election? i found that interesting. in other words, you don't think that she waits to be drafted after you floated this notion. you think she's going to go out and ask for the order? >> i suspect that the party will come to her. if the defeat as is historically large as i anticipate, that the party will come to her and she
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will answer their clarion call. michael, you know and i know where the country is. it's still a center/center-right. the democrats are pursuing instead of policies that inanymoricable, and as your early 84 guest said, republicans are too far to the right, they're still talking stop the steal and they're not talking mainstream issues in the country. if the clintons do that and i they can and will, it will be good for the country, good for the democratic party, good for the political dialogue. >> well, i certainly agree with the fact there's a huge swath of the country just craving leadership in the center. douglas schoen, thank you. very provocative, enjoyed heading it. thanks. checking in on social media from the world of twitter.
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michael don't you think the trump v. clinton line is a subversive republican/trumpian campaigning? come on. in other words, barry, you are thinking that sort of rubbing his hands together at mar-a-lago or in bedminster sits the former president who says, oh, only if. you know, bring her on. he might be thinking that. in fact, i bet he probably is thinking that because he won that race in 2016 but a lot has changed. say something else. i had her recently on my radio program. and we didn't even talk politics. we talked about her hit novel with louise penney. and she revealed to me a side of herself that caused me to say and my audience to say, more of that in the last cycle, she would have won hands down. just saying. still to come, more of your best and worst tweets and facebook comments. and we will give you the final result of the survey question. can't wait to see it. go to and tell
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good friend of mine who pays attention to bedding markets texted me after watching doug and said hillary is a 30 to 1 shot to be the democratic nominee in 2024. i said i would take those odds, 30 to 1, i would lay money on that if i were a betting person, and i'm not. that doesn't sound right. i'm not saying she does it, but sounds like she ought to be 9 to
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1, not 30 to 1, 9 to 1. just saying. time to see how you respond to survey question at will biden bounce back? hit me with it. wow. he will be heartened in wilmington or wherever he is. 71%. look at the votes. 18,000 and change say i guess you were listening to the professor from princeton who said look, it happens. this is where reagan was, this is where clinton was, this is where obama was at each stage of the first term. we shall see. here are some social media reaction to this week's program. what do we have? biden's weak mirrors djokovic's. maybe they should both take a break from the public eye, regroup, reconsider their tactics. what does riley's father think?
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riley's mother, djokovic's problems are just beginning. even if he gets on the court it would be what, monday night with the australian open. what's going to happen when he seeks to come to the united states if he is unvaxxed. that's what i most want to know. what else came in during the course of the program today? everyone should be hoping he bounces back as that is best for the country. by the way, i'm totally in that category. i'm not here dancing on the political grave of joe biden. i want a strong and successful u.s. president. i totally agree, sean nichols. one more if we have time. that was from youtube. that's cool. enough of the circus. we need fresh faces throughout politics if we're going to get this country back on track, says peter. i don't know. it is hard to deny trump, hard to deny clinton if they really want it and pursue it. see you next week.
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happening now in the "newsroom." >> this by far is going to be the biggest issue we encounter in the next 48 hours. ice and a lot of it. >> more than 65 million under winter storm alerts. a storm brings rain, snow, and potential for a crippling ice storm. some neighbors in new jersey told to stay inside and close windows after an 11 alarm fire breaks out at a chemical plant. what we're learning about the blaze. starting today, at home covid tests are now free through