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Hurricane Watch Issued From South Carolina To North Carolina- Virginia Border; CNN Poll Says 69 Percent Of Americans Say The Trump Economy Is Good; Woodward's Publisher Printing One Million Copies Of "Fear"; Ballot Error May Have Cost Georgia Representative His Race. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired September 11, 2018 - 07:30   ET


[07:30:00] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: -- concrete signs of denuclearization.


You know, the president had tremendous leverage with that summit just by agreeing to meet with the North Koreans, which is something they had sought -- lusted for for decades -- and I don't think he took advantage of that -- of the leverage that was accrued to him.

And I think it would sort of continue that if he agrees to have another summit in the absence of any concrete steps on the part of the North Koreans as far as denuclearization.

That's why maybe a new tact here might be -- might be appropriate to sustain the apparent responsible behavior by the North Koreans.

BERMAN: Director, if I can change subjects for a moment, there's a new CNN poll out just over the last 24 hours where people were asked if the author of this op-ed inside "The New York Times" -- this author who claims that he or she is part of a group of people inside the White House essentially protecting the country from the president -- those are the words that this author uses --

In the CNN poll, we asked, "Should the op-ed writer identify themselves?" Some 58 percent of those polled said yes.

Would you count yourself among the 58 percent?

CLAPPER: Well, I think it probably would have had more impact depending on the positioning and stature of whoever wrote this had he or she identified him or herself. But, I wonder whether poll numbers are motivated more by curiosity than a belief in the importance of self-identifying.

BERMAN: Well, do you think the curiosity justifies the release of that identity or do you think there's a legitimate reason to want to know?

CLAPPER: Well, I think there's a mixed bag and I can't gauge -- I can't really assess the poll numbers. But I will say that again, depending on the position and the stature of this person, wherever they are in the administration, it probably would have had more impact had the identity been revealed. And, of course, I think that would be quickly followed by --

BERMAN: Right.

CLAPPER: -- by a resignation.

BERMAN: Or firing.

CLAPPER: Look, 55 percent of the same polled say it's inappropriate for administration officials to work against the president's agenda.

Do you also agree with that?

CLAPPER: I do, but the counter-argument to that, at least in the minds of some, is people feel reassured that there are people in the government that are trying to temper the president's impulsiveness.

BERMAN: Director James Clapper, always a pleasure to speak to you. Thanks so much for your time.

CLAPPER: Thanks, John.


The economy is booming. More blue-collar workers are back on the job. Does President Trump deserve all of the credit? We will hear both sides of that debate.

BERMAN: Also, we're just minutes away from a new advisory from the National Hurricane Center. Hurricane and storm surge watch already up for the Carolinas.

Hurricane Florence is a powerful category storm. It could get even stronger before it makes landfall.

We'll have a live report, next.


[07:36:37] BERMAN: The breaking news, the National Weather Service issuing hurricane and storm surge watches for much of the North and South Carolina coasts. At this moment, Florence is an extremely dangerous category-four storm with winds of 140 miles per hour. It is expected to get stronger before it makes landfall.

More than one million people in the Carolinas and Virginia are under mandatory evacuation orders.

CNN's Kaylee Hartung live in Carolina Beach, North Carolina, which is one of those mandatory evacuation areas. Kaylee, what are you seeing?

KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, John. By 8:00 tomorrow night, authorities want Carolina Beach and the other barrier islands surrounding the city of Wilmington, in particular, to be emptied out. Local officials saying if you stay, it's at your own risk. But as you can imagine, we have talked to folks who say they want to ride out this storm.

And where I'm standing right now, we are elevated on the boardwalk and the sand berms behind me, 12 feet tall. We're talking about life- threatening storm surge expected in this area, 15 to 20 feet. That means where I'm standing would be under water when this storm makes landfall.

And this weather -- this beautiful weather I'm standing in right now is so deceiving when you think about what's to come, especially when you look out on the open water right now. It looks so flat and calm. But I'm told by the National Weather Service -- their local Wilmington office -- that when this storm is at its worst, waves will be crashing 45 feet tall.

Again, it gives you a sense of that storm surge to be expected here.

You mentioned that more than a million people under evacuation orders, like here -- these barrier islands of North Carolina. Six counties in this state being asked to evacuate; eight in South Carolina. That entire coastline as well as those low-lying coastal areas in Virginia.

And guys, this is just the beginning of those orders. We expect to see more of them in the coming days.

CAMEROTA: OK, Kaylee. Thank you very much for keeping an eye on all of this for us. We will check back with you.

Now we need talk about the economy. It is roaring -- four percent growth in this past quarter.

A new CNN poll gives President Trump strong approval ratings on this subject. Sixty-nine percent of Americans describe the economy as good.

President Trump is claiming credit for the surge of new jobs and business activity. Is that accurate?

Let's bring in "Washington Post" opinion columnist and CNN political commentator Catherine Rampell, and former Trump economic adviser and CNN senior economics analyst Stephen Moore.

Great to see both of you.



CAMEROTA: Catherine, growth in the blue-collar sector is at the fastest rate since 1984. A hiring boom has been seen in small towns and rural areas. Three

point three percent growth in mining and construction manufacturing.

All of this on President Trump's watch. Shouldn't he deserve credit?

RAMPELL: Look, the economy has been growing and that's a good thing, but to say that Trump turned around the economy is a little bit like saying Tim Cook turned around Apple.

Trump basically inherited a growing economy, finally recovering from the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, and he has ridden existing trends to new highs.

Basically, if you look at job growth, it's about the same pace it was during Obama's tenure. If you look at unemployment, it's been falling in more or less a straight line for like the last eight years -- it looks like this. Same thing with African-American unemployment.

So these trends basically look pretty much the same. And what's bizarre is that normally I say that presidents get too much credit when the economy is good and too much blame when the economy is bad. But, Trump is getting credit and Obama is getting blamed for what is essentially the same economy.

[07:40:09] CAMEROTA: OK, that's fair.

Let's look at the numbers, OK? So let's look at the raw data here. Steve, I think this will be helpful. This is from the Bureau --


CAMEROTA: -- of Labor Statistics.

So here are the averages from 2013 through 2018 and you can see that they fluctuate. But generally, it was the highest in 2014 and 2015. This is monthly jobs created to 150 on average in 2014.

And now, the average if 207, so it's down from -- a little bit from when President Obama was in office. The average during Obama's years, 215,000. Thus far, the average during Trump, 192,000.

So listen, he's riding President Obama's coattails. That's OK, right? I mean, he's still the president and we still have a good economy. He's riding President Obama's coattails.

Why does he -- why does President Trump feel the need to take complete supreme credit for all of this?

MOORE: Well, Alisyn, it's almost like saying that the Kingston Trio laid the groundwork for the Beatles.

I mean, look, the economy wasn't nearly as strong as Catherine is saying. I mean, if you look at the last --

CAMEROTA: But the job -- you see the job numbers. You can't argue with those. MOORE: No, no, no. Let me -- OK. No, no, no -- look, let's look at the growth rate of the economy, Alisyn. How well the economy was doing in terms of --


MOORE: -- production of goods and services.

So over the entire Obama presidency, the economic growth rate was two percent. That was -- everyone agrees that was the weakest recovery from a recession since the Great Depression. So we'd had nine previous recessions and Obama's recovery was the worst. Every economist agrees on that.

Second of all, in Obama's last year in office Alisyn, the economy grew by 1.6 percent which is a pathetic rate of growth. A lot of economists thought we were headed back to another recession.

RAMPELL: That's not true.

MOORE: So we need to think about this because --

RAMPELL: That's not true.

MOORE: What -- wait a minute, it absolutely is true. A lot of economists thought when the economy was running out of gas.

RAMPELL: Name an economist. Name an economist.

MOORE: And -- no, wait a minute.

And, this is really the most important point. It was Catherine's newspaper who editorialized two weeks before the election that if Barack Obama was elected he would crash the economy. He hasn't crashed the economy.

According to the latest number, you mentioned four percent growth which was a great number we had in the second quarter. The latest forecast for the third quarter -- Alisyn, you ready for this -- 4.5 percent. The economy is picking up big-time.


MOORE: Finally, on wages, because the thing that -- the thing that Trump --

RAMPELL: No. That is -- none of this is correct. None of this is correct.

MOORE: Hold on.

CAMEROTA: OK, but -- hold on. Let Catherine respond to that.


CAMEROTA: Hold on. Let her respond to your first two points. Go ahead.

MOORE: Yes, OK, sure -- go.

RAMPELL: OK. So first of all, we had one quarter of four percent growth. We had four quarters above four percent growth under Obama. One quarter does --

MOORE: That was in eight years.

RAMPELL: One quarter does not make a trend. You call yourself an economist.

MOORE: Yes, but the -- Catherine --

RAMPELL: You know that.

Second of all --

CAMEROTA: Hold on.

MOORE: Catherine, that's --

CAMEROTA: Hold on.

RAMPELL: Second of all -- second of all --


RAMPELL: Second of all, please let --

CAMEROTA: She's responding to your point so hold on.

RAMPELL: Please --


RAMPELL: Please let me continue.

Second of all --


RAMPELL: Look, every independent credible outside forecaster from the Congressional Budget Office to the IMF, to the Federal Reserve, to the Penn Wharton Budget Model -- all of them forecast that we will get a temporary sugar high -- a temporary fiscal stimulus resulting from the tax cuts and the spending increase this year, adding about $2 trillion to the debt during one of the longest expansions on record, by the way.

A temporary stimulus this year and possibly next year. And then, we will revert to our longer-term trend of like 1.8 percent depending on who you ask.

CAMEROTA: OK. You -- but, you know --

RAMPELL: So this is a temporary effect.

CAMEROTA: OK, but look, I think that we all agree that at the moment the economy is doing well.

Steve, I want to ask you though about what Catherine's talking about in terms of the price that we may be paying because here are the numbers on the deficit, OK. And so there's no --


CAMEROTA: -- free lunch, right?

So here we go. Eight hundred and ninety-five billion for the first 11 months of fiscal year -- of this fiscal year, 2018. It's $222 billion more than the shortfall recorded just last year.

So, Steve, you're cool with racking up big deficits now?

MOORE: I always believed -- and I think Donald Trump believes this, too -- that the single-most important thing for Donald Trump to do when he is president is get the economy moving again and get people back into jobs and higher-paying jobs.

I mean, every poll that was taken for the last six years shows that -- shows that what people were concerned about was jobs and the economy. That's when 100 --

CAMEROTA: Understood, but so as the deficit goes up that's just the price of business.

MOORE: Yes -- no -- so let me say this.

So the point is that every time you get one percentage point increase in growth -- and by the way, our growth rate has gone from 1.6 to four percent so that's a gigantic jump in growth.

RAMPELL: For one quarter. For one quarter.

MOORE: Every -- hang on -- look.

But, Catherine, the latest forecast for the third quarter we're up two-thirds --

RAMPELL: Not the forecast I'm seeing.

MOORE: -- is 4.5 percent. So economists --


[07:45:00] CAMEROTA: So Steve, what's your source? What's your source?

MOORE: So the point is --

CAMEROTA: Hold on, Steve. What's your source for that one?

MOORE: -- when the economy --


MOORE: When the economy --

CAMEROTA: What's your source?

MOORE: -- grows and you get more people --


MOORE: -- working and you get more businesses, and you get more profits, guess what? You get more tax revenue. So --

CAMEROTA: Got it, and you get more optimism. I get that part.

MOORE: -- over the next --

RAMPELL: Yes, yes.

CAMEROTA: But what's your source? I'm just curious, Steve?


MOORE: -- putting people back to work.

CAMEROTA: Hey, Steve, I get you. What's your source for the 4.5 since Catherine doesn't know that one?

MOORE: The Atlanta Federal Reserve -- the Atlanta Reserve --

RAMPELL: Yes, they --



RAMPELL: If you look at their forecast the last few quarters they've always revised them downward and you always cite this when I'm on with you.

MOORE: We're well over four percent.





CAMEROTA: Guys, we have to leave it there.

MOORE: Alisyn, I mean --

CAMEROTA: Guys, I'm sorry. We have to leave it there. You both made your points and you always bring a very spirited debate to NEW DAY.

Thank you very much for --

MOORE: Thanks, Alisyn. Have a great day.

RAMPELL: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: -- your perspective. Catherine, Steve, thank you -- John.

BERMAN: All right.

"Fear" is here and I'm not talking about the three of you in that discussion. I'm talking about the Bob Woodward book on the Trump administration.

It's in the stores as of now but it's already hit major milestones. We're talking about the big numbers for the book, next.


BERMAN: It's time for "CNN Money Now."

Bob Woodward's new book "Fear" hit the store shelves today. Already, it's one of the biggest publishing success stories of the year, reaching extraordinary milestones.

CNN senior media correspondent and host of "RELIABLE SOURCES" Brian Stelter here with that -- Brian.


[07:50:00] Yes, it's finally out -- it's finally out as of this morning. What is interesting given the week of attention, the week of press, the sustained energy around this book is that the publisher, Simon & Schuster, had to keep going back to the printing press to print more copies to keep up with demand.

Now, you might partly credit President Trump for that given all his tweets, all his outrage. You might also credit Bob Woodward with a really savvy release strategy.

But no matter what it was, this book has now already printed a million copies. Already a million copies of this book out there as of today. That is an astonishing number in the publishing world. Every author dreams of a number like that.

The only Trump-related book this year to do as well, Michael Wolff's "Fire and Fury." So really, Woodward is almost in a league of his own here.

BERMAN: One question that just occurred to me out of the blue -- I don't know where it came from, Brian -- is who is making this money here? Who benefits?

STELTER: Well, Woodward benefits a lot -- his contract, of course. But you know who else benefits, the CBS Corporation. We've talked a

lot about CBS in the past week -- Les Moonves leaving CBS. But the company's actually having kind of a good week because Simon & Schuster, the publisher of "Fear," is owned by CBS and this book is a breakout hit already.

BERMAN: Brian Stelter, thanks very much.

STELTER: Thanks.


There are new questions about voting in Georgia. The outcome of a primary election may actually be wrong, OK?

So what happened here? We dig deeper next.


[07:55:30] CAMEROTA: Georgia's voting system is under fire. The state is being sued by voting rights activists who claim the system is vulnerable to an attack and hacking, and there is evidence that an election outcome may actually be wrong.

CNN's Drew Griffin has the story.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On May 22nd, the only two people running for state representative district 28 in northeast Georgia squared off in a tight Republican primary that would decide who would hold the office.

State Rep. Dan Gasaway lost in a squeaker.

STATE REP. DAN GASAWAY (R-GA), LOST IN PRIMARY: At the end of the day, I lost by 67 votes.

GRIFFIN: Remember that number, 67 votes.

Gasaway congratulated his opponent and thought it was all over until the next day when his wife came home from her teaching job.

GASAWAY: And said Dan, my colleague came in and said she'd gone to vote for you last night and your name was not on her ballot, and she's in my district.

GRIFFIN: His name wasn't on her ballot? How could his supporters vote for him if they couldn't even find him on the ballot?

It turns out it wasn't just one voter. Gasaway broke out maps, overlapped voting rolls, and found for each one of these dots voters were assigned to the wrong district.

GRIFFIN (on camera): Let's get real specific. Your district is district 28 -- GASAWAY: That's correct.

GRIFFIN: -- and these people were voting for district 10.

GASAWAY: Ten, that's right.

Well, I realized then we had a serious problem. I don't know how it happens, but it did.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): How many votes were affected? It's now up to 70, more than the number Gasaway lost by, meaning the wrong person may have won the election.

He is suing.

GRIFFIN (on camera): This election shouldn't really stand.


GRIFFIN (voice-over): The County sent out a news release conceding that errors were made and "We owe the voters of Habersham County the assurance that their right to vote is not being compromised."

The Secretary of State's office, which initially certified the election, has now opened an investigation.

Habersham County has called for a new election. It's up to a judge to decide.

Jake Evans is Gasaway's attorney.

GRIFFIN (on camera): The Secretary of State's office runs the elections in this state. I would think the Secretary of State's office and perhaps the Secretary of State would be just jumping at the bit trying to rectify the situation. You've got an election that was wrong.

JAKE EVANS, ATTORNEY FOR DAN GASAWAY: You know, that's a valid question. I wish I knew the answer to that question. I would direct that to the attorney general's office or the Secretary of State's office.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): The top election official in Georgia is Secretary of State Brian Kemp. He is running for governor and his office is distancing itself from the mess in Habersham County.

"Properly districting voters is a county responsibility," Kemp's office told us, reiterating Kemp's claim that Georgia's election systems remain secure.

But the botched Georgia primary is just one in a series of problems challenging voter confidence in the state.

Last month, CNN reported a massive security breach that exposed the records of millions of Georgia voters for more than six months. A lawsuit is challenging the potential security of Georgia's all- electronic voting system. That same lawsuit details case after case of voters allegedly assigned to the wrong precincts.

Gasaway says he's found 1,200 voters who were assigned to the wrong voting districts.

GASAWAY: Through this, I've learned that there are some serious problems that need to be fixed.

GRIFFIN: For now, Gasaway just wants a new election. A fair one this time.

GRIFFIN (on camera): There is no Democrat in this race. It was just two Republicans who ran in this botched primary for that seat.

If a judge decides that there should be a new election, the rematch of those two Republicans could take place in the general election this November. That ruling could come any day now.

Drew Griffin, CNN, Atlanta.


BERMAN: All right, our thanks to Drew for that.

The National Hurricane Center just updated its forecast for Hurricane Florence. Breaking news starts now.


JUSTIN KIBBEY, PILOT, NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION (NOAA): Florence is getting stronger and stronger by the minute and it's really turning into a beast of a storm.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have already ordered mandatory evacuation of all people in all evacuation zones.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm a little nervous. I hope that the water doesn't come up on the second floor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because if you are not taking this storm seriously, you are making a mistake.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president is in panic mode. He's far too worried about a book.

SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: A number of people have come out and said that Woodward never even reached out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They can't figure out if they're denouncing leaks or lies.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Trump is publicly blasting a lot of the quotes as fiction and fake news.

BOB WOODWARD, AUTHOR, "FEAR: TRUMP IN THE WHITE HOUSE": We better wake up. This is not partisan.