Tamara Keith and Amy Walter on Buttigieg’s surge, Democratic wins in the South


And that brings us to Politics Monday. I’m here with our Politics Monday team. That is Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report
and host of public radio’s “Politics With Amy Walter,” and Tamara Keith from NPR. She co-hosts the “NPR Politics Podcast.” And welcome to you both. We have some new poll numbers. Shall we dig in? TAMARA KEITH, National Public Radio: Indeed. AMY WALTER, The Cook Political Report: Let’s. AMNA NAWAZ: Let’s go to Iowa first. Take a look at some of these numbers. This is from a new poll in Iowa for CNN and
The Des Moines Register. Look who’s at the top of this poll right now. Pete Buttigieg leads with 25 percent of support
in the state. After him there, you see Senators Warren,
former Vice President Biden and Senator Sanders. And then you have got the rest of the field,
or that’s basically everyone else, polling below 10 percent. That is in Iowa. Amy, start us off here. AMY WALTER: What is happening? Right. AMNA NAWAZ: What is happening here? How — that’s a 16-point surge, we should
mention, for Buttigieg. AMY WALTER: No, it’s pretty remarkable that,
of all the candidates, this is the one candidate who has gone literally from zero to the lead. Back in March, I think he was polling somewhere
around 1 percent or 2 percent. But what’s remarkable about Iowa right now,
we have had four polls since March from The Des Moines Register, which is the gold standard
of polling in the state. And while it’s very volatile, right, we have
had three different leads in these polls, so four polls, three different leaders, they
have been the same four people. It’s been of the pool of four people. We have a huge field, but the same four people
are mentioned as either one, two, three, or four since March. And so what we’re seeing is, yes, there is
some volatility here, but it’s not, at this point, opening a lane for somebody who is
not in those top four. AMNA NAWAZ: Tam, what do you see when you
look at these numbers? One of these things for the voters is like,
do they want someone who reflects back to them their values? Do they want someone who will beat Donald
Trump? What does this say to you right now? TAMARA KEITH: I think part of what this says
is that Pete Buttigieg has a pretty strong ground game in Iowa. And this is a unique state. It has a caucus system. He raised a lot of money earlier this year,
and he spent it. He’s investing putting staff on the ground
in Iowa. He just did a bus tour through the state. All of those things, like, being someone who
is the mayor of a small city and having time to meet a bunch of voters, that can actually
matter in a state like Iowa and can be reflected in this poll. AMY WALTER: And it certainly helped Elizabeth
Warren over the course of the summer, when people said, well, why is she now moving ahead,
as she was in a June-September poll? TAMARA KEITH: Yes. AMY WALTER: I can’t remember which one, but
it was that she had been building this ground game here. One thing to talk about too is the fact, like,
why are we spending so much time on Iowa? It has… (CROSSTALK) AMY WALTER: It has 45 delegates. California has over 490 delegates. But we know that really for the last 40 years,
with an asterisk on 1992 — and I’m not getting in the details. We don’t have enough time. (LAUGHTER) AMY WALTER: But the Democratic nominee for
president has won Iowa, New Hampshire, or both. So, those two states, again, for the last
40 years, have told us who the nominee will be, which is why Iowa, one or the other, right,
is so important. And it also sets the narrative. And it sets the media expectations really
for a good — obviously, for the next week, before we get to New Hampshire, but it really
does winnow the field pretty quickly. TAMARA KEITH: And Iowa, though, is not perfectly
reflective of the Democratic Party or America as a whole. AMY WALTER: It is not. TAMARA KEITH: This is the criticism. (CROSSTALK) TAMARA KEITH: Iowa and New Hampshire are super
white. AMY WALTER: Yes. TAMARA KEITH: And it just is what it is. They’re also highly educated. And there are — there are a lot of demographics
that make Iowa and New Hampshire not your standard reflection of the — of the broader
Democratic Party, which is where you get to South Carolina, where we also have a new poll,
and where Pete Buttigieg is in fourth place, but, like, barely registering. AMNA NAWAZ: Let’s see if we can put that up,
so you can talk to these numbers while people look at them at home too. This is the latest South Carolina poll from
Quinnipiac out today. A very different picture here, right? TAMARA KEITH: Well, and Pete Buttigieg knows
that he’s had trouble with African American voters. He’s been working on it pretty much most of
his campaign, at least since the summer. But it continues to be a challenge. And you see that in polling in South Carolina. It’s also not clear how he’s doing in Nevada,
which is the state that comes after that. And then it’s Super Tuesday, which is a whole
bunch of states, including California. AMNA NAWAZ: And you have mentioned to our
producer earlier, Buttigieg now being on top in some ways in Iowa, does that make him more
of a target for his fellow candidates? AMY WALTER: Right. So, look — so here’s what we have seen. In December and through March, it was Biden
who was on top in Iowa. Scrutiny gets onto Biden. Then it moves over to Warren. She’s leading. Scrutiny on Warren and her Medicare for all
plan. She starts to dip a little bit. And now we see Buttigieg on top. And you will remember we have a debate on
Wednesday. And I’m sure his friends and colleagues on
the stage with him will have a couple questions for him to answer. AMNA NAWAZ: That is a prediction from Amy
Walter, who hates to make predictions. AMY WALTER: Yes. AMNA NAWAZ: But you do bring me to Elizabeth
Warren. And I want to ask you about sort of an evolution
her Medicare for all plan. This has been sort of the defining issue for
her candidacy. And she seemed to, I don’t want to say evolve. It’s shifted a little bit now. She’s rolled out sort of a timeline for how
she plans to get there. AMY WALTER: Yes. AMNA NAWAZ: What do you make of that? AMY WALTER: It’s that whole trying to have
cake and eating it too or whatever the phrase — however the phrase goes, which is, she’s
been getting a tremendous amount of criticism, even from Democrats, for a plan that would
kick people off of their private insurance and institute a Medicare for all or basically
a single-payer system. What she has offered is to say, well, OK,
for the first two years, I will be able to push through a public option, which is, people
can stay on their private insurance or they can buy into a Medicare system, similar to
what Pete Buttigieg and Joe Biden are talking about, many other Democrats are talking about But then, by year three and four, all those
people who’ve gotten in the public option are going to say, this is so great, I’m saving
so much money, the health care system has been so incredibly altered in the years since
it’s been implemented, that we’re going to do then Medicare for all. TAMARA KEITH: But let me just say that I have
covered presidents. And their third years and fourth years tend
not to be when they pass most of their most meaningful legislation. AMY WALTER: Right. TAMARA KEITH: And that’s why candidates always
talk about, on day one, or the first 100 days. AMY WALTER: Day one. TAMARA KEITH: There’s a reason for that. Midterms happen. Things come screeching to a halt. AMNA NAWAZ: Does this open her up to criticism
that she’s changing her tune, that she’s lining up more with moderate candidates? TAMARA KEITH: It has opened her up to criticism,
remarkably, both from the Bernie Sanders side of the world and the Pete Buttigieg side of
the world. She’s getting it from all angles, in part
because she decided to go out there and say that she had a plan and put it in writing. AMNA NAWAZ: Right. Tam, I’m going to give you the last word on
something else here. I want to make sure we get your take, because
the last time we were sitting here, I was asking you about these three key Southern
states in which President Trump campaigned very heavily for the gubernatorial candidates
there, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Kentucky. Those are the margins by which President Trump
won election back in 2016 in each of those states. You said watching those races would paint
a picture, or at least give us an indication of what’s ahead. What do we now know? TAMARA KEITH: Well, I will just say that President
Trump at a rally said, you have got to give me a big win, please, and said that the eyes
of history would be watching, that people should send a message to Washington and the
Democrats in Washington. Well, guess what happens? Two out of three of those ended up going to
the Democrat. Now, he will say that the Republican in Kentucky,
good guy, he says, but deeply unpopular. And he will say, well, John Bel Edwards, it
was close, and it was super close. But the reality is that the president couldn’t
get them over the finish line. He went and did a bunch of rallies, put a
lot of personal capital — political capital out there to say, like, I’m the president,
I can drag them over the finish line. And he didn’t do it. AMNA NAWAZ: Amy, a few seconds left. Want to weigh in on this? Sorry. AMY WALTER: A few seconds. Yes. If I am a Democrat in the more moderate side
of the equation, I looked at those and said, what those two Democrats did, the ones who
won, they ran as a centrist. They ran on building on the Affordable Care
Act, not on Medicare for all. The Medicaid expansion is very popular in
those states, i.e., Democrats, stay toward the Affordable Care Act and building on that,
not moving too far to the left on health care. AMNA NAWAZ: That is what worked for them there. AMY WALTER: Yes. AMNA NAWAZ: Amy Walter and Tamara Keith, always
good to see you guys. TAMARA KEITH: Thank you. AMY WALTER: Thank you.

Tamara Keith and Amy Walter on public impeachment hearings, Bloomberg’s possible 2020 bet


JUDY WOODRUFF: To set the stage for this first
week of public impeachment hearings and talk about the 2020 presidential race, I’m here
with Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report. She’s also the host of public radio’s “Politics
With Amy Walter.” And Tamara Keith of NPR, she also co-hosts
the “NPR Politics Podcast.” And before I turn to both of you — and welcome,
by the way, Politics Monday — a little bit of late-breaking news. And we were just talking about it with Yamiche
and Lisa. And that is the inquiry — or the filing by
the acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, who was wanting to join the lawsuit
by former White House special — National Security Adviser John Bolton, his deputy,
Charles Kupperman, who were questioning their being subpoenaed to appear before Congress. He’s now withdrawn that filing. So we can set that aside for the moment. But the drama continues in so many other pieces,
as both of you know. And, Amy, these hearings, public hearings,
starting in two days, how is this going to be different from hearings behind closed doors? (CROSSTALK) AMY WALTER, The Cook Political Report: Right,
other than the fact it’s out in public. JUDY WOODRUFF: On cameras. AMY WALTER: Right. Well, the theory row is that this could maybe
change people’s opinions about impeachment, which I’m very doubtful that is going to happen. If you go back and you look at what the public
hearings did during the Nixon impeachment era, they did move public opinion pretty steadily. When the summer of 1973 started and the impeachment
hearings were public, they were watched by almost everybody; 70 percent of Americans
said they watched those hearings live at some point. And the president, Nixon, his approval ratings
dropped significantly over that summer, dropped about 13 points. And interest and support for more investigation
into Watergate rose. Let’s fast-forward to now. People are much more polarized and partisan
even than they were back in the 1970s. People are getting their information from
so many different sources. There is not just four television stations. Obviously, people are going to go to the news
sources or the Internet or social media that appeals to them. And so I think what we’re going to see is
one hearing and a lot of different interpretations of that hearing by a lot of different sources. And we’re going to see them, I think, Americans,
still pretty well-settled into how they feel about this. The one group that I’m watching for are those
independent voters, who probably haven’t been paying that much attention as partisans have
to this process. Maybe they get moved a little bit. Right now, they are a little less supportive
of impeachment than supportive of it. Maybe this pushes that, but it’s going to
be very hard to do that. JUDY WOODRUFF: But, Tam, we may see witnesses
called by the Republicans. We’re waiting to see how that plays out, right? TAMARA KEITH, National Public Radio: We are
waiting to see how that plays out. They have put in a long wish list. And the best way to describe it is a wish
list that they have sent to the Democrats on the Intelligence Committee. The chairman, Adam Schiff, is the one who
gets to decide ultimately. He has the ultimate power to decide who gets
called. Now, this list the Republicans sent over includes
names like Hunter Biden and the anonymous whistle-blower, who they would like to have
publicly testify. Schiff has already made it clear that he has
no interest in either of those potential witnesses. But there are some other names on that list,
like Ambassador Volker, or Tim Morrison, who is a National Security Council aide — or
was. And both of them are people who have provided
closed-door depositions. In those depositions, there were some items
that Republicans took some solace in. Morrison, for instance, said that, although
he was concerned about the president’s call with Zelensky, he didn’t think that a law
had been broken. His concerns were more about U.S. and Ukrainian
relations and other things like that. So — but, in their testimony, if you read
it, there are also a lot of things that are damaging to the president and that further
corroborate this narrative that Democrats have built up around the call, that Democrats
have been able to sort of corroborate around the call. And so it seems possible, at least, that Democrats
would be willing to hear from those witnesses, because they are not slam-dunk great witnesses
for the president. JUDY WOODRUFF: That’s right. And you mentioned Hunter Biden and Joe Biden. We are going to talk about 2020 very quickly,
Amy, but is Joe Biden in the clear here? I mean, we don’t… (CROSSTALK) AMY WALTER: Well, certainly, Republicans do
not want to let him go in the clear. And they want to still make that case in the
House, which, as Tam pointed out, is not likely to happen. Where it could be an issue is, if impeachment
passes, it goes to the Senate, and it’s Republicans in charge in the Senate side, of course, and
they can call witnesses there during the trial. JUDY WOODRUFF: Right. TAMARA KEITH: And one other thing. In the sort of cross-examination and the questioning
that Republicans will do of these witnesses in this public hearing, in the private depositions,
they were asking about Hunter and Joe Biden. So you can expect them to do that in public
as well. JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, for whatever reasons,
a man named Mike Bloomberg has decided, maybe Joe Biden’s chances don’t look as good as
he thought a few months ago. He is now seriously exploring getting in. Amy, quickly to you first. Is this going to change the race, if he gets
in? AMY WALTER: If he gets in, maybe, but on the
margins. Look, there has been conventional wisdom among
— especially among Democrats inside the Beltway, elites and establishment that Joe Biden cannot
win the nomination and Elizabeth cannot win the race against Donald Trump. And so what is happening today is, this establishment,
elite group of people saying we have got to find a way to ensure that, if it is not Joe
Biden, if he collapses, because there is this assumption amongst this group that he is going
to collapse, that somebody has to be there as sort of the moderate standard-bearer. Elizabeth Warren’s positions, especially on
things like Medicare for all, are way too far to the left for the swing state voters. But is Michael Bloomberg the answer that people
are looking for? If you are Amy Klobuchar or Pete Buttigieg
or any of those other candidates in that lane… JUDY WOODRUFF: The other — in the moderate
lane. AMY WALTER: … you’re raising your hand and
saying, you know what, I think I can pick up that slack if Joe Biden is not around. JUDY WOODRUFF: And, meanwhile, Biden, of course,
is saying, I’m not week. Hey, I am go to win this thing. AMY WALTER: Right. TAMARA KEITH: Right. And he is still running for president. And — though it’s interesting, one of my
colleagues, Scott Detrow, spoke with of Biden’s allies, who said, well, you know, if Biden
isn’t in the race, then Michael Bloomberg would be a great option, which was slightly
off-message. (LAUGHTER) AMY WALTER: More than slightly. JUDY WOODRUFF: Slightly off-message. So, very quickly to Amy Klobuchar, who said,
we noticed yesterday, in an interview — she was asked about Pete Buttigieg, who has done
very well in the polls, with money. And she said, if the women on the stage: “My
fellow women senators, Harris, Warren and myself, do I think we would be standing on
that stage if we had the experience that he had? No, I don’t. Maybe we’re held to a different standard.” Are they? AMY WALTER: For sure, women are held to a
different standard. At the same time, I think it also shows the
degree to which Iowa has become the most important state, overwhelmingly so. If Pete Buttigieg gets a foothold by doing
really well in Iowa it puts Amy Klobuchar, Kamala Harris, those others out of the mix. JUDY WOODRUFF: Double standard? TAMARA KEITH: Certainly, she is stating a
fact of American politics. Women in politics tend not even to run for
higher office or to run for the Senate, until they are much older, because this has been
the standard. There is like a desire to have a great amount
of experience for female candidates. JUDY WOODRUFF: Speaking of these women, we
are going to see them and the guys on stage a week from this Wednesday. AMY WALTER: That’s right. TAMARA KEITH: Right. JUDY WOODRUFF: Tamara Keith, Amy Walter, thank
you both. AMY WALTER: You’re welcome. TAMARA KEITH: You’re welcome. JUDY WOODRUFF: And we want you to please join
us, in the meantime, for special live coverage of the first public impeachment hearings. We start on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. Eastern time. And be sure to sign up for our newsletter,
which is dedicated to the topic. You can find the link to subscribe at PBS.org/NewsHour/Politics.