Washington Week full episode, October 28, 2022
10/28/2022 | 26m 46s | Video has closed captioning.
Washington Week full episode, October 28, 2022
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10/28/2022 | 26m 46s | Video has closed captioning.
Washington Week full episode, October 28, 2022
Problems Playing Video? | Closed Captioning
YAMICHE ALCINDOR: A dangerous assault and new political concerns.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The suspect pulled the hammer away from Mr. Pelosi and violently assaulted him with it.
YAMICHE ALCINDOR: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's husband is violently attacked by a man who broke into her home looking for her.
Plus -- JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: They're determined to cut social security and Medicare and they're willing to take down the economy over it.
YAMICHE ALCINDOR: And with just days to go before Election Day, Democrats begin warning that a GOP-controlled Congress could bring economic instability.
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): Just more lies from the Democrats.
What the Democrats want to do here is avoid talking about the inflation.
YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Meanwhile, Republicans leaning to fears of a recession and hope inflation concerns deliver red wave, next.
Good evening and welcome to Washington Week.
We begin with disturbing news.
This morning, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's husband, Paul Pelosi, was hospitalized after a man broke into their San Francisco home around 2:00 A.M. and violently attacked him with a hammer.
The alleged intruder identified as David DePape shouted a Paul Pelosi, quote, where is Nancy.
He is expected to be charged with attempted homicide.
This incident comes as Election Day is just 11 days away.
Joining me now to discuss this and more, Zolan Kanno-Youngs, White House Correspondent for The New York Times, Scott MacFarlane, Congressional Correspondent for CBS News, and Ashley Parker, Senior National Political Correspondent for The Washington Post.
Thank you all for being here.
Scott, I'm going to start with you.
We've learned some new details, especially that Paul Pelosi called 911 himself.
What's the latest of what we're hearing about this and the possible motives here?
SCOTT MACFARLANE, Congressional Correspondent, CBS News: Let's be clear.
This is a grotesque set of allegations that this 42-year-old accused of this attack not only broke into the Pelosi home and used a hammer to break into the house and to hit the skull of the 82-year-old husband of the House speaker, also and injuring Mr. Pelois's arm and his right hand.
Surgery was successful.
The skull fractures have been acted upon and they're expecting a full recovery at the medical center, at the San Francisco General Hospital.
It's a grotesque set of accusations but something else jump out at me as grotesque, the parallels, the symmetry to what we saw 21 months ago.
In this case, the investigators familiar with the case say that this accused assailant was saying, where's Nancy, where' Nancy, intended to tie up her husband on January 6th.
Any number of those rioters were chanting, where is Nancy, Nancy, we're coming to get you, bringing makeshift weapons, including at least one hammer on January 6th.
And it just raises the question, is this a snapshot of where we are in America in 2022?
Is that where politics are?
And this is both shocking but not surprising at all.
YAMICHE ALCINDOR: It's a credible question, is this where we are?
And I want to also point out that the threats against lawmakers have been rising in recent years.
Just today, a man named Joshua Hall who threatened to kill Representative Eric Swalwell, he pleaded guilty to those charges.
And then you have reporting that the Capitol police has now begun a review of security of lawmakers.
I wonder when you are thinking about all of this, what is the impact of this attack possibly on the future of the security of lawmakers and what are you hearing about Capitol Hill police trying to keep people safe?
SCOTT MACFARLANE: Let me give you one number to start with.
10,000 threat investigations in one year for U.S. Capitol police, and that's an increase from a few years ago.
That is a dramatic increase from a few years ago.
In the near term, Capitol Police are likely to expand the protection of the dignitaries, the people in leadership, those who have very significant threats against them.
The January 6th Committee members have had extra security and they expand that to spouses and family in the wake of this attack against Mr. Pelosi.
But there's a broader question.
There is a finite number of officers.
There's a finite number of resources.
They've got about 2,000 employees.
They have about a half a billion dollar a year budget.
But members of Congress live everywhere.
They're not just at the Capitol.
There's only so much space and bandwidth they can cover.
YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Yes.
And, Zolan, we are hearing from President Biden.
He's saying enough is enough, calling this despicable.
We're also hearing and learning that David DePape, this man, that he espoused all sorts of conspiracy theories about had COVID-19, about the 2020 election.
I wonder what your sources are telling you, especially national security sources, about how all this comes together and the ongoing threats of 2022.
And I know you have got your hands on some hot new reporting for us about this sort of warnings that we are hearing in 2022.
ZOLAN KANNO-YOUNGS, White House Correspondent, The New York Times: Yes, no, absolutely.
Just today, federal law enforcement was circulating a threat assessment that, really, states what has been a heightened risk for political violence that has existed since January 6th.
Since January 6th, you've seen DHS, FBI issuing multiple warnings, saying specially that false claims about the election, the current political rhetoric, the current state of divisiveness, that it could encourage people to commit the sort of attacks like we today.
Now, this bulletin does not specifically detail the attack on Mr. Pelosi.
I should say that.
But what it does reside and summarize is previous attacks against members of Congress and also saying ahead of the midterm elections that government officials, as well as election workers, could be at risk of further attacks by domestic extremists.
That continues to be motivated by those same false claims.
This is the current security environment, this current threat environment that we're in.
My colleagues have also reported that members of Congress fearing attacks like this have spent $6 million dipping into their own campaign funds, their official budgets as well, just to pay for their own security.
The neighbor of the Pelosis in San Francisco noted today that, sure, there is a security detail for Speaker Pelosi but she is in Washington today.
And what happens also to the relatives of these members of Congress when members have to come back to D.C. to do their job.
Both you are hearing it from federal law enforcement, you're hearing it from members of Congress as well.
There's still a concern here and the dangers and the risk that we saw on the wake of the attack on the Capitol have not subsided.
YAMICHE ALCINDOR: And I keep thinking about what if Nancy Pelosi was home?
What would if -- this story would be so different, possibly, if that man had seen what he was looking for, Zolan.
ZOLAN KANNO-YOUNGS: I mean, there were people that were wondering what if there was no rush to get members of Congress out of the Capitol on the day of January 6th?
That same language was being used.
We remember when Speaker Pelosi's office was also ransacked that day as well.
Based off of what's being reported, this person went in there and was specifically looking for the speaker.
And we know not only did he intend to commit harm but he did also meant harm at that point.
It just so happens she was in Washington.
YAMICHE ALCINDOR: That's scary stuff, Ashley.
And we've heard from Republicans, we've heard from Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy, saying that they're wishing Paul Pelosi a speedy recovery.
I also want to point out something that the Virginia governor, Glenn Youngkin, said.
He was campaigning today.
And I want to quote from him directly.
He said Speaker Pelosi's husband had a break-in last night in their house, that he was assaulted.
There is no room for violence anymore.
But he said we are going to send her back with him back to California.
That's what we're going to do.
We covered all sorts of attacks and charged rhetoric, but I'm wondering what you make of what the governor is saying in the sort of political atmosphere that we are living through right now?
ASHLEY PARKER, Senior National Political Correspondent, The Washington Post: It's not the governor of Virginia in that, but it's sort of crucial because that was a through-line and a number - - not all -- but and a number of Republican statements and tweets today.
It was sort of violence is never acceptable, but.
There was a local Ohio representative, who, in a series of tweets, said he hopes Paul Pelosi makes a full recovery, violence is not acceptable, but, and then seeming mocked the calls of some liberals and liberal lawmakers to defund the police, said, but, in a Tweet, I sure hope that San Francisco sends their finest social worker to respond to the attack at the Pelosi household.
And even Marjorie Taylor Greene, who, before she ran for Congress, accused Nancy Pelosi of treason and seemed to suggest that she should be executed for treason, she put out a tweet later today saying, again, no excuse for violence, it's unacceptable, but let's remember all the times that I have been under attack.
And so when you see violence like this on either side, it feels like the sort of normal traditional thing is just say, this is unacceptable, full-stop, not this is unacceptable, snarky comment about her husband, snarky comment about liberal policies, snarky bothsidesism.
But that was one thing that struck me in a number of the Republican responses we saw today.
YAMICHE ALCINDOR: And as someone who has sort of been traveling across, Scott, across this country, both us, I keep thinking about just the fact that rhetoric really does have consequences as oftentimes.
We look at Twitter and we look at these sort of exchanges, with peoples' lives can be at risk because there are people who will take this too far and will see the but that Ashley is talking about as a sort of imitation for violence here.
I'm also thinking about what is going on in Arizona, which is that there is a lawsuit going on because there's some worry that people are now staking out drop boxes.
I even interviewed a voter who's told me that he was going to be at mail drop boxes with his ice pack and his ice cooler and his shotgun, his firearm, because he's someone who doesn't believe the 2020 election was fair.
What are hearing about the sort of intimidation of voters and election workers as we are heading closer and closer to Election Day?
SCOTT MACFARLANE: Let's start with what we hear from the experts.
The 2020, oh, by the way, was the safest, most security election in American history, and done during a pandemic, which is a herculean accomplishment.
So, all these claims, these baseless claims of fraud come in the wake of a very successful, uniquely successful election.
So, here we are with people monitoring drop boxes, a way to make it easier for people to vote, monitoring the drop box, doing so armed or in an intimidating fashion makes it may be harder for some people to want to vote.
It's a disincentive.
And that goes back to the previous point.
If we hear about concerns that polling places might be targeted, election workers, administrators might be targeted, the fear is not just that they will be targeted but just the warning would be a disincentive for people to vote.
It's voter suppression.
So, now, we have a balancing act.
We have people monitoring drop boxes.
We want to alert folks to that.
We have people who may be targeting extremist groups, targeting polling places.
We want to notify people about that.
But we don't want to dissuade people from voting.
Millions have voted already in 2022.
So far, it's been all safe.
ASHLEY PARKER: And I just wanted to go back to something you said and asking him that question about rhetoric having consequences.
For someone like Speaker Pelosi, you can really draw a through-line for the past decade.
In 2010, right after Obamacare passed, there was a campaign by Republicans, by the Republican National Committee, called Fire Pelosi.
And it's sort of in -- there were images of her engulfed in kind of heeds like flames.
And that was the first iteration, right?
She's been vilified and demonized ever since.
This election cycle already, Republicans have spent -- she's the number one most vilified member of Congress in ads.
Republicans have spent $80 million running 300 different unique ads attacking her.
And then McCarthy, the Republican leader, about a year ago, was sort of making a, quote/unquote, joke, and he said he couldn't wait to get the gavel from Nancy Pelosi, but it would be hard not to hit her with it.
And so when you look at that, what we saw last night feels like an almost all but inevitable conclusion of the past 12 years.
YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Yes.
I mean, it is scary stuff.
I also want to turn, of course, as we talk about sort of McCarthy possibly getting the gavel, and I want to run to the midterm countdown, which is also, of course, part of this.
Already, more than 12 million Americans have cast ballots in early voting, and President Biden and Democrats are shifting their closing argument and warning more than ever that the GOP -- that if the GOP wins control of Congress, the party would gut Medicare and social security, shutdown the government and send the economy into a tailspin.
Here is President Biden in Upstate New York on Thursday.
BIDEN: If Kevin gets his way in a Republican Congress, tax credits, the low energy bills, gone, corporate minimum tax, gone.
Under the Republican plan, some big corporations are going to go back to paying zero again.
That's the plan.
I would argue it is reckless and irresponsible and it would make inflation worse if they succeed.
YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Meanwhile, economic data released this week showed encouraging growth but slowing consumer spending.
That mixed news comes as Republicans are hoping for a red wave with GOP candidates arguing that they are better suited to fight inflation.
Here's Florida's Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, who is running re-election against Democrat Charlie Crist, during a debate on Monday.
RON DESANTIS (R-FL): While we know that these are the effects of the Biden/Crist policies, the worst inflation in 40 years, and Charlie Crist votes with Biden 100 percent of the time, and he says that Biden is the best president he's ever seen.
YAMICHE ALCINDOR: And joining our conversation is Amara Omeokwe.
She's an economics reporter for The Wall Street Journal.
Thank you so much for being here, Amara.
And I want to start with just what are you hearing from economists about where we are heading, what's going on with the report that was released this week and how that squares with what the political messaging that we are hearing.
AMARA OMEOKWE, Economics Reporter, The Wall Street Journal: Right.
So, the DSP report did show growth for the third quarter, and that was welcome news we did have economic contraction in the first two quarters of this year.
But as you mentioned, consumer spending did slow and economists were talking about that, because consumer spending is such a key driver for the economy.
And we also saw other signs that the economy is slowing in that report, for instance, residential investment was down very sharply as well.
And that is just reflective of what the Federal Reserve is doing.
They have been lifting interest rates, and that has really had an impact on the housing market.
We've seen mortgage rates really spike, we've seen a slowdown in home sales, we've seen home prices started to come down.
And so the question is, is that slowdown going to spread to other parts of the economy?
Are we going to start to see higher unemployment?
Are we going to start to see more pain in other parts of the economy.
And many economists, a number of economists do expect that what the Fed is doing will cause a recession in the first half of 2023.
YAMICHE ALCINDOR: And, Amara, I also want to ask you about some reporting that you have done for The Wall Street Journal about black voters in particular who, of course, are a key constituency for Democrats.
You talked to them about their concerns.
That, of course, includes the economy, abortion, social issues.
What are you learning about what black voters in particular are concerned about and how that sort of is connected to what Democrats want to do here in the midterms?
AMARA OMEOKWE: Right.
So, reporting that story was really interesting because we looked at survey data.
And what we found was that black plaque Americans were saying that social issues, like public safety and abortion, were just as important to them as the economy and inflation as they consider their vote this fall, whereas the broader electorate places a much heavier emphasis on the economy and inflation.
So, those were just sort of really -- those results just kind of really struck us.
And when we are talking to voters in Georgia, we heard the same thing.
We heard voters talk about gun violence and how that was just as important as what we are seeing with these elevated prices.
And I asked an economist about that.
I said, what could be driving that dynamic?
And he said we have to remember where black Americans were at the beginning of the pandemic.
We saw black unemployment spike to near 17 percent.
Fast forward to now, we have black unemployment down under 6 percent and we've seen income growth for black Americans, we've seen labor force participation really improve for black Americans.
And so those kinds of gains could be shaping sort of how they view the economy and how weigh these other social issues that are pressing in society right now.
YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Yes.
And, Zolan, I want to come to you, because, obviously, the president and Democrats are shifting the -- actually, they have always sort of talked about Republicans and the fears that they have over social security and Medicare but now really beefed that up.
What's behind this shift in tone and in messaging and how much of a difference can it make that 12 million people have already voted?
ZOLAN KANNO-YOUNGS: Yes.
The White House would say that they've been talking about trying to lower the deficit for months and that they have often talked about pointed job growth in the wake of this report pointing to soaring inflation, but we are seeing a little bit of a change in focus, right?
I mean, early in the summer, particularly after the Dobbs decision, you saw, and Democrats will tell you, the White House officials will tell you, allies of the White House, that the Democratic Party looked at that decision as a galvanizing moment, a moment to energize the base.
Recent polls have indicated that even especially in places like battleground states, Nevada as well, you still have Ohio, too, the economy tends to be the top concern right now.
The New York Times as well issued a poll saying that the economy does tend to be the top concern for voters.
Now, look, voters are complex as well.
And you can care about a lot of different issues and policies at this point.
But there was an interesting schedule two weeks ago for the president, where one day he was in D.C.
He made a speech saying he would codify Roe.
It was right here on Washington D.C. And I remember there was some criticism -- or not criticism but some questions from observers of should the White House continue to be focusing on this issue when the economy is still such a concern for voters.
The very next day, you also saw -- and it was pre-planned, but the next day, you saw Biden talk about gas prices and going into the Strategic Petroleum Reserves in order to try and make an impact on gas prices.
So, you are seeing the White House conscious of what the polls indicate now, that, yes, people obviously are concerned about the Supreme Court decision, particularly in the Democratic Party, but you can be concerned about multiple issues at this point, inflation among them.
YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Talking about multiple you'd be concerned about, Scott, I know that you went in deep on Virginia, in particular, and Elaine Luria, who is, of course, a member of the January 6th Committee.
Tell me a little bit about what she told you about the political stakes there and how does that dovetail to what you are hearing from the Democrats?
SCOTT MACFARLANE: There are any other number of dozens of House Democrats trying to hold on to their seats this cycle in very competitive races, in some cases, and some of the issues are all kind of the same in every district.
They're arguing about abortion rights, about the economy, gas prices, grocery prices.
This one has an asterisk.
In the Virginia's second district, by Virginian second beach, Elaine Luria is trying to hold her seat, that she has a national profile now.
She was on the January 6th committee, she gained notoriety across the country and two things were clear covering her close election race.
One, she is far more recognizable in her district than before when she was on that committee.
Even among her constituents, she is better known now.
The second thing is it's far from clear any voter's care.
She's mentioning this.
She's asked about this during debates.
She mentions it on the stump.
But she recognizes it is a grocery price kind of world right now voters.
It is pernicious issue, hits you every Saturday morning at the checkout and it's hard to get past that.
So, she is balancing and calibrating her speeches accordingly.
If she transcends with other Democrats' experience because she has that high profile of trying to protect democracy.
ZOLAN KANNO-YOUNGS: I find it just as interesting what -- to this point, what candidates are not talking about at this point just as what they are talking about.
My colleague, Jim Tankersley, went to Georgia and he noted how you've had allies of the White House, allies of President Biden saying throughout the year -- we've reported this, too -- throughout the year, hey, you passed the stimulus package, you passed infrastructure, now you got Inflation Reduction Act, lowering prescription drug prices, you guys should be -- chips, you guys should be out talking about these things, talking about these plans for the economy.
But there is an interesting Catch-22 in a ways because some of those same policies are being pointed at by critics as fueling inflation as well, particularly the stimulus package.
So, it's interesting.
In Georgia, you had a debate between Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker.
The economy, at one point, was barely mentioned.
And Jim even asked Raphael Warnock about the stimulus package and child tax credit, which do have the approval and support of so many voters and then there was a pivot directly to Roe and abortion.
YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Well, as we're talking about this, I want to put up a map for you, Ashley.
It's showing where all the former presidents are going to be.
You have Biden, Obama and Trump going.
You have Biden, if we can put it folks.
You have Biden in Pennsylvania and Florida, Obama going to Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and you have Trump in Iowa, Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio.
You have also, apart from this map, Chuck Schumer was caught on a hot mic talking about what sort of candidly what's going on here.
What are you hearing from your sources about how different these stories he makes and whether or not Chuck Schumer is right and that they're really having some big problems, especially in a place like Georgia?
ASHLEY PARKER: Well, what we are hearing is that Democrats would have loved to have the election about six weeks to two months ago, because they had this really phenomenal stretch partly based on work that the Biden team had done for months in part out of things that were outside of their control, like the Dobbs' decision.
No Democrat would have hoped for it but it was incredibly politically galvanizing.
Right then, you had fruition -- coming to fruition the series of bills that Zolan just cited.
Again, they happened over the summer.
They happened when you got the votes.
But this was started many months ago.
You had the killing of Al-Zawahiri, which made Biden's case and that you could withdraw troops from Afghanistan and still maintain a security presence there.
This would have been a good time for the election for Democrats.
But things have now started to shift back.
Of course, Democrats are thrilled to see surrogates out on the campaign trail, especially someone like former President Obama, but the real issue going back to what we were talking about, there has been through-line, really, for the past year when you ask Democrats even privately is inflation.
Nothing else matters when you are driving down the street and every gas station you pass, each a sign for the price of gas is a sign post about how frustrated you are as a voter about rising prices.
YAMICHE ALCINDOR: And, Amara, I want to ask you get you -- we have a minute left here, but I want to get in, which is inflation is a global problem.
How much do voters really talk about that and what more do we know about whether or not the fed and their steps that they are supposed to be taking, how that's going to impact this in the U.S.?
AMARA OMEOKWE: Well, yes, inflation is a global problem, and you do hear the Biden administration mentioning that from time to time, that these high prices that we have are not a uniquely U.S. problem.
The Fed is going to meet next week and they are expected to do another large interest rate hike.
And then I think what people will be looking for is where does the Fed go from there.
Will they start to slow the pace of those interest rate increases?
Will they start to sort of assess more of whether what they have already done is working as they intend.
But the Fed has been very clear that their priority is bringing down inflation even if it causes some pain for the economy.
And you do see Democrats increasingly becoming more and more vocal and asking the Fed to sort of think about what they are doing and think about whether they are being too aggressive, because the concern is that they might to do too much and slow the economy too much to the point where we do get a recession.
YAMICHE ALCINDOR: And, Scott, in the ten seconds we have left, what do you think of Schumer's hot mic moment and what are you hearing from lawmakers about the reality here?
SCOTT MACFARLANE: Let me be clear, we love hot mic moments.
We encourage them.
Economy is driving -- Ashley is right.
If they had this election August 23rd, Democrats would be far more optimistic.
YAMICHE ALCINDOR: And are they optimistically when you hear it from them?
SCOTT MACFARLANE: Cautiously but emphasis on cautiously.
YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Yes.
Well, Republicans I talk to, they're confident but all things can change and Democrats are definitely trying to fight.
And it will be interesting to see everyone hit the campaign trail in the next 11 days.
So, thanks so much to our panelists for joining us and for sharing your reporting.
And before we go, tune in on Saturday to PBS News Weekend.
The show will look at the historic Israel-Lebanon maritime deal signed by nations technically still at war.
I also finally want to say that I'm hoping for a full recovery for Paul Pelosi.
I know it is very, very hard on his family and that it's a very tough time for them.
So, my heart and my mind is definitely with them.
Thank you so much for joining us.
Good night from Washington.
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