CNN Celebrates Biden Raking in Millions, Presses Camp to Sure Up Michigan

Political News

On CNN News Central Tuesday morning, host Kate Bolduan started her conversation with former Democratic mayor of New Orleans, Mitch Landrieu, by fawning over President Joe Biden’s current fundraising numbers, saying “That’s the largest amount for a democratic candidate EVER, at this point in the cycle,” emphasis hers. She also pressed the Biden campaign’s national co-chair to sure-up the Palestinian vote in Michigan or else risk losing in November.

She compared Donald Trump’s fundraising numbers to Biden’s, making a point to insinuate that Donald Trump’s fundraising money was being funneled into his legal bills. “[I]t’s hard to make a direct comparison to Republicans and Trump right now as they have not released their numbers for the month, but they started the year with less and they’re spending big on Donald Trump’s legal bills,” she quipped.

Landrieu was more than happy to play along and mock former President Trump saying, “And while the President of the United States was working really hard on, on basically doing the things that are important to the United States of America, Donald Trump was selling tennis shoes.”

He continued his middle-school style roast of Trump saying, “Donald Trump wakes up every day thinking about himself. He thinks about oppression; he thinks about revenge. He thinks about how to hurt other people. He thinks about how to get back at them. He thinks about how to do things that helps himself…Joe Biden wakes up every day thinking about how to fight for the American people.”

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While Landrieu admitted that voters actually like Trump because he stands up for Republicans, he quickly subverted to passionately describing how Americans would step up and vote for “somebody that’s protecting their freedom” and someone who’s “providing jobs for them,” which would obviously be the greatest person ever: Biden, “who’s done an incredible job in his first term as President of the United States.”

Bolduan then shifted the conversation from fundraising and Biden’s greatness to the pro-Palestinian message that Representative Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) made on Monday. Tlaib’s message to vote Uncommitted in the Michigan primaries resulted from her disappointment with Biden’s support of Israel in its fight against Hamas. Bolduan nudged Landrieu to respond carefully to Tlaib because “a protest vote in a Democratic primary in this cycle” could have a “real impact” on the general in Michigan.

Landrieu didn’t hesitate to walk on eggshells, describing his respect for Tlaib and how difficult it was to be President Biden right now:

It’s a very complicated, difficult problem right now. The Israeli-Gaza conflict, as you know, is complicated. It’s hard. The President hears them, understands them, is working very hard on trying to get the hostages released and getting humanitarian aid into that conflict. It’s just very, very difficult…

The former Democratic Mayor became frustrated by this question and Bolduan’s later questions about Joe Manchin not supporting Biden, as evidenced by his accidentally calling her Brooke, referring to former employee of CNN, Brooke Baldwin.

Landrieu’s final message returned to praising Biden, saying “The President is going to continue to work to protect America’s interests while at the same time being open and empathetic to the thoughts and feelings that have been expressed by the congresswoman.”

The transcript is below. Click “expand” to read.

CNN News Central

2/20/2024

9:26:49-9:31:40

KATE BOLDUAN: How, is the Biden campaign feeling this morning? One way you may be able to gauge that in this moment is to count the dollar signs. As reported the top of the show, the Biden-Harris team, the campaign raked in more than $42 in January and fundraising. That’s in January, which now brings their cash on hand to a historic $130 million. That’s the largest amount for a democratic candidate EVER, at this point in the cycle.

Joining me right now is the co-chair of President Biden’s reelection campaign, the former Democratic Mayor of New Orleans, Mitch Landrieu. Mayor, it’s good to see you. 42 million in January—

MITCH LANDRIEU: Hey Kate.

BOLDUAN: 130 now, million cash on hand. It’s hard to make a direct comparison, we were trying to, we were doing some digging, it’s hard to make a direct comparison to Republicans and Trump right now as they have not released their numbers for the month, but they started the year with less and they’re spending big on Donald Trump’s legal bills. We do know those two things.

Does this money, this historic hall, does it make up for the bad polling, the tough polling, which continues to plague President Biden?

LANDRIEU: Well, first of all, enthusiasm is always measured in how many contributions you get and how much money you’re able to raise. And so by any measure, no matter who you compare it to, it’s the best that we’ve seen in this quarter ever – as you said – before.

You don’t have to go too far to make comparisons that makes sense. Donald Trump just got hit with, I think a $400 million dollar civil fine on top of another one sometime earlier than that. And while the President of the United States was working really hard on, on basically doing the things that are important to the United States of America, Donald Trump was selling tennis shoes. So, I mean, you could just look at both of those things and say, “who do you think’s having the better day?”

I understand that the concern about the polls. You see this actually for both candidates, but essentially as this campaign heats up, you’re going to have to make a choice between two very, very different people in two very, very, very different visions for the country and for the world.

Donald Trump wakes up every day thinking about himself. He thinks about oppression; he thinks about revenge. He thinks about how to hurt other people. He thinks about how to get back at them. He thinks about how to do things that helps himself—

(crosstalk)

BOLDUAN: And, Mitch, that’s appealing to a lot of voters—

LANDRIEU: Joe Biden wakes up every day thinking about how to fight for the American people…I’m sorry?

BOLDUAN: And that, and that message, “I will be, I will be your vengeance, I will be your retribution” is appealing to a lot of voters. You could see it in the polling.

LANDRIEU: Well it’s appealing. It, it’s appealing to some voters in the polls. But on election day, when, when vote folks go into that booth, American citizens are going to step up to the plate and they’re going to vote for somebody that’s protecting their freedom. They’re going to vote for somebody that’s providing jobs for them. They’re going to vote for somebody like Joe Biden, who’s done an incredible job in his first term as President of the United States. That’s what I believe is going to happen.

And we have every indication that we’re moving in the right direction and we feel very good about where we are. There’s no question that campaigns are, are hard fought. We’re in, we’re in a moment right now in this country that we have not been in in the last 50 years. But the choice could not be clearer and that’s what the fight is about, and that’s what the campaign’s going to be about.

BOLDUAN: You were just in Michigan yesterday, um, for the campaign. Rashida Tlaib, Democratic Congresswoman, she put out a video calling on Democrats in Michigan to vote Uncommitted in the Michigan primary, to do so in protest of President Biden’s handling of Israel’s war against Hamas. I want to play for you what the Democratic Congresswoman said.

[Cuts to video]

REP. RASHIDA TLAIB (D-MI): Right now, we feel completely neglect— neglected and just unseen by our government. If you want us to be louder, then come here and vote Uncommitted.

[Cuts back to live]

BOLDUAN: What does that mean for you all in Michigan?

LANDRIEU: Well, first of all, as you said, I was in Michigan yesterday. I was with Senator Stabenow, I was with Congressman Kildee. We have a huge amount of support in Michigan, Michigan’s a critically important state.

I had the opportunity to meet with representatives from teachers, I met with representatives from law enforcement, both of whom were very thankful to the President for the commitments that he’s made there. I spent time with local 324, a lot of the guys that actually building all of the projects that the President has funded through the bipartisan infrastructure law, creating 350,000 jobs. I was in Flint, Michigan yesterday with the Mayor talking about the work that the President has done to make sure that people have clean air and clean water with the lead pipes and the response was really, really good.

I respect Congresswoman Tlaib, it’s a very complicated, difficult problem right now. The Israeli-Gaza conflict, as you know, is complicated. It’s hard. The President hears them, understands them, is working very hard on trying to get the hostages released and getting humanitarian aid into that conflict. It’s just very, very difficult he feels, and he sent three senior officials there the other day, and that conversation is going to continue. And the President is going to continue to work to protect America’s interests while at the same time being open and empathetic to the thoughts and feelings that have been expressed by the congresswoman.

BOLDUAN: And look a protest vote in a Democratic primary in this cycle, it might not have a real impact, but if that bleeds into and becomes a “I’m not going to show up to vote,” in a general in Michigan, that could have real impact for sure.

(…)

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