Tamara Keith and Amy Walter on impeachment public opinion, Bloomberg’s 2020 campaign

Tamara Keith and Amy Walter on impeachment public opinion, Bloomberg’s 2020 campaign


JUDY WOODRUFF: Will the latest entrant to
the crowded race for the Democratic presidential nomination shake up the standings, as the
impeachment marches ahead? Our Politics Monday duo are here to examine
it all, 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.” Hello to both of you. So we have a little bit of news this evening
on the impeachment, the tug of war between the president and the Congress. And that is, a federal district judge ruled
the president’s former legal counsel Don McGahn should, must testify before lawmakers, before
the Congress. We assume there will be an appeal, Tam, but
this could set a precedent for other White House and administration officials to be required
to go testify before the Congress. We don’t know. We haven’t heard what the Intelligence Committee
report is. We know the Judiciary Committee is next. But all this raises, again, the question of
the public’s perception of this and where do we go. So, Amy, to you. What are we seeing in terms of the needle
moving at all in how the public is reading this? AMY WALTER, The Cook Political Report: So,
we have had two weeks of hearings, which produced a lot of fireworks and a lot of coverage,
but it really hasn’t produced a lot of movement in the polls. We’re basically where we have been since,
well, October, basically, since before these hearings began. If you go and you look, FiveThirtyEight.com
has a great tracking measurement of all the polling that’s been done on the issue of impeachment. And if you go back to the day before the public
hearings began, support for impeachment was at 48 percent; 45 percent said they didn’t
prove approve of impeachment. Today, it’s 46-46, which is essentially, in
the world of numbers, very little movement to just sort of statistical around the edges. So what we’re seeing, I think it’s folks that
— who are already deeply engaged, who are paying attention to this are paying attention
to it because they were already sort of committed to whatever outcome they would like to see. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Tam, how much does this
matter to members of the House of Representatives, who are back in their districts, presumably,
this week, maybe heading toward a momentous vote? TAMARA KEITH, National Public Radio: Yes. I mean, if they are hearing about it from
their constituents, then that could affect behavior. But what we saw right before they left town
is someone like Will Hurd. He’s a congressman, R retiring, is what I
like to say, Republican retiring, has sort of the freedom of a retiring Republican. And he’s always been sort of more moderate
and also has been fairly outspoken about his concerns with President Trump. As the hearings were winding down last week,
he came out. He’s on the Intelligence Committee. And he said that he wasn’t persuaded that
this was impeachable, certainly proper, but not impeachable. If Will Hurd is there, then Republican Congress
— members of Congress are not feeling pressure. Another example is Elise Stefanik, who at
times has charted a more moderate course. She was closely allied with Paul Ryan, who
had his issues with President Trump. Well, she became a star for the hearing for
sort of pushing President Trump’s viewpoint and position in those hearings. So these are two public examples of Republican
members of Congress who are not persuaded. And if House members, if these sorts of Republicans
are not tempted to vote against the president, then there’s no way that senators are going
to feel pressure. JUDY WOODRUFF: Quickly, it just looks like
the two sides are far — growing farther apart. AMY WALTER: Growing farther apart, or maybe
they are just feeling more committed to their position or just as committed as they were
before this began. The Republicans, though, who should be concerned,
and probably are concerned right now, are in the Senate, on the Senate side, where you
have Republicans up for reelection in blue states like Colorado and Maine and increasingly
purple Arizona. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, we will see. And they’d come into play after the House
voted on impeachment. AMY WALTER: Absolutely. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, to the 2020 Democratic
race. We have a new entrant as of this weekend. He is none other than the former Mayor of
New York City Michael Bloomberg. And he’s out with a splash, Tam, $31 million
in ads across the country. Here’s an excerpt of the first ad they’re
running. NARRATOR: And now he’s taking on him to rebuild
the country and restore faith in the dream that defines us, where the wealthy will pay
more in taxes and the middle class get their fair share. Everyone without health insurance can get
it, and everyone who likes theirs keep it, and where jobs won’t just help you get by,
but get ahead. And on all those things, Mike Bloomberg intends
to make good. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Tam, they’re running that
ad — that’s just a short version of it — in something like 46 of the 50 states. We have got a map here. Every state that’s yellow on that map, they’re
running. TAMARA KEITH: That’s the whole country. JUDY WOODRUFF: And spending 2-plus million
in New York City alone, $1.6 million, I think, in Los Angeles alone. This is $1.9 million. I’m sorry. This is huge. TAMARA KEITH: Yes. So, this is going to test some things, some
ideas in politics. One idea in politics that emerged after President
Trump won with far less money than Hillary Clinton was, oh, well, maybe money doesn’t
matter. I guess we will find out whether money matters,
because he is in the process of trying to buy some love and attention. The other question, though, is, traditionally,
you can’t skip the first few states and think that you’re going to somehow have momentum
after that. Ronna McDaniel, who is the chair of the RNC,
the other day was saying that people who plant their flag in states after those first few
states often find that momentum overtakes them. JUDY WOODRUFF: He’s counting, Amy, on money
overcoming a lot of this. (CROSSTALK) AMY WALTER: Right. He’s counting on a couple of things. It’s really good that you pointed out Donald
Trump, because he also went against conventional thinking, because even in the primaries, he
didn’t spend that much money. He was counting on his name I.D. and his ability
to dominate the media landscape, right? Every minute of every day, he was being covered
by cable news. And he took up all the political oxygen. And all the traditional ways of campaigning,
go and organize, host these meet-and-greets with voters, it didn’t matter. JUDY WOODRUFF: It was called free media, is
what we call it. AMY WALTER: It was all — he just sucked all
of that up. Now, if you’re Michael Bloomberg, it’s a little
bit different. Obviously, you’re not getting free media. You’re paying for it, and the theory being,
if you spend an amount of money like we have never seen before, ever seen before in American
politics, that, by the time that we hit… JUDY WOODRUFF: You can repeat that again. (CROSSTALK) (LAUGHTER) AMY WALTER: That we have never seen before
in American politics. By the time we hit post-South Carolina, so
the very beginning of March, the theory being the process has so just sort of obliterated
the field, right, nobody’s really a front-runner, everybody has all of this baggage, and they
can turn to somebody who’s just been on their airwaves and on their smartphones for the
last couple of months telling them how great he is. Oh, all these other candidates look bad, say
Democrats, they have gotten beaten up? Why don’t we turn to Michael Bloomberg? That’s his theory. It’s a big, big gamble, but that’s what he’s
counting on happening. JUDY WOODRUFF: But is there any history of
somebody coming in late and making it work? TAMARA KEITH: Not in this particular way. (CROSSTALK) AMY WALTER: Not in modern history. JUDY WOODRUFF: Not since we have had these
early primaries. AMY WALTER: That’s right. Right. JUDY WOODRUFF: Ah, $31 million in one week,
and there are a couple of weeks to go, a couple of months to go before we get to the post-early
primaries. AMY WALTER: Right. JUDY WOODRUFF: We will watch. Amy Walter, Tamara Keith, thank you both. AMY WALTER: Thank you. TAMARA KEITH: You’re welcome.

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