This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," June 19, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS, D-CALIF., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: To coddle the reputations of segregationists, of people if they had their way I would literally not be standing here as a member of the United States Senate.
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN, D-MASS., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm not here to criticize other Democrats, but it's never OK to celebrate segregationists, never.
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BRET BAIER, HOST: Not here to do it, but I will. They are criticizing Joe Biden. Fellow Democrats really pouncing on these comments that the former vice president made at a fundraiser last night in New York, talking about the former Mississippi Senator Eastland and Talmadge from George. He said "I was in a caucus with James Eastland. He never called me "boy." He always called me "son." A guy like Herman Talmadge, one of the meanest guys I ever knew. You go down the list of all these guys. Well, guess what, at least there was some civility. We didn't agree on much of anything, we got things done. But today you look at the other side and you're the enemy, not the opposition, the enemy. We don't talk to each other anymore."
Well, Cory Booker said "You don't joke about calling black men "boys." Men like James Eastland used words like that, and the racist policies that accompanied them, to perpetuate white supremacy and strip black Americans of our very humanity. Vice President Biden's relationships with proud segregationists are not the model for how we make America a safer and more inclusive place for black people, and for everyone."
Mayor de Blasio, "It's 2019 and Joe Biden is longing for the good old days of civility typified by James Eastland. Eastland thought my multiracial family should be illegal and that whites were entitled to the pursuit of dead" n-word. It's past time for apologies or evolution from Joe Biden. He repeatedly demonstrates that he's out of step with the values of the modern Democratic Party.
John Delaney, "Evoking an avowed segregationist is not the best way to make the point that we need to work together and is insensitive. We need to learn from history, but we also need to be aggressive in dismantling structural racism that exists today." Now, that's just a sampling. I think we'll get more as the night goes on.
Let's bring in our panel, "Washington Post" columnist Marc Thiessen, Mara Liasson, national political correspondent for National Public Radio, and Tom Bevan, Real Clear Politics co-founder and president. Mara?
MARA LIASSON, NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO: Well, I can tell you the Democrats are just tearing their hair out because so many of them are hoping that Joe Biden would be the person that seems the most electable against Donald Trump. But in trying to make a point that is widely supported, which is there should be more civility and working across the aisle, he succeeded in making himself look like a relic. And that's the problem here.
There has been a lot of questions about whether Joe Biden could perform on the campaign trail. He has run twice before badly. And this is an example of why. He's undisciplined. He just talks about the past, the distant, distant past. There are a lot of other examples he could have used. Maybe he could have used an example from the 1990s.
BAIER: It's important to point out that the two senators he references from Mississippi and Georgia were Democrats.
BAIER: He was talking about working across the aisle.
LIASSON: Yes, but working across the aisle on issues is what he is talking about, not --
MARC THIESSEN, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE: Nobody has heard of Talmadge in Washington. Unless Talmadge ever came up --
LIASSON: That's the whole point. Biden had to go back to the stone age.
THIESSEN: Because he has been in Washington for 46 years. This is the problem with having a frontrunner --
BAIER: Why not say I worked with Dick Lugar from Indiana, and we were great friends?
LIASSON: Yes, yes.
THIESSEN: But the problem is this is what you have when you have a guy who arrived in Washington in 1972, and this is part of his frame of reference of how you work across the aisle. But the point being is that he's a gaffe machine, and he's always been a gaffe machine. But he was making -- the point he was trying to make wasn't a gaffe, which is that we should be working across the aisle with people who we disagree with. He wasn't arguing for segregation. He was arguing for civility. That, I disagree with you, Mara, is a very controversial position in the Democratic Party today. Before this happened, he got slammed for saying that Mike Pence was a decent guy. Hold on. And he had to apologize for it. Then he got slammed for saying we should have middle ground on climate change, and he had to apologize for that.
LIASSON: He didn't say that.
THIESSEN: His spokesman said it. And the point is that the Democratic Party today does not want middle ground with Republicans or conservatives.
LIASSON: Democratic Twitter doesn't want that. But every poll of Democratic voters says they want people to compromise and work across the aisle. The Biden campaign is counting on that, that the Democratic Party is less of a woke-a-topia then you would think on social media.
BAIER: But, but you're going to have these other candidates looking to make up ground on a candidate whose the polls are going to town.
TOM BEVAN, REAL CLEAR POLITICS CO-FOUNDER: For all the talk that we are not hear to criticize other Democrats, let's be honest. This is a pit of vipers. They're going to get after it when they can. And this is a big problem for Joe Biden. Let's not underestimate this. His lead in our Real Clear Politics average right now is 17 points. His lead among African- American voters is 35 points. This is a core constituency for Biden. To the extent that this causes erosion among that group to other candidates, it's going to hurt him in a big way.
LIASSON: And you know who wasn't criticizing him, you know who came to his defense today? Jim Clyburn and Hakeem Jeffries, some prominent African- American members of Congress.
BAIER: But I guess, Tom, the big question is, can he run that race in this Democratic primary, the race that Mara is talking about, which is betting that most Democrats are not Twitter Democrats and they don't go to the extreme of the left of the progressive side, can he win that race in this primary?
BEVAN: It remains to be seen, but Mara and I were talking about this in the green room. Joe Biden was never going to win the woke primary. So he is trying to run a general election campaign.
BAIER: By the way, for people who don't, the woke part is the Twitter, the left progressives, woke.
BEVAN: And the fact is the progressives are driving a lot of the narrative on Twitter and other places, right. And Joe Biden may never get to the vote the way this thing is going if he continues to make gaffes. I think he's going to have to apologize for this. He's going to try and have to put it behind him. Absolutely.
BAIER: It is going to be deadly in Miami if he doesn't deal with this.
BEVAN: He has got to deal with this.
THIESSEN: The wokeness is not just on Twitter. It's very easy to say this is just a Twitter problem and the Democratic Party is not the Twitter party.
BAIER: Look at AOC.
THIESSEN: For 40 years Joe Biden has took a middle ground on abortion and said he supported the Hyde Amendment. He said I am personally pro-life but I don't support taxpayer funding. And he was forced to capitulated on a 40-year position that is a majoritarian position in the American public but is unacceptable in the Democratic Party today. The Democratic Party as defined by the candidates who are running for the Democratic nomination is not for compromise, is not for reaching across the aisle. They don't want to sit down. It's not just they are against Donald Trump. They are against working with Republicans. They want a Green New Deal. They want Medicare for all.
BAIER: I don't think you can lump them all in there. Obviously you have Amy Klobuchar, you have Michael Bennet from Colorado, you have John Delaney from Maryland.
THIESSEN: Who are doing well.
BAIER: Let me go to the Trump campaign manager, talked to CBS after this campaign launch and the big rally in Orlando last night.
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BRAD PARSCALE, TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: I think we win in an electoral landslide as of today.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why in an electoral landslide?
PARSCALE: I think even more electoral points than he did last time. I just think the country is too complex now just to call a couple hundred people and ask them what they think. There are so many ways and different people that are going to show up to vote now. The way turnout now works and abilities that we have to turn out voters, the poling can't understand that. That's why it was so wrong in 2016. It was 100 percent wrong. Nobody got it right.
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BAIER: If you look at fundraising numbers, take a look at the first 24 hours here -- $24.8 million, that's $14 million donated to the campaign, $10 million donated to the Trump Victory Fund. But that's more than the first eight totals as you see there, Biden, O'Rourke, Sanders. It's a big campaign chest, Mara, and it's going to make a big difference.
LIASSON: It's huge, and it's much bigger than that. He has hundreds of million dollars and a huge head start to develop this big social media presence, to test out all sorts of message and how to micro-target them to the right Facebook group. Any incumbent would have a tremendous advantage.
BAIER: Let alone the PACs. I want to point this out. This is the Q poll from Florida that we've talked about on the air, and this is that Biden is up on Trump by nine points. This came out this week. This Quinnipiac poll is the same Quinnipiac that looked at Florida for the governor's race where they had Andrew Gillum over Ron DeSantis by seven on election day, right before election day. Obviously, DeSantis went on to win. He went on to win slightly, but he went on to win. We have to be careful with these head-to-head polls, Tom.
LIASSON: That's why we have Tom here.
BEVAN: We absolutely have to be careful with head-to-head polls, certainly national polls and general election polls and even the state polls at this point in the race, because part of this is it comes down to a binary choice. And the candidates have not been defined, particularly on the Democratic side. I disagree with Brad Parscale on the idea that Trump is going to win this landslide. We are in an evenly divided country. We have been for a long time. It is coming down to the same five or seven states that it was in 2016. I think it's going to be close, but by no means is Trump out of this, and by no means is it decided right now.
BAIER: It might be a couple different ones. Arizona, maybe a couple other ones. But panel, thank you. Fiery talk today.
When we come back, a super hero comes to the rescue, sort of.
BAIER: Finally tonight, with great pressure comes great wash-ability.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't tell.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That sucks.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is comfortable, bro.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you're going to claim to be Spiderman to do that, you can't be tethered.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BAIER: Take a look at this. Not every day you see Spiderman pressure washing a home during a storm, it turns out it was a worker with Sunset Paving and Pressure in Florida. He got the Spidey suit for Father's Day and decided he was going to put it to good use on his job. OK.
Thanks for inviting us into your home tonight. That's it for the “Special Report.” Fair, balanced, unafraid. "The Story", guest hosted by Sandra Smith tonight, starts right now.
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