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Soon, Biden to Pitch $2.5 Trillion Infrastructure Plan At Philly Amtrak Station; Coronavirus Travel Updates from Around the Country; 50K Fans Returning to Churchill Downs for Kentucky Derby; Florida Legislature Passes Restrictive Voting Bill; Arizona Republicans Push 2020 Recount with Trump's Support; Biden Speaks at Amtrak Station, Pitching 2 Economic Plans on Infrastructure and For Middle-Class Families. Aired 2:30-3p ET
Aired April 30, 2021 - 14:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: This is part of his major push for two enormous economic plans, one to improve infrastructure like railway, and the other geared toward middle class families.
CNN's Jeff Zeleny is there for us.
Jeff, listen, we know that if there's a mode of transportation that this president loves it's an Amtrak train.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely it is, Victor.
The biggest surprise about the event is that President Biden decided to fly Air Force One to Philadelphia and take the Beast, his limousine, here to 30th Street Station behind me.
But the reality is he is talking about Amtrak and talking about the 50th anniversary of the railway, which he of course rode every day for more than 30 years from Wilmington to Washington while a Senator.
But the substance here is important. This is his -- the second day in a row he has been out selling the economic agenda.
Today, he focuses on the American Jobs Plan. So much is packed into that, about $2 trillion in spending. But a lot of the infrastructure spending would go to railways, port ways, airports, roads, bridges, infrastructure, broadband.
But also more than that. That's the non-controversial part. Most -- even a lot of Republicans in Washington agree with a lot of that spending.
The controversial part is all of the sweeping changes added to that. Like adding money for home health care workers, expanding a payment for education, free community college, free pre-K, on and on. This is the beginning gambit of the White House's sales pitch.
There are two pieces to the economic agenda, the American Jobs Plan, but also the American Families Plan. He will be talking about both here.
The question in the coming months is not necessarily if infrastructure spending will get done but if they can find bipartisan support for that.
Some Republicans do not agree with how this is proposed to be paid for. And that's by increasing taxes on the wealthiest of Americans.
So President Biden, in a few moments, will speak about the need for investment in the economy, the need to use government to get beyond the pandemic.
But of course, he is doing it at the 30th Street Station with Amtrak with Amtrak front and center. They call him Amtrak Joe and he loves that nickname -- Victor and Alisyn?
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST; I'm sure he would have taken a train if Secret Service allowed it.
Jeff, let us know as soon as it starts.
CAMEROTA: Thank you.
BLACKWELL: Of course, we will bring you those remarks as soon as they happen.
So it is the first weekend of May. You know what happens the first Saturday of May. The Kentucky Derby. Tens of thousands of race fans will be at Churchill Downs. Coming up, we'll speak with two doctors who will be there in the crowd.
CAMEROTA: And from Johnny Carson to Jimmy Kimmel, the tales of all of your favorite late-night legends are coming to CNN. "THE STORY OF LATE NIGHT" premieres Sunday night at 9:00.
So here is an early look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNNY CARSON, FORMER HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW": Now don't start anything you can't finish.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The laughter, the joke.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hot damn!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The joke. CONAN O'BRIEN, HOST, "CONAN": I always thought (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Brought all of this energy into the room.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. This could be a game changer.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Johnny Carson is the one that made late-night TV important.
JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW": You knew what to expect.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anything could happen.
O'BRIEN: Late night became this ritual.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It just felt like one big party.
KIMMEL: It was electric.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's part of American culture.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have to realize the power of these shows to inform and to uplift.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: There are more signs of normalcy in the fight against COVID-19. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said he wants the city to fully reopen by July 1st. He hopes to ease restrictions indoor dining and bars and gyms and salons.
CAMEROTA: And the CDC says some cruise lines may be able to resume sailing this summer, as long as the majority of passengers and crew are vaccinated.
Our team of CNN reporters around the country have more travel updates for you.
PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: I'm Pete Muntean, at Reagan National Airport.
Delta Airlines will begin selling every seat onboard its flights starting Saturday. This marks the end a era for pandemic air travel.
All other major U.S. airlines stopped capping capacity onboard flights months ago. Delta stayed in policy for a year.
And it says it felt confident in doing this now. It says 75 percent of its customers have received one dose of the coronavirus vaccine.
But Delta missed out on a lot of money by doing this. It says it lost $100 million in possible revenue in the month of March. That's when pandemic air travel started to surge.
And the numbers remain high. The TSA screened more than 1.5 million people at airports across the country on Thursday. That is near the pandemic air travel record.
JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Josh Campbell in Los Angeles.
The latest sign things are returning to normal here in America, Disneyland now reopened to the public. After being closed over a year during the pandemic, the theme park reopened its doors on Friday.
But with some key restrictions. First, only California residents will be allowed inside the park until further notice.
Second, they will be limiting capacity. Guests will be required to go on the Disney parks Web site in advance and reserve a spot. At last check, May had already filled up. And the slots available for June are filling up fastest.
Finally, the park says, out of an abundance caution for public health, they will be requiring guests over two years of age to wear masks, including those who may have received the coronavirus vaccine.
EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Evan McMorris-Santoro, on turn one at Churchill Downs. The Kentucky Derby is back.
Last year's Derby was delayed by the pandemic and fans were not allowed. But this year, the fans and those hats are back but at reduced capacity.
On a normal Derby weekend, this place can hold 165,000 people. But this year, reserved tickets are only sold at 50 percent of normal capacity.
CAMEROTA: OK, thanks to all of our reporters.
And the Derby hats are back, indeed.
We want to bring in now two doctors who are not dressed in scrubs. They are in their Derby hats because they are attending the Kentucky Derby this weekend, Doctors Mary Barry and her friend, Dr. Diane Schneider.
Ladies, you look fabulous.
DR. DIANE SCHNEIDER, INTERNIST ATTENDING THE KENTUCKY DERBY: Thank you.
DR. MARY BARRY, INTERNIST ATTENDING THE KENTUCKY DERBY: Yes. Thank you so much.
You guys have -- you're getting your Derby on. Let's talk about that.
Dr. Barry, I want to start with you.
CAMEROTA: You're an internal medicine doctor.
CAMEROTA: Why are you comfortable being in a large venue at this moment with 50,000 strangers who may or may not be vaccinated?
BARRY: Along with other Louisvillian. And according to the CDC newest guidelines ,I will be wearing a mask the entire time and so will they unless I'm at that eating and drinking.
CAMEROTA: That's funny you say that if you're eating or drinking at that moment. I went to the Derby once. That place is a huge party, OK? And as far as I can tell people are always eating and drinking, every second of the day.
So, Dr. Schneider, are you worried people will be maskless much of the day?
SCHNEIDER: No, not actually. We went to the track earlier this week and were impressed at how Churchill Downs set up things for social distancing, as well as sort of reminders in terms of masking.
So the density that you are used to for a usual Derby is really not happening at this time. And I think that people will be very diligent as well in wearing masks. Otherwise, they may be escorted out.
CAMEROTA: I know that you both have been vaccinated.
And, Dr. Barry, I read some sad news that one of the people that you work with, your office assistant for more than 20 years, is right now in the hospital with COVID, very sick.
And so what do you say to people who are reluctant to get vaccinated today?
BARRY: What I tell is that it's way better than dying. It's way better and way safer than taking any chance on getting this dreadful illness. You might feel bad a day and a half after the second dose of vaccine
but it's way better than dying. And it protects the people you love, the people who are around you, not just you.
CAMEROTA: Doctor Schneider, what does it say that you both are comfortable going to the Derby? You've done research, you say?
I mean, does this mean that you think that large events outdoors -- but still large venues, meaning live concerts, the Derby -- that they will be safe for people this summer?
SCHNEIDER: Well, certainly there's no such thing as a no-risk activity.
But I think that in terms of what's in place for the Derby, by decreasing the number of people as well as social distancing and masking, that it lowers the risk.
And that's certainly with the numbers of people that have been vaccinated, with ourselves included, that lowers the risk. But certainly does not take the risk away entirely.
So I think you have to weigh the pros and cons and the risk and make a personal decision.
BARRY: -- something not risk-free either.
SCHNEIDER: So hopefully, that people will continue to get vaccinated. And with that, we will see a continuing with opening up things, first with lowering the risk, such as what's happening this week.
And then, at one point, we look forward to later being back to normal.
CAMEROTA: That sounds really nice.
Well, enjoy it, ladies.
CAMEROTA: Dr. Barry, Dr. Schneider you look great. Have a great time. I know you're already pregaming. So enjoy it. And it's just --
BARRY: We are.
CAMEROTA: -- wonderful to see --
CAMEROTA: -- life slowly coming back.
Great to see you.
SCHNEIDER: Thank you, Alisyn.
BARRY: All right. Bye.
BLACKWELL: Certainly notice that "Got Mint" T-shirt you had on there.
BLACKWELL: All right, any moment now, President Biden is expected to push the infrastructure plan during a speech marking the 50th anniversary of Amtrak. We will take you to that live when it happens.
Stay with us.
CAMEROTA: Republicans continue to pass more restrictive voting laws in states around the country in the wake of 2020's record turnout and Joe Biden's victory.
One newly passed law overhauls some of the election laws in Florida, which is a state that Donald Trump won.
BLACKWELL: So it adds new identification requirements for voting by mail. It also limits who can return a mail-in ballot. It requires voters to submit requests for mail-in ballots for each election cycle.
And it expands partisan observer's powers during ballot counting and reduces access to ballot drop boxes.
The legislation is on its way to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. He says he is going to sign it.
There's also a new CNN poll that finds Americans are divided on whether the bigger problem with U.S. elections is that it's too hard to vote or easy to cheat.
Listen to this, 45 percent of those polled believe voting rules make it too hard for eligible citizens to cast a ballot while 46 percent believe that voting rolls are not strict enough to prevent illegal votes from being cast.
CAMEROTA: That's just evenly divided right there.
Our poll shows seven in 10 Republicans do not think Joe Biden got enough votes to win the presidency.
This comes as Arizona Republicans are once again auditing the 2020 ballots in Arizona's biggest county as they push the lie that the election was stolen from Donald Trump.
CNN's Kyung Lah has the story.
KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is yet another tally of the nearly 2.1 million ballots in Maricopa County. But this so-called audit is unlike any other.
These are ballot counters heading into a shift.
LAH (on camera): Have you ever done election counting before?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. But it's there's nothing to it. It's pretty obvious.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, no thanks.
LAH (voice-over): Most don't want to talk. Others?
LAH (on camera): We're just trying to do a story about the town --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't trust you.
LAH (voice-over): Openly partisan, as you see displayed on some cars and in what they say.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you OAN?
LAH (on camera): I'm sorry, what?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What news group are you from?
LAH: I'm from CNN.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. No, thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED ONE AMERICA NEWS NETWORK REPORTER: People are wondering what to look out for in that audit.
LAH (voice-over): OAN, or One American News Network, is the small far- right-wing outlet that is promoted false claims that Donald Trump won the 2020 election.
OAN is also live streaming the event. And its hosts have helped raise funds for this exercise.
We were initially told we could not enter the publicly owned Arizona State Fairgrounds. But when we tried again another time --
LAH (on camera): Hey, I'm Kyung Lah with CNN.
UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: CNN? OK. You guys will be on the second level.
LAH: So, we can get in? UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: Yes.
LAH (voice-over): We follow the officers' instructions.
LAH (on camera): There is media parking.
LAH (voice-over): But then.
LAH (on camera): Hey --
LAH (voice-over): These guys showed up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not authorized to speak to the press or the media.
LAH: Even though these uniform men look like police, they're not. They're a volunteer group call the Arizona Rangers.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And so, you're trespassing.
LAH: This man talking to me is wearing a badge from Cyber Ninjas. That's the Florida based company being paid $150,000 by the GOP- controlled state Senate to conduct this election review.
But here's what Republican Jack Sellers, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors chairman, thinks about Cyber Ninjas.
JACK SELLERS, CHAIRMAN, MARICOPA COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS: Everything they're doing is just so unprofessional, that it's really bothersome. I don't really feel that it benefits me. I don't need to get into the weeds too far on all the craziness that I see going on.
LAH: Sellers knows the difference. He leads a Republican-majority Board of Supervisors. They've already conducted two audits with bipartisan observers in public view that found no evidence of widespread election fraud.
The Board of Supervisors fought the State Senate in court to keep the ballots but lost and turned over the ballots.
SELLERS: When you accept responsibility for an election, it can't be about a party. It can't be about a person. It has to be about representing all the voters.
LAH: Arizona news agencies and their lawyer fought to get a reporter into the site where the count is happening. And days into the audit got in.
A news camera then caught the unusual process of ballots being scanned with UV lights.
In a news conference, the hired representative for the Arizona State Senate struggle to explain why.
LAH (on camera): What are the UV lights for? KEN BENNETT, ARIZONA SENATE LIAISON, MARICOPA COUNTY: UV lights are looking at the paper. And it's part of several teams that are involved in the paper evaluation.
LAH: For what? For what purpose?
BENNETT: I personally don't know,
KATIE HOBBS, ARIZONA SECRETARY OF STATE: It's really, it's a fishing expedition for stuff that we know doesn't exist.
LAH (voice-over): The Arizona Secretary of State warns what's happening in Arizona may just be the next page in the playbook of the big lie.
HOBBS: They've cried and cried for an audit for months, and they finally gotten it. And they're going to try to use this and get it other places, too.
LAH (on camera): So, you think that what happens here will impact other places?
HOBBS: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely.
LAH (voice-over): Kyung Lah, CNN, Phoenix.
BLACKWELL: All right. We're waiting to see President Biden there in Philadelphia. He is just getting on of a train car there, walking up.
CAMEROTA: Look how happy he looks to be in his natural habitat.
BLACKWELL: Indeed, enthused next to an Amtrak train. The 50th anniversary for Amtrak. He's going to make this big push for his infrastructure plan.
We're going to listen to -- he must hear me vamping for him, waiting to get him to the mic. So he put on some speed for us.
CAMEROTA: He's jogging. This is where he is comfortable, as we know. He really likes to take the train.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Great to be back in Philly. Great to be back to 33rd Street Station.
Blake, you don't treat each other like family. We are family.
Please, sit down, guys. Sit down.
Your dad, Greg, is here, too. As far as I'm concerned, the Weavers are family. And Justin Gray, speaking of family, your family and I fought a lot of
fights together, planned a lot of those fights on Amtrak coming back to Philly. I didn't come all the way to Philly.
It's a wonderful tribute to this station to bear his name.
And, Bill Flynn, thank you for having me.
Governor Wolf, Mayor Kenny, Congressman Evans, thank you for the passport into the city. Appreciate it.
And we have another -- I don't know that we're all here still, but I met a lot of really important friends that were here to -- for this occasion.
I understand Senator Blumenthal is here?
There you go.
One of the great Senators, former attorney general.
BIDEN: Took care of my son, Beau, when he attorney general.
Thank you very much.
And also Dwight Evans.
You can't miss Dwight.
Coming on, Dwight. Stand up there, man.
BIDEN: A good friend of mine and worked like the devil to get me elected, Brendon Boyle.
BIDEN: That's the Irish, man.
And Donald Payne, New Jersey.
BIDEN: I keep telling Donald, because Delaware's so small, it's a constitutional -- there was a case in the Supreme Court. Delaware, the state of, owns the Delaware River up to the highwater mark in New Jersey.
Just want you to know that. Got to treat it with some more respect. Mayor Kenny, thanks for the passport. Great friend.
Thank you, Mr. Mayor. You're doing a heck of a job.
And a real close, close friend, who was co-chairman of my campaign and just a great friend the whole time, Governor Ed Rendell.
Eddie, thank you, pal. This city owes you a lot.
BIDEN: Tony costa, chairman of the board.
One of my best friends in life, a guy named Bert DiClemente. We've known each other from high school.
BIDEN: We went to rival high schools.
Bert ran my operation in Delaware for years and years.
But one election I got the most votes in was the last election I ran for the Senate. I was also running for vice president at the time.
Because under Delaware law, if you're not out of the Senate race in a certain time period, you got to stay in.
And so Bert ran -- he was the Senator in Delaware, campaigning for me. He got more votes than I got.
So, Bert, thank you very much.
Also Justin Gray. I've mentioned Justin already and his dad.
And Greg Weaver Jr.
Greg, you are family.
Excuse me, should be Blake. And Mary-Kate, what a lovely kid.
And Bill Flynn of Amtrak.
You know, folks, the fact is that if I -- in the past, when I ended up at 30th Street Amtrak Station, it's probably because I took the late train back from Washington and I slept through the Delaware stop. Literally, not figuratively. Only did it about four times.
But I wouldn't have missed this for the world.
It's an honor to celebrate Amtrak's 50th anniversary. I look for a bright future for all of American rail.
Back in 2016, I announced a federal loan that allowed Amtrak to purchase the new ACELA trains that you see behind me. They look great. I can hardly wait to ride. And they're made in America. I want to see more of that. That's why
the investments in my American Jobs Plan are guided by one principle -- buy American. Buy products made in America.
And American tax dollars are going to be used to buy American products to create American jobs.
When I became vice president, one of the Capitol Hill newspapers estimated that I had taken more than 7,000 round trips on Amtrak over my career. I think that's an exaggeration.
I'm going to rely on those two conductors that Mr. Weaver will remember.
One was guy named Angelo Negri. And Angela -- there was an article, I guess my fourth or fifth year as president -- vice president, saying Biden travels 1,000 -- 1,300,000 miles on Air Force One.
I used to -- the Secret Service didn't like it but I used to like to take the train home. My mom was sick and I used to try to come home almost every weekend as vice president to see her.
I got on the train and Angelo Negri came up and said, Joey, baby, and he grabbed my cheek and started squeezing it, like he always did. I thought he was going to get shot. I'm serious. I said, no, no, he's a friend.
He said, Joey, what's the big deal, 1,300,000 miles on Air Force Two? You know how many miles you traveled on Amtrak? I said, no, Angie, I don't know. He gave me the calculation. He said, you traveled 1,500,000 miles on Amtrak.
So the fact is I'd probably take Angie's word before I'd take the word of what the article said.
The point is, in the process, as the conductor will tell you, Amtrak became my family.