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Public Viewing For Andrew Brown Jr. Begins; COVID Catastrophe; India Reports 11 Consecutive Days Of 300,000 New Infections: CDC Has Been "Too Cautious" On Guidelines?; Sen. Mitt Romney Booed While Speaking At Utah GOP Convention; Biden Hits The Road To Sell His Massive Economic Rescue Plan. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired May 2, 2021 - 14:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:00:29]

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: COVID catastrophe -- desperation and fear in India as hospitals and crematoriums reach a breaking point. The dangers this outbreak poses to the rest of the world.

Plus --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SENATOR MITT ROMNEY (R-UT): Thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Republican rift: Senator Mitt Romney faces angry boos at his state's GOP convention. Hours later, a vote to censure him narrowly fails.

And successful splashdown: four astronauts are back on earth after a record-breaking mission.

Hello, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me this Sunday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

All right. We begin this hour with a community in mourning, outraged and demanding answers. Today the family of Andrew Brown Jr. is holding a public viewing before his funeral tomorrow.

Sheriff's deputies fatally shot Brown while serving warrants last month. His death has sparked nationwide outrage.

Today protesters are gathering for the 12th straight day in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. And yet, the Pasquotank County Sheriff's Office has still not released body camera footage of the deadly shooting. A judge denied a request to release that video to the public.

CNN's Natasha Chen is in Elizabeth City. So Natasha, what is happening there right now?

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Fred, a rally and march is about to get started. We're seeing a number of people already gathered here at the water front park in Elizabeth City. You can see them holding their Black Lives Matter flags, wearing black shirts, getting ready to first pay attention to the speakers up there on stage.

We actually saw that the family of Andrew Brown Jr. Has arrived, just within the last 15 minutes or so. They actually viewed Brown's body privately before this afternoon and so the public viewing, the public moment for people to pay respects will happen this afternoon, just across the street from where we are.

Now, yesterday CNN had the chance to talk to Reverend Greg Drumwright who is involved in the organization of this event. Here's what he had to say about these continuous days of peaceful marches.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REV. GREG DRUMWRIGHT, PASTOR, THE CITADEL CHURCH: We are going to continue to apply pressure. Until the knee comes off of our necks, and our sons and daughters are treated with the decency and the respect and the sanctity that human life deserves.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHEN: And to remind folks, the family has seen about 20 seconds of body camera footage. As you mentioned, Fred, the judge, during the court hearing, denied the public release of any footage. But gave permission for the family to view more of the body camera footage that is available within the coming days.

And right now we are seeing everybody get ready behind us. They're passing out these little slips of paper to people involved. And just to give you an idea of what they're telling folks -- participants, they're asking people, per the wishes of the family, to keep everything peaceful, not to assault each other, to assault the issues instead, to remain non-violent. And also, not to speak to the media.

So they really want to control their own narrative here and we will be watching as things unfold, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. Natasha Chen in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. Thank you so much.

So Brown's death reignited calls for Congress to address police reform. Bipartisan talks led by Republican Senator Tim Scott, Democrats Senator Cory Booker and Congresswoman Karen Bass are ongoing. And this morning Senator Scott said he is optimistic Congress can come to a compromise.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SENATOR TIM SCOTT (R-SC): One of the reasons why I'm hopeful is because in a way this time, my friends on the left aren't looking for the issue, they're looking for a solution. And the things that I offered last year are more popular this year. That gives me reasons to be hopeful. We have literally been able to bring these two bills very close together, and if we remember the goal isn't for Republicans or Democrats to win, but for our communities to feel safer and our officers to feel respected -- if we can accomplish those two major goals, the rest will be history.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[14:04:55]

WHITFIELD: CNN's Suzanne Malveaux is on Capitol Hill. Suzanne, where do things stand? And do others share that same optimism?

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fred, Senator Tim Scott has a unique position here in terms of his credibility. And one of the reasons why, is this morning he was able to tell people that he had been pulled over by police officers 18 times for what he calls simply driving while black. And at the same time he also said that America is not a racist country.

When he was challenged on how does he square these two statements he said well they're lingering effects of racism and discrimination.

Fred, the fact that he can hold these two positions simultaneously gives him credit and garners some support among his white colleagues, Republicans on the Senate side, as well as the black Democrats, the negotiators like Senator Cory Booker and Congresswoman Karen Bass. Some sense of credibility here, that he can bring them together.

They also met with those family members, as you had mentioned before, just this past week, of George Floyd and others, impacted by police violence.

Here is the critical point here, it is qualified immunity. Can they get to a compromise on that? Scott says why don't you sue in civil lawsuits the departments instead of the individuals, give the police the wiggle room they need to do their jobs, and yet still be held accountable?

This is what he believes Democrats are actually going to compromise on. Take a listen, Fred.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SCOTT: The real question is, how do we change the culture of policing? I think we do that by making the employer responsible for the actions of the employee. We do that with doctors, we do that with lawyers, we do that almost all of our industries, and if we do that in law enforcement, the employer will change the culture.

So as opposed to having one officer change or not change, we'll have all officers transforming because the departments are taking on more of that burden. And frankly as I spoke with the family members on Thursday, they were very receptive to that proposal because what they're looking for is something that shows progress.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: So Fred, everyone is just simply looking for something that shows progress. We will see if those Democrats, just how far they have come, Senator Scott believes that there is some room -- some wiggle room here for compromise in negotiation.

Some things that they are in agreement are the bans on the choke hold, as well as the no knock warrants and also the creation of a national registry, a database for police officers who have been guilty, shown guilty of misconduct, not allowing them to simply move around to another police department.

Fred, look at a timetable, potentially the one-year anniversary of the death of George Floyd, that would be May 25th.

WHITFIELD: All right, Suzanne Malveaux, keep us posted on Capitol Hill, Thank you so much.

All right. Let's talk more about all of this. Joining me is right now is the host of CNN's "UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA", W. KAMAU BELL. Great to see you.

W. KAMAU BELL, CNN HOST: Good to see you.

WHITFIELD: So this issue of police reform, I mean it's not new. Community activists have been clamoring for change for decades now. Do you gauge from the people that you have spoken to that change is closer than it has been?

BELL: No, I don't gauge that at all. I mean I think that there are a lot of community activists and organizers who are taking it upon themselves to change their communities. Pastor Michael McBride who's in the episode tonight works with violence interrupters, the anti- police terror project out here in Oakland has started its own help line for people to call if they need help, but they don't want a police officer to call.

So I don't think people feel like change is on the horizon from the system. People are taking it upon themselves to make the change happen.

WHITFIELD: So the Andrew Brown Jr. case in North Carolina is the latest example, highlighting questions surrounding deadly force. A judge ruled that body cam video of that shooting should not be released to the public right now.

So how is it expected that there can be trust without transparency? What are you hearing?

BELL: I mean, imagine being the family of Andrew Brown who has been -- who was killed by police officers, you can't even just mourn, you have to immediately professionalize your mourning and turn it into a cause, and get people to come out for 12 days in a row, because the police won't be transparent with you.

WHITFIELD: Yes. I mean, it's just pain on top of pain for that family. Again, he's being laid to rest tomorrow.

Ok, so Kamau, you know, you tackle the issue of policing and calls for defunding the police in your first episode of this new season, "UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA". Here's a clip.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BELL: Wait a minute. Why don't we take some of that money back and like give it to people who are, you know, qualified to deal with those issues without killing folks in the process?

But at the same time why don't we put money back in the systems that build long-term sustainable public safety and build an economy for everyone. That's Defund 101.

[14:09:51]

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, if this was a business --- and we're giving 50 percent of our budget to one department that was failing across the board and killing people while they did so, you know, we would defund them immediately.

BELL: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Defund the police means we're taking money away from this current system where it's failing and investing in other systems that we think will succeed.

BELL: Sure.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It strips all that away and says just look at the numbers.

BELL: I think it's sort of beautiful. My dad will be happy to hear this. He's a numbers guy. That the accountants will save us.

The anti-racist accountants will save us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: So this issue of defunding the police, I mean it's -- obviously it's very polarizing.

(CROSSTALK)

BELL: Look at that, Fred, look at how we were talking about. Nobody was scared, we were all laughing. I think people are so afraid of the words that they don't actually Google it and look into it.

WHITFIELD: In fact, that's what I want to ask you because really, the issue is what is the definition of defunding the police? And your white board there -- you know, in part explained that. So is that really the root of the issue of the real disparity it's understanding what do people mean by defunding police?

BELL: Yes, I mean, I've taken on the title of CNN's head Googler -- I will look it up for you. The whole message of "UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA", I will Google that for you.

So hopefully, this issue which people get afraid of and people have been in my mentions all week arguing with me about it, if you just sit down and look at it, maybe you will lose some of the fear.

WHITFIELD: We're talking about all of this, you know, a little more than a week after former police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted in the murder of George Floyd, the outcome of that case, you know, spoke to accountability.

But it clearly didn't stop police-involved killings. So what did you hear from people about how much of a transformational moment this country may be in right now?

BELL: Well, let's talk about Daunte Wright. That was in the same general area as what happened to George Floyd. You would think if any police in the country would be on alert it would be police in that area and he was killed.

And then out here we have a man named Mario Gonzales who was killed by Alameda police officers in the same manner. He was held down and eventually passed out and died.

So this is really about looking at the entire system, not just individual acts around the country.

WHITFIELD: Yes, it's exhausting. It's sad. Kamau Bell, thank you so much.

Of course, don't miss an all new season of "UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA" with W. Kamau Bell, I saw that, tonight at 10:00 Eastern and Pacific only on CNN.

All right. Coming up, the unmasking of America, why one medical expert says the CDC is being too cautious with coronavirus guidelines.

Plus, former President Bush calling on fellow Republicans to curb the, quote, "white Anglo-Saxon Protestantism".

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The idea of kind of saying, you can only be a Republican "if", then the ultimate extension of that is it ends up being a one-person party.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Then later splashdown, four astronauts return to earth after a record setting mission.

[14:12:47]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back. Officials are now reimposing lockdowns in India as the nation suffers one of the world's worst COVID outbreaks. Nearly 3,700 deaths were reported in India over the last 24 hours, the highest daily rise of COVID-19 deaths reported in India so far. And experts believe the actual death toll could be nearly double that.

Joining me right now to discuss is Dr. Saju Mathew, a primary care physician and public health specialist in Atlanta. Good to see you, Dr. Mathew.

So you wrote a piece for CNN.com in June of last year in which you said India could suffer a beating if the virus were to get out of hand there. But at the same time the country's leadership Modi had issued a lockdown, and made sure that everybody was wearing masks and all of that in about March of last year.

But then what went wrong? What happened along the way?

DR. SAJU MATHEW, PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIAN: Yes. Hey, Fred, always nice seeing you.

Listen, this is my worst nightmare that has come true. I was born and raised in Nigeria to Indian parents and I've been to India so many times. I think a lot of things went wrong at the same time, taking the eyes off the virus for a minute -- that's very dangerous in a population of 1.4 billion people.

And listen to this, their mass vaccination efforts never took off. They've only vaccinated 2 percent of India's 1.4 billion people. Political rallies were going on, a huge Hindu festival where people jump into the holy water that had two to three million people together.

So I think all of that was going on when this variant was brewing. And now with this strain that was identified in India, it is reeling through India. I mean, I think we are underreporting, Fred, the number of people that are dying. We're not talking about the people that don't even make it out of the house to the hospitals. A lot of people are dying in their homes.

WHITFIELD: So you talk about those variants likely being a factor. What does this say to other countries who are lowering their restrictions, feeling like, ok, people are getting vaccinated, and it's time to move toward the progress of normalcy. Is there a fear that you have that the rest of the world may find themselves in the same demise as India?

DR. MATHEW: Of course, you know, we live in a global pandemic, Fred. And I think sometimes while it is so happy for us as Americans to see the glimmer of hope and the fact that we are doing much better, for me I can't even rest knowing that across the water, you know, 7,000 to 10,000 people are dying a day.

And for India right now the vaccines won't immediately help, Fred, it's going to be breaking that viral transmission. And I agree with Dr. Fauci, I think there has to be a national lockdown again, break the transmission, and simultaneously try to get the vaccines to India.

WHITFIELD: I know you said you were born in Nigeria but you do have family in India. How are they doing and what are they telling you about how they're navigating?

[14:20:00]

DR. MATHEW: A lot of them are just staying at home. You know, India really is a tale of two stories, really, the poor and the not so poor.

If you are fairly affluent, Fred, you can lock yourself up in your condo or in your home, but if you're poor you depend on going out to work, to be able to pay rent.

And like I said with these multi-generation families living together, if one person gets the virus, the entire house gets the virus. They're not testing enough.

There are huge, huge problems and luckily my relatives are doing ok but they constantly tell me. They say Saju listen, everything is really being underreported at this time.

WHITFIELD: Let's talk about how things are here in the U.S. with more than 100 million Americans now fully vaccinated. Listen to what CNN medical analyst Dr. Jonathan Reiner had to say just today about how the CDC has managed guidelines in the U.S.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: They've been both very competent since the new administration took over, and very cautious -- and I think too cautious.

What I know now with certainty is that if you have received both doses of an RNA vaccine or you're a couple weeks out from the J&J vaccine, you are very well immune.

And you no longer need masks in public. You can go into places without masks. And it's time for the CDC to start embracing this kind of bifurcated strategy, and perhaps giving the unvaccinated a hint of what life can be like if they become vaccinated.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: What do you think should be happening on the messaging of who should be wearing a mask right now, continue to wear a mask, and who is ok not doing so?

DR. MATHEW: Yes. You know, Fred, when the CDC came out with their guidelines and held this big press conference, we were all excited to see exactly how far CDC would go and the opening was we know that you don't have to wear a mask outdoors. Fred, we've known that for the last one year.

I think that if we have signs that tells us to be cautious, we should be cautious. But if we also have evidence and signs telling us that if you've been fully vaccinated, you are protecting yourself and others by 95 percent.

Of course, we know that you don't have to wear masks outside. I think indoors you still need to be safe.

But really what I worry about mostly are the young people, Fred, I see them all the day -- every day pretty much at work. How do you convince a 25-year-old who basically has been living his life in a pre-pandemic area and saying, listen, if you get vaccinated you don't have to go outside with a mask. And they're like, I know that already.

So I think that the CDC missed an opportunity to say, listen, we can return to pre-pandemic lives and you can do more if you're vaccinated. You can travel. You can travel internationally, carefully. Of course, you have to be careful.

You can also maybe fill stadiums again if people are fully vaccinated. What about indoor weddings? So I think when the science is there with positive news we must share that and motivate people to get vaccinated.

WHITFIELD: Dr. Saju Mathew, thanks so much. Always good to see you. Appreciate it. Be well.

DR. MATHEW: Thank you, Fred.

WHITFIELD: And straight ahead, Senator Mitt Romney gets the cold shoulder at the Republican convention in Utah.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: Thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[14:23:24]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: Former President George W. Bush is blasting members of the Republican Party for pushing to create an America First Caucus that many criticize for being racist and nativist.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: The idea of kind of saying, you can only be a Republican "if", then the ultimate extension of that is it ends up being a one-person party.

STEVE HAYES, "THE DISPATCH": But there are more of those people today than there were --

BUSH: I hope not.

HAYES: -- during the Republican Party in your time.

BUSH: I hope not. HAYES: Either that or they're louder. And many members of Congress,

they were talking about starting a caucus.

BUSH: Yes, well, you know, it's -- to me that basically says that we want to be extinct.

HAYES: We've seen other elements of that, some of the same people we're talking about, starting the Anglo-Saxon Caucus are the people who are hyping up the idea the election was stolen from Joe Biden.

BUSH: Yes.

HAYES: More than 50 percent of Republicans across the country think the election was stolen.

BUSH: Yes. I'm not --

HAYES: Do you?

BUSH: No.

HAYES: No.

BUSH: I guess I'm one of the other 50 percent. By the way, I'm still a Republican -- proud to be a Republican. I think Republicans will have a second chance to govern because I believe that the Biden administration is a uniting factor, and particularly on the fiscal side of things. So, you know, we'll see.

But I know this, that if the Republican Party stands for exclusivity, you know, used to be country clubs, now evidently it's white Anglo- Saxon Protestantism, then it's not going to win anything.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: The former president spoke on the podcast of "The Dispatch" about his new book "Out of Many, One: Portraits of America's Immigrants".

Scott Jennings is CNN political commentator and former special assistant to President George W. Bush. And Mia Love is a CNN political commentator and former Republican Congresswoman from Utah. Good to see both of you.

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Hey, Fred.

MIA LOVE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Hey.

(CROSSTALK)

[14:29:50]

WHITFIELD: All right. Scott, let me begin with you. You once worked for former President Bush. You know him well. What do you make of his comments? Is that coming out of a, you know, a deep source of frustration for him? [14:30:03]

Or why now is he speaking like that?

JENNINGS: Well, I mean, he's always been a pretty direct and forthright guy. And the politics of subtraction, which is frankly what President Trump has practiced, is not good for a political party, if it wants to grow and to win elections.

And so, when President Bush ran for office twice, I worked on both of his campaigns, you know, his goal to try to get as many people to feel like, hey, I belong in this party as possible, and, of course, you want a national popular vote in 2004 as well as the Electoral College.

So, George W. Bush well knows that adding people to a party is good and subtracting people from a party is bad if you intend for that party to be in the business of winning elections.

WHITFIELD: How do you answer that question that was asked, is it the fact that the Republican Party has been taken over by people who were simply louder or there were more of them who believe in this America first kind of approach.

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: Scott, if you could answer that one, and then Mia.

JENNINGS: Yeah, sure. Sorry, Mia, I'll be quick. I think that there are some people who want to be in charge of the Republican Party who want to be in charge of something for the sake of being in charge of it, not for the sake of winning elections.

I mean, look, we have direct empirical evidence Donald Trump is not good at winning elections and not very good at leading other Republicans to win elections. Yet they want to maintain him as the head of the party. But that's not for their own personal benefit, it's not for the benefit of the party and not for the benefit of having Republicans return to a governing stature in either the Congress or in the White House.

WHITFIELD: Uh-huh. OK. Mia, I want to get your thoughts on that.

LOVE: Well, I think President -- former President Bush was exactly right. It's interesting because I remember just really getting involved in politics when he was president and when he was talking about America I felt included in that America. I felt like I was part of that team of Americans that he was trying to help and build up.

And I -- again, this is -- he is absolutely when you're looking at representative Marjorie Taylor Greene saying that she's going to create this Anglo-Saxon caucus, it sends a clear message that --

WHITFIELD: So, you're not feeling the --

LOVE: -- the Republican Party has been trying to stay away from.

WHITFIELD: Right. So, you're not feeling the inclusion is there, instead the mantra is exclusion?

LOVE: I absolutely believe the mantra is exclusion, because in that caucus, they are actually stating, this is what they believe, the American tradition is, it's Anglo-Saxon. And I would also say to myself would I -- is this a caucus I would be able to join as a Republican, as person who grew up with --

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: Do you feel like you're in that now? I'm sorry to interrupt you.

LOVE: No, no, it's fine.

WHITFIELD: What do you feel about that now? Do you feel, even though you're hearing this, and you're dissecting it and saying, yes, there's a mantra of exclusion, but do you feel like you still have a place there, or are you still very much Republican and on board with the party?

LOVE: I am very much Republican, I am very much going to do everything I can to make sure I remind people who we are. I'm going to stand in this place of fiscal discipline with a government of personal responsibility. And there are some good people out there.

I am a great fan and friend of Tim Scott. I think Tim Scott did a fantastic job. I think he is the type of Republican that we need to make sure that people get exposed to, as opposed to the Marjorie Taylor Greene's.

WHITFIELD: So, Mia, yesterday in your home state of Utah, Senator Mitt Romney got a rather rough welcome when he spoke at the GOP convention there, he was met by booing, largely because of his vote to impeach former President Trump. Here's a listen, if you missed it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R-UT): I don't have the fact that I wasn't a fan of our last president's character issues. And I'm also no fan --

(BOOS)

ROMNEY: Aren't you embarrassed?

And I'm also no fan of the president's -- yeah, sure.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My friends, this is the moment I was talking about. Please, thank you, show respect.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: All right. So, Mia, I heard you lost audio. Can you hear me? Or did you indeed lose audio?

I think she's lost audio. Scott, how about you? What is this representative of? What does this

tell you about this fracture within the party that Romney, you know, is unable to defend his position without being met by boos within his state party?

JENNINGS: Well, there's no doubt that most of the grassroots supporters of the Republican Party are loyal to Donald Trump and they don't think he should have been impeached.

[14:35:01]

Mitt Romney has a disagreement with that.

And, you know, these folks have been very vocal about that, really for the last couple of years with Romney's disagreements on Trump.

What also happened at the convention was they had a vote on whether the censure mitt Romney --

WHITFIELD: Yeah.

JENNINGS: -- and the vote (AUDIO GAP).

And what I also know is this, all those people in that room voted for Mitt Romney for president and they voted for George W. Bush and they voted for Donald Trump. And I what President Bush said in the earlier piece was correct, that Joe Biden and the Democratic move to the left, that has been a unifying force.

So I fully expect there are going to be intraparty squabbles over Trump, and especially with people like Mitt Romney but when it comes down to it, the party has to unify around the idea that if we keep fighting amongst ourselves, we're going to lose the country to the left which is what's happening right now.

WHITFIELD: All right. Mia, I understand you have audio now.

LOVE: Yes.

WHITFIELD: And I imagine you had already seen, you know, what Mitt Romney was met with when he was at the GOP convention.

LOVE: Right.

WHITFIELD: So then what are your views, is this representative of, you know, a party that can indeed come together, or one that will continue to be fractured?

LOVE: Yeah, there was also a vote there, I don't know if everybody saw that, but there was a vote to censure. And it was 798-711, which was very close.

The booing is, I think -- it's disrespectful. You may not like someone. You may not like some of their policies, but at some point, we're going to have to treat each other with respect and I really don't think he deserved what he got yesterday. So I totally agree, also, with Scott that if we're going to unite as a

party. There are some very, very specific issues that we are going to have to face with the Biden administration that is going to be, I think, very detrimental for Americans. So we're going to have to get together and see how we're going to unite this party, talk about the things that we believe in, and make the best decisions for the American people going forward.

WHITFIELD: Yeah. So, Mia, that thing called respect, when do you think it is coming?

LOVE: Well, I think that as long as we're having conversations like this, and we are, the authors of our own history, at least we'll -- I think that there's going to be hope. The more people that are respectful can out -- can call out the ones that aren't.

WHITFIELD: All right. Mia Love, Scott Jennings, thanks so much, good to see both of you. I'm glad we worked out the audio as well. We can all hear each other.

LOVE: Thank you.

JENNINGS: Thanks, Fred.

WHITFIELD: Appreciate it.

All right. Up next, so where are the workers? The labor force out there? A labor shortage hitting Americans in their wallets.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:41:37]

WHITFIELD: President Biden and Vice President Harris are hitting the road this week to sell the massive American recovery plan, making stops in Virginia, Wisconsin and Louisiana. The president's pitch for more government money to pay for child care, community college, health care and infrastructure, like roads, bridges and the power grid.

But his real fight is likely to be in Congress where the president has a slim majority in the House and no room to maneuver in the U.S. Senate.

Let's bring in Austan Goolsbee. He's an economics professor at the University of Chicago business school and a former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Obama, and Diane Swonk, chief economist at Grant Thornton and an adviser to the Federal Reserve Board.

Good to see both of you.

So, Diane, you first -- Biden has a tough road ahead, you know, to sell this plan to Congress. What parts of the plan could actually have the biggest economic impacts?

DIANE SWONK, CHIEF ECONOMIST, GRANT THORNTON: Well, I think it's really important that we delineate between what just got passed, the $1.9 trillion in emergency aid and stimulus, which really does juice the economy today and that's transitory, to these longer term infrastructure issues neglected for decades including everything from the infrastructure of roads and the electrical grid, climate change, broadband access, to issues of education.

So it really is important also we have to think about pulling in and improving our talent pool, but pulling women in, in a way, back into the economy after sidelines them, and sending them back what could be over a generation in their earning potential because of what happened to the pandemic.

So, I do think it's important to look at all of these issues in their entirety, and think about -- have some real priorities the terms of understanding that the infrastructure problems we have today are contributing to the bottlenecks we're facing in the economy as we want to unleash the economy and let it rip.

It's also an issue that many baby boomers over the last year have retired, the pandemic accelerated retirements, and to deal with the tsunami of aging demographics, we really need to invest in our people, not only deal with inequities on gender and race but also bring people back into the economy and give them the skills they need to, to compete over the next several years.

WHITFIELD: And then, Austan, reportedly there are worker shortages, you know, across the country, restaurants, delivery drivers for gasoline, retail workers, just a few of the industries that are saying they don't have enough workers. But at the same time I see some of these headlines, you know, which say 9.7 million people are actively seeking work but businesses are reporting major labor shortages. Explain what that means, how can you have both?

AUSTAN GOOLSBEE, ECONOMICS PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO BUSINESS SCHOOL: Well, you've got a few things going on. I mean, there are short supplies of a whole bunch of things, computer chips and lumber and steel and workers, all over the board, partly because we all battened down the hatches in the down turn. As we come out, you're going to -- you're going to have hiccups in the supply chain, at the least.

I think the way to square the circle that we've had two phenomenal months of job growth. Last month, we added about a million jobs in a single month, and they were concentrated in exactly the sectors where people are saying they're having a hard time hiring leisure and hospitality.

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They added something like a quarter million jobs just in that sector. But you -- what Diane raised remains a huge problem, that you've got millions of workers whose kids can't go back to school and there's not affordable day care, and you can't leave a 7-year-old at home all day by themselves. So there are millions of workers who cannot go back to work because they don't have coverage on that front. And then the second is, there's still hundreds of millions of people

in the United States without vaccination. And they don't want to go to work in sectors with a lot of face-to-face contact where they might get the disease. So, we've got to address those two things, before you're going to really see the job markets start to ease back up again.

WHITFIELD: Diane, to your point, this is where the infrastructure proposals come in to play. You know, so we know that there's going to be a lot of compromising, in order to finally shape something. What areas can afford, I guess, to be trimmed, based on what is already being proposed?

SWONK: Well, I think you have to decide on where is there overlap? There is clear overlap in what people traditionally think of bridges and roads and repairs to those kinds of infrastructure, also there's a lot of overlap in getting broadband out to rural areas, and into urban areas that are not covered. That really made a difference in terms of the ability to work from home, but learn from home, and isolated entire communities, and we need to change that.

So I think there is a lot of overlap in those areas. On the education and child care front, I fear there's less overlap and that worries me because of what Austan pointed to, and that is that we know that childcare and access to childcare is one of the main reasons we're not participating particularly women of color have been left behind, and not able to rejoin the labor force.

There's also another issue I want to add on to what dove dovetailed into what Austan said. Yes, there's people waiting for vaccines. It's two to six weeks for them to get fully vaccinated to go back to those high-risk areas, high contagion areas, if in fact the virus still got variance out there, but the other for them to fully efficacy of the vaccines.

But also, many of these populations suffered the worst in the reality of COVID, not only did they get COVID, they suffer it had fatalities in their family so they have a fear factor in terms of returning. But also, the health care issues, they've got long haul COVID, as much as 30 percent of people have had COVID have had long haul COVID. These are people without paid sick leave.

So, you know, in order to get everybody back, we have to address many of these very issues that the pandemic exacerbated in terms of inequality.

WHITFIELD: Wow, I mean you all just underscored how comprehensive it is. There's no simple solution. It's going to take -- it's a herculean task to get everybody kind of on board.

Austan Goolsbee, Diane Swonk, thanks so much to both of you. Really appreciate it.

GOOLSBEE: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right. Still ahead -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: SpaceX copies and concurs, nominal decent rate on two drogues. Continuing to hear good news after good news.

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WHITFIELD: We need some good news, don't we? A safe return for four astronauts who just completed a record-breaking mission.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know if you can hear the applause. But we have visual confirmation of the Crew-1 Resilience capsule.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is excellent news. We are splashed down.

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WHITFIELD: That is jubilance, a successful end to a record-breaking mission in space this morning when four astronauts safely returned to earth, splashing down in the Gulf of Mexico.

This is the commander of Crew-1 stepping onto Earth for the first time since November, after spending more than five months at the International Space Station, doing a little jig there too.

All right. This trip marking a major milestone for the United States as its longest trip for any U.S. crew launched from an American built spacecraft.

All right. The U.K. is celebrating today as well because it is Princess Charlotte's 6th birthday.

And to mark the occasion the duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, has released this new picture of her daughter, that she took this weekend. Oh, my gosh she looks so much like William, doesn't she? Charlotte is fourth in line to the British throne, following her brother Prince George who turns 8 in July.

About an hour's drive south of Denver, you'll find the Garden of the Gods towering sand stone formations reaching for the sky. And with more than 20 miles of trails it's a great place to do some socially distanced exploring, in this "Off the Beaten Path".

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JOHN STARK, PARK MANAGER, GARDEN OF THE GODS: Garden of the Gods Park is truly incredible. This is a city owned and operated park right in the middle of Colorado Springs. The park's available to the public, to come free of charge. There's over 20 miles of trails in the park, and those trails range from soft surface trails to paved accessible trails that wind through the central garden.

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When you see these rocks 300 feet soaring over the central garden, anybody can come here and appreciate its beauty.

ANNA CORDOVA, ARCHAEOLOGIST: There's millions of years of history just in the geology and the paleontology that we find here in the park. It's beautiful to look at but it also holds such significance for so many people, both in the past and the present, and into the future.

STARK: Garden of the Gods Park really is a way to get away and escape, have an adventure like rock climbing, get on a horse, go explore those trails, it's just a place for an adventure and a great place to get outside with your family and friends, to remain physically distant, and to enjoy the outdoors in a way that can give you peace of mind, and feel like you're in a world apart.

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