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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA

Carly Fiorina Tries to Build Momentum, Business Record Questioned; Senate Considers Abortion Bill Ahead of Pope's Visit; Latinos Take on Donald Trump; Volkswagen Accused of Cheating on Emission Tests. Aired 11:30a-Noon ET

Aired September 22, 2015 - 11:30   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[02:33:16] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Down goes Walker! Down goes Walker! Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin running low on cash, running even lower in the polls. Now the second Republican to quit the presidential race. On the way out, he made a pretty peculiar request for others to quit with him, all in the name of beating Donald Trump. Walker was the front-runner in Iowa just a few months ago, but as you can see, he ended up nationally in the asterisk club.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: His exit might help Carly Fiorina, others as well. Her numbers have been on the rise since the CNN debate last week. And now she's trying to build on that momentum, campaigning in South Carolina today, fresh off an appearance on "The Tonight Show." Just look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(SINGING)

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: There you go.

Let's talk about this. Probably not the song, but a little bit more with someone who knows Carly Fiorina very well. Martin Wilson was her campaign manager from her bid for Senate, when she ran for Senate back in 2010.

Martin, thanks so much for joining us.

Let me ask you if you can also repeat that song, but we'll leave that for a little later. One of the things that she is now facing right now are some stinging attacks on her business record. This is something that she could not survive back in 2010 in her race for Senate against Barbara Boxer. Why didn't she survive those attacks then?

[11:35:00] MARTIN WILSON, FORMER CAMPAIGN MANGER FOR CARLY FIORINA: Remember, she was running for United States Senate against a very popular, powerful incumbent, Barbara Boxer. California is a deep blue state. So, while those attacks maybe resonated with general election voters, the fact is they tried those attacks in a very competitive Republican primary and they didn't -- they didn't work at all. So I think over the long haul people will make those judgments about Carly's business record and they're going to compare them and put them in contrast to other candidates and some of the problems that they have in their background, a record they have to defend.

BERMAN: Well, but look, if she's running as a CEO, and that's her main basis of experience, there is a lot of criticism on that experience. As you say, I mean, you were part of 2010. When Barbara Boxer started running those ads, Fiorina was essentially tied before that and then her numbers plummeted. Does she have a way to respond to the fact that profitability, you know, declined, that the share price was cut in half, that 30,000 people were laid off?

WILSON: Again, I think that people will have to look at the context of when she had to make those decisions, those very tough choices. That's when the economy was in something of a freefall. The tech market -- there was a bust in the tech market here in California and across the country. The fact is, she fought hard and made some tough decisions to save a company.

BOLDUAN: What's your advice for Carly Fiorina this time around? How she should approach it differently in order to be able to survive those attacks. Because it's really, the higher she rises in the poll, the more sharp the scrutiny is going to be, and these attacks are already coming, especially from Donald Trump. We saw it in the debate.

WILSON: Well, Donald Trump's got his own business record to defend. So, I think that's a match that Carly would very much Benefit from and, frankly, win. The fact is Carly has to continue to talk about what she's comfortable with and what's helping her candidacy, which is the fact she's an outsider, accomplished, a charismatic leader, she knows how to make tough decisions and she's the kind of outsider the Republican voter appears to be looking for, who can lead and govern.

BERMAN: Scott Walker quit the race yesterday. On his way out, he made an interesting request, essentially for other people to drop out with him. You look at the 11 people on that stage. Who on that stage would you recommend drop out?

WILSON: Well, I could recommend 10 of them should drop out and let's just -- let's get this over with and make Carly the nominee.

BERMAN: Martin Wilson, thank you so much for being with us. Appreciate your help on this matter.

WILSON: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Thank you.

Just in for us, a couple days before the pope is set to deliver a very major address to a joint session of Congress, the Senate voting just now on a bill that bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Let's get to Manu Raju, who's live on Capitol Hill with the very latest.

So what happened with this vote? Tell us the context of it.

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Yeah, Democrats blocked this bill from going forward. It would ban abortions after 20 weeks. This bill failed 54-42. They needed six votes to overcome that Democratic filibuster. You saw a handful of moderates on both sides vote on -- defect from their respective parties.

But what this really is, Kate, is a larger effort by the Republican leadership to try to extricate the abortion fight from the larger battle about keeping the government open by the end of the month. What the Senate Republican leaders want to do, channel that frustration toward Planned Parenthood, toward separate legislative options and move on attacking abortion that is not tied to government funding.

So, this bill happened today, is almost a symbolic gesture. No one thought it would be enacted but it was a way to show their base, they're fighting on the issue of abortion. And, yes, timed to the pope's visit, which they hope also goes a ways in pushing their message against abortion and abortion rights.

BOLDUAN: We'll see what happens then. The speech is coming up.

Manu, thank you very much. Breaking news off Capitol Hill with that vote. Coming up for us, Latinos taking on Donald Trump. Some of the music's

biggest stars using music to celebrate the Spanish heritage and combating the negativity surrounding Latinos, they say. We'll talk to Grammy Award-winning producer, Emilio Estefan, next, about this.

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[11:43:18] BERMAN: Donald Trump tweets a lot, but he took it one step further. He staged a Twitter chat with anyone who wanted to ask questions using the #askTrump.

BOLDUAN: Some of them -- probably not surprising when it comes to Twitter. A lot of people submitted some snarky comments that he ignored, but those that submitted honest questions, received an immediate on-camera response. Here's a sampling of his responses.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & CEO, TRUMP ORGANIZATION: As far as gun control is concerned, I'm very pro Second Amendment.

Joe Flacco is actually a very elite quarterback.

I won't take money other than the small stuff. I won't take even $1. I'm totally giving up my salary.

Never, ever give up. Never quit.

I will totally protect Israel.

People just give up. Ultimately they have no money and become homeless.

The fact that Tony Romo got hurt is a terrible thing for the Dallas Cowboys. I think Tony is a great guy. I know him.

Listen to what I say. First thing I do in my first day as president is close up our borders so that illegal immigrants cannot come into our country. We have tremendous problems.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: The questions and answers kind of really ran the gamut there. But, you heard at the end, Trump's hard-line stance on immigration has caused a strong backlash, even before that Twitter question and answer, especially from Latinos. In response, the celebrated music producer, Emilio Estefan, pulled together quite a list of heavy-hitters in the music industry for a music video titled "We're All Mexican." Look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(SINGING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[11:45:11] BERMAN: Emilio Estefan, winner of 19 Grammy Awards, joins us now.

Thank you for being with us.

EMILIO ESTEFAN, MUSIC PRODUCER: You're welcome. Thank you for having me.

BOLDUAN: Good to see you.

BERMAN: This seems like a clear reaction to Donald Trump and what he's been saying on the presidential campaign over the last few months. What message were you trying to send?

ESTEFAN: Well, really it's not about him. He didn't start the whole thing, but I saw a lot of people saying a lot of negative things about Latinos. I think this Spanish Heritage Month and I said, there's no better way to show how much we appreciate and the contribution of Latinos in the United States and we're living the American dream. He started the whole thing and people think it's totally against him. He has -- anything he wants to say, he can say. I think Latinos are proud to live in America. You see the contribution of those in this video about every single -- all the way to President Obama, those who go on and fight for this country, making contribution, people who love this country. That's the message.

BOLDUAN: You said you've known Donald Trump for many, many years. Have you had the opportunity to talk to him since he's launched his presidential bid, since he's said things that have been perceived as anti-Mexican?

ESTEFAN: No. Listen, I wish I could have talked to him about it. I don't have a problem. We have a problem with 11 million people. We need to fix that. I think we need to find a solution. To me, the only problem is that anybody who is going to be in the White House has to be somebody who wants to bring people together, reunite people. He has to be a person for everybody. It's a way to solve problems and a way people understand, that when you deal with 11 million people, it's a problem. We know we have to stop the border. We have to stop the way people come into the United States without any legal way to do it. But I think in the long run, it's going to happen. It's been many years and nobody has done anything about it so I hope -- this video is about Spanish heritage and celebrating the United States. I hope he can see it, that way he can see it's not about him. It's about our culture, our people.

BERMAN: He watches CNN, there's no question about it. He watches a lot. You said you haven't had a chance to talk to him, so if you did call him up, what would you say, cut it out?

ESTEFAN: Every single day, the presidential candidate, they usually have people advising. I hope he can get some people who will tell him a better way to solve this problem. Like I say, when you send a message and you attack somebody, that's why we all say, we're all Mexican. The Mexican people are uptight in a big way. When you attack them, you attack all Latinos.

BOLDUAN: With this, you brought together more than two dozen Latino musicians, artists, other celebrities all coming together. I wanted to ask you about one celebrity in particular because it's a very big moment for her, your wife, Gloria. She's going to be singing for the pope. I mean, she sung -- the crowds she's sang before are huge. What is it like? Tell me about this. She's going to be singing for the pope.

ESTEFAN: When we got that call, it was a moment of pride. She's so happy. This pope is definitely a guy who's changing. You see somebody who put people together, making a difference. It's a big honor. She's so happy. We met him already in the Vatican. We talked to him, John Paul.

BERMAN: Is it hard to sing for a pope?

ESTEFAN: It's hard.

(CROSSTALK)

ESTEFAN: Especially doing the conga, you have to do a ballad.

(LAUGHTER)

Latinos, it's about that, the American dream. It's about achieving things you never feel you'll do in your life. This country is about that. Spanish Heritage Month, it's so important to have moments like this.

BOLDUAN: It's such a moment for both of you.

ESTEFAN: And we have the play coming up, so we're ready for that.

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: Presales are great.

ESTEFAN: Presales are fantastic. It was sold out. Rave reviews. We're happy.

BOLDUAN: I need to stay close and be in Emilio's orbit.

ESTEFAN: I love that.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: -- everything you touch.

BERMAN: Emilio Estefan, thank you so much. Great to see you.

ESTEFAN: Thank you so much for inviting me.

BOLDUAN: Thank you.

ESTEFAN: You're welcome.

BERMAN: All right, history in the making. Any moment right now, Pope Francis will be taking off, leaving Cuba, to arrive here in the United States. This is his first trip ever to the United States. A very rare, practically unheard of greeting schedule by the president. We'll have all our coverage coming up. Stay with us.

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[11:53:00] BERMAN: Volkswagen is accused of breathtaking malfeasance and a cover-up, cheating on emissions tests and now we're learning it might be bigger than we thought we knew. The company now says that 11 million vehicles may have been affected. Moments ago, the CEO apologized again, saying, "I'm endlessly sorry that we betrayed the trust of millions. Swift clarification has utmost priority to make it very clear manipulation at V.W. must never happen again."

BOLDUAN: And V.W. has set aside more than $7 billion for recalls, but the final cost to the company could be much higher and run much deeper. The stock has lost one-third of the value in two days.

CNN's chief business correspondent, Christine Romans, has been looking at it.

And it is just amazing.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: It is. This is going to be one for the corporate business books. You have a company that has come out to rip up the profit for cast saying that it is going to be costing us a lot of money, and we will never do it again. U.S. regulators in a potential criminal probe here with a cap of about $18 billion in penalties and fines, so just the beginning for Volkswagen.

Listen to how the U.S. president and CEO put it when he made his own apology.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL HORN, PRESIDENT & CEO, VOLKSWAGEN, USA: Let's be clear about this, the company was dishonest with the EPA, with the California Resources Board, and with all of you. And in my German words, we have totally screwed up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Totally screwed up. And the shareholders and the company are being punish and a one-third of the value gone in two day, and the investors don't know where it is going the go next. This is a company incredibly important for Europe and German economy, and you got calls from the world's most powerful leaders to expand the probe to other automakers, too, to bring confidence back into the industry.

BERMAN: Screwed up under plays it. They engineered their cars to cheat on the emissions tests.

(CROSSTALK)

ROMANS: And that means that cars are dirtier than they look. And it means that the U.S. EPA regulators were misled by a year by Volkswagen. The investigations are beginning her here, but it is breathtaking in the magnitude.

BERMAN: They lied and cheat and engineered their car to make them look cleaner.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: And you think it could go further?

[11:55:15] ROMANS: Well, look, 11 million cars, and 500,000 targeted in the U.S., and you know, I have been asking people if they think that the other auto companies were doing, this and they say no. The French finance minister says he does not believe that other European auto makers were doing it, but he wants them all scrubbed so they can get some respectability back.

And remember, this is about emissions standards to make the air cleaner to breathe, and if you have a company programming the emissions software to make sure it is only clear when it is tested and not on the road.

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: And designing cars to pollute more. ROMANS: They say it will never happen again at V.W. And I wonder how

many people will keep their job, and who is going to be keeping the promises next.

BOLDUAN: How they thought they could get away with it is the amazing part.

Thank you, Christine.

ROMANS: Thank you.

BERMAN: And we will leave you now with live pictures from Cuba, in Santiago, and I believe we have live pictures, and there he is, Pope Francis with Raul Castro getting ready to leave Cuba.

BOLDUAN: He is boarding the plane and heading to the United States, and the first stop is Washington, D.C. As we know, he is going to be greeted by the president of the United States. And that momentous occasion, we will cover it live.

And the special coverage for us will continue right after this break.

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