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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA

Attempted Stabbing Foiled in Jerusalem; Clinton, Sanders Dominate in First Democratic Showdown; Did Webb, O'Malley, Chafee Break Through in Debate; Could Joe Biden Be in Next Debate; Trump Reacts to Democratic Debate. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired October 14, 2015 - 11:00   ET

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


[11:00:00] CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Christine Romans, thank you.

Thank you for joining me today. I'm Carol Costello.

AT THIS HOUR starts right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, I'm John Berman.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I am Kate Bolduan. Thank you so much for joining us.

We begin with breaking news out of Israel AT THIS HOUR. This morning, a man attempted to stab a private bodyguard at the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem.

BERMAN: The attacker wearing a military style T-shirt was shot by Israeli soldiers who were already in the area. He died on the spot. Tensions have been so high in recent weeks with several Israelis killed in what's being called terror attacks. Palestinians killed, too, some allegedly behind the attacks, others in clashes with authorities.

CNN senior international correspondent, Ben Wedeman, live for us now from Jerusalem.

Ben, what's the very latest?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the latest is that the situation now has been pretty much cleared up. The Israeli authorities are also quite -- often quite good at doing that. But this was the first attack of the day. So when we went well into the afternoon with no events happening, people started breathing a sigh of relief after yesterday, there were five attacks in Jerusalem and elsewhere in Israel, leaving at least three people dead, many more wounded. Now, we did arrive to see, as the medical personnel wrapped the body in a back plastic body bag and carried it up the stairs. I'm going to step out of the way so you can see the scene better. You see those men down there are using water and a broom. They are removing the last traces of the blood of the attacker who, of course, is dead. He took at least a dozen bullets by the many Israeli police and border police who are stationed here. Now, there was a rather odd somewhat disturbing scene a little while ago. As we watched a group of Palestinian residents of east Jerusalem standing around where there was still a pool of blood, praying for the attacker. Now, you can explain it by the fact that there's such a varying perception between how Israelis see t these attacks and how Palestinians see these attacks. Many Palestinians, despite the evidence to the contrary, often believe that these people were simply shot in cold blood and framed. In other cases, they say it was a justified attack for nationalistic reasons, regardless of the explanation. That is what we saw. We also saw Israeli police and border guards stopping Palestinians, checking their I.D.s. But certainly now that we've had the first attack of the day, the level of alert, the level of alarm is way back up to where the levels it was yesterday. And, of course, the worry is there could be more attacks yet -- John?

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. And, Ben, you talk about the varying perception of these attacks. But there's also been, in the aftermath, a varying perception of the government's response in trying to quell the violence and stop the tensions and ease the tensions. You see a lot of people talking about a fear that this is dividing the city of Jerusalem. What are you hearing? What are you seeing?

WEDEMAN: Well, effectively, it is divided because there's so much distrust and fear between the two sides that by and large, except perhaps for the old city where you have a Jewish quarter, a Christian quarter, an Armenian quarter and a Muslim quarter, people don't mix anymore. That's a thing of the past in a sense. And as far as the government response, the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, specifically his security cabinet, met for hours late into the night to try to come up with measures to stop this wave of attacks. They're talking about closing off Palestinian neighborhoods, of increasing even more the security presence in and around Jerusalem and Israel. They're talking about confiscating the property of attackers, revoking their residency rights. But it's unlikely to satisfy an Israeli public that is being reminded of the level of fear that this city lived under, for instance, during the darkest days of the second intifada when there was one suicide bombing after another. And you just have to look at the numbers in opinion polls. There is an opinion poll published over the weekend that said that 73 percent of the Israeli population is either dissatisfied or strongly dissatisfied with how Prime Minister Netanyahu is dealing with this process. The general opinion seems to be, regardless of who you speak to on the Israeli side, is that the government needs to do more to stop this wave of attacks -- Kate?

BERMAN: Now, Secretary of State Kerry says he will head to the region soon to help calm the violence, but it's unclear if either side is receptive to whatever treaties he brings with him.

Ben Wedeman, thanks for being with us. Appreciate it.

[11:05:28] The Democratic presidential debate now here in Las Vegas. So where does the campaign stand today? Did Hillary Clinton show that her 26th presidential primary debate is the charm?

BOLDUAN: Is that how --

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: 26th.

(LAUGHTER)

BOLDUAN: And did Bernie Sanders prove himself to be presidential? Did the other three candidates on the stage have a badly needed breakout moment? And did this debate change the course of the 2016 race and change the course of human history?

Here's a look at the debate in two minutes. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON COOPER, DEBATE MODERATOR: Are you all ready?

(CHEERING)

COOPER: All right.

HILLARY CLINTON, (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: I have a range of views, but they are rooted in my values and my experience.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (I), VERMONT & DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We're going to win because, first, we're going to explain what Democratic Socialism is. And I think we should look to countries like Denmark, like Sweden.

CLINTON: But we are not Denmark. I love Denmark. We're the United States of America.

MARTIN O'MALLEY, (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & FORMER MARYLAND GOVERNOR: One of the things that was not reported during that heartbreaking night of unrest in Baltimore was that arrests had actually fallen to a 38-year low.

LINCOLN CHAFEE, (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & FORMER RHODE ISLAND GOVERNOR: Anderson, you're looking at a block of granite when it comes to the issue.

(CROSSTALK)

CHAFEE: It seems like pretty soft granite, though. You've been a Republican. You've been an independent and now a Democrat.

(LAUGHTER)

CHAFEE: You heard what I said.

COOPER: Secretary Clinton, is Bernie Sanders tough enough on guns?

CLINTON: No, not at all.

JIM WEBB, (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & FORMER SENATOR: I will say this. I've been waiting for 10 minutes. I will say this -- COOPER: You're over your time.

WEBB: Well, you've let a lot of people go over their time.

SANDERS: I am no a pacifist, yet I happen to belief from the bottom of my heart that war should be the last resort.

CLINTON: But tonight I want to talk not about my e-mails but about what the American people want from the next president.

COOPER: Senator Sanders?

SANDERS: The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn e-mails.

(LAUGHTER)

CLINTON: Thank you. Me, too. Me, too.

(APPLAUSE)

COOPER: Secretary Clinton, do you want to respond?

CLINTON: No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do Black Lives Matter, or do all lives matter?

SANDERS: We need to combat institutional racism.

O'MALLEY: The point that the Black Lives Matter movement is making is a very, very legitimate and serious point.

CLINTON: Everybody on this stage has changed a position or two. I never took a position on keystone until I took a position on Keystone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why should Latino voters trust you now when you left them at the altar at the moment when reform was very close?

SANDERS: I didn't leave anybody at the altar.

CLINTON: There is such a difference between everything you're hearing here on this stage and what we hear from the Republicans.

O'MALLEY: Donald Trump, that carnival barker in the Republican Party.

COOPER: So would you shut down the NSA surveillance program?

SANDERS: Absolutely. Of course.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You said you smoked marijuana twice. It didn't quite work for you.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN: What a way to end.

(LAUGHTER)

We'll leave it hanging right there.

BOLDUAN: Just leave it there.

BERMAN: Let's discuss this with CNN political commentators, Dan Pfeiffer and Kevin Madden. Dan was a senior adviser to President Obama. Kevin was a top adviser to Mitt Romney's two presidential campaigns.

Dan Pfeiffer, as the resident Democrat at the table, why is today different than yesterday? What changed after this first Democratic debate?

DAN PFEIFFER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think Hillary Clinton came into this debate strong. She comes out stronger. She's had a tough summer. This is her first moment, I think, to begin what is a critical phase between the debate and then the upcoming testimony before the Benghazi committee, and she's in a good place. I think Sanders had a good night. I think he didn't lose any votes, but he probably didn't gain any either. And Martin O'Malley who I don't think he had the moment he needed to have to break out into the top tier here.

BOLDUAN: So when we talked yesterday ahead of the debate, one of the conversations that we had, the goal of the Clinton campaign for her going in was to cut through the politics.

Kevin, did she cut through the politics?

KEVIN MADDEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I don't think so. Look, let me agree with Dan on the fact that I think she came out stronger inside the context of a Democratic primary, but what two things happened. I think on the politics question, she got piper political when she used that phrase about Republicans being her enemies. There's still a general election ahead. I think that kind of divisive talk doesn't help you in a general election. That's one of the big things. But I think ultimately, she still has -- I think she got what she wanted which is essentially a two-person race. Unless with her and Bernie Sanders. Unless Joe Biden gets in.

BOLDUAN: Not her and Lincoln Chaffee?

BERMAN: You witnessed the Hillary Clinton debate phenomenon.

PFEIFFER: Right.

BERMAN: 25 times when you were working for President Obama. You will admit you lost maybe 25 times. No, she performed best on points --

PFEIFFER: Right.

BERMAN: -- n the majority of those debates.

PFEIFFER: Right.

BERMAN: You say. However, it sometimes had a different effect on the electorate.

PFEIFFER: Right.

BERMAN: Could that be happening here? Are there ways that Bernie Sanders could have picked up some support from viewers?

[11:09:58] PFEIFFER: I think he -- we treat -- like in politics and the media, we treat debates as Olympic events. If you win the most debates, you win the nomination and election, and that's not the case. I think it's interesting that Bernie Sanders, despite all the pundits like ourselves, saying that Hillary had a great night, and I think she did, Sanders did very well in the focus groups and very well in the online polls and Facebook and stuff like that. I think that says two things. I don't think that's representative of public opinion. It says that Sanders still has -- even if he's not the most electable candidate, the most resonant message and the most intense support. That will be helpful to him. We had a similar phenomenon with Obama. He didn't get the best grades always, says but the focus groups and online polls supported him.

BOLDUAN: And do you think -- did Hillary do no harm in that regard of needing to win over, at some point, the Bernie Sanders' army of support? Those strong supporters? I mean, you heard the applause line when he says "your damn e-mails" last night.

MADDEN: She solidified her support in the context of a Democratic primary. One of the problems was the overall suggestion and this sort of race to get just barely to the left of Sanders by Hillary Clinton has pulled the entire conversation inside the Democratic Party to the left. And that, again, becomes a very problematic -- that becomes a problem for her in her general election. Essentially she described herself as a proud progressive, which is a cleaned-up version of the word "I'm a liberal." And that, I think, is music to Republicans' ears when we're going to look at a general election contest.

BERMAN: Do you think Bernie Sanders in that sense, Dan, won the debate in terms of winning the subject matter of the debate even before the debate started?

PFEIFFER: No, I don't think so. I think that the Bernie Sanders had, like, a fine debate, I think. I think the party is -- has moved into progressive populist way in the last several years.

BERMAN: Does that mean it's literal, what Madden says?

PFEIFFER: Look, I'm not one --

(CROSSTALK)

MADDEN: Democratic Socialist.

PFEIFFER: Democratic Socialist. I'm not one who cares about the word progressive or liberal. I don't think that matters very much. It's about the policy positions you have.

BOLDUAN: Because you're a liberal.

PFEIFFER: I am a proud liberal, I will say that.

MADDEN: Dan, though, it does to the big middle of the American electorate.

(CROSSTALK)

MADDEN: It makes or breaks elections.

PFEIFFER: But we are in a world right now where the election's going to be determined primarily on who motivates their supporters more and the Democrats have an advantage which is on questions of economic populism, social issues and immigration, the Democratic message works not just with motivating our base but with also persuading swing voters. Republicans have the opposite problem. They need two messages, one for the Trump wing and one for voters they need to persuade to come over to win this general election.

BERMAN: Dan Pfeiffer, Kevin Madden, great to have you with us all these days in Las Vegas.

PFEIFFER: Great to be with you as always.

BOLDUAN: You look so good without any sleep. Good job, gentlemen.

(LAUGHTER)

MADDEN: Thank you, makeup people.

BOLDUAN: Thank you, makeup.

BERMAN: They touched on this. Millions of people watched the debate. They formed new opinions. But the most important guy watching might be a guy named Joe. What does the vice president do next? We have brand-new reporting from inside Bidenville.

Plus, the debate answer that has everyone talking. Some calling it the worst answer of the night. One candidate basically pleading, cut me some slack.

And Donald Trump was going after Democrats last night, probably no surprise. But new today, the GOP front-runner says he's now turning his sights on the GOP rival nipping at his heels.

This is CNN's special live coverage live in Las Vegas.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:17:32]BOLDUAN: Welcome back, everyone. We are live in Las Vegas. Beautiful day here. Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders definitely made their mark last night. But they weren't the only candidates fighting for the spotlight on that big stage.

BERMAN: No. Jim Webb, Martin O'Malley, Lincoln Chaffee, they were there. Did they manage to break through?

Let's bring in CNN political director, David Chalian; and CNN national political reporter, Maeve Reston.

Dave, Martin O'Malley, did he meet the mark that he needed to meet?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: I think he did. For this main reason, John, I think it was the first time Martin O'Malley got to introduce himself to a pretty big audience. This is by far the biggest stage he's played on. I don't think people had any idea who he was, and I think he got some of his core messages out there. And he spent much of the night drawing contrast. And so I think he probably did himself some good. Do I think that he created some huge fight where he is, like, a Carly Fiorina-style breakout star? No. But I think he started the process of really introducing himself.

BERMAN: He lives to fight another day.

BOLDUAN: His moment, if you will, had to do with actually one of his moments was taking on Donald Trump. Listen to this. I want to get your take.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O'MALLEY: We passed a state version. And a lot of the --

(CHEERING)

O'MALLEY: A lot of the xenophobes, the immigrant haters, like some that we've heard like Donald Trump, that carnival barker in the Republican Party --

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

O'MALLEY: -- tried to mischaracterize it as free tuition for illegal immigrants.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: So it played well in that room. That's not a surprise. But taking on Donald Trump, was that his attempt to have a viral moment last night, do you think?

MAEVE RESTON, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: Yeah. And if it was, he didn't make the bar on that one. Hillary Clinton actually had a stronger moment on that front where he talked about the contrast between the Democrats on that stage on immigration and the Republicans which he said had been demeaning immigrants. That was more of a message that would have connected with that audience. I mean, if you're going to go after Trump, then you've got to come up with some pretty clever.

Let's take a moment to recognize Lincoln Chaffee and the night he had last night. This was his view on Glass-Steagall. Let's listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHAFEE: I had just arrived. My dad died in office. I was appointed to office.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Are you saying you didn't know what you were voting for?

CHAFEE: I just arrived to the Senate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Unrecoverable?

RESTON: Wow, wow.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHALIAN: I couldn't believe the answer. I mean, so -- and Anderson followed up correctly. You just are saying you didn't know what you were voting for? That's just not an excuse.

[11:20:04] RESTON: Yeah. I mean, you're looking at someone who is asking to be president of the United States, and they weren't on their game in the first 90 days in the Senate? I mean, I did not understand that answer at all.

BOLDUAN: Just say please cut me some slack. The question, will they make another debate stage.

Could a new person be joining the debate stage next time around? The person not there and talked so much about, Joe Biden. What did Joe Biden think of last night, do you think, David?

CHALIAN: I think he got information that said if he was planning on getting into this race because Hillary Clinton was damaged goods, he got information saying that's not a reason to get in this race. Now, I don't know that that would be his rationale for jumping into a presidential race. I don't think it would be a wise rationale on his part, but that is the information provided last night. His aides told Jeff Zeleny that the debate last night will not impact his decision- making, but I don't see how it can't.

RESTON: Because, I mean, it really comes down to the donors and whether they felt comfortable with Hillary Clinton's performance last night. I think a lot of them did feel comfortable. And she met the bar that she needed to meet. So Biden, you know, I mean, it's pretty late in the game at this point.

BERMAN: Tick, tick, tick, tick.

BOLDUAN: Yeah, and do you believe that the debate has no calculation if he gets into the race.

Great to see you, David and Maeve. Thank you guys so much. Coming up for us, Donald Trump says that he's taking on a new target,

another one of his Republican rivals.

Plus, a Republican Party official will be joining us live. Get his take on last night, reaction to Hillary Clinton stating very proudly that Republicans are her enemies.

BERMAN: We also have breaking news out of Jerusalem. Israeli forces dealing with a tense situation on the ground there, foiling a stabbing attempt. New violence now. We'll take you there in a second.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:26:19] BERMAN: All right. New reaction this morning to the Democratic debate from the Republican front-runner, Donald Trump.

BOLDUAN: He says Bernie Sanders made a big mistake, giving Hillary Clinton cover on her e-mail controversy.

Here is a little bit more from Mr. Trump, speaking to ABC this morning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & CEO, TRUMP ORGANIZATION (voice-over): I don't think he's going to get there. I thought his performance was OK, but he had to be much better than OK. He had to come out the clear winner. He didn't. And I actually think she probably came out not the winner, but yeah, probably if you think about it, George, she came out the winner. She did what she had to do, and they were extremely gentle. The other three, it's not going to happen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: So there's one review. Let's talk about some other reviews from other Republicans.

Joining us, chief strategist and communications director for the Republican National Committee, Sean Spicer.

You look a lot less stressed than last time we saw you.

(LAUGHTER)

SEAN SPICER, CHIEF STRATEGIST & COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: It's good that the Democrats finally had a debate to come to. So that was nice of them. I know there's only a few more left, so I can't get too complacent with it.

BOLDUAN: You stop it right now.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: Get it in there. SPICER: All week, it really does speak volumes to how the Democrats

have handled this, though. When the debate about the debate has somewhat dominated the news, the DNC saying that Tulsi Gabbard was disinvited. She's saying that that didn't happen. A lot of talk about how many more they want to have. But it was a huge distraction.

BOLDUAN: But, Sean, let's talk about the debates.

SPICER: Sure.

BOLDUAN: Democrats said they were very happy with how much discussion there was on the substance of the issues last night. And there are also -- you probably noticed -- a lot fewer candidates trying to vie for air time. A little jealous?

SPICER: No. I mean, you look at the ratings, right? Our debates are hitting 25, 30 million people. More people are coming to watch our side because of the intensity. All of the candidates on our side are going out, creating, bringing in new segments to our party. I love it. You look at last night, it was visual ambient. People were falling asleep.

BOLDUAN: Visual ambient.

BERMAN: It did, we think, set new records for a Democratic primary debate. Probably north of 12 million, which would set a record for a Democratic primary debate. Not with the Republicans debate. So do you need to be writing a thank-you note to Donald Trump?

SPICER: No. I'm happy with all of our candidates. I think as I said, when you have 15, 16 people on stage, they're each bringing a segment of our party in.

BERMAN: He says it's because of him.

SPICER: I'm sure he does and he has a large part of that. There's no question, he brings a huge piece that hasn't been part of our party before, but that's great. But it's great for the entire party.

BOLDUAN: I want to ask you about what the Republican attack ad will be coming out of this debate. A lot of folks think it's going to be this moment, and I want to hear your take. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: You know, we know that if you are learning, you're going to change your position. I never took a position on Keystone until I took a position on Keystone.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: Is that the ad?

SPICER: I literally kept thinking to myself, John Kerry did debate prep with her because it was, you know, I voted for it before I voted against it. It was horrible. To say that, like, I didn't have a position until I had a position. What that reinforced last night was the narrative that people don't trust Hillary Clinton. She has a set of rules of her own. The narrative out of today from mainstream pundits is that Hillary Clinton won. But when you look at the focus groups, every one of them was Bernie Sanders winning. When you look at the Google searches, all of it was Bernie Sanders. Facebook, Bernie Sanders.

(CROSSTALK)

SPICER: Bernie Sanders was the winner last night.

BERMAN: One of the things that people liked about Bernie Sanders was his comment where he told people to stop paying attention to Hillary Clinton's damn e-mails. If you're saying people like Bernie so much, are you also saying he's right?

(CROSSTALK)

SPICER: I think what people like about Bernie Sanders, he's very authentic. I think he means that. He wants to have a discussion on the issue. But the fact is -- Dan Pfeiffer, you had on earlier today, was saying that, you know, Bernie outdid Hillary. And I think that there's a big difference between what the rest of the American public wants to see, which is, is she being honest and trustworthy?