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Jeb Bush Struggling in Polls as Rivals Surging; Obama's Jab at GOP Candidates; Donald Trump Feeling the Heat; 2016 Campaign Heats Up; Obama Looking for a Legacy. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired November 2, 2015 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[22:00:00] DON LEMON, CNN HOST: So, you just watched our CNN special report, Bush v. Gore, the story of the closest presidential race in American history. And there's more to that story.
This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon. Another Bush fighting right now to win the White House and facing an up little climb, but the poll numbers dropping and his rivals surging. Does Jeb Bush still have a shot?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
Jeb BUSH, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm not sure I'm Captain America. But I'm striving -- I'm striving to be President of the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Meanwhile, the republican rivals battle over a plan to hold the next debate hostage. As the brand new poll puts Ben Carson ahead of Donald Trump. Lots of moving parts to get to tonight.
But first, I want to start with my colleague CNN's Gloria Borger, she's here along with Mac -- Mac Stipanovich, who you just saw in that documentary, and also John Feehery, a columnist for The Hill. Goo to see all of you.
Gloria, of course, I'm going to start with you. I saw your documentary is very good, by the way.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Thank you.
LEMON: I was reliving it.
BORGER: I know.
LEMON: Everybody remember where they were.
BORGER: I was reliving it was 15 years ago?
LEMON: Standing on the street corner interviewing people, right, saying, hey, what do you think -- what do you think about this election? Is Jeb Bush, though, let's bring it to the future, is he still feeling the reverberations of his brother George Bush in this election?
BORGER: Well, look, I think the Bush name has always been an issue for Jeb, which is why his campaign bumper sticker is Jeb, exclamation point. It's not Bush exclamation point. But interestingly, you know, George W. Bush does not hurt Jeb Bush in a primary.
He's very popular among republican primary voters right now. What hurts Jeb in the primary is that he's not as good a politician as his brother was.
LEMON: Right. As his brother, right.
BORGER: His brother was a great transactional back slapping people...
LEMON: Want to have a beer with kind of guy.
BORGER: Right. And Jeb is not that way. As you said in the clip you just showed, I'm not Captain America. He's kind of warming to the campaign trail, but it's taking him a while, particularly on the debate stage.
LEMON: Should he have Bush, do you think, in his -- as part of his sign?
BORGER: Well, he is, in the republican primary he's using it to raise money.
LEMON: He's using it, yes.
BORGER: He's using his father to raise money, that's fine. In a general election, it's a bit more problematic for him.
BORGER: The more in the rock dynastic politics the Bush name much more of it...
LEMON: There were a lot of big players in this, Mac, and I'm sure you guys were all watching. You, of course were there advising then former Secretary of State Catherine Harris as we saw in the documentary on how to continue with the election.
Do you think that there -- that there is anything that Florida could have done differently to avoid this controversy or have avoided that controversy?
MAC STIPANOVICH, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: No, I don't think so. I think that if you take an election that important and millions of votes cash with a margin that narrow and examine it as closely as what, you know, as Florida was examined, any state would come up short should.
Then there would be irregularities of missing ballot box or some equivalent of hanging chads. You know, my position is that we held an election, counted the votes, and then we recounted the votes under the same interpretation of the law and in the same -- about the same methods that we've been using since trigger was a colt and George Bush won. Everything after that was a coup attempt...
STIPANOVICH: ... which we, all patriots, managed to thwart.
LEMON: What do they -- what do they -- it was fascinating to me when they said in the documentary, if there wasn't for the butterfly ballot that Al Gore would be president.
BORGER: Well, that's what, you know, that's what bill Daley said and the butterfly ballot was a confused ballot. But as Daley also pointed out it was a ballot that was designed and approved by democrats. So, they had an argument before, but to argue about it after the fact was a real problem.
LEMON: It was not a good strategy. So, John, my question is, did democrats learn anything from what happened back in 2000?
JOHN FEEHERY, THE HILL COLUMNIST: Yes. Win bigger.
FEEHERY: I think that's the -- I mean, and obviously they did that with President Obama twice. Listen, you know, and we have close elections and that pointed that, you're going to have these controversies.
I think George W. Bush won that election and he won it fair and square. But it was a close election. And anytime you have close elections like that anywhere in the country you're going to have controversies.
You're going to have people saying there's hidden ballots then you're going to have accusations of corruption. Just because that's kind of part of the political system. So, if you want to make sure absent of any corruption or any charges of corruption, win big.
LEMON: Yes. It feels like to me we set the clocks back but we also at one hour, since that we went back 15 years.
LEMON: ... when we're talking about it. Because President is here tonight. President Obama is in New York City tonight. He's at a democratic fund-raising event. I want you to listen to what he had to say about the republicans and about George W. Bush, that era.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[22:04:58] BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They occupy a different reality, it seems. According to them, everything was really good in 2008, when we were going through the worst economic crisis in our lifetimes, unemployment and uninsured rates were up and we were hopelessly addicted to foreign oil and Bin Laden was still on the loose. This apparently, was the golden age that I messed up. I messed it up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Gloria, what's your reaction to that?
BORGER: Well, you can hear him out on the campaign trail, right?
BORGER: He's already out this. And this is the first time I think we really heard him take on the republican field. He's clearly taking on -- there was another point today, he talked about the debate and if they can't take on CNBC moderators how they are going to possibly take on Putin? So, this is Barack Obama, who I think is going to kind of miss being in the sake of this next election, but I bet he'll be out there and this is the first we've heard.
LEMON: Everyone will tell even the people who didn't -- the people who didn't like him, who weren't on his side, will tell you he's a good -- he's good politician.
LEMON: He's good at -- he's good at running. He was a good, you know.
LEMON: Candidate, I should say.
BORGER: Yes. Well, and he's great on some...
STIPANOVICH: He's a much better...
LEMON: Go ahead.
STIPANOVICH: He's a much better campaigner than -- he's a much better campaigner than he is a president, there is no question about that.
LEMON: So, John, I want to -- also tonight, there is an NBC poll, Wall Street Journal poll that was taken mostly before this last debate. Let's take a look at it. Here is it, to October 25th through 29th. Carson 29, Trump 23, Rubio 11, Cruz 10, Bush 8. What's your take on these numbers?
FEEHERY: Well, surprisingly, Jeb is still in it. If you take...
FEEHERY: If you take away the top two, which I do. I don't think Donald Trump or Ben Carson get the nomination. Then it's really down to the other three. Rubio, Cruz, and Bush. Bush is not out of this by any stretch of the imagination.
He still has a very big organization around the country as we saw in his documentary. There's a lot of Bush people out there and they know how to win elections and they know how to win tough elections.
So, I just don't really believe that Donald Trump is going to be our nominees and I certainly don't believe that Ben Carson is going to be our nominee. Now, if that's the case, then you have chance -- that Jeb still has a chance.
LEMON: Gloria, are some of the supporters right, saying the poll numbers don't matter at this point. And the fact that he still in it bodes well for him?
BORGER: For Jeb?
BORGER: Yes, I think -- I think it does. I think if I were Marco Rubio's people, though, I would be very happy about this polling. And I'll tell you what about Carson, for the first time, Carson about half of republican voters say Carson is their first or second choice.
BORGER: That's the first time we've seen that and that's an important number for Ben Carson. And I think he's the clear front-runner at this point. I agree with John, anything can change. Bush is not out of it, but this doesn't feel like an establishment vitae to me this year.
LEMON: It's not. It's not.
BORGER: Watch Ted Cruz in Iowa. Just watch him.
LEMON: OK. Mac, let's move on and talk a little bit more about Jeb Bush. Now, the reset to his campaign 'Jeb can fix it.' It's a Jeb can fix tour. This is what he said late today on how he is rebooting his campaign. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: By campaigning with heart, by telling them my story, by having a hopeful, optimistic message, doing what I have been doing but doing it in a way that convinces people that we can fix these big complex problems in Washington.
That talking about things isn't going to solve people's problems. Doing is what matters. And I want to make that point over and over again over the next hundred days.
This is the beginning of the campaign. I mean, look at the past. Herman Cain was winning right now. Hillary Clinton was up 25 points this time eight years ago against an unknown guy whose name is now President Barack Obama. So, this is the start of our journey. I'm excited about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Journey. I mean, let's talk about the messaging here, John. Is he trying to fix the country or is he fixing his campaign?
FEEHELY: Well, listen, if you want a plumber, you get someone who can fix it. What you want is a visionary, someone who can fix the country. I don't think this kind of messaging is be fitting someone like Jeb Bush who is a conservative who has delivered results. So, I think he's got to kind of pour kind of messaging some more because I don't think it really fits Jeb Bush.
LEMON: Al right. I want to thank everyone and I'm the lucky one because I got to sit next to Gloria Borger tonight.
BORGER: I'm the lucky one.
LEMON: Thank you. It's good to have you here. It's good to see you. Great documentary. Thank you very much.
BORGER: Thank you.
LEMON: When we come back, the GOP -- the GOP's debate drama, why the candidates are at odds over the plan to change the rules of the debate and the new national poll is not exactly what Donald Trump wants to hear. How do you think he's going to react to that?
[22:10:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Well, you saw a plenty of fireworks on stage during the last GOP debate. And tonight in New York City, President Barack Obama is weighing in with a fierce jab at the republican candidates.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Have you noticed that every one of these candidates say, you know, Obama is weak, his, you know, people -- Putin is kicking sand in his face. When I talk to Putin, he's going to straighten out. Just looking at him, I'm going to -- he's going to be -- and then it turns out they can't handle a bunch of CNBC moderators.
OBAMA: At the debate. I mean, let me tell you, if you can't handle -- if you can't handle those guys, you know, then I don't think the Chinese and the Russians are going to be too worried about you.
LEMON: That sounds like a man who sees the end of the tunnel near. He's free. It's almost over.
Joining me now is Dylan Byers, CNN senior media politics reporter -- and politics reporter. He know it. He doesn't really care any more, does he? Because it's almost the end of it.
[22:14:57] DYLAN BYERS, CNN SENIOR POLITICS REPORTER: No. Becasue he's in the fourth quarter.
BYERS: He's feeling -- he's feeling very good about things. And, you know, like Gloria Borger said earlier in your program, he's -- you know, he's probably going to miss this. He's probably going to miss being at the center of the limelight. You know, he hasn't always enjoyed everything that comes with being President of the United States, but clearly, he's relishing this opportunity to be out there and hitting republicans.
Look, his point isn't necessarily wrong. I mean, for all the bluster coming out of the republican candidates regarding, you know, what they would do with Putin, what they would do with the Chinese, it is certainly interesting to see them all sort of complain about, you know, a handful of moderators.
LEMON: OK. Let's talk about this because the GOP campaign came together over the weekend to try to overhaul the debates as, you know, as a united front. But that's not going as planned. What is the latest on that?
BYERS: Right. So, the campaign thought, look, we're not happy with what the Republican National Committee is doing in terms of making sure that we have substantive focus debates. So, we're going to take matters into our own hands.
So, they plan a Sunday night meeting. They all come together and air their grievances and then long and behold, by Monday, in less than 24 hours later, they can't even agree to all sign a letter to media organizations detailing what their demands for the debate would be.
And at this point, Donald Trump has pulled out, John Kasich has pulled out. Chris Christie has pulled put, Carly Fiorina has pulled out. So, you know, whatever united front they had is crumbling...
LEMON: So, what's the point then, Dylan, that's -- you know, to the president's point, if you can't answer those questions and now you can't come together, I mean, then what's the point?
BYERS: Well, I think what you're seeing reflected is just the nature of the republican primary is somewhat chaotic and different interests and different demands. And look, if you're Donald Trump, you know, you want to blaze your own trail, you want to be your own negotiator. You don't necessarily want to associate yourself with some of these undercard candidates who are outing to get on the main stage, right?
BYERS: So, everyone has different goals and different ambitions here. And that's part of the reason why it fell apart. Another key reason why it fell apart is because at a certain point. Some of these candidates, especially Kasich and Christie realized, hey, we don't want to look like whiners. We don't want to be a punch line for President Obama or any other democrat. We want to show that we're strong and we can take whatever questions come to us. And that was some of the the rhetoric we saw coming out of them earlier today and then end with this various media.
LEMON: And as you could see, the President made it a punch line tonight. So, somebody at least has some foresight on something, at least some of the candidates.
Thank you very much, Dylan. I appreciate that.
BYERS: Thanks, Don.
LEMON: I want to bring in now Bob Beckel, CNN political commentator and the author of "I Should Be Dead. My Life Survived in Politics, TV, and Addiction." Also with me is Carl Higbie, author and former NAVY SEAL, he's a Trump supporter, and William Cohan, author of "The Price of Silence," and a contributing editor to Vanity Fair.
I don't have a book here, Bob Beckel, boss' book, where is mine?
BOB BECKEL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, I brought for you.
LEMON: Bob, this is -- what happens to this united front thing? Because this is their demands? And I'm going to read their demands on you. "No asking candidates who raise hands. No yes/no questions. No lightning round. Pre-approval of poor graphics and biographies. 30- second opening and closing statements. Keep debate hall no warmer than 67 degrees here."
BECKEL: Well, yes.
LEMON: Sorry about this. No green M&Ms.
BECKEL: I used to sit in debate negotiations exactly like when I had a presidential candidate. And listed about most of those things myself. And you didn't get any of them.
BECKEL: I mean, you know, these guys are reacting to what happened last week on the -- you know, when their debate with CNBC. It does -- I mean, who is going to get together and try to change a debate? It looks ridiculous. We've been doing6 it for years.
LEMON: Yes. But this is not -- but to the point of Chris Christie, isn't that, Carl, the point of the RNC is to make all of this -- that's what the leaders of the RNC should be doing? As a matter of fact, let's listen to Chris Christie and then you can answer the question. Here it is on New Day this morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, (R-NJ) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Do not count me in the group that's doing this moaning and complaining about this. I mean, we went to the meeting yesterday to listen, I support the RNC continuing to make these decisions and I'm not one of these guys, that's going to sit there and moan and complain about it.
The presidency is almost never scripted, so we shouldn't have these debates scripted, either.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Does he have any point, though, to say, you know, I don't want to seem like a whiner and this is what the RNC is supposed to be doing, as a candidate, I should be focusing on winning the office?
CARL HIGBIE, AUTHOR & FORMER NAVY SEAL: Absolutely. And just what Bob said also they've been doing it for years. It's been going on non- stop. But the issue here this gave certain candidates the chance like Ted Cruz to jump way out like Donald Trump.
It allowed him to unite with the Republican Party and stand up and say, hey, look, you know, I'm going to act presidential tonight instead of fighting each other. He fought the moderators and he brought the team together, I think.
LEMON: I want to read this is a new NBC Wall Street Journal national poll it's out tonight. And it shows Ben Carson at 29 percent, Trump is at 23 percent. And we should mention that this poll was conducted before and after this CNBC debate, that the second national poll -- the second national poll where Carson is in the lead. That doesn't bode well for you. He's still -- he's clear front-runner here, isn't he?
[22:20:00] WILLIAM COHAN, "THE PRICE OF SILENCE" AUTHOR: Well, and maybe he should be, although I have to agree with Gloria Borger I did not see how either Donald Trump or Ben Carson is going to be the standard bearer for the Republican party. I would think that would be big mistake if you're a Republican Party...
LEMON: Why do people keep saying that?
COHAN: You know, I think they want it to be true. That's why they keep saying it. They're afraid. And they're afraid because they can't actually believe that Donald Trump and or Ben Carson might actually be the person selected to lead the Republican Party.
COHAN: And they don't really see any way to stop them.
HIGBIE: Bob is shaking in his boots right now.
LEMON: Bob, I mean, you're been for...
BECKEL: Listen, I'm all for Ben Carson or Donald Trump. Either one of them, I would away happy guy. Put them on the top of the ticket and let's go at it. It's not going to happen. I mean, look, this is been going on. This is also been on for years.
That's the problem. We keep reliving these things. How many populists that we have running for president? It goes back to William Jennings Brian and the gold standings, for God's sake. I don't get it.
HIGBE: But, look, the one thing that Trump has going for him right now is he is pop culture. He commands pop culture. When you put the conservative message next to pop culture, it's very hard to beat, just like Reagan 45 to 49 state wins.
LEMON: You're going to be happy to hear this latest polling, let's see it's out in New Hampshire. Trump, 26 percent, 10-point lead over Ben Carson, but it also shows Marco Rubio is really tripling his support since September coming in at third with 13 percent.
And here's what Trump actually tweeted. He said "Marco only won the debate in the minds of desperate people. I won every over line poll even crazy at CNBC. Marco, good looking. Question mark, right?" Who put a question mark in the prompter?
But I mean, he may disagree, but clearly the debate can shake -- can change things here.
COHAN: Look, I don't understand why Donald Trump has to act so insecure on so many levels, whether it's questioning moderators asking him relatively tame questions. He doesn't like those. He tweets these things that are absolutely in name.
If he wants to be president, he should start acting presidential and I don't think he's gotten that message yet. For a smart guy, I don't understand why he buys that.
LEMON: You're Donald Trump, you're a supporter. Go ahead.
HIGBIE: I thought -- I thought he behaved very presidential in the last debate. I thought he was very composed, he was polite, he, you nkow, he united with the crew. I think it was good.
BECKEL: If he did that, he would act presidential, he wouldn't be where he is now.
LEMON: All right. Stick around everybody. When we come back, shopping news. Donald Trump says something mean about a democrat.
[22:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Donald Trump feeling the heat in the newest national poll, but if you think he'll be a kinder, gentler candidate, well, you just haven't been paying attention.
Back with me now is Bob Beckel, Carl Higbie, and William Cohan. So, Carl, I want to ask you about something Donald Trump said today about the DNC, about DNC chair, Debbie Wasserman. So, we also play and then we'll see -- we'll talk.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You have this crazy, you know, Wasserman Schultz, Deborah Wasserman Schultz, who's in there a highly neurotic woman. This is a woman that is a terrible person. I watch her on television. She's a terrible person.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, this sort of brings back, you know, the whole thing that Megyn Kelly thing, and everything and how he feels about women. Why?
HIGBIE: This is about women. This is about a terrible -- I mean, this is the chairman of the DNC who couldn't answer the difference between socialism and the Democratic Party. She -- I don't believe she's a great person. I don't think she's well rooted in moral fiber.
LEMON: That simple?
HIGBIE: That simple.
LEMON: You don't think people will view it on an attack on women?
HIGBIE: No. Debbie Wasserman Schultz is not...
BECKEL: That's one of things, Carl, when you know that you got that hanging out that Trump doesn't like women.
BECKEL: One of the things you don't want to do is add to it. I mean, he could have picked out a lot of other people to jump on.
BECKEL: You know, and if I were him, you know, Debbie Wasserman Schultz is not exactly a tough hit to take, right?
BECKEL: But I tell you, this anti-woman thing is a problem. And when you're in presidential politics, you don't add fuel to your own fire.
HIGBIE: I mean, you said during the break, though, that he wouldn't be Trump if he didn't do the things he did.
BECKEL: Yes. I know, but that doesn't mean that.
LEMON: Let me tell you, this is the what DNC, they responded and this is in part. It says "The republican front-runner's misogynistic attacks are sadly representative -- or sadly representative of the GOP's outdated approach to women and the issues that affect them and their families. The same Trump's remark proved that the GOP is not a party for women, they do have a woman running. But it seems like nothing can hurt Trump's campaign so far.
COHAN: Well, I think you're beginning to see the cracks in the dem. I know, people have been predicting that for months. But his poll numbers are down. He makes these personal attacks that are totally gratuitous, completely unnecessary. He can make his point without doing this. I don't understand why he polls this.
LEMON: He's polling very highly, though. The answer is, is it him? Is he hurting himself? Maybe not or the GOP?
COHAN: I think in the end he's going to hurt the GOP. If the GOP nominates Donald Trump, to me, that's a cake walk for Hillary Clinton. And I can't believe they would actually do that. They have to know better than doing that. Bob Beckel should be able to tell them that. I mean, its...
BECKEL: Well, yes. But, I mean, look, you're talking -- you're talking about republican voters and a sliver of republican voters activists and they are very, very conservative and they like the message that Trump got, whatever it is, I don't know what it is except build a, you know, a 12-foot wall around Mexico and I'm going to be the first one to invest in 13-foot ladders if that happened.
But, you know, somebody is asking the questions, for example, if the Mexicans don't pay for it, like you say they're going to do. What are you going to do? You lead an attack by the military off the table, what are you going to do?
Nobody is asking questions. Carson get as walking through this thing and nobody seems to want to ask him some tough questions.
LEMON: OK. People do ask those questions and it's not just for Donald Trump. But then they say those are 'gotcha' questions.
COHAN: Well, I don't understand.
LEMON: It's not a 'gotcha question'
COHAN: Yes. I don't understand. Those are legitimate questions that legitimate, respected reporters ask. And if they can't handle those questions, I mean, to President Obama's point, how can they possibly feel they can deal with a Putin?
LEMON: I said this the first evening when they said they were going to do that and it was a -- I think it was a Carson representative I think who was on and I said how do you -- if you can't answer questions from a moderator in a debate, then isn't that a gauge of how you're going to handle the press, how you're going to handle world leaders on an international stage?
HIGBIE: Yet, But Trump backed out of those negotiations.
[22:30:02] LEMON: They're all in the beginning.
HIGBIE: They were all in and he said, you know what, like, I want to be me, you guys, do you?
COHAN: but he still questions, Carl, those very simple questions that he gets ask. He's offended. He seems offended. If Megyn Kelly asks him a question, or of John Harwood ask him a question, I don't understand that these are basic questions that he could easily anticipate and for him not to handle them and swap out of the park, it doesn't make sense to me.
HIGBIE: The bottom line of thing that we're all missing here, is the fact that every American sees it, whether they like it or not, and this is why he's as far in the polls as he is because he built a multi-million dollar business. He is the only person on the stage that has put tens of thousands of people to work. Given jobs all across...
LEMON: OK. You said he backed out but he is now saying he's going to have his own negotiations with to try to figure out exactly what to do with the debates.
HIGBIE: I'm interested to see what he says. What is he going for? I'm interested and I know...
LEMON: Well, I think he's negotiating not raising your hands, no yes or no questions, no lightning round, pre-approved for graphics and biographies, 30-second opening and closing statements, and keep the debate hall no warmer than 67 degrees.
HIGBIE: I think he's saying no raising hands because he wants to put it back in because that was his shining moment in the first debate.
BECKEL: Carl, let's remember that Donald Trump inherited 10,000 apartments from his old man. So, that suggests that this guy came up from dirt poor.
LEMON: But to his defense, though, he could have run that into the ground, or he could have stayed where it is, or it turned it into a multi-million dollar business which he did.
HIGBIE: Thanks, Don. I appreciate that.
LEMON: I mean, come on.
HIGNIE: Well, right.
BECKEL: What don't you take to that.
LEMON: No, I'm telling the truth. I mean...
HIGBIE: He's coming over to the Trump train.
LEMON: I can hand you money, and as you know from this book, you can take the money and go spend it on booze or something or whatever or you can invest it.
BECKEL: That's right.
LEMON: So, you must give him credit for something at least.
BECKEL: No. I am a large part of the liquor industry myself.
LEMON: All right. With that said, thank you, guys. I appreciate you coming in. It's good to have you here. Now we're going to turn to you, Mr. Beckel, because this is your new book right now. It's called "I Should Be Dead, My Life Surviving, Politics, TV, and Addiction" by Bob Beckel. When does it come out?
LEMON: Tomorrow. Are you worried?
BECKEL: Am I worried?
BECKEL: No. If you've been through what I've been through, man, you don't worry about things like that. I mean, is it going to sell? I think it will. I mean, I'm a publisher. When I first saw it, my publisher said, you want to put this all out on the street? Really?
BECKEL: And I said, yes, really, I do. I want to cleanse things out. And when they click it all, it turned out to be true and they couldn't believe it either that I'm still living.
LEMON: Here's what you said. You said that I have been, you said you've been shot, stabbed, involved in a couple of car wrecks, you've struggled with drugs and alcohol and despite it all, you're here talking about it with me.
BECKEL: Yes. I mean, every day for me is a great day. You know, when I -- that's why not much worries me. I have a -- there was a reason; I used to think I was lucky. And then that night that guy pulled 45 on me in a bar when I was trying to pick his wife up, i hide behind the basement, that's a 45, and he pulled the trigger and he had to chamber the bullet and then somebody shot from behind, the second shot and put a hole in the ceiling.
Now, I got thrown in the parking lot, just before I passed out I said, God, if you exist, because I don't believe God existed, I'm never going to drink again. I haven't drank since then.
LEMON: Yes. BECKEL: You know, you have to -- I was in the light world by day and the dark world by night.
LEMON: You sound like people who grew up with my parents. I mean, they were in the salon, in the bars and jute joints and, you know, picking up others people's women and all that. But I have to ask you this, because you've got some good stuff in here if this is all true.
You said that the first time you tried cocaine or did cocaine was in the White House?
BECKEL: That's right. On the mess hall of my office. Somebody gave me some. I mean, that didn't make President Carver happy. But, that was, you know, that was I've made four or five cocaine dealers at summer houses I built them for. So, I, you know, I started there and it just -- and the only reason I did it, the cocaine if I could I can drink more.
You know, I can drink all night with cocaine. And get in trouble all the time. Now I still go -- you know, I try to figure out why I'm still alive and I think it's to work with alcoholics addicts. And I go in to crack house and ended joins to pick up guys up that I take care of the sponsor.
And you know, and I talk to dealers I used to buy from. I say what's going on? How's the business? And they're all selling pain pails which I talk about in this book. There is an epidemic of paint addicts going in this country.
LEMON: How, listen, I had, you know, I know people in -- people who are close to me, people in my family who have addiction issues. And I always say that it's all the same, overeating, smoking, every addiction is the same, and it will eventually kill you. Drugs, though, and alcohol probably will kill you fast.
BECKEL: I would say so.
LEMON: Is this more common, do you think, in this type of in the political setting than we know?
BECKEL: Oh, sure. Yes, it's also, you know, you got to remember I came out of a very abusive household. And most people used to say that if you came out of a dysfunctional house, you couldn't survive.
Well, quite the contrary, survivors, you learn how to talk fast, you learn how to cut deals. You learn how to lie, perfect training to be a politician. And so, when you get out, most of those people become quite successful.
But, eventually, addiction would catch up to them. Go to Capitol Hill and you look at it, and if you don't face the demons it's going to kill you.
LEMON: Where did you wake up in George Bush's inauguration?
[22:35:04] BECKEL: I woke up in the psychiatric world in the George University Hospital in the VIP room. Now only Washington have a VIP room for Mets. And I saw the largest woman I've ever seen in my life leaning against the door. She's about 6'7" and 400 pounds, and I said what are you doing here?
And she said, well, I'm a suicide nurse and if your ass goes out that window, I'm going to lose my job. I said who is going to commit suicide? She said you are. And by the time she got out there, she probably is looking for the dimensional world, I can tell you that.
LEMON: I got to ask you, you say this is also a story of your faith.
BECKEL: Yes, sir. Very much so. And that's really what the -- the message here is that there's hope for people out there. If you did what I did and you can come back and if it hadn't -- I used to think it was luck, but in the end, it was all about faith. And I don't -- I finally realized that, that nobody can be that lucky. And so, it is a story of faith. And if you don't have faith, you're not going to get clean.
LEMON: Yes. I'm tired of getting text from people saying, take care of that guy. A lot of people love you.
BECKEL: Well, I appreciate.
LEMON: We're so happy to have you here.
BECKEL: Well, thank you.
LEMON: Again, thanks to all of you. And I thank to Bob Beckel. Bob is with us now and hopefully, he's going to be here for quite some time.
Coming up, the ladies of "The View" are in hot water for some recent remarks about Carly Fiorina and who better to talk about that, she's waiting in the rings -- wings right there. Ms. Star Jones joins us live next. You don't want to miss this.
[22:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: The race for the White House is really heating up and the election is still a year away. That's a long time and I'm going to have to talk about that.
Joining me now is a woman who is not afraid to share her opinions at all on politics and anything else. If you want to talk about it, Star Jones, president of the National Association of Professional Women and Professional Diversity Network.
STAR JONES, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR PROFESSIONAL WOMEN PRESIDENT: Yes.
LEMON: So good to have you here.
JONES: So it's good. I mean, we've never done this.
LEMON: I know. But years ago, I was a little peon in local news, an associate producer or something. And I interviewed you. You were big time. Your show was starting, you had a court show back then.
JONES: Oh, yeah. Give me a break.
LEMON: Yes. I was 3, you were 2. All right. Let's talk about the political season. Full effect, the debate, the GOP debate, the democratic debate, all this craziness going on. What -- from what you have seen so far, what are your thoughts?
JONES: Well, you know, that I'm a surrogate for Hillary Clinton, so I always say that so that everybody understands that I come from the perspective of making sure that women and girls are on the forefront of the conversation.
This is really the way I evaluate policy is how is it going to affect women? How is it going to affect girls? How are minorities going to be treated the next election. And for me, I've been watching the debates. I've seen them all. All the republican debates and the democratic debate. And I would rather see more time talking policy and less time picking on each other.
LEMON: OK. That is a perfect segue.
JONES: I survive.
LEMON: You know, what I'm about to talk about it, right?
JONES: I'm here to serve, that's what I'm to do.
LEMON: Because I want to talk about Carly Fiorina and the comments that were made on The View, right? I think it was on this Friday. Let's look at this and we'll -- you'll find this interesting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She kicked off her thing saying, you know, people tell me that I didn't smile enough during the last debate. She looked demented. I mean, she did not -- that curved mouth did not bounce her at one time. She looks like...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's wearing a Halloween masks. I love that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A smiling Fiorina? Can you imagine?
CARLY FIORINA, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think there's a double standard. It's funny. You know, I was on The View several months ago. They said none of that to my face. There is nothing more threatening to the liberal media, in general, and to Hillary Clinton in particular than a conservative woman.
So, of course there's a double standard. And conservative women from Sarah Palin to Michelle Bachmann to Carly Fiorina are long used to this. It will not stop me, it will not scare me. And maybe the ladies on The View, if I come back on again, let's see
if they have the guts to say that to my face.
WHOOPI GOLDBERG, THE VIEW SHOW HOST: Well, here's the deal.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:I love that.
GOLDBERG: Here's the deal. Carly will be here on Friday. Now, I will not but I do want to point out, Carly, that the last you were here, and you'll see be well running, we welcomed you to our table. We helped raise your...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Numbers. Profile.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
GOLDBERG: Your profile so you would be included in the sea of mad. Then we'd know you weren't worried about, you know, any kind of republican backlash. Nobody was backlashing. We were respectful and gave you your due.
So, just so we're all clear, you have to know the difference between when somebody is coming for you and when somebody is paying you a compliment and when somebody is saying, here's my observation. If you can get that together, maybe you can be president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: That was I think that was from Thursday. She's going to be on The View on Friday. Does Whoopi have a point here?
JONES: Well, Whoopi has a point, but I think that Carly took the insult and she ran with it because it worked for her talking points.
JONES: Let's move back to what the core of it is.
LEMON: I'm so glad you're honest. Because I watched it live, OK, and I though, I didn't think they were talking about her face or whether, you know, how her face looked in any way, cosmetic surgery or anything. I just thought that she brought attention to something because she smiled. She brought attention during the debate. And they said it shouldn't turn down like she would no frown. I just thought they were talking about, you know...
JONES: Why do we have to talk about the way a woman looks?
LEMON: Because we talk -- OK.
JONES: On the tape.
LEMON: I agree.
JONES: Because nothing is...
LEMON: But we talked about Bernie Sanders' hair, we talked about Donald Trump's hair, we talked about Chris Christie's weight.
JONES: But you don't talk about it in the same way that you talk about the two women who are the national candidates right now. And I'm someone who is supposed to empower professional women. I represent 775,000 professional women.
Why do I have to list all votes? Why do you have to go there? Why can't you criticize Carly Fiorina on her policies about women and children, that she doesn't agree with equal pay for equal work? Why don't you go there? Why do you have to go on face up turn or down turn or something like that?
LEMON: OK. OK. Devil's advocate, though. As I said, she talked about it herself. As I said we talked about Chris Christie's weight, we talked about Donald Trump's hair. He makes one of his hair. If she's going to be up there with the guys on the stage, shouldn't she get equal treatment? Shouldn't all things be open to talk about?
JONES: But what are you going to be discussing about her about? I mean, Donald Trump for all practical purposes called a woman ugly. Who does that?
[00:45:07] LEMON: Well, that's not -- Donald Trump is running -- and also we must -- we have to remember, Donald Trump is running for president. Those women on The View are not running for president...
JONES: And they're talk show hosts and some of them are comedians. I don't like to attack other women. I think it's inappropriate.
JONES: I mean, I disagree with Mrs. Fiorina on so many topics, but attacking her personally is just not my style.
LEMON: Does he have a point about conservative women? Is it a double standard?
JONES: No. I don't think it's a double standard. I think it is women across the board. I think that was her talking point. That worked for Carly to talk about Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann. It's one thing for Carly to say that she's being treated unfairly.
But the attacks on Sarah Palin were more about her lack of qualifications; it was not about her looks. As matter of fact, I recall people talking about how pretty she was.
LEMON: Yes. JONES: So, it's not about that. When it comes to women in positions of power, let's talk about what they think, how they act, what they've done. Not what they look like. That is a double standard.
LEMON: OK. So, the next time someone they make -- someone makes a Donald Trump face, are you going to say don't talk about Donald Trump's face...
JONES: Honestly, I think that that is...
LEMON: I'm messing with this...
JONES: You know what, I'm sensitive about it because I know that that has gone on throughout my entire career, throughout every professional woman's career I've ever encountered.
JONES: Let's rise about it.
LEMON: I understand. I got you. All right. Stay right there. Stay with me. President Obama speaking out tonight about race, crime, and justice and not everybody will be pleased by what he says. So, we're going to talk about that next.
[22:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: President Barack Obama looking to his legacy as he gets closer to the end of his term and speaking out today on some of the toughest issues America faces.
Back now with me, Star Jones to talk about this. To start a day President Obama announced a new plan to help address issues at people's fate after they are incarcerated. You know a lot about this. You spoke to Lester Holt on NBC News today about this topic. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Pretty much up and down the line of what we see in disparities and how white, black, Hispanic suspects are treated. Higher arrest rates, tougher sentencing, longer sentences. Where it's happening, you can't always isolate within the system. There may be subtle biases that take place. There may be predispositions that end up resulting in these disparities. But we know they're happening.
LESTER HOLT, NBC HOST, "NIGHTLY NEWS": Your own FBI director has raised this idea of the Ferguson effect, that police officers may be laying back a bit, they don't want to end up on somebody's camcorder, and as a result we're seeing a spike in homicides in some cities. Do you fear that could undermine, derail what you're trying to do right now?
OBAMA: Well, what is absolutely true is that we have seen some spikes in violent crime in some cities. Overall, the violent crime rate is still near the historic lows. We've seen a spike in some cities this year, but it's still close to historic the lows.
HOLT: But is it somebody do you think a chill that police officer feel?
OBAMA: You know, we have not seen any evidence of that. And I think the FBI director would be the first to say that he's heard anecdotal suggestions that that may be happening in selected sites, but we don't know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, basically he's saying he doesn't think there's a Ferguson effect here. What do you think about that?
JONES: I was listening to the president talk about the disparity. And I have to tell you, you're not a full member of the American society if you cannot vote, if you cannot voice one's opinion by pulling that lever, if you can't get a job, if you cannot contribute taxes, you don't feel a part of it.
So, I actually understand what the ban the box movement is about. You know, Americans want to feel safe in their work environment and in their homes, but we have to use realistic ways of evaluating who is still a continuing danger to society.
LEMON: You heard what the -- the current police commissioner of New York City says that there is some concern because people, they may not have -- they may not -- for whatever they're incarcerated for now, it may want be violent, but this can have it in their past. He's concerned about letting people out who could potentially be violent.
JONES: Well, we are now talking about people who are already out, people who have paid their debt to society. I was a homicide prosecutor here in New York. So, if, in fact, you went to prison for X amount of years and you came out of prison for whatever I convicted you of or the jury convicted you of, I don't have a right to say you still owe me something, as a society.
And I don't we should. And it does proportionately affect men of color when it comes to getting a job. For instance, there's a study that says that 30 percent of white men are discounted based on their past criminal record. But, 60 percent of men of color. That number has doubled and it should happen in America.
LEMON: That was one of the best questions I got when I was out on a Vegas trip asking people questions about what do you want to hear from the candidates. And this couple walked up to me, Star, and they said we are both ex-cons. We both served our time. You knwo, we went to prison, we're done but we can't vote and we can't barely get a job. We don't really feel like full Americans. And I thought -- I thought that was a valley point.
JONES: It's a very powerful statement to make. You know, at Professional Diversity Network my job is to educate American businesses that diversity and inclusion is good for business.
And bringing people into employment is good for the country. And if we don't move towards that, I don't think they're going to be ready for the browning of America which will happen in 2050.
LEMON: OK. Let me ask you a second. It was in Politico today I saw this thing about, you know, the president may be concerned about the -- you know, Willie Horton, as you know Willie Horton.
JONES: Yes, of course.
LEMON: The Massachusetts let him out and he raped and whatever and then became in that, what do you -- is that a concern?
JONES: Well, it's always a concern that somebody is going to be a recidivist, somebody is going to reoffend. But we don't punish you for what you might do in the future.
[22:55:00] The criminal justice system is designed to -- you have retribution or make you pay for what you have done in the past and that's justice.
JONES: The future is not something that we can make...
LEMON: I didn't get the question answered, though, and maybe you misunderstood me because I wanted to talk about the Ferguson affect about cops and their jobs.
JONES: Oh, OK.
LEMON: But that's OK. No worries about that. Because I think -- I want to talk about the National Association of Professional Women, a summit on November 6th, you're hosting it, tell me about it.
JONES: It's a networking summit. We have, as I said, over 775,000 members across our country, 200 chapters of virtual networking chapter and this is the concept that when women get together and network, we're doing our own version of the old boys club, but we're doing it for the collective success of other women.
And so, Friday, we'll get an opportunity to bring a bunch of women together and network in different ways. We've got some really special guests. Judy Smith is going to be speaking at the conference and if there is ever a time for you to see somebody who is on it, it's Judy Smith.
LEMON: Yes. All right. I've got to run. As you say, we've got to take a break. You know this.
JONES: I understand.
LEMON: Thank you, Star Jones. I appreciate it. We'll be right back. [23:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)