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Review of GOP Town Hall. Aired 11p-Midnight ET

Aired February 18, 2016 - 23:00   ET


[23:00:00] DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, "Apprentice" do what I said. I said, "I'm going to run for -- you can't run for president and have a show. It's, you know, the equal time provisions, et cetera, et cetera. I said, "No, see, I'm not going to do it." They couldn't believe it because they really didn't believe. Nobody believed I was going to run, you know.

My wife actually said, "If you run, you will you win. But you have to actually run. You can't just say you're going to run because you won't do, you know, the polls were -- the original polls -- nobody believed I was going to run. Even when they, "If he runs," and they wouldn't do polls on me.

But she said, "If you run, you'll win." And Steve Burke came up to the office. He said, "I really -- they wanted to renew "The Apprentice" because it was doing phenomenally well even after -- can you believe it -- 14 seasons and "The Apprentice" so did well. But I'm not doing it. You know, I have that with Mark Burnett and we're using Arnold Schwarzenegger. And hopefully Arnold's going to do well. Is Arnold going to do well? What do you think?

COOPER: A lot of people ...

TRUMP: Will he beat Trump?

COOPER: ... will he beat you? Are you concerned about that?

TRUMP: He's no Trump, right?

COOPER: All right. Are you ...

TRUMP: Thank you.

COOPER: ... what kind of a parent are you? Because I mean your kids -- a lot of people speak glowingly about your kids, they speak glowingly about you. Were you a tough dad and are you different as a grandfather?

TRUMP: So I get credit for my children. My children are very good children. They are smart, they went to good schools, they did well. Ivanka, everybody knows and then Don, and Eric, and I have two younger Tiffany who's a terrific young woman and she just graduated from Penn and did mostly A's, and Baron is doing really good.

So I have five children. But one thing I think I was really, really a good parent because I put my children above everything, above the business, above everything. And Ivanka speaks to it very well and so do the others. But when people come up and say why, I would say from the time -- because I had so much experience with alcohol because I have a brother, a phenomenal guy, the best looking guy you've ever seen but he became -- he started drinking and I saw from a young age, he was quite a bit old are than me.

COOPER: He was an airline pilot.

TRUMP: My brother Fred. He was. He was a very talented flyer of planes. It was -- I mean great pilots would go to him to study. I mean it was a real ability he had. But the alcohol, it taught me a tremendous lesson. And he taught me a tremendous lesson. He was very ...

COOPER: And that's why you don't drink?

TRUMP: He said, no, no. Don't you ever smoke. He was -- one time he said, "Don't you ever smoke. Don't you ever drink." And I've never had a drink and I've never had a cigarette. Those are the good things. I don't want to tell you the bad things. There are plenty of bad things. But I never had a drink, but I never had ...

COOPER: You were never tempted to just ...

TRUMP: I just zip, I never like to taste. I've had friends when I went to the Wharton School of Finance. I had friends that didn't like scotch, they hated the taste. And one in particular, became pretty successful but ultimately alcohol destroyed him, he would be with me, he was 18 or 19 years old, he was trying to develop a taste for scotch, he ultimately became an alcoholic.

He became successful, lost his success because of alcohol. I've seen what it does to people, it's a horror show and the one thing I can say is if you don't drink, there's no temptation. People come up and say, "Could you see my children?" Because my children are doing a good job.

You know, famous last words, "Where's wood?" Yes.


TRUMP: I'm going to knock on wood. I would tell them from a very young age, no drugs, no alcohol, no cigarettes. I'd say this so, over and over. I think Ivanka sometimes would go, "Dad, you're driving me crazy." You know, she was like four years old, she didn't know what it was. No drugs, no alcohol, no cigarettes. I just put it into them because I've seen people that are really brilliant, people that you know, the top people in industry, they have very smart children, have all the aptitude in the world but they get hooked on drugs, they get hooked on alcohol and they can -- alcohol believe it or not is almost harder than drugs but it's harder to get away from it but they get hooked on alcohol, they get hooked on drugs and as smart as they are, they never make it.

COOPER: So what is one thing you wish you didn't do? What a vice or -- I mean, are you watching T.V. late at night or what you like? TRUMP: Well, I mean, a vice. I work very hard. Maybe I work too hard. I had two very wonderful women frankly that I am a worker. I love to work. I don't consider myself like a workalcoholic. I'm a workaholic but I don't consider that a bad thing. And I think probably I would have had -- i wouldn't have -- i have a very good marriage now, Melania is fantastic but had I two women I never blame because I worked so hard that my job came first.

It never came first with my children. I always said -- I would say this, I was a better father than I was a husband but I worked very, very hard and I love doing it and you know what I'm very happy about, I have tens of thousands of employees. I put so many -- I've had thousands and thousands of employees and that takes care of health care and education and so many things. So not that I'd change anything but if I did a little bit less, probably wouldn't have had two marriages that didn't work out.

COOPER: Donald Trump.

TRUMP: Thank you very much.

COOPER: Thank you very much. Appreciate it.

TRUMP: Thank you.

COOPER: And that's all the time we have. Our thanks to Donald Trump, and governors Kasich and Bush.

[23:05:00] We want to thank everybody here in the audience who has questions. Special thanks to the voters and the viewers and everybody here in Columbia for their help and hospitality. Next Tuesday, I hope you join us. "New Day's" Chris Cuomo is going to be moderating at South Carolina Democratic Town Hall. Our coverage continues. Don Lemon right after this.


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news now. You just saw the second night of the Republican Town Hall in Columbia, South Carolina. This is "CNN Tonight", I'm Don Lemon. Thank you so much for joining us.

We are just two days away from the South Carolina Republican primary by the way and Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, John Kasich each trying to make their case to voters tonight who is up, who is down, and what happens next. My political dream team is here to talk about it. That is Amanda Carpenter, David Gergen, Ana Navarro, Kayleigh McEnany, Bob Beckel, and welcome to the panel Katie Packer. We're going to get you to all of this. Lots to unpack, Katie Packer and the rest of the gang.

But first of all, I want to get to the man who moderated tonight's town hall and that's Anderson Cooper. Anderson, not many people will take on the pope but Donald Trump did and you got to ask him about it. That was fascinating moment to watch.

COOPER: Yeah, it was interesting. Obviously that was what we started off with Donald Trump.

[23:10:00] You know, it's obviously probably the biggest story of the day. And what's interesting I mean Trump definitely kind of walking back some of the comments he made earlier in the day, clearly not wanting to really kind of go toe to toe with the pope, sort of saying maybe the pope was misunderstood and his comments were kind of a little softer than were perhaps being reported, even though I read him his comments. I think we have put together some of that exchange.

LEMON: Here it is. Let's listen.


TRUMP: Well, I didn't think it was a good thing for him to say frankly. And he was talking about the border. And as you know, I'm very strong on border security and we have to have a border in this country and we certainly don't have one right now. And as you know, we're talking about building a wall and we're going to build a wall and Mexico is going to pay for the wall and that's the way it is.

They, you know, we have a trade balance and if you look at it, imbalance of about a $58 billion with Mexico. There's really more than that because we also subsidize et cetera et cetera. So they're going to pay for the wall.

But somehow the government of Mexico spoke with the pope. I mean they spent a lot of time with the pope. And by the time he left, he made a statement ...

COOPER: You think the government of Mexico somehow got the pope to say this?

TRUMP: Absolutely. Well, I don't think they said that way. But they probably talked about isn't it terrible that Mr. Trump wants to have border security, et cetera, et cetera. And the pope made the statement and I think it was probably a little bit nicer statement than what was reported by you folks in the media because after I read it it was a little bit softer. But the bottom line is we've got to have a border, we got to have security. We have tremendous illegal immigration in the country.

COOPER: Well, I just say the pope did go on to say that's not the gospel. As far as what you have said whether I would advise to vote or not to vote, I'm not going to get involved in that. I say only this man is not Christian if he has said things like that. We must see if he said things in that way and I will give him the benefit of the doubt.

TRUMP: And he also talked about not having a wall and being a Christian but there's an awfully big wall at the Vatican, I will tell you. So it's going to be an interesting ...

COOPER: But people do come and go through the Vatican and it's open for ...

TRUMP: And they're going to come and go through the wall. I mean, you know, but they're going to come and go legally. They're going to do it legally. And that's what I want and that's what a lot of people want obviously because they agree with me.

COOPER: You've been in fights with a lot of people. But with the pope, does it give you pause?

TRUMP: I don't like fighting with the pope actually.


COOPER: One of the other comments he made was he was not really willing based on an audience question, an audience member who said he liked Donald Trump but he was concerned about he said George W. Bush lied about WMD. Interestingly enough now Trump would not repeat that. He did not back up what he had previously said. He essentially said, he didn't know, he would have to kind of look at it again but he also didn't in any way apologize for that.

LEMON: Yeah, even though you did -- and you read when he said back to him. But he said, "You don't have to look at the transcript, I'll have to look at it again." But you know, Anderson, we talk so much, you and I and I guess everyone here talks about the format of a town hall that it is -- it's much more relaxing, it's much more engaging. You saw the former first lady in the audience, the family members are there. And you get to learn more about the candidates. It's not -- I don't think it's an uncomfortable it's just that it's more revealing format.

COOPER: It's less confrontational, it's more conversational, and it's certainly an opportunity for the candidates not just try to speak in sound bites, not just have 30 seconds or 60 seconds to respond to something to actually talk as much as possible, like human beings and just let voters know who they are.

And it's the kind of thing voters in Iowa, voters in New Hampshire, and voters here in South Carolina get to see from the candidates because they get to go to town halls if they want to. You know, John Kasich has done more than 100 town halls in New Hampshire alone. And so, I think it's an opportunity to let the rest of the country and frankly the world see the candidates in ways they otherwise might not.

LEMON: Anderson, thank you very much. We appreciate it. So now let's get to our dream team tonight. And I want to bring them in tonight. So last night I asked and I looked around, Donna Brazile, one of the only Democrats answered. I want the Republicans to answer tonight. Democrats hold your fire. So I'm going to go first to Amanda, who do you think knocked it out of the park tonight?

AMANDA CARPENTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think the bigger story quite frankly is Donald Trump's remarks about whether or not he supported the Iraq war. I mean the biggest decision that a president will make is whether to send troops into harm's way. Donald Trump has said that he opposed the Iraq war.

And there's a breaking news story while this debate was going on where Buzzfeed found an audio interview that Donald Trump did with Howard Stearn saying, "Yes, we should invade." Anderson, you know, (inaudible) asked him about that Trump said, "Yeah, I may have said that. And somehow his position is now that he opposed the war until -- he was for the invasion until it started."

LEMON: We have the sound bite. We have the sound bite. Here is what he said that may have been the first time someone asked me that question, I was not a politician then, I was a business person then. He said, "So I may have said -- he didn't deny it. Here it is let's listen in and we'll respond.


COOPER: There's a report now the out on Buzzfeed that includes an audio clip of what appears to be you on Howard Stearn talking on the radio on September 11th, 2002, he asked you are you for invading Iraq?

[23:25:01] You said, "Yeah, I guess so. You know, I wish the first time it was done correctly." Is that accurate?

TRUMP: No, but I mean I could have said that. Nobody asked me. I wasn't a politician. It was probably the first time anybody asked me that question.

COOPER: But is that ...

TRUMP: But by the time the war started that was quite a bit ...

COOPER: Yeah, this was 2002 ...

TRUMP: ... by the time the war started, I was against the war and there were articles -- I mean, there are headlines in 2003, 2004 that I was totally against the war. And actually a couple of people in your world in terms of the pundits said that, you know, there's definite proof in 2003 and 2004 Trump was against it.

COOPER: In 2004, there's a Reuters article that you pointed to a lot ...

TRUMP: Right.

COOPER: ... and there were a couple of comments you made I think in Ivanka's fair party and what other ...

TRUMP: Right.

COOPER: ... comment. Those were I think a couple of weeks after the war began.

TRUMP: Which is OK. It was so early that even if it was a little bit after the war, he was totally against the war. I was very much against it and that was probably the first time I was ever even asked about the war. Howard, who is a great guy, by the way, a lot of people don't understand that but he is ...

COOPER: He's a great interviewer.

TRUMP: ... he's a great interviewer ...


TRUMP: ... and he's a very talented guy and a good guy. But that was probably the first time. I don't remember that but that was probably the first time I was asked about it.

COOPER: OK, I haven't heard of it but yeah, you may have said this?

TRUMP: Yeah, I may have. When you're in the private sector, you are get asked things. You're not a politician. And probably the first time I was asked. By the time the war started, I was against it and shortly thereafter, I was really against it.


LEMON: Amanda Carpenter, that's not satisfactory to you?

CARPENTER: No. We're talking about sending troops into harm's way. He said over and over again, "I was against the war. I was against the war." And he's running away from the statement.

No, this is a matter of life and death for ...


CARPENTER: ... Americans. And you can't be unequivocal about this. And for him to act like he is an expert when he stands up and says Bush lied. This is a topic he wants to talk about but once again doesn't want to be accountable for his words. He's probably going to call Anderson Cooper a liar tomorrow.

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: The point is Amanda that in 2003 when Hillary Clinton supported the Iraq war, when virtually every senator, both the Democrat and Republican alike supported the Iraq war, Donald Trump publicly opposed it in 2003. When the war had just began he was on the right side of history, and not only was he in the right side of history, he was on the right side of history when he had no intelligence at his disposal. Those senators had intelligence at their disposal and they made that decision. He made the right decision without being a commander-in-chief and without being elected.


NAVARRO: The guy's changed his mind on everything. And I give him props for being consistent of basically saying, "Hey, look, back then I was a businessman and I was a T.V. star and I behaved like a businessman and a T.V. star."

LEMON: Was that a satisfactory answer to you though, his answer?

NAVARRO: No, but it's consistent. I mean, you know, and I said it's consistent and he says "Judge me then by what I was then, a T.V. star and a businessman. Judge me now but what I am now, a politician." And he's truly is.

LEMON: Is that so wrong? Is that so wrong?

NAVARRO: I think it's refreshingly honest. He changes his mind on everything and uses and goes back to that same line over and over.

LEMON: Katie.

KATIE PACKER, FORMER ROMNEY DEPUTY CAMPAIGN MANAGER: What's really wrong with it, Don, is that he throws out this notion that he's not a politician, but the reality is going back to when Reagan was running, he was talking about potentially running for president, he changed parties back in the '80s and filed as a Reform Party Candidate. This is not a guy that has been just in the business world not paying attention to current events and politics.

For the last three decades, he's behaved as a politician and he's been, you know, sort of bandying about this idea of running for president. So to suggest that he was just sort of ignorant about what was going on at that time I do think is pretty disingenuous.

LEMON: Mr. Gergen.

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I just disagree. I found his answer entirely satisfactory. It's very consistent with the way people live their lives. I imagine almost -- I have -- I bet everyone on this stage has at one time or another taken a view in public as a commentator and things change and evolve and you change your mind about what you're looking at.


GERGEN: That is ....


LEMON: Bob, I'll let you bring home Bob. But a show of hands of people who have changed their position after getting information or evolved over time. You have. I know you have. All of us.


NAVARRO: I change my mind about things I was thinking about this morning. That's what I find refreshing about Donald Trump. I'm in a different person, I'm a different career profession now.


CARPENTER: But to say that I oppose it after our troops were in harm's way ...

GERGEN: No, that's not what he said. That's not what he said.

LEMON: That's not what he said the first time when he was questioned about it or when people were asking him about it.


LEMON: The first time it was on the record was then. Go ahead, Bob, bring it home.

BOB BECKEL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, Trump once again tonight got away with backing off his comments about Bush being a liar. Did that, you know, typical Trump way. And of course, follow-up was not frankly all that good in the audience about that. He got away with the pope thing and got away with this Iraq thing. It's all going to go down in the hole someplace and nobody's going to follow it up and once again Trump is going to back himself out of something.

[23:20:03] I mean the guy's a genius at doing that. Honest to God, I mean it's amazing to me. He's optimization.

LEMON: All right.

BECKEL: But he's got to catch up eventually. I mean you can't pull this ...


LEMON: Bob Beckel, you have set up my teeth in the next couple of segments.

We're going to talk about the Bush thing or the Bush line thing with Barbara Bush right in the audience, right.

And I thought, maybe, her being in the audience. Did that sort of change what he would like to have said? Maybe he was being respectful, maybe he wasn't and we'll also talk about ...

BECKEL: You're assuming that Barbara Bush stayed around when she maybe will talk of it.

LEMON: Maybe so. Then we will talk about the pope as well.

We'll be right back with our all-star panel.


LEMON: Welcome back you're looking live where we had our Town Hall, this is Columbia, South Carolina. Of course the room and everybody has left.

Almost most people, to have people who have to dismantle the stage there.

You saw tonight the Town Hall there. My political dream team is back with me to discuss everything that happened.

[23:25:00] Amanda Carpenter is here, David Gergen, Ana Navarro, Kayleigh McEnany, Bob Beckel and Katie Packer.

OK. So, the whole idea of liar again tonight. Remember the discussion last night about liar, liar, liar, well, this is tonight about Ted Cruz, Donald Trump responding to Ted Cruz being a liar.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: He has a problem with the truth. And even Marco Rubio. I guess today, there was something about he was, you know, picture was manufactured and there was ...

COOPER: Not totally operated.

TRUMP: Well, it was totally photo shopped. I could see by just looking at it. In fact that he would made Marco a lot shorter than he is if you looked at it really.

And I'm sure that's probably the thing that bothered them the most. He was a hell of a liar. He was like very small. I mean, he's not that small, not too big, but he's not so small.

But, I will tell you, I looked at that photo I said immediately it was photo shopped.

But if you looked at what he did, I'm talking about Cruz to Ben Carson where he said, "Listen, he's out of the race, everybody come vote for us. He's out of the" -- that was so dishonest.

And then he did something else that you people never picked up on and I think it was the worst of all.

He did a voter violation notice. It look like its right under the IRS.

COOPER: And we talked about it.

TRUMP: The official paper, it was disgusting. And it's basically, you have a voter violation. Now, they don't have lawyers. These are people that were frightened when they got it. And it graded them and you have an F, F, F, F. And essentially, it says, if you vote for Ted Cruz, this violation is going to go away.

And let me tell you something, people voted for him because of that. That was a fraudulent document. And he said things about me. For instance, I'm very strong on the Second Amendment. He said, Donald Trump will leave the Second Amendment. He is going to destroy the Second Amendment. You're not going to have a Second Amendment.


LEMON: So, he discussed that, but he also talked about nominating his sister as a Supreme Court justice which he said he never did and Ted Cruz says that he was going to do that.

So, what do you think, Katie?

PACKER: Well, I think the danger for Ted Cruz is that this narrative this week have started to develop that he's got a problem with the truth.

And so, you can't go doing things like photo shopping pictures, which I think was a big error that his staff committed frankly. Just so, obviously take, you know, sort of a stock photo and photo shop President Obama and Marco Rubio into it, it just helps to sort of frame the narrative.

LEMON: A big enough error to make a difference in the primary to make a ...

PACKER: ... every point counts that the stage of the game. So, yeah, I do think so.

BECKEL: You know, if Cruz is -- it is been too much of this. It's now been building up and building up now.

If somebody who has sent out those letters to the suppress voters as I did years ago.

LEMON: You're admitting that.

BECKEL: But it's now against the law. When I did it, it wasn't against the law. But, it shortly was after that.

But this is -- what he's done here ...


GERGEN: Yes. It's called the Bob Beckel Law.

BECKEL: I thought always the good books that doesn't matter. I want to give props to chuck on just one that I never do this. But, the guy talked about heroin and alcohol ...

LEMON: You already called and you already said he was a genius tonight. You said he's a genius at doing that.

BECKEL: Oh, he's genius like Barnum and Bailey was a genius.

LEMON: OK. Go ahead.

BECKEL: But, you know, he did talk about heroine and addiction as a recovery in alcoholic and an addict, I'm glad she embraces it. I mean, it was a good important thing. He talks about his brother very openly and I think that's important.

People out there who were in the shadows, who need to go back into the light, who are alcoholics and addicts. And I think when Trump talks about this and other people do, it matters to people.

LEMON: Jeb Bush spoke about it.

BECKEL: And Jeb Bush did, too. Yeah. He's well.

NAVARRO: So, I will tell you, Trump said he's never had a drink or a cigarette.

And, man, you know, being president is hard as hell, I'm not sure somebody that's never had a drink is qualified to be president. GERGEN: I think tonight was remarkably free ...


GERGEN: ... of all of the attacks and everything like this. It wasn't as negative as all have been seeing. That part of it was refreshing.

MCENANY: That was consorted choice.

LEMON: Yeah.

MCENANY: Donald Trump didn't dwell on Ted Cruz. Ted Cruz spent half of the Town Hall last night attacking Donald Trump. A front-runner, addresses it and moves on. And that's what we saw Donald Trump do.

LEMON: This was interesting to me. And I think to most people Anderson talked about it a little bit him being challenged. Donald Trump being challenged on whether or not George Bush was a liar with the Former President Bush was a liar by going to war with Iraq. Talk a look.


COOPER: Just to his question, one more chance, either you believe, he either lied or did not lie.

Are you willing to say ...

TRUMP: I don't know what he did. I just do know was a terrible mistake ...

COOPER: It wasn't a mistake for to you say in that debate that you thought he lied?

TRUMP: I'd have to see the exact word. Look, I don't know. I would probably say that something was going on. I don't know why he went in. I don't know why he went in. Because, honestly, there was no reason to go in. They didn't knock down the world trade center. It wasn't Iraq that knocked it down.

COOPER: You would not say again that George W. Bush lied?

TUMP: I don't know. I can't tell you. I'd have to look at some document.



NAVARRO: Well, that's a hell of tiptoeing around this subject.

Look, he obviously backed off. It caused him some points. We've seen that some of his poll numbers have gone down since that debate.

In South Carolina, there was a huge military presence. And I think that, you know, to say that it was a mistake is something that a lot of people can agree with, maybe even George W. Bush to say that he lied and fabricated, you know, facts about WMDs, really I think went a step to far and was disgusting to a lot of Republicans.

[23:30:00] LEMON: What if he said I don't know the president was misled, but someone either lied to him or the intelligence was very faulty.


MCENANY: That's not a great point and that is what he should get across. Because he was given faulty intelligence, we don't know why he chose to go in. And he was very smart, I agree with Ana to back away from that statement towards W. Bush is very popular among Republicans.

But here is the thing, he drove home the point, whether it was a lie or not, it was a mistake. We spent $2 trillion in Iraq and what do we have to show for it? We have ISIS, we have Libya, we have the Middle East in Chaos. That's a powerful message ...

LEMON: I though he was very honest when he said, Bob, Bob.

BECKELY: ... the transcript. Hell, you couldn't miss the transcript. It said "Liar, liar, liar." If things out, do you have to see a transcript for that? Come on.

LEMON: I thought it was very honest for him to say in the --- at least in the beginning, "I'm not going to get your vote."

And then I thought he was going to go on to answer him and say, yeah, well, I think ...


BECKEL: The perfect answer for Donald Trump tonight which was, you know, I thought about that and I think it probably, I was expecting far. Maybe I shouldn't have said that.

LEMON: Go ahead David.

GERGENS: I thought he was sitting on his lead tonight. He had votes a couple of days away. I think he was sitting on his leads. He was trying to bury all the arguments and round off all the rough edges.

So, because he knows, it's potentially dangerous to get in a fight with the pope and have this fight going on with crew just on the eve of this.

I think he got what he wanted out of the pope earlier today. And I will tell you this, to go to Bob Beckel's point, he at some point is going to have to raise his game.

He's going to have to become a more disciplined campaigner so he doesn't have to say one thing and have to back off it because that pattern is very destructive over time. NAVARRO: But why, David, if it's worked for him? I mean,


NAVARRO: He has been doing the same pattern of saying something, throwing the ball and then hiding his hand. He has been doing it from the first moment he announced. And it has worth for him. Every time he does it, his poll numbers go up.

GERGENS: No, no, no. I thought she had said to go down? So, listen, I, but listen, I think it gets old. I think one of the dangerous he faces is he's going to start resounding repetitive. I thought tonight, he should have broken fresh grown and how he described problems.

LEMON: Yeah.

GERGEN: But, talking about Marco Rubio being scripted, almost everybody he said tonight was the thing's almost exact same word we've heard before.

LEMON: Hold your fire, hold your fire! I got to get to continue -- I have to get the break.

We talked about do you have the temperament to be president, right. Remember the question of her? She's going to join us next. We'll be right back.


[23:36:12] LEMON: Welcome back, everyone. You saw our town hall tonight. Now, I want to bring in Sherri Burriss, an undecided South Carolina voter who asked Donald Trump a question and I want to bring her in now.

Your question was fascinating and I think most people here in our panel thought it was fascinating as well.

Let's play it. You and I will discuss it and we'll get our panel to a weigh in on it, Sherri.


SHERRI BURRIS, WORKS IN COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE: My biggest concern is how are you going to govern and get buy-in from people that you may totally disagree with without getting angry and without refusing to look for common ground?

I like your principles. I want a strong president. I want someone who is strong, tenacious, but I'm having some trouble getting past your self-control.


BURRISS: Can you help me with that? TRUMP: I appreciate the question actually. It's a great question. First of all, when it comes to, you know, some people say, "Oh, Trump is tough," and I thought I did a great debate the other night, at "Time" Magazine and everybody thought that I won. Grudge thought I won.

You know, they do the policy after the debate. I thought I did a great debate. But some people thought I was too tough. I said, "Wait a minute, I have Jeb Bush and I have all these guys coming at me from 15 different angles." And you have to be tough. And we have tough to protect our country.

I have a great temperament. You don't build a great company, and especially a company with very little debt and all of the kinds of things that I have and I have employees that have been with me for many, many years. I mean long term employees. They're really great people and they've been with me for a long time. But we need a certain toughness.

Look, we have ISIS, chopping off people's heads, Christian's heads, everybody else's heads, drowning people in cages. You've never seen -- this is like Medieval Times.

We need a certain toughness. I know that Hillary said "I don't like Donald Trump's tone." Tone? They're chopping off the heads of people. This hasn't happened since Medieval Times.

We need a certain toughness. And if we don't have the toughness, we're not going to end up with a country. And we're going to let people come into this country. They're going to be ISIS or ISIS related and we're going to have problems like you've never seen.

You had a problem, where you had two radicalized -- probably she came in radical, radicalized him the married couple, the young couple. They killed 14 people. They killed 14 people. They killed people and you understand what I'm talking about.

In California, they killed people that gave them wedding parties, people that they knew very well, people that they worked with, people that they actually got along with. They killed them. There's something going on.

We need a certain toughness. We have weak people leading our country.


LEMON: So, Sherri, I don't know, did that help up you decide?

BURRISS: You know, it's not exactly the answer that I was looking for but I get where he's coming from. I think that's what has attracted a lot of people to Donald Trump, is that he says exactly what he's thinking and he comes across very tough.

But I think the thing that I've noticed over the -- I guess since I've started watching the debates, is that -- because I've come from government into private sector, I can relate to what he's talking about, I know that you can be tough and maybe you can say whatever you feel.

But when you go into a government environment, you do have to think about not just making everybody mad and saying things without thinking it through. Because I think he's capable of doing it, I wanted him to tell me a little bit more about how his temperament may or may not change over the course of the season. But I don't know. I don't know. I'm still undecided.

In fact, my husband and I were talking about it. And after watching all of the debates last night and tonight, you get a very different feel when you go to a town hall than you do when you see a debate. So perhaps, maybe I wouldn't have as much concern if I've seen him more in town hall situations ...

[23:40:00] LEMON: All right.

BURRISS: ... rather than debates.

LEMON: So still undecided. And did anyone else say anything that may make you lean towards them? Did John Kasich say anything? Did Jeb Bush say anything, tonight?

BURRISS: I think, I just -- I like Kasich's compassion. I think he's a great person. And I really like Jeb Bush, too. I think when everything started and we started having names floating around about who was going to run, I was leaning toward Jeb Bush. I voted for his brother. I'm a Republican. I'm conservative. I'm evangelical. I'm a Christian. I'm a believer.

So, I want a strong person who has strong morals but who also has self-control. And in my experience, you need to have that in order to lead. And that's what I'm looking for. So, I think the more that I see that, the more comfortable I'll get.

LEMON: All right, Sherri. I want you to stand by and listen to this, because this is one of those moments, an emotional moment. This is John Kasich. Look.


JOHN KASICH, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: That I've seen it everywhere. It's one of the reasons why, you know, I love to talk about the conservative economic policies but one of the things that I've felt and I've said in the campaign is we all need to slow down a little bit.

There a lot of people out there who are lonely and they're looking for a place to tell people about their issues. I mean, could you believe that, that young man ...

COOPER: Does it change you as person and as a politician?


KASICH: It has slowed me down and I have, and many of you or some of you have been at my town halls where I've talked about this. You know, the strength of America is not some guy or woman coming in on a white charger here to solve our problem.


LEMON: And so, Sherri, he was responding to a question from Anderson about a young man who was at one of his events earlier today and he gave him a big hug. The young man had gone through some hardships. Is this the more personal side that you're looking from all of the candidates, even Donald Trump, right?

BURRISS: Yeah. I think you know, you have to be compassionate and you have to be a leader. Probably in my opinion Kasich, I had not had as much knowledge about him previously and not seeing him on a personal level. So I found that interesting tonight.

Bush, I knew more about. In fact, one of the reasons that I've been undecided is because I personally think that a governor has kind of lot more direct experience than even someone in Congress.

What I liked about Trump is that, he has private sector knowledge, which I personally tried to inject into state and local governments to try to help them do strategic planning, help them look at processes and become more efficient.

So I get where he's coming from and I'm hoping whatever happens that, that if he did win that he could put some of that into play in government and we would be the better for it.

LEMON: Yeah.

BURRISS: But it's going to have to be in a controlled fashion. And that's how I feel.

LEMON: And speaking of -- speaking of the governor, here's the former governor of Florida, Jeb Bush tonight. Listen.


JEB BUSH, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: About when I was 25, I think I decided normally when you're with, you know, at least, I'm a hard charging, striving person, I always want to people like to strive to be like your parents, you know. It's kind of a natural thing to do.

I realized pretty quickly in my life if could I be half the man my dad was that, that would be a pretty good goal. If I tried to strive to be as good as him, it would be impossible. I'd be on a couch getting therapy all the time.

My dad, is just, put aside the fact that he was the first, you know, the youngest navy pilot in World War II, served this country in so many different ways, including being president. He's just a fine man, a person of integrity, of honesty, of courage. All the virtues you would want to have to be inspired by, this guy is the real deal. And so, half the man of George Bush means you can live a life of purpose and meaning as far as I'm concerned. (END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Yeah. Who can't like someone who love their -- loves their mom, and their dad and says good things about their mom and dad.

I guess, Sherri, if you could put all three of them together or at least, all the six that we had over the past two nights together, they'd be the perfect candidate for you?

BURRISS: Absolutely. In fact, that's exactly how I describe this election. I said, it's sort of like when you were dating, if you could put all of your past boy friends together and marry them, that would be great because it would be like all the little pieces put together.

Of course I am married to someone now for 23 years and I'm perfectly happy. So I found my perfect match.

LEMON: Yeah.

BURRISS: But, I do think that's what we're up against and I think that's why it's been so contentious because people are feeling the same way and we're finding bits and pieces in everybody and we're just having to get settled in. We're going to have do it pretty quick.

LEMON: Yeah. Sherri, I want you to stay right there. I have quick questions to my panel. Sherri is -- I think, the quintessential Trump supporter or the person who maybe considering Donald Trump.

You know, I don't agree with everything he says but I do like his ability to be able to say it because that doesn't happen a lot, especially in politics.

MCENANY: Say it and not back down from it. That's the thing ...

LEMON: Yeah.


PACKER: But he does back down.

NAVARRO: He back down ...


MCENANY: No, he does not, no he does not. He has ...


LEMON: Hang on, one at a time.


MCENANY: Hold on. Let me ...

[23:45:00] PACKER: Is this notion that he says it like it is all the time. He said it like it was about George Bush lying and then he pulled back ...

MCENANY: No, he ...

PACKER: He said it like ...


LEMON: Let her finish ...

PACKER: ... he said it like it was about the Pope and his comment. And then he pulled it back. He said it like it was about not going into Iraq. And then, we find out that that's not what he said. So he sound like it is very, very emphatically. And we find is that, he's got this ready, fire, aim mentality that I think is pretty dangerous.

LEMON: Let Kayleigh respond, Bob. Let Kayleigh respond.


MCENANY: He has been nothing but consistent. Look, when he said he would temporarily ban ....

PACKER: That's just laughable, Kayleigh.

MCENANY: Katie let me finish. You talked, let me finish. When he said he would temporarily ban Muslim immigration under intense media scrutiny, he never backed down from that on. Every policy has never backed down. He did not change what he said about ...


MCENANY: ... he did not change what he said about the pope. He took a more gracious tone. He did not change ...

BECKEL: I finally got it figured out.

MCENANY: ... he did not withdraw his comments. He did not withdraw his comments.


BECKEL: I finally got it figured out.

PACKER: Come on, Bob. You've got the answer.


BECKEL: No, I'm telling you. This guy, if you did the replay of "The Godfather," this is Vito Corleone. He's the guy who would give you an offer, you couldn't refuse. He'd beat you but thug. And look, are you kidding me? This guy that change (inaudible) country. It's the worst idea (inaudible) but it's anti-constitutional.

MCENANY: Did he back down from it? Because I want to understand ...

BECKEL: I don't care. It's anti-constitutional. MCENANY: Everyone on this panel is saying that -- everyone on this panel is saying that he changed his ...


NAVARRO: I think, whenever I hear you talk, I think I'm living in some sort of surreal world. He -- you know, first day that he announced he went on and said that Mexicans were rapists. He took it back took it back and ...

MCENANY: No, he did not. He said ...

NAVARRO: Yes, he did, Kayleigh, Kayleigh ...


LEMON: Anna, Anna, Anna. The quote was, it said -- Anna, Anna, Anna, Anna, hold on, Anna, Anna, Anna, hold on, Anna ...


Anna, hold on. Anna, stand by. Anna, please stand by. He said when the Mexican government sends their people over, they send over their rapists and they're -- whatever. I don't know if he said -- he saying, "I didn't say they were rapists," he says the government sends over their rapists.

NAVARRO: And the next day, he said, you know, there are some great Mexican people. Then he said Megyn Kelly was -- Megyn Kelly was bleeding from somewhere.

LEMON: No, no, no, no, no, no. I'm not defending Donald Trump. I was saying ...


LEMON: ... the exact quote matters. The words matter.

NAVARRO: But the point is he ...

MCENANY: Exactly.

NAVARRO: ... repeatedly says things and backs down.



GERGEN: Could we have one conversation, please?

LEMON: Yeah.

BECKEL: This is ridiculous.

LEMON: All right. Stand by.

GERGEN: Listen.

LEMON: Thank you, David.

GERGEN: Let's get down to one conversation. You know, each one of you has got your point of view but I think we've been missing the big story, as the hope we've been talking all the time, and that was John Kasich tonight. That was a guy we haven't seen this entire campaign.

LEMON: Well, we're going to talk about him next.

GERGEN: Thank goodness.

LEMON: We're going to talk about him next. Let's put a button on this since I interrupted you and that's you know I love you. But go ahead. What's your point?

NAVARRO: You know what, I'm exactly with David Gergen. We have (inaudible) ,we're now 47 minutes into this show and all we've done is talk about Donald Trump. I think, that both ...

LEMON: But we talked about Jeb Bush and we talked about, about ...

NAVARRO: Yeah. But I think both John Kasich and Jeb Bush today showed a human side. You know, I loved these town halls because debates are performances, they are canned lines, they are rehearsed lines and they are timed answers.

Here, you know, you can't bull crap your way through a town hall because people go. (foreign language). I'm going do the Spanish thing that Anderson -- by the way, you know -- let me translate ...

LEMON: Can't speak in Spanish.

NAVARRO: ... yeah, let me translate what he said to Anderson. "Anderson, you want to do this interview in Spanish?" And Anderson of course started giggling.

LEMON: Anderson said no. No, no. OK. More to come. Hold your fire, everyone. We'll talk about John Kasich and Jeb Bush when we come back because the panel wants to talk about them.


[23:52:44] LEMON: Back now with my all-star panel, my political dream team.

David Gergen, John Kasich shared a very interesting story about being -- he said he thinks he peaked out at 18 when he got to go to the oval office to meet Nixon when he was college freshman.

GERGEN: He did. He would -- he gone -- he was walking into the president of Ohio State, said I want to meet the president of the United States. I've got a complaint to make and may arrange it. And he got in for five minutes.

He said I got a new suit to go in there and see him and all you gave was five minutes. He was ticked off about that, so he got 20 minutes. That was a picture of Richard Nixon. I think he and Elvis had the best suit by that conversation with Nixon (inaudible).

But, I must tell you, I thought John Kasich was the very best I'd ever seen him tonight. He was very human. You know, he doesn't have a chance to South Carolina, but I'll tell you something. He will be under consideration if you'd ever take him for the vice presidential slot however this thing end so.

BECKEL: Yeah, that's for sure. You know, one of the reason for that too, is the Democrats -- we need to have one or both of Ohio and Florida.


BECKEL: And you put Kasich on the ticket and that could make a difference of three or four points on the Republicans, you know.

GERGEN: That's right.

BECKEL: It's always been very close up there in a mimic. Both of those two states mimic the country -- the demographics of the country. Kasich could make a difference. That's what got me worried. You know, the worst ticket for us I think is Rubio/Kasich.

CARPENTER: You know, I have to say, I never understood the appeal of John Kasich until I saw that moment in the Town Hall earlier today. And I still disagree what he did with the, you know, health care and the state and things like that. But, that interaction was so genuine.

And, you know, there's a lot of crazy stuff flying around in this election. There's a lot of people that don't follow the day-to-day exact warfare. And they're scared. They're worried. And sometimes they just need a hug.

It reminds me of George Bush when he would hug people after 9/11 because people don't only need a leader, they need a moral supporter.

NAVARRO: Well, you know, this primary has deteriorated into a world wrestling cage match. The insults that are being waged directly by candidates at each other, it's just amazing.

I think it's a sad reflection of the Democratic process and how, you know, far down -- it's gone down this whole. And so tonight, to be able to hear this human side, the decency of these -- even, you know, Donald Trump.

LEMON: This is what I want to ask you about because when we're talking before the show you said, you know, and you're a Jeb Bush supporter, you said Columbia had the best night tonight.

I thought that was a really heart-felt moment when they showed his wife and they showed, you know, his mom in the audience.

BECKEL: What was he going to say, though?


NAVARRO: He's been saying that -- look, I think for Kasich and Jeb, tonight was a very good night because, frankly, I think this is a much better format for them than a debate has been. They had time to expound on their answers to show their policy chops, but also to show their humanity and their softer side.

You know, if -- I mean, Jeb almost went into tears talking about his father. You saw Kasich show that softer side that I think a lot of America has not gotten to see.

PACKER: I think I would be very nervous if I were Jeb actually because the race is so close in South Carolina and I think viewers there got a chance to see Kasich for the first time and for those looking for a governor, looking for somebody that has got compassion, I think that he's got a little more life to him than Jeb Bush.


LEMON: You guys are all great, but unfortunately, we are all out of time. Thank you very much.

Bob Beckel, I know you're upset.

BECKEL: That's terrible. I'll have to get over it.

LEMON: Thanks everybody. You are great. I really appreciate you joining us tonight. That's it for us tonight. I'll see you right back here tomorrow night. And if you missed any of the Town Hall, you can see the whole thing in just a moment right here on CNN. Have a great night.