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Palin To Speak In Wisconsin; Obama: Trump Doesn't Know Much About The World; Trump On Abortion: 'The Laws Are Set'; Wisconsin Primaries Tuesday; President Blasts Trump On Foreign Policy; Fox News: Trump Won't Rule Out Third Party Run; Trump's Troubles With Women Voters; Polls: Cruz Leading Trump In Wisconsin; Palin Live In Milwaukee Stumping For Trump; Could Rubio Emerge At GOP Convention?; Trump Vs. Cruz; The War Over The Wives; Trump Struggling To Recover From Tough Week; Trump's Changing Positions On Abortion, Aired 9-10p ET

Aired April 1, 2016 - 21:00   ET



[21:00:06] ANDERSON COOPER, AC360 ANCHOR: That does it for us on this Friday night. Thanks for watching. Time now for "CNN Tonight" with Don Lemon.

DON LEMON, "CNN TONIGHT" HOST: Breaking news, four days to the primary and the GOP is throwing what it calls Wisconsin's largest fish fry. Apparently, having bigger fish to fry himself, Donald Trump is sending his star surrogate Sarah Palin to take the stage at any moment now.

This is "CNN Tonight," I am Don Lemon.

Meanwhile, the Republican front-runner taking it from all sides, campaigning and chief President Barack Obama says this about Trump's statement on foreign policy.


BARACK OBAMA, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA PRESIDENT: The person who made the statements doesn't know much about foreign policy or nuclear policy or the Korean peninsula or the world generally.


LEMON: And Trump is staking out yet another position on abortion tonight telling CBS News this.


DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The laws are set, and I think we have to leave it that way.


LEMON: 42 Republican delegates at stake in Wisconsin, Donald Trump currently 10 points behind Ted Cruz. Now, if there's one thing we've learned in this campaign it's don't count out Donald Trump. But after a pretty terrible week, is he in danger of losing his momentum? Has he lost it, really?

Joining me now with more on our breaking news tonight, CNN Sunlen Serfaty in Milwaukee and White House correspondent, Michelle Kosinski is in Washington us. Sunlen, I'm going to start with you. Good evening, by the way.

Donald Trump got himself into hot water with pro-choice groups and pro-life activists this week with his comments on abortion and punishing women. He backtracked but just a short while ago he spoke to CBS News John Dickerson and here is what he said. Listen.


JOHN DICKERSON, CBS NEWS "FACE OF THE NATION" HOST: Let me ask you this about abortion. What would you do to further restrict women's access to abortions, as president?

TRUMP: Look, look, I guess, I mean, I know where you're going and I just want to say a question was asked to me, and it was asked in a very hypothetical and it was said, illegal, illegal. I've been told by some people that was a older line answer and that was an answer that was given on a, you know, basis of an older line from years ago, very -- on a very conservative basis. But ...

DICKERSON: Your original answer you mean?


TRUMP: My original but I was asked as a hypothetical, hypothetically, hypothetically. The laws are set now on abortion and that's the way they're going to remain until they're changed.

DICKERSON: Because you had said you wanted -- you told Bloomberg in January that you believed abortion should be banned at some point in pregnancy, where would you ...

TRUMP: Well, I personally, I would have liked to have seen, you know, this be a states rights. I would have preferred states right. I think it would have been better if we were up to the states. But, right now the laws are set and that's the way the laws are.

DICKERSON: But you have a feeling how they should change? There a lot of laws you want to change, you've talked about them and everything from libel to torture. Anything you'd want to change on abortion?

TRUMP: At this moment, the laws are set and I think we have to leave it that way.

DICKERSON: Do you think its murder, abortion?

TRUMP: I have my opinions on it, but I'd rather not comment on it.

DICKERSON: You said you're very pro-life, pro-life you means but its abortion and abortion is murder.

TRUMP: But I, I mean, I do have my opinions on it, I'd rather -- I just don't think it's an appropriate forum.

DICKERSON: But you don't disagree with that for a proposition that it's murder?

TRUMP: What proposition?

DICKERSON: That abortion is murder.

TRUMP: No, I don't disagree with it.


LEMON: So there are even more controversy and criticism, right, Sunlen?

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Don. You know, Donald Trump really doing nothing there to put this very controversial week behind him. Another big headline out of that clip that you just played that it appears that Donald Trump is shifting, changing his abortion views again. And you know, and you heard him say in that clip that he thinks the abortion laws should stay the way they are in the country and explain that he would have liked this to be decided on a state-by-state basis. But adding that since the laws are set, he says he'd like to keep it that way.

Now, almost immediately, tonight, we saw the Donald Trump campaign come out with a statement after that and parts of that interview was aired attempting to walk back some of those statements. Hope Hicks, Donald Trump's spokeswoman said, "Mr. Trump gave an accurate account of the law as it is today and made clear it must stay that way now until he is president. Then he will change the law through his judicial appointments and allow the states to protect the unborn," adding, "There is nothing new or different here."

Now, this almost certainly will give new fodder to Donald Trump's rivals in this race. Many of whom have spent the better part of this week really attacking his previous statements on abortion this week that caused its original dust-up. And in that reaction we saw Senator Cruz this week argue that this shows that Donald Trump doesn't have a real understanding. He isn't really read in on conservative principles and issues.

[21:05:00] The subtext of that being that Donald Trump is not a true conservative. I would suspect that we will see Senator Cruz start to argue this even more. And already tonight we're hearing from the Cruz campaign, one official saying how can you be pro-life and also believe that you shouldn't change the law? Don.

LEMON: You know, Sunlen, you told us what some of the other candidates are saying. But it is a golden opportunity for the two other candidates to seize the spotlight. But, I mean, still, they are so busy attacking each other out of on a campaign trail. Tell us about that. SERFATY: Yeah, this has been an interesting a new front, I guess we will could call it, opened up between John Kasich and Ted Cruz. You know, in the middle of that controversial week for Donald Trump, we have realized and seen a shift in tone from both of them, both candidates who have really said that they will, you know, not take each other on.

Senator Cruz's strategy from the beginning of this campaign has been largely to ignore John Kasich. He said Cruz's campaign thinks this is a two-man race, they've called John Kasich a spoiler. And we haven't seen Senator Cruz really engage with Kasich very much. But that's starting to change, he's almost belittling Kasich's path to the nomination really saying that there's no chance he can get the nomination.

And similarly, we're seeing much sharper rhetoric from John Kasich today. He said unprompted about Senator Cruz, he said, "You know, the problem with Senator Cruz is that his only record is just shutting down the government and making everybody he works with very upset." So, a small but important shift in tone coming from both of these candidates, Don.

LEMON: We had to pay close attention but I heard every word and I want to tell our viewers that John Kasich is speaking behind Sunlen at this big fish fry. They said he's the biggest fish fry. And that's John Kasich speaking.

I want to go to Michelle Kosinski, Michelle is our White House correspondent. Michelle, let's talk about the president. Leading a nuclear security conference this week in Washington, spoke about Trump's position on letting Japan and South Korea have nuclear weapons among other things. Listen to this.


OBAMA: The person who made the statements doesn't know much about foreign policy or nuclear policy or the Korean peninsula or the world generally. It came up on the sidelines. I've said before that, you know, people pay attention to American elections. What we do is really important to the rest of the world.

And even in those countries that are used to, a carnival atmosphere in their own politics wants sobriety and clarity when it comes to U.S. elections because they understand the president of the United States needs to know what's going on around the world and has to put in place the kinds of policies that lead, not only to our security and prosperity, but will have an impact on everybody else's security and prosperity.


LEMON: The only remarks there, Michelle, why speak out now?

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, that was pretty harsh. Well keep in mind, this isn't the first time President Obama has addressed Donald Trump directly. It's interesting to see the evolution of this, too. I mean, early on in the campaign you would ask the White House about this comment or that comment, especially as relates to Donald Trump.

And often they would say, well, you know, we're not going to get into the fray, we don't want to comment on every single thing a Republican candidate is going to say on the trail, this is how politics is. But then you would see President Obama giving a speech somewhere and he would, without prompting, start talking about something specific Donald Trump had said. He wouldn't mention his name but everybody knew exactly who he's talking about.

Then he did start to mention him by name, and he did enter the fray. I mean, there was one point, if you remember, there was the Southeast Asian leaders conference mid-February in California where the President was asked about Donald Trump. So, he didn't bring it up on his own. But, in -- at this point he mentioned him by name and he said, look, the race for the American presidency is serious. It's not supposed to be entertainment. Not supposed to be a reality show or pandering. You know, you're running for president, you have the nuclear code. You're supposed to know the names of leaders around the world. You're supposed to be able to find those countries on a map. I mean, again, everybody knew who he was talking about.

So, quite a slam there. That was unexpected and pretty surprising. And at that time, President Obama said he had confidence Donald Trump would not be president because he had faith in the American public that they would not let that happen.

So now you see the White House, you know, in the past they sort of joked about it at times. They kind of made it lighthearted. Oh, well, that's what's people are going to say on the trail, you know, we're not get in the middle of it. Now you see President Obama taking those words seriously, addressing them directly and saying, look, this is serious.

And you -- we have heard from the White House saying a number of times that that rhetoric, whether they mention Donald Trump by name or not, you know, sometimes they lump it in with other Republican candidates as well. They say that -- those comments are actually damaging to the U.S.' standing around the world, Don.

[21:10:13] LEMON: Around the world. Thank you, I appreciate that, Michelle Kosinski, also Sunlen Serfaty. Thank you very much.

Let's bring in Michael Smerconish, he's the anchor of CNN Smerconish, you see him here in CNN. Where do we start? Lets -- I know ...

MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN ANCHOR: I know it's a big week. It's a huge week.

LEMON: It is, even in just the last hour. So let's start with the abortion comments. What is going on his mind? Where is he going with this?

SMERCONISH: I don't know that he knew where he was going. I mean when the initial question was asked of him, Chris Mathews, Don, you could see the wheels sort of spinning in his head. I think the real problem for him is that it showed he hadn't thought the issue out. It was the sort of thing that catches up with you when there are no longer 16 or 17 candidates and you're down to three. And all of the sudden now you're being asked for far more substance than you've been able to get away with not providing up until that point in time.

LEMON: The frustration quite honestly for journalists. Is that if you question Donald Trump, his surrogates are up that you are so anti- Trump. You're not being ...


LEMON: ... fair to Trump. But everyone said, well, that side said, you know, we didn't vet President Barack Obama back in 2008. Presidential candidates get tough questions all the time, and they have to be able to answer those tough questions if they want to be commander-in-chief. No one is picking on Donald Trump. They are asking questions.

SMERCONISH: I think that's a fair comment. I think that the question that was put to him about abortion was a fair comment. I think its also a sign of a very insular campaign because, if he were surrounded by the types of advisers that he likes ridicule, that's the sort of thing Don in role playing that would have come up.

Someone would have said, Mr Trump, you'll be ask at some point. What should happen to a woman who undergoes an abortion in a post Roe vs. Wade world, and he don't have an answer.

LEMON: Yeah. Most people know it where they stand on abortion, that's something the most know were they're stand on guns, right?

SMERCONISH: Right, sure.

LEMON: And they don't change it three or four times within a week. You know, where you stand, and you -- this is an issue that you thought about it.

SMERCONISH: OK, let's call something out.


SMERCONISH: Each one of these guys goes through an epiphany. OK, the closer they get to Iowa or New Hampshire, they have an epiphany and they become pro-life. Ronald Reagan, had an epiphany, George Herbert Walker Bush had and epiphany. Donald Trump have and epiphany. Chris Christie had an epiphany. If I said here long enough I could probably rattle off ...

LEMON: They evolve. They evolve on issues, right.

SMERCONISH: They evolve the closer that they get to running for the White House. And then all of a sudden, it's the anniversary day of Roe vs. Wade and they sort of call it in on a CB radio because they don't want to get so close to the people responsible for putting them there. LEMON: Yeah. So remember we're talking about the pledge? Right, let's pivot now, talking about the pledge or talking a third party run.

Now, Donald Trump is telling Fox News that he would not necessarily rule it out. He signed the pledge initially, but now he is saying may not rule it out. Take a listen to this Fox News.


CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS: Are you ruling out running as an independent third party candidate? Are you ruling that out? A simple question.

TRUMP: Now, look, I'm by far -- no, it's not that simple. I'm by far of the frontrunner as a Republican. I want to run as a Republican. I will beat Hillary Clinton.

WALLACE: But if you don't get the nomination?

TRUMP: We'll have to see how I was treated. I'm going have to see how I was treated. Very simple.


LEMON: So do -- he just emerged from the meeting, right now, seriously with Reince Priebus yesterday and he said, unity, unity, unity.

SMERCONISH: Sure. Yeah, so this is a guy who one thing I think everyone can agree on. Were he to run as a third party candidate, it would be devastating to the GOP standard bearer.

This is him trying to exert some leverage over the RNC leadership relative to rule changes that pertain to Cleveland. Don, he needs to be at 1,237 delegate votes when he gets to Cleveland because I feel very certain if he doesn't have that number, he's not leaving as the nominee.

LEMON: Yeah.

SMERCONISH: And this is what he's trying to ward off. Some type of what he would say is manipulation of the rules to his detriment.

LEMON: But, other people are just using the rules as the rules are already in place, right? It's not that there's a secret contingent to steal from Donald Trump. They don't want him to have it.

SMERCONISH: The rules are going to have to change. I mean the rules do change. They always change their rules. This time there is going to be some type of the furious connotation to it. But let me just say this. You know, back when I had hair, I was an elected alternate delegate to a Republican convention, this was back in the '80s, OK.

LEMON: Yeah.

SMERCONISH: I know who goes on the Republican side of the aisle. They are party regulars. I was being rewarded because I was a young committee man. So the idea that there are going to be Trump people in that hall mad as hell and not going to take it. It's not accurate and the party people are not going to be for him on ballot number two.

States like Pennsylvania and New York, they're not even sending individuals pledged to the candidate who wins necessarily.

LEMON: Let's talk about foreign policy. You heard President Barack Obama speaking about Donald Trump just a moment go saying he doesn't know much about this. He doesn't have an understanding of the world, he doesn't know foreign policy. So, obviously there's a diplomatic, strategic reason for him to say that.

[21:15:02] But now, is there a domestic political reason? Does he have a domestic political reason?

SMERCONISH: I think both. I think Michelle, really said something significant when she told you a moment ago that around the world, there are concerns that foreign leaders are looking at us and wondering, you know, what kind of a banana republic, frankly, are we about to put on here.

I also think that the president is probably who just dying to play a role in this. I mean, he is going to be the sixth man on the court in the general election. And I think he just getting warmed up and showing everybody he wants to have his say.

LEMON: Yeah, good stuff.

SMERCONISH: All right man.

LEMON: I'm always love having you on.

SMERCONISH: Long day for both of us, right? When I woke up this morning, you are the first face that I saw.

LEMON: Yeah, 4:00 a.m. to midnight or whatever time. I don't know whatever time I end tonight, but you know, gainfully input.

SMERCONISH: Thanks man.

LEMON: So it's good to be gainfully input.


LEMON: Thank you very much. I appreciate it. I'll see you soon, makes me watch your show this weekend.

When we come right back Donald Trump's troubles with women voters. Will they be the key to the general election?


LEMON: Polls get Ted Cruz a substantial lead over Donald Trump heading into Tuesdays Wisconsin primary. I want to talk about the state of the GOP race with CNN Political Commentator Bob Beckel. Tana Goertz, the Iowa Co-chair of Trumps campaign who was a former apprentice contestant. Republican Strategist Jason Roe, a former adviser to Marco Rubio and Ron Nehring, California Chairman for Senator Ted Cruz's campaign.

How is that you going to be a apprentice contestant, that's interesting that's a whole story in it self.

[21:20:01] But Tana ...


LEMON: ... welcome to the show. I'm going to start with you first. Donald Trump says if abortions are illegal, a woman should be punished. Then the campaign quickly put out a statement clarifying that saying, the issue is unclear. Then the campaign put out another statement saying the doctor should be punished, not the women.

Now Trump is telling CBS News the laws regulating abortion should remain unchanged which basically means abortion stays legal. So help us follow the logic here.

GOERTZ: The bottom line is this, Mr. Trump is pro-life. He has been since I've known him over 11 years. And that's really what it is. Let's just pull it all back. He's pro-life. And he's a law-abiding man, citizen and he goes by the law of the land, and that's the law that abortion is legal. So Mr. Trump is pro-life, and until he becomes the president, nothing will change.

LEMON: So let me ask you this.

GOERTZ: When he becomes a president. I don't even know what will change but ...

LEMON: OK. Let me ask you this and I'll ask you the same question that I asked Michael Smerconish. Most people have already -- I think everyone on this panel, each one of you is a commentator. You've staked that your position on abortion. You know, how you feel abortion if someone asks you the question, you know what to say and you're not even running for president.

So why is this question so tough, if he is, indeed, as you say, pro- life? Why is it so tough for him to answer?

GOERTZ: Well, I mean I don't think it's tough. What it was is -- Chris was just -- I mean I saw the interview, Chris was just like badgering him, bla, bla, bla and talk really, really, really fast and come on, come on, come on give me an answer. It was juts like, whoa, like slow down. Like what's the big hurry. And I know I've fallen into that trap of answering when somebody is doing an interview. You feel like you need to give them an answer.

And Mr. Trump, I mean, just probably, he answered it without like really going, wait, like stop. He didn't want to be rude and just say stop. I'm not going to answer that right now. Like, this is not the platform for that. And so we just got a little convoluted but -- I mean he has always, since I've known him, like I said, he's always had that stance. And he's respected me as a mother. And I know how much he loves women and he loves his daughters. He loves Ivanka's children. I mean he's on the trail talking about. He loves being a grandfather, so I know where his heart is on this and it was just unfortunate that Chris, I think, just ...

LEMON: OK, Tana. I'm going to let the other ...

GOERTZ: ... went after it.

LEMON: ... other panelists get in, because Jason, that is the biggest smirk I've ever seen. It's not a perfect base -- I mean what's going on in your mind now?

JASON ROE, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, I was impressed to hear that Donald Trump didn't want to be rude by answering a question in the wrong way. You know, there's a pattern with Donald Trump that you ask him any substantive policy question, he doesn't answer it because he doesn't actually understand foreign policy, domestic policy.

And I don't mean this in a pejorative way in saying he's unsophisticated about politics and campaigning. But, you know, he's not good at it. He is good at throwing out the things that he is and rallying people and inciting people and, you know, becoming a caricature of himself.

But in terms of actually going out and laying out in articulate vision on foreign policy or domestic policy, he has a fundamental inability to do that and that's because he doesn't actually know about the issues or the policies ...

LEMON: So the question ...

ROE: That you would think the president the president of the United States would be required to know.

LEMON: The question is, Bob Beckel, is this chipping away at his Teflon coating?

BOB BECKEL, CNN POLITCAL COMMENTATOR: And yeah. It I, I mean look, there's nothing that's more ingrained and the base of the Republican Party than the right to life movement. And their own feeling about right to life.

It's very -- it's probably the most emotional issue for a lot of Republicans. And Trump going back and forth on this. I mean first of all, going on with Chris Matthews, if you don't expect to get beat up, you shouldn't be going there.

And the other thing is that Trump has got this any amazing ability to come back and bother women and you just look at his numbers in Wisconsin. They dive among women. Now, among men he's all right, but -- that he get -- this is the only guy who that decries billionaires who put their money offshore and take their jobs away and go offshore with them and yet he somehow is a different billionaire.

LEMON: Yeah.

BECKEL: I mean ...

LEMON: Let's stick to the abortion issue.


LEMON: So I want to get Jason and what do you make of this? Ron, sorry. Ron, what do you make of this? What appears to be four different stances in at least 72 hours on abortion?

RON NEHRING, CALIFORNIA CHAIRMAN FOR SEN. TED CRUZ: Yeah, I think this is really instrumental in terms of highlighting why it is that Donald Trump's number is in Wisconsin specifically and in the country generally, really dropping like a stone ...

LEMON: So it's chipping away?

NEHRING: Do you really get his. Well, I think certainly it is. I think that the so-called Teflon coating has been, you know, boiled off and it's a good common sense people of Wisconsin who are taking a close, hard look at this and they are paying the most attention to this, right? The people of Wisconsin are paying the most attention to the presidential race right now because they're up next. They vote on Tuesday.

[21:25:03] And in that state, particularly among women we see Donald Trump's numbers dropping like a stone because as we saw it today he tries to have every side of every issue because he doesn't really understand these issues or whatsoever and, therefore, we can't count on him.

He tries to spin it as saying he's just flexible and so on. But the reality is that he's unreliable. And Republicans have had enough of politicians in Washington who are unreliable who say one thing on the campaign trail, go to Washington, D.C. do something else.

I think that's why people are coalescing around Senator Cruz because you can say a lot of things about Senator Cruz. But one thing is abundantly clear is that the reason why he won in Texas by 17 points ...

LEMON: Here comes at something.

NEHRING: ... the people who sent him to Washington, D.C. ...

GOERTZ: Yeah, I didn't think we did stump speeches Don.

NEHRING: And he was -- he is the same man today as he was ...


NEHRING: ... when he was first elected, and that's refreshing.

LEMON: All right fair enough, so listen I want to get -- Let's ...

GOERTZ: Well I mean ...

LEMON: I want to talk about another issue here. Tana let's talk about the President Barack Obama. I'm sure you heard his comments on Donald Trump saying that he doesn't know much about foreign policy or nuclear policy.

What's your reaction to that? Is this going to help him?

GOERTZ: I mean.

LEMON: Do you think people in Wisconsin and the Republican electorate actually does it actually matter what President Obama says about Donald Trump?

GOERTZ: No. It doesn't matter at all Don. I'm on the trail with him and I see the people. I'm in the rallies, the thousands of people that come. They're so sick and tired of the President. Nobody cares what's he has to say.

LEMON: Will it help him?

GOERTZ: Mr. Trump. It will not help him. It will not hurt him. I mean President Obama is just -- he's a non player in Donald Trump becoming elected.


GOERTZ: Here's the deal folks. Mr. Trump is a man of action. So maybe his words weren't perfect, but let's just look at his track record. He gets the job done and that's what -- I've been in Wisconsin ...


LEMON: Go ahead.

GOERTZ: I wasn't given some stump speech. I'm just going to say that Mr. Trump isn't going to have any problems in Wisconsin. I spoke to a lot of women and at the end of the day, women want what I want as a women in that security and safety and education.


GOERTZ: And the women in Wisconsin know when it's time to vote, they'll vote for Donald Trump.

LEMON: All right we're going to continue this, you guys, are going to going to stick around after the break.

And speaking of women. One big supporter now speaking in Wisconsin at this big fish fry. There is Sarah Palin, Sarah Palin speaking on behalf of Donald Trump tonight in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

We'll be right back right after this break. SARAH PALIN, AMERICAN POLITICIAN: ... cross breed. You're middle class. The three core issues that the political class in D.C. pursues there's only interest at the expense of our country really be trained all of us.

This so our -- the same GOP folks who -- they don't see the GOP so much as an expression of the people's will, but more as an ATM for their own wallets. And they're really shaking up ...


[21:31:50] PALIN: Say anything that they want to about immigration, amnesty, but actions scream so much louder than a politician's words. Take the game of eightville to increase foreign workers by 500 percent and green cards increase by (inaudible) percent. Who offer the amendments for that to further collapse the U.S. incomes and jobs and security? Which candidate?

Second messed up policy I want to talk about is trade. The loss of our ...

LEMON: All right. That's Sarah Palin speaking live in Milwaukee at Wisconsin's largest fish fry, she speaking on behalf of Donald Trump. Meanwhile, Donald Trump refusing to rule out a third party run tonight. Here's what he told Fox News.


WALLACE: Are you ruling out running as an independent third party candidate? Are you ruling that out? It's a simple question.

TRUMP: No, it's not that simple. I'm by far as the frontrunner as a Republican. I want to run as a Republican. I will beat Hillary Clinton.

WALLACE: But if you don't get the nomination?

TRUMP: We'll going to have to see how I was treated. I'm going to have to see I was treated. Very simple.


LEMON: Back with me now, Bob Beckel, Tana Goertz, Jason Roe and Ron Nehring.

Bob, do you think that Trump would run as a third party candidate if there's a contested convention that ultimately picks someone else?

BECKEL: I think, he's using his leverage right now as much as he possibly can, but he doesn't have much room for a margin for error. He loses Wisconsin, and I have a hard time and I got the delegates in 7th presidential race. I have a hard time coming up with the number he needs.

And so if they go to a second ballot, there going to be a lot of people, like Michael said before, that are party regulars, that are people that are already saying they're going to peel off in the second ballot. If he doesn't win this outright on the first ballot, he's not going to be the nominee.

LEMON: Yeah, but if wouldn't he just be handing the election to whoever the Democratic candidate is?

BECKEL: Either way, I mean if he gets the nomination, he hands it to the Democrats. If he runs third party, he hands it to the Democrats. So I don't ...

LEMON: That's your estimation, right?

BECKEL: Well, that's my estimation that I suggest.

LEMON: Yeah. OK, Tana, what do you think?

GOERTZ: First of all, I'm very confident and positive that Mr. Trump will get to 1,237 and we won't have a discussion. So, I think we're going to do it. I'm saying very confident and our team believes that Mr. Trump will able to do it.

LEMON: The numbers in Wisconsin aren't great. I know, the polls, I mean, you know, sometimes are wrong but the numbers aren't great in Wisconsin. And Wisconsin -- I mean that could be the turning point.

GOERTZ: I agree but, you know what, Don -- he's there right now and when he speaks, people listen. And that he saying what they want to hear. They want the jobs and they want security and I mean, Milwaukee is one of the heroin capitals of the world.


GOERTZ: And Mr. Trump talks about that. So, I mean, there we have to get through Tuesday and then we'll see. But I believe that he will ...

LEMON: OK, point taken.

GOERTZ: ... get to that number and we won't have to worry about it.

LEMON: Point taken, Ron, I want to bring you in here, the establishment isn't so fond of Ted Cruz either. So you think they're going to come around wither in an open convention or in the general?

[21:35:00] NEHRING: Well, I think we've had a lot of people come and rally behind Senator Cruz for sure. I mean we have five former presidential candidates who have come in behind Senator Cruz, including Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, that's a really big one.

And I mean just commenting on this related issue of what people in Wisconsin what to do want jobs, they do want security, they do want freedom and they want Ted Cruz. I mean these voters in the state of Wisconsin right now who are paying so much attention they're choosing Senator Cruz and his numbers are going up and Donald Trump's numbers are dropping like a stone. And that's really, really encouraging, you know, going forward so Donald Trump is not on track to get 1,237 anything at this convention and certainly the, you know, the direction for him is that the air is coming out of the balloon. And so whenever the air comes out of the Donald Trump balloon we can expect more and more erratic behavior from him like we saw today, like we saw last week and the Lord knows what he'll do on Twitter next. You know, that's a sign he's in trouble.

GOERTZ: But why is he winning then?

LEMON: There is a 10-point -- there is a 10, but Ted Cruz does have a 10-point lead in Wisconsin. We're talking about Wisconsin, Tana.

GOERTZ: But that's one poll though. That's one poll I just talked to our campaign his, I mean ...

NEHRING: It's not actually, its two polls. There's more than one poll.


BECKEL: And you'd noticed that ...


LEMON: Tana, you're talking about overall nationwide. Go ahead finish your point.

GOERTZ: Well I'm just going to say, why -- if Ted Cruz is the speak hero, then why isn't he winning, why is and he beating Mr. Trump? Why hasn't he already got to the eight states, I mean if Ted Cruz is this guy, why isn't he beating Mr. Trump?

I mean, we just saw what happened in Florida and Arizona. I mean, yes, Ted got Utah, but, you know, that's fine. I mean, the Mormons are very conservative people and it was an open primary. Mr. Trump does fantastic when it's an open primary.

I saw in Iowa how he brings in the Democrats and independents that is one of his strain, because ...

NEHRING: He lost in Iowa, he lost in Iowa. Senator Cruz won in Iowa.

GOERTZ: Right I know he did, but I saw what he did -- I know. Oh let hey, let's not even go there what Ted Cruz did in Iowa. He's a liar, cheater and a thief. We know that.


NEHRING: Look hold on a second. Hold on a second.

GOERTZ: All right.

NEHRING: Let's look at the most recent states that's have voted let's take a look at Utah for example where Donald Trump ...


NEHRING: ... pronounced that he was going to win, he spent time, energy and effort there. John Kasich spent a lot of time, energy and effort there ...

GOERTZ: Let's go back to that, let's go back to Utah and the Melania picture ...


LEMON: Let him finish.

GOERTZ: Let's go back -- let's go back to Utah.

LEMON: Let him finish.


LEMON: Ron, I need you to make your point, though. I'm running out of time.

GOERTZ: Make your point, let's go. Get there.

NEHRING: Yeah, we hit 69 percent there and we got 100 percent of the delegates going forward. Now the next state where people are paying the most attention is in Wisconsin and Donald Trump is in huge trouble. He's dropping like a stone ...

GOERTZ: What's this?

NEHRING: ... and now is the time when people are really seen ...

GOERTZ: He is not dropping like a stone.


LEMON: OK Jason. I want to bring Jason in. Jason, you said how ...


LEMON: I want to ask you about something Jason that you said which I found very interesting. You said that if you were Marco Rubio, that you would go dark you would let the wounds heal and then you would emerge at the convention, I mean do you think that's feasible? Could that really happen?

ROE: Well I don't think that Donald Trump is going to have 1,237 delegates when it comes time for the convention and I do think that the delegates, when they start to convene are going to be looking at how any of the Republican candidates, whether they were candidates during the process or just names out there, formidable figures, how they match up against Hillary Clinton in November.

And I think we're going to get past this where people in a state are going to pick their preference and their primary and start really looking at November and who can win. I mean, we're seeing already Donald Trump is losing by double digits to Hillary Clinton, we will lose control of the Senate. We will lose seats in the House of Representatives if Donald Trump is the nominee and I think that there's going to be a big sober convention in which people realize that Donald Trump will be the death of the Republican Party and they will look to an alternative.

And I believe that Marco Rubio still will poll the best against Hillary Clinton and gives Republicans best opportunity to win.

LEMON: Jason, Bob, Ron, Tana, thank you very much.

GOERTZ: You've got to go.

LEMON: I know I do it.


LEMON: Have a great weekend. Thank you all, see you soon.

When we come right back, the nastiest moment so far in the Trump-Cruz battle the war over their wives. I'm going to talk to the founder of the Super PAC responsible for the ad featuring a racy photo of Melania Trump.


[21:43:07] LEMON: We've never seen a campaign quite like this one. But one of the most heated moments has got to be the battle between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz over their wives. So, let's discuss now.

Liz Mair, a Republican Strategist and Founder of Make America Awesome Super PAC which released the anti-Trump ad featuring a racy photo of Melania Trump. Also, John Phillips a Talk Radio host with KABC in Los Angeles and a Trump Supporter.

Good to have both of you on. It's early on the west coast. We're a little jealous. Anyway so Liz, I've got to ask you about ...


LEMON: It was your Super PAC, Make America Awesome its one that ran this original ad with that racy picture of Melania Trump.


LEMON: Does Donald Trump has accused Ted Cruz of being involved in ad and said that in said this Town Hall that Mitt Romney probably also had a hand in the ad. Listen to this.


COOPER: You re-tweeted an unflattering picture of her next to a picture of your wife.

TRUMP: I thought it was a nice picture of Heidi. I thought it was fine. COOPER: Common.

TRUMP: I thought it was fine she is a pretty woman.

COOPER: You're running for president of the United States.

TRUMP: Excuse me, I didn't start it. I didn't start it.

COOPER: But sir, with all due respect, that's the argument of a 5- year-old.

TRUMP: I didn't started, no it's not again.

COOPER: The argument of a 5-year-old

TRUMP: Excuse me, you would say that. That's the problem with our country.

COOPER: Every parent knows a kid who says he started it.

TRUMP: Excuse me. No, no, that's the problem. Exactly that thinking is the problem this country has. I did not start this. He sent out a picture and knew very well ...

COOPER: He didn't send out a picture. It was an anti-Trump Super PAC sent it out.

TRUMP: It was a cover story of a picture taken by Antoine Verglas one of the great photographers of the world. By the way my wife was a very successful model. Like one of the most. It was a picture for the picture for the cover of GQ which is a very good magazine.

COOPER: This wasn't even a pro-Cruz Super PAC. It was an anti-Trump supporter.

TRUMP: They were Romney people. Romney is, you know, very embarrassed that he did so badly four years ago. The guy choked like a dog and he lost the election.

COOPER: Do you have proof he sent it out?

TRUMP: Oh, everybody knows he sent it out. He knew the people in the Super PAC. He knew, I would be willing to bet he wrote the phrase.


[21:45:06] LEMON: OK. So Liz what -- is the truth? Is it Romney? Is it Cruz? What is the truth here?

MAIR: The truth is it's me. It's just me. I think anybody who knows me knows that I have been a lengthy, longstanding critic of Mitt Romney's going back to 2006. It took a lot to get me to even be convinced that I could hold my nose and vote for him in 2012. That's a matter of lengthy record.

LEMON: And what about Ted Cruz? Did you have anything to do with it? MAIR: Absolutely not, of course he did. I mean next thing Donald Trump he's going to be out there claiming that it was like the illuminati or something, and that will be just as quite possible as what he' claiming here. No it's totally bogus.

People can blame me if they don't like the ad. The fact is the ad worked. The ad that exactly what we intended it do. And it's done far more than that. The reality is that part of the reason that Donald Trump is thanking right now is because he's bothered spending a week and a half getting pissed off and acting like a toddler. A toddler having a major meltdown over this ad which frankly, let me point this out, it uses an image that Donald Trump procured. He actually wanted the image in this spread taken and published in GQ.

LEMON: Well, that's my question to you.

MAIR: To propel his original presidential campaign.


LEMON: So that's why I questioned to you. It was a picture of Melania Trump, there was an originally used in GQ Magazine that can be found online.

MAIR: Yes.

LEMON: Now and you do a Google search so then, why do think ...

MAIR: And it was all over the place.

LEMON: ... why do you think, why if is he upset about you using that picture then?

MAIR: I think he's upset about it because originally he thought it was something that was going to help him in a presidential contest. But I think he's realized subsequent to our running of the ad that actually a lot of his own supporters really have a problem with her appearing in that image and they actually think that what she did was deeply immoral.

Where is the people we were targeting and us ourselves at the Super PAC, we just kind to think that it wasn't particularly like the image that people were necessarily going to want to see with the future first lady. We thought it was kind of humorous.

We didn't like the presence of the handcuffs, but the fact is that when I've been getting lots of hate mail and including death threats from Trump supporters, embedded in there they often have a lot of phraseology that indicates that they think that her posing for this photo was some sort of serious sin. And so I think that is what Donald Trump is grappling with.

LEMON: OK, all right, I mean I need to get John in here.

MAIR: Sure. LEMON: You listen, John, it wasn't a great moment for either of the candidates, but the question is, who did it hurt the most? Was it Donald Trump or was it Ted Cruz?

PHILLIPS: Oh, there's no question that Donald misplayed his hand of cards here. But first of all, there's nothing wrong with the photo. It wasn't pornographic. She wasn't showing and it wasn't in Penthouse Magazine or Playboy it was in "GQ Magazine". A Mainstream Magazine, you can read it on an airplane.

And I think that that Donald screwed up by not taking it and using it as an opportunity to say, yes, my wife is beautiful. There's nothing wrong with that. But she's not only beautiful. She's a great mother and great stepmother, because so many kids of rich people end up putting millions of dollars, snorting millions of dollars up their nose and Donald's kids didn't do that. Donald's kids all turned out great. It took him off message and he spent time going after Heidi Cruz when he could spend that time going after the bounty that is Ted Cruz.

So yeah, I think it is going to cost him problems in Wisconsin. So he's got to bounce back if he loses Wisconsin and win in New York.

LEMON: OK, we'll continue our conversation right after this. Don't go anywhere.


[21:52:07] LEMON: So, Liz and John are back. John, I want to give you. I want you to give me you thoughts on Trump's handling of the abortion questions this week. Why is he struggling to have a consistent answer on those?

PHILLIPS: Well first of all, it was a stupid thing to say. He shouldn't have said it. He's a Presbyterian from New York and he's running and state that has a lot of social conservatives. So it's not an issue the Presbyterians from New York spend a lot of time talking about.

And frankly, it was a bit of pandering and pandering usually never gets you anywhere. Republicans see through it, so my advice to him on this issue, is that on the Melania Trump issue it's a bad week, shake it off, try to mitigate the damage, move on to New York which is a bigger state and win there.

LEMON: Do you believe that, you know, he said his Presbyterian but as a presidential candidate, he should probably have a concise and consistent answer on this particular issue. Do you think he's pro- life?

PHILLIPS: Well look, I mean I'm from California. And culturally those of us from California and New York don't talk about abortion the same way people in the Deep South do or people in Midwest do. It's just not something that comes up all the time.

So it's not surprising to me that it's not a subject that he's passionate about in the sense that if he's elected, he's not going to go to a warrior on social issues. I don't think his going to go to war and abortion. I don't think his going to go to war on gay marriage.

I think Ted Cruz frankly would. He certainly -- who talking about who has better stripes as a social conservative that's definitely Ted Cruz. But I don't think that wins in a general election.

LEMON: Liz, do you want to weigh on this, so I can move on.

MAIR: Yeah. I think it's really interesting that we just had two Trump's surrogates back to back basically say he's not going to do anything to rein an abortion in this country which is consistent with Trumps historical position.

I mean if you go and you look at where he's been on the issue of abortion. He's been in favor of abortion as he says as far as it goes which presumably means right up to the point of delivery. He has no opposition to partial birth abortion, he's made that very clear interviews.

And, so I think what we're really seeing here is the real Donald Trump. And maybe he gets credits for being authentic, but he's certainly tying himself up in knots trying to be authentic well also saying what people what they want to hear.

LEMON: Hey Liz.

MAIR: And it basically this sounds like a liberal who's trying to speak conservative as a second language in doing it really, really poor.

LEMON: I want to ask you about ...

MAIR: And that's -- what we expect. Yes.

LEMON: I want to ask you about women. On the same subject. On women, his numbers are sinking with women this week.

MAIR: Yup.

LEMON: Do you think these comments are catching up with him?

MAIR: I think every thing's catching up with him. I think women ultimately women are people who, yeah I think many of us have been hit on by people who kind of bear a lot of hall marks of Donald Trump over the years.

You know, the guy he's a lot of bluster. He's actually not that hot maybe he's got a lot of money but that's about the only thing. That's interesting about him ...

LEMON: I got 20 seconds.

MAIR: ... and trying to solve. Realistically we're used to saying no to that guy. We're not going to date him. We're certainly not going to vote for him. So that's what's going on here.

LEMON: John, I think we should probably just be quiet. Thank you. Have a great weekend. I'll see you guys soon. I appreciate you coming on.

We'll be right back.


[21:58:53] LEMON: March madness quickly coming to an end. But if you need a little extra basketball fix before it's all over, I want you to check out this week's CNN Hero. His name is Marquis Taylor, he's using the sport to help kids tap their potential on and off the court.


MARQUIS TAYLOR, CNN HERO: This program is not about creating the next basketball star. It's about helping young people develop skills that are going to prepare them for the next step. It allows you to navigate challenges that are in your face. Because that's what's going to happen when they hit life.


LEMON: There is something about different about this basketball program, you know, how older players become mentors or younger ones and that can become a pathway to college. That can become a pathway to college. You can watch Marquis' story right now on

And while you're there, it makes you nominate someone you think should be the 2016 CNN Hero.

That's it for us tonight. Thanks for watching. Have a great weekend. I'll see right back here on Monday night.

Our CNN original series, "Race for the White House" starts in just a moment.