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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Clinton Vows to Continue Pres. Obama's Legacy; Jeb Bush: "I Will Not Vote for Donald Trump."; Wildfires Continue To Grow With State Of Emergency In Effect; Concern North Korea May Test Another Weapon; Obama Touts 74th Straight Month Of Job Growth. Aired 4:30-5p ET
Aired May 6, 2016 - 16:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's -- it is sort of interesting here. This is coming from a senior adviser to the super PAC that backs Hillary Clinton, a former top aide to Bill Clinton.
[16:30:02] We're talking about Paul Begala. He is urging Sanders to take aim at Trump so that Trump is fighting a two-front war instead of Clinton fighting a two-front war and perhaps it could be a three-front war that Trump may wage as President Obama takes him on as well.
KEILAR (voice-over): As Hillary Clinton positions herself as the best candidate to protect President Obama's legacy --
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We cannot let Barack Obama's legacy fall into Donald Trump's hands.
KEILAR: She's getting a little help from the commander in chief, as he took aim at Donald Trump from the White House today.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is not entertainment. This is not a reality show. This is a contest for the presidency of the United States.
KEILAR: With Clinton so closely tied to Obama, his standing in the polls could benefit her in November. His approval holding in positive territory since February, 51 percent of Americans approving of the job he's doing with 46 percent disapproving. Clinton is hoping to define Donald Trump early.
CLINTON: We are a great country in part because we are a nation of immigrants.
KEILAR: Trying to protect her gains with Hispanic voters, Clinton tweeted out a compilation of Trump's remarks about undocumented immigrants.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You're going to have a deportation.
KEILAR: Seizing on his Cinco de Mayo tweets about how he loves Hispanics, accompanied by a picture of Trump with a taco bowl.
Meanwhile, Clinton's e-mail controversy is still dogging her. CNN has learned that the FBI has interviewed her top aides, including Huma Abedin. Their investigation is still ongoing, but so far, sources say investigators haven't found evidence to prove Clinton willfully violated the law.
And Bernie Sanders is still in the race. Though it sounds nearly impossible for him to win the Democratic nomination, he is taking it easier on Clinton from the stump and President Obama side-stepped a chance to call for Sanders to get out, saying let the process play itself out.
But he also added this.
OBAMA: At some point there's going to be a conversation between Secretary Clinton and Bernie Sanders about how we move towards the convention.
KEILAR: All right. That's a little bit of pressure there. President Obama was asked about the delegate count that separates Clinton and Sanders, and he said everyone knows what the math is. This is an acknowledgment of course that the outlook is grim for Bernie Sanders, but he also commended the Vermont senator. He said he's done an extraordinary job raising issues that are important to Democratic voters.
So, he also gave him a little pat on the back.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: He and Hillary Clinton certainly don't want to alienate Sanders's very devout supporters. >
KEILAR: That's right.
SCIUTTO: No question.
Brianna Keilar, thanks very much.
After THE LEAD, Wolf Blitzer will talk to Senator Sanders in THE SITUATION ROOM. That will be at 6:00 Eastern Time, right here on CNN.
A giant convoy of cars on the move, fleeing their homes and everything inside, as wildfires spread, flames coming dangerously close to the evacuations.
[16:37:28] SCIUTTO: Welcome back to THE LEAD.
And breaking news: Jeb Bush now says that he is never Trump as well, posting on Facebook that he will not vote for Donald Trump in November, saying, quote, "I will not vote for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, but I will support principled conservatives at state and federal levels just as I have done my entire life." Let's bring in our panel now, CNN political commentators Kevin Madden,
Patti Solis Doyle, also, adviser to Donald Trump presidential campaign, Tana Goertz. She's joining us live now from Omaha, Nebraska, where the candidate is traveling.
Tana, if I could begin with you, you now have added Jeb Bush, former presidential candidate, former governor of Florida to a long list of very prominent Republican leaders including the two former Bush presidents, Bush 41, Bush 43, Governor Romney, Speaker Ryan, who says he's not ready to support Donald Trump.
How much of a concern is this to you that so many prominent Republicans, many of them ruling out even changing their minds on the man who is now the Republican nominee?
TANA GOERTZ, SENIOR ADVISOR, DONALD TRUMP PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: Well, I mean, that was shocking to hear that Jeb said that. But, you know, when I hear that it's like wow, then you must not be a true die- hard Republican like you claim to be. You know, at the end of the day, I thought this was going to be about getting behind Donald Trump to ensure that Hillary Clinton doesn't get in the White House, but in due time. This is all still so new, so we'll see.
SCIUTTO: Kevin, if I could ask you, you heard Lindsey Graham adding his name to the list of prominent Republicans, also a former presidential candidate this year, he is never Trump as well. Very quickly has been the style now, Donald Trump responding right away.
I just want to read Donald Trump's statement in response to Lindsey Graham. He says, "I fully understand why Lindsey Graham cannot support me. If I got beaten as badly as I beat him and all the other candidates he endorsed, I would not be able to give my support either."
He in Donald Trump style really can't resist that kind of punch and counterpunch.
KEVIN MADDEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, first on Lindsey Graham and Jeb Bush, I think it's emblematic of what we've seen already empirically, in the sense that they are principled committed conservatives who are now becoming conscientious objectors about both candidates in this race now, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
And if you look at the empirical evidence that we've seen in the recent CNN poll, that number is about 28 percent of Republicans say they won't vote for Donald Trump. So, the challenge for the Trump campaign is to narrow that number down if they're ever going to have a chance. It's going to be very, very hard, given that on issues and even on temperament and character, Donald Trump is seen as somebody that people just cannot vote for.
[16:40:09] So that's I think the state of the race right now.
SCIUTTO: Patti, I ask you this, the president, he waded into the race particularly the coverage of the race today, saying that reporters need to fully examine Donald Trump's record. We've heard the same from Hillary Clinton saying that reporters had not asked Trump the tough questions.
I just have to say, here at CNN, Donald Trump has been very available. He's on frequently. My colleagues (AUDIO GAP) difficult questions. The thing is, his supporters you can argue don't respond --
PATTI SOLIS DOYLE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Right.
SCIUTTO: -- to whatever his answer is.
SCIUTTO: I mean, don't the Democrats -- doesn't Hillary Clinton need a better way to respond, what has proven a fairly popular strategy for Donald Trump than to say, well, the reporters aren't doing their job here.
DOYLE: Well, I think what President Obama is proved himself to be the single most significant and powerful surrogate that Hillary Clinton is going to have in the general election, and that includes whoever her vice presidential nominee is going to be, because he, better than anybody else, can really speak to the seriousness of the job, of the presidency and the seriousness of this election.
So I think that he's going to if out in the general election, once the nomination is settled, and he's going to say to the American people, OK, who do you want to have the finger on the button? Who do you want to be able to military? Secretary of state, the former U.S. senator, or the former reality show host?
I think that's what he was more or less trying to get at, the seriousness of this, and that he's not a serious candidate.
SCIUTTO: Tana, I want to ask you, you're aware that Speaker Ryan on this show yesterday told he's, told Jake Tapper he's not ready to support Donald Trump. Trump national campaign spokeswoman Katrina Pierson, her response was that Paul Ryan shouldn't then be the Republican speaker of the House. We know that Ryan and Trump will meet next week, but they're pretty far apart at this point.
Do they have to -- do you believe they can heal that rift in a meeting next week?
GOERTZ: Absolutely. Absolutely. I mean it's just a matter of meeting with Mr. Trump, pushing things aside and just -- I mean yes, Mr. Trump is the best at negotiating, and he knows how to negotiate with these Republican leaders to get behind him, and it's just -- it's too soon, it's too early. The wounds are still sore.
You know, it will happen. I have all the confidence in Mr. Trump that people will get behind him. They're saying that right now but we're seeing the support for Mr. Trump on leaders, Republican governors, senators, it's happening. It's happening here in Nebraska, where I'm at. Mayors, they're getting lined up to be a part of the Trump train.
This is a movement, and yes, I mean I understand President Obama said that about Hillary Clinton. Mr. Trump has proven he's more than just a reality star. Let's just let the American voters decide and that's what we have been doing and we've been seeing what's been happening.
They've been coming out in record numbers, millions of voters, votes have been placed for Mr. Trump. He's had like so many more million than Ted Cruz, so we're not worried. The American people will decide if they're taking Mr. Trump serious or not. And I'm telling you, I'm on the ground and I know what's happening, and they are taking him very seriously. And we will see in the general election.
SCIUTTO: OK, thanks very much, Tana, on the ground with Donald Trump in Omaha.
Patti, Kevin here in Washington with me -- thanks very much as well.
SCIUTTO: Well, North Korea holds one of its most important political events in the communist nation's history, this as the rest of the world is bracing for another nuclear test, possible nuclear test by Kim Jong-un.
SCIUTTO: Welcome back to THE LEAD. The massive and devastating wildfires in Canada continue to grow at this hour. Now they are bigger than Chicago and Boston combined and the inferno is showing no sign of slowing down.
So far the wildfires have torched nearly 25,000 acres and growing, tens of thousands of people are on the run for their lives with flames burning hundreds of homes and closing in on more homes. Thick smoke making it extremely challenging for fire crews.
I want to bring in CNN correspondent, Paul Vercammen. He is on the scene there. Paul, I want to ask you. Are crews there getting any closer to getting these fires under control?
PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, Jim, actually they're now battling 40 wildfires across all of Alberta.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was something like Armageddon.
VERCAMMEN (voice-over): Evacuees describing the frightening experience of escaping the Alberta wildfire. Morgan Elliott and his family fled their home in Fort McMurray. They are among thousands at the expo center in Edmonton.
MORGAN ELLIOT, WILDFIRE EVACUEE: It was like a scene out of a movie. It remind me of "Walking Dead," the TV show "Walking Dead" where you're going on the highway and abandoned vehicles everywhere.
VERCAMMEN: Fire officials are calling an extreme and rare event, they're focused on protecting communities.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In terms of fighting the large landscape size fire out there that's going to be the most difficult part. We can be very, very successful in the community areas and critical areas, very strategic in the priorities and that's really how we fight our fires is we're protecting those values, the community, critical infrastructures.
VERCAMMEN: And more help is on the way to the approximately 90,000 displaced. The government is providing roughly 100 million Canadian dollars in emergency financial aid.
Stranded residents north of Fort McMurray are slowly getting escorted away from the flames. The Royal Canadian Mountain Police organized an evacuation convoy to move approximately 1,500 vehicles along a potentially dangerous route south to safety. But the damage left behind by the wildfires is overwhelming,
destroying more than 1,600 structures with some residents returning to nothing but rubble like Nathan Sheffield. He posted this video on Facebook what used to be his home in Beacon Hill. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is my house -- this was my house. Nothing
left. It's gone.
[16:50:05] VERCAMMEN: Fort McMurray is the oil sands (ph) capital of Alberta and obvious devastation throughout this city. Many of those residents have been evacuated here to Edmonton, at least 1,800 of them overnight, overnighted at a shelter on cots. Just an absolutely heartbreaking scene -- Jim.
SCIUTTO: It's so heartbreaking to see people losing their homes. Paul Vercammen on the scene of those fires there and from those wildfires to wildly erratic dictator, growing fears that North Korea could test a nuclear weapon at any moment.
This as the rogue regime holds its most important political gathering in more than three decades, where Kim Jong-Un is expected to further consolidate his power and perhaps flex some military muscle.
The hermit has defiantly conducted four nuclear tests and in the past month alone has fired off four missiles. Let's get right to CNN's Will Ripley, live from Pyongyang, North Korea.
Will, what was Kim Jong-Un's message to the outside world today with this address and with this enormous spectacle?
WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thirteen hours, Jim, after this Workers' Party Congress began, there was a special report here in Pyongyang. They broke into regular programming with a 15-minute speech by Kim Jong-Un, where essentially he congratulated himself and the party for accomplishments in the area of nuclear development.
And of course missile technology as well, and he also said that they've made strides in improving the North Korean economy. It's part of the reason why we have been invited here to see the parts of Pyongyang that the government wants us to see.
And there are some signs of economic growth here, but there are a lot of questions about whether it's sustainable, considering the pace of North Korea's nuclear development, the money they are spending and the sanctions that they are facing as a result of these increasingly provocative acts.
SCIUTTO: Will, as you know, there have been warnings that North Korea might conduct nuclear tests tied to this event, to mark the occasion. Is there any indication why that didn't happen or if it's possible it's still in the works?
RIPLEY: Yes, the South Korean government has been saying for a month now that a nuclear test was imminent. They believe based on their satellite data all of the preparations in North Korea's nuclear test site were put in place, essentially all they would have had to do is push the button and a nuclear test could occur.
It hasn't happened yet, but it doesn't mean it won't because this Workers' Party Congress is expected to be a multiday event. Test could occur at any time during this event or it couldn't happen and we might not know why.
But given the tone that we are hearing from the supreme leader of this country, more nuclear tests are inevitable, just a matter of when.
SCIUTTO: The U.S. is watching very closely. We know that. Will Ripley joining us live from Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, thanks so much.
Hillary Clinton did not mention his name once on the campaign trail. How long will Bernie Sanders stay in the race? We'll ask him.
SCIUTTO: Welcome back to THE LEAD. Now our National Lead, disappointing new job numbers out today, the lowest in seven months. The president quick to highlight we are still in a period of job growth. He blamed Republicans for the dip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: If the Republican Congress joined us to take some steps that are pretty common sense then we could put some additional wind at the backs of working Americans.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: For today's segment, "America's Debt and the Economy," CNN's chief business correspondent, Christine Romans will crunch the numbers for us.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Jim, job growth slowed in April, only 160,000 net new jobs created. This is weaker than economists have forecast and the weakest we've seen in a few months.
Overall, though, over the past five years the trend is on average 207,000 net new jobs so you've seen steady job creation for about five years and a little bit of a pause here in April.
Too soon to say what caused it or whether it will persist in the summer. Here's the unemployment rate, it's steady at 5 percent. Even at 160,000 net new jobs still enough to absorb all new members of the working age population who want to work.
So that's what we're seeing there. Let's talk about the labor force participation rate, you'll hear about this on the campaign trail, 62.8 percent. It dipped a little bit.
This is the percentage of the population who are actually working, that number many say is still way too low. As the economy continues to recover, perhaps more people will start coming in.
Look at the sectors here quickly, Jim, business information services 65,000. Health care, every month we see health care jobs. Mining, that's crash in oil, lost 7,000 jobs there.
Overall here I would say this is a luke warm report, 160,000 net new jobs but a 5 percent unemployment rate and 2.5 percent wage growth, the missing part of the recovery has been wages, your paycheck hasn't been going up, 2.5 percent is the number there -- Jim.
SCIUTTO: Christine Romans in New York, thanks very much.
This Sunday, be sure to tune in to "STATE OF THE UNION" at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time, Jake Tapper's guests on Sunday, the former Republican nominee, vice presidential nominee, John McCain and Sarah Palin.
That's it for THE LEAD today. I'm Jim Sciutto in today for Jake Tapper. I turn you over now to a man you might know, Wolf Blitzer and he is where expected, in "THE SITUATION ROOM."
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, breaking news, growing rift, after a stunning refusal to back his party's presumptive nominee, the House Speaker Paul Ryan schedules a meeting with Donald Trump. But other key Republicans are piling on.