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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER

Full Speed Ahead: Trump, Clinton Blitz Trail; Officials: Zika Cases Likely Spread to Mosquitoes in Florida; Debt Or Deficit: Which Is Improving?; Donald Trump's First Event Since Clinton Speech. Aired 4:30-5p ET

Aired July 29, 2016 - 16:30   ET

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


JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: We're looking at live pictures from UCCS in Colorado Springs, Colorado. We are waiting for Mr. Donald J. Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, to show up at the rally.

[16:30:06] And we will bring that to you live when it happens.

In the meantime, let's continue to chat with the panel about the Democratic Convention.

Mary Katharine, there was an interesting response to the convention from many Republicans, who found themselves liking the convention, not necessarily the policies, but the displays of patriotism, the discussions of how the Democrats view America.

Rich Galen, long time Republican strategist, he was press secretary of Dan Quayle and to Newt Gingrich, tweeted, "How can it be that I'm standing at my kitchen counter sobbing because of the messages being driven at the DNC? Where has the GOP gone?"

Did you have that feeling? What was your feeling?

MARY KATHARINE HAM, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I did not have as many feels as others did.

TAPPER: There were a lot of feels out there by some of the middle- aged men Republicans.

HAM: Right. The pageantry and patriotism, specifically with a smile on its face that, the RNC left that laying open to a great degree in a way that the GOP never has before because we owned that lane. Democrats were like, yeah, we'll come in and dunk on that. I think it did move some people.

But there's the thing. The people who were having feels, I started getting texts halfway through her speech like, nope, I'm back, I'm back, it's cool, because of the policy part.

TAPPER: Right.

HAM: And that's the tricky line to walk, is there's very far left Bernie folks you're trying to bring and disaffected Republicans and independents. The same things do not attract them, but the tone and pageantry, not bad. TAPPER: See, it's interesting, Stephanie. I was talking to a former Obama official who said to me that he was waiting to see if Hillary in the speech went to the center, reached out to the center because that's how you win. Obama did that. George W. Bush it did it. Bill Clinton did it, et cetera.

And she reached to the center stylistically when it came to what America stands for, but she didn't when it came to policy. That was definitely a progressive agenda.

Was that a mistake in any way, you think?

STEPHANIE CUTTER, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIS: I think it would be a bigger problem if she's suddenly changing her agenda. That's the agenda that she's been campaigning on. And many of those policies are not super progressive policies. They're mainstream policies for the middle of America.

So I think that she gave a speech based on what she's campaigned on. The larger message, which is not Democrat or Republican, that we're stronger together, is a big appeal to the large middle of America.

TAPPER: One of the most moving moments, I think, in the convention was when Khizr Khan, the father of the -American soldier who was killed in action in Iraq, spoke and really challenged Donald Trump and said, you haven't read the U.S. Constitution, you can borrow my copy, suggested Donald Trump has not sacrificed anything, anyone, how dare he smear Muslims.

What was your response to that?

SAM CLOVIS, NATIONAL CO-CHAIR, TRUMP CAMPAIGN: Well, I thought it was interesting because, you know, we don't in the military -- and I'm a veteran myself. I'm the son of a veteran. I'm the father of a veteran. I'm the brother of a veteran.

We have a little bit of skin in this game. We don't identify our soldiers by their religion or their ethnicity or their color. They're American soldiers. That's the thing we ought to honor is the fact -- and I feel for him. I know exactly the sensations that he's had.

When my son deployed for the first time to Afghanistan, I can tell you, I didn't sleep for six months because I worried about him every single day. It's an emotional thing for me too because I worry about the notion that we're going to politicize something that is so honorable and so great.

I don't blame him for his feelings. I don't blame him for his reaction. But I know -- I can tell you, I have the copy of the Constitution in my pocket right now, and Mr. Trump has used that copy of my Constitution, because we've discussed the Constitution. And this is an important issue.

To think that we would -- that he has not looked at this and has not embraced veterans is wrong because he has. He's gone out of his way to motivate people to help support our veterans. We have a great plan for fixing the V.A.

So on a personal level, I feel for Mr. Khan. On the other side of this, I just hate seeing our military politicized in this way.

NEERA TANDEN, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: Can I just say? I mean, I really want to salute you for your words because I hear exactly what you're saying about the military. I was so proud as a Democrat that there was so much language honoring our military all throughout the convention.

But I think what Dr. Khan was saying was not the disrespect for the military per se, but it disrespects the military and others to single out Muslims and to say they can't serve. His son, who is Muslim, died for this country, and under Mr. Trump's policies, he could not have served. He could not have been here perhaps.

CLOVIS: And he was killed by Muslims. That's the issue here. And I don't disagree with your starting point on this.

I may disagree on the end point but -- because I think what we're really talking about here is, again, we don't identify our people in the military by their religion. The notion you want to use that as a talking point, again, my great sympathies to Mr. Khan. And God help us. I understand all that. But I hate seeing that happen, because it is just -- to me, it was really -- it really bothered me and bothered me emotionally.

TANDEN: But isn't Mr. Trump identifying people by their religion? If it's not good for the military, why is it good for the country?

CLOVIS: Well, I think the issue is we want to edify our immigration policies. We've asked our allies to help us with that. We're talking about the fact we're sharing more information with our allies. We're trying to figure out ways to keep America safe, and right now, this is one of the issues that has been brought up and not to look the other way -- I mean, simply to look the other way. And I'm not asking you to, but it's presented that way.

It's presented as if you want us to look the other way. I don't think that's an appropriate approach either.

TAPPER: All right. We're going to stay right here. We're going to keep talking and we're going to hear from Donald Trump any moment. We'll bring that to you live. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:40:10] TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD.

We're waiting for Donald Trump to start speaking at a rally in Colorado Springs. Our panel is here with me.

But let's turn to some other news right now in the health lead. Those fears about the Zika virus in the U.S., they're now a reality, health officials believe for the first time in the continental U.S. There are now four people with the devastating virus, infected by virus- carrying mosquitoes.

CNN's Polo Sandoval has more on what health officials are calling a pandemic in process.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, health officials had expected this for months. This has not come as a surprise. They believed it was a matter of time before Zika-carrying mosquitoes would infect people within the continental United States.

Well, now, three men and one woman in South Florida are believed to be the first cases of this kind. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believe that the four patients were infected while in this area in early July. It's commonly known as the Wynwood Art District. It's popular retail and ding district just north of downtown Miami. It also draws in people from across the region.

The type of mosquitoes don't necessarily travel very far during their life span, so the current preventive efforts are focused squarely on this area, hoping to eradicate any of these possible infected insects.

Back to those four unidentified people, they are not believed to have traveled to any regions that have been deeply affected by Zika. Also, sexual transmission is not believed to have been a factor. So that is what's fueling this theory, this concern that the mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus are responsible for these latest cases.

Although, I have to tell you, 100 percent confirmation that is, in fact, local transmission, is still very difficult to get. We've heard from the CDC today and they say that they are yet to trap a mosquito that actually tests positive for Zika. Experts describe that as like finding a needle in a haystack.

So, Florida State Officials don't expect a wide transmission of the virus. But nonetheless, Florida's Governor Rick Scott saying they're taking extra steps today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. RICK SCOTT (R), FLORIDA: Now that Florida' become the first state to have a local transmission likely through a mosquito, we'll continue to put every resource available to fighting the spread of Zika in our state.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANDOVAL: Well, the CDC says people infected with Zika usually only have mild symptoms and can however be problematic for pregnant women. The virus can actually cause fetuses to have birth defects of the brain. So that is what's fueling concerns this afternoon, Jake. Really for pregnant people within that affected region.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TAPPER: All right, Polo Sandoval. Thank you so much. The Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, we'll see him any

minute on that stage you're looking at in Colorado Springs, more live coverage right after this quick break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Welcome back to THE LEAD. This week at the Democratic convention in beautiful Philadelphia, we thought we would add to the excitement by asking Clinton supporters about the nation's staggering $19 trillion debt and some were still excited.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The U.S. national debt is better.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think the U.S. national debt has improved under the presidency of Obama.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The U.S. national debt is declining, and it's going to decline even further under Hillary Clinton.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: So were they right? That's this week's segment, "America's Debt and The Economy." The answer is no, they were not right. The national debt, the total amount the government owes has actually gone up since President Obama took office, and it continues to increase every day.

Perhaps with these eager young Democrats were thinking about is the deficit. That's the annual figure, the money the government borrows every year. That has mostly trended down in the last eight years, but do not cue the celebratory balloons just yet.

The government still borrows hundreds of billions of dollars each year, regardless of who wins the keys to the national vault in November. The Congressional Budget Office expects an 83 percent rise in government spending in the next ten years. So the national debt still a very big problem.

We are moments away from Donald Trump taking the stage in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Let's bring back the panel. Neera, I wanted to ask you about this because we were told that Hillary Clinton was going to address the fact that she does have, according to polls, these trust issues. Majority of voters thinking she's not honest and here's what she said, here's how she addressed it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The service part has always come easier to me than the public part. I get it, that some people just don't know what to make of me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: Is that the problem? That people don't know what to make of her or in her view is it they know what to make of her but they're wrong?

NEERA TANDEN, FORMER POLICY DIRECTOR, HILLARY CLINTON'S 2008 CAMPAIGN: I think, you know, she does think she's a trustworthy person, so I do think she thinks that perception is wrong. But it is on her to clear it up. It's not like other people's fault.

She's the candidate. She needs to really lay out her vision. I think the reality is that I think part of the trust issue is people want to understand why she's actually running, what is she doing? What is she doing this for? I think she laid that out very clearly yesterday.

TAPPER: There Mr. Trump, his first appearance since Hillary Clinton accepted the nomination. Let's listen in.

[16:50:01]DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you. Thank you very much. So I have to tell you this. This is why our country doesn't work. You understand. So we have thousands of people in a room next door. We have plenty of space here. We have thousands of people outside trying to get in.

And we have a fire marshal that said, oh, we can't allow more people. It really is so unfair to the people. I'm so sorry. I have to have apologize. But it's not my fault. I just came here.

But we have thousands of beautiful, wonderful, great people outside, and we have in the room next door over a thousand people. They won't let them in. The reason they won't let them in is because they don't know what the hell they're doing. That's why, OK. Too bad.

That's why our country has -- hey, maybe they're a Hillary person. Could that be possible? Probably. I don't think there are too many of them. I don't think there are too many of them. Anyway, they set up a screen in the other room. They set up something outside.

What a disgraceful situation. But you people can't be complaining, right? You can't be complaining. All right. So much, so much to straighten out in this country. This is the kind of thing we have in federal government also, by the way, folks.

Then you wonder why we're going to hell. That's why we're going to hell. You know what it is? It's a thought process, right. So I watched last night. I watched Hillary Clinton. What a sad -- what a sad situation.

By the way, they're going to let some of these people -- I just was informed, they're going to meander in. Too bad. But I watched her last night giving a speech that was so average. And I watched last night as the network said it was all right, it was good, they were fine.

Then I watched this morning. It was unbelievable. It was so wonderful. It wasn't wonderful, folks. And then I read a report that just came out in "Politico." I can't believe it. In politico. I can't believe that.

They wrote something, all cliches, all just written up by a script writer. It was all cliches. They used a little tweet one on me about tweet. She said something about the campaign. Donald Trump doesn't know how to campaign, something like that. I just beat 16 people, and I'm beating her. I'm watching it. I'm watching it.

Oh, and by the way, this is very important. So the Nielsen ratings just came out. These aren't polls. These are for television much more important than polls. Television, these guys don't care about polls. They only care about ratings.

The Nielsen ratings just came out. It's Trump against Clinton, right. You heard about how wonderful -- I'll tell you what. I liked the Republican convention better. I did. It better. I liked it better.

I thought we had a far more beautiful set like not even a contest. How about the first night they had no American flags up on the stage. Second night, no American flags. Then I started saying, there are no American flags up there. Then they run up with a flag.

Then last night they put so many flags -- you know, it's called overkill. It's called incompetency. Put so many flags up there, you didn't know what to do. But let me just tell you.

So Thursday to Thursday, that's big one, right? Thursday. We beat her by millions on television. Millions. We beat her by a lot. They both did good. Really, we beat her by a lot, but honestly, the numbers were incredible, which tells you, which tells you, isn't it good to have Trump running for the presidency?

[16:55:02]Now, let me ask you. So we beat her, we beat her. And I think you tuned in out of curiosity with her. Most people -- I was actually more curious. I was curious to see whether she'd do a class act and not mention my name or mention it with respect, like, say, I'd like to congratulate my Republican opponent for having done something that nobody has ever done in the history of politics in this nation.

And I would like to congratulate gotten more votes than anybody in the history of the Republican Party in the primary season. See, I thought she might do something like that. I thought she'd give me a big fat beautiful congratulations.

If she did that, would that have been cool? Would that have been great? I thought her daughter did very well, by the way, Chelsea. My daughter likes Chelsea, and Chelsea likes my daughter. What are you going to do? That's the way it is. That's OK.

My daughter likes Chelsea. Ivanka did great, right? But I asked Ivanka, I said, do you like Chelsea? I do, dad. Really? No, I really do. I wish you didn't. It would be a lot easier. Right? No, but they like -- and Chelsea likes Ivanka. I think that's nice.

And that's the way life is. That's the way life should be, right? Don't we agree? It's OK. It's OK. But we had -- I had an amazing time. I watched last night as different people spoke. Much of it was scripted. Much of it was scripted.

I see some people -- you know what was funny? I said yesterday at one of the rallies. We had these massive rallies. Honestly, much bigger than this, but not much bigger if you let all the other thousands in. Much bigger. This is like an intimate gathering. It's true, it's true, but I said to some of the people, look at that.

And then yesterday at the rally, I said boy, because I had some people up there that I knew. I actually saw their names. I was like, why would they put them up, they're going to speak positively about me?

I was wrong. I said, I'm going to hit them, I'm going to get them. I'm going to start talking about them like you never believed. I'm going to hit them -- now, I'm talking about with my verbal. I'm going to get them.

I'm going to let them have it. Maybe a tweet or maybe this or that, but I'm going to hit them hard. So on CNN this morning, I see on the bottom, Trump says he's going to hit speakers. I mean, they are so dishonest. I'm going to hit speakers.

That's why we have to win, right? That's why we have to win. I'll tell you, CNN is really -- you know, they call it the Clinton news network. It's really a dishonest group of people. They are terrible. Oh, their camera just went off.

I see their red lights. I know all the cameramen by now. Hi, fellas, but I see the red lights. That red light just went off so fast. It was funny. We were having fun yesterday. They said really bad things. I'm going to hit them, I'm going to hit them hard. We're going to get them.

In fact, I even called up a friend of mine, a governor. He actually called me. He said, you're doing great, fantastic. I talked about the thing. He said, don't go anything, don't do anything, don't say anything bad about anybody, don't talk - I told him the story yesterday.

Then they put Trump to hit because some place it said I'm going to hit them hard. I mean, verbally, right? Does everybody understand? Headline, Trump threatens. I don't know if they said that.

But it is really -- I'll tell you, CNN is so dishonest. It's actually disgusting, you want to know the truth. So I love -- isn't it better when we don't have these teleprompters? Right? I watched -- no matter where she goes, she's got teleprompters and I like using teleprompters.

They're really good. But honestly, when you do these things, wouldn't it be -- OK, if I'm standing here like this and I'm going, ladies and gentlemen of Colorado, welcome, welcome.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM." We are continuing to carry Donald Trump's response, his first response to Hillary Clinton's speech.