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War Hero's Father Speaks Out Against Trump Attacks; Donald Trump Denies Ties to Russia; Moody's Gives Boost to Clinton Economic Plan; First lady Describes Living in House Built by Slaves. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired July 31, 2016 - 18:30   ET


[18:00:20] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: 6:00 p.m. Eastern. I'm Poppy Harlow in New York. So glad you're with us. 100 days. It is exactly 100 days until you will head to the polls and Americans will cast their votes for the next president of the United States.

Right now the conversation is about a feud between Donald Trump and the Muslim American father of a slain war hero. That is certainly front and center right now. Khizr Khan on CNN saying that Donald Trump has a dark soul. Trump is firing back at Khan on television and on Twitter. House Speaker Paul Ryan weighing in on all of it. More on that in just a moment.

And this all started earlier this week at the Democratic National Convention. Amid the star-studded speeches, Khan's voice was especially poignant. A grieving father speaking from the heart, no words in the teleprompter.


KHIZR KHAN, FATHER OF ARMY CAPTAIN KILLED IN IRAQ WAR: You have sacrificed nothing. And no one. Let me ask you, have you even read the United States Constitution? I will gladly lend you my copy.


HARLOW: Donald Trump reacted to that in an interview today with NBC News. Let's listen to a part of that.


GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: How would you answer that father? What sacrifice have you made for your country?

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I think I've made a lot of sacrifices. I have worked very, very hard. I have created thousands and thousands of jobs. Tens of thousands of jobs. I think --

STEPHANOPOULOS: Those are sacrifices?

TRUMP: Oh, sure, I think they're sacrifices. I think when I can employ thousands and thousands of people, take care of their education, take care of so many things, even in military, I mean, I was very responsible, along with a group of people for getting the Vietnam Memorial built in downtown Manhattan, in which to this day people thank me for. I raised and I have raised millions of dollars for the vets. I'm helping the vets a lot.


HARLOW: So the father, Khizr Khan, sat down this morning with our Jim Acosta on "STATE OF THE UNION" and he sent a strong message to House and Senate Republican leadership. Listen.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Donald Trump released a statement last night, I'm sure you've seen it, calling your son a hero. As a matter of fact, he tweeted as much just a few moments ago. But he also said in that statement last night that you have no right to stand in front of millions of Americans and say he has never read the Constitution. What is your response to Donald Trump this morning?

KHAN: I appreciate his response, his press release that was issued last night confirming that he accepts my son as a hero of this country. But to answer your question, his policies, his practices do not reflect that he has any understanding of the basic fundamental constitutional principles of this country, what makes this country exceptional, what makes this country exceptional in the history of the mankind that our principles of equal dignity, principle of liberty.

He talks about excluding people, disrespecting judges, the entire judicial system, immigrants, Muslim immigrants. These are divisive rhetoric that is totally against the basic constitutional principle. If you read the Constitution, you will either deliberately would be violating those principles or you have not read it. That is why I have watched the whole year, and the rest of the world has watched, and the love and affection and support that we have received after my statement at every corner of the street, at every place, the affection, the support, the love that I have received, that we continue to receive, is a testament that he is talking about ignorance. He is not fully aware of these principles.

ACOSTA: And in the same interview that Donald Trump gave in response to your speech, he seemed to go after your wife, suggesting that perhaps she didn't speak at the convention because of her -- of your Muslim faith. Let's take a listen to that.


TRUMP: His wife -- if you look at his wife, she was standing there. She had nothing to say. She probably -- maybe she wasn't allowed to have anything to say. You tell me. But plenty of people have written that.


ACOSTA: What's your response to that?

[18:05:01] KHAN: That's, again, height of ignorance on a part of a candidate for the highest office of this nation. Two things are absolutely necessary in any leader or any person that aspires, wishes to be a leader. That is moral compass and second is empathy. This candidate is void of both traits that are necessary for the stewardship of this country.

ACOSTA: You don't believe he's fit to be president?

KHAN: I do not believe his whole yearlong rhetoric, division, excluding people, talking about them derogatorily, has prepared him. He promised to the Republican leadership that he will change his manner, he will not be as ignorant as he had been. But he had continued. Those two traits of moral compass and empathy are absolutely necessary for the leader of a free world, leader of a nation like United States.

ACOSTA: And for all of those viewers out there who are wondering why your wife stood by you silently during the convention?

KHAN: Her medical condition. She has written an op-ed in her own words, her own voice, why didn't she speak. And why did her -- when you come to the stage, can you say, thank you for inviting us? My husband will speak further. She said, you know my condition. When I see my son's picture, I cannot hold myself together.

For this candidate for presidency to not be aware of the respect of a Gold Star mother standing there, and he had to take that shot at her, this is height of ignorance. This is why I showed him that constitution. Had he read that, he would know what status a Gold Star mother holds in this nation. This country holds such a person in the highest regard. And he has no knowledge, no awareness. That is the height of his ignorance.

She is ill. She had high blood pressure. People that know her looked at her face, and she said, I may fall off the stage, and I told her that you have to assemble yourself and stand for the beauty of this tribute that is being paid.

This person is total incapable of empathy. I want his family to counsel him, teach him some empathy. He will be a better person if he could become, but he is a black soul. And this is totally unfit for the leadership of this beautiful country. The love and affection that we have received affirms that our beliefs, our experience in this country, had been correct and positive.

The world is receiving us like we have never seen. They have seen the blackness of his character, of his soul that he is void of recognizing, empathizing with people.

ACOSTA: And you mentioned that Constitution that you keep with you in your pocket. You have it with you right now?

KHAN: I always --

ACOSTA: Why do you have it with you?

KHAN: I always have it because it embodies, it enshrines the existence of this nation. This nation, we live here so -- often we are here -- we become unappreciative of the goodness of this country, but we are testament to that. We live every day. I have a stack of this -- this beautiful document at my home. When guests come, I am so delighted to start the conversation by handing them a copy. Luckily, I had it in my pocket. I didn't know that I have it. My words were different. My words were, I hope you have read the Constitution. I hope you will look for the words of liberty and equal justice and equal dignity.

When I was getting ready to come get in the cab to go to the convention, when I put my coat on, I touched it, and it was in my pocket. It is always -- whenever I wear a coat, it is in my pocket.

ACOSTA: And Trump accused you of having these words written for you by the Clinton campaign. Is there any truth to that? Did you write the speech yourself?

KHAN: There is no -- there is no truth to that. You are listening to me. You are talking to me. And over there, I had limit of the time. I had written a longer speech. And I am going to say the rest of the speech to you right now. There is no Clinton campaign here. There is no prompter here. I am articulate person.

[18:10:03] I can utter my thoughts and utter my feelings. And I address -- which my wife asked me to not include those things, but this is the time to say those things. I wanted to address and I address them now. I address the Senate majority leader, a patriot, and I address the speaker of the House, a patriot American. It is their model obligation. History will not forgive them. This election will pass, but history will be written. The lapse of moral courage will hold them -- will remain burdened on their souls.

ACOSTA: What do you --

KHAN: On their leadership.

ACOSTA: What do want the Republican leaders to do, Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan?

KHAN: To repudiate him. They have suggested, they have sat with him, as we are aware, in public. They have advised him, they have counseled him. Entire leadership of the Republican Party. I know Republicans are as patriot as Democrats, as independents. But he had promised them to mend his ways, divisive ways, hurtful manner and policies. Yet he comes back again on the same thing.

It is majority leader's and speakers' moral, ethical obligation. Do not worry about the words, but repudiate him, withdraw the support. If they do not, I will continue to speak and I am speaking. I have received tremendous support from Republicans saying to me that in last -- they have never voted in Democratic -- for the Democrats. This year they are not going to vote Republican because -- for the office of president because of this candidate.

ACOSTA: You've obviously received an overwhelming response to your speech. And you just mentioned that many Republicans have reached out to you to say that they appreciate your words. What about the supporters of Donald Trump? Have you heard from them? What are they saying to you?

KHAN: I -- the people that have called, left messages, I do not know what their political affiliation is. But it appears, from the overwhelming response and affection and support that we continue to receive is, that is what Captain Humayun Khan died fighting for, the liberty, equal dignity. That is what these patriots fight the war for America, to keep it safe, to keep it -- in addition to this, there was in the speech that my good wife asked me to refrain from saying.

I wanted to say, we reject all violence. We are faithful, patriotic, undivided loyalty to this country. We reject all terrorism. She asked me not to say that because that was not the occasion for such a statement. We say to his ignorance -- I address his ignorance -- that the direct effect, the most effect of the terrorism in -- the menace of terrorism had been Muslims in the world. Muslims hate this menace of terrorism as much as any other place.

It is our duty to keep this country, our country, beautiful country, safe. We have always thought of that way. We will continue to do our part to keep it safe and beautiful. What he cites in the name of Islam and all that, that is not Islam at all. I wish he would have -- somebody would have put something in his head that these are terrorists, these are criminals. These folks have nothing to do with Islam.

ACOSTA: Khizr Khan, we appreciate your time this morning. Thank you for coming in. We also appreciate the sacrifice of your son, Army Captain Humayun Khan. Thank you very much for joining us this morning.

KHAN: Thank you very much.

ACOSTA: Appreciate your words. Thank you.


HARLOW: All right. So there you have it. The full interview with the father. And we're going to continue to discuss this after the break. A lot ahead this hour. The conversation continues.

We have reaction just into us from House Speaker Paul Ryan, and also Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, what they're saying in response.

And the comments, those comments from the father really stole the show at the DNC despite all the celebrities who took the stage, and now Hillary Clinton on the trail in the rust belt state, she's responding. What she said. All that straight ahead live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[18:18:10] HARLOW: Welcome back. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM and we just showed you the full CNN interview with Khizr Khan, the father of the fallen Muslim American soldier. You heard him slam Donald Trump. He said that Trump has a black soul and Trump has struck back on television and on Twitter, tweeting that Khan had, quote, "viciously attacked him."

Let's talk about all of this with our panel, Washington correspondent for the "New Yorker" Ryan Lizza, Donald Trump surrogate Boris Epshteyn, a former aide to the 2008 McCain campaign, and Hillary Clinton supporter, Reverend Lee Daughtry, CEO of the Democratic National Convention.

Thank you, all, for being here. We've just heard from House Speaker Paul Ryan in the last few hours. He put out a statement that reads in part, let me read part of it, "As I have said on numerous occasions a religious test for entering our country is not reflective of these fundamental values. I reject it. Many Muslim Americans have served valiantly in our military made the ultimate sacrifice. Captain Khan was one such brave example. His sacrifice and that of Khizr and Ghazala Khan should always be honored. Period."

Also Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said this in a statement, "This is going to a place where we've never gone before, to push back against the families of the fallen. There used to be some things that were sacred in American politics that you don't do like criticizing the parents of a fallen soldier even if they criticize you."

So, Boris, let me begin with you. You take issue with Lindsey Graham's response and you think Donald Trump was right to push back here at the father. Why?

BORIS EPSHTEYN, DONALD TRUMP SURROGATE: Well, Lindsey Graham has been a notorious critic of Donald Trump. He has supported literally every one of the other candidates for the nomination, including himself. So he does not speak for the Republican Party which is united behind Donald Trump. Now as far as what Donald Trump did, you have to watch the whole interview. I'm sure you did, as I did as well. So this wasn't a criticism, it was an observation.

[18:20:02] And we're making a whole lot of it when again we should be talking about what caused this sad, the terrible death of Captain Khan and almost 7,000 other Americans in Afghanistan and Iraq. And that's radical Islamic jihadism. That's what we should be angry about. That's what we should be concentrating on. Not a discussion and a back-and-forth between a man, a grieving father who is personally going after Donald Trump. And Donald Trump who's responding.

HARLOW: So, Reverend --

EPSHTEYN: Let's talk about making sure this doesn't keep happening. Our soldiers who are dying abroad.

HARLOW: So, Reverend Daughtry, to you. To what Boris is saying that we're focusing on the wrong thing here. That we shouldn't focus on the controversy that there -- it shouldn't be about this. And he called it a politicization. What do you say?

REV. LEAH DAUGHTRY, CEO, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION: Well, you know, first of all, we have to honor the sacrifices of the Khan family and Captain Khan and his parents. But, you know, this to me is just another example of Donald Trump's ego taking precedence over everything. And what he -- when he listened to the speech, he didn't hear the Khan family talking about their son or the sacrifices. What he heard was captain -- was the Khan father saying that Mr. Trump had not made his own sacrifices.

And so it reminded me of that Farsi cartoon where the owner scolding the dog and all you hear is blah, blah, blah, Donald, blah, blah, blah, Donald. And that seems to be what Mr. Trump heard. So he didn't hear about the son's sacrifice or about the parents' pain. It was about his own ego and that -- and that's a shame.

HARLOW: Did you know -- Reverend, I mean, as CEO of the Democratic National Convention, did you know the degree to which -- the degree to which Khan's speech would focus on Donald Trump?

DAUGHTRY: Well, we knew that he was coming to talk about his son, his sacrifices, and of course his own personal pain, the fact that his religion has been singled out by Mr. Trump, as not allowing Muslim people to come into the country, and that we knew that's what he was going to talk about, and that is a very important issue. As Mr. Trump's campaign has sought to divide us by race, by religion, by ethnicity, and that was something that we wanted to be sure that we talked about.

EPSHTEYN: If I may respond to that?

HARLOW: I want to get Ryan Lizza in here and then you can jump back in, Boris. But, Ryan, to you. Did you think that this back and forth, this feud, is exploiting what some could call a significant flaw, a fatal flaw, call it what you will, of Donald Trump? An inability not to react to criticism, even when delivered by the family of a fallen soldier. Could this hurt him?

RYAN LIZZA, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORKER: I mean, look, the Khans at the convention were not even in prime time. It was a big dramatic moment if you were there. I'm not sure how many members of the public actually saw it. But by attacking them, by tweeting -- Donald Trump tweeted that Mr. Khan did not have a right to criticize him. In that same tweet he mentioned the Constitution, and albeit Trump said he didn't have a right to criticize him, which of course -- of course he has the right to.

By doing that, and in going on TV today and further escalating it, he has blown up this family into front page news for quite -- you know, 24-hour news for two days now. And just politically, forget about just all of the other policy implications here. I -- I don't know why he would want to do that. Why would he want to make the face of his opposition in this campaign a grieving father and mother of a fallen soldier? I find that odd.

And I do think -- I don't know, you know, it's dangerous to sort of predict these things, but I feel like it's a bit of a turning point here with the number of Republicans stepping forward and criticizing this, and frankly being embarrassed that Trump would go here. And you know, just from what Boris is saying, trying to change the focus back to the Iraq war and who voted for it, I get the sense that the Trump campaign or at least the surrogates, maybe not Trump himself, realizes that, hey, maybe we shouldn't be in a feud with the parents of a fallen soldier.


HARLOW: Very quickly, Boris.

LIZZA: But it just seems politically like a very strange fight to the end.


EPSHTEYN: It's not what it is. We realized what actual issues that are facing this country. And frankly, Democrats and Reverend Daughtry, as the chair -- as a CEO of the convention should be ashamed they dragged Mr. And Mrs. Khan in front of the American public and politicized this issue. That's exactly what happened. Who are we kidding?


DAUGHTRY: Well, Donald Trump -- Donald Trump politicized this, who made it about his faith --

EPSHTEYN: Let me finish now. Those folks were not there to talk about those sacrifices. Those folks -- Reverend Daughtry, let me finish. Those folks were there specifically to attack Donald Trump. And you're saying he should be attacked but doesn't have the right to respond? Let's not joke ourselves. This was not a statement --

HARLOW: What's the substance to your --

EPSHTEYN: -- simply about their sacrifices.

HARLOW: What's the --

LIZZA: Boris, wait, can I just -- I have to -- I have to say one thing.


HARLOW: -- your assertion that they were dragged in front of the crowd and didn't come willingly to speak about their son?

EPSHTEYN: And Mr. Khan spoke about it himself. He worked for the Democrat, you know, establishment. And he went in there and spoke. Today he was on "STATE OF THE UNION." Of course it's his right, as any American, as is Donald Trump's, to go out and speak all he wants. But we all know why the Democrats had him there. And it's exactly for this, it's to obscure the fact that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have failed at keeping this country safe.

[18:25:03] And that Donald Trump will keep it safe. It's the fact that 7,000 Americans have died --

HARLOW: . All right. Ryan Lizza, very quickly --

EPSHTEYN: -- in Afghanistan and Iraq at the hands of radical jihadists.

LIZZA: Well, I just want to say, look. I just want -- let me add one point here. Both conventions had parents of Americans who were killed overseas. The Democratic convention had the Khans whose son was killed in Iraq, the Republican convention had the mother of an American who was killed in Benghazi. Both of those people criticized --

EPSHTEYN: Both of whom talked about Benghazi.

LIZZA: Hold on, Boris. Let me talk for a second. Both of those people criticized the other candidates. Imagine what -- there is only one candidate who escalated it and got into the fight of the father and mother of someone who was slain overseas.

EPSHTEYN: So if you want to about Benghazi, let's talk about Benghazi. We'd love to talk about Benghazi.

LIZZA: If Hillary Clinton had attacked the mother --


DAUGHTRY: But Donald Trump is the one that politicized --

LIZZA: -- of American who's killed in Benghazi? Imagine what would -- imagine the media uproar?

HARLOW: Guys, stay with me. Thank you very much.

EPSHTEYN: Let's talk about Benghazi. Let's talk about who died in Benghazi at the hands of --

HARLOW: I'm going to take a quick break. Thank you all. You'll be back after the break.

Donald Trump saying that he and the leader of Russia have no relationship. He even tweeted he has zero investments in Russia. We're going to dig into that straight ahead because there is also this.


TRUMP: I have nothing to do with Putin. I've never spoken to him, I don't know nothing about him. I was in Russia, I was in Moscow recently, and I spoke indirectly and directly with president Putin who couldn't have been nicer.


HARLOW: We'll delve into the history between the two, next.


[18:30:14] HARLOW: Donald Trump weighing in this morning on Russia's annexation of Crimea, saying that Russia's president would never make a move into Ukraine. That despite Russia having done exactly that, seizing the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine two years ago. Trump also saying again today that he has no relationship with Vladimir Putin.


TRUMP: I have nothing to do with Putin. I've never spoken to him, I don't know anything about him. I was in Russia, I was in Moscow recently, and I spoke indirectly and directly with President Putin who could not have been nicer.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: What exactly is your relationship with Vladimir Putin?

TRUMP: I have no relationship with Putin. I have no relationship with Putin.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But if you have no relationship with Putin, then why did you say in 2013, I do have a relationship, in 2014 I spoke --

TRUMP: Because he has said nice things about me over the years. I remember years ago he said something -- many years ago, he said something very nice about me. I said something good about him when Larry King was on. This was a long time ago.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Yet you said for three years, '13, '14, and '15 that you did have a relationship with him.

TRUMP: No. Look. What do you call a relationship? I mean, he treats me with great respect.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I'm asking you.

TRUMP: I have no relationship with Putin. I don't think I've ever met him. I never met him. I don't think I've ever met him.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You would know if you did.

TRUMP: I think so. Yes, I think so.


HARLOW: All right. My panel is back with me again. To all of you, I want to also play this sound from a moment this morning on "Meet the Press" when Chuck Todd was interviewing the Trump campaign manager, Paul Manafort, reacting to the fact that the position, the Republican platform's position on arming Ukrainians against Russia has completely flipped in the past few weeks. Here's the back and forth.


CHUCK TODD, MSNBC'S "MEET THE PRESS": And before I let you go, there's been some controversy about something in the Republican Party platform that essentially changed the Republican Party's views when it comes to Ukraine. How much influence did you have on changing that language, sir?

PAUL MANAFORT, DONALD TRUMP CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN: I had none. In fact, I didn't even hear of it until after our convention was over. TODD: Where did it come from then? Because everybody on the platform

committee had said it came from the Trump campaign. If not you, who?

MANAFORT: It absolutely did not come from the Trump campaign. I don't know who everybody is, but I guarantee you --


TODD: So nobody from the Trump campaign wanted that change in the platform?

MANAFORT: No one. Zero.


HARLOW: All right, So, Ryan Lizza, to you, you wrote extensively about this, and you wrote, "In a matter of weeks, Trump has made the GOP pro-Putin party." What do you think the significance is of the Ukraine platform switch, complete switch of the Republican Party as it relates to the Trump campaign to the average voter?

LIZZA: Well, look, the platform committee hearings, frankly, there was not a great deal of Trump influence on the platform. There were a lot of delegates on the platform committee who were sort of given a free hand on a lot of issues. So it was unusual to reporters that learned about this that there was an effort by Trump aides to get rid of the language that called for arming the Ukrainians.

I'm going to credit where credit is due, Josh Rogin of the "Washington Post" and also CNN contributor is the person who broke this story and has on the record one of the delegates at the party platform hearing, saying, I had this language to arm the Ukrainians. Trump aides got other delegates on the committee and it was taken out. So we have a serious dispute here now between Manafort who runs the Trump campaign and the folks on the platform committee, and that needs to be figured out, who is telling the truth here. Because Josh Rogin who reported this story extensively tweeted that Manafort was not telling the truth this morning. So it's a big deal.

Look, the position actually now is Obama's position, so it's also a little unusual that the one -- that this change is the one changed in Republican politics this year that goes closer to Barack Obama's position. Obama does not want to arm the Ukrainians. So that's why I think a lot of people are scratching their head, saying, why -- you know, what is -- where is this coming from in Trump world?

HARLOW: So let's have -- Boris, respond to that.

LIZZA: So maybe Boris knows.

HARLOW: As a Trump surrogate your response?

EPSHTEYN: Sure. Well, as far as the RNC platform you'd have to ask the RNC. You know, you're referencing a report by one obscure delegate that's refereeing to other obscure Trump aides. You'd have to have names and you'd have to have actual information about what happened during the platform meetings and it would be up to those delegates to talk about that.

Now let's talk about the larger issue at hand. Again, first of all, you -- Russia did not seize Crimea. We could talk about the conflict that happened between the Ukraine and the Crimea, the ongoing conflict where there was no seizure by Russia. That is an incorrect statement -- characterization of what happened.

And as far as where the Trump campaign stands, Paul Manafort and Donald Trump have been very clear where they are, that Russia were absolutely not being leading and the United States will not be leading from behind.

[18:35:06] The United states will make it well known and we will be the one who has the leaders in the world, not Russia as it's been now, in eastern Europe and Syria.

HARLOW: Revered, I want you to weigh in --

LIZZA: Boris, can I just push you on that?


HARLOW: I want to let --

LIZZA: Sorry. Go ahead.

HARLOW: Reverend Daughtry weigh in as well, as a Clinton supporter. The significance do you think of this to the average voter?

DAUGHTRY: Yes. I think what the average voter wants to know and understand is what exactly is the relationship between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin and Russia. You know, he knows him, he doesn't know him, he met him, he didn't meet him, he has a relationship, he doesn't have a relationship. It's all very unclear. What we do know are the statements that he's made, and just recently he's invited Russia into American politics by asking them to investigate the e-mail brief.

So it's just -- none of it makes any sense. We don't know what he's doing. And you know whether -- maybe it's nefarious or maybe it's just naive.

EPSHTEYN: Bill Clinton took $500,000 from the Kremlin --

HARLOW: Let her finish.

DAUGHTRY: Either way the American voters deserve to know what his relationship is and to have some clarity, and as your clip shows, there is no clarity.

HARLOW: Ryan, thank you. Boris, Reverend, appreciate it.


HARLOW: Thank you very much. Quick break. We'll be right back.


HARLOW: All right. Welcome back. Let's talk about the economy for a moment. Hillary Clinton's campaign got a bit of a boost this week when an economist at Moody's said that a Clinton presidency would provide a major boost to the economy and create about 10 million jobs.

CNN's chief money correspondent Christine Romans takes a look at the strengths and the weaknesses of the so-called Obama economy and what each candidate could do for the economy.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Poppy. Hillary Clinton has a fine line to walk when it comes to the economy. Celebrate the recovery but acknowledge not everyone feels it and lay out a strategy to fix weaknesses.

Here's what the Obama economy looks like. First the strength.

[18:40:02] Stocks are up 178 percent since Obama took office in 2009. Stocks near record highs here. 9.8 million net new jobs have been added in the recovery. Unemployment is 4.9 percent. That's cut in half from the peak of 10 percent. Home values in most areas now are above the pre-crash highs, Poppy. The average price nationwide now $231,000.

But here are the weaknesses. The average U.S. household makes about $54,000 a year. That's almost exactly the amount they were making 20 years ago adjusted for inflation. Debt is also a big problem. You know, 70 percent of college students graduate with debt, and the government debt has ballooned from $10 trillion to $19 trillion.

Finally, the Obama economy has averaged about 2 percent growth per year. It was around 3 percent before the recession, and this spring, a meager 1.2 percent growth, that number out Friday.

Now Clinton in her nomination speech acknowledged working class anxiety.


HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Some of you are frustrated, even furious, and you know what? You're right. It's not yet working the way it should.

Democrats, we are the party of working people.


CLINTON: But we haven't done a good enough job showing we get what you're going through, and we're going to do something to help.


ROMANS: He's what she would do. Raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, make college debt free for families making less than $125,000. Her rival Donald Trump says he would cut taxes. He promises growth would just explode under his watch. So far it is Trump who has managed to connect with voters on the economy. Poll after poll show Trump's edge. The latest CNN-ORC poll of registered voters finds Trump with a 54 percent to 43 percent advantage.

So, Poppy, Clinton has to retake this narrative over the next 100 days or so until the election if she wants to win. Donald Trump, he'll be exposing every crack in the economy at very same time -- Poppy.

HARLOW: No question. Christine Romans, thank you so much.

Coming up next, you'll remember this moment. The moment when the crowd at the Democratic National Convention was brought to their feet listening to First Lady Michelle Obama, her powerful words about an African-American family living in the White House, a White House built in part by slaves. An important reminder to all of us.

We're going to look back next at the history of who built the White House.


[18:46:14] HARLOW: One of the most poignant moments at the DNC belong to First Lady Michelle Obama. Listen.


MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: Today I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves. And I watch my daughters, two beautiful, intelligent, black young women, playing with their dogs on the White House lawn.


HARLOW: So that moment struck a lot of Americans who were there, who were watching on television, a reminder that the White House, the symbol of American power and leadership and freedom, was built in part by slaves.

Let's talk about this with someone who knows the history extensively. Clarence Lusane, author of the "Black History of the White House." Also the chair of the Political Science Department at Howard University.

Thank you for being with me, Professor.


HARLOW: You called those remarks from First Lady Michelle Obama a, quote, "pivotal moment" in U.S. history. Why do you think that is? Is it -- is it an unknown history to many Americans?

LUSANE: Well, yes, it is. I really want to thank Michelle Obama because she really did provide an important educational moment. So for many historians, of course, they are aware of this. But for most citizens, probably not. And indeed, for most people who go through the White House, the White House estimates somewhere between 600,000 to a million people visit that institution every year for conferences, for meetings and for tours, and there is nothing that indicates that that building, as you mentioned, a symbol of American democracy, of American freedom, have a history that's embedded with the original contradiction in this country, which is that the country was founded on tremendously important ideas, great ideas, but was faced the reality of slavery and dispossession and genocide of native Americans.

And so Michelle Obama, I think, did a very important service and (INAUDIBLE) so she talked about waking up in this house built by -- in part by slaves, but also her daughters playing on the lawn.

HARLOW: So what do we know about the slaves that had built the White House? You mentioned that there was no acknowledgment of their being a part of building the White House like there is at the Capitol or the Liberty Bell, for example? But what do we know about them?

LUSANE: Well, we actually have some information. For most people who were enslaved, they were -- lived anonymous lives in terms of recording their lives. But because there are financial records of the payments by the commissioners who were tasked with building the city of Washington, D.C., we know, for example, how much carpenters were paid, some of the black carpenters who worked inside of the White House. There were at least 17 of those. Five of those, we know their names and specifically who they worked for.

Now there were skilled laborers who worked on the White House, the carpenters, the people who did some of the other masonry. But there was a lot of unskilled labor. For example, trees had to be cut down, then they had to be towed away. Clay had to be dug that was used in making bricks, bricks had to be made. And then the stone that went into making the White House itself had to be brought over from quarries generally in Virginia.

And so all of that was back-breaking, tremendously hard work that was done by people who were enslaved.

HARLOW: Let's take a listen to what Bill O'Reilly said after these remarks, talking about some of the history of it.


[18:50:01] BILL O'REILLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: In 1800, President John Adams took up residence in what was then called the Executive Mansion. It was only later on they named it the White House. But Adams was in there with Abigail, and they were still hammering nails. The construction was still going on.

Slaves that worked there were well-fed and had decent lodgings provided by the government, which stopped hiring slave labor in 1802. However, the feds did not forbid subcontractors from using slave labor.

So Michelle Obama is essentially correct in citing slaves as builders of the White House, but there were others working as well.

(END VIDEO CLIP) HARLOW: What is your reaction? And what was your reaction when you heard him say that?

LUSANE: Well, I think a lot of people responded to his statement that people who were enslaved were well-fed and housed decently. And he simply does not know that. The historic record shows that people were housed because they had to live -- it was more convenient for them to live where the White House was being constructed. But it's absolutely relative to say that they were well fed and that they had decent housing, and he basically is attempting to imply that there were these conditions that made it much better.

The fundamental thing is regardless of whether they were given steak and champagne, they were enslaved and they had little choice over the work that they were forced to do. There were payments for their labor but those payments went to the slave holders, not to people who actually did the work.

HARLOW: Do we -- and, Professor, before I let you go, do we know the names -- I mean are there historical records of the names of the slaves, their family members, who helped them build the White House? Do we know any of that?

LUSANE: We do know some of the names. There was carpenters, for example, there were five main carpenters who worked early on named Peter, Ben, Harry, and I don't remember the other two. So we have some of that information. And, again, because of the financial records that show payments, some of those payments actually includes the names of people who were enslaved, who were working as rental property, who were rented to the government to build the White House.

HARLOW: A history lesson for all of us tonight from Professor Clarence Lusane. Thank you so much, sir.

LUSANE: Thank you.

HARLOW: Quick break. We'll be right back.


[18:56:03] HARLOW: All right. Welcome back. Hillary Clinton talking today about the dispute between Donald Trump and the father of a Muslim American soldier killed in Iraq. Khizr Khan, the father calling out Donald Trump at the DNC over his proposal to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the United States. Well, Hillary Clinton today on the campaign trail with her running mate continued Khan's message. Listen.


CLINTON: When his father spoke at the convention and pulled out a copy of the Constitution, it was so fitting that happened in Philadelphia where our country started 240 years ago. They enshrined in our Constitution the principle of religious liberty.

(END VIDEO CLIP) HARLOW: Clinton on the campaign trail today.

Ahead in the NEWSROOM, I will speak with two Muslim Americans about their reaction about this back and forth between Trump and Khan. Quick break. We'll be right back.