Return to Transcripts main page


Clinton Attacks Trump on Values; Trump Says He Opposed Iraq War From the Start; Johnson: What is Aleppo?; Giuliani: Trump Now Believes Obama Born in U.S. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired September 8, 2016 - 23:00   ET


DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Tonight, Hillary Clinton takes on Donald Trump on values.


CLINTON: He doesn't even respect all Americans. How can he serve all Americans?



LEMON: This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon. Meanwhile, Trump insisting today that he was against the Iraq war from the beginning.

And he says his interview with "Esquire" magazine proves it.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: And in August of 2004, very early in the conflict -- extremely early in the conflict, right at the beginning, I made a detailed statement in an interview to "Esquire" magazine.


LEMON: But tonight, the writer who did that interview tells me what else Trump said plus libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson finds himself in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What would you do if you were elected about Aleppo?



JOHNSON: And what is Aleppo?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're kidding?


LEMON: Will Johnson's voters jump ship and who will get their support? I want to go right now to CNN Politics' executive editor Mark Preston.

My gosh, Mark, we're going to talk about that. But what a stunning moment that was.


LEMON: I saw it happening live. Let's talk, though, about this fallout -- lots of fallout from last night's military forum, a lot of back-and-forth attacks today. Does that -- does any of this change the state of this race?

PRESTON: I think what it does is it's setting up for what's going to be a very explosive first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump that's going to take place in a couple of weeks. The reason why is we're actually going to see these candidates now not solo standing on a stage casting accusations about one another.

They're going to have to stare at each other in the face. So when it comes to issues about foreign policy, I'm sure you're going to see Hillary Clinton try to press Donald Trump for more specifics.

Well, you didn't (ph) see that from Donald Trump last night. On the issue of e-mails, it won't be a moderator pushing Hillary Clinton on the e-mails will be Donald Trump.

So not only will their answers be really interesting but I think their body language is really going to be telling, Don.

LEMON: Yes, and their high expectations especially from Hillary Clinton. You know, according to this new CNN ORC (ph) poll, Americans say that they expect Hillary Clinton to outperform Donald Trump at the first debate, 53 percent said she'll be better.

Forty-three percent think that Donald Trump will do better. The first debate is three weeks away. I mean, what can we expect?

You say they're going to be face-to-face with each other. This is going to be fireworks.

PRESTON: It's going to be fireworks. And we only have to go back four years to see how important they are. you know, at that time, Mitt Romney was losing to Barack Obama in the polls.

And he came out and a lot of people thought Barack Obama was rusty and Mitt Romney really like really cleaned his clock politically during that debate, and for a, you know, a few days anyway changed the course of that race. So these debates are really going to mean a lot.

And quite frankly, Don, while we have been focused and a lot of the country has been focused on this presidential race, the whole country is now focused on this presidential race. This debate is not only going to air on CNN.

It's going to air on every television network practically. So you know, you can see upwards of a hundred million people tuning into this debate. So that's why there's a lot on the line.

LEMON: All right, Mark, appreciate that. Now, I want to turn to what Donald Trump really said about the Iraq war and when he said it. CNN's Tom Foreman breaks it down for us now.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Don, Donald Trump has attacked Hillary Clinton for supporting the war in Iraq while saying he opposed it strongly quite early on. And as evidence, he points to a profile of himself in "Esquire" magazine.


TRUMP: This is a quote -- absolute quote, "Look at the war in Iraq and the mess that we're in." This is right after the war started. I would never have handled it that way.

Does anybody really believe that Iraq is going to be a wonderful democracy where people are going to run down to the voting box and gently put in their ballot and the winner is happily going to step up and to lead the country?


FOREMAN: So when did Trump tell the magazine those words? Let's go to the timeline. And we'll start with September of 2002 when there was a lot of talk about a possible war and Trump was on the Howard Stern show.

This is what he said.


HOWARD STERN, RADIO HOST: Are you for invading Iraq?

TRUMP: Yes, I guess so. You know, I wish it was -- I wish the first time it was done correctly.


FOREMAN: So we move through the holidays and we move into March -- March 20. The ground war begins. And the very next day, Trump says that it looks like a tremendous success from a military standpoint.

But less than a week later, he tells "The Washington Post," the war's a mess. What changed? Well, there were a lot of successes.

But there were some casualties. An American servicewoman was captured. Maybe that was it. We don't know.

But we do know that by September, this is what he was saying. Trump said, "It wasn't a mistake to fight terrorism and fight it hard. And I guess maybe, if I had to do it, I would have fought terrorism but not necessarily Iraq."

So where is that strong condemnation from "Esquire" magazine? Well, you're not going to find it down in these months. You have to go past the end of 2003 and deep into 2004, all the way until August before those statements were made.

And a lot of people were now speaking out against the war. So we know this -- Trump was for the war before it started. We know that he did say some things early on against the war.

But that strong condemnation that he said came right after the war started actually came a year and a half into the fighting almost. By that time, as we said, a lot of people were against it.

"Esquire" magazine was pushing this out online today as proof of what they say is Trump's continued lying. We're going to have to agree with him on that and say in terms of his claim of the strong condemnation right after the war started, that is false.


LEMON: Tom Foreman, just the facts. Thank you, sir. Appreciate that. Here to discuss, "Esquire" magazine writer-at-large, Cal Fussman.

He interviewed Donald Trump for that article. And Mark Preston back with me as well.

So Cal, thank you so much for joining us. I really appreciate it. Trump has been using your 2004 interview with him in "Esquire" magazine as proof that he opposed the war you heard him today.

But your piece didn't come out until almost a year and a half after the fighting began. What do you make of it all?

CAL FUSSMAN, WRITER-AT-LARGE, ESQUIRE: It's almost impossible to register how startled I am by all of this. The interesting thing is he went on a rant about that war.

And when he finished, my first thought was, wow, I think this is going to make some news. Little did I know it was going to take 12 years to do so. So this is all startling to me.

LEMON: You -- and listen, you, guys, as Tom Foreman has said that you, you know, you pushed it out again today. There's an editor's note that goes along with it. It says the following story was published in August of 2004 issue of "Esquire."

During the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump has repeatedly claimed to have been against the Iraq war from the beginning. And he has cited the story as proof the Iraq war began in March of 2012, more than a year before the story ran, thus nullifying Trump's timeline.

But then again today, he said in front of cameras saying, you know, this was proof that he was against the war, again a year and a half after the war started. This was supposed to be a light, fun piece.

The concept was what it feels like to be Donald Trump. Would you have ever thought that this man would really be running for president and would have made it this far?

Because the thing on the side says, "How I Would Run the Country." That was the original article. Did you think he would -- he would ever make it this far, Cal?

FUSSMAN: I -- it's shocking to me, although at the end of the story, he -- he says what am I going to do next? I don't know. But -- but to give you the setup of how it all came about, this issue was about what it feels like.

And so my job was to go in and ask him what it was like to be Donald Trump. And his point was, he looks at life in one question, how would I handle that?

If he goes into a pharmacy and he needs shaving cream, he looks at all of the cans of shaving cream, looks at the prices, at the contents and he makes the best purchase. He's watching a basketball game, he's wondering, why did they take Carmelo Anthony third in the 2003 draft?

How would I handle that? And then he got to Iraq and he went on a rant. And everything he said really seemed to make sense at the time.

I wasn't thinking like this was a presidential interview. I didn't walk in saying, well, Mr. Trump, let's get down to business. It was a very light, fun time.

In fact, in the middle of it, Regis Philbin called up and he is saying, look at this, the Trumpster at the height of television. He's pushing me off the screen.

So it was a very funny, loose hour. And I could have no idea that, what, 12 years later, he'd be up on stage saying, who's going to build a wall and people would be shouting "Mexico." It's just a whole -- it's startling to me.

LEMON: Yes. And if you could say -- if you put the cover back up, you could see it was sort of -- was tongue-in-cheek because, look, he's wearing the gold chains, sort of the popular culture. And then again, it was titled, "What's It's Like to be Me."

You talked about more things that he would do as president that didn't make it to the interview, like what?

FUSSMAN: Well, I think a lot of it had to do with what he's saying now about like trade imbalances. And it was all business-related, where he thought that America was getting screwed by foreign countries.

And he wasn't going to let it happen anymore. It was -- it's the same sort of rhetoric you're getting now, only then it was more about two guys sitting and -- and just throwing ideas back and forth.

And now, it's serious.

LEMON: Yes. What do you say to him if you had the opportunity to -- to be face-to-face with him or talk to him over the phone or however, about using your article as proof that, you know, he was against the war when, you know, it was actually a year and a half after the war started, what would you say to him?

FUSSMAN: Well, here is the thing about it. I don't know exactly when Donald's thoughts crystallized and put him in a place where he's saying, I am against this war. So it's hard for me to know outside of what I heard in the Howard Stern interview, which what was on September 11, 2002.

It's -- it's hard for me to know when his mind made that switch, although I just saw on your timeline, you know, there were several interviews where he was saying different things. So I can see why he's clinging to that -- that story, which the interview took place in late spring 2004.

I can see why he's clinging to it. But it's impossible for me to know when those thoughts really started. So I could see why he's saying it.

And I can also see why even "Esquire" came out today and was saying that, you know, this nullifies those claims because he was saying other things beforehand.


FUSSMAN: It's -- it's -- I kind of get it from both sides and I -- it's hard for me to explain to you how, like, startling this thing is. If you were in the room with me in the spring of 2004 and hearing Regis over the speaker phone and this very convivial interview turning into parsing of sentences and dates, it's -- it's just hard for me to imagine how all this happened.


FUSSMAN: I'd like somebody to explain to me how did this happen?

LEMON: And you were the person who was involved -- who was involved in the interview.

Mark, so that's a good question. Mark, how -- how the heck did this happen?

PRESTON: How the heck do I know? I mean, listen, the bottom line is we don't know how and why Donald Trump makes decisions and how he goes back and forth. And look, we only have to look at his biggest policy issue, the one that propelled him really to win the Republican nomination or -- or certainly one of the major components that was building the wall with a big, beautiful door and sending home 11, you know, undocumented workers.

But hey, guess what, I'm going to change my mind on that. But you know, I didn't really change my mind on that. And look, just even the last week or so, we've seen him flip-flop back and forth on that issue.

So Donald Trump, you know, I do think that he's certainly a person and -- and perhaps this is the way that he has conducted himself, you know, throughout his life. But he seems to be a person that whatever he says, he believes himself.

And he kind of sticks to that. And he wants everyone else to follow suit. And I think that's what we've seen in this presidential campaign.

Perhaps, that's what we're seeing with this Iraq war vote. But Don, I would say this. I don't think he's going to back down off the Iraq war vote because he's trying to use that really as a wedge and -- and really a big political liability against Hillary Clinton, certainly in her judgment when it comes to foreign policy and making big, you know, decisions to the safety and security of the nation.

LEMON: Well, it -- it is important for both candidates. Facts do matter. And this one just does not weigh out in Donald Trump's favor with the timeline and with his own words.

Thank you, gentlemen. I appreciate it.

Cal, thank you very much. When we come right back, Trump refuses to change his tune on Iraq but what do voters think about all of this?


LEMON: Donald Trump visiting Cleveland today to talk about education but devoting an awful lot of his speech to talking about the war in Iraq. Here to discuss is CNN military analyst, Major General James "Spider" Marks.

He supports Hillary Clinton. Also former CIA counterterrorism analyst, Buck Sexton and Andre Bauer, former lieutenant governor of South Carolina. He supports Donald Trump.

Good evening to all of you. Thank you for joining us.

General Marks, you first.


LEMON: I want to talk about Donald Trump's false claims that he has been against the war from the start. He doubled down today. Listen.


TRUMP: Before the war, much closer to the war, I gave statements that we shouldn't go in and shortly thereafter, immediately thereafter, and honestly, a lot of reporters said, hey, right at the beginning, he made this statement. And that statement was a very major story in "Esquire" magazine.

So I just wanted to set the record straight. There is so much lying going on. And Hillary Clinton lied last night about numerous things, including her e-mail. But she also lied about this.


LEMON: General Marks, what's your take on this?

JAMES MARKS, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Yes, well, I -- I must say, there are a lot of people that are finding religion on the, you know, the legitimacy of the war in Iraq. My -- my concern is that this is just more of Mr. Trump's ability and proclivity to say what's on his mind and not to be supported by facts.

That -- that's what concerns me primarily. You know, Don, when I -- I watched with great interest his national security speech and frankly, he said all the right things. You know, the military needs to be stronger.

It needs to be larger, et cetera. However, what he said has been said hundreds of times before. This is a campaign promise. You really have to lead with -- with some real legitimacy and with trade-offs.


MARKS: I'm very interested in the trade-offs. And I very much want to hear what Hillary Clinton has to say on the very same subject. And I doubt it will be too dissimilar.


MARKS: So my -- my concern is he has this tendency and he needs to back away from it because he's going to be -- he's being called on it as a matter of routine.


Why do you think he's insisting, Buck, this?

BUCK SEXTON, FORMER COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST, CIA: Because he likes to double down on things. He doesn't like to change his mind once he's set it in one direction. Look, everything the general said has been fully (ph) fair and accurate.

I think this is the weakest moment in Trump's overall performance. I thought Hillary Clinton had some very weak moments as -- as well, most notably, the claim that somehow, if something isn't marked classified in a header that it's not classified.

This is like intelligence community. This is classification 101. She knows better than that. And she could have been pressing (ph) that claim as well.

Why is Donald Trump saying this? Because he finds it to be a useful talking point. Maybe he'll back away from it. But given what he's done in the past, this seems to be something that he's going to stay with.

He was a private citizen, however. And he can probably make the claim I think with a straight face that he didn't vote for the war. It doesn't really matter all that much.

And when he decided, as you had that guest on before who did the "Esquire" article, when he actually decided before or against the war is really anybody's guess.

LEMON: He's going to say it then if you're not -- you understand what I'm saying? If he's a private citizen, why --


SEXTON: He shouldn't say it. He shouldn't say it, Don.

LEMON: There you go. Why would he say it?

SEXTON: I wish he wouldn't.

LEMON: Andre, you said that you're not sure if it really matters what his position is, you know, because it should matter, don't you think, that he admits the truth?

BAUER: Well, I--

LEMON: Especially if he's going to keep calling Hillary Clinton up (ph) for her falses (ph) as well. She does have her own.

BAUER: Looking back, he was a private citizen with no intel briefings whatsoever. And when Howard Stern asked him that question, it wasn't unequivocally, yes, I think we ought to go to war.

It was like, well, I guess so. So he was (ph) a John Q (ph) citizen, no other information, talking about a total, you know, wide range of topics and this is one thing--

LEMON: Aren't you making a point against him because he didn't say either way. He didn't say, look, I'm completely against the war.

He goes, yes, if anything, you're making a point against him because he's saying, yes, I guess so. If he had said, I guess not, then I would understand your point.

But he's saying, I guess so. So in (ph) then some tacit way, he's saying, yes, I support the war.

BAUER: I think he was answering (ph) other questions.


SEXTON: --takeaway from a commander-in-chief forum, though, I mean--

LEMON: It's not the biggest takeaway but it's -- it is an important one because the whole point of it was that the moderator did not fact- check them on certain issues. This is one of them.

SEXTON: Right. I mean, well, the other one which I already brought up was Hillary's completely preposterous--


LEMON: We've discussed that, yes (ph).

SEXTON: Yes, but why does Trump do these things? I don't think anybody has a particularly good answer. But I also think people don't really -- a lot of people -- certainly, Trump supporters and I think a lot of independents, too, don't really care.

Hillary Clinton was a sitting U.S. senator who voted for the authorization to go to war in Iraq. That's a much more momentous and important thing.

And now, she says she was wrong. She did (ph) say that.

LEMON: That's why we're discussing it.

SEXTON: No, no, I get that, yes. I'm just saying that, you know, for Donald Trump, this is like on a list of the things that he says that are tough to defend. I mean, this is pretty low in terms of level force (ph).

LEMON: But do you -- don't you understand that every single time--

MARKS: You know, Don, next (ph)--

LEMON: --hold on -- hold on, General -- every single time, to the general's point that he made at first, that Donald Trump can say things that are not true and people continue to gloss over, he says so many things, if you look at the fact checks, that are not true. And then every -- every single time, someone like you will come on the air and say, well, it doesn't matter.

That's not the most important thing. Well, this thing doesn't matter. This thing doesn't matter (ph).


SEXTON: Well, Hillary lies a lot, too so--

LEMON: No, not as much. If you look at fact checks--

SEXTON: I mean, we're getting--


LEMON: --if you look at fact checks, Hillary Clinton lies a lot less.

BAUER: Well, she's been gone for so long, nobody can ask her a question to catch (ph) her lie (ph).


BAUER: That's why she's disappeared.


SEXTON: I think the bar -- the bar has been set very low in this election.


Go ahead, General.

MARKS: Let me -- let me -- Don, yes, let me jump in if I can just for a second. The issue is is that we probably shouldn't be talking about this.

Donald Trump has offered up enough falsehoods and -- and has thrown not only bromides but a fit (ph) as a matter of routine. And we -- we should talk about those things that really matter.

His statement about Putin is totally -- is totally out of bounds. You know, Putin talked well about me. So I'm going to talk well about him.

What is this, high school? That's absolutely crazy talk. He also talked about dumping the generals. First of all, you (ph) -- I guess, if he is the commander-in-chief, he can do that (ph)--


LEMON: General, can I play that for you -- can I play a part of that when he talks about the -- the -- the generals and being rubble? Listen to this.


TRUMP: Rubble, rubble -- reduced to rubble. I think under the leadership of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, the generals have been reduced to rubble. They have been reduced to a point where it's embarrassing for our country.


LEMON: Go ahead, General. I just wanted to get that in so the audience can hear (ph) it.

MARKS: Yes. Well, this isn't about me. But let me tell you, I -- I take that personally. I was one of those guys. I don't think at any point I was reduced to rubble.

And I think the leadership we have today and the military that we have today is unmatched in our history. The leaders are the finest. The troops are the finest.

And the kit is the finest. Don't talk to me about the number of troops we need to have or the number of ships, or the number of airplanes. That is a non sequitur.

What we're looking at is our military is a capabilities-based military. Talk to me, Mr. President -- potential president, at the policy level.

From that, I can derive strategy and tactics and what the force structure needs to look like. Don't come up front and say I need x number of ships. I need x -- x number of airplanes and, oh, by the way, it's the smallest since, you know, before World War II.

That's a false comparison. Let's talk about what we are trying to achieve at the policy level. I want predictability from a president. And then we could figure out all that.

We, the leadership and the military and the national security staff can figure out all that stuff.


MARKS: I want calmness. I want measured approaches. I want our allies to be emboldened and our enemies to take a heck of a lot of pause.

And, frankly, I want them scared because they are -- they, our enemies, are concerned about what this president has said he's going to do with clarity and with purpose. That's what we need. You don't need a president to be unpredictable (ph).

LEMON: I have to wrap it up. If you can do it quickly -- if you can do it quickly in five seconds.

SEXTON: Sure. Five seconds is really quick. You know, everything the general said is true. I think that Trump really mostly misspoke there.

I think what he meant is that the generals' opinions have been reduced to rubble in terms of the way this administration treats them. I don't think he was trying to defame our generals.

LEMON: I have to go. But don't you understand that every single time, whether it's Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, that every single surrogate for either of them comes on and says, oh, that doesn't matter. It's not true.

SEXTON: I already told you, Trump shouldn't say the first thing.

LEMON: Well, all of the things.

SEXTON: Everyone says it's not important. No one thinks (ph)--

LEMON: All of the care (ph) -- everyone should care about every single untruth that--


SEXTON: And yet, here I am. And I haven't had a single chance to talk about anything Hillary said, the entire thing. Isn't that so strange. It's bizarre to me.


LEMON: That's not bizarre because we've talked a lot about--

SEXTON: It makes me sad -- it makes me sad -- it makes me sad--

LEMON: Maybe we have you here just to talk about Donald Trump. And there are other people--

SEXTON: Maybe I'm just drunk tonight.


LEMON: --maybe there are other people who would come on and talk about Hillary Clinton.

MARKS: It makes me sad. Did I share that?

SEXTON: Makes me sad on the inside, General. Thank you for your service, though, sir.

LEMON: Yes, yes. Thank you. Appreciate it.

MARKS: My honor (ph).

LEMON: When we come right back, the libertarian candidate is in the spotlight tonight for all the wrong reasons.


LEMON: Rudy Giuliani says Donald Trump now believes President Barack Obama was born in the U.S. Here to discuss, John Phillips, TalkRadio host with KABC in Los Angeles. He is a Trump supporter.

Also Andy Dean, a former president of Trump productions, CNN policy commentator Bakari Sellers, a Hillary Clinton supporter, and democratic strategist Maria Cardona, also a Hillary Clinton supporter.

So a former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani in a heated exchange with Chris Matthews on MSNBC now saying that Donald Trump believes President Obama was born in the U.S. Take a look.


CHRIS MATTHEWS, TELEVISION HOST, MSNBC: A couple of his people, including his vice presidential running mate, Mike Pence, the governor of Indiana, and of course, Dr. Ben Carson, have both come out in the last days, hours practically, and said, they believe that President Obama is a legitimately elected president of the United States. In other words, he was born in the United States. Do you confirm that? Do you agree with that?

RUDY GIULIANI (R), FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY: I confirm that and Donald Trump now -- now confirms that. You know, Hillary Clinton campaigned--

MATTHEWS: When did he do that? When did he do that?

GIULIANI: --Hillary -- he did that--

MATTHEWS: When did he do that? GIULIANI: --two years ago -- two years ago, three years ago.

MATTHEWS: When did he -- he has now accepted that birtherism was nonsense?

GIULIANI: Look, Hillary Clinton's campaign--

MATTHEWS: When did he do that?

GIULIANI: Chris, Hillary Clinton's campaign--


MATTHEWS: He did not do that yet. I am waiting for him to do it.

GIULIANI: --Hillary -- Hillary Clinton's campaign was the first to bring up the fact that there was a question--

MATTHEWS: Where did they do that? Where did they do that?

GIULIANI: Donald Trump has said that three, four, five years ago.


MATTHEWS: Give me the example when they (ph) did that. You just said that Hillary Clinton accused the -- has Hillary Clinton ever accused the president of being foreign-born ever?

GIULIANI: Her campaign -- her campaign did that in the primary. That's what -- that's what (ph)--


MATTHEWS: Her campaign -- Hillary for president campaign did this?

GIULIANI: Yes, OK, well, you're responsible for your campaign (ph)--


MATTHEWS: No, it didn't. There is no evidence the Hillary campaign--

GIULIANI: --I was always responsible for (ph) my campaign--


MATTHEWS: I want to know whether you believe that your candidate for president believes he would succeed a legitimate president or not?

GIULIANI: Yes. He believes--

MATTHEWS: Does he believe he would succeed a legitimate president?

GIULIANI: Donald Trump believes now that he was born in the United States. But that issue was raised originally--

MATTHEWS: Once you get excited (ph)-- GIULIANI: --that issue was raised originally by Hillary Clinton's campaign.


MATTHEWS: When is he going to say that this president is will legitimate? This is a fundamental question, Mr. Mayor. Is the president of the United States legitimate or not?

GIULIANI: He believes that he--

MATTHEWS: Do you believe it? If you believe it, why doesn't your candidate state it?


GIULIANI: I believe it. He believes it. We all believe it. But it took a long time to get it out. And the first one--


MATTHEWS: He does? Are you speaking for him now? Are you speaking for -- are you speaking for Donald Trump tonight on live television? Are you saying for him, I'm saying he's about to buckle and say finally that Barack Obama is a legitimate president of the United States?


GIULIANI: He's not about to buckle. He is the one who got him to finally produce the birth certificate. Hillary Clinton's campaign first raised this issue.


GIULIANI: He picked this up from Hillary Clinton when she was viciously attacking him.


MATTHEWS: He -- he has subsequently said he does not accept that as the final word.

GIULIANI: He -- he--

MATTHEWS: OK, can you commit to your candidate saying within the next 24 hours that President Obama is a legitimate president? Can you send (ph) it for him, that he will say that?


GIULIANI: He has said it already. If you go back (ph) and look -- he has said it already. And -- and the fact is--

MATTHEWS: No, he hasn't.

GIULIANI: That is an issue that was originally introduced by Hillary--


MATTHEWS: You're wrong on the fact here, Mr. Mayor.

GIULIANI: Well, every once in a while I am, but I think he did.



LEMON: Andy, does Donald -- that was very interesting. Does Donald Trump now believe President Obama was born in the U.S.?

ANDY DEAN, FORMER PRESIDENT, TRUMP PRODUCTIONS: By the way, it's rough watching MSNBC, even -- even while we're on CNN. That is just brutal.

But I will tell you this, Don, is that Donald Trump was the only one that was able to get Barack Obama to produce (ph) his birth certificate (ph)--


LEMON: Andy, can you just please answer my question and then you can extrapolate, expound, expand and do whatever you want?


DEAN: Yes, I think we all -- yes, oh, no, OK, I will. I will.


LEMON: Does Donald Trump now believe that--

DEAN: Yes, yes.

LEMON: --he does, OK, OK. Go on.

DEAN: Yes, OK. So Donald Trump was the only one that got him to produce a lawful (ph) birth certificate, which shows his negotiating power. But this is not about--


LEMON: Hold on but hang on. Let's do point-by-point.

DEAN: --hold on.

LEMON: No, no, no. Andy, it's going to be you (ph), now just for a moment. Let's do point-by-point. Why, then, was it necessary -- why are you thinking that that is some sort of point, you know, that you win points for getting someone to produce their birth certificate when he was wrong about getting -- having him to produce it anyway? Why is that--


DEAN: Well, there -- there -- there were -- there were questions. And remember, he was born right around the time where Hawaii even became a state. So there was a question about that.

There was a question -- look, I'm just telling you the reality. But you guys make it seem like this is an anti-Obama thing or a racial thing. He did the exact same thing that he should have done--


LEMON: No one said -- no one said race. I just asked you a question.


DEAN: Hold on. Hold on. But that's the underlying thing. We're not dumb here, OK?

LEMON: No, I -- I never said that. I just asked you a simple question.


DEAN: But that's a lot of the birther stuff. That's a lot of the birther stuff. They make it into a race thing. Look, Ted Cruz, who was born in Calgary, Canada -- Trump was harder on Ted Cruz than he ever was on Barack Obama's birth certificate. And Ted Cruz is a white guy from Texas who's a Canadian.


LEMON: Perhaps because Ted Cruz said -- admitted that he was born in Canada and it was known that he was born in Canada.

CARDONA: Yes, exactly.

LEMON: President Barack Obama had said--


DEAN: That -- that could've been disqualifying -- it should have been disqualifying.

LEMON: --President Barack Obama said all along that he was born in Hawaii and that he was actually not born in Kenya.

DEAN: So correct. We just wanted to see the long-form birth certificate. Trump got it. End of story.

LEMON: Because what?

DEAN: He's an American. We all know that. He's Hawaiian.


DEAN: And an (ph) American. LEMON: And -- and by the way, I -- I do have to say, Bakari, I'm

going to let you jump in here, I do have to say that it has been fact-checked over and over and over and over again. The Hillary Clinton campaign did not start birtherism.

It may have been started by supporters of hers through an e-mail but there is no official evidence anywhere that Hillary Clinton had anything to do with birtherism. She has spoken out about that as well and said that she believes that the president was born in the United States. Bakari--

DEAN: We all believe he's an American who was born here.

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: But I just -- I mean, and just to -- to kind of piggy-back on what Andy was saying, just last year, Donald Trump actually sent out a tweet and then again stated it that he didn't even feel as if the birth certificate was real.


SELLERS: And so whatever Andy is saying about the fact that he got him to show his long-form birth certificate or whatever, it actually doesn't even hold water when you realize that Donald Trump is still a man who said that his birth certificate doesn't even appear to be real. The frustrating part for me is that usually, I parse my words and try to be so politically correct.

But on this issue, Donald Trump is just plainly a coward. What he attempted to do and what he's done in his own eyes and his supporters' eyes is de-legitimatize the first African-American president we've had in the United States of America.

And for me to see him de-legitimize the first African-American president and then attempt to go and -- and woo black voters, it just doesn't jive very well. Excuse me.

DEAN: That's not fair.

SELLERS: And it's just -- it's -- it's very, very difficult for me to sit here and have someone who's running for president of the United States just exude so much cowardice when it comes to the de- legitimatization of the first African-American president of the United States. And I hope that in the next 24 hours -- Rudy Giuliani is just flat out lying.

Donald Trump has never refuted his birtherism.


SELLERS: He's never stood up and said that Barack Obama is an American citizen. And the fact that we have to have this argument in 2016 is -- is disappointing.

LEMON: Let me -- John, I want to ask you this, to Bakari's point, do you think that since he's now trying -- he's courting the -- the black voters, do you think you'll see Donald Trump come out and say what Rudy Giuliani said, that he does believe President Obama was born in the U.S.?

JOHN PHILLIPS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it's one of the things that I'm envious of President Obama over being born in Hawaii. Look, I think this is on virtually nobody's mind except for maybe Chris Matthews here. He knows (ph)--


CARDONA: That's not true.

SELLERS: It's on every -- every (ph) black voter's mind.

PHILLIPS: Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. He did the same exact thing in the Republican primary with Ted Cruz, right?


LEMON: Hey, John, hold on -- John and Bakari, hold on, hold on.

PHILLIPS: Is that true or is that not true?

LEMON: John -- John, you're doing the same thing when you say voters don't care that Donald Trump is lying or voters don't care that Hillary Clinton is lying. Voters don't care about taxes.

You're doing the same thing.

PHILLIPS: No, no, no.

LEMON: Voters do actually care, especially African-American voters about the birther issue.

PHILLIPS: there are polls that rank the issues of -- of importance among voters. This is not in the top five.


LEMON: Well, it is important when you're -- when you're courting voters (ph).

SELLERS: John, John, why don't you call--


PHILLIPS: Now, but listen, he did the same thing in the Republican primary with Ted Cruz, did he not?


SELLERS: No, but you have two black voters -- no, but you have two black voters right here with you, John. You have two black voters right here, me and Don. Let's poll it.


SELLERS: Does it matter? It matters to me. It matters to Don. PHILLIPS: OK.

SELLERS: So you're outnumbered and I'll go (ph) again.

PHILLIPS: Did he do it in the primary to Ted Cruz, yes or no?

CARDONA: It's not the same thing, John, because we--

PHILLIPS: Did he do it in the primary to Ted Cruz? Could somebody answer my question?


CARDONA: --no, we actually know that Ted Cruz was not born in this country. It is absolutely not the same thing. Ted Cruz was not born in this country. And -- and so he was accusing--

PHILLIPS: OK, so he's getting in their heads. That's what he does.

CARDONA: --no, he was accusing President Obama of not being a legitimate American citizen and therefore, delegitimizing his presidency. It is absolutely not the same thing that he did with Ted Cruz.

LEMON: He was saying because Ted Cruz was born in Canada--


LEMON: --that there is proof whether -- whether he could be president--


PHILLIPS: Yes, he was questioning the ability--

CARDONA: It's not the same thing at all.

LEMON: --not that he was born in this country.

PHILLIPS: That's what he does. He gets in people's heads.

CARDONA: Oh, this is more than getting in people's heads. This is actually, I think, now backfiring with him and clearly, we have seen the -- the -- the polls with African-American voters--

LEMON: Let me -- let me rephrase the -- the question then. Do you think that because he wants the black vote and because African- Americans, whether you think it's a big issue or not, because African- Americans think it is a big issue, it is at the top of their minds -- it may not be the -- the number one issue, jobs like everybody else, supporting your family and health care, all of that, that's at the top, but it is somewhere along the lines.

And it may stop them from supporting Donald Trump. Should he talk about this and apologize for being wrong on this issue, for his actions on this issue? PHILLIPS: Well, I -- I don't know why he's doing it. I've never

believed in this conspiracy theory. I believe it is a conspiracy theory.

I think it's been very clear from long ago that President Obama was born in Hawaii. If you look at the polls, yes, he's doing poorly among African-American voters right now.

But he's doing better in recent polls than Mitt Romney or John McCain did in 2008 or 2012. But if you want to know why he's doing it now, you'll have to ask him.

LEMON: That's not true. He's not doing better than those. But anyway, we'll discuss. We'll be right back.

PHILLIPS: It is in the CNN poll.

LEMON: All right, we'll be right back.


LEMON: And we're back with this very dull panel. I want to talk to you guys. This is about -- let's talk about Gary Johnson, the libertarian candidate this morning. Look at this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What would you do if you were elected about Aleppo?



JOHNSON: And what is Aleppo?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're kidding?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Aleppo is in Syria. It's the -- it's the epicenter of the refugee crisis.

JOHNSON: OK, got it, got it.


JOHNSON: Well, with regard to Syria, I do think that it's a mess.


LEMON: Is this disqualifying as a presidential nominee?

Bakari, you first.

SELLERS: No, I mean, it's not disqualifying. You forget that Donald Trump didn't even understand that Russia had annexed Crimea or what the nuclear triad was. So I think that would be disqualifying as well.

But I am quite disappointed of Gary Johnson because I'm a huge proponent of the decriminalization of marijuana, not quite the legalization, but the decriminalization thereof. And I think he's set that movement back just years.

I heard Lindsey Graham say it earlier but he said back years, if not decades by his statement today and not proving that he could kind of show up when he needed to.

LEMON: John, do you think that this is disqualifying? Sorry, Maria. Go ahead (ph).

PHILLIPS: Well, we've spent so much time talking about birth certificates. I'm a birther on Gary Johnson. I want to see his birth certificate because I think on the birth certificate, it will say none of the above as his actual name because let's be honest, that's the role that he's playing in this campaign.

He's not a viable candidate. He doesn't have a chance (ph)--


LEMON: No, but the answer to my question is do you think it's disqualifying? It's a big enough gap (ph)?

PHILLIPS: No, because, look, if you were to -- if Jimmy Kimmel were to ask that question to people of Hollywood and Ireland, maybe one out of a hundred would get it. The reason why misspelling potato (ph)--


LEMON: They're not running for president.

PHILLIPS: --well, the reason why misspelling potato was so damaging to Dan Quayle because everyone can do it. I don't think people will hold this against him as a disqualifying sort of moment.

I think he's there because he's occupying the real estate of none of the above because of the negatives of vote of Trump and Hillary are so high.

LEMON: OK, Maria, sorry to interrupt. Go ahead.

CARDONA: So I don't think it's disqualifying because as Bakari said, and I was just mentioning this to you, Don, Donald Trump has had those moments as well. And, yes, they are embarrassing.

And yes, they underscore why some of these candidates actually don't have the experience and don't have the knowledge to be commander-in- chief. But I have to say I admire Gary Johnson for doing one thing -- for owning it and for saying, yes, he should have been more prepared.

He apologized. He should have known this. He owned it. and he moved forward (ph).

LEMON: He did that. Watch. This is him on "The View."


JOHNSON: No excuse. I was thinking in terms of acronym, Aleppo. That's no excuse whatsoever.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's a disqualifying statement frankly.

JOHNSON: Fair enough. I will say that it is a process. And I respect the process. And for those that believe this is a disqualifier, so be it.


LEMON: I never heard a candidate say that. That's -- that's pretty big of him.


PHILLIPS: Yes, it's (ph) likability.


CARDONA: Well, I think it's--

LEMON: Well, that's honesty. I mean, that's a big -- it's (ph) a big person that make a wrong (ph) and apologize.

CARDONA: Especially when you contrast it with somebody like Donald Trump who has never in his life apologized for anything and probably never will.

PHILLIPS: Well, especially when he's short-circuited, right?

DEAN: Don, you can tell by the way that Gary Johnson is actually lying about the acronym part because if you watch that MSNBC clip over again, and he says, well, what is Aleppo, and then the gentleman says it's in Syria, if you look at the wide shot, he's still not sure what's going on. So he didn't think it was an acronym.

He just didn't know Aleppo was in Syria. And then the commentator explains a little bit more that it's the epicenter of the refugee crisis.

And then he's like, OK, now I should talk about Syria. But if you watch that clip again, he did not know -- it's very clear -- that Aleppo was in Syria, which is reinforces the fact that he's an isolationist and he's not ready on foreign policy issues.

CARDONA: Now, Donald Trump didn't know who the leader of Hezbollah was.

SELLERS: Who are you -- who are you -- who are you defining? Are you defining Gary Johnson or Donald Trump? CARDONA: Yes, exactly. I wouldn't go there if I were you, Andy.

DEAN: Gary Johnson -- Gary Johnson -- his biggest enemy sadly and he's actually an interesting guy, he's climbed Mt. Everest. But he lacks charisma. He lacks the knowledge.

But his biggest problem is--


CARDONA: So does your candidate.

DEAN: --he is a pure isolationist.


DEAN: Donald Trump's got tons of charisma and tons of energy and that's why the American public loves him.

CARDONA: Not a whole lot of knowledge, though, let's say (ph) when it comes to foreign policy.

LEMON: I do have to say -- I do have to say that people were--


DEAN: And he's a billionaire -- multibillionaire.

LEMON: --people were pretty surprised that he did own it and said, you know what, I'm sorry. I screwed up. And that's--

CARDONA: Absolutely.

LEMON: --in this political, you know, climate right now--

CARDONA: That's a rarity.

LEMON: --very big event. But it doesn't (ph)--


DEAN: But Rick Perry owned -- remember, but Rick Perry owned his massive error by saying--

LEMON: Look, I'm not saying he's going to win. I'm not saying--

DEAN: --but it reinforced.

LEMON: --I'm not saying he's going to win. I didn't -- not to say that but for someone to be on that, on the stage, finally gaining some traction and to go on national television and say, you know what, I screwed up, I'm sorry, I was wrong, that's pretty big of him. That's all I have to say.

I don't see candidates doing that. I rarely, rarely if ever see candidates do that, especially in this-- (CROSSTALK)

CARDONA: Very refreshing.

PHILLIPS: Gary Johnson is still--

LEMON: We're going to talk about -- about disease. We'll be right back.


LEMON: Libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson has made the question "what is Aleppo" infamous. But he is far from the first presidential candidate to be publicly embarrassed by being stumped (ph).

CNN's Jeanne Moos has the cringe-worthy classics.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We dare you to try and look away even if you've seen it 10 times already.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What would you do if you were elected about Aleppo?

JOHNSON: And what is Aleppo?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're kidding?


MOOS: The exchange instantly gave birth to #whatisaleppo, granted 11 out of 14 people we asked on the street--

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's Aleppo? Just (ph) I wouldn't know.

MOOS: Couldn't identify the Syrian city at the epicenter of the refugee crisis.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have no idea.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know. But I know the libertarian candidate got it wrong and I don't know either.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One of those animals?


MOOS: Speaking of animals, someone tweeted, "Donald trump probably wouldn't know the difference between Aleppo and Alpo." But when you're criticizing someone for screwing up, you better be sure you don't screw up yourself.

A former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq called libertarian Johnson "Aleppo Johnson,"| then proceeded to mischaracterize Aleppo.


MOOS: Actually, the ISIS capital is Raqqah, not Aleppo. "The New York Times" made the same mistake and printed a correction, then a correction to the correction. Candidates hate what they consider to be got-you questions.

Well, then-Governor Bush gave as good as he got-you.

BUSH: Can you name the president of Chechnya?


MOOS: But what happened to Johnson wasn't a got-you. It was more like what happened to Sarah Palin.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you agree with the Bush doctrine?

PALIN: In what respect, Charlie?

MOOS: And when Herman Cain was asked if he agreed with President Obama on Libya--

CAIN: OK, Libya--

MOOS: The silence was deafening.

CAIN: Got all the stuff twirling around in my head.

MOOS: What wasn't twirling in Rick Perry's head was the third department he would eliminate.

PERRY: What's the third one there? Let's see.

MOOS: Gary Johnson said he first thought Aleppo was an acronym. "I blanked. Trying to guess could be worse."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Would it be a disease?

MOOS: One tweet framed Johnson's gaffe as if it were "Jeopardy," a three-word sentence meaning end of campaign. Johnson, what is Aleppo? Trebek (ph) sighing, that is correct, Gary.

Jeanne Moos, CNN.

JOHNSON: And what is Aleppo?



LEMON: Only Jeanne. That's it for us tonight. Thanks for watching. I'll see you right back here tomorrow.