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EARLY START

Trump Campaign: Obama Born in U.S.; Clinton Blasting Trump's Minority Outreach; Jets Versus Bills: Twitter Bowl I. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired September 16, 2016 - 05:00   ET

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


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: So, you know, this is what a globalized North American market looks like.

[05:00:01] And Trump is dead wrong, according to Ford.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I think it's so interesting. As you pointed out, it takes a company now to fact check a presidential candidate.

EARLY START continues right now.

(MUSIC)

HOWELL: Breaking overnight. A big admission from the Trump campaign saying once and for all, President Barack Obama was born in the USA, but it came hours after Trump once again refused to concede that fact. What will Donald Trump say today at RNC headquarters? We'll find out.

ROMANS: In the meantime, Hillary Clinton back on the campaign trail after her brush with pneumonia. Why she says the time off was useful and now what she will do to stop the slide in the polls.

Good morning, everyone. Welcome to EARLY START. It's Friday morning. I'm Christine Romans.

HOWELL: And I'm George Howell. It is Friday, September 16th, 5:00 a.m. in the East.

And breaking overnight, Donald Trump's campaign says for the first time unequivocally that Trump believes President Barack Obama was born in the United States. This would be a major reversal for the candidate who rode the birther controversy to political prominence starting five years ago.

Just yesterday, Trump told "The Washington Post", quote, "I'll answer that question at the right time. I just don't want to answer it yet." Then, hours later, Trump' campaign was crediting him for ending the controversy years ago, while also blaming Hillary Clinton for bringing it up, there's question about that during the 2008 primary race.

A Trump campaign statement says, quote, "In 2011, Mr. Trump was finally able to bring this ugly incident to its conclusion by successfully compelling President Obama to release his birth certificate. Mr. Trump did a great service to the president and the country by bringing closure to the issue that Hillary Clinton and her team first raised."

Now there are two noteworthy things about that statement. First, it's just factually incorrect, untrue that Hillary Clinton raised doubts about whether Barack Obama was born in Hawaii. That never happened. Second, the statement came from the campaign, not from Donald Trump himself.

So, what will we hear from Trump later this morning? Will he actually say those words himself with an upcoming visit to the Republican headquarters later today? That is the question. But as for Hillary Clinton, she back on the campaign trail trying to stop the back slide she experienced in the polls while sidelined with pneumonia.

CNN's Brianna Keilar has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christine and George.

A spokesman for the Trump campaign released a statement that says, in part, "Having successfully obtained President Obama's birth certificate when others could not, Mr. Trump believes that President Obama was born in the United States."

Now, this is something that we have heard from top campaign officials before. We have not heard this from Donald Trump himself. And the statement we're not. This is a spokesman.

For years, of course, Donald Trump has either openly questioned President Obama's birth place or his dodged when asked to give a definitive answer on the topic. So, that's what we'll be waiting for. Does the candidate repeat what his campaign is saying?

And the timing here is significant. This statement from a spokesman came just hours after Trump's comments to "The Washington Post" were published. "The Post" asked him if Obama was born in the U.S. and he said, "I'll answer that question at the right time. I just don't want to answer it yet." And still, he has not.

Hillary Clinton then jumped on what he said. She said this while addressing the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute at their annual gala.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Today, he did it again. He was asked one more time, where was President Obama born? And he still wouldn't say Hawaii. He still wouldn't say America. This man wants to be our next president? When will he stop this ugliness? This bigotry?

KEILAR: This playing out as Trump is making a play for African- American voters or some see at least a play for voters who turned off by what they believe is a very belated and thus far ineffective attempt to reach out to the black community. This is a key Democratic voting bloc.

Hillary Clinton has been losing some ground here, not to Donald Trump but to third party candidates. And so, she was very quick to seize on Trump's misstep with this constituency. These birther comments, yes, particularly off-putting to black voters because they're seen as an effort to delegitimize the first African-American president.

But also, she seized on Donald Trump insulting the pastor of a black church in Flint, Michigan, who he called a nervous mess the day after she pretty calmly and briefly interrupted his address to her congregation once he started criticizing Hillary Clinton. She asked him, saying basically as they have previously agreed to keep his comments apolitical -- George and Christine.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS: All right. Brianna, thank you.

All this coming after Trump unveiled some new details to his economic plan, made some very bold optimistic predictions, claiming his proposals could return America to the big growth days of the 1990s.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: In working with my economic team, we put together a plan that puts us on track to achieve that goal. Over the next ten years, our economic team estimates that under our plan, the economy will average 3.5 percent growth and create a total of 25 million new jobs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: He said his advisers want him to say 3.5 percent growth. But he thinks it will be 4 percent growth, maybe even much larger is attainable.

That hasn't happened since Bill Clinton was in office. You have to go back to the Clinton years to see that. Take a look at here.

The economy last had a 4 percent growth rate in 2000. That was fueled by that huge technology revolution. Remember? I mean, companies are starting to put a computer on every desk. There was the Internet, you know?

Suddenly, around the world, companies and businesses could talk to one another.

There's also two recessions in there. You can see one under George W. Bush. Of course, the great recession was started in 2007, lasted until the summer of 2009.

As for the job market, Trump says he can create 25 million jobs over 10 years. You know, President Obama has created 9.7 million or at least in his eight years, there had 9.7 million jobs created, that was after a brutal start to the recession. Donald Trump says this is the slowest recovery since the Great

Depression. That is true. Fact check, true. That is because the economy was coming out of the worst economic downturn since the '20 and '30s. It was no guardian variety recession here.

So, how is Trump planning to reach 3.5 percent growth and adding 25 million jobs? He says he will unleash opportunity. He's going to cut taxes for all Americans and businesses. He's going to remove destructive regulations he says. He's going to up energy production. It's already at a record high, domestic energy production.

He's going to slash all the old trade deals and make new ones in favor of U.S. companies. All that sounds great, but, you know, no president can walk in the White House and flip a switch in huge growth and millions of new jobs. There's plenty of skepticism this morning about whether this works off paper at all. He will take time to get the programs established and he has to pass it through Congress, of course, which could prove difficult.

I'm reading all this analysis about the 25 million new jobs. Some of the economists are saying, George, because of the aging of the American work force, to really have 25 million new jobs, you might have to increase immigration dramatically to bring in workers for that. You might actually have to raise the retirement age. Two kinds of things you have to do to have a labor market to grow like that to have 25 million new jobs. It is interesting when you look at some of those details.

HOWELL: Especially with immigration, which will be countered to Trump's --

ROMANS: It would be counter to Trump's, yes, plan.

HOWELL: Yes.

We're just scratching the surface when it comes to politics, all the headlines. How does it impact the 2016 race?

And Donald Trump on "The Tonight Show." The media master there, what did he have to say?

All that and more, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:12:09] HOWELL: Fair to say, a packed day in politics. Donald Trump's first refusing to say President Obama was not born in the United States, only to have his campaign reverse that, and now hours later, Trump also ditching his travel press and bragging about it.

A lot to talk about. Let's bring in CNN politics reporter Tal Kopan live in Washington and our senior media correspondent, Brian Stelter, host of CNN's "RELIABLE SOURCES' right here on set with us.

Good morning to both of you.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Good morning.

HOWELL: Brian, let's start talking about the birther issue. That is front and center.

The Trump campaign putting out a statement about how Donald Trump basically solved the problem, an issue that he says, you know, Hillary Clinton created, we can talk about that in a moment. But here's the statement, "In 2011, Mr. Trump was finally able to bring this ugly incident to its conclusion by successfully compelling President Obama to release his birth certificate. Mr. Trump did a great service to the president and the country by bringing closure to the issue that Hillary Clinton and her team first raised."

Brian, first of all, that is factually inaccurate.

STELTER: The fact-checkers have been clear that Clinton herself never raised this issue of birtherism. Yes, there are some of her supporters who did raise questions Obama's citizenship, forwarding along those kind of crazy email chains we used to see. But, no, Clinton never tied to it.

I think Trump is trying to have it both ways here. He is trying to signal to his base, to his supporters who believe Trump is illegitimate, is not actually American. That he's with them, and he's been signaling that for many years, by raising this issue, tweeting about it, talking about conspiratorially about it.

Now, lately, when we ask him about it, he says he doesn't talk about it anymore. So, he's signaling to his base that he believes this theory. At the same time, his campaign aides and spokesperson for the campaign says he does believe Obama is an American citizen. So, he is trying to appeal to moderates, appeal to Republican establishment types.

I really think Trump is trying to have it both ways.

ROMANS: You know, Tal, for the campaign, for the Democrats here, they are seizing on this moment, and saying, you know, look, we need to hear it from Trump's mouth. Otherwise, he is playing both sides.

TAL KOPAN, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Absolutely. Like Brian said, you know, it is transparent he is trying to appeal to birtherism and not abandon them and then try to have as well appeal to moderates. And, you know, throughout the campaign, we have seen Trump go against surrogates time and time again. He has made it clear that the only person who speaks for Trump is Trump.

So, for him to say it is satisfactory put out a statement communications director and not him and make it stand doesn't hold up. He will have to keep answering this question and the press should and will continue to ask him until he says one way or another what he believes on this issue. He will not get away with just continuing to say, well, something was off or, you know, I don't talk about that anymore.

[05:15:00] HOWELL: And it will be interesting to see. I mean, the pressure is on now to see what he has to say at RNC headquarters. Will he say those words?

Tal, in the meantime, Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail coming out to the song "I Feel Good." But also seizing on the fact of the birther issue is front and center.

KOPAN: Yes. Well, absolutely. You know, she recognizes that if she is going to beat Donald Trump, she needs to seize on the issues that are most resonant with the American people. She has been using this birtherism to illustrate the broader point where she claims Donald Trump appeals to racist supporters, that he's embraced the alt-right. That campaign clearly believes that it's one of their more effective messaging strategies.

And so, for her, birtherism is a part of that and continue to raise the forefront to counteract what Donald Trump has done in the past few weeks to appeal to African-American communities. So, if she wants to keep that advantage, she has to keep bringing that issue up.

ROMANS: Brian, I want to talk about something Donald Trump joked about. At the New Hampshire rally about the press. The press caught at Teterboro in their charter plane. They were a half an hour behind Donald Trump and he loved it. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I have really good news for you. I just heard that the press is stuck on their airplane. They can't get here. I love it.

So, they're trying to get here now. They're going to be about 30 minutes late. They called us and said, "Could you wait?" I said, "Absolutely not. Let's get going." Right?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STELTER: This was -- this is a new low in the torture relationship with Trump and traveling press corps. There were still cameras there and that's what Trump cared about. He wanted to be on television and he was able to be.

But the 20 members of the press that follow him around everywhere, from CNN and many other news outlets, they were stranded on the plane and on the bus, they were unable to get there in time.

One reporter said to me, this is the latest example of Trump disrespecting our role as media members. This person said this was disregard for past precedent with traveling press corps. There is a plane. Clinton has one now. The press is in the back of the plane. She's in the front.

But Trump travels by himself and the press has to basically keep up with him. This was an example of Trump not wanting to wait, not going with the norms but instead playing to his audience and celebrating the fact the media wasn't there.

ROMANS: All right, Brian Stelter.

HOWELL: Thank you, Brian.

ROMANS: Lots to go through. Tal, thank you. Talk to you soon. Take a break. Come back in a minute.

Ryan Fitzpatrick letting out a year's of frustration on the Buffalo Bills. Andy Scholes stops by with this morning's "Bleacher Report". That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:22:11] ROMANS: The Jets and Bills squaring off last night in the first ever game broadcast live on Twitter.

HOWELL: Andy Scholes is live this morning with the "Bleacher Report".

Andy, good morning.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, good morning, guys.

You know, it is good to pop open your phone and open up Twitter and the game was right there for you to watch. And, you know what, Jets fans had plenty of opportunities to send out happy tweets last night about the game.

Ryan Fitzpatrick had the night's bounce back performance, going for 374 yards. This touchdown to Eric Decker. Matt Forte, Jet's running back, also made fantasy owners happy, rushing for 100 yards and 3 touchdowns. Jets winning 37-31 over the Bills.

All right. This game is the reason I got two hours of sleep. My sixth rank Houston Cougars playing at Cincinnati last night. They were down 16-12 in the fourth before scoring 28 unanswered to blowout the Bearcats. Houston defense got two pick sixes in the span of 30 seconds. The Cougars win this one 40-16. An easy schedule the rest of the way, they could easily go undefeated this season.

Big Papi continuing to make history. Papi crushing a solo home run in the eighth last night. And with it, he passed Mickey Mantle for 16th on the all-time run list. They gave up five runs in the bottom of the ninth. Final three on the walk-off homer. Red Sox win 7-5. Yankees three games back for the wild card spot.

Cubs, they may have lost, but they celebrated the first division title because Cardinals lost. So, the Cubs are headed to the post-season. They are the favorites to win the World Series. Their fans will have fingers crossed. They have not won the World Series since 1908.

HOWELL: They are anxious in Chicago.

SCHOLES: Absolutely.

ROMANS: Thanks.

HOWELL: Donald Trump's campaign says President Obama was born in the United States, but here's the question. Will Donald Trump ever say those words? The latest on the 2016 race next. ROMANS: With new options of vacation hopes, apps and platforms for

new business. Here is CNN Money's Vanessa Yurkevich.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN MONEY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There are nearly 175,000 hotels around the world, with 16.5 million hotel rooms to choose from.

With so many choices and other types of competition, like Airbnb, hotels are looking for new ways to distinguish themselves.

(on camera): Thank you.

(voice-over): One way they can do that is better customer service and a more efficient way to manage your requests.

OSAMA ADUB, GENERAL MANAGER, HOTEL AMERICANO: A lot of paper and pencils. You left things open to human error and sometimes things would get missed.

[05:25:04] YURKEVICH: Hotel Americano is one of a hundred hotels on a digital platform called ALICE. The technology streamlines guest requests so they never get lost or missed by hotel staff.

(PHONE RINGING)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello, good afternoon. Ms. Yurkevich?

YURKEVICH (on camera): Hey, there. I wanted to get an extra towel sent to my room.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely. We will send it right way.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): Anyone who works at the hotel can enter our request into ALICE. Then another hotel employee can choose to accept it from anywhere in the hotel on their fine. The request is tracked and monitored to completion.

ALEX SHASHOU, CO-FOUNDER, ALICE: So, think about asking for your room to be cleaned. You normally ask the front desk. They have to communicate that with someone. That will be the housekeeping operator, who then needs to contact the housekeeper who's actually going to clean your room. No one -- not the guest, not the front desk actually knows when the room is cleaned, nor that the request is made in the first place.

YURKEVICH: ALICE isn't just for hotel staff. Guests can interact with it, too.

SHASHOU: With ALICE, the guest can see the state of the request as it is completed. Similarly to track a FedEx package. You get to plan your day, you get to be more efficient and you were, which is what we crave today.

(END VIDEOTAPE) (COMMERCIAL BREAK)