Return to Transcripts main page
AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA
Presidential Candidates Deal with Debate Fallout; Biden Hits Trump on Debate Performance; Clinton Campaign Reacts to Debate, Winner Poll. Aired 11-11:30a ET
Aired September 27, 2016 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[11:00:30] HILLARY CLINTON, (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is a man who has called women pigs, slobs and dogs.
DONALD TRUMP, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: She doesn't have the looks. She doesn't have the stamina.
CLINTON: As soon as he travels to 112 countries and negotiates a peace deal, he can talk to me about stamina.
TRUMP: All talk, no action. Sounds good, doesn't work.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: I have a feeling by the end of this evening I'm going to be blamed for everything that's ever happened.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Why not?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan.
BERMAN: I'm John Berman. Nice to see you.
Donald Trump swears there was no sniffles but there was pretty much everything else. This morning, both campaigns dealing with the fallout from the presidential debate. Hillary Clinton did put Trump on the offensive, calling on fact checkers to turn up the volume and challenging him on his taxes, treatment of women, and his preparedness to be commander-in-chief.
BOLDUAN: Trump also says he deserves credit for what he did not say actually during the debate, that he showed restraint afterward giving a not-at-all veiled non-attack attack against former President Bill Clinton and his past extramarital affairs.
Hillary Clinton spoke just a short time ago to reporters before her plane took off for North Carolina, where she will be campaigning. She was asked about that restrained remark from Donald Trump but also about Donald Trump's complaint that his microphone wasn't working properly throughout the night. Listen here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What about his stamina?
CLINTON: Anybody who complains about the microphone is not having a good night.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: She was prepared for that one.
Let's go to CNN's Jason Carroll who is live right now outside of Trump Tower.
Jason, what are you hearing?
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, not just what we're hearing but what we're seeing, you know, Trump turn has become a tourist attraction. That's why we've got the naked cowboy performing behind us. It's New York. Kate what are you going to do.
But let's talk the debate. The consensus is that Donald Trump, you know, for many of his supporters say he performed very well, at least during the first part of the debate, especially when he was talking about issues morning, his running mate, Mike Pence, basically saying he felt as though Donald Trump for his first time out for presidential debate, did extremely well. He said he basically spoke straight from the heart and showed great restraint.
Hillary Clinton supporters saying she scored few points, especially when she challenged Donald Trump on issues such as not releasing his taxes, his support for the war in Iraq, the Birther issue.
Donald Trump, for his part, saying that he showed he has the temperament to be president, that he also showed great restraint, especially when he decided not to raise the issue of Bill Clinton and his extramarital affairs after Hillary Clinton challenged him, basically accused him of being sexist.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP (voice-over): I was going to hit her with her husband's women and I decide I shouldn't do it because her daughter was there.
UNIDENTIFIED HOST: Oh, that's what you were talking about.
TRUMP: All of the women. Yes, I sort of thought that was it. And I didn't feel comfortable doing it. I think I did the right thing. I didn't feel comfortable doing it with Chelsea in the room.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARROLL: Trump also took issue with the moderator, NBC's Lester Holt. He felt as though he got tougher questions from Holt versus Hillary Clinton.
Last night, as you mentioned, he also raised an issue with his mic, whether or not it was working properly.
Basically, the big issue today is whether or not either one of these candidates were able to move the needle in terms of attracting new voters, those people who are still undecided. That still remains to be seen -- Kate, John?
BERMAN: All right, Jason Carroll outside Trump Tower.
On that Bill Clinton thing, Donald Trump says he wasn't going to do it, he wants credit for not doing it, but he just did it.
BOLDUAN: He just did it.
BERMAN: Let's talk about the debate. Joining us, David Gergen, CNN senor political analyst, former adviser to Presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Clinton --
BOLDUAN: And Lincoln.
BERMAN: -- Ron Brownstein, CNN senior political analyst and senior editor at "The Atlantic."
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Adviser to no one.
BERMAN: Mary Katharine Hamm, CNN political commentator, a senior writer for "The Federalist"; Bob Cusack, editor-in-chief of "The Hill"; and Brett O'Donnell, Republican debate coach and president of O'Donnell Associates. He knows debates as well as anyone.
Let us start with the analysis.
David Gergen, to you, simple question, who won?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: By all traditional standards, Hillary Clinton crushed it. She came in much better prepared. She marshaled her arguments well. She sent them into battle with a smile. He came in unprepared. I think his massive ego caught up with him so that he decided he could wing it, and it doesn't work well in these debates to do that. He was, you know, he was his usual Trump. But she came as a spirited debater. I don't know whether it's going to move the needle.
[11:05:20] BOLDUAN: That continues to be the question.
To David's point on did she come out on top winning, does anyone here agree?
MARY KATHARINE HAM, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: He had a good 30 to 40 minutes. If people who were uncertain tuned in to that part of the debate, I think he might have done OK. He became more and more Trumpy as the night went on. But those people will all see the clips and the stuff on the Internet, so I'm not sure whether --
BROWNSTEIN: Which campaign would spend money to air the campaign again?
BERMAN: That answers your question.
BROWNSTEIN: It's an easy question. Look, it's not clear in this polarized era how much you can move the horse race immediately. I think the debate was important nonetheless. Coming into this debate, Donald Trump's biggest problem clearly was the elevated percentage of Americans who say he's not qualified to be president. He's facing a higher share as a general election nominee than we've ever seen, nearly 60 percent. I don't think he did anything to solve that problem last night. He probably made it worse.
In the CNN poll, 67 percent of those polled said Hillary Clinton was prepared to be president. 57 percent when talking about Donald Trump said he's not prepared to be president. You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Whether or not the horse race moves, I think the doubts about whether he's prepared to be president, particularly among college whites he's struggling with, were reinforced in a way that makes it tougher for him to grow.
GERGEN: Let me ask you on that one point though. I thought she also needed, if she really wanted to lock this thing up, is to relate better to voters, to establish emotional connections with voters. I thought she was still struggling with that last night.
BERMAN: Let's break this into parts. Starting with what I think everyone agrees where Donald Trump's strongest moments, and that's on trade, when he was talking about TPP, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and he went after Hillary Clinton for her past support of that. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: You called the gold standard.
CLINTON: Well, I --
TRUMP: You called it the gold standard of trade deals.
CLINTON: And you know what --
TRUMP: You said it's the finest deal you've ever seen.
TRUMP: And then you heard what I said about it and, all of a sudden, you were against it. CLINTON: Well, Donald I know you live in your own reality.
TRUMP: Oh, yeah.
CLINTON: But that is not the facts.
TRUMP: But you have no plan.
CLINTON: -- education -- oh, I do.
TRUMP: Secretary -- you have no plan.
CLINTON: I have written a book about it. It's called "Stronger Together." You can pick it up tomorrow morning, folks --
CLINTON: -- at the book store.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: So, Brett O'Donnell, world renowned debate coach, you look at that really as Donald Trump's strongest moment. Again, that was the first part of the debate. Why?
BRETT O'DONNELL, REPUBLICAN DEBATE COACH & PRESIDENT, O'DONNELL & ASSOCIATES: Well, because I think he had Hillary Clinton on her heels in that moment. He was litigating the case about TPP and trade. That's been one of his strongest issues. It's an issue that I think has resonated particularly in the heartland. And it's probably what's driven his candidacy as much as immigration. Those two issues are salient with a lot of working voters out in the heartland. And so I think that moment was a - big moment for him. He just couldn't sustain it for the entire debate. It was like a boxer who got tired as the debate went on.
BOLDUAN: Bob, some people think -- a lot of folks think a low point for Donald Trump, you talk about a boxer that couldn't sustain as the night went on was -- a low point was around the Birther conspiracy. But also that it really started taking a turn even before that during the Iraq war conversation. Listen to this and then I'll get your take.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LESTER HOLT, DEBATE MODERATOR: You had supported the war in Iraq before the invasion. What makes your --
TRUMP: I did not support the war in Iraq.
HOLT: 2002 -- TRUMP: That is a mainstream media nonsense put out by her because she
frankly -- I think the best person in her campaign is mainstream media.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: He then went on into a lengthy kind of getting into the weeds of every conversation he'd had --
BOLDUAN: Allegedly. Or in 2003, regarding the war and his support and who he explained it to and when and privately or publicly. Why was this so bad for him, Bob?
BOB CUSACK, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, THE HILL: I think it was rough because it's a long answer. In politic, if you're explaining, you're losing. He do have shifted the whole argument to say, OK, I may have said that to Howard Stern in 2002, but then after that I was outspoken against the war, and just pivoted and really focused that it was Hillary Clinton who voted for the war and it was a big political liability --
BOLDUAN: Bob, hold on one second.
BERMAN: Bob, hand on.
We got the Vice President Joe Biden talking about the debate.
JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: -- about the American people. You know, he acknowledged he didn't pay taxes because he said it's -- he said because it's -- he said he's smart, makes him smart. Tell that to the janitor in here who's paying taxes. Tell that to my dad who busted his neck working 60 hours a week, paid all his taxes. Tell that to mothers and fathers breaking their neck to send you here, paying their taxes.
[11:10:22] BIDEN: I really mean it. It angers me. It angers me.
He acknowledged, he acknowledged that when the housing crisis collapsed, when the housing market collapsed, and maybe all of your parents -- they didn't lose their homes, they lost the equity in the home. That equity was for the retirement. Their equity was able to get your older brother or sister to school because they could borrow against it. That equity was their insurance. That equity was what gave them peace of mind when they got in bed. This is a guy -- this is a guy who said, and wants to be president, that it was good business for him to see the housing market fail. What in the hell is he talking about?
No, no, no, no. Look, I've been there for eight presidents, Democrat and Republican. I've disagreed and I've agreed. But every president I have served with, including Republicans, has had a moral center about what it was to be an American, about what we're supposed to do, about what basic fundamental rights are.
BIDEN: This guy -- I mean it. Think about it. Can you imagine Ronald Reagan, the most conservative president we've had in -- can you imagine him saying it's good business to take advantage of people's misery? Rooting for that misery?
I really mean this. I'm not joking. I'm not kidding. What does it say about this man? And he wants to be president of the United States of America. Ladies and gentlemen, you know, he does not -- he does not -- he does not have the basic fundamental sensibilities and values that almost every American politician, left right and center I know have. They disagree on how to make things better for people. But they don't take pleasure from knowing that they will benefit.
That's what Wall Street did. That's what Wall Street, the greatest allocator of capital in the world, went awry, because it decided they could take advantage, betting against the American people.
Folks, I -- you know, it's a -- it's not those people who lost their homes. It's business, Wall Street business that brought this all down. That put us in the place we are, that put us in the worst recession short of a depression in the history of the United States of America, and fundamentally impacted the entire world, fundamentally impacted the economy of the entire world. It's the reason we needed to change the rules on Wall Street. Business, the vast majority of business men and women are decent. The vast majority of these folks --
BERMAN: Vice President Joe Biden speaking in Philadelphia at Drexel University there. Speaking in Philadelphia, in Pennsylvania, swing states.
BOLDUAN: Working his crowd. Speaking to the crowd he has before him.
BERMAN: No mistake what he was talking about either. Hitting Donald Trump specifically on some of the points Trump made last night about why he hasn't released his tax returns. And also these business dealings about why he didn't pay some contractors, saying Donald Trump roots for misery.
Joe Biden, often ambassador to the white working class it seems.
BOLDUAN: As you were listening to this, David, you said this is a smart move post-debate what he's saying.
GERGEN: That was a powerful statement he just made because he is an authentic voice of the working class. That's where he's been, you know, most of his life.
But contrast what he just said, and that was to pick up on some that Trump said and go in and put the knife in really hard, versus coming out and whining about the moderator or whining about the microphones or all the rest of it. This is a team that knows how to play the game. And if they win, it's going to be because they executed very well.
BROWNSTEIN: Two points, one is it's a contrast between -- Donald Trump doesn't have these kind of prominent national figures to go out and amplify his message, other than Mike Pence. He doesn't have Michelle Obama and President Obama and Joe Biden. Important, continues what we saw in the debate. Up until the debate, the case against Trump has largely been he's bigoted and not qualified. At the debate, they began to lay out this traditional argument. He's a rich guy who spent his life kind of running over middle class working families and that's what he would do in his agenda. It's kind of late to start but you can see it's now more of a focus.
[11:15:33] HAM: They're doing that because millions of dollars making the unacceptable argument hasn't worked. It hasn't moved the needle. Today, if you watch how the two camps are acting, he is complaining about a microphone, and she's got this pretty decent line about if you're complaining about the mic, you're not having a good night.
BERMAN: The one thing about today -- if I can, about today. Last night, Hillary Clinton went after Donald Trump on this former Miss Universe, Alicia Muchado (ph), who was Miss Venezuela, I believe, right, and she made the case that Donald Trump criticized her for gaining weight. Called her, you know, Miss Piggy.
BOLDUAN: She said he called her Miss Piggy and Miss Housekeeper.
BERMAN: Miss Housekeeper. And that was last night at the debate. And Donald Trump was still talking about it this morning. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP (voice-over): She was the winner and, you know, she gained a massive amount of weight and it was a real problem. We had a real problem. Not only that, their, attitude and we had a real problem with her. So Hillary went back into the years, and she found this, because this was many years ago, and found the girl and talked about her like she was Mother Teresa, and it wasn't quite that way, but that's OK.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Mary Katharine, is this more politics, the morning after the debate, to go after the former Miss Universe?
HAM: Sometimes things like this makes me wonder whether he actually wants to win. Like, that is so self-sabotaging to reinforce that message. I don't believe he was actually -- I think he brought it up on his own and doubled down on this. It's just not good. I don't care if you like him because he says things that are not nice and says things that aren't pc. That's fine. This is just a self-inflicted wound. It is.
O'DONNELL: That's because Donald Trump has not figured out the difference between offense and defense. Debates are about being on offense. And through most of the night last night, once Hillary Clinton got on the attack and was able to get on the offensive, Donald Trump played defense rather than turn moments that he could have turned into offense into offense, like on taxes, turning them over to her e-mails. But on Iraq, saying she voted for the Iraq war, or other issues where he had offense to generate, he played defense the entire night.
BOLDUAN: Looks like Hillary Clinton and her surrogates are looking to keep that momentum and keep on the offense, not seeing any time to push their message from last night into today, as we've seen already this morning.
Guys, thank you so much. A lot more to discuss throughout the hour about last night and what it means going forward.
So with that first debate under their belt, what's the team's message as she hits the road? We got a little preview of what the message is --
BERMAN: I think so.
BOLDUAN: -- from Hillary Clinton herself and Vice President Joe Biden. Her chief strategist is also joining us this hour.
BERMAN: Plus, Donald Trump hinted at some ammunition that he didn't use last night. We played it before. He was bragging about what he didn't say even though he said it and now he's suggesting he may actually say it, even though he actually said it, in the next debate.
[11:22:34] BERMAN: All right, one down, two to go. In a CNN poll taken after last night's debate, of people watching -- it was a slightly more Democratic audience -- people watching did think round one went to Hillary Clinton.
BOLDUAN: What does the Clinton campaign have to say today? Let's bring in Joel Benenson. He is Hillary Clinton's strategist.
Joel, thank you so much for coming in.
JOEL BENENSON, CHIEF STRATEGIST, HILLARY CLINTON PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: Thank you for having me.
BOLDUAN: We can guess because we're mind readers you're going to say Hillary Clinton did quite well last night, but what was left undone last night on your guy's part?
BENENSON: I think you go through a 90-minute debate you've always got more things you want to get to. I don't thing anything significant was let undone. I think as we go forward, the case we want to prosecute more coming out of this is a very strong contrast on our economic visions. She's putting families, working people, front and center. He's got his massive tax cuts for the very wealthy and corporations, which people do not think will help them, do not believe it, because they've seen it before. I think when you talk about the things families are struggling with, how do we raise our kids to be good workers, more two-income families. I think we want to stay in the economic lane going forward because we have a plan to get people's lives moving again and he's got a plan to keep corporations and the very wealthy getting tax breaks.
BERMAN: A lot of people thought his best part of the debate was when the discussion was on jobs and the economy and trade. He talked about Hillary Clinton's past record on trade deals and how she called TPP the gold standard of trade deals, which she did. She did. I guess the question is why not just own it. Why not just say, yes, I said it? I was for TPP and now I'm against it.
BENENSON: I'm sure it won't surprise you I disagree with your assessment. I think we did quite well on the economic side of it. When you look at --
BERMAN: Talking about trade.
BENENSON: Even on trade. I think Americans believe that we are the strongest economy in the world and we need to compete and win on trade. He's got a policy that's alienating even Republicans.
We have to have better trade deals. We have to have better enforcement. She's actually talking about it in a comprehensive, commonsense way, instead of the way he talks about it. And the fact is, we do need to make more investments here at home so we can make more goods here and sell to the 95 percent of the consumers who live outside the United States.
BOLDUAN: One thing, Joel --
BENENSON: If you don't believe America can compete and win, you shouldn't be running for president and Donald Trump doesn't believe that.
BOLDUAN: One thing he said last night, and they think it's working, it's a compelling argument. You say she doesn't love talking about solutions. He's talking about -- he started last night if she's been working on this for 30 years, where are the solution, what you've been doing for 30 years? It's a strong point. What's the answer? She did not answer that question last night.
[11:25:05] BENENSON: First of all, I think it's a sweeping -- one of Trump's sweeping attacks on people that lack credibility. She's been in many different roles over 30 years. We weren't going out there to recite everything she did. When he was stiffing working Atlantic City in the '90s, she was helping children get health care, helping change the adoption system so more foster kids -- this is why she was first lady, more foster care kids get adopted. She did it working with Republicans. Even people like Tom Delay where they didn't have a lot of common ground. Ness life at that time, he's stiffing the architects and people in his hotels. Very different view of working Americans.
You hear this guy on the debate stage say he was rooting for the housing crisis because it was smart business. He was going to benefit. You just saw what Vice President Biden said. What the hell is he talking about? I think that working people in America saw a very clear o is standing up and fighting for them and who isn't because he's never done and she has.
BERMAN: She does oppose TPP and she did support it before.
BENENSON: She said like night she opposed TPP. That when the final negotiations were done and all the "I"s were dotted and "T"s were crossed, there were provisions in there that weakened the agreement. She will negotiate any trade deal, tougher enforcement, and the only trade deals she's been for are those that protect American jobs, protect American wage it is and protect our national security. So are her three tests.
BOLDUAN: Joel, last night, Donald Trump said he could have gone rougher. He said he deserves credit for the restraint he showed when asked about it. He was talking about Bill Clinton's extra marital affairs. Do you wish he had gone there?
BENENSON: The reason why Hillary Clinton overwhelmingly won in this debate is because Donald Trump was a loose cannon throughout the debate. He was interrupting. He was doing what he does. He doesn't listen to anybody. He doesn't respect anybody.
BENENSON: He was shouting. I think, as Hillary Clinton said, we prepared for the debate and she prepared for being president. And I think what Donald Trump showed is he came to the debate grossly unprepared, he became unhinged in a nanosecond, and I think he disqualified himself on every front last night.
BERMAN: Joel Benenson --
BOLDUAN: -- yes, they had an answer prepared if Donald Trump --
BERMAN: Joel Benenson, great to have you with us. Thank you so much.
BENENSON: Thank you.
BOLDUAN: Thank you, Joel.
BERMAN: No apology, no nothing from Donald Trump, after Hillary Clinton said that he spread racist Birther lies. Should Donald Trump have had a different answer, a prepared answer, on that question? BOLDUAN: Plus, last night, did voters get the answer to one of the
bigger questions of the campaign so far. What is in Donald Trump's tax returns and why is he still resistant to releasing them? Interesting answer ahead.