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Clinton and Trump Square Off in First Presidential Debate; Candidates Defend Positions on Trade, Taxes, E-mails, More. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired September 27, 2016 - 04:30   ET




[04:31:45] HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I have a feeling by the end of this evening, I'm going to be blamed for everything that's ever happened.


CLINTON: Why not? Yes, why not?



CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton going all in on policy and each other in their first debate. They're defending their positions on trade, taxes, emails, and more. As they look to win over undecided voters, who came out on top and what was left out last night?

We have coverage of the first big debate beginning right now.

Welcome back, everybody, to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm John Berman. Great to see you. Thirty- two minutes after the hour. Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world.

And welcome to the big league. The first presidential debate was just that -- big and bruising. The kind of bruises that last for a few days, maybe until November days.

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, they faced off overnight at Hofstra University here in New York. It was a night where Donald Trump was forced to play a lot of defense on his taxes, on Iraq, on birther issues.

Karen Tumulty of "The Washington Post" said that Hillary Clinton's weapon of choice was a needle that she repeatedly used to get under his skin. And while debate viewers in our polls thought Hillary Clinton was the clear winner, Donald Trump got in hits, too, particularly on trade.

Joining us with the latest, CNN's Phil Mattingly.

Phil, it was 98 minutes of just pure tension and political joy.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That we've all been waiting for and counting down to for the last, what, days, weeks, months, maybe a year on some level.

Look, we knew this was going to be a fight, and there certainly were no punches pulled.

And, John, as you point, both candidates got their swings in, got their hits in. Trump particularly strong on trade, really putting Hillary Clinton on the defensive. But also as you noted, John, Hillary Clinton keeping Trump on defensive throughout the debate and largely because she would bait him in to very long explanations or falsehoods.

Take a listen to Donald Trump once again relitigating the issue of, did he oppose the Iraq war?


TRUMP: President Obama and Secretary Clinton created a vacuum the way they got out of Iraq, because they got out -- what, they shouldn't have been in, but once they got in, the way they got out was a disaster. And ISIS was formed.

CLINTON: Donald supported the invasion of Iraq.

TRUMP: Wrong.

CLINTON: That is absolutely proved over and over again.

LESTER HOLT, DEBATE MODERATOR: You had supported the war in Iraq before the invasion. What makes --

TRUMP: I did not support the war in Iraq. That is a mainstream media nonsense put out by her because she frankly I think the best person in her campaign is mainstream media.


MATTINGLY: Now, guys, we do know that Donald Trump in 2002 did say he supported the Iraq war. But a couple of issues that were really interesting is Trump tried to go on the attack. Clinton kind of set him off a little bit. Trump attacking Clinton for a tried and true line from the campaign trail, her, quote, "lack of stamina". Clinton saying this, take a listen.


TRUMP: And I just left Detroit, and I just left Philadelphia, and I just -- you know, you've seen me, I've been all over the place. You decided to stay home, and that's OK. But I will tell you, I've been all over. And I've met some of the greatest people I'll ever meet within these communities.

[04:35:00] And they are very, very upset with what their politicians have told them and what their politicians have done.

HOLT: Mr. Trump, I --

CLINTON: I think -- I think -- I think Donald just criticized me for preparing for this debate. And, yes, I did. And you know what else I prepared for? I prepared to be president. And I think that's a good thing.


MATTINGLY: And, guys, a Clinton zinger no doubt. But also in that exchange, what each candidate wanted to get through. Donald Trump that Hillary Clinton is the status quo. He is the change agent. Hillary Clinton, that she is prepared and ready for the White House. That's what they wanted to convey. We'll have to see how people react in the days ahead.

ROMANS: All right. Phil Mattingly, we will have to see how they reacted. We have two more debates to count down to. Can't wait.

Let's bring our expert panel to discuss. Joining us this morning, CNN politics executive Mark Preston, senior media correspondent Brian Stelter, host of CNN's "RELIABLE SOURCES", CNN politics reporter Eugene Scott.

And here on set, two political -- CNN political commentators, Angela Rye, she's the former executive director of the Congressional Black Caucus. And John Phillips is with us. He's political columnist for "The Orange County Register", talk radio host and a Trump supporter.

All right. Let me go to you, Mark Preston, because you are kind of the boss. So, what do you think here? He landed some effective blows on trade, but Hillary Clinton came with her pencil sharpened on the policy.

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Yes, no doubt. Listen, she was coming into the debate with a high bar to reach. She went over the bar very, very cleanly. Hillary Clinton spent a lot of time preparing for this debate. We saw her with the exchange with Donald Trump right now.

Donald Trump didn't seem to take this debate as seriously as he should, certainly when it got down to specifics on policy proposals. Two minutes is a long time to talk on stage when you just face off against with one opponent. Donald Trump didn't have the tools necessary to have a full discussion on the major issues.

What we saw last night really turned into a slugfest at best. And at the end, Hillary Clinton was standing and she was smiling. I think that Donald Trump, for his lack of preparation and what-have-you, really lost this debate and lost it badly.

BERMAN: That is what the viewers told us. We did a poll after the debate. It was a slightly more Democratic audience, because that's who was watching. But 62 percent of viewers said Hillary Clinton won the debate, 27 percent said Trump.

Eugene Scott, you know, the polls around the country have been moving in the other direction unless the last few days. That's something -- the result last night is something that Hillary Clinton and the campaign wanted badly.

EUGENE SCOTT, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Absolutely. But it's not a big surprise to most people that Hillary Clinton did as well as she did, considering experience debating. This is Trump's first time in a situation like this going one-on-one against another candidate. But to Mark's point, if he wants to continue getting support from people and maintaining those leads, he's going to have to prepare better in the future because what going one-on-one did is highlights how unprepared he was and how new to this he has been.

ROMANS: There was a mostly quiet respectful audience, but one exchange when you hear the twittering among the people in the audience. I know, Eugene, you said there was outright laughter when you were viewing it at the Apollo.

But I want to get our political commentators to weigh in on this, when Trump tried to turn around the temperament issue with Hillary Clinton. Listen.


TRUMP: Well, I have much better judgment than she does. There's no question about that. I also have a much better temperament than she has, you know?


I have a much better -- I think my strongest asset, maybe by far, is my temperament. I have a winning temperament. I know how to win.

HOLT: Secretary Clinton?




ROMANS: John, the way she reacts to it. Was that effective moment for him or for her?

JOHN PHILLIPS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, look, if you go back to the beginning of the debate when they were talking about the economy and TPP, he was brandishing his credentials as a businessman. So, if you're talking about temperament from the eyes of an outsider businessman, he has the temperament of someone going to go to Washington and he's going to not move the boxes, but blow them up as Arnold Schwarzenegger said he would do in California. He has the temperament of someone who's going to put up with the

bureaucracy saying no, and Congress, you know, sitting on legislation that he wants to go through. So, I think the way he is selling himself, the temperament of someone not putting up with the way Washington works as usual is a selling point.

BERMAN: And, look, that is an area where I do think he was rehearsed. He wants to paint himself as an outsider. He went back to that repeatedly. He wanted to talk about his business record. He went back to that repeatedly.

But Hillary Clinton was ready with that too. Listen to what she said about what Donald Trump has said prior to the housing crisis.


CLINTON: In fact, Donald was one of the people who rooted for the housing crisis. He said, back in 2006, "Gee, I hope it does collapse, because then I can go in and buy some and make some money." Well, it did collapse.

TRUMP: That's called business, by the way.

CLINTON: Nine --


BERMAN: Angela Rye, you can see that appearing in a Democratic ad. There were moments throughout the debate, you know, trumped up trickle down economics, where she went after Donald Trump in some ways as a traditional Republican, in a more, you know, Democratic Republican traditional divide way.

[04:40:07] ANGELA RYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Absolutely. I thought this was an effective line. You talked about the needle getting under his skin, it did get under his skin. And that line, his response was perfect. In fact, I tweeted the very thing he said. I was like, "Hill's, you got yourself an ad." And this is one of those moments.

I think the other thing that was extremely interesting -- John, to go back to your point, you talked about him not wanting to move boxes around, but blowing them up. I think that's exactly the type of temperament. We want to demonstrate to the American people that he has, when it's going to blow things up. An authoritarian that would come in and try to, you know, forget how Congress works.

Thank God for "Schoolhouse Rock", with the fact that they still exist on YouTube, people can see that's not exactly how things work. Having worked on the Hill for six years, I can tell you, you can't blow that up even if you are upset.

ROMANS: You know, Brian Stelter, you have been saying the past couple days this is also how they portray themselves to the American people, maybe less on police, more on style, more on personality. I mean, now, people are starting to pay attention. Do you think that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton gave anything new

last night for those undecided voters?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Well, there was hostility between them, they mostly avoided. They did shake hands at the beginning and again at the end. They acknowledged each other. The contrast was very stark, Secretary Clinton versus Donald.

I wonder if any minds were changed, however. I do think Clinton supporters are feeling better this morning. They're feeling more excited and more passionate. What a difference two weeks makes. It was a couple weeks ago when she nearly collapsed at the 9/11 ceremony.

Last night, she barely took a sip of water on that stage.

ROMANS: I'm the one who's coughing. I can't go three minutes without coughing.

BERMAN: Not a single cough. A lot of people talking about sniffles. I knew that was going to come up at some point this morning as well.

All right. Guys, stick around. A lot more to talk about between all the attacks, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, did discuss policy. That's next.


[04:46:12] ROMANS: All right. One thing about the presidential debate is that it forces candidates to address issues and policy questions. How did Trump and Clinton handled their moment?

Joining us once again, Angela Rye, John Phillips and Mark Preston. Mark, I want to start with this e-mail controversy which just persists like is a bad cough frankly. Let's listen to what Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump barbs the exchange over e-mail last night.


CLINTON: I made a mistake using a private e- mail.

TRUMP: That's for sure.

CLINTON: And if I had to do it over again, I would, obviously, do it differently. But I'm not going to make any excuses. It was a mistake.

TRUMP: That was not a mistake. That was done purposely. When you have your staff taking the Fifth Amendment, taking the Fifth so they're not prosecuted, when you have the man that set up the illegal server taking the Fifth, I think it's disgraceful.


ROMANS: How well did he handle that moment, Mark?

PRESTON: Well, listen, I mean, you know, for a night that was terrible for Trump, it was good because it put Hillary Clinton on the defensive and it really brought an issue that has been one of her Achilles heels in this whole entire campaign.

Having said that, though, in the end, I don't think people are not going to vote for Hillary Clinton because of her e-mail server. In addition to that, with Trump asked about his taxes to bring it back to e-mail, he said I'll releases taxes when she releases the 30,000 e- mails. Well, that's a false equivalency at that point because the bottom line is, she shouldn't have never done that with the emails. They should be released, quite frankly. But his taxes should be released no question as well because the bottom line is, presidential candidates have been doing that in the modern era.

BERMAN: He also said once he would release his taxes when Barack Obama releases his birth certificate. It's happened in 2011.

John Phillips, Angela Rye, I want to get in on the issue of trade. This plays into both Democrat and Republican constituencies. Let me play a little bit of sound where Donald Trump hit Hillary Clinton on her record on free trade.


TRUMP: For 30 years, you've been doing it, and now you're just starting to think of solutions.

CLINTON: Well, actually --

TRUMP: I will bring -- excuse me. I will bring back jobs. You can't bring back jobs.

CLINTON: Well, actually, I have thought about this quite a bit.

TRUMP: Yes, for 30 years.

CLINTON: And I have -- well, not quite that long.


BERMAN: That's actually a hit on her time inside Washington and the issue of trade.

But, Angela Rye, you know, the Bernie Sanders supporters, that part of the Democratic Party, just as much against many of these trade deals as Donald Trump is. You know, will they be convinced by what they saw last night from Donald Trump?

RYE: Probably not. I think this is the person of politics I honestly hate. We cannot continue to demonize every possible trade deal. You will never get better that way. We cannot survive as a nation without trade.

So, this is a problem that I have with both parties during election season where you say, trade is the reason we lost those jobs. Some of that is technical development and people have been ill-prepared and ill-suited to compete with technology. When you go to the airport, you see people had jobs and now you check-in on a machine.

That is the reality. We can't continue to lie to people that way.

ROMANS: The dirty little secret is that both parties for years have known they will be losers on trade. They have known it and they accepted it for the benefits that come from trade. Now, it is the revenge of the outsourced. That is what this election is about or the fear of being outsourced.

Let's talk about ISIS, because Trump really slammed Hillary Clinton last night on ISIS. A couple of different exchanges. I'm going to listen to this one.


TRUMP: She's telling us how to fight ISIS. Just go to her website. She tells you how to fight ISIS on her website. I don't think General Douglas MacArthur would like that too much.

[04:50:01] HOLT: The next segment, we're continuing --

CLINTON: Well, at least I have a plan to fight ISIS.

HOLT: -- achieving prosperity --

TRUMP: No, no, you're telling the enemy everything you want to do.

CLINTON: No, we're not. No, we're not.

TRUMP: See, you're telling the enemy everything you want to do. No wonder you've been fighting -- no wonder you've been fighting ISIS your entire adult life.


ROMANS: John, was effective? Poor Lester Holt is trying to move on to the prosperity segment.

PHILLIPS: I think so, because this is all about priorities. And one of the things that he brought up in the debate was that President Obama said the largest threat facing the world is global warming. It's not ISIS. It's not international terrorism. It's not al Qaeda. It's not any of that.

If he were to be elected president, he would spend his capital and his priority would be on international terrorism. I think more voters agree with him on that

BERMAN: Of course, his plan to defeat ISIS is a secret, which he sort of jujitsu attacked Hillary Clinton on right there, saying, no, no, no. It is bad your plan is not a secret, like mine is right here. It was interesting to see.

All right, guys. Stick around.

A lot more to follow surrounding last night's debate. Story lines and hints of what Donald Trump may pull out of his pocket the next debate. Stick around.


[04:55:20] BERMAN: All right. When it comes to the debates, there is policy and then there's, of course, performance. Back now to discuss the performances last night, CNN's Eugene Scott and Brian Stelter.

We saw a lot on stage and Donald Trump miraculously bragging about something we did not see on stage. You heard it at the end of the debate where Donald Trump made an illusion to the fact he did not bring up really Bill Clinton's personal life. And then afterwards in the spin room, he was still talking about it.



DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Anything that you wish you did differently?

TRUMP: No, I'm very happy I was able to hold back on the indiscretions with respect to Bill Clinton, because I have a lot of respect for Chelsea Clinton. And I just didn't want to say what I was going to say --

BASH: Which is?

TRUMP: Which is I'll tell you maybe at the next debate. We'll see.


BERMAN: All right. So, Brian, there are three things that happened there. I'm happy I was able to hold back. Basically wants praise for not bringing something which he brought up in the next breath. Bill Clinton's marital indiscretions. That's number two. Number three, the suggestion that he might bring it up in the second debate.

STELTER: It's a little bit like me asking for credit for not burning the house down when I made dinner. But there is something to this. You know, Trump was trying to show not tell he has a strong temperament. There were laughs in the audience when he said he has a better temperament than Clinton. I think what he was trying to show he can hold back, show that he can have restraint sometimes.

ROMANS: You know, Eugene, Donald Trump also praising Lester Holt last night after earlier having sort of derided him as a register Democrat. He is not. He is a registered Republican.

How do you think he handled the show?

SCOTT: I think Lester Holt did as well as he could considering these were two people who really did not want to be controlled, who really had things they wanted to say. At some point, it is a lose-lose situation.

At one point, it is interesting we saw on Twitter that Trump surrogate Rudy Giuliani did not like the moderator and went as far as to perhaps encourage Trump not to participate in debates in the future. So, it will be interesting to see what comes from that.

BERMAN: So, Brian Stelter, you were watching social media carefully. In some ways, it is a tell as to how Americans overall saw this debate.

STELTER: Yes, because there was so much chatter about Donald Trump. On Facebook, 80 percent of the conversation was about Trump, on Twitter, more than 60 percent was about Trump.

People were more interested -- that is true in the post-game shows as well. People were more interested in talking about Trump than Clinton. Why? Because she is what we have seen before up on the stage handling questions. Trump, of course, not an experienced politician, he has a lot to learn. He showed that last night.

But there were not many gender issues, there was not a lot of hostility. In some ways, this was the perfect first of three sets.

ROMANS: I'll tell you. You can measure this by polls. You can measure this by social media activity. You can also look at the markets, which I do, and today, you've got markets around the world moving higher on the assumption that Donald Trump didn't do well last night and Hillary Clinton is more likely candidate for president. That's what markets have priced in. You saw the Mexican peso jump 2 percent. That is a hit to Trump when the peso jumps, right?

This is another way to look at what is going on and response. Thanks for everything. Nice to see you.

BERMAN: All right. Up all night watching the first presidential debate. So much to talk about right now. An epic battle.

"NEW DAY" picks up right now.


TRUMP: You've been doing this for 30 years. Why are you just thinking about these solutions right now?

CLINTON: Donald, I know you live in your reality, but that is not the fact.

TRUMP: I will release my tax returns when she releases her 33,000 e- mails that have been deleted.

CLINTON: I call it trumped up trickle down, because that's exactly what it would be.

TRUMP: Hillary has experience, but it's bad experience.

CLINTON: At least I have a plan to fight ISIS.

TRUMP: No, no, you are telling the enemy everything you want to do.

CLINTON: No, we're not.

TRUMP: I have a winning temperament. I know how to win.


Join the debate by saying more crazy things.


ANNOUNCER: This is "NEW DAY" with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. We want to welcome our viewers in United States and around the world. You're watching NEW DAY.

Up first, the highly anticipated showdown between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump was must-see TV. Clinton called Trump a racist and put him on a defensive for much for their first debate. While Trump tried to paint the country's problems her, painting her as a, quote, "typical politician".

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: This certainly lived up to the hype. Now, who won, right? That's a tricky question.