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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA
Rubio's Warning on Hacked Clinton Camp E-mails; New Polls for Arizona, Texas; Comparing Clinton, Trump Debate Strategies. Aired 11:30-12p ET
Aired October 19, 2016 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:30:00] DAVID BROCK, FOUNDER, CORRECT THE RECORD SUPER PAC & FOUNDER, MEDIA MATTERS: Two, we try to stick to the facts. It's not known which of these e-mails are real, which may be somewhat --
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: They haven't denied the existence of any of them. None of them have they said this wasn't true at all. That isn't really the issue here.
BROCK: I think that's part of the issue. There have been a few that haven't been recognized.
But the main issue is that Donald Trump has been encouraging a foreign government to subvert our own election process. It fits with the argument he's making, this broader argument about a rigged election process and that if it's being rigged by anybody, it's being rigged by the Russians and what they are doing with WikiLeaks.
And Republicans, not only Marco Rubio -- we have seen all morning Republicans all over the air condemning what Donald Trump is saying about the rigged election undermining our Democratic process and I think his warning on the WikiLeaks is very appropriate.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Let's talk about Arizona. This morning, you woke up and there's a new poll out of Arizona, a long- time traditionally red Arizona. And Hillary Clinton is up five points in Arizona. That's not even to mention, in a Texas poll just out, that it's now, Trump is only up three points. How much trouble does that spell for you?
GINA LOUDON, BEHAVIOR & PSYCHOLOGY EXPERT & TRUMP SUPPORTER: I actually think in a lot of this polling right now, we are seeing numbers that are kind of all over the place. Let's not forget in the last election, all the polling was essentially wrong. We saw the polling wrong all the way through the primary process. It doesn't surprise me --
BERMAN: Donald Trump, Donald Trump was ahead in the polls almost the entire length of the primary. When he was bragging about the polls, he was right. He was winning the primary, the polls were right. LOUDON: We were seeing some that were wrong. I think we will
continue to see those. I saw another Rasmussen polling today, it was absolutely tied. Mr. Trump is making great gains if you look at the details of that polling.
BOLDUAN: But what about in Arizona?
LOUDON: Especially fascinating in light of all of not just the WikiLeaks but also the whole FBI, that whole quid pro quo story coming out, also the James O'Keefe video.
LOUDON: So there's a lot -- well, I'm quoting the FBI agent. So there's a lot of information coming out and I think that we aren't seeing polling yet from those numbers. I think that will start to shift some of that.
BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I don't think anybody should quote Rasmussen polls. But that's neither here nor there. The fact is, you go throughout the country, Hillary Clinton is leading in any battleground states outside of maybe you have a close race in Ohio and Iowa where she appears to be down.
But we have a lot of issues going on right now around us and Donald Trump, he received a hit coming out the first debate. Then we had the video and he received another hit. Now we have tonight. Tonight is the last chance that he has to do absolutely anything.
And the problem that Donald Trump is going to have is it still won't be enough. He's so far behind in this race, so far behind in swing states --
BERMAN: That is the opposite of expectations. Leading into the first two debates, Hillary Clinton was all about we shouldn't set the expectations too low for Donald Trump.
BOLDUAN: That he should be graded. We should all be graded on the same curve.
SELLERS: Let's just throw that out the window. The fact is Hillary Clinton is never going to be graded on the same scale as Donald Trump. This whole race, there has been a slant. Hillary Clinton has to be Ginger Rogers, has to do everything he does in high heels and backwards. That's a fact.
(LAUGHTER) Going into this debate, we know Hillary Clinton is a better
performer, better debater, and is debating Donald Trump. The bar is already inherently low for him. What we are saying is that the map is solidly in her favor and she needs to make sure that for the last 19 days or 20 days, however many days we have left, she keeps her foot on the gas and pushes forward.
BOLDUAN: If you have Marco Rubio, if you have basically every state, every secretary of state throughout the states who are handling these elections, saying it is not rigged in terms of there is no large scale voter fraud that they are seeing that will change the course of this election that will sway it, how do you want Donald Trump to address what he said in rallies and what his supporters love to hear, this concept of an election, but how do you want m to address it from the stage? Because all we hear is the Republican secretary of state saying it is not rigged. You hear governor after governor, Republican governor, saying it is not rigged.
SCOTTIE NELL HUGHES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: That's the thing. There's two parts to this whole rigged thing. One is the media covering seven to one all the things that have been talked about. There is a standard. Here's the Hillary standard. She's gotten away with a lot more.
BOLDUAN: I'm talking about large scale voter fraud.
HUGHES: Here's what it comes down to, whether you like it or not. If you are a Democrat, you don't think there's any rigging going on because, nine times out of 10, it benefits you. If you are Republican, you believe there's rigging going on. Just like the Heritage Foundation has more than 400 cases within the last 10 years of voter fraud.
BOLDUAN: But these are Republicans who are coming out to contradict Donald Trump.
HUGHES: They are secretaries of state, establishment politicians. They have not been for us since the very beginning. We don't need them. We need the people. Those that are elected to the office that are paying attention to the people, they are winning. They are the ones actually going forward and moving forward this. Secretaries of state, some are offended, some are not. Get over it. Make sure your process is clean and we don't have voter intimidation, which is probably one of the largest cases we have seen in the 2012 election.
BERMAN: The secretary of state of Ohio said he actually is voting for Donald Trump.
HUGHES: And he is, yeah.
BERMAN: So he is a supporter, unlike what you just said.
BERMAN: All right, guys, thank you very much. BOLDUAN: Coming up next, America's premier debate coach joins us
live along with Mitt Romney's former director of public policy. Who is comparing -- they will be comparing their notes just like it's like, you know, game day. Let's see what they say. What needs to happen tonight? What they need to do right and wrong.
[11:35:11] BERMAN: Plus, very soon, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, they are expected to arrive here at that debate site. You are looking at live pictures from inside the debate hall. They will have their walk-throughs, check out the lecterns, check out the crowd, check out the lighting. Will it be to their liking? We will discuss coming up.
[11:39:56] BERMAN: We are live in Las Vegas with a ringside seat for the debate. Hillary Clinton has an edge over Donald Trump in the latest CNN poll of polls.
BOLDUAN: Here to discuss debate strategies, Brett O'Donnell, renowned debate coach and president of O'Donnell and Associates; and Lanhee Chen, CNN political commentator and the policy director for the Mitt Romney 2012 campaign.
Guys, thanks for being here.
Lanhee, first to you.
If you look at our poll of polls, Trump is down nine points. It's hard to look back and see a spread that big when going into a third debate this late in the cycle. How does that fact shape the debate tonight?
LANHEE CHEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think it's time for a Hail Mary for him. I think he needs to realize that this debate performance is going to be important.
The interesting thing about this debate, people may actually be watching. Usually, by the time you get to the final debate, it's not clear that anybody is still watching. But in this campaign, people have been sort of riveted by the back and forth. So he still does have an opportunity but he needs to be aggressive. I do think also, by the way, he needs to stay on issues as well as the prosecution of Hillary's record. I don't think it's Hillary's personal life. I think it's her record.
BERMAN: An issue-based Hail Mary. I'm not sure I understand what an issue-based Hail Mary is.
Brett O'Donnell, world renowned debate coach, Donald Trump down nine points. Lanhee says Hail Mary. What do you say?
BRETT O'DONNELL, REPUBLICAN DEBATE COACH & PRESIDENT, O'DONNELL & ASSOCIATES: Well, I say that that's correct. But one thing that Hillary Clinton has to avoid is the trap of the third debate. If you look at the history of presidential debates, it's replete with people who thought they were winning headed into that last debate. John Kerry, Al Gore, Mitt Romney, even, in the last cycle, thought they were winning headed into the last debate, had a very poor performance, and their opponent went on to win the election. So third debates can matter. Remember, even though the audience might be down for the actual viewership, most of the country will hear about this debate. And so Donald Trump still has an opening. He's got to have his best debate ever tonight.
BOLDUAN: It is a small thing, but it can be seen as a major gesture, especially kind of the tone of this race and where it's gone.
Brett, handshake or not when they make it onstage? It's strange to me, and I think little sad that even it's become a thing, it's become an issue.
O'DONNELL: Yeah. I think we are making more of it than we should. I think they should shake hands for the good of the country. And they should discuss issues for the good of the country. That's what I'm more concerned about, that we don't see a debate that denigrates just into purely personal attacks.
Hillary Clinton has failed to articulate a positive vision of where she would take the country and Donald Trump has yet to prosecute a case against her for an entire debate. So those two things need to happen. They both need to explain how they would -- (INAUDIBLE) -- for the country -- (INAUDIBLE) -- the right choice.
BERMAN: So, Lanhee, you heard Brett say that Hillary Clinton shouldn't fall into the third debate prep. And I think you broke out in hives when he brought up Mitt Romney in the third debate.
But she's been preparing for five days now. She's been practicing a lot. What do you think that means? What will she do on that stage tonight to avoid that third debate trap?
LANHEE: You know, I think the most important thing for her is to present her closing argument, and to do it in a way that tells people, look, this is what I'm going to do as president. I think the biggest knock on her candidacy -- there's been a lot of knocks on her candidacy -- the biggest knock on her candidacy has been, well, we don't know what it is that she's for, what she's going to do as president, what is her vision if she wins? Tonight, she needs to make that argument and say, look, if I'm president, here are the three things you can expect from me. And really kind of close this campaign and put a nice bow on it.
And you're right. Brett makes a great point. She really cannot fall into the trap of thinking that she's got this one. She needs to sort of not be too defensive but she also has to realize that this debate for her is also the equivalent of the prevent defense. I think as long as she doesn't -- as long as she doesn't give up the big Hail Mary, to use the other football analogy, she will be fine.
(CROSSTALK) BOLDUAN: I'm loving you right now. The prevent defense. It's a
dangerous, dangerous thing.
BERMAN: Lanhee, Brett, thanks for being with us.
BOLDUAN: Thanks, guys.
BERMAN: New this morning, a poll that shows Hillary Clinton leading by five points in Arizona.
BERMAN: We will discuss.
And very soon, both candidates expected to arrive here at UNLV. They will tour the debate hall. We will bring it to you when it happens.
[11:44:35] BOLDUAN: Plus, caught on tape. A Democratic group accused of coordinating protesters to incite violence at Trump rallies. This, coming from a conservative activist, talking about how they easily pop off. New fallout, and how it plays tonight.
BOLDUAN: We are live in Las Vegas, if you didn't know. What have you been doing all hour? It's all right here. Home to some of history the greatest showdowns. Holyfield versus Tyson, Donny versus Marie, Berman versus Baldwin, Manu versus Preston, I mean, it's getting crazy.
The final presidential debate is set to kick off just hours from now.
BERMAN: Here with us, CNN presidential historian, Douglas Brinkley; CNN national political reporter, Maeve Reston; CNN senior political reporter, Manu Raja; and CNN Politics executive editor, Mark Preston.
Doug Brinkley, to you, we go into this debate. Get over here.
BOLDUAN: That was a hair flip.
BERMAN: The polls show Donald Trump down by nine points. That's a lot. Put it in historical perspective for us right now. Is there any historical reference to being down nine points with three weeks to go?
[11:49:52] BRINKLEY: Well, anytime you get, you're down by nine, you have to think about Harry Truman in 1948, when everybody said Truman couldn't win, the Democratic party had broke in parts just like the Republican, in a sense. You had Strom Thurman back then and Henry Wallace. Lo and behold, you have the famous newspaper, the "Chicago Tribune" --
BRINKLEY: -- "Dewey defeats Truman," and he didn't.
So at this moment, if I were Donald Trump, my new favorite president would be the Hail Mary president of Harry Truman and what he did in '48. It's the miracle.
BOLDUAN: It's the miracle.
You know what? Forget everything we said how important tonight is. Let's talk about tomorrow, Maeve. We have -- we were just talking about these polls, this poll in Arizona that has Hillary Clinton up five. You've got, you know, Texas, there's a poll out tightening. Looking forward, especially in the Arizona, to use it as an example. Michelle Obama is going there. Hillary Clinton is sticking to the traditional battleground states. What is Michelle Obama doing for Hillary Clinton? What is Hillary Clinton doing after this? What do they do in the final three weeks?
MAEVE RESTON, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Hillary Clinton has to make her chosen argument. There's a lot of issues with Millennials who are thinking about voting for the third-party candidates. And let's get real. Michelle Obama is the better surrogate for Hillary Clinton out there on the trail than Hillary Clinton is for herself. So, but their strategy certainly is to make Trump play in some of these red states, like Arizona, even maybe Texas, and really keep him on defense. That's how they'll close it down.
BERMAN: We spoke to the RNC chair from Arizona yesterday. He said he didn't want to see Donald Trump there. How many more days will that lasts before they get a big invite saying, come to Phoenix, Donald Trump?
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Exactly.
BOLDUAN: Manu Raju, the Senate races right now, there are many around the country. The battle for the Senate, the supremacy is on right now. What are you hearing about the down-ballot races?
RAJU: It's so incredibly close right now. It could really go either way. A handful of races are within the margin of error, even your traditional toss-ups.
BOLDUAN: Closer than it was earlier in the cycle?
RAJU: It's still close. I wouldn't say closer. It's New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, those are races close since the beginning.
BERMAN: Nevada right here.
RAJU: Nevada, one Democratic seat they're trying to defend, incredibly close. And some red states, Indiana, North Carolina, Missouri, all Republican seats, very close. The one thing that the down-ticket Republicans need for Donald
Trump to keep a margin with Hillary Clinton close. If he starts to lose by eight, nine, 10 points in states like this, it's going to be very, very difficult to run ahead of the ticket. Joe Hack, here in Nevada, the congressman running for Reid's seat, I obtained an and audio recording of him this week at a fundraiser where he said he could run ahead of Donald Trump but only if Trump losing Nevada by five points. Anything less than that he thinks is trouble.
BOLDUAN: Nine points is not a close margin, that's for sure.
BOLDUAN: Mark Preston, what is there after the debate? Maeve's talking about Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, it's about the closing argument after this. But what is there left after the debate when you're going to have millions of eyeballs watching you make your case. What is there left to move the needle one way or the other?
MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE EDITOR: One thing, we have a divided America that's standing behind us right now and this is just a small microcosm of what we're seeing at this point. Listen, tonight, Donald Trump, is he going to come in scorched earth, is he just going to try to burn her down in a typical Donald Trump way or does he come out and talk about policy, does he talk about what his future is a commander-in-chief, how he can work in Washington. For both of them tonight, in order to pivot up into next week and these closing weeks right now, is that they have to convince the American public right now that they have the experience, the knowledge, and the know-how to become president, specifically at this time that we're in so much, again, division in our country, and there's so many problems going on around the world. Donald Trump tonight could actually score some point that could help him in the next couple of weeks if he follows that path. I'm not sure if he will.
MAEVE: Can you imagine, I mean, what we're talking right now, who's going to govern once they get in there? Just going to be -- this country is so divided right now, and neither of the candidates seems to have -- be talking about how they would unite people.
BERMAN: It seems to be the thing today, though, I have to say. I've been asking the question, you brought it up, Maeve, the idea that Hillary Clinton needs to make an affirmative message for why she wants to be president.
Doug Brinkley, you know, we've been in this race now for 16 months. Has that not broken through, the message? Brian Fallon, her press secretary, says, oh, no, we've talking about that all along. Have they or is there something missing?
BRINKLEY: I think it's broken through, but in small groups, not with this overall message that people know what Hillary Clinton's main message, her vision for America. It's been kind of watered down a little bit. However, she does well with constituency groups, African- Americans, Latinos. When you can break it down like we do in the polls and she's doing well. I think tonight her main thing is not to be rattled by Donald
Trump. Be like she was in that first debate, seem to kind of do that kind of little shimmy she did, and just -- because he's going to throw the kitchen sink at her and she just can't fall into going into combat zone with him when you're that far ahead in polls.
BOLDUAN: It is not a complete day until I get a Doug Brinkley shimmy. Just going to say.
BERMAN: Modeled after you.
[11:55:15] BOLDUAN: Manu Raju, breaking out your crystal ball. What is the headline tomorrow?
RAJU: Oh, boy. I mean, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton throw mud. This will be an incredibly, incredibly nasty debate. You thought last one bad, this one worse.
But for Donald Trump, the most effective moment in the debate he's had in the debates so far was the first 30 minutes of the first debate when he effectively made the argument that he was an agent of change. She was part of the status quo. Can he stay on that message tonight or will he get rattled? Will she get under his skin and will he fire back? That's his challenge.
BERMAN: Guys, thank for being here. Appreciate it.
Thanks to all of you as well you.
BOLDUAN: Thank you.
Thank you, America.
Our special coverage, live from Las Vegas, as we count down to the big final debate. It is debate day in America.