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Trump Campaign Tonight in Wisconsin; Soon: Clinton Speaking in Swing-State Florida; The Vote That Dare Not Speak Its Name; Can President Obama Close the Deal for Clinton?; Pro-Trump Robocall: Third-Party Candidate is "Closet Homosexual"; Clinton, Trump Scramble to Clinch Iowa. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired November 1, 2016 - 21:00   ET


[21:00:00] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Hillary Clinton focusing squarely on the battlegrounds, hitting central Florida earlier this evening, speaking in Ft. Lauderdale any minute. Our Jim Acosta is traveling with the Trump campaign. Jeff Zeleny is at the Clinton rally. Let's start the hour with Jim Acosta.

So, Trump pounding the pavement in the last days leading up to the election. What did he have to say about his opponent tonight?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Anderson, we saw a side of Donald Trump that we don't normally see out on the campaign trail, message discipline. He stayed on the attack on Hillary Clinton's e-mail saga and even went of her campaign manager, John Podesta, whose e-mails were hacked and released by the website, WikiLeaks. Trump using one of his catchphrases from his days as a celebrity on "The Apprentice". Here's what he had to say.


DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In a newly released e-mail, John Podesta has been caught saying we have to dump all of those e- mails. Can you believe this? That's WikiLeaks.

And he also said, and to me, this made a big, a big statement. John Podesta, I tell you what, if he worked for me, I would fire him so fast. He is such a nasty guy. He would -- I would fire him, like "The Apprentice". John, you're fired.


ACOSTA: One other thing that Donald Trump did by seizing on this e- mail controversy, Anderson, he is encouraging voters here in Wisconsin and a handful of other states to actually change their votes. This is actually allowed in states like Wisconsin, a few other states, where people send in their ballots, either absentee or do early voting. It's actually allowed in some of these states, but we should point out to our viewers, it is rarely ever an option that is used by voters in any of these states. It just doesn't hardly ever happen.

COOPER: He's had company in Wisconsin today with several key Republicans. ACOSTA: That's right. He did. You know, much has been made of the nervousness inside the Republican Party. A lot of Republicans who were reluctant to throw their arms around Donald Trump, but we did not see that here in Wisconsin tonight.

The RNC chair, Reince Priebus, was here. He is from Wisconsin. The governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker, who was once one of Donald Trump's many foes, he was on the stage introducing Donald Trump as the next president of the United States, and even Ron Johnson who was in a tight re-election battle with Russ Feingold for the Senate seat here. You know, Ron Johnson, it is probably debatable in Wisconsin political circles whether or not this is a good idea, but he was reciting Donald Trump's phrase that we've been hearing out on the campaign trail recently, which is drain the swamp.

There was one noticeable absence, though, here tonight, Anderson, and that is the Speaker of the House Paul Ryan who also hails from the state.

COOPER: Yeah, Paul Ryan -- oop, then there goes Jim. Live T.V. Jim Acosta, thanks with Donald Trump. Soon as he mentioned Paul Ryan, he blips off the air. That's strange. Hmm.

Trump aiming to peel off a blue state. The Clinton campaign remains focused on the -- no conspiracy, believe me, big battleground, but there are some people won't believe it is, with none bigger than Florida, keep that from Trump. And it's all but certain the game is over. CNN's Jeff Zeleny joins us now from the Clinton rally in Ft. Lauderdale.

So, Jeff, Hillary Clinton is going after Trump aggressively today trying to refocus on what she believes is his character.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, the best way to change the subject here at least in the view of the Clinton campaign is to start aggressively going after Donald Trump. That's exactly what she did throughout the day, starting with character, as you mentioned, also going back to a litany of other things she's done over the last several weeks and months.

Such a different tone from what it was, really, just a few days ago, certainly last week, when she was trying to close this campaign with a bipartisan message, trying to reach out to Republicans and others. But today, she aggressively assailed Donald Trump. And she also at a rally just a short time ago in Sanford, Florida, said how much she needs voters on her side. Let's listen.


HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I want to build on the progress that President Obama has made. So think how you'll feel if there was something you could have done but didn't on November the 9th if this doesn't work. Personally, I can't imagine.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ZELENY: And that was a moment there, Anderson, that we have seldom heard Hillary Clinton even allow herself to go there if this doesn't work. If this second presidential campaign doesn't work. None of her advisers believe it's a dire situation, but I think that moment at the rally there shows how much she needs voters to come out on her side.

The complacency that was talked about a week or so ago is out the window. The confidence is shaken a little bit inside the Clinton campaign. So she is asking people to come out and vote.

You can see behind me at this rally here, they're calling it a house party for Hillary. There's big music and it's a festive atmosphere. But her advisers know that she has some work to do here now over the last week of the campaign.

[21:05:10] COOPER: And the campaign is advertising now, they're putting money into Colorado, Michigan, Virginia. Are they worried about Trump gaining ground there?

ZELENY: They're certainly trying to prevent that. I mean, one, the campaign has a lot of money. We've seen all the fund-raisers that Hillary Clinton has been doing throughout the year, but they are, you know, we're not necessarily planning to do this. They're essentially building their blue firewall even higher in Colorado, in Wisconsin, where Jim is, in Michigan, in Virginia, just trying to make sure there are no avenues for Donald Trump to puncture that.

Now, they are watching the surveys and polling very carefully. They believe she has a lead in all of those states, but she is going back to Michigan on Friday, a sign that they are just not sure and they're not as confident of the outline of this race as they were just a few days ago. Anderson?

COOPER: Jeff Zeleny, thanks very much.

We are talking about how close Election Day is when, in fact, for nearly 25 million voters, Election Day, it's already memory, whether by mail or in person, that's how many people have already cast ballot, 25 million. We've got new data on how it's shaking out. John King is back with the wall with that.

So the new numbers today, which party seems to have the upper hand right now?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Look, Anderson, it's a state by state, as you talked to our correspondents, talking about how these two candidates are fighting it out state by state.

Much to say, I mean, you get to early voting. Let's look first at just the big numbers. This is becoming much more of a tradition. We expect to get to 40 percent of Americans voting by absentee or early ballot this time. 20.4 million cast so far. That's as of earlier today. So that numbers even higher. And about half of those from the big battleground states. The states that will decide the next president of the United States. You asked who's doing better. Let's pop it up and take a look here. It depends where you're looking. The red states are places where Republicans are doing better. And they include very important states like Florida, like Ohio. There have been questions about Donald Trump out in the west, in Utah and Arizona, two places where he's had struggles and challenges, the Republicans are doing better. If you look at the Democrats, they're doing better in North Carolina. Hillary Clinton wins North Carolina. She blocks Donald Trump.

This one's interesting. Florida is a 50/50 state when it comes to voter registration. The Republicans have built themselves back up. They lead slightly, but the Democrats trying to take away a state with early voting that Donald Trump has led consistently.

Colorado, Donald Trump was just there, that has been a big Clinton lead, very important for the Democrats, and Nevada, which is a very, very tight race. Clinton has a bit of a lead there. So different states, different parties leading, Anderson. Again, this is incredibly important.

And we count the votes next Tuesday night, but the next several days are actually critical, especially for the Democrats. They understand they'll probably lose in ballots cast on Election Day. They need to run up the lead in the states that matter between now and Monday.

COOPER: And Jeff Zeleny was making reference to this, but, I mean, in your opinion, is the campaign, the Clinton campaign still as confident as they were before the e-mail story?

KING: Yes, but. Yes, but, in the sense that they know they have work to do.

Let me switch to North Carolina for a minute. And as I bring North Carolina in, the most important person for the Clinton campaign in these efforts is the president of the United States. He was in Ohio today, he's on his way to Florida, he'll be in North Carolina twice this week. I think North Carolina's before he gets to Florida. North Carolina twice. Why?

Let me show you these North Carolina numbers. The Democrats are running ahead this cycle over Republicans. If you look at ballots return, 43 percent of the ballots have been returned for Democrats, 30 percent for Republicans. Now, the Democrats are down from 2012 in the percentage, but they have a pretty healthy lead over the Republicans.

Here's a fascinating question we don't -- won't know the answer to until they're counted. Look at these independents or others, much up in North Carolina. Now, there's a libertarian running for Senate in North Carolina, not just a libertarian running for president. We have no idea who these people are and we have no idea who they're voting for. But independents and others are very much up higher.

But here's the key distinction. African-American turnout in North Carolina in the early vote is down 6.3 percent from 2012. Now, Democrats will say that's because there are fewer sites this time, that's because they believe there are been more restrictions. Whatever the reasons, the math counts in the end. That's why the president of United States will go to North Carolina twice this week. Democrats want to drive that number up.

They don't think they'll match the Obama numbers for obvious reasons, but they want to get it up from that, Anderson, they hope to make up the difference with college-educated white women in the research triangle and others. But if there's -- the Democrats feel pretty much good about this, but if there's a flashing light, it's African- American turnout is down. They want to make it up with Latinos and suburban women.

COOPER: Interesting. Democrats, I mean, obviously, had the upper hand in the early voting battle last two cycles. Republicans needed to up their game. Are they delivering? I mean, you talked about Florida there.

KING: In some places. Let me go back to the other map I just showed you. Sorry, acting up a little bit tonight, let's bring this in. Let me bring this back. The question here has been the Republicans -- the Republican National Committee are doing this for the Trump campaign, essentially. They understand what happened in 2008 and 2012. They got their you-know-whats kicked in this game. The question is, do they have the resources?

There is no question in Ohio and Florida, two absolutely critical states for the party, two big Senate races there, two must-wins for Donald Trump. There's no question the Republican Party is doing a better job there. Because of Trump's troubles out there, Utah and Arizona could be places where Donald Trump might owe the Republican Party a big thank you if it works out there. There are other states where it's not as good. Some people think the Democrats are just better at this, Anderson, other people think it's a resource question, they have more money.

[21:10:02] But so far in these big battlegrounds it matters and we'll see by the end of this week. The end of this week, we'll have a much better judge because both the Democrats and the Republicans give you reasons, excuses, call it what you will, for why they're not doing so well here and doing better there. We have a few more days to sort it out.

COOPER: Yeah, John King. John, thanks very much.

Back with the panel. Joining this hour also, Clinton biographer and metro reporter here in Washington, perhaps you've heard of him, Carl Bernstein.

John's going to rejoin the -- actually, no, yeah, well, Carl, let's start off with you. I mean, it's a question I asked last week, but I think it bears repeating because Republicans have been pointing to Watergate time and time again since this e-mail controversy broke. You know more than anybody about it. Is this another Water -- is this bigger than Watergate as some Republicans have said?

CARL BERNSTEIN, JOURNALIST AND AUTHOR: There is no comparison whatsoever. Watergate was about a criminal president of the United States who presided over a criminal presidency from the day he got into office to the day he left, who ordered break-ins, used the institutions of government like the IRS to get tax returns against enemies, who abused the office throughout. 48 people, co- conspirators, with the president of the United States were sentenced and found guilty as a result ...


BERNSTEIN: 48. Of what happened in Watergate. What has happened here is that the server, Hillary Clinton setting up her e-mail serve recklessly and then trying to hide the reasons why, and not being straight forward about it has produced a reaction, I think, that is about Clinton's and Clintonism. They been around 25 years and they are easy targets for the Republicans and for people who want change, who think, oh, they're really sleazy. They really cover-up.

There is nothing comparison. Hillary Clinton, whatever we say about her, and God knows, I've been rough about her on the server, that she is not a one-dimensional person. She is not a criminal. Crooked Hillary, she is not crooked Hillary. Does she lie as many politicians and has she lied about the server? Yes. But at the same time, Donald Trump and lying in a kind of pathological way.

So what we have here is that the Clintons, both of them, are very much in this race for the presidency. And I think to some extent, we have a referendum about a couple who has been with us for 25 years in public life and it is their misfortune that they are being judged on the negatives, we're forgetting a bit about the positives of what they have done and who they are.

COOPER: And yet, Hillary Clinton is trying to make this a referendum on Donald Trump's character, for her in the closing days of this, do you think that's a mistake?

JEFFREY LORD, TRUMP SUPPORTER: I do think it's a mistake for this reason. Her problem is that she's held office. That's what this is about. I mean, if she were running against any Republican who held office somewhere or had held office, she'd have a different case to make, and perhaps a better case to make. He's a private citizen. So he's missing that entire ...

COOPER: There's some who argue any Republican would do better than Donald Trump has done, because of the character issues.


COOPER: (Inaudible) I assume you would ...

LORD: And I remember President Romney.

MARIA CARDONA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Yeah. No, I think that's right. And I think in these last days, she is going to try to make it more of a referendum on Donald Trump and his character, but I also think she's going to make it more of a contrast.

And in fact, what you saw today and her focus today on women, I think, really crystallizes one of her key messages in this last week, which is, if you really want to look at the stark choice that is before voters between now and election day, look at how they have treated women. You have somebody who'll be presumably the first woman president who has worked for the rights of women and children her whole life versus Donald Trump, who has only demeaned women in the last 30 days.

COOPER: Right. But Congressman, among Trump supporter, as we were seeing earlier tonight in Randi's report, that message just doesn't fly. And probably even for undecided who are breaking for Republicans because they are -- they're leaning Republican, they say Donald Trump has character flaws, but less than Hillary Clinton.

JACK KINGSTON, SENIOR ADVISER, TRUMP CAMPAIGN: You know, I'd say for the partisans, who are voting and there's plenty on both sides, they've already made up their mind, and they're not going to worry about some of this, but for the undecided people who are looking at this economy, the weakest recovery in modern history, the lowest home ownership rate, 4 -- 94 million people underemployed or unemployed, 43 million people on food stamps, household income that has fallen from 57,000 to 53,000. That's what's going to say, I want change. I don't want a third term of Barack Obama.

COOPER: Do you believe it actually goes to those issues, Bakari?

BAKARI SELLERS, CLINTON SUPPORTER: No, I don't. Because one of the things that he said was the weakest recovery, but we are in a recovery and the middle class is actually growing and it's growing the fastest since the last Clinton was in the White House.

But I think one of the things that we're failing to realize is that the electorate has changed since 2008. It's a vastly different electorate. I mean, many of the points that John was making at the board were so accurate and on point. Because what we're starting to see, where Hillary Clinton is doing poorly or has the least chance of winning of these swing states are Ohio and Iowa. And that's where you have the highest collection of non-college-educated white voters.


[21:15:09] COOPER: Let him finish.

SELLERS: And one of the things that Hillary Clinton has to do to put this coalition back together, and it's not going to look like Barack Obama in 2012, it's not going to look like the '96 Bulls, that was a sports reference.

COOPER: Yeah. I went to my special place for a second.

SELLERS: You're going to think that's it's going to happen is you're going to have to see the African-American community come out, which they're starting to do over the last ...

COOPER: Although, North Carolina, down six ...

SELLERS: Nut North Carolina, you had more polling sites that started to come open last Thursday. You had good suppression efforts. And in Florida, now you're starting to see that number run where they're registered voters and that's ...

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Whatever happened to the positive closing arguments? We see Donald Trump actually now that he's got a little wind at his back starting to make more of a positive closing argument, staying on message ...

COOPER: Well, staying on message because not -- doesn't want to make any mistakes in the ...

BORGER: Yeah, but then we have Hillary Clinton ...


KING: He has to because his temperament and fitness are in question. She can't ...

BORGER: Right.

KING: ... because her character is in question as they flip.

BORGER: So she's -- so it is a flip. So Hillary Clinton is making the negative argument, talking about Donald Trump, reminding people of what he said about women, reminding of his history. This was not, I would wager and maybe you can tell me if I'm wrong, this was not where the Clinton campaign ...

COOPER: Right.

BORGER: ... wanted to be at this point.


COOPER: Well, Dana, if Hillary Clinton wins, what happens to Comey? I mean, the -- what director serve a 10 year -- usually through 10 years ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's a good question.


Well, we just happened to be backstage finding the answer to this question out, so it's funny that you asked.

COOPER: He served three years so far and usually they serve 10-year ...

BASH: It's a 10-year term.

COOPER: Right.

BASH: And the answer is, yes, he could be let go. He could be removed from his job, asked to resign, fired, whatever. But it's a highly, highly unusual ... COOPER: Right. Would that be how Hillary Clinton wants to start her ...

BASH: Well, there's that and especially ...


BASH: ... given the recent history between the two, it's unlikely. I think probably the more likely thing is that if she wins, excuse me, they're just going to kind of work through this and hope that for the next several years things change. And at this particular issue will be wrapped up ...


KING: I just want to make a point about the math conversation. Yes, there are undecided people out there, but campaigns, again, I'm going to go back to the conversation we've had for days. We live in the age of big data and everyone wants to talk about undecided voters at the end. Both campaigns, the Democrats have been better at this the last two cycles, we're going to see having a list of voters.

And they have a number in each state, they have a number in each county, they have a number in each key precinct. And they are determined to turn out that number in that key precinct.

And so let me borrow your devices for a minute Carl. Here's the election right now. I have these three devices. If Hillary Clinton loses one of these devices in the next seven days, she still wins the election. If she loses two of ...

COOPER: I'm not sure you should be making reference to ...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Should we go to commercial?


KING: She has the votes to win the election today.



BORGER: Right.

KING: She has the votes. They have it in the database, trying to turn them ...

COOPER: She can hammer it home ...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The question is does she lose them in the next seven days? (CROSSTALK)

COOPER: One at a time. Dana?

BASH: Let me add to that for one second just to give you a real-world example of what John's talking about.


BASH: No devices.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No three-card Monty.

BASH: I was in Iowa over the weekend, out with some canvassers, Republican canvassers, and one of the things that they have on their app, on their survey, that they give to voters is, how do you think the direction of the country is going? And if they say, it's not good, and then the next answer to, who are you going to vote for is Hillary Clinton? They -- the Republicans return to that house because they think they're soft voters and they're the Hillary Clinton voters that are gettable. That there not actually really ...

SELLERS: Can I come in ...

BASH: ... in the bag for Hillary.

SELLERS: On Gloria's point real quick about the positive message going out, I'm not necessarily sure that's the case. I think it's the message that best resonates with your voters.


SELLERS: With your voters that have been identified. And so you have these anecdotal things. Like, you have John Lewis who was in Florida today, leading a march through the polls. He'll be Thursday in Charlotte, leading a march to the polls.

And so what it is now, I mean, I think you have campaigns that are literally in two different stages. Donald Trump is still trying to find voters.


SELLERS: And that's not where you want to be now. And Hillary Clinton is trying to get her voters out.

COOPER: We've got to take a break. We're just got to take a break in, including the vote that dare not speak its name. Hear Paul Ryan say who he voted for without ever saying who he actually voted for.

Later, Obama effect, John King mentioned it, Carl Bernstein wrote about it, the question is, can the president get voters fired up and ready to go for Hillary Clinton, ahead?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [21:23:16] COOPER: House Speaker Paul Ryan today revealed he has voted. He also revealed who he voted for, he did not, however, say his name.


REP. PAUL RYAN, (R) HOUSE SPEAKER: I stand where I stood all fall and all summer. In fact, I already voted here in Janesville for our nominee last week in early voting. We need to support our entire Republican ticket.


COOPER: Well, if this sounds familiar, you're right, the country's top elected Republican has a long-standing aversion to using the T- word. Here he is back in May talking to Jake Tapper, talking for more than in quarter hour, saying the nominee, the presumptive nominee, or standard-bearer 19 times, never uttering the nominee's name once.


RYAN: And I think the bulk of the burden on unifying the party will have to come from our presumptive nominee. We hope that hour nominee. As far as to be Lincoln and Reaganesque, our nominee. Our standard- bearer. I think our nominee. Our presumptive nominee. Standard- bearer. Our nominee. And our presumptive nominee. Our presumptive nominee. This man is going to get the nomination. Our presumptive nominee. Our standard-bearer. The presumptive nominee. Our standard-bearer. Standard-bearer. Our standard-bearer. The standard-bearer.


COOPER: Back with the panel. Congressman Kingston, I mean, if you can't even say the presumptive nominee's name ...

KINGSTON: You know what? He voted for Donald Trump. That's all that matters.

SELLERS: But are we sure?

BORGER: How do you know?

KINGSTON: Let me just say, as we would say in sports, a win's a win. He voted for Trump ...

LORD: In Wisconsin.

COOPER: But Jeffrey, doesn't it -- I mean, what does it say?

LORD: It says he's a wuss. I don't know how else to say this. I mean, when the voters of your party select a presidential nominee and you're the speaker of the house, you get out there for the nominee. That's part of your job description. I wrote a thing saying, if he can't do it, resign. I mean, I just -- I mean, I'm just dumbfounded.

BORGER: But he's not the only one, by the way.


COOPER: One at a time. Gloria?

LORD: What about courage of conviction.

[21:25:00] COOPER: Go ahead, Gloria.

BORGER: He isn't the only Republican who has a problem getting the T- Trump ...

LORD: And this is the argument within the Republican Party.

BORGER: Right.

LORD: This is the basis of the civil war.

BORGER: And most of them are in the Senate. I mean, Dana was just saying Mitch McConnell has the same problem.

BASH: Yeah.

BORGER: He doesn't like to talk about Trump at all.

LORD: The base of the party has a problem, too.

BORGER: And look, it's no secret that Donald Trump is not Paul Ryan's preferred Republican nominee. And what he's trying to do is save the House of Representatives and what he's out doing is campaigning, but he wasn't with Trump in the state of Wisconsin.

BASH: But can we just talk about the fact that what we are debating is so the new normal? We're talking about him whether or not he's saying his name. In a normal year, they're all on the stage together, campaigning together. I mean, never mind that he's not saying his name. The most important thing is that Donald Trump was in his state and Paul Ryan skipped town faster than ...


KING: The governor of Ohio wrote in John McCain. If Donald Trump loses Ohio by a couple thousand votes, John Kasich will take the blame. He'll probably stand up proudly and take the blame if the Republican Party will blame him, saying, you cost us the state we need to win.

Nikki Haley, a rising star in the party, the governor of South Carolina, said she voted for Trump. I think she actually used his name, but she said he makes her stomach turn and she worries every day about the next thing that's going to come out of his mouth.

BORGER: And Kelly Ayotte ...

KINGSTON: But remember this. Back in June, March of 2015, nobody -- if you looked at the stage of 17 people, nobody picked out Donald Trump. He won the nomination with 14 million votes and did not have the establishment with him, really, any -- at any point during the campaign. So this is a different type of campaign ...

SELLERS: Let me push back briefly on your talking point, because there actually more ...

KINGSTON: It's not a talking point. It is possible to have original thought ...

SELLERS: There are more Republicans in the primary who voted against Donald Trump than voted for Donald Trump. But there are a lot of people who do not like where Donald Trump is taking this new Republican Party. I mean, the fact is, this race is close. This race is becoming closer, because more Republicans are coming home to Donald Trump. At one point, he was 80 percent of the GOP in polls.

BORGER: Right.

SELLERS: Now, he's getting closer to 90. But Donald Trump has done severe damage to the Republican Party when you're talking about ...

LORD: The Republican Party has done damage to itself.

SELLERS: When you're talking about growing the party by bringing in African-Americans, bringing in Hispanics, bringing in women. I mean, I don't know anyone who can actually stand on stage and say that Donald Trump has made the Republican Party better.


BORGER: ... man for himself. If you look at people running in the Senate, Kelly Ayotte, for example, I should say each woman for herself. She couldn't decide whether or not Donald Trump was a role model. And that got her in trouble. And so the Senate races are being run as local races.


BORGER: The House races are being run as local races. There is no kind of national and premature on it other than the Republican national ...

KINGSTON: But, Gloria, there are a lot of outliers who are trying to run from him and it's a big group. I'm not saying that they're not, but the majority of Republicans are home and the majority of those running for office are not trying to distance themselves from Donald Trump.

LORD: And there's a subset ...

KINGSTON: It's a different candidate and a different year.

LORD: There's a subset of this, as well. Some Republicans are trying to blame conservative media, talk radio, saying that this has become the party to have Rush Limbaugh, et cetera, et cetera.

BASH: But that's not new.

LORD: Well, no, it's not new.

BASH: Ask John Boehner.

LORD: But it's surfacing a lot increasingly these days. I just saw another article today in "Media Matters" about this.


BERNSTEIN: Well, no, no.

LORD: What?

BERNSTEIN: Wouldn't it be courageous if ...

COOPER: What are you doing reading "Media Matters"?

LORD: We conservatives have broad tastes.

COOPER: OK. No, I mean ...

LORD: Broad tastes. I need to find out when I'm being attacked.

COOPER: OK. All right.



KING: ... is getting worse, it's not getting better.

BORGER: It is.

KING: To Congressman Kingston's point, speaking from the House perspective, the Congress perspective, you're exactly right. If you look at he House districts, most of those guys are safe, especially in the south and in the west. They can support Trump full-throatedly, because in their district, they're going to win and they're going to -- you know, Trump's going to get a big percentage of the vote. But when you go statewide, that's where you have the Senate candidates and the governors who are a lot more queasy about this. And then -- this debate, elections usually settle debates within parties. This one is ...

SELLERS: Is it fair to say this? I remember this picture on stage before the South Carolina primary and it was ...

BASH: I was there.

SELLERS: ... a picture of the Republican Party.

BASH: Yes, I was there.

BORGER: Yes. SELLERS: It was Trey Gowdy who has the best hair in Congress. And then you have Tim Scott, you had Nikki Halley and then you have Marco Rubio.


BASH: Marco Rubio.

SELLERS: And that -- and I'm saying this as a Democrat, that terrified me, because that showed that for some reason, that the Republican Party had outreach mechanisms, the Republican Party was growing its base, the Republican Party was looking like the ...

KING: But they didn't ...

SELLERS: Do you know what happened? Exactly.


SELLERS: Donald Trump went out and beat him by 20 points. And Donald Trump spoke to a part of the Republican Party that they've been cultivating for the past 10 years.

BORGER: Right.

BASH: That's true.

SELLERS: Every time you call Barack Obama a Kenyan, Muslim insurgent rebel or every time you have this -- every time you get endorsed by KKK papers, this is what happens.

BASH: Can I just say as somebody who's been covering the Republicans particularly during the Tea Party revolution and so forth in Congress, I don't think it's fair to say that the party has been cultivating them. I think that the tail has been wagging the dog a little bit in that sense.

[21:30:00] SELLERS: Well, you have the ...

BASH: But, but, to your point about the sort of rainbow coalition that the Republican Party, I was there at that South Carolina event, those are all poor young people. And Donald Trump is certainly is leading the current Republican Party. He's the nominee. He got the most votes. But the Republicans I talked to hope that there is time still for the party to transform itself into the Nikki Haley, Tim Scott ...

COOPER: Maria?

CARDONA: But that's the difficulty that the Republican Party is facing because that's what they thought in 2012.


CARDONA: That's why they -- that's why they did the autopsy.

BASH: That's true.

CARDONA: This is nothing new. And so the clash has always been, oh, well, we lost because we weren't conservative enough. Well, no, maybe you lost because your policies aren't speaking to the way America is growing.

COOPER: Congressman?

KINGSTON: Who was the candidate who went to Milwaukee? And who was the candidate who went to Flint, Michigan? And who's the candidate asked a Republican to go into the inner city and say, look, I've got a plan for education improvement. I've got a plan for safety. I've got a plan for jobs. It's Donald J. Trump. And I can say this ...

CARDONA: Let him finish.


COOPER: Let him finish.

KINGSTON: He is going in and he is addressing issues and he is saying, the door is open, come on in. And, you know ...

COOPER: OK. Bakari, addressing issues ...

SELLERS: No, no, he is not addressing issues. He's ...


SELLERS: I just let you finish.


SELLERS: He's talking at African-Americans, he was not, at any point during this race, talking to African-Americans. And if you want to talk about the messenger, if you're going to sit here and say that somehow the person who has discrimination on their record, somehow the person ...


CARDONA: No, he's done nothing.

SELLERS: I have no idea what that means. But the fact is ...

KINGSTON: That's where all the rich people, one percenters are.

SELLERS: Hillary Clinton has been more engrained in the African- American community than Donald Trump has ...

COOPER: All right, let's take a break on this. I keep imagining Jeffrey Lord late at night reading with a flashlight ...

BASH: Very liberal website.

COOPER: Yeah. We're going to hear more from the panel in a moment. Also President Obama slamming Donald Trump at a rally in Ohio. Can the president help close the deal for Hillary Clinton by crisscrossing the battleground states? That's next as a crowd awaits for Hillary Clinton in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, tonight.


[21:35:30] COOPER: Looking at live pictures of the event in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, where Hillary Clinton is expected. We're waiting to hear from her shortly. President Obama slammed Donald Trump in Ohio a short time ago, campaigning for Clinton at a rally in Columbus. He said not to be bamboozled by Trump. The president hit Trump on everything from his refusal to release his taxes to the way he's talked about women and said that the office of the presidency amplifies who you are. President Obama has several more campaign stops scheduled for the final stretch. Michelle Kosinski tonight has more.


PRES. BARACK OBAMA, UNITED STATES: Hillary Clinton is consistently treated differently than just about any other candidate I see out there.

No, no, no, do not believe that stuff. Has she made mistakes? Of course, so have I.

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: This is President Obama in the twilight of his eight years in office trying to be the closer now for Hillary Clinton.

OBAMA: There's nobody in the public arena, over the course of 30 years, that doesn't make some.

KOSINSKI: He's been busy crisscrossing battleground states, enormous rallies.

OBAMA: Come on, people. This ain't a show.

KOSINSKI: This week will mark a second trip to Ohio, a third to North Carolina, and Florida with multiple stops. Just win one of those, the thinking goes, and she wins. So he's on college campuses, on radio shows popular with African-Americans.

OBAMA: She's made mistakes in the past, just like everybody has. But these are nothing compared to the ongoing daily transgressions that Mr. Trump engages in.

KOSINSKI: And on social media, YouTube, Snapchat, Late night comedy, mean tweets.

OBAMA: ... @realdonaldtrump, at least I will go down as a president.

KOSINSKI: The President makes no direct reference to Hillary Clinton's e-mail troubles during these stops, but what you do notice since last Friday, when developments broke, he doesn't joke around quite so much as if it's a comedy routine with the mocking of Donald Trump. Now, he's more serious, almost pleading with the crowd at times to look at what's at stake, and vote.

Here in the razor-close battleground of Ohio, where polls are showing the scale starting to tip now in favor of Donald Trump, and the number of Republicans voting early has grown. That message is seen by Democrats as crucial.

The President's favorability rating, 57 percent now, compared to Hillary Clinton's 46. Obama's voice can only help her, and along with the first lady's, is the strongest out there. The goal, generating enthusiasm and momentum.

At the time President Obama was elected, 79 percent of his supporters were very enthusiastic about voting. For Clinton, it's 54 percent.

OBAMA: Choose hope. Choose hope. Vote. Vote. Vote.

KOSINSKI: A gap Democrats are trying to fill in these last days of connecting with Americans.


COOPER: And Michelle joins us now. So what does the Clinton campaign think the President can have the most effect right now?

KOSINSKI: Yeah, it's telling to see them working with the White House to send him places where they feel he's need, even on short notice. I mean last week, at one point, they changed his locations for this week, three times in one day, and just tonight, we saw them add another location. So by the time Sunday rolls around, he will have completed five events in Florida. That tells you where they think he can make the most difference, especially in appealing to the young people, the African-Americans that Hillary Clinton needs.

What's happening, though, in some states, including here in Ohio, you're seeing that the African-American vote for early voting isn't as great as it's been in prior years. This is a state where President Obama won in 2008 and 2012, and you've heard him say it himself on the trail this year that this election you have to treat it like you're running scared and you can't take anything for granted. Anderson?

COOPER: Michelle Kosinski. Michelle, thanks very much.

Back with the panel. Carl, you wrote about this, I think, it was a month ago, that Secretary Clinton needs President Obama out there and out there as often as possible.

BERNSTEIN: Well, if she is going to win, it has to be by getting women, black, and brown people to come together with an enormous outpouring. And an outpouring because her opponent has run a racist campaign. And that too should get people out there.

[21:40:12] Look, we keep talking about Hillary Clinton as one one- dimensional. You know, her father was a bigot and she went to hear Martin Luther King when she was a teenager and it transformed her. And whatever you say about Hillary Clinton, she has been dedicated to improving the lives of people of color in this country and to their cause, we -- the history of this country is largely about race. And our history is about race and immigration. And that is what she has embraced in this election against a candidate who has come out on the opposite side of history. That's really what this election is about.

COOPER: Well, Jeffrey, I want you to be able to respond to that because, I mean, do you believe -- I mean, Donald Trump talked about making an outreach to African-Americans. To Bakari's point, Bakari's arguing he was just sort of lecturing people, saying your communities are -- your schools are terrible, you have no jobs, you're going to get shot in the street. Do you think that has been effective?

LORD: I think he has reached some African-Americans with this. But also think that President Obama trying to transfer his popularity, this is not an easy thing to do for any president, to transfer your popularity to your would-be successor.

I do want to answer Carl's thing here, my friend, Carl, because I do see this totally differently here. When you just said that she's out there appealing to black, brown, and however you said this, that to me is the old Democratic Party formula of appealing to people by race and using it to push the progressive agenda. That's where Donald Trump differs. That's where the Republican Party of Lincoln and Reagan and Jack Kemp differs. And that's the thing that I think, frankly, she should be held accountable ...

BERNSTEIN: I would agree with you about Jack Kemp ...


COOPER: Let Bakari ...

SELLERS: He said about people of color, let me jump in real quick.

BORGER: Thank you.

SELLERS: You know, I think that one of the things that the Republican Party has to take from this is that, you know, when I go and talk to people, it's not as if -- I don't want you to not see race, Jeffrey. You know, people say we're living in a post-racial America, and I don't want to see race. No, I actually want you to see me for who I am and the benefit of diversity that I bring to the table.

And so, I think that one of the things that we're having is we're trying to have this conversation about race, but many times we end up talking past each other. I mean, one of the things that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have shown is just that we don have color and white only on the bathrooms anymore, but we still have a hell of a lot of racism in this country. And that is a tragedy. And it's reared its ugly head and it's come out and it's become more overt.

If you go down my Twitter feed, if you look at some of the things that people say about me and my family and wanting me to go -- I'm mean, it's insane.

COOPER: OK. Maria?

CARDONA: And it is not the party of Jack Kemp. I worked on a project with Jack Kemp before he died and he told me my Republican Party has left me. And this was in 2006. So, imagine what he would think of it now.

COOPER: I do-- I'm sorry, I do want to bring up something and I'll play for our viewers, something that President Obama said on the campaign trail today because it's something -- I think, Dana, you were talking about before we went on air. So let's just play this.


OBAMA: And I know that my wife is not just my equal, but my superior. That I want -- I want every man out there who's voting to kind of look inside yourself and ask yourself, if you're having problems with this stuff, how much of it is, you know, that we're just not used to it.

So that, you know, like -- like when a guy's ambitious and out in the public arena and working hard, well, that's OK. But when a woman suddenly does it, suddenly you're all like, well, why's she doing that? I'm just being honest. I want you to think about it because she is so much better qualified than the other guy.


BASH: I just thought ...

COOPER: How do you think that resonates?

BASH: I just thought that was so incredibly powerful for a lot of reasons. But the biggest reason is because that's a message coming from a guy ...


BASH: ... and not from a woman. And not just any guy. I mean, obviously, this is a guy who cares deeply about women getting ahead for lots of reasons, primarily that he's surrounded by them. I mean, he lives with his mother, his mother-in-law, and two daughters. So he knows that, you know, this is a double standard. And he hopes that it isn't so ...

CARDONA: And can I ...

COOPER: Let her finish. Let her finish.

BASH: ... never mind the person he wants to succeed him in the White House. I just think -- excuse me, I'm not getting choked up, I'm getting an allergy attack. But I think that the fact is that when you have Michelle Obama going out there and saying similar things, it's powerful, because she is a powerful woman. But to have a guy say it ...


BASH: ... is just a whole different thing, because he's not talking to women, he's talking to men.

BORGER: And when women hear that, they say, oh, he's been at my house, because I've had that conversation.

[21:45:01] COOPER: All right.

CARDONA: And can I just add, it is also incredibly powerful that it's coming from an African-American man.


CARDONA: Because there is an issue in some communities of color with at least in Latino communities, with machismo. So when you see a person that you respect so much like the Obama coalition does and you listen to him making that case for a woman to be commander-in-chief, you listen and I think it's incredibly impactful, not just for women, but for the men that were listening as well.

COOPER: We've got to take a break.

Just ahead, the Trump supporter behind the smear campaign in Utah against third party candidate Evan McMullin who's closing in there, a robocall and a pretty vicious ad.


WILLIAM JOHNSON, CHAIRMAN, AMERICAN FREEDOM PARTY: I make this call against Evan McMullin and in support of Donald Trump. Evan is over 40 years old and is not married and doesn't even have a girlfriend. I believe Evan is a closet homosexual.



COOPER: Well, the Trump campaign is distancing itself from a robocall smearing Evan McMullin, an independent presidential candidate with significant support in his home state of Utah.

The latest polling in Utah that meets CNN standards shows Donald Trump ahead at 34 percent, Hillary Clinton with 28 percent, McMullin at 20 percent, Gary Johnson with nine, Jill Stein with one.

Now, keep in mind, this poll was mainly conducted before the sexual assault allegations against Trump were widely reported and before obviously the e-mail as well.

In other recent polls, McMullin, who is a Mormon, has been surging, Trump supporters are concerned that he could type (ph) in crucial vote in conservative Utah. That is the back story. Ana Cabrera has more now on the campaign against McMullin and the Trump supporter behind it.


JOHNSON: I make this call against Evan McMullin and in support of Donald Trump.

[21:50:00] ANA CABRERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's a robocall targeting third party presidential candidate, Evan McMullin in Utah.

JOHNSON: Evan McMullin is an open borders, amnesty supporter.

CABRERA: The guy behind it.

JOHNSON: They put up a candidate to try to stop Donald Trump.

CABRERA: William Johnson, a Trump supporter and white nationalist.

JOHNSON: There are those of us who want to do our part to help him become elected.

CABRERA: Listen closely to this part of the call that's creating the most controversy.

JOHNSON: Evan has two mommies. His mother is a lesbian, married to another woman. Evan is OK with that. Indeed Evan supports the Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage.

Evan is over 40 years old and is not married and doesn't even have a girlfriend. I believe Evan is a closet homosexual.

CABRERA: Johnson doesn't even live in Utah. He is in California. He spent $2,000 to dial up 193,000 landlines in the state where polls show McMullin, a Utah native, former CIA operative and devote Mormon siphoning the conservative vote from Trump.

EVAN MCMULLIN, (I) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's close race, but the momentum is ours.

CABRERA: Johnson admits he doesn't really know McMullin. In fact, he has a hard time pronouncing his name.

JOHNSON: Evan McCullin is the candidate ...

CABRERA: When asked about the allegations that McMullin is gay?

JOHNSON: I don't know whether he is or not. I just said that I think that he might be.

MCMULLIN: I'm straight and that's all I have to say about that. It's -- yeah, not something I feel like I have to defend. Of course I'm not happy that he attacked my mother and I'm not happy about the approach it took, but I think it's going to back fire here in Utah.

CABRERA: The Trump campaign was quick to rebuke the robocall saying in a statement, "We strongly condemn this rhetoric and these activities of which we have no knowledge."


COOPER: Ana joins us now. We mentioned Trump ahead in Utah. Is his support showing any signs of slipping with things like this robocall? CABRERA: Well, it's still too soon to tell the impact of this robocall because it just began yesterday, goes through tomorrow night. But the fact that this race could be close in Utah at all is a big deal. Remember, this is a state that Romney won by nearly 50 points back in 2012 and we did see a turning point in this state after the Trump allegations of sexual misconduct and that "Access Hollywood" tape, that's when we've saw two of Utah's congressmen come out and disavow Trump. We saw the Republican governor also come out strongly against Trump. We saw the Deserate News, which is own by the Mormon Church, in an unprecedented move call on Trump to resign his candidacy. Hillary Clinton has moved more campaign staffers into the state.

Now, we're taking a look at the early vote totals and those returns so far, and right now, Republicans do have a significant edge. 46 percent of those who have already voted in the state are registered Republicans, but that's a big gap from where we were at, at this stage back in 2012. That's down, and nobody knows exactly who those voters are picking on their ballots. So, there are still questions remaining about whether the state will remain red this year, Anderson.

COOPER: Ana Cabrera, appreciate it.

Now the battleground state of Iowa, where the presidential race officially began nine months ago, which is seven days left in the race, the Hawkeye State is very much in play. Dana Bash raised it earlier in the program filled this report.


BASH: Knocking on doors, pounding the pavement.


BASH: A scramble for votes playing out across battleground states.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need everybody, all of our supporters, all of our Democrats to vote.

BASH: In Iowa, the urgency is palpable. It went for President Obama twice, now it's a dead heat and Republicans are working to turn Iowa red.

The fact that an outsider is at the top of the ticket is huge here in Iowa.

ERIC BRANSTAD, IOWA STATE DIRECTOR, TRUMP CAMPAIGN: It is huge. There is -- we are ready for change and Mr. Trump brings that change.

BASH: Eric Brandstad, the son of Iowa's long time GOP governor, runs the Trump's operation here and says his appeal reaches beyond the GOP base.

BRANSTAD: I have gone to Republican rallies my entire life. We are seeing new voters like we've never seen before.

Application for an absentee ballot right here.

BASH: Early voting has been underway for over a month, the Democrats usually win the early vote.

JEFF KAUFMANN, CHAIRMAN, REPUBLICAN PARTY OF IOWA: I mean literally hundreds of times I've had Republicans tell me no, I want to vote on Election Day, you know, and for them it's a tradition, it's something that they've grown up with.

BASH: This year, Iowa GOP officials are trying to bank more early votes to better compete. So far, Republicans are doing better than in 2012, but still lagging with 33.9 percent of the early vote compared to 43.2 percent from Democrats.

To push the early vote, both candidates recently came to Cedar Rapids, Iowa just hours apart.

TRUMP: She is the candidate of yesterday.

CLINTON: We have come too far to let Donald Trump take us back.

BASH: The challenge for Democrats, Iowa was never Clinton country. Her stunning 2008 Democratic caucus loss was the beginning of the end for that campaign, in her 2016 win against Bernie Sanders was a struggle.

[21:55:06] What's the Hillary Clinton coalition?

DR. ANDY MCGUIRE, IOWA DEMOCRATIC PARTY CHAIRWOMAN: It's a great coalition. It's made up of really every kind of group. They do not want someone who's not fit to be president and they're going to vote for Hillary Clinton.

BASH: Iowa Democrats argue their voters are fired up, especially against Trump, and they insist they're get-out-the-vote operation is superior and that will push Hillary Clinton over the finish line.

MCGUIRE: It is a toss-up state and it's going to come down to the organization and I think that's what's going to get us the win.

BASH: In Iowa like many states up for grabs, it could come down to the difference between organization and enthusiasm. Talk about the enthusiasm.

KAUFMANN: It's -- it's at an all-time high and, you know, I will give Hillary Clinton one compliment. She has made the environment wonderful for Republicans.

TRUMP: Thank you, Iowa.

BASH: The question is whether that's enough for Trump to win Iowa's six crucial electoral votes.


COOPER: And only six electoral votes but still critical for Donald Trump.

BASH: Incredibly critical. I was talking to Republicans about this and about the broader map, asking whether or not Donald Trump could be president without winning Iowa, and the answer from everybody I talked to is no. It's only six but the answer is no. They are very much banking on turning Iowa red and Ohio obviously, as well. I mean, it's traditional been a state that Republicans have to win, and that is no different this time.

COOPER: Dana Bash. Daba, thanks very much. Appreciate it. We'll be right back.


[22:00:09] COOPER: Hey, thanks so much for watching tonight. "CNN Tonight" with Don Lemon starts now.