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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA
What Trump Needs to Flip in Race for 270; October Jobs Report Shows Unemployment Dips to 4.9 Percent; Trump: Generals Don't want Clinton as Their Boss; Part of Clinton's Closing Arguments Focus on Women; Irony of Melania Trump Blasting "Too Mean" Bullying. Aired 11- 11:30a ET
Aired November 4, 2016 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:15] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm John Berman.
This just in. A bold new prediction just four days out. Someone is going to win this election.
BOLDUAN: I thought so.
BERMAN: That much is clear. Beyond that, though, things are murky.
What we can tell you is it is very close. The new CNN poll of polls shows Hillary Clinton with the lead right now of four points. That is pretty close. Has it ever been closer?
BOLDUAN: Funny you should ask. Four days out, in 2012, it was a dead heat. But as you know, this election will not be decided by a national poll. Instead, it will be the race to 270 electoral votes. That's what candidates are working so hard on today. That is where the new drama is setting in.
Let's bring in CNN political director, David Chalian, who has all the answers.
David, we know Hillary Clinton's path. Donald Trump's path to 270 very different. How narrow is it for Donald Trump right now?
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: It's still pretty narrow. Remember, you just compared that 2012 race to today. Barack Obama still had a pretty big victory even though it was closer at this point. That's probably good news for Hillary Clinton. So too is the map. Take a look at our current state of the battleground. Remember, if Donald Trump were to win each of the remaining battleground states, give him Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, still not enough. He still has to find somewhere else to go. Maybe New Hampshire where the polls have been tied in the last day or so. That gets him to 269. Then he would have to get this congressional district up here in the north of Maine to get him the extra electoral vote and get him to 270. This is the no room for error map for Donald Trump. BERMAN: All right. There you have it, David Chalian.
What about Hillary Clinton? Do you have anything on her for us?
CHALIAN: Well, listen, Hillary's entire mission is to save the blue wall. Let me show you a different Trump path and where he's looking to break through that blue wall. It is right up here in the Rust Belt. This is what the Trump campaign from the very beginning told us that they were interested in doing, in changing the map. Watch what happens here. Here, I don't have to give Donald Trump every battleground state. Say he hangs on to Utah and Arizona. Say he wins Florida and Ohio. But let's give Hillary Clinton North Carolina and Nevada. Obviously, she would be at 293, she would have won this election. But now Donald Trump goes hunting through this Rustbelt. If he can flip Michigan and Wisconsin, he's at 270. Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, if he can get two of those three, he doesn't need all the battlegrounds. That would get him there. The problem, right now, that blue wall is still holding. The polls have Hillary Clinton out front in Michigan, out front in Wisconsin, out front in Pennsylvania. That's blocking Donald Trump's sort of Rustbelt path to the presidency.
BERMAN: Of course, Donald Trump going there and elsewhere. He's going everywhere in the next few days.
BOLDUAN: Interesting when you look at the travel schedules.
BERMAN: David Chalian, thanks so much for being with us. Appreciate it.
CHALIAN: Thanks, guys.
BOLDUAN: Thank you.
This morning, we are getting our final look at how the economy is doing before the election. The latest jobs report out this morning showing 161,000 jobs were added in October. And the unemployment rate dipped to 4.9 percent. But the Trump campaign has summed it up in one word from their perspective, disastrous.
BERMAN: "CNN Money" correspondent, Alison Kosik, joins us.
Alison, what do you see in the numbers?
ALISON KOSIK, CNN MONEY CORRESPONDENT: I'm thinking I will be hard pressed to characterize this jobs report as disastrous. I'll get to that in a bit.
Let me go deeper behind the numbers and reiterate what you just said. that 161,000 jobs added to the economy, that's actually a little bit of a miss but not a big deal because when you look at the real headline from this jobs report, it's all the way far to the right, that wage growth, 2.8 percent. Wages grew 2.8 percent over the past year. That means your paychecks are getting bigger. This is the best growth we have seen for wages in several years and it's something that's going to make American voters feel good about the economy. Obviously they want to see wages grow more. I would love to see that number at 3.5 percent but at this point, the trend is moving higher.
Where did employers hire? Well, they hired in the health services positions, 31,000. Business professional areas like computer systems design and advertising. Unfortunately, we are continuing to see this down trend in manufacturing. Really growth in manufacturing remains nonexistent. Those people who are not skilled move on to other jobs no doubt feel left behind in this economy.
Let me swing back to the political lens very quickly because as you say, Donald Trump characterizing this jobs report in October as disastrous.
I want to go to one chart here. That's the unemployment rate now at 4.9 percent. Look how far we've come from the financial crisis where it was up around 9 percent, 10 percent. You see the unemployment rate falling. One thing he is right about in his release he put out after the jobs report is what's known as rate. That's where it includes Americans looking for jobs or people in the work force. That is actually at historic lows. He's right about that. These are at levels we haven't seen since the 1970s. Even economists are admitting there's something structurally going on here. They are not exactly sure what it is.
But there's yet one more aspect to this I think Donald Trump is really focusing on and he's saying 14 million people have left the work force since President Obama has been in office. But a portion of that has just been sort of natural. You have retirees, you have stay-at-home moms. That segment of the population is not looking for work so he's not entirely accurate on that -- Kate and John?
[11:06:07] BOLDUAN: Alison, thank you so much. We appreciate it.
How does this all play out with four days to go?
Let's bring in Mark Penn, Democratic pollster, a former adviser to president Clinton and Hillary Clinton; and Alex Conant, former communications director for Marco Rubio's presidential campaign, now partner at Firehouse Strategies.
Gentlemen, thanks for being here.
Alex, we will get to who's up or down in one second. As Alison was saying, out with this new jobs report, want to get your take. Four days out, who does this help? Do voters pay attention to this four days out?
ALEX CONANT, PARTNER, FIREHOUSE STRATEGIES: There has been a big disconnect throughout the election between the economic statistics we see coming out of government agencies in Washington, D.C., and how voter actually feel about the economy. Even though the economy has been steadily improving, voters continue to feel like their personal lives are not necessarily improving. They don't feel economic security. That is the core of Trump's message. In fact, I think if he had talked about that more over the last six months he would be doing better in the polls than he is now but he's closing on that argument and that's strong for him. BERMAN: You can't tell people how they feel. People feel how they
feel. Numbers don't actually change that.
Mark Penn, let's talk about where we are in this race right now. We saw the CNN poll of polls has a four point margin. The electoral map may be closer than that. What do you think Hillary Clinton needs to do in the next three days to seal this deal?
MARK PENN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Right now, I think she's just got to stick to her issues. I think we have seen Trump's-mentum kind of stall out. Most of the polls have moved to a three or four point gap in her favor. She needs to stay the course. Stay away from difficult issues. The economic news today is really on the good side rather than the bad side with 4.9 percent unemployment. It's not going to shake up the race.
I think right now she's going to kind of get the vote out because I think the big difference has been that her voters haven't been as energized. I think Obama is out there energizing voters. I think you are beginning to see more mail-in ballots come in as those efforts in the last few days.
Alternatively, what does Trump need to do, do you think, in t next few days, to win?
CONANT: Well, first, he needs to avoid making any gaffes. In the last week of the campaign, it's arguably been the best week of the campaign for him in part because he's shut up. He h not dominated the news cycles like he did in august and September and early October when his polls were --
BOLDUAN: Even to the point of reading his own stage direction?
BOLDUAN: Be cool, Donald.
CONANT: If he keeps doing that, his polls are headed in the right direction. They will continue to head in the right direction. He's finishing very, very strongly. I don't know if it will be enough for him in part because of the Electoral College challenge that David just pointed out in the previous segment. It really helps Senate races down-ballot, places like Florida, where we are seeing Marco-mentum. Marco Rubio well ahead in Florida. Other places like Wisconsin where Ron Johnson is finishing very strongly. It's exciting for Republicans who are really focused on momentum.
BERMAN: I will say, on the issue of momentum, it isn't exactly clear who has it. If you look at the ABC/"Washington Post" tracking poll, one poll, she has gone up every day for the last four days. So it may be --
BOLDUAN: After the FBI stuff.
BERMAN: After the FBI. It may be she has a little bit of wind at her back. We need to wait and see.
Mark, I want to talk about where Hillary Clinton is headed, because, look, today she's in Pennsylvania and also Ohio. She's not in Florida, not in North Carolina, not in Arizona. She's playing a little bit of defense. She ends up going to New Hampshire in the next few days, closing the campaign in Philadelphia. As you look at this travel schedule, what makes you nervous about it?
PENN: Well, I think this travel schedule says as we saw in the electoral map, she's got a pretty close to a lock on 272 and there's 87 votes up for grabs. No reason to take a lot of risk at this point. I think the goal is to prevent any kind of surprise upset by Trump in some of the rustbelt states where his message has oftentimes resonated the most. I think having a conservative defensive strategy at least for this part of the weekend makes to me a lot of sense, particularly when Trump was gaining momentum and I think that now she has blocked that momentum and it's peaked out.
[11:10:20] BOLDUAN: When you look at kind of the sheer number of places they are going, you have the announced schedule, you have folks talking states in three days and that's Friday to Sunday. As far as we know, she isn't. Do you fear that he's outworking her right now?
PENN: Well, he has been pretty aggressive in terms of his belief that he can change on rallies. I have been on the plane during those last few days in a presidential race and you can even make last minute decisions. I think if the polls stay as it is, she's in the right strategy. If they tighten at all I suspect they will add some more stops. I think you have to be reactive. She wants to be -- not make mistakes at this point. Bring this election home, bring her voters home. Remember, she's also got a network of surrogates that Trump doesn't have. You have President Clinton out there. you have President Obama out there. I think her effort has really multiplied in a way that Trump's is not.
BERMAN: Alex, you have campaigns in two states that are big in this election, Florida and Wisconsin. People have talked about the Clinton ground game and the fact she has one and Donald Trump really doesn't. What's your assessment of the difference in the quality of the ground games of each campaign and how much of a difference it will make?
CONANT: Well, you're right. Hillary Clinton does have a bigger ground game but the Republicans, they're not -- they are taking nothing for granted. In both Florida and Wisconsin, you have seen the Senate campaigns and state parties build big massive "get out the vote" efforts. Marco Rubio's campaign is making half a million voter contacts per day.
BERMAN: Does she have a ground game advantage, honestly? CONANT: I think she's probably better organized. She certainly has
had more resources to spend in organizing a ground game and she has obviously the unions helping her out as well. But Donald Trump won the primaries without much of a ground game and is really benefiting from some of the Senate candidates who are turning out Republicans in places like Florida.
BOLDUAN: Alex, after Comey's announcement, the FBI announcement on Friday, John was pointing out there is some -- there is some evidence -- you got to see more polling -- that she could be seeing some wind at her back when you look at the ABC poll specifically. If Clinton generally isn't cratering after that announcement, which was a bombshell, is Trump finished?
CONANT: Well, she had a big lead going into it. I don't think Trump is finished. I think Trump has real challenges especially with the Electoral College.
But here's my concern as a Republican, as an American. If Hillary Clinton is elected president, she will have no political capital. She's going to be under investigation from the moment she is sworn in. Not investigation by Congress, investigation by the FBI, from the moment she's sworn in. That's bad for the United States to have a president who is that politically weak.
Look, I don't care for her domestic agenda is crippled but it worries me on the international stage --
CONANT: -- cannot rally the American people.
BOLDUAN: Does either candidate if any political capital?
CONANT: If Donald Trump wins, I think it's an historic achievement and he will have tons of political capital.
BERMAN: Mark Penn --
CONANT: And a Republican Congress.
BERMAN: -- quickly, we have seen Friday bombshells, whether it be James Comey or "Access Hollywood."
BERMAN: It's 11:13 a.m., sundown without anything happening?
PENN: I think this is now likely to be a quiet Friday. Of course, that's a dangerous prediction in this race. But I think as you said, Trump has, quote, "real challenges," which is a euphemism for meaning Trump needs something to put him over the finish line. If he doesn't have it he's not getting there. I don't see it.
BOLDUAN: Great to see you guys.
BERMAN: Thanks a lot. Lot of good insight. Really appreciate it.
We are talking about Donald Trump. Some people saying he was staying on script until --
BERMAN: -- until maybe he didn't. Donald Trump suggesting that America's troops don't want to see her as their boss. So what exactly did he mean by that?
BOLDUAN: Plus, the Trump campaign now taking on cyberbullying. The Internet had a few things to say about that.
We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[11:18:04] DONALD TRUMP, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When I look at these great admirals and these great generals and these great Medal of Honor recipients behind me, to think of her being their boss?
TRUMP: I don't think so. And, you know, they're incredible patriots. They would never say a thing but I know what they're thinking.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Donald Trump says he knows what they're thinking. They don't want Hillary Clinton to be their boss. Is this an honest disagreement over military policy or something else?
BERMAN: Joining us now, Scottie Nell Hughes, CNN political commentator; and political editor at .com, and a Donald Trump supporter. Krystal Ball is with us as well, senior fellow at the New Leader's Council, a group that recruits progressive candidates, and a Hillary Clinton supporter.
So is this, Krystal, about military policy or is it something else? They can't see her, emphasis on her, being their boss, emphasis on boss. Is it military policy or is it sexism?
KRYSTAL BALL, SENIOR FELLOW, NEW LEADER'S COUNCIL: If this was another candidate who didn't have the history of sexism both in general in his life and specifically in this campaign in terms of comments he made about Hillary Clinton not having a presidential look, about him not being impressed when she walked in front of him, about how Carly Fiorina can't be president because look at that faced maybe you could give him the Benefit of the doubt. But I think when women hear those comments from this man, it is very clear there are no ifs, ands, or buts, he's talking about a woman cannot be commander-in-chief.
BOLDUAN: Scottie, has he earned the benefit of the doubt?
SCOTTIE NELL HUGHES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I don't see it being as clear as Krystal might. Right now the military favors Donald Trump three to one, active-duty servicemen and women. 50 percent to 75 percent of women, according to different surveys, say they support Donald Trump to be the next commander in chief over Hillary Clinton. So he's just going along with traditional. Republicans have usually been able to encourage by the military vote and recruit that vote. It just goes along with that. I think that's what they're talking about. In recent light of the e-mail scandals that have come out and the idea of Benghazi, leaving a man behind, you can see why the military is hesitant about Hillary Clinton and her background and policies.
[11:20:23] BERMAN: It's a political Rorschach test like a lot of things he says. Different people hearing it in different ways.
Hillary Clinton today will go to Pittsburgh. We are told she will focus on Donald Trump's past comments about women. This is something that she's this is something other people on the trail talk about a lot, including President Obama. Let's listen quickly to that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If you disrespected women before you were in office, you will disrespect women as president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: So, Krystal, again, this is a consistent argument but this is still, we are four days out. This is all about him. It's not about her. It's all about Donald Trump, not about Hillary Clinton. Is there a risk to not talking about yourself and really just trying to talk about the other person?
BALL: I don't think they are exclusively talking about him but let's be clear. This is a man who stood o stage at the RNC and said I alone can fix the problems. He has wanted this election to be about him, to be a personality contest in which he can come in and fix everything. We don't need to know the details. We don't need to know about his plan to fix ISIS because the power of his personality and will is what's going to make America great again. I think it's entirely appropriate for the president and Hillary Clinton and her campaign to be saying OK, then les look at who this man actually is and not just the campaign rhetoric but who he's demonstrated himself to be over the course of his 70 years on the planet. When you look at the numbers, women are going to be the key to who wins this election. Men are by and large voting the way that men do. They tend to favor Republicans --
BERMAN: Men do what they do. There you go.
BALL: They do what they do, John.
BALL: Women have treated this election a little bit differently because of the comments and behavior they have seen from Trump. It makes sense.
HUGHES: If you really want to respect women, we are four days out, let's be positive. Let's talk about our candidates. Earlier this morning, we were told to separate -- tell me why your candidate is better and exclude the name of the opposition.
BALL: That's a little too cute by half.
HUGHES: But we have gone back and forth for months now about these candidates, how they differ. Right now we need to know the specifics. How these candidates are presenting their plans. We have that.
BALL: Let's be real. I want to say this from a nonpartisan place. If you are a Trump supporter, you think Hillary Clinton belongs in jail. Do you care --
HUGHES: Not all.
BALL: Do you care about her policy if you think she belongs in jail. It you are a Hillary Clinton supporter like myself you think Donald Trump is a serious sexual predator based on the dozen women who have come out and said that.
I don't care about your plan for the economy. I don't want a serial sexual predator in the White House. We can't even get to policy when you can't get past those kinds of issues.
BALL: This whole election has been policy-light.
HUGHES: Let's actually talk about why he believes in Hillary Clinton continuing his agenda or not --
BERMAN: Cyberbullying is an issue.
It is an issue. Yesterday, in her first solo event on the campaign trail, Melania Trump talked about family, talked about Donald Trump, talked about her story, and talked about the issues she would like to take on if she were first lady. Listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MELANIA TRUMP, WIFE OF DONALD TRUMP: Our culture has gotten too mean and too rough, especially to children and teenagers.
MELANIA TRUMP: We have to find a better way to talk to each other, to disagree with each other, to respect each other. We must find better ways to honor and support the basic goodness of our children, especially in social media.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Especially in social media.
Please explain, Scottie Nell Hughes, how creating a story where it is very clear that people are going to say have you spoken to your husband about this, how creating that kind of a story four days out from the election is helpful for this campaign.
HUGHES: Melania Trump did not ask to be in this campaign. She did not marry him thinking he was going to run for president one day. I think this woman has done an amazing job, speaking a different language to a room full of people and talking about an issue that is near and dear for her. So it's never the wrong time to do the right thing that is what I think she's presenting. This is an issue that speaks very well to women, families, and we are all dealing with. Why is it wrong we put the spotlight on it? I think we have seen the last 24 hours since her speech, people actually bullying her because she's sticking up against bullies. I think this is the wrong approach. We need to actually take a step back and take the partisanship off and actually say you know what, this is a good conversation. Glad we're talking about it.
BERMAN: Krystal, it may be an ironic message but there's nothing wrong with the message itself.
BALL: Sure. It's just hard to imagine that -- I just, is she trolling us?
HUGHES: So you are a bully.
BALL: It's hard to see her saying we need to focus on compassion and kindness and charity when her husband is the exact antithesis of all this. I don't even know what to say. She's either trolling all of us or trolling her husband or something because it's insane. It's the reason this election has made it all cranky because of things like this.
[11:25:22] BERMAN: Four more days of crazy. Thanks so much.
BOLDUAN: You can't break crazy.
HUGHES: You can't.
BERMAN: Stick around.
BERMAN: Programming note. You may have heard there's an election this Tuesday. Our team of correspondents, reporters, camera operators, sound men, analysts, anchors, we are all doing this all day, all night. Special coverage, really, we are on this nonstop until Wednesday. Let's hope it's -- well, who knows.
BOLDUAN: What happens after that?
BERMAN: Who knows?
BOLDUAN: Exactly. Perfect again.
You all think this ends on Tuesday or Wednesday? We have got another election we will focus on. That's right, folks. It doesn't end. The race for speaker of the House. Assuming Republicans keep their majority, does Paul Ryan now have a fight on his hands? We'll be right back.