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Race Tightens in Battleground States; Clinton Rallies the Faithful; Trump Addresses Veterans in North Carolina; Melania Trump Lays Out Vision in Speech; Aired 3-3:30a ET

Aired November 4, 2016 - 03:00   ET



[03:00:12] HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He re-tweets white supremacist and spreads racially-tinged conspiracy theories.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Hillary Clinton attacking Donald Trump and focusing on African-American voters.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And these great Medal of Honor recipients behind me, to think of her being their boss?


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Donald Trump goes after Hillary Clinton, raises some eyebrows as he reaches out to veterans.

ROMANS: All of this as two new battleground polls show the race too close to call with just one weekend left in this race.

Good morning, everyone. It's Friday. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

BERMAN: I'm John Berman. It is Friday, a pretty important Friday, November 4th. It is 3:00 a.m. in the East.

ROMANS: It is the final Friday of the race, four days to go. Here is the very latest for you this morning.

Donald Trump overnight takes a swipe at Hillary Clinton, asking veterans to imagine her as commander-in-chief. Hillary Clinton slams Donald Trump accusing him of dog whistle politics. This as both the candidates find themselves in two of the same states today, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

BERMAN: All right. This morning counting the 270 is hard, not just because it's a big number and you don't have enough fingers but because adding up the states on the electoral map to get to 270 is getting more complicated for each candidate. So for those of you unfamiliar with the glorious ways of our glorious republic, you need 270 electoral votes to win the election. Hillary Clinton really wants New Hampshire to be part of her equation.

Now suddenly polls show a tie there. And in Georgia, there is this new poll from NBC News-Marist and the "Wall Street Journal" that has Donald Trump ahead by just one point. He has no chance without Georgia. The bottom line here, folks is it's close.

Joining us this morning, CNN Politics reporter, Eugene Scott.

ROMANS: Good morning.

BERMAN: It's close, Eugene.

EUGENE SCOTT, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: It is very close. And this Georgia poll so interesting to me. A lot of people are talking about cultural divides. But one of the new cultural divides is urban versus rural. And while Georgia may have been red primarily in these rural areas, Atlanta is very blue. And so what we're going to see is purple. And I think that's what we're seeing.

ROMANS: Interesting. All right. In New Hampshire, Trump and Clinton now tied in the latest polls. Three weeks ago Clinton was ahead by three points. What happened here?

SCOTT: Well, what was happening three weeks ago, Donald Trump was getting a lot of heat because of sexual misconduct allegations and we're not talking about that as much anymore. And so I think people who were finding him to be problematic three weeks ago aren't focused on that anymore and now actually are focused on Hillary Clinton.

BERMAN: A couple of things I've heard from both parties on both states. Number one, I don't think either camp thinks that Georgia is going to end up voting Democratic in the end, but it does show the demographic shifts in that this race is close overall.

I mean, look, if they thought Georgia was close, Hillary Clinton or someone from team Clinton would be going to Georgia in these last few days.

ROMANS: Right.

BERMAN: As for New Hampshire, New Hampshire is sort of the swingingest of swing states and known as more reactive to news of day than most states. So it goes back and forth and back and forth and back and forth. And the other thing for New Hampshire is that there's no early voting. No real early voting.

SCOTT: So we don't know.

BERMAN: You know nothing.

SCOTT: We don't know.

BERMAN: They can't pack -- you know, they can't pack the ballot box, which is why each campaign will be going there a lot.

ROMANS: The swingingest of swing states as you put it. I like that. SCOTT: I think that what's also interesting about New Hampshire that

we got, remember, it's all of this is within the margin of error.


SCOTT: And so we think someone is in the lead, but technically they really aren't. It's this funny math that, like, gets lost with the common plans.

ROMANS: Every moment, every minute, every dollar in TV spending time.

BERMAN: Just one more piece of history here. People always talk about Florida in 2000, You know, like, moving the election to George W. Bush, which is of course it did in the end.


BERMAN: However, he won New Hampshire. And not by that much. I think it was like 2,000 votes. Having not won New Hampshire he would not have won the election.

SCOTT: Interesting.

ROMANS: Interesting.

BERMAN: George W. Bush campaigned there at the end. Al Gore really didn't so don't forget, I mean, New Hampshire can make a big difference.

SCOTT: Big difference.

ROMANS: All right. Eugene Scott, we'll talk to you in a few minutes. Thank you so much.

SCOTT: See you, guys.

ROMANS: Hillary Clinton hits three battleground states in less than eight hours today. She starts with a noontime rally in Pittsburgh, then on to Detroit and Cleveland. Thursday she was shoring up support in North Carolina, rallying the faithful alongside Bernie Sanders, targeting Donald Trump and courting African-American voters.

CNN's Brianna Keilar has the latest from Raleigh.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: John and Christine, Donald Trump's deputy campaign manager says his path to victory goes through Florida, through here, North Carolina, Ohio and Iowa. And that's why the Clinton campaign wants to cut him off here in the Tar Heel State. And the key to a Democratic victory here on Election Day is the African-American vote. Hillary Clinton has been outperforming Donald Trump by a wide margin, but she is not doing quite as well as President Obama did in 2012 and in 2008. That's why he's been here making a pitch for her and why Hillary Clinton made this pitch to North Carolinians today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CLINTON: He has spent this entire campaign offering a dog whistle to his most hateful supporters. He re-tweets white supremacists and spreads racially-tinged conspiracy theories.

[03:05:08] And you better believe he's being heard loudly and clearly.


KEILAR: And it 's a mad dash for Hillary Clinton towards Election Day. She will be in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Ohio today. Ohio with some help, some star power from Jay-Z, and then a focus for her on Philadelphia over the weekend and into Election Day. She will be in Philadelphia with Katy Perry on Saturday, and then she'll be accompanied by her husband, her daughter Chelsea, as well as President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama in Philadelphia on Monday, the night before Election Day -- John and Christine.

ROMANS: All right, thanks so much for that.

Clinton's running mate Tim Kaine will be focused on Florida with events there tonight and over the weekend. Among her army of other surrogates on the campaign trail today, President Obama making two stops in North Carolina, former President Bill Clinton with three events in Colorado, and her daughter Chelsea Clinton will campaign in New Hampshire.

BERMAN: All right. What about the other side? Donald Trump, he starts the day in New Hampshire. We just told you how important that state is. Then he goes to Ohio. No Republican has ever won the White House without winning Ohio. And he also goes to Pennsylvania.

So he was in North Carolina late last night and he had an off-script moment that raised some eyebrows, basically asking if the stage full of honored soldiers and service members, men, could imagine Hillary Clinton being their boss. Listen.


D. TRUMP: You know, 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? 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. It is not -- it is not for them, believe me.


BERMAN: All right. So the Trump campaign we'll tell you what he was talking about was the commander-in-chief issue, could she be commander-in-chief? They can't imagine that, but there are a lot of people who saw that last night and heard the words "her being their boss" and were thinking perhaps more along gender lines.

Now Trump during this speech, it was to a huge crowd, praised the bravery of veterans. Want to bring in CNN's Jim Acosta for the latest. JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: John and Christine,

Donald Trump continued to try to make a comeback in this last week of the campaign at a rally here in North Carolina. He once against attacked Hillary Clinton for her e-mail controversy. He also saluted military veterans at one point, talking about his own bravery. Here is what he had to say.


D. TRUMP: They're so much more brave than me, I wouldn't have done what they did. I'm brave in other ways. I'm brace -- I'm financially brave. Big deal, right?


ACOSTA: But if there's one subject Trump is hesitant to touch it is President Obama. After days of attacks from the president on the GOP nominee, Trump only responded by saying that the president should be back at the White House doing his job, a far cry from the more personal attacks from Trump on the president in the past -- John and Christine.

BERMAN: All right. That was Jim Acosta.

His running mate, Trump's running mate Mike Pence goes to Michigan and North Carolina and Florida today. Donald Trump's sons, they are out on the trail. Donald Junior, Arizona and New Mexico, and Eric Trump makes a bunch of stops in Michigan.

ROMANS: All right. Eric Trump is already raising eyebrows for suggesting former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke should be shot. The younger Trump was speaking to a Denver radio station on Thursday. The interviewer suggested Duke, a Louisiana Senate candidate who has endorsed his father, deserves a bullet to the head. Listen to Eric Trump's response.


ERIC TRUMP, DONALD TRUMP'S SON: If I said exactly what you said I'd get be killed for it. But I think I'll say it anyway. The guy does deserve a bullet. I mean, these aren't good people, these are horrible people.


ROMANS: David Duke was asked to respond to Eric Trump's comment. All he said to CNN was that's a good one.

BERMAN: All right. In Pennsylvania this morning there is still the strong aroma of irony after one of the more surprising speeches of the campaign. A Trump said we are all too mean on social media. It wasn't Donald Trump who said it, it was his wife Melania in her first big public speech since the convention. She says social media has become too mean and too filled with insult based on looks and intelligence.

As our friend Dana Bash noted just after the speech yesterday, has she ever met Donald Trump?

Let's get more now from CNN's Sara Murray.

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John and Christine. Melania Trump made a rare appearance yesterday on the campaign trail, traveling to the Philadelphia suburbs to deliver a speech, her first since she gave those remarks at the GOP convention where she plagiarized First Lady Michelle Obama.

Now Melania Trump had a different agenda today. She wanted to talk about what she would do as first lady and said one of her top priorities would be battling cyberbullying.


MELANIA TRUMP, DONALD TRUMP'S WIFE: Children and teenagers can be fragile. They are hurt when they are made fun of or made to feel less in looks or intelligence.

[03:10:04] Our culture has gotten too mean and too rough, especially to children and teenagers.


MURRAY: Now one thing Melania Trump did not mention was her husband's own prolific use of Twitter. Donald Trump, of course, regularly uses it to hurl insults at people in the political arena or people in media who he simply doesn't like. But Melania Trump did make clear that she feels like adults are better able to handle this criticism or she wants to do more to protect children. So it was certainly a speech that was heavy on what she wants to do as first lady, not so much heavy on talking about the personal details of her husband and his quest for the presidency.

She has been a rare asset for Donald Trump on the campaign trail, in part because she's made it clear publicly and privately she would rather be home taking care of their 10-year-old son Barron. Back to you, guys.

ROMANS: All right, Sara. Thank you.

The final big piece of economic news before the election is due this morning at 8:30 a.m. Eastern. The October jobs report, expected to show 177,000 new jobs. That's higher than the 156,000 jobs added in September. The jobless rate is forecast to go down to 4.9 percent, it was 5 percent in September because more people started looking for work. Wage is expected to hold steady here, up 2.6 percent over the past year.

Democrats want a strong number, feeling it will help Hillary Clinton's closing arguments comments on the economy. She's firmly tied herself to President Obama's economic record, economic legacy. In his two terms the economy has added nearly 11 million new jobs, hiring has stayed positive. There's been a net job growth for 72 months in a row. But Donald Trump has blasted nearly ever jobs report since he started

running. He called September's reading anemic. He also claims the unemployment rate is much higher, much higher than the government is reporting.

BERMAN: Will the November jobs report reflect the loss in campaign jobs?


BERMAN: Seriously. I mean, there's got to be a lot of campaign workers all of a sudden, you know, who are looking for work.

ROMANS: I don't know. I will have to look into that with the Labor Department.

BERMAN: Just asking, just asking.

All right. There's a big election in a few days, I understand. Many of you will want to watch it on TV. All of you should. All of you should watch it right here on CNN. We are on basically non-stop between now and when this thing is finally called. And by the way, it's not going to be called on Tuesday. This is going to be Wednesday morning, the wee hours of Wednesday morning, perhaps like mid-morning at the rate we're going.

ROMANS: Yes. It's going to be exciting, and the end is in sight, or just the beginning, I guess.

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton targeting key battleground states. With the race for the White House tightening. What can we expect in those next four days?

EARLY START continues after this.


[03:16:51] BERMAN: All right. This campaign practically down to the hours and minutes right now. So we need to understand it. Joining us here in New York, senior media correspondent and host of CNN's "RELIABLE SOURCES," Brian Stelter, and in Washington, D.C. super CNN Politics reporter, Tal Kopan.

All right, guys. Melania Trump saying that we're all too mean on social media. I operate under the assumption that political professionals are better at their jobs than I am at their jobs. So when they put Melania Trump out to talk about people being mean on social media they had to know that we all would look at this and say, wait a second, Donald Trump, that's what he does on social media, he attacks people on Twitter. The "New York Times" got a list of like hundreds and hundreds of people he's attacked.

Tal, so, assuming that the Trump campaign is smarter than we are all about this, why have her talk about that?

TAL KOPAN, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: I really don't have a great answer for you because you're right. You know, sure, social media bullying is a serious issue and it's absolutely one that a first lady could want to take on, and she spoke, you know, adults can take some barbs but teens can't if you listen to the substance of her words.

So, you know, you understand the point she was trying to make, but if you're talking about a political calculus here, if you are a campaign manager, you're trying to play, as we call it, air-free ball in the last few days, I don't know why you would put someone running to be the first lady up on stage to call attention to the very issue that has plagued her husband possibly the most since the beginning, which is him firing off on social media unchecked.

So it is really sort of a stunning contrast that you would want to put out there at this very moment.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: I'll try and answer, though. I'll try and answer. I don't think her audience was us. Her audience wasn't journalists. It definitely wasn't people who are going to vote for Clinton next week because those people made up their minds.

I think her audience was Donald Trump supporters who feel bullied on social media. If you look at my Facebook feed, your Facebook feed today, everybody is fighting online. The whole nation is fighting online. We all feel like we're victims of the other side bullying. And so I wonder if that was the intended audience. Also she's (INAUDIBLE) for a while, so what else was she going to say? I think there's that element of it also.

ROMANS: There were anecdotes about her husband, I mean, a couple of times that she's spoken I thought, are they going to be -- is there going to be an anecdote, is there going to be something that's going to reveal something about, you know, the personal Donald Trump, and I didn't hear that yesterday either.

Let me ask you about this. Donald Trump yesterday -- last night actually in Selma, North Carolina, he's got veterans behind him and he talks about Hillary Clinton as the boss of these veterans, potential boss of these veterans. And I'm wondering if people heard this differently along gender lines.

So I'm interested to hear what you guys heard in the statement. Listen.


D. TRUMP: You know, 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? 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. It is not -- it is not for them, believe me.


[03:20:01] ROMANS: It's not for them to have a woman as their boss? It is not for them because Hillary Clinton doesn't have the stamina to be commander-in-chief?

Tal, what did you hear there?

KOPAN: You know, it's a tough one because what is he going to refer to her as? I mean she's a her. So, you know, on the one hand you can kind of understand the point he's trying to make, right? And he has been attacking her for, you know, her handling of sensitive, classified information. That's an issue that you could say relates to the military and the folks who are going to be putting their life on the line. Certainly the attacks on the Benghazi situation could be along these lines.

But, you know, Donald Trump should also know by now that he has made a reputation for himself as the king of insinuation and innuendo all the way along. And if he is not going to be precise with his words there are going to be people who take it the wrong way. And when he has such a problem with women, you do question whether this was perhaps the right phrasing, but I also could see many of his supporters being frustrated and saying, this was not an overt sexist attack. What is he supposed to call her?


ROMANS: Right. You're just being politically correct. You're just being politically correct.


STELTER: Well, the "Times" and CNN got great reporting about how veterans -- many veterans are enthusiastic about voting for Trump, that they are embracing the Trump candidacy. On the other hand, there have been studies -- did a great reporting on it this week about how sexism, frustration about feminism, feelings about the gender divide, all are predictor of enthusiasm and predictor of support for Donald Trump's candidacy. That if you answer questions it sounds like you might have sexist views you're more likely to support Donald Trump in this race.

So there is something to this idea that there's a gender divide, there's a gender factor in this race, and that more men, as we know from polls that support Trump, regardless whether they have sexist views or not. So there is clearly, like a subtext here, and maybe not even a subtext, it's very close to the surface.

BERMAN: A text.

STELTER: A text, whether Donald Trump is really trying to address it or not.

BERMAN: All right, guys. A lot more to talk about over the next 90 minutes of this broadcast, so don't go anywhere.

ROMANS: Thanks, guys.

ROMANS: All right. So talk about some pretty unlikely bedfellows. Ted Cruz. Well, it's not really like he was a bedfellow with Donald Trump, more like long distance lovers? Would you say that? Like a long distance -- I don't know. He hit the campaign trail in support of the Trump ticket. Remember, you know, Trump is the guy that Ted Cruz has called a coward and among other things. We'll discuss coming up.


[03:26:46] BERMAN: All right. Senator Ted Cruz out on the trail with Mike Pence, the Republican nominee for vice president. Cruz doing some work for the Trump-Pence ticket.

Why was this unusual? Well, you remember that Donald Trump questioned the citizenship of Ted Cruz, also went after his father saying that maybe somehow he was involved in the Kennedy assassination, at least hinting it. And Ted Cruz called Trump a sniveling coward on the campaign trail. So it was the interesting seeing Ted Cruz up there, behind the lectern with a Trump-Pence logo on it. Cruz never actually said Trump's name, though, in front of supporters. And after the rally he was asked why. This was his response.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: As some of you guys are wanting to write stories suggesting divisions among Republicans, I'll make a point. I'm getting ready to get on the gigantic airplane that has Donald Trump's name painted on the side of it.


BERMAN: Yes. All right. Well, later at a rally in Michigan, Ted Cruz did finally say Trump out loud.


CRUZ: If your health insurance premiums have dropped $2500, you ought to vote for the Democrats. And if your health insurance premiums have gone up like just about everybody's in America, then you ought to vote for Donald Trump and Mike Pence and Republicans up and down the ticket.


BERMAN: He said it.

ROMANS: He said it.

BERMAN: He said it.

ROMANS: You know, we're not trying to find evidence of a rift in the Republican Party that doesn't exist. There is a rift in the Republican Party. We write stories about it because it is there.

BERMAN: And Ted Cruz waited until, like, a month ago to say he was going to vote for Donald Trump so.

ROMANS: Yes. Interesting. All right, we're down to the nitty- gritty. America votes in four days. Both candidates targeting key battleground states to put themselves over the top.

EARLY START has every angle covered for you every state straight ahead.