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Clinton Voters Read "Hillbilly Elegy"; Clinton Voters Deal with Loss; SNL Continues to Take on Trump; Trump Doesn't Tweet. Aired 8:30- 9a ET

Aired December 19, 2016 - 08:30   ET



[08:30:04] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Hillary Clinton supporters are trying to figure out what went wrong during the election. I sat down with a group of those die-hard supporters to talk about how they got it so wrong, and what they're doing to fix it.


HARVEY HURDLE, LGBTQ ACTIVIST, CAMPAIGNED FOR HILLARY CLINTON: I think the biggest challenge is getting out of our bubbles. I mean, I think we talked to people who supported Hillary Clinton. My FaceBook feed is probably 97 percent Hillary Clinton people.

CAMEROTA: How are you going to get out of that bubble?

HURDLE: Well, I'm actually reading a book right now just to learn -- I'm reading something called "Hillbilly Elegy."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, that's my book club.

HURDLE: But, you know, I --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's my book club book.

HURDLE: It's actually -- it's interesting. So I come from Delaware County, which -- and my dad was a high school dropout who got a union job, right, and had three kids by the time he was 23 years old, right? Put his kid through college. Those jobs don't exist anymore. So I understand the anxiety. I don't know what the solutions are, but I think, you know, we didn't -- we would do -- Philadelphia's doing pretty good. We're in the middle of a renaissance, right? We didn't feel the anxiety that other people are feeling. So we've got to be a little more open to what's going on outside of our bubble. And you start by listening and hearing. That's step one.

CAMEROTA: And reading "Hillbilly Elegy." How many of you are reading "Hillbilly Elegy"? So you think that reading and talking to people and listening and traveling?

HURDLE: Yes. Yes, i think -- it's what I mean I do. Seriously, I think I -- I think I have three Republican friends in my FaceBook feed that are -- that were, you know, and only one of them was pro-Trump, you know. So, I mean, my world, you know, and I'm a very political person. My world is surrounded by people that agree with me.

CAMEROTA: But you're going to expand your world?

HURDLE: We have -- we have to do that. We have to find a way to talk to the people that are outside of the cities. We have to. It's the only way change is going to happen.

CAROL EVANS, CO-FOUNDER, EXECUTIVE WOMEN FOR HILLARY: I'm trying to -- sometimes you don't value something until you lose it, you know. I mean like a -- a piece of jewelry. It's like, oh, I can't find that. Where is it? I love that. And you haven't worn it in years, you know? And so now that we have is the American people, we've lost the Obama legacy. We've lost the Hillary hope. We've lost the image of a woman leading this country for little girls, little boys, everybody to look up to and say, yes, we're making progress on the gender gap. We've lost that. And so now the value of that seems so precious and so desirable and so that's one of the things that's going to drive people to really put their energies against defeating Trump in 2020.


CAMEROTA: All right, so let's bring in the author of that book that those Clinton supporters were just discussing and reading, "Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis," the author, J.D. Vance joins us now.

Good morning, J.D.


CAMEROTA: So what is it like for you to hear that your little family memoir is now required reading for Democrats to figure out where they went wrong?

VANCE: Well, I was definitely surprised to hear that in my earpiece. And, of course, it's good for book sales, but I guess it's good that people are starting to think outside the box a little bit and asking questions about this community of people. That's why I wrote the book. So I'm pretty happy about it.

CAMEROTA: But give us the cliff notes for those people out there who haven't yet read it, what did you understand, and did you know that Democrats on the coasts didn't get?

VANCE: Well, it's really two parts. So the first part is that the economy in these regions has really been hit hard, so the decline of coal, the decline of light manufacturing and so forth. And in the wake of the decline of those old-line manufacturing jobs, there has really been this significant social crisis that's moved in. And what I mean is that the opioid epidemic has really gotten out of control. Families are breaking down. Incarceration rates are rising. So folks are simultaneously worried about their economic prospects, but they're also seeing that a lot of the things they really care about in their communities are starting to fall apart, too. CAMEROTA: One of the panelists that I spoke to last week, these die-

hard Clinton supporters, her name is Carol, she -- they're all trying to pull themselves up now and figure out how they're going to mobilize and what they're going to do next. Carol had an idea that she did want to go to places in the middle of the country, but it wasn't -- some of them said that they were going to listen to the folks there, as you have. But Carol had a different take and I want to play that for you and you can tell us if it's effective.


CAROL EVANS, CO-FOUNDER, EXECUTIVE WOMEN FOR HILLARY: I want to talk a lot more to Trump voters and to, you know, really understand and persuade them and talk to them. I think persuasion is where we really need to focus. We need to persuade the people who are going to be remarkably disappointed in the Trump administration to come back and come over to the Democratic side.


CAMEROTA: I was interested to hear her talk about persuasion. I mean what could have persuaded your relatives, who have been having this social, cultural, economic crisis, what could have persuaded them to Hillary Clinton's side? Anything?

VANCE: Well, that persuasion point, first of all, is so interesting because it struck me when I was watching the 2016 election unfold that we had sort of abandoned even the pretense of persuasion. We were just sort of talking into our Republican tribes and our Democratic tribes. So I think that's a really smart comment. And, frankly, even the act of trying to persuade someone necessarily acknowledges that they have something that's meaningful to contribute to public life. And I think that recognition, that sense that, look, I see you as a fellow citizen and I want to try to convince you that I'm right, that by itself is, I think, very powerful.

[08:35:24] And when you talk to a lot of folks who voted for Trump, people who very often didn't like Trump's rhetoric, for example, but still voted for him anyways, a lot of times what you heard is people saying, well, I don't like this or that, but at least he sees me. And it strikes me that if we're trying to persuade people, we're fundamentally seeing them, so that's a good step.

CAMEROTA: That's such a great point, J.D. By the very act of engaging in debate, you must hear someone, and hear the other side. But beyond, I see you, I hear you, what would they have been persuaded by?

VANCE: Well, I think a recognition that this opioid crisis is a really significant national problem. That's something that Trump talked a lot about on the campaign trail. And I think whether he's able to address it will ultimately influence how a lot of his voters think.

The most important part is, obviously, the jobs and the wage crisis that exists in these communities. The fact that you either don't have good jobs, or even if you do have good jobs, the wages are sort of stagnating. I think that's what is ultimately -- that Trump is ultimately going to be judged on. And I think that if you want to really go after these voters, you have to have a message that says, we're going to solve that very fundamental problem in your life.

CAMEROTA: First Lady Michelle Obama sat down with Oprah and it was released in the past couple of days and she talked about how the Democrats, and her side, are feeling today. Let me play you a little portion of that.


MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: Now we're feeling what not having hope feels like, you know.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT: Michelle Obama said yesterday that there's no hope. But I assume she was talking about the past, not the future.


CAMEROTA: So you heard the first lady there say that now we know what it feels like to feel no hope. About your relatives there in Kentucky and Ohio, are they feeling hopeful today?

VANCE: Yes, they're definitely feeling hopeful and they're also feeling a little vindicated, right? So they believed in their man. They believed that Trump had a chance when no one else did. And because of that, they're feeling like, you know, we were right. And because they're somewhat hopeful that Trump may make things better, I think that they are a little hopeful about the future.

But it is important, of course, to recognize that I think in a lot of ways the shoe is now on the other foot. A lot of us -- a lot of the people that I wrote about in my book felt ignored in 2015 and 2016 and even earlier and now that their candidate is in charge, I think it's important for all of us to remember what it's like when your guy is not in power.

CAMEROTA: Absolutely. J.D. Vance, always great to talk to you. Thanks so much.

VANCE: Nice talking to you.

CAMEROTA: Let's get to Chris.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, another "SNL" worthy of discussion. Alec Baldwin bringing his Donald Trump impersonation back. And it did not disappointment.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE, ACTOR, "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE": You've set up shop up on Lomanoso (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE, ACTOR, "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE": Oh, yes, for years. Great black crude there.

ALEC BALDWIN, ACTOR, "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE": Speaking of black and crude, I know Kanye.


CUOMO: All right, did the bait get taken by the president-elect once again or did he show he can be bigger than parody? Next


[08:42:29] CUOMO: Time now for the "Five Things to Know for Your New Day."

Number one, the Electoral College votes today to confirm the election results. Five hundred and thirty-eight electors are going to be there. Thirty-seven Republicans would have to do the flip to the unthinkable to put us into the House of Representatives. This is not expected to happen.

CAMEROTA: A bipartisan letter renewing the call to investigate Russia's interference in the U.S. election. Senators, once again, calling on Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to create a new select committee on cyberattacks.

CUOMO: China saying it will return an underwater U.S. vehicle it captured in the South China See, but so far the Pentagon is still waiting. The U.S. officials describing it as an unclassified piece of equipment.

CAMEROTA: Much of the eastern half of the U.S. is in the grip of bone- chilling cold. Once again, raising the risk of freezing rain, and some deadly car crashes. A warm-up is expected for many areas, but not until later this week.

CUOMO: The Miriam-Webster Dictionary says its word for 2016 is -- surreal.

CAMEROTA: Hmm, I like this.

CUOMO: From the Brussels terror attack, Prince's death, Brexit, victory of Donald Trump, people sought clarification on the definition of "surreal."

CAMEROTA: Interesting.

CUOMO: That's the -- I guess that was the word that people were looking for most.

CAMEROTA: I guess it was.

CUOMO: For more on the "Five Things to Know," go to for the latest.

CAMEROTA: Well, the election is over, but "Saturday Night Live" is still getting lots of laughs off of it. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ON SCREEN TEXT: Just vote for literally anyone else --

Like John Kasich.

Tom Hanks


The Rock.

A rock.


CAMEROTA: Our media experts break down the show's portrayal of politics and, of course, Donald Trump, next.


[08:47:51] CUOMO: "Saturday Night Live" continues to deliver laughs at the expense of the president-elect. In the show's open, the show's version of the future president meeting with Russia President Vladimir Putin was funny. Here it is.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE, ACTOR, "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE": Mr. Trump, I'm here because your CIA is saying that we Russians tried to make you win election.

ALEC BALDWIN, ACTOR, "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE": I know. All lies made up by some very bitter people who need to move on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you trust me more than American CIA?

BALDWIN: All I know is I won.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wow. Wow, this guy is blowing my mind. Hmm. Donald, I want to state officially that we in Russia are so happy that you are U.S. president.

BALDWIN: Oh, thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We think you're the best candidate.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The smartest candidate.

BALDWIN: No doubt.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Manchurian candidate.

BALDWIN: I don't know what that means, but it sounds tremendous.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CUOMO: The ratings, very high. However, they did not get feedback from probably their most important watcher. The president-elect did not take to Twitter after Alec Baldwin's impression. Let's discuss.

Brian Stelter, CNN's senior media correspondent and host of "Reliable Sources," and Bill Carter, CNN media analyst.

You just told me the numbers were the highest they've had since the election took place.

BILL CARTER CNN MEDIA ANALYST: Since the election. Yes.

CUOMO: Why do we think that is? And what does it mean that the president-elect didn't say anything?

CARTER: I think it's the Christmas show that might add a little bit, but I think people heard that Alec was coming back to do it again and that drives the numbers up. And they kind of expected maybe he'd react. I think he didn't react because probably somebody said, you know what, it's only feeding the ratings if you do it. People then watch the sketch online afterwards and probably someone said, maybe wait until after the Electoral College to come after them again.

CAMEROTA: Is that how you see it? Is that how you -- was there a power outage or something? Why, why, why do you think he didn't do it?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Maybe he's listening to his advisers. Or maybe it just goes to show he's impulsive about this stuff. Also impulsive when he doesn't tweet. You know, I am struck by the idea that it's now normal for -- now we're surprised when he doesn't tweet about "SNL."


STELTER: How quickly things change. Now that's the surprise.

CAMEROTA: Bill, I was interested to read in your notes that Richard Nixon did not like --


CAMEROTA: The Smothers Brothers program.

CARTER: That's right.

CAMEROTA: Which was also political satire.

CARTER: That's right.

CAMEROTA: I remember watching it --


CAMEROTA: At my father's knee, the Smothers Brothers, and did he really get that killed? Can presidents get a TV show killed? [08:50:04] CARTER: Well, CBS wound up pushing that show off the air. It was very highly rated at the time. And it was the "Saturday Night Live" of its day. It was very counterculture, had all these hot new comedians on it. It was very against the war. So it -- they did -- but that was not "Saturday Night Live." It was not an institution like this.

CAMEROTA: But -- but he really did get it killed because he didn't like it?

CARTER: That's -- well, he put pressure on CBS for sure. And certainly the Smothers Brothers believe that's why they were forced off the air. It certainly wasn't the ratings. The ratings were very good.

CUOMO: Another skit that they did was a play on the movie "Love Actually."


CUOMO: This time you had Hillary Clinton going door-to-door talking to electors. Here it is.



I know I lost the election --

And we may never know why --

Cough --

Russia --

Cough --

But I still care about this country.

You don't even have to vote for me.

I'm coo.

Just vote for literally anyone else.

Anyway, enjoy your holidays.

But keep in mind --

If Donald Trump becomes president --

He will kill us all.


CAMEROTA: That was -- CARTER: (INAUDIBLE) satire. It was -- because it played off a very familiar scene. People know that scene. So it was a -- you know, on the idea of them sort of using Hillary again is very popular (INAUDIBLE).

STELTER: Right, trying to find ways to bring the Kensing (ph) character back onto the show.

CAMEROTA: Yes. Right. Clearly.

CARTER: It's kind of making fun of the show -- of her access -- you know she was so excessive in the thing showing her policies still. So they made fun of her too.

CUOMO: One of the clever parts of the criticism from Trump and his friends around him is to say, they have a duty to respect the president. They have a duty to help the country unify, not to enhance --

CARTER: "Saturday Night Live" has a duty?

CUOMO: Well, I mean -- what -- you know?

CARTER: They've never done it. They've made fun of every president. They don't care who it is. They made fun of the -- you don't think they skewered Bill Clinton? My gosh, that was like pretty constant. This, though, I do agree, is sort of a very high level of satire because if you looked at the weekend update, it was like 99 percent really rough jokes about -- about him. And Rex Tillerson gets the highest award from Putin, except the presidency, you know.

STELTER: Or saying he's like a monkey with a machine gun.

CARTER: Right.

CAMEROTA: All right, well --

CARTER: We hear a lot about resistance to Trump in the past month. Liberals saying there needs to be a resist movement. Well, where is it? We don't really see it. It's actually shows like "SNL" that are the closest thing to this sort of opposition to Donald Trump right now.

CARTER: And a lot of other late night shows, too.

CAMEROTA: We have the weekend update. Let's take a little look at it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE, ACTOR, "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE": Well, Donald Trump is about a month away from his inauguration. And people are starting to notice some red flags.

The Electoral College is voting on Monday and it would take 37 members to change their vote to cost Donald Trump the election. That's right, only 37 people stand in the way of "Civil Wars: Episode II." The only thing scarier to me than Donald Trump becoming president is

Donald Trump not being allowed to become president. Taking the presidency away from Donald Trump now is like giving a monkey a machine gun and then trying to wrestle it back from him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE, ACTOR, "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE": In 2013, Putin awarded Tillerson the order of friendship, which is one of the highest honors Russia gives to foreigners. In fact, the only higher honor Russia can give you is president of the United States.


CUOMO: Good for Michael Chea (ph), though, for saying the only thing that, you know, that bothers him more is if the electors took it from him now.

CARTER: Is if they -- right. Exactly. Because that would happen? That would be chaos. And I think no one really wants that really.

CAMEROTA: Brian --

STELTER: Maybe Donald Trump has finally figured out the Streisand effect, which is, if you talk about something, if you condemn it, if you complain about it, it gets more attention.


STELTER: And that's the case for "SNL" --

CARTER: No question.

STELTER: For sure when he complains about "SNL."

CARTER: No question.

CAMEROTA: Let's talk about just something that Mr. Trump said this weekend, which is that he's going to continue to hold rallies.


CAMEROTA: Against possibly some of the judgment of those advisers around him and he basically said because I can't trust those people out there, meaning the media, to do it. So he's going to take out the conduit. He's going to take out the middle man is what he's suggesting in his presidency and what does that tell you?

STELTER: Watching the entire Saturday night rally, it sounded like I was back in October. You know, you listen to what he's saying now --


STELTER: He's still talking about the campaign. He's still using his famous one-liner from the campaign, some of the falsehoods from the campaign, and he called the press at least dishonest more than seven times, you know.


STELTER: He's saying all the same things he did during the campaign. It shows how comfortable he is in that environment with his fans in those arenas. It makes a lot of sense. He's going to continue to embrace that and, of course, cut out the press.

CUOMO: But the problem is, if what he wants most, Bill, is high approval ratings, right?


CUOMO: For him to want to talk about polls right now, say he got a bump, he knows that the facts right now hurt him, right?

CARTER: Right.

CUOMO: That his numbers are not higher. He can't keep going to rallies and preaching to the converted if he wants to grow his base.

CARTER: No, it will just stay where it is if he does that. It's interesting, at the same time he's called the press dishonest, and again said they're scum, et cetera, he then had them over in for drinks, you know? So I think he's --

STELTER: His traveling press (INAUDIBLE) last night.

CARTER: Yes. He -- and they -- and the press corps went along with it, being an off the record and sort of had this social thing, which is sort of an interesting idea --

[08:55:06] CAMEROTA: But shouldn't they if they're (INAUDIBLE)?

CARTER: Well, they should, obviously. No, I don't -- I don't see a problem with it. It's just an unusual situation because I don't remember a president being this -- you know, if your neighbor called you scum --

STELTER: Disdainful.

CARTER: Would you go to the cocktail party?


CARTER: Well, if he was the president, you probably would.

STELTER: There's value. You can get insight into him that way.

CUOMO: Right. Some lefty commentators are criticizing him for doing that, saying, no, no, no, you must make it (INAUDIBLE).


CUOMO: That's a mistake.


CUOMO: If you want that rapport, you'll learn more that way.

CAMEROTA: Brian --

CARTER: Right.

CAMEROTA: Bill, Brian, thank you.


STELTER: Thanks.

CUOMO: How about some "Good Stuff" on a Monday?

CAMEROTA: How about it?

CUOMO: Next.


CUOMO: Time for "The Good Stuff."

She does not make a lot of cash, but that doesn't matter to Jessie Tandi (ph). She wants to make Christmas special for a bunch of sick kids in Illinois.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, sweetie. This is for you!


CUOMO: Oh, what a sweetheart. Jessie works in the cafeteria at a children's hospital. She wanted to make the kids happy, so she spent $5,000 of her own money. Think about that.

CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh.

CUOMO: To buy all these toys.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't make that much, but to me it's not about the paycheck. To me it's about -- about compassion you have about -- towards other people.


CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh that's beautiful. What child doesn't like a new toy? That is such a great gesture on her part.

CUOMO: And again, regular person, not independently wealthy, didn't win the lottery, but this matters more to her than the money.

[09:00:05] CAMEROTA: That's a good "Good Stuff."

Time for "NEWSROOM" with Carol Costello. Good morning, Carol.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. That is a good "Good Stuff." You guys have a great day.

NEWSROOM starts now.