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Trump Takes on Former President Clinton; Trump Blames Radical Islamic Terrorists; Michelle Obama Candid Interview; Michelle Obama on Angry Black Woman Comment; Jeopardy Champ's Journey. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired December 20, 2016 - 08:30   ET



[08:30:25] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: The Electoral College has officially confirmed the election, but President-elect Donald Trump is still talking about his legitimacy. He tweeted this morning about former President Bill Clinton and what Hillary Clinton's campaign did to lose the election.

Joining us now, CNN political analyst David Gregory with "The Bottom Line."

The irony that the president-elect keeps feeding this perception of the illegitimacy of his election, when he hates that perception to begin with, how do you see it?

DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It doesn't make any sense. Look, the -- the issues aren't going away, Chris, as you alluded to in your interview with the congressman just there. And the more that it appears that Trump and his team are just trying to dismiss these allegations of tampering with the election by the Russians, the worse it's going to get. Why doesn't the president-elect say, look, I'm going be the president. This is not about whether it determined the election, but this is a very serious matter both for me, for future presidents, for future elections. If I'm running for re-election, we've got to get to the bottom of this. That's the responsible thing to do. That's the confident thing to do. I don't know why he wouldn't be confident, he's going to be the 45th president.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Well, it's because he doesn't like when people take shots at him.


CAMEROTA: I mean he's been very clear about this. He calls himself a counter puncher.

So Bill Clinton was an elector yesterday. He cast his vote, not surprisingly, for Hillary Clinton, and he came out and he was caught by a reporter who asked him, you know, how do you explain what happened? First, he gave his explanation of what went wrong for Hillary Clinton. So let's listen to that moment first.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BILL CLINTON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: I've never cast a vote I was prouder of. You know, I watched her work for two years. I watched her battle through that bogus e-mail deal. She fought through that. She fought through everything. And she prevailed against it all. But, you know, then, at the end, we had the Russians and the FBI deal, which she couldn't prevail against that. But she did everything else and still won by 2.8 million votes.


CAMEROTA: OK, so that's his take on what went wrong. And then, in a print interview, former President Clinton said this about Donald Trump. "He doesn't know much. One thing he does know is how to get angry white men to vote for him." So that is what Mr. Trump is responding to in these tweets where he says, I'll put them up, "Bill Clinton stated that I called him after the election. Wrong. He called me with a very nice congratulations. He doesn't know much," now he's switching this on to Bill Clinton, "especially how to get people, even with an unlimited budget, out to vote in the vital swing states and more. They focused on the wrong states.


GREGORY: Yes. Well, Trump is right about that. And, look, Bill Clinton is a former president, so should have chosen his words more carefully thinking about the presidency and the importance of the institution. But he's also the spouse of the candidate. So, yes, there's some sour grapes. There's a lot of anger and disappointment and there's a lot of factors to look at about why Hillary Clinton lost, including Jim Comey's actions, including the leaked e-mails, including their strategic and tactical decisions within the Clinton campaign. All of these things. And the fact that Donald Trump was able to turn out all these voters. So there's going to be a lot of recrimination and a lot of sour grapes and I think you see all of that playing out.

But I don't think we're going to get a different Trump, right? I mean a President Trump is not going to be different and he's going to use Twitter as a personal arm of his communications, to directly speak to his people, to tweak the media, to tweak anyone who comes in his path. I think this is a pattern that we're going to see. The real question is how it impacts policies, how it impacts relationships that go beyond internal domestic political infighting.

CUOMO: Seems that the challenge for the president-elect early on will be his ability or inability to surrender the "me" to the "we."


CUOMO: To put his personal agenda aside and start focusing on the people who elected him. And in that way, what he's saying this morning about these attacks abroad is creating a lot of controversy. The Germans aren't sure, but if they're right about who they think they have, which is this refugee who drove this truck into the Christmas market, and then you have Turkey where you have this guy who seemed to be expressing what isn't just Islamic extremism for many, but sectarian concerns about who has been victimized in Syria and secular concerns about Russia's role in Syria. He lumped them all together, Trump, saying they're all Islamic -- Islamic terror. What's the risk?

GREGORY: Well, I mean, it's the same risk that you always see, which is, he's -- he's generalizing. He's creating kind of a war against Islam, generally. But I think you would argue that's not in effect what he's trying to do.

[08:35:06] I think the real issue here is Syria, the destruction of Syria, the role that the Russians are playing, what is our relationship going forward with the Russians to try stem that tide and the refugee crisis. I mean the crimes against humanity here that have pushed people out of their homes, what are they left with throughout that region and across Europe and what are the potential dangers? And Angela Merkel in Germany, who's up for election in 2017, who's had an open door policy for asylum seekers, this is a real problem for her politically and really morally as she's been trying to do the right thing.

CAMEROTA: All right, David Gregory, thanks so much for "The Bottom Line."

GREGORY: Thanks.

CAMEROTA: See you soon.

Well, First Lady Michele Obama sitting down with Oprah Winfrey. What advice would Mrs. Obama give to her successor? The revealing interview, next.


CAMEROTA: Well, last night, First Lady Michele Obama sat down with Oprah Winfrey. They talked about a lot of things, mostly the last eight years. And Michele Obama offered advice to the woman who will hold that next title.

[08:40:02] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: My offer to Melania was, you know, you really don't know what you don't know until you're here. So the door is open, as I've told her, and as Laura Bush told me, you know, and as other first ladies told me. So I'm -- I'm not new in this going high thing. I mean, I'm modeling -- I'm modeling what was done for me --


OBAMA: By the Bushs.


OBAMA: And Laura Bush was nothing but gracious and helpful and her team was right there for my team all throughout this entire eight year process.

WINFREY: And your team is doing the same?

OBAMA: We will do whatever they need to -- to help them succeed. So that's one of the things I -- I said to Melania. When you get to a place, when you can digest all this and you have questions because, you know, you don't have questions, you know, the day after the election.


OBAMA: It's just sort of like, you know, you're looking around the house and it's like, well, what do you want to know? And it's like, I don't know what I should know. And I knew that.

WINFREY: Yes. Yes.

OBAMA: So my door is open. And that -- that was really the nature of the meeting.


CAMEROTA: To discuss the interview we have author of "Hidden Power: Presidential Marriages that Shaped History," Kati Marton, and cultural critic and writer Michaela Angela David.

Great to have you ladies with us.


CAMEROTA: So, I mean, in addition to the proud tradition in this country of the peaceful transfer of power, there's also this graceful transfer of power that first ladies do among each other.


CAMEROTA: It's really comforting --

MARTON: It is. It is.

CAMEROTA: To hear Michele Obama talk about it.

MARTON: I mean the role of first lady is unique to America. It combines kind of a monarchial role, maybe because we have some nostalgia for the -- for the monarch we overthrew, as well as a working role. So they live and work in the same house. And there's no other country that has such a strong and defined role.

And Michelle Obama is now -- enters that history and she is carving out a role for herself that I have to say reaches into Eleanor Roosevelt territory because she has declared an independent voice, independent of her husband, and not as a political voice, but as a moral voice. And people really look to her as a role model beyond the. African-American community. She was obviously history-making as the first African-American first lady. But now it's particularly young people who see her as a model for parenting, a model for a modern marriage, and for speaking out for decency and kind of a fearless voice that we haven't seen coming out of the White House for a very long time.

CUOMO: Well, even though it harkens back to Eleanor Roosevelt, let's say that this -- we see in Michele Obama the natural extension and evolution of a team of equals. Of course you have your president of the United States, but that as first lady she's more and there's a dove tailing of morality in politics with what Michelle Obama talks about. One question is, is her advice best served to Melania Trump or to Ivanka Trump?

DAVIS: Yes. Good question.

CUOMO: If it's true about the role that she's going to have in the White House, we've seen that before also, which is usually in the absence of having a first lady.

DAVIS: Sure.

CUOMO: But to her.

DAVIS: Yes. I, you knows, I think whenever Michelle speaks, she is speaking to a lot of women, right? And I think that she's very -- she's brilliant in how she phrases things. So when she's saying, you know, we go high when they go low, when she says this is what we do, we model what we want to see, I think she was speaking to everyone. If you want a smart first lady, you have to be one. So I think when she was speaking about talking to Ivanka, she was talking to all of us.

And throughout this interview, when she said, for instance, you know, when they -- when they were talking about being an angry black woman and she said, you don't know me, I heard, you don't know black women in this way. You don't know us. So these tropes, these narrow narratives are what we're here to shatter, right?

CAMEROTA: Yes. We have that. So let's play that moment and get you to talk about it.


CAMEROTA: Watch this.


WINFREY: When you were labelled that angry black woman, was that one of the things that knocked you back a bit?

OBAMA: Well, that was one of those things that you just sort of think, dang, you don't even know me, you know?


OBAMA: I mean you just sort of feel like, wow, where'd that come from, you know?


OBAMA: And that's the first blow back because you think, wow, that is so not me. But then you sort of think, well, this isn't about me. This is about the person or the people who write it, you know? I mean that's just the truth. (END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: And, you know, Kati, I mean, you're just on the receiving end --


CAMEROTA: Of whatever people think, whatever their opinions are as first lady.


CAMEROTA: And it's hard -- you can't very well get on Twitter and give them a tongue lashing, you know? You take it.

MARTON: No. No. But the thing that's lost in this discussion is that the first lady plays a dual role, internal and external. And, traditionally, the most successful presidential marriages have been the ones where the president has an open line to his wife because the presidency is such a bubble inside a bubble and so cut off from the people. But the first lady still has more mobility, more exposure and the successful ones have an honest, straight relationship with their husbands. And Michelle Obama clearly has that. And one wonders about their successors because Melania, who paid Mrs. Obama the greatest of all compliments by, well --

[08:45:36] CAMEROTA: (INAUDIBLE) flowers (ph).

MARTON: Yes. Yes. But she has no sense of American history, which is unique in our history to have a first lady without any ties to American culture, politic, history. So this is going to be a very steep learning curve.

DAVIS: That was a really profound moment because when you think about the collective imagination, the word "first" and "lady" is rarely associated with black women. And Michelle Obama not only gives you a new imagination for what a black woman of power and the agency and dignity and grace and intelligence can be, she is arguably going to be one of the most memorable first ladies.


DAVIS: The first on so many levels. And, you know, when Coretta Scott King said that women will be the soul of this country, like she's the soul with soul, right? So we're going to remember her in many areas, not just this first one, but she was cool and under pressure she modelled how to be a patriot, how to put country first. When people were coming for your and giving you ideas, like that "New Yorker" cover --


DAVIS: That was horrific. And the way that she shape shifted through that was something that women and girls can look to forever. Like, they're going to come for you and you know -- you can like do it with style. CAMEROTA: Michaela, Kati, thanks so much. Great to talk to both of you

about all of this.

MARTON: Thanks for having me.

CUOMO: Let's talk about another woman who certainly earned great distinction. She's on "Jeopardy" and on some winning streak. But the woman on your screen right now is not alive to appreciate it. Next, we're going to be joined by the long-time boyfriend of the late game show champ to ask, what would she have thought about this remarkable run, next.


[08:50:54] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALEX TREBEK, HOST, "JEOPARDY": We come to our champion, Cindy. She had $11,600. She wrote down this word, what is a radical? And that is the correct response. That's the word, yes, radical sheik. $6,401. You add to that and that gives you $18,001 today. And now a five day total of $80,002. Way to go, champ. We'll see you tomorrow.


CUOMO: Cindy Stowell is on a five day winning streak on "Jeopardy." That's impressive all by itself. However, this is even more impressive because Cindy is no longer with us. She lost her long battle with cancer just ten days before the episodes began airing.

Joining us is Cindy's long term boyfriend Jason Hess.

And, Jason, we are really sorry for your loss. We know you were together for a very long time. So our condolences to you and your family.

JASON HESS, CITY STOWELL'S BOYFRIEND: Thank you, Chris. Thank you, Alisyn. It's nice to -- nice to see you.

CUOMO: Now, we're trying to explain the layers of importance in this story. Winning on "Jeopardy," amazing. Winning in succession. But the mystery around this that Cindy didn't want the people closest to her to know how it was going to turn out for her on "Jeopardy," tell us about that.

HESS: Yes, that's right. I think we -- I've gotten multiple comments saying that we should be qualified to hold the nuclear codes because we've been -- we've been successfully kind of keeping word from getting out, even though we were incredibly excited by kind of how the -- how it all went. But, you know, that's part of the rules of going on the show, and we tried to -- tried to hold to it. But it was definitely a hard secret to keep.

CAMEROTA: Well, so, Jason, this was -- Cindy died on December 5th. Obviously these -- this run that she's having, this incredible successful run, was obviously taped before that. But what is it like for you this week to see her again on television winning? HESS: Yes, well, it's definitely been a mix of emotions the last

couple of weeks, but I think the -- the "Jeopardy" part has been one of the more fun parts of it for me, I'll just, say because even though I know how it turns -- how it turns out, it's been -- it sort of -- it was so thrilling to kind of -- I was there at the studio audience and the taping, but it has been so thrilling to kind of show the world how well she did and she's had kind of a crazy run and -- of skill and maybe a little bit of luck mixed in and it's just been -- that's kind of been the -- a real -- areal bright point among kind of, obviously, some other tragic circumstances the last couple weeks.

CAMEROTA: And I know that because you were there at the taping with her, it wasn't easy for her. She was quite ill while she was taping it. We can't tell as we watch as a viewer, but what was it like for her to make it to the podium and to try to stay up there and answer questions?

HESS: It was -- you know, obviously, we, who knew what was going on, were kind of hyper aware of small, little signs. I mean she just sort of a little unsteady getting up to the -- going up the stairs to the podium and in between, you know, during breaks there were times where she sort of was -- just kind of had her head in her hands and was looking down and wasn't really -- you know, just kind of focusing and trying to kind of rally her strength.

But, you know, when the lights were on, I think call it a surge of adrenaline or what, she -- she was able to sort of fight through all that was going on and, you know, I -- you know, it's still pretty amazing to me because she was fairly -- she was not doing well the day before and was, you know, understandably worn out and exhausted right afterwards. But she did great when it came time to present.

CUOMO: Talk about rising to the challenge and now you have this kind of surreal living legacy of her taken so young in her life, but still alive to the viewers of "Jeopardy". Other than just being a champion, and we don't want to reveal and we don't even want to know how far she goes --

CAMEROTA: I want to know.

CUOMO: We want to watch in real-time with everybody else, but what do you want people to know about who Cindy was?

[08:55:04] HESS: You know, I think -- and you can -- you can see part of it, I think even the -- you know, her performance on the show and even the -- the interviews kind of with Alex, you can see a mix of sort of her -- you know, she's obviously viciously intelligent, but incredibly humble at the same time. But she was also very fun and silly and, you know, kind of to her closest friends full of fun stories, a great sense of humor, and, you know, I think you put it right, that the -- you know, we do sort of have a legacy of her and it's -- it's really kind of a great way to, you know, she was able to leave something to be remembered by.

CAMEROTA: And also, I mean, we know that she's contributing her money to cancer research, that that was one of her final wishes. So, Jason, thank you very much for sharing your story with us. And we

look forward to seeing, to watching TV and seeing what happens with her run. Thank you.

HESS: Absolutely. Thank you.

CUOMO: The best to all of you making it through the holidays this year. Please, send our regards.

HESS: Thank you very much.

CAMEROTA: That's our program. "Newsroom" with Carol Costello begins after this very quick break. We'll see you tomorrow.


[08:59:59] CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: And good morning. I'm Carol Costello. Thank you so much for joining me.

Violent attacks around the world. In Berlin, Germany, a truck plowed through a crowd of shoppers at a busy Christmas market killing 11 people and injuring dozens more.