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Prepping for CNN Debates; Michael Reagan on This Week's GOP Debate; Trump Criticizes Fiorina's Looks; Interview with Former NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly. Aired 9-10a ET
Aired September 12, 2015 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[09:00:00] MARTIN SAVIDGDE, CNN ANCHOR: We'll be back.
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN HOST: I'm Michael Smerconish.
Four days, four days until my Super Bowl in Simi Valley. And this is the pre-game show.
The next GOP debate is Wednesday night right here on CNN. Rick Perry just threw in the towel. But the rest of the colourful GOP contenders are clamoring for poll points and trying to draw blood before they even hit the stage. Is it working?
Well, if you're Donald Trump, I guess winning means using your "Rolling Stone" cover story to criticize a female opponent who just fought her way onto the stage by badmouthing her looks. Meanwhile, every other GOP candidate is claiming to be the rightful heir to Ronald Reagan's legacy. I'll ask one of his actual heirs, his son, Michael, whether any of them even comes close.
And more troubling behavior by the police as U.S. tennis star James Blake is attacked unprovoked by an undercover New York City cop. I'll talk to Ray Kelly, he was New York City's longest serving police commissioner about law enforcement in the post Ferguson era.
But first, the war of words on the campaign trail is heating up. It's all pregame jockeying before the big debate this week right here on CNN. Candidates are taking shots at each other and showing up on late night TV. Last night it was the Donald with Jimmy Fallon doing their version of debate prep.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFED MALE: Question one, are you ready for the Republican debate next week?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, the truth is, I'm always ready. It's really going to be a big debate. But I'm always ready.
UNIDENTIFED MALE: It's not just big, it's huge! It's huge! Huge! Huge! Huge! Huge! Huge!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: I want to drill down on that and lots more with my all- star political panel. Elise Henican is a liberal commentator, columnist and author. Roger Stone is a long time practitioner of the dark arts. It doesn't say that. It says Republican consultant.
ROGER STONE, REPUBLICAN CONSULTANT: Same thing.
SMERCONISH: Let me Let me pick up on the Jimmy Fallon bit. Does the Donald do debate prep. I mean, somewhere this weekend will there be individual standing in for the different candidates.
STONE: Absolutely not. He is unscripted.
SMERCONISH: Come on. Really.
STONE: He is uncoached. He is unscripted. He is unhandled. He is the real deal. He's completely genuine. Now, is he reading. I'm sure he's reading but there's nobody in a studio playing the other candidates. There's nobody coaching him with this line or that line. He's not preloaded. He's the real thing and I think that's what voters are responding to, the fact that he's genuine.
SMERCONISH: Ellis, I'm most interested this week to see the dynamic between Ben Carson and Donald Trump, the two front-runners. You saw that this week, Ben Carson made Donald Trump's faith an issue. And then when Trump responded in kind, Carson quickly backed off. What do you think takes place this week?
ELLIS HENICAN, COLUMNIST: I think Carson doesn't have the stomach for Trump's style. By the way, you forgot unhinged. I think that's one of the un's that you missed there.
Listen, Trump will aim hard at Carson because he's the threat, right? I mean, a month ago it was Jeb Bush and he was saying horrible things about Jeb. He will find some way, mark my words, to say something horrible about Ben Carson in Simi Valley.
SMERCONISH: No one who has responded to Trump has seen a gain in their polling data. I mean, Rick Perry tried and he is now out of the race.
STONE: He's the exact opposite. In fact, everybody who has taken him on has dropped like a stone.
SMERCONISH: Right. So I take away from Ben Carson's reaction that he realized that and say that I'm not up for this. There's no up side for me.
STONE: It's important to understand that Carson and Trump are appealing to the same people within the party, the outsiders, the Tea Party wing, the conservatives. Frankly attacking Trump is counter productive for Carson.
SMERCONISH: This is a point, Roger, that I have raised, Ellis, that there are actually two debates that are playing themselves out in Simi Valley on Wednesday.
STONE: That's right.
SMERCONISH: In other words, and I don't mean the kiddie table. You explain it if you buy into it -
HENICAN: No, you're right. There are a group of candidates here who have political job titles next to their names, there are governors and there are senators. And then there are three, I guess, at this point who really don't, Trump, Carson and Fiorina. They are the ones who are doing well. This is the summer where there in ascendance (ph) and when one team is fighting with its fellow players and the other team is fighting with its fellow players.
SMERCONISH: OK. So do you fight outside of your weight class? If you're Jeb Bush, do you go after the Donald or do you focus on John Kasich, who by the way, I think could really pop on Wednesday?
STONE: Yes, I see it slightly differently. I think the party has two wings. It has an establishment wing,, it has a conservative/tea party wing. There's two fights going on here for the ascendancy in each wing. So if you're Jeb Bush, I would be more concerned about John Kasich than Donald Trump. If you are Donald Trump, you have to look at Ted Cruz and Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina and others who are trying to get the conservative (INAUDIBLE).
SMERCONISH: Carly Fiorina will be on the big stage. I want to show you both something she said yesterday about Donald Trump. Roll it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARLY FIORINA, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Leadership is not about the size of your office. The size of your airplane. The size of your helicopter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: Roger. It's not about the size of your airplane, or the size of your helicopter. Dissect that for me.
STONE: Where is the outrage? Is this a Maegan Kelly type comment? Where is - where are all the other candidates being outraged? She's attacking Donald Trump's manhood. It's an outrage.
SMERCONISH: Is that how you read that?
STONE: That's how I read it.
SMERCONISH: Is that how you read it?
HENICAN: There was a size of something else she was eluding to.
SMERCONISH: She's saying he lacks the size to be president, right? The three of us are wondering aloud. HENICAN: I was going to say something that I am not going to say.
SMERCONISH: Let me switch to the Democratic side of the aisle. Vice president Biden was on with Stephen Colbert this week. I think he spoke from the heart. Let's watch and evaluate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: Look, I don't think any man or woman should run for president unless, number one, they know exactly why they would want to be president. And two, they can look at the folks out there and say, "I promise you that you have my whole heart, my whole soul, my whole energy and my passion to do this." And I would be lying if I said that I knew I was there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: That doesn't sound to me like an individual who within the next 30 days gets to a place where he's prepared emotionally to commit to running for president.
HENICAN: You know, Michael, personal grief is an unusual emotional basis for a political campaign. But I've got to tell you, this is the summer of authenticity. There's nothing more authentic than the words you just heard from Joe Biden. I don't think he knows and so we can't know.
SMERCONISH: But he said Ellis that by the end of the summer, maybe it's an Indian summer that he has in mind, right? That he would make a decision. How do you go from that from being in a position within 30 days to stand on a day and say I'm running for president of the United States. I just don't see it.
HENICAN: I'm not saying he's gonna, but I think he can. I think he said, "listen, I did this soul search and I went to the sweat lodge and now I'm ready to go." I think he can say that if he's ready.
SMERCONISH: Here's a different interpretation. Stephen Colbert has really sustained tragedy of his own, much like Joe Biden, lost his father, lost two brothers when he was a young boy in a plane crash. Was this just a candid moment among kindred spirits, Roger, where Biden was - Vide president Biden was dropping his guard because it was Colbert and he knew that he had that sympathetic ear?
STONE: It's hard to say. It was great TV, but Biden failed to raise the third criteria. A guy doesn't run for president, a person doesn't run for president unless they think they can win. Joe has tried this twice before and he never got out of single digits. I think he recognized that he appeals to the same people as Hillary Clinton. I don't think he'll run.
SMERCONISH: In some of the head to heads, I think he's running very well against the Republican field.
STONE: Yes, but you have to get nominated before you can run in the general election, which is a completely different dynamic. HENICAN: Yes but there's one other relevant, Roger, which is how
damage is she. I mean, if the current problem she has, she moved beyond and life goes on. He's never going to win.
But you know what? There's a genuine risk here that she's not as strong a month or two from now.
STONE: She is damaged. The problem is so is he with his reputation for gaffes and being kind of a (INAUDIBLE). I think there's another candidate but I don't think it's Joe Biden.
SMERCONISH: Of what consequence, if any, was Hillary's apology this week.
HENICAN: Zero. Didn't feel like much to me. It was like her saying I'm going to be spontaneous next week.
SMERCONISH: How then can she get beyond - very interesting story in "The Times" today of the back story behind the apology. How does she move beyond the server issue, if not by virtue of an apology?
HENICAN: Well, I think you have to realize that this issue probably changes also zero minds. The lovers continue to love her, the haters continue to hate her. It is baked in pretty much how we feel about Hillary Clinton.
STONE: I don't agree with that. Look at her unfavorables were used to be much lower and continue to climb. It speaks to trustworthiness and honesty. She's cooked. No apology is going to change that.
SMERCONISH: Men, I hear criticism from CNN viewers, from the Sirius XM listeners, it was a criticism addressed by Margaret Sullivan who is the public editor of "The New York Times" this weeks because the "Times" hears the same criticism.
Let me put this up on the screen so that you can take a look at this, this is under the headline has "The Times" dismissed Bernie Sanders. And Margaret Sullivan writes, "here's my take. "The Times has not ignored Mr. Sander's campaign by any means but it also hasn't always taken it very seriously. The tone of some stories does seem regrettably dismissive, even mocking at times. Some of it has focused on the candidate's age, appearance and style rather than what he has to say."
Are we all guilty of the media about not having been serious about Bernie Sanders. I mean the guys is drawing 20,000 people to his rallies. He's now ahead in the polls in Iowa and New Hampshire. And yet -
STONE: It's a manifestation that he's not Hillary. Look, he's George McGovern. If the Democrats nominate him, they will lose 50 states. Maybe he'll carry Vermont, maybe. Nominate a socialist, you lose. It's not about Bernie. Look, I give him credit for hard work and being out there, but it's a manifestation of her unpopularity. SMERCONISH: But nevertheless, if he's winning in Iowa and New
Hampshire and drawing those kind of crowds, Ellis, shouldn't we be paying more deference to Bernie Sanders?
HENICAN: I get that. I made it a policy never to feel sorry for people who run for president. They deserve the media media coverage that they get. But you know what? If he stays there of a little while, you can't ignor the guy. He's a genuine, Roger. He's actually winning in polls.
STONE: So what he would do is what Eugene McCarthy did. Draw a stronger candidate like Robert Kennedy into the ring.
SMERCONISH: Look at the comparison between the amount of attention that we heap on the Donald. I admit it, and by the way, I can't get enough of it. It's like a car wreck, I cannot turn, Roger - pardon me, but I can't turn my head. That's why - you were fired or you quit, I forget about that.
STONE: I quit.
HENICAN: Let me establish that.
SMERCONISH: But the point is we give all this attention to Trump because he's great TV. And Bernie is doing on the democratic side what Trump is.
HENICAN: Yes, but again, he doesn't connect with people in the same way. He doesn't have the same celebrity.
STONE: He's been on the public payroll his entire life but he's an outsider. Please.
SMERCONISH: A quick comment on what to look for Wednesday night. Roger Stone.
STONE: Fireworks. Trump fends off the field and emerges as a winner.
HENICAN: If there's any one, anybody score a hit on Donald, I don't see it. But boy who does, they get a lot of points.
SMERCONISH: For a couple of junkies like us, it gets no bigger than tha this.
SMERCONISH: It could be a hell of a debate. What better setting could there be for CNN 's GOP presidential debate this Wednesday than the Ronald Reagan Library because almost everybody on stage claims to be the inheritor of his political legacy. Just listen to them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFED MALE: I'm a Reagan conservative. MIKE HUCKABEE, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Ronald Reagan said trust but verify.
TED CRUZ, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The day Ronald Reagan was sworn into office.
UNIDENTIFED MALE: Reagan expanded Medicaid three or four times.
TRUMP: Ronald Reagan evolved on many issues.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: But do any of them even have the strange alchemy that made Reagan an indelible icon three decades ago. Do they even know what he stood for? I have the perfect guest to answer that question.
Michael Reagan, the late president's oldest son, a political consultant, author, nationally syndicated columnist, joins me now from Los Angeles. Michael, are any of them truly Reagan-esque?
MICHAEL REAGAN, POLITICAL CONSULTANT: They may have traits of Ronald Reagan in them because they are Republicans and somewhat conservative, but are they Reagan-esque? No, Ronald Reagan was likable and he was relatable.
If you are not likable and relatable, you're not going to get the vote of the American public. I would imagine one of my good friends who just suspended his campaign in the last 24 hours was probably the most like Ronald Reagan because he was a cowboy. Rick Perry, a great friend of mine, wears the same boot size as my father, wears the same hat size as my father when he went out to the ranch. Great guy, couldn't get off the ground in Texas.
SMERCONISH: OK. I'm setting you up now, who is the least Reagan- esque on that stage Wednesday night?
REAGAN: Donald Trump.
SMERCONISH: And why? I figured you were going to say that. I'm glad that you brought that forth because I've been following you on twitter and I sense where you're coming from. But what makes him the least Reagan-esque?
REAGAN: Ronald Reagan didn't attack the people around him. He didn't demean the people around him. He brought everybody together at the end. If Republicans don't bring everybody together at the end of the day, we do not win elections. We are the smallest bus in the building. We don't have the ability to throw people off the bus and demean them. We have to figure out a way to put people on that bus and move it forward to Washington, D.C. and I don't think that Donald Trump who in fact fills the bus with those people that he has demean sa it goes, in fact to the system.
SMERCONISH: When I think of your father, one of the first things that comes to mind is his so-called 11th commandment. Remind everybody what that was? REAGAN: Yes, thou shall not speak ill of another Republican. Now there's a 12th amendment by what I would imagine by Donald Trump, I will speak ill of everybody, in fact, until I get to where I want to, in fact, go. And that's what's really sad here is when you don't have the issues, should I say, or the facts, what have you accomplished in government? What have you? You attacked all those people who have, in fact, accomplished things in government.
You follow me on twitter. What was it, a couple weeks ago I said, what, the governor of Ohio, John Kasich, has he made Ohio great again? Hasn't Walker made Wisconsin great again? Didn't Perry make Texas great again? Didn't Bush make Florida great again? But yet they can't get traction against somebody who ends every speech with, I'm going to make America great again.
SMERCONISH: It's fascinating to me to have you candidly explain the differences between your father, Ronald Reagan, President Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump. Because just the other night the GOP frontrunner was on with Sean Hannity on Fox News. He characterized his relationship with your dad in a different way. Let's all watch that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Ronald Reagan was a democrat and he was sort of liberal. And I knew him, I didn't know him quite, but I knew him and I knew him well. He liked me and I liked him. He was like this great guy. And he was a democrat with a liberal bent. And he became a great conservative, in my opinion.
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: One of the greatest presidents.
TRUMP: By the way, and a great president and a great leader. He had something very special. But if you think of it, he was a little bit less conservative actually than people think.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: There's so much there to unpack. Let me begin with this. He liked me and I liked him. Did they, as far as you know, even have a relationship?
REAGAN: You know, I never saw him at Christmas dinner or Thanksgiving dinner out at the ranch, but I would imagine that he had a relationship with him because my father was president of the United States and Donald Trump is Donald Trump. He stays there in Manhattan in the Trump Towers. Of course my father would have a relationship with him, but he had a relationship with a lot of people like the Donald Trumps of the world. And it was the Donald Trumps of the world that wanted to have a relationship with the man who was the president of the United States of America. It's not that Ronald Reagan said, I got to be with Donald Trump tonight. More like Donald Trump, I need to be with the president of the United States tonight. I would ask Donald Trump, exactly how many state dinners were you invited to? SMERCONISH: Michael, you tweeted something else about current events
that I want to make sure I raise. "My father would follow the law, not Huckabee." Explain that if you don't mind.
REAGAN: Well, I wrote an op-ed piece about Mike Huckabee who basically had a campaign event, if you will, in Kentucky this week with Kim Davis. And the supreme court, whether you agree or disagree with gay marriage, and I disagree with gay marriage, but when the Supreme Court rules and says wait a minute, it's now the law of the land. That's what it is. It is the law of the land until you overturn it. It's not overturned, it's the law of the land.
So I think, in fact, Mike Huckabee used Kim Davis and her position to basically have a campaign event. He shuts out Ted Cruz and says you can't come to my event basically and leaves Ted Cruz in the background. And people would say that, well, my father would have been there. No, my father would not have been there. My father would have followed the law sent down by the Supreme Court of our land making gay marriage legal.
SMERCONISH: I want to ask this question. And I remember seeing Nancy Reagan at a time when the announcement was made. How is Nancy Reagan?
REAGAN: I mean, she's all right. She is going to have a dinner for all of them after the event on Wednesday night. And I hope she's able to be there. But she is 94 years old. And she's not - she's not dancing anymore. But I hope she's able to make it and to be there as she hosts this dinner for everyone after the event.
SMERCONISH: As far as you know, does she have a favorite in this group?
REAGAN: Oh, she'll never tell you if she has a favorite in the group. My father never went out and supported anybody in the primary. My dad used to say to me, Michael, if you endorse in a primary, right away 50 percent of the people are just not going to like you.
SMERCONISH: How would he have prepared for a debate like this?
REAGAN: I think you see that in the Mondale debates. I think the Mondale debates prove you can over prepare. I think Donald Trump's magic is that he just speaks off the top of his head. I think the others spend too much time trying to remember what they have accomplished and how to articulate that in the six-and-a-half minutes they might have to be able to speak.
So I think that sometimes they get really over prepared through their consultants and they make huge mistakes on stage whether it is Jeb Bush or Scott Walker or whoever it might be. When you have your moment, you got to take your moment, you got to sell it just like Ben Carson did in the first debates. He only came to them a couple of times, but that last time they came to him he hit it out of the park.
SMERCONISH: If you don't mind, I want to show a great, a classic Ronald Reagan line from a debate and have Michael Reagan respond to it. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RONALD REAGAN, FMR. U.S. PRESIDENT: I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit for political purposes my opponent's youth and inexperience.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: Michael, it never gets old. And I am reminded of the fact that even Walter Mondale was breaking up when he delivered that line.
REAGAN: You're absolutely right. It's really interesting, Bob Beckel, who I have known for 100 years. Bob Beckel's sitting in the room, off stage, off course, watching this with the staff, and he looked at the staff as soon as my dad gave that line, look at him and said, the campaign's over. He just lost. And it's absolutely true. The campaign was over and Mondale lost.
SMERCONISH: We'll think of your father Wednesday night at the CNN debate at the Reagan Library. Thank you so much for being here.
REAGAN: Michael, thank you for having me. Any time.
SMERCONISH: Coming up, Carly Fiorina fought her way into this week's big presidential showdown on CNN only to run into Donald Trump. And an ugly double standard for female candidates.
SMERCONISH: It's 2015 and yet female presidential candidates are still being treated differently. Carly Fiorina had to fight her way into this debate on CNN only to receive a rude present package in Donald Trump's new "Rolling Stone" interview.
"Trump's expression sours in school boy disgust at the camera bores in on Fiorina. Look at that face, he cries. Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that the face of our next president?"
This kind of schoolyard bullying is unseemly to anyone, but in a presidential candidate, how is it not an instant injection button?
Joining me now to figure out why Trump is still leading in the polls with this attitude, I wanted to invite Naomi Wolf, author of seminal book "The Beauty Myth" and an expert on women's issues. She also knows politics, having been a political advisor to Al Gore. Why do you think that he's so fixated on female appearance, whether it is Rosie O'Donnell, whether it's Megyn Kelly, whether it's Heidi Klum, you know all these examples. One after another he's repeatedly made comments about female appearance.
NAOMI WOLF, AUTHOR "THE BEAUTY MYTH": Respectfully, Michael, you know, let's not fall for it. He knows exactly what he's doing. My agent once said to me, don't lead your media, just weigh it. He knows perfectly well that instead of spending billions of dollars he'll get a 15 billion bi-cycle for the next presidential campaign for TV advertising. You have to pay for it and it's expensive. He gets free media. We're talking about him for free. You know, we're driving name recognition for free because he said this sexist thing, the inflammatory thing, the racist thing, and it just keeps the buzz going. It keeps the name recognition out there. That's his strategy.
SMERCONISH: Twenty five years ago you wrote "Beauty Myth" and in the book you were challenging the unrealistic standards - you had a lot to say about the cosmetics industry. The perfect person for me to ask this question, of course there are exceptions but why generally do we elect only attractive people?
WOLF: I mean, you know, when you ran that by me in the green room, I just thought there were so many counter examples that I'm too polite to mention. They are counter examples because they are men. We don't - we have a social taboo against humiliating powerful men in public physically and personally in a way that we tolerate powerful women to be humiliated in public personally around their appearance.
So I'm not going to say - I'm not going to name all the presidents or vice presidents or candidate who are personally not very attractive. Since Donald Trump opened this up, I am going to say, I wouldn't date him. I'm not doing it for me.
SMERCONISH: We began this conversation by talking about what has been said about Carly Fiorina. Let me show you Carly Fiorina in 2010.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FIORINA: We saw Barbara Boxer recently on television this morning and said what everyone says, god, what is that hair? So yesterday.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: Women can be tough on women.
WOLF: That's just horrible. What were you thinking? I mean, that is very unpresidential, I have to say. Whoever gave her that advice to go after the hairstyle of another woman was just a bad -
SMERCONISH: I think it was an open miC. I don't think it was calibrated. I don't think it was orchestrated. Final question for Naomi Wolf, as a feminist leader, do you look at - do you think you look at the potential election of a female president in the same way that African-Americans look at the election of one of their own in 2008? Is the draw of voting for one of your own the same in this cycle as it was not long ago for Barack Obama?
WOLF: Well, I don't consider Hillary Clinton one of my own just like I don't consider (INAUDIBLE) or Margaret Thatcher at one of my own.
SMERCONISH: Tell me. But why not Hillary? WOLF: Because I don't share her politics and I think she's wholly
owned by Wall Street. It's not entirely her fault we have a system where a candidate can't not be wholy owned by the special interests on the left or on the right. But - and I should disclose my children's father was (INAUDIBLE) in the Clinton administration, and everyone who works with her loves her and she's a lovely person in person. There's no question about that, but I object to her warmongering. I object to her endorsing the police state. I object to her buying into hyping terrorism as a way to, you know, build the military industrial state who are her donors. I mean, she's not my girl, sorry.
SMERCONISH: Wow, OK. I naively would have believed that you would have looked at this as an opportunity to break that glass ceiling.
WOLF: I mean, I would rather vote for a man or woman who represents a peaceful, a galitarian world. I'm not the kind of feminist who believes in sexism. Just because someone shares my gender doesn't mean they represent me. I want the best person for the job.
SMERCONISH: OK. Naomi, thank you so much, as always.
WOLF: Thank you, Michael, a pleasure.
SMERCONISH: So what do you think? Tweet me during the program @smerconish and I'll read some of the best and the worst a little bit later.
Up next, this undercover cop's unprovoked tackle of U.S. tennis star James Blake was just the latest in a series of bad news for the nation's police forces. I'll ask Ray Kelly, the man who ran the NYPD after 9/11 what he thinks.
[09:33:49] SMERCONISH: By now, we've all seen the hotel surveillance video of former tennis star James Blake being taken down hard by a New York police officer. Blake is not resisting. To the untrained eyes, those would be mine, this looks horrific.
But I want an expert. Ray Kelly is New York City's former top cop. He was the longest serving NYPD commissioner. His list of law enforcement jobs is long and impressive and he's just written a terrific memoir. "Vigilance: My Life Serving America and Protecting its Empire City."
Commissioner, great to have you here. Let's start with that video -- what do you see when you that video?
RAY KELLY, FORMER NYC POLICE COMMISSIONER: Quite frankly, I'm perplexed by it. This is the type of arrest against credit card fraud when you go up and introduce yourself to the individual, or at least you want to talk to or you're going to arrest.
And he also was apparently with four other police officers. I don't see the rest of the team. So, I mean, it looks -- it is what it is. What it seems to be, which to me, is an overreaction. SMERCONISH: I mean, I have learned my lesson from the Rodney King
video, because initially there was a snippet of it that was released and there was much more and I always want to wait until we got all the facts before you weigh in. But I say to myself, could there some other part of the story?
[09:35:03] I don't think so and you don't think so, it sounds like.
KELLY: Well, if there was I think we would have heard it. If he had reason to believe the individual was armed or he had just committed some sort of violent act, but all the information we have now is that this was a credit card fraud case and this individual was just picked out by someone who they were working with. And it just seems to be an overreaction. No other way to label it.
SMERCONISH: I was reading an advance of your new book "Vigilance" at the time when September 1st, "The New York Times" had a story on page one, I'll put it up on the screen so everybody can see it, talking about the spike in murder rates. There it is -- murder rates rising sharply in many U.S. cities. It talks about more than 30 big cities across the country. People talking about a Ferguson-effect that law enforcement now feels restrained.
SMERCONISH: Do you buy into a Ferguson effect?
KELLY: I do. I think the police have done a terrific job in this country in the last two decades reducing crime by proactive policing. I think that the videos that we have seen, what happened in Ferguson, even though the police officer was ultimately exonerated, brought about a reluctance on part of some of the police to engage in a way they have been engaging in the past.
SMERCONISH: In the book on page 294, you finish a particular chapter by saying, "People will lose lives as a result." And you're talking in that discussion about Mayor de Blasio reigning in. I know you don't like these words, "stop and frisk". And you say this type of backing off is going to cause people to die.
Is that headline one that you envisioned? I mean, is this all related?
KELLY: Yes, to a certain extent. Of course, it's probably too soon to get the whole impact of the Ferguson effect or whatever. I think it will go -- it will last for a while, but yes, I think that it's a natural consequence of some of the things that have happened, including at least here in New York, the backing up of stop and frisk.
SMERCONISH: I watched Thursday morning here on CNN's "NEW DAY," your successor Bill Bratton, he was talking be about the reduction of crime in New York City.
Let's watch together. I want to ask you some questions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BILL BRATTON, NYC POLICE COMMISSIONER: We have an increase of ten murders. Last year was the lowest number of murders in the history of the city. So, we are working against our own successful numbers.
Crime is not up overall in New York City. It's down by 3.9 percent as of this morning. Chris Christie knows nothing about the crime rate in New York City, trying to make political points. Basically he needs to pay attention to his own cities, Camden, Trenton, Newark, New Jersey, some of the highest crime rates.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: Commissioner Bratton was saying that overall crime is down. We're doing it with fewer stops and we're able to maintain a better relationship in the minority community.
This book is quite a defense of stop and frisk. Respond to that.
KELLY: Well, I think that -- look, if crime is down, great. Obviously, that's what we want. I live here.
I question some of those numbers, but I don't think I want to do it now and don't want to get in between Governor Christie and Bill Bratton. I think the whole stop and question frisk tactic is a sound one. It's one validated by the Supreme Court decision. It's codified in every state of the union authorizing police to do it.
And I think, yes, it will lead to an increase in violence and increase in murder.
SMERCONISH: But if you were today back in that top job, you would not be dialing down stop and frisk?
KELLY: Well, the mayor is the top enforcement person in any city. So you get direction from the mayor to do whatever, then that's what you're going to do.
So, you know, Commissioner Bratton is defending the mayor. You know, I understand that. That's what employees do.
But I think in the long-term or even the short-term, it will lead to increased violence. And young people, mostly young people of color, losing their lives. Not just in New York but they are backing off in other cities throughout America.
SMERCONISH: In the book, you talk about your tenure, 12 years as New York's police commissioner. It was on your watch that this chapter, this Islamic terror chapter began with Ramsey Youssef bombing the Twin Towers. As a matter of fact, I find it interesting that your word choice in "Vigilance" is radical Islam. You don't back off for politically reasons from using those words, why not?
KELLY: No, why should we? There is a small segment of the 1.6 billion Muslims in the world that are radical and dedicated to killing people. And certainly, New York has seen 16 plots against it on the Bloomberg watch. So, yes, people want to come here and kill Americans. They are
radical and happen to be Islamic.
SMERCONISH: Tell me if I have this straight. Ray Kelly, a bachelors from Manhattan College.
SMERCONISH: A J.D. from St. John's.
SMERCONISH: A master of laws from NYU.
SMERCONISH: And a masters of public administration at the Kennedy School at Harvard.
[09:40:00] KELLY: Right.
[SMERCONISH: How important was your educational background and constantly reaching for higher education to the success you've had in law enforcement?
KELLY: Well, it certainly helped me. The job gets increasingly complex. So the more education you have, and that's true for police officers as well. At the entry level, I think the better you can do the job. So, I'm all for education.
SMERCONISH: You turned down FBI director. If President Trump calls you and says, Ray, I need you in this gig. Would you do it now?
KELLY: I'd have to think really hard about it.
SMERCONISH: For Mr. Trump or for anybody?
KELLY: For anybody.
SMERCONISH: Let me just say, my favorite four lines in the book, and they run in succession -- come in your underwear, dead goat, $29,000, no gun. But if they want to know the story, let them read it. Thank you.
KELLY: Thank you, Michael.
SMERCONISH: What do you think? Tweet me @smerconish. I'll read the best and the worst at the end.
When we come back, something I said last week caused a firestorm on "Fox & Friends" and elsewhere, and what happened afterwards tells you all you need to know about what's wrong with the polarized media.
[09:45:14] SMERCONISH: Let me tell you a funny story about FOX News. So often in cable news, people on the extremes are looking for something to set their hair on fire. Maybe I don't suffer from that problem for obvious reasons. On FOX, first, they went crazy because they couldn't believe what I said. And then soon after they were basically saying the same thing I had said.
Let me explain. Last Saturday, I talked about the case of Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk whose become a national lightning rod after being jailed for her refusal to issue licenses to gay marriages. And at the top of the program, I raised a question that I had also asked on my radio show.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: Is this woman in jail because she's being denied her religious freedom or is she more like an American version of the Taliban?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: And, by the way, when I asked that question on my website, 902 people voted and said, Taliban-like by 68 percent.
On CNN, I asked my guest, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins the following question.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: Here's another hypothetical, imagine that it's not the marriage bureau, it's the DMV. And that there's a Muslim clerk who takes the position that the Islamic faith doesn't recognize the right of women to drive and this person says, well, I'm not going to give driver's licenses to female drivers a la Saudi Arabia.
We'd go crazy about that. We'd say, absolutely not. You're imposing your religion on society.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: So, the next morning I wake up and see "Fox & Friends" and Twitter and the blogosphere inflamed that I could say such a thing. On "Fox & Friends", they jammed my quotes together, mocked me as a radio guy and accused me of calling her a terrorist.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Isn't she a terrorist who should be droned?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Respectfully.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Respectfully.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Evangelical Christians last time I checked are not burning people in the streets and beheading people.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is like Hillary, if you're against partial birth abortions -- UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He does bring up a good point, though, the
second half of that. But don't compare evangelical Christians to the Taliban.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let us know what you think about that. Friend@foxnews.com, you can weigh in on the fight for faith on our Facebook page.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, respectfully, do you think she's a terrorist?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: And here's just one example of a blogger, someone calling himself super Mexican said, quote, "Mike Smerconish really, usually, isn't this abjectly stupid. But they must have loaded up Obama on his teleprompter because he just had to ask this pathetically stupid comparison on CNN."
Mr. Super Mexican, it is neither pathetic nor stupid. As a lawyer, I think I'm raising a valid and relevant legal observation, and guess who agrees with me? The Republican conservative devout Catholic federal judge presiding over Ms. Davis' case. Kim Davis is saying that her religious belief trumps the law of the land, but Judge David Bunning, who's appointed, by the way, by President George W. Bush said this, "Personal opinions, including my own, are not relevant to today. The idea of natural law superseding this court's authority would be a dangerous precedent indeed."
See, the point is, if we let Kim Davis act based on her faith, we are opening Pandora's box to do likewise in the name of their god, and that includes Islam or a one-man religion someone devises to set their own laws.
Well, guess what? By later in the week other people on FOX News were saying the exact same thing I was. When FOX's Shepard Smith was anchoring the circus around Kim Davis' release from prison, he editorialized this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHEPARD SMITH, FOX NEWS: Well, they set this up as a religious play again. This is the same crowd that says, we don't want Sharia law, don't let them come in here and start telling us what to do. Keep their religion out of our lives and out of our government. Well, here we go again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: Good for Shep to step out of the ideological box over there. We already have enough knee-jerk reactions. And this guest on O'Reilly said the same thing that I had.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL O'REILLY, FOX NEWS HOST: She can, but she has to take the consequences. ANDREA TANTAROS, FOX NEWS: Bill, it sets a dangerous precedent.
O'REILLY: It does, but that's what has to happen.
TANTAROS: A woman with Sharia not issuing driver's licenses to women because she doesn't believe they can drive, or, say, somebody who says they don't believe in the Second Amendment.
O'REILLY: Let's give Jessica the last word.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: My point exactly, but this time no outrage.
Glad to see that every once in a while a thoughtful discussion can conquer the hyperbole. You have all had a lot to say. Your best and worst tweets are still ahead.
[09:54:14] SMERCONISH: I always say, follow me on Twitter if you can spell Smerconish, and many of you can.
Nipsey Brown sent this tweet in during the program, "Get your pretentious tortoise shell glasses checked if you think Trump is a wannabe Reagan. He is our Reagan, you liberal shill."
Nipsey, you've offended my glasses.
Allen says, "What's the difference between Trump talking about women and looks and everybody else talking about Trump's hair?"
Hey, I think lots of times guys' appearances also come in to play erroneously in politics. I remember when John Corzine went after Chris Christie for his weight.
Claire Barnes says, "Loved Naomi's comment regarding the Donald. I wouldn't date him," is what she said. She says, "Me neither." That makes three of us.
Lori who says, "Yikes, probably innocent on your part, did you ask Naomi Wolf if she'd vote for one of her own."
[09:55:04] Yes, I was curious as to whether she feels drawn to voting for a female because she is a feminist, and she said, frankly, that's secondary to me, I thought that was pretty interesting.
And then there's Marin La Liberty, how did this get in here? It's complimentary. "Your name has become a verb in our household. Our new Saturday morning activity is let's get Smerconish. Great show."
Thank you for that, Marin. I appreciate.
Thank you all for watching. Watch the debate Wednesday night.
I'll see you here next weekend.