Return to Transcripts main page


Is Donald Trump's Tax Plan Too Rich for the Nation?; Trump Fires Back at Critics; : Former Aide Shares Advice She Gave Clinton; Comedian Trevor Noah Takes Over Anchor Chair.. Aired 4:30-5p ET

Aired September 29, 2015 - 16:30   ET




More now on the politics lead.

If you ask Donald Trump, he's worth $10 billion. Now, if you ask "Forbes" magazine, the real estate mogul is worth considerably less, only $4.5 billion. Either way, he's really, really rich.

According to experts, however, his tax plan might be too rich for the nation. Two separate estimates from two think tanks on either side of the political divide say that Trump's rejiggering of the way the IRS does business will cost 1,000 times what Trump says is his fortune. In other words, it will cost the nation $10 trillion.

CNN chief political correspondent Dana Bash is here.

Dana, what happen does the Trump campaign have to say about these assessments?

DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I'm sure you can probably guess that Donald Trump is saying that his plan is terrific, his critics are just wrong and they don't know what they're talking about.

But part of the issue is that we still don't have all of the specifics, which allows opponents to dismiss his tax proposal as fantasy.


BASH (voice-over): If there's anything Donald Trump knows how to do, it's sell. And now,it's all about selling his new tax plan.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The economy's going to just be absolutely like a rocket. It's going to go up. This is my prediction. This is what I'm good at. This is really my wheelhouse.

BASH: But as much as Trump is trying to build up his proposal, where nearly half of Americans would pay no federal income tax, his rivals are urging voters to compare it to the alternatives. GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: All I caution

people is to remember that anything that you propose as a presidential candidate, you have to be able to deliver on. We have had too many empty promises in this country over time.

BASH: Jeb Bush, who released his own tax reform plan several weeks ago, tweeted: "Finally saw Donald's tax plan. Looks familiar. I'm flattered, but he should have stuck with growth and fiscal responsibility."

Ben Carson, now running neck and neck with Trump in polls, says Trumps plan to bring money back from overseas is nothing new.

BEN CARSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There's over $2 trillion of American money sitting overseas. I have been talking about this for several months. Some people think that you just heard about it this week.

BASH: Experts are poring over the details, trying to figure out what his version of simplifying the tax code would mean. One right-leaning group, the Tax Foundation, applauded Trump's effort at tax cuts, but also pushed back on Trump's claim that his plan would not add to the deficit, concluding, instead, it "would increase the federal government's deficit by over $10 trillion."

But even that is hard to know for sure, since some specifics of Trump's plan are still unknown, like exactly which tax loopholes he would get rid of. In fact, Rand Paul dismissed Trump's proposal as more of the same.


SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think my tax plan is better. I get rid of all 70,000 pages of the tax code. His plan will continue a lot of the cronyism and a lot of the special interest politics that go into the tax code. Ours would eliminate all of that, and you could file your tax return on one single postcard.


BASH: Now, Trump continues to fire back at fellow candidates, his competitors, not just on policy, but personally.

He tweeted today that Rand Paul is going to drop out of the presidential race, something Senator Paul told CNN today is not true. Jake, he said, it's silly season any time that he opens his mouth.

TAPPER: And, Dana, one other thing, Tom Brady, the quarterback, said that it would be great if Trump won the White House, but now I'm understanding that that's not exactly what he says?

BASH: Right. So, Donald Trump, any time he gets a chance, he talks about how close he is with Tom Brady and how wonderful a guy he is. Tom Brady had one of Donald Trump's now famous "Make America Great" hats...

TAPPER: "Make America Great," yes.

BASH: ... in his locker room. That was noticed. Somebody asked him about it. And he should he would be great for Donald Trump to be president. Now Tom Brady's kind of talking that back, saying, I didn't mean to endorse him and he also said that he doesn't -- he, Tom Brady, doesn't pay attention to politics, so he doesn't really know what's going on.

TAPPER: OK. There's a joke to be made, but I will leave it right there.


BASH: I just put right that on the cue for you.

TAPPER: Thank you. Thank you.

Let's talk over everything 2016 with CNN political commentators Kevin Madden and Van Jones.

Gentlemen, thanks for being here.

So, Mark Leibovich has a new profile of Donald Trump in "The New York Times Magazine." In it, Trump talks about his vision for America and the presidency. He said this -- quote -- "Jimmy Carter used to get off of Air Force One carrying his luggage. I used to say, I don't want a president carrying his luggage."

Now, what is interesting about this is that when Pope Francis got on the plane and he was carrying his bag, I noticed it, because we so rarely see it. Obama doesn't do it. Bush didn't do it, et cetera. Do Americans agree with Trump, I think is the question. Do they want their presidents to not have bags?


Listen, I thought, first of all, the pope just set a completely different standard. He made all of us I think take a step back. His humility, ability to connect with people was extraordinary and part of it was his willingness to carry his own bag. That's -- the problem with Donald Trump is that everything becomes this big show.

I don't know if Americans want presidents carrying their bags or not. I know they don't want a show person.

TAPPER: When you worked on the Romney campaign in '08, did he carry his bags? Was that something?


He did. I remember trying to grab them one time, and he said, no, I have got it. He wouldn't allow me to carry his own bags. He didn't want staff doing it for him.

But I don't want to overanalyze any of this. I think relatability comes in different ways. And I think that's one of the things that candidates try to focus on, is when they talk about issues, how are you relatable, how is it that you show you understand the problems that people -- of the average American?


TAPPER: But those things are -- I mean, Jimmy Carter...


MADDEN: I think, with Trump, the contrast is, that in some way that it wasn't presidential for Jimmy Carter to do that.

TAPPER: Right.

MADDEN: That he looked weak and wimpy, right, and whereas Trump's whole brand and whole persona is about being bold and brash.

TAPPER: And rich.

MADDEN: Yes, and rich. But that has a declining -- I think people, voters, have a declining appreciation for that over time.

TAPPER: OK. That's interesting.

Let's talk about Jeb Bush's campaign. An anonymous Republican donor told Politico that there is real anxiety inside the Jeb Bush for president campaign.

JONES: There should be.

TAPPER: They say it's at a six or a seven. I assume that's on a scale of one to 10.

The Bush campaign pushes back on this strongly and say it's nonsense. They point out they just picked up some of Scott Walker's fund- raisers.

Kevin, you know these guys. Is there anxiety within the Jeb Bush campaign?

MADDEN: Well, look, here's the interesting thing about donors.

The reason that they become very successful is that they are very methodical and they plan over the long haul. And yet when they're donating to candidates, they're very emotional and they want to see immediate returns.

TAPPER: Right.

MADDEN: And the challenge for the folks inside the Bush campaign is trying to educate their donors about how -- what their long play is, over a longer period of time. Here we are, they're getting nervous, and it's only October. I mean, it's only September and October.

This is a campaign that's built to start winning in February and March and April, during the high point of the primary contest. That's the big challenge they have right now, which is saying, don't get nervous now. This is a campaign that's built for when it matters, built to succeed when it matters.

TAPPER: And that's the approach also of the Rubio campaign as well. He doesn't want to be peaking right now, he says. He wants to be peaking in January and February, when voters start going to the polls.

JONES: That's true.

Listen, for Rubio, it kind of makes sense. I have said his theme song should be from The Bee Gees, "Staying Alive." Like, he just wants to stay alive, stay on the radar screen, do well, do well, be everybody's second favorite choice.


Bush is just spinning. Everybody expected for him to be dominating this field.

TAPPER: Right.

JONES: Nobody thought in October of this year or any year that a Ben Carson would be taking him to the cleaners. And so I really think that there is a reason for these donors to be panicking. He may have picked up a couple of donors. He should try to pick up of a couple of points in the polls. And that would just calm a lot of this stuff down.

TAPPER: On the Democratic side, I want to play something that Hillary Clinton told Lena Dunham, the actress, in an interview about keeping Wall Street from running amok.


HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I like to have plans for what I do. I may not always be the -- you know, the stem- winder about these things, because I think it's important and I have been around Washington long enough to know you have got to get people to agree if you're going to get something done. Now, trying to get bipartisan agreement is difficult. But often it essential.


TAPPER: Seemed to be talking about Bernie Sanders, seemed to be saying, yes, maybe he gives better speeches, but I get it done because you need to be bipartisan. Bernie Sanders isn't. I'm reading into it.


JONES: Well, look, I think she was in some ways taking a shot at Bernie, in some ways taking a shot at Elizabeth Warren. I'm from that part of the Democratic Party, that wing that is very passionate, that really does not like what Wall Street's been able to get away with.

But I tell you why I respected what she said, even though I'm on the other side of the party from her. She is starting to just be herself. She said, listen, this is who I am. I have my way of doing things. They have their way of doing things. I'm not going to be up here doing the Nae Nae and everything else, trying to pretend like I'm somebody like I'm not. I'm just going to totally...


TAPPER: She did do the Nae Nae.

JONES: Well, she did. She did it and she did it better than I do it. I can't criticize her.


JONES: Listen, she's going to be a lot better, she's going to be more respected in this party if she says, listen, I'm a moderate, I am who I am, and take me or leave me, than trying to pander. That's she has got to stop doing.


MADDEN: What I found real interesting was the two messages were two messages that I don't think aren't driving base voters inside the Democratic Party right now, one, compromise.

And the second part, she said, I have been around Washington a long time.

TAPPER: Right.

MADDEN: Like, neither one of those messages work with the base right now.


JONES: It's authentic, true.


JONES: And I'm going to tell you, I think that her problem, everybody knows her policy and her politics. This is about authenticity right now. We're in a personality primary right now.

And you know what? When she's just herself in person, she's great, and everybody knows it.

TAPPER: Great.

Van Jones, Kevin Madden, thank you both. Great to have you here.

MADDEN: Good to be with you.

TAPPER: And with Hillary Clinton's poll numbers sagging, who better to talk to? The comeback kid himself, Bill Clinton, sits down with Erin Burnett tonight to give his take on his wife's campaign. He's in favor of it, I'm guessing. Donald Trump and everything else 2016. You will not want to miss it. That's Bill Clinton on "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" tonight at 7:00 p.m. Eastern.

In our money lead, she angered many by suggesting women cannot have all it. Now Anne-Marie Slaughter is back and telling me what Hillary Clinton thought about her advice.

Plus, one of his applause lines of the night was a dad joke, much like one joke that Jon Stewart used to use beforehand. So, how did Trevor Noah stack up to his "Daily Show" predecessor?


[16:46:30] TAPPER: Welcome back. We're back with today's Money Lead now. Attempt to change attitudes about work. Can women really at all? Not everyone can be a super woman, Marissa Meyer, the Yahoo! CEO who took two weeks of maternity leave in 2012. She is expecting twins in December. She'll take very little time off.

By the way, her company offers new moms four months of leave. But the decisions like Meyers, pressure other moms to put work over family? That's one question explored in a new book out today called "Unfinished Business" by Anna-Marie Slaughter.

She worked under Hillary Clinton at the State Department as director of policy and planning. Anna-Marie Slaughter joins me now. Thank you so much for being here.

We are trying to get you on the show for a long time. I want to get to the book in a second. First, you were an adviser to Hillary Clinton when she was pushing to arm moderates to take out Assad in Syria, long before ISIS became so powerful.

Where do you think Syria would be today if President Obama had listened to Hillary Clinton's advice, your former boss, and armed Syrian moderates? Do you think it would be a different situation?

ANNE-MARIE SLAUGHTER, FORMER DIRECTOR OF POLICY PLANNING, STATE DEPARTMENT: I wasn't in the government when she was doing that, but I was certainly pushing from the outside. I don't know that we can be certain, you can't -- you can say absolutely we'd be in a different place.

I think there was a very good chance, when she was pushing to arm moderates, we could have built them up in a way that would have meant today we wouldn't be facing ISIL like we are now. You had to go in big and be behind it a full year ahead or more, too, almost two years ahead of where we are now.

TAPPER: One of the subjects of your book, women in power, setting the tone, one of your messages to Hillary Clinton when you worked for her turned up in a batch of her e-mails, one that's relevant, urging her to take a day off before Christmas.

You wrote the pace is killing and you deserve it, but it will mean a lot of folks who would like to take time off with their family before Christmas, moms like me, necessary to make Christmas happen would feel freer to do so. You wanted her to set the example, one of the themes of the book. Did you get a response?

SLAUGHTER: Yes. In fact, she did. She left the 21st. And I did go home and make Christmas, but I knew she'd be responsive. I knew she cared about those issues, which is exactly why I was writing her to say, look, this will matter and she absolutely did.

TAPPER: On the subject of the e-mails, did you know she was using a private e-mail server?

SLAUGHTER: I had no idea.

TAPPER: How is this book relevant, let me ask you, to the single parent working a triple shift at a diner who says, look I don't have time to talk about work, life, balance. I need to put food on the table.

SLAUGHTER: So this book, essentially says that woman, and there are far more women at bottom -- there are too many at the bottom, too few at the top -- we need to value that woman's care giving as much as bread winning.

One of the reasons she's so poor is that she is simultaneously bringing home the bacon and she is responsible for caring for her family. And we're giving her no support on the care side.

[16:50:07] So the book really says, you know, to finish the revolution for real equality between men and women, we have -- we certainly should be electing and appointing women, but we need to focus on care and valuing care and changing roles and choices for men.

TAPPER: Not just as a woman's issue but --

SLAUGHTER: Absolutely, as a work issue, as a social issue.

TAPPER: You say that you would not have written this book three years ago.

SLAUGHTER: That's right.

TAPPER: What do you mean?

SLAUGHTER: Three years ago if you'd asked me and I'd answered honestly, I would have said my father's work as a lawyer was more important than my mother's work as a home maker. After three year of thinking through what real equality means I've concluded that we don't just have to value women to the extent they're like men.

We have to value traditional women's work and the work my mother did raising three productive, successful children and building a family that is the foundation for all of the work we do was just as important as the work my father did defending people and being a lawyer.

I'm not suggesting that all women be the caregivers and men be the bread winners, but I'm saying, actually we need to value both kinds of work when both genders do it. TAPPER: All right, "Unfinished Business, Women, Men, Work, Family," by Anne-Marie Slaughter. Best of luck with that book. Thanks for being here. Don't be a stranger. We want you back.

SLAUGHTER: I'll come back, I promise.

TAPPER: Coming up, it was a lot like Jon Stewart's "Daily Show," but with a new host. After so many other comedians turned the job down, is Trevor Noah really the right man for the job? The reviews are in, that story next.



TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. Lighter fare now, Pop Culture Lead today, when Jon Stewart exited "The Daily Show" after 16 years at the helm, some were not sure that anyone could possibly take his place.

But Trevor Noah, a comedian from South Africa little known in this country, got a shot at the hot seat. His first show premiered last night. Let's go right to CNN senior media correspondent, Brian Stelter. So Brian, what did you think?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Well, I thought he was off to a smooth start. The headlines are all over the place today. Clumsy and crude, shaky and charming, my favorite headline of all was "Sentimental and hilarious." He showed, if anything, his debut was like, well, actually Jon Stewart's. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What changes can we expect --



JON STEWART, HOST, "THE DAILY SHOW": My God, this is "The Daily Show," why don't a draw a mustache on the Mona Lisa for gods sakes.

STELTER (voice-over): Jon Stewart did not mustachios a masterpiece when he first took over in 1999.

STEWART: I'm sure you're curious, is my beloved "Daily Show" going change? It might, subtly.

STELTER: Instead he slowly and surely created an entirely new portrait of late night satire for millions of viewers.

STEWART: I could sit here and die.

STELTER: So for the show's first new host in 16 years --

TREVOR NOAH, HOST, "THE DAILY SHOW": I'm Trevor Noah. Thank you so much for joining us --

STELTER: The strategy is measured metamorphosis.

NOAH: This is surreal for me.

STELTER: Holding on to Stewart's fans.

NOAH: The Mets made the playoffs.

STELTER: Trying to bring in his own.

NOAH: I don't know what that is but Jon told me it would work.

STELTER: When I sat down with Trevor Noah just before his debut, he explained his method this way.

NOAH: A lot of people think it's all or nothing. It can be changing, constantly evolving.

STELTER: Aiming to leave the show was a turn down by many would-be hosts, including Chris Rock, Amy Poehler, and Amy Schumer.

NOAH: So once more a job Americans rejected is being done by an immigrant.

STELTER: The 31-year-old native of South Africa now faces pressure to perform not just from viewers but Viacom, Comedy Central's parent company.

NOAH: Now it feels like the family has a new stepdad and he's black.

STELTER: Viacom relied on "The Daily Show" to deliver more than 2 million viewers a night at its pre-Noah peak.

STEWART: Are you ready (inaudible)?

STELTER: That's an audience that grew up with Stewart.

STEWART: I know I can never be your real father. I don't want to be. I just want to sleep with your mother. My God!

STELTER: Noah says he will use the show's correspondents more often and add musical performances to the mix. Twitter, Buzzfeed along with TV, but he says, he's not leaving anything off the table especially not, well, us.

NOAH: Here it is, your moment of Zen.

TAPPER: Are you going to miss him?

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: I am -- know one thing I have respect my colleagues.

STELTER: When I asked him how much he'd be critiquing cable news, his answer was perfect.

NOAH: How many things are you doing that you consider joke worthy?


STELTER: We'll try to keep it to a minimum. On this premiere night, he had months to prepare. The big test is tonight, tomorrow, the night after, every single show where he'll try to slowly make it into more of his own.

But the ratings are in for last night, 3.5 million viewers across all of Viacom channels from MTV, BET, to Comedy Central. A lot of people sampled the new guy last night -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Brian Stelter, thank you. It was an honor to be part of his moment of Zen. Hopefully we won't be too silly for him.

The Sports Lead now, he is being remembered today for his warmth and his heroism, his yogi-isms and of course, a little bit for baseball, too. Family, friends, former teammates, all paid final respects to hall of famer and American treasure, Yogi Berra today.

Berra died one week ago, 90. He won ten World Series with the New York Yankees and quoted by everything from cartoon characters to sitting presidents.

He also helped save the world, his 19-year-old second class seaman, Lawrence Peter Berra, on Omaha beach. The allies went on to win the war proving, as yogi might say, it ain't over until it's over.

That's it for THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. Turning you over to Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM."