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Trump Blasted Over Stand On Abortion; Poll: Cruz Leads In Wisconsin; White House: Would Not Tolerate Assaulting Reporter; Trump On Abortion; Trump Campaign Manager Charged With Battery. Aired 11p- 12a ET

Aired March 30, 2016 - 23:00   ET


[23:00:33] DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Just when you think you've seen it all from Donald Trump, this is CNN TONIGHT, I'm Don Lemon. Today, Donald Trump told MSNBC that abortion should be banned and said he thinks women who have illegal abortions should be punished. Shortly after that, Trump put out a statement saying that doctors, not women who have abortions, should be punished. All of this coming after his campaign manager is charged with battery of a female reporter. After the candidate accuses rival Ted Cruz of being behind an attack ad using a racy photo of Trump's wife, and after Trump retweets a side- by-side image of Heidi Cruz and Melania Trump. Has the GOP frontrunner just lost the votes of women across the country? We're going to discuss that. Let's get straight to CNN's Jim Acosta live for us in Wisconsin this evening. Jim, blockbuster news on the Trump campaign. Let's play Mr. Trump's remarks about abortion that started the fire storm today.


MODERATOR: Do you believe in punishment for abortion, yes or no, as a principle?

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The answer is that there has to be some form of punishment.

MODERATOR: For the woman?

TRUMP: Yes. There has to be some form.

MODERATOR: 10 cents, 10 years?

TRUMP: That I don't know.

MODERATOR: Well why not?

TRUMP: I don't know.

MODERATOR: You have positions on everything else.

TRUMP: I do take positions on everything else. It's a very complicated position.


LEMON: Jim, take us through the reaction. What was the impact?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well first of all, Don, what we saw today was something we don't see very often on the campaign trail with Donald Trump, and that is a full reversal. He made a statement and then corrected it and backed away from it almost immediately. It took only a couple of hours for that full 180 on Donald Trump in terms of that statement that he put out, essentially walking back those earlier remarks. And chief among the people responding to what Donald Trump had to say today was Hillary Clinton. She knows that these two may be going head to head later on this fall. She knows Donald Trump has a huge gender gap, high unfavorable ratings with women, and she sought to exploit that, indicating earlier tonight to Anderson Cooper on CNN that she plans to talk about this even more heading into the fall. Here's what she had to say.


HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (via telephone): The choice is really clear. The Republicans all line up together. Now maybe they aren't quite as open about it as Donald Trump was earlier today, but they all have the same position. And if you make abortion a crime, you make it illegal, then you make women and doctors criminals.


ACOSTA: Now, on the republican side, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, just about every Republican was condemning Donald Trump for these original remarks he made on abortion, but Ted Cruz put out a statement essentially saying, wait a minute, Donald Trump does not speak for the anti-abortion forces movement, for the pro-life movement. He put out a statement saying, quote, once again Donald Trump has demonstrated that he hasn't seriously thought through the issues and he'll say just about anything to get attention on the important issue of the sanctity of life. What's far too often neglected is that being pro-life is not simply about the unborn child. It's also about the mother and creating a culture that respects her and embraces life. Of course, we shouldn't be talking about punishing women. We should affirm their dignity and the incredible gift they have to bring life into the world, and Don, this is the worst kind of gaffe that Donald Trump committed earlier today. Four years ago, Mitt Romney, when he would commit a gaffe, it would essentially emphasize and underline the fact that he had a difficult time relating to the common man. And what Donald Trump's gaffes tend to do, and we saw this earlier today, is underline this problem that he has, which is, he's just not that well versed on some of the very important issues facing voters in this campaign, and we saw that on the issue of abortion, a very hot button issue, and he completely stumbled all over it, just about all day long, Don.

LEMON: Yes, as you said, Hillary Clinton capitalizing on this. Ted Cruz, another opponent, capitalizing as well. I mean, Ted Cruz is making a big play for women's votes in Wisconsin, even held an event featuring his wife, his mother, Carly Fiorina. How much does Donald Trump's abortion flap help his opponent with this key demographic?

[23:04:41] ACOSTA: You know, it's a big problem I think with women voters here in Wisconsin, but keep in mind heading into the Wisconsin primary, which is just a few days away, this is a state that is very important when it comes to attracting conservative Catholic voters. The Catholic vote in Wisconsin is critical, and Donald Trump, what he tried do, it sounded like he was trying to pander to some of those voters by saying, this is how tough I am on the issue of abortion, just in the same way that he's tougher than anybody else when it comes to illegal immigration, he wants to build a wall on the U.S./Mexican border. When it comes to abortion, he's talking about punishing women if abortion were ever made illegal. The problem, though, is that on the anti-abortion side of the equation here or the pro-life side of the equation here, those folks are condemning what Donald Trump was saying earlier today. They're saying, no, they don't want to punish women either. And so he was sort of getting it wrong on both sides of the spectrum.

LEMON: I want to put up this poll for you and ask you about it. There's a new poll of Wisconsin voters by Marquette University Law School. Ted Cruz leads the field by 10 points over Donald Trump with John Kasich at 21 percent. So if these numbers hold and Trump loses, how is that going to affect the race, Jim?

ACOSTA: Don, I think it's very serious for Donald Trump. Now, is he going to go into Cleveland holding the lead in delegates? Yes, probably so. But if Ted Cruz can peel away Wisconsin, and keep in mind, coming up after Wisconsin is the Colorado caucuses, Ted Cruz has tended to do very well in these caucuses. Donald Trump has struggled to organize his forces at these caucuses and he tends to lose them. Every time Ted Cruz can peel away one of these contests, it just makes it that much more difficult for Donald Trump to get to that magic number of 1,237 delegates, and I think it begins this storyline, and you were talking about this in the buildup to the show, it's not only the abortion comments today, it's the Corey Lewandowski incident, the wife wars that we saw last week, the violence that we're seeing at the rallies -- the question becomes is whether this cumulative effect is starting to have an impact on the voters. The numbers in that Marquette poll that you mentioned are not good for Donald Trump. They have not moved very much for him in this state, where as Ted Cruz has really caught fire. So that is certainly something to watch. It could be a change in the momentum of this race. I think we'll have to see how it all pans out on Tuesday night.

LEMON: Hey, you mentioned Corey Lewandowski. That was the other big story we were covering before the abortion story came about. He was mentioned today at the White House, Press Secretary Josh Earnest weighed in. Here it is.


JOSH EARNEST, PRESS SECRETARY, WHITE HOUSE: I am confident that neither president Obama nor president Bush would tolerate someone on their staff being accused of physically assaulting a reporter, lying about it, and then blaming the victim. That is completely unacceptable behavior. (END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Listen, you cover the White House every day. It's pretty unusual for the White House to comment on something like this, isn't it?

ACOSTA: It is. It might be less so as the weeks and months move forward, Don, and that is because President Obama plans to the surrogate in chief when it comes to this upcoming election battle. He has all but made it clear, he wants Hillary Clinton to win this nomination. He hasn't said that definitively but he's made that pretty clear. And as things move forward here, and it looks like Hillary Clinton may be taking on Donald Trump coming up in the fall, you're going to see the White House going after Donald Trump repeatedly and much more often than we're seeing right now. You heard in that Josh Earnest sound bite there that he didn't use the name Donald Trump. President Obama, in some remarks, at a journalist dinner earlier this week made some very tough comments about Donald Trump not using his name. That seems to be sort of the White House approach, but I think as we get closer to a general election campaign, President Obama I think is itching to join this fight. He wants to help Hillary Clinton just as much as possible to make sure she takes the White House. And I think it's very clear at this point, the White House is almost enjoying the prospect, looking forward to the prospect of taking on Donald Trump in the fall, Don.

LEMON: Very comprehensive reporting from Appleton, Wisconsin tonight. Thank you very much, appreciate that, sir. Jim Acosta.

Conservatives in an uproar all day today over Donald Trump and what he has to say about abortion. I spoke with Glenn Beck who told me that Trump is making it all up as he goes along and that was before the candidate issued a statement walking back his original remarks. Take a look at this.


GLENN BECK, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Watch this. This is what gets it. You're watching him and he's saying, are you going do it? Watch him, he's looking up, he's thinking, thinking -- yes. He has no idea. He's never thought of this before. He is winging this entire election. He doesn't mean what he says. He means it at the moment. Are you going to do that, let me think, ah, yes. He's just making it up as he goes along.

LEMON: So here's the question. However you feel about abortion, that's your issue, right? Who are we to judge. But is this -- isn't this against the pro-life movement's ideology, Glenn, that it's really about saving the life of the baby as opposed to punishing the woman? Do you think he's thought about that?

[23:10:01] BECK: No, no, I don't think Donald Trump has thought about any of these things. He has said just recently, the reason why he's made so many anti-women things is because, quote, he didn't think of running for president and so he didn't think this way. He didn't think these things through. First of all, lie number one, he's been talking about running for president since likes 1988. He has been thinking about running for president. He just has put no actual thought into any of these. I don't take any of his policies as real at all.

LEMON: So then, what does this do for him in the general? Does it give Democrats room to gain even more ground when it comes to women voters?

BECK: Don, I don't think he's going to be the candidate in the first place, but if he is the candidate, it is going to be the biggest bloodbath of the GOP of all time. Mark my words.

LEMON: Explain that.

BECK: I believe that Hillary Clinton will run the board like Reagan did with Mondale. I think by the time Donald Trump gets to the general, he'll be so badly wounded and so -- I mean, look at his numbers on women. He already -- nobody's even started on that yet.

LEMON: 73 percent unfavorability. Almost 75.

BECK: His unfavorables are unlike anybody we've ever seen at any time in history.

LEMON: So let's look into more numbers. These are new numbers, they're from Marquette University Law School. It's among Wisconsin primary Republican voters. Ted Cruz leads Donald Trump by 10 points. That is a big jump from where he was in February. You are a Cruz supporter. So what do you think is behind this jump?

BECK: I think people maybe, maybe are waking up and they're seeing what Donald Trump really is all about, especially with Lewandowski, that nightmare. I mean, gosh, I know, Don, if my wife called the police and the police came over to the house and she said, I want him arrested for battery and here are the bruises on my arms to show exactly how hard he grabbed me, how hard he grabbed me, I know that I would be arrested and probably go to jail. And it seems to me that our police know what battery looks like, we as citizens know what battery looks like, but some politicians don't know what battery looks like.


LEMON: When we come right back, Republican women at odds with the party's frontrunner. Why they're calling on Donald Trump to fire his campaign manager.


[23:16:12] LEMON: Influential conservative women want Donald Trump to use his signature apprentice line on campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, and that is, you're fired. 16 women have signed a letter calling Lewandowski's behavior towards reporter Michelle Fields inexcusable and unprofessional. Two of those women join me now. Elisha Krauss, a conservative radio host, and Bethany Mandel, contributor to "The Federalist". I want to get your response to this whole abortion issue. What did you think when you heard Donald Trump call for women who receive abortions to be punished? You, Bethany.

BETHANY MANDEL, CONTRIBUTOR, THE FEDERALIST: Yes, I mean, as a pro- life woman who has been pro-life for years, this is exactly the opposite of what we're supposed to say to women. I mean, obviously if a woman is faced with a choice to terminate a pregnancy, they're in a really uncomfortable situation. And this is sort of the last resort and to then sort of criminalize the situation that they're in, to say this is a crime, instead of, you were sort of trapped in a situation, that is really unfortunate. Women should be supported.

LEMON: So listen, he put out a statement and he did walk it back, he reversed himself. Elisha, quickly, do you think Donald Trump really understands the issue now?

ELISHA KRAUSS, RADIO HOST: No, Donald Trump doesn't understand the issue, and he sounds like exactly what Ted Cruz accused him of being, a New York liberal that is now trying to buy conservatives' votes and saying, look, I'm a conservative now. He just became pro-life probably a couple of years ago at his own admittance in the first GOP debate and the guy is not pro-life and he doesn't speak for the majority of pro-life Americans.

LEMON: Let's talk about Corey Lewandowski, now. OK, Donald Trump's campaign manager who was arrested for allegedly manhandling a female reporter. You both signed a letter with 14 other female journalists and pundits demanding that Lewandowski be fired, and here's what you say. You say, the press is to have an adversarial yet civil approach to those in or running for elected office. Never in this line of work is it acceptable to respond to reasonable and legitimate questioning with use of physical force. The photographs, audio, videos, and witness accounts documenting the treatment of Michelle Fields by Corey Lewandowski, Donald Trump's campaign manager, are inexcusable and unprofessional. Why did you get involved in this, Bethany?

MANDEL: As a female reporter, Breitbart, where Michelle Fields was working, was very friendly to the Trump campaign. So the sort of excuse that Donald Trump's campaign initially gave at the very start of this was, Michelle, I didn't know that you were with Breitbart. So the fact that that was sort of the excuse that I didn't know you were with Breitbart, if he's willing to do that to someone who is the most friendly outlet possible to his campaign, who is he going to do that to next? "The Washington Post", CNN, and it's not going to just be an arm grab. This is sort of his test. It he can get away with sort of manhandling the press in this manner, there's no stopping him.

LEMON: Elisha, do you think that she embellished her story? Because we've all seen the video. Donald Trump says that the video really exonerates Lewandowski, that nothing really happened. There's nothing really there to see. What do you think?

KRAUSS: Dictator Donald wants us to believe what he says and only what he says. Apparently I'm not allowed to believe my own eyes. I think there's three videotapes at this point, an audiotape, a report from Ben Terris at "The Washington Post", a reputable business, and an institution that's been in place for years, but no, no, don't believe the Jupiter police department and don't believe Michelle Fields, don't believe the eyewitnesses and don't believe the tapes. And let's remind your viewers, Don --

LEMON: It is innocent until proven guilty, though.

[23:20:04] KRAUSS: And honestly, my biggest problem with this is that the Trump campaign has lied. They were caught in their lie, and now they're lying again and they're trying to cover up the original lie. I don't think it's becoming of any presidential candidate, let alone the GOP front-runner.

LEMON: Let's take a listen to a clip from last night's town hall.


TRUMP: I'll tell you what -- you just take a look, you just take a look at what's going on. I stick up for people when they're right. Would I love to have fired him. It would have been much easier than talking to you about this all night long. I'd rather talk about the issues, to be honest. But I stick up for people when people are unjustly accused, and in my opinion, unjustly accused. She's grabbing me, he walks in to stop it, she walked through secret service, she had a pen in her hand it, which could have been a knife. It could have been just a pen, which is very dangerous. She should not have been doing that. And she didn't fall to the ground, she wasn't dragged to the ground and all of the things that she said, Anderson. And I stick up for people and I don't want to ruin somebody's life. It would have been very easy for me to do --


LEMON: Why are you shaking your head, Bethany?

MANDEL: He sounds like a domestic abuser. She didn't fall to the ground, she wasn't that badly hurt, she had a pen in her hand, it could have been anything. She was vetted by the secret service. Everyone on that campaign has been travelling together. They know who she is. They know she's with Breitbart, and now suddenly, if she wasn't that badly hurt? You sort of hear these excuses from domestic abusers. It was just a black eye, it's not like I broke her arm. It's not like I killed her. This is very classic misogyny and I'm one of the last people to ever use that term willy nilly, but this is how he treats women. This is how seriously he considers battery.

LEMON: Elisha, there was a witness, a "Washington Post" reporter interviewed by the police. It sounds like, and I don't want to put words in your mouth, Bethany, that he's blaming the victim. Do you think he's blaming the victim?

KRAUSS: Absolutely. Not only is he blaming the victim, he's trying to destroy her life and her career. When have we ever had a presidential candidate on the Republican or the Democratic side in the past talk about someone on a national scale like this and dramatically read the police report and accuse her of making this up and lying about it? It's incredibly disturbing to me, not just as a woman, but as a conservative, that this guy is now our front-runner and people in media, people on the left, are able to use the caricature that they've been wrongfully pushing about conservatives for 30 years and point to Donald Trump now.

LEMON: Corey Lewandowski's representative, his attorney spoke with Anderson Cooper. Let's listen.


BRAD COHEN, ATTORNEY: To me, it appear that he is stopping her or redirecting her from getting closer to Mr. Trump. Mr. Trump actually tweeted a picture of a still photo of the video where he is wincing away from this woman who is trying to grab his arm. And at that very moment, you see Corey, who is coming in between him and Miss Fields.


LEMON: So he is making the case that he is just protecting his candidate. That's not legitimate to you?

MANDEL: Is he the secret service? Who appointed him the muscle of the Trump campaign?

LEMON: Go ahead, Elisha.

KRAUSS: Apparently we should give him a medal of honor and he is more brave, according to Donald Trump, than the incredible greatest generation that ever lived that stormed the beaches of Normandy. I mean, it is unbelievable. You know what, if the secret service did think she was a threat and they didn't do anything about it, then we need to get a new secret service detail on Donald Trump stat because his life is at risk.

LEMON: OK, ladies, I want you to stand by. I want to bring in A.J. Delgado who is a conservative columnist and she is also a Trump supporter. What do you make of what these young women said, A.J.?

A.J. DELGADO, COLUMNIST: I can't believe what I'm hearing. I heard the term domestic abuser. First of all, their facts are completely wrong. I believe one of them said they knew who Michelle Fields was because she covered the Trump beat for Breitbart. That's completely wrong. She didn't cover the Trump beat. The regular reporter for Breitbart that covers Donald Trump was sick that day so they sent Michelle. So please know your facts before you chime in on this. So no, they didn't know who she was. All they saw was a very aggressive woman coming up to Mr. Trump, touching his arm. The secret service stated that she touched him twice. They had warned her to stop and she continued to do so. So if anything, she committed battery on Donald Trump. You see in the video that he flinches, jerks back, that's in the surveillance video that everybody has seen. This was a defensive move on his part, and Corey comes in and steps in to avoid the situation, to get between them. How on earth is this even an issue? This is an aggressive reporter who failed to do her job, didn't ask questions at the Q&A as she was supposed to, and then got annoyed, probably just because Donald Trump ignored her, she wasn't able to ask her question, and embellished this crazy story. I don't know how this has become an issue and it's disgusting, frankly, to hear somebody use the term domestic abuser when there are women in this country daily that truly are victims of domestic abuse. I'm angry to even hear that, as a woman, and most of all as a conservative.

[23:25:03] LEMON: Well these two young ladies did not come in and agree to be in a debate, but I think you for saying that and I thank them for coming in. Elisha Krauss and also Bethany Mandel. Thank you very much, we appreciate you coming on. A.J., please stay with me. Up next, a new Republican poll in Wisconsin and it is bad news for Donald Trump. Is this a turning point in his campaign?


LEMON: There is less than a week until the Wisconsin primary and a new poll shows Ted Cruz leading in Wisconsin. I want to bring in Kurt Bardella, who resigned as spokesman for Breitbart following the incident between Corey Lewandowski and reporter Michelle Fields. Also joining me, conservative columnist A.J. Delgado. She is back with me. Matt Lewis, senior contributor to "The Daily Caller", and Bob Cusack, editor in chief of Good to have all of you on. Bob, you first. So today, we have these abortion comments from Donald Trump. We have the trouble surrounding his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, plus the controversy over Trump's foreign policy pronouncements. Is this all strengthening the never-Trump movement as we head into Wisconsin next week?

BOB CUSACK, EDITOR IN CHIEF, THE HILL: Yes, I think so. I mean, Ted Cruz doing well in the recent Wisconsin poll that came out today, and if you look at Trump, he's had a rough week.

[23:30:08] And all candidates are going to have rough weeks. He's been winning the Republican basically side for more than eight months.

But he had been doing well on the abortion question as far as just saying, "Hey listen, I'm just like Ronald Reagan. I'm pro-life but with exceptions."

Today, he took heat from both the left and the right and that does not help him going into Wisconsin.

Now, I think Cruz has to win Wisconsin. But he's looking pretty good now.

LEMON: Matt, Hillary Clinton called into AC360 earlier tonight and she was asked about Trump's abortion comments.

Here is how she reacted.


HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is about whether abortion is legal and whether women make our own healthcare choices.

It's very clear that Donald Trump wants to repeal that fundamental right just like all the other Republican candidates. And when he was asked whether women should be punished, he said, yes.

And that is absolutely unacceptable. It is outrageous. No other Republican candidate really took on Donald Trump because they fundamentally agree with him and the issues that he is hitting upon.

And I think this latest incident demonstrates that.


LEMON: That's a pretty big pronouncement, Matt. Is Secretary Clinton right? Do other Republican candidates fundamentally agree with Trump? Or is it that they're afraid or -- I don't know -- but is she right?

MATT LEWIS, AUTHOR, "TOO DUMB TO FAIL": No, she's wrong but she's clever. And she's demagoguing this issue because Donald Trump has opened up the door for her to do this. And for -- to paint all Republicans, all Conservatives all pro-lifers as people who basically want to declare war on women.

So Trump fell into the trap. I think he doesn't know the issue that well.

Speaking of traps, pro-lifers have run the traps. They know how you have to frame the issue very precisely and that there are political compromises that have to be made.

LEMON: But Matt, if you will, let me jump in.

LEWIS: Yeah.

LEMON: You say, they know how to frame the issue. And I think what she's talking is not just framing the issue but fundamental beliefs.

LEWIS: Right.

LEMON: So is she wrong on the belief or wrong on the framing?

LEWIS: She's wrong. And -- but you're right Don, she had an agenda. Because I heard twice during that clip you played she tried to say this isn't just Donald Trump, this is all Republicans. It's actually wrong.

The Republican and pro-life consensus is that women should not be criminalized, should not be -- or should not basically be punished for having an abortion but the abortion doctor would be punished or penalized.

LEMON: All right. I want to bring A.J. in this. Straightforward question to you.

Did Donald Trump screw up today A.J.?

A.J. DELGADO, CONSERVATIVE COLUMNIST: I think he spoke inartfully. I don't know if it was a screw (ph). But I do think that it was a trick question when you're constantly telling somebody. But at least illegal if you would ban it, would there be a punishment? When you're constantly saying that, it would be unnatural to answer, yes, it should be illegal but there should be no punishment. Because usually things that are illegal carry a punishment.

So I think it was just a trick that he walked into. So I call it maybe a gaffe which is normal when you're campaigning nowadays.

LEMON: I get your point. I get your point. Do you think he has firm grasp though on the views of the pro-life movement to, you know, what Matt was just saying?

DELGADO: Absolutely he does. And I also like to add for the viewers to know that Donald Trump is also probably the most sensible when it comes to Planned Parenthood.

We should also keep in mind while he's very much a pro-lifer, he's also really won women over with his position that Planned Parenthood does a lot of good things, pap smears, birth control, what have you. And that has been a really important issue. I know that women have told me how brought -- has brought them over to Donald Trump is all -- they might be pro-life but they also support what Planned Parenthood does that isn't abortion related. And that gets lost in its discussion sometimes.

LEMON: Kurt, all along there has been this debate about whether Donald Trump has a ceiling? Is there a ceiling maybe? It's just higher, you know, it's just higher than a lot of people initially thought his ceiling?

KURT BARDELLA, PRESIDENT AND CEO OF ENDEAVOR STRATEGIES: Well I think that Donald had an unnatural buffer-based just solely on a celebrity. I think for the first time, people are beginning to see what is the real Donald Trump?

It's someone who speaks off the cuff, generally speaks his mind. He says whatever he wants and he's really unmindful of any consequence that comes with it. And today was the perfect illustration of that.

It's also the personification of what so many Republicans nationwide are concerned about that they will spend the next six months answering every question about every statement that Donald Trump makes.

And there are no good answers when you say something as incendiary and ridiculous as, you know, mothers, women would be punished for daring to have an abortion. Something that's so personal, that so meaningful in their lives and, you know, a decision that no one should take lightly.

And they have to worry that the would-be president of the United States wants to find a way to outlaw a practice that's lawful right now, it's the (inaudible) Supreme Court and they have to worry that this is going to be illegal. That they're going to be punished for it. They have to worry about, you know, law enforcement.

[23:35:05] I mean it's hilarious that Donald Trump would talk about law enforcement in any way. And I saw him earlier in Wisconsin talking about how great law enforcement is.

Law enforcement in Florida made the decision, his campaign manager perpetrated a crime yet he can't be bothered with the facts.

LEMON: Yeah we'll discuss that in the next segment. But go ahead A.J., why you're disagreeing?

DELGADO: No. It's -- Donald Trump when he says -- did Kurt just say that abortion is legal now? Kurt, could you repeat that?

BARDELLA: Abortion -- Roe v. Wade is the law of the land period.

DELGADO: All abortion is legal. Kurt, your comments make no sense. Really pro-lifers, true pro-lifers are saying that the woman committed murder, yes or no?

And then you have Kurt and Matt saying, oh, but you should be clever enough of a trickster to go on national T.V. when you're interested and say she's committing murder ...

BARDELLA: This isn't a legal question Roe v. Wade is the law of the land. That is a fact period.

LEWIS: No can I jump up a bit.


LEMON: A.J. wait, wait, wait, wait, hold on. I want you to understand. A.J. hold on. Hold on A.J.

DELGADO: You said that abortion is legal, not all abortions are legal ...



LEMON: What's your point A.J.? Roe v. Wade is not the law of the land or abortion is not legal?

DELGADO: No, of course it is. Some abortions are not legal. I cannot go and have a seventh month abortion right now. Yes or no Kurt? Is that right or wrong?

LEMON: I don't think that's what Kurt was saying. He's saying abortion in general is illegal ...

DELGADO: Yes he was. He was saying that Donald Trump ...

LEMON: I don't think he's getting into the specifics. OK ...


LEMON: Yeah, I don't either. Matt, I have to go to break. But quickly what do you want to say?

LEWIS: I want to say real quick, I think people who are, you know, strong pro-lifers care -- they don't care about punishing the woman.

They care about defending the life of the unborn and protecting the life of the unborn and they view women as victims as well. And so this is not like -- this is not ...

DELGADO: Who commit murder.

LEWIS: This is not a trick, this is not a trick.

DELGADO: You're saying they commit murder.

LEWIS: This is a ...

LEMON: Let him finish, A.J.

LEWIS: This is a world's view that wants to preserve the unborn life.

LEMON: All right. Everyone stay with me. When we come right back, is corporate America having second thoughts about sponsoring the GOP convention?


[23:40:57] LEMON: And we're back. Kurt Bardella is here, A.J. Delgado, Matt Lewis, and Bob Cusack, I want to play for you something tonight that Donald Trump said to Chris Matthews about nuclear weapons, and then get your reactions. Here it is.


CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Can you tell the Middle East we're not using a nuclear weapon?

DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I would never say that. I would never take any of my cards off the table.

MATTHEWS: How about Europe? We won't use in Europe.

TRUMP: I'm not going to taking it off the table.

MATTHEWS: You might use it in Europe?

TRUMP: No. I don't think so ...

MATTHEWS: I'm just saying it, I've never used a nuclear weapon in Europe.

TRUMP: I'm not taking cards off the table. I'm not going to use loops, but I'm not taking any cards in trouble.

MATTHEWS: The same people hear you and the insane people are not affected by your threats. That's the trouble. The real fanatics they did ...

TRUMP: I think they're more affected than you might think.

MATTHEWS: OK, your call.


LEMON: Bob, your response first.

CUSACK: Listen, I mean I think that Donald Trump going forward the Republican Party is going to be picking a nominee over the next four months.

And I think what Republicans are looking for are not arrests of campaign managers, are not abortion controversies, they're not nuclear weapons stuff that can attract attention. So, I think that they're looking for a little bit more boring. Donald Trump suggested he's going to be more presidential. I think he's got to be basically more presidential, a little more boring over the next several months because this is the crunch time, this is when the Republican Party is picking a nominee and he's had a bit of a rough stretch. He's still got a big advantage in the delegates but he's got to close this deal and he's had going to be a rough run this week, no doubt about it.

LEMON: OK, but we keep saying he said that, you know, you guys keep saying he's had a rough stretch, right? It's been a bad couple weeks or week or so for Donald Trump. But yet he's saying it's great. His surrogates come on and say the "Oh, the New York Times interview was great." He's great. He's saying the right things. It was just a little kerfuffle with the thing he misspoke. Does he realize he's having a bad week, I'll ask you Matt?

LEWIS: I don't know, but then it'll practice a little bit more prospective Don, right?

So we've been talking about a couple of issues here. But, just in the past 24 hours he has reversed himself on numerous issues. So he talked to the "New York Times" about how he wants -- he's OK with Japan going nuclear, but last night he said that he doesn't want nuclear proliferation. Last night he said that one of the most important, you know, of the three most important things the federal government can be doing, health care and education are two of the most important things the federal government can be doing.

He later said the federal government shouldn't be involved in health care or education, that those state are local issues. And then lastly of course is the abortion issue. We've been talking about it all night. But he walked that back later and said, you know, he completely reversed himself on it. So, this is a guy within 24 hours has changed positions on numerous issues.

LEMON: Yeah, I want to switch gears. I've realized that A.J. you want to get in, but I really want to switch gears - I think this is important.

New York Times is reporting that corporations are reassessing how they're going to participate in the Republican convention. If that all, particularly in Donald Trump snags the nomination. Big businesses not supporting Republicans, do you see an irony, Bob Cusack?

CUSACK: Well, I think this actually helps Donald Trump, because this is what a lot of the Republican electorate -- they're very frustrated that big business, the lobbyists have been controlling the party. Donald Trumps say's a lot of things that the lobbyist and big businesses don't like. He goes after the pharmaceutical industries, goes after HMOs. This is something he says the Iraq war was a disaster and a mistake by George W. Bush.

So, I think in this situation, yes, there are corporations who they don't like how unpredictable Trump is. But that helps his populous allure.

LEMON: OK, A.J. here's part of the article that says "The issue is a touchy one for American businesses, which until now have largely avoided delicate choice between possible offending Mr. Trump's passionate followers by distancing themselves from him, or angering the equally vocal constituencies opposed to his candidacy." Why do you think some companies are worried about being associated with Donald Trump, A.J?

[23:45:03] DELGADO: That their concern, I can't speak for them, but I'll want them it, they're not really work that law for companies when they up against Donald Trump. I mean look what happened with NBC, they had this big falling out with him and then a few months later he's on SNL.

The Trump legion is quite strong and broad. So I don't think companies want to alienate his supporters. And so, if they wish to do so, that's up to them, but I don't think it's a smart business choice or not a smart P.R. move. Up to them.

LEMON: Kurt, civil rights advocacy you two are -- who aren't fans of Trump are putting the pressure on companies like that called at Google, AT&T to pull out to pull out. Should they?

BARDELLA: Yeah. Because I think at the end of the day, you know, beyond whatever is best for P.R., there's real principle at stake here. And whether or not you want to be on the right side or wrong side of history, whether or not you're comfortable putting your support in any way in your name, next to a people who say incendiary things, you know, things that really can't be, you know, defended in any way at all, if you want to be associated with that or not?

And there's a broader principle I think that - that's really in a push on, you're going to see a mobilization of all kind of groups, pushing every single sponsor of the Republican national convention to say you condone the things that Donald Trump has said, you condone this policies that he's putting out there. And if you don't you need to pull your money and pull your name form it.

LEMON: Kurt, A.J. ...

CUSACK: ... that was going on. That's of -- that's what they're thinking.

LEMON: Kurt, A.J, Matt, and Bob thank you. I appreciate it.

When we come right back, one of the biggest stars of television in the 80s, a legendary golden girl Betty White.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [23:50:16] LEMON: CNN's original series "THE EIGHTIES" premieres tomorrow night with the look at the decades most unforgettable television. So what could be better than seating down with the actress who've created one of the decade's most unforgettable characters.

Joining me now, the incomparable Betty White, I'm sure people have used that to describe you my genuine incomparable.

BETTY WHITE, ACTOR, COMEDIENNE: Well, they use a lot of adjectives and it doesn't happen to be one of them.

LEMON: Do you even see these cameras anymore? I mean because you've been around cameras and in studios ...

WHITE: Well, first of all with the lighting, the way it is now. In here you just seat there -- No I can't really see them at all.

LEMON: What I mean do you notice somehow or do you just feel at home in front of the camera?

WHITE: Well I started up five and half hours a day, six days a week so they became -- they come kind of a good friend and pretty soon you're just aren't aware of them but when you do glance at them it's fun because, you know, you think of them as just a friend, we don't realized there are couple of people behind those scene.

LEMON: Or actual friends back there. You're younger than me. You're 94 years old. -- young ...

WHITE: Yes, 94 and a quarter.

LEMON: And Miss White I see you everywhere, I see you ...

WHITE: Miss White?

LEMON: Yeah.

WHITE: Oh, boy.

LEMON: May I call you Betty.

WHITE: Oh yes, you may call me Betty.

LEMON: Thank you. Thank you. I see you at late night, I see you early morning, I see you during the day, I see you everywhere.

WHITE: Are you trying to tell me you're sick of me?

LEMON: No, I'm not sick of you. I just want to worry you find the energy because I get exhausted watching you.

WHITE: Oh I just love, it's a feeling that is so great because you're talking to friends who have been loyal to you for 90 years and then just enjoy it.

LEMON: Yeah. I like your sense of humor. You've been known to use naughty words.

WHITE: Not naughty words. I just have a little sexual sense of humor.

LEMON: She tried to come into the changing room with me.

WHITE: And yes, he locked the door.

LEMON: So you're here to talk to us about our series on CNN called the The Eighties, right.

WHITE: And yeah, I don't remember the 80's, that was before my time.

LEMON: You were just a young girl ...

WHITE: I was just a kid.

LEMON: The "Golden Girls", I'm sure everyone can say about that. What do you -- when I say the "Golden Girls", what comes to your head?

WHITE: The one of the happiest periods in my whole life. I mean it was just something that work, not only work with all those wonderful broads, but to get to know them. It's just -- we wouldn't even have to say anything to each other we -- something must happen, we'd be out here talking with the camera and the suddenly and we just take a look and it would crack us all up. It didn't take anything to break us up.

LEMON: Was that your favorite part of the 80's during that show? Did you have a favorite part the 1980s?

WHITE: In 1980's I think Robert Redford comes to mind if it is but then Robert Redford always comes to mind.

LEMON: Was that your crush? Because I know that you know, your husband was a love of your life but was Robert Redford your crush?

WHITE: What do you mean was?

LEMON: He still is?

WHITE: Oh, God, yes. Oh my goodness, yes. But don't tell him. I don't want to tell anybody.

LEMON: He doesn't know?

WHITE: No, no. Oh well, maybe.

LEMON: Well, let's get back to the Golden Girls that show really broke so many barriers. I mean you talked about gay rights, you talked about HIV, you talked about all sorts of things. You broke barriers on that show. Did you realize, during that time women's rights. Did you realized during that time that you were sort of breaking barriers in the culture?

WHITE: No, I had been in television for so long since the very beginning. So I was aware that we were going into new territory let's say. LEMON: I'm part of that right now.

WHITE: But thanks to our team of writers and producers, they handled that. They didn't handle it like, "Hey, hey, let's talk about this." They tried to talk about it as a fact of life, which it is. And I found that kind of refreshing.

LEMON: You think it was easier or maybe more palatable coming from these ladies rather than, you know, a bunch of guys sitting around talking about these issues?

WHITE: It could very well be. That's a good point. It probably could but they didn't know what kind of ladies we were.

[23:55:04] LEMON: Do you think that that role sort of made a difference for women especially older women in Hollywood in the 80's because it was tough for women of certain age to get roles. And there you are these broads of a certain age if you don't mind me saying that doing it to death I mean winning awards and breaking barriers and there you are on television every single week.

WHITE: Well, I think it was kind of groundbreaking at that time. But it was kind of painless. We didn't lay it out like - look we're women and the stuff. We just were.

LEMON: But you were single women -- widowed women on your own.

WHITE: On my own and not impervious to romance or what kinds of things. But I think the writers did a wonderful job of making women of that aged not quite as dollars everybody think they are.

LEMON: Betty White what keeps you ticking? What keeps you going?

WHITE: Oh, I'm the luckiest old broad on two feet and the fact that I'm still able to be in the business I love, meet nice people, it's such a privilege. That's what keeps you going and keeps you loving it.

LEMON: Yeah, and I'm lucky to have met you and to have interviewed you. Thank you so much.

WHITE: Thank you so much and welcome home. Now, you get some rest.

LEMON: I am, I'm going to go and a cocktail. You can come have one with me.

WHITE: Oh well, let's -- we'll talk.

LEMON: All right. Betty White, Thank you.

WHITE: Thank you so much.

LEMON: Boy, we needed her positivity after all the negative stuff we have discussed this evening. CNN's original series The Eighties premieres tomorrow night. It's called "Race on Television" that's the first one, 9:00 Eastern. Of course, right here on CNN.

We will be right back. Thank you, Betty White.