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Despite Brutal Week, Trump Confident In Wisconsin; Trump Admits Heidi Cruz Retweet Was "A Mistake"; Sanders: Clinton Date Picks "Ludicrous"; Clinton Touts Long History In Democratic Party; Flights Resume On Limited Schedule. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired April 3, 2016 - 06:00   ET



CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Welcome to Sunday. So grateful to have your company. I'm Christi Paul.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good to be with you this morning.

WHITFIELD: All eyes are on Wisconsin as we are counting down of the next crucial contest in the race for the White House. Just two days now until the badger state heads to the polls.

BLACKWELL: The state is proving to be a real battle for the Republican and Democratic front runners. Today no events on set for Hillary Clinton in Wisconsin. Senator Bernie Sanders holding a town hall at 2:30 Eastern and a rally tonight.

PAUL: Now for the Republicans, Senator Ted Cruz is making two stops today. Donald Trump just one, a rally tonight after a very busy day yesterday. Donald Trump held three campaign events and despite coming off perhaps the most brutal week of his candidacy, Donald Trump says he's feeling very confident. Our Sara Sidner has more.

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Presidential candidate, Donald Trump, coming through Wisconsin and claiming to be here until the primaries, hitting the state hard, showing no signs of worry or tenseness after a rough political week.

He talked to the crowd here. Making them laugh. Saying, hey, this is a really important state which everyone knows, 42 delegates up for grabs here. He says please do me a favor. Go out and vote.

But then he jokes saying, well, if you don't go out and vote for me too that's good because I'll just go home and relax a little. The crowd loving that.

He also had Sarah Palin who showed up here to help stump for him. Wisconsin has not been as strong of a supporter for Donald Trump as some of the other places that he has been. But we did see hundreds of people in line who did not get into this event because it was absolutely packed.

We also talked to some women because this week he talked and got into a lot of hot water for flip-flopping on certain issues abortion and we talked to some of the women here about that issue and what they thought about Donald Trump himself.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It bothers a lot of people about flip flopping, but I think he's real. He doesn't have a teleprompt. He just answers questions. Do we not all change our opinion sometimes?


SIDNER: So you hear there that there are some folks that just feel like he's speaking off the cuff. They like that about him. They like that he's not on a teleprompter. They like that he hasn't been thinking through every single thing that he says.

That he kind of just speaks out and they are fine with him changing his mind, saying everybody else does it as well. Also we talked to quite a few undecided voters who were coming here so they could see him in person and watch the process and see what he's like in person to try and decide whether or not they were going to vote for him or someone else.

There are a lot of folks here coming out from all over the place, but he is going to some small places. Rothschild for example, is only about 5,000 people in this small village. So he's hitting a lot of different places here. Not just big cities and there are quite a few people coming out to hear from him. Sara Sidner, CNN, Rothschild, Wisconsin.

BLACKWELL: All right. Let's bring in CNN political commentator and Donald Trump supporter, Jeffrey Lord and CNN presidential historian, Douglas Brinkley. Good to have both of you with us this morning.

Jeffrey, I want to start here with this Maureen Dowd interview this morning in the "New York Times" in which Trump admits that retweeting that unflattering photo of Heidi Cruz was a mistake.

He said this, "Yes, it was a miss takes. If I had to do it again, I wouldn't have sent it." So a bit of regret there from Donald Trump. Should he just apologize for it?

JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You know, I think that probably constitutes an apology right there. You know --

BLACKWELL: There is a difference in saying mistakes were made and I'm sorry.

LORD: Victor, here's the thing, when we look at all these polls, the Reuters tracking polls for this week, which was supposed to be so terrible for Donald Trump have him going up, not down. He is beating Ted Cruz by more, not less.

And my point to you, Victor, is when the media and I'm not saying this about you, I just mean the media writ large, when they get on these kind of kicks, the audience out there, certainly the Donald Trump audience looks at this as the guy being targeted by the national media.

And this is the kind of thing exactly that they can't stand. So I think all of this pouring over should he do this or that? In the end, Victor, I think that honestly helps him.

BLACKWELL: So there is no targeting here. Donald Trump suggested he made a mistake. In fact, he said, yes, I made a mistake. Why not say for that mistake I'm sorry?

LORD: The perception, Victor, out here is that the media, whether it is Donald Trump or it could be any number of other people over the years that we get on these kicks and I include myself in these.

We get on these kicks here and we're all talking to one another and meanwhile people out there who are making breakfast for their kids and trying to get on with their lives are looking at this and sort of rolling their eyes and saying for god sakes get onto the real issues.

[06:05:02]BLACKWELL: OK, so let's talk about the real issue for the Trump campaign. The number 73, 73 percent of women polled who have a negative view of Donald Trump.

And Douglas, I want to come to you with that. Can he win with that number? And this Maureen Dowd interview he corrected her citing another poll saying it is 68 percent who have an unfavorable view.

OK, so then it is two-thirds of women in that poll. Can a presidential candidate win with those numbers, Douglas?

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: No, of course, he can't. So Donald Trump has a lot of work to do in that regard. It is interesting that he did this on mea culpa about the tweet of Ted Cruz's wife with Maureen Dowd, who's a fierce feminist and k, very popular writer.

He constantly tries to talk to her. She kind of smooth some of the edges on him once in a while. But I think that for Trump he maybe need to do more kind of women's forums or talk more about women's issues.

Find a way to drive that number at least down to 50 percent. But when you are at 70 or 68, that's not a number that you can win a national election on. Women after all are over 50 percent of the people that vote in the United States.

BLACKWELL: So Jeffrey, latest polls show Ted Cruz ahead by 10 points. How does Donald Trump close that gap?

LORD: He just keeps at it. And Victor, one historical point I think Doug is probably aware of. Bill Clinton lost 13 primaries in 1992. Ronald Reagan lost four in 1980 and both of them still managed to not only win their nomination but the White House.

You have a string of primaries upcoming where Donald Trump is favored. So were he to lose in Wisconsin you just keep on going, and he'll get to New York and Pennsylvania and California and other places where he's doing very well.

BLACKWELL: All right, so let me ask you about what he told a group in Wisconsin about the CBS interview in which he said and I'm paraphrasing, that abortion laws should stay the same. Here is what he said.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The truth is you can't, no matter what you do. No matter what you say because they can take something you say and turn it around. Like I'll be on the CBS "Face The Nation" what I said was perfect. What I said was so good.

And then they looked, oh maybe he should have added a word. Well, actually the way it came out they took words out that I said.


BLACKWELL: Jeffrey, you believe that? That CBS took words out that he said?

LORD: I don't know. I haven't seen it, Victor. So I have no idea. But let me just say, that he's playing right there to exactly the kind of sentiment that I was just discussing with you, and frankly, that is not new. Ronald Reagan used to do this. George Bush used to do this.

Both George Bushs used to do this. This is gospel. If you remember when Newt Gingrich took on a member of the media in one of the debates the audience cheered him on. And I think went on to help him win the South Carolina primary.

This is gospel about the media in general. So he's playing to that and he's not the first and he surely isn't going to be the last.

BLACKWELL: I love this pairing. Because Douglas, every time I'm talking with Jeffrey Lord, he brings up Ronald Reagan. Every conversation he brings up Ronald Reagan. Now he's mixing in George Bush, he's mixing in Bill Clinton.

LORD: Well, they are the last three presidents.

BLACKWELL: Is that a fair comparison, do you believe, Douglas?

BRINKLEY: Well, all the Republicans like to claim Ronald Reagan because he's become quite beloved and he's a successful two term president that many people were afraid would be too far right or too radical, and turned out to be pretty much a pragmatic conservative.

And I think that's what Donald Trump and all these Republicans who have run want to be. But the key point this week is Donald Trump had a bad week. He seemed to have a lost momentum no matter what a poll may show.

And it looks like Wisconsin will be tough for him the win. We'll see if he can get some energy there in the next few days. But as Jeffrey rightfully says he has a pretty good fallback position in winning New York.

If Trump can win New York and Pennsylvania and California, and then even come with up some delegates short by the time they get to Cleveland. He's still sitting in the cad bird seat. Even though there is a Niagara Falls of protest within the Republican Party to knock him off.

BLACKWELL: All right, Douglas Brinkley, Jeffrey Lord, good to have both of you and together because I think that was a great pairing. We'll do this again.

Thank you both. Also a programming note, stay with CNN for full coverage of the Wisconsin presidential primaries for both Republicans and Democrats, all day, special coverage this Tuesday right here on CNN.

[06:10:07]PAUL: Let's talk about Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. They are still squabbling over a proposed debate in New York before the primaries, of course, there, with Secretary Clinton now accusing Sanders of rejecting her offers to debate him.

BLACKWELL: Plus Brussels airport set to reopen today for the first time after a deadly terror attack there just a couple of weeks ago.

PAUL: And we are going to show you a drone's view of Palmyra, the city in Syria that's been taking back from ISIS hands. Now a mass grave has been found there. We'll have details ahead.


PAUL: All righty, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are battling this time over a still unscheduled debate. Each side calling basically shenanigans on the other saying dates have been offered. They have been rejected by the other team.

The Clinton camp has accused the Sanders team of, quote, "playing games." While a Sanders spokesman said that Clinton's proposed dates were, quote, "ludicrous."

CNN political commentator and former Hillary Clinton presidential campaign manager, Patti Solis Doyle with us along with Democratic strategist and author of the "The Essential Bernie Sanders and His Vision for America," Jonathan Tasini with us on the phone.

Thank you both for being here. Patti, I wanted to ask you. The Sanders team say Clinton proposed this debate on the same night as the NCAA playoff. Who is going to watch that debate? Is he right that's a ludicrous choice for a debate night?

PATTI SOLID DOYLE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it is my understanding that the Clinton campaign offered three different dates. One of them on the night of the playoffs but either before or after.

[06:15:04]PAUL: But why would you even bother really on that night?

DOYLE: But they offered two other dates which he rejected, which the Sanders campaign rejected. The bottom line is Hillary is a really good debater. She I think debated 26 times in '08. She's really smart. She knows the issues backwards and forwards both domestic and foreign.

This is a venue that really plays to her strengths. So the idea that she doesn't want to debate to me seems a little ludicrous.

WHITFIELD: All righty, Jonathan, listen, the Clinton campaign says Sanders will not sign on to a debate on "Good Morning America. Do we have that tweet? Basically saying listen, we were told that Sanders was willing to debate on GMA then when we accepted he baulked. It would be bigger audience than recent night time debates. It's a creative idea. Why not take that option?

JONATHAN TASINI, AUTHOR, "THE ESSENTIAL BERNIE SANDERS AND HIS VISION FOR AMERICA" (via telephone): Well, I think to your point you have sort of answered the issue -- the answer is the Sanders campaign wants to have the maximum audience obviously and Bernie has always wanted to debate. He'd be happy to debate every single day.

I think the Clinton campaign has dodged this because respectfully I think they don't want -- same reason Hillary Clinton has dodged press conferences. She doesn't want to be before the New York voters because every time she does something happens.

For example, I'm pretty sure it was a debate where when she was asked about taking the $225,000 for a speech from Goldman Sachs, she simply answered that is what they offered.

And I think that kind of thing is what the Clinton campaign is panicked about approaching the New York primary. It is all about we're going to win in Wisconsin and there is a great fear that she's also going to lose in New York.

PAUL: OK, so Patti, what do you say to that? What's your reaction to his assertion that she's dodging the press conferences or the interviews or the debates?

DOYLE: The idea that the Clinton campaign is panicked right now, again, ludicrous. Right now, she is beating Bernie Sanders. She is ahead of him with the popular vote. She's ahead of him with delegates. Hillary Clinton has run in New York statewide twice and won. The idea that she's hiding from New York voters, ludicrous.

TASINI: You keep using the word ludicrous, but it is just a fact. And let's have a debate in prime time.

DOYLE: She wants to have that debate --

TASINI: Sure -- as we have before. Not on an NCAA night.


WHITFIELD: Why is it so hard? We've got two weeks before the New York debate. Why is it so hard for both camps to look and say this is the day, this is the debate. Patti, you first, why is it so hard to do that?

DOYLE: Well, speaking as the scheduler for a campaign for many years. I did it in '92, '96. Scheduling is hard. I'm sure -- look. In all honesty, I'm sure both campaigns are trying to find the right date for each of their schedules.

They are campaigning hard. They are going right knew to Wisconsin. They are campaigning in Wisconsin and New York. Finding a mutual date that works is hard. That is the given, but you cannot say that Hillary Clinton is dodging a debate. She's offered three dates --

PAUL: Jonathan, go ahead.

TASINI: And so let's remember how this all came about. The Clinton campaign refused to debate and the Bernie Sanders campaign has repeatedly asked for the debates. Finally, the Clinton campaign, partly I think pressure from the public and reporters asking the question has now decided OK, we have to have a debate.

But if they had they are druthers partly because of what Patti said, she's leading in the polls, they wouldn't want to debate because they are concerned as Bernie Sanders has always prove that he closed fast when there is one state to focus on.

By the way looks like he now may have won the Nevada caucuses based on the results yesterday that happened at the next level. I agree with Patti, we should have a debate. Let's have multiple debates between now and New York. It's going to be at least two weeks after the Wisconsin primary.

PAUL: OK, so we have some common ground between the two of you. We both want debates you say. Let's listen here. Hillary Clinton yesterday in O'Claire, Wisconsin. Let's listen to what she said.


HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm also a Democrat and have been a proud Democrat all my adult life. And I think that is kind of important if we're selecting somebody to be the Democratic nominee of the Democratic Party.


[06:20:09]PAUL: All right, we know what she's getting at here. She and Sanders, they have some common -- things in common policy wise. But are these the distinctions where she is trying to put the distance in here?

Yesterday, we talked about the fact that maybe she was focusing on guns. Obviously she's trying to get to this point, hitting Sanders for being kind of an alleged Johnny come lately to the Democratic Party because he was an independent.

We know, Patti, that it's not necessarily working for Donald Trump. People say he hasn't always been a Republican. It's not hurting his supporters. Is this really a good argument to make that perhaps -- that he -- that Sanders hasn't always been Democrat and that that's a short fall for him?

DOYLE: Look, I think Bernie Sanders will tell you that he's a Democratic socialist. I think that is fine. I think an issue here that is not fine is he's refusing to raise money for any Democrat other than himself.

And if the Democratic Party is going to do well in the general election, he has to commit to raising money for senators and members of Congress down ballot and for the party, and he has yet to do so. And I think that is a problem.

PAUL: Jonathan, you give the last word there, please.

TASINI: It's ludicrous. Democrats would not have passed things if Bernie had been part of the Democrat caucus. I think these things are kind of irrelevant. Bernie is running as a Democrat. Period. And the thousands of people turning out to his rallies, they see him as a Democrat. They want him to be the nominee.

PAUL: All right, Patti Solis Doyle, Jonathan Tasini, we appreciate you both being here. Thank you.

DOYLE: Thank you so much.

PAUL: And a programming note for you, Bernie Sanders is Jake Tapper's guest this morning on "STATE OF THE UNION" at 9 a.m. right here on CNN -- Victor.

BLACKWELL: This morning we have new video of the Brussels airport as officials prepare to reopen it after those deadly terror attacks in the city.



BLACKWELL: It's 25 minutes after the hour now and for the first time since the terror bombings in Brussels the city's airport has now reopened, but it is an on extremely limited schedule.

PAUL: CNN correspondent, Alexandra Field is live this morning, and as we understand it just three flights today. Is that correct?

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. They are sort of symbolic flights. As you can imagine this is going to be an emotional return for some people. Particularly the people who work in this airport, who secured this airport, who are here this day in day out.

This place has been closed for 12 days now, but they want to begin to try to return to some sense of normalcy here. It isn't normal by any stretch. They used to do 600 flights a day and they are starting with just three, but again it is a place to start.

There are much heavier security levels being enforced here at the airport. You are seeing a lot of armed officers and military who are out here. That is probably giving some comfort we hope to the passengers who are going to make these flights.

This they have been assured by airport officials that this is a safe place to be. They are doing screenings of these passengers, of course, but there is security even before people get to check in.

Check in is being done at a temporary facility because the check in desks where the bombs exploded were destroyed in the attacks so it will take time to rebuild and restore the terminal to the way it looked before the attacks.

And we're told that really probably won't happen until the end of June or beginning of July. You will see them adding flights to the schedule daily bringing in more passengers but as for fully repairing that building itself, probably not until the summer -- Christi, Victor.

PAUL: All right, Alexandra Field live for us, we appreciate it. Thank you, Alexandra.

BLACKWELL: All right, still to come with Donald Trump's comments on abortion and immigration, what happens next? Donald Trump says he can be presidential if he wants. So why isn't he? And is he hurting his chance to actually become president? We'll ask a presidential historian.

PAUL: Plus North Carolina's bathroom bill is still a big topic. We'll tell you what the LGBT community is saying about it today.