Return to Transcripts main page


Cruz Major Announcement at 4 P.M.; Trump Speech on Foreign Policy Expected Soon; Last Night's Losing Candidates Say Not So Fast. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired April 27, 2016 - 11:00   ET


[11:00:00] CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you for joining me today. I'm Carol Costello.

AT THIS HOUR with Berman and Bolduan starts now.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan.


There is breaking news this morning. The White House is on lockdown as we speak. The reason is not yet clear. We know the president is inside the White House AT THIS HOUR. Again the White House is on lockdown. This happened a few times over the last week, including yesterday. We'll bring you updates as we get them.

Meantime, breaking news in the world of politics. Ted Cruz has a secret, a secret in what he is calling a major announcement at 4:00. A combination that can only mean one thing, the problem is we don't know what thing is. There's speculation he might announce a running mate. This would be unprecedented this far before the convention.

BOLDUAN: Not to mention from a candidate who is not actually winning, not the front runner, or all of this could be an endorsement, but maybe a big endorsement. One thing is clear, fresh off his zero for five showing yesterday, Cruz wants this moment to be big. Listen.


SEN. TED CRUZ, (R), TEXAS & PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Last night was Donald Trump's night. Today is Indiana's day. Indiana now has the chance to speak, not only for Hoosiers across the state but for people across this country this value Midwestern common sense and value good judgment.


BOLDUAN: Sunlen Serfaty is following the Cruz campaign and joining us from Indianapolis.

Sunlen, what more are you hearing about what this big announcement is at 4:00 p.m. today?

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, like you said, we are hearing he did a big announcement but it is still a secret. The Cruz campaign is very mum on what the announcement is. Clearly they are trying to make moves here to try to re-focus attention on their campaign after that bruising defeat last night. Senator Cruz coming out in a big way at this diner saying there will be -- making an announcement that there will be an announcement later today at 4:00 p. m. eastern time in Indianapolis. That is around the time that Donald Trump will be in town just six miles away from that rally. So clearly trying to regain control of the narrative around his campaign and hype it as much as he can.

Of course, there is a lot of speculation, will this be a vice presidential pick from Senator Cruz and asked him repeatedly this morning, have you made a decision on your voice presidential pick and running mate? He continued to play coy, saying wait for the announcement this evening, this afternoon. But he did earlier, Kate, speak broadly about some of the qualities he is looking for potential vice presidential pick. Here's what he had to say.


CRUZ: Well, I have said from the beginning the most important attribute for any running mate is that he or she should be prepared to step in and fulfill the role as president, be commander-in-chief and keep this country safe, and champion jobs, freedom and security.


SERFATY: It was only yesterday that Senator Cruz said himself that any talk of a vice presidential pick is very premature. His words. Clearly potentially moving towards potential announcement. Again, we again still don't know, sends a message from the Cruz campaign it is full steam ahead. On we go -- Kate and John?

BERMAN: Sunlen Serfaty for us in Indiana, waiting on that big announcement.

Let's bring in Alex Burns, national political reporter, "The New York Times"; and CNN political commentator, Margaret Hoover, who worked in the George W. Bush White House and on two presidential campaign; and CNN political commentator, Carl Bernstein, journalist and author of "Woman in Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton"; and Amanda Carpenter, CNN political commentator and former communications director for Senator Ted Cruz.

OK, Amanda, you know the Cruz team. Tell us everything you know. What is this announcement at 4:00 p.m.?

AMANDA CARPENTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's billed as a major announcement, it better be major -- in these cases there's endorsement and there's speculation on the V.P. pick. Carly Fiorina has been on the trail with him a lot. I like their chemistry together. I think of when they were campaigning and she almost steps in front of him to answer a question which normally would be viewed as a hostile move, but with her, it was very natural. We'll see what happens. If you're going to tease a major announcement, it better be good.

BOLDUAN: Yeah, if you tease it as big, major, join us, it better be big and major, or maybe not, maybe you're trying to win the day. What do you think?

ALEX BURNS, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Especially when you're going against the big national security speech, in you tease out the idea and it ends up being an endorsement from some Senator from a neighboring state, I think it's a real (INAUDIBLE) by Ted Cruz. Look, his campaign recognizes they are in something of a desperate position and Indiana was already looking like a tough race for him and Donald Trump swept the night last night. You can only imagine what's going to happen to the momentum in the polls. So Cruz needs to do everything he can, even at the risk of a Hail Mary to try to shift voters in Indiana away from thinking about what a big winner Donald Trump is, on to some other topic, whatever it might be.

[11:05:29] BERMAN: Carl, you covered an election or two.


This doesn't happen. I mean --


BERMAN: He did.


BERMAN: I don't know why we're leave shall --


BERMAN: -- a major announcement and there is all kinds of speculation and would be unprecedented and that's why he got us to bite. People don't pick their running mates this early, particularly when they are losing.


BERNSTEIN: The real news, I called one of the leaders in the Stop Trump movement this morning and he says, look, we're down to a 2 percent Hail Mary chance of stopping Trump, and that's the reality. What's really going on in this election right now is Cruz trying to scratch out something, some kind of desperation. But there's momentum and there's a real movement behind Trump now and he's setting up the general election and doing it very effectively.


BERNSTEIN: Particularly, when he's going against Hillary Clinton.

BOLDUAN: Margaret, do you think this has to be a V.P. announcement?

MARGARET HOOVER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I don't know of anything larger that could actually justify Ted Cruz winning the day, and he has to win the day. I think you're totally right. Desperate times call for desperate measures. He needs to win the day. Donald Trump was going to win it, and then with this foreign policy speech, but this is the one way Ted Cruz could blunt that momentum. And it's day to day staying a live right now until Indiana where he can maybe pull a rabbit out of a hat. But if we're honest about Indiana, it's not looking good for him. It's not looking good for him in Wisconsin. They want us to think Wisconsin and Indiana are the same state. They're not. He doesn't have the gubernatorial endorsement. It's a state where the profile of the looks like a Trump voter and a hollowed-out manufacturing state. And there isn't a conservative radio infrastructure like in Wisconsin. Indiana is not slanting towards Ted Cruz at all. That is his Waterloo.

BERMAN: Amanda, this reeks of a tactical move, something you do in the short term that isn't fully vetted. But Kate and I were quoting from "Rent" earlier, "There's no day but today." The problem is --

BOLDUAN: We did the harmony, too.

BERMAN: -- is that if Ted Cruz can't win today, there might not be a tomorrow. Is that the calculation here?

CARPENTER: I'm not sure this is all like about winning the hour or the day. I do agree that time of is the essence and going up to Tuesday but Cruz does have a good chance to build momentum here. Trump had a great night last night. But let's not forget these were mid-Atlantic, northeastern states designed by the Republican primary calendar to boost a moderate liberal Republican that people thought would be Jeb Bush but actually turned out to be Donald Trump. Of course, he was going to do well there.

I think Ted Cruz has a good chance of winning Indiana because it looks like Iowa. I'm a Midwest girl and grew up in Michigan and Indiana. I know the area very well. I can see Cruz playing well. The Midwestern values have a lot in common with Wisconsin values. Donald Trump is kind of a performer and that does rub people the wrong way. Cruz is spending a lot of time laying the groundwork there. He had a good speech this morning talking about how Donald Trump comes in, in a big jet, has a performance like Mick Jaggar, and leaves. That has some resonance to the people of Indiana. If Cruz can keep mining that wealth, I think he'll gain traction.

BOLDUAN: But put this in the context of what Ted Cruz does not want to think about any more of last night, you call it Alex. You said you think the big surprise headline of the day would be the scope of Donald Trump's win. The most amazing factor is that he carried every single country and congressional district that voted.

BURNS: Yeah. If you're Ted Cruz and you're looking for signs of vulnerability, you get nothing out of last night.

Amanda makes a valiant case for why Indiana has something in common with Iowa, Wisconsin, but the reality is Cruz wasn't going after those states after being stomped back to back to back. For him, this is more than poking holes in Trump here and there, but having to find an extraordinary well of ability in himself to change the fundamentals of this race as they have now developed. BERMAN: Carl, you talked about that Donald Trump is doing the right

rings. He talked about Hillary Clinton last night and he has a foreign policy speech a few minutes from now. Who is his audience for that speech?

BERNSTEIN: For that speech, he wants to convince all people, both Republicans and Democrats, and Independents and Republican regulars and establishment, that he's got some familiarity with the issues of foreign policies and can be conversant and sane about them. That's the big thing.

But going back to what's going on, the real question here is people may want to see a Hillary/Donald Trump race. That is an anecdotal finding. But they are looking forward to this gladiator combat. That might pull Trump through Indiana because he's the guy that can savage Hillary, and that's what voters are looking for, perhaps the ugliest race we've ever seen. We've never seen two candidates with negatives like this going against each other. Trump is out there talking about Hillary being a crook and should be indicted and in jail. That's what Republicans want to hear and, unfortunately, for the Democrats, there are a number of Independents who want to hear that, too.

[11:10:43] BOLDUAN: Carl, thank you so much.

Amanda, Alex, Margaret, thank you so much.

A lot more to discuss, especially this. Circle that date for Indiana on your calendar, May 3rd, the state that may decide it all. My home state of Indiana -- had to throw it out, nothing to do with the primary. In that state, on that day, can Ted Cruz stop Donald Trump? We'll talk to an Indiana insider to check the polls.

BERMAN: We're moments away from Donald Trump's foreign policy speech. This was the biggest deal of the day before the Ted Cruz announcement that he was saying something at 4:00 p.m. How will Donald Trump sound during this speech? What will his tone be? His live remarks are ahead.


[11:15:16] BERMAN: Moments from now, Donald Trump delivers a major speech on foreign policy. He wants to show Republican Party elites and the world that he is ready to be commander-in-chief. You're looking at live pictures from the Mayflower Hotel in Washington where Trump will be speaking shortly.

BOLDUAN: The GOP front runner said, after last night's victory, if he thinks it's over, in his view. Well now, the morning after, Trump is expected to convey something of a different, maybe more presidential tone. We're going to find out. We're going to bring you that speech live when it happens.

Before that, let's bring in Jim Acosta standing by at the Mayflower Hotel, the site of the speech.

Jim, the big criticism when it comes to especially foreign policy has long been that Trump is short on specifics. What are you hearing? Is that going to change today?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: You know, I don't think we're going to get a whole lot of specifics out of Donald Trump. I talked to a member of his national security team, who he introduced about a month ago, and he said to me that this is going to be more of a thematic speech but he'll layout what he considers a departure in foreign policy, not only from the Obama administration but from the Bush administration. Keep in mind, Donald Trump likes to say he does not like the Iran nuclear deal that President Obama cut with the Iranians in the last year, but also likes to say that he is a big critic of the Iraq war, that he was against the Iraq war before it was launched in 2003. Now there are some who dispute that and say that Donald Trump did say during an interview that he was in favor of the Iraq war, but he continues to maintain that he was against it. You'll hear some of that, and some of the things we've heard before on the campaign trail sort of combined together. And keep in mind, there are some pretty controversial topics that Donald Trump has raised and ideas he has put out there, a temporary ban on all Muslims coming into the United States and building a wall along the Mexican border that would create a diplomatic crisis, some critics say, and tearing up trade deals with China and so on. Donald Trump will fit all of that into this foreign policy speech. He talked earlier this morning on CNN's "New Day" about how his economic policies very much guide his foreign policies, so I think we'll hear some of that as well.

But it was interesting to hear from a member of his national security team a few moments ago that not only is Donald Trump talking about getting away from Obama foreign policy but Bush foreign policy as well. So he wants to lay his own marker here and create his own brand. And I think we'll see the beginnings of that in this speech.

BOLDUAN: He says he will not be laying out the Trump doctrine. So it's somewhere between those two things.

Jim, great to see you. Thank you so much.


Again, we'll bring you that speech beginning -- expected to begin at the top of the hour.

Let's continue right now with Barry Bennett, the senior adviser to the Trump campaign, joining us now.

Barry, thanks for joining us.

We do want to ask you about these rumors and speculation that is really running wild right now that Ted Cruz is going to be making a big announcement at 4:00 this afternoon, and the speculation being he could be announcing a vice presidential -- his running mate. What do you think?

BARRY BENNETT, SENIOR ADVISOR, DONALD TRUMP PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN & FORMER BEN CARSON PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN MANAGER: It's not a big announcement. The time of death of the campaign will be about 4:01. I don't know what they are going to announce but, I mean, expect a Hail Mary of some sort. Last night, we won every county in five states. Donald Trump is going to get more votes than any other candidate in the history of the Republican Party. Unfortunately, for Mr. Cruz and his team, they've run out of time. But they'll try something today at 4:00.

BERMAN: Barry, some speculation is that he'll pick a running mate but that running mate could be Carly Fiorina, who was a candidate herself for president. What do you think of the possibility of a Cruz/Fiorina ticket?

BENNETT: You know, Carly wasn't exactly enjoying a lot of success in her campaign so it would be an interesting choice. You know, I don't think it solves Ted Cruz's problems. 12 percent in a lot of those states last night, you have to do something bolder than that, something more popular than that.

BOLDUAN: Do you think it helps in Indiana, though?

BENNETT: Carly is not from Indiana obviously, but I rather choose Bobby Knight than Carly Fiorina in Indiana. I don't really think it does. She's not known as -- she's not very known at all, period, but I'm sure the Indiana people don't really know her at all.

[11:20:09] BERMAN: Was she a good candidate for president?

BENNETT: You know, I supported having her on the stage throughout the campaign when I was with Carson because I thought her voice was important, but she wasn't able to capitalize on that. So you know, she's a nice woman. I don't think she helps Ted Cruz much.

BOLDUAN: Let's look ahead. Trump last night said that Hillary Clinton -- that she wouldn't take 5 percent of the vote if she were a man. This morning, on "New Day," he tried to clarify what he meant there. Listen to this.


DONALD TRUMP, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & CEO, TRUMP ORGANIZATION (voice-over): She is a woman, playing the woman card left and right. She did play it last time with Obama, but she's playing it much harder time this time. And she will be called on it.


BOLDUAN: What is the woman card, Barry?

BENNETT: Well, she talks a lot -- people talk about how she would be the first woman president and they want to use that historical significance of that to generate support. But we're not going to let her get away with her 30-year record. She's -- to hear her talk about it she's been fighting for a lot of things for a long time. The problem is she's never won any of those fights. We're going to have a great debate going into the fall --


BOLDUAN: Calling her on the woman card.

BENNETT: -- on her history and her record.

BOLDUAN: They make no secret that she's a woman and she can talk about it and, yes, it matter of factually would be a historic thing be a woman president. What is calling her on the woman card then?

BENNETT: She'll have to be more than just a woman. She's going to have to put together some proposals, and defend her record most importantly. That's what he's talking about. Her record isn't very good.

BERMAN: But you and Donald Trump has already been doing this, talking about Hillary Clinton's record and her policies and her accomplishments. What does that have to do with her being a woman? I'm not sure how I understand how that's calling her out on the woman card using Donald Trump's words.

BENNETT: What we're saying, you can't just -- she's not going to have -- to run a campaign more than just being a woman.


BENNETT: She loves to talk about it, for sure. Her people love to talk about it as well. But it's already baked in the numbers. Right? There's going to be a campaign about our records and our ideas. And the people that she's been fighting for who frankly aren't any better off than they were 30 years ago with all of her fighting.

BOLDUAN: Barry Bennett, thanks so much for joining us.

BERMAN: Congratulations last night.


BOLDUAN: Thanks, Barry.

BERMAN: Thanks, Barry.

BOLDUAN: It was a sweep. We'll see what happens next.

BARRY: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Thank you, Barry.

So Ted Cruz is promising, as we've mentioned, a major announcement this afternoon. Speculation running wild it could be an announcement of a running mate. But in April? What's behind what would be an unprecedented move here?

BERMAN: And is it the looming Indiana primary that's having him do this? Will it be the biggest movement in the Hoosier state since the game winning shot was dropped right through the basketball ring? Inside joke.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [11:27:47] BOLDUAN: Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton with a sweep, and a near sweep last night, the math, the momentum, both working more in their favor this morning, but their opponents saying very quickly, not so fast.

BERMAN: Bernie Sanders supporters feeling the bump and bruise more than the Bern.

Ted Cruz and John Kasich analysts say they need to throw a Hail Mary pass. Ted Cruz has a big announcement coming at 4:00 p.m.

Let's talk to our panel, CNN political commentators, Van Jones and Mary Katherine Hamm. Van was an advisor to President Obama and Mary Katherine, a conservative blogger. And also with us, Christine Quinn, a Hillary Clinton supporter and former city council speaker here in the city of New York.

Mary Katherine, let's start with you.

The Republican race, this big announcement from Ted Cruz at 4:00 p.m., could it be a running mate pick? Is this just what the Cruz campaign needs or is it a sign of desperation, or is it both?

MARY KATHERINE HAMM, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's a little bit of both. It's what the Ted Cruz campaign had to have today. I'm not sure -- it could be a V.P. pick. I'm not sure it has to be. What has happened, he's already sort of winning the day because we're talking about it maybe pick and that's what he wanted to do. It's the sort of thing the media congratulates Trump for after he has a loss in Wisconsin, changing the subject the next day. Ted Cruz has done that successfully. Whether that translates into more success at the ballot box is another question.

BOLDUAN: It definitely is another question.

Let's talk about the Democratic side though, Van, and the big win for Hillary Clinton last night. After last night, do you think she can finally say she's shaken off Bernie Sanders?

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, from a mathematical point of view and psychological point of view, I think the answer to that it yes. Partly, I think people forget when you have a Bernie Sanders campaign that is essentially blacked out in the media for months and months and continues to grow and build, you have among the people who believe in that cause a belief that anything is possible. When you have a Michigan miracle, where the polls say he's going to lose by 10 and he comes back and beats her, this is a campaign from the beginning that was built on hope and defying the odds and expectations.

Now as you come near the end, it does not look like it's possible for him to move forward. She's got to make sure -- and I thought she did a good job last night -- not just to reach out, but more than reach out.