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Obama Rips Trump for Skipping Washington Gala; First U.S. Cruise Ship in 50 Years Sails to Havana. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired May 1, 2016 - 07:30   ET



[07:30:46] BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to thank the Washington press corps. I want to thank Carol for all that you do. You know, the free press is central to our democracy, and -- nah, I'm just kidding.

You know I've got to talk about Trump. Come on.


We weren't just going to stop there. Come on.

Although I am a little hurt he is not here tonight, we had so much fun the last time. And it is surprising. You've got a room full of celebrities, cameras, and he says no.

Is this dinner too tacky for The Donald? What could he possibly be doing instead? He I at home, eating a Trump steak? Tweeting out insulting to Angela Merkel. What's he doing?

Republican establishment is incredulous that he is their most likely nominee. Incredulous. Shocking. They say Donald lacks the foreign policy experience to be president.

But in fairness, he has spent years meeting with leaders from around the world, Miss Sweden, Miss Argentina, Miss Azerbaijan.

And there's one area where Donald's experience could be invaluable and that's closing Guantanamo, because Trump knows a thing or two about running waterfront properties into the ground.

All right, that's probably enough. I mean, I've got more material. No, no.

I don't want to spend too much time on The Donald. Following your lead, I want to show some restrain, because I think we can agree from the start, he has gotten the appropriate amount of coverage, befitting the seriousness of his candidacy.

I hope you all are proud of yourselves. The guy wanted to give his hotel business a boost, and now we're praying that Cleveland makes it through July. (END VIDEO CLIP)

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Just a portion of the president last night at the White House Correspondents Dinner. Donald Trump, the elephant not in the room at the dinner, but no one in this presidential race was spared from those one-liners, including fellow Democrats.

Let's bring in Democratic strategist and Hillary Clinton supporter, Robert Zimmerman, and Scottie Nell Hughes, national political commentator for USA Radio Networks and a Donald Trump campaign surrogate.

Both of you were there last night. Good morning to you.



BLACKWELL: Hope you got a little sleep before you had to get in the cars to come to the studio.

Scottie, I want to start with you. What do you think about the president's lines on Donald Trump?

HUGHES: You know, actually I'll give it to him, that was probably one of the classiest speeches. He had some great comedy, some great writers in it. I thought he could have dug the knife in a little deeper as the person who followed tried to it to Mr. Trump. But I think out of that whole thing, Mr. Trump probably got a good laugh out of some of the lines that were given.

If anyone woke up with a bad taste in their mouth from what President Obama said, I think it's actually Hillary Clinton. As the points that he made, though, the slams against her were not only much deeper, but they were, you know, rooted in truth. You could tell he was kind of kind to Bernie Sanders being there in the room. And Hillary was the one that did not benefit at all from last night's speech.

[07:35:02] WALLACE: Hey, Robert, before we let you respond, let's play a portion of what he said about Secretary Clinton.


OBAMA: Next year at this time, someone else will be standing here in this very spot, and it's anyone's guess who she will be.

But you've got to admit it, though, Hillary trying to appeal to young voters is like your relative who just signed up for Facebook. Dear America, did you get my poke? Is it appearing on your wall? I'm not sure I'm using this right. Love, Aunt Hillary.


BLACKWELL: All right. Robert, what did you think? ZIMMERMAN: I thought it was terrific. And, of course, I appreciate

Scottie's objective analysis of the speech, but just a bit sarcastically. But the point here simply is, this isn't the tradition of these types of speeches at the White House Correspondents Dinner. The president takes a fair shot at everyone. It was Senator Sanders, Secretary Clinton, of course, Donald Trump, who is sort of an eternal fixtures at these dinners now. He's become sort of a gold standard of sarcasm and criticism.

But I think the more important, the more fun aspect of the evening, was watching officials in Washington really trip over themselves to do selfies with the cast of "Scandal" and the administration of Frank Underwood. I mean, that was really quite something.

You think it was -- I mean, there were literally more selfies in that room than in at a Kardashian family dinner.

BLACKWELL: And there was a Kardashian in the room, too.

ZIMMERMAN: There was indeed.

BLACKWELL: So, let's go to RNC Chairman Reince Priebus. He was there last night. Here's what the president said about him.


OBAMA: GOP Chairman Reince Priebus is here as well.


Glad to see that you feel that you've earned the night off. Congratulations on all your success. The Republican Party, the nomination process, it's all going great. Keep it up.


BLACKWELL: Scottie, at least he seemed to enjoy the ribbing a bit.

HUGHES: Oh, and the best comedy has a little ounce of truth that it's based on. You know, just like Hillary Clinton that she has a problem with millennial voters. That was very true right there. We do have a little chaos going on within the GOP that's providing a lot of fodder for late night comedians and "Saturday Night Live".

And I love -- and I think that's the end of it. I love to see Republicans and politics actually laugh right now, as long as they get serious when it's important, when they actually go into dealing with these ballots and we go into the convention, that we realize that we do have a serious issue that we're dealing with these candidates and some of the issues that have come up.

ZIMMERMAN: You see, that's a really important point, because what really makes the evening in fact a positive event is watching Republicans and Democrats come together and the media come together, laughing at themselves, acknowledging some harsh truths, and it gives you a little hope for better dialogue. We'll see if it lasts until Monday, but it's always encouraging to see that kind of camaraderie and that kind of spirit.

BLACKWELL: All right. It was a fun evening. I think more people enjoyed the president than they did Larry Wilmore. He is not getting the greatest reviews this morning.

Scottie and Robert, thank you so much. We want to have you stay with us for a moment, as we kind of run through the years with President Obama, looking back at his best hits of the last eight years.



OBAMA: Thank you, everybody. Good evening. In the next 100 days, our -- my partisan outreach will be so successful that even John Boehner will consider becoming a Democratic.

After all, we have a lot in common. He is a person of color -- although not a color that appears in the natural world.

Some Republicans have suggested that the bill contains a few secret provisions. And that's ridiculous. There aren't a few secret provisions in the health care plan. There are like hundreds.

No one is happier, no one is prouder to put this birth certificate matter to rest than The Donald. And that's because he can finally get back to focusing on the issues that matter, like did we fake the moon landing? What really happened in Roswell? And where are Biggie and Tupac?

Of course the White House correspondents different is known as the prom of Washington, D.C., a term coined by political reporter who clearly never had the chance to go to an actual prom.

These days, I look in the mirror and I have to admit, I'm not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be.

[07:40:06] You would think that they would appreciate a more assertive approach, considering that the new conservative darling is none other than Vladimir Putin.

Last year, Pat Buchanan said Putin is headed straight for the Nobel Peace Prize. He said this. I know it sounds crazy, but to be fair, they give those to just about anybody these days.

Ted Cruz said that denying the existence of climate change made him like Galileo. Now, that's not really an apt comparison. Galileo believed the earth revolves around the sun. Ted Cruz believes the earth revolves around Ted Cruz.

And just as an aside. I want to point out, when a guy has his face on a Hope poster calls you self-centered, you know you've got a problem.


BLACKWELL: Scottie and Robert are still with us. Best year from your perspective. Scottie, you first?

HUGHES: Well, let me say this -- this is what the Democratic Party is missing this election cycle. I mean, those lines are funny, they're humorous, they're relatable. I think every year, you know, of course, at certain points, I sit there and I kind of like scream at. But yesterday when President Obama just did mike drop, that line right there, I guarantee you, will be his most epic line of all the years he's done, because that's exactly what he did.

But this is why the Democrats right now, I mean, nobody, whether it's Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, could deliver lines like that, depending on --

ZIMMERMAN: Scottie, don't be discouraged, because --

HUGHES: Well, I don't have to worry about it.

ZIMMERMAN: The Republicans are giving us great material. Donald Trump to this day refuses to acknowledge that the president is an American U.S. citizen, and actually has a legitimate birth certificate. So we've got plenty of material to work with.

But over the years, you watched President Obama's address and you realized what makes it so compelling, what makes it so warm and humorous is he's not afraid to poke fun at himself the way he pokes fun at everyone else in the audience and --


BLACKWELL: He's done eight -- we've got to wrap it up, because we have Boris Sanchez standing by.

Scottie Nell Hughes, Robert Zimmerman, thank you so much. I hope you enjoyed the night.

HUGHES: Thank you.

ZIMMERMAN: It's a great evening.

ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Well, for the first time in more than 50 years, a cruise ship will set sail from the U.S. to Cuba.

CNN's Boris Sanchez in live in Miami this morning -- Boris.


Truly a historic trip. Expectations very high for this week-long trip to paradise. A trip that almost didn't happen. We'll explain why, coming up.


[07:46:12] BLACKWELL: We've got breaking news coming in from Washington, D.C. A CSX train has derailed. We're told this is near Road Island Avenue in northeast Washington, D.C. Several cars, we're told, have overturned, one car is said to be leaking liquid. We do not have the details, if it is a hazardous material that's leaking, if there are injuries of any sort, but we'll keep you updated on the story as soon as we get more information. Again, a CSX train derailed there in northeastern D.C. More as we get it.

CABRERA: Meantime, it is a historic day for the U.S. In just a few hours, a carnival cruise ship Adonia will do something no other cruise ship has done in a half century -- sail directly to Havana, Cuba.

BLACKWELL: Now, this is a fairly modest undertaking as cruises go, which is 700 passengers, and not really a large distance, but the symbolism here is huge.

Boris Sanchez is at the port of Miami where Carnival officials will hold a news conference in a little more than an hour from now.

Boris, good morning.

SANCHEZ: Victor and Ana, good morning to you as well.

The ship is supposed to depart at 4:00 today. A lot of pomp and circumstance expected. There's a band onboard, all kinds of Cuban- themed festivities set to take place. But this is a trip that almost didn't happen. The reason is because Cuba had a law banning all Cuban born people from entering the island via ship. Because of that, Carnival was forced to ban any Cubans from buying tickets onboard this voyage.

You might imagine the reaction from the Cuban-American community here in Miami was visceral. There were protests outside of Carnival headquarters. There was also a class action lawsuit filed.

Carnival eventually relented, saying that they would delay any trip to Cuba until the Cuban government changed its policy. Less than a week after that announcement, the Cuban government changed their policy and we're here today. All 600 cabins on board are sold out. To give you an idea, an ocean view room, one of the ones you see behind me, about 2,500 bucks a pop. There was a lot of interest in going to Cuba.

This trip is expected to last a week. Stopping in three cities, Havana, Santiago de Cuba and Cienfuegos, and this could be a gauge for relations between the countries moving forward, especially if there's smooth sailing ahead.

BLACKWELL: All right. We'll look ahead to the news conference coming up, again, a little more than an hour.

Boris Sanchez there in Miami -- thanks so much.

President Obama, ending his run of White House Correspondents' Dinners on a high note last night.

CABRERA: One of the funniest moments is when he talked about his key staffers, media, even the first lady trying to pack up and leave already. We'll show you that right after the break.


[07:52:35] BLACKWELL: Well, you saw just a few moments ago, President Obama skewers the 2016 candidates but he saved really some of his best jabs for the people hosting last night's dinner -- the White House correspondents.

CABRERA: The president went all in last night. In fact, not even his own wife was safe.


OBAMA: Key staff are now starting to leave the White House. Even reporters have left me.

Savannah Guthrie, she's left the White House press corps to host the "Today" show. Norah O'Donnell left the briefing room to host "CBS This Morning." Jake Tapper left journalism to join CNN.


But the prospect of leaving the White House is a mixed bag. You might have heard that someone jumped the White House fence last week, but I have to give Secret Service credit, they found Michelle, brought her back. She's safe -- she's safe back at home. It's only nine more months, baby, settle down.


CABRERA: His delivery was pretty good there. All the highlights from the White House Correspondents' Dinner on our website If you missed it, check it out there.


CABRERA: Still ahead here on NEW DAY, CNN taking you behind the scenes of one of America's oldest and most notorious prisons.


W. KAMAU BELL, UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA: How long you been in here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm on my 40th year right now.

BELL: Seven life, you're on your 40th year?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fortieth year, yes.

BELL: Wow.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Same thing I said every morning I get up, wow, wow.


BLACKWELL: W. Kamau Bell shows us what life is like on the other side of the bars at San Quentin, that's next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:53:02] CABRERA: America's prison population numbers in the millions and to most people on the outside, they're just that, numbers.

BLACKWELL: Yes. And this week on a new CNN series, "UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA," W. Kamau Bell meets the people inside one of America's most notorious prisons, San Quentin.


BELL: My name is Kamau.


BELL: Duck. So, tell me, what would say is the biggest surprise -- you think that would surprise on the outside about being in San Quentin?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The name itself is not the character it produces anymore.

BELL: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It produces positive people now.

BELL: Yes, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some come here, couldn't read, write, spell, you walk around they're geniuses now.

BELL: Yes. Since you don't have cell phones, you need somebody walking around to be the computers.


BELL: You need somebody whose nickname is Wikipedia.


BELL: Give you information.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, they make us think that we're still part of some part of humanity, because other than that, we'd just be numbers on the yard.

BELL: Yes, numbers on the yard.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, just numbers on the yard.

BELL: What's your sentence?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, I got seven life.

BELL: How long you've been here? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm on my 40th year right now.

BELL: Seven life, you're on your 40th year?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fortieth year, yes.

BELL: Wow.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Same thing I said every morning I get up, wow, wow.

BELL: Yes, seven life, like seven lifetimes. Like that's not --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, you would think you'd be going a lot time.

BELL: I was hoping you were going to say 6 1/2.


BELL: It sounds unfair, sounds like if you're able to live here and sit here and we're talking.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because they call this rehabilitation so if you have been rehabilitated you get to a spot like this, there should be some rewards at the end of the game. But it don't seem to be that way.


BLACKWELL: All right. Watch "UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA" tonight at 10:00 Eastern, right here on CNN.

CABRERA: And that's going to do it for us. Thanks for being here.

BLACKWELL: "INSIDE POLITICS" with John King starts now.