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Libertarians Front and Center; Can White Vote Win White House?; State Department Slams Clinton Use of Private Email; Trump Digs Up Old Charges Vs. Clinton. Aired 9-10a ET

Aired May 28, 2016 - 09:00   ET


[09:00:00] VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: That's it for us. We'll see you back here at 10:00 Eastern for "CNN NEWSROOM."

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: See you then. "SMERCONISH" starts for you right now.


It's happened, Donald Trump closed the deal. He's the GOP nominee and as Hillary draws near her goal some people are looking for other options. So with the convention to name the libertarian candidate happening this weekend, it's suddenly significant. The libertarian candidates will be on the ballot in 50 states and I will talk to the leading presidential contender for that party, Gary Johnson and his VP pick, Bill Well.

Meanwhile, Trump has been back in the trenches dredging up decades old, 1990s attacks on Hillary and Bill Clinton. Will that tactic work?

Plus white male voters are flocking to Trump but in a country of changing demographics can they be his margin of victory. Multiple polls have a virtual heat between Trump and Hillary. The polls this early they could be way off but first Memorial Day weekend is of course a time to honor those who have served and traditionally, signals the start of summer and this summer is going to be dominated by two major party conventions.

But first, there's a convention this weekend in Orlando where the libertarian party will nominate its candidates tomorrow. The stage suddenly seems set for libertarianism to move from college dorm rooms to mainstream households. While many headlines were written this week about the national polls showing Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in a dead heat, buried within the data a much different story emerged.

An ABC News-"Washington Post" poll showed Trump beating Clinton 46 to 44 while Trump supporters were asked why they were for their candidate, 53 percent said well it's because they oppose Hillary. And when Hillary supporters were asked why they support their candidate, 48 percent said it's to oppose Trump.

Equally telling 57 percent said they have negative impressions of both major candidates. In a separate survey by Bloomberg, almost half of voters, 45 percent said they'd be open to a third-party candidacy if Trump and Clinton are the nominees and that's why there's been so much talk this season about third-party candidates but only one party besides the Democratic party and Republican party will be on the ballot in all 50 states and that's the libertarians.

Is America ready for a ticket based on economic conservatism and social liberalism, I'd argue yes while the loudest voices among us those tend to be those who tether themselves ideologically to extremism most Americans are more independent in their thinking and far more centrist in their views. Whether the libertarians can make a play for that vote depends on the candidates making it to the debate state.

The Commission on Presidential Debates requires a showing of 15 percent in the national polls for that to happen but first libertarians need to be included in those polls. I hope the major polling outlets will include them in their surveys. A party that has ballot access in all 50 states is deserving of that treatment. If they meet the 15 percent mark libertarians could add value to the debates by forcing the left and right to defend their views against more nuance independent thinking.

Joining me now is Gary Johnson, the former governor of the great state of New Mexico and William Weld, the former governor of the great state of Massachusetts. Governor Johnson, Bernie Sanders has had to explain democratic socialism. I think you're going to be called upon to explain libertarianism. What is it?

GARY JOHNSON, LIBERTARIAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, Michael, you set the table perfectly. I mean, libertarianism is being fiscally conservative, socially liberal and hey, when it comes to these military interventions I think these military intervention has resulted in a world that is less safe as opposed to more safe. So that's it in a nutshell. We've got - we're offering a unique combination that I think combines the best much what it's supposed to be to beat a Republican and combines the best of what's it's supposed to be a democrat.

Most people are really somewhere in the middle and right now given the polarization of Hillary and Trump I think the vast majority of Americans are libertarian, it's just that they don't know it.

SMERCONISH: Governor Well, are you libertarian enough for that crowd behind you?

WILLIAM WELD, LIBERTARIAN VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I've always described myself as a libertarian. I agree with Governor Johnson. We don't have to say we're anti-Trump or anti-Mrs. Clinton. All we got to do is come out of the block saying we don't agree with either party.


We don't agree with the anti-abortion and anti-gay rights, let's make personal life decisions for you, the attitude of Republicans in Washington at least and we don't agree with the endless reckless spending on the democratic side at least in Washington and the polls show that that mix of policy positions, ours, commands the support of between 40 percent and 55 percent of the people in the country. That's a pretty good opening.

SMERCONISH: Governor Johnson, it sounds like there's a lot of enthusiasm in that room behind you. Is this about winning or being spoilers?

JOHNSON: Michael, you set the table. Look, we would not be doing this if there weren't the opportunity of winning but the only chance of winning is to be in the presidential debates and to be in the presidential debates, you got to be in the polls.

Look, just put us in the polls. I think that by putting us in the polls there will be attention drawn to what it is that we're saying and you know what if, if that happens anything is possible.

SMERCONISH: Governor Weld, you know critics will say at one end, well they're two former Republicans, all they're going do is pull from Trump and they're going to get Hillary elected, others say that if you're successful what you'll do is throw this to the House of Representatives and you'll get Trump elected. You would respond how?

WELLD: I would never use the word spoiler. I'm very comfortable with where we are. We're going to speak truth to power and we are going to speak truth and we don't have to trim or modify our positions. If we wind up nudging the Democrats toward the right on economic issues and nudging Republicans to the left on social issues I think we will have done the country a really big favor maybe in mustering a national consensus that sorely and surely does not appear to exist at the moment.

SMERCONISH: Governor Johnson, you've seen all the maps and everybody likes to divvy up and play electoral college mathematics at this stage of the campaign. Are there states where Gary Johnson and Bill Weld, should you both win nominations on Sunday can actually capture electoral college states?

JOHNSON: I think anything is possible, Michael, given just how divisive the two major parties are right now. Clinton and Trump back to just the notion that most people are libertarian. This is an unbelievable opportunity to move America in a direction that really they actually desire. I mean, 50 percent of Americans right now registering to vote are registering as independents.

Where is their representation? It's not from the democrats. It's not from the Republicans. It's somewhere in the middle. We're going to be the only party on the ballot in all 50 states. Really there's a legitimacy to having our name in these polls right now given the climate and the climate is never been seen before. This is unbelievable. I can't believe this is what's happening in America today.

SMERCONISH: Governor Johnson, if you get 15 percent and you are standing on that stage with Donald Trump and with Hillary Clinton, what's the message you most wish to deliver? JOHNSON: Look, we're all about small government - smaller government.

Government tries to too much. It taxes too much. At the end of the day if it taxes too much that's money out of my pocket that I could be spending on my life. When it comes to civil liberties, look, people should be able to make their own choices in their own lives as long as those choices don't put others in harm's way and these military interventions is the world safer today

I'm going to argue that it's not and that that - that that policy, the military policy is being carried out by the president and the military as opposed to Congress. Let's get Congress involved in declaring war if you will, declaring what we should be doing militarily. We've got 69 treaties with other countries that were going to have to come to the defense of their borders. These were not treaties that were passed by congress. This was executive, the president of the United States doing all of this in conjunction with the military, involve Congress.

SMERCONISH: Gary Johnson, Bill Weld, I hope you get in the surveys. I would love to see the left and the right have to defend themselves against nuance independent thinking. Good luck to both of you.

WELD: Thank you, Michael.

JOHNSON: Thank you.

SMERCONISH: So having just heard from Governor Gary Johnson and Governor Bill Weld, let's learn more about this libertarian moment in the sun.


Joining me now, two libertarian editors in chief, Matt Welch of "Reason" magazine and Nick Gillespie of and Reason TV. There's a lot of reasoning going on here, guys.

Matt, you heard my conversation with the presumed candidates. Let me ask you, is Bill Wed, libertarian enough?

MATT WELCH, EDITOR IN CHIEF "REASON" MAGAZINE: It's going to be an interesting question to find out here in the next couple of days. He wasn't nominated. He was suggested because they vote differently, separately for vice president than they do president. So his suggested hat in the ring from Governor Johnson was treated with some skepticism definitely in this room which I've seen and heard talking to people, seen as a liberal Republican governor who has a track record that includes flirting with the libertarian party in New York in 2006 and then kind of backing out of it and some other things.

And so he might not be libertarian enough. We'll see. There's also an element of pragmatism here. He has name recognition. The likes of which libertarian politicians just generally have not had over the years.

SMERCONISH: Nick Gillespie, that gets me to my point which is are libertarian, we've had this conversation among conservatives in the past, wouldn't they rather have 34 of a loaf and perhaps win than no loaf at all.

NICK GILLESPIE, EDITOR IN CHIEF, REASON.COM AND REASONTV: You know, who knows? I mean, they're willing to starve themlves to death and we're to lose a few pounds, right? So what the hell? But what to me is fascinating is that suddenly with a Johnson-Weld ticket, the libertarian party, which is the province of gold coin bugs and private side walk people and all these type of weird extremism, they're in the mainstream of America and Gary Johnson was talking about this.

It's like when you talk about we don't want to go overseas and like bomb countries into pieces, we want to have abortion rights, we want to have drug regulation, all sorts of stuff, like the libertarian party right now in the current political context is at the dead center of America where there's like 2/3rds of people who are libertarian. They are socially liberal and fiscally conservative. These guys can actually bring that to a national audience in a way that has never happened before in American politics.

I started talking about - I like - Matt and I coined the term the libertarian moment. It's actually now the libertarian momentum because what will happen ultimately is that these guys are not going to be the next president and vice president of the U.S. but what is going to happen is that these two parties are going to start taking stuff from the libertarian party platform and then coopting it into their establishment.

SMERCONISH: Hey, Matt Welch, how does the buzz in Orlando compare to say the Ron Paul and Rand Paul moments in the past because I think when Americans think of libertarians standard bearers, they think of that father/son duo.

WELCH: Sure. You know, Ron Paul is still the most beloved, I think, individual politician among libertarian party members according to polling and he'll be treated like a hero if he showed up here. But these are the activists. These are 1,000 people from across the countries, in 50 states, who painstakingly gotten ballot access with the green party and Ralph Nader did manage to do it.

So they've been working in the trenches for a super long time and what they're noticing is they've never seen so many people interested in what they're talking about right now. There's something like 250 media credentials here and there was maybe 20 last time. We're talking about this on CNN and we weren't talking about this on CNN four years ago. I can guarantee you that.

So there's a feeling like hey, there's some kind of watershed of interest and potential here with two candidates who are not only super unpopular including with their own tribes but they're also unusually status for their own tribes. Hillary Clinton is more of an authoritarian, by far than Barack Obama and Donald Trump, god knows what he is but it's not about lessening control of government. These are people who prefer choice over control and Americans generally tend in that direction and the two major party candidates are so anti-that that it's an historic opportunity.

SMERCONISH: Well, hey Nick. Can I just say - Nick, not knowing who Hillary picks as a VP nor who Trump picks as a VP running mate neither could equal the executive experience that the libertarians will have with Johnson and Weld with two-term governors.

GILLESPIE: Absolutely. I mean, you're talking about 16 years of executive experience and these were guys who were moderate Republicans back in the '90s when that was possible. What we're looking at in the libertarian party is something that is actually very different and it's kind going towards the center of a great American tradition of saying like "you know what, I love free minds and I love free markets. I want to be in charge of the decisions that matter most to my life." That's what these guys are about and it's a message that is long overdue. Michael, I was going to say when you left the Republican party, I mean that's the direction you were going in. That's where these guys are and hopefully they'll be able to head a discussion towards that whether it happens in the LP or the Republican party or the democratic party, it doesn't matter. To me, it's this question of like are we going, towards more choice, more autonomy, more individual freedom or Hillary and Trump.

SMERCONISH: Matt Welch, Nick Gillespie, I think you're about to have a moment. Enjoy it.

GILLESPIE: Thank you, Michael.


SMERCONISH: Coming up Pat Buchanan is now calling GOP nominee Donald Trump, the great white hope. Given the 2016 demographics, how can that possibly be a good thing?


SMERCONISH: Disenfranchisement of the white middle class in America that has been a steady theme throughout this campaign. Is there any way to fix it? In a new column title "Great White Hope," Pat Buchanan writes "middle aged whites are four times as likely as middle aged blacks to try to kill themselves, their fitness levels are falling as they suffer rising levels of physical pain, emotional stress and mental depression which helps explain the alcohol and drug addiction."


Joining me now is Pat Buchanan. Pat, what is the social disaster that you see right now for white middle America?

PAT BUCHANAN: Partly what you described there. I read that "New York Times'" story and was astonished by it that this is the only group of Americans, middle class white folks and I gather working class whites as well, for whom the mortality rate, the death rate is rising in middle age.

In my view there's a number of reasons for it. One is the economy. You've seen the real wages have been flat, of course, tremendous numbers of people even though unemployment is low have dropped out of the labor force. I think culturally, they're under assault. The phrase angry white male is one of the few slurs that can be used today. And I think, let me use something that had - Merl Haggard died recently, Michael, he had a line in his (INAUDIBLE) it said "are the good times really over for good" and I think for many white American in the working class, they feel they are over for good and they look to Donald Trump, frankly, the way a lot of African-Americans looked to Barack Obama, with hope.

SMERCONISH: When you say they're under cultural assault as I read your piece I thought the W.A.S.P.S probably said the same thing when families like Smerconich and Grovich, my forefathers were coming to this country at the turn of the last century.

BUCHANAN: Well, Smerconish and some of my ancestors and folks that came from Eastern and Southern Europe, they were under ethnic and cultural assault, I believe, in this country and they rose up and they came into their own and they came into the middle class.

I don't think the W.A.S.P. to their credit, W.A.S.P.S. built America in the 18th century but I don't recall them ever being under cultural assault.

SMERCONISH: In the last line of your piece and I'll put it up on the screen, you refer to Donald Trump as the great white hope and indeed you said so just a moment ago. Are you helping or hurting him when you cast his campaign in those terms?

BUCHANAN: Well, I think that I just took that term from Jess Willard in 1915, it was a play in 1970 as well, "The Great White Hope," and it's just a term, but what is very important is what it indicates. The largest turnout ever has taken place in the Republican primaries and enormously the votes for Donald Trump had been white votes, working class votes, middle class votes, people driven by nationalism and populism who have never come out before and I think, Michael, we got to explain that and understand it and I make the best effort I can do to do that and I think to have the political correctness line thrown at you on every line you use in the column, I don't think is helpful.

SMERCONISH: But isn't Donald Trump stirring that base by pointing in the direction of the others and laying off the blame on them for what's going on among this core constituency?

BUCHANAN: I don't agree with that. He says - look predominantly the folks coming across the southern border are Mexican folks coming across illegally. He's referring to them. He's going to build the wall. I understand that and people take that as anti-Mexican where some of us take it as trying to preserve the character and laws of the United States of America which are under assault.

SMERCONISH: When you talk about the economic problems of those that you write about, up say it's largely attributable to illegal immigration and you also say the effect of globalization. I think it's probably technology and globalization not so much people who are coming illegally to do jobs that frankly many Americans don't want do and aren't willing to do.

BUCHANAN: Michael, I believe I said in the column that I not only referred to legals but illegals - excuse me, I include legals there and the point is if you add 40 or 50 million folks in the United States as we have since 1965 and a million more legal and illegal every year, that's a huge increase in the labor supply and the demand remains constant and therefore the wages go down. Real wages have been stagnant for American workers and American families of the working and middle class almost since 1974. In addition to that 55,000 factories were exported in the first decade of the 21st century and something like six million manufacturing jobs lost.

Michael, you got to look at these figures and understand they have a dramatic impact upon Americans working in middle class and those folks that made that Nobel Laureate, I think that report has gotten to the reason why or indicated it.

SMERCONISH: Final question, political ramification of all of this. Are demographics not destiny? I've got Neil Neuhaus in the on-deck circle, I'm going to ask him, are there enough of the Buchanan-Trump constituents left to get somebody president.


BUCHANAN: I will say this, the Republican party is under a demographic death sentence in these terms. Even if you get 60 to 65 percent of the white vote which Nixon got and Reagan got, both of them winning 49 states landslide. When the white vote diminishes it's now about 72 percent of the electorate, 62 percent of the population. As it goes down further and further you're going to have to get Hispanic votes, you're going to get some more African-American votes and you got to get more Asian-American votes or quite frankly, the Republican party is going to go the which of the wigs. I wrote that in my book "Suicide of a Super Power."

SMERCONISH: Pat Buchanan, have a good Memorial day. Thank you so much for being here.

BUCHANAN: Well, thank you.

SMERCONISH: To make more sense of Pat Buchanan's "Great White Vote," I got Neil Newhouse. He was the lead pollster for Mitt Romney. You heard Neil what Pat just said. Evaluate it.

NEIL NEWHOUSE, REPUBLICAN POLLSTER: That was pretty depressing, don't you think?

SMERCONISH: For the country or for Republicans or both?

NEWHOUSE: I think for both. I think you put it in perspective and Pat kind of gets us started in the right direction. You and I have talked about this before but this is the longest period of sustained pessimism that Americans have gone through in a generation.

We've had 12 straight years now where a plurality of Americans leave the country all for the wrong track. That's where we're having swing election after swing election after swing election. You talk to voters and focus groups and what they're telling us is they're working harder and they feel like they're just not getting ahead, that they see everybody else getting bailed out but them. So there is a rising frustration and anger and I think you see that bubbling up both on the democratic side of the aisle with Bernie Sanders's campaign and obviously with Donald Trump on the Republican side.

SMERCONISH: On the Republican side of the aisle and we have had this conversation - let me put on the screen what George Will wrote and noted for "The Washington Post." "George Herbert Walker Bush and Mitt Romney 24 years later got the same percentage of the white vote, 59 percent. Papa Bush got 426 electoral votes but Romney only got 206. You can't win the White House with the Buchanan-Trump constituency, right?

NEWHOUSE: No, the math is problematic. There's no question about it. I mean, Pat pointed this out, 72 percent of the vote in the 2012 election was among white voters and those numbers are going down. And so, if you have 70 percent or even 69 percent of the vote, voters will come out to vote in 2016 being white, what percent does Donald Trump have to win to win the election?

You're talking about 65 percent, 66 percent. I mean, Michael, this reminds me of those days when I worked on the Frank Rizos (ph) campaign in Philadelphia and he wouldn't count on any of the African- American vote and you had to get to 72 percent of the white vote in order to win. There becomes a point in time where it just becomes almost impossible to kind of achieve those numbers in a presidential election.

SMERCONISH: Neil, there have been four different national surveys that have come out just in the last week saying it's a neck in neck race between Donald and Hillary. At what point, do these polls begin to matter?

NEWHOUSE: Listen, Michael, there's a ton of fluidity out there. When you got a majority of Americans having an unfavorable impression of Trump and a majority unfavourable impression of Hillary and about 1/4 having unfavorable of both, it's going to be a while.

Let me recommend people kind of lean back and wait until after the two conventions, things will settle down. I think that - right now you look at the data and Donald Trump is doing better among Republicans and pulling more Republican vote than Hillary is among democrats. That's not what anybody expected but let's see what settles out after the conventions and I think even the state data is going to be extraordinarily fluid until we get through the two conventions in July.

SMERCONISH: Final question, in 2013 you and the Barinson group, the Obama and Romney pollsters were hired to work together and find the size of the middle. You said it's 51 percent, which way are the 51 percent leaning?

NEWHOUSE: Well, I just finished focus groups this past week in three midwest communities in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Rochester, Minnesota, and Dayton, Ohio and the last question we asked was if we hold the election today for whom would you vote and it looked like we had asked everybody to eat a sour pickle. The looks in their faces were just - it was this is - I call this, Michael, I call this a nose holder election.

People want to hold their nose when they vote right now.

So, I think those middle voters are -- they're just waiting to see what's going to happen. This is a long ways of being determined who is going to win this election.

[09:30:03] And the other -- Michael, the other thing is -- there's not a darn thing that's happened in this campaign cycle so far that's been predictable. So, to try to figure out what's going to happen between now and November, you know, it's utter nonsense to try to say that's predictable.

SMERCONISH: Neil Newhouse, thank you so much for being here.

NEWSHOUSE: Michael, pleasure.

SMERCONISH: Coming up, Donald Trump's latest nickname for a person he wants to take down. This time it's Elizabeth Warren -- Pocahontas. Why does he do this? Does it work?


SMERCONISH: Early in the campaign, Bernie Sanders let Hillary Clinton off the hook about her use of private e-mail back when she was secretary of state. This week, the inspector general of the State Department wasn't as generous and criticized Clinton, saying that she'd not sought permission to use it and wouldn't have received permission had she done so.

[09:35:07] Is it time for Bernie to finally start talking about those damn e-mails?

This and lots more to discuss with our political panel. Democratic consultant Bob Beckel, and conservative analyst E.D. Hill.

Bob, I think Bernie is making a mistake. I think that he believes if he talks e-mail he sounds like Republican talking points. But guess what? Sometimes Republican talking points are correct.

BOB BECKEL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR/DEMOCRATIC CONSULTANT: You know, you'll have to remind me when that was.


BECKEL: But the fact of the matter is, his people don't care about these e-mails. He had that right when he first said it, "I don't care about these damn e-mails." That's an issue that the Republicans are going to drive home as much as they can.

The only thing that matters is not -- the general's opinion at the State Department, is does the FBI ask for an indictment? If that happens, then the world turns over.

SMERCONISH: E.D. Hill, people don't care because it's never been properly explained. This is an issue of lack of transparency. No one has ever explained it in those terms.

E.D. HILL, CONSERVATIVE ANALYST: I -- yes, but I agree with Bob in this respect. I don't think the focus should be really just the e- mails. It should be all of it. It should be that Hillary Clinton thinks she is above it all, she's above the e-mails, she's above Whitewater, she's above Benghazi, she's above Lewinski.

It's either something -- nothing has gone wrong, or it's a vast right wing conspiracy. Somehow, the inspector general is a Democratic appointee who just came out with the fact that she should have been abiding by the rules and did not.

SMERCONISH: California comes up on June 7th. A poll was released just this week. I can put it up on the screen, but what it shows is a neck in neck race. Mr. Beckel, if she should cross that finish line limping, meaning she loses California but nevertheless -- nevertheless captures the nomination, then where is she?

BECKEL: Well, I don't -- you know, I frankly don't think it matters where she comes in. Look, Barack Obama lost five out of the six final primaries and caucuses in 2008 and he went on to become president. So, I think these things will fade pretty quickly.

The thing that's not going to fade is her using the women's card against Trump which she should and Trump using the male card against her. And the idea Trump would be out there attacking Bill Clinton on his sexual problems, you talk about a glass house, this guy has more problems than Bill Clinton ever had.

SMERCONISH: But, E.D., I think that's to neutralize Clinton, meaning Bill Clinton, isn't it? Because it's Trump serving notice that if you play these things against me, I'm going to remind everybody about Lewinski.

HILL: Yes, you know what? Women's lib, is anyone remember that? It's not about stacking the deck so that you always come out a winner, it's about having fair play. If people like Elizabeth Warren decide they're going to throw some punches, they should expect to get punched right back. That is what it's about, equality. And so, if you're going to dish it, be ready to receive it.


SMERCONISH: Speaking of Elizabeth -- speaking of Elizabeth Warren, let me show everybody what Donald Trump has been saying about the senator from Massachusetts recently.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES: Pocahontas, that's Elizabeth Warren. I call her goofy.


REPORTER: Is that offensive?

REPORTER: Very offensive.

TRUMP: I'm sorry about that.


TRUMP: Pocahontas. I think she's as Native American as I am.


SMERCONISH: Bob Beckel, she did regard herself as a minority when she was a law school faculty member. It happened at my alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

BECKEL: She -- I didn't know you went to the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Why didn't you have your picture on every single shot to begin the show?

Look, the fact is, he's now picked out -- I don't know what other group he has to get angry with. Now, he's got the Native Americans get angry with. But here's the most important thing when she shot back at this guy on Twitter, he rose to the bait. He can't stand it when a woman attacks him. And so, what he'd do, he came back and hit her over and over. It was unnecessary.

And then the next day, he goes after the highest ranking Hispanic woman, the governor of New Mexico.

SMERCONISH: Susana Martinez.

BECKEL: Yes, Susana Martinez, and this is somebody he needs. Forget Elizabeth Warren.

HILL: That's what is real. Again, should he not react at all because she's a woman? You don't want to offend her or hurt her? She's a big girl. She goes out there and she plays big politics and I think that that again goes right to the heart of this.

You don't get special treatment because you're a woman and you don't get to get slammed with no repercussions just because you're a white man. It's about equal -- it's about equal play.

And that's a political thinking that people are sick of around the country.

BECKEL: Well, let me ask you this question, how does that smart (ph) taking on the Republican governor of New Mexico which is a swing state?

HILL: It's not smart, but it's honest obviously and it's real. That's what people are looking for.

BECKEL: That's real, that's right. That's right. She didn't show up and it's real because he does have a real problem with strong women.

HILL: Strong women, no. First, look at his daughter, Ivanka --

BECKEL: Yes, I've done that before.

HILL: -- who is a very good businesswoman.

[19:40:00] And his daughter Tiffany I believe just graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. So I know that she can't be no slouch either.

I don't think that he goes after smart women. I don't think he's afraid of smart women. I think he says what he thinks.

SMERCONISH: Mr. Beckel --


HILL: The governor is not supporting him. He doesn't have to support her either.

SMERCONISH: I want to show a map of the country. Donald Trump is apparently saying there are 15 key states we will target. We think we know ten of them.

Take a look at this map. You'll notice that California and New York is on that map. You'll notice that New York is on that map.

Is it conceivable that Donald Trump could compete in states like New York and California?

BECKEL: It would as conceivable as me becoming a Republican. It's an impossibility.

And I'll tell you, the other thing is, when Hillary Clinton takes him on in those two states, wherever else, you know the keyword for Donald Trump is man up, Donald. Tell us, come on, man up and tell us exactly what you mean. He won't do that.

She also ought to say, you're not half the man my husband was.

SMERCONISH: E.D., I'm bummed because at the end of the week, Donald Trump said he thought it would be inappropriate were he to debate Bernie Sanders. I was hoping they would get it on. That would be great TV.

HILL: It would be great TV. It would not be politically wise because Bernie Sanders is not the nominee and there's still a Democratic primary going on. But at least Trump respected him enough to discuss it, whereas Clinton thinks she's above it.

She's starting around saying, I'm the nominee. I'm going to be focused on Trump exclusively.

You're not yet. So you got -- you still have primaries to win and votes to earn.


BECKEL: Bad day for Bernie. SMERCONISH: E.D. Hill, Bob Beckel, have a great holiday weekend.

Thank you.

HILL: You too.

BECKEL: You too, lad.

SMERCONISH: Coming up, Donald Trump has been digging up old Bill and Hillary Clinton scandals dating back to the death of Clinton colleague, Vince Foster. Will this strategy succeed?


[09:45:50] SMERCONISH: With the nomination secured, Donald Trump's war machine attacks have stepped on Hillary Clinton, dredging up everything ever lobbed at her, whether true or not. That hit a new peak or low this week when Trump brought up the 1993 death of Clinton colleague Vince Foster which was ruled a suicide.

Trump said, quote, "I don't know enough to discuss it. I will say there are people that continue to bring it up because they think it was absolutely a murder. I don't do that because I don't think it's fair."

He doesn't know enough but he puts in play the phrase "absolutely a murder" even though three official investigations on Foster's death all concluded that he committed suicide.

Is this a politically savvy move?

Joining me now, the man who literally wrote the book on this subject, "The Strange Death of Vincent Foster", Chris Ruddy, who questioned the way the investigation was conducted and said there may have been a cover up but it was not a murder. Christopher Rudder is the CEO of Newsmax, a conservative news magazine organization.

I should point out, he hasn't endorsed anyone. While he's personally supportive of Trump as a nominee, he's also said that Hillary would make a good president, and he's donated more a million dollars to the Clinton Foundation.

Chris, welcome.

If conservatives, the conservative, you who wrote the book on Vincent Foster doesn't think that it was a murder and that it's old news and not relevant, why is Trump going in this direction?

CHRISTOPHER RUDDY, CEO AND PRESIDENT, NEWSMAX MEDIA INC: Well, maybe that's a question to ask Donald. He obviously finds it interesting and intriguing. He raised the issue of JFK's assassination with the Ted Cruz campaign, the birther issue and things like that. If I was advising him and I don't directly advised him, although we do talk from time to time, I would tell him that the voters are not really interested in these issues 20 years ago and they're not interested sort of like ancient history, and that the pressing issues right now facing the country are what really is going to drive this election and that's the stuff he should be focusing on.

SMERCONISH: You would caution him against infidelity, Whitewater, trooper gate, I mean, you know the list much, much better than I do because you spent so much time investigating and writing about. But you would say to him, none of this plays in 2016?

RUDDY: Well, what I would say to him Michael is this, that in the '90s, the Republicans and I was part of that machine, sort of the Clinton attack machine that went after the president at the time, we really -- it really made -- at the end of the day the Republicans looked very bad and Clinton came out way, way ahead and Hillary came out way, way ahead. She went on to become a popular senator from New York.

And so, I think it backfired. From a political point of view, it wasn't smart.

I didn't do it as a political thing. I did it as a journalist. I looked to the Vince Foster case and I wrote a book about the subject and there were several investigations that said it was a suicide and the public has accepted that verdict.

So, what is the benefit now 20 years later after six investigations to say, well, it really wasn't or maybe it wasn't? I don't understand that, especially when I think he has really great issues to run on.

I like Donald. I think I'm going to be voting for Donald Trump in the general election. He's running on the issue of jobs. He's running on the issue of having secure borders. He's running on the issue of having a foreign policy that defeats ISIS.

He should be and he's been winning on those issues, so why go into this ancient and controversial history right now. I don't particular get it.

SMERCONISH: My hunch is I think the man has an unbelievable ear. I think he knows what he's doing and he tests these different lines of thought to see how they play. The Foster line ended with a dud, particularly when Foster's sibling wrote for "The Washington Post", and that's why I think Trump by the end of the week was backing off that issue.

You get the final word.

RUDDY: Well, at the end of the day, Donald likes to control the news cycle and he has been controlling almost every single news cycle for a year now.

[09:50:02] And so, any time he mentions these types of issues, I think he needs to start thinking about the types of things he does that wins the election in November and I think re-litigating the personal past of the Clintons, or even them attacking his personal past, I think this is irrelevant -- not relevant for voters. The voters want to talk about the issues.

SMERCONISH: Interesting coming from Christopher Ruddy, who was the architect, the investigator I'll say of so much that was spun in the 1990s. Christopher, thank you for being here.

RUDDY: Thank you, Michael.

SMERCONISH: Still to come, a memorial day story involving a 96-year- old famous veteran who has saved countless lives and saved one more this week.


SMERCONISH: Finally, a Memorial Day story about a doctor who saves lives and continues to.

[09:55:01] Dr. Henry Heimlich, a retired 96-year-old chest surgeon is credited with developing the famous choking maneuver that bears his name. He came up with it back in the 1970s.

But he had to put it into practice on Monday. Dr. Heimlich was in the dining room at the Deupree House in Cincinnati. That's a retirement home where he lives, when an 87-year-old woman began choking on food. He grabbed her and he saved her.

But there's more to his story. Heimlich was a U.S. navy surgeon in World War II. He saw numerous patients die on the operating table after being shot in the chest when blood and air filled their chest cavities. In the early 1960s, he devised a valve to fix that. This device is said to have saved many lives in the Vietnam War.

Dr. Heimlich has been credited with saving more lives than any other American. But this past week, he saved one personally and it was kind of special.

Have a great Memorial Day weekend.