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Live Coverage of the Republican National Convention; Interview with Sen. Joni Ernst; Was Melania Trump's Speech Plagiarized? Aired 12-1a ET

Aired July 19, 2016 - 00:00   ET



[23:59:51] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: And welcome back.

You see a pretty empty hall here at the Republican national convention -- the first night over. I want to show you, in case you haven't watched the entire production so far this evening, some of the key moments from tonight. Let's take a look.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We're going to win. We're going to win so big. Thank you very much, everybody.

MELANIA TRUMP, WIFE OF DONALD TRUMP: He knows how to win. He also knows how to remain focused on improving our country and keeping it safe and secure. He's tough when he has to be but he's also kind and fair and caring. This kindness is not always noticed but it is there for all to see. That is one reason I fell in love with him to begin with.

RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY: I have known Donald Trump for almost 30 years. And he has created and accomplished great things in my city and all over the world. But beyond that, this is a man with a big heart.

Who would trust Hillary Clinton to protect them? I wouldn't? Would you? Donald Trump will change all of that and more. In short he will lead by leading, not by following.

REP. MIKE MCCAUL (R), TEXAS: Are you safer than you were eight years ago? No. Is our military stronger? Is America still respected?

LT. GEN. MICHAEL FLYNN, FORMER DIRECTOR, DEFENSE INTELLIGENCE AGENCY: Donald Trump knows that the advantage in life, in business, and in wartime goes to the competitor that does not flinch and does not broadcast his game plan.


CARRYL GLENN, COLORADO SENATE CANDIDATE: Stand up and support those men and women in Dallas and the law enforcement in Louisiana. Let's make sure we hear them, ladies and gentlemen. This is your opportunity, blue lives matter. Yes, that's right, ladies and gentlemen.

SCOTT BAIO, ACTOR: There's no stability. Nothing seems right. And all the things that we hold dear are being attacked every single day. We cannot go down this road any more. We need to stop. We need Donald Trump to fix this.


COOPER: Some of the moments from tonight.

Let talk about it with our panel. You know, Jeffrey Lord, earlier you had talked about Ronald Reagan and sort of this optimistic view. There is some concern I think tonight that there was a lot of pessimism here. There was a sort of dark view of the way that nothing feels stable, nothing is right, nothing is going in the right direction.

Do you think that is going to continue throughout all these nights or does there also have to be an optimistic --

JEFFREY LORD, DONALD TRUMP SUPPORTER: I think it will be some of both. I mean let it not be forgotten that Ronald Reagan was never hesitant to point out how bad things were under Jimmy Carter. I mean he was quite specific. I mean he would go through the economy. He would go through dealings with the Soviet Union. He was very pointed about the downsides of what was going on in 1980.

He coupled that, however, with his vision of the shining city on a hill. So you do have to have a mix of both. But certainly when people are seeing on television what we've been seeing in Baton Rouge and what we've seen in Dallas and what we've seen in these other cities, people are upset understandably.

When you add into this the events in Nice and terrorist attacks around the world, they are upset and they are concerned. And you've got to address that.

COOPER: But as we talked about, Van, earlier -- I mean there are, you know, a lot of people in the United States in various groups who believe actually you know, things are better than they were 30 years ago or 20 years ago for my family, for my race, for whatever it may be.

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. I mean I think that that's part of the challenge that the Republicans have. I mean, so you have to make America great again. Newt Gingrich tried to make it corrected. He said make America great again for all Americans because he recognized that there's a danger in that.

COOPER: And Donald Trump talked about that for a moment -- there was a time -- a couple of weeks ago where he said for everyone. I haven't heard him say that, as you know today.


JONES: That was not on the baseball cap yet. But part of the challenge I think that you have is that this sense of instability, this sense of insecurity -- it is there. The question is do you add crazy to crazy -- right.

[00:05:10] The concern about Donald Trump isn't that he is not tough enough. It's that he may not have the right temperament. He may over-react. He may make things worse. You have crazy times. Do you need a crazy guy to deal with crazy times? Or do you need somebody who is more restrained.

So I think that tonight this level of alarmism I think made it worse for people who were concerned about where the party is going.


ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think Donald Trump tapped into this early on. He realized it was there in the Republican base when many other people including, you know, most of us in the media did not see the level of angst that is in the Republican base.

If you like Donald Trump, if you like that message you were energized by all the speakers you heard today. If you don't, if you need more than that you thought, you know, Rudy Giuliani was screaming at kids to get off his lawn. Things got really scary. And they particularly got scary after Melania.

I think there was a PM -- pre-Melania where people were kept on a tight time frame, where people spoke, you know, coherently. And then there was after-Melania AM where it just went off the charts.

COOPER: I want to continue this, particularly from the Trump supporters on this. We'll just going to go quickly to Wolf, then we'll come back -- Wolf.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: All right. Anderson -- stand by. Jake Tapper is with us. Dana Bash is with us. Dana -- we have a special guest -- the Iowa Senator Joni Ernst who just spoke.

SEN. JONI ERNST (R), IOWA: Thank you.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. Thank you so much for coming down here. They were just talking about the speeches after Melania Trump.

You did give a very strong speech on what is your expertise, of course, on national security. You are not just a senator but an Iraq war veteran. For people who might not have seen your speech, I guess my first question is, is it a little bit frustrating to you because you are, kind of -- the kind of person and politician that the Republicans should want to showcase, right, and you kind of bled into the post-11 p.m. Eastern time.

ERNST: Well, I think it was a good message and we do hope that the message will get out there through the media outlets and through other means as well. So we did have our Iowans that stuck around tonight to hear the speech -- a lot of great folks. They wanted to hear what we had to say. We had some wonderful veterans on the stage with me. One Congressman Ryan Zinke of Montana, former Navy SEAL, a very highly decorated gentleman; as well as master sergeant retired Jason Beardsley who was a special operator as well. So great veterans that stood behind us wanting to express their frustration with the lack of leadership we've seen in the past eight years.

BASH: Now I have to ask you, you were discussed as a potential running mate for Donald Trump. How far did that get? Did he come to you and say, can we vet you? Were you vetted? What was the conversation like?

ERNST: We had a wonderful conversation and that conversation went no further. It was a great conversation and I left that afternoon feeling very good about his candidacy because as many other people have stated he is very different when he's in a one-on-one situation.

He expressed to me concerns about education in the United States. Inner city youth which is two topics you will not hear him talk about on the trail.

BASH: Did you say to him why don't we hear more of that?

ERNST: Exactly, yes, and I expressed that we need to hear more of that because those are things that are important to him. He should be expressing those to the American people as well.

BASH: And we should tell our viewers you were not so sure about Donald Trump before you went into that meeting and you came out more sure?

ERNST: I have always stated that I would support the Republican nominee but after hearing his compassion and how passionate he is about many, many topics, one of which is national security, which is very important to me, I left just feeling really energized and hoping that the American people can see what I saw in that one-on-one meeting.

But I am very focused on Iowa, have made great inroads in the United States senate. I have a lot more that I need to do for the great state of Iowa.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Senator -- if I may jump in here and just ask you a question. First of all, thank you for your service. You served in Iraq. The war in Iraq has become a big campaign issue.

Donald Trump criticizing Hillary Clinton saying she has bad judgment as evidenced by her war vote. Obviously his running mate Mike Pence voted for it as well. But I guess the big question I have for you is he calls the Iraq war a big, fat mistake -- that's a quote. You served in Iraq. Was it a big, fat mistake?

ERNST: I would never do the men and women that I have served with the dishonor of calling it a big, fat mistake. I would not do that.

Under the intelligence that was provided to our president at that time, we were operating on good faith that that intelligence was correct. And so we can't go back and we can't change the actions that were done at that time.

[001005] Again knowing what we know now maybe things would have been different but at the same time we should never do our service members injustice by stating that what they did was a waste of time. So I would disagree on that point.

But what I do know is that he does believe in our men and women in uniform and that he does believe our veterans should have a place at the forefront of our society, which is something we have not seen in the last eight years.

BLITZER: Senator, we heard two speakers today including the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Lieutenant General Retired Michael Flynn say that Hillary Clinton lock her up, lock her up. She belongs in jail.

Another speaker, the mother of one of the Benghazi victims said she belongs in jail. She should be wearing stripes. Is that appropriate at this kind a convention to tell the opposition that the nominee of the other party that she belongs in jail?

ERNST: Appropriate or not that was what came up and I think you saw the frustration on the floor because as was pointed out in the speech is that there are many members if General Flynn had done what Hillary Clinton did he would have been court-martialed, plain and simple.

We have seen other military members with less of actions that have been disciplined because of those actions and yet we have seen no repercussions when it comes to Hillary Clinton with her actions.

Now all of us that serve in the military we are given those briefings on what is classified, unclassified, secret, top secret and so forth. Hillary Clinton, serving at the very top of our State Department, should have known that. And as been pointed out by many other people before in some of these hearings is that maybe she just wasn't intelligent enough to know the difference.

That is very scary to folks like me that have served on the ground overseas that we could possibly have a commander-in-chief that simply is not intelligent --

BLITZER: So you think she belongs in jail?

ERNST: I wouldn't say that she belongs in jail. I don't know that. I didn't sit through those hearings. But I do think that what she has done if indicated by the FBI director as he stated so, if what she has done is that egregious there should be some repercussions. Does that mean jail? I don't know that it does but there should be some repercussions to Hillary Clinton for having used a private e-mail server at her home and passing classified documents along. Whether she knew they were classified or not, she should have known.

BASH: Senator before we let you go, I have to ask. You have been at times throughout the campaign critical of Donald Trump and the way that he has spoken to and about women. Going forward, what is your recommendation to him for how he can reach out to female voters, especially and even maybe Republican and Independent female voters who might not be attracted to his kind of rhetoric and his kind of campaign?

ERNST: I think it will be very important if he reaches out to strong independent women, women that are breaking down these barriers. And I would look to Melania as well. She's a very well educated --

BASH: Should she be out there more after tonight?

ERNST: I think she should. I think we had a great reaction from the folks here in the audience that listened to her message. His daughter Ivanka has been very outspoken as well. She is a strong business leader.

But then going out to other women, whether they are serving in politics or business and including them in discussions; but again, going back and talking about those things that he is passionate about whether it's education, whether it is those inner city youth, you know, he needs to bring that out. He needs to talk about those topics.

He needs to talk more about the jobs and economy or lack thereof here in the United States because I think that is something that he has a real strength at. And that's what women are -- they care about that too. So we want to know that there are great jobs for us out there.

And those are things that he can get women involved in. He can talk to women about those issues. And we'd love to see more of that upcoming this fall.

BLITZER: Senator -- thank you so much for joining us. And once again thank you for your service as well.

ERNST: My pleasure. Thank you so much. Thank you.

BLITZER: We're going over tonight's big speeches and we're checking the facts.

Stand by for another reality check. That's just ahead.


BLITZER: Welcome back to the Republican national convention. Day one is now over. We have another reality check on some of the speeches we heard tonight.

Tom Foreman is taking a closer look at the sensitive issue of the immigration.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. You know, the Democrats have gone after Donald Trump on this over and over again. Tonight it was the Republican's turn and they went after Hillary Clinton on this. Listen.


MCCAUL: Haven't we had enough? And now Hillary Clinton is promising more of the same. Open borders, executive amnesty and the surge of Syrian refugees.


FOREMAN: Is that what she is promising? Is that really the promise? Are there open borders? No. That is not the case. She's made it clear that she thinks the borders need to be strong. Every politician out there says the borders need to be strong as a practical matter. So that's off the table.

However there's another point raised here -- supporting legal status for some undocumented immigrants. Yes, like President Obama she thinks that some people should be allowed to work towards legal status particularly for example children who were brought here when they were very young. She does want to do that.

And she substantially wants to increase the number of Syrian refugees in particular even over what President Obama wants. That is also true.

So the initial claim that she wants an open border, that's false. The other two claims they are absolutely true. You can find out a whole lot more about how we reached these verdicts and many other things out. You just want to go to our Web site,

BLITZER: Tom Foreman taking a closer look at these sensitive issues for all of us.

[00:20:01] And you know, we're going to be doing a lot more of the checking not only what the Republicans are saying but next week when the Democrats have their convention we're going to be doing more reality checks at that time as well -- good.

TAPPER: It's very important.

BLITZER: It's very important.

TAPPER: Well, I mean conventions are full of all sorts of claims. Some of them lend themselves to fact checking.

BLITZER: Get a little crazy and some not so crazy.

TAPPER: Well, I mean I do wonder like -- some of them are difficult to fact check is all I'm saying.

BLITZER: Yes. You had a chance to speak earlier to Marcus Luttrell. I want to play a little clip from that then I want to discuss what he said. Ok.


TAPPER: You refer to Trump as a cancer on conservatism. Now you are supporting him for president. I know he wasn't your first pick. Maybe not even your --


TAPPER: Right. But maybe not top ten but how can you support somebody that you said that you're not even sure if he's a conservative?

PERRY: Well, it's really easy. We all talk about each other during the campaigns. It's competition time. It's just like the Ohio State University and the University of Texas playing football. They get out there and they compete against each other.

TAPPER: But you meant it.

PERRY: Listen, we all say things in campaigns that after it's over with and we're down to -- this is the national championship now and I'm picking my team.

It's pretty simple for me, Jake. Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Supreme Court nominee. I want Donald Trump as the next president of the United States and I've become comfortable with him on the military side of things, on the economics side of things, on the security side of things. I mean what of those do you not support? I can split hairs with anybody. If we are down to splitting hairs now then I think you are losing the message here.

TAPPER: Marcus, let me just asked you. You moved a lot of people to tears with your speech today.


TAPPER: No it's a good thing. People were very -- people were moved by it. I know you do. But did you see it from where you were standing? Could you see the people with tears in their eyes?

LUTTRELL: Absolutely. I mean because of what I do for a living, traveling around and speaking, I recognize a lot of them in the audience. And it's an honor to stand before them again. And they know what they're going to get when I get up there.

It's funny because when they invited me to speak, they were going to tell me what to say. Well, no one tells me what to say. If you want me to speak then I speak from the heart. That's just the way I felt my entire life.

TAPPER: Did you really just scrap your prepared remarks and adlibbed?

LUTTRELL: Yes. I'm uncomfortable. It has to come from here for me.


BLITZER: And he was really well received with his remarks.

TAPPER: Marcus Luttrell. Yes, and he's an American hero. He was given the Navy Cross for that horrific very difficult mission, Operation Red Wing where he was the quote, unquote "lone survivor". And Rick Perry basically took him under his wing and nursed him back to health with his wife. And when I asked Marcus Luttrell why are you supporting Donald Trump. I mean he's a Republican, he supports Donald Trump. But basically it's because Rick Perry supports Donald Trump and Governor Perry did so much for him he's just behind him no matter what he does.

BASH: And you remember back at the beginning of the primary season, Luttrell and his brother, they were kind of flanking Perry at his announcement.

TAPPER: Twin brothers.

BASH: Yes.

TAPPER: It's a daunting image.

BASH: It is and it was. But I was back there in the sea of people. And you talked about with him the emotion. I mean, you could feel it on the floor. It was really kind of palpable.

And I was actually able to watch him and then the teleprompter as he said, forget it I'm going to just do this on my own. And he went off and did his own thing and then at the end he kind of came back and got back on script.

TAPPER: Yes. It's a very emotional moment.

One other thing I asked Governor Perry, would you serve in the administration? In a Trump administration? And he said he would -- if called to serve, he would but it would have to be a job that was good enough for him to leave Texas and he specifically mentioned possibly Secretary of Defense or something in defense.

BLITZER: Rick Perry would like to be Secretary of Defense.

TAPPER: He seemed to suggest that -- yes.

BLITZER: Not a bad job.

TAPPER: He's a veteran, of course.

BLITZER: Of course, he is. He's a four-term governor of Texas as well, as we all know.


BLITZER: All right. We're going to take a break. We're going to continue our special coverage right after this.


COOPER: And welcome back.

We are live here at the Republican national convention which is finished for the evening. There is what is bubbling up as a potential story that you'll see a lot about probably tomorrow.

Melania Trump's speech was clearly the highlight for many certainly in this room and probably watching around the country tonight, probably the most widely anticipated comments tonight. She was introduced by Donald Trump, a rare break from tradition to have the candidate come out, introduced his wife on the stage.

The speech was well-received certainly here. She was certainly charming and lovely and came off in a speech that she said she -- or that the campaign said she had practiced and worked on for a long period of time.

What seems to be -- has now been raised as an issue are similarities between several lines, a number of lines, six or seven or so lines in Melania Trump's speech and Michelle Obama's 2008 convention speech.

We've edited together part of Melania Trump's remarks that compare to Michelle Obama's remarks. I don't think we have edited the second part. I'll read that to you. But first, let's play, I think we're going to start with Melania Trump's remarks, several lines from it tonight.


[00:30:00] M. TRUMP: From a young age, my parents impressed on me the values that you work hard for what you want in life, that your word is your bond and you do what you say and keep your promise. That you treat people with respect.



MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: Barack and I were raised with so many of the same values like, you work hard for what you want in life, that your word is your bond, that you do what you say you're going to do, that you treat people with dignity and respect even if you don't know them and even if you don't agree with them.


And Barack and I --


COOPER: Melania Trump also then went on to say about two lines later, "We need to pass those lessons on to the many generations to follow because we want our children in this nation to know that the only limit to your achievements is the strength of your dreams and your willingness to work for them."

Michelle Obama said, "And pass amongst the next-generation because we want our children and all children in this nation to know that the only limit to the height of your achievement is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work for them."

So, clearly, whoever wrote Melania Trump's speech -- there are --

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's plagiarism. It's just flat out plagiarism. And I feel sorry for Melania Trump. Because I'm sure that she did not know that lines were being lifted from Michelle Obama's speech. Whoever did that was grossly irresponsible.

COOPER: It's so -- just unfair to Melania Trump. For her first speech on a national stage like that, whoever wrote this did her a great disservice.

AXELROD: Well, what I wonder is how could anybody be so fundamentally stupid as to believe that you can give a speech like this and no one would know --

COOPER: If you are a speech writer, how can they be so stupid to it?

AXELROD: Exactly. Exactly. I mean, I would not want to be around the Trump organization right around now, because I think --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's embarrassing.

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You know, they have an organization. They have a campaign. There's such a thing as vetting speeches. I agree with you. I feel terrible for Melania Trump.

She was obviously outside of her comfort zone. This was her first big speech. She was here for no other reason than to support her husband and that this happened to her is just terrible. It's going to be a PR tragedy.


COOPER: Jeffrey Lord, look, other politicians, this has happened to Joe Biden, you know, famously --

JEFFREY LORD, TRUMP SUPPORTER: Exactly. I was in the Reagan White House at the time and I'm the one who notified the "New York Times" that he had been plagiarizing a Robert Kennedy speech that I had memorized from the heart as a kid.

And there were other reports. I think that was initiated actually by the Dukakis campaign, for which the campaign manager I might add got fired as I recall.

So this is a serious thing. Within a week after I talked to the "New York Times," Joe Biden got out of the race.

Now she's going to be the First Lady. I mean, she's not running for president. But clearly whoever did this, if that's the case, which seems to be, you know, I think shouldn't be there.

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think the really tough thing about it is that the Trump brand is about authenticity, whether you like it or not, whether you think it's responsible or not, core, I'm authentic. She goes out there. People, I think, had the impression that maybe this was a speech that she had worked on and maybe she had written or written a big part of. If it turns out that they had somebody who was completely irresponsible, who just handed her something and she went out there and read it, it's a double problem. I think it's a double problem.


NAVARRO: She is not a seasoned political spouse. This is not somebody that's been married to a senator or a congressman. She was so outside of her comfort zone. You've got to cut the woman some slack.


COOPER: In all fairness, the speech did echo, the speech did echo many things she has said in interviews. So it's not as if, I don't think it's fair to say this is just something that was handed to her and she just practice and read it because, clearly, one of the things she said -- I mean, are things she said to me in an interview and things I know because I've read pretty much every interview she's given, or things she has said in interviews before, obviously, not --



AXELROD: To Van's point, to Van's point, authenticity is what they are selling. And as you heard tonight, the entire evening was devoted to talking about how inauthentic Hillary Clinton is and what a liar she is and so on. And this is a very, very awkward end to this evening for them.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: But it's not really about Melania, honestly. I mean, Donald Trump --


AXELROD: It's about the campaign, though.

BORGER: It's about the campaign. It's about the organization. It's about the staff. It's about the works that went into the speech.

COOPER: You're saying if they had a more conventional, larger staff?

BORGER: Well, I think if they had a different speech writer --


AXELROD: And a speech writer who is being supervised --


BORGER: And let me say, when you are writing a speech for Melania, a logical place to go would be to look at a Michelle Obama's speech or to look at Ann Romney speech.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE FUNNY: In fairness to the speech writer did leave out the part where Donald and Melania met in the Southside of Chicago.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, that was --


NAVARRO: What Donald Trump needs to do, what he knows how to do very well and he needs to do it tonight.


BORGER: Fire somebody.

NAVARRO: He needs to fire somebody.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now it doesn't makes her look so bad.


JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They like to brag inside the Trump campaign that this is a small band of loyal people beating this large army. The Clinton campaign has so many hundreds of people on the payroll. While there are times, I'm not saying that Trump campaigns don't get too bloated, but there are times when you need more than a small band especially when you are making a critical pivot from the primary season to the convention, to a very competitive general election. There is not a lot of room for mistakes. And this is not her mistake.


COOPER: One at a time. One at a time.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I think what's so bad with this, this was a night that was about introducing Melania Trump to a national audience.

This was about telling her story, a small town girl from Slovenia makes it big in the fashion world and now hanging over this is the fact that some of these words were lifted from Michelle Obama's speech.

I agree it's a speech you would want to live from, because it was -- or at least have guidance from because it was such a good, but I think this reflects very poorly.

NAVARRO: You know what, they've got three more nights, they've got three more nights to go. Have her come out again. Have her laugh this off. Have her make light of it. Have her admit it, because it's a PR disaster.


COOPER: And, also, look, I mean, many of us who are in businesses where we rely on things other people have written. And so, you know, this is -- this cuts to the core, I think for anybody who is in a position where sometimes you are reading something which somebody else has written, which you haven't had time to go over.


AXELROD: Not in front of 20 million people on the first night of a party convention.

You need to have a sense of perspective.

LORD: This is not Benghazi. I mean, this is -- we're not talking about --


JONES: Now this is my point. Here we go. Now I remember Michelle Obama when she was running for this very position. There were no kid gloves for Michelle Obama. There has been no kid's gloves for anybody in this process. No kid gloves tonight.

So now we're all supposed to say, oh, you know, let's be very, very kind. Well, I like kindness. I'm a big champion for kindness. But I think kindness should be a bipartisan value. And if we are going to be the way we have been all night toward the Democrats, then let's make sure that the kindness goes both ways.

BORGER: Well, you know, during this campaign, different candidates remember, I think, it was Rand Paul at some point. Somebody had lifted --


HENDERSON: Ben Carson, too, I think.

BORGER: Right. Ben Carson, you know. And they came out and they apologized and they said we didn't know and it was a mistake. And bye-bye speech writer. And that was the end of it.

COOPER: Let's go back to Wolf with more on this.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Jake and Dana, we're closely taking a look at the words, the similarities, obviously, very, very similar words, sentences. Almost completely identical.

But what's very awkward right now is the fact that she gave an interview, Melania Trump to "NBC News," which will air tomorrow in which she said something along the lines, "she wrote the speech with as little help as possible from the outside," which suggests she worked on it herself. This is an awkward, awkward situation. JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: But let's be honest anybody giving a speech here did not write it, most people. Did not write it by themselves and not have anybody look over it or edit it.


TAPPER: I think the big question for the Trump campaign right now is how do you respond to this?

You heard on the panel. Two die-hard Trump supporters, (INAUDIBLE) and Jeffrey Lord acknowledged that this is bad. This is apparently plagiarism. And the question is, how does the campaign respond to this?

Does the campaign react with transparency?

Melania Trump worked with a team and in that process -- pardon me -- and in that process somebody inadvertently cut and pasted it and it became part of the language. Or do they just attack the media, deny the facts that we see are what they are. And then just try to move on.

I think that -- I don't know how he's going to respond.

BLITZER: Yes. It's a sensitive moment for the campaign right now.

BASH: No question. And I'm -- I know other members of our team are trying to get that answer to the question that you just raised. How are they going to respond? So far there is no response that we know of. I've been trying to reach their communications team.

This is exactly the opposite of what they wanted, of what anybody would want at the end of their night, especially when her speech was kind of the crown jewel of the first night of this campaign -- or the first night of this convention, rather.

It is going to be very difficult for them to do anything other than -- as you said, you both said, be transparent.

[00:40:10] And perhaps do something along the lines of what Anna Navarro just said. Go out there and have her somehow make light of it. I think that could be incredibly endearing. But first and foremost, I guarantee you what they are trying to do as we speak, and whether or not responding to it, is trying to get to the bottom of what the heck happened.

BLITZER: They have to explain. The American public is very forgiving if you say, look, there was a mistake.

BASH: Right.

BLITZER: We made a mistake. We apologize. It's not going to happen again. We're going to fix it. The American public usually accepts that.

TAPPER: True, but where on the presidential campaign level do we see people acknowledging the mistakes that they have made, admitting them and promising to learn from them.

I can think of a whole bunch of mistakes that have been made by candidates in this race. That situations I think would be much better for them if they just said, you know, I made a mistake with that. Here's how it happened. I'm never going to do it again.

We all are human. We all do make mistakes. This is not the first incident that we've covered just in this race. We talked about Senator Rand Paul and some columns he wrote.

There was a Senate race out in Montana. Somebody had inadvertently he said, plagiarized some of his -- a paper he wrote. He had to drop out. He had to drop out of that Senate race. So it does happen.

BASH: It does. And I think -- I heard Van Jones saying earlier that, you know, wait a minute. Why are we giving her a pass? And, you know, people were hard on Michelle Obama. That might be true. But I also think that what you're talking about with Rand Paul and others, that's the candidate. This is the candidate's wife giving a speech which, by all accounts, she didn't necessarily want to give.

She was incredibly nervous about it. And I heard she even, you know, at times because of that, understandable trepidation, tried to say, wait a minute, maybe I shouldn't be doing this.

TAPPER: It's a fair point. Absolutely. She is not the candidate and for that reason I don't think that the outcry will be as strong as it would be had it been an actual candidate without question. I'm just saying.

And I think we all agree that this was, and we have no idea how this happened, but in all likelihood it was done by a staffer just the way that these things work in general.

BASH: Sure.

TAPPER: Often, a lot of time people don't have the time to write a first or second draft of a speech. But we don't know. That said, how the campaign reacts will say a lot about it. Because this is in a lot of ways -- I wouldn't call it a scandal. But this is a test.

How do you react?

BASH: Absolutely.

TAPPER: If the American people want a president who reacts by saying -- when there is a mess up and there always is. There always is. I messed up. I take full responsibility. Here's how it happened. I promise to learn from it. We are talking about the spouse. We are not talking about the candidate. But still it's a campaign event.

BLITZER: You know, Donald Trump doesn't like to admit he makes mistakes. He certainly doesn't like to apologize.

BASH: Absolutely. Yes, I don't remember if it was you or Anderson, or somebody. Maybe it was you who asked him that question during one of CNN's interviews or town halls. You know, anything you can think of you that you regret or going to apologized for or have apologized for. It was very difficult for him to come up with that. But this isn't him. This is his wife. And this is a campaign.

And, you know, it was one thing when you are the candidate and it's about you. But it's another thing when you are talking about putting your spouse out there like this, because of a choice you made to run. And then needing to figure out a way to protect and fix things.

TAPPER: I think that the impulse is going to be in addition to the fact that the Trump campaign has spent so much of the campaign reeling against the media, for bias, real and imagined, for attacking us. I think the impulse is going to be go after the media on this.

BASH: Probably. That would be too bad.

TAPPER: And, by the way, the impulse is also going to be protect the spouse. An admirable impulse, but that is going to be the impulse. Nonetheless, I was skeptical when I first started reading about this and hearing about this. I was very skeptical. I'm like, come on, it's just common bromides from a First Lady would be acceptance speech.

I mean, hope, you know, love, children. We know it's going to be -- but no, this is -- I mean, this is plagiarism. It's very, very similar wording. Both speeches have teaching values, work hard for what you want. Your word is your bond. Do what you say you're going to do. Treat people with respect. One, two, three, four. Both of them.

And then the next part that's plagiarized, we want our children to know only the -- I mean, it's the exact same construct. The exact same -- and words are changed here and there. So whoever did this tried to make it appear as if it was new.

BLITZER: Whoever did this, Anderson, I want to go back to you. But whoever did this should come forward, apologize.

BASH: And that's the way to protect her.

[00:45:05] BLITZER: All of us, certainly, I think it's fair to say we feel bad for Melania Trump. Whoever wrote those words and plagiarized those words should come out and explain, apologize and move on.

COOPER: Yes, I mean, without a doubt. For somebody, you know, with her first speech on a national stage in front of, you know, on a convention night, it's incredibly unfortunate thing.

We want to play again for those who are just joining us. It's really kind of two sections. It's really all in the same section of Melania Trump's speech. It's literally, it's one, two, three, four, five, six. It's about six lines in a paragraph, but there are sort of two separate parts of it.

SO I want to play the first part of what Melania Trump said and then the similarity with what Michelle Obama said back in 2008 at her convention speech, and then I'll read the second part of it.

Let's play them on.


MELANIA TRUMP: From a young age, my parents impressed on me the values that you work hard for what you want in life, that your word is your bond and you do what you say and keep your promise. That you treat people with respect.



MICHELLE OBAMA: Barack and I were raised with so many of the same values like, you work hard for what you want in life, that your word is your bond, that you do what you say you're going to do, that you treat people with dignity and respect even if you don't know --


COOPER: And about two lines later, Melania Trump said, "And we need to pass those lessons on to the many generations to follow because we want our children in this nation to know that the only limit to your achievements is the strength of your dreams and your willingness to work for them."

Michelle Obama said, "Pass them on to the next-generation because we want our children and all children in this nation to know that the only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work for them."

Do you agree, Van, that with Jake's point that -- the important thing now is how the campaign itself responds?

JONES: I do, but I'm flabbergasted because I don't think that Michelle Obama, had she made the same mistake would be -- afforded the same generosity. Maybe because she is a lawyer. People come with some excuse.

All I know is that a standard got created that the First Lady was fair game the minute she came on the scene. That she -- you could go after her, guns blazing.

Tonight, you have somebody doing something, it's not just -- I'm going to finish. It's not just that she possibly read a plagiarized speech, she also at least apparently twice told people she wrote it. That's bad! That's bad if it's your kid! That's bad if it's your neighbor! This woman wants to be the First Lady.

Now, oh, we feel so badly. I just want to make sure we have the same standard with her as Michelle Obama in the past eight years.


LORD: Let me just say something here about Mrs. Obama. (CROSSTALK)

JONES: You're going to attack her?


LORD: I'm not going to attack Mrs. Obama. What I'm going to say to you is, where were you when Nancy Reagan was being attacked as the queen, as the rich --



LORD: I mean, no, no, no, no. On and on and on and on, I've got -- on and on and on this stuff with. And I would add, historically speaking, you can go all the way back -- I mean, Andrew Jackson's poor wife there was called the "W" word.

JONES: So it's a fair game. I agree with you.

LORD: So all I'm saying to you is let's not single out Mrs. Obama and say there was something different about her. There was nothing different about her. She was treated exactly the same as a whole lot of other first ladies.


COOPER: (INAUDIBLE), plagiarism from her.

BORGER: But can I just say that, what if Donald Trump comes out and says this wasn't lifted? You know, it's a possibility. He could just double down and say, you know, these are as Jake was saying earlier, you know, these are bromides and he could do that.

He could also defend his wife and say, you know, I'm going to fire whoever the speech writer was because it was lifted. But knowing Donald Trump --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's keeping with his character. I mean, that's the way he responds to these things. But just this was -- to me, this is a side discussion here what you guys were having. The fact is that this woman came out and gave the speech to the nation and she was really ill-served, and you're right, Van, she shouldn't have represented it as something that she did on her own.

COOPER: Well, she did say wrote as much as possible.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But the campaign also --


COOPER: One at a time.

NAVARRO: First of all, it's a speech about her husband, OK. If you are going to go on TV, you are going to claim to have written as much about it, as much of it as possible, which is what she did.

I do think, I do think you're right that she's probably held to a very different standard than Michelle Obama. Michelle Obama is a lawyer. I went to law school. If you plagiarized in law school, you'll flunk. You are out at the moment.

Also, Michelle Obama had the help of Axelrod and a very seasoned campaign team. The Trump is a, you know --

COOPER: I've got to get a break here.


[00:50:11] COOPER: We'll have more on this breaking news right after this.


BLITZER: A lot of interest online about Melania Trump's convention speech. That continues right now as similarities to Michelle Obama's speech are revealed.

Take a look at this. Google trends monitored searches for the various convention speakers in real time. You can see Melania Trump ranked number one. She has been the subject of the most searches all night while interest in other speakers went up and down throughout the night.

You know, it was a pretty successful night from the Republican perspective, from Donald Trump's perspective. It's a pity for them that they have to end it on this awkward note of alleged plagiarism.

TAPPER: It was a night where the Republican Party really made a very forceful and aggressive case for Donald Trump and against Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. "Make America Safe Again" was the theme. And you heard immigration, Benghazi, national security and some veterans speaking.

[00:55:05] And there were emotional moments. There were moments of excitement and exuberance. But as you say, the story of the night is going to be this plagiarism and the Trump campaign is going to have to respond and it is going to be a test for him. Nobody wants this to be the story the first night of the convention.

BLITZER: And they were sticking pretty to "Make America Safe Again" all night.

BASH: Yes, except for, ironically, the Melania Trump portion of the evening which was supposed to be and was kind of the humanizing part and I'm actually, forgive me, looking down, because I'm looking down to see if we do have any reaction yet and we don't. But I just want to say, big picture. Being down there on the floor most of the night, you absolutely get the sense that these Republicans are definitely not agreeing totally on Donald Trump, but they are agreeing completely on their total, frankly, hatred for Hillary Clinton.

BLITZER: And now we can get ready for day two tomorrow.

Our coverage continues right after a quick break with Don Lemon. He is here in Cleveland at the CNN room.


ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: This is CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles.

JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ahead this hour, an axe attack on passengers on a train in Germany.