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Roger Ailes Resigns From FOX News; Hillary V.P. Watch; Cruz Disruption; Trump Night at Republican National Convention; Excerpts of Trump Speech Released; Peter Thiel to Tell RNC He's Proudly Gay. Aired 6-7p ET
Aired July 21, 2016 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[18:00:30] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening from Cleveland, where, tonight, in just a few hours, Donald Trump makes the speech of his political life.
Cleveland is also where a young television producer began a career that would help elect Richard Nixon president back in 1968 and eventually would take him to the top of our cable news rival FOX News.
Tonight, however, Roger Ailes is out, gone from the network he founded, leaving with golden parachute, facing dark allegations about how he treated women in the workplace he created.
Just moments ago, we obtained his resignation letter. And it reads -- quote -- "Having spent 20 years building this historic business, I will not allow my presence to become a distraction from the work that must be done every day to ensure that FOX News and FOX Business continue to lead our industry."
And he continues: "I am proud of our accomplishments and look forward to continuing to work with you as an adviser in building 21st Century Fox."
And a short time ago, Gretchen Carlson, who is suing him, reacting to his departure, tweeting -- quote -- "Thanks to all the brave women who decided to also come forward about Roger Ailes. Stop sexual harassment. Stand with Gretchen."
Joining us now, our senior media correspondent Brian Stelter and our senior media and politics reporter Dylan Byers.
You got that letter. It's over with right now. I guess he stays on as in some sort of temporary format, but for all practical purposes, it's over.
DYLAN BYERS, CNN SENIOR MEDIA AND POLITICS REPORTER: Yes, for all practical purposes, it's over.
He stays in an advisory role for the next two years. But this letter -- I talked to a few sources who described it just as sad. Also, Rupert Murdoch held a conference call today with the top management, talent, producers, described it as funereal.
In this letter, he talked about how he turned FOX News into the number one business in all of cable news. He talked about all of the female journalists and executives he promoted. Clearly, that is sort of an effort to salvage his reputation amid these accusations.
Look, we spoken with some folks at FOX News who were in on that call who knew Roger Ailes very well. The allegations, they take very seriously. That's an issue. Setting those aside for one second, what happened today is the executive who is at the helm of this incredible force in American politics and media stepped down after 20 years.
All those people had very personal relationships with him, including Rupert Murdoch. So, it's sad day at the network. There's a lot of women especially who are very happy to see him go given these allegations. But it's a sad day at the network.
BLITZER: And it's so shocking on a night, for example, when -- that FOX News is going to be showcasing what is going on over here.
And Roger Ailes helped -- he built FOX News.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: He absolutely did, essentially on his own, by picking talent and by guiding the conservative editorial direction of the channel.
Think about the cynical slogan fair and balanced. FOX has always been presented as an alternative to other media and very effectively over the years. That's why the emotions today are so complicated. There are so many critics of FOX, many liberals in the U.S., who would say this channel has been corrosive to our democracy. It's caused further polarization and done significant damage to our media discourse.
At the same time, there's many conservatives, many people in this room, Republican leaders, who would say FOX News was desperately need. It broke the barrier to the liberal media bias. There's that kind of emotion and then, as you were describing, gentlemen, the much more personal emotion.
Women who had been keeping this a secret for years who say they were sexually harassed by Ailes who can now speak more openly. Other women who say this never happened. This is not the Roger Ailes I know. He's being railroaded.
There's that dynamic happening as we speak.
BLITZER: Does this validate the sexual harassment allegations that Gretchen Carlson, the former FOX anchor, put forward?
BYERS: Yes, absolutely.
I would say this. I don't think anything the company is saying validates it. I don't think anything that Rupert Murdoch or Roger are saying Ailes validate it.
From our reporting, what we know, the reason that Roger Ailes is stepping down now is because it was not just Gretchen Carlson's allegations from a former FOX employee. It was current FOX News employees. Clearly, there was a history of this. There are women who have made
allegations. Gretchen Carlson's lawyers claim at least 20 women have come forward with these allegations going back in Roger Ailes' history as far as the 1960s. So, yes, it's very much why he stepped down.
STELTER: It's why he is leaving today, this resignation effective immediately. You do not see that in the industry normally.
We're three months shy of the 20th anniversary of FOX News. It was going to be a celebration for Roger Ailes and for his lieutenants. Now we don't know who will be running the company. Rupert Murdoch, who is 85 years old, is now the acting CEO. But we will see for how long that lasts.
It's now a period of intense uncertainty.
BYERS: That's true.
And I will say, again going back to what Roger Ailes did create, it's a testament that there are people in place who can run it on a day-to- day business. There is a guy who oversees the news gathering that they do in the daytime and there is a guy who oversees the opinion programming that they do in the night.
They will continue to run it. Well, Rupert Murdoch is the sort of titular head. All that said, there isn't anyone who can fill Roger Ailes' shoes.
BYERS: Talked -- before all of this happened today, spoke to a lot of television news executives, broadcast cable.
What they say is, look, there's only one Roger Ailes. There's no one else who can do this the way he did it. There's no one else who is not just the media force, but the political force.
STELTER: Political force.
What will he do next? He's been friendly with Donald Trump for decades. They had fights over the years. They bicker back and forth. But I'm told they have been on the phone with each other this week counselling each other during this convention. Some people wonder if he will in a more formal way now help Donald Trump try to win the presidency.
BLITZER: Brian Stelter, Dylan Byers, thanks very much for that report. Big news in the world of media.
Now the kind of moment and the kind of event that Roger Ailes once orchestrated in his earlier incarnation as a political operative. Donald Trump's big night. The biggest of his political life.
He took the stage earlier today for a walk-through with his daughter Ivanka, who will be introducing him tonight.
And right now we're learning more about the kind of speech he will be giving.
CNN's Dana Bash is on the floor of this convention floor. She's joining us now.
Dana, you're getting some new details about the Donald Trump speech. What are you hearing about it?
DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, follow Donald Trump around the country and listen to the themes of his rallies and you're going to hear a lot of similarities in what he's going to say tonight.
Big picture, we expect, according to sources, for it to be a lot of discussion of law and order and of how difficult things are in this country and about how scary things are, frankly, right now. More along the lines of what his campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, had already telegraphed. Maybe a Richard Nixon kind of speech, convention speech, rather than a Ronald Reagan optimistic speech.
That's what we're hearing. Also, when you get down to the nitty- gritty, in addition to law and order, we're told there's going to be again familiar themes. Building a wall. Immigration. The trade deals that the administration and past administrations have cut have hurt American workers and so forth. That's what we expect.
But I was told the themes will be familiar, but because Donald Trump tends to kind of go off the cuff and maybe kind of zigzag through speeches, this is more cogent, more linear along those lines.
BLITZER: Dana, what do we know about his preparation for his speech? How long has he been actually working on it?
BASH: I'm told the first time he actually sat down or maybe stood up and practiced was on Sunday, so about four, five days ago, and that they have been going through drafts ever since.
Interesting that he certainly has a very big sort of heavy hand in the speech that he gives because these are the themes he's been talking about. I'm told his children were involved in the writing and also the kind of crafting and recrafting of it, especially his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who has been more involved in the campaign, Wolf, especially in speechwriting.
BLITZER: Certainly has.
All right, thanks very much, Dana. We will get back to you.
More now on one of the key things that every acceptance speech and every convention is designed to do, bring the party together. The question is, how unified is the party right now?
CNN's John King is with us with some numbers on that.
John, when Ted Cruz tells conservatives to vote their conscience, is there an audience out there for that?
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, obviously, we don't have any instant polling from overnight.
We're going to look at some data that tells us, is there an opening? Is there a mood for Senator Cruz to make that case? Let's look at some numbers. Are Republicans extremely enthusiastic about voting this November? Now just shy of half, 46 percent say coming into the convention they are extremely enthusiastic about voting.
That number was higher in February. Doesn't tell you the people who are not enthused will listen to Ted Cruz. But it does tell you there's a lot of Republicans who have doubts about their nominee, questions about whether they are really excited about voting this November.
Maybe, if you look at this number. Let me show you one more number here. The Republican Party is united, 16 percent say it's united coming into the convention. Divided, but will unite, a little more than half of Republicans think that's what this is about, right? Come to the convention. We're divided now, but we will figure it out.
But look at this, Wolf. Nearly three in 10 Republicans say the party is divided and will not unite. That suggests three in 10 Republicans out there last may be open to Ted Cruz saying I'm not sure about Donald Trump. You should think about it yourself and vote your conscience.
BLITZER: That party united question, John, is the mood getting better or worse?
KING: Better. That works in Donald Trump's favor, if you look at it.
Right now, 68 percent say the party will be united by November. We asked this question in June. Not all that long ago, it was 60 percent. back in May, when they were still sorting out the end of the primary season, still getting over the hard feelings for the candidates who might have dropped out of the race, it was half.
This number is better for Donald Trump right now without a doubt, Wolf. Doesn't mean that's still not a challenge. It's only 68 percent, but it's better.
BLITZER: We also know how Trump supporters felt about the Ted Cruz message we heard last night. Any sense of those Cruz supporters agree with the senator or want to move on right now?
KING: Anecdotally, remember going to the floor last night, Dana Bash and others saying a lot of the Cruz supporters were mad at their senator, right?
They thought, look, it's time to get over it. We wish we could vote for you, Senator, but we can't. Get over it. But what else do we know from the data looking at this right now? If you look at the question we talked about earlier, is the party united, 21 percent of Trump supporters say yes.
Those who prefer another candidate, way behind on that question. Divided, but will unite, you see Trump people optimistic, those voted for another candidate in the primaries less so.
And, again, divided, but will not unite, 43 percent of those who supported other candidates in the primaries say the party is divided and will not unite.
Inside the hall here, Wolf, people who wanted to come to Donald Trump's convention, there was a lot of anger at Ted Cruz saying get over it, but there does seem to be a group of people out who might listen to this.
One more way to look at it, let me show you this here. This is choosing a party nominee. Coming into the convention -- and all that previous data was CNN data. This is NBC/"Wall Street Journal." What should happen at this convention, right? Pollsters ask this question.
Should they elect the candidate, give the nomination to the candidate with the most votes or the candidate the delegates here think, vote your conscience, would be the best nominee? Trump supporters obviously thought he won, he should get the nomination.
Cruz voters, a majority of Cruz voters, said Donald Trump won fair and square. About four in 10 of them said we should keep an open mind. But look at this. Ted Cruz's best audience last night, the most receptive people, Wolf, might actually be John Kasich voters; 61 percent of them said the delegates should have a chance to vote their conscience on the rules here, on the nominee here. That didn't happen, of course.
Donald Trump is the nominee. But among Cruz supporters, Kasich supporters, still a lot of skeptics out there about Donald Trump. Will they listen to Ted Cruz? That's the open question.
BLITZER: Good point. All right, John, thanks very much, John King reporting for us.
A lot more ahead here, including another key speech from another billionaire. Peter Thiel is Donald Trump's link to Silicon Valley. He is also the first openly gay speaker at a Republican Convention in 16 years and he's expected to touch on the subject this evening. That and a lot more as the final night of the Republican Convention here in Cleveland gets under way.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back.
We have been seeing walk-throughs and listening to sound checks throughout the evening as the big moment approaches, Donald Trump's acceptance speech, the first of the general election campaign after a convention that has certainly not lacked for drama for the panel already.
Dana Bash, based on her reporting, we're hearing he's essentially not going to be veering too far from the themes at least he's talked about during his stump speech. Does that surprise anybody?
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Doesn't surprise me.
I think he has balancing act here. The first two nights, Rudy Giuliani and Chris Christie brought the heavy lumber. I don't think he wants to strike that kind of a tone.
I don't think chanting in here lock her up, lock her up necessarily benefits. Last night was a more palatable tone that was more outward- reaching beyond this hall. I think that's what he needs to do. But you're not going to teach this guy new tricks. It's got him here this far.
These folks has an expectation of entertainment. He can't lull them either. Somewhere in between-wise, where he is going.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Look, he understands the moment. Nobody understands these moments better than Donald Trump.
He gets it. But he's got to be presidential. He, I think, understands that the vice presidential rollout didn't go so well. This is his other big moment before the debates.
COOPER: When you say you think it didn't go well -- it went well in the sense that the speech that Pence gave last night was well-received here.
BORGER: Right. But I'm talking about the rollout originally, when he introduced Pence and he sort of forgot about him and went on for 20 minutes before he introduced him. That was not a great moment.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
I think one of the dangers for Donald Trump is that he very much feeds off the energy of the crowd. Right? That is what he does. He doesn't speak to the camera, to the wider audience. I think it will be interesting to see what sort of ad-libs end up in that speech and sort of asides. Does he essentially want to gin this crowd up so that they're saying lock her up, lock her up, lock her up, because he loves that...
COOPER: But, also, That's not necessarily something he has control over. If you remember last night, Rick Scott was the first speaker. About
three minutes into Rick Scott's speech, the crowd started chanting lock her up, lock her up. That wasn't something that was in Rick Scott's speech. And Rick Scott, by the way, also didn't echo lock her up like some of other speakers.
KING: Nor does Donald Trump have to.
Plus, his whips on the floor, whatever you think of this convention, whatever you think of the bad things in this convention, his whips on the floor have done a pretty good job of managing the convention. They're in touch with the delegates.
They know now. They know now that's the cheer du jour. They can ask the delegations if they want -- and I'm not saying the delegates would agree -- but not during Mr. Trump. Please don't say this. Please don't say this. They can ask.
Number two, if he is a little flat reading the prompter, they can grin up the crowd into applause, like they do on "The Tonight Show." Hold up the applause sign down here on the floor to get them into it, because Trump does -- he comes back from events, and they say, why didn't you stay on the script?
He said, well, the crowd was flat. I wanted to rev them up.
But to the broader point, let's not get down in the weeds so much. Economic security, economic growth, personal security, national security, Donald Trump can sell those messages to the American people.
Hillary Clinton is leading in the metrics, the polling, the infrastructure, the state-by-state look. But the dynamics in the country are for change. The American people think the country is off on the wrong track. They are freaked out by cops getting shot in the street. They see terrorism overseas. This is a challenger environment. And he's the challenger. Hillary Clinton is the incumbent. He can make this case. The question is, will he make the case?
JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Anderson, as a matter of fact, I just heard from Donald Trump himself.
He thinks that this convention has been a tremendous convention. He thinks that he has a message for you, Anderson, that he is not pleased.
LORD: He thinks that we're not accurately representing this convention, which he feels has been a stupendous success.
He knew that Ted Cruz was going to say what he said. He thinks Ted Cruz has damaged himself by doing this. He beat all of these candidates to get here. These people are in totally support of him. He feels that he is going to go out of here with an energized convention, et cetera.
He specifically said to say that your ratings, our ratings at CNN are up here because of his presence and this convention. And I think I'm more or less delivered the message.
HENDERSON: I thought he stopped watching.
COOPER: There's no doubt about Donald Trump's impact on ratings. I haven't looked at the ratings. It's amazing that Donald Trump has looked at the ratings. I haven't looked at the ratings.
KING: Got nothing else to do.
COOPER: But I do think, look, we said this last night. This was an energized crowd.
Beyond all the drama that we paid attention to with Ted Cruz, last night was the first night -- this crowd stayed until the very end, which was the first night that's happened. And it was an energized crowd. And, indeed, it was electric.
LORD: If I can add my own thoughts here, I have been to a number of these.
This convention -- there's always turmoil at these conventions. There was in fact turmoil at Ronald Reagan's second convention, when he was the incumbent president. So, these things happen. They happen all the time.
And I do think we don't want to be parsing this so and be so in the weeds, because people out there watching are -- they voted for him. And they want to see this, and they're even enjoying this, and they think it's a great time. And this is a transformational moment for the Republican Party, and he's going to lead it.
SCOTTIE NELL HUGHES, DONALD TRUMP SUPPORTER: Tonight's theme is make America first again.
And, tonight, you're going to see basically Baskin-Robbins worth of flavors. You're going to find something for everybody, for every part of the Republican Party. You might not agree with the entire platform, but you are going to find something, a part of the message, as you have found all week, that speaks to you.
And Mr. Trump's speech tonight is going to sum that up that all together, that we don't all have to be cookie-cutter Republicans, that we can all get along. And it's that Ronald Reagan 80/20 rule. And you're going to see Mr. Trump, I think, tonight, deliver a dynamic speech.
And the people he showcased are people, not politicians, unlike Hillary Clinton, who just released her list that is all politicians. I guarantee this energy will continue.
BORGER: I want to agree with something Donald Trump said to you, which is that I do believe that Ted Cruz helped him.
This was a sympathetic crowd last night to Donald Trump. And I think Ted Cruz took a gamble here. And I think he lost, at least with this audience. We can talk about the long term at some other point, but I think that the Trump people played this very well. The New York delegation stood up. I think this was probably whipped on the floor.
LORD: If I may, the contrast -- I was at the 1976 convention. Ronald Reagan came down from the gallery. He didn't use the word endorse. But he did everything he could to put a unifying face on this.
And I have his words quoting in my new column here on Conservative Review. Ted Cruz, like Ronald Reagan, came out to tremendous applause. Unlike Ronald Reagan, he went off being booed thunderously. That didn't happen in 1976, and that's a big mistake.
COOPER: By the way, nobody -- and, again, Donald Trump's awareness of sort of stagecraft -- nobody even saw Ted Cruz go off the stage.
I missed it. He must have just slunk off, because everybody was focused on Donald Trump coming, his arrival.
Amanda, then we got to go.
AMANDA CARPENTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Tonight's event must go perfectly.
If he's so into micromanaging the media's interpretation of how the events have gone that he's calling into these shows at this moment in time. This convention -- the convention has been bungled almost every single day.
He needs to focus on his speech, his message. I'm worried, quite frankly, that it's not Reagan. It's going to be Nixonian. It's going to be doom and fear and gloom. That's not a uniting message. But we will see what he does. COOPER: We have got a lot more to talk about, including the tech
billionaire who has a prominent speaking slot of the night, on the final convention night.
We will be right back.
BLITZER: More breaking news right now. The NBA has announced its moving the 2017 all-star weekend game from Charlotte, North Carolina, because of an anti-LGBT bill the state passed in March. A new location hasn't been picked.
[18:30:28] The law, HB-2, requires transgender individuals to use public restrooms that correspond with the sex listed on their birth certificates. The NBA's decision comes just hours before Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel takes the stage here in Cleveland. He made his fortune co-founding PayPal and investing in Facebook. He's the first openly gay speaker at a Republican convention since 2000, and he's expected to talk about LGBT rights.
CNN political director David Chalian is with us right now. This is a highly-anticipated speech tonight from Peter Thiel, David. What can we expect to hear?
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, what you were just saying, Wolf. We can expect that he's going to say that he is proud to be a gay man. That's not something we've heard before on the stage of a Republican National Committee -- Republican National Convention.
And it will be interesting, because as you know, there's been a battle back and forth between social moderates in the party, social conservatives on the platform fight. But that's not going to have him shy away. When he's up there, he's going to say he's proud to be a gay man but he's also proud to be a Republican. And he's going to say that -- he's going to sort of issue a warning to the party not to get distracted by unnecessary culture wars, as he calls them, according to someone familiar with his remarks, and that, instead, they really need to focus on the economic issues. And he also, as you know, he has very libertarian leanings. Anti-war policy is very important in his (UNINTELLIGIBLE) .
BLITZER: Do we know why Donald Trump invited him, asked him -- I assume he did -- to appear tonight?
CHALIAN: He did. So you know that they have a relationship. It's about a week ago that Peter Thiel was asked by Mr. Trump to come and participate.
And this, I think, is simple. Two reasons. One: I think he sees in Peter Thiel a little bit of something with him, which is that he was an outsider to this party and ended up sort of dominating it as an outsider; and Peter Thiel is sort of an outsider in Silicon Valley as a Trump supporter. It's not the most popular position to take in Silicon Valley. I think that appeals to Donald Trump. And then also as sort of a business colleague. He can be a validator to that for Donald Trump and explain how his business sense could help him be president. And then this issue of reaching out, looking more tolerant on a social issue, more in line with where Donald Trump is on gay rights than necessarily where the party orthodoxy is. And I think that was of interest to Donald Trump as an attempt to try to reach out.
BLITZER: It's going to be interesting to see the reaction of the crowd on the floor when he makes those LGBT rights declarations.
CHALIAN: Yes, because he's going to say flat-out that he disagrees with parts of the platform. So does -- do the delegates on the floor react in some way where they sort of don't like that and they boo him? Or do they sit quietly? It will be very interesting, because it's not party orthodoxy; it's not part of the platform, the kinds of things he's going to mention in this speech.
BLITZER: You're certainly right on that. All right, thanks very much for that, David Chalian.
Back to you, Anderson.
COOPER: Wolf, a lot more to talk about with our panel. I mean, it is, you know, when you contrast a Republican convention with a Democratic convention, it is a stark difference in terms of just the mentioning of gay people as citizens in this country. You really don't hear much about it at all at a Republican convention.
SMERCONISH: What's interesting is that I had Rachel Hoff on my radio program this week, Anderson. He's the first LGBT member of the community to be on the platform. She was shut down in every instance in terms of what she was trying to achieve here.
But I thought she made an excellent point, which is to say, "I'm the real Republican in the room. Because a party that purports to stand for individual liberty should be more embracing of whatever a person's lifestyle might be."
And it will be interesting to see if that plays, should he address it tonight.
COOPER: I mean, you know, critics of the Republican Party say that this platform is among the most, you know, opposed to equal rights for gay and lesbian Americans as any they have seen. It's against marriage equality. It's against...
COOPER: ... bathrooms for transgender people.
COOPER: It's anti-gay adoption. Faith-based refusal of services, as well. KING: We go back a few years, we should talk about the difference
between Dick Cheney and George W. Bush on same-sex marriage. George W. Bush wanted a constitutional amendment. Dick Cheney says, "As a conservative, the state should decide this. The Constitution says that's a state question."
Now we have -- you mentioned the platform. Mike Pence, as governor of Indiana, signed a religious freedom law, and there was a revolt, including in the Republican business community, saying, "You're going to drive people out of Indiana. This sends exactly the wrong message of Indiana."
Donald Trump rolled a lot of evangelical eyeballs when he said, "Caitlyn Jenner can use any bathroom she wants."
HENDERSON: Yes, that's right.
COOPER: Mike Pence also had spoken out about reparative therapy in support of reparative therapy, which is widely discredited.
COOPER: Which is interesting. Chris Christie has actually passed a law against in New Jersey.
HENDERSON: You have the bathroom bill that is really where the energy is now. I mean, you saw...
[18:35:05] KING: Look what the NBA just did today.
HENDERSON: Yes, right; you're right. But you have seen conservatives really rally around this idea that Obama shouldn't impose his ideas on states. And you saw Ted Cruz cut ads during the primary, basically pushing back against the bathroom laws.
KING: But you notice -- you notice Ted Cruz last night, from that platform...
HENDERSON: He was more tolerant.
KING: He mentioned -- talked about gay rights, talked about gay Americans.
COOPER: Well, he didn't talk about -- he just said that the Bill of Rights applies to gay people.
KING: I'm not saying it's getting you from "A" to "Z." But...
COOPER: I remember...
KING: ... you sense there's a bit of a movement.
COOPER: I remember going -- when I first started covering conventions back in '96, you know, there were Log Cabin Republicans running around with signs that said "Big Tent."
Here we are in the Republican Party still talking about that notion of a big tent, and it's still a pretty controversial idea.
LORD: When you look historically, the word "abortion" did not enter a Republican or Democratic platform until 1976. And I've gone back and taken a look at this. And step by step by step, you can see the divide slowly coming here between the Republican and Democratic parties on this.
I certainly remember being at the 1984 convention and having a delegation headed by then-Maine Olympia -- Senator Olympia Snow and Maureen Reagan, asking for a pro-choice plank in the Republican platform. They didn't get it.
My point is, this is the way democracy works with these issues. This is far better than having courts ram through things, whatever, and doing it in a top-down fashion.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And you know what?
BORGER: Like Ronald Reagan.
LORD: We are still discussing abortion. When you do it the other way, when you do it through the states, when you do it through these kind of things -- and Donald Trump is moving the ball on this -- then that's why these kind of conventions are important.
COOPER: It will be interesting to see the response that Peter Thiel gets if he does start talking. I mean, how far does he actually go? What does he actually want?
HUGHES: And that's what I'm actually -- I'm kind of interested to see. Now, I think if he would have just come out here and hit the one issue. It's almost like baby steps. OK, let's do -- 2016, let's talk about marriage equality, then do transgender bathrooms. I think it's going to be a lot for this crowd to handle. I'm very -- I'm very interested to see how it will work.
But I also think this talks to conservatism. And I think that a lot of these folks right here are -- they're very much, they're going to bristle up at this, I'll be honest with you, in this room, whether right or wrong.
But I think this is where the Tenth Amendment comes in, on these social issues. And Mr. Trump has always said give it to the states on all these social issues. Let them decide.
BORGER: He's not a social issue candidate.
HUGHES: Exactly. That's why he's popular.
BORGER: Donald Trump is not about social issues.
He has been pro-choice, and now he is pro-life. Like Ronald Reagan -- I don't believe Ronald Reagan was a social issue candidate either, Jeffrey.
HUGHES: Right. BORGER: And the interesting thing to me is that you have Trump, who's not a social issue candidate, and you have Mike Pence...
HENDERSON: Who is, very much so.
BORGER: ... who is a social issue candidate and who disagrees with Donald Trump on a lot of these issues. And I know they are trying to sort of appeal to both wings of the party, but these are some things that you either believe in or you -- or you actually don't.
LORD: But this is why -- this is why they go back to the Trump phone call, this is a successful convention. Because that's what conventions are supposed to do.
BORGER: Well, let's see if Trump mentions any of this in his speech tonight after Peter Thiel.
HUGHES: But you know how much longer they're going to think about the platform? The platform committee lasted about 12 more hours. Because if you look at the past platforms that have been passed by the Republican Party, it said they were against Common Core. Didn't really do anything.
I mean, platforms only last, unfortunately, in a lot of cases, as long as the committee actually goes.
CARPENTER: With Donald Trump, he's not a social conservative, but he's certainly a culture war candidate. But it's a new kind of culture war. He's fighting on identity politics, things like immigration, the media. He's not talking about abortion and gay marriage.
But without a doubt, he's very engaged in cultural issues. It's really what he seems to be passionate about and the way that he plays the media against itself. And so we're just seeing the reshaping of the Republican Party as Donald Trump as the nominee.
BORGER: When he did talk about abortion, if you'll recall, he couldn't figure out quite what to say. Should the woman be punished? Remember, that was a -- that was the big controversy.
HENDERSON: He's new to the issues.
BORGER: Right. Because it's not...
HENDERSON: Who he is.
BORGER: ... what he actually cares about. Right? I mean, that's not -- that's not his frame of reference.
COOPER: Well, also, I mean, clearly, in his own life, you know, I think he has clearly no problem with gay people. He's been to same- sex wedding. You know, I'm sure he interacts with gay people all the time. But obviously, in his picking of Mike Pence, he's raised the ire of, you know, some of the gay community for picking a candidate.
HENDERSON: Yes, and that's what Democrats are focused on.
KING: We've seen this in many -- sorry, we've seen this in so many parts of his life, where personally, how he acts, how he conducts himself, how he speaks is very different. This is part of his issue in convincing Republicans he's one of them. It's part of his issue when he's talking about NATO or the nuclear triad, because his personal views, he speaks a language that he doesn't have detailed policy political conventional -- whether a lexicon or positions.
COOPER: We've got to take another quick break. When we come back, we're getting our first look at details of the most important speech in Donald Trump's political career. Dana Bash has that.
[18:40:03] Also, Ivanka Trump ready to take the stage tonight, right before her dad gives the biggest speech of his life. The pressure on her has got to be intense. Our Gloria Borger sat down with Ivanka Trump to talk about her relationship with her dad, her advice for him as a candidate. That's also next.
[18:45:07] BLITZER: As we wait for Donald Trump to speak, we're just now learning some of what he's going to say. The campaign releasing portions of his acceptance speech.
Dana Bash is on the floor.
Dana, you've been reading what they released. Tell us about it.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, we talked at the top of the hour about I was told that we would hear some familiar themes including and especially his "I'm the law and order candidate" theme, which we've been hearing a lot more on the campaign trail as things have gotten pretty violent in this country. And that is according to these excerpts where he' going to lean heavily.
Let me just read part of it. He said. "Many have witnessed" or he will say, "Many have witnessed this violence personally, some have even been its victims. I have a message for all of you. The crime and violence that today afflicts our nation will soon come to an end beginning on January 20th, 2017. Safety will be restored."
Then he goes to talk in the excerpts about America being less safe at home and abroad because he believes Barack Obama put Hillary Clinton in charge of the State Department.
So, that is a theme that we see here. I just want to underscore another is he's going to continue to seize on the discontent, the economic frustration out there that really helped propel him to become the nominee. The nomination he will accept tonight and he is going to make clear continually in this speech about the fact he believes he's the person who gets it, who gets their fear, who gets people frustration and can help turn it around -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right. Dana, thanks very much.
Anderson, back to you.
COOPER: Yes. Right before Donald Trump delivers those words, one of his most trusted colleagues and confidants will speak, his daughter Ivanka.
Our chief political analyst Gloria Borger recently spoke with her about what her father, what he's like as a dad, the advice she has given him and whether he listens to it. Take a look.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Your father has said that you and Melania had wanted him more presidential is the word he uses. Tell me about that, because do you believe that the nicknames he used for some people or the name calling was a mistake? Is that what you're talking about when you're saying more presidential?
IVANKA TRUMP, DONALD TRUMP'S DAUGHTER: Well, you would -- you know, my conversations with my father are really between us, but, you know, obviously, I'm his child. I'm also his colleague. I've worked alongside of him for the past decade here at the Trump Organization and part of the reason we have such a good relationship is because he respects me and because I'm candid in my opinions and I share them, solicited or otherwise.
BORGER: But to that question, I mean, did you tell him those were mistakes or you don't?
TRUMP: Well, once in a while he'll say things. I'll tell him he could probably do with ratcheting it back.
BORGER: And he listens?
TRUMP: Sometimes. Sometimes he doesn't. Or sometimes he listens for limited period of times.
BORGER: But you can tell him?
TRUMP: Look, I think it's part of what people love about him. It's also part of what angers people. He is authentic. You know, nobody tells him who to be. He is himself. He's his own man.
He listens to the opinions of others. He respects the opinions of others. He processes the advice people give him. But ultimately, he makes his own decisions.
BORGER: How do you reconcile the Donald Trump you know as your dad with the candidate that some people see and consider so divisive? And, you know, how do you square that circle for our viewers?
TRUMP: My father's always elicited strong opinion in people. He's bold. He's unabashed. He's very himself.
I think for me, you know, the ultimate -- the most important thing is I know the man. So, when I hear things that are factually inaccurate, it's sometimes hurtful. I feel that as a daughter. But I still know the man. I, as a woman, I as a person could never
support someone who was sexist or racist, but I just couldn't. I would not be able to be okay with that.
But I know who he is as a human being. I know those things are not true. And not many people say those things, but when they dot's easier for me to dismiss it because of that fact.
COOPER: Gloria, I think back to the town hall that we did with Donald Trump and all of his adult kids. I think a lot of people, certainly supporters of Donald Trump, and even those who maybe who don't like Donald Trump felt that was perhaps one of the best things he had done because the kids are so well-spoken and represent him in such a good way.
[18:50:01] What else stood out to you?
BORGER: Well, I think what stood out to me is the devotion not only from Ivanka, but we heard from her brothers this week and from Tiffany, the devotion they have to their father, and you know, they had a difficult childhood growing up, right?
Their parents got divorced and they're now all in business with their father, and it's clear to me they understand that sometimes he goes off the script and they don't like it as Ivanka was saying before, but they're so politic about it.
But there his kind of devotion to their father and trying to get the public see a different side of him that we don't see and that we haven't seen very often on the campaign trail. Donald Trump is not someone who's reflective and opens up about his life.
COOPER: It's interesting. I talked to Paul Manafort, I think, Sunday, and he said that's what he would like for people to get out of this convention to the extent that there is one that people don't know about and do we know what Ivanka Trump will be saying tonight?
BORGER: Obviously, she's going to be a character witness for her father. I guarantee she will make a pitch to women about her father, as she was saying, you know? I would never support anybody who was sexist or someone who was racist. I think Ivanka Trump is a businesswoman, a very successful businesswoman, will talk to women in this country with whom he has a huge problem, you know, a 60 percent, or 70 percent disapproval rating and perhaps more than the boys she will try to get more personal, if I had to guess here. She's the daughter along with Tiffany, but she's the little girl, right?
COOPER: I mean, without a doubt, some of the highlights of this week have been the Trump kids and from Tiffany, all the way through to, no doubt, tonight to Ivanka.
Gloria, thank you.
Up next, how we got to this moment from day one when Donald Trump rode down that escalator with his wife into the presidential race and launched a campaign like none we've seen fore to today GOP nominee gets ready to give the biggest speech of his life.
[18:57:06] BLITZER: A big night ahead here in Cleveland. Donald Trump will wrap up the convention with his own speech, making the case why he should become the commander in chief. It was 401 days ago when he announced his candidacy in New York. Let's take a look at the journey from then to now.
Here's Tom Foreman.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Just over one year and one month ago, Donald Trump rode into the presidential race instantly setting the tone for a tumultuous run.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists.
PROTESTERS: No Donald Trump in L.A.!
FOREMAN: Trump's inflammatory comments about undocumented Mexican immigrants marking the start of an unconventional campaign, but also saw him attack former GOP nominee John McCain for being a prisoner of war.
TRUMP: He's a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren't captured, OK? I hate to tell you.
FOREMAN: As the debates begun, Trump's circle of conflict grew. He initially would not pledge support for the party's eventual nominee as he also defended past derogatory comments about women.
MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Dogs, slobs and disgusting animals.
FOREMAN: Trump responded with more of the same.
TRUMP: You know, you could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her -- wherever.
FOREMAN: His crowds surged. His opponents howled and then he found a new target.
TRUMP: Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.
FOREMAN: The controversy seemed endless. A staffer was accused of assault. Investigations swirled around Trump's business ventures. He appeared to mock a disabled reporter.
Violence began breaking out at his rallies seemingly egged on by the candidate. TRUMP: I would like to punch him in the face, I'll tell you.
FOREMAN: And he had an apparently unlimited appetite for ridiculing all opponents.
TRUMP: I call him Little Marco. Little Marco.
Pocahontas is not happy.
Lyin' Ted Cruz.
FOREMAN (on camera): Through it all, political analyst and pollsters predicted time and again that Trump had gone too far and he would fall, certainly, that he would never wind up here.
FOREMAN (voice-over): But vote after vote --
TRUMP: Thank you.
FOREMAN: State after state, he crushed his challengers and even now, amid fresh controversies --
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: If you are saying he can't do his job because of his race, is that not the definition of racism?
TRUMP: I don't think so at all.
FOREMAN: Millions of voters are thrilled by Trump's combative stance against the media, his almost unimaginable charge to take over the Republican Party and most of all, by his promise to bring a new way of doing business to the White House.
CROWD: USA, USA!
FOREMAN: Tom Foreman, CNN, Cleveland.
BLITZER: That does it for Anderson and me this hour. Thanks for watching.
Our coverage from Cleveland continues right now with "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT".