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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Interview With Vice Presidential Candidate Tim Kaine; Real Race Begins; Full Speed Ahead: Trump, Clinton Blitz Trail. Aired 4-4:30p ET
Aired July 29, 2016 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Lady and gentleman, start your engines. The real race begins. And THE LEAD starts right now.
One hundred and two days to go, and it is an all-out sprint in the race for the White House. Donald Trump holding a town hall this hour, and if his tweets in the past 24 hours are any indicator, it's probably not going to be very pretty.
Fresh off her historic nomination and a brutal Trump takedown, Hillary Clinton hits the ground running in Pennsylvania, but will her big night give her a bounce so that she's no longer trailing Donald Trump?
Plus, who knew Tim Kaine had a Donald Trump impression in him? The mild-mannered attack dog now at Hillary Clinton's side, he will join us on THE LEAD this hour.
Nothing like the crisp recycled air of your own studio. Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper, back from two marathon weeks at the Republican and Democratic presidential conventions, both nominees making history in very different ways.
But now that the pomp and circumstance is done and the balloons are popped, the bare-knuckled brawling part of the general election campaign is already knocking some teeth loose, as you can see right here. The candidates have begun going all over the map, making stops in, of course, battleground states. You see Colorado, Ohio, and Pennsylvania there.
And if you heard that list, and you went, hey, I live in that state, well, get used to a whole lot of traffic jams over the next 100 or so days courtesy of the presidential election.
Let's get to CNN's Jason Carroll. He's in Colorado Springs, where Trump is holding a rally that's set to start any second from now.
And, Jason, Trump was tweeting rebuttals to Clinton immediately after she walked off stage last night.
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He certainly was. And you remember Clinton criticized Trump last night, saying how easy
it was to bait him into tweeting. That certainly didn't stop Trump from tweeting just moments after she left the stage. Basically, what he's been doing is repeating the same theme that we have heard over an over at town halls like this one, which is basically that Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party is out of touch with how real Americans feel about this country.
He keeps saying that Americans don't feel safe, they don't feel as though the economy is heading in the right direction, they do not feel as though the country is heading in the right direction socially. So, of course, Donald Trump, in true form, took to Twitter, tweeting out several tweets about the speech last night.
Let me read one of them to you, because it basically symbolizes what all of them basically had to say. He said: "Crooked Hillary Clinton made up facts about me and forgot to mention the many problems of our country in her very long, average scream," scream being her speech.
Trump also releasing an attack ad in the form of a Web video, which basically spelled out what a Clinton America would look like if she were elected.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NARRATOR: In Hillary Clinton's America, things get worse. Under her dishonest plan, taxes keep rising, terrorism spreads, Washington insiders remain in control, Americans losing their jobs, home, and hope.
In Donald Trump's America, people are put back to work, our families are safe, the American dream achievable again. Change that makes America great again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARROLL: And, also, Trump followed up on Facebook earlier today basically saying that, under Clinton, we would have higher taxes and rampant terrorism.
The question is, Jake, will this tactic, this fear tactic, which works in a room like this one because his constituents really respond to it, but will that reach out and will that bring in moderates? Will it bring in independents? That remains to be seen -- Jake.
TAPPER: All right, Jason Carroll in Colorado, thank you.
Hillary Clinton fresh off accepting the Democratic presidential nomination is revving up the bus and going on tour.
Jeff Zeleny is in Philadelphia, where the Clinton bus blew town just a few months ago.
Jeff, that Clinton bus, I believe, is headed for Harrisburg right now, cutting through swing states over the weekend, before Clinton jets off to Omaha, Nebraska, on Monday. Why is she going to Omaha, Nebraska? That's deep red.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, we heard Hillary Clinton say last night she wants to be the president for Democrats, for Republicans, for independents, for those who vote for me and those who don't.
But, of course, she is focusing at least for the next three months on those who she wants to vote for her. Omaha is interesting. It's one of -- Nebraska is one of two states in the country where they split their electoral votes, Nebraska and Maine. She's going there to go after that one electoral vote that President Obama won in 2008.
And she's also trying to make her case to Republicans.
ZELENY (voice-over): The new Democratic ticket is taking its show on the road.
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: As of tomorrow, we have 100 days to make our case to America.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
ZELENY: Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine on a three-month sprint to Election Day.
CLINTON: What better place to kick off this campaign than right here in Philadelphia, where it all started 240 years ago?
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
ZELENY: After a convention steeped in nostalgia, their challenge now, tapping into the country's hunger for change.
CLINTON: I'm not telling you that everything is just peachy-keen. I'm telling you we have made progress, but we have work to do if we're going to make sure everybody is included.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
ZELENY: Their fight with Donald Trump is now fully joined, as they try making him an unacceptable choice.
SEN. TIM KAINE (D-VA), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The Republican Convention was like a twisted and negative tour. It was a journey through Donald Trump's mind. And that is a very frightening place.
ZELENY: So, today Clinton and Kaine set off on a bus tour of Pennsylvania and Ohio, zeroing in on the economy.
CLINTON: We're going to be visiting a few places where people are making things. Donald Trump talks about make America great again. He doesn't make a thing in America, except bankruptcies.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
ZELENY: A Democratic Convention rich in history...
CLINTON: I accept your nomination for president of the United States!
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
ZELENY: ... is now the script for out Democrats hope to defeat Trump.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Russia, if you're listening.
ZELENY: She said he's not fit for the Oval Office.
CLINTON: A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
ZELENY: Safety and security now a central piece of her argument.
CLINTON: Donald Trump says -- and this is a quote -- I know more about ISIS than the generals do."
No, Donald, you don't.
ZELENY: After a week in historic Philadelphia, Clinton made clear the history-making moment that matters comes in November.
CLINTON: I believe every time we knock down a barrier in America, it liberates everyone in America.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
CLINTON: Every parent in this country could look at their son or their daughter and now say the very same thing. You, too, could be president of the United States.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
CLINTON: Thank you, all. God bless you!
ZELENY: So many scenes of history here, Jake, particularly when Bill Clinton boarding that bus with Hillary Clinton. We all remember those images from 1992, the Clintons and Gores leaving their convention in New York.
But Democrats are a little bit worried about too much talk of history. Again, Hillary Clinton will only make history in a big, real, serious way if she wins in November, the next three months, Jake, a very tight contest.
TAPPER: Jeff Zeleny, thank you so much.
This week, America was formally introduced to Democratic vice presidential nominee Senator Tim Kaine. Kaine is a husband and dad, a career politician from Virginia, a devout Catholic, and a music enthusiast who carries four harmonicas in his briefcase.
Wednesday night, his acceptance speech was briefly disrupted by hard- core Bernie Sanders supporters, making it clearer than ever that the Clinton/Kaine ticket has not won every member of the Democratic coalition over to their side.
So, does Senator Kaine have plans to try to convert the Bernie-or-bust people?
This morning, I met up with the Democrat's freshly minted vice presidential nominee for a one-on-one conversation.
TAPPER: First of all, congratulations.
KAINE: Thank you, Jake. It's been a great week.
TAPPER: Let's talk about some of the politics.
I don't want to dwell too much on it.
TAPPER: But there were protesters during Hillary Clinton's speech. They were worried about protesters heckling you.
TAPPER: Is there still work that needs to be done to unify the Democratic Party?
KAINE: Sure, there is, but I feel we're in a really, really good shape.
I was Democratic Party chair, so I'm used to the fact that we are a big family with a lot of different points of view. Unlike the Republicans, we haven't had the litmus test where, if you don't believe this, we're going to throw you out. So, we have ideological breadth. And that's good. That's what we want to have.
TAPPER: Not if they're not voting for Hillary Clinton.
KAINE: Well, as I look at the polling, for example, what do the strong Bernie supporters feel about the race on July 29?
And I think back to eight years ago. What did the strong Hillary Clinton supporters feel about the race on July 29, 2008? There's always a need to bring people together after a primary. But, frankly, I think we're farther down the path in doing that than my recollection of eight years ago. And eight years ago, it worked out great.
People got on board. Hillary Clinton was fantastic in leading folks on board. And I think Bernie did a good job this week by telling his folks why Hillary was right and why Donald Trump is a -- you know, directly contrary to every value that he's ever held or advocated in his life.
TAPPER: Hillary Clinton and you have another challenge in how many Americans perceive her in terms of her honesty, in terms of how trustworthy she is. Can you help with that, do you think?
KAINE: I think I can, because, look, I can brag about her more than she's going to brag about herself.
I mean, this is a -- Hillary is a -- I call her kind of Midwestern Methodist church kid. You heard President Obama the other night talk about the Midwestern thing. And I'm from the Midwest.
We don't like to talk about ourselves much. That's not her natural way, and, frankly, it ain't mine either. But I love to brag on other people. And so I talk about Hillary.
When people ask a question like that, I say, look, if you want to know the character of somebody in public life, what you do is you look to see, did they have a passion that was obvious before they got in public life, and have they maintained their passion all throughout that career, hell or high water, good or bad, victories or defeats?
Hillary's got that passion from a teenager, the empowerment of families and children. And I said the other night at the convention -- and Trump has got a passion, too, but his passion has been himself. Is it kids and families first, or is it me first?
I think Hillary -- even though this isn't her natural thing, I think when she told her story last night and walked through the battles that she's been in, I think you could tell that was coming from the heart and soul. It was coming from the heart and soul.
I'm going to talk about that aspect of her, which I know very, very well. And I think, again, it's easier to brag on somebody else sometimes than talking about yourself, and that's one of the things I think I can do.
TAPPER: You mentioned Mr. Trump. Mike Bloomberg spoke at the convention, and he basically suggested that Donald Trump is not sane. Do you agree?
KAINE: Mike Bloomberg knows Trump, and I don't.
You know, I got to scratch my head all the time. Two days ago, he did a press conference and he told everybody what a lousy governor of New Jersey I was.
TAPPER: To be honest, you were. (CROSSTALK)
KAINE: Yes, well, I was a no-show governor of New Jersey when I was governor of Virginia.
And the fact that, you know, he was a lousy governor of New Jersey, he tried to raise taxes by $4 billion on his first day in office -- OK, look, the guy is new to it, and we're a big country, and there are 50 states, and New Jersey is different than Virginia. I guess you got to let him climb the learning curve.
I don't know anything about his sanity. I have never met him. But somebody who would mistake New Jersey for Virginia, or Virginia for New Jersey, I mean, I just scratch my head.
TAPPER: He was confusing Tim Kaine with Tom Kean, I think, right?
KAINE: Tom Kean was governor of New Jersey, and he finished his term 26 years ago.
KAINE: I mean, I don't know. I was 5 years old then.
I would have been a bad governor. No, actually, I was older than 5. But, at age 5, I would have been a bad governor.
TAPPER: But you're -- you don't know whether or not Donald Trump is sane?
KAINE: I have never met Donald Trump. I just -- I got to scratch my head about that guy every day, the other day saying, hey, Russia, put your thumb on the scales of an American election. If you can help me out, help me out.
Who does that?
TAPPER: What did you think of that? He said he was being sarcastic.
KAINE: He was being ignorant. I don't think -- oh, it's, I was just joking around?
I don't think cyber-security is a big joking matter. I don't think Russia and all their desires to screw around with other countries, which we have dead-solid cold -- I'm on the Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committee.
They do screw up elections in other nations by funding parties that are pro-Russia, by engaging in cyber-attacks against nations, even on election day, to screw things up. This is what they have done. And it's been proven.
And so when he says, hey, you should do it, then he tries to palm it off as a joke, the guy has got a bizarre sense of humor. That ain't funny.
TAPPER: What's been the most surprising part of this storm that you're in?
TAPPER: Your life is very, very different than it was a week ago.
TAPPER: What was the reaction of your parents?
KAINE: My mother last night on stage, you know, history-making, to nominate the first woman as a president of a major party.
KAINE: My mom on stage, with all the balloons falling, she's 81. She says, "This is the best night of my life."
Now, when mom says that to son, I feel like I know at least for the next 48 or 72 hours, I'm going to be in good shape. I will do something on Monday that will make her mad. But it was a very, very powerful moment.
And I said to Hillary when I walked out -- when I walked out into that fantastic evening, I said to her, "This is a great country, and you just made it a lot greater."
TAPPER: All right. Well, congratulations.
KAINE: Thanks, Jake.
TAPPER: And we will see you on the trail.
KAINE: Look forward to it.
TAPPER: Thank you.
KAINE: You bet.
TAPPER: That's just a little piece of the interview. We also talked about his changing views on abortion, how his son being in the Marines impacts his views on the use of military force and much more.
Make sure to tune into "STATE OF THE UNION" this Sunday for my full interview with Senator Tim Kaine at 9:00 a.m. and noon Eastern this Sunday right here on CNN.
Coming up, Donald Trump's reaction to the Democratic Convention. He'd like to hit the speakers so hard, their heads would spin. We're about to hear from Donald Trump live. Stick with us.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [16:18:18] JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome backing to THE LEAD.
The 2016 race now in a new phase with both party conventions now wrapped up. As we speak, Donald Trump is campaigning in Colorado Springs while his running mate, Governor Mike Pence, is back in his home state of Indiana.
Today, Hillary Clinton kicked off her bus tour with her running mate, Senator Tim Kaine, through Pennsylvania and Ohio.
Joining me now here in Washington, Trump campaign co-chair, Sam Clovis, Clinton supporter Stephanie Cutter, CNN political commentator Mary Katharine Ham, who's also a senior writer at "The Federalist", and Neera Tanden, who was Clinton 2008 policy director and spoke at the Democratic Convention.
Thanks, one and all, for being here.
Sam, I want to play for you Mr. Trump's reaction to the third night of the convention.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I was going to hit a number of those speakers so hard their heads would spin. They'd never recover. And that's what I did with a lot -- that's why I still don't have certain people endorsing me. They still haven't recovered, OK?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Does that kind of response feed into the portrayal, the narrative, the caricature, if you will, that the Democrats are painting of him?
SAM CLOVIS, TRUMP CAMPAIGN CO-CHAIR: I think caricature is the right word. It does fit into that. I think it helps them in their narrative. I think it helps stir up their base. I think that the people supporting them are going to be there at the end.
We can talk about this all we want. We got 101 days to the election. The only poll that counts is the one that takes place on November 8th.
TAPPER: Absolutely. Mary Katharine, what do you think? If you were advising Mr. Trump, which you're not doing, would you say stop that kind of talk or --
MARY KATHARINE HAM, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: There's almost never a place where I wouldn't say, maybe there's a different way we could do this. But of all the things of the scale of things we can worry about during this election, from the e-mail scandal, to Trump say, hey, why don't you guys leak more emails to be part of the U.S. election, this is not one that ranks high on my list.
[16:20:11] It's figurative and he said it about the other Republican nominees as well. TAPPER: Neera, there are obviously -- it was a my minority, but there
were some very vocal Sanders supporters disrupting the convention, disrupting Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Leon Panetta, General Allen, the Medal of Honor recipient. If they can't be won over by then, are they even worth trying to get? Are they gone, you think?
NEERA TANDEN, FORMER POLICY DIRECTOR, HILLARY CLINTON'S 2008 CAMPAIGN: No, actually, I think the vast, vast, vast majority of Bernie Sanders supporters will actually be there for Hillary in the end. I think you actually saw that in the convention. A lot of the Sanders delegates were supporting Hillary in the end. They stood up for her. I think that's a broad trend.
There are obviously a very small percentage of folks supporting Jill Stein, and that may continue. But it will be a minority of a minority of a minority. I've talked to a lot of Bernie Sanders delegates a folks in their campaign who were embarrassed by some of the activity. I think that's going to help unify the party.
The big difference you'll see is Hillary is not going to ever attack Bernie Sanders, denigrate him. And I think you'll see as we go forward there will be more and more unity. She really reached out to Bernie Sanders supporters in her remarks yesterday.
In stark contrast to what, you know, unfortunately, Donald Trump does every day -- in that clip right there, still needling Republicans for opposing him. That's not how you build a unified party. And that's one of the big differences as we saw between last week and this week.
TAPPER: Stephanie, Democrats were really trying to paint a picture of Donald Trump not only as a flawed candidate but not sane. I mean, Michael Bloomberg said that Hillary Clinton is the only sane candidate. You heard me throw it to Tim Kaine, and he wouldn't back off it. He basically said, hey, I don't know him. Michael Bloomberg does.
If he's so insane, then why is he at least according to some polls winning?
STEPHANIE CUTTER, CLINTON SUPPORTER: Well, I think that Trump reinforces this narrative. I understand what Sam was saying, but his comment about knocking people around because of comments they're making feeds into this.
Hillary Clinton said it last night, that if he could be baited with just a simple tweet, then he shouldn't be trusted with nuclear weapons. And, you know, I think that there is a temperament issue that is very important. There's a temperament issue. There's a qualification issue. And there's a details issue.
And all of them together make up an argument that this guy is not ready to be the commander in chief.
TAPPER: If he's not, then how come he's winning?
CUTTER: He's not winning, Jake. Come on. TAPPER: Well, the last poll -- whatever. If he's so crazy, then why isn't she up by 20 points?
CUTTER: Well, I think that the polls over the next two to three weeks will show this race shaking out. I don't know how much of a bounce Clinton will get. Maybe she won't get one.
But I think this nation has close elections. We know that. The country is very politically divided. But as Neera said, the Republican Party is so far from being united around this candidate, and you don't have to take that from Democrats saying that. You can take it from Republicans saying that.
And they need a place to go. Democrats are making a specific appeal. Ultimately, as Lindsey Graham said, this is going to come down to, for many Republicans, a choice between their hate for Hillary Clinton or their love of their country. They'll ultimately, I believe, choose love of country and dot right thing and make sure Donald Trump doesn't become the president.
TAPPER: I'll put it to you, Sam. If that's their depiction of Mr. Trump, why do you think it's not working at least yet, the way they want it to?
CLOVIS: I just think because a lot of -- I think people sit around this table or people in this town or New York --
TAPPER: Hey, you're sitting around this table. Don't be so harsh.
CLOVIS: No, I am. I criticize myself at times because I get wrapped up in the bubble.
But I think a lot of times, we have not fully acknowledged what's going on in this country. We really haven't. And we have not for a year acknowledged the angst and the uncertainty and the anger and the depth of this and how far it goes, because it goes to every ethnic group. It goes to every religion. It goes to every strata of the economic ladder that we have in this country.
And there is deep, deep uncertainly, I think deep doubt about the government, period, regardless of who's running it, whether it's Republicans or Democrats. And I think this is really one of those things that we really don't know.
I think -- I want to talk a little bit about the undecideds. I think one thing I'm surprised how small that number is already. I thought it would be much bigger. I think we're going to see that slide a little bit more undecided as we go forward in this, as people start to see the shake out and the comparisons.
I still believe in my heart of hearts that you still have to give people a reason to vote for you as opposed to voting against somebody else.
[16:25:04] And I think that this is the challenge of both candidates because they both have high negatives. They both have issues that they have to deal with. I really think that this is going to be the challenge for both campaigns, to see how well we're able to go out here and shape that narrative as we go forward.
TAPPER: All right. Stick around, everyone. We're going to take a quick break.
Can Hillary Clinton convince skeptical voters that I don't really know the real her? We have much more to discuss with our panel next.
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD.
We're looking at live pictures from UCCS in Colorado Springs, Colorado. We are waiting for Mr. Donald J. Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, to show up at the rally. And we will bring that to you live when it happens.
In the meantime, let's continue to chat with the panel about the Democratic Convention.