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Pence Denounces Duke; Pence Meets with GOP Leaders; Pagliano a No Show. Aired 1-1:30p ET
Aired September 13, 2016 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, I'm Wolf Blitzer. It's noon in Des Moines, Iowa, 1:00 p.m. here in Washington, 8:00 in Aleppo, Syria. Wherever you're watching from around the world, thanks very much for joining us.
Right now, we're keeping an eye on the two big stages. One in Clive Iowa where Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, is set to speak, literally at any moment. The other in Philadelphia. That's where President Barack Obama hits the campaign trail this hour in support of his party's candidate, Hillary Clinton. All of this with just under 56 days to go until the U.S. presidential election; 13 days out from the first presidential debate.
The two campaigns are in very different footing right now. Donald Trump is on the offensive, taking shots at Hillary Clinton over her calling half of his supporters, I'm quoting now, "deplorables." That has become the nexus of his latest attacks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have everybody supporting us, folks. Everybody. We have people -- we have people that have been so successful. We have some that haven't quite been as successful. Let me tell you, we have everybody, because everybody knows what a mess our country is in. She looks down on the people who cook her meals, drive her cars and dig the coal that power her electricity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: On the other side, you have the Clinton campaign. Right now, Hillary Clinton is scheduled to get back into the campaign game by Thursday at a Congressional Hispanic caucus event here in Washington. But for now, she's obeying her doctor's orders of getting some rest while she deals with a bout of pneumonia. That has put Clinton and her campaign on the defense, spending the majority of their time explaining her illness and the reason her diagnosis wasn't revealed right away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (via telephone): I just didn't think it was going to be that big a deal. You know, I know Chuck said today, he didn't tell anybody. It's just the kind of thing that if it happens to you, and you're a busy, active person, you keep moving forward.
And, you know, I think it's fair to say, Anderson, that people know more about me than almost anyone in public life. It's so strange that with all of that information out there and as soon as it became clear I couldn't power through, we -- you know, we said what was going on.
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They think everything's a campaign issue. I think her lifestyle and her underlying indicator, from blood pressure to amount of exercise to everything else, means it's almost certain she's in better health than her opponent. But we don't know because he hasn't disclosed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: The Clinton campaign is pushing for more transparency from Donald Trump, from medical records to tax records to charitable foundation records. But for Donald Trump, he's got his foot on the gas right now, full speed ahead with his attacks against Hillary Clinton.
Our National Correspondent Jason Carroll is in Iowa right now at the Trump event. Our White House correspondent Michelle Kosinski is with the president in Philadelphia for the Clinton event later this hour. We'll have coverage of both. Stand by for that.
Jason, should we expect Donald Trump to keep focusing in on that Narrative and Clinton's deplorables' comment?
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Without question, Wolf. And, look, even before I walked into this venue, I ran into a woman who was wearing an I Love Deplorables T-shirt. She had made it herself. One of the speakers who was just up a short while ago reached out and said, look, what a great looking group of deplorables. And the crowd erupted with applause.
This is something, Wolf, that has really touched a nerve with a number of Trump supporters. The Trump campaign knows that. Trump criticized Clinton for this last night. He's going to do it again today. When he takes the stage a few moments from now, expect more criticism. He says it's more evidence that Hillary Clinton is out of touch with working-class voters.
So, more criticism of Clinton today. Tonight, though, Wolf, we should tell you, Trump will be talking policy, when he's in Pennsylvania. He'll be unveiling his child care affordability plan. His daughter, Ivanka Trump, planning to join him. She's been actively involved in putting together this plan.
So, tonight it's going to be policy, but today, here in Iowa, it's going to be all that criticism of Hillary Clinton and that deplorables comment -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Yes, we're told he'll hit the Hillary Clinton campaign very hard.
Michelle, you're there in Philadelphia. The president of the United States will be speaking later this hour there. We're told, he's going to be hitting Donald Trump pretty hard as well. What are you hearing about the tone, the substance of what the president will say?
MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Well, you know, generally, the president likes to stay out of the fray. He doesn't like to even mention his name when he's out in a public event like this. He will refer, though, to the Republican candidate. In a setting like this, he likes to give these kinds of digs, sometimes using humor to get the crowd going. Kind of in a side, like, hint, hint, we all know who I'm talking about. Right?
[13:05:07] It's really when he's in a press conference setting, that he's asked questions directly about certain things Donald Trump has said that he gets more cutting; that he really gets critical. I mean, recently, we've heard him say that Donald Trump is not qualified to be president of the United States (INAUDIBLE.) And the president said he proves that every time he opens his mouth.
I don't know that he's going to be that critical here. I mean, at an event like this, where he has hundreds of people gathered here in Philadelphia at the art museum steps, known as the rocky steps. He likes to keep the tone very positive. He likes to boost Hillary Clinton. Try to rev the base up. Get people out to vote.
That's really what the White House sees President Obama's number one goal being. Not necessarily to try to win voters away from Donald Trump. I mean, look at this, obviously, he's preaching to the choir. But they see him as motivating people to get the vote out. And that's what's really going to be critical, of course, in this tight race -- Wolf.
BLITZER: This is the first time, Michelle, that the president has gone out on his own, solo, to campaign for Hillary Clinton. But what do we expect in the weeks to come between now and November 8th, the day of the election?
KOSINSKI: I mean, we did expect to see more. Remember a couple of months ago, we were talking how President Obama would likely be the most active president on the campaign trail in history. But we really haven't seen that, mainly because of his schedule. Remember, that first event planned with Hillary Clinton had to be postponed because of the Orlando shootings. So, some unforeseen events got in the way as well. And that was such a difficult time that he had to focus on and kind of cool things off a little bit.
And we saw him out with Hillary in July. And, of course, two months ago, on the campaign trail. That seems like an eternity. But his schedule is still difficult this month. We just got back from a foreign trip. He has the U.N. general assembly coming up. So, it's really going to be October that we see him active.
And, you know, we've seen reports out there and people speculating that he might spend virtually the entire month out on the trail. Our sources say that's probably not going to be possible, for it to be that that extent. But we surely can expect to see much, much more of him as soon as we see October -- Wolf. BLITZER: And we'll have live coverage of his remarks coming up.
Michelle Kosinski, thank you very much. Jason Carroll in Iowa with Donald Trump. He's expected to speak momentarily. Thanks to you, Jason, as well.
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, they're trading blows over whose campaign is less transparent. In an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper, Hillary Clinton tried to turn the tables on Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON (via telephone): You've got a medical report on me that meets the same standard as Mitt Romney and Barack Obama. Donald Trump's doctor said he'd be the healthiest president in history. That's just not even serious. And I've released nearly 40 years of tax returns. He hasn't released one. This is a man with unknown numbers of partners and investors who says he's doing 120 foreign deals. The American people deserve to know what he's up to and what he is hiding.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: All right, let's bring in our panel. Our Senior Political Reporter Nia-Malika Henderson is with us, "Time" magazine political reporter, Zeke Miller and "Washington Post" political reporter, Ed O'Keefe. Guys, thanks very much for joining us.
All right, Nia, is this an effective strategy that we saw her display last night in that phone interview with Anderson Cooper?
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes, I think so. I mean, we obviously know that she has transparency problems and you see those showing up in her trustworthy numbers. And this episode with her health issue just magnified that.
So, I think in turning the tables on Donald Trump, she's going to make sure that he's getting questions about his tax returns, getting questions about the Clinton Foundation. The Clinton campaign has, long ago, sort of pushed this idea that Donald Trump doesn't have -- isn't judged by the same standards. Right? That he gets a pass on many of these things. That the press sometimes let's him get a pass.
And so, I think in trying to turn the conversation to Donald Trump, it is affective. And we've seen Donald Trump trying to do the same thing with her. And I think it also kind of waters down one of his key arguments about her which is that she's the one who's got something to hide. She's the one who's lacking in transparency. So, yes, I think we'll continue to see her do that and Donald Trump.
BLITZER: He's under a lot of pressure, Zeke, to release his tax returns. Says he can't do that because he's still under IRS audit. Earlier this morning on CNN's "NEW DAY," Alisyn Camerota, our Anchor, asked him for some proof that he is under IRS audit. And this is what he said. This isn't Trump. This is --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELLYANNE CONWAY, MANAGER, TRUMP CAMPAIGN: Are you calling him a liar?
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST, "NEW DAY": Well, we're taking his word for it.
CONWAY: Are you calling him a liar? And we're taking Hillary Clinton's word that she was overheated and didn't have pneumonia or that she's going to be aspirational, uplifting, or she's going to start talking to the press again. I mean, seriously, we're going to -- we're running against a Clinton and we're going to challenge someone's veracity?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[13:10:01] BLITZER: That was campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, basically saying he's under audit. You know, you're calling him a liar if you want proof. You know, this is -- this is a sensitive issue for both of these campaigns, but Hillary Clinton has released 20 years of her IRS returns.
ZEKE MILLER, POLITICAL REPORTER, "TIME": Yes, I mean, there are a lot of ways this campaign to be a disappointment. I mean, it's been a kind of a race to the bottom when it comes to press access, transparency, disclosure -- voluntary disclosure of any sort of information. You know, for instance, the basket of deplorables comment from Friday night and that was at a fund-raiser Hillary Clinton had. Traditionally, she has broken with -- speaking of breaking with, the president from Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton generally doesn't allow press in her fund-raisers.
And in both cases, in terms of getting information out to the press in a timely manner, on Sunday morning when she had the health episode, she waited a while -- her campaign waited a while before telling the press about it. And he has -- Donald Trump and his tax returns. Yes, he's asking for people to trust him. And, yes, he does get a bit of a pass but mostly from voters, not the press. It's weird we're talking about this right now. His voters, right now, don't care that he's not releasing his tax returns.
BLITZER: The president of the United States arriving in Philadelphia, just moments ago. He's going to be speaking shortly. Later this hour in Philadelphia at the campaign rally in support of Hillary Clinton.
Ed, is there any indication, at all, and you covered this very well, that Donald Trump is going to release at least some aspects of his tax -- even the years that already have been audited up to 2008. He could release those. He could also just release the percentage of tax he paid, the charitable contributions he made. He could release that kind of information without jeopardizing his audit?
ED O'KEEFE, POLITICAL REPORTER, "THE WASHINGTON POST": And I'd say, those of us at the "Washington Post" who've been looking at this, specifically my colleague, David Fahrenthold, I think would be thrilled to see all that information, because it's led to reams of reporting that include no comment from the campaign and thus leave all these questions open.
So, yes, he absolutely could. He could release a lot more medical information as well. But the excuse of, well, I may not have given anything but he's worse. Sorry. I mean, everyone at this table, everyone in this building and every news organization should be furious with both of these campaigns for being so secretive, frankly, about this stuff. And it was encouraging to see the Clinton campaign admit that over the weekend, perhaps, they stumbled a bit in informing us of all these things.
But it's still no excuse. This person wants to be the most powerful person in the world. Voters, traditionally, want this. And if supporters of either of them are upset with us about that, well, it's because we've been doing this on their behalf all this -- all these years and we expect it this time as well.
BLITZER: Yes. Remember, in 2008, John McCain, who was then, what, 70 or 71 years old. He released everything --
BLITZER: -- and he invited medical correspondents like our own Dr. Sanjay Gupta to spend hours going through all the records and then speaking to the physicians who treated him.
HENDERSON: That's right and I don't think we're going to necessarily see that this time. Although, Joe Biden seemed to suggest that maybe we'll hear from Hillary Clinton's doctor on Thursday. I guess we'll hear Dr. Oz interview Donald Trump about his own medical history, which I think will have, sort of, a veneer of an interview and a -- the veneer of access. But it will be --
O'KEEFE: Yes, but he won't ask tough questions. Yes.
HENDERSON: Yes, but he won't ask tough questions and Dr. Oz obviously has his own issues with credibility.
But, you know -- but even in 2008, if you look back at that campaign, Barack Obama only released a very minimum about his, you know, health records, in 2012. Mitt Romney, same thing. It was, basically, a single page. A physical kind of cholesterol numbers. So, you know, and that's, in some ways, what Hillary Clinton is doing this time as well.
BLITZER: He did say, yesterday, Donald Trump, Zeke, that he had a complete physical checkup last week and he would release the results, the numbers, later this week. I assume you're referring he'd release them on the Dr. Oz show.
MILLER: Yes. And he said -- he said he'd turn them over to Dr. Oz. Dr. Oz did an interview this morning where he said he wouldn't ask tough questions of Mr. Trump. And that seems to be an interesting, you know, way of (INAUDIBLE.) We'll see if he releases them publicly, and if that releases any more detail than the one we got last year which was that comical, two-paragraph statement from his doctor that he then said was written from the back of a limousine, that didn't really reveal very much about the candidate's health, other than a doctor who we don't know having to take a -- take his word for it.
O'KEEFE: I mean, releasing your medical records to Dr. Oz is like releasing your tax returns to Drew Carey on "The Price Is Right." I mean, it's ridiculous. If you want to do this, you know, release it to the news media. Release it on your Web site. Allow all the American public to look at this to whatever extent they want to. Be transparent about it. And anything short of that, I just don't understand, in this day and age, when so much information is out there about everybody else, we can't learn a little bit more about them. What are they hiding?
BLITZER: Yes, that's an interesting point. You know, I had a chance to interview the Republican vice presidential running mate, Mike Pence. He was in the "THE SITUATON ROOM " last night. And I asked him about what -- you know, Hillary Clinton's been talking about this basket of deplorables, if you will. And we had this exchange. Let me play it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. MIKE PENCE (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm not really sure why the media keeps dropping David Duke's name. Donald Trump has denounced David Duke repeatedly. We don't want his support and we don't want the support of people who think like him.
BLITZER: Well, you called him a deplorable? You would call him that?
PENCE: No, I don't -- I'm not in the name-calling business, Wolf. You know me better than that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: And then, this morning, he was asked to follow up when he had a news conference up on Capitol Hill. He said David Duke was a bad guy, but he wasn't going to get into the name-calling again.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes. Yes. which I guess if you're calling him a bad guy, that is a form of name-calling? They don't want to give up this talking point of deplorable. They - the Trump campaign. You're going to see, I think, Trump talk about it today. And you see them releasing ads on it. So he doesn't want to use that phrase, "deplorable," that word "deplorable" to describe David Duke, because they like this talking point. They think it does them some good. They think it energizes their supporters and there's certainly proof that it energizes Trump supporters as well as Hillary Clinton supporters.
ZEKE MILLER, POLITICAL REPORTER, "TIME": And you want to talk about name calling. I mean this would be a lot more believable talking point if Mike Pence's running mate wasn't Donald Trump, who has come up with "crooked Hillary," and, you know, "low energy Jeb Bush." I mean who made his - his bones in this campaign so far name-calling all of these candidates. It would be a lot more of a defensible position on Mike Pence's part.
BLITZER: There's been a lot of name-calling so far. ED O'KEEFE, POLITICAL REPORTER, "THE WASHINGTON POST": There
absolutely has. And this deplorables thing now enters the vernacular the way the 47 percent did four years ago and, "you didn't build that" bit with Joe the Plumber and, "drill, baby drill." It very quickly baked in. And to be clear, look, the Republican Party has said, from Reince Priebus on down, they're not supporting David Duke's candidacy. I think it's pretty clear, the party would prefer he's not running for the Senate in Louisiana and - and they've made that clear.
BLITZER: Yes, it was clear that Mike Pence, you know, he denounced David Duke.
BLITZER: And didn't want to have anything to do with him. Didn't want his supporters in all of that, but he's getting some heat because he didn't say "deplorable."
MILLER: He wouldn't use the "d" word.
BLITZER: But that - but that's a word that Hillary Clinton came up with, so they don't want to give it credibility.
HENDERSON: Exactly. Exactly.
BLITZER: He could have come up with another word if he wanted to -
BLITZER: But that's - that's what - the way it is right now.
All right, don't go too far anyway. We're standing by.
The Republican vice president candidate, Mike Pence, he was up on Capitol Hill today defending his decision not to call David Duke deplorable. We'll have more on that. And meeting with one of Trump's biggest rivals. The vice presidential nominee met with Ted Cruz. We're getting some details. Fascinating information.
And Trump says he's given tens of millions of dollars to charity over the years. So far he's provided no proof. We're going to take a closer look into the details of the Trump charitable foundation. That's coming up.
[13:21:31] BLITZER: Donald Trump getting ready to speak we're told momentarily in Clive, Iowa. There you see the podium. We'll take - we'll have live coverage of the Republican nominee once he gets up before the microphone. Also we've got some live pictures from Philadelphia, where President
Obama is campaigning for Hillary Clinton. He will take the stage later this hour as well. He arrived a little while ago aboard Air Force One and then he went out to the crowds there near the tarmac, greeted some of the folks getting ready for his speech in support of Hillary Clinton.
Trump's running mate, Mike Pence, meanwhile, spent the morning meeting with Republican lawmakers up on Capitol Hill. Among those on the list, the Texas Republican senator, former Trump rival, Ted Cruz.
Let's bring in our senior political reporter Manu Raju. He's up on Capitol Hill.
This is very interesting because all of us remember that Ted Cruz, he had a platform at the Republican Convention in Cleveland, spoke there, but pointedly did not endorse Donald Trump. What do we know about what happened today?
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, we don't know yet whether or not Ted Cruz will actually endorse Donald Trump before November. We know that Mike Pence and Ted Cruz actually have a pretty good relationship. Mike Pence endorsing Ted Cruz in that Indiana Republican primary. So they clearly have some - some friendship that they can rely on and having this discussion going forward. But both camps actually are now realizing that it would be beneficial to come to terms. Why? Because on the Donald Trump side of the equation, Mike Pence is here to help unite the party, and Donald Trump still having a hard time bringing a lot of his party behind him, particularly folks on Capitol Hill, people who supported other presidential candidates, and people who, frankly, don't like the way that his campaign has been run. Mike Pence trying to deal with that. Getting Ted Cruz onboard would help in that regard.
But also on Ted Cruz' side, Wolf, he may have a primary challenge in his Senate race in 2018. And his speech at the convention really angered a lot of Donald Trump supporters. Perhaps if he were to do a little bit more to help Donald Trump, maybe that would alleviate some of that tension heading into a possible primary challenge himself in 2018. So both sides to see a political benefit here. We'll see what happens when we get a chance to talk to them later today, Wolf.
BLITZER: Mike Pence also met with the congressional Republican leadership, including the speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, and then they all emerged at a news conference. You were there. How did that go?
RAJU: You know, he was asked about the issue about whether or not he considers David Duke deplorable. You had asked him about that yesterday, Wolf, and he sidestepped that question, saying that, you know, I don't get into name-calling. This was Mike Pence, of course. Today he was asked whether or not he would amend that statement, whether or not he actually believes David Duke, the former KKK leader, is deplorable. Here's what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOV. MIKE PENCE (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald Trump and I have denounced David Duke repeatedly. We have said that we do not want his support, and we do not want the support of people who think like him. And yesterday I was - I was asked a question about that, and I repeated that again. And the simple fact is that I'm not in the name- calling business. My colleagues in the House of Representatives know that I believe that civility is essential in a vibrant democracy and it's just never been my practice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RAJU: So Democrats already jumping all over Mike Pence saying he should have called David Duke deplorable. So this debate over the basket of deplorables, that comment that Hillary Clinton made on Friday, still playing out, probably not going away anytime soon, Wolf.
[13:25:03] BLITZER: Also up on Capitol Hill, very interesting, I was watching some of the coverage, the House Oversight Committee holding a hearing on Hillary Clinton's private e-mail server. Tell us about this, because those who showed up to testify, it was - it was pretty fascinating.
RAJU: Yes, you know, you emphasize those who showed up. Bryan Pagliano, who's one of the two people who set up that private e-mail server, did not show up, even though he was served with a subpoena prompting a really bitter back and forth between the Republicans and the Democrats on that committee about whether or not he should have showed up to that hearing.
But another man, Justin Cooper, who's a former Bill Clinton aide, who did help set up that private e-mail server, was asked a bunch of questions about what he knew about setting up this server. You know, he said that he was not a technical expert. So didn't really get into a lot of details for these members. But also saying that he did not have a security clearance while he set up this server. So this is going to just add fuel to the fire of that debate over Clinton's e- mail server and Republicans are going to go after Mr. Pagliano for not showing up at today's hearing, Wolf.
BLITZER: Yes, this investigation will go on and on and on, I suspect. Even if Hillary Clinton is elected in November, the investigations up on The Hill will continue to go forward.
Manu, thanks very much. Manu Raju reporting from Capitol Hill.
Coming up, Hillary Clinton, once again, calling on Donald Trump to release his tax returns. This as new questions arise about Trump's charitable contributions. We'll discuss it with a senior adviser to his campaign, Jack Kingston. There you see him. He's standing by live.
We'll take a quick break. We'll be right back.