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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA
Vice Team Clinton Out on Campaign Trail Today; Presidential Debate Tonight; GOP Senator Kelly Ayotte "Misspoke" for Saying Trump a Role Model; Brett O'Donnell Talks V.P. Debate. Aired 11:30-12p ET
Aired October 4, 2016 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:30:31] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Tim Kaine and Mike Pence get ready to step into the spotlight. There is a show of support for the rest of Team Clinton today. Bill Clinton campaigning in Ohio this hour. Later today, Clinton's formal rival, Bernie Sanders, hitting the trail in Minnesota. Elizabeth Warren campaigning in Nevada.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: We're waiting on two events, starting moments from now. I believe we have some live pictures. First Lady Michelle Obama, she'll be speaking in Charlotte, North Carolina, shortly, while Hillary Clinton and her daughter, Chelsea, hold a joint appearance in Haverford in Pennsylvania.
CNN senior CNN Washington correspondent, Joe Johns, joins us now from Haverford -- Joe?
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Hey, John. A lot going on her. First, I have to mention this big crowd here in Haverford, Pennsylvania, standing-room only, an overflow crowd outside on a day that looks like rain.
Also today, most importantly, far from this room, the Clinton campaign is putting out a new video this morning in the run-up to the vice presidential debate, essentially suggesting that Mike Pence and Donald Trump are the very same candidate. So there's that.
With Hillary Clinton, her daughter, Chelsea, arriving here in Haverford, what we're seeing is an attempt by the campaign to voters as we move toward the October 11th voter registration deadline in so many states, including right here in Pennsylvania. Hillary Clinton trying to latch on to what has been called the Obama coalition of young voters, minorities, as well as women.
The focus here in Haverford this morning is very much about women, Hillary Clinton zeroing in on her support of the children's health insurance program. Talking also -- we expect her to talk, I should say, about issues related to child care and pushing hard on women's issues, in hopes of getting out the vote, so she moves on to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, later, after this.
John and Kate, back to you.
BERMAN: Joe Johns for us in Haverford. Thanks so much. The main event today in Farmville, Virginia. We're talking about the vice presidential debate tonight at 9:00 p.m. eastern.
BOLDUAN: Joining us to talk more about that is the RNC director of Hispanic Communications, Helen Aguirre Ferre.
Helen, thanks so much for joining us.
HELEN AGUIRRE FERRE, DIRECTOR OF HISPANIC COMMUNICATIONS, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: Well, thank you. So glad to be here.
BOLDUAN: Thank you.
BOLDUAN: We're having some fun this hour playing a game. A list of four names.
BOLDUAN: Exactly. Take your list.
BOLDUAN: Hillary Clinton, Tim Kaine, Mike Pence, Donald Trump, who is this debate most about tonight?
FERRE: This debate should be about the American voters.
BERMAN: They're not on the list.
BOLDUAN: They're not on that list!
FERRE: Well, you didn't say I had to stick to the list.
Well, if that's the way it's going to be, I'm going to say this is going to be about Hillary Clinton. Because Mike Pence is going to talk about Hillary Clinton. What an accomplishment to her, there isn't anything she can say she did successfully. She certainly doesn't boost about it on this campaign. As Senator, she doesn't have another accomplishment you can mention either. In fact, in her 30 years as a career politician, there isn't anything she can boast to in her accomplishment. Yet, she wants us to believe she will deliver when she becomes president. Why should we believe that? She has no record to fall on.
BERMAN: I get the sense from your answer there that this is going to be an event tonight or it should be an event tonight or you think it should be an event tonight where Mike Pence goes hard on the attack after Tim Kaine, but really Hillary Clinton, is that what Mike Pence should do on the stage tonight?
FERRE: What Mike Pence will do is what he's always done well, which is serve the best interest of the voters and talk about the issues that really matter, like jobs, economy, health care. You see what's happening with Obamacare. Even Bill Clinton said Obamacare's absolutely bizarre and ridiculous because it's done the opposite of what it promised to do. Mike Pence is going to talk about the issues that are really important to voters. That what he's going to be doing.
BOLDUAN: Helen, do you see Donald Trump as a role model?
FERRE: I think Donald Trump is going to be an amazing leader. I can tell you that when I look at what veterans, what Medal of Honor recipients and so many who put their name on the line, retired generals, are saying that he's the person who should lead our nation, I'm saying that's something we should really look at. It shows he's got the temperament, the strength of character to lead. Said so, by those who put their lives on the line for our nation.
BOLDUAN: Right, but Senator --
BERMAN: Right, but there is someone not saying it or maybe saying it and taking it back. Let's listen to Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire last night. She was asked, is Donald Trump a role model in the debate, and this was her answer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[11:35:24] UNIDENTIFIED DEBATE MODERATOR: Will you tell them to be like Donald Trump? Would you point to him as a role model?
SEN. KELLY AYOTTE, (R), NEW HAMPSHIRE: Well, I think that certainly there are many role models that we have and I believe he's -- can serve as president and so absolutely I would do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: All right, so that is what she said in the debate last night, which is not terribly different from what you just said. But afterwards, she felt some need to correct it, to clean it up. She put out a statement, the Senator did, that said, "I misspoke tonight. While I would hope that all of our children would aspire to be president, neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton have been set a good example. I wouldn't hold up either of them as role models for my kids."
What does it say that a Republican Senator running for re-election won't say the man at the top of the ticket, who would be commander-in- chief, isn't a role model for kids?
FERRE: I would say -- I can't speak for Senator Ayotte but I think most parents don't look for professional politicians or for politicians in general to be the role model --
BERMAN: Oh, man, you can't tell me that kids -- that parents don't look up to the president of the United States as a role model. I think most often presidents are at the very top of list.
FERRE: I would say it's been a very long time. If you remember, it's been a long time since people have looked at the president to be the role model. I think people are looking for other role models to chose from. I think it's a very personal thing. I think kids should be looking to their parents as role models, at their teachers, and those who are very close. People in the public sector are very public people, and you don't know them personally, so that's a very different thing.
BOLDUAN: You don't think that kids should look up to the president?
FERRE: I think that it's an individual and it's a choice. When I tell -- I have never -- I have three kids. I never told them to look at the president as a role model. I always told them to look at people that I knew that I knew well to be the role models. I know picked the right role models. I picked their grandparents. I said look at your father. Those are the ones that I look at as role models, people in my community and my churches.
But if you guys want to pick, you know, a president to be your role model, that's absolutely fine.
But here, this isn't about being, you know, who's the role model to your kids, this is about who's the right leader for our country. This is a person who's going to lead us to the future, who's going to talk about jobs, the economy and national security. I can tell you one thing. it's not Hillary Clinton who's the right role model. She hasn't delivered at all. As a matter of fact, she's left a lot to -- you know, she's left a lot to be desired.
BOLDUAN: It seems a well-respected member of the Senate who's running for re-election, doesn't think the top of the ticket is a role model as well. That's why it's not worthy.
FERRE: And I have great respect for Senator Ayotte. I know you always want somebody, you know, who has the best intentions in the world, but in general terms, you know, I say, look, when you're looking for a candidate who's going to be president, you're looking for right leader for this particular point in time where you have to agree, come on, we're looking at an election year where it's very different. The majority of people are unhappy where we are. 70 percent say the country's going in the wrong direction. The Obama legacy
BOLDUAN: -- liberals who don't think it's going to be --
BERMAN: We've got to --
FERRE: We have to -- a lot has to do with the Obama legacy --
BERMAN: I don't think, in closing, it's controversial to say the president should be a role model but I appreciate your point of view. (CROSSTALK)
FERRE: -- but what I did said -- as a parent I never chose a president to be my kid's role model. I always chose somebody that we knew in our family or in our community.
BERMAN: Helen Ferre, great to have you with us. Really appreciate it.
BOLDUAN: Thanks, Helen.
FERRE: Thank you.
BERMAN: Hillary Clinton, she has come down with a bad case of the bounce, but this is one syndrome you do not want to kick. The question is, will it spread to key swing states? The man with the electoral map tattooed on his back, John King, joins us next.
BOLDUAN: Speaking of bounce, what can the men taking the stage here tonight do to help their candidate, or is it simply more about doing no harm? The showdown between the number twos is upon us. The world's pre-eminent debate coach will be joining us.
[11:43:33] BOLDUAN: The backdrop of tonight's big debate here in Farmville, Virginia, is the state of the race across the country. Where do things stand right now? Hillary Clinton in a new CNN poll up five points nationally.
BERMAN: And joining us to talk about what it means and explain the tattoo on his back, John King, CNN chief national correspondent, the anchor of "Inside Politics."
Mr. King --
BOLDUAN: I don't know where this joke started this morning.
BERMAN: It started right there.
BOLDUAN: But --
BERMAN: It started right there.
It's great to have you with us.
We have this national poll but we know presidential elections are not decided in a national popular vote. They're decided by the states. What does the map look like today?
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT & CNN ANCHOR, INSIDE POLITICS: The national polls, you're dead right, they don't normally matter. If a candidate is up in this political environment five points, the national poll does matter because it tells you the important swing states, they are the battleground states and they track the country. If you look at the Electoral College map, we have Hillary Clinton
winning if the election if held today, 272 to 196. You see the toss- up states in gold, Nevada, where Trump has been leading, Hillary Clinton now ahead there. Ohio, Trump is leading there. North Carolina and Florida, two new polls out in the last 24 hours showing Hillary Clinton ahead in those states. Donald Trump cannot win without Ohio, North Carolina and Florida. You simply can't do the math. Even if he wins those three, it's not enough. They are the foundation.
As we enter the vice presidential debate, and then not to dismiss tonight, more importantly, the second presidential debate Sunday night, Donald Trump has to change this conversation. If Hillary is up five points nationally and up in Pennsylvania, up in North Carolina, up in Florida, up big in Virginia, up comfortably in Colorado, ahead narrowly in Nevada, that is a recipe for a Clinton presidency, period.
So you had a momentum swing after the first debate. We've had plenty in this election. It's not over. We have 35 days. That is a long time. Hillary Clinton knows this. At the moment, she's in command of the map, and that's how you win.
[11:45:20] BOLDUAN: If you look at the map like you just did and you laid it all at where they're traveling, I want to get your take on where Donald Trump should be. Clinton campaign, they're out in force, Ohio, North Carolina, Minnesota and Nevada. That's just today. Donald Trump is going to be in Arizona.
KING: Well, Arizona's been one of those states people say, will it, could it, is it in play. By DNA, it looks like no. But five weeks is a long time. So there's no fault in Donald Trump touching some red states that might be a little bit squishy just to shore up your base. Now is when you do it. If Donald Trump is back there in the last week in October, then Donald Trump is in trouble. Donald Trump's going there now because he's also going to Nevada. He's out west, in the neighborhood, it makes perfect sense. You want to go to Nevada, so you stop in Arizona. Makes perfect sense to do that. If you're doing that in the final days, that's a sign of weakness.
BERMAN: That's the "where." What about the "who?" Let's turn back to Hillary Clinton. Who does she need to be talking to? What voting group also does she need more of going forward?
KING: Number one, she has a problem with Millennials. If you look at the Obama coalition, if they turn out and votes for her, she wins. That's the demography of America now. She's bleeding Millennials mostly to Gary Johnson, and to a lesser degree, Jill Stein. If you look at a few states, if you're Clinton's campaign, you get nervous about maybe New Mexico. It's solid blue. She has a big lead. But it's Johnson's home state. It's comfortable for her now but keep an eye on things like that. In our national poll, she gained, she's still losing, but among white voters who lack a college degree, that's Donald Trump's big area of support. But Hillary closed the margin a little bit. That's good for her. Right now, she's winning the Independents. There' a small group of Independents swinging back and forth. Donald Trump was leading them in our poll in early September. Hillary Clinton is leading them now. Mitt Romney won Independents on Election Day 2012. If Hillary wins Independents on Election Day, she's the next president of the United States without a doubt.
So those are the groups you watch going forward. It's not just states they go to, what kind of events, what voters are they talking to.
BERMAN: There's a lot of college events for the Clintons now, college after college after college.
KING: She's rolling out the surrogates. She's with Chelsea Clinton today. Bernie Sanders doing a lot of college events. Watch Elizabeth Warren.
So one advantage the Democrats have now is they have a deep bench of surrogates. We'll see if it matters in this anti-politician environment. But on paper, anyway, it helps cover more ground.
BOLDUAN: Just like endorsements. What do they matter this election.
BOLDUAN: Great to see you, John. Thank you.
BERMAN: Your show in about 13 minutes.
You can see John if you didn't get enough.
BOLDUAN: Get the tattoo removed because you've got some work to do, some shading to work on.
Just a little over nine hours to go until the number twos step onto the stage and fight under the brightest of spotlights. Probably the brightest spotlight of their lives. Who's got the edge heading into the showdown? We're going to be live with one of the world's leading debate coaches, next.
[11:52:22] BERMAN: All right. Welcome back to Farmville, Virginia, site of the vice presidential debate. "Who am I, why am I here? Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy. Can I call you Joe?" These are words and phrases spoken at vice presidential debates. What history will be made here in Farmville in just, what, nine hours?
BOLDUAN: Nine hours. A big promise to keep that energy up for nine hours from now.
Joining us now to discuss the stakes tonight, Brett O'Donnell, Republican debate coach, president of O'Donnell and Associates, who helped many a candidate with debate prep including, Sarah Palin during the 2008 presidential debate.
Brett, so we look at a V.P. debate versus a presidential debate. Do you go into a debate as the running mate with a different approach than a presidential debate?
BRETT O'DONNELL, REPUBLICAN DEBATE COACH & PRESIDENT, O'DONNELL & ASSOCIATES: Absolutely. First of all, most people don't know who you are. And so they have to become familiar with you, and comfortable with you becoming president, should something happen, god forbid, to the top of the ticket. Additionally, you can't -- you're not there to advocate for yourself. You're there to advocate for your running mate. So you are really a mouthpiece for your running mate to make arguments and advance of the campaign narrative.
BERMAN: It's really funny. Like the one time you can get a politician to talk about someone other than him or herself, right? Get them vice presidential candidate on a debate stage.
For Tim Kaine, along those lines, he doesn't want to be debating Mike Pence. He wants to debate Donald Trump. So how do you turn Mike Pence into Donald Trump?
O'DONNELL: I think he'll use Donald Trump as a foil all night long. He may even come with a T-shirt that says, Trump, release your taxes, or Trump's a loser, whatever. He's going to try and erase Mike Pence from the stage and make it as though he's sitting across from Donald Trump. Mike Pence, on the other hand, has to be careful not to take that bait. If Pence finds himself an apologist for Donald Trump, rather than that advocate, it could be a long night.
BOLDUAN: When look at how Mike Pence walked that fine line or tried to do -- do that, kind of balancing act, he's done it pretty well. And when asked a question, to answer for Donald Trump, in avoiding pretty much answering the question. Listen here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, (R), INDIANA GOVERNOR & VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Sometimes things don't always come out like you mean. Right? And Donald Trump and I are absolutely determined to work together. We have different styles. You might have noticed that.
Well, look, Donald Trump has his own way of speaking in public life, and -- and look, in a political campaign, things can get a little rough and tumble, but I'll tell you, he and I stand shoulder to shoulder in the belief we can make America great again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[11:55:15] BOLDUAN: Saying Donald Trump has his own way in speaking in public life. I mean, can Mike Pence sustain that, though, for 90 minutes, Brett?
O'DONNELL: Well, that's his job. Got to change the campaign narrative. It's been a rough week for the Trump/Pence campaign and his job tonight is to change the conversation. If he is successful in doing that, if he's successful in taking every attack and pivoting back on to offense -- for example, he could drive a wedge on trade between Kaine and Clinton. Kaine supports TPP. Senator Clinton does not at this moment. So if he's successful in turning the conversation, then he will have put the campaign back on the rails. That's his job. It's a big one, but he can do it.
(CROSSTALK) BOLDUAN: It's a big job.
BERMAN: Brett O'Donnell, great to have you with us. Look forward to seeing you at the next debate.
We do have some breaking news. A new forecast out for Hurricane Matthew. This extremely dangerous storm hitting Haiti right now, and reason for concern in the United States. We'll tell you about it, next.