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Debate Night in America; Trump to Be Questioned About Vulgar Comments About Women; E-mail Hack Uncovers 2013 Clinton Speech to Bank. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired October 9, 2016 - 17:00   ET


[17:00:00] (CROWD CHEERING)

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Happening now, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, they meet in St. Louis for the second presidential debate.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Good afternoon, Wolf. Let Trump begin this debate on the defensive after a toxic video emerged Friday night. That's the fair word to describe it. He's heard in the video making extremely crude comments about women, all the way back in 2005, Wolf.

BLITZER: Hillary Clinton won the first debate, Erin, on points. Can Trump battle back and even the score or will Clinton win this one as well and put Trump's campaign in serious jeopardy?

BURNETT: There is so much at stake tonight. I'm Erin Burnett.

BLITZER: And I'm Wolf Blitzer. And you're in "The Situation Room".

Welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world to debate night in America. We're here at beautiful Washington University in St. Louis, four hours away from the second presidential debate. Co- moderated by our own Anderson Cooper and Martha Raddatz of ABC News.

And tonight could very well be Donald Trump's last chance to save his campaign. Both he and Hillary Clinton are here in St. Louis. This is the first time Trump has left his tower in New York since a tape exposed the candidate making some very vulgar comments about women, and CNN has learned the very first set of questions will tackle this controversy. Clinton gets to speak first, setting the tone for the entire evening.

One of Trump's top advisers says he will likely apologize but the candidate is also promising to make Clinton answer for her own husband's infidelities. First, I want to play for you that tape that caused so much of this chaos and I want to warn all of our viewers, it is graphic, contains obscene language.

Here is Trump during an appearance on "Access Hollywood" back in 2005.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I moved on her actually. You know she was down on Palm Beach. I moved on her and I failed. I'll admit it. I did try and (BLEEP) her. She was married.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's huge news.

TRUMP: No, no, Nancy. No this was - and I moved on her very heavily. In fact, I took her out furniture shopping. She wanted to get some furniture. I said, 'I'll show you where they have some nice furniture.' I took her out furniture. I moved on her like a bitch, but I couldn't get there, and she was married. Then all of a sudden I see her. She's now got the big phony tits and everything. She's totally changed her look. I better use some Tic Tacs, just in case I start kissing her. You know I'm automatically attracted to beautiful. I just start kissing them. It's like a magnet. Just kiss. I don't even wait. And when you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.


BLITZER: Hillary Clinton has her own controversy to address later tonight. An e-mail hack uncovering a speech Hillary Clinton delivered back in 2013 to a bank that contradicts some trade policies she has been touting during the course of this campaign.

And at one point, she is said to have told the bankers it is important to have, "a public and private position on such matters." A lot to talk about with our panel joining us now, our Chief Political Correspondent, Dana Bash; CNN Politics Executive Editor Mark Preston; and Senior Political Correspondent Brianna Keilar.

Mark, the big question tonight, how is Hillary Clinton going to handle that as such she gets to answer the first question -- that first question presumably will be this uproar over this Donald Trump video.

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Yeah. No doubt. And look, it's all definitely how she does this, Wolf. The fact of the matter is, she's coming in on the high ground.

Every time she has been attacked because of her husband's infidelities, her poll numbers have gone up. I think what we expect to hear from Hillary Clinton is that she will tie all of what Donald Trump has done over the past week, put it to competency, out it to the fact of lack of the ability to control himself and ask, do you want this gentleman who can't control himself talking about women being the next leader of the free world?

BLITZER: Dana, you've been doing a lot of reporting on what's going on, the internal turmoil within the Republican Party. What's the latest? What are you hearing?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: There is chaos. There's no other way to put it. There is a collective holding of republican threat right now, waiting to see what happens tonight. Waiting to see what Donald Trump will do that may or may not change the dynamic here.

And that isn't just people in tough races. It isn't just as Donald Trump is saying on Twitter today, people who never supported him in the first place. His vice presidential running mate is one of those people.

He made clear to Donald Trump on the phone yesterday, you're on your own until I can see that you can try to figure out a way to clean this up and explain this and show some contrition on the debate stage.

One other thing that we can report is that Chris Christie, his staunch supporter who has been incredibly integral in helping prepare Donald Trump for -- trying to prepare him, I think, for this debate, he's not here.

[17:05:00] BLITZER: Why?

BASH: We don't know the answer to that, but he's not here. He didn't come to this debate. He was obviously at the first debate. He was helping Donald Trump before this latest thing broke, bringing him up to New Hampshire, having this public town hall because they were worried about his style. And obviously now, there is a lot more to worry about. But he's not here.

BLITZER: Chris Christie was supposed to appear on some of the Sunday talk shows ...


BASH: He cancelled.

BLITZER: ... today, as well he cancelled.

BASH: He cancelled. The only person who went out on Donald Trump's behalf was Rudy Giuliani. Chris Christie did not, and his campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway did not, either.

BLITZER: She cancelled as well.

BASH: She cancelled, as well. She isn't here.

BLITZER: What's the explanation they're giving?

BASH: There isn't one. I don't think they have to. I think everybody understands why.

BLITZER: Speaks for itself.

BASH: Yes.

BLITZER: Donald Trump, Brianna, keeps hinting -- threatening he's going to go after Bill Clinton's infidelities and how Hillary Clinton responded to those infidelities. If he does do that, how should she -- what are you hearing, how is she going to respond?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I don't know exactly how she's going to respond. I do know that she is prepared to respond and I also know that there are a lot of republicans -- while he's been counseled, I think, Rudy Giuliani has said he should bring it up in the past. I think there are a lot of who look at that strategy and say that's not the way to go.

I think the Clinton campaign -- well, Hillary Clinton doesn't really want to talk about this, I think the Clinton campaign is confident that that line of attack might -- or will ultimately benefit her.

Now, what I'm told by the Clinton campaign, just sort of to set the scene of how this all went down, was that they were in debate prep on Friday. Actually, Hillary Clinton wasn't in the room. It was most of her debate prep team when this story broke and there was just a collective wow and that they were stunned that this happened.

I talked to one aide who said, yeah, this is our good fortune that this is happening so close to this debate. Because they're thinking, and even though this has happened so closely to the debate, they haven't had time to kind of see exactly who is maybe most offended by these remarks.

They think it really cuts across all demographics and they think that over the last 48 hours, there have been a number of people who have decided they cannot support Donald Trump, that they are newly open to Hillary Clinton. She's going to have some line, obviously, of attack to address this.

Her campaign is completely tightlipped about it. They want to let her sort of have that spotlight. They don't want to preview any of that. And they say that she's also going to make a pitch on jobs, on the economy, on health care because they think there are a lot of people newly open to her who maybe haven't really listened as they may, tonight, at this debate, to some of her policy proposals.

BLITZER: All right, Brianna, now stand by. We're going to continue this conversation. But right now, I want to bring in one of Donald Trump's most vocal, one of this top supporter, Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions. He was the first sitting U.S. senator to endorse Trump back in February.

Senator ...

SEN. JEFF SESSIONS (R), ALABAMA: Hey. Great t be with you.

BLITZER: ... thanks for joining us. So what do you anticipate tonight? What's Donald Trump's strategy? I think a lot of work to do obviously.

SESSIONS: Well, it is a challenge. There's just no doubt about it. So he has been preparing for a more normal Town Hall debate format and had all this dumped on him Friday and then the media, I really believe, gone overboard with it. So, he'll have to address that ...


BLITZER: How is he going to do that?

SESSIONS: I have not been participating with him. I know Governor Christie was with him Friday and Kellyanne Conway, I'm sure, decided to stay over this morning to be with him rather than do the morning shows that Giuliani did. So he'll have a challenge. This is not his line of work ...


BLITZER: What do you want him to do tonight? You obviously, like everyone else, were outraged by those comments on the video tape, when he was bragging about his ability to grope women.

SESSIONS: Well, I would say he needs to apologize.

BLITZER: How do you want him to apologize? Well he has apologized, but a lot of people don't think it was that sincere. He wasn't contrite. What do you want him to do specifically?

SESSIONS: I think it'd be good, as part of his apology, to recognize that this embarrassed his family, embarrassed him, actually, and his supporters. So I think acknowledging that and sincerely apologizing and recognizing why that was unacceptable behavior, is good.

But what I believe he needs to be himself, which can't be timid. Donald Trump is not a timid person. He's got to be aggressive in stating his views. He's got to point out that Hillary Clinton remains the candidate of the International Washington Elite Establishment. She, at this recent ...


BLITZER: I'm sure he'll get into all of that. Well, I'm sure he will. You want to talk about that, but I want to move on. You want him specifically to apologize to the women he groped over the years?

If he was bragging that -- his ability when you're famous, you can do this and you can get what you want. Do you want him specifically to say, to look into that camera and say to those women, I'm sorry? I apologize for what I did?

[17:10:00] SESSIONS: I don't think that's exactly what the tape said. That was a lot of big talk, and I don't know how much that he said he ever aggressively groped someone ...


BLITZER: He said, he'd do this, he grabbed them in the private area. And you could do it when you're ...


SESSIONS: That's exaggerating a little bit. I don't know that he said he did that against their will. That's what I'm saying. So we know Bill Clinton, according to Juanita Broaddrick, she was raped by Bill Clinton.

BLITZER: You think they wanted him to grope these women?

SESSIONS: Oh no. Look, I don't know what happened. All I know is what he was saying on the tape. I don't believe he said he aggressively attacked them. But regardless of that, what I would say to you is he needs to recognize that is unacceptable language and certainly should recognize he should not unwantedly go after and touch some women in any way that is inappropriate. Certainly, he would recognize that.

And finally, I do believe he's got to not be timid. He's got to defend himself. And he's got to refocus this campaign on the classical difference between this establishment candidate and his vision that is really a movement of people who feel correctly that people like Hillary Clinton go to fundraisers and tell them one thing and then do another and don't do what they tell the American people.

BLITZER: Should he go on the offensive because he's been threatening he's going to bring up Bill Clinton's infidelities and he's going to bring up Hillary Clinton's response to those infidelities. Would that be smart? And you're an astute politician.

SESSIONS: He'll have to think all those things through. But it's somehow bizarre, Wolf, that this man said words, inappropriate words. Hillary Clinton was a defender of her husband who took physical acts against women, against their will. One of them said she was raped by him. Are we at a point where that can't even be discussed? That somehow this is inappropriate to even raise it?

BLITZER: So you think it would be a good idea to discuss that?

SESSIONS: I don't have any idea. I'm not advising him. I'm just pushing back a bit on that subject because I think we're a bit overblown in this tape between two guys who are talking in a very inappropriate way.

BLITZER: I know you have got to run, but very quickly, the senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, the Speaker, Paul Ryan, so many other republicans over the past few days, they've now really gone after him and so many republicans, even some like Jason Chaffetz in the House who supported him earlier, are saying they can no longer support him.

When you hear that, and you know all these people in the House and the Senate -- you must be - you must be very, very angry at Donald Trump.

SESSIONS: Well, it's an unusual time and an unusual election. Donald Trump is sort of -- is leading a movement of people. Many democrats, many union members. He's getting a larger percentage of African- Americans because he talking about jobs, wages, protecting a good trade policy, to good immigration policy.

Hillary Clinton is on the other side of those issues. That's what this is about, number one. Number two, these -- so he's never depended on endorsements of prominent people to win these primaries and he got the biggest number of votes of any republican in history in the primaries, so I guess what I'm saying to you, it's different than a lot of elections having some people in the leadership of the party not supporting him.

BLITZER: But even Mike Pence has been silent over the past 48 hours, 72 hours. Ominously silent, refusing to go to an event that Trump wanted him to go to in Wisconsin. It must be a painful moment for you. SESSIONS: A very difficult moment, but Mike Pence is not defecting on Donald Trump. And it was a difficult event in Wisconsin, for sure. But so we're going to have -- Donald Trump will have a tough challenge tonight. He'll have a lot of things coming at him from a whole host of directions. I think he can show his leadership skills and his strength tonight and I hope he does. And it's certainly not going to be easy.

BLITZER: Senator Sessions, thanks very much.

SESSIONS: Thank you.

BLITZER: Debate night in America just getting started. We'll have more of our special live coverage from here at Washington University, in St. Louis. We'll be right back.




BURNETT: The controversy surrounding Donald Trump's words, a major focus of the Second Presidential Debate right here at Washington University in St. Louis tonight.

How Trump handles this, frankly could determine his campaign and where it goes from here, in terms of who wins and what happens between now and then.

I'm joined by our panel, our Chief National Correspondent, John King; Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger; our Senior Political Reporter Nia-Malika Henderson; Senior Political Analyst, David Gergen; Former Donald Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski; Political Analyst Kirsten Powers; and Trump supporter Andy Dean; and our Political Commentator Hillary Clinton supporter Bakari Sellers. Thanks so all.

Gloria, let me start with you because you have some new reporting here on -- we know Hillary Clinton reporters were yelling at her as she was getting on her plane tying to get a response. She has been silent since the story broke and obviously she is planning to address it right away. How?

[17:20:00] GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, she'll be asked about it, certainly I would think. What I've been told from people who are knowledgeable about her debate prep is that she is going to obviously express her concern about the video tape, but she isn't going to dwell on it.

She is going to kind of expand on it and broaden it and talk about it as a pattern of behavior and say this is not only what happened in 2005. This is Alicia Machado and this is part of somebody who really says he's going to do things for women but doesn't practice it.

And then I think she's going to take it further. If he apologizes, she's going to say, what about apologizing to the Gold Star Parents? What about apologizing to Alicia Machado? What about apologizing to Rosie O'Donnell? Etc.

And then there's one other step which would be expanding it to, this is somebody you want to be commander in chief. He is going to command women in the armed services as president. He is going to appoint a cabinet with women. He is going to appoint a staff with women. He's going to have to deal with other heads of state who are women, and so she's going to bring it to the issue of temperament and steadiness.

BURNETT: So Corey, what does he do? All right, I think we all know there is going to be an apology. Is it going to be different than the apology on Friday night? Is it going to be truly contrite? Is he going to reference his family? What do you think will happen here right at the beginning when this surely comes up?

COREY LEWANDOWSKI, FORMER DONALD TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Well, I think Donald Trump is going to reiterate that what he said on that tape was locker room talk. And that's what it was. And that he's apologized for it and then he wants to move on.

If we want to dwell on what he said 11 years ago in a private conversation, then we need to go back and go to the totality of what has been done over and over again.

Let me read you one exact quote. Only "an abusive, privacy-invading, sex-obsessed" hypocrite would ever think a president's personal behavior toward women had anything to say about his fitness for public office. Who said that, you know?

James Carville said that about who? Bill Clinton. And now, what is amazing is Donald Trump who is a candidate and one of the candidates 11 years ago being held to a different standard.

What I think you have -- what I think you have is you have a completely different standard from the mainstream media than what you had when Bill Clinton was in the office. I think it's a much faster news cycle candidly but I also think what you have is you have republicans who aren't as strong, aren't as tough as the democrats have, who rallied around Bill Clinton and are leaving Donald Trump because candidly they're weak and they have weak republican leadership.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But he's not running for president.


LEWANDOWSKI: Bill Clinton was in office at the time when this occurred.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But it was a different time.


JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Bill Clinton was -- Bill Clinton was impeached. Bill Clinton lost his law license. Bill Clinton was prosecuted by the House of Representatives, and Ken Starr, the independent counsel had an investigation. I think that's perfectly fair again for Donald Trump to bring up if he wants to make comparison, but I do want to make this point. It is not locker room talk. I've been in a lot of locker room talk. It's not locker room talk. Anybody hears toward that, the grown-up in the room shoves that kid against the locker and says shut up.

I have a sister, I have a mother. You don't talk like that. And number two, I get what you're trying to do politically. But this is a man who wants to be president of the United States. He says he is the law and order candidate. Maybe it was just talk. And the tape Friday night, or Saturday night, he didn't say he didn't do it. If he did, this is a felony. It's a ...


BURNETT: I wanted to ...

KING: ... you'll go to jail for this kind of behavior.

BURNETT: Corey, I want to just bring that, you're in a position, you are his former campaign manager. I've knows Donald Trump for a long time. I have worked with him on "The Apprentice". I never experienced this behavior, but I now know someone who personally did and they heard the Tic Tac line. It was so upsetting to her because it happened to her. He gave her the Tic Tac and then kissed her against her consent. That was in 2010, that was five years after this.

So, what I thought from this is it was not just talk. I know someone that it actually was action for.

LEWANDOWSKI: I don't know who this person is that you're alluding to. I just want to share with everybody so we can all understand what the context is.


BURNETT: But it's a friend. I'm putting my own credibility on the line for it. I'm not going to share her name.

LEWANDOWSKI: You're saying something that I can't respond. I don't know who the person is. I don't know circumstance with that person, and I don't have any first-hand knowledge of the incident that you're discussing. So, if you want to raise the issue and tell us what the totality of the circumstance is, and that person wants to come on and address it directly ...


BURNETT: So, you're not just going to respond to it?

LEWANDOWSKI: No. How can I respond to something I'm not familiar with? That's like me saying, I've heard X -- someone told me X, which is clearly false. I don't know if it's true or not.

BURNETT: I just told you what happened.

LEWANDOWSKI: So let's have the person come on and tell it himself if they're so concerned about it.

BURNETT: Well you could say it was wrong. I mean if it happened, it's wrong.



BURNETT: If it happened, that' wrong and that's sexual assault.

LEWANDOWSKI: Look, if that happened, and it took place then that person should come forward and make that case publicly. But ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's a victim of sexual assault.

BASH: I can fully understand why she doesn't want to put her name out there. She doesn't want to become the story, she doesn't want to be humiliated in public ...


LEWANDOWSKI: You're accusing someone of doing something that, number one, don't have the person's name. Number two, can't respond to the incident which took place. I don't think that's fair to anybody.

I don't think it would be fair to you or to anybody else. So if you want to accuse someone of doing something, then bring that person forward, let them make the accusation so at least the person being accused can respond. That's how the American justice system works.

BORGER: Are you saying more women should come forward if, in fact, there is a pattern of predatory behavior?

LEWANDOWSKI: What I'm saying is in this particular case, if we have first-hand accounts of this taking place, than as opposed to just saying that this took place, let's let that person come forward and, their story and have a response to the individual. I can't respond to something ...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But what about ...

BURNETT: But what I'm hearing is you're trying to say unless she comes forward, you deny that it happened. Now, I'm telling you on my credibility that it happened, right? That's what I'm telling you, something -- it did happen, what do you say? Because that means it was not just talk. I heard Jeff Sessions, he's saying, it was talk.


[17:25:00] LEWANDOWSKI: Look, I don't know the incident that you're discussing. I don't know who the person is you're talking about. I don't know when this took place or any of the circumstances.

So, for me to try and defend something that I'm completely blindsided by, I don't think is fair. And if the person was sitting here and gave a personal account, then we could have the background of what the account was, it's very different because there are two sides to a story. In this country, I know you don't want to believe this, you are innocent until you're proven guilty.

BURNETT: I will simply say there is another person in the room, I know that person as well, that person was a man.


BURNETT: ... I am putting my credibility on the line on this. And it happened.


KING: I get the point about Bill Clinton and the day he was prosecuted in the political environment that he was in. He had the impeachment, they had the investigation. But is the republican party comfortable with a president of the United States and his leader with a man who, on that tape, Corey, I'm sorry, his own voice, he either committed crimes that people go to jail for, if he did those things, or is talking about doing those things in a casual, joking way. People go to jail for that kind of behavior.


BURNETT: We're going to keep talking about this. Just hit pause on this for a moment. The pressure, of course, is on Trump tonight to respond to this.

Hillary Clinton, though, faces her own real test tonight, how she responds could help swing the momentum, boost her chances or not, of becoming the first female president in American history. The pressure is on her. And next, we're going to speak with one of her most prominent supporters about what Clinton is up against tonight.



BLITZER: Welcome back. Rudy Giuliani says Donald Trump will likely apologize for the 2005 tape where he's heard making crude comments about women. Trump himself is signaling he'll also try to focus attention on Bill Clinton's old sex scandals. Clinton supporter, Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill is joining is right now.

Senator, thanks very for joining me.

SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL (D), MISSOURI: Welcome to St. Louis. We're pleased to have you.

BLITZER: This is your home state. It's a beautiful home state, beautiful campus. Let's talk a little bit about what Hillary Clinton should do if Donald Trump comes back at her and says, look what your husband did. Look what you did in going after the women who accused them of these actions. If he does, how should she respond? What would be your advice to her?

MCCASKILL: I think that she will clearly probably pivot away. That was probably a painful moment in her life, and one that was played out in the most public way imaginable.

I think that if you want to compare what she has done and how she has treated women in her life and lifted up women compared to how Donald Trump has lived his life, I think this will not get Donald Trump any more votes.

Women of America are not going to go, oh, yeah, we're going to overlook your predatory behavior, Donald Trump, because you want to call out Hillary Clinton's husband. I just don't think that it is a winning strategy and I think it shows how -- what a weak position he's in right now.

BLITZER: Well, what he's going to do, according to his aides, is he's not just going to go after Bill Clinton but he is going to say, look how you, Hillary Clinton, reacted to those accusations. What you said about these women making these accusations. That's presumably his strategy. How does she deal with that?

MCCASKILL: I think she probably ignores him to a large extent, if he wants to go there. I think she has serious things she wants to talk about that the American people really care about.

I think it's fine if he wants to try his third attempt in an apology on the subject of the tape. And now, the other things we know he's said in national radio programs that are so demeaning and predatory as it relates to women.


BLITZER: From "The Howard Stern Show".

MCCASKILL: Exactly. And by the way, there is a long list of people waiting for an apology. He has not apologized to Gold Star Families, he has not apologized to the judge he called out as incompetent because of his heritage. He has not apologized to a long list. Apologies clearly are not something Donald Trump believes in and I'm not sure he even believes in the ones that he is giving on this topic. I think he is doing it but it doesn't look like to me that it is very heartfelt. Not if he is willing to immediately pivot and try to make Hillary Clinton responsible for Bill Clinton's behavior.

BLITZER: You caused a big stir in 2006 on "Meet the Press". Did you remember this when you said you wouldn't want your own daughter near Bill Clinton. That was a strong statement you made at the time. I know you later said you expressed regret for saying that statement. But it's come back now in light of what's going on.

MCCASKILL: Well, you know, it was a dumb thing to say. It was hurtful. It was fortuitous. I regretted it the minute it came out of my mouth. And I apologized immediately. And not only publicly but also to the Clintons. And you know, I think people can say stupid things sometimes, but what Donald Trump has said in private and what Donald Trump has said in public, and the vast majority of which he doesn't even think anybody deserves an apology for, I think that is a much different situation than that.

BLITZER: Another area where we know he's going to go tonight, the latest leak of these -- the hacking, if you will, the speeches she was delivering behind closed doors to big banks.

At one point in 2013, she's quoted speaking to a Brazilian bank which paid her a huge honorarium that she wanted eventually open trade and open borders, something different than what she has been talking about on the campaign trail. He's going to accuse her of basically saying one thing in private to big bankers and another thing to voters.

MCCASKILL: First, this is postmarked from Russia. These are Russians trying to impact our election. Putin wants Donald Trump to win. And so I don't trust anything that comes with the Russian postmark from Putin because, clearly, he is ...


[17:35:00] BLITZER: You don't think she said this?

MCCASKILL: Let's assume that she did. In the context of that though, she was talking about clean energy. She was talking about there being the same rules for everyone when it comes to carbon.

She wasn't talking about border security. She's laid out a very serious plan for border security and comprehensive immigration reform. That's where Hillary Clinton is both in public and private.

BLITZER: The other thing she said that caused some concern out there, she said, you say one thing in private, another thing publicly. That's the way you get stuff done.


MCCASKILL: I think ...

BLITZER: That's according to this -- these leaked documents.

MCCASKILL: Once again, I think if you look at it in context, I think what she's talking about is getting things done. You may have a public negotiating position and a private negotiating position. Just to get to the sweet spot, especially in a divided government, you don't always show your hand.

Donald Trump says he's going to, what, do everything just with negotiation. Most of which is totally unrealistic and he doesn't even understand how the constitution works.

But Hillary Clinton has gotten things done in Washington with a bipartisan effort. And she knows that sometimes, you leverage with your public comments and then you really get to work in trying to find the deal.

That's what she was talking about. She wasn't talking about taking two sides of the same issue which, by the way, Donald Trump is pretty good at. I think he changes his positions like most people change their shirts.

BLITZER: OK, Senator McCaskill, thanks very much for coming.

MCCASKILL: Thank you.

BLITZER: Once again, thanks for welcoming us host ...

MCCASKILL: You bet. We're glad to have you.


BLITZER: ... this debate in this beautiful campus.


BLITZER: Senator Claire McCaskill joining us. So many questions tonight, do the candidates have the answers that the voters want to hear? It all comes down to strategy. We're going to talk about that and much more right after a quick break.



BURNETT: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, each walking into tonight's debate with a strategy. They both have to win. We know Clinton has devoted a lot more time to debate prep than Donald Trump. He obviously prefers a much less structured approach.

So, let's bring in our panel again to talk about the strategy for the candidates. And, Bakari, let me start with you. You know, we had a group of 25 voters in swing states here at CNN that we interviewed earlier in the month, went back to them this weekend after Donald Trump's tape surfaced. Got in touch with 16 of them and all but two, nothing had changed in what they thought. There were only two Trump supporters who said, maybe not. And one of them said, I'm going to decide tonight. I'm going to watch the debate.

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN COMMENTATOR: There are a couple of things. The first this is Donald Trump has been doing an amazing job. He's solidifying his base and holding on to them. But that's not enough to win the presidency of the United States.

Donald Trump has to build on that base. And so with all due respect to those individuals, Donald Trump not only has to win those individuals in the room but he also has to bring into the fold college educated white women. He has to start bringing in some minorities, and this tape doesn't do it.

But even more importantly, people are looking at this tape in isolation, and they should not because Donald Trump started his campaign talking about Mexicans as being rapists.

Just last week, he refused to apologize. The list goes on and one and on, mocking a disabled reporter. And now this -- this predatory language that he's using, and it's Donald Trump's strategy tonight is to actually go in and blame a woman who, in his own words, had to bear more than any woman should for her husband cheating on her? If that's his strategy, then I think he'll fall flat on his face again.


BURNETT: Andy, what do you think his strategy will be? He had made it clear with his re-tweets and tweets today that that is on the table.



BURNETT: and he Tweeted the Juanita Broaddrick interview today himself.

DEAN: I think the question is going to come up pretty quickly, either going to come from Anderson or it's going to come from an audience member. So, how does he deal with it?

My thought would be, do the opposite in the sense that he was against the Clinton impeachment. I mean, Donald Trump never ran as a paragon of moral virtue.

He ran on the economy and he ran to destroy ISIS. Everybody knows he is an imperfect man. So, he can throw out the argument to Hillary and Bill and say, hey, your behavior wasn't perfect in the '90s, Hillary covered up a lot of this stuff, abused a lot of people. Bill, we know what his record is, and Donald could say, look, my behavior has not been perfect. We're imperfect people. Let's talk about the message tonight. And then if Donald says let's talk about the message and it reverts back into the gutter, then Donald can say, look, I'm not the one that put it into the gutter but I can go for a street fight if I have to because I want to win this for the American people.

BURNETT: Does that work if he does that?

KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: First, the question, will he do that? And I think it is very unlikely that he'll do that, you know, because I think he's probably going to become defensive. We've seen him do this before.

But the other thing is you can't compare the Monica Lewinsky situation to this because whatever the -- however terrible that was, it was consensual relationship, it was completely wrong, she was young, all of these things.

What we're talking about here is him talking about something that's not consensual. We were sort of arguing about it earlier. This sounds like assault. And so I don't think you can compare the two things. I also think that ...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One was action and one was talk.

POWERS: But the other thing is -- more important is Hillary Clinton didn't do it. So, he's running against Hillary Clinton, not Bill Clinton, and Hillary Clinton was actually the victim in that situation and I think Hillary Clinton has an opportunity here to kind of remind people that she was the victim.

And I actually think she could even say, look, I didn't handle it that great. My husband cheated on me. It was very, very painful. And you know, Donald Trump, I don't know how your wives felt when you cheated on them, but it's the most painful thing that can ever happen to a woman. And, you know, I regret if I - if I hurt anybody.


BURNETT: Let me -- let me just -- let me just bring you in here because obviously, the strategy here is crucial. Donald Trump comes in to this as an underdog. Donald Trump has not come into any debate that he has done as an underdog. Even last time, it was tied. It was a dead heat. But he is an underdog this time. That is a very different place strategically to be.

[17:45:00] MAEVE RESTON, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: This is such a difficult night for him in part because he has this audience in front of him. So he tries to land these attacks on Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton's conduct, and you have got all the people in the audience, reaction shots, people watching at home, looking at, you know, what his temperament is going to be. So I think he really has a very fine line to walk on all of it.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: I think that's right. One of the things I think you saw Hillary Clinton do so expertly in that first debate was lay mousetraps for him without seeming to lay those mouse traps. I think she'll do it again. He is got to figure out how to navigate those mousetraps and then make a case for him.

In talking to some of his voters, I so think they are attached to Donald Trump. They've been in the trenches with him no matter what he says or does for these last many months.

In some ways, I think they're more attached after him after this. Some of the folks I talked to in New Hampshire, they very much want to hear an apology from him, a sincere apology. But they also want to see him pivot to real issue.

BORGER: There are two things that are difficult to balance. You have to have a certain amount of nuance, and I don't think we've seen that from Donald Trump, which is contrition, that's to be contrite. Ant hen he's going to be defiant because he's going to be defiant for his voters because that's what his voters want to see.

How you move from contrition to defiance is difficult. And you have to maneuver it, you know, to Maeve's point, particularly difficult when you are talking to actual voters who want to know what you are going to do to make their lives better.

BURNETT: All right, pause for a moment and all of you are going to be back with me. We'll be back, of course, in the next hour as Americans across the country are going to be watching tonight's debate.

Frankly, people around the world, could see, you know, obviously tens of millions, 80 plus million. Voters in some states though matter more than others. That's the reality of the American political system. We're going to look at the all-important path to 270 next.



BLITZER: Tonight's epic showdown between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will begin in just over three hours. We certainly expect some of the questions to focus in on Trump's vulgar comments about women, revealed in the 2005 videotape that surfaced Friday.

Amid the flurry of reaction, it's important to remember one very important issue. This historic election will come down to one simple number, 270. That's how many electoral votes are needed to win the White House.

Let's get a snap shot of Trump and Clinton's possible paths to 270 with our Chief National Correspondent John King, the anchor of "Inside Politics". John, break down the map for us as we know it now.

KING: Let's just start with this, we are in such a different position heading into the second debate than we were heading into the first. Before I get to the electoral map, let's just look at the numbers.

On the day of the first debate, we were talking about Trump momentum and he was moving in the key battleground states. Florida was essentially a tie. Clinton up one. Trump was ahead in North Carolina. He was closing in, in Pennsylvania. He was in two points.

Trump was ahead in Ohio. He was closing in, in Michigan. Trump was ahead in Nevada, he was ahead in Colorado. That was the morning of the first presidential debate.

Look at where we are now, stretch this out a little bit. Hillary Clinton leading in every one of these battleground states and stretching her lead in these Midwestern Rust Belt states, so critical to Donald Trump's map. What does that mean? That Clinton has momentum? Let's go to the electoral map and look.

Here is our map right now. We believe if the election were today, Hillary Clinton would win because of the solid democratic states and the leading democratic states.

Donald Trump has to turn some of this blue, red, heading into the first debate. We were talking about Trump momentum. We were saying he was ahead in Nevada, he was ahead in Ohio, he was tighter (ph) ahead in North Carolina and he was tighter (ph) ahead in Florida. That's what we were talking about heading into the first debate. Donald Trump getting into the game, so close to Hillary Clinton that if he could flip just Colorado, not even the big Rust Belt states besides Ohio, just that was enough for Trump. That was an end.

Well, here is where we are now. Let's come back to where we are on our map. Come back to map where we are here.

Today, it is not Trump, but Hillary Clinton, who leads in Nevada. Hillary Clinton who leads in Florida. Five to five (ph) but she has momentum. Hillary Clinton up a little bit in North Carolina. Hillary Clinton even up a little bit in Ohio.

Look at the difference. Now, we got 30 days. If all those states went that way, her wins would be even more overwhelming than President Obama's victory over Mitt Romney four years ago.

So Donald Trump comes into this debate tonight knowing that the map has changed dramatically against his position. The coming into the first one, he has momentum; coming into the second one, the map leans her way. You cannot overstate the importance for Trump tonight, Wolf, and that was even before this caught on tape moment broke.

This momentum existed before that. We don't have any polling dating yet to tell us what the impact is but we do know without a doubt, Trump had momentum coming into debate number one. Coming into debate number two, a lot of republicans think this race is over. A lot of republicans will tell you, they think the race is over. Donald Trump has to do something tonight to re-seize the momentum.

BLITZER: Yeah. Then the poll is in the next few days based not only on the video tape but also based on the debate tonight, that will be -- those polls will really be revealing. That will be about three, four days from now, right?

KING: It's a few days from now. We could get polling on the tape maybe right away, but because the debate is late tonight, you're talking about on a Sunday night, you're rally looking for Wednesday or Thursday, maybe a little bit later before we get reliable polling, but no doubt by the middle to the end of the week we'll see some fresh new data that will tell us a lot about the tape and of course the about the big drama of the debate tonight.

[17:55:00] BLITZER: The big debate night here in America. All right, John, thanks very much. John King reporting for us. Remember, we're just over three hours away from tonight's big critically important debate.

Clinton and Trump going head-to-head in a potentially pivotal match up. We're going to talk about what to watch and how each candidate will handle this debate. We'll take a quick break, or back straight to this top of the hour with a whole lot more.