Return to Transcripts main page

SMERCONISH

Latest Election News; Interview with Rep. Ted Yoho; Examining Allegations Against Bill Clinton; Would Corporate America Hire Trump, Given Accusations?; Can Polls Be Trusted?; Trump Revealed by Howard Stern. Aired 9-10a ET

Aired October 15, 2016 - 09:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN HOST: From the swing state of Pennsylvania, I'm Michael Smerconish wondering is it over? With the speed of this news cycle, it's hard to keep up, and of course the final debate this Wednesday here on CNN.

Donald Trump may have literally kissed his chances good-bye, as more women surface to accuse him of groping, but he continues to double down on denials, and now blame a media conspiracy. He also says that he's no worse than Bill Clinton, and he tries to paint his opponent, Hillary, as more of an enabler than victim. But are those attacks valid? I'll ask the man who broke the Lewinsky scandal.

And Trump touts his business prowess as his chief credential, but given the behaviors that we've just seen, could Donald Trump get hired at say, Wal-Mart? I'll ask the nation's premiere business writer, Andrew Ross Sorkin is here.

Plus, even before this, the electoral map was tilting heavily in Hillary's favor, but look at this one. It shows Donald Trump up 44.2 to 44.1, and this poll has been right before. I'll speak to two experts who will explain all the numbers could be off.

And thanks to his uncanny ability to get Trump to be Trump, is the most influential media figure this campaign season, Howard Stern? But first, the number, it now stands at eight. That's how many women CNN confirms have come forward with allegations of misconduct regarding Donald Trump.

Something struck me, while watching Anderson Cooper interview one of the first, that's Jessica Leeds, the woman who claims that Trump groped her on an airplane decades ago. Now, the Trump campaign said that they would prove it to be false.

Their proof was the testimony of a British man, already discredited in another public case, who claims he was sitting across the aisle on that same flight, and he didn't see any groping. Trump's denial was more in keeping with his responses to all of these claims. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, 2016 REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: When you looked at that horrible woman last night, you said I don't think so, I don't think so. She would not be my first choice, that I can tell you. Man. You don't know, that would not be my first choice.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SMERCONISH: You know, that denial set off a light bulb in my head. There was something unusual about Jessica Leeds in comparison to other Trump accusers, and women with whom Trump has warred. To quote Donald, just look at her.

We know that Donald Trump judges men based on the size of their wallet, and women by their appearance. He constantly brags about his own alleged wealth, and this week he repudiated the harassment charges of a People Magazine reporter, as he has others, by insinuating that she was too unattractive for his attention. This reminded me of how Trump attacked his rival, Carly Fiorina, by demeaning her face, or his claiming that no flat-chested woman could ever be a 10.

So here's what I realized about Jessica Leeds, unlike so many others of Trump's objects of affection. She is actually age-appropriate for the Donald. She's a contemporary of his. He's 70, she's 74. So at the alleged incident time, she was 38, he was 34. She herself explained to Anderson Cooper that in the midst of this controversy, she pulled out her own old photographs. She wanted to show them for this reason.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JESSICA LEEDS, TRUMP ACCUSER: Because I'm 74 years old, and for him to now look at me, at this age, he would never even give me the time of day. But I wanted -- I wanted people to know what I looked like when I met him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SMERCONISH: She's right of course, and her own self-deprecation as to her place in Trump's superficial world, it only strengthened her credibility, at least to me. And may I say, the rest of us should be so lucky as to age as gracefully as her.

Joining me now, someone who supports Trump despite all the latest revelations, Florida congressman Ted Yoho. Congressman, may I say at the outset, it's got to be tough to be you, to come on and defend this guy at the end of a week like this. I guess my first question is why do you still do it?

REP. TED YOHO, (R-FL): Well Michael, I'm not defending his actions, I'm not defending what he said. I'm looking at policies. And there's enough insults, accusations, and blame on both sides of the campaign with Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump, and I'm not going to defend her or him.

And he has said what he has said, he has admitted he has said that, we've got the audio tapes, so there's no denial. But as far as the accusations, and they are serious, I've got two choices. I've got Mrs. Clinton, or Mr. Trump. One of these will be the president of the United States, and I'm looking beyond that of what really is at risk here. You know, it's not only our Supreme Court justices, it's upholding our constitution, it's our foreign policy. You know, the number one task of the government for the United States of America is to provide for the common defense.

And if you look at the last seven-and-a-half years of where we're going, and you see the hot spots cropping up from Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Syria, around the world, North Korea launching more missiles, the Houthi rebels in Yemen firing missiles at our navy ships that have come from Iran, this administration backing off and allowing ballistic missile components to be shipped to Iran against the JCPOA, I'm looking beyond the allegations, because there's plenty on both sides. And I think we as --

SMERCONISH: So --

YOHO: -- Americans are tired of the gutter talk, and all the stuff that should be on a tabloid. And unfortunately, these are the candidates we have. And so who's going to serve, out of these two, because I don't know of another option at this point. Do you, Michael?

SMERCONISH: Well, so Paul Ryan, you know, your House speaker, your Republican leader, the world is a dangerous place, and he's --

YOHO: It is.

SMERCONISH: -- well aware of all of the things that you just ticked off, but nevertheless, he says I can't defend this guy. And may I ask, Congressman --

YOHO: Sure.

SMERCONISH: -- because you don't get to be in Congress without a certain level of street smarts, you just watched that woman, Jessica Leeds, who I note is a contemporary of Donald Trump, not somebody 40 years his junior, doesn't she have a ring of credibility to you?

YOHO: You know, I think everybody has a ring of credibility until proven otherwise, you know, we're proven innocent in this country until -- we're innocent until proven otherwise. And so I think the courts should work these things out, these allegations should be addressed.

You know, if you go back to the Clinton administration, and I know Mr. Clinton is not running for president, but there was an $850,000 paid to one of those women that accused him. You know, these things will work themselves out, and then we're left with the candidate, you know.

I could go on with Mrs. Clinton, she had 33,000 e-mails plus that were possibly hacked into, that weren't in -- devolved (ph) to the American people. After Congress and Craig (ph) Audi (ph) and the committees on oversight asked for those things, and now we have this supposedly Russian threat that have hacked into computers, do you suppose maybe they could have hacked into Mrs. Clinton's computers when they weren't in a secured location? You know, what kind of risks does that put our country at? When you look at the number one task for government is to provide for the common defense, what's more problematic, excuse me, problematic, is that the allegations that are circling around, or is it the factual things that may lead to the national security broach (ph)?

SMERCONISH: Well let me just say, because our time is short, I too am very concerned about her use of private e-mail servers, and the risk that they have -- that may have posed to our national security. But I can't discount the fact that in this instance, and I'm gonna -- I'm gonna deal with her in just a moment, I assure you.

But in this instance, I'm worried that here's Donald Trump saying things on a tape 10 years ago, this is what I do, and all these women now come forward and say yeah, he's right, he did it to me. You get the final word, but keep it short.

YOHO: Well, you know, again, I'm not here to defend Donald Trump, his actions or his words. He has said what he has said, and he's owned it, and I think the important thing is let's look forward to who's best going to defend this country, who's going to defend our constitution, so that we continue on to have the liberties and freedoms that we have. And I think Donald Trump's the one that will do that over Mrs. Clinton, who wants to go to a globalist society.

SMERCONISH: Thank you, Congressman. I appreciate your being here.

YOHO: Yes, sir. Thank you. Have a great day.

SMERCONISH: Donald Trump's defense against his accusers, against his accusers claims, it's really threefold. He -- you know, one he denies, two he points a finger in Bill Clinton's direction, even going so far as to stage an even with three of the alleged Clinton accuser -- the Clinton victims I should say, alleged Clinton victims, want to get my words straight on this. And then three, he says that Hillary was an enabler, that she viciously attacked these women. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Bill Clinton sexually assaulted innocent women, and Hillary Clinton attacked those women viciously.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SMERCONISH: Is that last charge true? Clearly Hillary was a victim here, but does she also have anything for which she must answer? Michael Isikoff, the chief investigative reporter for Yahoo! News, national correspondent he was for NBC from 2010 to 2014, is widely credited with breaking the Monica Lewinsky story.

He chronicled all this in his book, Uncovering Clinton. Michael, I want to talk about Juanita Broadrrick, I want to talk about Paula Jones, I want to talk about Kathleen Willey. Let me begin with this brief clip from Hannity's program on Fox, Thursday night with Juanita Broaddrick. Roll it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JUANITA BROADDRICK, CLINTON ACCUSER: Back in 1978, when I was working for Bill Clinton's campaign for governor, I was raped by Bill Clinton, I was viciously raped. And then three weeks later, when I happened to be at a fundraiser for him, but I didn't attend the fundraiser, I was just going there to hand in information that -- to tell them I was not -- no longer going to volunteer for the campaign, Hillary personally threatened me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SMERCONISH: OK, she personally threatened me. What was the threat? I refer to another clip, this is Juanita Broaddrick with Breitbart. Roll it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BROADDRICK: Here comes Hillary, straight for me, and starts -- gets to me, and she starts saying I just want to thank you for everything you're doing in Bill's campaign, and it's so nice to meet you, and all of these things. So I just nodded and told my friend let's go.

And I thought somebody from behind had grabbed a hold of my arm, but it was her. She grabbed a hold of my arm and my hand, and she pulls me into her, and she says with this very angry look on her face, which had been so pleasant seconds before, and in a low voice says, do you understand everything you do? And that frightened me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SMERCONISH: Do you understand everything you do? Is that the totality, Michael Isikoff, of the charge against Hillary for having enabled in the Broaddrick case?

MICHAEL ISIKOFF, YAHOO! NEWS CHIEF INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: In the Broaddrick case, yes, and it is, by its nature, ambiguous. You don't know what Hillary was referring to, if she said it exactly the way Juanita Broaddrick recounts it today. It's a data point, it's something that has raised questions, but you know, how far it goes is hard to say.

I mean we don't know what Hillary Clinton knew about what Juanita Broaddrick says her husband did to her. We don't know how much information was passed. I mean based on everything we know about the Clintons and their relationship, Bill Clinton had relationships with lots of women that, as far as we know, Hillary Clinton knew nothing about. So it's hard to know what to make of that.

SMERCONISH: But I think it's important -- Michael, I think it's important -- I know, I agree with that assessment. It's hard to know what to make of it. But I want to drill down on it. You know we here at CNN, we get accused -- I get accused of oh, you won't even talk about these women. I'll talk about these women, I talk about them on radio.

But I wanna -- I want -- I'm a lawyer, I wanna know what's the record. And if that's the worst of it, I don't know how, in the Broaddrick case, you can say Hillary enabled. Because think about this, that would have to mean that Bill went home and said I raped this woman, and that Hillary's response was to then go confront her and say, do you understand everything you do?

ISIKOFF: Right, right.

SMERCONISH: That's nonsensical.

ISIKOFF: Right. Yeah, I mean I tend to agree. There's so many gaps in the -- in the record here, in the evidence, that it's just hard to know what to make of that. I should -- look, I'm happy to talk about this, but I do wanna just make one point to keep things in perspective, you know.

Clearly there were lots of -- there were serious multiple allegations against Bill Clinton during the time of his presidency that I investigated, that I wrote about in the book, and it went beyond infidelities to accusations of sexual harassment and unsolicited sexual advances.

But you know, we have had in just the last week, more women come forward making accusations publicly against Donald Trump for equally serious, if not more serious, misconduct than we have in the entire eight years of Clinton's presidency, so it's worth keeping that in perspective in the course of having this discussion.

SMERCONISH: OK, here's -- but here's the question, because I -- I really want to stay focused on her.

ISIKOFF: Sure.

SMERCONISH: What is the worst of it? You're the expert. What's the --

ISIKOFF: Right.

SMERCONISH: -- worst of it? Make the best case you can that she was not only a victim, but also an enabler. What's in the record that I can look at --

ISIKOFF: Well I -- first of all, Michael, I'm not -- I'm not making a case here. I -- I can tell you what we know, which is from --

SMERCONISH: OK, what do we know?

ISIKOFF: -- the beginning of when they ran -- when Bill Clinton ran for president in 1992, Hillary Clinton was part and parcel of doing damage control for the Clinton campaign. You go back to -- take a look at John Dickerson's excellent new book, Whistlestop, with a chapter on the '92 campaign.

And from the beginning, accusations of sexual infidelity by Bill Clinton was the biggest single baggage that Bill Clinton had when he ran during the Democratic primary in 1992. This was the issue that Democrats talked about the most, this was the issue the Clinton campaign was most concerned about.

Hillary Clinton was very much a part of the damage control on that. She was focused on discrediting accusations of misconduct against her husband, discrediting women who had been rumored about, who came forward to talk about relationships that they might have had with Bill Clinton, certainly Gennifer Flowers.

She was instrumental in the hiring of a private investigator, Jack Palladino, who I first wrote about in 1992, was paid over $100,000 by the Clinton campaign for the specific job of digging up dirt, discrediting Gennifer Flowers and other women who have been linked to Bill Clinton.

So Hillary Clinton was very much a part of that. I don't know if that makes her an enabler. It makes her a -- she viewed this as political combat, accusations against her husband were coming from their political enemies, and she was going to do her best to try to push back and discredit those allegations.

SMERCONISH: Final question if I might, do we know -- I'll accept what you've just represented. Do we know if that's because she didn't believe the women back in '92, and therefore wanted to stand by her man, or was there something more Machiavellian to it that regardless of what the truth might be, she wanted to support his advancement and her own?

ISIKOFF: I think that's, you know, something for her -- people to speculate about, you know, what went on between the two of them, what was in her head. I mean people can infer based on the record. I should also point out that, you know, this continued through the Clinton presidency, whenever accusations came up, she, you know, rushed to the barricades. When Monica Lewinsky came up, she pushed back immediately with this is part of a vast right-wing conspiracy. So you know, it's been a part of her political career from the get-go, to stand by her husband, and attack the people who were criticizing or coming forward to discredit her husband.

SMERCONISH: Michael Isikoff, thank you for being here.

ISIKOFF: Thank you.

SMERCONISH: Still to come, he wrote Too Big to Fail, and he's written that the harassment Trump has been accused of would disqualify him from most jobs in America. Isn't that also true about some of the accusations you've heard about Hillary Clinton? I will ask Andrew Ross Sorkin.

And the polls say that Hillary is starting to run away with the election, but Trump says they're crooked and rigged, and he's still drawing 'uge crowds. Who or what should we believe?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We get crowds like this everywhere. But they just said, they said there's no way we're three (ph) down. Even the polls are crooked, I'm telling you. SETH MEYERS, NBC LATE NIGHT HOST: Just because you draw big crowds, doesn't mean you're winning the election. If you all needed to win was a big crowd of people, our next president would be Ikea on a Saturday.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SMERCONISH: Donald Trump is of course running for president, but given the recent allegations, would Wal-Mart hire him? Andrew Ross Sorkin is a financial reporter with the New York Times. He's the host of CNBC's Squawk Box. He's the author of a great book, Too Big to Fail, and now, co-creator and executive producer of the Showtime series Billions. Andrew, would they hire him? Would corporate America hire a guy with all these revelations?

ANDREW ROSS SORKIN, CNBC ANCHOR: I think the answer is not. Donald Trump would give any HR department, human resources department, relations department, a heart palpitation, given some of the comments that he has made. Now of course he's his own entrepreneur, so he's his own boss now, but in a Fortune 500 company today, and it's sort of ironic given that he does market himself as a businessperson, not so clear a business would actually hire him.

You mentioned Wal-Mart. Let me just read you, because I just want to read you what their employment policy states, what is prohibited if you're an employee, and this is all the way down the line from the top to the bottom.

You are not allowed to -- prohibited sexual -- sexually explicit language, off-color jokes, remarks about a person's body, using slurs or negative stereotyping, verbal kidding, teasing, or joking, intimidating acts such as bullying or threatening. It's almost as if they wrote the policy for this gentleman that we seem to talk about almost non-stop on television.

SMERCONISH: And it would be largely with a liability concern, right? Because a guy like this in your midst, if there's now a claimant who comes forward --

SORKIN: Right.

SMERCONISH: -- that person would say well, hell, you were on notice.

SORKIN: You're -- you're -- you're the lawyer, so you know it very well, what happens in a situation like this if you were to hire somebody, frankly, like a Donald Trump, who were to come into your company, and there were to be a problem in the future where a woman, another employee were to come forward and say he sexually harassed me, or something like that, invariably they're going to then go also take all the material that's come out over this election period, and they're going to show it in court, and they're going to say not just is there is a pattern in practice of this, but board -- the corporate board, whoever hired you, you knew this too. So it does create a larger issue, no doubt. SMERCONISH: Should we cut him any slack, because this behavior took place largely, if not exclusively, when he was in the entertainment industry? Andrew, I remember, and I know you'll remember that litigation on the west coast a couple years ago about the Writers' Room, where someone brought a harassment claim, and they said well look, this is what takes place in the Writers' Room. Maybe this is what you get on Billy Bush's bus.

SORKIN: I don't think so. I think this is very different. I don't think that we were -- this was in a creative space in that same way. I think there are writers who do sit in writers' rooms and have to come up with all sorts of scenes, some of which people occasionally find offensive.

I think this is a very different situation, and reveals a side of him that's an unfortunate side in this instance. I -- and on the years issue, 11 years, 15 years, if you're a lawyer, you're going to bring -- you're going to bring this material into the case no matter what.

Whether a judge is going to allow you to put in front of a judge -- a jury, that's a different question, but on the particular issue of the timing, I don't think that's -- and by the way, now we have all sorts of other people coming forward farther back -- farther back, more recent. It's, you know, it's everywhere.

SMERCONISH: Final subject --

SORKIN: Yup.

SMERCONISH: -- put up a tweet from Mark Cuban, so that I can ask Andrew Ross Sorkin about the Trump brand, and the damage. There it is, "Every single @realDonaldTrump hotel and golf course is toast. Done. Over. Bernie Madoff now has a better brand." Agree with that?

SORKIN: Yes and no. You know, put -- put it this way, in a couple of years from now -- let's say he does not win. Hillary Clinton's in office, and you have to make a trip, Michael, to Chicago, and there's actually a very good Trump hotel in Chicago. It's a great hotel, as it happens. I will give Donald Trump all the credit for building a great hotel.

Or the next time you're making your trip down to D.C., and you're -- and you go on Expedia, and you find a good rate, and it happens to be a Trump hotel, are you going to say to yourself you know what, I'm not going to stay there? I think there will be some people who won't, but I'm not convinced --

SMERCONISH: Right.

SORKIN: -- again, it's a timing issue. Maybe tomorrow they wouldn't, for those who don't like him. The great irony of all of this of course, is the people that he is most attracted to, or attracted to him, are a very different cohort these days, then the people who would normally go to his hotels. Sort of the brand that he represents, and the people that he now wants to represent, if you will, are a very different piece. By the way, if you'd indulge me for one second, you mentioned -- the one thing I did want to say just in fairness, after I wrote that column about the Wal-Mart piece, and whether he was employable, I got a number of e-mails from other CEO's who said, you know what, I'm not sure I'd hire Hillary Clinton either. So just in fairness, I do want to make that clear, because of the e-mail issue. And I did get a number of responses to that effect.

SMERCONISH: A point not lost on me, a legitimate question of whether she could pass a security clearance test in the government given her handling of the e-mail, and yet could be commander-in-chief. By the way, in Chicago, I'd stay at the Park Hyatt regardless. Andrew Ross Sorkin, thank you so much for being here.

SORKIN: Thank you. Appreciate it.

SMERCONISH: What do you think? Tweet me @smerconish, I'll read some later in the program. Still to come, there is a consistency to the polls, both national and in swing states, they show Hillary with a growing lead. But ahead, two experts who say it's not that simple.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:32:25] MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN ANCHOR: So it's over, right? Or is it? The latest numbers have been showing Hillary Clinton pulling away from Donald Trump. Almost any poll that you look at. I mean, here's FOX. Put it up there. Hillary up by 7 percent or more and that's before the most recent controversies and revelations.

Nate Silver, 538.com, the guru of polling, says Hillary has got a 84.7 percent chance of winning. And yet are they to be believed? Trump accuses that the polls are crooked. He says that they are rigged. The USC-"L.A. Times" daybreak tracking poll, however, consistently shows Trump doing better than the others. As of this morning, 44.2 percent for Trump, Hillary at 44.1.

What explains the difference and how well do pre-election polls match the final results? I think you're about to be shocked.

David Lauter is the "L.A. Times'" Washington bureau chief.

David, I have to note the methods of the "L.A. Times"-USC Dornsife poll don't meet the CNN standards and yet in 2012 that poll said, your poll said, Obama would win by 3.38 percent and he won by 3.85. And Andrew Gelman, a professor of statistics and political science, the director of the Applied Statistics Center at Columbia University, he just co-authored a study proving that the margin of error in polls is actually double what we're led to believe.

David, let me begin with you. How does your methodology differ from the conventional polls?

DAVID LAUTER, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, LOS ANGELES TIMES: Well, Michael, there are a number of things that are different. Probably the most important thing is we ask a different question and because we ask a different question we get a somewhat different answer. Rather than forcing voters to say I'm for this person or I'm for that person, we ask them on a scale of zero to 100 what's the chance that you're going to support Hillary Clinton, what's the chance that you're going to support Donald Trump, what's the chance that you'll vote for somebody else. And on the same scale what's the chance that you're going to vote at all?

So that is designed to capture the ambivalence that a lot of voters feel about the election. Like you said it worked very well four years. Now that's no guarantee that it will work again the same way but it has a track record. And by doing it that way, when you have one candidate who has very intense support and another one who is maybe a little less intense, you're going to do -- you're going show a better result for the one who has more intensity.

Now I have to say, as other polls have shown, we've shown a steady decline for Trump over the past week to 10 days, an increase for Hillary Clinton. They are now tied in our poll as you mentioned.

[09:35:03] If those trend lines continue, you can sort of see where they're probably going to go. And the intensity for Clinton has been increasing as the election has gotten closer.

SMERCONISH: So you call me and I say -- you call me and I say I'm 100 percent for Trump and then we call your house and you say 70 percent for Hillary. I'm going to get weighted appropriately even though by the way if we both show up we cancel one another out. But you're saying that passion -- I think what you're saying we factor in passion more than the others.

LAUTER: That's right. That's one thing that we factor in more than the others. Now as you said, once you voted, you go from that 70 percent, you become 100 percent, as Neil Newhouse, who is Mitt Romney's pollster, said he learned the hard way that an unenthusiastic vote count is just as much as an enthusiastic one. So once people are on record it -- they move from that 70 percent to 100 percent and as early vote kicks in, I think you may see Clinton move up.

The other big difference in our poll and it's why CNN doesn't use our poll, rather than asking a different sample every week, we go -- we have a panel about 3200 people, we go to them every week and ask the same questions. So as a result, when you see the poll move you know that it's actually people changing their minds.

SMERCONISH: Got it.

LAUTER: Rather than just a difference in who answers the poll from one week to another. Now the risk --

SMERCONISH: Understood. Hey, David.

LAUTER: Yes.

SMERCONISH: David, I'm sorry. I may -- and if I misstated this at the outset, in 2012 you folks said Obama would win by 3.32, he won by 3.85. I want to make sure I state that very clearly. I wish I had more time. I don't. I am fascinated by your poll and

like everybody else I'll keep watching it on a day-to-day basis, David Lauter.

LAUTER: Thanks.

SMERCONISH: Now Columbia professor Andrew Gelman.

Professor Gelman, you're the stats guy. I find remarkable your analysis. Tell everybody what you just did and with what result.

ANDREW GELMAN, STATISTICS AND POLITICAL SCIENCE PROFESSOR, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: We looked at a bunch of polls for various offices over the past several elections, looking at polls during the -- several weeks before the election occurred. Each poll has a margin of error so you can look at that but can you also look at how close the poll is to what actually happens in the election. So you can calculate an empirical margin of error. How far are the polls in reality. It turns out that the empirical margin of error was about twice as large as the theoretical margin of error that gets recorded.

SMERCONISH: In other words, when we speak of a -- I'm a knucklehead. You've got to break this down for me. When we speak of a three-point margin of error we're really talking about a potentially six-point differential because Trump could be three higher than they are forecasting she could therefore be three lower, and there's a six- point gap and you're saying it's really not even six that when you look at 4,221 polls which you did it's more like 12 percent or greater.

GELMAN: I don't -- well, my colleagues and I did it together. So first I don't want to get all the credit for it. But I wouldn't say it's 12 percent. When they say a 3 percent margin of error that means theoretically there's a 95 percent chance that it's within 3 percent of what's actually going to happen. And yes, it was more like 6 percent. I don't remember the exact number. That's for an individual poll. When you look at the poll aggregates like Nate and other people are doing then it's going to be more accurate.

But any individual poll is more variable than you might think because different polls they use different methods as the previous person said. They also get different people. Different people respond on a weekday and a weekend, so forth.

SMERCONISH: So what's the short answer as to why the pollsters don't have a better track record?

GELMAN: It's a hard job. They are not drawing balls from an urn. They are not getting random sample of the population. They are getting a bunch of people. Non-response rates are over 90 percent. So they get a bunch of people who aren't quite representative of the American public or the electorate and then they have to adjust the sample to match the electorate.

Different polls get different people. When a candidate is not doing well, then his or her supporters tend to be less likely to respond to the polls. So that exaggerates the fluctuations.

SMERCONISH: Very interesting. Your last point. So, for example, right now the big mo as Bush 41 would have said, the momentum would appear to be on Hillary's side of the equation and you're saying given all the news about that, that might cause Trump respondents to be less inclined to participate when a pollster calls their house.

GELMAN: That's right. If the election were held today I think Trump would do better that he is shown in the polls. And a few weeks ago it was the opposite, that the news for Clinton wasn't so good and so I think Clinton supporters were less likely to turn out to the polls.

[09:40:07] SMERCONISH: Fascinating. All right. Well, as they say, Professor, only one vote matters. That's one coming up on November 8th or if you are an early voter.

Thank you, Andrew Gelman. I really appreciate your analysis.

GELMAN: Good to be here.

SMERCONISH: Still to come, among many things I could never have predicted this presidential election was the journalist whose interviews would be most impactful. Howard Stern. Ahead Stern's wrap-up show regular and our CNN legal expert, Danny Cevallos.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SMERCONISH: One of the many unexpected aspects of this presidential election is the platform from which so many of one candidate's controversial statements originated. The "Howard Stern Show" on Sirius XM. Time and again things said by Donald Trump before entering the race on Stern's radio program have come back to haunt him. Just yesterday David Fahrenthold at the "Washington Post" revealed the contents of six recordings of Stern's shows between 2002 and 2013.

[09:45:08] In the latest batch Trump again brags about his sex life and reminisces about infidelity.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Did anyone ever say that I cheated?

HOWARD STERN, SIRIUS XM RADIO HOST: Well, I'm saying you did.

TRUMP: Nobody ever said I really cheated. You know.

STERN: That's true.

TRUMP: So I guess they implied it.

STERN: But I'm saying -- listen, you --

TRUMP: In fact, come to think of it. They implied it in the strongest of tones.

STERN: You have banged some of the greatest beauties on the planet. True?

TRUMP: That's true.

STERN: OK.

TRUMP: Now that is true.

STERN: And eventually --

TRUMP: Some of the greats in history.

STERN: Seriously, what is it about you? Do you -- I mean, there's a lot of billionaires out there. And, you know, why do you think -- I mean, here you are the most --

TRUMP: I think it's because I'm very -- I honestly believe it's because I'm a very handsome guy.

STERN: But wait a second.

TRUMP: Looks are very important.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SMERCONISH: Stern is a self-described Hillary guy. He hasn't sought to inject himself into the race. He hasn't played favorites on his show. I can tell you as one who listens. And, in fact, he's joked that if Trump gets elected Trump would appoint him to the Supreme Court.

What was it about the Stern program that gave Trump the comfort level to speak so freely time and again?

Our own Danny Cevallos is not only a CNN legal analyst. He's a Stern super fan who regularly appears on Stern's wrap-up show, and he joins me now.

Hey now, Danny.

DANNY CEVALLOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Hey now, Michael.

SMERCONISH: Do you agree with my assessment as one who listens that Howard has not sought to inject himself. I think that the people who don't listen don't understand that about him.

CEVALLOS: Yes, as super fans, you know, we think a lot about the show. We analyze it. So we always love to conjecture what Howard's true intentions are. And he doesn't appear to be interested in this election any more than being sort of a known Hillary supporter. But it's clear from the show and from these tapes he's a longtime -- he's maintained a friendly relationship with Trump and they talked plenty of times which is why to super fans like you and I, I don't know why everybody is so shocked. These tapes were not secreted away. They've been hiding in plain sight for the last 10, 20 years.

SMERCONISH: Were they particularly noteworthy when they were recorded?

CEVALLOS: No, they weren't. Because -- and even Trump himself has said that something to the effect that had I known I'd be running for president I might not have gone on the show and said these things. But, you know, even at the time he wasn't speaking in a presidential way. He was a caller. Trying to be entertaining. Trying to be funny. And that's sort of the beauty of the long form interview that Howard has pioneered and perfected. He gets people to open up, be real and talk about what's really on their mind. He doesn't drag them kicking and screaming talking about sex. If somebody calls in, if somebody is a guest and they want to talk about sex that's being real and Howard will make them go there or get them to want to go there because -- you know, when he has Matt Lauer on or Dan Rather, they talk about Vietnam or fly-fishing. You know guests go where they want to go on that show.

SMERCONISH: Right. In other words to the uninitiated this may sound stunning the confessional nature of it but in those long form interviews -- I mean, he interviews people for an hour at a time now for this sort of conversation to unfold is not an outlier.

CEVALLOS: Not at all. And again, I mean, these tapes have been around for a long time. You know, in the past, in other elections some tape surfaces that was at some private event recorded on an iPhone. This is material that's gone out to the millions and millions of listeners on Sirius XM. So it's no surprise that these tapes are out there and that just now the fact that people are mining them just now for material is frankly rather surprising.

SMERCONISH: Yes.

CEVALLOS: But, you know, when Trump was calling in he was sort of playing along, trying to be funny. The reality is people now don't find what he was saying to be funny and they don't find it to be presidential. It shouldn't be a surprise.

SMERCONISH: Final observation from me that you can buy into or not. My impression is that if any other media personality were sitting on the cash, the treasure trove of Trump audio they'd be tripping over themselves to release it. I don't think that any of these revelations necessarily came from Howard Stern or anybody on his crew.

CEVALLOS: Not at all. I would guess -- and again I'm not an insider. I'm just a guest sometimes on the show. But, you know, again we super fans think a lot about the show from listening. And I think that I don't think there's any indication that Howard has had some personal interest in the outcome of the election. Rather he's just out there trying to do a good interview and I would guess that he would say look, everyone who comes on this show gets real. They try to be funny. They talk about what interests them. And if it's news worthy it frequently is. That show breaks news all the time. And again at its core, the long form interview just makes you talk about what's real to you.

[09:50:02] SMERCONISH: All right. Danny, before you go, you're going to hit him with the Hein? (LAUGHTER)

CEVALLOS: Bababooey to them all and I guess hit them with the Hein, Michael.

SMERCONISH: You never get an invitation to actually say these things openly. You know, to shout it out behind somebody. You're actually being invited to hit them with the Hein.

CEVALLOS: Yes.

SMERCONISH: All right, Danny. Thank you.

CEVALLOS: Thank you.

SMERCONISH: Still to come, your best and worst tweets. What do we got? My god, time has flown by, I haven't seen anything. "Smerconish, is Melania now an enabler as Trump claims Hillary is?"

You know, I'd love to know the initial courtship, is that the right word? Between he and her actually was. It makes you wonder, right?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SMERCONISH: Hey, I really do appreciate you tweets @smerconish. Here's some of what came in during the course of this program. Put it up on the screen. I don't know what's coming.

"Smerconish, this a.m. when you said we all should wish we should age as gracefully as her, I teared up. It needed to be said. She's beautiful."

[09:55:05] She is beautiful. And let me tell you something, that in that opening commentary today I had a line in it which said I think that Jessica Leeds, 74 years old, is a beautiful woman. And I took it out because I thought if I say that, now am I playing into this objectification of women? The hell with it. She is an attractive woman and she's age appropriate for him. And she felt compelled to show Anderson Cooper her old photographs. I mean, that's really a distressing thing, isn't it? Like she's got to say, well, but, Anderson, you better look at me here because you're going to wonder how was he hitting on me then. I find her to be incredibly credible.

Do we have another tweet we can quickly put up there? I know, I'm running over.

"What a joke. As with every other media outlet, 30 seconds of Hillary Clinton. The rest of the show, on Trump." No, I spent a lot more time on Hillary. I had Michael Isikoff, if you weren't watching, who broke the Lewinsky story and we spent 10 minutes talking about whether Hillary is an enabler.

I'll see you as part of the debate coverage from Vegas.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)