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Obama Delivers Press Conference with Renzi; Obama: Trump's "Rigged" Election Claim is "Whining"; Melania Trump Defends Husband, Dismisses Accusers. Aired 12:30-1p ET.

Aired October 18, 2016 - 12:30   ET


[12:30:02] BARACK OBAMA, U.S. PRESIDENT: ... being liberated there and so there's a strategic as well as humanitarian interest in us getting that right.

MATTEO RENZI, ITALIAN PRIME MINISTER: I think about Muslim. The consideration of the presidents are very clear, for Italian side we are particularly committed the Vajont Dam there is a dam -- dangerous dam and we support an Italian company or work to restore that dam because it could be a great problem for the population and for the rest and we are totally engaged would the rest of coalition to usher to the Iraqi people, the possibility to have a future and what be very great to the Italian army particularly Italian carabinieri provide in this country to learning their local police. So we are not worried for the future if we will bring Mosul, because we think sooner or later will destroy Daesh, and the reconstruction and the rebuilding will be a priority for every member of international community. Italy is engaged in the war go with the United States and with their all other alliance. Last


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, thank you, Mr. President.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the Mediterranean era since that geopolitical priority for Italy, mainly because of the constant flow of migrants.

And is there a common strategies on this? And a common strategies on Libya? And can Italy act as a bridge between Europe and Africa? And how American administration can help the effort of the Italian government, because Europe is sometimes leave alone Italy to face the challenge. Thank you.

RENZI (Through Translator): I'm going to answer in Italian for the first channel to you now (ph). Obviously our position is always the same one, Europe has to be more convinced and look toward Africa with more conviction, and from these terms we can't go every time to ask for help to the United States without doing our part. The United States are busy in all the international theaters, and the ones that are closer to us, we obviously need the support of our best friend, because the United States are this, our best friend, but we also have to start an Italian and European strategy. We can't always just sit and wait for this type of support. Therefore,

the issue of the Mediterranean and Africa has been left aside during the last 10 years in the European Union. We have to give it priority again. We have to work as the commission had foreseen it would do, but it's not doing it, but the necessary speed, and we will do whatever we can with the agreements with certain states, with the five our priority. That are our priority. We have to work for Africa to be a priority, including a priority from the point of view of resources. Local development.

We will talk about this during the G7 (Inaudible) next year, and in terms of investments, the political investment, which, perhaps, in the past few years has been sorely lacking. Before asking for help from the United States which is something we gladly do, Italy and Europe have to do their part. Italy will increase its efforts for international cooperation and the ranking of g7 for international cooperation. We were the last in the classification, 7, so 7th in the list of 7. It's not a good position, but we will reach the 4th place in the ranking in terms of GDP, which each of us proposes.

So we have an increase in terms of the money in international cooperation, in funds, and in terms of Libya, you know, that we are working. We want to stabilize the government. We want to make sure that there is a block of all these brothers and sisters that leaves their country every time, they go to see, they risk, dying. We're happy and we're very proud to help save lives, but the ocean is one of the worst places to do that, but we don't want the Mediterranean to become a cemetery.

So we have to have a long-term strategy. We spoke about this, and we have to have short-term strategies as well. We're very proud of what we're doing, but we know that this method cannot go on forever. We cannot think of being in charge by ourselves, of all the problems of Libya and Africa, and from this stand in the in the on Thursday and Friday at the European council we will talk about this.

[12:35:19] OBAMA: This is an extensive topic of conversation. Let me just make a few points. Number one, it is a strategic interest of the United States to make sure that the migration crisis that's been taking place in Europe is solved. It's a strategic interest because of the terrible loss of life that we see as people attempt to reach Europe, but also because of the distorting effects that it can have on European politics if the sense is that the influx of migration is disorderly, chaotic and overwhelms European countries. And so, we are deeply committed in Europe's success in resolving this issue effectively.

Now, obviously there are a lot of contributors to it. So we are very focused on strengthening the government of Nashville Accord, as I indicated, and secretary John Kerry and others are working with his counterparts on a multilateral basis. To strengthen the government of national accord, resolve tensions that exist between the different portions of Libya, and then to be able to invest and build in their capacity to control their borders and their waterways, because if we don't have a partner on the other side of the ocean it's going to continue to be a problem. That's point number one. Point number two, we are deeply appreciative of the generosity and

humanitarian impulses of the Italian people and rescuing so many people through Operation Sophia. What we did in Warsaw during the NATO meeting was to indicate that, although that is primarily a E.U. mission, NATO and the United States and our naval assets are prepared to assist in a robust way, where appropriate. And it's just a matter of coordinating with Europe to find out, and Italy and other countries, what it is that you need, we will help the same way that we do with respect to helping to enforce the agreement between Turkey and the European Union on that portion, that body of water.

The third point, as Matteo pointed out, is more long-term, and that is trying to help these countries that are having difficulties, where people feel either unstable, insecure or just hungry and in search of opportunity. How do we help them develop in such a way where people feel that they can succeed and raise their families without fleeing to more developed countries?

That is a longer-term proposition but we have to begin to make the investments now. I have mentioned to Matteo, we have obviously different issues with respect to migration and net migration into this country has actually been flat, in some cases even decreased or we've seen reverse flows, particularly with respect to Mexico. But one area where we have seen a big spike over the last several years is actually from the smaller countries in Central America, where the economy is doing poorly; agriculture has done poorly, in part, because of changing weather patterns. Violence brought on by narcotraffickers.

So Vice President Biden, I gave him the charge of working with those countries to come up with a development plan; Congress on a by partisan basis supported us putting more money into these countries for development, more effective policing, dealing with -- fighting the narcotraffickers in a more effective way, investing in young people. But that's not going to happen overnight. That will be a decade long process potentially. In the meantime, we insist that those countries cooperate with us to send a message to the populations that it is a dangerous trip to reach the United States. And if you get here, you're likely to be turned back, to try to discourage a -- this dangerous passage but also to try to undermine the human traffickers who are preying on the desperation of these people to make money.

[12:40:12] So all those strategies have to be employed and the one thing I would encourage is -- and I have said this whenever I visited Europe, you can't have a situation where Italy, Greece, Germany are bearing the entire burden. If in fact you have a European Union, then you're unified not just for the benefits, but also for the costs. And I do think it is important for Europe collectively to be invested in solving this problem and not just leave it to one country, in the same way here in the United States, obviously, it's -- we're an actual nation-state as opposed to a union of separate states. But we would not abandon one state and just say, "Here, you deal with an entire problem, and good luck with that." You know, if we have solidarity and benefit from that solidarity on a whole range of issues, then that means you also have joint responsibilities. OK?

(OFF-MIC) OBAMA: That's what I just said. I said Central America they've increased, David. Why?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was wondering if you could comment about what it is, if it's about policy ...


OBAMA: No, actually, David, they went -- they spiked heavily in 2014; went down significantly in 2015, have gone back up this year in part because there's still desperation in Central America, but are still not at the levels they were in 2014. But I appreciate you shouting out a question, since I'm sure there are a lot of other colleagues of yours who would want to do the same. Thank you very much, everybody. Appreciate it.

JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: The president of the United States, Barack Obama. The Italian Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi. Nearly an hour in the rose garden of the White House. The president said is was going to be a bit more subdued when questions about Donald Trump came up, but it was still quite scathing perhaps a little bit more severe let's bring in our panel on "Inside Politics" here with us to share their reporting and their insides.

Jonathan Martin, The New York Times, CNN's MJ Lee, Errol Louis of NY1 and Maggie Haberman, of The New York Times. He said he's going to be a little bit more subdued, but he essentially on several points without using the word called Donald Trump un-American, he said he was whining about saying the election is rigged before the result, he said that was just Democratic, it's not the way we do it on our system and he said he was essentially out of bounds against Democratic values, Republican values and American values when it comes to his handling of Vladimir Putin. A it's a little more subdued but I think he made his point.

MAGGIE HABERMAN, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Yeah, I don't think it was particularly subtle. Actually I think what you heard is a lot of different arguments that he's been making overtime, all encapsulated into one place. I was struck by something that Obama said about the quit whining and essentially go make your case to the voters. We are ultimately seeing Trump sort of seeding the field and declining to run a campaign. And this is even a better conventional campaign anymore, it's any kind of a campaign that would make any logical sense and instead he's complaining and the entire thing is rigged against him, particularly on the media bias front. I think that has become a little tedious.

This is a person who is seizing on hacked e-mails from his opponent. We've not seen e-mailed hacked form his campaign we haven't seen text messages hacked from his campaign. You're going to see a lot of the same kind of conversations, because Trump knows better than anybody the way this all works and he used it masterfully for a year and it's now complaining.

JONATHAN MARTIN, THE NEW YORK TIMES: This about lay on the ground for an eventually loss. Finding scapegoats, the media, the so-called rigged election. Paul Ryan, anybody but himself. Trying to find any rationale, any excuse for why he's having trouble on this campaign other than looking at his own behavior and his own comments.

The president today, though, while tough, I think was basically waving a flag at the bowl, you know, Obama playing the role of the matador, please, please, Trump, take my bait. Come, you know, tangle with me for a couple of days. Take your eye off the ball and attack a sitting president, who is now above 50 percent in the approval ratings and stop going after Hillary.

KING: He's in the steps from the oval office in the rose garden. It's a solemn place at the White House. Again Matteo Renzi is been open in the support of Hillary Clinton. He didn't say much about Trump. He said there are people in Italy are worried about November 8th than their own referendum coming up. But for the president, MJ, there's a debate tomorrow night. The president knows it. Twice he said he's whining.

He also said that, you know, somebody who whines like that isn't strong enough. Isn't a good enough leader to take this job and put it back at the (inaudible). To Jonathan's point, he tried to bait him.

[12:45:56] MJ LEE, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER: Yeah, and Hillary Clinton she's early hope for one more state before election day, there is no person who can deliver this message by Trump simply he's not ready to be president than the current president, and I think there is something even more powerful, you know, forget the battleground states. When he is standing behind the podium, behind the seal of the president of the United States in the rose garden essentially saying this is a guy who's whining and behaving in a way that's completely unprecedented, I don't know there's a better message or a setting in which the president can make that case for Clinton.

KING: 93 days left. How important is the Obama factor?

ERROL LOUIS, NY1: Oh it's hugely important and

KING: 93 days in his presidency. 21 to election.

LOUIS: And then this November which Obama you're talking about. All right, Michelle Obama extremely important on the campaign trail. President Obama I think makes an interesting point. I mean MJ is exactly right. The character and fitness test that Hillary Clinton has been trying to pound home for weeks now and in every debate saying he doesn't have the temperament to be president of the United States. Essentially the president of the United States just delivered the same message. And to the extent he brings that message home again and again and again on a spectacularly important platform, like standing in front of the White House it's devastating.

KING: But to the media bias argument, that's Donald Trump's voice on that "Access Hollywood" tape that has turned the campaign in many ways. That's his voice. No media person created his voice there, to the point the point the president was making about Trump whining. The campaign has turned since that tape came out, some other development. Let's listen here. This is the siting president of the United States again, he has 93 days left. He knows the election is three weeks from today. He knows Donald Trump's brand in strength and leadership. The President goes right at it.


OBAMA: I have never seen in my lifetime or in modern political history any presidential candidate trying to discredit the elections and the election process before votes have even taken place. It's unprecedented you start whining before the game is even over? If whenever things are going badly for you and you lose you start blaming somebody else? Then you don't have what it take to be in this job.


KING: Again, not subtle. To your point, but as we were talking about this while the president was speaking, he's mocking Trump, and trying to bait Trump. But he is also going directly at the Republican Party.

LOUIS: Yeah.

KING: Because he is saying there's no evidence of this fraud. And some of you are supporting Donald Trump as he says our elections are rigged. It's happening now, Donald Trump says, frankly this is B.S. it doesn't exist. There's no such proof there's no facts to show that. Is there minor election (inaudible) 20 people voting here who shouldn't -- 30 people voting there shouldn't -- to change a presidential election and the president was saying there are a lot of Republican governors and secretary of state out there, Mr. Trump.

HABERMAN: Well, I mean Jonathan and one of our colleagues Alex Burns made that very point over the weekend in a story. I think what you're starting to see is, and I heard concerns about this from Republican election lawyers when Trump first started doing this vote fraud claim in August again when he was at a low point in the polls.

There's a concern about Republicans that if Republicans win tight races as senate contests let's say the Ohio race. That one is close, and Rob Portman barely wins, is it helpful to have the standard bearer out there saying, but there's fraud. This isn't all valid. None is valid. That's very, very concerning to people. Say you have Marco Rubio for instance in his own debate last night say there's no evidence this is rigged and we should stop talking about it. I think the question and you're seeing Obama pushing on that is whether he can cleave off more Republicans to further isolate Trump.

KING: And also very tough on Putin essentially saying that, you know, Putin's invaded Georgia before I came into office, then he's meddling in Ukraine. He's doing things in Syria that aren't helpful. Democrats and Republicans say inconsistent with American values. Again I didn't use the term but essentially saying Trump is un-American.

MARTIN: How different is rhetoric towards Putin now versus the hot Mike moment a few years ago when he was talking about transmitting a very different message to the Russian president. It's striking.

Obama, John, is not just hoping to beat Donald Trump. He wants to humiliate the Republican Party for what he thinks is the enabling of somebody who is patently unfit for the office. When we was talking about Putin in that answer, it was not about Trump it was about hawkish Republicans who were haranguing him for the last seven years about being too soft on Moscow and are now standing next to somebody who is constantly trying to sort of reach out and stroke Putin. So I think Obama really wants to use the final weeks of the election to make the Republican Party pay a price for standing by somebody that Obama thinks deep down in their hearts, you know, shouldn't be president.

[12:49:38] KING: Time focusing there on the president. But we should remind our viewers, the reason we're here for "Inside Politics", the big debate tomorrow night. The third and final Republican debate, character questions at a defining moment in this race for president. And guess what? The candidate's spouse, riding to the rescue. As yogi would say, seems like deja vu all over again.


KING: Welcome back. After a long absence from the campaign trail Melania Trump is back and her husband can only hope voters listen.


MELANIA TRUMP, WIFE OF DONALD TRUMP: I said to my husband that, you know, the language is inappropriate. It's not acceptable. And I was surprised, because that is not the man that I know. I wonder if they even knew that the mike was on, because they were kind of a boy talk and he was lead on, like -- egg on from the host to say dirty and bad stuff.


KING: She's talking, of course, about that now infamous tape in which Trump brags about groping and forcing himself on women. That's a big part now of Trump sliding in the polls. And what about all those women now coming forward to say Trump actually did those very things, he bragged about to them?


M. TRUMP: I believe my husband. This was all organized from the opposition and with the details that got -- did they ever check the backgrounds of these women? They don't have any facts.


[12:55:10] KING: I'm going to say I find it hard to accept that a 59- year-old man who's the CEO of a major international company can be egged on by a T.V. host, but we'll leave it there. How important is this, though? Donald Trump's partly tanking on the polls as he's losing support of Republican women, suburban women, even white married women, white women with college degrees are going secretary Clinton's way. How -- is this helpful? Is it necessary?

HABERMAN: I think that it would've been more helpful nine days ago when they were initially talking about doing a joint interview in the middle of all this. It certainly doesn't hurt. It is helpful to him to have his wife, she was a good character witness for him, but at the end of the day I think to your point, I think that people, a. it doesn't matter whether the microphone was on or not. He was saying it. Number two, there -- it is consistent with the team of sort of not taking responsibility for things that Trump does himself.

LEE: And I think Melania, you know, accomplished essentially what she set out to accomplish. The first thing is to just generally defend her husband, and the second thing I think was for -- more for herself, she wanted to sort of break this narrative that she hasn't been out there defending her husband. Basically, since the Republican convention. But I do want to point out a couple things that are actually troublesome about the way she defended her husband.

First of all, she essentially said that a 59-year-old man, as you pointed out, he was someone that was able to be egged on by a man who is much younger. The other thing that she said I thought was troubling was she essentially calls them a child. Said there were two children living in my house. I think these things are not necessarily going to be things that , you know, women who are skeptical about Donald Trump, or have reservations, but they're going to be , you know, convinced be hearing that from, you know, the candidate's wife.

MARTIN: It reminds me of the life of, you know, Henry Hyde during impeachment that he had a affair when he was in his youth, in his 40s, it turned out to be. But more just jump a comment here if I said about this, this question about media bias that she obviously -- actually ...

KING: Said there's a -- is left wing. I mean (inaudible) Hillary Clinton talked about the vast right wing conspiracy back in her day. And in some ways this reminded me the 1992 interview.


KING: Although that was a joint interview, you make a key point. I was in the room when Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton at a rich couch hotel (ph) in Boston super bowl Sunday 1992. I'm not some Tammy Wynette just standing by my man. It was pivotal at that time. He was tanking in the New Hampshire primary, but to your point she's left wing. Hillary Clinton says right wing.

MARTIN: And what's troubling about this is, is that we've actually heard this charge from some of our own colleagues in the media both in print and at T.V. I would just point out that if any other candidate spoke about race, religion and gender as Donald Trump has for the past 15 months, the coverage would likely be much, much tougher. He has upended, some would say destroyed the norms of the American politics time and time again.

He is calling for the ban or the major wall for letting you come into America still. He is basically said we will have American troops commit war crimes abroad and he is now showing doubt about American Democracy itself. Mainstream candidates in American history have not that those things, those things should not be covered on a curve they should be covered as they are. And for some of our colleagues to say that it's bias to cover him for what he says, and that there should be some arbitrary, artificial balance imposed, to me doesn't pass the smell test. And Hillary knows this better than Maggie.

KING: He is a Republican nominee for president, she in 21 days if he can pull off a miracle turnaround. Would be the president elected in the United States. There equals.

HABERMAN: He has benefited enormously from reduced expectations over and over and people to Jonathan's point about the curve saying last November when I remember very clearly doing a story about him being open to the proposal which was pitched to him by a reporter, it was not his own idea, but it doesn't really matter. There is only one answer which is of course, I'm not interested of registers Muslims in this country and then two weeks later he did the Muslim ban. He screamed that he was treated unfairly it's all terrible and then ...

LOUIS: This notion of left wing medi I mean does it include the "Dallas Morning News," does it include "The Deseret News" which is own by the Mormon church, you know, the Cincinnati inquirer, all of these traditionally conservative outlets. "National Review" have come to really the same conclusion is this so called left wing media.

HABERMAN: But he has made his own bed with this I think it's a lot of the comment ...

KING: But she came out to help them, but the burden and he's at one last chance tomorrow night, right? Anybody dispute that?

LOUIS: Oh, he does. He has a great chance.

KING: His only chance.

HABERMAN: Need a very, very perfect game.

LOUIS: He has a great opportunity and I'm suggesting actually I wrote about in the Daily News Today that he do what Arnold Schwarzenegger did back in 2003, what Teddy Kennedy did in 1991 which is to say all of those things are true look back, I look back in hind site and I realize that what I thought was harmless and inoffensive, was actually obscene and harmful and I regret those things. If he can say that, he might have a chance.

KING: I got to pay a lot of tuition, but I'll a modest amount of money on the table and venture that doesn't happen. To your point about the conspiracy, if all these elections are rigged, and the media is into it how did the Republicans gain the senate when the house senator Hogan have such a great decade, I think Mr. Trump does little fact issue there. Thanks all for joining us here. "Inside Politics" back at noon tomorrow. We'll be live from the debate site on Las Vegas. Wolf, starts right now.

[13:00:16] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, I'm Wolf Blitzer. It's ...