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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER

President Obama Holds Rally in Florida; Will Trump Accept Election Defeat?. Aired 4-4:30p ET

Aired October 20, 2016 - 16:00   ET

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


[16:00:05]

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Donald Trump, is he planning a November surprise?

THE LEAD starts right now.

Donald Trump today making a joke out of whether he will accept the results of the election. Sure thing, he says, as long as he's the winner.

Also, President Obama told Trump to stop whining a few days ago. Now he is speaking again in just a few moments at a campaign rally for Hillary Clinton. What will he have to say now about Trump trashing the election system?

Plus, you may remember him as the guy who told President Obama to go to hell or the guy who proudly compared himself to Hitler. Today, the president of the Philippines pulling a swerve that could send shockwaves throughout the region.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election...

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: ... if I win.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

That was Donald Trump earlier today, seemingly trying to use humor to deflect questions about whether he will ultimately accept the will of the voters. After that remark, Trump then pledged to accept any clear election results, while reserving the right to file legal challenges if there are any questionable outcomes.

Trump said what he did today because last night the Republican nominee left open the possibility that he may not concede the race if he loses and that he may reject the results of the election, saying of the results -- quote -- "I will look at it at the time." In minutes, we're going to hear from President Obama has to say about Trump's refusal last night to commit to accepting the results of the election should he lose.

CNN's Justin Carroll is in Delaware, Ohio, today following the Trump campaign.

A new poll out this morning shows a neck-and-neck race in the Buckeye State.

Jason, Mr. Trump once again seeming to step on his own message. These headlines about whether or not he will accept the results, this can't be what the campaign wanted the headlines to be after the debate.

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No, no, clearly, this is not the headline the campaign wanted to talk about. But it's the headline that's not going away anytime soon, not after what Donald Trump had to say at his rally here this afternoon.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CARROLL (voice-over): Donald Trump is making a new commitment today about the results of November's presidential election.

TRUMP: I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election...

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: ... if I win.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

CARROLL: That pledge comes as Trump has raised unfounded concerns about widespread voter fraud.

TRUMP: We want fairness in the election.

CARROLL: Campaigning today in Ohio, Trump said he would accept the result, if it was clear.

TRUMP: Of course, I would accept a clear election result, but I would also reserve my right to contest or file a legal challenge in the case of a questionable result.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

CARROLL: The GOP nominee's comments come hours after he refused to say whether he would respect the verdict from voters on November 8.

CHRIS WALLACE, MODERATOR: Not saying that you're necessarily going to be the loser or the winner, but that the loser concedes to the winner and that the country comes together in part for the good of the country. Are you saying you're not prepared now to commit to that principle?

TRUMP: What I'm saying is that I will tell you at the time. I will keep you in suspense.

CARROLL: Trump's campaign manager trying to clarify those comments.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Saying, I won't accept it, I won't accept it if I don't win. Fundamentally, that's what he said. We have never heard it before.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Chris, he did not say that. Chris, he did not say -- excuse me. He did not say, I won't accept it if I don't win. He said, let's see what happens, meaning let's see how close it is.

CARROLL: Trump's debate performance seen as more disciplined than his previous two meetings with Hillary Clinton, but still, at times, relying on personal attacks, interrupting Clinton during her response to a question about Social Security.

HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My Social Security payroll contribution will go up, as will Donald's, assuming he can't figure out how to get out of it. But what we want to do is to replenish the Social Security Trust Fund...

TRUMP: Such a nasty woman.

CARROLL: Comments that could hurt Trump's efforts to chip away at Clinton's advantage among women in the polls, as Trump continues to face the fallout from accusations of sexual misconduct, Trump denying the allegations again Wednesday night and suggesting, without proof, that Clinton and her campaign might be behind them.

TRUMP: Because those stories are all totally false, I have to say that. And I didn't even apologize to my wife, who's sitting right here, because I didn't do anything.

I think they want either fame or her campaign did it. And I think it's her campaign.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CARROLL: And, Jake, just to circle back again on those comments Trump made about the election results, Maine's governor, Paul LePage, who, as you know, is a huge Trump supporter, a man who is known for not mincing his words, said the following about Trump's comments.

[16:05:03]

He said -- quote -- "It's a stupid comment." He went on to say, "I mean, come on, get over yourself" -- Jake.

TAPPER: Jason Carroll with the Trump campaign in Delaware, Ohio, thanks.

Joining me now from Las Vegas is Robert Graham. He's a senior adviser to the Trump campaign and chairman of the Arizona Republican Party.

Thank you so much for being here. Appreciate it. ROBERT GRAHAM, CHAIRMAN, ARIZONA REPUBLICAN PARTY: Hey, it's my

pleasure, Jake. Thanks.

TAPPER: So, here is just some of the Republican reaction to what Mr. Trump had to say.

Arizona Senator Jeff Flake called it beyond the pale. This is about the necessarily accepting the election results. Arizona Senator John McCain said: "Conceding is not just an exercise in graciousness. It's an act of respect."

And your counterparts in North Carolina said they're -- quote -- "not aware of election results being optional" -- unquote.

These are just the Republicans criticizing Mr. Trump.

GRAHAM: Right.

TAPPER: Wasn't this comment a huge mistake?

GRAHAM: Yes.

I think it's -- when you have a candidate, you always want them to be on cue, and you want them to do exactly what you hope for them to do. But here is a guy that hasn't been a candidate. He is not a polished politician. And he just says it. He was almost playful with what he said last night, with keeping people in suspense.

And, again, here it's the headline. And we're not talking about opportunities and jobs for Americans, but we are talking about a few words that really are not substantive in nature. And they're not doing much for the people right now. I would rather be talking about jobs, absolutely.

TAPPER: But, but, for instance, you have had close elections in Arizona. If the Democrats...

GRAHAM: Right.

TAPPER: .... were saying before the election, well, I'm not sure if I'm going to accept the results, I mean, that would undermine people's faith in the process.

And I also have to wonder if, as Arizona Republican chairman, you're concerned that he might be actually suppressing your own vote, because if Arizona Republicans are told their votes aren't going to count because it's all rigged, why would they even go to the polls?

GRAHAM: Yes, all of those are valid concerns.

It's interesting. When you fight -- we just had a primary that was incredibly contentious in a congressional race. And it came down to like 19 votes. Neither one of these candidates were willing to concede, even though one had more votes.

But what they did is, they dug in, they went through the process with the county recorders. And then one of the people came out as the clear winner. Once it was canvassed and certified, they said, absolutely, it's done.

We have got a history here with presidential races being really close, as recent as George Bush and Al Gore. And Al Gore, even after the state of Florida certified it, he didn't back away from it. He still leaned into it.

Now, I think it's appropriate, because look what they do. They invest their time, their energy, their money, their personal fitness and health into these elections. And if they think that there is something that's not appropriate that's happened, why would they take that away from the American people and just lay down for the outcomes?

TAPPER: No, sure.

GRAHAM: I think if they think there is bad business, I think they need to actually check it out.

TAPPER: Sure. I mean, if there is actual evidence of some improprieties, sure, if the election is close, and a state-mandated or county-mandated recount is necessary.

But that's not what he's doing here. Right? But it seems like you agree with me, so let me just move on.

CNN has changed Arizona's status from leans Republican to battleground state. And one of the reasons is the large Latino population in your state. Democrats say generally it's hard to get Latinos to turn out to the polls as much as they would like, but Donald Trump is their own personal get-out-the-vote effort to mobilize Latinos to the polls to vote for Democrats.

Last night, Mr. Trump, as you know, used the term "bad hombres" to describe immigrants who commit criminal acts. My understanding is that, on Latino media, this is huge. This is blowing up. Are you concerned about that?

GRAHAM: Yes, any time that you put words like that together and say bad man in Spanish, in Arizona, people probably listen to it. We have more than half our population that speaks Spanish.

But, again, yes, everything is concerning, right? When you work as a Republican chairman, our mission is to get our people elected. And candidates, we have over 200 candidates in a state, yes, you want them to say the right thing at the right times.

But in this particular instance, the momentum is such, in Arizona, that we are very confident with the turnout, the way things are happening right now in early balloting. I am getting reports every morning. And we're not seeing this huge wave of Democrat voters behind the Democrat ballots.

And so, again, it's a concern, absolutely. And that's why we fight in harder and dig deeper in all these communities to make sure that literally they hear the right message as it relates to the Republican Party.

TAPPER: So, how do you make sense of the latest poll out of Arizona showing Clinton leading Trump by five points, 43 percent to 38 percent, among likely voters, 7 percent to Gary Stein, 4 percent -- to Gary Johnson, rather, and 4 percent to Jill Stein?

Do you not think that that poll is accurate? What do you make of it?

GRAHAM: Well, it's funny that you say how do you make sense of it, because I have been trying to understand why all of a sudden "The Arizona Republic" is in the polling business. They haven't been there.

[16:10:00]

We have made about 1.26 million I.D. phone calls into voters, likely voters in the state of Arizona, ranging from GOP, independent voters and swing voters, both genders, educated women. And what we're finding right now, consistently, even with independents, that the undecided and everything are breaking toward Trump right now at a pretty massive number, to the point where the independents that we're polling -- or not polling, really surveying with a single one-person question -- is 61 percent Trump and 14 percent Hillary Clinton.

So, when I see these numbers, you go, OK, you dig into them, but try to see where they're sampling from. You know that "The Arizona Republic" is not in the business. And so we just again stay true to the information that we know.

And we are mobilizing in an incredibly aggressive way in Arizona with our field offices, and the doors we're knocking and the calls we're making. So, our information is consistent that Arizona will stay red moving forward.

And the numbers suggest that the victory might be as close as 10 percent like Mitt Romney did in 2012.

TAPPER: Lastly sir, Mr. Trump last night, as you know, called Secretary Clinton a nasty woman.

Are you concerned at all about that affecting the turnout of women voters that you need in order to keep Arizona red in the presidential election, and also for John McCain to hold on to his Senate seat? He is in a reelection battle against a congresswoman.

GRAHAM: Yes, Senator McCain is doing a fantastic job. He did great in the primary.

Going into the general election, he jumped 17 points up in the polls. Arizonans like him. Republicans, Democrats, swing voters and independents are comfortably behind John McCain.

As it relates to Donald Trump and his comments as it relates to Hillary Clinton, dishonesty is one of the big words we hear. But a lot of people do say she is a nasty person. And then when you hear that and when you see the behavior over the years and the way she treats people, the way she antagonizes the Secret Service, other staffers, it's pretty consistent.

So, I don't people really took a step back on that one and pause. I think they actually thought, eh, it kind of fits in so many different ways for Hillary specifically.

This wasn't a woman or a male thing. It was a Hillary Clinton comment. And I think that's got to be clear to the people when they try to spin it up and make this another woman bash. It's a Hillary Clinton bash, who she stands out as a nasty person most of the time.

TAPPER: All right, Robert Graham, chairman of the Arizona Republican Party, thank you for your time, sir. We really appreciate it.

GRAHAM: Hey, thanks, Jake. I appreciate it too.

TAPPER: So, we're going to go to Miami, Florida, right now, where President Obama is taking the stage. He's delivering remarks at a Hillary Clinton campaign rally. Let's listen in.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know who else I love?

We have got a bunch of elected officials here today, including some of your outstanding representatives. Frederica Wilson is in the house, and your next United States senator, Patrick Murphy.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: So, if you have a seat, feel free to sit down. If you don't have a seat, don't. Just make yourself comfortable, because I got some things to say here.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: So -- so, this will be probably one of my last visits to Miami as president.

No, no, don't worry. Don't worry. I'm going to come back, but I won't be president, so I can have more fun.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: But this is how things work in a democracy. I will talk about that later too, how things are supposed to work in a democracy.

Michelle and I only get an eight-year lease on the White House.

(LAUGHTER)

OBAMA: You know, we rent. We don't own.

And right now, we're making sure we haven't broken anything, that Bo and Sunny haven't ruined any carpets. We had been marking off how tall Malia and Sasha were getting on the wall. But now we have got to erase it, because we want our security deposit back.

(LAUGHTER)

OBAMA: But, obviously, it has been one of the great honors of my life, the great honor of my life, to serve the American people.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: And, look, the truth is, I couldn't have done it without Florida. Florida has always been good to us.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: I remember campaigning here in Miami in the closing days of a tough campaign eight years ago.

And we had been living through two long wars.

[16:15:02] We were about to enter into the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes.

On issues like health care and issues like climate change, we hadn't really been doing anything. We had just been kicking the can down the road. And I told you then, when I was campaigning, I told you, I wasn't a perfect man and I wasn't going to be a perfect president, but I told you I would work as hard as I could every single day on your behalf. That I would fight for you, to make life a little bit easier for working families all across this country.

And I tell you -- and I tell you what, eight years later we can look back and we can say we fought our way back from a recession. Our businesses that turned job losses into 15 million new jobs. We have slashed our dependence on foreign oil. We've doubled our production of clean energy.

Incomes are rising, poverty is falling. The uninsured rate is at an all-time low. We brought our brave troop home to their families. We delivered justice to Osama bin Laden. Marriage equality is a reality in all 50 states. We've been busy these last eight years!

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

By every measure, our country is stronger and more prosperous than when I came into office. But, all that progress is at stake if we don't do the right thing these next 19 days. I know -- I know there are some folks who are talking about how terrible America is. But you know what, I have been to all 50 states as your president, and I see how great America is right now.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

I see folks working hard, starting their own businesses. I see teachers reaching into their own pocket to make sure our kids are getting the education that they need. I see doctors serving the poor and coming up with new cures. I see our men and women in uniform, our cops and first responders running towards danger, working to keep us safe. I see the patriotism of young activists who are troubled when things don't go the way they should and call on us to live up to our highest ideals.

I see all of you, Americans of every faith and every race and every region of the country who know that we're stronger together. Young and old, men and women, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native Americans, people with disabilities or not, all pledging allegiance to the red, white and blue.

That's what I see about America. That's the America I know. That is the America I know.

And there is only one candidate in this re who has devoted her life to that better America, the next president of the United States, Hillary Clinton.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

Now, hold on. Hold on. Hold on. See, that's one of the things I love about Florida. It's always a rowdy crowd.

Here's the good news. You don't have to wait until November 8th to send Hillary to the White House. You don't need to wait until November 8th to send Patrick Murphy to the United States Senate. You can vote early, starting this Monday. You can find out where to vote at Iwillvote.com.

Starting on Monday, you can go to the polls. When you vote early, it's not crowded. When you vote early, there are no lines. When you vote early, you can kind of do it on your lunch break. You can do it at you own leisure. You can take your time.

But starting Monday, you can reject somebody who proves himself unfit to be president every single day in every single way. You can reject his dark, pessimistic, fear-mongering vision of a country where we turn against each other and turn away from our role in the world. And instead you can choose as qualified a person who has ever run to lead this country.

[16:20:00] You can affirm the America we know, a country full of optimism and courage and generosity and hope, a country where we look out for each other and don't turn on each other. That's the choice that you can make, starting on Monday right here in south Florida.

I've said this before. There is nothing that can completely prepare you for the job of being president of the United States. You know, that first day after you get sworn in and they walk you in the office, and then everybody leaves and you're in the office, and you're looking around thinking, man, now what?

But here's the thing -- Hillary Clinton, she's been a first lady. She's been a senator. She's been my secretary of state. She's been in the room when tough decisions were made. She knows how those decisions can affect a veteran or a soldier, or a kid who needs a great education or a worker who's fighting for a good job or a raise or a decent retirement. And I will tell you, even in the middle of a crisis, she is calm and

cool and collected. And she is listening to people and she is treating everybody with respect.

And here is the thing about Hillary, no matter how tough the odds, no matter how much people try to knock her down, no matter how mean folks can be, she doesn't point fingers, she doesn't complain, she doesn't whine. She just works harder. And she gets the job done. And she never, ever, ever quits.

And that's why I know she can be a great president of the United States of America.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

And, the other thing is, she actually knows what she's talking about. She has actually done her homework. So, she's got real plans to address what she's heard from you. Specific ideas to invest in new jobs, to help workers share in companies' profits, to reduce inequality, ideas to help kids have access to preschool and help students go through college without taking on a ton of debt.

She was -- she was just here in Miami last week talking about what she was going to do to fight climate change. And then she proposed a child tax credit that would help millions of families. I mean, she -- she loves this stuff. She is all -- she is just reading her briefing book all the time.

She is not watching TV. She is not watching reality TV. She is not participating in reality TV. She is doing the work. And that's what you want from a president of the United States of America.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

Now, she is not going to be able to do it alone, so we also have to have outstanding members of Congress. And Patrick Murphy, when he is your United States senator, he's going to be doing his work. In fact, unlike his opponent, he actually shows up to work.

Unlike his opponent, he didn't try to defund Planned Parenthood. He made sure that women could make their own health care decisions. Unlike his opponent, he didn't walk away from Florida's Hispanic community when the r politics got tough. He fought for comprehensive immigration reform and a pathway to citizenship.

Unlike his opponent, Patrick actually believes in science and believes in the effects of climate change. Just the other night in their debate, Marco Rubio did not accept that sea levels are rising. And if you're watching TV, or you are going down some of the blocks right here in Miami in the middle of a sunny day and you see the ocean coming up through the streets, how can you deny what is right in front of you? I thought he was from Miami!

Patrick Murphy brought Democrats and Republicans together to fund Everglades restoration. He knows how to get stuff done. Not just to think about what you're going to do next. And as your next senator, he'll fight for this planet, for future generations.

[162:5:04] The point is, you deserve leaders who show up to work, who do their homework, who care more about you than about just hanging onto their job, who will have your back. That is who Hillary Clinton is. That's who Patrick Murphy is. They will always be there for you, and that's why you have got to be there for them, starting Monday when you go early vote!

And in contrast, you got Donald Trump.

(BOOS)

Oh! Don't boo. Vote! Don't -- booing doesn't do any good. Vote. And get your friends to vote. Get Uncle Joe to vote. Get, you know, Pookie to vote and Javier to vote. Vote! Don't boo.

Trump can't hear you from hear. But he can hear you when you go to the ballot box and vote.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

I know -- I know Trump hangs around here in Florida, but you know, I don't think he represents the values of Florida. Here is a guy who repeatedly stiffs small business owners and workers who have done work for him. In fact, he thinks that's smart. Just don't pay 'em. Then let them try to sue.

This is a guy who doesn't release his tax returns. First president -- first presidential candidate in decades who won't release his tax returns, and it' either because he's not as rich as he says he is or, as he admits, he hasn't paid federal income taxes in years, and he says that's smart. He thinks you're suckers for doing what you're supposed to do.

But it's not smart not to pay your taxes. All that means is, unlike the rest of us, despite everything that America has given to him, he doesn't feel obliged to give back a single dime to help our troops, or our veterans, or to make sure that young people get help going to college.

You know, he -- he keeps on talking about wanting to make America great. Well, it's people who avoid their responsibilities that create problems here in America. He is not part of the solution. He is part of the problem.

And if you really believe that a guy who spent 70 years on this earth showing no regard for working people is suddenly going to be the champion of working people, then I guess that's your guy.

But if you want leaders who actually value hard work, respect working Americans, who want higher wages and better benefits and a fairer tax code, who want equal pay for equal work for women, then you should vote for Hillary Clinton and you should vote for Patrick Murphy.

And if you want somebody who is going to actually keep your family safe in a dangerous world, then the choice is even clearer. Hillary will see to it that our troops finish the job of defeating ISIL. They are going after them right now as we speak. And she'll do it without resorting to torture or banning religions from our country. She's got the temperament and the knowledge, the steady hand, to be the next commander in chief.

And, meanwhile, you've got Donald Trump insulting POWs, attacking a gold star mom, talking down to our troops and our veterans, praising dictators, telling our allies we might not stand by them if they don't pay up.

I agree with the U.S. senator, a Republican, who awhile back said that we can't afford to give the nuclear codes of the United States to an erratic individual. By the way, you know who said that? Marco Rubio.

He also called Donald Trump a dangerous con artist who has spent a career sticking it to working people. You want me to say it again? He said -- Marco Rubio said this was a dangerous con artist who spent a lifetime, spent a career sticking it to working people.