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Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton Hold First Joint Rally; Trump Barnstorms Ohio, Slams 'Bill Clinton Inc.' Memo; Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama Campaign Together; Latest Campaign Happenings. Aired 5- 6p ET

Aired October 27, 2016 - 17:00   ET



WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, "my girl." Campaigning with Hillary Clinton for the first time, Michelle Obama calls her "my girl" and says no one has ever been more prepared and qualified to be president. But as the first lady tries to be the campaign's closer, new WikiLeaks revelations about the Clintons give Donald Trump a new line of attack.

[17:00:36] Narrow path. Even as some surveys show the race tightening, others just out show Clinton pulling even in some states and pulling away in others. Does Trump still have a path to victory?

Melania's message. Donald Trump says his wife will give two or three important speeches. That might be news to Melania Trump, who has kept a very low profile during the campaign. Is she up to the task?

And Vladimir's vision. Russian President Vladimir Putin questions the allegations that he's trying to influence the U.S. election, asking if America is a banana republic. Trump says it's time to lighten up on the Russian leader.

I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

Breaking news. A dozen days before the election polls show a dramatic shift in some key states. And both candidates are going all out today.

Hillary Clinton just held her first joint rally with Michelle Obama in the battleground state of North Carolina. Instead of relentlessly attacking Donald Trump, the first lady never mentioned him by name. She made a closing argument on behalf of Hillary Clinton, calling her "my girl," saying she's the most qualified candidate ever, ready to be commander in chief on day one.

No Republican has ever won the White House without winning Ohio. And Donald Trump is appearing there three times today, trying to hold onto a narrow lead in the polls there. CNN now rates Florida and Nevada as tossups, no longer leaning Democratic. But new polls today show Hillary Clinton leading in North Carolina, pulling even in the battleground of Iowa and in the red state of Georgia.

Trump is getting new campaign weapons as stolen e-mails released by WikiLeaks shed new light on the inner workings of Bill Clinton's lucrative business deals, which a Clinton advisor referred to as "Bill Clinton Inc."

And if that won't turn the campaign around, Republicans are making it clear they will have fodder for nonstop congressional hearings during a Hillary Clinton administration. I'll speak with Democratic Senator Chris Coons. And our correspondents, analysts and guests, they will have full coverage of the day's top stories.

Let's begin with Hillary Clinton facing a tightening race. She called in some backup today, making her first joint appearance with the first lady, Michelle Obama. Our senior political correspondent, Brianna Keilar, is here.

Brianna, the first lady is being called "the closer."

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: And Wolf, part of that is because she is so well-liked. Hillary Clinton at Wake Forest University today getting a little help from her friends, trying to court millennials, which is a group that she has struggled with. But according to a Harvard Institute of Politics poll, she could do better against Donald Trump in terms of the margin, if not the overall performance, than Barack Obama did in 2012.



KEILAR (voice-over): As Hillary Clinton pushes toward election day in North Carolina, she's got some very popular company.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINE: As our first African- American first lady, she has faced pressures I never did.

And she's handled them with pure grace.

KEILAR: Michelle Obama, campaigning with the Democratic nominee for the first time.

OBAMA: We want a president who takes this job seriously. And has the temperament and maturity to do it well. Someone who is steady. Someone who we can trust with the nuclear codes, because we want to go to sleep at night knowing that our kids and our country are safe.

And I am here today because I believe with all of my heart, and I would not be here lying to you. I believe with all of my heart that Hillary Clinton will be that president.

KEILAR: Taking advantage of the first lady's high standing with voters. She's even more popular than her husband, whose approval rating is quite high, at 55 percent. CLINTON: Every election is about the future. And this one is about

whether we build on the progress we've made, the legacy that President Obama has built or rip it away and go backwards.

[17:05:03] OBAMA: That's right. Hillary doesn't play. She has more experience and exposure to the presidency than any candidate in our lifetime. Yes, more than Barack, more than Bill. So she is absolutely ready to be commander in chief on day one. And yes, she happens to be a woman.

KEILAR: But in these final 12 days, Clinton keeps battling a drip, drip, drip of off-putting revelations from the hacked e-mails of her campaign chief, John Podesta. The latest batch reveals what Doug Band, a former top aide to Bill Clinton, called Bill Clinton Inc., wrangling millions of dollars in consultant fees and paid speeches for the former president, often from donors to the Clinton Foundation.

Those practices, as well as foreign donations to the foundation, worried top aides to Hillary Clinton, e-mails show, and that they were also blind-sided by her use of a private e-mail address and server while she was secretary of state.

"Did you have any idea of the depth of this story?" Podesta asks her campaign manage Robby Mook after "The New York Times" reported on Clinton's private e-mail server in March 2015.

"Nope," he replies. "We brought up the existence of e-mails in research this summer but were told that everything was taken care of."

In a separate exchange with Podesta, longtime advisor Neera Tanden asked who was responsible. "Do we actually know who told Clinton she could use a private e-mail, and has that person been drawn and quartered?" Going on to say, "Like whole thing is 'F'-ing insane."

Still, Clinton is leading in the polls, up 6 points nationally over Donald Trump in CNN's latest poll of polls. Clinton and her campaign worry high expectations could convince some voters that she'll win without their vote.

CLINTON: We cannot stop for a minute. No complacency here. Nobody -- nobody flagging. We've got to get everybody out to vote.


KEILAR: The campaign manager, Robby Mook, also putting out a video online, urging people to actually listen to Donald Trump, who has been saying not to believe the polls, that he could still win. Robby Mook saying he's right.

He doesn't want people, obviously, to be complacent, and they're worried that some people -- and I think especially it's those people maybe in the middle, maybe folks who don't want to vote for Donald Trump, don't want to vote for Hillary Clinton but would consider her a better alternative. They're worried about losing some of them.

BLITZER: They want them to show up and actually vote for her. That's why they're saying that. Brianna, thank you very much.

Donald Trump is playing a triple-header today in Ohio, holding three rallies in a state that's an absolute must-win for Republicans. CNN's political reporter, Sara Murray, is on the scene for us.

Sara, Trump is on the attack today, right?

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. And when Donald Trump arrives here, this will be his third stop of the day. He's been going after Hillary Clinton so far today on everything from her foreign policy credentials to these revelations from WikiLeaks.

But the question is whether all of this will be enough to help the underdog candidate soar to victory on November 8.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: In 12 days we're going to win Ohio, and we are going to win back the White House.

MURRAY (voice-over): Donald Trump is barnstorming the Buckeye State today with one target in mind.

D. TRUMP: I mean, I've been doing six, seven, eight things a day every single day. She's home sleeping half the time. I say she's definitely a low-energy person.

MURRAY: Seizing on the latest revelations from hacked e-mails released by WikiLeaks, outlining how Bill Clinton generated personal income through Clinton Foundation contacts.

D. TRUMP: If the Clintons were willing to play this fast and loose with their enterprise when they weren't in the White House, just imagine what they'll do, given the chance to once again control the Oval Office

MURRAY: The GOP nominee hoping a last-ditch effort to stay on message and jam-pack his campaign schedule might be enough to clinch a victory come November.

But even as he accused Hillary Clinton of being dangerous on foreign policy...

D. TRUMP: Now Hillary wants to start her shooting war in Syria, a conflict with a nuclear-power, Russia, which could very well lead to World War III.

MURRAY: He again appeared to come to Russian President Vladimir Putin's defense.

D. TRUMP: She speaks very badly of Putin, and I don't think that's smart. You know? You can be very tough, but you shouldn't be doing what she's doing.

MURRAY: And while he claims he no longer wants to focus on the lawsuits he's threatened against women who've accused him of unwanted sexual advances...

D. TRUMP: You know, I hate that you waste time. When we're talking about ISIS and we're talking about jobs; and you're still bringing that up. Everybody wants to bring it up. Look...


MURRAY: Trump still lobbing sharp attacks at a "People" magazine reporter who alleged he pushed her against a wall and kissed her without consent.

D. TRUMP: Oh, she was afraid. Give me a break. She was afraid to write it. She would have gotten a Pulitzer Prize. Give me a break. [17:10:02] MURRAY: Trump making a rare appearance with his wife, Melania. She says she's more focused on raising their 10-year-old son, Baron, than hitting the campaign trail.

MELANIA TRUMP, WIFE OF DONALD D. TRUMP: My priority is my son, Baron; our son, Baron. And I support him 100 percent. And I'm there for him every time he needs me. And I might join him.

MURRAY: But her husband has other ideas.

D. TRUMP: She's amazing when she speaks. She's an amazing public speaker. So she's agreed to do two or three speeches. And I think it's going to be big speeches, important speeches. It's going to be great.

MURRAY: And with less than two weeks until election day, Republicans are still grappling with how to deal with their nominee. After pulling his endorsement of Trump weeks ago...

REP. JASON CHAFFETZ (R), UTAH (via phone): I can only answer to myself and my wife. And I've got to feel good about what I do.

MURRAY: ... Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz now says he'll vote for Trump after all, tweeting, "I will not defend or endorse Donald Trump, but I am voting for him. HRC is that bad. HRC is bad for the USA."

As for Texas Senator Ted Cruz, he's readying for battle if Clinton wins the White House, suggesting the Senate may never vote Clinton's Supreme Court nominee, telling "The Washington Post," "There is certainly long historical precedent for a Supreme Court with fewer justices."


MURRAY: Now, Donald Trump has a very narrow path to 270, and Ohio is a crucial part of it. This is a state where his support has held up surprisingly well, even in the wake of these allegations of sexual misconduct. He's been running tied or a little bit ahead of Hillary Clinton here in the latest battleground state polls. You can tell by his packed schedule today, he does not take -- want to take any chances when it comes to Ohio -- Wolf.

BLITZER: It's a critically important state for him, for any Republican presidential candidate, for that matter. Sara, thanks very, very much.

Joining us now, Democratic Senator Chris Coons of Delaware. He's joining us from the campaign trail in North Carolina.

Senator, thanks so much for joining us.

SEN. CHRIS COONS (D), DELAWARE: Thank you, Wolf.

BLITZER: I know you're a big Hillary Clinton supporter, as well. You're campaigning there in North Carolina for Democrats. Twelve days left to go. The polls are tightening across the board. Is Hillary Clinton having a problem delivering a closing message?

COONS: No. I think Hillary Clinton has got a strong message for the closing. I think her rally here today with first lady Michelle Obama was a tremendous success.

She talked not just about her vision for growing middle-class jobs, building our economy from the middle out; how to make us safer and stronger around the world; how to provide for stronger schools and better child care. But she also launched a new anti-bullying initiative, which reminds all of us that for decades her focus has been on children and families and together, in contrast to her opponent, who is literally delivering a daily lesson in how to be a bully in the way that he's conducting his campaign and has conducted himself in debates with Secretary Clinton.

BLITZER: If she really isn't that worried, is she -- why is she bringing, for example, the first lady, Michelle Obama, out there to North Carolina today, the president, the vice president? She's really got a bench of supporters out there, high-profile supporters, who are trying to help her close the deal.

COONS: That's right, Wolf. I was out here today campaigning in Wilmington, North Carolina; in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Obviously, Michelle Obama, Barack Obama, Joe Biden are tremendous surrogates who have great following nationally.

Many senators and governors are out in the field, as well, because there are a few states like North Carolina where there's early voting already under way and where control of the state, the prediction for the presidential and senatorial and gubernatorial races here have gone back and forth.

So many of us have gone to other places in the country who know Secretary Clinton, who've served with her, who've worked with her and who can speak to her strengths.

I was at polling places and at grass-roots campaign headquarters in several places across North Carolina today and was glad to be able to deliver a positive message.

There are a lot of folks across the country, Wolf, who have been turned off by the nasty and personal tone of this debate, of this campaign overall nationally. And so many of us are concerned that folks who would come out and vote for Secretary Clinton or for Democrats like Deborah Ross, who's running for the Senate here in North Carolina, might be turned off and stay home.

We need folks to exercise their right to vote, even in the face of attempts to suppress voting rights here in North Carolina and around the rest of the country. We need folks to come out and vote. It's something for which so many Americans have fought and died over so many in these last few weeks before the election. I think it's important because there's so much at stake in this presidential election.

BLITZER: All right. She does have a problem, though, with the e- mails that were stolen -- released by WikiLeaks, the John Podesta e- mails. Some of them very, very embarrassing for Hillary Clinton, for the campaign, if you will, involving the Clinton Initiative -- the Global Initiative; involving her husband's business. Is it further hurting voters' trust in her and the Clinton name?

[17:15:03] COONS: I don't think it is, Wolf, at least not from the folks I visited with and heard from today.

In the summary of these newest releases that I heard just in the run- up to this interview, I heard nothing new. What I heard a summary of back-and-forth of campaign aides expressing worry or anxiety.

What I know is that the Clinton Foundation, compared to the Trump Foundation, has made a real and lasting difference in the lives of millions of people around the world. And I think, at the end of the day, when Americans look at the choice between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, they see a big divide on much bigger issues than some e-mails.

BLITZER: Well, one thing was the outrage. We did learn from some of her closest associates, most reliable associates when they discovered she was using a private e-maid server while she was secretary of ate. Neera Tanden among others. Podesta himself were all stunned to hear that the secretary was using a private e-mail server. That's a problem.

COONS: Well, Wolf, I think Americans are now well aware that Secretary Clinton was using a private e-mail server. She sat through a very, very long hearing in front of the House Republican chaired committee earlier this year. I think it was seven hours long. This is not needs.

BLITZER: That was on the Benghazi -- that was on the Benghazi issue.

COONS; That's right. Forgive me.

But what I am concerned about, frankly, Wolf, is the news today that House Republicans intend to try and convene many, many more hearings in the months and years to come and that Senator Cruz of Texas suggests that he might never allow an up or down vote on a Supreme Court justice nominee from President Clinton, should she be elected.

I do think that the degree of investigation and oversight and alarm over this issue exceeds the underlying severity and sincerity, the seriousness of the underlying issue. And my concern, to hearken back to the Benghazi hearings, I think there were more than 12 hearings into a simple, tragic, difficult incident in Libya. Is that if we've got Republicans already gearing up to investigate Secretary Clinton if she becomes president, already demanding that they will continue to stall any consideration of a nominee for the Supreme Court, we have to look seriously at the very daunting prospect that Republicans will not allow a President Clinton to govern and will not work with her in a responsible or bipartisan way.

BLITZER: On that Ted Cruz statement that, if the Republicans maintain a majority in the Senate, is that realistic that they might never allow a vote on a Supreme Court nominee? Let's say Hillary Clinton's president, and she puts a name forward. You're in the Senate. Is that at all realistic? You think enough Republicans would go along with Cruz and prevent consideration of a Supreme Court justice?

COONS: Well, Wolf, I really hope that's not realistic or credible.

BLITZER: But do you think it -- do you think it is?

COONS: Senator Cruz was the one who led the shutdown of the federal government.

BLITZER: But do you think it is realistic or credible?

COONS: I think there are some Republican senators who will try to continue their sort of unilateral filibuster. In the hundred years, Wolf, that we've had a Senate Judiciary Committee, we have never had a nominee who has failed to get a hearing, failed to get a vote for as long as Merrick Garland, who was nominated many, many months ago by President Obama.

It's my hope that there will be enough Republican senators who see the importance of a bipartisan process to confirm a judicial nominee for this vacancy in the Supreme Court that we will be able to move forward; and that Senator Cruz, as has been the case before, is really speaking for a very small and extreme minority of the Republican caucus in the Senate.

BLITZER: All right, Senator, I need you to stand by. We're going to continue the questions and the answers, including new suggestions now from Donald Trump. He's beginning to question the voting -- validity of the voting in the state of Texas. We'll have much more right after this.


[17:23:06] BLITZER: We're back to the breaking news. The first lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, goes to bat for Hillary Clinton at a joint rally in the crucial battleground state of North Carolina. And Donald Trump barnstorming in Ohio today.

All this comes as polls show a tightening race and as a stolen memo reveals the extent of Bill Clinton's business dealings.

We're back with Democratic Senator Chris Coons of Delaware, as a Hillary Clinton supporter. Senator, Donald Trump was tweeting today, questioning the validity,

perhaps, of the voting in Texas right now. This is what he tweeted. I'll put it up on the screen. "A lot of call-ins about vote flipping at the voting booths in Texas. People are not happy. Big lines. What is going on?"

BLITZER: The suggestion is, apparently, local authorities say they're voting on these electronic tablets, and there could be some problems right now. Human errors. They don't think it's very significant.

But do you think he will concede this election if he loses?

COONS: Well, Wolf, I hope that Donald Trump will observe decades, centuries of respectful transition of power of those who lose elections, congratulating their opponents and accepting the result, if that's the result. That's one of the hallmarks of American democracy.

To be clear, in 2000, in Florida, the outcome was so tight, so close, that an automatic recount was called for. But that's not what Donald Trump suggested in his answer to the question in the third debate, "Will you respect the outcome of the election?"

And he said, "I'm going to keep you in suspense."

This latest tweet that you just quoted is a suggestion that Trump is continuing his theme of questioning whether or not the vote will be legitimate and of calling on his voters to come and supervise polling places. I think this is a very dark and concerning development, and I really hope that Donald Trump will stop undermining our democracy and questioning the validity of elections, which are run at the state and local level, in many cases by local Republican elected officials, who chair county and state election boards.

[17:25:04] BLITZER: Today Russia's President Putin engaged on the U.S. presidential election, saying he doesn't think -- he doesn't seriously think Russia can influence the choice of the American people.

Why is he intentionally down-playing -- we're talking about Donald Trump -- downplaying Russia's influence potentially? Right now Putin is down-playing it, as well?

COONS: Well, it seems to me striking that we've had the leadership of America's national intelligence community confirm that a Russian- connected source, that Russian intelligence likely played a central role in hacks into Democratic Party e-mails, into -- hacks into Secretary Clinton's campaign e-mails, and that there was very close relations between Donald Trump's previous campaign manager and Putin's supported leader of the Ukraine.

And that today Putin is instead saying, "No, no, I've had very little influence on this election."

My hunch is that's because many Americans are concerned by this. Many Americans appropriately see the idea of Putin influencing American elections intentionally as a very concerning development. And certainly for Republicans and for national security concerned

independents, the idea that Donald Trump, the Republican nominee, would speak kindly and positively about Putin, particularly in contrast to our current president, is a pretty striking and worrisome development.

BLITZER: Senator Coons, thanks for joining us.

COONS: Thank you, Wolf.

BLITZER: Up next, the next hour, by the way, I'll speak with Republican Congressman Sean Duffy. He's a Trump supporter.

Coming up, the Trump campaign is taking full advantage of the latest revelations about Bill Clinton's lucrative business deals. Could that help lower turnout for Democrats? Our political experts are standing by. Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.



WOLF BLITZER, ANCHOR: We're following breaking news in the presidential race. Hillary Clinton and First Lady Michelle Obama appeared together at a big rally this afternoon in North Carolina.


BLITZER: The new poll, by the way, shows Clinton ahead of Trump in North Carolina. And get this, actually tied with Donald Trump in both Georgia and Iowa. There's a lot of talk -- there's a lot to talk about with our political experts.


BLITZER: I want to go to David Axelrod first. David, he issued a scathing attack today, Donald Trump, against Hillary Clinton over the Wikileaks release of information involving The Clinton Foundation. Could that argument suppress voter turnout among democrats, especially among some of the Bernie Sanders supporters out there who are probably pretty angry about this as well?

DAVID AXELROD, FORMER OBAMA SENIOR ADVISOR: Yes, I think it's less a matter of suppressing democratic turnout than rallying republicans who -- some of whom have drifted away from him, republican-leaning independents for whom the attacks on Clinton probably are resonating.


AXELROD: The challenge for Trump is always the same, which is can he stay on track and stay on the offense without shooting himself in the foot. I don't know if he has any toes left. But if he does, they're always in jeopardy. And that's really the question for him.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BLITZER: Yes. Mark Preston, he was on message in his first speech earlier today in Ohio. He didn't deviate much at all from the teleprompter. He's staying on that message for now, but how long can he do that?

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE EDITOR: CNN Well, I'm sure that his advisors right now Wolf, are looking at their watches and wondering the same thing. You know every time that Donald Trump seems to have had a good -- a good day staying on message, following the teleprompters, not talking about sexual abuse allegations, not talking about a rigged system, not attacking his own party, he has a good day, he seems to do well. But he doesn't seem to be able to get out of his own way.

He clouds his own message, he creates a lot of white noise around it. And, oftentimes when he's trying to put out major policy proposals like we saw this past weekend up in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, he stepped over all of his message by doing a preamble about how he was going to sue everyone who has been accusing him of sexual misconduct.

So, you know, for now he's doing OK. We'll see what happens by tomorrow. Does he spin it off again?

BLITZER: Yes, we'll see. We'll watch that very, very closely.

Jackie Kucinich. He tweeted today, we pointed it out before, raising the possibility of a "rigged election."


BLITZER: A lot of call ins about vote flipping at the voting booths in Texas. People are not happy, big lines, what is going on. Why is he continuing to raise this specter of possibly a rigged election?

JACKIE KUCINICH, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, THE DAILY BEAST: I mean, the other thing that happened today is a poll came out that showed him just ahead by three in red Texas. I mean, it's an extraordinary development. And, so it seems like he's trying to have an excuse for, not if he loses Texas, but if he loses in general.

But, it's hard to believe in Texas, where the whole top of the government; lieutenant governor, governor, secretary of state, everyone's a republican, that somehow that they're colluding to rig this election for Hillary Clinton. It just sort of doing add up.

BLITZER: He's laying out an excuse in case he doesn't win by a big enough margin or if he were to lose for example.

KUCINICH: Because, it couldn't be because of Donald Trump and because of his lack of messaging and because of this sort of disastrous campaign that he's run. It has to be because it's rigged, it has to be because someone did something to take it away from him.

BLITZER: Nobody really thinks in a presidential race at least this time around that Texas is at play. Although, the polls do show it's three points. That's pretty close in Texas. Brianna Jason Chaffetz, the Congressman from Utah, he renounced Donald

Trump after the "Access Hollywood" video came out. Now he says he'll be voting for Trump, even though he's not supporting him or endorsing him. He says he doesn't want Hillary Clinton to be President of the United States. Butt's a very significant reversal of sorts.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It's pretty stunning. Because you'll remember he came out, and he was so out in front on this. He said, I have a 15-year-old daughter, after that tape came out. He said he couldn't attach his good name to Donald Trump. And, here he is just, you know, a couple of weeks later saying that he is going to vote for Donald Trump but he's not going to endorse him.


KEILAR: I think it shows you how difficult politically the situation is for a number of these republicans. Because so many of their constituents have spent years and years -- Hillary Clinton, for them, represents everything that they detest about the Democratic Party. And so, they're really stuck between a rock and a hard place here. And, he seems to clearly be protecting his right flank. Because he also came out and said he has two years' worth of material ready to go if Hillary Clinton is president. He's in that very powerful position as the Chairman of the House Oversight Committee. That's investigations, that's where that comes from.

BLITZER: And, it's a unique situation, David Axelrod, right now in Utah of all places, where it's a pretty close race if you take a look at what's going on.

AXELROD: Well, it's close in part because there's an independent candidate, Evan McMullin, who is a Mormon, former CIA agent, and he has become a protest vehicle for particularly Mormon voters in the state who are alienated from Trump and some of his personal behavior.

So, I think that makes Utah a unique place. But the fact is Donald Trump is behind or no better than even in every battleground state. And, there are new battleground states that were thought to be republican strongholds. So he's got his cut out for him.

BLITZER: Only 12 days to go. Everybody stay with us. We're going to have much more with our panel coming up.

Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama out there in North Carolina today. How significant is that? We'll be right back.



BLITZER: We're back with our political experts. Brianna Keilar, let's talk a little bit about this important joint event today. The First Lady of the United States, Hillary Clinton -- Michelle Obama, she was speaking mostly positively, sending a positive message about Hillary Clinton.


BLITZER: Didn't attack Donald -- never mentioned Donald Trump's name at all, but didn't really go after him that much. An effective strategy?

KEILAR: That's right. I think they're trying to keep things a little more positive. Right after that "Access Hollywood" tape came out, Michelle Obama was perhaps one of -- I think she might have been the most effective person speaking out against it. A couple of weeks ago in New Hampshire she had the strongest of words for Donald Trump; shocking, demeaning, that he was below the basic standards of decency. Today she was talking about two different visions and how his, she felt, is not a compliment that it's grounded in hopelessness and despair.


KEILAR: But she said that Hillary Clinton has a different vision that has more to do with togetherness. But I think what's really amazing about this appearance is just that she is there, so wholeheartedly campaigning for Hillary Clinton.

I mean eight years ago if someone had told you that this would have happened, one, that they would have been, you know, besties up there, sort of hugging it out before. Or that Michelle Obama would be probably the best surrogate out there. I mean, eight years ago she had to have a whole image rehab because she was seen as divisive. And, now she's not. She's an additive.

BLITZER: Well, what was also interesting Jackie, was the fact that the First Lady was introduced by Hillary Clinton. Usually it's the other way around.

KUCINICH: She was the headliner today.


KUCINICH: And, it's been interesting to see Hillary Clinton sort of adopt what Michelle Obama has been saying on the trail. Be it the, they go low, we go high. You heard Hillary Clinton say some of the things Michelle Obama said about -- in earlier speeches about sexual assault and the treatment of women. So, she really is trying to sorb a little bit of the celebrity and panache that Michelle Obama brings to the ...


BLITZER: Mark Preston, look at these new Quinnipiac University polls that came out today. In Iowa tied 44-44. Clinton and Trump. In Georgia of all places, Trump 44, Hillary Clinton, 43. It's not supposed to be that way in those two states. They were -- Hillary Clinton was way behind in Iowa a month ago. And behind in Georgia, of course, as well, it's a red state.

PRESTON: Yes, no doubt. Look the last time democrats won Georgia, Wolf, it just so happened to be Bill Clinton back in 1992 and it got very, very red.

Now, if we were talking ten years from now and we saw these numbers it would seem to make sense because of demographic changes in that state as we're also seeing in other states such as Texas.

The fact is it just shows you that Trump's candidacy, for all that he's attracting, he's also pushed a lot away at the same that you're seeing democrats in that consolidate.

In the state of Iowa though, Hillary Clinton has never really done well there. You know she didn't necessarily do well in the caucuses. But, what we have seen is Trump has done well, even though he lost the caucuses there.

So you're seeing a consolidation of social conservatives that are getting behind Trump. But, those numbers right there, the last time that republicans won Iowa, was in 2004 with John Kerry. Barack Obama won it in these last two elections.

So, if Hillary Clinton could knock off Trump in Georgia and Iowa, election over.

BLITZER: David Axelrod, only moments ago Donald Trump said this in Toledo. Let me play the clip for you. Listen to this.


DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In just thinking to myself right now, we should just cancel the election and just give it to Trump, right? What are we having it for? What are we having it for?


BLITZER: It's already generating some buzz out there. You're smiling when you hear him say it. He thinks he's doing really well.

AXELROD: Well I think -- I think he's expressed some concern about how the election might come out if we actually hold one and whether he's going to recognize the result of it. So I'm sure he would prefer a situation where we could just by acclamation declare that he's President of the United States.


AXELROD: But the numbers are the numbers, and they're pretty daunting for him right now. The discussion you just had with Mark speaks to it. He has so antagonized key constituencies in some battleground states, in many battleground states; college-educated women, Hispanics and other minorities, young -- younger voters, that he has made it almost impossible for himself to climb this hill.

BLITZER: Mark Preston, your reaction to what we just heard from Trump? I suspect he was just trying to be funny, and cute, sarcastic a little bit or whatever.

PRESTON: There's a little bit of truth in everything Donald Trump says though, as in what every politician says. And, that is absolutely what Donald Trump shouldn't be doing right now. You know, we talked before the break about staying on message. Saying something like that just plays to the crowd, and he gets energy off of that, Wolf, but guess what, that doesn't reach out to all those constituencies that David just mentioned.

BLITZER: All right, guys, stay with us, don't go too far away. Coming up, Donald Trump says we'll see more of his wife Melania.


BLITZER: Can she make a major difference at this point in the campaign?




BLITZER: Donald Trump promises we'll be seeing and hearing more from his wife, Melania, in the closing days of this campaign. Let's bring in our Brian Todd. Brian, we've heard these kinds of promises before.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We have, Wolf. And, sometimes it hasn't materialized. But tonight, Donald Trump needs every bit of help he can get with women voters, and he is counting on Melania Trump to make a connection with them down the stretch.

The one issue is, he may have wanted to run that idea by her first.


TODD: Donald Trump seems to surprise his wife in front of a national T.V. audience.

MELANIA TRUMP, DONALD TRUMP'S WIFE: I may join him. We will see.

D. TRUMP: She's actually going to make two or three speeches.


D. TRUMP: And I will tell you ...

TODD: The question from ABC's George Stephanopoulos to Melania Trump, was, do you want to get out there and help him in the final two weeks. When she said she might, Trump took it further.

D. TRUMP: She's agreed to do two or three speeches and I think it's going to be big speeches, important speeches.

TODD: We asked the campaign if Donald and Melania Trump had spoken about that before the interview. They didn't respond. Could Melania help her husband in the final stretch?

CHRISTINE MATTHEWS, ADVISES REPUBLICANS ON WOMEN VOTERS: Basically, what women voters say is, well, of course the wife is going to say nice things about the husband. So, at this point, I don't see how this really helps Donald Trump with women.

TODD: Melania Trump has done interviews with major networks, including with CNN's Anderson Cooper, since the accusations of sexual misconduct against her husband came out.

M. TRUMP: I believe my husband. This was all organized from the opposition.

TODD: But she hasn't given a speech since the republican convention.

M. TRUMP: My parents impressed on me the values that you work hard for what you want in life.

TODD: One of a couple of phrases which plagiarized a Michelle Obama speech. Her husband tried to laugh it off last week.

D. TRUMP: Michelle Obama gives a speech, and everyone loves it. It's fantastic. They think she's absolutely great. My wife, Melania, gives the exact same speech, and people get on her case! And I don't get it.

TODD: CNN's latest poll shows Melania Trump has better net favorable ratings than Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, or Bill Clinton.

M. TRUMP: We will make America great again.

TODD: If she speaks, what should she focus on?

MATTHEWS: If I were advising them, I would have her take a fairly light touch about how for example she's tried to hide his phone so he can't tweet. I wouldn't Melania Trump address the allegations against her husband, I don't think she's got a good answer for them.

TODD: Another GOP strategist warns of what could go wrong.

KEVIN MADDEN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: You have to have buy-in from Melania Trump. This can't be something that she's pressured to do. Because if she underperforms, in that sense, like she did at the RNC Convention, it could cause a lot of negative coverage. Or you could hurt your chances.


TODD: So is there buy-in from Melania Trump? Did anyone run the idea by her before that ABC interview? What will the campaign ask her to say in those speeches?

We have pressed the campaign all day today on those questions but have gotten nothing back other than one text saying she will give speeches. Wolf.

BLITZER: We'll of course cover that. But Brian, there could even be a question about that, even one speech.

TODD: That's right Wolf, you know, if you remember back in August, she was being scrutinized over her immigration status. Donald Trump said at the time she was going to hold a news conference to talk all about that and she never did.

BLITZER: We'll see what happens on that front. Brian Todd, thanks very, very much.


Coming up, Michelle Obama campaigning with Hillary Clinton for the first time today, and says no-one has ever been more qualified to be President of the United States than Hillary Clinton. Can the First Lady be the closer for the Clinton campaign?

MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: Do not let yourselves get tired, or frustrated, or discouraged by the negativity of this election. As you are out there working your hearts out for my girls




BLITZER: Happening now, the closer.


BLITZER: Michelle Obama stands with Hillary Clinton and revs up democrats in a way the party's presidential nominee cannot. The First Lady warning elections are decided on a razor's edge. Will her pitch make the difference?

Coming home. Donald Trump works to rally his base as the race tightens in certain key battlegrounds. Tonight, one GOP lawmaker is accused of a stunning flip-flop, joining other waffling republicans who are back in Trump's corner.

Russia cries Ruse. Vladimir Putin mocks the idea that Moscow is trying to interfere with the U.S. election, portraying it as an unbelievable ploy. This as more stolen e-mails reveal the Clinton camp's horror when her use of a private server became public.

And closing in. We're learning about a secret U.S. attack on ISIS as coalition forces get ready to move on the terror group's self- proclaimed capital. The Pentagon growing more concerned that ISIS --