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Trump Stumps in Ohio. Aired 1-1:30p ET
Aired October 27, 2016 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, I'm Wolf Blitzer. It's 1:00 p.m. here in Washington. Wherever you're watching from around the world, thanks very much for joining us.
Looking at a live picture of the White House. Up first, a tightening race in a shrinking calendar. We're less than 12 days and counting for the presidential election here in the United States. And it's all about those battleground states.
Donald Trump holds a rally this hour in one of those states. Take a look at some live pictures coming in from Springfield where Trump will be taking the stage shortly. He'll have -- we'll have live coverage of his speech. That's coming up later this hour.
Hillary Clinton campaigns with the first lady Michelle Obama for their first joint rally. That's next hour in North Carolina. We're looking at live pictures there. That's another key battleground state. We'll have live coverage of that as well. That event in Winston-Salem.
Our updated election map shows Florida and Nevada now shifting from lean Democrat back to battleground. And our latest average of the five most recent national polls shows Clinton maintaining a six-point lead over Donald Trump, 47 percent to 41 percent.
So, how important are today's battleground state events to their respective campaigns? Let's talk about that with CNN's Chris Frates. He's covering the Trump campaign. He's in Ohio right now, standing by to hear from Trump later this hour.
Our Senior Washington Correspondent Jeff Zeleny, he's in North Carolina covering Hillary Clinton, waiting to hear from her and Michelle Obama. They'll be speaking jointly. We'll have live coverage of that as well.
Chris, let's start with you. Donald Trump about to speak where you are in Springfield, Ohio. This is the first of three Ohio events today. He's seen some poll numbers move in his direction. How is he planning to keep up that momentum?
CHRIS FRATES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Wolf. Well, he's planning to keep that momentum up by doing these big kinds of rallies. In fact, if you take a look at the polling that we've seen, the last few polls coming out of Ohio shows him tied with Hillary Clinton. And a Suffolk University poll that was just out shows it 45-45.
He needs to get those numbers up. And that's why he's come to a place like Springfield. It's between Columbus and Dayton. And it's had a tough time these last 15 years. The household median income has fallen 25 percent. That is the biggest amount that we've seen across the country. Only 15 percent of the adults here have a college education. So, that is a big, big sign that this is Trump country.
The other thing he needs to do is he needs to spend some money, Wolf. And we've heard from Donald Trump who told our own CNN's Dana Bash that he plans to spend $100 million. Well, he's only spent about 60 so far. To spend 40 more in these last few weeks would be a huge, huge investment.
And we're told by a source that Reince Priebus, RNC Chairman, asked Donald Trump to put in some money to counter all of Hillary Clinton advertising blitz. He's said no.
So, we're seeing more of this repair (ph) politics throughout Ohio. He's here in Springfield, then he goes to Toledo, then he's on to Geneva. He needs to get those numbers up here. It's crucial for him. This is a battleground. And the White House for Donald Trump comes through here -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Chris Frates in Springfield, Ohio for us. Thanks very much. Once again, we're standing by to see and hear Donald Trump. He'll be speaking there fairly soon. We'll have live coverage.
Jeff, what about Michelle Obama joining Hillary Clinton where you are in Winston-Salem? That's coming up as well. This is their first campaign appearance together. We're hearing the first lady will offer what's being described as a closing argument for Hillary Clinton. What do we know about her message?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: She sure will, Wolf. I'll talk a little softer here. We're in the middle of the "National Anthem" here at Wake Forest University.
But what first lady Michelle Obama is trying to do today I'm told is to give more of a positive closing message for Hillary Clinton. We've seen her out on the campaign trail talking about why Donald Trump, she believes, would be a dangerous choice for president. She's been given very high covered speeches from New Hampshire, to Arizona, across the country about Donald Trump.
Today though, Wolf, I'm told it will, in fact, be more about Hillary Clinton. Her work for families. Her work for children. I'll raise my voice now as the "National Anthem" has now finished here, Wolf.
But it's also significant. We're on the campus of Wake Forest University. And this is the first day of in-person early voting here in North Carolina. That is the reason that Michelle Obama is here today. It's the reason that they are trying to get students and others out to vote in this key battleground.
And, Wolf, you said this is the first appearance together, that's true. North Carolina also the first place that the president, President Obama, and Hillary Clinton appeared together this summer. That was in Charlotte. So, it just shows how important North Carolina is.
[13:05:04] We know President Obama won it in 2008, and Mitt Romney won it in 2012. So, this will be the tiebreaker, in terms of if North Carolina is leaning blue or red. That's why this event here today is so important for the Clinton campaign and, of course, using Michelle Obama to try and get out the vote here some 12 days before the election -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Jeff, thank you. Jeff Zeleny reporting from Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
We'll, of course, have live coverage of the first lady and Hillary Clinton when that comes up. We're standing by for that and standing by for Donald Trump as well.
The presidential race clearly winding down right now. And it all comes down to this. Who can get the 270 electoral college votes needed to win the White House? And for Donald Trump, the road to 270 is a very challenging one. Even if he were to win the six states considered battleground states right now, we're talking about Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Utah, Arizona and Nevada, he would still come up short of that magic number of 270.
Former Georgia Congressman Jack Kingston is a senior adviser to the Trump campaign. He's joining us here in Washington right now. Congressman, thanks very much for joining us.
JACK KINGSTON, SENIOR ADVISOR, TRUMP CAMPAIGN: It's great to be here, Wolf.
BLITZER: So, do you agree this is truly a major uphill struggle for Donald Trump?
KINGSTON: Well, it's not as uphill as it was last week and we are feeling good about the change in momentum. And we're feeling good about the trend. People are really begin to focus on the issues, Obamacare most prevalently in the last day or two.
But, you know, beyond that, the trade agreements, the regulatory environment, just jobs in general. People are now focused more on the issues and a little bit less on the noise. And I'm not saying the other issues weren't as important. But they're not the pocketbook issues which when people go to vote, they think, OK, what about my household income? What about my tax burden? What about the opportunities for my children?
I think people are really beginning to focus and that's breaking our way. Hillary is considered the incumbent, at this point, just de facto. And that usually will -- in an election where people want change, it's going to help us.
BLITZER: Except this new CNN-ORC poll that we just are releasing today. Americans are feeling better about the way things are going in the country now. More than half, 54 percent, say things are going well compared to 46 percent who say things are going badly. That's about the best number for the Democrats in a long, long time. 54 percent say things are going well. 46 percent saying things are going badly. Does it make it harder for Donald Trump?
KINGSTON: Well, I think, you know, right track, wrong track --
BLITZER: This isn't the right track, wrong track. This is our things -- this is a different question we're asking. Are things going -- how are things going in the country right now? There's a different right track, wrong track number and that's about 70 percent that think it's the wrong track.
But a lot of those people who think it's a wrong track are very liberal Democrats who would like single payer, stuff like that. Bernie Sanders --
BLITZER: -- issues. Not necessarily all conservative Republicans who think it's part of that (INAUDIBLE.)
KINGSTON: You know, I want to say two things about them. Number one, they might not be as inclined to go out and vote. They don't have the intensity --
BLITZER: Who's they?
KINGSTON: Those Bernie Sanders' --
BLITZER: Although he's campaigning for her.
KINGSTON: Yes, but did you see the latest e-mail that came out on WikiLeaks showed that in December 2014, Cheryl Mills sent an e-mail saying that we have to coordinate better with Debbie Wasserman Schultz and with Simas, the Political Director over at the White House. I'm not sure I'm pronouncing the name right.
But, you know, for a Bernie Sanders person who said, you know, the primaries were stacked against us. I mean, this is almost the written proof. And I'm not saying that's going to carry huge numbers. But I think that there's still, among the rank and file Sanders supporters, there's not the enthusiasm that they had for Bernie.
And, you know, as you know, --
BLITZER: But I'll just point out, among a lot of Republicans, there's not a lot of enthusiasm for Donald Trump right now. For example, a lot of the Republican, your speaker, our speaker, the speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, he's not out there campaigning together with Donald Trump. He's got his own issues dealing with trying to maintain a Republican majority in the House.
KINGSTON: Well, he is trying to help the House members which a speaker has to put as his number one priority.
BLITZER: But he doesn't appear at all jointly with Donald Trump.
KINGSTON: No, but he is very good friends with Mike Pence and he's doing what he can to keep House members there.
But I've made a lot of phone calls in the last few days to House members. They are feeling good about Donald Trump, particularly in the wake of his agenda that he talked about in Gettysburg. A contract with America-type of approach to Washington. You know, immigration, security, repealing Obamacare, renegotiating some of the trade agreements.
BLITZER: You and his top advisers want him to do that but is he disciplined enough? Because, you know, he goes often message all of the time. I'm sure you get frustrated. You call it noise. Some of those issues that are noisy all of a sudden come up and it undermines his campaign, if you will.
KINGSTON: Well, we think that he is going to stick on the issues the next 12 days.
[13:10:00] BLITZER: Have you spoke to him about that?
KINGSTON: Not directly but I know that we have, our team has.
And, you know, one of the things that makes Donald Trump appealing to many, many voters is the excitement that he brings. Part of that excitement is saying things that aren't expected. Some of those things that he says, everybody wishes he did not say.
But the reality is, he's a different kind of politician. And this is a different type of year. And that's why he gets 15,000 people at his rallies. I was just looking at your B-roll of Wake Forest. Great, great crowd for Hillary Clinton for a change.
But, you know, it's also a built-in crowd when you go to a college campus. And I'm not going to say the kids get extra credit for attending but I -- they're certainly encouraged to skip class in the middle of the day. Donald Trump can get 15,000 people at night and we saw that last night, for example.
But the intensity factor and the right track, wrong track, is still on our side.
BLITZER: I will caution, though, that Bernie Sanders had huge crowds, much bigger crowds than Hillary Clinton had. And he had a lot of excitement on his side. She wound up getting the Democratic party nomination.
KINGSTON: He did but super delegates won't be deciding factor.
BLITZER: But she got -- she got more regular delegates, too. She didn't only rely on the super delegates which, you're right, are very important in the Democratic contest.
KINGSTON: But I do think part of Donald Trump's momentum is getting those people off the bench. You know, the four by four voters who don't miss a vote, a primary or an election at all versus the one out of four election types. He's going to get the one out of four people to vote.
BLITZER: Let's see how he does. Congressman Kingston, thanks very much for coming in.
KINGSTON: Thanks, Wolf.
BLITZER: A nice day here in Washington. A little rainy.
KINGSTON: It's great.
BLITZER: Coming up, the battleground barn storm. Donald Trump set to speak this hour in Ohio. One of three events he has planned for today. He's a very busy guy. We're going to have live coverage of that coming up this hour. Stand by.
Also, a new wave of hacked e-mails reveals how Bill Clinton made millions post presidency. Our panel standing by. We'll break it all down. We'll be right back.
[13:16:24] BLITZER: We're standing by. Take a look at these live pictures coming in from Springfield, Ohio, right now. Donald Trump scheduled to take the stage any minute now. It's his first of three rallies in this battleground state of Ohio today. We'll have live coverage of his remarks.
Joining us now, Carol Lee, she's the White House reporter for "The Wall Street Journal." David Gregory, CNN's political analyst, the author of "How's Your Faith." CNN's Dana Bash, our chief political correspondent. And Zeke Miller, the political reporter for "Time" magazine.
Dana, statistical tie suggesting right now Ohio, a key battleground state. Trump desperately needs to win in Ohio. So what does he need to do in Ohio in these three appearances today in order to secure a win?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: The message that he has been putting forward over the past few days on issues. I mean the times where he hasn't gotten districted by other things, on the issues, Obamacare, of course on his signature issue, on trade, which plays very, very well in the state of Ohio, those are the things that if he keeps pushing his advisers think will push him over the edge in places like that. Sticking on the issues.
He also needs to hope and pray that the enthusiasm gap on the Democratic side continues. That Hillary Clinton will have trouble running up the numbers in the urban areas. And that that will ultimately help Donald Trump. The problem with -- that the Trump campaign has is that the democrats do have, historically, not just this year but historically, a really, really good get out the vote operation that is superior to the Republicans historically and even more so this year. BLITZER: You know, David, in an interview with ABC, Trump again
claimed the election is rigged. He also tweeted this just this morning. We'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?"
This have been apparently some individuals have complained that they voted for Donald Trump and Mike Pence, but it came out that they were voting for Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine. The authorities there say there's no problem, that these are human errors. They're making mistakes. But they're generating a lot of buzz on social media.
DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, and I'm not surprised that there's that buzz. And, of course, all of this is being fueled by the innuendo from the Trump campaign without a lot of backup here. I mean, in any case, if we're in a very tight election result on election night, than any of these irregularities get looked at. I just don't think that we're headed in that particular direction. I think that the more Trump can be disciplined on issues and talk less about rigging the election, the more he has the prospect of appealing to Republicans who say, at the end of the day, wow, he sounds a little bit more like me. He sounds a little bit more like a conservative Republican. I really don't like Hillary Clinton. There's the drip, drip, drip of the e-mails and the foundation and the whatnot. I'm going to stay home in the Republican Party. I think that's a really good thing for him. Whether it's enough, we'll have to see. We're in the zone of the unknown, I say now, which is so much is about getting out the vote that we're not going to see until election night.
BLITZER: Carol, can he stay on message over these next 12 days? It's really been hard for him.
CAROL LEE, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, "WALL STREET JOURNAL": It's real --
BLITZER: But he's done well. He got the Republican nomination.
LEE: Yes, he did, but it's -- that's a -- it's a different audience, different voting group. You know, we haven't seen him be able to. I highly doubt that he will be able to. Dana had this interview with him yesterday and he was, you know, trying, but -- and he -- you watch his -- his speeches and he can't help himself. He just always has to go there with the things that aren't -- the things that are good for him, which are the economy, trade, health care. And so I'm sure we'll see a little bit of both.
BLITZER: And I'm sure that Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama, for that matter, when they speak -- that's coming up in North Carolina -- not much after Donald Trump speaks, but he's got two more speeches later -- later today, they're going to try to get under his skin so that he doesn't stay on message.
[13:20:15] LEE: Right. And just to step back and look at that, that two -- you know, first -- a sitting first lady and a former first lady to be campaigning together where one of them is campaigning to be president is really quite remarkable. And I think the, you know, Michelle's people are saying that she's going to move into more of a less attack dog on Donald Trump and so that's kind of inline what we've seen all of the surrogates do.
GREGORY: Isn't it interesting, North Carolina, first time that Obama campaigns with Hillary Clinton is in North Carolina. First time with Michelle Obama, it's in North Carolina. A lot of early voting apparently favoring Hillary Clinton. It is really the place where she says this is the end of the line for Donald Trump. She can lose Florida. She can lose Ohio. She can lose Wisconsin. She can lose Nevada. As long as she wins Pennsylvania, she wins North Carolina, she can wrap this thing up. That's how challenging all of this is for Donald Trump.
BLITZER: But they do have a little bit of momentum, Zeke, right now, the Trump campaign. Our national poll, the -- our poll of polls, the average of the five major polls, shows that she's still up, what, by six points right now. But in some of these key battleground states, he has moved up, and it's neck and neck.
ZEKE MILLER, POLITICAL REPORTER, "TIME": Yes, I mean, we've seen a lot of movement certainly in the margin of error, you know, in a lot of these surveys in swing states. It's really hard to see that, you know, a -- it's -- there's been, in the last couple of days, it seems to be a little bit of a trend line in his direction. Maybe some of that's the Obamacare news in some of those tracking polls.
But, you know, overall, you know, we were -- it's -- you know, we were seeing some surveys showing double digit leads for Hillary Clinton. We don't have elections like that in this country. You know, maybe this one will defy those trends. But this was always going to get close. It's always going to get close in these states. So the notion, you know, the five or six-point lead for Hillary Clinton right now sounds about right but, you know, a three point margin of error, that's also a two -- that could be a two point lead too. So that's probably, you know, in a lot of those swing states what we're seeing is sort of a reversion back to where these elections historically end up going.
BLITZER: The WikiLeaks and they're keeping -- they keep on going and going and going, embarrassing leaks from John Podesta's e-mails. He's the campaign chair for the Hillary Clinton campaign. A new batch is very awkward for Bill Clinton right now and the millions that he's made since leaving office.
One e-mail from Bill Clinton's top aide, Doug Band, getting a lot of attention right now. We'll put it up on the screen. He describes a setup for some for-profit deals for the former president. He writes this, "since 2001, President Clinton's business arrangements have yielded more than $30 million for him personally, with $66 million to be paid out over the next nine years should he chose to continue with the current engagements."
Dana, the Republican National Committee says this is a smoking gun, evidence of what they call pay for play. Is it?
BASH: Well, it would be if he were still president. If he were still in office. And wasn't at the time and won't be anymore.
However, he is -- his wife is running for president, so he would be first whatever, dude, first man. You know, we'll see what it is. And so what it does, regardless of those specifics and those facts, it does reinforce, there they go again, the Clintons, trying to, you know, trying to make themselves rich, trying to use their contacts and their influence to benefit themselves. All of the things that people who don't like them say about them. And those who do like them worry is their Achilles heel.
When it comes to voters, this just completely plays into going back to the Lincoln bedroom in the '90s. It's all part of the same narrative that if you are going to the voting booth and you are thinking, do I want Washington to change or do I want something new, maybe if you're that undecided, you think, oh, oh, right, there -- it's the Clintons. It's a remainder. Never mind, I'm going to take my chances with Donald Trump.
GREGORY: It's also a reminder of what Republicans are getting really to do. All of this venom toward the Clintons and toward Hillary over the e-mails, over the foundation, the notion that it goes away if she wins November 8th is fiction. There are Republicans on Capitol Hill, government oversight committee, that wants to basically create a permanent state of investigation into these matters. Now, we'll see what Speaker of the House Ryan says about all of that. But there's going to be a lot of energy to keep that going, which will be very difficult.
BLITZER: Yes. They'll be able to if they maintain the majority for the House of Representatives.
BLITZER: We'll see what happens in the House, see what happens in the Senate.
Stay with us. We're not going to go too far away. Donald Trump, he's back in the battleground state of Ohio right now. Once again, he's set to speak momentarily. We'll have live coverage of his remarks. We'll see if he stays on message or deviates a bit.
Plus, running from the Republican nominee. Some lawmakers threaten to sue over ads that suggest they support Trump. I'll talk to one of them. Florida Republican Congressman David Jolly. He'll -- he's standing by to join us live. There he is.
[13:24:57] And she's been called Hillary Clinton's best surrogate. The first lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, she's about to speak in the swing state of North Carolina. You're looking at live pictures coming in from there. Can she deliver yet another powerful speech to sway hearts and minds?
BLITZER: Welcome back.
With less than two weeks before the election, five Republican congressmen are now threatening to sue TV stations across the country for running ads that suggest they support Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. A fact they all deny.
Take a look at this ad against Republican Congressman David Jolly of Florida.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): Imagine Donald Trump being sworn in as president. And imagine David Jolly in Congress supporting Donald Trump's dangerous agenda.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[13:30:04] BLITZER: The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee paid for that advertisement. They issued this statement. I'll quote the statement.