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News: Bridgegate Verdicts, Guilty on All Counts; Clinton Campaigns in Pennsylvania; Officials Monitoring Election Terror Threats; Obama's Campaign Catch Phrase; Obama Targeting Young Voters, Minorities for Clinton. Aired 1:30-2p ET
Aired November 4, 2016 - 13:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[13:30:49] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Hillary Clinton has just taken the stage in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. You see her there. Just starting remarks, thanking all the local politicians there. We're going to go there in a moment when she gets to the substance of her remarks.
The vice president, Joe Biden, speaking in Madison, Wisconsin, now. We're monitoring his remarks as well.
And we're following breaking news at the same time. Guilty on all counts, the verdict for two former officials linked to Governor Chris Christie's office for the closure of lanes on the New Jersey bridge. Bridget Anne Kelly and Bill Baroni each faced seven counts including conspiracy and fraud.
CNN's Deborah Feyerick has been following the story what are the details.
Deb, what does it mean for Governor Chris Christie?
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It means two people very close To him have now been found guilty of manipulating public resources and did this specifically by closing different traffic lanes at a very busy bridge, the George Washington Bridge, that connects Manhattan and New Jersey. And they not only closed those lanes but created such bad gridlock for four days they actually deprived drivers, taxpayers, of their right to pass freely. That's what they were found guilty of essentially. All of this happened allegedly because they wanted to punish a mayor who refused to support Chris Christie for his re-election campaign.
Now, the jury got this case Monday. Chris Christie kept a very low profile since then. He had no public schedule. Today, though, once the guilty verdict came down he issued a very harsh statement against his two loyalists or former loyalists saying, "Like so many people in New Jersey, I'm saddened by this case and saddened about the choices made by Bill Baroni, Bridget Kelly and Brownstein. Today's verdict does not change this for me."
All testified against the governor, that in fact the governor did know about those lane closures. Christie goes on and says, "Let me be clear. I had no knowledge prior to or during these lane realignments and no role in authorizing them. No evidence presented to contradict that fact. Anything in court said is simply untrue."
And testimony of Bridget Kelly, his former deputy of staff, said, yes, he did know and we told him presumably because these closures were part of a traffic study.
Now, the prosecutor was asked by reporters, if you're indicting, if all of these people in our being found guilty that are so close to the governor, why not indict the governor? The prosecutor said, only that he made cases against all of those people near the governor where there was reasonable evidence to convict.
BLITZER: Deborah Feyerick, thanks very much for that news out of New Jersey.
Up next, new concerns about possible threat around Election Day here in the United States. What security officials are now doing to prevent it. That.
And Hillary Clinton will have coverage of her speech. Speaking in Pittsburgh.
We'll be right back.
[13:38:24] BLITZER: Hillary Clinton now at her first event of the day speaking in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Later she goes on to Michigan and Ohio. Just a few moments ago, she said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, when you debate in front of, you know, 60 million, 70 million, 80 million-plus people, you've got to have a sense of preparation, readiness, calmness, composure. And I'll tell you, some of what I heard coming from my opponent, it was really hard not to go, what did you say?
CLINTON: You know, he kept -- he kept saying things like, well, what have you done for 30 years? And -- well, we know what he's done for 30 years.
And I mean, back in the '70s, he started with discriminating against African-Americans and Latinos by refusing to rent them apartments in New York.
CLINTON: He has a long history of insulting people. It did not just start in the campaign. You can go back and -- and find what he said about all kinds of folks.
And one of the things I discovered in preparing for the debates, which I was kind of surprised by, is that he took out a full-page ad in 1987 to criticize President Reagan. So he was an equal opportunity insulter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[13:40:02] BLITZER: Hillary Clinton speaking in Pittsburgh.
As this presidential race, by the way, comes to a head Tuesday, election security is top of mind right now for U.S. law enforcement officials. CNN is learning about possible threats against three states and concerns about hacking of election results here in the United States.
Our justice correspondent, Evan Perez; and our national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto, join us now.
Evan what are you learning about that?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, right now Joint Terrorism Task Forces led by the FBI are checking out some chatter, some threats that were made and was picked up by, intercepted conversations overseas among al Qaeda, or suspected al Qaeda supporters. These threats, again, New York, in Virginia, and Texas. Perhaps some kind of threat to the U.S. election on Election Day, or near Election Day. Again, it's not very specific. And at this point, law enforcement doesn't even know how credible it is, but it is obviously something that they're going to look at and want to keep a close eye on.
It is, Wolf, without a doubt, something that they were expecting. Normal this time of year, or every four years, rather. When it comes to Election Day, they expect threats. And again, are on guard for them.
And it should be noted, Wolf, they've been working on this a couple of weeks and have not yet been able to find any credible information to back it up. So that, we have to add all of this, because obviously at this point there's not much they can go with.
We did get a statement from the New York Police Department, New York City Police Department, and one of the things they said was pretty much what I just said, which was that the threat lacks specificity and is something they're trying to work to check the credibility of -- Wolf?
BLITZER: Jim Sciutto, what about the cyber threats from Russia? What are you hearing?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: First, I think we should start with this. This is a. consistent assessment we hear both from U.S. cybersecurity officials, also from cybersecurity experts. That is, that the risk of cyberattacks that would change the result of this election, the risk of that is minuscule. Our election system, it's too disparate, too widely distributed among states and precincts around the country, that to swing the results of the election, that's not a great concern.
That said, there is a great concern about an information operation led by Russia, which in effect is already under way, and that's a number -- in a number of different ways. One is these hacked documents and e-mails that, to this point, have been solely focused on the Democratic Party, released by WikiLeaks, but hacked by Russia, part of a way to interrupt the process, sow doubts about one of the candidate. There's concern there could be more releases, with even having the possibility of more documents faked or doctored by Russia mixed in with the otherwise genuine documents. That's one thing they're watching.
They're concerned there have been detections of attempts to access voter registration systems in a number of states. And the DHS is now helping some 48 states. Virtually every state in the union, asked for help to protection from these kinds of hacks. They haven't detected evidence at this point that those voter data bases have been alter in any way, but concern is at some point they might be. And on Election Day, you have a risk, perhaps, of voters coming to their voting place and being told, wait, this is not your name. This is not your address. That kind of thing is a risk. That, of course, sows confusion and possibly doubts about the process.
The final kind of risk they're looking at are denial-of-service attacks. These are where websites are bombarded with attacks by bots, in effect, from around the world. But those kinds of attacks on things like mapping systems. So that on election day, you're checking voter polling place, and you can't use your map function. That will sow difficulty on the day of election.
Multiple issues taking them seriously, Wolf, but they are saying they still have confidence in the ballot counting process. That's key.
BLITZER: Very quickly, Jim, there are these reports that the U.S., through diplomatic channels, has issued a warning to Russia to stop it. Are you hearing that?
SCIUTTO: This is something where the U.S. has messaged Russia that they take this very seriously. The step they have not taken as of yet is to respond with either sanctions or the possibility of a response or retaliatory cyberattack.
BLITZER: Jim Sciutto, thank very much.
Evan Perez, thanks to you as well.
Very important developments we're watching very closely.
[13:44:40] Coming up, a closer look at the origin of President Obama's campaign trail catch phrase. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Come on. Come on, man!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: The commander-in-chief as campaigner-in-chief. President Barack Obama is back on the campaign trail today with two scheduled stopped in North Carolina as he tries to motivate voters. He boarded Air Force One moments ago.
Athena Jones has more on the president's push and most popular catch phrase.
OBAMA: Hello, Miami!
ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the final days of this race for the White House, we're seeing more and more of the president on the trail in full campaign mode. And if you've heard the president speak this week, you've no doubt heard this line.
OBAMA: Come on, man!
Come on, man.
Come on, man!
JONES: Yes, it's catchy, and the crowds love it.
JONES: But do you know where it comes from? Could it be a line of Cajun seasonings from former NFL running back, Charles Alexander, or from Vice President Joe Biden?
JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Come on, man.
JONES: Or maybe from watching sports on TV.
The phrase has been a regular segment on ESPN's "Monday Night Football's" coverage for the past eight years. It started in 2008, the same year he was elected president. ESPN uses it to call out the sillier side of football.
UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER: Come on, man!
[13:50:04] UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER: There really is no doubt in our mind that he's paying homage our show.
We've talked about his delivery, and it's an "A." He has the inflection down perfectly, the exasperation in his voice is perfect. He's watched a lot.
I know he'll have free time on his hands come 2017, so maybe he'll join us for a segment.
JONES: It's a piece of pop culture, one the president might have picked up from his nights watching ESPN at the White House. Now taking his favorite line on the campaign trail.
JONES: While ESPN is taking the credit, the White House tells me they're not sure where the president picked up the phrase and they point out it's a common saying.
One more point, Wolf. I covered the president's 2008 run for the White House and he's been bringing back classic lines from that campaign on the stump. Like when the crowd boos something he says about Trump or Republicans he tells them, "Don't boo, vote." There's also this mythical cousin, Pooky, he likes to talk about when he's urging folks to get their friends and relatives to the polls.
This "come on, man" line is a new favorite and, who knows, maybe a new classic -- Wolf?
BLITZER: Probably will be.
Athena, thanks very, very much.
We'll watch later today.
By the way, a little over an hour from now when President Obama makes his next stop, this one, in Fayetteville, North Carolina. His target is clear, young voters, minority voters.
Here with us right now is Ben LaBolt, the press secretary from President Obama's 2012 reelection campaign.
Ben, thanks for joining us,
BEN LABOLT, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Thanks, Wolf.
BLITZER: You remember 2008. You saw that report, brought back, I'm sure, some memories. What's your analysis of "come on, man"?
LABOLT: The funny thing is the president the whole time has been sort of -- he reinvented politics in that he's a casual guy when he's talking to crowds and a natural campaigner. The most natural campaigner we've seen since president Clinton so the most recent time I heard about it was when he was talking about Marco Rubio campaigning so hard against Donald Trump but then saying he's for him, "come on, man."
BLITZER: Have you seen changes over these eight years? You were with him back in 2008, went to Chicago, you saw when he was elected president of the United States. How is his rhetoric, if you will, his style of his speech, his delivery changed? LABOLT: You have to remember I worked a well. Is how much 2008
was a game changing year, most of that presidential campaign was of the war in Iraq and passing health care and just a month before Election Day we entered the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression sand when he entered office we were in years of an emergency state around that. We were hemorrhaging hundreds of thousands of jobs a month. Just to watch him etch away at those problems over time and the progress we've made to get to where we are today where we had a good jobs report, wages are going up, we've had months and months of growth there, he's reformed wall street all of this is on the line and you're seeing him on the campaign trail again having gotten through that crisis and he's having a little bit of fun at the end of the presidency.
BLITZER: How much of that campaigning is designed to protect his legacy, if you will, as opposed to just trying to get Hillary Clinton elected.
LABOLT: Well, I think two things. Number one, his legacy is on the line and Hillary Clinton will be dependent on voters in the Obama coalition to win so North Carolina, which hadn't been in play for Democrats before 2008 when the president put together a coalition of Millennials, of diverse voters, of voters who recently moved into the state and won an unexpected victory in that state.
When we look at election night next Tuesday, it may all come down to a state like North Carolina, which hadn't been in play for Democrats before so motivating those voters to protect things like the 20 million who were ensured because of Obamacare or wall street reform. That's on the line on Tuesday night.
BLITZER: He won North Carolina in 2008, but narrowly lost it in 2012, as you, I'm sure, sadly, remember.
LABOLT: I do.
BLITZER: But more importantly, from your perspective, he won the election.
BLITZER: That's what matters.
LABOLT: That's what matters on Tuesday as well.
BLITZER: Ben LaBolt, thank you for bringing back memories from years past.
[13:54:19] After the break, we'll look back at a very historic moment in presidential campaign history. You'll want to see this.
We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BLITZER: CNN can now project that Barack Obama, 47 years old,
will become the president-elect of the United States. He will be the first African-American president of the United States. This is the moment so many people have been waiting and they're really excited, especially in Chicago.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R), ARIZONA & FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is an historic election and I recognize the special significance it has for African-Americans and for the special pride that must be theirs tonight. I've always believed that America offers the opportunities to all who have the industry and will to seize it. Senator Obama believes that, too.
OBAMA: Because of what we did on this day in this election at this defining moment, change has come to America.
OBAMA: And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn, I may not have won your vote your vote tonight, but I heard your voices. I need your help. And I will be your president, too.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Very historic date, November 4, 2008. I remember it. I'm sure so many of you do.
That's it for me. Thanks for watching.
The news continues right now right here on CNN.