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Congressional Insights on the 2017 Agenda; Campaign Trail Trump Versus President Elect Trump; Donald Trump Tries To Bypass Media; Obama To Dems: Don't Ignore Rural Voters; Moving Day At The White House. Aired 9-10a ET

Aired January 1, 2017 - 09:00   ET



[09:00:09] JAKE TAPPER, HOST (voice-over): New year, new president.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You will be so proud of your president. You will be so proud.

TAPPER: With just days until his inauguration, what do we know about how Trump will run the country?

Plus, advise and consent -- what Capitol Hill will, and will not, work on with Trump.

TRUMP: Speaker Paul Ryan, he has been terrific. Now, if he ever goes against me, I'm not going to say that, OK?

TAPPER: Top members of Congress will be here with insights on the 2017 agenda.

And moving day...

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Michelle and I only get an eight year lease on the White House. We rent, we don't own.

TAPPER: A revealing look at what happens inside the White House as the Obamas pack up and the Trumps move in.


TAPPER: Hello.

I'm Jake Tapper in Washington, where the state of our union is hung over, not just because of last night's revelry, but also because of the intense year we just finished.

But it hardly seems time to unbuckle your seat belts. The new year could be just as wild a ride.

In just two days, the new Congress will be sworn in and Donald Trump's inauguration will soon follow. But while the House, Senate, and White House will all be run by Republicans in 2017, President-Elect Trump has already clashed with his own party on some issues and gotten some unlikely support from Democrats on others.

Could the new year bring an upending of the partisan gridlock that has paralyzed Washington for so long?

And what does President-elect Trump really have in store for the country?

Let's ask some of the people in power -- four members of the 115th Congress are with me here -- Charlie Crist, Democrat of Florida; Marsha Blackburn, Republican of Tennessee; Darrell Issa of California; and Lisa Blunt Rochester of Delaware.

Thanks one and all for being here and congratulations on your elections and congratulations on your candidate winning the White House.

REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN (R), TENNESSEE: Absolutely. Thank you.

TAPPER: You told me so and you were right.


TAPPER: Let's start with what President-elect Trump has been talking about in terms of keeping jobs in the United States, obviously one of the major issues that helped get him elected. He is promising to pass a new 35 percent anti-outsourcing tax.

Take a listen.


TRUMP: We're going to impose a 35 percent tax on those products coming into our country. And do you know what, they're not going to move. They're not going to move. We're going to write up that legislation very soon.


TAPPER: Are you ready to pass that tax?

REP. DARRELL ISSA (D), CALIFORNIA: You know, like many things that the president-elect has said, I think the spirit of it is important. We're going to change -- and I think we're going to work very closely together in changing how we treat businesses. We're going to lower regulation and we're going to look at trade agreements that are hurting America.

My former company, you know, when we get product from Canada, they take a GST, a VAT off of more than 16 percent. When we ship product in, they add it.

So there are things within the president's awareness and his new cabinet where we're going to have real reason to work together to try to even the playing field.

TAPPER: What do you think about this? I've actually heard Democrats talking more enthusiastically about these penalties, if you will, for jobs going overseas than I have Republicans.

REP. LISA BLUNT ROCHESTER (D), DELAWARE: First of all, I would say I ran on a platform of strengthening our economy and creating jobs. I'm a former secretary of labor in the state of Delaware. So it's definitely important.

I think the devil is always in the details, particularly when you leave in a global economy. So for -- for me, I'd look at things such as -- and many of you know Whip Steny Hoyer, already had a Make It In America strategy, where 17 pieces of legislation had been passed. And I think when you couple that with where we're talking about going as a country, I think then we'll see what comes out of -- what kind of proposals really come out.

But I'm excited about jobs.

TAPPER: Congresswoman, let me ask you, because when I asked Speaker Ryan about this, he kind of pushed back a little bit. And he said that the -- that his answer is not tariffs, not trade wars, but tax reform, as you heard Congressman Issa suggest.

Do you think that that's going to be a split on this issue within the Republican Caucus?

BLACKBURN: I think what you're going to see is a more holistic approach. And looking at creating the environment for jobs growth to take place. And that's going to mean working in pulling back -- clawing back some of these rules and regulations that lead to our products being anti-competitive.

And so as you look at the entire agenda on jobs and jobs growth, jobs retention and bringing jobs back and manufacturing back, it's going to be more holistic, less regulation, less taxation, less litigation. And that will lead you to innovation and job creation.

It's a simple approach, but it works and Donald Trump is going to take it.

[09:05:00] TAPPER: It sounds to me like what I'm hearing here is that the Republicans here are talking about an overall change in the tax code to make things more hospitable for businesses, but not necessarily a full-throated embracing of this 35 percent tax.

What about you?

REP. CHARLIE CRIST (D), FLORIDA: Well, I think that the concept is a good one. I think the spirit of it is on the mark. I think what's most important, however, is that, you know, we've got two Republicans and two Democrats here. And I think the most important thing, at least that I heard, in St. Petersburg and Clearwater, Florida was look, Charlie, if you win, you guys have got to work together up there to do what's right for the American people because they've had it up to here with the divisiveness and the arguing. And so whatever it is that we come to to help American workers get back to work and help the middle class and our country, we need to do it together and do it in a spirit of cooperation and I think (INAUDIBLE)...

TAPPER: Is it...


TAPPER: -- is it fair to say -- and obviously, as the Congresswoman said, the devil is in the details, but is it fair to say that you, like Congressman -- I'm sorry, like Senator Manchin, are open-minded when you hear the president-elect talk about a 35 percent tax or tariff to keep jobs in the United States?

CRIST: Yes. Well, you know, as my colleague just said, Lisa, it's all about jobs and making sure that we have American jobs protected, we protect the American worker, give them the opportunity to be able to provide for their families, get a college education.

Of course, any good idea that is presented, we have to be open-minded to receive it. I mean just because the messenger is somebody that was in a different party is no reason to cast it out.

ISSA: Well, and Jake, if you -- if you really think about it, if you take the message as we're going to stop the exporting of American jobs and you put it in a package, it's more than just taxes. President- elect Trump has made it very clear that he wants to do immigration reform so that we bring to America the best and the brightest. He's a -- he told the tech communities a couple of weeks ago that H-1B reform and things that they've desperately wanted and not gotten for the last eight years are top of his agenda, so that they can prosper by bringing high paid, high skilled people here, which, of course, stops the outsourcing to countries that often...


ISSA: -- are where we go get them.

BLACKBURN: Yes, that's all part of this creating the right environment. So taxation, yes. Regulation, yes. Getting in and getting rid of some of these things that cause us to not be competitive.

How many times have we been in our district or one of our colleagues' district and we hear story after story of how federal agencies have been less than helpful, and many times, manufacturing plants have closed their doors and those jobs have gone away.

We saw this play out with what was transpiring around Carrier.

ROCHESTER: We also know that there are unintended consequences sometimes, like higher prices on consumers here. So when we're looking at this, you're right, we have to be comprehensive about it, and also looking at our workers and our workforce and making sure that that skills gap is closed, as well... BLACKBURN: Right.

ROCHESTER: -- because we are talking about an economy not just of today, but of the future.

TAPPER: Let me also bring up a subject that I've heard some Democrats talk about, interest, which has to do with Ivanka Trump, the president's daughter -- the president-elect's daughter -- talking about trying to push childcare tax credits and paid leave. She's already started making phone calls to members of Congress. She obviously talked about this at the Republican Convention.

Take a listen.


IVANKA TRUMP, DAUGHTER OF DONALD TRUMP: As president, my father will change the labor laws that were put in place at a time when women were not a significant portion of the workforce and he will focus on making quality child care affordable and accessible for all.


TAPPER: I've heard Republicans say that that speech sounded like it could have been given at the Democratic National Convention.

Is that something that you are interested in hearing more about?

ROCHESTER: Oh, I'm very interested in hearing about it. As a matter of fact, we actually, during the campaign, had a platform on women and families and their economics. And so when you start talking about child care, these are not Democratic or Republican ideas, to me. These -- these are American ideals. And if you want a strong workforce, then we have to make sure those investments are there for them.

TAPPER: Have you talked to...

BLACKBURN: That's very true.

TAPPER: -- Ivanka Trump about this?

BLACKBURN: Yes. Yes, I have. And I am delighted to see that we're looking at options for tax credits, tax incentives, ways for moms and dads to be able to write-off this child care cost.

One of the things that is most troubling as a mom in the workforce is finding child care and being certain that your children are safe and well cared for and not feeling like they are going to miss out on things, because you put yourself on the guilt bus. And what you want to do is allow those options and it was so very difficult. It's one of the things I struggled with as my children were growing up. They're adults now and I have grandchildren.

But I've got to tell you...

TAPPER: No, you don't.



BLACKBURN: I have two precious grandchildren.


ROCHESTER: I'm waiting on mine.

BLACKBURN: And so I...

ROCHESTER: My son just got married, so I'm waiting.

BLACKBURN: But here is -- here's the thing on that. You want to go to your work and you want to give your best.

[09:10:03] ISSA: Yes.

BLACKBURN: And you want to know your children are well cared for. And there ought to be a way to have a savings account that you can start saving from on day one to help with those costs, because you know, it's important to your life/work balance and the life of your family.

So, yes...


TAPPER: I feel like we're getting some work done here.


TAPPER: I feel very good.

We're going to take a very -- a very quick break. Don't go anywhere. Stay with us.

Coming up, could one of President-elect Trump's most ambitious plans see support from an unlikely source, Democrats? Is there more room for common good? That's next.


TAPPER: Happy New Year and welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION. I'm Jake Tapper.

New year, new policy positions. Illegal immigration was one of Donald Trump's signature campaign issues. But when it comes to the DREAMers, the children of parents who came to the U.S. as undocumented immigrants, Trump sounds somewhat flexible. "We're going to work something out that's going to make people happy and proud," he told "Time" magazine, to which one Republican congressman says not so fast.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. STEVE KING (R), IOWA: Did any of those little kids say I didn't want to come here? You know, I don't want to let this go because somebody's heart got a little softer than it was before the election.


TAPPER: Ouch. So will Trump opt not to roll back President Obama's executive order protecting the DREAMers? And how will the new Congress respond?

Let's dive right into it with our panel of experts, actual members of Congress.

What do you think? I mean is -- is President-elect Trump going to face problems if he allows the DREAMers, these kids who were brought here as undocumented immigrants through no fault of their own, to stay here?

BLACKBURN: I think President-elect Trump is going to do his best to work this out before we get into any kind of committee debate or a floor debate.

[09:15:00] And I think that those on the Judiciary Committee will probably be hearing very soon about what his approach is going to be on this.

The DACA program was done through an executive order. Should that executive order come back? Probably so. Things should be done more legislatively and less through executive orders.

Does The Office of Refugee Resettlement, which has been involved in this process, need to undergo a good house cleaning?

Absolutely, they do. And they need to start filing their reports and reporting on the abuse of children and letting us know what's going on in that department.

CRIST: Jake, I think it's important that we appreciate what the president-elect has said on this issue. And it's not a softening of the heart, it's showing your heart.

My grandfather was a DREAMer. My grandfather, Adam Cristadolous (ph), immigrated in 1914 when he was 12 and when he got here, he very soon joined the Army. And he fought in World War I. He was honorably discharged. And as a result of that, he was able to gain his citizenship. That's sort of a modern-day DREAMer, if you will.

And being a nation of immigrants, I think it's important that we embrace that kind of hope, give people that opportunity. That's what we've always stood for as a country.

And so I would say to the president-elect, I appreciate you showing your heart and if it's a little softer, what's wrong with that? God would be pleased.

ISSA: Well, you know, on the Judiciary Committee, we've -- we've looked at this multiple times. And it always comes down to -- you said devil in the details. If you define DREAMers the way people will, people who were very young, who came here through no fault of their own, were clearly brought in as infants, there's very little debate that we ought to try to figure out an accommodation.

And as part of a -- a more comprehensive reform, one that prevents this from happening again and again, people believe that we should be able to do this.

But I think you have to look at the front door. The front door is about 1.2 million people get to emigrate here legally every year. Changing that to a system that includes a conversion from a broken system to a -- a system that works, when you have 11 million people here illegally, is going to take some time. And there are going to have to be trade-offs.

You have people who want to come here and people who are already here. And we're going to have to try to be fair in this process.

So do I want to work with the president-elect? Absolutely.

Can we do -- Eric Cantor had said the same thing when he was leader. We can deal with the true DREAMer, but we have to do it as part of a process that says we're going to define that not as everyone who just a summer ago came over the border as, quote, "new DREAMers." It really does have to be those who were victims of wrongdoing and a broken system.

TAPPER: Well, you say that about Eric Cantor, but then he lost his -- his primary. He lost his Congressional seat, partly because he was viewed by conservatives as being too soft on the issue of immigration.

ISSA: Jake, real conservatives find solutions. Real conservatives make the kinds of -- of compromises to get to a goal that aren't always popular with some people who want to be absolutists.

In 16 years in Congress, I've had to learn that, that you -- you will give a little to get where you want to go.

Before the break, we talked about basically the extension of welfare reform. Back in the class of 1994, they came in and they worked with Bill Clinton on welfare reform, welfare to work, as it was known. Well, you know, dealing with the child care problem, the deductibility, is part of people being able to go to work and not have the arithmetic be it would be better to stay home than to go to work and pay the child care and not be able to essentially net anything.

So I think this is part of an extension of things we've been doing on a bipartisan basis under multiple presidents. We just had an eight year hiatus in which we didn't get much of it done.

TAPPER: Right. Well, let me turn to ObamaCare, because I know that's going to be a big point of contention.

And I was interviewing one of your fellow Delawareans the other day, Vice President Joe Biden. And he said very clearly he doesn't think it's going to be as easy as Republicans think it's going to be to repeal ObamaCare.

Take a listen.


JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I love these guys. Ran against The Affordable Care Act, how terrible it is, how premiums went up, it's going to -- we're going to repeal it.

Go ahead, repeal it. Repeal it now. See what happens.


TAPPER: This is going to be a big fight, I suspect, for -- for you and for your fellow Democrats.

ROCHESTER: You know, for me, first of all, passing that, I mean I'm 54. I'll be 55 soon. And some might think I'm really young and some might think I'm (INAUDIBLE)...

TAPPER: We do think you're really young.

ROCHESTER: I appreciate that.


ROCHESTER: But in my 54 years, I think that was a landmark that -- that I will always remember. It's sort of like seeing something -- an FDR thing in my own lifetime. And so for me, coming into Congress, I talk to a lot of people up and down my state, whether it was business owners, whether it was individuals, whether it was insurers.

[09:20:01] And everybody agreed that no law is perfect.

But the -- to the extent that we've touched every single American, everything from dealing with pre-existing conditions to discriminating against women for -- for your coverage, to your children, who are 26 years or under being able to be covered, there are so many good things.

And what I would hope is that we would come together and say, OK, what are the things that we can agree on?

There are parts to this that you can't just pull apart and just say, OK, it's not that simple.

So my hope is that in this new Congress, we will come together and figure out the best ways to really make sure that we keep having that coverage, that quality, but also deal with the costs.

TAPPER: Let me ask you, Congresswoman...


TAPPER: -- because, one, nobody disagrees with the idea that ObamaCare needs, at the very least, some major changes and tweaks. But the idea of people who now have Medicaid through the Medicaid expansion being taken off that, what happens to them?

Can you repeal ObamaCare without a replacement right there and ready to go?

BLACKBURN: What you will do is approach it as a phase in, phase out. And that way you're not going to have people falling through the gap.

The goal is to make certain that everyone has access to affordable health care. And then, as you phase out, let's say the insurance components, Title I of the ObamaCare bill, and you set that up to phase out. So you get rid of the mandate. You get rid of the excise tax. You allow portability. And you pass my legislation across state line purchase of health insurance and open up the insurance marketplace.

People have a way to move forward. The market has time to adjust for...

CRIST Well, I think health care is incredibly important. You know, I come from Florida. We have a significant senior population in my state and in my district. And people who don't have health coverage worry. And they shouldn't have to worry.

And so it's incumbent upon all of us to work together to make sure that we're doing what's right for them and not what's politically expedient for any of us.

ISSA: The one thing we can all agree on is that the things that were announced as going to reduce the cost of health care, universal coverage and so on, didn't.

So I think we need to deal with insurance companies. Marsha has a good proposal. We certainly need to look at the federal subsidy and whether it -- it needs to be changed, reduced or eliminated.

But the most important thing for us to do on a bipartisan basis, is look at the cost drivers. Senator Feinstein, the senior senator from my state, has, for a long time, championed various forms of tort reform -- this is a Democrat. Tort reform that will help stop the kind of excess medicine that drives up the cost of health care. That's one component we should all work toward, because we really want to have affordable medicine that we then figure out who pays for it.

TAPPER: All right, well, best of luck for the 115th...


TAPPER: -- Congress -- yes?

ROCHESTER: One last thing on that. I just want to say, I hope that we will come up with the solutions before we try to get rid of something that will impact all Americans. That's my last thing, I think it would be malpractice, pun intended.

ISSA But the last -- the last thing is our friend, my friend, Joe Biden, needs to stay engaged. You know, he's going to leave the -- the office, but he says he's going to stay engaged, be able to drive his Corvette, but be engaged...


ISSA: And I look forward to him, because he's been a deal doer for a long time.


ISSA: And I think he's freed up now as a senior statesman to be involved with us.

ROCHESTER: There's great.


TAPPER: Best wishes...


TAPPER: -- best wishes...

CRIST: (INAUDIBLE) the American people...


CRIST: -- Happy New Year.

TAPPER: Happy New Year, everyone.


ISSA: Happy New Year.

TAPPER: Thank you, one and all, for being here.

Best wishes for the 115th Congress.

Up next...


TAPPER: The Sinatra staple serving as Donald Trump's mantra -- he seems to be doing the presidency his way. What he has already changed in Washington and what he is planning, next.



[09:27:30] TRUMP: You know, I -- I am who I am. It's me. I don't want to change. Everyone talks about oh, well, you're going to pivot, you're going to -- I don't want to pivot. I mean you have to be you.


TAPPER: That was campaign trail Trump, but President-elect Trump also seems to be saying I've gotta be me.

How will he change Washington's ways?

Here with me, CNN's senior White House correspondent, Jim Acosta; Salena Zito, reporter for "The Washington Examiner" and a CNN contributor; Abby Phillip, "Washington Post" national reporter and a CNN contributor; and CNN's senior Washington correspondent, Jeff Zeleny.

So you have traveled the country with Donald Trump.


TAPPER: Do you think that there's going to be any pivoting at all or is campaign Trump going to be President Trump?

ACOSTA: I think campaign Trump will be President Trump. Every time we get asked about a pivot, the pivot doesn't happen. There is an illusion of a pivot, but then it usually doesn't happen.

I think back to some of those Thank You rallies that he was having toward the end of the year, and you would ask the people who work for Donald Trump, well, is he going to stick to the script?

Is he -- should we hear some other things that we're not expecting tonight?

And they say, well, no, he -- he'll stick to the script, but you never know with Donald Trump.

So even after winning the election and in this transition process, his folks still consider him to be unpredictable.

And that's how he's going to be as president.

TAPPER: And, in fact, Salena, one of the things Erik Wemple, who's a "Washington Post" media critic, noted that the new way of reporting on cabinet appointments is -- is along the lines of there's always a caveat that President-elect Trump has been known to change his mind at the last minute and this could all change.


TAPPER: That said, we think that so and so is going to be named to this agency.

ZITO: Right. I mean that's his style. If anybody ever read his book, "Art of The Deal," I mean everything that he did in this entire election in 2016 was right from that playbook. He has no problem changing his mind. In fact, he feels very comfortable and feels like it's a -- it's his obligation to relook at things and, you know, do something different if -- if either he's given the information or if the whim takes him to go in another direction.

TAPPER: But could that be dangerous, do you think? JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, sure, because circumstances change. And, you know, the presidency changes everyone, regardless of that. But I think Jim's right. I mean he has not changed as president-elect.

At some of those same Thank You rallies in Des Moines, Iowa, late last year. And the crowd was the same. He was the same. But they -- I think the thing I'm watching for is to see how his supporters react to him becoming president, because there are some things that have changed.

He's no longer talking about building the wall. That is no longer at the top of the list.

[09:30:01] The chants of "Lock her up!" have long gone away. And some of his supporters wanted that.

So the voters that I talk to, these Americans now who will be judging his presidency, will be wondering, is he going to be another old politician or is he going to be the same old Donald Trump?

So I think the challenge for him is to -- to keep it real, obviously, but he's going to disappoint some people. And so far, up until now, running for president, the last year and a half, he's not disappointed anyone because he has all -- had all these promises.

The minute you become president, you have a record. And that is his challenge, to, you know, to keep his record square with his base and to keep some of them excited.

TAPPER: One thing he has not changed, obviously, is his use of Twitter. He has talked about we should -- let the Chinese keep that drone. He has sent some stocks into tailspins, going after Boeing, going after Lockheed Martin.

I'm sure there are advisers around Donald Trump who want to change his password without his knowing.

Obviously, Twitter can be an effective tool, but it also can be destructive.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: And I think there are actually some Trump supporters who would like to see him rein that in a little bit, because you know, talking to some votes in the last week, many of them recognize that his use of Twitter in the campaign served a particular purpose, but that it actually kind of is unbecoming of -- of someone in the presidential office.

And they recognize that because they understand there are consequences to what you do when you're president. And this is the one thing that for Donald Trump, once he becomes president, will change, whether he likes it or not.

When you're in that office, when you do something, there is a reaction to it. And he's going to have to deal with that, probably for the first time since he jumped into this fray. And that will change his decision-making.

He will no longer have free rein to just throw things up against a wall because there are -- potentially global consequences, economic consequences to the things that you do and the things that you say when you're in that office.

TAPPER: And he's obviously talking about doing things within the White House differently than they've been done before.

Take a listen to Reince Priebus, the incoming White House chief of staff.


REINCE PRIEBUS, INCOMING WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: The traditions, while some of them are great, I think it's time to revisit a lot of these things that have been done in the White House and I can assure you that change is going to happen.


TAPPER: And Salena, one of the things that Reince Priebus pointed out might change is the daily White House briefing, that they might do away with that.

ZITO: I don't think that's a very good idea. That's a very important part not only for -- for the voters, for the American people to -- to hear what's going on within the White House, but it's also a great way for the White House to communicate what they are doing, what they are working on, what they are thinking about things.

I think it's a bad decision and I hope it's something that they change their mind about.

TAPPER: I mean I always -- when I was the White House correspondent in the Obama White House, in the first term, I always thought it as a way that -- to hold them accountable...


TAPPER: -- for -- for -- on issues that they don't want to talk about, what about this incident that just happened?

You know, what's your response?

ACOSTA: It absolutely is the way to keep the White House accountable, but I don't think Donald Trump wants to play by that rule book. And as we saw throughout the campaign, he referred to the news media as the disgusting news media, the dishonest news media, called us crooks and thieves and so on.

And so why -- why would he want to throw a spokesman out there every day and -- and hold a briefing with these reporters that he holds in such low regard?

I -- I think that it's possible we'll see fewer briefings. Sean Spicer and Reince Priebus have talked about having these Facebook live chats with people and sort of democratizing the briefing, going around the filter of the press.

He didn't hold a news conference after being elected president the way that President Obama did, three days after he was elected.

And so I think that Donald Trump has sent all the signals that we need, that this is not going to be the same kind of presidency.

TAPPER: And he's gone after you by name, Jeff Zeleny, on Twitter.

What was that experience like?

ZELENY: Sure. It's like he was talking about the fact that he would have won the popular vote but not for millions of fraudulent voters. And we simply were asking, you know, to show us those fraudulent voters.

Look, it is something that -- that we are just going to do our jobs. That is the one thing that reporters can do. It's the one thing that's expected of us.

Going after us, look, a lot of his supporters also went after us, went after me. I'm certainly not alone in this. It happens to everyone. Jim has experienced this firsthand, people yelling at him at rallies, and I have.

But look, I think that that is sort of beside the point. But he does carry this, you know, people believe him and will walk to the end sort of of the Earth with him.

But the question, again, is when he becomes president, will that -- will he be able to keep everyone like that happy? I'm not sure.

TAPPER: My New Year's resolutions for you four, keep up the great work.

Thank you so much for being here.

Now hiring, leader of the Democratic Party -- who will take over next and what will it take to lead the party to victory?


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think it's time to take a reassessment of the purpose of where the Democratic Party is and where it wants to go.





I'm Jake Tapper.

Democrats are still licking their wounds after a brutal election that gave Republicans control of the White House, the House, the Senate and on his way out the door, President Obama offered a little advice on how they can make a comeback.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Where Democrats are characterized as coastal, liberal, latte sipping, you know, politically correct out of touch folks, we have to be in those communities. I became a U.S. senator not just because I had a strong base in Chicago, but because I was driving around down state Illinois and going to fish fries and sitting in VFW halls and talking to farmers.


TAPPER: Is the president right?

We've brought together top Democrats to forecast the party's future and talk about what the Democrats need to do.

We have with us Brian Schweitzer, former governor of Montana; Karen Finney, former Clinton campaign senior adviser; and CNN political commentator, Van Jones.

And Karen, I don't want this to be an autopsy of the Clinton campaign.


TAPPER: But I do want to -- I do -- this has been a criticism and I do want to get a response to this off the bat.


TAPPER: Because former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell suggested that the Clinton campaign didn't go after white working class voters enough.

Take a listen.


ED RENDELL (D), FORMER PENNSYLVANIA GOVERNOR: If I was in charge of the Clinton campaign, I would have sent Hillary into those white working class areas in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. You've got to relate to people. You've got to ask people for their votes.


FINNEY: So a couple of thoughts on that.


I mean -- look, there are any number of things that you could put to to say that it was a mistake that we made that probably has some merit to it, because it was such a perfect storm of a lot of different things.

But one of the things I think is important as we think about going forward is I don't think this is an issue where there's just a magic bullet, right, where it's we should do this one thing and then that will fix all of our problems, particularly when you look at the fact that in those Rust Belt states, at this point, Hillary essentially that met -- that gap is about 70,000 votes that we're talking about. The majority of those people agreed with her on the economy, thought she'd be better on the economy. And she has won 2.8 million more in the popular vote.

So I think there's the challenge and the problem is deeper than sort of, you know, one single thing. But I do think that what the president is saying is right, and that is that the Democratic Party -- and this was something we tried to do under Chairman Dean, which is to really have a 50 state strategy, to really be in communities, to really build our party from the ground up.

And I think that's, going forward, what we need to. I think we need to learn some of the lessons coming out of this election, no question, in terms of how we talk to working families, whether they are black, white, brown and where those families are located, how we talk to them about the issues that they care about.

So there are so many things we can -- some lessons we can learn. But I don't think that this is an example of, you know, there was one or two things that was just flip a switch and everything will be perfect. I think we have a lot more work to do.

TAPPER: So, Governor, as you know, in 2008, Montana was close for a presidential election. President Obama, then Senator Obama, was trying to win Montana.

What did he do -- he obviously did not, but it still was relatively close. What did he do that you did not hear in 2016?

BRIAN SCHWEITZER (D), FORMER MONTANA GOVERNOR: Well, maybe the governor that was running for reelection got 66 percent of the vote. Maybe. No.

TAPPER: You helped. Absolutely, you helped.


TAPPER: But there was an economic message, right?

SCHWEITZER: Absolutely.

What he understands and what he just said, I say in a different way. When you go fishing, you don't just fish next to the boat. You've got to stand up in that boat and you've got to cast as far as that line will go, because if you're just going to drop the line next to the boat, you can get all the hyphenated Americans, the data people in the Democratic Party say, well, gee, if you -- you get the black vote, you get the Hispanic vote, you get the urban vote, you win.

No. You've got to throw that line out there and you've got to get working class people in some of those states where you haven't been winning. And when you start winning those legislative battles and those governor's races, it helps you win a presidential race.

What we have is a Washington, DC that says, we've got all the smartest guys in the world, we have all of the data, and we know where the votes are coming from, we just have to go and collect them.

No. Donald Trump stood up on the boat and threw that line a long ways away and he said things that Republicans hated to hear. But he brought in working class families because they liked some of the things that he had to say.

TAPPER: And Van, you, throughout the election, were sounding the alarm to Democrats, saying that there wasn't enough of an economic message for working class voters. But we should point out that Hillary Clinton did win working class voters of color -- Latinos, African-Americans, etc. But not white working class voters and not in these three states that mattered, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan.

What is the economic message that needs to be the Democratic message going forward?

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think it's -- it's a couple of things.

First of all, I think there were a bunch of Democrats who really believed this was going to be a referendum on a certain kind of bigotry and intolerance in the Republican Party. But for those 70,000 voters or 80,000 voters who jumped the fence in the Rust Belt, it was actually a referendum on a certain kind of elitism in the Democratic Party that did not reach out.

Now people have the wrong view. They say, well, you shouldn't have been going after those hyphenated Americans. You shouldn't have been going after those people of color. You should, instead, have gone for the white folks.

And I'm saying that's wrong, too. Democrats should be more pluralistic, to reach out to more kinds of people. We should be for underdogs in red states and blue states. We should be for those -- listen, right now, you've got a bunch of coal miners who have been told they're going to get their jobs back at the same time Trump says he's going to frack everywhere.

Well, if you frack everywhere and natural gas prices collapse, you put every coal miner out of business. So you've got people in the -- in the red states who are being tricked, people in the blue states being targeted. If we're the party for the underdogs everywhere, we win.

When we've listened to these data people who have no soul, who have no heart, who don't understand that they're not -- that we're not just dealing with numbers, you're dealing with people, and they -- they want to talk about their list. I want to talk about the people on the list. That's when we begin to lose not just white working class folk, a lot of black folk and brown folk didn't come out, because they didn't feel touched and moved.

TAPPER: But Governor Schweitzer pointed to the -- to a fact that is an ugly fact for Democrats, which is Democrats are in a bad place right now compared to where they were in -- where you were in 2009.

Take a look at this graphic. In 2009, there were 257 House Democrats. Now that you have 70 fewer.

In 2009, there were 57 Senate Democrats. Now there are 11 fewer. And in 2009, you had 28 Democratic governors. Now you have 10 fewer.


The Democratic Party is -- I mean it's a...


JONES: That's a...

FINNEY: But this...

JONES: We -- when we said hope and change, we didn't want that change.


JONES: That's not the change that we wanted.

TAPPER: What happened?


TAPPER: What happened, Governor?

SCHWEITZER: Policy matters. It were -- it was Democrats who passed NAFTA. It was Democrats who actually supported CAFTA. And it was a lot of Democrats who were supporting the SHAFTA. And there are people that have jobs -- or used to have jobs --


Was that the...





SCHWEITZER: -- that's the next version.

TAPPER: Yes. SCHWEITZER: So the point is, whether it was trade deals that caused their job loss or whether it was computerization or robots or whatever it was, they needed somebody to blame. But it was Democrats who supported some of these trade deals that were good for corporate America and really was bad for working people.

And then we passed The Affordable Care Act, which was the Republican version of enriching the insurance companies and the pharmaceutical companies and it was a Republican idea passed by Democrats.

And these folks living in the heartland, they're looking at this and they're saying, well, Democrats aren't our friends, look what they did.

TAPPER: What's the future of the Democratic Party, Karen?

Who -- who do you want to see become leaders of the party going forward?

You're going to have a presidential race and it's probably going to start just in a couple of more years.

FINNEY: Right.

JONES: In a couple of months.

FINNEY: A couple of months. Right.

Look, I'm hoping that we, in February, when Democrats elect the next chair of the party, that we have somebody who is a full-time chair, who really understands grassroots organizing and building at the grassroots. \And by that, I don't just mean -- I'm not like, there's a lot of talent out there, from young people who worked on these elections, who now have expertise about how to win in these states. They've lived in these states.

Let's bring those people into our party so that we are refreshing the party, so that we are building our bench of talent, not just of people running for office, but people who actually know how to win in these states and who are connected to the states.

JONES: I think you're going to be surprised at some of the people who become stars quickly. I have Kamala Harris from California. She is unreal.

TAPPER: A brand new senator.


JONES: A brand new senator. She's going to be out there defending those dream -- those Dreamer kids, because they're a big part of her constituency. But she's -- and she's got African-American roots. She's got Asian roots. She's female. She's tough. She's smart. She's going to become a big deal.

I think that a Keith Ellison is very important because he is somebody who represents the progressive wing of the party. One thing that happened, when Hillary Clinton had a chance to make a VP pick, she didn't pick someone from the progressive wing, which made it much harder to heal those wounds with the Sanders' and Elizabeth Warren wing.

Keith Ellison represents that wing very, very well.

You also, I think, have to remember that Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are going to be there on the Senate floor every day. That's going to be an important part.

You have to understand, I think, that the -- the Clinton days are over. This idea that were going to be this moderate party that's going to move in this direction, that's going to throw blacks under the bus for criminal justice reform and -- or for -- for prison expansion, that's going to throw workers under the bus for NAFTA, those days are over.

You can't run and hide. You've got to be an authentic person from the beginning. You're going to be judged based on your authentic commitment to the actual base of this party. And if you don't do that, you can't win.

SCHWEITZER: Well, wait a minute.

FINNEY: Can I just --


SCHWEITZER: But let me just say this. You win elections because values unite people. Issues divide. And so when you talk about things, talk about how it affects somebody's family. Talk about lessons you've learned from your grandparents.

It's the same issues, but it's values the way you frame it. And too much of the time, the Democratic candidate acts like he's -- or she's -- the smartest person in the room. You're damn right, I want them to be the smartest person in the room, but I don't want them talking like they're the smartest person in the room.


TAPPER: All right, thank you one and all for being here.

Happy New Year to everyone.

Coming up, moving day at the White House. We go inside 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue as the staff says good-bye to the Obamas and hello to the Trumps.

A surprising look at how it all happens, next.



TAPPER: Welcome back.

You know, it has been said that moving can be more stressful than even divorce. So imagine having all of your worldly possessions packed up on the very day that you're also leaving the most important job you'll ever have.

That's exactly what's going to happen on January 20th.

While you will be watching the inauguration ceremonies on CNN, the White House staff will be working like mad to move the Obama family out of the White House and get the Trump family in.

And we got an inside look at moving day at the White House.


TAPPER (voice-over): At 10:30 on the morning of Inauguration Day, President Obama will say good-bye to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

OBAMA: They literally move all your stuff out in one day. You are living there and then suddenly this -- it's not all out on the South Lawn. I mean they pack it up.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was wide-ranging --

TAPPER: He and President-elect Donald Trump will meet again before heading to the inaugural ceremony. As soon as they walk out the door, the White House chief usher and almost 100 staffers will swing into action.

STEPHEN ROCHON, CHIEF WHITE HOUSE USHER: It's more like organized chaos. We have one truck on the South Lawn that belongs to the outgoing president and first family facing south and the incoming truck facing north toward the White House on the east side of the south grounds.

TAPPER: Rear Admiral Stephen Rochon was the first African-American White House chief usher and he was in charge of the White House move from President George W. Bush to Barack Obama. He remembers asking income first lady, Michelle Obama, how she wanted the house decorated.

ROCHON: In the case of the Obamas, they had two precious pearls that wanted a girly type room. Anything can be changed on the second and third floor, which are the private floors for the first family.

TAPPER: Extreme makeover White House edition requires all hands on deck, since it's a race against the clock. They have only six hours to transform the 132-room mansion into the new first family's home.

Movers carry furniture in and out of the White House. Personal items are carefully organized from the moving trucks. The dining rooms are decorated and set up. And the kitchen staff cooks up an inaugural snack, something to help the first family get through all those late night balls. And, of course, the Oval Office gets a little sprucing up, as well. New paintings on the wall, the carpet and desk are cleaned. And new technologies installed. No detail is ever too small.

ROCHON: One thing that we were very aware of is the new president wanted a special shower head. And so we had to scramble to make sure we had the perfect rain shower head for President Obama.

TAPPER: We do not know yet what changes the Trump family is requesting, but as a family used to the finer things in life, a penthouse on Fifth Avenue and a private estate in Florida, we can only imagine an opulent makeover.


TAPPER (on camera): Will you redecorate it Trump-style?

TRUMP: No, I wouldn't. I would -- I do just want a place, honest, look it's this very special place. It's a very special building. I'm going to be working, I'm not going to be decorating.

TAPPER (voice-over): The departing first family may be leaving, but the staff stays on.

ROCHON: I was even in tears, because you really do grow to -- to love the family that -- that you're with.

MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: I find myself choking up because we have raised our kids in the White House. We've had so many amazing experiences. We have a phenomenal staff. We live in a house with people who love us and care about us and, you know, we're going to be walking away from all of that.

TAPPER: While it might be hard for the Obamas to say good-bye to the White House, they will have memories from behind those historic walls to last a lifetime.


TAPPER: Thank you for spending this first day of the new year with us.

We hope it's the beginning of a year of peace and a year of joy for you and for your families.

You can go to, STATE OF THE UNION, for extras from the show.

I'm Jake Tapper in Washington.