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Obama: I Will Support Obamacare Replacement If Its Better; Michelle Obama Delivers Final Speech As First Lady; Trump Blasts "Apprentice" Replacement Schwarzenegger; Electoral College Voters Arriving At House Chamber

Aired January 6, 2017 - 12:30   ET



JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back. A big visit to Capitol Hill the other day. A bigger farewell addressed next Tuesday night in Chicago. Six on camera interviews in the past 24 hours. President Obama, yeah, he has a few things to say before he hands over the White House to his old birther nemesis Donald Trump.


BARACK OBAMA, U.S. PRESIDENT: I will publicly support repealing Obamacare and replacing it with your plan, but I want to see it first.


KING: I want to see it first, he says there. He was joking, if you listen to that in a more extended way. Look, if they can repeal and replace Obamacare, if they can cover all those people, take away insurance companies being able to kick you off for preexisting conditions and other things like that, a life time can -- if they can do it in a more affordable way, great, I'll be all for it. And He's kind of baiting them, right?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes. Because they don't have one plan. In fact, they're saying that they're not going to offer a comprehensive alternative. John Cornyn of Texas told me this week that they want to do piece by piece way. So there's never -- they're never going to meet what the Democrats are asking for, and what Obama is saying also behind closed doors is telling his Democrats not to help them how to replace plan. If in their view it's not as good as Obamacare because he said it's going to be like Trumpcare. Do not get a handful of votes to pass something like Trumpcare. So it is a -- this is a Democratic starting point. The question will be whether they get enough pressure to have to cut a deal if the Republicans succeed in repealing the law first.

MOLLY BALL; THE ATLANTIC: They have to come up with something first, and that's right. That question right now is tying the Republicans in knots on Capitol Hill. I mean the President believes that he's calling their bluff, and he's probably right. They already have repealed Obamacare dozens of times when they couldn't actually get it done, but now that they have control and they have the ability to actually repeal it, they have yet to come up with a replace plan.

And they can't agree on what would be in it, and there's a lot of jitters about what the blow back might be once they take ownership of this problem, Trump is tweeting about this the other day. Once they repeal it, anything bad that happens in healthcare in the same way that it's been blamed on Obamacare since Obamacare passed, it'll suddenly be in the Republican's lap.

KING: And step on. I want to come back to the President and the first lady saying farewell, but to that point that the President is offering his advice and it's more of a political framing about anything genuine advice, the Republicans about how to do this. The initial -- the problem right now, though, is Republicans, right?

In that the Republicans control everything, but as we just noted, they don't have a big boat marching everywhere. So Rand Paul, one senator can vote against the resolution and I'll try to lobby others saying, wait a minute, if you just do repeal and delay, replace, you're going to blow a hole in the deficit. And that's not what conservatives do. We're not going to end the deficit.

On the flip side of that, Republicans also say they want to include in this repeal effort stripping money from Planned Parenthood. Now, the President-elect was sort of inconsistent on this in the campaign. He applauded some of the work Planned Parenthood does, but he also said at times he doesn't want to give them any money if they're still in the abortion business. And so we don't know what President Trump will call this one, but Susan Collins obeying Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, two moderate Republican senators, Susan Collins says this "I'm going to wait and see what happens. Obviously I'm not happy to hear the speaker wants to include defunding of Planned Parenthood. An extremely controversial issue in the package". So one or two Republicans could derail Obamacare repeal, nevermind replace.

BALL: Yeah.

ED O'KEEFE, THE WASHINGTON POST: This is why it's never went anywhere before, because Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins have been there saying, no. And Murkowski who just won herself reelection, has got six years. Collins is up sooner, but they have always stood in the way of this, which is why I would think where they may get it through the house, there's a good chance to get it in the Senate. You do the math, you're going to need 60, and I don't think they're going to find 60 in the Senate if that is in there.

Because, you know, repealing and all that other stuff is fine, but women's health has remained so sacrosanct, reason used up there, but you don't see these things leave the house and ever get considered in the Senate --.

RAJU: Yeah. I think there is a good chance they drop the Planned Parenthood stuff in the Senate or to get a repeal of that. I would be surprised still Rand Paul is making a lot of threats right now. Would he be the person to stop a repeal of Obamacare? I find that hard to believe. But we still don't know exactly how far they're going to go on that initial repeal vote. Would they even go after to the Medicaid expansion, which they can do through the budget reconciliation process. I'm not certain that they would go that far, but its (inaudible), and that could create another huge blowback. Particularly among some of those rural white working class voters who supported Donald Trump and who may rely on Medicaid.

KING: On the potential flip side, it may increase the pressure to accelerate the replace plans. If you're trying to get votes, at least. If the country is going to have this debate, let's have it. Let's put the plans on the table and have the debate about it. I want to come back just moments ago.

Michelle Obama, the first lady, she was the big star of the 2016 campaign. Most people thought she was a great asset who was going to help Hillary Clinton to win the election, but Hillary Clinton did not win the election, but Michelle Obama was still strong in the campaign trail.

[12:35:03] Just moments ago she wrapped up her final White House speech. She said she was thrilled to do it before a group of educators, and she told the educators and young people if you don't like the results of the election, if you don't like who is about to move into her house, please don't give up.


MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: I want our young people to know that they matter, that they belong. So don't be afraid. Do you hear me young people? Don't be afraid. Be focused. Be determined. Be hopeful. Be empowered. Empower yourselves with a good education. Then get out there and use that education to build a country worthy of your boundless prize. Lead by example with help. Never fear, and know that I will be with you rooting for you and working to support you for the rest of my life.


KING: What does she mean by the last part? What does she mean by it? She has consistently said when you bring up the idea would you ever run for office, you know, she says get away from me, it's never going to happen, but what kind of a role? We don't know.

ABBY PHILIPS, THE WASHINGTON POST: I still don't think that whatever Michelle Obama talks about public service that she ever means running for office.

KING: You don't need to run for office, but --

PHILIPS: They are not in her mind the same thing. I think she actually believes that she's most effective when she is working on initiatives as she did as first lady, and I expect her to continue to do a lot of the same things outside of the White House in a sort of organizing capacity, as a speaker, as someone who can raise attention to things the way that she did as first lady. I don't think it ever crosses her mind that when she says I'm going to be there with you, that she means I'm going to run for office because I think she doesn't believe in that part of the system in terms of her involvement. O'KEEFE: Her interview with Oprah a few weeks ago was instructive, and I think she hinted during it that she sees what Oprah has done post- retirement, post her daily talk show as a model for the kind of work she can do. So you know, work on women's education and on other issues, and I suspect, you're right, that's probably what it's going to be. But I listen to things like that, and I just go, man, the Carters, the Bushes, the Clintons, and the Obamas will all be on stage in two weeks watching Donald Trump become president. Their facial expression is going to be --

PHILIPS: You can tell that she's not -- she hasn't recovered yet.

O'KEEFE: No, it's gotten worse.

PHILIPS: It's gotten worse. The emotion is there in her voice, in her face. It's very apparent that she still is very shaken.

RAJU: And that's why I'll be surprised if they ride quietly into the night the way sort of George w. Bush did after he left office. It seems like they're going to be pretty vocal in some ways both her and her husband, especially if they started to dismantle his legacy like Obamacare.

KING: If you consider the history, not just in the 2016 campaign, go back again when Donald Trump who is now says with people trying to delegitimize him were spending couple years in this life trying to delegitimize President Obama. They're going to have to hand over the keys to the White House where the secret service and the staff takes care of all that for you, but they're going to hand over the White House two weeks from today to Donald and Melania Trump. That has to be to the point that what is she thinking about or what is she going through?

It must be interesting as you are packing up the kids, yeah, big farewell address from the President next Tuesday night in Chicago. CNN will have special coverage of that day. Donald Trump has a big news covers the next day. A very interesting week ahead, but we're not done with this one yet. When we come back, Donald Trump once again up early. Two weeks from today, he becomes President of the United States, so put over sunrise tweets about tax cuts, immigration, Arnold Schwarzenegger?


[12:42:48] KING: Welcome back. Wanted to give you a look there, keep an eye on that. The Dow now 4 points away from making history. The 20,000 milestone. Plus 96 points on the day. Frustrating a bit, almost 97. Breathe for a second and see if it gets there. 97 look at that. Now, do they push it up or they pull it down?

RAJU: Come on. Come on.


RAJU: Come on.

KING: 19,998. It'll keep trying to wish it across. His 401k and less, doesn't go to --

PHILIPS: Doesn't working it.

KING: All right. We will keep an eye on that. The Dow very near flirting with history --

O'KEEFE: What is in the box?

KING: -- we'll keep an eye on that. If it makes history, guess what, the force that we had debate about who gets the credit? Is that part of the Obama legacy or is that because of the Trump transition? That will also probably become part of what has become a morning ritual. Checking Donald Trump's sunrise tweets to find out what is on the President-elect's mind today and what he wants us to talk about.

Today, as we've noted, two weeks until his inauguration. One big focus? Of course, Arnold Schwarzenegger's debut as the new host of Trump's old gig "Celebrity apprentice." here's Donald Trump's tweet. "Wow. The ratings are in, and Arnold Schwarzenegger got swamped or destroyed by comparison to the ratings machine DJT. That will be Donald John. Trump if you didn't know that. So much for being a movie star." The President-elect ends his series of tweet with this. Who cares? He supported Kasich and Hillary. That's why. OK. The former California governor, answer with some tweets of his own, including this video message.


ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, FORMER CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR: The campaign is over. The election is over. And we are not enemies. We are neighbors. We are friends. And most importantly, we are all Americans. And we have a lot of work to do to keep America great. So let's do it, and let's do it together.


KING: This is near the end of the show. Not the beginning. Because there are a whole hell of a lot more important things to talk about, but it is interesting that this is what he did during the campaign, it's what he is doing during the transition, and there is no reason to believe he is not going to continue it as President even though some of own aides cringe at the prospect saying, Sean Spicer was saying in Chicago and at David Axelrod event the other day saying that I don't get a heads up.

[12:45:02] But the President does. I mean I guess the President-elect could do it too. President does that you can move markets, you can rattle both capitals. Or I guess in this case with Arnold Schwarzenegger, they can just have fun.

RAJU: He already has moved (inaudible) I mean he is affected some stock prices by attacking companies on Twitter. It's so hard to know exactly if there's any sort of strategy. Is this just him letting off steam? Is this him trying to distract from maybe another controversy, which he seems to have done from time to time? Or is it actually setting government policy? But that's the last part. It was the most maybe risky, if you will. Like if you take the position, particularly on a sensitive foreign policy of diplomatic note which he's done answered it before? How does the rest of the world react in that 140 characters. It's amazing how powerful that is.

KING: Is it -- again, you can argue -- you can say it's much to do about nothing, Donald Trump having fun with Arnold Schwarzenegger. You could say he is petty and holds grievances. That Arnold Schwarzenegger was for John Kasich in the campaign. Just yesterday Donald Trump was making calls into Ohio trying to help to depose the state Republican Chairman who is a Kasich guy? Or you could say may be there's a secret plan. Were talking about it, I asked an access Hollywood TMZ we'll get into this today, may be we'll actually help the "Apprentice" ratings that Donald Trump's sterling up a little bit dustier.

BALL: All right. That's one theory is that, you know, Trump is still an executive producer on "The Apprentice" and nothing would be better for ratings if they are in the toilet than a public feud with the incoming President of the United States and having the host perhaps answer it in a video that gets a lot of attention. It could be all of the above as well, right? I mean Sean Spicer said on the one hand, Trump does not give him any warning when he tweet. It is very much off the cuff and whatever it is on the top of his.

Explaining (ph) from the other hand he said that the strategic Trump knows what he was doing. He does it for a reason and it can be all of those things. I think he is clearly is someone who nerves his grievances and he may also have another agenda whether it's creating a distraction or advancing some other interest.

KING: He is in the policy conversations, he's in the sports pages sometimes, he's in the business conversations, he is now on the entertainment conversations --


PHILIPS: It's very -- I mean, he is -- this is what -- this is his bread and butter, and it is not so much distracting as it is always having a hand in every conversation that is happening. He always wants to be talked about at all times, and that's extremely important to him. It is also strategic, and it's one of the reasons why he won this election because he was always being talked about.

KING: And so do the other guys whether your supporters or critics in full disagreements or just trying to negotiate with Donald Trump. Do they get this? Do they start responding in the same atmosphere? I asked the question because here's a tweet from Congressman Adam Schiff, who is the ranking Democrat on intelligence issues. And we mentioned earlier in the program Donald Trump just before this very sensitive briefing today, very important briefing today, tweeted not on interest in finding out what the evidence is against Russia, he tweeted I wanted intelligence committees to investigate NBC news because how did it get this information, leaks about this information before me.

Adam Schiff responding of all issues implicated by Russian active measures, this is what you want to investigate? This is your top priority for intel committees? Now, that's a perfectly predictable response from a Democrat. My question is, though, that it's playing out on Twitter. Is this, again, part of the new world Donald Trump has brought us?

O'KEEFE: Chuck Schumer was asked about that this week because he started getting into the way when Donald Trump called him a clown. There are serious issues you got to get off of the Twitter and talk ab out it and be more expansive and share your details. We'll see. But, you know, Roosevelt was the radio President. Kennedy perfected how to use television. He has perfected how to use social media.

We all have to get used to it, but we can hope that as his White House communication is shut also finds ways to make news and disseminate the news and share the news with us and work through this well, so that we don't just have to sit there and wait.


RAJU: The concern amongst some Republicans too, if you don't want to be at the receiving end of some of the tweets. If then, all of a sudden with his 15, 17 million Twitter followers start coming after you, that's a powerful way to keep his party in line, and one reason why right now you're not hearing a lot of the Republicans speaking out against some of the things that we've been saying.

KING: Right. It was part of getting him to back off on the ethics decision the other day. The Republicans were planning to give us -- we're going to go -- are we going to go there now or are we going to go -- all right. We're going to take a quick break, because when we come back, the election is about to become official. See, that's statuary hall right now, one of the more fabulous places in the United States capital.

[12:49:27] In just moments the boxes carrying the electoral votes that make Donald Trump's victory official will walk right there to send it over to the house. We'll be right back.


KING: Welcome back to "Inside Politics". Live pictures there from Capitol Hill. This is normally where we go around the table and have our reporters share from the notebook, but I want to stay on this picture for a minute and if we drop it to have the conversation we'll come back to it because we're waiting for the last official act of the 2016 Presidential election even though it is January 2017.

The Senate will soon walk over from its chamber to the house chamber delivering the votes of the electors. The Electoral College votes that will make Donald Trump President -- the President-elect of the United States. It will make his victory official. You're going to see Manu and Ed looking at their favorite Capital Hall aids walking towards us. So let's head back.

As we wait for this, as we wait for this, we're at the end of the first week of the new Washington. We don't get the new President for two more weeks. But what have we learned this week, and I'll just start with this observation. For all the talk from the Trump campaign, the people are trying to delegitimize him and I get it to a degree. Some Democrats repeatedly say we won the popular vote. Russia put its thumb on the scale. This is going to be the last act. Donald Trump is going to be the President of the United States. So I hope we can at least turn the page on that one, and we'll watch to see if the procession comes. It has been -- normally Congress comes in for the first week and they say hello to each other, they take the oath and have a little ceremony, and then the town goes flat until the inauguration. This has been a very busy and consequential first week.

[12:55:05] BALL: Absolutely. I mean, I think on your first point, there are people who will never accept Donald Trump as President. And there are -- there is a small and a group of liberals who are not going to get anywhere who are talking about legal challenges to the Electoral College process, delegitimizing some of the electors. So I don't think it's the case that the fate will magically be turned anymore than it was magically turned when President Obama took the oath of office, and there were people who never accepted him as a legitimate President.

I think that's just the politics that we have now and particularly the vehement antipathy that people feel toward Donald Trump, but I think what happened on Capitol Hill this week was extremely instructive and we learned something really important because the dynamic of the next six months/four years is how is Donald Trump going to interact with the Republican Congress? How is he going to try to get his agenda through? How is he going to try to actually make policy? The way that he was able to push around the house Republicans on this ethics issue, I was up there on Capitol Hill. They were all terrified.

KING: All terrified for this.

BALL: And that is going to be the dynamic going forward unless they figure out something else.

KING: OK, Congress is more relevant now than it has been in a while because they think because they have a Republican President. The Republican majority thinks it can get things done. So we'll going to show you a lot of beautiful pictures like this. I love looking at the inside work into the Capitol.

Thanks for joining us here in "Inside Politics". Have a great weekend. I'll see you Sunday morning for "Inside Politics". Wolf Blitzer picks up our coverage after a very quick break.