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AT THIS HOUR
DNC Cahir's Love of Public Profanity raises Eyebrows; Trump Talks TV Ratings; White House: No Government Shutdown Over Border Wall; Obama's First Public Remarks Since Election Soon. Aired 11:30a- 12p ET
Aired April 24, 2017 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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[11:33:16] TOM PEREZ, CHAIRMAN, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE: Those Republican leaders and President Trump don't give a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) about the people they were trying to hurt!
PEREZ: They called it a skinny budget. I call it a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) budget.
He's a damn liar! That's what I say, pal.
PEREZ: You're (EXPLETIVE DELETED) right, he's a liar, because the Republican leadership doesn't give a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) about people who are suffering!
That's bull (EXPLETIVE DELETED), friends.
PEREZ: They call it a skinny budget! I call it a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) budget!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Just another one for good measure there for you. That was the newly elected chair of the DNC, Tom Perez, using some pretty salty language, we'll just say. We all know President Trump is no stranger to swearing himself, but what is Tom Perez doing here?
With me now, Joe Borelli is here, Republican councilman for New York City, of course. Keith Boykin is CNN political commentator and a former aide in the Clinton White House. And David Drucker, is a CNN political analyst and senior congressional correspondent for "The Washington Examiner."
Keith, so, you've got Tom Perez, there's one video that's out there we didn't include there, where there is a small child standing right behind him when he is using his kind of non-filtered version of his speech. I want to know, what is Tom Perez doing? Because one of the most powerful ads from the election, you will remember, is when Democrats --
KEITH BOYKIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: The children are watching.
BOLDUAN: Yes, their children are watching. Democrats using Donald Trump's own words, children sitting in front of the television watching this. Tom Perez is using very similar language as one of these videos I saw, a kid is standing right behind him. Is this the strategy to counter Donald Trump now?
BOYKIN: I don't think that what Tom Perez is doing is part of a strategy. I think he's really speaking out of his own passion. I've never met Tom Perez. I've never spoken to him about this. I don't know what the Democratic Party is doing with this. But I think there's a lot of people who are really angry out there. And you know, President Obama, he's giving his speech today and everything, I understand that, but he and Michelle Obama took the high road. You know, when they go low, we go high. The rest of the party --
[11:35:17] BOLDUAN: So, what is the head of the DNC doing now?
BOYKIN: The rest of the Democratic party does feel that way. The rest of the party is upset, they're angry, and they're angry because Trump, who was perhaps the most vulgar presidential, not candidate, but president we've had since going back to Lyndon Johnson and the Richard Nixon era, he is just a whole new figure, so people don't really know how to respond to him. He can get away with anything. He can stand on Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, like he said, and his supporters won't abandon him. So, the Democrats feel like they're caught.
BOLDUAN: Going to get down in the muck with him now, apparently.
BOYKIN: What else can you do?
BOLDUAN: Do Democrats -- this makes me wonder, do Democrats have a strategy at this point that you've noticed in this post-election period of time, how to counter Donald Trump?
DAVID DRUCKER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No. I think they --
BOLDUAN: No. No. I'm not going to say anything else.
DRUCKER: Well, look, I think this is a question that I've been asking, and I think what you've seen are a lot of Democrats with thoughtful strategies and ideas that they've implemented in attempting to counter President Trump. And I think you've seen this from activists and from lawmakers and from Democratic and progressive thinkers. I think what you haven't seen yet is an overarching message that everybody kind of gets behind that is simple and easy to digest and is a way for the party to appeal beyond its tent so that it can grow the number of elected officials it has, both at the local level and the federal level. And I think that for Democrats is the key, which is, I understand, and it's right for the chairman to try and harness all of this passion. And it's real. It's --
BOLDUAN: Right. I'm not trying to downplay that, but --
DRUCKER: But there's a way to do it, because you don't want to appeal to the base. You already have the base. You want to appeal to people that tend to vote Republican, who voted for President Trump this time around, aren't sure if they're comfortable with him, and you want them to feel comfortable in the Democratic Party. And you don't do that by accusing Republicans of purposely trying to hurt people. You could do that by saying Republican policies are hurting you. But when Chairman Perez -- forget the expletive -- says they're trying to hurt you, a lot of people that vote Republican are going to hear, wait a minute, I've been voting Republican for years. We're not trying to hurt anybody.
BOLDUAN: That's not turning people on. It's turning people off.
BOLDUAN: Let's talk about ratings, Joe. I know you care about ratings so much, TV ratings, especially.
Two stories over the weekend. The president has returned to talking about TV ratings. The "Washington Post," quoted saying, about Sean Spicer, "The guy gets great ratings. Everyone tunes in." He's probably not wrong. Speaking to the Associated Press, the president, in a lengthy interview with the Associated Press, he was asked about his relationship with lawmakers and voters, and he took the conversation this way: "It's the highest for 'Face the Nation,' or as I call it, deface the nation. It's the highest for 'Deface the Nation," since the World Trade Center came down. It's a tremendous advantage."
Is that a measure of success for you?
JOSEPH BORELLI, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I don't know. I think when you're speaking about the TV ratings that the president gets and his sort of rabid consumption of television news, I think that has worked somewhat advantageously for him, because by watching the news all the time, as he's been alleged to have done, and being able to respond with a stroke of a tweet, it has given him this real-time system. To extend that now to Sean Spicer, where previous press secretaries have been only speaking to the members of the press pool in the room, to have a press secretary now who is essentially the star of this daytime drama and having more Americans hear directly from the White House, I think that is an advantage that the president sees.
BOLDUAN: Why return, though -- go into the psyche. Why return, though, to the conversation about ratings? I feel like I haven't heard him talk about ratings in a while and now he's back there. What's that say?
BOYKIN: I don't think he ever left. Donald Trump is obsessed with ratings and polls.
BOLDUAN: Until they don't work for him.
BOYKIN: Well, even then. He was talking about Arnold Schwarzenegger and the ratings for "celebrity apprentice" being lower than his ratings, while he's president of the United States, he's --
BOLDUAN: At the national prayer breakfast.
BOYKIN: Exactly, at the national prayer breakfast. He has not stopped talking about the polls. He only talks about the polls when he finds -- he cherry-picks a good poll. Rasmussen had a good poll a week or two ago. He posted that on his Twitter feed.
BOYKIN: He doesn't talk about the 99 percent of polls that are horrible! He only talks about the few good polls, the few good ratings that he gets because he can't focus -- he can't believe that people don't like him. He can't accept that fact, that reality.
BOLDUAN: One thing I think we should all accept is every president does actually pay attention to the polls.
BOLDUAN: They all care. They just all address it in a little bit different way, if you will.
David, the border wall. Mixed signals from the White House over the weekend on if they want money for the border wall in the funding bill that Congress has to pass or not. You've got the administration saying that the president does not want the government to shut down. But then in this same Associated Press interview I was talking about, the president was asked more than once if he would sign a funding measure without border wall money in it, he said, "I don't know yet." Which do you believe is true right now?
[11:40:18] DRUCKER: I believe that he doesn't know yet.
I think that's pretty par for the course for this president. He makes decisions impulsively, and at times, at the very last minute after evaluating information, where he stands at the time. I would note this, clearly, Republicans would like money for a border
wall. It is something that Republicans believe in. In fact, many Democrats, at least in 2006, believed in it and voted for funding for a border wall. The key here is whether or not they want to get in a fight over these particular Obamacare subsidies, referred to as cost- shaving reductions, because if they don't fund these cost-sharing reductions, it would be a hit --
DRUCKER: Correct. It would be a hit to Obamacare subsidies that go to Americans that live in vulnerable Republican districts where Democrats are targeting them. And that is something that could actually hurt Republicans politically and not Democrats. And so, I think they're very wary of getting into that kind of fight. They probably would have preferred that the president didn't lay out this bargaining chip in the way that he did.
BOLDUAN: Let me ask you -- I've got two more things to get to quickly. I want your take on President Obama, who's going to be speaking for the first time. And Tim Neftali has a really good point, which is he's dealing with a lot of competing pressures and expectations of what his role is now. What do you want his role to be?
BOYKIN: I want his role to be whatever he wants it to be.
BOLDUAN: Do you want him to be the face of the resistance against Donald Trump?
BOYKIN: No, I don't think that's the appropriate role for the former president. I think President Obama is a very classy person and I've known him for 25, 26 years, and I expect him to give a speech that's non-partisan -- not non-partisan, but not political, not explicitly political today. I expect him to speak up he needs to speak up, to do so in a tactful way, in the same way I think Michelle Obama would.
But again, I don't think he is really where the Democratic Party is on these things, because the rest of the party is upset. They're angry. He gets to be the person who is above it all, but the rest of the party is not there. So, he has a job to sort keep encouraging people to be involved in the system --
BOLDUAN: And you're OK with --
BOYKIN: He wants to encourage people to get involved in the system and believe in politics, not be cynical, but believe in the possibility to make change.
BOLDUAN: When you talk about big expectations for President Obama, there are a lot of expectations. People are trying to downplay expectations of what will happen this week, counting down to the 100 days. If one thing were to happen this week, what do you expect to happen?
BORELLI: I think you see avoidance of the government shutdown. That will be critical for the president to deliver on, and he doesn't want to be seen as having a new problem with respect to that. I think we also should not move the goal post and talk about some of the successes that the president had in his first 100 days --
BOLDUAN: Who's moving the goal post?
BORELLI: Well, in fairness --
BOYKIN: I want to know what these successes are. I never heard of any, except for Neil Gorsuch.
BORELLI: That's key, because so many Republicans voted for Donald Trump specifically and only for that reason.
BOLDUAN: Because of that.
BOYKIN: And he had to get that approved by the Republicans --
BORELLI: -- to approve a Supreme Court justice in the first 100 days. And as we see from this latest poll, we see his supporters are entrenched with him. With respect to Democrats, you don't see that. And that's why you see -
BORELLI: -- if an election were held today, that same poll people are painting as not rosy for Donald Trump would have him now winning the popular vote. That is an improvement.
BOYKIN: No, no. This is completely wrong. First of all, he has no accomplishments other than appointing Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
BOLDUAN: That is a significant accomplishment.
BOYKIN: Which is significant, but you have a Republican Congress, a Republican Senate. He had this person pre-approved before running for office --
BOLDUAN: And they changed the rules.
BOYKIN: Yeah, and they changed the rules. So it's not exactly a great accomplishment. But he failed on the border wall. He hasn't been able to do anything about that. Even Mitch McConnell doesn't think --
BORELLI: Illegal immigration is down by 17 percent --
BOYKIN: He failed on the Obamacare reform, repeal. He hasn't been able to do that. He failed on the travel ban. That's been blocked by the courts --
BOLDUAN: Then answer my question. Don't give me a laundry list. We all know this!
BOLDUAN: What is going to happen then this week? Do you think the government will shut down? Do you think they'll avoid it? Do you think border money will be in or out?
BOYKIN: I don't know. And this is the problem, because I am not a Republican. I don't control what goes on in Congress. But Jeff Sessions is out there yesterday saying that if the government shuts down, it's the Democrats' fault. How is it the Democrats' fault when the Republicans control the Congress, the White House and the judiciary?
BOLDUAN: Because in 2013, when Republicans were in the minority -- in 2013, Republicans were blamed for the shutdown because they had something --
BORELLI: Republicans were running the House of representatives and they shut it down.
DRUCKER: And I think it's possible --
BOLDUAN: Final thought.
DRUCKER: -- they could do border security money that's not specifically wall money. That may be around this particular conflict. And don't forget, there's the political and the substantive. Politically, the fact that Donald Trump is holding his party and holding his supporters means members of his party in Congress are not abandoning him, which means he still has an opportunity for tax reform, health care reform and so on down the line. And because of voters, many voters think he's accomplished a lot, and through the executive pen, he's undone a lot of Obama regulations, that means he's not dead in the water by any stretch.
[11:45:11] BOYKIN: Until he shoots somebody on Fifth Avenue.
BOLDUAN: Oh, my gosh, Keith. Get off that one!
BOYKIN: That's what he said!
BOLDUAN: Anyway, I'm going to pull the mic. It's not a mic drop. I am now giving him the hook.
Great to see you guys. Thank you so much.
Any moment now, former President Barack Obama will make his first public remarks since leaving office. He's set to make a speech and also take questions at the University of Chicago. We will bring you that big moment, live.
We'll be right back.
BOLDUAN: Lawmakers are struggling to strike a deal to keep the government open after this week. If a deal is not reached we could be looking at a government shutdown. What we find at the center of the battle could be President Trump's border wall. The White House wants money for the wall included in the funding bill but officials say they will do what it takes to avoid a shutdown. For the president's part right now, he says he doesn't know if he'll sign a funding bill if the money isn't in it. We have to stand by for that part.
Let's talk about the wall and the money to go to it.
I'll bring in Julie Myers Wood, a former assistant secretary of the Department of Homeland Security under George W. Bush.
Julie, thanks for coming in.
[11:50:09] JULIE MYERS WOOD, FORMER ASSITANT SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY: Thanks for having me, Brooke (sic).
BOLDUAN: So I spoke with the secretary of Homeland Security just on Friday and the border wall, of course, did come up. Here's what he said about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KELLY, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRTARY: We hope to begin construction by the end of the summer. Clearly, as I said yesterday, we're not going to build a wall in an afternoon. So one of the reasons I've come here with the attorney general -- and I've been down here before and I'll continue to come down to the border -- is to talk to the people that really know the problems of the border. That is my people in DHS, particularly the Customs and Border Protection people, but just as importantly, the governors of the states, if they're willing to see me, local legislators, members of Congress, if they're willing to see me, but certainly the local mayors and local law enforcement to get a sense of what they want.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: So construction to begin by then of the summer. One thing the secretary said is where they start construction will be where Customs and Border Patrol deem is most important. Where would that be?
MYERS WOOD: What they've done is they've looked at the most highly trafficked and most dense areas along the southern border. That includes part of San Diego, the Rio Grande Valley, El Paso and Tucson. They're focusing on those areas. And that really makes sense. It's 71 miles where they're close to roads, where individuals cross over. They can quickly escape from the Border Patrol. I think it's smart of Secretary Kelly and of President Trump's team to look to the Border Patrol chiefs and ask them. It's a big southern border, we have 71 miles, where do you want to put them.
BOLDUAN: The estimate for what the wall will cost is in the spotlight. The estimates have been north of $20 billion. The president, in an interview over the weekend, and he thinks he can get it done for $10 billion or less. How does this work? Is it possible for the president to negotiate this down?
MYERS WOOD: Well, certainly, the president and Secretary Kelly and his team are looking for innovation. So they have over 200 proposals right now that talk about different prototypes that can be used along the border. Some are very creative, using solar panels to help pay for the cost of the wall and other things. I think the president wants to strike a deal. It's hard to know whether he'll be able to reduce the cost significantly. We've seen in other contracts that the government can put a lot of pressure on contractors to keep the costs down.
BOLDUAN: It's fascinating to get into details and that's where it needs to get. Get into the details and the nitty gritty.
MYERS WOOD: Absolutely.
BOLDUAN: Julie, thanks so much for coming in.
MYERS WOOD: Thanks for having me, Kate.
BOLDUAN: Of course.
Just moments from now, former President Barack Obama will be taking to the stage at the University of Chicago. You're looking at his former chief strategist, David Axelrod, who is at the University of Chicago as well. President Obama will be making his first public remarks since leaving office. A very big moment. Everyone will be watching this intently. That is coming up.
Plus, this is also ahead, a horrifying moment caught on video. A 4- year-old girl falling out of a moving bus. How did this happen? The police are now weighing in.
[11:57:24] JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to "Inside Politics." I'm John King. Thanks for sharing your day with us.
Day 95 of the Trump presidency and it's a big one. Barack Obama returns to the public stage this hour. A live look. You see it right there as we wait. The event is a Chicago push for community service and activism. Aides say the former president wants to encourage younger people to get involved. And these aides say he has no interest in re-stirring past fights with his successor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It has been the honor of my life to serve you. I won't stop.
OBAMA: In fact, I will be right there with you, as a citizen, for all my remaining days.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We'll get so that event when it happens.
First Trump, then Brexit. Now maybe Frexit? Two anti-establishment politicians make the French presidential runoff, including a far-right voice for leaving the European Union and cracking down on Islam and immigration.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIIKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: I think that we're going to deal with whoever is selected as president. But what I can tell you is it shows that there's changing times in every country and these elections now mean more than they ever have.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: And it's a week of enormous consequence here in Washington. President Trump is historically unpopular as he approaches the 100-day mark, so he wants a week of action. But his big hope for health care progress is fading and he might also not get what he wants in a spending bill needed to keep the government open.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REINCE PRIEBUS, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Shutdown is not a desire and it's not a tool, it's not something that we want to have. We want our priorities funded. And one of the biggest priorities during the campaign was border security, keeping Americans safe, and part of that was a border wall.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: A lot of moving parts in the hour ahead with us to share their reporting and their insights, CNN's Nia-Malika Henderson; Amy Walter, of "The Cook Political Report"; Laura Meckler of the "Wall Street Journal"; and Mary Katharine Ham, of "The Federalist."
Again, we're keeping an eye. You can see the room at the University of Chicago. President Obama due any moment to step back onto the public stage for the first time since leaving office. The 44th president has been tightlipped in the 13 weeks since leaving the White House. Instead, enjoying what you might call enjoying a lifestyle of the rich and famous with some globetrotting vacations. He's entitled to that I guess.
We're told Democrats looking for a rowdy return for President Obama likely to be disappointed. Advisors say the president wants to talk about community service, not to revisit this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If somebody can't handle a Twitter account --
-- they can't handle the nuclear cover.
All the progress we've made goes out the window if we don't win this election.
Donald Trump's closing argument is, "What do you have to lose." The answer is everything.
Throughout his campaign, Donald Trump has shown utter contempt for the values that make this nation great.
And then, suddenly, he's going to be the champion of working people?
OBAMA: Come on!