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Clinton: America Did Not "Deserve" Trump as President; Education Secretary Struggles to Answer Basic Questions; New Poll Shows Lamb Ahead of Saccone in Pennsylvania; Blast Reported in Austin After 2 Other Package Bombs. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired March 12, 2018 - 14:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[14:33:05] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's commonly said that countries deserve the governments they get. Does America deserve Donald Trump?

(APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's gone wrong?

HILLARY CLINTON, (D), FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE & FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I would have to say, "No, we did not deserve that."

(LAUGHTER)

The person who is the most outrageous, the person who says politically incorrect things, the person who is insulting and attacking drives big ratings. I think part of what happened in the election is almost an attraction that many people had to the role that was being played by him as a candidate for president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: So, Chris Cillizza, I want to see you -- just bringing the panel back here. This is Hillary Clinton speaking specifically about Donald Trump. She's selling her book in India. Here we are more than a year into the new administration, she seems comfortable taking stock in this Trump White House.

CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER & CNN EDITOR-AT-LARGE: Well, couple things. One, we know she didn't think highly of Donald Trump to start. Two, she's written a book, so she's had time to reflect on it. Three, it's not as though he ignores her.

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: Goes both ways.

CILLIZZA: He mentioned in his speech on Saturday for Rick Saccone in southwestern Pennsylvania, he took shots at her and said things would be worse if she was president. I don't know about whether America deserves Donald Trump or not. But

her diagnosis of Trump's appeal is not wrong. There were many people who viewed this as a continuation of a reality TV show and wanted to see what he would do or say next, perhaps without the understanding that, at the end, you don't get a million-dollar prize if you win. You become president of the United States. I don't know if people didn't know, didn't care, somewhere in between. She's not wrong about his appeal.

[14:35:05] BALDWIN: I would also encourage people, as you mentioned -- what did you write - "the 64 most outrageous lines from Trump's untethered Pennsylvania speech." If we don't get to it, I encourage --

(CROSSTALK)

CILLIZZA: I could have done more. I held back at 64.

BALDWIN: I love that you were, like, says this CNN reporter, third person.

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: Go ahead, Ana.

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: We just saw Hillary Clinton. It struck me as we were talking about this entire Stormy Daniels thing.

BALDWIN: Yes.

NAVARRO: The Stormy Daniel nondisclosure agreement was signed October 2016. Just a few days before that, there had been a debate where Donald Trump showed up schlepping Bill Clinton's accusers in order to make his wife, his opponent, uncomfortable and feel very bad.

BALDWIN: Right.

(CROSSTALK)

NAVARRO: Do you understand the hypocrisy of that? Really. At this point, if we were going to have a debate where we showed up with Donald Trump's accusers, people who said they had affairs with him, we'd need a stadium in order to fit them. I almost think to myself, when all these revelations continue coming out about Russia, about affairs, about the hush money, all these things, I don't know how Hillary Clinton is not in therapy now instead of giving speeches. She's got to think about all the "what ifs" that could have been.

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: Maybe the writing was therapeutic.

Quickly, Maeve, we have to go to break, but go ahead.

MAEVE RESTON, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: It also speaks to the fatigue out there that voters are feeling and that's what we are seeing in the 18th district in Pennsylvania. There are tons of voters who voted for Donald Trump who regret it now and, you know, are looking beyond him. So he does not have the kind of political juice he had in the past. You know, that's why that seat could well go to Democrats tomorrow night.

BALDWIN: Despite the millions being poured into that --

RESTON: Millions.

BALDWIN: -- from Trump Republicans.

Stand by, everyone.

White House press briefing coming up momentarily.

We have this other story today. Yet, another Trump cabinet secretary is in trouble. Talking about the Education chief, Betsy DeVos, following her, shall we call it, awkward interview that aired last night on "60 Minutes." More on what she said and basically acknowledging what she's not doing, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:41:34] BALDWIN: All eyes on the special election in Pennsylvania where the Democrat has extended his lead over the candidate the president stumped for over the weekend and endorsed. We are now under the 24-hour mark here. This new Monmouth poll shows the Democrat actually topping the Republican 51 percent to 45 percent.

Obviously, the stakes are extraordinarily high for Republicans. You know, scrambling to stay in control of a traditionally deep red congressional seat. That's partly why President Trump showed up to stump for the Republican over the weekend, unleashing this -- we were talking about, Chris Cillizza, this freewheeling off-script tirade mostly, not about the candidate but himself.

Here is one of the few brief mentions of the candidate.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Go out on Tuesday and just vote like crazy. You've got to get out there. The world is watching.

I hate to put the pressure on you, Rick. They're all watching. Because I won this district by 22 points. That's a lot. That's why I'm here.

(CHEERING)

TRUMP: Look at all the red hats, Rick. Look at all those hats.

(CHEERING)

TRUMP: That's a lot of hats. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: By the way, Trump won by almost 20 points, not 22.

CNN's Alex Marquardt is live for us in Pennsylvania.

Alex, you have been out and about, talking to the people. The poll isn't a good look for Republicans who have given millions so this Republican wins. What's the news on your end?

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the big news this afternoon is the Monmouth poll that has the Democrat Conor Lamb up by 6 percent. We have seen polls going back and forth with the candidates neck and neck. This one has a significant lead for Lamb over Rick Saccone. It's outside of the margin of error. That points to some worrying trends for Rick Saccone who, I should mention, is just behind me inside of this business here, called Saris Candies in Pennsylvania. He's in there with Donald Trump, Jr, who is stumping for him today.

I asked Saccone as he was having ice cream with Donald Trump Jr, about the poll. He dismissed it. He feels confident about the election tomorrow.

I asked the same of Donald Trump Jr, asking, you and your father put a lot on the line. You're spending a lot of political capital, are you worried? He was less dismissive. He, like his father in the clip, called on the base to go out and vote. He said, our guys, meaning the base, can't take winning for granted. We need to vote. This could all go away if people don't go out. This, meaning tax reform and other progress they say they have made.

The Trumps clearly see this, as we do in the media, and in on Capitol Hill do, as a referendum on the Trump presidency. Trump felt he needed to come down and energize the base. There's been a huge amount of money, as you touched on, spent on this race, over $10 million by outside Republican groups.

So even if Rick Saccone manages to win this, as he absolutely should, given the margin by which Donald Trump won this in 2016, if he wins even by a little bit, it will be seen as a bad result. That could be seen as a loss for Rick Saccone -- Brooke?

[14:45:00] BALDWIN: He needs to win and win big. We shall see if Republicans prove that Monmouth poll wrong.

Alex Marquardt, outside the candy shop. Retail politics there in Pennsylvania.

More breaking news as we wait for the White House briefing to begin. The British Prime Minister Theresa May pointing the finger today at Russia after a former Russian spy and his daughter were poisoned last week with a nerve agent. How Britain plans to respond to this, coming up.

Also, we have a close eye on the situation developing in Austin, Texas. Multiple explosions there of packages being delivered to homes, leaving at least two people dead. We'll have a live report, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:50:10] BALDWIN: Welcome back. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

Let's flash a picture inside that briefing room. We're watching and waiting for a briefing to begin. Lots to talk about today, the latest chapter in the Stormy Daniels saga, how the president feels on gun control, and specifically one issue that has arisen over his Education Secretary.

Welcoming back my panel.

In case people missed "60 Minutes" last night, Betsy DeVos, the Education Secretary, was asked -- she had a tough time. Let me put it this way, she had a tough time answering some pretty simple questions when it came to schools back in her home state of Michigan. Here's a clip.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LESLEY STAHL, TELEVISION JOURNALIST, 60 MINUTES: Have the public schools in Michigan gotten better?

BETSY DEVOS, EDUCATION SECRETARY: I don't know. Overall -- I can't say overall that they've all gotten better.

STAHL: The whole state is not doing well.

DEVOS: Well, there are certainly lots of pockets where the students are doing well.

STAHL: Have you seen the really bad schools, maybe try to figure out what they're doing?

DEVOS: I have not -- I have not -- I have not intentionally visited schools that are underperforming.

STAHL: Maybe you should.

DEVOS: Maybe I should, yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Leave it to Lesley Stahl, "Maybe you should," "Yes, maybe I should."

Ana Navarro, to you first.

How did you feel watching that?

NAVARRO: I was glad it wasn't me. It was almost a sequel of her confirmation hearings. BALDWIN: Confirmation hearings.

NAVARRO: She's just not good at answering question questions. These were not rocket science questions. These were basic questions about schools. Sometimes basic questions about schools in her home state where she was so active on education. It wasn't just this question that was awkward and cringe-inducing. It was the entire interview that made you want to look away because you just can't believe that the education system in this country, which is important to every single American, is in the hands of this woman who can't answer the simplest of questions. I have not seen such a horrible interview since Sarah Palin said she could see Russia from her backyard. I think this may have topped it.

BALDWIN: It was a tough watch.

And isn't it also just the broader issue, Chris Cillizza, the fact that this is another day, another problem with the member of the Trump cabinet?

CILLIZZA: Yes. At this point, if you haven't been in Donald Trump's dog House because of bad publicity, you're the exception, not the rule. CNN did a report earlier today that people within the White House sort of watched, as I think probably Maeve, Ana and I did, sort of dumbfounded at the way in which she performed in that interview.

There's another part that's gotten less attention. But Lesley Stahl asks her about sexual assault on campus, and Betsy DeVos says, well, any sexual assault is one too many, as is any false report. And Lesley Stahl says, are you saying they're the same thing? And her response is, "I don't know." You can't say I don't know. I guess you can. You shouldn't say I don't know to that. She seemed --

(CROSSTALK)

RESTON: Sorry, Chris.

CILLIZZA: No, go ahead, Maeve.

RESTON: There are people that prepare you for these interviews and talk to you about what --

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: "60 Minutes!"

RESTON: Yes -- what kind of questions you might be asked, arm you with stats and facts. Again, it was another question of whether someone in the Trump administration, not only are they not prepared, but did they even prepare specifically for this.

BALDWIN: And it's not like they were asking -- it's not it was questions about Russia.

RESTON: Right.

CILLIZZA: That's right.

BALDWIN: This is her lane. This is education. And she was being asked about schools in Michigan.

RESTON: It's the competency level for a number of these controversial nominees is just appalling. And it's just -- people watch these things from home and say who is running these different departments? There have been scandals in almost every one. We had Ben Carson's expensive of dining set table. You have to wonder whether he was supposed to drain the swam, but it doesn't seem like anything is being run with efficiency.

(CROSSTALK)

CILLIZZA: And remember, he said he promised the best and the brightest.

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: Go ahead.

NAVARRO: It's one insult after another of negative coverage of his cabinet secretaries. When it's not Donald Trump beating up on Jeff Sessions, it's Ben Carson's $31,000 dining set, it's someone resigning --

(CROSSTALK)

NAVARRO: -- a $139,000 set of doors. For that, he could have had an affair with a stripper and gone on a nice cruise.

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: Sorry, that gave me the giggles.

Chris Cillizza, let's talk about --

(CROSSTALK)

CILLIZZA: No comment.

[14:54:59] BALDWIN: Sorry. Let's talk about Pennsylvania. Let's talk about Pennsylvania.

CILLIZZA: Yes.

BALDWIN: We just were talking to Alex, who was there where Don Jr is stumping with the Republican. We have this in Monmouth poll where more than $10 million has been poured into this congressional district race by Republicans. We pointed out before, and you mentioned some of the one-liners, the zingers from Trump when he was in the state over the weekend with he talked more about himself than the Republican candidate. Here are some of the highlights.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know what? Do me a favor, get out on Tuesday, vote for Rick Saccone and we can leave right now.

(CHEERING)

TRUMP: Come on. We don't have to spend any time. Great guy.

Personally, I like Rick Saccone. I think he's handsome.

(CHEERING)

TRUMP: And you did a great job on television today. I watched you, Rick. That was a great interview.

But I need people that can help me. And this guy can really help me. This guy can really help me.

(CHEERING)

TRUMP: Rick Saccone -- and I've got him -- and he's got a tough race. He's got a tough race.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: On the tough race, guys, let's flash the Monmouth poll numbers up. These numbers just came out. So you have Saccone, who is the Republican, so far losing to the Democrat by six points, Chris Cillizza. Six.

CILLIZZA: Yes.

BALDWIN: Listening to Alex a moment ago, he was saying, even if the Republican ekes out a win by a tiny margin, that's still bad news for Republicans.

CILLIZZA: Yes. Look, if you take every district in the country represented by a Republican, Brooke, that Donald Trump won by 20 points or less, which is basically this district is about 20 points, it's a whole lot of districts. It's a lot more than 24, which is what Democrats need.

Some of this -- let's assume Rick Saccone loses, because I think he's probably going to, there will be an attempt by Republicans to say this was not about anything other than Tim Murphy, the Congressman representing that district, resigned amid a sex scandal. Saccone was sort of an older state legislator. Didn't raise any money. Wasn't a good candidate. Conor Lamb was a young veteran, a Democrat. A young veteran, who raised a bunch of money. That's part of it. But that's not all of it. This is a national environment. Even with all of that that I just said, Rick Saccone in a neutral environment wins this race by eight to 10 points. Even if he loses 10 points of what Donald Trump performed, there's a fair amount of national environment here. And it's dangerous, I think, for Republicans to whistle past that assuming Saccone loses. This is a district where I 2 percent of the district's population is black, 1 percent is Hispanic, the rest is white. This is not a district where you should see a sort of down- the-line, safe Republican. Maybe he's not all that charismatic but he's been a state legislator. He's not even in a close race, much less, more likely to lose. That comes back to Donald Trump.

RESTON: Yes, it's stunning.

NAVARRO: The alarm bells for Republicans have been ringing now on so many special elections. It's not just the ones that we saw in Virginia, the one in Alabama. It's been all over when it comes to state legislatures. Wisconsin, Florida, districts that were safe Republican districts, districts where Donald Trump won by 20 points. In this district, Republicans should be able to nominate a bag of mulch and that bag of mulch -

BALDWIN: Should be.

NAVARRO: -- if it hadn't been accused of pedophilia, should be able to win.

BALDWIN: We'll see.

NAVARRO: And yet, here they are in this very close race.

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: We will be deep in coverage tomorrow.

I want to thank all of you so much for the conversation.

We got to move along. So let's roll the animation. We are now in hour two. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

We have breaking news out of Austin, Texas. Police there are urgently warning the public to be vigilant and stay away from unidentified packages after a series of deadly explosions. You are looking at pictures of one of the scenes. This is the scene of the second blast today, the third this month in Austin. At least two people have been killed in these explosions.

We begin this hour with Nick Valencia, who has been all over this.

Nick, what are police saying?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Earlier, they gave a press conference. We're standing by for another one. At that press conference, Brooke, they mention this is a public safety alert. They're having people be watchful of potential suspicious packages. And they're investigating the first two incidences, one on March 2nd and one this morning, as being connected. They're too similar to ignore.

We understand the victims in these first two cases, they found packages on their front steps, they opened these packages. According to police, they were hand delivered, not through any type of mail service. But once they were opened, they exploded. We know one person was killed as a result of that on March 2nd. And early this morning, another 17-year-old died as a result of his injuries from that blast. An adult female also taken to the hospital with non-life- threatening injuries.

Now, no motive has been given for this, but they believe those two are connected. A third one, it's still unclear, Brooke, if it's directly related. But it's certainly eerie when you consider, an hour or so after the press conference --