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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Trump Campaign Ad Not Backed Up By Facts; Michael Cohen: Trump Used Racist Language; Interview with Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island; Trump Acknowledges GOP Could Lose The House; President Hold Dueling Campaign Rallies; Funeral Today For Rose Mallinger, 97; Pittsburgh Mayor On Pres. Trump's Comments; 97-Year-Old Rose Mallinger Laid To Rest Today; New Package Confirmed. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired November 2, 2018 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:22] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening.
With four days until midterm elections, the president of the United States is making a closing argument for his party. So is the former president of the United States, and in an appearance today in Miami, Barack Obama said something that he and Donald Trump might agree on, though for different reasons and perhaps for different ends.
Quote: The character of our country, he said, is on the ballot.
Now, keeping them honest, so, too, is the character of the president and the party he leads and the campaign he chooses to run and the tone he chooses to set. And, of course, it is a choice. This president enjoys that luxury. Today, he got another batch of very good job numbers, continued low unemployment and rising wages.
Now, previous presidents would have considered that a midterm gift, a winning issue a president could make as his closing argument, something he would talk about endlessly and justifiably. But that is not what this president is doing. President Trump mentioned the economy today but almost in passing. In fact, he said, and I'm quoting, sometimes it is not as exciting to talk about the economy because we have a lot of other things to talk about, unquote.
By other things, he means things that might scare voters, he means talking about migrants and what he calls an invasion.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: At this moment large, well organized caravans of migrants are marching towards our southern border. Some people call it an invasion. It's like an invasion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: The president, from the White House yesterday, painting a band of migrants nearly 1,000 miles from the closest U.S. border crossing as an invading army, mobilizing the active duty military to head to the border, the implication, of course, is the military is going to be used to confront the migrants. In reality, that will not happen. In fact, unless granted special powers, they will be used in only a support capacity.
But the president doesn't mention that. the president continues to portray this caravan of men, women, and children as a caravan overrun by dangerous criminals, what he's called unknown middle easterners and possibly even ISIS members.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: These are tough people. These are not angels. These are not little angels. These are tough people. And we are not letting them into our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Now, of course, in any large group of several thousand people, there are going to be people with criminal records or people who you wouldn't want to invite into your home. But there is a process in place to determine who can be accepted for asylum and who cannot. This notion of invaders from the south which the president has repeatedly amplified is what an anti-Semitic killer cited as justification for murdering 11 mostly elderly worshippers in Pittsburgh, less than a week ago.
The funeral was held today for the 97-year-old Rose Mallinger. A local paper's front ran in Aramaic characters the first words of the Kaddish, the Jewish prayer of mourning, which reads magnified and sanctified be your name. Pittsburgh's mayor joins us shortly to talk about that.
But, first, we want to take a closer look at what is essentially the president's closing argument before the midterms, an ad from his own campaign that the president promoted on Twitter.
Late today in West Virginia, with the uproar over it in full swing, including from a number of Republicans, the president defended the ad.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: And then they gave me a hard time because I put it up on Twitter. And they gave me a hard time. They said, you shouldn't be doing that. That's not nice. And I say, all I am doing is just telling the truth. What can I tell you?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Just telling the truth. Keeping him honest, the ad, which focuses on a truly deranged Mexican man, a convicted cop killer who repeatedly entered the country illegally, is, by any stretch telling the truth. It claims Democrats let him in and Democrats let him stay.
Now, records show that, yes, he did enter the country illegally at first during the Clinton administration. That doesn't mean he was let in. He entered illegally and after he was caught, he was jailed and deported after he served his sentence, deported by the Clinton administration. So, saying Democrats let him stay is also not true. The cop killer
came back in when George W. Bush was president. That doesn't mean the Republicans let him back in. Using the ad's logic, it would. He was also deported by Republicans.
And the last time he was known to have entered the U.S. from Mexico was during the Bush administration, according to records obtained by "The Sacramento Bee", which covered his killing of two local sheriff's deputies in 2014 during the Obama administration. He's now in death row for that.
This guy was arrested several times in Maricopa County, Arizona, over the years, and jailed by then Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who you might remember was pardoned by President Trump last year on a criminal contempt charge.
Sheriff Arpaio, a Republican, not a Democrat, released him from jail at least once in 1998 according to the "Sacramento Bee". Here's what he told National Public Radio about it back in 2014.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
JOE ARPAIO, FORMER ARIZONA COUNTY SHERIFF: I don't know how many times he was arrested and slipped through the cracks. It is my gut feeling it wasn't just two times he has been deported.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
[20:05:04] COOPER: The bottom line, this killer's time in the country spanned three administrations, Democratic and Republican. You could argue he should not have been able to repeatedly re-enter the country illegally. That's certainly a fair argument. You could argue that he should have been treated more harshly by the criminal justice system while here. That's a fair argument.
But that is not what President Trump's ad is saying. It's an ad that flatly and exclusively blames Democrats and links this clearly deranged killer who is on death row with the people in the current caravan who are fleeing violence and poverty for the most part in Central America. Who else will the Democrats let in? the ad asks.
Republican Senator Jeff Flake called the ad sickening. President Trump calls it the truth. Whether it is sickening or not designed to appeal to racial fears or other fears, that's a judgment call.
The president calling it the truth is not a judgment call. It is not truthful. And facts matter. And as you'll see throughout the program tonight, so do words.
Joining us now from the Trump 2020 campaign, responsible for this ad, is senior adviser Katrina Pierson.
Katrina, thanks so much for being with us.
KATRINA PIERSON, SENIOR ADVISER, TRUMP 2020 CAMPAIGN: Great to be here, Anderson. COOPER: This killer in this ad clearly seems to be psychopathic, just
an awful person, Bracamontes. He was deported out of the U.S. twice, first in 1997 under Bill Clinton, and then in 2001 by President H.W. Bush, right? George W. Bush.
PIERSON: Well, yes, Anderson, but the point is, you want to focus on this one individual who is an extreme version of what is a possibility that can continue to happen under the current policies that we have due to the failures of previous administrations, Republicans and Democrats. That is correct.
COOPER: But that's not what your ad says. Your ad says Democrats let him in, the Democrats let him say. That is just factually incorrect.
PIERSON: The policies that we currently have, and as you mentioned, it started with Clinton. The policies that we currently have continued to allow this individual into this country even though it was illegally, and continued to do heinous crimes. He has been deported several times.
COOPER: And that's not the fault of the Democrats. You could equally blame Republicans.
PIERSON: No, it is absolutely the fault of Democrats. It is the fault of several people, Republican and Democrat in previous administrations.
COOPER: So, your ad doesn't say that. Why doesn't your ad say that? Why doesn't your ad say that? Why doesn't your ad say that?
PIERSON: As you recall, Anderson, Donald Trump ran a campaign in 2016 -- because it's the Democrats that refuse to come to the table when President Trump was willing to go further than Obama was to resolve some of these issues when it came to illegal immigration.
COOPER: You said it was Republicans and Democrats.
PIERSON: In the previous administrations, absolutely.
COOPER: So why doesn't your ad say that?
PIERSON: Because the ad today is what we are talking about. We're not talking about --
COOPER: Right. You're talking about the ad today. The ad says Democrats allowed this psycho killer to come in and allowed him to say. And it is Republicans and Democrats using your logic.
PIERSON: That's exactly -- listen, Anderson.
COOPER: I am listening.
PIERSON: It is the Democrats today who continue to allow these types of individuals. COOPER: OK, that's not what you are saying in your ad. I hear what
you are saying now.
PIERSON: These are criminal aliens in the country, and Democrats don't want to address the problem. They did not come to the table when President Trump tried to resolve it the issue of illegal immigration. And they are absolutely the reason.
COOPER: You can't acknowledge that your ad is false. You can talk all you want and you can use bells and whistles, but you just acknowledged your ad is false.
PIERSON: The ad is absolutely correct.
COOPER: You can't blame Democrats for this psycho killer, which is what the ad is focused on.
PIERSON: Democrats are at fault for continuing to allow these types of individuals.
COOPER: These types, again, you're not addressing what your ad actually says.
PIERSON: These types of individuals to come into the country, commit crimes and get deported and come back. You're talking about the criminal.
COOPER: No, we're talking about this man.
PIERSON: You are focused on the criminal, Anderson. That's what we are talking about that right now.
COOPER: Yes. And your ad says Democrats let him in. Democrats let him stay. That is not -- you can just as easily say Republicans let him in, Republicans let him say.
PIERSON: And the Democrats would let him stay today. They want to abolish ICE. They have been on the record to abolish ICE. They didn't come to the table.
COOPER: Again, you are changing the subject. You can't defend your ad, so you have to yell about other things.
(CROSSTALK) PIERSON: Democrats are the reason why these types of issues occur. It is the Democrats. Anderson, do you deny that President Trump came to the table --
COOPER: OK, I feel like we are speaking past each other.
PIERSON: -- to resolve these issues on illegal immigration to prevent criminal aliens from reentering the country, to stop the magnet bringing illegals to the country.
COOPER: Do you want me to answer that?
PIERSON: Yes, what did you see?
COOPER: Do you want me to answer the question?
COOPER: I saw President Trump sitting at a table with Democrats and Republicans and actually endorsing a number of Democratic positions, in particular comprehensive immigration reform, which freaked out the Republicans and once they explained to him what that meant, he backed off. But again, you cannot address your --
PIERSON: Then you didn't see what happen.
COOPER: I'm allowing you the opportunity to specifically address your ad --
PIERSON: But, Anderson, you are incorrect.
COOPER: -- and you're avoiding. You are avoiding --
PIERSON: No, you're incorrect in your assessment of the ad and the situation. What you just said --
COOPER: OK, what am I incorrect about the ad?
PIERSON: -- is President Trump came to the table and actually compromised with the Democrats.
COOPER: I want to talk about your ad.
PIERSON: We're talking about what you just said. President Trump came to the table to resolve the immigration issue.
[20:10:02] Democrats refused. They walked away, they didn't do anything.
You just admitted that President Trump tried to compromise with the Democrats and they failed.
COOPER: That's not what I said.
PIERSON: And the ad is supportive of that same nature and the fact that Democrats --
COOPER: Of that same nature. See, you are using words which show you can't back up your own ad.
PIERSON: I'm explaining it to you right now. I'm not understanding what you don't understand.
The president tried to resolve the problem and the Democrats won't come to the table.
COOPER: OK, let me just ask specifically as I have been trying to do. You said Democrats allowed him in and Democrats allowed him to stay. He was deported under Democrats, and he was also deported under Republicans.
So, your ad could just as easily say Republicans allowed him in, Republicans allowed him to stay. Or you can say Democratic and Republican administrations allowed him in, Democratic and Republican administrations allowed him to stay. That would, I mean, wouldn't be accurate, because they didn't really allow him particular, that he fell through the cracks. But that's not what your ad says.
So your ad is misleading, yes?
PIERSON: No. The ad is relevant for today's purposes. The fact is Democrats will allow him to stay.
COOPER: That doesn't make sense. Relative for today's purposes doesn't make sense.
PIERSON: That is a fact. Democrats will not come to the table and work with the president to resolve these issues. They want to abolish ICE, which means these people who are committing crimes here illegally are allowed to stay, not to mention the sanctuary cities where a lot of them go to stay.
That is relevant today, and that is why the ad says Democrats allow him to stay.
COOPER: OK. It was also all during this time that this psychopath is in this country committing crimes, sometimes in jail, sometimes he is not. Sometimes he has been apprehended. Sometimes he's been apprehended, sometimes he hasn't.
There are also Republicans and Democrats in Congress, all this time they have failed to come up with any kind of comprehensive plan on immigration. In fact, and you could as easily argue that allowed this guy to stay in the country. That would be closer to the truth than your ad, which is just lying. And I don't understand why you have to lie all the time.
PIERSON: It is not lying, Anderson. Because, today, and I will say it again, Democrats are the reason why these types of individuals come into this country.
COOPER: You're not addressing this man (INAUDIBLE). That's not what you are saying in the ad.
PIERSON: Continue to come into this country. They want to abolish ICE, which means we can't rid of these criminals to begin with.
But this is just one issue. We're not talking about Kate Steinle, we're not talking about the 10-year-old little girl in Texas who was raped and thrown into the bushes by another illegal who was catch and released. There are thousands of people who are impacted every day because previous administrations, Republican and Democrat, failed to move the ball forward.
This president is trying the resolve the problem.
PIERSON: And Democrats refuse to come to the table.
COOPER: You were asked here to speak specifically about the ad. You have done everything but speak about this particular person.
PIERSON: Actually, Anderson, I was asked to come here to speak about the midterm election.
COOPER: Well, actually, if that's what you believe, I was told you were here to speak about the ad. OK.
PIERSON: It is in writing. No, I was on to speak about the midterm elections. I'm happy to talk about this ad because it's extremely.
COOPER: Do you know the names of the police officers that this man killed?
PIERSON: It is extremely important that Americans understand that President Trump --
COOPER: You created an ad about this psycho killer who killed two police officers. Are you aware --
PIERSON: It isn't about this killer. You don't want to talk about the whole issue of the problems with illegal immigration in this country. This is why Americans believe that fake news is real.
COOPER: OK, I'm glad we got to that. Katrina Pierson, thanks very much you are not addressing the ad at all.
PIERSON: Thanks, Anderson. I'd stay (ph) all night.
COOPER: Breaking news that concerns the president's words, in this case, his alleged words, Michael Cohen, his former attorney, is telling "Vanity Fair's" Emily Jane Fox, I'm sorry, that candidate and citizen Trump used racist language on many occasions over the years.
Our M.J. Lee is doing reporting on this. She joins us now. So, first of all, I mean, Michael Cohen is now saying this, does
Michael Cohen, who was the president's staunchest defender, and denied that the president had a racist bone in his body, is now doing a 180. People -- viewers should keep that in mind, what he said in the past, and what he's saying now. But, just talk about exactly what he is now saying to "Vanity Fair."
M.J. LEE, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER: Yes, Anderson. I mean, what a difference a couple of months makes, right? Michael Cohen in this new "Vanity Fair" interview is really unleashing on Donald Trump, his former boss, saying that in -- on numerous occasions in the years that he worked for Donald Trump, in private conversations, he heard Donald Trump using racist and chilling language.
Three examples I want to point to from this interview. The first is from 2016. Michael Cohen says the two men were discussing a Trump rally, discussing the fact that the audience members were mostly white. He says: I told Trump that the rally looked vanilla on television. Trump responded, that's because black people are too stupid to vote for me.
The second example, Anderson, after Nelson Mandela's death. This is, of course, the former South African president who died in 2013, Michael Cohen said that Trump said, name one country run by a black person that's not a shithole, name one city.
[20:15:01] The third example, this is from the late 2000s, according to Michael Cohen. He says he traveled with Donald Trump to Chicago for work and that they were traveling from the airport to the hotel and they drove through what looked like a rougher neighborhood, this is according to Michael Cohen. And that Trump said to Cohen at that point, only the blacks could live like this.
So, obviously some incendiary language, and that Michael Cohen said he personally heard Donald Trump using over the years. As for the question of why now, why is he speaking out to "Vanity Fair" and making these allegations? Well, he says that he knows Donald Trump's private comments are actually worse than some of the things he says in public.
And ahead of next week, ahead of next Tuesday's midterm elections, he would like to make sure that the American people are aware of the true character behind Donald Trump. And he clearly believes, Anderson, that he's the person who knows Donald Trump better than anybody else.
COOPER: I mean, I guess the question is -- it is up for viewers to make up their minds, if in fact these comments are true, what does it say about his character, if in fact these comments are true, what does it says about Michael Cohen's character that he not only worked for Donald Trump for all those years that he's making comments like this but that he is also publicly defending him? Because that's not what he said.
I want to play -- I mean, during the campaign, that is certainly not what he said about Donald Trump.
LEE: No, no, no worries.
You are right to point that out. It is important to point that out because during the campaign. Of course we talked about this for a while now, that Michael Cohen, both in unofficial and official capacities, did a lot of work for Donald Trump. And during the campaign, one thing he was involved in was minority outreach. In that capacity, he very strongly defended Donald Trump when it comes to this issue.
Just one example I would point to, he said, I have lost count as to how many times the disgusting liberal mainstream media have attempted to label Mr. Donald Trump as a racist, a xenophobe, and a bigot. Clearly, he is singing a different tune today. And this, I think, it is important to sort of put in the bigger transformation that we have seen Michael Cohen go through.
We know he says he changed his party registration from Republican to Democrat. He says that he now wants to campaign against Republicans and Donald Trump. And you will recall that when I caught up with Michael Cohen on the streets of Manhattan just last month he basically said all Americans need to get out and vote because otherwise we are going to see two or six more years of this craziness -- Anderson.
COOPER: All right. M.J. Lee, appreciate it. Thanks very much.
Coming up next, the president's suggestion that troops could fire on migrants for throwing rocks. His claim he never said anything like that. And another country using his words to justify actually killing dozens of people. Words do matter. We'll show you ahead.
Later, former President Obama's campaign pitch and how it differs from President Trump's.
[20:22:00] COOPER: Well, for tonight's second installment of keeping them honest. Never mind what the video shows me saying, I did not say what the video shows me saying. In other words, we'll leave the gaslight on for you part, I think 16 we're up to.
It will almost be funny if it didn't involve the commander in chief talking about troops he is sending to the border could or could not shoot at migrants if they were throwing rocks at them. And if those words weren't being used by foreign governments to justify the shooting of unarmed civilians in their country.
Here's what the president said yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: They want the throw rocks at our military? Our military fights back. We're going to consider and I told them, consider it a rifle. When they throw rocks like they did at the Mexico military and police, I say consider it a rifle.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Consider a rock a rifle. As you might imagine, it caused something of an uproar from civilians, military commanders, experts on the Uniform Code of Military Justice, you name it.
So, today when asked, the president appeared to try to walk back yesterday's remarks. Here's what he said about stone throwers today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: They do that with us, they are going to be arrested. There is going to be problems. I didn't say shoot. I didn't say shoot. But, they do that with us, they are going to be arrested for a long time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Now, technically, no, he did not say the word shoot because he didn't need to. As you and we and his critics and supporters alike all heard the suggestion that troops should be able to fire on rock throwers, consider a rock a rifle, he said. It seems like the meaning is clear.
Then at that same photo opportunity, out on the South Lawn just minutes after he appeared to be walking things back, he seemed to un- walk them when asked if he could promise the military could not fire on foreign civilians.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Well, I hope they won't. We are going to see. I hope they won't.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: We'll see. Again, this would be comical except it involves real troops, real migrants, and real consequences beyond the border, real decisions having to be made by our troops.
Earlier this week, soldiers in Nigeria opened fire on a group of unarmed religious protesters. According to Amnesty International, at least 45 people were killed. The military says the protesters threw stones and they fired in self-defense. Human rights groups say otherwise.
Today, the Nigerian army posted video of President Trump's speech on its Twitter feed saying we released the video saying if president Trump can say rock are is as good as a rifle, who is Amnesty International, unquote.
More now on this from Rhode Island Democratic Senator Jack Reed. I spoke to him earlier this even.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: Senator, I wonder what went through your mind when you heard the president earlier trying to walk back his suggestion that the military should shoot back at migrants who throw rocks or treat rocks like guns?
SEN. JACK REED (D), RHODE ISLAND: Well, my initial reaction when I heard the president talking about using American forces to shoot at civilians who throw rocks, it was completely illegal, completely contrary to ethics and contrary to the instructions I know they received, which requires to use proportional self-defense.
Walking it back today was just finally admitting what the military officers told him, that it is not only preposterous but it is wrong.
[20:25:05] COOPER: I mean, he also walked it back, denying he was implying they should shoot the people with rocks. Now, he is saying that they will just arrest people. But, I mean, the president's words matter, whether he walks them back or not.
You heard Nigeria's army, an organization that has massacred, you know, innocent civilians and committed atrocities, you had them today tweeting the president's words to justify killing dozens of protesters, some of whom threw rocks.
REED: You are absolutely right. Words have consequences. And the president's either off the cuff or certainly uninformed -- it is very, very daunting and disturbing to have a president giving an address about his plans for the border using, effectively, misinformation. In fact, suggesting he would condone American troops using weapons against civilians throwing rocks.
And, of course, as you point out, Anderson, the Nigerian army has picked that up as justification for doing exactly that. They shot numerous civilians who were protesting. Words have consequences. The president doesn't recognize that sometimes. Or just doesn't care. And that is very, very disturbing.
COOPER: There are also real geopolitical threats, obviously, that the U.S. military needs to be focusing on, is focusing on. Has the Department of Defense or this White House indicated to the Senate Armed Services Committee that this caravan is a direct national security threat to the United States?
REED: There has been no indication that this is a direct national security threat to the United States. We have to protect our borders. And that's the job of the Customs and Border Patrol. In fact, the troops that are going down there and other presidents have used troops, are merely support. But we have to ask real questions about how much it will cost us, and indeed what better use these troops can be deployed for.
We have engineer units they are sending to the border that could be used at Tyndall Air Force Base to help relieve some of the destruction caused by the hurricane. That would help the readiness of the United States. It is unclear that these troops will be providing that kind of support to the military. Again, this seems to be more of a political statement than a national security statement. And it is a political statement that the president is making just several days before the election.
COOPER: Just lastly, in your letter to the president yesterday, you requested a full accounting of the financial costs of the deployment. Has the White House or the Pentagon given any estimates on how much all of this is going to cost? Because moving, you know, as many as 15,000 troops, that's not cheap.
REED: It is not cheap at all. It's probably -- it's millions of dollars, certainly, in terms of moving the troops. And there is also the opportunity cost. These troops could be training. They could be getting ready for deployment.
It is something that we have to have an accounting for. And, frankly, again, this seems to be less about national security, less about wise use of resources. And, again, it's putting potentially American military forces in a position that they are not as well-trained for. They are not law enforcement officers. In fact, they can't be law enforcement officers.
They should be focused on those missions that are central to their role in the world, which is defending us from combatant enemies of the United States.
COOPER: Yes. Senator Jack Reed, I appreciate your time. Thank you.
REED: Thank you, Anderson.
COOPER: Well, coming up tonight, a tale of two presidents on the campaign trail, one former and one current, in tone, substance and temperament. Similarities end with the job title. We will hear from voters in Florida about President Obama's campaign stop, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT: That's some kind of gall. That's some kind of chutzpah. Let's call it what it is. It's a lie. They are lying to you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[20:33:00[ ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: The President for the first time seems to be admitting the Democrats may win control of the House in midterms but says not to worry about it that he'll "just figure it out". Both he and former President Obama are on the campaign trail tonight in dueling events. Tonight, leading up to the midterms, former President Obama is in Georgia tonight for Stacey Abrams who would be the first female African-American governor in a country if she wins on Tuesday.
Earlier he campaigned in Miami for Andrew Gillum who be the Florida's first African-American governor. Mr. Obama said America is at a cross roads with the character of our country on the ballot.
BARACK OBAMA, FMR PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: In the closing weeks of this election, we have seen repeated attempts to divide us with rhetoric designed to make us angry and make us fearful. It is designed to exploit our history of racial and ethnic and religious division that pits us against one another to make us believe that order will somehow be restored if it just weren't for those folks who don't look like we look or don't love like we love or pray like we do.
COOPER: Randi Kaye tonight spoke with voters at that event in Miami.
OBAMA: Hello Miami!
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Former President Barack Obama, once again making his closing argument for a candidate.
(on-camera): What can President Obama do for Andrew Gillum? I mean he won Florida twice.
KATONYA BIENAINE, FLORIDA VOTER: He can energize the young people, he can energize the disenfranchised voters, he can energize those people that I think their votes don't matter.
KAYE (on-camera): Do you think that could pull over left leaning independents.
STEFANO BARBAGALLO, FLORIDA VOTER: 100%, I think anyone. Even Republicans that voted for Trump in the past that are maybe are not happy now.
DR. LAURA, FLORIDA VOTER: I think he brings credibility. I actually think that he -- whoever he says yes to is a credible candidate.
KAYE (voice-over): Still many here remember 2016, and Obama's cross country blitz for Hillary Clinton in the final weeks of her campaign. His last rally for her within Pennsylvania, which she went on to lose.
[20:35:05] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I don't know that the United States is ready for a woman in the presidential White House. I think that was part of it.
TRUDY JERMANOVICH, FLORIDA VOTER: What's different now is that we really know who Donald Trump is. And I think anyone that comes out can make a difference now because I think a lot of us are really worried about our country.
KAYE (voice-over): So worried that they are once again embracing Barack Obama's message of optimism.
(on-camera): What about Obama's signature idealism and his message of hope? Is there a place for that in this ugly political climate right now?
BARBGALLO: I believe so. Even if you look at the upset people, the ones that are the ones upset. I think if you scrape away the top layer I think everything wants peace.
KAYE (on-camera): Is it needed on the campaign trail?
BRENDA JOHNSON, FLORIDA VOTER: It's needed on the campaign. We are the people for the people and that's what we need. Not no rich man, poor man, but for the people.
OBAMA: They promised to take on corruption. Instead, they have racked up enough indictments to field a football team.
KAYE (voice-over): And while Obama is breaking press didn't by criticizing a sitting president so soon after leaving office himself, some here want even more of it.
JANINEN MILLS, FLORIDA VOTER: That he had challenge them, call them out. If something is lie, call it a lie. And I think that Obama has been doing that, which has been so great to see.
KAYE (voice-over): For one voter here, this is really personal.
(on-camera): Will Barack Obama's presence in this race and here today influence your vote?
FRANCES GILLUM, ANDREW GILLUM'S MOTHER: I believe that it will.
KAYE (voice-over): We picked her randomly out of the crowd. But At the end of our interview when I finally asked her name it sounded strangely familiar.
(on-camera): What's you name?
GILLUM: My name is Frances Gillum. As a matter of fact, my son is running for governor.
KAYE (on-camera): No.
KAYE (on-camera): Wait a minute, why didn't you tell me that to begin with?
KAYE (on-camera): That is not true. That is hilarious.
KAYE (on-camera): Well, now that changes everything.
KAYE (on-camera): So what is your hope for how President Obama will help your son?
GILLUM: Well, I know he is going the help him out a lot. Andrew is doing well. Mayor Gillum is doing well on his own. But let's see on here that is going to make it that much better.
KAYE (voice-over): A proud mother, a former president, and a question, will it be enough? Tuesday will tell.
Randi Kaye, CNN, Miami.
COOPER: With me now is John King, David Axelrod, David Chalian, Kirsten Powers, Marc Short and Tara Setmayer. We were just saying like, how -- so how -- why did she answer that yes, the presence of Obama impacted her vote is this she's the candidate's mom.
KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well every little bit helps.
COOPER: I want to play something that the President said a few minutes ago at a rally. Let's play this.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: Sometimes it's not as exciting.
Surprised that Joe Donnelly is holding a rally this weekend with Barack H. Obama.
COOPER: I'm not sure exactly -- I mean, if the message of that, you know, obviously, he's purveyor of the birther conspiracy theory.
POWERS: Yes. Well, I think that's it. I mean there's -- whenever conservatives bring up Barack Obama's middle name there's one reason for it, because we actually normally prefer the people, just spend it there, the names that we usually call them by and so its another one of his -- you can't really call them dog whistles, they're like screams. You know, but it's pretty clear what he's doing.
COOPER: People -- I mean David Chalian, it's such a study of contrast to see on the campaign trial. And so unusual to see, I mean as Randi noted, you know, a former President who's, you know, just the last President, out on a campaign trail criticizing so directly the current President.
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yes, that is certainly rare.
COOPER: The current President has also broke protocol by criticizing.
CHALIAN: With that is all that sort of president's club form is gone and that doesn't exist anymore. It is rare to see that --
COOPER: It's like the presidents fight club. CHALIAN: Yes, exactly. It's also just -- not just the difference between them. But the president, President Trump, is closing on a message that isn't what everyone in his party would like him to be closing on right now. So whereas President Obama is out there sort of galvanizing around the message that Democrats almost in a unified fashion really would like to head into Tuesday being their message, President Trump is closing so strong and on his hardline immigration policies -- I spoke to a Republican strategist yesterday who is running a lot of these House races, overseeing the strategy for it, I said is this how you would script the President's final message if you could?
And he said, well immigration would be a piece of what I'd script but I'd really like to hear more about the economy and more about, you know, the accomplishments of the last two years. And that's just not in there nearly enough.
COOPER: But Marc, I mean couldn't you make the counter-argument which is I'm sure there are plenty of Republicans who David spoke to during the general election who were saying, oh I don't really like what the President is running on? It certainly worked for the President.
MARC SHORT, FMR WH DIRECTOR OF LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS: It did. And I think part of the challenges that the economy, people feel like the tax cuts, the regulations he's done and they need something to motivate them become out as part of a problem that will be fix in the future.
[20:40:08] But I think another challenge for Republicans, is it the left is already energized. So having Obama on the campaign trail is fine. How much more energized, I don't know. But the coalition about Trump put together where he want in 2016 included Independents and some Democrats who are just so fed up with Washington, D.C. And the question is, how do you get those people back out? And that's a challenge for Republicans, because I'm not sure that those particular voters have the same motivation that come out and vote on straight line ticket.
COOPER: David Axelrod, I mean is President Obama just, you know, preaching to the choir essentially there, I mean that --
DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, this is a time for mobilization. And he is trying to get every Democrat out that typically in midterm elections as John can tell you and David and everybody here, there is a drop-off, and the drop-off is most significant among minority voters, among young people, with some voters with whom the President has particularly strong relationship.
And so I think that Democrats want him in Miami and Atlanta. And I think he is going to Chicago, and to Gary, Indiana, for -- for Joe Donnelly to mobilize the vote in those areas in elections that are going to be very close.
COOPER: But he was out there for Hillary Clinton a lot. It didn't seem to make a difference? TARA SETMAYER, FMR COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Yes, but that's because Hillary Clinton has a unique problem as a candidate herself. People just did not like her. And you're not seeing the same dynamic this time around in the midterms. What you saw a lot of people were like I just can't get with Hillary Clinton. So I'm going tryout this Donald Trump guy. This time around, a lot of people, Democrats, may like their incumbent senator or congressman. You don't have the same effect that Hillary Clinton brought to it. So bringing a President Obama out, who is popular with the constituencies that they need to come out and vote I think is not going to harm them.
He -- there wasn't much anyone could do for Hillary Clinton. She was an awful candidate. Ran a terrible campaign and a lot of people just did not personally like her. That dynamic is absent this time around which is probably why the President is using things like immigration as a foil, because he doesn't have the Hillary Clinton to point to as the evil other side. He's using something else to demagogue an issue like that to bring up the culture war and culture clashes which is what energizes the people that Marc talked about that get complacent and what need to come out in the midterm.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's only two years as Tara's point, it's only two year. But we live in a very different world. At the end of his term there were some Democrats who weren't thrilled with President Obama. They thought he should push harder on this, push harder on that. And he's campaigning in a presidential year where you essentially asking for a third term.
Well how Democrats have had two years of Donald Trump. And so anything whether its President Obama, whether it's Oprah whether it's anybody at this point in this very close race, we've got a lot of close races. The lawyers are going to be at work Wednesday morning in a lot of very close races around this country. So anything you can do to get people to early vote, to get people -- and David is right, it is young people, African-Americans, Latinos, typically drop out of elections in midterm years. They don't think it matters.
Anything you can do to mobilize them all hands on deck in both parties right now. To the point about the president, Marc makes a key point, but the president's coalition is different now. The President narrowly carried the suburbs in 2016. He is tanked in the suburbs. History in the suburbs. And that's why the Democrats are poised to retake the House.
So what is he doing? Smart, save what you can, which is the Senate. He's approval rating is going up and some of these red states to go to the states, try to save the Senate races because the President is of no use to his party in a suburban House district anywhere in America, he would make a bad situation.
SHORT: But I think we also under appreciate how much advantage is actually picking about couple seats in the Senate. I think the score is on the House. But if you pick up three or four seats in the Senate, those confirmations over the next couple years, no one perhaps was --
SHORT: -- the threshold that becomes a big deal for the administration to fill the judicial appointments as well as cabinet posts.
KING: Which is why for Democrats -- right, if the election were today, Republicans think they'd pick up at least one maybe three in the Senate. You can't change the dynamics of the race right now, but there are some Republican -- if you talk to Republicans today, they're little more pessimistic than they were yesterday, right. If you look at the NPR Maris poll the President is at 41, he's -- we've seen him up around 44, is that an outlier or is the President dropping. If the President said 41 not 44 in Election Day then the Senate gets a little interesting too.
AXELROD: My question is, I have no doubt that he has galvanized his base with the campaigning that is done. My question is, is there any limit to it? Is there a limit beyond which you end up getting diminishing returns by discouraging voters in some of the suburban areas in the statewide races in the suburbs of Kansas City and the suburbs of St. Louis and the suburbs of Indianapolis who are -- who become uncomfortable because he's taken it just a notch too far? I don't know the answer to that question but I think he is really testing the limits.
CHALIAN: This was precisely what Glen Bulger, you know, the Republican poster, post exactly that question, saying, I have no doubt, that's a Republican pollster, that we have been livened our base from where it was in September. What I still have a big doubt about him, what I have a question mark hanging over is where are we with independents or some of those other folks that we need to bring on board in addition to their campaign (ph).
[20:45:17] SETMAYER: They're tanking them and they know that. And also for women in those suburban districts. You know, Trump is down 20 points. So you look at all the districts where Donald Trump won by, you know, a couple percentage points, his -- Republicans are not polling well there. And you have 41 open Republican seats, including in a lot of places in these suburban districts where women are going to make the difference.
AXELROD: My point is that even in state wides --
AXELROD: -- you -- at marginals state wides, you could end up actually losing some ground in some of this suburban areas --
AXELROD: -- that cost you state wide braces (ph) that are (INAUDIBLE).
COOPER: Why should anybody believe anything until -- people actually vote on Election Day. I mean I'm sure -- we all just like --
KING: Yes, we should wait and we should count them. But one of the interest dynamics now, is we talk about the last few days is increasingly people early vote. And so -- and people don't change their mind in the end anyway. The most -- most campaigns have a list right, David and Marc can you tell you this. Anyone is running keeping. How many votes do we think we need? Who are they, turn them out. That's in the last few days about, not about, oh Anderson is undecided. That part is over. Now it's about grabbing people getting them to vote.
COOPER: All right, thanks everybody. Be sure to tune in to the "AXE FILES" this Saturday at 7:00 p.m. eastern. David's guest will be former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, that should be really interesting.
Also, tonight a lot ahead as we said, at the beginning of the program, today was the last of the funerals for the victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting. A service today for the oldest victim, 97-year- old Rose Mallinger.
I met her family earlier this week. They're extraordinary. Even before she was laid to rest, the President lamented that the shooting had stopped the momentum for the Republicans pleading up to midterms, I'll talk to the mayor of Pittsburgh about that and about the funerals today, next.
[20:50:27] COOPER: Just days before the midterms and days after pipe bombs were sent to Democratic leaders and to CNN. And days after a gunman massacred 11 Jewish-Americans in a synagogue in Pittsburgh, the president tied all this events, all together on the campaign trail and essentially made it about himself. He suggested that a victim of those attacks was the political momentum for him and his party. Here's what the president said at a rally in Missouri last night.
TRUMP: Now, we did have two maniacs stopped a momentum that was incredible. Because for seven days nobody talked about the elections. It stopped a tremendous momentum. More importantly, we have to take care of our people. And we don't care about momentum when it comes to a disgrace like just happened to our country. But it did nevertheless stop a certain momentum. And now the momentum is picking up.
COOPER: Joining me now is Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto.
Mayor, I want to talk to you about the funerals and all things going on over the last couple days. But I do just have to ask you about the -- those comments by the President. Sometimes this president for all the misstatements of fact, that he said the lies he tells, sometimes he is extraordinarily transparent in his thought process. In that sentence he is going on and on about how these incidences, these murders, these killings, this massacre stopped the political momentum. Then of course he said well we don't care about momentum, but then he actually then went back to talk about the sadness of it stopping the momentum.
BILL PEDUTO, MAYOR, PITTSBURGH: Yes. There is really not much I can say about that. We basically stopped campaigns in southwestern Pennsylvania Saturday afternoon. The governor pulled his ads down. Other candidates pulled their ads down or they went back to their soft ads that they started their campaigns on. There is -- in Pittsburgh, we put families first. We just had our last neighbor that we buried today. So momentum, not momentum -- when you have something as horrific as what we are experiencing right now, it's not a word in our vocabulary.
COOPER: Let's talk about the important things, Rose Mallinger, 97 years old, married I believe for 50 years to her husband, 60 years going to the Tree Of Life Synagogue. I remember her family telling me that she always tried to sit in the exact same seat.
PEDUTO: That's correct.
COOPER: They all called her, you know, grand kids or kids, they all called the bubbe. I mean just -- what a life -- what a light she was.
PEDUTO: I had the -- I don't know to say a misfortune because being with the Mallinger family is a blessing.
PEDUTO: But that afternoon, being with her son at the Jewish Community Center when we were putting together grief counseling and trying to get families information from the FBI. And I'll never forget through the rest of my life him saying I can't get hold of my mom. And then asking about those that were injured and whether or not we knew who they were and being able to just give him the information of yes, we do.
And the families have been notified. And him asking again about her, and finding out that she was 97, getting back to the site, asking the public safety director to find out. And the public safety director's response to me is we're pretty much confirmed that we lost her.
Nobody should -- especially somebody who lived a life like hers and has been such a central figure to her family and everything else ever be taken off of this earth in that way. And those are some of the memories that are still lingering in the minds of Pittsburghers that make it hard to sleep at night and make it hard to concentrate.
COOPER: And Roses daughter was shot. She's in the hospital. She's -- I believed -- she's had several surgeries is going to have several surgeries. But again, I was able to just, you know, spend some time in that room with the entire extended family, the grand kids and --
PEDUTO: Isn't it amazing? COOPER: Oh, my gosh. I mean I can't --
PEDUTO: They had to go out into the hallway, the family is so big.
COOPER: Yes. People flew in from all around. Each of the grand kids told me they had a favorite meal that -- I don't think I have the right to call her bubbe, but they said that bubbe would make for us. It was just one of the -- I mean it's -- its one the great privileges of my life to be able to be invited in at a time like that and talk to people at their lowest point. But also to have them smile and laugh as they are telling stories about the extraordinary life that Rose lived.
[20:55:10] So, Mayor, thank you --
COOPER: -- sorry, go ahead.
PEDUTO: She was able to be at the funeral today. And she is back in the hospital. But she is going to be OK. And doctors say she should be out of the hospital next week.
COOPER: Good, and that's great to hear. Mayor Bill Peduto, thank you very much. I want to check in with --
PEDUTO: Bless you.
COOPER: -- Chris to see what he is working on -- for "CUOMO PRIMETIME". Chris.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: It's really important that you remember who was lost, wasn't even a week ago my friend, amazing.
I'm going to do a little different way, same theme kind of pick up on your momentum, of what was lost and what should be remembered about these people and live on. I'm going to introduce the audience tonight the two parts of Judaism, they may or never heard before Tikkun Olam and Tzedakah, they are principles that are formative to that faith and echo through all the major phase.
And they should be seeing not as a lack of momentum, but a pivot towards momentum for the rest of us who remain. So that's going to be a big thing for us tonight.
COOPER: I look forward to that. Chris, thanks very much. That's about four minutes from now.
Coming up next, one more shoe drops, one more parcel turns up in the tinted package bombing campaign that gripped the country.
COOPER: Well, this is a story is that seemed like it would never end. One suspicious packaged addressed to arguments around the country inside make shift mail bombs. Today the FBI confirmed the existence of yet one more. Said, it resembles all the others that were sent out. It was recovered last night in California addressed to Democratic donor Tom Steyer.
CNN, previously reported on a mail bomb allegedly sent to him last week, he thanked laws enforcement and the U.S. postal service for their support in a statement today saying his organization would not be intimidated by the packages.
[21:00:01] The news continues. I want to hand it over to Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME". Chris?