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Down to The Wire Trump and Obama Face off With Four Days to Go; Federal Judge Rules Georgia Voters Must Be Allowed to Vote; US Economy Adds 250,000 Jobs in October; Trump Laments That Two National Tragedies Stop GOP Momentum in Midterms; Arnold Schwarzenegger Says He Has Little Interest in Politics; Arpaio, Trump's First Pardon Had Freed Felon in Racist Ad. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired November 2, 2018 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:00] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: All right, Wolf. Thank you so much. Hi, everyone, I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you for being with me on this Friday afternoon. Let's get to it. Four days to go until the nation votes and America's first black President is trying to make history again, specifically for Democrats in Florida and in Georgia. Soon former President Barack Obama will speak for Florida's Andrew Gillum, aiming to make him the state's first African-American governor, as well keeping Senator Bill Nelson in his Senate seat. Then later on President Obama heads to Georgia where Stacey Abrams is in a tight race who hopes to become the first African-American female governor. He sets up a clash of campaign events as President Trump is also out and about and stumping, heading to West Virginia and Indiana today. He will be back in Georgia and back in Florida over the weekend. These two Presidents set up a contrast that could not be more stark. But they do share the ultimate goal, to get out the vote for their candidate of choice. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Democrats want to have open borders. They want to invite caravan after caravan into our country, overwhelming your schools, your hospitals and your communities.
BARAK OBAMA, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: They're trying to convince everybody that the most important thing in this whole election, the thing you've got to fear is there are a bunch of impoverished refugees a thousand miles away.
TRUMP: We will always protect Americans with preexisting conditions. We're going to take care of them. Some of the Democrats have been talking about ending preexisting conditions.
OBAMA: They have spent the last eight years obsessed with trying to undermine, sabotage, repeal that law that makes sure you're not discriminated against because of preexisting conditions. Now that it's election season, these same Republicans are running millions of dollars worth of ads around the country saying we're going to protect preexisting conditions.
TRUMP: 33 percent of the people in this country believe the fake news is in fact, and I hate to say this, in fact the enemy of the people.
OBAMA: I would like to think that everybody in America would think it's wrong to spend all your time from a position of power calling then enemies of the people and then suddenly pretending that you're concerned about civility.
TRUMP: In less than one week, Americans will go to the polls in one of the most important election of our entire lives.
OBAMA: This November's elections are more important than any I can remember in my lifetime, and that includes when I was on the ballot.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: So, let me bring in the man who is leading the election excitement here at CNN, our political director David Chalian and he hosts the daily D.C. podcast. You heard the sample of how different the messages are from these two Presidents. What does that mean for midterms as voters are about to cast their votes?
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: There's nothing similar about the way they're framing these issues. They're talking about the issues, immigration, health care but their frame and messaging around it is completely different. And they're trying to target different voters. The one thing they agree on is the high stakes in this election and how much is at stakes on the ballot. But even there they disagree because President Trump likes to add it's not the most important, the most important is when I was on the ballot and Obama taking a different approach there. The health care example is a really interesting one because you do see Republicans like we've never seen them before, you know, in 2010, in 2014, those midterm elections, running on repeal and replace, that was the unifying message. And now because the law has gotten a little more popular as people have grown accustomed to it, you really do see some Republicans, as Obama was suggesting, running ad and trying to tell voters that they're actually for protecting some of the key components, like the very popular one on preexisting conditions, of the very law that they've been railing against and campaigning against.
BALDWIN: Speaking of high stakes, David, stay with me. We're getting huge news out of Georgia and the race there. That means several thousand more people may be able to vote in this incredibly tight race. Brian Kemp happens to be Georgia's Secretary of State.
[14:05:00] The lawsuit accuses Kemp of trying to suppress the vote and a judge issued a ruling that is a setback for Republicans and Kemp. Kaylee, how many people will be allowed to vote and what exactly was the ruling?
KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Just a short time ago a federal judge handing a defeat to Brian Kemp in his capacity as Secretary of State as this judge has ruled that about 3,000 new U.S. citizens will be allowed to vote in this election if they show proof of their citizenship when they go to the polls. The problem here, the question, the very controversial exact match standard in this state. These 3,000 new U.S. citizens failed to meet that standard because their information didn't match up in a database, where voter registration information is matched against the department of driver services and social security administration information. In the state of Georgia, you don't have to be a U.S. citizen to get a Georgia driver's license. You can see how this could become a problem. These 3,000 people put on the pending list now being told their votes will count just so long as they show proof of citizenship when they go to the polls. Now, the bigger number we've been talking about was the more than 50,000 people who were on this pending list for various reasons, a misspelled name or missing hyphen. This ruling does not address that. I'm told by the plaintiff they don't actually expect to get a ruling from the judge before Tuesday on that bigger number. But this, a small victory for those 3,000 people who now have a big victory in the sense that they are being told their vote will count.
BALDWIN: Kaylee, thank you. David Chalian, how big of a blow is this for Kemp and for Republicans?
CHALIAN: Obviously it's a blow to where Kemp was arguing as Secretary of State. It is, as Kaylee was saying, a small slice of the larger 50,000-plus voters the plaintiffs were concerned about when they took this into court. It is in that sense a small victory in numbers, but obviously one that be shows to those that brought the case that they're on the right side of the law here. You know, I got to say that Georgia governor's race, Brooke, this issue of voting rights, which of course is inextricably linked with the issue of race, this has been a front-and-center issue in a way that I don't recall it being in any sort of single contest. We usually don't see that kind of issue that isn't sort of dominant in the atmosphere just take over a race. And that has been such a big issue here about this issue of voting rights because, A, Stacey Abrams has made part of her life's work about voting rights; and, B, you have the guy on the ballot for governor.
BALDWIN: And he was saying how he walked six miles and another six miles and being turned and turned away. Just talking about where we were then and where we are now. We have his son coming up later in the hour. We know of course President Trump wants Kemp to win. This is what he has said about Stacey Abrams.
CHALIAN: She is not qualified to be the governor of Georgia. She's not qualified. And Georgia's a great state. It's a great, great state. Take a look -- take a look at her past, take a look at her history, take a look at what she wants to do and what she has in mind for the state. That state will be in big, big trouble very quickly.
BALDWIN: Not to mention all of her years in the Georgia House and in law. This is a woman who has a Yale law degree, like half of Trump's Supreme Court. So how is that unqualified?
CHALIAN: And we know how much the President appreciates an Ivy League education, as long as that person has an "R" after their name as we are in election season. Listen, this is not the first time somebody has used qualifications. I think Hillary Clinton said that Donald Trump was not qualified for the presidency. But when the sitting President of the United States, you know, a white man referring to the woman that is seeking to become the first black female governor of a state in the country, obviously she's not of his party, he has every right to go and campaign for Kemp and what have you, but she certainly meets the qualifications in the Georgia constitution to serve as governor. So, I'm not sure why he would use that word to say that she is unqualified for the position.
[14:10:00] BALDWIN: David Chalian, thank you. Folks, in case you're not getting enough David Chalian on tv, he has his own podcast. It called the daily dc. Check it out if you haven't already. Folks, in case you're not getting enough David Chalian on TV, he has his own podcast. It called the "Daily DC." Check it out if you haven't already.
New numbers show a strong rate for the economy. The unemployment rate remains at a generational low 3.7 percent and wage growth is now kicking in with 3.1 percent growth. With me, Julia Chatterley. Welcome to CNN, by the way.
JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Thank you.
BALDWIN: This is great news for the President. These are amazing job numbers. But still there are signs the economy is slowing.
CHATTERLEY: I think you're completely right. I don't think the economy gets any better for Trump going into these midterms. Generational low for unemployment. We've got wages in the United States rising at the fastest pace in more than a decade. I think you're right to question softening growth here. Hey, you look around the world. Other western countries would love to be boasting about the kind of growth we're talking about here. It is great news for Americans. The risk, of course, is that the federal reserve decides to stamp on the brakes here and raise rates a little farther. And the other problem is trade and both of those are something that comes after the midterms.
BALDWIN: Let's go to China. A couple days until midterms, the President say he talked to President Xi by the phone and there are reports they were asked to prepare a draft trade agreement. The President denies it. What could be the reason for the sudden path to progress?
CHATTERLEY: What could be the reason, four days before the midterms? Let's look at the progress here. President Trump and President Xi talking. But let's be realistic. Even Larry Kudlow today on another network saying the cabinet have not been asked to come up with a plan here. China is not going to change overnight. So, I think that you're right to question the timing here. We know the President has been campaigning in the farming states. The states in particular, Indiana, they have been hit hardest by what we've seen in terms of trade policy here. I think it's probably natural that he would message to them and say a trade deal's coming. But is it coming before the midterms? No, it's not.
BALDWIN: Julia, thank you very much. Appreciate it. The President with one of the more offensive remarks of the week saying the massacre in the synagogue along with pipe bombs was politically inconvenient for him. Plus, a new fact check of the racist video that the President tweeted, including how the convicted migrant in the video was released by Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who received the President's very first pardon. You're watching CNN on a Friday. We'll be right back.
[14:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BALDWIN: Welcome back. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Four days to go until the midterms. In the past seven there have been assassination attempts on two former Presidents, American citizens and a gunman cowardly stealing the lives of innocent people in a safe place free of war, free of hate, free of fear. The funerals are still under way. Their families are still coping with the fact that a week ago today they were alive, full of hope, full of love. Yet for this particular President of these United States, their murders, their terror were politically inconvenient.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We did have two maniacs stop a momentum that was incredible because for seven days nobody talked about the elections. It stopped a tremendous momentum.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: With four days to go, this is what's on his mind. So, let us not forget what's on their minds. Joining me now, CNN senior political commentator David Axelrod. He also served as President Obama's senior adviser. David, your reaction to the President of the United States thinking about these tragedies politically.
DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I guess I have two reactions. One is I have the same reaction as most people, which is how untoward it was. I think about how I would feel if I were one of the families and I saw that. I think about him going to Pittsburgh to pay his respects and then being so disrespectful, but there's the other side of me, the political analyst side of me, the former operative side of me and I would say, look, this is completely consistent.
[14:20:00] Donald Trump basically thinks the only unpardonable sin is to lose. Winning is everything and everything you do in service of winning is OK. And he's very focused on that.
I think one of the things that we should pay attention to is that he's very transparent about his feelings on things like this, and he believes that he lost momentum and he needs to make up for lost time. I think that's one of the reasons we've seen him so frantically pushing these race buttons in the final four days and these buttons on immigration because he feels like maybe he can regain some of the momentum he lost. I think the risk he runs, Brooke, is that he actually drives some people away who are on the bubble right now, particularly in these suburban areas.
BALDWIN: I read a column earlier this week, I'm sure you read it as well, Patty Davis, Ronald Reagan's daughter, she wrote this column in the "Washington Post" basically saying in times of crisis, she was essentially saying, look, let's stop asking Trump for comfort after tragedies. My question to you is just as an American, who then should we be looking to?
AXELROD: Well, you should be able to look to the President for comfort, but this President, he doesn't see himself as the President of all the United States of America, he sees himself as the President of his base. And it was always the case that he was never comfortable in these kinds of roles where he had to speak to the whole country, comfort the whole country. That's a matter that people are going to have to consider and deal with in 20 when they choose a new President. But I agree with her, he is never going to play that role. He doesn't see himself in that role. The irony is that these moments -- and I don't want this to sound crass in any way -- but most Presidents elevate themselves and the country in those moments. When the President speaks to us as Americans and not as Republicans and Democrats and calls us to something higher, an American sense of community, they tend to benefit from it. But he just doesn't see it that way.
BALDWIN: You talked to Arnold Schwarzenegger for this weeks' Axe Files.
AXELROD: I did.
BALDWIN: We'll let him say it. Roll the tape.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AXELROD: Trump is out there now and he said this election boils down to the caravan and Kavanaugh and the economy. Is that an effective pitch?
ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, ACTOR: You're asking me a political question.
SCHWARZENEGGER: And I have to say to you that I'm very little interested in politics because it sucks. Because I'm more interested in policy. The reality of it is we are at this stage because for 20 years they've promised to create immigration reform and they haven't.
AXELROD: Well, let me ask you about that.
SCHWARZENEGGER: I think it is embarrassing.
AXELROD: What did you make of that?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AXELROD: Well, first of all, that's Arnold, right? That's him being Arnold. I think he does reflect the feeling of a lot of voters. What really strikes me and I talked to him about it in this conversation is that, you know, he got elected because he was a character, the terminator. He was going to take a sledge hammer to politics as usual and change everything.
BALDWIN: Who does that remind you of?
AXELROD: Yes, exactly. So, I talked to him about this era of celebrity politics where people play a role and then voters vote for that character but then the character is faced with the reality of governance, and I think, you know, we see in the White House today the same deal. Donald Trump was elected in part because people were frustrated with government, they saw him as a guy from the "Apprentice," who could kick government and Washington in the butt. That's the character he continues to play, only now he is Washington, he does have the responsibility. It's hard to reconcile both roles.
BALDWIN: We will look for your interview with Arnold Schwarzenegger being Arnold on "THE AX FILES" tomorrow night. Coming up next, President Trump is ratcheting up his own anti-immigration rhetoric, threatening that American troops could open fire on migrants who throw rocks at the border. My next guest is a photojournalist. She has been on the ground in Mexico documenting the realities of what she herself has witnessed within this caravan, the sobering human impact of this story and why so many have been forced to turn back.
[14:25:00] COMMERCIAL BREAK)
B: Four days until the midterms and this president is amplifying his nationalist ideology to shore up his base. But critics are saying this campaign video is flat-out racist. This 53 second ad features this undocumented immigrant who in April was sentenced to death for killing not just one but two California deputies. The video claims the Democrats let him in and Democrats let him stay.
And it also suggests this condemned criminal somehow representative of all undocumented immigrants but this video is not just racially charged, it is loaded with claims that warrant a fact check.
[14:30:00] for that let's go to CNN's Tom Foreman, Tom what you have?
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This video starts with Luis Bracamontes, a Mexican man in court earlier this year for killing two deputies in California. And it correctly conveys the fact that he said he would like to kill more police officers. But then it makes at least two other big claims that you made reference to. Democrats let him into the United States. And Democrats let him stay. Those are at best misleading, at worst just false.
Here's why. Records indicate Bracamontes entered the U.S. illegally and was deported more than once before those murders. An Immigration And Customs official told us it occurred under Bill Clinton, a Democrat, in 1997, and then it happened again in 2001 when George W. Bush, a Republican, was in office.