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New Day

Kaine & Pence Clash in VP Debate; Interview with Senator Jeff Sessions; Interview with Congressman Jim Himes. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired October 05, 2016 - 06:30   ET


[06:30:00] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Senator Sessions, a Trump supporter, gives us his take, next.


CAMEROTA: The debate between Tim Kaine and Mike Pence was a clash of style and substance. Pence was pressed several times to defend Donald Trump's past controversial statements.


SEN. TIM KAINE (D), VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Donald Trump during his campaign has called Mexicans criminals. He's called women slobs, pigs, dogs, disgusting. He attacked an Indiana-born federal judge and said he was unqualified to hear a federal lawsuit because his parents were Mexican.

He said African-Americans are living in hell and he perpetrated this outrageous and bigoted lie that President Obama is not a U.S. citizen.

[06:35:08] When Donald Trump says women should be punished or Mexicans are rapists and criminals --


KAINE: -- or John McCain is not a hero, he is showing you who he is.

PENCE: Senator, you've whipped out that Mexican thing again.


CAMEROTA: So, did Pence defend or deflect? Let's discuss with Donald Trump supporter, Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions.

Good morning, Senator.


CAMEROTA: OK. So, tell us what you think of Governor Pence's strongest moment was last night.

SESSIONS: Well, you know, he had a lot of good moments. I thought his national defense was particularly good and his absolute understanding and insistence that part of the chaos we have in the Middle East was Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama's total withdrawal from Iraq.

That set the seed for a lot of the problems for refugees and disaster we're seeing there now.

CAMEROTA: Let's talk about some of the possibly missed opportunities. You heard there Tim Kaine laying out a bunch of criticisms and you saw Mike Pence sort of shaking his head, no. But not vociferously jumping in to defend Donald Trump.

Did he miss some opportunities?

SESSIONS: I don't think so. What Pence did and why he won this debate is he refused to be distracted. He stayed on the key issues of the debate. And a lot of the ways on some of these things are happening, you have the question from the media or from Tim Kaine with ten different charges in it and there's no way the respondent can actually address them each one.

They take it out of context. They distort the meaning of it. They take something that was 20 years ago and fully not in context and they throw it out and you just can't go down those roads and try to answer all those charges. Sometimes it would be half a dozen in one line, one question.

CAMEROTA: Let's talk about something is true in that case and not a distortion and that is an area of vulnerability for Donald Trump and Mike Pence was asked about this last night. That is the deportation force.

Donald Trump many times during the primary and the campaign deportation force to get rid of the undocumented illegal aliens that are here. Last night, Mike Pence said that that was not true. Let me play this moment for you.


PENCE: These guys and Donald Trump has said it, deportation force. They want to go house to house, school to school, business to business and kick out 16 million people and I cannot believe --

PENCE: That's nonsense. That's nonsense.

DONALD TRUMP: They're illegal immigrants, they came over illegally, some wonderful people and they've been here for a while, they've got to go out.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: But how do you do it in a practical way? You really think you can round 11 million people?

TRUMP: You know what? At some point, we're going to try to get them back, the good ones.


CAMEROTA: OK. So, Senator, why would Governor Pence there say that's nonsense, we heard Donald Trump talk about a deportation force.

SESSIONS: Alisyn, what Trump is thinking about, I'm not sure how firm he is on the details, but the touchback idea that many people have had when you go back to your home country and reapply to come here, if you want to get a legal status of some kind in the United States. What he said clearly in his formal speech in Arizona about how we're going to handle immigration is we're going to end the illegality, we're going to assure the American people that the criminals that are in this country will be deported and then we're going to figure out how to handle the people who had been here a long time, who are good people.

And that's his, where he is. But the key thing is you cannot ask the American people to provide any kind of amnesty until you've assured them that the illegality is over. That can be done by a president who has just a drive to get it done.

CAMEROTA: But, Senator, on the issue of deportation force, are you saying that you don't believe that Donald Trump has talked about a deportation force?

SESSIONS: Well, he certainly said that. But he didn't say that they're going to go out house to house and round people up.

CAMEROTA: He didn't say how it was going to be done. You know, I'm sorry to interrupt --


CAMEROTA: But what Donald Trump said was that every one of them has to leave and he didn't explain how he was going to get 12 million, you know, undocumented immigrants out. And so, a deportation force I one thing he was considering. Are you forgetting that?

SESSIONS: He said this month ago. He said this months ago and he made a formal address a month or so ago in which he explained in more detail some of the things that he would be planning to do.

But you basically would have a self-deport, if you want to become yet a legal status in the United States, many people that propose this over the years. You go to your home country and apply and then you come back in with legal status.


SESSIONS: That is one way to preserve the rule of law -- and what we're doing now is lawless.

CAMEROTA: So, self-deportation -- self deportation is what you believe Donald Trump now believes in.

SESSIONS: What he has discussed that and we'll wrestle with it. What he said he's absolutely going to go do is in the future flow and the lawlessness and put this country on the right path. We're going to get the illegal criminals out.

CAMEROTA: Yes. SESSIONS: That President Obama says he's doing and he's not doing, and we're going to protect the interest of the American worker and the security of the American people.

CAMEROTA: Senator Jeff Sessions, thanks so much for giving us your take this morning on NEW DAY.

SESSIONS: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Let's go over to Chris.

CUOMO: There's no question that a lot of claims made by Kaine and Trump last night. How much of it was true? Facts matter. We have them, next.


[06:45:11] CUOMO: Strong claims made from both sides during the vice presidential debate, but was it strong and wrong? We have a little fact check for you with CNN's chief business correspondent Christine Romans.

So, you took a look, what did you see?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: All right. Well, the CNN reality check team was hard at work, Chris, vetting the claims made by both candidates. Let's start with the Clinton Foundation here.

Governor Mike Pence fired off this criticism about how much the foundation gives to charity.


PENCE: The Trump Foundation is a private family foundation. They give virtually every cent in the Trump Foundation to charitable causes.

KAINE: Political contributions?

PENCE: Less than ten cents on the dollar in the Clinton Foundation has gone to charitable causes.

KAINE: A $20,000 portrait of Donald Trump?

PENCE: Less than 10 cents on the dollar of the Clinton Foundation has gone to charitable causes.


ROMANS: So, you hear that claim. Pence claims just 10 cents on the dollar goes to charity. Here's what we found, respective watchdog Charity Watch called the Clinton Foundation and excellent charity, finds it spends 88 percent of the budget on charitable programs. That was in 2014.

Now, Pence could have been talking about the money Clinton Foundation awards to outside groups. But overall, 88 percent goes to charities.

So, our rating here is that claim was false.

Now, to the $19 trillion national debt. Senator Tim Kaine made this claim about the high cost of Donald Trump's tax spending plans.


KAINE: You did ask this question about debt, and the debt explosion on the Trump plan is much, much bigger than anything on the Clinton side.

MODERATOR: All right.


ROMANS: Now, Trump wants to cut taxes and increase spending on the military infrastructure. Clinton will also increase spending, but she would pay for it by hiking taxes on the wealthy.

A study by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget finds Trump's plan would add $5.3 trillion to the national debt and Clinton would add $200 billion. So, our finding here, our fact check, we rate Kaine's claim true.

Now, let's talk about poverty and claims about poverty. Pence also slammed the Obama's economic record last night. He said this about the number of people living in poverty.


PENCE: There are millions more people living in poverty today than the day that Barack Obama with Hillary Clinton at his side --

KAINE: And the poverty level and the median income --

PENCE: -- stepped into the Oval Office.

KAINE: -- improved dramatically between 2014 and 2015.


ROMANS: A lot of interrupting last night, guys. It's true the number of people in poverty and the poverty rate increased, increased after President Obama took office. But the economy was reeling, remember, from the Great Recession and the improving economy has helped shrink that number. Last year in 2015, the poverty fell to 13.5 percent. Experts say that's the number to look at, not the total number of poor people.

So, we rate Pence's claim true, but misleading.

Finally, last one for you here. Deplorables. The basket of deplorables came up again last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PENCE: That's small potatoes compared to Hillary Clinton --

MODERATOR: Senator Kaine?

PENCE: -- calling half of Donald Trump's supporters a basket of deplorables.

KAINE: Hillary Clinton said something on the campaign trail, and the very next day, she said, you know what, I shouldn't have said that.

PENCE: She said she shouldn't have said half.


ROMANS: But Clinton did not back off the remark completely. She clarified that maybe not half of Trump's supporters are deplorable. Probably less than that. She did not apologize for using the term. So, we rate that statement, you guys, false.

CAMEROTA: Interesting, Christine. Thanks so much for that fact check.

ROMANS: I always say every campaign is sort of true, but misleading. Or just false.

CAMEROTA: That should be our new segment, true but misleading.

ROMANS: That's politics, true but misleading.

CAMEROTA: Thank you very much.

Did Tim Kaine lose on some style points last night? Coming off as too aggressive at the debate. We'll break that down, next.


[06:52:26] CUOMO: Debates are opportunities and last night, Senator Tim Kaine's big opportunity was to support and defend his candidate, Hillary Clinton. He was supposed to be on the attack.

Now, how well did he do? A big part of that is perception.

Let's bring in Representative Jim Himes. He's a Democrat from Connecticut. He's in the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. He has endorsed Hillary Clinton.

Congressman, it's good to have you.

REP. JIM HIMES (D), CONNECTICUT: Good morning, Chris.

CUOMO: The headline a lot nicer than the debate between the two main candidates. But Pence won in our poll, 48-42. A big part of the criticism was, he was calm, he was more measured and Kaine was hyper. He interrupted too much during the debate. Do you agree with the criticism? HIMES: You know, I think the senator burned a little hot in the first part of the debate. Let's face it, Pence was a cool customer. You know, the piece that we're not talking about is that pence and being a cool customer really highlighted a lot of Republicans out there, my gosh, this is the way things used to be. We used to have a guy that didn't spend ten minutes of the debate talking about his conversation with Sean Hannity who wasn't out there being bigoted and stuff.

So, I think a lot of people look at that and said, wow, that reminds me of the Republican Party that used to exist and where is it now?

CUOMO: It's easy to come off measured compared to Donald Trump. And Pence definitely got some points to that. He also was given the luxury, by Tim Kaine, of talking about Trump all night instead of defending his own record.

Tim Kaine did not bring up the LGBTQ situation for Mike Pence, which is how most of the country came to know about him. Missed opportunity.

HIMES: Yes, that's right. And, of course, you know, Governor Pence saying we would take no Syrian refugees. Most Americans would say, wait a minute, that's a little over the top, but you're right. You know, it did briefly come out, of course, what an aggressive stance Mr. Pence takes on women reproductive rights. That came out in the debate --

CUOMO: Planned Parenthood came up. But are you surprised Tim Kaine didn't spend more time going after Mike Pence and what he represents as just being a potential heart beat away from the presidency?

HIMES: I wasn't that surprised. His role was to defend t presidential nominee, to defend the presidential nominee, to defend Secretary Clinton. Of course, that's true. His other thing, though, his other objective had to have been and I thought he did this quite well. To say, hey, you're a reasonable guy, served in the Congress for a long time, look, you're presenting yourself as a sort of old school, you know, presentable Republican. How do you defend the bigotry, the racism, the fat-shaming? And that came up time and time again.

Now, to Pence's credit, he didn't take that bait, but that was the unanswered question that rang for the entire debate. How could this guy who looked so reasonable be on the same ticket with the guy who acts like a petulant 9-year-old?

[06:55:02] CUOMO: Pence's two big fits were on Russia and on the safety of the world, in general. On the first one, he said that Secretary Clinton, when she came into office said, my priority is the Russian reset. And that it is an abject failure and that he -- Putin and Russia are more formidable than ever.

Fair criticism?

HIMES: Look, I don't think you can blame the secretary for saying right up front that the relationship with Russia is not what it should be. We're going to try to reset it. We're going to try and make it better.

By the way, that relationship led to something that did come up a lot last night, which was the Iran nuclear agreement. If Russia and the United States weren't working with China, today, it's quite possible that Iran would be very, very close to having a nuclear weapon or have a nuclear weapon. So, the fact --

CUOMO: Pence did a good job on that last night in terms of giving reasonable basis to suspect that the Iran deal at best incomplete and at some point they will be able to get nuclear weapons.

HIMES: See, I completely disagree with that. He threw out the $150 billion number. The Iranians have seen nothing even to orders of magnitude close to $150 billion. In fact, they're going crazy because they can't get any of the money into the country that they promised their own people.

And the fact of the matter is that, yes, ten years from now, ten years from is when you say, hey, we had a ten-year period in which Iran was not two months away from a nuclear weapon. He also completely misstated the fact he said, guarantees -- this deal guarantees that in ten years Iran will have a nuclear weapon. That's absurd on the face of it.

Look, if Iran started rebuilding their nuclear capability, that act and apart from being a violation of the Iran nuclear deal would be a clear violation of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. We would have all the same tools at our disposal should they go back to where they were three years ago.

And so, this idea that this guarantees, which I hear Republicans all the time, is just a flat out lie.

CUOMO: Do you think Pence helped Trump last night?

HIMES: You know, I think, I think there are probably people around the country that watched Donald Trump for the past year and Republicans, in particular, who said how did my party get to this place? How did the party of Lincoln and Roosevelt end up with a guy who clearly has no knowledge of the role of the president and takes on and criticizes and actually shames Mexicans, women, African-Americans, you name it.

So, I think they saw in Governor Pence the way things used to be. The way Republicans in a way that certainly in my state of Connecticut, a lot of Republicans, I think, I think of very nostalgically.

CUOMO: So, you don't think it boosts the ticket. You think it is a reminder that the ticket is inadequate at the top.

HIMES: Well, if you think about it, what is going to happen we saw a debate that universally people said, Donald Trump screwed that debate up. Now, you have Donald Trump, I will concede was reasonable and statesman-like last night and now, we're going to go back to Donald Trump in that debate. What is that contrast going to look like for people? One thing I know I think for sure is that people aren't going to the

ballot box in early November saying I really like that VP candidate, I'm going with this guy Donald Trump.

CUOMO: Poor VPs, they also get beaten but being significant. But last night, they had their night.

Congressman Himes, thank you very much for making the case.

HIMES: Good to see you, Chris.

CUOMO: Always.

All right. We're following a lot of news. What a moment we had last night. The race has changed, we'll tell you why. Let's get to it.


KAINE: He's called women slobs, pigs, dogs, disgusting.

PENCE: Senator, you and Hillary Clinton would know a lot about an insult-driven campaign.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Tim Kaine understands what's at stake in the election.

KAINE: Donald Trump is avoiding paying taxes.

PENCE: He used the tax code just the way it's supposed to be used, and he did it brilliantly.

TRUMP: Why didn't she change the laws?

PENCE: People question the trustworthiness of Hillary Clinton.

KAINE: The thought of Donald Trump as commander in chief scares us to death.

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.


CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome to your NEW DAY. The two vice presidential nominees went at it in the fiery debate last night.

Tim Kaine and Mike Pence sparring over issues. There were interruptions. There were and insults. Kaine repeatedly raising some of Trump's most inflammatory statements. Mike Pence finding different ways to fend off the attacks.

CAMEROTA: So, Pence dodged and deflected, hitting back with Hillary Clinton, questioning her record and trustworthiness. We're now only four days until the next presidential debate and 34 days until the election. We have it all covered for you.

Let's begin with CNN's Phil Mattingly in Virginia. Good morning, Phil.


Look, it was no surprise what both candidates were trying to do last night heading into the debate. For Tim Kaine, make it all about Donald Trump. For Mike Pence, really present a calm, steady hand on the ticket. That, that they did. But in a calm, steady way? Not so much.


KAINE: You are Donald Trump's apprentice.

PENCE: I must have hit a nerve here.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): Hotly contentious from the start.

KAINE: I can't imagine how Governor Pence can defend the insult- driven, selfish "me first" style of Donald Trump.

MATTINGLY: The vice presidential debate becoming a night of who's candidate is more insulting.