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CNN Live Event/Special

Debate Night in America: Post-Debate Analysis; Clinton and Trump Spar on Their First Presidential Debate; Interview with Mark Cuban; Interview with Kellyanne Conway. Aired 10:40-12a ET

Aired September 26, 2016 - 22:40   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: As anticipated, a highly contentious debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, clearly living up to the billing at times, very, very contentious, full of interruptions, on some of the most important issues, and it got very personal very, very quickly. And especially at the end you heard that exchange.

Jake Tapper, your thoughts.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: I thought -- let me say the nice things first, I thought that Donald Trump at the beginning of the debate when he stuck with his broad themes that politicians have gotten us into the place we're in, that the trade deals are bad, that we're losing here, we're losing there, and why would you trust someone who's been there for 30 years. I thought the first 20 minutes, half an hour of the debate, he was really doing well.

[22:40:00] The other hour plus of the debate, not so much. I thought that he took the bait every time Hillary Clinton tried to tempt him into going off message and talking about something, he really shouldn't have been spending too much time talking about.

He took it every time. He went into the weeds on issues about whether or not he opposed the war in Iraq, he was talking about private conversations he had with a cable news host on a different channel. There were so many, so many different things when he took the bait. I thought her last hour was very strong.

BLITZER: Yes. Dana, what about you, what were your reactions, did these two candidates achieve what they had hoped?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, it's unclear, I'll tell you just in doing some reporting and talking to first of all the Trump campaign. They feel that he got across his simple, declarative messages about what his whole campaign has been about. He's an outsider, she's an insider, yes, she has the experience. But that experience hasn't gotten far enough, and hasn't gotten people far enough, who are still hurting in this country.

So, they're kind of trying to take the big picture on that. As far as Hillary Clinton's campaign, Wolf, they feel very good, that they poked some holes in his central theme and his central attempt to engage, successful attempt according to the polls, to engage with so many working class voters which is that maybe he's not what you think. He doesn't pay potentially federal taxes like you have to. He doesn't

play by the same rules that you do. And, of course, the 'birther' issue, they feel that they really got him on without a real explanation for why he all of a sudden after five years, since the president has released his birth certificate, suddenly says, OK, fine, he was born in the United States, didn't really give a real answer on that.

So, they -- on the Hillary Clinton side, they really feel that she drove the conversation for a lot of this debate. And as Jake said, that Donald Trump was on the defensive.

BLITZER: John King reminds change as a result of this debate?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It depends who we're talking about. If you're a Trump supporter, you liked him making the case about jobs, making the case about trade deals. Blaming Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama for things that gotten wrong in the economy.

If you're a Clinton supporter, I don't think she lost any support to Donald Trump. And so, what are we talking about? She has to win some people back from the Libertarian candidate and the Green Party candidate, especially millennials, and there's a swath of people that are undecided.

I think on the 'birther' issue, denying climate change and having a little contest about, on the women's issues, to Jake's point, he took the bait on some of the issues, the Clinton campaign believes will help them with independent and soft moderate republicans who he hope to pick up in the suburbs as the debate were on.

At the beginning of the debate, I agree with Jake completely. The Trump campaign he wanted to make the case, she can't solve these problems. We need change. We don't a creep politician. We need somebody new.

But, as it went on and she was using his own words against him, learning the lessons of all that videotape she watched. Preparation does matter in these things. She watched all the video of the republican primary debates, and when you quote his own words back and when you question his vicious acumens and gets under her skin. To trump's credit he was not as scornful. He was not as animated in his insults and his mocking of her and criticism of her but he did take debate on the attacks.

TAPPER: He was strong in the beginning when he was talking about trade deals. He seemed like somebody who really cared about the issue, he named states with a trade deals had really hurt the neighborhoods, hurt the manufacturing base, Ohio, Pennsylvania, et cetera. And she did seem like somebody who was defending the status quo.

That was the first 20 minutes to half an hour. The rest of it, she showed much more of a mastery of issues, she showed a much more new nuance take on things.

And he -- it really was unbelievable, John and I were sitting here talking about it, she would say something, just to dangle out like a piece of meat in front of a rabid wolf, and he would go for it every single time. Completely off message. He listed every single time he -- even times he didn't argue against going to war in Iraq, he did a Neil Cavuto interview. Then he did this, then he did that. The there was an article in 2000, why are you doing this?

Well, this has been a trademark issue on the campaign. On the issues he can't answer. There's no record of him opposing the Iraq war. Lester Holt was not lying. There was no record. O contrary facts, none, not |e.

KING: But this had been a trade mark issue in the campaign on the issues he can't answer. There is no record of him opposing the Iraq war before the invasion. He continues to stand up there tonight and tell Lester Holt he was lying.

Lester Holt was not lying. There is no record of Trump beforehand...


TAPPER: And then, but he provided no contrary facts. None.

KING: But he had time throughout this campaign. And tonight, he's had a casual relationship with the truth. And I think when we get into the printed fact checks and the recent fact checks and the one reality check being, which I know was busy at work right now, in terms of the statements that were clearly whoppers, he will have -- there will be more on his list than hers without a doubt.

BLITZER: Yes. There were some discussions on important issues but she clearly managed to get under his skin, and he reacted as Donald Trump would react.

TAPPER: He could have talked more about the e-mail scandal, but -- then about his own taxes. He did for a little bit, he did like a paragraph on the e-mail scandal.

[22:45:05] But he then kept on talking about his taxes.

KING: Yes.

TAPPER: And even at one point, she said something like maybe you didn't pay any taxes. He said, that's smart.

KING: That's smart.

TAPPER: And then he said something about the $20 trillion national debt. And she made some crack about, oh, well that's because you don't pay your taxes. And he said something well, if I did, it would be squandered. He almost seemed to concede her point.

KING: Yes, sure.

BLITZER: She clearly had come in very well prepared for this debate.

Anderson, over to you. ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: A fascinating debate, I want to get a quick response from everyone on our panel. Just initial perceptions. Gloria.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: I think -- I agree with Jake, that at the beginning of the debate, when Donald Trump is on trade, he was on terra firma, then I think he totally lost control of the debate, and I think Hillary Clinton controlled the debate. On taxes, on the question of 'birther,' on the Iraq war.

And at the very end, this question of stamina when these charges of misogyny were raised against him, he started just attacking Rosie O'Donnell, which was the first time she's ever been mentioned in a presidential debate.

COOPER: I mean, many of the themes that he talked about were things he has brought up in pretty much every debate he's ever been in...


COOPER: ... or if you've seen his stump speech.

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You know, the -- we heard a lot of people from the Trump camp, even some of our friends say, well, let Trump be Trump. Well, Trump was Trump and it wasn't good for him tonight. What he needed to do tonight was to show something more, was to not chase the rabbits down the hole, but add something to people's understanding of his ability to do this job.

I think there's a terrible night for him. She came in, it turns out that prep matters, experience matters and it showed tonight.

HENDERSON: And it literally showed, right? I mean, the split screen image of her, standing there pretty firmly, and him sniffling a lot. He was drinking a lot of water, his facial expressions. It was clear.

I thought early on that he was rattled, and it showed. And there were times that she was just happy to let him go deep four or five layers deep into birtherism, go four or five layers deep into his taxes and just sit there and let it flow, because he was just digging a hole. I mean, in this debate.


COOPER: There were times I wondered if she was making the calculation, do I jump in or do I let this go?


HENDERSON: Yes. She was letting it go.

SMERCONISH: He wore on his sleeve before the debate, his lack of preparation, and it caught up with him tonight. And I think that to David's point, there were some easily managed answers that he blew as a result. One that stands out in my mind is he was asked about the 1973 charges

of discrimination in housing, and his reply was to say, I voluntarily settled that suit. Well, the first thing he should have said is, we never discriminated against anyone.

BORGER: Right.

SMERCONISH: And I voluntarily settled that case.

COOPER: And in fact, what he also said was, plenty of other people were sued as well.


COOPER: There were a lot of real estate companies that were part of the lawsuit.


SMERCONISH: There were -- one other, Anderson, if I might. When you get asked a question, I'm all for law enforcement, but law enforcement is not the answer to a question, how are you going to improve race relations, the first thing you say is not stop and risk, and law enforcement. You talk about the need to build bridges.

AXELROD: There were two devastating moments, though, and I think they have to be noted. One was the birther discussion, which was an absolute disaster, ending with him after side discussions about Patti Solis Doyle and Sidney Blumenthal; he ends up excoriating Hillary Clinton for not being kind enough to Barack Obama, who's her chief supporter and her Secretary of State.

BORGER: Right.

COOPER: Let's play -- let's part of this exchange on birther because we do have Patti Solis Doyle here, who Donald Trump himself mentioned in a CNN interview. Let's play the exchange.


TRUMP: Simple to say. Sidney Blumenthal works for the campaign and close -- very close friend of Secretary Clinton. And her campaign manager, Patti Doyle went to -- during the campaign, her campaign against President Obama fought very hard, and you can go look it up, and you can check it out.

And if you look at CNN, this past week, Patti Solis Doyle, was on Wolf Blitzer saying that this happened, Blumenthal sent McClatchy, a highly respected reporter at McClatchy to Kenya to find out about it, they were pressing it very hard. She failed to get the birth certificate. When I got involved, I didn't fail. I got him to give the birth certificate.

CLINTON: Just listen to what you heard. And clearly as Donald just admitted he knew he was going to stand on this debate stage, and Lester Holt was going to be asking us questions, so he tried to put the whole racist 'birther' lie to bed.

[22:50:11] But it can't be dismissed that easily. He has really started his political activity based on this racist lie that our first black president was not an American citizen.


COOPER: I feel like Woody Allen and Annie Hall was in the line said, well, I happen to have marshal right here. I happen to have Patti Solis Doyle right here.


COOPER: Is that what you said on CNN.

DOYLE: No, it is absurd, it is absurd what Donald Trump just said. I never sent anyone to Kenya to look for his birth certificate.

COOPER: What you had said, because I just looked at the transcript. It was that there was a staffer, you weren't sure if she was paid or not, perhaps a volunteer.

DOYLE: Here's what happened.


DOYLE: There was a volunteer in Iowa, in late '07 who forwarded an e- mail...


COOPER: Volunteer on the Clinton campaign?

DOYLE: On the Clinton campaign. Who forwarded an e-mail about Obama's heritage saying that he was a Muslim. We found out about it, I fired him. I called David Plouffe, not you David, but David Plouffe and apologized, because that's not...


COOPER: David Plouffe from the Obama campaign?

DOYLE: Correct, his campaign -- Obama's campaign manager. Because we didn't want to run that kind of campaign. That's called shutting it down ladies and gentlemen. That's not called trafficking it in or promoting it, or perpetuating it. That's called shutting it down. And that's what we did.


COOPER: There was an allegation that someone from McClatchy that Sidney Blumenthal had kind of promoted this story to someone from McClatchy. And McClatchy sent something.

DOYLE: Sidney, it's my understanding denied that, and Sidney never worked for our campaign, so. COOPER: Van, what did you think tonight and then we'll go to trump


JONES: Well, first of all, let's not get too excited. We have sat on many, many nights and said, Donald Trump has destroyed himself, Donald Trump is done, and like Jason he comes back again.

So, but I will say this, the momentum was all in Donald Trump's direction. And I think Hillary Clinton inarguably stopped the momentum tonight. And I think that she -- you said earlier, you nailed it, that there needs to be some -- you go get to...


COOPER: I got to jump in, Dana Bash (Inaudible)

TRUMP: I'm very happy.

BASH: And my question for you is, first of all, it sounds like you admitted that you hadn't paid federal taxes and that that was smart. Is that what you meant to say?

TRUMP: No, I didn't say that at all. I mean, if they I didn't, I mean, it doesn't matter. I will say this, I hate the way our government spends our taxes. Because they are wasting our money. They don't know what they're doing, they're running it so poorly, whether it's spent in Iraq or wherever they're spending it, they are wasting our money. So, I hate the way our government spends.

BASH: Patti Solis Doyle just said on CNN that she didn't actually say what you said that she said. Then she didn't fire...


TRUMP: No, why don't you go to Wolf Blitzer because I got to see that on Wolf Blitzer.

BASH: But in terms of she was explaining what happened because she was there.

TRUMP: And I don't...


BASH: And she said that she fired a volunteer for was in trafficking in saying that he was a Muslim, not about 'birtherism.'

TRUMP: So, why don't you do this, why don't you see the reporter from McClatchy. Why don't you speak to Sidney Blumenthal because she's never going to tell you the truth? But why don't you also just take a quick look at what she actually said to Wolf Blitzer.

BASH: Did you take the bait -- did you take Hillary Clinton's bait?

TRUMP: I was very proud of the fact that I was able to get him to put up his birth certificate and Hillary Clinton failed. Because she can't bring it home, I mean, she just can't bring it home, and she'll fail with jobs and she'll fail all the way along the line. And I think we proved that tonight. She failed with getting him to do it. I got him to do it, so I'm very proud of that.

BASH: What changed, sir?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Will you accept the outcome of the election?

TRUMP: Oh, yes, absolutely.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's a live look at Donald Trump.

COOPER: I happen to have the tape of Marshall McClellan here. So, let's play what Patti Solis Doyle originally said on Wolf Blitzer.


BLITZER: He just tweeted a couple of tweets, let me put them on the screen. "Hillary Clinton or her '08 campaign did not start 'birther' movement. Period. I was there." And then another tweet, "I fired the rogue and I called David Plouffe to apologize for said rouge." And so, what does that mean? You fire the rouge someone in the campaign, someone who was supporting Hillary Clinton was trying to promote this so-called 'birther' issue? What happened?

DOYLE: Well, so, we absolutely -- the campaign nor Hillary did not start the 'birther' movement. Period, end of the store there. There was a volunteer coordinator, I believe in late 2007, I think in December. One of our volunteer coordinators in one of the counties in Iowa -- I don't recall whether they were an actual paid staffer, but they did forward an e-mail that promoted the conspiracy.

[22:55:03] BLITZER: The 'birther' conspiracy?

DOYLE: Hillary -- yes, Hillary made the decision immediately to let that person go. We let that person go. And it was so -- beyond the pale, Wolf. And, you know, so not worthy of the kind of campaign that certainly Hillary wanted to run or that we, as the staff wanted to run, that I called David Plouffe who was obviously managing Barack Obama's campaign in '07 to apologize, and basically say that this is -- was not coming from us. It was a rogue volunteer coordinator, and this was not the kind of campaign we wanted to run. And David, very graciously accepted my apology.


COOPER: So that's the -- what Donald Trump was originally referring to. Anything more on this, because again, he again brought up Sidney Blumenthal, your response to that is?

DOYLE: Sidney never worked for us. And Sidney...


COOPER: But he is very close to -- he is very close to Secretary Clinton and was part of the foundation.

MCENANY: He is hired by the foundation.

DOYLE: He never worked for our campaign.

MCENANY: But his larger point is this, the idea of President Obama, somehow being and -- other originated with Hillary Clinton in her campaign.

DOYTE: No, it did not.

MCENANY: In fact, it was called the sleaziest moment of the campaign by a New York Times columnist, when Hillary Clinton went on air and said, Barack Obama is not a Muslim as far as I know. When Hillary Clinton's campaign circulated a picture of Barack Obama in native headdress, it was called by Barack Obama dirty trick. So, this idea that it started with the campaign is truly...


SMERCONISH: Kayleigh...

COOPER: One at a time. One at a time. Let her finish.

MCENANY: And I agree -- I agree with Donald Trump when he said, let's move on and talk about ISIS and jobs, because it does a disservice to the American people and he want to move on this.

DOYLE: Donald Trump doesn't want to move. He continues to talk about...

COOPER: OK. David...

AXELROD: Again, I would say I've got to bear personal witness to this, we, I was there, this was a -- this was a big effort that was launched by the Clinton campaign, but I also was there in the White House when Donald Trump pressed this issue for years after, even after the president released his birth certificate.

But the bigger issue is, do you think it's profitable in a presidential debate for him to be getting into the weeds about Patti Solis Doyle and Sidney Blumenthal and Rosie O'Donnell?

BORGER: Right.

AXELROD: Because I don't.

COOPER: Let Kayleigh respond.

MCENANY: I think he wants to move on from these issues. He said at the end, let's talk about ISIS, let's talk about jobs. But let's talk up here. What we saw tonight we saw a real person acting viscerally about things that happened. And what you saw on the other side was a scripted politician who instead of being out on the campaign trail for two weeks, shaking hands and talking to voters, was calculating her every single word we saw tonight. And I think Donald Trump...


AXELROD: There are 300 -- but there are 320 million real people in America, but one of these will be president of the United States.


MCENANY: Who would all do better than our all talk no action, sounds goods doesn't work...


COOPER: But let me just ask you a question, though, do you not -- and I don't know the answer to this, as president, don't you want somebody who thinks very, very, very carefully about the words they say, because as president, doesn't the words you say have global impact? Potentially, you know, policy changing impact around the world?

MCENANY: Sure, of course I want someone who thinks carefully, and I think Donald Trump does, but I think he reacts the way average people react. That being said, he's created a $10 billion...


COOPER: You want an average person in the White House?

MCENANY: He created -- he's not an average person. He created a $10 billion brand. And he didn't do by sliding off the handle. He did that by negotiating very sensitive deals with world leaders. But he's a real person who understands blue collar workers and the middle class far more than Hillary Clinton.

COOPER: OK. Jeffrey, we haven't heard your opinion.

LORD: All right. In terms of the Clinton campaign spreading rumors that Barack Obama was the other, I want to read the first line from a news story from the International Business Times. It says, "A former personal aide to United States President Barack Obama said Monday that false rumors he was a Muslim were, quote, "moved along," unquote, by Hillary Clinton's staffers in 2008. And they're talking about...


JONES: OK. Now, here's the deal, what if I grant you that, what if I say you...


LRD: You don't have to grant me, grant Reggie love.

JONES: I will grant you -- so what, are you saying that Donald Trump is so feeble minded that he has to follow the leadership of some nobody Clinton staffer that -- it's been five years? LORD: Senator Obama accused -- accused Hillary Clinton...


JONES: In other words...

LORD: No, no, no.

COOPER: Guys, nobody listens.

LORD: He was his body man.

AXELROD: He was his body man, he was the guy who carried his bags and stuff.

LORD: Yes.

COOPER: OK. He was the campaign manager. Let him speak.

AXELROD: Let's not get carried away here. The fact of the matter is, that Donald Trump carried this, he was the chief proponent of this argument for years until last week. And that's undeniable. I don't even think -- I agree with you, guys, let's move on, but I don't think he did himself a service tonight. And that's the point.

COOPER: Overall -- no.


[22:59:57] TRUMP: I just think it was very exciting overall. Dana, I thought the outset was great, you walk on, you don't know exactly what to expect. Base on all of the online polls, we did tremendously well.

BASH: Given at a real poll yet.

TRUMP: Well, I mean, but the online polls were fantastic. I mean, you get it, Hundreds of thousands of people are calling in and voting, and you have 80, 90 percent, you sort of get it.

BASH: Anything that you wish you did differently?

TRUMP: No, I'm very happy that I was able to hold back on the -- you know, with the indiscretions with respect to Bill Clinton. Because I have a lot of respect for Chelsea Clinton, and I just didn't want to say what I was going to say --

BASH: Which is? --

TRUMP: Which is I'll tell you maybe at the next debate, we'll see. But I'm very happy with --

BASH: What about -- her big moment that she clearly thought that she had and saying she was preparing for the debate, just like she's preparing to be president.

TRUMP: Well, I think she'd be a poor president, I don't think she'd do the job. We need somebody that's going to really be able to do the job, she doesn't have what it takes to make America great again, but we'll see how it all goes. You see the polls. You see what's going on. You see how we're doing. -- We are going to make America great again. Our country is in such trouble, whether it's immigration, whether it's jobs being taken, whether it's our factories closing up all over the country, whether it's our military that's been so sadly depleted.

BASH: Did it go how you thought it was going to go?

TRUMP: I think it went better than I ever thought.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you feel lost?

TRUMP: No, I loved it. I loved it.


COOPER: OK. So we've had a lot of people saying they think Trump did terribly. That's why I want to just hear from you. What is your perspective?

LORD: Right. I mean, right out of the gate. He was after her on trade, to the point he hit her so hard, that she, you know, started to flip-flop on all of this, sort of thing. -- Let me just add here, the Trump campaign put out a list of these tweets, but still in all, there are tweets from significant people in "The Washington Post," "The New York Times," et cetera, saying that they thought he was doing a terrific job here. My point to you is, number one, whatever we think about the birtherism thing, I genuinely do not believe people in America who are looking forward and are concerned about their health care, their jobs, taxes, et cetera, give a wick about this.

COOPER: OK. But overall, how do you think Donald Trump did versus Hillary? --

LORD: I thought he was great, I thought he was great. And he particularly pursued the business of being the outsider, the rebellion against the standard politician.

COOPER: Gloria?

BORGER: Can I -- On the birther issue, just one thing, it's -- the predicate upon which his political career was based for five years. He rode that issue to national celebrity after the apprentice, and it was part of the issue that -- it was the issue that catapulted him. Secondly on the tax issue, I think the problem he had is that when Hillary Clinton started talking about it as a bait and switch, not releasing your taxes, et cetera, and she made it very personal, she said that means zero for troops, zero for vets, zero for schools, zero for health care, and then he said, that makes me smart during the campaign.

COOPER: That's an ad --

BORGER: That he didn't -- that he didn't pay his taxes. And then she said, well, what are you trying to hide? And I think that that answer resonates with people who say, wait a minute, what I'm a chump, I'm paying all this money for schools, vets, et cetera, and then you're president, it's different. --

JONES: And there was a similar moment where I thought he made a tremendous mistake, where he talked -- well, basically the stiffing of the vendors, --

AXELROD: Yes. That's smart, that's business.

JONES: -- that's business. He actually created two ads that you're going to see within 12 hours tonight, which I think was a big mistake. The other thing I thought that was very important, because we keep talking about him as if it he was the only person there. Hillary Clinton did some stuff that was really good tonight. Can we just give her a little bit of credit? First of all, she wandered into the ticket of race and handled it really, really well. She talked about the criminal justice issues really well, she talked about you know, the private stuff -- we haven't heard on the stage for a national candidate ever, and she handled that really well. Also, I think it was important that to the extent that personality matters, that sort of stuff matters, you never saw her get so defensive -- and that was a part of why I think she was able to continue to care for it. -- She was prepared and he was not.

COOPER: Well, also, I'm curious to know, Van, your perspective on when Donald Trump, when the question was about improving, you know, race issues in America, and Donald Trump talked about law and order. I'm wondering how that --

JONES: Well, before he got to law and order, he said that we all live in hell, black people live in hell.

DOYLE: No, he said inner cities. That's very different. --

JONES: No, no. --

DOYLE: Play it back, he said inner cities. --

JONES: He said -- that the question was about race, it wasn't about urban issues. It's about race. And he talks about black people living in hell. That's not good. But then he talks about this law and order thing, he continues to praise and raise this question of stop and frisk. And I just want to end the mythology right now, that program actually was not effective, burglaries did not go down, robberies did not go down, what it did end, frankly, if all they had done is taken guns away from drug dealers, people would have probably been happy. What they did was a stop. Thousands and thousands and thousands of innocent --

[23:05:16] COOPER: It was like -- roughly 90 percent, I think -- they stopped where a, African-American or people of color, and also they had no -- they had not done anything wrong. --

JONES: -- And of fraction of percent, had anything -- what did that do? It actually created this ill will, and then so for him to say, he wants more stop and frisk and he wants better relations does not go together. And I got to tell you, Donald Trump has botched an opportunity to reach out to the black community. The African-American community is willing to hear someone speak to us about our pain but not in the way he does it. It's disrespectful when he does it. --

MCENANY: What he said tonight was very effective, which is --

JONES: To whom? --

MCENANY: You're going to hear this kind of talk this time of the year because -- it's an election year. You're going to hear from Hillary Clinton all of these promises, the same promises she's been making for 30 years that failed to materialize. You know, that was a very effective line. She's had 30 years, she's talking the sweet talk now, but where are the actions that follow up on the talk. --

COOPER: Michael --

SMERCONISH: At the outset of the night, I said I wondered which of the Donald Trump's we would see, he who stood on the stage with the Mexican president and seemed presidential, seemed as if he were an individual who have stature, or the individual who later that night was in Phoenix at a rally and was vintage Trump? And I think she predetermined which of the Trump's we received tonight. Because very early on she said -- she used the words Trumped up, she then said that he rooted for the housing crisis and she said that he got a loan from his dad. All of that in the first ten or so minutes, at a point where he had stressed the fact that he was calling her Secretary Clinton. And at a certain point, I just think she pushed his buttons and caused him to become the individual he didn't want to become, and the split screen was not to his satisfaction. --

AXELROD: But -- you know, the thing that I find -- if I can make a -- kind of political consultant point. All of this was predictable. You know, we heard Jeffrey talked about that exchange between Ronald Reagan and Walter Mondale in 1984, when there were questions about Reagan's -- his age and his capacities. And he had that line about I'm not going to take advantage of my opponent's relative youth and inexperience. That was anticipated. He knew that that was an issue and he prepared for it. Everyone knew some of these issues were going to come up, and yet Donald Trump wasn't prepared for it. It's inexplicable to me. It's malpractice. You should stop -- I think Ronald Reagan was one of the great practitioners of all time. So we shouldn't denigrate him by comparing his performance to Donald Trump. --

LORD: Let me just call to your judgement here everybody, the 1980 Carter/Reagan debate in Cleveland, I'm looking at the paper the day after from the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Carter and Reagan trade punches but both on their feet at the bell. Each candidate leaves the ring without errors. Shortly thereafter the polls went up for Ronald Reagan because the American people thought he won it. --

AXELROD: I know why. I'm probably one of the only other person on this platform who is old enough to remember it as you are. His numbers went up, because there was a question about Ronald Reagan. Is he too extreme? Is he dangerous? And with his performance, he assuaged people's concerns about him. Donald Trump had that opportunity tonight, but missed the opportunity. --

LORD: But my point is the media reaction was that it was a draw. Or that in some cases, I looked -- that Carter had won. And it turned out to be the other way. --

AXELROD: Listen, we've been wrong about Donald Trump. --

LORD: That's what I'm trying to fight here --

AXELROD: I honestly, I believe as I look at these polls and I look at the people who he has yet to persuade. The thing that has been holding them back is does he have the temperament and does he have the mastery of basic substance to be president? --

JONES: I do think -- it was interesting -- raising the stamina issue, when she didn't take a drink of water the entire 90 minutes. -- I was drinking a couple bottles of water as was he. Here's the deal, he raised the stamina --

MCENANY: No the host -- the moderator did. He didn't raise it. --

JONES: Well, he has raised it from time and time again. -- He fell for it, and he talked about stamina. If he didn't talk about the looks, which was probably smart for him not to because that was offensive. He talked about stamina. He was sniffling. He was drinking water. He didn't seem to -- he seemed like he needed a nap near the end. He faded near the end. -- Jeffrey and Kayleigh, you are correct. Most people probably only watched the first 20 or 30 minutes. And in those first 20 or 30 minutes he was very effective. He was very good on the trade stuff. That is a weak spot for her. It's a big pain point in our party. And he was great. But he then -- he got tricked off into this weird bizarre stuff where he just basically, I think, lost his way. Let me say one more thing, it was very important for her to raise gender. It was important that she raised it -- the way she raised it, and I think it was important for her to raise the fact that not only does he say insulting things to women. He said insulting things to women of color, not of that was well raised. --

DOYLE: -- And I love the way that she used his words to say those things about women. -- You know, she used his words exactly. And that was very successful for her on the campaign trail when she did that foreign policy speech. And she just laid out everything that he has said

[23:10:16] and she did that tonight. -- I think really the bottom line is qualifications, experience and preparations matter. And it really matters when you're running for president. And I think that's what we saw tonight. And I loved her line when she said, yes, I did prepare for this debate. And I also prepared to be president of the United States. That was --


TRUMP: I think it's a very, very important thing to discuss. I think it went very well.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir, there was some confusion about how you answered the question about paying taxes. You have paid some federal taxes over the years.

TRUMP: I said I hate the way our government spends our money. Our government takes our money and they throw it out the window, whether it's in the Middle East or wherever. But I hate the way our government spends our money.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But you have paid federal taxes?

TRUMP: Of course I've paid federal taxes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Trump, after this experience, any doubt that you'll participate in the next two presidential debates?

TRUMP: No, this was a great experience for me, I really enjoyed it. I think we got our point across. She's not going to make America great again. You know, the one thing I see and I saw, even more than I ever thought I would see is that, she has been saying these things for years and nothing ever happens, they never get fixed, it's all talk, no action, you know, it's like, just all talk. And she's been saying the things we've been discussing and discussed up on the -- up on the dais. She has been saying this for years. And all it is is talk, it never happens. And to me that's very --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any regrets when you referred to the president as your president, as opposed to the nation. There was some Twitter reaction.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's everybody's president.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any estimate on --


COOPER: I think we've lost him on mikes. So let's go back to David.

AXELROD: Yes. What I was saying is that -- I wish she had in places invoked the stories of real people to animate the point she was making, she speaks sometimes in policy terms.

COOPER: It was interesting, though, the specific story she told about her father, she then brought back in to try to use against Donald Trump. --

AXELROD: No, she did and she -- mentioned her granddaughter at the beginning. But all these problems that she was talking about tonight have human faces across this country. And she's met these people and they've undoubtedly touched her. And she could have done a better job of bringing them into the discussion.

HENDERSON: I do think, you know, one of the criticisms of Hillary Clinton in August particularly was that she let Trump be Trump too much, and wasn't more assertive. And I did think, you're right, at times she could have been more assertive. She could have gotten in there more, told these stories. It seemed like she was listening Paul Begala. She mentioned her granddaughter. She mentioned her own father as well. I do think the anecdote at the end about the Latina woman who Donald Trump named Mrs. Housekeeper. That is something that I never heard. And is disserving, and I think that the --the birther thing, to go back to that. I think the problem with the birther thing it isn't that it hurts black people's feelings. It's that it proves to certain people all that Donald Trump was willing to embrace a racist conspiracy theory to advance his own political agenda. And that has all sorts of implications about how he would govern and how he would frame issues. That's the real problem. And she got at that.

LORD: Except of course, this charge, haven't been raised against five white guys, including one sitting president and all of them Republicans. It's not a racist theory. It's just a crazy theory maybe. I mean, I thought Barack Obama was born in Hawaii. But lots of Democrats in 1881 were saying Chester Alan Arthur was born in Canada. Lots of people, "The New York Times" went a story in February 28th --

JONES: You guys always say that. There you go again. --

LORD: Well, but Van, it's about equality and treatment. It's about equality and treatment for presidents and presidential candidates. --

AXELROD: Somebody should stand up for Chester A. Arthur.

LORD: Exactly.

JONES: Listen, first of all, I did not know any of the things that you said until you started educating the country about these other instances. And there's a reason for that, because it actually didn't actually matter in those days the way that it matters now. Context matters, the same thing you do, a 100 years from now, if you do it today, it lands differently. And I think that you know in your heart, that the way that this was received and the way it was driven had racial implications. Here's what I love about you, you give us these history lessons but part of what you often do is you try to normalize things that actually are abnormal. And in this situation, the way this president was treated on this issue was abnormal. --

MCENANY: No, it's not. Have you, Van --

JONES: For somebody who has been five years on -- after the birth certificate was produced five years ago, and he's still on it.

MCENANY: Van, have you heard about Ted Cruz and Donald Trump questioning his eligibility? --

JONES: Also, Latino? --

MCENANY: -- He asked a question of a politician which every citizen has the right to do, and Donald Trump did it. He got the answer. He moved on. --

JONES: For the black guy and Latino, OK - MCENANY: -- I think we are all overlooking one of the key moments of tonight's debate, when we saw the prosecution of a politician live before our eyes. When Donald Trump pushed Hillary Clinton to the point of basically having to admit, yes, I'm for NATO, despite standing up here and saying, I'm against trade

[23:15:16] deals. I did call it the goal standards. Despite now saying I'm against people -- I did call South Korea a great trade deal and now I'm against all of this. So we saw the prosecution of a politician that will play over well with the citizens.

COOPER: Brianna Keilar is standing by. Brianna.


BRIANNA KEILAR, SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, I'm here with John Podesta, the chairman of Hillary Clinton's campaign. And John, very clearly you feel confident that Hillary Clinton won this debate. But I also wonder what are you planning on seizing on when it comes to what Donald Trump said tonight?

JOHN PODESTA, CLINTON CAMPAIGN CHAIR: Well, first of all, Brianna, I think that he came unprepared. He had no real plans for the future. I think the debate on the economy was all ours. I think that she laid out very clear plans about an economy that was built, that focused on the middle class, building the middle class, creating good jobs, creating the support that families need like child care and paid family leave, and I think he had nothing to say about it. So I think we want to keep running at that. And I think he dug himself deeper by repeating untruths and falsehoods.

KEILAR: Specifically which one? -- If you're cutting an ad, what are you grabbing?

PODESTA: Well he did -- I mean, the fact that he supported the Iraq war at the beginning has been fact checked 1,000 times and he keeps telling the lies about that. He was dissembling in his approach. I think his explanation of why he wouldn't release his tax returns was a low moment for him. And I think people want to know what is he hiding in those tax returns, and I think we'll continue to press that issue. But mostly, we want to talk to the American people about improving their lives, and I thought that's the place where there was really a tremendous difference. She had something to say, and he had really nothing to say. He was running down the country, but he didn't really have anything to say about how he's going to improve --

KEILAR: John, Donald Trump has repeatedly said, and to some effect during this debate, Hillary Clinton's been in public service for years and years, he repeated this over and over. Polls show, voters want change. He was making the case. She's not a candidate of change. Are you worried voters agree with him? --

PODESTA: -- In January, voters are going to get change. There will be a new president in the White House. The question is what kind of change do we have? Do we want to go back to trickledown economics where all the tax breaks go to the wealthy and the middle class gets left in the dust as they did in the great recession? Do we want to go back to punishing women -- for exercising the reproductive rights? That's the kind of change he's promising. I don't think people want that. I think she's promising positive change to get the economy working for the middle class, to deal with the pressing problems that the country is facing, and when it came, I think to the elements on national security, there was one person who looked like, they could assume the role of Commander-in-Chief and that was not Donald Trump.

KEILAR: John Podesta, thank you so much, Anderson back to you.


COOPER: Brianna thanks very much. We want to play a number of -- some of the key moments from this debate tonight, we're obviously going to replay the debate, I think at 1:00 a.m. but let's play this -- the discussion they had -- about judgment.


TRUMP: I think my strongest asset, maybe by far is my temperament. I have a winning temperament. I know how to win, she does not. --


TRUMP: Wait. The AFL-CIO the other day, behind the blue screen, I don't know who you were talking to, Secretary Clinton, but you were totally out of control. I said there's a person with a temperament that's got a problem.

HOLT: Secretary Clinton?



COOPER: Do you think -- I mean, it was interesting to see them both in split screen. Do you think -- I mean, it clearly -- Secretary Clinton, -- maybe is more used to being in a split screen, used to being on camera all the time. But she certainly seemed -- to respond differently than Donald Trump did in their split screen. Did you see that?

MCENANY: Of course she did because she spent two weeks a month away from the American people practicing at a podium at her house in Chappaqua. Instead of talking to the people, that's what she was doing. So what you saw tonight was a perfect mannequin politician as good as they come, versus a real American citizen who took advantage of the American dream. Fill the $10 billion brand. Now they've proven track record of success. There is a clear differentiation.

COOPER: I do think it was interesting how the first time Secretary Clinton kind of poked him on inheriting, I don't know, $14 million from his father, whatever it is, that clearly bothered him and he actually went back to it, did it surprise you, Van, that he was so ensnared in every detail that she would bring up? Because it seemed like such an obvious attempt on her part to do that, and it seemed to work every time.

JONES: Listen, you know, Donald Trump's great strength when he's on, is his ability to stay connected to the American people. To be right there with their

[23:20:16] pain, their frustration, sometimes to bring out the dark part of it, to be right there. What she was able to do was to bait him into worrying about himself. And when he does that, for some people, I think it's great because -- but for most people he's losing the plot and he's losing the country. And that's what I think -- that last part, he was great at the beginning, but he faded because of that. --

SMERCONISH: The big picture question, I love analyzing every one of these answers like everybody else. But take a step back and ask yourself, who grew the tent tonight. I don't think he lost any support. I just don't see where he gained anything. I think she stands the prospect of having gained because of that split screen, because she did probably practice, rehearsed and looked more presidential than he because he was volatile in those moments, he was trying to explain that he had the temperament, and yet his volatility kept rising.

AXELROD: -- Note to debate preppers for next debate, if he preps, don't get peevish about your temperament.

BORGER: Right. But, I also think -- if you take a step back, when I was listening to him, I kept thinking, did he sounded more like a real estate guy sometimes when he said, oh, my friends say -- 650 million in leveraged debt is not a lot, and talked about Mar-a-Lago in terms of just, you know, integrating the golf club. But it talked about it in terms of the wealthy circles in which he inhabits, rather than a potential president of the United States where you have to kind of leave your real estate hat. Oh, I didn't -- maybe I didn't pay taxes because you know, real estate taxes you can fiddle with, and that was smart of me, and take it to a presidential level where -- which is where Hillary Clinton was, when she said, no health care, no veterans benefits, you didn't support all of that. I don't think that transition was obvious at all. --

COOPER: Well certainly -- Secretary Clinton was trying to talk to middle class voters out there. She repeatedly went back to that, talked about -- I think the term she was trying to get in the vernacular is Trumped up, trickle down. I'm not sure that's going to catch on. -- She tried it twice. But I mean, he was -- he didn't really seem to -- he mentioned the middle class, I think, a handful of times, but he didn't really make a concerted effort.

HENDERSON: Yes, -- I don't think he did. And he also, I think, just -- I think going in, he was someone who understood television better and was someone who was surrounded by people who understand television like Roger Ailes, but he didn't connect, right? He looked peevish. He was looking away from the camera. He didn't have any source -- Kayleigh, you say he's been all around the country, meeting people and shaking hands. Well, it didn't seem like that. It seemed like he was on stage by himself defending his business record, defending birtherism, not talking about the pain and the stories of Americans that he has met. --

AXELROD: Although there were some moments, and I think we have to give him his due. There were some moments on which I think he did connect. Where because there are a lot of people out there who feel economic frustrations, and he articulated them, those moments were few and far between.

COOPER: Let's go -- Let's check back in with Wolf. We'll have more from our panel and more key moments from the debate ahead. Wolf.

BLITZER: All right Anderson. Both Trump and Clinton clearly were vying for undecided voters in this election, so how did they do? We have a group of undecided voters in the key battleground state of Florida. They've been watching the debate. Let's get right to Pamela Brown, she's in Orlando, Florida for us. Pamela, these voters tell you there's a clear winner tonight, what do they say?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: That's right and they say that the clear winner is Hillary Clinton. 18 out of the 20 undecided voters here in this key battleground state of Florida, say Hillary Clinton won, two for Donald Trump. So I want to just show the crowd here, and just get a word or a phrase in how you would describe Hillary Clinton's performance tonight.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was very prepared.






BROWN: Do you actually think Donald Trump won the debate? You thought he had the better performance, why is that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, it's not that he won the debate, but he did what I expected him to do. And Hillary didn't answer any of the questions I have about her, any of the really things that I see as troubling as far as voting for her. Whereas I know what I know about Trump and --

BROWN: So before this debate, we were talking, and you actually -- you actually were leaning more toward Donald Trump, but now you're leaning more toward Hillary Clinton, why is that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think she -- like I said, she was very well prepared. Her attitude seemed to be more on the charismatic side. She took more control of the situation. So I felt that she owned this debate compared to what Donald Trump has done in the past. He doesn't seem to be solid in what he -- you know his material. So I feel that this time around, she was -- you know she just pretty much had solid information compared to what she's had in the past. [23:25:16] BROWN: And I want to go to a Bernie Sanders supporter here, undecided voter. You wanted to come in here today and hear a populous message during the debate. Did you hear that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I didn't. I felt that's what Donald Trump needed to do to pick up millennial Bernie supporters, at least, was to come across -- you know for the people. I wanted to hear more talk about campaign finance reform which neither of the candidates touched on, which was really disappointing to me. I feel Hillary Clinton did better in getting a more progressive message across with talking about clean energy and health care and affordable college. But it wasn't enough for me.

BROWN: And Cheryl (ph), you really wanted to hear about the issues tonight, you wanted to learn from these candidates what they're going to do for you. Did you hear what you wanted to hear?

CHERYL (ph): No, I was very disappointed. I don't know what either one of them plans to do toward medical costs which are a huge concern in my life right now, things that affect the single parents.

BROWN: So Wolf, overall in this group of 20 undecided voters, they feel like Hillary Clinton performed better, she did have more high moments compared to Donald Trump, back to you, Wolf.

BLITZER: You know, I want to narrow in on one part of this debate that was a deciding factor for these voters, we measured their reactions as the candidates spoke, before we show you that moment, please take a look at the bottom of your screen, men's responses are in green, women in orange. When the lines go up, that means this group liked what it heard. If lines go down, that means the group didn't like the candidates answer. Take a look at that moment. Watch this.


TRUMP: I also have a much better temperament than she has you know. I have a much better -- she spent, let me tell you, she spent hundreds of millions of dollars on an advertising -- you know, they get Madison Avenue into a room, they put names, oh, temperament, let's go after. I think my strongest asset, maybe by far is my temperament. I have a winning temperament. I know how to win, she does not. --

HOLT: Secretary Clinton?

TRUMP: Wait. The AFL-CIO the other day, behind the blue screen, I don't know who you were talking to, Secretary Clinton, but you were totally out of control. I said there's a person with a temperament that's got a problem.


BLITZER: All right Pamela, what about that moment. What about that moment that they didn't like?

BROWN: You know, I was watching the focus group here at the University of Central Florida, during that moment. And a lot of you guys sort of laughed or shrugged and I want to know why that was when Donald Trump said that he believes his strongest asset is temperament. Why did you react that way?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because his temperament is horrible. I mean, all that he likes to do is just bad mouth his opponent. What's he going to do in a situation where say a foreign government does something that he doesn't like, is he going to go and push the button?

BROWN: But you actually thought that Donald Trump won this debate?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I'd like to think that he did, because I think that he needs to bring a change to what we've been going through for the last eight years, maybe even before that. It's so political. I think we need to get away from the politics, and get more into running a country as defensible entity that it is, and be a world leader. Because if we're not the leader, someone else is going to take over, and so we need to step up and do the job.

BROWN: All right, so a mix of opinions here with this group. And some in this group have actually decided after watching this debate, who they're going to vote for come November. You'll find out about that coming up. Wolf?

BLITZER: All right. Pamela thanks very much. You know, Jake, it's interesting, 20 undecided voters in Orlando, Central Florida, a key area, and a key battleground state. 18 of the 20 thought -- that Hillary Clinton did a better job.

TAPPER: And I saw in a focus group on a different network, it was 16 for Hillary, 6 for Donald Trump. Look, as we've been discussing all night, I thought his first chunk, in the first 20 minutes to half an hour was strong, he was talking about the problems of the American people, he was talking about jobs going overseas, he was talking about bad trade deals, I thought that was strong, if he'd kept that up, who knows. But In the clip we just played, that was Donald Trump complaining about negative ads run against him. The American people don't want to hear politicians get up there and complain about how unfair this process is or complain about negative ads against them.

[23:30:00]: They want to know what does this person going to do for me. And I felt like Donald Trump too often during this debate got knocked off what he wants to talk about and what he came into the spin room to try to talk about, which is politicians can't solve your problems, I can, and these are your problems, trade deals, immigration, et cetera. But when he spends the time litigating his taxes, litigating whether or not the ads being run against him are fair, that's not -- it's not surprising that that wouldn't resonate with a bunch of undecided voters in the all important I-4 corridor in the battleground state of Florida.

That's not what they care about. They care about jobs. You heard about some of them, talking about there wasn't enough about rising health care costs. That's not a slam on Lester Holt who brought a lot of issues but you can't talk about everything in 98 minutes. If he's taking advice from his advisers, he will be told, I am quite certain, focus on them, do not try to defend yourself.

BLITZER: Yes. And, you know, Dana, 18 out of 20, that's a pretty impressive number, thought that she did a better job than he did.

BASH: It certainly is impressive, and the thing that I find fascinating to your point, Jake, is that my understanding is that was a big part of Donald Trump's focus in his unconventional debate prep, sitting around the table talking about policy, talking about approach, and strategy to this debate. Meaning, to stay on offense, to stay on the things that he wants to talk about. And he did start to go there on she's just a politician, she's not -- she's not anybody who has --

BLITZER: Hold on for one moment.


BLITZER: David Chalian is with us, our political director. You've got the results of our poll that was taken as -- in the aftermath of this debate.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: I do, and we've done this before, so let me just give a few cautionary notes about the poll. OK. It is a poll of debate watchers, and so in our sample, this is a more Clinton friendly audience. Those that tuned in tonight was a more Clinton friendly audience. So let me give an example of this. This can't reflect the views of all Americans, it is just the views of a sample of people that watched the debate.

This sample of debate watchers, in this poll, is 41 percent Democratic, 26 percent Republican, that is about 10 points more Democratic, and two points less Republican than our typical national polls when we do the regular telephone survey of the country. So this definitely skews Democratic, more Democratic than a normal poll and it skews to a Hillary Clinton audience, so keep that in mind as we now will reveal to you who won the debate according to this audience.

Overwhelmingly Hillary Clinton. 62 percent of the Americans -- of those that watched the debate tonight in this audience said Hillary Clinton won compared to 27 percent who said Trump won. Again, this is of debate and our sample definitely is more Democratic than a normal poll. But that is an overwhelming victory among these debate watchers we polled for Hillary Clinton.

BLITZER: It certainly is. But you've got some caveats there, but there was a huge audience, we don't know how many people were watching. There were estimates maybe as many as 100 million were watching. That's a pretty big sample.

CHALIAN: Well, I mean, if indeed that is the audience, there's no doubt about it, I mean, this sample of this poll is 521 registered voters who watched the debate tonight. So we've got a margin of error about 4 1/2 points in there. But again, it's just that -- just like when we saw in the Democratic convention, more Democrats watched the Democratic convention, more Republicans watched the Republican convention. This sample of debate watchers skewed more Democratic and perhaps that is representative of overall who watched the debate tonight.

BLITZER: Your reaction, Jake?

TAPPER: Well, I mean, I think that probably a lot of Hillary Clinton supporters felt really good about this -- about the performance tonight. And I wouldn't be surprised if many Trump supporters liked what they saw. We heard Kayleigh McEnany and others who support Donald Trump saying he prosecuted the case against the career politician and he spoke his mind and he fought for himself and he defended himself.

What I'm wondering about, though, is the undecided voters. We have a large number of -- a large percentage of voters according to polls who are either undecided or right now, or at least earlier tonight, were supporting -- thinking of supporting one of the third party candidates, either Gary Johnson, the Libertarian, or Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate. My question is, how do they feel?

We heard from a voter in that focus group that Pamela has who sounded to me completely superficially, and it's a huge generalization, but sounded to me kind of like a Green Party supporter. She was talking about they didn't talk about campaign finance, it was very disappointing. I'm not surprised that she didn't hear what she wanted to hear. And she's still seemed kind of undecided.

But what I am wondering about is all those voters, the 18 out of 20 who said that they liked what Hillary Clinton had to say because she was talking about them.

BASH: And that's really not only important to find out for us because that's an important demographic, but it's because that is the demographic that Hillary Clinton's campaign has been suffering the biggest with.

[23:35:07] The sort of underpinning of the Obama coalition, the Clinton campaign has been saying pretty candidly that millennials are the ones who they have to get back in the fold, and they haven't been that successful so if this debate helps with that, that is going to be a huge, huge win for them. It's even zeroing in that tightly on one demographic.

BLITZER: Dana, you just spoke with Donald Trump. He was walking around the spin room behind us. He thought he did great in that debate. Didn't that -- isn't that what he told you?

BASH: He did. He did thought -- think he did great, at least that's what he said. And he said he expected to win the online polls. You know, we'll see what he says about that. But you know the thing about him is that the fact that he was here behind us in the spin room is -- I think it's unprecedented. We were used to it.

TAPPER: For a general election.

BASH: Exactly. We were used to it in the primary debates for him and other candidates to come out and talk, although I don't believe Hillary Clinton ever did. But for him to come out and be his own spinner is kind of remarkable. And it is just a reminder that he is his best arguer. He is his best representative. There's nobody who does it better than him. Watching him trailed by the people who are supposed to be the spinners in here, the people who run his campaign, his children, other people who normally would be the people who would kind of try to explain the parameters of what happened and try to set the tone going forward, it was him.


TAPPER: But I will say that -- I mean, the other interpretation of it, other than he is his best advocate is that he didn't get his message out sufficiently in the 98 minutes of debate, and so he came here to re-prosecute the case. And in fact you heard him more on message back here talking about Hillary Clinton has been there 30 years, she can't solve our problems, I can solve our problems. We need fresh thinking. You heard him say that more here in the spin room than you did in the last 60 minutes of debate.

BASH: That is true. But he was planning on coming here even before the debate started.

BLITZER: Interesting.

BASH: But probably because he knew he had to put a button on everything he was saying.

BLITZER: David, I've been coming to these spin rooms after these presidential debates for a while. I don't remember when a presidential nominee -- I remember a lot of their top aides, their surrogates, other effective spokesman, spokeswoman coming into the spin room to spin. That's why we call it -- to explain why their candidate did such a great job.

Do you remember when an actual nominee came in and tried to make the case?

CHALIAN: Not in the general election setting. I can remember that because it is usually the candidates take the 90 minutes or so on stage to do their best, to set the narrative after the debate. Then they leave it to their aides to try to enforce the desired narrative that they want. But, you know, Donald Trump -- I wasn't terribly surprised that he did this. This is -- it's part of actually the whole performance that he had this evening.

BASH: Yes.

CHALIAN: It's all this conversation in advance of which Donald Trump would show up, the very same Donald Trump that we've been watching running for president for the last year is the one that showed up, did what he did during the primaries, came in here to make the case for him. I just didn't see any adjustment in what he's been doing because he really believes -- obviously it's been working. He entered tonight in a tied race.

(CROSSTALK) TAPPER: Except to say that he was -- I mean, when you look -- we saw clips earlier tonight of him during some of the Republican primary debates, and when he was calling his rivals choke artists.

BASH: Right.

TAPPER: And he was calling his rivals basket case and little Marco, and this and that. He was much more restrained that way and I think he made an illusion to how he was going to bring up some of the Clinton's marital difficulties, but he didn't bring it up because --

BASH: He just said that to me if you're --

TAPPER: Yes. Because Chelsea Clinton was there. So there was some restraint. I'm not saying that anybody should be like, you know --


BASH: But he also said he might get to it next time.

TAPPER: Giving him an award for it.

CHALIAN: He said it to Dana so that everybody is like, what are you going to say?

BASH: Right. Exactly.

CHALIAN: I mean, that was just playing the media on that. Right? Like dangling it out there in the way that Trump does.

BLITZER: When he tweeted the other day, he was going to invite Gennifer Flowers to sit in the front row, he was sort of dangling it in that way as well. But he did offer a good tease for the next presidential debate. Just wait. See what I say at the next -- were you surprised that Hillary Clinton waited until the very end to really go after him on the whole women issue?

TAPPER: No. Yes, I am surprised that she waited until the end. But again, I'm surprised that he wasn't better prepared for it, instead of getting -- instead of, like, defending the fact that he said really obnoxious things to Rosie O'Donnell because, look, there are tens of millions of Americans who love Rosie O'Donnell, so -- you know, it's not like everyone agrees with him that that's acceptable.

That's not the correct -- the correct is answer is, I was in the entertainment world and I said silly things, but let's talk about -- let's talk about what's better for women, you or me, and here are the ways I will bring women jobs, I will bring women this. I will bring them --

[23:40:03] BASH: My suspicion is that was the way he prepared, it just didn't come out that way. He took the bait.

BLITZER: All right, guys, coming up, we'll have more results of our exclusive instant poll. Debate watchers weigh in on who would better handle the economy. We'll also have reality checks in some of the most controversial claims tonight. Stay with us.


BLITZER: Welcome back. David Chalian is still with us. We're here at Hofstra University.

David, you're getting some more results from our exclusive CNN-ORC poll, people who actually watched this debate.

CHALIAN: That's right. So we polled people who watched the debate, and the audience skews a little more Democratic than normally our national poll would. But these are still really good numbers for Hillary Clinton. Again let's look at who won the debate. Just to remind us. 62 percent of the people that watched the debate in our poll said Hillary Clinton won the debate. 27 percent said Donald Trump watched the debate. And this is a debate --

BLITZER: Won the debate.

CHALIAN: Won the debate. This is of debate watchers. Take a look at the economy, this is interesting. Hillary Clinton edges Donald Trump on the economy. 51 percent to 47 percent. That is a close contest, and we have seen in polls all around that it has been close on who can better handle the economy. But remember, this audience that was watching the debate, was a little bit more pro-Democratic, a little more pro-Hillary Clinton. So a four-point edge there shows exactly what Jake was talking about, when Donald Trump is prosecuting the economy. It's an issue that he is still very much in the hunt on.

[23:45:08] And foreign policy, take a look at this again. Overwhelming Hillary Clinton advantage, 62 percent say she would better handle foreign policy, compared to 35 percent of debate watchers who say that about Donald Trump.

BLITZER: Impressive numbers for her on foreign policy, relatively close on the economy. Overall impressive numbers for her.

Jake, we have a special guest.

TAPPER: We do.

BLITZER: With us right now.

TAPPER: We do. One of the stars of the hit TV show "Shark Tank" and the owner of the Dallas Mavericks and so much more, Mark Cuban.

Thank you so much.

MARK CUBAN, CLINTON SUPPORTER: Thanks for having me.

TAPPER: Good to see you. So, obviously, you were given a front row seat by the Hillary Clinton campaign. You're a high profile supporter. One of the reasons it seemed that you were given this seat was to kind of psych out Donald Trump who you've been critical of, a fellow billionaire.

CUBAN: Well, let me tell you what actually happened.


CUBAN: OK. So I have a 12-year-old daughter who just had a 13th birthday, and I wanted to bring her to the debate. This is a historic occasion. So the Clinton campaign reached out and said we had two tickets available. So when I got word of that, I just decided to tweet, hey, I'm going to the debate, but I added, they didn't commit to me for front row seats. I added front row seats, and I thought he might take the bait.


CUBAN: Hook, line and sinker.

TAPPER: Speaking of taking the bait, were you surprised that he took Hillary Clinton's bait as often as he did on stage? I thought he had a really strong half hour, and then he just, like, every single bait that she threw out there, he would have.

CUBAN: Well, he talks about being a counter puncher. There's nothing more frustrating to a counter puncher than your punches not landing at all, and none of his punches seemed to land. They were short and he got flustered and then he got really combative. And then it just got worse.

TAPPER: And what did you think? Did you think he had any strong moments?

CUBAN: I think a little bit on the economy, and, you know, he took -- he had some zingers that he felt confident in, but there are a lot of questions he just didn't answer. We're still waiting for the answer on what he's going to do about domestic terrorism. You know? And then he stepped on himself, so at the beginning, Hillary set him up where she talked about the architect who never got paid. Then we got into the issue of, you know, global peace, deterrents, you know, national security.

And he talked about not honoring our treaties if they don't pay. Right? And here's a guy who's saying, well, maybe if I don't like the job you're doing that I'm not going to pay you, which just translates into, if I don't like what Japan is doing or they're paying enough, we're not going to live up to our obligation. And I think people -- that resonated and she just jumped on him on it.

BASH: Now you said you were going to be in the front row and you kind of made it happen. Being there, did you make eye contact with him? Because you wanted to be the taunter, right?

CUBAN: No, actually I wanted to do the exact opposite. Right? So the whole beginning I wasn't looking at him at all. I was actually spending more time looking at Rudy Giuliani and the Trumps. And Tiffany Trump there. Because I wanted to see their response.

Look, I wanted to come to this debate because it's a historic event. I did not want to give anybody any excuses, I did not want to be -- contrary to what people might think -- the center of attention because this is too important. It's just when he took the bait after my tweet, it just kind of steam rolled from there.

BASH: Did he acknowledge you at all?


BLITZER: You've known -- you've known Donald Trump for a long time, right?

CUBAN: Yes. Since about 1999. Yes.

BLITZER: So you've been friendly with him over these years?

CUBAN: Off and on. I would never say we were friends but, you know, we've interacted businesswise. And there was a point in time when I supported him. Look, I said and he put the quote on his book that I thought he was the best thing to happen to politics in a long time because he spoke what was on his mind and it wasn't rehearsed. But I also said to him personally, and I haven't said anything that I didn't tell him personally that at some point he was going to have to understand the issues, invest time to actually learn. I would send him links to books. You know, that's just not his thing.

BLITZER: Mark Cuban, thanks for dropping by.

CUBAN: My pleasure, guys. Thank you.

BLITZER: We want to go back to Jim Acosta, he's here. He's got a special guest.

Jim, who are you with?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Wolf, I'm with Kellyanne Conway, the campaign manager for Donald Trump.

Kellyanne, thanks for being with us. Let me ask you, do you feel comfortable with the way your candidate prepared for this debate? Was he prepared for tonight's debate?

KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Yes, he was prepared. And I think that showed -- particularly when he's answering questions that are relevant to everyday American lives, like on trade, why he would renegotiate what he considers to be are very unfair, very bad trade deals. They don't benefit American workers. We've lost so many jobs to Mexico, to China, and elsewhere.

Also when he's talking about stimulating the economy. Even Hillary Clinton does not deny the fact that she's going to tax people and regulate them. She almost seemed proud of the fact, almost doubling down on that, whereas his plan will create 25 million new jobs and bring tax relief across the board, so would his child care and elder care plan. It's meant to benefit all.

I also thought he had some really strong moments, Jim, when he was talking about how the vacuum that was left by President Clinton -- President Obama and Secretary Clinton, that vacuum when they left Iraq really gave us the birth and growth of ISIS. That they subsequently back may sound 30 countries, we e know that when people think about radical Islamic terrorism, they think of ISIS.

ACOSTA: Let me ask you about that question on Iraq because he keeps saying that he opposed the Iraqi war before it began.

[23:50:03] But there is no proof that he ever opposed the war on Iraq. Where is this proof coming from? Why does he keep saying that?

CONWAY: It's not true. He -- because all of you keep saying that, because he was on a Howard Stern radio and literally this is the exchange. Howard Stern says, so should we invade Iraq? Donald Trump, yes, I guess so.

ACOSTA: But he could have said right there, I'm against the war. I'm bitterly opposed to it, he didn't do that.

CONWAY: That's talking to a friend in your nonprofessional capacity. We should hold you to account for saying, yes, I guess so. It's -- I mean, that versus what? Hillary Clinton who proudly as the United States senator walked down into the well of the Senate and cast her vote in favor of the Iraq war? She should be held to account for that.

ACOSTA: Do you feel that the debate was handled properly by the moderator? Do you feel that the -- do you agree with the topics that were discussed, the questions that were asked? Are you calling into question the way this debate was handled tonight?

CONWAY: Well, I thought Lester Holt did a great job as the moderator under tough circumstances. Meaning you just have a worldwide audience of many, and the clash of the titans were free on the stage. There are many issues that did not get covered. I was glad that Mr. Trump raised Hillary Clinton's e-mails.

ACOSTA: You're not questioning Lester Holt's handling of the job?

CONWAY: I already just said that he did a great job.

ACOSTA: OK. And let me --

CONWAY: So I don't need to repeat that. However, I'm glad that Mr. Donald Trump raised her e-mails because it wasn't being raised otherwise. And he was -- Mr. Trump was cross-examined on a few points perhaps where Mrs. Clinton was not, but I think the debate moderators has done a good job. I would have seen Matt Lauer in that after the commander-in-chief debate.

ACOSTA: And let me ask you, did he ever really answer the question why he decided to put this birther issue away? Why he changed his mind on whether the president --

CONWAY: He said that many times.

ACOSTA: I don't think he answered it tonight on why he changed his mind.

CONWAY: He was asked the question three times tonight. He was asked the question three times. He gave a whole press conference on it a week ago Friday. You guys were there covering it.

ACOSTA: Well, the press conference was 39 seconds. He said something for 39 seconds. He said that Hillary Clinton was responsible for the birther issue which is not true. Why did he change his mind?

CONWAY: Her campaign was. It was. He's answered that question.

ACOSTA: But not -- but not Hillary Clinton.

CONWAY: I can repeat the answer, if you want. OK. First of all, the fact that CNN carried the press conference live and thought it was going to be something that it was not is not Donald Trump's fault. Nobody said he was going to spend any more than the 39 seconds he did on it. You guys just made that up frankly and covered it live.

I'm glad that you gave press coverage to Medal of Honor recipients. They deserve some recognition, so that's great on the part of CNN and others. But he has said three things very clearly. He said it tonight and he has said that day at the press conference. He said, first, that it was Sydney Blumenthal and an Iowa volunteer coordinator for Hillary Clinton that first raised the issue. Donald Trump was being --

ACOSTA: You think he's put this issue behind him? And you think it's over?

CONWAY: Donald Trump is being a successful businessman in 2008. Hillary Clinton was running against Barack Obama for president. She had a vicious and nasty primary against him and she never saw Barack Obama coming just the way they never saw Bernie Sanders coming.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: On trade -- Kellyanne --

CONWAY: So -- and he answered that question three times tonight about birther. You're asking if he's put it behind him, of course he has but just so continue to ask it.

ACOSTA: All right. Thank you, Kellyanne. Back to you, Wolf. Back to you, Wolf.

BLITZER: Thank you very much, Jim Acosta.

Coming up the candidates clashed over crime and police tactics. We'll have a reality check on who got it right, and more results from our instant poll. That's coming up as well.


[23:56:51] BLITZER: Lots of statements were made by the candidates at this first presidential debates. Let's do a reality check right now.

Tom Foreman is stand by. Tom, what did you find out? TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, Donald Trump was sort of

channeling his convention speech where he bought up the issue of crimes, saying something must be done about it. And he likes the idea of police using more stop and frisk tactics. Hillary Clinton says no way. Listen.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have to bring back law and order. Now whether or not in a place like Chicago you do stop and frisk which worked very well. Mayor Giuliani is here. It worked very well in New York. It brought the crime rate way down. But you take the gun away from criminals that shouldn't be having it.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Stop and frisk was found to be unconstitutional, and in part because it was ineffective. It did not do what it needed to do.


FOREMAN: So who is right about this? Well, we do know that from 2002 to 2011 in New York City stop and frisk was stepped way up. Look at the numbers back 2002 to almost 700,000 in 2011, and crime was going down during that period of time. However, the decrease in crime did not seem to match up with such a dramatic increase here, and just as importantly, out of all the stops it made in roughly this period of time, more than five million stops, guns were found on people far less than 1 percent of the time.

And when stop and frisk stopped, the crime rate generally kept going down, so all of that says that Donald Trump's claim about this is simply false and Hillary Clinton's claim about it is true -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Stand by, Tom. I want to go to Jim Sciutto. He's been doing a reality check as well. What did you find out, Jim?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, the issue here, international trade. Donald Trump accused Hillary Clinton of flip-flopping on the Asian trade deal known as TPP, that's the Trans Pacific Partnership. Here's what he had to say tonight.


TRUMP: You called it the gold standard of trade deals.

CLINTON: And you know what?

TRUMP: You said it's the finest deal you've ever seen.


TRUMP: And then you heard what I said about it and all of a sudden you were against it.

(END VIDEO CLIP) SCIUTTO: So his claim that she flip-flopped on TPP, in fact that she supported TPP but only reversed after Donald Trump criticized the deal. Hillary Clinton's response was that she only supported it she said before she saw all the details, claiming she only hoped the deal was the gold standard. Have a listen.


CLINTON: The facts are, I did say, I hoped it would be a good deal, but when it was negotiated --


CLINTON: Which I was not responsible for, I concluded it wasn't.


SCIUTTO: So let's look at the facts. As secretary of state, Hillary Clinton did call the TPP the gold standard. In fact here is her saying that at an event in Australia in 2012.


CLINTON: This TPP sets the gold standard in trade agreements to open free, transparent, fair trade, the kind of environment that has the rule of law and a level playing field.


SCIUTTO: You heard it there. Sets the gold standard. You'll notice no mention of the word "hoping" that it sets the gold standard. Our verdict on this, that Donald Trump's accusation is true, that Hillary Clinton did flip-flop on the TPP.

Of course for this and all other fact-checks, make sure you go to -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Jim Sciutto. Thanks very much.

Anderson, back to you.