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State of the Union
Interview With Mike Huckabee; Interview With Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders; Trump Surges in Polls; Donald Trump's Comments Divide The GOP; Hillary Clinton Defends Record; Greeks Casting Ballots. John Kerry's Meeting With Iranian Officials. Aired 9-10a ET
Aired July 05, 2015 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Feel the Bern.
As huge crowds show up to see Bernie Sanders...
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (VT-I), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In case you haven't noticed, there are a lot of people here.
TAPPER: ... can the socialist senator derail Hillary Clinton? He will join us live in minutes.
Plus, the Donald doubles down on his comments about illegal Mexican immigrants.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Who's doing the raping? Who's doing the raping?
TAPPER: Some corporations might be dropping him, but he is surging in the polls and dividing the GOP, this as the Republican race tightens.
Mike Huckabee returns to Iowa, the state he won in 2008. Will voters there embrace him this time around? I will ask him live.
And the best political team on television will be here with insights from the campaign trail.
TAPPER: Good morning. I'm Jake Tapper in Washington, D.C., where the state of our union is safe and sound.
FBI warnings about an ISIS threat that led to higher security at holiday events across the country were drowned out by the sound of fireworks. And at parades and barbecues across America, alongside the hot dogs and mustard, you could find politicians. You know there's nothing a presidential hopeful loves more than kissing a few babies and waving the flag.
And they were out in full force, because the race for 2016 is heating up. A new CNN poll this week shows insurgent candidates on the move, with Donald Trump continuing to surge, gaining on Jeb Bush.
And just behind them both nationally, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who joins me now live from Santa Rosa Beach, Florida.
Governor Huckabee, thanks so much for joining us. And happy Fourth.
MIKE HUCKABEE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you, Jake. Happy Fourth of July to you as well.
TAPPER: Governor, I want to start with that poll. You're doing well nationwide. You're third place, but you're -- you're dropping in Iowa, where you won the caucuses in 2008. In May, you told me that your Iowa poll numbers would pick up after you announced. But they seem to be going in the wrong direction. How are you going to turn that around?
HUCKABEE: Well, in one poll, they did, but in most of the polls, we're doing very well in Iowa.
And the one consistency in all the polls, whether they're national or state by state, is that I continue to lead in favorability and likability. And, as you well know, Jake, in a long, long, long process of running as president...
HUCKABEE: ... what really matters is whether or not the people like you and can trust you. People go up and down in the horse race. But the horses aren't even out of the gate yet, so we have got a long way to go.
And I'm happy with where we are. And I think we're in much better shape in Iowa than that one sort of outlier poll seemed to indicate.
TAPPER: Your party this week has been divided over comments made by one of your fellow candidates, Donald Trump, that he's made about illegal Mexican immigrants, Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney, Marco Rubio, George Pataki all condemning him, Ted Cruz supporting him.
Where do you stand on what Donald Trump has been saying?
HUCKABEE: Well, honestly, Donald Trump needs no help from Mike Huckabee to get publicity. He's doing a really good job of that.
So, I think what I have been doing is focusing on what my own views of immigration happen to be, rather than weighing in on getting in this battle of, are we with Trump or against Trump? Look, I'm for some reasonable approaches to immigration that start with a secure border. I have committed to get that done within a year.
And the reason I say that we would do that, Jake, 73 years ago, we built a 1,700-mile road from British Columbia to Alaska in less than a year. The fact that people say, oh, we can't secure the border, that's nonsense. This country can do it if we want to. You just have to have a president who is committed to it. TAPPER: Well, I hear what you're saying about wanting to focus on
your own immigration policy, but a lot of people, a lot of Republicans think that the language Trump is using is damaging to the Republican brand, especially as we approach the 2016 election, where the Latino vote will not be insignificant.
Take a listen to this from the 2012 nominee, Mitt Romney.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: Do you think Donald Trump's comments on Mexicans have hurt the Republican Party?
MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes. I think he made a severe error in saying what he did about Mexican-Americans. And, you know, it was unfortunate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: So, the question is not just like what he's saying, but the idea that it bleeds over into the -- the brand.
As somebody who -- I remember covering you in 2008. You did not speak that way about illegal immigrants. In fact, you expressed sympathy for the children of illegal immigrants. Do his comments bother you at all in terms of what they're doing to the Republican brand?
HUCKABEE: Well, I say some things very differently. I say every night, I get on my knees and thank God I'm in a country people are trying to break into, rather than one they're trying to break out of.
My own experience as a governor of Arkansas, with many, many immigrants, not just from Mexico, but from throughout the areas of Central and South America, my experience is that most of them have come for opportunity. They come to help their families, some of the hardest-working people, interestingly, too, Jake -- and I think this is often lost -- some of the most conservative, family-oriented and faith-based people I have ever witnessed.
And so are there some people who come with nefarious goals? Yes. That's why we need to secure the border. That's why we need to get control of it. But I would never besmirch all the people who come here, because I think, sometimes, we get wrapped up in how many people are coming. The real question is, why are they coming?
If they're coming because they want to be part of the American dream, if they want to come and share our flag, our interests, our language, assimilate into our culture because they believe in what we stand for, you know, then that's the same reason our ancestors came.
TAPPER: I know you were deeply disappointed in the Supreme Court's ruling on same-sex marriage. And you called for -- before the decision, actually, you called for term limits for the justices. Tell us, what do you think those term limits should be? And how high a priority is amending the Constitution to achieve this in a Huckabee administration?
HUCKABEE: Well, even the supporters of same-sex marriage should be very concerned that, as Justice Scalia, I think, very brilliantly wrote, what you now have is that our country is being ruled by a majority of nine lawyers who are not representative of the population as a whole. That's very disturbing.
And if people say, well, I love that ruling, great. So, one day, when we have a conservative court -- and let's hope we do -- I guarantee you, in a Huckabee administration, there will be very different kind of people appointed to the court -- let's say that the court reverses this decision, and in fact goes back and reverses Roe v. Wade and says that every person from conception forward should be treated with dignity, respect, and protected.
Now, will the left, who celebrate this court decision, be just as willing to accept that court decision? My guess is, they will absolutely blow a gasket. We have a process if we want to change things, and it's called the process of legislation, the art of political persuasion. All of that was thrown out of the window.
So, for even those who think that the result was good, I hope they would agree that the means by which it was achieved is absolutely unacceptable.
TAPPER: but tell us more about your plan to change the Constitution to have term limits for justices. How long should the terms be?
HUCKABEE: That's something for discussion. I mean, let's say if we made it 16 years, even 20 years. I don't have a specific, arbitrary goal in mind.
I just think that people, whether they're in the executive branch, legislative, or judicial branch, shouldn't see their appointment to a office as permanent, that it would be that they have no accountability whatsoever. And I also think when a person can be appointed to the Supreme Court and stay there for 40 years, my gosh, they might have outlived, you know, six or seven presidents during that course of time.
And I'm just not sure that that's a healthy thing. By the way, Thomas Jefferson wanted there to be term limits for members of the Supreme Court, pushed for it. But the consensus was, gee, nobody will stay that long. It's not necessary to put it in the Constitution.
I think, if Jefferson were here today, he'd have said, I wish he'd have pushed harder.
TAPPER: Let me just turn this, if I could, onto a more philosophical direction, away from the idea of how the Supreme Court ruled, but just on the issue of same-sex marriage.
Which do you think threatens to undermine the institution of marriage in this country more, same-sex marriage or the rampant ranks of infidelity and the high divorce rates in this country among straight couples?
HUCKABEE: Kind of like asking me which wing of the airplane is the one that's most important, the one on the left, the one on the right?
The whole point of marriage is to create a relationship where two people are committed as life partners. One of the mistakes we have even heard over the course of the same-sex marriage debate is that marriage is all about just love and feeling and sentimentality.
And, regardless, heterosexual marriage is largely in trouble today because people see it as a selfish means of pleasing self, rather than a committed relationship in which the focus is upon meeting the needs of the partner.
And that sense of selfishness and the redefinition of love as to something that is purely sentimental and emotional has been destructive. And I think it will prove to be destructive in every definition of marriage, be it heterosexual or homosexual or polygamy or wherever the marriage redefinition ends up taking us over the course of the next few years.
TAPPER: You have always been very willing to weigh in on popular culture. I remember fondly you and I having discussions about this in 2008 when I covered you.
I want to give you an opportunity to clear something up, because you have often criticized Beyonce in particular, and you wrote in your book that her husband, Jay-Z, might be -- quote -- "crossing the line from husband to pimp."
I heard from a lot of viewers out there who wonder why you would say that about Beyonce, but stand by another pop culture figure, Josh Duggar, a supporter of yours who admitted to molesting members of his own family, of whom you said -- quote -- "Good people make mistakes and do regrettable and even disgusting things."
I have heard from a lot of viewers who see a real disconnect here. You're criticizing Beyonce, and yet standing by not what Josh Duggar did, but him as a person.
Can you help explain that to them?
HUCKABEE: Well, sure.
First of all, I didn't often say something about Beyonce. It was a about a quarter-of-a-page in an almost 300-page book. It was a bleep, a quick reference to cultural -- if people get the whole book, they will get the gist of it.
But the issue with the Duggars was not that I was standing by Josh Duggar and anything he did. In fact, I used words like that it was disgusting, that it was unacceptable. I mean, I was very clear that the behavior itself was wrong.
What I was standing by was the fact that there were innocent people, including his sisters and others, the victims, who were exposed, humiliated. And there was no sense in which their concerns and their own dignity was respected.
I found that the process by which this was released, it was utterly illegal. As governor of Arkansas, I can tell you that those juvenile records should never have been released. That was against the law. Somebody did that in flagrant violation of the law. So, was I standing by someone who did something wrong? No. I said that what he did was absolutely unconscionable. But nothing is unforgivable.
TAPPER: All right.
Governor Mike Huckabee, we look forward to hitting the road with you on the campaign trail and talking to you more. Thanks so much for joining us and happy Fourth to you and yours.
HUCKABEE: Thank you, Jake. Great to be with you.
TAPPER: Check this out, Friday night in Iowa, this packed house, the biggest single turnout for any candidate on either side so far in the Hawkeye State, so reports "The Des Moines Register." And who were they there for? Democratic contender Bernie Sanders.
And he is with us live next.
TAPPER: Welcome back to the STATE OF THE UNION. I'm Jake Tapper.
You might say he's burning up the campaign trail. Vermont independent Senator Bernie Sanders drawing huge crowds as he fights an uphill battle to become the Democratic nominee for president, drawing thousands of progressive supporters who are excited by the idea of a more liberal option than front-runner Hillary Clinton.
And this weekend with Bernie is in Iowa, where he joins us from live.
Senator Sanders, thanks for being with us, as always.
SANDERS: My pleasure.
TAPPER: So, Senator, your colleague Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill, who is supporting Hillary Clinton for president, recently had some sharp words about you. I want you to take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL (D), MISSOURI: I think the media is giving Bernie a pass right now. I very rarely read in any coverage of Bernie that he's a socialist. I think Bernie is too liberal to gather enough votes in this country to become president. (END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: She went on from there, but you get the general gist. That's pretty tough stuff from a fellow senator and Democrat and surrogate from Hillary Clinton.
I wanted to give you an opportunity to respond to the idea that we don't cover enough that you're a socialist or that you're too liberal to win a general election.
SANDERS: Well, I think that the issues that I am talking about, Jake, and that is the 40-year collapse of the American middle class, the fact that almost all new income and wealth created in America today is going to the top 1 percent, the fact that millions of people are working longer hours for lower wages, despite a huge increase in productivity and technology, the fact that we are the only major country on Earth that does not guarantee health care to all people, or have family and medical leave, or have sick time, or have paid vacation time, the fact that we have a political system today, a campaign finance system which is essentially corrupt, which says that the billionaire class, the Koch brothers, other billionaires can put as much money as they want into the political process, and elect candidates to make the rich richer, and if I may say so, Jake -- and you have heard me say this before -- the fact that we have a media today that looks at politics as if it were a soap opera or a baseball game, rather than allowing us to focus on the real issues facing the American people.
And I think people are coming out to our meetings because they want to hear some straight talk. They want to hear some truth about what's going on in America today.
TAPPER: Well, I feel like we have talked about your issues, your priorities, income inequality, before, and we will again. And I will ask you about that later in the interview.
But I do want to ask you another question about Senator McCaskill in a sense. The idea that she's attacking you is intriguing to me, because I found out after hearing what she had to say that there isn't anybody in Congress, in the House, where you served for 16 years, or the Senate, where you served for nine years, who has endorsed you. I find that surprising.
I'm wondering if you have a theory as to why that is.
SANDERS: Well, of course I have a theory as to why that is.
First of all, I think we will get some endorsements. But I think it's very clear to say that Secretary Clinton is the candidate of most of the members of Congress, is the candidate of the Democratic establishment.
As you know, I am the longest serving independent in the history of the United States Congress. I am running for the Democratic nomination to be president. But Secretary Clinton has long ties with many of the Democrats in Congress, so it should not be a surprising.
But I think what is equally interesting is the fact that, all over this country, ordinary people, working people, elderly people are moving in our direction because they do want a candidate to take on the establishment.
So, I think we will get some congressional support, as this campaign progresses. But one should not be surprised that much of the establishment is not with me at this point.
TAPPER: One issue where your Democratic rivals are starting to hit you is the fact that you have, in the past, sided with the NRA on some gun issues.
Earlier this year, the parents of one of the 12 innocent people killed during the Aurora movie theater shooting, they saw their lawsuit to hold ammunition sellers liable for the attack, they saw that dismissed. And one of the reasons was a law that you voted for which protects manufacturers of firearms and ammunition from being sued.
Why did you vote that way?
SANDERS: Well, let me just talk about guns for a moment.
We have been yelling and screaming at each other about guns for decades, with very little success. I come from a state that has virtually no gun control. But the people of my state understand, I think, pretty clearly, that guns in Vermont are not the same thing as guns in Chicago or guns in Los Angeles.
In our state, guns are used for hunting. In Chicago, they're used for kids in gangs killing other kids or people shooting at police officers, shooting down innocent people.
We need a sensible debate about gun control which overcomes the cultural divide that exists in this country. And I think I can play an important role in this. I voted to ban semiautomatic assault weapons. I voted to make sure that there's an instant background check. I voted to make sure that guns do not get into the hands of people who should not have them by doing away with a loophole that exists in the gun show legislation.
Virtually every campaign that I have been in where the NRA and the gun folks have had a position, they voted and support -- opposed me. In fact, I have about a D-minus record from the NRA.
Now, the issues that you're talking about is, if somebody has a gun and it falls into the hands of a murderer, and that murderer kills somebody with the gun, do you hold the gun manufacturer responsible? Not anymore than you would hold a hammer company responsible if somebody beat somebody over the head with a hammer. That is not what a lawsuit should be about.
And this is part, by the way, I may say, of -- you know, folks who do not like guns is fine, but we have millions of people who are gun owners in this country; 99.9 percent of those people obey the law. I want to see real serious debate and action on guns. But it is not going to take place if we simply have extreme positions on both sides. I think I can bring us to the middle.
TAPPER: Let's turn to the issue of income inequality, an issue you talk about quite a bit on the stump.
In an interview with John Harwood recently, you spoke favorably of the tax rates when Dwight Eisenhower was president. The top marginal tax rate, I believe, was about 92 percent for income over $400,000 per year. Do you really think there should be a marginal tax rate above 90 percent?
SANDERS: No. In fact, I have never said that. That's something that's kind of gone around.
What I do think, Jake, is that when you have major American corporations making billions of dollars in profit, stashing their profits in the Cayman Islands and other tax havens, and not paying a nickel in a given year in federal taxes, clearly, that has got to change.
When you have oil companies making billions of dollars not paying anything in federal taxes, that has got to change. When you have Warren Buffett, one of the richest guys in the world, telling us that his effective tax rate is lower than his secretary's or truck drivers or nurses, of course that has got to change.
So, what we are working on now is a -- and have introduced legislation, is for a tax on Wall Street speculation. I think we have got to dampen down that speculation on Wall Street. In my view, we ought to break up the major financial institutions. We have to do away with these corporate tax havens.
And, yes, we have to raise individual tax rates substantially higher than they are today, because almost all of the new income is going to the top 1 percent. And, yes, those folks and large corporations will have to pay, under a Sanders administration, more in taxes, so that we can use that revenue to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure, create the jobs we need, make sure that every kid who has the ability is able to get a college education in America, because public colleges and public universities will be tuition-free.
TAPPER: Senator, if I could touch on a social issue that's been in the press a lot lately, same-sex couples, same-sex marriage, you have been way out in front when it comes to the rights of same-sex couples.
I'm wondering if you support, as I have heard from many other progressives, the idea of taking away the tax exemption from any organizations, including religious ones, that do not recognize same- sex marriage?
SANDERS: I don't know that I would go there. Now, you know, we have religious freedom. And I respect people who have different points of view.
But my view is that people have a right to love each other, regardless of one's sexual orientation. I voted against the DOMA act, the so- called Defense of Marriage Act, way back in 1996 that was signed by President Clinton, because I think, if people are in love, they should be able to get married in this country in 50 states in America. And I strongly support what the Supreme Court recently said.
TAPPER: I know it's premature to ask you the type of person you would want to be your vice president, but if you were to get the nomination and then the presidency, could you give us a sense of the kinds of individuals you would want serving in your Cabinet?
Unlike many other presidents, they -- my Cabinet would not be dominated by representatives of Wall Street. I think Wall Street has played a horrendous role in recent years in negatively impacting our economy and in making the rich richer.
There are a lot of great public servants out there, great economists who for years have been standing up for the middle class and the working families of this country who know that it is an international embarrassment that we have the highest rate of childhood poverty of any major country on Earth.
And let me tell you something else, Jake, that I will appoint people to deal with the issue of youth unemployment today, which we don't talk about at all. Youth unemployment in this country, real youth unemployment for African-American kids is over 50 percent, the Hispanic kids, over 30 percent, and the same for white kids.
And that's why we have to create a whole lot of jobs to put our kids back to work, rather than put them in jail or incarcerate them or build new jails. So, I want a Cabinet that is focused on rebuilding the crumbling middle class, demanding that the wealthiest people and large corporations become part of America, and do not live as an island unto themselves.
TAPPER: Would it be impertinent if I pressed you just to give me a name or two, Krugman, Stiglitz? is there anybody that comes to mind?
SANDERS: Well, both -- Krugman does a great job. Stiglitz does a great job. Robert Reich, used to be secretary of labor under the Clinton administration, I think is doing a fantastic job.
But it's a little bit too early, I must say, to be appointing a Cabinet. Let me get elected first.
TAPPER: Fair enough, sir.
Thank you so much. Appreciate it, Senator Bernie Sanders.
SANDERS: Thank you, Jake.
TAPPER: When we come back: Donald Trump divided the Republicans and roiled corporate America with his comments about illegal immigrants. Now he's picking a new fight -- that after the break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[09:32:18] JEB BUSH (R), FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: ...wrong on this. It just, he's doing this -- I mean he's not a stupid guy, so I don't assume he's like -- he thinks that every Mexican crossing the border is a rapist. I mean, so he's doing this to inflame, and to incite, and to draw attention, which just seems to be his organizing principle of his campaign. And it doesn't represent the Republican Party or its values. But politically, we're going to win when we're hopeful, and optimistic and big and broad rather than, you know, grr, grr. Just angry all the time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: That was former Florida governor, Jeb Bush, yesterday. The latest Republican asked to weigh in on Donald Trump's comments about illegal immigrants. (INAUDIBLE) Trump (ph) not backing off.
So much to talk about here with the best political team on television joining us. CNN political commentator S.E. Cupp, CNN's Jeff Zeleny, CNN political commentator Van Jones, and Carol Lee of "The Wall Street Journal."
S.E., let me start with you. Donald Trump is really getting the attention he wants and he says he's getting attention for the issue that voters care about when you look at his poll numbers it doesn't seem to be hurting him.
S.E. CUPP. CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, the problem is, Trump is right in identifying problems correctly. And they are problems that I would say a majority of Americans would agree are problems.
The recent killing in San Francisco is an example of the tragedy of immigration reform and the need for change. The problem for Trump and the problem for Republicans is he talks about it in such a terrible way that people sort of tune it out. And then when substantive Republicans come on and want to talk about immigration they have a tough time because people hear that all Mexicans are rapists and they associate that with the rest of the party.
Now that said, I think he's actually making some Republicans look more serious that would not have that contrast if he were not in the race. So this could benefit some of the second and third tier Republicans.
TAPPER: Van, you were last week I think talking about how much you admired Mike Huckabee when it came to appointments and outreach to the African-American community when he was governor of Arkansas, but he did not take my bait when I asked him about Donald Trump.
[09:34:20] VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I thought he did a good job today though (ph) speaking in a heartful (ph) way and caring way about immigrants. 99.9 percent of most populations are good people. If I got here on television and said a white guy with a bad toupee killed somebody yesterday therefore I'm mad at Donald Trump people would say, that's bizarre. What does that have to do with anything?
You cherry pick one person who killed somebody and then you malign 14 million people. That's not leadership that's demagoguery. And I think that, you know, it may turn out later on that Hillary Clinton is actually paying Donald Trump to do this because it makes all Republicans look terrible.
TAPPER: You think that this is a leadership moment for the Republican candidates?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: I think it's a leadership moment or a lack of leadership moment and we saw Jeb Bush there very squarely addressing this. Of course, he was asked by...
TAPPER: A reporter.
ZELENY: ....a reporter at a parade but that's fine. He gave, I thought, a very, you know, strong, adult answer here.
Marco Rubio has still not really addressed this except in a short statement when asked by a reporter about this, a paper statement. I would call that sort of a leadership with a small "l" moment.
But I think that, you know, Rick Perry has addressed this and others. But if the Republican Party is going to grow its sort of outreach to Hispanic voters, I mean, they have to sort of stop this kind of discussion. People remember 27 percent. That's the percentage of the Hispanic vote that Mitt Romney won in 2012. George W. Bush, 40 percent in 2004.
There's no path to the White House for Republicans if they don't expand that 27 percent. And I think all this language is very difficult.
[09:40:50] TAPPER: And one of the things that was interesting, that the point that Mike Huckabee made which is a lot of Latinos or a lot of immigrants, he said, that certainly applies to Latino immigrants are socially very conservative. Church based, anti-same-sex marriage, anti-abortion, and yet they vote Democratic for a number of reasons.
One of the reasons is if you talk to Latino activists and Republican Latino activists, they hear too often from Republicans a message that we don't want you. That's what Jeb Bush and others are trying to change.
CAROL LEE, WALL STREET JOURNAL WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Right. And that's what Donald Trump's comments are doing. They're inflammatory.
You've seen the Republican Party. They've tried to -- they've invested millions in trying to do outreach to minorities, to Latino voters. There's a recognition, particularly after 2012, that you can't win a national election without reaching out to these groups. And Donald Trump is complicating that for them and creating some heartburn within the party., which is also why you've seen him isolated. I mean, most of the Republican candidates have distanced themselves from him. And that's the reason.
TAPPER: Let's take a listen to the latest Republican to join the presidential race, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, speaking at his old high school earlier in the week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: You're going to get what I think, whether you like it or not, or whether it makes you cringe every once in awhile or not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: People used to think he was -- he was the one that was going to make people cringe but actually, it's Donald Trump. When you say...
CUPP: Yes exactly.
TAPPER: ...that he makes...
TAPPER: ...Republicans look more statesman-like you're talking about the Chris Christies of the world?
CUPP: Yes. And Chris Christie has really cornered the market on straight talk, right, and was painted as this bully for the, you know, the shut up and sit down moments.
Next to Trump he actually looks pretty polite. And, you know, I think -- and more substantive. Chris Christie also has going for him that he's a sitting governor. So when he can go out and actually talk policy, whether it's on common core or something else, it reminds people that you're not just out giving a stump speech, you're working, you're getting things done. So he is elevated a bit because of that.
LEE: But, Chris Christie's problem is that when he gets out there and talks about substance, he has a low job approval rating. His state's unemployment rate is well below the national average. I mean he actually has, when you get beyond the personality and get in to his policies, you know, there's real questions that voters are going to raise.
ZELENY: We're exactly one month away from the first debate. If Donald Trump is in that debate, which we think he will be...
ZELENY: ...I can't even imagine the side show this is going to create.
ZELENY: You know, like you see he is going to be going after others? Are they going after him? This is really, I think, a bit of a distraction at least in the summertime.
CUPP: If the debates are anything like Trump's Twitter feed, I mean...
CUPP: ...imagine, because he doesn't hold anything back. He calls people names. He swears. I mean --
LEE: And then that becomes a distraction.
LEE: And then that forces the other candidates to be put on the spot in ways they don't want to be.
JONES: The thing about Chris Christie is that he's in a tough spot not just because the bridge gate thing, he's also running against other governors.
If he's running for -- to be the kind of the governor who gets things done -- you know, frankly Rick Perry had a much better record, Scott Walker has a much better record. So it's very difficult to see a pathway for him, except through his personality. And at this point you have 16 people -- running and they all got big personalities. So, I think it's tough for him now.
TAPPER: We're going to take a quick break. When we come back is Vice President Joe Biden getting into the race for 2016? Some surprising new reporting from our panel. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[09:43:18] HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I will fight against inequality. I have a long history of doing that. I will fight hard against what I see as the injustice and unfairness in our society.
I take a back seat to no one when you look at my record, and standing up and fighting for progressive values.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: "I take a back seat to no one." To no one. Who is she talking about there, Jeff Zeleny?
ZELENY: Bernie Sanders.
TAPPER: Bernie Sanders (INAUDIBLE).
ZELENY: Paging Bernie Sanders.
CUPP (ph): Elizabeth Warren.
TAPPER: But she does, well theoretically, except all that Warren energy is going to Bernie these days. But do you think that she actually faces a serious challenge on her left?
ZELENY: I think she faces a serious challenge in terms of the enthusiasm, and the organizing right now.
You know, we can talk about the 10,000 people that were in Madison, Wisconsin. But I'm more intrigued by the 2,500 people who were in Council Bluffs, Iowa, on Friday night to see Bernie Sanders. He is really capturing the minds and the hearts at this point of a lot of progressive liberals in the Iowa caucuses.
The question is will she be able to get them back in terms of organizing? So her team out there has some work to do on the ground generating enthusiasm for her. I mean, they sort of like her overall but no one is sort of that jazzed to go see her. She has to campaign more, quite frankly and she's not been doing it.
TAPPER: Van, when she was a senator, correct me if I'm wrong, she was a fairly moderate Democratic. I mean she wasn't this progressive fire brand?
[09:44:40] JONES: And neither was the Democratic Party, a party of fire brands. What's happened is the party has changed.
You now have three legs of the party. She represents more of the mainstream, more of the moderate, more of the pro-business. She's trying to get away from that a little bit because that part of our party is not very strong.
The two other wings, the economic populous wing represented by Bernie Sanders, represented by Elizabeth Warren. But nobody right now has gotten this third which is this racial justice wing that the black lives matter, the young dreamers talking about immigration. That passion in the party actually neither Bernie Sanders nor Hillary Clinton has tapped into. Whoever gets them will win.
If Bernie Sanders figures out a way as he was trying to do today, talking about jails and talking about...
JONES: ...if he taps into that racial justice passion she's in trouble.
TAPPER: I want to bring up one other thing having to do with Hillary Clinton that I know you're eager to talk about, S.E.
She tried to walk in a parade yesterday in New Hampshire and I think we have some photographs of this. To cordon off the press, they were put in this moving rope line, a la a veal pen and this is obviously making a lot of waves on social media. Although I have to say, I see a lot of Republicans loving it because they hate us more than they hate her.
CUPP: Well, I mean, this is humiliating. This is humiliating for reporters who have to abide by Hillary Clinton's rules of journalism.
And it's not just this. I mean, the entire campaign, she has, you know, kept them at a distance. She barely answers questions. There's all these rules. And actually I don't blame her. I blame reporters who put up with this.
The second they decide we're not doing this anymore. We're not going to cover your glossy events the way you want it, then she'll be forced to change this behavior.
ZELENY: To a point you're right. But she also has secret service protection. So, it's very common for reporters to follow the rules. I think this though -- the criticism is directed at the Clinton campaign on this.
ZELENY: We're trying to wrap her in bubble wrap this entire campaign and not let her actually associate with real people.
That's where the criticism on this...
ZELENY: ...I think goes not to the reporters.
LEE: The relationship between the Clinton campaign and the press is just hostile on both sides. And it's early for that.
LEE: It's like we're how many months out. And if it's that hostile now, reporters are being penned off like farm animals, then you know, where is it going to go?
JONES: I love Hillary Clinton but this is the worst visual metaphor. Before you could say she's not talking to reporters but you can't cover not talking. You can't show this image over and over again and it's awful.
CUPP: And I predict that like the Michael Dukakis tank moment which was so sort of visually emblematic of his failing campaign this will actually be a lasting image that she will have to combat going forward. TAPPER: Let's talk about another Democrat who polled third in Iowa
this week, Vice President Joe Biden who was not declared that he's running. Carol, "The Wall Street Journal" has some reporting on this. Is he thinking about running?
LEE: Well, some of my colleagues at the "Journal" have written this week that his son Beau before he died said that he wanted him to run and his other son Hunter has said that he also wants him to run.
The vice president clearly wants to run. He thinks he's qualified, more qualified than he's ever been. And he's sort of irritated by the fact that he's been discounted before he's even been considered. That said, the question for Joe Biden has always been what's the path.
Our latest poll had him at 40 percent approval rating. He, you know, doesn't clearly have a constituency. It's late to get the kind of infrastructure that he would need to run a campaign. But he's supposed to make a decision by August. You know, it remains to be seen what he'll do. There's this draft Biden movement, they're going to have a rally in July 25th --
ZELENY: All two of them.
ZELENY: I mean that, look, of course he wants to run as you said but he will leave office, if he leaves -- if he stays vice president and not run, he will be the most enhanced that he's been in such a long path. So I still do not see him running.
And he's not exactly, you know, the -- he would be in the same lane as Hillary Clinton here. He would not be in the Bernie Sanders lane of this campaign. So you're right. It's a difficult path for him.
LEE: Well, and the other thing is that he doesn't want to be a Bernie Sanders. If he's going to win he wants to run he wants to win. He doesn't want to just be a challenger to Hillary Clinton. That's (ph) not (ph) --
TAPPER: All right. Great panel. Thank you so much. When we come back join me at my giant cartoon wall for this week's special holiday edition of "State of the Cartoonion."
[09:53:22] TAPPER: It's a holiday weekend here in the U.S. but there is a lot happening around the world. We want to bring you up to speed.
In Greece, voters are casting their ballots on the question as to whether to accept deeper budget cuts in exchange for a bailout deal from the E.U. A no vote could result in the debt ridden country leaving the euro (ph) zone (ph). In Vienna, Secretary of State John Kerry is meeting with Iranian officials. Trying to hammer (ph) out that nuclear deal. A source telling CNN the two sides have reached a tentative agreement on relieve economic sanctions against Iran but there is much work left to do.
And in Canada, fans are gearing up for tonight's Women's World Cup final. The U.S. team is playing Japan a rematch of the 2011 World Cup. Vice President Biden (INAUDIBLE) his wife, of course, will be cheering on team USA in the crowd tonight.
Coming up, you may think you know everything there is to know about the fourth of July but our founding fathers, well, they have some dirty laundry. We'll share some of their secrets next.
[09:58:13] TAPPER: In honor of this weekend's fourth of July holiday we wanted to give you a little yankee doodle for this week's "State of the Cartoonion."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER (voice-over): On this fourth of July weekend, we give thanks, for this wonderful nation and we praise its founding fathers, like say presidents Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, who when they went against each other in 1800 were brutal.
The propaganda working for Jefferson called Adams, the incumbent president, a hideous hermaphroditical character with neither the force and firmness of a man or the gentleness and sensibility of a woman. A newspaper allied with Adams wrote that if Jefferson won, murder, robbery, rape, adultery and incest will be openly taught and practiced. This is how our founding fathers waged elections.
In 1828, Andrew Jackson's supporters said that President John Quincy Adams once provided a prostitute for Russian emperor Alexander. They called Adams the pimp of the coalition.
Team Quincy went after Andrew Jackson as a cannibal after his wife as a bigamist. When she died of a heart attack a month after the election President Jackson blames John Quincy Adams for her death.
So this election season when you Jeb Bush or Hillary or whomever engaged in political attacks, just remember all this mud, all this slime, it's American as apple pie.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[09:59:44] TAPPER: Thanks for spending your Sunday morning with us. I hope you have a happy Fourth of July weekend. You can catch me here every Sunday at 9:00 and noon, and on weekdays on "THE LEAD" at 4:00 p.m. eastern.
Go to CNN.com/SOTU, STATE OF THE UNION, for extras on the show.
I'm Jake Tapper in Washington, D.C.
"FAREED ZAKARIA GPS," starts right now.