Return to Transcripts main page


NYPD Chief "Concerned" Over Obama's Inmate Release; Specific Debate Demands from GOP Campaigns Revealed; Look Back at 2000 Election, Bush v. Gore. Aired 11:30-12p ET

Aired November 2, 2015 - 11:30   ET


[11:30:00] ROBERT BUDSOCK, PRESIDENT & CEO, INTEGRITY HOUSE: Well, I could talk to you about our experience at Integrity House. We've been around since 1968 and we provide opportunities for individuals to reclaim their lives. Starting many years ago, we started working with the criminal justice system and we find once individuals come into programs like Integrity House, and we provide the treatment, job training, support of housing and help them build the appropriate supports, that they can and they do recover. Addiction is a disease and it cannot be treated through the criminal justice system. It needs be a partnership between agencies like the Integrity House and criminal justice system. This is for nonviolent offenders also. Individuals that have committed crimes with guns or involve violence, absolutely, they must pay the price for that. But for nonviolent, criminally addicted criminal offenders, absolutely treatment is the only way out for them.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: And there is a range, obviously, there, but when it comes to applying to a federal job, you have one box to check, Paul, and that's this -- that's one of the things the president is pushing for. It's called ban the box. This check box on an application that says whether -- you check if you've been convicted of a crime. You take issue with banning the box, though. Why?

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: This is a movement spreading across the country. Many states are looking at doing this. Many cities have already done it.

The problem I have with it is particularly with small employers. Knowing whether somebody has criminal law background -- criminal conviction background could be important. It depends on the kind -- you're not going to put a bank robber in a bank, for example. And what they're proposing is not to ban asking the question but to delay asking the question. So, now you're going to interview, you've got five great candidates and you make an offer to one of them, who turns out to be a convicted felon who doesn't fit the picture. Now, you have to restart the whole process. Employers are saying that's going to cost them a lot of money.

The second reason I'm opposed to it is, it defies common sense. If somebody's been in prison for ten years, let's say, and I run a small business, my law firm. The first thing I look at when I look at a resume is, is there a gap in the resume? Because gaps in the resume usually indicate people are changing jobs and they don't want you tracking down what other jobs they had. If I see a candidate with a 10-year gap in his resume, I can't ask, I say, what were you doing for those 10 years? Am I going to get sued for asking that question?

BOLDUAN: That's for federal employees, but your point is a point well taken.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Robert, the big picture here is this is about recidivism, right? You can keep people who are released from prison out of prison, so you're solving two problems, right there. You're solving prison overpopulation and federal spending and also solving what happens on the outside. Do you see this as the right way to go?

BUDSOCK: Yes. The answer is that these offenders coming out of prison, that they get the appropriate level of addiction treatment, that they get opportunities at employment and they get opportunities for safe, supportive housing. What we've seen in the city of Newark, the mayor has been very supportive of our efforts, and many small businesses in the city of Newark actually come to us because they feel that the individuals have been rehabilitated through the Integrity House program and are continuing to receive urine testing are some of their best employees. You know, recently we just had a pizza delivery here yesterday from Ricotta Tomato Pie from Norton, the Four Corner portion of New Jersey, and the owner came to deliver the pies and personally wanted to thank me for the amazing talent that we've been referring to his establishment that have been working out well.

CALLAN: Ironically, if you asked -- you know, you asked an employee about, have you ever been to Integrity House, that might violate this law. A program like Robert's program is a great program, but if a convict was to reveal that he had spent time at Integrity House, that would be revealing a criminal record. And maybe it would be a good thing that would get him the job. I think we have to be really careful about how we structure these laws.

BOLDUAN: One thing is for sure, the president is coming to highlight Integrity House today for all of the good work you are doing, Robert.

Robert, thank you very much. Great to see you.

Paul, great to see you as always.

Coming up for us, debate demands. GOP candidates trying to gain control over future debates, but should they be running the show? What do that debate look like, friends? We just got our copy of their specific demands. We'll show you.

[11:34:37] BERMAN: And do you remember this? Oh, my, the hanging chads, the recount. We have new details about the 36 days that America waited for its next president. The epic battle, Bush versus Gore. Here's a question, could something like this ever happen again?


BOLDUAN: The next Republican presidential debate is just around the corner and all is not well inside the Republican Party. The candidates are fuming over last week's chaotic debate on CNBC. So mad, they convened a so-called meeting of the families. Last night, gathering reps from almost every campaign to put together their demands for future debates.

BERMAN: These demands, including a two-hour time limit, 30 seconds for opening and closing remarks, and equal speaking time for all the candidates.

But there is more, so much more, because Dylan Byers -- you see on the screen there -- he broke it. He got a list of demands. Let's bring him in to talk, our senior media and politics reporter-- go, Dylan.

[11:40:02] DYLAN BYERS, CNN SENIOR MEDIA & POLITICS REPORTER: Hey, John, how you doing? So, what we have here is the sort of draft of the letter that the 15 presidential campaigns are sending to the media organizations that are sponsoring the upcoming debates. And what they include sort of ranges from the major to the mundane. Among the more major, they don't want any more lightning rounds because they think those devolve into gotcha questions. They want 30-second opening statements, 30-second closing statements. They don't want to raise their hands. They want to have preapproval over any biographical information that might show up on the screens. These are some of the bigger demands. Then getting down to the logistical and mundane, they want to know how far away the bathrooms are. They want to make sure there are no shots from behind the podium so the camera catches a hold of whatever notes they have on screen and on and on and on.

BOLDUAN: Also says that you will not have any reaction shots of members of the audience or moderators during the debates. I might be speaking out of turn here, but you're not going to tell a CNN control room or any other network control room what the director -- what the director's shots are going to be.

BYERS: So, here -- this is where we get to the issue of the slippery slope about editorial control. If you look at what the campaigns are asking for, their requests are relatively modest when paired against some of the things they said they were going to ask for going into Sunday night's meeting. But once you start giving up a little bit of editorial control, once you start saying, OK, you can pre-approve the graphics we run on screen, you can approve what shots we can take of the stage and not take, that's a slippery slope. That's when you get to the question, who is determining the debate, is it the media or the political campaigns.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely.

Dylan, great reporting. There's a lot more to come of this. Great to see you. Thanks so much, Dylan.

So, let's discuss all of this that's coming out right now. With us is Sean Spicer, the chief strategist for the RNC.

So, Sean, we've got this new draft letter. I'm sure you have seen it. Are these going to -- is this going to happen?

SEAN SPICER, CHIEF STRATEGIST FOR THE REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: It's going to happen in the sense the candidates will send it and ask each network to answer it. I think the candidates have a right to ask what they all collectively want to see. It's quite another, as you pointed out, the networks don't have to agree to it, but if they don't, the candidates have a decision to make whether they'll attend the debate or not. But at the end of the day, I think it's right for candidates to know what they're walking into. So, when it comes to formatting issues, the candidates definitely have a right and an obligation to be forefront in this process.

BERMAN: Sean, one of the things people are talking about, it was like a meeting of the five families behind the scenes, like from "The Godfather. If that's true, you just got whacked. You were the Republican official in charge of negotiating with the campaigns -- listen, listen -- the campaigns and the networks here. And we saw you at the debates. You were working 22, 23 hours a day --

SPICER: Right.

BERMAN: -- to make this right. I'm just confused as to what the campaigns really want here that they did not have already? Because if their problem is with the CNBC questions, you know, they're not saying, you can't ask this, you can't ask that. They're doing just the structural issues around the side.

SPICER: Right. But look, it's not five families. Five would be a lot easier. We've got 15. That's part of the problem.


We've never wanted to be in the format business. That's always been and it always should be the candidates at the forefront of that process. However, when you have that many, the RNC has tried to advocate things collectively in the best of all of them. We welcome this move. We've never wanted to be in the format issue. Having them get engaged with the networks and determine whether or not they agree with what the networks are willing to do or not do is actually a good thing for this process. So we welcome this. They understand we have an important role in terms of the logistics piece of these debates, sanction, the debates, setting the calendar, doing the logistics that make the debate happen. That's what the party's role is and should be and will continue to be.

BOLDUAN: One of the suggestions coming out of the meeting of the families was that these rules, these suggestions, these demands, call it what you want, are not going to apply to the FOX debate but all the debates going forward. I heard you say this morning say it has to do with folks are happy with the FOX debate. But other folks are saying, from inside the meeting, this had more to do with folks being scared of Roger Ailes.

SPICER: There's a lot of things at play. One, you're eight days out, so there's not so much that can be changed when you don't have the leeway, the time, the runway to make it happen. Second of all, again, it's not my job or the RNC's job to tell the candidates what they want. If they like the format as FOX has put forward, then that's all we care about here at the RNC. Our job is not to tell them how it should be. If they're happy with the forma format, great. If they're not happy, they can advocate --


BOLDUAN: But one thing they're not happy with, Sean --


[11:45:08] BOLDUAN: Real quick, one thing that they're not. I know, and I'm sorry to cut you off. One thing they're not happy with, you heard Ted Cruz saying, no one should be able to moderate a debate if they've never voted in a Republican primary. They're mad at the questioning. They're not hearing from conservatives. But the CNN debates, we have Hugh Hewitt. Hugh Hewitt has been asking questions. He's a very strong conservative voice. So, what they're happy with and not happy with, they don't seem to be in alignment with what they're saying publicly and privately.

SPICER: One, Hugh did a great job. I would love to have more Hugh. That's where I think the candidates -- it's not that -- part of this is moderators who don't understand what the Republican grass roots, what the Republican voters want, I think our candidates to want see more of that. We would welcome in the upcoming debates more Hugh Hewitt. That's what our candidates would like. We would like to see more conservatives. That's one thing we added this year from the RNC. We ensure not only did we take the calendar, we ensure that we added states to the process, but we also added a conservative element to every debate. If it wasn't for the RNC, there's no way Hugh Hewitt would be sitting at that stage. There's no way some of these other partnerships would be existing. So I think it's a positive step forward. I would like to see it go even further. I would like to see more Hugh Hewitt. I would like to see more conservatives on stage.

BERMAN: All right, Sean. Sean Spicer for us. Thanks for being with us and thanks for all the work you've done along with us over the last several months. Appreciate it.

BOLDUAN: Not said by Sean, but he'd also like to see more --

SPICER: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: -- John Berman and Kate Bolduan covering the debates. That's what I heard him say.

SPICER: It's like a cow bell. You can't have enough of you guys.


BERMAN: I agree with that.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Sean.

BERMAN: Thanks, Sean.

So, did ISIS, did it help take down this passenger plane in Sinai. The head of U.S. Intelligence says he will not rule it out. We have new details about what U.S. intelligence now says about this flight.

BOLDUAN: Also ahead, Democrats brought a knife to a gun fight. That's what one adviser says about the endless election of 2000. New details about the 36 days as America waited for a president. And could it happen again?


[11:51:47] BERMAN: All right. Tonight on CNN, a look back at the 2000 presidential election, the race with the most contentious and unusual and, in fact, unprecedented result in modern history. George W. Bush versus Al Gore, the recount, and the hanging chads and the halted recount, the Supreme Court, full-contact politics. Those who were in the middle of it, they knew that whatever happened, whatever the outcome, they would be accused of stealing the election.

BOLDUAN: Chief political analyst, Gloria Borger, takes a revealing look behind the scenes of the 36-day Florida recount battle from those who lived and breathed every grueling moment. And here is one look at "Bush v. Gore, The Endless Election."


GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): A well- respected Tallahassee lobbyist with ties to Jeb Bush, and a long history in Republican politics, Max Stipanovich, became Katherine Harris' brain.

JOHN "MAX" STIPANOVICH, TALLAHASSEE LOBBYIST: I explain to her, you don't understand that we will be loathed by the media for the rest of our lives and through the lives of our grandchildren. That is not what is important today. We are doing to elect a president of the United States today, and that forget all of that other stuff.

BORGER: As Americans watched partisans watched it be duked out everyday the on TV, Max was plotting the Republican path to victory.

STIPANOVICH: I called the senior staff together and I said that we are not going to break any laws, but I want you to forget about the intent of the laws. We are going to bring in election in for a landing, and we're going fight them tooth and nail and house to house, and hand in hand, and we were going to be holding Florida unless they sent in the federal troops.

BORGER: He knew exactly what he had to do, stop recounting votes, and preserve Bush's election night lead, no matter how small.

STIPANOVICH: We actually believed the result was right. We said that George Bush has won this election, and it is our job to make it so, and we are going to rapidly as possible close off any option, any path that the could be followed that produces an end result other than that one. And people are going to watch this and be appalled. Oh, my god, the corrupt bastards, they stole the election. No, we won the election.



BERMAN: With us now is CNN's chief political analyst, Gloria Borger.

Gloria, when he says that we are going to be holding Florida unless they send in the federal troops, you can hear the intensity of how they were ready to fight. You are probably remembering all of this. And were Gore's folks the same way?

BORGER: No, they weren't. That is what is so stunning to me in talking to them about it. They openly admit that they brought, as they put it, a knife to a gun fight. That the Republicans went to Florida to preserve the victory. They went to Florida, because they had already conceded once, to contest an election. And so when Jim Baker and Max Stipanovich and those guys were there, they said that we are going to preserve this, and that was a better place for them to be. And the Democrats, to this day, say that we didn't fight as hard, and we were bifurcated, there were the people in Washington, the people in Florida, and for some reason -- you know, you had had eight years of Democrats and the Republicans were hungrier. And today, they say it was uneven battle, and they lost it.

[11:55:21] BERMAN: 15 years ago starting next week, Gloria -- and we have 20 seconds left -- what struck you the most about the people that you spoke with, because that is extraordinary honesty.

BORGER: Yes, they are honest. They're had 15 years to reflect, and not spinning anymore, and it is an important moment in American political history, the closest election in modern political history. I think all of them at this point are going to be saying that we will tell the truth as it happened.

BOLDUAN: Fascinating.


BOLDUAN: No kidding.

Gloria, it's great to see you.

BORGER: Thanks.

BOLDUAN: Thanks so much.

And be sure that you watch the CNN special report tonight, 9:00 eastern, "Bush V. Gore, The Endless Election."

Thank you so much for joining us AT THIS HOUR.

BERMAN: "Legal View" with Ashleigh Banfield starts right after this.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.