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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA
Hillary Clinton: America Not Ready for female President; Hillary Clinton: Supreme Court Pick Based on Obama's Race; Trump Speech at Kiawah Island, S.C. Aired 11:30-12p ET
Aired February 18, 2016 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:30:00] HILARY ROSEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: A little bit of honesty from a candidate. Could you imagine?
Look, I think it's obvious. There is a -- if this country were ready for full equality for women, we would not have, you know, less than 10 percent of CEO seats and board seats and executive positions and -- I wouldn't make too much of this. I think she has consistently said don't vote for me because I'm a woman. Vote for me because you think I'll be the best president, but I think when you talk about the bigger picture, you kind of can't help but wonder whether there is this kind of little bit of being judged differently. I don't think that she's feeling sorry for herself about this. I think she was just analyzing it.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Amanda, what do you make of it? Is there any truth of the notion, perhaps not being decisive? Looking at pictures of Nikki Haley, elected to a position in governor, but being a governor and being a president are two different things.
AMANDA CARPENTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Here's the context I think Hillary Clinton is worried about. America may not be ready for her to be president. We are very comfortable with seeing women in executive positions. No one objected to the fact that she was secretary of state. This -- we have a country that loves to make history. I think everyone would be ready and willing to have a female president, but the issue is they don't want her to be the first president, first female president. That may be hard for her and her supporters to come to terms with.
BERMAN: Hilary Rosen, go ahead.
ROSEN: I just don't see it that way. With all due respect, Amanda, I think the statistics are -- let's not confuse the conversation with facts. Here's I think the piece that's kind of relevant for Hillary Clinton which is she is not saying vote for me because I'm a woman. She is saying I think I am the best person for the job.
Having said that, as media analysts, as political pundits, there's no question that you sit around a table and you judge a candidate a little bit differently. If Hillary Clinton is shouting, is that different? Does it come across different or harsher or more intense than if a Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump is shouting? There's just this constant evaluation of women in leadership in a way that isn't of men. And I -- look, I think the same was true of Carly Fiorina. I don't think this is a partisan issue. I just think it's something we ought to acknowledge, and Hillary Clinton saying get over it. But for us to just pretend it doesn't exist is silly.
BERMAN: Can I ask about something else out of this interview? A lot of it is Clinton trying to explain what's going on here. She said she's not good at selling herself. She says, "I'm great at saying we need to solve problems but not so good at promoting myself. I just find it hard to do."
You occasionally hear this from all politicians. I'm a bit suspect of it. Certainly, it's saying the problem isn't that I'm not right, the problem is convincing you that's I'm right. If you only knew why I was so right, things would be better.
CARPENTER: Yeah. Also she may be saying it's hard to do. I think it is hard for people to get up on the public stage. Hillary Clinton has endured a lot in the public stage. I don't think it's qualification to be president, but I wish she would have tied a bow on that saying it's hard for me to do but I did it. There's a lot of down talk to women who want to get into politics. We talk about women negotiating for salaries. It's hard for me to do. You have to go around the curve and say, it was hard for me but I did it because it matters. I'd like to see her lean forward a little bit more
BERMAN: Amanda Carpenter, Hilary Rosen, I do appreciate your --
ROSEN: I agree with that.
BERMAN: All right. I always like to end on agreement.
Moments away from now, Donald Trump, he will appear on that stage in South Carolina. This, as he leads in the South Carolina polls just two days before South Carolina votes in this Republican nomination battle. Again, the big question this morning is, how will he choose to spend the next two days? Will it be a quiet, gentle Donald Trump? Will he stay above the fray, or not?
[11:38:36] BERMAN: New this morning, comments from Hillary Clinton in an eye-popping piece in "The New York Times this morning that makes a bold claim about the fight over the Supreme Court, that opposition to the current president making a pick is based on race, or in other words racism.
Joining me, Jonathan Martin, national political correspondent for "The New York Times," one of the writers of this story.
Jonathan, you've been listening to people in South Carolina, talking to folks around the country. What are they saying and hearing? JONATHAN MARTIN, NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES:
Well, for a lot of African-Americans, the notion that President Obama should not be able to pick Scalia's replacement reflects what they see as kind of the last and even most appalling indignity that this president has suffered. Yes, you talk to African-Americans, like I did yesterday, whether they're -- you know, a guy grabbing lunch or a member of Congress, it doesn't take long to get to the heart of the matter. They believe it's racially driven. Now, of course, Republicans emphatically reject that. But if you talk to African- Americans, they will list to you a bill of particulars that includes questions about the president's Christianity, questions about his nationality, whether or not he was even born in America, the famous Joe Wilson "you lie" episode on the floor of the House, and now this desire among some in the GOP who block President Obama from picking a replacement on the Supreme Court in the final year of his presidency. It's sort of the last blow that has really angering folks in the black community.
[11:40:10] BERMAN: What you hear, again -- I'm not saying I agree with it -- but people are talking about language like, "It's time to take our country back," the idea that somehow the Obama presidency isn't legitimate. That is the --
MARTIN: That's exactly right.
BERMAN: And it doesn't just apply --
MARTIN: That's exactly right.
BERMAN: Go ahead, Jonathan.
MARTIN: That's exactly right. Oh, no, exactly. The question about the Scalia replacement is kind of the culminating indignity in the eyes of a lot of African-Americans. This is a pattern that African- Americans can cite chapter and verse.
To your point, it amounts to black folks thinking that a lot of conservatives don't believe that this president is legitimate. That's really the upshot of it. And, of course, they point to race. Now, if you talk to other Democrats, white Democrats, or obviously Republicans, they say this is not race. This is politics. And they don't like President Obama's liberal agenda, and they will point to the fact that President Bill Clinton, a white southerner, was impeached in the 1990s, something that President Obama hasn't been.
BERMAN: Jonathan, stick around for a moment.
I want to bring in Golden Taylor, editor-at-large at "The Daily Beast."
And I do want tell everyone, we're trying to get Ben Ferguson, a conservative voice here, who disagrees with this notion.
Goldie, you agree with what a lot of the voters are saying. Let me take the other side, because Ben isn't here. I think what a lot of conservatives would say is, we don't want President Obama to appoint a judge because we don't want the judge President Obama would appoint and we have the power to stop him, period, full stop.
GOLDIE TAYLOR, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, THE DAILY BEAST: Let me say it would be political malfeasance for Republicans not to attempt to stop this nomination. It feeds their base in a way that if you approved a nomination from this president, it would tell the Republican base you don't value our principles, that you aren't strong enough. It would strengthen the hand of someone like a Donald Trump, this Republican Party isn't working for us. It's a miscalculation. It will energize African-American voters in a way you haven't seen since 2008. It captures -- Jonathan's article is dead on. It does capture an ongoing conversation where we believe this president has been delegitimized by this GOP. And point proof of that is watching a candidate like Donald Trump advance in places like South Carolina, the guy who demanded this president's birth certificate.
BERMAN: But Republicans have opposed Democratic picks before with other presidents.
BERMAN: And Democrats have opposed Republican picks before with white presidents --
TAYLOR: But never before have they gotten together the night of an inauguration and said we're going to obstruct every thing this man puts forward.
BERMAN: So, again, Ben is not here to make the opposing case here.
BERMAN: Will this be an issue to vote on? I'm skeptical of the notion that people vote on Supreme Court picks when they go to vote for president.
TAYLOR: They don't, but they vote on what they believe is racial animus. So it has always been an issue in this campaign as to who was going to pick the coming Supreme Court justices. Whether it was a Democrat or Republican elected this fall, that person was going to get to nominate at least one, probably two Supreme Court nominees over the course of their first term. That was always an issue, but it was a background issue. The death of Antonin Scalia brought the issue of the front burner and caused Republicans to come out and say, no matter how well qualified a nominee may or not be, we're going to block any and every nominee. For African-Americans that made it burn brighter and that puts it out there for them come this November.
BERMAN: I think there was some sort of communications miracle. We do have Ben Ferguson with us, a conservative talk show host, host of the "Ben Ferguson Radio Show."
Ben, are you there?
BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I'm here. You got me.
I want you to make your case. Let me get you the question.
You can't deny -- and I know you probably disagree with the premise of what people are saying, but there are people who do feel this way, correct?
FERGUSON: Well, look, I think this is politics that's being played out more than anything. There is a big concern among Democrats that they are not going to be able to engage the African-American voters the same way when it comes to turnout as they have last two elections with Barack Obama. And Barack Obama helped other candidates that were running for election, not only in Congress but also in the state and local level on Election Day. So that is a fear. And I think this is one of those fearmongering issues in its worst form to somehow imply that this is only happening because the color of Barack Obama's skin.
I understand the political play. It's a smart political play. It's brilliant one. You get people fired up on the issue of race and say you're being disenfranchised so vote because they're trying to silence the African-American president, Barack Obama. I just don't think you can make that connection when it comes to Supreme Court on this. This is a political battle. It has nothing to do with the color of anyone's skin. It has to do with the Supreme Court. It is a presidential election year. Everything is on the table politically. But to turn this into a race-baiting issue I think is the lowest form of politics. I think it's sad.
[11:45:36] BERMAN: But I want to be clear, Jonathan Martin, are these all politicians making these claims or have you reached out to normal, every day people who have this feeling --
MARTIN: No. Look -- yeah, absolutely. I was in Charleston yesterday in a soul food restaurant in Charleston. It didn't take long to bring the issue of race to the surface. This gentleman pointed to his forearm and said this is the reason they're against him. It's all race. And so it's not just politicians who think that. In fact, you talk to black politicians, some of them will say it's more complicated than just race. It's politics too. It's more African-American rank- and-file voters who are convinced that this is entirely a race driven issue.
And real fast, John, there's no question that there's politics being played. There's gambling in the casino. African-Americans are not going to have President Obama on the ballot for the first time in the last two cycles, and so they need to find a new motivational force.
But I would say that there is something legitimate to saying that Obama's legacy is on the line. I don't think that's fearmongering, necessarily, because the fact is, the court is now four to four.
MARTIN: And so when Democrats say --
BERMAN: Ben, take the last word --
MARTIN: That President Obama's legacy is on the line. It is on the line.
MARTIN: And this court is going to decide --
MARTIN: -- a lot of the Obama agenda.
TAYLOR: This is an unfortunate error by Republicans.
BERMAN: Hang on.
BERMAN: Ben, 20 seconds.
FERGUSON: Let's fight it on legacy. I'm OK with that battle. But this is the classic political move. It's the same move that Hillary Clinton is making right now, which is, well, America doesn't like women being empowered. America doesn't like women. What is she trying to do? She's trying to bait women into this idea that if you're a woman you've got to support other women. Her own campaign -- remember when Madeleine Albright said it, "There is a special place in hell for women who don't support other women." This is the same fearmongering, which is look at the color of your skin. If you're African-American, you've got to go to vote because they're trying to keep down African-Americans, and President Obama, they're messing with him all because of the color of his skin. It's playing into a classic fear and trying to exploit it. I don't think this is a good idea to move the country forward.
BERMAN: There may be politics here at play, there almost certainly are political at play, but the people that Jonathan talked to, not necessarily politicians.
Let's end it there.
Jonathan Martin, Goldie Taylor, Ben Ferguson, thank you so much. I'm glad that the shot ended up working.
BERMAN: On the other side of the screen, we're waiting for Donald Trump to take the stage in South Carolina. He is fighting with Ted Cruz. He is fighting with Jeb Bush. He is fighting for first place in this state.
Stay with us.
[11:52:09] BERMAN: All right. You're looking at live pictures there of people's cell phone taking live pictures of Donald Trump. You can see it there. The man with the mane walking onto the stage right now in Kiawah Island, South Carolina. He is leading in South Carolina polls. Let's listen in.
DONALD TRUMP, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & CEO, TRUMP ORGANIZATION: Anybody know? Who is club champion here? Club champ? Who is club champ? I want to fight them. I want to beat them.
Well, I just want to thank you. Built by the same people. I have Doonbeg in Ireland, and it's a sister to Kiawah. Same people. They did a beautiful job. And I bought it a number of years ago. And during the down touch in Ireland, I made a good investment, and it's an incredible place. So Doonbeg. Do you know about Doonbeg?
TRUMP: Most of you do, yeah. We spent a lot of money making it perfecto and now it's doing great.
But I don't care about that stuff any more. That's like small potatoes, right? I'll let my kids run and have fun with it. And let my executives have a good time. But I don't care about it. I care about making America great again. That's what I care about.
TRUMP: And we can do it. You know, I go all over the world, and I see different things and different countries. And I meet different people. And honestly, there's nothing like what we have. You come back and there's nothing like what we have.
And we go to Dallas and we had 21,000 people, and Oklahoma had 20,000 people twice. And we have the biggest crowds no matter where we go. We were in Tampa a couple weeks ago, and just a couple days' notice, we filled up the stadium. It was packed. And no matter where it is, it's been amazing.
And I have to tell you, South Carolina is some great place. I love it. I've been here so much. I love it.
(APPLAUSE) TRUMP: And you know, we have a big deal coming up on Saturday so we have to go out there. New Hampshire treated me so incredibly well. And so did Iowa, actually. Did really well there. But we did incredible in New Hampshire. We won every category. Rich, poor, fat, thin --
-- everyone, tall, short, we won every category. We won the highly educated and not so well-educated. And we were just rocking. And I guess we got 36 percent. And that was with a lot of people. So it was a big -- we win by 20 points. So it was a great, great week that I spent there. And I've spent a lot of time here now, and I'll be staying here until Sunday morning. And hopefully, we'll be celebrating together on Saturday evening. And -- that's where we were.
TRUMP: I mean, the big thing is, so, so, so important, get out and vote. I'm self-funding my campaign. You people are all rich. You probably say why is he doing that? Why? But I'm self-funding my campaign, putting up my own money. And it's expensive. I mean, it's expensive. I'm proud of the fact that I have -- I'm spending less money than these other characters. You know, they're politicians. All they know how to do is spend.
[11:55:14] You know, Jeb Bush in New Hampshire, Jeb Bush spent $48 million. I spent $3. He was like at the bottom of the pack. And I was number one by a landslide. Isn't that what you want for your country? Right?
TRUMP: Isn't that what you want?
TRUMP: I mean, these guys are spending money. The money they have for the commercials, I see commercial after commercial. And, you know, I put some -- look, I put some commercials on. You know why? Because I felt guilty. I really felt guilty. Because the press -- look at all these guys back there. The press is saying, well, maybe he's not spending for commercials. Why isn't he spending? And you know, you're leading and you're leading -- a great poll came out about an hour ago, CBS/"New York Times," national poll was great.
We had a total ridiculous poll come out yesterday. Did you see that? "Wall Street Journal." Let me tell you. I'll tell you something, that poll was so different than every other poll. And some of the people, the broadcasters looked at it and said, this doesn't make sense, this is no good.
About a month ago, I had a pretty good poll. I never get treated well in the "Wall Street Journal" in any capacity. But I had a pretty good poll. Thank you, yes, that's right. They're weak on immigration, I agree with you. They're weak on a lot of things. They're weak on financial. But the "Wall Street Journal" did a poll last month, and I was leading by quite a bit, not as good as other polls, because it's never good, but I was leading. I couldn't find it in the paper, right? I couldn't find it. And literally, I looked all over. I couldn't find it. They had all sorts of other things. Do you love the country, do you this, do you that. I was in there someplace. I just couldn't find it. It was buried someplace in the back of the paper. Today, they had an outlier poll. Everybody said a certain broadcaster from NBC, who did the poll with him, said I can't do this poll, this is ridiculous. And they interviewed very few people and very conservative and lots of different criteria, all of which was like -- and today it's on the front page of the "Wall Street Journal." What a lot of crap, OK?
Isn't it? It's disgusting.
And I'll tell you --
BERMAN: All right. Donald Trump in Kiawah Island, South Carolina, holding a rally there, complaining about one national poll that shows him trailing, bragging about all of the national polls that show him way out in front. A new CNN poll of polls in South Carolina shows him leading by 16 points.
Tonight, he will be part of a CNN town hall. He will take questions from voters. Anderson Cooper moderates. Jeb Bush, John Kasich also on stage. The second night of the two-night event. It begins at 8:00 p.m. Remarkable last night. Fascinating tonight. Do not miss it.
Also, Jeb Bush is on stage right now. He is fighting for his political life in South Carolina. You can see him right there, talking to the crowd. Barbara Bush will be joining him.
Stay with us.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.