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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA
High Stakes in GOP Debate Ahead of Ohio, Florida; Obama, Canadian P.M. Justin Trudeau Press Conference. Aired 11-11:30a ET
Aired March 10, 2016 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[11:00:00] UNIDENTIFIED DEBATE MODERATOR: If you get indicted, would you drop out?
CLINTON: Oh, for goodness sakes. That is not going to happen. I'm not even answering that question.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & CEO, TRUMP ORGANIZATION: I think Islam hates us. First of all, I'll win Florida.
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: As it usually does, it comes down to Florida.
I need you to come out and vote.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We will beat Donald Trump going forward, beat Donald for the nomination, and then beat Hillary Clinton.
GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm going to be the Republican nominee.
TRUMP: We're not going to play games. We're going to make America great again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan.
And, yes, it is Christmas in March, because it is debate day in America once again.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm John Berman.
We're live at the University of Miami, the site of what could be and epic Republican debate tonight right here on CNN. Just hours from now, the final Republican debate before next Tuesday's huge winner- take-all primary, Florida, Ohio. And let's face it, this could be the last Republican debate of this season, period. Donald Trump says it's over if he wins here in Florida and Ohio. BOLDUAN: A new FOX News poll shows Kasich, the governor of Ohio, is
leading in Ohio. He is at 34 percent. Donald Trump, 29 percent. Ted Cruz, 19 percent. And Marco Rubio trailing at 7 percent. In Florida, the polls Trump with a pretty big lead, folks, at 43 percent. Rubio is 20-plus points behind in his home state. Cruz and Kasich behind that. Add that up and it means the stakes are through the roof for the CNN debate. This time, we mean it.
Jason Carroll is inside the debate hall at the University of Miami.
Jason, walk us through.
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're here at the Bank United Center where they're putting the last minute touches on the debate stage. Kate, you can see, literally, last minute touches as things get under way.
Take a look at the podiums here. Here is how it's going to go. This is where the four candidates will be. Kasich will be in the first spot. Cruz in the second, followed by Trump in the third, Rubio at the fourth. Our moderator, Jake Tapper, will be sitting there. Take a look at what will be the audience later on tonight.
Again, this is going to be a make-or-break moment for Rubio. Debates really can make a difference. A performance of his likes could turn things around.
Some of the things to look for and not to look for. Don't look for Rubio to do personal attacks we've seen before in the past against Trump. We've seen it in the campaign trail, talking about his hair and hands and face and makeup, things like that. Don't look for that tonight. Rubio admitting that was probably a mistake. Look for Rubio and the other candidates to go after Trump in terms of trying to narrow him down on specifics of his policies. Rubio's believes whoever wins the state of Florida will eventually become the nominee. His hope is to stop Trump on the stage, just as Kasich's hope is to stop him in Ohio -- Kate, John?
Jason Carroll, in the debate hall where the action will be in a few hours. Jason, thank you so much.
BERMAN: Joining us to talk about all of this, CNN political reporter, Sara Murray; our CNN political commentators, Kevin Madden, Kayleigh McEnany, Ana Navarro. Kevin is a Republican strategist, Kayleigh a Donald Trump supporter, and Ana a friend of Marco Rubio and she used to be a Jeb Bush supporter.
ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I'm totally running out of people to support.
BERMAN: Kevin Madden, yesterday, Hugh Hewitt, who will be one of the panelists at the debate tonight, called this the most consequential primary debate of the television era. He's setting a high bar, but there is a lot at stake tonight.
KEVIN MADDEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: There is. This represents one of Marco Rubio's last best chances to change the trajectory of the debate with a unique population in Florida that he's depending on. If he doesn't win Florida, his rationale for continuing his candidacy goes away. I think there's a chance he may stay in, at least that's what they say, but this is the last chance to change the trajectory of the race here in Florida and really make a difference with the voters that are yet undecided. So he has to really go after Donald Trump and make a very clear compelling case tonight that he's the better nominee for the party and that Donald Trump represents a problem for Republicans if we were to go into a general election with someone like him, who has such problems with a potential general election universe.
BOLDUAN: So he has to go after Donald Trump, but how does he do that? What does that look like tonight, Ana? Just last night Rubio said it was a mistake, that he wasn't necessarily proud of the personal attacks and how he went about --
NAVARRO: I thought he had a human moment yesterday when he said it was a mistake to do it. He said, you know, it embarrassed my kids, and I thought that was Marco opening it up. Marco has kids who are early teens, daughters, who are early teens. I can imagine that was probably true. It embarrassed me as somebody who is his supporter. I don't think you take the most poetic and beautiful speaker in politics and turn him into a schoolyard bully and class clown. That just didn't work. It can work for Donald Trump because he gets measured by a different measuring stick. But Marco gets judged like a normal politician, and that just doesn't sell.
I think Marco's challenge today is to really convince the people of Florida, because, for him, this is a Florida debate. All the marbles are in Florida for him. It's not a wasted vote. He needs to make the electability argument and the personal Florida connection.
I expect him to bring it hard on the Cuba issue. I hope that question gets asked, because south Florida, the Cuban-American community, would be big for him in the election.
[11:05:56] BERMAN: Kayleigh, often, we talk about everyone else running in the campaign. Before we get to the guy who is running out in front and keeps on winning, Donald Trump, he won big on Tuesday night. Donald Trump, out in front of the polls in this state right now, pretty big. And Donald Trump says he wants to take a softer tone tonight.
You're one of the supporters who hopes he does. You hope that he does lay off the personal stuff, but do you believe he can actually do it?
KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I do think he can do it. Here's the thing. There are some issues that have not been brought up with regard to Marco Rubio. For instance, Donald Trump needs to look at the audience and say this is someone who wants to raise the retirement age for social security, this is someone who wants to take what you've paid into your whole life, that plays well in Florida, where there are a lot of senior citizens, more over, he should say this is someone who ran against amnesty, went to Washington, and stood by Chuck Schumer, supporting amnesty. This is someone who betrayed you and it's really important for Florida to remember that moment when you go to the polls. Tonight is about defining Rubio by the issues, not by the personal attacks.
BOLDUAN: Let's talk about Donald Trump. You followed him closely. Just after Tuesday's votes, we heard from Donald Trump, not only that he wants to see a softer debate, but also talk of unity. We need to help the candidates down-ballot get elected. I can be more presidential if I want to be. Almost as if he's making a turn towards the general. What's your sense?
SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: So this is the problem of Donald Trump. I think he wants to make the turn toward the general in his campaign, and they're aware if there were anyone else with these poll numbers and wins, we would be talking about the nominee at this point. And we're not, because it's Donald Trump. So he wants to rise above it all. I think he wants to stay above the fray on the debate stage. But you saw in the press conference, he was surrounded by Trump wine and Trump water. That's not exactly presidential. And it's because he needs to hit back when he is hit. It's almost like he cannot just take a punch or hit back to a higher level.
BOLDUAN: He can't move on.
MURRAY: He can't drop the hands issues, for instance. That's what he needs to do in this debate if he wants to get above this 35 percent, above 40 percent.
NAVARRO: I'll tell you, that thing of not being able to drop and attack, of having this physical psychological need to hit back works for him, and it works with people. People say to me, people who I would never think would consider supporting Donald Trump, say to me, we like him because he doesn't let himself be stepped on, because he counterattacks, because he hits back, because he doesn't turn the other cheek. I think -- like I said, he gets judged differently.
MCENANY: It's something Republicans have wanted for a long time. A lot of Republican voters with dismayed when McCain and Romney didn't attack Obama forcefully enough. They said, look, we made that mistake twice. We're not going to make it again. We want someone who will fight for us and do so relentlessly and forcefully and not pivot that attack and kowtow in the general election.
BERMAN: We talked about Rubio and Trump. Ted Cruz has a big choice tonight, Kevin Madden, because he can go after Donald Trump and take the campaign to him, or if he chooses, he can go directly after Marco Rubio in his hometown, bring up immigration and amnesty. The super PAC has been flirting with running ads. Cruz was endorsed by Carly Fiorina down the street. If he wants to kill the Rubio campaign, he can do that. MADDEN: First of all, one of the main rules in debate is if you're
not on offense, you're losing. I don't expect that Cruz is going to pull back in any way from his current strategy.
BERMAN: He's pulled back on Rubio the last few days.
MADDEN: That's because the other part is the way for Cruz going forward is he has to present himself as the alternative to Donald Trump. A lot of the voters that are seeing Rubio underperform, they do potentially being open possibilities for supporting Ted Cruz. And if he's going to stop Donald Trump from getting to 1237 delegates through these next contests, he's going to need Marco Rubio supporters. I'd expect he'll continue to turn his sights on Donald Trump.
[11:10:00] NAVARRO: I'd suspect he's going to play up his Cuban- American heritage here. It makes sense. I think people who are trying to -- people who don't want to vote for Trump but are trying to figure out, how do make the most out of my vote, is it by stopping Trump, voting for Rubio. Is it by winnowing the field by voting for Ted Cruz and making it into a two-man race? People are still making that decision.
MADDEN: And people who were huge critics of Cruz are now open to the possibility of support.
BOLDUAN: There's one.
BOLDUAN: We talked about it.
Speaking about the Cuban-American community, I went to the Marco Rubio rally in Hialeah last evening.
NAVARRO: I'm very proud of you for being able to pronounce "Hialeah."
BOLDUAN: You helped me out.
BOLDUAN: Strong Cuban-American community there. It is basically, you can consider Rubio's home base. This is an area that he represented in the state house. This was in a stadium. And the media, the supporters, Marco Rubio, everyone fit in just one end zone. Not good optics.
BERMAN: Tiny, tiny.
BOLDUAN: Not good optics, not good optics, but does that send a signal if this is what's happening in Hialeah, what's going to happen on Tuesday?
NAVARRO: Yeah, I think you're right. That's a place that could have been filled with thousands of people. I think there is this feeling in the last couple of days that Marco is wounded. I can tell you that practically everywhere I went at in Miami, yesterday, people were talking to me about Marco's race, like you talk about a close-loved relative who is on life support. And they wanted to hear, tell me that there's still hope. I think that's why this debate is so important to Marco.
I'll also tell you, I remember after the New Hampshire debate, that was a disaster for Rubio, if you remember. He came back at the South Carolina debate and he hit it out of the ballpark. When Marco's back is against the wall, he tends to perform well.
BERMAN: Hang on one second, Ana.
We're going to the White House. President Obama is meeting with the new Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau. They just had their first meeting. I believe they're going to take questions from the press. You can see them walking out right now into the Rose Garden.
Let's listen to what they had to say.
[11:13:00] BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Once again, I want to welcome Prime Minister Trudeau to the White House. We just completed a very productive meeting, although I regret to inform you that we still have not reached agreement on hockey.
But it is not interfering with the rest of our bilateral relationship.
As I said earlier, this visit reflects something we Americans don't always say enough, and that is how much we value our great alliance and partnership with our friends up north. We've woven together so deeply as societies, as economies, that it's sometimes easy to forget how truly remarkable our relationship is.
A shared border, more than 5,000 miles that is the longest between any two nations in the world. Every day, we do some $2 billion in trade and investment, and that's the largest bilateral economic relationship in the world. Every day, more than 400,000 Americans and Canadians cross the border -- workers, business people, students, tourists, neighbors.
And of course, every time we have a presidential election, our friends to the north have to brace for an exodus of Americans who swear they'll move to Canada if the guy from the other party wins. And so -- but typically it turns out fine.
This is now my second meeting with Justin. I'm grateful that I have him as a partner. We've got a common outlook on what our nations can achieve together. He campaigned on a message of hope and of change. His positive and optimistic vision is inspiring young people at home. He's governing with a commitment to inclusivity and equality. On the world stage, his country is leading on climate change and cares deeply about development. So from my perspective, what's not to like?
Of course, no two nations agree on everything. Our countries are no different. But in terms of our interests, our values, how we approach the world, few countries match up the way the United States and Canada do.
And given our work together today, I can say, and I believe the prime minister would agree, that when it comes to the central challenges that we face, our two nations are more closely aligned than ever. We want to make it easier to trade and invest with one another. America is already the top destination for Canadian exports, and Canada is the top market for U.S. exports, which support about 1.7 million good-paying American jobs.
OBAMA: When so many of our products, like autos, are built on both sides of the border in an integrated supply chain, this co- production makes us more competitive in the global economy as a whole. And we want to keep it that way. So we've instructed our teams to stay focused on making it even easier for goods and people to move back and forth across the border, including reducing bottlenecks and streamlining regulations.
We discussed how to move forward with the Transpacific Partnership, and today, we also reaffirmed our determination to move ahead with an agreement to pre-clear travelers through immigration and customs, making it even easier for Canadians and Americans to travel and visit and do business together.
As NATO allies, we're united against the threat of terrorism. Canada is an extraordinarily valued member of the global coalition fighting ISIL, tripling its personnel to help train and advise forces in Iraq, stepping up its intelligence efforts in the region and providing critical humanitarian support.
We're working closely together to prevent the flow of foreign fighters, and today, we agreed to share more information, including with respect to our no-fly lists and full implementation of our entry- exit system even as we uphold the privacy and civil liberties of our respective citizens.
In Syria, the cessation of hostilities has led to a measurable drop in violence in the civil war, and the United States and Canada continue to be leaders in getting humanitarian aid to Syrians who are in desperate need. Meanwhile, our two countries continue to safely welcome refugees from that conflict, and I want to commend Justin and the Canadian people once again for their compassionate leadership on this front.
I'm especially pleased to say that the United States and Canada are fully united in combating climate change. As the first U.S. president to visit the Arctic, I saw how both of our nations are threatened by rising seas, melting permafrost, disappearing glaciers and sea ice, and so we are focusing on making sure the Paris agreement is fully implemented and we're working to double our investments in clean energy research and development.
Today, we're also announcing some new steps. Canada is joining us in our aggressive goal to bring down methane emissions in the oil and gas sectors in both of our countries, and together, we're going to move swiftly to establish comprehensive standards to meet that goal. We're also going to work together to phase down HFCs and to limit carbon emissions from international aviation. We're announcing a new climate and science partnership to protect the Arctic and its people, and later this year, I'll welcome our partners, including Canada, to our White House Science Ministerial on the Arctic to deepen our cooperation in this vital region.
We're also grateful for Canada's partnership as we renew America's leadership across the hemisphere. Mr. Prime Minister, I want to thank you for Canada's continuing support for our new chapter of engagement with the Cuban people, which I will continue with my upcoming visit to Cuba next week. We're going to work to help Colombia achieve peace and remove the deadly legacy of land mines there, and our scientists and public health professionals will work with partners across the hemisphere to prevent the spread of the Zika virus and work together actively for diagnostic and vaccines that can make a real difference.
And finally, our shared values, our commitment to human development and the dignity of all people continue to guide our work as global partners. Through the Global Health Security Agenda, we're stepping up our efforts to prevent outbreaks of diseases from becoming epidemics. We are urgently working to help Ethiopia deal with the worst drought in half a century. Today, our spouses, Michelle and Sophie, are reaffirming our commitment to the health and education of young women and girls around the world. And Canada will be joining our Power Africa initiative to bring electricity, including renewable energy, to homes and businesses across the continent and help lift people out of poverty. And those are our values at work.
So again, Justin, I want to thank you for your partnership. I believe we've laid the foundation for even greater cooperation for our countries for years to come, and I'd like to think that it is only the beginning. I look forward to welcoming you back for the nuclear security summit in a few weeks. I'm pleased that we were able to announce the next North America Leaders Summit that will be in Canada this summer. The prime minister has invited me to address the Canadian parliament, and that's a great honor. I look forward to the opportunity to speak directly to the Canadian people about the extraordinary future that we can build together.
Prime Minister Trudeau?
JUSTIN TRUDEAU, PRIME MINISTER OF CANADA: Thank you, Mr. President.
Good morning, everyone. It's an honor to be here.
As I've reflected on the storied relationship between our two great countries, I constantly return to President Kennedy's wise words on our friendship that what unites us is far greater than what divides us.
And as President Obama mentioned earlier, if geography made us neighbors, then shared values made us kindred spirits, and it is our choices individually and collectively that make us friends.
That friendship, matched by much hard work, has allowed us to do great things throughout our history, from the beaches of Normandy, to the Free Trade Agreement and now, today, on climate change. The president and I share a common goal. We want a clean growth economy that continues to provide good jobs and great opportunities for all of our citizens.
And I'm confident that by working together, we'll get there sooner than we think. Let's take the Paris Agreement, for example. That agreement is both a symbolic declaration of global cooperation on climate change, as well as a practical guide for growing our economies in a responsible and sustainable way.
Canada and the U.S. have committed to signing the agreement as soon as possible. We know that our international partners expect and indeed, need leadership from us on this issue. The president and I have announced today we'll take ambitious action to reduce methane emissions nearly by half from the oil and gas sector, reduce use and emissions of hydrofluorocarbons, and implement aligned greenhouse gas emission standards for heavy-duty vehicles amongst other plans to fight climate change.
(THROUGH TRANSLATOR): A sustainable economy in the outset (ph), (inaudible) foresees new standards based on scientific data from fishing in the high seas of the Arctic, as well as set new standards to ensure maritime transport with less emissions.
The partnership will also promote sustainable development in the region, in addition to putting the bar higher in terms of preserving the biodiversity in the Arctic. We have also decided to make our borders both more open and more safe by agreeing -- pre-clearing at the Billy Bishop Airport in Toronto, and the Jean Lesage Airport in Quebec, as well as the railroad stations in Montreal and Vancouver. Moreover, we're creating a U.S.-Canada working group in the next 60 days on the recourses to access how we will resolve areas of identity on the no-fly list.
(SPEAKING ENGLISH): Finally, the president and I acknowledge the fundamental and wholly unique economic relationship between Canada and the United States. We have historically been each other's largest trading partners. Each and every day, over $2.4 billion worth of goods and services cross the border. Today, we reaffirmed our commitment to streamlining trade between our countries.
Overall, the president and I agree on many things, including, of paramount importance, the direction we want to take our countries in to ensure a clean and prosperous future. We've made tremendous progress on many issues. And fortunately, I will leave town with my beloved Expos still here in Washington. You can't have everything.
I would like to conclude by sending my deepest thanks to Barack for his leadership on the climate change file to date. I want to assure the American people that they have a real partner in Canada. Canada and the U.S. will stand side by side to confront the pressing needs that face not only our two countries, but the entire planet.
I'm very much looking forward to the remainder of my time here in Washington. So, thank you again for your leadership and your friendship.
I know our two countries can achieve great things by working together as allies and as friends, as we have done so many times before.
Merci beaucoup, Barack.
OBAMA: All right. We're going to take a few questions. Start with Julie Davis.
QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President.
I want to ask you about the Supreme Court. You've already said you're looking for a highly qualified nominee with impeccable credentials.
Can you give a sense of what other factors you're considering in making your final choice? How much of this comes down to a gut feeling for you?
And does it affect your decision to know that your nominee is very likely to hang out in the public eye without hearings or a vote for a long time or maybe ever?
And, frankly, shouldn't that be driving your decision if you're asking someone to put themselves forward for this position at this point?
For Prime Minister Trudeau, I wanted to ask you, we know you've been following our presidential campaign here in the U.S. As the president alluded to, you've even made a joke about welcoming Americans who might be frightened of a Donald Trump presidency to your country.
What do you think the stakes are for you and for the relationship between Canada and the United States if Donald Trump or Ted Cruz were to win the presidency and to succeed President Obama?
You obviously see eye to eye with him on a lot of issues.
What do you think the -- how would it affect the relationship if one of them were to succeed President Obama?
OBAMA: Even though it wasn't directed at me, let me just...
(LAUGHTER) ... I do want to point out, I am absolutely certain that, in 2012, when there was the possibility that I might be re-elected, there were folks who were threatening to go to Canada as well.
And you know, one of the great things about a relationship like Canada's and the United States is that it transcends party and it's bipartisan in terms of the interests that we share. With respect to the Supreme Court, I've told you, Julie, what I'm looking for. I want somebody who is an outstanding jurist, who has impeccable legal credentials, who, by historical standards, would not even be questioned as qualified for the court.
Obviously it's somebody who I want to make sure follows the Constitution, cares about things like stare decisis and precedent, understands the necessary humility of a judge at any level in looking at statute, looking at what the elected branches are doing, is not viewing themselves as making law or, in some ways, standing above elected representatives but also recognizes the critical role that that branch plays in protecting minorities, to ensuring that the political system doesn't skew in ways that systematically leave people out, that are mindful of the traditions that are embedded in our cherished documents, like the Bill of Rights.
So in terms of who I select, I'm going to do my job.
And then my expectation is going to be will the Senate do its job as outlined in the Constitution?
I've said this before: I find it ironic that people who are constantly citing the Constitution would suddenly read into the Constitution requirements, norms, procedures that are nowhere to be found there.
That's precisely the kinds of interpretive approach that they have vehemently rejected and that they accuse liberals of engaging in all the time.
Well, you can't -- you can't abandon your principles -- if, in fact, these are your principles -- simply for the sake of political expedience. So we'll see how they operate once a nomination has been made.
I'm confident that, whoever I select among fair-minded people, will be viewed as an eminently qualified person. And it will then be up to Senate Republicans to decide whether they want to follow the Constitution and abide by the rules of fair play that ultimately undergird our democracy and that ensure that the Supreme Court does not just become one more extension of our polarized politics.
If and when it -- that happens, our system's not going to work. It's not that the Supreme Court or any of our courts can be hermetically sealed from the rest of our society.
[11:30:00] These are human beings. They read the newspapers. They've got opinions. They've got values.