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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA

Indiana Governor to Endorse Ted Cruz; Trump to Speak at Republican Convention After Violent Protests at Rally Last Night; "The Indianapolis Star" Criticized All 5 Presidential Candidates. Aired 11- 11:30a ET

Aired April 29, 2016 - 11:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:00:20] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm John Berman.

Big political events and news breaking left, right, and center this Friday. Within the hour, the Republican governor of Indiana, Mike Pence, he's going on a radio show for what we're told is a significant announcement. And now sources tell CNN that that announcement, he will endorse Ted Cruz for president. This is an endorsement the Cruz team really, really wanted.

BOLDUAN: And in just a few hours Donald Trump, he's going to be trying to woo more insiders, this time in California. He's set to speak before the Republican convention outside of San Francisco, and this is after protests broke out outside a Trump rally last night with more than a dozen arrested.

Let's get over to CNN's Phil Mattingly who is following this all for us.

First, Phil, to that endorsement, that Cruz, let's be quite honest, he maybe needs.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No question about it, Kate. This isn't just because Donald Trump has had Bobby Knight going him in the state of Indiana. Mike Pence has been a standard bearer. He's been under tremendous pressure to come off the sidelines and endorse Ted Cruz. The Cruz team has been working very hard to get this endorsement. There's a good reason why. What Mike Pence represents in this state, what he represents to conservatism in general over the course of his house career and his time in the governor's office is really everything Ted Cruz has been talking about on the campaign trail, everything he's been attacking Donald Trump over on the campaign trail saying that Donald Trump does not represent the type of conservatism that Mike Pence practices and Ted Cruz espouses on the campaign trail.

Now, how big of an issue will this be in the race? I think that's the big question now going forward. One interesting element of this endorsement when it comes, it will be made on the radio show of the individual who became well known for prosecuting Mike Tyson for rape in the state of Indiana. This is something Carly Fiorina actually just flicked at a couple minutes ago saying basically that Donald Trump was touting an endorsement of Mike Tyson.

So, guys, to look at what's about to happen over the next couple hours, it will be very choreographed. And a very big moment for a Cruz campaign that needs momentum going into Tuesday.

BERMAN: Donald Trump is not in Indiana today. Donald Trump, he's in California trying to woo Republican delegates at the state convention. What's going on there?

MATTINGLY: I think the Trump campaign as you have seen over the course of the last couple weeks has started to evolve in their recognition of the importance of delegates beyond just winning the primary, and I also think the Trump campaign recognizes and advisers have told me this a number of times, California will be where they expect to close out this race. 172 delegates at stake and a recognition that they need to win big there. Obviously, they need to win Indiana first, but that they need to do the work on the ground, and one of the best kind of examples of them starting to get the picture on this was in Pennsylvania just on Tuesday locking up a majority, a solid majority of those unbound 54 delegates showing that the Trump team when they put their mind and resources to it can have a ground game. You know very well, Ted Cruz's ground operation had whipped them in several states, North Dakota, Wyoming. Trump realizes not only does he need a team on the ground, but the personal touch, him showing up has an impact as well, and 172 delegates at stake, Donald Trump knows California matters -- guys?

BERMAN: Phil Mattingly for us. Great work. Thanks so much for being with us.

The big news from Phil and others, that in just a matter of a few minutes the governor of Indiana, Republican Mike Pence, will endorse Ted Cruz for president. This with the Indiana primary just a few days away, but the state's biggest newspaper is taking a somewhat different approach.

BOLDUAN: I'd say so. In an explosive editorial, "The Indianapolis Star" declared Donald Trump, in their words, a danger to the United States and the world. The paper also did not spare Cruz either, calling him "ill suited to be president." In fact, "The Indianapolis Star" called all five candidates from both parties in the race right now disappointing.

Tim Swarens is the editorial director from "The Indianapolis Star" and he is joining us right now.

Tim, thank you for being here.

Before we get to the editorial, get your reaction to this announcement that governor Mike Pence will be endorsing Ted Cruz. What do you make of it?

TIM SWARENS, EDITORIAL DIRECTOR, THE INDIANAPOLIS STAR: It's big news. The governor is well respected among Republicans in Indiana still. He's had a tough couple of years in the general electorate, but it's a significant move for Cruz. Cruz is working the state very hard, as many have said, he has to win Indiana on Tuesday. Polls showing him close but still behind. I don't know how much this will actually make in terms of voting, people coming out and voting for Cruz on Tuesday, but it does dominate the news cycle, and it starts to help him build some momentum in the state that he has to have.

[11:05:14] BERMAN: Tim, you get the sense this did not come easily for Governor Pence. It didn't come early, that's for sure. All the candidates were working him, and up until a few days ago, he had said he wasn't sure he was going to endorse. What do you think changed his mind?

SWARENS: He's been getting tremendous pressure among conservatives, conservatives in the media, to make a choice, and we all expected him to line up with Ted Cruz. They have -- they share many of the same positions on social issues, for example, and Ted Cruz is seen as the most conservative, the true conservative in the race. Mike Pence is certainly conservative. It's not surprising that he's coming out in favor of Ted Cruz. It is a bit surprising given Pence's own re- election issues that he is going to take a stand in the Republican primary.

BOLDUAN: So Mike Pence is endorsing Ted Cruz. You guys are anti- endorsing everybody in this editorial. I mean, we said it at the top, calling Donald Trump a danger to the United States and to the world. Pretty strong words.

SWARENS: They are strong words, but we do believe Donald Trump is a danger. He has shown over the course of the last few months an unwillingness to learn to dig deep into complex issues. He's shown a willingness to play one group of Americans off of another. He has shown an utter lack of understanding of America's place in the world.

BERMAN: Quickly, if he is so dangerous, why then are you not endorsing Ted Cruz, the only other candidate seen as having a chance in Indiana? It seems that the fact that you're not endorsing Cruz may even be more of a slap against him.

SWARENS: Well, it's a slap against both. Ted Cruz had a short time in the Senate, but in the three years he's been there, he's made a lot of enemies, as we saw with John Boehner yesterday. Ted Cruz has shown an unwillingness, not an inability, but an unwillingness to work well with others. I'm not sure that's what we want in a president.

BOLDUAN: How do you think it's going to go on Tuesday?

SWARENS: I think Cruz may pull it out. It's going to be very close. The smart money last week would say that Donald Trump would win Indiana. I think it's going to be very close on Tuesday. We're going to follow it very, very closely.

BOLDUAN: We'll follow it very, very closely.

BERMAN: Indeed. BOLDUAN: Tim, thank you very much. We really appreciate it.

SWARENS: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: All right. So joining us now someone very importantly we should be talking about, Donald Trump's national campaign co-chairman and policy adviser, Sam Clovis.

Sam, thank you so much. It's great to see you.

So let's talk about this endorsement that will be coming. Governor of Indiana, Mike Pence, endorsing Ted Cruz. Donald Trump on CNN just this week, he said that he asked Governor Pence for his endorsement. Called him a great guy, says he's done a great job at governor. What happened?

SAM CLOVIS, NATIONAL CAMPAIGN CO-CHAIRMAN & POLICY ADVISOR, DONALD TRUMP PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: Well, I'm not really surprised. I do think that if you take a look at the ideological alignment of Mike Pence, who did a great job in the House and I do acknowledge your previous guest, I do think that he has had a tough row as a governor there. He's had a couple issues he's had to deal with, but he's also done a reasonable job on education reform and some other issues that we care a great deal about.

And I'm not surprised though because I do think that Governor Pence and Senator Cruz are much more ideologically aligned on a lot of issues. And I do think there was a lot of pressure that came from the establishment. And I think money may, in fact, be behind this for re- election issues and a lot of other factors that are there. I don't want to accuse anybody of that, but I do think that that always comes down it seems that sooner or later filling those campaign coffers makes a difference.

BERMAN: OK. There's a few things right there.

BOLDUAN: Right.

BERMAN: You said you don't want to make the accusation that money was involved but you just kind of did. Do you have any proof that money was involved?

CLOVIS: Just the history of watching how these things evolve and, you know, we've seen the money transfer from the Cruz PAC over to Carly's PAC, and some of the other factors. Like I said, I do think that the ideological alignment is probably the best test here, John --

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: Well, let's -- I want to -- let's explore that more, Sam. You say the governor of Indiana, popular in that state and influential, is more aligned with Ted Cruz than your candidate. So how does Mike Pence differ from Donald Trump?

CLOVIS: I think Mike Pence knows Ted Cruz a lot better than he knows Donald Trump and I think it has a lot to do with it as well, their familiarity, and their mutual friends and their mutual contacts. Mike Pence has been in politics for a long time. Mr. Trump has not. Ted Cruz has been in politics for a long time. Mr. Trump has not. And I think that those -- I do want to touch on this ideological aspect because I think one of the things that we've seen, and I've known for a long time, is that Senator Cruz is ideological. He's an ideologue and he doesn't listen as well, he doesn't have the flexibility, and this is one of the issues that I think people are starting to recognize. If he had a better message, he'd be doing better.

(CROSSTALK)

[11:10:44] BOLDUAN: Are you saying that Donald Trump didn't want -- you guys didn't want the endorsement of Mike Pence?

CLOVIS: No. Everybody wants the endorsement of Mike Pence, but I'm not surprised that he went with Ted Cruz.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: Is Donald Trump conservative? Is Donald Trump a conservative, Sam?

CLOVIS: Yes. And let me -- if you'll give me two minutes, let me outline why I want to say this. If you are an intellectual conservative -- as and I fashion myself because I've studied Russell Kirk, read every word he ever wrote, I have studied conservative thoughts and, you know, the 17th century, these are the issues that I come down to, there are four pillars of conservatism. Those are limited government, fiscal responsibility, strong national defense, and protection of cultural values. I would say that on all of those marks, he has much better marks than the Republican leadership that we have today. Do we have limited government? No. Have we done anything to limit government? No. Do we have a balanced budget? No. Are we heading toward a balanced budget? No. Are we entertaining tax reform? No. Do we have a strong military? No. We have sequestration. Have we done anything to protect cultural values? Obviously, not. All those people who cloak themselves in conservatism have much worse marks than Donald Trump --

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: Than why didn't a strong conservative, as you say Mike Pence, endorse Donald Trump? What's missing there?

CLOVIS: I think it's a matter of familiarity. I think they've known each other a long time, and I just don't think that people like Governor Pence, who are getting a lot of pressure from people they know, mutual interests, mutual contacts, the deep, deep establishment of the Republican party who have known -- who know Governor Pence and have known governor -- or Senator Cruz for all these years, I think that pressures what pushes people like Governor Pence to endorse Senator Cruz. I don't think it has -- we don't need to make too much of it. I do think that it's one of those endorsements that's there. We'd have loved to have had the endorsement, but we also have the endorsement of a lot of other people. Take a look at Jan Brewer. You talk about a conservative, a rock conservative, that's Jan Brewer. BERMAN: Sam Clovis, thank you for joining us. Always a pleasure to

talk to you.

BOLDUAN: Thank you, sir.

CLOVIS: You taught me how to use Skype. Dangerous. I could be with you almost any time, so watch out.

BERMAN: We made you too powerful. We made you too powerful.

BOLDUAN: Don't threaten that, we'll take you up on that.

BERMAN: Far too powerful.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Sam.

Any moment now, Indiana's governor is going on a local radio program for that big endorsement announcement, and the big question that is: What does it mean for Ted Cruz in Indiana. What does it mean for Donald Trump in Indiana?

BERMAN: And then that newspaper we just talked about called Donald Trump a danger to the United States, but not too nice to Ted Cruz either. We'll get reaction to that from the Cruz campaign. But more importantly, we'll talk about this big endorsement coming Ted Cruz's way from the governor of Indiana.

BOLDUAN: Plus, Bernie Sanders, his sole supporter among his colleagues in the Senate, he had some tough love really for the candidate: Drop out if you're losing come June. What does it mean?

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[11:18:00] BOLDUAN: Breaking news this morning out of Indiana. Senator Ted Cruz set to secure a key endorsement ahead of Tuesday's crucial primary. Sources saying Indiana's Governor Mike Pence will throw his support behind the Texas Senator within the hour.

BERMAN: Let's bring in Ron Nehring, national spokesman for the Ted Cruz campaign.

Ron, thank you so much for being with us.

BOLDUAN: Look at that smile.

BERMAN: Do you care to take a victory lap there, Ron?

RON NEHRING, NATIONAL SPOKESMAN, TED CRUZ PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: You know, ever since Carly Fiorina's joined the campaign, it's just been a tremendous bolt of lightning and we'll see what happens today in the great state of Indiana. We're here in Indianapolis for an event, packed house at the Indiana War Museum right now and we'll see what Governor Pence has to say on the radio.

BERMAN: We know what Governor Pence is going to say on the radio. Sources say the governor is going to endorse Ted Cruz. Why don't you talk about the significance of that endorsement to the campaign?

NEHRING: I think if Governor Pence were to make an endorsement in the campaign, which we'll let the governor speak for himself, he's well respected as a conservative leader, has a strong record in the United States Congress before becoming governor of Indiana. And I think that as we go forward, you know, Indiana is going to play a very, very important role in this race. You know, Donald Trump had a good week last week. We won five races and now we're heading out to the West in more favorable territory. The state here is very, very competitive. That's why both Ted Cruz and Carly Fiorina are crisscrossing the campaign, campaigning really, really hard to earn the support of Indiana. And then we move on to Nebraska and then finally wrapping up the campaign on June 7th in California.

BOLDUAN: Ron, I don't know if you had Clovis, our interview with him just before this. He said that they would have loved to have gotten Pence's endorsement, but he said he wasn't surprised that Pence is going to -- that he's supporting Cruz, and he said he does not have evidence of it, but suggests that money is normally behind these things. He says the money flowing between the super PACs of Carly Fiorina and Ted Cruz, money is behind these things when someone is in a tough re-election battle like Mike Pence. Your reaction to that?

[11:20:03] NEHRING: You know, the bizarre things that Donald Trump says are only sometimes exceeded by the bizarre things his surrogates say, you know, on television. Mike Pence is a well respected conservative governor of the state of Indiana. You know, Sam Clovis has no idea what he's talking about. Just operating in some type of, you know, fact-free environment. And at the end of the day we'll see what Governor Pence has to say on the radio today.

But what we see is that every time Donald Trump loses something, which has been a fair amount of frequency, particularly in the five states that he lost leading up to New York, you know, they always have to blame somebody else. They always have to blame something else. Donald Trump never stands up and takes responsibility for his own failures. He has to blame the rules or the system or the delegates or the party or the this or the that, and it's really unfortunate, and it's another reason why we cannot allow this guy to become the nominee of the Republican party, because he will get blown out by Hillary Clinton in November and take a lot of Republican elected officials and candidates with him.

BERMAN: When you guys lost six states in a row, New York, plus the five northeastern states, you blamed geography, you blamed the northeastern states. It's typical for losers to look at something to find something to blame. But let's leave that aside, Ron. Indiana, you got Mike Pence for an endorsement, you have been campaigning there hard he have day, working that state hard over the last several days. Does it mean Indiana is a must-win?

NEHRING: Well, you know, everybody wants to label this state or that state a must-win or can't go forward without it and so on. Every state ultimately is important in this process. Right now, it's the people of Indiana who more than anyone else in America, who are focused on this contest, and the choice between having the erratic Donald Trump lead the Republican party to defeat in November versus having a principled, prepared team in Ted Cruz and Carly Fiorina. That's the choice right now, and this is an opportunity for Indianans to have a very, very powerful voice going forward. Obviously, this is a very important state in this process, comes at a critical time. Yes, Donald Trump had a good week and a good time in New York and in the northeast. We won five contests leading up to that. It's been going back and forth, very competitive. Now all eyes on Indiana, and then we keep on moving further.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: Folks say Indiana is going to be competitive and could be really close. Are you going to win it?

NEHRING: Everyone wants those types of predictions going forward. We're not going to --

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: We just want to get your level of confidence that you have in the state where things stand right now. We know you all do internal polling. You don't want to tell us about where you stand and where the trend lines lay right now, but we want to get your level of confidence right now.

NEHRING: Yeah, I understand your desire to get a prediction and I'm not going to make one. We're going to campaign very, very hard. Obviously we're on the bus all day yesterday, multiple events throughout the state. We have a very packed schedule between now and Election Day. We'll see what the governor has to say on the radio going forward. WE have a strong infrastructure not only in Indiana but many of the states that are going forward as we wrap this campaign up finally on June 7th.

So let's let the people of Indiana decide. Let's see what the governor has to say today. And we'll continue to make our case to the people of Indiana and the American people about the difference between our ticket of Ted Cruz and Carly Fiorina versus the disaster Donald Trump would be.

BOLDUAN: Ron, we see the future, at least within the hour. I can tell you what we think the governor is going to say.

BERMAN: We'll see what happens.

BOLDUAN: Keep smiling though.

Thanks, Ron.

NEHRING: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: So Indiana's governor was wooed by all three Republican candidates in the state. All of them met with him, and it appears he is set to endorse Ted Cruz. But we will still see what he has to say. But why Ted Cruz? Why now? And what is the impact? BERMAN: And he may be down. Bernie Sanders' wife, though, predicts a

very big comeback. We'll talk to his campaign manager and see what he has to say.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:28:22] BERMAN: All right. The breaking news out of Indiana. Sources tell CNN in just a few minutes the Republican governor of Indiana, Mike Pence, he's going to go on a radio show and endorse Ted Cruz for president. This is an endorsement that each of the candidates in the race asked for, but now we know that Ted Cruz is the one who is getting it.

BOLDUAN: Let's bring in our panelists to discuss, CNN political commentator and Trump supporter, Kayleigh McEnany; Jim Geraghty, a contributing editor for "National Review Online"; Jay Newton-Small, Washington correspondent for "Time" magazine and author of the new book, "Broad Influence: How Women Are Changing the Way America Works"; and Tim Miller, former communications director for Jeb Bush's presidential campaign and currently communications adviser for Our Principles Super PAC, which is an anti-Trump super PAC.

Guys, great to see you.

Kayleigh, your reaction, Ted Cruz locking in the endorsement of the governor of Indiana?

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah, everyone wants an endorsement, of course, but endorsements have been relatively meaningless in this election. We have seen Governor Haley in South Carolina endorse Marco Rubio. He didn't win. Governor LePage endorsed Trump in Maine. He didn't win. Also worth mentioning, the governor in Indiana, as great a conservative as he is, is locked in a tough re-election battle. His approval ratings were lagging in November. "The Indianapolis Star" was reporting on that. And now he's having a tough fight in his own race. So I'm not sure --

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: But Jim Geraghty, wouldn't that be a reason not to endorse? Look, if he's endorsing and he is in a tough race, if he's endorsing and he wants to be president in 2020, what does that speak to?

JIM GERAGHTY, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE: Well, if he wants to be president in 2020, I guess he's figuring any one of these folks will be one-term presidents. A point there.

Look, you'd rather have the endorsement than not have it. Pence has his own political troubles. I think if he jumps on the Trump train, there are a bunch of Never Trumpers out there.