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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA

Clinton Accepts Democratic Nomination; Clinton, Kaine Rally Today in Philadelphia; Trump Hits Campaign Trail. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired July 29, 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)

[11:00:01] HILLARY CLINTON, (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: I accept your nomination --

(CHEERING)

CLINTON: -- for president of the United States.

(CHEERING)

CHELSEA CLINTON, DAUGHTER OF HILLARY & BILL CLINTON: She never, ever forgets who she's fighting for.

KHIZR KHAN, FATHER OF FALLEN U.S. SOLDIER: Donald Trump, you have sacrificed nothing.

CLINTON: A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hillary Clinton will be exactly the kind of commander-in-chief America needs.

CLINTON: Americans don't say I alone can fix it. We say we'll fix it together.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan.

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

If you have plans for next 102, you had best cancel them. If last night or, in fact, the last two weeks are any indication, you are not going to want to miss a second between now and November.

So with the fog barely cleared, the balloons practically still falling, Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine, they hold their first post- convention rally any minute in Philadelphia. We will take you there live.

But first, about last night, Hillary Clinton became the first woman to accept a major party's nomination for president. She told Independent voters, I feel you, I can bring the country together. She literally told Bernie Sanders supporters, I hear you. She effectively told, Donald Trump, I'm coming for you.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: So just ask yourself, you really think Donald Trump has the temperament to be commander-in-chief?

(SHOUTING)

CLINTON: Donald Trump can't even handle the rough and tumble of a presidential campaign.

(CHEERING)

CLINTON: Donald Trump says he wants to make America great again. He can start by actually making things in America again.

(CHEERING)

CLINTON: Donald Trump says, and this is a quote, "I know more about ISIS than the generals do." No, Donald, you don't.

(CHEERING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: And Donald Trump's response essentially says game on, saying, "Hillary Clinton's speech was an insulting collection of cliches and recycled rhetoric. She spent the evening talking down to the American people she's looked down on her whole life."

There you have it.

CNN Washington correspondent, Jeff Zeleny, is live in Philadelphia following what today shall bring.

Jeff, so about last night, what are you hearing today?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John and Kate. This is when it actually begins. Both sides have delivered their arguments to the country. We'll see if the Clinton campaign gets as big of a bounce as Donald Trump did.

But really what Hillary Clinton and all the Democrats did throughout the week was solidify their case and argument against Donald Trump. Build their case. It was not just her speech alone. Her speech was part of the icing on all of this, but really when you put together the messages that we saw last night at the convention, particularly the speech from the Muslim parents of a deceased Muslim U.S. soldier, that is something that is going to keep resonating throughout this campaign. We saw a series of moments that are going to be television commercials, no question, as they make the argument against Donald Trump.

Tim Kaine and Hillary Clinton are going to set off on a bus tour. They're going to go across Pennsylvania, into Ohio and across some other states as well. Hillary Clinton is trying to make the argument the case that she will

be the president for Republicans and moderates as well. This is what she said last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: Well, I will be a president for Democrats, Republicans, Independents, for the struggling, the striving, the successful, for all those who vote for me and for those who don't, for all Americans together.

(CHEERING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZELENY: The question is, though, the morning after that big convention speech, how possible is that really in this divided country of ours, where the polarization is already so thick? Can she really reach out to Republicans and moderates? We'll find out as she goes along this bus tour here. It's a heavy lift, no question. But her advisers do believe there are many disaffected Republicans out there who didn't like the message of the Republican campaign. But we will find out as this goes forward. As you said, 102 days to go here. We'll find out, what is to actually the beginning of this final phase of the campaign -- John and Kate?

BERMAN: It hasn't started yet? Holy cow.

BOLDUAN: What have we been doing this whole time?

Zeleny, they're going to be heading to Omaha, Nebraska, a state you know well. It's also a bright red state. What's the plan?

[11:05:05] ZELENY: She is. She will be in Omaha, Nebraska, on Monday, the third state in her trip. Pennsylvania makes sense. Ohio makes sense. Why Nebraska? Here's one reason. She's trying to make the argument that Republicans should join her campaign. But they're also going after every electoral vote they can. Nebraska is one of two states in the country, Maine is the other, that splits electoral votes. The one electoral vote in the second congressional district in Nebraska, in Omaha, could go Democratic. It did in the 2008 election with Barack Obama.

So the Clinton campaign knows this is a tough election. They're going to Omaha on Monday to try and start winning over that electoral vote. They've been advertising there for weeks already. That's one stop. Then she goes to Denver. She'll be flying by then. And to Las Vegas by the end of the week -- John and Kate?

BOLDUAN: It's all coming down to the math.

Jeff Zeleny, great to see you. Thank you.

ZELENY: Thanks.

BERMAN: Joining us to discuss, John Avlon, CNN political analyst, editor-in-chief of "The Daily Beast"; Tracy Sefl, a Democratic strategist and Hillary Clinton supporter; Bob Beckel, CNN political commentator, Democratic strategist; and Boris Epshteyn, a Republican strategist and a Donald Trump surrogate; and Mary Katharine Ham, CNN political commentator and senior writer at "The Federalist."

Bob Beckel, as the dean of the delegation here, I'll go to you first.

I want to know, you've seen a lot of acceptance speech, how did this rank, how did she do last night?

BOB BECKEL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: First of all, John, that was a cheap shot. Just because I covered Abraham Lincoln's second inaugural --

(LAUGHTER)

-- you don't have to -- look, I thought the content was an "A." I thought her delivery was as good as she can get, which is not very good generally, a "B"-plus. But the most important thing that came out of this is she doesn't want this to be a referendum on Hillary Clinton. She wants it to be a referendum on Donald Trump. If she can make that a referendum on Donald Trump, she wins, and she knows, that because Trump has so many negatives. She's got a lot of negatives. But Trump's beyond the pale. So I thought she did the right strategy, the right thing to do. I think, for her, it was a pretty good speech.

BOLDUAN: Mary Katharine Ham, let's talk about the biggest moments, the biggest sound bites of the night. You think that the Democrats, with the speech that you heard, all the speeches you heard last night, they have successfully co-opted patriotism in a way Trump has not been able to. Here's an example of that last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: Really? I alone can fix it. Isn't he forgetting troops on the front lines, police officers and firefighters who run towards danger, doctors and nurses who care for us, teachers who change lives --

(CHEERING)

CLINTON: -- entrepreneurs who see possibilities in every problem, mothers who lost children to violence and are building a movement to keep other kids safe? He's forgetting every last one of us. Americans don't say I alone can fix it. We say we'll fix it together.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: Katherine, as "The Washington Post" put it so well this morning, seems like, looks like a political role reversal here.

MARY KATHARINE HAM, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah, so I think, you know, what you used to see, and this is not to say that Donald Trump's RNC was not full of patriotism, they are all. But this is sort of patriotism with a smile on its face, exuberant display with all the flags waving. Democrats used to be a bit more hesitant about that thing during the 2000s, only because they're like, well, we don't want to be the jingoistic party, right. There was a little more hesitation. Donald Trump did not embrace that part of the GOP message which has been successful in the past. Democrats are, like, we'll pick that up. I think you felt last night. I got a lot of texts from friends who have been at RNCs in the past and say this feels like a reboot of our 2004 RNC. That part of the stagecraft is probably helpful to the Democrats. I think the GOP is wrong to leave some of the smile on the face on the table.

BERMAN: Boris, you're jumping out of your seat. You disagree?

BORIS EPSHTEYN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Completely. That wasn't a smile on Hillary's face at all. She was negative. If Donald Trump were giving that speech, all the networks would scream about why is he being so negative. That's one. Second of all, that was a tongue twister, everyone knows, when he says I alone can do it, that means the only one that can do it. She wants to turn around and fool the American people into thinking it was something else, just like she's been fooling the American people for 40 years.

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: Sorry, sorry. How is "I'm the only one who can do it" different? She was saying -- at the end of the riff there -- she's saying this is something we're doing together. She was saying we can do together. She's saying that Donald Trump is saying it's just about him.

EPSHTEYN: He's saying he's the only one running for president who can turn our country around. 71 percent of Americans feel we're going the wrong direction. She's saying she's the only one running for president who can turn it around. That's a fact as far as I'm concerned. She can talk about her experience. She's failed at everything she's ever done from the D.C. bar to being an attorney for rapists and groups that want to put --

BOLDUAN: Let's stay on last night.

(CROSSTALK)

[11:10:16] EPSHTEYN: But the point is she talked about her credentials. She doesn't have any. Being around for a long time doesn't make you experienced --

(CROSSTALK)

EPSHTEYN: Lifelong success, thousands of jobs created --

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: Let's stick to last night. Let's stick on last night.

BOLDUAN: Let's stick on last night.

I want to talk about the scene-stealing moment. I think everyone had a moment last night. And I was on the floor and you could really feel it when it happened. It was Khizr Khan speaking about their son. It took your breath away. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KHAN: Donald Trump, you're asking Americans to trust you with their future. Let me ask you, have you even read the United States Constitution?

(CHEERING)

KHAN: I will -- I will gladly lend you my copy.

(CHEERING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: That worked in that room and beyond.

And, John Avlon, when you saw that, what did you think of last night?

JOHN AVLON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Powerful moment. I mean, first of all, given the tenure of a lot of our political debates, it really does feel like it's choices between open and closed. And Donald Trump with his message about a temporary ban on Muslim immigration has set a "not welcome" sign on the door of America to many groups. And to see the father of a fallen Muslim soldier reminds us not only of the essential diversity of America and the common sacrifices we make that undercuts all the kind of ethnic slander that too often occurs in our politics. But for those Constitutional conservatives, when he brought out the document and asked Trump if he read it, and asked him what sacrifice he's made, in context, that is a devastating indictment of a candidate who too often wraps himself up in the American flag but hasn't done the work of public service, or even civic introspection up to this point --

(CROSSTALK)

EPSHTEYN: How do you know that, that he hasn't done the hard work? This is someone who's created thousands of jobs, somebody who's committed --

(CROSSTALK)

AVLON: We're actually talking about military service, Boris. We're talking about the sacrificing a son who's a soldier --

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: When you both talk, Boris, it's not going to work.

John Avlon, go ahead.

AVLON: Boris, listen, man, you can make arguments that are all about distraction and deflection but we know that father was talking about the sacrifice of his son in a war that is too often being pumped up by some people as a war between Islam and the United States or Islam and the West. So don't try to reach out to these -- (CROSSTALK)

EPSHTEYN: So why are you saying unless you had a child who died --

(CROSSTALK)

AVLON: Donald Trump's family may be successful but they do not have a record of public service when it comes to wearing the uniform or otherwise.

EPSHTEYN: Have the Clintons worn a uniform?

BOLDUAN: Go ahead, Boris.

EPSHTEYN: The Clintons haven't worn a uniform. So, again, that's an absolutely unfair shot.

As far as the whole convention goes, you talk about how the Democrats were so positive. It was full of personal insults. Asked if Donald Trump read the Constitution? That's a personal insult.

(CROSSTALK)

EPSHTEYN: And, again, plays into this narrative --

(CROSSTALK)

EPSHTEYN: Donald Trump leads Clinton by seven points in the polls --

(CROSSTALK)

BECKEL: Don't be ridiculous.

BOLDUAN: What does that have to do with personal insults?

EPSHTEYN: What is has to do with it is, first of all, this discussion -- I'm alone here representing the Donald Trump part, right? There's one against literally four people who are going to go and say this convention was so wonderful and such a good job, but that's not the case.

BOLDUAN: But just respond to John, we're letting you respond.

EPSHTEYN: Sure. As I said to John, you have absolutely no basis for saying that Donald Trump has done nothing for America or somehow has made no sacrifice. You don't know the man. You don't know what he's done. You don't know how much money he's contributed to charity, how many people he's helped all over this country. And I would have loved to hear your thoughts about all the wonderful speeches at the RNC and all the people who talked about how he has helped them throughout their career. Was that a breathtaking moment as well? I thought it was. A lot of Americans thought it was, too. So we need to be fair in how we represent the two conventions. It's not one against five. It's 20 percent against 80 percent --

(CROSSTALK) BERMAN: We did a whole week on the Republican convention. This is how we weigh each panel. It's a bit little ridiculous what you're saying here.

Second of all, second of all, we are asking about that father talking about his son. Donald Trump has tweeted about a lot of things today, including Michael Bloomberg. He hasn't responded specifically to the father of this son, this Muslim, whose father says they would have been banned, not allowed to come to the United States under the initial ban proposed by Donald Trump and he's mourning the loss of his son. And he's asking Trump again about the idea of religious freedom in the Constitution. We were asking you to respond to this father.

EPSHTEYN: As far as the Constitution, the Constitution does not apply to folks who are not citizens of America. We all know that. That's just constitutional law. That's fact. There's no constitutional right. I'm a legal immigrant. My family came here in the early '90s. There's no constitutional right to come to this country. Donald Trump is saying we don't want to turn into France where Catholic priests are being butchered in their churches. You've seen that happen all over the world now. We need to protect against that.

[11:15:16] I have utmost respect, as does Donald Trump, for this gentleman and his loss and for his son. Of course, we do. We want people to fight for our country but there needs to be a process, a very strong process, a very thorough process for vetting the folks who come to this country. Asking if he read the Constitution or not is not helpful to that.

BOLDUAN: Let's move on.

Tracy, in talking about big moments of the night, one of the goals for the night for Democrats was humanizing Hillary Clinton. You think Chelsea Clinton did just that. Explain.

TRACY SEFL, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Sure. It was so charming to hear some of the stories that many families can relate to, whether it's the notes being left by a traveling parent or the shows and movies that moms and dads and kids can kind of curl up to. There's a Clinton family that is a real family and the world thinks we know them. I think Chelsea did a really nice job of showing what some of that looks like and feels like, but more importantly, and listening to this conversation, let's think of these convention speeches as job interviews. And the American people ultimately are the employers. If Donald Trump was applying for the job and Hillary Clinton was applying for the job and you compared the two together, Democrats, Republicans, Independents, I don't think there really can be a debate about who is the person who ultimately should be hired for the job. The person who actually understands what the job is, and Hillary masterfully, she won that job interview.

HAM: Can I say -- I think --

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: Go ahead. HAM: When it comes to the actual candidates, this is where Boris is

correct, that Hillary was negative. She was frowning. She was actually strongest going after Trump. Some of her arguments ring hollow when you talk about honesty and these kinds of things. But what's interesting about the Democratic National Conventions, the two nominees actually have the weakest speeches of the week but they were surrounded by other people speaking that were much stronger. I think that actually does boost them. She was never going to give a great speech. Anybody who thought she was, was out of their mind because that's not her strength. But they surrounded her in such a way that they were able to present a bigger picture. And I think that's what --

(CROSSTALK)

BECKEL: You're comparing the speakers at the Republican convention to the president of the United States, the vice president of the United States, on and on and on? When you have all these third-rate people doing speeches? I mean, come on.

EPSHTEYN: Listen, if you want to talk about this --

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: Let Mary Katharine talk.

HAM: No, I was saying the Democratic National Convention did a better job of surrounding a really bad speaker with good speakers.

(CROSSTALK)

HAM: At the RNC, the stage craft was a little less. Although Donald Trump's kids I thought were very good.

BERMAN: John Avlon, the risk here though is if this is a change election, anti-establishment election, the establishment, all of it, was on stage with Hillary Clinton, right? So if you're against the establishment, it's unlikely they're going to convince you.

AVLON: That's exactly right. And that's really the greatest hurdle Hillary Clinton has to face. The defining movement of this political season is populism. It's angry populism on the left and the right, whether Trump or Bernie, using a lot of the same rhetoric, the rigged system, the impact of big money, special interests. Those targets aren't wrong. If you're motivated by those emotions, Hillary Clinton's one of the worst candidates because she's been a mainstay of American civic life for 25 years in different roles. That's why the line that really stood out to me, and think we have a clip, is where she seemed to address that contradiction and came out with that I thought was one of the most significant moments of the speech.

BERMAN: Yes, let's play that, on the economy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: I believe our economy isn't working the way it should because our democracy isn't working the way it should.

(CHEERING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AVLON: And so the reason I think that's so significant is that she's saying those frustrations you feel, if you feel you're being economically squeezed and culturally squeezed, 69 percent wrong direction number that Boris mentioned, a lot of that's about frustration with division and dysfunction in Washington. Hillary Clinton's saying, like my husband did, I will find ways to work across the aisle and start to break that log jam to bring relief to the American people if you start to feel left behind. That's why that is so significant.

BERMAN: Hang on. Hang on.

Boris, what we're going to do is we're going to take a break so we can pay for this broadcast.

Bob Beckel, John Avlon, Boris Epshteyn, Mary Katharine Ham --

BOLDUAN: A lot more to come.

BERMAN: -- don't go anywhere. We like you so much, and want to talk more.

BOLDUAN: Save some energy, guys.

In less than an hour, Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine hitting the trail for the first time together as the official top of the Democratic ticket. We'll bring it live from Philly when it happens.

[11:20:04] BERMAN: And Donald Trump says he wanted to hit some of the DNC speakers. Plus, he called Hillary Clinton's speech last night an insulting bunch of cliches. Donald Trump is on the campaign trail today. We will take you there coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: So with the conventions over, this campaign still has the new general election smell.

(CROSSTALK)

Today, Donald Trump goes west with two stops in the battleground state of Colorado. He will speak in a few hours.

BOLDUAN: It will be his first chance to respond to Hillary Clinton's tough attacks on him last night. And after enduring four days of incoming from the Democrats at the convention, you can be sure Donald Trump is ready for battle. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & CEO, TRUMP ORGANIZATION: The things that were said about me, I wanted to -- I wanted to hit a couple of those speakers so hard. I would have hit them. No, no.

(CHEERING)

TRUMP: I was going to hit them so -- I was all set. I was going to hit one guy in particular, a very little guy. I was going to hit this guy so hard his head would spin. He wouldn't know what the hell happened.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: CNN politics reporter, Jeremy Diamond, is following the Trump campaign in Colorado Springs today.

Jeremy, what are you hearing?

[11:25:08] JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Well, Donald Trump has two events here in Colorado. First, here in Colorado Springs, and then he'll be heading over to Denver, Colorado. This is typically a battleground state. Hillary Clinton is up roughly 10n points according to the latest polls so Donald Trump has some ground to make up here. By going after Hillary Clinton and offering his first in rebuttal, if you will, to Hillary Clinton's convention speech just last night, but no sooner had Clinton wrapped up her speech last night than Trump was going after her on Twitter, in particular, and doing one of the things he does best, which is stoke fear with regards to terrorism. He tweeted, quote, "Hillary' refusal to mention radical Islam as she pushes a 550 percent increase in refugees is more proof that she is unfit to lead the country." That's one of the talking points Trump has brought up repeatedly on the campaign trail. He also hit her for essentially offering a different version of America than the one he sees, saying she is living in a fantasy world.

And we saw Donald Trump going after Michael Bloomberg who just two days ago offered his very stronger rebuke of Trump. He's an Independent, making an appeal to Independents. Trump tweeted this morning, "Little Michael Bloomberg, who never had the guts to run for president, knows nothing about me. His last term as mayor was a disaster."

While yesterday, Donald Trump showed restraint, saying he wanted to hit some of these folks very strongly, this morning, he is back on the attack, no holds barred-style. We'll see which Trump we get today at Colorado Springs.

BERMAN: Marco Rubio, little Marco Rubio, now Little Michael Bloomberg.

BOLDUAN: Oh, no.

BERMAN: Times have changed.

BOLDUAN: That's right.

Jeremy Diamond, great to see you. Thank you so much, Jeremy.

Our political panel back with us. More to discuss. Boris, what do you want to see Donald Trump focus on after these two weeks? Where do you think the race is right now? If you had to pick one thing?

EPSHTEYN: National security. National security's a larger issue. That's what American people care about. They're seeing a lot what's happening in the world. He has the focus on the fact that his message on national security, securing our boards, well resonate. Talked about her experience on national security as secretary of state. ISIS did not exist when she became secretary of state. Now ISIS is beheading priests in France and conducting attacks that killed hundreds of people all over the world. She has no legs to stand on in terms of foreign policy. Just being there doesn't make you qualified. Historically, secretaries of state have been sort of a tryout for the presidency, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe. She was failed as secretary of state. It was like a J.V. quarterback with only interceptions thinking she'll be varsity. That shouldn't happen. Donald Trump will make sure it doesn't happen.

(CROSSTALK)

BECKEL: This coming from the same guy who didn't know what the Triad was. I mean, let's be honest about this, do you really believe for a second the American people are going to be convinced that Donald Trump has a national security bone in his body that's effective? You really do?

(CROSSTALK)

BECKEL: All right, now, I'll tell you -- so you talk about polls. You look out at Colorado, some of these swing states, New Hampshire, Colorado, places where -- and New Mexico, places where Donald Trump needs to win, he can't.

EPSHTEYN: New Hampshire's not a swing state. Ohio, Pennsylvania --

(CROSSTALK)

BECKEL: New Hampshire's always been a swing state, so has Colorado.

EPSHTEYN: Colorado is still close, but we are up by significant margins, specifically in internal polls. In the three key states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan --

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: Mary Katharine, let me talk about national security because it is interesting because one of the speeches was from retired Marine John Allen, which is interesting to see, again, at a Democratic convention, a retired general giving such a national security speech there. You had the sense -- it would not have been strange to hear that very speech in 2004 at the Republican convention here in New York you were talking about, isn't that so?

HAM: Yes, I think that is correct. Here's the problem, the actual nominee of the party has the most giant very obvious problem where she failed on the national security front when it comes to her e-mail. So talking about that. Although Donald Trump has incredible deficiencies on this front, there's a problem with her argument. When it comes to Donald Trump, yes, he should talk about national security and economic insecurity. These are two things people have fears about for real reasons. A liberal Democratic administration has not solved those problems. It promised big things and didn't deliver. This is one of the reasons people look to somebody like Trump who is just very different. The problem Hillary Clinton has, despite Trump's deficiencies, if this is a change election and people go, I'm so frustrated, I don't care if he has deficiencies, she has them, I'm just going this way, she has to do a little bit more than make the argument against him, perhaps. In the past, we've seen when you just make the argument against somebody, see Mitt Romney and Obama in '12, it didn't work out well. So there's a risk here.

BOLDUAN: I'm also interested in the audience, who, really, the audiences were last night. I mean, it was no -- she made no secret, Hillary Clinton, last night, of going after Trump. There was always some question --