Return to Transcripts main page

ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Sources: Advisers Told Trump Debate Didn't Go Well; Clinton Draws on Sanders to Woo Millennials; Aleppo 2.0: Johnson Has Trouble Naming Favorite Foreign Leader; Weighty Issues; Machado: Trump Called Me Miss Piggy "All The Time"; Will Trump's Go After The Clinton's Marriage?; Teen Allegedly Killed Father Before School Shooting; CNN Presidential Town Hall. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired September 28, 2016 - 20:00   ET

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


[20:00:12] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: And good evening. Thanks for joining us.

With just eleven days to go until the next presidential debate, Donald Trump's team is trying to figure out how to avoid a repeat performance. Our new reporting, Trump has been told by his team he did not well Monday night, despite all their public comments.

We also know his aides held a conference call with some of his supporters and told them if they're going on TV, you're talking about the debate, they should refuse to concede that he didn't nail it. We'll have much more on that in a moment. We'll hear from Trump supporters here.

Right now, Trump is back on what seems to be his comfort zone on the campaign trail, taking swipes at Hillary Clinton, at rallies full of his supporters, looking at live pictures there from Wisconsin.

But even as Trump continues to claim victory in Monday's debate and slam Clinton for taking days off, by most accounts, his relative lack of preparation showed. Now, the question becomes, will anything change the next time around?

Phil Mattingly reports tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Donald Trump back on the campaign trail, sharpening his attack on Hillary Clinton.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: How many more Clinton scandals can this country take? One after another after another. You know the story, folks. You have seen it for years and years.

MATTINGLY: The Republican nominee trying to regain his footing after a shaky debate performance against the Democratic nominee Monday night.

TRUMP: Hillary Clinton is an insider, fighting for her donors and her insiders. Mostly fighting for herself. And if she ever got the chance, she would put the Oval Office up for sale to and nobody has any doubt about it.

MATTINGLY: Despite repeated claims of victory via defunct, unscientific online polls.

TRUMP: Winning by massive margins in many cases. And one was 80 percent to 20 percent. But I'm winning all of these polls. How many were there? Seven, or eight or not. Hundreds of thousands of votes and then I have to sit back and you have to sit back and hear how those polls don't mean anything.

MATTINGLY: Trump is patting himself on the back on going easy on Clinton during the debate, pulling his punch the last moment about Bill Clinton's infidelities.

TRUMP: For 90 minutes, I watched her very carefully. And I was also holding back. I didn't want to do anything to embarrass her.

MATTINGLY: Trump's son Eric is praising his father's approach.

ERIC TRUMP, SON OF DONALD TRUMP: I think that took a lot of courage in so many regards and I think, you know, he really answered that well and took the high ground.

MATTINGLY: Trump's advisors are quietly delivering the message to him that he didn't have a good night, and privately expressing frustration that Trump missed opportunities to go after Clinton because of his belief that he didn't need to rely on traditional debate preparation.

But aides are also telling CNN that Trump and some in his inner circle believe his off the cuff impromptu approach is exactly what his supports want.

Trump also being rewarded with his biggest one day fundraising haul of his entire campaign on Tuesday. Its finance director calling the national call day event a, quote, "tremendous success."

TRUMP: We have the biggest day we've ever had because of the success last night of the debate. They raised almost $18 million.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: So, that was Phil Mattingly reporting.

As we mentioned, we're getting new information about how displeased Donald Trump is not by his debate performance but how his allies have been talking about it.

Patrick Healy, Maggie Haberman wrote about the inner workings of the post-debate campaign in "The New York Times" today. It's fascinating article.

They join me now, along with CNN chief political analyst Gloria Borger.

Gloria, what are you hearing first of all from folks in Trump world?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: There was a conference call today with Team Trump and Trump surrogates in which team Trump made it abundantly clear that their candidate was upset with people who've been talking to the media and saying that he didn't nail it.

COOPER: Media. You media people.

BORGER: Saying he didn't nail it and they want -- and now listen surrogates. He wants a high-energy defense of his debate performance and want this is to stop immediately. We were told that the message was animated.

That it wasn't exactly subtle and there is a candidate who's upset about the way this is being treated, not only by people inside the campaign but other people talking about the debate.

COOPER: And this notion that you have all been reporting on that he's sort of been gingerly approached by some people around him. Where does it say he needs to be gingerly approached, if that's the case?

MAGGIE HABERMAN, THE NEW YORK TIMES: There have been three different management teams and there have been one constant, which is the candidate. And the candidate has never really wanted to hear negative information from the people around him. So this is not a huge exception. There were a couple of people who were pretty direct with him, but for the most part from our reporting, most of them were indeed pretty careful and most did not say, you know, that was not good. You should have done X, Y, Z. It was you did well for this part but then there was Z, Y, Z that didn't go well.

[20:05:02] The question I think now is, given his response, what will be different for the next time? Because he did do prep. It was not conventional prep and that also goes to what --

COOPER: Do you know what sort of prep it was? Not mock debates according to all the reporting, right?

HABERMAN: There were efforts to get him to stand at a podium. Roger Ailes had initially envisioned a more conventional debate camp, debate prep camp. That didn't quite work out, so they moved it to Trump Tower, where there was fewer distractions.

There was a podium but Trump didn't really want to stand on it. So, they tried to work within his comfort zone. The problem is that Trump has a way of turning things towards the way he wants it to be as opposed to meeting the reality that is out there.

They went over lines. And they went over cues that Hillary Clinton could have about her reactions and in the end, he just didn't swing through on almost any of them and chased literally every piece of chum she threw at him.

COOPER: Patrick, is it clear that it is going to be different this next time to you? PATRICK HEALY, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Well, the format is certainly

going to be different. I mean, he's going to have to engage with real voters and we assume sort of getting off his chair and wandering around. He's much taller than her, sort of figuring out to what extent he comes into her face. What they overlap.

This is new stuff for him. This is a man who prides himself so much on his performance abilities and his abilities to hold an audience but it is much different when you are on a small change, a town hall meeting where you need to be dealing with Hillary Clinton over here, certain moderators over here, the audience other here.

But the big thing I think Maggie and I reported in terms of his own frustration was that he really wanted to bring up Benghazi and the Clinton family foundation and these sort of targets, and he sort of knew that probably Lester Holt wasn't going bring those things up. So what he needed to do in an affirmative way was figure a way to bring up the issues within the context of questions. Hillary Clinton did that very well.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Clearly had practiced and choreographed.

BORGER: But she did talk about testifying for 12 hours before a congressional committee.

(CROSSTALK)

BORGER: Well, but that was before the Benghazi committee.

HEALY: So he had these ways in. But that goes to -- this is a guy whose self confidence was so supreme in terms of improvisation. But improvisation is so much different than sort of the lawyerly case of building what you are saying and have a gotcha moment.

COOPER: Maggie, you also reported that, you guys reporting that Donald Trump got distracted by people around during the prep.

HABERMAN: When he was in the primaries, the prep was pretty small and contained. So, was the campaign at that point, it was much smaller.

At this point, it started as a half dozen people at Bedminster, his club in New Jersey. And then moved to Trump Tower and it grew to almost a dozen people by the end. And it included Rudy Giuliani, Chris Christie, Steve Bannon, a bunch of other people. Kellyanne Conway was the only woman in there I think which is not insignificant since he was facing a female general election opponent. And then there were the two generals, Keith Kellogg and Mike Flynn, who have no presidential experience, no debate experience.

COOPER: Was Bobby Knight there?

HABERMAN: Bobby Knight drifted in at some point. Reince Priebus was there, the RNC chairman. I mean, usually, debate prep camp for a presidential election is a tightly run closed affair. And this just became sort of a hall (ph) --

HEALY: To that especially it is tightly run and it's often staff. It is it is people who you have the principle on stage and the staff trying to sort of prepare and give the principal as much advice as possible.

As Maggie said, you've got people like Rudy Giuliani and Chris Christie and Roger Ailes who were at least sort of the early prep is like telling war stories and incredible distractions. What you usually have is a staff member who the candidate understands is there to run these on time and make his or her better than when they went in. And in a way I think you saw people as peers kind of sitting around and talking.

BERMAN: And he ran it ultimately. I'm sorry, I think it was him running it. Usually you don't have the candidate running the debate prep.

BORGER: So, the question now is how this changes. And when you are in a town hall, it is difficult too attack. Donald Trump has made it very clear out on the campaign trail since this debate that he's on the attack.

Jim Acosta has gotten talking points that were handed out today, showing for the Trump folks, showing that they intend to get very aggressive against Hillary Clinton on the personal side. On the whole question of Bill Clinton's infidelities and how she supported him and dealt with Monica Lewinsky, et cetera, during that.

So, if you are going to get more aggressive and that is what the talking points show in all areas, much more aggressive campaign taking her on, how do you do that in a town hall setting?

COOPER: Also for a candidate who doesn't want to give his strategy away on defeating ISIS, is it good to give your strategy away that you are going to go after Secretary Clinton on marital infidelities?

(CROSSTALK)

[20:10:07] HEALY: Right. And this is the way he thinks he can play mind games with her. He doesn't have a lot of tools to work.

COOPER: Right. Interesting.

We're watching what is going to be a Donald Trump event. Donald Trump is not yet speaking but we're going to be watching that and monitoring it basically to see what he says, if anything about the debates, anything newsworthy we'll bring to you. That's Maggie Haberman, Gloria Borger, Patrick Healy.

Coming up, Donald Trump did not to do himself any favors by repeating again yesterday that this woman, a former Miss Universe, had gained a massive amount of weight and it was a quote, "problem". That's what he said yesterday.

This isn't he first time that Trump appointed himself arbiter of someone else's weight, not by a long shot. We'll take a look at that.

Also ahead, more breaking news, two students and a teacher shot in an elementary school playground in South Carolina. A teenager is in custody. We'll have the latest on this when we continue.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Donald Trump says Hillary Clinton takes too many days off. You may remember, during the debate, Trump repeatedly claimed that Clinton doesn't have the, quote, "look" or, quote, "stamina" to be president.

Today, at a rally in Iowa, he took another swipe at her health, referencing that she took a few days off toe recover from pneumonia after she stumbled getting to her car on 9/11.

Here's what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: You have six weeks until the election, think of it. From June 16th -- think of it, do you believe this?

[20:15:01] I've been out from June 16th. It's been full-time, all the time. You see all the days off that Hillary takes? Day off. Day off. Day off. All those day offs and can't even make it to her car. Isn't it tough?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: With me now, Clinton supporter and national spokesperson from MoveOn.org, Karine Jean-Pierre, Trump supporters Jeffrey Lord and Scottie Nell Hughes, and Clinton supporter and former Sanders surrogate, Jonathan Tasini.

Is it wise for Donald Trump to be continuing on the Secretary Clinton health issue? Do you think that is something that resonates with not just his supporters but with undecided voters out there which at this point is trying to reach?

JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I do think that video says a lot. And I just think it is sort of immutable at this point.

COOPER: And you feel it stuck in people's minds.

LORD: Yes, I think it's stuck in people's mind.

Anderson, I want to say something about the debates. He's going talk about the money trail and all of this sort of thing as they go on. But it is very interesting to me listening to Rush Limbaugh today and Sean Hannity in succession, they really did focus in on Alicia Machado.

And Newt Gingrich came on and did a whole Facebook post on this, about collusion between the media. When you read this "Washington Post" story today saying they went through in detail how the Clinton campaign was working behind the scenes to have the story ready go, the minute Hillary mentioned her name in the debate.

I think they have made a huge mistake here because of the things you discovered last night in your conversation with her. And I hate to say this on a family show, pornography, which is now everywhere and very graphic.

This is not the kind of person you want a presidential candidate associated with. They didn't do their due diligence and I think they are going to have a problem with it.

COOPER: Scottie, you know, Gloria was talking -- the reporters were talking about a conference call where surrogates were told, you got to defend his debate performance, that you got do it with energy, that Trump himself is upset with perception that he didn't do enough preparation for it? Were you on that call? Did you got that message?

SCOTTIE NELL HUGHES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I was on the call and it was just a general call like most surrogate calls that are part of a campaign. It was more of, folks, let's get out there. We have forty days. Let's make sure we're doing our best. We're sticking to the talking points.

They were making sure that we're relatable and we're having the energy for it. At this point, we need to make sure that we are getting outlet there the message. Yesterday was amazing day for the Trump campaign, a lot of excitement. $18 million that was a raised in 24 hours.

COOPER: Right, a big haul.

HUGHES: A record. And that right here speaks a lot about what actually the results of the campaign, of the debate were, when you have $18 million of small donors, of people, saying you know what, Mr. Trump, we support you. That's incredible.

That just speaks -- and then you have these large rallies that we're seeing last night and tonight. That speaks volumes about the result -- actually speaks louder than probably the debate results at this point.

COOPER: You think it speak -- the $18 million and a couple of rallies speaks larger than the largest debate of the history of the world.

HUGHES: If you sit there and if you watch the pundits and you read the articles and you read all the negativity that came towards Mr. Trump after the race, especially talking about the coercion that might have happened between the media and the Hillary Clinton camp, you would expect no one to be at his rallies.

He's got some of the highest yesterday, he saw one of the benchmark fundraising day. So, obviously, the people really don't care necessarily and they are seeing these attacks by the media on Mr. Trump and they are viewing them as actually somebody that helps Mr. Trump and showing once again that he's here to fight the establishment and the status quo. COOPER: So, Karine, are you concerned about the idea that he could do

better the next debate? That he could practice, that he could, you know, sit down and spend a couple of days actually prepping, and figure out how to pivot, figure out how not to, to go after, you know, any poking that Hillary Clinton does?

KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, CLINTON SUPPORTER: Let me just say a couple of things about that. First of all a winning campaign doesn't have their staff throwing their candidate under the bus. That is number one.

Number two, they have tried to mold Donald Trump into a traditional Republican candidate by feeding him words. By making sure he stays on the teleprompter to stay on message. But every time he's off the teleprompter, we see the real Donald Trump, right?

And we saw that during the debate when yesterday he doubled down on offensive comments, that no one asked him about. He just continued taking the bait and continued to make the offensive comments about Miss Universe. So, they can prep all day, but you cannot change a 70- year-old con artist.

JONATHAN TASINI, HILLARY CLINTON SUPPORTER: And so, let me follow up on that point. And actually now I understand, Jeff, that when you have to listen to Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity in succession, why one would create a completely different reality.

LORD: I listen to Rush Limbaugh every day.

TASINI: Every day. Well, my condolences to you. I feel your pain.

LORD: They're very smart guy if you should listen to them.

HUGHES: Yes, you might learn something.

TASINI: No, because I actually like to be grounded to the real world what really happens.

(LAUGHTER)

TASINI: So let me follow-up with what Karine just said.

[20:20:01] The problem is that remember, this is Donald Trump we've seen going back to the Republican primaries. This is the man that talked about the size of his genitals, who talked about things that we have never seen a presidential candidate.

He's not fit to be president and we see that in the debates. It is not just about preparing strategies and preparing him with talking points. It is that when he starts to talk, let me give him some unsolicited vice. He should never talk about women, because every time he opens up his mouth about women, he's caught in essentially his past statements.

(CROSSTALK)

TASINI: He should never talk about race, because the birther issue brought up. Donald Trump could not explain why for years, he continued to promote the birther issue. The problem with Donald Trump is Donald Trump. And no matter what strategy, and I in some way, sympathy for the strategists and his campaign people, they can't prepare a man who's deranged and not able to control himself in a public --

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: I want to get back to the campaign trail today, because Donald Trump was making effort to kind of reach out to Bernie Sanders supports and I want to play some of what he said today about that and talk about the possibility of that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: What they did to Bernie Sanders was unbelievable. And now she's supporting -- he's supporting her. You know what I said -- although I think a lot of the Bernie Sanders people are coming to us because I'm much better in trade than Bernie Sanders even was and he's OK but he's supporting her.

And you know, Bernie Sanders could have gone down not the record books as being a great, great man. But when he made that deal, it was over.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Jonathan Tasini, obviously, a big Bernie Sanders supporter.

(LAUGHTER)

COOPER: I don't see you gravitating to Jeffrey or Scottie. Do you think he can actually get some disaffected Sanders supporters?

TASINI: When you say "some," will it be five or ten people who vote for Trump? Perhaps. The vast majority and polls are showing that, are going to vote for Hillary Clinton.

And here is the reality, and Bernie Sanders has said this repeatedly. Donald Trump stands for everything that Bernie Sanders is opposed, his entire adult life. Donald Trump --

(CROSSTALK)

TASINI: Let me finish. Donald Trump has promoted birtherism, racism, misogyny.

LORD: No, no --

(CROSSTALK)

TASINI: Let me finish.

COOPER: We got to go actually.

HUGHES: Here is the thing. You can taunt about that but effects everybody on Main Street is jobs and that is where Bernie Sanders supporter --

JEAN-PIERRE: That's true.

TASINI: Donald Trump --

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: I'm going to let you all talk with each other and I'm going to go to commercial break.

Hillary Clinton hit the campaign -- guys, shut up -- with Bernie Sanders, trying to generate some hit for her among millennials who are still feeling the Bern. We'll take a look at that. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:26:50] COOPER: One of Hillary Clinton's major challenges is winning over Bernie Sanders supporters and stopping them from defecting to third party candidates, Jill Stein, Gary Johnson.

She got an assist today from Sanders himself and also from First Lady Michelle Obama.

Brianna Keilar reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hillary Clinton tapping Bernie Sanders star power yet again in New Hampshire.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This election is enormously important for the future of our country. It is imperative that we elect Hillary Clinton as our next president.

KEILAR: She's trying to attract young voters who overwhelmingly voted for Sanders in the primary, pushing her plan for free public college tuitions for families earning $125,000 or less per year.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't know how we got to where we are, but we are going to fix it. This is wrong. It is wrong for students. It's wrong for families and it's wrong for our country.

KEILAR: But polls show some millennials are looking past Clinton, way past Donald Trump, to third party candidates Gary Johnson and Jill Stein. The White House is worried it could endanger President Obama's legacy.

MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: And if you vote for someone other than Hillary or if you don't vote at all, then you are helping to elect Hillary's opponent.

KEILAR: First Lady Michelle Obama rallying voters in Pennsylvania. Clinton's Rust Belt firewall also appearing in a new ad. OBAMA: Hillary will be a president our kids can look up to.

KEILAR: And taking on Trump.

OBAMA: Then, of course, there are those who questioned and continue to question for the past eight years whether my husband was even born in this country.

(BOOS)

And let me say, hurtful, deceitful questions, deliberately designed to undermine his presidency. Questions that cannot be blamed on others or swept under the rug by an insincere sentence uttered at a press conference.

KEILAR: And the Clinton campaign continues to get mileage out the story of Alicia Machado, the former Miss Universe who Clinton referenced during the debate. Trump is under fire for how he treated Machado for gaining weight, making no apologies this week.

TRUMP: She gained a massive of weight. And it was a real problem.

KEILAR: His campaign calls Machado's allegations that Trump called her "Miss Piggy" and "Miss Housekeeping" because she's Latina unsubstantiated. But, Machado, a Clinton supporter is standing by her claims.

ALICIA MACHADO, MISS UNIVERSE 1996: He was really rude with me. He tried to destroy my self esteem. And now, I'm a voice in the Latin community. That is the point. He can say whatever he wants to say.

KEILAR: Brianna Keilar, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Let's take a look now more at Clinton's millennial map of problem. Younger voters overwhelmingly back President Obama in 2012, handed him a 29-point lead over Mitt Romney, part of the exit polls. But Clinton is struggling with that demographic.

I want to look at how big of a problem it is. John King tonight breaks it down by the numbers.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, we often talk about the battleground states but sometimes we need to go deeper, the battlegrounds within the battlegrounds. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in New Hampshire today targeting millennials.

[20:30:04] That is a big concern for the Clinton campaign.

In New Hampshire there, Michelle Obama today, two stops in Pennsylvania both on college campuses. In Philadelphia, that on Pittsburgh, targeting millennials. Why this constituency matter so much? Well one, is just the numbers, they matter. This is the 2012 exit polls, millennials then a key part of the Obama coalition, 19 percent of the vote in Pennsylvania, 16 percent in Florida, 16percent in North Carolina, 19 percent in Virginia, 19 percent in New Hampshire where Secretary Clinton was today.

Five, these are just five, I could give you more, but five of the key battleground states, the millennial vote a key constituency as you try to rebuild the Obama coalition. Why? Look at this. Now this is voters under 30. Millennials are technically under 35, but in the 2012 election, 60 to 37. This slide is over little bit. This was a four-point race national. Relatively close, right, 60 to 37 among voters under 30. A landslide for President Obama under this key constituency. So where are we today, 41 days before election 2016?

This is a problem for Hillary Clinton. In the recent Bloomberg national poll a 23 point edge for the president back then just the 10 point actually for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump in a head to head match up. That is problem for Secretary Clinton. She needs to run up that number. And if you think that's a problem, here is why it is an even bigger problem. When you bring the third party candidates they are taking away millennial votes bleeding from the main candidates to the third party candidates and it hurts Clinton more.

A 4-point edge over Donald Trump, I mean bring this up here, when factor in the third party candidates, Gary Johnson and Jill Stein gaining combined 19 percent of the millennial vote in this Bloomberg survey. So again you don't have to be very good at math, just a 4- point edge here, what -- with a 23-point edge there. That is why whether it's college affordability, whether it's Michelle Obama going on the college campuses, the Clinton campaign realizes even though it thinks it has momentum in key state, you know, the race is tight, they feel relatively good, they know they have a fundamental problem with millennials. A key piece of the Obama coalition. So hen you watch them go to these states, sometimes you see this events, you understand just why she's got a problem.

Anderson?

COOPER: John thanks very much for that. I want to talk about with me joining me now, CNN senior political commentator and former Obama senior advisor David Axelrod, also Jeff Weaver former campaign manager for Bernie Sanders.

David, why do you think Secretary Clinton is having a problem with millennial voters? I mean, you know, some of you vote say well her age but look at Bernie Sanders, he had huge millennial support.

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, she obviously she had a problem with them in 2008 as well. You know, I think part of it is presentation I don't think -- she's very cautious in the way she expresses how she tends to talk in terms that are kind of stereotypically political and I think millennials are very skeptical about politicians generally and authenticity matters.

Bernie Sanders was a very authentic candidate, he clearly was as be he - it's the same thing you've been saying for 4 years and on the issues that they most care about, inequality, social justice issues. You know, he was a very powerful candidate. I think she has work do with that.

COOPER: Jeff, when a campaign makes an obvious effort to shore up support for one demographic or another way, there's Clinton with millennials or Trump with African-Americans. Does that actually work or do voters just end up kind of seeing through it? Particularly millennials, you know, seeing through it as what it is?

JEFF WEAVER, FORMER CAMPAIGN MANAGER FOR BERNIE SANDERS: Well, I think that's a little bit sort off Anderson in this way. I don't think Hillary Clinton is making something up to tell millennials. She has a powerful story to tell millennials. The plan that she and Bernie Sanders developed in terms of college affordability, I think is a very powerful program. It largely brings in his plan to make public colleges and universities, tuition free.

That was a powerful message that he delivered in the primary, she's now delivering it in the general election and I think it will be powerful with millennials. I think this is really a turning point.

I think the problem she's had with millennials is that so far the campaign has focused on the negatives of both candidates. Each one pointing out why the other is bad. And I think for millennials who are suspect of sort of politicians as David said. They really want to hear more about what you are going to do as opposed to why your opponent is bad. I think given the debate we just had and now this big event in New Hampshire where Hillary Clinton is going start talking about really her revolutionary plan for college education. I think this is the beginning of a turning point where she is going to start winning back all those millennial votes.

COOPER: How important ...

AXELROD: Well I was going to say, I do think that she took some strides forward in the debate on Monday. Her discussion of inequality and tax - and tax fairness on social justice issues and issues of race. I think those answers resonated with millennials and I think some of Donald Trump's behavior did not. His behavior towards her, certainly the story about Alicia Machado did not score well among these millennials. So I think she made some steps forward in that debate.

[20:35:07] COOPER: I want to talk about the third party candidates. And Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson is taking some of the millennial vote. He can't seem to avoid, it's a pretty awkward moment, and I want to play something that happened just a short time ago at MSNBC town hall and get your reactions. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC ANCHOR: Name a foreign leader that you respect.

GARY JOHNSON, (L) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I guess I'm having an Aleppo moment in the former president of Mexico.

MATTHEWS: But I'm giving you do whole world.

JOHNSON: I know, I know.

MATTHEWS: Anybody in the world you like. Anybody, pick any leader.

JOHNSON: The former president ...

MATTHEWS: No.

JOHNSON: ... of Mexico.

MATTHEWS: Which one?

JOHNSON: I'm having a brain ...

MATTHEWS: Well name anybody.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Who's your favorite leader? Name a foreign leader ...

WILLIAM WELD, (L) VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Fox.

MATTHEWS: Terrific. Any foreign leader?

JOHNSON: Merkel.

MATTHEWS: OK, Merkel. OK fine. Can't argue with that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: So something like that. I mean he's had a number of those, those moments.

AXELROD: Well, you know, first of all I think he was probably referring to the President Calderone. But what's surprising about that is he was the governor of New Mexico, large Hispanic ...

COOPER: Right.

AXELROD: ... population. The fact that he couldn't come up with is really odd. The fact is the Libertarian Party doesn't much interest itself in global affairs. And it shows in his inability to -- he doesn't seem to show much interest in it. I do think that one of the things that has to happen is that people need to focus on who these candidates are. But also that the choice is binary.

COOPER: Well, with that just Jeff, very briefly, President Obama saying today look a vote for a third party candidate is a vote for Trump. Is that something you think Bernie Sanders is going to start to tell supporters because he hasn't so far he's been saying vote for Clinton, but he hasn't said don't vote for third party candidate.

WEAVER: Well, I think he has said that if anybody wants to see progress in this country it is as David was trying to say binary. One of two candidates is going to be president of United States. Ether Hillary Clinton is going to be president or Donald Trump is going to be president. And so, if you don't want Donald Trump to be president, you have to vote for Hillary Clinton. That's the sort of choice that we're presented here. You know, Bernie Sanders in the primary obviously garnered a lot of support from millennials. But he's not going to be president, he came in second in the primaries.

COOPER: Right.

WEAVER: So, you have Hillary Clinton and you have Donald Trump. But I think millennials, you know, Johnson, you know, behind that problem he had with Chris Mathews. You know, on college education, Libertarians don't have anything to say, they're free marketers. So if you have problems paying for college education, a Libertarian is going to say well that's too bad.

COOPER: Jeff Weaver, David Axelrod, good discussion. Thank you.

Just ahead, Donald Trump has not backed off his comments about the former Miss Universe Alicia Machado. She is the only person he's mock her supposedly being over weight. The question, will it cost him votes? Look at that.

Coming up also at the top of the hour, CNN Presidential Town Hall, America's Military and the Commander In Chief, hosted by Jake Tapper. President Obama taking questions from veterans, acting duty service members and their families in Fort Lee Virginia.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:41:48] COOPER: Hey welcome back. Before we continue, I want to apologize to our guests before. I was kind of rude to them. They were talking over each other I know how frustrating it is for people at home, because you always text me saying, please stop them from talking over each other, but I was rude in asking people to be quiet. So I want to apologize to our guests and anybody at home who may have been offended.

Last night I talked to Alicia Machado, the former Miss Universe who landed in the spotlight during Monday's presidential debate. I asked her what Donald Trump said and did when she gained weight after winning the Miss Universe title 20 years ago when he was co-owner of the pageant. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: In what circumstance did he -- because the Trump campaign is denying that he called you miss piggy or miss housekeeping. You're saying point-blank he said that to you face?

ALICIA MACHADO, MISS UNIVERSE WINNER 1996: Yeah. All the time. And he was really aggressive. He was really rude. He was a bad person with me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well back in 1997 Trump talked publicly about Machado's weight with radio host Howard Stern.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: She gained about 55 pounds in a period of nine months. She like an eating machine.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How?

HOWARD STERN, RADIO HOST: What does a girl eat to gain, I mean, in less than a year to gain.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She must never stop.

TRUMP: I think she ate a lot of everything.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

COOPER: Trump also discussed Ms. Machado's weight in "Newsweek" magazine in 1997, saying, "We tried diet, spa, a trainer, incentives. Forget it, the way she's going she'd the whole gymnasium."

Now, Machado was not the only one who's weight has be a focus for Donald Trump. Randi Kaye tonight reports.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The question was straightforward. The answer, not so much. Listen to Donald Trump's suggestion on debate night about who might be to blame for the hacking and security breech at the DNC.

TRUMP: I mean it could be Russia but it could also be China. It could also be lots of other people. It also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400-pounds. OK. You don't know who broke in to the DNC?

KAYE: Where he came with this vision of a 400-pound hacker is anyone's guess, but it's not the first time he's used a 400-pound fictional character.

In an interview with journalist Tim O'Brien about people questioning his net worth, Trump said, "You can go ahead and speak to guys who have 400-pound wives at home who are jealous of me. But the guys who really know me know I'm a great builder." Weight was also one of his primary weapons in his feud with Rosie O'Donnell.

TRUMP: She came to my wedding. She ate like a pig. And seriously, the wedding cake, it was like missing in action.

KAYE: And years later on a Howard Stern show Trump boldly mocked Kim Kardashian's physique.

STERN: Right.

TRUMP: She have a good body? No.

STERN: Of course.

TRUMP: She have a fat ass, absolutely.

STERN: Right, in other words ...

TRUMP: And if the word Kim that say, wow, I don't want to go out with her.

KAYE: And Trump doesn't just focus on what he considers fat women. Men are targets too. Listen to how he responded to a male protester at one of his rallies last year.

TRUMP: You know, it is amazing. I mentioned food stamps and that guy who's seriously overweight went crazy, he went crazy.

KAYE: It's not just rivals who might get called out. It's allies too. Like New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Trump poking fun at his pudginess when lamenting about Nabisco's decision to move to Mexico.

[20:45:01] After Trump declared he was no longer was going to eat Oreos he couldn't stop himself.

TRUMP: You're not eating Oreos anymore. No more Oreos for either of us.

KAYE: What makes Trump's attacks on overweight people all the more curious is that Trump himself is medically speaking overweight? His long time doctor says he weighs 236 pounds. He recently said this to Dr. Oz.

TRUMP: The one thing I would like to do is be able to drop 15-20 pounds. It would be good.

KAYE: At 6'3", Trump is on the high end of overweight category inching towards obesity. So he may want to tweak his exercise program that he suggested barely goes beyond motioning with his hands during speeches.

Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Gloria Borger and Maggie Haberman are back, joining the conversation, CNN senior political analyst and former presidential adviser, David Gergen. I mean -- I don't know there has ever been Gloria a presidential candidate who has discussed weight or other people's weight quite so much.

BORGER: No. And I think it probably comes from being a reality TV star. This is somebody who's used to saying you're fired on television. Can tell people why he didn't like them, why they didn't do their job well and I think he's kind of uncensored, unfiltered and, you know, he's been a guest on Howard Stern over the last 20 years or so. COOPER: Maggie, there a lot of supporters says, well, he said these things when he wasn't running for president. He said these things when he was a private citizen, a businessman, an entertainer.

HABERMAN: I mean he says that too, but he also keeps saying them as a presidential candidate. I mean the same with the Machado issue, is that he talked out it again the following morning after the debate during the exchange with Clinton about it, said where did you get that a few times, but to me it seemed that he was raising questions whether he had actually said it and the next morning he went on TV and said, you know, yes well she gain a lot of weight and it was a real problem and she had an attitude.

So I think that the issue is that we've never had a presidential candidate who personalizes a criticism of other people of sort of imaginary voters like the 400-pound man he imagined as a hacker sitting on his bed. There is on the one hand for people who find that appealing they think that he is talking the way normal people talk.

COOPER: Right.

HABERMAN: But Trump has existed in something of a consequence-free environment for a very long time, because he was on television, because he is private person and this is just a different environment.

COOPER: And David I mean tell her -- you know, he did talk about Carly Fiorina's face. He talked about Rand Paul's appearance as well. Among others. President Obama was on the Steve Harvey show today. I want to read what he said. He said that "Trump talked about the women's weight and how they look instead of their content of their character and their capabilities".

This is not the conversation that Trump campaign wants people to be having 40 plus days out from the election.

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Certainly not. You know, this is like conducting a campaign in a locker room and having all the banter of people and it is sort of totally out of step with the times and I think women do take offense at this in ways that maybe 20 years ago when he was saying some of the early things they didn't but they do today and so do men. And it's striking Anderson in this new NBC poll we have out tonight that when watching the debate 27 percent of women said their attitudes or their opinion of Trump went down. Went negative as a result of the debate. Only 11 percent said positive.

And with Hillary Clinton it was just the reverse. More than twice as many women said their opinion went up as went down. So it could well be having a cutting effect.

BORGER: You know, when during the debate he talked about stamina. And he talked about Hillary Clinton not having the stamina, that's a code word to women.

COOPER: And the look by the way.

BORGER: Right, and the look, of course. That the stamina is a code word for being weak. And women hear that and she had just pretty much pounded him for an hour ...

COOPER: It is also interesting. And I don't know if it is true or not whether Donald Trump really believes the message that he need to at the next debate is go tougher against Hillary Clinton on, you know, the former president's marital infidelities.

HABERMAN: I think that is a real open question whether he's actually going to execute that strategy or what this is just about getting in Hillary Clinton. Said his campaign earlier today or her campaign said, he tweeted about Gennifer Flowers on Saturday and then it was, "oh just kidding." His campaign earlier today put out word that we're going to be doing new line of attack and just tune in to the rally and then turned out to be something about the Clinton Foundation. So I'm skeptical but he's actually going to do this to her Facebook, we'll see.

COOPER: We shall see indeed October 9th. Gloria Borger, David Gergen, Maggie Haberman, thanks.

Up next, terrifying moments outside a South Carolina elementary school. Police say a teenager opened fired shooting two students and a teacher. Details next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:53:30] COOPER: It's breaking news tonight, a teenager in custody in South Carolina after he allegedly shot and killed his father and then shot two children and a teacher at an elementary school play ground. The two young victims and teacher survive. Victor Blackwell is outside the school with the latest. What do we know about what happened?

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, this teacher and the two boys were shot outside the school on the play ground. That teacher shot in the shoulder. One boy shot in the leg. The second boy with more severe injuries, flown to a trauma center about 40 miles away in Greenville, South Carolina.

But investigators say this happened very quickly. But allegedly this suspect drove here to the school. It was a call that came in just before 2:00 of a person on campus with a gun, it turns out that police, the only description they gave that this is a white male teenager who had a handgun. They're told he is 14 years old still no release of a name. And it ended very quickly.

A volunteer firefighter was able to tackle that boy. The boy is now in custody. And we have been told that the teachers here had undergone extensive active shooter training. And a state center tells CNN that the teacher here, even after she was shot, was still able to usher her students inside the school building. We also know that minutes after the shooting there was a second call that came in from a family about three and a half miles down the road to the man there had been found shot to death, it turns out according to investigators, that the man who was killed, 47-year-old Jeffrey Osborne was the father of the teenage shooter in this case. [20:54:59] Now, still no clear connection potentially between the boy and the teacher or the boy and those students. But we took drive from that home to this school. And this is the first public building you come to an road. So is this a random shooting? Investigators have not said if they know but they are searching a vehicle that was left here for potential evidence.

COOPER: Do we know anything about how the teachers doing, how the kids are doing?

BLACKWELL: Well, the teacher who was shot in the shoulder, she has been released from a local hospital. The boy shot in the leg, he his also been released. The boy who was flown to the trauma center, he underwent emergency surgery and he still in the hospital. We know that South Carolina Governor Nikki Hailey is here meeting with the families of those victims.

Investigators say as they search for a motive here, that they say there is no connection to terror and they don't see this is at all racially motivated.

COOPER: Just awful. We wish them the best. Certainly speedy recovery. Victor Blackwell, thanks.

Coming up, President Obama sits down with an audience and military members, the CNN Presidential Town Hall, Americans Military and the Commander in Chief, starts in just a few minutes.

We'll be right back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: ... start seeing ourselves subject to reciprocal laws. Right?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: In just a few moments, the Presidential Town Hall will be starting. Donald Trump is speaking right now the rally in Wisconsin which should be wrapping up soon, his second rally of the day.

[20:59:58] That does it for us tonight. Thanks for watching. We'll see you again tomorrow night. The CNN Presidential Town Hall, Americans Military and the Commander in Chief, starts now.