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Trump Strongly Denies Groping Allegations; Former Miss USA Pageant Contestant Speaks Out; Michelle Obama Denounces Trump; Aired 11-12p ET
Aired October 13, 2016 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[23:01:08] DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Donald Trump angrily denying allegations that he has groped women, calling the accusations outright lies.
This is CNN TONIGHT, I'm Don Lemon.
Trump claiming he knows the source of the allegations.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: But let me state this as clearly as I can. These attacks are orchestrated by the Clintons and their media allies. The only thing Hillary Clinton has going for herself is the press. Without the press, she is absolutely zero.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: And the First Lady Michelle Obama calling comments that Trump has made about women beneath the basic standards of decency.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: And I can't believe that I'm saying that a candidate for president of the United States has bragged about sexual assaulting women.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: A lot to get to this hour. The hour ahead, I want to begin with CNN's senior media correspondent, none other than Mr. Brian Stelter. He's the host of "RELIABLE SOURCES." You can watch it every Sunday here.
Brian, the person to have because I want to talk about this new audio covered today from Howard Stern. What can you tell us about it?
BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: This is audio of Howard Stern interviewing Donald Trump many years ago, and actually the phrase "sexual predator" came up, which is why it was so notable today. Here's what happened down on the Howard Stern show.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HOWARD STERN, RADIO HOST: Hey, Donald, seriously, you know about sexual predators and things like that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You are one.
STERN: All right. I didn't mean to say that. But --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STELTER: Now that's the extent of the exchange. You hear laughter there. Everyone's joking around. You don't really quite make out how Trump responds but he's being called a sexual predator here.
LEMON: He nods. You don't -- and he says something, he mumbles something. You don't know exactly what he said.
STELTER: That's right.
LEMON: He appears to be mimicking something, and Howard was just playing along but you don't know what he says?
STELTER: That's right. The latest reminder, though, of all of these thousands of hours of tapes and videos that are out there of Donald Trump on various entertainment shows at the Howard Stern show and in the wake of this sort of avalanche of women coming forward, each testifying to different experiences with Trump. Audio like this really stands out.
LEMON: All right. Let's play what Donald Trump said today, Brian. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The claims are preposterous, ludicrous and defy truth, common sense and logic. We already have substantial evidence to dispute these lies and it will be made public in an appropriate way and at an appropriate time, very soon.
These lies come from outlets whose past stories and past claims have already been discredited.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So are you hearing anything about this, quote, "substantive evidence" that we'll be seeing? What do you think it is?
STELTER: I wish I had an answer for you but no, there has been no follow-up today from Trump or the campaign about this so-called evidence, refuting these women's allegations. We just haven't seen it. He said in that clip that the story previously written by the "Times" reporters were discredited. That is not true. One of the women in one of their past stories later reversed herself somewhat and criticized the "Times." Bottom line, though, is the substance of the "Times" story from the last night and the prior stories about Trump's inappropriate touching have held up once investigated by reporters.
LEMON: OK. So there's -- there have been exchanges between the Trump campaign or at least Donald Trump and the campaign.
LEMON: And the "New York Times" last night and today and letters. What's going on here?
STELTER: Fascinating to see the "New York Times" essentially saying to Trump today, go ahead, sue us. We'll meet you in court. This almost never happens. You don't see lawyers say this but in a statement sent to the Trump lawyer by the "New York Times" lawyer today, the paper essentially said we stand by our story, we are not going to retract it, and if you really believe that we were wrong, if you really believe these women don't deserve to be heard, go ahead and sue us and we'll meet you in court and debate it.
LEMON: And then also late tonight a letter from lawyers representing Melania Trump to "People" magazine, what did it say?
[23:05:02] STELTER: This is the other legal action or a threat of legal action on the table. This is not a lawsuit but this is a request from Melania Trump, a demand actually, for a retraction of part of the "People" magazine story. Just a small part. It involves the accuser and Melania Trump talking on the street outside Trump Tower at a later date. This is coming from Charles in , the same lawyer that helped to bring down Gawker Media a number of months ago. So we'll see what "People" magazine does.
But I have a feeling they will not retract. They will do the same thing the "New York Times" has done. Stand by the story. Earlier today, the editor of "People" magazine said they are incredibly proud of their writer for coming forward. And they are disturbed by the attempts to shame her.
LEMON: Interesting, but not denying that it happened, what was alleged to have taken place during the -- you know, with the reporter?
STELTER: Right, between the lines of Melania Trump's lawyer's e-mail, this letter, they're not denying the allegations. They're just calling for a retraction about one small part.
LEMON: Yes. So Donald Trump today also saying that the press and the Clinton campaign are colluding against him. That's a running theme of the campaign. The closer we get to November 8th, how dangerous has all of this become?
STELTER: Seems to me, as Mark McKinnon was saying, last hour, Donald Trump is acting like an arsonist. Trying to burn down various institutions in our country. We've seen him talk about election rigging. We've seen him talk about the media in disparaging terms and other institutions, as well, but honing in on the media, which is the part of my beat that I obsess about every day, of course, he is targeting individual journalists and news outlets like CNN and others. But I got to tell you, Don, the reporters who travel with Trump every
day say it's getting more and more volatile at these rallies. That there are more and more hostile fans who are yelling at reporters, more and more situations where it feels slightly unsafe. I'm not trying to paint him with a broad brush here because certainly there's lots of Trump supporters who are actually very friendly to the media. When you interview them, they want to be heard, but you can sense that the -- that the heat, that the fire is sort of rising in these final weeks of the campaign.
LEMON: It's hard to believe -- and it's hard to take a step back when you've supported someone for so long and believe it.
LEMON: And then you see things.
STELTER: But that's what we all need to do right now. Listen, we need to understand the other side or all sides in this election. We need to try to bring peoples' anxiety levels down a little bit, this time when it feels so intense.
LEMON: Sounds good, Brian. Easier said than done.
STELTER: Easier said than done.
LEMON: Thank you.
STELTER: I'll just try to find a way to do it.
LEMON: Thank you very much.
I want to bring in now Samantha Holvey, she was Miss North Carolina in 2006, who competed in the Miss USA Pageant.
Samantha, thank you for coming on. You were Miss North Carolina USA, that was 2006. Describe your experience at the Miss USA Pageant.
SAMANTHA HOLVEY, MISS NORTH CAROLINA 2006: It was a very long experience. We were there for about a month. We traveled throughout Maryland and we also did a media tour into New York City.
LEMON: Now I want you to listen to what Donald Trump told Howard Stern. This is back in 2005.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I'll go backstage before a show.
TRUMP: And everyone is getting dressed and ready and everything else, and you know, no men are anywhere, and I'm allowed to go in because I'm the owner of the pageant and therefore I'm inspecting it. You know, I'm inspecting.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right. Right.
TRUMP: I want to make sure --
STERN: You're like a doctor. You're there --
TRUMP: Yes, the dresses -- is everyone OK? You know, they're standing there with no clothes. Is everybody OK? And you see these incredible looking women. And so I sort of get away with things like that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So is this at all what you experienced?
HOLVEY: Yes, he summed it up exactly as I experienced. I was backstage in the hair and makeup area that you have to walk through before going into the dressing room. Luckily I was in a robe, but this was before finals night. We had 51 beautiful girls from all over the country getting ready, all stages of getting ready, and he comes walking in and I remember feeling so shocked in how inappropriate it was because I was barely 20 years old. And here he comes into the dressing room and backstage and I just felt that it was extremely inappropriate.
LEMON: Did you -- did it ever make you, you know, rethink competing?
HOLVEY: There had been previous experiences through my month at -- competing for Miss USA that made me realize that I loved my job as Miss North Carolina USA and I wasn't looking to become Miss USA. It wasn't what I thought it was going to be.
LEMON: Is it normal to see men in dressing rooms at pageants?
LEMON: And the owner of the pageant.
HOLVEY: No. No. The -- the director of the North Carolina, South Carolina, Louisiana, and Alabama pageants, it's very much a family atmosphere. She doesn't even go backstage when the girls are getting ready. Only the female chaperones are allowed backstage in the dressing rooms with the girls. I've never had an experience where there were men or directors or anything like that walking back in the dressing rooms.
LEMON: Yes. As I understand, you have an experience of something that happened the night before the pageant?
HOLVEY: Well, not the night before the pageant, but when we were in New York City on the media tour, they were doing a book launch at Trump Towers for the Universal Beauty book and they had a bunch of former Miss USAs and Miss Universes, and all 51 of us, and we did the red carpet.
[23:10:15] And thaws tons of fun. And then they lined us all up and Trump went down the line and he shook your hand and, you know, looked you over -- looked you up and down, head to toe, and was just checking everybody out.
LEMON: And you thought -- you felt?
HOLVEY: I felt very dirty. It was very creepy. It's kind of like when you're at a bar and a creepy guy is checking you out, that's -- that was the experience for me.
LEMON: So you've heard the Trump supporters and the defense, why now, you know, the credibility is gone because no one spoke out sooner. Why are you speaking out now?
HOLVEY: Well, this is the first time that y'all have asked me. All of my friends and family, they know my experience. Anybody that's ever asked me about my experience, I've been happy to share it with them. This is the first time anybody's ever asked, and honestly, I was 20 years old and what am I going to do, make a fuss because an old guy made me feel creepy?
LEMON: Do you think some of the people are worried about maybe a legal recourse or something or?
HOLVEY: Yes, I mean, he definitely likes to throw lawsuits around. I was just honestly looking forward to getting back to North Carolina and enjoying the rest of my years as Miss North Carolina USA.
LEMON: Samantha, thank you for coming on. I appreciate it.
HOLVEY: You're welcome.
LEMON: Thank you.
Straight ahead tonight First Lady Michelle Obama's emotional denunciation of Donald Trump's words calling them shocking and demeaning, and up next more reaction to the allegations that Trump groped women.
[23:15:31] LEMON: Donald Trump angrily fighting back against allegations of sexually groping women. Calling the accusations a coordinated attack by the Clinton campaign and the media.
I want to bring in now Glenda Blair, the author of "The Trumps: Three Generations that Built an Empire." Harry Hurt is here as well. Harry Hurt the Third, author of "Lost Tycoon: The Many Lives of Donald J. Trump," and Betsy McCaughey, the former lieutenant governor of New York who is supporting Donald Trump.
Great to have you all. Thank you very much.
Glenda, when you hear that "Access Hollywood" tape and you read stories like the "New York Times," what's your reaction?
GLENDA BLAIR, AUTHOR, "THE TRUMPS: THREE GENERATIONS THAT BUILT AN EMPIRE": It's the same guy. He was polite to me. Do you want me to say that? But the same guy who's got to dominate, be in charge, alpha male. It's the same M.O. that he had when he burst into Manhattan 40 years ago, and it's what we've seen throughout the campaign, on the stage when he had to be in charge of everything. He has to be in charge of women. He has to be in charge of everybody.
LEMON: Yes. And do you think that goes into inappropriately touching people, or at least bragging about it?
BLAIR: Sure. I mean, he's -- he walks into a room. He wants to be in charge. He looks for who's the strongest person, who's going to take over.
LEMON: Did you ever think he'd run for president?
BLAIR: This is the sixth time, so it wasn't exactly a shock, but this is obviously the most serious.
LEMON: Do you think he'd get this far?
BLAIR: Well, this is the biggest contest. He's the most competitive guy ever. He's got to win and what's the biggest contest there is?
LEMON: Betsy, I want to play this for you. This is what Donald Trump said about the "New York Times" story and the "People" magazine story. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: You take look at these people, you study these people, and you'll understand also. The claims are preposterous, ludicrous and defy truth, common sense, and logic.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: What is he saying, Betsy, you think? What does he mean when he says you look at these people, you study these people and you all understand it?
BETSY MCCAUGHEY, TRUMP SUPPORTER: I don't know, but he has been very clear about denying the allegations and my view is this, to --
LEMON: You don't know what he means?
MCCAUGHEY: No. To run the story, not to just mention it or have one segment on it, but for the media elite to run it 24 hours straight and keep going, when it's only 26 days before an election, is like condemning someone to electoral defeat without a trial. We believe people are innocent until proven guilty but it's going to be long after this election is over before --
LEMON: Do you think we should ignore this? The media should ignore this?
LEMON: Someone who is running for the leader of the free world? MCCAUGHEY: Absolutely not, but to feature it as the only news, when
in fact, let me just point out, this week there were some in real WikiLeak bombshells. Hillary Clinton has said she believes in open borders and open trade, and a single hemisphere common market.
LEMON: We -- we've discussed that. I have to be very honest with you, Betsy. I watch a lot of media and I read a lot of media, and I read even very conservative media. And they --
MCCAUGHEY: You are the most well-informed guy I know, no doubt about it.
LEMON: By, for the most part, for the legitimate section of that media, they all agree, yes, WikiLeaks things are important. It's not the bombshell that many people -- or bombshells that many people are making it out to be --
MCCAUGHEY: I think --
LEMON: Hold on, let me finish my thought and then you can weigh in.
LEMON: And that this particular issue, if you consider the gravity of it, it is no surprise that the media is picking it up and is running with it for the amount of time that the media is running with it.
MCCAUGHEY: It is a grave issue. I'll make no bones about that. Look, I've been in the workplace a long time and incurred a lot of really unpleasant, awful sexual aggression, including from New York --
LEMON: And Betsy, it's a legitimate issue.
MCCAUGHEY: Absolutely a legitimate issue, but I also what's happening on college campuses today, where many young men are denied due process and just thrown out of college because it's always assumed the accusations are true, sometimes they're proven untrue. I look at the Duke lacrosse team. I look at what happened at UVA. I remember Tawana Brawley.
LEMON: But what that has to do with this? Because we can still --
MCCAUGHEY: Well, because --
LEMON: We can cover that and this.
MCCAUGHEY: All I'm saying is that --
MCCAUGHEY: Everybody deserves a fair trial.
MCCAUGHEY: But in this case, when there's an election in 26 days, you're virtually condemning him to defeat.
MCCAUGHEY: Without a trial.
LEMON: And we also have to be fair and get other people on the panel on, as well.
LEMON: So, Larry, you wrote your book. Harry, excuse me. Harry, I know. In 1993.
HARRY HURT III, AUTHOR, "LOST TYCOON: THE MANY LIVES OF DONALD J. TRUMP": Correct.
LEMON: Is this the same? Is this man different from the man that you wrote about then?
HURT: No, it's absolutely the same. And here's the thing that people have ignored. In 1989, during their divorce proceedings, Donald Trump, according to the sworn testimony of his ex-wife Ivana, came into the bedroom in Trump Tower and raped her.
[23:20:09] LEMON: And then she retracted that.
HURT: No, she did not retract it.
LEMON: She said she didn't want it in a public record?
HURT: No, no, no. No, she did not retract it. And in fact, this is the misconception that everyone said, which is why I brought my book here. I will tell you exactly what she did say. She said, and I quote -- statement of Ivana Trump sent in to my publisher in 1993, "During a deposition given by me in connection with my matrimonial case, I've stated that my husband had raped me. I wish to say that on one occasion during 1989, Mr. Trump and I had marital relations in which he behaved very differently towards me than he had during our marriage. As a woman I felt violated."
OK. That's not a denial. I'm sorry. What's she's saying here is there was nonconsensual sex. There's also a context of this. What prompted this was Donald had had an operation called scalp reduction to cover a bald spot on the back of his head at the hands of her plastic surgeon, Dr. Steven Hofling. He came in and started grabbing her hair on the corresponding spot where he had that operation and then this rape occurred.
OK? Rape is not an act of sex, it's an act of anger. This guy was enraged. She ran down to the bedroom normally occupied by her mother, closed the door, cried all night. And when she came out in the morning, he said, did it hurt? This is according to her sworn testimony in a deposition. This is not a denial, Don.
LEMON: OK. Yes. And we're going to -- producers are probably going to go a little bit longer because of this. I think it's an interesting conversation. How do you respond to that, Betsy?
MCCAUGHEY: That must be some book. Hold up the cover.
LEMON: What do you --
HURT: Thank you. Thank you.
MCCAUGHEY: I'm being nice to Harry. We had a good time in the green room.
LEMON: Those -- that's a serious allegation.
MCCAUGHEY: It is a serious allegation. I know that often -- look, I only want to get at the truth. As I said before, I abhor any kind of sexual rough stuff or abuse. It's a terrible thing. All women abhor it.
HURT: This is --
MCCAUGHEY: But I do also know that divorces can be rough and people say things they later regret so that's where I am.
HURT: Yes. And sometimes the things they say are true.
MCCAUGHEY: True, that's true, also.
LEMON: Glenda, I want to ask you about this because you said that there are two things to you that you were struck by. First in 1973 discrimination lawsuit against Donald Trump and then when he called Hillary Clinton the devil on Sunday night's debate. Why were you struck by that?
BLAIR: Well, the 1973 -- event I was talking about was when Donald Trump sort of first came into Manhattan, almost his debut really, was when -- and the Justice Department charged that the Trump Organization had not -- been discriminated in rental policies towards African- Americans.
LEMON: Writing the "C" on there for colored. Right?
BLAIR: Right. And so the Justice Department informed the Trump Organization that it was going to look into this. The next day Donald Trump filed a lawsuit for $100 million against the Justice Department, which at the time was a colossal amount of money, a huge amount of money. Even now it's a pretty big amount of money. And so that was his counter-punch, don't back down, push forward, keep going.
LEMON: And that's what you see him doing today? BLAIR: That's exactly what I see him doing today.
LEMON: And then Hillary Clinton, calling her the devil?
BLAIR: I thought that was a shout-out to a very conservative constituency that sees her as the devil or at least a very evil force.
LEMON: And this bothers you because?
BLAIR: I think that's really a dog whistle to -- as part of a kind of rousing up racist, you know, sexist, really conservative forces in this country that I think had been -- gradually the country was moving beyond and past, and I think there's been a resurgence of that -- and a legitimatization and a normalization of that in the process of this campaign. He didn't -- it's all somewhat indirect, but not very indirect.
BLAIR: The birther thing that he came out with in 2011, that he took -- he began to take charge of that whole idea was absolutely a -- in the wind and he got a huge response.
BLAIR: And that was a very thinly our disguised attack against our first African-American president.
LEMON: I've got to go. And I have to say, to be continued. It's a very interesting conversation.
LEMON: I would love to have all of you back. Thank you very much. I appreciate it.
Straight ahead, she might be Hillary Clinton's secret weapon. The First Lady Michelle Obama delivering an emotional denunciation of Donald Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[23:25:01] M. OBAMA: When they go low, we go --
M. OBAMA: Yes, we do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: First Lady Michelle Obama, her voice trembling at times, denouncing Donald Trump today during a campaign rally for Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire, saying his comments about women have left her shaken, that they're below basic standards of decency. She never mentions Donald Trump by name.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
M. OBAMA: While I'd love nothing more than to pretend like this isn't happening, and to come out here and do my normal campaign speech, it would be dishonest and disingenuous to me to just move on to the next thing like this was all just a bad dream.
This is not something that we can ignore. It's not something we can just sweep under the rug as just another disturbing footnote in a sad election season. Because this was not just a lewd conversation, this wasn't just locker room banter. This was a powerful individual, speaking freely and openly about sexually predatory behavior.
[23:30:02] And actually bragging about kissing and groping women, using language so obscene that many of us were worried about our children hearing it when we turn on the TV. And to make matters worse, it now seems very clear that this isn't an isolated incident. It's one of countless example of how he has treated women his whole life and I have to tell you that I listened to all of this, and I feel it so personally and I'm sure that many of you do, too, particularly the women, the shameful comments about our bodies, the disrespect of our ambitions and intellect, the belief that you can do anything you want to a woman?
It is cruel. It's frightening. And the truth is, it hurts. It hurts. It's like that sick sinking feeling you get when you're walking down the street minding your own business, and some guy yells out vulgar words about your body, or when you see that guy at work that stands just a little too close, stares a little too long, and makes you feel uncomfortable in your own skin. It's that feeling of terror and violation that too many women have felt when someone has grabbed them or forced himself on them, and they've said no, but he didn't listen.
We thought all of that was ancient history, didn't we? And so many have worked for so many years to end this kind of violence and abuse and disrespect, but here we are, in 2016, and we're hearing these exact same things every day on the campaign trail.
We are drowning in it, and all of us are doing what women have always done. We're trying to keep our heads above water, just trying to get through it. Trying to pretend like this doesn't really bother us. Maybe because we think that admitting how much it hurts makes us as women look weak. Maybe we're afraid to be that vulnerable. Maybe we have grown accustomed to swallowing these emotions and staying quiet, because we've seen that people often won't take our word over his, or maybe we don't want to believe that there's still people out there who think so little of us as women. Too many are treating this as just another day's headline, as if our outrage is overblown or unwarranted. As if this is normal. Just politics as usual.
But, New Hampshire, yes, be clear, this is not normal. This is not politics as usual.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) M. OBAMA: This is disgraceful. It is intolerable. And it doesn't matter what party you belong to, Democrat, Republican, independent, no woman deserves to be treated this way, none of us deserves this kind of abuse.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
M. OBAMA: And I -- I know it's a campaign. But this isn't about politics. It's about basic human decency. It's about right and wrong. And we simply cannot endure this or expose our children to this any longer, not for another minute, and let alone for four years.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
M. OBAMA: Now is the time for all of us to stand up and say enough is enough.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
M. OBAMA: This has got to stop right now. Because consider this. If all of this is painful to us as grown women, what do you think this is doing to our children? What messages are our little girls hearing about who they should look like, how they should act? What lessons are they learning about their value as professionals, as human beings? About their dreams and aspirations? And how is this affecting men and boys in this country?
Because I can tell you that the men in my life do not talk about women like this and I know that my family is not unusual.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
[23:35:01] M. OBAMA: And to dismiss this as everyday locker room talk is an insult to decent men everywhere.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
M. OBAMA: The men that you and I know don't treat women this way. We cannot allow ourselves to be so disgusted that we just shut off the TV and walk away. And we can't just sit around ringing our hands. No, we need to recover from our shock and depression and do what women have always done in this country. We need you to roll up your sleeves. We need to get to work.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
M. OBAMA: Because remember this, when they go low, when they we go low, we go --
M. OBAMA: Yes, we do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: The first lady's words move you? Make you angry, upset, and make you cry? Wait until the discussion right after the break.
LEMON: Twenty-six days until Election Day, what else will happen between now and then? And we also want to talk about the first lady today.
[23:40:01] I want to bring in now Patti Solis Doyle, a former Hillary Clinton presidential campaign manager, Paris Dennard, a former White House director of Black Outreach and a Trump supporter, CNN political commentator, Bakari Sellers, and Scottie Nell Hughes, CNN political commentator and Trump supporter.
Thank you all for joining. So let's start with your reaction now to the first lady's speech today. First, Patty.
PATTI SOLIS DOYLE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, you know, Don, I've been involved in politics for almost three decades and I don't think I have ever heard such a powerful speech from a first lady before in my life. You know, the video that came out on Friday and the stories of these women who are accusing Donald Trump of sexual assault are just very disturbing and very discouraging, and I think Michelle Obama really lent voice to that. And she did it in such a personal way and I just thought -- I thought she was fantastic.
BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I thought tonight you could hear it in her voice. The two most dynamic speeches given in this entire cycle by anybody on either side have both been given by the same person, and Michelle Obama. Her speech at the convention and her speech today.
She spoke as a mother, she spoke as the first lady, and the most amazing part about this speech other than the fact she never had to mention his name, was that she didn't speak as a Democrat or Republican, this wasn't black or white, but this was about human decency, and Michelle Obama, she took this race to a point where everyone can comprehend and tonight when my 11-year-old stepdaughter got home I made sure that she sat down and she watched this 30 minutes of history to see the grace and poise that is Michelle Obama.
And one thing that everyone can agree on, Democrats and Republicans on this panel and other panels to come, FOX News, CNN, MSNBC, it doesn't matter. Michelle Obama has been the epitome of grace as first lady of the United States and she showed that again today.
PARIS DENNARD, GOP POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think the Clinton campaign was very smart for asking or encouraging Miss Obama to do this because quite frankly, the American people trust her, they like her a lot. She's very, very popular.
LEMON: As I understand it, Paris -- not to cut you off. I think she wanted to do it. I don't think they asked her to do this today. I think she wanted -- she asked to do this today. But go on.
DENNARD: And I think that they've asked her to be a surrogate, to be someone to be supportive of the campaign, and be out on the campaign trail, that's the point I was making, Don. But I think that it's a smart move for them to do that, but I think what's unfortunate is, that she spent the time talking about allegations. I think in this country, you're innocent until -- I know in this country you're innocent until proven guilty, and so for her to go on this long tirade about Mr. Trump and allegations, which is I think dangerous --
LEMON: She also talked -- she also talked about the words on the tapes, though, and his own words. Those are not allegations. That came from Donald Trump.
DENNARD: That's true, but the other thing she said, because she said he's been doing this his whole life. These are allegations that are unproven. And so that's a dangerous thing to go out. And the last point I'll make is this, Don, I would hope that in this campaign, that the Clintons would want to be talking about Mrs. Clinton's -- Secretary Clinton and her record, what she's done, and the facts and what she's going to do for the country rather than spend the time talking about someone else in such a negative manner.
And so that's the state of politics today, that's the state that we're in and I hope that we can focus more and when she talks about when they go low, we go higher, it seems that's not the case with the Clinton campaign. They start low, they go lower.
LEMON: OK. Scottie, go ahead.
SCOTTIE NELL HUGHES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I'm actually really torn with this because obviously at this point we're in election time and I want to spend my time talking about the difference between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. But President Obama and Mrs. Clinton -- and Mrs. Obama have gotten involved in this, and I agree with Bakari, this was a very powerful speech.
I did take issue with one part of it. I mean, there were some great parts, great elements, it was one of her best, but when she said that the men in her life don't really talk like that, I have a little problem with that because one of the issues that us as conservatives, us as evangelicals have had over the Obama administration is the invitation that she's extended to various rap artists. People like Jay-Z who uses the words like the B's and the ho's, and money cash ho's, and Kendrick Lamar, the B don't kill my vibe.
And the poetry readings which she's done with known poetry writers that write poems about threatening to shoot police and burn George W. Bush. That's my issues. She does hang -- she does hang out with some people or have invited them into the White House numerous times, consider them to be her friends that do use language that is very inappropriate towards women, so across the board, hopefully this is opening up that conversation among pop culture, about really how we should respect women in all areas, not just in politics. LEMON: Patti, do you want to respond?
SELLERS: This is --
LEMON: Go ahead, Bakari.
DOYLE: Hey, Bakari.
LEMON: Go ahead.
DOYLE: Go ahead, Bakari.
SELLERS: No, I mean, I just think -- that's absurd. I mean, first let me address Paris. Because Paris -- Paris said that he wants to talk about issues, but then we just saw a debate where the first thing that happened an hour before the debate was Donald Trump sat there and trotted out four or five women who were allegedly accusing Bill Clinton of acts.
[23:45:05] So you didn't want to talk about issues then but you want to talk about issues now. That's first. And second, this has become this red-herring talking point that all a sudden hip-hop music and rap is to blame for the cowardice and predatory behavior of Donald Trump.
Let me just tell you something. Black America today, and hip-hop music, and the culture that it represents is not responsible for some billionaire white male who has a problem with women. You cannot simply blame on hip-hop culture.
HUGHES: I did not say that.
DENNARD: That's not what Scottie said, though, Bakari.
SELLERS: That the behavior of Donald Trump. So what you're doing here --
DENNARD: That's (INAUDIBLE).
SELLERS: It's diversionary at best.
DENNARD: No, it's not. No, it's not, Bakari.
SELLERS: And yes. Everyone has a problem sometimes --
DENNARD: No, it's not, Bakari. That's not it, Bakari.
SELLERS: Everyone has a point, everyone has a problem with the language that's used and sometimes the misogynistic lyrics that are used in hip hop music. But the fact of the matter is, in this discussion we're having now, this isn't about Beyonce. This isn't about Kendrick Lamar. This is about Donald Trump running for president of the United States and all of those talking points that you're mentioning are absurd.
LEMON: Especially on the day --
HUGHES: Except Michelle Obama brought it up.
LEMON: Especially on the day -- let me just get this in. Especially on the day when Bob Dylan gets the Nobel Peace Prize, who has spoken out against the government and against war and, you know, again, against his own country in many ways. He gets a Nobel Peace Prize, but the Obamas get criticized for bringing artists to the White House. I just --
HUGHES: That use derogatory words that don't support women.
LEMON: It's just really stick out to me.
DENNARD: Don --
LEMON: We'll continue on the other side of the break. I promise, I'll let both of you in. And we'll be right back.
[23:50:23] LEMON: Back now with my panel. Were you, Paris, taking issue to something that Bakari said?
DENNARD: I sure was. I think -- what I was saying, Don, was the fact that it's not the issue that Mrs. Obama invites these people to the White House to perform all that that hip-hop music is somehow responsible or rap music is responsible for what Mr. Trump said a decade ago or what he's alleged to have done years ago. The point is that if you're going to have a sense of outrage about the words that were used by Mr. Trump a decade ago then be just as incensed and use the same time and have a teachable moment about what the artists do and say right now on the radio, right now in the White House.
DOYLE: They're not running for president of the United States of America. Donald Trump is.
DENNARD: So the question is -- but the question is, what is the issue? Is the issue the words and how men are treating women? That's the big point she was making about character, about values. If that's the point be just as incensed and have that teachable moment about the people you invite to the White House who perform before the American people.
DENNARD: Look, I worked there --
SELLERS: But do you --
DENNARD: Excuse me, Bakari. Excuse me, Bakari.
LEMON: Go ahead and finish, Paris.
DENNARD: I worked at the White House for four years. I worked there for four years and put on many of the same events and there's no way that we would have had 80 percent to 90 percent of the people that they bring in there perform because they would not have passed the test of what was deemed appropriate because of the lyrics that they use. So I believe there's a lot of --
LEMON: They're not the only administration to invite rappers to the White House.
DENNARD: It's not just rappers. It's what they say and what they do.
LEMON: And by the way, I said, the Nobel Peace Prize, which everyone sort of puts him in this basket. It's the Nobel Prize in Literature which is, you know, different. But anyway, go on, Bakari. What were you saying? I'm sorry, I was talking about Bob Dylan. But go ahead, Bakari.
SELLERS: Yes. I just think that Paris is totally misguided in this. I think that the irony is amazing here. Of course George W. Bush didn't have any -- many hip-hop artists and rappers at the White House. I mean, that's just kind of the point. But even to drive home what Michelle Obama was talking about today because apparently you and Scottie both missed it. Because what we're talking about is someone who's running for president of the United States of America.
What we're talking about is basic human decency and now we're getting off on the topic of who the invite list to the White House is. But let me tell you this. You want to chastise Kendrick Lamar, you want to chastise Beyonce, but the fact of the matter is, that my daughter can grow up and look to Beyonce and she's a hero. My son can look at Kendrick Lamar and his artistic expression about the deplorable conditions that many African-Americans go through, and can look at him as a hero. My son cannot look at Donald Trump as a hero. That's a fact.
LEMON: And there's a difference between, you know, someone who's running for highest office in the land and an artist in some ways, and I'm not condoning, you know, lyrics. Artists are supposed to challenge people and they do things that are necessarily politically correct, and part of that challenge is to tick people off, and to do things that are considered politically correct.
But I do have to ask you because the bigger issue for me is, is that Donald Trump brought these women to the debate the other night and started this conversation. He believed their stories, his surrogates believed their stories, and now you're not supposed to believe the stories about the women who have accused Donald Trump? I mean, is it -- it's kind of what's good for the goose good for the gander, no, Scottie?
HUGHES: Well, no, because these women are -- have been a part of this for the last 20 years. They've been telling their stories, just because we haven't covered it necessarily, doesn't mean that they aren't out there talking about it. (CROSSTALK)
LEMON: But I want you to stop right there. Can you stop? And I promise I will let you talk. To say we have not covered their stories is just completely factually wrong. This has been in the news since the 1980s and 1990s and was covered ad nauseam during that time. And it seems to me that the Trump people are saying, well, we want to bring this up again, therefore you must cover it. They don't dictate what is covered in the news. The news -- part of it is called news because it's new. The accusations against Donald Trump are new. The accusations against Bill Clinton are not new and have been covered in the 1990s.
Go ahead, Scottie.
DENNARD: They should be ignored?
LEMON: No, I'm not -- no, no, no. I'm not saying -- they should not be ignored at all. But it should placed in the proper context. Just because we're not covering it on the same level as we're covering Donald Trump does not mean that it's not important or it's being ignored. That would be a false equivalent because we have done before that.
HUGHES: Let me ask you this question.
LEMON: It has been covered many times before and for those of us who are around long enough when we were in the news business remember it quite honestly. So go ahead Scottie.
HUGHES: Let me ask you a question, then. Back when Bill Clinton was first running for office, they were at that point 17 women that had the same alleges, whether you're talking about Miss Arkansas.
[23:55:04] I mean, it's a lot of the same things that we're dealing with except there was actually evidence to back it up. I don't remember the 24-hour news cycle focusing as much on those women every single story time and time again.
DOYLE: Well, that's because there wasn't a 24-hour news cycle back then.
HUGHES: Yes, there was.
LEMON: There wasn't social media.
DOYLE: Believe me, I worked in that campaign and it was covered. It was covered immensely.
HUGHES: Well, you know --
DOYLE: I went through it.
HUGHES: But once again if it was then how come Bill Clinton was still elected? I think that's the question. If women today had gone through all -- if we knew everything we knew about the 17 women today --
LEMON: Because, Scottie, you're looking at -- you're looking at 1991 or 1990 through a 2016 lens. It's not the same time.
HUGHES: Well, but --
LEMON: There was no social media.
HUGHES: But the reason why these women are even in the picture and more importantly how Hillary Clinton handled these women. It's not about what necessarily happened with Bill Clinton. It's how Hillary Clinton demonized these women, did not want their voice, started a war room to target these women, to make sure their stories didn't get out. Not because she loved Bill Clinton and she loved her marriage, more importantly she knew that if Bill went down, so would her political career go as well. That's what this was all about and that's why those women were there because --
SELLERS: Don --
HUGHES: Because she had started it.
LEMON: I've got -- last word, whoever is next but I have to run quickly, please.
SELLERS: Don, Don, that was really rich coming from a candidate who has five children from three different wives and we're going to question whether or not somebody loves their wife.
DENNARD: Bakari --
SELLERS: But the fact is, I wish people would just take away the Bill Clinton aspect for one moment and just examine what Donald Trump did. Let's look at that in a vacuum. Is that OK? Yes or no, Scottie?
LEMON: OK. I've got to run. I've got to run. To be continued. Someone answered that question in the subsequent panel. Thank you very much.
That's it for us tonight. Thanks for watching. I'll see you right back here tomorrow.