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EARLY START

Trump & Clinton Spar at Charity Dinner; Trump Will Accept Election Outcome "If I Win"; Michelle Obama Targets Trump In GOP Territory. Aired 5-5:30am ET

Aired October 21, 2016 - 05:00   ET

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


GEORGE HOWELL, CNN EARLY START HOST: Again, this was the Al Smith dinner, it's always been a good-natured roast. Supposed to be a break from the ugliness on the campaign trail, all to benefit Catholic charities, but Trump didn't actually get the memo. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Here she is tonight in public pretending not to hate Catholics.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOWELL: Hillary Clinton also she may not have gotten the memo, she got jeers as well. With 18 days to go before this Election Day, it appears the race is about to get even uglier. We'll get more now from CNN's Jim Acosta.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Christine and George, it was another reminder of just how vicious this campaign season has become. At the Al Smith dinner here in New York, an occasion where candidates normally deliver light-hearted remarks and some self-deprecating jokes, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton instead went after each other drawing groans and boos from the audience. Here's what happened.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Hillary is so corrupt. She got kicked off the Watergate Commission. How corrupt you have to be to get kicked off the Watergate Commission?

HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: But Donald really is as healthy as a horse, you know, the one Vladimir Putin rides around on.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: But there was one remarkable moment at the end of the speeches, when Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton actually shook hands, something they could not bring themselves to do at their last debate. Christine and George?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN EARLY START ANCHOR: All right. Despite the awkwardness in white tie of some of the jokes in what many called the lack of civility through biting attacks, but candidates did have their moments at the Al Smith Dinner. Again, this is a - this is a tradition here where both candidates have a little bit of fun. Take a look at some of the highlights.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We have proven that we can actually be civil to each other. In fact, just before taking the dais, Hillary accidentally bumped into me, and she very civilly said, "Pardon me." And I very politely replied, "Let me talk to you about that after I get into office."

CLINTON: People look at the Statue of Liberty and they see a proud symbol of our history as a nation of immigrants, a beacon of hope for people around the world. Donald looks at the Statue of Liberty and sees a four, maybe a five if she loses the torch and tablet and changes her hair.

TRUMP: Michelle Obama gives a speech and everyone loves it. It's fantastic. They think she's absolutely great. My wife, Melania, gives the exact same speech, and people get on her case, and I don't get it. I don't know why. And it wasn't her fault. Stand up, Melania, come on. She took a lot of abuse.

CLINTON: This is such a special event that I took a break from my rigorous nap schedule to be here. And as you've already heard, it's a treat for all of you, too, because usually, I charge a lot for speeches like this. So tonight, let's embrace the spirit of the evening, let's come together, remember what unites us, and just rip on Ted Cruz.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOWELL: Well, despite a growing course of criticism from both parties, Donald Trump continues to leave his options open when it comes to accepting the final election vote. Listen here as he plays to his supporters at a rally in Ohio.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election if I win.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: All right. Michelle Obama in Phoenix taking Donald Trump to task in traditionally hostile territory for democrats. The first lady visiting Arizona on Thursday, a red state for the last 20 years, democrats are hoping for the first time in eons to flip the state on November 8th. She casts Trump as a threat to America. She called him a candidate with a vision devoid of hope. Here's CNN Kyung Lah.

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, George and Christine, the First Lady entered republican territory, the Battleground State of Arizona. She blasted Trump, saying he demeans women and he is a threat to democracy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: The voters decide

who wins and losses, period, end of story. And when a presidential candidate threatens to ignore our voices and reject the outcome of this election, he is threatening the very idea of America itself. And we cannot stand for that. You do not keep American democracy in suspense, because look, too many people have marched and protested and fought and died for this democracy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LAH: The First Lady is the third democratic heavyweight to swing through Arizona just this week. She's preceded by Bernie Sanders and Chelsea Clinton. Republicans here, though, say they're not worried. In 64 years, the state of Arizona has voted for a democratic president just once. George, Christine.

ROMANS: All right. Kyung Lah, thank you. You know, republicans are calling out Trump, too. In North Carolina, the Executive Director of the GOP is slamming his own nominee for refusing to say, "Yes, he will accept the final outcome." Dallas Woodhouse telling CNN, "We at the North Carolina Republican Party are not aware of election results being optional."

HOWELL: All right. A lot to talk about this morning when it comes to politics. Let's bring in our Politics Reporter Tal Kopan live with us in Washington. Tal?

ROMANS: Happy Friday.

HOWELL: Always good to have you.

TAL KOPAN, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Happy Friday.

HOWELL: Let's talk about that Al Smith dinner. And so, it's supposed to be funny, this is always a light-hearted moment, you know, at this particular point in the campaigns, but wasn't really that funny for a lot of the people that were there. Some of the jokes felt a little awkward, you just felt for some of the people in the room having to sit through this. I want you to listen, Tal, we can talk about it on the other side, but let's first listen to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton and some of their best moments, there were boos as well. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Hillary believes that it's vital to deceive the people by having one public policy and a totally different policy in private. That's OK. I don't know who they are angry at, Hillary, you or I. Everyone knows, of course, Hillary's belief that it takes a village, which only makes sense after all in places like Haiti where she's taken a number of them. Thank you.

CLINTON: I am so flattered that Donald thought I use some sort of performance enhancer. Now, actually, I did, it's called preparation. It is great also to see mayor Bloomberg here. It's a shame he's not speaking tonight. I'm curious to hear what a billionaire has to say. (END VIDEO CLIP)

HOWELL: But Tal, you know, there were a lot of boos in that audience. Look, this was the crowd that certainly Hillary Clinton's crowd here in New York City, but it just seemed that the timing for both of these candidates, the comedic timing just wasn't quite there and the animosity, you could sense it in the jokes that they had.

KOPAN: Yeah, and I think it's a reflection of the father that they have, right? I mean, gone are the sort of now in the rear-view mirror civil presidential elections we've had in the past, where it was mostly policy disputes. I mean, this has been a very rancorous election. It's gotten very personal with both these candidates. And so, when you're trying to make jokes about the current political climate, if the current political climate feels a little toxic to a lot of the voters and to some of us, then, you know, the jokes are going to be a little bit less light-hearted because that's a nature of material you're working with. And certainly, you know, this is hard, you know, presidents have to do this quite a bit, the White House correspondents dinner, they have joke writers, but comedic timing does not come easy to everyone, and so you're right, some of the timing might have also been off as well.

ROMANS: I think it's the atmosphere, honestly. I think this is just the different kind of election where normally you can roast and it can be, you know, can go away, you could roast, you could go away, but you could see people in that group who were not even smiling at all or not even listening - you know, hardly listening at all. You know, it's interesting, Al Smith was a four-time democratic Governor of New York, right, he ran for president as a democratic in 1928. And when he's going around the country, you know, crowds didn't really warm up to him because he sounded like a New Yorker, he was too much of a New Yorker. And now, we have a New Yorker who is running for president, and there at the Al Smith Dinner, just a little bit of irony.

Meantime, we had the Obamas on the campaign trial, one in Florida yesterday, really kind of loose and at ease, really working that crowd pushing for Hillary Clinton. And then you had Michelle Obama in Phoenix, and again, really a stellar performance from Michelle Obama, sort of the first couple really out there strongly for the president. Let's listen to a little bit of that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

M. OBAMA: When a presidential candidate threatens to ignore our voices and reject the outcome of this election, he is threatening the very idea of America itself.

BARACK OBAMA, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: That is dangerous, because when you try to sow the seeds of doubt in people's minds about the legitimacy of our elections, that undermines our democracy.

ROMANS: I think, Tal, you can see where these two are going, where the campaign is the most hopeful to flip or to influence, you know, these are important days ahead. KOPAN: Absolutely. And, you know, we've talked about just how impressive the bench of surrogates that the Democratic Party has right now, and to deploy on the trail, you know, you have the president and first lady, you have a former president Bill Clinton, you have a relatively popular vice president, all of these individuals enjoy pretty good favorability ratings at the moment. And then you have the progressive icons of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. I mean, if you're running for president, that's a bench you want to have to be able to send out to your swing states and so that they can really saturate the field. And it's really interesting how Michelle Obama and Barack Obama are not just dividing up the states and, you know, the appearances, they're really dividing up their types of appeals. Michelle Obama is much more emotional, Barack Obama is a little bit more light-hearted, a little bit of mockery. So, it's interesting to see how they sort of divide and conquer in that way.

HOWELL: And seemed to be branching out to the states like Arizona, Texas, Georgia, all possibly in play. That's Tal Kopan live for us. Tal, thank you.

ROMANS: OK. Come back in a few minutes, Tal, we'll talk some more. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos speaks -- speaking out against Donald Trump. He, of course, own the Washington Post. On stage at a Vanity Fair Summit, he said Trump's brand of politics is hurting democracy, "When you look at the pattern of things, he's not just going after the media and threatening retribution for those who scrutinize him. It's also him saying he may not give a graceful concession speech if he loses the election. That erodes our democracy around the edges. These aren't acceptable behaviors in my opinion." He's also taking aim at Trump supporter, fellow Silicon Valley titan Peter Thiel. He says, "Thiel is a contrarian, and a contrarians are usually wrong." But he says, different views are what helped make democracy work and should be condemned. We also got Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg weighing in in an internal memo to his employees this week. Thiel is on Facebook's board of directors. And, you know, George, a lot of people in Silicon Valley have been asking Mark Zuckerberg and others, like, "Look, you got Peter Thiel on your board. Thiel supports Trump." Most people of Silicon Valley don't endorse Trump, you know, square that. So, you have Mark Zuckerberg weighing in this week.

HOWELL: Interesting. And also following the battle for Mosul, an American soldier was killed on the frontlines and Iraqi forces, they're facing fierce opposition from ISIS. A live report from Iraq is ahead, next here on EARLY START.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HOWELL: Happening today, a detention hearing for a former government contractor charged with stealing thousands of classified and sensitive intelligence files. Federal prosecutor say that 51-year-old Harold Thomas Martin committed breath-taking crimes, and may face more charges, including violations of the espionage act. He worked as an NSA contractor through the consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton, which fired him after he was charged.

ROMANS: A judge has ruled in favor of extraditing drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman to the U.S. to face drug and conspiracy charges. But the process could take months. The 59-year-old king pin has one more appeal available before he can be formally extradited. Guzman and other cartel leaders were indicted back in 2009 on charges of conspiring to bring more than 264,000 pounds of cocaine into the U.S., between 1990 and 2005.

HOWELL: The Pentagon announcing the first American combat death since the fight to retake Mosul was launched. A U.S. soldier killed by a roadside bomb. His identity and the circumstances surrounding his death have not been released. Iraqi forces meeting fierce resistance from ISIS fighters as they march on the country's second largest city. The extremists unleashing a wave of suicide bombers to counter the offensive. Let's go live to CNN's Nick Paton Walsh who is there on the ground. Nick, what can you tell us, first of all, about this American casualty? We'll have to come back to Nick in a moment. We're having some technical difficulties with his shot, but again, what we understand, an American soldier killed in the frontlines there. Also, apparently, ISIS fighters moving in Kirkuk. We will get more from our correspondents on the ground as we're available and able to get back to them.

ROMANS: Yeah. Nick and Michael Holmes both reporting that there are American - what looks to be Special Ops Forces right near the frontlines.

HOWELL: Right.

ROMANS: So, that advisory role of American military is clearly, clearly very actively on the ground. We'll get back to that soon.

HOWELL: Absolutely.

ROMANS: 19 minutes past the hour, the Cubs one win away from an improbable World Series showdown with the Cleveland Indians. I have both of my fingers crossed right now.

HOWELL: Don't stop me.

ROMANS: And Andy Scholes has the details with "THE BLEACHER REPORT" next.

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HOWELL: Got to talk about the Cubbies. The Chicago Cubs are now just one win away from making their first World Series in 71 years.

ROMANS: Andy, I'm so happy.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: I'm sure you are, Christine. You know, one win away from making the World Series, five wins away from ending the longest draught in all of sports. Now, for game five, legendary broadcaster Vin Scully on hand last night in L.A., getting the crowd there pumped up. Unfortunately, he watched the Dodgers come out on the wrong end of this one with the game tied at one in the sixth, Addison Russell hits a huge two-run homeruns for the Cubs. Then in the eighth, the floodgates really opened, Javier Baez with the bases loaded, the bases clearing double, made it 8-1. Cubs win easily, 8-4. Game six is tomorrow night in Chicago. Now, good thing Chicago fans have the Cubs right now, because the Bears aren't very good. They were playing the Packers last night, a rough night for Bears quarterback Brian Hoyer who took a huge hit from Clay Matthews right there in the second quarter, had to leave the game with a broken arm. Despite that, the Bears were actually winning in the third quarter but Aaron Rodgers, he was getting hot, throwing three touchdowns late in the game. Packers win this one, final 26-10.

Giant's kicker Josh Brown will not be suiting up for the team this weekend for their game in London. Brown was suspended for one game at the start of the season for a domestic violence arrest involving his now ex-wife. The charges were dropped in that case, but new information about other instances have recently come to light. The NFL says they will thoroughly review the additional information and determine the next steps in the contact of NFL personal conduct policy. In a statement, the Giants said, they do not condone or excuse any form of domestic violence, and Brown has been working on these issues with therapy and counselling for long period of time.

All right. Finally, the Cleveland Indians are back in the World Series, it's the first time since 1997, and immediately fans began posting on social media that they wanted possibly the greatest Indian of all time to throw out the ceremonial first pitch in game one. That's right, "Wild Thing" Ricky Vaughn, Charlie Sheen's character from the 1989 hit movie "Major League." And you know what, Charlie Sheen actually responded to this on Twitter yesterday, guys. He said, "Major League" continues to be the gift that keeps on giving. If called upon, I'd be honored." And I tell you what, I couldn't imagine anything getting the crowd more pumped up in Cleveland than Ricky Vaughn throwing out the first pitch.

HOWELL: Put him in. Put him in.

ROMANS: Ricky Vaughn versus Bill Murray, you've got the two assumingly gets the - will get the Cubbies going. All right, guys. Nice to see you.

SCHOLES: All right. It's good to see you.

HOWELL: The end of a longstanding political tradition, the audience booing both presidential candidates, all of these at a charity dinner here in New York. The story next here on EARLY START.

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