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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA

Obama Takes "Trash Trump" to Late-Night TV; Trump Wastes Time Opening Hotel 14 Days Before Election; Super Pac Ad on Danger of Trump with Nuclear Weapons; Does Clinton Camp Have Fears over Obamacare Rate Hikes. Aired 11:30-12p ET

Aired October 25, 2016 - 11:30   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:32:04] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: President Obama has made no secret of his distaste for Republican candidate, Donald Trump. Now taking his Trash Trump tour to late night TV.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: The president went on with Jimmy Kimmel and began with some mean tweets.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: President Obama will go down as perhaps the worst president in the history of the United States, exclamation point, @realDonaldTrump.

(LAUGHTER)

Well, @realDonaldTrump, at least I will go down as a president.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: All right, joining us to discuss, CNN political commentator and former senior adviser to President Obama, Dan Pfeiffer.

We can see the smile on your face, which might in part be because you're a newlywed. Congratulations.

DAN PFEIFFER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Thank you.

BERMAN: Secondly, your former boss going after Donald Trump which he seems to relish. He wants Hillary Clinton to win. Dan, you get the sense there's something going on that's more than that. It's almost like it's personal for the president.

PFEIFFER: I don't think it's personal. I think he has taken this approach because Donald Trump's a joke. He's an offensive joke, a racist joke, particularly unfunny joke, but he's a joke. And taking him too seriously gives him more credit than he deserves.

BOLDUAN: But, Dan. PFEIFFER: Also, he was on Jimmy Kimmel and it seems like not the

place to offer a tailed policy point by point takedown of Donald Trump.

BOLDUAN: But, I mean, 40-plus percent of the country does not think Donald Trump is a joke.

(CROSSTALK)

PFEIFFER: It's like 38, but yes.

(LAUGHER)

BOLDUAN: Depending on where you are, yes. Is it personal, though, for him, for President Obama --

PFEIFFER: No, it's not.

BOLDUAN: -- because he's going further than presidents past have.

PFEIFFER: I think Donald Trump is -- this is very -- Donald Trump is very different than John McCain or Mitt Romney or Bill Clinton or Barack Obama or George W. Bush. And it's appropriate to treat him differently. But it's not personal. People ask this all the time. The president does not take it personal that Donald Trump was the -- was the lead proponent of a racist conspiracy that the president wasn't born in America. He doesn't care what Donald Trump thinks about him personally. He thinks it's bad -- someone like Donald Trump is bad for the country, speaks to the worse in politics. But he wants Hillary Clinton to win because she'll be best for the country. He thinks it's important Trump loses by a lot to send a message, not just about Donald Trump, but about Trumpism, more broadly, in its future of the Republican Party. But it's not a personal thing so much as he thinks it's that he thinks it's important Hillary Clinton wins and Donald Trump loses by a lot. And he is -- he thinks about Donald Trump differently than I think other presidents have thought about other candidates running for office. But that makes sense because Trump is different.

BERMAN: Never in our lifetime have we seen a president work so hard to elect his successor or go after the guy in the other party quite like the president has. It certainly seems to relish it.

Let's move on to some other subjects.

PFEIFFER: Sure.

BERMAN: Donald Trump, tomorrow, opening a hotel in Washington, D.C. Mike Pence, we learned, his running mate, headed to Utah. You took some glee in this, just as you took glee in the president's appearance on Jimmy Kimmel. You tweeted, "Possibly, the dumbest use of a candidate's time two weeks before an election that I have ever seen." Explain.

[11:35:23] PFEIFFER: Well, I mean, Donald Trump is not going to win D.C. Your candidate should only be in states that are going to decide the election in the 14 days before the election. He should be in Florida, Ohio, Colorado, Pennsylvania, states that he needs to get to 270. Being in D.C. seems like a dumb use of time.

I also think less dumb, but it doesn't make a ton of sense, for Pence to go to Utah either. Utah is not going to be the difference between 270 or not for Trump. They have biggest problems and should focus on the bigger states.

But Trump has run a horrible, particularly dumb campaign. That's just not my opinion, it's the opinion of all the most respected Republican strategists who looked at it. It's been amateur hour. This is another example.

BOLDUAN: Real quick, you've been involved with transition before. Campaigns won, you worked through the transitions. A lot of articles have been written about how Hillary Clinton has gotten the wheels transition working behind the scenes. What is going on behind the scenes do you think right now?

PFEIFFER: Well, if the Clinton transition's anything like the Obama transition in '08, and what I understand to be the Romney transition planning process in 2012, they have -- they are working behind the scenes to analyze all of the recent executive actions, understand what they're coming in with, to put together -- and most importantly, to help staff the government to come. What is the list of people presented to President Clinton and her staff should be in the cabinet, but who should be the deputy secretaries, all the way down, all the positions they're going to need. Really, the way it words, when inauguration happens, your White House staff gets on a bus and you have to be ready to go from day one. It's only responsible for presidential candidates to be fully prepared to take power at basically the turn of a switch.

BOLDUAN: Dan Pfeiffer, great to see you. Dan, thank you so much.

PFEIFFER: Thank you, guys.

BOLDUAN: Thank you.

So we've talked about the candidates and their surrogates kind of going nuclear against each other, but is a vote for Donald Trump a vote for nuclear war? That's what a new ad is telling voters as it hits the air waves in the battleground state of Ohio. What's behind it? That's ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:41:56] BERMAN: So have we mentioned the fortnight? One Democratic super PAC going nuclear using Donald Trump's own words in a new ad.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(EXPLOSION)

ANNOUNCER: One nuclear bomb can kill one million people. (EXPLOSION)

ANNOUNCER: That's more than all the men, women and children living in Columbus, Ohio.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: You're a guy running for president of the United States talking of maybe using nuclear weapons. Nobody wants to hear that about --

(CROSSTALK)

DONALD TRUMP, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Why do we make them? Why do we make them? Why do we make them?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: The ad ends with the caption, "Be careful who you vote for." That's a new ad in Ohio.

Joining us to discuss what's going on now, Amy Kremer, co-chair of Women Vote Trump; and Doug Heye, CNN political commentator and former communications director for the Republican National Committee.

Great to see you.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: Doug, we don't know who's behind this group. We don't know the donors to this group because it's a new group out and they don't have to disclose yet. We know the ad is running in Ohio. Effective right now two weeks out to be putting this out?

DOUG HEYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think it is effective right now. This is a tough ad. Reminiscent of the 1964 daisy ad against Barry Goldwater that was devastating to his campaign. And really plays to what we've seen from Donald Trump for well over a year. Erratic behavior that makes a lot of voters question his stability in office.

I would say as a Republican, I think there's a lot of voters out there who look at Hillary Clinton's failed record as secretary of state in places like Libya, Russia, Syria, and also question whether or not she should be commander-in-chief. The reality for voters is there's no good options out there right now.

BERMAN: Amy Kremer, Donald Trump in the middle of a three-day sprint through the state of Florida. Obviously, a crucial state. How do we know that? He just told us. Listen to what he said a short time ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: You have four events today in Florida.

DONALD TRUMP, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (voice-over): Right.

UNIDENTIFIED FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: That is a must-win for you, correct?

TRUMP: I believe Florida's a must win. I think we're winning it. I think we're winning it big.

UNIDENTIFIED FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: 29 electorate votes. You can't go to the White House unless you win in Florida. You would concede that, right?

TRUMP: I think that's probably true.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Donald Trump, tantamount to admitting water is wet, but it is true he can't win without Florida. What do you make of that admission, Amy? Also saying he's winning big there. Do you think that's the case?

AMY KREMER, CO-CHAIR, WOMEN VOTE TRUMP: Thanks for having me. Good to be here.

You know, I do thing he's winning there. You could say it doesn't matter. I hear it all the time, that the people that show up don't necessarily always go vote. But you can't tell me that people have stood in the cold, in the wet, in the snow, rain, whatever, other the past year and a half, to see Donald Trump, d then he gets 20,000 to 30,000 people at a rally in Tampa last night.

I do think he's winning. I think he's right. And when -- if he stays on message and talks about Obamacare and the economy and the issues that Americans care about -- I mean, in Florida, premiums are going to increase approximately 20 percent. We heard from you guys this morning, Arizona, 11 percent. Those are the issues that Americans are going to be voting on. And he needs to stay on message. I think he can win this. I absolutely do.

(CROSSTALK)

KREMER: He's a work horse. He's a work horse. He was -- he did five events yesterday in the state of Florida, four today. The guy doesn't stop.

[11:45:11] BOLDUAN: So, Doug, Amy's saying he needs to stay on message. It seems at least for the moment, he's gotten that message.

BERMAN: The last two hours.

BOLDUAN: The last two hours, he's spoken out twice. Once, at one of his properties, and then he called in to FOX News and he talked about Obamacare. Is that -- if he does stay on message -- and, look, if you look at the history of this election, that is a very big if -- is that enough to --

(CROSSTALK)

HEYE: I think it's not enough, never. Donald Trump never stays on message. We shouldn't applaud him because he doesn't say something crazy for two hours. That may be an incredible stretch for him but, in politics, it's a disaster. What we've seen, Kate and John, for the past week or so, a big part of Donald Trump's message is sue the lying women. That's not one of the issues that he needs to connect with voters on. But I'd say, while he should be on message, it also may be too late. What we're seeing from the early vote numbers from North Carolina, Florida, two must-win states, is that Democrats are outperforming where they typically have. In Arizona, Hispanics are outperforming where they typically have. Donald Trump has a real problem on the ground because of things that he says and because he has no organization to get his voters from those events to the polls.

BERMAN: We got just a few seconds left, Amy. Mike Pence, yesterday, he sent a message, "Come on home," to Republicans right there. If Donald Trump talks about Obamacare, maybe there's a chance to bring some of those wayward Republicans home.

KREMER: The American people are smart and maybe people in Washington and New York don't want to believe it, but you can't tell me that people are going to go out and vote on things somebody might have said versus what's happening to their pocketbooks and the money they're having to spend on health care and gas and food and all these things. That's what Americans care about. We'll see in two weeks. We're in the homestretch.

BERMAN: Just a fortnight.

(CROSSTALK)

HEYE: We're already seeing it now with the early and absentee voting. Hillary Clinton and the Democrats are outperforming Republicans.

KREMER: They're not in absentee ballots. No, they're not, Doug.

BERMAN: There's a difference --

BOLDUAN: There is a difference.

BERMAN: -- between absentee and early voting.

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: We have to go. It's a complicated thing. You can both be sort of right about this about this --

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: Let's count it both as a sort of win.

Great to see you both.

KREMER: Good to see you.

BERMAN: Donald Trump, he is now talking about Obamacare a lot over the last few hours. Why? Because these premium hikes, they are a real thing. A government report saying going up more than 20 percent. So is there fear within the Clinton campaign, the Democratic Party? We're going to ask a key Hillary Clinton supporter, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[11:52:04] TRUMP: All of my employees are having a tremendous problem with Obamacare. You, folks, this is another group. Is that a correct statement? I mean, you look at what they're going through. What they're going through with their health care is horrible, because of Obamacare. So we'll repeal it and replace it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: That was Donald Trump, just this morning, jumping all over the news of the premium hikes coming for folks using Obamacare. As Trump puts it, it's over for Obamacare.

BERMAN: Joining us to discuss, Democratic member of Congress Joyce Beatty, from Ohio.

Representative, let's leave aside for the moment that Donald Trump's employees don't get health care through his own company. Apparently, saying they do through Obamacare. Not sure what he means.

But he says premiums are going up, options going down and the fact Hillary Clinton wants to keep Obamacare going is disqualifying. Is this something that will hurt the Clinton campaign?

REP. JOYCE BEATTY, (D), OHIO: Absolutely, not, when you think of some 20 million people are now insured, when you think of college students now being able to stay on their parents' insurance at 26, think of pre-existing conditions now no longer being an issue. I think the American people understand 20 million people now insure three million children now insured.

I'm also not sure what he meant about his employees being in Obamacare, and why he's not insuring them. And I also am not sure that they're all even in Obamacare.

I think what we have to do is get it right. Sure, we're going to hear a lot about the 20 percent, 22 percent increase hike, but actually that is not what's happening to most Americans. More than --

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: Congresswoman, this is a report coming from the Obama administration about Obamacare. I mean, yes, it is not all -- everything is the same.

BEATTY: It is not all --

BOLDUAN: But when it -- but the fact of the matter is, prices going up, options going down, insurers pulling out of some markets. How is that good news for you guys?

BEATTY: OK. But what you have to understand, I, too, read the report and when you read the secretary's report, it will also tell you that more than 70 percent of those insured are finding plans that are $100 or less. It's also quoting that for maybe five states it is not across the board that that's happening. There are some insurers pulling out? Absolutely, yes. Is it a perfect plan? Absolutely, not. But I think the real question is, do we throw the baby out with the bath water and start over with a non-existing plan that Donald Trump is talking about? That's absolutely crazy. Listen to what Candidate Clinton is saying, that we're going to tweak the plan and fix those things and continue with the plan that has a great foundation.

[11:55:11] BERMAN: So you do admit, or do think that there are some problems right now for some Americans who are seeing their premiums go up, just to be clear. Yes?

BEATTY: I will say that the plan is not perfect. And there are some changes that Congress and president-to-be Hillary Clinton should work on to fix. It is not perfect. We've all acknowledged that.

BOLDUAN: I want to change gears just real quick. There was a -- in "The New York Times," there was an interesting article about African- American leaders and their concern in the last few weeks of this race. And the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, Congressman G.K. Butterfield, who you know well, he said, "I'm concerned about the African-American vote, we've got to get them to turn out in African- American communities that's equal or surpasses the white turnout."

How concerned are you that African-American voters will stay home?

BEATTY: I think what Congressman Butterfield -- and I support him -- that we're not taking anything for granted. I think that's how I would say it. It is very important for our base to get out the vote. Not only to elect Hillary Clinton as president, but for us to exercise our right in voting. Too many people died for the right to vote. So absolutely, we want our message to be clear that we want African- Americans to come out and vote. We're not taking anything for granted. We will make a difference.

BOLDUAN: Congresswoman Joyce Beatty, thank you so much.

BEATTY: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: We'll be right back.

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