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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Gingrich to Kelly: "You are Fascinated with Sex"; Never-Before- Heard Interviews with Trump Children; Clinton Leads Shrinks in New National Polling; Trump's High Stakes Business Promotion; Defense Secy. Halts Efforts to Reclaim Bonuses; CNN Top Ten Heroes for 2016 Announced. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired October 26, 2016 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[21:00:00] AMANDA CARPENTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, you brought ....
KAYLEIGH MCENANY, TRUMP SUPPORTER: For Gallup, the media has the lowest approval rating in recorded history. This is not among Trump supporters ...
CARPENTER: So, aren't you doing what Donald Trump says it does?
CARPENTER: ... than everyone else because you studied and you know things and you went to a fancy school that I didn't? Isn't that what Donald Trump's campaign has become, their own worst enemy. They become -- Democrats have been all the time they said that Hillary Clinton was an enabler.
COOPER: One at a time. One at time.
ANA NAVARRO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Listen, we were working on Republican campaigns way before you were. So for you to sit there and say that we're not representative of Republican women, I think it's a mistake. I think we need to learn to live with our differences. We need to learn to embrace diversity of thoughts. I need to learn to live with your thoughts and try on focus in whatever the hell we might have in common. I'm sure there is something.
NAVARRO: OK, but let tell you something. 70 some percent, 75, 78 percent of Republicans are supporting Trump. 90 percent of Democrats are supporting Clinton. You want to talk facts? That's a fact.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: OK. Kayleigh?
MCENANY: First of all, I want to apologize to you for being a millennial. I know millennials aren't allowed to have an opinion in this day and age.
NAVARRO: Let me play my old ancient Stradivarius for you.
MCENANY: I think the fact that this panel has resented into very, vitriolic ad hominem attacks when statistics are brought up, when the numbers are brought up, when you don't have facts to retort to my facts, that ...
NAVARRO: 78 percent of Republicans are supporting Donald Trump, 90 percent of Democrats are supporting Hillary Clinton.
MCENANY: ... playing the violin.
NAVARRO: ... it's not a fact when I poke holes.
COOPER: We're going to take a break. We're just -- we're not, actually. Why would we? Wait, wait.
We just passed the top of the hour. I want to welcome you if you're just joining us. I hope you're having something to eat and drink and ...
MCENANY: Some wine.
COOPER: Some wine. I would like some wine right now.
Another breaking hour ahead ...
NAVARRO: Orange Kool-Aid could apply.
COOPER: ... we've got never-before-heard interviews. Donald Trump's kids telling a biography about the dad they know including their take on some the most controversial statements.
IVANKA TRUMP, DONALD TRUMP'S DAUGHTER: He is who he is. He is going to say exactly what he's thinking. He doesn't need to hear what the question is or the story is in advance so he can craft an answer.
COOPER: We'll have more on that in a moment. We're going to begin the hour, though, with new national polling. We just referencing that puts the presidential race at three points and narrows the margin in our CNN Poll of Polls to six points. Hillary Clinton still leading but leading by less than just a couple days ago. Donald Trump, who just wrapped up an event in eastern North Carolina, has been discounting the polls for weeks as rigged. He's now got boost there even as he takes a knock or two on new statements from one of his surrogates in his decision earlier today to step away from the battleground. More on that now from our Jason Carroll. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm tired of the excuses from our politicians. I'm tired of being told what cannot be done.
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Donald Trump taking a brief break from the campaign trail to promote his new hotel in Washington, D.C. and striking an optimistic tone.
TRUMP: There is nothing we cannot accomplish. The United States is great. It's great. Its people are great.
CARROLL: Trump says his business acumen is what the country needs from its president.
TRUMP: This is what I want to do for our country and this is what we're working so hard to do. Right now, just about everything our government touches is broken or they break it. It's always over budget, behind schedule, and simply nothing works.
CARROLL: And Trump took an opportunity to again take aim at the media.
TRUMP: By the way, congratulations, Newt, on last night. That was an amazing interview. We don't play games, Newt, right? We don't play games.
CARROLL: The GOP nominee referring to Fox News's Megyn Kelly's interview with Trump adviser and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Gingrich losing his cool when Kelly pressed him about the women accusing Trump of unwanted sexual advances.
NEWT GINGRICH, TRUMP ADVISER: You are fascinated with sex and you don't care about public policy.
MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Me, really?
GINGRICH: So that's what I get out of watching you tonight.
KELLY: You know what, Mr. Speaker, I'm not fascinated by sex. But I am fascinated by the protection of women ...
KELLY: ... and understanding what we're getting in the Oval Office.
KELLY: And I think the American voters would like to know ...
GINGRICH: And, therefore, we're going to send Bill Clinton back East Wing, because after all, you are worried about sexual predators.
KELLY: He's not on the ticket. And the polls also show that the American public is less interested ... GINGRICH: They'll be in East Wing.
KELLY: ... in the deeds of Hillary Clinton's husband than they are in the deeds of the man who asks us to make him president, Donald Trump.
We're going to have to leave it at that and you can take your anger issues and spend some time working on them, Mr. Speaker. Thanks for being here.
[21:05:08] GINGRICH: And you too.
CARROLL: And Trump taking offense when CNN's Dana Bash asked him today's hotel ribbon cutting if it was worth it.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: And so to people who say you're taking time out of swing states to go do this, you say?
TRUMP: I say the following. You have been covering me for the last long time. I did yesterday eight stops and three major speeches and I've been doing this for weeks straight. I left here -- I left there for an hour and a half. I'm going to North Carolina right, then I'm going to go to Florida, I'm going up to New Hampshire.
For you to ask me those question is actually very insulting, because Hillary Clinton does one stop and then she goes home and sleeps. And yet you'll ask me that question. I think it's a very rude question, to be honest with you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Jason Carroll joins us now from Kinston, North Carolina.
The Trump campaign still saying all of these polls that show him behind, that they are all -- that they are almost all inaccurate, that he's actually winning, right?
CARROLL: Right. I mean, look, he mentioned these polls again tonight here. He talked about the phony polls, the national polls showing him behind, the polls showing him behind in some of the battleground states. He says those polls are phony polls put out there by the rigged media. But it doesn't mean he thinks all the polls are bad because he did mention a new poll out of the state of Florida which shows him up by two points. That poll head does agree with. He also said that many of those folks who are showing up in the state of Florida for early voting, he believes that many of those folks are Trump supporters.
So once again, he did mention the phony polls but those are just the polls that show him behind. The poll that shows him up, that poll he likes. Anderson?
COOPER: All right, Jason Carroll. Jason, thanks.
Hillary Clinton marked her birthday today. She did not, however, get a birthday present as we've seen in the latest polling, which may be why she's been campaigning hard, not just for president, but against complacency among her supporters. More on her day in Florida from CNN's Phil Mattingly.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Florida can make the difference ...
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: With new polling which could suggest a tightening race in Florida, Hillary Clinton is taking nothing for granted.
CLINTON: I am going to work as hard as I can over these next 13 days, reaching out to as many people as possible.
MATTINGLY: The Democratic nominee spending her second straight day in a state that could all but guarantee the White House, warning against complacency.
CLINTON: We can't take our foot off the gas even for a short time.
MATTINGLY: And throwing more jabs, Donald Trump's way.
CLINTON: Listening to Donald Trump's campaign, I truly doubt that he has ever read the constitution. Or if he did back in school, he certainly doesn't remember it and he doesn't understand. It is the most important founding document for the longest lasting, greatest democracy in the history of the world.
MATTINGLY: Her attacks, including a dig, Trump's detour in his campaign schedule today to attend a ribbon cutting ceremony for his new hotel in Washington D.C.
CLINTON: While the hotel may be new, it's the same old story. He relied on undocumented workers to make his project cheaper. And most of the products in the rooms were made overseas. And he even sued to get his taxes lowered.
MATTINGLY: Clinton punctuating her two events in the state with two new ads. The latest data from Catalyst provided exclusively to CNN showing more than 7 million votes have already been cast, including more than 4.6 million in battleground states, numbers that underscore the importance of the moment. One where Clinton maintains a comfortable national lead according to the CNN Poll of Polls. This all coming on Clinton's 69th birthday. A moment celebrated with a surprise cake before heading straight back onto the trail.
But now, a new headache for the Clinton campaign in the latest WikiLeaks released of hacked e-mails. Clinton's former spokesperson, Philippe Reines, now just to mess her private e-mail server created saying, "There is no good answer." It's an acknowledgement that adds to the continued fallout created by a separate e-mail.
This one from one of Clinton's most loyal advisers, Neera Tanden, saying when it came to the e-mail server, the Clintons, "wanted to get away with it."
(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: Phil Mattingly joins us now from Tampa. So, that new poll in Florida showing Trump leading over Hillary Clinton by two points, seems to fly in the face of what we've been seeing there for weeks. What are you hearing from operatives on the ground there?
MATTINGLY: Yeah, that's exactly right, Anderson. If you talk to Clinton campaign advisers over the course of the last two or three weeks, they're getting a lot more comfortable with where they stood in the state of Florida. Now, it's being born out in the public polling as well. But what this poll underscores, whether it's right or wrong, is where Donald Trump's support really is. It's in north central Florida. It's in the panhandle. And if he can turn out those voters, this is going to be a very close state in this race.
[21:10:12] And Anderson, it's worth noting, 29 electoral votes in this state. You talk to any Clinton adviser they will tell you, if they win Florida, the ball game is over. They win the campaign. That's why this is so important. That's why Hillary Clinton was here the past two days, that's why she'll be here again on Saturday.
One quick thing to keep an eye on, Anderson, that early voting. This coming weekend will be the first full weekend of in-person early voting, that's where Democrats usually start to close the gap with the Republicans on early votes, they're already. They've already closed that gap, Anderson. So that's an area Democrats feel very good about. But again, all eyes on Florida. This is a make or break state for the campaign. Anderson?
COOPER: Yeah, Phil Mattingly. Phil, thanks very much.
Back now with the panel this hour. Jonathan Tanisi, Karine Jean- Pierre, Maggie Haberman, Jeffrey Lord, Scottie Nell Hughes, and Corey Lewandowski.
Maggie, I mean, does the Clinton campaign have a contingency plan for a tightening of these polls?
MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I mean, I think that they still believe that they are ahead. And if you look at the average of the polls, they still are, but they are certainly concerned from the Democrats who I talked to about apathy among their voters. About people thinking, "Well, it's over so we don't need to turn out." And because of this something of an unpredictable election cycle previously leading up to this, they want to essentially make sure that they're doing everything they can to turn out their base.
I'm not sure that what we are hearing right now in terms of either WikiLeaks or everything that's coming out is actually sinking in with the public ...
COOPER: You don't think it is?
HABERMAN: I don't -- I haven't seen any polling that indicates yet whether it is or it isn't. I think we will know in a couple of days, but I think there is so much noise right now that everything -- against the Democrats. You have the WikiLeaks disclosures. Hence Donald Trump, you've had these accusers who claim that he has sexually assaulted them. And I think that it is all just becoming (inaudible).
I think that the Clinton team and the DNC have, and we discussed this in a previous block, have a ground game. They have field operations. And that's what they're leaning on and I expect that they will continue to do.
COOPER: Corey, Do you think the sort of the drip, drip, the WikiLeaks. I mean, there hasn't been one, you know, major e-mail that's leaked out that, you know, is going to change everybody's mind. But the -- you know, there's been days and days and weeks of this stuff. And do you believe that that's taking a toll, plus with ObamaCare premiums going up?
COREY LEWANDOWSKI, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Look, I think it goes to -- if you look at the polling data is, you know, Hillary Clinton hasn't trustworthy. Only 30 percent the American people think that she is and that's probably a function of the WikiLeaks.
Look, we saw her own staff or those around her, calling her the e- mailer in chief. Saying that she thought she could get away with this, you know, private server.
COOPER: Right. In addition, the poll that John King, I think, shared in the last hour, in addition to jobs, economy, which Trump was leading, also on trustworthy. I think he was plus six.
LEWANDOWSKI: That's right. So, I think you have that and then you couple that with Hillary Clinton saying before ObamaCare, there was Hillary care. What we know in the state of Florida is if you've got the Humana plan in the ObamaCare, your premiums are going to go up in 2017 by 35 percent. That's a real number. That's squarely on Hillary. She cannot walk away from Barack Obama and the disaster that this has become. She is tied to it very closely ...
JONATHAN TASINI, CLINTON SUPPORTER: The problem with WikiLeaks here in my view, the problem with that is it's complicated. It's confusing to people. Compared to Donald Trump being a sexual predator. So if you compare to those -- the things that have come out in parallel over the last two or three weeks, the average voter, particularly women who are listening to this, WikiLeaks is a morass. Being a sexual predator ...
COOPER: He's been accused. He's not a convicted sexual predator.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
TASINI: The language that Donald Trump uses towards women is to me sexually predator -- being a predator.
COOPER: Well, he's described ...
TASINI: Whether ...
COOPER: But it doesn't mean -- he says he didn't actually do it.
TASINI: Fine. I believe he did and I believe all the women who came out and testified to that are a good judgment of that. What my point really was that if you compare the two, WikiLeaks, the issue of Wikileaks and trying to fair it through t who talk to who and what the e-mail is ...
COOPER: (Inaudible) has more power.
TASINI: Much more power to the average voter.
HABERMAN: Yeah, I actually -- what I was going to say was that -- I mean, I was thinking about this when Corey was talking. Part of the problem for Trump has been that -- there has been a tendency, particularly in the general election, to seize on whatever the headline of the day is. And it sort of chasing at a shiny object. There hasn't been a consistent message. It's not a surprise that premiums are going up in October. We have known this was coming for a while. The scope of it may not have been known, but we know it was coming. He could have tied that to a broader economic message and a disciplined economic message over many, many months. And that might have had as much impact ...
COOPER: So, Jeffrey, do you want in these closing days, these crucial days, where tightening the polls, do you hope Donald Trump doesn't have any -- I think that the sports term is unforced errors. I mean, do -- that ...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very good.
COOPER: I know, thank you. Jonathan has been teaching me about the World Series. But -- or -- I mean, to stay on message. Stay, you know, don't make any mistake.
JEFFREY LORD, TRUMP SUPPORTER: Right. And to be perfectly candid, Donald Trump, himself, yesterday was on a Rush Limbaugh show. And said, admit it, he said, you know, I do this and a lot of people say don't this ...
LORD: ... but I believe it's important to answer issues, et cetera. I'm one of those people that would suggest him to stay on message and just drive that message home. Sum up the argument and do this over and over and over again. If he comes back to Pennsylvania -- anywhere in these swing states, where these health premiums have gone up, zero in on that.
[21:15:18] SCOTTIE NELL HUGHES, TRUMP SUPPORTER: And Jeffrey, don't underestimate ...
HUGHES: Don't underestimate the power of ObamaCare. Remember in 2010, this is where the Tea Party movement came in and was able to take back the House and the Senate. It was on ObamaCare. And you saw a lot of those Democrats crossing. They were upset that they were seeing their premiums go up. So, this is an issue that effects, you know, this is a very -- actually, a very bipartisan issue. People see it. And that's where this power is coming in.
TASINI: But Jeff, can you admit -- can you admit, Jeff, that he's an undisciplined candidate. That's the problem in terms of focusing and what you're trying to say is make the ...
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, MOVEON.ORG NATIONAL SPOKESPERSON: Look, we're 13 days out. 80 percent of the people who are voting have already made their decision, right? And early voting is starting. So, I mean, that's where are.
I think the bright light for, at least, for Democrats is that women, the women early voting is really high in record number and I think that's as well, you know.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And young voters.
JEAN-PIERRE: And young voters as well.
COOPER: All right. I want to thank everyone in the panel.
Just ahead tonight, Republicans who find themselves in Hillary Clinton's corner. Randi Kaye talks to a number of them. Plus, a "360" exclusive of the Trump children on their dad.
DONALD TRUMP JR: DONALD TRUMP'S SON: If you're asking, "Do I think that he knows that he is a polarizing guy?" Yes. I think the answer is 100 percent. Do I think he cares? No.
COOPER: With the polls tightening, we've got new never-before-heard insight into who Donald Trump is. Trump biographer, Michael D'Antonio got more than five hours worth while researching his book, "The Truth About Trump" two years ago. He gave us the recordings. Last night, it was Trump himself and his ex-wife Ivana. It was fascinating. Tonight, we hear from Donald Trump's three oldest children.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[21:20:02] MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, TRUMP BIOGRAPHER: Do you want your father to go into politics?
TRUMP JR: As an American, I do. As a businessman, I'd probably rather not.
COOPER: The recordings from 2014, the year before Donald Trump Sr. announced his candidacy. D. TRUMP: I am officially running for president of the United States.
COOPER: And two years before he finally gave up questioning the president's birth place.
TRUMP: President Barack Obama was born in the United States, period.
COOPER: Trump would go on to falsely claim that he ended the birther controversy by forcing President Obama to release his long form birth certificate back in 2011.
PRES. BARACK OBAMA, UNITED STATES: Yes, in fact, I was born in Hawaii, August 4th, 1961 in Kapi'olani Hospital.
COOPER: But in 2014, his son saw his questioning of the president's birthplace as admirable.
TRUMP JR.: I appreciate someone who has the moral conviction to stand by, you know, a belief. What's wrong with questioning something these days? And, you know, you see it, you know, whether it be political spectrum, whether it be across a racial divide, whether it be -- it's being increasingly difficult for, you know, now again, I mean, this is coming from -- I'm the white privileged son of a rich guy. Right? There is a point where I'm not even allowed to have this conversation in America today.
There could be, you know, potentially, you know, ramifications to his business for taking these stances. And again, he's got the conviction to say, "That's fine. I don't care. This is what I believe in. And to me, you know, as an American, that is a very powerful thing. And that's a very, it is a very admirable quality.
COOPER: Ironically, one argument Donald Jr. makes against President Obama is the same used to question his father's fitness for the Oval Office.
TRUMP JR.: ... a Community Organizing is a phenomenal position, but like, you're giving that guy the nuclear football? Well, you know, I don't know.
COOPER: And more than three hours of audio provide an early window into Donald Trump, an unpredictable candidate like no other.
D'ANTONIO: Does he understand that there is, I don't know, half the people out there who sort of have this weird opinion of him or think he's sort of a buffoon? Or think he's sort of a -- does he recognize that? Or does -- because I get the sense sometimes he thinks, I mean, really, everybody kind of -- there are people who hate him. But there's people ...
TRUMP JR.: I think, you know, if you're asking, "Do I think that he knows that he is a polarizing guy? Yes. I think the answer is 100 percent. Do I think he cares? No.
COOPER: On the tapes, his children, Donald Jr, Eric, and Ivanka can find little fault with their father. ERIC TRUMP, DONALD TRUMP'S SON: There's very few times in life when you come across a person who has never failed at anything that they've ever really done.
I. TRUMP: He is who he is. He is going to say exactly what he is thinking. He doesn't need to hear what the question is or the story is in advance sohe can craft an answer.
COOPER: From the tapes, it seems that even a year before Trump declared his candidacy, he and his family had their eyes on going all the way to Election Day.
TRUMP JR.: You can't run a primary and be incredibly right or left and then for the general, "We have to -- well, we've changed our views miraculously in the last 72 hours since we became the front-runner because now we have to have, you know, a view that appeases, you know, more of the centrist. You know, it doesn't work. And so he's not willing to bastardize hi beliefs for a bottom line, to appease, you know, a majority of the population.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: And Trump biographer, Michael D'Antonio, joins us again tonight.
It's so interesting, I mean, the sort of the loyalty, at least, the public loyalty that all the kids have. I mean, clearly, you know, they had differences when they were younger, I mean, that have been well talked about and publicized. But now, there -- the sort of unified block and the kids are sort of cut -- so seem to be kind of cut from the same cloth or trying to be.
D'ANTONIO: Well, from the same (inaudible) colored marble at Trump Tower, you know, they really -- it is an us against the world kind of thing and it includes their business, you know, they're all in the family business. Two of three Trump kids went to Penn, so they have the same Ivy League affiliation. They even seem to have the same political beliefs. Although, I think there's a generational divide that's not been voiced by the younger generation. I think their attitudes are probably quite different.
COOPER: It was also interesting to hear Donald Trump Jr. defending his dad on the whole Obama birther controversy years after President Obama, you know, put out his birth certificate.
D'ANTONIO: Right. It's 100 percent. And I think even, this probably, in 2014, they were pretty sure they were going to run. And it's funny Donald said to me that based on Twitter, he was making the decision to run. And I said, well nobody is ridiculous enough to base a decision to run for president on Twitter. But the whole family was behind this. And I think they imagined much of what's happened today.
[21:25:10] COOPER: There also -- I mean, all the things about like winning, all the sort of the values that Donald Trump clearly, you know, puts everything into. I'm not sure value is the right word, but sort of the idea of winning. It seems like they are all about that too. I mean they all seem to have like there -- you know, Ivanka Trump has her own brand. She's marketing things, even, you know, with the clothes that she's wearing in public events so you can buy on, you know, and she tweets about that.
D'ANTONIO: There is a family perspective on life, a family perspective on business. Although I thought it was interesting that Don Jr. warned about the business problem that's could arise if you run for president and they really are seeing it now.
The younger generation talked to me about taking the brand in a different direction once their father was gone. Now they wanted to broaden the appeal, make it, you know, more than just a third of the country that sell to but the whole country. And I think that's been lost to them.
COOPER: Well, the other question is how does it affect, you know, Ivanka Trump who has been developing her own brand the sort of a, you know, young entrepreneur woman empowering women? How this has affected in the short term and in the long term?
D'ANTONIO: Well, she is in a terrible spot. If you think about the civil rights era and there were children of parents who expressed bigoted ideas. And those children woke up against it and identified themselves as part of something new and better. We're now in an era when bigotry based on gender or sexual orientation or all kinds of things is off the agenda. Nobody does that. But they've got a father who's expressing these very old-fashioned ideas. He's surrounded by other men, 70 plus, who are expressing similar ideas. It's not modern. And it's bad for their brand.
COOPER: It's basically not the brand that Ivanka Trump has been trying to develop.
D'ANTONIO: No, it's very destructive to her.
COOPER: Is there anything that really surprised you about them, about his -- their relationship with their dad?
D'ANTONIO: Well, I -- the level of worship. You know, they occupy offices one floor below his. And when they talk about him, they say he. And it's almost like they're praying to the heaven. And I think that they really do look to him for almost everything. And it makes some sense. They were a very embattled family when they were young.
D'ANTONIO: And the kids banded together when they were young and I think they're together now. They're very supportive of each other, very supportive of their parent.
COOPER: It is also -- I mean, look, they're playing a kids from well off families who have not, you know, who fall by the way side and they have been very successful in many -- in however you define success, frankly.
D'ANTONIO: They're steady. COOPER: Right.
D'ANTONIO: They know -- and I think that people respect them.
COOPER: They have families of their own.
D'ANTONIO: Their family lives are exemplary, especially when compared with Donald.
D'ANTONIO: You know, so they are a new generation of Trumps. It's just how will they fare if this doesn't work out well?
COOPER: It's fascinating. Michael D'Antonio, thank you so much, really great talking to you.
D'ANTONIO: Thank you.
COOPER: Just ahead, we're going to hear from some of Hillary Clinton's most committed supporters and one Florida's reddest counties. They're lifelong Republicans who've banded together to make sure Donald Trump doesn't win their crucial state.
[21:32:16] COOPER: Some more breaking news tonight. A new Bloomberg Selzer poll shows Donald Trump now leading Hillary Clinton in Florida by two points, 45 percent to 43 percent in a four-way race. Florida, of course, crucial for Trump, he himself has called it a must-win state. Without its 29 electoral votes, he has virtually no path to 270.
Now, if Trump does win Florida, it will be without the support of some of the reddest Republicans, at least, until now. Randi Kaye, tonight reports.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: How many of you are lifelong registered Republicans? And how many of you are voting for Hillary Clinton?
In Sumter County, Florida, one of the reddest counties in the state, these five lifelong Republicans are not voting that way come November 8th.
LINDA FOGG, REPUBLICANS FOR HILLARY: A year ago, if you had told me I was voting for Hillary Clinton, I would have said absolutely not. There is no way that will ever happen.
KAYE: But that's exactly what is happening. Linda Fogg is so turned off by Donald Trump. She started a group called Republicans for Hillary. Dozens of neighbors have joined her.
Her husband Don Fogg had a disabled niece and wrote Trump off after he says Trump mocked a disabled reporter. But he also thinks Trump is weak on immigration.
DON FOGG, REPUBLICANS FOR HILLARY: It's impractical to deport that many people. It feeds on a fear that people have that immigration is bad for the country and is taking my job away, which is not accurate.
KAYE: Ed Mercer has voted Republican since 1972. But just this week voted Democratic on his entire ballot.
ED MERCER, REPUBLICANS FOR HILLARY: I am not some gigantic Hillary Clinton fan. I am not a socialist. I am not a big Democratic fan.
KAYE: Where do you think Donald Trump is weak?
MERCER: My fear of Donald Trump was his anti-trade rhetoric and his tax cut proposals. Because he is going to take the little foundation we have globally and just crumble it. And I don't know what that recovery will look like.
KAYE: This retired economist compared both candidates economic platforms, looking closely at their tax and spend policies and decided to vote Clinton.
DONNA THOMPSON, REPUBLICANS FOR HILLARY: I realized that what Hillary Clinton was putting forth in her platform was more doable.
KAYE: This group calls Trump's idea of a wall at the southern border impractical and none of them thinks Trump is cut out to handle ISIS either.
D. FOGG: Him saying I know more than the generals do. That's another blow hard tactic. And, you know, he throws out these generalizations that when you dig into them, there's nothing behind them.
KAYE: And for this group it's about how Trump treats others especially women whom they believe he doesn't respect. They cite the "Access Hollywood" tape.
[21:34:59] THOMPSON: I was offended by the language. I raised three sons, and to the best of my knowledge they would never talk about women in that way. Otherwise, they'd have me to answer to.
KAYE: And the growing number of women who've come forward accusing Trump of touching them inappropriately.
He's denying it though. You don't believe him?
L. FOGG: No, of course, I don't. He told us who he was many times by his comments. And now women come forward to verify, yes, that's who he is. And we're shocked?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Randi joins me now from Orlando. I noticed there were two women in the group you spoke with. Are they voting Clinton because they want to see a woman as president? KAYE: Actually, Anderson, they don't really care about that. They don't care about seeing the first woman president. They prefer to have a Republican in the White House even if it means a male president. They just want to make sure that that if it was a man, that he was qualified. And they don't think that Donald Trump is qualified.
Right now, they're OK with Hillary Clinton. They think that she has become more moderate and they consider themselves moderate Republicans so they are OK with that.
But I did I ask Linda Fogg, the head of the group, why not vote for Gary Johnson or maybe another party? And she said, you know what, this is a swing state Florida, every vote counts. She wants to make sure that Hillary Clinton gets enough votes, enough electoral votes to shut down Donald Trump in the state of Florida and deny him the presidency, Anderson.
COOPER: Randi, thank -- Randi, thanks very much.
A lot to discuss now with Maggie Haberman and Gloria Borger. Let's focus on Florida.
I mean, Gloria, in general, what are you going to be watching in Florida over the next two weeks?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: I'm going to be looking for the percentage of Republicans who are going to be voting for Donald Trump. I just got off the phone with a lifelong Republican. Very involved in Florida state politics who has decided to hold his nose and vote for Hillary Clinton.
And we were talking about Mitt Romney last time. In 2012, Mitt Romney lost by a about a little under 1 percent of the vote. A battle ground state. Mitt Romney had over 90 percent of Republicans with him, 92-93 percent. Right now, if you look at the polling. Donald Trump has about 85 percent of Republicans with him. He needs to get a larger group of Republicans to go with him and say, "OK, I might not love you but I'm going to vote for you." In that sense, Marco Rubio might help him. Because maybe people who like Marco Rubio will also then decide to vote for Donald Trump. So, that's what I'm going to be looking for.
COOPER: Maggie, how about you?
HABERMAN: Very much everything Gloria said. I think the early vote tallies and how they're going to breakdown in terms of Democratic counties versus Republican counties is a key to watch. There's a Democratic strategist who a bunch of us talk to frequently who says particularly watch Hillsborough County. It's the county that voted for Obama twice. It voted for President Bush twice. They are -- Democrats are ahead in early voting there. I think it's roughly 7 percent or something like that. These are not huge margins right now, but given that voting has begun already. Given that people are watching what is happening every day in the race, if those numbers don't start creeping up for Republicans that is problematic. COOPER: And Gloria, I mean is Trump in Florida, is Trumps easiest path to victory a depressed vote for Secretary Clinton that the people just don't turn out and the number that the Clinton campaign needs?
BORGER: Well, he can hope for that, but to get out the vote effort on the Clinton campaign is supposed to be pretty good. I think what he has to do is convince those voters who might stay at home because they don't like either choice, to come with him. And I think that they've got some work to do on that front.
Again, I think Marco Rubio can help him. But this Republican I was talking to tonight was interesting on the subject, he said, look, I'm voting against Donald Trump the way I feel like I can atone for my sin is also to vote for Marco Rubio. So he believes that in a sense, some of these anti-Trump Republicans could actually help Marco Rubio win.
COOPER: Gloria Borger, thank you. Maggie Haberman as well. Thanks very much.
Just ahead, for at least the 30th time, Trump's campaign trail merges with him promoting his businesses. This time a new hotel, but he's also talked about everything from wine to -- well he said were Trump steaks. They were steaks being sold in a Trump Mar-a-Lago. But they weren't actually Trump stakes.
Anyway, now with the presidency at stake, what effect will all this have on the brand? Donald Trump spent so much time building, next.
[21:43:15] COOPER: As we reported, Donald Trump had an event today. Among them are political events, he had an event that was not focused on the battleground states where he's having trouble on some of the polls, but on opening his new hotel in Washington. Dana Bash asked him about it and a lot more.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: ... to people who say you're taking time out of swing states to go do this, you say?
D. TRUMP: I say the following. You have been covering me for the last long time. I did yesterday eight stops and three major speeches, and I've been doing this for weeks straight. I left here -- I left there for an hour and a half. I'm going to North Carolina right now, then I'm going to Florida, I'm going up to New Hampshire.
For you to ask me that question is actually very insulting, because Hillary Clinton does one stop and then she goes on and sleeps. And yet you'll ask me that question. I think it's a very rude question, to be honest with you.
And what I do is I want to back my children. My children work very hard, Ivanka in particular. And, at the opening of the hotel, I want to back my children. It's very important to me. So we had a ribbon cutting which is very quick and I stopped in D.C. But the real key to this is, I want the American people to understand that, this is under budget, ahead of schedule. And we need that for ...
BASH: And I'd -- just so, you know, I've been reporting on the fact that you're going to North Carolina for a couple stops straight from here.
For my next question is, there's a new poll in Florida that has you up a couple of points. Other swing states have you really in the hunt. Given that, are you prepared to write a check ...
BASH: ... to help yourself get over to finish line? And if so, how big? And I'm talking about advertising.
TRUMP: Let me just tell you -- let me just tell you that we have -- I have over $100 million in the campaign. Hillary Clinton has nothing in the campaign. She is all special interests and donors and they give her the money and then she will do whatever they tell her to do. But, I will have over $100 million in the campaign and I'm prepared to go much more than that.
[21:45:05] Now, here's the question. New polls are coming out, we're leading Florida, we're doing great in North Carolina, we're doing great in Pennsylvania, we're doing great all over. We're doing really well in New Hampshire, Ohio, as you know, and Iowa, are doing fantastically well. I'm telling you, CNN doesn't say it, but I think we're going to win.
BASH: So, but to do that you have a pretty big bank account, and time is running out. The clock is ticking.
TRUMP: It's OK.
BASH: Will you write a check and ...
TRUMP: I've already done it. I've already written a number of it.
BASH: But I mean specifically to get up on the air ...
BASH: ... to combat the ads ...
BASH: ... that you say Hillary Clinton is running against you.
TRUMP: In fact -- well, in Florida, she has 50 to 1 against me. Fifty. You were the one that told me that.
BASH: But you have the means to combat that.
TRUMP: Well, in the meantime -- sure I do. But in the meantime, 50 to 1 and I'm leading. How would you have spent -- you know, in the old days, you'd get credit if you would spend less money and have victory. That would be a good thing. Today, they want you to spend money. I'll have over $100 million. I'm willing to spend much more than that if I have to.
I'm seeing just great signs. You know, one of the other things we're seeing Florida, we're seeing it in other places, the lines going into voting booths, going to voting areas, are unbelievable. I mean, in Florida, yesterday, we passed four of them, the lines were three and four blocks long. Those are not her voters because her voters have no enthusiasm whatsoever.
BASH: Can you just be specific how much are you willing to ...
TRUMP: No ...
BASH: ... put up new ads.
TRUMP: No. I will have over $100 million in, I'm willing to invest more than that.
BASH: Like how much?
TRUMP: Don't -- let's go with your next question, Dana.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That is Dana Bash and Donald Trump at his hotel opening. This is at least the 30th time the Trump's campaign trail has done double duty as advertising for his businesses. Tom Foreman takes a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: From the beginning, Trump's brand has been all over his presidential bid. References to his T.V. show, properties, helicopters and hotels.
It all started when he announced his candidacy with an escalator ride at his corporate headquarters and a shout out to himself.
TRUMP: It's great to be at Trump tower. It's great to be in a wonderful city, New York.
FOREMAN: And it has never stopped. And Trump (inaudible) of slew of Super Tuesday wins. He celebrated by plugging his private club in the Sunshine State.
TRUMP: It's so great to be in Florida. It's so great to be at Mar-a- Lago with friends and the press and the media and everybody.
FOREMAN: That's where he accepted the endorsement of rival Ben Carson too.
TRUMP: I brought some things up.
FOREMAN: On one primary night he trotted out a series of products his company either makes or once made, including steaks, bottled water, an airline, a magazine.
TRUMP: ... a magazine, it's great. Anybody wants around here, take one.
FOREMAN: Then he was off to open his new resort in Scotland where he had a little to say about the Brexit vote which had just occurred.
TRUMP: So, I wish everybody a lot of luck.
FOREMAN: But much more to say about his golf course.
TRUMP: And we have then number 11 which is a spectacular hole.
FOREMAN: Time after time, Trump has used politics to push his brand and his brand to push his politics, even in every debate.
TRUMP: I have a tremendous income. I have a very, very great balance sheet. And if we could run our country the way I run my company, we would have a company that you would be so proud of.
FOREMAN: Linking it all together however is risky. His tweet pushing for Latino voters while promoting Trump tower taco bowls blew up into an internet joke and in deed some have backed away from trading with Trump. And others who object to his policies want boycott of his business. It's too soon to know if it will last, but.
DANIEL MCGINN, TMG STRATEGIES, CEO: It's a different brand. There's no question about it.
FOREMAN: Daniel again advises companies on reputation and brand marketing.
MCGINN: The assumption is I think from many people, he's going to lose. And he's got a damage brand that needs to be rebuilt.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOREMAN: Trump has always said his name alone is worth a fortune. But you can take that as it will. Just last month the Trump hotel announced that their latest hotel brand will not bear the candidate's name, but instead will be called Scion. Anderson?
COOPER: Tom, thanks very much.
Just ahead, a major announcement by the Pentagon about the mountains of debt thousands of soldiers are facing after being ordered to payback bonuses they earned a decade ago.
[21:53:14] COOPER: An update on a story that sparked a lot of outranges. Our senior investigator correspondent, Drew Griffin, reported Monday. Thousands of California National Guard members have been ordered to payback bonuses they received a decade ago for reenlisting.
The Pentagon blaming the take backs on crooked enlistment officers improperly awarding million dollars and bonuses. Well, today, facing growing pressure, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter suspended all efforts to reclaim the bonuses until the review is completed.
Presidential election understandably dominating the news spotlight right now, though, we want to focus on another important vote. It's time for you to help choose the CNN Hero of the Year. Voting begin just today.
The top 10 CNN heroes for 2016 were chosen from thousands of nominations from viewers like you-all around the world. You can vote for your favorite hero @cnnheroes.com, through Facebook messenger and on Twitter. And unlike the presidential election, you can vote up to 10 times a day per method. Voting ends on December 6 at midnight Pacific Time.
Here are the 10 top finalists.
In Columbia, Jeison Aristizabal hasn't let cerebral palsy stop him from giving thousands of young people with disability a brighter future.
Brad Ludden, is a former professional kayaker who brings life changing outdoor adventures to young adults with cancer.
Since 2007, San Francisco, Sherri Franklin has rescued nearly 4,000 senior dogs and found them forever homes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's adopted.
COOPER: Umra Omar travels by boat, road, and air, bringing free medical care to thousands of people living near the Kenya-Somalia borders.
Luma Mufleh, is a Jordanian immigrant helping young survivor of war adopt to their new home in the United States through education and soccer.
[21:55:01] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What are you going to do to (inaudible) like?
COOPER: In Chicago, Sheldon Smith is breaking the cycle of absentee fathers by helping young dads become positive role models.
Rebecca Stevens, she's dedicated her life to helping women escape addiction, trafficking, and prostitution.
In Los Angeles, Georgie Smith turns make-shift spaces into dream homes for young people who've aged out of the foster care system.
GEORHIE SMITH, CNN TOP 10 FINALIST: Three.
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKERS: Home.
HARRY SWIMMER, CNN TOP 10 FINALIST: Take your reins.
COOPER: At 86 years old, Harry Swimmer using his horse farm to give special needs kids a leg up.
And in Richmond, Virginia, cycling coach Craig Dodson mentors the most out-risk youth living in Richmond public housing.
Start voting now. Don't forget to share your votes on Facebook and Twitter. We'll announce the CNN Hero of the Year on December 11th, 8:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific Time this year. I'll be co-hosting our live event CNN Heroes and all-start tribute with the great Kelly Ripa. So, I'm very excited about that. We'll be right back.
[22:00:00] COOPER: And that does it for us. What a night. "CNN TONIGHT" with Don Lemon starts now.