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Trump Attacks VP Joe Biden; Clinton Campaigning in Florida; White House Defends Obamacare; Suspected Killer on the Run in Oklahoma; Pentagon Says Fight for Mosul Will be Fierce. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired October 26, 2016 - 04:30   ET


[04:30:00] CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Trump tries to capitalize on Obamacare sticker shock. But his own contradictions and understanding of the health care system sort of tripped him up as he tries to attack.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hillary Clinton with new help on the campaign trail today but new hacked WikiLeaks e-mails show campaign insiders struggling to address her e-mail controversies.

Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. I'm John Berman.

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. It's nice to see you all this morning. A lot to get to. It's 30 minutes past the hour.

This morning Donald Trump seems sure that he wants to throw down with Joe Biden but less sure about whether or where his own employees get health insurance.

Republicans see the news of rising premiums for some Obamacare recipients as a potent weapon for Donald Trump the final fortnight, as Berman says, of the campaign, assuming Trump can get his story straight, which seems to be a problem so far. Listen to the difference a few hours makes.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: All of my employees are having a tremendous problem with Obamacare.

We don't even use Obamacare. We don't want it. The people don't want it. And I spend more money on health coverage but we don't use it.


ROMANS: Also he apparently wants to beat up the vice president who also wants to throttle him.

CNN's Sara Murray is in Florida.

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John and Christine. Donald Trump wrapped up a three-day sprint through the Sunshine state last night and he spent most of the day hitting Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama for rising premiums under Obamacare. But you saw this push and pull between Donald Trump trying to stay on the message his advisers wanted him to hammer home. And fighting his gut instinct to want to settle any fight with anyone who has criticized him.


TRUMP: Did you see where Biden wants to take me to the back of the barn? Me. He wants -- I'd love that. I'd love that. Mr. Tough Guy. You know, he's Mr. Tough Guy. You know when he's Mr. Tough Guy? When he's standing behind a microphone by himself. That's when he's -- he wants to bring me to the back of the barn. Oh. Some things in life you could really love doing.


MURRAY: Yes, that was Donald Trump responding to a comment Vice President Joe Biden made a couple of days ago saying he wishes they were both still in high school and he could take Donald Trump out behind the gym.

Now Trump is back on the campaign trail today in North Carolina. And we'll see what message he brings with him. But first he'll be in Washington, D.C. for a ribbon cutting for his new hotel. Back to you.

BERMAN: All right. Vice President Biden is not backing down from this. He's connecting his threat to take Trump behind the gym to Trump's self-described locker room talk about grabbing women's private parts. Listen to this.


JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I was a pretty good athlete in high school. Play little in college. And people didn't act in the locker room like he talks about. That's not true. And you and I both know from the locker room in the school I went to, one of the guys said, this is what I'm going to do because I'm the star half back or quarter.


BIDEN: I'm the boss and my sister or your girlfriends are out there, I would take the guy behind the gym. The point I was making is, he is trying to dumb down, he's insulting everybody in the neighborhoods I come from and the people who play ball and that's the point I was trying to make.


ROMANS: OK. So about this fight, would it ever happen now? Doubtful. Back at junior high a definite possibility. According to an interview just released by Trump biographer Michael D'Antonio, Trump loved to fight in school.


TRUMP: I was a very rebellious kind of person. I don't like to talk about it actually, but I was a very rebellious person and very set in my ways. And --


TRUMP: I loved to fight. I always loved to fight.

D'ANTONIO: Physical fights?

TRUMP: Yes. All kinds of fights. Physical --

D'ANTONIO: Arguments?

TRUMP: All types of fights. Any kind of fight, I loved it. Including physical.


BERMAN: All right, Donald Trump is warning that Hillary Clinton's policies on the Syrian conflict would lead to World War III. The Republican nominee told Reuters that Clinton's calls for more aggressive stance against Syria's Assad regime would draw the U.S. into a confrontation with a nuclear armed Russia which backs Assad.


TRUMP: What we should do is focus on ISIS. We should not be focusing on Syria. You'll end up -- with her plan you'll end up in World War III with Syria. You're going to end up -- Steve, you're going to end up in World War III over Syria if we listen to Hillary Clinton. She's incompetent.


BERMAN: You know, it's interesting, the Clinton campaign and its allies are accusing Trump of being unreliable when it comes to his handling of the nuclear codes and the Clinton campaign is also accusing Trump of parroting Putin's talking points while refusing to lay out his own plan for resolving the crisis in Syria.

ROMANS: Hillary Clinton now trying to strike a delicate balance following the announcement of those Obamacare rate hikes. She is standing by the president's signature legislative achievement but she concedes the law is not perfect and she wants to address the skyrocketing premiums.


HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, we're going to make changes to fix problems like that.


[04:35:02] ROMANS: For the latest from the campaign trail, let's bring in CNN's Jeff Zeleny.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John and Christine. Hillary Clinton is starting the second day of a two- day swing here in Florida. She is fighting hard for those 29 electoral votes in the state and trying to block Donald Trump from winning them. Both candidates were campaigning yesterday across the state of Florida. She said bluntly that Donald Trump is a threat to the country's democracy.


CLINTON: I think this all started when George Washington refused to become a king. Right? Now Donald Trump probably would have called him a loser. Instead, that was one of the most important decisions any president has ever made. Eight years, it's time to move on. So here's the good news. Americans are coming together. At the very moment when Donald Trump is making an unprecedented attack on our democracy, millions of people are registering, voting early, and volunteering in this campaign.


ZELENY: Hillary Clinton campaigning yesterday in south Florida, Broward County, the most heavily concentrated Democratic counties in all of Florida. She's trying to drive Democrats to the polls through early voting, trying to bank as many votes as possible. She'll be campaigning in Palm Beach County today, always the center of political activity particularly on the Democratic side. And then later in Tampa. That is a swing vote area.

Now she believes that Florida is in hand. She is slightly leading in most polls but Donald Trump campaigning so aggressively in the state. She does not need to win the 29 electoral votes for her path to 270 but she hopes to block Donald Trump from winning them. That would likely keep him from all avenues to the presidency -- John and Christine.

BERMAN: All right, Jeff Zeleny for us.

Khzir Khan will be a presence on the trail in the final weeks of this campaign. The Gold Star father whose Army captain son was killed in Iraq blasted Donald Trump at the Democratic National Convention. Khan will reach out to the Muslim community on behalf of Hillary Clinton in his home state of Virginia with a visit to a mosque in Norfolk this afternoon.

ROMANS: Hillary Clinton picking up another major endorsement. The former Republican secretary of state, Colin Powell, announcing he is voting for the Democratic presidential nominee. Powell said in part Clinton has more experience than Donald Trump and in a jab at her rival said she has the stamina to lead the country.

BERMAN: A new revelation from the WikiLeaks e-mail hack. Clinton adviser Neera Tanden suggested the top Clinton aide did not disclose Clinton's use of private e-mail servers earlier because, quote, "they wanted to get away with it." Now Tanden currently helps run the Clinton transition team. In an e-mail exchange in March of 2015 with campaign chair John Podesta, she wrote, "Why didn't they get this stuff out like 18 months ago? So crazy." Podesta replied, "Unbelievable." ROMANS: All right. The latest excuse from corporate America, the

election is hurting sales. But is it all the economy bashing on the campaign trail or a serious competence issue? Duncan Brand said consumers are in a funk. McDonald's says consumer confidence is muted by the election. Young Brand, the own KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, they think the election is making consumers weary. Same sentiment from Popeye's. Even RV maker Winnebago says the election is hurting its bottom line.

BERMAN: If you're a weary Popeye's consumer, how do you eat differently?

ROMANS: But I say --

BERMAN: That's absurd.

ROMANS: My personal experience on eating more doughnuts and more iced coffee this election season than ever before.

BERMAN: I would prefer you go to Burger King. I'm going to get -- not going to get a Whopper because of the election?

ROMANS: It seems hard to believe the people are holding back on grabbing an iced coffee or a cheeseburger, Berman, because of fears about what a Trump or Clinton presidency would do to the economy. But it is the latest evidence of something we have seen through the election cycle. People are worried about the future even if they're current financial situation is OK.

Another measure of corporate America does not show the same thing, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is just 2.5 percent below its all-time high hit earlier this year. It's about 466 points away.

But when I get -- when I see this, when I hear company executives try to explain away stock sales or something, and they say, well, you know, the election is hurting things and you wonder if all this cheerleading about -- you know, actually cheerleading against the American economy and against the American system is something that's hurting consumers, or if there's something else at play. But personally I think if you're worried about the election, you should eat a doughnut. That's what I think.

BERMAN: No, but apparently, you know, you won't get jelly doughnuts because of election anxiety, or maybe you'll get a doughnut but not Burger King? Come on.

All right. Obamacare premiums, they set to soar. Republicans see that as a potent weapon the final weeks of this campaign and now the White House defending the health care law. That's next.


[04:43:48] BERMAN: With Obamacare premiums poised to skyrocket next year, Republicans believe they may have an issue that could be positive for Donald Trump and Senate candidates in the final weeks before election day. The final fortnight. Donald Trump is telling supporters that Obamacare is over, declaring the election is now about the battle to blow up the president's signature health care law.

Let's get more now from CNN White House correspondent Michelle Kosinski.

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, John and Christine. Right, these numbers are surprising. I mean, at 22 percent jump on average overall. States like Arizona are seeing 116 percent increase in premiums. For many Republicans, this is the proof of what they've been criticizing for a long time now.

There's still this real question, though. Because Obamacare reduced the rate of growth of health care costs to the lowest rate in 50 years, would not many people now be paying more for premiums and for health care overall if they could afford insurance overall if Obamacare didn't exist?

So Republicans are now calling this a disaster, a train wreck. Listen to what Mike Pence said.


GOV. MIKE PENCE (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: President Obama last week compared Obamacare to the Samsung Galaxy 7 phones that have spontaneously burst into flames.

[04:45:04] Well, what a coincidence, Mr. President, because that's exactly what we're going to do with Obamacare. We're going to pull it off the market.


KOSINSKI: The White House has been countering this saying the vast majority of people on Obamacare aren't going to feel these premium hikes because they get subsidies. And the vast majority of people are able to find a plan that they can afford on Obamacare.

They also say that, you know, the fixes they see for these problems, which in the White House it would be a public option, a government insurer to compete with the others and fill in the gaps, Congress won't take up. They'd also like to see an expansion of Medicaid in the states, but they say many Republican governors won't do that. And in those states, rates have gone up even more -- John and Christine.

ROMANS: All right, Michelle, thank you.

The federal government still trying to figure out who launched that cyber attack that crippled Web sites around the world last week. National Security Director James Clapper says preliminary evidence indicates it was not done by a foreign government. The attack last Friday infected hundreds of thousands of devices in people's homes like Web cam and DVRs. Used those things in your home to bring down major sites like Netflix and Twitter.

BERMAN: A suspected killer is on the run in Oklahoma. Police say 38- year-old Michael Dale Vance may be armed with an AK-47. He is already suspected of killing two people, wounding four others including two officers. And while he was fleeing from police, he posted a video online.

CNN's Ed Lavandera picks up the story.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John and Christine, Michael Vance has been on the run for more than two days now. Authorities in Oklahoma are being tightlipped about where exactly the search for the suspect is leading them or where it might be taking them, but what we do know is that authorities suspect that Vance is -- or have accused him of shooting six people, killing two of them.

All of this started Sunday night in the small town of Wellston, Oklahoma, just northeast of Oklahoma City, where Vance, authorities say, shot and fired at two police officers, and then after that in what is one of the more bizarre twist of the story, started making video posts to Facebook live explaining that he was after some other people explaining that this was the real deal.

And in that video you can see in the shirt that Vance is wearing that he had been shot and that it was bloody. That same shirt was found at the murder scene several hours later where authorities say Vance shot and killed his aunt and uncle.

Vance was arrested and charged with sexual abuse of a child back in July and some authorities believe that this is retribution for those charges. But right now the most pressing situation is the search for Michael Vance. He has not been found. And authorities across the state Oklahoma continue that desperate search -- John and Christine.

ROMANS: All right. Ed, thank you for that.

Police in Denver are investigating the death of a fan who fell 60 feet from a stair railing at Sports Authority Field, following the Broncos game Monday night. The victim identified as 36-year-old Jason Coy. The team in a statement expressed condolences to his family and said the tragic incident is being reviewed in an effort to maintain all necessary safety measures for fan better.

BERMAN: The New York Giants have released kicker Josh Brown six days after the release of documents showing Brown admitted physically abusing his former wife. He was arrested in 2015 but not charged. Brown was suspended by the league for one game before the domestic violence allegations became public. In a statement, the Giants team owner acknowledged their beliefs in judgments and decisions were misguided. The NFL has reopened its investigation based on the new information.

ROMANS: All right. Fixing one thing. This one thing in the U.S. economy would give it a $1.2 trillion boost. What is it? It's right there ripe for the taking. I'll tell you when we get an EARLY START on your money next.


[04:53:07] ROMANS: All right. New advances in the battle to recapture Mosul from ISIS. An elite unit of the Iraqi Army is now on the eastern edge of that city waiting for reinforcements before moving in. But there's also word of ISIS fighters now on the move.

Let's go to CNN's Michael Holmes. He is live on the ground near Mosul this morning. What can you tell us about this ISIS fighters and the flow of these fighters this morning?

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Christine. Of course we've been saying for some time ISIS has had Mosul for more than two years. They've had plenty of time to prepare a defense. And it would appear that some of those plans have been put into effect right now.

Just a couple of hours ago we heard from witnesses inside Mosul that hundreds of fighters, most of them foreign fighters, have been pouring into Mosul from Raqqa wearing distinctive uniforms and also wearing suicide belts. They're also carrying light weapons. These are apparently suicide squads. They're being dispatched to Mosul to be part of the defense of that city. They will fight to the death.

We're also hearing, and this is something we've talked about in recent days, speculation that ISIS may pull back from the eastern side of the city across the Tigris River to the more densely packed western old city part of Mosul where it's a lot harder to have that urban combat and bring in the types of vehicles the Iraqi military has. And so what we're hearing is that indeed seems be to happening, that ISIS fighters are pulling back from the east into the western portion of the city.

We've also being told that the four main bridges that span the Tigris have been mined with explosives. Obviously the plan for that is to blow those bridges once they've pulled back. And also dozens, and that's the word. Dozens of truck and car bombs have been prepared and prepositioned around the outskirts of the city, along with Katyusha rocket launchers. So ISIS preparations to defend Mosul well underway -- Christine.

[04:55:05] ROMANS: All right. Michael, thank you for that. Stay safe for us.

BERMAN: The U.S. Senate stepping into the controversy over California National Guard members being told to repay enlistment bonuses. A Senate committee in a letter is asking the Pentagon to seize and desist any further efforts to reclaim the bonuses paid to thousands of soldiers who were deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Defense Department says many of the veterans received bonuses that recruiters should not have offered them.

ROMANS: A frank assessment about North Korea from U.S. director of National Intelligence, James Clapper. He said the prospect of getting Pyongyang to denuclearize is a, quote, "lost cause." Clapper telling the Council on Foreign Relations in a speech Monday that nuclear program is their ticket to survival and he says North Koreans are very paranoid.

BERMAN: All right. The Cleveland Indians strike first. They shut out the Cubs, 6-0, in the World Series opener in Cleveland. You know, catcher Robert Perez is not exactly a masher. He hit two homeruns, and not seen here. The second one was a three-run shot in the 8th that really blew the game open.

The real story here, though, was the Indians' pitching. Corey Kluber was just masterful. He set a record by striking out eight batters over the first three innings. He's just really good. He's been so good this post-season.

Now the Cubs are going to try to even it up tonight. Game Two starts at 7:00. They actually moved up the start an hour because they're fearing rain.

Can I just give you one statistic here?


BERMAN: So Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona has never lost a World Series game. He was a Red Sox manager for two World Series. When they swept their opponents twice. So with 4-0 and 4-0 now, he's now 1-0. So he's won nine straight games in the World Series.

ROMANS: So you're trying to make me nervous?

BERMAN: He's really good.

ROMANS: You're trying to shake my confidence?


ROMANS: All right.

BERMAN: Be afraid.

ROMANS: Be afraid. Let's give them another -- an extra hour of sleep tonight.

Let's get a check on CNN Money Stream this morning. Dow futures are dropping. They fell yesterday, a disappointing earnings, corporate earnings, lower energy prices are providing the gloom. Stock markets in Europe and Asia trading mostly lower. Oil falling back below 50 bucks a barrel.

We're also watching shares of Apple today. Suffered its first annual sales decline since 2001. Think of that. The first time its sales have declined since 2001. But it did give an upbeat forecast due to the holiday shopping season and what they're saying is strong demand for the iPhone 7. So that's why the stocks was higher yesterday.

All right. Also higher, college tuition rising again. But good news for this year, the pace at least is slowing. Over the past five years, the average total cost of tuition fees, room and board rose 10 percent at public colleges, 12 percent at private institutions. This is according to the College Board's annual report.

Median family income rose just 7 percent over the same time. But this year prices have ticked higher by a slower rate. A two-year community college now costs $11,500 a year. In-state tuition running about 20 grand. Out-of-state public school averaging nearly 30 grand. Private schools, get that, look at that number, John. Look at that number. $45,370 a year. Think of that.

All right. The economic gap between men and women in the United States is growing, not shrinking. The gap between men and women growing. And it's costing the economy $1.2 trillion a year. According to a new report from the World Economic Forum, the U.S. is now ranked 45 out of 144 countries. 17 places lower than last year's ranking. The pay gap stands at 65 percent. The women earned about two-thirds of what men make for similar work.

Researchers say part of that reason is that the female workforce shrank over the past year. They suggest programs like paid maternity leave would help close that gap and better policies in corporate America to support working families.

Check out the new CNN Money Stream app. It's business news personalized. The stories, videos, tweets, topics you want, all in one feed. You can download it now on the App Store or Google Play.

So you fix the gender gap, boom, the economy explodes a trillion dollars.

BERMAN: There you go.

ROMANS: OK. Do that.

BERMAN: It's just that easy.

ROMANS: Just fix that. Just fix that for us, please.

BERMAN: EARLY START continues right now.

Fight club election edition, Donald Trump calls Joe Biden Mr. Tough guy and the vice president, he wants to take Trump behind the gym. This is the grown-up version of campaign 2016.

ROMANS: Or West Side Story.


ROMANS: West Side Story. I don't know what it is. Trump tries to capitalize on Obamacare's projected premiums but his own contradiction tripped him up as he tries to attack.

BERMAN: And a brand new ad from the Hillary Clinton campaign releases in about 33 seconds. Here's a hit. It features the voice of an Oscar Award winner.

Good morning, everyone. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm John Berman.

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. It is Wednesday, October 26th. It is 5:00 a.m. in the East.

This morning Donald Trump seems sure that he wants to throw down with Joe Biden but less sure about whether or where his own employees get their health insurance. Republicans see the news of rising premiums for some Obamacare recipient as a potent weapon for Donald Trump this final fortnight of this campaign. Assuming he can get his stories straight which seems to be a bit of a problem so far. Listen to the difference a few hours makes.