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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA
Melania Trump to Deliver Closing Arguments for Trump; Cruz: If Clinton Elected, Leave Supreme Court Seat Vacant; Hispanic Voters Could Be Deciding Factor in Nevada. Aired 11:30-12p ET
Aired October 27, 2016 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:31:06] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Just about two hours from now, Michelle Obama will deliver her closing argument for Hillary Clinton. The first lady and Hillary Clinton in battleground North Carolina making their first joint appearance together. We are told the speech will be much more about talking up Clinton than tearing down Trump.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: A bit of news this morning. Donald Trump now says his wife, Melania, will be out there for him during the final stretch, delivering some closing arguments. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: She is actually going to make two or three speeches.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: That's news right there.
TRUMP: She's amazing when she speaks. She's an amazing public speaker. So she's agreed to do two or three speeches. I think it's going to be big speeches, important speeches. It's going to be great.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: I'm not sure by that reaction Melania Trump knew she had agreed to give two or three speeches.
Let's discuss this with CNN political commentator, former Hillary Clinton campaign manager, Patti Solis Doyle; and CNN political commentator and Trump supporter, Paris Denard; and national political reporter for --
BERMAN: -- "The Boston Globe," --
BERMAN: -- Matt Viser.
(CROSSTALK) Matt, because you work for "The Boston Globe," we will start with you.
We haven't really heard except for now a couple interviews, much from Melania Trump since she delivered part of Michelle Obama's convention speech at the Republican National Convention. If she, in fact, does go out on the campaign trail, and it's not 100 percent sure based on her reaction there, what do you think the effect will be?
MATT VISER, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, THE BOSTON GLOBE: I think there's a fascination with Melania. Dating back to that speech and sort of the controversial aftermath of her lifting passages from Michelle Obama's speech. I think there will be a lot of interest in hearing from her. Her appearances so far have not exactly knocked it out of the park. I think there's a lot of risk involved for the Trump campaign but at this stage, maybe it's a risk they are willing to take.
BOLDUAN: Paris, would you have liked to have seen Melania out on the stump campaigning for Donald Trump more? We are less than two weeks out. Is it too little too late at this point? What do you make of it?
PARIS DENARD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You know, I don't think it's too little, too late. I think at the same time you have to look at the situation. Melania Trump is a private citizen, she's a mother, and she wants to preserve that aspect of her life.
I remember when George W. Bush was running for preside, he said he had promised his wife, former First Lady Laura Bush, he would never have her give one political speech. Clearly, he broke that promise. At times, when it's appropriate, the spouse comes out and gives a speech. The important thing to remember is that Mr. Trump has had his daughter, Ivanka Trump, on the campaign trail giving a series of speeches and interviews and has done a wonderful job.
I think it's wonderful Melania has agreed to give the closing arguments, if you will, about Mr. Trump and about the man he is and the husband and father that he is, so that the American people can get to know more sides of Mr. Trump.
BERMAN: So let's talk about what's going to happen in a couple hours, Michelle Obama on the stump with Hillary Clinton for the first time. I wonder if the 2008 Patti Solis Doyle could have foreseen this when you were running Hillary Clinton's campaign. Talk to me about the stagecraft of this today and what exactly the target is in North Carolina.
PATTI SOLIS DOYLE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, look, obviously, Michelle Obama has proven herself to be the most potent, most effective surrogate in this campaign election cycle on both sides, frankly. Her speech at the convention was not only moving but extremely effective and very powerful to the target audience of women, mothers, daughters, and so today, I think Hillary wants to herself around this incredibly popular first lady and target women and target African-Americans in North Carolina, target Hispanics, target that Obama coalition that Michelle Obama can so effectively bring home. [11:35:08] BERMAN: I literally have this "Saturday Night Live"
vision of her grabbing and holding on for dear life.
BOLDUAN: We are one. Please take me with you!
BERMAN: If she could, I think she might.
BOLDUAN: Matt Viser?
VISER: She has to do that. She has to do that because she can't do it on her own. She really does need the power of Mrs. Obama and the influence of Mrs. Obama because it's not seen right now that the Obama coalition is coming home to the Clinton campaign. She really does have to rely on them.
BOLDUAN: It seems the Clinton campaign aren't taking anything for granted or at least that's what they are trying to project. Clinton's campaign manager put out a video overnight, Matt. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBBY MOOK, HILLARY CLINTON PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Donald Trump has been going around telling people not to listen to the polls and saying that he can still win this race. Well, you know what? He's absolutely right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: What? That's just part of the video.
Is this Mook running scared or is he now running smart, trying to get people to the polls, Matt?
VISER: I think the biggest challenge for the Clinton campaign right now is complacency. You sort of have this drumbeat of polls that show her ahead, think they are trying to make sure their supporters still get to the polls. They have been focused a lot on early voting and doing everything they can structurally to make up for some of the sort of on the stump challenges Hillary Clinton sometimes has. I think you will see a lot more of that, of just trying to encourage people that they have not won it yet, and they haven't. There's still a lot of votes to be cast.
BOLDUAN: Absolutely right.
Thank you, guys. Thanks very much.
BOLDUAN: That all-important, what the entire election is about, empty seats on the Supreme Court. Would Republicans in the Senate ever let a president Clinton fill that seat? According to Ted Cruz, maybe not. Details on that coming up.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [11:41:29] BERMAN: This morning, is this a big giant never-mind when it comes to filling the empty seat on the Supreme Court? Maybe it's not so much never mind as flat-out never. Ted Cruz suggesting that if Hillary Clinton wins, maybe Republicans in the Senate will not vote to fill the seat.
BOLDUAN: Cruz has even suggested that it's maybe not that big of a deal. It's happened before.
Let's bring in Jeffrey Toobin, CNN senior legal analyst and former federal prosecutor.
So, Jeffrey, what Ted Cruz is suggesting is, if we don't like the nominee, we just are going to block it indefinitely. What would that mean?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, the important thing to remember about Supreme Court nominations, the whole process, is that it's political, not legal.
TOOBIN: There is nothing a president can do except submit a nominee. If they reject that nominee, the president can submit another. That's how the process works.
What's unusual about what Ted Cruz is suggesting is sort of a preemptive decision in advance to convert -- to confirm no one, perhaps for an entire president's term. That has never happened.
BERMAN: No. And, look, one wonders or one wondered over the last few months, Republicans are saying wait until after the election, this is Lucy pulling the football away perhaps if Hillary Clinton wins.
TOOBIN: Yes, that's true. But that's the possibility. Ted Cruz is not in charge of the Senate, he's not the only person there, and we have had Mitch McConnell and every other Republican basically saying we will give the next nominee, the next president a chance to fill this seat. So I think, politically, they are more or less obliged to hold not obliged to vote for him.
And, look, Supreme Court nominees have lost before. There have been two in a row defeated. Nixon lost with Haynesworth and Carswell. Reagan lost with Bourke and then Ginsburg. There is the possibility of multiple rejections. What's not possible -- I mean, what there's precedent for, just leaving a seat open indefinitely.
BOLDUAN: One thing, Cruz, when he was talking to reporters about this, he said, he pointed to Brayer's comments that the court has continued to operate in the absence of nine justices on the bench. Could that work long term? I mean --
TOOBIN: You know, there's a reason why there's an odd number of justices, because they disagree about a lot of things, and 4-4 cases, I think there were four or five of those cases last term. But most cases are decided -- Justice Breyer always likes to see the bright side. He never likes to say the court is in trouble. He's got his cheerful demeanor.
There is a reason why there are nine justices on the Supreme Court. Yes, the court will continue to function but it will not function as it's designed to do when there are repeated tie votes.
BERMAN: Let's talk about the Democratic side. We asked this question before but it's still juicy. If Hillary Clinton wins, do you see her supporting the idea of the Senate voting on President Obama's nominee, Merrick Garland, to fill the empty seat?
TOOBIN: I have changed my mind about this one. I did a "New Yorker" story about this and related subjects, and I spoke to a bunch of Democratic Senators. They were all unanimous in saying, look, Hillary Clinton should re-nominate Merrick Garland. He's a moderate, he's older, he will be 64 years old. The Republicans will scream and yell but they will let him through. Let's just get someone on the Supreme Court, a Democrat, someone who is likely to vote with Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan, and worry about getting a younger, more liberal nominee later. They feel, at least these Senators feel, the Republicans will ultimately go along with Garland but they think that a different nominee may turn into World War III, hold up the Senate for six months. And there are other things these Senators want to do besides the Supreme Court nominee.
[11:45:26] BERMAN: Fascinating as always.
TOOBIN: And it's unfolding as we speak.
BERMAN: Thanks, so much, Jeffrey.
BOLDUAN: That's right.
Jeffrey, thanks so much.
BERMAN: Very soon we will hear from Donald Trump. He is in Ohio today. Ohio is currently and always a toss-up state. Donald Trump can't win without it. In fact, no Republican has ever won the White House without winning Ohio. I'm the first to tell you that.
BOLDUAN: Ever. Ever.
[11:50:11] BOLDUAN: New this morning, Nevada now once again a toss- up in CNN's battleground map after leaning Democrat. And a record number of Hispanic voters could be the deciding factor.
BERMAN: CNN's Ana Cabrera is in Las Vegas talking to Latino voters on both sides.
FLOR CARDONA, LATINO VOTER: I didn't have papers. I didn't have a family in the United States. The only thing I had is a big bag of dreams.
ANA CABRERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Flor Cardona immigrated from Mexico 16 years ago.
CARDONA: This is my son, he's 21 now.
CABRERA: Cardona I a single mom, a high school counselor, a cancer survivor and now a U.S. citizen.
CARDONA: Last Saturday, I vote for first time.
CABRERA: Voting early for Hillary Clinton.
CARDONA: I vote for her because first of all she's a strong woman like me.
CABRERA (on camera): Why not Trump?
CARDONA: Donald Trump attack Latinos, attack woman, attack the community.
CABRERA: Does the Trump campaign care with the Latino vote?
CHARLES MUNOZ, NEVADA STATE DIRECTOR, TRUMP CAMPAIGN: Absolutely. Part of the caucus has been engaging the Hispanic community on a near daily basis.
CABRERA (voice-over): Both campaigns believe they need this voting bloc.
JORGE NERI (ph), NEVADA STATE DIRECTOR, CLINTON CAMPAIGN: Making sure Hispanics turn out in high rates is a strategic priority.
CABRERA: Both camps have employed Spanish-speaking canvassers and the Clinton campaign has invested in Spanish-speaking ads.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
CABRERA: They're targeting a possible number of historic voters this year, with 23.7 million eligible to cast ballots, an increase of four million since 2012, accord to the Pew Research Center. In four battlegrounds, including Nevada, Arizona, Florida and Colorado, the share of the Latino vote four years ago was larger than the 10 percent share nationwide.
It's exactly why statements like this --
TRUMP: We have some bad hombres here and we're going to get them out.
CABRERA: -- have GOP pollster, Whit Ayres, shaking his head.
WHIT AYRES, GOP POLLSTER: We don't have enough time in this interview to list all of Donald Trump's mistakes.
CABRERA: Ayres points to his party's so-called autopsy of what went wrong in 2012 when Mitt Romney won just 27 percent of the Latino vote. The RNC wrote in its postmortem report, "If Hispanic Americans perceive a nominee or candidate does not want them in the United States, i.e., self-deportation, they will not pay attention to our next sentence."
AYRES: Given the growth of the Hispanic vote, for a Republican to be competitive, they need to be somewhere north of 40 percent among Hispanics.
CABRERA (on camera): Is that possible?
AYRES: Absolutely. Look, Latinos want what everyone else wants. They want a better quality of life.
ERMA AGUIRRE, LATINO VOTER: I think we are going down the wrong path.
CABRERA (voice-over): Erma is an entrepreneur. El Sombrero Mexico Bistro is her pride and joy.
AGUIRRE: This is a celebration of my heritage.
CABRERA: Yet, she's not offended by Trump's comments about Mexicans.
AGUIRRE: I did not hear him insult Mexicans. What I heard him say was that Mexico basically allows a lot of the corruption to flow over into our country.
CABRERA: And she supports Trump because he knows business.
AGUIRRE: Someone that I know is a doer, like myself, has a dream, has a vision, and brings it to reality by working super, super hard.
CABRERA: It's the American dream being realized by a growing number of Latinos on both sides of the political divide --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you going to participate?
UNIDENTIFIED LATINO VOTER: Definitely.
CABRERA: -- through the power of their vote.
Ana Cabrera, CNN, Las Vegas.
BOLDUAN: Ana, thank you so much.
So, coming up, does Donald Trump have a path to 270 electoral votes? Looking at the map and we look at a lot of maps, it is tough, really tough.
BERMAN: Tough and New Hampshire-y.
BOLDUAN: New Hampshire-y. And zero margin of error tough. What does Trump have to do to pull off a win? That's coming up.
[11:58:10] BERMAN: You may know Viola Davis from her role as a defense attorney and law professor on ABC's "How to Get Away with Murder," but off screen, she is an advocate for the poor.
This is a look at how she's making an impact in her hometown in Central Falls, Rhode Island.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VIOLA DAVIS, ACTRESS: Growing up in Central Falls was a mixture of the most idyllic joyful experience mixed with the kind of horrific traumatizing experience.
My mom has an eighth grade education. She's smart. She's just not educated. She was a part of working poor women who fought for kids who are underserved. That's what I learned from her. You don't have to have the profile of what it may look like to be an activist but what you have is a heart to serve.
I grew up poor. So there's a human face on it for me. I understand the needs of the people.
DAVIS: One, two, three.
I'm serving with Direct Relief, which is a humanitarian aid program, and they provide health services, medical kits to places of disaster, impoverished communities throughout the world.
Today, they're offering a free health clinic and health screening here. What they are providing is something that a lot of communities will never even see. So, hopefully, it will be kind of a beacon of hope.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Thank you, Viola Davis.
And thank you for joining us AT THIS HOUR.
BERMAN: "Inside Politics" with John King starts now.
[12:00:09] JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: John and Kate, thank you.
A cloudy but still gorgeous day here in the nation's capitol. Welcome to "Inside Politics." I'm John King. Thanks --