Return to Transcripts main page
AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA
How Candidates Should Handle Crisis Late in Election; Interview with Jack Kingston; Suspect in Custody for Ambushed, Killed Iowa Officers. Aired 11:30-12p ET
Aired November 2, 2016 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:30:00] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: CNN ANCHOR: And we have this. Four brand new polls from the critical battleground states of Pennsylvania Florida, Arizona, Nevada. You can't handle more polls but you need them. It's like air, it's like oxygen for us.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Plus, damage control. How should a candidate handle a crisis this late in an election? We will talk to a political operative who handled a crisis even later in an election. He's worked on six of the last seven presidential campaigns. Don't go anywhere.
BERMAN: Live pictures right now from the state of Florida, occasionally important in presidential contests.
BOLDUAN: Once in a while.
BERMAN: Vice President Joe Biden is on the road for Hillary Clinton today in Tampa.
And just moments from now, Donald Trump takes the stage in Miami. He's got three events today in Florida.
[11:35:05] BOLDUAN: Let's -- for a second I heard that sound and thought we need to go to it.
Let's bring in right now, Russ Schieffer. He's the Republican consultant who has worked on six out of the last seven presidential campaigns, including as senior adviser to Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential run.
Russ, great to see you.
RUSS SCHIEFFER, REPUBLICAN POLITICAL CONSULTANT & FORMER SENIOR ADVISOR, MITT ROMNEY PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: Good to see you guys.
BOLDUAN: Thank you.
We wanted to get your take. You, of course, worked very closely with Romney four years ago, and four years ago, there was a lot of talk in this last week plus of making a play for Michigan, making a play for Minnesota. That did not work out for mitt.
Listen, if you would, to Donald Trump's campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELLYANNE CONWAY, DONALD TRUMP PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN MANAGER: It is. Michigan is up for grabs. We like what we hear on the ground there. The RealClearPolitics average is great, but it always includes polls taken weeks ago as well as more recently. We like the trend lines there in states like New Mexico, Wisconsin. Certainly, Pennsylvania has always been on our list, Colorado, these states that have been blue for awhile, these states that President Obama carried twice. It's also a state where Bernie Sanders cleaned Hillary Clinton's clock. It's like Iowa, a state that just does not like Hillary Clinton.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: So, Russ, in this final sprint, when you hear Michigan, we are making a play, new a play, Wisconsin, we are making ay, Pennsylvania as well, how real is it?
SCHIEFFER: Well, it seems most likely that they haven't locked down Pennsylvania or Florida or North Carolina. They haven't locked down states that you have to win before you win states like Michigan or Wisconsin or New Mexico. We have always -- I always believed if the Republicans are going to win a state like Wisconsin or New Mexico, you will win. You will win well over 270 electoral votes and you will win must-have states like Florida, like North Carolina and Ohio. So when you start to expand the map there, it's either one of two things. Either you feel so confident that you are going to almost running that some states like Pennsylvania may not be working and you have to figure out another way to get to 270 and do the math.
BERMAN: Quickly, if you had to bet, which one do you think it is in this case?
SCHIEFFER: Well, listen, I find it interesting that, if I were part of the Trump campaign, I would be putting him on a bus and taking him from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh. Pennsylvania, to me, is the must-win state for them.
BERMAN: So to jump in.
I was going to say, so 16 years ago, it was 16 years ago, we were sort of both in the same place.
BERMAN: I was covering George W. Bush and you were working for George W. Bush. Days before Election Day, this big story breaks of the DWI back in the 1970s. This wasn't an October surprise. This was a November surprise. So people -- very different, obviously, between that and James Comey and e-mails, but they are both late crises to hit campaigns. How do you deal with big news so late and how would you assess how the Clinton campaign has dealt with it? SCHIEFFER: The first thing you do is you have to get all the facts.
The worst thing you can do is get out there and start talking to the press and not having all the facts, so get as much of that as you can. Come up with whatever your argument is.
And in the case of Governor Bush at the time, it was, come out, apologize and say you know, as he had said before, when I did things when I was young, young and stupid, I did things then.
Number three is make sure your surrogates and campaign team understand wt it is that you trying to communicate. Need is half a dozen people saying something else.
Number four, make sure that the campaign sticks to that message. The worst thing you can do is to say something different because that's the point when it makes news.
I think the Clinton campaign so far has done a pretty good job of that. They have gotten the facts, they have their arguments down.
What they're doing, which is very interesting, is they are tying to make this into a partisan issue and use it to motivate the Democratic base to turn out and say look what these guys are doing to us, you have to turn for Hillary Clinton and you have to vote for her. So I think they have done a pretty good job so far.
BOLDUAN: Russ, we talked about Trump's travel schedule. Let's talk about Hillary Clinton's travel schedule. She added to her schedule, going to Michigan later this week. Is she going there -- similar question to what John was asking you, do you think Hillary Clinton is heading to Michigan because she wants to, or because she needs to?
SCHIEFFER: I think it's more they are looking for an insurance policy. I think that if you go back to about earlier about lack of enthusiasm with the Clinton campaign among African-Americans, I think they realize in order to make sure Michigan is in their column on election night that they have to gin up support among the African- American community, some of the union communities, some of their supporters. A visit there by Hillary Clinton at this point makes sense for them.
But listen, it's probably not where they want to be. They would rather be in Arizona. They would rather be, you know, in Missouri, and Indiana, other states that Barack Obama either came close to or won in 2008 that would expand the map for them.
[11:40:16] BERMAN: Russ Schieffer, always great to see you. Thanks so much.
SCHIEFFER: Great seeing you guys.
BOLDUAN: Thanks, Russ.
BERMAN: Soon we are going to hear from Donald Trump himself in Florida, his first of three stops there today. Obviously, a big push for that very big state. We will get a live picture right there. BOLDUAN: Also, we are following breaking news. The frantic search
for a killer may be over. Police say they have captured this man connected to the killings of two police officers in separate incidents, but moments, minutes apart, as they sat in their patrol cars. We have details ahead.
Stay with us.
[11:45:08] BOLDUAN: You're looking right now at live pictures coming from Miami, Florida. Donald Trump will be taking to the stage moments from now to speak to supporters there. It's his first of three campaign stops in the swing state. That will give you a window into how important that state is for him.
BERMAN: We want to bring in former member of Congress from Georgia, Jack Kingston, a senior adviser to the Trump campaign.
Thanks so much for being with us.
JACK KINGSTON, SENOR ADVISOR, DONALD TRUMP PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN & FORMER CONGRESSMAN: Thank you, John.
BERMAN: The breaking news this hour has been that, for the first time, we are hearing the president weigh in on FBI Director James Comey, and the letter he sent to Congress, and the fact they are reviewing e-mails right now.
I want to play you what the president has said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES (voice-over): I do think that there is a norm that when there are investigations we don't operate on innuendo, we don't operate on incomplete information, we don't operate on leaks. We operate based on concrete decisions that are made. When this was investigated thoroughly the last time, the conclusion of the FBI, the conclusion of the Justice Department, the conclusion of repeated congressional investigations was that she had made some mistakes but that there wasn't anything there that was prosecutable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: We don't operate on innuendo, incomplete information or leaks. Congressman, your reaction to hearing the president say that?
KINGSTON: Well, the president is in full-tilt campaign swing for Hillary Clinton and he can get that sober voice and, understand, trying to be nonpolitical but he's still being very, very political. He's on the road, the Clinton surrogates are all over America today because they are looking at their numbers cratering.
Here's what we do know that in congressional testimony, Director Comey was asked by Congressman Lamar Smith and Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner if other evidence came forward, would he reopen the investigation, and they even alluded to some evidence that had come forward after the other investigation, and he said none of that rises to the level, but if something does, I will reopen it. This is very serious stuff. 65,000 --
BOLDUAN: You say this is serious, Congressman. Do you think the president crossed the line in commenting or --
KINGSTON: Well, when the president says the norm, well, why didn't he speak up when Bill Clinton met with his attorney general on the tarmac in an airplane? That's certainly not the norm. It certainly did not bother him when Ted Stevens had the investigation right on the eve of his re-election, or Congressman Kirk Welden from Pennsylvania, same thing, with a high-profile FBI raid right on the eve of his election. This isn't completely unchartered water here. Unfortunately. Of course, there was the case with Cap Weinberger and special prosecutor Walsh right on the eve of Bill Clinton's -- what turned out to be his election. These things have happen.
When the president starts lecturing us about what's the norm, he cleverly leaves out those things.
I mean, the reality -- look at what's happening in the Clinton campaign organization right now. They are in panic mode.
BERMAN: Congressman, I want to ask about one other thing the president said. I don't think we have time to play the full sound. But he said, if Donald Trump is elected, it will be bad for the African-American community. He noted that Trump would cut funding to historically -- he claimed Donald Trump would cut funding to historically black colleges, even Michelle Obama's White House garden is in jeopardy. Your reaction?
KINGSTON: John, we always hear from the Democrats in the home stretch of any campaign, all Republicans are racist, they hate women, they hate small children, they hate seniors. If you look at the rhetoric that we saw yesterday, particularly by the president, but by others as well, it was just the same old race card. It was played against Romney, played against McCain, played against George Bush. Why aren't they talking about how wonderful Obamacare has come out or their great foreign policy --
BOLDUAN: He did.
BERMAN: He did say -- he did say that Obamacare would be in jeopardy. He did say Medicaid would be cut. He talked specifically about that.
KINGSTON: Well, I mean, here's Hillary Clinton who wants to reduce the Medicare eligibility age to 55. All that's doing is putting your foot on the acceleration -- accelerator towards bankruptcy. Obamacare, we were supposed to have $2500 per family savings. It's cost an increase of health care $5,000. The president doesn't have a good record to brag about so they are
playing the race card.
BERMAN: Congressman --
KINGSTON: Hillary Clinton, same thing.
BERMAN: Congressman Kingston, great to have you with us. Appreciate it.
KINGSTON: Thanks, John.
[11:49:50]BOLDUAN: Thank you, Congressman. Thank you.
Breaking news we are following. Police say they have captured this man connected to the killings of two police officers over night, separate incidents, just minutes apart, as the officers just sat in their patrol cars. The Attorney General Loretta Lynch is now speaking out on this case. We'll have that for you in a second.
BOLDUAN: We're following breaking news out of Iowa. A horrible scene over night. Police say they now have a suspect in custody who they believe murdered two police officers, shot in separate shootings that were minutes apart.
BERMAN: Both officers were sitting in their patrol cars when they were apparently ambushed. The shootings happened just two miles apart. Authorities now have Scott Michael Greene in custody. No word on a possible motive yet.
The Attorney General Loretta Lynch just spoke about the killings a short time ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LORETTA LYNCH, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: We are determined to hold to account anyone who targets police officers simply because they have the courage and the selflessness to wear that badge each and every day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[11:55:04] BERMAN: So the names of these officers could be revealed very soon. A news conference expected moments from now.
BOLDUAN: Dolly Parton's charity making an impact around the world. Watch.
UNIDENTIFIED CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Dolly Parton is one of the most award-winning female country singer of all-time with a chart- topping career spanning six decades.
Music isn't her only passion. She's a big advocate for literacy.
DOLLY PARTON, SINGER: Can't afford to go to school. If you can read, you can educate yourself. There's a book about anything out there.
UNIDENTIFIED CNN CORRESPONDENT: In 1995, Parton started the Imagination Library in honor of her father.
PARTON: My own father didn't get a chance to go to school. He couldn't read and write. It really bothered him a lot.
UNIDENTIFIED CNN CORRESPONDENT: According to a U.S. Department of Education survey, 32 million adults can't read.
Parton's Imagination Library strives to lower that number by providing new, free books --