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EARLY START

Race Tightens in Battleground States; Clinton Rallies the Faithful; Trump Addresses Veterans in North Carolina; Melania Trump Lays Out Vision in Speech; Iraqi Forces Enter Mosul. Aired 3:30-4a ET

Aired November 4, 2016 - 03:30   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[03:32:38] CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Donald Trump suggests America's troops don't want to see Hillary Clinton become commander- in-chief. They don't want her to be their boss. What did he mean by that?

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Hillary Clinton slams Donald Trump for an endorsement that his campaign has actually condemned.

ROMANS: New polls have the race tightening in battleground states, both sides crunching those electoral college numbers with time running out. Oh, the math. Oh, the many permutations of the math.

Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

BERMAN: I'm John Berman. 33 minutes after the hour right now. Great to see you this morning. And where are we this morning on this final Friday of the campaign? Let's give you a look at the highlights right now.

Overnight Donald Trump, he took a swipe at Hillary Clinton. He asked these veterans on stage with her to imagine Hillary Clinton as their boss. Imagine her as their boss. Hillary Clinton slammed Donald Trump, accusing him of dog whistle politics for stuff, by the way, that he has condemn.

This as both the candidates find themselves in two of the same states today, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

ROMANS: Math is the underrated part of politics. Both sides adding up the states on the electoral map, trying to come up with that magic number of 270, the number needed to win the White House. Hillary Clinton wants New Hampshire's four electoral votes. New polls just out show the race tied there. And in Georgia a new poll from NBC News, Marist and the "Wall Street Journal" has Donald Trump ahead by just one point, and he has no chance without Georgia.

Joining us this morning, CNN Politics reporter Eugene Scott.

Let's start here with where the polls are talking to us right now. In New Hampshire, for example, four electoral votes there. Key state. Now they're looking like they're tied in the polls. That's a shift from the last few weeks. EUGENE SCOTT, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Very much so. We say a few

times that the person who's getting the most attention in the news cycle is probably the person that we need to have voters focus on right now. And the reality is that Donald Trump was getting a lot of the attention about three weeks ago, and right now Hillary Clinton is getting most of the attention.

ROMANS: Whoever has the attention, it's always negative, right?

SCOTT: It is always negative.

ROMANS: The spotlight is always is always negative.

SCOTT: Right.

ROMANS: So whoever is getting all the attention, that is negative for the polls.

BERMAN: Which, by the way, is unusual in this campaign cycle.

ROMANS: Right.

SCOTT: Yes, I mean, that's unique. Usually if we're focused on someone, we're not always automatically talking poorly about them, but this election that seems to be the case.

BERMAN: And New Hampshire swings. New Hampshire tends to swing with the national tide, back and forth and back and forth. Very responsive, political consultants have always said, to the news.

ROMANS: To the news.

BERMAN: So, you know, it is a tight race there, and every campaign is going there in the coming days.

[03:35:03] Let's talk about Georgia for instance. Georgia did vote for Bill Clinton once in 1992, but it's a pretty red state. Demographically speaking there have been some shifts there. But this number right here, Donald Trump up by just a point on the Friday before Election Day?

SCOTT: Yes, there have been some significant demographic shifts in Georgia. Yes, historically it goes red, but there are a lot of black voters in Georgia, a lot of college students, a lot of women, especially in those urban cores like Atlanta, and things just aren't as big in Trump's favor as historically has been the case for Republican candidates.

ROMANS: And he needs Georgia to win the White House.

BERMAN: Oh, yes. Yes.

ROMANS: He needs Georgia. And a bunch of other states.

BERMAN: But it is interesting, no one is going to Georgia, at least that we know of, in the next three days. I don't even think, you know, there are second or third level surrogates going to Georgia over the next three days. So that indicates to me that maybe the campaigns don't really see that in play right now.

SCOTT: I think he'll get Georgia.

BERMAN: Yes. No, I think Trump will end up with Georgia.

SCOTT: Yes.

BERMAN: Just interesting to see this close this late.

ROMANS: All right.

BERMAN: Eugene, it's great to have you with us. Thanks so much.

SCOTT: Thanks.

BERMAN: All right. Hillary Clinton goes on the trail today. She's got three stops. She starts at noon in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Such a key. She needs Pennsylvania to win. Then she goes to Detroit and on to Cleveland. The Cleveland rally with Jay-Z. Jay-Z is performing. They're trying to sell a lot of tickets to that and get out a bunch of early vote there.

On Thursday she was in North Carolina with Bernie Sanders. You can see it there. And what she was doing was she was trying to get the African-American vote out.

CNN's Brianna Keilar has the latest from Raleigh.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: John and Christine, Donald Trump's deputy campaign manager says his path to victory goes through Florida, through here, North Carolina, Ohio and Iowa. And that's why the Clinton campaign wants to cut him off here in the Tar Heel State. And the key to a Democratic victory here on Election Day is the African-American vote. Hillary Clinton has been outperforming Donald Trump by a wide margin, but she is not doing quite as well as President Obama did in 2012 and in 2008. That's why he's been here making a pitch for her and why Hillary Clinton made this pitch to North Carolinians today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: He has spent this entire campaign offering a dog whistle to his most hateful supporters. He re-tweets white supremacists and spreads racially-tinged conspiracy theories. And you better believe he's being heard loudly and clearly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR: And it 's a mad dash for Hillary Clinton towards Election Day. She will be in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Ohio today. Ohio with some help, some star power from Jay-Z, and then a focus for her on Philadelphia over the weekend and into Election Day. She will be in Philadelphia with Katy Perry on Saturday, and then she'll be accompanied by her husband, her daughter Chelsea, as well as President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama in Philadelphia on Monday, the night before Election Day -- John and Christine.

BERMAN: All right, Brianna Keilar, thanks so much.

Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton's running mate, goes to Florida, three events there over the weekend. Tim Kaine also will be campaigning in Virginia some over the next several days. He is obviously from Virginia, but the fact that he is spending time there shows that they want to make pretty well sure that Virginia is in Clinton camp.

President Obama has two stops in North Carolina today. Bill Clinton has events in Colorado. Chelsea Clinton will be in New Hampshire. By the way, we learned that all the Clintons and all the Obamas are going to be in Philadelphia on Monday night. Their last rally of the campaign will be in Philadelphia Monday night. So that's pretty interesting.

ROMANS: All right. Donald Trump starts the day in New Hampshire, then on to Ohio and Pennsylvania. In North Carolina Thursday, Trump had an off-script moment that raised eyebrows.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

D. TRUMP: You know, when I look at these great admirals and these great generals and these great Medal of Honor recipients behind me, to think of her being their boss? I don't think so. And, you know, they're incredible patriots, they would never say a thing, but I know what they're thinking. It is not -- it is not for them, believe me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: All right. Trump also praised the veterans' bravery and his own particular kind of courage.

Want to bring in CNN's Jim Acosta for the latest.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: John and Christine, Donald Trump continued to try to make a comeback in this last week of the campaign at a rally here in North Carolina. He once against attacked Hillary Clinton for her e-mail controversy. He also saluted military veterans at one point, talking about his own bravery. Here is what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

D. TRUMP: They're so much more brave than me, I wouldn't have done what they did. I'm brave in other ways. I'm brace -- I'm financially brave. Big deal, right?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: But if there's one subject Trump is hesitant to touch it is President Obama. After days of attacks from the president on the GOP nominee, Trump only responded by saying that the president should be back at the White House doing his job, a far cry from the more personal attacks from Trump on the president in the past -- John and Christine. [03:40:10] ROMANS: All right. Jim Acosta, thanks, Jim.

Team Trump crisscrossing the country today. Running mate Mike Pence will be campaigning in Michigan, North Carolina and Florida. Trump's sons will also be making the case for their father with Donald Junior campaigning in Arizona and New Mexico and Eric Trump scheduled to make several stops in Michigan.

BERMAN: So Eric Trump already said some stuff that got a lot of attention. He suggested that former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke should be shot. Eric Trump was on a Denver radio station on Thursday. The interviewer actually suggested that David Duke, who's running for Senate in Louisiana, deserves a bullet to the head. Listen to Eric Trump's response.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ERIC TRUMP, DONALD TRUMP'S SON: If I said exactly what you said I'd get be killed for it. But I think I'll say it anyway. The guy does deserve a bullet. I mean, these aren't good people, these are horrible people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: All right. David Duke, who by the way endorsed Donald Trump, although the Trump campaign doesn't want his endorsement. Duke was asked to respond to Eric Trump's comment. All he would say to CNN is, that's a good one.

ROMANS: All right. In Pennsylvania this morning there's still the strong aroma of irony after one of the more surprising speeches of this campaign. A Trump, A Trump on the stage and said we're all too mean on social media. It wasn't Donald Trump, it was his wife, Melania, in her first public speech since the convention. Now she says social media has become too mean and too filled with insults based on looks and intelligence.

As Dana Bash noted, has she met Donald Trump? We get more this morning from CNN's Sara Murray.

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John and Christine. Melania Trump made a rare appearance yesterday on the campaign trail, traveling to the Philadelphia suburbs to deliver a speech, her first since she gave those remarks at the GOP convention where she plagiarized First Lady Michelle Obama.

Now Melania Trump had a different agenda today. She wanted to talk about what she would do as first lady and said one of her top priorities would be battling cyberbullying.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MELANIA TRUMP, DONALD TRUMP'S WIFE: Children and teenagers can be fragile. They are hurt when they are made fun of or made to feel less in looks or intelligence. Our culture has gotten too mean and too rough, especially to children and teenagers. (END VIDEO CLIP)

MURRAY: Now one thing Melania Trump did not mention was her husband's own prolific use of Twitter. Donald Trump, of course, regularly uses it to hurl insults at people in the political arena or people in media who he simply doesn't like. But Melania Trump did make clear that she feels like adults are better able to handle this criticism or she wants to do more to protect children. So it was certainly a speech that was heavy on what she wants to do as first lady, not so much heavy on talking about the personal details of her husband and his quest for the presidency.

She has been a rare asset for Donald Trump on the campaign trail, in part because she's made it clear publicly and privately she would rather be home taking care of their 10-year-old son Barron. Back to you, guys.

ROMANS: All right, Sara. Thank you for that.

The final big piece of economic data before the election is due this morning at 8:30 Eastern Time. The government's October jobs report. This is what we're expecting. 177,000 new jobs, higher than 156,000 added in September. Jobless rate 4.9 percent. It was 5 percent in September because more people started looking for work. Wages expected to hold steady 2.6 percent over the past year.

Democrats want a strong number. It feels it will help Hillary Clinton's closing arguments on the economy. She's firmly tied herself to President Obama's economic legacy. In his two terms the economy has added nearly 11 million jobs, hiring has been positive for 72 months in a row. But Donald Trump has blasted nearly ever jobs report since he started running. He called September's reading anemic. He has called the unemployment rate phony. He said that's really much higher than the government is reporting.

Politics aside, I'm eager to see if these months and months and months of job creation are going to start drawing people who have been sidelined back in.

BERMAN: Sure.

ROMANS: And that's something that a lot of economists say they expect to start to see.

BERMAN: And again, if they draw back in, that actually could put the unemployment rate higher.

ROMANS: Yes.

BERMAN: But it would be a positive thing for the economy.

ROMANS: You've got this demographic wrinkle, too. You've got thousands and thousands of baby boomers every day turning 65, I think 10,000 a day. So you've got this bubble of demographic, people who are going to be easing out of the workforce. So that's one of the reasons why the participation rate has been low. BERMAN: All right. So, so much for they go low, you go high. Coming

up, Hillary Clinton talks about the KKK and Donald Trump a lot on the trail.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[03:48:49] ROMANS: Just four more days of suspense. What can you expect from the two campaigns between now and Tuesday?

Joining us here in New York, senior media correspondent, host of CNN's "RELIABLE SOURCES," Brian Stelter, and in Washington, CNN Politics reporter, Tal Kopan.

Nice to see both of you this morning.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Good morning.

TAL KOPAN, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Good morning.

ROMANS: I guess, Brian, where do we go -- where do we go from here on the message front? Donald Trump is staying on message and Hillary Clinton -- Hillary Clinton is really trying to paint Donald Trump as this very evil, dark choice. Listen to her yesterday in North Carolina.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: He has spent this entire campaign offering a dog whistle to his most hateful supporters. He re-tweets white supremacists and spreads racially-tinged conspiracy theories. Just a few days ago Donald Trump was endorsed by the official newspaper of the Ku Klux Klan. They wrote their endorsement under the slogan of his campaign, "Make America Great Again."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: So what do you think about this? I mean, you've got Donald Trump just trying to stay on message here and you've got Hillary Clinton bringing out her greatest hits of why Donald Trump should not be president of the United States.

[03:50:04] By the way, he does not want the KKK endorsement. They've been pretty clear about that.

STELTER: Right. And they renounced it right away. Listening to Clinton's rhetoric you get the sense that she believes this is a national emergency and her surrogates talk the same way. President Obama talked about the fate of the republic. Other surrogates striking a similar tone. So it makes sense from a messaging perspective why she is trying to line up these greatest hits so to speak.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump is actually the one with the sunnier vision right now, the sunnier message right now. And of course he is being very disciplined. I think a couple of days ago he said, how striking is it that he has continued to stay on message, he hasn't had a late- night Twitter rants, he hasn't had the kind of gaffes -- what we used to call gaffes before Trump came along. I asked Kellyanne Conway, his campaign manager, is he going to be doing any interviews? Is he going to be doing any press between now and Election Day? She said absolutely not. What we're doing is clear. The message is very clear. We're going to keep hammering this on through Election Day.

BERMAN: It is not so unusual for candidates not to do interviews.

STELTER: Right. During the last days, yes.

BERMAN: Why would want a chance if they're doing rallies out there and getting people to the polls.

STELTER: Yes.

BERMAN: Yes. You know, Tal, it's interesting. Because you know in all the elections I've covered, you know, Al Gore talked about perhaps African-American going back to three-fifths of the vote. Now, you know, that was before the election in 2000. Joe Biden is going to put you all back in chains. Republicans say that Democrats often resort back to racial polarization when they're trying to get people to the poll, and there's an element of that. I mean, Democrats do talk about that. On the other hand, what Hillary Clinton is saying is true. I mean, Donald Trump was endorsed by the KKK paper.

KOPAN: Yes, a couple of points here. One, I mean, let's be clear, Donald Trump staying on message still has plenty of negative attacks against Hillary Clinton.

STELTER: He does. He does.

KOPAN: They're attacking each other a great deal right now. Donald Trump has moved away from some of the more personal attacks that he has engaged in throughout the campaign, but it is a bit of relativism there.

You know, on the latter point, paying attention to the polls, the demographic data in the polls this year have been stunning. Donald Trump is winning with white men, and that's about it. And so for Hillary Clinton, the key to her winning this election is going to be mobilizing minorities and women who perhaps rightfully feel very slighted by the campaign that Donald Trump has run, if not threatened. And so animating that base is going to be the thing that puts her over the top so it's not surprising that that's the well that she's returning to right now.

STELTER: And there's a connection between what we heard from Hillary Clinton last night and President Obama's message about concerns about voter suppression, concerns about intimidation tactics, about people being left off the rolls, largely minority figures in places like North Carolina being left off the rolls.

KOPAN: And his legacy.

STELTER: There's a connection between those two points. Yes.

BERMAN: All right, guys. Stick around. A lot more to discuss on this show.

ROMANS: And business news coming up, too. It's a popular product for surfers, bikers and adrenaline junkies like John Berman but investors, they are not impressed. We're going to tell you why this one stock is sinking 20 percent. That's a crash. We're going to get a check on CNN Money Stream, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[03:57:16] BERMAN: All right. For the first time in two years, Iraqi forces are in the ISIS-held city of Mosul. Battles with ISIS fighters, they are escalating. This could be the fiercest fighting yet of the operation to retake the city.

I want to bring in CNN's international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson live in Irbil nearby to get the very latest. What's the status of the fighting, Nic?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: John, the Iraqi army are now in several neighborhoods in eastern part of Mosul. They say indeed they are ready this morning. In some of the neighborhoods in the eastern part they are raising Iraqi flags over. However, that gives you the impression that the fight has been quick and easy. Anything but. Very intense conflict. Air strikes and artillery coming on the government side.

The government is saying that ISIS snipers are taking up positions on the rooftops of buildings civilians are still living in, which makes it very hard for the government to target those buildings. Also they say that ISIS is firing mortar short-range artillery weapons in those civilian neighborhoods, civilians are being injured. Civilians fleeing the area, fleeing the town today and saying that ISIS is telling them to stay in their buildings. And they are saying look, that is impossible. We don't have food. We don't have water. We have to leave even though it's dangerous. They're taking that risk.

So the big picture here in Mosul the government just begins to get into Mosul yesterday. Today, on the east, southeastern side of the city, a much broader, bigger push, getting deeper. A lot more yet to be done. A long time this is going to take, we're told. But a deeper push into the eastern part of the city today -- John.

BERMAN: Some significant milestones but more to come. Nic Robertson for us, thanks so much.

ROMANS: All right. 58 minutes past the hour. Let's get a check on CNN Money Stream. Dow futures barely moving right now. You know, the big government jobs report is later this morning. That will be the big clue for markets.

A solid number could help Hillary Clinton's chances of winning next week but also may firm up the Fed's decisions to raise interest rates in December. Stock markets in Asia slightly lower overnight. Shares in Europe opening at the top of the hour. Futures there are slipping.

The S&P 500 quietly stringing together eight straight losses. Election jitters driving lower the past two weeks here. There haven't been any major moves, but the index is giving up 2.9 percent over that losing streak. It's now up just more than about 2 percent for the year. So that will be blah for your 401(k).

GoPro stocks set to jump off a cliff today.

BERMAN: I like that. I get it.

ROMANS: Shares are down -- it's very well done. Shares are down more than 20 percent in premarket trading. The action camera maker suffering a 40 percent drop in sales and a net loss in profits last quarter. And lowering its estimates for holiday sales. Wall Street was expecting bad numbers but not that bad. GoPro has struggled to expand beyond its niche market. It's made new versions of its camera, even sells a drone now. Neither of those moves are boosting sales.

OK, here's a story we can all get our heads around. Housing market heat. Check --