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tv   The Lead With Jake Tapper  CNN  April 14, 2016 1:00pm-2:01pm PDT

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it is debate night in brooklyn and how sweet it is. "the lead" starts right now. they battled over who is more new york, who is more of a democrat, who is even qualified to run the country. tonight it's the final face-off for hillary clinton and bernie sanders before tuesday's huge empire state primary, and it will be live here on cnn. it's the first time in decades that a new york presidential primary actually matters for both parties. new york city mayor bill de blasio along with new york governor andrew cuomo will both join me live to talk about what's at stake for their party and for the country.
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plus, senator ted cruz now accusing the trump campaign of acting like union boss thugs and saying he's lucky he wasn't woken up with a horse's head in his bed as all the candidates prepare to go to the mattresses during republican convention week. hello, everybody. welcome to "the lead." brooklyn is in the house. i'm jake tapper and we are live from the scene of tonight's democratic debate. the navy yard, they just don't call it that for fun, they actually used to build warships here and it's fitting that hillary clinton and bernie sanders are going to r. not only because of the warships, but also because this is the borough, brooklyn, that bread jay z and the notorious
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b.i.g. sanders has called clinton unqualified and he walked it back. but he made sure to question her judgment. clinton questioned if sanders was capable of withstanding the spotlight, if he had done his homework on his biggest policy initiatives, while blaming his home state of vermont for some of the violent crime in new york city. and then a sanders surrogate took the feud to a whole new level last night in front of tens of thousands of sanders supporters standing shoulder to shoulder in washington square park. one of sanders pre-speech acts called politicians opposed to medicare for all, of which hillary clinton is one, he called them, quote, corporate democratic whores. the clinton campaign demanded an apology and the speaker later offered one after insisting he was not referring to clinton. cnn's jeff zeleny is inside the
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debate hall here in brooklyn. jeff, sanders claims he drew more people to washington square park last night than barack obama did back in 2007, but instead of talking about that this morning, he's having to disavow these remarks made by his supporter. >> reporter: he did, jake. he disavowed those remarks and called them insensitive and inaccurate. one thing they're not disavowing, the size of the crowds. i can tell you, jake, i was at both rallies, the one back in 2007 and the one last night. similar size energy, it sort of felt the same but this moment was totally different. that was early on in the campaign against hillary clinton. this is nearing the end. the challenge for bernie sanders tonight is to make his move quickly against secretary clinton. the stage is set for a battle in brooklyn tonight. hillary clinton -- >> thank you. >> reporter: and bernie sanders, face to face for their ninth democratic debate.
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but their fight for new york makes this meeting unlike all others. >> i was honored to be your senator for eight years. and if you will give me the honor of your vote on tuesday, we will continue to make life better. >> jane and i left new york city when we were kids. it is great to be back. >> reporter: five days before the new york primary, sanders is trying to shake up the race. tonight is one of his last best chances to make the case against clinton on wall street, trade and money in politics. >> if you elect me president, you're going to have a president who is prepared to take on the billionaire class, not take their money. >> reporter: and clinton is trying to move on, but not before winning here. she spent all week raising questions about whether sanders has a firm grasp on actually fixing problems, from financial reform to foreign policy.
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>> under the bright spotlight and scrutiny here in new york, senator sanders has had trouble answering questions. >> reporter: tonight those dueling arguments will be made at close range. sanders is working to cut into clinton's lead by expanding his appeal to a diverse group of supporters, stopping by al sharpton's conference earlier today. >> what does it matter if you desegregate a lunch counter but you don't have the money to have the damn hamburger? >> reporter: sanders has been firing up voters, drawing one big crowd after another, including last night's massive rally in washington square park. a sanders supporter, dr. paul song, sparked controversy as he warmed up the crowd. >> medicare for all will never happen if we continue to elect corporate democratic whores who are beholden to big pharma. >> reporter: he's married to lisa ling, a clinton supporter and host of cnn's "this is life with lisa ling." he later apologized for using the word "whores."
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the clinton campaign called on sanders to denounce it, which he did tweeting there's no room for language like that in our political discourse. clinton has won 9.4 million votes. sanders about 7 million. her lead is largely built on overwhelming victories across the south, which sanders took issue with last night on comedy central. >> i think that having so many southern states go first distorts reality as well. >> reporter: jake, senator sanders has a chance to make his own new political reality tonight on this debate stage. you can see behind me our cnn team is doing a bit of a warmup act. wolf blitzer is asking questions of people who are playing the role of senator sanders and hillary clinton. tonight in just five hours time there will be real candidates up there with real questions and, jake, this is important five days before the new york primary. it might be the last chance for
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senator sanders to shake up this race. jake. >> thank you so much. new york city will have a profound impact on next week's primary, a city of more than 8 million people. and the man overseeing operations here joins me now. new york city mayor bill de blasio. mayor de blasio, thanks so much for joining us. >> thank you, jake. as a brooklynite, i'm very proud the eyes of the nation will be on brooklyn. >> it's a great borough. i want to ask you, sir, you and a son of brooklyn, bernie sanders, you share a lot of views on a number of issues. free public education, higher minimum wage, income inequality. what do you tell critics who say that maybe you endorsed hillary clinton because you've known her for so long and because you think she might win, not necessarily because you share her vision of progressive politics? >> oh, i'm very comfortable telling my fellow progressives, i know hillary clinton very well and i know she can get things done on this agenda and that's why i support her.
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it's not enough to say we want to make these fundamental changes, tax the wealthy more and raise wages and benefits and do full day pre-k here in the country. we have to do these things for people who need this help around our country. hillary clinton knows how to get things done. this is a very pragmatic city and a very pragmatic state. i believe the fact that she understands the pathway to achievement, that she's proven it time and time again, will be decisive. by the way, knowing that she can win, i firmly believe she's the best candidate to win the general election, is a very important thing for progressives to weigh because we look at trump, we look at cruz, we look at how they would set this nation backwards. it really makes sense to say if you've got a strong progressive democrat who has stood the test of time, has been in the fire, stood strong and handled all the scrutiny, all the vetting, it makes sense to go for that candidate. that's why i strongly support hillary. >> let me ask, mr. mayor, can
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you name something that hillary is proposing as a candidate, a campaign promise, that furthers the progressive vision that you talk about that you think can pass the senate? >> absolutely. i believe that what she's talking about in terms of closing the carried interest loophole, depending that hedge funds pay the same as the rest of us in taxes and not a lower tax rate or the buffett rule that a millionaire or billionaire shouldn't pay a lower tax rate than their secretary or driver, i think those things could pass in today's america because people are demanding these kind of changes. i believe increases in benefits like paid family leave, paid sick leave are dpanigaining mor more traction around the country. this could be a decisive election. what i see happening, particularly if it's trump or cruz at the top of the republican ticket, hillary as a proven candidate could have a decisive victory that then changes the nature of the congress and creates momentum for some of these bigger changes. these are realizable goals. >> the sanders campaign is
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celebrating its crowd of 27,000 supporters last night in washington square park. that's more than barack obama drew there in 2007. in recent weeks sanders has been narrowing clinton's lead in polls here in new york. he seems to have some momentum. why do you think that's happening? >> i'm not sure he has that momentum. i have a lot of respect for bernie sanders and the issues he's raised. when you talk about enthusiasm, the highest form of enthusiasm is participation. almost 2.5 million more voters have supported hillary clinton since the beginning of this process. she's won more states. those are the ultimate indicators. so i would say if you look what's happening in new york, wherever i go supporting hillary, i'm hearing great feedback for her, great energy. i think her campaign has a much better ground game, turnout operation this time than eight years ago. so i actually think she's going to win solid in new york and that she's building towards election day very, very strongly. >> it looks like donald trump will win the republican party, if you believe polls, by a
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landslide. if the general election comes down to clinton versus trump, do you think the democratic party is going to have to spend money to keep new york blue, a state that normally goes blue all the time, not only because donald trump is from new york i mean but because of the all the white working class voters to whom he seems to have some appeal? >> it's a great question, jake. first of all, i'd say i do want to acknowledge i think trump has a clear advantage in new york in the republican primary. the republican primary in new jersey, the republican primary in connecticut. i would say that local impact will be there for him. when you talk about general election, hillary clinton unquestionably will win new york state. this is a state that has become more progressive and more democratic steadily over the last 20 years. she represented us very well, a lot of good will for her here. by the way, a state that's not going to accept a divisive candidate who unfortunately has used racist rhetoric, meaning trump. no, i don't think it's going to be close. i don't think this is where the democratic party will have to
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put resources. i think hillary wins new york going away in the general election. >> all right. new york city mayor bill de blasio, thank you very much, sir. >> see you in brooklyn, jake. coming up, it's been, shall we say, a little bit nasty on the campaign trail. hillary clinton and bernie sanders getting a bit personal, taking on a sharper tone. will they hold their fire when they hit the stage and have an audience of millions watching at home? our panel is next and we'll dissect.
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welcome back to "the lead." for what could be the biggest day of the democratic race. while we assembled the biggest panel we could find. as many people as we could fit at one table. joining us former ohio state senator nina turner.
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cnn political commentator, paul bagala, s.e. cupp, cnn commentator and former south carolina representative and hillary clinton supporter, ba kaur car e-- bakari. amanda carpenter and becky haverman of "the new york times." did i get everybody? let's start off with the corporate democratic cowhores fm bernie sanders. how much of this actually is people being really honestly offended by this? >> well, i think that for a long period of time democrats had the moral high ground when it came to the debate and dialogue. i've been on this show, paul has been on this show, nina as well and we have chastised donald trump and the republican party for having a discourse that wasn't elevated enough. i think last night, although i
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don't throw this on the whole bernie sanders campaign by any stretch, but i do think last night was language that cannot be used in this context and cannot be used when we're on the verge or many of us, i believe, we're on the verge of having the first female president of the united states. i feel that was unacceptable. >> paul, the guy who made the charges, dr. song, he also praised the clintons and he's married to lisa ling and bill clinton rescued lisa ling's sister from north korea. he insists he was not talking about the clintons, he was talking about members of the senate. that's not good enough? >> no. i read the context -- first off, he's a terrific guy and everybody makes mistakes. first of all, i don't believe senator sanders heard it or he would have corrected it in the moment. bernie is a really good guy with a really good heart. first i did believe it and i said still not cool to call democrats, many of whom lost their jobs to enact obamacare, still not cool to call them corporate whores either. when you read the context, he's plainly referring to hillary.
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it took longer than it should have. senator sanders disavoid ws it that's it. >> the senator was not in the presence when he said it but it was absolutely the wrong thing to say point blank, there's nothing else to say it's wrong. i'm glad dr. song apologized. >> it's funny when you all agree. let's go to the rips. -- republicans. let me ask you a question. obviously there are a lot of scraps that have been going on between clinton and sanders. >> you have to air quotes when you say scraps because i'm a republican. this is nothing. >> you've seen all sorts of things, starting with the hands. there's no problem. believe me, i guarantee it. so my question for you is do you think you're going to say -- what do you think you're going to see on stage tonight? you're still laughing. do you think that hillary and bernie are actually going to bring it tonight? do you think there's going to be a feistiness?
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>> i do. that campaign has been ratcheting up the past few weeks, not our ratcheting up but it's been ratcheting up. the "new york daily news" editorial board enter view for bernie was not great and i think hoez gotten a little desperate. i think hillary clinton has also gotten a little concerned and so she has been, i think, really smearing bernie sanders' character on gun issues in particular, on sexism charges, racism charges. i think it's gotten a little below the belt and i would expect and hope bernie tonight to really sort of defend his character. >> i think they both have something to prove. they both have been dancing around each other, fighting through the media, fighting through surrogates and not getting into that direct confrontation that i think the democratic party has to work through. we see it all the time on the republican side but you can't continue to have this pressure kind of build and have no confrontation tonight on stage. if that doesn't happen, i think they both look sort of weak. >> megan, do you think hillary clinton -- on sunday i interviewed her and she said
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like, quote, i'm not going to say anything negative about bernie sanders so i had to stop baiting her. do you think she's not going to? because the truth is the momentum seems to be going his way and she needs to stop it. >> i'd be very surprised if she isn't much more aggressive to amanda's point. you've had two people who have wanted to do a fight by proxy for a very long time and it is in such contrast to what we've seen on the republican side. you saw today the whoregate got resolved pretty quickly but i don't think either of them wants to let these go. i think bernie sanders believes what he is saying and hillary clinton believes what she is saying. they are both exhausted at this point, as i think all of these candidates are. >> this is grueling. >> it is really, really hard, you are talking about several candidates who are roughly 70 years old. they are now at the latest debate. i think it is likelier to be feisty. >> it is exhausting. everybody stick around. we'll have much, much more to talk about coming up. strong words coming from someone who likes the godfather
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part 3, believe it or not, ted cruz accusing trump staffers of mob tactics as he battles to make a dent here in new york. plus donald trump about to speak at a new york fund-raiser, but members of the local community are saying it's the one place he should not have gone to campaign. why? we'll tell you. vo: across america,
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welcome back to "the lead" live from brooklyn. the greenhouse next to me could get awful hot this evening. it's almost ready for hillary clinton and bernie sanders to take their war of words on to
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the debate stage. democrats are not the only ones getting practice at using some salty language to talk about their opponents. senator ted cruz is now accusing donald trump and his staffers of gangsterism, saying trump operatives are, quote, acting like union boss thugs. cruz also joked that he felt lucky to wake up without a horse's head in his bed. that is a "godfather" reference to those of you playing at home. jason carroll is in new york and donald trump is there holding a fund-raiser. jason, trump has hotels and properties all over new york city. why did he pick pachogue for this fund-raiser? >> reporter: as you know, patchogue on long island is a strong hold in terms of republicanland but also donald trump very excited to be here. here's another question for you,
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jake. why attend a fund-raiser literally that's just a few blocks away from where an undocumented immigrant was killed in a hate crime several years ago. some of trump's critics are saying this is just another misstep by his campaign. tonight the trump campaign is boldly assuring his backers in congress that trump can not only win the nomination, but he will secure the delegates needed before the gop convention. >> our path to 1237 is pretty clear. we'll start next tuesday in new york with a huge victory and go to april 26th with a huge victory. and then march on from there. >> reporter: but trump is still not ready to put his recent colorado loss behind him. >> it's a rigged system, folks. the republican system is a rigged system. >> reporter: telling supporters in pittsburgh, party leaders are trying to decide the election and stop the will of the people. >> what it does is allows the bosses to pick whoever they want. >> reporter: trump's republican opponent, senator ted cruz,
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rejected that notion as ludicrous. >> there's only one way that you earn the republican nomination. that is you earn the votes of a majority of the delegates elected pie the people. >> reporter: cruz accused the trump campaign of intimidation and threats of violence. >> look, violence doesn't belong in democracy and the trump campaign encourages it over and over again. they're acting like union boss thugs. >> reporter: as trump fights for delegates, he says he isn't at war with the party, insisting he just wants votes to count. >> they should give the voter real credit, not just partial credit. >> reporter: rnc chairman reince priebus told cnn the rules have been set and no one is rigging the process. >> i believe this is some frustration that has bubbled up and, look, the rules are there. i know people get frustrated and they're disappointed when things don't go exactly the right way. but certainly one thing that's true is that the rules are not
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being changed in order to injure or benefit anybody. >> reporter: after a rocky past two weeks, the trump campaign got a boost today. >> although the facts support the allegation that mr. lewandowski did grab miss fields' arm against her will, the state will no file this case. >> reporter: with news campaign manager corey lewandowski will not be charged with battery after grabbing a reporter's arm in march. >> i think he was justifiable in what he did. miss fields sees it a different way, obviously. our perception is reality. >> reporter: jake, i spoke to the organizer of this fund-raiser a little earlier today. he said he spoke to trump this morning and was unclear if trump knew about the -- what happened with that undocumented worker, again, just blocks from here. he said the two of them did not discuss that. he did say trump was excited to come out here. he also said, jake, that he had extended this invitation to all
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of the gop candidates, but he said that trump was the only one who made the effort to come out here. jake. >> all right, jason carroll on long island, thanks. hillary clinton started this race as the clear democratic front-runner, but with bernie sanders drawing such massive crowds, is the enthusiasm in his corner? new york governor andrew cuomo will join me to talk about that ahead. at mfs investment management, we believe in the power of active management. we actively manage with expertise and conviction. so you can invest with more certainty. mfs. that's the power of active management.
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life feels a little lighter, potency probiotic, livelier, a little more you. ultimate flora probiotics. welcome back to "the lead." live from the brooklyn navy yard, we are counting down to tonight's democratic presidential debate and i am back with this mega monster
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panel. let's introduce them again. bernie sanders supporter nina turner. my host of cnn political commentators paul -- i don't know what that means, paul begala, bakari sellers who supports clinton, s.e. cupp, amanda carpenter, former communications director for senator ted cruz, this is the abridged version, and amy, a correspondent for "the new york times." i want to play some sound from ted cruz who's continuing to take shots at donald trump. he appeared at a town hall last night on cnn. let's take a listen. >> donald and his team, it's almost like they are subjects in a clinical course in psychology. in the last few weeks, donald's team, roger stone, his chief political advisor, was threatening to out the hotel rooms of delegates who dared to cross trump so they could be intimidated. they're acting like union boss
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thugs. >> is that a little much or do you kind of agree with it? i'm going with you. >> okay. i don't think that's overstating. i think that the trump campaign from donald down has acted at times like goons. i've been on the receiving end of some of that, but taking myself out, i think any objective look at some of their behavior, you would have to classify as intimidating, threatening, hostile. yeah, i think it's fair. >> roger stone is an ally of donald trump but he's not a member of the campaign, amanda. certainly ted cruz has some allies that have had questionable things. >> but let's look at what his new convention manager, paul manafort, was saying in his debut as the new trump staffer he went out and promptly accused of cruz campaign of engaging in gestapo-like tactics. for one republican to accuse another republican of doing something as loathsome as what was conducted to the jews, it
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really blows my mind. but this is what they do every single day. and the thing that bothers me the most about the trump campaign is how they consistently accuse people who disagree with them, threaten their power, of false crimes like they did in the aftermath of cruz winning the wisconsin primaries. he went out and said you're coordinating ill locally, you won by fraud, lyin' ted. i mean the stuff that he gets away with is incredible. he's so close and there's conservatives like me that cannot go along with him because of such despicable behavior. >> just for the record, we did invite somebody from the trump campaign to come on the show and that person pulled out at the last moment. maggie, i want to ask you about today the significance of the prosecutor in florida announcing that they are not going to pursue charges against corey lewandowski, the trump campaign manager, for the incident involving michelle fields. it seems like a pretty significant moment. i mean this has been really gaining team. john kasich, ted cruz, others
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attacked donald trump for what happened. the prosecutor said there isn't enough to prosecute. >> the prosecutor also suggested that something may have happened but not enough to prosecute. there was also a discussion about a draft letter of an apology that does not look like it went anywhere. but yes, this is a great thing for the trump campaign to have behind them. this was extremely distracting. what it did was open the flood gates toward a lot of criticism both of corey lewandowski and of donald trump. it was what led in part to this pivot moment where paul manafort came in and has this expanded role. but i am quite certain corey lewandowski will feel pretty vindicated right now. the way most campaigns would have handled a moment like this is there would have been an apology, or, yes, i did but in the course of normal business. >> this isn't about corey, did he do it, did he not. any normal staffer would have been fired just for lying about the event. the fact that donald trump kept him on staff and would put him on stage after victory to send a
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signal that this is the type of people i surround myself with is very disturbing. >> all right. let's change direction right now because i'm just told that new york governor andrew cuomo has just been able to join us. governor cuomo, thanks so much for joining us. i know you're a hillary clinton supporter and are in town to rally for raising the minimum wage. just to tackle that substantive issue for one second, what's your response to those businesses who say they can't afford to raise the minimum wage without perhaps eliminating a job or two in their business? >> yeah, look, i don't think there's anybody who will disagree with the fact that when you raise the minimum wage, you can actually stimulate the economy. we've raised the minimum wage eight times in this state. cy six of the eight times the economy actually increased. the question is how you do it. how quickly are you calibrating
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it, are you monitoring it like our system in new york does. we have different periods of time in different parts of the state and then we have the ability to slow it down if we think it's actually slowing the economy. but the main point is recognizing the economic anxiety, the fear, the frustration that is out there among people and actually doing something about it. we're in the political season, so many candidates are trying to use that anger and what we're saying is actually address the problems that are generating the anger. and there is no doubt that the middle class is going backwards, the working families are going backwards. they feel nobody has their back. nobody is speaking for them. and the way to start that progress forward is to raise the minimum wage to a decent level so people can live. >> so, governor, new york certainly matters this year in a way we haven't seen in a long,
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long time. why do you think hillary clinton is still fighting for the nomination this late in the game? are you surprised that senator sanders has posed the kind of challenge that he is? >> i think senator sanders has a message that resonates, especially with young people, but i'm not surprised that we're in a primary. i mean this is the democratic party, right? this is a diverse party, this is a broad spectrum. we don't hand anyone anything in the democratic party. and this is a very heated political environment. you see it on the left, you see it on the right. you have some of the strongest political opinions that i've seen in all the time i've been watching. so, no, it doesn't surprise me at all. i actually think that this
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primary process has been good for senator clinton. i think it's going to make her a stronger candidate in the general election. the new york primary, i believe she's going to win. we know her in new york, she was a senator in new york, and the more you know her, the more you like her. so we know that she's delivered for middle class working families, that she knows how to make government work. it's not as simple as just wishing good things. you have to know how to make it happen. and she does. so she has a big advantage in this state just because we know her. but, no, i'm not surprised that there's a tough primary. and i'm sure it's going to go right to the convention if i had to guess. >> governor cuomo, just one last question for you, sir, because we do have some sort of a delay. picking up your hometown newspaper today, i see "the new york times" front page above the
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fold, right-hand column, five banks are still too big to fail regulators say, the fed and fdic saying there are five banks still too big. whether or not you agree that senator sanders is the right person for the job, is he on to something when he talks about the problems with the banks? is it something that secretary clinton should be talking about more? >> well, the size of banks and how many banks are too big to fail, quote unquote, is a fairly arcane topic. the general point of our financial system and the regulation of the financial system and what happened during the mortgage meltdown and have people been punished for that or have they been allowed to walk away with actually making more money, how do we know it doesn't happen again, that is a totally
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legitimate topic. before i was governor, i was attorney general in this -- did a lot of work on that topic. and it's one of those issues that manifests two tiers of justice, right. we can be very tough on criminal justice, on drugs, et cetera, but then you have white collar crimes in my opinion among financial institutions that wrap these mortgages, defrauded homeowners, defrauded the public. everyone paid the price. and it seems like they got away scot-free. and how do we make sure it doesn't happen again. that's not only a legitimate political topic, that's a necessary governmental topic. and it's something that we have to come to grips with, no doubt. >> governor andrew cuomo, thank you so much. really nice to have you on the show. appreciate it, sir.
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donald trump will speak tonight under heavy security with emotional protesters expected to challenge him, saying that he is reopening wounds of a vicious hate crime. is that fair? we'll talk about it.
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donald trump is back in his home state, but it's not exactly the kind of sweet homecoming for the gop front-runner that he probably wants. there's a heavy police presence and tension building in long island right now. anti-trump protesters are holding a demonstration as donald trump is getting ready to speak at a fund-raiser. just steps away from what once was a crime scene where a latino immigrant was murdered in a brutal hate crime eight years ago. here's reverend alan ramirez, the spokesman for the victim's family. >> it is akin to inviting osama bin laden to speak at ground zero. >> i want to bring in cnn correspondent sara ganim.
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sara, my understanding is that it's a coincidence that mr. trump is speaking near the location of this tragic murder, right? the long island republican committee invited him. >> that's right, jake, yeah, we're told by republican officials that it was a coincidence how close the republican fund-raiser for donald trump here tonight is to this location. you know, there's been protests across the country, people upset with some of donald trump's anti-immigration rhetoric, but what's happening here in patchogue here today, jake, is a little bit more personal. the reason why is because where this fund-raiser is being held is just steps from this house right here where a man, a hispanic ecuadorean immigrant died eight years ago because he was attacked by a gang of teenagers who went after him because he was latino. that's why you're seeing these demonstrators here today. they say they're insulted that donald trump would come to their community, come to a place so close to where this hate crime
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happened and continue to speak in what they believe is hate speech and rhetoric that is not helpful in a community like this one here. you can see there's about 100 people here gathered. i talked to the brother of the man who died, marcell owe lucero's brother. he told me all he wants is for a peaceful demonstration. he said there's enough violence, enough hatespeech. he just wants to show that he feels that it's insulting that donald trump would come to his community, jake. >> all right, sara ganim, thank you so much. we are just hours away from the big debate this evening and you are in luck because two of the questioners at the debate will join me next and they'll give you the inside scoop. stay with us.
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welcome back to "the lead." we're straight outf brooklyn today. this is the sight of tonight's showdown between bernie sanders and hillary clinton. with me here, two of the questioners of tonight's debate who will join wolf blitzer, cnn's chief political correspondent dana bash is here along with errol lewis. dana, you have asked questions of both democratic and republican debates this cycle, some more contentious than others. what do you think the tone will be like this evening? what are you anticipating? >> we've asked lots of questions but never in new york and never -- which sets an entirely different tone. and more importantly, never at this point in the cycle where on the democratic side obviously, these two are just continuing to go at it and just when we enthusiastic they're going to kind of calm down and lower the temperature, they raise it even
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more. and so it's about that, but really we think that we've seen the last debate and think that we've seen the last hurrah but in this case we're going to see whether or not bernie sanders can push back against hillary clinton, particularly on questions about whether or not he's ready and if she can push back on whether or not she's got the credibility to be president. >> errol, i think one of the things that seems pretty clear is if bernie sanders beat hillary clinton in her home state, which would be tough but not impossible, that would really up-end the whole thing. >> that would change the race quite a bit. we had a poll that came out just a few days ago showing that there's a 12-point gap. now, he's closed that, it used to be a lot bigger, so he's got the momentum and direction going the way that he wants to. our poll was a snapshot of last weekend. we've got another weekend to go. we've got a debate tonight. if he's going to make something happen and make up those last 12 points, this is the time to make
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it happen. as you suggest, it would be an entirely new race if we wake up on wednesday morning next week and find out that bernie sanders won the home state of his principal opponent. >> and as we've seen, debates matter, as we saw with marco rubio. debates matter. dana, i raised this with governor cuomo but you pick up "the new york times" and it says five banks still too big to fail according to the fed and the fdic. whether or not you think sanders is the right messenger, the issues he brings to the table have really changed the race. >> they have changed the race. in this case it's really the perfect storm for him because he's in new york, the belly of the beast, in the shadow of wall street, and this is an issue that is completely not just in his wheelhouse, but the wheelhouse that he brought to the entire campaign of talking about the banks. the fact that this is very much in the news. you know, he certainly has had her on the defensive on this. but he also has had some issues because he's had some trouble answering what he would actually do.
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so the fact that this is front and center is certainly fortuitous i think for everybody. >> break a leg tonight. i'm very excited. it's going to be a great debate. a reminder, tonight's clinton-sanders debate starts at 9:00 p.m. eastern right here on cnn. that's 6:00 for all you folks in california, washington and oregon. turning it over to wolf blitzer in "the situation room." mr. blitzer, take it away. >> happening now, breaking news showdown. hillary clinton versus bernie sanders. tonight's cnn presidential debate is the final face-off before the absolutely crucial new york primary. he has the momentum, she has the math. the stakes are high and the stage is set. fight for new york. he was born here, she was elected here. sanders has proved he can draw big crowds in new york, but clinton leads in the polls. can tonight's debate determine who wins most of the state's