tv Inside Politics CNN July 18, 2016 9:00am-10:01am PDT
person with the smartest military background. i think he's trying to say i have the attitude that has been missing, i'm tough and i'm willing to do whatever is needed to be done, because he's trying to deal with a sense of anxiety. what you're going to see tonight, i think, are the other side of trump. they're trying to do two things that don't usually go well together. they're trying to humanize him by bringing his wife out, but they also want to give him the opportunity to be mr. bluster. i don't think they've got a coherent strategy to present this guy to the country, so they're literally trying to roll out two products at the same time -- the warm, fuzzy father figure, also the blustery, crazy uncle who's going to throw a punch. >> one thing that continues to be unconventional about the convention is donald trump is expected to speak tonight, even introducing melania trump. we don't normally hear from our nominees this early in the week, but we will tonight. thank you very much. christine, thank you for joining us in new york. and thank you all for joining us here in cleveland. for me in cleveland and for john
in baton rouge, we appreciate your being with us. our special coverage of the republican national convention continues right now. >> special edition of "inside politics." i'm john king live. welcome to this special edition of "inside politics." i'm john king live from the republican convention hall in cleveland, ohio. a lot happening this afternoon. the convention official will be gaveled to order 2001 hour from now, delegates beginning to fill into a largely empty hall, but they'll be coming in. also, hillary clinton speaks this hour. we're waiting any moment now to the naacp convention in southern ohio, in the city of cincinnati. a key moment here for her to respond to the baton rouge shootings and to try to mobilize african-american voters for the fall campaign. as you can tell, a very busy day of presidential politics. also, another sad day as we deal once again with senseless violence. the deadly assault now on two
police officers in baton rouge, louisiana. the latest outrage, and for the political leaders of this country, the latest challenge. >> we as a nation have to be loud and clear that nothing justifies violence against law enforcement. attacks on police are an attack on all of us and the rule of law that makes society possible. >> law and order is a big, very big theme here on convention day one. a big part of donald trump's case that the country is off on the wrong track and that the country needs his new leadership. >> we're both ready. i have no doubt. we need toughness, we need strength. obama's weak. hillary's weak. and part of it is that, a big part of it. we need law and order. we need strong borders. >> reporter: now, trump's team tells us the biggest priority for them of trump's four-day nominating showcase is winning a second look from voters that
simply don't like the billionaire businessman. and on opening night, melania trump gets a prime time platform to begin the image makeover. >> i don't try to change him. he's an adult. he knows the consequences. and so, i let him be who he is. i give him my opinions many, many times. >> you do? >> yes. and i don't agree with everything what he says, but you know, that is normal. i'm my own person. i tell him what i think. >> reporter: an exciting day ahead here in cleveland. we are told mr. trump himself will be in the convention hall to introduce his wife. that's unconventional. and on opening day, also includes tough talk on immigration, hillary clinton's leadership during the benghazi attacks as well. we share the reporting and insights. manu raju, julie pace of the "associated press," cnn's sarah morry and jackie kucinich of "the daily beast." after condemning the killing of three police officers in baton rouge yesterday, president obama offered his fellow politicians some advice. >> everyone right now focus on
words and actions that can unite this country, rather than divide it further. we don't need inflammatory rhetoric. we don't need careless accusations thrown around to score political points or to advance an agenda. we need to temper our words and open our hearts. >> but there is no question, donald trump and his political team do see a political opening. in a tweet, trump said the president "doesn't have a clue. our country," trump says, "is a divided crime scene." and this morning, calling into a fox news program, donald trump repeated a line that national party leaders have repeatedly implored him to drop. >> so, i watched the president, that sometimes the words are okay, but you just look at the body language. there's something going on. look, there's something going on. and the words are not often okay, by the way -- >> what does that mean, there's something going on? >> there's just bad feeling, and a lot of bad feeling about him.
i see it, too. there's a lot of bad feeling about him. we have a country that's -- >> you know -- go ahead. >> we have a country that's not been like this since i can remember it. >> and there we are, as we begin the convention. donald trump even before the convention officially gaveled, going off script, if you will. his team has said, national republican leaders want him to say on a careful script. they are happy to focus on law and order. they think that's a good theme, but "there's something going on there." donald trump has done this in past months about the president, people saying is he insinuating in the past, the president's a miss lum, or does the president not care? is this how donald trump will be wanting to talk on day one of a political convention some. >> it's a risk. some look at also the way he responded to the orlando attack as well, reminded me of that. almost a suggestion that the president was complicit in that attack. and clearly, that's a risk, given how tragic of a circumstance that we saw in baton rouge and we've seen in
dallas and elsewhere. but john, actually, i'm not so sure how many republicans want to stick to that tough law and order theme. a lot of republicans, particularly on capitol hill, have looked for a way to have a more bipartisan approach to criminal justice reform, be more lenient on people who are first-time offenders, get rid of mandatory minimum sentences. we're not going to hear that tonight. we're going to hear a very tough approach to crime in this country and something that he thinks the way the party should go, but maybe not everybody in the party thinks. >> but there's good reason for that. when donald trump, in past incidences like this, he noticed his poll numbers have gone up afterwards. he notices he does pretty well with poll numbers on dealing with isis, on who would be stronger protecting the country, which is stunning, considering he's running against a former secretary of state, and donald trump has no foreign policy experience to speak of whatsoever. but he still has noticed that if you talk tough on these issues, if you project an image of toughness, that's been
resonating with voters. >> right. >> and one of the things that's so interesting is in talking to paul manafort this morning, he said point blank that he does not think donald trump needs to back up this tough talk with specific policies. he thinks identifying the problem right now, pointing to the obama administration, lumping hillary clinton in with them is enough. they are looking at voters, seeing that they are angry, and they think, at this point, just presenting an alternative in terms of rhetoric is enough to push him ahead in the fall. >> but that said, this tonight is designed to present donald trump as someone who could be the commander in chief, who could have the nuclear codes and tinfoil hat conspiracy theories like he's talking about in that clip undermines that. >> undermines that, at least if you're thinking about the universe out there watching at home, independent voters, persuadable voters, the voters beyond the republican voters. donald trump has two challenges. one is to fully unify this hall. not everybody is convinced trump is one of them or convinced he's a republican or conservative,
but the biggest challenge is convincing the audience at home. we watch paul manafort, and we know they're at odds with the white house on policy things, but he did say he thinks donald trump's speech will be very much like richard nixon, 1968, a year when the country was torn apart, the saassassinations of robert kennedy and dr. martin luther king. and nixon gave a tough law-and-order speech that many viewed as part of the republican southern strategy, that say look what's happening in the streets to motivate white voters. is that what we have? >> but donald trump doesn't have a southern strategy. of course, the southern states are going to be helpful to republicans, but we're talking about a rust belt strategy which also means you need to win people who are in suburbs, you need to win the people in more urban areas. and i think the challenge for donald trump is you can come here and you can talk tough and you can be the candidate who is tough on these issues, but people right now are not buying the notion that donald trump is a unifier, because he is winning white voters, but he's at zero with black voters, because he
has said things to alienate latino voters. and you have to take that steps further if you want to be the candidate who can unite people other than just white men. >> how does it deal with the key demographic groups he's struggling with, which is suburban women or minorities, latino voters in some of those key battleground states like colorado and nevada? does it actually attract those folks? we'll have to see. >> one of the things that his campaign is starting to preview a bit is this idea that he's going to be specifically talking about, i think starting tonight, about problems in the inner cities, trying to make a direct appeal to black voters who really are just very turned off by donald trump at this point. >> and i guess that's the challenge, is do you just talk about you don't like what you've got or things are bad, look around, you need change, you want things different. that dynamic no doubt helps donald trump, whether it's the economy, whether it's shootings, unrest, people are thinking what's going on? what's going on? no question, it helps the challenger. but the bar is higher, i think. we're waiting to hear from secretary clinton as well. because normally at the conventions, these are abstract conversations. politicians are saying you
should be worried about this. these are very real in that you're seeing on your screen, three more cops gunned down in a community after dallas, after the police shootings of gentlemen in minneapolis and baton rouge. you're seeing nice on your screen, a coup in turkey. these presidential candidates over the next two weeks will be talking about how they should replace the current commander in chief and the domestic president of the united states as well, at a time when people have every right to be anxious about what's going on. >> yeah, and that's why you're seeing donald trump not afraid of saying things like the president is, you know, his body language doesn't look right because he's trying to show a clear difference with the president. and trump is seeing poll numbers that have shown he's tooulg actually viewed more favorably than hillary clinton on national security and on terrorism, which is one reason why they're going to hit that very, very hard in this convention. >> but i do think to your point that this is happening in realtime, i wonder if the campaigns bet on voters not really caring about specifics is right. because it's one thing to talk, use rhetorical flourishes at a time when people may be feeling
a certain way, but it's not directly connected to events. this is something that's happening every day. i think people may want to see something more than his talk. >> saying you're going to fight, you're going to defeat isis big league, i think is what he said last night? i mean, you can't keep saying stuff like that. it's all fun and games, until you're serious and you're talking about a commander in chief test. >> and i think that's why you're seeing a division. this rhetoric may help him with the polls and with the republican base, but we've seen a number of republicans who are foreign policy experts publicly say i'm backing hillary clinton because we know where she understands, she understands these issues, we have an idea of what policy she would put forward. and frankly, we don't trust donald trump to have any understanding of what you would need to do in this situation. and that, to the extent that the trump campaign wants to assuage the feelings of any of those folks, which you know, that's an open question, but there may be more voters who are starting to feel like that, saying okay, i do need a little meat on the bone. >> that's a key question, too,
uniting the folks. will he try to unite the folks in the hall here or does he worry about the people who are skeptical of him out there is this. >> i think we had an example last week where he went with his staff and with the advice instead of his gut, picking his vice presidential candidate. i think on these issues, he likes to go with his gut because he thinks he's right. tough talk on isis and immigration, but a soft touch from the woman who claims she knows donald trump best. the big opening night of the convention, next. your insurance company
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minutes, the republican national convention that will nominate donald trump will officially come to order. we're waiting for big events in cleveland. we're also waiting for the former secretary of state hillary clinton, the presumptive democratic nominee, to take the stage in cincinnati, ohio. secretary clinton is a little late. no surprise there. politicians often are. to address the naacp convention. we'll get her reactions to the tragic shootings of officers in baton rouge and her talk on turnout of the fall campaign. we'll take you to cincinnati live when hillary clinton makes her remarks there. back here in cleveland as we await donald trump's convention to begin, there are always conflicting goals and pressures at these presidential nominating conventions, too many to mention this week, given donald trump's wild ride to the republican nomination and his problems now pivoting as the political consultants like to say, to the general election. opening night here is no exception. there are many republican skeptics in this convention hall and watching from home. they wonder if a man who called hillary clinton once a great
secretary of state, donated to the clinton foundation, and invited bill and hillary clinton to his third wedding is really one of them, a committed conservative. so, for them, there will be a promise from the speakers to secure the border, to build a wall, and there will be a scathing critique of hillary clinton's handling of benghazi. but priority number one, the trump team says, is not only shoring up his support among base supporters. his temperament is an issue, and he has lousy numbers, frankly, among women voters. we last heard from melania trump back in april, three months ago. tonight she begins a trump family effort to present a kinder, gentler donald. >> he's hard worker, he's kind. he has a great heart. he's tough. he's smart. when you attack him, he will punch back ten times harder. no matter who you are, a man or
a woman, he treats everyone equal. he's a fighter. and if you elect him to be our president, he will fight for you and for our country. >> i'm fascinated by this. to me, it's the biggest event of opening night. a, because we haven't seen her very much. she's not out there campaigning much. when she does speak on the trail, and it's been three months, she speaks briefly. campaign aides says she's very protective of her son and cherishes her role as a mom. she had a modeling career. why inside the trump campaign do they think she is the beginning? we will get the sons, ivica introducing trump when he gets the nomination. why do they see melania as important of the urgent task of saying he's a likable guy? >> we just spoke to paul manafort before coming on set and they said when they first approached melania and asked her to give a speech, she would say no. she doesn't like to be the on campaign trail. she's not comfortable with the
political side of this. and she's not one of those spouses that is also a political adviser. but they say she was excited to do it, she wanted to do this. and the reasons are similar to what we saw in 2012 with ann romney, is this feeling that everyone in america thinks they know the person that you know the best, and they just don't see, you know, in this case, the donald trump that she gets to see at home. so, they sort of felt that this was the person who should kick it off, the person who is excited to do this, who knows donald trump so well, and who can explain, you know, my husband is a family man. this is what he has done to help raise our son and his other children together, and this is what he's like behind closed doors that you don't get to see. >> democrats, i will tell you are prepared. donald trump says this in interviews with howard stern, was joking around, and maybe he deserves some grace there, the howard stern show is a little off color, but donald trump saying, parenting, i paid money to people. and if they come out with a soft, fluffy image of donald trump, the dad, democrats are prepared to put all that stuff out on the internet again.
>> i think ivanka might be the best spokesperson for that. she'll say look at me, look what i achieved. my father made this possible and helped me spread my wings. the interesting thing also about donald trump and melania, in the joint interviews, he's very different, he's softer. you can see them interact as a couple. and i think that is helpful. that helps humanize him. so, if he's there with her on the stage or nearby, that can't help but be good for him. >> and it's all part of the larger convention strategy, to avoid having mostly politicians deliver these keynote addresses, the big, prime time addresses when everybody is carrying it and viewers are watching it, to have family members deliver the testimonials to show that, you know, to bring that side of donald trump that a lot of us don't see, and also to have some actors that we wouldn't expect, like scott baio, for instance. >> it's a lesson learned from 2012, also. because if you remember in the 2012 convention, they did have moments where they were trying humanize mitt romney. they were just in videos and formats that didn't end up on television. >> right. >> this is a very concerted
effort here to put family members in the prime time hours, having them give speeches every single night. it's consistent. >> another big part of it is national security. keep america safe will be the theme tonight under the subset of make america great again. you have general flynn, army retired, critical of the obama administration. some thought he would be vd for vp. you have joni ernst, a tea party favorite. tom cotton, again, a conservative favorite, especially on national security issues. then you also have the mother of a benghazi victim and two marines who fought in benghazi who have been harshly critical of the obama administration. again, all conventions go through this conflict. you're trying to do some soft stuff to improve the image of your candidate, but you've got to do some tough messaging here. why is this part so important to team trump? >> to discredit hillary clinton. going after hillary clinton and taking apart her record as secretary of state, which sara mentioned, there is no reason she should be losing to someone like donald trump. but if they keep on tearing down her record and emphasizing
benghazi, which is arguably, that and libya are two of the most problematic parts of her record, that's resonating. >> and what better way to unite the republican party than to unite them against hillary clinton? if you have a bunch of people who are skeptical about donald trump and his message, but you can create a narrative of people slamming hillary clinton, slamming her record, there's nothing that's going to bring republicans together more than a common enemy. >> and to that point, to the unity question, the never trump movement has largely fizzled out. but when the convention comes to order, they do have to adopt the rules, and that is one more chance for the people who don't want donald trump as the nominee -- and there are a lot of them here, i don't think nearly enough to do what they want to do -- but so, they can protest against the rules. any chance they will succeed? and we've had a sparring match today between the trump campaign and governor of ohio, john kasich, who is not going to be here, who was one of trump's rivals, who is in the city, but is not coming into the hall because he says i'm not sure i can even vote for trump. where are we on the unity issue? >> it's still an open question. you have manager and more
republicans coming to donald trump simply because he is not hillary clinton. you're hearing that messaging often, paul ryan saying this is a binary choice, hillary clinton or donald trump. so, you're hearing more of that. but there are still a lot of folks staying away from the convention because they don't want to be tied closely to donald trump, they're worried about their own re-elections back home, and that is represented by a small faction of these never trump people who are in the hall today. they can't stop donald trump from being the nominee, but they can protest, they can have theatrics, they can show that there is still some of that division within the party. but i think that's mostly among the politicians. we'll get polls largely, a lot of republican voters believe that donald trump is rightly the nominee. >> but look at what happened today, the first day of this convention here in ohio. the trump campaign started off the day targeting john kasich. kasich is not going to be here. he's going to be in and around the area but not at the convention. he's not endorsed donald trump, and it really bothers the campaign. they don't understand how he's not living up to the pledge to back the nominee. they're trying to start a fight
between kasich and rob portman, the senator of ohio who's luke-warmly endorsed trump. so, this is stirring the idea of disunity up again. >> that sounds like a misstep by paul manafort, to say that ohio governor john kasich, who is very popular here, is embarrassing his state. kasich is not appearing, but he and his team have made pains to say we're not going to disrupt the convention, we're not cheering on a delegate insurrection. and he's been relying on the chairman of the republican party to lay the groundwork here in ohio. this is one of the states where they're arguably the best organized because they are working with the republican party here. and he's been on twitter very critical of paul manafort, saying he does not know what he's talking about, i hope he does a better job going forward. these are not the kinds of relationships you want in a state as important as ohio. >> that's the question. if you get into the final weeks and you're trying to do turnout, identify voters, pull every last lever in a competitive race, that's dysfunction impact what's on election day. that's something we'll watch through the week here and
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acceptance life insurance. call massmutual today at this number. call now! welcome back to "inside politics." a live picture there, cincinnati, ohio. the 107th annual convention of the naacp. hillary clinton, the democratic nominee, soon-to-be democratic nominee for president, expected to address that group. she's running a little late. when she speaks, cnn will take you there live. proves the point that this is donald trump's big week, but that doesn't mean that hillary clinton will completely yield the stage. you'll see her courting african-american voters and has a reach-out to labor unions, and by the time the week is over, she needs to do what donald trump did last week. he put mike pence on the republican ticket. hillary clinton has to make her choice to fill the democratic ticket. used to be tradition that the other party kind of was quiet, but now that the conventions are back to back, because the stakes
are so high and because the election is so close, hillary clinton will be big in the news this week. number one, let's start with, she's going to respond to ballot rou baton rouge, talk about this crisis in america, a trust crisis and a violence crisis in our communities. inside the clinton campaign, what do they think the best contrast to donald trump is? >> i think that you're going to see her pick up on some of the comments that republicans broadly have been making, and the president has been making, about police and about the need to show more respect for police, and obviously, not turn this anger against law enforcement. but i also think you're going to see her look at this through this racial lens in a way that republicans are still a bit uncomfortable with. i think you're going to hear her talking about broader issues that inflict communities and how these divisions that we're seeing so publicly this summer, how they are really so built in right now. and these are tensions that have built up over a decade, so look for a broader message from her than simply law enforcement. >> i mentioned criminal justice
reform earlier. this has now become a big part of her campaign, particularly in the primary campaign, as she tried to sort of distance herself from bill clinton's crime bill in the early '90s that a lot of folks in the african-american community believe have led to this approach, this tension within inner city communities. so, watch her make that case, that there needs to be some reform to the criminal justice system. and some of that maybe not mentioned a whole lot tonight here. >> that is the remarkable parallel universe the two parties live in, that if you're hillary clinton, you're looking at two obama victories and you're trying to appeal to that coalition. if you're donald trump and you're trying to, number one, assert yourself as a conservative, it's a different tone on the same issue. let's stick on secretary clinton, though. if you look at battleground state polling, she's in good shape. most polls have her with a narrow lead in this race, but a very narrow lead. this is a competitive race. and like donald trump, she has some issues. here's one of them. our cnn/orc poll among bernie sanders voters, people who supported bernie sanders in the
primaries, clinton now gets 57% of their votes, donald trump gets 5%. gary johnson, the libertarian candidate, gets 23% of the votes and jill stein, the green party candidate, 12% of the votes. bernie sanders just endorsed her last week. she had the fbi director dump on her pretty hard just a little more than a week ago, so maybe some of this is a reaction, and maybe these numbers are a little higher than some other polls. but if 40% of bernie sanders' voters are shopping elsewhere, that's a problem. >> it's a huge problem for her, because you talk about the obama coalition, young people were a major part of the obama coalition. they were active supporters for bernie sanders. and i actually talked to a lot of young voters last week, was calling around. and gary johnson and jill stein are in the mix for young voters. they do not see this as a two-way race between hillary clinton and donald trump. that's scary if you're hillary clinton. >> but i also think that's why you're seeing the re-emergence of elizabeth warren a little bit. she met with hillary earlier this week. i feel like everything is blending together at this point. but she also was in a tweet
storm against donald trump again and is very much putting herself out there again. so, keeping her in contention. >> a number like that, if you keep thinking at this point, okay, where are the pressures on hillary clinton, what does she need to fill the ticket, balance the ticket, deal with a weakness, fortify a strength? that's the calculation you go through. you made the point, we had elizabeth warren -- well, let's look at the people in contention. governor hickenlooper of colorado came to see hillary clinton last week. tim kaine, the virginia senator she was with on the campaign trail. tom vilsack, former iowa governor. elizabeth warren in the middle. no accident, i guess, that she's there. the housing and urban development secretary, julian castro. and the labor secretary, tom perez. people were saying to outreach to latinos, cast rohr or perez, but if your number one issue is blue-collar, working voters, i think two speeches to labor unions this weekend as well. if that's your issue, and if you talk to michigan democrats, they tell you they are freaked. autoworke autoworkers, people like that, that the polling might say one thing.
they say you sit down in a bar with these guys and they are not voting for hillary clinton. >> there could be one issue with going with tim kaine, because he was a supporter of free trade agreement, promoter of the trade proportion authority that passed in this congress. that's one of the reasons she may be looking at people like sherrod brown of ohio, who are not on that list, but he also has a problem because john kasich is the governor of his state to name his replacement. >> any of them are problematic because if you pick up someone, you're giving something up. so if you're going after the white so-called reagan democrats, you'll aim for a different pick than if you're looking at sort of uniting a minority coalition of barack obama coalition behind you. but i remain skeptical of how much of a demographic group or how much of a state any vp picks feel, you know, will really bring you on a ticket. i think elizabeth warren is sort of the "x" factor in all of that. she's proven herself to be a very capable attack dog against donald trump, and she speaks to the bernie sanders voters in a
way that i don't think anybody else on the list does. >> but the question has always been, would hillary clinton do that? would she pick somebody that in some ways might overshadow her? >> it would be very hard to see elizabeth warren, in particular because she needs also a governing partner. how does she work with someone who has a lot of different issues in her, someone who's clearly not a dealmaker? and when you're governing and you're an execute, you have to be a dealmaker. >> i agree. i think it's less likely she picks warren than any of the other candidates on the list. but one thing to keep in mind, in clinton headquarters, there is nothing that has energized that group of people more than elizabeth warren and seeing how she gets under donald trump's skin. they think she is incredibly effective, more than anyone else, really. >> one interesting thing we'll see this week is the president of the united states. and the white house said today, this is just a coincidence. part of it's the calendar. the president's having an event to mark a key date on the muslim religious calendar this week. but then on friday, the day after the republican convention ends, the president of mexico is coming to the white house. now, the white house says this
is just a coincidence, that after donald trump's convention, and i think we're going to hear once or twice that he would like to build a wall and he wants mexico to pay for it. is this mischief by the president? >> you can only think of it that way, because if you remember, these two just met in canada at a north american leaders summit. it's not as if they haven't seen for a while, so the timing is curious. >> that goes back to the vp picks. there are a few hispanic potential candidates on that list. she may not even need to go that route to get the latino vote, because trump is doing very poorly, way worse than mitt romney who got what, only 27% of the vote in 2012? and we saw what happened to him, especially in the key battleground states. >> if you look behind me, you can see the floor is filling in. the republican convention will be gaveled in in about 23 minutes, if my math is right. they're filing into the halls. up next, we hear from our reporters notebooks, including surprises that top convention planners say, well, they have no
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we're still waiting for secretary of state, former secretary of state hillary clinton to speak to the naacp in cincinnati, ohio. we are told she is just moments away. we will take you there live once she starts to speak. as always on "inside politics," let's ask our reporters to share something from their notebooks, get you ahead of the big political news just around the corn corner. manu? >> we talked about john kasich earlier in the show, the trump campaign not happy with him, but also a number of ohio delegates are not happy with him either. i talked with some of them, including the republican congressman from the cleveland area, jim rinasi, who said "i think republicans are too happy with proving a point versus coming together to win." so you're hearing a message of upty and frustration from delegates here in ohio about
their governor. >> we'll see if kasich changes his plans, but doesn't look like it. he's stubborn. i've known him for a while. >> one of the reasons they're excited about having mike suspense on the ticket is because suspense likes to fund-raise. trump is getting more comfortable asking people for money but still loathes the process in general. and one adviser told me that when trump learned of pence's fund-raising skills, he said "do i have a job for you." so there are some donors who would like to hear from pence more than trump, but donors also like to know the top of the ticket is invested. so he risks turning this completely over to pence. >> we know the republicans are behind in money, so that matters. sara? >> all eyes of course are here on the convention, but while this is happening, the trump campaign is preparing for this august push in battleground states. now, they've of course gotten a lot of flack about their ground game and not having as much of a presence as clinton. they say they're never going to have as big of a footprint as hillary clinton and barack obama, but they don't need it. but they are going to release today a list of state directors, advisers in more than a dozen battleground states that include
places like michigan and maine. they feel like they're laying the groundwork. and you're going to see much more of the traditional blocking and tackling starting in august. and they are pushing back hard against this narrative that they are anywhere behind in the ground game. >> jackie? >> donald trump has promised a convention full of surprises, but usually you don't have the rnc also being surprised. this time they're having to go with the flow because they're dealing with a nominee who is extending invitations and deciding to show up whenever he wants. scott baio wasn't on the ticket until recently and that's because trump just invited him. so, we're all waiting with bated breath, not just us, but the rnc. >> scott baio, why? >> why not? >> i guess we'll find out. who's not here in cleveland is as big of a part of conversation as who is attending. many republican luminaries, you probably heard, are skipping, including the two former republican living presidents, george h.w. bush or george bush, or as called in family lingo, 41 and 43. they will not be here in cleveland, but they were also
not in tampa for mitt romney four years ago. for 41, george w. bush, that ended his streak of appearing at eight consecutive gop conventions. another family streak ends this week in cleveland. the former presidents bush did not speak in tampa four years ago, but jeb bush did. jeb is also not coming to trump's coronation, so the streak will end right here. at least one bush has spoken at every republican convention since 1980. we're still waiting to hear hillary clinton speaking in cincinnati. she is speaking now at the naacp convention. let's listen. >> more black men killed in police incidents, this time in louisiana and minnesota. and then in dallas, five police officers killed while serving and protecting peaceful protesters, targeted because they were police. and then, of course, yesterday,
three police officers murdered in an apparent premeditated ambush in baton rouge. this madness has to stop. watching the news from baton rouge yesterday, my heart broke. not just for those officers and their grieving families, but for all of us. we have difficult, painful, essential work ahead of us to repair the bonds between our police and our communities and between and among each other. we need one another. to do this work.
and we need leaders like the naacp. we need police officers to help us make progress. these murders threaten all of that. killing police officers is a terrible crime. that's why our laws treat the murderers of police so seriously, because they represent the rule of law itself. if you take aim at that and at them, you take aim at all of us. anyone who kills a police officer and anyone who helps must be held accountable. and as president, i will bring the full weight of the law to bear in making sure those who kill police officers are brought to justice. there can be no justification, no looking the other way. we all have to make sure and
pray it ends. the officers killed yesterday in baton rouge were named montrell jackson, matthew gerald, brad garafola. when they died, they were responding to a call about a man with a gun. how many families, how many more families would be paying the price if we did not have brave men and women answering those calls? that's why i'm haunted by the image of what the officers in dallas were doing when they died, protecting a peaceful march, talking with the protesters. where would our democracy be without courageous people willing to do that? so we all need to be partners in making law enforcement as secure
and effective as it needs to be. that means investing in our police, in training on the proper use of force, especially lethal force. how to avoid using force to resolve incidents. [ applause ] officer safety and wellness, everything they need to do their jobs right and rebuild trust with their communities. i've said from the beginning of my campaign, that will be my priority as president. and perhaps the best way to honor our police is to follow the lead of police departments across the country who are striving to do better. the deaths of alton and philando drove home how urgently we need
to make reforms to policing and criminal justice. how we cannot rest until we root out implicit bias and stop the killings of african-americans. because there is, as you know so well, another hard truth at the heart of this complex matter. many african-americans fear the police. i can hear you. some of you in this room. and today there are people all across america sick over what happened in baton rouge and in dallas but also fearful that the murders of police officers means that vital questions about police-community relations will go unanswered.
now, that is a reasonable fear, isn't it? and all of this tells us very powerfully that we have to chan change. many police officers across the country agree with that. but it can only happen if we build trust and accountability. and let's admit it, that gets harder every time someone else is killed. so now is the time for all good people who agree that the senseless killings must end, to stand up, speak out loudly and clearly. i know that the naacp and so many of you individually will do all you can to help our nation heal and start the work together to meet these challenges. we must reform our criminal justice system, because everyone
is safer when there is respect for the law and when everyone is respected by the law. and let's admit it, there is clear evidence that african-americans are disproportionately killed in police incidents compared to any other group. and african-american men are far more likely to be stopped and searched by police, charged with crimes and sentenced to longer prison terms than white men convicted of the same offenses. these facts tell us something is profoundly wrong. we can't ignore that, we can't wish it away.
we have to make it right. that means end-to-end reform in our criminal justice system, not half measures, but a full commitment with real follow-through. that's why the very first speech i gave in this campaign back in april of 2015 was about criminal justice reform. and the next president should make a commitment to fight for the reforms we so desperately need. holding police departments like ferguson accountable. requiring accurate data on in-custody deaths, like sandra bland! creating clear national guidelines on the use of force,
especially lethal force! supporting independent investigations of fatal encounters with the police. so, i pledge to you, i will start taking action on day one and every day after that until we get this done! and you know what? when the 24-hour news cycle moves on, i won't. this is too important. this goes to the heart of who we are. this is about our character as americans.
that's why we also need to fix the crisis of mass incarceration, eliminate the disparity in sentencing between crack and powder cocaine, dismantle the school to prison pipeline that starts in school and diversity too many african-american kids out of school and into the criminal justice system, instead of giving them the education they deserve to have! and we need to do what all of us need to do, and i look forward to working with the naacp. we need to do a much better job helping people who have paid their debt to society find jobs and support when they get out!
you know, america is well known, and we want to be a land of second chances. but so many americans never had a first chance to begin with. so, let's give everyone a fair chance at rebuilding their lives. as abraham lincoln said, give everyone a fair chance in the race of life. my plan would make significant investments in re-entry programs for those formally incarcerated. and i will ban the box in the federal government.
people deserve a real shot at an interview, instead of being told no right out of the gate. and then beyond criminal justice, we must, we must fight for common-sense reforms to stop gun violence. >> you've been listening to hillary clinton speaking at the naacp convention in cincinnati, ohio, not far from where we are. we're just a little while away in cleveland. we're here inside the convention hall. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer reporting. as this republican national convention kicks off today, the gavel will drop in just a few minutes to get all the action officially started. the theme for this convention will be make america safe again, and that includes the national security and immigration.
several top republicans will speak on those issues throughout the day and into the evening. former texas governor rick perry among them, along with senators jeff sessions, tom cotton and joni ernst. also, former new york city mayor rudy giuliani will be speaking tonight. retired lieutenant general michael flynn, the former head of the defense intelligence agency, had been under consideration for the vice presidential slot. also speaking tonight is pat smith. she is the mother of shawn smith, one of four americans who were killed during that attack in benghazi, libya. two u.s. marine corps vet rands who fought in the benghazi battle will also speak. but the headliner tonight will be melania trump, donald trump's wife and prospective first lady of the united states, if, in fact, he is elected. donald trump certainly has pinned a lot of his hopes on her. and you see what's going on the
floor. pretty soon we'll be seeing all of this unfold. it's an important moment right now. the gavel will be called to order. reince priebus, the chairman of the republican national committee, he will introduce that call to order. there will be a presentation of colors by the cuyahoga county veterans. that is the county here in cleveland. presentation of colors by the cuyahoga county veterans, and then there will be the national anthem. an invocation of the chaplain from ohio, there will be a retirement of colors, a musical. there will be a business session that takes place on the floor of the republican national convention in cleveland. we have an extensive panel of guests, analysts, reporters who are with us here. we'll be covering all of this as we watch it unfold. david gregory, you're among the panel. this is an important moment, because it's officially going to
be not only the republican national convention, but the trump national convention. his fingerprints are all over this agenda. >> all over this, because this is now donald trump's republican party. and if there are republicans around the country, official capacity or otherwise, they have to get right with that. and this is an opportunity for trump to do something he has not done up until now, which is really unify the party. that's a lot of what this convention is about. and the other opportunity he has, as you well know, wolf, is to command the stage, as he will do over the next few days, to kind of reset the image, the proposals that he wants to put forward. >> all right. reince priebus about to call to order. >> this convention will come to order! delegates and alternates, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the 2016 republican national convention. before we end the official business of this convention, i'd like to take a