tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN September 8, 2016 5:00pm-6:01pm PDT
>> reporter: jeanne moos, cnn, new york. >> thank you so much as always for joining us. don't forget, watch "outfront" anytime, anywhere on cnn go. "a.c. 360" begins right now. bre tonight. a new batch of battleground state polls shows a tight race getting tighter in key states. the presidential election now exactly two months away and the first debate in less tan three weeks. the two candidates about as different as two people can be. we got a taste of that and what the debates may bring last night at a commander in chief forum. and the reaction especially to the claims made by donald trump has been reverberating now for almost 24 hours. both candidates spent the day on the campaign trail clarifying some of their positions, doubling down on others and most definitely taking aim at each other. our senioe senior political correspondent, brianna keilar, joins us with the latest. clinton spending today defending what she said last night. what did she focus on? >> that's right. what she said last night, a promise, she's clearly sensitive to her iraq war vote still and
promised there would be no ground troops used if iraq or syria. and she's gotten some criticism from people who say she's taking an important option off of the table here, anderson. she said that she would support american troops, special forces, doing reconnaissance assisting, indigenous or local forces and providing advisory roles which is the terminology currently used by the white house. some also thought that by not acknowledging that some special forces are currently in combat situations in iraq and syria, she was also, you know, sort of perpetuating this idea that there are no troops who are in harm's way. in fact, they are. some of them have actually died. dru donald trump hitting her on this saying she's telegraphing isis, she commented on donald trump not having a firm grasp of the facts when it comes to national security and the issues that were discussed last night. >> trump had an event earlier today. he also tried to address some of
the things that were said in the forum last night. >> that's right. this is the one that really bothers the clinton campaign the most. it was his claim last night that he was totally against the war in iraq. it is not true, and that went un fact checked last night during the forum. donald trump, listen to this today, saying the same thing. >> i opposed going in, and i did oppose it. despite the media saying no, yes, no. i opposed going in. and i opposed the reckless way hillary clinton took us out. along with president obama. letting isis fill that big, terrible void. but i was opposed to the war from the beginning. long after my interview with howard stern. >> that interview in 2002 with howard stern where he said he was for the war, and what he really hangs his hat on, anderson, is a 2004 interview
with "esquire" magazine where he says that he was against it. now, he in that article voices concerns about how the war had been conducted, but "esquire," itself, has been very clear about the fact that he wasn't against it. in fact, there was an editor's note put out today saying that donald trump has repeatedly claimed to have been against the war because of this article that was in 2004 and this editor's note says this is 2004 during the article and also he doesn't actually say that he's against the war. it was 2003 when the war started, so they say the timeline completely nullifies his claim. >> yeah. brianna keilar, thanks very much. one of trump's most surprising remarks, perhaps inflammatory remarks to some was russian president -- about vladimir putin, the man accused of war crimes, violations of international law, saying he's more of a leader than the current president of the united states. when asked to elaborate, trump said putin called him brilliant so he'll take the compliment and say great things back. how to break with that view and still support their party's nominee. mana raju reports.
>> reporter: the reviews for donald trump were in a word, rough. senate foreign relations chairman bob corker is a trump supporter. but not so supportive of trump's praising of vladimir putin. >> i think, you know, one has to be careful to let flattery influence how you feel about someo someone. we obviously have tremendous differences in our two countries' national interest. there are things that we should be aligned with them on like the fight against terrorism, but, you know, he's been fairly ruthless. >> trump is making the mistake for the ages of thinking that putin is a good leader and a constructive force. >> reporter: house speaker paul ryan and other republicans distancing themselves from trump's remarks, but trying to avoid criticizing their party's nominee. >> vladimir putin is an aggressor that does not share our interests and that is an
adversarial stance and he's acting like an adversary. >> are you concerned, though, about trump praising vladimir putin? >> i made my points about putin clear right there. i'll leave it at that. >> reporter: republican john mccain in a tough re-election in arizona where he needs to win over trump backers declining to wade in. what do you think about trump praising putin last night? >> i don't have any comments to make. i've been busy with the defense authorization bill and that's been the focus of all my attention and i did not observe what happened. >> reporter: but you obviously have been very critical of putin. >> what's that? >> reporter: you've obviously been very critical of putin. >> of course, i have. he's a murderer and thug. >> reporter: rob portman in a battle back home to save his seat criticizing putin and obama. >> i think we have to restore american leadership. >> reporter: the fallout comes as republicans debate trump's temperament. namely whether he can be trusted with the nuclear codes. some like senator majority
leader mitch mcconnell and nevada congressman joe heck, who's running for the senate, are behind trump. >> you're completely supporting -- >> i am. >> reporter: do you trust him having his finger on the nuclear button? >> i do. >> reporter: why do you say that? >> why wouldn't i? >> reporter: others won't answer the question. do you trust him having his finger on the nuclear button? >> i support the republican nominee. >> my race is about me. >> reporter: are you comfortable with him as -- having his finger on the puck lnuclear button? and ted cruz who famously declined to endorse him at the presidential election, talking about his former rival. do you have concerns with trump praising putin last night? you want to weigh in at all? anderson, even though trump continues to put his party in an awkward spot, many republicans are simply feeling a lot better about his improving poll numbers. the number two senate republican, john cornyn, told me that the tightening margin in battleground states gives their party a strong chance of keeping
the senate. they just are worried that if trump continues to make controversial statements, it could make their re-election races even tougher. anderson? >> manu, thanks very much. a lot to talk about with our panel. joining me tonight cnn political commentator, christine quinn who supports hillary clinton. former trump campaign manager, corey lewandowski. cnn political analyst, "the new york times" national political reporter, alex persons. spokesperson for moveon.org, colleen who supports clinton. and andre bower who supports trump. it's interesting, alex, we saw both candidates kind of doing cleanup today. was the forum a home run for either one of them? >> i don't think it was. i do think in this debate over russia and trump's comments about vladimir peutin, you see which candidate added something new to the presidential debate. hillary clinton was on the defensive over her e-mails last night. clearly that issue has not been put to rest. it was trump both on russia, his comments about american generals, his comments about
sexual assault in the military i think provided more new material for democrats and you saw hillary clinton really pouncing on the opportunity in a way we have not seen her do really since the democratic convention. >> corey, trup trdonald trump c out today essentially fact checking hillary clinton, what she said about his record on the iraq war. he continues to say he was always against the war. there was this interview on howard stern where he said, stern say, are you for invading iraq? trump says, yeah, i guess so, you know, i wish at the time it was done correctly, first time. >> that's right. he also refers to a january 2003 interview he did with neil cavuto on fox, two full months before the war started. his quote was, perhaps we shouldn't be doing it. that's his exact quote when asked about the iraq war. >> that's not saying -- >> yeah, i guess so, isn't really an overall endorsement. the war started on march 19th, 2013. he was on neil ca vurvuto in jay of 2013 saying we shouldn't be doing this. to go on, howard stern says, i
even favor, yeah, i guess so. not really a ringing endorsement. he's been very clear that he has been opposed to the war and hasn't changed from that position. >> that's not very clear. christine, to you, is it very clear? >> it's not very clear at all. i mean, he said on howard stern, yeah, i think so. >> is this our news source, howard stern is where we're getting our news from? >> that's what donald trump appeareding on. >> he said yeah, i guess so. >> that's the only one who happened to ask him at the time. >> he went on howard stern's show so it's really not fair for him supporters to say that's not a legitimate place to go. i wouldn't go on howard stern's show, but other people would. if you go on any show -- if you go on any show, you are stuck with what you said on that show. that's a validation of that reporter he went to. you can't throw it away. i think one of the most significant facts we heard tonight is the stance that "vanity fair" taking. donald trump has repeatly referred to that interview as the one where he made it clear. which he didn't. and for a magazine to go as far as an editor's note -- >> "vanity fair" he said the
wars are a mess. that was five days after the invasion had begun. >> i mean, so that -- for them to take that step -- even trump supporters have to accept he changed his position. >> five days after the war started he said to "vanity fair" the war is a mess. january 2013, he said to neil cavuto on fox, "perhaps we shouldn't be doing it. "that was his answer. >> talking about where we should go to dinner, perhaps we should get chinese. >> he also said -- >> perhaps we should delete our e-mails. >> neil, we are in, we went in, had to find them. if he was alive, had to find him. you know they fulfilled the pledge. people are going to say we shouldn't be there regardless and have other visitors saying, well, we were there and have to do the best. we were there regardless of what should have been done. i mean, he's not exactly, you
know, making a brave, clear stand, i'm against the war. >> he's also not taking a steadfast position where i voted for the war and support it 100%. there's no question, it's unequivocally. hillary clinton supported the war. she's admitted to supporting the war. >> when you're not in a leadership position, you're able to vacillate back and forth and say, well perhaps we should, perhaps we shouldn't have. aren't you? >> well, the other thing i was going to say is he was a private citizen then. he wasn't getting intel briefings. so he didn't have all the information, anyway. >> i get that, but why now say this is what i said when, in fact, that's not what you said? he speaks to gloss over the howard stern thing completely. >> well, i think his feeling is that, when you look back at it, he wasn't for it. i guess, even then he really didn't even get a resounding endorsement to go. it sounded like even then he didn't feel comfortable in going. >> but it's, again, i appreciate what you said about not having the briefings. i think that is a fair point. but it's not what he felt he said. it's what he said. and it's on the record and even
reaffirmed by "vanity fair" on the record. >> let's just listen to what he said. >> are you for invading iraq? >> yeah, i guess so. you know, i wish it was -- i wish the first time it was done correctly. >> okay. i mean, you can take -- coreen, how do you take it? >> i think that's the main problem with donald trump, he can't apologize or at least say i maede a mistake. i understand he didn't have the briefings and wasn't an elected official. say, i was wrong, i made a mistake and let's not move on. he's not in the business of apologizing. >> he's also against the way the u.s. pulled out but he also was on larry king's show and other shows saying we should get out, who cares, it's going to be civil war, somebody worse is going to get in. declare victory, what they did in vietnam, declare victory and get out.
>> a buzz businesinessowner, be a question about foreign policy -- >> i get that. >> what you have instead is hillary clinton -- >> i get that. just why now say i said something else when, in fact, that's not what they said? >> he could say, you know, i was a private businessfern person at time. maybe i shouldn't have answered because iton have full information. >> that's right. >> i have more information, this is what i think now. that would be fine. one could accept that. they could also have accepted him saying i don't have enough info to answer but let's talk about real estate, i have info. to pretend and almost think the american people aren't smart enough to follow the record is insulting and really, i think, offensive to voters who see that record and it's okay to change your position, but it's not okay to kind of exist in this gas -- >> his position on neil cavuto in january of 2003, perhaps with we shouldn't be doing it, perhaps we should be waiting for the united nations to go in there first. that's what he said. that doesn't mean he supports it.
>> you used that as proof he was against -- >> you heard his own audio on the howard stern show. this is -- yeah, i guess so. right? >> you're pointing to, saying perhaps this, perhaps that. you know -- >> i can i just -- >> he goes on to say i think the economy is a much bigger problem than the iraq situation. that's what our focus should be. that's what he's talking about. something he knows more about as a businessowner. he's saying we should be focusing more on the economy than this iraq issue. >> you know what's curious to me, very similar to the way he answered the howard stern question, if we go back to when chris matthews asked him about whether women who shave abortios should be held criminally accountable, he gave that same kind of wait a second, think it through and answer. an answer that was completely outrageous targeting women who had pabortions and had to backpedal that. >> let her finish. >> he has a record of answering things that he hasn't thought through then moving forward
in -- >> i want corey to respond. >> as a business executive, donald trump did not have the authorization to put our troops in harm's way, which hillary clinton did by authorizing the iraq war. people died because of her vote. that's the bottom line. >> what led him to say he supported it then in the same chris matthews case, led him to say -- >> karine then we got to go. >> to the point, another example is the birther movement. he was asked about it a couple of days. he was like, no one cares about that. why can't he say, i apologize, right? he's having this faux african-american outreach. he can never do this. >> this is like saying i turned over all my e-mail, right, oh, i was honest, i turned over all my e-mail, not the 15,000, this is about yoga, and chelsea, you mine t mean the benghazi ones? >> you wouldn't really know where she stood. >> what did she say, did i wipe the server clean with a cloth? >> this is actually about -- >> this is actually about --
>> then she hammered 15 devices with a hammer to make sure -- >> actually, again, for the record, it was -- somebody on her staff did, yes. >> i understand why the trump campaign wants to constantly pivot back to e-mails. i get it. but this is about what donald trump -- this is about donald trump's record on the iraq war. and what he said. when he wasn't a candidate and he was a candidate. and you know what, he has to bear up to those statements, those words, not twist them and manipulate them into a pretzel. >> we got to take a quick break. there's a lot to talk about coming up in the next two hours. after trump said he could tell by body language that officials at intel briefings weren't happy with president obama, there's new breaking news about what went on behind closed doors at that briefing. that's next. later, new polling from key battleground states showing clinton's lead shrinking. we're going to take a look at the numbers, how we got there and whether clinton's strategy will have to change and what donald trump is doing. ase givese allergy relief. most allergy pills
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hey, welcome back. today there's breaking news about what went on behind closed doors at donald trump's recent intelligence briefings. one of the advisers he brought to the meeting, mike flynn, another of trump's advisers, new jersey governor chris christie had to step in to get him to calm down. this is coming on the heels of wret another of trump's controversial claims when he was asked to characterize what he learned at the intelligence briefings. >> what i did learn is our leadership, barack obama, did not follow what our experts and
our truly, when they call it intelligence, it's there for a reason, what our experts said to do. and i was very, very surprised. in almost every instance, and i could tell, i have pretty good with the body language, i could tell they were not happy. our leaders did not follow what they were recommending. >> jake tapper asked foreign relations chairman senator bob corker about this today. here's what he said. >> i certainly have not been involved in those briefings, and i, again, i -- you're putting me in a sort of a personality referee position which is not a position that i should be in or want to be in, and really i'm more of a public policy person, as you know. typically, i will say, with intelligence briefings, they really attempt not to try to give you a direction. they try to keep it to, you know, the facts of the intelligence gathering. >> joins me now, former cia
intelligence officer, david pries,author. also with u.s. cnn counterterrorism analyst, former fbi and cia senior official, phillip mudd. phillipfor a presidential candidate to say what donald trump said last night, were you surprised? what do you make of it? >> i wasn't surprised. i was offended. there's a simple way, anderson, the intelligence business is done. mr. trump was suggesting that the intelligence officers who spoke to him violated a fundamental principle. let's take iran as an example. as a briefer, you walk into a candidate, trump or clinton, and you say, here's our picture of the iranian nuclear program. the white house has options, sanction iran, bomb iran, try to negotiate with iran. it is not the job of the cia to either explain to mr. trump what the white house is doing, or to defend what the white house is doing. what mr. trump suggested was that those briefers violated the principle that any intelligence officer lives by. you explain the problem, the
policy guys explain how they're solving the problem. anybody who saw that from the cia, the fbi, elsewhere, has got to be offended. >> i mean, it sounds like, i mean, if nbc's report is correct, that general flynn was upset. i don't know if donald trump was talking about general flynn's body language rather than the briefers who were actually giving him the data. >> i don't understand what happened here, but let me explain the process. this is not a requirement that clinton and trump receive a briefing. this is historically a courtesy. the white house over decades has said each candidate receives information from the cia. so an officer walks in to someone who is a candidate of a party and says, here's how to understand china, here's how to understand russia. to suggest that an individual in that room is aggressive enough to start interrupting a candidate repeatedly suggests to me the candidate doesn't understand what this is about. this is about an information
briefing. it's not about violating the courtesy of the room. >> we should point out that chris christie and general flynn have issued statements denying nbc's reporting that -- they're both denying that it happened, that it isn't true. david, what do you make of what donald trump said? i mean, are you surprised? are you offended as phil is? >> it's certainly a surprise. as a former intelligence briefer, myself, that is a fine line you don't cross. it is an ethical responsibility to brief the intelligence assessment, the best analysis you have. you do not cross the line into policy. to state that that has happened in some way, whether verbal or nonverbal, that's not the way we're trained. >> so as a briefer, would you give body language clues about how you really felt about something? >> no, in fact, we do the opposite. there are few career tracks within the cia more aware, self-aware, than briefers. people who have to be aware of the message they're sending, the messages they're not sinending.
it also includes things like expressions. you make sure you're not communicating one message via another medium versus another medium. >> hillary clinton went after, not surprisingly, went after donald trump on this today. she actually spoke about briefin briefings she was given in 2008 from the bush white house about iraq withdrawal plans. the clinton camp for their part pushing back on the point today saying there's a difference between an intel security briefing and an iraq policy briefing by then-president bush's department of defense. phil, do you agree with that? >> yeah, i do. there's a fundamental difference between going in and saying here's the picture, for example, of opposition to american forces in iraq. that might be conducted by the cia. in the military coming in and saying here's our military posture in iraq, and how we're responding to a buildup of opposition. very different, what's going on on the ground, how does u.s. respond to that problem? two different briefings, anderson.
>> anderson, let me add to that, too. let me add, it appears that the briefing hillary clinton was talking about back in fwait 2008 was the briefing from the department of defense on policy and she got that because of the fact she was a senator. this is not the customary intelligence briefing that phil was just talking about. >> all right. david, phil mudd, thanks very much. new polls show a tightening race in four battleground states. john king breaks it down by numbers. does clinton's shrinking lead signal it's time for a strategy reset? details ahead. escape your nasal allergies... try clarispray. from the makers of claritin. clarispray provides 24-hour, prescription strength relief from sneezing, runny nose, and nasal congestion. return to the world. try clarispray today. but when we brought our daughter home, that was it. now i have nicoderm cq. the nicoderm cq patch with unique extended release technology helps prevent your urge to smoke all day. it's the best thing that ever happened to me. every great why needs a great how.
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this is the new comfort food. and it starts with foster farms simply raised chicken. california grown with no antibiotics ever. let's get comfortable with our food again. got more breaking news, with the general election now just 61 days away, there's new polling tonight shows the race is tightening nb key battleground states. gary johnson, libertarian party candidate, polling in the double digits in two key states. whether that support holds after his stumble today remains to be seen, a stumble about aleppo. during an interview on msnbc, he was asked about the crisis in aleppo. here's how that went. >> what would you do if you were elected about aleppo? >> about -- >> aleppo. >> and what is aleppo? >> you're kidding. >> no. >> aleppo is in syria.
it's the -- it's the epicenter of the refugee crisis -- >> okay, got it. got it. >> okay. >> well, with regard to syria, i do think that it's a mess. >> gary johnson was pretty much skewered over that gaffe. too early to tell if it's going to affect his poll numbers going forward. john king, though, is here to break down tonight's new poll. four new major battleground state polls. >> they show us, anderson, as the national poll showed us the other night, a tightening race as we go into the final 60 days. quinnipiac university, in pennsylvania, a few state for the democrats in presidential politics going back to the '80s. yes, clinton leads but by just five points. in ohio, republicans don't win the presidency without it. donald trump up four points in the quinnipiac polling. north carolina, obama won it in 2008 and lost it to romney in 2012. four-point clinton lead there. close competitive race. florida, the closest of all the states in 2012, a tie. the third-party candidates are
include ed here. gary johnson, 14% in ohio, 15% in north carolina. we'll see if his lab lack of seyrian knowledge will hurt him. >> for weeks we've been talking about the advantage has when it comes to the state-by-state outlook. is that no longer the case? >> no question when you look at battleground states like colorado, virginia, still advantage clinton. look at the trend line in the race as we go into the final months and lead up to the first debate. the real clear politics average. august 15th, a coupliuouple wee in pennsylvania on average, she was up by nine. now it's six. in ohio, she was up by two on average. now it's a tie. north carolina, it was two. now it's one. in florida, it was three. now it's a tie. in three important battleground states, four most important battleground states at least from the trump perspective, the race is tightening without a doubt. >> you called this trump path "a." what is that? >> it is inside his campaign,
when you talk to his advisers, day view this as his most plausible, only path to 270. here's where we have the race right now, anderson. if the election were today, cnn believes secretary clinton would win. she would get at least 273 electoral votes, the dark blue and lighter blue on this map right here. look at the gold tossup states. they include three we just talked about. if donald trump can win florida, if he can win north carolina and if he can win ohio, those are big ifs. i'm not saying it would be easy. he's competitive. if you just saw that polling. if he gets those three, he's up to 253. the fourth state we just talked about, pennsylvania. clinton goes over the top now because we lean pennsylvania in her favor. five-point lead for clinton. if donald trump can find a way to flip that one, that's 273 for donald trump. that's the presidency, anderson. that's plan "a "can in the trump campaign. >> does all this suggest the clinton campaign needs a correction course? ju
i want to bring in gloreria borr and kristen powers. how concerned are you about these tightening polls? >> i think you're very concerned. what you're going to see them do is kind of reach out now beyond what they've been doing. what they've been doing is going on the attack against donald trump. you saw hillary clinton do that this morning after the commander in chief forum saying he was scary and that he's dangerous. and what they are thinking, though, in the clinton campaign is, okay, voters who don't like trump now know why they don't like him. they get that. they now believe they have to give voters an affirmative reason to say, okay, i'm going to cast my ballot for hillary clinton. so she went to the national baptist convention today, talked about her faith. she's going to have a bipartisan foreign policy, national security forum trying to reach out to kind of more moderate voters. and we also saw her in a couple of blogs today talking about her
personal side, how her husband is a more natural politician than she is and she has to work a little bit harder at it, kind of opening up a little bit and they're hoping that this will help them with those persuadable voters out there. >> you know, kirsten, from the beginning of this clinton has always said, said it again today, they've always expected a close race. she feels she's in a strong position, those were her words. but would the campaign be trying to sort of recalibrate or opening up to the press, for instance, in the way they had if they, indeed, felt she was in a strong position? >> i think the fact they did that shows us they feel they had to do something a little bit different. she was also under a lot of heat for that. i think finally was worn down by it and i think they realized as well that that probably fed into the feeling she wasn't trustworthy, if you're not going to make yourself available to the media, you're not going to seem very trustworthy. i think they have been spending a lot of time, it's been pretty negative in terms of attacking trump, getting in arguments with
trump, frankly over things that don't make sense. it doesn't make sense for her to be getting into arguments with him about whether he supported the iraq war or not because she supported the iraq war. it's one of the things the democrats don't like about her. the fact he supported it, she brought that up last night at the presidential forum, and gets in this back and forth with him, doesn't really do anything to help her because it just reminds people that she supported the iraq war and, frankly, his criticism of the iraq war is much more -- is much stronger than any criticism you hear coming from here. >> john, when do races basically lock in or start to lock in? is there time which wherever they are is where they're likely going to be on election day? do some remain volatile all the way to the very end? >> we've been talking about this for months. there's a danger in takiing thi race and comparing it to any race we had for because of both candidates. both candidate have strength. both have weaknesses. one of the remarkable things about this race is some things are pretty locked in. if you look at the polling data, for example, donald trump struggles with nonwhite voters, seems to be locked in. donald trump's success with
white voters seemed to be pretty locked in. the education gap is startling. she does well with those who have a college education. she does very well with those who don't. those seem locked in. even state by state, is comes down to a percentage of groups. independents are swinging. since the conventions, hillary clinton had them after the two conventions. they're swinging back toward donald trump right now. she has an advantage when you go state by state. it's mitt romney woke up on election day 2012 thinking he was sfwogo to win. it was that close. florida was very close, ohio was very close. only pennsylvania was only five points. who's going to win part of this race is not locked in. >> it is interesting, gloria, i mentioned this a little bit. clinton wrote something today on this blog, "humans of new york" and i want to read a bit of it. she wrote in part "sometimes i think i come off more in the walled off arena, if i create that perception, i take responsibility. i don't view myself as cold or
unemotional. if that's sometimes the perception i create, i can't blame people for thinking that. this is clearly, as we just discussed part of a recalibration or an effort to kind of win over some people who are undecided. or dubious. >> you know, it's difficult to be on the attack all the time, all the time, all the time. when you're trying to convince skeptical voters to effectively like you. she knows what her trust numbers are. she knows that's a problem. and i think that they've really decided to take this turn to a larger context. to provide her vision for the presidency. to provide her vision for the nation. to move it to a different level here because i think they understand that voters are sick and tired of it and that they believe she can do this a lot better than donald trump can do this, who would like to be battling all the time. and i think she does understand that she needs to figure out a
way to, if you will, humanize herself. i mean, that happened at the convention through her husband and her daughter, but they understand that she still needs to continue to do this for whatever reason. >> you know, kirsten, as we look at these tightening poll numbers, it just, again, reaffirms how important these upcoming debates are going to be. >> uh-huh. t definitely. if you look at when she was doing well after the democratic convention, i don't think things went so well for her at the republican convention. remember, that was a very aspirational message. it was when they go low, we go high. and i think they need to try to get back to that message a little bit. her problem, of course, is that a lot of her voters, lot of voters, frankly, on both sides, are motivated by their dislike of the other candidate. so, you know, more than an affirmative vote for the person that they're choosing and so she does need to still highlight the negatives about donald trump, but needs to find that balance of also being aspirational and upbeat and talking about herself
and i hate that word, but humanizing herself the way she did -- >> me, too. >> -- at the convention. >> kirsten powers, thank you, gloria bornlger, john king. just ahead, new polling on which candidate voters expect to do better and what that says about how both candidates might want to prepare for their face-offs. mornin'. hey, do you know when the game starts? 11 hours. oh. well, i'm heading back to my room. oh, wi-fi password?
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the first of three presidential debates is now less than three weeks away, and tonight there's breaking news on who voters expect to do best. in a new cnn/orc poll, 53% of likely voters said they expect hillary clinton will do a better job in debates. 43% said donald trump will do better. keep in mind the poll was conducted before last night's presidential forum which was kind of a preview of the game they might bring to the actual debates. joining me now, two debate pros. cnn senior political commentator, former obama senior adviser, david axelrod. also former romney campaign adviser, stewart stevens. so david, while trump's often criticized because of his tone, you thought secretary clinton could use prepping in that respect after last night's forum. >> well, what clearly happened there, she got hit with a number of questions right at the top about e-mail then they went to the first questioner who also
asked about e-mail and i think in a half-hour show, she felt that too much was being placed on that one question and she was irritated and her irritation showed throughout as she was asked -- answering the other questions. i think it hurt her and i think there's a lesson in that for her as she prepares for these debates. you have to be able to shake those things off. >> you can't allow irritation even if it's justifiable in some cases to kind of impact your performance overall. >> no, i think it's really, really important because she was there to address this room of veterans and when you start answering questions in an irritated tone, it s's as if you're speaking to them in irritation and that's very counterproductive. i thought she got thrown off her game by the way that whole forum opened. >> stewart, what'd you see last night with donald trump, i mean, in terms of vulnerabilities heading into the first debate or strengths? >> well, i think the debate
dynamic will be very different. you know, there's been a lot of talk about him not being challenged by matt lauer on facts. personally, i think in a debate, it's up to the other candidate to challenge that, and i'm sure that hillary clinton is going to come well equipped to do that. she knows her stuff. we saw that. donald trump still kind of floats on these -- this sort of ether of just promises and no specifics. >> david, what stood out for you on trump? >> well, look, i thought tonally he was actually a little bit better. he was a little measured in the way he spoke, but, you know, on substance, he was bizarre and as stewart mentioned, you know, he didn't get challenged in the way that he will in a debate. he benefited from the fact that it was kind of a truncated format and he's going to have to be more rigorous in his -- in his choice of words and his presentation and he's not going to get away with the top-line answer because you're going to
have 15-minute segments in which issues are going to be discussed in greater depth than he's had to discuss them before. so he's got a big challenge ahead of him. >> stewart, i mean, we know trump's not prepare -- we're told he's not preparing for these debates like a standard candidate would, not dive into briefing books, necessarily doing mock debates. his reasoning is i guess he did great in the primary debates, in his opinion. i mean, these are obviously very different debates. i know you -- you've been involved with candidates who have done mock debates but also candidates who haven't liked them. >> yeah, i think if i was doing the trump things, i would encourage him or force him to do mock debates only because the one-on-o one-on-one dynamic is so different than group debates. you can slide a punch a lot easier when there's a number of people on stage. one-on-one is just a slugfest. i think the key for him is to be able to articulate what he wants to do with the country without
saying these kind of outlandish things. >> i found it fascinating, stewart, i was reading you said that with george w. bush practicing for his debate against al gore, that there was a moment when, i think it was portman who was playing gore, walked over to bush and sort of startled bush or bush kind of laughed and you guys were kind of -- what is the story? you guys were betting whether or not al gore would actually do that? >> well, you know, rob portman, then-congressman portman, had really studied al gore and in this mock debate we had, it was for the town hall debate where they were both standing up which was held in st. louis. and rob went over to bush while he was talking and just stood next to him and bush broke character, as you can imagine, and kind of laughed and said, what are you doing? rob said, no, he will do this. i've watched him. he will try to intimidate you physically. and, you know, they made a
little side whether or not that was going to happen. and, you know, in that famous moment, it did happen. >> and i believe i can. >> and you never know exactly what jb george bush is going to in that situation. it wasn't like we practiced it, it came to i'm going to do this. the fact that it occurred made that moment easier to handle and it handled it bbrilliantly. looked over at him and laughed. >> sort of laughed and nodded and everybody else kind of laughed as well. >> yeah. and that's the kind of thing that in a mock debate, you want a comfortableness of being on stage in this situation. and in that moment, he had it. >> david axelrod, stewart stephen stevens. thank you. more breaking news, one-on-one with republican vice presidential nominee, mike pence. he talked to dana bash in an exclusive interview. in a moment, his take on trump's latest putin comments and why he believes trump has humility like former president ronald reagan, when we continue. my belly pain and constipation?
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seconds can mean the difference between life and death. for partners in health, time is life. we have 18,000 people around the world. the microsoft cloud helps our entire staff stay connected and work together in real time to help those that need it. the ability to collaborate changes how we work. what we do together changes how we live. more breaking news tonight. mike pence is defending donald trump's latest comments about russian president vladimir putin. the republican vice presidential nominee also says like ronald reagan, trump has a quote, core of humility. that and more was discussed when dana bash got an exclusive interview with pence at the reagan library. so what did pence have to say today? >> reporter: well, anderson, pence was here at the reagan library to give a speech comparing ronald reagan and
donald trump and even though ronald reagan faced down the soviet union, calling them the evil empire, after i pressed mike pence a few times on the question of vladimir putin and donald trump embracing putin, pence said that's just fine. donald trump said that vladimir putin has been a leader far more than the president of the united states. do you share that view? >> well, remember ronald reagan spoke boldly -- >> reporter: i'm talking about donald trump if you can answer the question about the current -- >> but it was ronald reagan also who met with gorbachev and said you can walk softly and carry a big stick. you can speak boldly and plainly but you can have relationships. >> reporter: do you personally think vladimir putin is a stronger leader than the current president? >> i think it's inarguable that vladimir putin has been a stronger leader in his country than barack obama has been in this country.
and that's going to change the day that donald trump becomes president of the united states of america. look, you have seen incidents -- >> reporter: obviously, i don't need to tell you because you were in congress, he has -- barack obama has a true democracy here with a congress that pushes back because there's checks and balances. putin doesn't have that. >> that's exactly right. >> reporter: so is it hard to say -- >> donald trump said last night he doesn't particularly like the system. >> reporter: while we are on foreign policy i have to ask, you mentioned last night that mr. trump said that the generals quote, have been reduced to rubble under president obama and hillary clinton. do you agree with that? is that how a potential commander in chief should speak about the military brass? >> well, i think the american people are deeply troubled at a foreign policy, a military policy, of barack obama and hillary clinton that has caused the wider middle east to literally spin out of control. we have seen civil war in syria, civil war in libya. we have seen entire areas of
iraq -- >> reporter: governor, mr. trump was specifically talking about the generals. the generals have been reduced to rubble. he wasn't talking about -- >> i actually think in all due respect, i think he was talking about the commander in chief reducing the influence of generals to rubble. i think the truth is that the leadership that we have had at the top and you heard donald trump talk about that last night. >> dana, the whole reason pence was there was to do the speech comparing reagan and trump. he explained some of that comparison to you. where does he see the parallels? >> reporter: really, he says that they are all over the place. he talked in his speech and in our interview about the fact that they are both straight talking outsiders. they were accused of, these are his words, of being simpletons and they ruffled establishment feathers. the comparison that gave me pause and our colleagues here is
talking about the fact that he believes both reagan and donald trump are humble, that they have humility. i had to ask him about that. you talk about him being humble. i know that on the campaign trail, you talk about that as well. you do it as you compare him to donald trump. i think even donald trump would say that there are a lot of things that you can say about him. humble is probably not one of them. >> well, i -- both men were very broad-shouldered leaders. both men have been successful -- >> reporter: but humble? the guy who has his name on every building? >> well, ronald reagan had his name on a lot of marquees. i think at the very core, both men are the kind of leaders that have a core of humility. >> reporter: i don't know about you, but humble is probably not on the top five or ten list of characteristics that most people would use to talk about donald
trump. >> any example at all? >> reporter: i asked him for specifics and he finally said that when they're in private, he is seeing the crowds if they're going in the motorcade through the battleground states on the campaign trail and that he says you know, this isn't about us, this is about a movement. that was the one example that he gave me. but it certainly was noteworthy. one thing as i toss it back to you, i will tell you, you were talking about debates before. he says he is working very very hard on his debate prep and he actually does have a stand-in for tim kaine who he will be debating unlike donald trump who is doing it quite differently. >> dana, thanks. next hour, hillary clinton and donald trump taking aim at each other on the campaign trail, each attacking the other. the latest from on the road. houston: mission allergy escape.
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