tv The Lead With Jake Tapper CNN September 26, 2016 1:00pm-2:01pm PDT
game on! the biggest event of the election year is just hours away, and it's right here on cnn, a special cnn. a special edition of "the lead" begins right now. good afternoon, everyone. welcome to a special edition of "the lead." debate night in america. i'm jake tapper live at hofstra university in hempstead, long island, new york where donald trump and hillary clinton will on the first time be forever on the stage of the biggest event
and unprecedented election year which could be the biggest debate audience in the history of the world. an estimated 100 million people could be tuning in, and it all gets underway at 9:00 p.m. eastern right here on cnn. the race is candidates with polls tight and battleground states up in the air. it begins with six 13-minute g segments with no breaks. clinton will be on the right, trump on the left. a coin toss decided that clinton goes first. she will get two minutes for her question and trump two minutes for his. clinton has been prepping for this debate for weeks, and especially the last few days working late into the night at a hotel near her chappaqua home, we're told, even going through one last practice session as recently as this afternoon.
donald trump also spent part of the day prepping with aides. for a candidate whose primary sources have included references literally below the belt, they wonder how unchained he will be. our correspondents uncovering every ang gle of this historica debate. we'll begin with sarah here on this hofstra university campus. sarah, how did mr. trump spend his day? >> reporter: even though the trump campaign has been trying to highlight this and sort of down play the way trump is doing his. he did sneak in another last-minute debate prep session today. other people that he's had around for these are really folks that he sees as peers, folks like chris christie, people like rudy giuliani, people that don't just have experience in the political arena but have policy experience and can help donald trump on the substance of this as well as the tone. and he really comes into tonight
with two key challenges. one of them is to show that he can talk about complicated issues beyond the generalalities, thgeneralalitig into political issues on these questions. we have seen a lot of voters turned off by hillary clinton, but they're also turned off by donald trump. that's particularly important in the suburbs. it's particularly important with female voters. so we're going to be looking to see whether we do see a more gracious donald trump on stage, whether we see someone who wants to appear presidential and will debate hillary clinton on facts, on sort of her record rather than some of those below-the-belt references you mentioned earlier, jake. >> all right, sar a moistua mur. let's go to jeff zelany. he's been covering the clinton campaign. what have you learned of how secretary clinton has spent the last few hours? >> reporter: secretary clinton has driven here from her home in
chappaqua after several mock debate sessions. she said she's looking forward to this debate in this exact setting. since 9:00 p.m. eastern time, she has stood on a mock stage at her home and she has done this debate. she has a stand-in for donald trump, a stand-in for a moderator and a small group of advisers. at the moment she is rested, she is reading, and getting ready for what is the biggest night of her campaign. yes, we've seen her on the debate stage so many times, 38 or 39 by my count, going back to 2000. this is a different moment entirely. she realizes that, her campaign realizes that, particularly gifren tgif given the polls in colorado, in ohio. what she's trying to do is make her case, make her argument for why voters should be liking her.
donald trump is already, you know, somewhat a known factor in this and her opposition to him is known, but she's going to be making a positive case for herself as well as fact checking when she can. i'm told by her adviser she does not want to be -- they do not want her to be the constant fact checker throughout the course of the whole evening. but she surely will on some cases, and taking donald trump's words to him. if he shows up as a more disciplined candidate tonight, i'm told, she will remind voters, remind that big audience of some of the things he has said throughout the course of this long campaign. jake? >> all right, jeff zelany, thank you so much. neither trump nor clinton has participated in an election debate. clinton has not debated a republican in a decade. while she and bernie sanders squared off 11 times, donald
trump has never gone one on one against any rival. how is it decided who is speaking first? by a coin toss? >> reporter: that's right, this was decided by a coin toss, so we'll first hear from hillary clinton tonight, jake. she will get the first question fielded to her. she will have two minutes to answer that. that same question then goes over to donald trump for two minutes. then that will open up this sort of open question-answer debate session where they'll have a discussion for 10 minutes. this 9-minute debate will largely follow this format where they have six segments, 15 minutes per debate, centered around a specific topic. there will be no commercial breaks during that 90 minutes, no bathroom breaks, no chance for the candidates to huddle quietly with any aides for a few quick moments. they're also, interesti there also, interestingly enough, won't be any kind of buzzer to indicate when the
candidates go over their allotted time. that is solely the responsibility of the moderator, lester holt. joining me now to talk about the debate is clinton campaign manager robbie muck. robbie, thank you so much for being here. i appreciate it. first of all, let me get your response to cnn's battleground poll showing it's a very, very tight race with a margin of error in two states you really need to win, pennsylvania and colorado. i don't think your campaign is even on the air in colorado and hasn't been for weeks. was that a mistake? do you need to put tv ads back on there? >> jake, you're absolutely right, these are both important states to that math, 268 electoral votes. our polls show something more steady than what these republican polls show. >> both in pennsylvania and colorado? >> in both states we've seen different outcomes. we know what we need to do. we're running like we're 20 points behind. we're going to put everything we have in both of these states to turn our supporters out. we're going to make decisions
about television as we go on. i feel really confident with the strategy we have, which is we're all in. >> we're about five hours from the start of the debate. clinton is here on long island, she's relaxing, she's reading. she didn't really need to bone up on the briefing books. so what has she been working on? has she been working on how to prepare for insults from donald trump, how to fact check without falling into the trap that people say al gore fell into with a seeming arrogance, in a way? what lessons is she trying to learn within the performance of this? >> in every step of her campaign, she does better when she has a chance to tell directly to the voters the plan she has to make a real difference in their lives. not just as president, but this campaign is really a lifelong mission for her, to fight for kids and families, to make that difference. so that's key. what we're asking for in this debate -- you know this very well -- we want these candidates
to be judged fairly. do they both have specific plans to make people's lives better? do they both have a real command of the issues? donald trump has not demonstrated that well so far. lastly, donald trump cannot lie and win this debate. you cannot get a passing grade with factual errors he puts out whenever he speaks. >> how much are you expecting lester holt to fact check? because i think the commission on presidential debates has made it clear that they don't think the primary role of the moderator is to say, pardon me, candidate x, but that's not true, here are the facts, one, two, three? >> look, this is his call to make. he's in charge and we respect that. but i think there is a role for the moderator just to call it out quickly if someone is saying something that's patently untrue. the pattern is donald trump has such a penchant for telling these lies. if hillary clinton had to fact-check him herself every time, she won't have time to say her own thing, to tell people what she wants to do for them to make a difference as president.
we think it's only fair there be a little bit of fact checking. let's not let donald trump get away with this. most importantly, you can't get a passing grade when you lie, and you can't get a passing grade when you don't have a command of the issues. >> donald trump on the campaign stage, on the trail, has been critical of hillary clinton when it comes to her behavior relating to bill clinton's infidelities, a subject i wouldn't bring up except that he talked about it over the weekend saying jgennifer flowers has ben invited, and now they're saying she's not. >> i think the truth is on our side here and so are the voters. no one has fought more for women's rights than hillary clinton for her entire career. so she's happy to have that debate any time. but furthermore, is this really what donald trump wants to make
this debate about? >> he brought it up over the weekend which is the only reason i bring it up now. >> and that's his choice. that's his choice. but what the voters want are real plans from these candidates about how they'll help them afford college, how they'll bring down the cost of prescription drugs, how they'll keep this country safe. that's what the voters want to hear about. that's what hillary clinton is here to talk about. if donald trump wants to drag this down, that's his choice, but i think the voters will derive that pretty quickly. >> obviously both candidates have talked about bringing guests that could get in another's head. to be honest, i believe you started it with the mark cuban claim. >> what makes hillary clinton a good candidate is her steadiness and her strength. mark cuban is a business leader.
he's someone who came off the sidelines into politics because he is concerned about donald trump's temperament. as a business leader, he thinks hillary clinton is going to do more to create jobs and raise wages in this country. that's very different than some of the controversial figures like gennifer flowers that donald trump has talked about. it's that lack of seriousness that is bringing people like mark cuban to hillary clinton. >> thank you very much. we appreciate it. next playing trump mocking debates, portraying a milder, more measured trump. is clinton prepared for this, however? >> first of all, this guy is a joke artist, this guy is a liar. plus, whose job is it to fact check the candidates this evening. and one of the biggest challenges of debating secretary clinton has nothing to do with policy. >> we'll shake on this. >> i want your signature.
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welcome back to a special edition of "the lead." debate night in america. just hours from now, hillary clinton and donald trump will take the stage here at hofstra university on long island for the first presidential debate, an incredibly important night in a crucial decision for the nation. new polls show the candidates neck and neck in colorado and pennsylvania, two states critical to either's chances of becoming the next president. dana bash joins me now. clinton has a slight edge in the polls but it's much narrower than a month ago. her post-convention numbers have vanished. if trump passes the test tonight, her campaign, i'm sure, is very worried. >> reporter: absolutely. there's no question about that, even though their public vertebra vabravado is quite different. those two polls are a and a-plus in those two states that shouldn't be battleground states
for her that are. just to kind of give you an example of the kind of information we're hearing from the clinton campaign ahead of tonight's debate. i was told by a source familiar with the prep that felipe reinos who is playing the role of donald trump in their mock debates, that a few days ago he shifted from an opening statement with trump bombast to trump as a polite combat aant, talking about the fact she will be the first woman nominee and deserves congratulations for the glass ceilings she has broken. hillary clint he is playing the polite donald trump. when we get nuggets like that, our question is, why are we being told this, and my answer is they actually believe donald trump could come out and be polite, and they kind of want to lead up to the moment with
getting people used to that idea so people aren't surprised and then they say, oh, wow, look at donald trump, it's a different donald trump. that is the kind of psychological warfare that we have been dealing with and will continue to deal with into tonight and, of course, after tonight is over. jake? >> that, of course, would depend on donald trump and his team watching cable news which, of course, we know they don't. dana bash, thank you so much. joining me now, our panel of cnn political analysts and contributors. we have former presidential adviser for ford, reagan and clinton, david gergen. kirsten powers, jeffrey lord from the beautiful city of harrisburg. cnn's national political reporter maive reston. the political campaign getting prepared, making sure they're prepared for nice trump,
restrained trump. would you tell mr. trump if you were advising him that that's actually the good play for him, to be the restrained, nice mr. trump? >> jake, i think i would tell him to dial it back some but don't dial it down to docile. if you want the candidate to be himself to bring out the best qualities, and he has to be authentic. i think he'll be very polite in the beginning but i imagine the fireworks will start within 10 minutes or so. >> jeffrey, there is the trump we saw during the primary debates. >> first of all, this guy is a joke artist and this guy is a liar. this little guy has lied so much about my record. first of all, rand paul shouldn't be even on this stage. >> excuse me one second. >> more energy tonight, i like that. he referred to my hands as small. something else must be small. i guarantee there's no problem,
i guarantee it. >> certainly one for the history books. do you expect that donald trump tonight? he calls her crooked hillary when he's out on the stump. he certainly doesn't hold back. >> i do expect some version of it in the sense that he will use it to make a point. if he's talking about the clinton foundation, he will, i suspect, go down that path. if he's talking about other things, he may do some version of that. i think david is right. there has to be a balance here. he has to ratchet back a little bit, but he is donald trump. make no mistake about that. >> what are you expecting today, mr. mayor? >> i think we should expect the usual schizophrenic dr. jekyll-mr. hyde donald trump, someone who can't restrain himself. and we'll have five-word sentences without a noun or a verb. >> wow. how do you follow that? >> i'm not sure who he is voting
for, but -- what are you expecting? you've covered donald trump for this whole contest. are you expecting him to be as, shall we say, colorful as we saw in those clips? >> no, certainly not. i do think as much as they have downplayed the prep that he's been doing, he has been thinking seriously about the answers he wants to formulate. a very different kind of debate prep than what hillary clinton is doing. but i think in some ways she has the harder task tonight. she's got a really fine line to walk in terms of the balance between fact checking and keeping him in his place and seeming likeable. you know, reaching out to all of his millennial voters who she needs help with in colorado and pennsylvania. it's going to be really fascinating to watch. >> mary katherine, let me go to you, because we know not everybody watches the entire debate. usually the first half hour is better rated than the last half hour. from the beginning, what are you expecting from donald trump and what are you expecting from hillary clinton? >> i think he can probably come out and be calm in a more
reined-in, killian conway style. it will also make it onto the internet so people will be aware of it, but i think in the beginning you can count on him being pretty chill. i know the clinton followers are saying, why does it seem like he doesn't have to do all that much to beat her and she has to do all this over here? welcome to the world of marco rubio and all the others. >> the clinton campaign has been told there is a madman out there and that's who is expected to show up on the stage. if he doesn't look like a madman, he's won at least that tiny little thing. but you have to remember, he's a showman, so the chances of him spending the entire time being boring are very low because ehe
understands what people want is a showman. so he has to figure out how to be interesting but also that he's on stage with a woman, which is different in a primary. >> i'd like to build a wall right here. professor brink lley, let me sh you something. one of the things that's interesting this is the first time there's been a female major party nominee on that stage. let's take a look at some of the missteps the pundits have said previous hillary clinton opponents have said. >> well, i would be happy to when you give me the signed letters -- >> right here. right here. sign it right now. >> we'll shake on this. >> i want your signature because i think everybody wants to see you signing something you say you're for. >> i admire what hillary clinton did for america, what her husband did for america. i'm not sure about that coat. >> excuse me, i'm talking. >> to be fair to the john edwards clip there, he was asked
to name something he didn't like about one of his opponents. but it is a challenge, the gender dynamics. >> absolutely. hillary clinton is going to take what lbj did to barry goldwater. the slogan for lbj was, in your guts, he's nuts. hillary clinton wants people to see donald trump is nuts, nuts about climate change, nuts about talking about women's health, nuts about race. how do you do that? well, she is politically correct. she's a trained creature of politically correctness. she's getting hammered for being too politically correct, but there's damage that can be done if you're too politically incorrect. she'll be trying to lure young men into these debates that's gauche and deeply unappealing. >> i think trump's success will depend if he's winning or losing
this debate. if he thinks he's winning this debate, we'll see another side of trump. another part is the crowd. the crowd isn't supposed to say anything. he always says his worst things not at the beginning, it's never his topic sentence, it's remediation when he wants more from the audience. if he doesn't get that tonight, it may be easier for him to be restrained. but i look for him to be very competitive if he thinks he's winning. we are awaiting the candidates' arrived here at hofstra university. plus, it's one of the hardest things about debating hillary clinton. we'll explain. you're watching a specialie l s edition of "the lead." stay with us. if you're searching other travel sites to find a better price...
welcome back to a very special debate edition. in fewer than five hours in long island, hillary clinton and donald trump will square off on that stage in the first presidential debate here on cnn. how they do could make or break their campaigns. j jim acosta live in the spin room. this is the first time donald trump has debated anyone one on one. his campaign is spinning but all the pressure is on hillary clinton. how? >> jake, i talked to a trump adviser earlier in the day who said it this way. during the primary, 75% of the attention was on donald trump during those debates, so they feel like a 50-50 split between donald trump and hillary clinton, that turns out to be an advantage for donald trump.
to be honest, jake, donald trump hasn't really been preparing for a debate during this entire prep process, according to his campaign. i checked in with him again last night. they said he has not been preparing with a stand-in for hillary clinton. instead he's been going over issues with his advisers. they say he doesn't want to come across as robotic and ill prepared. tha that's how they see hillary clinton. the staffers are saying, yes, all the pressure is on hillary clinton when you look at the poll numbers, when you look at the way she's been preparing for these past few days. she's been out of the public eye. and finally, what they're saying, and they're saying this time and again. you're hearing it from her seizuurrogates on the airwaves,t clinton is is oout of it and hiy clinton represents the status quo. expect to hear that tonight, jake. >> sandra is here.
let me just put this out here. 90 minutes, no commercial breaks, one on one. that's tough for anybody. has he really not done one mock debate, 90 minutes with somebody pretending to be hillary clinton? >> not in that setting, but he has prepared in the way that's best for him, and i think that's most important. look, donald trump in a way has been preparing for this for the last year and a half if not his whole life. he's been out with the people doing long events, doing rallies. he survived against 16 far more credible candidates than hillary clinton in the republican primary, and he came out on top, and so there's no reason, really, to change that strategy. people are looking for somebody to be authentic, they're looking for the change agent in this race, and nobody can argue that's not donald trump. >> he's certainly different. let me ask you, one of the things i think people are wondering about is which donald trump will show up. sometimes he goes out and he's very restrained. other times he goes out and, you
know, you saw the clip earlier, i'm sure, what he said this one is a choke artist, little marco, this and that. is he planning on being the restrained version, or should we just expect him to be himself? >> i think that all of those things are donald trump, and i think that's exactly what you can expect, and that's why he doesn't have to take weeks off the campaign trail to go and cram for the debate. it's because he is who he is. that's why people like him. that's why america is rallying behind him. there's so much energy and enthusiasm behind him, unlike anything i've ever seen for a general election republican nominee. >> but to be fair, one of the things that people like him is that he shoots from the hip, but one of the things people don't like about him is they're concerned about his temperament. up to 60% of the american people in a recent news poll that had him in a very close race said they had concerns about donald trump's temperament. in fact, one of the things that
got a lot of news today in washington, d.c. is the senate democratic leader, harry reid, who obviously is very partisan but still used language very reasonable on the critic floor putting down donald trump. listen. >> donald trump is a racist. donald trump doesn't believe the thi things he says are wrong. he says it with full intent to be mean and to denigrate. that's who he is. >> if hillary clinton said something similar about comments donald trump has made that seem to have crossed the line, offending many millions of americans, muslim americans, latino americans, other americans, how is he going to handle it? >> look, i think hillary clinton made the most offensive statement in this campaign when she called so many trump supporters veterans, moms, teachers, people like myself deplorable. and she showed the utter contempt she has for so many trump supporters and i think she showed her true colors there and
i think she has a lot more to answer for than donald trump. >> when pushed about that, the clinton campaign said she was referring to the all right supporters that you have, the neo nazis, the members of the klan, the proud racist. not you, but other members. >> i'm glad she clarified that, and that's certainly not the way it came across. i don't believe that's what she meant at all. here's the bottom line. you're going to have two candidates on this stage with an extremely clear contrast. you've got one that's a career corrupt politician, and you've got another one that's new, that's a change agent in a race where 70% of americans are looking for change. to me that contrast sets them apart. i think just the debate preparation alone shows us what these two candidates are like, and i think that's why it favors donald trump and he's going to do very well tonight. >> we'll see, sarah huckabee sanders. fact-checking the debate.
should clinton try this? >> he hired workers in america and then put them in the debate. >> that's wrong, that's wrong. >> that's coming up on the special edition of "the lead." stay with us. ♪ tomorrow's the day we'll play something besides video games. every day is a gift especially for people with heart failure. but today there's entresto®- a breakthrough medicine that can help make more tomorrows possible. tomorrow, i want to see teddy bait his first hook. in the largest heart failure study ever, entresto® was proven to help more people stay alive and
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tonight, whose job is it to fact-check the candidates? the executive director on the debate says it's not the moderator's responsibility. >> i think personally if you start getting into fact checking, i'm not sure what is a big fact, what is a little fact? i'm not sure it's a good idea to get the moderator into essentially serving as the encyclopedia britannica. >> back to my panel, david brinkley, whose responsibility is it? >> yes, candy crowley intervened in the last debate. i think in the case of hillary clinton she has to watch she doesn't keep going, that's not true, that's not true, that's not true. you become schoolmarmish if you
do that. she might say, tomorrow i'm going to print all your misstatements. trump might try to get lawyerly, particularly with that e-mail scandal she has. >> that's all you need, right? there you go again. >> what do you think, mr. mayor? >> i think it's a three-way responsibility. the candidates, i think, will on their own, and you have to decide, as you said earlier. the moderator can do so much. do something. they're big facts, little facts and then there are lies. if it's just blatantly false, it's known public information, you have to call the person on it. all three have a responsibility, in my view. you just can't let someone come up there and say whatever they
follow-ups, and be sure the question is answered and the candida candidate's answer is clear. so the moderator's role is to be clear but not be a fact checkero that, you're going to have people all over the country forget the issue. that conversation is why it's such a blunder to get into every single issue. one of donald trump's strange strengths is when there are a few things coming out for the moderator, breaking them up
doesn't work. it's a challenge for hillary clinton as well. not that she won't have enough challenges coming out of her misstatements, and there will be plenty, but i think that's his job, to blast them and you can't correct every one of them and you get bogged down. >> we're about to give someone the highest, most powerful office in the world. what we need to see tonight is how they respond on their own when the unexpected comes up, when someone throws something in your face, when they try to throw a fast one on you. if you're going into the oval office with putin, you better be able to handle him. him. >> so don't let them get into it with lester holt? >> i think he can handle it, but the two moderators we've had that handled it great were tom brokaw. >> yet there does exist
something called imperical fact. >> i think they do a good job saying lester holt is out to get them, he's not a republican. i think the media is sort of buying into this idea that she's going to be this schoolmarm by fact checking him. if he's standing up there -- the "new york times" just looked at one week of him and found 31 things he said that were empirically false, 31 things in one week. if that's what he's going to be doing, just throwing things at the wall that aren't correct and hillary clinton krekcorrects hi just hope people in the media aren't going to cast her as a know-it-all. because you can't just stand there when somebody is saying things that aren't true. up next, our panel will be weighing in on what they will be looking for in this evening's debate. we're counting down to this crucial moment. you're watching a special edition of "the lead."
edition of "the lead," debate night in america. we are awaiting the arrivals of the nominees, hillary clinton and donald trump, here at hofstra university on long island. the two will face off in the first presidential debate which you can watch right here on cnn. let's talk to our panel about the key things are they'll be looking at this evening. what is the one key thing you'll really be looking for? >> i know we're all just waiting to see what donald trump does, but i am really fascinated in how hillary clinton actually excites her base tonight. there are more undecided voters at this point in the election than there were in 2012 at this point who are leaning toward third-party candidates or just undecided, and she has to get out there and excite people tonight. that's been a challenge for her so far. she has to step it up tonight and it will be interesting to see if she can do it. >> i think hillary clinton has to deal with the honesty issue. we were talking about fact checking, most people were thinking fact checking donald trump. she has to deal with the server
issue. she has to look at the audience and not just say she regrets it, but she has to say she was scarred by whitewater, she wanted to protect her privacy, she was wrong to do this, she should have trusted the state department to take care of her private e-male hie-mails but sh because of her experience in the 1990s. she admits error, she puts donald trump on his back legs, because that's one thing donald trump does not doochlt. >> mr. mayor? >> i would say acknowledging more than she has and taking responsibility on the e-mail server issue would serve her well. i think you will see hillary clinton for who she is. she is a warm, honest person and she would be a good commander in chief. donald trump is a chameleon all over the place and wants to get points just for acting like a normal person, that somehow that's the new standard. that is not the standard. as david said, it is the most
powerful job on the planet. just showing up, you don't get 200 points just for showing up and writing your name correctly. this is the president. >> we've been having flashbacks. >> i think his challenge here is to draw the line which he will. >> trump's job. >> trump's job. between the political class and hillary clinton's political class and the rebellion of the outsiders. and making the point that she's more of the same that's been going on in washington with both parties for a very long time and he is the difference. >> obviously she has a real problem with white working class voters. i'd like to see her do something that shows she is the one who really cares about them, that she shows i am for you. to say i'm looking out for the little guy, to really connect with them in a way she hasn't at this point. >> i'm looking for zingers who can really scar somebody and do
damage with the fiery dart of attack. what has ales been planning for trump? and in that regard, what is donald trump going to do about these tax returns? how can he handle he is the only one running for office that hasn't released them? he may have a surprise saying he got a letter from the auditor saying, i'm under audit, i will release them. i think he'll have to grapple with that. >> i think attrition would help her, i'm not sure she's capable of it. calmness would help him. i'm not sure he's capable of it. and whether the numbers game is fair, it's kind of not, and it's because people are jonesing for a change, and hillary clinton is someone they don't trust. if he can be calm about it, they might be fine with him. >> i think that person may very well be the next president.
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that is it for "the lead." i'm jake tapper. i will see you back here at 7:00 p.m. eastern for more of cnn's live coverage for the first presidential debate. i now turn you over to one mr. wolf blitzer and one mr. anderson cooper. they are both in the situation room. thank you for watching. happening now, final preparations. the stage is set. donald trump and hillary clinton get ready to go head to head just hours from now. what to watch for on debate night. closer than ever, the candidates couldn't be more different, the stakes could not be higher. a new polling shows the race couldn't be tighter. >> dueling styles,