tv The 11th Hour With Brian Williams MSNBC September 15, 2016 8:00pm-8:31pm PDT
i'm is sure it wsure it was a f. >> you can ask me. that's why we reported on bridge gate. we said at the time that bridge gate was going to prevent chris christie from getting close to the national ticket either as president or vice president. there will be more news on the 11 moments ago the campaign started pushing back. tonight they're trying to clean it up. hillary clinton back on the trail as the race now tight ones and tonight she's on the attack.
one of her top advisors is here with us. and jimmy fallon goes there with the hair. the late night moment ricochetting across the country tonight. good evening from new york, and as you join us, you join us in the middle of a conversation here in the studio, over the story that's just now breaking tonight. it started when a piece went up on "the washington post" website authored by a man in this room, the article said that when asked directly, donald trump took a pass on the question of whether or not the president of the united states was born in these united states. the evening has now escalated, the donald trump campaign has now come out with a counter statement, after donald trump's statement. let's go to the author of the original article. robert costa, national political reporter "washington post" joined as always here in the
studio by nicole wallace. robert, what happened tonight? >> on wednesday night, it was really late, donald trump had finished a rally in canton, ohio. so we're sitting there and i had a list of questions, and one of the questions i had was kellyanne conway said that trump now believes that obama was born in the united states. so i asked him is kellyann conway accurate? he said i don't want to answer that. we had a lengthy exchange about it, and what he said, i published tonight. >> when you published this, the conversation was so fast and to furious, that within about an hour's time, we got the following statement from the trump-pence campaign.
fir here is the nut paragraph, in 2011, mr. donald trump was finally able to bring this ugly incident to its conclusion by successfully compelling president obama to release his birth certificate. mr. trump did a great service to the president and the country by bringing closure to the issue that hillary clinton and her team first raised. inarguably, donald j. trump is a closure, having successfully obtained obama eels birth certificate when others could not, mr. trump believes that president obama was born in the united states. it goes on to talk more about the trump agenda, it is signed jason miller, senior communications advisor. mr. costa, are you updating your story for "the washington post"? >> we just updated our story, but the fact remains that donald trump himself has not weighed in
on this issue further, we have not had a statement from donald trump. the campaign reiterates that barack obama was born in the united states. that's what jason miller and other trump aides said tonight. it will be interesting to see when he goes to miami tomorrow. and what he says when he's surely asked the question. >> i want to share with everyone how this rose back up and became a thing. our friend and colleague chris matthews has always called birtherism donald trump's original sin. chris had rudolph giuliani on his program the other night and went there on this topic, saying giuliani said that trump now believes that obama was born in the united states. >> i want to know whether you believe that your candidate for president believes he would succeed a legitimate presidentor not? does he believe he would succeed
a legitimate president. >> donald trump believes now that he was born in the united states. >> so he believes president obama was born here. i was born in camden, by is way, new jersey, he was born in hawaii, but the point is, what kind of president has he been? >> both donald trump and i accept that the president was born in the united states of america, questions were raised in prior campaigns, over the last four and eight years by various sources and they have always been answered. >> giuliani, conway, pence, tonight we have jason miller, nicole wallace speaking for donald trump, what is going on here? >> what's going on is his campaign is rapidly responding to their own candidate and my question for you is, what do you think he believes in his heart? where do you think he believes obama was born? >> i can't speak for his heart -- >> you asked him three times, what do you think he believes? >> multiple times. i think he clearly has a position he does not want to
fully articulate at this moment. it's taken him a lot of times to get to a position where some of his associates are saying what they're saying. >> do you think he's going to go back and apologize and admit wrong. >> it also came from a personal place, this is something he took as a real issue for the country, and when he talked about sending investigators to hawaii, it was not in jest, this was actually something he thought about seriously. because donald trump wasn't joking when i had the conversation with him. he was really resistant to engaging with it, because for whatever reason that's how he feels. >> i think in debate prep this has come up, and all the advisors you just played have been trying to coach him on this question, i think they view this as a stumbling block. i think what he said to you is what he believes. and i think that kellyanne
conway and rudy giuliani, they view birtherism and the muslim ban, and the mocking of a disabled person is three hurdles standing between donald trump and the presidency now that the polls have tightened. so this is a clear example of the campaign trying to clean up their candidate. >> it's the campaign trying to month their candidate in the preferred direction. >> move him? they're trying to cover up for the candidate's true beliefs. i agree with you, i think birtherism and there's an alarming number of people in trump's base who share that belief, a disturbing number of people still hang on to that. and where we sort of miss the trump story, it's that connection. and i think some of it is trump's connection to his original base. and his original base was born out of, excuse the pun, his
campaign, or his gjihad if you will, on birtherism. >> i got the feeling through the interviews, that trump still remains an outsider, even with the people he takes and hires, he only takes so much of it. he makes his own decisions, he runs on his instincts. and everything else is noise because trump is at the center. >> because donald j. trump believes that -- >> it's after his disastrous august, where is he now? he's tighter in the polls. the polls have tightened and he's back to listening to his own really strong brain or whatever he called it. >> let's check in with the clinton campaign, kristen welker was in the room when hillary clinton gave her second speech of the day, the d.c. convention center, a speech that was updated to include robert costa's story and headline from
"the washington post." kristen, what is the reaction from there tonight? >> secretary clinton excoriated donald trump quite frankly for refusing to say that obama was born in the united states. it's worth noting that this is something she does quite frequently on the campaign trail. she raises the fact that he was the face of the birther movement to make the point that he engages in divisive rhetoric. take a listen to what she had to say. >> and again today, he did it again. he was asked one more time, where was president obama born? and he still wouldn't say hawaii. he still wouldn't say america. this man wants to be our next
president? when will he stop this ugliness, this bigotry? now he's tried to reset himself and his campaign many times. this is the best he can do. this is who he is. and so we need to decide who we are. >> reporter: now brian, you all were talking about the fact that the trump campaign put out a statement trying to clean up trump's statement. this is what the clinton campaign had to say about that. this is from brian fallon, he just tweeted, trump needs to say it himself on camera and admit he was wrong for trying to delegitimize america's first african-american president. this comes at a great time for hillary clinton because she's had her own rough patch, and she's trying to restart her campaign. and this certainly gives her a
new line of attack, she saw an opening and she took it. >> the forklifts are already at work in the d.c. convention center following the speech. kristen, thanks, be careful out there. nicole, i already heard some of the reaction on the cables tonight. i heard people saying, well this certainly gets the subject off hillary clinton's recent illness because she's clearly back and responding tonight. i heard people say another news cycle has been commanded for better or worse by donald trump. >> it's for worse. the way the cycle has gone down so far, the person in the news is usually in the news not because of a triumph, but because of a bad development, a bad story line. so he's back in the news. this is exactly what she needed to sort of start to get her groove back. >> this public kind of couch analysis continues of donald trump, people talk about how many good days he posts on the positive side by showing
restraint, today, this morning on television, he went after the pastor who hosted him yesterday in flint, michigan. then they talk about the bad days. and just exactly to the issue we were talking about before we went to kristen welker. >> i don't think about those good days or bad days. i covered him throughout the birther days, one thing i know is that he loves a fight, he loves to fight, whether it's with reporters, whether it's with political rivals, this is who he is. >> to that point, how do you prepare that man, a political professional, nicole wallace, veteran of the bush white house for a debate with this opponent? >> you know, i think we'll show a little bit of what he did tonight on jimmy fallon. he is an entertainer. he is exactly as you describe, a loaner, and he's going to march to the beat of his own drum, and at some point, he's had a
tremendous amount of success. the polls are tightening, he made 16 more qualified, the republican field was more qualified. he's got something, that this electorate, 48%, if you believe the polls, that people like to hear. >> professionals like our friend nicole, when they hear that donald trump does not have an in effect a donald trump stand in, they're frustrated by it. >> they told me he's working with roger ailes on debate prep. the thing to remember about trump's moment, the thing tonight about his birther comment, and i was in canton, ohio, this guy is feeling it politically, backstage, it's electric at these rallies. he thinks he's hit something at the rallies, that's not right, not left, he's just going to run
with it. he's not sure which direction he's going to go each day, but he feels like he's on an uphill slope. >> and your filing will keep changing the agenda, a lot of us are wondering when you sleep. >> i'll be on "morning joe" at 6:00 a.m. >> robert acosta, political reporter at "washington post." we'll take our first break. joel bennington from the clinton campaign standing by to join us right after this.
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we are back and we're happy to have with us clinton campaign senior strategist joel benton. a longtime friend of nicole wallace even though you're on different teams. >> it's a bit like sport, you compete hard and i have friends with a lot of republicans like nicole, we have rational conversations. it's fun. >> well enough of that. i want to start with a grizzled cynical point, and that is, you guys were able to save a lot of money in august, you were able to do the rope a dope. but you weren't in the daily reaction business, because of the trump campaign, starting with what the israeli soldier scandal. what do you pick from today to go after him on, his hitting the pastor in michigan, weakening the fda, tonight where the
president may or may not have been born? >> look, i think there's multiple directions to go in. i think the basic thing about donald trump that americans have come to accept in very large numbers is that he is tempmentally unfit to be president of the united states. he's not reckless economic policies that even reagan economic advisors say would create massive tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy and drive up our debt and put us into a recession. and he's certainly a danger to our american values. the birther nonsense is only one big part of it, but there are many others. >> this statement that by the way calls him a closer, paging glen gary, glen ross. do you take it at face value, the president believes that the president of the united states was born in the united states? >> i don't take much that donald
trump says at face value, what i take at face value is what he has said for the last five years. if he comes out tomorrow and says he believes it, i think he'll be lying. i think it will be the next trump con. he's had five years to say it, he could have said it last night. he was asked a direct question and he refused to say it because he doesn't believe it. >> you guys were given a double punch, your candidate has been down to a widely publicized illness that we have all seen in public and your race is slowed badly. >> she tried to keep going and couldn't. she's back out on the stump, she's relishing it, i think she had a strong day today, her voice is strong, her spirit is strong. we didn't take a vacation in august, there's a lot of things we have been doing, we're
playing the long game, we're not caught up in the day to day. i said before the two con vengeances and after the two conventions, you got to wait a few weeks for this all to settle in. presidential elections, historically, we don't have a lot of blowouts, they're pretty close, they're generally low to mid single digit margins at best. that's what we have expected here and that's what we have set up our game plan for the next eight weeks. >> i know what she was going after when she made the deplorables comment. but how as a strategy do you need her to say laser focused. your best points in june, that speech she gave where she really laid out the case. i wish marco rubio would have given that speech. it seems when she's focussed she does better than when she sort of makes these broad statements, it might offend a few people you need in ohio and wisconsin and places like that? >> i think she said that she
shouldn't have used the word half in making the comment. >> she walked it back. >> but only to the extent, the statement is still clear, there are many people here, that he's lifting up, that he is elevating, that he is giving energy too. david duke says his movement is growing for the first time and trump is big reason for that. >> when we're down to the .10, we're going to be tight. >> there's there, we expect these things to be tight. we have a map, frankly where we are playing more offense. by that i meaning, there isn't a single state that we are playing
defense in that we wouldn't be playing anyway. we are making them play defense in ohio and north carolina. >> you're spending a lot of time in pennsylvania. >> we have got a good lead in pennsylvania. we have multiple options to cut off donald trump's path to 270 electoral votes. that's what i mean by playing oaf. the fact that it's chelose, it' going to be close in terms of national polls. you don't got to win these states by a lot to get the electoral votes, you got to win them by a 10th of a point. >> i have been a big fan of north carolina all the time. i have called north carolina the road block state. it's a electoral votes. if we win pennsylvania, which i think is a very strong state, we're competing very hard there. north carolina because really tough for him to get a single path to 270 if we win north
carolina. given your strength in west virginia. >> in a sense the first ladies going to virginia tomorrow, how important are the obamas to your effort? >> i think we are at a cross roads here in the country, about where we're going to take this country and i think president obama is leaving office with pretty high favorable ratings right now. he's heading into the last few months in pretty good shape. they talk a lot about values. hillary clinton talks a lot about we're stronger together. this is similar to what barack obama talked about. it's very important to have them out there saying and affirming that we are better as a country when we're together and not tearing each other down. i think it's good to have them out there echoing that. >> another break for us, we're back with what americans are about to see tonight.
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there was so much else today starting with donald trump's sons saying they didn't want to put his tax returns out because they don't want people poring over his taxes. and hillary clinton came on stage to the song i feel good by james brown. donald trump called for the elimination of the food and drug administration's, quote, food police. but then the campaign deleted
that from it's fact sheep. and most clinton voters don't know a donald trump voter well, and hillary clinton says she misses the good wife and is the fan of madam secretary. and to cap off this whole day, donald trump went on the tonight show with jimmy fallon today where jimmy fallon messed up his hair. >> can i mess your hair up? i'll be gentle. >> the answer is yes, but the people in new hampshire where i'm going to be in about an hour from now, i hope they'll understand. go ahead.
>> yes! donald trump, everybody! >> coming later tonight to a tv near you, eight weeks to go until we elect the next president of the united states, that is "the 11th hour." "hardball" with chris matthews starts right now. good evening, i'm chris matthews in washington. hillary clinton hit the campaign trail today, she's back facing new