tv The Lead With Jake Tapper CNN October 4, 2016 1:00pm-2:01pm PDT
note for those of you keeping score on twitter. donald trump announced he would be live tweeting throughout the vice presidential debate tonight which starts a couple hours from here -- from me here in farmville, virginia. thank you for being with me. i'm brooke baldwin. stay here. "the lead" with jake tapper starts now. defenders in chief. senator tim kaine and governor mike pence. their one and only debate right here on cnn. a special edition of tloo"the l starts right now. >> good afternoon. welcome to a special edition of "the lead." debate night in america. i am jake tapper. you're looking at the vice presidential debate stage in longwood university located in beautiful downtown farmville, virginia. that's about 60 miles west of the state capital of richmond. virginia senator tim kaine
versus indiana governor mike pence. they're about to square off a few hours from now on cnn. the 90-minute debate scheduled to be divided into nine ten-minute segments. tim kaine won the coin toss and will get the first question. moments ago donald trump said he'll keep a close eye on the debate, live tweeting. i will be watching the great governor mike pence and live tweeting the vp debate starting tonight at 8:30. on the campaign trail today, hillary clinton in her surrogates in force fanned out across crucial battleground states. the latest polls show clinton with a slim lead nationally and holder a more comfortable lead in the keystone state itself. we're standing by for donald trump. he is about to speak live in arizona to supporters. trump fighting back after the report that he declared nearly $1 billion losses in 1995 and may have been able to use that loss to perfectly legally avoid paying taxes for nearly two
decades. federal income taxes, that is. now the republican nominee is seizing the role of underdog and portraying himself as the next comeback kid. but the main event tonight is the highly anticipated vice presidential debate. both candidates have been hunkered down for days in debate prep. our correspondents are fanned out around the country covering all angles of the big night. we'll begin with jeff zeleny in the spin room for tonight's debate. jeff, what is senator tim kaine's strategy? >> he's trying to continue where hillary clinton left off at the first debate. trying to keep this momentum and questions alive about donald trump. he has much more to work with now. i am told by a top advisor who has been involved in the debate preparations that he has been studying the tax code, the tax laws and is going to go pretty deep into raising some questions about that 1995 tax return that we now have been talking about for so many days.
also, he is trying to validate hillary clinton. he is going to use the words "honesty" and "trustworthiness." it's a central part of his strategy to make people who may be on the fence about hillary clinton like her a little bit more. he has been studying intensively. hillary clinton's record as well as the republican record, trying to be totally familiar with everything for tonight. he has been doing some practice in raleigh, north carolina, to get off the trail to spend time going through all this. he has done a lot of debates before. as governor of virginia, as senator of virginia, but never before where he is trying to, you know, essentially help someone else, that's hillary clinton. so his challenge tonight is to essentially not slow this momentum down that she started at that first debate at hofstra. jake. >> jeff zeleny, thank you very much. jim acosta is covering the trump/pence campaign. you've been talking to your sources on the campaign. how is governor pence preparing for tonight?
what's his goal? >> reporter: his goal tonight is to win, in the words of one senior trump advisor. they want to reset the narrative of the campaign and get a win under their belt. they're hoping that mike pence can do it. the way he's been preparing. he's taking the conventional route. donald trump didn't debate with a stand-in for hillary clinton. mike pence has been preparing with a stand-in for tim kaine. governor scott walker. he has been practicing with a moderator. they do know, as jeff zeleny was saying a few moments ago, that tim kaine will hit mike pence tonight with these tax returns as one democratic strategist told me, jake, if the subject of immigration comes up, tim kaine will mention the tax returns. if climate change comes up. tim kaine will mention the tax returns. aides know that is going to happen and say they're ready for it. in the words of one advisor,
mike pence will hold his own. he was' doing his homework and is prepared. one thing that happened this afternoon, apparently mike pence did test the microphone inside the debate hall, according to one aide. he wanted to make sure it's working tonight. >> joining me now my panel. we'll start with senior political reporters manu raju and nia-malika henderson. jeff chalian, gloria borger, trump supporter kaleigh mcnenny and clinton supporter angela rye. jeffrey lord and former special advisor to president obama van jones, who is a clinton supporter. david chalian, we are exactly five weeks out from election day, believe it or not. can mike pence do anything that could actually help donald trump regain some of the momentum that he had about a week and a half ago? >> i don't know how much momentum he can gain for donald trump, but i do think he can put a floor underneath what has been a really rough week for donald
trump, obviously. if mike pence gives a stellar performance tonight, i think it helps to stabilize trump. i am not sure it injects new momentum for him, but it certainly could help stabilize by donald trump clearly needs to do. >> jeffrey lord, to you. mike pence has played a role in the past of, you know, cleanup on aisle 2. take a listen. >> i have a great deal of respect for john mccain. >> captain khan is an american hero, and we honor him and honor his family. i am not really sure why the media keeps dropping david duke's name. donald trump has denounced david duke repeatedly. we don't want his support. >> i assume you are anticipating he will do something similar this evening after some of these rough stories and some self-inflicted wounds are the miss universe, 1996, and the "new york times" story about his taxes. >> ever thus with vice presidential candidates, period, no matter who they are. in terms of the taxes, i have to
say, i just totally think this is an issue that helps, because it talks about -- it illustrates the problem with the tax code. hillary clinton also took advantage of this. so, you know, when you are doing the same thing, albeit for a lesser amount of money. people across the country -- i get stopped in the street here by people saying, listen, i do this, i do this. are they saying now that if i take a tax deduction i am not paying my taxes? i think the issue could boomerang on these folks. >> let me go to van jones. i think he disagrees. >> please. go right ahead. this is obviously causing tremendous heartburn for the trump campaign and for ordinary people. here is the deal. it's not that he's done anything that's not lawful. it's just that it feels so awful that somebody at his level can do horrific things. laypeople off, file these banks rupscie
rupscies, stiff people and still comes out on top. the way it came across in the last debate. this makes me smart. you can spin it and spin it. it came across as very arrogant. put the two things together. i am getting away with murder and i'm arrogant about it. it doesn't look good. >> i'm going told this by regular folks. >> people who like you who come up to you. everybody else is getting bombarded by what the rest of america things. >> in our poll at cnn 94% of the american public believes paying your taxes is the patriotic and civic thing to do. 73% of americans believe that donald trump should disclose his taxes. americans believe they're not chumps, that they -- everyone wants to pay the lowest possible tax rate, but paying zero when you earn billions of dollars is
what trump does. and they'll prosecute the case of him as a bad businessman who lost billions of dollars. >> we're expecting tim kaine to go on attack this evening. he's been playing the role enthusiastically over the past few weeks. >> is there no limit to which this guy will descend? kkk values. david duke values are not american values. donald trump can't get over the nixon standard for ethics. our nation, it is too great to put it in the hands of a slick-talking, empty promising, self-promoting one-man wrecking crew! >> is that what tim kaine needs to do this evening? or does he need to make a more affirmative case about hillary clinton, if you had to pick one? >> that's a hard question, jake. i think the reality of this debate tonight is neither of these candidates are well known.
so it absolutely has to be about their principles. he has to pivot very well in counter punching at mike pence but he also has to definitely tout hillary clinton's record, what she plans to do, what the new economic plan is all about. what they're doing about building infrastructure. >> i'm asking you to make a choice. which is more important. >> he has to spend more time talking about what hillary clinton will do. >> more building up. we have to take a break. but we have a lot more time. coming up next, the latest polls show clinton picking up steam in crucial battleground states. donald trump about to speak live in arizona where the race is in a dead heat. and donald trump getting slammed for bragging he takes advantage of tax laws. because not paying taxes for years and years while the rest of us pay our fair share doesn't make you smarter than the rest of us.
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we're hours away from the first and only showdown between the vice presidential candidates. hillary clinton, meanwhile, about to speak in harrisburg. in the crucial battleground state of pennsylvania. earlier clinton campaigned with her daughter chelsea and took this question from a young supporter. >> i see with my own eyes the damage donald trump does when he talks about women and how they look. as the first female president, how would you undo some of that damage and helps girls understand they are so much more than just what they look like? >> my opponent insulted miss universe. i mean, how do you get more acclaimed than that? but it wasn't good enough. so we can't take any of this seriously anymore. we need to laugh at it. we need to refute it. we need to ignore it, and we need to stand up to it. >> joe johns is in haverford, pennsylvania, where the event took place. joe, what will we hear from clinton this hour, do you think?
>> reporter: well, jake, harrisburg is being billed as a voter registration event. the deadline for voter registration in the state of pennsylvania is october 11th. that is, by the way, exactly one week from today. now, the clinton campaign looking at their numbers, sees themselves as about ten points ahead according to one of the most recent polls, but they're not resting on their laurels for a couple of reasons. pennsylvania being so important especially for donald trump. also because this is the state where hillary clinton knows she needs some big numbers, no matter what. one of the things that you look at in pennsylvania is the number of people who actually showed up to vote during the primaries. it's been a bit of a slump here and nationwide for democrats. they're worried about that as they try to bring together that obama coalition of minority voters, of younger voters, and others to try to seal the deal this november. jake, back to you. >> joe johns, thanks.
now to donald trump. he is about to hold a rally in prescott valley, arizona. testing out a new line on the campaign trail as something of an underdog and how he, even as a businessman, was underestimated. >> they said i had billions of dollars in borrowings in hundreds of millions in personal guarantee and no pathway out. i never had any doubts, and i never ever gave up, like the people in this room. we never gave up. >> jason carroll is at the trump rally. jason, do we expect to hear more of this language from trump this evening? >> reporter: we absolutely do. you heard him there yesterday when he was in colorado. when he entered that arena to thunderous applause at the top of the arena, it was like a prize fighter entering adoring fans. that's pretty much what we are expecting here today. he said yesterday, he said, i know how to fight. i know how to beat the system, and i know how to win. a number of his surrogates, as you know, jake, have been out
basically calling him a financial gene juius for what h did. i spoke to a couple people in the room. a lot of them saying, look, we understand that donald trump for a period of time was in the private sector. we accept his explanation for what happened there with the taxes. and in fact, a number of them have said, but going forward what they'd like to see is him not talk so much about the taxes but talk about the issues. that's why so many people in this room today have told me they're actually looking forward to the vp debate because they feel like that's the debate where the issues will be taking center stage. as for what we are expecting here, we are expecting donald trump when he takes the -- takes to the podium to talk about the debate, but also once again to talk about the taxes. again, a number of people here, even his own supporters, are saying at this point focus on the issues, less about taxes, less about personal attacks. jake. >> jason, thank you so much. my panel is here with me.
nia-malika. one of the people campaigning today for hillary clinton was michelle obama, going after trump, though not naming him directly. do you think that's effective? >> oh, yeah. i think it's effective. she had that very clever moment when she was talking about hillary clinton, how she -- when she is knocked down, she gets back up. and so she doesn't complain. she tapped the microphone, whiffway was all sorts of shade and clever. she is great in a state like north carolina. a lot of hbcus. >> historically black colleges. >> in any state she'll be great. partly because she is such a pop culture figure. she is on the cover of essence magazine, in-still magazine. her approval rating is near 60%. she very much, i think for a lot of folks, is the keeper of the obama flame, right? at some of the rallies you hear people elapsing into the old
fire it up and ready to go. i think she'll be great out there. and different from what she has been before. if you think about her in a lot of the mid-term contests she was reluctant to campaign for some people whose last name wasn't obama. i think she'll be crucial in getting the obama coalition out there and also suburban white women as well and even older voters. voters who are over 65. hillary clinton is actually doing quite well with those voters, which is very different from what obama was able to do in 2012. >> very interesting. kaleigh, back to donald trump, taking the more underdog top role a little bit more. >> when the chips are down is when i perform the very best. the thing that motivates me the most is when people tell me something is absolutely impossible. for me, impossible is just a starting point. and that's what i am and what you are. we're fighters. and i am now going to fight for you.
we're bringing our country back. >> it's a new tone, a new tack. what do you think? >> i think it's a great tack. america loves a comeback story. the expectations are not high for donald trump in the next debate given that there was a consensus among voters and polls that hillary clinton won the last debate. we can debate that, but that was the consensus. if he comes back stronger. if he comes back and takes the offense and prosecutes the case against hillary clinton with her e-mail server, with the clinton foundation, he is going to look like the greatest comeback story ever. let's be reminded, seven days ago john king was saying he's opened multiple paths to 270. >> manu, you agree? >> i think he's running this campaign against washington. anytime you can tap into that angst among the american electorate it helps. that's one thing mike pence can do pretty effectively tonight. make the case that they're the ticket to change washington and make the case to sell
conservative values. donald trump didn't do in the first debate. that's one of the thing republican voters, establishment types, want to hear more of, explain why -- why republican values could actually do well for the middle class. i think that is one thing they're going to hear a lot more of. and the change argument. so effective when donald trump can stay on message. when he gets off message is when he gets into trouble. >> vwhy does he have to make ths case? it's a great argument for him to make. but the psychology of the supporters. if you are a grass-roots trump supporter, you're doing hand-to-hand combat. you don't see benghazi, the clinton foundation, you don't see anything except for your candidate making mistake after mistake. there is a demoralization crisis that begins to set in. he needs to take the negative and turn it into a positive. it's a brilliant way to do it. but the reality is he had real momentum. he didn't have to make the
argument that he was down, because he was up. one of the things i think you'll watch now is, coming out of this debate and sunday, is not the broader movement, but the core psychology of these trump supporters. can they buoy themselves? i see trump supporters now, they're less aggressive now in promoting their candidate because they're embarrassed. >> i don't know which trump supporters he's talking about. >> there are a couple in this building! >> i mean, i am seeing them in the trump headquarters in my area of pennsylvania on saturday. and most of them were out in manheim with donald trump. but the ones who were there, boy, they are pumped up. >> all right. coming up next, breaking news on a story that we have been following. a failing veterans hospital getting worse instead of better after two years of trying to fix it. our report coming up. and bill clinton calls obamacare a, quote, crazy system. does hillary clinton agree? we'll ask her campaign manager,
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welcome back to a very special edition of "the lead." debate night in america. hillary clinton speaking to supporters in pennsylvania. we're just hours away from the showdown between clinton and trump's running mates here on cnn. it's the one and only time that senator tim kaine and governor mike pence will go head to head. it comes as brand-new polls are coming out in the must-win battleground states. john king is live in farmville to break it down. a lot of new polls from the battleground states.
all seem to agree hillary clinton seems to be building momentum right now. >> they do. it underscores how important the debate is tonight and how important the second debate is sunday night in the presidential debate. let's go back eight days in time. on the morning of the presidential debate number one we were talking about donald trump's momentum, right? we still project hillary clinton would win if the election were held today. 272 electoral votes. let's go back eight days ago. we were talking about polling that showed trump leading in nevada. polling that showed he had tied or pulled ahead in florida. showing him up a bit in north carolina and starting to build a four, five-point lead in ohio. it got him a lot more in play. eight days ago. and we were saying keep an eye on pennsylvania. we lean it democratic but the polls getting closer. we were saying keep an eye on colorado. lean it democratic but we were having internal conversations even about michigan as well. that was eight days ago. donald trump looking favorable
in the battleground states and making us have conversations about some of the blue states. let's move forward and come back to where we are now. a lot of new polls out in the last couple days. three in nevada showing it's hillary clinton ahead in nevada. colorado, 11 point lead for clinton in two polls. florida, narrow carolina lead. north carolina, carolina is leading there. it doesn't mean she'll win them and that the momentum can't swing back but look at donald trump's challenge. now you are looking at a map that looks like the obama/romney map. donald trump needs mike pence to do him a favor tonight and donald trump on sunday night to grab the momentum and pull it back because it gets hard when you get inside the last 30 days to change one state. if donald trump, excuse me, has to change three or four states, it gets very difficult. >> even with a bad week for trump, john, there are states where he is still holding onto a lead. battleground states. >> right. if you are trump, you're studying this one. because ohio has stayed consistently for trump even as
hillary clinton has made gains in other places. you are looking at ohio and thinking why is it? demographics, the trade message. older white voters. if you're donald trump and you're saying we're falling in colorado, virginia, struggling in florida, you'll see the trump campaign look back to the rust belt again. that's where they're doing the best. pennsylvania has moved clinton's way. michigan moved back march ore i clinton's favor. ohio is not enough, though. he has to flip some others. >> john king, thank you so much. joining me now, the campaign manager for hillary clinton, robby mook. thank you for joining us. i assume senator kaine has an answer if the moderator raises the fact that president clinton made a tough critique of obamacare. >> you have a crazy system where all of a sudden 20 million more people have health care and the people are busting sometimes 60 hours a week and wind up with their premiums doubled and their coverage cut in half.
it's the craziest thing in the world. >> robby, obamacare is the craziest thing in the world? >> well, i think that's taking a little bit out of context. first and foremost, over 20 million people now have health insurance today in our country because of obamacare. we have to improve it, but we have to protect it. donald trump wants to completely rip it up, take away health insurance from the 20 million people, from the young people under 26 who get it through their parents. take away, you know, basic care -- preventive care for every single american. we have to protect obamacare. what he was touching on, to your question, was that premiums are going up too high in places and we need to do more to help small businesses in particular afford health insurance. that's why hillary wants to create better tax incentives and tax credits for small businesses so that they can afford the health care and create pools so they have better bargaining power with the insurance companies. >> to note.
the white house press secretary josh earnest said today, quote, it's not exactly clear what argument bill clinton was making and of course he wishes bill clinton had used different language. >> again, i think that what bill clinton was trying to hit on is that a lot of small businesses are struggling to afford health insurance. they can't form big enough bargaining pools. that's why we have got to get them better tax credits, allow them to pool together. one thing he didn't mention is the cost of prescription drugs, which is also going up too high. we have to allow medicare to negotiate for lower prescription drug costs and make sure we're doing more to lower the out of pocket kexpenses for everyday americans. i rattled off a lot of specific ideas that hillary clinton has. donald trump hasn't named a specific idea on health care except that he wants to repeal obamacare altogether. everybody agrees that would be a disaster. >> i wasn't quoting donald
trump. i was quoting former president bill clinton. the rnc launched a new ad criticizing kaine because of his work as a defense attorney and as governor. here is a little clip. >> richard lee whitley, sexually assaulted and murdered his elderly neighbor, tim kaine daechd defended him. outside his execution tim kaine said something personal in me will die with whitley. another man murdered three people. as governor tim kaine commuted his sentence citing concerns disproved by the courts. >> it's a tough web ad, robby. your response? >> you know, donald trump's campaign has had a very hard week. they are desperate to try to change the narrative here. they've said themselves they're going to go on the attack, throw a bunch of mud around. the attacks that are in that ad have been launched at senator
kaine for some time now, when he ran for governor, when he ran for senate. they've been answered. what we want to talk about in this debate are the issues. how we help people afford health care, college. create more jobs and get wages rising. that's what senate kaine will be focused on in the debate. we hope governor pence wants to engage on those issues as well. >> robby, a quick question. do you think it's senator kaine's job tonight more to attack donald trump and mike pence or to vouch and build up hillary clinton? please don't say both. >> no. actually, jake, i think the work that both secretary clinton and senator kaine want to do in their respective debates is make sure that people understand the real plans and proposals they have that are going to make a difference in their life. how they're going to create jobs. how they're going to get wages rising. that's what we'd like to focus on. that's when our campaign has done the best, when they have the opportunity to talk about
those proposals. i think what will be tricky for governor pence is how is he going to answer all of these questions about whether he'll stand with donald trump. will he back him up when he says he may not have paid taxes for two decades. will he back up his attacks on the former miss universe. will he back up his attacks on a gold star family. this is a tricky situation and we'll see how he navigates that. >> robby mook, campaign manager for the hillary clinton campaign. thank you so much. appreciate it. >> thank you, jake. coming up, hillary clinton expected to take questions from reporters at a rally. and we're standing by for donald trump in arizona. he is expected to speak to supporters just hours ahead of tonight's vp debate. plus, the hospital at the center of the v.a. scandal. how is it possible that conditions for veterans there are getting even worse? we'll have a report. stay with us. approve this message.
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welcome back to a very special debate day edition of "the lead." breaking news on a story we have been following. a new report out moments ago with a rather scathing indictment of the scandal-plagued v.a. hospital in phoenix. coming two years after a massive overhaul. our nation's veterans and the care they receive after serving our country is a big topic. drew griffin is live in atlanta. drew, we have seen other reports about the v.a. tell us about this one. >> reporter: the report issued just this afternoon by the inspector general shows very little improvement, if at all, in the wait times at the phoenix v.a. in fact, as of this past july, phoenix v.a. had 38,000 open accounts. those are appointments waiting. it's a high number. and the report cites a list of reasons, including lost lab results, staff scheduling
problems. as a result, patients attempting to get care, the report says, continue to encounter delays. get this, jake. one patient, a vascular patient, actually waited more than 300 days to get treatment. and what's possibly even worse at the phoenix v.a., patients are still getting their appointments inappropriately canceled. this was the heart of the scandal. the inspector general took a sample of appointments and found 24% of them were just canceled by staff members. the results, the vets are just not getting the treatment they're asking for, jake. >> drew, did any of these patients die waiting for that care? >> reporter: you have to be careful in the wording here, jake. 215 patients died waiting for care last year. but, the inspector general was only able to find one of those patients who may have died because of the delay in that care. >> but it's still shocking. the phoenix v.a. still having
delays in care, major delays, the staff still inappropriately just deleting appointments. when is this going to get better? >> you know, you can sense the frustration in this actual government report. the v.a.'s inspector general says, look, this is the sixth report its issued about problems in care delivery in phoenix. this is the conclusion. although the veterans health administration has made efforts to improve care approved at phoenix, these issues remain. jake, phoenix is now on its sixth director since the firing of sharon helman three years ago. six directors. the management problems just persist. it's a real mess. based on this report, it is the veterans who are continuing to pay the price. >> drew griffin with the disgraceful and upsetting report. appreciate it. >> my panel back with me. gloria, speaking of veterans, donald trump made a comment at a veterans event that has been criticized for not being sensitive enough to the idea of
those who suffer post traumatic stress not being strong. vice president biden jumped in. let's play that tape. >> when you talk about the mental health problems when people come back from war and combat and they see things that maybe a lot of the folks in this room have seen many times over and you're strong and you can handle it, but a lot of people can't handle it. >> this is an ignorant man. how can he be so out of touch. he is not a bad guy. how can he be so out of touch. >> the veteran who asked the question that prompted the response from donald trump said he was not offended at all but a lot of veterans have been upset. >> have been offended. i think it was inartfully stated. i think to say that donald trump was pointing out that people with pts are weak as opposed to other veterans is unfair to trump. i think he could have stated it
in a better way. i know joe biden spoke about it that way. i think hillary clinton will speak about it that way. i think that's all about scoring political points over an issue. drew griffin was saying it's so serious in this country people ought to be talking about how we take care of our veterans instead of trying to score points over something like this. >> the outrage from the left about what drew griffin reported about the continued problems at the v.a. in phoenix. >> solve that. >> the question, jake, would be who is in charge? the answer is the obama administration. >> we talked about this last week at a town hall with veterans and president obama. he said things are getting better but still not where they need to be. coming up next we weigh in on what to watch for tonight. will tonight's showdown generate any memorable moments such as this one? >> jack kennedy was a friend of mine. senator, you are no jack kennedy. >> who am i? why am i here? >> can i call you joe?
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hours away from the first and only vice presidential debate. they've had their share of memorable moments historically. >> reporter: now in the national spotlight, it's high stakes for the vice presidential contenders to soar or stumble. >> with all due respect, that's a bunch of malarkey. >> the one-line zingers. >> i think senator dole has richly earned his reputation as a hatchet man tonight. >> reporter: which go on to become the breakout moment of the debates. >> senator, i served with jack kennedy. i knew jack kennedy. jack kennedy was a friend of mine. senator, you are no jack kennedy. >> reporter: and miscalculations, like admiral stockdale in 1992 trying to poke a little fun at his own experience. >> who am i? why am i here? [ laughter ]
[ applause ] >> i am not a politician. >> reporter: that fell flat. and opened up their ticket to late-night jokes instead. >> who am i? why am i here? >> you're the admiral. you're taking a joyride. >> reporter: in 2008 the relatively unknown first-term governor from alaska was facing questions over her experience going up against a well-established u.s. senator, joe biden. >> can i call you joe? >> reporter: those six words within the first few seconds of the debate created her big moment. seen as a successful move to disarm her competitor. >> say it ain't so, joe. there you go again. >> reporter: the first woman who took the veep stage in 1984 capitalized quickly on her opponent's misstep. >> let me help you with the difference between iran and the mercedes be embassy in lebanon.
>> calling george h.w. bush out for this on stage. >> i almost resent your patronizing attitude that you have to teach me about foreign policy. >> reporter: providing key tests. answering the question on voters' minds, are they capable to assume the job as president. >> she doesn't have the stamina, and i don't believe she does have the stamina. to be president of this country, you need tremendous stamina. >> as soon as he travels to 112 countries and negotiates a peace deal -- >> reporter: another key question that could factor in more this year, as issues of health and age for both donald trump and hillary clinton swirl. >> the main quality that you want is somebody that can be a great president. if something happens to you. that's not got to be number one. don't you think? >> reporter: a duty both candidates seem to be taking seriously. >> i want to be sure that whoever i pick could be president immediately if something were to happen.
>> reporter: going into tonight's debate, over a quarter of voters for both candidates said they had no opinion formed of either of them either way. that's why tonight is such an opportunity for both mike pence and tim kaine. not only to potentially create the lasting breakout moment that could potentially dictate the conversation for many days but also to really have them define themselves in front of a lot of voters who still don't have an impression of them. jake. >> sunlen, thank you so much. back with the panel. david, what are you looking for tonight? >> with mike pence how he handles a campaign that right now is on defense and how he tries to turn it to his advantage. from tim kaine i am looking to see if he injects spanish in a significant way into this debate. because he is fluent in it. i would be curious to see that. i fear that we're not going to get any of the great moments that we just saw from either of these guys tonight. >> you never know. >> manu. >> i think we'll see from tim kaine the trying to get mike pence to own all the
controversial things donald trump said. robby mook foreshadowed this is the strategy going forward. the question is how will mike pence deal with it. in covering him through the years, watch for him to side-step it try to get back on message. hillary clinton prosecuted the case in a more effective way than donald trump has done during the last debate. >> former radio broadcaster and a skilled politician on message. angela. >> one of the things i am hoping for is that the moderator will call mike pence on his record. his record is not spotless. it certainly is in greater alignment with donald trump's. he has been very anti lgbtq. from hiv/aids bills. he has a record of, frankly, hatred. >> that's not true. he has an excellent record. i think we'll see him elevate the campaign to a higher level.
you'll hear mike pence saying i lowered taxes in indiana. here is how i'll do it for the nation with trump at my side. >> the question is really, how do mike pence balance donald trump without contradicting donald trump. he has been able to do it pretty well during the campaign but kaine will press him because he is the proxy for donald trump. i think it will be more heated than many people anticipate. this is a point in the campaign where trump has been having some problems, and pence has to stop the bleeding here for him. >> all right. the thrilla' in vanilla. next hillary clinton expected to take questions from reporters at any moment. donald trump live. counting down to the battle of the vp candidates. right here on cnn. woman'ing back. insured by unitedhealthcare insurance company. like any standardized medicare supplement plan,
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u i'll see you back later tonight for more special coverage of tonight's vice presidential debate. i turn you over to wolf blitzer and anderson cooper. both of them in "the situation room." happening now, running mate rumble. just hours from now, tim kaine, mike pence who will make a better case for the top of their ticket at the vice presidential debate. >> poll positions and how it could factor in the debate. >> donald trump in arizona right now. will he fire back at the critics again, including a high school student who called him out today about body image. >> i am anderson cooper. >> and i'm wolf blitzer. and you're in "the situation room." >> good evening from the campus of lo