tv Meet the Press NBC April 3, 2016 8:00am-9:01am PDT
this sunday, it may have been donald trump's worst week on the campaign trail yet. he defended his campaign manager charged with assaulting a woman reporter. he called for women who have abortions to be punished. >> there has to be some form of punishment. >> for the woman? >> yeah. >> he says he's open to japan and south korea having nuclear weapons. and now he's slipping in the polls. is the donald trump campaign finally crumbling, or will he survive as he's done so many times before? plus, hillary clinton still can't put away bernie sanders, and the frustration is beginning to show. >> i am so tick of the sanders campaign lying about me. >> my exclusive interview this morning with secretary clinton. also, with all the talk of a contested convention, what did
john kasich mean by this? >> mitt romney running for president? we've been wondering that ourselves. >> is it possible someone not in the race today could be the republican nominee in july? and joining me for insight and analysis this morning are david brooks of "new york times." amy walter of the cook political report. helene cooper of the "new york times" and political reporter charles benson from our nbc affiliate in milwaukee. happening opening day, and welcome to sunday. it's "meet the press." from nbc news in washington, this is "meet the press" with chuck todd. good sunday morning. and, yes, happy opening day, again. how many times have people said, okay now, donald trump is done. he's through? and how many times has it turned out to be true? well, not once. so it's with that big flashing yellow light in mind that we point out that never has donald trump had a worse run or the idea of a trump collapse look more possible. just this week trump's campaign
manager was arrested and charged with battery. trump withdrew his pledge to back whoever wins the republican nomination. he arpged it might be time to let japan and south korea arm themselves with nuclear weapons to reduce america's military burden. he told msnbc's chris matthews women should be punished for having abortions. trump has articulated five positions on abortions in just over 48 hours. wrapping up this terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week for donald trump, he now trails ted cruz in a number of polls in wisconsin which holds its primary on tuesday. trump's serial explanations on abortion this week have been condemned by both republicans and democrats, including hillary clinton. >> donald trump said women should be punished for having an abortion. [ audience booing ] he then tried to distance himself once that kind of reaction came out from his outrageous comments, but we all heard them. >> secretary clinton is having her own problems putting away
senator bernie sanders in her primary. i talked to her last night as she was campaigning in wisconsin in advance of tuesday's primary. i have a question about a new ad that you're running in new york state. let me play it for the viewers and get you to
respond on the other side. here it is. >> when we pull together, we do the biggest things in the world. so when some say we can solve america's problems by building walls, banning people based on their religion and turning against each other, well, this is new york. and we know better. >> secretary clinton, is that an ad -- have you moved on? are we going to view this ad as the fist one of the general election? it's pretty clear you're targeting donald trump. >> well, certainly i haven't moved on. i know that i still have work to do to win the nomination. and i'm going to keep reaching out to every voter everywhere in these remaining contests. but i also think it's important to draw some pretty clear lines
between what i think most americans and certainly what i know most new yorkers believe about who we are as a people, what the values of our country are against some of what we're hearing from the other side. and, you know, it's both donald trump as we are well aware, but also ted cruz. i know he made a critical comment about new york values some months back. so i want to really hold up the importance of new york and what we stand for. and, you know, we are a state that represents the diversity of america, the role that immigrants have played over the centuries in building our nation. and the statue of liberty stands in the harbor. so i wanted to start out with a very clear message about our values and why i think it's important we stand up for them. >> and in that ad though, you do include footage, that awful footage, of a trump supporter
cold knocking essentially a protester at his rally. why amplify that image? >> because i was horrified by it, chuck. and i think most americans were horrified by it. when you, as i've said before about donald trump's appearances, his rhetoric, his demagoguery when you insight violence you are acting like a political arsonist. i want people to understand there's a very different way of worki working toward our common ground that we have to seek and find in order to move our country forward. we may have differences, of course we do. but we don't condone violence. we don't say we'll pay the legal fees of people who punch other americans who are protesting attending an event. that is just not appropriate behavior when you're running for president.
>> you know, also this week you were pretty tough on donald trump on one of his positions on abortion. he had five different positions that we've counted up this week on abortion. i want to ask you, what is yours? give me your straightforward position on the issue of abortion. >> my position is in line with row v. wade, that women have a constitutional right to make these moment intimate and personal and difficult decisions based on their conscience, their faith, their family, their doctor. and that it is something that really goes to the core of privacy. and i want to maintain that constitutional protection. under row v. wade as you know there is room for reasonable kinds of restrictions after a certain point in time.
i think the life, the health of the mother are clear. and those should be include d even as one moves on in pregnancy. so i have been -- i've had the same position for many years. >> when or if does an unborn child have constitutional rights? >> well, under our laws currently, that is not something that exists. the unborn person doesn't have constitutional rights. now, that doesn't mean that we don't do everything we possibly can in the vast majority of instances to, you know, help a mother who is carrying a child and wants to make sure that child will be healthy, to have appropriate medical support. it doesn't mean that, you know, don't do everything possible to
try to fulfill your obligations. but it does not include sacrificing the woman's right to make decisions. and i think that's an important distinction that under roe v. wade we've had refined under our constitution. >> is it fair to say women don't always have a full right to choose? >> well, under roe v. wade that is the law. and as i said, i support the reasoning and the outcome in roe v. wade. so in the third trimester of pregnancy there is room for looking at the life and the health of the mother. now, most people -- not all republicans, not all conservatives even agree with the life of the mother, but most do. where the distinction comes in is the health of the mother.
and when you have candidates running for president who say that there should be no exceptions, not for rape, not for incest, not for health, then i think you've gotten pretty extreme. and my view has always been this is a choice. it is not a mandate. you know, i have traveled all over the world. i have seen what happens wen governments make these decisions. whether it was forced sterilization, forced abortion in china or forced childbearing in communist romania. so i don't think that we should be allowing the government to make decisions that really properly belong to the individual. >> let me move to the primary campaign. let me play this clip that got a lot of air time over the last few days. here it is. >> will you act on your word to reject fossil fuel money in the fossil fuel companies?
>> i do not have -- i have people that work for fossil fuels -- i am so sick of the sanders campaign lying about this. >> madame secretary, i know you couldn't see the clip but you probably heard it. you were caught saying i am so sick of the sanders campaign lying about my record. what are they lying about? >> well, let me first say that, you know, i'm used to criticism. i've been taking it for a very long time. but i care passionately about climate change. and i have been working to try to move us away from fossil fuels for many years. when i was in the senate i introduced legislation to take away the subsidies. i voted against dick cheney's energy bill in 2005. i could go on and on. when i got to be secretary of state i was at the original meeting in 2009 with president obama where we were trying to convince china and india and others to come onboard with accepting some restrictions that would lead to what finally occurred with the paris agreement.
so when people make these kinds of claims, which now i think have been debunked. actually "the washington post" said three pinocchios, the "new york times" analyzed it and other independent analysts have said that they are misrepresenting my record. i'm just not going to -- i feel sorry, sometimes, for the young people who, you know, believe this. they don't do their own research. and i'm glad that we can now point to reliable independent analysis to say, no, it's just not true. >> do you believe that he's been lying about other parts of your record, or just this instance? when you said that. >> well, you know, i'm not going to go into that. i think that we've tried to run a campaign on the issues. i'm going to keep talking about the issues. i was up in syracuse yesterday talking about my new manufacturing plan, bring manufacturing back to america, let's make it in america. that's what i think the american people are interested in hearing. and i'm going to keep doing what i've been doing in this campaign, which is to, you know,
draw the contrast but stay on the issues. >> well, senator sanders had something to say about you today actually campaigning in wisconsin and your paid speeches. i want to play you the sound and get you to react. >> why else would they pay you $250,000? it must be a speech written in shakespearean pros. and if it is such an unbelievably great speech, i think the secretary should share that speech with the rest of us. >> i guess it's a back handed compliment comparing you to william shakespeare, but let me ask you this. you have said you would release the transcripts of these speeches when all of the other candidates have done. bernie sanders is the only opponent in the democratic race he says he's released the transcripts because he didn't give any speeches. what say you? >> as i've said before and will say again, i've heard him say that. you know, look, i think what he's trying to imply, and i know his campaign tries to imply this
is undermining or again misrepresenting my record when it comes to being tough on wall street. i have a record, chuck. it is out there in the public. and i'm the only candidate in the democratic primary or actually on either side who wall street financiers and hedge fund managers are actually running ads against. so i find this, again, a kind of, you know, circuitous way to raise questions about my record, but i'm very proud of the fact that i have the most comprehensive approach toward taking on the problems that exist in the economy. i don't just talk about breaking up the banks, because we now have the authority thanks to president obama under dodd frank. i talk about taking the other risks on, like the hedge funds and everybody else. >> but this gets to something else, i think he's getting at secrecy. and the milwaukee sentinel had a tough editorial against you this week. it said this of your candidacy, her horrible track record on
transparency raises serious questions for open government under a clinton administration, so serious we believe they may disqualify her from public office regardless of clinton's excuses the only believable reason for private server in her basement was to keep e-mails out of the public eye by willfully avoiding freedom of information laws. we encourage voters to think long and hard about the record when choosing the next president. the issue of secrecy or the record that you're secret has followed you for some time. is there any way you can at least convince wisconsin voters that that's not the case? >> well, it's just a wrong set of assertions and conclusions. and as you may know i've received the vast majority of newspaper endorsements. they all have the same information. they have all analyzed it. a lot of them have conducted interviews. so let me just say again, i sent e-mails to government employees on their government accounts.
i had every reason to believe that they were in the government system. it was a matter of convenience. i've said repeatedly it was not the best choice. it was a mistake. but i think that anybody who's actually looked at this has concluded that i have now put out all of my e-mails. go and ask others for their e-mails. ask everybody else who's in public office. i'm the one who's done it. and i did it because i thought it was the right thing to do. >> has the fbi reached out to you yet for an interview? >> no. no, they haven't. but back in august we made clear that i'm happy to answer any questions that anybody might have. and i standby that. >> are you concerned this isn't going to wrap up before the convention? >> no, i'm not. because i don't think anything inappropriate was done. and so i have to let them decide how to resolve their security inquiry, but i'm not at all worried about it. >> before i let you go, last week on the show senator sanders said he wanted to debate in new york.
i know you've been having a debate over debates, debates, debates. are you going to debate in new york? and when are you going to debate? >> well, i'm confident we will. our campaigns are trying to reach an agreement about that. we've offered dates. and we've done it over the last several weeks. so, you know, we've been trying to figure out when we could do this. but there's a lot to talk about. and since the last debate we've had terrorist attacks in brussels, pakistan and elsewhere -- >> you think there has to be another debate? >> i'm confident there will be. i'm not the one negotiating it. my campaign has been really trying to get a time that senator sanders campaign would agree with. >> all right. he's proposed sunday evening april 17th. are you in? >> i'm not negotiating, chuck. we've proposed thursday the 14th, which gives people more time to digest what happens in the debate. is he in?
>> all right. we will ask him when we get the chance. secretary clinton, i will leave it there. from milwaukee, stay safe on the campaign trail. we'll see you soon. >> thanks a lot. good to talk to you. take care. >> bye now. and when we come back, the republican race and more on the worst week yet for the candidacy and candidate of donald trump. >> i'm just saying -- >> look, i am not taking cards off the table. >> from loose talk about nukes to multiple positions on abortion, why donald trump looks abortion, why donald trump looks you can fly across welcome town in minutes16, or across the globe in under an hour. whole communities are living on mars and solar satellites provide earth with unlimited clean power. in less than a century, boeing took the world from seaplanes to space planes, across the universe and beyond. and if you thought that was amazing, you just wait. ♪
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welcome back. let's now turn to the republican race and tuesday's wisconsin primary. wisconsin has become sort of a new hampshire part two. the rare primary that stands alone on the calendar. and that may be as much about momentum as it is about actual delegates. it comes after a week that saw trump's poll numbers fall and republican criticism rise. not the least because trump wound up explaining himself on abortion again and again and again and ain. >> very, very tough. i'm not sure which is worse, dealing with the party people or dealing with the press. >> donald trump is scrambling to regain momentum ahead of tuesday's primary. >> i just wanted to talk to the people of wisconsin, because there's so much misinformation that being put out there about me. >> yet again back peddling on abortion. >> at this moment the laws are set. and i think we have to leave it that way. >> in a statement, trump's
campaign tried to walk back the walkback, quote, mr. trump gave an accurate account of the law as it is today. and made clear it must stay that way now until he is president. then he will change the law through his judicial appointments and allow the states to protect the unborn. it's trump's fifth position on abortion this week. beginning with these comments to chris matthews on wednesday. >> the answer is that there has to be some form of punishment. >> for the woman? >> yeah, there has to be. >> from the day in june -- >> they're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime, they're rapists, and some i assume are good people. >> trump's slash and burn version of straight talk has been the hallmark of his campaign. in july on john mccain. >> he's a war hero because he was captured. i like people that weren't captured, okay? >> in august on fox host megyn kelly. >> there was blood coming out of
her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever. >> and in september on carly fiorina, look at that face. trump said he was referring to fiorina's persona. trump has survived each episode, and all those that followed. >> thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down. a total and complete shutdown of muslims entering the united states. just so you understand, i don't know anything about david duke, okay. don't tell me it doesn't work. torture works, okay, folks. i think islam hates us. >> i'm just saying -- >> i am not taking cards off the table. >> but can trump go too far? even supporters believe some of the statements are embarrassing. >> do you realize our candidate is mental? it's like constantly having to bail out your 16-year-old son from prison. >> though trump's blunt talk has attracted many supporters to his campaign. >> he's who he is.
>> 68% of suburban voters, 70% of women and 77% of hispanics now view trump unfavorably. still, many republican leaders fear it's too late to stop trump and are preparing to enter the general election with a wounded nominee. i'm joined now by reince priebus, chairman of the republican national committee. mr. chairman, welcome back to "meet the press," sir. >> good morning, chuck. >> you know, a month ago you said when asked about the idea of an open convention, you said this, it's very early to have this conversation. i think that in a month if we're sitting in a situation where candidates are tied, then i think in a month you start looking at those possibilities. but right now we've got a long way to go. well, that was a month ago. here we are. is it fair to start looking at these possibilities of an open and contested convention? >> well, it looks like i'm a pretty good prognosticator, chuck. yeah, i think it's quite possible. certainly wisconsin's going to
be important in that conversation. and still after wisconsin either way we're going to have two candidates that could get to the 1,237, the majority of the delegates before we get to cleveland. and our role at the rnc is going to be a fair arbitrator and be a party that respects the voice and the vote of the voters and the delegates. >> it's interesting you say the voters and delegates. who does choose the nominee here? is it republican primary voters, or is it the delegates? >> if there's one interviewer that probably knows the rules better than anyone, it's you, chuck. but i'll answer the question. >> well, you know what i mean, the principle of it. >> yeah, no, i understand. >> is it the party's voters picking this nominee, or the party's delegates, which is a different set of people? >> the nomination is won on the floor in cleveland by the majority of delegates that get empowered by the vote of the
people. so the voters in these states their votes end up causing delegates to be bound to candidates that -- and those delegates will have to vote for those candidates on the floor. there's no way around it. if a delegate is bound to a candidate, even if that delegate decides later i don't care, i'm not voting for that person, the secretary at the convention will read the roll as if that delegate voted for the person that they're bound to, period. >> you know, one of the things i think has been a misconception is that somehow the rules of 2012 will apply to the 2016 election. and the reason this comes up is because there was a rule in 2012 that said if you didn't win a majority of delegates in eight states, you couldn't get your name put into nomination. what is the likelihood that that rule stays for 2016? or are all the rules for how this election conducted going to get rewritten come july? >> i'm of course guessing here. i don't have any power to change
any rules, chuck. but i think it's probably unlikely that you see major changes. but again, as you say, the 2012 rules were written by the 2012 delegates who were bound to mitt romney. and so mitt romney's rules of 2012 will not be the rules that apply to the 2016 convention, which will be made largely of trump and cruz delegates. and why would people want the romney delegates rules to apply to cruz and trump and kasich? it doesn't make any sense. so the rules committee will come together, those delegates will get on these committees, they'll review the rules. and the 2016 rules will apply to the 2016 convention. >> is it fair, you know, the trump campaign is not happy with what happened in tennessee this weekend. it's a state primary he won. he still has the same amount of delegates that he won, 33. but he didn't get to choose the individuals, the state party j
did. in fact his senior adviser told us, two of the delegates are truly trump delegates, five are pretend delegates. meaning these are people that will be bound for two ballots but don't plan on supporting him. is that fair? is that fair? >> well, first of all, the delegates -- there's two parts of the process. one is you got to get the delegate allocation, meaning when you win the state you're allocated a certain amount of delegates. donald trump has 33 delegates in tennessee. and they're bound to donald trump, not just for one vote. but in tennessee they're actually bound for two votes. >> right. >> and nothing can change that. now, the selection of delegates, who's in those seats is something that happens at the state party level. and these campaigns have to have serious operations in the states. and they have to make sure that those people do their best job in getting their own -- the people they want to be in those seats. so it doesn't just happen automatically. it has to be done through work and preparation. >> are you confident donald trump can win a general
election? >> sure. i think all of our candidates can win a general election, especially when you look at hillary clinton who quite possibly could be -- >> is hillary clinton your best candidate? >> she could be indicted. they're the ones that could have an open convention and joe biden could be the nominee. >> but is donald trump your strongest candidate? >> i don't know. listen, i don't worry about who's the strongest candidate. obviously we have our own conversations here, but the fact is is that we're here prepared to support whoever the eventual nominee is. but the biggest, best republican national committee that we've ever put together, chuck. >> one last question. considering we're going to have an open convention, you have three candidates fighting for delegates and worried about who those people are, should the rnc be in charge of the v.p. running mate vetting process considering that everything is going to get scrambling? have you offered to provide those services to the candidates? >> you know, not particularly. i mean, we are certainly equipped with our research team to do it, but that's another interesting question. because the delegates choose the vice president as well.
and that's a subject no one's really talking about is that that's another vote on the floor that the delegates choose. and so while i'm sure obviously the choice of whoever the nominee is going to be important, it's still up for a vote of the delegates. >> well, all the means is more reasons to watch what happens in cleveland. reince priebus, chairman of the rnc, thanks for coming on the show, sir. >> thanks. >> appreciate it. later in the broadcast, why many republicans fear donald trump might not only lose the race for the white house, but could cost them their senate majority as well. and our friends at "snl" had some fun last night with trump saying a woman should be punished for having an abortion. take a listen. >> you don't say that on tv. even if you're on "wheel of fortune" and the board says women should be -- unished, don't say it. if you miss "meet the press," catch highlights in under two minutes on "compressed" at
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welcome back. this tuesday's wisconsin primary could be one of the most influential of the campaign season. and it's not the first time the badger state has been so important in presidential politics. in fact, ever wonder how we got into this whole presidential primary process in the first place? it's all thanks to wisconsin, the very first state to come up with the idea of a presidential
primary which votes this tuesday. but it wasn't until april 1960 that the importance of the wisconsin primary first came into play. in fact, here was "meet the press" that week, in fact 56 years ago today with moderator ned brooks. >> this week the eyes of the nation will be fastened on wisconsin's presidential primary. two democratic senators hubert humphrey and john kennedy of massachusetts are competing in the first and perhaps the most important contested primary of 1960. >> interestingly kennedy and humphrey watched the election returns together in the milwaukee journal newsroom. >> how has the vote been thus far shaped up according to your expectations? >> well, i was hopeful we could take six districts. i think we have a good chance to do that. which will give us majority of the popular vote -- >> look at that. talking about district delegates. kennedy would win that night on his path to the nomination and
eventually the presidency. let's go to 1976 with contested primaries in both parties. ford beat reagan handily in wisconsin no thanks to this photo op two days prior, green bay packers quarterback. but the real race was on the democratic side. that evening looked like, durud squeaked past. >> tonight i finished first and i like first a lot better. >> but as more vote came in overnight, carter took the lead and the networks reversed their calls giving carter his very own dewey defeats truman moment. he told reporters, you know all those times i said win last night? well, strike that and insert the word lose. he always had a sense of hue nor no matter the result. what will the badger state hold in store for us this week? it's going to be a fun one. here's what we do know it's going to be influential.
when we come back, republicans are increasingly worried that donald trump could take the party down with him. what are the chances that they could take the nomination away could take the nomination away from him thank you for calling. could take the nomination away from him we'll be with you shortly. yeah right... xerox predictive analytics help companies provide a better and faster customer experience. hello mr. kent. can i rebook your flight? i'm here! customer care can work better. with xerox. wait i'm here! mr. kent? (gasp) shark diving! xerox personalized employee portals help companies make benefits simple and accessible... from anywhere. hula dancing? cliff jumping! human resources can work better. with xerox.
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york times." welcome all. charles, i'll start with you. >> all right. >> on the ground, is this looking as bad for trump as the polls say it is? >> clearly he had a bad week, but the anti-trump forces were already going at him. you know, they knew that they were going to come into wisconsin and make wisconsin their waterloo. but what they found out is ground troops are already there, especially with conservative talk radio. i mean, they have been hammering him locally, local conservative talk radio been hammering him for weeks. but also you have to keep in mind scott walker, paul ryan. all right. scott walker's endorsed ted cruz, paul ryan hasn't endorsed anybody. but clearly those two guys, their brand of politics has been really big time conservative issues. >> and they've won. >> and they've won. >> so they have something to be happy about in wisconsin. >> they do. so when they look at that brand of politics, that works better than what the trump brand of politics is right now. >> all right, david, we've been here i want to say four weeks ago. you were convinced trump wasn't going to get the nomination. two weeks ago you wanted to say
you were convinced, but you weren't comfortable saying that anymore. where are you today? >> morally defeated. >> something's changed though. >> yeah, something has changed. all these people keep waving from when is he going to turn from a philosopher king, abraham lincoln, he's donald trump. you know, it's all aggression, it's all ignorance all the time. but i think he's going to have a bad week this week. i think he'll probably rally in new york and it will all come down to like the california -- the people in the republican party are not going to stop. look at the reince priebus interview today. donald trump, he's a catastrophe, priebus is in la la land talking about technical stuff and not seizing the mantle. that's where the republican establishment, they're not going to beat him. the only way he gets beat is if he internally collapses and places like california and new york, like oklahoma at the end of the villanova game, there's nothing there. >> do you think david's right? i feel as if something's changed. you look at what's happening on the ground in the technical parts of this, right, where you
have tennessee party chair making sure he's putting party operatives into the delegate slots even in the trump seats. that they're at least seating this so they can stop trump if they have the opportunity. >> here's where republicans are right now. they get to decide if they want to have a civil war if trump wins, or a civil war if trump loses. there is no winner out of this whole fight. so he can either come in to cleveland with the amount of delegates. i think wisconsin will tell us whether or not he will be able to get 1237. he loses wisconsin by a big amount. i don't think he's going to be able to make that up. be very close. or we go to cleveland and we have another civil war where, yeah, technically they could take it away from him. this is how it works. reince isn't incorrect. the delegates select who the president is. but there are going to be a whole bunch of republicans very upset, even people who didn't vote for donald trump because they see, as you pointed out, is this fair. that is going to split this party apart. and anybody who thinks donald trump is just going to go away if he loses this, like he's not
going to be able to get on a ballot. he's got twitter and cable tv. and he's going to spend all his time there. >> helene, i'm curious, he's talked a lot about nato this week in weird ways and nukes and nuclear policy. i'm curious, what do the folks at the pentagon think? i'm not talking the political operatives, i'm talking the career folks who are going to be there if trump is elected president or clinton's elected president. >> they are appalled. last week i was on a cruiser doing a diplomatic dance with china. we had a chinese ship trailing us and several times i got into conversations with sailors saying this is all about how we strategize in a really important area could donald trump even handle something like this. and then this week with donald trump's messages about and what he said about south korea and japan, which the japanese prime minister immediately recanted -- or dismissed. and you have that juxtapose
where you have heads of states all over the world sitting here carefully talking about nuclear disarmament and how do we go about doing it. i think when you look at all of the things that happened to donald trump this week, and the abortion issue was horrible for him. but i think the nuclear issue i think ends up scaring people particularly at the pentagon and the national security apparatus a whole lot more. >> all right. if trump falls though, the beneficiary is ted cruz. ted cruz is -- if ted cruz wins wisconsin, charles, is it because there are a whole bunch of cruz republicans? or is he really benefitting from stop trump right now? >> i think he's benefitting from the stop trump right now. clearly it's late to get to the dance and looking for a dance p partner. >> why cruz and not kasich? >> you would think he would match what the conservative brand would be in wisconsin. i mean, wisconsin pretty cob serve tifr right now. conservative governor, conservative legislature, control both houses and a
conservative high court. he got the backing of kasich of the former governor, but i think when they were looking difference between cruz and kasich, they were say whog can beat trump, how can we get to the convention with a guy and they felt ted cruz was the guy. >> david brooks, what do you most likely think is going to happen now? trump, cruz or paul ryan? >> i think it's trump. i think he's the walking dead and he'll get the nomination and go down to a crushing defeat and will be known for a hundred years from now people will say who's the biggest loser in american politics and it won't be mcgovern, it will be the word trump. i hope he's in haiti he's aware of all that. >> very subtle. >> very subtle. why do i have a feeling mr. brooks is going to hear from mr. trump some time on social media today? with that we'll take a pause. when we come back, down ballot blues, we'll stick with wisconsin as a theme. what does donald trump at the top of the ticket mean for
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welcome back. one of the reasons the republican establishment has the jitters over donald trump is the worry that having trump at the top of the ticket will hurt the party's chances of keeping control of the house and the senate. my next guest, wisconsin senator ron johnson, is up for re-election in november and does face a tough fight to hold onto his seat in a swing state that has gone blue more often than not. senator johnson, welcome back to "meet the press." >> morning, chuck, how are you doing? >> i'm pretty good. let me ask you straight up. are you going to say who you're voting for on tuesday? are you going to endorse before tuesday? >> no, i have not endorsed. i've certainly stated my intention to support whoever the republican nominee is. i've got to have faith in the wisconsin primary voters as well
as american republican primary voters on a national level. that's my intention. >> it's interesting you put it that way. do you plan on supporting the candidate who wins the primary on tuesday in wisconsin? do you think that's the most appropriate action? >> well, again, what i will do is i will support whoever the delegates and the national convention actually chooses for a nominee. we've got three and a half months to go here before that's actually determined. there's three and a half months is a lifetime in politics. nobody can predict exactly how this is going to turn out. >> it's been surprising to hear from you as compared to some of your other fellow republican senators who are running for re-election in swing states. you're one of the few that says publicly that you think donald trump helps you in your re-election, that he doesn't hurt you. why? >> no, i think what i've been talking about is, you know, from my standpoint i'm a business person. i'm a completely outsider. and that certainly is what has resonated about his campaign in many respects. but from my standpoint i think what his campaign ought to be
about is growth, how do you grow our economy. it's the number one component for solution. i think what candidates are finding out here in wisconsin is we have some very discerning primary voters here on the republican side. and like charles mentioned, a lot has to do with our exceptional talk radio hosts across the state. i think some of the candidates found out exactly how exceptional they really are in terms of asking tough questions. that's real what elections are about is getting out the truth. >> all right. senator, by saying what you said, you're all but implying you're not for trump. you're all but implying by essentially praising how great these conservative radio can be, how do we not interpret that as an anti-trump sentiment coming from you? >> because i'm saying what i'm saying. i'm not endorsing somebody. that obviously speaks for itself. the last primary i did endorse mitt romney. i'll tell you why i endorsed mitt romney. when i met with him beforehand, he said, ron, i expect to be a one-term president because i'm going to fix these problems.
then when he picked paul ryan as a running mate, it confirmed my choice was correct. obviously comfort level -- face it no two people agree on everything. i'll tell you what though is certain, is i will never vote for hillary clinton or bernie sanders or whoever the democrat nominee may be. so, again, i'm looking and i've got to put my faith and trust in republican primary voters. and i intend to support the republican nominee whoever that person may or may not be. >> let me ask this, what advice would you give donald trump to improve his chances in wisconsin? right now we've got polling that shows he trails hillary clinton by ten points, ted cruz and hillary clinton are tied in wisconsin. and john kasich actually leads her. but if trump's the nominee, what advice would you give donald trump to improve his standing in wisconsin? >> it's the same advice i'd give anybody in a primary or general election, show your vision for america, for wisconsin, and certainly in a republican primary show the primary voters how you intend to take that vision to defeat the democratic nominee. let's face it, we're going to be
facing either a socialist. i think we should all remember socialism hasn't worked, not in the soviet union, not in venezuela, certainly not in what should be the island paradise of cuba. and hillary clinton has so much baggage, you know, she's going to be a very flawed candidate if she ends up being selected. >> all right. final question. the president's choice for the supreme court vacancy, you said something interesting, you implied that if this were a republican president filling a conservative seat this would go through without a problem. i guess my question to you is, if merrick garland were replacing a liberal seat on the court, would you be more inclined to see this nomination and confirmation process go forward? >> no. i think what vice president biden said in 1992 is pretty accurate. in such a politicized atmosphere with literally 8 months before an election, let the american people have a voice -- >> so under any circumstance? you don't think supreme court nomination should happen in a final year of a presidency in a presidential election year ever? >> i think it's pretty
problematic. particularly with judge garland in wisconsin here, he appears to be pretty hostile to second amendment rights keep and bear arms which would not be popular in wisconsin. i'm doing my job protecting the second amendment rights of wisconsinites by with clpz holdholding my consent. >> thanks for coming on the show, sir. >> thanks for having me. >> you got it. we'll be back in 45 seconds with our end game segment and the democrats. why can't hillary clinton put away bernie sanders? coming up, "meet the press" end game brought to you by boeing, building the future
make sure you're keeping up with your kids' online accounts and the social media they're using. talk with them about appropriate online behavior. being proactive and involved is the best way to protect your kids from predators and bullies. the more you know. "meet the press" end game is brought to you by boeing, building the future one century at a time. and we're back with end game. i want you to listen to something bernie sanders said thursday. >> we have won six out of the last seven caucuses, most of them by landslides. [ applause ] and i think that super delegates should listen to the will of their people. if you get 60%, 70%, 80% of the
vote in a state, i think super delegates should vote for us. >> okay. so we decided to crunch the numbers on that basis to see how much it would benefit senator sanders. if all of the super delegates in states he's won so far chose him, so take a look. right now looking at states where people have voted so far the current super delegate count in those states is clinton with 253 versus sanders with 25 super delegates with some still undecided. if those super delegates vote the way their states have voted so far, then they would divide this way, clinton would increase her lead a little bit -- increase her total to 260, bernie sanders would get to 124 because some of those undecideds would get allocated to help hillary clinton. but those numbers just show you hillary clinton still would lead with super delegates. he doesn't have a path, does he? >> no. look, this race is still going on. it's important for hillary clinton to remain engaged and i give bernie sanders a lot of credit for starting from zero and getting to where he is right now. it's impressive. and he's made this debate about
his issues. and he's made her fight on his turf. that said the delegate math is not going to add up and it's not working. but when you compare where democrats are to where republicans are, democrats are having a skirmish right now, republicans are in thermonuclear war. so it's a little bit messy, and so it's going to be a little harder for her, and maybe it's not over until june, but they are going to be united, democratic partisans right now like bernie sanders as much as they like hillary clinton. they are not going to have a problem unifying the party. >> david, go ahead. >> i think wisconsin's going to be good for bernie sanders. he's expected to win there. this is not going to be 2008 for hillary clinton where she got clobbered by double digits. this could be a single digit win. but everybody knows that bernie sanders needs a big win. and you talked about april 5th, 1960, john f. kennedy, you know, coming out of wisconsin getting some legitimacy. but think about it april 5th, 199 i 10, wisconsin -- i should say milwaukee, was the first major american city, keyword major american, to have and
elect a socialist mayor. they've done it three times. so that's good news for -- >> bernie sanders. former socialist mayor -- >> i think he voted in that election. >> you are just going to make everybody mad, aren't you? but hillary clinton is struggling to close out this nomination. let's call it what it is. she is struggling to do that. amy's right, it is a skirmish. it is not this -- but if there wasn't a republican fight, we'd be going what's going on here, why can't she close the deal? >> if donald trump didn't exist, we would all be talking about how she is the most unpopular nominee in recent american history. >> she would be that. instead donald trump is that. >> what strikes me is there are two motivations for voters. there's philosophy, and sanders sort of has that. but there's also party loyalty. i was watching your interview with her earlier and i was thinking if ed or hubert humphrey came back and saw her they would think that's what a democratic candidate sounds like. so she's part of the party, the embodied history of the party.
there's a machine like quality hard to get super excited but there's a comfort level for democratic voters. that's carrying her but doesn't inspire her. >> also struck during her interview with hillary, with senator clinton on your questions about abortion. and you guys spent a lot of time during that interview about four to five minutes -- >> it's something you don't do very often with democratic candidates. >> no, but she answered you and she went back in history and has precedent to cite and talked about third world and other countries. and then i started imagining you doing that interview with donald trump and where he gets that when he's with chris matthews and he gets that deer with his eyes caught look in his face where you see he's grasping for an answer and out of his death penalty a-- depth and how he's going to answer. i think what benefitted the most is hillary clinton. if ever there was like you had a sort of edging out the differences between candidates, she's the one who i think is the winner. >> but i wonder the more clarity -- it's funny.
i agree this week this was the first time you thought, boy, she could really -- you can see how she's going to match up well with donald trump. republican delegates are going to see that, amy, right? >> they haven't yet. but this is the fascinating thing. there have been polls outd for a long time that show he has problems with women, shows he has problems with pretty much every single demographic group. >> except white men. >> except white men. and yet it's not impacted him in these primaries. i looked at this point in 2012, almost 40% of republicans said beating obama was their top priority, they voted for mitt romney. today, 13% of republicans say that electability is their top issue. it's not about beating hillary clinton. it is about putting the candidate that they think represents their values better. and that's where trump and cruz fit the bill. >> but this is how they ended up losing in 2012. that's how we get back to now we're moving toward the general election. now we're starting -- you know, what we've seen so far are these two -- and these two primaries the people on the left and the
people on the right. >> charles, you give final comment ob u on this, who will have a easier time coming together. polarized democratic or polarized republican? >> i think the democrats have an easier time coming together. they are both looking pretty good, bernie sanders and hillary clinton. i think at the end of the day, we saw it last night, the founders party for the democrats. you could have called it the unity dinner -- >> they didn't fight that much. >> they didn't. i think they'll be able to come together. >> charles, thanks for coming down. >> thank you for having me. >> you got to get out of here. i know you have more work to do. that's all we have for today. we'll be back next week. because as you know, if it's sunday, it's "meet the press."
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