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Defining Moments of GOP Debate; Opposing the Iran Deal; Interview with Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Chair for the Democratic National Committee. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired August 7, 2015 - 06:30   ET


[06:30:02] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: What about that didn't sit well with you?

JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: President Reagan did negotiate, but he waited a good long four years before he got into this. He rebuilt the American military, he brought on the defense initiative, "Star Wars" as the Democrats like to call it.

So, by the time he sat down with Mikhail Gorbachev, he had some you know, superior military power behind him. He didn't just open up. His first press conference, when asked about relations with the Soviet Union, he said they reserve the right to lie and cheat. Not exactly, you know, a negotiating stance in the beginning there.


LORD: So, I would disagree.

BALDWIN: Fact check this morning, Jeffrey Lord, got you.

I think another person we need to talk about do, too, Alex, is Jeb Bush. Jeb Bush, the front-runner, polls aside as far as fan favorite from the Republican base. Here he was, again, asked about his last name.


JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm my own man. I governed as a conservative and I governed effectively. And the net effect was, during my eight years, 1.3 million jobs were created. We left the state better off because I applied conservative principles in a purple state and people rose up.


BALDWIN: How did he do, Alex, A, with that answer and, B, just debate overall? Did he show fire in the belly so many people have been calling for?

ALEX CASTELLANOS, FOUNDER, NEWREPUBLICAN.ORG: Maybe he showed the simmer in the belly.

BALDWIN: Simmer. CASTELLANOS: He -- Jeb restrained his charisma just a little bit last

night. He -- I think he came out of the debate pretty much the way he came in, a candidate with a lot of support, a lot of money, slow and steady goes the race for Jeb Bush. He was a little more emotional on issues he's really fascinated about, education and kids.

But, you know, last night, I'm sure the bush campaign was worried. Oh, my gosh, we are going to be attacked. Are we conservative enough for a Republican audience? Last night, he got a chance to make his case on that without being challenged. A lot of that was thanks to Donald Trump who made the focus of the race Donald Trump.

BALDWIN: Simmering in, simmering out. Jeffrey and Alex, thank you so much this morning.

John Berman, to you.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, thanks so much, Brooke. You know, the debate was big, but this might be bigger. A key Obama ally, high ranking Democrat, says he will vote to reject the nuclear deal with Iran. So, what will Chuck Schumer's depiction mean for the future of this deal?


[06:36:54] BERMAN: This is big. New York Senator Chuck Schumer, who is slated to be the next Democratic leader in the Senate, announced overnight he will oppose the Obama administration's nuclear deal with Iran. The White House wanted his vote bad. So, does this put congressional approval of a deal in jeopardy?

Let's speak to CEO of Stratega and professor for American University, Hillary Mann Leverett, and CNN political commentator and associate professor at the City University of New York, Peter Beinart.

Peter, let me read to you what Chuck Schumer said here so he can explain why he's decided to vote the way he will. "I will vote to disapprove the agreement not because I believe war is a desirable option, nor to challenge the path of diplomacy. It's because I believe Iran will not change and under this agreement, it will be able to achieve its dual goals of eliminating sanctions while ultimately retaining nuclear and nonnuclear power."

That's the policy. The politics of this, though, are big. Look, when this decision was made during the Republican debate, a lot of people noted it wasn't the debate, but Schumer coming out against the deal. Why is this vote so important?

PETER BEINART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: His vote is important because he's a senior Democrat. He's very well will be -- likely to be the next minority leader. He's also a Jewish Democrat in a debate where Jewish groups are heavily involved. So, the White House is concerned he could push other Democrats to oppose the deal. And if they lose enough of those other Democrats, they could lose this fight.

BERMAN: They can't get their own guy, who can they get? There's a notion out there, Peter, that Chuck Schumer would not have

come out against the deal when he did now, unless he thought the White House actually had the votes to get it passed. In other words, unless he thought his vote didn't really matter. Do you buy that?

BEINART: I do actually. I think Schumer is walking a difficult line. He's always been hawkish on Middle Eastern issues. The politics in New York t safer politics are to be on the more hawkish side.

But a Senate minority leader cannot have a toxic relationship with the president of your own party. I think he's kind of skinned this by waiting until the White House was able to secure enough Democrats and they haven't announced a number in the last few days, including Kirsten Gillibrand, the senator from New York state, that that allows the White House to at least get to be able to sustain a veto, if the president vetoes legislation.

BERMAN: So, Hillary, you know, the old foreign policy debate was who lost China. Now, you can debate who lost Schumer here, right?

There are people who suggest that the president's own words have alienated Democrats on the fence. I want to play sound from the president's speech where he says if you vote against this deal, you are voting for war. Listen.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have to be honest: congressional rejection of this deal leaves any U.S. administration that is absolutely committed to preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon with one option -- another war in the Middle East.


BERMAN: So, you know, Chuck Schumer is saying President Obama says if I vote against this deal, I want war. Do you think the speech helped or hurt?

HILLARY MANN LEVERETT, CO-AUTHOR, "GOING TO TEHRAN": Well, you know, it's hard to say.

[06:40:00] I think there's a lot being made of Chuck Schumer's opposition to the Iran deal. But this will really be decided in the House. So, I think as Peter said, it may not be that critical how Schumer votes. House rules have that any resolution of disapproval has to start in the House and it will go back to the House, where Nancy Pelosi has been determined to get House Democrats to stay together behind this deal.

So, in a lot of ways, I think Schumer could take it as a freebie. He can get away with it. I think the deal will go through in the end.

Much more important I think yesterday was in addition to Chuck Schumer coming out was Representative Nita Lowey, a very close friend of Hillary Clinton, and Hillary Clinton's chief Democratic donor, Haim Saban, who said on Israel television, not only does he oppose the deal, but is determined to fight this deal.

So, the big question coming next is after Schumer, what will Hillary Clinton do?

BERMAN: That's right. Well, Hillary Clinton has said she is supportive of this deal, although she says it is not perfect. But will the money will the support of Democrats inside the party force her to perhaps change that position?

Hillary, Peter, thank so much. I appreciate it.


LEVERETT: Thank you.

CUOMO: All right, J.B., you're talking Hillary Clinton. She was certainly the target of the many candidates' attacks last night. How is she going to respond and how is she preparing for her own upcoming debate?

We have the head of the DNC, let's test them.


[06:45:22] CUOMO: The Republican presidential hopefuls getting it on in their first debate. The top ten candidates gathering in Cleveland.

Donald Trump did get the most air time. But a big reason why is that he was getting attacked the most, he would say by the candidates and by one moderator in particular. He would not say that he won't run as a third candidate. That got a lot of boos in crowd.

Carly Fiorina, the one on your screen, rave reviews for her performance in the earlier debate. She is going to join us live in our next hour for testing.

BALDWIN: New this morning, CNN has learned that ISIS militants abducted 230 people in Syria, just one day after the jihadists annexed a key town in central Homs. That area is strategically important since it links areas under ISIS control and allows for the transfer of supplies and fighters. We're told Christians were among those targeted and those believed to have alliances with the Syrian regime.

BERMAN: We could learn the fate of convicted movie theater killer James Holmes as early as today. Jurors began deliberating late Thursday. They will resume this morning. The 27-year-old faces life in prison without parole or the death penalty. Holmes, you'll remember opened fire inside an Aurora, Colorado movie theater in July of 2012, killing 12 and wounding 70 others.

CUOMO: So, the debate last night, there was a lot of talk about Hillary Clinton. How is he reacting? There were a lot of attacks about the Democrats. So, how are they going to react and how are they dealing with their own big problem this morning with Senator Chuck Schumer saying he's not in favor of the Iran deal?

We have the head of the DNC right there, Debbie Wasserman Schultz. She's got the questions put to her.


[06:51:08] CUOMO: Democratic front-runner, Hillary Clinton, her ears are probably still ringing this morning. She was mentioned in both of last night's GOP debates. But some analysts were actually surprised that her name didn't come up more.

Now, the Democrats this morning have a problem of their own. A top Democrat defecting from President Obama's Iran deal.

Let us now bring in the woman who is charged with keeping the party together, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chair for the Democratic National Committee.

Thank you for being on NEW DAY. Yes, I called you Wussestein (ph).


CUOMO: Yes, I'm sorry. Yes, I should know better because I've known you my life. I'm tired from watching the damned debate.

All right. So, last night --

SCHULTZ: When you have three names, Chris, it comes with the territory.

CUOMO: Yes, it's really your fault. Thank you for taking that, Congresswoman.

SCHULTZ: No problem.

CUOMO: Last night, Hillary came up a couple of times, let's address them specifically. Marco Rubio brought her up in his pitch for why he would be most accommodated to take her on. Here's what he said.


SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If I'm her nominee, how is Hillary Clinton going to lecture me about living paycheck to paycheck? I was raised paycheck to paycheck. How is she -- is she going to lecture me about student loans? I owed $100,000 just four years ago. If I'm our nominee, we are the party of the future.


CUOMO: Rich and removed from reality. That is a common assault. It was resonating last night.

What's the response?

SCHULTZ: You know, the answer to Marco Rubio's question, as how is someone going to lecture him? When you are doing the wrong thing, you deserve a stern lecture.

When you live and grew up paycheck to paycheck, you should know better about opposing the minimum wage. You should support it. Support equal pay for equal work for women if you live paycheck to paycheck.

And if you owed $100,000 in student loans just four years ago, you shouldn't be voting against making -- paying those student loans more affordable for young people.

So, Marco Rubio deserves a stern lecture. And he's going to get it throughout this campaign because he is wrong on the issues that matter to people who simply are fighting to reach the middle class.

CUOMO: Carly Fiorina popped in the first debate. People were struck by her poise and her cogency. One of her big applause lines was, Hillary Clinton lies about Benghazi, lies about e-mails. "Lies" even in politics is a strong term.

Do you believe it is a fair one? If not, why not?

SCHULTZ: You know, I think that Carly Fiorina's comments are rich coming from someone who almost drove a Fortune 500 company into the ground, who was fired as a result, whose stock when she was CEO dropped by 50 percent and recovered after she was fired by 10 percent. I mean, this is a woman who has not the most stellar track record when it comes to managing a large organization. Now, she's running for president of the United States?

You know, it's one thing to get on a stage and hurl criticism. It's another when you take a close look at someone's record. And Carly Fiorina's record just doesn't measure up.

CUOMO: Do you think the word "lie" would match up with what Hillary Clinton has and has not done and said with respect to Benghazi and this e-mail ongoing fiasco?

SCHULTZ: I think that -- particularly the seven Republicans in the happy hour debate last night were desperate and grasping for anything to get them attention. And, of course, Republicans favorite topic to get attention, especially among Republican Party base voters is to scream Benghazi. I mean, the Benghazi investigation is known to be deliberately and intentionally drawn out. The investigations have been done. There was clearly no wrongdoing.

[06:55:00] And, you know, at this point, those seven candidates were throwing Hail Marys all they could because their goal is to get into the main debate in the next debate.

CUOMO: You wish that Hillary turned over the server and saved you a lot of headaches?

SCHULTZ: You know, Secretary Clinton has -- she has said, as has been said, followed a common practice and used a personal e-mail similar to other previous secretaries of state and she has turned over 55,000 pages of e-mails. It's unclear why we are even still talking about this because, if people are needing to take a look at what was in those e-mails, they have an opportunity.

And, you know, on top of that, the reason we are aware of concerns is because she turned them over. So, that's what you want, transparency. CUOMO: Right, but the transparency --

SCHULTZ: Transparency from the candidate for the president of the United States.


CUOMO: But you know the issue. The issue is -- the issue is, it doesn't matter how many e-mails you turn over, it's the ones that you don't that wind up raising suspicion.

Next issue, Chuck Schumer. What do --

SCHULTZ: Chris, this election is going to turn on who is going to fight for the middle class, not e-mails.

CUOMO: Well, and the person who can fight is going to be the person who is trusted to do it, and trust goes to the integrity and the integrity goes to whether she was telling the truth about the emails.

But let me get to Chuck Schumer. What are you saying to him right now? He's coming out early to debate. You know, people say it's not early. It is early. The debate isn't until the first week in September. And he's coming out saying "I'm not for this".

You need him as a whip if nothing else.

What are you telling him about coming out early against the deal?

SCHULTZ: Well, I spoke to Chuck Schumer the other day. You know, obviously, I have a vote in the Iran deal as well. I have not taken a position yet.

And, look, I think each member has to spend the time, which I know Chuck Schumer has and figure out, at the end of the day -- I know Chuck's decision was based on what he personally concluded was the most likely way of preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. And that's the choice I have to make after I go home and talk to my constituents as well.

But I think this is not black and white. It's not a no-brainer.

CUOMO: It's not what the president says.

SCHULTZ: It's a tough, difficult, deeply -- no, and I understand that and I talked to the president, too --


CUOMO: Your president says if you don't vote for this deal, you are voting for war. And now, you as the chair of DNC was saying you don't know what you're going to do yet. That's not good for President Obama.

SCHULTZ: Well, like I said, this is the most serious issue that any member of Congress will be casting, probably in their careers. And each of us has to carefully evaluate the deal.

Yes, it's troubling and difficult for the deal to lose a prominent senator like Chuck Schumer. But it's absolutely completely still possible, and probably likely that this is a deal that will go through.

You know, ultimately, when the Republicans send a resolution of disapproval, which is almost for sure to happen because they have the majority in both chambers, the president is going to veto it. I do not believe at the end of the day, that Republicans will have the votes to override his veto. But, each member still has to reach their decision on what they think is best.

CUOMO: Right. But it's going to be -- the message is going to be in the method that got to his desk, not just in the ultimate result.

But thank you very much, Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

SCHULTZ: The Republicans are going to send it to his desk and he's going to veto. And a resolution of disapproval, Chris, will go to his desk. They have the majority in both chambers. They were the one that were irresponsible and had an immediate knee jerk reaction. Republicans have not carefully evaluated this deal. Democrats are. And that's one of the differences between our two parties.

CUOMO: All right. Well, we'll see how it turns out and then we'll do the analysis afterwards.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz, thank you very much for being with us on NEW DAY as always.

SCHULTZ: Thank you. Thanks for having me.

We are following a lot of news on what happened last night, but there are other big stories as well. So, let's get to it.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Our leaders are stupid. Our politicians are stupid.


SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He's used to buying politicians.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: How is Hillary Clinton going to lecture me about living paycheck to paycheck?

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He's not lying. He's just wrong.

MIKE HUCKABEE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: President Obama is trust but vilified.

BUSH: When we invaded, it was a mistake. GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R-WI), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Iran is not a place

we should be doing business with.

PAUL: I oppose the Iranian deal and will vote against it.

HUCKABEE: We didn't even get four hostages out.

RICK PERRY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I would whole lot rather had Carly than John Kerry.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer says he will oppose the agreement.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Those who say we can just walk away from the deal are selling a fantasy.

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo, Alisyn Camerota and Michaela Pereira.


CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome to your NEW DAY. Brooke Baldwin and John Berman joining me this morning.

And we had fireworks coming fast and furious as the Republicans kicked off their first debate of the primary season. The party's top ten were there. They did not hold back. Many of them targeting frontrunner Donald Trump but he was quick to target them back even after the debate with a Twitter tirade that's probably going on right now.

BALDWIN: Yes, to the wee hours this morning.

You know, one candidate getting strong reviews wasn't actually even on the main stage with those top ten. It was Carly Fiorina, scoring huge points for her performance at the "Happy Hour" debate.