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CNN NEWSROOM

GOP Rivals Target a Milder Trump; Winners and Losers of GOP Debate. Aired 9-9:30a ET

Aired September 17, 2015 - 09:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[09:00:01] CAMEROTA: And we will look forward to seeing you back in New York tomorrow morning.

PEREIRA: A long day.

CAMEROTA: It's been a very interesting 24 hours out here in Simi Valley at the Reagan Library.

PEREIRA: You guys have done great.

CAMEROTA: But we're going to be happy to come, too.

CUOMO: A lot more debate coverage to be had, so let's get right to the "NEWSROOM" with Miss Carol Costello.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: That's right. I got it all.

NEWSROOM starts now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARLY FIORINA (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is about the character of our nation.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You have to speak English.

JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: As it relates to my brother, there's one thing I know for sure, he kept us safe.

SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Short, tall, fat, ugly. My goodness, that happened in junior high.

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: They could care less about your careers.

TRUMP: More energy tonight, I like that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: And good morning. I'm Carol Costello. Thank you so much for joining me. Donald Trump tones it down and most of his GOP rivals step it up. Together they target the frontrunner in the CNN debate but no one seemed to seize control and score the points like Carly Fiorina. On this morning-after she says Americans should take notice.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FIORINA: I hope it's pretty clear that I am a fighter. I have also been the most vocal critic of Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail, presumably the Democrat Party's nominee. This is going to be a fight. This is an important election. And we're going to have a fight about really important principles and really important policies and really important differences.

And so if you can't fight on a debate stage, then you are not going to be able to stand up and fight for the American people. And the American people are looking for a fighter because they know this is a pivotal time in our nation's history. They know these are important issues. And so yes, I'm prepared to fight.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: It is the second strong debate performance for Fiorina and this may be a first for the Donald. Today he gives strong marks to most of his rival, especially Fiorina.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Carly did very well and I thought she did well, too, but I didn't see it as standout like you did, but maybe it's a different perspective. And of course, I was being hit 15 different ways. Everything I've ever said about a woman I got hit on that show.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Right.

TRUMP: There's no question about that. But I didn't see that -- but I think she did well.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: CNN's John Berman joins us now live from the site of the debate, the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.

Good morning.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, Carol. I don't know if you can see all the smoke rising from the battlefield all around me right now. Very much the morning after feeling here.

You know, what a debate. Eleven candidates on the main stage, all going after each other. All fighting for time. All trying to hammer their points through so they can breakthrough to the top tier.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN (voice-over): From nearly the minute the debate started Donald Trump was the man in the middle -- the middle of a pile on.

PAUL: His visceral response to attack people on their appearance. Short, tall, fat, ugly. My goodness, that happened in junior high.

TRUMP: I never attacked him on his look and believe me there is plenty of subject matter right there. That I can tell you.

BERMAN: There was Trump v. Paul, Trump v. Fiorina, about the "Rolling Stone" article where he talked about her face.

FIORINA: I think women all over this country heard very clearly what Mr. Trump said.

TRUMP: I think she's got a beautiful face and I think she's a beautiful woman.

BERMAN: No, she did not seem impressed. Nor was Jeb, in Trump v Bush. The subject, remarks Trump once made accusing Bush of being soft on immigration because his wife was born in Mexico.

BUSH: I hope you apologize for that, Donald.

TRUMP: Well, I have to tell you, I hear phenomenal things. I hear you wife is a lovely woman.

BUSH: She is. She's fantastic.

TRUMP: I don't know her. And this is --

(CROSSTALK)

BUSH: She is absolutely the love of my life and she's right here. And why don't you apologize for her right now?

TRUMP: Good. Good. No, I won't do that because I said nothing wrong, but I do hear she's a lovely woman.

BERMAN: The 11 candidates were begging our moderator for their chance to get in the game.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN DEBATE MODERATOR: I want to -- I want to -- a phenomenon going --

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: Marco Rubio flashed passion and knowledge on foreign policy.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The number one issue that a president will ever confront and the most important obligation that the federal government has is to keep this nation safe. And today we are not doing that. We are eviscerating our military and we have a president that is more respectful to the ayatollah in Iran than he is to the prime minister of Israel.

BERMAN: While Trump and Fiorina flashed their business backgrounds in a tit-for-CEO tat.

FIORINA: I led Hewlett-Packard through a very difficult time. The worst technology recession in 25 years.

TRUMP: She can't run any of my companies. That I can tell you.

FIORINA: You ran up mountains of debt as well as losses using other people's money and you were forced to file for bankruptcy.

TRUMP: I've made over $10 billion.

BERMAN: So what? Who cares, said Governor Chris Christie.

CHRISTIE: The fact is that we don't want to hear about your careers. Back and forth and volleying back and forth about who did well and who did poorly. You're both successful people. Congratulations.

[09:05:02] BERMAN: The debate did have some lighter moments or higher as the case may be.

BUSH: Forty years ago I smoked marijuana, and I admit it. I'm sure that other people might have done it and may not want to say it in front of 25 million people. My mom is not happy that I just did.

BERMAN: The big blast came was Bush and Trump's proposed presidential code names.

BUSH: Eveready. It's very high energy, Donald.

(LAUGHTER)

TRUMP: Humble.

BERMAN: And not to be outpartied, Lindsey Graham who made waves in the first debate with some hard-edged anti-terror policy --

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have a plan to destroy radical Islam because it has to be. These are religious Nazis running wild.

BERMAN: He also came out for hard liquor.

GRAHAM: That's the first thing I'm going to do as president. We're going to drink more.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN: Now we haven't even mentioned Ben Carson. We haven't mentioned -- you know, barely mentioned Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz. It just shows how hard it is to break through in these debates, Carol, with so many candidates on the stage. Scott Walker, too, needed a big debate. Open question is, did he get it?

COSTELLO: Yes. We'll have to see. John Berman, reporting live for us this morning. Thanks so much.

Of course this morning's debate is dominating the headlines. Here are a few that caught our attention from the "Daily Beast." "Carly Fiorina Slays Sexist Trump on Stage." And this one, "Trump's Debate Shtick Turns Stale." And this from Politico, "Is the Summer of Trump Over?" So who were the winners and the losers? Let's ask political

commentator and former Reagan White House political director Jeffrey Lord. He's a Trump supporter. I'm also joined by Star Parker, the founder and president of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education.

Thanks to both of you for being with me this morning.

STAR PARKER, FOUNDER, CENTER FOR URBAN RENEWAL AND EDUCATION: You're welcome.

COSTELLO: OK. So this is the line everyone is talking about. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FIORINA: You know it's interesting to me. Mr. Trump said that he heard Mr. Bush very clearly and what Mr. Bush said. I think women all over this country heard very clearly what Mr. Trump said.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: I think she's got a beautiful face and I think she's a beautiful woman.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: OK. So, Star, Carly Fiorina got kudos for her answer but I'm not sure that Donald Trump's response was the response that most women wanted to hear because it sounded just as patronizing as saying that, you know, he didn't like Carly Fiorina's face.

PARKER: Absolutely. There is something within Donald Trump that does not acknowledge that there are some very bright women. And I believe that Carly showed him that there are very bright women. Smart, witty, amazingly informed, and Donald Trump keeps showing up at the debate not prepared to talk about the issues on hand and how he is going to solve them. And so he got bombarded last night but all of the candidates that felt that he was a threat.

Notice, though, there were a couple of candidates that did not go after him. In fact, one of them I think who won the debate was Ted Cruz. He was the only one that stayed attentive and focused on what he was being asked and knew who he was talking to which was the American people.

COSTELLO: Right. Well, I think there was -- I think he had a strategy there because he wants to gain Trump supporter when Trump finally --

(CROSSTALK)

PARKER: There are those.

(LAUGHTER)

COSTELLO: I don't know. Exactly. But, Jeffrey, I want to go -- Jeffrey, I want to go back to the Carly Fiorina moment when she responded to Trump's comments from the "Rolling Stone" magazine.

LORD: Right.

COSTELLO: And he responded to her by saying that he thought she was a beautiful woman. He seems tone deaf, Jeffrey.

JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: , you know, to be perfectly candid I have to disagree with you, Carly. I mean, what bothers me -- I thought Carly Fiorina did very well. I thought she was really terrific last night. But what does bother me about her remark and also with Jeb Bush is that they play the gender and race cards. You know, sex and race, which is, you know, a traditional weapon of the political left.

It shouldn't be infiltrating the right and this is what more moderate Republicans tend to do is mimic the left. You know we're that -- it's just we're nicer, we can manage better, et cetera. And, you know, her response frankly I thought was sexist. I mean, who cares about women and men? How about Americans? Who cares whether you're from Mexico originally or you're from Ireland or Slovenia, as Donald Trump's immigrant wife is? We're all Americans here and that's what should be done. And I really think that kind of thing is bad for the -- you know, for the conservative movement.

COSTELLO: OK. I'm --

PARKER: But it's not necessary.

COSTELLO: I'm digesting that. But, Star, I want to go back to Jeffrey's original point that Jeb Bush and Carly Fiorina were playing the race card and the gender card. Is that what they are doing?

PARKER: I don't believe that they're playing a race and gender card. I think that they are acknowledging that there are gender differences and so yes, women come to the table with their experiences and expressions, and even of the ethnicity in our country. We are a very diverse society and people have different interests.

[09:10:10] Yes, we are all Americans but let's face it. The American who lives in the suburbs has different interests than the American that lives in the rural communities and-or the Americans that live in the urban centers. There are real issues perhaps and even in education to where it makes a difference where you live. And when you are disproportioned based on your race or ethnicity, in certain schools or demographic areas or areas in our country --

COSTELLO: Right.

PARKER: -- then yes they're going to have other concerns. So to acknowledge that we are a diverse society and people have their particular interests that we need to address as Americans is not the same as saying we're playing a race card. You are absolutely right.

COSTELLO: Well, let me interrupt you for just a second because I want to respond to Jeffrey myself. So if I go to my boss, Jeffrey, and he responds to me by saying, you

know I didn't mean really to comment on your appearance but I think you're a very beautiful woman, Carol. Do I think he's really going to do anything for me? Do I think my boss is really listening to me? Does he really care about me as a person? A thinking person?

LORD: Yes. Right. Right.

COSTELLO: A professional person? No.

LORD: Right. That's exactly my point, Carol.

COSTELLO: So when Donald Trump says to Carly Fiorina, I think you're a beautiful woman, that's just wrong.

LORD: Well, well, I mean she --

PARKER: It's condescending is what it is.

LORD: I mean -- well, what he was trying to do clearly was to be amusing because she is -- I mean, the question was asked and that was her answer. So he answered her in kind. Now I think she's, you know, a pretty tough soul here. That's a good thing. You want that in a president if that's what turns out to be. But to be hypersensitive about this stuff, this is political correctness to the max and it is wrong.

PARKER: That was not hypersensitivity. She -- Donald Trump went after her first. Remember? She responded and then his response was very condescending.

COSTELLO: All right. We're going to leave that discussion right there.

LORD: You know, I mean, way too sensitive.

(LAUGHTER)

COSTELLO: OK. So let's turn our attention just for a moment to the Democrats because some say, some observers out there say that actually the winner last night was Hillary Clinton because of her appearance on Jimmy Fallon's show. Let's watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JIMMY FALLON, HOST, "TONIGHT SHOW WITH JIMMY FALLON": Haven't seen you since my last wedding.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I'm sure I'll see you at the next one. You know I'm really curious, Donald. What is your stance on women's issues?

FALLON: Look, I know a lot of women. And they all have issues. You want to win, here's what you got to do. First, yell. I yell all the time. In fact this phone isn't even plugged in. I'm just yelling.

(LAUGHTER)

Are you writing all this down?

CLINTON: Hold on. Let me -- let me grab my pen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(LAUGHTER)

COSTELLO: Oh, Jeffrey. Come on, that was effective. Don't you think?

LORD: She was good. She was good, I thought. Honestly I thought she was very good. She should do more of that kind of thing. I mean she's got a serious problem with the American people in terms of their view of her integrity. I mean, everybody knows that by now. And you know, if she's going to get out there and do -- you know, deal with that, this is one of the ways to do it. And I saw that clip this morning. I really did think she was good.

COSTELLO: All right. I'll have to leave it there. Jeffrey Lord, Star Parker --

LORD: I'm not voting for her but she's good.

(LAUGHTER)

COSTELLO: I know. I didn't think you were. Star Parker, Jeffrey Lord, thanks to both of you. I appreciate it.

Still to come in the NEWSROOM, you've heard the sound bite. But is it what wasn't said last night that's sending out the biggest message?

Our body language expert breaks it down next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:17:55] CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Debate night is all about the issues, but sometimes it is what's not said that leaves the most lasting impression. We're all familiar with the faces of Donald Trump. There you see it. Maybe a smug or contemplating an argument from one of his opponents.

But what about this? This is Ben Carson at the podium answering a question from Jake Tapper about immigration. Watch it again and pay attention to Ben Carson's hands. Notice how he fidgets with that podium.

So, what does it all mean? We're joined with someone who knows, body language expert and author of "Power of Body Language", Tonya Reiman.

Tonya, thanks for coming. I appreciate it.

TONYA REIMAN, BODY LANGUAGE EXPERT: Thank you.

COSTELLO: So, just first of all before we get to Ben Carson's hands, the overall impression of the body language of all these candidates, who pulled it off?

REIMAN: Fiorina did the best. If you want -- I mean, if you looked at her you took somebody who was second tier, moved up to first and walked away pretty much winning in terms of the non verbals. And a lot of the verbals, she did really well. So, I think she was the big highlight. And I think at the end of the day, we saw Trump lose points because he was very quiet and couldn't keep up with the rest of the people.

COSTELLO: Interesting. OK. Let's go, let's go macro.

REIMAN: Carson's hands, let's talk about that.

COSTELLO: OK, Carson's hands. So, let's show that. So, Carson was fidgeting on the podium. What does that say?

REIMAN: It is just indicative of somebody who is pacifying themselves. You can tell they are anxious because they need to kind of rub something, hold to something. It gives you that feeling of, OK, I'm going to soothe myself. Everything is fine.

Of course, he's new to this arena. So you expect that. You saw a lot of sweating last night on the upper lip, which is also a sign of anxiety. I had to be very hot in that room as well.

COSTELLO: You saw a lot of sweating among all the candidates. I felt particularly sorry for Marco Rubio and John Kasich.

REIMAN: You could see it with that, like the back of their hair even.

COSTELLO: I know.

REIMAN: That was painful.

COSTELLO: That was painful. So perhaps the air conditioner should be turned down.

REIMAN: A little bit higher.

COSTELLO: OK. Let's play video of the Carly Fiorina, because I know you said she did --

REIMAN: She did well.

COSTELLO: She did best in the body language area. But there were moments when she was talking about her time as CEO of Hewlett-Packard.

REIMAN: See how much she's blinking right now. OK, she did well.

[09:20:02] What's interesting about this is normally, our blinking rate is about 15 to 20 blinks per minute. When we're on TV, it goes 40, 50 times a minute. Here, she's blinking, it's almost 100 times per minute. So, you see he hit a really hot spot with her.

COSTELLO: Yes, and she was explaining why she was fired from Hewlett Packard so you can understand why that would have been a difficult moment. She gave a good answer though. She did.

REIMAN: She did. She gave a good verbal answer but the anxiety leaked out nonverbally and that is the interesting piece.

COSTELLO: OK. So there are also difficult moments. Donald Trump and Ben Carson do a low five. So, let's see that moment. This is Jeb and Trump doing the low five.

REIMAN: Right, and then I think Carson did the high five, right?

COSTELLO: OK.

REIMAN: So, now, when you see this though, you recognize that people are invading other people's space. So, Trump does this all the time and he thinks it comes off as maybe friendly, but it actually comes off as very brash.

And when you go into somebody's personal space, go into their intimate zone really what you are doing is demonstrating you feel you are the alpha. You are dominant. You are the one who has the power in that situation. And that's why it was so -- you shouldn't do things like this to begin with but especially not in a --

COSTELLO: Doesn't that help Donald Trump?

REIMAN: No.

COSTELLO: Doesn't he want to be seen as the alpha male.

REIMAN: But he's not seen as the alpha male. He's seen as the man who's trying to be the alpha male in this situation. And I think that happened last night just because he bundled his way through the entire three hours.

COSTELLO: OK. So let's watch a portion of the debate where Mr. Trump is attacking Jeb Bush's record.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He's weak on immigration. By the way, in favor of Common Core, which is also a disaster.

(LAUGHTER)

TRUMP: But weak on immigration. He doesn't get my vote.

CARLY FIORINA (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Dana, with all due respect --

MODERATOR: Mr. Trump --

(CROSSTALK)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REIMAN: First thing, he starts off. Jeb Bush starts in a fig leaf position. Which he's covering hi lower half. We do that when you feel vulnerable. You cover what feels most vulnerable to you, down here is a fig leaf position.

Next thing he does is he leans onto the podium, and as he's here hearing and Trump is saying he starts to laugh. Whenever we get angry the first thing we do to mask the anger is we laugh. So, you know that's annoying.

And then, thirdly, after this, at the end you see the tongue come out. When you see tongue protrusion right after someone has spoken it's typically a signal of disgust.

COSTELLO: Oh really?

REIMAN: Yes. Like that think of a baby, right, you put green bean to the baby's mouth, pushes it out. So, that's the signal of disgust.

COSTELLO: Unless you are Miley Cyrus and then it is something different.

REIMAN: Yes, we can't get into that right now.

COSTELLO: Yes, we can't.

REIMAN: Too early in the morning.

COSTELLO: So besides Carly Fiorina, who was next on your list as far as looking comfortable not only in their body language but with the issues as well.

REIMAN: Do you know who I want to talk about for a moment? Rand Paul.

COSTELLO: OK.

REIMAN: Rand Paul, the first time around I'm like he's done. He's arrogant, condescending, he's smug. The facial expressions were all of anger and contempt. This time, beautiful. I was so impressed with how he polished, how he changed, how he kind of evolved into a whole new candidate. I think he did really well.

COSTELLO: I liked his expression when Donald Trump was talking about his looks and he's like oh. He didn't need so say anything. The camera was on him. It was perfect.

REIMAN: He really did. And his answers look good as well. I think he moved up in my opinion.

COSTELLO: Tonya, thank you so much for coming in. I so appreciate it.

REIMAN: Thank you.

COSTELLO: That was interesting.

Still to come in the NEWSROOM: What's more important for a candidate? Getting more time to talk at the debate? Or is it what you actually say? We'll break down the numbers, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:27:48] COSTELLO: On this morning after the CNN debate, some candidates say they were left in fact shadows as the spotlight shined primarily on the front runner Donald Trump.

Here is what Chris Christie said on NEW DAY.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The more people get to know me the better I'm going to do. So, I went from six minutes in the first debate to seven minutes last night. So I'm making incremental progress.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: What do you mean? You only spoke for seven minutes?

CHRISTIE: Seven minutes last night. But here's the thing --

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: What, were you timing it? How did you do it?

CHRISTIE: Someone told me when I got off. But here's the thing -- I've always been quality over quantity. Always. And so, when I get my moments, I'm going to make them count and make people hear me. I've never been misunderstood in my political career. So, you know, I think I did move the needle last night in terms of people getting to know me better. And when they do, I think I'll do well.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: Chris Christie, Chris Christie, Chris Christie, you got more than seven minutes. We have someone who crunched the numbers and that would be one Brian Stelter.

Good morning.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. How are you?

COSTELLO: So, how many minutes did Chris Christie get?

STELTER: You know, it looks like our estimates about 12 minutes. He's sort of the middle of the pack there with these candidates. There were some differences. It probably won't surprise you Donald Trump had the most talk time. It's partly because he was taking the most incoming fire and he was given opportunities to respond. That was one of the rules of the debate, if you're attack, you get time to respond.

As you can see here, it goes pretty much in order, Bush with almost 16 minutes, and you see in that middle of the field there, Fiorina and a number of other candidates with kind of medium amount of talk time, even Scott Walker and John Kasich, they're at the end with eight and nine minutes. They all had a lot of time because there was a three hour-long debate.

There's been a few complaints about the length, but the benefit for the candidate, the benefit to the campaign is everybody got a lot of time in order to make their message count.

And I tell you, Carol, the early ratings are in for the debate, looks like the highest rated event in CNN's history. We're talking about a 30-year history for CNN. This was the biggest event. It looks like it is going to be upwards of 20 million viewers.

Now, the previously highest viewed debate ever on this network, 8 million viewers. It was Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in 2008. So, it goes to show that all these candidates, they had a great night, they had a great night, because they got in front of 20 million people with their message.

COSTELLO: Even Mike Huckabee. You know, I have problems with rating (ph) them right away, I'll admit that full disclosure. But Mike Huckabee got what? Five minutes, four minutes?

STELTER: Nine minutes as well.