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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Pope Arrives at Vatican's Diplomatic Residence; Busy, Historic Day for Pope; Conservatives and the Pope's Message; Trump to Unveil his Tax Plan Next Week; Fiorina Takes Question About Muslims; Scandal Unseats CEO. Aired 9-10p ET.
Aired September 23, 2015 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[21:00:32] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Hey good evening, 9:00 p.m. here in Washington, D.C. and it has been an extraordinary day here and it promises to be another extraordinary day tomorrow. Pope Francis should be setting in right about now after a history-making day settling in for the night. He arrived just a short time ago back to Vatican Diplomatic Residence arrived to a crowd who seemed as energized by him as he's been by the crowd at every step along his visit so far in Washington.
Tomorrow, just steps from here he'll become the first pope to address a joint meeting of Congress. Day two of visit already full of firsts, Jim Sciutto now with how day one unfolded.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIM SCIUTTO, CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: He arrived at the White House and is now iconic and understated FIAT Hatchback, but received and outsized official welcome for a world leader.
BARACK OBAMA, U.S. PRESIDENT: Holy Father, on behalf of Michelle and myself, welcome to the White House.
SCIUTTO: The president, vice president, secretary of state and 11,000 invited guests forming his first wrapped American audience.
POPE FRANCIS: I hope to listen to and share many of the hopes and dreams of the American people.
SCIUTTO: The pope, mild mannered but politically deaf addressed issues right at the center of the U.S. political debate, religious freedom, the immigration.
POPE FRANCIS: As the son of an immigrant family, I'm happy to be a guest in this country, which was largely built by such families.
SCIUTTO: And later climate change.
POPE FRANCIS: It seems clear to me also that climate change is a problem. We can no longer be left to a future generation. SCIUTTO: After a final blessing for the American people.
POPE FRANCIS: God bless America.
SCIUTTO: He met privately with the President in the oval office.
OBAMA: I noticed all of you are much better behaved than usual.
SCIUTTO: Exchanging his FIAT for the pope mobile, Pope Francis had his first chance to connect with his fans and supporters though under the tightest security. The distance from the crowd bridged for a moment when security personnel carried children right up to him for his blessing. Later, at Saint Mathews Cathedral in Washington, he met with U.S. bishops and the pope addressing the catholic church's sex abuse scandal saying he supports their commitment to healing the victims.
The pope's final stop today, Catholic University where he performed the first canonization of a saint on U.S. soil. Junipero Serra, a 19th century Spanish missionary in California.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Jim Sciutto joins us. Now, you know, it was extraordinary seeing to with all the pomp and ceremony waiting for the Pope on the south lawn of the White House to see him drive up in the little FIAT.
SCIUTTO: Perfect for him, fits his profile and certainly an intentional choice, is to have that kind of car to fit with that profile and to just, you know, show him as a pope of the people, right? You know, the SUV not right for him, the Cadillac Limo not right him. This was the car for Pope Francis.
COOPER: What's on tap for tomorrow?
SCIUTTO: So he's going to speak of course at The Capitol 10:00 tomorrow to a joint meeting, joint session because it's not official business and it's interesting to know that behind him, there're going to be two Catholics, of course John Boehner catholic, vice president Biden.
SCIUTTO: He did of course. And then about a third of the members of Congress catholic as well. Then he flies to New York and tomorrow, he'll speak in the afternoon at St. Patrick's Cathedral.
COOPER: You should also point out that after being here, he's not having lunch with the muckety-mucks on Capitol Hill. He's going to (inaudible) from charities to meet with homeless eventually.
SCIUTTO: Exactly, you know, turning down lunch in effect as you might normally have when a world leader visits Capital with congressional leaders, he meets real people again very fitting with the pope's profile.
COOPER: Maybe he'll invite some of our leaders down there as well.
SCIUTTO: Maybe you and I can join.
COOPER: Jim Sciutto, I appreciate it, thanks very much.
Alex should be in New York covering the Pope in New York tomorrow afternoon when he's at St. Patrick's Cathedral. Having watched it all unfold, you cannot overstay just how big a day it was here.
Joining us now is biblical scholar, best-selling author and senior contributor Bruce Fyler, also father Timothy Kesicki President of the Jesuit Conference of the United States.
Father you were there this morning on the south lawn of the White House, what was it like to be there and what did you take away from what you heard.
[21:05:11] TIMOTHY KESICKI PRESIDENT OF THE JESUIT CONFERENCE OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes, I was with a lot of members of Congress in the section where I was seated and everyone was wondering what he was going to say, what language he was going to speak and I just stay when he started in English, I was a little nervous for how good his English was going to be.
COOLPER: It's not his...
KESICKI: You know, his the first Jesuit pope, you want someone from your order to shine and as soon as he started talking, he sense that everyone was behind him. And what a model of humility, how many 78- year-old world leaders will learn a new language and then address the world and he did it. You sense that people wanted to hear his message and they embraced it. So it was very moving and especially as people would respond and say yes, or amen or start to cheer. It was a tremendous connection with the people.
COOPER: And Bruce, I know for you, and there were many moments that stood out but his quoting of Dr. Martin Luther King.
BRUCE FEILER, AUTHOR, "WALKING THE BIBLE": What was striking, you know often hear Catholics quote Protestant and sitting in front of President Obama, I thought that was a quite moving moment. I would say a couple of things, maybe three things stood out to me today. One it was spectacular. These are two organization, right, the American government and Catholic Church that do ceremony very well. These were well-produced beautiful exquisite emotional ceremonies. I would say something else that stood out to me today is that these two institutions, the Obama White House and the Francis Vatican if you will, they're both actually somewhat wounded institutions, OK. Obama is under water in his popularity ratings, the Catholic Church is, we can say all we want, but there's 1.2 million members but these are declining...
COOPER: Like 1.2 billion. FEILER: ...1.2 billion but these numbers are dropping rapidly, a third of native born Catholics as you know have left the church. They have been filled up by Hispanics and Filipinos, but those numbers Hispanics in their 20s and 30s are dropping in just as quick numbers.
So stripped across every television network today, Twitter, Facebook, everything, this was hundreds of millions of dollars of publicity for the church and they took advantage of it masterfully. And the last thing I would say about today is truly a triumph of the separation of church and state in America. I was born in Georgia as you know, there were three rules when Georgia was founded. No slaves, no Hebrews, that's no Jews, no papist, that's no Catholics. OK. Two addresses to Congress this year? Benjamin Netanyahu, head of the Jewish State and Pope Francis, the head of the Catholic State, that shows how far we've come particularly for Catholics, the discrimination has been real.
I mean, I'm looking over your shoulder at the Washington Monument, it was started in the 1840s and after about four years, they ran out of stone and they put out a request, Pope Pius IX actually sent a three- foot long marble stone from an ancient Roman temple to be put on that monument. When word got out, riots erupted in Philadelphia because they feared this meant the Catholic Church was going to take over the U.S. government and nine members of the Know-Nothing Party, the anti- Catholic party came, went to the ground, killed the watchdog, wrapped the guard up in a clothesline, took the marble -- took it down to the Potomac and dropped it and that shows how far we've come in this country.
COOPER: Father, for this Pope, there has been so much emphasis that he has placed and he spoke to bishops today and it's one of the things he early on criticized bishops, airport bishops I think he called them, bishops who focus too much on traveling to international conferences and not enough on ministering to the people. He's put so much emphasis on mercy and also flexibility for pastors. How has that been felt throughout the levels of the church?
KESICKI: You know, one of the adages that everyone just gravitated to was in Holly Week, his first year as pope when he told priests and bishops take on the smell of the sheep and people resonated with that. They really did and I think that has become really a motto for so many who do pastoral ministry in the church today. And so there's a desire to get deeper into your (inaudible) or neighborhoods to connect with diverse parts of the community that you might not ordinarily have been attracted to. He's talked about going to the peripheries, he has a missionary spirit and he really wants to grow the church not because he's interested in exaggerated growth or ballooning numbers, he wants to grow the church because he wants to bring mercy and consolation and love to so many people.
COOPER: One thing I know he said in the past that I was reading in my research is he talked about Holy Communion, not as a reward for the perfect but as medicine for the sick and the idea of reaching out to those who may not be perfect, but their voices should be heard, as well.
KESICKI: Yeah, the sacraments in the church. So he's talking about marriage or matrimony, he talks about communion, reconciliation and sacraments shouldn't be in his mind disciplinary. It shouldn't be the way that lets you discipline the members of your flock. It should be moments of grace, which sacraments are. And that's what he really -- he sees a beautiful link between grace and mercy and by extending the hand of mercy, he believes that people will grow closer to God in their faith.
[21:10:07] COOPER: It's also -- I mean, one writer I was reading, were saying that for him the heart of the gospel is in Matthew 25, which is that Jesus was saying that in the final days, he'll be asked not how rich you were or what you accomplish in life, you'll be asked about whether you fed the hungry, whether you visited the sick. That's the core for this Pope.
FEILER: And to me, it was such a powerful moment in the mass today that you covered live on CNN when he said repeatedly, go forth, go forth, go forth. This is an idea actually that begins in the Hebrew bible where God said to Abraham, go forth in your native land, leave what's comfortable, go to what's uncomfortable and that seems to be his message particularly to the church, go out to where the people are and for the Catholic Church, for any church you can't sit back anymore and wait for people to come to you. You got to go to where the people are and to me, that is the symbolism of his life and the way he has occupied this office. Because he goes out to the dirty, to the poor, to the homeless, to the sick. He reaches out to them and that's really where religion has to be now going to where people are because people are no longer coming to him.
COOPER: And you see the excitement of people responding I think to that outreach. Father Sciutto, it's a great day to have you on, I know it's a long day for you, Bruce Fyler as well. Thank you very much. Just quite a day here.
When we come back, a lot more ahead, a counterpoint to enormous acclaim that Pope Francis has been getting wherever he goes and we'll focus on some of the resistance within the church itself as some of the change and tone at least that we've been hearing from the beginning of his visit.
[21:15:11] COOPER: We've been showing you the kind of welcome that Pope Francis has been getting so far on his first trip to the United States. More than 10,000 on the White House lawn, many thousands lining the streets and all this afternoon's -- that is afternoon's mass in a world it has been overwhelming for this city by contrast, the tone and thrust of his papacy have not been universally welcomed in some corners of the church and beyond. More on that now from Carol Costello.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Five words started it all, the pope was talking about gay people who are seeking the lord in good faith. For liberal Catholics who cheered the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to legalize same-sex marriage, it seems the pope was on board but for conservatives, the Vatican's actions, the pope's words are alarming.
ALBERT MOHLER, JR, SOUTHERN BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY: It's a fascinating discussion inside Catholicism to watch and any of us looking into that conversation recognize you've got warring visions of both who Pope Francis is and who many want him to be.
COSTELLO: Dr. Mohler, who was a Southern Baptists, says Pope Francis is a master at symbolism but he doesn't dare change church doctrine for fear of splitting the church in two. It's something many conservative Catholics are loathed to talk about publicly. Monsignor Thomas Bohlin is vicar of Opus Dei.
What's the difference between a liberal catholic and a conservative catholic?
MONSIGNOR THOMAS BOHLIN, U.S VICAR OF THE PRELATURE OF OPUS DEI: Someone who is a good catholic, a serious catholic. A consequent Christian is someone who follows the teaching of Christ what Jesus laid out for us. And so what he wants to know Jesus, meet Jesus and follow his way and not just going to follow their own way, but who wants to follow Jesus' way.
COSTELLO: But politics do matter. Catholic conservatives along with other religious conservatives are in sense the Pope blames human beings in part for global warming. They accuse the pope of being a Marxist who wants to spread the wealth to help the poor and for those who revered a more conservative Popes, John Paul and Benedict, some have decidedly not happy Francis will speak before a joint session of Congress.
BOHLIN: Also an evangelical, I'm very concerned that a religious leader, the head of a church is being recognized as a head of state and accorded the kind of influence that would normally come from an elected head of government.
Costello: Pope Francis is surely aware of the turmoil he has created as a wise nun told me, sometimes it's good to shake things up.
Carol Costello, CNN New York.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Speaking of shaking things up, we're now joined by Sister Simone Campbell, Executive Director of Networks. She was a leading voice in support of President Obama's Affordable Care Act and a vocal advocate for immigration reform. Also with us again tonight CNN Vatican analyst, John Allen.
John, do you think too much is made of this idea of division and this idea that Pope Francis is somehow so out of step with his predecessors?
JOHN ALLEN, AUTHOR, "THE FRANCIS MIRACLE": Basic answer to that is yes, I think too much is made of it. You know I said it for two reasons. I mean, look, is there blow back in resistance in some corners? Sure. However, in every corner of the world where public opinion can be scientifically measured, this guy still has approval ratings, the politicians and celebrities would sacrifice their children to pagan gods to (inaudible), I mean it's off the charts, OK.
And secondly, you and I were talking about this last night, you know, I've covered three Popes, I covered John Paul and Benedict and it's a fantasy to think there wasn't resistance and blow back against those guys too. Now it came from somewhat different quarters, but it could occasionally be ferocious. In fact, this is some old story. I mean, the opposition to popes goes all the way back to St. Peter in the New Testament and his clashes with Paul.
So I mean, in that sense, you know, I wouldn't overdramatize the resistance that Francis basis and I -- further I don't see any evidence he's been hobbled by.
COOPER: And in fact you were saying today that Pope Francis was really kind of placing himself in the pantheon with his predecessors in terms of his beliefs.
ALLEN: Yeah, I mean Francis throughout this trip has been trying in some ways to connect himself with both his immediate predecessors and all those who came before him. And on the plane on the way over here, you know, he said to us, look, I'm not some kind of flaming leftist. You know, I'm speaking the social doctrine of the church and he actually got feisty about it at one point and he sort of defied us on the plane to come up with an instance where he had said something that was not part of the official teaching of the church and it was a bet nobody was going to take.
COOPER: Sister, do you believe that too much is made of this? And how do you see this any divisions that may exist?
SISTER SIMONE CAMPBELL, AUTHOR, "A NUN ON THE BUS": Absolutely. I think too much is made of it, especially in our country because we're only used to reporting things with conflict and with adversarial positions. The fact is Pope Francis is well grounded within catholic social teaching and actually, Pope Benedict had a fabulous in cyclical charity and truth (inaudible) where he raised up the very same issues, not as strongly on the climate issue but certainly on the issues of poverty and responding in love to our neighbor.
[21:20:09] So Pope Francis is well within the traditional teaching of our church, but I think what makes people nervous is that he's so popular that they feel that their hold on fear or division is slipping away. So they are pushing back even more strongly. That's why we think we have to really push forward his message of love and bridging the divide. It's a huge challenge.
COOPER: John, I mean, early on though he did -- he was critical of the Curia, the bureaucracy of the Vatican, which sort of governs the Vatican itself, about the Vatican Bank he pushed for more transparency. Has that continued? Have there been changes kind of internally?
ALLEN: Well, I mean, sure there have been changes internally ranging from small things like the fact that, you know, the atmosphere is more relaxed than the Apostolic Palace because the Pope isn't living there. So I mean, you know, you can sort of breathe the air a little bit more easily all the way up to big things like, you know, there clearly is a profound restructuring of the central bureaucracy of the church, the Roman Curia are going on. Now, to be fair, the reform in the Vatican Bank and the overall reform in the Vatican...
ALLEN: ...started with Benedict XVI. So this is something Francis is continuing rather than creating. But, you know, he is also asked his counsel of cardinal advisers, the so called (G-9), to do a thorough review, (inaudible) review of the process for appointing bishops to make sure the right kind of guys are being appointed. I mean, if that happens, that's a game-changer.
I think what he has in mind is that he thinks that more of the authority for those picks ought to be in the local level and less of it in Rome. So sure, things are being shaken up but all of that is within a certain box and the box is the official teaching of the church. He's been pope two and a half years and he hasn't changed a comment in the catechism of the Catholic Church. I mean, to put it differently Anderson, what's changing isn't the lyrics, what's changing is the melody.
COOPER: And Sister Simone, I mean, again to echo what John has said, the actual teachings of the church, I mean, he is very much in line with all of his predecessors in terms of women's issues, particularly women's equality within the church. There are some that feel like the pope has not done enough on that front. I'm wondering what your thoughts are.
CAMPBELL: Well, I think that's true and the challenge is that what I think Pope Francis is really about is opening up our church. There were huge divisions between those who wanted the leaner meaner church and those who worked at the margins with folks left out and I have a tendency to be more on the margins with the folks left out, but what he's doing is saying that there's room for all of us.
Now, what I'd like to see is a bit more of women's leadership, but he affirmed it today to the bishops, he has appointed a woman to head a theology school in Rome, which has been unheard of and he's gradually appointing women to commissions. In fact, he just appointed one of the founders of our organization, Sister Maureen Kelleher, to be one of the observers at the coming (inaudible), so bit by bit things are happening.
COOPER: Sister Simone Campbell I appreciate all you do and I appreciate you being with us, John Allen as well.
Just ahead, Pope Francis clearly enjoys meeting kids. He's quick to step into a crowd to bless or kiss a baby. I'm going to talk to two young girls that greeted the pope on the tarmac moments after his plane touched down. Can you imagine what that was like for them? You'll hear directly from them tonight.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [21:27:25] COOPER: Well, Pope Francis has a natural rapport with young people. He enjoys meeting them, that is very obvious. On his way to the White House this morning, he took time to take selfies with some kids who were waiting outside the Vatican Embassy. Four other lucky kids greeted Francis on the tarmac when he arrived yesterday at Joint Base Andrews. Their moment with the pope came minutes after he got off the plane.
The youngest greeter, Karlena Somerville handed him flowers. Karlena is in kindergarten. She joins me now along with Jocelyn Aquino, a seventh grader who shared that moment. Karlena's mom Karen is also with us. Thanks so much for being with us. Appreciate it. So Jocelyn when you found out that you were going to meet the Pope, what went through your mind?
JOCELYN AQUINO, GREETED POPE FRANCIS ON TARMAC: It was excitement. No words can explain how excited I was. I was crying.
COOPER: You cried?
AQUINO: Yes, it was very emotional.
COOPER: It was happy kind of cry?
COOPER: Yeah, joyful cry.
COOPER: And how about for you, what was it like to meet the Pope? Was it fun?
KARLENA SOMERVILLE, GREETED POPE FRANCIS ON TARMAC: Yes.
COOPER: Was he nice?
KARLENA SOMERVILLE: Yes.
COOPER: And Karen, your daughter is only 6 years old. Was she nervous?
KAREN, KARLENA'S MOTHER: Not really. She study a little of magnitude of it yet but she loves the camera and the light.
COOPER: I can see that.
KAREN SOMERVILLE: I think she was herself the entire time.
COOPER: Now you also -- did you also get to meet President Obama?
KAREN SOMERVILLE: Karlena? COOPER: Karlena, did you meet the president? Did you meet -- you got to meet the president, didn't you?
KARLENA SOMERVILLE: No, I meet the president.
COOPER: You got to meet the president too?
KARLENA SOMERVILLE: Yes.
COOPER: Yeah, how was the meeting the president? Was he nice?
KARLENA SOMERVILLE: Yes.
COOPER: Yeah, and what did the president say to you when you met him?
AQUINO: He was just, how are you? How have you been? This is a very great opportunity and he started having fun with us and dancing with us.
COOPER: He danced with you?
AQUINO: Yes, he danced with Karlena?
COOPER: Karlena, the President of the United States danced with you?
KARLENA SOMERVILLE: Yes.
COOPER: Oh how did you dance with the president? Like that?
KARLENA SOMERVILLE: Yes.
COOPER: Was he a good dancer?
KARLENA SOMERVILLE: Yes.
COOPER: Yeah, you're a good dancer. I wish I could also dance like you.
KARLENA SOMERVILLE: Only mommy.
KAREN SOMERVILLE: Say thank you.
KARLENA SOMERVILLE: Thank you.
COOPER: So now when you actually met Pope Francis, what did you say to him?
AQUINO: I was like, welcome to the United States in Spanish and he responded in Spanish, thank you very much.
COOPER: Wow, were you nervous?
AQUINO: Yes, a little bit.
COOPER: And then afterwards, does it seem real? I mean, did you pinch yourself?
AQUINO: I'm -- yeah, it wasn't -- for me it wasn't reality at all, but I guess it was real.
COOPER: You got to go back to school tomorrow now.
AQUINO: Oh yes.
COOPER: A lot of kids are going to be excited there to hear your story.
AQUINO: The whole school was watching me live.
COOPER: Were they?
COOPER: Is that right?
COOPER: And is it true that the pope gave you a blessing Karlena?
KARLENA SOMERVILLE: Yes.
COOPER: Yeah, how -- what did he do when he do that?
KARLENA SOMERVILLE: Touched on my forehead.
[21:30:02] COOPER: He touched your forehead?
KARLENA SOMERVILLE: Yes.
COOPER: Wow, that's exciting. Thank you and this must be an extraordinary experience for all of you.
KAREN SOMERVILLE: Awesome, I can't even put any words.
KAREN SOMERVILLE: To meet the pope and the president at the same day.
KAREN SOMERVILLE: Blessing for both of them.
COOPER: Absolutely. A memory you'll have for your entire lives.
KAREN SOMERVILLE: Entire.
COOPER: Thank you both so much. It was so nice to meet you. It was so nice to meet you and thank you for dance -- show me how you dance, very good. Will you give me some lessons maybe another time? KARLENA SOMERVILLE: Yes.
COOPER: OK, thank you very much Karlena and Jocelyn.
AQUINO: Thank you.
COOPER: Well, thank you Karen, thanks so much.
KAREN. SOMERVILEE: Thank you too also.
COOPER: I appreciate it.
Up next, we have some breaking news in the world of politics with Donald Trump stumping in South Carolina down to unveil his tax plan. We'll have more on that and new polling in the GOP. race.
COOPER: Breaking news tonight, Donald Trump says he will unveil his tax plan next week. We haven't heard many specifics from Trump as to what his plans are so this could be a turning point for the campaign that so far is relied on Donald Trump lashing out to his rivals. There was some of that of course as he campaigned in South Carolina today. He called Hillary Clinton shrill and said Carly Fiorina's business trail was a disaster and he said that Marco Rubio has no money.
[21:35:00] It's a style that certainly is not hurting him in the polls. The latest Fox News poll shows him in the lead with 26 percent among Republican voters, Ben Carson second with 18, followed by Carly Fiorina and Marco Rubio with 9 each, Ted Cruz has 8, Jeb Bush 7 percent. Now last night Trump was on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert and Trump again said that he would build a quote, great and beautiful wall along the Mexico border to keep immigrants out or illegal immigrants out and that he would tell the Mexican Government to pay for it. Take a look what happened next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST: How about two walls, OK, each of them...
DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Connected?
COLBERT: No, no, no, not connected. Two walls, one -- you know, one here, one there, in between a mote.
TRUMP: And a nice resort.
COLBERT: Filled with fire.
TRUMP: Oh, yeah.
COLBERT: And fireproof crocodiles, is that enough? We'll put up a couple things at the bottom of the screen here and we're going to figure out whether this was you or me saying these things. OK ready?
TRUMP: I'm ready.
COLBERT: OK ready, here is the first one. "We got Obama in there now and the Chinese testing him bing, bing, bing. You get a woman in there bing, boom, boom, the whole world goes after her", me or you.
TRUMP: That's you.
COLBERT: That is me. That is actually me, OK. "I apologize for being perfect."
TRUMP: That would be you because I would never say a thing like that. Is that you?
COLBERT: That's very good. "I think apologizing is a great thing but you have to be wrong. I will absolutely apologize sometime hopefully in the distant future if I'm ever wrong."
TRUMP: That's me.
COLBERT: That is you. That is very you. "The real strong have no need to prove it to the phonies."
TRUMP: That would be -- it's not me. It could be you.
COLBERT: It's not me, either.
COLBERT: It's Charles Manson.
TRUMP: Oh, oh, that's tough.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: He dodged that one. CNN political reporter Sara Murray joins me now from Columbia, South Carolina where Donald Trump wrapped up an event just a short time ago. The town hall tonight, Trump got a much larger and warmer reception than he did at an event earlier. What was it like tonight?
SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Yeah, that's absolutely right Anderson. His first stop stay within Charleston and that was a little bit of a sparser event than we're used to seeing for Donald Trump. This sort of South Carolina, African-American Chamber of Commerce and interestingly, the crowd still there was predominantly white. It was a very different reception here for Donald Trump in Columbia, South Carolina, a much warmer crowd and they were very responsive to his usual applause lines about immigration but also Donald Trump showing a little leg when it comes to policy issues saying that next week we can expect this tax plan that we've been waiting for. His campaign staffers told me that should come early next week so we may finally be getting more specifics on a plan other than immigration from Donald Trump, Anderson.
COOPER: He certainly seems to be on the warpath today boycotting Fox News, tweeting about Megyn Kelly again and he went after fellow candidates nailing Marco Rubio.
MURRAY: He absolutely was on the warpath today. Like you said, Marco Rubio is one of the new one. He has been really reserved when it comes to Rubio, but today he really went after him saying that Rubio criticized him, he's not necessarily ready be commander-in-chief and, you know, when Trump hits back, he hits back hard.
The other thing that was really interesting today that were Trump making it clear, he is in it for the long haul. He signed a pledge to be on the ballot here in South Carolina saying he would support the republican nominee, whoever it is. He paid $40,000 to be on the ballot here and when I asked him at a press conference about how he was juggling his business responsibilities with this campaign, he told me over the next two months, he would have a lot more free time to deal with the campaign and he's offloading some of those responsibilities. So Anderson, it does seem like -- it seems like as he's trying to regain his footing after a sort of shaky debate performance, he seems to be all in.
COOPER: All right, Sara Murray, appreciate it. Joining me now is CNN Political Commentator and Former Reagan White House Political Director Jeffrey Lord and CNN Senior Political Reporter Nia-Malika Henderson.
So Jeff, I mean it's interesting watching Donald Trump on Colbert last night, he was pretty mild mannered and pretty subdued, a stark contrast from what we've seen today at the campaign event.
JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Right, you know, Anderson, one of the things I've been thinking of here, you know, in terms of the Fox fight and all this sort of thing, I mean what is it that the base of the Republican Party, they -- sort of their number one complaint about the Republican leadership is, it is that they don't fight and, you know, this is somebody with a serious television background and one of the basic rules in -- you know, when you write for television or movies or novels, et cetera, is that you show, you don't tell. You don't give somebody a speech about anger, you know, you have them smack the other person.
What he's doing here is demonstrating that he fights. It could be Fox News, it could be, you know, who knows who it is the next day or the last day but the point is he fights and I really do think that people are responding to that because, I mean not for nothing is the GOP leadership, you know, termed that the surrender caucus.
COOPER: So that's interesting idea. So you think that the Fox -- something like a Fox boycott or complaining about press coverage, that it doesn't show him to be thin skinned, you believe it shows him to be a fighter and whether people like Fox News or not, they like the fact that he is...
[21:40:13] LORD: Right.
COOPER: ...mixing it up.
LORD: Exactly, exactly and that's why they tune in. I mean, Stephen Colbert's numbers, as I understand it from my word as deadline Hollywood or one of these places, went up when he was on and of course, we know that was the case with the debates and I think they are tuning in because they want to see him, you know, fight. They want to -- this is what they want in a broader term, in terms of policy and dealing in Washington and he does it and they like to see and that's what they want.
COOPER: You knew, it was also interesting to see him on Colbert last night because, I mean, Colbert gave him the opportunity to, you know, once and for all just say President Obama is, you know, was born in this country. I can't remember how exactly how Colbert phrased it. But he basically said look, this is a big fact, people, I'm just tossing you. You can just knock it out of the park right here and Trump chose not to do that. He said, you know, I just not talking about this anymore. He did tweet about it as late as 10:00 last night. Politically, do you think what does he get out of bringing it up or even just not saying he's not going to answer it anymore, but not saying that he believes President Obama was born in the United States?
HENDERSON: You know, I think it's the wink and the nods of the people who believe conspiracy theories about Obama, whether it's about his faith, whether it's about -- whether he -- where he was born and those are things that we've seen Donald Trump do. He is sort of playing footsie with that birther crowd and I think that's what he continues to do even he says he doesn't want to talk about it. Well, he doesn't have to at this point because he's talked about it so incessantly going back to 2011 with saying that he would put up his own money to find Obama's birth certificate and all that. So at this point, the work is done.
He's got these people in his corner who have those sorts of views so he doesn't, at this point, have to actively engage. He said he doesn't want to talk about it at this point, but he's also said that before. He doesn't want to talk about it and then he starts to talk about it again. So I doubt we've seen the end of this kind of narrative around Donald Trump because it's been so important to his rise so far.
COOPER: Jeff, you know, it's really interesting also thinking about this boycott and I wonder if, I mean, I don't know how he negotiates, I don't know what he's like in the negotiating room, but you can also look at it as this is an extension of him as a negotiator, that, you know, he pushes back hard.
COOPER: He pushes -- you know, he ruffles feathers, he threatens a lawsuit against a Club for Growth because he believes they were airing an unfair ad against him, which in the world of kind of rough and tumble politics, that's a pretty rare thing for any candidate to do, but you can see him doing this, I imagine in a board room and maybe this is just an extension of that.
LORD: That's right, Anderson. I think that is exactly on point here. I think that, again, the show not tell, he's not going to have some long discourse about, you know, why this is right or this is wrong. What he's going to do is get his lawyers after Club for Growth or he's going to tweet about Fox News or he's going to do these different things and that is the art of the deal. That's his negotiating style and that's presumably what would happen where he in the White House and he would be, you know, looking for a very tough deal with the Soviet, with Russians or whomever it might be, but that's the way he does it. And I think he's illustrating it every day and we're just sort of kind of slow to pick up that we're seeing it in action.
COOPER: Nia, -- it's interesting because I talked to Roger Stone last month who was apparently let go by the Trump campaign or who left the Trump campaign. There was a difference of opinion on that according to who you talk to, but he still believes and he calls himself a supporter of Donald Trump and admirer of Donald Trump. But he was saying that his advice was that these kind of boycotts against Fox or fight with Fox that it's a distraction and it took away from what Trump -- what he should have been talking about. But to Jeff's point, perhaps he's playing kind of a longer game or just coming at it from a different angle.
HENDERSON: Yeah. I mean true. That's certainly one theory I think. We'll see how this plays in a state like South Carolina when at some point they're going to sort of be sick of the entertainment aspect of it and they like someone who is more kind of moderate in terms of the way they comport themselves. You look at the folks who won the South Carolina primary and you look at somebody like Tim Scott, who is the most popular politician in South Carolina among Republicans. I think in a state like that, he's going to have to maybe tone it down a little bit because all of this sort of shenanigans and gimmicks around Fox News or whatever sort of thing he's up to, I don't think it's going to work particular in a state like South Carolina.
COOPER: We shall see. Nia-Malika Henderson, Jeffrey Lord, both of you, thank you very much.
Coming up more next on...
COOPER: ... something that Nia touched on Donald Trump's birther history. There's a new chapter tonight. Now, he's blaming the entire birther movement of which he was a very big part, very loud part early on, (inaudible) than Hillary Clinton, what she had to say about that next Don Lemon put that question to her.
[21:45:07] Also Carly Fiorina takes a question from a voter about Ben Carson's statement that he wouldn't support a Muslim for president. See how she responded when we continue.
COOPER: Donald Trump took some flak as you know recently when he didn't contradict a man at one of his events who said the Muslims are the problem in the United States and that President Obama is Muslim, which is not true. You may remember Trump took on the birther issue as a crusade although he likes to blame Hillary Clinton for that non- sense. Just yesterday he tweeted "Just remember the birther movement was started by Hillary Clinton in 2008. She was all in."
Today, CNN Tonight anchor Don Lemon interviewed Clinton on a radio show that Don joined our morning show asked her about this. Don joins me now from New York. So what does Secretary Clinton say when you asked or if she started this whole birther theory?
DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT HOST: Well, Anderson, she kind of laughed at it and said basically it was ludicrous on her part. So this is the first time I've ever heard that according to her and she said that again, it was ridiculous. It was Donald Trump. And this is a quote from here, feeding prejudice and paranoia, and she said, the kind of -- it was a bad example of kind of an environment that we're in politically right now. But again she said it is untrue and that she had nothing to do with that and that Donald Trump is spreading prejudice and paranoia while he is out on the campaign trail.
[21:50:09] COOPER: It was interesting because Trump said something about it again today at his event, correct?
LEMON: He did. He was speaking to a group of African-Americans at the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce and he doubled down on his comments. He had said it before and tweeted as you just mentioned and then he said it again today. Take a listen, Anderson.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: She was the original birther. She's the one that started that whole thing. Hillary is a birther. By the way, don't switch your votes to Hillary, please.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So we're going to do a fact check tonight on exactly how this whole birther thing started, Anderson. And according to Reggie Love who is the President's body man -- he was the President's body man, in his book he says that there was a confrontation between the President and Hillary Clinton over this birther issue. Again, Hillary Clinton is saying that is not true. Tonight at 10:00, we will fact check it on this program.
COOPER: All right, Don, thanks very much. I look forward of that. You can hear more of Don's interview and the reaction from Hillary Clinton coming up in just a few minutes.
Carly Fiorina is in the middle of a three-day seven-city campaign train through South Carolina. She was on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon earlier in the week responding to Ben Carson's statement that he would not support a Muslim for president. Fiorina said that position is just wrong and it's an issue that came up again at a Fiorina event today. CNN Sunlen Serfaty joins me now from Rock Hill, South Carolina.
So what's it like there on the ground? Is there a sense of momentum from the people that you're talking to for Fiorina?
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Anderson. I have to tell you, nearly everyone that we've spoken to here, these voters who are coming out to her town halls and her events here in South Carolina, they're specifically mentioning her debate appearance and her performance at the debate stage so certainly on some level it is attracting voters to at least come out and check her out.
Now, the Fiorina campaign for their part, they are touting some tangible momentum, signs of momentum they say. They saw 112 percent increase in website views the night of her debate. They're also saying that they've seen a significant uptick in people coming out to volunteer, donations and people coming out to the events. Now, I should note that they don't back up any of those claims with specific numbers. Certainly here at Rock Hill, South Carolina though, this event space had to be moved to a larger venue. They say to accommodate all the people that they say came and RSVPd after that debate performance.
So they're seeing small signs here of some momentum, but really the key for this campaign is really to keep that going, keep the spotlight on her. Fiorina for her part, she seems acutely aware of this saying that she has to be more than just a good debater, Anderson.
COOPER: And I understand at the town hall, it say the first question was from a man who asked about Ben Carson and his comments about Muslim president, how did she respond?
SERFATY: Yeah. This is a really interesting moment because it came right off the bat. It was the very first question at this town hall and it was interesting because this voter asked about Ben Carson's comments, the ones that have created so much controversy saying a U.S. president should not be a Muslim. But specifically, he asked Carly Fiorina he had heard that she called for him to drop out because of that. Now, that is not true and she very quickly corrected the record saying that she believes Ben Carson is a friend, he's a good person and she says she would never ask someone else to drop out. But then, of course, she went on to discuss why she doesn't agree with Ben Carson's statements and I should say, Anderson, Ben Carson himself continues to get these questions out on the campaign trail, really on the defense many days later. Anderson.
COOPER: All right. Sunlen Serfaty, I appreciate your reporting.
Just ahead, why the chief executive of the world's largest car company resigned today. He says he's shocked by the events of the past few days. What is he talking about exactly? We'll tell you ahead.
[21:58:03] COOPER: There's a lot more happening tonight. Amara Walker has the 360 Bulletin, Amara.
AMARA WALKER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, U.S. officials said today that hackers stole 5.6 million fingerprints the government had on file, more than five times as many as they originally estimated. The grim upshot, the stolen records could be used to identify government employees including American spies and undercover law enforcement agents. Volkswagen Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn resigned today as a
growing scandal rocks the world's biggest car maker. U.S. regulator said Friday that the company deliberately program vehicles to falsify emissions tests. Winterkorn said he is not aware of any wrongdoing on his part and is stepping down for the good of the company.
Baseball has lost one of its greatest catchers, Yogi Berra. The Yankees legend was just as famous for his yogi-isms, those unforgettable nuggets of wit and wisdom including when you come to a fork in the road, take it. And it ain't over 'til it's over. Yogi Berra was 90.
And in California, a close encounter with a determined hammerhead shark. A kayaker battled the shark for 15 minutes hitting it with his paddle he says more than 20 times. The shark followed him for half a mile and all the way back to shore.
COOPER: Wow. That is incredible and stressful. I can't imagine. Amara, thanks very much.
A quick reminder, Pope Francis speaks to Congress tomorrow morning in a joint session and of course -- excuse me joint meeting not a joint session. And his visit also then continues to New York City in the afternoon.
Before we go though, I just want to show you an especially moving moment from earlier today. It took place in St. Matthews where Pope Francis was greeted by a throng of well-wishers, nuns and priests, priers, monks. People who'd been waiting for a long time to see him. The enthusiasm so genuine, so real. People just reaching out, wanting to touch him, wanting to make eye contact with the Holy Father.
We'll see you again 11:00 p.m. eastern time. Tonight, right now, CNN Tonight with Don Lemon starts.