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How Bernie Sanders is Preparing for Debate; What New Hampshire Democrats Want to Hear at the Debate. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired October 12, 2015 - 08:30   ET



[08:33:48] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. This is NEW DAY. That is the Wynn Las Vegas, the hotel where we will have the very first Democratic debate of this election cycle. Hillary Clinton on stage with four opponents. Leading among them right now, Bernie Sanders, No. 2 in all the polls nationally. No. 1 in the key state of New Hampshire.

What does he want to accomplish on that stage? There is one man who knows. Jeff Weaver, the campaign manager for Bernie Sanders. He is in Las Vegas with me now.

Jeff, thanks so much for being with us.

JEFF WEAVER, BERNIE SANDERS' CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Hey. Thanks for having me. I really appreciate it.

BERMAN: So no mock debates so far. I'm always nervous when talking about how little candidates prep because I think sometimes we get a little bit of bait and switch. They fake us out.

WEAVER: Right.

BERMAN: But no mock debates so far.

WEAVER: Right.

BERMAN: So how will Senator Sanders prepare for tomorrow night between now and then?

WEAVER: We've been going over many of the expected questions you can divine from the news media and what have you, what some of the questions are likely to be and we --

BERMAN: We're very unpredictable.

WEAVER: I'm sure that's the case. What we're looking forward to is a substantive debate on substantive issues. We hope that that's the sort of tone of the debate. Obviously, your moderators have a lot to do with what the tone of the debate is going to be. We would like to see a discussion on the important issues facing the American people, as opposed to the political food fight we saw with the Republicans.

[08:35:07] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Right. And Jeff, you've talked about how Bernie Sanders does not plan to attack Hillary Clinton, but her record is fair game, right? So what part of her record will he go after?

WEAVER: Look, we're going to be talking about the important issues from our perspective. Bernie has a long record of standing up for middle income and working people in this country. We'll be talking about the trade deal, the Keystone Pipeline. We're going to be talking about Bernie's plan for -- to make college education affordable. These are the kinds of issues we want to discuss during the debate. Secretary Clinton will put out her positions, and then the voters can contrast them.

BERMAN: He has his work cut out for him, the Senator does, particularly with certain voting groups. I'm looking at these new polls out this morning that CNN had. In South Carolina, if Joe Biden is not in the race, Hillary Clinton leads Senator Sanders 70 percent to 20 percent. Among African-American voters, without Joe Biden, she leads 84 to 7 among African-American voters. Why aren't black voters right now buying what you're selling?

WEAVER: Well, let me say this about it. We obviously have a lot of work to do in the African-American community, to introduce Bernie Sanders and his platform and his long record of fighting for economic justice and racial justice, as well. That's a challenge that we have. We're engaged in that process. We have a great team on the ground in South Carolina. We're speaking to the African-American community. I think you'll see over time that those polls will change.

One dynamic I think you should observe is that the more voters learn about Bernie Sanders, the more they like him. So in New Hampshire, where he's best known of all the states, he's leading. In Iowa, where he's the second best known, he's either even or only slightly behind. In Nevada, the other poll today, which I think is a phenomenal for us, we haven't had any staff here until last week. Yesterday, we had a meeting and called for volunteers to come out. We had 200 people show up in Henderson. We had done nothing here in Nevada. We're only down by 15, 16 points. I think that's a phenomenal poll.

I think you'll see, as the dates come closer and closer for these various primaries and caucuses, you're going to see movement toward Bernie Sanders as people pay more attention to the discussion and the race. That's the phenomenon that we're seeing in this.

CAMEROTA: Hey Jeff, there's an interesting story by Maggie Haberman in "The New York Times" this morning that says that Tulsi Gabbard, the vice chair of the DNC, has been disinvited from tomorrow night's debate because she dared to publicly call for more debates. And apparently, Debbie Wasserman Schultz's office didn't like that she was calling for more than six debates and so now she is maybe having to relinquish her ticket to the debate. Now Bernie Sanders has also called for more debates. Is he afraid he'll be disinvited from tomorrow night's debate?

WEAVER: I don't anticipate that'll happen. If she needs a ticket, have her give me a call. I think we have a couple, maybe we could give her one. CAMEROTA: But I mean, seriously, the serious question is why wouldn't

they have more debates? Hillary Clinton says she wants it. Bernie Sanders says he wants it. The voters say they want it. What's the problem?

WEAVER: Right. I don't know what the problem is. We would love to have debates. The more debates, the better. I know in the last election, we had many, many more debates on the Democratic side. I know that a lot of voters that we were talking to out in the world say, why are we not having more debates? It's healthy for the Democratic Party to have more debates. It keeps the issues Democrats are concerned about on the front burner. Networks like CNN will cover more debates. There will be more discussion of Democratic priorities and how those benefit America. So I think that the idea to have fewer debates, I think, is really bad for the process. It's bad for the Democratic Party.

BERMAN: In one of the issues it does matter to Democratic voters right now, particularly right now, is gun control. I think a lot of Democratic voters will learn Senator Sanders' positions on this that they might not have known. They might not have known that he voted against the Brady Bill. They might not have known that he voted against the five-day waiting period that was part and parcel to that. How will the senator handle that, when the other candidates - which they will do -- run to the left of the senator on that issue?

WEAVER: Right. What I think the other thing that people don't know is that Bernie Sanders has a strong record of supporting gun safety legislation. He represented a state that had - still has -- virtually no gun control. But despite that, he's been a supporter of a ban on assault weapons since 1988. He supported the background check system, he supported closing the gun show loophole. He fought against Republicans who wanted to strip waiting periods from states that wanted to have them. So on -- time after time, Senator Sanders has actually been quite strong on --

BERMAN: Well except on the Brady Bill, which matters to a lot of people. Except on the five-day waiting period, which matters to a lot of people. That is part of the record. You do acknowledge it is more varied (ph) and nuanced and maybe not as restrictive as some Democrats support.

WEAVER: Well in terms of the waiting period, he supported states having their own waiting periods. He told the voters in Vermont he would support the assault weapons ban but he would not support the waiting period. And he kept his word to the voters of Vermont. That's what - What he does in politics.

[08:40:09] When he tells voters something, he's going to do something, he does it. Right? So that's the Bernie Sanders record. When people hear him talking this year, in this election, they know that when he says something, that's what he's going to do.

BERMAN: More people will probably hear him talking tomorrow night --

WEAVER: Absolutely. BERMAN: -- than of any point in this campaign. So it's big. Jeff

Weaver, campaign manager for Bernie Sanders, thank you so much. Great to have you here with us.

WEAVER: My pleasure. Great to be here.

BERMAN: Do no forget the debate here on CNN. It is tomorrow night, Tuesday night, 8:30 p.m. Eastern time hosted by CNN and Facebook. The first debate of the Democratic presidential cycle.


CAMEROTA: OK, John. Up next, we have another installment of our "Real Voters, Real Choices" panels. I sat down with a group of voters from New Hampshire. You'll hear their very compelling thoughts, next.


[08:44:59] MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Here we go with the five things to know for this Monday.

At No. 1, Hillary Clinton has a 50-point lead over Bernie Sanders in South Carolina in the latest CNN/ORC polling. She also has a 22-point margin in Nevada on the eve of tomorrow night's first Democratic debate there in Las Vegas, hosted by CNN and Facebook.

Iranian TV reports that "Washington Post" journalist Jason Rezaian has been convicted by an Iranian court. Rezaian was arrested in 2014 on vague charges of spying.

Turkey is investigating a pair of deadly explosions at a pro-Kurdish rally in Ankara. The prime minister says they're focusing on ISIS.

President Obama speaking out against claims Russian president Vladimir Putin is challenging his leadership. He also said the U.S. received intelligence about Moscow's military action in Syria before the pair met at the U.N.

The Dodgers' Chase Utley appealing his two-game suspense for that -- that hard slide that broke the leg of Mets' shortstop Ruben Tejada. The appeal will be heard before the Mets and Dodgers resume their series tonight.

You can get more on the five things to know by visiting newday.CNN/com.


CAMEROTA: OK, Michaela. New Hampshire voters get real about the Democratic race and they share their feelings about all the candidates, including Joe Biden.


CAMEROTA: Would any of you be swayed or change your favorite candidate if Joe Biden were to get in? (END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: That answer, next.


[08:49:52] CAMEROTA: In our next installment of "Real Voters, Real Choices," we look at what's at stake in the first Democratic debate. Our panel of New Hampshire voters spells out what they're looking for, and they do have some tips for the candidates.


CAMEROTA: Let's talk about the debate. I'll start with you, Elizabeth. What are you looking to hear?

ELIZABETH FISKE, UNDECIDED DEMOCRATIC VOTER: I want to hear more about college affordability and also women's issues, like the reproductive rights. Obviously, those are really important to me because I'm in college right now and I'm a woman.

CAMEROTA: And if somebody speaks your language, will you decide which candidate you support after this debate or are you going to wait longer?

FISKE: I think it'd be too early to tell right now because I'm not sure what -- like, if they speak my language, but also, things could happen before then.

JEREMIAH KING, BERNIE SANDERS SUPPORTER: I'm just looking forward for people to be there and there's plenty of our candidates, you know, Lincoln Chafee, I've never heard on the news. Bernie, you can find him online. It's kind of hard to know that there's people other than Hillary and other than Bernie running for the Democratic Party for the presidency and I will very much appreciate, no matter what they have to say, that people will know these people exist and they are options.

CAMEROTA: Julia, your candidate, Hillary Clinton, is known as a great debater. What do you think she has to do at this debate?

JULIA HOLUP, HILLARY CLINTON SUPPORTER: I think she has to hone in on her specific policies and articulate those really clearly and also, just show the passion that I think she does have as a candidate a little more clearly to the people who support her. Get really fired up about the issues that I know she cares about.

CAMEROTA: Stephanie, we've spoken to Bernie Sanders' campaign manager, who says that Bernie Sanders is not preparing for this debate in any sort of traditional way. He's reading up on policy but he's not staging any mock debates. Does that concern you?

STEPHANIE SCHERR, BERNIE SANDERS SUPPORTER: No. I think it's Bernie, all Bernie, all the time. That's how he is. I think he runs his campaign. I do. I think Hillary Clinton is an excellent speaker. He's an excellent speaker. There are many others who are. So there should be a great exchange of ideas. Personally, I'm going to be listening for what the plan is in terms of Citizens United, land rights and my big No. 1 thing is about climate change issues. I really want to hear a solid plan.

CAMEROTA: Mary, do you think that Martin O'Malley or Lincoln Chafee or Jim Webb can have a Carly Fiorina moment, where they sort of introduce themselves nationally and then see a rise in the polls?

MARY RAUH, MARTIN O'MALLEY SUPPORTER: Oh, definitely. No question in my mind. I think once people -- I know, I've experienced it -- Once people meet Martin O'Malley and hear him and begin to get a sense of what he's accomplished in Maryland, they will move very much to really considering him seriously as a candidate for president.

CAMEROTA: What has impressed you most about him?

RAUH: Well, a good example is what he accomplished for women in Maryland. While he was governor, they had -- they got the rating as having the best -- be the best state for women in terms of income, education and health.

CAMEROTA: OK, show of hands. Who wants Vice President Joe Biden to get in? Tell me why.

FISKE: I think it'd be interesting to see what he has to say. But I'm not sure if it would change my standpoint, but it would be more options, more interesting.

ALEJANDRO URRUTIA, HILLARY CLINTON SUPPORTER: He's a wealth of information, lot of experience. He was candidate before, and he has been the vice president so he knows a lot and also is very well- rounded candidate like is Hillary. I'm not sure if I will change my candidate, but I really believe it could be great to have him.

CAMEROTA: Would any of you be swayed or change your favorite candidate if Joe Biden were to get in?



HOLUP: Mm-mm.

CAMEROTA: Why not, Jeremiah?

KING: Well, I don't want to say that I've completely made up my mind, because that's too close-minded. I would love to hear what everyone has to stay. That's why I went to the state Democratic debate last month. But I'm very happy with how Bernie is polling right now.

CAMEROTA: Is there anything, Julia, that Joe Biden could say or do that would sway you?

HOLUP: Hm. Not specifically, no. I wouldn't be against him joining, just to rise the level of debate. But I think I'm pretty focused on Hillary.

KING: What I'm hoping from the debates is that it will get people more interested in the political process and registering to vote.

CAMEROTA: So I mean, you all have the same message, which is go out and vote --


CAMEROTA: Get engaged, watch the debate.

RAUH: Watch the debate.

SCHERR: Go out and listen to the different candidates on both sides.

CAMEROTA: That's great. We at CNN like that message. Watch the debate. That's great.


PEREIRA: I like you talking to the camera right there. Interesting to look at this. Six people you talked to. There are more people you talked to than there are people in the debate. Very different scene from when we saw the Republicans do it.

CAMEROTA: And it's always interesting to hear what they want, the issues that they want, because it's often different than the issues that we spend a lot of time talking about.

PEREIRA: Isn't that the truth.


PEREIRA: Thanks for doing this. Good job.

CAMEROTA: Oh, my pleasure. I love engaging -

[08:54:59] PEREIRA: And you're going to Vegas. You're so busy.

CAMEROTA: I am busy today. Tomorrow night, you will be busy because watch the Democratic debate hosted by CNN and Facebook. It's at 8:30 p.m. Eastern. Michaela.

PEREIRA: Should we give you some Monday "Good Stuff?"

CAMEROTA: Please do.

PEREIRA: We'll do it after a break.

CAMEROTA: Let's do that. See you in a minute.


PEREIRA: This is a great "Good Stuff." They're all good stuff. A Florida dad shattering the perception that doing a little girl's hair is mom's job. He has become the hero of other single dads in the process. His name is Philippe Morgese. He has been raising his daughter, Emma, by himself since she was just a year old. Didn't take him long to realize that perfect pigtails don't happen magically on their own. So he had to learn how to create them --.

CAMEROTA: Look at that braid. It's fantastic.

PEREIRA: Good dads - so good. The other dads have began to take notice and in fact he started going a free class at a local beauty school to teach other fathers free of charge. He now holds these classes weekly. He says the experience has made him a better dad. He's hoping that it'll help more dads feel the same way, closer to their daughters. A great way to bond.

CAMEROTA: That is beautiful. That's like Rapunzel's hair.

PEREIRA: Isn't that amazing?

CAMEROTA: Yeah. That's really great.

PEREIRA: Do you think Chris is going to start practicing on us?

CAMEROTA: I hope not.

PEREIRA: Yeah I don't think so.