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Democrats Square Off in CNN Debate Tonight; Interview with Bernie Sanders' Campaign Manager; 3 Dead in Multiple Stabbing Attacks in Israel. Aired 7-7:30a ET
Aired October 13, 2015 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[07:00:00] CHRIS CUOMO: We have special coverage beginning with senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta. He's inside the debate hall. They've still got that podium in there for Jim?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It's in here somewhere. I think I'm just going to use it for myself, if that's all right for these live shots this morning, Chris.
CUOMO: It's yours now.
ACOSTA: We do know from hearing -- we do know from hearing from the White House that Vice President Joe Biden will not be in Las Vegas today unless he pulls a last-minute switch-up on us. They say he'll be attending meetings at the White House.
Meanwhile, the other Democratic candidates, they are here in Las Vegas. And Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, she landed here in Las Vegas. And instead of starting to focus on her other Democratic rivals, she was setting her sights on one Republican front- runner who goes by the name of Donald Trump. She was trolling the real-estate tycoon outside of his hotel here in Las Vegas.
ACOSTA (voice-over): Democratic debate day is here. What happens in Vegas could shake up the next stage of the race for five presidential hopefuls.
Seasoned debater Hillary Clinton, backed by solid early poll numbers in key states, is establishing her presence at these debates. The former secretary of state making an unannounced stop at a union rally at Donald Trump's Vegas hotel, taunting the business tycoon.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Some people think Mr. Trump is entertaining, but I don't think it's entertaining when somebody insults immigrants and insults women. If you are going to run for president, then you should represent all the people of the United States.
ACOSTA: Bernie Sanders, who has yet to do a mock debate, insists he's going to play nice as long as his competitors do. The Vermont senator continues to pick up traction, seeing crowds 13,000 strong in Tucson, Arizona. SANDERS: Let's treat each other civilly. Let's treat each other
respectfully, and let's not try to demonize people who may have disagreements with us.
ACOSTA: A stark contrast to the strategy of their counterpunching Republican rivals.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'd love to run against her, because she is so flawed. I think she's very beatable, but she shouldn't even be allowed to run.
ACOSTA: Clinton is prepping for the debate with veteran Washington attorney Bob Barnett. A senior Clinton aide said her main objective: cutting through the politics.
As for Bernie Sanders, he's seeking to convince voters that he's a serious candidate with mainstream views.
Meanwhile, Jim Webb, Lincoln Chafee and Martin O'Malley have a tough road ahead, all looking for a breakout moment on the stage. But in a betting town like Vegas, anything is possible.
ACOSTA: And you can count the podiums behind me: one, two, three, four, five. No No. 6 for Vice President Joe Biden.
But we were talking about Lincoln Chafee, Jim Webb, Martin O'Malley. You know, they've been struggling to gain some traction in this presidential race so far. But guys, think about that last Republican debate on CNN. Carly Fiorina came out of nowhere and really had one of those breakout moments during that debate. That is what those three candidates are looking to. We haven't talked about them quite as much, but they have just as much of a chance as Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders to shine out when it comes to this debate later on this evening. If they have one of those break-out moments, it really could change the course of this campaign -- Alisyn and Chris.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Absolutely. Anything is possible tonight. That's what makes it so interesting.
So let's talk about Bernie Sanders, the unconventional candidate. And he also has an unconventional approach to preparing for tonight's debate. We want to bring in Bernie Sanders' campaign manager, Jeff Weaver.
Jeff, thanks so much for being here.
JEFF WEAVER, CAMPAIGN MANAGER, BERNIE SANDERS: Get to be here.
CAMEROTA: So unconventional approach to tonight. What is Bernie Sanders doing today?
WEAVER: Well, we're just going to do a little bit of last-minute prep today. We've gone over a bunch of issues in the last couple of days. And today, we're going to go over, you know, a few things. CAMEROTA: What does that prep look like? Since we heard you're not
doing mock debates. How are you doing?
WEAVER: You know, so what we do is we have, you know, question and answer, discussing answers. One of the things that's a challenge for Senator Sanders, for Bernie, is that he's a U.S. senator, right? And so he has a lot of time to talk on the Senate floor. He gives hour and a half speeches. His world-renowned hour and a half speeches at his large rallies.
So when you have to give an answer on a very complicated topic in a minute, it's a very different challenge.
CUOMO: Why has he been doing light prep? What does it say about him in terms of him and where his head is?
WEAVER: I wouldn't say that it's light prep, Chris. But I think what he has...
CUOMO: He doesn't have the teams around him. He hasn't been doing mock things like -- the way that Hillary is doing.
WEAVER: We practiced a few exchanges. But you know, really, he's a very sort of substantive candidate. He likes to talk about issues. So, you know, he's trying to bone up on the details of the issues that he wants to talk about tonight at the debate.
A big challenge for us is introducing the senator to America. I mean, despite the fact that he's widely known. I mean, if you look at polls, often you'll see that 35 or 40 percent of people don't have enough information to make an opinion about him. And so, you know, this is going to be a lot of people's first introduction to Bernie Sanders.
CAMEROTA: So in addition to keeping the pontificating to a minimum, you have other things that I know you want to accomplish. You have said we have to work to introduce Bernie Sanders to the black community. How are you going to do that tonight?
WEAVER: Well, I think we're going to talk about issues of importance to the black community. We're going to talk about criminal justice reform. I think we're going to talk about dealing with systemic racism. I think we're going to talk about many of the economic issues that are important to African-American voters. You know, raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour will give 15 percent of African-American workers a raise.
[07:05:14] So, you know, these are issues, obviously, of importance to all of America. But in many cases, because of the disproportionate amount of poverty in the African-American community, many of these issues will affect that particular community even more strongly.
CUOMO: You have two main salvos that you have to expect coming your way tonight. One will be that the senator is a one-trick pony. He talks about social justice, economic justice. But he doesn't have the foreign policy experience that you need to be president. The second one will be that these are great ideas, but you can't pay
for them. How prepared are you for those?
WEAVER: I know. We're very prepared. I mean, Senator Sanders has been in Congress for 25 years. He's visited over 50 countries. He talked with leaders of many major countries. So he does have foreign policy experience. And I think people are not really aware of it.
And in terms of paying for things, you know, everything he has proposed is paid for. It's almost exclusively paid for by taxes on large corporations and the rich, who have been getting away with murder in this rigged economy. So I think when people hear the details of his plan, and then they say, "Oh, it's a great plan. How are you going to pay for it? Is it realistic?" And then they're going to come to understand that he actually has a tax plan to pay for it, I think the people are going to be impressed with that.
CAMEROTA: So what will success tonight look like for you? Are you expecting a certain bump in the polls?
WEAVER: Well, no, I think what we will judge as success, if you look at the poll numbers that show how familiar people are with Bernie Sanders, I think what we've seen in New Hampshire, in Iowa, now in Nevada with the latest polls, the more people know Bernie Sanders, the more they like him. And so our job is just to introduce him to people. And I think the polls will take care of themselves.
CUOMO: What do you expect, if we have the poll, by the way, from Nevada, we should put it up, just so we can see the most recent numbers. Because he's showing some growth there.
CUOMO: Which is impressive to you. So when you're dealing with introducing him, what are the two or three things that you think people need to know about Bernie Sanders that they may not?
WEAVER: Well, I think people want to know a little bit more about his personal story, right, where he comes from. You know, a little bit of his biography. So I think that's important.
I think it's important for a lot of people to see Bernie Sanders, you know, on television. I mean, you know, we're all used to seeing him, because you guys cover the news, because I'm around him all the time. But, you know, for a lot of Americans who haven't really focused on the election yet, this is their opportunity to see him, see him interact with the other candidates, see his command of the issues.
CUOMO: When he says, "I'm a democratic socialist," what should that mean to people? Because it can be a little off-putting or just unfamiliar. So what does that mean? How does he define it?
WEAVER: Yes. So what Bernie's view of democratic socialism is, is a government that works for all the people. It's not a government that supports a rigged economy. It's not a government where you have the Citizens United situation, where rich people can buy and sell politicians.
It's an economy where you have universal college education, where you have universal health care, where we have a higher minimum wage. You know, where corporations and the rich don't run the government. That's what he means.
CAMEROTA: A little bit of controversy has cropped up tonight. What do you think of Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard being disinvited, because she deigned to say publicly that she thought there should be more debates?
CUOMO: And then offered a ticket by you guys.
WEAVER: I did. In fact, yesterday on this show I offered her a ticket. And that offer, obviously, is still open, although I understand that she's not going to come tonight, because she doesn't want to create...
CUOMO: But offering to charge her 2,500 bucks, is that right? Is that a nice thing to do? You really need money? Is that the new campaign fund-raiser?
WEAVER: Well, you know, Chris, speaking of fundraising, as you know, this campaign has 650,000 individual contributors, over a million contributions averaging around $30 apiece. And that's what's fueling this.
CUOMO: Did the party misplay this, to Alisyn's question?
WEAVER: Yes, 100 percent. It's an undemocratic move for the Democratic Party, I would say about it.
CAMEROTA: You think that it does cut down on freedom of speech?
WEAVER: Well, I mean, I just don't think the Democratic Party should be in the position of punishing its young leaders because they happen to have a disagreement on some procedural point.
CAMEROTA: Let's talk about what Bernie Sanders calls his secret weapon, his wife, Jane. What do we need to know about her?
WEAVER: Jane has been active in the prep. You know, she is a senior adviser to the senator. And you know, she's very good at offering advice, both on substance and in terms of style. So she's played an important role. And, you know, she'll be front and center.
CUOMO: Is it true he can't handle her in the debate, that it's kind of shaken his confidence?
WEAVER: It is.
CUOMO: Let me ask you something. You've been with the senator for a long time.
WEAVER: Off and on for 30 years.
CUOMO: Did you -- well, you've known him for 30, but you've been, you know, on that staff and at the top for at least 20, right?
WEAVER: Yes, yes.
CUOMO: Did you ever think that you would have a day like today, like tonight, where people not only know who the senator is, but they know him by one name?
WEAVER: Right. Well, let me tell you, I started working with Bernie in 1986. I was a young man, a little more hair than I have right now. And, you know, we would drive around the state of Vermont, just the two of us. We had a campaign paid staff of two people on his gubernatorial run. So we're a long way from those days in 1986.
CAMEROTA: Wow. Jeff Weaver, good to have you.
WEAVER: Always good to be here.
CAMEROTA: We'll be watching tonight.
CUOMO: Good luck tonight.
CAMEROTA: The Democratic debate, hosted by CNN and Facebook, airs tonight. It is at 8:30 p.m. Eastern, 5:30 out here. And tomorrow morning, we will have all of your post-debate wrap-up and analysis on a special early edition of NEW DAY. It begins at 5:30 Eastern. Set your alarm clock.
CUOMO: Or not. Let's get back to Mick in New York with a look at the other news this morning.
MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Hey there, guys. We're going to start with some breaking news in Israel.
Palestinian tensions surging again, a surge in violent attacks, including shootings and stabbings. At least three people are dead, dozens more injured.
Let's get to Erin McLaughlin, live in Jerusalem for the latest -- Erin.
ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Michaela. We're hearing of four separate attacks, two in Jerusalem, two near Tel Aviv, killing at least three Israeli civilians.
In Jerusalem, it began in a Jewish suburb. Israeli police say that two men boarded a bus, two attackers, one with a knife, one with a gun. In total, two civilians killed in that attack, including a 60- year-old man. Ten evacuated to the hospital. According to Israeli police, one of the attackers was killed, one detained and wounded.
And then in an ultra-religious neighborhood in Jerusalem, police say an attacker ran over three people near a bus stop. They say the attacker got out of his car and started stabbing people, killing a 40- year-old man, according to Israeli medical services, and wounding eight. The attacker in that case detained. The mayor of Jerusalem saying the attacks appear to be coordinated.
Then near Tel Aviv, two separate stabbing attacks: one at a bus stop, one not far away across from a rehabilitation center. Five Israeli civilians wounded in those attacks, including one who was stabbed in the neck. In both cases, the attackers detained. They've been identified as Palestinian men from East Jerusalem, a 22 and 28 years old.
It's the latest in a wave of violence that seems to be escalating -- Michaela.
PEREIRA: Frustrating authorities there, to be sure.
All right, Erin. Thank you.
A U.S. missionary has been killed in Haiti. Police say American Roberta Edwards was fatally shot Monday as she sat in a car on a street in Port-au-Prince. They say the attackers also kidnapped a 4- year-old girl from the vehicle following the shooting. It's not known if the child was nearly one of the nearly two dozen from a foster home Edwards operated in Haiti since 2002.
No criminal charges for the Minnesota dentist who shot and killed Cecil the lion this summer. Dr. Walker -- Walker Palmer came under international scrutiny after taking down the beloved animal.
Officials in Zimbabwe say the hunting papers were in order. There will be no criminal case. The issue of those permits, however, is now expected to come under review.
Twelve minutes past the hour. Let us head back to viva Las Vegas, where we find my colleagues, looking very together, considering you're in Las Vegas.
CAMEROTA: It helps that everybody else in this town is awake also.
CUOMO: It's like lunch time.
CAMEROTA: That helps had the mood.
Meanwhile, the CNN Democratic presidential debate, as you know, Michaela, is tonight. And it presents an opportunity and a danger, if you're Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. We'll take a closer look at their matchup and what the possible perils are. That's next.
[17:17:15] CUOMO: All right. Heading into tonight, here we are at the Wynn Hotel, the big Democratic debate tonight. And here's the mistake to make. To look at tonight as just, well, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, let's see what they have to say about each other. No, no, no, no, no. This is different than the Republican debate. There are bars for
success and failure tonight that are individual, not just about this collective rumpus room. So how will that play out?
Let's bring in Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen. She's going to give us some take on this, CNN political commentator. And CNN political commentator and Democratic strategist, Paul Begala. Paul is also a senior advisor to a pro-Hillary super PAC, which is why Bernie Sanders does not like you, Paul.
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Not true. I just saw him last week.
CUOMO: The idea of tonight is not just about how Bernie and Hillary and Jim Webb and Martin O'Malley and even Lincoln Chafee go at it with each other, that they have their own bar for success. What does Hillary Clinton need to do tonight, regardless of how she deals with what comes at her from the other men on the podium?
BEGALA: She has to connect up the ideas that are animating her campaign with the voters she needs.
This is why she's running. She is, at heart, kind of a nerd. And she's got these really, really impressive position papers, none of which anybody knows anything about. She's got to connect them up. Because there have been, you know, these distractions in her campaign. OK. Now it's all within her power. To connect. She has to...
CAMEROTA: But Hilary, isn't that part of the danger for her this evening, is if she appears policy wonkish, that won't resonate as much?
HILARY ROSEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: She has a little bit of the smartest girl in the class problem. She's got to convince people that they need to elect her president of the class, not just because she's the smartest girl, but also because she understands them. And that sort of bigger picture, you know, is what motivates her internally. She's got to bring that out externally.
CUOMO: Jim Webb, secretary of the Navy, U.S. senator; Martin O'Malley, successful governor of Maryland, dealing with issues that the Democratic Party likes and understands. What is the risk for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders tonight when those two are certainly going to be hungry and coming for some of their pie?
ROSEN: You know, those two are going to make a mistake if all they do is attack Bernie and Hillary. You know, this is their biggest moment in the sun they've had their entire campaign so far. If they don't actually talk about themselves and what they bring to the table, they're going to have a lost opportunity.
But there's no question they're going to make bigger headlines if they come up with a good insult, if they come up with a good attack line. And so, you know, Hillary Clinton is going to be prepared for that. Bernie Sanders is going to be prepared for that. But you know, that's their -- I think they do that at their own peril, as well. CAMEROTA: Well, we know you support Hillary. But give Bernie some
advice. What do you think the danger is for him tonight?
BEGALA: He has the easiest strategic path tonight. Because he's got something...
CUOMO: Look at you setting up the false expectation.
[07:20:06] BEGALA: No, no, no. He's a good debater. Hillary's a good debater. They're all able people.
He's got something that's working, but everybody hasn't heard it yet. So he takes that same message that is working. He's drawing tens of thousands of people. He just needs to stay on course, and repeat that. And if I were advising him, I would say, there are millions of people who are going to love your message who don't know it yet. So just connect up with that. But don't get distracted by all the pomp of the event. Connect up your -- same thing that Hillary has had to do. She's had different challenges. Bernie's just not well-known. Hillary's well-known, but she's been distracted.
ROSEN: Well, I think Bernie, you know, has a little bit of the grumpy old grandpa problem in some ways. Which is, you know, he's very didactic in the way he comes across. He's very pushy about his ideas in a way.
And Paul's right. Those ideas are things that really appeal to Democratic voters. What he's go the to do is stand there and act, actually, a little more presidential. He's got to convince people that he could actually win a general election. And he's going to have to bring those ideas and present them in a way that makes mainstream Democrats feel like he could be their guy.
CUOMO: How does he get past the phrase "democratic socialist"? Or just the word "socialist." How does he get past that?
ROSEN: The big issue is who's going to be the first person to bring up the "s" word? Right? Is it going to be Hillary? Is it going to be one of the other opponents or is it going to be Anderson? And -- but you can be sure he's ready for it. He wants people to think socialism as in Sweden, not socialism as in Russia. It's going to be -- it's going to be complicated.
BEGALA: But he has to embrace it. It is -- it is his philosophy. He has to embrace it. He's got a chance to explain it.
CAMEROTA: Who's coaching Hillary today?
BEGALA: The debate prep's being run by a guy named Ron Klain.
CAMEROTA: What does that look like?
BEGALA: Very disciplined. Even for Bill Clinton, it was disciplined, and we were much less organized than Hillary land. It's a very rigorous process. And you go through just what's going to happen. OK. Somebody is playing Anderson. Somebody is playing Dana Bash.
Somebody is playing the candidates. And you just run through it. And familiarity helps a lot. It's just like your kids will do mock tests, you know. I used to coach baseball. We have practice for a reason.
CAMEROTA: Does somebody give her zingers and one liners?
BEGALA: Yes. And this is a bit of a trap. You know, when I used to work for Bill Clinton, I'd give him all these zingers and cute lines. He has a real gift as filing that in his brain and then throwing it out as if it just occurred to him. You know? She doesn't.
BEGALA: She should not be loaded up with cute lines.
CAMEROTA: I think we're going to see a lack of false moments. I think she knows it's not her strength.
CUOMO: But you can't -- you know, what was the crack? You can't plan to have...
CUOMO: ... spontaneity.
CUOMO: And great line from Mike Tyson, born here in Vegas, everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.
And a big part of the debate is, when I lean across and say, "Hillary, you know, you've gotten this party in some mess and I want to get" -- how do you respond then? Do you look at me? Do you look away from me? Do you talk to me or do you talk about me? Those are the moments you can't coach.
BEGALA: Absolutely. And that's why these things are so great. This is where she's at her best. She's not as good at reading a script as Barack Obama.
ROSEN: But Bernie Sanders is a good debater. I've seen some old tapes, and he is very talented. And I think, Chris, you hit it right on the head.
People talk about sort of what ideas, what's the clash, what are the questions going to be? This is theater.
These candidates have been saying the same thing every single day for the last several months. So what makes it different tonight when they're on TV in front of millions of people? It's how they're presenting it. It's the theater of their performance.
CAMEROTA: Hilary, Paul.
CUOMO: You remember Bentsen with Dan Quayle. It wasn't that the line, "You know Jack Kennedy." He'd been saying that for weeks. It was how Quayle couldn't even look at him. Quayle was looking away. Quayle was frozen. That's the kind of moment you want to avoid.
CAMEROTA: It will be fascinating to watch tonight, guys. Thanks so much for being here with us.
CUOMO: What do you think? Does any of that make any sense? Tweet us using the hashtag #demdebate.
CAMEROTA: And be sure to tune in tonight for the Democratic debate. It's the first one, of course. It will be fascinating. It's at 8:30 Eastern, 5:30 here in Vegas, right here on CNN.
CUOMO: All right. So this man's name is not Clinton or Sanders but former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley. He intends to be ready for prime time. He is running a campaign. He does have ideas. He is looking for a moment. Tonight could be that moment.
O'Malley's press secretary joins us next with his strategy and what does he have to offer you that you haven't heard yet?
[07:28:39] CAMEROTA: The focus going into tonight's debate has been on Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.
CUOMO: Very good timing. Perfect with the graphic. Nicely done.
CAMEROTA: I planned that. So the candidates taking the stage, the other ones, will really need to make an impression if they want their poll numbers to turn around. Of them is former Maryland governor, Martin O'Malley, as you saw in the graphic.
Joining us now is Haley Morris. That's the national press secretary for Martin O'Malley. Good morning, Haley.
HALEY MORRIS, NATIONAL PRESS SECRETARY FOR MARTIN O'MALLEY: Good morning. Thanks so much for having me.
CAMEROTA: What does Governor O'Malley plan to do tonight to break through the pack?
MORRIS: Well, look, tonight we're going to see an introduction. This is the first time Democrats are going to get to hear from all the candidates on one stage, and the governor has an important story to tell. He is the only person tonight who can say, "I don't just hold these progressive principles. I have put them into action." Marriage equality, the DREAM Act, really tough gun safety reform. These are all things that the governor doesn't just make promises on; he delivers on. And that's what he did as governor. That's the leadership he's shown.
And tonight is a chance for him to introduce his record of progressive results and for him to tell that story.
CUOMO: Will he make a generational case tonight, that, sure, Hillary and Bernie are the big names, but they are the old Democratic Party, and I am the bridge to the future? How does he do that?
MORRIS: Well, look, he has a unique perspective to share. And he's going to share it.