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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA

All Candidates on Campaign Trail; Trump Speaking at Wisconsin Rally; Kasich Town Hall in New York. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired April 4, 2016 - 11:00   ET

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


[11:00:00] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you so much, Coy.

Thank you all for being us today. I'm Poppy Harlow, in for Carol Costello. Carol is back tomorrow.

AT THIS HOUR with Berman and Bolduan begins right now.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm John Berman. Happening now --

BOLDUAN: We're back together.

BERMAN: It is all happening now. This very hour, the campaign trail is on fire. All five candidates speaking hours before Wisconsin votes. The contest shaping up to be a possible turning point. And there is also New York looming.

Any minute now, Hillary Clinton, she will be in this state with New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo. They will be speaking at a rally. New York votes in a couple of weeks.

Bernie Sanders back in Wisconsin. He is speaking in Janesville, Wisconsin this hour.

BOLDUAN: Republicans are flooding the zone. Donald Trump in Wisconsin holding a town hall this hour. Ted Cruz holding an event in Madison. John Kasich looking ahead to New York, hoping to plant a flag in Donald Trump's home state. Kasich is holding a town hall.

BERMAN: I feel like Alice in the "Brady Bunch" right now.

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: We're going to start with the Trump campaign and the high stakes. Several polls suggest Donald Trump is trailing there.

BOLDUAN: Let's get to CNN's Jason Carroll in Wisconsin.

Jason, Donald Trump has ground to make up in that state. Do they think they can do it before tomorrow?

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He made up ground here in Lacrosse, Wisconsin, with a crowd that's come out and excited to see him. But he has some ground to make up in the state trailing behind Ted Cruz in one poll by 10 percentage points. Trump doing what we can to go after Kasich. He says he's littering up the race and he's the one taking away from Cruz. Even having said that, he's still predicting a win despite the terrible week last week, unable to articulate his position on abortion, trying to articulate and changing his position on it several times. His wife will join him on the campaign starting today. Perhaps that will help with his appeal for women. He's not doing well in terms of polling with women across the country. His wife and his daughter telling him to be more presidential when he's having town halls like this, be more presidential when you're speaking to the press. Trump saying he will be more presidential once he's the nominee -- Kate, John?

BOLDUAN: So presidential he's going to be boring, is how he put it, actually. "The Washington Post" -- who are we looking at right now?

BERMAN: Is it Steven Miller?

BOLDUAN: Steven Miller, I think it is. It does look like he's going to be warming up the crowd.

We'll watch that.

BERMAN: Donald Trump advisor, Steve Miller. Must mean Donald Trump is getting close.

Jason Carroll, thank you very much.

We'll get back to that event when Trump starts.

We're going to talk to Barry Bennett, a senior advisor to the Donald Trump campaign. Also with us is Brent Bozell, the founder of the Media Research Center and a Ted Cruz supporter.

Barry we want to start with you.

You are a man in the news this morning. Why? Well, look, a lot of people over the weekend were saying Donald Trump had perhaps his worst week of the campaign. So you, Barry Bennett, wrote a memo to the folks inside the Trump campaign, and the subject line was roughly digging through the bull stuff. It said, "This week, the media and the Washington establishment bashed the campaign with energy we have never seen a Republican candidate. America is sick of them. They're idiotic attacks remind voters why they hate the Washington establishment."

Why did you write this memo?

BARRY BENNETT, SENIOR ADVISOR, DONALD TRUMP PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN & FORMER BEN CARSON CAMPAIGN MANAGER: If you look at the tracking polls, at the beginning of last week, we were beating Cruz 39-33. This morning, we're beating him 45-31. We gained six points and he lost a few. One week bad week like that and this is over.

BOLDUAN: Brent, so a really terrible no good, bad week I guess was a good one for Trump. What do you think, Brent?

BRENT BOZELL, FOUNDER, MEDIA RESEARCH CENTER: I think they've legalized drugs in New York. Look, it was a terrible week. There's no getting around it. It's a terrible week, but it's a typical Trump response. It's someone else's fault. It's someone else's fault that Donald Trump puts his foot in his mouth about three times a week. And he did it on abortion and with women and with nukes. And that was just Wednesday through Friday.

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: Barry, you're laughing here. You cited a daily poll from Reuters. But what about Wisconsin? Wisconsin votes tomorrow. Do you think you're going to win Wisconsin tomorrow?

BENNETT: I think 10 days or so we were down double digits. I think today it's tight. We've never counted on any delegates from Wisconsin. But we may well win some delegates tomorrow. If we do, it's bad news for Ted Cruz.

BERMAN: You never counted on Wisconsin? Barry, if you never counted on Wisconsin --

BENNETT: No.

BERMAN: -- why on earth is Donald Trump adding events there? Why --

(CROSSTALK)

[11:05:16] BOLDUAN: He missed his grandson's event in order to be there.

BENNETT: I think now there's a chance we could win some. We didn't think that about 10 days ago.

BOLDUAN: Brent, let me ask you this. There's another person in this race --

(CROSSTALK)

Go ahead, Brent. Go ahead.

BOZELL: I mean, can we hear more preposterous things, that Trump has never counted on Wisconsin. He's been saying the whole campaign long he was going to win Wisconsin. But now that he's not going to win it, well, he wasn't counting on it?

BENNETT: Brent, I don't think you heard me.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: Hang on, Barry. Hang on, Barry.

Finish your thought, Brent.

BOZELL: He's going to lose Wisconsin, and the wheels are going to come off, because it's clear -- it's clear that he has run into a wall called Donald Trump himself. And Ted Cruz is going to do just fine here on out.

(CROSSTALK)

BENNETT: That wall that we're going to run into is a 36-point lead in New York and an 18-point lead in Pennsylvania. That's a big wall.

BOLDUAN: Brent, let me ask you this. The other guy in this race, John Kasich, Ted Cruz has been calling on him to get out. Donald Trump has now joined in the call. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & CEO, TRUMP ORGANIZATION: Kasich shouldn't be allowed to run. Honestly, Kasich should not be allowed to run. And I'll go opposite on you. He hurts Trump more than he hurts Cruz.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: Trump says Kasich is pulling votes from him. Cruz has long said that Kasich is pulling votes from him. They can't both be right. Which is it?

BOZELL: Well, I hope -- I hope Donald Trump gets his way, and Kasich drops out. But here's the clear difference, and this needs to be made. Ted Cruz has called on John Kasich to drop out voluntarily. Donald Trump is -- I don't know if he's got this complex going on, he's gone to the chairman of the RNC demanding he get rid of John Kasich, demanding that he drop him. Who has that right to tell another candidate you must be dropped?

BERMAN: Barry?

BENNETT: I don't remember Brent being in the meeting. That's an interesting theory.

BOLDUAN: But Trump himself did say he told Reince Priebus in that meeting --

(CROSSTALK)

BENNETT: No, what he told him was Rule 40B, which both Cruz and Trump support, because they've been running under it for two years. We don't want to change the rules in the middle of the game just to help John Kasich. I think we both agree on that.

BERMAN: Brett, this is a rare area of agreement in this party we've been having here. Do you also support continuing Rule 40B, which means that unless you win a majority of delegates in eight states, your name can't be in the nomination at the convention? That means if things go the way they continue to go, the only names eligible would be Cruz or Trump. You support that, too?

BOZELL: Yes, no. I really find it something that I'm not going to get involved with, but that has nothing to do with the here and now. That says at the convention. It doesn't say that you're not allowed to run a campaign. And this is what Donald Trump told Reince Priebus. Get rid of this guy because I don't want him there.

BOLDUAN: Barry, I want to ask you, Donald Trump said over the weekend that it was mistake to re-tweet the picture, the unflattering picture of Heidi Cruz. When was it decided that it was a mistake? Because I've been talking to folks about it for a week now, and it -- coming from the Trump campaign, until Donald Trump said it, it surely was not seen as a mistake until apparently this weekend.

BENNETT: Yeah, I mean, Donald Trump said it I think in an interview to Maureen Dowd. As a campaign, we don't put words in his mouth. He's got one of the best political ears I've ever seen, and he told Maureen Dowd that, and I think he's right.

BOLDUAN: You think it's a mistake, too, Brett?

BOZELL: BENNETT: This is what happens when you're having a good week. You apologize.

BENNETT: You win. You win is what you do.

BERMAN: Brett, I want to go back to one moment, a John Kasich thing. You were going after Barry pretty hard for the comments about Trump and Trump saying Kasich should get out, but you think Kasich should get out? And Cruz has repeatedly said it, and saying a vote for Kasich is a vote for Trump. Your position is the same here?

BOZELL: Yes, but I think it should be a voluntary think. I think John Kasich has the right to make that decision by himself and shouldn't be told by the party you have to drop out. There's a huge difference here.

BOLDUAN: Barry?

[11:10:07] BENNETT: I don't see much of a difference but it's humorous.

BOLDUAN: Humorous. All right.

BERMAN: At least everyone is leaving smiling for one reason or another.

Brent Bozell --

BOLDUAN: We always smile when you're on.

BERMAN: -- Barry Bennett, glad we could all be part of this discussion.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, guys.

BENNETT: Welcome back, John.

BOZELL: Thanks. BERMAN: Thanks, Barry.

BOLDUAN: That's what I was going to say.

Live candidate papalooza continues today. Coming up this hour, Trump, Cruz, Kasich with dueling rallies and town halls. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders appearing in New York and Wisconsin. We'll take you to each of them as this "Brady Bunch" effect continues.

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: Plus, could delegates for the Republican convention, could they be bought? It's illegal to buy votes, but buying delegates is sort of another story. We'll explain.

BOLDUAN: Then the gloves are off on the Democratic side. Clinton and Sanders are finding the most surprising reason to be fighting it out. Coming up, the debate over debate dates, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:15:00] BERMAN: On stage right now in Wisconsin, that is Donald Trump holding a town hall there. Moments ago he predicted a big victory in that state tomorrow, despite the fact he's trailing in polls. Let's listen.

TRUMP: I was talking about NATO. I said this was obsolete. This was put in terms of Soviet Union, which isn't here anymore. Russia is tough and that's fine, but we need somebody to look after terrorism. You know, there are new threats now that they didn't have 68 years ago, a different kind of threat. Different countries involved. It's different from the 28 countries you have right now. Some of them have overlap. Some are different in terms of terrorism. Today we have radical Islamic terrorism threat, a term that our president doesn't even want to mention. I mean, here's a guy who makes a deal with Iran -- who, by the way, he's just clueless. He's clueless. He makes a deal --

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: So sad.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: He makes a deal with Iran and now he's very upset because obviously they're breaking the deal. Yesterday he came out and he talked about the deal with Iran, he's disappointed, and he said it weekly, but it was strong, strong enough to know that things aren't working out with the deal. The ink isn't even dry. And I said -- one of the papers asked me, one of the media groups asked me about it. I said I could have told you about this a year ago.

I mean, it's like we're a bunch of babies. We're being led by people that don't know what they're doing. It's like they're babies. It's like taking candy from a baby. The rest of us views this just like that, boom, taking candy from a baby, whether it's the military deals with us or the trade deals. So I said about NATO, and I mean this wholeheartedly, I've been -- look, I built a great company. I've been making a lot of money over my life. I built a phenomenal company. Low debt. Tremendous assets. Some of the great assets in the world. Great cash flow. I say that because that's the kind of thinking we have to have in our country now or we're going down. We're going down.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: I was interviewed by Bob Woodward and Bob Costa of "The Washington Post," two great reporters. They did a story. I thought it was pretty good and pretty accurate. Somebody came out that I said we are going, we're in a bubble, a big bubble, could be a really ugly bubble. You know what that is, right? Bubbles. Bubbles aren't pretty. We've had bubbles, and when they burst, it's not a good thing. And what I said is we're going to go into a massive recession, but I also say, if I'm president, that's not going to happen. Because I'm going to straighten things out before it happens. It's going to be a mess.

And you cannot continue to lose the kind of billions and billions of dollars on every single thing we do with China we have a $500 billion trade deficit. With Mexico, by the way, they're killing us at the border. We will build the wall. They will pay for the wall.

(CHEERING)

TRUMP: OK? 100 percent. 100 percent. 100 percent.

But with Mexico, you know, as an example, we have $58 billion trade deficit. That doesn't include all the drugs that's pouring across the border poisoning our youth and poisoning not only the youth but our people. When I won New Hampshire, the people of New Hampshire, every time I went to see them, they talked about heroin as their biggest problem. They didn't talk about the military. They didn't talk about this -- they did mention the vets a lot. We'll straighten out the situation for the vets because the vets all over our country --

(CHEERING)

TRUMP: All over our country the vets are suffering. And frankly, we take care of illegal immigrants better than we take care of our vets. It's going to change. It's going to change.

But I said -- unless I become president, because we'll do things that will be good. We're renegotiate trade deals and they're going to be fair. We'll make deals and have the greatest negotiators in the world. Carl Ican endorsed me. We have so many unbelievable endorsements. We have the greatest negotiators in the world, greatest business people. We don't use then. We use political hacks to make trade deals with foreign countries. We don't want to use political hacks anymore. It's over. We have to use our best and finest. We don't do that. That's going to start happening.

But with NATO, so NATO, we are paying a tremendous amount of money for NATO. BOLDUAN: There to Donald Trump in Wisconsin, hitting a lot of his

high points. Really focusing on NATO and trade deals and taking on President Obama.

Interestingly, as you point out, at the top of this, he says we're going to have a very, very big victory in Wisconsin. Donald Trump is projecting he's going to pull it out in that state.

[11:20:09] BERMAN: Barry Bennett, his advisor, a few minutes ago, said they think they're closing. They have closed a little bit there.

What struck me is Donald Trump is still explaining comments he made a week ago about pulling back from NATO. He's still explaining an interview he did over the weekend with "The Washington Post."

BOLDUAN: With "The Washington Post."

BERMAN: When you're explaining, as people say, you're not winning. I won't give the cruel explanation of that.

BOLDUAN: Unless maybe it's different for Donald Trump. Wisconsin voters will have the say soon, meaning -- soon, meaning tomorrow.

So we just heard from Donald Trump. Coming up, we're going to be bouncing around. We'll be looking at all the candidates this hour. Four other candidates will be speaking. Cruz and Kasich holding dueling rallies and town halls. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, they are pairing in New York and Wisconsin. We'll take you to each of them live. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:25:] BOLDUAN: From Wisconsin to New York we go. Governor John Kasich speaking in New York. He's right now telling a story about his blue collar upbringing. Let's listen in.

JOHN KASICH, (R), OHIO GOVERNOR & PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald Trump said that I need to get out of the race because I'm getting his voters. Well -- wait, no, no. I'm going to get a heck of a lot of his voters, OK? That's what's going to happen.

(APPLAUSE)

KASICH: Now, the reason why I'm going to get his voters is because I understand exactly what his voters are worried about. They're worried about that their job is not secure, that some politician is going to do something goofy or some business is going to do something without thinking about him or her and they're out of work. They're worried about the fact that they don't get a pay raise and they're worried about -- they're not worried, but they kind of don't like the fact that the rich is getting richer and they're going nowhere. But I also think they're, like my father. I used to say to my dad, dad, what do we think about the rich. He said, Johnny, we don't hate the rich, we want to be the rich. But there's a little bit of concern out there that I may never be able to be the rich. And here's their concern, that my kids may never be rich, that my kids may be stuck. That's what the Trump voters are.

And that's where I grew up. I grew up with income insecurity. I grew up with job insecurity. But I'll tell you what. We never lost our dream. They never, the grownups never lost the dream that us kids could become something special. They never lost hope in that. And I resent politicians who tell people that could be so. That's baloney and that's not America. Of course, we do have our challenges out here, but we have so many good things happening in our country, for people to say we're losers, it's nonsense. Think about our life expectancy. Think about medicine. Think about transportation. Think about literacy. Think about our lives and technology, and think about innovation. Are you kidding me? We're leading the world, but we have to start getting on the ball.

But back to the Trump voters, the fact of the matter is they have legitimate concerns. And I grew up in that environment. So I left there to go to a small little school in the Midwest. I'm not sure any of you have ever heard of it. It's called Ohio State University.

(CHEERING)

You ever heard of that? Small school. Small school. Well, what are you doing here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ohio.

KASICH: Well, I know, but --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I need to get a job.

KASICH: OK. That's fine.

(APPLAUSE)

KASICH: That's fine. We're up jobs in Ohio.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not a farmer, though.

KASICH: What are you looking for?

INDENTIFIED MALE: I have three majors.

KASICH: Three majors?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Political science, global science and geography.

KASICH: Wow, give her a round of applause. Three majors.

(APPLAUSE)

KASICH: Well, I went to Ohio State, and I barely had one major.

(LAUGHTER)

But when I got there, things were disheveled. They were not great, and I was there about a month and I was very frustrated, so my uncle told me that if you ever want to bring about change, start at the top. So I called the president's office. You know? And just like calling this president. You know? It's not easy to get in. You know? But you bother them until they let you in. And I went in to see him, and there's word number one. You want to get a job, drive people insane until they give you one. You think I'm kidding? People would rather you -- would give you what you want than having to keep telling you no. Just so you know that. So I get in to see the president and walk in and tell him what I'm concerned about, and then I looked at him and said, sir, I'm undecided here at Ohio state, but when I look at the lighting and the furniture and the carpeting, maybe this is the job for me. Because I'm undecided, what do you do? So he tells me about his financial obligations, fundraising, and his academic responsibilities --

BERMAN: All right. You're watching John Kasich. He is here in New York State. He's talking about the fact that Donald Trump has called on him to leave the race. Donald Trump said John Kasich takes his voters. Kasich says, that's right, I take his voters.

BOLDUAN: That's right.

BERMAN: I'm going to take a lot because, Kasich says, he understands the issues that are plaguing all of them. We'll keep our eye on this event.