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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA

John Kasich Speech; Trump Topping N.Y. Polls; Is RNC's Reince Priebus Taking on Trump. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired April 12, 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] GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You see, a lot of people have wondered why does he keep talking about what he has done? Why?

You see, folks, I'm a citizen too. And when somebody comes to my door and they want to know if I will vote for them and they tell me what their promises are, I look them in the eye and I say, you know, I know what you say you're going to do, but I'd like to know what you've done. Because I've had enough people tell me what they're going to do who never got it done, so what have you done in your lifetime? See, we don't have time for on-the-job training. We don't have time for empty promises. We've got to have somebody with the experience, the knowledge, the know-how, and the record of success to deal with our problems in a turbulent time.

Now, based on the fact that my experience in Washington and Ohio have been successful, using a formula to get everybody to work together to rise, and provide opportunity for everybody, I proposed a 100-day agenda for when I am president. And I can tell you, be rest assured, we will enact this. We will restore our economy with a fiscal plan that will balance the budget. We will freeze all federal regulations for one year except health and safety, and rebuild our rule-making system to stop crushing small businesses, which kills jobs in our country.

(APPLAUSE)

We will simplify and we will reduce the taxes on individuals so all Americans can keep more of what they earn and will help our small businesses. We'll reduce taxes on businesses and end double taxation so these businesses will invest in America and not have their money trapped and invested in Europe. We will send welfare, education, Medicaid, infrastructure, and job training back to where we live in the states so the states can be the laboratories of innovation, and the laboratories of modeling what works.

(APPLAUSE)

We'll protect the border and use common sense on immigration reform that will include a guest worker program. And we will fix Social Security so that we can keep the promises to our seniors and future generations.

When we do these things, we will unleash economic growth, which means more jobs, higher wages, and the restoration of the American dream that our children will inherit a better America than what we received from our parents. With increased stability and strength, America can rebuild its military while at the same time reforming the Pentagon to operate like a 21st Century enterprise. We have no room for waste in that building because it takes money from the front line to our men and women who protect us every day. We will clean it up.

(APPLAUSE)

We will resume leadership of the world and, as we do that, we will treat our veterans with respect and lift them to make sure they have what they need, whether it's health care, jobs, or housing.

(APPLAUSE)

When America is strong, less dependent on debt, and growing economically, we can and we must reclaim our place as a leader in the world. And finally, when America is strong and actively engaged in the world, the world's a safer place. America, then, is a safer place.

You know, this is why we do these things. This is about how we want our country to be. You see, economic growth, I have never believed, is an end unto itself: it is a means to make possible everything we want for our nation and our community and our families. And, by the way, as we have growth, we have the ability to bring in from the cold those who live in the shadows, those who have been forgotten, the poor, the mentally ill, the disabled. As Americans, or what I believe too, so sincerely, is that everyone deserves a chance. Everyone deserves a chance to realize their God-given purpose. We give them the chance when we give them a hand, and everyone should have that opportunity to pursue their God-given destiny.

You know, yes, there's much to fix in our country. There are reasons for our anxieties and fears. Our country has been drifting. Why? Because we've forgotten the formula that makes us strong and we've caved to political considerations instead. Not leading, not being servants, worried too much about ourselves and what feels good and what's easy. That's not the path to success in our country. We seem to have lost our way as a result and we are stalled. And we are at the risk of jeopardizing a better future for our kids.

You know, I do understand why Americans are fearful and distrustful and looking for a reason for the way they feel. You know, I was raised in that small Pennsylvania steel town of McKees Rocks, where if the wind blew the wrong way, people would be out of work. It's awful to feel that insecurity, to feel that circumstances that out of your control. To feel like nobody cares and all the institutions in our land have abandoned you. But Americans have overcome so many challenges -- and some, many bigger than what we face today.

Some think that the anger some Americans are expressing is defined by some nostalgic look backward for simpler times. I simply do not agree. What Americans are looking for is that quality of leadership we are sorely missing from the past to address today's problems. At each moment of crisis in America, we have united as a country and as a people. It's been our secret weapon all throughout our history. And it's so simple, but it's also invincible.

I spoke earlier about the spirit of our country. Let me say, with all the strength that I have, our strength and spirit does not reside with a president or with a politician. Our strength resides inside of us, the knowledge that we can change the world, the knowledge that we have been made special. You see, the spirit of our country rests in the neighborhoods. The spirit of our country rests in our people. We are the ones -- we, you and me, are the ones to change the world. The powers are within each and every one of us, and a united America is undefeatable. And we are an exceptional country. And that's because we are the exception in history. We're not an ethnic group or a religion or language. We are that last great hope for earth that Ronald Reagan often spoke of, because we have shown that when people from many different backgrounds and ideas and beliefs come together with a common, noble purpose, to be free and just, we're unbeatable.

Two paths. One choice. The path that exploits anger, encourages resentment, turns fear into hatred, and divides people, this path solves nothing. It demeans our history, it weakens our country, and it cheapens each one of us. It has but one beneficiary and that is to the politician who speaks of it.

The other path is the one America has been down before. It's well trod. Yes, at times it's very steep. But it's also solid. It's the same path our forebearers took together, and it's from this higher path that we are offered the much greater view. And imagine for a moment with me that view. Fear turns to hope because we remember to take strength from one another. Uncertainty turns to peace because we reclaim our faith in the American ideals that have carried us upward before. And America's supposed decline becomes its finest hour because we come together to say no to those who would prey on our human weakness, and instead choose leadership that serves, helping us look up, not down.

This is the path I believe in. This is the path that America believes in. And this is the America I know all Americans want us to be. Please join me on this higher path together. United, we can reclaim the America we love and we hold so dear, and lift all of us up to partake in its and the Lord's many blessings. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

[11:10:00] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm John Berman.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, everybody. I'm Kate Bolduan. Thanks for joining us.

As you were listening right there, John Kasich telling New York voters there are two paths they can choose, one of darkness or his path. But take a look at a new poll out this morning. And so far, New York Republicans seem to see only one path, and it leads right to Donald Trump with 60 percent support. More than 40 points ahead both Kasich and Cruz.

BERMAN: The Ohio governor's speech to the Women's National Republican Club comes just one week before the New York primary. The stakes very, very high.

Joining us to discuss this, CNN political director, David Chalian; CNN political commentator, Ana Navarro; New York City councilman, Joseph Boreli, co chair of Donald Trump's New York campaign; and national political reporter for "The New York Times," Alex Burns.

David, we listened to Kasich give a 25 minute speech. This speech was important to the Kasich campaign. They were billing about this, talking about it for days. What's going on here?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: This is the Kasich candidacy and their rationale. This is the why are you running for president moment now that this race is down to three people. He's getting a good chunk of attention that he had not received at any time previous in this campaign, and so it's his moment to tell voters why he's still in this race, especially because the question he gets all the time is why are you still in this race? Because he's so far behind. You've only won state, your home state. This is his answer to that question.

BOLDUAN: The campaign says this is the right moment that they should be having a speech like this with the primaries still to come. Obviously, talking about New York, and also the looming convention. The focus was clearly not just talking about his path but taking Donald Trump on directly. Ted Cruz, yes, but there were more references to Donald Trump, to sum up, here's one of them for our viewers.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN KASICH, (R), OHIO GOVERNOR & PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Some who feed off of the fears and the anger that is felt by some of us and exploited, feed their own insatiable desires for fame or attention. That could drive America down into a ditch and not make us great again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

Joseph, you're the co-chair of Donald Trump's New York campaign. What do you say?

JOSEPH BORELI, (R), NEW YORK CITY COUNCILMAN & CO CHAIR, DONALD TRUMP NEW YORK CAMPAIGN: It was a wonderful speech, but I think in New York where it matters on Tuesday, it's too little, too late. To criticize people for having fear and anger is the wrong tool to get them to vote for you. You see the latest poll that's come back now since a lot of the candidates have had the opportunity to campaign in the state a bit. If anything, Donald Trump has actually increased his lead while the other two have decreased.

BERMAN: To be fair, he wasn't criticizing people for having fear and anger. He said it's real. It's what you do about it. Criticism for the way Donald Trump is handling it.

Alex, the councilman brought up a poll that has Donald Trump at 60 percent. The other guys are beneath 20 percent. Other polls have it closer but not much, frankly. Is this exactly what Donald Trump needs right now?

ALEX BURNS, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: It is. And it's exactly what John Kasich doesn't need. They were heading into this 10-day stretch where casing needs to make something happen or there's no obvious path for them to go anywhere in this race. His rationale has always depended on connecting in Midwestern states where he did not gain attraction aside from the state where he's been elected governor twice,, or north eastern mid Atlantic states like New York, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, coming right up. What we're seeing in the polls right now is his message, sort of liberal blue state, Republican message isn't getting him anywhere here.

BOLDUAN: After Wisconsin, here's a conversation of seeing the beginning of the downfall of Donald Trump. All of his gaffs, are they starting to take effect. If you take a look at this poll, if the numbers hold, Donald Trump could not only win, he could win big. And we're talking about in terms of delegates he could take in New York. If he does, does that throw that argument away?

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It certainly will distract us for a few days, and then until the next result. I think what you're seeing is that Donald Trump has the comfort of home field advantage here in New York. He is among his people. He knows the history. He knows the language. He knows how to relate to folks in New York.

What I don't understand is why John Kasich and Ted Cruz are not being strategic together. Obviously, if both of them end up with less than 20 percent, they are in trouble. It could be the difference between Donald Trump taking all 95 delegates or not. And this is the moment where there is going to be any strategic coordination between case Kasich and Cruz, it should be happening now. Hint, hint, John Weaver.

CHALIAN: This is why. Neither Kasich or Cruz are really full on to the Stop Trump movement. They are very much pursuing their own dreams for the presidency.

(CROSSTALK)

CHALIAN: They're not trying to take care of just preventing Donald Trump from being the nominee.

NAVARRO: But here's what we know. If they don't prevent Donald Trump from getting to 1237, neither of them have a chance. And we do know that the only chance either Kasich or Cruz have is at an open convention where at that point it becomes a free for all and anything can happen.

(CROSSTALK)

[11:15:16] NAVARRO: They have a mutual interest in making sure Trump doesn't get to 1237 and we get to an open convention.

BOLDUAN: There are those conversations. They're trying to get Romney to broker that kind of talk behind the scenes. And the Ted Cruz campaign said, no thank you, we're not going to be accepting that phone call. At least that was the word. Guys, stand by. We have a lot more to discuss.

And a huge week continues for politics on CNN continuing tonight. Anderson Cooper hosting the second of three town halls with Republican candidates and their families. A unique opportunity. Tonight, you'll hear from Donald Trump, his wife, Melania, and kids, Ivanka, Eric and Donald Jr and Tiffany. Then on Wednesday, Texas Senator Ted Cruz will be joined by his wife, Heidi, on stage. It all starts tonight, 9:00 eastern.

BERMAN: Coming up for us, Donald Trump says the game is rigged. It's corrupt. He doesn't like it. But the RNC chair says this has always been the game. It hasn't changed. Is Reince Priebus now taking on Donald Trump? That's next.

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[11:20:02] BOLDUAN: We're back now with our panel, David Chalian, Ana Navarro, Councilman Joseph Boreli, and Alex Burns, from "The New York Times." All here with us, still.

The fight for delegates continues, and it is getting nasty. At least the way Donald Trump wants to describe it. He is not letting down in how he is describing the system corrupt and rigged, and he is not backing down at all. Reince Priebus, the head of the RNC, stepped into the conversation yesterday with a tweet saying, "The rules were set last year. Nothing mysterious. Nothing new. The rules have not changed. They're the same. Nothing different." Then a man named Alex Burns, he sent this out yesterday, saying, "Can't decide whether it's admirable or nuts that Reince Priebus keeps sprinting into the burning building like this."

Alex Burns, explain.

BURNS: The burning building in this case being the debate over the fight for votes. There's nothing that he or anyone else is going to be able to say to placate Donald Trump and his supporters if he comes out of Cleveland not the nominee of the Republican Party. There is, for the RNC, but most for the other candidates, a challenge in terms of public communication of explaining how they're not stealing the nomination from Donald Trump. He hasn't actually secured it, but that's a case that it's hard for the chairman to make from his position of neutrality, because what you're essentially going to have to do is argue that Donald Trump hasn't earned this.

BERMAN: Councilman, two questions. One, as a Trump supporter, do you feel like the party now with the party chair is lining up against you with this support? He's basically saying Donald Trump, you're wrong. That's the first question. The second is, does Donald Trump really believe the system is rigged or is all this talk as a strategy to rile up the supporters?

BORELI: The rules are the rules. When you look at Colorado and South Carolina and other states, the Republican establishment is doing nothing to distract from the narrative that this race is being sort of coerced from inside. A CNN poll indicated that two-thirds of Republicans would be happy to support Donald Trump if he had the most delegates, and a majority of them believe that if Donald Trump went to the convention with the most delegates he ought to be the nominee. So those --

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: Do you think it's more of a communications problem? They need to explain this is a game and this is how the game has been played for -- David can tell us -- forever, or do you actually think that he's right? That if he's close, he should get it.

BORELI: If it's a communications problem, it's be a communications problem with the establishment trying to explain to people how that states that Donald Trump won overwhelmingly, why they're nominating delegates who are pledged, because they're legally obligated to for the first ballot, and they will do whatever they can to not support him on the second ballot.

CHALIAN: To Alex's point -- to Alex's tweet earlier, I think the fundamental question for the party is sort of, is this the best use of their time going forward, to have a very public daily disagreement and defense of the rules against its own front runner? I mean, that's what's unbelievable here.

(CROSSTALK)

CHALIAN: This is the Republican Party front runner for the nomination, and this is the chairman of the party in this public dispute about the rules interpretation.

(CROSSTALK)

NAVARRO: I disagree with that.

BERMAN: It's not just that either. You also have Reince Priebus coming out every chance to dispute Donald Trump on the delegates. But you have Paul Ryan, who comes out and takes policy issues or has issues with some of his policy. They're the establishment and setting themselves up in opposition, at times, with Trump.

NAVARRO: What choice do they have? Paul Ryan is a spokesman for the Republican Party. He is the leader. He is the brain, the policy guy, the think-tank guy. And Paul Ryan is in real, genuine policy opposition. It's incumbent to show that not all Republicans are represented by Donald Trump's position.

As far as Reince, I don't agree with what he did yesterday. I think yesterday is totally a state level decision. Every state, every state party makes their own individual decisions on how to pick their delegates and how to run their contest, whether it's a primary or caucus or convention, whether it's open or closed. Those are not decisions made by the RNC, so I don't see the benefit of the RNC inserting themselves.

I don't think Reince has any option but to try to be as transparent as possible between now and July, because Donald Trump is trying to lay out the narrative starting a month ago, that if, if he gets close to 1237 and it's not awarded to him on a silver platter or maybe in his case, gold plated since I think he likes gold better than silver, it's going to be stolen. That's not how the rules are right now. He needs to get 1237.

And, yes, I'm among the two-third of Republicans who thinks that if he gets 1237, I won't do it happily, but I will accept that at that point he's the nominee.

[11:25:04] BOLDUAN: As a supporter of Donald Trump and someone who understands politics, Councilman, do you think he bears any responsibility for the rigged stolen element of it. He's been told the rules. He knows they didn't have the organization in place because he brought on Paul Manafort to try to make up for it. Does he need to take any responsibility of not pushing this narrative that it is corrupt and rigged if I don't get it?

BORELI: Look, the narrative is out there, whether Donald Trump is the one beating it to death or not. And the Republican establishment, as said earlier, is not doing anything to dissuade people it's not happening.

I will say, Trump is going to have a big win here in New York and then a week later it will be followed by big wins where there's 172 delegates at stake. In two weeks, we may not have the conversation because of the overwhelming turn this campaign might take towards him.

BOLDUAN: He doesn't complain about the rules when he's winning.

Alex, final thought.

BURNS: Yeah, this whole debate over whether the delegate rules are corrupt or democratic. They are corrupt and undemocratic. This whole primary system is set up to sort of dupe the system so you don't have pure democracy --

(CROSSTALK)

NAVARRO: On the Republican side, we're having the debate publicly. What do you call super delegates if not the establishment?

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: That debate has been had. I think rigged and undemocratic are different than corrupt. It may be rigged and undemocratic but corrupt indicates there's malfeasance. No, they just wanted this way. It's the way it's set up.

BURNS: If you believe the party's nomination should reflect the democratic community of voters, it's a semantic question at that point.

Look, the problem for Donald Trump is this is a guy who has run for president in large part on the strength of his record as a businessman. Of exploiting corrupt and rigged systems, he has bragged over and over again about his ability to manipulate the bankruptcy laws and other kinds of business tools to his advantage. Why is this different? Why shouldn't he be able to win on these terms?

BERMAN: David, Ana, Joseph, Alex, thank you to all of you. Councilman, I should say. Great to have you with us. Really appreciate it.

BOLDUAN: Coming up next, new details about the decades-long friendship between Donald Trump and the Clintons. Moments ago, the Clinton Presidential Library released all of its notes were released on one Donald Trump. We're going to tell you what they reveal.

BERMAN: What timing.

Plus, Donald Trump isn't just complaining about the Republican primary system. Donald Trump, like Ana Navarro, complaining about the Democratic election system as well. So we'll speak with the chair of the Democratic National Committee to see how she responds to Donald Trump's concerns with her nominating process. That's coming up.

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