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Interview With Ohio Governor John Kasich; Trump's Tough Week; Hillary Clinton Leading In Polls; Hillary Clinton's Short-Circuited Answer; President Obama's Star-Studded Birthday. Aired 9-10a ET

Aired August 7, 2016 - 09:00   ET





DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I support and endorse our speaker of the House, Paul Ryan.


TAPPER: Donald Trump tries to make nice with his fellow Republicans after a brutal week of intraparty battling. Boosted by a $64 million infusion largely from small donors, can the Trump train get back on track?

Plus, heartburn in the heartland. Ohio's Republican governor warns Trump might mean that the state goes blue in November.

GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: It's difficult, if you are dividing, to be able to win in Ohio.

TAPPER: Can Trump even win his former rival's vote?

(on camera): Do you know what you're going to do when you go into the voting booth?

KASICH: No. We still have time.

TAPPER (voice-over): The exclusive interview with Governor John Kasich next.

And doubling down. Why does Hillary Clinton keep repeating this line even after fact-checkers have called her out?

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: As the FBI said, everything that I said publicly has been consistent and truthful with what I have told them.

TAPPER: Nonetheless, new polls show her up across the board. Can her convention bounce last? The best political minds will be here with insights from the campaign trail.

(END VIDEOTAPE) TAPPER: Hello. I am Jake Tapper in Washington, D.C., where the state of our union is barrelling towards November.

A brand-new poll out this morning shows 81 percent of registered voters planning to cast a ballot in the presidential election, and 50 percent of them now say they will be voting for Democrat Hillary Clinton, putting her eight points ahead of Republican Donald Trump.

The new "Washington Post"/ABC News numbers come after a week of intraparty squabbles for Mr. Trump, including his fellow Republicans railing against him and his criticism of a fallen soldier's grieving family, while Trump declined to endorse the speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, and two other Senate Republicans.

This weekend, Trump tried to right the ship, coming out in favor of Ryan and the two Republican senators and refocusing on Hillary Clinton with a vicious new attack.


TRUMP: She took a short-circuit in the brain, and she's got problems. She is a liar. She is a horrible, horrible human being.



But does Trump stand a chance if he heads into the fall fighting not only for new voters, but for Republicans, for stalwarts in his own party? He still has not won over his former rival Ohio's Republican Governor John Kasich, who invited me to the Buckeye State to talk about his hopes and fears for the country.


TAPPER: Governor Kasich, thanks so much for doing this.

KASICH: Glad to do it. Thanks for coming here.

TAPPER: So, last time I saw you, it was around the time of the Republican Convention, which you did not attend.

Very interesting result. It's the first convention in modern history, according to Gallup, where more people were less likely to vote for the nominee after the convention than were more likely; 51 percent said that they were less likely to vote for Donald Trump after the convention than 36 percent say they were more likely.

Why do you think that is?

KASICH: Well, look, I think, Jake, in America -- people, even though we have enormous problems, I don't think people want to live in a world of anger. They want to believe there is a better tomorrow.

I got the sense that there was a -- sort of a foreboding out there. And I just don't think that's where people want to be. And I didn't go because I just don't -- I think it is about manners.

If I wasn't prepared to go there and get up and endorse a nominee, I just thought it was inappropriate to go into that convention hall.

Here is something, Jake, that's really true. People want politicians to stand on principle, until the principle they're standing on is not one that they agree with.


TAPPER: Right.

KASICH: Now, what no one should be confused about, no one, is that I wrote an op-ed piece about Hillary. I think she is on the bus Bernie is driving, and she is sitting in the back seat. She is no more than big government.

TAPPER: You said there should be no confusion about -- about your support of Hillary Clinton. You don't support Hillary Clinton.

KASICH: No, of course not.

TAPPER: But you also don't support Donald Trump. So...

KASICH: I have not endorsed him. That's correct.

TAPPER: You have not endorsed him. Do you know what you're going to do when you go into the voting booth?

KASICH: No. We still have time. It's something I think about a little bit, but not a lot.

TAPPER: Have you ever voted for a Democrat for president?


TAPPER: You have only voted Republican?

KASICH: Yes. Well, I'm a Republican.

TAPPER: Right.


TAPPER: Is it possible that you will not vote for a Republican for president?


KASICH: Let's not get ahead of ourselves. This is very disturbing and alarming to me. I should not say -- it's not alarming. I wish that I could be fully enthusiastic. I can't be.

So, I don't know what is going to happen at the end.

TAPPER: You said you didn't watch the Democratic Convention. (CROSSTALK)

KASICH: I watched just a tiny little bit. I watched all of Donald Trump's speech. And I watched -- I did see the Khan speech.

TAPPER: So, the Khans, obviously, Khizr and Ghazala Khan, their son, Captain Humayun Khan, killed in Iraq in 2004.

You tweeted after Donald Trump started attacking the parents and questioning things about the parents, you tweeted: "There is only one way to talk about Gold Star parents, with honor and respect. Captain Khan is a hero. Together, we should pray for his family."

Trump's response was, he was viciously attacked by the Khans.


But, look, I didn't see that, but here is what I do want to tell you. As the governor, every year, except this year, because we fortunately have not lost anybody, we have had families of people who have been lost serving their country.

Jake, they come to the statehouse. They gather in the Cabinet Room. And then, one by one, these families come in to see me.

It is very tough. Usually, there is a picture of their son, or their daughter, or their mother, or their father that is right up there as they come in. I give them a flag. And I sit and I talk to them.

I tell them about the loss of my mother and father in a sudden accident. And I said, you know, let's not compare, but what I can tell you is, I have seen the black hole. I have had the deep mourning and the pain.

But here's what I know. I believe the Scripture when it says that those who give up their life or serve someone else will wear a big crown, that their service is marked in the book of life, never to be erased.

I hug them. There are sometimes some few people will sit in the room with me. Sometimes, a tear gets shed. Sometimes, I give recommendations as to how they can find somebody to help them.

It is really tough, Jake. And -- but I am honored to do it, because if there is anything that I can say to these families, anything at all -- and they got kids in there. And their dad is gone or their mom is gone.

It is -- it's just excruciatingly difficult. But I'm so glad I do it. And I'm so glad that they would honor me to come.

TAPPER: Mike Morell, the former head of the CIA, has an op-ed in "The New York Times" in which he says -- quote -- "Donald J. Trump is not only unqualified for the job of president, but he may well pose a threat to our national security."

It's a very strong statement from a former CIA director.

Do you agree?

KASICH: I have said everything I need to say about Mr. Trump.

And my actions speak louder than my words at that convention. What I will tell you is that America absolutely needs to be engaged in the world. The idea that we would lock our doors and pull down our blinds and just look the other way, you know, we have seen a lot of that in the Obama administration. You look at Syria, and it's a complete mess.

America -- look, to whom much is given, much is expected. And America is a -- has been such a blessed country, that there are things that we have to do to engage in the world. To say that, you know, we don't love NATO? NATO is critical. It's kept the peace post-World War II. It's critical.

I mean, are there improvements that can be made in NATO? Of course there can be. Can we have better intelligence, better security? Of course we can. But do we have an obligation to the Baltics? Of course we have an obligation to the Baltics. Should we be involved in the Middle East? We don't have to get in the middle of civil wars, but, of course, Americans' presence has to be felt.

We are a force for good in the world. And if America goes away, good things are not going to happen. If America goes away, bad things are going to happen.

TAPPER: When you were running for president, you said the U.S. should be aiding Ukraine against Russian aggression.

What did you make of the Republican nominee saying last week that the people of Crimea, from what I have heard, would rather be with Russia than where they were?


KASICH: Well, I don't agree with that.

And my understanding is, we actually withdrew support -- language that supported arming the Ukrainians.

TAPPER: In the Republican platform.


I was really pretty astounded by that. Here is where we are, Jake, I think, with Putin.

First of all, Putin, I think, is a thug. He wants to reconstitute the old Soviet Union. It's not going to happen. The West has to make it clear to Putin that we don't tolerate this behavior. And, at the same time, let him save some face. There is a way to do that.

You know, he has to give back Crimea. Maybe he can have a base there in -- to the sea. But, you know, we can't -- we cannot just weak -- show weakness in the face of a guy who has become very, very aggressive against the values of the West.

TAPPER: Let's talk about Iran...


TAPPER: ... because, right now, Republicans are up in arms about this report about $400 million in a cash payment to the Iranians. And there seems to be the suggestion that the Iranians thought it was some sort of ransom. The United States government denies that it was ransom.

But it appears as though the Iranians at the time claimed this is ransom, $400 million for your four prisoners.


TAPPER: What do you make of all this?

KASICH: Well, I mean, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, normally, it's a duck, Jake.

I mean, on the very day they make this payment -- I think it was terrible. You know, in the early Republican debates, I think I was the only one that said I wouldn't rip up the Iran deal on day one. But watching their behavior since I made that statement, I would call for the suspension of this agreement.

Look, that $400 million, where does it end up? Hezbollah maybe? Hamas? Who knows? So, I think this was another boondoggle for the administration. Whether it's Libya, whether it's the red line in Syria, whether it's these cash payments, the list goes on and on and on.

In foreign policy, you really have to know where the direct interest is, how you get in and how you get out. That's the old Cap Weinberger philosophy. You go in. What's the interest? How do you go in? How do you get out? If you go in and you can never get out, then you don't go in. And is there a direct American interest?

That was the problem with Iraq, the war in Iraq. But, of course, we had that intelligence that told us something different. In Syria, I think we should have been arming these rebel groups early on. We did not do it. We sat back. The administration sat back. They drew the red lines and every -- it's just falling apart.

Think of the chaos in the Middle East. Look at ISIS. What are we waiting on? What are we waiting on? We're going to let them have a headquarters in Mosul and Raqqa? And we just -- what -- what are we -- what is the -- act. Go and take care of business. Go do it.

TAPPER: The Obama administration says that ISIS has been losing tremendous ground in both Iraq and Syria, that the problem right now is that they are expanding operations around the world, not in the so- called caliphate. KASICH: Well, I mean, first of all, Jake, if you have capital cities,

and you are ISIS, and you run a big propaganda campaign, we should, first of all, destroy those cities.

We should get in -- not destroy the cities, but destroy ISIS. Let me say one other thing, very interesting thing. We have been a country here in America where we have really been able to integrate people. People come to America, and almost all -- almost all -- and, of course, there's always exceptions -- they want to be Americans.

When they go to France, they don't want to be French. They want to live in their banyus (ph). They don't want to adopt anything about the heritage, the language, or anything else. And then they go try to get a job. They can't speak French or they speak broken French. They can't get a job. Poverty rises.

These countries, in Belgium and in France, they have got to figure out a way to integrate these populations. And it's going to be really hard for them to do it. How do you do it? I am not quite sure.

But, you know, to some degree, when you go to a country, there has got to be a sense that you want to be in that country, not that you want to recreate your other -- your old country in that country and never -- we know, with immigrants, immigrants want to celebrate their heritage. That's fine.

But, at the end, you have got to become a citizen of where it is you want to live.


TAPPER: Coming up, Governor Kasich addressing the campaign rumor that has been swirling around him for weeks. Just how close did he really come to becoming Donald Trump's vice president?



TAPPER: Welcome back to CNN's STATE OF THE UNION. I am Jake Tapper.

Donald Trump and his running mate, Mike Pence, may be on the same ticket, but they don't share on everything. This week, Pence split from the nominee, supporting both the Khan family and the speaker of the House as Trump battled with both.

But it turns out the Trump team explored the idea of having a vice president who disagrees with the nominee often, as John Kasich revealed in the second part of our exclusive interview.


TAPPER: There was a report in "The New York Times" that Donald Trump Jr. called you and tried to suss out your feelings, your interest in being the vice president and said you would be able to run domestic and foreign policy. Is that report true?

KASICH: I never got a call. Apparently, my aides did.

TAPPER: Donald Trump Jr. did call one of your aides and have that conversation?

KASICH: That's what the reports are. But, you know...

TAPPER: But is that -- but, I mean, your aide said that that's accurate?

KASICH: That's what one of them has told me, yes.

TAPPER: Yes, that it was accurate.


But I never got a call. And that's yesterday, you know? And, again, I said during the campaign, and nobody -- none -- nobody in the press believed it -- you know, I might have been -- I might have agreed to be George Washington's vice president, but I got the second best job in the country, president, governor of Ohio. So, I was never interested in being anybody's vice president.

TAPPER: It wasn't tempting at all?


KASICH: No. You know, isn't that amazing? Never considered it.

TAPPER: Really?


TAPPER: Interesting.

KASICH: Why would I want to be vice -- I would be the worst vice president. I have too many opinions, Jake.

TAPPER: You have a lot of opinions.


TAPPER: That's for sure.


TAPPER: Well, because you get to run foreign policy and domestic policy. If that was the pitch, it sounds like a pretty...

KASICH: Well, I am running foreign policy in Ohio. You have got to remember, we have got Michigan on our border, you know?


TAPPER: You're going to build a wall, I'm sure.

So, campaign chairman Paul Manafort said you were embarrassing your state of Ohio when you skipped the convention. You talked about the pressure that you felt, people telling you, you needed to go, you needed to endorse.

Were there back-channel efforts to get you to come to the convention?

KASICH: No, not really.

TAPPER: And who put the -- who...

KASICH: Look...


TAPPER: ... pressure on you. Who put the pressure on you?

KASICH: No, no, no.

I mean, people would call who are longtime friends of mine and say, you know...

TAPPER: You need to do this for yourself.

KASICH: Well, they would say a couple things.

First of all, no, you need to support the party. And, secondly, don't give the impression that you're a Clinton supporter. That's this -- kind of this thing, you know?

Well, let me be clear. I'm not, OK? I see four years of gridlock with her, total gridlock and meltdown in economics. I -- OK, so that's one thing. Pressure...

TAPPER: What do you see with him?

KASICH: Well, I see gridlock there too.

TAPPER: Were you surprised when Donald Trump declined to endorse Speaker Ryan, Senator McCain, and Senator Ayotte?


KASICH: Yes. Well, yes, I thought it was a little bizarre, right?

Let's talk about each of them.

Paul, you know, he is the Jack Kemp mode. He is a guy that's positive. He is a guy who wants to reach out to the people who are in poverty. He is the one that wants to lower the tax code, so we don't punish the successful, build entrepreneurship. Great guy, OK? He used to be an aide when I was budget chairman.

Kelly Ayotte, OK, she is a terrific senator. She comes from New Hampshire. I'm going to go campaign for her. I'm going to do whatever I can to help her.

TAPPER: You are going to work a lot on these down-ballot races?

KASICH: Oh, yes, yes. I already -- I'm all over. I was just in Illinois the other day helping Senator Kirk, raising money for the House Republicans in Illinois. I have been for Senator Paul. I'm going to Colorado.

I mean, I'm doing -- I was in Philadelphia, in a tough race over in Philadelphia. Yes, I'm going to help all House and Senate members, and that's important to me.

Let's talk about McCain. I love John McCain. John McCain is such an amazing guy, not just an American hero, but here is a guy who has served his country well. He is outspoken. He takes orders from no one.

As far as I'm concerned, McCain shouldn't even have to run for election in the Senate. He ought to be in the Senate as long as he wants to be. You know, he is in a tough race out there. I'm going out there. I don't care what it takes. I have got to go out there and help McCain.

And he really, truly is -- for the people that watch this show, he is a remarkable guy. He so loves his country.

TAPPER: Governor, your admiration for John McCain is moving. Your nominee for president, Republican presidential nominee, said John McCain is not a hero; he prefers people who weren't captured.

KASICH: Yes. Well, I don't agree with it. I don't agree with that, OK? I think John McCain is a hero.

Look, Jake, here's the thing. All throughout this, anyone can say, OK, Trump said this, you say that. Why don't you slug him over the head? Look, my actions have spoken louder than any words.

TAPPER: Your refusal to endorse him?

KASICH: And think about this. I want to know when anybody had a convention at their state, when they were the governor, who didn't go in the convention hall. I mean, some people are really furious with me about that. But I did what I thought I needed to do.

And you know what? I never went in that hall to promote myself. I -- and I wanted -- believe it or not, I wanted to show respect to the nominee. And my going up there and disrupting his deal was not my -- what I intended to do.

TAPPER: Can Trump win Ohio?

KASICH: Can Trump win Ohio?

He's going to win parts of Ohio where people are really hurting. There will be sections he will win because people are angry, frustrated and haven't heard any answers. But I still think it's difficult, if you are dividing, to be able to win in Ohio. I think it's really, really difficult.

TAPPER: What does Donald Trump need to do to get you to vote for him? You have obviously said...

KASICH: Well...

TAPPER: ... that you will never vote for Hillary Clinton. Is there any way that Donald Trump can change?

KASICH: Well, I don't -- it's -- you know, there is so much water over the dam now, it's become increasingly difficult.

But I want, you know, unifying. You know, you can either operate on the dark side of the street, or you can -- you can operate in the light. I believe that America needs people to operate in the light, plain and simple.

TAPPER: Governor Kasich, thank you so much for your time. I really appreciate it.

KASICH: Thanks for the time. I loved it. Thank you.

TAPPER: It's good stuff.


TAPPER: Coming up: A Republican gubernatorial candidate ditches Trump to raise money for Clinton.


Will the big donor Republican defections hurt the Republican nominee?



TRUMP: But, yes, I guess you do things a little bit differently,.

Maybe -- well, maybe I would have done a little bit less, because we were doing a lot of work. We were working very hard, drawing tremendous crowds, having a lot of fun, putting out a good word. And maybe I would have done less of that.


TAPPER: A little bit less. That was Donald Trump saying what he might have done differently this headline-packed week.

Here with me to discuss it all is senior Trump adviser Jason Miller, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who is also the secretary of the Democratic National Committee, CNN political commentator Andre Bauer, who supports Donald Trump, and Symone Sanders, former press secretary to Bernie Sanders. So, Jason, I'm going to start with you.

A little bit less, and yet this was a tough week.

[09:30:02] I think even Trump allies would -- would acknowledge that. He -- he fought with this family of the fallen service member. He said Putin is not going to make a move into Ukraine, even though Putin has already done that in several ways. He initially refused to endorse Speaker Ryan or Senator McCain or Senator Ayotte. Although he has since endorsed them. And there were a string of high profile Republicans getting behind Clinton including Hewlett Packard CEO Meg Whitman, retiring Congressman Richard Hanna and some top advisors to Jeb Bush and Chris Christie. It's just empirically been a bad week for the Trump campaign.

JASON MILLER, SENIOR COMMUNICATIONS ADVISER, DONALD J. TRUMP FOR PRESIDENT: The first part of the week was a little bit bumpy. Let's say the back half of the week was very good for Donald Trump.

So on Thursday, on Friday, yesterday in New Hampshire Donald Trump had very good days on the campaign trail. He is focused. He knows what he needs to do in this campaign. I think we have a unified campaign. Even more so, now that we have a candidate that's unified with his campaign and he's now laying out his vision -- tomorrow we'll be in Detroit. Rolling out the economic vision to talk about the differences between the candidates on national security. I think he is focused on exactly what he needs to go and do.

TAPPER: But you said the candidate is unified with his campaign. Shouldn't that be automatic? Shouldn't the campaign and the candidate be one and the same?

MILLER: People have been underestimating Donald Trump since the beginning of this. Talking about the Republican primary where folks didn't think that he would be the nominee. He is an unconventional candidate. He's not a blow-dried Washington candidate.

He is a candidate who really has tapped into the American voters, tapped into the frustration. He is someone who senses that fear, and he wants to make our country safe, wants to get our economy back on track. And that's different. I mean, if we have to turn Washington on its head, that's what he's going to do.

TAPPER: OK. The thing is that all of this does have an impact on his campaign and how he is perceived. Let's go to some new poll numbers from the "ABC News" and "Washington Post."

Trump's handling of the Khan family 73 percent of voters disapprove, 12 percent approve. Is Donald Trump qualified to serve as president? 38 percent say yes about Donald Trump. 61 percent say no. Almost the reverse number for Hillary Clinton. 68 percent say she is qualified, 38 percent say no.

Does Donald Trump have a good understanding of world affairs? 72 percent yes for Clinton. 25 percent no. 33 yes for Donald Trump, 64 percent, no. Those are just -- and let me go to Andre here. Those are just some remarkably horrible poll numbers. I mean, this week after week of the self-inflicted wounds is really taking a toll.

ANDRE BAUER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, there are other polls too. When you talk about the number one and number two issue, jobs and economy, I think the polls are exactly the opposite.

You know, they say we don't reach out to millennials as a Republican Party. So I would say in the words of DJ Khaled (ph) and Major (ph) (INAUDIBLE), Donald Trump (INAUDIBLE) message.


BAUER: He is raising money. He's bringing the tent in. He's bringing new folks in. And he has got people energized.

Look at these rallies that have tens of thousands of people coming out. I haven't been polled. There's a lot of people that are not showing up on these polls that are fed up. They want the outside of the ditch. They want a change maker in Washington. And he is the only person talking about change in Washington.


SYMONE SANDERS, FORMER PRESS SECRETARY, BERNIE 2016: OK. But wait. So they want a change maker in Washington but Donald Trump has not demonstrated he is a change maker with an actual plan. So I am actually looking forward to his speech in Detroit on Monday because I hope we hear meat and potatoes.

I think these poll numbers -- yes polls do go up and down, I think they're startling and they're something that folks should be paying attention to. It's demonstrating that folks do not think Donald Trump is fit to be president. As a matter of fact, he is temperamentally unfit to be president. He kicked a baby out of his rally in Virginia.

BAUER: No that's --



SANDERS: And would have kicked DJ Khaled (ph) out.


SANDERS: Virginia is for lovers, not for haters.

TAPPER: Madame Mayor, let me ask you. Is there a risk here? Because, you know, this is just August. We don't know what's going to happen in November. Is there a risk of Democrats getting too confident here?

RAWLINGS-BLAKE: I think if we paid attention as much as pollsters and as much as the media does to the polling, we can get complacent. And I think there is a risk that people might not come out to vote. But we're not going to do that.

This election is too important. And the poll numbers are great now, but the poll numbers that matter are the polls in November. And that's getting people out to the poll to vote. There is so much that's happening with voter suppression. Why? Because that's the only way the Republicans win, if they close the tent, reduce the tent, keep voters away from the polls.

We're not going to be fooled. So all of this, you know, the bad week for Trump, the good week for Clinton, that's fine this week. But we're very focused on a grass-roots game to get people to the polls. This election matters too much.

TAPPER: Andre, you talked about -- Jason, I'll come right to you. Andre, you talked about how that's just one poll. Let's just go to another poll, battle ground states, because that's the one that Jason and the campaign (INAUDIBLE) when they get (ph) to go (ph) -- those are the ones they care about. It's not a national referendum. It's a state by state election.

Just in some battle ground states Florida, Clinton plus six. Michigan Clinton plus nine. Pennsylvania, which is a key state that you guys have to win, Jason, as you know, Clinton plus 11. New Hampshire, Clinton plus 15.


I know that there is a Reuters poll that's an internet poll that you guys like to talk about. But general speaking it seems to be an outlier. The polls are not good for you.

MILLER: So I'm going to push back on that. There are a couple of things. The single most important number to keep in mind is that 70 percent of the American public thinks that we're going in the wrong direction. And for Hillary Clinton to be doubling and tripling down on wanting to have this third term puts her in a real difficult spot. Case in point. On Friday as we saw Secretary Clinton bumble, stumble and again doubling down on this lie on her email server --

TAPPER: Which we'll get to in the next section.

MILLER: Right. And we're coming back to that. But the fact it reminds people immediately just how much they dislike Hillary Clinton. It's not only do we have the Reuters poll showing that we're within three points. The "L.A. Times" --


MILLER: Just one moment. The "L.A. Times" --

TAPPER: So that is right but if you were to address the mayor's point. Yes, voters have their issues with Hillary Clinton. They have bigger issues with Donald Trump according to the same polls.

MILLER: But the point being the elasticity of this race there can be a lot of movement quickly. The beginning of the week --

RAWLINGS-BLAKE: The people are real solid on the fact that they don't like Trump.

MILLER: The beginning of the week it's not as great for Donald Trump. End of the week he's doing great. The campaign is doing strong. And we're going into fund-raising a little bit later. Turning out the big crowds. This is a candidate that's focused.


TAPPER: Here is a question. Address the mayor's point, if you would. Who is he going to turn around? Because he's -- a lot of people really are set not liking him. I'll come to you after this, Andre.

MILLER: He is going to turn around people who want to change in this country, people who think we're going in the wrong direction.

RAWLINGS-BLAKE: He can't even convince his own Republicans to support him.

MILLER: People who think sending $4 million in cash to Iran -- is the world's largest state sponsored terrorism is terrible. People think that three quarts in the row of GDP growth under 2 percent is terrible.

RAWLINGS-BLAKE: People think that having someone with his temperament in charge of the nuclear codes is terrifying.

MILLER: People who've been left behind -- people who have been left behind by this economy.

People might be doing OK in D.C. and New York. They're not doing OK in the rest of the country.

TAPPER: The mayor is from Baltimore. But --

RAWLINGS-BLAKE: And he doesn't have a plan.

SANDERS: No plan. No meat and potatoes. The plan --

MILLER: Well, I can tell you Hillary Clinton's plan is to raise taxes --

SANDERS: And furthermore, when you say who Donald Trump is -- we can talk about Secretary Clinton's actual meat and potatoes and the plans that she actually has to build up hard-working middle class families in this country, to address racial barriers and break down the barriers Donald Trump is talking about building walls.

So to your point about, though, that he's going to bring in these people that want change. Who are these people? Are they minorities? Because I think he's -- before the convention he was polling at zero percent with African-Americans in this country and Latinos.

Post convention I think he got what, maybe, 5 percent now? But you cannot win in 2016 in a presidential election without people of color in this country. So who is he pulling in? He's not pulling in millennials like myself --

TAPPER: I want to give Andre the last word in this and then we're going to take a quick break and then come back.

BAUER: Well, I would say one of the biggest things that moves numbers and all of us will agree is money. Donald Trump hasn't been spending money. Hillary has been on the air. She has been pounding the message and he hasn't. That's going to change now.

He has raised money. And so the fact that he's been dark and she has been up heavily in these battleground states and that the numbers are not wider is amazing. It really is. Tens of millions of dollars.

TAPPER: All right. Quick break. Coming up, who are you calling a lame duck? President Obama is actually more popular than he's been in three and a half years. How he plans to make his final months count when we come back.




CLINTON: I may have short-circuited it. And for that, I will try to clarify. I do think, you know, having him say that my answers to the FBI were truthful, and then I should quickly add what I said was consistent with what I had said publicly.


TAPPER: Short-circuit. Not just a bad Steve Guttenberg movie from the '80s. Also Hillary Clinton's explanation for why she keeps repeating a line that the "Washington Post" fact-checkers have given four Pinocchios.

Back with our panel. Madam Mayor, this is -- speaking of self inflicted wounds Hillary Clinton keeps repeating this. Yes, the FBI said that she was truthful with them. They did not say that she was truthful with the American people. Why is it so hard for her to acknowledge that she made a mistake here and move on? Why does she keep doubling down?

RAWLINGS-BLAKE: I think she is being very careful. This is something that's very personal to her. I think anyone who is called a liar, if you care about your reputation and your character, that means something. And she wants to make sure that people understand that -- where she was being truthful.

That being said, she should take a book -- a page out of Donald Trump's book. It's over. You know, apologize, acknowledge, move on. The more you double down as Trump has done on his missteps, his lies, the further and further he sinks in the polls. So my suggestion would be to do as much as we can to put this behind us, because people want to believe in a hopeful America, and the only candidate that's running for president that has a positive outlook on the country is Secretary Clinton. She should own that space and run with it.

TAPPER: Jason, I'll come with you in a minute. I see you furiously writing things that you want to say. But Symone, you used to work for Bernie Sanders.


TAPPER: This was the kind of thing that the Sanders campaign and the Sanders supporters would get so angry about. Why is she doing this. What do you feel?

SANDERS: So I feel --- one, I would like to remind everyone that during one of the first debates Bernie Sanders said, you know, I'm tired of hearing about the damn emails. Can we focus on the issues? And so part of this is I think we just need to focus on the issues.

The server question has been asked and answered, asked again, asked again and answered another time. Secretary Clinton has noted. She apologizes. If she could do it all over again she wouldn't have.

TAPPER: I know but she's creating a new thing here.

SANDERS: She wouldn't have.

Well, I think -- the thing is -- so one, Secretary Clinton opened herself up to take questions from the media. Folks were like, oh, she's doing this. She created it. It was -- I do believe she was responding and (ph) answer to a question she got from journalist at NABJ.


So look, I think, it has been asked and answered. She was truthful in saying that. The FBI said that, when she went and talked to the FBI they didn't call her a liar. They didn't say she lied.

TAPPER: Right.

SANDERS: And she was truthful there.

TAPPER: Yes but not to the American people. They didn't say she was truthful to the American people.

SANDERS: Well -- but they didn't say she lied to the American people either, Jake. What they did -- what Director Comey did say is that there were -- I think three emails that didn't have any markings but they were classified and even a trained eye would know that --

TAPPER: But I think the people -- here. I take your point on the classification was not marked properly. That's true. But take a listen to this.

This is Congressman Trey Gowdy, Republican of South Carolina, talking to FBI Director Comey. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. TREY GOWDY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Secretary Clinton said there was nothing marked classified on her emails either sent or received, was that true?

JAMES COMEY, FBI DIRECTOR: That's not true. There were a small number of portion markings on, I think, three of the documents.

GOWDY: Secretary Clinton said I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email. There is no classified material. Was that true?

COMEY: There was classified material emailed.


TAPPER: Madam Mayor, this is the problem is that James Comey did not give her a clean bill of health. He said, yes, she told the truth to us. But then when asked about specifics of things that she has said to the public he said, no, that's not true. No, that's not true.

RAWLINGS-BLAKE: I think the secretary has been very clear. Had she had the ability to do it all over again, she wouldn't have two different servers. She would have been more careful.

I am convinced that people just like Bernie Sanders are done with hearing about the email. The only people that are focused on this and trying to trip her up with what did you say, when did you say it, how did you say it, are the people that are trying to distract from the real issues at hand.

This elections is about who is -- who has the better qualifications, who has a better temperament to lead our country forward. And it's clear that there is only one candidate and that's Hillary Clinton.

When we focus on these issues that are non-issues we distract from the fact that we have somebody that's running for president that scares the CIA. And that should be the issue that we're focused on. We don't want someone with Trump's temperament, Trump's thin skin being in charge of our country.

TAPPER: Jason, that's the point for a lot of people who are watching this is that even if voters have issues with Secretary Clinton when it comes to trust, there is this fitness for the office question that no less than the former director of the -- acting director of the CIA has raised and then also President Obama raised it this week, talking about whether or not Donald Trump could even be up to the job. Take a listen.


OBAMA: I think the Republican nominee is unfit to serve as president. If you are repeatedly having to say, in very strong terms, that what he has said is unacceptable, why are you still endorsing him?


TAPPER: Jason?

MILLER: So Jake, I want to get in the last point from talking about the short-circuit for a minute.

The reason go to Symone, to your old boss, Bernie Sanders, and his description of Hillary Clinton, that she has bad judgment. That is why this email issue is such a big deal.

SANDERS: So no. So --

MILLER: Yes. Bad judgment.

SANDERS: One, I was the press secretary for senator Sanders. So I think I know what it is exactly that he said.

MILLER: Bad judgment.

SANDERS: Senator Sanders was laser-focused on the issues during the primary campaign and he has noted that there are things that he disagreed with Secretary Clinton on on how to get them done, but he has fully endorsed her noting that there is no one in this race other than Secretary Clinton that is fit to be president, the next president of the United States of America.

She is good on economy. She is good on health care. She is good on taxes. She is good for hard-working people in this country. And Donald Trump is clearly not.

I mean, these are just unfounded (INAUDIBLE) --


MILLER: ... bad judgment. The email issue is such a big deal. For Hillary Clinton to get out there not once, not twice but three times this week and lie on this email issue shows that she has bad judgment. And then her final answer to be that she short-circuited, I mean, where else has she been short-circuiting? Talk about Benghazi, we're (ph) talking about domestic policy, talking about the withdrawal of Iraq. I mean, this goes -- this goes right to the poor competency and the judgment of Secretary Clinton.

RAWLINGS-BLAKE: Explain to me -- explain to me Trump's response to the Khan family. Was that a short-circuit? Was that a bad judgment?

MILLER: Secretary Clinton is not fit to lead this country.

TAPPER: I mean, can you answer her question?

MILLER: As we saw again attacks coming out of the Democratic convention I think we're going to talk about here --

RAWLINGS-BLAKE: The difference is she owned it. She said she short circuited and she wanted to move forward. The problem with Trump is you, him and his surrogates refuse to own your mistakes. I have a 12-year-old daughter. People make mistakes all the time. You own it. You learn from it. You move on.

Jake, what we're seeing from the Trump campaign and his surrogates is refusal to acknowledge any mistake -- any mistake --

MILLER: Like lying to the American -- like lying to the American public on the emails?

SANDERS: Donald Trump lied multiple times this week by the way. He is not truthful on many things. And again, there is no substance. And so we want to talk about lying to the American people --


MILLER: This is why this race can contract so quickly when people --

TAPPER: Unfortunately, we got to go. I'm going to have to fact-check you have a 12-year-old because...



TAPPER: ... I find that hard to believe.

Coming up next, Stevie Wonder, Sarah Jessica Parker, Magic Johnson, the stars flooded the White House for the president's birthday bash but social media was band. So what really happened on the dance floor? It's the subject of this week's "State of the Cartoonion" coming up next.


TAPPER: President Obama turned 55 this week. And the first lady threw him his very last birthday shindig at the White House.

The party was close to the press and cameras were checked at the door so we could only speculate what might have gone down based on the star-studded guest list. It's the subject of this week's "State of the Cartoonion."



TAPPER (voice-over): JFK had Marilyn.

MARILYN MONROE, ACTRESS (singing): Happy birthday, Mr. President

TAPPER: President Obama has Beyonce to serenade him on his birthday that is -- or so we imagined.

On this birthday Obama woke up to his highest approval ratings in 3 1/2 years so we assume guest Ellen DeGeneres with help from guest Kendrick Lamar, had no trouble getting the president to hit the dance floor. We wonder, did party goers Samuel L. Jackson and Will Ferrell rock it out?

WILL FERRELL, ACTOR (singing): I love scotch. Scotchy, scotch, scotch. Here it goes down, down into my belly.

TAPPER: Billionaire George Lucas was there. Did Lucas bring a present? What does one get the president on his birthday?

JAR JAR BINKS, STAR WARS CHARACTER: Mesa called Jar Jar Binks. Mesa your humble servant.

TAPPER: In any case, happy birthday, Mr. President. Enjoy yourself. Try not to think too hard about that other thing.


TAPPER: Happy birthday, Mr. President.

And thank you for watching.