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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA

Trump Up in Polls; Biden Advises Hillary to Open Up More; Poll: Clinton Trails on Trustworthiness, Honesty. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired September 6, 2016 - 11:00   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[11:00:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our new CNN/ORC poll shows a statistical dead heat. In fact, Trump has a slight lead.

HILLARY CLINTON, (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He's temperamentally unfit to be commander-in-chief.

DONALD TRUMP, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't think she has a presidential look.

CLINTON: Every time I think about Trump, I get allergic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The billionaire's stance on immigration again.

TRUMP: I'm not ruling it out. We're going to make that decision into the future.

CLINTON: He went down with a mission to demonize immigrants, to call Mexicans rapists and criminals.

He didn't raise it, so he did choke.

TRUMP: Let me tell you about choking. I don't choke. She chokes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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

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

The day after Labor Day, the official start of the campaign season.

BOLDUAN: What?

BERMAN: We said it yesterday. Today, we mean it. Today, we have a poll that really means it. A brand new CNN/ORC poll that shows a big shift in the campaign. Donald Trump, who trailed by a fair amount much of the last month, now basically tied, a point ahead of Hillary Clinton in a two-way match-up among likely voters.

BOLDUAN: For some perspective, the summer holiday ended with a thud for Clinton. A month ago, CNN's poll of polls had Trump down by 10 points. Not the case anymore.

For some more perspective let's bring in CNN's political director, David Chalian.

Make sense of it all, David, please.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Good morning, John and Kate. How are you doing?

Take a look at the four-way horse race among likely voters, 45 percent for Trump, 43 percent for Clinton, 7 percent for Libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson, and 2 percent for Green Party candidate, Jill Stein. That's among likely voters. We're now past Labor Day. Registered voters, Hillary Clinton still has a three-point edge.

Look at some of the key voting blocs inside these numbers, Independents. Donald Trump is besting Hillary Clinton by 20 points, 49 percent to 29 percent. Remember, Mitt Romney won independents by five points in 2012, still lost the election, but this is a huge gap and Hillary Clinton has work to do among independents.

Take a look at women. I think this is really one of the most interesting findings in the poll. Obviously, Hillary Clinton is winning women overall. Look at the difference between single and married women. She's got a 53 point lead on Donald Trump among single women, but married women, Donald Trump bests Hillary Clinton by 17 points. That's a traditional Democrat-Republican divide, but it's sort of on steroids this year. Much more exacerbated than we've seen in the past.

Then, take a look at the key factor of enthusiasm. Take a look at it historically. 46 percent of people in this poll, guys, say they're extremely or very enthusiastic about this election compared to 57 percent four years ago at this point, 60 percent in 2008 who said that, 64 percent in 2004. So the big question mark here is, are we in for a lower turnout election perhaps, people are not as excited about it. But when you look at the enthusiasm vis-a-vis the candidates, this is a big story line to follow. 58 percent of Donald Trump voters in say they are extremely or very enthusiastic about voting. Only 46 percent of Clinton voters say that. Mission critical for the Clinton campaign, why you're going to see Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Bill Clinton on the trail non-stop, because they want to boost the enthusiasm number.

BERMAN: David, what about the issues, Donald Trump enjoying movement there as well?

CHALIAN: Yeah. Take a look at these key issues, and especially issue number-one, the most important issue to voters right now, the economy. Donald Trump is besting Hillary Clinton 56 percent to 41 percent, a 15-point gap. He's got a six-point lead on who is better to handle terrorism. Immigration is basically a draw, 49 percent Clinton, 47 percent Trump. On foreign policy, that's her big strong suit, 16- point lead, 56 percent for Clinton, 40 percent for Trump.

BERMAN: David Chalian, with the numbers, thanks so much.

Want to bring in CNN senior Washington correspondent, Jeff Zeleny. Jeff, we know polls are a snapshot in time. This is a snapshot that I

think Clinton campaign would not like to be looking at on September 7th. What do they say about this?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: They don't like the snapshot. They do have until November. The reality is early voting starting in some states the end of this month. That's why they're taking these numbers very seriously.

But, look, they will say they know enthusiasm is a challenge for them. They point to their ground game, what they've been spending all this time and money building, voter registration, other things. They point to polls in swing states. From Florida, North Carolina, Michigan, Wisconsin, on and on and on, Secretary Clinton has an advantage. And the RealClearPolitics average of these battleground states except Iowa. But what they're looking at is to see if some of these swing state polls will follow the trend in the national survey. They may or may not. These swing states are viewing the election differently. They have been subject to much more advertising. That is why she is changing things up a little bit as she campaigns. She's right now flying to Tampa, Florida, just came back on her plane a few moments ago and said I'm going to take questions again later on today, for a second day in a row. They clearly are worried about this whole transparency issue. Has she been hiding anything? Makes you wonder why they waited until September to not answer questions from the press. They were resisting that, a story line we talked about a lot there. They clearly are reacting to it. She'll take more questions later today.

[11:05:37] BERMAN: Stay tuned for that.

BOLDUAN: One thing that has been a long-term trend in the polls is her problem with honesty -- the honest and trustworthy question. That continues to be a big problem. You actually spoke to the current Vice President Joe Biden about her trustworthy problems. What did he have to say?

ZELENY: Joe Biden is back on the campaign trail and loving every moment of it. This is his final lap, if you will. He had some advice for her when I caught up with her in Pittsburgh. Let's take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Hillary knows it's a problem. She's trying to figure out how to remedy it. My advice to her, the best way to remedy it is talk about what you care about, and talk about it with some passion and people will see through it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZELENY: He's saying to open up more, show your heart more. We'll see if she takes that advice. That works for Joe Biden. That hasn't been her strong suit or what she often does here. She is opening up more in terms of answering questions as we saw yesterday as well.

BERMAN: Maybe as we speak. She got on the plane, said she'd come back and talk to reporters.

ZELENY: Which we should point out is normal for presidential candidates. They used to do that. This should happen --

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: But this election is not is normal.

Great to see you, Jeff.

ZELENY: Thanks, guys.

BOLDUAN: Good to hear from Joe Biden.

Thank you.

With us now to discuss further, former South Carolina state representative, Bakari Sellers, a Clinton supporter; New York City councilman Joseph Boreli, a Trump support; and CNN chief political correspondent, Dana Bash.

Let's make sense of it all.

Dana, we are old enough to remember when Hillary Clinton was up 10 points. What happened?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Sort of where do we start? I think the bottom line is, it's a split nation. It's a divided country. It just is. That, on top of the fact that Hillary Clinton -- neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump are the most well- liked candidates we've ever seen. I think that's an understatement. But the fact of the matter is Hillary Clinton has had a rough couple of weeks, just like the couple of weeks before that Donald Trump had a rough couple of weeks. You combine the fact it's a divided country with the fact that the people who are reluctant about Hillary Clinton for whatever reason, whether it's because she's just another politician or because of what Jeff was talking about, the fact that people are concerned about her honest and trustworthiness, the events of the past couple weeks have just fed into that big time, on her e- mail questions, questions about the foundation and so on and so forth. That clearly is why Hillary Clinton signaled to reporters she's going to come back on the plane today. It's unclear whether that notion is already baked in the cake or not.

BERMAN: Bakari, let me ask you, because Dana brought up this issue of likability and favorability. One of the things Clinton supporters have pointed to, yeah, Hillary, her unfavorability numbers are high, but Donald Trump's are even higher, people like him less. This new poll, for the first time I've seen, Hillary Clinton has higher unfavorabilities than Donald Trump. Can she win if that stays the case?

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, first of all, we're having this moment, especially Democrats, of the pro verbal bedwetting here. This is one poll. If you look at this in the context of the last nine polls that came out along the same time period, this is the only poll that has Donald Trump actually ahead. If you look at the average on RealClearPolitics, Hillary Clinton is still up 3.3 percent. We have to put that in context.

In terms of unfavorables, they're both extremely high. They go back and forth. At the end of the day, you have 63 days remaining. This race is going to be close. It's gotten closer. No one said otherwise.

But the difference between the two candidates is very simple. You have one campaign with an established ground game. We saw the same thing in '08 and in 2012 when these polls had Mitt Romney and John McCain respectively either ahead or tied. But the ground game will put Hillary Clinton over the top at the end of the day. You can't make that up in 63 days.

BOLDUAN: Maybe why this poll may be getting more attention in Brooklyn and elsewhere is that early voting starts at the end of the month. It's all going to start mattering. Polls are going to start indicating something at some point.

Let me ask you this, Councilman, Donald Trump wakes up -- he has not been quoting -- citing many poll numbers on the trail because he doesn't like the way they looked. Donald Trump wakes up this morning, sees these numbers and he says what?

[11:10:04] JOSEPH BORELI, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I'm sure he has a big smile.

To Bakari's point, Clinton's lead cut in half over the last 30 days. The trend has been there to put the campaign right where they want to on literally today the first real day of the campaign signal to have these wonderful headlines broadcast.

BERMAN: Councilman, the polls are not the only things that have changed over the last 24 hours. It seems Donald Trump's position on immigration has changed again as well.

First, I want to play you what he said on the plane yesterday about whether or not he would grant some sort of legal status to some of the illegal immigrants.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP))

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Can you rule out that one possibility is --

(CROSSTALK)TRUMP: No, no. I'm not going to rule out.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: -- legal status?

TRUMP: No.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Not ruling it out. Not ruling out.

BOLDUAN: Not ruling it out. BERMAN: That seems pretty different, Councilman, from what he said less than one week ago. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: For those here illegally today who are seeking legal status, they will have one route and one route only, to return home and apply for reentry, like everybody else, under the rules of the new legal immigration system that I have outlined.

(CHEERING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Not ruling anything out is way, way different than one way and one way only. One route and one route only. Which is it?

BORELI: I think you're comparing apples to oranges. When he says one route, there's one route to citizenship.

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: And I quote, "for those of you seeking legal status."

BORELI: If you want to be legal in this country, you have to self- deport and come back.

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: That's not what he said yesterday. That's not what he said yesterday.

(CROSSTALK)

BORELI: He's been extremely clear. We're going to build a wall. There's no amnesty and no pathway to citizenship. The rest of it is all in the 10-point plan.

What you saw on the plane was candidate doing what he's supposed to do, having a frank conversation about hypotheticals, the policy working itself out. Hillary Clinton did this for the first time yesterday. Give Donald Trump credit for engaging on issues like immigration.

BOLDUAN: Engaging, but he's contradicting himself. How does that help Donald Trump?

BORELI: On the three points of the immigration plan, whether it be a month ago or yesterday, it's always been the same. He's talking about hypothetical situations --

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: Everything is hypothetical. He's not president yet.

BORELI: Correct. BOLDUAN: Voters need to know where he stands.

BORELI: It's a binary choice. If you care about immigration, if immigration is your issue in this race, you have one candidate who wants 100 day amnesty and you have one candidate --

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: The fact is, what he said yesterday was qualitatively different than what he said last week. It's just different. It just is. It may be helping him it's different, but it's different.

Dana Bash, on the issues, we have the new book --

BOLDUAN: It's back there.

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: We're reading it backstage.

Being read by a team of people. A policy book, the Clinton-Kaine team came out with this book about what they're going to do, Stronger Together.

BASH: Well because --

(PHONE RINGING)

BASH: Maybe that's somebody calling to tell me about that.

(LAUGHTER)

Sorry about that.

For the same reasons you saw Tim Kaine talking about in the interview with Jeff Zeleny. That's where they think they can win, on the issues, to keep talking about policy. When you talk about personality, when you talk about those issues, it tends to favor Donald Trump. More importantly, they're trying to put the spotlight on what you're talking about with our councilman there. That is Donald Trump even on his signature issue, immigration, is confusing things because he's trying to kind of find the middle ground, and it's not so easy on such a complex issue.

I will say the thing that fascinated me in this poll on the issues, is the open-ended question, what issue is important to you, without giving options. The economy was number one, of course. Immigration was number two. Maybe that's because we hear so much discussion about it and voters hear so much discussion about it because of Donald Trump being in the race, but if it is so important to voters, it is going to be incumbent on Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, but more on Donald Trump because it's his core issue, to be more clear about it. He's been trying for the last couple weeks and it hasn't really worked in terms of the number-one question, clarity on what to do with the undocumented immigrants currently in this country who are not criminals. [11:15:05] BOLDUAN: We'll continue to seek more clarity from

everybody on that one.

Guys, great to see you. Thank you so much.

Coming up for us, breaking developments in the drama surrounding FOX News. The network apologizing and paying big time over sexual harassment lawsuit filed by a former anchor. The man at the center of it all, former FOX News chairman, Roger Ailes, he's also been advising Donald Trump's campaign. So how does today's news impact the campaign?

BERMAN: First, Donald Trump makes a donation to an attorney general, then she declines not to investigate the university. Is this quid pro quo here? We'll hear how the Trump team is responding. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Brand new poll numbers out this morning that show a much, much different race. Among Independent voters, Hillary Clinton is trailing Donald Trump by 20 points. And on the question of who is more honest and trustworthy, Hillary Clinton trails by 15 points.

BOLDUAN: Here to discuss, Hillary Clinton's deputy communications director, Kristina Schake.

Kristina, thanks for coming in.

KRISTINA SCHAKE, DEPUTY COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, HILLARY CLINTON PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: Thanks for having me.

A dead heat, good news for Donald Trump, which means can't be great news for Hillary Clinton. When you look at the poll numbers, what jumps out to you?

[11:20:07] SCHAKE: We look at this poll and we knew this race was going to be very close. Hillary knew that from the day she started this campaign. That's how she's been running it. You heard her say she has 63 days to go and she's going to work her heart out to earn every vote. We think this is an outlier. Our pollsters took a look at the methodology. Usually pollsters don't do that kind of polling over a holiday because it affects the results. We also think in the methodology that there were 8 percent more Republicans, but it didn't increase in terms of the Democrat Democrats.

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: I did hear complaints about the methodology when our poll showed you up by nine points.

SCHAKE: But here's the thing. Every poll, we just assume we're in a dead heat. We look at every poll, and Hillary doesn't take anything for granted and she's going to get out there and work hard for every vote.

BERMAN: What area? SCHAKE: But we do think this poll is an outlier. We're running as if this is a very close race because this is what Hillary believes.

BERMAN: What area where it's not a dead heat, and one thing that's not an outlier, because it's been consistent in all the polls, the issue of who is the most honest and trustworthy. The gap here, the big one we've seen, now Donald Trump at 50 percent, Hillary Clinton at 35. We asked this question before, but can she win if she's trailing Donald Trump by 15 points on the question of who is more honest and trustworthy?

SCHAKE: She understands she has some work to do in this area. She is going to get out there and talk to reporters as she did yesterday and today. We just saw her, and to voters about what she would do as president. I think at the end of the day when people go in and decide who candidate they with count on in the Oval Office and work on behalf of their families. That's what Hillary Clinton has done throughout her career and that's what she'll do as president.

BOLDUAN: You mentioned families. We hear that from Hillary Clinton a lot. She's winning among women overall. When you look at this poll, she's down 17 points with married women. Why?

SCHAKE: You know, as I said, she's working hard for every vote. One of the reasons I came on the show today --

(CROSSTALK)

SCHAKE: Stronger Together. And it's a real policy she has for all Americans, including America's families and married women, for what she would do to make sure we get equal pay for equal work, quality affordable child care. Hillary wrote this law. It was her idea. This was her idea because she believes in the old-fashioned idea that when you run for president, you should tell people what you would do.

BERMAN: Is this campaign about issues? Do you get a sense that people are talking about the issues in this book, that's what they're looking for?

SCHAKE: I tell you, it's very important to Hillary. She said herself she's a policy wonk, but the details matter when it's your child, when it's your family, your community. She cares deeply about these issues. From the first day of this campaign, she laid out a vision for this country, to make the economy work for everyone, not just those at the top, to keep us safe and bring Americans together. This book is actually her specific ideas of how to solve the challenges that American families face today.

This is in real stark contrast to Donald Trump who "The Washington Post" wrote an editorial saying that he hasn't actually laid out really any policies other than building a wall and giving huge tax cuts to the wealthy, like himself, and actually the real estate developers.

BERMAN: We'll be asking the Trump campaign about that as well.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: One of the things that you probably don't agree with, one of the reasons she wants to talk about policy, but is still facing a lot of questions regarding -- and we see it in the poll numbers consistently, honest and trustworthiness. She continues to face questions about her e-mails. One of the things a lot of people are talking about is aides acknowledged they smashed more than one Blackberry with a hammer in order to destroy it. When it comes to transparency, does that sound like transparency?

SCHAKE: I think as has been explained when these notes came out, she used one device at a time. The old devices, aides got rid of in the most secure way as possible. She wasn't involved in those decisions.

But let's look at the facts here. She asked that these notes be released, asked that they by made public, that all her work related e- mails be made public. She's released decades'-worth of tax returns, released her medical records. This is a stark --

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: She hasn't released medical records. She released a letter from her doctor.

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: And you're absolutely right about the taxes. And you're absolutely right about the fact that she wanted the notes released. That is what she did.

On the subject of the Blackberries, have you ever smashed an old Blackberry?

SCHAKE: This is a decision made by her aides on what they thought was the best way to get rid of an old device. She wasn't involved in that decision.

But, again, in stark contrast to Donald Trump, he has not released his tax returns. American voters expect you to release your tax returns so they can see how you manage your own finances. This is especially important with a candidate who has left a trail of bankruptcies and lawsuits and unpaid bills in his wake. We want to see how he manages his finances so we understand how he'll do it for the American people.

[11:25:15] BERMAN: We are all for more --

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: We're all for transparency.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: More transparency would be better all around.

Great to see you.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: Kristina, thank you for coming on.

SCHAKE: Thank you so much.

BERMAN: We will get the Republican response from team Trump right now. Sean Spicer, chief Republican strategist, now working many days a week out of Trump Tower, joins us next.

BOLDUAN: Also, flashback to 2011, Donald Trump was eager to push the birther conspiracy, questioning if President Obama was born in the United States. Today, Trump's position on it, I don't talk about it anymore. Does that answer it? We'll be right back.

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