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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Major Hurricane Threatens Florida & Southeast; Trump Takes Credit for VP Debate Win; Trump Campaigns In Nevada; Eric Trump: My Father "Absolutely" Paid Federal Income Tax. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired October 5, 2016 - 20:00   ET

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


[20:00:22] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: And good evening to you. Thanks for joining us.

A potential direct hit from a category four hurricane, that's what Florida's Governor Rick Scott is telling people to prepare for, Hurricane Matthew. Mandatory evacuations already underway in parts of Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas. Moments ago, Governor Scott announced that six medical facilities across the state have begun moving patients out. There is new information coming in on the storm's track tonight, and we'll be bringing that to you as we get it throughout the next two hours.

We begin, though, with a run-up to the next presidential debate here on CNN on Sunday, as well as Donald Trump's victory lap after the vice presidential debate last night with polls moving sharply since the first Clinton-Trump face-off. This next encounter, round two, Sunday night could be more than significant. It could be decisive.

Trump in Nevada which saw the biggest polling shift to Clinton's favor. He just wrapped up a rally in Reno.

Our Jim Acosta is there.

What was his message tonight, Jim?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, you can tell we're getting closer to November 8th. Donald Trump was talking about early voting here in Reno, Nevada. He also lit into President Obama's signature legislative achievement Obamacare. He noted earlier this week that Bill Clinton, former president, husband of Hillary Clinton, described Obamacare as crazy system. Of course, Bill Clinton has walked that back in the last few days. But Donald Trump even tried an impersonation of Bill Clinton here.

He also tried to convince the crowd the name of the state is pronounced Nevada. We know it's pronounced Nevada. But he said over and over again, it's Nevada. It sounds like an episode of life imitating art. That was episode "Veep", Anderson. It's called Nevada.

COOPER: I understand there were reports Trump might have felt upstaged by his running mate after Pence's debate performance last night. I think the campaign's denied. What can you tell us? ACOSTA: Right. Well, the Trump campaign is pushing back on any

notion that Trump was upset by Mike Pence's performance last night. Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said that that was false. Truly outrageous were the words she used and Trump was praising Mike Pence at this rally, didn't talk about it for very long.

But earlier today in Henderson, he was basically taking a victory lap for Mike Pence in saying he deserves part of the credit for that performance last night. Here's what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Mike Pence did an incredible job. And I'm getting a lot of credit because that is really my first so-called choice. That was my first "hire" as we would say in Las Vegas.

And I'll tell you, he's a good one. He was phenomenal. He was cool. He was smart.

He was -- I mean you just take a look at him. He was meant to be doing what he's doing. And we are very, very proud of Governor Mike Pence.

Thank you, Mike Pence.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: Now, of course, throughout the day, Anderson, we've been hearing from political pundits all the way up to Rush Limbaugh, asking Mike Pence whether this performance was generating some buzz about Mike Pence in 2020. That is not the effect that the Trump campaign intended when Mike Pence was out there debating Tim Kaine last night.

So, perhaps not exactly what they wanted in picking Mike Pence. It is never good to up stage the boss, especially in politics, Anderson.

COOPER: Now, Jim Acosta, thanks.

Much more now on Trump's visit tomorrow to an event in New Hampshire which will be, unlike the rallies as we mostly saw him during the primary campaign, a town hall, same format as Sunday's debate here on CNN, no coincidence there.

Our chief political correspondent Dana Bash joins us with the details and the political strategy behind this.

This basically seems like an obvious dry run for Sunday night's town hall.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right, one source told me that it was a scrimmage, that they really want Donald Trump to kind of retain his muscle memory from town halls. Now, he hasn't done as many town halls as, say, a Chris Christie or going back in time in John McCain who basically lived in New Hampshire where a town hall is part of the DNA there, the political DNA. But the fact is they want him to be in an intimate setting, just like

on Sunday night. They have chosen the place where Chris Christie had his first town hall when he announced for president in 2016. And Chris Christie is involved in trying to get Donald Trump ready stylistically for the idea of being questioned by undecided voters, even just how you sit, how you stand, how you approach them, what you say when you approach them -- the things that are quite different fairway the traditional debate without the town hall.

[20:05:02] And so, that is about as far I'm told as they are getting in terms of getting Trump to change up the way he's preparing for this debate, as opposed to the prep for the first debate.

COOPER: So, they're not -- you are hearing that they are not doing other kinds of prep, mock debates or --

BASH: Correct.

COOPER: -- study sessions, anything like that?

BASH: Well, study sessions, yes. I'm told that the group have gotten a bit smaller. That before the first debate, it was a big conference table with maybe upwards of 20 people. Got a bit sometimes unruly, no focused, smaller sessions now, but no mock debates, nothing along the lines of, what, you know, never mind Tim Kaine and Hillary Clinton, but Mike Pence, his running mate had, that his people have said, explicitly to me and others, was what made him successful in that debate. He had the practice.

One texted me as it was going on last night -- practice, practice, practice, it matters. I just spoke to a source familiar with Trump's debate strategy and I said are you going to fly some of Pence's people into Trump Tower to help him, and the answer was, of course not. They could not be more different. What difference would it make? It wouldn't matter.

COOPER: Interesting. And Hillary Clinton is taking a lighter schedule, is focusing on debates.

BASH: Yes, absolutely. Hillary Clinton is doing what she did before the first debate. The debate team had sort of shifted over to Tim Kaine. Now, it shifted back. She had some debate prep today and she'll continue to do so.

I will say, though, that Trump's schedule is clear on Friday. He's not going campaign and he's going to be prepping.

COOPER: All right. Dana, stay with us.

I want to bring in the rest of the panel. Clinton supporter and 2008 Clinton senior campaign adviser Maria Cardona, Democratic political strategist and former Congressional Black Caucus executive director, Angela Rye, chief political analyst Gloria Borger. Also, Trump supporters Kayleigh McEnany and Corey Lewandowski.

Good to see you all. The fact that Trump is doing this, essentially run-through town hall for those who said he didn't prepare enough, it will certainly I assume come as good news.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, I think so. Look, I think inside the Trump campaign, there is a sense that Donald Trump kind of needs the practice. And that the only way to get him to focus is to actually have this dry run or scrimmage, as Dana is calling it.

And I think it could really help him. However, we're all going to be watching it. Don't forget. So, he's going to be judged on this town hall before he does the one on Sunday night. And it doesn't work with Donald Trump to say be like Mike. That is not going to work with for him.

So, he's going to be Donald Trump as Corey --

COOPER: Corey, how concerned are you that a town hall format might not be to his greatest strength?

COREY LEWANDOWSKI, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, I think the moderator is going to be a concern on Sunday night. He's tough, bold, and brash, right?

Anderson Cooper is going to be there.

COOPER: Yes, yes, yes.

LEWANDOWSKI: He's going to be tough on Donald Trump. He's going to be tough on everybody.

But I think what people don't remember in the presidential primary process is Donald Trump did a lot of town halls. The difference became, you know, he did some in Salem, New Hampshire, did some in Londonderry the day before the primary. He did a giant one in Rochester, New Hampshire. We did one in Iowa. We did -- you know, Donald Trump did one in Virginia on Monday with the veterans.

So, this has been a consistent message. Now, what most people are accustomed to are large scale rallies where Donald Trump gets up and talks, freelance, or off the teleprompter for 40 minutes. This is much different. And what you'll see hopefully, is Donald Trump at his best, interacting directly in a small environment, one on one with those people and answering their questions and really hopefully getting a head start, if you will, on what the questions are that will be asked on Sunday night. Hopefully, the same concerns people have Sunday night will be addressed tomorrow night in New Hampshire.

COOPER: Kayleigh, as a Trump supporter, are you worried he's not taking enough time off or lightening his schedule enough in advance of this debate?

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, I think Friday is good to take that time in the mock town hall tomorrow is good. The veterans town hall. He just had that on Monday. He does very well in this format. I think that's the commander-in-

chief town hall where the consensus was Donald Trump did better. They were upset that Hillary Clinton, how she appeared in a town hall. Some -- she blamed it on the moderator, Matt Lauer, which is absurd. But Donald Trump did well because of the simple fact, he likes people. He's got at engaging with people.

Take Hillary Clinton. She seems to hold in contempt anyone who disagrees with her, we're deplorable, we're irredeemable, or we live in a basement if we support Bernie Sanders.

So I think he likes people and engages with people in a real way and Hillary Clinton does not.

COOPER: Dana, is there consensus among Republican you talk to that Donald Trump needs this debate? Needs to do much better?

BASH: Yes, 100 percent, 110 percent if that what was actually mathematically possible, no question. Amongst Republican whose like Donald Trump, those who don't, those who are his nearest and dearest will say he needs do better, and that means saying on the message that he wants to talk about as much as possible and don't get into a tit for tat with Hillary Clinton as much as he tries to goad him which is no question he'll try to do again.

COOPER: Oh, there is still going to be tit for tat, no doubt about it. But whether it is on policy or whether --

BASH: Or her terms or his.

COOPER: On her terms, exactly, right.

Angela, I mean, how concerned are you? The stakes are obviously high for Hillary Clinton. She comes in with wind at her sails, wind at her back. But the part to try to keep that momentum going.

ANGELA RYE, FORMER EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS: That is right. And I think expectations manage at this point. I agree with the first part of what my good friend Kayleigh said, that this is a format that works really well for Donald Trump. He does engage people really, really well.

I think Hillary Clinton depending on the person, right, it can be hit or miss. And so, for me, I'm concerned that there is a question that comes up and she comes across as guarded or protected and that is normally when she comes across as likable, frankly.

I will say, though, I've seen several videos, footage, where she's been in these town hall forum where she's done very, very well. So, I'm concerned it can go either way. Certainly, things are on her side right now and that is all the more reason I think the Clinton campaign and Clinton supporters have a lot more to worry about.

MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I would agree. And I would say that the Clinton campaign and Clinton supporters all across the board should always be concerned, because that's actually how you win, right?

These polls now that re showing that she has now opened a lead of 10 points, nationally, that she's leading in every battleground state now especially in Ohio, I would say to Clinton supporters, don't believe them. Let's get out the vote, let's mobilize and make sure Donald Trump never gets to the White House because that's the only way that will happen.

Plus, anything can happen. I actually agree with Corey. I think this town hall format will be actually good for Donald Trump because it can keep him boxed him, because he won't be a rally where he can say whatever he wants. He won't have a teleprompter, he won't have notes, but he will have the kind of parameters of the moderators, the people in front of him that I think will keep him much more managed. Or at least I think that is what the campaign hopes.

BORGER: You know, if the king of town halls is John Kasich. Let's --

COOPER: He did more than a hundred in New Hampshire.

BORGER: Yes, and let's get him that because he emotes and he hugs people. And he was great anyway in that format.

I actually disagree with you guys. I think that Donald Trump has had some difficulty at town halls. He -- I mean, and you have done them with him. He doesn't address the person directly. He turned and talked to you. And he didn't seem to kind of embrace the person who asked the question or ask that person more questions about their question which Hillary Clinton does really well.

And your town hall, one of the key moments during this campaign so far for Hillary Clinton is when she said she's not a natural politician and said that at a town hall. Donald Trump has not sort of offered part of his personal self, in any of these settings, even when people were asking for it. And I think that is a difficult part for him. It's not the way he sees. He doesn't want to share that way, right?

COOPER: We're going continue this conversation with the panel in just a moment throughout the evening. Of course, the two hours we're on. Not to mention on Sunday, starting at 4:00 Eastern Time, when our CNN debate coverage gets underway from St. Louis.

As Corey mentioned, I'll be docking out for a bit to actually moderate, along with ABC News' Martha Raddatz.

Again, our special CNN live coverage gets under way Sunday at 4:00 Eastern Time.

Just ahead tonight, Dana Bash gets answers from Eric Trump about whether his dad does pay federal income taxes. I'll ask an expert on Donald Trump's finances or someone who's actually seen his tax returns, what he makes of it.

Later, the line from last night's debate that became a headline and to some a controversy as well. We'll talk about quote, "that Mexican thing", unquote, and what Latino voters are saying about it when we continue.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:17:25] COOPER: Donald Trump's former tax attorney, the one who oversaw the 1995 return with that $916 million business loss deduction says Trump had little interest in or knowledge of the tax code back than. Jack Mitnick says Trump was only concerned with bottom lines. Significantly, he said that he could not comment on whether Trump used that massive deduction to legally avoid paying personal federal income tax for up to 18 years.

Last night, Eric Trump did talk about it with Dana Bash and ever since, people have been talking about the answer he gave. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BASH: Has your father paid federal income taxes?

ERIC TRUMP, SON OF DONALD TRUMP: We pay a tremendous amount of taxes. Beyond --

BASH: Federal income taxes.

TRUMP: And beyond -- yes. And beyond --

BASH: Yes?

TRUMP: And beyond taxes, we also employ tens and tens of thousand of people.

BASH: Eric, my question though is, has he paid federal income taxes over the last 18 years, yes or no?

TRUMP: Of course. Yes, absolutely. My father pays a tremendous amount of tax. We as a company pay a tremendous amount of tax.

BASH: So, if we ever see your father's federal income taxes, it will show that he has paid federal income taxes.

TRUMP: There's no question about it. We pay tremendous taxes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well, for some, this puts it all to rest. For others, the answers themselves are raising questions.

Few people have dug deeper into Donald Trump's finances than "Bloomberg View" executive editor Timothy O'Brien. He's the author of "Trump Nation: The Art of Being the Donald".

I spoke to him earlier this evening.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Tim, when Eric Trump insists that his father has paid federal income tax, obviously, it's not the implication from the more than $900 million loss reported by "The New York Times" back in 1995. Based on your reporting on Trump over the years, are you skeptical?

TIMOTHY O'BRIEN, BLOOMBERG VIEW: Well, I'm not really sure, Anderson, what anything is that Eric Trump has seen. I think both of the Trump boys tend to get their father in hot water whenever they speak up on these issues. I think the returns in question go back, you know, two decades. And Eric Trump is I think his early thirties. So, I'm not really -- I doubt that his father was showing him all the tax returns when he was a toddler.

That being said, I think one of the interesting things that's gone on in this debate off of the "New York Times" story is that there is a lot of focus on the legality of this massive deduction he took. And Rudy Giuliani and Chris Christie have spun this as examples of the Donald's genius, when in fact the write-off represents an epic business failure. It is I think representative of about $900 million worth of loans that he guaranteed personally when he went on this acquisition spree in the mid-1980s, late 1980s.

[20:20:14] And all of it, all of it ended up in a giant train wreck. He bought airlines, hotels. He overleveraged his casino business. And he ended up with a ton of debt he couldn't repay because he overpaid for properties. He didn't think far enough ahead about the prospects for the various businesses he was entering.

And it's classic Donald Trump decision making. He's actually a very undisciplined, short-term, non-strategic thinker. And that write-off is a big numeric emblem of that tendency he has.

MADDOW: You know, obviously, Trump could put all of these questions to rest by releasing his tax returns. Obviously, he says he won't release them while he's under audit, even though there is nothing preventing him from doing that. And by his lawyers own admission, his returns from 2002-2008 are no longer under audit.

O'BRIEN: And they haven't -- and by the way, Anderson, the Trump campaign has not given any proof to anyone they are actually under audit. They could release the letter interest the IRS showing that to be the case and they haven't.

Secondly, even if there were an audit -- and they haven't made that clear -- that wouldn't prevent him from releasing anything. That's just not -- all of the audit stuff is a red herring.

COOPER: Forbes Magazine, their latest list of 400 richest Americans, is now out. They put Donald Trump's net worth at $3.7 billion, that's obviously far less than the $10-plus billion that he claims he's worth.

As someone who was sued by Trump for writing that he wasn't as rich as he claimed he was -- a suit that was dismissed, by the way -- how much does something like that actually bother him?

O'BRIEN: Oh, I think it bothers him immensely. You know, for all his bluster and bullying and bragging, he's immensely insecure about some very fundamental things. And one of them is his sense of himself. And he -- his net worth and how rich he is, and where he figures on the pecking order is much more important to him than it is to anyone else. No one cares about his wealth as much as Donald Trump himself cares about it.

COOPER: Tim O'Brien, Tim, appreciate you being on. Thanks.

O'BRIEN: Good to be here, Anderson.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, still plenty of questions out there. Back with the panel.

I mean, Dana, you had that conversation with Eric Trump. Does that settle anything? Or does it raise more questions?

BASH: No, no. I think questions that were out there remain. There was only so much time and there were a lot of unanswered even as he was answering the questions. One of which frankly looking back, I probably should have been specific, personal income taxes or income taxes, and then maybe the obvious is he said he'd seen them. Did you see the check, how do you actually know he paid the income taxes?

I mean, it was his knee jerk reactions as the son of somebody who's under fire to try to put it to bed by saying yes because that give. But we don't know.

COOPER: Kayleigh, I mean, Donald Trump could very easily just -- even him not releasing the actual return, the full returns which are obviously very large as Eric Trump pointed out in the past. I mean, he could just acknowledge one way or the other whether, in fact, he did not pay personal income tax for years and years as result of this write-off. It's something he hasn't done.

MCENANY: Well, he did release a statement when this "New York Times" story came out, saying I paid hundreds of millions of real estate taxes, excise taxes, employee taxes, real estate taxes, city, state and federal taxes.

COOPER: Right. But he hasn't answered that part.

MCENANY: Federal taxes was part of that.

So, I think this whole "New York Times" story is emblematic of the reason he shouldn't release his taxes. They put on a headline that says Donald Trump could have not paid taxes for 18 years. Since when do we have speculatory headlines with no basis to make that claim other than the fact there is a loss claim on a tax form.

They're speculations. We're still talking about this "could have not paid taxes" story. There's no proof me didn't pay taxes. So, why would you release hundreds of pages that are going to be misconstrued by the media and the Clinton campaign?

COOPER: But, Corey, he could release just basic information, his tax rate, what he paid, what he made, his deductions and charitable contributions, without releasing all thousand pages. LEWANDOWSKI: I honestly think it is irrelevant at this point, right?

You have the opportunity to move forward and set out the course for America over the next four or eight years, as the next president of the United States. And the issues that are affecting American people today -- jobs, immigration, their own personal taxes, the burden of Washington, D.C., regulations.

Look if people want to dwell on Donald Trump's taxes, they are welcome to do that. That does nothing to set the agenda moving forward. What we do know, 11 percent of people think Hillary Clinton is honest and trustworthy, 11 percent approval rating in Congress, and 55 points in the wrong direction if you think the country is on the right track or the wrong track.

[20:25:10] The American people don't care about Donald Trump's taxes. They care about jobs and the economy and safety.

COOPER: Maria?

CARDONA: This is exactly the problem with the Trump campaign. They are so tone deaf when it comes to these issues. We have seen in poll after poll, that multiple, majorities of American people, majorities of Trump supporters believe in number one, taxes is a civic duty and people should pay them. But majorities of American people, 70 percent, above 70 percent, believe that he should release his taxes.

And I think put legality aside. Two things, it is unseemly when you have a multibillionaire who touts his business acumen and touts how rich he is every three seconds and then there was a news article today how about back 1978 and '79 that shows that he also did a lot of losses and so, not just he didn't pay taxes but his business acumen is actually a plus.

BORGER: You know, it's not so much, even how much taxes he paid, if you want to buy the argument that he had a good accountant and he didn't have to pay taxes, let's even assume that argument, OK? What is it -- a question is, where are his investments? What potential conflicts of interests are there with foreign governments? Particularly since he's said I'm going the hand over my business to my kids. And they will still be running that business.

These are the things that would be outlined in a tax return. Not just the bottom line and not the charitable and all the rest -- these are serious foreign policy issues.

CARDONA: I think that's probably the most serious issue.

BORGER: I think the public deserves answers.

COOPER: Angela?

RYE: On that point certainly. But I also think there is yet another point and that is, this is the same person who's called for transparency from potential opponents and from this opponent. He's asked for Wall Street transcripts. He's asked President Obama when he was just thinking about a run for a birth certificate. So, why would not meet the very same standard? I think one of the

famous lines is he's not even meeting the Nixon standard on this. And, of course, we know he released the tax returns after he ran. But still --

LEWANDOWSKI: Donald Trump said in the first debate he'll release his full tax returns as soon as Hillary Clinton releases 33,000 e-mails. Very clear.

(CROSSTALK)

LEWANDOWSKI: And moreover, he did call for Hillary Clinton to release her transcripts from those Wall Street speeches and she refused to do that as well, where she has made tens of millions of dollars or more from Wall Street executives, right?

CARDONA: Apples to apples, Corey.

LEWANDOWSKI: If you want to see Donald Trump's holdings are, go down to Federal Elections Commissions and pull out the piece of paper that shows what obligations he has, what properties he owns, how much he owes in debt in each of those. They're all available for public viewing.

COOPER: But, Dana, there is a lot that is not in those documents that would be in the tax returns.

BASH: Yes. There's no question about it. The federal -- the financial disclosure has some information. But not nearly as much as you would learn by what he pays or doesn't pay in taxes with regard to his personal taxes about his company.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: I mean, Kayleigh, if Hillary Clinton, if none of her tax information was out there, wouldn't the Trump campaign or any opponent be raising lots of red flags about that?

MCENANY: I think Congress has put in place laws that suggest what we expect of someone who's running for the highest office in the land. You fill out financial disclosure form. Donald Trump did that.

For Maria to say it's not the same, the emails and the tax returns, you're right it's not thee same. Because we have a law, the Federal Records Act, that required her to keep the e-mails that she disobeyed.

One candidate in this race has violated transparency laws. One candidate and that is Hillary Clinton.

COOPER: Maria, and then we got to go.

CARDONA: Not of that has been proven.

MCENANY: It has been proven --

CARDONA: No, no -- (CROSSTALK)

CARDONA: This was looked at by the FBI. This was looked at by a gazillion committees in Congress.

MCENANY: He confirmed that. He violated the Federal Records Act.

CARDONA: You guys continue to say there's no law that Donald Trump has got to release his taxes. But the fact of the matter is that again for 40 years, this has been the standard. And the American people expect that, for all the reasons that we just talked about.

The most important one I do believe is what Gloria mentioned, when you have someone who we know has a very strong bromance with Vladimir Putin and you have we already know has connections with Chinese banks who owe -- who actually own the debt that he holds. And he is asking us to give him the position of commander in chief, when he would have the ability to pass laws and to be favorable --

(CROSSTALK)

MCENANY: Your candidate accepted $200 million in foreign donations. I know you ignore the FBI director when it's not convenient for you. He confirms she violated that act.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: All right. We've got to leave. We're going to take a break. We'll have more with our panel.

Ahead, Mike Pence has been getting good reviews for his debate performance. But it's also stirred of some controversy about his comment about the -- that Mexican thing. We'll take a look at that ahead.

Plus, the latest on the deadly hurricane barreling toward the U.S. tonight, where it's headed and how bad the damage could be.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Trump's running mate, Mike Pence is speaking right now in Grantville, Pennsylvania. CNN/ORC poll, a debate watcher says that Pence won last night vice presidential debate, 48 to 42 percent.

One moment became a hashtag in a headline, Clinton running mate Tim Kaine repeatedly brought up Donald Trump's immigration policy in remarks about Mexicans. His attacks culminated with this exchange

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TIM KAINE, (D) VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When Donald Trump says women should be punish or Mexicans are rapist or criminals ...

MIKE PENCE, (R) VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I tell ...

KAINE: ... or John McCain is not a hero, he is showing you who he is. PENCE: Senator. You whip out that Mexican thing again. He -- look ...

KAINE: Can you defend it?

[20:35:00] PENCE: There are criminal aliens in this country Tim, who have come into this country illegally, who are perpetrating violence and taking American lives.

KAINE: You want to use our brush against ...

PENCE: He also said and many of them are good people. You keep leaving that out of your quote.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: But again Pence response went viral, its hashtag #ThatMexicanThing sparked a lot of discussion.

Joining me is CNN political commentator and Republican strategist Ana Navarro, she's not a Trump supporter. Also Trump surrogate, Steve Cortes. Good to have you both.

With this Ana, your reaction to what the governor said last night about whipping out that Mexican thing again?

ANA NAVARRO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well what can I tell you? I giggled a lit bit because I thought it was a weird phrase. For a while there I thought maybe Anthony Weiner had gone crazy celebrating National Taco Day which was last night, yesterday.

But, look, Mike Pence has been guy who's actually supported immigration reform. When he was in Congress, when he was part of the Republican conference, he was a very compassionate man who supported and spoke and say we have immigration reform. So I give him the benefit of the doubt.

But most of America doesn't know who Mike Pence is, has never heard of him and only knows him as Donald Trump's running mate. And when you are the running mate of a man who has spoken about Mexicans, have said that some of them are rapists and said these things he had said about Mexicans for 16, 17 months now. Somebody who has attacked a judge for being of Mexican heritage. An Indiana born judge. A man from the state that Mike Pence represents. You don't get the benefit of the doubt from most Americans and what we've seen it turned into a hashtag it say -- turn into a rallying call for a lot of Latinos.

COOPER: Steve, I mean do you think it is actually going to hurt him in the Latino community? I mean look at the latest national polling on the Latino-Hispanic vote. Donald Trump winning just 17 percent of likely Hispanic voters. And Secretary Clinton 65 percent. That was before the debates. Do you think this hurts?

STEVE CORTES, TRUMP SURROGATE: Right. You know, Anderson listen, I will be the first to concede we're not doing great among vote of color and by the way the Republican Party hasn't for many election cycles. So this is hardly new Donald Trump. What I would say regarding ...

COOPER: It has done better in years past.

CORTES: Sure. But what matters to me as an Hispanic is he went down to Mexico and I thought acted very presidential when he met with President Nieto -- Pena Nieto down there and he said, and he meant it from his heart that the Mexican-American community is a treasure to the United States.

We need and we love legal immigration. And no one by the way is more adversely affected by illegal immigration than legal immigrants. They are the ones who I think most of all people like my father who did it the right way, who went Weiner, sometimes honor is procedures to become illegal American. They are the ones who are most cheated when we say it is OK for illegals to hop the line and to get in front of them. It's unfair, it's bad economic policy and it's terrible national security policies.

So we are going to get control of our border. We love immigration. He's the son of an immigrant. He's married to an immigrant. We know what immigration does to the United States in terms of our culture, our economy, our vitality.

COOPER: So.

CORTES: But we've been right as a people to do it through legal means.

COOPER: Ana, I mean there are some key battleground states with large Latino-Hispanic populations, Florida, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado. It is not monolithic population by any means. Is it possible the way Governor Pence handled Trump' statements on undocumented Mexican immigrants, how he pivoted away from the questions about Trump's past- talk by deportation that might actually help some conservative Latino voters vote for Trump.

NAVARRO: Look, there are some conservative Latino voters but they are the huge minority. The very small minority. Let me just say this, I came to this country legally too. I came by plane. I did it legally. But I also understand and I think most Latinos have got the empathy to understand that but for the grace of God there go i. I realize that I came to this country as an eight-year-old girl. But I could very well have been a dream ad girl.

Had not my parents not had the money to hire lawyers and my parents not have the resources and ability to make me legal the way they did. I could have been one of those girls who found out when they were 19 years old and going into college, that I was illegal. But for the grace of God, I realized that wasn't the case because I was a lucky ...

CORTES: Ana ...

NAVARRO: ... one with fortunate one. But I think that -- that because this campaign has prayed on Latinos, has prayed on immigrants. Has made it a pillar of their campaign to attack in Hispanics, to attack immigrants, to make a one of the things that they stand on they don't get the benefit of the doubt. And ...

(CROSSTALK)

NAVARRO: ... have got to walk on Ed Show ...

CORTES: Ana, you are trying ...

NAVARRO: ... because he doesn't have the benefit of the doubt.

(CROSSTALK)

NAVARRO: You know, I'm not trying to make anything. Donald Trump has made it so since January -- since June 16th when he first announced ...

COOPER: OK, Ana, let Steve respond.

NAVARRO: ... and called Mexicans rapist. It wasn't me, Steve. It was Donald Trump ...

CORTES: Ana.

NAVARRO: ... who went on the attack against Mexicans from day one of this campaign.

COOPER: Steve go ahead.

[20:39:58] CORTES: What you are doing is you are trying to make the illegal immigrants the victims. They are breaking the law. The victims are not illegals. People who break our immigration laws who come here in a way that is not allowed by our laws. They're not ...

COOPER: But Steve, Ana is talking about language ...

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Steve, Steve. Ana is talking about language that that your candidate -- the candidate your supporting has used when you hear some of the language he is used. Do you any problems with it?

CORTES: Listen, Anderson I'll be the first to say particularly early in the campaign I didn't like some of the tone. And I think he alienated some Hispanics unnecessarily. I think we're doing our very, very best to win them over now and try to convince voters of color whether be Hispanics or African-Americans that the Democratic Party has taken you for granted and they have pandered to you whether it is illegal immigration or whether its schools or economic opportunity and what we are saying is we have a better way forward for you.

COOPER: OK.

CORTES: And part of it by the way for legal Hispanics is that illegal immigration is a non starter for us.

COOPER: OK.

CORTES: And particularly ...

COOPER: I got to go.

NAVARRO: Steve, those are reason why your Hispanic Advisory Council has shrunk every single day. Well right now, there's a meeting at (inaudible), because they are ashamed of the words that Donald Trump has used and you should begin by not calling us voters of color and understanding that African-American, Muslims, Hispanics we are all different people with different priorities and different issues ...

COOPER: OK, I going to leave it there. Ana, thank you. Steve Cortes, as well.

Programming note, Mike Pence and Tim Kaine will both be on "CNN's New Day" tomorrow morning.

Just ahead, a closer look, the impact Gary Johnson and Jill Stein might have in the election from someone who knows also well, when a third party candidate can do. My conversation with Ralph Nader, next.

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[20:45:34] COOPER: The wild card in this election, could come down to the third parties. The latest CNN polling, shows Clinton at 47 percent, Trump just 5-points behind. Third party candidates Gary Johnson and Jill Stein have 9 percent between them. I spoke about their potential impact tonight with Ralph Nader. Some argue that his third party run in 2000 cause Al Gore, the election he disagrees.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Are you supporting any particular candidate this presidential ...

RALPH NADER, FORMER INDEPENDENT PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE" No because what I would like do is comment favorably or unfavorably on what they do or what they say.

COOPER: In terms of if it's a choice between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, do you see much difference between the two?

NADER: Yeah, of course there's a difference, but they both flunk.

COOPER: They both flunk?

NADER: You know, yeah -- I mean the country deserves a lot better. I mean here you have a failed gambling czar who became a corporate welfare kin that's cheated his way to a billion dollars.

COOPER: And the Secretary Clinton.

NADER: Well she is, you know, more Wall Street, more war. I mean she's a hawk that actually scares the generals. Look at the Libya disaster. She over road the Secretary of Defense gait whose didn't want to topple the regime in Libya because of the chaos, and that this fully over into Africa, he foresaw that, he was right. COOPER: So you won't say publicly who you'll vote for. What will you do on Election Day if you don't like any candidates?

NADER: There are third parties and there are write ins.

COOPER: But, you know -- I mean you obviously know the argument about spoilers. You have called the whole idea of a spoiler candidate as the politically bigoted word. What do you mean by that?

NADER: Well, you'll notice that the two major party candidates never call each other spoilers. It's only directed to a third party candidate who is considered someone that takes votes away. Well if you have an equal right to run for election on the constitution and use our First Amendment right, then we're all trying to get votes someone another. So we're all trying to either spoil one another or none of us are spoilers.

COOPER: There are some folks watching these polls they were saying that, you know, Hillary Clinton is having a hard time getting some the millennial voters who were -- you know, appeal to back then. Who are also went for President Obama. If Gary Johnson or Jill Stein are taking votes from Hillary Clinton but don't have an actual chance of getting into the White House themselves, aren't they by definition spoilers.

NADE: Not at all. Why don't do major candidates take away votes from Johnson and Stein.

COOPER: Well they certainly are.

NADER: I mean that why don't they take their issues, when Franklin Delano Roosevelt was challenge by Norman Thomas in the 1930s, he took away some of his platform. So this idea of scapegoating. Whining, constantly whining in instead of the Democratic Party looking at them in the mirror. They have been fiddling in the House of Representatives trying to assemble all the bad Republican votes that they passed in the House. They still haven't come out with it.

COOPER: So if Donald Trump won on Election Day and it is a close election, you don't think or Hillary Clinton won, that the third party candidates would have had anything to do with that.

NADER: Not when they are at 1, 2, 3 percent. And they're both going to shrink from the present polls, that's the practice. They're be lucky to get 1 or 2 percent.

COOPER: But some in these states they are, you know, they're doing double digits.

NADER: That's true, but there all kind of other sine qua non. Like in Florida in 2000 for example. 300,000 registered Democrats voted for Bush. The secretary of state with her shenanigans. The butterfly ballot misidentifying thousands of people as ex-felons, taking away their vote. The Supreme Court decision selecting 5 to 4 George W. Bush. See there are a lot of seen sine qua nons. And just to blame the Green Party for that is to give the Green Part illusions of grandeur.

COOPER: But do you think you play any role in that at all? And what happened in 2000?

NADER: I wouldn't be surprised if by pushing Gore he made some critical comments on corporation, insurance companies, oil companies, and stronger on the environment that he got far more votes than whatever would have voted for them. You know ...

COOPER: You actually think you by being in the race you actually have got Gore more?

NADER: Yes. Because when you are at that small level percentage that we were. Just a surge of getting out the vote in Wisconsin because they thought that the Green Party was nibble away at them, you know, ensured them getting Wisconsin.

COOPER: Do you think about how the world would be different had you not run in 2000?

NADER: Yeah, I think the result would have been George W. Bush. There was a poll right after the election. Without me in it and he won it. But look how crazy it is, Anderson. We have an election where Gore won by 550,000 votes nationally and the Electoral College took it a way from him, this crazy Electoral College and flew into Florida and you're blaming the greens on this.

[20:50:11] I mean this is absurd, it's scapegoating at its worst, because the Democratic Party doesn't want to look itself in the mirror and ask itself, why isn't it land sliding the worst Republican Party in history and defending the country? They don't want to look at those, because they're dialing for the same commercial dollars.

COOPER: Ralph Nader, thank you very much for being with us.

NADER: You're welcome.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Coming up, we have breaking news. After battering the Caribbean and killing 10 people, Hurricane Matthew heads for Florida. We'll get the latest, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Just breaking news tonight from Florida. Where the governor is warning if Hurricane Matthew lands a direct hit, there could be devastating a massive destruction. Evacuation is underway and parts of Florida, Georgia as well as the Carolina's after the hurricane left at least 10 people dead across the Caribbean.

Now forecasters are watching to see what's in store in Florida, the rest of the southeast. Our meteorologist Jennifer Gray joins us from CNN Weather Center with the latest. So where is Matthew now?

JENNIFER GRAY, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, right now, it's about 360 miles southeast of West Palm Beach. So it's getting closer and closer. This is the latest advisory. At 8:00 Eastern Time, winds of 115 miles per hour. Gusts of 150. Strong category 3 storm, moving to the northwest at 12 miles per hour.

[20:55:05] On this track Anderson, it is going to re-strengthen. We are thinking that it is starting to get a little better organized, it will have time to strengthen into a possible category 4 storm just off the coast of say, Miami-Dade, Broward counties. Thursday afternoon, 130-mile-per-hour winds. And then either brush the coast of Florida, move inland, or stay out to sea. See with this cone as of uncertainty.

And so, all of these different scenarios will mean huge differences in the impacts that are felt, because hurricane force winds extend about 45 miles from the center. So this storm jogs a bit little more to the west. It could mean much more far-reaching impacts for the state of Florida, it jogs a little bit more to the east, that would be the best case scenario. It does look like it is going to loop back to the north and east by the time we get into the weekend. And then a lot of uncertainty from there.

Some of the models are showing this actually bending back around and impacting Florida for a second time. As we get into the middle part of next week. A lot of uncertainty there. But one thing we are certain of, is this -- this going to have huge impacts for Florida and the southeast coasts in the coming days.

COOPER: Yeah, we'll be watching it very close. So Jennifer Gray. Jennifer, thank you.

Up next, another -- our second hour of "360". More on how Donald Trump and Clinton are getting ready for this Sunday's town hall debate. Coming up.

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