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EARLY START

President Slams Trump; Trump: "We're Winning"; Clinton, Warren Campaign in New Hampshire; Obamacare Premium Hike; Coalition Forces Advance on Mosul. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired October 25, 2016 - 04:00   ET

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


[04:00:22] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: President Obama just taunted Donald Trump with a series of late night slams. That's breaking overnight on your television.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: And Trump in denial. Down in the polls, the Republican nominee says he thinks he is winning right now.

BERMAN: Hillary Clinton's campaign now looking to help Democrats down ballot. They want to pack the Senate.

ROMANS: But wait. A scathing new government report about Obamacare. Premiums set to skyrocket next year, which is a bad headline for the president may not be a good headline for the Clinton campaign either.

Good morning. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

BERMAN: I'm John Berman. Nice to see you. It is Tuesday, October 25th. It is 4:00 a.m. in the East.

And breaking overnight: President Obama, he just unleashed on Donald Trump in an appearance with Jimmy Kimmel. It was dripping. It was scorn.

You want to watch this: starting with the present doing mean tweets with Jimmy Kimmel.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: "President Obama will go down as the worst president in the history of the United States, exclamation point, @RealDonaldTrump." Well, at least I will go down as a president.

What I don't do is like 3:00 a.m., I don't tweet about --

JIMMY KIMMEL, COMEDIAN: You don't tweet anyone?

OBAMA: -- people who insulted me. I try to sleep so that in the morning, I'm actually ready for a crisis.

KIMMEL: When you watch Donald Trump, do you laugh? Do you ever actually laugh? OBAMA: Most of the time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: There is no historical parallel for this to have a sitting president do what Barack Obama is doing right now, which is just attack after attack after attack on the opposing party's candidate. We have never seen anything like it.

ROMANS: No historical parallel for 13 months in the presidential cycle.

BERMAN: That is true. But we're in the fine at fortnight.

ROMANS: Great. OK, with an election exactly two weeks away now, Donald Trump is fighting back hard this morning against the increasingly grim forecast for his prospect, a new CNN/ORC poll has Hillary Clinton leading Trump by five points, 49 to 44. But Trump says bad poll and many others are just wrong. He points to a handful that show a closer race.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I believe we are actually winning. I believe we are actually winning. If you read "The New York Times" and if you read some of these phony papers, these are phony, disgusting, dishonest papers. But if you read this stuff, it's like, what are we doing? What are we wasting time for? The truth is I think we're winning.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: The clock is ticking down to Election Day now. Trump is accusing news organizations of conspiring to damage is campaign.

CNN's Jim Acosta is traveling with Trump. He's got the latest for us this morning.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: John and Christine, Donald Trump is ramping up his attacks on the national news media, accusing news outlets of running what he calls "dark polls", showing him losing to Hillary Clinton. Trump attacked the reporters covering his campaign as crooks and thieves. And at a rally here in Tampa, he said they don't care about hardworking people. Here's more of what he had to say.

TRUMP: But the media isn't just against me. They're against all of you. That's what it is. Like Hillary Clinton, they look down on hardworking people within our country. The media is entitled, condescending and even contemptuous of people who don't share certain elitist views.

ACOSTA: And for Republicans who are dissatisfied with the national news media, the Trump campaign is offering alternative programming on Donald Trump's Facebook page. His top advisers, even his campaign manager Kellyanne Conway were starring in their own analysis of the campaign. The Trump campaign officials say, don't call this Trump TV -- John and Christine.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN: All right. Jim Acosta, thanks so much.

This morning, the Clinton campaign seems to have turned at least some of its focus to down ballot races. This as Hillary Clinton and her allies throw up new scathing attacks on Donald Trump.

Let's get the latest from CNN's Brianna Keilar in New Hampshire.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Hillary Clinton has been going through battleground states here in the final push ahead of Election Day. She is starting to change her focus, not just trying to get voters to turn out for her, but trying to get voters to turn out for Democrats who are down ballot. She is hoping that if she gets to the White House, which is something her campaign feels confident about right now, that she will be able to at least have a Democratic majority in the Senate.

So, that's part of the reason why she's in New Hampshire getting a little help from Elizabeth Warren, the senator from Massachusetts, as she tries to help Hillary Clinton get Maggie Hassan, a Democratic into the Senate.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Trump even attacked Kelly Ayotte and called her weak, and Kelly stuck with him. During a debate a couple of weeks ago when she called Donald Trump a role model for kids, you just can't believe this. But now, Donald Trump's not doing well and Kelly is running as fast as she can away from him. Well, I will say one thing, Donald Trump sure has made Kelly Ayotte dance. Day one, she loves him. Day two, she hates him. Day three, she is back with him. Boy, he spins round and round.

KEILAR: Here in New Hampshire, Maggie Hassan has been leading in the polls, but it wasn't always that way. Kelly Ayotte, the Republican incumbent had been leading before. And what we've seen is a drag on Ayotte by Donald Trump as he struggled in the polls, so is he. And it's been a reversal of fortunes that has benefitted the Democratic candidate here, something that Hillary Clinton is hoping to give a push to so she can have that Democratic Senate -- John and Christine.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS: All right. Brianna, thanks.

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have not been Senator Ayotte's only problem. Some of the damage to the New Hampshire Republicans' campaign has been self-inflicted.

CNN's Manu Raju has more on that from Manchester. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Good morning, John and Christine.

Now, Kelly Ayotte has been in a bind over Donald Trump for months. He had been saying that he was going to vote for Donald Trump, she supported Donald Trump, but not endorsed Donald Trump. That was the way to distance herself from some of Donald Trump's more controversial remarks, but also not anger some of those core Donald Trump supporters.

But she got herself into trouble this month when she was asked at the debate if she could consider Donald Trump a role model. At the time, she said absolutely before later walking it back. So, I asked her yesterday. What happened?

SEN. KELLY AYOTTE (R), NEW HAMPSHIRE: At the debate, you know, I corrected that because I made a mistake. I mean, debates, many people are -- you know, you are asked a lot of questions at a debate. What is clear to me is that neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton unfortunately are role models.

RAJU: Now, on the other side, Maggie Hassan, the Democratic governor tried to cover herself with the top of her ticket, appearing at a rally with Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren yesterday, believing that actually making the case for a one-party Democratic government in Washington is more effective than divided government, saying that Kelly Ayotte's comments about being a check on Hillary Clinton simply tantamount to more gridlock. But it really just shows you all the challenges that Republicans face down ticket and running with Donald Trump given how controversial his candidacy has been -- John and Christine.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN: All right. Manu Raju's fascinating interviews from New Hampshire.

New this morning, a pretty stunning price tag for Obamacare premiums. According to a new government report, the cost of the benchmark silver plan will rise 22 percent in 2017. That is a pretty scathing indictment of the current situation with Obamacare and it has Donald Trump vowing once again to dismantle the system.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: It's over for Obamacare. And Hillary Clinton wants to double down and make it more expensive and it's not going to work.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: All right. Let's dive deeper into the Obamacare premium spike. The average premium for the benchmark silver plan, as John said, will rise 22 percent in the states that use the federal exchange. The typical bill will be $296 a month for a 27-year-old. Last year, premiums rose 7.2 percent. But still, double the phase of inflation, bigger than any kind of raise you are getting at work.

Now, more than three quarters of policyholders, they're going to pay less than 100 bucks a month. So, why? Well, there are government subsidies to lower the cost. But the trend is worrying.

Why are these costs increasing? A few reasons here. First, enrollees are seeker and more costly than expected. We heard this from several big insurance conditions. Second, there are not enough healthy younger people signing up. That's what offsets the cost, those young people in the poll. This caused insurers to price their plans too low. They priced the plans too low and now they are adjusting.

But some are dropping out of the exchanges altogether, some insurers are, which means there are fewer choices now at the very moment these prices are going up. There's less competition that even leads to more higher costs and subsidies are rising because of it.

BERMAN: To my understanding, also, is that again, just the way the law is written and has evolved, you know, insurers are not compensated and risk corridors have been shut, they're not getting the money they thought they were going to get. So, they're pulling back on the some of the plans. If right now it is one of the systems that just needs --

ROMANS: It needs a fix.

BERMAN: It needs a fix.

ROMANS: It needs a major bipartisan scrub to figure out how to and by scrub, I mean, look and find out how you can on the margins change what you need to change so that these premiums don't keep rising.

BERMAN: Both sides dug in. So, this will be an issue for the next president for sure.

All right. Nine minutes after the hour.

Hillary Clinton, she has a five-point lead over Donald Trump in the latest CNN/ORC poll. We'll talk to you about what that margin means, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[04:14:01] BERMAN: The brand new CNN/ORC poll this morning shows Hillary Clinton with a five-point lead over Donald Trump. That might be a bit less than other polls you may have seen. Does that mean the race is tightening? Not necessarily.

Here is John King with a look inside the numbers.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Two weeks out. Our new CNN/ORC poll shows a tighter race than most other national polls. But still, advantage for Hillary Clinton heading into the stretch. You see it right here, among likely voters, those likely to vote in November 8th, or vote early, Hillary Clinton, 49 percent. Donald Trump, 44 percent. The third party candidates dropping a bit as it gets closer to Election Day, that's fairly typical.

Again, a 5-point lead for Clinton nationally, as we head into the stretch, let's take a look at why. Number one, Republicans tend to win among male voters. Donald Trump is winning, but not by a lot, 48 percent to 45 percent. Hillary Clinton wants to be the first woman president of the United States, a big gender gap among women voters, 53 to 41, a 12-point advantage here, much bigger than Trump's advantage here. That helps Hillary Clinton heading into the stretch.

Also, throughout this race, we've consistently seen this education gap, and it persists to the end.

[04:15:05] Among white voters with a college degree, Mitt Romney won them four years ago. White voters with a college degree, Hillary Clinton with 11-point advantage over Donald Trump. That's a big deal, especially in some of the key battleground states.

Among white voters with no college degree? Well, that's the foundation of Donald Trump's support. You see that lopsided 30-point advantage for Donald Trump among voters without a college degree.

Now, we don't just ask who you vote for, we ask why. If you go through the issues, you see some that's pretty striking. One reason Donald Trump is still in this race, it's a hard climb, but still in this race, is because he leads when voters are asked, which candidate do you trust more to handle the economy? But another issues, narrowly on terrorism, narrowly on immigration. But then look at this, what has Hillary Clinton said in the campaign? Donald Trump is unfit, temperamentally unfit to be president of the United States. She has a 29-point advantage when asked who has the best temperament to be president, a 15-point advantage when voters are asked who would make the best commander in chief.

These are the key attributes for Secretary Clinton, going on to the stretch. So, you look at the poll numbers, closer than many other national polls. Anything in there that changes this, the math that matters most, the race to 270, Hillary Clinton still has a lopsided edge, nothing in our poll would change this map. Donald Trump needs to get closer still, not only nationally, but change a lot of the state data to make a race of this into the stretch.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS: All right. John, thanks for that.

Bridget Kelly, a former top aide to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, she'll be back on the witness stand today for cross- examination in the Bridgegate trial. She testified Monday that Governor Christie and his senior staff lied when he denies knowing about lane closures of the George Washington Bridge, closures that crippled traffic in a community of Fort Lee. Kelly is charged in an alleged plot to take political retribution against Fort Lee's mayor for refusing to support Christie. BERMAN: All right. Up next for us, the fight for Mosul. Coalition

troops, they're moving ever closer to this key strategic city. The Pentagon, though, sends a sobering warning. We will have a live report from the front lines, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[04:21:25] ROMANS: Development overnight: a terror attack on a police training academy in Pakistan has killed at least 60 people. Authorities say five or six terrorists a hospital Monday night at the academy, where cadets leave. They took hostages. Pakistani security forces killed one of the attackers. Two others died when they detonated bombs they were carrying. Some 200 trainees were rescued.

BERMAN: New developments in the battle for Mosul. Coalition forces are closing in on that city. Iraqi and Peshmerga troops, they're just a few miles now we are told from the borders, fighting has been fierce along the way. The coalition has already freed dozens of villages from ISIS occupation.

And as they advance, it does appear to be the fact that many ISIS fighters are fleeing, leaving in the other direction and going to Syria.

CNN's Michael Holmes has seen this happening live in the ground near Mosul this morning.

Michael, what can you tell us?

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, John, that's right. That word coming from a senior tribal leader, a Sunni tribal leader who himself has witnessed ISIS members, fighters, families and leaders fleeing Mosul, heading across what is still ISIS controlled territory, and into Syria. As you know, Iraqi and Kurdish forces are trying to encircle Mosul to stop precisely that sort of thing happening.

But they're not there yet. The Kurds, their closest forward position may be six miles from the outskirts of Mosul. But that's just one position. Elsewhere, if you look around Mosul, they are still well back. We have been covering one in particular, a strategically important town Bashiqa (ph) and surrounding villages, and saw yesterday or the day before how Kurdish forces had encircled that. They tried to probe their way in. They were hit by vehicles bombs being driven at them and also sniper fire.

What's been happening today is aerial attacks, rockets mainly being fired into specific areas of Bashiqa and that's from Apache helicopters and the like. One presumes that is to soften up, eliminate those sniper positions and get rid of some of those vehicle- born explosive devices, their trucks, their cars, all kinds of things. So, Kurds can then move in to that very important city, Bashiqa.

You know, it is interesting, Iraqis put out a number. They have already destroyed something like 130 truck and car bombs during this campaign and they killed nearly 800 ISIS fighters -- John.

BERMAN: The fight goes on. All right. Michael Holmes for us near Mosul, thanks so much, Michael.

ROMANS: Federal officials are being urged to probe an alleged hate crime at a Mississippi High School. The NAACP says school administrators at Stone Country High School didn't follow protocol after white students threw a noose around the neck of a black student. They say the victim's mother was even intimidated into not pressing charges. Local authorities say they're looking into these allegations. Meantime, the school superintendent released a statement saying in part district officials will make sure all policies and procedures were followed.

BERMAN: The major development in the investigation into the death of Eric Garner back in 2014. The Justice Department has reportedly replacing the team investigating the incident. "The New York Times" says the New York-based FBI agents have been replaced for the team from outside. And federal prosecutors in Brooklyn are no longer assigned to the case either. Federal authorities are investigating if Garner's civil rights were violated and the fatal account with police. NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo, he was seen on video using a chokehold to subdue Garner. A grand jury refused to indict Pantaleo.

ROMANS: Caught on dash cam, a truly terrifying ordeal for a civilian on a police ride-along in Madeira, California. The driver of this white Mazda speeding away during a routine traffic stop, then firing at least 14 shots from an assault rifle.

[04:25:07] Watch.

(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)

ROMANS: Three rounds hit the car, puncturing a tire, passing right through and back windows. Miraculously, neither the officer nor the woman on the ride-along were seriously hurt. The suspects got away, but police say they do have some leads.

BERMAN: At least no one was hurt.

All right. Time to get serious, World Series serious. It all begins tonight in Cleveland. Game one between the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians. The Cubs are really the prohibitive favorites going in.

Either way, history will be made. The Cubs, they haven't been in the World Series since 1945. They last won in 1908. For the Indians, their World Series winning drought goes back to 1940, they were last in it in 1997.

These are two very good teams. Good luck to them. A lot of Red Sox, I know you have to know (ph) on both teams.

ROMANS: Yes. I will say the biggest decision I have to make today is whether it's going to be Italian beef or deep-dish pizza. What do you think I should serve?

BERMAN: I would go with beef.

ROMANS: All right. Just two weeks to go until Election Day. And the big question: who is winning? Our poll and Donald Trump's take, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)