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Numbers Show Trump is Losing with Two Weeks to Go; Do People Think the Election is Actually Rigged?. Aired 12-12:30p ET
Aired October 25, 2016 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[12:00:39] JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to INSIDE POLITICS. I'm John King. A beautiful shot of the Capitol there. Look at the White House behind us. Thanks for sharing some time with us today.
Three questions to frame the race and our conversation. One, is this the 2016 version of fuzzy math?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Just in case you haven't heard, we're winning, not only Florida, but we're going to win the whole thing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Question two, now the real numbers show Donald Trump is losing with just two weeks to Election Day, but can Hillary Clinton close the deal?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: So we've got to make it clear that Donald is not on the side of American workers or American families. You know, for all of this talk about putting America first, he makes his products in at least 12 other countries.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: And question three, did Donald Trump just give the Democrats a brand-new turnout tool?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: And on November 8th, we nasty women are going to march our nasty feet to cast our nasty votes to get you out of our lives forever!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: With us on this beautiful day to share their reporting and their insights, Karen Tumulty of "The Washington Post," CNN's Nia-Malika Henderson, Heidi Przybyla of "USA Today," and Politico's Glenn Thrush. Now, it's not exactly a surprise, but the Obama administration just
handed Donald Trump a giant October gift. The question is whether he's capable of making the most of it. At issue, that new government report indicating that if you get your health care through the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, well, your 2017 premiums are average are going up 22 percent. That's three times the increase of last year.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: This election is going to be about Obamacare. It's going to be about jobs. It's going to be about a lot of things, but Obamacare is just blowing up and even the White House, our president, announced 25 or 26 percent. That number is so wrong. That is such a phony number. You're talking about 60, 70, 80 percent in increases, not 25 percent. And I can say, all of my employees are having a tremendous problem with Obamacare. You folks, this is another group, is that a correct statement? I mean you look at what - what they're going through and what they're going through with their health care is horrible because of Obamacare. So we'll repeal it and replace it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: So you heard Donald Trump there. That's this morning in Florida. The reason I asked the question, here's this gift from the White House, but can he make the most of it. You just heard him say, all of my employees are having trouble with Obamacare. His own hotel, moments later, had to come out and correct him, saying that 99 percent of their employees get their coverage through the hotel. Employer- provided health care. It's only a tiny percentage.
So that is my question, this is a gift. You have the Republican nominee for president, Republican Party has said from the beginning this would not work. This is an argument to make about it won't work. It's an argument to make about the incumbent. It's an argument to make about, she's more of the same. It's an argument to make if you're a Republican saying, this is government meddling in your life. Any conservative could rip this up any other way, but can Donald Trump make this case with 14 days to go?
KAREN TUMULTY, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Well, his comment indicated that he doesn't even have a very clear idea of what Obamacare is. That, you know, people who work for large employers do not get their health care under the Affordable Care Act through the exchanges. So he first says all of his employees are struggling with it. Then he says, well, they don't really have it.
The second thing is, until you understand how it works and where the weaknesses are, and we are finding out there are a lot of them, you can't explain to people exactly how you were going to fix it. So he is trying to sort of glide past this with just a promise that whatever he comes up with will be bigger and better and cheaper and better and better.
KING: Let's -
HEIDI PRZYBYLA, "USA TODAY": It's certainly a - it's a pocket - it's the first real gift in the sense that it's a real legitimate pocketbook issue. But there's two issues here. First is, can he stay on message? Can he really have the message discipline that he's lacked all along in this entire campaign? Question one.
Bigger question, two, is about Obamacare itself. We're in a different time now that Obamacare - this is the first election since the healthcare.gov exchange actually took place. And the question is, is Obamacare really the boogieman that it was before it was enacted? And if you look at the polling you see it, it is still slightly more seen unfavorably than it is favorable, but it's just not one of those issues that really ranks high because at the same time that some people will see big premium increases, it's also helping a lot of people.
[12:05:16] GLENN THRUSH, POLITICO: well, the other thing is, look at how unenthusiastic he was about talking about it. It was almost like, remember that great moment on "Saturday Night Live" when Chevy Chase says, I thought there would be no math. He's just sort of - he was definitely getting into the weeds on stuff. You could tell he was kind of rushing through it so he could get into a more - to more comfortable territory.
The other thing about it is, he puts out a statement - and this really is a totally gift-wrapped issue for him. The first big break he's had in - in a couple of weeks, right? And the statement he puts out, what's the first thing that he says? Does he make it about the American people? Does he actually identify people who are really suffering from that, which is what any competent campaign would be, they'd rush a commercial showing somebody who's really suffering from that? No. His press release says, I told you so.
KING: I told you so, right, I called it.
Let's go back to Karen's point, though. He's not comfortable talking about politics.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Right.
KING: Especially - this is incredibly complicated. If you want to understand this, you're right, especially if you're going to repeal it and replace it, which Republicans say they're going to do, you'd better be able to explain to people, those who have benefited from it and those who like the fact that other people are benefiting from it even if they're (INAUDIBLE) explain. Listen to this - this is back in the second debate, the town hall debate, when this issue came up. And, again, when Donald Trump talks about it, he's kind of not exactly specific.
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TRUMP: It's very bad, very bad health insurance. Far too expensive.
We have to repeal it and replace it with something absolutely much less expensive, and something that works. Where your plan can actually be tailored. We have to get rid of the lines around the state, artificial lines, where we stop insurance companies from coming in and competing because they wanted President Obama, and whoever was working on it, they want to leave those lines because that gives the insurance companies essentially monopolies. We want competition.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: That - that's a familiar Republican talking point.
KING: That's part of it. But he doesn't get a - he almost sounds like he's just regurgitating talking points they gave him in debate prep. He doesn't seem comfortable going through the nuances of the policy.
HENDERSON: Yes. He doesn't. And in those primary debates, Marco Rubio pretty mercilessly mocked him with the lines around the states being the key to his plan. And even if you look on his website, there's not a lot of detail in terms of what he would want to do.
On the other hand, you have had Hillary Clinton talk much more in detail about this. She obviously has a history in terms of thinking about and planning for health care going back to Hillarycare. So he just doesn't have it in him to make these sort of policy arguments.
I also think, I mean, if you think about what he was saying today, some of his employees do seem to be on Obamacare. And it seems to be the part-time workers and the low, you know, sort of the low-wage service workers who are on Obamacare because they're only allowed 30 hours a week, which is something that sometimes employers do so they can avoid paying for health care. So it's -
KING: Well, it -
THRUSH: And the other thing is, this is one of those issues where there is genuine daylight between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. By the way, genuine daylight between Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton -
THRUSH: Who came out a couple of weeks ago and said that this was the craziest thing in terms of the middle class - the middle class increases on the premiums. So there is a ton of things that he could have gotten up there today and exploited and he didn't.
KING: It's a critical policy issue for the country. It also happen to be, if you're Donald Trump, a gift, as we were talking about, not just nationally. Look at these numbers in the states. Arizona, a state now where Hillary Clinton leading, 116 percent is the projected policy premium increase there. It's 22 percent nationally. One hundred a sixteen percent in Arizona. Fifty-three percent in Pennsylvania. Forty percent in North Carolina. Two percent in Ohio. That's a more modest figure. Fourteen percent where he is in Florida today.
Those are presidential battleground states. You would think he could make this case. And, Glenn, you mentioned a smart campaign gets quick on this. Kelly Ayotte is the Republican Senate candidate in New Hampshire. We've talked a lot about her in recent weeks because she's in a very tight race and she's being dragged down because Trump is losing New Hampshire by about double digits. Kelly Ayotte, toughly in a debate, said Donald Trump could be a role model. Then she tried to pull it back. Her campaign's in a little bit of trouble. Guess what's on TV in New Hampshire today?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): Maggie Hassan can't stand up to her party. She supports the broken health care law that even Bill Clinton called -
BILL CLINTON (D), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: The craziest thing in the world.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kelly will look at the facts and do the right thing to make health care more affordable.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I trust Kelly to put New Hampshire first.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: That's what a smart campaign does.
PRZYBYLA: So what you're seeing is - is - this is probably a gift, but it's not a gift to Trump because he can't - doesn't know how to unwrap it. But the Republicans down the ballot will. And they are now starting to make this case that, you know, they wanted to kind of move away from Trump and cast themselves as a check and balance on Hillary Clinton. Well, they can use this as Exhibit A. And you're seeing these down ballot candidates do and also some of the outside money spending groups like Americans for Prosperity, which has been going - driving hard on this all along, kind of underscoring the point that Donald Trump could have done a lot more to try and exploit this as well at the top of the ticket.
[12:10:10] TUMULTY: But I - but I do think that these candidates are also going to have to answer the question of what exactly they would replace this with. Because assuming that the polls are correct, and that Hillary Clinton is going to be elected the next president of the United States, fixing this law, which is not only being beset by cost increases, but also the fact that in a lot of states insurance company are just dropping out of these exchanges left and right, leaving people with very little of that choice that they were promised in their health care plans, this is likely to be the first big serious domestic governing challenge for Hillary Clinton.
HENDERSON: And, I mean, in some ways you have Republicans sounding like a broken record because this is what they've been saying, repeal and replace, for the last many cycles. It hasn't really worked yet. A lot of these numbers, as you said, are baked into the cake. Slightly - it's something like 47 percent to 44 percent, 47 percent disapprove. 44 percent approve. And, still, it's such a small slice, about 22 million people are getting Obamacare. The rest of the country is getting their health care through their employ. So it isn't clear that this is going to be one of those issues that really changes minds at this point.
PRZYBYLA: And it's an even smaller slice that is actually going to be affected by these premium increases.
TUMULTY: Although -
PRZYBYLA: Only about 5 to 7 million. And then sprinkle that across all of the battleground states and you're talking about a small number of people.
TUMULTY: But the - but the American taxpayers in general are having to pay these gigantic subsidies -
TUMULTY: That go alone with people who can't afford their premiums.
KING: And so we'll see if it can play out. We'll see if Donald Trump gets more comfortable with it. We do know, to the other point, we're going to see this if you - if you're in a battleground state with a Senate race, Obamacare is back, just like in was in 2010 and 2014. Look at your TV. It's going to be coming to you.
All right, let's move on. Up next, do you nod or shake your head when Donald Trump says the election is rigged. Our new poll breaks down who trusts the election system and how many of you think Trump will refuse to concede if he loses.
[12:16:23] KING: If you look at the last 50 national polls, that's 50, 5-0, Donald Trump leads in just five. And four of those five are from a polling firm with a spotty Republican-leaning track record. On average, Clinton's lead is five points, with two weeks to go. Donald Trump would have you believe those numbers are made up by the media. Thinks we're cooking the books.
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TRUMP: The media isn't just against me. They're against all of you. That's really what they're against. They're not against me. They're against what we represent. Like Hillary Clinton, they look down on the hard-working people of the country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Now, do you buy that meaning? Let's get to the big question, do you think the election is actually rigged? Take a peek here at some new CNN/ORC polling. Two-thirds of you, 66 percent, have confidence votes will be cast and counted accurately. Now that's a higher level of confidence than when we asked this question in 2008 and it's down a little bit from when we asked it back in 2004. Not surprisingly, there's a sharp partisan divide. You see it there. Nearly nine in ten Clinton supporters have confidence in our election system. Just 49 percent of Trump supporters do.
We added these questions to our poll because Trump is out there saying it's a rigged election. So it's clear - it's clear two-thirds of Americans think, no, it's OK. And maybe there were some spotty cases here and there. But what impact does this discussion have as we get - go into the final weeks if Donald Trump keeps doubling, tripling, quadrupling down on this idea that the media is cooking the books, don't believe the polls. Don't - don't just - they're not just rigging the election. Don't believe anything they tell you.
PRZYBYLA: I think that saying that the polls are rigged actually has a strategic impact for him and it makes more sense than saying the election is rigged, which actually depresses turnout. When you say the polls are rigged, you're basically saying, well, you know, still giving people some kind of incentive or motivation to - to go to the polls. I think the bigger question is really what happens after the election, because as many people have made comparisons to 2000, there is no comparison to 2000 because the argument in 2000 was that it was a very close election, and no one was alleging fraud. We were talking about mechanical error and outdated, antiquated voting systems and hanging chads in Florida. No one was saying that there was this grand scale conspiracy to rig the entire election. We're in a new frontier on that sense.
THRUSH: This is a classic Trumpian attack. This goes back to the reason why the guy is on the national stage in the first place, when he - when he embraced the birther movement. It's about questioning the legitimacy of all these institutions that we subscribe to. The media isn't biased against him. He's got $2 billion of earned media before people really started to scrutinize him.
But I really think this is pointed to something else and it's something more personal for Trump. He has got it set up now - forget about kind of the larger constitutional implications. On election night, Hillary Clinton is going to give her speech presumably wearing the white suit again, right? We are all going to be focuses on what he is going to say.
THRUSH: So this is all being funneled towards Donald Trump and his capacity to hog the spotlight again.
HENDERSON: I think that's exactly right. I mean he wants - Hillary Clinton will have her moment, likely her historic moment, and people will be waiting to see what he says. And I think the truth is, even if he concedes that night, it's likely that he might go back a couple days later and say, well, I'm not really sure whether or not this thing was on the up and up. You know, I think he's very much on track to be more of like a Rush Limbaugh figure, a Sean Hannity-type figure. I mean he was never running as a statesman. So to expect that on Tuesday night, he'll give some sort of gracious concession speech, is unlikely. And I think no matter what his - he says, his people are likely going to see Hillary Clinton as an illegitimate president. They saw Barack Obama, in many ways, as an illegitimate president, even though McCain conceded.
[12:20:07] KING: And yet, though, Karen, in our poll, 77 percent say a presidential loser is obligated to accept the results and concede. Seventy-seven percent. That's a lot of Trump supporters.
TUMULTY: Yes, but it's - it's not going to be sort of the ones in the raw emotion of the night. And I do think there is a fairly good chance that the story - there will be the competing storylines of, one when would be America has just elected its first female president, and the second would be, you know, that this was somehow illegitimate. And by the way, the never Trump faction of the Republican Party has, you know, some incentive here, too, to sort of say, well, she only got elected because she was running against such a flawed candidate. So let's go ahead and turn our attention to blocking her agenda and making - and, you know, it's the opening gun for 2020.
KING: All right, it is interesting.
One last footnote from our poll. If Trump loses, will he accept the results and concede? Sixty-one percent say no, 35 percent say yes. We'll see how that one plays out.
As this conversation plays out, Trump saying it's a rigged election, Trump saying don't trust the media. He has launched now an evening newscast. It's on at 6:30 in the East. That used to be when you tuned in for Edward R. Morrow or Walter Cronkite and the like. 6:30 or 7:00 p.m. Eastern. It's on FaceBook Live and it's called Trump TV. And you see some of his - his campaign manager there, Kellyanne Conway. I guess this means Erin Burnett can't get Boris at 7:00 because he's doing Trump TV at 6:30.
You know, we're laughing but it and, you know, they got like 45,000 or something people watching.
KING: And everyone says, oh, that's a low number. On FaceBook Live, that's a pretty good number. But what is it - what is this here? Is this about rallying, keeping morale up, because your supporters keep hearing in the mainstream media, you're losing? Is it about keeping morale up? There's a link there to raise money. So is it about fundraising? Or is it, as the cynics say, just testing out the post- election Trump media empire, which he again today, in a radio interview, flatly denied any interest in?
TUMULTY: I think it - I think it's about going around the filter. And he's been successful at that. That certainly, you know, that was the whole success he had on Twitter, for better or worse, going around the filter. He's just pushing it into the next frontier.
PRZYBYLA: Well, George Bush called it the filter, too. But the way he got around it was by going to the local press. I do think this is taking it to a new level. And if you look at who his main advisors are, they are essentially media executives. Steve Bannon, and then he's got Roger Ailes, who's kind of his informal adviser. And if these poll numbers hold and Donald Trump loses, he is not going to ride off into the sunset like we've just discussed and concede this election. He's going to have some kind of a new something after the election. And I don't think it's unreasonable to say that it's possible that this is also the germ of something that could carry on post-election.
KING: They do have a list. They get at these eves in fundraising. They have a long list of supporters. We'll see if they try to build something out of it. Maybe a political movement. Maybe a TV network.
To that point, President Obama was on Jimmy Kimmel last night. You mentioned, you know, the questions about the legitimacy of the White House and the president has been under a lot of fire from Donald Trump recently, being called, among other thing, a cry baby. The president was having a little fun.
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BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: President Obama will go down as perhaps the worst president in the history of the United States. Exclamation point. @realdonaldtrump. Well, @realdonaldtrump, at least I will go down as a president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: A little fun from the president there reading mean tweets on Jimmy Kimmel.
HENDERSON: Yes, but, I mean, and his has been his approach.
HENDERSON: I mean it's essentially been mockery. It's essentially been trash talking Donald Trump for many, many months. Taking him seriously, but not taking him too seriously. Treating him like someone who, you know, was - was the host of "The Apprentice" while Hillary Clinton and Obama were dealing with Osama bin Laden.
KING: And we asked, what is Donald Trump's end game with this FaceBook live Trump TV. What's - maybe the president's auditioning for his new job too. They're getting a little (INAUDIBLE) -
HENDERSON: "Sports Center," right, did you see that?
Electoral College chess, two weeks out. Team Clinton ponders the path to checkmate.
[12:28:06] KING: Welcome back.
Our new CNN/ORC national poll shows Hillary Clinton up by five points heading into the final two weeks. That's a narrower gap than some other national polls, but 5 points still pretty big for Secretary Clinton. The Obama-Romney race four years ago was one point on this day, a one point lead for the president. I want to take a look deep inside the poll for some interesting nuggets to keep an eye on as we head into the final two weeks. Number one, look at the Midwest. Donald Trump's path to the presidency, I'll show you this more in a bit, was through the Midwest, through the rust belt states. But, Hillary Clinton leads by seven points right now in the Midwest. A big gain for her in places that matter come Electoral College.
Let's take it out west as well. Out west, Donald Trump needs to do better in the west. California influences this a bit, but, still, an 11-point lead for Hillary Clinton in the western states. And I'll show you again in a second why that matters more.
If you're Donald Trump, if there's anything encouraging in our poll, it's that you're running ahead among independents. A key swing group in the electorate. Donald Trump leading 45 to 41. But, before he celebrates, Mitt Romney won this constituency by five - by five points over Barack Obama among independents four years ago and, of course, Mitt Romney lost the election. So that margin for Donald Trump, while it's one positive in our poll, probably not enough.
Let's take a look at one other data point here. We come down to Florida. This one here, it's a little stunning. Hillary Clinton leading among voters age 65 and older, 65 and older, by five points, 50 percent to 45 percent, among the most reliable voters in the country. Mitt Romney won those over age 65 by 12 points four years ago. Hillary Clinton leading Donald Trump. If that number holds up come Election Day, she wins the presidency.
Now let's flip over to the map that matters most and I'll show you what I meant by that. Hillary Clinton leading, as I said, in the Midwest. That's Donald Trump's most viable path to the presidency. She has him blocked right now. Hillary Clinton leading out west. Again, big influence for California, but Nevada, Arizona and Utah are still in play. Hillary Clinton doing very well out in the mountain west and the west, an area Donald Trump needs to do better if he's going to get the White House. Yet, among older voters, Florida not the only state. But if Hillary Clinton is running ahead among voters over 65, well, that makes Florida look a lot better.
[12:30:09] So, Hillary Clinton knows she has the advantage.