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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA

Trump Not Impressed by 2.9 Percent Economic Growth; What Trump Would Face if Challenging Election Results; How Comfortable are Down- Ballot Democrats with Candidate Clinton. Aired 11:30-12p ET

Aired October 31, 2016 - 11:30   ET

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


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[11:30:31] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Just in to CNN, does this qualify as another October surprise like we haven't had enough? U.S. economy has grown 2.9 percent, the fastest growth in two years.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: But Donald Trump is not impressed. He released this statement moments ago. It says, "America can do better than the modest growth of 2.9 percent recorded for the third quarter and the dismal growth of 1.5 percent for the past year. Growth hasn't risen above 3 percent for any full year in any year of the Obama presidency."

Let us talk about this with Christine Romans, chief business correspondent and star of "Early Start."

2.9 is better than economists expected.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: It's definitely a big improvement from earlier in the year. Let's talk about where we are. 2.9 percent, double the growth in the beginning part of the year, and relief because a lot of other economic signs have been turning up. What this tells us is after a soft spot, the economy is still continuing to crawl out of the hole that happened seven years ago. It's still moving forward here. We look inside this number, we see consumer spending, we see business investment, not as bad as we expected. We see all kinds of cylinders of the American economy moving forward. Donald Trump has said 4 percent is the number. 4 percent is the number he could get. 4 percent is a number we have not seen since 1998 when Bill Clinton was the president.

Look at this trend. You go back to this 4 percent, look at how long it's been since we have been able to manage that. More recently, this is the Trump complaint, more recently you had a really hard time staying en above 2 percent for economic growth. There's a big economic discussion about why that might be. Is it productivity, is it a change in the fabric of the economy, how we measure things? But what we know about this number right here is that one of the most important pieces of economic data heading into the election and it tells us the economy is moving forward on trade, on immigration. Ironically, these are things adding to the economy according to many economists we talked to, business investment and consumers, things are looking better. I will give you one last piece of news here. This might be why we are

seeing numbers like this. The CNN/ORC poll we just took, how are things going in the country, 54 percent say well or very well. We are starting to see indicators that maybe, maybe, people are starting to believe seven years into the recovery that we are in one.

BERMAN: Interesting. You see the president's approval rating over 50 percent, 54 percent of people saying things are going well. Other people saying it's a change election. Sometimes those things aren't always in agreement.

ROMANS: That's right.

BERMAN: Christine Romans, thanks so much.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Christine.

BERMAN: With early voting under way, Donald Trump is now suggesting the voting machines are rigged against him, and that the media is being rigged and the media polls being rigged.

BOLDUAN: Trump's campaign hasn't offered proof of this voting fraud. But is this setting him up to challenge the election results after the fact?

Stephen Zack represented Al Gore in Bush v. Gore back in 2000 and joins us now.

Stephen, thank you for joining us.

STEPHEN ZACK, ATTORNEY & FORMER PRESIDENT, AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION: Pleasure.

BOLDUAN: So every election, presidential campaigns put out armies of lawyers to watch, monitor the polls to make sure everything is working as well as it can. What, in general -- because this has absolutely become a focus. What in general are lawyers looking for when they are in the polls?

ZACK: Well, there are two things they are looking for. One, before the election and election. Florida has a statute that controls the electoral process, and it requires an automatic recount if the vote is less than half a percent between the two candidates. And then after that recount, which is an automatic recount, and done by machine, there has to be a manual recount if it's less than a quarter percent. So lawyers are looking to see what the actual vote looks like and whether or not the Florida statute is going to come into play.

BERMAN: What about all this talk -- Trump is calling on people to watch the polls, keep your eye on the polls? What is allowed there? What does that mean exactly?

[11:34:36] ZACK: Well, there's poll watchers in all elections, and both parties have poll watchers. And there are allowed to stand a certain distance from the voting place. They are not allowed to attack the person going to decide on their vote. They have to act in a very proper manner. If not, they are ejected. But they are looking to see whether or not there's any kind of weird thing going on. What I mean by that is that somebody's trying to vote and being kept from voting. That is something that is critical to make sure that people know that they have the right to vote.

Another thing that has happened in the past is that the polls have shut down with people in line wanting to vote. I will tell you something else that happened in an election in Florida, not so long ago, is it just so happened, in a black neighborhood, they decided to do some sewage cleaning at the time the people were standing in line, and obviously, the smell from that cleaning was horrific. And what you have is an opportunity to call into the election supervisor.

I was active also in the Kerry campaign. We learned from the previous Gore campaign, every person had a cell phone, so they could immediately -- every person who was a poll watcher had the cell phone so they could immediately contact the election supervisor. And you want to make sure there were enough lines available into the election supervisor to deal with any problem that might come up during the election.

BOLDUAN: And with the rhetoric in this election so far, there are a lot more people watching these polls very, very closely, but learning what the rules are and what's allowed at these polling stations is a very important thing and will be very important going forward.

Stephen Zack, thanks so much.

ZACK: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Soon we will hear from Donald Trump. He is live. Live pictures right there in Manchester, New Hampshire. The not-so- humongous state, though, could have a humongous impact on this election. It will for Donald Trump. He needs New Hampshire. We will take you there when he speaks live.

BERMAN: A little state with a big heart, and four electoral votes that matter a lot.

BOLDUAN: Seriously.

BERMAN: Plus, WikiLeaks and Clinton Foundation and Obamacare -- how do down-ballot Democrats feel right now about Hillary Clinton?

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[11:41:34] BERMAN: A lot of talk in politics about how comfortable Republican candidates are running with Donald Trump at the top of the ticket. But what about Democratic candidates? How comfortable are they with Hillary Clinton?

BOLDUAN: Joining us now is Randy Perkins, one of the Democrats running for an open seat in Florida.

We should mention, we also invited Brian Mass (ph), your opponent. He was booked but canceled this morning. Let's talk about the issues that are facing every candidate, facing

all the voters as they are preparing to head to the polls. Is Obamacare working?

RANDY PERKINS, (D), FLORIDA CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: Well, listen, it's clearly done some very good things. It's provided insurance to families and loved ones with pre-existing conditions. it's provided insurance to millions of Americans across this country that did not have it. It's allowed our younger generation to stay on their family's insurance policy now until they're 26. In certain cases, companies can extend that benefit to 30 years. But clearly, there are a lot of problems with the Affordable Care Act. Ad the Speaker Ryan has said it's not getting repealed and we can't do it. You are not going to un-do something. Are we supposed to tell families that have loved ones on cancer treatment, getting radiation, children with childhood diabetes in 90 days or 120 days, all this is going to stop, the care you are being provided, medical treatment you are being provided now is going to stop? No. That's not the way to do it. We have to look at the things that aren't working -- and clearly there are a lot of things that aren't working -- and solve those problems. We need to strengthen the things working. There are things that are working and things that aren't. I look forward to working with Congress to solve the things that need to be solved.

BERMAN: You probably have seen the WikiLeaks, the hacked e-mails coming from the Clinton campaign. There has been a number of things revealed, including information about the Clinton Foundation, although there was a lot known about the Clinton Foundation before the WikiLeaks issue came up. Let me ask you, are you comfortable with how the Clinton Foundation raised money at the same time that Bill Clinton was making money off of some of the same people for paid speeches?

PERKINS: What I am comfortable with is the wonderful things the Clinton Foundation has done in the United States and worldwide. Clean water, sanitation products, humanitarian needs, issues with our refugee crisis around the world, promoting development, expanding opportunities for women, not only in this country but all over the world. There are a lot of very good things the Clinton Foundation does, and I stand behind those.

BOLDUAN: Here's the thing. We have heard very similar answer from the Clinton campaign and the DNC, to be quite honest. It feels a little bit like a dodge, Mr. Perkins. No one wants to answer directly to the question of this close relationship, what Republicans point to is, Pay-to-Play between the Clinton Foundation and Clinton family. I'm kind of struck that if and when Donald Trump faces similar questions or would dodge questions about the Trump foundation, Democrats would be lighting their hair on fire. What's different here?

PERKINS: Well, first of all, I'm running to represent district 18 in Congress and we have unique issues in this district, whether it's our environmental issues specific to this district, some issues we have had our seniors in this district and all over the country, opportunities for single mothers, our veterans, job opportunities, the economy. So I'm running to represent this. Whoever represents this district, whether me or my opponent, their job is to represent the interests of this district, not only the Democrats, independents and Republicans alike. That's what I'm going to concentrate on.

[11:45:13] BERMAN: Sure. But you were at the Hillary Clinton event in Lake Worth this week. She talked about you. You talked about her. Clearly, you are supporting her campaign. We are just trying to establish -- again, it's interesting for voters around the country to get a feel for what's going on out there in some different places, what it's like to run with different people at the top of the ticket. There have been issues and questions about honesty and trustworthiness, an issue where Hillary Clinton has not been polling strongly. In some cases, she trails Donald Trump on that issue. So do you think that Hillary Clinton is honest?

PERKINS: I do think she's honest. I think she's the best, clearly the best choice for president, for our economy, for our jobs, for keeping this country safe, for our seniors, for our veterans.

But I think we should do this. I think both Republicans and Democrats need to quit looking in the rear-view mirror about what happened yesterday and start focusing on how to work together to solve the problems of today and tomorrow. Until we get to that point on both sides, we're not going to really move the dial on the things we need to move the dial on in this country. That's what I believe.

BOLDUAN: So looking wildly into the future, meaning, a week-plus, is Hillary Clinton going to win Florida?

PERKINS: Absolutely, she's going to win Florida. I look forward to serving this district when she's president of the United States and when she carries Florida. It's going to be a very important win when she carries Florida for the things we need in the state, and especially this district.

BERMAN: All right. Maybe a tougher question. Is Patrick Murphy, the Democrat running to unseat Marco Rubio, is he going to win next week?

PERKINS: I believe -- I'm clearly voting for Patrick as well as Hillary and supporting them both very strongly, as they are me. There are polls all over the place, clearly, we all know that. I think he's doing a great job. He's been great for this district. Most importantly, he has clearly shown his ability to work across the aisle. And I'm going to beat that drum day in and day out. It's hard enough to work with people in your own party, whether you're a Democrat or Republican, but if you can't reach across the aisle and work with Republicans on your committees and subcommittees, nothing is going to get done in this country for any of us.

BERMAN: That's a little bit of a different answer. You said Hillary Clinton is definitely going to win. Patrick Murphy, you say you are definitely voting for him. That's a different answer.

PERKINS: No. Let me clarify that. Patrick Murphy will be the next U.S. Senator from the state of Florida.

BOLDUAN: Randy Perkins, we appreciate your time. Thank you for joining us.

PERKINS: Thank you. Appreciate it.

BOLDUAN: Coming up, Donald Trump taking the Trump train to Manchester, New Hampshire. A lot at stake in that tiny state. We will bring that to you live when it begins.

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[11:52:19] BOLDUAN: CNN is proud to announce the top-10 CNN Heroes of 2016. Each honoree will receive a cash prize and shot at the top honor, CNN's Hero of the Year, earning one of them, an additional $100,000 for this cause.

BOLDUAN: You, you get to help decide who that person will be.

Here's Anderson Cooper to show you exactly how.

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ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR, A.C. 360: Now that we've announced the top-10 CNN Heroes of 2016, I want to show you how you can help decide who should be seen in "Hero of the Year" and receive 100,000 to help continue their work. Go toCNNheroes.com to learn more about each hero. When ready, click vote over here and choose your favorite. Confirm using either your e-mail or Facebook account and you're set. This year, for the first time, you can also vote through Facebook messenger and on Twitter. You can vote up to ten times a day per method every day tough December 6th and rally your and on social media and reveal during the tenth annual CNN Heroes All-Start Tribute, Sunday, December 11th.

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BERMAN: You can meet all of this year's top-10 heroes and vote every day to help decide who should be our CNN Hero of the Year. All 10 will be honored at the Tenth Annual CNN Heroes All-Star Tribute, but only one named "Hero of the Year." Join Anderson and special guest co-host, Kelly Ripa, Sunday, December 11th.

BOLDUAN: You may have noticed we, meaning he, has gone old school this week, I mean, like Williams Shakespeare. 14 days left in the election, too literal. Two weeks? Overdone. A fortnight, annoyingly, just right. For a Friday, a brief walk down memory lane.

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BERMAN: This is the final fortnight of the 2016 election campaign? I'm going to say the word fortnight all day long. Get used to it.

TRUMP: Tough Guy, Mr. Tough Guy.

BERMAN: It is the final fortnight in this election.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why would you even say that?

BERMAN: It is the final fortnight in this election.

It is the final fortnight, which means two weeks. It does. What it means.

BOLDUAN: It does. Just --

BERMAN: It means two weeks.

MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: This is not normal.

BERMAN: Have we mentioned it is the final fortnight?

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Come on, man.

BERMAN: Just a fortnight.

BOLDUAN: The final fortnight, as Berman says, of the campaign.

BERMAN: The final fortnight, minus one.

JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: -- has so dumbed down this election.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Election Day is exactly two weeks away. A fortnight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh! Well said.

BOLDUAN: As John Berman would say.

HILLARY CLINTON, (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: That's horrifying.

BERMAN: We are in the final for fortnight, Christine Romans, as I like to say it.

[11:55:12] ROMANS: The final fortnight. Oh, great.

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BOLDUAN: I agree with both candidates.

BERMAN: Joe Biden threatened to take me behind the gym if I said it one more time.

BOLDUAN: And Trump said behind the barn.

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: -- have common courtesy and say -- you haven't said it once.

BOLDUAN: I said it at the top of the show in order to set up the surprise segment. You cannot say it anymore. You are not William Shakespeare.

BERMAN: Fortnight minute three, you're in the midst of it --

BOLDUAN: Fortnight, my you-know-what.

BERMAN: You're in the midst of it right now.

"Inside Politics" begins right after this.

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[11:59:51] JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to "Inside Politics." I'm John King. It is a fabulously beautiful fall day in the nation's capitol. Thanks for sharing time with us.

Election Day now just 11 days away. Of course, millions are already voting. That makes it for a busy day on the campaign trail. Donald Trump, due in New Hampshire this hour. Hillary Clinton, due soon in Iowa. The running mates also in big battlegrounds. President Obama to, again, be in Florida, to focus on early voting. And guess what?