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CNN TONIGHT

President Trump Is Using The Fear Factor, Right, Referring To The Migrant Caravan; Trump Fearmongering Ahead of Midterm Election. Aired: 10-11p ET

Aired November 4, 2018 - 22:00   ET

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


[22:00:44] DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. Yes, it's Sunday night, don't adjust your sets. This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.

We're less than a day and a half away from the first polls opening on election day. I know you've heard people saying this, but the truth is, this could be the most important midterms of our lifetime. If you thought things could get better, if you thought the rhetoric would get toned down, well, nobody really thought that that would happen. And it didn't.

So while President Trump has doubled down on his strategy of fear- mongering and trying to divide us, it's beginning to sound, well, like even he has some doubts about the strategy, that strategy working.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: About a month ago, two months ago I was hearing about this horrendous blue wave, it's going to sweep us all out, it's going to be terrible. I haven't heard the term "blue wave." But you better get out and vote otherwise I'm going to look very bad with this statement.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: It's been another day, honestly, of lies, lies, lies. The president repeating his new favorite lie, falsely claiming that Democrats are practically giving immigrants an engraved invitation to come here. But this is not just talk. This is not just playing politics. This is really serious. Thousands of migrants, many of them women and children, are being demonized while our troops are at the border being used as part of what can only be described as a political stunt, laying down barbed wire to stop those immigrants who are still hundreds of miles away and may never get anywhere near this country.

While this president stokes fear, armed militia groups are headed to the border. One group, the Texas Militiamen, telling CNN that they have up to 250 volunteers on the way. The "Washington Post" is reporting that they have weapons, night vision goggles, and aerial drones with thermal-sensing equipment.

And while one president is stoking fear, another is sounding a warning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Don't be hoodwinked. Don't be bamboozled. Don't let them run the Oakie Doke on you. Because while they're trying to distract you with all this stuff, they're robbing you blind. They'll be like, look, look, look, caravan, caravan. Then they're giving tax cuts to their billionaire friends.

Look, look, look, whatever thing is scary.

(LAUGHTER)

OBAMA: And then they're sabotaging your health care. You can't fall for it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: And what about the economy? There is no denying our economy is firing on all cylinders.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Jobs are going up, crime is going down. Wages are rising, first time in many years, you saw that in the report on Friday. Poverty is plummeting and confidence is at an all-time high.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: Other than that, we're not doing very well.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Yes, no doubt, the economy is great. The president can take a lot of credit for that. Both of them.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: By the time I left office wages were rising, unemployment had fallen, the uninsured rate was falling, the economy created more jobs over my last 21 months than it did the 20 months since I left office.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: So when you hear the Republicans bragging about how good the economy is right now, where do you think that started?

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: Who you think did that?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: And as two presidents battle it out on the campaign trail until they lose their voices, one of the most closely watched races in the country is getting even uglier. [22:05:02] I'm talking about Georgia. In Georgia, the Secretary of

State Brian Kemp, who's also the Republican candidate for governor, is without any proof accusing the Democratic Party of trying to hack the state's voter registration system. And, yes, that is the same Brian Kemp who was himself accused of using his position to suppress minority votes.

So you've got to wonder, just how worried is he about this race. Georgia's Democratic Party chair flatly denies hacking and the Democratic candidate for governor Stacey Abrams told CNN this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STACEY ABRAMS (D), GEORGIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: We have nothing to do with this and I'm very sad that instead of owning up to his responsibility and honoring his commitment at secretary of state that he's once again misleading Georgia.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: And then there's this from Florida's governor's race where Republican Ron DeSantis is running against the African-American mayor of Tallahassee, Andrew Gillum. President Trump's Agriculture secretary, Sonny Perdue, described the race as, and I'm quoting here, "cotton-picking important." Straight up racist and he should know better.

Like I said, these could be the most important midterms of our lifetimes and a lot of what we have been hearing is really ugly but there is some hopeful news here. And here it is. More than 27 million people have already cast their ballots in early voting, making their voices heard, and no matter which side you're on this Tuesday it will be your turn.

So there's a lot to talk about, with Paul Begala and Scott Jennings, Symone Sanders, Charlie Dent, Kirsten Powers, Chris Cillizza, Mike Shields and Bakari Sellers.

I hope we have enough people here.

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: To talk about this. Good evening, everyone. How are you? Sunday night, huh? You guys ready to boogey down, ready to party? Tuesday's vote above all else is a vote for the moral compass of the country and which way is it pointing, Kirsten Powers?

KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I don't know. That's what we'll have to wait and see but it's pretty clear that there's -- you couldn't have more different closing arguments if you look at the two parties. And you know, I'm not a Republican, I'll leave it to the Republicans on the panel to speak to this, but I would be offended personally if I was a Republican and this was the closing argument to me, that basically a bunch of poor desperate people are coming to kill you, essentially, and when the president could be talking about more positive things like the economy. And I do think a lot of people feel right now that this election

represents a real, hopeful turning point I think for some people who are very frightened by this discourse.

LEMON: Paul, I'm just -- I'm wondering because a lot of people, well, especially Democrats, very excited about the early voting numbers. Among Democrats. I don't know, what do you think?

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's phenomenal. You don't know, you know, as a professional, right, do they -- are we just squeezing the balloon, that is taking people who were going to vote Tuesday and voting them early.

LEMON: Are you assuming it's Democrats? Because it could be equally among --

BEGALA: Well, if you look at the age demographic, in my beloved home state of Texas, the under 30 vote in the early vote is up 509 percent. OK. That can't just be cannibalized from Tuesday. That is something, it's Beto-mania. Now could Beto win? I don't know. Obviously I want him to but there's something going on and we're going to miss them in the polling, because the way we model these things, and we figure X percentage of young people will vote, usually for example in Texas, over 65 outnumber under 30 by 9-1. Well, now it's 5-1. So those young people are going to have a really disproportionate voice in this and of course all across the country our president's approval rating under 30 voters, 24 percent.

LEMON: OK, but here's the thing. When people say, you know, young people, it's way up. Young people don't vote so --

SYMONE SANDERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: As a millennial I take offense to that, Don.

LEMON: Will they?

SANDERS: And to be clear it's millennials that --

LEMON: She's pointing. Already you're pointing.

SANDERS: I have to point because you can't --

(CROSSTALK)

SANDERS: We showed up in Alabama to help elect Doug Jones.

LEMON: Yes.

SANDERS: We showed up in Virginia to help elect Rob Northam and Justin Fairfax. We showed up to elect Stacey Abrams in the Democratic primary, to elect Andrew Gillum in the Democratic primary in Florida. And I think we're going to show up on Tuesday. As a matter of fact, some of us aren't waiting until Tuesday, we're showing up right now.

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: All right, I teed it off.

CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER AND EDITOR-AT-LARGE: You did. Look, here's what we know. The midterm turnout is like -- somewhere between about 36 percent and 40 percent of the voting age population. Now that's across all -- that's age, race, et cetera, et cetera. 36 percent. It was the lowest since 1940 something, in 2014. To Paul's point, it would suggest that 20 million early votes, it's way up in every state that there's early voting.

Donald Trump said I've never seen crowds like this. He may be right. I mean, the question is Donald Trump can drive his people out. I think we saw that in 2016. We learned that lesson. I will admit, I was in the Hillary Clinton is very likely to win this election based on everything we know. Donald Trump found people who we didn't necessarily -- weren't polling, didn't expect to vote. They turned out.

The question is, is Donald Trump also, particularly as a president, a really good turnout machine for Democrats?

[22:10:02] Is the level of vitriol directed at him -- I've never seen anything like this in polling. His unfavorable rating is -- let's say it's 59 percent. His strongly unfavorable rating is like 55 percent. I mean, there's no one who's like, I kind of don't like him. You either like him or you hate him, and typically in politics that kind of -- I don't want to say anger, but anger, distaste drives and in a midterm election the more people you get on your side, no matter how they get there, you win.

LEMON: But say what you want, Bakari, if you like it or not, fear is a very big motivator, right? And I think it's a smart strategy whether you think it's repugnant or not. Whatever you think. It's a smart strategy because Republicans were not as motivated as Democrats especially, you know, coming out of 2016.

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: So I think when people ask the question, does fear and the tactics that Donald Trump is using as he closes out his campaign, do they work? I think that there is a data point that says, yes, it's effective, he's president of the United States. It worked. But I think that there is -- and what you see Barack Obama is doing is interjecting himself into the cultural debate where many Democrats shy away from.

And there are people right now who are sick and tired of the xenophobia, they're sick and tired of the bigotry, they're sick and tired of the prejudices. They're tired of these things. And so the question is, I mean, and this is truly -- to Kirsten's point, this is truly a battle for the soul of the country. And I don't say that lightly. And I think that Donald Trump is playing on these fears and you have candidates right now who are closing on things like health care.

You have Democrats talking about health care, you have Democrats talking about criminal justice reform, you have Democrats talking about real-life issues, and you have these two figureheads, but the difference on Tuesday I think is going to be the candidates that are running themselves. Not necessarily Donald Trump. Because what you have is -- with all due respect to anybody else who ran for governor of Florida, they would not be able to do what Andrew Gillum has done.

Anybody else running for governor of Georgia would not be able to do what Stacey Abrams is doing. You have a lot of individuals, those two individuals in particular, who are casting progressivism in a black idiom. I stole that from a "Huff Post" article today but it's so very true. And so you are -- the country is changing. Krysten Sinema reflects that, Beto O'Rourke reflects that, and there are a group of people in this country who are afraid that the country is becoming browner. That is the debate we're having. That's the discussion we're having. And that's a policy point.

LEMON: Mike, so let's talk about strategy here in a different contrast. You know, I said it's a good strategy whether people like it or not. President Barack Obama is basically making the same points that he made in 2016. Didn't resonate enough to get Hillary Clinton into office.

MIKE SHIELDS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. A couple of things. First, I'm glad that we're seeing Obama for a couple of reasons. One is he motivates Republicans, too, so I love that. Secondly, there are many of us that looked at the eight years of the Obama presidency as one of the most partisan times in our country's history with a president that wouldn't work with Republicans, Republicans wouldn't work with him.

He helped create the atmosphere that we have that created Donald Trump. Donald Trump created partly on the eight years of Obama and he is breaking from precedent in the past where presidents don't do what he's doing and we're seeing the real Obama come out which is just as partisan, just as left is Trump is right and now they're doing something we haven't seen before which is they're all going out on the trail and duking it out and that's exactly who Obama has always been. So I actually love that he's admitting and showing --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Fact check there.

LEMON: Bakari is raising his hands.

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: I'm going to go to Scott then (INAUDIBLE), because I got to go to a break. I was like fact-check moment. I don't know.

We'll talk about that. Stick around. We've got a lot to talk about. We're going to talk about fear-mongering. We'll let Scott get in and then we'll get the Democrats to respond to -- what's his name? Mike Shields.

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [22:17:22] LEMON: President Trump doubling down on his strategy of dividing us in an effort to get his supporters to the polls on Tuesday. Everyone else -- everyone is back here with me.

So let's talk about this. We talked about the strategy. Right? But here's what the "Washington Post" -- can we put this "Washington Post" fact checkers on? This is for Scott. Says that the president is averaging about 30 false or misleading claims a day in the weeks ahead of the midterms. Does that matter?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I don't think either party has an exclusive patent on stretching the truth or engaging in hyperbole or --

LEMON: But, Scott, 30 or 40 a day? Come on.

JENNINGS: I mean, look, we just heard Barack Obama in the clip you played say that Republicans were robbing you blind? I mean, this is pretty divisive rhetoric, too, and I think it's also stretching the truth.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Come on.

JENNINGS: So I don't -- look, I don't like it when people don't tell the truth. I wish they would tell the truth all the time but I don't think this began in the last week, month, two years, whatever.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Hold on, hold on, you have to see his face. What, what?

CHARLIE DENT, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I was just going to say, there are days that I think if the president ever came into contact with the truth it would be a mighty collision and you know, we have that too often. I mean, let's face it, you know, how many days a week does he get Pinocchios, pants on fire? It just never ends. I mean, he is -- he just makes untruthful statements ad nauseam.

CILLIZZA: The only thing I was going to add is Scott is right broadly speaking that politicians don't always tell the truth. But Donald Trump in particular, it's not as though his prevaricating started when he was sworn in as president of the United States. I mean, he did this during the campaign over and over again. It's not -- this did not come out of the blue. To your point of, is this something that changed voters' minds? It didn't in 2016.

I mean, this is what I keep coming back to. It didn't in 2016. You saw people -- you would say to them this isn't true and they'd say I don't care, I don't believe you. OK. I mean, like the idea of capital T truth wasn't a big deal during the campaign. Now that doesn't make it right but it does make -- it doesn't mean that it hurts him so I don't know if that transfers to all the candidates he's trying to help with that.

DENT: They voted for an attitude.

LEMON: Yes.

CILLIZZA: Yes.

DENT: Not a set of policies.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, yes.

CILLIZZA: But what's changed? I mean, that's --

LEMON: Let me tell you what's changed. People have actually gotten to see him in action governing and all the people who thought that he would -- you know, more moderate and that didn't happen. He actually, you know, became more of who he was on the campaign trail. Some people may be very turned off by that, especially women. Some may be turned on by -- you know, because of the Kavanaugh things, because it, you know, backfired for Democrats seemingly so people have actually seen him in actually governing and either they really like him more or --

POWERS: Right.

LEMON: Less.

[22:20:05] POWERS: So one of the biggest things we'll be looking for in the exit polls is what white suburban women are doing who traditionally would be voting Republican. And now at least according to polling are cratering for Republicans. So we have to wait to see if the polling is correct but that's pretty monumental if that's what pans out.

LEMON: Yes. What did you want to say, Bakari?

SELLERS: No, I -- I have to put just a halt to this kind of whataboutism comparison that people have between Barack Obama and Donald Trump. You said it before the break, you echoed that somehow either their propensity for veracity and telling the truth was the same, that's just not accurate. And you mentioned the fact that somehow Barack was hyperpartisan or excuse me, President Obama was -- Roland Martin will text me immediately, people go crazy over the fact that I just mentioned that his name is Barack. But President Obama was hyperpartisan and that's just not the case.

You had individuals who from day one set out to make Barack Obama a one-term president. You had individuals such as Mitch McConnell who was leading the Senate who actually held obstructionism and they said that, you know, one of the greatest things he ever did was look at the president in the face and say, Mr. President, you will have not another Supreme Court justice.

You have people like Tom Cotton, the United States senator from Arkansas, who literally -- and you can frown if you want to, but this is a fact, he objected and held up a United States district court judge appointee until she died. So, I mean, let's not act as if this is something that has any hint of being similar. And I think the country when they see Barack Obama versus Donald Trump, not only do they see an oratorical ability which is vastly different, but they also remember the time in which you can disagree with him politically, right? But you were never ashamed of him.

LEMON: But here -- the criticism of Barack Obama from Democrats and from people of color, one, they wanted him to govern more, they felt that he should be stronger when it came to issues that affected the black community, right? And Democrats initially in his first term said, why is he trying to work with those people? They don't want to work with him, they already said that they're going to make him a one- term president. Why does he keep reaching out to Republicans. And I think in the second term he realized well, they're not going to work with me, so I'm going to go ahead, I'm going to use the pen. Remember he said, I've got the power of the pen.

SHIELDS: Why don't we ask -- why don't we ask a Republican congressman who served during the Obama era how many times he tried to work with you on things.

DENT: Not very often.

SHIELDS: Exactly.

DENT: And I remember Rahm Emanuel once said -- I think I draft one bill, maybe healthcare, we got the votes, F them. I mean, that was -- I remember that.

SELLERS: That sounds like Rahm Emanuel.

(CROSSTALK)

SHIELDS: Wait a minute. Wait a minute. That matters. So your first chief of staff either wants to work with everyone is Rahm Emanuel. OK. Let's start right there. I mean --

SANDERS: I've got --

(CROSSTALK)

DENT: And by the way, Rahm did reach out, though.

SHIELDS: A lot of voters --

BEGALA: By the way, who did a great job, Mike. Would you rather have Reince Priebus? Who?

SHIELDS: What I would tell you -- no.

BEGALA: Come on.

SHIELDS: But, Paul, here's what I'm talking about. When I talked about Barack Obama being partisan a bunch of Democrats on this panel burst into laughter.

SELLERS: Because it's funny. SHIELDS: And that helps because Republicans -- excuse me, that voters

in this country, especially white working class voters that felt left behind in the Obama years think that people on CNN laugh when you mention that to them.

SANDERS: Let me say --

SHIELDS: When you try to talk about, they go, you know what? This is so funny Obama was amazing, and they go, that's why I'm glad he's out there talking. He's going to turn out some of the voters that we need to show up in the election and so will you guys laughing and be talking about it.

SANDERS: I am laughing because it is funny to me that the closing -- that it seems as though the only things Republicans and Republican operatives have to talk about is Obama because they can't talk about their record.

SHIELDS: He put himself in the --

SANDERS: They can't talk about the tax bill, you all can't talk about what you've done for the white working class people because there hadn't been anything because when you had the chance to pass a bill and tax cuts for middle-class America, it didn't happen. You passed permanent tax cuts for corporation and very, very semi, very temporary taxes for working people.

SHIELDS: Consumer confidence is an all-time high. Record unemployment in the black community.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: But that's just my point.

SHIELDS: Wage growth. Economic growth. And jobs going -- manufacturing jobs at an all time high.

(CROSSTALK)

SANDERS: Everybody can feel that.

SELLERS: But I have a question about that.

SANDERS: Everybody can't feel that and wages are in fact still stagnant in places across the country.

SELLERS: The problem with those talking points and the reason people that giggle and laugh --

SHIELDS: Talking about economic fact.

SELLERS: Those were the same economic facts under Barack Obama. The fact is that stock market when he took over --

SHIELDS: What was the growth in the last two quarters?

SELLERS: The stock market --

SHIELDS: What was the growth of his last two quarters?

SELLERS: The stock market when Barack Obama took over was 6,000, when he left it was 16,000. Wages across all races, genders --

SHIELDS: OK. What was the growth of his economy in the last two quarters --

LEMON: OK.

SELLERS: Wages across all races, genders went up.

SHIELDS: I'll answer for you, 2.1 percent.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: I've got to get -- I've got to get to the break. That's what I don't understand. If the president --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Eighty-four straight months of job growth.

LEMON: -- pulled us out of one of the greatest recessions that we've ever had, and put the job market, put the economy back on track, I don't understand why white working class voters don't feel the same about both presidents because they both --

(CROSSTALK)

SHIELDS: Because it didn't hit everybody.

LEMON: They both take credit for it.

SHIELDS: It didn't hit everybody.

DENT: I'd be happy to answer that. Look, I've been critical of my party but I can tell you what I think a lot of Republicans feel about the Democratic Party in white working class areas.

[22:25:04] The Democratic Party has been at war with coal, gas, oil, pharmaceuticals, insurance, financial service area, chemicals. These where my people work and so people are shocked when they see all these people who are voting for Donald Trump, you know, who don't live on the coast. They feel there's an assault on industrial and agricultural America. They've been demonized. A guy making a loan every day doesn't think he's doing something terrible. He thinks he's doing something honorable.

LEMON: But do you think it's -- do you think he's -- they think he's doing something honorable by not being honest about --

DENT: I'm not talking about the president. I'm just saying the guy who's making the loan.

LEMON: OK. All right. So but where -- OK, but where those jobs are going to end up. That there aren't as many of those jobs as there will ever be. The only way that the coal industry will come back, let's be honest, if they start making cell phones out of them.

DENT: I mentioned --

LEMON: Does that have to do with the president?

DENT: Well, I felt during my years under the Obama administration that there was a regulatory assault. I mean, the Amish came out to vote for Donald Trump. You know why? You know why they came out? Because they were worried that the federal government was going to regulate mud puddles on their farm. They just wanted to be left alone. I mean, it's hard to get the Amish that upset. I mean, so these are the things that I saw but --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Whatever is behind it, whether it's true or not, that is a fair point.

BEGALA: Where the economy is strongest the Republicans are the weakest. Tomorrow at noon Bakari Sellers and I, my friend, you know where we're going to be? Loudoun County, Virginia, the wealthiest county in America. The wealthiest, prosperous, more today than any other county. Bakari and I are going to be there turning out canvassers for the Democrat Jennifer Wexton who's going to win against Barbara Comstock who they're calling Trumpstock. Why doesn't Donald Trump come? I'll pay his toll on I-66 if he would like to join Bakari and me.

SELLERS: He ain't coming over near there.

BEGALA: They hate him.

(CROSSTALK)

SHIELDS: You're making the same point. You're making the same point, the wealthier suburban areas that you're talking about that were already fine aren't the ones left behind.

(CROSSTALK)

SANDERS: Then let's talk about Racine County in Wisconsin.

LEMON: I got to get to the break. Everybody, stick with us.

SANDERS: We can talk about Racine County in Wisconsin.

LEMON: Stick around. So I want to talk about the rise of the far- right extremism. Rise of far-right extremism. Why it's escalating and what our political climate has to do with it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JOHN LEMON, HOST, CNN TONIGHT WITH DON LEMON: And we're back. Rally after rally ahead of Tuesday's election, President Trump is using the fear factor, right, referring to the migrant caravan as - in Mexico - as an invasion even though it's still hundreds of miles from the border. There's lots to discuss now.

Chris Cilizza, the President talked about the mail bombings sent by Trump supporters - this Trump supporter and then the anti-Semitic massacre in Pittsburgh in terms of stopping Republican momentum. What impact do you think, if any, that will have.

CHRIS CILIZZA, POLITICS REPORTER AND EDITOR-AT-LARGE, CNN: Not much. I mean, he says the quiet part out loud a lot. That's one of his things, you're like, oh, well - you know, I wouldn't think that would happen, but great songwriters, they can write songs in a lot of different keys but they usually kind of return to the one key that they're most familiar with for whatever reason.

This is Donald Trump's key. This is what he - you can hate it, but this is what he does. This is just like the 2016 - end of the 2016 election and I don't think we paid enough attention, well, I speak for myself. You guys, I am sure paid enough - I didn't pay enough attention because it looked like based on polling, message, money, polling in the states that the cake was baked for Hillary Clinton.

But I'm paying attention this time because it's 100% understanding that anger and fear are hugely powerful motivators. He could in truth be talking about - Mike and Bakari were fighting about the economy. You can come down on - you know, everybody's got numbers, but it's a worthy argument to have and Donald Trump has a very strong economic case to be made. You can say, "Oh, it started under Obama," fine, but he can say I'm the President now and this is what we have.

LEMON: It's my economy, and I did drive it up in the crash and this is - it's growth and it's continuous, right.

CILIZZA: That's not the key that he writes songs in. He writes them in this key which is fear, anger, resentment. They aren't listening to you. And I think Mike has got a point here. They aren't listening to you, I understand you.

SCOTT JENNINGS, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, CNN: And whatever it is, however you want to describe what he's doing, look at today's NBC News/"Wall Street Journal" poll. In the presidential approval rating in the battleground districts, it was even. Generic bat in the suburbs, only plus one Democrat. His strong approval was as high as it's ever been in that poll.

However you want to describe what he did in the month of October, however you want to describe it, it is working for him right now and it has put the Republicans in a better position, I think, in some of the House races than they were in at the beginning of the month.

LEMON: That was the conversation we had at the beginning of this show. But I want to bring this in. I want to talk about the "New York Times" magazine piece by Janet Reitman, okay, and here's the headline, Bakari. It says "US law enforcement failed to see the threat of white nationalism. Now they don't know how to stop it. For two decades, domestic counterterrorism strategy has ignored the rising danger of far right extremism. In the atmosphere of willful indifference, a virulent movement has grown and metastasized." Go on. BAKARI SELLERS, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, CNN: It sounds like a comment

that a friend of mine made earlier this week and got creamed for it on national TV. It sounds like something that you stated earlier, but it's deeper than that and we can - I actually think and one of the things I ran on during my four elections and got beat on as Lieutenant Governor is exactly what Charlie was talking about. We were singing from the same sheet of music, but there's a group of people out here who are hurting that this economic recovery missed.

But one of the things that we haven't discussed and one of the things that Republicans don't want to acknowledge is that while there is some economic angst, there's also a lot of cultural angst. And you see that develop in the most extreme ways when you're talking about this rise of white nationalism and domestic terror, you see it at a ballot box, you just see it for people who think that that somehow somebody is coming to replace us and Donald Trump plays into that fear.

I personally am tired of us not acknowledging this rise of domestic terror in our country, which is led by when you look at who these individuals are, it's white men and nobody wants to have that conversation because it took away nine lives in Charleston and a good friend of mine. We had a 21-year-old who was able to be radicalized like George Wallace and no one is asking the question why. You look at the Pulse nightclub shooting. You look at - I mean, you look in - we had the most deadly shooting - we picked up everything at CNN and went out to Vegas and said we were going to do this and do that.

[22:35:02]

SELLERS: And what's going on in this country and it began - it didn't begin with Barack Obama, but it came to a head with Barack Obama is why we're having a discussion about race and the blessing about Donald Trump is whether or not you love him or you hate him, this conversation would not be having - we would not be having it if Hillary Clinton was President, so we're at this moment in time and how are we going to address this conversation? How are we going to have it?

It's not black and white. We're more dynamic than that, we're more nuanced than that, but we have to have a discussion about how we ensure that all people are treated as if they are part of this global economy, all people have an opportunity to succeed, all people regardless of their skin color have an opportunity to feel as if they're part of this American fabric.

Donald Trump is not the only drum major for that, but he isn't the only fault for that. Let me stress that as well.

LEMON: So, Congressman Dent, there are times we've heard, they reference to these stats, right, from the Anti-Definition League. They say of the extremist related murders in the US, 71% came from right wing extremism, 26% Islamic extremism, 3% from left wing extremism. That's 387 total deaths from 2008 to 2017. Shouldn't law enforcement be concerned about it? Shouldn't we be concerned about it? Should we be able talk to about it without getting demonized quite honestly, I did? And it was accurate. What I said was right. What is the way of - what do we do?

CHARLIE DENT, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, CNN: Well, this anti-Semitism, we see it. I mean, it was only a couple of years ago I remember all of the Jewish community centers in the country were on high alert because of various threats. Even in New York City, you're seeing record amounts of anti-Semitism, I believe as well.

Look, we have hate crime statutes on the books, I think they have to be rigorously enforced. I don't know what you've got - in my hometown of Allentown, just the other night, we had over a thousand people show up for a vigil in response to what happened in Pittsburgh, so I really don't know what the answer is.

Anti-Semitism has been around for a very long time and I see it from Islamic extremists, I see it from right wing fanatics. It's metastasized in a number of ways.

KIRSTEN POWERS, POLITICAL ANALYST, CNN: But the problem here is that you have - I mean, let's just - if all of these school shootings were done by someone from the Middle East, there would be a very different reaction to them. I think if they were frankly done by African- Americans, there would be a very different reaction to them.

And so what we see here is that we ignore and we have statistics here showing that white men are very violent and a problem; and nothing is being done about it and then we have the President of the United States talking about a bunch of brown people like they're the terrorists.

I mean, we have a country where every other day, it seems like a white woman calls the police on a black man for barbecuing or gardening or delivering the mail and yet, we sit quietly while all these white men are out terrorizing people, essentially. I mean, every time there's one of these shooting and it's a white man ...

LEMON: I'll tell you, though, I know we have to get to the break, but one of the most frustrating things for me is the default is to say when you talk about this, "But what about black on black crime?" And if that's the first place your mind goes, you need to check yourself. Because what about people with red hair? That is not what we're talking about. There is an issue with crime. We talk about black - we are talking about ...

SELLERS: Can I - but let me just debunk this because we're in front of a worldwide audience and let me just say that black on black crime is a myth. We live in highly segregated societies.

LEMON: You're making my point for me. That's what I wanted to say.

SELLERS: And people perpetrate crimes against their same community because we live in segregated communities. And so the highest instances of crime against white people is perpetrated by white people. The highest instances of crime on black people is perpetrated by black people.

LEMON: We're going to continue this in the next block. We are going to continue that in the next block. But I'm saying, the fact that your mind goes there says a lot about what you're trying to make an excuse for and why you think, why is it so uncomfortable for you to - for people to admit, there's a certain segment of terrorism, of crime in this country that white males are mostly responsible for. What is so hard to discuss about that? That's what I don't understand.

And why is it so easy for us to talk about - no one complains when we talk about black on black crime. It's as if it's supposed to be talked about and that's just how the world is. We're going to continue this on the other side of the break.

[22:40:00]

LEMON: Oh, boy, the way Glen Miller played. Remember that? That was 10 years ago tonight, November 4th, 2008, that Barack Obama was elected the 44th President of the United States, making history as the first African-American to hold that office. Back with me now, my political dream team. I'm not going to name all of you.

CILIZZA: Can we get shirts?

LEMON: Yes, I was in Grant Park that night, and you know, we thought like, it was going to change, especially when it comes to racism. Not that racism would be cured, but at least the country would be on a trajectory towards trying to become a better country, especially when it comes to all people and a continuation of our conversation that we're having plus this. What do you think?

SYMONE SANDERS, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, CNN: I think that folks had thought it was going to change with Barack Obama, President Obama, ignored the fact that we have yet to have had a real conversation about race in this country and to Bakari's point, one of the very few things that Donald Trump has done is force us to have that conversation.

Like I do not remember in my short 28 years on this world where I have seen people sit on cable news and discuss white terrorism, domestic terrorism, white supremacy, while supremacist ideology and that's the conversation we have to have, and it's unfortunate that Donald Trump, who started his political career with the racist birther theory, i.e. trafficking and white supremacist ideology, but it's unfortunate that other folks are not being held accountable for supporting and holding up what the President is currently doing.

[22:45:07]

SANDERS: It's not just Donald Trump we have to call out. Republicans who sit on Capitol Hill, operatives that carry the President's message - not this guy ...

DENT: Not me.

SANDERS: Not you guys.

DENT: Not me. Shields for sure.

LEMON: And Charlie retired.

SELLERS: Don't push your luck.

SANDERS: Not I, but that is real, like so when the President is stoking the fears of folks that have this - I think we've called it racial anxiety, that's fear of black and brown people, but when the President is stoking those fears and then you have operatives and candidates and congressional - members of Congress that go out and run ads on that, that traffic in this bigotry and these lies and this racism across the country, they are to blame and they are also complicit.

And unless we started having - calling white supremacy out when we see it, which is ideology that believes that whiteness is above all, that believes in this idea of white culture, when the President is talking about immigrants destroying our culture, he is talking about white supremacist ideology. We are not only a dangerous slippery slope, we've fallen and we have to call it out when we see it and address it and combat it and I'm just waiting on some folks to step up.

LEMON: Well, there's Don Jr. tweeting about Angus King. He's calling him a fake independent who votes with Schumer 80% of the time, Angus wants to repopulate Maine with Syrian and Somalian refugees and he says support Senator Brakey who fights to secure borders and better jobs in Maine.

And then I just want to play this. This is Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Purdue at a campaign event for Republican Ron deSantis who is running for governor. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SONNY PERDUE, SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE: Public policy matters. Leadership matters and that's why this election is so cotton-picking important to the state of Florida. I hope you don't mess it up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So he's running against Tallahasse Mayor Andrew Gillum who will become Florida's first African-American governor if he wins. Is that an acceptable explanation for his comment?

DENT: Well, it was a bad choice of words. Let's face it, to the very least, it's a bad choice of words. Same thing when deSantis used monkeying up or Kellyanne Conway talked about America First after Pittsburgh. Not good words. I can't speak for their motivations or their state of mind, but they should know better. They're elected officials, they know what's going on in Georgia and Florida.

CILIZZA: Can I just - I want to throw ...

LEMON: Real quick, because I have to get to one other thing.

CILIZZA: Very quickly. I do think, you don't know their motivation, that's fair enough. But the one thing I will say is we didn't mention - we talked about it earlier on this air, which is the I'm still looking for a reasonable explanation for why Donald Trump at a rally says "Barack, pause, H. Obama."

LEMON: What do you need an explanation for?

CILIZZA: Well, an explanation - that's not the explanation that makes sense to me, which is like wink-wink, you know what we're talking about, people. Like, I don't - why else do you do that? You're right. You can't know that he just did - did Sonny Purdue just choose those words but Donald Trump who has trafficked in this stuff repeatedly both in his private life, in his business life and in his political life. What explanation other than playing on racial animus, otherness, what - is there another explanation?

LEMON: That is the explanation.

CILIZZA: That's it.

LEMON: Yes, there's no other explanation.

POWERS: Yes, I mean, we're talking about it like they didn't choose their words wisely. I think they chose their words exactly the way they wanted to.

LEMON: Hold that thought. Hold that thought. Stay with me, because I want to talk about the President's disserving pattern of not only attacking prominent black Americans, but attacking them by questioning their intelligence.

[22:50:00]

LEMON: So is President Trump trying to reach out to white Americans by constantly ridiculing black Americans and will that backfire on the GOP? Back with my dream team now. I want to take a look at President Trump's history of ridiculing the intelligence of prominent black Americans.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: She is not qualified to be the governor of Georgia. She is not qualified. Obama was a patsy for Russia. He was a total patsy. Look at the statement he made where he thought the mics were turned off, okay. The stupid statement he made.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you feel betrayed by Omarosa, sir?

TRUMP: Low life. She's a low life. She's a low IQ individual, Maxine Waters. I said it the other day. I mean, honestly, she's somewhere in the mid-60s, I believe.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So Bakari, he also tweeted about Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum who is running for governor of Florida by calling him a thief. What do you think that says about how he feels about - the way he speaks about people of color? SELLERS: So, I feel like I've echoed this a lot, and Andrew Gillum

and Stacey Abrams are both extremely qualified. Andrew Gillum has been a City Commissioner, mayor of a major city, capital city in Florida. He has a great education from the Florida University. Stacey Abrams has been a Minority Leader, has worked across party lines. She's done all the things necessary.

So I think that that's absurd, but I'm sitting back because, you know, Don, one of these issues and we talk about race and I think that you, myself and Symone have been very loud in this issue of race. But in order for us to make progress, I mean, there has to be people on this panel who don't look like me, your or Symone who are able to call this rhetoric for what it is.

MIKE SHIELDS, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, CNN: Well, two things, first of all, the president is an equal opportunity insulter. And so I think, you're cherry picking some of the African-Americans he said nasty things about. There is plenty of white people, Hispanic people, Asian people and others that because ...

LEMON: That he calls low IQ.

SHIELDS: Absolutely. That he creates nicknames for them. He attacks them. That is a part of what he does. Those are his political opponents and so to say that he's criticizing - Barack Obama was the previous President of the United States and they are criticizing each other.

SELLERS: But I think one of the things ...

SHIELDS: Hang on Bakari, let me finish - let me finish this.

LEMON: Go ahead.

[22:55:00]

SHIELDS: Secondly, just for the record, I work for Ron deSantis, okay. The reason why he shouldn't use the word thief, but Andrew Gillum has been under FBI investigation, did take a ticket from an undercover FBI agent and then lied about it. So a part of the Florida campaign is, is this guy being truthful? Has he been a part of corruption? There is a massive corruption investigation in Tallahassee.

SELLERS: He's not under FBI investigation.

SHIELDS: And the President is talking about it.

SELLERS: He is not under FBI investigation.

PAUL BEGALA, DEMOCRAT STRATEGIST: Donald Trump is under FBI investigation and if you were to kick Donald Trump in the rear end, you'd break the back of deSantis' head. He loves the President that much. So if he's like, if he has got a problem with somebody under FBI investigation, wait until he hears about Donald Trump. SHIELDS: Also, Paul, my point is don't call it a racist attack.

SELLERS: No, no, no.

SHIELDS: ... because you're talking about someone who is under investigation and he is calling them someone who could be a criminal.

SELLERS: This is the problem. One of the things ...

SANDERS: Wait no ...

SELLERS: No, he cannot be a criminal.

SANDERS: He is the mayor of Tallahassee.

SHIELDS: He accepted a ticket from an undercover FBI agent and didn't report it.

SANDERS: Look, that's against ...

SHIELDS: That's illegal, Symone. That's illegal.

SANDERS: He is not under FBI investigation. But the fact of the matter is why - let's just be frank and - I mean, why do black people always have to be thieves and low IQ? Why are we always - can we allude to the fact that a white person is a thief for a half second? Donald Trump is the criminal who has raped - and pardon me, I did not mean raped - that's an analogy that America knows. IF we want to talk, the problem is the language, and we cannot divorce the language that we are using with the history and the fact that race is a part of what is happening here. And if we ignore the fact that race is part of our politics, if we try to be color blind and we look past it, we do not get to the root of the issue.

SHIELDS: No, and I actually agree with you on that. And look, I was the Chief of Staff of the RNC, when the growth and opportunity report came in, we really focused on increasing the party's message to minority communities, hired minority staff across the country. I understand that, but our party faces challenges on that.

LEMON: I've got to go now.

SHIELDS: But the Democrats do a disservice when they weaponize race in every single form or fashion.

SELLERS: Do not weaponize race ...

SANDERS: We live it every day.

SELLERS: Look, we live with it every day. How about weaponizing? You don't even understand the fact ...

SHIELDS: But you are saying we should have a conversation, and then when we try to have a conversation, you weaponize those kinds of comments.

SELLERS: I want to - can I - quickly, let me ...

LEMON: I have to get to the break. I'm sorry. This is a great conversation, so sorry. We have to do what we have to do.

SELLERS: You have to understand that low IQ as a trope has been around for a long time. People have been calling us ignorant. People have been calling us man tan and sleep and eat, and bamboozled and all these other things.

SHIELDS: I understand that.

SELLERS: And so when you say somebody is low IQ, we're not weaponizing language, what I am trying to get `you to understand is that this has been trope used against our people for a long period of time.

So criticize Andrew for not being as handsome as Bakari Sellers or his policies aren't what they need to be, but when you call him low IQ, I think back to my ancestors, that's all I'm saying to you.

LEMON: All right, we've got to go.

SHIELDS: I understand that.

LEMON: We'll be right back.

[23:00:00]