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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Fox News: Trump Won't Rule Out Third Party Run; Trump Makes New Comments on Abortion; Is Trump "Nice" Enough For Wisconsin Voters?; Clinton And Sanders Spar Over Money and Abortion. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired April 1, 2016 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:16] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: And good evening. Thanks for joining us. We begin tonight with breaking news. Donald Trump has spoken out again on abortion. And if the Republican Party already had heartburn over him being the GOP standard bearer and spokesman in November, then this along with some other recent statements could make it a bleeding ulcer. So that is that story and going into a crucial primary in Wisconsin on Tuesday, there's this.
A true dilemma for some in the party. Fear that he will secure enough delegates to become the nominee and fear he will fall just short and become as "The New York Times" headline put it a zombie candidate damaged but unstoppable.
CNN's chief political correspondent Dana Bash is covering all the angles for us, including the breaking news. She joins tonight.
I guess, let's start with the latest abortion comments.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. And that is the breaking news. Donald Trump is trying again tonight to clarify his position on abortion. But in trying to do so, he seems to have left more unanswered questions because at the end of a very long answer that you are going to hear in a second, on CBS tonight, he said the laws are set, and I think we have to leave it that way, speaking of abortion. Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The laws are set now on abortion. And that's the way they're going to remain until they are changed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because you had told Bloomberg in January that's you believed abortion should be banned at some point in pregnancy. Where would you --?
TRUMP: I first of all would have liked to have seen this be a state -- I would have preferred states rights. I think it would have been better if it were up to the states. But right now the laws are set, and that's the way the laws are.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But you have a feeling they should change? You want it change. You've talked everything from libel to torture. Anything you would want to change on abortion?
TRUMP: At this moment, the laws are set and I think we have to leave it that way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: Now, I have reached out to Trump's campaign aides to try to get a handle on what exactly Donald Trump meant when he said it looks like we have to leave it that way. It sounded to me like he was trying to suggest that the stat states can't change the law because federal law prohibits that's from happening, but he left the impression he wants to keep abortion legal by saying the laws are set and we have to leave it that way.
So again, we're waiting to hear from his campaign. But it's a fitting way to end perhaps a rough week.
BASH (voice-over): When all else fails for Donald Trump, he tries to change the subject like he did today.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ted Cruz was my roommate. I did not like him at all in college.
BASH: Slamming Ted Cruz in a new Instagram video after one of the billionaire front-runner's worst weeks since the campaign began, causing a bipartisan firestorm with these comments when asked if women should be punish for having an abortion if it became illegal.
TRUMP: The answer is there has to be some form of punishment.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For the woman?
TRUMP: Yes, there has to be some form.
BASH: That Trump recanted within hours and later added this.
TRUMP: It could be that I misspoke, but this was a long, convoluted subject.
BASH: But he has not taken back what he said at CNN's town hall advocating for more nuclear weapons in Asia.
TRUMP: At some point, we have to say, you know what? We are better off if Japan protects itself against this maniac in North Korea.
BASH: Now Trump is refusing to rule the out using nuclear weapons in Europe.
TRUMP: Europe is a big place. The last person to use nuclear would be Donald Trump. That's the way I feel. I think it is a horrible thing. The thought of it is horrible. But I don't want to take anything off the table.
BASH: Trump's rivals continue to blast him.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Nominating Donald Trump could be a train wreck. And that's not fair to the train wrecks.
GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The problem for him with town halls, he has to actually answer questions in a specific way.
BASH: Kasich also went after Ted Cruz for having a thin leadership record.
KASICH: His record is shutting down the record and making everybody he works with upset.
BASH: As Trump sees his unfavorable ratings rise and support among women fall, he's quick to point out he is still the front-runner by a long shot, and that even if he arrives at the GOP convention in July without winning the nomination, if he's close, it should be him.
TRUMP: I would think that whoever has that kind of an advantage should get it.
BASH: But the first time politician is also learning that seizing the Republican nomination takes more than just winning contests. It takes winning over delegates in some states where rules vary.
Sources tell CNN that educating Trump about the complicated delegate process was the subject of Trump's meeting this week with Republican Party chair Reince Priebus at RNC headquarters in Washington.
TRUMP: Very actually terrific meeting, I think. It's really a unity meeting.
BASH: CNN is told that Priebus used the meeting to ask Trump to ease up on trashing the RNC as Trump did at this week's CNN town hall.
[20:05:01] TRUMP: I've been treated very unfairly.
COOPER: Unfairly by who?
TRUMP: I think by basically the RNC, the Republican Party.
BASH: Now, Anderson, I am told that Reince Priebus warned Trump about those comments he made to you, about disparaging the RNC because he said it makes it difficult for him for donors and for activists and for the party apparatus to come together around Trump even and especially if he is the nominee - Anderson.
BASH: All right. Dana Bash, busy day. Thank you.
Even President Obama made news just moments ago weighing in on Trump and the state of the campaign which he like into a carnival. We will talk about that and more with the panel tonight. Our chief national correspondent and "INSIDE POLITICS" anchor John King, chief political analyst Gloria Borger, also political commentator and Trump supporter Kayleigh McEnany, "Washington Post" opinion writer and former George W. Bush speech writer Michael Gerson and finally CNN political commentator and Clinton Superpac advisor Paul Begala. He witness his share of political carnival (INAUDIBLE). He has maybe been the ringmaster of one or two of these.
John, Gloria, let's start with you guys. I mean, these comments on abortion. How do you see them now, these latest comments? Has he switched? Has he misspoken?
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: (INAUDIBLE).
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: I think maybe all the above, honestly. He is kind of in a rabbit hole here. And the first part of his statement to John Dickerson which we have been parsing is that the laws are set until they change. The second time he came back and answered it, he said the laws are set, and I think we have to leave it that way. And then if you look further on at the clip CBS released, he was asked whether he thinks abortion is murder, and he said he didn't want to say. And then at the end of the interview, John Dickerson said to him, do you disagree with that proposition? He said, no, I don't disagree.
What this will do is give more fodder to Ted Cruz to say that Donald Trump doesn't know what he's talking about when it comes to the issue of life. He doesn't understand it. He hasn't thought deeply about it. And by the way, if he can't answer this question, clearly and definitively, I mean, this election is about appointing a justice to the Supreme Court who will move one way on abortion if you are a Republican. If he can't talk about it definitively, he doesn't feel deeply about it and it will raise questions about what he really believes.
COOPER: The think about this, though, about this comments, though - I mean, Trump, we haven't heard him come out and say what he meant or if he is going to clarify. But he could very easily say, look, when I was first asked this I said, you know, this is the way the laws are, until they are changed. But again, it does leave it open.
KING: It is his first time running for office. So want to give him some grace. Except he has been running now for what, nine months, eight or nine months in this is the presidency of the United States. And he is running as a Republican, as a guy who used to say he leaned Democrat and then went independent. There are some issues on which you just simply have to have an answer. And this issue is a major policy issue --
COOPER: Particularly when you always already have famously switched your --
KING: You switched your position.
COOPER: From being very pro-choice to now he says pro-life. KING: This is a big policy issue to a lot of conservatives in the
Republican Party. It also happens to be a huge moral issue on which you can change your mind. I mean, George W. Bush changed his position and was vice president and president of the United States. Mitt Romney changed his position and was governor of Massachusetts and Republican nominee for president. But they could explain their position and why they change.
Donald Trump in the course of, what, 72 hours here, three or four days, I don't know what his position is. And he is running for president of the United States. And frankly, you know, sometimes we have to try to be careful. It's just inexcusable. He is candidate for president of the United States. He should know what he wants to say on this issue by now.
COOPER: Kayleigh, you are a Trump supporter.
KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Donald Trump didn't change his position. Tonight, what he said is absolutely accurate. The laws are set. Roe v. Wade says that it's a violation of a woman's due process rights a right of privacy --
KING: But he told Bloomberg a few months ago that he thinks they should be changed.
MCENANY: Sure. Because he wants to appoint justices to overturn Roe v. Wade. But by definition, it is inaccurate to say that the laws are not set because they are set. And it would be a violation of the constitution to say otherwise. And by the way, that to me, one of the most irresponsible statements made in this campaign that basically said the opposite which you're hoping Donald Trump to say that he can change the laws no matter what the Supreme Court says is when Ted Cruz came out and encouraged states to openly rebel against the Supreme Court same-sex marriage decision. That's the most irresponsible thing I have heard in this campaign. So for you to advocate for Donald Trump to somehow say he can change the laws against the will --
KING: I didn't say that. What I said was at this point in a campaign when he is asked these questions, he should give the same answer every time on an issue that is critically important to a lot of voters in his primary.
MCENANY: He has given the same answer.
KING: That simply not true. He has not given the same answer. He changed his answer about should women be punished three times in three hours.
MCENANY: That is the one point you are absolutely right. He made a blunder there. That's correct. But to say it's a logically consistent position to say the laws by definition cannot be changed because you would be violating the constitution. However, he wants to appoint justices to overturn --
[20:10:03] COOPER: Michael Gerson, is this just kind of an interpretation of words? MICHAEL GERSON, FORMER SPEECHWRITER TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH:
Well, it's an important issue of substance. But I have to tell you. Republicans responding to this are concerned about his political skills. This is an obvious question that he should have been able to deal with.
COOPER: Particularly after the last 72 hours.
GERSON: It's like failing politics 101. And leaving many to say this is our inevitable candidate? This is the political skills of the man we're headed into the convention with? It has been a blow to his inevitability, I think. But also he is taking huge blows to his electability in recent polls as well. So this is a terrible period of time.
MCENANY: So Michael, should he -- are you encouraging him then to say what Cruz said which, is stage to rebel against the Supreme Court? Because to say the opposite would be to say that.
GERSON: The problem is --
MCENANY: And that is irresponsible. The Supreme Court sets the law of the land. Same-sex marriage is the law of the land. Abortion is the law of the land. The only way to change that is to appoint justices. States cannot rebel. They speak and they speak with one voice.
GERSON: The problem here is that he once supported partial-birth abortion and then became very conservative and he can't explain either position. It is just looks like he is trying to get to some place, some political place, not reason from first principles, not talk about the role of law, the role of morality, the role of religion. He is incapable of making those arguments. And I think that's what people are concerned about.
COOPER: Paul Begala, you seem to be enjoying this?
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I don't want to interrupt. If Donald Trump would let Kayleigh script him, he would be in a lot better shape, OK. He was not going back to law school. He was not asked the explanatory case, right. What is case law on abortion? Everybody knows that. It is just the normative case. What should the laws on abortion be? And he has been all over the map on that.
The problem with that is a central part of his appeal, you talk to Trump supporters. They all tell you this. He tells it like it is. Well, he is telling it four, five different ways now. All of a sudden, for the first time, he looks like a typical politician, and it's not his normal, you know, verbal incontinence, you know, where he just -- he need Trump adult diapers for his mouth.
But this time what he has done in the past, attacking senator McCain, attacking Megyn Kelly, attacking (INAUDIBLE), the disabled reporter for "The New York Times," he's doubled down. And a lot of his supporters like that because it's not politically correct, and he tells it like it is. Now he's waffling all over the place. I think it's a --
COOPER: I mean, had he said these are the laws as of now, I would -- I would certainly hope to be able to change them, you know, if we get Supreme Court nominees that I'll be able to pick, that's why this race is so important. That would have been a response that would have been in line with not only the law but his position. He didn't say that, though, Kayleigh.
MCENANY: But here's the thing. He said it repeatedly. He said repeatedly he wants conservative justices to make changes. It is what everyone on the panel is advocating for him to do right now is to throw red meat to a conservative base which is exactly what Ted Cruz did & and it's irresponsible to tell states to rebel against the Supreme Court. It would be irresponsible to gain political points if Donald Trump says, yes, I'm going to change the laws. I don't care what the Supreme Court says. Why aren't we calling out Ted Cruz for encouraging rebellion against the Supreme Court?
BORGER: I don't think Ted Cruz is anything -- let's just talk about what Donald Trump said tonight. It's not about Ted Cruz. It's about Donald Trump. And I think that at this point of presidential campaign as John was talking about is that voters demand a certain amount of clarity from their candidates. And the problem for Donald Trump is, and you used the word, Paul, waffling. One word we would never use about Donald Trump is waffling.
BEGALA: There is no Trump waffles.
BORGER: There is no Trump waffle. Candidates always waffle. Donald Trump is always straight ahead, tell it like it is and all the rest. On this particular issue for whatever reason, and I have no idea what it is, that it's something he hasn't internalized, obviously, and it's something he is uncomfortable talking about. When you watch the CBS interview and he has asked about whether abortion is murder, he is clearly uncomfortable with the question. So it's an issue that he has difficulty --
COOPER: Well, let me ask. I mean, there's a banner up right now that I just saw, it says Trump again changes position on abortion. Is that fair to say, or do we know?
KING: It's a great question and we should see the entire interview on CBS, not just with (INAUDIBLE) to be fair to John Dickerson and for Donald Trump. We should see the interview its entirety.
My point is - look. It's not my job to give candidates advice. But having covered eight presidential campaigns, on this issue, 99.9 percent of the candidates know what to say and know what they don't want to say. When somebody ask them a question, you don't you ask people questions all the time. I ask people questions all the time. A lot of times politicians don't answer the question. They say what they want to say.
And on an issue as sensitive as abortion. Look. It's Republican 101. How you are going to answer abortion? How are you going to talk about taxes, education policy goes back to the state? There's just four or five things on the index card of being a serious Republican candidate for office that you need to have an answer on.
And, look, the fact he's different is part of his appeal. The fact that he is outside of orthodoxy is part of his appeal. But on this particular issue, especially after he had the misstep the other day, you would think the next time it came up he'd say, John, you asked me this. Here's what I want to say - boom, boom, boom, stop.
[20:15:12] MCENANY: He said point blank in this interview, abortion is murder. He is pro-life. He said that. But here is the thing. He is being very --
BORGER: He didn't say that.
COOPER: He actually didn't say it's murder. He didn't want to say it --
MCENANY: He didn't want to say it because there are people in the media, not everyone but some, who are foaming at the mouths to get him to say anything wrong to stumble because they want to spin Donald Trump as being out of touch or out of place or saying --.
COOPER: In the interview he said he didn't disagree with that statement. John Dickerson said -- but you don't disagree with that proposition that it's murder. What proposition, that abortion is murder? No, I don't disagree.
We do have to take a break.
As we are speaking, even more breaking news. Donald Trump weighing in now. The headline just hitting on a potential third party run. We'll talk more about that. We will tell you what he said with our panel shortly.
Also John King, we certainly need John's help on this as we walk and talk through exactly how a three-way contested convention might unfold if Donald Trump comes close but still falls short of the winning number of delegates.
And later tonight, Hillary Clinton's temper flares and the ultimate target of it is Bernie Sanders as the Democratic duo gets personal. We will look closer at what that was about and how it's playing out on the campaign trail.
[20:19:32] COOPER: Two pieces of breaking news. Donald Trump no longer ruling out a third party run. He said that to FOX News that we just learning that. Also he's weighing in again on abortion on an interview for CBS "Face the Nation" on Sunday, the transcript has been released there by guaranteeing another two or three days of headlines on this going to Tuesday's Wisconsin primary.
Donald Trump is trailing by ten points in the latest polls there. There's a possibility that his win in South Carolina could be challenged. Reports that since he has gone back on his pledge to support any eventual nominee, which he made at the town hall we did earlier this week, the 50 delegates there could be up for grabs again. Now all this could be adding up to an interesting convention in July.
Tom Foreman has more.
[20:20:14] TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Anderson.
There's a reason they call it a floor fight. If nobody gets to that magic number of delegates out there before the convention begins. And this is the delegate count right now. You can see where they are. We have been inching closer to that possibility. Donald Trump really has the only real big shot at it right now.
But look. If we get to the convention and he doesn't have that number, and even if the floor is filled with people who are waving his signs and he doesn't get that number on the first vote, then all bets are off because then many of these delegates will become unbound. Meaning they can show their true colors. You may find some people who are waiting Trump signs are now waving Cruz signs or maybe they are waving Kasich signs or maybe for someone else altogether.
And with each vote after that, more of them become unbound. Now there are a lot of different state rules and there are rules written for the convention right before it starts. It may not be clear who all is coming free at which moment. But you can bet those candidates will be twisting every arm they can and trying to massage the rules and push the referees everywhere they can to get people into their camp.
COOPER: But Tom, despite all that, I mean, the party might be expected to respect the voters back home. So the results of the contested conventions usually mirror the popular vote, and how long do they last?
FOREMAN: Those are excellent questions. And there have been so few of these, Anderson. We don't really know the answer. Look. We know that back 1952, Dwight Eisenhower came in and he only had about a quarter of the vote on the Republican side. He was actually trailing. And yet there is all sorts of wrangling going on, accusations of delegate stealing and he came out of the convention as the nominee and eventually the president.
Back in 1932, Franklin Delano Roosevelt on the Democratic side faced a real challenge because his party had a rule that said you have to have two-thirds of the delegates to get the nomination. Took him four ballots before he was able to pull that off.
And back in 1880 on the Republican side, this was amazing. There were several candidates at the top duking it out going back and forth vote after vote and finally James Garfield who wasn't on anyone's radar until the end arises, gets the most and becomes the nominee ending the longest convention in Republican Party history. But there's a reason they don't want this to happen, Anderson. And that reason is simple enough. Look at these numbers from the Pew research center.
On the Republican side if the nominee is chosen on the first ballot, 64 percent of the time that person will win the presidency. Second ballot or later, it drops to 50 percent. And those numbers are even worse on the Democratic side -- Anderson. COOPER: Tom, thanks very much.
Joining me now is national Republican consultant and former South Carolina Republican Party chairman, Katon Dawson. Current South Carolina Republican party chairman, Matt Moore. And with us again CNN "INSIDE POLITICS" anchor John King.
Matt, let's start with you. What exactly is going on in South Carolina now that Donald Trump and frankly, the other candidates have opted out of that pledge to support whomever the Republican nominee is?
MATT MOORE, CHAIRMAN, SOUTH CAROLINA REPUBLICAN PARTY: Well, I love hearing the history of these conventions throughout the past 150 years or so. What's happened in the past week, these questions have been raised again here in South Carolina about the pledge that all candidates here in South Carolina and presidential candidates signed when they signed up tor to be a candidate for the South Carolina primary.
I think what is true is that this open convention has raised, quite frankly, a lot of open questions about the delegate rules and about what it means to actually get there to that floor fight. This will probably continue as we head into the summer.
COOPER: Matt, I know - I mean, as party chairman, you are remaining neutral. Are you personally disappointed at all that the candidates have backed away from the pledge? Because it was a big deal at the time.
MOORE: Well, I am, of course. And I want all these candidates to eventually support the party's nominee. The RNC and national party have an arsenal of data and digital analytics to offer the eventual nominee. And it really hurts the effort quite frankly. It hurts the team to hear this kind of talk.
COOPER: Katon, you have never shied away from telling us what's you think of Donald Trump or anyone else for that matter, how do you see this playing out? I mean, he was the winner of the South Carolina primary. Shouldn't he get those delegates?
KATON DOWSON, NATIONAL REPUBLICAN CONSULTANT: There are going to be 50 delegates. And most likely they will stick with Donald Trump. And in my conversation with some delegates that could be picked in our state convention and that's coming up. And again, Anderson, the pool of delegates, all over the country, varies. But a lot of these people that are going to be able to be delegates hadn't been picked yet, and Donald Trump wasn't even on the horizon when they signed up to go to a national convention.
So with the candidates all saying they're maybe not going to support anybody, Donald Trump one more time planning in to it by saying that he might do a third party run to try to pull the Republican Party back in line, as he says it, or as he sees it.
But one thing I can tell you, the Reagan/Ford '76 convention was a pretty good brawl. You get the chance to empower delegates, which is going to be less than one percent of the Republican Party heading to Cleveland and tell them they have a choice of going to 26 cocktail parties or a floor fight, you can look for a really, really good floor fight because Republicans in general normally don't vote in a primary for who they think is going to be the best general election candidate.
But let me tell you about the people going to a convention. They're going to look at the poll numbers. They are going to watch the news. And if they see we don't have a chance for the number one vote counter getting in that doesn't have the number. Now, if he has the number, Anderson, he will be the nominee. Right now he has a pretty bad April coming his way.
COOPER: John King, the whole process just leading up to the convention is complicated. Never mind when you actually get to the convention. Is there a possibility of a cascade effect one state or said delegate turns on Trump, could other then follow?
KING: Absolutely, it is possible. Because anything is possible. I would say the Republican convention theme song is going to be "send lawyers, guns and money" but the secret service has already said you can't have guns.
And so, look. This is chaos. And what could happen in an open convention would be chaotic anyway because the Republican National Committee would have to write new rules for its convention plus every one of the state delegations plus the five or six territories that are sending delegations to the conventions, write their own rules about what the state party rules mean. So you got 57 different variations of state and territory rules. Then whatever rules they try to write at the convention if they can coming up with a consensus on that. And the point about what those 50 South Carolina delegates do, Anderson, is critical. Because the first ballot number for Donald Trump will tell you a lot about his strength. If those 50 or half of those 50 decide never mind. Trump broke his pledge. We're not with him. And Trump's number falls lower, that decreases the likelihood he's the nominee. If he has a strong first ballot number and can hold most of it on the second ballot, then it's hard to take it away from him. If people feel forget about it, we are not (INAUDIBLE), even delegates who come and the state party thinks they're bound starts to say forget about it, nobody knows. That is the key point, nobody knows. You talk to the state chairs. You have one current, one former here tonight. They are talking to their lawyers. They are talking to their people about how are we going to manage this now and then how are we going to try to hold it together at the convention and nobody is quite sure.
COOPER: It's going to be fascinating.
John, thanks. Matt Moore, thanks.
Katon, if there's a floor fight, I'm hiding behind you, OK.
DAWSON: Let me tell you. All hell is going to break loose, Anderson, and it's going to be good to cover.
COOPER: We love having you on, Katon. Thanks very much.
Up next, our panel weighs in on t report. Trump once again talking about a third party run. Details ahead.
[20:31:38] COOPER: Welcome back, big night of breaking news, Donald Trump telling Fox News, he's no longer ruling out a third party run in November, listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Are you ruling out running as an independent third party candidate? Are you ruling that out?
DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, look, I'm by far ...
WALLACE: That's simple question.
TRUMP: No, it's not that simple. I'm by far is the frontrunner as a Republican. I want to run as a Republican. I will beat Hillary Clinton.
WALLACE: But if you don't get the nomination?
TRUMP: We'll have to see how I was treated I'm going to have to see how I was treated, very simple.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So there was that which came shortly after another potential bombshell, his new remarks on abortion during a sit-down interview with CBS news' John Dickerson.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The laws are set now on abortion and that's the way they'll going to remain until they're changed.
JOHN DICKERSON, CBS NEWS ANCHOR: Because you have said you wanted the, you told Bloomberg in January that you believed abortion should be banned at some point in pregnancy. Where would you ...
TRUMP: So I first of all ...
TRUMP: ... I would have liked -- you have seen, you know, this be at state's rights. I would have preferred state's right. I think it would have been better if were up to the states. But right now the laws are set and that's the way the laws are.
DICKERSON: But you have a feeling how they should change? There are a lot of laws you want to change and talk about, come on everything from libel to torture. Anything you would want to change on abortion?
TRUMP: At this moment, the laws are set and I think we have to leave it that way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, now, just moments ago. This is new Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks put out the following statement. I want to read it to you, "Mr. Trump gave an accurate account of the law as it is today and made clear it must say that way now until he's president. Then he will change the law through his judicial appointment and allow the states to protect the unborn. There is nothing new or different here."
Back with the panel. It's interesting, Kayleigh, that's essentially what you were saying he was saying.
KAYLEIGH MCENANY, TRUMP SUPPORTER: Yeah, there are two points here that are important, you know number one, the law at the moment and Donald Trump said at the moment is settled. And that is absolutely accurate. Number two, you can appoint conservative justices if you want to change the law. Those are two important points. And Donald Trump has said that consistently since May 3rd, 2011, when he became pro life and in that statement he said "I will appoint conservative justices." Then there's two points, point one, point two, he has consistently made those two points and that is accurate.
COOPER: And he did not obviously in this interview John Dickerson make the point about judicial appointments. Michael Gerson, what do you make of the new statement that just came out?
MICHAEL GERSON, FORMER SPEECH WRITER OF GEORGE W. BUSH: Well and I think they are trying to clean up the mess and -- But this is symptomatic, I think, it's not an exception.
This is a man who has impulses and instincts when he's interviewed. He doesn't make arguments. And on a question like this, people want to hear that you've struggled through it that you've looked at it from all sides. That you, you know, have thought what your own views are. And he doesn't give any evidence of that on an important question. And he could just shut it down and say nothing. That might be a better, you know, alternative. But what he's doing now you can, see him in his mind figuring out where he should be political. And I think that's a mistake on this issue.
COOPER: It was interesting Paul on the program last night, Hillary Clinton called in. First time, at least on my program does she's done that. I think.
PAUL BEGALA, ADVISER, PRO HILLARY CLINTON: One time listener, first time caller.
COOPER: Exactly. But it was interesting to see. I mean clearly she views Donald Trump's recent comments on today and that recent comments on abortion as an opportunity, and she was sort of moving away from the details of what he said about punishing a woman because he had reversed himself on that follow up statement.
[20:35:00] But just to his position on abortion in general and linking his thoughts to the GOP in total.
BEGALA: I think especially because the Republicans seem unwilling to confirm Judge Garland, the president's nominee to replace Justice Scalia on the Supreme Court. Abortion and other social issues will be big, big issues. And Hillary is telegraphing. She's very comfortable with that.
Now, 20 or 30 years ago, those were loser issues for Democrats and we were running away from them. Hillary seems to be leaning into this. And she talks about these issues with real confidence. She has thought it through as Michael says, she has respect for the other side but she knows where she stands.
She is pro-choice, period. And by the way, if Ted Cruz is the nominee you can have a very similar conversation, you know, Cruz is much more set in his position, but it is a tiny minority position which is outlawing abortion, even if a woman gets raped.
MCENANY: Again, the theory means he wants the states to rebel against the Supreme Court. That's to me as the most controversial thing that's been said ...
BEGALA: He does play around with nullification.
MCENANY: I mean that's wrong. That's wrong, yes.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Right, but you know, Trump had the opportunity, and again, we haven't seen the whole interview. So we don't know what the entire interview says. But he had the interview to talk about the Supreme Court which is the key issue in this election, obviously. Swing vote up for grabs and he didn't. And it just, you know, exhibits ...
COOPER: At least in this ...
BORGER: ... at least in this. And I think and just in watching Trump and I'm certainly not a shrink and don't ever want to be one but it's seems to me on this issue he gets in own head a little bit because he's just not as clear about it as he is on, say, the wall or China or trade. And when you are trying to talk to a certain group of voters in the Republican Party who have as Michael was saying deeply held views on this, you have to explain to them why you are with them. And this just doesn't do it now.
JONH KING, CNN ANCHOR, "INSIDE POLITICS": He has benefited immensely as we've said and given him credit for by being by far the most accessible candidate to the news media ...
KING: ... and he gets interviews and over all, he has benefited dramatically in the campaign because he gets to set the agenda, he gets to change the conversation when he thinks it's in his best interest. In this last week, the 10 days that we were at this moment of inflection, can he recover from it? All candidates fall down, all candidates stumble, all candidates make mistakes. Can he recover from it?
But there is this conversation, now we're talking about the abortion issue. The president of the United States, the incumbent president of the United States, hit him today on he doesn't understand foreign policy and nuclear issues. There's there, is Donald Trump ready for PrimeTime? Is he ready for the presidency conversation that's happening? And it's happening at a very critical moment because if you are going to stop him, you have Wisconsin, New York and the states that follow. That is your chance to stop him.
Otherwise, if Donald Trump gets his momentum back and starts winning again, maybe there's an open convention but he's still going to get there with such a huge delegate lead that it's going to be tough to take it away.
COOPER: What do you make of him with Chris Wallace not necessarily ruling out a third party run?
KING: Again an interesting thing to say, when you're trying to get Republicans to be loyal to you at a Republican Convention so that you can win the nomination. It is a really interesting and counterintuitive thing to say that if I don't like the way you treat me, I may have a third party win that probably guarantees the Democrats win the White House.
But that again, that's Donald Trump's instincts in his impulse. That's not a logical political consultant would say, even if you think that, even if you plan that, don't talk about it.
BORGER: And that gets you in trouble in South Carolina. You guys where just talking about.
COOPER: I've noticed in interviews and again I think that Chris Wallace's interview is another example. He is and maybe it's only on topics were he hasn't thought it through, but he is highly suggestible. I mean if the interviewer says, you know, it's Chris Wallace who brought up the idea of a third party run ...
KING: To Trump's credit, he answers the question. As opposed to saying, Chris, I'm running as a Republican right now. Ask me that question in Cleveland. I'm not touching it. Right now I'm running as a Republican, conversation is over, but he doesn't, instead, he answers.
BORGER: And that's how he answers.
COOPER: I doubt Donald Trump would have brought up the idea of a third party run in that interview, but when Chris Wallace brings it up, it sort of puts it in his mind and he seems to answer starts to answer it. I don't want to get to, you know sort of analysis on him but that's not a word.
MCENANY: That's the next one in point to because a lot of times when the interviewer asks him a question it's almost like a ping-pong match between Donald Trump and the interviewer. And interviewers are trying to bait and if he could benefit from stepping back, taking a breath, a lot of times we see Barack Obama pause, President Obama pause, reflects, answer, pause again in the middle and then answer. I think Donald Trump could benefit from less of the ping-pong baiting and more of the pause, think.
BORGER: I don't think it's baiting. I really don't.
COOPER: Right, it's asking a question.
BORGER: It's asking a question and at this point in the presidential race, the questions are going to get more direct and are going to get more pointed because he's in a nomination fight with two other guys. And so that's I think what Dickerson was doing and I think it could Wallace was doing and by the way and on running as a third party candidate, that's where he was on day one, right?
COOPER: But in this case at that, I mean in the interview, I mean if you don't want a president who is meeting with world leaders and just because the other world leader suggests something the president, you know, sort of goes for, goes for it.
GERSON: I think this is an absolutely crucial juncture for Trump. He's shown electoral strength, surprising electoral strength. Now he needs to show he can fully inhabit the role of president of the United States.
[20:40:03] And there's a transition there. In every campaign, someone eventually comes up with a candidate and says all these strengths and skills that brought you to this point are not enough to take you in to the finish line. You're going to need to be the president before you are elected president. You need to be imaginable in that job. And that's what has not happened in the last few weeks. Donald Trump is not imaginable as president of the United States.
BEGALA: And yet, his, according to reports this week, his campaign manager when he took over, Corey Lewandowski wrote on a white board. Like Corey and I wrote it's the economist that wrote forwards. Let Trump be Trump.
MCENANY: And it works.
BEGALA: And if it has worked like nothing we've ever seen.
GERSON: It's worked until now. It won't work for the next step.
BEGALA: I think you're right, but I just don't think you're going to turn Donald Trump into somebody who looks reasonable and careful and presidential.
BORGER: And if the person wants to be anybody else.
BORGER: You know, they these people want Donald Trump to be Trump.
COOPER: I don't think Donald Trump wants to be somebody else.
KING: But he needs to grow. He still needs to grow in the Republican race. And if he gets the Republican nomination, he's going to have to grow more. And so you going to get new people not just keeping your supporters. So, how do you keep what you've got and get some more. That's the challenge.
COOPER: I want to thank our panel. For rolling bunches tonight. A lot of new information coming in just over the last half hour.
Coming up, the nice factor in Wisconsin. It's a state that prides itself on friendliness and civility. Donald Trump is trailing in that state. Gary Tuchman speaks to people there of that.
[20:45:20] COOPER: And tonight's breaking news, Donald Trump saying he's not ruling out a third party run and weighing in on abortion. His campaign quickly clarifying the latest remarks on abortion all this just four days out from Wisconsin's primary. The latest polls show Trump trailing Ted Cruz by 10 points. Mr. Trump's trade mark bombast and blunt style shall we say is not worked Wisconsinites or perhaps used to. Gary Tuchman reports.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wisconsin nice.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wisconsin nice.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, Wisconsin nice. Absolutely.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Wisconsin nice. Words the people of the state try and live by.
TRUMP: He would be one hell of a lousy president that I can tell you.
TUCHMAN: And partly because of that motto, this presidential campaign is what a lot of folks here the wrong way. And may explain why a certain guy who is New York Brash isn't polling so well here.
What do you think of all the bickering and insults and name calling between the candidates during this campaign?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I try not to pay much attention to it. As a matter of fact if a commercial comes on and it's from a Super PAC, or something like I generally change the channel.
TUCHMAN: So why do Wisconsinites have this nice reputation?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Maybe it's the cheese. And we drink more brandy than any other state in the union.
TUCHMAN: Well there might be some other reasons. Keep in mind one of the state's nicknames is America's Dairyland. A pastoral, peaceful sounding name many try to live up to. Roger Weiland is a dairy farmer.
ROGER WEILAND, WISCONSIN DAIRY FARMER: I think is that the affect we've been brought up with. We grew up with parents that taught us good ethics, and we work hard. The farm background here in Wisconsin, I think all contributes to that.
TUCHMAN: Ardy & Ed's drive-in in Oshkosh has been around since 1948. There's a sign outside that's says a friendly place. And inside it feels exactly that. Friendly. Lunch and ice cream sodas served at the counter. And food delivered to your car by roller-skating car hops.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sounds good.
TUCHMAN: Being polite, being nice has been good for business says Arty Davis who bought the drive-in just over 60 years popping she says the customers are just as nice.
Why is that?
ARTY DAVIS, WIFE OF STEVE DAVIS: I don't know. They're just nice.
TUCHMAN: But her husband Steve who has worked here 39 years knows the answer.
STEVE DAVIS: OWNER ARTY & ED'S DRIVE-IN: I think its part of their upbringing. Basically pretty humble people and hard working people and hard working people and they are taught to respect other people and be civil and get along with each other.
TUCHMAN: And that's why diners at the counter say, too.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everybody just seems, you know, to like each other, respect each other and look out for each other.
TUCHMAN: What's been made very clear to us in our travels around the state is that Wisconsinites, when it comes to politics, are very tired of the bull. Sorry, cows. Wisconsin nice is not just a motto. It's a lifestyle that many here are grateful for like the roller-skating server I worked to keep up with.
Are the customers here nice?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, yeah, of course.
TUCHMAN: How do they tip?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Very well.
TUCHMAN: What percentage?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 20 to 25 I think.
TUCHMAN: That is nice.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah. Yeah. (END VIDEO CLIP)
TUCHMAN: All the people I talked to say they will vote. They are too nice not to. Speaking of nice people, there are about 750 Republicans in this room behind me in Milwaukee. This is the largest Republican Party function in the State of Wisconsin each year. It's a fish fry and they've invited all three Republican presidential candidates.
Right now Former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson is speaking. Kasich and Cruz will be speaking shortly. Donald Trump is not here but an emissary of his will be here, Governor Sarah Palin. Anderson.
COOPER: Gary, did you just happen to have roller-skates with you?
TUCHMAN: I bring them with me wherever I go, Anderson.
COOPER: All right, no doubt. All right Gary, thanks very much.
Its time for quick when we come back, things get tense on the democratic side. Accusations of lying, demands for an apology. The latest in battle between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. Next.
[20:52:53] COOPER: Earlier tonight, Sub-Democratic Strategist, Paul Begala barely concealing his belief. Donald Trump's new comments on abortion and his refuse over a lot of third party run for president. He might not be smiling so much though, over the growing tension over on his side of the primary.
At a rally in Wisconsin this evening, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton owes his campaign an apology. Our Senior Washington Correspondent, Jeff Zeleny has the story and the back story.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Hillary Clinton just can't shake Bernie Sanders.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILALRY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is really personal for me.
ZELENY: Their Democratic fight isn't winding for but ramping up and expanding to new fronts.
BERNIE SANDERS, (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Secretary Clinton ...
ZELENY: Sanders and his supporters keeping alive their criticism of Clinton receiving contributions from the oil and gas industry. This confrontation with a climate change activist going viral.
CLINTON: "I do not, I have money from people who work for fossil companies. I am so I am so sick. I am so sick of the Sanders campaign lying about that. I'm sick of it!" ZELENY: The outburst offers a fresh window into a rising frustration with Sanders. The Clinton campaign accepts money from lobbyists who work for oil and gas companies, not the companies themselves. Sanders calls it a distinction without a difference.
SANDERS: If people receive money from lobbyists of the industry, I think you are receiving money from the industry. These are not just a little worker men, these are lobbyists who represent the oil and gas industry.
ZELENY: But today in New York, Clinton struck back saying Sanders isn't pro-business.
CLINTON: I just go crazy when I hear Senator Sanders and the Tea Party Republicans railing against the export/import bank like it's some kind of evil, you know, presence.
ZELENY: The Democratic rivals are also tangling over abortion. Clinton accusing Sanders of not properly denouncing Donald Trump's assertion women who have abortions should be punished.
CLINTON: Senator Sanders agreed that Donald Trump's comments were shameful, but then he said they were a distraction from, and, I quote, "A serious discussion about the serious issues facing America."
ZELENY: Sanders cried foul.
SANDER: What Secretary Clinton did is take things out of context. I'm 100 percent pro-choice.
ZELENY: The root of the tension is the length of the race.
[20:55:02] The Clinton campaign once assuming the race would be all but over by now as Campaign Manager, Robby Mook noted in this memo after Clinton lost the New Hampshire primary two months ago.
Writing, "The nomination will very likely be won in March, not February." Sanders has an edge in Wisconsin and is fighting hard on Clinton's turf in New York. He drew 18,000 supporters last night to a rally in the Bronx.
SANDERS: My father came to this country at the age of 17 from Poland without a nickel in his pocket.
ZELENY: Sanders is well behind in the delegate race. But money is keeping him in the game. His campaign says it raised $44 million in March fortifying it for the final two months of the long Democratic Primary.
SANDERS: Let's take this fight to the White House. Thank you all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZELENY: But for Bernie Sanders to take this to the White House, he needs to keep winning, and winning big. His first target is Wisconsin. He's camping out there all weekend long. Now, a top Clinton adviser told me today they believe Wisconsin is basically out of reach. That's why they are focusing so much attention on New York.
But, judging by the size of last night's crowd in the Bronx for Sanders, that populous streak in New York is alive and well, and the Clinton campaign is taking New York very, very seriously.
They know a loss there would up in this race like nothing else could. Anderson?
COOPER: Jeff Zeleny. Jeff, thanks very much. We'll be right back.
[21:00:06] COOPER: And that does it for us on this Friday night. Thanks for watching. Time now for "CNN TONIGHT" with Don Lemon.