Return to Transcripts main page
Bruce Springsteen Cancels Show over North Carolina Bathroom Law; Trump Has Clear Lead in New York; GOP Headed to a Contested Convention?; Telling the Story of Clarence Thomas' Confirmation Hearings. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired April 8, 2016 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[22:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT SHOW HOST: The boss says no to North Carolina. This is "CNN tonight." I'm Don Lemon. Bruce Springsteen takes aim at North Carolina's so-called bathroom bill which requires individuals to use bathrooms that correspond to the gender of their birth certificate.
Springsteen calling off his show this weekend in North Carolina and telling fans, "some things are more important than a rock show and this fight against prejudice and bigotry, which is happening as I write, is one of them." Meanwhile with the New York primary less than two weeks, the way Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are uncharacteristically quiet tonight as Kasich says this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KASICH, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And if I don't get picked, it is going to be an empty victory because nobody beats Hillary but me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Plus, the president's Supreme Court nominee sparks a political firestorm, but this is isn't today. This is the story of Clarence Thomas Hearings, the Clarence Thomas Hearings 25 years ago, things had exploded into accusations of racism and sexual harassment. And we talked to one of the stars of the HBO movie that brings it all back to life.
But let's begin, why don't we, with the battle over North Carolina's so-called bathroom bill. Here to discuss that is Alan Dershowitz. His latest book is "Taking a Stand, My Life and the Law" also, senior political commentator Ben Ferguson, who joins me via Skype. So let's start with this Bruce Springsteen, good evening to both of you, gentlemen. Bruce Springsteen cancelling his North Carolina stop on his tour today because of the so-called bathroom bill -- bathroom law -- requiring people to use the bathroom corresponding to the gender on your birth certificate.
Critics say it discriminates against transgender people and puts them in danger. Here's what Springsteen says, he says, "To my mind, it's an attempt by people who cannot stand the progress our country has made and recognizing the human rights of all of our citizens to overturn that progress.
Right now, there are many groups, businesses and individuals in North Carolina working oppose and overcome this negative developments. Taking all of this into account, I feel that this is a time for me and the band to show solidarity for those freedom fighters. As a result, and with deepest apologies to our dedicated fans in Greensboro, we have canceled our show scheduled for Sunday, April 10th.
"Some things are more important than a rock show and this fight against prejudice and bigotry -- which is happening as I write -- is one of them. It is the strongest means I have for raising my voice in opposition to those who continue to push us backwards instead of forwards." That's strong words from the boss band, I mean, you think he's wrong?
BEN FERGUSON, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I love it. It makes me laugh the fact that somehow he thinks, you know, claiming that you want tolerance for all but showing complete intolerance for anyone else's viewpoint so therefore, I'm going to not have a concert, fine by me. Don't have your concert but don't claim that you want tolerance acceptance when you're completely intolerant of anyone else that disagrees with you and when they do disagree with you.
You decide that you're going to take your band and go home or by all means take your band and go home, no one's feelings are going to be hurt over that but this shows the double standard by people like Bruce Springsteen, who again, they claim they're advocating for tolerance. That they are totally intolerant to anyone that disagrees with their perspective, and that's hypocrisy at its finest right there by Bruce Springsteen.
LEMON: Is it intolerance on Bruce Springsteen's part, Allen? What do you think?
[22:05:00] ALAN DERSHOWITZ, LAWYER AND AUTHOR: No. He did exactly the right thing. Three cheers for the Boss. The statute itself is an exercise of absolute bigotry. The purpose was not to protect people in their bathrooms, the purpose was to send a message that the North Carolina government is going to be intolerant towards sexual differences. Look, if North Carolina wants to protect its people, it can easily pass a new statute saying that from now only bathrooms that are going to be built are single-stall bathrooms so they're gender neutral.
You just -- there's a bathroom. But right now, we have a situation where there are people in the country who have changed their gender surgically or in other ways and the laws protect them and give them complete freedom and equality and you can't just pass a law that discriminates. And this law goes much further than that. It denies people in general the right to bring lawsuit in the state to protect their civil liberties. This is a step back to the 1950's. Shame on the North Carolina government and I think it's a good thing that somebody is standing up to that bigotry. You don't show tolerance for bigotry.
FERGUSON: Alan, it's not bigotry to say that we're going to stick with what is on your birth certificate. If it says you're male, you go to the male bathroom. If you are female, you go to a female bathroom. That is not some new crazy idea. We've been doing this since the four bathrooms were invented. And what you have the legislature say clearly was, we are not going to reinvent the wheel. If you want to have your gender changed...
LEMON: Ben, we evolved -- we evolved and when you know better, you do better.
FERGUSON: Don, if you want to go and have your birth certificate changed in the state, then what they said was, you can then use that bathroom. But until you're willing to go through the step of changing your birth certificate, to change your gender on your birth certificate, we are not going to reinvent the wheel here. This is not some new crazy idea.
DERSHOWITZ: But think of how absurd this is -- think of how absurd this is. You're going to get somebody who is...
FERGUSON: It's not absurd to say that a guy is a...
LEMON: Let him talk, Ben. Let him talk.
DERSHWITZ: Let me finish. You're going to get somebody who is a woman who has breasts, who's wearing a dress and under this law she's going to now have to go to the men's room. Or you're going to have somebody who is a man, who has had surgery. He's a man who is wearing pants, who has hair, who has a beard and he's going to have to go into the ladies room. It's going to cause more difficulty.
And how do the police begin to enforce this? How do they check you out? You're going to have to walk around with your birth certificate? Your papers, please, you're going into the wrong bathroom. This is bigotry going back to the 19th century. Look, for years we had slavery, for years we had gender discrimination. We got better. We're getting better about lesbians, gays and transgenders and North Carolina, welcome to the 21st century. Catch up with us, the Boss is right, you are wrong.
FERGUSON: Alan, this is not about gays or lesbians. This is about a simple issue.
DERSHOWITZ: Sure it is.
FERGUSON: No, it's not because you can be gay and go to the boys bathroom, you can be lesbian and go to the girls bathroom. Let's not inter-mingle things...
DERSHOWITZ: What about if you're transgender? Which bathroom do you go to?
FERGUSON: If you want to go through the process, okay, and you want to have your birth certificate changed, then that is what you are on your birth certificate, but until you're doing that -- this also deals with issues of people that might just want to go into a different bathroom while they're exploring a new alternative lifestyle.
That is where this goes back to being normal or traditional in a simple way that if you were a boy you go to the boys room, if you're a girl you go to the girls room and you don't go back and forth in between in high school locker rooms or anything else until you change your birth certificate.
DERSHOWITZ: But this law says if you're a boy, you have to go to the girl's room unless you can produce a birth certificate. If you're a girl, you have to go to the boy's room.
FERGUSON: No, it doesn't Alan.
DERSHOWITZ: Unless you can produce a birth certificate because if you've made a change in your life, you have to go to the bathroom that reflects what you were 40 years ago when you were born, not what you've been over the last 20 years. This is absurd. And the basic behind it is bigotry, bias, and prejudice. Let's face reality. The people of North Carolina are better than that.
The cities have passed good statutes. The state has now overruled these good statutes. They're going to have to pay the consequence. What I wish the Boss had done is move the concert to South Carolina or somewhere else where they recognize that gender equality and rights of transgenders have sort of equal protection of the law.
LEMON: I want to talk about politics now, let's bring it in to the politics of it, because you remember that whole autopsy thing that, you know, that we have talked about after Mitt Romney's loss in 2012, that the party needed to ease its tone on anti-gay rhetoric social issues and you know, anti-LGBT rhetoric and it needed to gain more voters.
Are you worried that laws like this may scare off those potential voters that are so needed, the demographics that are needed to actually win a presidential campaign in 2016, in this day and age?
DERSHOWITZ: I sure hope so -- I sure hope so.
FERGUSON: I'll say this, I think what you're going to see here is you're going to see certainly the LGBT community use this to their advantage to inspire people to go out and vote for Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton or anyone that stands beside them on this issues. But it is not extreme to say that if you're a boy, go to the boy's bathroom. It's not extreme to say if you're a girl go to a girl's bathroom. And there are many families out there that are not Republican...
DERSHOWITZ: The issue is who's a boy and who's a girl, it's the issue.
FERGUSON: The definition of who's a boy and who's a girl is pretty simple, you get it on your birth certificate when you're born, Alan.
FERGUSON: I'm not the extremist here. You are, you're trying to change meanings...
LEMON: It's not that simple, Ben -- it's not that simple. Ben, it's not that simple.
FERGUSON: Well, to me it's simple.
LEMON: We'll sit down and talk. When you come to New York, we'll sit down and we'll have a beer and we'll discuss it, but I have to move on now because Alan, before I let you go, you have your own legal news tonight. You were cleared of sexual misconduct charges. Tell us about it.
[22:10:00] DERSHOWITZ: Yeah, these were absurd charges brought 15 months ago by woman who also said she had dinner with Bill Clinton and Al Gore on an island. She had sex with prime ministers and presidents and just today, the lawyers who filed the accusations acknowledge that it was a mistake for them to file these accusations and they've withdrawn them completely.
At the same time Louis Freeh, the former head of the FBI and a distinguished judge did a completely independent investigation and came to the conclusion that basically I couldn't have been at the places she said I was during the times she said I was there and that his investigation completely rebuts the allegations and proves that they're not true. So, I feel good about that. I've been through 15 months of extreme difficulty because of these totally false accusations and I think everybody in America recognizes today these are false accusation.
And if they can happen to me, they can happen to anybody. And this woman has caused so much damage to real rape victims by coming up with this false story. And I think it's such a tragedy that people can make these kinds of charges and fortunately today...
LEMON: You're vindicated.
DERSHOWITZ: ...it's been made clear that I didn't do it. And I knew it from day one. I was on your show day one...
LEMON: I know. You did.
DERSHOWITZ: ...challenging them and I said from day one this was going to be the result and this is the result and I'm grateful
LEMON: I got to run now, but thank you. Thank you very much and it's good to have you vindicated yourself. We appreciate you coming on. And we appreciate you coming on as well Ben Ferguson. Thank you, guys. Have a good weekend.
DERSHOWITZS: You, too.
LEMON: When we come back, New York's primary is less than two weeks away so, why didn't we hear anything from Donald Trump and Ted Cruz today? [22:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: The New York primary is a week and a half away. On the Republican side, Donald Trump has a clear lead in the polls in his home state. John Kasich is in second, Ted Cruz a distant third. Here to talk about the battle for New York is Ron Nehring, California chairman for Ted Cruz, Barry Bennet, an adviser to Donald Trump and Andrew Boucher, an adviser to John Kasich.
Good evening gentleman, it's so good to have you on. Ron, we're going to start with you. Ted Cruz's hasn't had the warmest reception here in New York. His New York values comment really haunting him. Has he seen any success in trying to turn that around?
RON NEHRING, TED CRUZ CALIFORNIA CHAIRMAN: Well, Senator Cruz has wrapped up a couple of days swing through the New York -- I know you saw with events in upstate New York and then back down yesterday for, you know, some outreach events with the Orthodox Jewish community in New York City.
And if you saw the footage of the event particularly the one in upstate New York, there was a line, you know, wrapped around the block so that's pretty good, you know, turn out for that are particularly in the context of this media narrative that, you know, nobody in New York likes Senator Cruz, which is obviously not true. But you know, we're waging a 50-state campaign.
We're going to ask for the votes of the Republicans in all 50 states including in the state of New York. So, there are a lot of opportunities for us there, but obviously it's Donald Trump's home turf and he is expected to do very well there.
LEMON: To that point, Barry, New York is Donald Trump's home turf as he just said. He's put a lot of effort into campaigning here. Is trump confident that he is going to have a sweeping victory here in New York?
BARRY BENNETT, TRUMP ADVISER: Well, we're not taking anything for granted. But it's very, very likely. I mean our lead I think in the last poll was 36 points. Both Kasich and Cruz are flirting with a 20 percent threshold on there to qualify for any delegates whatsoever. So, it's been a very good day, a very good place for us.
LEMON: So what's your math? Does he get to that magic 1,237?
BENNETT: Yeah, he goes beyond 1,237.
LEMON: You think so?
LEMON: All right. How about your candidate then, Ron? What does the path to the nomination look like for your candidate?
NEHRING: There are couple things. One, we have to realize we're at about the bottom of the fifth inning right now. We have four more innings to go into this race before we end up here in the state of California where I am right now. We're here in San Diego, which has the largest collection of delegates that are up for grabs, 172 delegates.
Multiple other states also voting, you know, on June 7th so, it's a long ball game, but it's a different race than it was in the beginning. Early on we had 17 candidates, now it's down in terms of a race for the nomination, it's down to about a two-person contest between Senator Cruz and Donald Trump coming up with a victory in...
LEMON: There's somebody else in there.
NEHRING: I'm sorry?
LEMON: There's somebody else in there and I'm sure --
NEHRING: There's somebody else in there and you know, John Kasich can continue to kind of dog paddle along you know, with a couple of delegates here. You know, he's still behind Marco Rubio who hasn't been in the race in several weeks.
LEMON: Let him speak.
ANDREW BOUCHER, JOHN KASICH ADVISER: Ron, John Kasich is actually ahead of Ted Cruz in New York and we see New York as a two-person race between Donald Trump and Governor John Kasich. There are delegates to be won in every congressional district in New York and John Kasich will be in the state over the next few days holding town hall meetings and really reaching out to voters, not just to speak from a podium but to listen to them and hear their concerns in a town hall format.
So, we believe we're going to do very well in New York. We believe we're going to win delegates. And yeah, in New York, John Kasich is the only one who can keep Donald Trump under that 50 percent winner- take-all threshold so we're feeling very good about New York and we're happy to be head to head with Donald Trump.
LEMON: Andrew, he also says that he is the only candidate who can beat Hillary Clinton. And the polling shows he's in third place or fourth place if you count Marco Rubio -- he's not in there anymore so let's just say third place. But the polling does, there is polling that shows that in the general, that he's the only one that beats at least polling right now, Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders.
BOUCHER: By a lot, too. This isn't just on the margins. John Kasich is up by an average of 10, 12, 13 percent over Hillary Clinton in the polls and the other two candidates in this race lose to Hillary Clinton in the general election so, our case to the Republican electorate is, if you want to win, if you want to beat Hillary Clinton in November and that really is the ball game, if you want to beat Hillary Clinton in November, you have to nominate John Kasich.
LEMON: He's saying Donald Trump, who is the front-runner now, Barry, that you know what, he can't beat Hillary Clinton. He can't beat Bernie Sanders. What do you say to that? BENNETT: John Kasich had half of the negative ads that we've suffered
through and the beatings that, you know, Ted Cruz has taken. He wouldn't be anywhere near the stage on Hillary Clinton. So, you know, you can argue electability but let me tell you those numbers are very fleeting.
LEMONL: Well, speaking of numbers and I tell you what the numbers...
BOUCHER: He won Ohio. He's the governor of Ohio.
BENNETT: That's right, he did. (Inaudible)
[20:20:00] BOUCHER: He's swinging fence so, he's been through the ringer.
LEMON: Okay so listen, let's talk about the Republican strategist who have come in now, Paul Manafort because you're talking about numbers. He's been brought in we're told, to win this delegate or to at least help Donald Trump when it comes to playing this whole delegate situation game if you want to call it that. He spoke to our Chris Cuomo this morning. Take a listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL MANAFORT, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: There comes a time when winning isn't enough but it's how you win and how much you win. And he recognized this was the time and he reached out to some people who suggested me. We got together, I've known Donald since the 1980's and we talked about it and he felt I could help him as I felt and he made the changes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So what does he bring to the Trump campaign?
BENNETT: Well, he's got decades of experience. He actually lived through the Ford/Reagan fight. He's got a great resume and he's got a lot of things that we were looking for. So, we're very excited to have him aboard.
LEMON: Ron, does that concern you now that Donald Trump has brought someone in and now they're going to challenge you when it comes to looking at some of these delegates and trying to win over these delegates?
NEHRING: No, not at all. Candidly, you know, Donald Trump's biggest problem is not his campaign team or his organization or so on, although that's been the subject, you know, some press reporting over the course of the last couple of days. Donald Trump's biggest problem is that he's trapped in his own brand that he has created for himself and the result of that, now that we're down to effectively, I'm sorry, but a two-person race in order to -- in order to -- for who can actually become the Republican nominee.
He has the floor of about 20 percent of the vote that he gets no matter what but then it's a very low ceiling as well that he has a very, very difficult time, you know, getting above 30, 35 percent of the vote. We saw that happen in Wisconsin last week. So, Donald Trump can, you know, rearrange the deck chairs on his ship or on his yacht as much as he would like but at the end of the day, I don't think that's going to ultimately affect the outcome.
Every presidential candidate has to assume that his or her competitors are going to have a competent delegate operation, a competent convention operation at the convention, but that's ultimately. I don't think it's going to affect the outcome. That's not Donald Trump's biggest problem. His biggest problem is not his staff, it's him.
LEMON: Andrew, I want to ask you this. Is the whole strategy, I know you're saying that you're going to win here and you're going to win there, but is the whole strategy that there's broken convention and that Kasich ends up in some way becoming the nominee. Is that your strategy? Is that the end game for you?
BOUCHER: Of course. The math says it's going to be an open convention. No one's going to get to 1,237 going into the convention. We're going to have multiple ballots and there are going to be conversations on the floor amongst delegates who are elected in state after state about who they believe can best win in November and we believe our strategy is to make the case that John Kasich can beat Hillary Clinton in November.
LEMON: All right, hold that thought because we're going to continue with you guys. Donald Trump takes questions from voters in a town hall moderated by Anderson Cooper. The candidates wife, Melania, his daughter Ivanka, they will be there. It all starts at 9:00 eastern on Tuesday. Again, everybody stay with me. When we come back, I want to talk about you know, what you can do, the candidates and their surrogates to convince the people who hold the key to the nomination, and that is the unbound delegates.
[20:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: We're back now and we're talking about the GOP, the candidates battling it out in New York where 95 delegates are up for grabs on April 19th. Back with me now, Ron Nehring, Barry Bennett, and Andrew Boucher. So, Barry, Donald Trump cancelled a campaign trip to California and today this is what he tweeted "So great to be in New York catching up on many things. Remember, I am still running a major business while I campaign and loving it." So, why step off the trail now?
BENNETT: Well, he took this opportunity to do a lot of meetings and a lot of briefings as well. You know, we've got a little bit of a break in his schedule here. The reason we're going to campaign in New York so heavily is because, you know, the New York media covers Connecticut and New Jersey and a huge chunk of Pennsylvania. So again, we're kind of two for three for four out of it as well. So, and you know, demographically they're very similar. So, we're going to stick in New York and fight it out there for a while.
LEMON: Okay, so we know, you know Donald Trump said he's not a drinking man. He had a brother who, you know, had some addiction issues (inaudible) but I'm wondering if he has an issue when it comes to twitter and I'm serious because, you know, Ben Carson talked about Donald Trump's twitter habits. There are people who are addicted to social media, don't get me wrong.
So he said, here's what he said, he said, "We talk about it and a number of people talked about it including his family and he knows that it's a problem. So, you know the first part of solving a problem is recognizing that it exists." Does Donald Trump have a twitter problem?
BENNETT: He enjoys Twitter. He's got a lot of followers, 16 million followers on social media and you know, he can get around the media, he can drive the media by using his twitter account and I think he's...
LEMON: But it's gotten him in trouble, come on, Ron, you know that.
BENNETT: You know, sometimes -- sometimes, but I mean he also has gotten what others did (ph)
LEMON: Hey Barry, sorry about that.
NEHRING: Thank you.
BENNET: It's done him a lot of good as well.
LEMON: Yeah, okay. So, but you don't think he has a problem -- it's not a problem -- it's not problematic for him.
BENNETT: I think most people would kill for that many followers.
LEMON: Okay. Andrew, this race is really going to come down to math, the delegate math and John Kasich doesn't have the numbers, right. Marco Rubio has more than he does. So again, you know, he's hoping for a contested convention, but can you really pin your hopes on a contested convention at this point?
BOUCHER: Oh, sure. No one will have the numbers going into Cleveland. No one is going to get to 1,237.
LEMOB: Okay, if no one gets to 1,237, but don't you think -- don't you think that, I mean there's going to be a big uproar if they don't give it to one of the two guys who has the most delegates already?
BOUCHER: No. The purpose of a convention is to unify the party behind somebody who can win in November. And the delegates at the convention, we always talk about smoke-filled back rooms, these are local party leaders, local elected officials, grass roots activists, people who have put their heart and soul into the Republican Party coming together to make a decision for what's best for the party and what's best for the nation in November.
[20:30:00] LEMON: So here's what the Trump campaign -- you've heard, while both, not even the campaign, but Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are saying that you're hurting the Republican Party -- John Kasich is hurting the Republican Party by staying in the race. What do you say to that? BOUCHER: We're going to an open convention. Why would you get out of
the race when the race is just now getting started? When we go to an open convention, we are going to have multiple ballots and delegates will decide who the nominee will be. You need a majority, you need 1,237.
BENNETT: You can't continue to ignore the reality.
LEMON: Go ahead, Barry.
BENNETT: The reality is we're not going to a brokered convention. Someone's going to get -- we're going to have 1,200 or 1,300 and Ted Cruz is going to have 800 and John Kasich has a 100 and something. It's ridiculous.
BOUCHER: I'm sorry, the math that you brought up on yourself there are not enough states to get 1,237 for Donald Trump. I
BENNETT: Oh, my goodness. You have no idea...
LEMON: Let Ron in. Ron, go ahead.
RON NEHRING, TED CRUZ CALIFORNA CHAIRMAN: I mean, John Kasich wishes that this race was just getting started. I mean, John Kasich is the guy who continually talks about how electable he is and how he can, you know, win an election. He's lost how many races? About 30 times. So, you know, if anyone, you know, needs the way back machine, its John Kasich to try to start this process over. You cannot say that you are the most electable candidate for anything when you've lost about 30 elections over and over and over again...
BOUCEHR: John Kasich is the only candidate that has won a tough fight in a swing state.
NEHRING: he was in three-man (ph) -- he even came in fourth in a three-man race in Arizona, which is not an easy thing to do.
LEMON: The math is not necessarily on your candidate's side either, Ron.
BOUCHER: He's the only candidate who has won a tough fight in a swing state. He's the governor of Ohio. He's got there the hard way by winning a swing state. No one else has done that in this race.
NEHRING: He won his own state! That's the only state he's won. It's his own state, give me a break.
BOUCHER: No, I'm talking about his race for governor of Ohio.
LEMON: Oh, that was a real tough contest. Okay, all right. One at a time.
BENNETT: That means Ted Strickland is not running for president.
LEMON: All right. Let's move on. So listen, here's my question. If I was an unbound delegate, what kind of -- because there are a lot of things you can do to woo those unbound delegates. If I was an unbound delegate, what kind of attention would your campaigns be giving me right now? I'm going to start -- I'm going to start with you, let's see. Let's start with Ron. What would you be doing for me? I'm an unbound delegate. Win me over.
NEHRING: Look, we're going to trust the delegates in this process, you know. I was the chairman of the California Republican Party for four years. I was a delegate to the 2004/2008 conventions. We're going to trust the delegates. We trust the process by which these delegates are elected from all 50 states, five territories and the District of Columbia.
There will be no trips to Mar-a-Lago, there will be no, you know, any of that kind of stuff going on. We're ultimately going to connect with the delegates in the exact same way that we connect with the voters, you know, of this country and that's by...
LEMON: If there no trips for you, you're not winning me over. There are no trips for you because you're not Donald Trump, you don't own Mar-la-ago but, you know, I'm coming after your opponent.
NEHRING: Senator Cruz is -- look, hold on. Senator Cruz is the same person in person as he is on television, as he is in the senate, as he is back in the state of Texas or wherever he is. He's the exact same person. That's part of the reason why people trust him. And he's going to be the same person with respect to, you know, to delegates and voters and the like. There's not going to be any different individual going on there or whatsoever. That's his source of strength.
LEMON: I got you Ron. Barry, sell me.
BENNETT: Well, you know, first of all, the unbound delegates may not matter at all. So, I would caution you not to wait too long to decide. Second of all, we'd love to have you come on board and we can set up a meeting with Donald Trump if you'd like. Now you're talking. Andrew, win me over.
BOUCHER: Yeah, you know what, I'll tell you, Ron had it exactly right. This is about respecting the delegates and respecting the process and respecting the decision making process that each of them is going to go through when we choose our nominee on the floor.
LEMON: Yeah, well, I would like to meet the candidate so, so far the winner is Barry.
BENNETT: I'll write you down Don.
LEMON: I'm just being honest, if you're trying to win me over, win me over. Thank you guys, appreciate it. Have a great weekend. Good luck out there.
BENNETT: Thank you.
BOUCHER: You bet.
LEMON: Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton will be guests on CNN's State of the Union with Jake Tapper, Sunday morning at 9:00 eastern right here on CNN. Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders go head-to-head in CNN's Democratic Presidential Debate, that's in Brooklyn. It's next Thursday night at 9:00 eastern. And coming up, is the GOP headed towards a contested convention? And if so, what happens then?
[20:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: It looks more and more like the GOP is headed to a contested convention, but could that happen to the democrats as well? Joining me now is Bob Cusack, editor-in-chief of The Hill.com and Douglas Brinkley, CNN presidential historian and author of "Rightful Heritage, Franklin D. Roosevelt and the land of America." There it is. It's an easy read, just 700 pages.
DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN AND AUTHOR: Thanks for holding it up. Don't do that, don't do the door stop jokes on me.
LEMON: No, no. It's good. It's doing well, right.
BRINKLEY: Well, it's number 12 on the New York Times Best Seller list.
BERINKLEY: Thank you.
LEMON: Okay, good evening, gentlemen. Bob, I'm going to start with you since I just spent so much time here with Douglas. So, Paul Manafort, Trump's newest strategist talked to Chris Cuomo this morning. Here's what he's saying about this delegate fight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL MANAFORT, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: The reality is Ted Cruz has seen his best day. The reality is this convention process will be over with sometime in June, probably June 7th and it will be apparent to the world that Trump is over the 1,237 number and at that point in time when it is apparent, everything's going to come together.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Bob, you think that's the way it's going to play out?
BOB CUSACK, THE HILL EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Listen, I think that Cruz's winning Wisconsin was very important and this is all about momentum. Can Trump get the momentum back in New York, his home state? Absolutely. But I think the fact that Trump has hired Manafort shows that he is getting ready for a contested convention. He wants to be ready, You have to be ready for all the circumstance. If you get to 1,237, you've got it. And there is a lot of concern
among the Trump supporters that if he doesn't get 1,237, this is going to be taken from him. So, I think it was a good personnel move. I think that right now, the chances of a contested convention are higher than 50-50 but things can change and things could change in New York -- 95 delegates, that a lot of delegates.
LEMON: You're doing lot of shaking with your head in agreement there, Douglas.
[20:40:00] BRINKLEY: Yeah, I completely agree with him, you know, and Donald Trump now, this is the reset week and he's shaking trees for delegates. He's going to have to go one-on-one. No more just punching at walls. He's going to have to start hugging and kissing delegates. He's going to have to become a little bit of a different politician.
LEMON: Do you think he really understood -- I think I know the answer to this -- do you think he really understood this delegate game when he got into this race?
BRINKLEY: No, I do not. I think he kind of got it like most Americans did, but I think Louisiana shocked him. He ate up a lot of capital in Louisiana and a win down there. He didn't denounce David Duke who's from Louisiana. He kind of seem to be playing a bigot card if you'd like, and to find out later that even though he won, Ted Cruz is getting more delegates out of state that he put so much capital in. It's a wake-up call. Smelling salt effect I think Louisiana had on Trump.
LEMON: It was a blind spot, right, Bob?
CUSACK: Listen, I didn't think in the beginning Donald Trump thought he had the shot but did not think that he would be the front-runner for basically nine months. So now, he's got to get involved in this and you know, you study the rules, Don, and you look at the rules and you have different people have different interpretations on what the party rules are and they rewrite the rules every four years.
And then it's a fight of who gets on the rules committee. So, it's very complicated. You've got to hire experts. Cruz and Trump have done that and I think they're getting ready for what could be a historic convention.
LEMON: Yeah, and that was Ted Cruz's secret weapon because he was the guy who was doing all the analytic right and doing all those things. So, I just have to ask you though, but we're seeing John Kasich hammering Ted Cruz in a new ad saying that he is the guy who can beat Hillary Clinton, not Ted Cruz. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have only one choice, one choice that will stop the Clinton political machine, John Kasich. Don't be fooled. Ted Cruz can't win the nomination outright. And he can't defeat Hillary Clinton either. John Kasich will win the convention and he'll defeat Hillary Clinton in the fall. Want to stop the Clinton machine and win the White House? Your only choice is John Kasich.
JOHN KASICH, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm John Kasich and I approve this message.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: We had to get that part in there.
BRINKLEY: Yeah, right.
LEMON: Now, let me get this right, I don't want to get it wrong. You said that Kasich and Trump need to think as one person right now. What do you mean by that?
BRINKLEY: I think as the alternative to Donald Trump. I think after New York and as we go into Cleveland, that you might have to have an alliance formed and maybe Kasich be a VP for Cruz, that they really are determined to stop Trump. You know, the last brokered convention is 1932 in which a president -- somebody came out to win the presidency. FDR won and he did it at the brokered convention in Chicago by picking John Nance Gardner from Texas as his VP consolidating. I don't think Ted Cruz can do it without somebody who is like Kasich joining forces with him once they get to Cleveland.
LEMON: Bob, former presidential candidate Senator Lindsey Graham was on CBS this morning and he says if he can support Ted Cruz, anyone can. He also said this --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) LINDSEY GRAHAM, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let me say this, my Republican friends. If you parachute somebody in just on electability, Paul Ryan is a wonderful guy who doesn't want to be put in this position. I'm trying to get us the most viable nominee for 2016 that could win without destroying the party. I mean, Trump destroys the party and if you parachute somebody in and try to ignore millions of votes, you're going to destroy this party.
So, we're right back to Ted. The nomination comes from one of those three. The bottomline is that millions of people have gone to the polls and cast their ballot, just 2,000 of us take that choice away, then I think you destroy the Republican Party forever.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Destroy forever, Bob. I mean, if the Republican Party parachute someone in there, like the senator say, does it destroy the party forever?
CUSACK: I think it's a real danger if the Paul Ryan supporters say, okay, the speaker should be the nominee. Well, Paul Ryan has a very ripe political future but maybe he could be damaged because the party would not be unified. Lindsey Graham, has you know, he ran for president. He has said repeatedly he is not a fan of Ted Cruz. He is looking at this in the long game and if you look -- if you gave him a polygraph, Don, I think he would say, okay, let's pick Ted Cruz. Let's loose this time around and then we'll beat Hillary in four
years. As he said, he doesn't want the party to be destroyed. Of course Donald Trump says, listen, if I'm the guy, I'm going to actually win, I'm going to put other states in play that the Republican Party has not been competitive in. So, it's a big battle and we're going to see it over the next several months.
LEMON: Go ahead Doug.
BRINKLEY: It's got to be either Trump or Cruz. You can't parachute somebody in.
[20:45:00]LEMON: All right. Thank you, gentlemen. Have a great weekend. I appreciate it. Make sure you stay with CNN the original series "Race for the White House." This week, it's Clinton versus Bush, Sunday night at 9:00 eastern. When we come back, the president nominates a Supreme Court Justice and sets off a political firestorm, but this not today's controversy. This is the story of the Clarence Thomas hearings 25 years ago that sparked a Capitol Hill battle over race, sex and justice. And we're going to talk to one of the stars for the HBO Film that recreates all of that next.
LEMON: The president nominates a Supreme Court justice and a battle breaks out across the country. But this isn't President Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland. This is a story of a Clarence Thomas hearing 25 years ago, hearings that famously exploded into accusations of racism and sexual harassment. HBO tells a story in the new film "Confirmation." Here's a key moment from that film.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[20:50:00] WENDELL PIERCE, MOVIE ACTOR: This is a circus. It's a national disgrace. And from my standpoint as a black American, as far as I'm concerned, it's a high-tech lynching for uppity blacks, who in any way deign to think for themselves, do for themselves, to have different ideas. And it is a message that unless you kowtow to the old order, this is what will happen to you. You will be lynched.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: That looks good! Joining me know Wendell Pierce who plays Clarence Thomas in "Confirmation." Good to see you!
WENDELL PIERCE, MOVIE ACTOR: Good to see you.
LEMON: That was powerful.
PIERCE: Yeah, that is a cunning (ph) moment.
LEMON: You're with Kerry Washington, the fabulous Kerry Washington, who plays Anita Hill in that. What did you think when you're asked to portray a role that is so important, had such a significance in political history? PIERCE: Well, I knew it was going to be a challenge and it was something that I wanted to do because of that historical iconic moment in our time. It was a special time in our history, a painful time, a painful episode but the public discourse led to, you know, stronger EEOC, better HR departments, our first really understanding of what sexual harassment was about and the evolution of the culture of intolerance of it in our workplace.
LEMON: It's interesting, for me that's like, you know, you remember where you were for the Bronco chase and for verdict for O.J. You remember where you were during these hearings. I remember watching because I was a young man and I was fascinated by these hearings and then the high-tech lynching of course. What did you think of Clarence Thomas' comparison?
PIERCE: You know, I have to say that I had preconceived notions of Clarence Thomas coming to the role and I have to take my politics as open -- as an open secret that our politics is 180 degrees separate obviously from each other. But I started to -- I realized that the only way I would be able to play the man is to put the politics and my preconceived and prejudices aside and realize he was at the pinnacle of his career, about to mount the summit to the highest office in his profession, and something from his past comes back to haunt him and possibly take that away from him and we could all appreciate that dilemma. And that was something that I decided to sink my teeth into.
LEMON: But the high-tech lynching part of it, where did that --
PIERCE: I discovered politically that's where we butt heads because while he will never give another plaintiff in all of his briefs and his beliefs about affirmative action and any sort of quotas or any sort of plaintiff that asks for a redress of discrimination on racial issues, he says that this government did not deny African-Americans their dignity when they enslaved them, those sort of things are not something that should be redressed in law. But yet, when it was his opportunity taken away from him, he could understand it.
LEMON: It was racist then.
PIERCE: It was racist then and I wish that personal connection he could see when others asked for that same justice.
LEMON: Do you think that he would be confirmed today because he was ultimately confirmed, 52-48 the senate voted. Do you think that he would -- that would be the case today?
PIERCE: There's some -- there would be other issues. There were other issues then that I was surprised that didn't stop his confirmation. I mean, in the research, the men around him, other black conservatives who were lobbyists for the apartheid government of South Africa, -- black man here trying to stop the divestiture movement -- that was a deal breaker for me.
LEMON: In this day and age it will not happen.
PIERCE: It would never happen. Even the association that he had with those men, even though he wasn't a lobbyist for it, there was no evidence of that, that association I think would have stopped it.
LEMON: The timing of the film couldn't be better with Republicans refusing to at least consider Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court. How important do you think it is for the next justice to be in place?
PIERCE: First of all, I think we would never wish the painful or mournful time that the Scalia family is going through to benefit our film. So it is kismet that is happening now. I think our film is reminding us of how profoundly important it is, this process of giving a lifetime tenure to someone to sit on a court that's going to make decisions that's going to involve people's lives for generations.
I think they should at least allow and honor the process, even though you may not be for the man, even though you may not like the timing of it because it may not benefit your political agenda or your viewpoint, go through the process and allow the people to actually make an impact to call their senators, voice their opinion through the process itself, not just -- not just the election.
LEMON: This president has had a tough time, as you know, they said they were going to make him a one-term president and their first agenda was so, you know, that he didn't get his legislation through. So here's the issue, I know, I've been watch being you -- you're watching this current presidential campaign go down. What do you make of all this?
[20:55:00] PIERCE: It's really interesting. First of all, we seem shocked by it but when you look at history, it's nothing new. You know, if anybody gets a chance to see "Hamilton," you'll realize, okay wow, this really is not new. I am always surprised at how people will take the time to kind of mis-educate people. So much time and energy goes around mis-educating people so they would vote against their own best interests.
LEMON: "Confirmation" premieres April 16th on HBO and everyone should watch it. Thank you sir.
PIERCE: Thank you.
LEMON: Always a pleasure. We'll be right back.
When you think of San Diego, you might think beaches, lush parks, and near perfect weather, but for thousands of children there, life isn't paradise. In San Diego County, nearly one in five kids live in poverty. For them the ocean is a world away. That's where Shara Fisler, this week's CNN Hero steps in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[21:00:00] SHARA FISLER, OCEAN DISCOVERY INSTITUTE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: When they're in the third grade and they come on our field trip, they come over the hill on the bus and they see the ocean and they gasp because it's literally the first time many of them have ever seen the ocean. It's a place of discovery to really explore their own potential in science all through studying the ocean.
LEOMN: Each year, Shara's group helps 6,000 kids become explorers. What happens next? Well, to find out, watch her story at CNN Heroes.com, and while you're there, nominate someone you think should be a 2016 CNN Hero.
That's it for us tonight. Thanks for watching. I'll see you right back here Monday
The CNN original series, RACE FOR THE WHITE HOUSE starts right now.