Show: MTP DAILY Date: October 10, 2016 Guest: Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Susan Page, Ben Ginsberg, Clarence Page, Debbie Stabenow, Seth Meyers; Chris Kofinis
PETER ALEXANDER, HOST: Good evening. I`m Peter Alexander in Washington tonight in for my friend, Chuck Todd. Welcome to MTP DAILY.
Fasten your seatbelts, folks. After last night`s ugly showdown, there may be no turning back. For the next 29 days, the road to the White House looks like it is going to dive deep into the gutter. This afternoon, Trump threatening more dirt on his running mate cheering last night`s spectacle.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Bill Clinton sexually assaulted innocent women and Hillary Clinton attacked those women viciously. If they want to release more tapes saying inappropriate things, we`ll continue to talk about Bill and Hillary Clinton doing inappropriate things. There are so many of them, folks.
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: And last night, my running mate, he showed the American people what was in his heart. He showed humility to the American people. And then, he fought back and turned the focus to the choice that we face. And I`m proud to stand with Donald Trump.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALEXANDER: Donald Trump and Mike Pence playing to their base. And if you want to understand why, it`s because they have been hemorrhaging support. Check this out. This is our brand-new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll of likely voters conducted immediately after the revelation of Trump`s vulgar 2005 comments but before last night`s debate.
So this is a four-way race here. Trump, as you see, now down 11 points. That is effectively a landslide. In a head-to-head matchup, Hillary Clinton up 14 points. That would be a catastrophe for the entire Republican Party. And Democrats have a seven-point lead on which party should control Congress, 49%/42%. That`s a generic question being asked.
With the party in crisis, we saw something of a triage effort last night from Trump. This was a debate performance to try to regroup with the Republican base that`s been chomping at the bit to destroy Hillary Clinton.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Bill Clinton was abusive to women. Hillary Clinton attacked those same women and attacked them viciously. Four of them are here tonight. She`s got tremendous hatred. And I was so surprised to see him sign on with the devil. If I win, I am going to instruct my Attorney General to get a Special Prosecutor to look into your situation.
HILLARY CLINTON, PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: It`s just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in-charge of the law in our country.
TRUMP: Yeah, because you`d be in jail.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALEXANDER: Trump`s performance may have saved his candidacy for the moment by shoring up his base but it`s wreaking havoc on the hill. House Speaker Paul Ryan today telling Republicans in a conference call that he will not defend Trump nor will he campaign with him.
He also seemed to suggest he thinks this race is over. His rallying cry basically makes sure Clinton doesn`t get a blank check with a Democrat- controlled Congress. The Speaker`s office put out this statement today saying the Speaker is going to spend the next month focused entirely on protecting our Congressional majority.
And after slamming his critics as self-righteous hypocrites yesterday, Trump today ripped into Ryan saying Paul Ryan should spend more time on balancing the budget, jobs and illegal immigration and not waste his time on fighting Republican nominee.
I`m joined by Trump campaign Senior Advisor, Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Sarah, nice to see you. Thanks for your time.
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, TRUMP CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISOR: Great to see you, Peter.
ALEXANDER: Is what we saw last night on that debate stage the Trump campaign`s roadmap to success on election night?
SANDERS: Look, I think, last night was a great night for Donald Trump. He showed he was presidential. He showed he was strong. He showed he was very disciplined, on message. Hillary Clinton looked rattled, unhinged. And I think the comparison last night was great for the American people to see. Anybody watching that debate would tell you Donald Trump decisively won. And --
ALEXANDER: Sarah, just to say, but the latest poll actually, CNN, the only ones that came out with a scientific poll, said, in fact, that he lost by their calculation 57% to 34%. So what are you seeing that they missed?
SANDERS: I think they must have only polled the Clinton war room because every single person I`ve talked to and based on the reaction of the Clinton campaign themselves you can tell they know that last night was a loss for them.
Anybody that says that Hillary Clinton won that debate last night either didn`t watch it or was spinning for Hillary Clinton. I think that the contrast for America was very clear. And, again, every bit of evidence I`ve seen in people I`ve talked to said that Donald Trump won hands down.
ALEXANDER: So, Sarah, one of the pieces of news today is House Speaker Paul Ryan telling Republicans today that he will no longer defend Donald Trump. Do you now view Ryan as one of what Trump described as the self-righteous hypocrites that Trump tweeted about yesterday?
SANDERS: Look, this campaign has been about a grassroots movement from day one. It`s never been about Washington, but about everyday people from all across America. That`s not going to change because of the support or non- support from Speaker Ryan. We`re going to stay very --
ALEXANDER: So why is that the House Speaker though, right, because he is part of that grassroots movement in effect, right? He is an elected official. He is the Speaker of the House supported by a wide number of people that probably were the same people that you`re hoping to carry.
SANDERS: Look, I think that he is a lot more a part of the Washington crowd than he is the grassroots crowd. This campaign has been focused on the grassroots crowd since day one. We`re going to continue to focus on that, continue that movement. And I think that`s one of the big reasons that Donald Trump won the primary and one of the reasons he is going to win the general in November.
ALEXANDER: So you`re satisfied without Paul Ryan`s support this fall? You think that you can win without him?
SANDERS: Look, of course, we`d love to have it. He still endorsed Donald Trump but he is not going to campaign with him. And I think that`s fine. And I think we can certainly win without him being out on the campaign trail.
ALEXANDER: How do you combat charges that Donald Trump, referring to yesterday`s, using Bill Clinton`s accusers as a shield for his own misconduct?
SANDERS: Look, I think, the Clintons are the ones that wanted to start going into the gutter by bringing out a lot of the personal attacks. And Donald Trump responded with that. But, at the same time, I think that the goal here is Hillary Clinton herself has said that she wanted to give voice to anybody that was a victim of sexual assault.
She has silenced the voices of those women that Donald Trump gave a microphone to last night. Ideally, though, I think, our campaign, probably theirs as well, would love to move on to the actual issues. I think that it`s a real disservice to the American people if the media only talks about the personal flaws of these two candidates over the next 30 days.
And instead let`s talk about the economy. Let`s talk about national security. When we do that, Donald Trump wins. And if we stay focused on those issues, there`s no doubt he`ll win in November.
ALEXANDER: No doubt. I don`t dispute that. But, of course, it was Donald Trump who before the debate even started brought out these four women for a news conference that the campaign called. So, I guess, what changed here?
At the last debate, Trump and the campaign said that Trump was -- I think his son said courageous for not getting into the gutter with the Clintons 1990 scandal. So if that displays courage, was last night an effect, an act of desperation?
SANDERS: I don`t think so. I think Hillary Clinton went into the gutter in that first debate. And --
ALEXANDER: Where? On what?
SANDERS: Well, when she brought up the Miss Universe comments. And that she started --
ALEXANDER: But was that the gutter? This was Donald Trump`s comments about a past Miss Universe. Is that the gutter or does that describe what she casts as his lack of fitness to be President?
SANDERS: Well, I think, that it`s going into the personal flaws. Look, let`s be honest. Both of these candidates are flawed candidates as we all are. We`re flawed people. I think the big difference is Hillary Clinton also has -- not only is she a flawed person, she has flawed policy.
She`s been in government for 30 years and she has absolutely nothing to show for it. Donald Trump is somebody who has actually created jobs, not just talked about it. He`s somebody that is ready to be a leader, to step in on day one and improve our economy, secure our border, rebuild our military, all things that Hillary Clinton has failed to do in her 30 years in government.
ALEXANDER: Last night, Donald Trump threatened to use the power of the presidency to try to jail a political opponent. Is that appropriate behavior for a potential Chief Executive?
SANDERS: Look, I think that his point was that anybody else, if your last name isn`t Clinton, would probably have been penalized, maybe even put in jail for the laws that she broke. Hillary Clinton gets to play by a different set of rules than the rest of America. His point is that isn`t fair and under a Trump presidency that won`t continue.
ALEXANDER: I guess the question is how does the party -- how does supporters cheer that? After all the criticism of President Obama as a dictator, Trump is now talking about effectively overriding the Head of the FBI and the Attorney General.
SANDERS: Look, I think, his point is that he would enforce the law. It`s very clear, I think, that Hillary Clinton broke the law. She had a subpoena. She deleted e-mails after that took place.
ALEXANDER: She was never found to have broken the law, to be clear, right?
SANDERS: Well, I think, that`s why we would need a Special Prosecutor. And I think if we had one we would find out that she had. And that`s his point, is if he is President he would actually investigate these things a little bit further by using a Special Prosecutor. And I don`t think that we would like -- that the American people would like what that person would find.
ALEXANDER: And, ultimately, that isn`t in the hands of the President. It`s up to others to pursue those investigations. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, nice to see you. Thank you very much.
SANDERS: Good to see you too, Peter. Thank you.
ALEXANDER: Our panel. Susan Page is the Washington Bureau Chief with USA TODAY. Ben Ginsberg is a Republican dealmaker, super lawyer and NBC Political Analyst. We sort of just buffed that up a little bit for today, does it, Ben? Thank you. Clarence Page, a Pulitzer Prize winning Columnist with The Chicago Tribune.
Nice to see you guys in person today. So bottom-line and, Susan, I start with you. Ladies first. Your reaction to Sarah Huckabee Sanders in this sort of strategy for the Trump campaign saying they think this is really working for them?
SUSAN PAGE, USA TODAY WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF: So we`ve seen now the division of the Republican Party into the traditional Republican Party that might be part of that to the Trump Republican Party. The Trump Republican Party did manage to win the nomination, credit him with that.
He won it fair and square in the primary process. But the interests of these two groups are now diverging. And you can see it with the Republicans being unwilling to defend or support Donald Trump. And Donald Trump apparently not concerned about the effect he`s going to have down the ballot.
ALEXANDER: So, Ben, let me ask you. So where does the Trump campaign go from here? Here`s my checklist. They talked about throwing her in jail, bringing out Bill`s accusers, calling her the devil. Can they sustain this for 29 more days? And, ultimately, who does that bring in? Who is embracing this?
BEN GINSBERG, NBC NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, at some point, you have to tell people why their future will be better if you`re elected. What does unite the branches of the Republican Party is a fear of a Clinton agenda for four years.
And so what Paul Ryan did today is really to say that the four-year agenda with Hillary Clinton as President, you need Republican bumpers for that. And so the commonality between the party is that unchecked Democratic power is a very, very bad thing. Now Donald Trump`s job to deal with the presidential contest and the House and the Senate will deal with their races.
ALEXANDER: Underscore that point from our new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll today. It was better than a majority. 52% of Republicans, supporters of Donald Trump, said their support is based largely on their despising Hillary Clinton as opposed to embracing Donald Trump. But he needs to embrace it --
CLARENCE PAGE, THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE COLUMNIST: Embrace it all along.
ALEXANDER: Well, no doubt. That`s right. And it was emphasized again right now. So, Clarence, to you, so who does -- I mean for the folks in the middle, the people that are the difference between winning over your base and winning an election and moving into the White House, what are they thinking right now? And is he even pursuing those people?
C. PAGE: I think they are thinking a number of things, including a sense of d‚j… vu right now as we see numbers bouncing back for Hillary Clinton the way she appears to be taking more of a commanding lead now. Will she be able to hold that for the next few weeks?
Well, right now, Donald Trump should be reaching out already to those swing voters in the middle of those undecideds or those uncommitteds. But instead, he is defending himself and trying to rebuild his base because of just the recent controversies over the last few days. So it doesn`t leave him much time.
And I can see why Paul Ryan sensibly is trying to leave the rest of the party to guard those down-ballot positions because the polling has shown interestingly enough very short coattails, if any, for Donald Trump. So that means they have got a good shot at maintaining Republican control in at least one of the Houses.
ALEXANDER: And one of the real questions this afternoon was the RNC holding a conference call this afternoon the same way that Paul Ryan held one. With his conference today, we`re hearing reporting in my ears. He was speaking just now that the RNC basically said it is in full coordination with the Trump campaign at this point. It was just 24 hours ago. It wasn`t clear that that would be the conclusion right now, Ben, right?
C. PAGE: How many of us believe that?
ALEXANDER: Well, there`s a lot of suspicion though that they may just yank their money from Trump and say we`re putting it all on down-ballot race.
GINSBERG: Here`s the practical reality of that. The RNC`s money at this stage because of the joint fundraising agreements is really Trump money and that the RNC doesn`t have very much of an independent fundraising base. So, all the ground game that you`re seeing is much more generated by the House and Senate candidates. In some states, there is more coordination with the RNC than others.
S. PAGE: So look at the effect. Look at your poll you`ve had. He`s at 38% in a two-way race. He`s at 35% in a four-way race.
ALEXANDER: Down 14 and 11 points.
S. PAGE: So that is the kind of margin that candidates down the ballot can`t make up in swing states. If he could lose by five points in Pennsylvania and Pat Toomey might be able to make it up and still win that Senate race. But if he is down that low, that is a chasm for candidates in swing states or even some states that just traditionally are Republican but maybe just not quite Republican enough to make up that margin.
ALEXANDER: Simple last thought. Republican Party survives this?
GINSBERG: Yes. The Republican Party absolutely survives it. It will survive it in stronger positions depending on the electoral results, but there are principal conservative Republicans running in all the down-ballot races. They`ll have to bring out the vote.
ALEXANDER: Clarence, Ben, Susan, stay with us. We`re going to get back to you. I want to talk about some of those down-ballot races in a little bit and some new ads today hitting down-ballot candidates with Donald Trump`s own words.
Next, we`re going to turn to the other side of the debate. We`re going to talk to Senator Debbie Stabenow who just wrapped up a rally with Hillary Clinton today in her home state of Detroit, Stabenow`s home state. Keep it right here.
ALEXANDER: A path to the White House for Donald Trump is almost impossible without the state of Ohio. And his campaign is dealing with some high- profile defections there in the Buckeye State. The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that State and Republican Chair, Matt Borges, is still uncertain if he can vote for his party`s presidential nominee after watching last night`s debates.
That comes two days after Republican Senator Rob Portman pulled his support for Trump. And remember, Ohio`s popular Republican Governor, John Kasich, has never supported Trump. He still doesn`t. So there are some increasing cracks in the Ohio GOP. And Democrats there are looking to capitalize.
Clinton, who held narrow leads in Ohio in two polls out last week, is hosting a voter registration event at the Ohio State University in Columbus just a couple of hours from now, one day before the voter registration deadline in Ohio. President Obama hitting the trail for Clinton in that state twice this week.
Coming up, we`re going to talk about the Clinton campaign`s next move going forward. We`re back right after this with more MTP DAILY.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: Last night, when I got a chance, I tried to speak directly to the questions that are on people`s minds. Donald Trump spent his time attacking when he should have been apologizing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALEXANDER: That was Hillary Clinton this afternoon in Detroit where she once again invoked Michelle Obama`s line, "When they go low, we go high" as a way to explain her strategy at last night`s debate. On numerous occasions last night, Clinton chose not to engage, not interrupting Trump to challenge his accusations. Here`s just one example. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Captain Khan is an American hero. And if I were President at that time he would be alive today because, unlike her, who voted for the war without knowing what she was doing, I would not have had our people in Iraq. Iraq was a disaster. So he would have been alive today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALEXANDER: Clinton did eventually mention in her rebuttal that Trump initially supported the war in Iraq. But many noticed her tactic was similar to how Mike Pence, Trump`s running mate, handled frequent eruptions by Clinton`s running mate, Tim Kaine, in last week`s VP debate, a tactic that Pence was widely praised for.
I want to bring in my guest, Democratic Michigan Senator and Clinton supporter, Debbie Stabenow. She attended Clinton`s events earlier today in Detroit where your home state is Michigan, not Detroit nonetheless. But, Senator Stabenow, thanks for being here.
I want to get your reaction to Hillary Clinton`s performance in last night`s debate. Were you surprised that she chose not to interrupt when Trump said that, among other things, Captain Khan would be alive if she didn`t vote for the Iraq war?
SEN. DEBBIE STABENOW, D-MICHIGAN: Well, Peter, first of all, it`s great to be with you. And I have to say I thought Hillary did just exactly the right thing last night. The thought that went through my mind when Donald Trump said that is he`s blaming George W. Bush who was the President that took us into Iraq for Captain Khan`s death.
I mean he was just bouncing off walls, including walking around and watching the weird way he would get so close to her. And I don`t know what that was all about either. But I thought she did a great job.
ALEXANDER: But, Senator Stabenow, wouldn`t there have been strength in sort of punctuating those points, making them clear to the audience, in the way she did perhaps in the first debate? It seemed that she was more passive in effect. Was that strategic to sort of see if he would implode or what do you think?
STABENOW: Well, I think, he did implode. And I think it was strategic in the sense that he was saying so many things that were so far off from the truth, a lot of things that were contradictory and didn`t make sense. And so, I think, she wanted to talk about her plans for the future, jobs and lowering the cost of college and lowering the cost of prescription drugs and focusing on the questions coming from the audience. And, I think, she made the decision to let him just ramble and implode.
ALEXANDER: Well, to be fair, I think, some people would disagree with that. He also prosecuted a much better case against Hillary Clinton in what was round two last night versus the first debate between the two.
I think a lot of Americans were waiting to hear Hillary Clinton`s response to alleged leaked excerpts from her paid speeches from the hacked e-mail account of John Podesta. Those e-mails she said she needs to have both a public and private position on certain issues. I want to play for you her response and then get your sense.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: As I recall, that was something I said about Abraham Lincoln after having seen the wonderful Steven Spielberg movie called Lincoln. It was a master class watching President Lincoln get the Congress to approve the 13th Amendment. It was principled and it was strategic. And I was making the point that it is hard sometimes to get the Congress to do what you want to do. And you have to keep working at it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALEXANDER: Of course, Donald Trump used that moment and said that she is nothing like Honest Abe and called her a liar. She had to have expected this question but it seemed like she didn`t really have the prepared response or at least a prepared response that landed.
Are you satisfied with that answer, especially given the fact that so many Americans still lack a trust? They just don`t believe Hillary Clinton or don`t think that she is trustworthy.
STABENOW: Well, first of all, Peter, I have to say as someone who has negotiated a lot of very tough things in the United States Senate as well as over the years in a state government, you use different arguments with different constituencies depending on what they are interested in.
ALEXANDER: But does that mean you have a different position in public versus private?
STABENOW: Not at all. Not at all. And so the bottom-line --
ALEXANDER: So why shouldn`t have she just said that, I guess?
STABENOW: And what I`m most concerned about -- well, I thought she did say that actually. So I mean, for me, the bottom-line is that we`re talking about leaks coming from Russian-backed hackers who want Donald Trump to be President of the United States because they know they`re going to be able to manipulate him because he doesn`t know anything and he has no experience.
So the bigger issue, I think, that I am very concerned about we now know. And remember last night, Donald Trump said we don`t know if it was the Russians. Yes, we do. We do know it`s the Russians. And so all of his talk about how wonderful Putin is and when he goes on Russian TV and praises the Russian President and attacks the President of the United States which at any other time would be viewed as treason by someone. But when he is doing all of that, that is a bigger concern to me than what she was talking about.
ALEXANDER: And wouldn`t you agree that Hillary Clinton know, of course, that Trump campaign would hit back and say she was the one responsible for the desired reset with Russia that failed? So isn`t that a liability for her and her inability perhaps to be stronger towards Russia?
STABENOW: Not at all. No. What that means is in a grown-up world where you are negotiating and you`re governing in a complex world, there are times that you work together and there are times when you have to be tough. And we know underneath it all that Russia is not our friend.
And so you always verify as President Reagan talked about. And so yes, if we can do an Iran nuclear agreement and bring in Russia and bring in China, that makes sense for the world. It makes sense for all of us in terms of our own safety and for Israel`s safety and so on.
But when you`re talking about whether or not you`re going to praise Putin as being a better leader than the President of the United States, time out. That goes way too far. And it`s just an example of why he is so far over his head and unfit to be President.
And, more importantly, to me, is that Hillary is fighting for the things that we care about in Michigan and in Detroit. She was with us on the auto industry when Donald Trump said let them go bankrupt. Detroit -- she says - - she appreciates that we`re roaring back and Donald Trump says we`re horrible. So point after point we, in Michigan, are looking forward to a President Hillary Clinton.
ALEXANDER: And, nonetheless, a lot of blue-collar voters still believe that his message is one that resonates with them. Senator Debbie Stabenow, I appreciate your time. Thank you very much.
ALEXANDER: A little bit of breaking news right now from the campaign trail, just into MSNBC. Trump is going to fly on the press plane with reporters to his next stop in Pennsylvania. This seems a little insider baseball-ish. This is actually a first this campaign season.
When I flew with Mitt Romney four years ago, we were with him through the course of the campaign, had a lot of interaction. But this time around, Trump has been flying in a separate plane separate from the reporters throughout the course of this campaign.
And coming up, the political punchline that punched back. Seth Meyers talking to Chuck about the serious business of being funny and the one joke that just might have set the wheels in motion for Trump`s presidential campaign. Keep it here.
PETER ALEXANDER, HOST: So just moments ago, we told you that Donald Trump told the press supporters who cover him that he will be travelling on their plane to the next leg of his campaign tour today. Well, just moments ago his staff said that was a false alarm. In fact, he will not be coming with them. It wouldn`t be the first for Donald Trump even though he just said it. He will not be flying with his press on this day. Couldn`t been noteworthy.
There are still plenty to unpack from last night`s debate and what it means for November and beyond. But first Hampton Pearson has got today`s CNBC market wrap.
HAMPTON PEARSON, CNBC REPORTER: How are you doing, Peter?
Well, we have the Dow up by 88 points. The S&P gaining nine. The NASDAQ climbing by 36 points. More headaches for Samsung following its recall over the fire-prone galaxy note seven that company suspended production after reports the replacement phones were also overheating.
And Nestle USA recalling some packages of its drumstick ice cream cones over a possible listeria contamination. The voluntary recall involves Nestle drumstick 16 count variety packs and the 24 count vanilla pack. So far no illnesses have been reported.
That is it from CNBC. First in business worldwide.
ALEXANDER: We are back now. And no matter who you are voting for, everyone can agree certainly this. Election could use a few lighthearted moments. One of the comedian`s leading the charges, the "SNL" and current host of "Late Night with Seth Meyers." Chuck sat down with him to hear his take on political humor at his party and perhaps daring Donald Trump to run.
CHUCK TODD, MSNBC REPORTER: You find yourself, are you a political comedian or you, a comedian?
SETH MEYERS, HOST LATE NIGHT SHOW WITH SETH MEYERS: I`m a comedian right now and I was talking a lot about politics.
TODD: And --
MEYERS: Because I didn`t consider myself a political comedian ever before. But I think this campaign and for the first time in my life getting to do a daily show has sort of drag me to talking more about political than I have in the past.
TODD: And you feel like having a daily show, current events have to always drive it.
MEYERS: We feel like we developed our show to the point where we feel very strongly that our first act, our first 15 minutes is our newspaper act. We want our monologue there is be of the day. We want any sort of longer, you know, our closer looks. We want them to be of the day. And that gives our show re-freshness that we hope people feel like I have to watch this tonight because by tomorrow it will already be a little old.
TODD: You know, haven`t you hear that there is a full circle-ness that comes about you being in Washington, Donald Trump and the presidency considering that your last big splash in Washington was perhaps the single most famous line as correspondent dinner ever since Osama bin Laden was in the middle of being killed at the time and none of us knew it. And of course, the running theme of the day was furtherism (ph) and Donald Trump. Here is one of your iconic lines from that night.
MEYERS: Donald Trump had been saying that he run for president as a Republican, which is surprising, since I just assumed he was running as a joke.
TODD: Obviously at that moment you didn`t know his expression that night.
MEYERS: I didn`t know.
TODD: And everybody else, and I`m sure you have seen this clip, there has actually been reporting and speculation that said the ridicule he received that night gave him more drive to prove everyone wrong and run.
MEYERS: Yes. I sincerest apologies to everyone if that`s the case. You know, it was, you know, for me it was -- the thing I remember bout that night is President Obama told his jokes first and you know when you spend as much time as we did writing those jokes, you don`t want to have to drop any of them. And my biggest fear that night was that Obama would go after Trump which he did.
TODD: He did and it was an epic night. I will never -- when he came in with born in the USA, it was like --
TODD: I remember thinking and I was sitting at the table with all your friends, with (INAUDIBLE) and all these guys. I was going, you have to follow that.
MEYERS: Yes. So I - but so, I was very relieve to the end that we still had Donald Trump just were in the room.
TODD: Curious, you can tell some really harsh jokes on some of these political figures and then you are interviewing them.
TODD: Or you kill them at Saturday Night Live. I will play Sarah Palin clip.
TODD: And then ask you about this on the other side.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The most important election in our nation`s history and you want her, our Tina, to go out there and standing with that horrible woman. What do you have to say for yourself?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is Governor Palin.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Forgive me, but I feel I must say this. You are way hotter in person.
TODD: Is it awkward? Do you tiptoe around somebody that you been rough on?
MEYERS: Well, that was the case where Sarah Palin, Governor Palin, I should say was (INAUDIBLE). That appearance happened after, you know, most of the stuff that we had done. And I hope her memory of that night was a positive one. I can feel like we were very polite to her and we tried to take very good care of her on camera. And you know, I wouldn`t like it always to end that way. You know, that was the year where senator McCain came on three days before the election. And we have a lovely time with him as well. And you know, over the years, they update us, got a few stuff with Chris Christie and Mike Huckabee and Rudy Giuliani. And I do think it`s really nice when two people who maybe don`t agree on everything can come together for purposes of a good time.
TODD: And whenever these politicians do it, it always makes him look better. That was one of the best moments.
MEYERS: Yes, that was a great night. And I would argue that her -- when she was at the update as well, Amy Poehler was hard core rapping as her, was even more endearing than what we just saw.
TODD: So, of the presidential candidates you had on this year, it been quite a few. Hillary Clinton, Cruz, Sanders, Kasich, Graham, Carly Fiorina, former president Clinton you have had. You had vice president Biden. Sarah Palin. Who was the most fun anyway?
MEYERS: I really - well, Bernie both times is a fun guy to talk to. Ted Cruz was the one I enjoyed the most. Ted Cruz.
TODD: Did that surprise you?
MEYERS: Yes. And you can tell he comes from a debate background. He does not stick to script. You don`t feel like he comes with canned lines. He was very willing to, I have feel honestly, answer my questions in a way that other people -- you know, the greatest poem and I`m sure you find it on this show all the time. People use these moments on television to just find their way to a stump speech that they are used to delivering on stage. And these are different means of communication.
And so, when somebody like Ted came on, you know, Senator Cruz to me understood he was on late night television. Understood that he was maybe a bit of an away game for him and I found him to be incredibly good sport.
TODD: How much fun this job done? Did you think it would be more fun than "SNL"?
MEYERS: I thought it would be more boring than "SNL," but it is not. And that is the most fun part. Realizing that, it is not much.
TODD: Good luck.
ALEXANDER: Quite a size conversation with another northwestern wild cat, Seth Meyers there.
A little more breaking news for you right now regarding 2016. The "Tampa Bay Times" just now reporting that in what would be a victory for Democrats. A federal judge has ordered voter registration, a voter registration deadline there extended through Wednesday of this week because of hurricane Matthew. And this reports as Republican governor Rick Scott said last week that he would not extend the Tuesday deadline despite the massive evacuations and outages caused by the storm. Now that deadline has been extended until Wednesday.
Much more ahead on MTP DAILY. We hope you will stay right here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right now I`m just not sure I will vote. I`m not sure I would vote right now for either one them if I had to. If the election were tomorrow.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you ever not voted before?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I haven`t. That`s what pains me to say. That`s just where I`m at right now. That`s my problem.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALEXANDER: There was just one undecided voice who remained apprehensive even after last night`s debate. Park Street Strategies asked 31 undecided voters in the battleground of North Carolina about their impressions after the debate. A majority, 23 believed Clinton won, but that didn`t necessarily mean she won their votes. Only ten said she moved the needle, for them personally. Many more still undecided after feeling like a lot of questions remained unanswered.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I need to hear more. I need to know more.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Donald Trump scored to the questions.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s more of just question dodging.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And here just got off the subject and he was spinning all over the place.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They tried to redirect him all the time and he just continued to just bash her and didn`t really go after her husband as well. So going after Bill over and over and over, just - it`s kind of let me down a little bit.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALEXANDER: Chris Kofinis has moderated the focus group with Park Street Strategies.
Again, Chris, nice to see you. We played that clip in the introduction there. Give me a sense. Do you really capture that sense of frustration among these nearly three dozen still undecided voters?
CHRIS KOFINIS, PARK STREET STRATEGIES: It is something we have seen in all the focus groups we have done. What was interesting about last night is Secretary Clinton did well. They were dull-testing the entire debate and she had some really high moments. And Trump had some really low moments. And as you saw, you know, she clearly ran the debate. But voters are still really torn between these two because they have real doubts and concerns.
I think the mistake, in particular last night`s debate, and the Trump campaign is making, is they think the way they are going to somehow turn their fortunes around is by going more negative. And what you saw in the group and we asked this before the debate even started. How many felt the race was too negative? How thought the discussion was too negative? Every hand goes up.
So you may be rallying your base by going after Secretary Clinton such a harsh way, but you are losing these critical block of voters.
ALEXANDER: So let me ask you about one that a lot of voters right now still wanted to see some contrition, right, following these new lewd comments from 2005 that came out about sexual assault. Here`s part of that exchange that you had.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: With regards to the tape, I just felt he was being very dismissive and he was not taking it as seriously as I would have liked him to have address it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He didn`t owned up to it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He has been bashing women for a long time, you know, not only before in his previous life so to speak, but now even as a candidate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALEXANDER: I mean, defining -- is this a defining issue?
KOFINIS: It is a defining issue because it reinforces a preexisting narrative about him. And that is why it is so damaging for Trump.
But what is interesting about when we asked this again before the group started, folks obviously have heard about the tape, they obviously had a negative reaction to this especially the women. But they were open to getting him the benefit of the doubt in terms of they wanted to hear what he would say. And instead of confronting it in a contrite manner, he made light of it and he almost rationalized it.
ALEXANDER: One last moment here, this voter called Trump crust (ph) earlier but explained why he may vote for Trump anyway. I want to get your take.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The reason what I said that he won the debate is because he is being himself. The reason I think that I will lean towards Trump now is because (INAUDIBLE) already said, Hillary Clinton is - she is a politician. So I don`t believe anything she says. My problem is credibility issue.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALEXANDER: That`s one of Trump`s best assets right now, right? As people just simply don`t like her.
KOFINIS: So when we asked the group how many of them want change, every hand goes up. It is, I think, one of the frustrating thing for a lot of people when they look at this election as to try to figure it out, there is this conflicting dynamics. And one dynamic you have is that people want dramatic change. They are not happy with status quo.
ALEXANDER: They are (INAUDIBLE).
KOFINIS: Exactly. And on the other hand, they look at the two candidates, they are not just satisfied but they look at Trump like what kind of change are we going to get. And when you has these kind of comments that we have seen in the last few days being reported, he just scares them. And with Secretary Clinton, she has got the experience. They love her policy knowledge. They know she is ready to do the job, but they need to hear more.
ALEXANDER: And for Trump, it reinforces the idea that it is a winning message change but perhaps this isn`t going to be a winning messenger. And we will find out only 29 days.
KOFINIS: Yes. What I would say is that Trump I think is making a mistake that saying that you shouldn`t vote for Clinton is not a winning strategy. You got to make the argument why should vote for you. He hasn`t that yet.
ALEXANDER: As evidence by that free clip we got to see.
Chris, nice to see you in person. Appreciate it very much.
Our panel is up next with the lid.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Are you going to continue your support for Donald Trump?
SEN. RICHARD BURR (R), NORTH CAROLINA: I am. I believe that, you know, my dad was a Christian minister and he always taught me that when somebody apologizes, that the right thing to do is to forgive them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALEXANDER: North Carolina senator Richard Burr there confirming his support for Donald Trump just this afternoon. Down-ballot Republicans, right now they are in just a really tough spot. I mean, do they condemn Trump to keep support from people offended by his inappropriate remarks, or support Trump after the base applauded his performance last night? Of course, the easiest course of action would be to stay quiet and try to ride out the storm. But many don`t have that luxury.
In the next seven days, there are a set of debates in eight relatively close Senate races. The timing couldn`t be worse for those Republicans. And you better believe that Trump is going to be right at the center of that conversation.
So with that, time to bring back our lid. The panel is here - Susan Page, Ben Ginsberg and Clarence Page. We have got the pages, though not married.
BEN GINSBERG, FORMER ROMNEY CAMPAIGN COUNCIL: I`m between the pages.
ALEXANDER: You are between the pages. We`ll get to your chapter in a second.
Susan, I just want to get a sense from you right now about this position that these Republicans are in right now, and how you think they have handled themselves. I think Mike Pence sort of gave the framework today, right? And Richard Burr sort of used that same language. Hey, I believe in forgiveness. If I can`t forgive him, how can I ever expect God one day to forgive me?
SUSAN PAGE, REPORTER, USA TODAY: I`m not sure Mike Pence has a choice. He is on the ticket with him. But Senate Republicans do have a choice. It risky, though. As you say Joe Heck, the candidate in Nevada went out and rescinded his endorsement after that provocative tape came out that suggested sexual assault. He got booed from that audience. So you are at risk of turning off Trump voters who had provided the energy in this party this year if you do that, but you are at risk of being pilloried for independent and more moderate voter ifs you stick with it.
ALEXANDER: So let me quickly play this ad. This is from Wisconsin. It is an open seat. This is an ad attacking the Republican there, Mike Gallagher. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mike Gallagher says we have to support Donald Trump.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I moved on her like a (bleep). I couldn`t get there. And she was married. When you are a star, you can do anything. Grab them by the (bleep).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mike Gallagher still says we have to support Donald Trump. No, we don`t. We don`t have to support Mike Gallagher either.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALEXANDER: So, a little hat tip to a Spanish language ad there, just in front of I want to get us. I mean, that is going to be happening across the country for 29 days, isn`t it?
GINSBERG: Yes, I think it is. And what every candidate is going to have to do, Republican candidate see there is an opportunity to define him or herself. And there are going to be different reactions from different candidates. Some of the Republican candidates believe in the populist change message of Donald Trump. Some are more traditional. The important thing for candidates is to be true to themselves and who they are and that genuiness is ultimately what`s going to come out.
ALEXANDER: As Paul Ryan said today in his conversation with his Republican conference, basically, you do whatever the heck you need to win in your race. My concern is the House majority right now. This feud between Trump and Ryan right now, why pick another feud with Paul Ryan?
CLARENCE PAGE, CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Well, I don`t see an advantage for him to do that. But Donald Trump, personalizes his politics so much. If he feels personally offended, some may become his enemy. You give him a compliment, even if you are Vladimir Putin, suddenly he loves you. I think it`s a basic rule of politics that you don`t divide your base. And the base is obviously Trump folks. But the question to all of these Republicans in swing is states is how badly do you want moderate voters who are not committed to one side or the other, in which case, you come out as a principled politician, who makes the argument. And even if you get booed, you make the argument.
ALEXANDER: Susan, quickly, last thought to you. Can Donald Trump win over any of those moderate Republicans at this point, or is that a lost cause for him?
S. PAGE: It`s hard to see how his performance at the debate last night which is more sure (INAUDIBLE) than at the first debate. It is hard to see how that reaches out to voters in the middle.
ALEXANDER: Ben, to you, the next 29 days? Go high, go low, you`re Donald Trump?
GINSBERG: Well, look, he will cut a different path if he goes policy oriented, talks about himself as the change agent. Hillary Clinton, as focus group showed, is the politician. Still a really compelling message. It doesn`t get sidetracked on litigating the past.
ALEXANDER: Clarence Page, Ben Ginsberg, Susan Page, nice to see all of you guys. Appreciate you being a part of this.
We are back next with one more story that you may have missed.
ALEXANDER: In case you missed it, Trump voters really do not like Hillary Clinton. That`s actually bad news for Trump. Just take a look at this. According to our new NBC News/"Wall Street Journal" poll, 37 percent of Trump supporters say their vote is more for Donald Trump. Fifty two percent say their vote is largely against Hillary Clinton. That`s more than half.
As our owned deputy political director, Mark Murray says the winning candidates have people voting for them, rather than against their opponent. In 2012, more of Romney`s voters said they were against Obama than they were for him. You know how that one wound up. The same was true for John Kerry in 2004. Obviously, that was a lost. And in 2008, both candidates had more people voting for them rather than against their opponent. But 81 percent of Obama`s supporters were voting for him, and that trumped McCain`s 61 percent.
The bottom line, the anger that Trump`s voters feel for Hillary Clinton is likely not going to help Trump win the White House unless something changes very quickly.
That`s all for tonight. We are going to be back tomorrow with more MTP DAILY.
"With All Due Respect" begins right now.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END