As she closes in on Democratic nomination, Hillary Clinton changes course and launches a withering round of attacks against Donald Trump.
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HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is not just another outlandish, insulting comment from Donald Trump. And it is not normal politics. This is something much, much more dangerous.
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DICKERSON: We sat down with <the> presumptive Republican nominee in California ahead of Tuesday`s primary and asked him about <the> growing controversy over Trump University and <the> judge presiding over <the> case against him.
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DICKERSON: How does -- his Mexican parents have to do with him not...
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He`s member of a club or society very strongly pro-Mexican, which is all fine. But I say he`s got bias. I want to build a wall. I`m going to build a wall.
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DICKERSON: Just to underscore how quickly this campaign is changing, she reversed course against Trump late last week.
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CLINTON: Donald Trump`s ideas aren`t just different. They are dangerously incoherent.
CLINTON: He is not just unprepared. He is temperamentally unfit to hold an office that requires knowledge, stability and immense responsibility.
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DICKERSON: We sat down with Mr. Trump at his home in Beverly Hills on Friday. And that`s where our interview began.
DICKERSON: Mr. Trump, on Thursday, Hillary Clinton gave a speech very tough on you, said that you wanted to bring back water-boarding, go after <the>families of terrorist, allow Saudi Arabia to have a nuclear weapons. She says you have said that you know more about ISIS than <the> generals.
But what policy of yours did she mischaracterize?
TRUMP: Number one, it was a whole -- written out by professionals and just shot after shot. It was supposed to be foreign policy, and it was really Trump policy. And she got it all wrong.
First of all, she talked about that I want to nuke all of these countries. It is ridiculous. No, I want these countries to pay for protection. We are protecting them. We have $19 trillion in debt, very soon going to $21 trillion, John, in debt. And I want these countries to reimburse us at least for our costs.
She made many statements that she knows were wrong.
TRUMP: Well, they don`t know much, because they`re not winning. That, I can tell you.
Now, I think they`re not winning for a different reason. I think Obama is hurting them.
DICKERSON: How so?
I have spoken to certain generals. I will keep it quiet as to who, but highly respected people. They say we could knock them out fast.
DICKERSON: In office now generals or retired generals?
TRUMP: In one case, in office, and, in one case, out of office.
DICKERSON: Let me ask you about Libya. You have been highly critical of Libya and Hillary Clinton. You were also for military action to oust Gadhafi and military action to take care of <the> humanitarian situation in Libya. You supported that.
TRUMP: When you say supported it, I supported Libya?
TRUMP: I did? Where do you see that?
DICKERSON: In a video blog from 2011, you said:
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TRUMP: Now, we should go in. We should stop this guy, which would be very easy and very quick. We could do it surgically, stop him from doing it and save these lives.
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TRUMP: That`s a big difference from what we`re talking about.
DICKERSON: But you were for intervention.
TRUMP: Again, I`m <the> only one. I made lot of money with Gadhafi. If you remember, he came to <the> country and he had to make a deal with me because he needed a place to stay, and he paid me a fortune, never got to stay there. And it became sort of a big joke.
DICKERSON: But you were for intervention, just to clear that up?
TRUMP: I was for doing something, but I wasn`t for what you have right now.
And right now, ISIS has their oil, John. ISIS is selling -- that is among <the>finest oil in <the> world. ISIS has taken over <the> Libyan oil. And we don`t do blockades. We don`t do anything. They`re selling it. They`re making a fortune with it.
So, we go out, we do Libya, we do it poorly, as poorly as you can do it. You can`t do worse. And then now, if you look at what`s happened, <the> end result is, ISIS selling <the> oil and it`s a total mess.
TRUMP: I didn`t mind surgical. And I said surgical. You do a surgical shot and you take them out.
DICKERSON: But you said you were never for intervention.
TRUMP: I was never for a strong intervention. I could have seen surgical, where you take out Gadhafi and his group.
So, I have spoken to, and I have watched and I have read many, many lawyers on <the> subject, so-called neutral lawyers, OK, not even on one side or <the> other, neutral lawyers. Everyone of them, without a doubt, said that what she did is far worse than what other people did, like General Petraeus, who essentially got a two-year jail term.
General Petraeus and others have been treated -- their lives have been in a sense destroyed. She keeps campaigning. What she did is a criminal situation. She wasn`t supposed to do that with <the> server and <the> e-mails all of<the> other.
Now, I rely on <the> lawyers. These are good lawyers. These are professional lawyers. These are lawyers that know what they`re talking about and know -- are very well-versed on what they did. They say she`s guilty as hell.
TRUMP: That`s true, yes. DICKERSON: It`s a commitment to have your attorney general...
TRUMP: Certainly have my -- very fair, but I would have my attorney general look at it.
TRUMP: You know you have a five and maybe even a six-year statute of limitation.
TRUMP: Yes, I would, because everyone knows that she`s guilty.
DICKERSON: And what for you exactly is she guilty of?
And then you know what she`s also guilty of? Stupidity and bad judgment.
DICKERSON: But that`s not a -- if that were criminal, we would all be in jail.
TRUMP: No, no, I`m not even saying that part is criminal. But she`s certainly guilty of that.
In terms of this country, she is guilty of having just bad, bad -- how could she do a thing like this?
TRUMP: She`s broken all of them. Of course it is. But she`s broken so much.
But she`s so -- if you look at this from <the> standpoint of why did she do it, judgment, <the> word judgment. This is not criminal judgment. You make bad judgment, although, actually, under those rules and regulations, judgment is even criminal. You`re not supposed to do it. If you make a mistake, they don`t take that into account.
Why would a person and how can a person with this kind of judgment become<the> president of <the> United States? Now, think of this. We`re in a cyber-world. It`s a cyber-world. This is a very complex -- we`re in world like we have never been in before.
If we are in a cyber-world and she can`t even handle her e-mails, how can she be president? And we`re being hacked all over <the> place by Russia, by China probably. I mean, to <the> best of everyone`s knowledge, it seems to be.
But listen to this. So, we`re in a cyber-world, and she`s playing around with servers and e-mails. How can she be running this country? She doesn`t know what she`s doing.
DICKERSON: I want to make -- move on to another development this week.
Paul Ryan has now come out and endorsed you. You have talked to him several times.
We will agree on many things. We`re not going to agree on all things. But we`re going to agree on many things.
DICKERSON: For instance?
TRUMP: But Paul -- Paul Ryan -- well, I think we will agree on -- as an example, he really focuses on poverty. He wants to take people out of poverty. So do I. And we`re going to come up with a plan.
TRUMP: They`re poor because they don`t have jobs. They`re poor in many cases because they don`t have jobs.
And I will tell you will bring jobs back to this country like nobody has ever seen before. And people like Carrier and Ford and Nabisco leaving Chicago and moving to Mexico, they`re all moving to Mexico. I will stop that very quickly.
TRUMP: I think it`s going to be a compromise, honestly. I can see a compromise. DICKERSON: Because, on issues of trade, entitlements, you and he -- immigration -- so, trade, entitlements, immigration, those are no small issues. You are on exactly <the> opposite end of <the> -- those aren`t differences. You are on <the> opposite end of <the>...
TRUMP: Well, I don`t know. To be honest, we have spoken about it very briefly. They are big subjects.
You know what my deal is on trade? I want good deals. That`s what I`m going to do. Somebody said, what is your position on trade? I said, I want good deals. Whether it`s free trade, not free trade, I don`t care what kind of trade it is. I want good deals for our country.
We don`t make good deals. We have a trade deficit with China that is through<the> roof. We have a trade deficit with Mexico. We have a trade deficit with Japan. We make bad deals, whether it`s <the> military, whether it`s trade. We only make bad deals.
He was asked by CNN two things, one about deporting <the> 11 million undocumented immigrants, which <the> president, by <the> way, called a fantasy. He said, if you asked him to do that, he would say, no, don`t do it. He also said about <the> temporary ban on Muslim integration, no, don`t do it.
These are two big promises.
TRUMP: You are going to have to watch and are going to have to see.
I have done a lot of things that nobody thought I could do.
TRUMP: No, I`m not backing down. We have to do something.
We have a problem in this country. We have a radical Islamic terrorism problem in this country, and, by <the> way, throughout <the> world, throughout <the> world. It`s a problem. And it`s a temporary ban. I`m not talking permanent. It`s a temporary ban. We have to find out what is going on.
TRUMP: I think it has a lot to do with it.
First of all, I have had terrible rulings forever. I had a judge previous to him, and it would have been a very quick case. This is a case I should have won on summary judgment. This is a case -- and nobody writes this, and they all know it, but they don`t like to write it -- <the> plaintiff in <the> case was a woman.
She was so bad that, under deposition, it was over. She couldn`t have been<the> plaintiff. It was a disaster. They went before <the> judge. They said, we don`t want her to be <the> plaintiff. We want to put somebody else in. So, we said, well, that`s fine. Dismiss <the> case. You have to dismiss <the>case.
Wait a minute. She gave letters, <the> most incredible reviews of <the>college you have ever seen, of <the> university. She gave <the> most incredible. Then, on top of it, we have a tape where she`s talking about it in<the> most glowing terms. You wouldn`t speak about your college...
DICKERSON: Mr. Trump, what does this have to do with his parents before from Mexico? How is that...
TRUMP: No, no, excuse me, excuse me. I`m just saying, we`re getting terrible rulings.
We go to <the> judge, we say to <the> judge, hey, you can`t let her out of<the> case. He let her out of <the> case. We said, well, if you`re going to let her out of <the> case, she`s <the> plaintiff. If you`re going to let her out of<the> case, <the> case is over. No, <the> case isn`t over. OK?
Now, give me...
DICKERSON: No, no, for him, how does -- his Mexican parents have to do with him not...
TRUMP: He`s member of a club or society very strongly pro- Mexican, which is all fine. But I say he`s got bias. I want to build a wall. I`m going to build a wall.
I`m doing very well with <the> Latinos, with Hispanics, with <the> Mexicans. I`m doing very well with them, in my opinion. And we`re going to see, you`re going to see, because you know what? I`m providing jobs. Nobody else is giving jobs.
But just so you understand, this judge has treated me very unfairly. He`s treated me in a hostile manner. And there`s something going on. When a woman can be a plaintiff in a case and then say, I don`t want to be -- and you know why they don`t want to be a plaintiff? They didn`t want her. <The>lawyers asked that she not be a plaintiff because they would have lost <the>case immediately.
DICKERSON: So, I`m trying to figure out your thinking here, though.
If his Mexican heritage, <the> fact that his parents were Mexican immigrants, is a barrier to him doing his job, why would any Mexican voter vote for you? Wouldn`t they be -- <the> same barrier, <the> same problem?
DICKERSON: So, what if it was a Muslim judge?
I made a speech last night. I saw hundreds of signs, Latinos for Trump, Latinos for Trump all over <the> place. And you know what? They are here legally. They don`t want their homes taken away. They don`t want their job taken away. They like what I`m doing.
Now, people can come in, but they have to come in legally.
DICKERSON: You have -- on <the> Muslim -- but what if he was a Muslim, though? You have had -- been very tough on temporary Muslim immigration ban. Would a Muslim judge be also out of <the> question here?
TRUMP: We are allowing tremendous numbers of people coming into this country that we know nothing about.
We are -- we have a problem in this country. We`re going to have big problems. I have been pretty good at predicting things, John. We are going to have big problems. We have people coming into this country totally undocumented. They don`t know anything about them.
They don`t have paperwork. I interviewed and talked to <the> best law enforcement people in <the> business. There`s no way of knowing where they come from. And we`re taking them in from <the> so-called migration. They are being sent all over <the> country. We have people that don`t know what they`re doing. And we have to stop it.
DICKERSON: My question is, if it were a Muslim judge, would you also feel like they wouldn`t be able to treat you fairly because of that policy of yours? TRUMP: It`s possible, yes. Yes. That would be possible, absolutely.
DICKERSON: Isn`t there sort of a tradition, though, in America that we don`t judge people by who their parents were and where they came from?
TRUMP: I`m not talking about tradition. I`m talking about common sense. OK? He`s somebody -- he is proud of his heritage. And I think that`s great that he`s proud of his heritage.
DICKERSON: But you`re saying it`s a barrier to him doing his job.
TRUMP: He`s not treating me fair. He`s not treating me fairly.
DICKERSON: And you think it`s not because -- you think it`s because of where his parents came from?
TRUMP: I have had numerous lawyers.
Look, I have a case where thousands of people have said it was a great school. They have written reviews where they say it`s a great school. Not a good school, like great. They gave it <the> highest marks. I have thousands of these papers.
It should have been a summary judgment case, meaning <the> case should have been dismissed. And I had a judge who was very fair. I have a lawyer that came in when he came in. <The> lawyer on other side sort of entered <the>case when entered <the> case. And we`re trying to figure out what that is all about.
TRUMP: Well, I may do that now. Look, we`re finding things out now that we didn`t know before.
DICKERSON: Because of his Mexican heritage, though?
TRUMP: No, because of other things, I mean, because of other things.
DICKERSON: You have said you want to reopen...
DICKERSON: Yes, I guess I`m just confused how that -- what his Mexican parents have to do with that.
TRUMP: Excuse me. I want to build a wall. I can -- I don`t think it`s very confusing.
TRUMP: It has nothing to do with anything except common sense.
We have to stop being so politically correct in this country. And we need a little more common sense, John. And I`m not blaming. I`m proud of my heritage. We`re all proud of our heritage. And I want to build a wall.
DICKERSON: Let me ask you about Trump University. You`re going to reopen it. Anything you would do differently when you reopen it?
TRUMP: Look, I guess, in life, you always do things differently.
I`ll tell you, <the> thing that we did very well is, we had evaluation reports done by all of <the> students. Without that, it would be my word against their word, I guess, or somebody`s word against their word.
We have evaluation reports where we have thousands of them, thousands of them. And these reports, they`re very detailed reports. What did you think of<the> instructors? What do you think of this? What do you think of <the>questions? One to five. Mostly five, five being excellent, right? It`s from one to five, five being <the> best.
And people circled. I`m being sued by people that have given these tremendous reports. Now, they`re going to say, oh, but they were forced. Who forced them? Nobody forced them. You mean they forced thousands of people to sign reports? Nobody forced them to sign <the> report.
And many, it says remarks on them. Many have been -- handwriting, beautiful statements about <the> school. Look, it`s very simple. It`s called, if I have chance to get my money back, let me get my money back.
DICKERSON: All right, Mr. Trump, thank you very much.
TRUMP: Thank you very much.
DICKERSON: We lost Muhammad Ali on Friday, a man whose impact went far beyond his sport.
ALI: I`m going to float like a butterfly and sting like a bee. His hands can`t hit what his eyes can`t see.
DICKERSON: But for a man who made his living dancing around <the> ring, he became a legend when he took a stand. In 1964, he announced he was giving up what he called his slave name of Cassius Clay and converting to Islam.
QUESTION: Cassius Clay is a name no more. Is that?
ALI: Yes, sir. It`s Muhammad Ali. Muhammad means worthy of all praise, and Ali means most high.
He asserted his greatness when in some parts of <the> country a black man who did that could be killed for it. By 1967, Ali became a pariah, refusing to join<the> Army on religious grounds during <the> Vietnam War. At <the> height of his talent, he sacrificed his fame, title and liberty for his beliefs, marking a new era in political activism by a star athlete. His comeback bouts with George Foreman and Joe Frazier in <the> 1970s made him a global celebrity. And, in 1981, he even put his fame to use.
Ali hadn`t changed. <The> times had. Writing in his autobiography, Ali said he wanted to be remembered -- quote -- "as a man who stood up for his beliefs no matter what, as a man who tried to unite all humankind through faith and love. I wouldn`t even mind," he wrote, "if folks forgot how pretty I was."
Muhammad Ali was 74.
DICKERSON: Joining us now is "New York Times" sports columnist William Rhoden and, in New York, Muhammad Ali biographer Thomas Hauser, author of "His Life and Times" and a new book out today, "Muhammad Ali: A Tribute to<the> Greatest."
Bill, I want to start with you.
For me, <the> first thing was -- I never thought I would feel this sad. I knew this was coming. And I find myself feeling sadder than I thought I would. But remember <the> first -- this guy has been in my life since I was like 13 years old.
And it was through boxing. I was <the> only black kid in my -- in Harvey, Illinois, Catholic school. I was <the> only black guy. Leading up to it, everybody was talking all this trash about Ali and Ali.
So, I remember getting ready to watch <the> fight. My father was a Joe Louis guy, which means he was kind of a Sonny Liston guy. Remember, it was February. And so, just before <the> fight went on, my dad put on his coat, his overcoat. And he was going. I said, where are you going? He said, I`m going out to catch Clay.
DICKERSON: Catch him, meaning he`s going to get knocked out.
And so -- but for every phase of my life, when I`m 16, 17, and <the> war was real. As you know, I`m like -- this is `67. <The> war is real. And we`re thinking, what are we going to do about -- so, at every phase of my life, including now, Ali sort of was there as this...
DICKERSON: Thomas, tell me about -- let`s -- about Muhammad Ali as a boxer. Why was he so good?
THOMAS HAUSER, AUTHOR, "MUHAMMAD ALI: HIS LIFE AND TIMES": Well, let me just get one thing off my chest.
I was listening to Donald Trump at <the> top of this telecast. And it brought back a memory of a dinner I had attended at <the> Taj Mahal, <the> Trump Taj Mahal, as it was called then, in <the> mid-1990s. It was one of those dinners where Muhammad was given an award, one of these big gala events.
That was one of many times when Muhammad was right.
Now, in terms of Muhammad, why he was great, he was arguably <the>greatest fighter of all time. He was a beacon of hope for oppressed people all over <the> world. Every time he looked in <the> mirror and said, "I`m so pretty," what he was saying, before it became fashionable was, black is beautiful.
When he refused induction into <the> United States Army, he stood up for<the> proposition that, unless you have a very good reason for killing people, war is wrong. That`s a lesson we still haven`t learned. People all over <the>world haven`t learned it.
DICKERSON: All right.
And we`re going to take a quick break right here, be back with more of our conversation. So, stay with us.
DICKERSON: Don`t go away. We will be right back.
And be sure to tune in next week, when we sit down with Speaker Paul Ryan in his first interview since his decision to endorse Donald Trump.
DICKERSON: Some of our CBS stations are leaving us now, but, for most of you, we will be right back with a lot more <FACE> THE <NATION>, including a look back at <the> legendary life of Muhammad Ali, a conversation with Democratic consultant David Axelrod, and our panel, plus a look at surprises in<the> news.
Stay with us.
We want to continue our conversation with "New York Times" columnist William Rhoden and Muhammad Ali biography Thomas Hauser.
Bill, I want to ask you about Muhammad Ali`s famous poetry, his mouth, his taunting. Was that an act or was that a part of his character?
WILLIAM RHODEN, "NEW YORK TIMES": Well, you know, part of it was an act. You know, gorgeous George was sort of his - his model. But it - it was - it became part of him. I mean, you know, one of <the> famous things, even in<the> street, you know, and, you know, he was talking about early Torell (ph), and, you know, a lot of people not calling him by his name and he really gave him a hard time. And, actually, when he was on <the> mat he was - what`s my name? What`s my name? And so that almost became, you know, in<the> - in <the> street where we were playing around and wrestling people and throwing them down, that became sort of <the> thing like, what`s my name? What`s my name?
Now, that went completely against <the> - sort of <the> orthodoxy of what was supposed to be sportsmanship at that time. You know, so I think it was - it was an act to <the> extent that it was show business, but it was - also came out of <the> (INAUDIBLE) of style which really, to me, helped define sort of<the> young, black community.
THOMAS HAUSER, "MUHAMMAD ALI: A TRIBUTE TO <THE> GREATEST": People began to root for Muhammad very early on in <the> liberal community and also segments of <the> black community. After he came back from <the>exile, a number of people looked at Muhammad and said, well, we don`t necessarily agree with his principles, but he lived up for them, he sacrificed a lot for them. Also, <the> nation turned against <the> war in Vietnam. People began to think, well, maybe Muhammad was right about this one. And it`s also worth noting that while Muhammad sacrificed a lot, he said many times, look, there were young men who believe that this war is right. They went to Vietnam, they fought and they were killed and they sacrificed a lot more than I did.
RHODEN: Yes. You know, and again, that was - that was very interesting too because, again, you know, <the> black community is complex. There are a lot of ways to be black. Well, actually, <the> range isn`t that great. There are a lot of ways to be black, but at <the> end of <the> day I think what Ali stood for is that at <the> end of <the> day it`s about - it`s about defending black people, caring for black people, fighting for black people. And - and I think<the> thing that`s going to live on for me in <the> spirit of Ali lives, is that early on, when I was 17, he said, listen, you live in a country of trinkets and they`re going to throw a lot of trinkets at you. There`s so much wealth here. You choose between wealth and principle. And to have somebody you admire so much at an early age tell you about <the> essence of this country, and that as you grow up they`re going to throw a lot of wealth at you and you`ve got to make a choice, it`s going to be <the> belt or principle.
HAUSER: It was sad to watch, this long, sad goodbye. I can`t think of a parallel, really, for 30 years <the> whole world watched this man become more and more debilitated. He did it very publicly. What`s happening now is a time of mourning is moving into a time of celebration. So to everybody who loved Ali, I would say, don`t cry because he`s gone, smile because we had him.
DICKERSON: All right, Thomas Hauser, on that note, thanks so much.
We`ll be back in a moment with our new battleground tracker polls in Tuesday`s Democratic primary states. Stay with us.
DICKERSON: Turning now to <the> Democratic race ahead of Tuesday`s primaries. CBS News battleground tracker polls show a lopsided lead for Hillary Clinton in New Jersey. She has 61 percent to Bernie Sanders at 34 percent. In California, there is a much closer race. Bernie Sanders has closed <the> gap and is now only two points down with Clinton at 49 and Sanders at 47 percent.
We turn now to Democratic strategist and CNN`s senior political consultant David Axelrod.
David, it looks like on Tuesday Hillary Clinton is going to lock things up, but Bernie Sanders says there is going to be a contested convention. Explain how those two things can happen and what that means? DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CONSULTANT: Yes, I think we need a little reality check here. <The> fact is, she needs about 60 delegates to clinch <the>nomination. There are 781 at stake in <the> next few days. And so she will probably - she will almost certainly clinch <the> nomination before <the> polls close in California. She will have led <the> primary season in delegates by pledged delegates, elected delegates, by about 300 delegates or more. And<the> popular vote by three million. And now Bernie Sanders is in <the>ironic position of turning to these super delegates, these party officials, these -<the> party elite, to overturn <the> verdict of voters. And I think that that`s a very awkward position to be if you`re trying to lead a political revolution.
DICKERSON: Let me ask you about Hillary Clinton`s speech this week, <the>very tough attack on Donald Trump. We talked to her a month ago and she said, I`m not going to bother with Donald Trump. I`m going to talk about my campaign. Then she gave a kind of Trump-like, sustained, long speech with attack after attack on policy but also calling him a whole series of names. What do you make of that switch?
AXELROD: Well, I thought it was imprudent when she made <the> first comment because, obviously, you can`t - you can`t deal with Donald Trump by ignoring him. He insists that you not ignore him. And, you know, one of<the> mistakes Republicans made in <the> primaries was, they didn`t take him on vigorously from <the> start. She clearly can`t make that mistake. And I think Thursday was probably her best day in <the> whole campaign.
First of all, that`s her event, standing in front of those flags, giving a very sober speech, as she did, is what she feels comfortable with. But, secondly, it was a very lacerating speech and it provoked <the> kind of response that almost - almost reinforced <the> point she was trying to make, which is, temperamentally, Donald Trump isn`t suited for <the> presidency.
And for Trump <the> challenge is, can he change in any way and - and - and demonstrate to people that he has that element of discipline that`s necessary when you`re in a job that involves mortal power.
DICKERSON: She also suggested Donald Trump likes to throw up shiny objects when he doesn`t want to talk about something else, but she`s, obviously, got something she doesn`t want to talk about, that inspector general`s reports,<the> bad reviews she`s gotten in terms of <the> answers to <the>inspector general`s report. So should we read anything into that, that this was her own shiny object?
AXELROD: Well, I think this is her core case and I think anybody who would be running against Donald Trump would be making <the> same case. There`s no doubt that <the> e-mail situation continues to nag at her. I think it was very damaging and I think it - it was poor judgment, as -as she and others have acknowledged. She hasn`t handled it particularly well. But her hope is, and expectation I assume, is that it will pass. But for her setting up this stark contrast is absolutely essential in part because she wants to make that case for voters, but in part because every time she does it, she draws a response from Trump that only reinforces her case. DICKERSON: Is this a shot in <the> arm for Democrats too? There were some people worried about kind of <the>Clinton campaign.
AXELROD: Oh, I absolutely - you know, my - my soundings around <the>country were such that, you know, Democrats were dispirited by <the>campaign that she had run to date. It seemed a little flaccid. She seemed more restrained.
DICKERSON: All right, David Axelrod, thanks so much for being with us.
AXELROD: Good to see you, John.
DICKERSON: And we`ll be right back with our panel.
DICKERSON: Joining us now for some political analysis is "USA Today`s" Washington bureau chief Susan page, chief Washington correspondent for "<The> Washington Post," Dan Balz, plus national editor of <the> "Cook Political Report," Amy Walter, and executive editor of "<The> National Review, Reihan Salam.
Reihan, let me start with you. How much of a big deal are Donald Trump`s comments and his - you know, he`s not backing down on this question of Judge Gonzalo Curiel. Newt Gingrich said it was a huge mistake for him to hold this position. Does it matter?
REIHAN SALAM, NATIONAL REVIEW INSTITUTE: It`s hard to say because what Donald Trump does, and as he did in his interview with you is, he will take one of your questions, he won`t exactly answer it. He will take words that you brought up in your question and he will say them again and again without actually addressing <the> substance of your question. And <the> reason he does that is to make it appear as though he`s responding. And, frankly, that`s been decently effective so far. He doesn`t address <the> actual charge. and<the> question is, do people actually believe that he`s bigoted or not? If they believe he`s bigoted, and, of course, much of <the> country already does, they`ll accept that this reinforces that view. If they simply don`t believe it, if they believe he`s basically a decent guy who`s being hounded by <the>media in unfair way, they`ll believe that. And he recognizes that uncertainty and he plays to it.
DICKERSON: Dan, what do you make of - I mean Speaker Paul Ryan also spoke out about - in opposition after having just endorsed Donald Trump. So you`ve got Speaker Paul Ryan, Newt Gingrich, Senator Flake. Where does this leave things?
DAN BALZ, "WASHINGTON POST": John, it`s almost <the> classic example of what we`ve seen throughout <the> entire year. Things he does and says give terrible heart burn to Republican establishment people. And over <the> last month since he effectively became <the> nominee, more and more of them have in one way or another said, I will be for him in November and yet he does these things and they react. Their concern is that it`s going to cost him <the>presidency and that it`s going to cost <the> party, both short term and long term. But we`ve also seen there is another audience out there that responds in a different way to that. And so I think you always have to be careful about predicting just how bad something that seems bad is going to be.
DICKERSON: That`s right.
AMY WALTER, "COOK POLITICAL REPORT": Right.
DICKERSON: We get all wound up about.
WALTER: That`s right. It`s hard to make that pitch, though. I mean this is<the> whole point, which is, what we should really be talking about today, if you were <the> Republicans, if you were <the> Trump campaign, is <the>terrible jobs report that came out on Friday. That should be <the> entire focus of this. We have an economy that has not recovered for a whole lot of people who are attracted to Donald Trump, who`s saying I`m going to bring jobs back. That would have been a message that would break through, I think, to a whole bunch of people. Instead, what we`re talking about are all of these things that seem to have nothing to do with whether or not jobs are going to come back or <the> economy is going to recover.
<The> other thing that`s remarkable, I went back and went through <the>2013 autopsy that <the> Republican Party did after their loss in 2012. And literally everything he`s doing right now is <the> opposite of what Republicans thought <the> next presidential candidate needed to do, specifically on tone. It wasn`t just, he needs to come out and support immigration, or do better with these groups. It said, if we have a tone that suggests that we don`t like these people, it doesn`t matter who our policies are. So when Trump says, I`m going to bring jobs back, it doesn`t matter what I say about walls or about Mexicans not being able to take my case, that`s exactly <the> opposite of what they learned from <the> last time.
DICKERSON: And yet, Susan, Republicans are lining up smartly behind Donald Trump, despite <the> tone. I mean, you know, it`s not just Paul Ryan. It`s Marco Rubio. And you look at <the> distance some of them have travel. I mean Rick Perry called him a cancer. Now he`s saying he`s wonderful. He is - they are, in a sense, and people have written this, they are basically affirming everything he said about them and how quickly politicians will fishtail to get to<the> - to <the> right place. So <the> Republican Party is - is getting behind this candidate.
SUSAN PAGE, "USA TODAY": I think senior Republicans decided they didn`t have an alternative. He had won <the> nomination. He`s going to be nominated at <the> - at <the> convention. I think one thing we`re seeing is a battle for <the> post Trump GOP. I mean I think that`s why you see them come out and say, I`m going to - Paul Ryan among - among them saying, I`m going to vote for him, I`m endorsing him. But I have a totally different vision on all these issues, like immigration or <the> Muslim judge or <the> Mexican judge or <the> Muslim ban, because they want to define - they want to have an alternative vision of <the> Republican Party to offer once this election is over and that is on <the> assumption that Trump is going to lose.
PAGE: Than they <face> now in <the> - in <the> general election. This is a much more diverse electorate. It`s a much younger electorate. It`s people who are going to be, I think, quite concerned, voters, not just elites, voters concerned about <the> positions that he`s taking.
SALAM: There`s a version of what Trump is saying. Even actually when he`s talking about nuclear proliferation, there`s actually a version of what he`s saying that is, in my view, defensible. He does not make that case. Time and again rather than making, you know, an affirmative case for his use on immigration and trade, he actually keeps getting drawn in to talking about his personal business affairs rather than talking about <the> unemployment rate. So when you`re looking at Republicans, as Susan is saying, there is this jockeying for position, what do we do now that we know <the> Republican Party has changed in this meaningful, material way? And you see some smart people, like Tom Cotton, <the> senator from Arkansas, he is looking around<the> bend and he`s actually trying to be very cautious. Being a good solder for Trump, but also recognizing there is this national constituency in <the>country, how do I speak to it in a coherent and defensible way? But that`s all going to happen - that`s all going to happen after Trump because, frankly, Trump, because of his obsession with his own personal business affairs, rather than really laying out a distinctive ideological direction for <the> Republican Party, he`s actually not making that case.
BALZ: John, I wanted to pick up on something that Amy said about <the> -<the> economic situation. If you look what Donald Trump has done since he became <the> presumptive nominee, it has almost entirely been backward looking. It is not forward looking.
BALZ: He`s settling old scores. He can`t let go of things that still bother him from his successful campaign for <the> nomination. He needs to be reaching to a different audience. That message on jobs is something that would reach people who might not necessarily have been for him, or were still on <the>fence. But, instead, he`s ignoring that part of <the> electorate that he really would need to become president. DICKERSON: Amy, what do you make of Hillary Clinton`s speech this week? Is this a change in strategy? Is this what we`re in for, for <the> next many months?
WALTERS: Well, campaigns are pretty simple, right? It`s - their choice is between this or that. And it`s also a referendum. Now, this, again, this is an election that, on its <face>, should be an election that Republicans should win, if it is a choice between going in <the> same direction that this president has been going in for <the> last eight years, many Americans saying we want to take a different direction.
However, what she`s saying is, that direction is going to be led by Donald Trump, who`s unstable and is going to lead us into more trouble. So <the>change is too dangerous. It`s better to be stable than it is to have change. And that is really <the> only way I think that she wins an election in a time when people are saying they want change more than anything.
SALAM: One opportunity that Trump has in a funny way is that, in theory at least, he could run to Hillary Clinton`s right, as well as to his left. And so if you`re a Democrat, <the> campaign you`re used to running is a grind it out, this person is a right wing extremist, and, you know, there`s certainly some reason to believe that with Donald Trump. <The> trouble is that he wears those positions so lightly. He abandons them one after another.
Whereas, when you go in <the> route that she`s taking now, in <the>speech that she made on Thursday, by saying that he is dangerous, and actually by saying that, look, this guy attacked Ronald Reagan in <the> `80s. It`s very interesting because it kind of lowers <the> temperature on that left-right ideological contest and it`s saying to a lot of independents who have lots of doubts about her, have lots of doubts about Barack Obama, to say that, look, this is very simple. You might actually find one thing or another that he says interesting or appealing, but then there`s seven other things that he said that are less so.
And I`ve got to say, I wonder if she`s going to stick with this overtime. And I wonder if Donald Trump will maybe be able to reach out to some of that Sanders` vote. But I think that that`s <the> danger. But at this point, right now, Donald Trump`s obsession with himself and with his own business affairs, with his own past, makes it very hard to see him breaking out of that dynamic and actually reaching out to those left wing voters that maybe could deliver him <the> election in some strange world.
WALTER: That`s right.
DICKERSON: Yes. Right, as he does also <the> classification. PAGE: As you - as you pointed out. Yes. And she says he`s unstable and - and - she`d leave it to<the> psychiatrists to talk about why he`s so drawn to tyrants.
And one thing he said in your interview I thought was interesting, he said, she was supposed to give a foreign policy speech and she gave a Trump speech. And that is true. She gave a speech that was really devoted to savaging Trump in a really effective way. But are we going to have a campaign that`s - that turns totally on other person is even more unacceptable than I am with - with no serious discussion about some of <the> big challenges that are in American`s own lives?
DICKERSON: I think - well, I think that`s right.
WALTER: That`s right.
DICKERSON: Which is another topic.
WALTER: And she was trying not to talk, too, about - I mean, again, his response to her speech should have been, her decisions that she`s made and that <the> Obama administration has made on foreign policy have not made us safer.
Dan, Bernie Sanders says there`s going to be a contested convention. What does that really mean, do you think?
BALZ: I don`t know what that means, John, and I think we`re going to have to wait until we get through Tuesday night to see how Senator Sanders actually responds to a conclusion in this. There is a D.C. primary <the> week after that. But for all practical purposes, it`s over Tuesday night. She will have, as David Axelrod said, more votes, more pledged delegates, more superdelegates, more states won. She will have won across <the> board. He`s going to try to make an argument. <The> questions is, does he persist in that? Does he carry that fight forward? If he does, it`s going to be messy in Philadelphia.
WALTER: I`m looking for President Obama and what he does right after this primary is over. I mean I think it`s not going to necessarily happen on Tuesday or on Wednesday, but when all <the> votes are tallied, when all <the>delegates comes out, does President Obama come out and say, this has been great, good job, everybody, Hillary Clinton`s our nominee and that I think helps move <the> - <the> dialogue in a different direction. BALZ: But does Senator Sanders respond to that? That`s <the> question.
PAGE: And <the> results in California matter. Your poll shows it`s just a two-point race. We know it`s really close. But it may - it matters not in terms of who gets <the> nomination, it matters on kind of <the> tone at <the> end of these contests and what <the> context is for trying to get Bernie Sanders to endorse Hillary Clinton.
SALAM: I say Bernie Sanders has already won because Barack Obama came out and said that we should increase Social Security payments for everybody and this is a good and sensible policy. He would not have said that a year ago, two years ago. Certainly not, you know, seven years ago. That is a very big deal.
SALAM: It`s a big deal that Barack Obama has come out and repudiated some of <the> kind of centrist, goo-goo, Social Security reforms that he had before and embraced a central plank of <the> Bernie Sanders` campaign. He sees where <the> future is for <the> Democratic Party. You know, whether or not he could defend that position to <the> Barack Obama of three or four years ago, I can`t say, but he sees where <the> window is blowing and it`s blowing in Bernie Sanders` direction.
DICKERSON: When we started a new chapter of <FACE> THE <NATION>, only half of <the> 17 Republican presidential candidates had officially joined <the>campaign. And it was two weeks later that Donald Trump took that escalator ride into <the> race.
Weeks before he did, House Speaker John Boehner told us that Trump could surprise everyone. He sure did. And Boehner would <face> his own surprise, his career, a casualty of <the> forces that elevated Trump.
In our first meeting last spring, Bernie Sanders was concerned his campaign message wouldn`t get much coverage. News is what surprises us, but this year some of <the> surprises have felt more suited to fiction. And some of<the> news has felt too real. <The> terrorism in Charleston, Paris, San Bernardino and Brussels. Awful news to report, but also stories of courage and grit and amazing grace.
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DICKERSON: A host has a license to ask questions, but it`s your questions in airports or diners or wherever we`re rushing that renew that license. Your thoughts, your concerns about <the> world and even <the> stories of how and where you watch <FACE> THE <NATION> remind us of <the> place you give us in your life and of our obligation. We are grateful. To my CBS colleagues who let me be <the> public <face> of <the> show, I am grateful for all of your hard work, though I`m not surprised.
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