Trump pushes tough limits for asylum-seekers

This is a rush transcript from "The Story," November 1, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARTHA MACCALLUM, HOST: So, breaking tonight, President Trump hitting 10 rallies in the last five days before the midterms. And he is all in, in a push to save the House and to build the Senate for his Republican Party.

So, if it is Thursday, is Thursday it must be Missouri. And Josh Hawley, who is in a down-to-the-wire battle with incumbent Senator Claire McCaskill.

Welcome to "The Story," everybody. I'm Martha MacCallum. But today, we got a slightly different version of the closing argument. The president delivering a somewhat sober, straightforward White House speech on how he sees the realities of immigration and border security in America.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: This is a perilous situation and it threatens to become even more hazardous as our economy gets better and better.

MACCALLUM: Making it clear that he says he is not playing games. He says there will be no more -- there will be catch, but there will be no more release. Asylum seekers must lawfully present themselves and then get in line. In the Q & A, president pulled no punches.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How is this plan going to be legal considering current law?

TRUMP: This is totally we're from now, this is legal. We are stopping people at the border. This is an invasion and nobody's even questioning that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you envision them firing on any of these people?

TRUMP: I hope not, I hope not. It's the military. I hope -- I hope there won't be that. But I will tell you this, anybody throwing stones, rocks like they did to Mexico, and the Mexican military, Mexican police, where they badly hurt police and soldiers of Mexico, we will consider that a firearm.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MACCALLUM: So, on the Democrat side, a day full of high-profile campaign rallies, Oprah Winfrey out there in force. Also, former Vice President Joe Biden on the campaign trail. Vice President Pence was out there as well.  It was pretty clear the president wants to be the loudest messenger here, staking Tuesday's results on his policies and his popularity. Kristin Fisher joins us now with THE STORY tonight from Washington. Hi, Kristin.

KRISTIN FISHER, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Martha. Well, with five days to go, there are so many races in play. But right now, political heavyweights from both parties and celebrities are converging on Georgia.

Today Oprah and the Vice President were there. Tomorrow, former President Barack Obama will be there. And on Sunday, President Trump will be rallying for the Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp. He's racing against Democrat Stacey Abrams and a few hours ago, President Trump sounded off on why he believes she is the wrong woman for the job.

TRUMP: I've always liked Oprah. You know, Oprah is good but the woman that she's supporting is not qualified to be the Governor of Georgia by any stretch of the imagination. Take a look at her past, take a look at her history, take a look at what she wants to do, and what she has in mind for the state. That state will be in big, big trouble very quickly.

FISHER: Now, if she wins, Abrams would be the first African-American woman in history to become the governor of Georgia. And she's accused her opponent, Georgia's current secretary of state of racially motivated voter suppression by disproportionately rejecting African-American voter registration applications.

Kemp, has denied the charge. But race has become one of if not, the dominant issue between these two candidates. Today, Oprah told voters in Georgia that they're on the precipice of a historic election, and that they owe it to their ancestors to get out and vote.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

OPRAH WINFREY, CHAIRWOMAN, OPRAH WINFREY NETWORK: For anybody here who has an ancestor who didn't have the right to vote and you are choosing not to vote wherever you are in this state, in this country, you are dishonoring your family.

You are disrespecting and disregarding their legacy, their suffering, and their dreams when you don't vote.

FISHER: Oprah's presence along with other Hollywood stars got the attention of Vice President Mike Pence, who was holding his own get-out- the-vote event for Kemp. He told the crowd, this isn't Hollywood, it's Georgia.

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT: I heard Oprah Winfrey's in the state today. Will Ferrell was in here too long ago, all right?  Well, I'd like to remind Stacy and Oprah, and Will Ferrell, I'm kind of a big deal too.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FISHER: As for the House and Senate, the mainstream conventional wisdom continues to be that Republicans will hold the Senate, but Democrats will take back the House. According to the nonpartisan Cook political group, they just put out new numbers predicting that Democrats will gain 30 to 40 seats in the House. That's up from 25 to 35 seats which is what they were predicting last month.

But Martha, if 2016 taught us anything it's that conventional wisdom isn't always right. There are almost certainly going to be some huge surprises on election night. Martha.

MACCALLUM: That's why we stay tuned. Kristin, thank you very much for that report. So joining me now, Charlie Hurt, opinion editor for The Washington Times. Daniel Henninger, Wall Street Journal editorial page deputy editor. Both are Fox News contributors. Juan Williams is the co- host of "The Five" right here on Fox News. Gentlemen, thank you. Great to have you with us.

Five days to go all the stops were pulled out today with Oprah Winfrey and everybody else. Dan, let me start with you. What do you think of Oprah's appearance today, and do you think that she could be very persuasive for voters in Georgia?

DANIEL HENNINGER, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I do, indeed. Oprah is so arguably the most popular Democrat in the country. There's a reason people wanted her to run for president.

MACCALLUM: She's an independent. She took great pains to point that out today. But she's clearly campaigning for the Democrats.

HENNINGER: Oh, I can't miss that message up there on the stage. But, you know, this is an election that is in fact, going to be about turnout. And it's one of the most fascinating elections for governorship in the country. I would twin it with Florida with another black candidate, Andrew Gillum, the mayor of Tallahassee who is in a tight race with Ron DeSantis.

I'll tell you Martha if Stacey Abrams and Andrew Gillum pull this out in Georgia and Florida, you're going to see the reassembling of the Obama coalition and it's going to be -- I think, it's going to create a path forward since Gillum is such a progressive candidate.

A path forward for a national progressive candidate like Kamala Harris, who would indeed start to reassemble the Obama coalition of minority voters' women and young people.

MACCALLUM: Juan.

JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS CHANNEL POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think clearly what we see from President Trump is he wants the issue to be immigration right now. And in states where he had a record of having won handily in 2016, that's going to pay off for him.

But, Martha, you look at the itinerary that you put up on the map earlier, and you can see, it's all about going to red states in order to stir his bass. In purple states and Georgia is becoming more purple, remember, it also turns on to Democrats who are part of the resistance, however, the Trump -- a White House likes to speak about Democrats who are opposed to them.

And so, what you'll get is you'll turn up -- turnout for those Democrats, so much the way Dan was saying, midterms are about turnout. And so, it could revert -- it could actually do damage to Republican candidates.  Especially, those running in suburban districts outside major big cities like Atlanta.

Now, when you come to the House, I think what you heard from Kristin Fisher, again, I'm not sure in those suburban congressional districts that the Trump immigration message so hard. It's a caravan, these are people coming in who would be violent they are criminal.

I'm not sure it plays well for the President and for Republicans in those area.

MACCALLUM: We will see. We're going to have a panel of women. Democrat, Republican, and an Independent at the end of the show who live in those suburbs. Talk about their feelings about exactly what you're talking about coming up at the end of the show.

A lot of controversy over this ad that was put out today. Take a look at it, the president side of things, you know, going for the jugular when it comes to this message. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LUIS BRACAMONTES, ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT, COP KILLER: I will break out soon and I will kill more.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: He said he wish he had killed more cops. That was his regret on his way to prison. What do you think of it?

CHARLES HURT, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: It's a -- it's a tough ad, it's a tough message, it's a tough -- it's a tough issue. But the fact remains, you know. When you have a party where -- and I'm not saying that the entire Democratic Party is here, but without a doubt, the Democratic Party has moved a good deal from -- when it was largely in favor of say, the Defense Act of 2006. Largely in favor of import -- deporting illegals, and having an immigration system that stopped people from coming into the country.

Where you have -- albeit, I consider them fairly fringe candidates or fringe members of the party, but there's still some of the most popular members of the party who are talking about wanting to abolish the ICE and talking about sanctuary cities and things like this.

An ad like that, you know, it -- it's tough, but it's -- you can't point to anything that is not correct about it. And this is an issue that -- and one of the things that sort of puzzles me the most is when Democrats try to attack President Trump for bringing up the issue of immigration and wanting to fix the border.

Well, my goodness, it's a political issue. He's -- it's a political campaign. That's what this is supposed to be about. And --

(CROSSTALK)

WILLIAMS: Well, I think they wish it had been about the economy, Charlie.  I think they wished it have been about the tax cuts, and I think they are resorting to this kind of culture wars hardline issues portraying all immigrants as vagrants and criminals in order to stir the base.

HURT: But you go back 20-25 years. And it's not just Democrats, both parties have completely ignored this issue, have done nothing to fix the problem.

(CROSSTALK)

MACCALLUM: You know, I think the people are disgusted with the fact that this has no solution. And I thought, Dan, and I want to get thoughts on this today that the president, regardless of what you think about it.

I mean, he laid out a pretty cogent argument for all the things that are wrong with the immigration system in this country. And here's a quick sound bite of him talking about the difficulty on the part of Mexico and others to deal with it, and I want to get your thoughts.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: And it was a break-in at a country, it broke into Mexico. And you look at what's happening in Guatemala along with El Salvador and Honduras, it's disgraceful that those countries aren't able to stop this. Because they should be able to stop it before it starts.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: Your thoughts on what he said today.

HENNINGER: Well, as he has said, our immigration system is a disgrace.  It's a bipartisan failure, we have gone at this for years and not come up with a solution. I think though that this is basically a political strategy that the White House has adopted here. I would go so far as saying, Martha, I think they have thrown in the towel on the House completely.

The Trump base is not going to decide the outcome in most of these at-risk House seats. But I think this is a strategy to indeed hold the Senate if not gain some seats that's why that Matthew showed Trump going into the Senate, the states that he carried, like Montana, Florida, and he's trying to hold those seats.

The interesting thing about that map is he's not really spending any time in Nevada, and Arizona, two seats that the Republicans do have to hold.

MACCALLUM: Does that tell you that the White House -- that they're polling shows that those are gone?

HENNINGER: I don't -- no, no, no. Not at all. I just think it's showing that maybe the immigration argument isn't as strong in Nevada and Arizona as it is in these other Senate place.

WILLIAMS: And the reason is the larger population of Latinos in both states.

HENNINGER: Yes.

MACCALLUM: Right. All right.

HURT: And we've also seen that President Trump is very good at getting his supporters to support Republicans in primaries. But if he looks at Arizona, and doesn't see that he's going to be able to convey his -- you know, his popularity among those voters to another Republican, then, there is no sense in going in there.

MACCALLUM: Thanks, guys. Great to have you here tonight.

HURT: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: So, still ahead, more on Trump's declaration to deny asylum to those who don't come through the country lawfully -- to the country lawfully. We're going to talk to undocumented immigrant Jose Antonio Vargas, who calls this a "tactic of fear". And Bill Bennett, who says just the opposite that this is about the sovereignty of our country. Next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We will not allow our generosity to be abused by those who would break our laws, defy our rules, violate our borders, break-in to our country illegally.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MACCALLUM: President Trump declaring the situation at our southern border crisis today announcing plans to limit the number of asylum seekers coming into the country saying that they must lawfully present themselves at entry points.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: My administration is finalizing a plan to end the rampant abuse of our Asylum system, it's abused, to halt the dangerous influx and to establish control over America's sovereign borders. Those who choose to break our laws and enter illegally will no longer be able to use meritless claims to gain automatic admission into our country.

When we're strong at the border people will turn away and they won't bother. Eventually, people won't be coming here anymore when they realize they can't get through.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: So that was laid out by the President today in strong terms.  I'm joined now by an undocumented immigrant who entered America at the age of 12, Jose Antonio Vargas, Founder, and CEO of Define American and the Author of Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen. Jose, welcome back to the program tonight. Thanks for being here. You know, everything that the president laid out there is you know, essentially part of the laws of the land. Do you have any problem with anything that he said as you know, person who's living in this country illegally?

JOSE ANTONIO VARGAS, FOUNDER AND CEO, DEFINE AMERICAN: Well, the problem is this is a President that's changing laws if he doesn't like the law. It is legal for people to apply for asylum.

MACCALLUM: Absolutely.

VARGAS: That is the law of the land, right? And so the refugees and I have to say, by the way, this is Fox News. You know, we have a responsibility to tell the public the difference between refugees and undocumented immigrants. The Central Americans that were coming are applying for refugee status, right? They're actually refugees who are going to apply for asylum. That's different than undocumented immigrants.

And I have to say, by the way, the fastest growing undocumented population in this country are coming from Asia, from countries like the Philippines, Korea, India, not from Latin America and Central America so why the obsession over the border?

MACCALLUM: Right, so you know as well as I do -- OK, all right, hold on.  So you know as well as I do that a lot of -- in that situation what happens is there's a visa and the visa is overstayed and that is also a big issue for immigration. However, what the President saying is we're just not going to do catch-and-release anymore. You -- if you get into the country, if you climb over the wall, if you come through the point of entry, you will be held and you will be processed. The problem is that a very tiny percentage of people who are coming across that border -- and I'm not just talking about the caravan, I'm talking about people in general, do not have legitimate asylum claims.

VARGAS: That's why they have to go through the process.

MACCALLUM: Yes, that's fine. So go through the process but you're going to have to stay together at the border, in a government facility until you can go through the process because you know as well as I do that once they release them, they're never showing up for their court date. So they are rigging the system in a way that is not fair to other people who have waited years to get into the country going through the legal process. What do you think? What is it --

VARGAS: By the way you're talking about my family members who are waiting in the Philippines to get to this country legally, right? Like you can't separate us like we're like not in the same family. The point is --

MACCALLUM: I'm not -- I'm not. I'm saying there are plenty of -- and they -- there's a process. That's all this is about it's about going through the process, not climbing over the wall and running somewhere to stay forever.

VARGAS: They're not climbing -- they're not climbing over a wall. There's literally walking here, mothers, families --

MACCALLUM: Of course not. I'm talking about regular -- I'm talking about illegal immigrants. There's 150 people climbing over the Yuma Center every single day.

VARGAS: So again, you're conflating people. Martha --

MACCALLUM: No I'm not. No, I'm not.

VARGAS: Martha, net migration -- net migration from Mexico to the U.S. is the lowest level since 2005.

MACCALLUM: But you still got -- no, but the numbers are overall or -- it's not even a question of whether or not the numbers are lower than they used to be. The question is whether or not you have a process to go through.  And there is a process that exists and it is expected to be adhered upon.  People are happy to welcome immigrants to this nation. We're all immigrants. All of our families came here. Your family came here. My family came here over the course of generations. The question is that there is a process that has to go -- to be gone through in order to do that. What do you -- what's -- what do you disagree with in that?

VARGAS: Here's what -- I think it's really important that we make sure that we're defining our terms. There's absolutely a process for people to apply for asylum, right? Right now there is no process for someone like me who is undocumented to "get myself legal," right? There's no process for us to write our status. So we don't want to conflate these issues.

MACCALLUM: No, you're right about that, and that's the fault of Congress.

VARGAS: That is absolutely the fault of Congress, absolutely.

MACCALLUM: Well, nobody is conflating anything. There are people who are here illegally like yourself, then there are people who want to come here, some of whom a small percentage of whom and they should be separated out when they have legal asylum claims. They should be welcomed to this country and they have to go through the process. That's all anyone is saying. There's nothing cruel about that, is there?

VARGAS: Martha, why is the President being so hysterical about this?  They're hundreds of miles away.

MACCALLUM: I didn't think he was hysterical today. He was quite practical. He went through all of the different issues that you know, you face on this issue and it's obviously a question that has to be resolved.  I think the frustration is greater with Congress than it is with any of those people who are walking in that caravan.

VARGAS: I have to tell you, it is tactical because we have an election on Tuesday. And this is a president that could not have gotten elected President if he has not start spreading lies about people like me and about what's happened in Central America --

MACCALLUM: Did the President start the caravan?

VARGAS: No, this has been going on since 2010. Humanitarian groups have been trying to solve this issue since 2010, right? Which is why to conflate this issue and make it seem like it's some sort of a crisis as if all of a sudden all these brown people are now taking over America. All of that is hysterical.

MACCALLUM: Nobody said anything about brown people, you did. You said that. No one is saying about it.

VARGAS: Watching Fox News all day it's really hard to tell.

MACCALLUM: You know what, the problem is -- I mean, this is a border issue OK. So the individuals that you're referring to are coming from the south, all right? But the problem is that and you said it yourself. There's issues with people who come in and overstay visas from different countries --

VARGAS: Yes.

MACCALLUM: For the southern border the problem is that a lot of people come in and by their own -- by their own admission and quotes that we've been watching across the course of the last few weeks, when they look for the poorest part of the border and they run in. And as soon as they land here and they're legally on this soil, they can claim asylum. That's the law of the land. But then there's a process that has to be gone through.  It's not about where they're coming from.

VARGAS: Let me ask you this question, Martha.

MACCALLUM: Yes, go ahead.

VARGAS: Martha, let me ask this question. Why are they coming? What is the root causes of migration?

MACCALLUM: Well, you can ask them. I watch them be interviewed all week.  They're coming for a better life. They want a better life and there's a process for that. There's a process for that just like people who are coming from the Philippines, or Poland, or anywhere else, or Afghanistan where there's thousands of people who also want to come. There's a process and they have to be part of that process. It's all I'm saying, Jose.

VARGAS: But specifically from -- specifically in Central America, what does U.S. foreign policy and trade agreements have to do with why Central America is the way that it is right now? How did the drug war -- how did the American government siding with different regimes in Central America during the 80s, how is that contributing to all of this? We have to ask harder questions about why people are even coming?

MACCALLUM: Well, I think you raised an excellent point, and I think that there does need to be more to improve the economies in those areas. We got hundreds of millions of dollars to those countries every year, by the way.  So it -- you know, there are -- the funds are going there. Whether or not those governments have the capacity to serve their people well is a completely different issue. You're saying that's America's fault that those governments don't have the capacity to serve their people of?

VARGAS: No, I am -- it is not about anybody's fault. I'm just talking about history. I'm talking about what has been done in those countries in the 80s. Both the United States and those governments have a responsibility to what's happened in Central America, right, and why people are coming here. I mean, do you think people enjoy leaving their livelihoods and their households just so they don't have to fear for their lives?

MACCALLUM: No, I don't. No, I don't at all.

VARGAS: No they don't. No they do not at all.

MACCALLUM: I feel for them. I absolutely feel for them that there's -- I'll just say it one more time and then we got to go, but there's a process that has to be gone through and that's the way it has to work. No one is unsympathetic to their -- to their situation but that's absolutely not what this is about. It's not about discrimination, it's not about being unsympathetic, it's about having to figure out a way to make this work in an orderly manner.

VARGAS: And we should let them get through the process.

MACCALLUM: Well, I think that's what we heard you know, defined in a new way today. Jose, thank you very much. Jose Antonio Vargas, thank you for being here.

VARGAS: Thank you for having me.

MACCALLUM: So here with more is Bill Bennett, Host of the Bill Bennett Podcast and a Fox News Contributor. Bill, welcome to the program. You know, your thoughts on that conversation and on the way that the President laid out his argument on this today.

BILL BENNETT, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, the President was not hysterical. He was very calm he was very clear. And by the way I'm someone who likes history, studies history, has written history, and there's time for history and there's a time for action, and this President is taking action. And by the way, this notion that we've heard, I think we heard and heard all week and all month that he's politicizing this very hot issue, this is what politics ought to be about. Politics isn't about you know whether to go to the metric system or midnight basketball, it should be about important things. So he's exactly right to focus on these issues -- this issue among others.

Look, difficult times require strong leadership and these are difficult times and this has been a very difficult problem. When Jose says look, just let them go through the process, that's a way actually of saying let's circumvent the process because we know what happens. People touch the ground, they are released and then 600,000 or 800,000 people wandering around the United States, they never come back for a hearing. So that's you know, that's a bit of sleight of hand but that's not getting --

MACCALLUM: But let me ask you this, Bill. Let me ask you this. What do you -- what about what Jose said about how -- he feels this as discriminatory, that it's about them, that it's about the people who live south of the border as opposed to the attitude that Americans have about other immigrants.

BENNETT: I have not heard the President say what Jose said goes on all day at Fox News. I never heard it on Fox News that it's about brown people or black people, or people of a particular color, but this is where the hemorrhage is occurring and this is where you know, the issue must be addressed. It must be fixed. And so the President is absolutely right to address it. We have problem on a lot of fronts and there's been a failure on the part of the Congress to address this. But again, the fact that the President steps up has to step into the vacuum here as I think a good thing.

You know, people are saying he's too tough. Well, sometimes you need Mother Teresa, sometimes you need Dirty Harry, and this is a very tough issue and it's got a lot of dimensions to it. But this is a strong President and I think he's absolutely right to identify the problem the way he has and the way he is seeking to address it, he's looking for a way to stop the hemorrhaging.

MACCALLUM: Bill Bennett, always a pleasure. Thank you very much. Good to have here tonight, sir.

BENNETT: Thank you, Martha.

MACCALLUM: And our thanks to Jose Antonio Vargas as well. Good to have both of them here tonight. So it was not just immigration that had the Trump administration talking tough today. The new action against three countries that have been deemed tyrannical coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MARTHA MACCALLUM, HOST: The Trump administration taking a bold step today. National security advisor John Bolton announcing new sanctions against three socialist countries that he dubbed a, quote, "triangle of terror."

Trace Gallagher on a story for us from the west coast tonight. Good evening, Trace.

TRACE GALLAGHER, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Martha. John Bolton made his comments in Miami, which, of course, is home to large numbers of migrants from Cuba and Venezuela, many of whom favors stronger U.S. pressure on leftist governments in Latin America, or as Bolton referred to them, quoting, "dictators and despots near our shores."

In his speech today, the national security advisor detailed the executive order signed yesterday by President Trump which primarily does two things. It prevents U.S. citizens from involvement in Venezuela's gold export trade.

The administration believes President Nicholas Maduro is using corrupt and deceptive means to export tons of gold to countries like Turkey and Iran. Venezuela desperately needs gold sales to lift its collapsing economy.

The executive order also prevents U.S. companies from doing business with more than two dozen Cuban entities owned or controlled by the Cuban military or intelligence services. Bolton took a slap at the Obama administration's diplomatic efforts toward Havana saying the U.S. won't support the Cuban military on the backs of the Cuban people.

The administration also promised additional penalties against Nicaragua and said the leaders of all three countries should quote, "fear the virtuous power." Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN BOLTON, UNITED STATES NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: These tyrants fancied themselves strongmen and revolutionaries, icons and luminaries. In reality, they are clownish, pitiful figures more can to Larry, Curly, and Moe. The Three Stooges of socialism are true believers, but they worship a false God.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GALLAGHER: Cuba responded by saying the U.S. is punishing the Cuban people based on ideologic intolerance and political revenge. The United Nations also condemned the Cuban embargo, but U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley pushed back, saying the United Nations has failed to condemn the rapid human rights abuses in Cuba. Haley says the U.S. stands with the Cuban people who continue to suffer the lingering effects of the Castro dictatorship. Martha?

MACCALLUM: Yes. Watch that story. Trace, thank you very much. So are dirty politics coming in to play again, perhaps in the right race for Montana Senate seat. What's behind the mysterious mailers in Montana and a candidate seemingly endorsing his opponent says before the election only when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MACCALLUM: Just a few more days to go and the Montana Senate race is getting closer and a little bit dirtier really by the day. Incumbent Democratic Senator Jon Tester, currently at four points over GOP challenger Matt Rosendale, that's almost within the margin of error so this is a really tight race.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MATT ROSENDALE, SENATORIAL CANDIDATE, R-MONT.: Laughable that Jon Tester stands there and talks about campaign finance and he is the largest recipient of contributions from lobbyists in the nation.

JON TESTER, SENATORIAL CANDIDATE, D-MONT.: If you want to talk about dark money, I paid for my ads. There's a few dark money ads on and I can't stop them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: Yes. You get the idea, right. So it is the ads in the Montana Senate race that have become the headline lately. Take a look at this photo. The ad appears to be sent by lesser-known libertarian candidate Rick Breckenridge in order to take away votes from Matt Rosendale is the thinking here.

But Breckenridge denies ever sending this mailer out. Now observers are pointing to 2012 when a similar thing happened in an attempt to use the libertarian candidate to try to take votes away from the -- from Tester's opponent.

So here to sort this out Adele Malpass, Real Clear Politics national reporter. Adel, good evening to you. Thanks for being here tonight. So, what's going on here.

ADELE MALPASS, NATIONAL REPORTER, REAL CLEAR POLITICS: Well, basically in 2012. This was the same thing that happened Jon Tester. We don't know -- we don't know in 2012 but there was a mysterious mailer sent out to the libertarian candidate who they present in the mailer as the real conservative. And in 2012, the libertarian candidate got 6.6 percent of the vote in Montana. And that was the difference between -- was more than the difference between the Republicans and the Democrats.

MACCALLUM: Yes.

MALPASS: So, to some extent that it did help Jon Tester win in 2012, and so you can see the same playbook again. You don't know who with super PACs and dark money run, you really don't know who sent that mailer.

MACCALLUM: Who did. Tester says he didn't do it. He said it's another lie from Matt Rosendale. Our campaign had nothing to do with this mailer.

And Breckinridge says, you now, despite a tweet that was sent up by Donald Trump, Jr. that made it sound like Breckinridge was kind of dropping out of the race. Breckinridge says that isn't what happened. He said that he did used the word endorse to reporters regarding Rosendale over Tester but he says he's not dropping out. Right?

MALPASS: He will be on the ballot on Tuesday. President Trump is going to Montana on Saturday for his fourth visit for Matt Rosendale and I am sure this topic will come up and I'm sure he will explain that if Republicans should vote for not Rosendale and not the libertarian candidate, and that if there is confusion out there I have no doubt after Saturday's rally there will not be.

MACCALLUM: Yes. Well, we all know that the president would like to remove Jon Tester. There are some bad blood over the whole Ronnie Jackson head of the V.A. issue, so we'll see what happens there. Adele, thank you very much. Good to see you.

MALPASS: Thanks for having me.

MACCALLUM: So, still ahead, high-profile Democrats criticizing President Obama's midterm message of hope and change as too weak.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT: I'm hopeful because out of this political darkness, I'm seeing a great awakening.

(APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: All across the country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MACCALLUM: A growing debate tonight within the -- within the Democratic Party, I should say, about how best to take on President Trump heading into 2020. And if President Obama is really still the answer for the Democrats.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I'm hopeful that despite all the noise, despite all the lies, we are going to cut through all that. We are going to remember who we are. Who we are called to be.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: So the New York Times notes supporters of President Obama are now openly questioning if that rhetoric in this environment is too light, if it's too weak. Contrast that with the message from Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders on the campaign trail this week, keeping in mind they are both leading the polls for the 2020 Democratic nominees.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: I am sick and tired of this administration.

(APPLAUSE)

BIDEN: I am sick and tired of what's going on.

(APPLAUSE)

BIDEN: I am sick and tired of being sick and tired, and I hope you are too.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, I-VT.: The agenda of the most racist, sexist, homophobic, bigoted president in history will go nowhere because Democrats will control the House and the Senate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: Joining me now is David Gelernter, a computer science professor at Yale University and the author of a Wall Street Journal op-ed entitled "The real reason they hate Trump." He has written several editorials in recent past on politics. Good to have you with us, professor. Thank you for being here tonight.

DAVID GELERNTER, COMPUTER SCIENCE PROFESSOR, YALE UNIVERSITY: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: Let me talk, you know, when you talk about the Democrats, and you know, we are only about five days away from the beginning of the 2020 race essentially because we all know as soon as the midterms are over that's going to be the discussion. But your piece is the real reason why they hate Trump. Who is "they" and what is the real reason?

GELERNTER: Well, all sorts of people hate Trump, it's not only -- it's not only the Democrats, it's natural political opponents, but the Jihadi press, which has never taken off against the president the way they have against Trump. It reminds me of Nixon in my childhood.

So "they" are the Democrats, but it's also so much of the mainstream press that they are really I think I'm an effect on the electorate. And why do they hate Trump? Because Trump means what he says. He doesn't merely talk Republican conservative talk. He takes action.

He's fixed the economy. He's put Obama in the shade. He's made, I think, Obama ashamed of himself and the Democrats don't know what to say or what to do because the economy is so much stronger now. Our foreign policy, our foreign position is so much stronger now.

We're in so much dirtier position with respect to Iran and many of our other enemies who we seem to be scared to death of under President Obama. Actions speak louder than words. And Trump has taken action, continues to take action and the country knows.

MACCALLUM: Well, let me ask you about the premise in that New York Times piece that we talked about on the way in here, and whether or not President Obama is the voice for the future for the Democrat Party, given this, you know, sort of level of discourse that we're at right now as a country?

GELERNTER: I hope for the sake of the Democratic Party that he isn't, he's a failed president. He left the economy in rotten shape and our world standing lower than it had for decades.

We need a (Inaudible) two-party system in this country if our democracy is going to continue healthy, and Obama is not the sign of a healthy Democratic Party. We want somebody who is more in touch with reality and not a symbolist poet. Somebody who is seen to have some feel for the world as it is, for the country as it is and the economy as it is. And let's pick somebody like that in the Democratic Party.

MACCALLUM: Well, let's put up the list of, you know, how it stands right now in the 2020 Democratic race, and you know, granted, we are a long way away. Thirty-three percent for Joe Biden, probably because he has huge name recognition and the former vice president of the United States.

Bernie Sanders, 13 percent, Kamala Harris at nine, Elizabeth Warren at eight, and Cory Booker at five. So that's the way it looks at this moment. I expect that will change a lot. But Joe Biden is a more sort of, you know, a strong voice in the style of sort of, the every American guy voice as Donald Trump is on the other side. Isn't he?

GELERNTER: Absolutely. Biden is the only credible name on that list. And I hope for the sake of the party that they turn away from the leftists and their radicals who make up the rest of that list. The American public is not going to vote for -- is not going to vote for Bernie Sanders or Bernie Sanders' look like or sound alike. I'm not of fan of Joe Biden but he is a serious grown-up man. So, that's something.

MACCALLUM: Good to have you with us, Professor Gelernter, op-ed writer for the Wall Street Journal and Yale University professor. Sir, thank you very much.

GELERNTER: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: So, as the clock counts down to election day, new data suggest that women could be the big swing voters to decide the 2018 midterms. A panel discussion with women from all sides of the political aisle here, these are the women that they are trying to reach right now. So, we're going to find out what's on your mind, right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MACCALLUM: And the president is just arriving in Missouri, this is the rally that he is doing tonight for Josh Hawley who running against the Democrat Claire McCaskill in the state of Missouri. And today he made his final case to suburban women who have been the big focus of who he's been talking to lately, with just five days to go until the 2018 elections.

But we want to know women really want what they're thinking about. We put together a group of voters to find out and we welcome them. Good to have all of you with us today.

Dee Dawkins Haigler, you're a Democrat.

DEE DAWKINS HAIGLER, GEORGIA VOTER: Dee Dawkins, yes.

MACCALLUM: From Georgia.

HAIGLER: Georgia, yes.

MACCALLUM: A mom.

HAIGLER: A mom.

MACCALLUM: Let me go to the middle here we have Louise, Louise Taliana. You are an independent voter, right?

LOUISE TALIANA, NEW YORK VOTER: Yes.

MACCALLUM: And then we have Nicole Ginis.

NICOLE GINIS, NEW JERSEY VOTER: Ginis.

MACCALLUM: Ginis, Nicole Ginis, and you are a Republican.

GINIS: Correct.

MACCALLUM: All right. So clearly, the president has talked a lot about women lately. So, women want security, women want a stronger economy, these are the most important issues to women. We know from the polls that we have done that healthcare is very important to women. And reigning in Trump also seems to rate high in terms of the things that are on women's mind.

I'm going to play first the Trump team ad and I want to get your honest response to that. Let's play that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Things are starting to change. There are is more opportunity and security to invest in the ones that matter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But we can't get distracted from the biggest issue which our jobs and the kids' future.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But this could all go away if we don't remember what we came from. And choose the right future.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: So, the suggestion here is, you know, the economy is to not be great and now it's better. So, do you really want to walk in there and pull the lever for someone who might change that tide? If they wanted it to resonate with you and they wanted to resonate with you, they probably think they've got you.

So, let me ask you first. How does that hit you when you look back on the economy and you look at how things were, the argument that things are getting better, what do you think?

HAIGLER: Well, I think it's disingenuous because when President Obama took over for President Bush, the economy was tanking, we were in a recession and he turned it around. I think what happened was he did not give enough credence to what he did to flip that economy. So, by the time President Trump came into place, the economy was already booming because President Obama had done that.

MACCALLUM: What about you, tax cuts, things like that, you know, does not resonate with you?

TALIANA: It definitely, it does resonate.

MACCALLUM: And you voted for President Obama you said.

TALIANA: I did the first time and then the second time I didn't.

MACCALLUM: OK.

TALIANA: And now this time I have voted for President Trump. I believe that the economy is a result of President Trump removing the regulations and it jump-started the minute that he won the election the economy was booming.

So, he definitely addressed my concerns in this ad, it actually shows a worried mom which is what we all are, we are worried about our kids, we're worried about their future, and we want to make sure that they are not afraid anymore. No one is -- they shouldn't be afraid of whether they are going to find a job, whether they are going to have a secure job with benefits, so on and so forth.

MACCALLUM: Let's take a look at this other ad which is aimed, which is a Democrat ad and get your thoughts on that. Let's watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKA BRZEZINSKI, ANCHOR, MSNBC: In a lot of ways this is a response to Trump, women are stepping up.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN HOST: Is the future female?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I think with the Democrats in 2018 it sure looks that way.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: Future is female. Women are stepping up. We got a lot of women candidates running out there. Do you find yourself wanting to support them? You know, where we watch this whole Me Too movement. Is that something that matters to you, see more women in Washington?

GINIS: No. I believe in the best position, you know, the best person for the position, right after Kavanaugh got anointed to, you know, the highest court, his old position was actually given to a woman lesbian, which no one even spoke about at all.

But Trump, you know, President Trump said that, you know, it wasn't because she was a woman, he gave it because she fir the bell and she was a best of the position and that's why he hired her.

MACCALLUM: So, you know, for as a woman, why is it important or not important for women to be in these rolls to you, Dee?

DAWKINS: I think because women are unique, and we understand women not the women, we understand men, we understand children. I mean, because we raise our children.

(CROSSTALK)

MACCALLUM: This is true. We do basically get everything.

DAWKINS: We do everything, we are the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker.

MACCALLUM: That's true, that's true.

DAWKINS: And without women, everything would tank. And so, for me, I think the next president, even though I wanted to be a Democrat, hopefully, it's a Democrat, I think women should be next. So, we should really say we got necks because women have the unique ability to rule and to lead and to govern with integrity. You would not have a Me Too movement when women were in charge of everything.

MACCALLUM: Yes. When you, you know, take a look at Oprah Winfrey out there and she is talking about being independent, you know, voting the way you want to vote, not being influenced by anybody out there, all of that.

TALIANA: I'm influenced by statistics. Right now, we have the lowest unemployment ever in what, 49 years? I believe it's at 3.7 percent. We have the lowest unemployment for women. We have the lowest unemployment for African-Americans.

MACCALLUM: Yes.

DAWKINS: For the Latinos. You know, our GDP is the highest ever.

(CROSSTALK)

MACCALLUM: So, you are -- you are about, all about lifting all the boats.

DAWKINS: Correct. So why reverse that, why go back?

MACCALLUM: And the economy in general. Let me ask you this, Louise, do your friends argue about this?

TALIANA: I'm sorry?

MACCALLUM: So, your friends argue about it?

TALIANA: Yes, all the time.

MACCALLUM: What's the main point?

TALIANA: The main point is, it's funny because they are bringing up Trump's behavior and his attitude, and I quite frankly don't mind his attitude. I grew up in a household where--

(CROSSTALK)

MACCALLUM: Did they jump all over you for that?

TALIANA: Yes. All the time. All the time.

MACCALLUM: All right. I got to -- I got to leave it there. I'm out of time. Ladies, thank you very much. We'll check back in with you. Good to have you.

That is our Story for this Thursday night. We are going to be back here tomorrow night at seven. Tucker Carlson is coming us next in Washington, D.C. and then, next time I see you, it will be three days to go until the election. Good night.
 
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