Robert Costa: Trump 'Sees the Nomination Within Sight'

The Powerhouse Roundtable debates the latest from the campaign trail.
11:59 | 09/13/15

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Transcript for Robert Costa: Trump 'Sees the Nomination Within Sight'
Okay, thank you very much for joining us. Let's bring in the roundtable. Rep pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson. Democratic strategist maria Cardona, Robert Costa and Steve Inskeep. Host of NPR's "Morning edition." I want to start with you, Steve, and go around the roundtable quickly, do you think he's going So you're small siness expert fm AT&T? Ah, givee a probm and Ve got T solution Well, we havears of cusmer recos. Our cld can Ke them Sa anaccessib anywhere My drirs don'tave time blets. Kp it alligital. We'rlooking double R deveries. Our fleet apps will fi the fastest route. Oh, and your boysenber apple scones smell about de. Ahh, you good. Like to ke.d new siness svices witht&t and T up to $50in totalavings. Do you think he gets in? I don't think he gets in. Maria? I don't think he gets in at the end of the day. Because I agree, there's right now no clear path for him. And because it was his beloved son's last dying wish, I don't think is enough. I agree with bob, you don't really see an outcry for Joe bide to run, he's absolutely beloved by the party and frankly, I think both parties, he's got a loft respect, but guess what, right now, he has the halo effect, because he hasn't jumped in. What happens when he jumps in or if jumps in? It's a completely different ball game. Kristen? These polls aren't Hillary Clinton. These are people really liking Bernie sanders. The democratic party at this moment is not distrusting of Hillary Clintons like general voters. I think Biden will would struggle to take the nomination from Hillary Clinton. But one of the things that you see in this race it is so unpredictable, who would have thought Donald Trump would be where he is. Do you think, if he gets in to the race there's a chance? There is of course a chance. I have haven't seen democrats turn on the e-mails. If they have an ideological right, they're turning to sanders. Kristen is right. What about that e-mail issue? You don't think that's going to remain an issue as they keep pouring out -- The democratic primary voters -- they still think she's a historic favorite candidate. And she's able to say this is just republicans generating another controversy. The problem for Hillary Clinton, she's attempted to answer this several times. Each time she does, it seems more substantive than less. Her recent apology saying on this network that she was sorry that she had used a private e-mail server. Putting out a number of points, statements of fact, but you can pick apart each of those statements. The key one being, I turned over all of my work-related e-mails to the state department. You have to take her word for that, because there's no way to back up which e-mails she sent. And there's very careful language that they weren't marked classified. But let's talk about a plan B. Whatever you say about Joe Biden, and most of you don't think he has much of a chance given your remarks, what about a plan B for democrats? What if this e-mail thing does get out of control? In the event a plan B is necessary, I think then having Joe Biden to jump in to fill the role that a fading Hillary Clinton, would make more sense. But at the moment, democrats really like Bernie sanders. We're in this unusual position, electability doesn't matter to voters anymore. We now have Bernie sanders and Donald Trump having a chance, a real chance at winning their party's nomination when, a few months ago, maybe they pushed those emotional buttons and voters really like them. To get in? He'll have to come one a rationale. Let's think this through, I'm mourning my son is a powerful message but not something you would use to run for president. I'm worried about Hillary Clinton's chances, also not a positive rationale for presidency. It's tricky. It's problematic. Al gore tried to run on that and actually ran away from it in 2000. So, the question has to be asked, if Joe Biden is going to be successful all of the way through, what is his narrative? Does he have a narrative? He does have a narrative. If I'm on the trial in south Carolina, there's a deep well of empathy for the vice does that automatically translate into a political base? Biden's people know they don't necessarily do it. They knew that it was going in that direction. But I think to the point of her authenticity, the interview she did with David, I think showed an authentic Hillary Clinton, she talked about her mom and her granddaughter. I think that's going to be something that's very different from the way she ran in 2008. Going back to another issue we have been talking about here, for democratic voters, they have incredible enthusiasm for her, still, and I think they continue to do that. When she's on the trial, she doesn't get questions about her e-mail server from the voters. Her rivals -- we're talking about a plan B. When are her rivals going to go negative? You don't see senator sanders, you don't see governor O'Malley, and others, they're not going negative on secretary Clinton because they know her strengths. Let's move on to the gop. Ben Carson, if you saw the interview with Ben Carson a short time ago, he doesn't want to attack Donald Trump, although you can look at this sound bite about his faith and make your own judgments. He's clearly going to remain the low-key, soft-spoken guy, will this continue to work for him? I wonder if his demeanor is part of Carson' strength, because that lack of energy, as he said I'm not a low-energy person, that lack of energy, I think there are people, people of faith read that as I'm not worried about these small things, I'm not worried about this campaign, bigger things on my mind. I think to evangelical voters, that demeanor works. He's considered a likable person as you pointed out in that interview. Okay, let's turn to Donald Trump, and he reached yet another new high in national polls this week. The last few polls have shown trump climbing higher and higher and higher. What stops Donald Trump? Is there a ceiling? We don't know yet, and I think that's what has been so interesting about this campaign. The commonsense that we have seen in other campaigns has not been the case this time around. I think for the rest of the gop candidates in this upcoming debate and I think further on is how you differentiate yourself from Donald Trump without playing on Donald Trump's field, because you can't outdonald trump Donald Trump. You have to focus on policy and that's going to be a big allenge for them in the two minutes and 30-second rebuttals they have. And one of the things that I noticed in the jimmy Fallon interview, we played a short, little clip, a funny clip, but I want to show you something else from that Fallon interview. Trump seemed to be backing off a little bit. Let's listen to that. I'm an efficient guy, I've built a great company, and not to be bragging about company, but this is the kind of a mindset we need now in this country. We have to become rich again and we're going to become great again. Was that a humble Donald Trump that I saw there? Who is this guy, as the Washington post said. Could we be seeing Donald Trump 2.0? I have covered him since January and February. I have seen up close as a reporter the evolution of a candidate. But they would never have a chon. But as you mentioned, the new ABC news/washington post poll, showing this really close matchup with the electable Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Bernie sanders and Hillary Clinton, they want her to be more spontaneous. They want her to be more authentic and in response to that story David Axelrod, the longtime Barack Obama adviser tweeted this - York times" story on hrc read more like the onion, her detailed plan to show more often thesety, #justdoit. Her staff wasn't happy with it. In all honesty, I don't think might be saying, look, you need to go a little bit easy here, because, yes, you are ahead now but you're having an issue with these narcissist, chauvinistic comments. I don't know what he's saying now is going to hold, if in the debate for example you have Jeb bush or Scott walker or anybody else -- I want to talk about the other candidates. Let's start with Carly fiorina. You heard the comments he made about her face. What does Carly fiorina do? Some of the other candidates. Rick Perry, we lost this week. I think Carly has been doing a lot of the right things in the last month. The fact she came out and didn't sound like a politician in that happy hour debate, earned the right to be in this primetime debate this time around. I think she should maintain the course she's on and continue to demonstrate not just she has the fire in the belly that I think a lot of voters don't see in many other candidates. She has very smart answers on things like foreign policy that caused people to take a second look at her. I think she should maintained that kind of strategy. When she's up on stage with Donald Trump. I think the contrast will work out very well for her. Delightful contrast in "The New York times." Observed trump and other candidates, three other candidates not named trump, at an event at Iowa, trump arrives, huge crowd, speech less than a minute. Saying nothing, says good-bye. Marco Rubio is in the crowd and is forced to answer questions about ethanol subsidies in Iowa and the voters didn't like his answers. And you realize at this moment, Donald Trump has succeeded to being held to a different standard. People like optimism in this country. Donald Trump is sort of gloomy. In a way trump is doing both. He's saying the country is in terrible shape but look forward. It's a backward-looking sort of optimism, make America great again. Whereas Marco Rubio has a more forward-looking message. They're both optimistic but trump's is rooted in a very different place. Just very quickly, 20 seconds here -- What's interesting, they're going to be at the Reagan library, who was more optimistic than Ronald Reagan. If the other candidates can make the contrast with Donald Trump's hate speech and, you know, sort of this country is going to hell and what are we going to do about it? I think they could make a big contrast. Thanks to all of you for being here.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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