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Protests Growing After Freddie Gray Mistrial; Trump Claims Victory After CNN Debate. Aired 7-8:00p ET

Aired December 16, 2015 - 19:00   ET


[19:00:09] ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: Next, breaking news. Protests growing in Baltimore tonight. A hung jury in the trial of the first officer charged in Freddie Gray's death.

Plus, Donald Trump unscathed after the CNN debate. Is he locking up the Republican nomination?

And talking about God on the campaign trail. Is Ted Cruz or Donald Trump going to win the Christian vote? Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening to all. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, I begin with the breaking news. Hung jury in Baltimore. Angry protesters on the streets of Baltimore tonight. A judge declaring a mistrial in the first trial of a police officer charged in the death of Freddie Gray. A stunning and major development. This is Baltimore right now. Crowds are gathering. They have been growing in size by the moment since this mistrial was declared. Hundreds of people now marching through the streets chanting the now familiar refrain, "No Justice, No Peace." The jury deliberating for three days in the case. Three days. That's it. But they were unable to reach a verdict on any of the four counts in the trial of Officer William Porter. The 26-year-old was the first of three black officers to be tried. Six officers in total charged. The Baltimore Sun reaching Porter at his home tonight still facing trial. Porter would only say, quote, "It's not over yet but thank you for the call."

Miguel Marquez begins our coverage OUTFRONT tonight. He is with the protesters on the streets of Baltimore. And Miguel, what is the reaction from the crowd tonight?

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, they are not happy with a mistrial. I think that that will be read in the neighborhoods, in many areas that justice was not served. The protest here in front of City Hall, a very small number of them left at this point, and it's pretty much breaking up, for the most part. There are others that are going -- and this gentleman is talking about Kwame Rose who were arrested earlier today. There were two people who were arrested. They moved through the streets on the other side of the City Hall. Here is the court where Freddie Gray -- the hung jury was in the Porter trial.

They marched around the city here and over to police headquarters. But for the most part, very, very peaceful, boisterous, angry but peaceful. There are other protesters, it sounds like now, gathering on the other side of the City Hall there. But at the moment, they are trying to stay to the sidewalks. The police not moving in with riot gear but moving in a very big numbers, blocking off major roadways so that protesters cannot shut them down. They did for a few minutes tonight. But that seems to be over -- Erin.

BURNETT: And Miguel, what's the feeling as to why this happened on the street? I mean, it's a shock that this could have happened? What's the feeling as to the reason from the people you're talking to?

MARQUEZ: Well, I think the sense is that it could have been a lot worse at this point. If this is the worst of it, I think Baltimore officials will breathe a sigh of relief. The fact that there was none of the charges -- he was not found guilty of any of the charges today I think comes as a shock to some of the individuals here. I think that many residents in Baltimore assumed that the lower charges -- the misconduct in office, the reckless endangerment perhaps, he would have been found guilty on those charges. To have a mistrial and this jury to be as divided as this city is on all of the charges I think comes as a bit of a surprise. And they look forward, they say, to the prosecutors recharging him and trying it again. But clearly with five other trials to go now, this really throws a wrench into the works -- Erin.

BURNETT: A major wrench and a big shock. Thank you, Miguel. Freddie Gray's family tonight calling for peace saying, there will be another trial.

Jean Casarez is OUTFRONT live in Baltimore. Jean, you've covered this trial since day one. You were there today. What do we know about why? I mean, there were four counts against this. This is a crucial case. The first case. They were not able to reach agreement on any of them.

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No. On none of them at all. You know, I was in the courtroom when the jury came in, when the judge determined that it was a hung jury and I looked at that jury as they walked in. They looked tired. They looked beaten. They looked worn. They looked defiant and they looked angry and they looked as though they had fought so hard for their position because there were two distinct sides in this case. It was two weeks ago today that this jury was selected. A very diverse jury for Baltimore City. It was seven blacks and five whites. And the prosecution theory really centered around the six different stops that that police van carrying Freddie Gray made on April 12th.

The prosecution theory was that between stops two and four is when Freddie Gray sustained a horrific neck injury. His neck was completely broken. The prosecution offered no theory at all as to how it happened. No evidence that it was a rough ride. No evidence that certain things happened. But they said it happened at that point because it was stop number four that William Porter asked him, do you need a medic and he said "yes." And that's what prosecutors pinned their case on. Now the defense forensic pathologist Vincent Di Maio from San Antonio said, "No, that accident to the neck had to happen after stop four, after Porter talked to him. Because with a neck injury like that, you would be totally paralyzed. You had no oxygen to your brain and you could not respond talking to anybody." So two distinct sides. In the end, the jury could not decide on any of these charges and we do understand that tomorrow sometime there will be a conference with the judge and the attorneys to set a new date for a retrial -- Erin.

[19:05:55] BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Jean. And as Miguel is monitoring what is happening on the ground there, I want to go now to Paul Callan, former NYPD Officer Bill Stanton and our political commentator Van Jones. Bill, let me start with you. You heard Miguel who is on the street talking about just the incredible number of police officers that they are now flooding the streets of Baltimore tonight because they are worried that this could get out of hand. Are they really concerned?

BILL STANTON, FORMER NYPD OFFICER: Oh, absolutely they are really concerned because they are afraid for this thing to build up. And as we've seen in the past, you know, cars turned over, cops assaulted, businesses set aflame. We don't need that to happen again in Baltimore.

BURNETT: I mean, Paul. This is pretty shocking. I mean, this is the first case, it was a case obviously of huge national significance. Six officers charged. One of them charged with murder. First one out of the gate to fail this epically? I mean, and that's probably the right word here, right?


BURNETT: You can't reach agreement on a single charge?

CALLAN: Well, I think what is shocking is that they chose the prosecutors in Baltimore, chose to go to trial on this case in the first place. It looked -- it went in as a very, very weak case. Bear in mind, the central aspect of the case really is that, this William Porter, 26-year-old African-American police officer, didn't put a seat belt on Freddie Gray. And that Freddie Gray was injured. But at the point in time when he was putting the seat belt on, he was supposed to put it on and he didn't, he went up and told goods in the driver that there were complaints and that they should take him for medical care.

Based on that, he's charged with manslaughter and other very, very serious charges. Now, he said, Porter, when he testified, he's made 150 arrests using a van and he's never put a seat belt on. He didn't even know that seat belts were required by the regulations in Baltimore. So, I think the jury had a lot of problems with saying that is man's slaughter. You know, a lot of people put their own kids in cars without seatbelts and don't get charge with a crime.

BURNETT: Van, you know, this obviously is a case -- I mean, obviously, there were the riots, violent riots earlier this year because of this, protests. The State Attorney Marilyn Mosby in Baltimore, now a nationally known figure. She announced the charges one day after police turned over their investigation incredibly quickly. She got -- was criticized at that time. People said she was moving too fast. Was this a result of that or not?

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it's hard to say. I mean, the other way to look at it is that it is very, very difficult to get convictions for police officers, period. You're seeing much much worse into the police brutality and now you've even get charged. So, it's a tough to get it and also some of the jurors obviously did think that there was enough evidence there.


JONES: So, on the one hand, you got a mistrial, so they didn't get all across the finish line. But it's not like the cops were acquitted and an acquittal would have been a devastating body blow to that town and also to Marilyn Mosby. But actually you have a hung jury and you have a chance to do it again. If I were in her situation, I would look at these charges and see, you know, what did you do wrong here. But there's enough evidence that something happened badly for that jury to hang and that lets you know something did go wrong there.

BURNETT: And we have no idea, Van, they're splitting anyway. Right?


BURNETT: We know there are men and women on this jury, 12 of them, seven of them black, five of them white. We don't know where the split was in terms of where this broke down.

JONES: Let me say one more thing.

BURNETT: Yes. Go ahead.

JONES: Let me say one more thing. Part of the reason the folks in Baltimore -- I talked to a lot of people there. If somebody, if this is a normal situation, you know, a bunch of guy grab somebody and the guy dies, all of the guys that grabbed the guy that died, they all go to jail. It's called felony murder. You're part of this thing, you're breaking the law. So, I think what happens is you're on the street and say, hold on a second, nobody is going to go to jail when somebody dies like this and it seems like a two-tiered justice system. I think the mayor has done a great job today to flood the zone with police. But to also -- from people's rights to protests. This is not over yet. I don't think that you should say that the prosecutor did the wrong thing yet. We're still in this process.

BURNETT: Right. Paul, what about though, I mean, as you see these protests growing tonight. I mean, you keep hearing no justice, no peace. Obviously the implication when you hear that given the protests is, the only thing that you find justice is some of these people going to jail. That may not be what the jury system says. The jury system may say, no one should go to jail. What then happens here on the streets of Baltimore?

[19:10:06] CALLAN: Well, we always like to think that the court system, you know, sends a message about social policy in the United States and then verdicts are, you know, demonstration of that policy. But the truth is, it's about evidence in court. And it's hard to prove a murder case beyond a reasonable doubt. I think what is particularly surprising here strategically, you have a young, inexperienced Prosecutor Marilyn Mosby, I think in her 30s, late 30s, when she takes on this enormous responsibility. And she tries the weakest possible case of all of her cases first.

BURNETT: Why would you do that? Why would you do that?

CALLAN: I don't know why you do it. Because it sets the wrong tone. It sends a bad message. Now, the argument that was made was, that if he were convicted, they would have used the threat of jail to force him to testify against other police officers. But they could have accomplished that by giving him immunity, making a deal with him in advance of trial and getting his testimony that way.


CALLAN: So I think there was a strategic judgment error that was made in how she proceeded.

BURNETT: All right. Well, I thank all of you very much and, of course, we should emphasize as we're watching this story tonight, tomorrow they need to set a new date for trial in the case of Mr. Porter. The first of the six officers charged going to court.

OUTFRONT next, Donald Trump coming out of the last debate of the year unscathed. It's looking more likely he may be the Republican nominee. What next?

And Rubio versus Cruz. The battle getting even uglier tonight. Plus, who is more religious? That's a real question. Donald Trump or Ted Cruz?






[19:14:55] BURNETT: Tonight, Donald Trump riding high declaring victory in the CNN debate six months to the day he announced he's running for president. Trump arriving at a rally in Arizona this afternoon, descending from his private plane into a big crowd of jubilant supporters where we don't often use but a fair one in this case. Do voters share Trump's assessment of his performance at the debate?

Jeff Zeleny have been travelling with the Trump campaign today. He is OUTFRONT from Mesa, Arizona.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Donald Trump taking air Trump on a self-declared victory lap in Arizona.

TRUMP: I love you. I love you, folks.

ZELENY: A dramatic entrance for Trump who standing tall after the final Republican debate of the year. Made clear that the GOP field is clarifying. It's now Trump and a scrappy fight for his alternative.

TRUMP: You know, they used to talk about the silent majority. We're not silent anymore, folks.

ZELENY: He didn't dominate the debate stage, but he emerged without a scratch and showed today he's still dominating the race.

TRUMP: Fourteen of them we're going to be coming out. I was prepared. But I said, this could be unpleasant in front of, you know, millions of people. And out of the 14, you know, Jeb and I guess Rand Paul who doesn't have a chance -- I mean, what's he doing?

ZELENY: Trump took on a more serious tone but the look on his face said it all. One priceless expression after another. This time, most of his rivals ignored him. Not Jeb Bush who seemed to relish confronting the billionaire front-runner.

JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So Donald, you know, is great at the one-liners. But he's a chaos candidate. And he would be a chaos president. He would not be the commander-in-chief we need to keep our country safe.

TRUMP: Jeb doesn't really believe I'm unhinged. He said that very simply because he has failed in this campaign. It's been a total disaster. Nobody cares.

BUSH: Donald, you're not going to be able to insult your way to the presidency. That's not going to happen.

ZELENY: But one of the biggest anticipated clashes never materialized. With Trump and Cruz both playing nice, at least for now. In the days leading up to the debate, Cruz said Trump wasn't fit to be commander-in chief. Trump called Cruz a maniac but standing face-to-face, they were proper gentlemen.

TRUMP: But I got to know him over the last three or four days. He's a wonderful temperament. He's just fine. Don't worry about it.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We will build a wall that works and I'll get Donald Trump to pay for it.


TRUMP: I'll build it.


ZELENY: Now, one of the reasons that Cruz did not go after Trump is, he wants Trump's voters. Cruz is trying to position himself as the true conservative in the race. But Donald Trump does not believe his supporters are going anywhere. They were definitely with him today in Arizona. And Erin, I can tell you that music he walked into at that rally, it was from Air Force One. So clearly trying to send a signal here that he's looking ahead. He thinks he's going to be the Republican nominee -- Erin.

BURNETT: He sure seems to now. Thank you, Jeff. And now, Dana Bash, who of course you saw last night asking questions in the debate along with Matthew Dowd who was chief strategist for the Bush/Cheney '04 presidential campaign. And David Gergen who advised four presidents, including Reagan and Clinton.

All right. Matt, let me start with you. Donald Trump, what is your evaluation of his performance?

MATTHEW DOWD, CHIEF STRATEGIST, 2004 BUSH CHENEY PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: Well, I think he did everything he needed to do because he has to dominate character in this race. He leads almost every poll. He's tied it now, he leads everywhere else. And so, all I think Donald Trump has to do in these debates right now is just not make a big error. And if he doesn't make a big error, and then he continues to hold the lead. And so I think Donald Trump right now. The race is in his hand and that he did well enough at the debate among his supporters that he continues to lead.

BURNETT: Error-free. All right. David Gergen, on Twitter, it wasn't just, you know, as Jeff pointing out, right, the music that he descended from the plane to today, on Twitter, he wasn't going after anyone else on the stage. He went after Hillary Clinton with a Donald Trump-esque tweet. Hillary Clinton is weak and ineffective. No strength, no stamina. Is that proof that he really is now thinking as a nominee?

DAVID GERGEN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER: I think it's very heavily suggestive that he's turning his guns away from the Republican rivals in this race and toward Hillary Clinton. Last night, he was, I thought strikingly conciliatory and the way he dealt with most of the people on stage with exception that exchange with Jeb Bush --


[19:19:15] GERGEN: -- when it got under your skin. And I think he'd lashed out too much. But overall, he would much more conciliatory. I think he was trying to be friendlier and I thought very important. Many people believe that his vow last night to support whoever was nominated was hollow. I beg to differ on that. You know, this is -- that's the most emphatic pledge he is made. And anybody who's ever been a CEO in those, when you go out in front of millions of people and say something that strong, that emphatic, that you know, rigid, you've got to follow through. You cannot -- and I don't think he's going to break that pledge. If, by chance, or if Cruz can break through, Rubio can take this away from him, even if there's a brokered convention, I think he's going to support the Republican nominee and I think that's a very big help for a lot of Republicans who are scared. He would break away. BURNETT: And Dana, what about the fact that he just wasn't

willing to fight with Ted Cruz? I mean, Ted Cruz, we know behind closed doors, said he didn't think that Trump had the judgment to be president. Last night, you tried. You tried to get them to talk about this. I want to play the exchange.


DANA BASH, CNN ANCHOR: I just want to clarify, what you're saying right now is you do believe Mr. Trump has the judgment to be a commander-in-chief?

CRUZ: What I'm saying Dana is that is a judgement for every voter to make. What I can tell you is all nine of the people here would make an infinitely better commander-in-chief than Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton.



BURNETT: Dana, were you surprised by the love feast, I mean, I guess that if there's an appropriate time to use the word, it would be now -- between Cruz and Trump?

BASH: I wasn't. Because this has been the dynamic since the beginning of this race, at least certainly since Donald Trump got in six months ago, that Ted Cruz has been very, very careful not to criticize Donald Trump. Even when Trump tries to bait him in to doing so he won't. Which is why the fact that Ted Cruz's private comments got out, the private comments at that fundraiser in New York got out was so significant because he really was behind closed doors questioning Donald Trump's judgment in the most grave mannered possible for a commander-in-chief, his ability to deal with the nuclear codes in this country.


BASH: So, that is really what I was getting at there. And the fact that he didn't go there at all was very telling as to what Jeff Zeleny was talking about, which is, he still believes that Trump might not make as he wants his voters.

BURNETT: So, Matthew, what happens at this point? Right? It's the last debate of 2015. Now you have three weeks sort of until we're well into January when everyone is going to be re-engaged as the voting public. When you look here, you still have a huge feel. You still have an undercard debate that went on last night with four people on stage. So, when are more candidates going to drop out? Because when you add up one percent, two percent, three percent for three or four people, that's actually a real number for one of the front-runners.

DOWD: Absolutely. First, a shout out to Dana who did a great job last night. I thought the way CNN did the debate was really well done and I thought they managed the stage really well with all those characters on it.

BASH: Thanks, Matt.

DOWD: You're welcome. All of those characters on the stage. I think this race is no longer -- we're going from a football team amount of people to a baseball team which was on the debate. We're about to head to a basketball team, five people. That's where we're headed with this. And I think you're going to see a series of candidates drop out by the time kids go back to school in January. I think you're going to see at least three candidates drop out.

BURNETT: At least three.

DOWD: Take a look at the undercard. Take a look at the candidates in this race who have no room left in this race. I think the structure of this race is coming to pretty good forum. And the structure of this race right now, is Donald Trump is the leader followed by Ted Cruz because he is very competitive in Iowa and then you have Marco Rubio who is probably the up and coming establishment figure and one other person, probably Chris Christie, who has the most room. I think after that, the nominee is going to come from one of those four people and I think this race, quickly in the aftermath of the holidays, after everybody goes home and the wives and the relatives say, why are you running? There's a number of candidates are going to be asked, why are they running? Because they no longer can win. I think in the aftermath of that, this race gets much smaller come January.

BURNETT: That's interesting. There is that sort of, you know, personal contemplative time of the holidays. Sorry. All right. Go ahead, David.

GERGEN: I would add Jeb Bush to that crowd. I think last night he did himself well and, you know --

BURNETT: The crowd that could last.

GERGEN: -- could actually make it.

BURNETT: That could last as opposed to getting out?

GERGEN: He's certainly got the money. Yes. He's definitely going to go through New Hampshire. See, what happens -- and maybe he can find his way back in, I think it's a very, very high hill to climb. But I wouldn't count him out.

BASH: You know, and I think, David, you're exactly right about that certainly in the short term. And there's no question in talking to some sources specially that that was the main goal of Jeb Bush being the sole guy who was going after Donald Trump. That was for his current donors and kind of a plea for the many, many donors of the quote-unquote, "Republican establishment" who are still sitting on the sidelines to say, look, guys, this is your last chance. If you want to get rid of Donald Trump, look, I'm the guy who is willing to take him on. Give to me, support me, this is it. [19:24:16] DOWD: I think what's going to happen in this -- I

think actually Jeb Bush is going to drop in the polls and the aftermath of this race in the debate last time and the reason --

BURNETT: He already had three percent.

DOWD: Well, he's at three percent and five percent. Here's why. One is that his fight with Donald Trump did not help Jeb Bush. It made it seem like he had more energy but it did not help him where he needs to be helped. What is happening now is Chris Christie performed well and they are in the same lane and any numbers that Rubio or Christie get are numbers that Jeb Bush can no longer get and that's a huge problem for Jeb Bush. There is no room left in this race, I don't think. Now, something surprisingly happened and I agree with David, maybe there's some lift from this possibly. I think Jeb Bush has no more room left in this race. He's got a lot of money to spend. He probably gets to go through New Hampshire but it's really the outside shot that he can survive in this race.

BURNETT: All right. Well, thanks very much to all of you.

And OUTFRONT next, is there room for only one 44-year-old first term senator in this race? Rubio versus Cruz. That fight is now on. And Jeanne Moos with the many faces of Donald Trump.


[19:29:14] BURNETT: Tonight, supporters of Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio claiming victory after the presidential rivals traded blows throughout the entire debate. Now, their mission was to convince voters they are the best bets, take out Donald Trump in the polls. They actually kind of almost look alike in that particular shot.

Athena Jones is OUTFRONT.


ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Marco Rubio --

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Everyone on that stage talks tough.

JONES: -- and Ted Cruz back on the campaign trail today --

CRUZ: Then I'm going to tell the truth, I'm going to clear up the record.

JONES: After going head-to-head in last night's debate. The two first-term senators are battling for a second place in the GOP race for the White House. Cruz hitting Rubio for his work on a failed immigration reform bill.

CRUZ: You know, there was a time for choosing, as Reagan put it, where there was a battle over amnesty. And some shows like Senator Rubio to stand with Barack Obama and Chuck Schumer and support a massive amnesty plan. JONES: But Rubio ready to hit back.

RUBIO: As far as Ted's record, I'm always puzzled by his attack on this issue. Ted, you support legalizing people who are in this country illegally.

CRUZ: I understand that Marco wants to raise confusion. It is not accurate what he just said that I supported legalization.

JONES: The Texas senator calling for a border wall like frontrunner Donald Trump whose supporters he covets, and later backing the idea of deporting undocumented immigrants, living in the United States.

Rubio also bashing Cruz as soft on national security, saying his vote to limit the government's surveillance capabilities made America less safe in the fight against terrorism.

RUBIO: We are now at a time when we need more tools, not less tools.

CRUZ: The old program covered 20 to 30 percent to search for terrorists. The new program covers nearly 100 percent. That gives us greater ability to stop acts of terrorism.

JONES: Exchanges that highlighted the pair's different approaches to defense issues.

Rubio favors more U.S. intervention and is committed to Syrian President Bashar al Assad's ouster.

RUBIO: We are the most powerful nation in the world. We need to begin to act like it again.

JONES: Cruz wants less U.S. intervention overseas.

CRUZ: If we topple Assad, the effect will be ISIS will topple serious.

JONES: With the Iowa caucuses less than seven weeks away, both candidates are trying to take over the conservative voters.

With Cruz painting himself as an outsider and Rubio running more in the establishment lane, this battle is certain to get more heated.

And one more thing, during their exchange last night on surveillance, Rubio accused Cruz of divulging classified information. Cruz said today that accusation was just another attempt by Rubio to spread misinformation and to distract voters -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Athena.

OUTFRONT now, our political commentator and host of "The Ben Ferguson Show", Ben Ferguson, and the national spokeswoman for the LIBRE Initiative, Rachel Campos Duffy, her husband Congressman Shawn Duffy, is a Marco Rubio supporter. Ben, you're next to me. Let me start with you.

Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, that was something to watch last night, OK?


BURNETT: It was something to watch. Who came out on top?

FERGUSON: I think Ted Cruz. I think you're going to see him pop in the polls after this because he always seems like he was under control and he looked like a guy that was surging in the polls.

Rubio is a great debater. He's done well and had a bump in the polls after each of these debates, but last night, he was playing defense. He wasn't playing offense. He was taking it from four candidates last night. And I thought he looked a little rattled and I don't think it's going to help him.

And I think Ted Cruz is a guy that right now a lot of people are saying, OK, there is an anti-establishment love right now by the GOP movement. There is. Look at Donald Trump, you look at Carly when she surge, everyone else.

Ted Cruz is the next best thing to a real politician who is in Washington, who also is an outsider, and I think people like that.

BURNETT: Rachel, would you agree, Ted Cruz got the better of Rubio last night?

RACHEL CAMPOS DUFFY, NATIONAL SPOKESWOMAN, THE LIBRE INITIATIVE: I don't. I think in this case, Rubio got the best of Cruz.

Let's not forget, Rubio is the original tea party candidate and I don't think that that star has lost too much of its luster. I think that his standing in the polls show that.

But I think what's really interesting here, is one of them is playing a short game and the other is playing the long game. I think Rubio is playing the long game. I think your guests here are underestimating just how much the GOP wants to win this presidency.

So, yes, they have concerns that they want to get out and deal with within the primary, but they are looking ahead to the general.


DUFFY: Who was the one that Hillary Clinton -- but who is the one that Hillary Clinton fears the most? It's absolutely Marco Rubio.

And the reason I say he's playing short and long, Rubio is staking a position on immigration that is palatable, strong on border security --

(CROSSTALK) FERGUSON: You just said something that I think -- nobody wants

to be the GOP establishment candidate right now. You just said the GOP --


FERGUSON: Hold on, let's be clear, you said the GOP wants Marco Rubio. If I'm Marco Rubio --

DUFFY: No, I did not say that. I didn't say that. I didn't say that. I said the original tea party candidate.

BURNETT: You said they want to win the White House, right?


DUFFY: I said they want to -- no. Listen. The base still wants to win. While they have concerns they want to deal with in the primary, they are still looking ahead to the general.

Who is more electable? Rubio's position of tough on border security, reforming immigration but also dealing with the -- no. But Ted Cruz is changing his position on legalization.


FERGUSON: Ted Cruz isn't in the gang of eight. That's the biggest difference between Rubio and Cruz. That's his biggest vulnerability. You're the guy that was weak on immigration and the gang of eight.


DUFFY: They both were for legalization.

FERGUSON: You can't say that.


FERGUSON: Do you really think it's the same after the argument last night, after the fight last night you're actually saying that you believe Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are the same on immigration?

[19:35:06] That's what they fought over.

BURNETT: Let me play that exchange for both of you.

DUFFY: They absolutely -- not now because he just changed his position. But his position earlier was very similar to Rubio's position.

BURNETT: All right. Rachel, let me play right now what happened in the debate.



CRUZ: The campaign promising to lead the fight against amnesty --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ladies and gentlemen, this is why the American people are --

DANA BASH, CNN MODERATOR: Answer the question, please.

RUBIO: Does Ted Cruz rule out ever legalizing people that are in this country illegally now?

BASH: Senator Cruz?

CRUZ: I have never supported legalization.

RUBIO: Do you rule it out?

CRUZ: I've never supported legalization and I do not intend to support legalization.


DUFFY: He's just not being --

FERGUSON: It's very clear there. He made it clear.

DUFFY: But he made it clear but let's you and I be clear, he did change his position. He was for legalization. He was for standing worker visas. Everybody on the stage, with the exception of Donald Trump is for immigration reform. It's just not the same immigration as the Democrat, but some iteration of it.

FERGUSON: Look, I like Rubio, but his biggest vulnerability is the immigration fight because of the gang of eight and that is exactly why I think the GOP establishment in fact liked him. The problem is, Ted Cruz, the guy from Texas that's been sitting there at the border for years now, it's how he won the Senate race when he was running against David Dewhurst. He was tough on immigration. He was on the tough on the border.

DUFFY: Erin --

FERGUSON: Hold on, to imply that he has somehow changed his position, you go ask anyone that voted for him in Texas. Go ask anyone that voted against him with David Dewhurst. They're going to say he was too tough on immigration. That's not how you're going to beat him.

BURNETT: One final word, Rachel?

DUFFY: Erin, your guest is right in one regard. Marco Rubio may lose a few people on the far right in the general -- in the primary. But as they look towards the general, the candidate with positions more palatable for very important demographic which is Hispanics and also with the general electorate who knows we have to deal with the 11 million, it's not just reasonable to say we are going to deport them is Marco Rubio. And that is why Hillary Clinton fears him the most.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you both very much.

See, even when you all have a fight, it's good.

All right. OUTFRONT next, Ted Cruz, a good debate performance, rising poll numbers. Our report on how deep his connection is to conservative Christians, and whether that will fuel more of a surge.

And Christie and Bush head to head during the debate. Who landed the best punch?


JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald, you're not going to be able to insult your way to the presidency. That's not going to happen.


[19:41:00] BURNETT: Tonight, Ted Cruz in a heated battle with Donald Trump for the lead in Iowa, hoping evangelical voters are going to give him the edge. And while no appears to be questioning Cruz's religious ties, obviously, the same cannot be said of Trump. And that really could make all of the difference.

Tom Foreman is OUTFRONT.


T. CRUZ: If I'm elected president, we will hunt down and kill the terrorists. We will utterly destroy ISIS.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tough talk from a deeply religious man. Speaking at a conference of conservative Christians in Iowa last month, these were Ted Cruz's first words.

T. CRUZ: Any president who doesn't begin every day on his knees isn't fit to be commander in chief of this country.

OK. Let's say grace.


T. CRUZ: Father, thank you for this day.

FOREMAN: Cruz, 44, and his wife Heidi, have two girls, Catherine and Caroline. He calls himself a Cuban Irish Italian Southern Baptist. Growing up, he went to private evangelical schools.

His father, Rafael, is a Cuban immigrant. Raised Catholic, he became born again and is now a pastor at a Dallas church. He's known for his fiery, often political sermons.

RAFAEL CRUZ, TED CRUZ'S FATHER: The people of God stand firm and push back against this onslaught against Christianity, against righteousness. We will take this country back.


FOREMAN: Cruz's presidential announcement had the trappings of a mega church sermon, and he launched his bid at a landmark of the evangelical movement, Reverend Jerry Falwell's Liberty University.

T. CRUZ: God's blessing has been on America from the very beginning of this nation. And I believe God isn't done with America yet.

FOREMAN: Shortly after the terror attacks in Paris, several Republican candidates called for a ban on Syrian refugees. Cruz offered a compromise, only admit Christian Syrians, saying, quote, "There is no meaningful risk of Christians committing acts of terror."

As Cruz has risen in the polls, Trump has taken note.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I do like Ted Cruz. But not a lot of evangelicals come out of Cuba, in all fairness. It's true. So, I think we're going to do really well with the evangelicals.

FOREMAN: The polls tell a mixed story. Nationally, Trump still leads among evangelical voters. But in the crucial state of Iowa, the latest polls show Cruz with a commanding lead among evangelicals, 12 points ahead of Trump, whose statements about religion have gotten in some trouble with some conservative Christians.

TRUMP: If I do something wrong, I just try and make it right. I don't bring God into that picture.


FOREMAN: Trump says so many things that seem to fly in the face of what evangelicals would believe. The real question here is why does he have the support he does have evangelicals and how is he appealing to them. The simple answer seems to be, Erin, that an awful lot of evangelicals out there intersect with voter who is feel that they have been cut out by the media elite, by the political elite and they are looking for a champion who they think will smack Washington right in the mouth and say, respect these people.

And they think Trump may be that person even if they are not so sure that he'll show up in church next Sunday.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much. It's pretty fascinating. You know, it's almost made light of his religion at times.

OUTFRONT now, president of the Family Research Council, Tony Perkins.

And, Tony, you say Ted Cruz is out to win social conservatives is paying off, that he's the candidate to do it. Why do you back him so much? And you haven't come all the way to the line of endorsing him. TONY PERKINS, FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL: No, I have not. I think

this race is really shaping up to be a two-candidate race where you see Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. I mean, both of them are dominating in the polls and I think your setup package is spot on. I think Donald Trump is resonating his message -- is resonating with conservatives, with evangelicals.

[19:45:02] But I think the one thing that's giving Ted an edge and we saw it in Iowa and we're seeing it in some of the earlier states, where he's addressing the issue of religious liberty. You know, the two candidates leading in this race are those that are willing to challenge the chains of political correctness that want to hold people back and a part of that is religious liberty.

Ted Cruz has made that an issue. There was a recent Rasmussen poll that came out that said 82 percent of parents with school age children think we ought to talk about Christmas in school, 61 percent say we should have more religion. This is a latent issue in this election cycle and Ted Cruz is tapping into that.

BURNETT: Does it bother you, Tony, you know, Republicans nationwide, a new poll, 34 percent of white evangelicals back Trump, only 20 percent Cruz. Cruz is more of a religious man. Trump, to his credit, right, has been honest and said God doesn't come into it every day for him.

Does it surprise you, though, that so many people, evangelicals, would back him when he admits that?

PERKINS: No. I mean, look, evangelicals are not monolithic. There's just one issue. They are not looking for somebody that's necessarily be in church with them next Sunday. They are so tired of being choked back and silenced that Donald Trump is a breath of fresh air.

Now, I think as they look more closely and get ready to vote, they do want -- they would like to have the choice that most clearly aligns with then on all of their values. That's why I think you see Cruz rising in the polls. Don't count Donald Trump out. He's not a political mirage.

BURNETT: All right. And obviously you have yet to formally endorse anyone, which is an interesting point in and of itself. Tony, thank you.

PERKINS: Thank you, Erin. Good to be with you.

BURNETT: OUTFRONT next, Bush and Christie, both men fighting for a breakout. Are they moving up or getting out?

And Jeanne Moos on how Trump mugged his way through the debate.


[19:50:24] BURNETT: Tonight, new hope for Governor Chris Christie's presidential campaign. The Republican candidate grabbing headlines as a big winner in last night's debate. And Jeb Bush for the first time also getting credit for his performance.


BUSH: Donald, you know, is great at the one-liners, but he's a chaos candidate and he'd be a chaos president. I won't get my information from the shows. I don't know if that's Saturday morning or Sunday morning.

Donald, you're not going to be able to insult your way to the presidency. If you think this is tough and you're not being treated fairly --

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This isn't tough and easy. I wish it --

BUSH: -- imagine what it's going to be like dealing with Putin or dealing with President Xi.

TRUMP: I wish it was always this easy as you, Jeb.

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If your eyes are glazed over like mine, this is what it is like to be on the floor of the United States Senate. And yes, we would shoot down the planes of Russian pilots if they were stupid enough to think this president is the same stupid feckless weakling that the president we have in the Oval Office is right now.

I'm not going to let Syrian refugees, any Syrian refugees in this country. And it was widows and orphans, by the way, and we know from watching the San Bernardino attack that women can commit heinous, heinous acts against humanity, just the same as men can do it.


BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, Gloria Borger, our chief political analyst.

And, Gloria, "The Washington Post", among others, called Christie a big winner, but he's been polling solidly below 5 percent nationally. Could this one debate vault him higher into that top group of Trump, Cruz, Rubio?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, he's looking at New Hampshire, Erin. That's his one shot. Not Iowa.

And I think it could, given the fact that we're in the post- Paris, post-San Bernardino environment and he is playing the "I've got the experience" card. "I was attorney general", "I was governor", "I know what it's like to deal with terrorists." And "by the way, I'm also an outsider. I'm not one of these folks who stand on the floor of Senate and try to debate how many angels on the head of a pin," as he put it. "I'm someone who gets things done and makes decision."

So, yes, I think it could really help him in New Hampshire.

BURNETT: And obviously, if he could win New Hampshire, I mean, that could really dramatically change things. I mean, what about Jeb Bush, though, Gloria? He got buzzed last night. Social media buzzed him. Buzz him on the youth.

His comment to Donald Trump about insulting his way to the presidency was the top social media moment of the debate.

BORGER: Right.

BURNETT: Could one debate save Jeb Bush?

BORGER: I think it would be very difficult. I think that it certainly gives him a little bit more oxygen, Erin.

I thought that Bush was doing one canned line after another. He delivered it better. I think he seemed -- and I don't know, maybe I'm wrong here, but he seemed a little uncomfortable going on the attack that way. I don't think that's really who he is.

But I think he also knows and has been told that he has to do it if he's going to gain any traction. It's a little risky to take on Donald Trump, because, Erin, you know all those people who have taken on Donald Trump have failed and have dropped in the polls.

But I think that, again, in this environment we're living in, where people are anxious about terror attacks, I think that the more he calls Donald Trump an unserious candidate, the better he looks or his advisers think he looks, by comparison, so, that's what he's trying to do.

BURNETT: So, the bottom line is, does this get Jeb Bush -- how far does this get Jeb Bush and Chris Christie? This debate, because this is a crucial debate, right?

BORGER: I think they live. I think they -- I think they live another day. And I think they both live to compete in New Hampshire.

The problem for Christie and Bush is that they're competing in the same lane. And that the moderate lane is pretty crowded and that one of them is going to have to knock the other one out.

BURNETT: All right. Gloria Borger, thank you.

BORGER: Sure. Thanks, Erin.

BURNETT: And OUTFRONT next, Jeanne Moos with the one thing Donald Trump doesn't do well. Hide how he's feeling.


[19:57:59] BURNETT: More than 18 million people watched last night's GOP debate. And while some candidates tried to keep a poker face, Donald Trump did the opposite.

Here's Jeanne Moos.


"faces of Trump" story, but here it is. The sequel, because who could resist this.

BUSH: And he gets his foreign policy experience from the shows.

MOOS: Cartoonists can't resist. Nor can an expert on facial expressions.

DAN HILL, BODY LANGUAGE EXPERT: I was just blown away with how comfortable he was dismissing his rivals.

BUSH: But he's a chaos candidate.

MOOS: "The New Yorker" had already dubbed this one "a stretched Cheerio", tweeted one journalist, "Trump makes the kind of faces that would have gotten me sent to my room as a kid."

He even faced down the audience when booed.

TRUMP: Who would be -- I just can't imagine somebody booing. These are people that want to kill us, folks.

MOOS: "The Daily Show" tweeted, "Trump using debate to prove he hasn't had Botox." To which someone replied, "He clearly thinks with his lips."

But are Trump's faces premeditated?

HILL: Lets him undercut his rivals. So, I think there's a sense in which, yes, it's premeditated. He's certainly, you know, camera savvy. On the other hand, what he's giving way in the face is very spontaneous, very pronounced.

MOOS: So you're saying it's a premeditated but spontaneous expression?

HILL: Yes. Only the Donald could pull that off.

MOOS: One critic tweeted, Trump should just get it over with and stick out your tongue and give moose antlers.

Well, guess what? The Donald sort of did. The tongue, not the moose antlers.

As Trump gave Jeb Bush a playful slap, post-debate, photographers caught him sticking out his tongue without apparent malice.

Now, here's a fun little quiz. See if you can pick out the guy who wasn't actually on the debate stage.

BUSH: ISIS was not a --

TRUMP: Am I talking or are you talking, Jeb?

BUSH: I'm talking right now. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you talking to me?

BUSH: I'm talking.

TRUMP: You can go back. You're not talking.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) do you think you're talking to?

MOOS: You're talking to the guy who talks with his face.

Jeanne Moos, CNN --

BUSH: But he's a chaos candidate.

MOOS: -- New York.


BURNETT: Thank you for joining us.

"AC360" starts now.