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Democrats Spar in Debate, Sanders Apologizes; Ted Cruz Runs Parody Ad in Iowa; Jets Eliminate Cowboys from Playoffs. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired December 20, 2015 - 08:00   ET


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. Well, it's the "SNL" replay of the debate.

[08:00:02] The spoof of it.

Darrell Hammond returned to play Donald Trump, rattling off insults, as the nine candidates took the stage. Watch.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If we work together, we can stop Donald Trump.

If you combine my numbers with yours, yours, and yours, we'd almost win!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, Jebra, shut your pie hole.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, you know what? You're a jerk. You're never going to be president, Donald.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, no kidding. None of us are, genius.


AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Thanks so much for starting your morning with us.

BLACKWELL: Your NEW DAY continues right now.


BLACKWELL (voice-over): The final debate of 2015 and it begins with an apology.


MODERATOR: Secretary Clinton, do you accept it?

SANDERS: And if I find anybody else involved in this, they will also be fired.

BLACKWELL: But after that, it got personal and heated.

MARTIN O'MALLEY (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: For a different generation's perspective on this.

SANDERS: Let's calm down a little bit, Martin.

CLINTON: Yes, let's tell the truth, Martin.

BLACKWELL: We break down the major topics, fighting terrorism, gun control.

CLINTON: We now finally are where we need to be. We have a strategy and a commitment to go after ISIS.

SANDERS: Do not tell me I have not shown courage in standing up to the gun people.

BLACKWELL: And jabs at the Republicans.

O'MALLEY: Fascist pleas of billionaires with big mouths.

CLINTON: He's becoming ISIS' best recruiter.

BLACKWELL: Plus, channeling the force.

CLINTON: Thank you. Good night. And may the force be with you.

BLACKWELL: Your NEW DAY starts right now.


BLACKWELL: Good Sunday morning to you. Always good to start the morning with you. I'm Victor Blackwell.

WALKER: And I'm Amara Walker, in for Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: Bernie Sanders apologizing to Hillary Clinton and his supporters. Ands this morning, he is taking another step. Breaking overnight, the Bernie Sanders campaign suspended two additional staff members amid this ongoing investigation into the campaign's DNC data breach. Sanders' campaign manager also says they are looking into a half dozen accounts that may have been involved in wrongly accessing voter data from Hillary Clinton's campaign.

But that does not necessarily mean that a half dozen staffers are involved since one person, as you know, can have more than one account.

WALKER: All the controversy amping up. The drama going into the final Democratic debate of the year.

Last night, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders coming face-to-face for the first time since that dispute over a breach of private voter files exploded in public.

Well, sure enough the topic came up moments into the debate. The vice president senator wasted no time apologizing on behalf of his campaign.

CNN's Athena Jones joining us now.

Athena, a lot of verbal sparring but that apology did help to make for a less intense debate.

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It did, because this was the big issue we were talking about for the days leading up or the day or so leading up to last night's show down, and those candidates to fuse the issue at least at the candidate level. We'll have to see what happens in terms of sniping back and fort from the campaign's staffers.

But compared to the GOP showdown earlier this week, last night's match up was polite, even warm at times. But there were still some stark differences on policy and approach, especially when it comes to fighting terrorist groups like ISIS.


JONES (voice-over): The Democratic presidential candidates in their final debate this year -- arguing over who has the best plan to take on the terrorists, lead the nation and defeat Republicans this fall.

SANDERS: On our worse day, I think we have a lot more to offer the American people than the right wing extremists.

JONES: Hillary Clinton and Bernie Standards face-to-face for the first time since a dispute over a breach of private voter files exploded in public.

SANDERS: As soon as we learned that they looked at that information, we fired that person.

MODERATOR: Does Secretary Clinton deserve an apology tonight?

SANDERS: Yes. I apologize.

JONES: The debate comes as the focus of the 2016 race increasingly shifts towards national security and terrorism.

CLINTON: We need to be united against the threats that we face. We need to have everybody in our country focused on watching what happens and reporting it if it's suspicious, reporting what you hear.

JONES: Sanders, standing firm on his view, that the U.S. should not send troops overseas to fight ISIS.

SANDERS: To tell Saudi Arabia that instead of going to war in Yemen, they, one of the wealthiest on earth, are going to have to go to war against ISIS, to tell Qatar that instead of spending $200 billion on the World Cup, maybe they should say attention to ISIS, which is at their doorstep.

JONES: And Martin O'Malley taking on his fellow Democrats on terrorists and gun control. [08:05:03] O'MALLEY: ISIL training videos are telling lone wolves the

easiest way to buy a combat assault weapon in America is at a gun show and it's because of the flip-flopping, political approach of Washington that both of my two colleagues on this stage have represented there.


JONES: But all three candidates zeroing in on a presidential hopeful who wasn't on stage -- Donald Trump.

CLINTON: I worry greatly that the rhetoric coming from the Republicans, particularly Donald Trump.

O'MALLEY: Fascist please of billionaires with big mouths.

SANDERS: Somebody like Trump comes along and says I know the answers. The answer is that all of the Mexicans, they are criminals and rapists.


JONES: So, a lot of talk about Donald Trump on that stage last night.

One more issue I want to bring up, that we saw a divide emerge on that stage between the idea of America as an intervention overseas. Sanders argued he was more of a proponent of -- or Clinton was more of a proponent of regime change while he argued that the U.S. doesn't have to be a policeman of the world. This is very similar to a divide we've seen on the GOP side among candidates like Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Donald Trump.

Back to you, guys.

WALKER: Athena Jones, appreciate it. Thank you.


SANDERS: We are on the verge -- on the verge of pulling off a biggest political upset in the history of United States of America.

REPORTER: Can you tell us why you won the debate tonight?

O'MALLEY: Yes, I believe I won this debate because I've been about getting things done. My politics is a politics of action, of actually I'm bringing people together to get important things done. That makes our economy grow, it makes wages go up, and I offer a new generational perspective on this world of ours and our country.


BLACKWELL: All right. You heard it two of the candidates bragging after last night's debate. Sanders and O'Malley celebrating saying they are on the verge of doing something great and possibly they won the debate last night.

Let's bring in Jake Tapper, host of "STATE OF THE UNION".

You heard there that the governor put the W in his column, saying that he won debate and you have him this morning.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST, STATE OF THE UNION: We will talk to him about the debate. I mean, the bigger challenge for Martin O'Malley beyond getting through a debate with confidence that he performed well is what is the path to the nomination and what we're going to ask him what exactly he needs to do when it comes to actual voting in the months ahead. I mean, does he need to come in at least second in Iowa or New Hampshire? We'll put the question to him coming up.

BLACKWELL: All right. Let me ask you about the data breach controversy. We know that overnight two additional Sanders campaign staffers have been suspended. The campaign manager said they're looking at a half dozen accounts as well.

What's the impact on the Sanders campaign potentially?

TAPPER: Well, right now it seems as though the Sanders campaign and the Clinton campaign are trying to down play this. Initially the response of the Clinton campaign was very aggressive. They had a conference call. One of their spokesmen went on "THE SITUATION ROOM" with Wolf Blitzer and was aggressive about the charges laid out against the Sanders campaign, which are serious. I don't want to diminish that.

But right now, it seems as though the Clinton campaign realized or come to the realization or the opinion that, A, we're going to need Sanders voters at some point. So, we don't want to alienate them. And B -- presuming she gets the nomination -- and, B, it's not good for the Democratic Party to have a dispute about corruption within the process.

Right now, it seems as though both campaigns are downplaying it. Although I do think the breach is a relatively serious issue.

BLACKWELL: So, let's talk about Hillary Clinton last night going after Trump, going after the Republicans, preparing for the general. Still 42 days until Iowa. She's down ten points in the latest poll out of New Hampshire. Is she clear to go ahead and look toward the general or still have a fight potentially from Sanders on her hand?

TAPPER: She still has a fight. I don't think -- it's true that she's positioning herself for the general election, which we saw Romney do in 2012 as well. And usually, the frontrunner and the person who is going to go on is already thinking about the general election.

But it's also true that Clinton came armed to the debate last night with opposition research, with information about not just Sanders but O'Malley's records. I think in that you can see she isn't taking it for granted. She's showing she's still involved. She's still in the fight.

She talked about what O'Malley did when he was head of the Democratic Governors Association in terms of going to Wall Street for money. She talked about Sanders' record when it came to voting for intervention in Libya.

So, she's engaged in the thick of it. It's that her positioning more broadly speaking, I think, is that of somebody preparing for a general election candidate.

BLACKWELL: All right. Jake Tapper, looking forward to the show.

[08:10:01] TAPPER: Thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: Thank you.

"STATE OF THE UNION WITH JAKE TAPPER" starts at the top of the hour, 9:00 a.m., Eastern, right here on CNN.

WALKER: And we've been talking about the Democratic debate this morning. But the Republicans have been busy, too. Up next, we'll take a look at candidate Ted Cruz's new holiday ad.


NARRATOR: Such as "How Obamacare stole Christmas" and "Rudolph the under employed reindeer".

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: All the reindeer couldn't afford to hire Rudolph.

NARRATOR: Act now and you'll get a leader who does what he says he's going to do.



BLACKWELL: All right. So, on the same night of the Democrats' debate, Republican candidate Ted Cruz ran a parody ad in Iowa.

Watch this ad. It airs during "Saturday Night Live." It's a twist on classic Christmas infomercials. Watch.


NARRATOR: The whole family will enjoy reading stories like "The Grinch who lost her e-mails."

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: I'll use my own server and no one will be the wiser.

NARRATOR: And if you act now, we'll throw in the inspiring new Christmas story soon-to-be an instant classic.

"The senator who saved Christmas."

CRUZ: This is a good one.

NARRATOR: If you are not completely satisfied with the collection of Cruz Christmas classics, you probably hate Christmas and America. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: CNN senior political analyst Ron Brownstein is joining us now.

Ron, you watch it the first time and think that was cheesy. But if you take a second, there is strategy here.

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, well, I'll tell you, if you poll the Republican coyote room and looking for adjectives for Ted Cruz cuddly probably wouldn't come up in the top five.

Look, I mean, you know, Ted Cruz has had a fascinating week, you know, he and Marco Rubio have collided at high speed over the issue of immigration and have done a lot of damage to each other, I think, and potentially to the party in the general election as well. I mean, Ted Cruz has seized on an issue that has been surprisingly under the radar in the early months which was Marco Rubio's support of gang of eight immigration reform bill in 2013 that included a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants, which was ultimately killed when the house Republicans would not take it up.

[08:15:03] The problem Cruz has faced is that he supported an amendment, as you know, during the process which would have provided legal status but not citizenship for those 11 million undocumented immigrants. He said it was a poison pill designed to kill the bill. It may well have been, but also required him at that point to make the case for legal status which Rubio has now come back and saying you're being a hypocrite.

I think they have been significantly damaged by the week of events. So, maybe at the end of a tough week some levity is the appropriate response.

BLACKWELL: You know what it reminds me of? We're having the conversation as we go into the Christmas break where a lot of people are going to check out. In 2008, Mike Huckabee introduced that ad that started with, "aren't you tired of all the politicians on television?" Now, that cut through.


BLACKWELL: Now, this is comical, but it seems like he's trying to take a page out of the Huckabee book to stay as part of the conversation, and to get that viral video status.

BROWNSTEIN: And a really good point, because they're largely aiming at the same audience. You look what happened in Iowa which is the key first step for Ted Cruz, he has ascended in the polls there by doing what Huckabee did in 2008 and Santorum did in 2012, by mobilizing support among evangelical Christians. There are about 60 percent historically of the total Iowa Republican caucus vote, only about 20 percent though in New Hampshire, where traditionally, those candidates relying on those voters have done much less well.

So, I think Cruz is aiming a kind of seasonal message at voters most prime to receive it.

BLACKWELL: Does it help, though, to remind them that he's the man who read "Green Eggs and Ham" on the Senate floor?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, that's an interesting question. I think Cruz is basically trying to be the, what, the most outsider-ish insider that there is in the field. That he is someone who can say he knows how to make government work more than Donald Trump but he's less part of the Washington what he would call cartel than say, Marco Rubio.

So, yes, I think it probably is useful. His persona is that he's going to -- he will know how to go to Washington but will not really be absorbed by the system. So, in that sense it's probably helpful.

Look, his bigger challenge is not so much the people who will respond to this ad. His bigger challenge is what happened to Huckabee and Santorum. They were never able to get far beyond that beachhead of evangelical Christians.

That's enough to make noise in the race. You can win a lot of Southern states where we Ted Cruz campaigning right now as we speak, which will vote on March 1st. But in the end, if that's all you can do, you will not be the nominee. He has to show he can build a broader coalition than either of the two candidates who really kind of pave the path that he's now following.

BLACKWELL: OK. We'll watch the strategy and follow the impact of the ad.

Ron Brownstein, good to have you.

BROWNSTEIN: Yes, good to have you. Thank you. Good to be here.


WALKER: All right. Still to come, we are following breaking news out of Kenya this hour, where an Air France flight was forced to make a landing in Kenya after suspicious device was found on board.

Also, we are getting dramatic video out of China where a massive landslide swallowed several buildings. We'll have details on the missing and the injured, next.


[08:21:14] WALKER: Welcome back, everyone.

Turkey has agreed to move troops from northern Iraq after weeks of tension over its military presence there. The move comes a day after President Obama called Turkey's president urging him to do so. Turkey has said it deployed the troops to protect the own advisors who are training Iraqi forces to fight ISIS. But Iraq insists it never invited Turkish forces in and claims Turkey violated international law.

BLACKWELL: Another developing story this morning, hundreds of emergency workers searching the scene of a massive landslide after an industrial park in China. The Chinese state media reports that the rescuers saved eight people after 22 buildings in that park were buried. At least 41 other people are still missing. It's not clear what caused the landslide.

WALKER: A new legal battle is brewing in Chicago. Some activists are fighting to stop the destruction of files on police misconduct. They say destroying the records prevents police accountability, but the union that represents Chicago police officers said keeping old files violating the bargaining agreement with the city. Under the agreement misconduct records over five years old must be destroyed.

BLACKWELL: Country music star Reba McEntire and her husband Narvel Blackstock have divorced after 26 years of marriage. McEntire announced on social media this week that the divorce has been finalized in late October. The split became public in August. They have a son together. They are friends and will continue to work together. He is her manager.

WALKER: And breaking news in Kenya. An Air France flight headed to Paris made an emergency landing in Kenya after a suspicious device was reported on board. Police say the plane departed Mauritius Saturday night with 473 people on board. It requested permission to land in Mombasa after a passenger found the device in the restroom. Everyone was safely evacuated. Bomb experts are trying to figure out if the device contains explosives.

BLACKWELL: All right. Still to come, on a lighter note, Santa has a big helper from the Oklahoma city thunder. Find out what one player did to make the holidays bright for dozens of children.


[08:26:53] BLACKWELL: All right. The Jets keep the NFL playoff hopes alive. The Cowboys, however, hmm, maybe next year.

WALKER: Coy Wire here with this morning's bleacher report.

Good morning, Coy.


How about the Jets? The cool storyline their quarterback is Ryan Fitzpatrick. He played for six different teams in his 11 years of the NFL. He never had a winning record, never a winning season.

So, a win here would guarantee that. Let's check out Cowboys quarterback Matt Castle. He was struggling so they turned to Kelvin Moore. He throws the touchdown pass to Dez Bryant. That was pretty much Moore's only highlight, three interceptions in the game.

The game was all about Ryan Fitzpatrick. He rallies his team in the final quarter, tied minutes ago, takes the salacious hit but still dropped a dime to Thompson. That was set up, the game winning field goal. Now, the Jets are 9-5 looking pretty good for the playoffs and Ryan Fitzpatrick is guaranteed the first winning season in his career. Let's switch gears to the NBA. Last time we saw Cleveland Cavs star

Kyrie Irving playing in the game was last season. Game one of the NBA finals. Now, after six months on the shelf like an elf with a knee injury, he's back in time for Christmas, making the season debut this afternoon against the Sixers. And Cavs are already in first place. Now, they get back one of their stars. Look out.

Now, finally, a feel good story for you. Meet Santa's not so little helper. Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook surprised about 80 homeless children when he showed up at a local holiday party at the local shelter. They had no idea he was going to be dropping in. They had food, fun, games, called up each child by name and handed them a backpack and a brand new pair of Air Jordans.

Pretty good stuff, guys.

BLACKWELL: All right.

WALKER: Thanks.

BLACKWELL: Air Jordan.

WIRE: Yes, sir.

BLACKWELL: Thank you, Coy.

WIRE: You're welcome.

WALKER: Well, they are back. Overnight, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler revived their Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin characters on Saturday night live. Take a look at this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can we focus? I'm running for president again and I'm getting advice from the smarter woman I know.


TINA FEY, COMEDIAN: I should be the one giving you advice. In 2008 I got a lot heck of a lot closer to the White House than this gal did.


FEY: Here is my advice. You got to do what you believe in your spirit but also America but not teachers and their fat liberal books but also an even why worry about wages with the status quo which is another Latin word, status quo. Meanwhile, Americans are being taken for a ride, and also the man can only ride you when your back is bend, so --


WALKER: Oh, my goodness.

BLACKWELL: I love that show during the presidential cycle. They do it better than anyone.

WALKER: I can watch that video over and over, and laugh harder anytime.

Well, thanks so much for starting your morning with us.

BLACKWELL: Yes. "STATE OF THE UNION WITH JAKE TAPPER" starts at the top of the hour.