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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Rough 30 Million Under Blizzard Warning; "National Review" Publishes Special Issue Against Trump; Sanders Tops Clinton on New Hampshire Poll; Obama Ad Guru On Latest Political Ads; Eighty Five Million People Affected By Dangerous Snow Storm. Aired 4:30-5p ET
Aired January 22, 2016 - 16:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[16:30:00] MARK MURPHY, TRAVELPULSE.COM: What people don't realize, you could be flying out of Phoenix, but if your plane from New York City is on the ground and doesn't get to Phoenix, you're going to get stuck. And that's why you have a system wide issue, not just the areas that are affected.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: And, Mark, what's the general scenario right now? How are things looking?
MURPHY: So right now, you're stuck where you are, unfortunately. If you haven't been proactive to get a hotel room or something like that, if you're not near your house, then you're stuck with that. And so from that standpoint, you're going to see the possibility of getting out Sunday, more likely Monday, but it could roll into Tuesday and Wednesday. So it's a big storm, Jake.
TAPPER: So this could last -- things might not get back to normal until Wednesday, you're saying, possibly?
MURPHY: That's my prediction. I think Wednesday is when you're going to see everything back to normal. But you're still going to be able to get out Monday and Tuesday and even Sunday. But remember, a lot of these people, they have to be rebooked. These flights are full already. So that flight on Monday is full.
So they're going to have to bring on additional equipment and make the move to get these folks on their way. Where people get really stuck is if they had to do let's say a cruise and they're leaving on a cruise, the cruise is going to leave tomorrow at 5:00 p.m. They're hanging in Philadelphia or wherever it is, they're missing that cruise.
TAPPER: There was a fair amount of warning about this storm to give some credit to the local and state officials. We usually don't give credit to. Did that advance warning help?
MURPHY: Absolutely. And you heard that guy from Las Vegas with your reporter -- or was going to Las Vegas. He got out. And he got lucky. And just got out in advance. So the problem you have is even though they warn you the airlines don't come out until a couple days beforehand to give you the break on the fare difference and change fee which can be substantial if you change. TAPPER: All right. Mark Murphy of TravelPulse.com. Thank you so much. Appreciate it.
As snow slams Washington, D.C., people are scrambling to scavenge every last item from grocery stores. But while you might be busy snacking on pretzels or chips, conservatives are trying to cannibalize one of their own. None other than Donald Trump. We'll explain coming up.
[16:36:27] TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. We're live in the snow. You're looking at pictures from Northern Virginia right now as this huge blizzard hits up and down the east coast. People are preparing to NetFlix and Hulu and chill out for 72 hours as this monster cold front drops feet and feet of snow upon the roads and the homes and the houses and the streets.
We're monitoring this woolly mammoth of a storm and we will be all day. It's getting so bad and officials are so worried that the storm's impact is being felt on the campaign trail now.
Governor Chris Christie flying out from what seems like his home these days, New Hampshire, to his actual home, New Jersey, to manage this crisis and reassure the people of New Jersey he's on the case.
And while this blizzard threatens to devour 85 million people in its path, the Republican Party is going full cannibal in a different way. And that's our "Politics Lead" today. The conservative magazine "National Review" is devoting an entire issue to ripping apart the Republican front-runner. Of course, that's one Mr. Donald J. Trump.
A bearable all-star team of conservative writers all trying to take a bat to Trump's campaign, Al Capone style, calling Trump everything from "astoundingly ignorant" to "a menace to conservatism," to "a liberal wannabe strong man," or "the greatest charlatan of them all."
Those are quotes, Mr. Trump. Quotes, not from me.
CNN Sunlen Serfaty is in Des Moines today.
Sunlen, the RNC's response to the "National Review" was to end the "National Review's" participation from next month's debate right here on CNN.
SERFATY: That's right, Jake. They moved quickly on this. They very quickly disinvited the "National Review" from their involvement in next month's debate.
This is a real struggle that's going on within the establishment wing of the Republican Party right now. In one corner, you have those who are intent on stomping Trump and in the other those who want to take down Ted Cruz.
TRUMP: People don't even think about "The National Review."
SERFATY (voice-over): In an unprecedented move, the conservative magazine "The National Review" out with a complete and total takedown of Trump, calling Trump "A menace to American conservatism, who would take the work of generations and trample it under foot on behalf of a populism as heedless and crude as the Donald himself."
A special issue with essays from over 20 respective conservatives piling on, Trump trying to brush it off.
TRUMP: Now, that's a dying paper. Pretty much of a dead paper.
SERFATY: And Cruz continuing to be raked over the coals by establishment Republicans with takedowns this week from Iowa's Republican governor, former Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley and former presidential nominee Bob Dole, who called Cruz an "extremist who would bring cataclysmic and wholesale losses to the party if he wins."
The chaos underscores just ten days to the Iowa caucus how much the establishment wing of the Republican Party is still deeply dissatisfied with the front-runners. But with Trump and Cruz on top in the polls, the decision the party is now forced into facing, who will do more harm to the party long-term.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, whether it's death by being shot or poisoning, does it really matter?
SERFATY: As both men face incoming from their party, the two continue to inflict serious blows on each other.
TRUMP: Cruz is going down. He had his moment and he blew it.
SERFATY: Trump unloading on Cruz, releasing his first negative TV ad today, a hit on Cruz painting him as pro-amnesty.
CRUZ: I want immigration reform to pass.
SERFATY: And Cruz now hammering Trump in his own ad on eminent domain, the government's power to seize private property for public use.
TRUMP: I think eminent domain is wonderful.
SERFATY: Portraying the real estate developer as just a power hungry land snatcher, an issue that resonates with New Hampshire voters.
CRUZ: He supports using government power to seize private people's homes, to give them to giant corporations to say hypothetically build a casino.
SERFATY: Trump today shooting back tweeting in response, quote, "Without it, we wouldn't have roads, highways, airports, schools or even pipelines."
(END VIDEOTAPE) SERFATY: And more pushback coming from Donald Trump on this "National Review" takedown tweeting moments ago, quote, "The dying "National Review" has totally given up on the fight against Barack Obama. They have been losing for years." This according to Donald Trump on Twitter saying, "I will beat Hillary."
TAPPER: Sunlen Serfaty in Des Moines, Iowa. Thank you so much.
There is another storm coming. I'm not talking about Jonas. This one's called Bernie. Bernie Sanders that is. And if you're a Hillary Clinton staffer in New Hampshire, the Doppler radar only looks slightly scarier than the polls.
A Suffolk University poll out today showing Bernie Sanders up 9 points on Clinton, and that's one of the better results for her in the first of the nation granite state. Our "CNN/WMUR" poll put Clinton 27 points behind the Vermonter.
CNN senior Washington correspondent Jeff Zeleny is also in Des Moines.
Jeff, Jeanne Shaheen, the Democratic senator from New Hampshire introduced Hillary Clinton in Rochester, New Hampshire today saying that Bernie Sanders would not have been able to handle the Benghazi testimony that Clinton went through. Kind of an odd criticism.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Jake, no question about it. I mean, Hillary Clinton went hard after Bernie Sanders on Thursday in Iowa. But today in New Hampshire, she's not saying anything negative about Bernie Sanders at all. She's outsourcing her dirty work, some might say.
Senator Shaheen was very aggressive in what she said about Bernie Sanders, but specifically she said he would not be able to stand up to what she did during that House Congressional testimony. She even lumped him in with some other Republican rivals. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JEANNE SHAHEEN (D), NEW HAMPSHIRE: How many of you watched that hearing before the House Committee on Benghazi? Yes. 11 hours, Hillary was before that committee.
Is there anybody here who thinks that anybody else in this race, Republican or Democrat, could have done what Hillary did? No! Not Donald Trump.
SHAHEEN: Not Ted Cruz.
SHAHEEN: And not Bernie Sanders.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZELENY: But even lumping Bernie Sanders in that string of names there, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, Democrats are taking a bit of a risk here. One senior Clinton adviser I talked to earlier today said that Hillary Clinton is going to be sort of judicious in how much she directly confronts Bernie Sanders. He has a lot of supporters, a lot of followers and backers particularly in New Hampshire.
But, Jake, the Clinton full operation, the full Democratic establishment is going to descend on Iowa this weekend. She has surrogates campaigning across the state on her behalf. So we're watching to see exactly what they're saying specifically about that.
But, look, the Clinton campaign knows that time is running out to pop the balloon, to shake some of these theories up that Senator Sanders has been talking about. They want voters to give him a little bit more scrutiny on all of his policies from health care to Iran.
So a lot of that work is going to be done through surrogates this weekend in Iowa. And then the final week starts on Monday before those Iowa caucuses finally on February 1st.
TAPPER: All right, Jeff Zeleny, thank you so much.
Next Monday night in Iowa, an event only on CNN, exactly one week before Iowa voters choose among Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton and Martin O'Malley, all three of the candidates will go face-to-face with the voters of Iowa in a CNN Democratic presidential town hall live from Des Moines.
My friend Chris Cuomo is going to moderate. It will be a unique opportunity for Iowans to ask questions of these three Democrats just before they go and cast their votes. That's next Monday night, 9:00 p.m. Eastern live only on CNN.
Coming up, I'm Jake Tapper, and I approve this tease. Which message is from which candidates are connecting with voters watching their commercials at home? One of the best political minds in the country will give his take in minutes.
Plus, the snow coming down hard here in D.C. and many other cities. And it may not stop until it's up to your waist. More special coverage of this monster storm ahead.
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. You're looking at images from the Commonwealth of Virginia at the start of what some predict will be the biggest blizzard in the history of this region.
And if you live in Iowa or New Hampshire, you've been treated to different kinds of flurries, a down pouring of TV ads from Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz and Donald Trump.
Joining me now is CNN senior political commentator, David Axelrod, who before he became a message and ad guru for Democrats was a political reporter.
David, thanks for joining us. Let's dive right in. Senator Bernie Sanders, his very first ad was a traditional biographical spot. Here's his latest.
TAPPER: So, David, that song's a great song.
DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It is, yes. I'm having a '60s flashback here.
TAPPER: But the Clinton allies are attacking this ad for not having enough faces of color. What are your feelings when you see this ad?
AXELROD: Well, first of all, I think it's a great ad. You know, now you're in the mobilization part of the campaign. They're trying to get their people out. Bernie Sanders needs a big turnout. This is an inspirational spot meant to mobilize his people and I think it's very effective.
Attacking him on not having enough African-Americans in there, I think they're looking past Iowa and New Hampshire to South Carolina where Hillary Clinton is counting on African-American voters to be her firewall in case things go badly in Iowa and New Hampshire.
[16:50:11]TAPPER: Hillary Clinton has been on the stump in Iowa mainly railing against Senator Sanders and what she perceives as his lack of foreign policy know-how. That kind of dovetails in with this ad that her campaign put out today. Take a look.
TAPPER: So Clinton pitching her experience versus Sanders idealism. That was her pitch against Obama in 2008 as well. Might it work this time?
AXELROD: Well, it might work better this time because we've had eight years of Obama and people tend to look for something different than what they have. Democrats love Obama, but there may be more of a receptivity to the more practical experience argument she's making here.
That's what she's banking on. But Bernie Sanders is appealing to the heart and she appears to be appealing to the head. We'll see which one prevails.
TAPPER: Donald Trump is out with a brand new ad in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, the subject no surprise, Senator Ted Cruz hitting him as pro-amnesty. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SENATOR TED CRUZ (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I want immigration reform to pass and that allows those who are here illegally to come in out of the shadows.
BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS: That amendment would have allowed undocumented immigrants to remain in the U.S. permanently and obtain legal status. So how do you square that circle?
CRUZ: Actually, Bret, it wouldn't have --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Your former colleague in the White House, Dan Pfeiffer, he called this spot a devastatingly simple attack ad. Do you agree? Could it hurt Cruz?
AXELROD: Yes -- I think it is damaging because it goes right to the heart of one of the issues that really mobilizes voters on the right and the base of the Republican Party, which is their antipathy toward immigration reform. And so I do think this is a damaging spot.
TAPPER: Ted Cruz is also hitting back at Trump on the issue of eminent domain. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: Fancy term for politicians seizing private property to enrich the fat cats who bankroll them, like trump.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think eminent domain is wonderful.
ANNOUNCER: It made him rich.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Now, eminent domain as you know, David, that's a big issue in New England where this ad's running. Could this be effective?
AXELROD: It is. I sometimes wonder whether the average voter thinks eminent domain is a champagne rather than a policy. But be that as it may, you know, look, there's a civil war going on right now in the Republican Party.
And the opponents of Trump are trying to depict him as an insincere conservative, as an untrustworthy conservative. This is part of that effort, the "National Review" assault on him is part of that effort.
You see the establishment Republicans have been much less on the attack versus Trump. It's as if they are now resigned to the notion that Trump may be their hedge against Ted Cruz who they detest even more.
TAPPER: David Axelrod, thanks so much. Appreciate it.
AXELROD: Great to be with you. TAPPER: We're now just over three hours into this massive 36-hour blizzard here in Washington, D.C. The storm is moving up the east coast. We're going to have live reports from elsewhere right after this.
TAPPER: It's snowing in Baltimore. Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper coming to you live from Washington, D.C. It began snowing just about four hours ago here in D.C. brought on by a very powerful winter storm system hitting up and down the east coast.
Now this potentially crippling blizzard is bearing down in o other parts of the northeast. Let's go to Baltimore where our CNN correspondent Miguel Marquez is. Miguel, how are things shaping up in Baltimore right now?
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, blizzard Baltimore is on it seems. Officials getting increasingly concerned speaking in sort of apocalyptic tones about what's going to happen here over the next 24 to 48 hours.
This has just began. An hour and a half ago it was completely clear. Now you can see the snow is really starting to come down in Baltimore's inner harbor. It will transform they say with as much as two feet of snow in Baltimore city itself.
n the outskirts they're expecting up to 30 inches of snow, perhaps even more snow than that in parts of Maryland. The governor of Maryland declaring the entire state an emergency zone now.
They have stored up some 365,000 tons of salt. They have 2,700 vehicles to try to clear the roads out there. But they are warning that at 6:00 p.m. tonight the only cars allowed on the streets here in Baltimore City are those with chains.
MTA all public transport will go down, stop at midnight tonight for 24 -- for 48 hours until 3:00 a.m. Monday. They will reassess to see if they can open it up at 3:00 a.m. Monday. But they are very, very concerned.
Warning people if they have friends, neighbors, elderly people who can't get around or have a hard time getting out, make sure and check on them. It may be days if not a week before some areas of not only Baltimore but Maryland are able to dig out of this -- Jake.
TAPPER: That's right. Potentially deadly, already four people dead in North Carolina from this storm. Miguel Marquez in Baltimore, thank you so much. Stay safe and stay warm.
Don't forget to tune in this Sunday at 9:00 a.m. Eastern for "STATE OF THE UNION." I'll be talking to Jeb Bush just eight days before the Iowa caucuses. That's it for THE LEAD today. I'm Jake Tapper. I turn you over to Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM." Please stay warm, please stay safe. Have a good weekend.