Return to Transcripts main page


Candidates Making Final Pitch To Iowa Voters; Cruz Ad Slams Trump's "New York Values"; State Department Won't Release 22 "Top Secret" Clinton E-mails; Countdown: Two Days Until Iowa Caucuses; One Fugitive Captured, Two Still Loose; Discussion of the Iowa Caucuses; The Alfred App: Butler for Hire. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired January 30, 2016 - 08:00   ET


[08:00:03] CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Rise and shine and happy Saturday to you. I'm Christi Paul. My colleague, Victor Blackwell, live from Des Moines, Iowa where I think a lot of chatter we've heard so far, Victor, is all of these candidates saying get out there and vote. Yes?

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Certainly Christi, good morning to you. You heard from Donald Trump. He said he's going to cure depression if you come out and support him on Monday night.

You know, this is the critical weekend, of course, in the race for the White House as the campaign trail goes through Iowa, just two days until the caucuses. The first votes in the election year will be cast.

Now the candidates we know are sprinting across the state making those final pitches. We're going to start with CNN's Phil Mattingly who is following what is said to be a very busy day in Iowa City. Phil, it's getting pretty crowded there.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No question about it, Victor. In the state of Iowa, more than 25 events today across all of the candidates from both parties and look it's a recognition that this is the final sprint.

This is when it matters if you're going to turn out voters, this is really your last opportunity to meet them in the state. Victor, the big question over the last two weeks in Iowa has been Ted Cruz versus Donald Trump.

But interesting developments over the last 24 hours, if you watch the television ads here in Iowa and talk to sources within the Cruz and Marco Rubio campaigns, Ted Cruz has shifted his focus away from Donald Trump and towards Florida Senator Marco Rubio.

Now what does this mean? Victor, our understanding is that Ted Cruz obviously clearly trying to halt any type of progress that Marco Rubio has been making in Iowa.

Some concerns that a good Marco Rubio showing here could mean major problems for Ted Cruz later. What does that mean for Donald Trump? It looks like the effort not to go to the debate wasn't so much of a risk after all. Donald Trump feeling comfortable about where he is. Ted Cruz shifting his resources elsewhere -- Victor.

BLACKWELL: Phil, do we know from the Cruz campaign's perspective which element here, he's being hit from all sides from all candidates here, which element is sticking which is most impactful?

MATTINGLY: You know, I think they look at all of the attacks and I think it's a sheer number of them that has been most problematic for him. I was at a town hall a couple of days ago and he can list them through every candidate that's going after him for every single issue.

I think what they are concerned about is less so much the attacks having a major impact and sinking him here in Iowa than more than other candidates start to rise.

They want to counter the narrative that Marco Rubio comes out of the state with major momentum heading into New Hampshire. They want to keep the idea that this is a two-man race.

However it ends up between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, that's how they go into New Hampshire. They don't want all the stories coming out saying, hey, Marco Rubio did a lot better and that's why you are seeing the shift in resources right now -- Victor.

BLACKWELL: All right, Phil Mattingly for us in Iowa City. Phil, thank you so much. We have with us all morning, CNN senior political analyst, Ron Brownstein and CNN Politics executive editor, Mark Preston.

Let's start with the Cruz campaign. We know that the surge that we saw in December may be over and the latest polls have Donald Trump back at the top. How impactful have these criticisms been, how deep is the slide?

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE EDITOR: I think the criticisms from Donald Trump have worked and the fact that he keeps on saying he's not an American citizen, although, you know, a lot of people find that laughable, it certainly is resonating with some people.

At the same time, think, and this always happens in Iowa and New Hampshire. There comes a coalescing of the district parts of the Republican Party to come together and Ron has been saying all morning so accurately is that the moderate lane, the Bush, Kasich, Christie,they have taken no traction.

Marco Rubio is hoping to draw their support and do well not only here but onto New Hampshire.

BLACKWELL: Ron, before we get to you. I want you to listen to Donald Trump and this Canadian anchor baby account that he's making. Listen.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Ted Cruz may not be a U.S. citizen, right? But he's an anchor baby. He's an anchor baby. Ted Cruz is an anchor baby in Canada, but Canada doesn't except anchor babies, they just waited a long time.


BLACKWELL: Well, we also know that Ted Cruz is coming back at the campaign with a new ad, one where he's calling into question the New York values. Let's listen to that.


TRUMP: I mean, hey, I lived in New York City and Manhattan all my life, OK? So my views are a little bit different if I lived in Iowa.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They are different like on abortion.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would President Trump ban partial abortion.

TRUMP: I'm pro-choice in every respect.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What does Trump think about Iowa?

TRUMP: How stupid are the people of Iowa?


BLACKWELL: It's interesting because it seems that Donald Trump is winning this war, although, what Donald Trump is saying about Ted Cruz being a Canadian anchor baby doesn't really make sense. Cruz is using Trump's actual words.

[08:05:06]RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: But look, Trump is basically saying Ted Cruz is not one of you. Over 90 percent of Republican primary voters are white in 2012 and reminding them Ted Cruz' background is not their background. That is the underlying message.

Republicans have been uneasy about Donald Trump with a message that really verges on Muslims and Mexican immigrants, undocumented immigrants. This gets more complicated. They at this point seem more focused on the principle alternative to Trump.

If Trump wins Iowa, he could roll through and win South Carolina and he will have done something no Republican candidate has done in a contested race when Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina and the alternative at that point may be like the last speed bump.

PRESTON: And literally one of the most under reported stories of this past week is Henry McMaster, an establishment Republican, long term Republican, in South Carolina endorsed Donald Trump.

So if you can imagine that you are now going to have this support potentially from the establishment of South Carolina start to go towards Donald Trump and that could be a disastrous if you're in the establishment.

BROWNSTEIN: The risk to Trump would be that if Marco Rubio does do well, consolidates a center right block in New Hampshire, it is bigger in South Carolina than people recognize. And look, as we said before, the geometry are unbelievably complex.

Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio may be better off if the other is still in the race than if they get that one on one with Donald Trump.

BLACKWELL: We are going to talk this morning about is there still virtue in the establishment lane. So many people are trying to get away from it. There may be a space there. Ron, Mark, with us all morning. Thanks so much.

We want to talk about the Democrats now and the Democratic frontrunner, Hillary Clinton, at least the frontrunner nationally. Depends which poll you look at here in Iowa and this controversy over the e-mails.

It is back again. Yesterday the State Department said it will not release top secret e-mails that Clinton was involved with that were on her server and when she was secretary of state. Before that news broke, she addressed the issue last night in Iowa.


HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I said that I should have made a different choice because it's proven to be quite difficult, but the facts are that I never e-mailed anything that was considered classified.

I wasn't marked classified and I just think that at the end of the day, everybody's going to know I asked to have all these made public. I'd love for them to be public. I'd love for people to see what I did and I'd love for that to happen.


BLACKWELL: All right, CNN's Chris Frates is following this from Washington. The worst possible timing just two days now before the start of the caucuses.

CHRIS FRATES, CNN INVESTIGATIONS CORRESPONDENT: That's absolutely right, Victor. This is not what Hillary Clinton and her campaign want to be talking about and the news of course is just yesterday the State Department announced it will not release 22 e-mails from former secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, because they contain top secret information.


JOHN KIRBY, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: The documents are being upgraded at the request of the intelligence community because they contain a category of top secret information. These documents were not marked classified at the time they were sent.


BLACKWELL: So Clinton has long argued that same point, that the e- mails were not marked classified at the time they were sent adding government bureaucrats are now retroactively over classifying her e- mails.

The State Department has released thousands of pages of Clinton's e- mail that she kept on a private server while secretary of state.

News at some of those e-mails won't be released comes only days before the Iowa caucuses and could serve as a reminder of what some voters see as one of Clinton's biggest weaknesses, that she can't be trusted.

Republicans not surprisingly pounced on the news Clinton kept top secret information on a private e-mail server.


SENATOR MARCO RUBIO (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Hillary Clinton put some of the highest, most sensitive intelligence information on her private server because maybe she thinks she's above the law or maybe she just wanted the convenience of being able to read the stuff on her Blackberry. This is unacceptable. This is a disqualifier.


FRATES: So the Clinton campaign says it opposes the State Department's decision to hold back the e-mails. A campaign spokesman said in a statement that it appears the e-mails have been overly classified and said the campaign will, quote, "pursue all appropriate avenues" to see that her e-mails are released in a manner consistent with her call last year.

And on a separate note, Victor, it's worth mentioning the State Department also announced it would not release 18 e-mails between then Secretary Clinton and President Obama. The reasoning was to protect the president's ability to receive blunt advice -- Victor.

BLACKWELL: All right. Chris Frates for us in Washington. Chris, thank you so much. We'll see if this plays a role as voters make those last-minute decisions in the last days before the Iowa caucuses on Monday night.

[08:10:00]And of course, that's the big day. It all comes down to this. The day of voting right here in Iowa. The caucuses are here and we're also over it. We'll have complete coverage of the caucuses all day Monday only on CNN.

And when we come back, after a week on the run, one of the escaped California inmates turns himself in. We'll tell you where investigators are searching for the other two still on the run -- Christi.

PAUL: Plus, thanks, Victor, he did not do a lot of handshaking, not a lot of kissing babies. Did Donald Trump's lack of pavement pounding forever change the way candidates will campaign in Iowa?


TRUMP: I'm glad I wasn't there -- he got pummeled, wow. And you know. They didn't even mention he was born in Canada, right? You know, it's --


BLACKWELL: Beautiful, beautiful Des Moines, Iowa. It's 13 minutes after the hour now and this is the final sprint. Republicans and Democrats making that mad dash around the state, shaking as many hands rally after rally. You see the candidates here taking very different routes.

Donald Trump speaking to massive audiences in auditoriums, speaking to these people thousands at a time instead of the coffee shops, middle school gyms, living rooms, that retail politicking that Iowans treasure. Some are asking will this change the way the candidates approach a campaign in Iowa.


CLINTON: Thank you, Davenport.

GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What a great crowd, thank you very much.

BLACKWELL (voice-over): In the final days before the Iowa caucuses, the presidential candidates are pouring into coffee shops like Smokey Row in Des Moines.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are coming through all the time. It's awesome to have them here.


BLACKWELL: Shaking hands asking for support. It's the small scale face-to-face familiarity Iowans treasure.

[08:15:06]UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You get to actually engage them one on one or in a community forum where you can see how they really respond to individual communities, and you get an actual feel of their realness.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've seen Bernie. I've seen -- I've heard that Hillary has come through. I wasn't here when she was here. I know Chris Christie was around. Santorum has been walking around. Seen him a couple times, actually.

BLACKWELL: Many have visited but not all.

(on camera): Is there anyone notably who has not been here, hasn't come through?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I haven't seen Trump.

BLACKWELL (voice-over): It's not just smoky row the GOP frontrunner, Donald Trump skipped, Trump's campaign has focused very little on the retail politicking.

TRUMP: What a crowd.

BLACKWELL: Instead, the Trump campaign is focused primarily on huge rallies across Iowa, making the case to voters thousands at a time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump has totally thrown everything on its head. He had a fly in and fly out campaign. He rarely spends any time in a primary or caucus state.

BLACKWELL: This week during an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, the billionaire businessman was very complementary of a Holiday Inn Express in Sioux City, Iowa after a rare overnight stay.

TRUMP: It was actually two nights. I thought it was terrific. It was clean. It was nice and the bed was good.

BLACKWELL: In the closing hours before caucus night, some are wondering if a Trump win will jeopardize the intimacy of campaigning here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His message seems to be coming out above everyone else's for good or bad and that will have an impact.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump has changed politics as we know it. We could go back to the idea of this retail politics and shaking hands, and what have you, but it will give people pause about how they will start campaigning.


BLACKWELL: All right, for more now, I'm joined by Matt Schlapp, former George W. Bush political director and chairman of the American Conservative Union. Let's start with that element of Trump's style, thousands at a time. Does that change Iowa campaigning?

MATT SCHLAPP, CHAIRMAN, AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE UNION: You got to do what your candidate is good at, and I think Trump and his team knows that he can grab a big audience and really speak to them and connect to them. It's what he's good at.

Maybe he's not good at other things. We'll find out. It's very controversial in a state like Iowa or state like New Hampshire.

These people are used to you going to their door knocking on it, shaking their hand, and looking them in the eyes and telling them why you deserve their vote. So there is no question this is very unorthodox behavior in Iowa.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk about something that came out from CNN politics first on CNN that Barbara Bush, former first lady, Jeb Bush's mother will be joining the campaign trail in New Hampshire.



SCHLAPP: I think it's a big deal. Barbara Bush has got to be one of the most popular human beings that ever walked the earth. She's a revered figure and especially in that area of the country. I think it really shows how Jeb Bush is all in still. His mother is --

BLACKWELL: Jeb, exclamation point.

SCHLAPP: Let me tell you. When you deal with Barbara, that's an exclamation point, too.

BLACKWELL: But here is the question, does it play right into Donald Trump's narrative that Jeb Bush has to call out his mommy to help him out of this single digit purgatory?

SCHLAPP: You know, I wouldn't be surprised, Victor, if he probably uses that exact same line. You're probably right. It probably does play into the narrative but once again, you have to go with what your strengths are.

One of the things that Jeb Bush needs to continue to do to get his legs like he did the other night in the debate is to -- it's a game now of inches. It's a marginal game.

Every vote you can get and every person you can appeal to and his mother appeals to a lot of people. It's a smart move.

BLACKWELL: We'll see if that actually helps. In 2000, George W. Bush when the Bushes went on the road, did not win New Hampshire. John McCain won.

All right, let's talk about this lane. We were speaking during the break about the virtue of the establishment lane. Is there still some value there? You take question with the term establishment.

SCHLAPP: Yes, well, I worked for George W. Bush in the White House.


SCHLAPP: So did my wife, but I'm a movement conservative. So when people use establishment to mean moderate, I would actually say there isn't much of a lane for moderates. There is a small lane, but it's not a big lane.

Two-thirds of these people who vote in these early states will be strong conservative voters. If a candidate wants to come out and be establishment in the soft moderate sense, there are not too many voters you're going to get in doing that.

And you can see that's why people like Lindsey Graham had short term campaigns. The key for people like Jeb Bush and Chris Christie and these other folks that aren't considered, you know, really loved by the conservative base of the party is to explain to them why actually their policy solutions are conservative.

Every one of these candidates has to core conservatives. Politics are about two things, part of it is romance and connecting to someone. The other piece is simply the math and the math is on the side of conservatives. [08:20:12]BLACKWELL: So which part is Jeb Bush because you're so close to the Bush family, what part is he getting wrong? Is it the math or the romance?

SCHLAPP: He got it right the other day in the debate. He had the right answers. He explained a real rational for his candidacy. I think he would probably admit that he's meandered a little bit in finding that rational.

And the fact is, is this, the Republican Party has changed and the number one thing they want to see in a candidate is someone who is strong, be a leader, take on ISIS, fix our borders.

They want somebody that will take on the Obama agenda and it's all about strength and you know who projects strength so well? Donald Trump.

So it's not really a surprise that you are see that happen with all these polls and results that will start happening on Monday.

BLACKWELL: Not just overall in general. It's specifically on all of those issues, Donald Trump is winning with voters. He will be strongest to take on those. Matt Schlapp, thank you for being with us this morning. Christi, back to you in Atlanta.

PAUL: All righty, thank you. Two California jail escapees are still on the run this morning. One turning himself in after a week at large. How is that one helping authorities or what he is telling them this morning?

Plus, a woman takes on Walmart and wins. Why the retail giant lost $31 million?


PAUL: Now that one California fugitive has turned himself in, authorities could be closer obviously to capturing the two escapees who are still on the loose.

The 43-year-old Bac Duong was arrested in Santa Ana yesterday. He'll have more charges added to the attempted murder charge that he was facing already when he escaped.

[08:25:07]And Nick Valencia is here with more and I think the first question in everybody's mind is what he is telling police?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He's cooperating. That's the important part of all of this. He's telling investigators specifically about the getaway van that the trio used in their escape. Two fugitives still on the run for more than a week.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They should be considered armed and dangerous. I think the longer that they are out of custody, the more desperate they become. VALENCIA (voice-over): Two dangerous fugitives in California are still on the run, but one is back in jail. Bac Duong showed up at a local auto shop in Santa Ana on Friday and said he wanted to surrender.

He'll now face extra charges in addition to the attempted murder charge he was facing when he escaped. Meanwhile, the focus of the search is now centered on Fresno and San Jose, and the white van they still may be using. Authorities say the captured man is helping out.

LT. JEFF HALLOCK, ORANGE COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: He is cooperating and providing information we're able to distribute and react on. I don't want to get into specifics of the interview, but I can tell you he's being corporative thus far.

VALENCIA: The day before Duong turned himself in, the jail's English teacher was arrested. She may have helped the three escaped by giving them a Google map. Police say letters between her and one of the fugitives who took her English class even though he spoke perfect English were a tip off.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was personal. It wasn't the relationship we expect between a teacher and inmate in a custody setting.


VALENCIA: That English as a second language teacher apparently bonding over the alleged ringleader of this escape. They had a common language. She's being held on $500,000 bond and expected to be arraigned on Monday.

PAUL: All right, Nick Valencia, thank you so much. Listen for more on what could be going on behind the scenes in this search, let's bring in former New York City police commissioner, Bernard Kerik. Mr. Kerik, thank you for being with us.

The question, I think, on everybody's mind, too, besides what is he telling police is why would he turn himself in? Do you have any insight?

BERNARD KERIK, FORMER NEW YORK POLICE COMMISSIONER: He turned himself in because eventually he's going to get caught. These guys will be brought into custody in this case probably a lot quicker than we saw in New York up in New York State in Clinton.

The authorities here in Orange County have a lot of information. They made a number of arrests in parole and probation suspects, which I would assume are people that's connected with this escape in some way on the outside.

These guys had the inside connection was evidently this teacher, but I'm sure they had people on the outside that was cooperating with them, helping them and that's where the other arrests have come from and they will get information from those guys, as well.

PAUL: OK, we know they were in this white van, allegedly and we know that this escapee whose been caught has given them more information how they tinted the windows and took the license plate off of it. Do you believe they might still be in this van at this point?

KERIK: I don't think they are in that van. I think they have probably got rid of that by now and moved on to something else. They may be together. They may have split up.

I think the people that the authorities now have in custody are going to be instrumental in identifying where they are or possibly where they are.

And given the way the authorities have handled it so far which I think is extremely well, I think these guys should be in custody sometime soon.

PAUL: And last but not least, we know that Duong went to a local auto shop to turn himself in and knew people there. Is it possible? Do people normally when they escape go to someplace that they are familiar with?

KERIK: You know what, Christi, here is usually the way it goes, the wife, the girlfriend, the kids and then friends. That's sort of the primaries that we target in law enforcement. We go to looking for these guys once they get out. So in that case it's the friends and family, and things like that that's where they wound up going.

PAUL: All right, Bernard Kerik, your insight is really intriguing. Thank you so much for taking the time to be with us.

KERIK: Thank you.

PAUL: Absolutely.

The candidates meanwhile are hitting that campaign trail and hitting it hard today. So many start campaigning in just a few hours, and they go until late today.

Really trying to take advantage of every last minute they have to make the difference before the crucial day, voting day, also caucus day I should say after getting hit hard in Thursday's Republican debate a lot of people are asking if Cruz can still recover from losing the debate.


[08:33:19] BLACKWELL: All right.

Well, if you're out today in Iowa, there's a good chance you'll see a candidate asking for your vote or surrogate there asking for your support. The battle for the Democrats coming down to the wire: Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders neck and neck in the polls. Sanders, Clinton, O'Malley holding at least a dozen campaign events today. Here is their map spread out all over the state.

Now look at the Republicans' map. They are getting an early start too today, kicking off the first event in just 45 minutes. Check out the map here. You've got the candidates spread all over in the last hours before we go into caucus Monday -- some of the 20 plus Republican events going on today as the hopefuls battle to win those votes.

And considering Donald Trump's lead in the latest CNN/ORC poll of Republican caucus goers the question is, is this now a race for second place? Marco Rubio already bracing for a loss he says but they all kind of tamped down expectations possibly behind Ted Cruz. Listen.


SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Obviously, you know, Ted is the front runner here. He has spent a lot of time and money and has 10,000 volunteers working on his behalf on the ground. And I saw, I guess, his campaign over a month ago was talking about how they were going to win comfortably.

So we're not going to make those kinds of predictions. We're just going to work really hard and we feel good about the growth of our campaign.


BLACKWELL: All right. Here to discuss is CNN senior political reporter Manu Raju. What we're hearing from Marco Rubio -- is that genuine? Does he believe he's going to come in third place or is there a chance that this could be a Trump-Rubio-Cruz finish?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: It would be a big surprise if Rubio did end up in second place finisher here would be a huge boost to his campaign. Right now, I think we're still expecting them to be one, two, three -- Trump clearly in the lead going into the final days.

[08:35:08] But what you're seeing from Rubio is an effort to go after Cruz. Cruz is his biggest target right now. He believes that if he -- if Cruz does not come out victorious in Iowa, it's going to significantly hurt his campaign going into New Hampshire and the rest of the primaries in February and it could eventually torpedo his campaign.

Now, of course, The Cruz campaign has money. They have $19 million in cash on hand and even if they do not emerge victorious here, they could potentially keep this race alive. Stay in the race for longer than February, but of course, we know this is a race about momentum and winning here would give whatever candidate, whether Cruz or Trump a huge amount of momentum going into New Hampshire.

BLACKWELL: Ok. Well, let's talk now about the Cruz campaign. We have with Steve Lonegan who is a Cruz supporter and let's pick up there on momentum. Ted Cruz had the momentum going into December coming out of December at the top of the polls, where is that now?

STEVE LONEGAN, CRUZ SUPPORTER: Well, I'll tell you what. You just heard Marco Rubio say we have over 10,000 volunteers across Iowa working on this campaign. This is an unbelievable momentum. I walked into the headquarters last night at 9:30 and it was packed. You don't see that with Donald Trump. I don't know if something happened in Iowa where you no longer have to mobilize the grassroots, no longer have to go out to meet people face-to-face, door-to-door. I don't think that's the case.

I think Iowans expect to be touched not just through big rallies or TV ads like Donald Trump is doing. I feel very comfortable that we're going to see a Ted Cruz win in Iowa Monday night.

But what is more important is that conservatives, and of course, the country are waiting for Iowa caucus goers to set the stage for conservative to come back and to breakup the Republican -- I'm sorry, the Washington cartel and send Cruz to Washington D.C.

BLACKWELL: Now, if you don't see that Ted Cruz win on Monday, what does that mean then for you moving into New Hampshire?

LONEGAN: To roll into New Hampshire, to work on and continue to work -- I mean look, Ronald Reagan lost Iowa and I'm not saying Ted Cruz is going to lose Iowa. I'm very confident we're going to win Iowa and trip up Donald Trump. But we're going to go into New Hampshire -- again the same thing in New Hampshire.

You know guys, I've been in a lot of campaigns in my life and I was in New Hampshire early this week and people were coming back from knocking on doors all day long with big smiles on their faces, really energized, ready to get on the phone to make calls. When you're on a campaign that's not winning, you don't see that. I mean this has every element of a winning campaign.

BLACKWELL: Well, it may have the elements of a winning campaign but if you look at the latest polls, the numbers don't look like they did in December and I don't know which specifically, I guess I should ask you which attack, which criticism is working for the candidates?

LONEGAN: Which criticism --

BLACKWELL: -- is working against Ted Cruz.

LONEGAN: Well, I think what's happening -- against Ted -- I think these polls are questionable. You see them flying back and forth all the time.

Obviously the big poll that matters is going to be on Monday. We have the best ground game of any candidate in the state, of any candidate in the country and that is really -- but most important, we have a candidate that has a terrific message. He has the character, the integrity, the consistency to bring the conservative leadership to Washington, D.C. that this country is so hungry for.

Donald Trump is not that conservative leader. Let's face it, he was a Democrat three months ago and he's will be a Democrat three months from now when we send him back to Manhattan to his Manhattan cocktail parties.

BLACKWELL: Let's bring Manu back into this conversation.

From the Rubio campaign's perspective do they know which attack, which line of criticism is working best?

RAJU: They believe that this attack that Ted Cruz has made calculated decisions, rather than based on his core convictions goes at the heart of his message of Ted Cruz is positioning himself as the one conservative fighter, the person who has stood to break up as Mr. Lonegan said, the Washington cartel. They believe that by pointing out some of what they view as being inconsistent has undermined that message. They think that it stuck. Now, the question is whether it has. I'm not sure we know that yet.

Now, the one thing that we should keep in mind about Iowa is that a number of these voters are late deciders. So even if we've seen polls shift in the last several days, what does that mean come Monday night? I don't think know for sure and we always talk about turnout.

When it's a bigger turnout, how does that affect the race? Does it tilt it towards Donald Trump. Some of the polls suggest it does but I don't think we'll really know until Monday night.

BLACKWELL: Yes, that question of a lack of genuineness that we heard that on Thursday night from the other candidates and Friday and into today. We've seen in the latest Gallup poll that Ted Cruz unfavorability is up seven, his favorability is down nine and he's closer to Donald Trump now. Of course, he's never going below Donald Trump. We haven't seen that.

But the question now is how does he fight off in the last couple of days as voters make that decision this narrative that he's not genuine?

LONEGAN: The same way he's continued to go from eighth place to fifth place to sixth place to second place to tied for first place over the last three months -- by a consistent conservative message backed by real principle and real belief in everything he stands for. He doesn't fluctuate and just try to pander to special interest groups as we've seen this in Iowa where he's actually come out against ethanol subsidies. I mean that remarkable to have that kind of integrity and belief in yo8ur principles.

[08:40:03] This is what is going to win on Tuesday. People want a conservative leader, a consistently conservative leader that's going to go to Washington D.C., break up this Washington cartel, and stand up for our conservative principles. Again, Iowa voters are fundamentally conservative. They're going to galvanize to the true conservative in the next 48 days and set the stage for the rest of this election.

BLACKWELL: All right. But we've seen in the polls that evangelicals are choosing Donald Trump.

LONEGAN: And there's another poll that evangelicals are choosing Ted Cruz. So I mean the polls are going to flip-flop all over the place. At this point, I don't think I want to pay attention to the polls anymore at all.

The polls that I care about are thousands of volunteers that are talking to Iowa caucus voters every single day and reporting back to headquarters. And you know what, that message is a powerful one that we're winning.

BLACKWELL: All right.

RAJU: And Victor, this is the one race where evangelicals really are split heading into Monday. We have not really seen that as much in past presidential elections. It's fascinating to see on Monday how much of the evangelical voters go to Trump or Cruz.

BLACKWELL: All right. We've got --

LONEGAN: And by the way -- I want to say one thing --

BLACKWELL: We've got to wrap --

LONEGAN: -- don't underestimate those Catholic voters who are very pro-life and Donald Trump is not pro-life -- I don't care what he says.

BLACKWELL: Steve Lonegan -- thank you so much. Manu -- always good to have you as well.

Don't miss "STATE OF THE UNION" with Jake Tapper on Sunday. You'll hear from the candidates one more time before the caucus voting begins Monday. Jake has Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio and Bernie Sanders on the show. Again "STATE OF THE UNION" with Jake Tapper tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

All right. So we've been talking about the important, of course, Iowa caucuses, the first contest in the campaign, the run-up to the White House, but who is getting the edge here?

When we come back, we'll talk about this with CNN politics executive editor Mark Preston.

Plus a woman who took on Wal-Mart and won -- why the retail giant lost $31 million. That's coming up next.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN HOST: Meanwhile in today's "Start Small, Think Big", you don't have to be rich and famous to have a butler. A new app named after Batman's butlers allows all you busy professionals to hire help for your to-do list.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can I persuade you to take a sandwich with you, sir?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll get drive through.

MARCELA SAPONE, CO-FOUNDER, HELLO ALFRED: Batman is just a normal man but at the hands of Alfred, his butler, he became a super hero. I'm Marcela Sapone --


SAPONE: And we're the co-founders of Hello Alfred. It's a shared neighborhood butler that helps you get things done.

BECK: When you sign up for the service you get a dedicated person who is going to be assigned to you and visit your home every week and that routine can be a combination of grocery shopping, getting your laundry, picking up your dry cleaning.

SAPONE: Jess and I met at Harvard Business School.

BECK: Before we went to business school worked in finance and consulting and had really long hours. So we hired somebody off of Craigslist and that's how it started. We just really built it for ourselves.

CAPONE: Alfreds are deeply vetted.

BECK: We like to say that it's easier to get into an Ivy League school than to get into Alfred.

CAPONE: Alfred operates in Boston and in New York and costs $32 a week.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When you're working in a fast-paced industry, a lot of the sort of little life things tend to fall by the wayside and having an app where I can pretty much request anything and get a little bit of my time back is incredibly helpful.

SAPONE: We didn't think we would go into business to create a butler service. A lot of people told us that's a silly idea. I think we've proven a lot of people wrong.



[08:47:08] BLACKWELL: All right. The last couple of days, just two days now until the Iowa caucuses and the candidates, well, you know, they are out in full force today for that last-ditch attempt to woo voters.

Let's bring in CNN politics executive editor Mark Preston. And Mark, we've talked a lot about the Democrats but there is one Democrat we have not discussed, Martin O'Malley. The question is now, if he doesn't reach that threshold of viability, and the latest polls have him at about 4 percent, where do his voters go?

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Well, so he was asked this question by our colleague Chris Cuomo earlier this week. So Martin O'Malley nine weeks ago -- or rather, you know, about nine months ago I was here with him in Iowa, he spent three. He's a very good retail politician. He was supposed to be Bernie Sanders. He was supposed to be the alternative to Hillary Clinton and he never took off. But to your point, and what Chris said earlier this week is that he could become the most powerful person here. And the reason being is that when Democrats caucus here, there is basically one vote and if you don't get 15 percent, if your supporters are not able to get 15 percent in this vote, this very public vote, then you have to realign -- meaning you have to join another campaign if you so choose.

If Martin O'Malley were to send his folks to either Bernie Sanders or to Hillary Clinton, he could maybe tip the scales in many of these caucus sites.

BLACKWELL: All right. So let's talk about the Republicans and as this moves not just to New Hampshire but beyond, a Trump win -- there are some outside of Ted Cruz who are hoping for a Trump win to try to contain Cruz. What does a Trump win mean here moving forward?

PRESTON: Well -- so Trump, let's assume he wins in Iowa. He goes into New Hampshire. He is way up in New Hampshire. Nobody thinks that Trump will lose New Hampshire. Ok, so now you have the momentum game. So he's won Iowa. He's won New Hampshire. He goes down to South Carolina. We talked last hour about how some of the establishment types are now starting to embrace his candidacy.

Does the fire wall become Super Tuesday? And perhaps not the first Super Tuesday on March 1st. You go to March 15th and you have Marco Rubio in Florida, his home state and Jeb Bush, of course, but who knows where he is at this point. On that date those contests on March 15th are winner-take-all meaning if you win the state, you win that big cache of delegates.

Up until that point, you're just kind of picking off delegates. You might win a state but you're not winning all of them. And I think that's the place that they would try to stop Donald Trump.

BLACKWELL: If Trump loses here, are people, are you as confident that he will not lose or he will win New Hampshire?

PRESTON: It will be difficult -- it will be a little bit harder but he's still so high in the polls right now. The question is who will then win New Hampshire? And again we've been talking this morning. Ted Cruz can still do very well in New Hampshire but New Hampshire tends to go for more centrist-type candidates that we haven't seen John Kasich or Jeb Bush or Rubio or Chris Christie actually take off. They have done ok there but they haven't taken off. So in many ways, Donald Trump is helped by the fact that the centrists have not been as strong they should be in New Hampshire.

BLACKWELL: Three tickets out of Iowa --


BLACKWELL: -- right now the smart money is on Trump, Rubio and Cruz. Who know where that will shake out in which order.

[08:50:03] But where does Marco Rubio win?

PRESTON: Well, so a good question.

So Marco Rubio believes, and his campaign believes, that he is surging here in a strong placement here, a strong third, maybe second could propel him into New Hampshire. Maybe he gets some of that momentum and then they move down to South Carolina.

The Rubio campaign thinks that they can win South Carolina. They do believe that they have constituency there and that they can win. If you can hold through the SEC primary, you know, the Alabamas of the world, the Georgias of the world, Texases of the world because Texas as well will vote on March 1st; if you can do that and you can through to the 15th in Florida, that's a huge win if he can do it.

BLACKWELL: I'm not going to ask you about predictions on who's going to win on Monday night.

PRESTON: Anybody who tells you who's going to win -- they're lying. Nobody knows.

BLACKWELL: They have no idea.

Turnout --


BLACKWELL: -- are we going to see a big turnout?

PRESTON: Well, weather. We know there is a storm coming in. We don't know exactly when it's coming in. We think it will be after the fact. That could help Donald Trump. If the weather is bad, that will hurt Donald Trump.

But turnout, turnout, turnout. We saw earlier last hour you had an undecided voter who went with Bernie Sanders, a young woman, college student. Bernie Sanders needs a lot of those college students out to help him. Hillary Clinton needs older women to help her. Donald Trump needs the disaffected angry voter to help him. And Ted Cruz, he needs his grass roots activists that he says he has to help him.

BLACKWELL: All right. These are the final hours when those undecideds decide or they're persuaded to support another candidate.

Mark Preston -- thank you so much.

PRESTON: Thanks -- Victor.

BLACKWELL: Christi -- back to you in Atlanta.

PAUL: Victor, you've been out and about in Iowa the last couple of days. What is resonating with you? What are people saying?

BLACKWELL: I think, you know, I had a conversation with two couples who are really ready for this to move on to the next state, move on to the next phase getting calls every day, the mailers nonstop, the surrogates and campaign workers at their door.

But I asked them would you rather move later into the year -- later into the calendar. And what they said is no, we'll take it. Iowans treasure being first although they are now tired of the onslaught, they love this spot and they appreciate that retail campaigning -- Christi.

PAUL: They understand the importance of it, absolutely. And they treasure it.

Thank you -- Victor -- so much.


PAUL: Listen, we want to tell you about a Wal-Mart employee who wins a lawsuit against the chain retailer. She is awarded $31 million -- we'll tell you why.

Also, new problems for people affected by Flint's water crisis -- what was recently installed to protect people may not be helping. Yes, new possible cases of lead poisoning surface.


[08:56:02] PAUL: All right.

The nightmare is continuing in Michigan. According to Flint's mayor, those water filters they gave out may not be powerful enough to remove all the lead they're detecting in the water.

Some help may be on the way, although it's only a fraction of what is need -- $28 million of state aid is headed to that city.

A jury in New Hampshire awarded some $31 million in damages to a former Wal-Mart pharmacist who claimed she was wrongly fired after reporting safety concerns about co-workers dispensing prescriptions. She also accused the company of discriminating against her because she was a woman. Wal-Mart will reportedly appeal that ruling.

And two dangerous Mafia bosses were arrested in an underground bunker in southern Italy. One of the mobsters, a convicted murderer, had been on the run for nearly 20 years. Police say they found rifles, pistols and machine guns in their hide out.

The CIA released hundreds of declassified documents detailing investigations into possible alien life. Cases ranged from the 1940s to the 1950s and in playing off the hype of the TV show reboot, "The X Files" they broke down the cases into two categories whether you side with Agent Mulder or Agent Scully.

All right. That is it for us right now. We're going to be back here with you at 10:00 Eastern for another hour of "NEWSROOM".

But don't go anywhere. "SMERCONISH" starts right after the break.