Return to Transcripts main page


Democratic Head to N.H. with Iowa Caucus Results Unknown; Cruz Beats Trump in Iowa, Rubio Third; How Iowans Voted and Why. Aired 11- 11:30a ET

Aired February 2, 2016 - 11:00   ET


[11:00:00] CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks for joining me today. I'm Carol Costello.

AT THIS HOUR with Berman and Bolduan starts now.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everybody. I'm Kate Bolduan.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm John Berman. Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world.

Happening now, getting down to business in New Hampshire with unfinished business in Iowa. Let us give you that business. A wafer- thin margin separating Democrats, Hillary Clinton and Sanders, with Clinton ever so insanely slightly ahead, but a virtual tie.

BOLDUAN: CNN has not yet called that race. That's how razor thin, wafer thin, whatever thin it is. The Clinton camp is declaring victory. Bernie Sanders' campaign says they want more information on the count sheets. They're still holding out. At this moment, we, frankly, do not know on that one.

Let's go to senior Washington correspondent, Jeff Zeleny, in Nashua, New Hampshire, with the Clinton campaign right now for much more.

What are you hearing there, Jeff?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. We know one thing. We know we have a fight in the Democratic Party, a delegate fight. The results in Iowa last night were, regardless of who ultimately comes out on top, signifies both of them basically received about the same number of delegates.

If you're wondering what a delegate fight is, think back to 2008 when Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama went state to state to state fighting so hard over delegates. That is exactly what this campaign could turn out to be.

But I can tell you, you can see behind me here in Nashua, New Hampshire, a big crowd for New Hampshire this morning. She'll be speaking shortly with Bill at her side.

New Hampshire does not always do what Iowa does. In fact, they often do the opposite. We're entering a new phase of the race right here and Hillary Clinton offered a theme, a clue to what she'll be campaigning on last

night in Des Moines.


HILLARY CLINTON, (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: It is rare that we have the opportunity we do now, to have a real contest of ideas. To really think hard about what the Democratic Party stands for and what we want the future of our country to look like if we do our part to build it. I am a progressive who gets things done for people.



ZELENY: Well, she said this is going to be a debate over what the Democratic Party looks like. Of course, that is a subtle reminder that Bernie Sanders hasn't been in the Democratic Party long. He's a Democratic Socialist from nearby, Vermont. Some Democrats here in New Hampshire may take that into account. At least the Clinton campaign hopes they will.

Listen to what Sanders is saying. He's calling for a new movement. He's calling for a new movement, a revolution, if you will. He thinks that is what this country needs. Take a listen.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (I), VERMONT & DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: That is why what Iowa has begun tonight is a political revolution.


SANDERS: A political revolution that says when millions of people come together, including those who have given up on the political process, they're so dismayed and so frustrated with what goes on in Washington with young people before who had never been involved in the political process, when young people and working people and seniors begin to stand up and say loudly and clearly, enough is a enough, when that happens --


ZELENY: So this, of course, will determine how this race goes forward. His call for a revolution and her call for Democratic activist and regulars.

The New Hampshire primary one week away. Important, so many contests ahead. The Clinton campaign is stronger in the contest going forward, South Carolina and Nevada. Before we get to that, we're looking toward Iowa to see who won and, of course, what happens here in New Hampshire.

The first clue comes tomorrow at CNN's town meeting when the rivals share the same event space. They'll finally start drawing more distinctions with one another for that final week at the New Hampshire primary -- John and Kate?

BERMAN: I have to say that town meeting tomorrow night, what about the timing? That will be fascinating. Both of them have a lot of work they want to do.

Jeff Zeleny, in New Hampshire, thanks so much.

When Hillary Clinton starts speaking, we'll take you to the event. I'm fascinated. What is she going to say? What are the first words out of her mouth going to be?

BOLDUAN: We won?


We'll take you there.

Let's turn to the Republicans, and talk about a wild night and epic turnout busting through previous records. The clear winner, Cruz. He was literally popping champagne bottles on the flight out of Iowa. How long will the bubbles last?

BOLDUAN: Donald Trump, he is zero for Iowa. His supporters not as sick of winning as he promised they would be.

And Rubio makes it sound like he won the most important bronze metal in the history of illustrious third place finishes.

CNN's Jim Acosta joins us now live from New Hampshire.

Jim, the candidates are everywhere this morning.

[11:05:24] JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: That's right. And all morning long we were wondering when is Donald Trump going to speak? He's been quiet since his concession speech last night, congratulating Cruz for his victory in the Iowa caucuses. It had been about 14 hours since his last tweet. Donald Trump campaigns a lot on Twitter.

Guess what? He just sent out his first tweet since last night. We don't want to make too big a deal of this, but let's put it on the screens. He says, "My experience in Iowa was a great one. All the experts said I couldn't do well there and ended up in second place. Nice." And this coming from a candidate who was all but predicting victory heading into the Iowa caucuses. So now he has a struggle on his hands. He has to do what has to be done in order to win the New Hampshire primary.

You know, we were thinking yesterday and in the days heading up to the Iowa if Trump wins in Iowa and New Hampshire, it would be hard to stop him. Now New Hampshire is a must win state.

Last night, he sounded gracious. It was not the brash billionaire speaking. He was being gracious, tipping his hat to Cruz, and vowing he would fight on. Here's what he had to say.


DONALD TRUMP, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & CEO, TRUMP ORGANIZATION: Iowa, we love you. We thank you. You're special. We will be back many, many times. In fact, I think I might come here and buy a farm. I love it. OK?


TRUMP: I don't know who is going to win between Bernie and Hillary. I don't know what's going to happen with Hillary. She has other problems, maybe bigger than the problems she's got in terms of nominations.


TRUMP: But we've had so many different indications and polls that we beat her and we beat her easily. And we will go onto get the Republican nomination, and we will go onto easily beat Hillary or Bernie or whoever they throw up there.



ACOSTA: If you were to do a CSI sort of investigation on why Donald Trump did not win in those Iowa caucus, look at our entrance polling. A lot of last-minute voters went to Rubio and Cruz. The other thing we saw is that Donald Trump was not doing the retail politicking that Iowans crave. Cruz went to all 99 counties in Iowa. Donald Trump did not do that. He was outhustled by Cruz.

It's the same situation up here in New Hampshire. People in New Hampshire expect the candidates to come to the town hall meetings. Donald Trump may have to take a new look at his strategy if he wants to win here -- Kate and John?

BERMAN: And Iowa, for Cruz, the first election in history that all came down to turnout. It finally happened.

BOLDUAN: First one ever.

BERMAN: Jim Acosta in New Hampshire. Thank you so much.

BOLDUAN: First on CNN, Donald Trump's first tweet since the Iowa caucuses.

BOLDUAN: Let's get back to the caucus cliff hanger, if we could.

Joining us now, Bill Press, CNN political commentator and Bernie Sanders support and author of "Buyer's Remorse, How Obama Let Progressives Down;" and Dan Pfeiffer, CNN political commentator and former senior advisor to President Obama.

Great to see both of you.

Bill, we thought we'd play point counterpoint throughout this. Bill, sell us on the point that it's a win, even if it's not a win for Bernie Sanders.

BILL PRESS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Wait a minute. You're asking somebody who has been around politics a long time to do the impossible. I'm not going to spin it that way. It was a close win. In politics, it's not like horseshoes. Close doesn't count. A win is a win is a win. And if it's even 2 percent, I have to say that Hillary Clinton's the winner in Iowa. Even though I'd be first to say that Sanders put up a great show.

BERMAN: So, Dan, let's continue on that theme. We've been hearing a lot over the last 12 hours how Bernie won a moral victory. We've looked. Clear about that. Bernie Sanders crushing Clinton among first time caucus goers. Bernie Sanders crushing Hillary among young voters. Bernie Sanders crushing Hillary on the issue on who is most honest and trustworthy. Sanders wins all three -- take my words for it -- by a ton here.


Given all these three things and the gaping chasms here, how did she not lose or maybe prevail by the time the margins, which we're not calling yet?


DAN PFEIFFER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Sure. Look, I think Bernie Sanders needed -- if he had lost year, decisively, his campaign would be over. He needed some momentum heading into New Hampshire to expand his electorate. The challenge for Hillary Clinton is -- Iowa and New Hampshire are two of the three worst states for her and the best states for Sanders because they're very white. Iowa and New Hampshire and Vermont, Sanders will do well. The question is -- and there's nothing in the data from last night that shows anything different -- is whether Sanders can take his current coalition and expand it like Obama did to include African-Americans and Latinos, when you get to other states, not just South Carolina, but as the bigger states start coming in, in March.

[11:10:40] BOLDUAN: And on that point, Bernie said, late last night, it's all kind of blending together, we were down 50 points when it started and look where we are today. Beyond New Hampshire -- let's make a big assumption he wins New Hampshire -- beyond that, how does he get past what Dan is getting to? He does not have big support among African-American voters in New Hampshire have long been with Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton before that. How does he fight that?

PRESS: I think you have to recognize one thing we saw last nights with Hillary's win but Bernie's strong showing, you start 40 points down. No super PAC. No Wall Street money. No establishment support whatsoever. And you almost beat the Clinton operation. That's huge. And I think don't discount Sanders. I think what we showed is he's a serious candidate. His campaign is for real. They know what they're doing. He's got a message that resonates not just with white voters. It will resonate with African-American voters. I think we're going to see a long haul. This is great for the party and it's healthy for the country. I think this could go all the way to the convention. Two very, very good candidates with a contest of ideas. God bless America.

BOLDUAN: I think political people across the country just passed out when you said it could go longer.


BERMAN: Bernie Sanders said was telling reporters he's taking it all the way to the convention. When a guy with that kind of war chest says that, that's what causes political tremors.

Dan, again, give me the glass half full? What did work for them in Iowa? Again, just being there, the Bernie Sanders passion was everywhere. It felt like it was overwhelming everything. How did the Clinton team fight that to a standstill?

PFEIFFER: I think, like 2008, they had a good organization in Iowa. They had precinct captains everywhere. And they were able to weather a much larger than expected turnout. They learned lessons from 2008 in terms of organizing how you put the focus and resources in the field. What we're going to see in the coming weeks, how that plays out. You'll run into a series of a bunch of caucus states. If Hillary Clinton can do better in those states than she did in 2008, she'll have a clear delegate lead and it won't go to the convention. Every candidate when they come in a close second always says it's going to the convention. It never goes to the convention. You can make your vacation plans if you want to get time off in early June or so.



BERMAN: We can only hope.

Bill Press, political reporters around the world waiting for that next time.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, guys.


BERMAN: Bill Press, Dan Pfeiffer, thanks so much.

BOLDUAN: An important programming note. Tomorrow night, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders going face to face with New Hampshire voters, taking questions directly from those who will decide the winner and the loser next week. The Democratic presidential town hall. Anderson Cooper will be moderating.

BERMAN: Martin O'Malley not going.

BOLDUAN: Yeah, right.

BERMAN: He dropped out last night.

BOLDUAN: He dropped out. BERMAN: Moments from now, Hillary Clinton will speak live in New Hampshire. Her first campaign appearance since she did something in Iowa. We're not allowed to say whether she won or lost. Her first campaign appearance since she competed in Iowa and won her participation ribbon. What will she say?

BOLDUAN: I love a good participation ribbon.

Plus, Republicans right now swarming New Hampshire in a race that's tighter than ever. Did Donald Trump's debate boycott hurt him in Iowa? What does that mean going forward? And can Marco Rubio clear the establishment lane now?

Stay with us. We'll be right back.


[11:18:25] BOLDUAN: In an election cycle not short on drama and surprises, last night did not disappoint. Cruz came out on top, beating Donald Trump by four points. And Marco Rubio in arguably the biggest win of the night, coming within one point of Trump in the same. He also has the same number of delegates.

BERMAN: Amanda Carpenter just screamed at the screen somewhere.

BOLDUAN: I get that a lot. I get that a lot.

BERMAN: It's not just how Iowans voted, but why.

CNN's Tom Foreman taking a close look at the entrance poll numbers.

Tom, what do you see this morning?

TOM FOREMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I see a couple of anchors getting giddy over politics. It's ridiculous.



FOREMAN: No, you know what I see here? I see evangelicals. The evangelicals were really in a quandary. A lot of them liked the fiery message of Donald Trump. They liked the celebrity. They liked the decisiveness about what he said. But they were uneasy from a beliefs standpoint. Cruz kept saying I'm your guy. I'm the true conservative. I match your values as evangelicals. And ultimately, they believed, giving him the nod. 33 percent for Cruz, 22 percent for Donald Trump. I will point out that Marco Rubio didn't do badly with this group.

When you move to another part that made a difference, were the early deciders versus the late deciders. One of the reasons that Trump came burning in so strongly was there was a sense among the early deciders that they were really picking between him and Cruz, and all the other people were in the "also run" category. At that time, among early deciders, Rubio was down 19 percent. Early deciders chose him. When you got to the people who decided close to the election, boy, did it flip. Rubio rose to the top with people saying they wanted him to be their person if they decided late, which, again, probably speaks so some second thoughts about Donald Trump.

And then you get to what may be one of the most telling numbers of the night. It's a small number, but it's one that really matters for Republicans all over this country. For eight years, many Republicans have been just hungry, hungry to take back the White House. And in the end, last night, more of the Iowa caucus goers on the Republican side thought that Marco Rubio could actually win the general election than any other candidate. That may be one of the real driving forces that made him have such a great showing last night compared to what people expected.

[11:21:04] BERMAN: Really fascinating look at the numbers.

Tom Foreman, thanks so much. Great job overnight at the caucuses.

Tom Foreman was working hard as the people were casting their votes.

Thanks so much, Tom.

We want to talk more about this with CNN political commentator, former communications director for Ted Cruz, Amanda Carpenter. We have Ben Carson's former campaign manager, now an advisor to Donald Trump, Barry Bennett; and the former communications director for the Republican National Committee, Doug Heye.

What a great group of people.

Barry, I want to start with you.

You're advising the Trump campaign. We have a new tweet. "I was told I could not do well in Iowa. I spent very little there, a fraction of Cruz and Rubio. Came in a strong second. Great honor."

He's spinning it now, but it clearly didn't end how he wanted it to. What next?

BARRY BENNETT, DONALD TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISOR & FORMER BEN CARSON PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN MANAGER: In the end, the difference is eight delegates versus seven delegates. I don't think in the end it really means much. The story this morning, though, about the Carson/Cruz feud over some -- what appears to be dirty tricks by the Cruz campaign to steal votes and delegates away from Carson could hurt Ted down the road, especially South Carolina. Christians don't like dirty tricks.

BOLDUAN: Do you think this was dirty? This gets to Ben Carson's campaign saying that he's going to be heading back to Florida. They needed to do some laundry. That came out later. A lot of people talked about that. And Ted Cruz's campaign jumped on it and ran with it. You think that's dirty tricks?

BENNETT: They said he was getting out. And they told precinct captains to say that at the meetings, and they did. And I heard this morning that Mrs. Carson was at one of them where they said that. You know, I think that it was -- yeah, it was a dirty trick. It's an old political trick, but it's dirty.

BERMAN: It's hard to imagine that making up the difference of 4 percent in the polls.

Amanda Carpenter, respond to that, if you see fit, and declare victory, if you see fit. Cruz just won the Iowa caucuses. Ted Cruz just got more votes than anyone in Iowa caucus history on the Republican side. The floor is yours.

AMANDA CARPENTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah. He has done the biggest story coming out of this is that Ted Cruz won more votes than any other Iowa caucus runner in history. That is a big, big deal. Trying to take the shine off that by saying he played dirty tricks, the only dirty trick that happened was Ben Carson didn't have enough clean clothes. Cruz cannot sabotage the Carson campaign when his campaign is sabotaging it for him.

This has been consistent. Carson was polling 10 percent in the poll. That's where he finished. It's remarkable that Cruz was able to finish with a four point lead, scarily, accurately predicted by his campaign, which really worried me in the beginning. Turns out, they were right, without needing the 9 percent from Carson. This is kind of sad to see this happening. Nobody from the campaign -- if there's evidence that they did this, I would like to look at it, but everything played out as expected. Carson ran about 9 percent. He's not going to New Hampshire. He's not even going there. It's expected that Cruz --


BENNETT: That's not true. That's not true.

CARPENTER: -- he will go to South Carolina and he has more cash on hand than anyone else in the field, $19 million. That's a big deal going to the next early states.

BOLDUAN: Let me bring Doug into this.

Maybe what didn't happened as planned -- and Rubio's campaign is happy about it -- is his very strong third place, they would say, winning finish, in the Iowa caucus.

BERMAN: You're going to upset Amanda.

BOLDUAN: I'm waiting for her to yell at me. I want her to yell at me today. I'm kidding, Amanda.



BOLDUAN: Doug, is Marco Rubio now the establishment? Is he clearing the lane now? What does he do with this going forward? Let's look ahead.

DOUG HEYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's obviously a big momentum for Rubio. They played the expectations game perfectly. They timed things perfectly. Peaked perfectly. It was a big night for Rubio. One of the best things he did was get out on television early. If you were an east coast viewer watching the returns, Rubio wasn't only the first person you saw. He might have been the only person you saw speak that night. He might have turned the television off if you're a Republican caucus goer. He proved that organization is king in Iowa.

Cruz had an awesome organization. Everywhere you went you saw it. And we also saw Donald Trump had no organization. That clearly affected him. One of the things that I would hear time after time last night was people would go to the caucus site and there was no person there to make the case for Trump. He didn't have somebody making the last case, the last time you hear something before voting. There was nobody there for Trump. Cruz had it everywhere. Trump fading in the past few days with organization making that case, and really effective ads by Cruz and others against Trump hurt him last night.

[11:26:09] Barry, from your view, is there such a thing as Marco- mentum. He came in the same place as O'Malley. Rubio came in third just like Martin O'Malley did for the Democrats, but with a different number.

BOLDUAN: A very different number.

BERMAN: Do you see Marco Rubio with momentum into New Hampshire. Again, I put it to you, Barry, what does Donald Trump do now that he lost? Losing is not something Donald Trump does well.

BENNETT: I think in New Hampshire, it's like game over again. We start all over again. You have Chris Christie and John Kasich, who have been working in the state hard. Jeb Bush spent a lot of money in Iowa. He spent more money in New Hampshire. We'll see if Marco- mentum helps in New Hampshire. We have this debate this weekend.

I mean, whether or not Cruz did a dirty trick or not, what he does have now is Ben Carson is very angry with him, and that could hurt him.

BOLDUAN: Ben Carson angry? Let's figure out what that looks like. I haven't seen that yet, and what that means for him.

You mentioned Chris Christie, Barry. This is new sound from him this morning in New Hampshire where he spent a whole lot of time, and who he clearly wants to take on now, one Marco Rubio. Listen.


CHRIS CHRISTIE, (R), NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR & PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know me. Unlike some of the other campaigns, I'm not the boy in the bubble. We know who that is, who never answers your questions and is scripted and controlled because he can't answer your questions. So when Rubio gets here, when the boy in the bubble gets here, I hope you ask him some questions, because it's time for him to start answering questions.


BOLDUAN: He says we need to get the boy out of the bubble, Doug Heye. It's on in New Hampshire.

HEYE: Well, look, obviously, that's one of everybody's favorite "Seinfeld" episodes, but it shows the real momentum Marco Rubio has coming out of Iowa. That was a big night for him. That's why his campaign is so enthusiastic. That's why they started very early in New Hampshire. Obviously, Ted Cruz has a lot to talk about. He's going to focus more on South Carolina. In New Hampshire, a big part of the story is Rubio. Trump has been leading in the polls, but he is hurting right now. We know he had a bad night last night, because he gave the most un-Donald Trump speech last night. And he's been quiet on Twitter until a few minutes ago.

BERMAN: Amanda, 15-seconds closing argument, Marco-mentum?

CARPENTER: Marco has a difficult problem coming up in New Hampshire. Not only is he going to be savaged by everyone else in the establishment lane, but he has to find a way to confront Donald Trump. Cruz has shown he can take down Donald Trump, as he did in Iowa. Marco has to show he can take down Donald Trump or the establishment or both. That's a hard problem to face. That's what we'll see him do in New Hampshire, potentially.

BERMAN: Amanda Carpenter, Barry Bennett, Doug Heye, thank you to you all. Great to have you here.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, guys.


BERMAN: On the subject of the establishment, we'll check in with the establishment. A big New Hampshire voice, a key former U.S. Senator, he is going to weigh in on his support for Marco Rubio. He's going to talk about what he thinks of Ted Cruz. He is going to talk about the overall situation there.

BOLDUAN: The support for John Kasich in New Hampshire.

BERMAN: Yeah, support for John Kasich.

BOLDUAN: Coming up for us, Hillary Clinton getting ready to speak live -- looking at live pictures right now -- in New Hampshire as questions remain over who actually won in Iowa. We're going to hear what she has to say on this fine morning after Iowa as everyone looks at New Hampshire. That's ahead. We'll be right back.