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The Left Stuff; Trump Changed?; Your Brain on Football; New Hampshire Voters Weigh in Tuesday; Secretaries' Email Probe. Aired 4- 4:30p ET

Aired February 4, 2016 - 16:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: He's looking more like a politician today and less like -- well, less like Donald Trump.

THE LEAD starts right now.

Recalculating. Republican front-runner Donald Trump making some tweets after his second-place finish in Iowa. He's pounding the pavement, instead of his opponents, in New Hampshire today.

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, both of them circling left like they're on a NASCAR track, as they battle over who's the real progressive. But did Clinton stumble on the $675,000 question last night?

Plus, an NFL star's death that may help save the lives of future players. Our Dr. Sanjay Gupta gives us a look at your brain on football and a possible medical breakthrough against a crushing disease.

Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

We are in the thick of it, people, so, of course, we begin today again with our politics lead. Donald Trump in New Hampshire, the site of the nation's first-in-the-nation primary in just five days, and Mr. Trump is not taking anything for granite -- granite -- it's the Granite State.

Anyway, he has four events today, some old-school politician-like appearances. He's taking an alternate route to get around today. It's called the high road, until today, a road not taken.

CNN correspondent Sunlen Serfaty is live for us on the trail in Weare, New Hampshire.

Sunlen, Trump is noticeably toning it down today.


This is a big shift for Donald Trump today. He backed off of going after Ted Cruz, as we saw him do all day yesterday, hammering him, claiming that Cruz did not win Iowa, that he stole the Iowa election. Well, there was absolutely none of that coming from Donald Trump today, and Ted Cruz was the one throwing the punches.


SERFATY (voice-over): On the ground in New Hampshire, Ted Cruz reveling in taunting Trump.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald Trump is very rattled right now. He told the entire world he was going to win Iowa. And then he didn't win. And his reaction is, he got very angry.

SERFATY: Cruz now using a new weapon against Trump, former President Jimmy Carter. The Cruz campaign out with a Web video highlighting what Carter, the liberal Democratic president, said this week about Trump.

JIMMY CARTER, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If I had a choice between Cruz and Trump, I think I would choose Trump. The reason is that Trump has proven already that he's completely malleable.

SERFATY: Cruz wearing it as a badge of honor.

CRUZ: That is real. Jimmy Carter yesterday, he said between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, I would support Donald Trump. And he explained why. Carter said because Trump is malleable. He doesn't have any core beliefs. So he will work with us and do what we want. But, Cruz, that guy believes this stuff.


SERFATY: Today, a tactical shift from Trump, a return to the basics, the hallmarks of his early campaign.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We're talking about a serious wall, we're talking about a Trump wall. This is going to be a wall that works, OK, believe me.


SERFATY: And noticeably absent, little boasting about polls and no attacks on Ted Cruz, Trump blasting all politicians instead.

TRUMP: I would like to use really foul language. I won't do it. I was going to say they're full of (EXPLETIVE DELETED).

SERFATY: The unconventional campaigner going traditional after his Iowa loss.

TRUMP: Got to do it. It's called crunch time, right?

SERFATY: Not only holding a big rally, but the campaign beefing up his schedule today with four classic retail-style stops, meeting with local business leaders, attending a shift change at a police department and holding town halls. This comes as the other battle among the establishment candidates is erupting into an all-out war, unleashing a barrage of attacks in the last 24 hours hammering down on Marco Rubio.

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He acts like the king of England. He has a press aide next to him, and preselect which reporters will get to ask him questions.

JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think it's fair game to suggest that the two leading senators who have been successful politicians most of their adult life, but haven't had a record of accomplishment they can point to.

SERFATY: Christie making a play at independents in New Hampshire, bringing the new argument that Rubio is too far to the right on abortion.

CHRISTIE: On the issue of pro-life, Marco Rubio is not for an exception for rape, incest or life of the mother. Now, I think that's the kind of position that New Hampshire voters would be really concerned about.


SERFATY: And for the establishment candidates, New Hampshire is so key for them. Many of them have pinned their hopes on this state, so they have a lot to gain by really teaming up, going against Marco Rubio, trying to stop his momentum going forward -- Jake.

TAPPER: Interesting. Sunlen Serfaty, thanks so much.

So are we seeing Donald Trump try to turn over a new leaf?


CNN political reporter Sara Murray is in beautiful Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where Donald Trump is set to speak in a few hours.

Sara, do you think it's fair, as Cruz describes Trump as rattled? Do you think that's a fair description?

SARA MURRAY, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I don't know if I would say rattled, but I think that when you lose the first state and you're headed into a state where you have at least for now a wide lead, you want to make sure that you win here. I think that's what we have seen from Donald Trump and his campaign over the last couple of days, that they want to make sure that they have left nothing on the field.

We're seeing that in terms of them adding to their campaign schedule and we're also seeing that in terms of their volunteers on the ground. They're trying to get more people making calls, more people out there door-knocking. And it seems like one of their realizations in the wake of Iowa is that their ground game as of -- was not as strong as they hoped it would be, and Trump's celebrity was not enough to just get the voters out there to caucus for him, at least in Iowa.

TAPPER: And you have been on the ground in New Hampshire all week. It sounds as if Trump is running a more traditional campaign there. MURRAY: I would say in some ways it's a more traditional campaign,

but I don't want to go too far. When we say Donald Trump has changed his schedule from two to four events in one day, you look at Ted Cruz and he's doing four or five events every single day.

And Trump is still doing these big rallies. We're expecting this Portsmouth event to a big one. But I think that they have realized that there is something to traditional campaigning. There is something to having your friend, your neighbor show up and knock on your door and say here's why you should support Donald Trump and, by the way, are you actually going to show up?

The thing about New Hampshire is, it could be a much more favorable place for Trump. It has a primary process, which is easier than a caucus process. And Trump has had a much wider lead in the polls here than he ever did really in Iowa as we got closer to caucus day, so those could all be things that end up benefiting him when it finally comes down to Election Day.

TAPPER: All right, Sara Murray in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, thanks.

Donald Trump sits down for a live interview with Anderson Cooper this evening on "A.C 360." Don't miss it, 8:00 Eastern, only on CNN.

Now let's go to the Democrats, an unusual and illuminating look at the Democratic candidates in New Hampshire when Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton took voters' questions at a CNN town hall. Both Sanders and Clinton revealing details about their personal faith journeys, each stumbling on questions that revealed some political vulnerabilities.

Those answers could come back to haunt them.

CNN senior Washington correspondent Joe Johns is live in Durham, New Hampshire.

Joe, I have to say we really got to see a new side of both Sanders and Clinton last night.

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Jake, I think that's true. We're waiting to see Bernie Sanders at an event in Rochester, New Hampshire, within the next hour, hour-and-a-half or so.

Big picture, I think you can say there were strong performances last night on both sides, as these candidates make that final push toward the vote here in New Hampshire early next week.


JOHNS (voice-over): It is turning into a battle for the left, the Democratic candidates with strong performances, making their cases to New Hampshire voters at the CNN town hall, sparring over who is the true progressive.

While they never shared the stage, Bernie Sanders slamming Hillary Clinton for saying she pleads guilty to being a moderate. SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (VT-I), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Then you can't go

and say you're a moderate on one day and be a progressive on the other day.

JOHNS: Clinton responding that she reaches across the aisle to resolve issues.

HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And I'm a progressive who likes to get things done. And I was somewhat amused today that Senator Sanders has set himself up to be the gatekeeper on who's a progressive.

JOHNS: Sanders attacking Clinton on her record.

SANDERS: There are other issues, Anderson, where I think she is just not progressive. I do not know any progressive who has a super PAC and takes $15 million from Wall Street. The progressive community was pretty united in saying don't listen to Bush. Don't go to war.

Secretary Clinton voted to go to war.

CLINTON: I don't think it helps for the senator to be making those kinds of comparisons, because, clearly, we all share a lot of the same hopes and aspirations for our country that we want to see achieved.

JOHNS: Each with personal moments, answering questions from voters about how their faith guides them in daily life.

SANDERS: My spirituality is that we are all in this together and that when children go hungry, when veterans sleep out on the street, it impacts me. That's my very strong spiritual feeling.

CLINTON: But when you put yourself out into the public arena, I think it's incumbent upon you to be as self-conscious as possible, but at the end be grateful. Practice the discipline of gratitude, and that has helped me enormously.

JOHNS: But Clinton and Sanders both had their stumbles, Sanders admitting to slow response to the problems plaguing the Department of Veterans Affairs, an issue first uncovered by CNN's Drew Griffin.


SANDERS: Your point is fair that we should've acted sooner. We should've known what was going on in Phoenix, those long waiting lines and the lies that some administrators were telling us.

JOHNS: And Clinton seemed ill-equipped to answer why she accepted almost $700,000 in speaking fees from Goldman Sachs.

CLINTON: Look, I made speeches to lots of groups. I told them what I thought. I answered questions.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: But did you have to be paid $675,000?

CLINTON: Well, I don't know. That's what they offered. (LAUGHTER)

CLINTON: So, you know, every secretary of state that I know has done that.


JOHNS: And there was a little more on that last piece today. The Center for Responsive Politics in Washington reporting to CNN that Secretary Clinton got something like $17 million from the financial sector by the end of December, another $600,000 from the banks.

The campaign has pointed out in the past that she did once serve as a senator from New York, and that's where Wall Street is, so longstanding ties there -- Jake, back to you.

TAPPER: All right, Joe Johns in Durham, New Hampshire, thanks so much.

Donald Trump has accused Ted Cruz of committing fraud in the Iowa caucuses. Now the governor of Iowa is weighing in with his own questions for Ted Cruz -- that story next.


[16:15:08] TAPPER: Hey, everybody. Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

Just five days until New Hampshire's primary and many candidates are desperately trying to gain a foothold to keep them in the race.

Let's break it down with our political panel, CNN political commentator S.E. Cupp, and Bill Press, who is a Bernie Sanders supporter and the author of the book, "Buyer's Remorse: How Obama Let Progressives Down."

Bernie Sanders blurbed that book. It was -- it's being used against him, the blurb.


BILL PRESS, AUTHOR, "BUYER'S REMORSE": I know. Read the blurb, there's nothing controversial about the blurb at all. All he says is we need a political --

TAPPER: Death by a thousand blurbs.

PRESS: Right.

TAPPER: Anyway, let's move on.

S.E., Donald Trump a lot more traditional campaign today, adding events, retail politics, focusing more on his grounds game. Do you think he's turning over a new leaf? What do you make of this?

CUPP: Well, I think he's reacting to a serious dip in the polls since Iowa. I think he's reacting to Ted Cruz's surge and Marco Rubio's surge. I mean, I even heard him earlier talking up the benefits of legal immigration. I mean, out of nowhere, America is great because of legal immigration.

TAPPER: Right.

CUPP: Not what you have heard Trump choose to talk about over the past few months. So, maybe he's recalibrating after Iowa, maybe he's recalibrating because New Hampshire is different than Iowa, it's a bit of different audience. But he doesn't seem to have the same kind of --

TAPPER: Oomph?

CUPP: Oomph, chutzpah, or strength --

TAPPER: Pizzazz, yes.

CUPP: Pizzazz, sure, than he used to.

PRESS: Almost as if he was admitting skipping the debate was a mistake, right? That he didn't do something all the other candidates do, that now he's doing stuff other candidates do, like meeting with small groups of supporters.

CUPP: Well, I mean, he's talked -- he didn't know what a ground game was until just recently, someone had to tell him.



CUPP: I mean, he seems to be admitting that, you know, he's new to all of this, which we got that. We figured that out.

TAPPER: Bill, let me ask you a question.


TAPPER: You saw in Joe Johns' piece, the way Hillary Clinton answered that answer about the $675,000 in payment for three speeches she gave to Goldman Sachs she gave to Goldman Sachs. I see a lot of progressives out there criticizing her answer, saying, how could she still not have a good answer on this. What was your reaction when you heard her say that?

PRESS: I thought it was her weakest moment, maybe. But I thought they both did very well last night. And -- but that question, you know, it's not a new question for her, right?

TAPPER: Right.

PRESS: Unlike the death with dignity question. She should have had the answer down.

The idea that, "well, that's what they offered, so big deal" was tone deaf. And then she said, well, everybody else does it, right, so why shouldn't I do it? But I thought the most unbelievable was, and I was sitting with some Clinton people who found it shocking when she said, oh, I wasn't even thinking about running for president.


PRESS: Yes. I mean, oh, come on, right?

TAPPER: That seemed odd too.


CUPP: But this is why so many young people in particular are flocking to Bernie Sanders. He's authentic. He's got this like retro-hipster cool thing.

He's like the Williamsburg microbrew and she's like the Malt TGI Friday's. She is packaged, canned, corporate. She's a chain, she's everywhere.

And there's just a lot of -- she doesn't feel like a cause. And I think that Wall Street answer reminded a lot of people that she's not -- she's not a cause candidate the way Bernie Sanders is.

TAPPER: That's interesting.

Let me ask you a question about Donald Trump. He's really laying into Ted Cruz for, quote unquote, "stealing" the Iowa caucuses. I want you to take a listen to Iowa Governor Terry Branstad who commented on this as well. Take a listen.


GOV. TERRY BRANSTAD (R), IOWA: This thing that they distributed on caucus night saying that Dr. Carson was likely to drop out and his supporters should support Cruz, that is, I think, unethical and unfair and I think there will be repercussions to that.


TAPPER: Now, everything --

CUPP: Not a Cruz fan.

TAPPER: He was not a Cruz fan and obviously one of the big reasons was because Cruz opposes ethanol subsidies and that's a big thing for his state.

CUPP: Right.

TAPPER: Could that hurt Cruz? Could this charge hurt Cruz?

CUPP: Well, when Terry Branstad came out and said, essentially, anyone but Ted Cruz --

TAPPER: Right. CUPP: -- it didn't hurt him. Neither did his position on ethanol subsidies.

But, look, I think the only one to blame for this was Ben Carson who had the odd sense to announce the night of the Iowa caucus that he was going to Florida. I think the Ted Cruz campaign took advantage of that. Maybe got out over their skis a little bit but took advantage of that.

And now, Donald Trump and Terry Branstad are trying to make Iowa not about Ted Cruz, but -- Ted Cruz's surge but about Ted Cruz's, you know, chicanery, or Ted Cruz's, you know, sort of --

PRESS: You know what I find interesting is it's gotten so negative and so nasty between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. And here, the Republicans are accusing one another of cheating in Iowa.

CUPP: Stealing.

PRESS: Of stealing the election, of criminal activity.

[16:20:01] TAPPER: Yes, it's definitely much harsher on the Republican side.

Let me ask you a question, Bill. Obviously, Bernie Sanders is favored to win New Hampshire for any number of reasons, including, that they know him there because he's from neighboring Vermont. But looking forward at the calendar, it doesn't look very favorable to him going forward. I mean who knows what will happen, but South Carolina, Nevada, you know, the big states coming up on Super Tuesday. Where can he win?

PRESS: Well, couple of things.

One, that is the big question, right? You know, can he translate beyond Iowa and New Hampshire to basically white states, to much more diverse states. I think he showed some real movement on that last night, by the way.

His answer about racial divide and where he's talking about very practical, down-to-earth things, about more diversity in the police forces, about demilitarizing the police officers, about criminal justice reform I thought resonated. Today, he got the support of Ben Jealous, the former head of the NAACP, which is big news in South Carolina. I think he can win Nevada and I think he can do well in South Carolina, and I think his message does resonate, to be fair, beyond just those two first states.

TAPPER: I agree, but I still think that he's got to make some serious inroads into the minority populations.

CUPP: Yes. The map looks challenging for him, but he's doing so much better than Hillary is with young women, young people in general. If those gaps end up being relatively similar, he could have a real shot of it. PRESS: And shame on any of us, I think, for thinking that there is

such a thing as a firewall. I mean every time I hear that phrase, it's been proven not true so many times.

CUPP: I agree.

TAPPER: And then they get torn down by victories in other states.

PRESS: Exactly.

TAPPER: S.E., Bill, thanks so much for joining us. Appreciate it.

CUPP: Sure.

PRESS: Thank you.

TAPPER: On the ground in New Hampshire, just five days before the primary, what one political insider thinks about who might come out on top, next.

Plus, a potential motive in that horrific murder of a 13-year-old girl. What are prosecutors saying now about why a female college student allegedly got involved.

Stay with us.


[16:26:30] TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

Continuing with our politics lead today, today, former Secretary of State Colin Powell acknowledged that he too received e-mails to his personal e-mail address that are now, quote, "considered confidential". This comes, of course, as the controversy continues to grow over Hillary Clinton's use of a private server while secretary of state.

Powell said in a statement to CNN, quote, "I have reviewed the messages and I do not see what makes them classified. If the department wishes to say a dozen years later they should have been classified, that is an opinion of the department that I do not share."

The Clinton campaign jumped on the statement to buttress its argument that all of this is just a debate over over-classification. And this as NBC News reports that e-mails forwarded to Clinton on that private e-mail server contained veiled references to undercover CIA officers.

In an earlier interview, Republican presidential candidate, Senator Marco Rubio, made it clear to me that Clinton's use of her private e- mail server would be a major issue should he get the nomination.


SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This campaign is about ensuring that we can turn this country around. We're not going to turn this country around if a socialist like Bernie Sanders or someone like Hillary Clinton is elected president of the United States.

TAPPER: What do you mean someone like Hillary Clinton?

RUBIO: Well, for example, someone that has in my opinion disqualified herself from being commander in chief, both in her handling of classified information where just yesterday we learned that some of the e-mails that are on her server can't even be released because she thought she was above the law so she put them on a private server. This very highly sensitive information, which she had to know was classified or at a minimum sensitive and she still did it anyway, because I guess she felt she could get away with it.

And someone who lied to the families of the victims of Benghazi who knew that their death was the result of a coordinated and orchestrated terrorist attack. She was saying that to other people in those e- mails but she was telling those families something different for over a week.

TAPPER: Now, Clinton's response, not mine, Clinton's response is this is overclassification run amok, she wants these e-mails to be released but the intelligence community overclassifies even a story that might be in "The New York Times" about a classified --

RUBIO: But that's not her decision to make. When something is marked classified, there's a reason for it. You're protecting a source, you're protecting the method by which it was collected, or it's just information you don't want your adversaries to know.

And, by the way, it's not just classified information, you don't want them to know sensitive information, even your thought process, especially in the diplomatic corps.

And so, her willingness to use -- whether she believes it should be classified or not is irrelevant. If a member of my staff that handles, since I'm on the intelligence committee, classified information -- removes classified information from the building in an unauthorized way or posts it on a private server and they get caught, they would have been fired and probably prosecuted for it. And so, she must think she's above the law, but she's not.


TAPPER: Joining me now, Trent Spiner. He's the executive editor of New Hampshire's "Union Leader" newspaper.

Trent, thanks for joining me.


TAPPER: So, for Democrats and Republicans, if you had to guess right now, who do you think is likely to win the primary on Tuesday?

SPINER: There's no way to tell. The polls that you're seeing coming out of New Hampshire, I'll tell you right now, there's a very high likelihood that they are wrong.

TAPPER: Why do you say that?

SPINER: In the last few months, there have been more than 80 polls in the field here in New Hampshire, 80 polls. Imagine getting a phone call every single night for 80 nights. I mean, it's impossible for these pollsters to know where people are going to go. The only thing to consider is that in 2008, there are now 30 percent, 30 percent of the state is different from what it looked like in 2008.

So, the list that a lot of these pollsters have, even if they're using random dials, just not accurate.