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First GOP Showdown Since Trump Skipped Last Debate; North Korea Launches Long Range Rocket. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired February 7, 2016 - 07:00   ET




[07:00:07] SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I will always stand with the American people against the bipartisan corruption of Washington.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: That's because you got Ben Carson's votes, by the way.

BEN CARSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Everybody can see what happened and you can make your own judgment.

JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: How tough is it to take away property from an elderly woman?

TRUMP: Let me talk, quiet. A lot of times --

BUSH: How tough is it?

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The memorized 30- second speech where you talk about how great America is at the end doesn't solve one problem for one person.

GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have to solve problems in America by coming together, Republicans and Democrats, Americans first, party and ideology, second.

TRUMP: We're going to win with Trump. We're going to win.


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: A dicey debate for some, some might say. Good morning and thank you so much for making us part of your morning. I'm Christi Paul.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good to start a Sunday with you.

There is a lot to talk about from the GOP debate last night. A lot of contentious exchanges there.

But we're also following news this morning.

PAUL: Yes, out of North Korea, in fact. They fired a long-range rocket over night and that has angered the U.S. and many in that region. In fact, the U.N. is planning an emergency Security Council meeting in less than two hours from now.

BLACKWELL: So, we will take you live to Seoul in a moment.

But, first, let's go out to John Berman. He's in Manchester, New Hampshire, for all the details of the debate last night and looking ahead to the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday.

John, good morning.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, good morning guys.

Just two days to go until the first in the nation primary here in New Hampshire. Marco Rubio might be a little stiff this morning. Why? Because he got knocked down again, and again and again at the final debate before the voting here last night -- mostly at the hands of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.



CHRISTIE: But he simply does not have the experience to be pot the United States in making these decisions --


BERMAN: All right. This was just a sampling right there. Chris Christie repeatedly called into the question Rubio's accomplishments and moreover, Marco Rubio's apparently rehearsed statements that he repeated not once, not twice, not three times, but four times. That might be the headline of the debate. But there are other story lines emerging as well.

Let's get to CNN's Phil Mattingly for a look at the debate.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, Chris Christie telegraphed all week in New Hampshire what he was planning to try to do to Marco Rubio, and yet, he was still able to throw him off balance.


DEBATE MODERATOR: Florida Senator Marco Rubio.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): A pile up at the entrance.

DEBATE MODERATOR: Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.

MATTINGLY: And a pile on among the candidates. It took all of ten minutes for the new reality of the GOP race to show through.

Marco Rubio is the target -- a target for Chris Christie eager to prove he has the experience and Rubio does not.

CHRISTIE: Do you know what the shame is, Marco, the shame is that you would actually criticize somebody for showing up to work, plowing the streets, getting the train back on time when you've never been responsible for that in your entire life?

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Chris, you didn't want to go back. You didn't want to go back.

CHRISTIE: And the fact is, I went back, it got done and --

RUBIO: You didn't want to go back.

CHRISTIE: I went back. So, wait a second, is now one of the skills you get as a United States senator, ESP also?

RUBIO: Chris, everybody --

MATTINGLY: And it's (INAUDIBLE) for Jeb Bush.

BUSH: Look, let's be clear, Marco Rubio is a gifted, gifted politician. And he may have the skills to be a president of the United States. but we've tried it the old way with Barack Obama, with soaring eloquence and we got -- we didn't get a leader. We got someone who wants to divide the country up.

MATTINGLY: Rising in the polls after the stronger than expected finish in Iowa --

RUBIO: Yes, I have, I've got mentioned, can I respond --

MATTINGLY: Rubio attempting to turn back the criticisms of the inexperience and comparisons to President Obama like this.

RUBIO: But I would add this: let's dispel with this fiction that Barack Obama doesn't know what he's doing. He knows exactly what he's doing. He's trying to change this country.

MATTINGLY: Rubio using that line several times and Christie turning it against him.

RUBIO: This notion that Barack Obama doesn't know what he's doing is just not true. He knows exactly --

CHRISTIE: There it is, the 25-second memorized speech. There it is, everybody.

TRUMP: What a lot of people don't know because --

MATTINGLY: Trump's first time since he skipped Iowa on defense over his use of eminent domain in his business career.

BUSH: What Donald Trump did was use eminent domain to try to take the property of an elderly woman on the strip in Atlantic City. That is not public purpose. That is downright wrong. Here's the problem with that. The problem was it was to tear down -- (CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: Jeb wants to be -- he wants to be the tough guy.


TRUMP: I didn't take the property. I didn't --

BUSH: And net result was -- you tried.

TRUMP: I didn't take the property. The woman ultimately didn't want to do that. I walked away --

BUSH: That is not true. And the simple fact is, to turn this into a limousine parking lot for his casinos is not about public use.

MATTINGLY: Seeming to frustrate the billionaire candidate.

BUSH: How tough is it to take away property from an elderly woman?

TRUMP: Let me talk. Quiet. A lot of times --

BUSH: How tough is it?

TRUMP: A lot of times --


TRUMP: That's all of his donors and special interests out there.


TRUMP: So, that's what it is.

MATTINGLY: For Bush, Christie, and Ohio Governor John Kasich, the debate marking a crucial point for their respective last stands of their campaigns, each pinning their hopes on a strong finish Tuesday night.

KASICH: By the way, I've got to say after being here, every one of my 100 town hall meetings in New Hampshire were a lot more fun than what I saw here today, were so much more positive.

MATTINGLY: Iowa winner Ted Cruz with this message to Ben Carson for perceived dirty tactics in the state.

CRUZ: When this transpired I apologized then and I do so now. Ben, I'm sorry.

MATTINGLY: All setting the stage for a raucous final 72 hours in the Granite State.


MATTINGLY: John, Marco Rubio's advisers last night very quick to push out the news that they've raised three times more during last night's debate than they had in any debate prior, trying to change the narrative a little bit. But one thing to keep in mind over the next couple of days, why you saw the governors really go so hard at last night's debate. This really is their last moment. This is an urgent moment for their campaigns and there are as many as 30 percent of likely Republican voters according to polls who remain undecided.

So, historically, New Hampshire, late deciders, certainly looks like it's playing out that way now. A lot of movement could happen in the next couple of days, John.

BERMAN: All right. Phil Mattingly, great piece, great wrap up for the events last night.

I want to bring in Mark Preston, the executive editor of CNN politics. Also joining us, CNN senior political analyst Ron Brownstein, and CNN political commentator, Ana Navarro. Anna is a good friend of Marco Rubio but a supporter of Jeb Bush.

Ana, I want to start with you.


ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, it's called political schizophrenia.

BERMAN: You have watched Marco Rubio for a long time in his entire career. We've all watched Marco Rubio at least throughout this campaign, every debate was strong performances. A lot of people asking this morning, what happened?.

NAVARRO: Let me tell you. I was in the room. I was apoplectic. I saw last night what I thought I would never see, which is a meltdown by Marco.

I mean, you know, the one point that people have been hitting him on over and over again is how scripted, how prepared, how rehearsed, how packaged, how lacking humanity and genuine feeling he's been, and he goes out there and he proves it four times on the stage.

Chris Christie went I mean, full "Soprano" episode on him last night. It was like watching a show on the Food Network. That guy chopped him, diced him. He was having a great time doing it. You could see that Chris Christie came out for it.

I went up and talked to Chris at one of the commercial breaks. I said to him, you keep spanking Marco this way you are going to charged with child abuse tonight. It was poignant. I mean, Chris Christie and Marco were looking at each other, eye to eye.

The room was silent, because Marco has been an excellent debater and an eloquent speaker. And it was like when a robot gets water poured in it, and it was a short circuit.

BROWNSTEIN: And yet for all the excellence in the debate, this has been the biggest problem I think, that, you know, he rarely goes more than 10 or 15 seconds without reverting, in any debate answer, to a piece of his stump speech, playing the play button. And I have my pop culture, it was like a scene in the matrix where the matrix reloaded and just kept going back to the same moment.

BERMAN: And reason it's bad is because --

BROWNSTEIN: It reinforces the --


BROWNSTEIN: The most dangerous thing in politics is to reinforce a preexisting storyline. And in that sense, it may not quite as been as dramatic, but it was kind of reminiscent of 30 years ago, another older candidate turning to a young rising senator, whose record was kind of questionable, and say, where's the beef? I mean, it was kind of a "where's the beef?" moment for Marco Rubio because Chris Christie not only kind of showed him as scripted, but also raised the question of what have you accomplished besides reading a script. So, it was a potentially important moment.

BERMAN: The big question is, so what comes of this?

And, Mark, you have had some intel. You talked to the Christie campaign a little bit, because it's Christie, it's Jeb Bush, it's John Kasich, it's the governors who more than anybody wanted Marco Rubio to suffer a little bit.

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Well, we've been talking about this all week. John and I were talking about this yesterday. Chris Christie had to come out and had to land several blows on Marco Rubio, but he had to do it in a way that didn't like he was out of control. Chris Christie did not look he was out of control. He looked like he was in absolute control.

And to the point of the pop culture reference, it seemed he would go and punch Rubio and Rubio would shot back, but he wouldn't knock him out, he would let him dance a little bit, come in and hit him again.

In addition to that, Jeb Bush had to come out, you know, Ana, your friend there, Jeb Bush, had to come last night and go after Donald Trump. Not only did he go after Donald Trump -- you have to really have to look at the body language of these folks when they are delivering their lines. And Jeb Bush kept his lasered on Donald Trump.

[07:10:04] And that said something. You know, he should have done that months ago because now, he's in peril --

NAVARRO: I went to a Jeb Bush event yesterday in Bedford, which was at capacity. And it just struck me. What a much better candidate he is. You know, practice does matter. And his candidate skills now are 180 from where they were six months ago.

BERMAN: But, Ron, who benefits as they stands in the part here from all of this in the next two days?

BROWNSTEIN: Possibly ironically trump and Cruz. One of the most important storylines of this entire campaign has been that the mainstream conservative center right wing has been fragmented between Rubio, Bush, John Kasich, Chris Christie. Coming out of Iowa, there was a lot of expectation, a lot of momentum that maybe New Hampshire was Marco Rubio's opportunity to kind of clear that lane and establish himself as establishment acceptable, although he's pretty conservative, alternative to Cruz and Trump.

Last night, not only did Rubio have a bad night but Kasich, Bush and Christie all had good nights and that is going to continue to fragment and may not get the consolidation in New Hampshire people expect.

NAVARRO: To me, the three governors were the one winner last night.

BROWNSTEIN: They were.

NAVARRO: The problem is they are splitting the vote.


NAVARRO: They sounded last night -- first of all, they can hardly hide the disdain they feel for these rookie senator whose haven't done anything. But they were like singing out of same him hymn. It was like watching the three tenors.

BERMAN: The problem is, as they say in Highlander, for our third pop culture reference, there can be only one, maybe. They can't all win. You can't vote for all three.


BROWNSTEIN: Mike Duhaime, Chris Christie's campaign manager, said to me after the debate, there are going to be more people viable after New Hampshire --

BERMAN: We all should be open to that, but we just don't know.


PRESTON: Ted Cruz did not have a great night, though --

BERMAN: We'll talk about that. We have a lot more to say about Ted Cruz and what we had to say that just frankly wasn't true coming up in just a moment.

Ana Navarro, Ron Brownstein, thanks so much.

Mark, I want you to be here, too, because we have some breaking news on the debate issue, but another debate -- a new debate that CNN is doing. Explain.

PRESTON: Right. So, March 6th, Flint, Michigan, a city that is under the poverty line right now, 50 percent of the homes abandoned. Of course, the toxic water crisis that has just grappled that city. CNN is going to be there for the Democratic presidential debate. Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton on stage talking about issues that are going to be certainly important not only in Flint, but other cities, other communities, all across the country.

BERMAN: March 6th, CNN debate, in Flint Michigan, two days before the Michigan primary for Democrats. Pivotal.

Mark Preston, Ron Brownstein, Ana Navarro, thank you so much.

When we come back there are so many heated exchanges on that debate stage between the Republican candidates. One of them earned some boos, flat out booing, for Donald Trump at the hands of Jeb Bush. We will talk to one of Donald Trump's aides coming up.

Also, Ted Cruz blamed CNN for what his campaign did to Ben Carson in Iowa. False claims. We will show why.


BLACKWELL: Senator Cruz continues to spread falsehoods about CNN's reporting, using the debate stage last night to mislead voters again about how his campaign manipulated our reporting about Dr. Ben Carson's side trip off the campaign trail.

PAUL: Cruz misrepresented the facts and timing of CNN's reporting about Dr. Ben Carson's side trip off the campaign trail.

Our Tom Foreman explains.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: At absolutely no time has CNN reported that Ben Carson is dropping out of this presidential race -- not on air, not online, not anywhere.

And yet around the Iowa caucuses, the Cruz campaign suggested just that and blamed it on CNN. He did it again in the debate. Listen.

CRUZ: They didn't correct that story until 9:15 that night. So, from 6:30 p.m. to 9:15, that's what CNN was reporting.

FOREMAN: And that is an outright lie. Let's explain what really happened.

Before the caucuses began, our Chris Moody tweeted Ben Carson will likely speak in Iowa before caucus results are in so he can catch a flight. Then, he added, "Carson won't go to New Hampshire, South Carolina, but instead will head home to Florida for some R and R. He'll be in D.C. Thursday for prayer breakfast". And then he said, "Ben Carson's campaign tells me he plans to stay in the race beyond Iowa no matter what the results are tonight."

All of that three tweets in less than two minutes, more than 15 minutes before the caucuses opened in Iowa. And then 45 minutes after this, he hit it again saying, "Folks, Ben Carson is just making a brief stop at home in Florida tonight and campaign says he'll be back on the trail by Wednesday". Even if that is what Cruz is talking about, this was well before 9:00 or later than that. Yes, our campaign staff talked about these tweets because they are unusual. They noted that it would be strange for any presidential candidate to not go directly to New Hampshire.

But again, in no way, shape or form did they say Ben Carson was dropping out. That was an assumption made by Cruz's campaign. This is something our executives have gone over with the campaign, looking at the timeline. They have been called out by the dishonest handling of it by "The Washington Post", "PolitiFact", "Politico" and many other media outlets.

So, for the candidate to stand on the stage and say it again, it is false. It was false from the get go and it remains false.

You can find out a whole lot more about our reality checks by going to


BLACKWELL: All right. Here is how a "Washington Post" cartoonist captured the moment.

PAUL: And, by the way, CNN has reached out to Ted Cruz and his campaign, asking him to join us and address the incident. His campaign responded saying, quote, "they are out of commission because most people are traveling," unquote. So, apparently they cannot be here. And that is the word from Ted Cruz's camp this morning.

Let's go to John Berman who is in Manchester, New Hampshire, who has been covering this, along with every other thing political this morning. Hi, John.

BERMAN: Hey, thanks, guys, so much.

Important to have that reality check there because important to know the truth is there. Thanks so much.

We're going to move on now to Donald Trump last night. Donald Trump at center stage because he is at the top of the polls. He has some interesting exchanges last night, one in particular with Jeb Bush. Jeb Bush talked to Donald Trump about the issue of eminent domain and how Donald Trump use it at his Atlantic City casinos.



[07:20:00] TRUMP: And it doesn't work very well with -- a lot of time -- let me talk.

BUSH: How tough it is to take away a property from an elderly woman?

TRUMP: Quiet. A lot of times --



BERMAN: Joining us to discuss this and that moment, Donald Trump campaign surrogate Katrina Pierson.

Katrina, thanks so much for being with us.

Eminent domain, we know from Iowa polling, we know from polling around the country, you know, Donald Trump's positions on eminent domain very unpopular.

KATRINA PIERSON, TRUMP CAMPAIGN: They are very unpopular and they're also mischaracterized. I think what we've seen now some rhetoric shift. As you know, the Cruz campaign came out and admitted their attack ad in Iowa was false. Donald Trump did not use eminent domain to take down a woman's home. In fact, that home was still there.

BERMAN: He tried. He tried. He failed.

PIERSON: But he did.

BERMAN: He tried and failed in that case.

PIERSON: That is the reason we have a process for eminent domain and way they are making it seem is that Donald Trump is going around tearing down homes and that's simply not case.

BERMAN: But he wanted to in that ways, yes?

PIERSON: Any builder that wants to build, yes.

And here is the thing: eminent domain is not an executive issue. It is a state issue. And that's why governments talk to businesses to create jobs.

BERMAN: But you are admitting that Donald Trump did want to have that house torn down.

PIERSON: Oh, absolutely. If there is something to be built in conjunction with another building, they always do that. They go to the city. They seek a permission. If they get it, great. If not, then the property owner has a right to say no.

BERMAN: So, that exchange that elicited the boos, perhaps Donald Trump when Jeb Bush said you wanted to tear down this woman's home he should have just said yes.

PIERSON: Well, and he did. He also said he did not tear down that woman's home and he pointed the Keystone Pipeline which all the Republican candidates support, which is very different than what Donald Trump does, because a Keystone pipeline is a foreign private country. They do use eminent domain and they are not a common carrier, which is completely different.

BERMAN: But Donald Trump also talked about roads and bridges which are public. And those are in the public interest. There is not much public interest for a casino. Is there? PIERSON: Well, that is determined by the city that you're in and by the state that you're in. Again, that's all governed by state laws. We can say that 1.7 million jobs is not important. We can say that $38 billion in tax revenue, or the impact on the economy doesn't matter, but people in those cities and states believe it does.

BERMAN: So, just last question on eminent domain -- if you had to do it all over again and if he were building another casino and there were another woman with a house nearby, he would try to tear down that house again.

PIERSON: Well, it depends on the location. He would absolutely go to that person and say, look, this would help the community. We want to create more jobs here. If that person agreed, he'd purchase the home.

BERMAN: Talk to me about New Hampshire. Two days to go, what do you have in store here?

PIERSON: Oh, man, the pouring of volunteers have been amazing. Thousands of volunteers to phone call, to knock on doors for Donald Trump. And we're really excited. The folks here are excited. This state is heavily designed for Donald Trump. It is the Live Free or Die State. And that is Donald Trump.

BERMAN: Donald Trump said he wish he had a better ground game in Iowa. Do you have that here?

PIERSON: We do. And, you know, early on in Iowa, Donald Trump wasn't peg to even finish in the top of Iowa. It wasn't until later when we realized there was a lot of support and Donald Trump was outspent 20-1 in that area and still came in second place. So, we're really proud of Iowa.

BERMAN: All right. Katrina Pierson, great to have you with us. Really appreciate talking to you this morning.

PIERSON: Great to be here. Thanks.

BERMAN: All right. Guys, back to you in Atlanta.

PAUL: All righty. John, thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: Thank you, John.

PAUL: Our political coverage does not end here. We're going to be back later with New Hampshire RNC chairman to talk about last night's GOP debate, of course. A lot of conversations this morning.

BLACKWELL: Certainly.

Plus, a developing story. North Korea launches this rocket into space, they say for peaceful purposes. But we're getting a lot of condemnation from around the world. You will hear it in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [07:27:07] PAUL: Twenty-seven minutes past the hour, and developing this morning, North Korea has launched a long-range rocket claiming that it's carrying a satellite for, quote, "peaceful scientific purposes".

Here's the thing -- the U.S. and other countries are watching this and denouncing this launch, calling it a front for a ballistic missile test.

BLACKWELL: The South Korea has released this statement and here it is, "The government will have our military be in full readiness against North Korean nuclear and push for realistic measures with the U.S. to strengthen national security capability.

CNN's Paula Hancocks is live from Seoul.

Paula, what else do we know about this launch?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Victor and Christi, this happened 9:00 a.m. local time. According to North Korea, they said it took nine minutes and 46 seconds for the satellite to reach orbit. They are calling it a success.

You can see from state-run media that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is delighted with what has happened. He's ignoring this international criticism that's come flooding in over recent hours.

We also know that South Korea's defense minister says he believes the satellite appeared to have reached orbit, so really corroborating what North Korea has said. But he doesn't know if it's working at this point and he said it might take time before they can confirm whether or not it's working.

Now, interesting, we had a briefing from intelligence agencies. They were talking to parliamentarians. One of those lawmakers spoke to us and said that the timing of this launch is interesting. Obviously, weather is a big factor. As the very clear day today and they needed that clear day to be able to launch this rocket.

But also, they also believed they timed it so it was one day ahead of the Lunar New Year and also ahead of the Super Bowl to make sure it didn't clash with anything and they got maximum international exposure. We also understand from those intelligence agencies that they didn't practice a reentry mechanism. So, an intercontinental ballistic missile which many believe this was a test for needs that reentry, but intelligence that they did learn something from the satellite launch. They would have learned about guidance control and separation.

And one more interesting factor, the U.S. and South Korea are now talking about installing and deploying a new missile defense system here in South Korea. It is called THAAD. It is very controversial according to China. They are very dead set against this. They are concerned that the U.S. might be able to spy on their own launching systems and it would compromise their own launching systems.

But the U.S. and South Korea say because of what North Korea has done today, they now have to consider it.

Victor, Christi back to you.

BLACKWELL: All right. Paula Hancocks for us in Seoul, Paula, thank you so much.

PAUL: When we come back, we're getting the reaction to the GOP debate from the parties New Hampshire chairwoman Jennifer Horn.

BLACKWELL: Also, live from New York, it's Bernie Sanders.