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Candidates Making Final Push In New Hampshire; One On One With Jeb Bush; Fight Is On For Delegates In New Hampshire; Trump Responds To Bush's Hits; Bush Family Used Eminent Domain Too; Trump Says Bush Doesn't Have What It Takes; Interview with Donald Trump; Bill Clinton on the Campaign Trail. Aired 1-1:30p ET
Aired February 8, 2016 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington. We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. Wherever you're watching, thank you very much for joining us.
We start in New Hampshire where the presidential candidates here in the United States are making their final push to voters just one day before that state's first in the nation primary.
Hillary Clinton and Vermont senator Bernie Sanders, they're out on the campaign trail. Sanders tempering expectations with a big lead in the polls.
Former president, Bill Clinton, has taken the stage in Manchester, New Hampshire. We're also awaiting the start of a Sanders rally New Hampshire, as well.
On the Republican side, Donald Trump relishing his front-runner's status, saying he wouldn't be happy with anything but a win in the granite state.
The Republican candidates, they're out, spread out across the state today. They're jockeying for every vote possible. Ted Cruz and Donald Trump have events, by the way, scheduled later this hour.
We're going to hear from Donald Trump in just a few minutes. But first, let's bring in our Chief Political Correspondent Dana Bash. She's joining us live from Nashua in New Hampshire.
Dana, you just wrapped up an interview we had with Governor Bush. He's trying to establish himself as the one and only alternative, shall we say, to Donald Trump. What's his focus heading into the primary tomorrow?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, it's kind of a two-prong strategy. It's, number one, to keep punching away at Donald Trump, the front-runner here in New Hampshire.
But the other is, as you said, to convince everybody here who is undecided, and there's still a lot of undecided voters that we're talking to, that he is the best alternative in the so-called establishment or mainstream Republican lane.
We talked about that but especially about how he and Donald Trump are going at it.
BASH (on camera): Governor, you just sent a tweet that was pretty harsh. You said to Donald Trump, you aren't just a loser, you're a liar and a whiner. John McCain is a hero. Over and out.
GOV. JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes, I just find it remarkable that medal-of-honor recipients or -- like Leo Thorsness or John McCain who were in Hanoi Hilton as prisoners of war aren't viewed as American heroes because that's what they are. And it's a long list of things that Donald Trump says that disparages people, large groups of people, individuals like John McCain. I find it remarkable that, as a candidate for president, he would think that's an evidence that he's a strong person. He's not.
BASH: When you started the campaign, you said even before, you said that you really only liked to do it if it could be a joyful campaign.
BASH: And now, we are the day before the New Hampshire primary, and you're calling an opponent a loser, a whiner and a liar.
BUSH: Well, he is a whiner and I'm defending the honor of people that I really respect. And I think that's more than appropriate. I do this with joy in my heart, because I do believe that this country is the most extraordinary country on the face of the earth.
But I'm going to be -- you know, I'm a joyful warrior. There's a difference between just sitting back and watching someone try to hijack a party that I believe will allow people to rise up again.
BASH: I get that. But do you -- I guess if you have a few free moments, which I'm sure you don't have these days, do you sit back and say, wow, what is happening? I mean, how did we get to the point where I'm feeling like I have to use these words in a tweet as a candidate for president of the United States?
BUSH: I don't know. I don't think about it that much in reflection because we're in the heat of battle right now. And we're all big boys. We all can take it. I get a lot of incoming from Donald Trump. I don't know if you've seen it.
BASH: Yes, you do.
BUSH: I get more than my fair share and I'm the only one taking him on. Everybody else runs away from the bully.
BASH: Why do you think that is?
BUSH: Because they don't want to be attacked by the bully. And there's no other explanation. If someone is trying to hijack your party, believes, until recently, that higher taxes is better than reforming the tax code, believes a single-payer system works well in other countries, believes in -- you know, is pro-choice, is anti- second amendment -- this is not that far in his past, all of those things. And now, he's on the vanguard of, you know, conservative cause. As a conservative, I find that offensive.
BASH: On the stump, he has been talking a little bit more about defense spending.
BASH: Said that he doesn't want to increase spending but he does want to save money by cutting waste, fraud and abuse.
BUSH: Oh, sure. I mean, there is waste, fraud and abuse in the government. And we've laid out a detailed plan how to fix procurement, how to have fewer civilians in the Department of Defense. But you've got to increase spending if you're serious about restoring America's presence in the world.
[13:05:01] We have gutted the military by the sequester. And as president, I would -- I would -- I would do the opposite of what Donald Trump is talking about.
And, frankly, John Kasich also has this belief that you can, you know, save money so much that you can't -- you know, that, on a net basis, you don't have to increase defense spending. It's not -- I don't think that's an honest evaluation of the needs of the military right now.
BASH: He's obviously got a populist message in trying to strike a chord with populists out there who think that --
BUSH: Donald Trump?
BASH: -- yes, yes, who think that -- you know, that the government is just spending too much money needlessly and perhaps the Defense Department and the military is what the --
BUSH: Yes, and I agree. And we've laid out a detailed plan on how to reform it or the veterans' administration with outrageous management that doesn't provide care for the veterans even though there's been massive increases in spending.
I've done this, though. Unlike Donald Trump, I've actually reduced the government when I was governor of the state of Florida. I reduced the work force, reduced spending, as it related to people's income.
BASH: Let's talk about Marco Rubio.
BASH: How do you just feel about kind of how things have been going over the 20 -- past 24 or 48 hours? You know, kind of watching him, he's taking a lot of incoming now. BUSH: He is. He is. And I --
BASH: Do you think it's deserved?
BUSH: Well, when you --
BASH: Was his --
BUSH: -- when you -- when you repeat something over and over again that's basically a canned phrase and it validates a belief that you're not ready to be president. This started, remember, when they -- he, himself, struggle about what his accomplishments have been.
And the accomplishments that his campaign offered up, supporting a bill that became law where he didn't vote for it, taking credit for the elimination of a risk corridor inside of Obamacare that he didn't sponsor. And the passage of one law with Jeanne Shaheen as a sponsor that I think I'm sure is a good bill, that's it. That's all that you can point to.
Whereas, in my case, I can say, hey, I was governor of a state when we had eight hurricanes and four tropical storms. No one -- no one blamed the state of Florida for its response. That we created the most ambitious school choice programs. That we took on lifetime employment protections for government workers. I've got a story to tell and he doesn't. And that's the difference.
So, he kind of validated the weakness of his campaign. Now, having said that, what I feel uncomfortable about is that he's a great guy. And he's my friend. And I admire him. And he can speak --
BASH: You just don't think he's ready to be president?
BUSH: I think I'm more ready to be president. Part of this is comparing and contrasting. I don't feel good when a friend is getting beaten up. I don't feel good about it at all.
BASH: Speaking of that, Christ Christie, just moments ago, said of Marco Rubio, he said the lights are bright on you. And when that happens, you either shine or you melt. And you can't afford to have somebody melting who's president of the United States. Do you think that that is possible? That -- I mean, what he's saying is that Marco Rubio isn't ready for primetime. Do you agree?
BUSH: I do when you compare him to governors that had to make tough decisions. That's the point. It's not that he's a bad person, to the contrary. Look, one of the -- one of the evidence in Florida of this is that every speaker before him and every speaker after him is supporting my campaign.
BUSH (live): So, Wolf, you can see there that Jeb Bush obviously knows that he has to bring Marco Rubio back down to political earth if he wants to get ahead and do reasonably well here in New Hampshire tomorrow. But he clearly is not that comfortable with it, given the fact that the two of them have historically been friends. He still calls Marco Rubio his friend.
And this, if you kind of rewind time, it all goes back to the fact that the Jeb Bush campaign and Jeb Bush, himself, were shocked that Rubio even decided to run after Bush announced his candidacy. So, there are so many plots and subplots going on here in this very, very intense last 24 hours before the primary -- Wolf.
BLITZER: It certainly is getting intense with only a few hours left to go.
All right, Dana, good work. Thanks very much.
Donald Trump and Jeb Bush, as you heard, they have been trading insults at an increasing rate. Joining us now on the phone to respond to what we just heard from Jeb Bush is Donald Trump.
Mr. Trump, thanks very much for joining us. So, let me get your immediate reaction to what we just heard from Jeb Bush and then we'll go into some specifics. Go ahead.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (via telephone): Well, I did hear part of it, Wolf. And, frankly, you know, well, he's a stiff. He's not a guy that can be president. He doesn't have what it takes. And just in listening to the last part of the conversation, he talks about Marco Rubio and says, he's my friend. He's my friend. He's lying about that. He can't stand him because Marco Rubio's making him look bad.
He's doing much better than, frankly, Jeb Bush is doing. And they're not friends. Why does he have to say, he's my friend? He goes around saying about me, he's a gifted politician, a highly-gifted politician, about me. And then, he goes, he's a great entertainer. But then, he goes hostile because he sees how well I'm doing.
And I hear him lying. You know, number one, I'm pro-life. He says I'm not. He says I'm not on the second amendment. Nobody's stronger on the second amendment. I guess you can hear me OK, Wolf, can't you?
[13:10:09] I hear you fine. But let me just --
TRUMP: OK, good.
BLITZER: -- read to you the tweet that he put out just a little while ago, and he was addressing it to you at real (ph) Donald Trump. He says this. He says, you aren't just a loser. You are a liar and a whiner. John McCain is a hero. Over and out. That's the tweet that Jeb Bush put out a just a little while ago. I want to get your reaction, specifically --
TRUMP: Well, he's a desperate person.
BLITZER: -- on those are very tough words.
TRUMP: Look, Wolf, he's a desperate person. He's a sad and, you know, he's a pathetic person. He doesn't even use his last name in his ads. He's a sad person who has gone absolutely crazy. I mean, this guy is a -- he's a nervous wreck. I've never seen anything like it. And he's saying things like that.
I get along very well with John McCain. You know, I was on John McCain's committee for his election to try and help him get elected. It didn't work out for him but that's OK. He was -- you know, John McCain, he's fine. I like John McCain.
I know he says that I called John McCain all sorts of names. I call everybody names. Actually, the person I called the names is Jeb because Jeb isn't in favor of common core. In other words, your children have to be taken care of from Washington. He's weak on immigration. I mean, just look at these things. Remember, he said -- it was on your show, I saw it. They come as an act of love, immigration, on -- you remember the thing on -- let's see, I just wrote down one other thing here. The Texas stadium, when he talks about the taking of land. Well, they used -- the Bush family used the taking of land privately, eminent domain, on Texas stadium. So, you look at this guy and this stuff, it's absolutely amazing.
BLITZER: But he says -- he says specifically that --
TRUMP: He didn't know that they used -- no, Wolf, he didn't know that they used private -- they used -- they privatized it. He didn't know that. But they used it on the Texas stadium, having to do with eminent domain. And he didn't even know that. And on top of it, Wolf, he spent over $100 million and he's a failed candidate. I mean, he's a laughingstock.
BLITZER: Well, he says you're -- he says -- he says you aren't just -- he --
-- says you aren't just a loser. He says you aren't just a loser, you are a liar and a whiner. I mean, those are tough pretty tough words he's saying about you.
TRUMP: No, I'm not a whiner. I get things done. You know, I get things done. Look, Jeb is the kind of a guy if he weren't in government, nobody would give him a job. Couldn't get a job. You look at what he says, I mean, he lies so much. I'm very strong on second amendment. You know that. You've been at my speeches. I'm very strong on low taxes. I've got a huge tax cut for everybody. He says I want to raise taxes on everybody. I mean, you know, how do you do that? A guy goes out, he says he wants to raise taxes. The guy is -- you know, he's got a failed campaign. He's a nervous wreck. He's probably going to be the last of the governors, I would say. You know, certainly he's the least talented of the governors.
And, you know, he's done very poorly in the debates over the period of time. And what he does is he goes around saying, I'm the only one to have courage to go after Trump. I (INAUDIBLE) Trump and I'm the only one. What courage is it? He says nasty things. I always put him down on the dais and he goes away like a little sheep. You know, the guy is just not a majesty (ph) -- he shouldn't be doing what he -- he should speech much more positively. But I just heard the last part where he -- you know, he talked about second amendment. Who's better with the second amendment than me?
And for low taxes, I have a tax bill. And according to Larry Kudlow, I have the biggest tax cut of any candidate. I mean, I have a massive tax cut because, right now, we're the highest taxed country in the world. So, Jeb is having some kind of breakdown I think. And, you know, look, he's an embarrassment to his family. He has to bring his mother out and lug his mother around at 90 years old. I think it's a very sad situation that's taking place. But he lies.
And then, I hear him -- Wolf, I hear him saying that Marco Rubio, he's my friend. He's my friend. Why does he say he's a friend? They're not friends. He hates Marco Rubio so much, he can't even stand the sight of him because, frankly, Marco Rubio did something where he said he's better than Jeb. He probably is, by the way. But he's better than Jeb and he violated the relationship.
But why would Jeb go and say, he's my friend? You know that's not true. That's called political speak. And you make a living off political speak. But that's called political speak. He's my friend. He shouldn't say he's my friend because it's a lie just like the things that he says about me are a lie.
BLITZER: He's not just attacking you. He's attacking, as you point out, Marco Rubio as well. And at that Republican presidential --
TRUMP: I know but --
BLITZER: -- debate --
TRUMP: -- why would he say that Marco Rubio is his friend? He just said -- I heard it on your show. I'm just waiting --
BLITZER: I think that -- at one point, they were friends when --
TRUMP: No, no, no. But he's not saying that. He said Marco Rubio is his friend. Not past tense. He says, currently,
[13:15:00] Marco Rubio is -- they're not friends. They can't stand each other. And that's the problem with politicians. And maybe why I'm doing so well.
BLITZER: Well, what did you -- what was your reaction --
TRUMP: And (INAUDIBLE) like this -- I just told you -- Wolf, excuse me.
TRUMP: I just told you about eminent domain. He's talking about eminent domain. He used it on Texas Stadium. He didn't use it because he's not smart enough to use it, but it was used by the (INAUDIBLE) --
BLITZER: Well, his family, his brother -- his brother and other members of the family were directly involved in the Texas Rangers --
TRUMP: I know but how -- how he criticized --
BLITZER: Apparently he wasn't directly involved.
TRUMP: You're right, Wolf, but how can he criticize me for using eminent domain when his own family used it?
BLITZER: Well, that's a -- that's a fair point.
Let's talk about Marco Rubio for a moment. What was your reaction? He clearly seemed to stumble at that Republican debate the other night going back two or three or four times with the same line -- I think it was four times. He basically -- instead of answering the question, he switched the subject talking about President Obama, how he's doing a lot of damage to the country. How much damage do you think that did to Marco Rubio on the eve of the New Hampshire primary?
TRUMP: Well, I hope it didn't do too much. I mean I just can't answer the question. I was standing there when it happened and I sort of heard it once, and that was fine. And then I heard it twice, and that was sort of OK because, you know, some people repeat themselves. And then I heard it at least two more times, maybe three more times, and I said, that's a little bit strange. I didn't know what was going on because I'm standing right next to him and I keep hearing the same language. So I really don't know if it hurt him. Maybe it didn't hurt him at all. Maybe it hurt him a lot. You will see that probably tomorrow.
BLITZER: Who is your biggest competition on the Republican side?
TRUMP: Well, I sort of thought it was going to be Marco, actually. I thought Marco Rubio would be maybe the biggest just based on, you know, the way it was working out. I can't tell you. You never know -- you never know. It's the world of politics. You and I know it pretty well and you never really know the answer to a question like that. I just worry about myself. I'm thinking only in terms of the people of New Hampshire. We have a great relationship. I'm going to have strong borders. We're going to stop the heroin from pouring in. It's the biggest question I get in New Hampshire, Wolf, is the heroin and the drugs that are pouring into New Hampshire.
TRUMP: And it's -- it's, literally, you know, it's so unusual because it's such an incredible place. It's so beautiful. And yet their number one question is always about the heroin and drugs that are pouring in. And I'll stop that cold at the border. And guys like Marco and Jeb probably even more so, they don't have a clue. They can't -- they can't stop it.
BLITZER: What about Ted Cruz?
TRUMP: Well, I thought that he was, you know, doing really well. I mean he was doing really well, but he doesn't seem to be doing so well up here.
BLITZER: You think he cheated in Iowa? TRUMP: Say it, Wolf?
BLITZER: I said, do you think he cheated in Iowa?
TRUMP: Well, I think it was a sad situation for Dr. Carson. Dr. Carson is a wonderful guy. And, frankly, a lot of votes were taken. And if those votes weren't taken, it probably would have been a different result. So I was sort of affected by that, too. Not that I mind. In that case, it was the first time I've ever done it. I came in a very strong second. A very -- you know, pretty close. And, frankly, a lot of votes were taken from Carson.
So -- but I don't even think about that now. I only think about New Hampshire. We want to have a great victory in New Hampshire. And we're going to lower taxes and we're going do all of the thanks that I know that I can do that these politicians can't do. Because the politicians, they're all talk, no action. Nobody knows them better than I do, Wolf. And, you know, I deal with them. I was on the other side of the ledger from them, don't forget, Wolf, my whole life until seven months ago. And many of these people I contributed to. Many of the people I'm running against I contributed to.
BLITZER: Quick -- quick -- a quick question about Ted Cruz, who won in Iowa, at least officially according to the Republicans. Before the Republican debate over the weekend, he had said you do not have -- his words -- the temperament to be president of the United States. He was asked about that at the debate. He refused to say that in front of you. He wouldn't say in front of you what he said earlier. What does that say to you about him?
TRUMP: It says -- it say that he respects me and he respects me a lot. And a lot of these guys will talk big, but in front of you they won't talk. So what that says is he respects me. And I respected him for not saying it because, you know, it really shows that he had -- you know, he has a great deal of respect for me. I respect the fact that he didn't say it, frankly.
I was a little surprised, actually, because politicians will say anything.
BLITZER: Will you -- will you win in New Hampshire tomorrow?
TRUMP: (INAUDIBLE) actually play nice.
BLITZER: Will you win in New Hampshire tomorrow?
TRUMP: I hope so. I mean it's snow, and I hope the snow doesn't affect it. But I certainly have the biggest crowds and we have a great turnout. And it's all about making America great again and that's what we're going to do. And the politicians will never be able to do it. Nobody knows them better than me. You don't even know them as good as I know them. And I will tell you, they don't have it. They're not going to be able to make America great again. Not going to happen.
BLITZER: Let me -- let me wrap it up with a question because it's a CNN report that we're just getting in from our Paul Cruickshank, our terrorism analyst, and it's an important story, CNN now reporting that there was evidence that there were 60 ISIS fighters on the ground in Europe to carry out attacks on five cities in Europe, including Paris, London, Berlin, and in Belgium. And that presumably that they're still there right now. If you were president of the United States, what would you do about that?
[13:20:20] TRUMP: I would knock the hell out of ISIS, Wolf. I would knock them out and they would be gone so fast. And I'd use the full force. We would take care of them. It's a -- it's a cancer on the world. And this whole migration, letting these people in, and they may be ISIS, is insane. Look at what's happening in Germany. Look at what's happening in Europe. And you've just seen the beginning. We have no idea what these people come from. You've got to knock them out and you've got to knock them out fast.
BLITZER: You want to give us details how you would do that?
TRUMP: I don't want to do that now, no. The last thing I want to do is that. You have to have a little bit of surprise every once in a while without telling our plans.
BLITZER: Donald Trump joining us on the phone from New Hampshire.
Mr. Trump, thanks very much.
TRUMP: OK, thank you very much, Wolf. An honor.
BLITZER: Thank you.
Coming up, Bill Clinton goes on the attack against his wife's opponent, calling some of Bernie Sanders' supporters sexist. We have the center's campaign here to respond live.
And why are Hillary Clinton's surrogates calling out young women for not supporting her? We have the Clinton campaign as well. They will explain.
[13:25:12] BLITZER: Hillary Clinton speaking at a rally, an event, a town hall in New Hampshire right now, Manchester. Let's listen in briefly.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Obamacare all those years ago. And we tried really hard, and we weren't successful. The drug companies, insurance companies really spent a lot of money, as they seem to do wherever I'm around, trying to prevent good things from happening.
And it was disappointing. I sure felt, after having talked to so many Americans, that the direction we were trying to head was exactly right because look what was going on back then. Some of us remember. The insurance companies called all the shots. If you had pre-existing conditions, you were out of luck. If you're a woman, you paid more than a man. If you were a young person, there was no way you could get insurance. And there were lifetime limits that prevented people from getting the health care they need.
So after we were unsuccessful, I thought hard about, what can I do. And there were a lot of stories that I had heard during the course of my work. But I just want to tell you one.
I was at the Children's Hospital in Cleveland. And I went there because I was meeting with parents of very ill children who could not get insurance. And I listened to their stories, and, you know, as a mom, they were hard to hear. And then one man said, you know, here's what I don't understand, he told me. He said, I'm successful. I have my own business. I provide health insurance for my employees and their families. I have two daughters with cystic fibrosis. Nobody will sell me an insurance policy no matter what I offer. I said, what do they say to you? He said, well, the last conversation that I had, I asked, I told them I could afford something, anything that would help me. And the man just looked at me and he said, you don't understand, we don't insure burning houses. And this father, with tears in his eyes, just said, they called my little girls burning houses.
So that's why I went to work on the Children's Health Insurance Program. And we got a bipartisan coalition in the Senate and the House, and we passed it. And eight million kids at least had insurance. Was it everything we wanted? No.
BLITZER: All right, so Hillary Clinton is telling a moving story out there in Manchester, New Hampshire, right now. We'll continue to monitor what else she's saying.
Only moments ago, by the way, Bill Clinton told the crowd, and I'm quoting him now, he said, "I have to be careful what I say." Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL CLINTON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: The hotter this election gets, the more I wish I were just a former president and just for a few month not the spouse of the next one because, you know, I have to be careful what I say.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: He was alluding to remarks over the weekend when he lashed out at some of Bernie Sanders' backers. He accused them of sexist and even profane attacks against Hillary Clinton supporters.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL CLINTON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: People who have gone online to defend Hillary and explain, just explain why they supported her, have been subject to vicious trolling and attacks that are literally too profane often, not to mention sexist, to repeat.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Our senior Washington correspondent, Jeff Zeleny, is joining us now live from Manchester, where the Clintons, as you see, have been campaigning.
Explain exactly what Bill Clinton was talking about then, what he's saying today.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Wolf.
Well, this was yesterday when Bill Clinton was out on the campaign trail by himself. He was trying to rally these New Hampshire voters. And he was trying to get people to draw a bit more attention and more scrutiny to Bernie Sanders' campaign and his record. And that particular moment, he was talking about a group of Sanders supporters, sometimes called Bernie Bros, generally male supporters online who have been very critical and made sexist comments about people who support Hillary Clinton.
Now, Bernie Sanders has disavowed all of these comments. He told Jake Tapper on CNN yesterday that he does not condone any of that. That was Bill Clinton trying to draw attention to some of the negative attacks that they believe that they're up against. Then he did several negative attacks of his own. He said that Senator Sanders has not been as pure as he said on fundraising.
But, Wolf, it's a different picture today. Bill Clinton was introducing his wife, Secretary Hillary Clinton, as you saw just a second ago, and he said he has to be careful of what he says. Now, he is one of the best advocates for her. He is one of the best people who make the case for her election. But he also tried to put some context into this whole discussion of the anti-establishment or the establishment. Let's listen to what he said.
[13:29:56] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL CLINTON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: But it bothers me to be in an election where debate is impossible because, if you disagree, you're just part of the establishment. You'll have to forgive me, but I don't think your governor and your senator, I don't think of them as establishment politicians wedded (ph) to the old ways.