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Win Strengthens Trump's Frontrunner Status; Sanders Courts Minority Votes After Big Win; Win Strengthens Trump's Frontrunner status; Trump Launches Anti-Cruz Ad; Rubio Speaking At Rally In South Carolina; Outsiders Turn Presidential Race Upside Down; Democratic Race for President; Interview with DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Aired 1-1:30p ET
Aired February 10, 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. It's 1:00 p.m. here in Washington, 6:00 p.m. in London, 8:00 p.m. in Jerusalem. Wherever you're watching from around the world, thanks very much for joining us.
Up first, so-called political outsiders turning the presidential race upside down. A brash billionaire businessman and reality T.V. star is, a 74-year-old self-declared Democratic socialist both, winning very big in the first primary election of the 2016 campaign. Senator Bernie Sanders trouncing Hillary Clinton 60 percent to 38 percent in the New Hampshire primary.
On the Republican side, Donald Trump took 35 percent of the vote, Ohio Governor John Kasich finished second with 16 percent, followed by Senator Ted Cruz, former Florida governor, Jeb Bush, and Senator Marco Rubio. Trump told cheering supporters, he'll fix the country's problems, including the economy and creating jobs.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If we had five percent unemployment, do you really think we'd have these gatherings? Forgetting about security, forgetting about ISIS which, by the way, we're going to knock the hell out of ISIS. We're going to knock the hell out of them and it's going to be done the right way.
So, we're going to take care of the economy. We're going to take care of jobs. We're going to take care of all of the things that I said. We are going to make our country so strong. We are going to start winning again. We don't win anymore. As a country, we don't win on trade. We don't win with the military. We can't beat ISIS. We don't win with anything. We are going to start winning again and we're going to win so much, you are going to be so happy, we are going to make America so great again, maybe greater than ever before.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Donald Trump's very convincing, winning in New Hampshire and is clearly in the national polls. Leave little doubt that he's the Republican front-runner right now going into South Carolina. CNN Correspondent Phil Mattingly is joining us now. Phil, does this win change Trump's strategy as he moves now from New England to South Carolina?
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, I think it really hones in on the fact that, for Donald Trump as he moves to the southern states, he needs to make things a lot more like New Hampshire and a lot less like what happened in Iowa. And that means getting to work on the ground.
If you look across the south, South Carolina included, Donald Trump with double-digit leads. His campaign has made a very concerted effort to have rallies in some of those southern states, trying coalesce and support for this really crucial period in the coming weeks ahead.
What Donald Trump needs to do is make sure he can convert those top- line numbers into actual votes, something he clearly did here in New Hampshire last night, something his campaign team making very clear they need to figure out a way to do that going forward.
Now, one of the key things they're going to be doing, Wolf, attacking hard on Ted Cruz, somebody else who has risen throughout the south, paid a lot of attention there, has a very strong ground game in South Carolina.
But one of the more interesting elements will be how he treats Marco Rubio. He's taken a few swipes at him today in the wake of Marco Rubio's disappointing finish in New Hampshire last night. Whether or not he focuses entirely on Ted Cruz or starts to lace into Marco Rubio as well will be an interesting dynamic to keep an eye on going forward -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Yes, Trump really did well. He beat Kasich by more than, what, 55,000 votes. He was ahead of Cruz by more than 60,000 votes in New Hampshire.
All right, Phil, thank you.
On the Democrat side, the Vermont senator, Bernie Sanders, he's also riding very high right now from his huge win in New Hampshire. Sanders is hoping to cut into Hillary Clinton's support among minority voters. In his victory speech last night, he touched on the issues of race and discrimination.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Not only are we going to fight to end institutional racism in a broken criminal justice system, we are going to provide jobs and education for our young people, not jails and incarceration.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Our CNN National Correspondent Jason Carroll is joining us from New York right now. He's in Harlem with more on Sanders's minority outreach. He had an important meeting earlier today. Jason, tell us about that.
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And, Wolf, I know what you're looking for. You're looking for the answer, in terms of whether or not Reverend Al Sharpton decided to endorse Bernie Sanders. But the answer to that question is not yet, at least not until he has the opportunity, he says, to meet with Hillary Clinton. He says that meeting is going to take place next Thursday.
We also asked about what they -- the two men discussed during their 20-minute meeting at Sylvia's restaurant. He said they talked about issues affecting the African-American community, the flint water crisis. He said they spoke about police brutality as well as affirmative action.
[13:05:01] As you know, Clinton is outpolling, outpacing Sanders in the African-American community as well as the Latino community. But having said that, Sanders still picked up the endorsement from Ben Jealous, former NAACP leader who was out here today with Sanders. He says Sanders has been on the right side of the issues since day one.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENJAMIN JEALOUS, FORMER PRESIDENT, NAACP: There is no candidate in this race who is fiercer in standing up for those who need allies in the struggle than Bernie Sanders. He has been consistent since he was a teenager, a young man going to jail in Chicago with the congress of racial equality, fighting housing segregation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARROLL: Jealous also says he expects Sanders to pick up more endorsements from African-American leaders in South Carolina within the next couple days -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Yes, he had a very impressive win in -- he beat Hillary, also, by about 55,000 votes in New Hampshire as well.
Jason Carroll in Harlem for us. Thank you.
The Ohio governor, John Kasich, he certainly is savoring a second- place finish in the New Hampshire primary. Kasich says his positive message resonated with voters.
CNN's Sara Murray spoke with him on his flight from New Hampshire to South Carolina and asked him about an attack plan by Jeb Bush claiming Kasich will weaken the U.S. military.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: They ought to get this thing figured out at some point. I mean, they're spending so much money. I don't know who's advising them. But, I mean, I think that's kind of silly that I'm weakening the -- I don't even understand what you're talking about. What do you think the Bush campaign spent against me?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: $7 million or $8 million.
KASICH: OK, they spent seven or eight. There was 4 million spent by another Super Pac. That was 12. Rubio spent money against me another, what, a million and a half. That's like -- that is like $15 million of direct hits and that doesn't even count the mail pieces. And we beat everybody except Trump who never attacked me.
So, I know we can't just go through this, you know, like falling off a turnip truck and saying that everything's just going to be positive because I'm going to have to respond to some of this stuff. But I'm starting to really think we're on to something. I'm starting to really think that the positive nature of a campaign can be very effective. I'm starting to think it could be true.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Kasich is campaigning in South Carolina today, but he also says he's looking ahead to Michigan, other Midwestern states, the primaries there in March. He, of course, is from Ohio.
Let's get some perspective on the Republican side of the presidential race. Donald Trump wins big. Marco Rubio stalled momentum, at least for now.
Joining us now to talk about that and more, Scottie Nell Hughes. She's Chief Political Correspondent for USA Radio Networks. She's a Trump supporter. And Amanda Carpenter, she's our CNN Political Commentator, former communications director for Senator Ted Cruz.
Thanks so much, ladies, for joining us. Let me just start with you, Scottie. Donald Trump said he's rewriting the presidential election play book right now. Will this strategy, that clearly worked for him in New Hampshire, work in South Carolina, a very different state?
SCOTTIE NELL HUGHES, CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, USA RADIO NETWORK: It is a very different state but it's almost like an emergence. You have to take what you learn in Iowa, what you learn in New Hampshire and apply it in the South Carolina.
Now, when we look at the difference of what happened last night, we learned one thing, that New Hampshire Republicans are not the same as Iowa Republicans. And so, you go to South Carolina and you get a good mix of both.
For Donald Trump, what's great is that it looks like the establishment is going to be divided between Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush because of their endorsements which is makes a great -- probably a great opportunity for someone, like Donald Trump, who has very populist views as well as Ted Cruz to try to reach out to those voters.
Now, the question is, will the two men play nice or will they continue to fight off this bromance that ended a couple weeks ago?
BLITZER: Look, Amanda, at this Donald Trump ad that really, really goes after Senator Cruz. This is an ad that's playing in South Carolina. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm Donald Trump, and I approve this message.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What kind of man talks from both sides of his mouth on amnesty for illegals on national television and still denies it? Who took more than a million dollars in sweetheart loans from Wall Street banks and fails to disclose them as required by law, who runs a campaign accused of dirty tricks that tried to sabotage Ben Carson with false rumors? Ted Cruz, the worst kind of Washington insider who just can't be trusted.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Is that going to be an effective ad in South Carolina, Amanda?
AMANDA CARPENTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Hey, yes, Donald Trump loves a negative campaign. These are attacks that Donald Trump has tried to wage before. It didn't really go anywhere. But what is really interesting about South Carolina is that it is a Cruz-Trump race and Jeb and Rubio sort of competing in the second tier for a consolation prize.
[13:10:01] And so, Trump and Cruz are going to at each other. I think Cruz will continue to answer Trump's attacks with humor, really not engage in the negative campaigning. Because here's the thing, Donald Trump has a temperament problem. Everybody can see this. Cruz needs to keep him in that box and keep plowing ahead talking to people about his consistent, conservative record and when he stood up for conservative values when others didn't.
I'd put Donald Trump in that box. We didn't really hear much about him, you know, through the Obamacare fight when Cruz is fighting the gang of eight, when Cruz is fighting against gun control legislation. And so, that's a conversation that Cruz will be happy to have. It puts him in higher ground and stays away from this mudslinging. Trump can continue to do that, but Cruz isn't interested in answering it.
BLITZER: Well, Cruz has his own ad. It's got a little humor but it really slams Trump. Scottie, listen to this. Watch this.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey, Hillary, I'll give you money to be my friend.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Check out my house, Mr. Trump.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's a lousy house. I'm going to take your house in eminent domain and park my limos there.
KIDS: Eminent domain.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We wouldn't tolerate these values in our children. Why would we want them a president?
KIDS: Eminent domain.
BLITZER: Eminent domain. Donald Trump, he supports eminent domain whereby the government, for private purposes, for public purposes, can go ahead and buy various properties, including homes if they need it for roads, transportation, hospitals, schools, other things like that. Trump says it's great. Cruz has a problem with it. That was the ad right there, Scottie.
HUGHES: Yes, that really sounds like he's going to be playing nice and staying above the fray. You know, he does have a good, conservative record, except when you talk about the fact that he voted for the TPA Bill. He also voted for the Corcoran (ph) Amendment which went along with the Iran deal. And he was absent for the audit, the fed bill. Some of those things that are very important to South Carolina voters. Which means he goes along with the idea of the politicians which is why Donald Trump is surging in most of the polls right now. People are tired of folks who just talk the talk. They want folks who walk the walk. And, unfortunately, right now, most of the people in Congress have proven that they're just all talk.
BLITZER: All right, I want both of you to stand by for a moment. I want to quickly listen in. There is a campaign event in South Carolina right now. Marco Rubio is speaking. Let's listen in for a moment.
MARCO RUBIO (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (live): We need a president that will rebuild our military not gut it. We have someone coming to South Carolina, running for president, another senator, I'm narrowing the list for you. The only budget he's ever voted for is a budget sponsored by Rand Paul that brags about cutting defense spending.
I'm going to tell you why that's such a terrible idea. Today, our Army is about to become the smallest it has been since World War II -- since the end of World War II. Our Navy is about to be smaller than it's been in a century, in a hundred years. We are about to have the smallest Navy in a hundred years. And our Air Force is almost on the verge of being not just smaller but our planes older than they have ever been in the history of the U.S. Air force.
And it's not like the world has gotten safer. You have a lunatic with nuclear weapons in North Korea. You have -- China is taking over the most important shipping lane in the world. Vladimir Putin is creating all kinds of chaos in Europe and in the Middle East. Iran is going to get $100 billion of sanctions relief. They're not going to use that to build orphanages. They're going to use it to build a military, sponsor terrorists like Hezbollah and, ultimately, buy or build a nuclear weapon.
BLITZER: All right, let's go back to Amanda and Scottie. Amanda, you can see, not such a thinly veiled reference to Senator Cruz. He's complaining about Senator Cruz's record on defense spending. Your reaction. CARPENTER: Hey, this is one of the reasons that conservatives haven't
really latched onto Marco's candidacy. That talking point is a typical, you know, budgetary gimmick that Republican establishment has used for many times. If you vote against -- or if you vote for a cut in future spending, somehow that's a cut. That's not really the case. Marco can have that fight.
But here's the problem with Marco's candidacy. He hasn't recognized what lane he should play in. He doesn't understand what kind of candidate and where his voters are. Throughout this race, he's tried to chase the tail of Ted Cruz and Donald Trump, while, meanwhile, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie and others have been nipping at his heels. We saw that play out in dramatic fashion in the last Republican debate.
And now, Marco's getting dragged back down into that second tier and Bush has a big fat target on Rubio's back. And, frankly, I'm worried about the stakes that Rubio has raised for himself going into the next debate. He says a poor performance will never happen again. Well, that's a big promise and he's going to have to deliver to have any chance next week.
BLITZER: Very quickly, your final thoughts, Scottie.
HUGHES: Well, the only reason that we're even talking at Senator Rubio and any success he had in Iowa is because, as Amanda pointed, that you have Ted Cruz and Donald Trump going after each other. Kasich does have this right. People want an optimistic, positive campaign, and it's going to be Rubio reaping any benefit of any fight that happens between Trump and Cruz.
[13:15:01] BLITZER: Scottie Hughes, Amanda Carpenter, thanks so much to both of you. The excitement is beginning.
Up next, the New Hampshire primary proved that debate performances do, in fact, make a real difference. What will Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders do differently when they face off tomorrow night in Milwaukee, Wisconsin? We have the Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz -- there she is -- she's standing by live. We'll discuss with her right after this.
BLITZER: Bernie Sanders is going national with his presidential campaign after winning very big in New Hampshire. He's also preparing for his next debate against Hillary Clinton. That's tomorrow night. Debbie Wasserman Schultz is the chair of the Democratic National Committee. She's a congresswoman from Florida.
Congresswoman, thanks very much for joining us.
REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D-FL), CHAIRWOMAN, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE: Thank you, Wolf.
BLITZER: I know you're joining us from DNC headquarters here in Washington before you fly out to Milwaukee for the debate tomorrow.
What does Bernie Sanders' blowout win over Hillary Clinton mean for the state of this Democratic presidential contest?
[13:19:55] WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: I mean, well, from our perspective as a national party and from our state party's perspective across the country, the enthusiasm that has been obvious and evident based on the turnout of our voters in Iowa for both campaigns, as well as the turnout last night, which appears to be approaching a record, for just two candidates compared to 11 candidates generating slightly more turnout, it really says a lot about the enthusiasm for our candidates and what voters are looking for, which is a substantive, robust discussion about continuing to build on the economic success that we've been able to have in the last 71 straight months of job growth in the private sector and that they don't want to the go backward, where the extremists on the Republican side clearly want to go.
BLITZER: When you look at the exit polls from the Democratic voters of the primary in New Hampshire yesterday, 92 -- 92 percent said Bernie Sanders was honest, you see the numbers there. Only 6 percent said the same thing about Hillary Clinton. And take a look at this, 82 percent said Bernie Sanders cares about the issues people like me care about. That was the question. Only 17 percent said Hillary Clinton cares in that way. Is that a problem? Clearly seems like a serious problem for Hillary Clinton.
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: At the end of the day, voters will have confidence, as they have in the last five out of six presidential elections, that our eventual nominee cares about their well-being, focuses on making sure that they can reach the middle class by fighting to make sure that they can get a good job that pays a decent wage, by fighting to maintain the safety net that is their retirement security and Social Security and Medicare, by fighting to make sure that they can keep the access to health care coverage that everyone in America, including 19 million Americans who didn't have it before so that they can keep it. And what they won't do is they won't embrace the Republican extremism, the establishment, moderate, you know, wing of the Republican Party has been swallow by the Tea Party. I mean Marco Rubio's collapse is evidence. I mean he's the Tea Party darling. And that was who they were -- the moderates and the establishment in the Republican Party were pinning their hopes on. And that's been obliterated.
BLITZER: But the question is why Hillary Clinton is doing so poorly among these various groups. Look at this, it's another serious problem she has. Bernie Sanders, according to all of the exit polls, women voters under 65, all levels of education, on all the issues, whether health care, economy, terrorism, they liked him a lot more than they liked her and she wants to be the first woman president of the United States. Why does she have a problem apparently in Iowa, now also in New Hampshire with especially younger women?
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Wolf, I know you're trying hard to get me to comment on the attributes or deficiencies of either one of our candidates. I'm not taking the bait. You know, what we're doing at the national party is helping to make sure that we can prepare for our eventual nominee and when we have a nominee it's clear to me from the outcome of the priorities that have been demonstrated by voters casting their ballots that the American people want to continue to support the policies that a Democratic president under Barack Obama has advanced, that pulled us from the worst recession that we've -- an economic crisis we had since the Great Depression, losing 800,000 jobs a month, that all of the Republicans call the glory days that we should go back to and they will embrace our eventual nominee because they want to make sure that they have a president who's going to continue to have their back, not one that is going to pull us backwards.
BLITZER: Here's a potential wild card that could emerge in the next two or three weeks, the former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg now says publicly he's considering a run for president as a third party independent candidate. And people close to him have told me he's very concerned that Hillary Clinton just doesn't have it. She can't beat the Republicans and he certainly doesn't like Bernie Sanders and several of the positions he takes. How much of a problem with would that be from the Democratic Party if Michael Bloomberg were to run?
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, like I've said previously, I think to you specifically, I think Michael Bloomberg, when he takes a good, close look at where his priorities are in terms of the issues that he wants a president to fight for and advance, that he will eventually conclude that those are well cared for in the Democratic nominees' priority and the Democratic Party's agenda, certainly not cared for by any of the Republicans that are running right now. On the contrary, they would roll back progress on issues like education and consumer protection and gun safety and protecting people from people who would do them harm. So I think ultimately he'll conclude that his issues are well cared for in our party and will choose not to run and will find that it's not necessary for him to run to make sure that those issues have a home in the -- in our party's candidate for president.
BLITZER: Debbie Wasserman Schultz is the chair of the Democratic National Committee.
Congresswoman, thanks very much for joining us.
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Thank you, Wolf.
BLITZER: And don't miss the next faceoff between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. They'll be in Wisconsin tomorrow night for the PBS "News Hour" Democratic presidential debate. That will be simulcast right here on CNN. That's at 9:00 p.m. Eastern tomorrow night on CNN and your local PBS station.
[13:25:05] Coming up, the Republican establishment gets trumped. What lessons can the party take from the New Hampshire exit polls? Plus, will the field thin out in the coming days? I'll speak to the chairman of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus. There he is. We'll speak with him. We'll get his thoughts right after the break.
BLITZER: Donald Trump may have swept New Hampshire, but the nation's second presidential contest failed to clarify the battle for who gets to be the so-called establishment candidate in this race for the White House.
Joining us now is the chairman of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus.
Reince, thanks very much for joining us.
[13:30:01] Let's talk about what happened in New Hampshire, where we're going from here, what it means for the party. As you know, John Kasich, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, if you take a look at the results, and we have them up on the screen right there.