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Soon: Polls Open For South Carolina GOP Primary; Rubio Hoping Key Endorsements Can Sway Voters; Sanders Looks To Pick Up Last-Minute Votes In Nevada; Obama Sees Scalia One Last Time; South Carolina Students: Rubio Seems Less Radical; Courting South Carolina's Military Vote; GOP Rivals Fight for Votes in South Carolina; Trump Calls for Apple Boycott. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired February 20, 2016 - 06:00   ET




[06:00:44] AMARA WALKER, CNN GUEST ANCHOR: Good morning to you, everyone. I'm Amara Walker in for Christi Paul. Let's get to Columbia, South Carolina, where Victor Blackwell is leading our big political coverage. Good morning.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Amara, good morning to you and good morning to you at home from the palmetto state. It is decision day here. We are just one hour from the opening of the polls here in South Carolina and this is a state that prides itself as the state that picks presidents.

It's picked the eventual GOP nominee in every presidential primary election since 1980 with the exception of 2012, Newt Gingrich won here. Now, the stakes are high on the Republican side, but also on the Democratic side.

Bernie Sanders trying to fight off the star power that Hillary Clinton has brought out with endorsements over the last 48 hours. Let's start here in South Carolina. Where Republican candidates are making those final pushes.


BLACKWELL (voice-over): Donald Trump trying to turn a lead in South Carolina polls into a win and he tells supporters he expects he can run the table if he can start with a win here. And this morning he has a message for black voters across the state.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I will do more for the African-American people in one year than Barack Obama has done in his seven years, soon to be eight years and then by the way, he's out, and thank goodness.

BLACKWELL: South Carolina may be the site of Jeb Bush's last stand as he's not pulling any punches. JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald Trump has never known any interest in anybody else other than himself. The two candidates that are gifted speakers, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, have shown nothing in their pasts that would suggest they can make a tough decision.

BLACKWELL: With the state's governor, Nikki Haley, by his side Senator Marco Rubio is confident he can recover from his showing in New Hampshire and win the GOP nomination.

SENATOR MARCO RUBIO (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I can't wait to be the nominee of this party because we're going to take conservatism to people who have not voted for us in a long time.

BLACKWELL: Ted Cruz says he can relate to people of the palmetto state better than anyone else in the race.

SENATOR TED CRUZ (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: South Carolina and Texas, we've got a whole lot in common.

BLACKWELL: Meanwhile, the Democrats are going head to head across the country.

BERNIE SANDERS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There's a caucus here in Nevada.

BLACKWELL: Hillary Clinton comes in with endorsements from South Carolina Congressman Jim Clyburn and the voice of Morgan Freeman.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She understands that our country can't reach its potential unless we all do.

BLACKWELL: But Bernie Sanders says it's not about the endorsements, it's about voter turnout.

SANDERS: Show the world that democracy is alive and well here in Nevada.


BLACKWELL: All right. Let's start here in South Carolina. With me now CNN political commentator, Ben Ferguson, and Republican strategist and Donald Trump supporter, Kayleigh McEnany. Good to have both of you with us this morning.

I want to start with Donald Trump. Quick answers. Is there any expectation that anyone will win other than Trump?


BLACKWELL: Trump is going to win here.


BLACKWELL: So let's start with the expectation game because polls which have been all over the place and this cycle had been a little unreliable, have him with a double digit lead. Is this now an expectations game, that if he gets it within, you know, 8 percent here, it comes down to single digits that this really isn't as strong of a win as it should have been?

FERGUSON: It should have been bigger if it's under 10 points. That's one of the big things that Donald Trump's campaign has set themselves up for. They did this in Iowa with we are going to win everything. We are going to win everything big.

Donald Trump starts off almost every speech talking about his poll numbers and how good they are. So I think this will probably be tighter than what many may expect for him.

If he comes out and wins by 15, 16, that's going to tell you a lot of things about moving forward in other states, but if it's 8 or 9 points, maybe even less than that, that would definitely be him, I would say, underperforming here.

MCENANY: I think any victory is a victory. Donald Trump said in New Hampshire if I win by one vote that's a victory and that's the thing. We are in South Carolina, it's very similar demographics lead to Iowa.

There are a lot of Evangelicals and Tea Party voters who like Ted Cruz who naturally are inclined to support Ted Cruz. So I think even if he wins by 3 or 4 percent, that's a big deal.

Because it shows he can win an electorate like New Hampshire where there are a lot of Democrat leaning voters and South Carolina where there are a lot of Evangelicals.

FERGUSON: You should write Donald Trump's speeches because that was better than he would have said.

MCENANY: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Let's go to Marco Rubio and talk about expectations. He would say and has said a poor finish in New Hampshire, then he got the endorsements of Tim Scott, the governor here, Nikki Haley. Expectations game, this talk of Marco-mentum, is it real?

[06:05:01]FERGUSON: Yes, Marco Rubio based on big endorsements he's received specifically Nikki Haley should be winning this state. He's not going to. So he should definitely come in a strong second place here.

You get these types of endorsements that mean so much here with the spotlight on this governor in this state recently, she's a rock star here, people love her. That would be in a normal election cycle take Donald Trump out of it that would be a first place victory.

If he does not come in second place, I think that's something people are going to notice and look at going why didn't he do better than this because he had the endorsements that you want on a statewide level.

BLACKWELL: Second place ahead of Ted Cruz? MCENANY: I don't think he will come ahead of Ted Cruz. This is Ted Cruz's state, Evangelicals love him. Tea Party conservatives love him. I don't think Rubio will edge him out because look, voters don't forget records. Voters don't forget Rubio --

FERGUSON: Gang of eight.

MCENANY: They don't forget immigration is immensely important in this election and voters aren't going to forget that.

BLACKWELL: You know, I spoke with a voter here who will vote for Marco Rubio. He decided yesterday, but that's not initially who he wanted to vote for. Let's listen to what Brian (inaudible) here in Columbia.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Carson is who I was for originally but he's -- he can't win. Kasich won't be able to win. Jeb Bush blew his opportunity early on. I don't think Jeb -- Jeb seems to be just going along with the family line, basically he's just kind of a puppet in this thing and doesn't seem to really have his heart in it.

BLACKWELL: Do you think Marco Rubio can win South Carolina?


BLACKWELL: Who do you expect will win South Carolina?


BLACKWELL: And how do you feel about that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the American people have turned into -- they're less savvy -- the more news they receive the less savvy they become.


BLACKWELL: So Jeb Bush, I mean, this state loves the Bushes, handing them wins in '88, '92, and 2000. Jeb Bush fourth place is a potential finish?

FERGUSON: maybe. You never know. He could be even lower than that. I think one of the big mistakes that Jeb Bush made early on was not embracing his family, not bringing them earlier. It's given a real shot -- one of the things that he did so well was when he brought his brother out there, people loved it.

When he had his mom at the town hall the other night here, they love her. And I think he should have done that I a lot earlier on, I think he would have been in a better situation than he is right now.

BLACKWELL: What is his argument to continue if he doesn't come --

FERGUSON: It's going to be creative. MCENANY: He has the money. He has the resources. He has the capital. Voters supported him early on and he should continue through as long as he sees fit. Let's remind everyone George W. Bush here has an 84 percent approval rating.

BLACKWELL: He ain't on the ballot.

MCENANY: He's not on the ballot, but I think Jeb Bush comes in third because of his mom, because of his brother. That plays very well in South Carolina. I could definitely see him edging out Marco Rubio.

FERGUSON: If that happens then he might have a reason to say I'm going to keep moving forward, but ultimately I think if you are in the bottom two you have to get out after tonight. I just don't see a path for you and all you're doing is holding on to your donors and voters and taking them away interest their second favorite choice.

I think you have to respect them and say I'm going to get out of this thing the way Governor Mike Huckabee did. When he knew it was over, he immediately got out and I think that's classy.

BLACKWELL: The Bush team is announcing their infrastructure in other states, but we're reminded so did Chris Christie after New Hampshire. So we'll see after the numbers come in tonight where everyone goes. Kayleigh, Ben, thank you so much. We'll continue the conversation throughout the morning.

Later this hour, I will speak to a good friend of Donald Trump, I will talk about Trump calling for this boycott of Apple products while people who work for his campaign are using Apple products. We'll talk about those expectations, too, for South Carolina.

All right. The last debate before Super Tuesday, join Wolf Blitzer live from Texas for the CNN Republican presidential debate, that's Thursday at 8:30 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

And again, we are just a few hours away from the Democratic caucuses, those right on the west coast in Nevada. Coming up, we will take a look at this tight race there between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

Plus one-on-one with South Carolina Congressman James Clyburn about his endorsement of Hillary Clinton. Why now?



BLACKWELL: All right. In just a few hours people in Nevada will be getting ready to caucus. A tight race between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders there.

Both Democratic candidates were out campaigning late into the evening trying to pick up some last minute votes. Clinton talking immigration there. Listen.


HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are not going to deport 11 million or 12 million people. Certainly I would never let that happen and these candidates running for president on the Republican side who say they're going to round up and deport 11 million or 12 million people are just feeding the fears, anxieties and attitudes of people long that might be a good idea. It will never happen.


BLACKWELL: Bernie Sanders proving to continue to work for his strength with young people in the voters there in Nevada. Watch this.

Another rally and concert, this time in Henderson. CNN's senior Washington correspondent, Jeff Zeleny is following their campaigns. Jeff, good morning.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Victor, the Nevada caucuses are now upon us and the Sanders campaign really hopes that this is a chance to show that he can appeal to a diverse electorate.

Only a week or so ago when he came out of New Hampshire, the senator's team was not so successful how they could be in Nevada. They flew in about 200 staffers, people from across the country, and they are fighting to a draw here now.

It is all about turn out. That's what Bernie Sanders was saying as he campaigned across the state on Friday.


BERNIE SANDERS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The eyes of America and the eyes of much of the world, by the way, are going to focus on Nevada. And the issue is not just who wins the Democratic nomination, the issue is whether Nevada will play a leading role in moving this country toward a political revolution which transforms this country.

Whether the people of Nevada will say, enough is enough. That we need a government that represents all of us not just the 1 percent.


ZELENY: Of course, Bernie Sanders is not casting this is the end, but the beginning of his long race to the Democratic presidential nomination. He is encouraging the voters of Nevada to believe and dream big.

Now, the question here of course is win or lose he is going to go on, but a win here would really propel him to South Carolina, more than he ever thought was possible.

[06:15:09]It shows that he can reach out to Latino voters, to black voters. That is what he will need to do as this Democratic race continues -- Victor. BLACKWELL: All right, Jeff, thank you so much. Back here in South Carolina the day belongs to the Republicans, polls open here in their primary in about 45 minutes, but the Democrats scored a major headline out of South Carolina from popular Congressman James Clyburn.

He says he decided to endorse former secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, several weeks ago. I asked him why he waited so long to announce that support.


REPRESENTATIVE JIM CLYBURN (D), SOUTH CAROLINA: In 2008 South Carolina had just been placed in the pre-primary window and I made a commitment to the national party and the state party that I would not get involved in the primary because we did not want to jeopardize South Carolina's standing.

Because some members' candidates had made it very clear that if I got overly involved they might not participate. This time, however, I started out in the same mode, but then - my wife and one of my daughters started beating up on me and then people started calling.

And so I told them that I would take some time and make up my mind, but I decided that now was the time to do it.

BLACKWELL: When did you reach the decision?

CLYBURN: About three weeks ago. And I talked with some members of the Congressional Black Caucus. They need I had made the decision and the Congressional Black Caucuses went over their announcement knowing full well that I was going to come along later.

BLACKWELL: So tell me about why did you hold off for three weeks to announce the endorsement and why you did it at the time you did?

CLYBURN: Well, because I did not want the other candidates to drop out of the primary. I want them to stay engaged. I want all of their workers to keep working and although my heart was with Hillary, my head told me to do what I could to protect my party.

BLACKWELL: How did you align them?

CLYBURN: Well, it wasn't hard. When you've been married for more than 50 years and your wife tells you that you may not get to your 55th anniversary if you didn't belly up to the bar.

BLACKWELL: And your daughters.

CLYBURN: And my daughter. My daughter Angela got emotional. She really -- so much as so that she came to the announcement today just to make sure.


BLACKWELL: So some encouragement from his wife and daughter there. Let's bring in CNN commentator, Bakari Sellers. Bakari is in D.C. for us.

Let's start with Congressman Clyburn and the value of that endorsement, he obviously speaks to more than just black voters and resonates with voters outside of South Carolina, but there have been questions this cycle about the value of endorsements. What's the value of his?

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN COMMENTATOR: Well, his endorsement is huge, not only because of who he is, he is a luminary, but he is the highest ranking African-American in the entire United States Congress. That speaks volumes not just in South Carolina but beyond.

Let me just go back to that clip for a minute, Victor. He spoke of something that I've been trying to get home for a long period of time. He spoke of Angela Clyburn and Emily Clyburn, who I both know very well, who actually are probably more popular than Jim Clyburn himself.

African-American women are rallying behind Hillary Clinton in numbers like we haven't seen before. I'm not sure if it's this history, I'm not sure if it's the fact that she is a fighter, I'm beginning to think that it's all of the above.

Because they're rallying to her the way they are, I think she will do well not just in Nevada with the African-American population, but she's going to be extremely well in South Carolina with the African- American population.

BLACKWELL: I should add that you're also a Hillary Clinton supporter not to discount your analysis, but just to give some context to our conversation.

SELLERS: Fair enough.

BLACKWELL: Let's go to Nevada, which is a hotly contested race. The expected fire wall that was supposed to await Bernie Sanders in South Carolina and Nevada may be holding up here in South Carolina, but the latest polls with the disclaimer that they've been everywhere this cycle shows a very tight race there in Nevada. What's going on?

SELLERS: Well, I think we don't know what's going to happen in Nevada. This has been the most interesting polling cycle I think we've ever seen. I've only seen about two or three polls come out of Nevada.

So we'll see what happens. We know Hillary Clinton has been on the ground for a long period of time, but we also know Bernie Sanders has been surging with young Hispanic voters. We will see who comes out.

I saw where Bernie Sanders recently got an endorsement from what is known as the black caucus of Clark County, I did a little research and called a few friends including Senator Aaron Ford from Las Vegas.

He was informing me 17 of the 19 black elected officials in Clark County have endorsed Hillary Clinton. So I think they're doing yeoman's work, both campaigns, I think the polls open at 2:00 Eastern, 11:00 Pacific. [06:20:08]So we will see what happens out there. I'm excited. This is what we've been made for.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk about what happened overnight. The final release of these e-mails from the State Department as this investigation continues into the server for Secretary Clinton. This happened right before Iowa with the release of those e-mails days leading up to the caucuses there.

What's the value here and she continues to fight as we saw in the most recent town hall the questions of honesty and trustworthiness.

SELLERS: Well, for those who support Hillary Clinton it's a nonissue, for those who don't they will continue to pick at old wounds. Hillary Clinton has been dealing with issue, the unfortunate part about it is it will continue to nag the campaign.

I believe that 85 percent of the e-mails have been released, the sooner the better they can all get out there, we can have this discussion and put it to bed. That's an issue for Hillary Clinton.

Trustworthiness is something that always comes up. She always has to answer the question. I believe she answered the question very well, but the fact of the matter is she still has to answer the question.

Bernie Sanders, our party is going to have to come together after we choose the nominee in May or June or whatever that time is. Bernie Sanders has done his best not to pick particularly at the wool and fabric of our party by saying things like I don't care about your damn e-mails.

I think that we will have an opportunity to come together and fend off whatever attacks may last us through the general election.

BLACKWELL: All right. Bakari Sellers, good to have you this morning.

SELLERS: Welcome to the palmetto state, Victor. Thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: Good to be here. I had some vegan soul food overnight. I'm loving it. Loving Columbia.

Coming up in just a few minutes, Jeb Bush, Donald Trump, their battle continues. Also John Kasich talks about tackling Trump. We will have that for you.

Also the Democrats turn to face South Carolina voters just days before their party's primary. The candidates will make their case. The CNN South Carolina Democratic presidential town hall Tuesday night, 8:00 p.m. Eastern, only here on CNN.

Also coming up at the bottom of the hour, we will talk about the GOP candidates, their final push for the military vote. This is a state that values military service, national defense, national security here, in South Carolina. The crucial support which could determine the outcome of the top three here in this primary. And after the break, thousands of people gathering in Washington, D.C. today for the special mass and funeral services for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. We will take you there.



WALKER: Welcome back, everyone. Funeral services begin soon for Justice Antonin Scalia. It will be held in Washington, D.C.'s basilica of the national shrine of the Immaculate Conception, it is one of the largest churches in the world. Make sure to stay with CNN for special live coverage of the mass. Coverage begins this morning at 10:00 a.m. Eastern.

Now, President Obama won't be attending the service, but the first family and members of Congress honored the late justice on Friday as he laid in repose inside the Supreme Court. CNN's Pamela Brown was there.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Amara, more than 3,000 people have showed up to pay their respects to Justice Scalia, including the first family. Not everyone here today shared his conservative ideology, but they say they came here to pay tribute to him because he was such an influential judge on the high court and dedicated 30 years of his life to service.


BROWN (voice-over): President Obama and the first lady arrived to pay their respects to Justice Antonin Scalia. The first couple paused at the flag draped casket as Scalia's former clerks stood guard, one of his clerks, Jameson Jones.

JAMESON JONES, FORMER SCALIA CLERK: Justice Scalia was both a brilliant mentor but also a warm and kind and generous person.

BROWN: Supreme Court police officers carried the conservative icon on his final journey to the high court. Behind the casket some of Scalia's favorite former law clerks, dozens more lined the marble steps waiting at the massive bronze doors of the court, Scalia's children and grandchildren and his son, a Catholic priest.

Father Paul Scalia led the casket into the great hall where the eight remaining justices said goodbye to their colleague and friend.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My brothers and sisters, Jesus says come to me all you who labor and are burdened and I will give you rest.

BROWN: When the private ceremony ended the public filed in, two people of particular note, Patty Millett and Sri Srinivassent (ph), considered top contenders to be the president's nominee to replace Scalia.

And another striking moment, the actor who portrayed Scalia in the play "The Originalist" teared up as he stood at the casket. Outside members of the public braved the cold for their turn.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As attorneys, as officers of the court, I think we have an obligation to come pay our respects.

BROWN: At a memorial outside a jar of applesauce and broccoli, referencing Scalia's colorful comments he made during the affordable care cases, a tribute to the justice famous for his humor on the bench.

JONES: It's a sad time for me personally and for the country and it's tough to imagine this court without him, without him sitting up there for the next argument.


BROWN: The White House says President Obama will be looking over materials of potential nominees throughout the weekend. The White House would not say who exactly they're looking at but we're learned the list includes more than two names -- Amara.

WALKER: All right. Pamela Brown, thank you for that. We will have live coverage of Justice Scalia's funeral throughout the day right here on CNN. Our coverage begins at 10:00 a.m. Eastern, the funeral mass begins at 11:00 a.m. Eastern.

We're just about 30 minutes away now from polls opening in the South Carolina Republican primary. Details on how military voters could end up pulling a lot of weight in the palmetto state.

Also Donald Trump calling for a boycott of Apple. We talk with one of Trump's personal friends about the billionaire's mix of business and politics. Stay with us.


[06:33:40] BLACKWELL: Good morning. I'm Victor Blackwell here in Columbia, South Carolina, on the campus of the University of South Carolina. We are 27 minutes away now from the opening of the polls here in the G.O.P. primary. It all comes down to this here in the Palmetto State.

This is a state that prides itself on picking presidents. We will see if they pick the nominee -- the eventual nominee as polls close in a little more than 12-1/2 hours from now.

And many of the voters here, the young voters on the campus say that this comes down -- this choice comes down mostly to politics, not so much policy. Some of them are still making up their minds, expect they will make up their mind once they get to the voting booth. Here are a couple of the conversations I have had with students here on the campus of the University of South Carolina.


ELIZABETH CONGERS, STUDENT, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA: I've just been a little bit confused about who I should vote for? What the candidates actually believe in? I don't even know their platform because they are so busy attacking each other.

MEGAN O'DAY, STUDENT, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA: I'm leaning more towards Rubio. I really like his -- when compared to a lot of the candidates, I like his ideas on immigration and especially like I don't believe that we should be kicking everybody out of our country. I don't believe that a wall paid by Mexico is actually going to be something that's there, but he's a moderate candidate and especially for college students that's what we're looking for.

[06:35:05] NICK SAMPSON, STUDENT, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA: I believe I'm going to be voting on Rubio.


SAMPSON: I just feel that he's the most stable of the Republican candidates. And, I mean, Trump -- Trump quite frankly scares me.


SAMPSON: Because he just seems very radical.

TANNER GARRETT, STUDENT, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA: I've been back and forth between some of the candidates, but at this point, I'm not really sure. I feel like tonight I'm going to have to make a decision, but at this point I'm not real confident in anybody.


BLACKWELL: Just a few of the students we've spoken with here on the campus of the University of South Carolina as they are now trying to determine who they will choose in this primary. Many of them voting for the very first time.

Now, the military community here is a major force for the state's economy. South Carolina is home to eight military installations, employing more than 100,000 people, pumping more than $19 billion a year into the economy.

Also the citadel, the military college is here in South Carolina.

Our Gary Tuchman spoke to some veterans here about what qualities they are looking for in the next commander-in-chief.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Charleston Air Force base is one of many military installations in South Carolina. And within minutes of this base, there are countless places where you can find those who serve and those who served. The Army Navy store.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I served in the Navy.

TUCHMAN: The nail salon.


TUCHMAN: And how long were you in the Air Force for?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 14 -- over 14 years.

TUCHMAN: The VFW post.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was in the Marine Corps.

TUCHMAN: The barber shop.

What branch of the service did you serve in?


TUCHMAN: Each of these South Carolina residents regarded veterans' affairs and support for the military as crucial responsibilities of any president, but who should be the next person getting that responsibility?

Navy vet Rick Lindsay likes Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.

RICK LINDSAY, NAVY VET: No, I couldn't support a Democrat, not the two that are running at least right now.

TUCHMAN: But another customer in the same Army Navy store, Fred Smith, a Navy Vietnam vet says this.

FRED SMITH, NAVY VIETNAM VET: I might go with Hillary Clinton just because people don't like her, but I do.

TUCHMAN: Why do you like her?

SMITH: Just experience.

TUCHMAN: Barry Covin is another navy veteran and now a barber to many other veterans.

BARRY COVIN, NAVY VETERAN: I would probably lean toward Bernie because of his involvement with veteran affairs.

TUCHMAN: But this commander of a local VFW post says he doesn't trust Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton when it comes to veterans issues. He trusts Donald Trump.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's going to take, you know, veterans' affairs into account. That's what he says and I believe him.

TUCHMAN: And then there are those vets who are undecided. Tamika Robinson doesn't know if she will go Democrat or Republican but likes that George W. Bush is campaigning for his brother.

TAMIKA ROBINSON, VETERAN: The Bush Family when they were in office, even though I disagree with some policies, he was for the -- the family was for the military and they did help us out and give us great incentives.

TUCHMAN (on-camera): You won't meet many veterans who think enough is being done to help veterans. But they don't vote as a monolithic group. No presidential candidates can take the veteran vote for granted.

(voice-over): And that's just one of the many reasons veterans get so much respect from the people running for president.

Gary Tuchman, CNN, Charleston, South Carolina.


BLACKWELL: National defense, national security are major, major issues here. You hear the train passing through Columbia. If you're wondering what that sound is.

I want to bring in CNN political commentator, political anchor of "Time Warner" cable news Errol Louis.

Errol, good to have you this morning.

I want to start with Marco Rubio. You heard from a couple of students there who are supporting Marco Rubio. He's got the endorsement of the senator here -- Tim Scott. He's got Trey Gowdy. He's got Governor Nikki Haley. So he has this momentum, again, but he's got to win somewhere. Where does he win?

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, it's a very good question. In fact, the Rubio campaign was telling all of us at the media not so long ago that his strategy was three, two, one.

That he would come in third in Iowa. He would come in second in New Hampshire. He would come in first in South Carolina. And none of that seems to be working as planned.

He didn't come in anywhere near second place in New Hampshire. In fact, he came in fifth. He's polling right now in third place and could even get a stiff challenge from Ben Carson and Jeb Bush. It's not clear what he's going to be able to do today.

So he has raised these expectations. He has failed to meet some of those expectations and you're exactly right. And I will tell you something else, Victor. It gets really tough after this week for all of the candidates. After Super Tuesday, we start to see a lot of winner take all states. We start to see a lot of states where you have to meet a 20 percent threshold or you get no delegates at all. So Rubio has to start winning in short order.

[06:40:03] And a lot of that is going to have to do with whether or not his closest rivals and by that, I mean, Jeb Bush in particular, decide to drop out of the race, whether a John Kasich decides to drop out of the race and he can pick up some of that support, but without that we're stuck in this same pattern where Donald Trump with 30 to 35 percent of the vote happens to do a lot better than everybody else.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk about Jeb Bush and let's start with what Donald Trump said here in the final day of campaigning before the vote about Jeb Bush. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know Jeb Bush said Donald Trump is a gifted, gifted politician. My wife said, I thought he was your enemy, why is he saying that? I said because he's stupid. What can I tell you?


No, he calls me a gifted politician. I never thought of myself -- he's a highly gifted politician. OK. So, I'm only kidding, Jeb, I didn't mean that. You are a very nice man.


BLACKWELL: Donald Trump seems to have controlled the narrative about Jeb Bush and his campaign from the very start with that characterization of being low energy and he's held on to it. Why hasn't Jeb Bush been able to break out of that here?

LOUIS: Well, I mean, look, the reality is a lot of this process when somebody tries to characterize you or describe you, if there is an element of truth to it, it becomes very hard to sort of fight against it.

So, I think, look, there is an element of truth to it and Donald Trump sort of seized on it with both hands and has been throttling Jeb Bush with it ever since.

I mean, when Bush himself called himself a joyful tortoise, I think he himself was trying to turn a negative into a positive as far as his personal style and what he considers his own introverted nature and so forth. A very tough thing to overcome.

So, you know, what's he supposed to do? He is not going to change his personality at this stage in the game in his life and in his professional career. And Donald Trump has really been merciless in exploiting that weakness.

BLACKWELL: Well, he has boosted the energy and he got rid of the glasses, so I guess that's a start. He is now wearing contact lenses.


LOUIS: Don't forget that exclamation point.

BLACKWELL: I don't know what that means.

LOUIS: Don't forget that exclamation point.

BLACKWELL: Exclamation point, yes. Punctuation always helps.

Errol Louis, good to have you this morning. Thank you so much.

LOUIS: OK. Enjoy. BLACKWELL: In a few minutes, the author of a new Donald Trump book talks about Trump shooting an arrow at an Apple and asking for the boycott of that tech giant. We'll explain in a moment.

Plus, for the Democrats, it's Nevada. That's where the story is today. For the Republicans, it's South Carolina. Who will dominate? Who will make their move? The Nevada Democratic caucuses, South Carolina Republican primary, all day, live, special coverage here on CNN.

Also, still to come on your NEW DAY, a massive landslide in Idaho leaves an entire town cut off. Hundreds of people there with no way out.

And a powerful cyclone slams into Fiji. We've got details on the other side of the break.


[06:46:33] ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Father Paul Scalia will deliver the funeral mass this morning for his father, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. The ceremony will take place at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on the campus of the Catholic university.

The Vice President Joe Biden will attend on behalf of the Obama administration. CNN's live coverage of Scalia's funeral begins at 10:00 a.m. Eastern.

In the South Pacific, a state of emergency on the tiny island nation of Fiji this morning as a strongest storm in that country's history makes land fall. Cyclone Winston hit the mountainous islands this morning with sustained winds of 180 miles per hour. That's equivalent to a category 5 hurricane. The government imposed a curfew to ensure Fiji's 900,000 residents stay indoors until the danger is over.

In Central Idaho, a major highway about ten miles west of Elk City has been shut down indefinitely by a massive rock slide. The tons of boulders knocked out power to area residents and probably won't be restored until tonight. State transportation officials do not have an estimate of how long it will take to reopen that road.

All right. Still ahead, Donald Trump is dominating headlines again. This time calling for a boycott on Apple devices.

Also, as Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton go head to head in Nevada, a look at the unique way the State of Nevada would break a tie.


[06:51:25] BLACKWELL: All right. I'm Victor Blackwell here in South Carolina.

And new this morning, Donald Trump calling for a boycott of Apple, until or unless the technology giant helps the FBI break into that iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters. I want you to watch Donald Trump here in South Carolina last night.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: First of all, Apple ought to give the security for that phone, OK? What I think you ought to do is boycott Apple until such time as they give that security number. How do you like that? I just thought, boycott Apple.


BLACKWELL: So he said there that he just thought of that. That there should be this boycott of Apple, but coincidentally while Trump was speaking there, his Twitter account tweeted a poll from an iPhone.

Let's bring in Brad Thomas, author of the book "The Trump Factor."

Good to have you this morning.


BLACKWELL: And you know Donald Trump well. You've covered him for sometime. This Apple protest, this boycott, he says he just thought about it. Would you expect him to walk that back considering how much investment his campaign and he personally has in Apple?

THOMAS: Sure. You know, I was there yesterday so I certainly witnessed that. You know, I've been with him all week so he did look a little worn, like most presidential candidates are this week.

You know, today is the big day here in South Carolina. So -- but, yes. You know, I think like Trump, a lot of things he says, he says it to make a point. He certainly made that point. You know, Apple shares, I looked yesterday, they are not closed down or up any, so certainly Mr. Trump did not move the market with any comments that were made.

What's interesting is that, you know, Carl Icahn who is a big Trump supporter is a big investor in Apple. So perhaps if Carl Icahn made a statement that would certainly be a market mover. Carl Icahn worth $17 billion according to Forbes. And Apple's market cap is around $500 billion.

BLACKWELL: And Trump campaign using Apple products, too.

THOMAS: Absolutely. And actually, I looked at Trump's disclosure when he filed back in June. He owns between 5 million to $10 million in value in Apple stock, pursuant to that last disclosure made. So, you know, again, I think it was just a remark that Mr. Trump made to make a point. And so that's really how I would sum it up.

BLACKWELL: But you make the point that he seemed to be worn there. That he was tired, but presidents get tired. Those days are long.

THOMAS: Absolutely. And, you know, I've been following him all week. And, actually, I've been following him since June when he announced. I was there in New York -- BLACKWELL: So I say that that should be no excuse for the call for

the boycott.

THOMAS: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely no excuse. And again, I think, you know, I'm going to continue to use my iPhone. I have five kids and that's the only way I can communicate with my family, so it's very important. But, again, I think he used it to make a point. He has done that effectively, you know. So I think that's -- we will see what happens.

BLACKWELL: Brad Thomas with us. We'll take a quick break, but we will continue this conversation. You've been covering Donald Trump for some time now. We'll ask you what you've learned about the candidate or the businessman that can give us context about the candidate as we move through the day here.

Just minutes now from the start of voting here in the G.O.P. primary in South Carolina. Stay with us.


BLACKWELL: All right, live here in Columbia, South Carolina, continuing our conversation with Brad Thomas, author of the book "The Trump Factor."

You know, one of the questions that came up in the town hall here on CNN on Thursday was a question of temperament. Does Donald Trump have the temperament to be president? Is the Donald Trump that we're seeing on the campaign trail the same Donald Trump you've covered in the financial world and real estate for the last several years?

THOMAS: Absolutely. I mean, Donald Trump is a battle tested CEO. And I think that's the most important message here throughout my book is how he's gone throughout all his whole portfolio and been able to manage the risk and his temperament is a big part of that, and how he deals with people on these job sites to build these properties, to develop these golf courses.

And so absolutely, I think he is a battle tested CEO. He has been through multiple down turns, up and down and how he's dealt with that adversity is really a big part of his success today. He has gone through these failures and how he has been able to deal with those failures has been a key part to what Donald Trump is today.

BLACKWELL: So many of the voters are meeting him in a different way. Of course, he has been on television with "The Apprentice," but you followed him quite closely. What do you know that maybe they don't know that would be informative?

THOMAS: Sure. I mean, I think the big thing here is that Donald Trump really, you know, he is a battle-tested brand. Obviously, you know, a lot of people refer to him as a human brand. He is on the apprentice and he's known for his entertainment value, but in terms of being able to create value in real estate, he knows how to do that. He can definitely bring those tools to the table.


BLACKWELL: It's very different industry, very different, when you're talking about government.

THOMAS: Yes, it's a business. And so he is running -- you know, he is running his business now. Can he run this business in the United States? That's the question that voters are going to decide.

BLACKWELL: You're right. And the question has been, when people question Donald Trump's candidacy, can you run the country like a business? We will, of course, continue that conversation. Brad Thomas, good to have you this morning.

We've got the breaking news here at the top of the hour.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN "Breaking News."

BLACKWELL: And a breaking news this morning, polls opening.