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Big Day for Democrats Leading into Super Tuesday; Apple Ratcheting Up Their Fight with the FBI; Rough Road Ahead for Pres. Obama; Soon: Polls Open In South Carolina; GOP Race Gets Vicious With Personal Attacks; Two GOP Governors Back Donald Trump. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired February 27, 2016 - 06:00   ET



CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: It's 6:00 on the dot and we are just one hour away from the polls opening in the South Carolina Democratic primary. Good morning, everybody. We're so grateful for your company as always. I'm Christi Paul here in Atlanta.

Missing Victor Blackwell who is in Columbia, South Carolina leading our coverage of the Democratic primary. Good morning, Victor.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Christ, good morning to you. Yes, we are just an hour away from polls opening here in South Carolina. Big contest is on the Democratic side this week, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, of course, fighting for every last vote.

And so far Clinton is leading by a wide margin in the polls here. She spent most of the week in South Carolina campaigning hard, of course. This afternoon she's in Alabama before heading back to South Carolina for the watch party tonight.

Now after a concert and a rally in Columbia, last night, Senator Bernie Sanders already looking ahead to Super Tuesday campaigning in Texas and Minnesota today.

CNN senior Washington correspondent, Jeff Zeleny following their campaigns. Jeff, good morning.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Victor, the South Carolina primary is now upon us. The Bernie Sanders campaign is hoping more than respectable showing, but they certainly are not counting on a win.

He has not spent much time here this week. He's been across the country in Ohio, Illinois, and Minnesota. He's going to spend tonight in Minnesota as well. Looking ahead to those Super Tuesday contests next week.

But in South Carolina, it gave him a chance to test his message. It gave him an opportunity to see that he can reach out to a more diverse part of his Democratic electorate. He did not spend as much time here as some of his advisers on the ground have hoped he would.

But at this point, it's all a matter of mathematics. He noticed that to keep going in this contest he needs to do well next Tuesday to surprise the Clinton campaign in some states. We'll see if he does that here.

But South Carolina is feeling so different than it did eight years ago when it was Hillary Clinton who is outside the state not remaining on Election Day when Barack Obama, of course, won this contest.

Bernie Sanders looking beyond South Carolina for that next wave of races next week -- Victor.

BLACKWELL: Jeff, thank you so much. Hillary Clinton is expected to win here in South Carolina. She's hoping it's a decisive win, large margin. But of course, Bernie Sanders is hoping that the margin won't be too wide.

We've been on the ground here in South Carolina and I've been around speaking with voters in Columbia to find out who they plan to vote for and why. Watch.


BLACKWELL: If you've chosen a candidate for the primary tomorrow, who's that candidate?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm voting for Hillary Clinton.

BLACKWELL: Tell me why.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right. I think if she says she can get things done, she has experience on a lot of different levels.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Experience, nice balance of progressive values and foreign policy experience.

BLACKWELL: Are you leaning in a direction?


BLACKWELL: Toward whom?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just like her. I think she's the best person for the office. She can walk right in and take over. She's used to everything.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't have no choice.

BLACKWELL: Tell me why?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's helping with the black people, the issues that black people are facing with.

KAREEMAH DENNIS, SOUTH CAROLINA VOTER: I just feel like in this moment, it's Bernie's time. I love what he says about the prison reform and reforming our economy and I honestly believe that Hillary did not speak adamantly about black lives matter issues until Bernie brought it into the forefront.

LEAH LAKE, SOUTH CAROLINA VOTER: I think she represents -- wants to represent all Americans, and she has been working since a young adult for minority minorities, for women, for the rights of unborn children, and I think she would be fair and have some wisdom because of her experience.

LAWRENCE DIXON, SOUTH CAROLINA VOTER: Hillary, you know what I'm saying, she seems like she basically had Obama's back. You know what I'm saying. That was good enough for me. When you've got his back, I've got yours.


BLACKWELL: All right, let's bring in Philip Levine, mayor of Miami Beach and a Hillary Clinton, and Justin Bamberg, South Carolina state representative and a Bernie Sanders supporter. Good to have both of you with us.

I just want to let people know at home, if you saw that there was an imbalance there, we just went out and spoke with ten people randomly who were willing to stand in front of the camera and tell us who they are voting and all but one said either Hillary Clinton or they didn't have a choice. So those are the answers we got.

Let's start with the final number out tonight. Hillary Clinton is expected to win. How important is the margin?

MAYOR PHILIP LEVINE, MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA: Well, I think she's going to do very, very well. Of course, the margin is important, but we're seeing this margin all across the country. We're seeing it in Florida. We saw some polls. It's important. As a matter of fact, I think I met every single one of those people you interviewed the last couple of days. No question about it.

[06:05:04]BLACKWELL: And so the margins for Bernie Sanders, of course, he wants it to be as narrow as possible. How important is that margin for him?

JUSTIN BAMBERG (D), SOUTH CAROLINA STATE REPRESENTATIVE: The margin is important but only to a certain degree. There's only one candidate that has to win South Carolina and it's not Bernie Sanders.

He just has to show that he can perform fairly well and that he is a competitive candidate. If you look back a couple of months, Bernie Sanders was polling at 6 percent. South Carolina is about closing the gap. I think he will do that.

BLACKWELL: Can he get within 10 or 15?

BAMBERG: I would like to see him within 10 or 15. Whether that's the case is going to depend I think on voter turnout. BLACKWELL: Let me stay with you and voter turnout and Bernie Sanders. Bernie Sanders struggling to make inroads into minority communities, the black community here, of course, a large portion of the Democratic electorate is African-American here.

Why is he struggling here, and if he continues to struggle here, will he continue to struggle across the south of the primaries continue?

BAMBERG: Well, I won't say he's necessarily that he's, quote/unquote, "struggling." I think he has had some difficulty due in part to the Clinton name recognition and recognition in the state.

You know, Bernie Sanders is from Vermont. Not many people have even met anybody from Vermont down here. What you've seen is over time the more people have gotten to know Bernie Sanders, the more they've heard his message, the more voters he is pulling in.

I really want to put out the key part here is that there are still a lot of undecided voters in this state. I think that is what this race is going to hinge on here in South Carolina.

BLACKWELL: You know what I learned last week when I was here for the Republican primary is that so many voters here make up their mind when they get into the booth.

LEVINE: I'm sure.

BLACKWELL: They take a moment then. Of course, we've heard from Senator Sanders and now we've heard from "The New York Times" the call for the release of the transcripts of those speeches to Wall Street.

Let's put up a portion of those -- "The New York Times" op-ed. I think we have it. I'll read it here, "Public interest in these speeches is legitimate and it's the public not the candidate who decides how much disclosure is enough.

By stonewalling on these transcripts Mrs. Clinton plays into the hands of those who say she is not trustworthy and makes her own rules. Most important, she is damaging her credibility among Democrats who are begging her to show them that she'd run an accountable and transparent White House."

Is all this damaging her credibility? I mean, you know she has a trustworthy problem. If there's nothing there, why release them?

I think it's absolutely ridiculous. I mean, just think about it. This is the "New York Times," the dig (inaudible) media. They planted three false stories about Hillary Clinton that she was under investigation, not true.

Front page that her personal server was illegal. Not true. She was doing favors from the State Department for the foundation. Not true. Why doesn't "The New York Times" go to Donald Trump and say why don't you release all your transcripts from your board room, all your bankruptcies? You know, Senator Sanders, why don't you release the transcripts when you were out there campaigning for the DSEC with Goldman Sachs and you're on a beautiful yacht and talking about Wall Street. Why don't you release these things?

It's also amazing, Victor. It's a double standard. She's been in the public office, public life for 40 years. The fact of the matter is, can you imagine releasing transcripts as innocent as they are.

We have a $1 billion Republican attack machine. You're going to read I went to the bank one day to make a deposit. They're going take that and say, Secretary Clinton was at the bank, she was making deposits --

BLACKWELL: Let me hear from Justin. Justin, your thoughts on these transcripts.

BAMBERG: Well, you know, here's the thing. When you're running to be president and you're running to lead the citizens of this country, you know, if people have concerns, I don't see any harm in actually addressing them.

You know, people look at Bernie Sanders and if you look at one of the recent polls, age group 18 to 29, 100 percent of them said Bernie Sanders is honest and trustworthy.

You know, one of the concerns that voters have about Hillary Clinton is which version of Hillary Clinton are we going get? Are we going to get the 2008 version or are we going to get the early 1990s version or are we going to get the 2016 version before Bernie Sanders actually started to pick up speed or the most recent post Bernie Sanders has support versus Hillary Clinton.

So you know, if there's no harm, no foul there, I don't see a problem with releasing them, but that's going to be her decision.

BLACKWELL: Let me get your response to what we saw from Robert Reich, and let's put up the segment of the Reich endorsement. Robert Reich, Bill Clinton's former labor secretary overnight endorsed Bernie Sander's campaign.

I think that's far too small for the screen. He said he'll support Hillary Clinton if she's nominated, but he believes, and I'm paraphrasing here, that Bernie Sanders is the candidate that he's going to support and he's the candidate for the Democratic Party this cycle. That has to be a blow to the Clintons.

LEVINE: No. Secretary Clinton has so many endorsements from all across the country --

BLACKWELL: But this is a Clinton cabinet member.

LEVINE: But think about it, she's gotten so many cabinet members that endorsed her. Two years ago, she was the most popular secretary of state in American history. All of a sudden now when she is running for president, of course, everyone's on it. [06:10:06]But you know what I think the media should do? I think the media should look at Donald Trump. They should look at Bernie Sanders, ask them to release various papers. Go to Marco Rubio and ask him to release his employment records. I forgot. He's never had a job. I mean, come on. I mean, seriously.

BLACKWELL: This is a Clinton cabinet member who says he will support Hillary Clinton, but he thinks that Bernie Sanders should be the person who gets the nomination.

LEVINE: Well, you know what, everyone has their opinion. I think Senator Sanders has done a great job and really growing the narrative and bringing more people under the tent. I think the Clinton people believe that in the next two or three months, we are going to see that this gap is going to show that Secretary Clinton is going to win the nomination and we hope to have Senator Sanders support.

BLACKWELL: All right, Philip Levine, Justin Bamberg, thank you both.

All right, the GOP mud fight as we've seen it grow over the last 48 hours continues. Marco Rubio and Donald Trump taking their debate night battles on the road, but will it win over any voters.

Plus, the former president of Mexico compares Trump to Hitler.


BLACKWELL: Three days away now from Super Tuesday and Republicans are battling hard for each and every vote. Candidates crisscrossing the south today spending time in Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas, and Tennessee.

Marco Rubio and Donald Trump, you've seen it over the last 24 hours, stepping onto those rally stages early this afternoon again and likely to step up the personal attacks that started on Thursday night at the debate and then carried through Friday. Sara Murray is following that GOP in-fight.


[06:15:03]SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER (voice-over): Two of the biggest brashest personalities in the Republican Party are teaming up.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I said let's keep it as a secret for the people in Texas. Let's do it.

MURRAY: Donald Trump snapping up his most prominent endorsement yet, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He's rewriting the play book of American politics.

MURRAY: And trying to shift the momentum back in his corner with Marco Rubio ready to brawl after Thursday night's CNN Republican debate. SENATOR MARCO RUBIO (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Friends do not let friends vote for con artists.

MURRAY: Rubio is ratcheting his attacks on the billionaire's business record, even mocking Trump's Twitter habit.

RUBIO: So how does this guy misspell not one tweet, two tweets so badly? I've reached one of two conclusions. Number one, that's how they spell those words at the Wharton School of Business where he went or number two, just like Trump Tower, he must have hired a foreign worker to do his own tweets.

MURRAY: And poking fun at Trump's debate performance.

RUBIO: Last night in the debate during one of the breaks, two of the breaks, he went backstage. He was having a meltdown. First, he had this little make up thing applying makeup around his moustache.

Then he asked for a full length mirror. I don't know why because the podium goes up to here, but he wanted a full length mirror. Maybe to make sure his pants weren't wet. I don't know.

MURRAY: But Trump and Christie were ready, banding together trying to take down a mutual foe.

TRUMP: It's Rubio.

MURRAY: Trump taking aim at Rubio's debate performance.

TRUMP: Here's a guy. You had to see him backstage. He was putting on makeup with a trowel. Honestly, I thought he was going to die, Rubio. He was so scared like a little frightened puppy.

MURRAY: And even his appearance.

TRUMP: I will not say that he was trying to cover up his ears. I will not say that.

MURRAY: With Christie piling on.

CHRISTIE: Do we need a United States senator for Florida who doesn't show up for work?

MURRAY: Rubio later today brushed off the Christie news.

RUBIO: Donald probably needs a lifeline after last night so he called in Chris Christie. I respect that. I have more than my fair share of endorsements.

MURRAY: The increasingly vicious battles are spreading across the field as Ted Cruz labels Trump a New York liberal.

SENATOR TED CRUZ (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald Trump is adopting the rhetoric of a populist. Donald Trump like Hillary Clinton is a rich New York liberal.

MURRAY: But for now, Rubio is Trump's top foil.

TRUMP: Rubio is a baby, but a guy like Ted is tougher.


BLACKWELL: It is certainly getting nasty there for the GOP. And Donald Trump goes to speak with his supporters at rallies today. He'll likely, of course, be speaking about those first two endorsements by sitting governors.

We saw there's New Jersey's Chris Christie and now Maine's Paul Lepage. To discuss we are joined by political columnist and Donald Trump supporter, Kayleigh McEnany.

Kayleigh, good morning to you. I want to start with Chris Christie and what he brings to the Trump campaign. We know that Sarah Palin in Iowa helped the people who had question about his conservative bonafides.

We know that Jerry Falwell Jr. answered questions from Evangelicals, but what does Governor Christie brings? It's not like Donald Trump needs an attack dog. Trump does the attacking himself.

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CONSERVATIVE COLUMNIST: Sure. He brings a lot. Normally I'm skeptical of endorsements. I'm not sure how much weight they carry, but with Chris Christie, this is someone who stood beside Donald Trump on a debate stage.

This is someone who Donald Trump sparred with and got many disagreements with, but you know, despite all of that Chris Christie said of all the people standing next to me on the stage to be the next president of the United States, this is the guy who can do it.

So I think it carries weight because it's his colleague and his equal. And moreover I would say, it really kind of shapes his endorsements where he has Palin on one side and Falwell, Evangelicals.

Now he has Christie who is more of a north eastern Republican, some would say leans left. So it brings in a totally different constituency and it helps to shore up states like Massachusetts or Virginia, states that probably don't need to be shored up because Donald Trump is ahead by 20 points, but it helps to bring in a different constituency.

Really, the two elements we're seeing buying in the Republican Party, the establishment on the one hand, the Chris Christies of the world and then the Tea Party on the other hand. It really kind of brings the two together. It's an important endorsement.

BLACKWELL: What's in it for Christie?

MCENANY: That's a good question. I mean, I think Christie looked at Donald Trump and said this is a guy who's most like me. He's someone with consecutive experience. He's someone who is --

BLACKWELL: Does he look at Donald Trump and see a possible VP slot for himself?

MCENANY: I think that's probably on everyone's mind when they are looking around at who to endorse, but you know, I think Donald Trump, you know, made clear that he doesn't know who is going to be have for VP. I don't even think it's on his radar.

[06:20:07]But you know, Christie I'm sure would to love be a vice president. I think he would be a very good vice president. We saw his name being floated around very seriously with the Romney campaign. So you know, it's probably on his radar and he'd be a great VP.

BLACKWELL: Well, Chris Christie -- you spoke about disagreements a moment ago. You once said that Trump was dead wrong on that ban on Muslims coming to the U.S. He said it was the wrong temperament for a president.

He said that that's something you hear from someone who has no experience and has no idea what they're talking about. There are some contradictions here. I wonder if this contradicts Donald Trump's non- political correctness, is that the mantra of his campaign.

MCENANY: You know, it is interesting because they did have that disagreement, that's exactly right. That's a big disagreement. Terrorism is obviously on the forefront and that's a big issue and a disagreement.

But I think for Chris Christie when he looked across the stage, I think it came down to either senators and certainly of Governor Kasich left, but this is someone who is like me and that he's actually ran something.

He ran a $10 billion brand, a massive company. He's someone who's hired, made important decisions like Chris Christie, who has written budgets, and been in part of keeping a state safe.

I think at the end of the day what mattered to him most was executive capacity over one particular policy.

BLACKWELL: All right, let me ask you about Governor Paul Lepage of Maine. He's certainly offered some very critical comments. I want to read one for you here.

He said that there were drug dealers coming into Maine and impregnating, quote, "white women," and said he would bring back the guillotine and public executions.

I mean, "The New York Times" is calling what we're seeing a bully bromance. Is there for Trump supporter, a point at which this all goes too far?

MCENANY: Well, that comment certainly goes too far. I think that's unacceptable rhetoric and I do think that there's a risk on the campaign trail to push the rhetoric a bit too far. You know, for instance, it's a little bit different in terms of rhetoric.

We're not talking about a guillotine in this instance but some of the sparring we've seen between Rubio and Trump. A discourse definitely has ratcheting up that I don't think is productive to the political process.

But when you have a race for the presidency and you still have five people in it, you're going to hear some pretty bad rhetoric. And while we might not like it, it's just kind of the inevitable route a campaign takes.

But I certainly do not condone those comments from the governor. That's definitely out of line.

BLACKWELL: Well, talk about ramped up rhetoric, we heard some last night from the former president of Mexico, Vicente Fox, comparing Donald Trump to Hitler. Watch a portion of this.


VICENTE FOX, FORMER MEXICAN PRESIDENT (via telephone): He says he's going to bring back America to what it was. That's crazy. Never, never before America, the United States was so big, so strong, so powerful, so successful, as it is today. He's going to take that nation back to the old days of politics, war, and everything. He remembers me of Hitler. That's the way he started speaking.


BLACKWELL: Reminds him of Hitler. Kayleigh, what's your response?

MCENANY: That is completely, completely out of line and outrageous that he would say something like that. If you're going to compare someone to a dictator who annihilated Jews, tried to wipe out a race in Europe, you need to be very good on your facts and have absolute evidence on that.

There's no evidence that Donald Trump is anywhere close to that and to make that analogy and use that hyperbole, it's really disturbing coming from a former president. I think that's unacceptable rhetoric.

I would say that if he was comparing a Democrat to Hitler as well. I just don't think there's a place to compare a modern democratic leader to a dictator who performed genocide on a group of people. I really think that's a bridge too far for sure.

BLACKWELL: Yes, the campaign has not responded yet, but we certainly should expect that Donald Trump will respond as he rallies with his supporters today. Kayleigh McEnany, thanks so much for being with us this morning.

MCENANY: Thanks, Victor.

BLACKWELL: Christi, I'll toss it back to you in Atlanta.

PAUL: All righty, thanks, Victor, very much because we do want to talk about Yoko Ono. She's in the hospital this morning. We'll tell you what's happening with the widow of John Lennon. Also, more tech companies are coming to Apple's defense and its clashed with the FBI. What they say could be at stake for everyone if Apple loses.



PAUL: All right. Let's talk about your headlines this morning. Funeral services being held this weekend for five of the six victims of the Kalamazoo, Michigan shootings. Richard Smith and his 17-year- old son, Tyler, will be laid to rest today. This is a joint funeral service.

Memorial services also being held this weekend for Barbara Hawthorn, Mary Lou Nye and her sister-in-law, Mary Joe Nye. A private service for Dorothy Brown was held yesterday. Jason Dalton meanwhile is charged with six counts of murder.

Yoko Ono in a New York hospital this morning. Her publicist says she was having extreme flu-like symptoms. Likely she'll go home sometime today, but, of course, she's the widow of ex-Beatle John Lennon. She turned 83 last week.

Take a look at this, this is the first official drawing of the Air Force's new B21 bomber. Testing is going to begin sometime in the next decade. The plane will be designed to take off from the U.S. and hit any target on earth. Defense Secretary Ash Carter calls the $21 billion program a strategic investment for the next 50 years. We'll try to head that up for you.

Also, Hillary Clinton getting hit on several fronts. We're going to go back to our coverage of the South Carolina primary and the race to Super Tuesday.

Apple computer versus the FBI as well, the debate over your privacy and the battle against terrorism. What do you think?


[06:33:20] VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: A big day for Democrats here leading into Super Tuesday. Polls open in South Carolina in fewer than 30 minutes. Here's CNN's Brianna Keilar with a look at how the race is heating up.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Victor, Hillary Clinton on a very busy final push through South Carolina the day before this all important primary, first in the south, including an appearance here at South Carolina State University, the only public, historically, black university in the state. Among the pitches that she made to voters, that she's going to rebuild the party here in the state.


HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm want to break every barrier that stands in the way of any American from getting ahead and staying ahead because I know America can't live up to its potential unless every person in our country has a chance to live up to his or hers.


KEILAR: Despite interruptions from a couple of protestors align with the "Black Lives Matter" movement and I will say supporters of Hillary Clinton's were quick to note that they were not African-American. Hillary Clinton has been buoyed very much in South Carolina by her support from black voters. They are key to a win here. Hillary Clinton is hoping and planning to win by a large margin. The idea being that this will give her some momentum going into Super Tuesday where a number of other southern states come into play.


BLACKWELL: All right. Brianna Keilar for us. Brianna, thank you so much.

Let's talk about the issue of gun control. And Hillary Clinton is trying to continue to contrast her positions with those of Senator Sanders. And she's getting back up. Her latest ad starring former Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. You remember she was wounded after being shot in the head in 2011. Here's a portion of the ad.


[06:35:08] GABBY GIFFORDS (D), FORMER ARIZONA CONGRESSWOMAN: I'm fed up. We have a gun violence problem. So I'm voting for Hillary Clinton. She's tough. She will stand up to the gun lobby. She will fight to make our families safer. It matters.

CLINTON: I'm Hillary Clinton, and I approve this message.


BLACKWELL: And her recovery has been amazing. Even with these high- profile endorsements, Hillary Clinton is still being hit on several fronts. As I'm sure she's expecting her last batch of State Department e-mails will be released on Monday and now the calls are growing louder for her to release the transcripts of the speeches. Those paid speeches to Wall Street groups.

Listen to what South Carolina voters told me.


BLACKWELL: "The New York Times" and Senator Sanders, they both called for Secretary Clinton to release her transcripts of the Wall Street's speeches. Do you think she should?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think she should, but I don't think it's that big a deal. Personally that's not a showstopper for me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I hope she does that. I think that is part of being transparent.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I really don't care if she releases them or not. I think it's up to her.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Transparency and also if she's got nothing to hide, then release the transcripts.


BLACKWELL: I'm joined now by CNN political contributor Errol Louis.

Errol, she's been pushing back on releasing these speeches. Will that work? Will this continue? Even her supporters want to see what's there.

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, yes. I agree with Laureth Ferdie (ph), one of the people you interviewed that it's not that big of a deal but that's just my personal opinion.

Politically, I don't know if it's going to take root. You know, I mean, that's just the reality of it. The one speech that, or one of the speeches that -- where we note what she did say at these corporate events, you know, it's really kind of a lot of cheerleading, you know.

If the point is to have this company cozy up to Hillary Clinton and you know stick money in her pocket. Well, that's a financial transaction. The transcript is not going tell you something that you didn't know. It's not as if she's going to go before, you know, Goldman Sachs or some other group and say all kinds of things that are 180 degrees opposite of what she has said in public. I don't think you're going to find that.

We know that she is comfortable with the idea of big business. She is comfortable having serve on the board of Walmart. She is comfortable in her opinion, both fighting for working people, but also being part of the corporate elite that in many ways has damaged the prospects for those working people. I mean that's just who she is. If people didn't know that before now, I don't think a transcript is going to reveal anything for them.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk about the strategy from Bernie Sanders now calling for her to release the transcripts of speeches she made to groups supporting fracking as it goes down to this environmental angle as well.

Is this strategy working for him?

LOUIS: You know, it works for Bernie Sanders with some of his core constituents. People who are simply uncomfortable with the idea of any money in politics.

If you don't like the idea that there are corporations who have influence and there are corporate executives who make donations and that there are lobbyists who actually try to influence public policy and that all of those kind of very powerful and influential sectors are in and around the Clinton campaign, if you're not happy with that, then, yes, sure, there will always be one more transcript that you want to see. There will always be one more criticism that you want to lob.

And, frankly, there's a candidate that you can vote for. His name is Bernie Sanders. If you're not in that group and I don't think that that group is the majority of those who are going to the polls. That's what the outcome so far seems to suggest, then you've got to try and figure out what you can live with with Hillary Clinton.

You know, so she's -- she came -- for fracking, for example that you raise. She came to the essentially the same position as Bernie Sanders, but she came late. That's the issue that he's trying to run on. It's a very difficult case to make that, yes, she's saying the right thing, but we can't be sure. Or she's saying the right thing, but she didn't say it as early as she should have.

BLACKWELL: All right. Errol Louis joining us this morning. We're just minutes now away from the opening of the polls here in South Carolina as the Democrats choose their nominee here.

Thank you so much, Errol. We'll be talking to the chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party Jamie Harrison in just a moment.

Christi, back to you in Atlanta.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Hey, great job.

Thank you so much, Victor.

PAUL: Still to come, Apple is ratcheting up their fight with the FBI warning that complying with the order to hack a phone could mean a government with, quote, "limitless powers."


[06:43:30] PAUL: 43 minutes past the hour right now.

A police state, a government with limitless powers, that's what an Apple attorney says could happen if the U.S. -- or to the U.S., I should say, if the tech giant loses its privacy fight with the FBI.

Another tech company seemed to agree. Over the next few days, Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, all expected to file letters to the court stating their support for Apple.

CNN Money correspondent Laurie Segall has the latest.

LAURIE SEGALL, CNN MONEY CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Christi. While Apple has formally laid out its legal defense against the court order forcing it to help the FBI unlock the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters. Now the company is claiming that complying with the FBI's order violates the company's First and Fifth Amendment rights. I spoke with Ted Olson. He's the high-profile attorney representing Apple. He had some pretty strong words telling me that if Apple looses the fight, the government's demands would mount. And he warned of a government with limitless powers.

So I asked him, what about national security? What happens in the future when the FBI is sitting on the phone of a known terrorist, there's an appending threat and no one can get in. Listen to what he said.


TED OLSON, ATTORNEY, APPLE: We have to do everything possible to defeat terrorism, to defeat and capture and punish people like Osama Bin Laden and so forth, but we can't do it by breaking our constitution. We have got to stop at someplace. We cannot break someone's back in order to get them to tell somebody where somebody else is. If we're saying there's a serious threat, throw out the constitution in order to prevent that threat, where do we draw the line?


[06:45:10]SEGALL: Now, the government is expected to respond to Apple by March 10th. A final hearing will be held on March 22nd. And Olson says they are prepared to take this case all the way to the Supreme Court.

We'll keep you updated.


PAUL: All right. Laurie Segall, we appreciate it. Thank you.

Alex Wood is with us now from London. He's a technology journalist and editor of tech news site "The Memo."

Alex, thank you so much for being with us.

I want to touch on something that Apple's attorney Ted Olson just said there. He said, "We have to do everything possible to defeat terrorism and so forth, but we can't do it breaking our constitution."

What is the true risk, Alex, of Apple assisting the FBI and what is the risk if they do not?

ALEX WOOD, EDITOR, THE MEMO: I think the true risk of them opening this up is this is not just for one time thing. The second this happens, it's going (INAUDIBLE). So what we're looking at here is a different issue. The second you (OFF-MIKE).

PAUL: A precedent-setting moment. Well, the Pew study, a recent Pew study says 51 percent of Americans say Apple should hack the phone. You're in London. I mean, the UK is no stranger to terror. What are the conversations being had there about the government potentially forcing a company to work with them.

WOOD: You're absolutely right. And I think (INAUDIBLE) understandably. (OFF-MIKE). I think a lot of people here in London (INAUDIBLE) that the second we open this up, this opens us to speech problems and how much further (OFF-MIKE) as Tim Cook has said, we're not just talking about (INAUDIBLE), we're talking about your personal factor. Most of us use (INAUDIBLE) mobile banking (INAUDIBLE).

PAUL: Right. Well, Alex, thank you so much. Listen, I apologize, Alex Wood.

We're having some technical issues and we're not hearing you very well. So we're going to take a break here and maybe try to reconnect here in a little bit, but thank you so much. We appreciate it as he was just talking about the risks of either way this thing could go. But, again, we saw some of those big companies like Amazon and Google who are coming to the defense of Apple. We'll see whether that actually plays a role in what happens in the courtroom.

Listen, when we come back to NEW DAY, in an attempt to stop Donald Trump's lead, anti-Trump ads are airing full force ahead of Super Tuesday. We're talking to a Trump surrogate in the next hour.

Also, one Sanders supporter believes Democrats are afraid to say the truth, that Clinton only understands white privilege, while Sanders is more in touch with the plight of the regular Americans. That's what some are saying. We're going to analyze all of it in just a moment. Stay close.


[06:51:20] PAUL: 51 minutes past the hour right now and take a look at the pictures we're getting in of a story that's been developing this hour.

A crash on interstate 5 near Los Angeles has shut down both sides of the freeway. Authorities say a UPS truck collided with two other vehicles. The truck flipped over, and as you see here, it just burst into flames.

And, in fact, there were reports of explosions coming from that truck. Now, police say three people are dead, numerous injuries in this accident. We'll keep you posted as we learn more.

It has been -- back to the political arena here -- a rough week, a lot of people would say for President Obama which could signal some think a rough road ahead for his last few months in office. His Supreme Court plans, his Gitmo plans. Run into some major obstacles on Capitol Hill has left a lot of people wondering if he's doomed to be a lame duck in all of 2016.

More now from CNN White House correspondent Michelle Kosinski.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Senate will be in order. MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The political impasse, the stalemate. It's almost become a way of life around these parts, but now has reached unprecedented proportions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In short, there will not be action taken.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It should wait until the next election.

KOSINSKI: This week, Republicans dug in. Not only on vows to not even meet with Obama's eventual Supreme Court nominee --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What we are seeing is an unprecedented escalation in the politicization of the Supreme Court nomination process.

KOSINSKI: But against his long awaited plan to close Gitmo, the detention facility for terrorist suspects in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, that he promised to close during his campaign for the presidency.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's counter-productive to our fight against terrorist.

KOSINSKI: Republicans weren't having it. From the campaign trail --

SEN. MARCO RUBIO, (R-FL) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We're going to fight it every step of the way.

KOSINSKI: Even John McCain who's long supported closing the prison.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: This is not a plan.

KOSINSKI: The president tried to be nicer to Republicans this week, a far-less critical tone than lately, even saying he understands the political pressure they're under.

OBAMA: I've talked to many of them and I've told them, I'm sympathetic.

KOSINSKI: He himself back in '06, after all, joined a filibuster against now Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito.

Wasn't that just saying politics? Is that why the president understands this so well?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's why the president regrets the vote.

KOSINSKI: The political tone, too, grows ever more colorful.

RUBIO: If he hadn't inherited a $200 million, you know where Donald Trump would be right now? Selling watches.


KOSINSKI: The White House like in CNN's Republican debate Thursday night to an old-fashioned Texas demolition derby. At a Washington press dinner, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said this about Republicans. SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: My party is going (EXPLETIVE DELETED) crazy.

KOSINSKI: The president insists --

OBAMA: I'm going to do my job.

KOSINSKI: In a political climate that is explosive right now and battle-scared.


KOSINSKI: Sometimes these fights become almost like entertainment. But don't forget, we're dealing with some of the biggest issues affecting this country. I mean, it would be a first if the Senate does refuse to even hold hearings for President Obama's Supreme Court nominee whose tenured then could shift the balance of the court and affect decisions for decades.

And on Gitmo, if the president decides to take executive action, which the White House is still not ruling out, that could just spark a bigger firestorm with legal action already being threatened.


PAUL: Hey, Michelle. Thank you very much.

Even though President Obama obviously had a bit of a stressful week, he did manage to take some time to relax a little. Belting out a tune, channeling his inner Ray Charles. We'll show you more. Stay close.






PAUL: There they go. President Obama doing a little Ray Charles in a White House tribute of the late great musician. Earlier the president said he would not be singing. Apparently, he just couldn't resist.

Hey, ho part of the classic "What'd I Say." It's not the first time, you know, the president showed off his singing skills in public.

Remember this then.




PAUL: At the Apollo in New York during his 2012 re-election campaign. He does sound good, doesn't he.

Victor, do you have anything for us? Are you going to wake us up with a tune?

BLACKWELL: No, no. I'm not going to sing. I'm going to leave that up to the president. But those are two songs that is really tough to resist the urge to sing along, especially that song, "What'd I say."

PAUL: Yes.

BLACKWELL: But the president can hold a tune every now and then.

PAUL: Yes. There's no doubt about it.

And, Victor, you might as noticed, it's out in the field today because there's so much news to talk about this morning, right, Victor?

BLACKWELL: Yes, let's get to it. Breaking news now at the top of the hour. We start live from Columbia, South Carolina, right now.