Return to Transcripts main page

NEW DAY SUNDAY

Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 Crashed En Route To Kenya; CNN Hosts Three Presidential Town Halls From South By Southwest Tonight; Iowa Poll: Biden And Sanders Lead 2020 Democratic Field; Trump May Seek More From Allies Hosting Military Forces; R. Kelly's Sex Abuse Allegations; Woman Attacked By Jaguar While Taking Selfie At Arizona Zoo Aired. 6-7a ET

Aired March 10, 2019 - 06:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[06:00:14]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders top the field by a pretty wide margin.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Other top tier candidates are struggling to get out of the single digits.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's no doubt this race is definitely on in the Hawkeye State.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Another sign that Beto O'Rourke is inching toward running for president right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When are you going to announce your presidential run?

FORMER REP. BETO O'ROURKE (D), TEXAS: We got to be a part of this amazing thing in Texas over the last two years and it continues.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's open season on R. Kelly.

R. KELLY: I promise you we will straighten all of this stuff out. That's all I can say right now.

LESLIE JONES AS GAYLE KING: Robert.

KENAN THOMPSON AS R. KELLY: Please call me Victor.

JONES: No.

THOMPSON: It's 10:00 in the morning and I'm talking to Oprah's friend. If I can just get through this everybody's going to love me again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY WEEKEND with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul. VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. It is an important day for Democratic candidates for president and CNN is the only place you'll be able to watch three town halls with the trio of 2020 presidential contenders.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: We have more on that in just a minute but we have new polling on the Democratic front runners that's coming right up.

We do have to tell you first about event unfolding right now while you were sleeping.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Breaking overnight in Ethiopian Airlines en route to Nairobi, Kenya has crashed in Ethiopia, 149 passengers, eight crew members are believed to have been on board. The Ethiopian prime minister tweeted his condolences to the families of those lost but no information has been released yet about survivors or casualties.

CNN aviation correspondent Richard Quest is following this breaking news. Richard, what have we learned. There's a lot still out there.

RICHARD QUEST, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Most of the facts are not known. All we do know is that the plane took off. It was an Ethiopian 737-8 MAX which left Addis Ababa and was going to Nairobi.

It was the 8:30 departure in the morning. Twelve minutes or so into the -- I'm sorry -- it's about six minutes into the flight the plane simply fell out of the sky. There's no word on why. There's no word on what happened. There's no word -- we don't know yet of course about any survivors.

This is only a few hours old and therefore facts are few and far between. Other than the startling obvious fact that this is the same make and type of brand new aircraft a Boeing 737 MAX that crashed with Lion Air late last year.

PAUL: Richard, let me ask you. You're right. I know we are trying to get more information at this point. As far as we know, they are just characterizing this as losing contact. They are not saying there was a distress call made.

If that is the case, what does that tell you? I mean you know about these things.

QUEST: It tells a lot. First of all, it tells me it's too soon after the incident to know those details. That sort of -- those sorts of details would only come out in the next three or four or five hours that we would get details of any distress calls. But if you look at the profile of the flight, it is a sharpish takeoff. The plane doesn't particularly pick up that much speed and then it suddenly falls from the sky.

Now, this -- you can't -- we cannot say at this point what did or did not, what might or might not, but it is legitimate, I think, and having covered this -- these sorts of incidents for a very long time, it is legitimate to point out that two brand-new aircraft of exactly the same type have fallen out of the sky, had fatal crashes within six to eight months of each other and that is something that is worthy of note. It may be not relevant in the final analysis but you cannot ignore it. And I promise you the air accident investigators will not be ignoring that similarity.

BLACKWELL: All right. Richard Quest with the latest. Still a lot out there. We are waiting to hear from authorities there in Ethiopia. Thank you so much.

PAUL: Thank you, Richard.

QUEST: Thank you.

PAUL: So CNN will be live from the South by Southwest Festival today. Three hours. Three consecutive town halls with three of the 2020 contenders moderated by Jake Tapper and Dana Bash.

BLACKWELL: First up is John Delaney at 7:00 p.m. then Tulsi Gabbard at 8:00, and Pete Buttigieg at 9:00.

PAUL: In an Iowa poll released today name recognition seems to lead the way to the top tier, the top contender, according to this, Joe Biden who isn't even in the race! In second place, Bernie Sanders, right where he finished last time.

[06:05:01]

We want to take a closer with you with the numbers here with CNN's Washington correspondent Ryan Nobles.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RYAN NOBLES, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: The last time we took the temperature of Iowa voters, there were very few candidates in the race and I can tell you having just returned from Iowa, that the campaign there is very much on and now we now have 14 candidates who have officially announced or formed exploratory committees.

And despite having so many candidates in the field, the results have not changed all that much from our survey back in December. Take a look where things stand right now. Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders top the field by a pretty wide margin.

Sanders trailing behind by only two points from Biden, and there's not another candidate who even cracks 10 percent. Elizabeth Warren has 9 percent. Kamala Harris with 7 percent, Beto O'Rourke at 5 percent, while Cory Booker and Amy Klobuchar both register at 3 percent.

There's not one other candidate of the 20 that we polled that even registers above the 1 percent mark. That's important because a candidate must earn at least 1 percent in three different polls to gain access to the upcoming DNC debates.

Now, there is some movement from what we saw in December though and that movement really is to the benefit of Bernie Sanders. Take a look where things are from just a couple of months ago. Sanders was at that point only at 19 percent. Biden at 32 percent. Sanders has gone up quite a bit all the way to 25 percent. Biden has lost some ground at 27 percent.

Of course, the big difference there, Sanders officially in the race, Biden not in quite yet. The other candidates in this race have not changed that much, although we should note that Beto O'Rourke, another candidate not in quite yet was at 11 percent in December. He's now dropped to 5 percent.

And there is also something interesting about the way the youth vote has an impact on these support for these candidates. Take a look at the influence that young people have. I was at an event with Bernie Sanders at a college campus in Iowa City earlier this week and there were so many young people there passionately behind his campaign, and that's really reflected in this poll.

Voters under the age of 45 support Sanders the most at 32 percent. But when you flip those numbers and take a look at Joe Biden support with voters over 45, he takes 32 percent of the vote. Now, there's certainly a lot of energy with young people but generally the older voters, especially in a caucus state like Iowa, is a lot more reliable.

But, of course, the big thing we need to remind everyone is that we are a long way away from votes being cast. So, it's very unlikely what we see from this snapshot in time will actually be how things turn out a year from now -- Christi and Victor.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLACKWELL: All right. Thank you so much, Ryan.

Let's discuss now. Joining me now is Democratic pollster Pia Nargundkar and Siraj Hashmi, commentary writer and editor for "The Washington Examiner." Welcome to NEW DAY.

And, Pia, let me start with you. The two men who have not announced the holdouts here, Joe Biden and Beto O'Rourke have both slipped. Biden down by five, O'Rourke down six since the December poll. Lesson to those two?

PIA NARGUNDKAR, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER: Yes. I think that the longer that, you know, these candidates hold out, the more voters are going to start looking elsewhere and look at the candidates that are doing the work on the ground in Iowa. So, yes, we have seen that Biden has fallen five points. Beto in particular fallen six points. And then if you look at the first choice and the second choice voters he has actually fallen from 23 percent of the electorate to just 11 percent of the electorate.

BLACKWELL: So, Pia, let me stay with you for this next question. Responded say by 70 point margin -- let's put it up -- that they want a candidate who will harness Democrats' positive energy to unite the country versus a candidate who will harness the party's anger to defeat the president. Of course, most people aren't going to tell a pollster that they want someone to play to their anger, right? So why the pairing of these option? Are these mutually exclusively really?

NARGUNDKAR: No. I don't think so. I think any candidate that is going to succeed in the Democratic primary will obviously have to address Trump. But I think there's a difference between addressing Trump and focusing on Trump.

I think Democrats in 2018 who wins in the Democratic will address Trump. I think Democrats in 2018 had the winning playbook where they said, yes, we need change. We don't want Trump but here is what we are going to do about it. We're going to focus on health care. We're going to focus on climate change. We're going to focus on income and equality.

BLACKWELL: All right. Siraj, in the December poll Sanders was 13 points behind Biden. This morning he's now two points behind. Now we have to talk about name recognition with 11 months out from the actual caucuses. But that variable has not changed for these two.

They have got pretty high, if not 100 percent name recognition in these polls. So what is your take on the narrowing there?

SIRAJ HASHMI, COMMENTARY WRITER AND EDITOR, "WASHINGTON EXAMINER": Well, what's interesting here is obviously Bernie Sanders announced that he was running and he has been (INAUDIBLE) hand over fist in terms of actual political fund-raising. Whereas, Joe Biden he's still kind of testing the waters. He has only dipped his toes just a little bit.

Although some Democratic strategists I've spoken to said that he is 95 percent into the race. It's just a matter of time to actually announcing and they are expecting that he is going to announce by the end of the first quarter. So what is going to happen here is that every single candidate who has actually announced, the big ones, of course, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris they've gotten a big bump just by announcing that they are running for president.

[06:10:07]

And, of course, we are seeing that right now reflected in the polls with Sanders.

BLACKWELL: Yes. But not such a big bump for Elizabeth Warren. Let's put that back up. She is in third place behind the two front-runners we've been discussing. She hasn't moved much in the polls. She's up I think one point here. Her favorables, unfavorables about the same.

Is this good news or bad news for such a full field that is growing?

HASHMI: Obviously, it's not great news for Elizabeth Warren. I mean, she and Bernie Sanders have very similar ideologies in terms of being -- they're probably further to the left than the actual Democratic race. When it comes to a moderate like Joe Biden who by most standards is probably the most moderate Democrat who's touted as a being a presidential candidate they all have very similar platforms.

Just a matter of how they message it and with respect to Warren's current feud with President Trump, you know, it's going to be tough for her to kind of overcome it, given she had DNA test and basically this kind of apology toward us she's had ever since.

BLACKWELL: Pia, let's go back to these front-runners and the question of has their time passed. There's, I think, an important separation here. For those who were asked about Bernie Sanders, 43 percent say that his time as a candidate has passed, only 31 percent for Biden.

Does this disparity suggest a greater concern for Sanders? Maybe he'll have a tougher time winning over those voters? Because it isn't about ideology. It's about your time as a candidate and if you're right for 2020.

NARGUNDKAR: Yes. I think there's still a lot of raw feelings left over from the 2016 primary, the Sanders campaign also had, you know, a lot of problems with sexual harassment and the sort of Bernie brawls (ph) and that sort of toxic masculinity surrounding that campaign.

Whereas, I think, Biden starts out with an advantage. He has been in politics for several decades. He has a loyal following and he sort of has that glow from the Obama years that's going to help boost his campaign.

BLACKWELL: We also see in the polls 56 percent of the respondents, Siraj, saying that the country should be more socialist. I mean, the question was actually just put out that flatly. Considering what we are seeing from the president and his framing of the Democratic Party -- and again, this is just Iowa that we are talking about the respondents here -- is this a vulnerability for the party?

HASHMI: Absolutely. I mean, there is -- obviously a left ward shift that's happening right now in the Democratic Party. The Gallup poll that was referenced recently that millennials particularly the 18 to 34 age demographic are leaning more toward socialism than they are capitalism. Of course, that doesn't go for the 35 plus age group who are still leaning more towards capitalism.

So there's this large vocal minority within the Democratic Party that prefer socialism over capitalism and with, you know, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Bernie Sanders harpooning on the Green New Deal, Medicare for all, you know, raising the federal minimum wage. These are all things that young people are latching on to because over the last decade, the economy has not been that favorable to young people, specifically college graduates entering the job market and finding that they are not, you know, reaching that level of success that their previous generations have.

BLACKWELL: Pia, let's look at the other side of the question that potentially, as we discuss this as a vulnerability for becomes, Medicare for all, the Green New Deal, these are popular beyond the Democratic base. So is it a vulnerability? What do the polls tell us? NARGUNDKAR: Yes. I think people often get too hung up on the term and they try to slur it as socialism. But if you actually look at the actual progressive policies that Democrats candidates are talking about they are very popular whether it's Medicare for all, the Green New Deal, taxing the rich, all these sorts of things are being talked about by candidates and voters are responding to them more and more.

When, you know, Bernie Sanders first talked about Medicare for all in 2016 it was considered a radical far left policy. Now over half of Democratic primary voters are saying, yes, I want a candidate who supports that.

BLACKWELL: All right. Pia Nargundkar, Siraj Hashmi, thank you both.

HASHMI: Thank you, Victor.

NARGUNDKAR: Thank you so much.

PAUL: So behind closed doors, the Trump administration has been discussing how to turn allied relationships into revenue. Getting countries who host U.S. troops in peace time to pay up. As first reported by "Bloomberg," one of the plans has been called internally "cost plus 50," meaning the United States should work to get countries to cover the full cost of the U.S. military presence in their country then also pay an additional 50 percent of that cost.

I want to bring in CNN White House reporter Sarah Westwood from West Palm Beach. What is the White House saying specifically about this plan, Sarah?

[06:15:00]

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Christi, these internal discussions about this "cost plus 50" model for getting countries that host U.S. troops in times of peace to pay more of the cost of having them there, these have arisen, in part, because the White House is in the process of putting together the president's annual budget proposal. This "cost plus 50" model would involve the administration going to countries that host American troops, asking them to cover the full cost of having the troops there, salaries, equipment, and then covering an additional 50 percent, the argument being that U.S. troops being in these foreign countries add value to the hosts themselves.

This was report by our colleague Kylie Atwood. Now there are over a hundred countries that do host U.S. troops right now. Some of the countries that have the largest share of U.S. troops right now are Japan, South Korea, Germany, the United Arab Emirates. This is in keeping with the president's foreign policy so far.

One central tenet of it has been the idea of encouraging burden sharing. The idea that countries should have more investment in collective defense, for example, with NATO. The president has been very adamant that countries should meet their commitments to spend 2 percent of their GDP on their defense. So even though this may be stunning to some analysts, Christi, this is sort of in line with where the president has been all along.

PAUL: All right. Sarah Westwood, thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: Still to come, R&B singer R. Kelly is out of jail again after on bail after an anonymous person paid $161,000 in child support on his behalf. What is next in his legal battles?

PAUL: Also, Delaney, Gabbard, Buttigieg, all three 2020 Democratic hopefuls joining CNN tonight for three consecutive town hall events. We're going to have a preview from South by Southwest in Austin, Texas for you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:20:58]

PAUL So R&B singer R. Kelly out of jail for the second time in less than a month after $161,000 in child support was paid on his behalf. Still very unclear who paid that money that was owed. But after he was released the singer told reporters he intends to rise above his legal troubles.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

R. KELLY, R&B SINGER: Thanks for the water. Thanks for the water, guys. I promise you, we are going to straighten all of stuff out. That's all I can say right now. I promise you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Anything you'd like to say to your fans?

KELLY: I love my fans.

(CROSSTALK)

KELLY: Thank you guys for the water.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: He is going to be back in court next week. In the child support case he is scheduled to return to court in the sexual abuse case March 22nd.

CNN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney Joey Jackson with us now. So, Joey, you heard him there say, I promise you it's all going to get straightened it out. If you're his lawyer how are you straightening it out?

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, there's a lot of work to do, Christi. Good morning to you.

PAUL: Good morning.

JACKSON: And that work obviously involves four different victims who are alleged victims at this point and serious allegations concerning him. And so I think the first thing you need to do is get what we lawyers call discovery and that is to see exactly what the prosecution has, parse through that information, determine whether there are inconsistencies, discrepancies, what motivations there are. And, you know, I think that is the way to go at least initially.

And then they are going to have a lot of work to do in terms of prepping R. Kelly should he testify. That's an open question.

PAUL: Yes.

JACKSON: Does it need to be answered right away because the performance that he gave in Gayle King certainly needs to be revisited and he needs his demeanor and comportment in check too so they will work on that as well.

PAUL: I wanted to -- I wanted to ask you about that. Because I feel like we saw two different R. Kellys in the last several days. Who we saw in the CBS interview, who was very angry and who we saw yesterday who was very measured. What do you make of that?

JACKSON: You know, I think in terms of the Gayle King interview -- and, you know, I think people can get and understand that a person who is undergoing this type of stress, frustration, et cetera, you know, would be passionate about it, but I think you have to harness that passion and I think to your point there needs to be kind of like a combination of the two, right?

A person who is passionate on the one hand without be belligerent as we are looking there at the video and a person who is assured and calm and could be trusted because jurors have to relate to you, they have to understand you, and they have to find you credible. And so I'm sure his lawyers will work on him whether he testifies at trial or not. Again, Christi, that is an open question but should he testify, I think that there is a lot of work to do so that performance is not repeated.

PAUL: I got you. So you mentioned his lawyers. Let's listen to Steve Greenberg what he had to say yesterday outside of the jail as well.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEVE GREENBERG, R. KELLY'S ATTORNEY: It's open season on R. Kelly. Everybody is coming now coming forward and saying I met this man and this is what happened. Look. There is no money for these people.

I keep thinking of when I used to take my daughter when she was a little kid I took her to see "Beauty and the Beast" and they walked up with pitchforks.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: Open season and pitchforks. What do you make of that characterization?

JACKSON: You know, Christi, everybody handles things different, every attorney's personality, comportment, demeanor is different but I think ultimately if he is going to representing him as it looks to be in front of a jury the jury of course has to find his attorney credible. Jurors rely upon attorneys to teach them about the case.

They have to believe in the attorney. They have to believe in the message. And I think it needs to be a fine-tuned message. Because on the one hand, yes, you have to test and challenge the veracity of all victims that come forward at the same time you can't revictimize the victims as well.

And so you have to test credibility, you have to talk about distinctions and perhaps prior testimony you have to talk about motivations but I think you have to do it in a way that is respectful enough so that the jury can get it, understand it, and perhaps disagree with the victims at the end of the day. But I think you can't berate them because if you do it's going to be a long day for Kelly, a long number of days and perhaps a long sentence.

So they have got a ways to go here but he has the presumption of innocence and we will see what unfolds in the months ahead as the -- we get more information about the case.

[06:25:04]

PAUL: Yes, and we look forward to your analysis of all of it as we go. Joey Jackson, always appreciate seeing you. Thank you.

JACKSON: Thank you, Christi.

BLACKWELL: All right. Let's go to Arizona now where a woman was attacked by a jaguar while taking a selfie at a zoo. Now a man who was there with his family says he saw what happened. First he heard a woman yelling for help so he ran to where she was to catch the woman's arm clenched in the jaguar's mouth -- in the claws rather, I should say. Now he distracted the animal with a water bottle before it released her from its grip.

A statement from the zoo says please understand why barriers are put in place, sending prayers to the family tonight. The zoo says the incident occurred with a guest who crossed over the barrier to get a photo according to eyewitnesses. There were no employees nearby when this happened.

PAUL: Former congressman Beto O'Rourke taking the stage at South by Southwest in Texas. You're going to hear his answer to the burning question, are you running for president in 2020?

BLACKWELL: Plus, 30 people were injured when their plane made an emergency landing in New York. What we are learning about that flight, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:30:25]

PAUL: Thirty minutes past the hour on this Sunday morning. Warren, Buttigieg, O'Rourke, Castro, Klobuchar, not the Democratic convention, though it kind of sounds like it.

BLACKWELL: It does.

PAUL: But a lot of 2020 hopefuls some who have announced, others anticipated candidates they're in Austin, Texas.

BLACKWELL: So this is the annual South by Southwest conference which calls itself a conference and a festival that celebrates film and music. There's a lot going on.

PAUL: Yes.

BLACKWELL: It attacks industry leaders and includes a variety of networking opportunities. And this evening CNN is hosting three back- to-back town halls with a trio of 2020 contenders. We've got John Delaney, Tulsi Gabbard, Pete Buttigieg.

And let's bring in now CNN politics reporter Dan Merica. He's following all of what's happening there at South by Southwest. There's a lot planned for tonight. You have a lot to get to us and get for us rather than, Dan. Good morning to you.

DAN MERICA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Yes. Good morning, guys.

You know, for a festival that was once a music and culture festival, it has become a political festival this year and it says a lot about the 2020 field, I think. This has become the largest collective gathering of 2020 candidates either declared or potential to date this year and that's significant.

Now Texas is obviously an early voting state. There's something to that but there's two other reasons, I think. The youth here and the money. The audience here is far more liberal, far more young than audience as most of these candidates will see in Iowa and New Hampshire and there's a significant amount of money here.

So you have candidates like, for example, former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper who is raising money while he is also in Austin. And it's, obviously, a good face time for a number of these candidates just to meet and mingle with what could be potential donors and supporters.

On that youth point you're seeing two candidates and some of them -- two of which will be on our stage, on CNN stage tonight who are noting their youth and the fact that youth is a selling point, they say. One of those candidates is Pete Buttigieg. Listen to what he had to say yesterday at a town hall here in Austin.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), MAYOR OF SOUTH BEND, INDIANA: I also have more executive government experience under my belt than the vice president of the United States. And more military experience than anybody who walk into that office since George H.W. Bush.

So as cheesy as it is, the 37-year-old, the youngest man in the conversation, my simplest answer to the question is why somebody like me deserves to have a voice in this conversation is experience. (END VIDEO CLIP)

MERICA: You hear that he is leaning into the fact that he is a young candidate, 37 years old, mayor of South Bend. He talked about the audacity of the idea that he I think, he could be president of the United States.

He will be joined tonight at separate town halls by Tulsi Gabbard, a congresswoman from Hawaii, and then former congressman from Maryland John Delaney. They'll all be on the CNN stage. For those three candidates they're relatively unknown. This will be arguably the largest stage they will have so far in the 2020 primary process.

You also have a tech focus here. So you have candidates like Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar discussing tech policies those rolling out a plan to break up tech companies like Amazon and Facebook and a number of other companies coming here and actually discussing that in front of an audience and people who actually hope to or possible work for tech companies that could be, you know, could be targeted by a possible President Warren.

And then you have the potential candidates. You mentioned Beto O'Rourke. He's obviously a former congressman from here, in Texas. He ran for Senate in 2018, lost to Ted Cruz but a lot of speculation about whether he is going to run for president.

He was asked about that at a documentary screening yesterday. Take a listen to what he had to say about his possible run.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When are you going to announce your presidential run?

BETO O'ROURKE (D), FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN: So many candidacies, so many leaders who are -- we got to be a part of this amazing thing in Texas over the last two years. And it continues and we are so excited about what you're doing, Rhonda, what you are doing, what so many other people are doing and we just want to continue to be a part of it, so thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MERICA: Victor and Christi, he is not giving much away there. He not telling you what he is going to do. Today we are hear from John Hickenlooper, I mentioned, Julian Castro the former secretary of HUD as well as Washington Governor Jay Inslee. They will all be here in the morning and then we'll have our CNN town halls with Buttigieg, Gabbard and Delaney this evening -- guys.

PAUL: All right. Very good point. He didn't even come close to answering the question.

BLACKWELL: Nothing.

PAUL: They weren't even on the radar. Dan Merica, we appreciate it so much. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Not a wink nor a nod from Beto O'Rourke there.

Joining me to discuss is Julian Zelizer, historian and professor at Princeton, and CNN political analyst.

[06:35:02]

Julian, welcome back. Let's start with Beto. I mean, it has been going on and on now. At some point he's going to have to make a decision. There are a myriad of reasons why he hasn't announced.

But is he hurting a potential run the longer he waits without the announcement?

JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Look. If he announces in the next few weeks, this story will be behind us and everyone will focus on the candidacy.

The reason it hurts him is everyone wants to make sure he is all in. He is younger, he is less known and experienced, so people want to see that resolve which will be crucial for 2020. They want to know he the authentic Beto that ran in Texas. So they do not like when he is not giving a straight answer so those are the reasons he needs to move beyond this portion of the campaign if he is going to run.

BLACKWELL: All right. Let's talk about Senator Elizabeth Warren. She was asked at South by Southwest what separates her from Senator Bernie Sanders. Here is part of her answer.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People who don't know the difference between you and Bernie are saying. What is the crux of the difference?

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Bernie has to speak to what Democratic socialism is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are not one?

WARREN: I am not. And the centers have to speak to whatever they are doing. What I can speak to is what I do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: She there made it clear that she is not a Democratic socialist but the new CNN poll out in just the last 12 hours or so says that at least in Iowa 56 percent of the people, the respondents said the country needs to be more socialists.

So where does she fall on this spectrum? And is that the best case to make heading into the caucuses and in the primary season?

ZELIZER: Look, she is a Democrat who leans to the left and I think she needs to own that, embrace it and use it to define her candidacy. That was a bad answer. Whenever you define you candidacy by saying what you're not or attacking someone else I think in the end that is not appealing. So she needs to lay out how she is a champion of the middle class, what that means in terms of policy and run with it.

But the question of what makes a difference between her and Sanders will be a recurring theme so she really needs to lay that case out.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk about the town halls back-to-back tonight. We first got former Congressman John Delaney then current Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, and then Mayor Pete Buttigieg. In the latest poll that we just talked about they are maxing out at 1 percent as first choice in Iowa in the low single digits, all of them.

What do they need to do to break out tonight in such a large field that they haven't done thus far? John Delaney started running in the summer of 2017.

ZELIZER: Yes. It's going to be very difficult for these three, given the giants who they are facing in the Democratic Party but they need to lay out some kind of idea. They need to put forth something that inspires voters that they are not seeing in the other candidates. And part of this is just selling who you are, but the ideas matter and I think it will be difficult to see a huge change in the polls for any of them, but that is what they are going to try to do.

BLACKWELL: How much do you think these polls matter 11 months out from the caucuses?

ZELIZER: They only matter in terms of fund-raising because fund- raisers are watching this right now and it matters in terms of the kind of media coverage you get, so people are starting to watch and this dictates who gets press time and who doesn't. But it all can change.

Look, if a few people drop out, something happens in terms of what someone says, you can see a total reversal in the polls or at least an uptick. So I don't think we should set everything in stone based on where things are today.

BLACKWELL: All right. Julian Zelizer, always good to have you.

ZELIZER: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Live from South by Southwest in Austin, Texas as we discuss those three CNN presidential town halls back-to-back former Congressman John Delaney at 7:00, Representative Tulsi Gabbard at 8:00, Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 9:00. Jake Tapper, Dana Bash moderate. That's tonight starting at 7:00 Eastern only on CNN.

PAUL: Well, patience and power are in short supply in Venezuela. Coming up, we have the very latest for you on the dueling demonstrations and the ongoing blackouts there.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:43:49]

PAUL: For a third day, take a look at this widespread blackouts crippling parts of Venezuela. We're talking about 5 million people who do not have power. And for those who do have it there's no guarantee it's going to stay on.

BLACKWELL: Thousands of demonstrators march through the streets of Caracas yesterday and some support Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro but even more were answering the call for protest from the country's self-declared interim president Juan Guaido. Here's CNN's Paula Newton with more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They have passion but oh, so much frustration too. Opposition protests were marred by confrontations even before they started and when they did, there was this. National Guard troops blocking their way at every turn.

(on camera): So opposition protesters were trying to walk all the way up this avenue. As you can see here, they are being blocked by the National Guard. The National Guard continues to move them down this road trying to pin them in.

Opposition protesters have taken to negotiations. You can see right here they are trying to convince them that they have the right to protest.

(voice-over): Opposition leader Winston Flores embraces a national guard leader as the both agree to keep it peaceful.

[06:45:05]

"Speak to them from the heart. They are Venezuelans like you," he says. "They don't have power. They don't have food. They don't have anything right now."

(on camera): So you're just trying to keep this peaceful. You want this to stay peaceful.

WINSTON FLORES, VENEZUELAN NATIONAL ASSEMBLY MEMBER: Yes, I say to the people, stay here. (Speaking Spanish).

NEWTON (voice-over): Pacifism is what he means. Some protesters don't believe it will work.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What dictatorship has go down (ph) peacefully? You tell me one.

NEWTON: Others want the U.S. military to step in.

(on camera): Maduro says he's not going anywhere.

FLORES: I need the help of the (INAUDIBLE).

NEWTON (voice-over): When opposition leader Juan Guaido spoke, he, too, seems to side with those who say a more robust strategy might be needed, leading to some kind of a military mission.

The faithful, meantime, gathered at a textbook government rally in Caracas.

"The U.S. has no business being here in our country," she tells me.

(on camera): With this pro-government rally, President Maduro is looking for his own momentum, with his core supporters, he will broadcast this rally throughout Venezuela in places where the opposition momentum isn't quite as strong.

(voice-over): The irony: as president Nicolas Maduro denounced what he called the "imperialist invasion," barely anyone saw it or heard it. Rolling blackouts continue through the city, throughout the country. Barely any Internet, TV or mobile coverage, not to mention food, water or medicine.

On both sides, Venezuelans are at their breaking point with few daring to predict what could happen next -- Paula Newton, CNN, Caracas.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PAUL: A rough landing at New York's JFK Airport sent dozens of people to the hospital. What we're learning this morning about the moments before that emergency landing.

BLACKWELL: And breaking overnight one of the NFL's brightest stars has a new team. Coy, clearly one of the biggest headlines of the off- season.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Victor. Antonio Brown has been trying to force his way out of Pittsburgh for months. He's swapping the Steelers black and yellow with Raiders black and silver and reportedly he is getting a whole lot richer. A good day for him and good day for me too.

Our producer just said I'm dressed better than Victor today. We'll debate it. Coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:51:50]

BLACKWELL: Thirty people are recovering after a rough landing at New York's JFK Airport.

PAUL: Their plane a Turkish Airlines flight from Istanbul hit severe turbulence before it landed last night. Now officials say the injuries aren't serious. Mostly bumps and bruises fortunately.

BLACKWELL: So while you were sleeping one of the NFL's biggest stars broke the internet.

PAUL: Coy, Antonio brown. Not coy but he could too.

WIRE: Thank you very much. It feels like the Raiders stole from Pittsburgh in this deal giving the Steelers just a third and a fifth round pick for one of the most dynamic playmakers in all of football. The news came overnight.

Antonio Brown posting this picture of himself wearing silver and black. Then he tweeted, "Love at first sight," along with video from the pro bowl with his Raiders Q.B. Derek Carr. And apparently this bromance is already brewing.

Just minutes later Carr tweeted back, "Brother let's get to work!" Now a lot of folks thought the Steelers were going to get a first round pick for A.B. but this trade proves they were willing to part ways from for much less given how much he's butted head with the organization in the past couple of years.

Brown gets a new deal reportedly worth three years up to $54 million, 30 million guaranteed. That would make him the highest paid receiver in the league. The Raiders they get a game changer and a star as they make their transition from Oakland to Las Vegas. The entire team had just 19 catches last season. A.B. had 15 himself. Trades are not official until the new year league begins on Wednesday.

Now skiing sensation Mikaela Shiffrin just made history. Yesterday, in the Czech Republic the 23-year-old from Vail won her 15th race of the season. More than any other man or woman has won in a single season in the 53 year history of the World Cup.

The previous record stood for three decades. Mikaela absolutely dominated the slalom. Nearly a full second ahead of the silver place finisher. She has already piled up 58 wins in her career and if she stays healthy many feel she'll break the all-time wins record (INAUDIBLE) held by fellow American recently retired Lindsey Vonn.

What a way to make an entrance into the big dance. Get up big dog. Watch this Murray State Racers becoming the first team to punch it's ticket to the NCAA tournament. And get used to dunks like that from Ja Morant. He's a big time NBA prospect.

And, Christi, Victor, selection Sunday is just one week from today so we'll be getting our brackets ready. And we want all you to participate with us as well.

Finally, Jenny from the block got a new rush. Congrats to Jennifer Lopez. She got proposed to by Alex Rodriguez, the baseball legend. A. Rod and J. Lo posting this photo on their Instagram accounts. He popped the question while they were on vacation in the Bahamas.

BLACKWELL: That's a pretty --

(CROSSTALK)

PAUL: I'm happy for her --

WIRE: Yes.

PAUL: -- and him.

BLACKWELL: They are so pretty.

(LAUGHTER)

PAUL: They are. They are a very pretty couple.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Thank you, Coy.

WIRE: You're welcome.

PAUL: Thanks, Coy.

PAUL: So Gayle King's interview with R. Kelly it has been called manic, explosive --

BLACKWELL: Yes, yes.

PAUL: Never funny.

BLACKWELL: Until now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

THOMPSON: And now I humbly await your decision, Miss Jail King.

JONES: My name is Gayle King, with a G.

THOMPSON: You're not the Jail King?

[06:55:02]

What am I doing here?

JONES: Boy, you are not right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLACKWELL: Last night, "Saturday Night Live" recreated R. Kelly's interview with CBS News. Look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

THOMPSON: This is all great stuff but maybe we should save it for some of the interview.

JONES: What are you talking about? This is the interview.

THOMPSON: For real? Where are the cameras?

JONES: There's literally one right in front of you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey.

THOMPSON: I'll just keep your camera out in the open like that? You all some freaks? How stupid would it be for me, R. Kelly with all of the crazy legal things that I've done in my past on tape and gotten away with, Scott- free, to do it again?

[07:00:00]

How stupid do you think I am? Is this the camera?

JONES: No, no. That is a plant.

THOMPSON: OK. Guys, think for a minute.