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Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA) is Interviewed About the Chaos and Confusion in Iowa as Democratic Party Delays Results; Iowa Democratic Presidential Candidate Caucus Results Delayed; Democratic Presidential Candidate Pete Buttigieg Gives Victory Speech in Iowa Even Though Voting Results Not Released. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired February 4, 2020 - 08:00   ET

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


[08:00:00]

ANDREW YANG, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And so the data I'm sure will prove out. They have a record of most all of it. A lot of it happened in public.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: John, as you know, now official results are not stopping the candidates from drawing their own conclusions. Some of the candidate are already claiming victory, like Pete Buttigieg. Here he is moments ago talking to voters in Nashua, New Hampshire. And we hope to speak to him in just moments, as you know, John.

So, meanwhile, President Trump and his campaign are trying to seize on the moment by mocking the chaos in Iowa ahead of tonight's State of the Union address. So we'll get into that, too.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, I want to go straight to Jeff Zeleny because he's got some breaking news from Iowa on what you're hearing, Jeff, from the Iowa Democratic Party. Give us that news.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, I wish I could report that the Iowa party has results, but in fact that is not the case. I've talked to a variety of officials from presidential campaigns this morning. They say they are still in the dark. They have not heard any updates overnight from the Iowa Democratic Party. They do not know the timing or the scope of the release of these results.

The last word they heard from them was in a conference call, a short and tense conference call shortly after midnight. So since then, they've not been updating them. We do not know if they've been counting throughout the evening. We do not know if -- exactly what the state of play is. We are in the room, the building where the Democratic Party's war room was. So far we've not seen any Democratic officials here. So we're, frankly, in a waiting game as well. But it is the presidential campaigns and candidates themselves that are spinning these results.

But notably, of all the questions being raised here, the tone from the Biden campaign so different from the other campaigns. You were interviewing a top Biden campaign official, John, just a short time ago. And they were raising significant questions about the results here. Just anecdotally and reporting on the ground, it is clear that the former vice president was not viable in many precincts, talking to several of his supporters and advisers here. They do believe he had a disappointing showing here. So he perhaps dodged a bit of a bullet here as he goes into New Hampshire.

Of all the questions that remain, one is the irregularities. What exactly does that word mean, "irregularities"? How irregular are these? Is it something more than just essentially a reconciling these and calling in the numbers? So John, I wish I had more to report in terms of actual results. So far candidates, voters, and the public kept in the dark at this hour in Des Moines as the sun comes up. John?

BERMAN: With apologies to Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jeff Zeleny in the room where it didn't happen with the Democratic Party last night, and not happening, nothing new to report from them. Interesting that they're continuing their silence. Zeleny, I really appreciate it.

Joining us now, CNN political commentator Karen Finney, she's a former senior spokesperson for the Hillary Clinton campaign, CNN political commentator and Democratic strategist Paul Begala, CNN political analyst David Gregory, and Krystal Ball, co-host of "Rising" on Hill TV. You just heard Jeff Zeleny refer to a conversation I had just a few minutes ago with Kate Bedingfield, who is the deputy campaign manager for Joe Biden. I want you to listen to how directly and emphatically she is questioning the fairness of the Iowa count.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KATE BEDINGFIELD, DEPUTY CAMPAIGN MANAGER AND COMMUNICATION DIRECTOR, BIDEN FOR PRESIDENT: We have real concerns about the integrity of the process. And I think there were some significant failures in the process last night that should give voters concern. You obviously had the app failure. The app that precinct captains were using to report in their results failed. You had the phone system where precinct captains got, there were reports of them getting frustrated, not being able to report out their results, hanging up.

And then you have the presidential preference cards which are essentially the paper trail for the app which we already know failed. So I think taken together, those are significant concerns.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: All right, Paul Begala, decode that for me. Why is that the message coming from the Biden campaign this morning?

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Because they didn't like the results, I'm sure. They don't know them yet, but they know, they know. They have supporters and volunteers in these caucuses. I hope this is not the new normal that those who feel like -- and I don't have any results. Maybe campaigns who feel like they didn't do well, instead of saying that, instead of owning it and moving forward, trying to do better in the next state or getting out, you can say, oh, it's rigged. We got a lot of that in 2016. Poor Donald Trump who was trying to say the game was rigged in 2016 he was so sure he was going to lose. So it's the first time you've heard the winner say the system was rigged. A lot of complaining from the Sanders campaign in 2016, the system was rigged. It wasn't. He just couldn't get the support in the African- American community. His campaign tells me they're working hard on that this time. They'll do a lot better. But I don't like hearing a Democrat say that immediately. We need transparency.

[08:05:00]

Iowa had completely screwed this up. Deputies brought the results from the Battle of Marathon to Athens faster, and that was 490 B.C. Greeks beat Persians. How hard can it be, Iowa?

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: They did not meet the viability threshold, by the way. He did not meet the viability threshold when he arrived. The worst Greek humor ever in the morning. Karen Finney, to you, again, what did you hear from the Biden campaign, and why?

KAREN FINNEY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Actually, I touched base with the Democratic Party because, as you know, I used to be the DNC communications director, and having both been in a campaign and been at the DNC, the Iowa caucus is always a challenge. And as Paul said, this year they were trying to do some new reforms to have better transparency. It's really unfortunate that there were these glitches because, again, I think the reforms, there's a whole reform commission. Senator Sanders had people on that commission, Secretary Clinton and others in the party. And they came up with what seemed like a really good plan. I guess now they're at the backup plan, and it sounds like they do expect to be able to report results later today.

And I agree with Paul. Unfortunately, I don't like hearing people say the data may have -- there may be a problem with the results because as far as we can tell -- there's two things. One, the campaigns should all have a sense from the people, their precinct captains of people that they actually have in those rooms, in those caucus sites, they should have a sense of what happened on the ground. There are totals. And it's my understanding that they are trying to make sure when you have a glitch one night, then the next day you really want to make sure you get it right.

But here's the reality. Every campaign was going to spin why last night was great for them or didn't matter. So I'm not surprised to be hearing versions of that today, and we move on to New Hampshire. And, look, I think the most important thing about Iowa really tends to be it's about a little bit of momentum, fundraising. You're still going to see that coming out of New Hampshire. And the most important thing is obviously it's about the delegate allocation.

BERMAN: Right. Again, we don't know any of it. We don't know any of the results. And notwithstanding, Krystal, what we heard from Kate Bedingfield, the Iowa Democratic Party says they are just trying to get it right. Now, in addition what Kate was saying, leaning into questioning whether or not the results will ultimately be fair, there are supporters of Bernie Sanders who have done the same thing. All you have to do is go on social media last night, and there are people spinning theories that somehow Iowa is going to be good for Bernie Sanders so they decided to spike the results overnight. These are the theories that are floating out there with just no proof at all this morning.

KRYSTAL BALL, CO-HOST, RISING ON HILL TV: And you can't really blame them. When you watch the way the process unfolded last time, and the DNC did put their thumb on the scales for Hillary Clinton. That was revealed in some of the internal leaks that came out. And you had a poll that happened to get spiked on Saturday that happened to be good for Bernie Sanders, and then this result looks like it would have been good for Bernie Sanders, and that doesn't come out as well. So you can't really blame them for being suspicious of party officials who have no use for them or for their movement.

But I don't want to miss what should be, probably, the big headline today. Judging by the posture of Kate Bedingfield and your interview, not only talking about calling into question the results but also saying, look, it's a long road ahead, let's look toward South Carolina and Nevada, and also the posture of some of the other supporters around the Biden campaign and what we saw from the entry results and the anecdotal reports on the ground, it looks like the bottom could very well be dropping out of the Biden campaign. He really needed to do well in Iowa in order to fundraise.

This is a guy who even though he's been the frontrunner in the polls has not had the numbers to back that up. You're talking about states like California, states like Texas where you need a massive ground game and a lot of money. This is not going to get it done for him. So that firewall, which already seemed to be shrinking rapidly, may be in real trouble for the purported frontrunner here.

BERMAN: Maybe. Maybe. The problem with not knowing is we don't know, right?

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: There are no official results yet. We have to wait and see. And it's so variable with the delegate allocation. The variance between the first preference voting and the ultimate state delegate equivalent can be very, very high. David Gregory, veteran of many an Iowa caucus in coverage, was this the last one? Does this put the nail in the coffin of the Iowa caucuses?

DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It very well may. There's already been complaints from Democrats about Iowa voters being out of step with the rest of the Democratic Party. And in a social media age, debacles like this can be very difficult to recover from, because I don't know what's worse in this age of campaigning, being late or being wrong, because to have results be late, and then you move on. Paul said it earlier this morning, it will get eclipsed so quickly. The campaigning already starts. We'll have a debate, we'll have results. We'll see where the campaigns are. I do think that what Krystal said it important. Just by the behavior

of the Biden campaign this morning, without knowing the results, you sense their disappointment in their spin. There's going to be a question about fundraising.

[08:10:09]

But the reality in this muddle this morning is that once we really started voting, the Democratic field has got to start to narrow, has got to start to winnow. That's not happening yet because we have no way to really move forward. And the days ahead may help to clarify that, but it may take time.

And on the fundraising point, you also have Mike Bloomberg sitting out there with plenty of money waiting for a more moderate candidate to bottom out, which further complicates all of this. And then you've got the president who can sit back in the State of the Union address tonight and say what's wrong with these Democrats.

BALL: And John, if I could jump in on that point. The person -- very quickly -- that it really benefits to still have a muddle in the establishment, more centrist lane, is Bernie Sanders. Why weren't Republicans able to beat Trump the last time around? Because they could never coalesce around an alternative. So the fact that none of these people are going anywhere, they're all splitting the vote of those more moderate, centrist, establishment friendly voters, is ultimately a good thing for Bernie Sanders. It means he only needs like 25, 30 percent of the vote to be the nominee.

BERMAN: Although one of the unanswered questions out of Iowa and truly unanswered is, did Bernie Sanders meet the very high expectations that the Bernie Sanders campaign was setting going in? We don't know. The Buttigieg campaign is suggesting that maybe they'll end up with the most delegates. There's just no way to know based on the reporting from the campaigns because they're not reliable sources on this. They want to put the best spin on it.

I do have one piece of news. I do have one piece of important news here, which is the Iowa Democratic Party just told CNN they will be coming out with a statement shortly. I promise you, we will await that statement.

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: But the last time they told us they were coming out with a statement and they did make a statement, the statement was, we have nothing for you.

Paul Begala, let's talk about Pete Buttigieg for a second, because he did something notable last night, was he delivered a victory speech. He delivered a victory speech with no results. What do you get out of that?

BEGALA: I think it's very smart. Again, he knows more than we do because he's got volunteers and supporters in all of those caucuses. All the campaigns do. I think it's a very smart move, because you do have to go on. The whole point of Iowa is election night. It's election night. That's when the cameras are on you. There's more media than there are delegates by a mile. There's only 41 pledged delegates coming out of Iowa out of a total of 3,979. There's only 41 that come out of the Iowa caucus. It's not important for delegates. It's important for media, for momentum, for money.

So I like the fact that Buttigieg, and Amy Klobuchar did some of this as well, jump out quickly and say, hey, I actually did win, even though we have no idea if they did.

BERMAN: I just have to say, Karen, if you could weigh in here, it is just having been in New Hampshire between Iowa and New Hampshire many times, this day is gone. This is the day when the winner of Iowa comes here and preens, and now that's gone. And I just don't know what the effect will be before next Tuesday.

FINNEY: Well, it is, although, remember, normally what we would do is, yes, the person who wins Iowa, remember, last cycle in 2016, we were looking at coin tosses all over the state which was a little bit horrifying, right, as we trying to figure out what happened. Really, Paul is exactly right. It's about the election night, and then you move on to New Hampshire.

And, look, particularly given that we've got now, it's not just Iowa and New Hampshire. You've got Nevada and South Carolina and then we move to Super Tuesday. And as David pointed out, when we hit Super Tuesday, we'll see what the Bloomberg factor looks like in all of this. So it's reasonable to expect that yes, you'd have some momentum coming out of last night, but remember, we've also got the vote on impeachment, we've got the State of the Union, so I think it was always going to feel a little muddled.

And I think the most important thing is that they get the numbers right. It does not sound to me as though what they are saying certainly is that they feel confident in the data. We'll find out how many delegates were allocated. That's ultimately, if I'm a candidate, that's what really matters to me.

And what Bill Clinton did in 1992, you can always declare victory after New Hampshire as the comeback kid, right? You can win any time, right? That's how -- the way this works.

BERMAN: If the choice is between late and wrong, I have a sense the Iowa Democratic Party would choose late. And again, don't go far, friends, because we are getting a statement from the Iowa Democratic Party hopefully soon. So stick around.

Coming up on NEW DAY -- shortly, exactly. Coming up on NEW DAY, the former South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg, who declared victory last night with no official results, he will join me here. Alisyn?

CAMEROTA: That's another way to handle it. You can just always declare victory. And I'm sure you'll ask him about all of that, John.

So the State of the Union address is poised to pack some surprises. One Democratic leader is planning a surprise of her own, and we're going to ask her about it, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:18:36]

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news -- if you are just waking up, there are no results yet from the Iowa caucuses last night. The Iowa Democratic Party blames reporting inconsistencies. They say we can expect results at some point today.

This comes as senators are expected to give speeches about tomorrow's final impeachment vote and the president will deliver his State of the Union Address tonight.

So, a lot is happening today.

Joining us to talk about it, we have Democratic Congresswoman Katherine Clark. She is the vice chair of the House Democratic Caucus. She has endorsed Elizabeth Warren for president.

Congresswoman Clark, I'm sure that you wish that you knew where Elizabeth Warren came in last night.

REP. KATHERINE CLARK (D-MA): Yes, along with many others who wished that we had results. It's incredibly frustrating and so disappointing for all the candidates and their supporters who have worked so hard over the past year just to end up with absolutely no results.

But I can tell you this: having been to New Hampshire many times now, the energy among Democrats is high. They take this decision very seriously. They are evaluating the candidates. But I feel very good about where the Democratic Party and voters are as we start the primary process officially next week.

CAMEROTA: Well, that's interesting to hear because the voter turnout was not that high last night.

[08:20:02]

It was, I think, the same as 2016 which was something like, I don't know, 25 percent down, 30 percent down from a high of 2008.

So, how do you explain that Iowa didn't see a big voter turnout?

CLARK: I think that we are going to see where the numbers are when we have the full picture. But it is palpable when you are in the neighborhoods talking to voters. They are taking this decision very seriously because they know what's at stake.

They know that we have a president who is going to be addressing the nation tonight, and they want to know, why is he in court trying to take away protection from people with pre-existing conditions? Why is he proposed cutting Medicare and Medicaid for our seniors, for our children? Why is he rolling back clean water regulations? Why is he refusing to handle the climate crisis? These are the questions that are very much on the voters' minds. These

are what they're going to be demanding answers from Donald Trump as we move through this election process.

CAMEROTA: As you know, President Trump sometimes goes off script and so, it's hard to predict with any certainty what exactly he'll say at the State of the Union. What do you expect?

CLARK: You know, I don't expect him, unfortunately, to answer those questions. I think we'll hear more of his glossing over of the real issues facing families.

And I know I'm bringing a guest tonight, Rowena Chiu, who is a leader and advocate as a survivor of Harvey Weinstein. And she's going to be talking about, let's make every workplace fair and safe for everyone because it is an economic issue when you fear harassment and abuse in the workplace.

So, these are the type of issues that we are going to be demanding accountability and transparency. The American people want Congress to work.

And this week, it's Gun Survivor Week. And we are asking the president, we are asking Mitch McConnell, where's the action on the two bills we sent to the Senate almost a year ago that can help save lives and put forth common sense protections for our communities?

CAMEROTA: I was talking about the surprises that can always unfold at a State of the Union. And I think you just described one that you are -- will be responsible for and that is bringing a Harvey Weinstein accuser. I mean, that is a provocative choice for the State of the Union.

CLARK: Well, it -- I see it as one of great common sense. We know and Rowena is going to be working with me that we have to change the laws. We have to even the imbalance of power. And I think it takes great bravery of her to come forward. Not only against Harvey Weinstein but against President Trump who faces multiple allegations of harassment and even rape.

So, it is time that we say we have to look at how everybody has success in this country. How we create opportunities for every family. And that's about affordable child care. That's about making sure that every workplace is safe and respectful. That is about making sure that we have educational opportunities for everyone, and that everyone in this country can afford quality, accessible health care.

CAMEROTA: Congresswoman Katherine Clark, we really appreciate you previewing all of this with us. Thanks so much for being on NEW DAY.

CLARK: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: All right. Here's what else to watch today.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CAMEROTA: All right. As we have been reporting, there's been a delay this morning in learning the results from the Iowa caucuses. Does it put the entire future of the caucus process in question? We discuss that next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:28:17]

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news -- nothing. No winner yet out of the Iowa caucuses. This morning, the Iowa Democratic Party blames reporting inconsistencies.

Now, CNN has been told that the IDP, the Iowa Democratic Party, is going to issue a statement shortly. And it does come as key Democratic voices are calling for the end of the Iowa caucuses.

Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TERRY MCAULIFFE, FORMER CHAIR, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE: I would get rid of all the caucuses first of all. They're undemocratic process. People don't have the time to go spend the time like you heard today. Go vote, pull the curtain, vote, then leave. That is the democratic way.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: And, again, that's coming from a former chair of the Democratic National Committee, Terry McAuliffe.

Joining me is another former chair of the Democratic National Committee and a presidential candidate himself, Howard Dean.

Governor Dean, thank you for being with us this morning.

Where do you stand? Do you stand along with Terry McAuliffe on this, ending the Iowa caucuses?

HOWARD DEAN, FORMER DNC CHAIRMAN: Basically, yes, but -- let me be realistic here. First of all, if there's a Democratic president, nothing is going to change. No incumbent Democrat president is going to want to upset the apple cart for the system that nominated and elected him.

Second of all, two problems here. One of them has to do with New Hampshire as well. These states should not have a lock on what goes first. It's foolish, foolish because, first of all, they don't represent the same demographic as the United States and certainly not the Democratic Party. Second of all, New Hampshire has a voter suppression law that's allied to out of state college students, which is outrageous, and that's one of our core constituency groups is young people.

So, we are going to have to redo all of this. And, you know, I don't think it's bad to have caucuses, but they really have to have polling throughout the day. And it has to be a real primary. That is undemocratic. Even the Iowans will tell you that.

END