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New Results Trickling In From The Iowa Caucuses; A Divided Nation With Deeper Wounds This Morning After The State Of Union Address; Hundreds Of Americans In The Air On Two Flights Out Of Epicenter Of Coronavirus Outbreak. Aired 3-3:30a ET

Aired February 5, 2020 - 03:00   ET



CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Buckle up for a while there -- 24 hours, and votes from Iowa still coming in. Hostilities boiling over at a divisive State of the Union and the Senate poised to acquit the President of high crimes and misdemeanors.

Good morning, everyone. Welcome to early start. I'm Christine Romans.

LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Laura Jarrett. It's Wednesday February 5th, 3:00 a.m. on the East Coast.

ROMANS: Good morning.

JARRETT: Breaking overnight, new results trickling in from the Iowa caucuses and former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg is still in front with 71 percent of precincts now reporting, Buttigieg has 26.8 percent of state delegates followed by Senator Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden.

Senator Amy Klobuchar is not far behind the former VP. Remember here, nearly 30 percent of the results are still not reported at this point. The Sanders campaign no doubt looking at the popular vote totals where Sanders remains in front.

ROMANS: Now, Buttigieg started his campaign in obscurity. He now has to be regarded as a serious contender. That reality appear to be sinking in after the first set of Iowa results was released.


PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And it validates for a kid somewhere in a community wondering if he belongs or she belongs or they belong.


ROMANS: Former Vice President Joe Biden looking to leave Iowa behind and pick up some momentum, Nevada and South Carolina are ahead with large blocs of Hispanic and black voters who support him.

But first New Hampshire, an overwhelmingly white state.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's good to be back in New Hampshire. More than you know.


BIDEN: As I said from the beginning, I want to do well, and I want to do well in Iowa. The four states I can't afford and the first four are the key, two caucuses in two primaries. And so we'll see what happens -- have they finished counting?


JARRETT: Meantime, Mike Bloomberg's campaign is looking to capitalize on the chaos in Iowa.

The former New York City Mayor is doubling his spending on television ads and has already topped $300 million.

As for that app at the center of Iowa's reporting issues, well, the Department of Homeland Security says Democrats did not take up their offer to test it for security flaws ahead of time. But Iowa officials say the data that was entered was accurate and the paper trail backs it up.

ROMANS: Trouble with the app had been reported last week during testing, the same software was supposed to be used for the Nevada caucus, February 22. That won't be happening now.

Nevada Democrats say the party reevaluating its options and has a series of backup plans in place.

JARRETT: A can't miss two-night event on CNN starts tonight. The last Democratic Presidential Town Halls before the New Hampshire primary next week. Join us tonight 8:00 p.m. Eastern only on CNN.

Well, while Democrats struggle account votes in Iowa, President Trump was turning his State of the Union address into a rowdy campaign rally.


AUDIENCE: Four more years. Four more years. Four more years.


JARRETT: Republican chants of four more years there, while Senate Republicans are on the verge of acquitting the President and keeping him in office.

Last night, the President leaned on voters to do to the same in November.

ROMANS: Two defining moments bookending the State of the Union address, the President snubbing Nancy Pelosi's handshake at the start, and the House Speaker tearing up her copy of the President's speech at the end.

It was a speech filled with made for TV moments and reelection themes for the President's base -- the economy, immigration, the border wall, guns, abortion, judges, healthcare. That's a topic of great interest for voters on both sides of the aisle.

The President highlighting a fracture in the Democratic Party.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: To those watching at home tonight, I want you to know, we will never let socialism destroy American healthcare.



JARRETT: The President also claimed he will protect coverage for patients with preexisting conditions even though his administration is in court right now to abolish those very same protections without a plan to replace them.


TRUMP: With unyielding commitment --


JARRETT: Democrats, many of them women wearing white as a tribute to the suffragettes countered the President's healthcare talk with chants of H.R. 3. That's the Democratic bill to lower prescription drug costs.

ROMANS: The President's guests reflecting the demographics he's trying to appeal to. He honored a 100-year-old Tuskegee airman, and awarded a scholarship to a young African-American girl.

He also engineered a reunion between a service member, Townsend Williams and his family. And then this moment he had the First Lady, Melania Trump award the Medal of Freedom on the spot to conservative provocateur, Rush Limbaugh, who announced earlier this week, he is battling lung cancer.


ROMANS: And Laura I'm not the first to say it, but it was almost a game show kind of quality to the event --

JARRETT: You get a prize.

ROMANS: You get this and you get this and now over here, and it was a very President Trump kind of night.

JARRETT: Yes, an entertainer no doubt.

ROMANS: Right.

JARRETT: Well, and not one mention of the "I" word during the President's State of the Union address. But impeachment was certainly not off limits in the Democratic response.


GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER (D-MI): As we witness the impeachment process in Washington, there are some things each of us, no matter our party should demand -- the truth matters.


JARRETT: That's Gretchen Whitmer, the Democratic Governor of Michigan, focusing on healthcare and American workers.

She offered up a challenge to the President's take on the economy.


WHITMER: The President says the economy is strong. My question is, strong for whom? Strong for the wealthy who are reaping rewards from tax cuts they don't need?


JARRETT: It's important to note how the Democrats chose to elevate Michigan in that rebuttal last night, a critical state obviously won by the President back in 2016.

ROMANS: All right, President Trump really drilled down on the economy in his State of the Union. He tried to make a contrast with what he called failed policies of the Obama administration.


TRUMP: Jobs are booming. Incomes are soaring. Poverty is plummeting.

The years of economic decay are over.


ROMANS: The economy is strong, so is the job market. The unemployment rate is the lowest in 49 years. But Trump's job market trails the performance of the Obama years, really important to note. Nearly 6.7 million jobs were added in the first 35 months of the Trump administration. That compares with nearly eight million in the final 35 months of Obama's tenure.

Joe Biden took note of the President's claim. He points out several accomplishments of the Obama White House and reminds everyone. President Trump gave a big tax break to the rich. The economy grew 2.3 percent last year, by the way, it's not the three four, even five percent the President claimed from his tax cuts and deregulation.

Now the election year economy has new challenges. The coronavirus and Boeing's MAX crisis could dent U.S. economic growth in the first quarter. Many economists predicting growth as low as one and a half percent.

What the President really tried to do -- and he has been successful in this -- I want to be clear, the polls show that Americans feel good about the economy and they give him credit. But he has tried to take an 11-year -- almost 11-year-old expansion and brand it as his success alone, when clearly, clearly the Obama recovery was first and then Trump has nursed it along you know, longer than usual recovery. No question with 11 years, but Trump taking the credit for all of that.

JARRETT: Yes, somehow what he inherited always gets missed there in the story.

Well, that optimistic tone we were told we'd here in the State of the Union, a faint whisper at best, a divided nation with deeper wounds this morning. What it all means for the electorate?



JARRETT: New results trickling in overnight from the Iowa caucuses. They show former South Bend Mayor, Pete Buttigieg holding his own with the lead with time running out for the other candidates to catch up to him.

Let's go back to Washington and bring in Zach Wolf, senior writer for CNN politics. Zach, how big of a problem is this for Joe Biden? You know, he's a former Vice President. He was a presumptive front runner, and now he heads into New Hampshire with this showing in Iowa.

ZACHARY WOLF, CNN MANAGING EDITOR, DIGITAL POLITICS: And also not expected necessarily to win in New Hampshire. Actually, you have to go down to South Carolina to find a state where Joe Biden leads in the polls.

I think this is a pretty big problem for him. You know, it may not be a mortal blow because he wasn't really necessary expecting to win Iowa, I don't think, but he was probably expecting to do better than third or fourth place, which is where he's looking at right now.

It certainly doesn't give him the kind of momentum that he might have wanted, and it certainly also means that we're going to be looking at this primary for a good long while. It's going to drag it out, I think for sure.

JARRETT: Zach, it seems like one of the stories here is what happened between the first alignment, the voters' first preference, if you will, in Iowa and the second rounds -- the final alignment.

I think we have a graphic here to show. Buttigieg picks up something like 3,300 bodies. That's -- I mean, it's just sort of an amazing pick up there. And you see Biden losing just over 2,000.

I mean, that means Biden wasn't even viable in some places in the first round.

WOLF: Yes, and if you look at the math, this really shows itself to be true that Biden sort of, you know, kind of didn't extend -- his support didn't go deep enough to really do him any favors.

And Buttigieg is clearly a good second choice, and the value for him as sort of this unknown Mayor before this is that he can now go to these other places where he didn't go all in and he spent all his money. He spent all his time in Iowa. Now, he can go to these other places with this head of steam and say, hey, guys, take a look at me.

JARRETT: Well, and you know, we talk so much about the precincts and the counties that flipped from Obama to Trump. It turns out, Buttigieg picked up something like 21 of those 31 precincts.

ROMANS: Yes, and there are plenty of people in Iowa who have been saying that there is almost an Obama feel to the performance from Buttigieg able to, you know, bring people over from lots of different candidates' corners, and that they seem to coalesce around him. We'll see how he fares in New Hampshire.

Let's talk about the State of the Union last night. You know, Zach, I'm not the first to say there was a game show quality feel to this last night and certainly this was an election year pitch to the President's supporters.

You've written a great piece about what wasn't in the State of the Union address. Do you agree with me that this was the President trying to sort of rebrand the last three years as he took us from the Dark Ages, and now we see the light?


WOLF: Oh, absolutely. You know, in Trump's telling, there's sort of pre-Trump and now there's this glorious time that we have, you know, been blessed with living under President Trump.

You know, the hyperbole that he brings to this speech, it's kind of funny, except that you wonder if people actually believe it.

ROMANS: Zach, I think they do because when you look at the polls, especially an economy like the polls show that people believe President Trump that we are at risk of socialism, when it's, in fact, this President who is redistributing wealth from, you know, from the middle class, to farmers, right to the corporate America through tax cuts.

And the President talks about how, you know, how different his economy than the Obama economy. Both economies actually look kind of a lot of like, really both of them have big bailouts as well.

WOLF: Yes, it is one economy that goes from one President to the other President. Trump never mentions that, and he also doesn't -- he talks about the benefit of the tax cuts. He didn't -- this was remarkable to me. When was the last time a Republican President got up and didn't talk

about the deficit? Now, you have to mention that Trump essentially caused this skyrocketing deficit. It's going to be over a trillion dollars every year into the foreseeable future.

You know, Republicans used to be the party of moral -- sorry, fiscal stability and now they're not even talking about the national debt which is truly remarkable.

JARRETT: And the deficit of course, over a trillion. Zach, thanks so much for either getting up or staying up with us this morning. See you soon.

WOLF: A little bit of both.

ROMANS: Yes, welcome to 2020.

JARRETT: Well, hundreds of Americans in the air at this hour on two flights out of the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak. CNN is live in Beijing. Stay with us.



ROMANS: Two evacuation flights carrying Americans from the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak are now en route to the United States.

They left China with about 350 passengers on board. One is set to refuel at Travis Air Force Base in California before continuing on to the Miramar Marine Corps Air Station. Passengers on the other flight will be quarantined at Travis.

CNN's David Culver live in Beijing with more -- David.

DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And Christine, important to note with those 350 passengers I've been in touch with several of them, and they are preparing for what will be a mandatory quarantine.

Why is that? It is not only because they passed from China, but from a specific area, at the epicenter of all of this, from Wuhan, from the Hubei Province area, and so that is why they're going to spend 14 days mandatory in these mostly government facilities as they wait out their quarantine.

Another story that is getting a lot of attention here has to do with a cruise ship and one passenger who was on board who left some 12 days ago, but tested positive in Hong Kong for coronavirus.

Well, now, that cruise ship is essentially quarantined off the coast of Japan. There were some 3,700 passengers and crew aboard. We know that 400 of them, if not more are Americans and 10 of them have now tested positive for the coronavirus, one of those being an American as well.

So they're undergoing more tests out there and they're going to be taking those who were tested positive off the boat via Japanese Coast Guard and bring them to be treated in Japan.

And lastly, as far as the containment effort is concerned here, we know that China is stepping up with more and more healthcare facilities. This explains just the desperate need to be treating these infected patients.

Not only do they have two new hospitals, one of which is expected to start taking patients tomorrow, the other one opened up on Monday. But they've also got three field hospitals, Christine, that's essentially turning stadiums and exhibition halls into these hospital facilities where they're going to hold some 4,300 people.

Looking at the images, they're really close quarters, and it just explains the dire need here.

JARRETT: All right, thank you so much, David Culver in Beijing for us. Thanks, David.

Macy's says it will close 125 stores over the next three years. That's nearly one fifth of all of its locations. The department store chain also plans to lay off about 2,000 workers and cut 10 percent of its corporate and support staff by shutting offices in Cincinnati and San Francisco.

Macy's is expects to save one and a half billion dollars from the cost cutting measures.

ROMANS: A blockbuster trade involving one of the best players in Major League Baseball, the Red Sox sending former MVP outfielder Mookie Betts to the Dodgers along with a pitcher, David Price in a three-team trade.

Boston gets outfielder Alex Verdugo from LA and a top pitching prospect from the Minnesota Twins. The Dodgers sent pitcher Kenta Maeda to the Twins.

JARRETT: While you were sleeping, late night hosts had a field day with the Democratic debacle in Iowa.


STEPHEN COLBERT, LATE NIGHT SHOW HOST: Last night, I was supposed to kick off the 2020 election. Instead they kicked democracy right in the old hanging Chad.

JIMMY KIMMEL, LATE NIGHT SHOW HOST: It was a very long day for Democrats today. The Democrats somehow found a way to lose the Democratic caucus in Iowa.

The President of course was delighted by this. He weighed in today tweeting, "It is not the fault of Iowa. It is the do-nothing Democrats' fault. As long as I am President, Iowa will stay where it is."

Was there talk of moving Iowa? Did Iowa decide to retire and move to Florida because I didn't know about it? [03:25:12]

NOAH TREVOR, LATE NIGHT SHOW HOST: The app that the Democrats commissioned to make vote counting easier, ended up malfunctioning and screwing up the entire night.

And I guess what do you expect? I mean, the average age of the party leadership is like 85 years old. Right? What do they know about apps? The only thing they know about apps is that you get one for free with the early bird special. That's it.


ROMANS: Buy one get one free app.

JARRETT: But I mean, it's Wednesday morning, and we still do not have all the results.

ROMANS: I know.

JARRETT: It's incredible.

ROMANS: All right, let's talk about that. New results overnight from Iowa where results stand, what they mean for Democrats trying to unseat the President, following that hugely divisive State of the Union.