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Pete Buttigieg Maintains Lead in Iowa, More Results Released; Trump Delivers Dramatic and Divisive State of the Union. Aired 5-5:30a ET
Aired February 5, 2020 - 05:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: More than a day after the Iowa caucuses, the first results have finally come in.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am disappointed. I suspect I could speak for all the candidates, for the people of Iowa.
BUTTIGIEG: What we know is that our vision has been validated. And that this is an astonishing victory.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was a big night for him. And historically, this was the first openly gay candidate that's ever run.
TRUMP: The State of our Union is stronger than ever before.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): I thought the president gave the single best speech I've ever seen him give.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): It was a manifesto of mistruths.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): To Speaker Pelosi, you can tear up the speech but you can't tear up the accomplishments.
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Wednesday, February 5th, 5:00 here in New York.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I wasn't sure if I'd make it back before Iowa actually resolved itself. I mean, it's not done yet.
CAMEROTA: It's not. In fact, I mean --
BERMAN: I beat the final results. CAMEROTA: Yes, you did. Congratulations.
We do have some breaking news overnight because Iowa's Democratic Party releasing more caucus results. And Pete Buttigieg maintains a narrow lead over Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Elizabeth Warren is in third place. Former Vice President Joe Biden, a distant fourth.
You can see there maybe Senator Amy Klobuchar rounds out the top five.
At this hour, John, 71 percent of the precincts are counted. It is not clear when the rest of the results will be released. But the race has now moved to New Hampshire where the top candidates try to recover from that Iowa caucus -- I'm sorry, chaos --
CAMEROTA: Both, and build momentum towards that primary next Tuesday.
BERMAN: Meanwhile, exactly what just happened in Washington overnight? It was this bitter partisan sandwich with a speech tucked in the middle. That started with the president refusing to shake the hand of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Yikes! It ended with the speaker tearing up her copy of the speech. Yikes!
In between, Republicans chanted "four more years", as the president touted numbers on the economy and trade. Some of them were true. Others, less true or not true.
He was speaking, of course, in the chamber where he was impeached just seven weeks ago, but that was one word, impeachment, that the president did not utter last night.
The Senate is expected to vote to acquit the president later today. More on that in just a moment but let's begin with actual results from the Iowa caucuses.
Joining us now, CNN political reporter, Rebecca Buck, CNN political correspondent M.J. Lee, and CNN political commentator, Karen Finney. She's a former senior spokesperson for the Hillary Clinton campaign.
Can we throw up the numbers as we have them right now from Iowa? So people can see them?
With 71 percent of precincts reporting, Pete Buttigieg is in the lead. Then you can see Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Joe Biden.
Karen Finney, I want to pretend for a moment that the miss didn't happen. I want to pretend for a moment that we're seeing these results come in as if this were a normal planet in Iowa caucuses that we were reporting on. What would the reaction be to seeing that a former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, was leading against two senators who have been in Congress for a long time. One of whom ran four years ago, and a guy who used to be vice president.
What would the reaction be to Pete Buttigieg leading and/or perhaps might turn out winning the Iowa caucuses? KAREN FINNEY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, that would be the
exciting story, right? About a -- like he said, he started out with, what, four staffers? We would be touting his accomplishment, which we should.
I mean, look, Iowa is an organizing test really. And clearly, the Buttigieg campaign, he got around to a lot of the -- very did a good job -- did a very good job getting all across the state but organizing all across the state, and getting his people out to caucus sites. Getting his people -- you know, he also had a pretty good sense, you could tell on Monday night, how things were going. So, clearly, had a really strong operation.
The second story, though, I think we are not talking about enough that we probably would be if we were having this conversation on Tuesday morning, would have been Elizabeth Warren.
I mean, think about the fact that for the last couple of weeks, we have sort of been talking about her demise and she came on pretty strong in Iowa, third place. Obviously, we know she wanted to do better. But I expect she'll probably do fairly well in New Hampshire, given that she's got a little bit of a home-state advantage. So that is a good sign for Elizabeth Warren and certainly given what we've been talking about, about her in the last couple weeks, I think we would be touting what Warren did. And we would be really touting the fact -- the strength of Mayor Buttigieg's organizational skills. And looking to see whether or not can he leverage that into, not just New Hampshire but Nevada and South Carolina where we know he's got to show strength with minority voters.
CAMEROTA: That's an interesting take, Karen.
M.J., I want to get to you because you have been covering Elizabeth Warren.
You know, some of the take is, well, she didn't win a single county. And then some of the take is what you just heard Karen say, is that -- but she -- you know, after being not counted out but feeling as though she was losing some momentum, this is promising. So how does the campaign see it?
MJ LEE, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, this is exactly the power of Iowa. And the fact that it is the first voting state, right? This is a state that has tremendous power to reset the political narrative of a candidate and their campaign. And I think we're seeing that with, really, all four of the top-tier candidates.
I know that we're still waiting for some 30 percent of the results to come in. But at least for right now, I mean, let's tick through the four of them quickly, right?
With Pete Buttigieg, as we just talked about. If there were people who had serious concerns about whether the former mayor of a small town could have this kind of political momentum. Well, they are probably people who are swayed by seeing initial numbers come out of Iowa for him, right?
Similar case for Bernie Sanders, as well. If anybody thought, well, he's too sort of radical in the ideas that he's proposed. Maybe he is too much to the left to, you know, get this kind of broad support. People might be rethinking that.
I think a similar thing for Elizabeth Warren. I basically agree with Karen that I think the narrative for the senator for a while now, because she has seen a real dip in the polls since the fall and the last couple of months, a lot of people were maybe counting her out. And I think her campaign probably feels like you know, they of course would have liked to place first or second rather than third.
But they are, clearly, wanting to tout their organization across the state. And then, of course, Joe Biden, the fact that he could potentially be coming in fourth place. Again, we are waiting for those final results to come in. That has the power to raise a lot of concerns with voters about whether the former vice president can really do this, right? If you can't come in in the top first, second, or even third place in Iowa, what does that mean for him going forward?
BERMAN: I think that maybe M.J. and Karen are painting a very rosy picture for a third place finisher who didn't win a single county in the state of Iowa right there.
BERMAN: I'm just saying -- I'm just saying. I can make a compelling candidates there are three candidates who didn't meet expectations in Iowa, and that's Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Joe Biden. All three of them had expectations their campaigns were setting and they didn't meet them.
I want to play a little bit more of Pete Buttigieg last night who, I think, finally after the chaos let the moment get to him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
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 in their own family, that if you believe in yourself and your country, there's a lot backing up that belief.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: That is really touching. I mean, that is -- you can -- you can say that's an only-in-America story.
BERMAN: Yes, one that he did not get to tell the way that he might have had the caucus results come in the way they should.
Rebecca Buck, I want to talk about the Bernie Sanders campaign because I was in Iowa. And the Sanders campaign was setting expectations so high for the Iowa caucuses. It was the Sanders steamroller.
Look at the vampire weekend caucus. We're turning out people in droves. We're going to beat the turnout record from maybe even 2008. It's unclear whether they meant 2016.
Again, these are expectations the campaign was setting and it doesn't -- look, he may end up receiving the most votes and when this is all over, maybe even the most delegates. But it's not a Sanders blowout by any of the imagination.
REBECCA BUCK, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Right. He's -- ad the candidate himself actually, Bernie Sanders, was quite frank about this yesterday. He was on the plane from Iowa to New Hampshire speaking with reporters. And he was asked about the turnout that we saw in Iowa, which as you know, was closer to 2016 than what some people were saying we were going to see this major surge in enthusiasm in voting, perhaps on par with 2008.
And Bernie Sanders, when asked about this, said that, frankly, he was disappointed. That he expected higher turnout than what he saw in Iowa. So, if we are looking ahead sort of down the road in the path to the nomination, that could be a warning sign for Sanders that that enthusiasm and turnout was not there in Iowa.
However, they are now turning their attention to New Hampshire. This is a big state. Of course, he won this state in 2016. So, they are feeling very upbeat about their chances of winning here in the Granite State.
And, of course, they still could win in Iowa. We have 30 percent of that vote outstanding. Sanders has been leading in the popular vote, although trailing Buttigieg in this delegate percentage.
And his campaign senior official told me yesterday they do believe Sanders will come out on top. Ultimately, of course that's just their prediction. But they are feeling very good about where they are right now. Except for that turnout question, can they build more enthusiasm down the road?
CAMEROTA: OK. And that leads us to former Vice President Joe Biden.
Karen, because of the Keystone Cops nature of what happened in Iowa, does Joe Biden get a reset? Because last night, he spoke to a crowd and it sounds like that is what he's imagining. So listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's good to be back in New Hampshire. More than you know. 24 hours later, they're still trying to figure out what the heck happened in Iowa.
At this rate, New Hampshire might get the first vote after all.
(END VIDEO CLIP) CAMEROTA: So does he have -- does he have a point that Iowa was such chaos that all eyes on New Hampshire and that that will be the real first test of momentum?
FINNEY: Yes and no. Yes in the sense that, obviously the results coming out of Iowa were a bit muddled. Even though we now know looks like Buttigieg won. Looks like Sanders very close second. They lost the momentum coming out of Monday night. And then the state of the union and there's this vote happening today by the way.
So on the fundraising side, they certainly will be able to galvanize some momentum. But certainly, for Joe Biden, the fact that it's muddled gives him more of an opportunity to focus not just on New Hampshire but on the whole composite of the four early states.
And I -- I just want to go to something about that because it's really important. I was at the DNC when we added Nevada and South Carolina and it was very intentional. And I think you are going to hear candidates, you'll probably hear Biden talk about this more.
You have to be able to show that you can compete and win in a diverse electorate in order to win the Democratic Party nomination. So as much as everybody's touting Iowa and New Hampshire, I think you will very quickly start to hear people also talk about the next two contests because they are critically important.
And certainly, for Joe Biden, those are electorates where he is expected to do much better. I think most of us believe that Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren really have a hometown advantage when it comes to New Hampshire.
BERMAN: Bordering states. No question about that.
All right. Karen Finney, MJ Lee, Rebecca Buck, thank you all very much.
CAMEROTA: We have so much to talk about. She mentioned there was also a little speech last night and a little vote coming up today.
CAMEROTA: OK. So, CNN -- first, let me just tell you this -- will host two nights of Democratic presidential town halls tonight and tomorrow night. Be sure to watch tonight. This is at 8:00 p.m. Eastern only on CNN.
BERMAN: So what we saw last night in that House chamber was extraordinary. The bad blood. The president wouldn't shake Nancy Pelosi's hand. Nancy Pelosi rips up the State of the Union Address.
CAMEROTA: I don't know if they've mended fences.
BERMAN: I don't know that they're getting along so well. I don't think they're the great friends we all thought they were.
What does this mean going forward? What's the impact to this? That's next.
BERMAN: The president delivered a re-election speech shrouded in a State of the Union Address, obscured by pure partisanship.
CNN's Joe Johns walks us through the State of the Union.
PAUL IRVING, U.S. HOUSE SERGEANT AT ARMS: Madam Speaker, the president of the United States.
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Trump gave his State of the Union address before a bitterly- divided Congress just hours before the Senate is expected to acquit him.
CROWD: Four more years! Four more years!
JOHNS: In those 78 minutes, not once did the president mention impeachment. But before he even started speaking, a sign of tension between Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. President Trump seemingly ignoring Pelosi as she extended her hand to greet him before she turned and shrugged to her caucus.
The House Speaker addressing the apparent snub in a tweet, writing: Democrats will never stop extending the hand of friendship to get the job done for the people. We will work to find common ground where we can but will stand our ground where we cannot.
Immediately after the president finished his address, Pelosi ripped up her copy of the speech in full view of the cameras.
REPORTER: Why did you tear up the speech?
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): Because it was a manifesto of mistruths.
JOHNS: President Trump used the address to make the case for his re- election, highlighting the economy and sprinkling in a handful of made-for-TV moments --
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Your husband is back from deployment. He is here with us tonight, and we couldn't keep him waiting any longer.
JOHNS: -- including a military family reunion.
TRUMP: I will now ask the first lady of the United States to present you with the honor, please.
JOHNS: And even awarding controversial conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Limbaugh announced this week that he's battling advanced lung cancer. Trump's Republican allies applauding his talking points while Democrats mostly sat silently through the evening.
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer delivered the Democratic response, using the opportunity to remind Americans that President Trump was impeached.
GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER (D), MICHIGAN: The truth matters. Facts matter. And no one should be above the law. It's not what those senators say tomorrow. It's about what they do that matters.
JOHNS: But in the end, the bitter rivalry between the president and Pelosi taking center stage. The White House and Trump's GOP allies slamming the House speaker's gesture.
CRUZ: It was disgraceful. It was disgusting.
GRAHAM: You can tear up the speech but you can't tear up the accomplishments. And that's what this race is going to be about in 2020.
JOHNS: Some Democrats insisting outrage should be directed at Trump for using the State of the Union as a campaign rally.
REP. STENY HOYER (D-MD): Let's hope we didn't distract you from a lack of factual accuracy in the speech, the divisiveness of the speech and the blatant appeal to his base and very similar to his speeches in his rallies. It was a State of the Union designed to appeal to the base, not to bringing our country together.
JOHNS: So he managed enough self-discipline to avoid any reference to impeachment but the speech was, otherwise, vintage Trump. We saw the hostile relationship with Speaker Pelosi. The typical Trump flourishes, the crowd-pleasing touches. And we saw campaign Trump, unapologetic for shortcomings, reaching out to the audience that supports him without giving an inch to detractors.
No word on whether we'll hear a speech from the president after that Senate vote to acquit.
John, Alisyn, back to you.
CAMEROTA: OK, Joe, thank you very much for recapping all of that.
So, President Trump defined last night his past year as a, quote, major success.
But he left out one legacy-defining issue -- impeachment. We'll discuss the other key moments from last night, next.
BERMAN: I want to walk through the theatrics, again, of the State of the Union Address.
The night started with this.
With this, right?
The president refusing to shake hands with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, turning away at the outstretched hand. So, that's how it started.
And this how it ended. Nancy Pelosi tearing up the copy of the State of the Union Address. In between, there was a speech.
Joining us now, CNN political commentator and former Republican congressman, Charlie Dent. And CNN political analyst, Margaret Talev, she's the politics and White House editor for "Axios."
Margaret, that was quite a sandwich of partisanship there that we saw. I know the two aren't friends or friendly. And CNN reported they haven't spoken for months. But historically speaking, you see something much different.
MARGARET TALEV, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, John, that was not a normal State of the Union Address. There was an enormous amount of stagecraft on the president's part. It's been said it was like a reality TV show, had aspects of a campaign rally.
But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has an eye for these moments, as well. And some of this, I think, was instinctive. But there was an effort to respond in kind or I think to leave her mark, and I think that's what you saw with the tearing up of that script.
And I just think it's important to note, other than the broad narrative that healthcare in particular is something that -- where Nancy Pelosi staked her party's majority back when she was the House speaker the first time around, there was a cost to it. And now, all these years later, impeachment has brought her to the same moment. And I think to hear the president talk about pre-existing conditions and all these things that just are not supported by facts in that way led to this moment of her shredding the paper, which will probably be remembered in the history books along with the way the president framed his speech.
CAMEROTA: Congressman Dent, I know you were struck by that as well, the lack of truthfulness about pre-existing conditions, which the president's administration, the Trump administration, is fighting in court to get rid of the last tenants of Obamacare, which protect pre- existing conditions. So that part was not true.
What else jumped out at you?
CHARLES DENT, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, yes, that did jump out at me quite a bit. The healthcare issue because not only is the president fighting the law in court. But during the repeal/replace debate, you know, he really never offered a vision o a plan, (INAUDIBLE) president stayed a million miles from it.
But what struck me is that he did seem to stick on messages that related to the economy. And he -- you know, he took a lot of bows for that.
One -- one other thing to really shock me is that he stood up there in front of the whole country and started bragging about tariffs that he imposed or taxes. I mean, the Republican Party's come a long way, you know, from free markets and free people to have a Republican president stand up there and he actually got an ovation for it. And that just jumped out of me.
And the partisan nature of the speech -- I mean, he really threw out a lot of red meat. Let's face it. He was talking abortion, guns, gives Rush Limbaugh, publicly, the Medal of Freedom Award. So, there was a lot there if -- if -- if you're a partisan and not a lot there to unite the country, sadly.
BERMAN: Since you both brought up healthcare, let's play the sound. This is S-17 where the president makes a claim that is outrageous about pre-existing conditions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I have also made an ironclad pledge to American families we will always protect patients with pre-existing conditions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: The facts of the matter and, Charlie, you know this well, is that when Obamacare -- when the Republicans were trying to repeal it during the first two years of the administration, the president supported many different measures that would have allowed states to waive the community rating, which means unlimited rates could be charged to people with pre-existing conditions. Technically, they still get coverage, but there would be no more protections that would guarantee they would be able to pay the same rates as healthy people.
He would have allowed healthcare to become much more expensive for people with pre-existing conditions. And people with pre-existing conditions will tell you that's not protection.
But, Margaret, what this tells me going forward is the president knows that for re-election in 2020, healthcare is something -- it is a battleground where this will be fought on.
TALEV: Yes, that's right. I mean, look, healthcare was incredibly empowering for Democrats running in the last midterms because it's been a weakness for this administration. And if you look at the rest of the State of the Union Address, the president was playing to his strengths not just with his base but with many voters that are sort of closer to the middle, the economy, some of the national security wins, like al Baghdadi.
But on healthcare, in particular, it's a real vulnerability. And so, what he is telling us is his plan to address this politically is to talk about prescription drug prices. Of course, as we saw last night, Democrats have passed legislation named for Elijah Cummings waiting for action in the Senate. And this idea of pre-existing conditions where the president's plan is to tell everybody that he is committed to preserving those.