Return to Transcripts main page

NEW DAY

Pete Buttigieg Maintains Lead in Iowa, More Results Released; Democratic Presidential Candidate Pete Buttigieg Holds Slight Lead in Delegate Count in Iowa with 71 Percent of Precincts Reporting; Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) Interviewed on President Trump's State of the Union Address. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired February 5, 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]

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: But we now have 71 percent of the precincts in Iowa now reporting, and with that, former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg holds a narrow lead over Senator Bernie Sanders. Senator Elizabeth Warren is in third, former Vice President Joe Biden in fourth. This could all change, but even with just this partial result, imagine how stunning it would have been if not for the debacle Monday night. All the major candidates are now in New Hampshire. That's next. They're all focused on next Tuesday's primary.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: On this, the eve of his all but certain impeachment acquittal, President Trump used his State of the Union to make a case for his re-election. No mention impeachment, but there were two striking visual moments that bookended the speech and spoke volumes about the atmosphere in Washington. It started with the president appearing to refuse to shake Nancy Pelosi's hand and ended with Speaker Pelosi tearing up her copy of the speech. Much more on that and today's final impeachment vote in a moment.

BERMAN: Look at me. I moved.

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: We're going to begin with the latest results out of Iowa. I'm joined by CNN senior politics writer and analyst Harry Enten. Harry, I want to deal with what we have now, which is the 71 percent of the precincts reporting. With that, Mayor Pete Buttigieg is in the lead. What can you tell us about these numbers?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL WRITER AND ANALYST: So this is really interesting, right? The way that CNN will eventually project the winner is the statewide delegate equivalents. But of course, if you have been following along with this process, there are basically multiple votes that are happening. I just want to show how Buttigieg is really benefiting from the Iowa caucus process.

So you have that first initial vote, right, where everyone gets into a room and so on and so forth. You've got to meet that 15 percent threshold. If you don't meet viability, you have got to go somewhere else. And so you have that final vote, and look at Buttigieg going from 21 to 25 versus Sanders just going from 24 to 26. And then you have the statewide delegate equivalents, and you see again Buttigieg gaining from 25 to 27 while Sanders in fact loses ground, goes from 26 to 25 percent.

BERMAN: And this, in fact, tells us about the Buttigieg organization.

ENTEN: That says a lot about the Buttigieg organization in Iowa. So here, take a look here. I think this is important. So what do we know? Why did Buttigieg gain across the Iowa count? He gained because more caucus-goers second choice, he had more caucus-goers second choice than Bernie Sanders. So that was key in getting in that final vote gaining. And then his support was more spread out evenly across the state, and that's very important for those statewide delegate equivalents. That's that standard, statewide. That's important for those statewide delegate equivalents because essentially those have been -- that apportionment was predetermined by past general election turnout, and that gives rural areas more power in the statewide delegate equivalent, and that helps Buttigieg.

BERMAN: He worked the system, which is interesting to me because Elizabeth Warren, who was touted she had the best ground organization, turns out it looks like Pete Buttigieg did.

ENTEN: This guy had very, very, very good.

BERMAN: Tell me about the delegates.

ENTEN: Again, the statewide delegate equivalents here. Statewide should be up here. Look at this. So the five counties with the fewest attendees per statewide delegate, Buttigieg's margin over Sanders was plus 18, plus 18 points. That's huge. The most attendees per statewide delegate essentially mean you're getting less bang for your buck. Sanders margin, his average margin in those five counties was plus 12 points. So Buttigieg is getting more bang for his delegate. He's playing the system significantly better than Bernie Sanders did.

BERMAN: Bernie Sanders is pointing out and his supporters will point out that he had more people say they wanted to see him win the nomination than anyone else. And that may be true.

ENTEN: Absolutely.

BERMAN: That's true. But compared to 2016, it doesn't necessarily paint as rosy of a result.

ENTEN: Yes. So essentially, if you were to look at 2016, what you'd see there is that, remember, Hillary Clinton's margin here, her margin in these Iowa delegate counts, if you remember this, she was getting 50 percent and Bernie Sanders was getting 50 percent, right? It was essentially a 50/50 proposition, 50/50. And that, if you look at that. Look how much ground Sanders has lost. He's fallen back to 25 percent and his margin versus his top competitor, right now, he's actually further behind.

BERMAN: Just give me one look at the New Hampshire possible bounce in polling? ENTEN: So I think that this is very interesting. So in Iowa, if you

go back to 2004, Howard Dean was saying very nice things about me last hour. Thank you so much. Howard Dean in New Hampshire poll average before Iowa was at 34. John Kerry, the eventual winner, was all the way down at 21 percent. But once Kerry won Iowa and outperformed his polls, Kerry jumped right up to 38 percent, and look what happened to Dean. He fell down to 26 percent.

BERMAN: Harry Enten, thank you, as always.

ENTEN: I try my best.

BERMAN: Alisyn?

CAMEROTA: Thank you very much, John.

So President Trump taking a swipe at Democrats in his State of the Union address over the hot-button election issue of health care.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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 health care.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[08:05:07]

CAMEROTA: Most Democrats sat silently, as you can see there, but a handful of lawmakers did walk out of the chamber at some point. One Senate Democrat and close Pelosi ally tweeted, "If I wanted to attend a MAGA rally, I would have. The president never misses a chance to further divide the country. Disgraceful."

Joining us is that Democratic senator, Chris Van Hollen. Good morning, Senator.

SEN. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN, (D-MD): Good morning, Alisyn. Good to be with you.

CAMEROTA: When you tweeted that it was disgraceful, what part of the speech were you referring to that was disgraceful?

VAN HOLLEN: Oh, it's hard to know where to start. But from the very beginning, Donald Trump came into the House chamber and essentially said that the greatness of America comes not from our values, not from our principles, not from our people, but from Donald Trump, who has come on high and inherited a situation where this country was just going to hell, and thanks to Donald Trump, everything is now going great. Well, that tone of division carried itself through the entire speech and really eclipsed any of the small glimpses of positive moments that may have been in the speech. They were really buried under that cloud of hypocrisy and megalomania. CAMEROTA: Fact-checkers had to work overtime, as they often do when

the president gives a speech. And one of the things that they determined was demonstrably false was his claims about protecting pre- existing conditions. So let me just play that moment from the speech for you.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have also made an ironclad pledge to American families, we will always protect patients with pre-existing conditions.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAN HOLLEN: You saw Republicans standing up there, giving an ovation and applauding. Do you think that Americans know the truth about this? Have Democrats done a good enough job to explain what the administration is doing?

VAN HOLLEN: Well, I hope we have, and we will continue to do so. That was a moment where the president just totally misled the country, right, deliberately lied about what his record is. And it was incredibly disappointing to see the cult following in the Republican caucus cheer on that misrepresentation.

Here's the facts. As he was speaking, his Justice Department is in court trying to dismantle the entire Affordable Care Act, including its very important provisions to protect people with pre-existing health conditions. So here's the president of the United States telling the country one thing, while at the very moment he's doing the opposite, and when it's totally within his power to have changed that.

So that was one of very many low moments. Another was when the president said, well, why don't you put a bill on my desk to reduce the cost of prescription drugs. Well, the person right behind him, Speaker Pelosi, and the House Democrats, have passed a bill out of the very chamber the president was speaking in that would reduce the cost of prescription drugs. You would never know that from what the president said. In fact, it's sitting in the United States Senate along with a lot of other important measures to reduce gun violence, to raise the federal minimum wage. And it's Mitch McConnell and those Senate Republicans who were cheering on the president who have refused to even allow a vote on those important kitchen table issues for the American people. So those are just a couple examples of the hypocrisy and misrepresentations in the speech.

CAMEROTA: In terms of the messaging of last night, what did you think about Speaker Pelosi ripping up the script.

VAN HOLLEN: Look, I think she had the same reaction many of us have. I think many of us were tempted to walk out. We didn't only because we still have some respect for the occasion, even though the president of the United States demonstrated he has no respect for that occasion. He did treat the State of the Union address simply as a chance for another Trump campaign rally. He does never miss an opportunity to divide the country, and that's what he did last night. It was very disappointing that he chose that forum for that kind of speech.

CAMEROTA: I hear you in terms of what you think about his rhetoric and the divisiveness of it. But the ripping up of the speech, is that helpful towards bipartisanship?

VAN HOLLEN: Well, when you have a speech that is really intended to divide, it's not surprising that it gets that reaction.

[08:10:00]

Because essentially, the president's speech was a big sort of -- look. What the president was doing was saying that America is great because of Donald Trump, and he is saving the country from all these terrible things that Barack Obama did, even though this is a president who, as we know, inherited an economy that was already on the upswing. The reality is that he ended up providing huge tax breaks for very wealthy people. And despite that, economic growth last year was not the four percent, five percent, six percent Trump said it would be. It was 2.3 percent.

The president talked about more tax cuts last night, tax cuts for people who go to private schools while he's at the same time not talking about a major investment in public school education to help all Americans. So we can talk about the bad proposals that he made, or we can talk about the fact he claimed credit for a lot of things he had nothing to do with. But overall it was just one of those moments where the president, unfortunately, divided the country instead of bringing us together.

CAMEROTA: Senator, I know you have to go, but I do have one more question. Today when the president is likely acquitted in the Senate, Senator Susan Collins, who will vote for acquittal, has said that she feels the president has learned his lesson from this case. Do you agree?

VAN HOLLEN: Well, we know from the president's own words that he has not. He continues to say it was a perfect phone call. He continues to say he did nothing wrong when, in fact, he committed crimes against the Constitution of the United States, and the founders have the remedy for that, and it's impeachment. And he should not try to claim exoneration. He will. But there's no vindication from a rigged trial, the first trial in American history, first impeachment trial in our history without a single witness or a single document. So when you don't have a fair trial, you don't have a real acquittal.

CAMEROTA: Senator Chris Van Hollen, we really appreciate you taking time for NEW DAY. Thank you.

BERMAN: The Democratic candidates, they turn to New Hampshire now without a clear winner in Iowa still. So how do they navigate that minefield? That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:16:03]

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Iowa, we're ready for you. Please give us the next 29 percent of results from precincts.

But with 71 percent of precincts reporting in Iowa, this is what it looks like. Former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg holds a narrow lead. Senator Bernie Sanders not far behind.

The former South Bend mayor was a bit emotional last night when he finally heard the results begin to come in.

(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.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Joining us now, CNN political commentator and Democratic strategist Paul Begala, CNN political commentator Karen Finney, a former senior spokesperson for the Hillary Clinton campaign, and Krystal Ball, co-host of "Rising" on Hill TV.

Paul, and I know the story is not complete yet. It really isn't, just 71 percent of precincts have reported, 29 percent still remaining could change. But insofar as there is a story in New Hampshire this morning in the Democratic race, what is that story? And by that I mean beyond the Iowa debacle and the county debacle, what is the other story in Iowa this morning?

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it is that there's two lanes. I guess the biggest story is a mayor of a city, and I mean no disrespect to South Bend, but it's the fourth largest city in Indiana. It's not quite as big as the football stadium at the University of Texas, 100,000 people.

The mayor of a small city who has never won a statewide office defeated everybody, it looks like, in Iowa. But most importantly in that moderate lane, defeated the former vice president of the United States by 11 points? That's astonishing.

On top of that, he's making history as the first LGBTQ plus American to win a state. But I think in the liberal lane, Bernie who got 49 percent last time, tying Hillary Clinton, he's about 26, 25? He's seven points ahead of Elizabeth Warren.

So, I think Bernie and Pete are sort of being robbed of the victory lap they deserve. And I think that's really unfair and unfortunate for them but they'll have to make it up in New Hampshire.

CAMEROTA: So, let's talk about that, Karen. I think Paul just spelled out the good news for Mayor Buttigieg. But because of the debacle of Iowa, now does it basically give a do-over to former VP Biden as well as Elizabeth Warren and even Bernie Sanders because the results are so muddled?

KAREN FINNEY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Oh, sure. Look, I think the fact that the results were muddled certainly helps Joe Biden the most because we are not spending as much time talking about what a disappointing showing that was. And he certainly has an opportunity to show us something different in New Hampshire, although I suspect that we're going to see Senator Sanders and Senator Warren probably split that because of the home team advantage.

But, again, you know, I think we have to remember, all due respect to Iowa and New Hampshire, the part -- the whole intention of adding Nevada and South Carolina was to say, we've got to take a look at the strength of our candidates in the context of four early states where you have regional diversity and ethnic diversity and different geography, different issues. So as much as I think Iowa, it's muddled. It's disappointing.

I am sure that Senator Sanders and Mayor Buttigieg are doing their level best to raise money off of their successes, I think, you know, it's really going to be about how do you do in New Hampshire, but then how do you do in the whole composite of the early four because as you all heard me say before, you cannot win the Democratic primary without proving you can win in diverse states?

[08:20:01]

BERMAN: Krystal Ball, you point out that Bernie Sanders received the most votes from voters who showed up to the caucuses in both the first round and the realignment, at least with 71 percent of precincts reporting. Again, I supposed that could change, too.

KRYSTAL BALL, CO-HOST, RISING ON HILL TV: Right.

BERMAN: But Paul brings up a good point which is in the progressive lane, and this is something you do a lot of reporting and care deeply about, Bernie Sanders did edge out Elizabeth Warren or is beating her by a fairly substantial margin.

Now that's in Iowa. It's coming back to New Hampshire where they are both from bordering states. But what does that tell you about the battle for progressive voters?

BALL: Well, I think we've seen this over the past several months, as a consolidating of the progressive lane behind Bernie Sanders. I would trace is back to when Elizabeth Warren seemed to waffle on Medicare for All. First, she hesitated on how she would pay for it, then she put out that this transition plan. There are a lot of progressives saw it as backing away from Medicare for All.

And ever since then, we've seen a movement towards Sanders among progressives and toward him in terms of who voters overall trust in terms of health care. So, as we come in New Hampshire, it is going to come down to an anti-establishment lane versus an establishment lane. And right now, you've got one clear choice in the anti-establishment lane, Bernie Sanders, and really a muddle among the establishment or more centrist candidates.

The longer that people stay in the race and divide up that vote, frankly, the better it is for Bernie Sanders. So I think he actually is in a decent position, even though Karen and Paul are absolutely right. Would have been better if we had results and he could say I got the most votes clearly and definitively. But I think he's fairly well- positioned at this point.

CAMEROTA: And enter Mike Bloomberg.

So, Paul, I mean, we -- his campaign announced he's willing to double his ad spend and thus far he's spent $315 million, you know, compared to -- Tom Steyer has also spent a boatload, 176, and everybody else is a fraction of that.

So, what changes now with his bigger ad buy?

BEGALA: Well, you know, I know the Beatles said money can't buy you love but it can buy your way into the Democratic debates. It's really -- it is unprecedented. We don't know what to make of it.

We know that on March 3rd, which is not very far away now, we're going to have the biggest Super Tuesday, in my beloved state of Texas and California and a lot of other states. Money will matter tremendously then. Now, will he -- will he be able to use that money to counter the momentum of whoever comes out of those crucial first four states?

And I do want to reiterate what Karen said. Latinas and Latinos in Nevada, African-American Democrats in South Carolina, we've not heard from them. And so, before we get to Mike Bloomberg and all his money on Super Tuesday, to me, the most important contests are those two because people of color are the heart of my party and who they pick is I think who a lot of Democrats are going to want to pick.

BERMAN: You talk about the numbers coming out of Iowa, Karen, but I think the number that might have received the most attention from Democrats around the country yesterday was the Gallup poll, which had the president of the United States, had his approval at 49 percent, which is a high watermark for him.

It is higher --

FINNEY: Yes.

BERMAN: -- than Barack Obama's was at this point in his presidency. It's a number, 49 percent, where historically, you can win re- election. What should Democrats take from this?

FINNEY: Democrats need to take from this, what I think they -- we need to take from this, regardless of what that number says, do not take a single vote or a single voter for granted. Do not assume that just because, you know, Donald Trump has made life a lot harder for Latino Americans, Latinx Americans and African-Americans we're just going to show up because.

Don't assume that women are just going to show up because. Do the work, court the votes, ask people for their votes and, frankly, I feel like on Super Tuesday, we're going to see the -- potentially see the chess board thrown in the air because we don't know what the Bloomberg factor will be.

However, he too is going to have to do the work of actually going to some of these communities and asking people for their votes. I don't think people are just going to vote for someone that they've only seen ads on television. I think the biggest mistake our party can make is to take anything for granted.

I also think it's highly unlikely that Donald Trump will stay on message between now and November, so I suspect we'll have other opportunities to remind people what's at stake.

CAMEROTA: Also, the message is just impeachment makes presidents popular. That's what we've learned a couple of times now.

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: Well, Hillary Clinton was at 71 percent.

CAMEROTA: Yes, that's true, you wouldn't think so, but this is the high watermark as you say.

OK, panel, thank you all very much. Great to talk to you.

CNN will host two nights of Democratic presidential town halls tonight and tomorrow night. This is ahead of the New Hampshire primaries.

[08:25:00]

So, be sure to watch at 8:00 p.m. Eastern only on CNN.

BERMAN: Last night, the State of the Union Address, we saw the relationship between President Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at a whole different level. And all of it last night was the eve of the president's likely acquittal in his impeachment trial. We're going to speak with one of the impeachment managers who has been there for all of it, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: What a display at the State of the Union Address with President Trump seeming to snub the handshake of Nancy Pelosi at the beginning and then the speaker at the end of the speech ripping up a copy of the address for all the cameras to see.

Now, it happens as today, President Trump will likely be acquitted in his impeachment trial in the Senate.

Joining me now is one of the House impeachment managers, Democratic Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren.

Congresswoman, thank you for being with us today.

REP. JOE LOFGREN (D-CA): Sure. BERMAN: What was it like to be sitting in the chamber for the State of the Union Address, the very chamber where several weeks ago you impeached the president of the United States?

LOFGREN: Well, it was a very long speech.

END