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EARLY START

Big Primary Day in New Hampshire; Trump Budget Calls for Cuts to Health and Loan Programs; Deadliest Day in China Amid Coronavirus. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired February 11, 2020 - 04:00   ET

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


[04:00:22]

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: The first in the nation primary today in New Hampshire. Candidates redirecting their fire at the 11th hour. The first votes already cast. Who has most to gain and most to lose?

LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: The deadliest day in mainland China from the coronavirus. Another case confirmed in the U.S. Wait until you hear about the mix up that got them released from the hospital. Yikes.

Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is EARLY START. I'm Laura Jarrett.

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. It is Tuesday, February 11th. It is 4:00 a.m. in New York, and it is primary day in New Hampshire.

A pivotal vote in a wide open contest that could reshape the 2020 race. Democrats made their final appeals across the state Monday, largely pivoting from attacking each other and turning their fire on President Trump.

JARRETT: Keeping with tradition, the first votes were cast overnight in three small towns. Taking an early lead, Senator Amy Klobuchar, big endorsements and strong debate performances have not so far bolted her to the top.

Here was her closing argument last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I know we are searching at kind of an interesting time. Time and time again, New Hampshire has surprised the nation by giving us incredible precedence. New Hampshire has surprised the nation by not always going with the most famous person or the person with the biggest bank account.

What New Hampshire has done is given us leaders. So I'm asking you to do that for me today.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Also noteworthy in the early voting, Michael Bloomberg, he was not on the ballot, but he got two write ins from Democrats and a Republican write in as well, a twist likely to get president Trump's attention this morning. CNN has full coverage of New Hampshire primary day, and we're going to start this morning with Brian Todd. He is live for us at one of those three first voting villages, Dixville Notch.

Good morning or good evening or hello primary day -- Brian.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christine, a very exciting evening and morning here in Dixville Notch for the reasons you mentioned. Michael Bloomberg, a surprise winner, he comes out of nowhere to win the precinct here in Dixville Notch. He was such a surprise, Christine, that they didn't even have his name up on a whiteboard. They had a whiteboard here for the vote tallies to write in the vote totals for each candidate. On the Republican side, they only listed President Trump and Bill Weld. On the Democratic side, they only listed Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Michael Bennett. They didn't even have Michael Bloomberg written in for a prospective vote.

But as you mentioned, he gets three votes here in Dixville Notch. He gets one on the Republican side, two on the Democratic side. Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg each got one vote. That rounds out the five total votes here in Dixville Notch.

So, Michael Bloomberg a surprise write in winner here in Dixville Notch. A total of five voters as we said. Three of them in the same family and this came close to not even occurring here in Dixville Notch because under state election rules you have to have a minimum of five people in a precinct to hold a vote, well, they only had four as of late last year.

But one gentleman named Les Otten who had kind of lived here on and off for years, he had moved away for a time and he was a developer, so he had projects elsewhere, he decided finally to move back here late in 2019, around December. And by doing that, he basically saved the Dixville Notch vote. They wouldn't be here tonight and this morning if it hadn't been for Les Otten.

And I talked to him right after the vote. He said what's important to him really was not so much that they were first votes in the first in the nation primary, you know, at the stroke of midnight. That didn't matter to him as much as the signal they wanted to send about having 100 percent voter turnout here in Dixville Notch.

Here's Les Otten.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LES OTTEN, DIXVILLE NOTCH VOTER: I made my vote count and I did it with my fellow citizens, and 100 percent of us voted tonight and we are a democracy in action. I think as a country, we need to come to grips with the fact that in major elections, 50 percent or so of our population doesn't get involved and we can't expect to solve the country's problems without the involvement of our citizenry.

(END VIDEO CLIP) TODD: So, Les Otten there kind of exemplifying the passion that many New Hampshire voters had, as they head to the polls here on primary day, a very exciting day that's going to play out, of course, in the hours ahead in precincts all over New Hampshire.

Incidentally, Les Otten has good reason for being here. This resort, the balsams closed down nine years ago.

[04:05:02]

And he is a wealthy redeveloper and he is here to renovate the place and get it reopen again. He hopes to do that within two years -- Christine.

ROMANS: Right. It says something about the economy at the same time as well.

All right. Les Otten and his Democratic spirit, we like that heading into primary day.

All right, we'll talk to you very, very soon. Thank you.

JARRETT: All right, Bernie Sanders working well into the night to get the word out today. He won the popular vote in Iowa, but trails the delegate race.

CNN's Ryan Nobles on the campaign trail with Sanders in Durham, New Hampshire.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RYAN NOBLES, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Christine and Laura, it's a little ironic that we are with the 78-year-old candidate for president, Bernie Sanders, and we're on a college campus with a very popular band playing behind us and a very young crowd. But that has consistently shown to be the strongest base of support for Bernie Sanders.

A new Quinnipiac poll that shows Bernie Sanders now in the lead nationally, shows that he overwhelmingly has the most support of people under the age of 35. And when you think about the issues that Sanders cares the most about -- Medicare for All, fighting climate change, eliminating college debt, making college tuition-free -- these are all issues that appeal to younger voters much more than they might appeal to older voters, and that's Sanders' strength.

But the issue for Sanders is that often, younger voters are very unreliable, so he is hoping that they come out for him on Tuesday here in New Hampshire.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This turnout tells me why we're going to win here in New Hampshire, why we're going to win the Democratic nomination, and why we are going to defeat the most dangerous president in the modern history of America, Donald Trump.

NOBLES: His campaign is a very robust get out the vote effort, specifically targeted at those young voters, part of the reason that he ended his campaign here on a college campus with a very big concert. All part of that momentum that he hopes pushes him to the finish line and provides for him his first full win of the Democratic primary season -- Laura and Christine.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS: All right, Ryan, for us, thank you.

Bernie Sanders closest competitor in New Hampshire is Pete Buttigieg.

The former South Bend mayor making multiple stops across the Granite State yesterday. He says Sanders is not being clear about the cost of his plans, which include Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, universal child care and eliminating public college tuition.

Buttigieg says Sanders either is -- his either/or approach is not what most Americans want.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He's proposed income over $29,000 being taxed to pay for health care plans. But on that, at least let's credit where credit is due because he's being honest about it. But here's the problem. There's $50 trillion worth of spending, so about half of it is unaccounted for and there's no explanation for where the other $25 trillion is supposed to come for.

I'm concerned that the idea that you've got to either be for a revolution or you must be for the status quo paints a picture where most of us can't see ourselves -- where most of us don't know where we fit in.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Even if Buttigieg does well in New Hampshire night, his future in the race is murky. He may have a hard time drawing minority support in upcoming states.

And then there's billionaire Michael Bloomberg with big ad buys ahead of Super Tuesday.

JARRETT: Joe Biden has been trying to lower expectations in New Hampshire for the last several days. Between campaign stops, he spoke to supporters in South Carolina. That's a primary that can't come soon enough for the former vice president.

Jessica Dean is on the trail with Biden in Manchester.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JESSICA DEAN, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Former Vice President Joe Biden closed out the last day before the New Hampshire primary talking about Donald Trump and why he is the person to defeat him in November 2020. Incidentally, Donald Trump just down the road from where Biden held his last big event for the night, just less than two miles apart from the two men.

Here's what Vice President Biden had to say.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Guess who else is in Manchester tonight? Donald Trump. What a coincidence. What a coincidence.

I have to tell you sometimes it feels like he's following me around. You already get rid of a president who calls generals to their faces losers, dopes and babies. I know I am. Are you ready to get rid of a president who calls traumatic brain injury a headache? I know I am.

Are you ready to get rid of a president who pins a presidential medal of freedom on Rush Limbaugh? Are you ready to get rid of a president who has marched a decorated war hero out of the White House for telling and truth and who has a real hero and has real courage and escorted him out?

[04:10:03]

DEAN: Over the weekend, we saw former Vice President Joe Biden really sharpen his attacks against his closest rivals Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders. He really hopes for a strong finish here in New Hampshire but that's looking less and less likely as Pete Buttigieg continues to surge as a moderate there. His campaign, very ready to move on to Nevada, to South Carolina, where there's a more diverse electorate that will be participating in the Democratic nominating process.

They're going to rely on African-American support there in South Carolina, on Hispanic support in Nevada. We'll see how that all plays out for them -- Christine and Laura.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS: All right. Jessica, thank you for that.

President Trump's $4.8 trillion budget blueprint is a wish list of his priorities ahead of the election. It calls for major cuts to safety net programs like Medicaid while sparing Medicare. And now, we're learning about some of the other cuts.

There are steep cuts for global health programs, at the very moment the world deals with the spread of coronavirus. While Democratic presidential candidates are campaigning on sweeping student loan forgiveness programs, the president wants to eliminate a program that already exists for public workers for the fourth year in a row, this public student loan forgiveness program.

The budget would also pushover sight tobacco products out of the FDA. Its tobacco division has been under scrutiny for how it regulates e- cigarettes as vaping among teens explodes. Now, the president also justified a smaller than anticipated proposed pay raise for civilian federal workers. And he's cited national emergency or serious economic conditions to keep those pay raises at just 1 percent. Now, that would seem strange given his frequent claims the economy is

booming. Trump promised pay raises for civilian federal workers to just 1 percent next year, a two and a half percent across the board scheduled to take effect in January 2021.

And, of course, he needs Congress to get any kind of budget through and with the House -- with the Democrats in control of the house that seems unlikely, but it is a blueprint what the president sees as his priorities.

JARRETT: Well, what China is saying overnight after four members of the Chinese military were charged in a hack that affected nearly half of the U.S. population.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[04:16:14]

JARRETT: A new U.S. case of coronavirus has been confirmed in California bringing the number of U.S. cases to 13. That new patient was one of the first U.S. evacuees from China and in a bizarre twist, they were mistakenly released from the hospital in San Diego. An initial test showed no infection, but further testing confirmed the diagnosis. The person has now returned to the hospital and is in isolation.

The death toll in mainland China alone now surpassing a thousand. At least 108 of those deaths reported yesterday, the deadliest day so far.

CNN's Steven Jiang is live in Beijing for us.

Steven, what more can you tell us?

STEVEN JIANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Laura, heads already rolled as the fallout of this outbreak started to show. Two senior officials in Hubei province were sacked on Tuesday, not long after the president, President Xi Jinping reemerged in state media after not being seen for almost two weeks.

Now, Mr. Xi was seen wearing a mask talking to local residents in Beijing, touring a hospital and videoconferencing with the medical workers from the front line.

And, you know, these images really meant to address the question and speculation during his absence about his role in the government's containment effort, as well as power dynamic within the ruling party actually. Now, he has reappeared and reassuring the nation, and the sounding confident and determined, I think, all this of course meant to reinforce the notion Mr. Xi is in control and he cares about the people.

But the thing is, Laura, until he shows up in Wuhan which is about 600 miles from Beijing, a lot of skeptics will remain when it comes on the ground at the epicenter -- Laura. JARRETT: Steven, President Trump keeps making this claim about how

the virus could slow down. And it's getting a lot of attention. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The virus, they're working hard, it looks like by April, you know, in theory, when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away. I hope that's true.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JARRETT: All right. He says I hope that's true. Steven, is there any truth to that?

JIANG: Well, presumably he got his information from authoritative figures maybe even President Xi. The two did talk a few days ago.

But experts here also did say this virus does like cold weather much better than warm weather, and it cannot survive a temperature of 132 degrees Fahrenheit. They also, of course, have pointed it to SARS, the other coronavirus back in 2003, that epidemic peaked and waned when weather became warm.

But the thing is, there's no guarantee this would happen this time around and when you look at a map, Laura, the two countries with most cases outside of mainland China are Thailand and Singapore, both tropical --

JARRETT: Well, if the temperature shoots up to 132 degrees, I think we have more problems ahead.

Steven, thank you so much.

ROMANS: All right. Four members of China's military indicted in the U.S. for hacking the credit reporting agency Equifax. A massive data breach in 2017 compromised Social Security, birth dates, home addresses of more than 147 million Americans. Guys, this is nearly half of the American population.

The Attorney General Bill Barr called the breach a deliberate and sweeping intrusion. It puts Chinese intellectual property theft back on the Trump administration agenda. And it comes at a key time in the U.S.-China relations just weeks after the signing of the phase one trade deal.

So far, no comment from China. A spokesman from the China's foreign ministry said the government firmly opposes cyberattacks of any kind.

JARRETT: President Trump and Vice President Pence attending a dignified transfer at Dover Air Force base last night for two U.S. service members killed in Afghanistan.

[04:20:01]

The transfer took place in light rain, mostly in silence except for the crying of family members there. Twenty-eight-year-old Sergeant Javier Gutierrez and 28-year-old Sergeant Antonio Ray Rodriguez were killed on Saturday when a soldier dressed in an Afghan army uniform opened fire with a machine gun. Six other American soldiers were wounded.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: The fake profile that helped actress Lori Loughlin's daughter Olivia get admitted to USC claimed she was a two time gold medal winning crew coxswain. That profile has just been released to a legal filing. It cites Olivia Jade's skill in men's and women's boats and touts her awareness, direction and steering. The document also claims she won two gold medals in the San Diego crew classic in 2014 and 2016 and participated in Boston's Head of the Charles Regatta. Prosecutors say all of this is false and she never actually competed in crew.

JARRETT: The assassination of Malcolm X is being reinvestigated after a Netflix documentary questioned whether the real killers were actually caught. The civil rights activist was shot and killed in a New York ballroom in 1965. Three men were convicted and sentenced to life in prison in 1966.

But days after the Netflix docu series "Who Killed Malcolm X?" aired, the Manhattan D.A.'s office agreed there was enough information to reexamine the case. One of the alleged killers, 81-year-old Muhammad Abdul Aziz was released on parole in 1985 and he's still trying to clear his name.

ROMANS: That's interesting.

JARRETT: Yes.

ROMANS: All right. It is primary day in New Hampshire. The first votes already cast. CNN live in New Hampshire.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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