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Should President Obama Name Scalia's Successor? Bernie Sanders Makes His Move in NV and SC; First Documented U.S. case of Zika Virus Was Eight Years Ago; SC Voters Head to Polls In Four Days. Aired 7:30-8a ET
Aired February 16, 2016 - 07:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[07:30:00] MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: If that person exists, then they may be in a much tougher position.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Manu Raju, burdened by fairness?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: No, that's not what I've been hearing from McConnell and company. They're saying, as far as I understand. Manu, correct me if I'm wrong. They are not going to consider anybody, you know. Chief Justice John Marshall, Louis Brandeis, and Oliver Wendell Holmes could all be combined into one person and it doesn't matter because Barack Obama is appointing him right now.
RAJU: That's very likely probably what's going to happen. They have not explicitly ruled that out yet. I mean, I was talking -- I mentioned to Lindsey Graham -- the conversation that I had with him yesterday. He said the one person who could probably be the consensus nominee is Orrin Hatch.
TOOBIN: He's a Republican senator from Utah.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Let me end it there. Let me end it there because you know what? A fortuitous change of events here. Guess who's coming up during the 8:00 hour on NEW DAY? Orrin Hatch. Orrin Hatch will be here. We will ask him about his plans to assume the role as the next Supreme Court Justice nominated by President Obama at some point today.
You know, it will be interesting to get his perspective. And, of course, again, President Obama holds a news conference later this afternoon and he will certainly be asked about this. Probably not about Orrin Hatch, but he will be asked about the Supreme Court -- what he plans to do. And we should get a sense of what this will be like the next several months from his demeanor alone.
CUOMO: And also, it will be the first time we've heard somebody who will have a heavy hand in this process.
TOOBIN: He's voted on the confirmation of every single Justice currently on the Supreme Court. No one in the Senate, expect for Patrick Leahy, has voted on more Supreme Court nominations than Orrin Hatch. And he used to be chairman of the judiciary committee, so that's someone you need to listen to.
CUOMO: A strong final edition from Jeffrey Toobin. Thank you very much. So, as ugly as the campaign is, don't worry. There's still plenty of time before South Carolina. Four days.
BERMAN: To get even with you?
CUOMO: No. It's just -- it doesn't look like it's trending the right way if you want a clean race. So, we're going to talk with the chairman of the state's GOP party next. How do they feel about all this?
[07:36:06] CUOMO: South Carolina. Been there. Beautiful place where politics can get ugly, and this election year, no exception.
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DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: But I have never, ever met a person that lies more than Ted Cruz.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Truth matters.
TRUMP: I think he's an unstable person.
CRUZ: We are not graceful when you just get to say liar, liar, pants on fire and not respond to the subject.
(END VIDEO PLAY)
CUOMO: Four days out to the primary. Plenty of time left for more of this. Which way will it go in this war in the south? A man who must have perspective and somewhat of a chagrin at this situation, Matt Moore, the chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party. Matt, you have a notable distinction. I think you were 30 years old when you got appointed to this post, so you can say this election may be one of the worst in your life in terms of tone. How do you explain what these men are throwing at each other?
MATT MOORE, SOUTH CAROLINA REPUBLICAN PARTY CHAIRMAN: Well, it's pretty tough in South Carolina, but it's always been tough in South Carolina throughout history. I think we're having a pretty heated discussion right now about the future of the party and the country, and it's a good discussion to be having. There's a lot of excitement on the ground here, obviously, before the weekend. Four days is an eternity in South Carolina politics. We'll see what happens, just today.
CUOMO: Donald Trump says the debate audience was rigged and that the party -- the RNC -- you all had a hand in it.
MOORE: That's just not true, Chris. I was there. I was on the floor of the debate. I saw who was in the audience. It was grassroots activists, county chairmen, the ladies that make the phone calls to voters on election day. It's just simply not true. CUOMO: You're not calling Donald Trump a liar, are you? You know your Twitter feed will explode if you say that.
MOORE: I'm just relaying the facts, Chris, as I saw them. I know who was in the debate hall on Saturday night. And if you can't handle a debate moderator or a debate crowd, I worry about handling Hillary Clinton in the fall. And so look, this is a discussion about issues in South Carolina. I want it to be focused on that. Who is the best person to be commander in chief? Some of these attacks are unfortunate, but look, I think our party's in good shape headed to the fall. We'll get a good nominee and we'll get behind them.
CUOMO: Have you thought about reaching up to the campaigns and saying, look, enough with the liar, enough with all the personal attacks. You're not helping the agenda of the party overall. Do you see that as your role?
MOORE: I don't really. These candidates have been here for more than a year now. They've been working hard on the ground. A lot of them have great ground games. Voters are divided a little bit on who they support right now, but I think at the end of the day we'll come together. By July, have a strong nominee, and get behind that person in the fall.
CUOMO: Trump's got a big lead there in most polls. All of us are crunching new numbers right now. CNN will have some out later this afternoon and again tomorrow morning. He has started something to combat President George W. Bush being out on the hustings in South Carolina. He is bringing up the war in Iraq and bringing up 911. Things Republicans don't usually do, at least not in the negative. What do you think the impact is of Donald Trump saying the Iraq war was a lie and a mistake? Nine-eleven was proof of insecurity, not security.
MOORE: A couple of things. I think number one, George W. Bush is very popular here in South Carolina. I'm not sure that support can translate to a certain candidate in the race. We're not sure how many voters are actually undecided. Maybe you polls will show that in the next couple of days here. Though it's also true, I think most people give George W. Bush great credit for keeping the country safe after 911.
They blame Bill Clinton and many others for what happened leading up to that, and the president made political decisions that led to Iraq falling into chaos. President Obama, I'm speaking of. And so I think Republicans, in general, here have given George W. Bush the benefit of the doubt in terms of creating a security apparatus that kept us safe over the past couple of decades. And so, maybe it's a risky strategy, but it's certainly one that -- hey, he can do it if he likes.
[07:41:22] CUOMO: Well, look. You're not going to win a lot of arguments saying that President Obama's the problem in Iraq, not the Iraq war itself. But, this is about inside the party. My question to you is, there's so many veterans and people attached to the military in South Carolina. There's such a heritage there. Is there a potential downside for Donald Trump in questioning the war? By extension, questioning the war effort with many of those veterans.
MOORE: Maybe so, but there has not been a downside quite yet for Mr. Trump speaking differently on a variety of different issues that we came into this primary thinking that were not OK to talk about. And so, I'm not sure. But you're right, there are a lot of military retirees, a lot of veterans, and a lot of active duty soldiers here in South Carolina that are here for training, et cetera. So I guess we'll see in four days, Chris.
CUOMO: All right. Just give me a quick yes or no on this. We're hearing that turnout does look like it's going to pop down there, as well. Do you see that?
MOORE: I do. People are excited. Our online metrics and social media are through the roof. We had record turnout last time -- 607,000 people. I think it will be 650,000 to 700,000 people on Saturday.
CUOMO: Wow. It's great to see the participation. Matt Moore, thanks. I look forward to seeing you down there in South Carolina.
MOORE: Thanks, Chris. Take care.
BERMAN: All right. Thanks, Chris. Bernie Sanders making moves in Nevada and South Carolina after his big win in New Hampshire. So, can he close the gap with minority voters? Stay with us.
BERMAN: Just four days until Democrats vote in Nevada, then a week after that it is on to South Carolina. Minority voters will play a big role in both races. Now, this has been seen as a strong suit for Hillary Clinton, but is Bernie Sanders making inroads?
[07:46:38] Joining us this morning is South Carolina State Rep. Terry Alexander. He is a Bernie Sanders supporter. Representative, thank you so much for being with us. They say you are a Bernie Sanders supporter. That is true now. Yet in 2008, you backed Hillary Clinton. So why the change?
STATE REP. TERRY ALEXANDER (D), SOUTH CAROLINA: Good morning. Yes, I did back Hillary Clinton in 2008. I was one of her point persons here in South Carolina. I guess what attracted me to Sen. Sanders was his passion and his compassion in his desire to really help the least of these, and that drew me to him about six or eight months ago. You know, I came on the Bernie Sanders campaign when the numbers was like in single digits.
No one thought he had a chance. No one thought that he could even dent Iowa or New Hampshire. He was just out of the picture. But now, four months later, we are feeling the burn. As a matter of fact, I am contending that even the firewall here in South Carolina for Clinton is beginning to burn.We're going to close that gap that exists between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. BERMAN: Well, in Nevada there are some signs and there's a feeling that the race is getting tighter. But in South Carolina you don't seem to get the same sense from the polling there. There does seem, still, to be a big gap. Do you think, then, that Bernie Sanders -- anything but a win, you know -- he needs a win in South Carolina?
ALEXANDER: Well, I don't think he needs a win. I think he needs to close the gap. It's almost like the same situation that Hillary was in New Hampshire. She knew that she wasn't going to win, but she was trying to close the gap, and that did not happen to her. I think that we have a very good ground plan here in South Carolina, and the numbers have closed from the very beginning. She was like about 75-80 percent here in South Carolina. I think we're up now in the numbers here in South Carolina, and we're moving and we are closing that gap. It's not as wide as it was four months when no one thought he had a chance.
BERMAN: Hillary Clinton says she is not a single-issue candidate. And by implication, and sometimes by more than implication, she's suggesting that Bernie Sanders is. What's your response to that?
ALEXANDER: Well, this week that's her issue. Last week she loved Obama to death. Week before last Sanders dreamed too big. I wonder what it's going to be next week? She's trying to find ways to really bring him down by talking about him. As you can recall, and as I said, this week he's a one issue candidate.
Last week -- Obama -- she did everything she could to help Obama. A week before that he dreamed too big. He's unreal. So, what it is going to be next week? Let's talk about the issues. Let's talk about breaking up these banks. Let's talk about giving $15 an hour to workers. Let's talk about equality across the board for women. Let us talk about these issues, not just a one single candidate that she's claiming Sanders is. That did not get him to this point.
BERMAN: Well, on the subject of President Obama, because you brought it up. Do you think that Bernie Sanders is closer to the politics of Barack Obama than Hillary Clinton is?
ALEXANDER: I think he is just as close to the politics. I mean, he wants a better life for everybody. Hillary's close to the politics because she actually worked for him. But when you look at her across the board and look at her from a historical perspective, you'd have to wonder about what the Clintons have done to African-American people.
BERMAN: You wonder now what the Clintons have done to African- American people, yet you supported her in 2008. So, since 2008, what made you change your mind on her feelings, her support, her activism for African-American people?
ALEXANDER: Well, I just -- when you look at it across the board, and we all change. Remember now, she ran against Barack Obama in 2008, too.
BERMAN: And you supported here then.
ALEXANDER: So, her ? have changed.
BERMAN: No, I'm just --
ALEXANDER: Her feelings -- right. That's what my point is that we do that from time to time. We make changes. We make adjustments based on where we are in our life at that particular time. And I thought it was just a good time for me to make those adjustments and to support someone who I think really has the heart of the people in his heart, basically.
BERMAN: Right. But something seemed to sour you on Hillary Clinton. And, again, you just said to me that you're not -- you questioned --
ALEXANDER: No, no. I'm not --
BERMAN: You questioned her support and her record and the Clinton's support and record when it comes to African-Americans.
ALEXANDER: No, no. That's what you're -- no, that's what you're saying. I'm saying I decided to try someone else who I think is closer to what I support -- who I'm supporting in my issues for the people here in this country. I didn't say that I'm sour towards her. I'm saying I'm moving to someone else.
BERMAN: Bernie Sanders, right now the big winner in New Hampshire. On to Nevada, then South Carolina where you are. Representative, thanks so much for being with us. It will an interesting race for next 11 days or so. Thanks for being with us, sir. Michaela?
MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: All right, John. The Zika virus making headlines around the globe, but the first documented U.S. case happened eight years ago. Why is it only coming to light now? We'll ask CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who joins us after the break.
[07:55:02] PEREIRA: The World Health Organization declaring the Zika virus a global health emergency. Now, earlier this month, a Dallas man made headlines as the first person to transmit Zika to their sexual partner. However, the first documented Zika patient in America was actually eight years ago. That patient is now speaking out.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta, our CNN chief medical correspondent, joins us now with more. How on earth, Sanjay, has this not made headlines until now. Eight years ago?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, we tend to pay attention to things when we're directly affected by them. This was a pretty isolated case eight years ago, but important because they brought a new virus over into the United States at that point. But, because it was isolated, I think a lot of people simply did not pay attention to it. Had they paid attention it, Michaela, we could be in a different situation now because maybe we would be working on anti-virals for eight years. Maybe we would have been working on a vaccine for eight years.
But what happened is kind of an interesting medical mystery. This guy is an insect researcher. He goes out to Senegal. He's out there for a couple of months doing work on Malaria. Comes back with something, and he starts to feel sick. He's not sure what it is. He gets a rash, he gets joint pain, but he doesn't know what it is. And he's the kind of guy that would know what it because this is what he does for a living. It's not Dengue, it's not Yellow fever. He doesn't know. A short time after that, his wife, who had never left the country, also starts to get sick. Listen to how he described her symptoms.
(BEGIN VIDEO PLAY)
GUPTA: When did you first hear from your wife that she wasn't feeling well?
BRIAN FOY: So, she started not feeling well maybe about four days or so after I started not feeling well. And this was maybe about, I guess, 14 days or so after I had left southeastern Senegal. Maybe about nine days after my return.
GUPTA: And did you think it was a cold flu at first, or did you immediately think this is related?
FOY: Well, one of her first symptoms was the same torso rash. She had it mostly on her back and she was having arthralgia. So I kind of knew in my mind that it was the same thing.
GUPTA: So, at this point you knew she had what you have?
FOY: I felt very confident, yes.
(END VIDEO PLAY)
GUPTA: So, just important, Michaela, to realize what he just said. First of all, the first case of Zika virus in the United States eight years ago, but also the first sexually transmitted Zika virus --
GUPTA: -- eight years ago. We're just talking about this now in 2016, but we've known this. There was a clue, an example, a long time ago.
PEREIRA: But how did they finally determine that it was Zika that they were dealing with this Mr. Foy?
GUPTA: Well, what's amazing is that, look, no one had really heard of Zika really --
GUPTA: -- all the way around the world at that point. What he did, because he thought, look, I don't know this is, but this is something that I've never seen before. He froze his blood samples. Froze his samples. Kept them in the freezer for a year. About a year later one of his researchers was actually back in Africa and talked to somebody, and learned about the Zika virus for the first time. That, sort of, set this cascade in motion and they tested it for Zika. Again, brand new virus. Hadn't heard of it, but that's what they figured out a year later after he came back.
PEREIRA: Not that you want to make it like that, but it was sort of fortuitous that he was affected, because this guy is the guy that can understand and study these things. You had a chance to go out to his lab -- his insectary there at the Colorado State University. Tell us what that experience was like for you.
GUPTA: Well, I'm still a little itchy, you know, from that experience. No, I mean, it's a little unsettling --
GUPTA: -- because you have mosquitoes all over the place and they're, essentially, infecting these mosquitoes and then figuring out how the viruses live in their body. It's tedious work. He described a little bit of the work to me, as well. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FOY: We'll go under microscopes and use little forceps and dissect out their stomachs, dissect out their salivary glands. We can even use a little tube to try to isolate just their saliva. But the virus infects the mosquitoes just like it infects us. It infects certain cells of the mosquito. Spreads outside of their gut, and then eventually spreads throughout the body. And when the mosquito becomes infectious it gets into their salivary glands. When mosquitoes bite you they spit a little bit in your blood, and that's how the virus gets in.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA: We are learning more about mosquitoes than we thought we ever would, I think, Michaela. But, it's an incredible story, and we're going to have the whole story tonight on "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT". But, it's really remarkable what he went through, and he and his wife are both doing fine, though, today.
PEREIRA: I'm glad to hear that. Dissecting a mosquito. Not easy work, to be sure. Sanjay, thank you so much for joining us today. And, of course, we'll watch Erin Burnett tonight. Following a lot of news. Neither side giving ground on the battle to replace Antonin Scalia. Let's get right to it.
(BEGIN VIDEO PLAY)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the playbook we should follow. The Constitution of the United States.
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We're not moving forward on a nominee until after the election.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is not how President Obama wants to be spending the last year of his presidency, period.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Do not obstruct. Obey the Constitution.
G. BUSH: I came here for two reasons. One, because I care deeply about Jeb. And two, because I care deeply about our country.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Ted Cruz is the most dishonest guy.
G. BUSH: There seems to be a lot of name calling going on.
TRUMP: I think he's an unstable person.
G. BUSH: But, I want to remind you labels are for soup cans.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PEREIRA: The stars were out in full force at the Grammys.
CUOMO: Energetic performances and powerful tributes.
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ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo, Alisyn Camerota, and Michaela Pereira.
CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome to your new day. It is Tuesday, February 16th at 8:00 in the east. Alisyn is off. J.B. joins Mic and myself, and we are covering an all-out brawl that's erupting in Washington over who will replace Supreme Justice Antonin Scalia. Leaders from both sides of the aisle are locked in a heated battle over whether the president should name Scalia's successor. I know the constitution says he's supposed to. This is about politics. In fact, the White House is now daring the GOP to shun its nominee as a top Democrat blasts Republicans for putting politics ahead of their constitutional duty.
PEREIRA: The contentious debate unfolding as the mudslinging among Republican rivals gets even uglier with everyone fighting for the upper hand.