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CNN Live Event/Special
CNN Projects Trump Wins New Hampshire, Haley Vows To Stay In Race; CNN Republican Focus Group Reacts To New Hampshire Results; CNN's Anderson Cooper And Political Experts Discuss New Hampshire Primary Turnout; President Biden Releases An Official Statement From The White House Acknowledging Donald Trump As The Republican Presidential Nominee. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired January 23, 2024 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Donald Trump, the clear winner of the New Hampshire Republican presidential primary this evening, the former president tightening his hold on his party with what is currently a double-digit lead over his only major Republican opponent now, Nikki Haley, 47 percent of the vote, and Donald Trump up with 54.4 percent of the vote, 84,802 votes, roughly 17,000 votes ahead of Nikki Haley, who has 43.6 percent of the vote. He's a double-digit lead.
Trump spoke to supporters about his win just a short while ago in New Hampshire, sounding less celebratory than furious, furious at Nikki Haley after her vow to stay in the race.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: I can go up and I can say to everybody, oh, thank you for the victory. It's wonderful. It's what -- or I can go up and say, who the hell was the imposter that went up on the stage before and like claimed a victory. She did very poorly actually. She had to win. The governor said, she's going to win, she's going to win, she's going to win. Then she failed badly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Nikki Haley didn't claim victory. She, in fact, congratulated Trump on winning. But she did also continue her attacks on Trump, warning voters of his many liabilities in a potential rematch with Joe Biden.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIKKI HALEY, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: With Donald Trump, you have one bout of chaos after another, this court case, that controversy, this tweet, that senior moment. You can't fix Joe Biden's chaos with Republican chaos.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Let's check in with Kristen Holmes, who's at Trump headquarters in Nashua. Kristen, Donald Trump was mad, clearly.
KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Jake, he was very mad. I mean, this is a completely different speech and a completely different Donald Trump than what we saw in Iowa. In Iowa, he took the stage. He was beaming. He said that he had won by such a huge margin that it was time to unite the party, time to unite the country.
And this was an angry Donald Trump who focused all of his rage on Nikki Haley. I mean, earlier in the day, he said he didn't care if she stayed in the race. He said he'd never call on anyone to leave the race, and that he didn't view her as a threat. But it was clear that he was not only annoyed but angry that she didn't drop out of the race. He was angry that she seemed so celebratory in her speech. And I'm not sure celebratory is the right word, but at least defiant, didn't cower down, didn't back down, and said that she would continue fighting.
He also, actually, at one point looked at Tim Scott, a senator from South Carolina, and said, you must really hate her to endorse me. In what was kind of an awkward moment, Scott walked over to the microphone and said, no, I just love you. But, obviously, inferring there, but because they worked together in South Carolina, and Scott backed Trump that he didn't like Nikki Haley.
And I will say that that's been a part of their long-term strategy, not just Nikki Haley, but also with Ron DeSantis, which is kind of, trying to humiliate their opponent, not just fight them in a battle over policy or issues but to actually destroy them. If you remember with Ron DeSantis, they had a coordinated effort that Ron DeSantis came to Washington, asked Florida delegation not to do anything, not to endorse, and they had a strategy to get every single one of them, or most of them, to endorse Trump the day he was in Washington.
Then, here in New Hampshire, right before the primary, they had a number of South Carolina lawmakers endorsing Haley and going out and stumping for Donald Trump, one of them being South Carolina Senator Tim Scott.
So, this is clearly a strategy, and they are going to continue doing it. But, yes, tonight was a very angry Donald Trump, not focused at all on the fact that he won New Hampshire, possibly by double digits, which is what they had hoped for, but instead, focused on the fact that Nikki Haley was still in the race.
TAPPER: Kristen Holmes at Trump headquarters in Nashua, thanks.
Let's pop over to Concord, where Kylie Atwood is covering the Hailey campaign. Well, Kylie, Nikki Hailey, at least you could say she succeeded in getting under Donald Trump's skin. But beyond that, what's the path to victory in her home state of South Carolina, where, according to polls, Donald Trump is up double digits?
KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Well, getting under Donald Trump's skin is exactly the point that Haley campaign aides are making tonight. They're calling his attacks on her nasty. They're saying if he isn't concerned about her, why does he keep talking about her? They clearly are trying to make the case that she still presents a threat to him. And he believes that that is the case. Of course, we're still waiting to see, you know, what the final margin here in New Hampshire looks like, how much former President Trump will have beat her by because that will be a decisive data point as they chart their path forward.
One interesting thing is that I was speaking with some volunteers here at campaign headquarters who I've seen in Iowa for Nikki Haley.
I've seen them here in New Hampshire for Nikki Haley. And one of them said to me that they're going to have to go back to their day job now. They were exasperated talking about the fact that, you know, if she's not able to win in either of these early contests, they're not sure that they can continue giving so much time and energy to this campaign.
And it will be a challenge as the, you know, campaign and Nikki Haley herself are trying to say that there is a future here. They are going to keep competing. I talked to another campaign aide who acknowledged that it's going to be hard for them to build up their teams in these future states just because the results here don't demonstrate that she is all that competitive with former President Trump.
TAPPER: All right, Kylie Atwood in Concord, New Hampshire, covering the Haley campaign.
Let's walk over now to my friend, John King, because, John, what we're focused on now is the rest of the 52 percent of the vote comes in. The majority of the vote, still not in, is the margin. Right now, Donald Trump is up about 11 points. Can Haley narrow that chasm?
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I would not place a bet on her narrowing it very significantly. Can she narrow it? Yes. How so? You look at the lower part, the southern part of the state here, you see a little mix. Well, it's about half and half right along the bottom, a little more Trump than Haley. But in places where, you know, I'm going to give you a Portsmouth, for example, it's a small number of votes here, but she's getting 60 percent here, right? And she's getting, you know, 54, 55 percent of the vote here.
If these areas around there where you have similar voters come in about the same, they're not huge, right? Look, that's 200 votes. You know, that's 200 votes. You get even here. It's even less than that. But it works for Nikki Haley just as it works for Donald Trump. When he runs it up in small places, you know, it helps offset what happens. So, there's an opportunity down here.
And she's getting a smattering of the smaller. These are the more rural counties up here. Your people in Hanover have yet to report votes. And that's a place -- that's a possible place for her. It's a place John Kasich did well four years ago. That's --
TAPPER: How big is Hanover? KING: Right. So, you bring it up here. And so you're looking at 26. So, it's in the top 10 percent of the 260 townships. They're all pretty small. So, if you want to go back in time and take a peek at it, you know, again --
TAPPER: John Kasich country.
KING: Yes, John Kasich country about with fewer than 700 votes.
So, you're talking about as we come back out and come back to where we are now, is can she narrow the lead? Yes. Will she? Trump is going to fill in a lot up here, lots of small. So, she has to do it down here.
One place, let's see, you know, we talked about Nashua earlier. That was a Haley target. It's in, right? So, it's in, Trump is going to win Nashua. There's a little more votes to come in there. But that's opportunity lost if you're thinking about a week or so, ten days or so when they really thought they could win, where they thought they had momentum and then it sort of plateaued out, this would have been someplace they needed to win.
Still waiting, Hollis next door. This is a chance, you know, 38 out of 260s in terms of population. Again, these are all small population centers. This is on the Haley target list. So, you go across the southern part of the state. There are still some places, but let's just be honest with what we're seeing right here. Right now, Donald Trump is at 55, if you round that up, right? It's a 12-point race right now, just shy of a 12-point race right now.
You know, again, you can make the argument that people are making that, well, he's Donald Trump, he was president, he should be getting 60 percent. Look at that map right there. He won Iowa. He won New Hampshire. That's rare.
KING: That's rare. That doesn't happen much. So, Donald Trump has taken us again to a place that we have either have never been or very rarely been because that's what he does.
And so now the question is where?
KING: Where? And then margin will help with that. It will help more donors. Yes, you can't go to a voter and say, you know, be for me. Donald Trump beat me by eight points, not 12 points, it doesn't work that way. It helps you with donors, maybe to say, please, you know, I'm getting closer. I'm closer here than I was in Iowa. Give me another shot or two. Okay, maybe.
TAPPER: Yes. Can you name, and I don't have the answer to this trivia question, but I just -- you would know it, if anyone. When's the last time a Republican non-incumbent won Iowa and New Hampshire? Do you know? I can't think of a time that they did. I mean, in terms of the achievement that Donald Trump has made here. KING: Right. She was right when she said, and it probably hurt her a little bit in Iowa, when she said at that New Hampshire event just before Iowa, New Hampshire corrects Iowa. That has been the tradition, even George W. Bush wins in Iowa, John McCain comes back and wins New Hampshire. Bush goes on to win the nomination, win the presidency.
But the two states have had -- called a competition, New Hampshire has had a contrarian sort of way of saying, thank you Iowa, but we do something. And to that point, it does get you to where we're going. This is the state that traditionally, especially in Republican politics, and I just said traditionally, maybe we throw that out the window. Although as you pointed out, when we just came up a week or so ago, Trump has the establishment there now.
But this is --
TAPPER: Donald Trump is the establishment.
KING: This was always the state that said, thank you people who live up there, in the Republican, but we pick nominees. You winnow the field, you tell Iowa go away and winnow the field more, and we pick nominees.
That has traditionally, again, just traditional apply anymore in the Trump era, south Carolina has been that place. So, if Nikki Haley is going to do it, okay, do it there.
However, again, Donald Trump won South Carolina. The field was still big. Everybody stayed in 2016. In 2016, remember, it was the disbelief. This can't be real. He's not a Republican. This cannot happen. Wait, what's going on? Well, this is where Donald Trump proved, yes, it's happening.
Let's look at it now. You see, Columbia, that's Marco Rubio. That's the state capital. See out here on the coast, the Charleston area, that's Marco Rubio. Everything else was Donald Trump.
So, now, Nikki Haley is going home. Who was she with in 2016? Marco Rubio. And so does she -- is there a place to get --
TAPPER: Who is with Trump.
KING: Who is with Trump now, exactly. And, you know, Rubio got 20, I mean, again, more candidates. Trump only got 32 percent or 33 percent, if you round up. But can she do it here? Okay.
TAPPER: But remember also back in 2016, there was this argument because the field had winnowed a little bit at this point. I guess Jeb was still on the race at this point?
KING: On the ballot.
TAPPER: Okay. But in any case, there was this argument from people who wanted to defeat Donald Trump. Rubio and Cruz, you need to get together and the together, one of you president, one of you vice president, you can defeat Donald Trump, they could never agree on who would be top of the ticket. Now, because the argument always was you just need to consolidate the race.
Well, now, the Republicans have that. They have a consolidated race it's just one versus one and Donald Trump is romping.
KING: And that is what happens. You got now -- again, you bring up, that this is what happens since he came down that escalator in 2015. Every time he does something that frustrates them, there's another conversation among the anti-Trump forces.
So, their conversation the other day was, we got the one-on-one. Now, the conversation is, okay, what? We got the one-on-one and she's -- you know, whatever this ends up in the end, but her home is South Carolina. This is what Donald Trump has done to the anti-Trump Republicans, as he came down that escalator. They just -- every week, they come up a new -- well, where's the trapdoor? They keep waiting for the trapdoor. Not tonight.
TAPPER: Erin Burnett, back to you.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Jake. So, Manu, I'm just looking at the dates, okay? There's a really important date coming up, and it's not Nevada, caucus, primary, Michigan, not South Carolina. It's actually a week from tonight, January 30th. Four guys worth $26 billion combined are holding a fundraiser for Nikki Haley. Okay, it's been announced.
Now, Stanley Druckenmiller, he's not looking to support Trump, but you got people like Ken Langone, who's already said he would if he needed to, Henry Kravis. I mean, that is putting up the decision time for her, right? You do so much looking at the money, right? Like if something like that doesn't happen the way she needs it, she just hits an end very quickly.
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's really about that. I mean, the money still continues to pour in. If they feel like there is some reason for her to continue the campaign, they will. The super PAC is indicating it will continue to support her in the weeks ahead. We'll see if that changes, if her calculation changes.
The real risk for Trump, if this continues on, even if he's on a march to the nomination, is that he needs -- tonight demonstrated that, yes, he is strong with Republican voters but he's weak with moderate voters. He's weak with the voters that he will need in swing states to win an election. 88 percent of Haley supporters said they would be dissatisfied with him if he were the nominee. Those are the voters that he has to eventually win back if he's a nominee.
So, the longer this goes on, the shorter time he has to repair the damage that he has caused to that key voting bloc.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Can I make a separate point about something that Trump said after we cut away from his speech tonight, which is he was saying that Nikki Haley is not going to win, in his view, the nomination. But even if she did, he claimed that she would be under investigation within 15 minutes. And he said that Ron DeSantis would as well, but he noted that Ron DeSantis got out of this race.
Obviously, those are baseless claims. But I think with the point that Trump is trying to make there, as he has tried to downplay the many investigations into him, which his opponents have also done, Ron DeSantis did it many times, Nikki Haley has done it many times, she cited Trump and Biden's investigations, even though if you compare the two, obviously, they don't stack up.
And I think that is a consequence of their GOP rivals against Trump in this race failing to talk about his investigations and what they mean. They've kind of dismissed it as the Biden Justice Department and the deep state and all of the stuff that's happening inside the Justice Department.
But as a consequence of not really talking about it, Trump uses his victory speech tonight, if that's what we're calling it, to try to turn it around and say that any Republican would be investigated, when we obviously know the investigations and the charges that are leveled at Donald Trump are highly specific to him and taking classified documents and election subversion, but he is trying to turn it into saying it's something that would happen to any Republican candidate.
And I wonder how Nikki Haley and those campaigns respond to that. I will say I did hear from a person close to the Haley campaign who responded to Trump's speech saying, if they're not concerned about her, why do they keep talking about her?
Obviously, that's the campaign. But I do think it's a good point that that speech showed just how much she is under his skin.
BURNETT: Yes. Abby?
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. I mean, I think she certainly is. The only caveat to all of this is that even while Trump is sort of not at universal support yet with Republicans, I think history shows us that he will be near at universal support if he is the nominee.
The Republican Party has proven, by and large, that they are willing to come home to Donald Trump despite the investigations, despite his conduct, despite how he behaves, what he says, what he says about his opponents, the innuendo, that part, I think, is less of a problem. It's more of a problem for the rest of the electorate, all the other people who are watching this, the actual independent voters out there, who are watching this and think it's kind of wild.
And at the end of the day, you know, Trump is not only going to be who he is, he's doubling down on all the very things that give voters pause about him. I'm not sure that we are going to really see that bear out in this Republican primary, but once we start talking about the broader American electorate, that's going to be the pivot point for him. And all of this stuff, suggesting that his investigations are nothing, that does not play beyond Republican voters who are already inclined to believe that he and Republicans, in general, are being targeted by the state. Once you get beyond those GOP voters, those right-leaning voters, that stuff becomes much less salient, and that's where he's in trouble, really.
BURNETT: All right. Jake, back to you.
TAPPER: Thank you so much. So, I want to bring in some more exit poll data. David Chalian has more information for us about the Trump electorate. David?
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yes. Taking a deep dive into Trump voters tonight in the primary, what was their top issue? Immigration. 43 percent of Trump voters tonight said immigration was their most important issue. Now, overall, voters in the primary said economy was, but Trump voters have immigration above economy. 35 percent say economy, 9 percent foreign policy, 6 percent abortion.
Looking for other areas of Trump's strength among his electorate, 48 percent of Trump voters said the quality they were looking for in their candidate was for somebody who's a fighter, fights for people like me. 30 percent said share my values. 15 percent said they were looking for somebody who could defeat Joe Biden, the electability argument. And, of course, this is not surprising, only 5 percent of Trump voters were looking for somebody with the right temperament.
Among the how you favor your candidate versus is that your motivation or disliking the opponents, among Trump voters, 80 percent of them voted for Trump because they strongly favor him. Only 17 percent had some reservations. And only 3 percent of Trump voters today in the New Hampshire primary said they cast their ballot for Trump because they dislike Nikki Haley.
And then when did you decide who you were going to support? We've talked throughout this whole primary process about Donald Trump's sticky support, and it locks in early, and that happened here, too. 74 percent of Trump voters decided before this past month that they were with him. 25 percent of them decided in this last month. Dana?
DANA BASH, CNN ANCHOR: David, thank you so much. So many interesting data points there to talk about. The first one that he discussed, Jeff, you and I have been noticing this on the campaign show, we all have, but specifically last night, I was at a Trump event, and he really did talk about those issues about immigration, about Social Security, where he was pounding Nikki Haley on that. And those are issues that work for him and are among the most important in the electorate here.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: on paid television as well. For the last week and more, you could not turn on WMUR and Boston stations, which flood this state without seeing that Nikki Haley wants to take away your Social Security. And there were older, retiree women watching an ad of her, what she said. It was a really pretty stark ad. So, that and immigration. So, actually, this campaign was about issues. She would push back saying, I've never said that. That's a lie. But she decided not to debate, so she didn't have a wider audience. And she didn't have paid T.V. as much on those specific issues. She was talking more about competency. So, I think that probably hurt her in the end.
BASH: I want to go to something that we didn't see live on CNN because the former president gave up the microphone for a little bit, but he did come back. And one of the things he did was kind of needle the man who endorsed him, Tim Scott, about the fact that Tim Scott supported him instead of Nikki Haley.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: She actually appointed you, Tim? And think of it, appointed, and you're the senator of his state. And she endorsed me. You must really hate her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS WALLACE, CNN ANCHOR: Well, let me say, Tim Scott, to his credit, then said, no, I really love you. So, he wasn't going to go down that road.
But it is interesting. I mean, that is a fact that Nikki Haley appointed Tim Scott to be a senator, to an open seat, and he then supported and endorsed Trump over her. And Nancy Mace, very similar thing, had great ties, great support from Haley and ended up going for Trump.
And you've got to think in South Carolina, that's going to count for something, and the governor, McMaster also, that a lot of the people who know her the best in the Republican establishment have actually supported Trump rather than her.
Now, I know she'll say, well, I don't want the establishment. I don't care about it. I'm with you folks against them, against the elite, that's a tough thing to say.
BASH: That's true. But go back -- that's true. That moment, that moment though, having Tim Scott standing there and Trump saying, boy, you must really hate her.
KASIE HUNT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: I mean, this is what happens when you stand behind or next to Trump. This is what you give up. You give up a certain amount of the ability to control your own narrative. And he is just happy to take what he needs from somebody like Tim Scott and put it out there in that way.
I mean, I've covered Tim Scott for a long time. That's not -- I mean, hating people is not his M.O. It's not kind of how -- if anything, he's known as the opposite. He's an incredibly genial, pretty soft spoken guy in the hallways, right?
There is, I will say, not a lot of love lost between the Scott and Haley campaigns because Tim Scott decided to run for president in the first place when she was also running. And I do think that that's an element here as well that's going on behind the scenes, that, in fact, he decided this was going to be his time as well. She obviously, as we've said repeatedly, appointed him. And there was this sense like, hey, why aren't you kind of on board with me?
So, that's kind of been looming in the background all the way along as well. And it's part of why going home right now is so complicated for her. And what does she do? I mean, if she was going to a state that wasn't her home state, it might even be easier for her to continue this fight against Donald Trump. If she loses big in South Carolina, I mean, that's really, really embarrassing for her.
ZELENY: It is. And, Dana, as you did some great reporting, obviously, with Tim Scott and Nikki Haley, sort of getting to the bottom of did he inform her that he was going to endorse Trump. Look, I thought he looked very uncomfortable. We've all covered Tim Scott for a long time. He looked very uncomfortable. This is just the beginning of him being on the Trump train. So, that will certainly be interesting.
But, look, his message tonight, clearly, she worked for Donald Trump, and he thinks that she should fall in line, and she's annoyed him.
BASH: Yes. I also -- just going back to what we did take live really quickly, the fact that he gave Vivek Ramaswamy one-minute timer that he couldn't go past one minute.
HUNT: But Vivek lose her one minute, just for the record.
BASH: I mean, he doesn't want him to go and sort of steal the show.
WALLACE: I find it odd that he gave time anyway. I mean, this was -- I mean, there were a lot of things, obviously, about that speech that we think were odd, and one of them was obviously the attack on Nikki Haley rather than celebrating, but he gave time to Vivek Ramaswamy, and then he gave time to Tom Homan, who's a former immigration official, and you think, well, you know, he had all the networks, all the cable television stations, and he's given time to other people.
It was just -- It was like saying, here, cut away from us, cut away from us, and we did.
HUNT: Very unfocused.
BASH: But Ramaswamy was specific because he wanted to start to jab at Nikki Haley.
WALLACE: Right, but Tom Homan, it's not quite so much.
BASH: Not quite so much, you're right.
All right, coming up we're going to hear from a group of South Carolina Republican voters who have been watching our coverage tonight, what they think about the results in New Hampshire, where we are, and what it could mean for the upcoming Republican primary in their state.
COOPER: A key race alert, just take a look at the numbers in New Hampshire. Trump obviously the winner there right now at 18,586 votes ahead, 54.4 percent to Nikki Haley's 43.6 percent.
I want to go to CNN's Gary Tuchman in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, with Republican voters who have been watching tonight's vote.
Gary, what have you been hearing?
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, we are in Charleston County, South Carolina, in the town of Mount Pleasant. And I have a problem with my earphone. Sorry about that. I'm going to turn it off, and now we're good. And we've been watching the coverage, CNN's coverage of the New Hampshire primary, the 15 loyal Republicans here in Charleston County, South Carolina, incredibly important primary next month.
Nikki Haley says she will be in it. She'll continue running for president. But will she? That's a big question right now.
For context, I want to explain to our viewers that nine of you plan to vote for Donald Trump in the South Carolina primary. Two of you plan to vote for Nikki Haley. Two of you are undecided or staying neutral. So, with that context, I'm going to ask you, do you think this was a good night for Donald Trump, this margin that he won by? Yes or no, everybody?
Does anybody -- these are our two people right here who are voting for Nikki Haley. Do you think it was a good night for Donald Trump?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I do.
TUCHMAN: Okay. So, my question is, should Nikki Haley stay in the race? She says she's going to. You are Nikki Haley supporter.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, she said she's going to stay in the race and we'll see what she does. I think at the proper time, she'll make that decision. But right now, she's not at that position, at that decision yet.
TUCHMAN: How do you feel?
UNKNOWN: I think she should stay in the race. I think she has come from behind in other races. And I think she has four weeks, I believe it is, to make some changes in her campaign. And I think she needs to really drive her message home to the South Carolina voters.
TUCHMAN: You are undecided. Are you still undecided after seeing the results from tonight?
UNKNOWN: Yes, I am. And I am basically waiting to hear about policy, you know, specifically, what they will do for some of the concerns that are in the black community like education and crime.
TUCHMAN: Do you think Nikki Haley should stay in the race?
UNKNOWN: I think she should stay in the race because I haven't heard from her about what she thinks right now and some of her policies and what she might be.
TUCHMAN: Larry Kobrovsky here is a County Councilman, former Chairman of the Republican Party in this county So you're staying neutral right now. My question for you is do you think Nikki Haley should stay in the race?
LARRY KOBROVSKY, COUNTY COUNCILMAN, FORMER CHAIRMAN OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY: I think it would be a very tough road for her. I think if you look at our state, our Governor, both our Senators, five of our six Congressmen, all came out for Trump. And if you looked at the results in New Hampshire tonight, as I was watching, seventy-five percent of the Republicans voted for Trump. I think this would be a very tough state for her.
TUCHMAN: Maurice Washington used to be the Chairman of the Republican Party here. You're supporting and are going to vote for Donald Trump.
MAURICE WASHINGTON, FORMER CHAIRMAN OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY, NEW HAMPSHIRE: Correct.
TUCHMAN: Do you want to see Nikki Haley stay in the race?
UNKNOWN: I think she needs to take a long, hard look at the demographics -- the voter demographics. If she couldn't win in New Hampshire, which favored her as a candidate for the presidency, I don't see a pathway forward in a state like South Carolina and other states ahead or after the South Carolina primary.
TUCHMAN: You're a Trump supporter. What do you think? Do you want to see Nikki Haley stay in the race?
UNKNOWN: I agree with --
TUCHMAN: Do you think she'll stay in the race, too?
UNKNOWN: Do I think she'll stay? She probably will hang in there. I don't think it's a wise decision.
UNKNOWN: Well, like you said, most of the Georgia people have spoken in the party, and you've seen where Vivek --
TUCHMAN: Ramaswamy --
UNKNOWN: -- Tim Scott, everybody spring the party to get that to have - I think, now is time for unity and I think this kind of like splits the party and takes away where we can unite. And most of the party right now has united.
TUCHMAN: Does anyone else think she should drop out -- your former Governor? So, a couple of you. Well here's a question. I found this really -- I want to tell our viewers, that almost everybody here, I think, except for one person, thought that Nikki Haley was a good governor here in South Carolina.
Who doesn't think she was a good governor? Okay, one person, but everyone else --she was a good governor. Why don't you think she'd be a good President?
UNKNOWN: Well, I don't know if it's so much that she wouldn't do a good job at that. I just think she's the wrong person for the job at this time.
TUCHMAN: Why is that?
UNKNOWN: I just think Donald Trump has made a presence in our world. He has made hard decisions with other leaders all across the world. And he's proven that already. I mean, he was the only one who has kept us out of wars, kept us out of conflict.
TUCHMAN: Well, he's not the only one ever, but you're saying during his -- because we've had Presidents since George Washington.
UNKNOWN: Well, true, true.
TUCHMAN: I think we all know that.
TUCHMAN: I was never a History teacher, but --
UNKNOWN: So, he's just the man for the job. He's proven himself and the timing.
TUCHMAN: Okay, what do you think?
UNKNOWN: Well, I think it's undeniable that Nikki Haley had a good track record as Governor, but President Trump had a good track record as President. And he did a lot of good as President, and I think he can continue to do that.
TUCHMAN: One of the things I want to ask you -- Nikki Haley, when she spoke, we were all watching her speech and Donald Trump's speech together. She said, quote, "The first party that retires as 80-year- old candidate will be the party that wins this election." What did you think of that statement?
UNKNOWN: Well, I thought it was a bit of poor judgment for one thing because that is an age group that vote, they have the highest turnout of any age group routinely. So, I think disparaging that age group and it was not a smart thing to do.
TUCHMAN: What do you think about that -- when she said that?
UNKNOWN: I think she got some enemies from that. That was just a low blow.
TUCHMAN: A low blow?
UNKNOWN: Yeah, that's a low blow.
TUCHMAN: Because I saw some of you hiss when she said that. Does anyone think there's accuracy to that? What about you?
UNKNOWN: She has said before that she likes to tell the hard truth, so I think in that she told one. I think she's probably spot on with that comment.
TUCHMAN: To our two Haley voters, if Nikki Haley doesn't make it and Donald Trump is the nominee of the Republican Party, will you vote for Donald Trump?
UNKNOWN: Of course, I will.
TUCHMAN: What about you?
UNKNOWN: He'll have to convince me with his campaign. He needs to be what I call more presidential. He needs to -- he needs to have less drama and he needs to have better results.
TUCHMAN: And do you think that if he isn't, you could possibly vote for a Democrat, Joe Biden, for example?
UNKNOWN: That's a stretch. That's a stretch. I worry though with -- when a President creates and lives in drama, I worry about the global situations that we face. And I think we only need one dictator to be offended by something our President, whoever it may be, says, and we could end up in a very serious situation. So, it concerns me that we have so much chaos. And I think Donald Trump -- he loves chaos because that's what he does best.
TUCHMAN: So, one more question about this. I want to make sure I know what you're saying. But if Donald Trump, in your estimation, keeps continuing chaos. And you don't like Joe Biden, who might you vote for?
UNKNOWN: I might write in somebody.
TUCHMAN: Who would that person be? Yourself?
TUCHMAN: Me? I'm not running for President. But one thing I want to tell all of you is thank you for watching this with us. It's nice meeting all of you. And I hope all of you, with different opinions, stay friends after this. Are you going to?
TUCHMAN: Okay, good. The South Carolina primary is still 32 days away, February 24th. We'll see if Nikki Haley is still in it. Anderson, back to you.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Gary Tuchman, a lot may change between now and then. Back with the team here in New York. It's always interesting to hear from them. There are so many people we have heard from tonight, voters in New Hampshire, who seem to think that maybe the former President has moderated his positions or is a different -- and we heard that gentleman talking about, you know, is he going to be presidential?
ALYSSA FARAH GRIFFIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah, I think that, you know, the third time's a charm. We're going to see a totally new Donald Trump. Totally joking. Listen, he's been largely out of the public eye. Aside from court cases or brief speeches, he makes people forget the chaos. They forget the way that he talks about people.
The average voter, they're paying bills, they're thinking about sending their kids to college, they're not paying attention to the kind of micro dramas that surround Donald Trump in the D.C. and New York class. But when he's front and center, and this is a two-person race of him versus Biden, they're going to remember the kind of man that he is. And I think his biggest obstacle has always been his own inability to control what he says.
He's somebody who, you know, a lot of us took a gamble on him in 2016, some of us in 2020. They're going to remember the actions that he had at the end of his last presidency. They're going to remember the way that he talks about people, the bigotry that he casually spews. And I think they're going to -- they're not going to want that person back in the White House.
KATE BEDINGFIELD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: And I think that's exactly right. And I also think this is why the long general election campaign benefits Biden. Because the longer the contrast, the more people are exposed to Trump, the more they're looking at the choices between Biden who they may take issue with, but who is not somebody who's constantly spewing personal invective and making everything about him and talking about retribution. And, you know, the longer that people see that contrast, the more Trump is going to continue to wear off.
DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think one of the great dichotomies has been that Trump has a very proficient staff in this campaign. They've executed the blocking and tackling of campaigns really, really well, better than he's had in the past.
And, you know, we saw it again in New Hampshire. But the question is whether their advice prevails over his impulses. And tonight's speech was an example of that. So, that's going to -- and I think when pressure comes and there are hard moments, I think the impulses went over and you know, that is a -- he can be his own worst enemy.
VAN JONES, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I thought it was interesting, I'm hearing this from a lot of voters, is this idea about these wars and that there weren't wars when Trump was in office. And people, to your point, they don't track all this stuff and know all the background, the details and all the times that Trump almost, you know, got us in a lot of trouble.
This is going to be an issue. Donald Trump -- when we see him, we think chaos. I think there are people who look at the world and see chaos. And they are trying to figure out where do I get to peace? Where do I get to stability? And I think that Trump is going to try to say, I'm the peace and prosperity guy, which for us, I think on the left, it seems completely ludicrous. But I'm starting to hear voters echo that.
And so, I think we got to be careful. We see chaos in Trump, but other people see chaos in the world and might think that Trump is just strong enough and crazy enough to bring that chaos to an end.
AUDIE CORNISH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: On top of that, I think Biden, of course, when it comes to foreign policy, has taken some hits in the public eye after withdrawing from Afghanistan, et cetera. So -- and never mind how young voters in particular are feeling about how he is supporting Israel in the war in Gaza. So that's already kind of a soft spot.
But I think I'm also interested in this idea of sort of how Trump is going to sort of play in the public space around these issues that people are most thinking about, the economy, abortion, immigration.
There's no moderating that message, right? The message is what it is. And do you think there's going to be some new version of the immigration argument?
SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Not immigration, but he's already tried to start to moderate his abortion position.
UNKNOWN: That's for sure.
JENNINGS: And because he obviously knows it's a big deal, to your point. So, I think on some he may, and to Van's point, I think he's going to pitch himself as the peace and prosperity guy. We talked about this a little earlier. And that is a more moderate policymaker to say, well, I would rather not be a war.
CORNISH: In the media ecosystem in which people get a lot of information about Trump, they consider that chaos self-inflicted by Democrats. They consider that Trump derangement syndrome. They consider that people whipping up lots of scandals that don't really mean anything because they just want to go after Trump.
I don't actually think they look at it and say, chaos follows him wherever he goes. I think there are plenty of voters for whom they think that these are just a general kind of culture war battle.
BEDINGFIELD: But I also think that the presidential candidates have to run in the environment that they're running in. They have to deal with the reality in front of them. So, you know, it's for a voter to say, well, Trump was a peace, you know, a President of peace. We weren't at war when Trump was President.
Well, in this campaign, there's a difference between a hypothetical where we're not at war, and the reality of Donald Trump saying, I'll kowtow to Putin and give him what he wants, and that's how we'll get ourselves out of this war.
I mean, there are, you know, it matters how he approaches. And so, when he's forced to answer for his foreign policy positions that are, you know, at odds with how most Americans feel about what America should be doing on the worldwide --
GRIFFIN: That's different. That's concrete. That's not abstract.
JENNINGS: But I think there will be voters who say, we're only at war because when we had a strong President, people knew better, and now we have a weak President, and things get out of hand.
One thing that jumps off the page of me, totally off the beaten path, but the continued pulling apart of our electorate over education, college versus non-college, and how they see the issues that you just pointed out, it is the continued shattering of what we have thought of as our partisan splits over this -- pretty amazing.
COOPER: Let's go back to Jake in D.C. Jake.
TAPPER: Thanks Anderson. And now, I'm going to bring you a key race alert. We've already called the race, the Republican primary in New Hampshire for Donald Trump. We have 59 percent of the estimated vote in, and Donald Trump is maintaining his significant lead.
He has 54.5 percent of the vote, 105,386 votes. That's more than 21,000 votes ahead of Governor Nikki Haley, who has 43.5 percent of the vote. What we have there is basically an 11-point lead, give or take. Let's go to M.J. Lee at the White House now, where President Biden has issued a new statement. M.J.
M.J. LEE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Jake, this is a new statement directly from President Biden issued by the Biden campaign. Here's what it says. It says, "It is now clear that Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee and my message to the country is the stakes could not be higher. Our democracy, our personal freedoms, our economy.
All of those things, he says, are now at stake in November." It's also just worth noting that he did take a moment in the statement to thank everyone who wrote his name in New Hampshire. Obviously, that was a race that the campaign was not officially competing in.
So, as we have been talking about all night, this is the moment that the Biden campaign is fully making that pivot to the general election. And just to illustrate that point, a new t-shirt has gone up on the Biden campaign website. The reason I want to talk about this that you can see here, the words say on that T-shirt, "Together, we will defeat Trump again." "Again" -- "Again"of course, in a different color for emphasis.
This $32 T-shirt, I'm told by the Biden campaign, is the first merchandise of the 2024 election that references Trump specifically. They're also selling some other items that have these words on them. And even though these items are going up on the website for sale for the first time, you know, these designs, I am told, were actually ready to go by the campaign for some time.
So this is just one more reminder that even though the campaign feels like they got that confirmation, that it is full seam ahead for the general election tonight, the big expectation, the widespread expectation all along has been that they expected to face up against Donald Trump come November. They are also going to be holding a press call in the morning and I'm told, that too, is going to be a call to lay out the campaign strategy, the campaign's path forward to reporters.
So, just every sign right now points to the fact that the Biden campaign is seeing Donald Trump as their competition heading into November and they're going to operate as such going forward.
COOPER: All right. M.J. Lee at the White House. Of course, we should note the obvious that Nikki Haley is still, of course, running and Donald Trump is now, officially the Republican nominee. This will obviously feed into the hands of the Haley campaign, which wants to argue, see? Joe Biden is really eager to take on Donald Trump because he thinks he can easily beat him and Haley supporters make that argument, as well.
But be that as it may, if current trends continue, Donald Trump does become the Republican presidential nominee and Joe Biden is the Democratic opponent. What does that look like? We haven't looked at one of these since 2020. So, bring us back up to speed.
KING: So, let's look at this map. And yes, people who support Haley will say, why are you doing this now? Number one, we're not going to have this conversation into what it looks like tonight. And we're not there yet. But you could also have this conversation with Biden versus any Republican, really.
And now Trump has certain strengths and weaknesses versus them that we can talk about as we go through them as you go. But here's where we ended 2020, despite what Donald Trump says. Joe Biden winning with 306 electoral votes, free and fair election, 232 for Donald Trump. Here's where that would be today because of the post-census. Electoral votes get re-allocated. States change population. And so, Joe Biden would actually lose two just because of the census changes, right? So, he would come down to 303, meaning the states he won in 2024 have fewer electoral votes than they had in 2020 because of the census, and some of the states Donald Trump won have more. So, this is where you would start with the 2020 map.
Now, one way for any Republican, but Donald Trump won Pennsylvania in 2016, lost it by a bit, but was in play. So, let's say Donald Trump won Pennsylvania and Donald Trump won Georgia. That would flip the election right there. Just two states, just two states, right?
And so the Democrats, if you're in Pennsylvania, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, you're saying, no, no, Joe Biden's going to hold that. So, let's give it back to him. All right, so there's one there. Georgia, that was a title, this is the Republican, so let's say we stay down here in the Sun Belt, right? Just going through this with David Chalian, hypothetically.
So, give back Arizona. I've been in Nevada in my reporting project, very much in play for the sake of argument.
KING: Give it to Donald Trump. Look at this. Look at this right here, 270 to 268. So, Trump could get, you know, an electoral vote there in Nebraska and Maine allocate their electoral votes by congressional district. That's a Democratic district right there. But that's an easy map there.
I haven't gone to Michigan or Wisconsin. In this scenario, Pennsylvania is blue. Just tonight, we're watching New Hampshire, which again, Hillary Clinton just barely won New Hampshire in 2016. Joe Biden won it by a more healthy margin in 2020. But let's say New Hampshire was back in play. Under that scenario, Donald Trump could win Georgia, Arizona, Nevada, and New Hampshire, every President of the United States, or any Republican could win right there.
So, Biden is weak at this point. The numbers all support that. That does not mean that Biden can't hold that, hold that, win that a second time, that was historic when he won that. It's been a long time since Georgia won. You know, there is no reason tonight to say -- that was my sleeve, sorry about that. Sure, you could argue that this could happen. Again, you could argue that.
But tonight, when you look at Biden's numbers and you look at the enthusiasm gap between voting for Trump and voting for Biden, it is not hard, and again, I left Wisconsin and Michigan off the map here. There's a scenario. You can look at polling right now. You can look at polling right now.
You take those two, look what that does. That's 278, 260. At that point, it becomes almost a pick 'em. Right, if you go out here, that gets you really close. That gets you over the top, because Arizona -- because Arizona -- so it's, Joe Biden is President because he won Wisconsin, Michigan, Arizona, and Pennsylvania.
Let's go back to that and keep it there so people can see where we were. But it was, again, it's 75 to 100,000 votes spread between one, two, three, four states, five states, if you want to count them that way. That's why he's President. You would only take flipping them back.
And so, we entered this race with a very weak incumbent when you look at the data. I know, Democrats, it's January. There's time to recover, but the data is the data. He is a very weak incumbent right now. And you just look at the polling, the enthusiasm gap, and we're seeing it in these elections so far, Trump voters coming up.
This will be, no matter who the Republican nominee is, a very -- again, a 2016, 2020, we're going to do it again in 2024. And I would just argue at this point, because of Biden's weaknesses, we always talk about Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, the new states last time because Biden won them, big deal, Georgia, Arizona, Nevada's always on there. It is conceivable that you add in New Hampshire.
So, we're going to see how this all settles and get through it, see how the Biden campaign reacts and recovers. But the big question I have right now is, number one, Trump is very competitive. If the election were tomorrow, most people would probably bet that Trump would win it. It's not tomorrow.
But the question in my mind is, is it just those five or six states, or do we have an expanded map? Can the Biden campaign, the reshuffling of the campaign staff, they say it's early, they say they're not engaged yet -- do they engage in a way that protects, you know, the softer blue states, or do we, as we get deeper in, say, oh, is New Hampshire really in play?
Are we looking again at a place like Virginia or Colorado? I'm not saying we're going to do that, but that's my question, is can they reinforce the blue and then get out into the battlegrounds?
TAPPER: But just for people keeping track at home, the states, at least right now to keep an eye on, may I?
KING: Oh, let me take this off for you. There you go.
TAPPER: I'm just, I'm going to make them nothing. Nevada, battleground. Arizona, and then of course we got, right? What am I hitting?
KING: Oh, I think you just flipped. If Illinois gets flipped, then we're making history.
TAPPER: But do the three. Do the three.
KING: Here's what you want to do here.
TAPPER: The blue wall, and then Pennsylvania, and then Georgia. Right? Those are the six, and then possibly, possibly more. Erin.
BURNETT: Jake, you'll never learn. Never learn not to touch his wall. Okay. All right. So, yeah. All right. Well, they're over there working that out. Okay. I wanted to play something else Nikki Haley said tonight because now when you hear Biden coming out and saying, all right, it's a race between the two of them, Biden-Trump, which of course is what they want. You know, you in a sense think they'd want Nikki Haley because they think that'd be better for the country, but they prefer to run against Trump. Here's something Nikki Haley said tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIKKI HALEY; REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Most Americans do not want a rematch between Biden and Trump.
HALEY: The first party to retire its 80-year-old candidate is going to be the party that wins this election.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And she's right about that, Kaitlan. I mean, every poll shows it.
COLLINS: Yeah, I think both things can be true. I think we can see that voters overwhelmingly do not want a Trump-Biden rematch, but also, Trump, right now is emerging as the strongest Republican candidate who has vanquished all of those who tried to challenge him except Nikki Haley, so far. She is the last person standing in this race.
And so, I think the question going forward is the argument that a lot of Republicans who did not endorse Trump and endorsed Governor DeSantis or Nikki Haley or others who were in this race was that Trump was going to be a liability for them in the general election. I mean that was one of Ron DeSantis' key arguments. One, he didn't really make strongly enough I think some people would say until the end of his campaign came close.
But if you're the Trump campaign and you're looking at these numbers tonight, that John King was just laying out there when we heard from David Chalian earlier, this many people who voted for Nikki Haley weren't necessarily voting for her because they were enthusiastic about her, but they were voting against Donald Trump.
I think that is something that should cause a five-alarm fire with inside the Republican National Committee and is probably welcome news for the Biden White House because those are voters that they can try to appeal to.
PHILLIP: This age thing is so fascinating to me because it goes back, I mean, even when Biden was running in the Democratic primary and age was an issue, this idea of whether or not there should be the generational shift in the Democratic Party then. Now, that same question is being raised on the Republican side.
And interestingly, even though the polls show, the voters do not want this match-up for sure. I think the reality is that voters are finding themselves here ultimately because this is about choices. Neither party wants to disarm themselves. You know? And so, you know, as Nikki Haley put it, I think it's actually such a smart way to put it, maybe the first person to -- like, the first party to let go of their 80- year-old might be the victor, but who's going to be the one to move first?
And I think that's where -- that's where we are as a country, and that's why this is kind of such an intractable problem. Nobody wants Trump, nobody wants Biden, but nobody wants to be the first to walk away from either.
BURNETT: So, there was a post today on social media, Manu caught my attention, this guy, Meb Faber, okay, comes out and he says, and it was actually really interesting. Bill Clinton was President what, 25 years ago -- 24 years ago? He's technically younger than either Biden or Trump now.
RAJU: Yeah, that's incredible. Look --
BURNETT: And I just think it gives a little perspective. By the way, I went to check the birth dates just to make sure, right? August '46 -- Trump of course was flag day '46. So, it is true. But it is really amazing when you think about it, right? Bill Clinton is in the distant past.
BURNETT: He's younger today than either of the two people who are likely to be the next President.
RAJU: It is pretty remarkable. I can tell you that there are fears in both parties about the top of their ticket.
On the Democratic side, it's really the enthusiasm. Getting together the same coalition that Biden won back in 2020, a lot of the voters are concerned about whether it's the age or whether it's about his handling of the Israel-Hamas war, something that's hurting him in key battleground states like Michigan, getting the enthusiasm up, which is why you're hearing the Biden campaign want to go after Trump because they think that could juice the base.
But on the Trump side, it's the real fears about being able to expand beyond the base, being able to expand among those key voters that will be critical in some of these down-ticket races. The Senate is at stake. The House is at stake. You've heard Nikki Haley say it time and again, how Trump caused in the Senate, how Trump has hurt them all along while he was in office.
But you know, there are a number of purple states and Senate races that are up in Wisconsin, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania. And in the House races, this is going to be a hard fought election in 18 districts that Joe Biden carried, Republican seats in Joe Biden carried, whether it's in New York or in Nebraska and the like. And Trump's vulnerability in those districts could have that bad impact, which is why a lot of them -- Republicans are fearful about him as the nominee.
COLLINS: And I think it's fair game, absolutely, to talk about Trump's age just as much as it is to talk about Biden's age. I think if Trump was inaugurated, if he did win, he would be the oldest President to ever be inaugurated. He would surpass when Biden hit that record, when he was inaugurated. But when you talk to voters, and obviously we saw what happened where
he confused Nancy Pelosi with Nikki Haley repeatedly the other day and never corrected himself in that moment, something that his allies tried to defend. But when you talk to voters, you do not hear the same concerns about Trump's age as you do when it comes to when you talk to voters when they talk about Biden's age.
And I think the question will be how they view, you know, Trump's legal issues compared to Biden's age and whether they find those to be equivalently -- equivalent bad things for both of them and how that shifts how they vote.
BURNETT: All right. We're still here and still ahead, we're digging deeper into our exit poll data from New Hampshire to find out how Donald Trump won tonight and what those reasons are. Our live coverage continues right after a quick break.