Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Live Event/Special

Trump Wins NH Primary, Haley Vows To Stay In Race; Haley Questions Trump's Mental Fitness After Gaffes. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired January 24, 2024 - 01:00   ET




LAURA COATES, CNN ANCHOR: You know what they say, hell hath no fury like Donald Trump scorned. I'm Laura Coates in Washington, D.C.

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Erica Hill in New York. You're watching CNN special live coverage of the New Hampshire primary. No nail biter tonight, the former president with a convincing win. Not convincing enough, though, to get his last remaining rival to tap out.

COATES: Erica, Donald Trump doesn't actually say it. But Donald Trump says, does it too if the Republican nominating contest is over. But Nikki Haley won't say that, at least not yet.


NIKKI HALEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Now, you've all heard the chatter among the political class. They're falling all over themselves saying this race is over.


HALEY: Well, I have news for all of them. New Hampshire is first in the nation. It is not the last in the nation. This race is far from over.


HILL: And so there you have it, it appears the race will in fact roll on to South Carolina at least for now. Last week after his Iowa when Trump was as gracious as perhaps Trump is known to be. This week, though, gracious Trump gave way to either grumpy Trump.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Do something about most winability, who's going to win? And I had one put up, I don't know if you see it, but I have one put up. We've won almost every single poll in the last three months against Crooked Joe Biden, almost every poll. And she doesn't win those polls. And she doesn't win those. This is not your typical victory speech. But let's not have somebody take a victory when she had a very bad night. (END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: All right, so let's begin here with CNN senior data reporter Harry Enten. Harry, talk to us about these latest results that you're seeing. What do they tell us?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: Yes, I mean, look, I think we should just not lose track of the fact of how historic Donald Trump's win in New Hampshire was, all right. These are non-incumbent performances in New Hampshire primaries dating all the way back over the last half a century. Donald Trump right now is polling in 54 percent of the vote. That is the best performance ever, Erica, for a non-incumbent Republican in New Hampshire. It beats Ronald Reagan's 1980 performance when he got 50 percent, a little bit more than a bare majority.

John McCain, of course, that very famous 2000 performance where he got 49 percent. Keep in mind, Erica, a year ago Donald Trump was trailing in New Hampshire polls. He was trailing in New Hampshire polls. And now he puts in the best performance. Nikki Haley 10 points behind. But it's not just the fact that Donald Trump won in the Granite State. It's the fact that he also won in Iowa.

You know, how many non-incumbents have done that before on the Republican side? None. He is the first one ever to do it, Erica. And why is that so impressive? It's so impressive because Iowa and New Hampshire are two very different Republican electorates, right? We had a caucus last week in Iowa. Now we have a primary with much higher turnout in New Hampshire. New Hampshire is far more moderate, far more independent, far less evangelical and far wealthier.

These are groups that Donald Trump should not necessarily perform well with. This is a state where Vic -- is probably Nikki Haley's best chance to come up with a win. And yet Donald Trump was the one who was able to win tonight in New Hampshire by a fairly convincing mark.

HILL: So to that end, what is all this tell us about Nikki Haley moving forward?

ENTEN: Yes. What does this tell us about Nikki Haley moving forward? So Nikki Haley wants to go home to South Carolina, maybe win there. She's staying in the race. But what are the polls telling us in South Carolina? This poll was taken before Iowa and New Hampshire cast their ballots, probably means Donald Trump's actually in a better position than this poll indicates.

But look how far Donald Trump was ahead. He was up by over 30 points over Nikki Haley in her home state. And she already just went from New Hampshire, which should have been a very good state for her, she couldn't win there. She now wants to go down to South Carolina and win there. It doesn't look necessarily good for Nikki Haley in South Carolina.

Remember, Donald Trump won the state of South Carolina back in 2016 as well. So you might say, OK, maybe not South Carolina. Maybe Nikki Haley could somehow pull a magic trick and do something nationally. But what is the national data indicate to us? Well it's even worse for Nikki Haley. Donald Trump at 69 percent of the vote, Nikki Haley at just 12 percent, this was pre DeSantis dropping up, this Trump number is only going to go up.


And if you look historically, Erica, this 69 percent and this large lead is tied for the largest ever in a GOP primary for non-incumbent at this point. So no matter which way you slice the numbers, New Hampshire tonight is probably Trump's weakest state, he was still able to win going forward, the map looks even better for Donald Trump, and even tougher for Nikki Haley.

HILL: With this state was still able to run and win rather set some of those records that you pointed out. It's going to be a little tough to watch over the next four weeks, Harry.

ENTEN: It's going to be something to watch. But at this particular point, Donald Trump looks like he is well on the road to the nomination, even though we've only had two contests so far.

HILL: All right, Harry, appreciate it. Thank you.

ENTEN: Thank you.

HILL: Laura?

COATES: It's so fascinating. The former President Donald Trump winning the New Hampshire primary tonight but if you take a look online, Nikki Haley seems to be the only thing on his mind, I was talking about everything now. I've got Mike Leon, hosted the Can We Please Talk Podcast? Yes, we can. Saleh Mohsin, Bloomberg senior Washington correspondent, also Jane Coaston, The New York Times contributing opinion writer and CNN's Mark Preston is here as well.

Look, it's 1 o'clock in the morning. Do you know where the nomination is? It seems as though it might be in Donald Trump's hand if you ask him that. Nikki Haley has a very different viewpoint. Once again, it wasn't the idea of, you know, people in the race any longer in her mind or thinking she's won. But she feels pretty confident, should she?

MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Look, if she does decide to get out, she shouldn't have done it tonight anyway. If she does decide to get out, she should go back to her home state, do it on her own terms. I do think over the next couple of days, though, look for people specifically in New York, perhaps in Miami a little bit in California, the deep pocketed Republicans who want Donald Trump to be challenged.

And we've already seen that there are several fundraisers that were scheduled after New Hampshire with the likes of Ken Langone and other very wealthy Republicans. For some reason, if we see one of these fundraisers go away, then absolutely, you will see her candidacy in. I don't think that she wanted to go out tonight whether or not she's going to because I don't think she wanted Donald Trump to have that victory that he's so much wanted tonight.

COATES: I mean, is it odd people watching, is it odd that here we are still in January, not even close Super Tuesday and two contests in and we're talking about maybe one person already securing the nomination? Is that odd traditionally, right now?

SALEH MOHSIN, SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, BLOOMBERG: I feel like in the world of Donald Trump and in 2024, after seeing everything that happened in 2016, nothing is odd anymore. We should be that braced --

COATES: That's probably a good point. It's great.


MOHSIN: Brace and ready for everything. But to Mark's point, Wall Street has really been hoping for a Trump alternative. At Bloomberg, we reported earlier that there's all these fundraisers, like you said planned for between New Hampshire and South Carolina, everyone was saying the quiet part out loud that, well, let's see if she lasts. That Wall Street money, that big donor money might be coming too late for her.

LEON: Laura, I was on your show a couple of weeks ago. And if you remember I told you January 24th, we were going to know. The maps not mapping right now for Nikki Haley. Now, there's a couple of things here because the political analyst and me will say I agree with everything that she said in that pseudo concession, not really concession see in South Carolina speech, she mentioned that there are millions of other people coming up right before Super Tuesday over these next couple of primary states that deserve to be heard from a vote perspective.

I totally agree with that. The issue is to my buddy Harry's point is that this is the state where 40 percent are independent and undeclared. This is the state that you put all your chips in the middle. DeSantis did it for Iowa. He dropped later that night, next day, or that week, Nikki Haley did the same thing here positioned everything for New Hampshire, all of the spends, all of the campaigning, all of the efforts to moderate base that could appeal to her to the platform.

And she comes in second by about 12 percentage points. Where's the realistic chance to win over more states, more conservative leaning states, more open primary states if you can't do it in New Hampshire? I don't know. I don't see that path for her.

COATES: But I do wonder I mean, are all independent, we talked about no voter being a monolith, no voting group being a monolith. And I know that obviously independents, moderates, conservatives, liberals, it all goes together and a big melting pot of how to predict everything. But when you look at it, I mean, is New Hampshire representative or Iowa of the greater independent base of people that there is such a thing to know that it's time for her to stop or it's just a desire of Donald Trump?

JANE COASTON, NEW YORK TIMES CONTRIBUTING OPINION WRITER: I think that that's just the desire of Donald Trump. You saw a lot of independents who did crossover in New Hampshire. But actually a lot of independents wrote in for Joe Biden. That's why Joe Biden won the Democratic primary in New Hampshire despite a lot of strange back and forth between the campaign and the state.

But I think that you saw a lot of people in New Hampshire who said like, I will write the central that wrote in something else and you saw a lot of Republicans voting for the person they believe already will be the Republican nominee. I think the problem that we're facing right now is that for a lot of voters this is already over, this is a fait accompli, like they are saying like, we should line up behind the future Republican nominee and you're hearing that from the party nonstop.


You heard Marjorie Taylor Greene today basically saying it's time to start liquidating the cool locks, the people who stand against Donald Trump. And I think that there are a lot of Republicans were like, this is the Republican candidate. This is who I will choose. And I think that there are a lot of people. I mean, just even the polling on the people who supported Haley versus the people who supported Trump. It's a very different constituency even as to, do you believe that Joe Biden won the 2020 election? He did. And Nikki Haley voters said so. And Trump voters said not.

And so I think it's an interesting constituency, but it doesn't tell us very much about independent voters writ large. I mean, because this is a primary and most people don't vote in primaries because they have things to do.

COATES: Oh, what do you mean? What could one be doing besides being up with us at 1 o'clock in the morning talking about it? I don't know what's you're --

COASTON: It's the best time you could possibly have.

COATES: I think, OK, thank you. I think we're all clear.


COATES: I'd be the last word was like, everyone stick around. We've got a lot more to cover tonight as well.

And next, despite just endorsing Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis tonight is sounding the alarm on the former president, hear why.

Plus, pollster Frank Luntz joins us with his X factors on a potential Biden Trump rematch. This is CNN special live coverage.



[01:15:28] GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): Iowa show there's big warning signs. And when I have people come up to me who voted for Reagan and said, the six and have been conservative their whole life say that they don't want to vote for Trump again, that's a problem. So he's got to figure out a way to solve that. I think there's an enthusiasm problem overall. And then I also just think there's some voters that have checked out at this point that you got to find a way to get them back.


HILL: Ron DeSantis, appearing to sound the alarm there about the man he just endorsed talking about big warning signs for Trump's chances in November. Let's discuss with Bakari Sellers, Alice Stewart, Shermichael Singleton and Paul Begala. Nice to see you all. I would say this evening, but it's actually morning this morning now.


HILL: Some areas are still evening. So good evening to those friends who are joining us. So it's interesting to hear Ron DeSantis talk about what he's calling an enthusiasm problem. And I bring this up, because I want to look at some of the exit polling, which is fascinating from tonight. If you look at the comparison of Trump voters and Haley voters, strongly favoring, so the Trump voters, 74 percent of them, I believe were the numbers that I had. Those are the Haley numbers. Seventy-four percent of those who voted for Trump strongly favored him as their candidate. When you look at the Haley voters, it was something like 89 percent, who said they disliked the opponent that much. Is there really an enthusiasm gap?

SHERMICHAEL SINGLETON, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I mean, I think there's an enthusiasm gap with individuals who are not considered are Trump are hard right leaning conservatives. And I think what's going to be interesting as we further dive into this data, how many moderates sort of flipped to Trump compared to 2016? And you're looking at some of those independent centrist leaning voters, how many of them voted for Haley, but say, you know, what, if it's Trump, I'll support him.

I think that's going to be pivotal, looking at a state like Georgia where Brian Kemp did well, but this Senate candidate that Trump endorsed, did not do well. Looking at a state like Pennsylvania that Trump won in 2016, but did not win in 2020. Trying to win back some of those suburbanites, some of those corporatist Republicans, if you will, it's going to be fascinating to see if he can turn those individuals out enough to win back those two states in particular, because if he could, then that is his path to 70.

HILL: Is it that hard to bring them out? Because when you look at Chris Sununu, who has spent so much time, right, campaigning with Nikki Haley railing on the former president. And yet when press says of course, I'm going to vote for him.

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Right. Well, he's politician and he wants to maintain his viability. I think that the problem for Mr. Trump, first off, it's, it's a victory for him and congratulations, I think Shermichael is right. Because New Hampshire has this crazy idea called freedom, where they let independence vote, it's not just a closed walled garden for one party. We got to see a snapshot of what Trump might look like in a general election.

And it is really frightening for the Trump strategists are not to be, right? He dominated with Republicans and the more MAGA, the better for him. But when you get to independence, these are independents voting in Republican primary though, he lost two thirds of them. Even in Iowa, where you -- they had no independents vote and you have to go out in the freezing cold night. You got to be committed or close to it. I mean, if we had a functioning mental health system, I'm kidding.

But you go on a cold night like that, 43 percent of Nikki Haley supporters in Iowa, said they would vote for Joe Biden over Donald Trump. So he's got -- he had a big victory, he ought to be congratulated for it. But there are signs here for strategists that look really weak for Mr. Trump, when he moves away from that MAGA base and into the general election.

HILL: Alice, is it your sense that I think we can see already, it is a much more highly functioning campaign than we have seen in the past, right? And we know that because of who was in on this campaign. Do you start to see a shift in that strategy?

STEWART: They need to stick with the current plan that is working. They are much more disciplined. He has been much more on message. Sure, he says isn't bombastic things that grabbed the headlines that we talked about. But at the end of the day, when he's in these rallies, he's talking about important issues that are appealing to the voters. He talked a lot about immigration, which really hit hard with Iowa voters and New Hampshire, and he really went after Nikki Haley on Social Security.

So if Susie Wiles and Chris LaCivita and his team can keep him on message, on discipline, moving forward, then he's in good shape. His own worst enemy is himself. And I think, to some degree, Ron DeSantis made some points in terms of some warning signs. But it's hard to say there's big warning signs and enthusiasm problem in a primary, when he's won twice. He's won twice.

I think the big warning signs moving forward into the general election is we all know general elections are won by the mushy middle, the people in the middle, the independent voters and the undecided voters. Donald Trump's going to have some serious problems with them on abortion, the Democrats are running on let's return Roe. Donald Trump is bragging about the fact he got it overturned.


Also, the tone and tenor of Donald Trump is off putting for a lot of people that say, hey, we need a calmer, gentler leadership. And also, he has been really gaining points in the primary on his campaigning in the courtroom, saying I'm a victim of weaponization of the DOJ. Independents don't see it that way. And if he's going to continue to use the courtroom as the campaign trail, it's not a winning message in a general. BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: The campaign is good, the candidate is bad. And respectfully, the candidate has no discipline, because just as he was talking about immigration, he also talked about what Nikki Haley was wearing. And so I don't think that you can parse those things out. Viewers actually look at Donald Trump and see somebody that's relatively uncouth.

Now, that's one thing, the warning lights are on for Donald Trump. And they're on for a few reasons. One, the lack of enthusiasm was told by the fact he only got 50,000 votes in Iowa. That's first. The second point is, the number of voters that Nikki Haley got, the overwhelming majority of them were an outright rejection of MAGA and Trumpism. So I love my Republican colleagues on the panel who say, yes, he has to go get the squishy middle. He has to get the suburbs in order to win Pennsylvania and Georgia. That is true.

But he also has to recover many of these Republicans who want nothing else to do with Donald Trump. There's a disaffected base that Republicans act as if they -- it just simply doesn't exist. The same way Joe Biden has to bring his constituencies that are having issues with them, younger voters, black men voters, and he's working on that now visiting these respective states with Kamala Harris, et cetera. You can't ignore that if you're Republicans.

There are completely disaffected Republicans, and not all of them. I mean, not all of them have the kind of putty backbone that Sununu has. Many of them either will vote for Joe Biden, or they will stay home. This election, if any analysis or analysts tells you that this election is a two person race, they're lying to you. This race is between Donald Trump, Joe Biden and the couch. And the couch is one of the most successful politicians in American history because it runs no ads in year after year, people support it.

And so there will be people who stay at home because they don't want to support Donald Trump, or they don't want to support Joe Biden, the job for both candidates is to drag their asses off the couch into the ballot box. We'll see if that can happen.

SINGLETON: Well, that's the benefit. I would argue, Erica. That's a benefit for Trump. If Joe Biden sees a decrease in key demo groups, African Americans, young voters, some of women voters, you may believe you guys didn't fight hard enough to protect Roe versus Wade. I mean, the Vice President is now traveling the country discussing this. But my question to the administration or the real life campaign is, if you're given another four years, what exactly can you do?

SELLERS: But let me just -- you can't square that with, respectfully, you can't square that skirt -- you can't square that circle on abortion. We've seen abortion win in Ohio. We've seen abortion when in Kansas --

SINGLETON: Because of ballot measures.

SELLERS: But the fact is, the person who overturned Roe v. Wade, was Donald Trump. I don't see anybody out there man or woman who takes reproductive rights seriously saying, oh my god, I think I'm going to give Donald Trump four more years to put more justices on there and continuously erode my reproductive rights. Abortion, as you were saying earlier, is a big issue for Democrats, the economy a big issue. The issues that were weakest immigration, crime are issues that we have to begin.

SINGLETON: Do you think it'd be good on the economy, though? You think you guys are great on the economy?

SELLERS: Have you --

SINGLETON: I know what the numbers is saying. I'll see that point. But the reality is --

SELLERS: OK. Well, then I don't have an argument.

SINGLETON: But most Americans don't feel it though, Bakari, most Americans are saying, I'm not doing better. I'm not making more money to keep up with the cost of inflation.

SELLERS: But you're going to --

SINGLETON: I am still struggling.

SELLERS: What are we talking? You're going to see the numbers. If you're going to see the fact that the stock market is at the highest, the wage growth is at the highest.


SELLERS: Unemployment has decreased, the black white wealth gap has decreased, student loan debt is decreasing. I mean, if you're going to see the numbers to me and say, people don't feel it, you're right. And what I will tell you is that the White House has to do a better job of hiring Paul Begala to go out there --

HILL: Paul Begala if you're getting hired --

SELLERS: Help me out Paul, 8 o'clock in the morning, I'm tired.


STEWART: It's not a matter of convincing Shermichael that it's the American people, you have a majority of the American people who do not feel as though they're better off economically than they were when Joe Biden took office. They feel as though he is not doing a good job with the economy. So we'll give you the numbers. That's great. But the perception with the American people is that the economy is not good. It's not sound and they don't see things turning around.

And I don't think that's a messaging problem on the part of this administration that has a perception with the American people. And to your point, you also talked about immigration. Well, people continue to see the crisis at the border, flood into other cities, New York, Chicago, Denver, and you have Democratic leaders saying, come on, let's get this fixed. That's going to be a problem too. And if you can't turn that around that's going to be a problem for Joe Biden. [01:25:02]

That's why we see the current RealClearPolitics average of a head to head with Biden and Trump with Trump ahead five to six points on average with their head to heads.

HILL: This is perfect because you've set us up well for something we're going to dive into a little bit deeper as the hours tick along here. So save it --


HILL: We're going to talk more of those issues just yet. We're going to hit immigration. We're going to hit the economy, all the things maybe even the couch. We'll take a look at the couch again as well.

Up next here, pollster Frank Luntz joining us on what he finds surprising about tonight.

Plus, the bizarre moment when Donald Trump turned to Tim Scott during his victory speech. You got to see this one.


COATES: Trump winning in New Hampshire tonight the primary continues but both Trump and Biden are already suggesting that their election messages will now turn to the general election. Here with me now is pollster and communications strategist Frank Luntz. So glad to see you tonight, Frank. I mean, you were at the Nikki Haley watch party tonight in Concord. What did you see among her supporters knowing that she did not win but she was closer than some thought she would be.


FRANK LUNTZ, POLLSTER AND COMMUNICATION STRATEGIST: Her difference was half of what most of the polling showed. Trump was looking at a 20 percent plus victory. In the end, he won by 10 or 11 percent. But there are two key trends that I'm following as a pollster. Number one, this is good news for Trump, a level of intensity, a passion among these voters. They're not looking for anyone else. They're not considering anyone else. For them, it's Trump or nothing. And I've never in my professional career seen a presidential candidate with this degree of passionate support.

On the other hand, for Nikki's benefit, a ability to reach voters, moderates, independents, those who do not traditionally vote Republican, she has a unique ability to expand the base to reach voters that Republicans normally don't reach. And that's going to be the strongest reason to vote for her. And here's the problem there. And according to exit polling, that electability doesn't matter among primary voters as much as someone who will fight for them, and someone who shares their values. Nevertheless, Nikki Haley does quite well among those independents, that she need to win if you want to become president in November.

COATES: That's fascinating to think about what is actually persuasive at the primary stage versus the general election and what people are truly looking at. Obviously, those who engaged in the primary voting process can be the ones who lean in perhaps even all the more than the general electorate. But Haley is saying tonight that Americans don't want the rematch that, frankly, if this trajectory continues, will be the rematch come November, Biden and Trump. Is that where we're really heading here, you think, if it stands?

LUNTZ: I think that's where we're heading. And so you have to look at an election tonight as a Trump victory as a strong Trump victory. And Nikki Haley, quite frankly, has to examine whether she can do as well in other states as she did in New Hampshire, 11 point loss is significant. And it's going to give her pause. Because these other states that are coming up particularly, their own home state of South Carolina, the numbers aren't as good because there's more hardcore Republicans, there's more base Republicans. And she doesn't do as well among them.

What she's has to hope for is that she can get to Super Tuesday where most of the states are open primary states, that means that Democrats and independents can vote Republican. Now make the mistake Trump is going to destroy your for that. But people watching this program right now have to consider those who want a replacement to Joe Biden. Do you vote for the hardcore candidate that motivates the base? Or do you vote for the individual that can reach out and expand that base? That's a decision that Republican primary voters will be facing over the next month?

COATES: I don't know if it's as obvious as what you said earlier. I want to go back to a point that Donald Trump will be able to just bestir completely with its goes to an open primary where Democrats and Republicans can then vote. Why is that such an obvious point to you?

LUNTZ: Because she does not win among base Republicans. In fact, Trump's victory tonight was very strong among base Republicans, and it would suggest that she should not consider to continue. And yet, she does so well among those additional voters that take you from 45 or 40 percent, 46 percent of the general election votes and put you over 50 percent. You cannot win for president unless she win independents. And you do well among moderates. She does. Trump does not. But Trump looks so difficult to defeat among Republicans that you may win the primary, which leads to general election.

COATES: Really important insight. Thank you, Frank Luntz. Thank you so much.


Up next, the Veep stakes has already begun, at least for Donald Trump, who is running? And also there was this kind of a surreal moment tonight with Tim Scott, you get to see it.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is Tim Scott now the front runner for the vice presidential nomination?

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, he's a guy that I look at. He's such a wonderful man. He is a wonderful guy and he's been a friend of mine for a long time.


COATES: If you couldn't tell the voice that was Donald Trump suggesting that he may have Tim Scott on his shortlist for vice president. It keeps coming up question after question, who else might be on this little list? Harry Enten his back at the magic wall. Harry. Good morning. Good late day, whatever you want to call it. Who do you see on Trump's VP shortlist?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: Yes, you know, you mentioned Tim Scott, the former president mentioned Tim Scott. He is a guy who is pretty well liked by Republicans. Look at this, afebrile rating of 33 percent an unfavorable rating of five. Of course, there's this no opinion at 62 percent. A lot of Republicans don't actually know who Tim Scott is necessarily, but Trump is going to have a lot of people that he could potentially choose from because take a look at endorsements from governors and members of Congress.

Look at this, Donald Trump has at least 117 endorsements. So the fact is Tim's got is just one of those endorsements. There are potentially a lot of other candidates that Donald Trump could in fact be looking at. Now, of course, there's a question. OK. Usually, we don't really care much about VP's when we're voting for president of the United States. But if you look here, I want to take a look here at view of Tim Scott, view of Kamala Harris. And we can see here this is among the general electorate, Tim Scott, again, really not well known, basically split here between favorable and unfavorable.

Compare that to Harris, who right now only a 33 percent favorable rating of 55 percent unfavorable rating. I know a lot of Democrats are potentially worried about that. But usually, as I mentioned, people don't vote for VP. They vote for president. Why could this campaign be a little bit different because look at the age on Election Day 2024, Joe Biden 81, Donald Trump 78, the oldest pair ever. So we'll just have to wait and see what happens. Erica, I'm going to toss it now over to you, I believe.


COATES: What am I chopped liver, you pass it back to me. Thank you very much. I'm here at 1:39 a.m.

ENTEN: Multiple thanks Laura. Multiple thanks at 1:39 in the morning, I'm trying to toss of whoever pass the pass.

COATES: I'm in full makeup. You will return back to me. I could be in pajamas but I'm here because I want to be. I want to talk to you by this one point. Hold on a second.

ENTEN: OK. COATES: You mean, 60 percent of people have no opinion of a sitting senator in the U.S. Congress. That's really shocking to me, number one. And number two, is of course is if Trump actually secures the nomination, and if Nikki Haley has her way, it will be a big if. And now Harry, I will throw to Erica Hill because she too has in full makeup --

HILL: Oh, I am, yes.

COATES: -- on this. Thank you.

HILL: Actually, Laura, I woke up with this. But Harry is definitely in full makeup as you can see.

ENTEN: That's for sure. Never leave home without it.

HILL: No, he does not. He does not. That I can confirm.

Back now with my panel. So I think Laura makes an excellent point here about the number of people it is somewhat shocking that have no opinion. I also really would love to get your take on this moment that happened tonight, a really interesting moment between Donald Trump and Tim Scott. Take a look.


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.


HILL: How's that for an awkward moment, Bakari? How's that played in South Carolina?

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Oh, it'd be fine for Tim in South Carolina. I think after that, he said, I just love you. He grabbed the mic and said, I just love you. It's a couple of things. One, I want to read the book about the psychology of Donald Trump and how he gets men to kind of just bend at his will, whether it be a general, whether it be a businessman, you've seen people in his cabinet, you see people in his orbit that just kind of turn into shells of themselves.

I had an issue with that, because I actually served in this -- in the legislature from '06 to '14, I served with Tim and Nikki. Nikki was actually governor for four of those years. We'd all sit near each other. And Nikki went out of her way to make sure that she made an historic appointment with Tim Scott. And I think for him to chuckle like that was something that just threw a dagger at Nikki that was outside the realm of politics. And I think Tim is better than that.

And I know a lot of people on my left are going to say no, he's not blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, but I do hold him in high regard. I know him very well. He's a friend. And I think he's better than that. And I think that sometimes when people get around Donald Trump, we -- they bow to the least of us. And that was not a good moment for Tim Scott. It was probably a good moment for Tim Scott in his race against Ben Carson or Representative Stefanik or Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who were probably front runners for the vice president. But it wasn't a good moment for the country and it made my stomach curl a little bit.

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think you almost got Senator Scott's reaction to what Donald Trump said. Because you said he said what's -- because I love you. I think he said more like, I love you and almost gave him a hug. But that just goes to show, as you said, the links he is going to impress Donald Trump. And you think about what are the qualifications he is looking at for someone in his VP pick.

We know he's -- he says he's made up his mind. But the team has to make a team decision. His qualifications are not about your experience or your qualifications or your background. It is about fealty, and your loyalty to Donald Trump. Those are the top credentials for him in terms of making this choice. And he wants someone that's out there that is out there and impresses him, but will not overshadow him.

And so you have to find that fine line to make sure that you make an impression on him, but you're not going to steal his shine. And Tim Scott, I think will help in some ways. You have to look at Donald Trump how is he going to appeal to the general election audience. He needs someone that does not as far right to him, someone that's a little bit more moderate, someone who can reach out to the evangelical community like Mike Pence. Tim Scott has a tremendous faith story. He is a man of religion, a man of God, and we see it every time he speaks. So that is someone that would be a good pick for him.

SELLERS: But we didn't see it tonight. And that's the problem. And that's what I mean, like Tim Scott is all of those things that you name, I think it'd be a dynamic vice president formidable. I can see him sitting across the stage with Kamala Harris and them having a historic good debate about issues and substantive issues. It'd be good for the country. But tonight, what you saw was weakness, right?

I mean, there's no reason to pile on in the way that you did. You must hate her. I mean, no, she helped make you, like this is what it is. And I don't -- Nikki Haley does not need anybody feeling sorry for her. In fact, if she goes on for the next four weeks, it's going to be the most brutal she's ever been through. But tonight, Tim Scott had a chance to do something different and I just think he cowered in the moment.


HILL: Does it surprise you at all?

SHERMICHAEL SINGLETON, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I mean no. I mean I think right now the Republican Party is in the midst of this sort of warrior mentality. And I think to the point that you raise Bakari about the psychology of people who surrounded themselves with Trump, and they sort of change from what we may know them to be. It's because they recognize, I would argue, that many Republican voters want to see other fighters with the general, if you will. I would agree with Bakari. I don't think it was necessary.

But looking at someone like Scott, I think you need to think about two things. You need stability. Donald Trump has to convince a significant amount of voters outside of those ardent Trump supporters, that there will be stability, if he returns to the White House for another four years. That's the biggest critique of him that it's going to be a wild ride for four years. Most people don't really want that, even if they aren't very excited about President Biden.

The second thing I think, for Republicans, we have to think about the next four years and beyond. Donald Trump's only going to get one other shot at this if you were to win, who are we positioning to lead the next mantle, the next iteration of conservatism, whatever in the world that's going to be in 2028. And so I'm hoping that those around Donald Trump are also considering those factors.

HILL: How important is that though to a Donald Trump. Donald Trump doesn't want anything that fealty, right?

SINGLETON: Yes, yes.

HILL: Yes. The people around him will say, here's why you need to pick this person because you need to try to bring in this chunk of voters from reality.

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Right. Shermichael is thinking like a strategist and like a good and decent person. Trump is none of those. Sorry. He's impulsive and he's narcissistic. He's not going to pick Tim Scott because he's Mike Pence 2.0. I know Mike Pence. I know him when he's in the Congress. He is a person of integrity. He's a person of deep faith and character. And that led him at the moment of truth to side with the Constitution against Trump.

Trump never wants that to happen again. And I think Alice is right to name a couple of these women, Governor Noem of South Dakota, Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders of Arkansas, Elise Stefanik, the Congresswoman from New York. I think he's going to pick and I'm not kidding, Marjorie Taylor Greene, the congresswoman from Georgia. Here's why.

SINGLETON: Come on, Paul.

BEGALA: In addition to loyalty which she will offer blindly and wholeheartedly and absolutely, there's another thing that Trump really values and that's clicks, who gets the highest ratings, who gets the most clicks. Keep in mind, he came onto the scene as a T.V. -- reality T.V. guy, he loves that stuff. And people on my side don't much like Marjorie Taylor Greene. Every time she pokes her head up on social media that clicks go through the roof that donations go through the roof. The ratings go through the roof.


SINGLETON: He'll be going to Florida though, if he chooses. I mean, Paul --

(CROSSTALK) SELLERS: Yes. I think everybody we named from Tim Scott, to Marjorie Taylor Greene to Tucker Carlson and Sarah Huckabee Sanders, really don't hold a candle and I want to push back on Harry for a minute to Kamala Harris. I think over the past three years, one of the things we've seen as the vice president of the United States come into our own. And that's also what a Republican has to look at in terms of a matchup. And right now, she I believe is actually building confidence amongst Dems as somebody who can step in and do the job, because they come out of rough and tumble times. And she's actually gotten some on the job training.

HILL: We're going to have to leave it there for now. But you're not allowed to go anywhere, as you all know, and that's good for all of us. We have more in the election results from New Hampshire.


And Donald Trump responding to questions about his mental fitness after some recent gaffes on the trail, that's ahead.


COATES: Well, as Nikki Haley questions Donald Trump's mental fitness, the former president says that he's acing cognitive tests when confronted about his recent gaffes on the trail.


TRUMP: A crowd on January 6th, you know Nikki Haley, Nikki Haley, Nikki Haley, you know, they -- did you know, they destroyed all of the information, all of the evidence, everything? Deleted and destroyed all of it, all of it. Because of lots of things like Nikki Haley is in charge of security. We offered her 10,000 people, soldiers, National Guards, whatever they want. They turned it down.

We are an institute and a powerful death penalty. We will put this on.

As you know, Crooked Joe Biden and the radical left thugs who have weaponized law enforcement to arrest their leading political opponents, leading by a lot, including Obama.


COATES: A couple of things were not accurate, where is Daniel Dale when you need them, but maybe you've just been paying attention. I know that many of those things where the obvious gaffes. Let's go to our back to our table. I've been eager to talk to all of you about this, because certainly we are seeing a lot of conversations about fitness for office, whether it's character, whether it's his mental competence and beyond. It's a little bit of his own medicine in some respects.

JANE COASTON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Right. I mean, he's been in the right has been going after Joe Biden, for the last, what, five years about his competency. I believe that. I remember during the 2020, the first -- the only -- the first debate that there was this whole idea that he wasn't even going to show up that Joe Biden was just in a basement in bed somewhere and then he did. And it was the weirdest debate that's ever taken place. But it did take place. We were all there. But it is interesting to see how this entire concept especially because, you know, that if Nikki Haley dropped out of the race and endorsed Trump tomorrow, she would never mention his competency ever again.

And it's interesting, because we have two candidates for president. We have, you know, we have Joe Biden, we have Donald Trump, both of whom are elderly men. And it is interesting that they can both hurl these arguments about their competency at each other, which is not exactly the ideal state for the populace. But that's where we are right now. But it is interesting to watch, especially because this has been going on for years with Trump. And you know, I don't know from 2016 to 2020, there are a lot of non-even gaffes, just things that he would say that just did not make sense and that has continued.

And it is interesting to see that come up again and haven't come up with his competency. And then we're having this moment it just feels like time is --


COATES: Is it because, you know, we're talking about this during the break that there is a bit of electro amnesia that happens by design that is raised by people that you may be remembering I -- draw in your memory occasionally, oh, I kind of remember this. They're banking on that.


SALEH MOHSIN, SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, BLOOMBERG: That's one thing that Donald Trump has to his advantage right now, that people have forgotten four years of high inflation, can't pay your bills, rent prices are going up, gas prices are high. We've forgotten that Trump said some weird stuff and did some weird things. Because at that time during the Trump economy was doing well, it was before COVID. So he didn't have to deal with the aftermath of that. So right now, the amnesia effect in the electorate is a bonus for Trump.

MIKE LEON, HOST, "CAN WE PLEASE TALK?" PODCAST: Yes. And it's even to Jane's point that, for some reason voters bring up Biden's age, his competency, the way he looked into debates in 2020, to what he looks like now speaking at a presser. But they don't bring it up for the guy who's just three and a half years younger than him. That is leading the other political party that we see videos and footage of him having the same type of gaffes. What I don't get is as an analytics guy and a math guy, because I scored higher on the -- on that and the SATs than my verbal.

I just don't get why 59 percent of folks in recent polls from other networks say they don't want to rematch. Yet we see, well, we just saw play out in New Hampshire, where there's a large swath of undeclared, undecided voters. And they're like, nope, I want the other guy.

MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Because they don't want to rematch with the other guy. They want their guy. They just don't want the other guy. And they see Joe Biden, if you're a MAGA person, if you're a Trump supporter, you look at Joe Biden, you see all his faults. The problem with Joe Biden is that Joe Biden doesn't go out there every day and say it over and over again. And that's what Donald Trump does.

Donald Trump does his own press. He says his own things. He puts his own name on it and whether or not he writes those tweets or whatever they are, if he puts his name on it, you say that enough times people are going to start believing it I think. And I think that Joe Biden just sits back and he's just taking the hits.

COATES: Well, very good. Prosecutor knows primacy and recency, the first thing they hear and the last thing they hear are things they're going to remember, wherever happens in between.

More on CNN's continuing coverage on the results in the primaries in New Hampshire. That is all coming up next. And we're all going to be back, 2:00 a.m.