Return to Transcripts main page

State of the Union

Interview With Mike Huckabee; Interview With Ohio Governor John Kasich; A Hillary Alternative?; The Draft Biden Movement; Hillary Clinton Jokes About Disappearing Emails; South Carolina Newspaper Calls For Biden To Run; The Iowa State Fair. Aired 9-10a ET

Aired August 16, 2015 - 09:00   ET




DANA BASH, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Arriving in style. Donald Trump drops by the Iowa State Fair in his helicopter and leaves more insults in his wake.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When they give $5 million to Jeb, they have him just like a puppet. He will do whatever they want. He is their puppet.

BASH: Can anyone slow Trump down? I will ask Mike Huckabee.

Plus, John Kasich, the come-from-behind candidate now surging.


BASH: Is he giving Jeb Bush heartburn?

Then, Gore 2016? Biden for president? We go inside the Democratic draft movement. Why the left is so hungry for a Hillary alternative.

And the best political team in television will be here with insights from the campaign trail.


BASH: Hello. I'm Dana Bash in Washington. Welcome to STATE OF THE UNION.

We have got lots of politics to get to, but first some breaking news.

An Indonesian plane with 54 passengers is missing. The Trigana Air Flight lost contact with traffic control over Papua province about an hour-and-a-half into the flight.

Let's get straight to Kathy Novak, who is tracking the story.

Kathy, are there any clues about what happened?

KATHY NOVAK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're talking about a plane that was carrying 54 people, 44 adults, five crew, and among five children.

Authorities are right still stressing they're not confirming that this has crashed, but what they have done is called off the search that started because it got dark and because there is bad weather, so, of course, grave fear for these people. The plane took off around 2:52 local time. It was about 10 minutes away from its scheduled landing when it lost contact.

And if you follow the flight path, that puts it right in a very mountainous, remote region. And that's part of the concern when we're talking about the search-and-rescue effort going on, getting under way and also part of the concern for the flight itself. The runways in this region are very small. It's small planes that fly into it.

And we understand that in the past, planes have crashed in this region and the wreckages have never been found. But that's how remote the region is -- Dana.

BASH: Well, we're definitely going to keep on this. Kathy, thank you for that.

And stay tuned to CNN for all the latest on this developing story.

And now we turn to the state of our union, which this morning is deep- fried. The presidential race decamped to Des Moines this weekend for the Iowa State Fair, where the candidates competed for attention and affection with corn dogs.

Republican front-runner Donald Trump arrived in his helicopter and offered a free ride to the kids, but not before jabbing his rival Jeb Bush.


TRUMP: ... statement. He said the United States has to prove to Iraq that we have skin in the game.

We have spent $2 trillion, thousands of lives lost, wounded warriors who I love all over the place, and he said we have to prove that we have skin in the game. I think it may be one of the dumbest statements I have ever heard.


BASH: Now, Trump is, as he never tires of pointing out, leading in the polls.

Our latest CNN poll shows him topping the field in Iowa. But when it comes to the question of who Iowa Republicans think best represents their values, the field chips a bit.

Near the top of that list is former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who joins me now live.

Good morning, Governor. Thanks for coming in this morning. I want to start with yesterday's appearance by Trump, the spectacle on

his helicopter, giving rides for kids. I spent a lot of time with you back in 2008, when you won Iowa by doing it the old-fashioned way. You had retail politics. You had a ground game.

Has Trump -- Trump changed the game, sir?

MIKE HUCKABEE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't think so. I mean, look, Donald Trump is a phenomena, and he's doing very well.

I don't have a helicopter. I don't know that any other candidates will. But let me tell you what we're doing. We're organizing the old-fashioned way. There are 99 counties in Iowa. We have organized 71 of them.

In South Carolina, there are 46 counties. We have organized already in 32 of them. We visited over half of the counties in each of those early primary states. And we understand that this is like a NASCAR race that's 200 laps. We're maybe in lap number 10. We have got a long way to go before anybody's going to see a checkered flag.

And you win by organizing and building structure in those counties, because it's not how many headlines you get. It's how many voters show up at the caucuses and the primaries.

BASH: So you're announcing this morning that you do have an organizing team in Iowa and South Carolina, but do you really think that that is the way things are going to happen this time?

I mean, Donald Trump, you know, yes, I understand it's early, and maybe some of this polling might be because he's different and he is a celebrity and all that. But you never know. This could be kind of the Kardashianization of the caucuses.


HUCKABEE: Well, it could be.

But I want to salute Donald Trump. He's a master at branding. There's no one like him. He's alone in his class at being able to get attention. Latest survey showed, Dana, that he's getting 10 times the press coverage than any other candidate.

Well, I'm just going to be real clear with you. You give me 10 times the coverage that any other candidate gets, I will be leading in the polls. But the point is, at this stage of the game, the polls don't necessarily reflect where things end up. Otherwise, we would have had a nominee named Rudy Giuliani eight years ago and one named Michele Bachmann four years ago.

That's why we're not in a panic. We're doing what we know we have to do. And it's been helpful to have done this before. We're organizing, structuring, building this thing one block at a time. It's like a LEGO set, and you have to put the pieces together one at a time. BASH: Now, Governor, you're originally from Arkansas. That's, of

course, where you served. You're familiar with the Clinton foibles, if you will. Donald Trump told Sean Hannity this week that Monica Lewinsky, Paula Jones and other women involved with Bill Clinton are fair game against Hillary Clinton. Do you agree?

HUCKABEE: I don't know that we have to go there because there's plenty about Hillary's record that gives us all the ammunition we need.

I do understand the Clintons very well. I fought against their political machine every time I was on the ballot. That's what a lot of Republicans have not yet figured out when they say, my gosh, who can we put up against Hillary? Well, there's only one candidate on that stage among Republicans who has effectively and successfully and repeatedly challenged the Clinton political machine, and that's me.

BASH: So, stay away -- stay away from the Bill Clinton...

HUCKABEE: To get into the personal lives, I don't think that's necessary.

BASH: Interesting.

HUCKABEE: Yes. He's not on the ballot. Hillary is.

BASH: That is true. That is true.

HUCKABEE: But, look, Dana, let me mention this.

I think that there's going to be some things she will have to answer for. What happened the night of Benghazi? What about those e-mails? What about the private server? What about the fact that she did not follow the law and protocol? There are plenty of things, including the reset button with Russia.

We have got to ask why, after four years of secretary of state, that we had not one country on this planet with whom we had a better relationship than we did when she first took office as secretary of state. So there's plenty to talk about that's a much more important reason to not let Hillary Clinton be the third term of Barack Obama.

BASH: Speaking of relationships with other countries, we have a little scoop here on STATE OF THE UNION this morning.

You are planing to leave the campaign trail and make a trip to Israel this coming Tuesday. We talked about Iowa and organizing. Why is it more important to be in Israel than in Iowa right now?

HUCKABEE: Well, there's several activities. So, I will only be there a couple of days.

But, as you know, I have been going to Israel for 42 years. My first trip was in 1973. I have been dozens and dozens of times. I have got a lot of friends there. And a lot of Americans live there. We're doing some fund-raising, but, more importantly, I will also be visiting with a number of officials and discussing the Iranian deal, because I think it's the most dangerous situation that we face, not just for the Middle East, but for the rest of the world, in a long time.

This is essentially arming and equipping a terrorist state. The Iranian government is not to be trusted. And for 36 years, they kidnapped Americans. They have killed Americans. They hold Americans hostage right now. And we're being pushed to get into a deal that gives us nothing, but gives the Iranians the capacity to ultimately end up with a nuclear weapon, and that's just insane.

BASH: Governor, I want to bring it back home and to an issue that's really been percolating in the Republican race, the issue of abortion.

Now, you oppose abortion even in cases of rape and incest. I want to ask about a story, because it's really getting a lot of attention from our readers on A 10-year-old girl was raped by her stepfather in Paraguay, and the government wouldn't allow her to have an abortion, because that's the policy there. The girl, who is now just 11, had the baby.

If you're president, and you have your druthers, that would be the policy here. Some of your Republican opponents say it's too extreme. What do you say?

HUCKABEE: I think what we have to do, Dana, is remember that creating one problem that is horrible -- horrible -- I mean, let nobody be misled. A 10-year-old girl being raped is horrible.

But does it solve a problem by taking the life of an innocent child? And that's really the issue. I know people. I worked for a man for several years, James Robison, who was the result of a rape. His mother went to three doctors in Houston, Texas, in 1943, begged doctors to abort the baby. None of them would do it.

They all refused. Today, his organization feeds, cares for, and brings living capacity for water to hundreds of thousands of people across the world. That would never have happened, Dana.


So, when I think about one horror, I also think about the possibilities that exist. And I just don't want to think that somehow we discount a human life.

BASH: And that's understandable, but the flip side is, looking in the eyes of a 10-year-old girl, saying, you know, you had this horrible thing happen to you, and you're going to have to carry it out for the next nine months. That's also not easy.

HUCKABEE: No, it isn't easy. And I wouldn't even pretend that it's anything other than a terrible tragedy.

But let's not compound the tragedy by taking yet another life. And I always think we sometimes miss the fact that, when an abortion happens, there are two victims. One is the child. The other is that birth mother, who often will go through extraordinary guilt years later, when she begins to think through the -- what happened with the baby, with her.

And, again, there are no easy answers here. And I realize there are some people that will be very different in their view of this than me, and I respect that. I don't want to get into a shouting match with people who think I'm wrong. I respect that.

But I just come down on the side that life is precious, every life has worth and value. I don't think we discount the intrinsic worth of any human being. And I don't know where else to go with it, but just to be consistent and say, if life matters and then that's a person, then every life matters.

BASH: Governor, before we go, I just have to ask you quickly about something you said in the last debate. You said that the military is not a social experiment, talking about the idea of transgender or so forth going into the military.

I want to read for you a tweet by Kristin Beck, who is the only transgender Navy SEAL. She's challenging Steny Hoyer in a Democratic primary, I should say, for Congress in Maryland. She hit back, saying about you on Twitter: "I am twice the man you could ever be."

Do you want to respond to that?

HUCKABEE: No, because she's entitled to her views. She's getting a lot of publicity for her campaign.

But let me tell you something, Dana. Before the United States and the taxpayers pay for someone to have a transgender surgery, we need to make sure we're caring for the veterans who come back from Iran and Afghanistan without arms and legs. And some of them are waiting weeks and months. We see 22 suicides a day among returning veterans.

That ought to be our priority, not changing the gender of someone in the military.

BASH: Governor Huckabee, we are going to have to leave it there.

Thanks for joining us this morning. Appreciate it. And have a safe trip.

HUCKABEE: Thank you, Dana. Great to talk to you.

BASH: Most of 2016 crowd might be invading Iowa right now, but one guy sees greener pastures in New Hampshire.

John Kasich, the come-from-behind candidate, is now surging in the Granite State. We will talk to him after the break.



BASH: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION. I'm Dana Bash. The countdown clock has begun as we await the next Republican debate

right here on CNN moderated by our own Jake Tapper. Will it reshuffle the race again?

The last one catapulted Ohio Governor John Kasich to the top of the pile after a late start.

Now he's surging in New Hampshire, neck and neck with another swing state, Governor Jeb Bush.


BASH: It wasn't that long ago that you were barely registering in the polls here in New Hampshire. And this week, one came out that says that you're in third place.

I know your super PAC has spent a couple of million dollars.

KASICH: Close to second, huh?

BASH: Yes, close to second.

But what do you attribute your rise here to?

KASICH: Well, I think the fact that some -- there were some commercials on...

BASH: Yes.

KASICH: ... that let people kind of know a little bit about me.

And then we have done I don't know how many town halls now and how many meetings. And I was always pretty confident that, if we could do that and people could hear my record and get to see me, that, you know, we would probably do pretty well.

I'm having an absolute ball. I'm having so much fun. So we go into this town hall, and I almost lost my breath.

BASH: Why?

KASICH: Well, because there's so many people in there. It was just like, wow. I mean, this is amazing.

And I just wish my wife had been here to see this. And they're just great people. And I don't know. It just -- it's kind of emotional in a way.

BASH: OK. So you talk a lot about the fact that your faith guides you. And, specifically, it guided you on your decision to accept Medicaid dollars.

You talk about the fact that, when you die, you're not going to be asked at the pearly gates if you cut enough government spending, but did you help people who need it most? Beyond Medicaid domestically, where else does that principle guide you and your policy? KASICH: Well, I think it relates to like, you know, like early

childhood education, poor kids, people who are in prison, giving them a chance to get their lives back if they want to earn their way there.

But let me -- let me say that the Medicaid decision was not -- I didn't read a Bible to decide that. I knew that, number one, we would save money by taking people out of prison and letting them get a job where they could become a taxpayer. So we save money over the long run by this.

But, secondly, there's the morality of, why would we want to lock a schizophrenic or a bipolar person in a prison cell? That's not what America is. You know, I don't, like, read a Bible to figure out what I think.

BASH: But you obviously...

KASICH: But I have a heart for people who -- and, look, I don't question anybody else's, but I just have a heart for people who have been disabled or disadvantaged. And, you know, I care about them.

BASH: You talk about the social safety net in a way that a lot of Republicans don't. You sound like a Democrat sometimes.

KASICH: I think Republicans allowed themselves to be put in a box. Like, if I care about people -- like, some lady whispered to me when I walked out of that town hall, she says, "Thanks for caring about people."

And she's, like, whispering, like that's -- no. To me, conservatism is giving everybody a chance to be able to successful. That's the way Reagan was. I mean, that's common sense.

BASH: Let me ask you about some social issues.

Abortion. You're pro-life.

KASICH: Right.

BASH: Should there be exceptions?


KASICH: Yes, I'm -- I have always been for exceptions.

BASH: Which ones?

KASICH: For rape, incest, and life of the mother.

BASH: And you know, because you were standing on the stage, two of your competitors, Marco Rubio and Scott Walker, said they're for no exceptions. Does that make electable?


KASICH: Yes, I'm -- I have always been for exceptions. BASH: Which ones?

KASICH: For rape, incest, and life of the mother.

BASH: And you know, because you were standing on the stage, two of your competitors, Marco Rubio and Scott Walker, said they're for no exceptions. Does that make electable?

KASICH: Look, I think, no matter what your position is on the issue, you have to respect for people. And I do. And it's an issue that people have a right to have a different point of view. So...

BASH: Do you think that they would be -- either would be electable against a Democrat supporting abortion with no exceptions?

KASICH: Well, I think that it's an important issue, but I think there's many other issues that are really critical, early childhood, infant mortality, the environment, education.

I think we focus too much on just one issue. And now that the issue of gay marriage is kind of off the table, we're kind of down to one social issue, you know?

BASH: Well, but it's one that matters to -- in a lot of people's lives.

KASICH: To a lot of people on both sides.

BASH: Why are exceptions part of your belief?

KASICH: Because I think it's reasonable.

BASH: Let's talk a little bit about foreign policy. There was another beheading at the hands of ISIS. If you were sitting in the Oval Office now, would you commit more ground troops, American ground troops?

KASICH: Well, I would do it as part of a -- but I would be working to get the other countries to jump in and join us.

I don't want to go alone. Let me tell you what I would do. First of all, I would have supported the rebels in Syria that were in there to topple Assad. Secondly, I would have a coalition of other countries, including us, on the ground beginning to degrade and destroy ISIS, because, as you begin to do it, that whole caliphate begins to fall apart, in my judgment.

Thirdly, I want to praise Chuck Schumer to the high heaven. He may not like it, but I think he's shown great courage on this deal with Iran.

BASH: One of your competitors, Jeb Bush, is blaming the rise on ISIS on President Obama and Hillary Clinton. Do you think that that is true or do you think that George...

KASICH: I don't know what his thinking is on that. BASH: Well -- well, just the fact that he pulled the troops out of

Iraq and left...


KASICH: Well, we should have had a base left in Iraq, for sure.

BASH: But do you think that President George W. Bush, who launched the attack initially, bears some responsibility?

KASICH: Well, look, I would have never committed ourselves to Iraq. And, as you can see, ultimately, it's probably going to end up being divided into three parts. I think the Kurds are great allies of ours. And we have got to be very conscious of some of the things that they need and balance that off against the Turks, because that's become an issue over there.

But all the religions of the world ought to stand up and say, you blow up innocent men, women, and children, and you think you're going to paradise, there's something wrong with you, you're nuts, and if we catch you, we're going to throw you into prison, maybe for the rest of your life.

BASH: OK, last question. We were joking about the fact that you know that you have a reputation as somebody who is a bit prickly, has a little bit of a temper.


BASH: But you say -- but you say that's not true.


Well, you know, as people get to know me, they get to understand I'm passionate about things, you know? But I will tell you something. I'm having a ball out there. People are noting that he may be the happiest candidate in the field.

But I have got to tell you, I'm not a marshmallow. I mean to get things done. But I only -- always got them done by building a bipartisan effort.

And I will tell you another thing that's really cool. I have people who have worked around me for as long as 40 years. And we will -- we march as a team. We're part of a movement to do something bigger than ourselves. And that's really what it's all about for me and all my pals.

BASH: Governor, thank you.

KASICH: Thank you.

BASH: Great to see you.

KASICH: Enjoyed it. Thank you.

BASH: Thank you.


BASH: And coming up: Will Joe Biden run for president? The rumor mill is cranking into high gear, and we're going to have a former staffer and family friend right here who wants the vice president to jump into the race for the top spot.

Stay with us.



BASH: Hillary Clinton made her appearance at the Iowa State Fair yesterday, facing opponents both real and imagined. This week, not one, but two potential challenges popped up, rumor number one, that Al Gore, who's rarely seen in public these days, could jump in the race. But that was quickly shot down by his spokesperson.

Gathering more steam, though, reports that Vice President Joe Biden is seriously considering running for president.

And here to tell us how he will make the decision is Josh Alcorn, who is a senior adviser of the Draft Biden campaign.

Josh, thanks so much for coming in. Appreciate it.


BASH: All right, so let's start with the context here. You were a close friend of Beau Biden, who was the vice president's son, who of course passed away in late May.

There was a report that he urged his father to run because he believed that -- not only believed in his father, but also knows him as somebody who doesn't care about leaving and making money and that he should stay in public service. What do you know about that?

ALCORN: I know that Beau Biden believed that his father would make an incredible president. He believed that in 1988, when the vice president ran the first time. He believed it in 2008, when he ran most recently.

So, there's no doubt in my mind that Beau thought his dad would make an incredible president.

BASH: And he told you that?

ALCORN: I mean, Beau and I had a lot of conversations, Dana, about 2016. We would sit together in the office kind of talking who our fund raisers would be, who our pollster would be. But we were always talking about his race for governor of Delaware in 2016. That was his focus. And that was our...


BASH: You almost had me there.


ALCORN: I know. I led you through with it, yes, yes.

BASH: So the Bidens haven't asked you to stop doing this, to begin this Draft Biden campaign.


BASH: That gives you hope, I would imagine.

ALCORN: You know, I wouldn't be here if it wasn't the right thing to do.

I -- for about two weeks before I joined Draft Biden, I was hearing from friends of mine and Beau's who had hosted fund-raisers for us kind of in the Biden network of supporters. I had been hearing from people who were on the ground in Iowa, Iowans who I helped organize for the vice president in his run in 2007, calling me and saying, you know, is he getting in the race? He should get in the race. We would love to -- love to see him on the debate stage in Las Vegas in October.

[09:30:00] And so this is the right place for us right now, for me to be right now.

BASH: And you are obviously getting out there as part of Draft Biden, getting grassroots support.

ALCORN: Our list has grown significantly since we started.

BASH: I was going to say, how -- I mean, much support is there for Biden versus maybe just the idea that they're not so thrilled about Hillary Clinton?

ALCORN: I think it's really -- I mean, this isn't about Hillary Clinton or Martin O'Malley or Bernie Sanders or any other Democrats in the race. This is about Joe Bien.

I think the reason we've seen such significant growth in our email list. I mean, this started -- Draft Biden started back in March with a couple of thousand names on an e-mail list (INAUDIBLE) over 200,000 people today. And the reason for that is I think Joe Biden is the original authentic candidate. He's the guy who walk around and talk to people like you and me and talk to people in Iowa and South Carolina and all over the country and really connect with them on a visceral level. And so I think that's where the momentum is coming from.

And you know, it's our job at Draft Biden to sort of remind people who Joe Biden is. His long career in the Senate and his close relationship with the president. BASH: There's some talk this weekend about whether the vice president if he does run should pledge to just run as a one-term president so that he can focus on policy and not worry about the politics of getting re-elected.


BASH: Is that a good idea?

ALCORN: I mean, I think everybody's a one-term president until they're re-elected, right? And so I hope that --

BASH: Right. So, that's the point is that they would be reelected so you have to focus on politics and on campaigning and saying the right thing.

ALCORN: Right.

BASH: If you're a one-term president, it doesn't matter.

ALCORN: Yes. I mean, I hope that Joe Biden is a two-term president. I think most of the people who are supporting Draft Biden would as well. But again, I mean, this is about the level of debate he would bring, the level of dialogue he would bring to this debate.

BASH: OK. Just very quickly. This might be a tough one. But I've heard from sources who love Joe Biden just like you, that part of his thinking is that his son had two small children who now don't have a father and that he feels that he needs to be a father to them and obviously it's hard to do that when you're running for president.

How much do you think he should think about that or maybe do you as a family friend?

ALCORN: I mean, I think he has a deliberative process that he's going through with his family and his inner circle. I think more than everybody he understands the demands that are put on a person running for president or as president. So, I think there's a lot of factors he's weighing but more importantly I think that, you know, he needs to make this decision his own way.

What Draft Biden is doing is kind of giving him the space to make this decision.

BASH: Thank you so much. Appreciate it. Let us know when you get the -- get the goods. OK?

ALCORN: I will.


ALCORN: I will. Thank you, Dana.

BASH: And when we come back, Hillary Clinton tries to launch off her e-mail investigation, but Trump tells us it's no joke.


TRUMP: I mean somebody has got a big problem, and it looks like it's Hillary.





HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You may have seen that I recently launched a Snapchat account. I love it. I love it. Those messages disappear all by themselves.


BASH: That was Hillary Clinton making light of the investigation into her emails. Smart move or dumb joke?

We're going to hash it out right now with the best political team on television. Mo Elleithee, former communications director for the Democratic National Committee, Eric Fehrnstrom, former senior adviser to the Romney campaign, former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer and Amanda Carpenter, former communications director for Ted Cruz.

Thanks, everybody, for joining us.

Amanda, I'll put this right on the tee. Good joke or off color?

AMANDA CARPENTER, FORMER COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR FOR SENATOR TED CRUZ: It was a good joke but was it appropriate to tell it? I mean, the fact that she thinks this is a laughing matter when the FBI is investigating her, I think there's a mismatch between how she views the scandal and how even else outside the Clinton bubble does.

BASH: Mo, you worked for Hillary Clinton back in 2008. I'm guessing that you're hearing from your friends who are inside the campaign which some of us are hearing, which is that they were not so worried and maybe they're a little bit more worried now.

MO ELLEITHEE, FORMER SENIOR SPOKESMAN, HILLARY CLINTON CAMPAIGN: Now, look at the end of the day, I don't think that emails are going to be the deciding factor for people who are going to the voting booth.

But I do think that the firestorm around this has taken a lot of oxygen out of the room that they would rather, you know, be focused the issues rather than be talking about this. So I think that's why you're seeing them step up their effort now to kind of put all the questions to rest, and I think that joke probably more than anything served as a reassurance to her supporters -- right -- that like, you know, I'm not down. This thing is not stopping me. I'm moving forward and there's nothing to see here.


to do is say the word Colin Powell. You say -- well, actually former secretaries of state have done exactly the same thing. Used their own personal email for state business. That's exactly what Colin Powell did. This is not going to be the attack on Hillary Clinton that the Republicans are going to be successful at. They'll find something new but this is not going to get them to the finish line.

CARPENTER: I disagree. Because I think the fact that it does play into her vulnerability as a national security candidate she set up a private server for her own personal convenience that potentially compromised national security.

(INAUDIBLE) her record as secretary of state I think (INAUDIBLE) --


SCHWEITZER: ...with Colin Powell.


ERIC FEHRNSTROM, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER, ROMNEY CAMPAIGN: Let me say it wasn't inappropriate joke, especially when you have the FBI trying to recreate the email record that she deleted to see what could have possibly fallen into the hands of the Russians and the Chinese. It's completely inappropriate. I think some things have to happen here.

Number one, the State Department has to stop running cover for Hillary Clinton by minimizing the case against her in their background conversations with reporters. This is serious business.

[09:39:54] Number two, I think the attorney general since this has now become a matter of great public concern should come forward and say publicly that no one is above the law, that she's going to follow the evidence wherever it leads and that Hillary Clinton, if she's found to have mishandled classified information will be treated just like any other government employee in the same situation. And then finally, I would say to the nation's newspaper editors, stop treating this like another campaign story. Assign your best defense and national security reporters to it because when you subject it to the usual he said, she said Republican versus Democrat back and forth campaign, it doesn't do justice to the story.

BASH: OK. Well, let's take it up to kind of the broader discussion about the state of the race.

Governor, you are a long-time Democrat, but you believe that Republicans, if they nominate somebody like Marco Rubio, that the Democrats, your party, you're going to have trouble with a candidate like Hillary Clinton.

SCHWEITZER: Because Democrats win on demographics and part of that demographic is Latinos.

You know, if a guy like Marco Rubio who is a new generation, a younger guy, a guy who is a Latino, speaks Spanish fluently, he could create problems for some parts of the Democratic Party. Does he get through the primary? I don't know. But he's the new generation of Republicans as opposed to the old generation, which is the rest of the clown bus.

BASH: Do you agree with that?

ELLEITHEE: No. I'm less concerned with Marco Rubio than a lot of the other Democrats are simply because I think the guy's message has been incredibly superficial. I think he's trying to make that point.

BASH: Who are you most worried about, Mo?

ELLEITHEE: I think he's trying to make that point that I'm young and fresh and new, but what he backs it up with isn't there.

Look, I don't know who to be most worried about right now. As a Democrat, there's 17 candidates in this field. It is impossible to gain out the Republican primary.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Curly (ph) or Moe (ph)? Curly (ph) or Moe (ph)?

BASH: Let's talk about the Democratic field because it was just supposed to be Hillary Clinton, right?

I mean, Bernie Sanders is out there and a few others but now there is this Draft Biden Movement that we were just talking about. I want to put up on the screen what "The Post and Courier" a newspaper in South Carolina said in its editorial this weekend, "Run, Joe Biden, run."

Eric, I'm going to give this to you because you know what it's like to work for somebody, Mitt Romney, who is a presumptive frontrunner that can't, kind of, get a foothold at the beginning. You have a lot of people in the Republican Party who weren't thrilled about him and looking for alternative candidates we remember all throughout 2012.

Is that what's going on around here?

FEHRNSTROM: Well, look, there's no ground swirl of support for Joe Biden to the extent that he may be looking at it or John Kerry is looking at it, or even Al Gore -- his name mentioned. It's a function of the frontrunner's weakness.

Hillary Clinton is not able to close the deal with Democratic primary voters. That's why you have other potential candidates circling. And it all comes back to this email story, this mishandling of classified information which potentially could be on a scale that would make Edward Snowden blush. So this could possibly be the beginning of the end for Hillary Clinton. Not because she may have to withdraw because of allegations against her, although that may happen. But I think she's going to get surpassed by another candidate maybe someone who's --


BASH: Before we take a break, I just want to get you to respond to this because you not only worked for Hillary Clinton you worked for Bill Bradley back in 2000. So, you know what it's like to be kind of an outsider nipping at the heels of the presumptive frontrunner in a party.


BASH: Is that what's going on here?

ELLEITHEE: Look. It could be -- right -- I mean, I think what happened in 2000 was Al Gore was the presumptive nominee. He was this -- and no one expected Al Gore to not be the nominee at the end of the day, but Bill Bradley actually tapped into whatever level of anti-Gore movement there was, which wasn't much, but tap into it and forced Al Gore to be better. I think if other candidates are in this race it could force a better, stronger Democratic Party we (ph) organize better on the ground when there's a campaign and I think the debate gets better. So --


BASH: OK. Everybody hold your thoughts. I want to take a quick break. And when we come back, we're going to talk about Jeb Bush, trapped in his own rhetorical quagmire, criticized for (INAUDIBLE) a lot when it comes to talking about Iraq.

Can he ever distance himself from his brother's war. We're going to talk about that and more when we come back.



[09:48:37] MARK HALPERIN, SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST, TIME MAGAZINE: Sometimes there's been a backlash against rich candidates like Mitt Romney. Any chance of that with you, do you think?

TRUMP: Well, I don't know. First of all, he wasn't rich. And I don't really think there will be , and people like us a lot.


BASH: That was Donald Trump on his helicopter talking to a reporter about the idea that, you know, it's OK that he's rich and Mitt Romney wasn't that rich. And guess what? It is working for him.

We have fresh evidence this morning, a brand-new poll from "Fox News" showing him well ahead in the national poll 25%, Ben Carson 12%. Pretty far behind him Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush by the way in fourth place there.

Back with our panel. Let's just start with this. Eric, I'm going to toss it to you. You worked for Mitt Romney. You are very close with him. Him saying he's not rich. I think you guys had it all wrong. You were worried about him not coming up with a regular guy. You should have done tours of his multi-car garage with elevators in San Diego.

FEHRNSTROM: Well (ph) I'd (ph) say (ph) it (ph), Dana, I think both Mitt and Mr. Trump would reject the comparison.

But I will tell you one obvious difference and that is Mitt Romney was the nominee of his party and he was able to unite two party conservatives, foreign policy conservatives, fiscal conservatives. It's an open question as to whether Donald Trump can do the same.

[09:49:48] But look, I understand why he is zooming in the polls. He seems to be fresh, he's new. People are frustrated, some feel hopeless. But I think an interesting thing happened after that first debate. Millions of people tuned in and they saw that he wasn't the only outsider on the stage. And so the deck got reshuffled. People like Carly Fiorina, Ben Carson, even Ted Cruz to some extent. You don't have to be on the outside of government to be an outsider. Even he began to move up in the polls. So, the challenge for Donald Trump moving forward is, how do I keep my supporters inside the tent so they don't drift away to some of these other candidates?

BASH: That's true. Certainly the outsider thing is huge.

But let's just say on the money, Amanda. As a Republican, you know, you have so many candidates, pretty much all candidates as I was mentioning to Eric traditionally want to seem like a regular person. They don't want to seem like somebody who is (INAUDIBLE). And that's his whole campaign. I mean, look how rich I am. I have this great helicopter.

Is he breaking the mold on this? Or is it -- or is it just kind of because he's a different kind of candidate?

CARPENTER: He is a different kind of candidate, but I also think there's sort of overcompensation for what happened in the 2012 election where people were upset with Romney because he didn't kind of own his wealth and own that he was a successful businessman. And so they see Donald Trump kind of going way over the pendulum in the other direction saying, OK. Maybe (INAUDIBLE). Maybe we just need to own this completely and that's someone they want to support at this point in time.

SCHWEITZER: But let's be clear. That's 25 percent of the 35 percent of America that may vote in a Republican primary. That's six, eight, nine percent.

Listen, more people are concerned about college affordability. They want to make their house payment. They want to make sure that they're going to be able to get that next job. That's what people are concerned about in this country.

So, seven or eight or nine percent think, oh, yes, this is a reality star. He's got a lot of money. He says some really cool and weird things. I must be for him. Yes, that's eight percent. You need 50 percent to win this election.

ELLEITHEE: I mean, 75 percent of Republican primary voters are still against the guy. I don't know (INAUDIBLE) this is the problem with 17 candidates in the field is that the field gets so sliced and diced.

BASH: I'm sure you think it's a real big problem, Mo (ph).

ELLEITHEE: Look, you know, I'm out of partisan politics now. I'm the -- I'm the academic on the set. But I do think that what Donald Trump is doing is incredibly dangerous for the debate, is incredibly dangerous. Yes, as a partisan Democrat, I would love for him to be the Republican Party nominee. But it scares me that he could even be taken seriously as a potential president.

CARPENTER: I do think what's interesting is the fact that Donald Trump is in the debate. It's forcing other people to think more creatively about a long primary season. You see candidates like Donald Trump going to Birch Run, Michigan, which is not traditional. Ted Cruz is on a southern street tour drawing big crowds in Oklahoma.

BASH: They have to find ways to have the long game. Absolutely. We're going to have to leave it there. Thank you so much Eric Fehrnstrom, Amanda Carpenter, Mo Elleithee, and Governor Brian Schweitzer flying all the way from Montana. Thank you all. Great discussion.

And after the break, how about a hot beef sundae. You heard that right. Or maybe fried nacho balls? Maybe that sounds more appealing. Inside the artery clogging spectacle that is the Iowa State Fair.


[09:57:22] BASH: Welcome back. I'm Dana Bash.

It's a time-honored tradition, eating meat off a stick or even a fried Twinkie. Yes, it is Iowa State Fair time.

And our Jeff Zeleny explains why the fair grounds are a mandatory stop on the road to the White House.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: The Iowa State Fair. Blue Ribbon Americana (ph). Brought to life in the famous musical by Rogers and Hammerstein.

At the real Iowa State Fair it's more like Bush and Clinton. They and the rest of the 2016 presidential field are back, pressing the flesh and pounding the hot pavement. It's become a mandatory stop on the road to the White House. Over the years, Herbert Hoover and Dwight Eisenhower have stopped by. Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter too. But it's really a playground for presidential candidates.

Iowa's new Republican, Senator Joni Ernst, explains.

SEN. JONI ERNST (R), IOWA: If the candidate is willing to get out there and be with people, enjoy them, listen to their comments, that's a real tell of a candidate and how they're going to interact with their public.

ZELENY: We learned a lot about our politicians at the fair, whether they can be an everyman like Martin O'Malley on the giant slide. How they hold up grilling a pork chop. How they handled getting bumped around.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: To prepare for this debate I rode in the bumper cars at the fair.

ZELENY: Chuck Offenburger is the state's unofficial historian.

CHUCK OFFENBURGER, IOWA WRITER: It's a great place for politicians to come and launch ideas and campaigns and try to start their way to becoming known by a whole lot of people.

ZELENY: He says all those people may be watching for far more than a candidate's policies or positions.

OFFENBURGER: Check out how they look when they're wearing a pair of blue jeans. I have always thought that Mitt Romney, God bless him, was the worst-looking guy in a pair of blue jeans I have ever seen.

ZELENY: As Mitt Romney learned, the fair also comes with heated moments.

MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: That's not the way -- corporations are people, my friend.

ZELENY: Now it's not just politicians being judged. There are flowers, corn and an 1100-pound boar named Big Mac and of course the famous butter cow. To mark the 80 anniversary of Monopoly rich uncle penny bags is also on display. For the record it was in the works long before Donald Trump jumped into the race.

By night, the music turns up. And politicians go on their way. But they'll be back. It's only six months before the Iowa caucuses.

[10:00:01] CLINTON: OK. Bye! Yes. Go get something to eat, guys.


BASH: And thanks for spending your Sunday with us.

"FAREED ZAKARIA GPS," starts right now.