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State of the Union

Blizzard Leaves Record Snowfall; Interview With New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on Stopping Trump; Interview With Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush; Senator Sanders Leads Clinton In New CNN Poll; GOP Civil War; Reality T.V. Stars On The Trail. Aired 9-10a ET

Aired January 24, 2016 - 09:00   ET




JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Sanders leading Clinton. Trump ahead of Cruz, the latest predictions out of Iowa, with the first votes just days away and the GOP at war over their front-runners.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: If you nominate Trump and Cruz, I think you get the same outcome. Whether it's death by being shot or poisoning, does it really matter?

TAPPER: Can a last-minute push to stop Trump actually work?

JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't think that Donald Trump could beat Hillary Clinton.

TAPPER: Jeb Bush will be here live.

Then: Spring surprise? Then I must have done something right.

Mike Bloomberg telling he could jump in by March. Does he have a shot?

And Snowzilla. Governor Chris Christie ditches New Hampshire for New Jersey.

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm where I need to be. I'm where I want to be.

TAPPER: Mastering a disaster worked for him before. Will it again?

Plus, the best political minds will be here with insights from the campaign trail.


TAPPER: Hello. I'm Jake Tapper in Washington, where the state of our union is digging out.

The epic blizzard that hit the East Coast this weekend left record snowfall in its wake and continuing fears of flooding. At least 14 people have died in the storm, which led to a complete travel ban in New York City. That ban was lifted at 7:00 this morning. But meteorologists warn above-freezing temperatures in New York and Washington today could lead to a melt, and then dangerous black ice.

Air travel remains a nightmare, with more than 8,000 flights canceled this weekend. But, in some parts of the Northeast, the real risk this morning is flooding. Record storm surges have already pummeled towns on the New Jersey coast, where some have seen water levels higher than when they were hit by superstorm Sandy.

And look at this on the Delaware coast, really giving you a sense of just how violent the storm was. Many coastal areas remain under flood watches right now.

Let's go to Boris Sanchez. He's in Margate, New Jersey, where residents spent the morning bracing for high tide.

Boris, what is the latest in the Garden State? What are you seeing out there?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jake, good morning. This is what high tide looks like in Margate City. And this all happened in the span of about an hour-and-a-half.

Just a short while ago, we were standing on the street. It was completely dry. What you're seeing now is essentially high tide coming from a bay. This is a barrier island that we're standing on. So, to our east is the ocean. To our west is a bay.

And over a span of a few hours, the tide went upward dramatically, going up at least two feet, getting into this neighborhood, where there are residences and businesses. You see the snowplow driving through now. Fortunately, the water has moved sheets of ice away and it's melted a lot of snow, so the roads are relatively clear.

But, as we continue to get into the day, more and more water continues to pour into this neighborhood. We are expecting that the winds will shift around noon today and that some of these flood watches will expire. But, again, this is the major concern.

What we saw yesterday was even worse than this, as these floodwaters moved further and further. What I can tell you is that the elevations here in Margate City are relatively varying throughout the island. In some spots, it looks like this. They're totally inundated. And then, in other spots, they're relatively dry. So, we will just have to wait and see once this water finally recedes to see the extent of the damage, Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Boris Sanchez, thanks so much.

Let's get more on this from New Jersey's governor, Chris Christie.

Governor Christie, thanks for joining us.

Let's talk about the storm. The mayor of North Wildwood, New Jersey, says the flooding there is worse than during Sandy. Hundreds of people had to be evacuated. Were officials in New Jersey caught off- guard?


Listen, folks that were evacuated were evacuated. And we planned to do that if the tide came in. Let's keep this in perspective, Jake. North Wildwood and the Cape May County area was the least flooded area during Hurricane Sandy and had almost no damage in that area of the state.

And so to compare it to Hurricane Sandy, you're not comparing it to what happened to the rest of the state. And, also, from looking at what is going on in Margate, high tide is now over in Margate. And the water will now recede. And we have no concerns for flooding the rest of the day today.

And what we're hearing from the mayors is that there is no significant type of property damage there at all. And so we have really done very well in this storm, and we have no concerns about flooding or damage from flooding any time soon.

TAPPER: You worked with Governor Andrew Cuomo on closing the bridges and tunnels in and out of New York City. They reopened this morning at 7:00 in the morning. Governor Cuomo went the additional step of instituting a travel ban for New York City. That has been lifted.

Do travel bans work in situations like this?

CHRISTIE: Well, listen, it very much depends upon the area you're talking about.

For New Jersey, Jake, as you know, we didn't really need to have a travel ban, because we had been having a voluntary ban the entire day. And people -- I had been traveling the roads all day. If I had seen a lot of people on the roads, I might have instituted a travel ban.


I can tell you that I was on the parkway, on the turnpike, and all day, the only -- the only vehicles I saw were plows, emergency vehicles, and mine. And so we didn't need to do it.

You know, Mayor de Blasio, Governor Cuomo made the decisions they made. And I worked cooperatively with Governor Cuomo to close those bridges and tunnels, in respect for their mandatory travel ban, and because I didn't want anybody traveling in New Jersey anyway. And so closing those bridges and tunnels were really of no moment for New Jersey.

TAPPER: At one point, there were 100,000 people in New Jersey without power. What is the latest on that? And how long will it take to get the whole state back online?

CHRISTIE: We're down to 22,000 without power this morning, Jake, as of 8:00 a.m., were the latest numbers I had; 18,000 of those are in Atlantic and Cape May County. And so what you will see is, by end of day today, 90 percent of those

18,000 will be restored. There's about 4,000 in the central part of our state. And those folks will have their power back by this afternoon. Hopefully, all of them will be -- get their power back in time to watch the football this afternoon.

TAPPER: Fourteen people have died in storm-related incidents from North Carolina up the East Coast. How are the people of New Jersey doing today?

CHRISTIE: We have no reported deaths here in New Jersey, thank goodness, Jake.

Our folks worked incredibly hard to keep people safe. We only had to shelter 113 people in public shelters last night. And those were in Cape May, Atlantic, and Cumberland counties. And so our folks listened to our warnings. They stayed in. We were prepared. We had 3,800 pieces of equipment on the roadways.

All of New Jersey's roadways are open this morning. New Jersey transit, buses, and light rail will be ready by noon today. And by later this afternoon, all of New Jersey transit will be back up and running, so that when we get to our morning rush tomorrow morning, we will be ready to go with no problem at all.

I mean, this has been a model response. And, as I said yesterday, this is my 17th snow emergency in six years. We know how to do this. And it went very well yesterday.

TAPPER: What do people in your state need to know about Sunday and then returning to work and school maybe Monday?

CHRISTIE: Well, on Sunday, Jake, what people should do is, again, it's very cold out here. People are going to want to start to go outside and start shoveling, clearing their walks and their driveways. This is very heavy snow. So, I ask them to please be careful as they are starting to clean up their own property today or their businesses.

Second, we're keeping lower speed limits on the turnpike and the parkway because there is still some icing. We're going through and salting and continuing to salt. By midday today, we should be back to regular speed limits. But please drive with caution, and especially on the secondary streets that can be a bit slippery.

And, third, I want to commend the people of New Jersey. They played smart. They played safe yesterday. We were lucky that it was a Saturday, I think. And they did a great job. And so all of us worked together yesterday to make sure that New Jersey was kept safe.

And let's face it, Jake. We had a lot more snow up here north, where I live, than we thought we would, 24 to 30 inches. Newark Airport had 31 inches of snow. And so this is a lot of snow to move. And our folks at DOT, Department of Transportation, did an extraordinary job, as did the people in the state.

TAPPER: In the few minutes I have left, Governor, with your permission, I would like to turn to a few political matters, given that the Iowa caucus is just a week and a day away.

I recognize that the storm is the most important thing for you right now, but if I could turn to that.


TAPPER: Your approval rating right now among New Jerseyans is at all- time low. Only 31 percent of New Jerseyans support you.

Why should Americans elect you, when the people in your state do not think that you're doing a particularly good job?

CHRISTIE: Well, Jake, listen, that approval rating has gone down once I started to run for president. And it should be no shock.

You know, the fact is that, when you start looking for another job, your current employer gets a little miffed. And that's what has gone on here in New Jersey. But I think they saw yesterday what strong, effective leadership can do for a state in the midst of a crisis.

And that's what we have provided for the last six years. So, my approval ratings have been anywhere from where you're saying right now to a high of 75 percent and every place in between. I don't govern for approval ratings. I govern for results.

And what you see in New Jersey today are results. And that's why the people of the United States should strongly consider supporting me for president of the United States, because, when the chips are down, I deliver.

TAPPER: With all due respect, sir, Governor Kasich has been spending a lot of time in New Hampshire and on the campaign trail as well. His approval rating among Ohioans is 62 percent.

CHRISTIE: Well, he's governed a lot less time than I have, Jake. And so, when you're here a lot longer, that's the result of it.

But the fact of the matter is, I'll tell you this. When I'm the Republican nominee, Hillary Clinton will have to compete in New Jersey to win the state in the general election, because I will do quite well here.


TAPPER: Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is reportedly alarmed at the prospect of a potential presidential race between Bernie Sanders on the Democratic side and either Donald Trump or Ted Cruz on the Republican side.

Now, I know that you're convinced that you will be the nominee, but given the reality of where the poll numbers are right now, Bloomberg is considering running for president as an independent.

You worked with Bloomberg when he was mayor of New York City. I know that you're going to support the Republican nominee. But, based on your experience, do you think Michael Bloomberg would be a good president?

CHRISTIE: Well, listen, Mayor Bloomberg will have to decide for himself whether to run. And no one can be evaluated about whether they would be a good president or not until they actually get into the race and go through the relentless nature of a presidential campaign. That tells you a lot about what kind of a president a person would be.

So, if Mayor Bloomberg were ever to get into the race, we all, and myself included, could then make an evaluation of him as a potential president. But when you're not a candidate, you don't deserve to be evaluated as to whether you're going to be a good president or not.

TAPPER: Was he a good mayor?

CHRISTIE: Oh, yes, he was a good mayor. Sure.

TAPPER: Up in New Hampshire, Marco Rubio, with whom you have been exchanging a lot of words, said that -- I guess he was joking -- that the storm would at least freeze the federal agencies from creating regulations. It would freeze Obama's veto pen.

As somebody who is having a hands-on experience with the storm, I wondered what you thought of that.

CHRISTIE: Well, that's a difference between a United States senator who has never been responsible for anything and a governor who is responsible for everything that goes on in your state.

Fourteen people died across the country. And that shows a real immaturity from Senator Rubio to be joking as families were freezing in the cold, losing power, and some of them losing their loved ones. But I don't expect that Senator Rubio would be able to understand that, because he's never had to make a decision of any consequence at all that he's had to be held accountable for.

Voting yes or no in the United States Senate every day, sitting where they tell you to sit, coming when they tell you to come, leaving when they tell you to leave, it sounds like school to me, and not like the kind of job that the presidency is.

So, unfortunately, I'm not surprised that Senator Rubio made those kind of ill-advised comments. That shows his level of preparedness for the presidency, I suspect.

TAPPER: There's a new term that appears to have entered the political lexicon, being "Christied." It was coined by Matt David, the person running the super PAC for John Kasich.

Kasich came under attack from Jeb Bush this week. Matt David tweeted that they were going to push back with ads against Jeb Bush. And they said, "We're" -- Matt David said, "We're not going to be Christied," the idea being that you were rising in New Hampshire until Rubio's super PACs came in and carpet-bombed you with negative TV ads, and then, in some polls, your numbers went down.

How do you feel about this term? CHRISTIE: Well, listen, I don't expect anything different from

Governor Kasich's campaign.

All these folks have been relentlessly negative. We have not. And we're not going to engage in that. We're not going to win the presidency and defeat Hillary Clinton by beating each other up. So, Governor Kasich has been negative. Senator Rubio has been relentlessly negative. Governor Bush has been negative. Senator Cruz has been negative. Mr. Trump has been negative.

We're simply not going to engage in that game. We have remained focused, whether it's in the debates or in our campaign, of putting our vision forward and moving ahead. So, just because the Kasich campaign made up a new word, I congratulate them that they're expanding their vocabulary. That's good for America's education, I guess.

TAPPER: So, you're not going to go negative against anyone?

CHRISTIE: Well, listen, Jake, we will punch back if we feel like we need to, but we're certainly not going initiate that kind of thing.

And you haven't seen us do that at all. We haven't initiated any negative campaigns against anyone. Now, if people continue to go after us, will we punch back? We will certainly consider that. But, right now, I don't think we need to, given what I'm feeling is going on in New Hampshire. I think we're doing just fine.

TAPPER: Governor Christie, thank you so much for being with us today. Good luck to you and the people of New Jersey dealing with this storm. We will see you on the campaign trail.

CHRISTIE: Well, Jake, thank you very much for the time.

And the people of New Jersey are grateful that we have gotten through another crisis, and we will be ready to move forward with our workweek tomorrow.

TAPPER: All right. Thank you, sir.

Coming up: a new wave of attacks designed to stop Donald Trump, but is it too late?


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In many cases, I probably identify more as a Democrat. I hate the concept of guns. I'm not in favor of it.




TAPPER: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION. I'm Jake Tapper. Despite this weekend's frigid weather, the GOP seems to be in the middle of a meltdown. Republican voters seem to want either Donald Trump or Ted Cruz, who together capture two-thirds of the Iowa vote as of now, but the party establishment nationally is pretty much freaking out.

Conservative magazine "The National Review" leading the charge against Donald Trump, while elder statesmen like Bob Dole and Rudy Giuliani say nominating Ted Cruz would be a disaster.

And into this fray steps former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is telling aides that he's contemplating running for president if either Trump or Cruz and Sanders become the nominee, all this with just days until the first votes are cast in Iowa.

And joining me now is Republican candidate for president former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.

Governor Bush, thanks for joining us.

BUSH: Thanks, Jake.

TAPPER: Your friend and longtime adviser Mike Murphy, the man who is running your super PAC Right to Rise, he tweeted this week that either Donald Trump or Ted Cruz as the Republican presidential nomination would hand the White House to Hillary Clinton on a -- quote -- "silver platter."

Do you agree with that?

BUSH: Well, I hope to be the nominee.

I think that Donald Trump would be a disaster as the nominee because he's not a conservative. Ted Cruz is certainly a conservative. He doesn't have a proven record. And the Clinton hit machine is going to be pretty tough to beat. They know how to do this pretty well. And I think you need to have someone with a proven record, a record of accomplishment, and a person that has detailed plans that can make their case to the American people that we can transform how Washington works.

So, I feel confident in these early states that that message is starting to resonate.

TAPPER: Part of the reason why no traditional Republican has been able yet to stop Trump, or Cruz, for that matter, is that there are so many of you, Christie, Kasich, Rubio, you.


TAPPER: Do you think -- do you think that the establishment candidates -- and if you will permit me to use that term -- I don't mean it as an insult -- but the more traditional establishment candidates should unite behind whoever finishes bronze or better in New Hampshire? BUSH: I think what we need do is to let the process work. The voters are actually going to have a say in this, not the pundits, starting in eight days in Iowa and eight days after that in New Hampshire.


This will sort itself out. We have a long-haul process. And I feel good about where we are. And, frankly, the reason why Donald Trump does well is, there's a perception of strength, but the reality is, when people think about it, it's not strong to denigrate women. It's not strong to insult Hispanics. It's certainly not strong to call John McCain a loser because he was a POW.

And it's -- God forbid, it's not strong to suggest -- to disparage the disabled. More and more people listening to Donald Trump, I think, realize that he's not the strong horse. He's insecure and he's weak.

TAPPER: Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg has instructed advisers to draw up plans for a potential independent run for president. He's reportedly troubled by the prospect of Bernie Sanders being the Democratic nominee and either Trump or Cruz being the Republican nominee.

If we get to the general election and, God forbid, you didn't win the nomination, and you had the choice of Trump, Bloomberg, Sanders, would you consider getting behind the former New York City mayor?

BUSH: You know what? That's not going to happen. The party process is going to work far differently than what the pundits are saying. I totally believe that.

Mike Bloomberg is a good man. We disagree on a whole lot of things, but he's a good person and he's a patriot. And he wants the best for the country. But we have differing views. And I want to be the conservative candidate to run -- to lead the conservative party into the general election. That's my focus.

TAPPER: You have made a point of saying that you're the only Republican taking the fight to Donald Trump.

Your super PAC, however, has spent at least $20 million attacking your former protege Marco Rubio. Now, under the law, I know a candidate does not control his or her super PAC, but if you could decide what to do with the money, would you redirect your super PAC's attacks to put them on Trump, or is Rubio the right target?

BUSH: Look, I'm getting attacked by two or three candidates.

The Right to Rise PAC, I don't even -- I can't follow all of this stuff. This is -- this is how politics works. Everybody's record is going to be scrutinized by the voters. There's a chance to compare and contrast. This is pretty tame compared to previous elections.

I can't control what I can't control. I'm focusing on what I can control, which is to take a message of an accomplished conservative with detailed plans to transform Washington, D.C. And that's all I can focus on, Jake.

TAPPER: I want to turn to the situation in Flint, Michigan, where the population has been drinking and bathing in lead-contaminated water.

BUSH: Yes.

TAPPER: Senator Rubio said this week -- quote -- "That's not an issue that right now we have been focused on." He also said, "I believe the federal government's role in some of these things are largely limited."

You ran a state. You dealt with situations like this, although certainly not one as horrific as what is going on in Flint. What do you think?

BUSH: Well, first of all, I think it's pretty clear that, when you have local, state, and federal agencies not talking to each other, blaming each other, no one being held accountable, you get this result.

And It is a tragedy. I admire Rick Snyder for stepping up right now. He's going through the challenge. And he's fired people and accepted responsibility to fix this. This is going to be a long-term challenge.

But it does point out that we're -- we have a 20th century regulatory system on a 21st century world. Someone needs to change how we go about Washington's role in this, where there's more accountability and more transparency, so that when reports are done, they're thoroughly vetted.

You don't need insular regulatory agencies that are blaming each other. That's what happened in this case, and it's just wrong.


TAPPER: I'm kind of surprised you're praising Governor Snyder. I understand you're talking about his actions now.

BUSH: Yes.

TAPPER: But a lot of people are faulting his administration for the last two years.

BUSH: No, I -- look, I am too. No, I -- what I'm saying, though, instead of saying the dog ate my homework, it's someone else's fault, once it became clear, he took -- he's taken the lead now. And that's exactly what I think leaders have to do.

TAPPER: Let's talk about leadership.

You have a new ad on foreign policy. It features Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio talking about taking strong military action in Syria. And then the ad is followed by snippets of both Rubio and Cruz talking about avoiding sending U.S. troops into Syria.

Do you think they're all talk on this issue? Is that what you're saying?

BUSH: I am saying that, because when they had a chance to support a more engaged America in Syria that could have saved lives and could have created a circumstance far different than a caliphate the size of Indiana that exists and is strengthened each and every day, they decided no, because, at the time, the Republican voters were opposed to it.

And then we had the change. Then we had the Paris attacks, the San Bernardino attacks. Now -- now everybody is talking touch. And that's not the sign of leadership. That's truly not the sign of leadership. You need to think these things through, and, if it's not popular, persuade people towards your cause. That's what leadership is all about.

TAPPER: Now, during the Republican debate that CNN hosted at the Reagan Library, Hugh Hewitt challenged some of the Republicans on that very issue, asking if Cruz and Rubio bear some responsibility.


I think that the response from the Rubios and Cruzes of the world is that they don't trust President Obama's leadership and that was the reason they were hemming and hawing.

BUSH: Well, Ted Cruz said he didn't want to have America be the air force for ISIS. And Marco Rubio, as that clip just pointed out, said something totally different.

They could have created an authorization to use military force that was much more wide open for the next president of the United States, instead of having a tepid one, as the president proposed. They could have lead the charge to create a strategy to deal with ISIS and Assad. But they didn't because it wasn't popular at the time.

And then conditions changed. And that's the problem with chasing popularity, because it changes. Conditions changed. We had an attack on our country. And, all of the sudden, now people are demanding a stronger national security status. We should have been supportive of that before.

TAPPER: The annual March for Life took place Friday in Washington, D.C., just before the blizzard hit.

Back in 1998, you told Tim Russert that you opposed a constitutional amendment overturning Roe vs. Wade.

Take a listen.


BUSH: I do not believe that the question of abortion will be solved until there is a broad consensus on the subject. And until that time, it is inappropriate to be advocating constitutional amendments. The right for a woman to have an abortion, no matter what my view is, is going to be there. (END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: Your basic point was that people talking about this in the media were just trying to scare people, that really the right to an abortion wasn't going to be taken away.

But, last week, you told the Associated Press that you would like to see Roe v. Wade overturned. Can you help square the circle?

BUSH: Sure.

Well, first of all, there's been a growing consensus about the sanctity of life. As sonogram technology exists where people can see that this isn't a fetus, they can actually see a live, beautiful human being, more and more people are moving toward the life cause.

And when I was governor of the state of Florida from 1999 on, I was a pro-life governor consistently. And we did everything possible to create a culture of life. And I think we need to continue down that road.

Roe v. Wade being overturned would allow states then to create a regulatory environment around -- around this issue. And I think that is more than appropriate. In Florida, we would restrict the ability to have an abortion when the life of a child was at stake. I think the majority of people in the state of Florida and the legislature would agree with that.

TAPPER: I don't think there's consensus on the issue, though, as you were talking about in 1998.

BUSH: It's moving our way. It's moving our way, Jake.

If you look at it, it's clearly moving our way. There are a lot of people now that understand that protecting -- there needs to be a balance of the rights, and protecting the rights of the unborn is an important feature of who we are as a nation.

TAPPER: You said this week you expect your brother George W. Bush to be campaigning by your side. Is that going to happen before Iowa?

BUSH: No, I don't think it is because of schedules. But I hope he's going to be involved.

And the campaign is working with him on that. He's a popular figure in the Republican Party, and he has been incredibly supportive of me. I love him dearly. And I expect to see him out on the campaign trail, but no details yet about when.

TAPPER: Your mother recorded a video for your campaign this week.

Your use of her came under attack from Donald Trump, but she didn't take his trash talk lying down. And you sent out a -- this picture of her in football garb. "I would be careful, Donald."

BUSH: That's with -- that's with J.J. Watt. We didn't put J.J. in the picture. That was a picture of her promoting family literacy in Houston.

And Trump then, of course, says that you can't send your mom out to negotiate with ISIS. And it does point out something pretty clear. Donald Trump has no clue how the world works. There's no negotiating with ISIS. We need to have a strategy to destroy it. And the fact that he would negotiate with ISIS is a pretty scary thought as well.

TAPPER: Well, say hi to your mom for us. We don't want her to come at us with any -- any fierce tackling.

BUSH: I will.


TAPPER: Good luck out there. We will see you on the trail. Thank you, Governor.

BUSH: Thanks, Jake. Take care.

TAPPER: Iowa is just days away, and Hillary Clinton is finding herself trailing Bernie Sanders there. Can she turn things around, or will Iowa slip through her fingers again?

Stay us with.




TAPPER: Simon and Garfunkel providing the sound track for another wise word list -- newest ad for Senator Bernie Sanders. But can Sanders harmonize with the voters of Iowa and New Hampshire? That's the real question heading to into the final week of campaigning especially in Iowa where the latest CNN poll shows Sanders leading Clinton 51 to 43 percent. It's a very exciting race on both sides.

And with me to share their giddy enthusiasm Kevin Madden, the former senior adviser to Mitt Romney, Donna Brazile, vice chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee who is supporting Hillary Clinton --


TAPPER: You're not officially supporting Hillary Clinton? I apologize.

BRAZILE: No. It's all right (ph).

TAPPER: All right. Amanda Carpenter, former communications director for Ted Cruz. And Bill Press of "The Bill Press Show". You are supporting Bernie Sanders though. That's fair to say.

BILL PRESS, HOST, THE BILL PRESS SHOW: I'm supporting the Democratic nominee. I'm sort of like Donna, I think, I like Bernie. I encourage him to run but I have not endorsed anybody. TAPPER: OK. (INAUDIBLE). I'm glad we got all the cards on the


Let's start with this race with just one week to go. Sanders has moved away -- ahead of Clinton in this poll. But if you only count the people who voted in the Iowa caucus in 2008, Hillary beats Sanders. What does Hillary Clinton need to do to win Iowa, which she was not able to do in 2008?

BRAZILE: Finish strong. I think the "Des Moines Register" poll might help her.

Eight years ago they endorsed her and gave her 1 percent boost. But 1 percent in a close race is very, very important. She has to make sure that the -- not just the regular caucus goers but some of the new people who might be inclined to support Senator Sanders are also able to give her a second look once they get into the caucus. Hear from three candidates. I think it will give her an opportunity to finish strong.

When I'm not supporting Hillary or Bernie because I am vice chair of the party so I have to remain neutral.

TAPPER: Right.

BRAZILE: (INAUDIBLE) Rules (ph) Committee (ph). There's something about the rules this year I think all the candidates should know.


Veterans, some of the Democrats (INAUDIBLE) and others will be able to participate. That's also a new wrinkle, I think, for some of the candidates to figure out how to reach out to them to ensure that they get the kind of turn out.

TAPPER: Important for organization.


TAPPER: Bill, you are out there pushing Bernie to run....

PRESS: Mm-hmm.

TAPPER: ... back when Democrats thought that Hillary Clinton had this thing locked up. Why did you think he had such potential?

PRESS: Because -- first of all, I just thought there should be a healthy -- I love a healthy primary...


PRESS: ... I mean, for either party. And I didn't want to see any coronation. I don't think it's good for Hillary Clinton. I don't think it's good for the party. I think Bernie had great ideas which, I, as a progressive really agree with. So, he came to me and said I'm thinking about running. I said, I think, you ought to do it. It will be good for the county and it'd be good for the party. And I think all of this -- in fact, I think, even Bernie would admit that he missed is the level of frustration and disappointment and even anger at the political establishment and politics as usual. And Bernie has tapped into that into an unbelievable (INAUDIBLE).

TAPPER: Do you agree with Donna that the "Des Moines Register" poll can give Hillary Clinton a boost? Because some of your friends on the Cruz campaign were out there tweeting, hey, look the "Des Moines Register" endorsed Marco Rubio. It might work differently for Democratic voters.

AMANDA CARPENTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Sure. Endorsements are good if you have someone from the "Des Moines Register" which is well respected and probably more credible among Democrats. You wouldn't turn that down. Do I think it will move the needle for Hillary? I'm not sure because I just don't see her cultivating that kind of grassroots support. (INAUDIBLE) on both sides of the aisle of the selection.

PRESS: (INAUDIBLE). I think for Bernie, Bernie would be happier -- is happier with the "MoveOn.Org" endorsement which is really people on the ground than the "Des Moines Register". What does a newspaper endorsement mean any other day?


Let me ask you, Kevin, Sanders out there taking on very aggressively this idea that Hillary is more electable than he is and he goes out there Trump-style site (ph) polling showing the head-to-head matchup and he showing that he does better against Republicans in the head-to- head match ups.

I know it's very, very early.


TAPPER: Do you -- do you believe in polling and do you think Bernie would be stronger than Hillary?

MADDEN: No. I don't think this general election head-to-head matchups right now mean anything.

I think, one of the big challenges that Bernie Sanders would have, if he were to be the nominee -- first of all he has extreme views. They're far from outside the main stream right now where (ph) most Americans are. He is still a socialist. I think given the chance that Hillary -- I think, given the chance or given the fact that Hillary Clinton is more defined and Bernie Sanders is less defined with the national electorate Republicans would rather run against Bernie Sanders and have an ability to define him from the very get go as extreme and out of touch.

TAPPER: Donna, let me ask you because one of Hillary Clinton's closing arguments is without question that she has the experience and idealism is fine but what's (ph) really actually get things done. Take a listen to Hillary Clinton in 2008.


HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Now I could stand up here and say let's just get everybody together. Let's get unified. The sky will open. The life will come down. Celestial choirs will be singing, and everyone will know we should do the right thing and the world will be perfect.


TAPPER: That was her argument against Barack Obama in 2008. She's making a similar argument, all though, not as snarky in 2016.

Mistake or might it work this time?

BRAZILE: Look, Hillary Clinton still came out in terms of the number of votes. She really did win in terms of votes. She lost delegates. She also had a strategy --

TAPPER: Not in Iowa though.

BRAZILE: Of course. She came in a close, you know...

TAPPER: Third.

BRAZILE: ... third place, but right behind (INAUDIBLE) --

TAPPER: You sound like Joe Lieberman.

BAZILE: I know.


BRAZILE: I have actually worked the caucuses so I understand how it works.

Look, hope and change is really what the Democratic Party is about. This is what motivates Democrat. Maybe fear and anger on the Republican side with Donald Trump representing anger and Ted Cruz maybe fear.

Hope is what Bernie represents. Bernie represents hope. You've got to give him credit for that. But I think Hillary is trying to be the candidate of change. The one who says, I can get thing done.

No, no -- (INAUDIBLE). She represents a candidate who will get things done for the middle class. She's not just promising relief. She's promising to act on these ideals. So that's the difference. That's the argument she's making. I don't know if it will work.


MADDEN: Here is -- here is the big problem with her, just real quick. Here's the big problem with it. It's anti-aspirational.


MADDEN: It is a negative mocking tone against people who have very high hopes and want this progressive warrior to come out of the Democratic process. And that's why I think it's a risk for her.

TAPPER: All right. (INAUDIBLE). We're going to take a very quick break. We're going to come back. Don't go anywhere.

Coming up, Michael Bloomberg telling aides to draw up plans for a third-party run if Trump and Sanders are the two nominees, or the Cruz and Sanders. But in a battle of the New York billionaires, who would win?




TRUMP: I have the most loyal people. Did you ever see that? Where I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose any voters. OK.


TAPPER: That was Donald Trump this weekend with a rather bizarre expression of love for his loyal supporters. They are loyal.

Our latest CNN poll shows him with a commanding lead in Iowa. Thirty- seven percent to Ted Cruz's 26 percent. The two leading candidates giving the Republican establishment some major heart burn.

Let's bring back the panel. We should point out same thing as with Clinton. Sanders, when you poll only those people that participated in the 2012 caucuses is actually a neck-and-neck race with Ted Cruz slightly above Donald Trump. It's only if you include all the voters that Trump has out there in Iowa that he wins. I know that the Cruz people are very confident about their ground game.

CARPENTER: Well, they should be. I mean, they've had a lot of grassroots support for a long time due to the strong stances (ph) that Ted Cruz has taken in the Senate. This isn't something that just happened overnight. He's been cultivating this network for a long time. That he worked to defund Obamacare, defund amnesty. Donald Trump just doesn't have that because he wasn't there for any of it.



TAPPER: Kevin, let me ask you a question. I just want to fact check what Donald Trump said at the beginning of the segment, I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters. I would fact check that true. MADDEN: Yes. I mean, I don't even know where we begin to (ph) psycho

analyze that. He is talking about the intense loyalty...


MADDEN: ... that his supporters have in a way that is -- I mean, it demonstrates his arrogance but it also demonstrates just how confident he is that he doesn't have to worry about saying anything wrong. He doesn't have to play the conventional, you know, political game that most folks do. And -- yes --


CARPENTER: But there is the thing (ph). Because of he continually says such outrageous things and we get so facetted in that. I don't think Donald Trump has been vetted as a traditional candidate. And we're just now beginning to see that with "National Review" coming out with the coalition effort to go through the issues and say, hey, maybe we've been caught up in it too long. This guy should not be --


MADDEN: But here's the question. Do (ph) those (ph) supporters care about issues and his stance on them or a sense of ideological purity? I love what "National Review" do. And I agree we them. We should be a party of ideas. But right now people that are supporting Trump they are not about ideas. They're more about how his rhetoric and how he --


TAPPER: So, I got to -- I got to ask this. They love him because of the enemies he's made. I mean, all of this establishment figures finally coming out against Trump. That is like gravy on a potato (INAUDIBLE). They are like -- yes, they want him to be hated in Washington (ph). They want to be hated by the establishment So, I think, coming out with this notion that he can shoot and not lose a vote. That's his --


MADDEN: And we're eight or nine days away from caucus.

PRESS: Now, the fact -- the fact is not that he was (ph) (INAUDIBLE). He says all kinds of disgusting things but that he could say it and get away with it. Which we know that he will. I think Trump has tapped into something in a way the same thing with Bernie Sanders has tapped into. In both parties you have somebody tapping into the anti- establishment. This anger -- again this frustration. And I think (INAUDIBLE) in the Republican Party -- I can't speak for you, are coming -- are starting to come to the realization that, you know what? Trump could end up being our nominee and...


PRESS: ... I think that the Democratic Party is going to have to start establishment coming up with the realization of, you know what? Bernie Sanders could be the nominee.

TAPPER: Absolutely.

CARPENTER: But I do think Trump is running out of runway.

I mean, if you look at the polling he's up by double digits. He reads those polls every day at his rallies and say, look how impressive I am. He's throwing the kitchen sink at Ted Cruz, gone after his evangelical faith, the Goldman Sachs loans, the birtherism anything he can think of.

TAPPER: His temperament.

CARPENTER: If Cruz beats him in spite of that, Trump is out of tricks to pull in New Hampshire and South Carolina.

TAPPER: But he's still ahead in New Hampshire. We still don't know what's going to happen.

CARPENTER: According to the polls but maybe not the caucuses.

TAPPER: We don't know what is going to happen. Any predictions?

BRAZILE: For the Republicans?

TAPPER: No, for the Democrats. Or are you going to stay neutral?

MADDEN: Well, my only prediction is that Donald Trump is going to say something equally outrageous tomorrow and we will have forgotten that he even say that he's going to shoot people on Fifth Avenue.

TAPPER: Any thoughts? Do you think Bernie Sanders might pull up Iowa?

PRESS: I think Bernie Sanders will win Iowa. I think he will win New Hampshire and then it's a whole new ball game.

And I know you want to talk about Michael Bloomberg.


PRESS: But I think if Bernie Sanders wins Iowa and New Hampshire, I just want to throw this out there, I think Joe Biden will have second thoughts. Joe Biden -- he will not standby --

TAPPER: You think he's going to run in -- jump in?

BRAZILE: As an independent but not as a Democrat. That says --

PRESS: As a Democrat he will not standby --


TAPPER: If Bernie Sanders wins Iowa --

(CROSSTALK) PRESS: I believe is (ph) that if it looks Hillary is falling apart Joe Biden will not stand by and let Bernie Sanders become a nominee without a fight.


TAPPER: ... just the other day he said something negative about socialism, we don't need socialism.

PRESS: He also said he regrets deciding not to run.

TAPPER: He regrets it every day.

Amanda, let me ask you about this -- about this Mike Bloomberg thing. A Bloomberg source told me they polled for it. Because I said, well surely it would hand the election over to the Republican because Mike Bloomberg is essential liberal in so many ways especially social issues. And I was told, no, according to Bloomberg internal polling. What they have because he's obviously conservative when it comes to some fiscal issues and maybe foreign policy. They have him taking away more votes now from the Trump wing -- the Donald Trump than from Bernie Sanders.

CARPENTER: Yes. I find Trump and Bloomberg to be interchangeable. I mean, they're both big city New York businessmen billionaires who have done well for themselves, who think they can come in and buy the election. And so I find Michael Bloomberg to essentially be Donald Trump with a better temperament.

TAPPER: What do you think? Do you think Donald -- Bloomberg --

BRAZILE: I guess we'll go for make America great again or as I say make America hate again to make America safe again. Bloomberg with his policies on guns safety et cetera. I think Bloomberg is a big challenge to get on the ballot in all of these states. Only you have -- you have 79,000 in Texas, for example. So, that's over 900,000 ballots I mean...


BRAZILE: ... petitions you have to get signed. A big hurdle. But --

TAPPER: He needs to make a decision by the first week in March --

MADDEN: And would he run if he -- if he -- unless he could win? And what states does Michael Bloomberg win?

CARPENTER: Yes. Where (ph) are (ph) his grassroots?

MADDEN: If we're looking at the electoral map where does he get enough electoral votes to win?

TAPPER: Before we go I want to introduce to you this moment of zen in case you went to bed early last night. It's a little comic throwback, as we had this week, a political throwback on the trail.


TINA FEY, COMEDIAN, "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE": They stomp on our necks and say, what's the big deal? Take a chill pill, Jill. But we're mad, we've been had, and we're not so glad, quote the Lorax.


TAPPER: Good to see Tina -- good to see Tina Fey again.


BRAZILE: That was priceless.

TAPPER: I missed her (INAUDIBLE).

Sarah Palin of course, not the only one making endorsements this week. Who is winning in the battle for favorite reality T.V. stars? We'll show you in this week's "State of the Cartoonion" after this break.



TAPPER: We're back. 2016 candidates are searching far and wide for coveted celebrity endorsements and appearance on the trail from (ph) a big name can attract people, money -- hopefully both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders (INAUDIBLE) Katy Perry and Killer Mike respectively but Republicans have their own celebrity strategy, reality T.V. stars. And that's the subject of this week's "State of the Cartoonion."


TAPPER (voice-over): A dynasty divided.

Duck hunter and reality T.V. star Willie Robertson endorsing Donald Trump this week --

WILLIE ROBERTSON, REALITY T.V. STAR: The man I'm standing behind this year, Donald Trump.

TAPPER: While the patriarch of "Duck Dynasty" Phil Robertson is supporting Ted Cruz.

PHIL ROBERTSON, REALITY T.V. STAR: Ted Cruz is my man. He fits the bill.

TAPPER: (INAUDIBLE) any one (INAUDIBLE) reality T.V. is playing just a minor role in this election meet exhibit A.

Reality TV star and Republican front-runner, Donald Trump.

TRUMP: I have no choice. You're fired.

TAPPER: Trump said, you're hired, to one of his former apprentice losers Tana Goertz.

TANA GOERTZ, "APPRENTICE" RUNNER-UP: I'm going to be educating Iowans on Mr. Trump's greatness.

TAPPER: And Trump was joined on the campaign trail this week by Sarah Palin.

SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: Enough of the status quo. It has got to go.


TAPPER: Who has also straddled the world of real politic and reality show politics.

PALIN: A bear is coming towards us.

TAPPER: Other key reality T.V. endorsements include "Pawn Stars" Rick Harrison who says backing Marco Rubio has hurt him in some ways.

RICK HARRISON, REALITY T.V. STAR: When you endorse a Republican, everyone sort of frowns on you.

TAPPER: These endorsements can cut both ways.

The Duggars endorsed Rick Santorum last time in 2012 but this time they're with Governor Mike Huckabee who removed their endorsements from his website after those horrific molestation allegations against Josh Duggar.

Just a few days ago Huckabee was asked about it in Iowa.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When the Duggars came out and the son had molested their child you more or less said that you felt sorry for their parents.

MIKE HUCKABEE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Ma'am, let me tell you something. You have no idea what you're talking about. You don't know that family than I do.

TAPPER: Yikes. Now, that is some harsh reality, if not reality T.V.


TAPPER: Don't forget tomorrow night the Democratic candidates will be live on CNN from Iowa for their final town hall before voting begins in that state.

Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley will take questions voters. CNN's Chris Cuomo will be there moderating the events as the Democrats make their final (INAUDIBLE) you can see it here on CNN tomorrow night 9:00 p.m. Eastern.

Thank you for spending your Sunday with us. You can catch me here every Sunday and weekdays on "THE LEAD" at 4:00 p.m. Eastern.

Go to -- STATE OF THE UNION, for extras from the show. I'm Jake Tapper in Washington, D.C.

"FAREED ZAKARIA GPS" starts right now.