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State of the Union

Interview With Donald Trump; Interview With Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders; Interview With Hillary Clinton; Interview With New Jersey Governor Chris Christie; Interview With Ohio Governor John Kasich. Aired 9-10a ET

Aired February 07, 2016 - 09:00   ET




JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): This Sunday, there's only one place to be, right here, commercial-free for the whole hour, and live in New Hampshire with five of the top candidates, all vying for victory in the first-in-the-nation primary.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm number one in New Hampshire. Will you please keep me there? This is ridiculous.

TAPPER: Donald Trump.

TRUMP: Whoa.

TAPPER: Can he still dominate the field, or will his first-place status in the polls disappear here, like it did in Iowa? He joins us fresh off the latest debate.

Plus, the governors have to go big or go home. Ohio's John Kasich says New Hampshire is make or break for him.

GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If we get smoked here, I'm going home.

TAPPER: And New Jersey's Chris Christie spearheads a slew of fresh attacks on Marco Rubio after Rubio's surprising surge.

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We know who the boy in the bubble is up here, who never answers your questions, who's constantly scripted and controlled, because he can't answer your questions.

TAPPER: Plus, the battle between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders is getting fierce.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think it's time to end the very artful smear that you and your campaign have been carrying out.


TAPPER: Hillary Clinton will join me in minutes. Will a big win by Bernie here change her campaign calculus?

SANDERS: We are taking on the most powerful political organization in the country, and that's the Clinton organization.

TAPPER: I'm on the campaign trail with Senator Sanders, so much at stake in the Granite State, and the candidates are all here.

A special commercial-free edition of STATE OF THE UNION starts right now.


TAPPER: Hello. I'm Jake Tapper, where the state of our union is first-in-the-nation.

We are live in New Hampshire, just two days before the crucial primary here, with a show so jam-packed full of presidential candidates, we are not even going to stop for a commercial break. There's so much on the line for the contenders on both sides.

Can Hillary Clinton stop Bernie Sanders' momentum in this state? Will Trump prove he can win primaries and not just polls? And will New Hampshire narrow the crowded Republican field?

With tensions running high, the Republicans faced off for one last time before the Granite State votes.

The debate got off to something of a rocky start, with the candidates awkwardly piling up. Apparently, one or two were unable to hear their names called.

But, once all of them were on stage, the gloves came off.


TRUMP: Let me just -- you know, he wants to be a tough guy.

A lot of times, you will have -- you will have -- and it doesn't work very well with...


JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: How tough is it to take...


BUSH: ... property from an elderly woman?

TRUMP: Let me talk. Let me talk. Quiet.


TRUMP: A lot of times -- a lot of times...

(END VIDEO CLIP) TAPPER: And while the candidates were lobbing bombs at one another, North Korea launched a satellite into space, an action the U.S. government condemned as destabilizing and provocative. The move is seen by many countries as a front for a ballistic missile test, although a senior U.S. defense official says it does not pose a threat to the U.S. or our allies.

So, lots to talk about this morning. Let's go right to the man at the top of the Republican pack here in New Hampshire, Donald Trump, who joins me by the phone.

Mr. Trump, thanks for joining us.

TRUMP: Good. Thank you, Jake.

TAPPER: Let's start with last night's debate. A lot of pundits and analysts say you did well, Christie did well. A lot of them also seem to think that Marco Rubio had a rough night. What did you make of his performance?

TRUMP: Well, I don't want to criticize anybody.

I know he had the one moment where he would repeat about Obama, and, after four times, that was a lot. And so that was a little bit -- but, you know, I just -- I'm not one to comment on somebody else's performance.

I was really happy with the way it came out from my standpoint.

TAPPER: You seem to be not as critical of your rivals as you have been in the past.

I mean, there are criticisms you made about Jeb Bush, about Ted Cruz being afraid of attacking you. But, generally, you seem to be holding your fire a little bit.

TRUMP: Well, I don't know. I'm -- I'm trying to be a nice person. I am a nice person.

I have had good relationships with many people over the years. And, you know, politics is an interesting thing. I have been doing this for seven months, and I'm having a lot of fun doing it. But, much more importantly, you know, my whole theme is make America great again. That's what we have to do. We have to make America great again.

And, you know, I'm really enjoying it. I love New Hampshire. It's -- you know I have been here many times prior to the electoral process. But I have really loved the -- New Hampshire and the people of New Hampshire for a long period of time. And I seem to be connecting with them, I hope.


TAPPER: I want to follow up on a question and answer from last night.

You said -- quote -- "I would bring back water-boarding and I would bring back a hell of a lot worse than water-boarding."

Now, as I understand it, the law, as amended in 2006, bans treatment of a captured enemy that causes -- quote -- "serious and nontransitory mental harm which need not be prolonged." It calls it cruel and inhumane and it makes it punishable as a war crime, and this includes water-boarding, including -- according to the authors of the act.

How would you bring it back, if it is currently a war crime under U.S. law?

TRUMP: Well, I would go through a process and get it declassified, frankly.

And I would -- certainly water-boarding at a minimum. They're chopping off heads of Christians and many other people in the Middle East. They're chopping heads off. They laugh at us when they hear that we're not going to approve water-boarding, and then they will have a James Foley and others where they cut off their heads.

And, you know, you can say what you want. I have no doubt that it does work in terms of information and other things, and maybe not always, but nothing works always. But I have no doubt that it works.

But, more importantly, when they're chopping off the heads of people, and innocent people in most cases, beyond water-boarding is fine with me.

TAPPER: You have enjoyed some big leads in the polls here in New Hampshire for many months. You're still on top of the polls. Is Tuesday must-win after the loss in Iowa?

TRUMP: There wasn't a loss. I came in second. And I only came in second because of the fact that Cruz took a lot of votes away from Carson that should not have been taken away. I mean, he's apologized, but I don't know what comes of that. Let's see what happens.

But that was the only reason I came in second. So, I came in second out of the original 17 candidates. I don't consider that a loss, Jake, and I probably came in first in actuality.

TAPPER: OK. But do you need to win here in New Hampshire, you think?

TRUMP: Well, I hope to win. I don't know. I don't think so. I came in second. I picked up a lot of delegates. And, you know, I picked up one less than Cruz, and maybe that gets turned over. Who knows what's going to happen?

But I picked up a lot of delegates in Iowa. And in New Hampshire, I think I'm going to do very well. I have a great relationship between the vets and all of the people of New Hampshire. They just seem to be very positive for me. They have known me for a long time. And they're great people. I think I'm going to do very well in New Hampshire.

But, no, I don't -- I don't think -- I want to win New Hampshire, but I don't think I have to win it, no. TAPPER: You mentioned Ted Cruz taking votes from Ben Carson at the

debate last night. You have talked about it on the trail. You have also talked about that voter form, the voter -- voter-shaming document that Cruz sent out that the Iowa secretary of state criticized him for.

Are you driving at a larger criticism of Ted Cruz? Or are these just tactics you take issue with? Are you saying that there's something about him that is being revealed by these tactics?

TRUMP: Well, I think a voter violation form, which looked like it came from the IRS -- I mean, it looked like it came from a government agency -- was a fraud.

But I'm not thinking about that right now. I'm thinking only of New Hampshire and the people of New Hampshire. I'm going to be here all for the next three, four days. And I'm going to love it, and then we're going to go to South Carolina. And, you know, we had -- I was there two nights ago. We had 12,000 people in a stadium that was amazing. It was like an amazing evening in Florence.

And we had -- you know, I think we're going to do well there. And we're pretty much doing well everywhere. So, I just -- the -- hey, look, the theme is make America great again. And everybody wants it. And they want to see intelligence. They want to see good deals, not bad deals.

We don't -- we don't win anymore. And I tell it over. I mean, we don't win anymore as a country. We don't win on trade. We don't win on war. We don't win with ISIS. We don't win on health care. And we're going to start winning again.

And people see that, and they -- they like it. That's what they want.

TAPPER: After Iowa, you said you didn't have much of a ground game in that state and that you would fix that in New Hampshire.

"The Wall Street Journal" today is reporting that you're still relying a great deal on your star power, and not as much on a data-driven voter targeting and get-out-the-vote effort. Could that be a mistake?

TRUMP: Well, you know, if you think about Iowa -- and, you know, I didn't know the term ground game too much. And I think we had a ground game, maybe not the greatest ground game.

But I did get more votes than anybody in the history of the Republican caucus, other than one, because, you know, the voters -- number one, we had 50,000 people more voting. But my second-place finish, which was substantially second-place -- I mean, Rubio wasn't that close.


And my second-place finish, which, again, I say was first-place -- but my second-place finish had more votes than anybody in the history of that whole thing -- history. That includes everybody, other than Cruz. And, you know, Rubio came in third, and by 2,000 -- more than 2,000 votes back. That's a lot, as you know, with the numbers in Iowa. That's a lot. And everybody said how great he did and I didn't. And I'm trying to say, I'm not even a politician. I just started being a politician seven months ago, if I can call myself a politician, which I would rather not.

So, I think we did great in Iowa. And I don't call that a loss, I mean, coming in second. A lot of people -- a lot of governors and senators that came in way behind would have liked to have come in second. That, I can tell you. So, I don't think you can really call that a loss, do you think?

TAPPER: One of these -- well, I think -- I mean, if you want -- if you're actually asking my opinion, I think one of the issues might have been the expectations game, where you were leading in the polls, in several polls, and people thought you were going to win Iowa.

And then you're right. Second place is much better than every other place except for first. But then by...

TRUMP: Well, I can't help, though, the expectations.

You -- yes, hey, Jake, you know, I spoke to you, and you asked me, are you going to win? And I said, I don't know.

Now, I will say this with Iowa. I will say that it's very tough to poll caucuses. It's a very different ball game, whereas, in New Hampshire, you know, you're going to go in and vote. And I think it's much different. And I think it's also a different kind of a ground game. It's not the same kind of a ground game.

But, look, all I can do is -- I think I did really well at the debate. Most people said I won the debate. Almost everybody said I won the debate last night. I mean, we had a very -- we had a good debate. And that was very important for me. I think, if I would have had a poor debate performance, that would not have been good.

TAPPER: In New Hampshire, it's interesting, of course. Independents are the biggest political group here, and they can vote in either the Democratic or the Republican primary.

And, for that reason, you and Bernie Sanders in some ways are both competing hard for some of the same independent voters. Are you surprised that you're competing with Bernie Sanders? And what's your message to those independent voters who might be trying to decide between you and the Vermont senator?

TRUMP: Well, it's very interesting that you say that, because the one thing we very much agree on is trade. We both agree that we're getting ripped off by China, by Japan, by Mexico, by everybody we do business with.

The difference is, I can do something about it. I'm going to renegotiate those trade deals and make them good. And, believe me, they're going to be really good. I have got the greatest people in the world. I have Carl Icahn endorsed me, the great businessman. I have many other great businessmen are endorsing me or have endorsed me.

And I will tell you, we will make them good. Bernie can't do anything about it, because it's not his thing. He won't be able to do anything about it. I will create absolute gold out of those deals, whereas, right now, we're losing tens of billions and even hundreds of billions of dollars. I will create gold, and Bernie will just talk about how bad they are.

TAPPER: You said this week -- quote -- "I'm a unifier," and you said you would bring the country together if you won.

A lot of people out there might have a difficult time believing that, given how divided the nation has been about your candidacy. How will you bring the nation together? How will you unify the nation, especially after some of the things you have said about citizens that many have found objectionable?

TRUMP: Well, I am a unifier. And our current president is an absolute divider. He's a very divisive person. And you look at the way the country is so divided.

People are going to be shocked to see. We will bring the country together. I'm going to bring jobs from China, from Japan, from Mexico, from Vietnam. We're losing so much of our -- you know, so much of our business, so many of our jobs. And we're also now starting to lose companies.

I don't know if you read where Pfizer is leaving and great companies are leaving because our taxes are so high. And I will be able to change and stem that tide very quickly. I know exactly what to do. These politicians don't know what to do. And that's why the people are on my side.

Politicians don't know what to do, Jake. They don't have a clue. When I say we're going to strengthen the border and we're going to build a wall, last night, a couple of guys said, we're going to build a wall. It's first time I had ever heard anybody say that. Now they're all saying, we're going to build a wall.

First of all, they wouldn't even know how to build a wall. They wouldn't get it. Their wall would be 5-feet-high. We're going to build a real wall. And it's going to be done not at our cost. It's going to be done at somebody else's cost, and you know who I'm talking about. And it's going to be done.

They make a fortune on us. And we're going to build a wall, and we're not going to pay for it.

TAPPER: Last question, sir.

I'm just wondering, has this experience of running for president, so different from anything you have done before, has it changed you in any way? TRUMP: Well, perhaps it has. I have learned a lot. I will tell you

what I have learned. The people in this country are amazing. They're great.

When I go to these rallies and I meet the people that are, you know, supporting me, they're incredible. And my level of support -- you know, it's sort of interesting. You do the polls all the time. The people that are with me are we me. They're with me through thick and thin. These are great people.


But the people of our country are great people. There's no reason to have Apple in China making their computers. We're going to try bringing Apple back here, so that we can make the computers in this country. We have amazing people. And it's sad to see all of this product, all of these things being made, you know, in other countries.

We're going to get it back here. We're going to bring it back here. The other countries, and in particular China, they devalue their currency, they do all sorts of games and tricks that make it very tough for companies like Apple -- like Apple to do it here.

But we're going to bring companies and we're going to bring the jobs back here, where they belong. And we're going to do it big league, and people know that and people see that, in addition to the military and the vets and all of the other things that we're going to do. And health care, we're going to repeal Obamacare, replace it.

We have so many things to do. It's going to be so exciting. We can make -- you know, the theme being to make it great again. We can make our country great again. I honestly believe that, if we do it now, we can make it greater than ever before.

TAPPER: Donald Trump, thanks so much for joining us. We will see you on the campaign trail. Good luck on Tuesday.

TRUMP: Thank you very much, Jake.

TAPPER: We're going to get to some of Mr. Trump's Republican rivals in a few minutes, but, first, I want to turn to Bernie Sanders, who popped up alongside his alter ego last night on "Saturday Night Live."


LARRY DAVID, ACTOR: So, Bernie, how's -- how are things going up in New Hampshire?



SANDERS: Well, it's pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty good.




TAPPER: Their personas became further intertwined in this send-up of David's HBO comedy "Curb Your Enthusiasm."


DAVID: Point-two percent? What? How many people is that?


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: It's like five people. Five people.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: How could we lose by five people after building all of this momentum?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Sanders, are you still -- you're still only at 2 percent.

DAVID: I will take the 2 percent.



TAPPER: Senator Sanders has long had a wide lead here in New Hampshire, which, of course, neighbors his home state of Vermont, and his supporters here in the Granite State are certainly feeling the Bern, as I discovered when I joined him on the campaign trail yesterday.

Senator Sanders, thanks so much for doing this, for sitting down.

SANDERS: My pleasure.

TAPPER: So, "Saturday Night Live," these impressions, whether Will Ferrell doing Bush or Tina Fey doing Palin, they can actually make an impression among the populace.

Before this election season ever began, did you ever look at Larry David and think, that guy could play me someday?

SANDERS: No. I admired him. I loved his television show, but, no, I did not make the connection between Larry David and myself.

TAPPER: But now it makes perfect sense, I suppose?

SANDERS: Well, he plays me a little bit better than I play me, so yes, it does.

(LAUGHTER) TAPPER: You're favored to win the New Hampshire primary.

SANDERS: Don't make me nervous and don't jinx me.

TAPPER: Sorry. I won't jinx -- I'm sorry.

SANDERS: We think it's going to be a close election. We're working really hard.

TAPPER: So, the Clinton campaign is kind of trying to downplay it a little bit.


TAPPER: Secretary Clinton the other day pointed out that you're from neighboring Vermont.

And New Hampshire voters often vote for people from neighboring states. She says ti the neighborly thing to do. Your campaign said that was an insult. Is it an insult?

SANDERS: Well, in a sense, it is.

I mean, look, obviously, Vermont and New Hampshire are separated by a river. We are close states. But you know what? Secretary Clinton won this state in 2008. Her husband ran several campaigns in this state. When we began this campaign here in New Hampshire, we were 30 points down in the polls and she was much better known in this state than I was.

So, simply to say, you know, if we win this thing, it's because Bernie lives in Vermont, yes, that's just not that accurate.

TAPPER: There was an issue that came out in the last week about Secretary Clinton pushing back on your suggestions that maybe her votes have been compromised or she's been compromised.

SANDERS: Didn't say that.

TAPPER: Well, how would you -- how would you phrase it? How would you...

SANDERS: All I said is what is a fact. And if the Clinton campaign wants to contradict this fact, I would like to hear it.

What I said is that she has a super PAC, and she recently, according to her reports, received $15 million from Wall Street. End of discussion. I never said anything more.

TAPPER: Her response has been, among other things, to say, "Nobody can point to a vote that I have ever changed because of this."

And your campaign just put out a section from a book by Elizabeth Warren, a 2003 book, in which she noted, Elizabeth Warren, that Hillary Clinton, as first lady, had opposed a bankruptcy bill in 1998- '99. And then, as a senator, she voted for the bill. [09:20:11]

Elizabeth Warren wrote -- I'm just quoting Elizabeth Warren -- "The bill was essentially the same, but Hillary Rodham Clinton was not."

And Warren basically charges that, because Hillary Clinton had taken $140,000 from banks, she did change her vote.

Now, that's Warren saying it, not you.

SANDERS: Right. Right.

TAPPER: But do you think that's an example of Clinton changing her vote?


This is what I think. I think you have a corrupt campaign finance system. I think you have the Koch brothers, billionaires, ExxonMobil. You have Wall Street. You have pharmaceutical companies pouring huge amounts of money into our political process, undermining American democracy.

And there is -- it's not an accident that we end up paying the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs. It's not an accident that there's not one Republican candidate who is prepared to stand up to the fossil fuel industry and help transform our energy system to deal with climate change.

So, I'm not going to go around saying, well, she got this, she did that. That is not my point. I do not have a super PAC, Jake. OK? I don't want a super PAC. I don't want their money. We are raising money the old-fashioned way, from middle-class and working families, 3.5 million individual contributions.

TAPPER: So, if the suggestion -- let's not make it Clinton-specific, because I know you're reluctant to do that. But if the suggestion is not that individuals, let's say, Democrats, are changing their votes because of campaign contributions, is the suggestion that, as legislation is being drafted, people just won't go as far as they normally would because of the money?

SANDERS: Here's -- here's what the suggestion is. You tell me, why is it that we pay the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs? Do you think it has something to do with the fact that the pharmaceutical industry has 1,300 paid lobbyists and contributes a whole lot of campaign contributions?

TAPPER: Absolutely, I do.

SANDERS: OK. So -- and why is it that Wall Street today has three out of the four largest banks that are bigger today than they were when we bailed them out because they were too big to fail?

But if what you're trying to do is to say the campaign contributions resulted in somebody voting this or that way, that is not what I'm saying. I'm saying...

TAPPER: No, that's what I'm asking. I'm asking, is it a more nuanced thing...


TAPPER: ... where people along the way as they're drafting legislation...


SANDERS: It ain't nuanced. Big money controls what goes on in Washington. Every American understands that.

You have to be very naive not to believe that the wealthiest and most powerful institutions in this country are contributing huge amounts of money. For what reason? For the heck of it? They just want to have fun and contribute that money? Of course they expect something.

But that is different than saying, oh, this candidate took that amount of money and voted that way. That is not what I'm saying. What I am saying is, you have a corrupt campaign finance system. I will do everything I can to overturn this disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision. And, in fact, I believe we should have public funding of elections.

TAPPER: OK. But your campaign did send out this excerpt from Elizabeth Warren, and she directly said that Clinton in her view changed her vote.

SANDERS: Well, that's Elizabeth's point.

I think the point that we wanted to note -- I suspect the point that the campaign tried to make was to identify a particular vote that Secretary Clinton cast. And, by the way, they're sending out 10 things a day attacking me. I should -- just to set the record straight on that.

TAPPER: Hillary Clinton so far has been asked by journalists to release the transcripts from speeches, especially those to Goldman Sachs and others. Do you think she should? And what do you think would be revealed in those transcripts?

SANDERS: No idea. I have no idea what she said. I think the decision as to whether or not to release it is her decision.

TAPPER: You don't have a position on it at all?


TAPPER: Let's turn to immigration, which came up during the debate. Secretary Clinton brought up your vote against Ted Kennedy's efforts in 2007 in his immigration bill.

You spoke about that bill on "The Lou Dobbs Show."


SANDERS: If poverty is increasing and if wages are going down, I don't know why we need millions of people to be coming into this country as guest workers who will work for lower wages than American workers and drive wages down even lower than they are right now.


TAPPER: It seems to be that you're suggesting in that 2007 quote that you saw immigration reform, and specifically the guest-worker program in that bill, as something that was going to bring down wages for Americans.

You are now a proponent of immigration reform. You have always been -- but are you opposed -- are you still opposed to that guest-worker program idea?

SANDERS: No, the answer is that if you study the issue, you will find that major organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center described guest-worker programs as virtual -- as virtual slavery, where people -- you're a guest worker, you work for me, and I exploit you. I pay you lower wages, treat you terribly.

You stand up, you're out of this country. And that's why major Latino organizations and immigration reform groups like LULAC also recommended a no vote and why other progressives in Congress voted against it as well. So, I have very serious problems and worked hard to improve the guest-worker program.


But when you have major organizations describing the guest-worker program as virtual slavery, there's a good reason to vote against it.

TAPPER: The first two contests, Iowa and New Hampshire, seemed to be the ones that were most friendly to you, in the sense that many, many progressives in Iowa, many, many progressives and independents in New Hampshire, very white states.

And Hillary Clinton, at least now, polls better with Latinos and African-Americans. What is the path to victory for you, even if you have a resounding victory here on Tuesday night?

SANDERS: Well, we started this entire campaign way back when, nine months ago, at 3 percent, 4 percent in the polls. We have come a very, very long way.

I think the message that we have and the agenda that we have in terms of economics and criminal justice will resound very significantly in the African-American community and the Latino community.

Just yesterday, for example, Ben Jealous -- Ben is the former leader of the NAACP, one of the more dynamic civil rights leaders in this country -- came on board our campaign, as well as a number of other African-American leaders. So I think, when we get to South Carolina, when we get to Nevada, you are going to see more and more response from the African-American community, because we're talking about the issues relevant to them, raising the minimum wage to 15 bucks an hour, making public colleges and universities tuition-free, dealing with the fact that we have more people in jail than any other country, primarily Latino and African-American.

I think we have the program that, when people hear it, they will say, yes, you know what? Bernie is making sense.

TAPPER: Do you think you can win South Carolina?

SANDERS: I think we are the underdog now. I think we have seen some real momentum there. I think we have got a shot at it.

TAPPER: David Brock, who is...

SANDERS: I know who David Brock is.

TAPPER: ... often referred to as an attack dog for the Clintons...


TAPPER: And he works for the super PAC that directly coordinates with the campaign.


TAPPER: He said after you released your Iowa ad, the Simon and Garfunkel ad, and he said there weren't enough African-Americans and Latino faces in it.

And he said, based on this ad, black lives don't matter to Bernie Sanders.

What did you make of that? And what do you make of the role that David Brock plays in the Clinton campaign?

SANDERS: Well, let's remember who David Brock is. He is a political attack dog.

And I happen to like Hillary Clinton. But I am astounded by some of the people that she has hired, including David Brock. David Brock, people will remember, used to be a real right-wing guy who was attacking people like Anita Hill. This is an African-American law professor who tried to do the right thing, and he admitted. He said, "I lied about her."

This is the guy that Hillary Clinton is making the head of her super PAC? I just don't understand. There are -- I just understand where the Clinton people are coming from, hiring somebody like that. Every day, they're attacking us in one way or the other.

TAPPER: Have you heard about this phenomenon the Bernie bros, people who support you, and sometimes attack in very crude and sexist ways Clinton supporters?

SANDERS: Yes, I have heard about it. It's disgusting. Look, we don't want that crap. We can -- and we will do everything we

can, and I think we have tried.

Look, anybody who is supporting me, is doing sexist things is -- we don't want them. I don't want them. That is not what this campaign is about.

TAPPER: Has this experience changed you in any way?

SANDERS: It really has, in the sense that I perceive more than ever how far removed the Congress is -- and, you know, I'm in the Senate -- and the establishment media is from the reality of people's lives. It's like two separate worlds. All right?

The establishment is here, and they're talking about these issues, and people are over there struggling to keep their heads above water economically. Look, we did a meeting in Iowa in a small town. A woman gets up, trying to make it on $10,000 a year. And she broke down, to talk about the pain and the difficulty, the embarrassment of trying to make it on $10,000 a year. Of course it moves you.

And you see when you're out -- I mean, I have seen literally people, Jake -- I think two instances in Iowa where people have terminal illnesses. I think both of them, they're in a hospice, and, literally, they were saying, we want to live long enough to come out to caucus for you.

What do you think that does?

TAPPER: Thanks so much for your time. Good luck on Tuesday.

SANDERS: Thank you very much, Jake.


TAPPER: Some breaking news now: CNN will host a Democratic debate in Flint, Michigan, on March 6, just two days before that state's primary.

Hillary Clinton is actually going to leave the campaign trail here in New Hampshire to visit Flint, Michigan, today.

But, first, she's right here...


TAPPER: ... right next to me, live.

Secretary Clinton, thanks so much for being here.

CLINTON: Well, Jake, congratulations on doing the debate in Flint.

It's really important we keep the spotlight on this problem. And you're right. I'm leaving here. I'm going to Flint. The mayor asked me to come. They're trying to, you know, really have a lot of support, because we hope that there will be some good news coming out of Congress in the next few days.


CLINTON: And it's just -- it's an issue that I don't want people to forget about. Because it's not the only Flint in our country.

TAPPER: Right.

CLINTON: There are other places where these kinds of toxins, lead, other sorts of pollutants are really affecting people's lives. And I'm just not going to give up on this.

TAPPER: Can I ask you a question? Just a clarification of what you think needs to be done in term of the people there...


TAPPER: ... who need water and need infrastructure built.


TAPPER: You have called for the citizens of Michigan, the State of Michigan to be billed, but you're also supporting this bill from senators Stabenow and Peters from Michigan that would make it a federal payment.


TAPPER: Do you think that it should be a state issue in terms of the money paying for Flint, or should it be a federal issue?

CLINTON: It should be both and partly because there's a broad set of needs that have to be addressed. Yes, the infrastructure must be repaired and modernized. Yes, we do have to get emergency means in to get water, get the kind of nutritional support. You know, I know something about lead poisoning because of work I've done in the past and --

TAPPER: With the Children's Defense Fund?

CLINTON: Well, and as a senator from New York.

We had a lot of, you know, old housing with lead paint in it. A lot of kids suffered from lead poisoning. And part of the challenge is you've got to intervene early. We need comprehensive health screenings. Then we need to figure out how do we get the right nutrition and vitamins. You've got to begin to work to counteract the lead. Then we've got to get the educational, additional help that kids need.

This is a big deal, because it's not only about fixing the infrastructure, but it's also about the future. How we're going to take care of these kids going forward. So there's a lot of work to be done. And I think it has to be both the state and a federal responsibility.

TAPPER: You know, what's really so upsetting is as you know, just a little bit of lead can cause permanent damage.

CLINTON: There is no -- there is no acceptable level of lead for kids.

TAPPER: Yes. Exactly.


TAPPER: So according to what we know now, the state knew, at least in February -- and the federal EPA knew at least in April, and yet it wasn't until months, months later. So obviously, this is a failing on the local level. But do you also think it's a failing by the EPA?

CLINTON: Well, I think it has to be absolutely investigated to figure out what happened. Why wasn't this sounding alarms everywhere?

And I don't want to prejudge it. I don't know what the answer to that question is. I'm focused on OK, what do we do now? The damage has been done. How do we mitigate that damage? How do we help alleviate both intellectual and the physical, lasting consequences that children face when they've been poisoned by lead?

So I'm trying to look at the future. I know there will be a lot of people focusing on what happened and that's really important, because we do have to, you know, open this inquiry more broadly. You know, I've said that we've got places in our country where we have asthma rates at 500 times higher, killing, you know, young children of color than anybody else because of where they live and what they're exposed to.

You know, our children's health should be the highest priority for our country, and so anything I can do, and I'll keep doing it to really beat the drums on this but to ask people hey, let's look everywhere. You know, Flint -- we've got to help flint. It's a terrible, horrible set of circumstances.

TAPPER: Mm-hmm.

CLINTON: But we also have to be looking at other places to try to make sure that this doesn't happen to other kids.

TAPPER: So I can't help but notice it's also the New Hampshire primaries coming up in two day.

CLINTON: Oh, it is?


TAPPER: So just to move to politics for one second. Your family has a long history here. You obviously won here in 2008. Your husband staged his comeback here in 1992.

Can you win here? Is it possible that you can win here?

CLINTON: I don't know. I don't know. I'm just going to work as hard as I can. I love the New Hampshire primary. I love it because the interactions you have with voters in every setting is so rewarding, and voters in this state take a first, second, third, fourth look at you. They're constantly evaluating.

I have been telling voters across the state, this is the biggest job interview in the world. You've got to really think hard about what the job is, who can be president, who can be commander in chief, and then you have to really judge us. And I don't know what's going to happen. I know I'm behind. I am in very good spirits about that because I love the process.

TAPPER: So you said the other night at the -- I forget if it was the debate or the town hall, they all run together in my mind, but you said one of them that nobody can point to an example where you took money from a group...


TAPPER: ... and changed your vote. The Sanders campaign afterwards sent out an excerpt from a book from Elizabeth Warren in which she suggests that you took $140,000.00 from the banking interests, and as a result, according to Warren, not me, changed your vote on the bankruptcy bill.

CLINTON: Right. Right.

TAPPER: Now I want -- I would love it if you would address the substance of the allegation. And also the fact that Sanders' campaign sent it out, but Sanders himself backed off from making the charge himself (ph).


CLINTON: Well. that's their -- that's their typical, you know, artistic smear. You know, the campaign sends out something, gets people riled up, and then they say oh no, we're running a positive campaign. Enough.

OK, I'm glad you raised this, because I really do want to get this record straight once and for all. I worked with Senator Warren with whom I have the highest regard, in 2000 to stop a very bad bankruptcy bill. And then when I got to the Senate in 2001, early on, there was going to be a vote on another bankruptcy bill. I was deluged -- now as a senator, not as a first lady lobbying and working against this bill, I was deluged by women's groups and children's groups because the version of the bill that was going to be voted on did not protect child support, did not protect vulnerable women and their children from what would happen to them if their partner, their spouse went into bankruptcy and was able to discharge those obligations.

And, you know, literally, people I had worked with for 30 years came and said nobody else will do this. You've got to help us. We've got to change that provision. I took that on. And I went to the floor. And I buttonholed the Democrats and the Republicans who were leading that bill.

I said, you can't do this. You've got to change that provision. And they did. But they also put it to me. They said, if we change this provision, you have to vote for the bill.

Now, that's what happens sometimes. I didn't like the bill any more than I had liked it before. It still had very bad provision. But I also pushed hard for a deal to protect women and children. So OK, I held my nose. I voted for it. It never became law.

When it came back in 2005, I was against it. I didn't actually get to vote against it because Bill was in the hospital with another heart procedure, but I put out a statement on the floor. You can look at what I said in 2001. You can look at what I said in 2005. And so I'm glad to set this record straight.

You know, but this kind of attack by innuendo, insinuation is really getting old. You know, hey can't point to anything. They are grabbing at straws to make this case. But let's ask Senator Sanders' campaign, why did he vote to deregulate swaps and derivatives?

One of the key reasons for the Lehman brothers being over leveraged, collapsing and helping to bring down the economy. You know, this is a debate that we should be having about what our public records are and where we stand. I have the toughest, most effective campaign plan to take on the entire financial industry. I don't understand why he doesn't join me. Because it goes a lot further than anything he is proposing.

We have to look at the shadow banking industry. Everybody knows where I stand on this. So I think we should end with the smear and the insinuation and talk about our respective plans.

TAPPER: A lot of your supporters were very upset this last week when some older male pundits suggested that you are a shouter. Now, I would observe -- I would observe that Bernie Sanders doesn't exactly talk in a whisper. But that said, do you think that -- do you think that the coverage of you is sexist? Do you think that when male pundits say things like that, they have a different standard for you?

CLINTON: And I don't want to single anybody out, Jake.

Look, we are still living with a double standard and I know it. Every woman I know knows it. Whether you're in the media as a woman, or you're in the professions or business or politics. And I don't know anything other to do than to just keep forging through it and just taking the slings and arrows that come with being a woman in the arena.

You know, sometimes I talk soft. Sometimes I get passionate and I get a little bit excited. I don't know any man who doesn't do the same thing. And I find it sort of interesting that all of a sudden this is a big discussion about me, once again.

I'm so used to this. I'm going to keep making my case. I'm going to keep talking about what I will do as president. I'm going to keep laying out my record. Because I think it's really important that this election be actually about who can do the job that needs to be done starting in January of 2017.

TAPPER: Last question, madam secretary. How has this experience of running for president changed you, if it has?

CLINTON: You know, I think the most amazing learning experience. And having gone through this now twice, I think I am a different person than I was back in '08. I think that the experience I had as secretary of state has given me a perspective and an understanding of a lot of the issues that is deep and gives me the confidence to know that I can do every part of the job. But you run at different points in a country's, you know, thinking.


And right now we're at a time when people are on both sides, Republicans, Democrats, right, left, people are really worried that our economy isn't working for them, that our government isn't working for them, and that's causing a lot of the anger and the frustration. I totally get that. I feel it.

You know, things have been going on that are just wrong. These Supreme Court decisions against voting rights, citizens united, those are dramatically altering the balance of power in our country. The great recession, for which there were a number of causes, but you have to look at the failure of the Bush administration to regulate what was going on in the financial and mortgage markets. People deserve to be upset.

But what I'm saying -- and maybe it's not the most popular theme these days. You know, get angry, vent, but then realize, anger is not a plan, and venting is not a strategy, and we have work to do. And I'm confident we can do that work. But we're going to have to roll up our sleeves and say OK, we've got to make sure the economy works for everybody, not just those at the top. Here's my plan for jobs and raising incomes. We've got to make sure the Affordable Care Act gets the cost down, but gets coverage to 100 percent. Here's what I can do about that.

Let's have a discussion about what you would be thinking if you were conducting a job interview. OK, I've got the experience, I've got the passion. And here's what I'm going to do with it. And that's what I think the country needs. Because people are just whipping them up. I mean, on the Republican side, all of this rhetoric, this demagoguery which plays to the fears and the insecurities that people feel, and I just think that's not who we are.

And we are the premier problem solvers of human history. We've got to get back to doing that together.

TAPPER: All right, madam secretary. We'll see you on the campaign trail. Good luck.


CLINTON: I'll be there.

TAPPER: Thank you so much for stopping by. Appreciate it.

CLINTON: Thank you. Nice to talk to you. TAPPER: Thanks for Secretary Clinton for coming here and talking to


Let's turn back to the Republican race in Ohio.

Governor John Kasich, who has been barn storming (INAUDIBLE) on it maybe that's because it kind of does.

Kasich has said, New Hampshire is the whole ball game for him, and he's hoping last night's debate performance will spur him to a strong showing on Tuesday night.


TAPPER: Governor Kasich, thanks so much for joining us.

KASICH: Glad to be here.

TAPPER: A lot of pundits seemed to think that you had a good night and that Marco Rubio, who is competition in the so-called establishment lane, did not have such a good night. Does that help you?

KASICH: Jake, I am not in any establishment lane. I have never been the establishment. I'm not anti-establishment. But look, I make the establishment very nervous.



KASICH: Because I'm a change agent.

You know look, when we were reforming welfare for the poor, which I was in favor of, I said we've got to reform welfare for the rich. I'm reforming the Pentagon when we have a Republican president. I mean, we don't do things like that.

I was fighting a Republican president to get to a balanced budget. And look, I moved the establishment. Newt came in, you know, he picked up on the agenda I had and we got it done. But a lot of us, we never -- Newt was never the establishment.


KASICH: You know, I'm not an establishment guy. I'm sort of in a lane of my own, as one reporter described it.

TAPPER: You joked this weekend saying, "I ought to be running in a Democrat primary, I got more Democrats for me." I know it was just a joke. But there is this ding on you, and I'm old enough to remember John Kasich conservative Republican...


TAPPER: ... in the House of Representatives. Why do you think so many conservatives look at you as not one of them?

KASICH: I don't know. It's a mystery to me.

When you balance as many budgets as I have, cut as much taxes, been for as much school choice, reform welfare, end the entitlement, go through all of this, grow government at a very small amount. I don't understand it, other than maybe sometimes I say we need to work together with the Democrats. Because I believe that everybody ought to have an opportunity to rise. You know, the mentally ill, the drug addicted. I don't know. Maybe they don't like that tone.

But the only reason I said what I said is I have had so many Democrats walk up to me and say hey, we like you, we hope you're going to be the Republican. We're not going to vote for you in the fall, but, you know, we think you make a lot of sense.

You know -- look, I'm in a Republican primary. But if any -- whoever is going to like me, I consider that to be a good thing. That (ph) it shows my ability perhaps to reassemble that old Reagan coalition. Those blue collar Democrats. That's what my father was. So I think I might send a signal out that it's safe if you're a Democrat and you're a conservative to look at a Republican.

TAPPER: So you said on Friday that you think you're in second place here. I know the polls are all over the map. Do you think you need to finish top three in order to --

KASICH: Oh, I'm not going to say exactly. We'll know on the 10th.

Look, we're going to do very well, Jake. I mean, you should see the army of volunteers we have. It's just unbelievable.

TAPPER: What are they responding to, these volunteers?

KASICH: I think they think they're part of something that's different, that's bigger than themselves. I've always had campaigns like this.


Somehow, people get revved up and they see it as something more than a campaign. Maybe it's the positive campaign. Maybe it's the way that I'm able to talk about economic growth and helping people. I don't know.

I heard after the debate that they took a poll, and like I had risen really dramatically among millennials, which is really cool. I always get along with young people. I don't know, maybe it's -- I can't explain it. And I don't want to over think it.

I just know that when you have hundreds and hundreds of people out in the streets knocking on doors -- I got to the after-party last night that they had for me, it was about midnight, and there are more than 200 people jammed inside of this room. It's amazing. But I'm grateful for it. I'm not like, you know -- look, in this business, things go up, things go down, keep your feet on the ground. And I've got to tell you, Jake, I thank the lord for every day.

TAPPER: Let's talk about health care. In your closing argument T.V. ad, which I've seen a number of times on T.V. here in New Hampshire, you described yourself as someone who, "rejected Obamacare without leaving anyone behind." You did expand Medicaid...

KASICH: Yes, I did.

TAPPER: ... with Obamacare. Is your -- is your way of saying we rejected Obamacare without leaving anyone behind, is that what that means?

KASICH: Well, no. I mean look, we rejected Obamacare because we don't have a state exchange. I turned it down. I sued the government to get rid of Obamacare.

Look --


TAPPER: But you did take the Medicaid expansion.

KASICH: Yes, I know, but Reagan expanded Medicaid five times. And when I can bring $14 billion back to our state, when we're controlled the Medicaid costs -- I mean, my second budget, Medicaid was growing at 2.5 percent and everybody was happy. And we're covering now about 400,000 people in our state.

We have -- we have more people covered that way than we have on these subsidies from Obamacare. Obamacare is a bad program, it doesn't control the driving cost of medicine. It's driven up insurance premiums by 80 percent in my state. And it's hurting small businesses' ability to expand.

So what I want to do is take a few federal resources, combine it with the freed up Medicaid program, cover the working poor. But I'm driving towards a whole new health care system, which we're implementing in Ohio. We want to pay for low prices and high quality. Below the mean, you know, below the midpoint. If somebody charges a lot and somebody charges less, if you charge less and you deliver high quality as a physician, we're going to make it -- give you a financial reward. This is really a great big new idea.

TAPPER: You will grant me that your position is a lot more complicated and nuanced than you rejected Obamacare, which is what you said in your ad.

KASICH: No, I have rejected Obamacare. I'm not for it. I would repeal it. I want to get rid of it.

But you know, when it comes to Medicaid, again, we've expanded Medicaid many times in this country and don't have to have Obamacare to do it. TAPPER: You spoke highly of Mike Bloomberg this week, saying that he

might be the kind of person you would like to turn around the IRS if you become --


KASICH: Well, I was mentioning people. I said who could be (ph) (INAUDIBLE) IRS (ph) --somebody in the crowd said -- because my town halls are so much fun. You know, Bloomberg. Somebody said Mitt Romney.


KASICH: Who knows? You've got to have somebody who's got very high credibility to clean up that organization. Bloomberg --


TAPPER: Obviously, you think he did a good job, though as mayor?

KASICH: Here's what I know. I know that he loves to play golf and so do I, and if I praise him, he may take me to some of his very fancy golf courses.

TAPPER: Well, let me -- let me take it in a more serious direction because he's obviously talking about possibly running for president --

KASICH: I don't think he's talking about it.

TAPPER: Yes, he is.

KASICH: I think he's having fun.

TAPPER: I think he's very serious about it.


TAPPER: I've talked to his aides. If it came down to someone like Ted Cruz or Donald Trump getting the nomination, I know you think that's not going to happen. But if it came down to that versus Bernie Sanders versus --


KASICH: I'm a Republican, Jake.

TAPPER: Would it give you a moment of pause, at least?

KASICH: I'm going to -- I'm a Republican. You know, you notice, I think Donald's calmed down a little bit. And, you know -- look, I'm a Republican. But we've got a long way to go.

And I really do believe we come out of here strong. When I look at what's there, how we did last night, the building of the grass roots, I think I will be the nominee.

TAPPER: Last question.

Has this experience running for president changed you in any way?



KASICH: It's forced me to slow down even more and listen to people.

I mean, Jake, one of the most amazing things about the town halls is people have come, and they talk about excruciating stories of their kids, their own problems. They cry. They tell me sometimes in front of other people, sometimes privately. And I've learned something really, really important. And that is I think people -- too many people have nowhere to go. No one listens to them. No one -- no one celebrates when they win, and no one cries when they lose. This has been a very important lesson.

So in my life, I have to -- I'm slowing down. And I'm asking everybody else to think about their neighbor and their family. I mean, it has been pretty amazing. It has been all good.

TAPPER: All right, Governor John Kasich, we'll see you on the campaign trail. Good luck on Tuesday.

KASICH: Thank you.

TAPPER: Thanks for being here.

KASICH: Thank you.

TAPPER: Really appreciate it.



TAPPER: Now, the man whom many pundits are calling the star of last night's extremely fiery Republican debate, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who's here with me.

He sparred memorably with Senator Marco Rubio surging after his strong showing in Iowa. Let's take a quick listen.


SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This country already has a debt problem. We don't need to add to it by electing someone who has experience at running up and destroying the credit rating of his state. But I would add this. Let's dispel with this fiction that Barack Obama doesn't know what he's doing.

CHRISTIE: That's what Washington, D.C. does. The drive-by shot at the beginning with incorrect and incomplete information. And then the memorized 25-second speech that is exactly what his advisers gave him.

RUBIO: This notion that Barack Obama doesn't know what he's doing is just not true.

CHRISTIE: There it is. There it is.

RUBIO: He knows exactly what he's doing.

CHRISTIE: The memorized 25-second speech.

RUBIO: That's the reason why this campaign...


TAPPER: That was -- that was quite something to behold. I guess the big questions is you definitely scored points against Rubio, but did you score points for Chris Christie?

CHRISTIE: Well, I hope so. I hope that what I showed people last night is that I'm the person best prepared to beat Hillary Clinton.

If Republicans want someone to get on that stage and hold Hillary Clinton to task for the things she's done and the things she's proposing, and they're trying to choose between me and Marco Rubio, I think last night showed what they should do. You need some experience, someone tested and ready.

Let's remember this, Jake. This is not about me. It's about the American people. They want an effective presidency and they need someone who's tested and I've been tested and Senator Rubio is not.

TAPPER: You have staked a lot on New Hampshire. Do you think you need to finish top three? Do you think you need to win?

CHRISTIE: I think the whole race changed last night. Because you know there was a march amongst some of the chattering class to anoint Senator Rubio. I think after last night, that's over. And so I think there could be four or five tickets now out of New Hampshire. Because the race is so unsettled now.

You can't trust Senator Rubio to be the nominee of this party. And that's what I was saying last night. We need someone who's been tested and ready to go against Hillary Clinton. You just had her on. She is a skilled debater. She's an experienced Washington insider. And you better have somebody on there who can take her on.

Senator Rubio proved last night he can't do that. So now let's go to the next phase and I'm ready to go.

TAPPER: The obvious political answer to the question I'm about to ask is that there is a quote unquote "establishment lane" and that's why you're taking on Rubio because he is occupying that lane, as is Kasich, as is Jeb Bush. But some voters might wonder why aren't you going after the frontrunner Donald Trump?

CHRISTIE: Well because there's been a march for Senator Rubio.

Mr. Trump has been where he's been in New Hampshire and did (ph) fairly (ph) steady there. The fact is that Senator Rubio is unprepared to be president of the United States. Now there could be a time where I go after Mr. Trump as well. But, you know, those are decisions for me to make. As I said to someone recently I said, I engage at a time of my choosing. And that's when I do it and I chose last night to engage with Senator Rubio because the stakes are so high here in New Hampshire. We cannot nominate what the Democrats did eight years ago a first-term senator unprepared for the world, unprepared for the race.

TAPPER: Here in New Hampshire you've been telling a story of a man you met in Iowa whose son I going to Iraq. The "AP" learned that the voter was planning to caucus for you but ended up switching to Rubio because he thought Rubio had a better chance of winning the nomination.

With two days left to go, what do you say to the voters out there who are thinking about you, but thinking well, maybe Rubio has a better chance at the nomination for the exact reason you gave? And they don't want to throw away their vote. How do you convince them a vote for me is not a throw away?

CHRISTIE: Well, they watched last night. All New Hampshire voters are out there this morning. You watched last night. Do you think this is a Marco Rubio coronation? Do you think this is what should happen? You need someone who's been tested by hurricane Sandy. Tested by a Democratic legislature. Tested by a hostile media in New York City. I've been tested in a way that Senator Rubio never has been.

So in Iowa, I'm sure that was -- listen, I have great respect and affection for that couple. I'm sorry I didn't close the deal with them. I thought I had. I had until Monday morning. I didn't keep them for the last 12 hours. I'm going to close the deal with the voters of New Hampshire in the last three days, and what they should know is when you vote for who you believe is the best person to be president, you're never wasting your vote.

TAPPER: How has this experience changed you at all, if it has? Running for president.

CHRISTIE: It has. And what it's taught me is just how profound the problems are in the country and how people are really affected by them, how they're hungering for leadership. And it has also taught me again to be a better listener.

You know I mean, I just tell you that for me, I've always thought that more than half of the leadership was listening. Empowering people by listening to them. But I've done nearly 100 town hall meetings in this state and it's helped to really teach me how to listen. Even better than I had listened before.

And the last part of it is it teaches you that you can't take yourself too seriously. Because we have a lot of things that have happened in this business outside of your control. Just be yourself, be who you are, present it to the voters. And whatever happens in this race, I'm content with the way I've run it. I've been myself and I was myself last night. TAPPER: And do you think that that's changed you personally, not just as a politician?

CHRISTIE: Everything that I do in my profession life changes me personally.


It's such a big part of my life. It's like saying that you're not in public service, you're not the governor somehow when you go home, you always are. Now my wife and children don't treat me that way. You know there's no (INAUDIBLE) being played at the house. But the point is everything that happens in your professional life when it's so much a part of you affects your personal life too positively and negatively, Jake.

And so when there have been tough times, I bring that home. When there are good times, I bring that home. And when I learn things, I bring that home. So as soon as my family -- by the way my two younger children were there last night, at 12 and 15, incredible learning experience for them.

TAPPER: All right. Governor Chris Christie, we'll see you on the campaign trail. Good luck on Tuesday.

CHRISTIE: Thank you, Jake. Appreciate it.

TAPPER: Thank you so much.

And don't forget CNN will have complete coverage of the New Hampshire primary all day Tuesday. We will be live here in New Hampshire, starting at midnight in Dixville Notch when they vote really early. Thanks for watching this special edition of STATE OF THE UNION live from New Hampshire. I'm Jake Tapper in Manchester.