tv Early Start With John Berman and Christine Romans CNN January 18, 2016 1:00am-2:01am PST
a high stakes clash with the democratic presidential candidate debate. hillary clinton and bernie sanders sharpening attacks on each other and it got personal. happening now. three americans freed from iran on their way home. this as
sanctions are lifted giving iran access to the world marketplace. what a busy day. huge events. we have live team coverage breaking down the developments. good morning. welcome to "early start." i'm john berman. >> i'm christine romans. two weeks until the presidential
contest votes will be cast. and a face-off with hillary clinton and bernie sanders. even martin o'malley. clinton is trying to blunt a late surge from sanders in the polls with gun care. more from jeff zeleny. >> reporter: john and christine, a lively debate on sunday night in charleston, south carolina. democratic voters make their choices in the primary race.
two weeks today is the iowa caucuses. new hampshire primary one week after that. bernie sanders was trying to show he is in contention for the fight. there's no doubt he is launching a close race with hillary clinton in new hampshire. he is on the defensive throughout the debate. on health care, on guns. here are a couple of exchanges that caught my attention. bernie sanders likes to point
out that hillary clinton is too close to wall street. >> i don't take money from big banks. i don't get personal speaking fees from goldman sachs. what i would do -- [ applause ] >> -- what i would do is understand that when you have three out of the four largest banks today, bigger than when we bailed them out because they were too big to fail, when you have the six largest financial institutions having assets of 60% of the gdp of america. >> reporter: by pointing out that hillary clinton received speaking fees by goldman sachs, that is music to some ears. secretary clinton had an argument of her own. it was all about president obama. she was trying to embrace the president tightly throughout the evening. she said the reason she is supporting her health care plan is to defend his legacy.
she had strong words about sanders' questionable support for president obama. >> and president obama has led our country out of the great recession. senator sanders called him weak, disappointing. he even in 2011 publicly sought someone to run in a primary against president obama. now, i personally believe that president obama's work to push through the dodd-frank bill and then to sign it was one of the most important regulatory schemes we had since the 1930s. >> reporter: secretary clinton is trying to keep some questions and concerns and doubts alive in the minds of voters. particularly in south carolina and african-american voters by saying that bernie sanders did not support the president. that is one of the strongest things you can say. bernie sanders came back and said of course i supported the president. i support president obama.
those are a couple of exchange in the course of the two-hour debate. martin o'malley was on stage. he is struggling in the polls. this is a tight race with hillary clinton and bernie sanders. two weeks before the voting begins in iowa. john and christine. >> jeff, thank you so much. this was the last head-to-head face-off before actual votes two weeks from today. what are the implications? who emerges? let's turn to cnn political reporter eric bradner live from south carolina. eric, this was a fascinating debate to see. sanders, a couple hours before the debate, finally released his medicare for all plan which, you know, people estimate will cost more than $1 trillion a year. on the debate stage, hillary clinton went after him. listen. >> i have to say i'm not sure whether we're talking about the plan you just introduced tonight
or we're talking about the plan you introduced nine times in the congress. the fact is we have the affordable care act. that is one of the greatest accomplishments of president obama, of the democratic party, and of our country. there are things we can do to improve it, but to tear it up and start over again pushing our country back into that kind of a contentious debate is the wrong direction. >> it is interesting. she wasn't saying it was bad policy as much as bad politics. she was painting herself as a pragmatist and bernie sanders as a painter. >> it is hard for clinton to denounce medicare for all. according to a kaiser foundation poll, 80% of people support that idea. she is invoking that fight in
2008 and 2009 saying we don't want to do that again. there's no way to actually pass something sweeping like that for republicans in charge on capitol hill. it was a night of pragmatism. she was cloaking herself in president obama to sort of connect his popularity with her argument this isn't realistic. >> eric, she is trying to show on the gun issue that she is on the heart with the democratic party on guns than bernie sanders. listen to the exchange a bit on guns. >> i think secretary clinton knows that what she says is disingenuous. i have a d-minus voting record from the nra. >> i have it known from bernie voted with the nra and gun lobby numerous times.
he voted against the brady bill five times. he voted for the charleston loophole. guns go on amtrak and guns in national parks. he voted against research to figure out how we can save lives. >> is that helping her? by continuing to highlight the differences between the two on guns? >> well, listen, this debate happened a block away from the emanuel ame church where the racially motivated shooting took place. what hillary clinton is trying to do right now is turn south carolina in a bit of a fire wall. if she wrote to lose iowa and/or new hampshire, she is hoping that the strong contingency of african-american voters here in south carolina would be there to sort of help her at that point. so, that's why hillary clinton is talking so much about gun
control. her wager is it is an issue important to the african-american community. so, you know, this is something where she is running to the left of bernie sanders. it is one of the only opportunities to do that on any policy item. so, is it resonating with the entire electorate? i'm not too sure about that. she is honing that message to try to build a bit of a fire wall in iowa and new hampshire if they go poorly. >> it is interesting. she seemed to look beyond iowa and new hampshire. draping herself in president obama is part of that. let's look at south carolina for one thing. the south carolina african-american poll with fox news, 82%. bernie sanders is at 11%. that is a big gaping difference. that explains why the clinton campaign is looking past iowa
and new hampshire. two of the whitest states in the country. >> exactly. that is the hillary clinton campaign argument. iowa and new hampshire are set upper effe perfectly for sander. the clinton campaign has advantages everywhere else because the democratic electricorate. sanders argument last night was everyone else will like me when i win. he is seeing iowa and new hampshire to change everywhere. that's the worry if you are hillary clinton at this point. that iowa could snowball. the clinton campaign is not giving up on iowa. she will spend three days there this week. she definitely is looking to set
up an if iowa and new hampshire go badly, what next scenario. she can lean on a stronger minority population in other states to help her out. >> eric bradner in south carolina for us. very early or very late for you. thanks so much. talk to you in a bit. >> the winner of the debate are the drapes behind eric bradner. >> a little south carolina charm on the chair. >> and probably a scent from the 1970s. three americans freed by iran as international sanctions are lifted giving iran new access to the world market. live team coverage breaking it down next.
breaking overnight. three americans released as part of the prisoner swap with iran. they landed at the u.s. air base in germany. one step closer to home. reporter jason rezaian and amir hekmati and saeed abedini. less is known about two other men iran just released. nosratoliah khoshawi. and matthew trevithick. his release was not part of this exact prisoner swap. let's bring in the latest with the cnn correspondent frederik pleitgen at the air base in germany where these prisoners
were just released. what is the latest now this morning, fred? >> reporter: it was an odyssey for them to come here from tehran. i was covering this all yesterday. they took a swiss government flight from tehran to geneva and then another flight to the ramstein air base in germany to the landstuhl military hospital. this is a world class facility. over the next couple days, they first of all will get medical treatment and probably both physical and psychological. the report in jason rezaian's case, there was a lot of concern about his health with his high blood pressure. he was held in one of the toughest detention facilities in iran. and amir hekmati, in prison for
four years in iran. so all of the three men will be evaluated psychologically and physically. then, this is probably just as important, they will be reunited with their loved ones and friends and family. a lot are already flocking here to the landstuhl medical center. jason rezaian, apparently had a phone call with the washington post where he told his editors that he was in good spirits. john. >> a lot better today than yesterday. at this point, no contact with their families? it is still all phone conversations? any idea how long this will take, fred? >> reporter: jason's case is a specific one. jason actually had his wife and mother with him when he departed iran. they had been in iran during the entire time and with him on the swiss flight that took him out of there. amir hekmati, his family is on the way to the medical center.
not clear if they have already arrived. for most of them, it was phone conversations after they got out and now in the next couple of hours during the course of the day is when they will see their loved ones again. a lot of their supporters have been keeping these cases in the public eye are also going to be here to greet them and be with them as this recovery process takes place and obviously to go with them when they get back to the u.s. >> fred, after all of the ups and downs and twists and turns, after every metaphor, it almost all fell apart with the plane on the tarmac. >> reporter: that was a bizarre twist that we found out about. remember, we heard about the three men getting released on saturday afternoon iran time. it took a long time for that plane to leave the ground. it was 16 or 17 hours before the plane actually left. apparently there was an issue with the flight manifest where
the name of both jason rezaian's wife and jason rezaian's mother were apparently not on the manifest. there are some who say it may have been iranian authorities making the process difficult. apparently it took a call from secretary of state kerry to the iranian foreign minister, mohammad javad zarif, to sort all of this out. he said we have a deal. you have to stick to the deal. zarif then sent four of his people to get the three americans and that plane rolling and make sure they were able to depart. >> remarkable story. the good news is these americans who have been held prison in iran for years, they are now free. soon to be reunited with families if they have not been already. frederik pleitgen at the ramstein air base, thank you. as corporate offices are opening around the world, iran is joining the business community. the international atomic energy agency says it is now harder for
iran to make a nuclear weapon. it will be able to sell oil on the global markets and have thousands of dollars unfrozen. and from oil to caviar to all kinds of products, suddenly you will see iran, a player on the global stage again. nick roberts nic robertson. >> reporter: this is coming at a time when the oil prices are at a long time low. that is not going to happen overnight. iran needs a huge amount of investment in the oil sector. for decades, equipment hasn't been updated. the president of iran said yesterday they will put money in the aviation sector because vital repairs to planes have not happened because iran has been
under sanctions and have not been able to get equipment that they need. iran's domestic airline sector has a poor safety record. the president of iran highlighting that issue that they would divert funds to in short order. iran is not out of the woods yet. the united nations nuclear watch dog chief is meeting with the iranian president and others there. there is a robust inspection facility. 24/7 monitoring of iran's nuclear facilities. new equipment that the iaea, the nuclear watch dog will have the gamma ray detection equipment that was developed over five years. that sort of equipment will be going into place. it will make sure that iran continues with compliance and doesn't get a slap back on the sanctions and the freezing of
assets that have just got access to over the weekend. >> nic robertson live for us in vienna. secretary of state john kerry will be on cnn later this morning to talk about the freed prisoners and nuclear deal. that is on "new day." >> i'll talk to the secretary at 8:00. go ahead and tweet me any questions you want to ask. a state of emergency in flint, michigan. water contaminated with lead. could this lead to criminal charges? that's next.
flint, michigan getting help from an unexpected source during the ongoing water crisis. cher has donated nearly 200,000 bottles of water to flint following the discovery of lead in the drinking water. the michigan attorney general is investigating to see it warrants criminal charges. we get more from cnn's sarah ganim. >> reporter: the people of flint
continue to learn how this happened and why it took officials so long to act. we are here where gentlemenjess demanding answers. governor snyder decided to switch the drinking water over to the flint river. remember, this had gone on for nearly two years before the national guard came in with bottled water and filters for the residents. on saturday, president obama declared flint's water situation a state of emergency. officials here are now also looking into something else. there's a possible link between a spike in legionnaires' disease and rising cases in flint. ten people died here from drinking the flint river water.
it is a waterbourne bacteria and experts say this could happen. john and christine. >> this story has been such an appalling failure of government to serve its people. and to protect them. lead contamination. we spent a generation getting lead out of gas and air and out of our paint because led lowers iq, raises developmental issues for children. sometimes you don't notice it for years. it could have ramifications for a couple generations. they have now burdened themselves. >> this came up at the debate last night. hillary clinton and bernie sanders sharpened their attacks on each other. this is the last debate. the last face-to-face match between these candidates and before the first votes cast. who came out on top? that's next.
marketplace. welcome back to "early start." i'm christine romans. >> i'm john berman. it is two weeks before the 2016 presidential vote will be cast in iowa. overnight, the final head-to-head face-off with the democratic candidates. hillary clinton and bernie sanders and yes, martin o'malley. clinton trying to fight back a surge from sanders in the recent polls. she went after the vermont senator on gun control and new health care plan and she also really seemed to embrace president obama every chance she had. let's get more now from senior washington correspondent jeff zeleny. >> reporter: john and christine, a lively debate on sunday night in charleston, south carolina. the final debate before democratic voters make their choices in the primary race. just two weeks from today, the iowa caucuses, new hampshire primary is one week after that. bernie sanders was trying to show that he is in contention
for the fight. there is no doubt he is locked in a close race with hillary clinton in iowa and new hampshire. he was clocked in on health care and guns. here are a couple of exchange that caught my attention. bernie sanders believes hillary clinton is too close to wall street. >> i don't take money from big banks. i don't get personal speaking fees from goldman sachs. what i would do -- [ applause ] >> -- what i would do is understand that when you have three out of the four largest banks today bigger than they were when we bailed them out because they were too big to fail, when you have the six largest financial institutions having assets of 60% of the gdp of america. >> reporter: and by pointing out that secretary clinton received speaking fees from goldman sachs, that is music to the ears
of bernie sanders supporters. she was trying to embrace the president so tightly throughout the evening. she said the reason she is supporting her health care plan is to defend his legacy. she had strong words for bernie sanders about his questionable support for president obama. >> and president obama has led our country out of the great recession. senator sanders called him weak, disappointing. he even in 2011 publicly sought someone to run in a primary against president obama. now, i personally believe that president obama's work to push through the dodd-frank bill and then to sign it was one of the most important regulatory schemes we had since the 1930s. >> reporter: of course, secretary clinton is trying to keep some questions and concerns and doubts alive in the minds of
voters, particularly from south carolina and particularly african-american voters by saying bernie sanders did not support the president. that is one of the strongest things you can say. bernie sanders came back and said look, of course i supported this president and i support president obama. those were a couple of exchanges in the course of the two-hour debate. martin o'malley was on stage there as he is struggling in the polls. hillary clinton and bernie sanders will campaign in iowa and new hampshire this week. john and christine. >> thank you, jeff. let's break it down. who won and who lost and why? let's go to eric bradner. eric, nice to see you. let's start with health care. this has been a big heated point for the last 36 hours and then some between these candidates. hillary clinton attacking bernie sanders on his health care plan which he dropped hours before
this debate. he calls it medicare for all. it would cost $1 trillion a year. let's listen to the exchange. >> i have to say i'm not sure whether we're talking about the plan you inttroduced the plan yu just announced tonight or what you did over the years. there are things we can do to improve it, but to tear it up and start over again pushing our country back into that kind of a contentious debate i think is the wrong direction. >> point goes to who on that? >> probably hillary clinton in that case. this is a bit of a tricky issue for her. democrats generally like the idea of medicare for all. there is still certainly a segment of the democratic party
that feels like the affordable care act didn't go far enough. sanders is appealing to these people and making the case for a program that would truly be government run, but end private insurance all together. so, clinton's really sort of cloaking herself in president obama and making her argument that was realistic and feasible at this point is to implement the affordable care act and tweak it here and there, but not pursue another big remake of the american health care system which is really what bernie sanders is talking about here. >> eric, let's go big picture before we drill down into something specific and put you on the spot. did anything change? is anything different this morning as opposed to last night? did either candidate demonstratively help themselves? >> probably not. hillary clinton had another good night. at this point, the dynamic here you are starting to see emerge
is purity versus pragmatism. bernie sanders is the candidate for people who have a deep dissatisfaction with the political system as is it right now. who might be more liberal than president obama. hillary clinton is the candidate for people who are looking for someone who can get things done within the current political climate. that is not a great dynamic for hillary clinton which is why bernie sanders is surging a bit right now in iowa and new hampshire, but nothing really changed. both candidates demonstrated why they're well liked by the people who like them. i'm not sure either one of them won over a swath of people. >> you are saying hillary clinton is the candidate of not change. that is a precarious place to be. nevertheless, she is trying to poke holes in bernie sanders
where she can. she kept up attacks on his gun record. listen to what she said. >> i think secretary clinton knows what she says is disingenuous. i have a d-minus voting record from the nra. >> i have clear information that bernie sanders has voted with the nra and gun lobby numerous times. he voted against the brady bill five times. he voted for the charleston loophole. he voted to let guns go on amtrak. guns go into national parks. he voted against doing research to figure out how we can save lives. >> so, you know, she continues to harp on that issue. does it leave a mark? >> it does. this is the one issue that hillary clinton can actually get to bernie sanders left. that is a hard thing to do. this is all about building a
fire wall beyond iowa and new hampshire for her. last night's debate happened a block away from the emanuel ame church where last year's racially motivated shooting took place. this is an issue that hillary clinton has identified as one that's important to the african-american community. iowa and new hampshire are very white and very liberal. south carolina is not. she is betting that this is an issue that appeals to the broader democratic electorate which could be important as the race moves beyond the two early states. especially if sanders is able to win or both of them. >> all right. eric bradner in south carolina for us. thank you. happening now, big news. three americans freed by iran in a prisoner exchange. they are on their way home. they are in germany right now. we have a live report from outside the hospital where they are being checked out right now. this all comes as sanctions are lifted. iran gets ready to enter the world market. live team coverage ahead.
others released. nosratoliah khoshawi and student matthew trevithick. his release was not technically part of the prisoner swap. for latest, let's bring in cnn's frederik pleitgen. he is live for us at ramstein air base. >> reporter: hi, christine. it has been an amazing 24 to 36 hours as we saw this unfold. jason rezaian, amir hekmati and saeed abedini as well as rezaian's mother and wife flown from tehran to geneva. and they took a military plane to ramstein air base and transported to the landstuhl medical center. it is one of america's best and biggest military hospitals outside of the u.s. world class center for medical care. that is something that these three men are going to be receiving now. medical attention now,
psychologically and physical. there was a lot of concern over jason rezaian's health. was he getting the medication. the prison in tehran is notorious for being one of the toughest facilities. jason rezaian was subject to solitary confinement for a very long time. certainly they will be getting a psychological evaluation as well. one of the most important things is these three men will be reunited with their loved ones and families in landstuhl. some have arrived. others will arrive through the course of the day. it will be a very emotional time for these three men out of iran and their families and friends will celebrate inside the facility. christine. >> we know, fred, two editors are passionate advocates for
them. when word broke of the deal, they jumped on a plane to meet him. tell us about the last moments, the drama on the tarmac. secretary of state john kerry having to really push to make sure that jason rezaian's mother and wife and all of them were on that plane. >> reporter: there was always the sense, christine, that all of this could go wrong at the last minute. keep in mind, we found out that these three men had been released late on saturday night. originally it was said they would be put on a plane immediately and flown out toward switzerland. that didn't happen. apparently what went wrong was that jason rezaian's mother's name and his wife's name were not on the passenger manifest for the flight. there was a lot of tension there with the iranian authorities at the airport. it took a phone call from secretary of state kerry to the iranian foreign minister mohammad javad zarif. he said we have a deal and you
have to make this work. that is when mohammad javad zarif had four aides deploy to the airport and sort this out. that is the reason why it took a long time. there was certainly a lot of drama and uncertainty. you had iran involved and u.s. involved and switzerland involved as the intermediary. >> fred pleitgen, we know the treasury department levied they waited until after they knew the americans were well on their way home. fred, thank you for that. this morning, as corporate offices open around the world, iran is rejoining the business community for the first time in decades. the international atomic energy agency says it will be harder for iran to develop a north
carolina weaponuclear weapon. we have nic robertson joining us live in vienna with the latest. this is a big day for the iranian economy. >> reporter: it is a big day. this is going to open up opportunities they have not seen in a long time. certainly the expectation they will put a lot of the frozen assets into modernizing their oil sector. what they want to do is increase production despite the fact that they will put it on the market at the moment, at least, at an almost recent all-time low. however, i think analysts don't expect them to get up their output to the levels in the
short-term. over a matter of years with the investment they have the capacity to put in the oil sector, they should be able to improve it and increase output. the iranian minister highlighted the airline sector where they want funds. the domestic airline sector has a poor safety record. the foreign minister said that is due to the sanctions and they are not able to get the parts they need. the nuclear watch dog is in tehran today. he is expected to meet with the iranian president despite the fact that iran has made good on its commitment so far. it is now going to face 24/7/365 a year things like a new gamma detection device to make sure iran keeps to uranium enrichment
guidelines. there will be camera monitoring equipment. if iran transgresses on that going forward, it could case the slapping back on of more sanctions, john. >> interesting to see how that nation behaves in the coming days and weeks. nic, thank you. such a big day. secretary of state john kerry will be on cnn later this morning. i'll get a chance to speak to him about the nuclear deal that freed prisoners. that is coming up on "new day" at 8:00 a.m. three americans gone missing in iraq. unconfirmed reports they were kidnapped by gunman. it is believed they are contractors described by authorities as iraqis who became american citizens. isis seems to be on a rampage in syria. the terrorists kidnapped 400
civilians in deir ez-zor. more than 40 isis fighters died in the fighting which apparently is still ongoing. the market is closed today for the martin luther king jr. day. global markets are trading. we are seeing small gains in europe. asia finished mixed. that's good. we are watching crude oil this morning as prices dive below $29 a barrel. the first time we have seen that since 2003. crude oil prices are crashing from more than $100 a barrel in 2013 to less than $30. iran's return to the global markets is lifting this. new concerns that big u.s. banks will lose millions due to outstanding loans for oil and gas drilling projects.
flint, michigan getting help from the unexpected source from the water crisis. cher. that's right. cher is pitching in donating nearly 200,000 bottles of water to flint following the lead contamination in the drinking water. the attorney general is investigating if it warrants criminal charges and the residents want the governor to answer for it.
we get more from sara ganim. >> reporter: the residents demand answers and why it took government officials so long to act. there was a rally here in flint on sunday where residents were alongside reverend jackson demanding accountable and demanding the resignation of governor snyder. it was his decision to switch it over to the flint river and officials knew the lead levels were high. this has gone on two years before the national guard came in with bottled water and filters for the residents. on saturday, president obama declared the water situation a state of emergency. officials here are now also looking into something else. there's a possible link between a spike in legionnaires' cases. a waterborne bacteria.
ten people died after drinking flint river drinking water. the cases spiked because of the waterborne bacteria and officials say this might have and now they are investigating if it is linked to the water crisis. >> a generation getting lead out of the water. let's get an early start on the markets. the u.s. stock markets are closed in observance of the martin luther king holiday. the markets in asia are mixed overnight. the losses come as oil drops below $29 a barrel. the latest chapter in the space race ends exploding. the launch on sunday successfully and carrying the satellite in low orbit. the second goal ended in fiery explosion when the rocket attempted to land in the pacific ocean upright. elon musk posted this video on
instagram. shows the rocket setting down softly, but toppling over and exploding on impact. this was sunday's launch. the fourth attempt by space-x. both space-x and competitor have successfully landed rockets on land. the crash in oil prices is saving you money at the gas pumps. $1.89. the first reading below $1.90 since the recession in 2009. drivers saved about $550 in 2015 because of the lower gas prices. the states with the lowest prices, oklahoma, missouri and alabama and arkansas all have prices below 1.70. and greg told us on friday, we will see $1 a gallon of gas. it will be a huge tax break. >> and a 401(k) break.
your stocks are going down. >> retirement is not going anywhere. "early start" continues right now. the big time clash on debate stage. hillary clinton, bernie sanders, their final face-off before the first votes in iowa. who won? and happening now. three americans freed from iran in a prisoner exchange. they are on the way home after sanctions are lifted. live team coverage breaking down the developments. good morning. welcome to "early start." i'm christine romans. >> i'm john berman. it is monday, january 18th. it is 5:00 a.m. in the east. two weeks from today, the first actual votes of the 2016 presidential contest will be cast in iowa. overnight, the face-off with the democratic candidates. hillary clinton and bernie sanders and martin o'malley. hillary clinton