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tv   Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  January 27, 2016 2:00pm-4:01pm PST

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outpost keating might represent the name dave. last night dave and his wife, megan, welcomed camden alexander. he is named after the town that dave sacrificed so much to try to help. thanks so much, i'm jake tapper. turning you over to wolf blitzer in "the situation room." >> happening now, outfoxed. donald trump says he won't attend tomorrow's republican presidential debate on fox and intends to hold his own event. the war of words between the billionaire and conservative news network is growing hotter than ever. will it be a game-changer, though, in iowa? >> debatable, just as donald trump those republican debate plans for a loop, there's potential chaos on the democratic side. will hillary clinton or bernie sanders defy their party's leaders and show up for an unsanctioned debate in new hampshire? the party doesn't want them there. will the candidates listen? shootout.
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after weeks of watching and waiting, the fbi goes after the group that took over an oregon wildlife refuge. the shocking result. an overnight shootout. one protester dead, eight leaders arrested. now as checkpoints surround them, will the remaining protesters give up without a fig fight. and undercover. cnn learns that kim jong-un is moving people and equipment in what looks like preparations to launch a long-range missile, multi-stage missile we should point out. secretary of state john kerry is in china seeking a diplomatic solution to the crisis. can anyone manage north korea's reckless leader and his suspected ambition to test an intercontinental ballistic missile? i'm wolf blitzer, you're in "the situation room." tonight we're awaiting a donald trump rally in south carolina where he may have more to say about his plans for tomorrow.
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trump insists he'll skip a republican debate on fox news, and he and the network, they are trading insults. trump's rivals, especially senator ted cruz, they're fanning the flames. can the senator or anyone else for that matter make trump debate again? we're also following a shocking story developing right now in oregon. fbi agents say they're taking necessary actions to end the occupation of a wildlife refuge by armed protesters after an overnight shootout and at least one death. the group's leaders are in jail tonight. checkpoints are set up and the remaining occupiers have been told to come out peacefully. we'll have a live update on this tense situation. and our correspondents, analysts and guests, they will have full coverage of all the day's top stories. let's begin with today's political chaos. cnn's jim acosta is in south carolina for us waiting for the start of that donald trump rally. jim, are you getting any hints that trump could change his mind about skipping tomorrow's fox debate?
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>> reporter: well, they haven't completely ruled it out at this point, wolf, and the campaign has not put on an announcement for some kind of event tomorrow evening but the plan is for that to take place tomorrow night. instead of fighting with his republican rivals, donald trump is at war with fox news. just as the network is preparing to host a gop debate tomorrow night. we understand the trump campaign is still planning to put on its own rival event to that debate to drive down viewership for fox news and drive up trump's poll numbers. >> they can't toy with me like they toy with everybody else. >> reporter: of all the high-stakes campaign gambles, this one is huge. donald trump is showing no signs of backing down from his threat to skip the network's republican debate tomorrow, just days before the iowa caucuses. >> let them have their debate and let's see how they do with the ratings. >> reporter: asked earlier today whether the gop front-runner was keeping the door open just a crack, trump's campaign manager all but slammed it shut. >> the short answer is i just don't think so. >> reporter: trump is furious at fox news for putting out a
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sarcastic statement suggesting the real estate tycoon was afraid of moderator megyn kelly. >> when they sent out the wise guy press releases done by some pr person along with roger ailes, i said bye-bye, okay. >> reporter: trump lashed out on twitter. i refuse to call megyn kelly a bimbo pause that would not be politically correct. fox accused the trump campaign of trying to threaten kelly, saying we can't give into terrorizations toward any of our employees. >> apparently megyn kelly is really, really scary. and, you know, donald is a fragile soul. >> reporter: trump's main rival in iowa, ted cruz, pounced, launching a ducking donald page on his campaign web. if trump is afraid of meggy kelly, cruz crowed, let's debate one on one. cruz is also selling a new hat that reads "make trump debate again." >> if she asks him mean
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questions, i mean his hair might stand on end. >> reporter: trump fired back on twitter, can we do it in canada? it's a risky move for trump to give up his time on the debate stage as a new poll shows he's widening his lead over cruz in iowa. >> hillary has always surrounded herself with very good people. i think hillary would do a good job. >> reporter: as a new anti-trump pac is airing ads, trump is slamming skipping a debate during the 2012 cycle when he complimented kelly on her moderating skills. >> do you really think that you're a better moderator than i am? >> no, i couldn't ever beat you. that wouldn't be close. you have done a great job, by the way, and i mean it. >> reporter: now donald trump is finding an ally in rush limbaugh who said that fox news is acting like it's been jilted at the altar. the trump campaign is skipping the debate and cancelling watch parties among his supporters. trump will tackle this controversy before voters here in south carolina. we've talked to a few of these
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voters and they are definitely siding with trump against fox news and this is certainly at least in past election cycles the kind of folks who would be very much a fox news viewing audience, wolf. >> jim acosta, thanks very much. we'll stand by for that rally and trump's remarks. we just saw senator ted cruz is leading the charge to take advantage of donald trump's announcement that he will skip the debate tomorrow night. sun len ser -- sunlen serfaty is following the debate. how is this impacting ted cruz's preparations for that debate? >> reporter: the cruz campaign is trying to recalibrate their debate strategy. a campaign official telling me they're now practicing for this very different and completely new scenario that they had not first prepared for. and i do think that this speaks to the awareness on the part of the cruz campaign that their candidate has the most to potentially gain and to lose, depending on how things play out at tomorrow's debate.
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if donald trump does not show up that gives cruz the big opportunity to take some command up there on the debate stage, but they're very realistic that this is a very real opportunity for him to also be hit from many angles, many more sides than he was originally if donald trump was there and that he could emerge from tomorrow night's debate more bruised than he would have actually with donald trump there. wolf. >> does the cruz campaign really believe trump won't show up or do they think all of this is some sort of ruse? >> reporter: i think it's fair to say that no one really knows and that's including the cruz campaign at this point, wolf. they're admitting that they feel that they're in a state of limbo right now and that right now what they're doing is preparing for either contingency. donald trump not showing up or donald trump showing up and coming to terms today in the 24 hours before the debate that they really might not know until the final moments before all the candidates with or without donald trump take the debate stage. >> see what happens. thanks very much. joining us now, donald trump
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supporter tea party activist scottie hughes. she's also chief political correspondent for usa radio network. scottie, thanks very much for joining us. what do you think it would take for fox to have trump actually show up at the debate? what would it take for donald trump to change his mind? >> first of all, from fox's perspective, i think they would actually have to issue an apology and they would have to replace megyn kelly as a moderator. now, i'm not holding my breath for that to happen, that would be a big concession. listen to your last report. it already shows that donald trump has won. if you have the second place person basing their preparations for a debate on whether or not your candidate is there, mr. trump has already won. i can guarantee mr. trump would not be basing his debate prep based on any other candidate being on that stage or not, so already he's dominating the headlines. you have a poll held right now by a fox -- one of the fox hosts where donald trump is actually winning. 83% of people in this poll say
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they will not watch if donald trump is not on that stage. >> donald trump says he'll hold a separate event tomorrow night while the other republican candidates are debating. do you know specifics of what he will do, what time he will do it, where he will do it? has all that been arranged? >> reporter: i'm hearing rumors on the streets here, but you know whatever they're going to do is make sure that it's competitive. when you're looking at this, this just exemplifies why donald trump is so popular. he's not going to get into anything, including a debate including himself, if he knows he's going in where everybody is going to attack him and it's a bigger chance of making him look bad. he's going to do the same type leadership style with america. when you look at tomorrow night, you know he's competing against this debate and i guarantee he's going to make sure it's worth people tuning into him and it's not worth it to do this again in the future. >> scottie, trump tweeted this today. i refuse to call megyn kelly a bimbo because that would be --
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that would not be politically correct. instead i will only call her a lightweight reporter. are you okay with that? >> you know, they're going to have -- they're going to trade jabs back and forth against each other. you have to realize, both of them have benefited from this fight, whether they want to admit it or not. both of them did very well post that first debate and this continues the traction. now, i don't think we would have predicted donald trump sitting out at this debate because she was hosting but both of them right now are having really good spikes within their own base because they're battling against each other. so to me both of them are kind of winning from this debate. >> here's the question that megyn kelly asked trump at that first republican debate back in august. i'm going to play it for you, scotty, listen. >> you've called women you don't like fat pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals. your twitter account -- >> only rosie o'donnell. >> no, it wasn't.
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your twitter account -- [ cheers and applause ] >> thank you. >> for the record, it was well beyond rosie o'donnell. >> yes, i'm sure it was. >> your twitter account has several disparaging comments about women's looks. you once told a contestant on "celebrity apprentice" it would be a pretty picture to see her on her knees. does that sound to you like the temperament of a man we should elect as president? >> scottie, that was a tough question, directly quoted what he had said in years past. what was wrong with that question? you're a journalist. >> well, it showed both of their skills. it showed her hard skill of gathering her facts and her stories and asking the tough question. you've also got to say that mr. trump gave it right back to her and had funny, witty lines. he shows -- the idea that mr. trump is sexist is ludicrous where he has more female
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executives within his trump dynasty than most fortune 500 companies. you know, like i said, both of them have handled this debate very well within their own base. they're demonized. both of them have created probably more enemies on the other side. whose to say they were ever going to be friends anyways. here's the other thing, wochl. look at these past interviews these two have had. they have actually had a friendship and a relationship. what changed between the two of them? and will we possibly in the future if mr. trump is presidency that friendship which back together? i think we will. they're both the best in their field and i think they will become friends again. >> you give an optimistic picture of this relationship but since august he's been savaging her and she's tried to take the high road and hasn't gone after him that much on her show. she did a bit last night. but why is he so angry at her for that one simple, very tough, tough question? >> listen, you know, megyn is very smart and she's not in the
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place she is for just sitting there. she does a very good show. to say there's been no other bias in the show, that's a little bit light. there's been bias. when the gang of 22 came out, they came out on her show. so you can definitely tell why he's got such anti sentiment. there's other shows that are kinder to him. we would not have had this immature memo came out and mr. trump was a part of tomorrow night's interview, i guarantee it would have benefited them both very, very well. in fact of anybody on that stage that mr. trump would have prepared for, it would have been her questioning besides any of the other contenders. >> bottom line, will he show up do you believe tomorrow night? >> i don't believe so. i think he's going to throw one shindig of a party and people will pay more attention to that than what they'll see on the other stage. once again, donald trump rewriting the rules for presidential campaigns. up next, will the voters of iowa
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reward or punish him? plus democratic debate chaos. party leaders are trying to put a stop to a just announced plan for a new hampshire debate. will bernie sanders and hillary clinton defy their party's leaders and debate anyway?
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once again we're awaiting a donald trump rally where he may have more to say about what he's planning to do instead of attending tomorrow night's fox news republican presidential debate. trump and the -- and fox, they have been trading insults via twitter and news releases and the rest of the republican
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candidates, they are weighing in as well. let's bring in our political experts. our chief political analyst, gloria borger is standing by, hilary rosen is with us, eric fern strom is with us and ron brownstein is with us as well. gloria, you had a chance to speak with jeb bush today and shared some thoughts on trump's plans to boycott the republican debate tomorrow night. i want to play for our viewers what he told you. listen to this. >> he's at the top of the polls and his supporters -- i was at a rally last night. they say they'll be with him no matter whether he's there or not. >> i think it -- i think it will hurt him that he's not showing up in the iowa debate four days before the iowa caucuses. i just think it can't help him. but look, he's a master at all this, manipulating the press and manipulating everybody, so he may have a secret plan, who
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knows. >> what does that tell you about leadership. >> what i know about leadership is that you've got to have a steady hand. you've got to have a backbone. you've got to do what's right. unpredictability is not a style of leadership that works in a public setting. you have to draw people towards your cause. and when it's always about you, that's not the leadership we need right now. we need someone with a servant's heart, not someone who's a narcissist. >> narcissist, strong word. you also, gloeria, had a chance to check in with the trump campaign. what are they saying about whether in the end trump will debate or not debate tomorrow night? >> i spoke with cory with the trump campaign. he says they're planning their wounded warrior event. i never make any predictions in this political race, but it seems to me that they're going ahead with their alternate event
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and that's what they're going to do. i think the trump campaign believes that they were insulted and provoked by fox news while they were on an airplane heading to iowa, and donald trump just threw up his hands and said i'm not going to play their game. >> eric, we just heard from scottie hughes, a trump supporter, say in order to get trump on that debate stage tomorrow night the fox news network has to apologize to him and they have to dump megyn kelly as one of the moderators. do you think that's realistic? >> well, i don't know what it's going to take, but i do know we're at a stage of the campaign just a few days away from the iowa caucus. this is when candidates are starved for media attention, and trump is once again dominating the discussion. by the way, i'm sure it escaped people's notice that the day yesterday started with anti-abortion leaders coming out and telling iowa to vote for
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anybody but trump. usually that's a silver bullet to the heart in republican politics, but it's been just washed away by this onslaught of predebate coverage. i don't think this hurts trump, by the way. i think there are some positive outcomes for him. number one, he's going to avoid a pile-on. i think the moderators and other candidates, of course, maybe even the audience were ready to jump down trump's throat. two, i think cruz now is going to become the punching bag. of course number one is he denies his opponents a large election eve audience because he takes a lot of those viewers with him when he refuses to participate. >> ron brownstein, does this help or hurt ted cruz, the possibility, almost certainty right now that donald trump won't be on that stage? >> i think it's a complex equation. as eric said, it denies cruz and the others an opportunity to take a final shot at donald trump before the voting. in that sense this really could be an elaborate kind of smoke screen for a front-runner who
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doesn't want to take the chance of a debate right before the vote. on the other hand, the iowa caucus is a process that has a lot of pride. voters here in being first in the nation. they demand and expect a lot of attention, and denying them the opportunity to look at you one last time is in effect not only disrespecting fox but to some extent the iowa caucus itself and there is some risk in that given the way they guard their first in the nation status. >> hillary, cruz keeps saying a vote for any of the other candidates is in effect a vote for donald trump. do you agree with that? >> no. because some -- there needs to be somebody breaking out of the pack of the rest of the republican candidates, the so-called sort of establishment wing. whether that's marco rubio, whether that's john kasich, whether that's chris christie, i don't think jeb bush still has hopes there. a vote for one of those guys, one of those guys comes in third in iowa and all of a sudden they're the -- they're the mainstream candidate of choice
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going into new hampshire. that would be very big. and, you know, they would be crazy to throw that vote away on ted cruz. >> what do you think, gloria, you're there in iowa? >> well, at this trump rally last night, his supporters remain steadfast. but then i found a bunch of undecided voters who are kind of going to all of these precaucus events. and this couple, one couple said to me, look, we want to hear him at this debate. we want to hear him go up against all these other candidates. and they think he's making a mistake because he's got to turn out people. and this is all going to be about turnout. and what we don't know right now is whether his supporters, who have not been participants in the past, will participate this time. and if he were on that stage, he could potentially push them to participate. if he were on that stage,
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undecided voters might potentially, who have gone to caucuses, might potentially support him. so it's very difficult to predict, but just talking to these people last night, they're like we want to hear from him. >> all right, guys, stand by because we have a lot more to assess, including what's going on on the democratic race for the white house. once again we're standing by to hear from donald trump. he's getting ready to address a rally. we'll check in with him. much more coming up right after the quick break. does printing from your tablet give you a jolt of confidence? then you might be gearcentric. right now, get this hp printer for 50% off! office depot officemax. gear up for great ®. that's why i run on quickbooks. details. i use the payments app to accept credit cards... ...and everything autosyncs. those sales prove my sustainable designs are better for the environment and my bottom line. that's how i own it.
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senator bernie sanders met with president obama at the
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white house today just days before the crucial iowa caucuses. he says the president has been fair during the campaign for the democratic nomination and that he doesn't believe president obama favors his rival, hillary clinton. our senior political correspondent, brianna keilar is following the democratic campaign. she's in mason city, iowa, right now. what's the latest? >> reporter: hi there, wolf. we're here at music man square where there's a wind ensemble playing behind me where we're awaiting bernie sanders' rally this evening. he did have the opportunity to say, yes, president obama has been putting his finger on the scale for hillary clinton but he didn't take it, being very careful to not turn off democrats who support him and also the president. bernie sanders off the campaign trail this morning for an oval office meeting with president obama. >> we have got to do a lot better to protect the middle class and working families. but it's also important to remember how far we have come in
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the last seven years under the leadership of president obama and vice president biden. >> reporter: sanders aligning himself with obama just days after the president talked up hillary clinton to politico. >> she can govern and she can start here day one. more experience than any non-vice president who has ever been -- who aspires to this office. >> reporter: sanders insists he doesn't think the president is playing favorites. >> i think he and the vice president have tried to be fair and even-handed in the process and i expect they will continue to be that way. >> reporter: just days away from the first in the nation nominating contest in iowa, sanders took a detour to minnesota with an eye on the super tuesday contests in early march. >> my god, what a turnout! >> reporter: 15,000 people at his rally in st. paul, several thousand coming out to see him in duluth. >> our campaign has the energy.
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you see it here tonight. >> reporter: in iowa, he's neck in neck with clinton. in new hampshire, next door to his home state of vermont, he's beating her handily in the polls. now clinton, looking for a game-changer in the granite state, is hoping the democratic party will sign off on an unsanctioned debate now in the works. >> i would like the chairman of the party and the campaigns to agree that we can debate in new hampshire next week. that is what i'm hoping will happen. >> reporter: the sanders campaign has yet to agree to participate in the extra debate. clinton took aim at sanders, saying he can't deliver on his promises, like his call for medicare for all americans. >> he has a different idea. and i fear it would lead to gridlock, not action. it would throw us into a contentious national debate that would not move us forward. and i don't think the people i've met in iowa can wait. >> reporter: now, bernie sanders
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managing expectations once again today that he will have a repeat of barack obama's 2008 upset in iowa. he said he doesn't think basically that he'll pull off a win that big, but he did say if turnout is high, wolf, meaning if caucus goers who don't normally come out and caucus are out on monday night, he said he'll win. >> all right, thanks very much. i want to get back to our experts for more analysis on today's political news. gloria, you are with hillary clinton earlier today. what's the sense within her campaign with only a few days left to go before the iowa caucuses? >> wolf, they're keeping their fingers crossed. they understand that this is really close. the hillary clinton i saw this morning add a bowling alley was somebody who was making her closing argument. she wasn't attacking bernie sanders. she was outlining where she stands on the issues. she did say she would be the only one not to raise taxes in order to pay for her plans, but
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she would make wall street pay their fair share. it's clear she's been affected very deeply by bernie sanders in this race, moving to the left, but nobody in that campaign is making any predictions about what's going to happen in the iowa caucuses right now. >> hilary rosen, at an event in iowa today, hillary clinton said this. she said a lot of folks have tried to take me out before and i'm still standing. she should be dominating, given her experience, the fact she did it eight years ago, still standing doesn't sound very confident. >> well, i think she thinks of herself as on the ropes, and that's, you know, when candidates get, you know, the true grit comes out. she has been behind before in iowa, where we're seeing her a little behind now, very neck in neck, and she is going to make her supporters believe that every single one of them has to
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come out and caucus. that's what both of these candidates have to do this week. >> ron brownstein, today was only the second time that senator bernie sanders met privately with president obama over the past seven years he's been president. what do you think the president likely told him? >> you know, obviously we don't know, wolf, but i'm betting he said something along the lines that as long as you're positive and inspiring the democratic coalition, it will be a positive for the party. if you turn negative on hillary clinton, it will be something that will divide the party and be an issue going into november. i think in both races in iowa, we really have the same fundamental issue at this point. the polls don't so much offer answers as point toward the question. who votes. in the quinnipiac poll today, hillary clinton was up by double digits among people who voted before, and bernie sanders was up almost three to one among people who had not voted in a caucus before. in the republican race, the monmouth poll you cited assumes a turnout 50% higher than republicans have ever seen to
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give donald trump that lead. on a turnout like last year, the race is tied. so we have a core question, can sanders and trump expand the electorate. if they can, they'll have a good night. >> eric, who do the republicans fear most -- fear more in a general election, hillary clinton or bernie sanders? >> well, i'd take either one of them. i think hillary clinton is a very weak front-runner and i think bernie sanders is, as a socialist, is just outside the mainstream of american political thought. but he's not outside the mainstream of democratic thought. and i thought one of the most interesting numbers to come out of the most recent des moines register poll is 43%, wolf, 43% of likely iowa democratic caucus goers think of themselves as socialists. that number more than anything else explains how a fringe political movement has become mainstream inside the democratic
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party and why bernie sanders just might win the iowa caucuses. >> let me rephrase the question, eric. who would the republicans fear the most, would it be bernie sanders, hillary clinton or former new york city mayor michael bloomberg? >> you keep adding names to this list. look, you know, i can't predict what mike bloomberg might decide. he's toyed with this idea of running as an independent before. when it came down to the wire, he didn't pull the plug. look, i know for hillary clinton, she can't just win iowa by a squeaker. there are too many character and trust issues swirling around her head. she needs to win by a convincing majority. and the fact that you still have this unresolved fbi investigation hanging over her head is not doing her any favors, because voters can't be sure that she's above criminal
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suspicion. >> hilary rosen, very quickly respond because you disagree. >> well, i'm saying the fact that eric just spent the last two minutes putting down hillary clinton means that the republicans don't want to run against hillary clinton. that's the one that they fear the most. >> if bloomberg ran, would he take more votes away from the democrats or the republicans? >> well, i think he would take votes away from -- he would take republican and independent votes in particular away from republicans. i don't think he would take votes away from clinton. it remains to be seen if that -- if bernie sanders were our nominee. >> let's see if michael bloomberg runs. all right, guys, thanks very much. much more coming up on the race for the white house. once again we're standing by to hear whether donald trump is going to be at that debate or not. meanwhile a militia member is shot to death just outside a standoff between armed protesters and the fbi. and are the protesters on the verge of giving up or will they dig in? and concern is growing among
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u.s. security officials that north korea is preparing for a missile launch. we have new information.
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breaking news. law enforcement officials in oregon are blaming armed protesters at a wildlife refuge for the death of a man shot by authorities during a traffic stop. authorities have not identified the man but sources indicate he was a member of the militia group that has been occupying the refuge for more than three weeks. our correspondent dan simon is
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joining us from burns, oregon, with a standoff still taking place. dan, what is the very latest? >> reporter: hi, wolf. this still remains a very tense situation. you still have a number of armed occupiers at that refuge and it's anyone's guess how this is going to come to an end. now, in terms of what happened yesterday, it's clear this had been in the works for some time. obviously authorities wanted to do it in a way where you wouldn't have community bystanders who could potentially be injured. that they accomplished. but of course you had one of the occupiers who was killed. authorities say none of this had to happen. tonight a deadly shootout between armed militia and the police has failed to end the group's takeover of a federal wildlife refuge in oregon. an unknown number of militia remain at the refuge as the fbi sets up checkpoints on area roads. >> the fbi, with our partners, took the first steps to bring this occupation to a conclusion. >> reporter: group leader ammon bundy and seven others were
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arrested tuesday night after the fbi and oregon state police pulled them over on their way to a meeting with community residents. bundy's brother, ryan, was shot and suffered minor wounds. >> let's just be neighborly. >> reporter: but a spokesman for the armed occupiers, lavoy finicum, was killed. >> it's time for everybody in this illegal occupation to move on. there doesn't have to be bloodshed in our community. >> reporter: bundy's father says his son called him from the back of a police cruiser moments after the shootout. >> my son, ryan, has been shot in the arm. lavoy finicum, they cold-blooded killed him. he said he was out, had his hands in the air. he said he wasn't armed, he wasn't any threat. >> reporter: authorities say ryan bundy and finicum did not obey orders to surrender and shots were fired. the armed group took over the refuge on january 2nd in part to protest the sentencing of two ranchers and to make a stand against what they call government overreach when it comes to federal lands. >> they continued to ignore us and pushed us to the point where
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we felt we had to make a stand to defend our rights. >> reporter: finicum previously told reporters he was willing to give his life for the cause. >> there are things more important than your life. and freedom is one of them. >> reporter: the sheriff says he had been trying to work with the group to find a peaceful solution. but in the end, he just couldn't meet their ultimatums. >> we don't arm up and rebel. we work through the appropriate channels. this can't happen anymore. this can't happen in america and it can't happen in harney county. >> reporter: and again, this situation remains quite fragile. we just got some new video in showing some of the armed occupiers. it's not clear how many are still left, but obviously there's still a presence at the refuge. just a little while ago we saw a number of law enforcement vehicles, they appeared to be fbi personnel, speeding down this road where i am. it's clear that they may have something up their sleeve, but it does not appear at this point that anything is imminent. obviously they want to bring
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this situation to a close but how that's going to be accomplished, wolf, still unknown. back to you. >> all right, dan, thank you. coming up, we're getting new information right now. north korea may be preparing to launch a missile. hi i'm heather cox on location with the famous, big idaho potato truck. our truck? it's touring across america telling people about idaho potatoes. farmer: let's go boy. again this year the big idaho potato truck is traveling the country spreading the word about heart healthy idaho potatoes and making donations to local charities. excuse me miss, have you seen our truck? you just missed it. ahhh! aw man are you kiddin' me?
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we're following a developing story out of north korea. u.s. officials are deeply concerned about recent movement of personnel and equipment and a satellite launching facility that could indicate the north koreans are preparing to launch a missile. our pentagon correspondent is digging into this story. what are you learning? >> u.s. spy satellites are
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keeping a close eye on this facility in north korea. they have been observing for days now people, equipment, even fuel moving to this site. the concern is this. the north koreans may be planning to launch a satellite on top of a giant rocket booster. when you put a satellite on it it's a peaceful activity. put a warhead on top of it and it becomes an intercontinental ballistic missile. if they launch it and they call it a satellite, and it may well be a satellite, what will they learn about launching an icbm and perhaps making themselves more likely to attack on an intercontinental basis. that's the big worry. this site is a particular concern. built with concealment in the mind. something the north koreans are expert at. there's a rail head. it moves into an underground building. all the equipment goes in underground. that building then moves along a rail to the launch pad and it's
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only at the last moment the u.s. satellites will be able to see that the north koreans are preparing for a launch. so a lot of concern about what they are up to and the ultimate concern, whatever it may be and no one is sure, it will give them more capability for intercontinental ballistic missiles. wolf? >> very worrisome development. cnn is also on the ground right now in beijing where secretary of state john kerry is trying to persuade chinese officials to ratchet up pressure on north korea. let's go to our global affairs correspondent for details. elise? >> after five hours of sparring, two things were clear. the u.s. and china agree that something must be done about the northd korean nuclear threat, but they do not agree on what that something is. calling kim jong-un's latest test reckless and dangerous, john kerry said it can't be business as usual and it's time
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to step up. >> the united states believes that's china has a particular ability because of its special role in its connections to north korea. >> kerry wants north korea's largest ben factor to finally put the squeeze on the unpredictableerratic leader and support sanctions. after five hours of talks, the tension was evident. >> with all due respect, more significant and impact employ sanctions were put in place against iran which did not have a nuclear weapon than against north korea which does. >> china said it was willing to play ball but a visibly frustrated chinese foreign minister made clear north korea's neighbor and closest ally is still reluctant to push too hard. >> the new resolution should not provoke new tension that would
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destabilize the peninsula. >> they've failed to curb the nuclear ambitions of three generations of north korean leaders. and what kim jong-un really wants is to sit down with the united states. >> sanctions are not an end in themselves. the key is to really resolve the issue. >> kerry agreed but said the u.s. would not stand by in the face of north korea's nuclear threat and warned with kim jong-un developing long-range missiles that can hit the u.s., north korea must be stopped. secretary kerry agreed that along with the stick, there should be a carrot. if north korea were willing to change course, the u.s. would be willing to sit down and talk about sanctions relief and even economic aid. he reiterated again tonight that the u.s. could never accept a north korean nuclear state. >> elise labbott in beijing, thank you. we're learning just now what donald trump intends to do tomorrow night when the republican presidential debate
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that's why i switched from u-verse to xfinity. now i can download my dvr recordings and take them anywhere. ready or not, here i come! (whispers) now hide-and-seek time can also be catch-up-on-my-shows time. here i come!
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can't find you anywhere! don't settle for u-verse. x1 from xfinity will change the way you experience tv. happening now, breaking news. hounding the fox. donald trump announcing details of his plan to draw away potential viewers from the fox presidential debate. he's boycotting. the republican front-runner waging open war with the network and taunting the moderator megyn kelly. burn notice. bernie sanders meeting privately with president obama at the white house for only the second time. their oval office huddle coming as sanders runs neck and neck with hillary clinton. why is the president reaching
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out to senator sanders now. libyan front. new information about the possible movement of u.s. troops into libya where the isis presence is growing. thousands of terrorists forces believed to be building a new stronghold. is american military action imminent? american hero. president obama at the israeli embassy in washington to honor a christian soldier who defied a nazi officer to shaave his jewi comrades. his unprisdented visit and effort to repair relations. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." this is cnn breaking news. >> we're following breaking news. donald trump now revealing specific details of the event he's planned for tomorrow night in iowa in an effort to draw
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potential viewers away from the fox presidential debate. he's boycotting. in an open war with the network, protesting the role of fox anchor megan kyn kelly as debat moderator. we're also following the growing concern over isis in libya. and the pentagon edging toward take something military action against the thousands of terrorist forces now believed to be in that country. we'll talk about all of that, and much more with our guests, including the chairman of the armed services committee, senator john mccain. and our experts and analysts are also standing by. let's begin with the escalating feud between donald trump and fox news. trump isn't even in the state right now. instead, campaigning in south carolina. >> that's right, wolf. and the trump campaign moments ago just making this official as the debate starts tomorrow night, donald trump will be at his own venue just two miles
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away. >> i think they can do a lot better than megan kelley. >> the gop front-runner going rogue. >> i probably won't bother doing the debate. i see they picked me as number one by far. >> donald trump claiming unfair treatment from fox news and its moderator megyn kelly. high says no bluffing here. he'll not be at thursday's debate. >> i said bye-bye. >> trump is pushing ahead with his own counterprogramming. >> we'll have our own event. >> what he claims will be a televised event in des moines, iowa, to raise money for wounded veterans in the same city as the debate. he says they can't give in to terrorizations toward any of our employees, stressing trump is still welcome at the debate but can't dictate the moderators or the questions. the trump campaign isn't budging. >> my question is that people
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who bought advertising time thinking donald trump will be on the stage are going to be very disappointed when nobody decides to watch that gop debate tomorrow night. they call the debate a disgrace to good broadcasting and journalism and doubling down on his tweets about megyn kelly. high said i will only call her a lightweight reporter. ted cruz is looking to turn the feud to his advantage. sending out a fund-raising e-mail to supporters depicting trump as money loving skruj mcduck for ducking out on the debate. >> apparently megyn kelly is really, really scary. donald is a fragile soul. >> and issuing this challenge to his rival in front of iowa voters. >> if he's unwilling to stand on the debate stage with the other candidates, then i would like to invite donald right now to engage in a one-on-one debate
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with me any time between now and the iowa caucuses. >> and the cruz campaign tonight are quickly recalibrating their debate strategy to adjust to this new reality of tomorrow night's debate. this very real awareness within the campaign that now their candidate up there on the debate stage has a targ oat his back. he has a lot to gain or lose. >> thanks, sunlen. we want to dig into the success so far of donald trump's extraordinary campaign. cnn talked to more than 150 people in 31 cities to try to find out what is driving this trump phenomenon. sara murray is also in iowa for us. in some respects, it's a very diverse group. what did we find? >> that's right, wolf. they're young, they're old, farmers, teachers, but above all, they are concerned about the state of our country. whether it's the economy, national security or, of course, immigration. all of that is helping to fuel
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donald trump's rise. >> i actually voted for barack obama four years ago. biggest mistake of my life. now it's either donald trump or nobody. >> in an extraordinary election year, donald trump is drawing them in by the thousands. >> i want to show the tremendous crowds that we get. it's not really a silent majority. it's a noisy as hell majority. >> reporter: frustrated voters, mostly white, unhappyeli elites from both parties and fearful of immigrants taking their place. above all, they are longing for an america that used to be. >> we are going to make america great again. >> reporter: their distrust of president obama runs deep. some question whether he's a christian. others whether he was born in the u.s. >> i just think he is pro-black. i hate to say he's a racist, but i really believe he is.
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>> reporter: some sense racial tension in america. but believe it's white americans facing discrimination. >> white americans founded this country, but we are being pushed aside because of the present administration and the liberal media. >> reporter: they feel left out of the economic recovery and worry about immigrants taking their jobs. and getting ahead at americans' expense. >> we van immigration problem. it lowers the wage. when you have people that come here and work under the table. >> reporter: in the wake of terror attacks in paris and san bernardino, they are nervous. >> 999 of them could be good people. it only takes one terrorist to blow this whole place up. >> reporter: trump's explosive rhetoric speaks to those anxieties. labeling undocumented immigrants as dangerous criminals. >> they are bringing drugs. they're bringing crime. they're rapists. and some, i assume, are good people. >> reporter: even suggesting america ban muslims.
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>> what we're calling for a total and complete shutdown of muslims entering the united states. >> reporter: he's taking what was once seen as impolite conversation and made it socially acceptable to come. but his crowds are also raucous. and sometimes violent. trump's words have garnered a following. >> there's a movement. >> but there are millions who don't agree with him. they have their own fears. >> being muslim today is not easy. what they have done to jews in 1938. >> reporter: wolf, there's no doubt that donald trump has drawn far more support than we ever expected in this republican primary. but the risk for him is that he turns off people like the last man we heard from there and turns off some democrats. independents and even some republicans. and that could hamper his success if he is the nominee in a general election. >> sara murray, thanks for that report. joining us, republican
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senator john mccain of arizona. the chairman of the armed services committee. also sits on the homeland security committee. he was the republican presidential nominee back in 2008. senator, thanks for joining us. i want to get your reaction to what we just heard. what do you think of this trump phenomenon? >> i think there's anger out there, wolf, and frustration. millions of americans stopped looking for work. so many middle class americans have not seen any real improvement in their lives. in fact, in some cases, higher expenses and more difficult times. there's always been a vain out there, of course, that worries about immigration, et cetera. it's been there for a long period of time. so he's tapped in to that. but it's there, and those of us who have held public office had better understand it. >> what do you think of his decision not to attend that
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republican presidential debate on fox tomorrow night? >> i think first of all that anyone who is running for office and gets to pick who the moderator is, that's the destruction of free press. as we know. and second of all, i think that part of it is to blame the media that have basically given him a free pass. he calls in on the sunday talk shows. he decides which programs he's on and which he isn't. he now makes all these -- he's able to fill the room and take all the oxygen out of it at the same time. so the media, i think, in their desperation to have him on all the time to increase ratings has probably given him the confidence that he can decide to have a so-called veterans event. i wish he were not using a veterans event as a way to
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further his own political agenda. >> he's just announced tomorrow night, exactly at 9:00 p.m. eastern when the fox presidential debate begins, he will be at drake university in des moines. sheslow auditorium. a special event to benefit veterans organizations. timed exactly when that's republican debate. you support veterans. i assume you think that's at least a good idea. >> if he wasn't using it for political purposes, which is clearly what it is. by the way, i believe that megyn kelly is an outstanding journalist. but whether she is or not that a candidate can decide who the questioners are would be a breakdown, obviously, as you would know, of the system as we know it. the integrity of all journalists would be compromised if this kind of action is aloud. >> you think it will hurt or help his campaign, the fact he's going to boycott that debate?
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>> you know, wolf, i've been wrong every time so i'm very rer luckitant to say except i believe at some point, the american voters and republican voters are going to look at the result of many of the things that mr. trump has said. for example, if you are going to deport 11 million people, shouldn't we know how that happens? if you are going to make the mexican government pay for it, how does that happen? all these pronouncements, and then there's no follow-up from the media. he just says, don't worry. i'll get it done. that's not a satisfactory answer. republican voters and all voters deserve specific answers to commits that mr. trump has been making. i don't think that's an outrageous kind of demand. >> the two front-runners for now, donald trump and senator ted cruz. who would you rather see as your party's nominee? >> i can't make that judgment,
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wolf. i'm staying out of it. i have my own tough race to run. i will make no selection there. >> so you'll not endorse anyone, at least for now? >> no. >> because your friend lindsey graham endorsed jeb bush. >> i have my own tough race to run, and anybody who is up for re-election and doesn't take that very seriously isn't very smart. i'm running my own race and working hard, and i wish him luck. >> you've said it's, quote, worth looking into senator cruz's eligibility to run for president. he was actually born in canada. do you believe he is a natural born citizen? >> yes, i do, but just like i knew that i was a natural born citizen, as well, and it was investigated in my case. just as my medical records were investigated. so it's -- i mean, it's worth -- of course you have to look into these things. for no other reason, make sure
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it's not challenged successfully once you get too far down the path. i certainly assume he's a natural born citizen. >> there was a monmouth university poll of republicans nationwide and they asked if senator cruz is eligible to be president. 65% said yes. 12% said no. 24% said they were unsure. one-third either said no or unsure. how do you resolve that once and for all now? >> that's why i said it needs to be looked in to to resolve those questions remaining. the first thing you might do is consult a respected constitutional scholar and have that individual render a judgment that everybody supports. in my case, in 2008, a resolution was passed under nothing in the senate saying that i was eligible to be president of the united states. i think that kind of action could be done very easily. >> the difference is you were born in the panama canal zone
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but that was a u.s. territory at that time. a u.s. military base. your father was in the navy, was an admiral. he was born in calgary, not on a u.s. military base, not on u.s. territory. so you see that as a difference? >> i think there's a difference, but i still think the interpretation of natural born means your family, and i assume, in my judgment, is that he is certainly eligible. when you see that larger percentage of americans who aren't sure, let's just get it resolved. it would be easy enough to do. >> i guess that's what donald trump has said, too. get it resolved so there's no cloud hovering over him. quickly on sarah palin, your vice presidential running mate in 2008. she has endorsed donald trump. even though he said some nasty things about you, suggesting you aren't a war hero, he doesn't see heroes as people who were captured, held as p.o.w.s, what does that say that sarah palin,
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your running mate, has now endorsed trump. >> i respect and admire sarah. many of my friends and people i am supporting, support me, have endorsed trump or cruz. i mean, this is life in politics. i respect her decision and her views. >> what about the former new york city mayor michael bloomberg. you and he have had a pretty good relationship. i'm told he introduced you at a rally in 2008. you campaigned for him in 2001. if he were to run for president, do you think you could endorse him? would you like him to run for president? >> i think that's a decision only michael bloomberg can make. i'm spupporting the nominee of the republican party so i really don't know how quickly he's going to decide. but it certainly is an interesting scenario. anybody with -- what was it i read today?
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$44 billion? and also he has a record of good job as running for mayor of new york. i'm supporting the nominee in the republican party. >> senator, we have a lot more to discuss. i want you to stay with us. we've got some major national security issues to discuss as well. much more with the chairman of the armed services committee, senator john mccain, after this. thousands of hours of painstaking craftsmanship. and an infinite reserve of patience... ...to create a vehicle that looks, drives and thinks like nothing else on the road. the all-new glc. the suv the world has been waiting for. starting at $38,950. ♪ rootmetrics, in the nation's largest independent study, tested wireless performance across the country. verizon, won big with one hundred fifty three state wins.
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♪ and now the name your price tool shows people policy options to help fit their budget. is that a true story? yeah! people really do save an average of over $500 when they switch. i mean about you inventing it. i invented the story, and isn't that what really matters? so... what else about me? we're back with republican john mccain. we're going to talk to him about new signals the u.s. is edging toward military action against isis forces in libya. let's get some details from our pentagon correspondent barbara starr. you're getting this new
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information. what are you learning? >> the pentagon is opening talking about growing u.s. military involvement in libya. one of the most sensitive subjects, preparing to fight the growing isis presence in that north african country. and the question is, what are u.s. troops doing, and why have they already been there. the pentagon spokesman had this to say. >> they made contact with people on the ground to try to get a better sense of the threat i suppose is there but the dynamic in terms of the security situation. >> now you'll recall, this is a picture that emerged last month. u.s. troops in plain clothes inside libya. they landed at a base. they came in but encountered a local militia that did not like they there were and ordered them out. that was some of the first photographic evidence of u.s. troops on the ground. just a few days ago that other steps began to emerge. chairman of the joint chiefs
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talking about the need for defensive military action and the pentagon today openly acknowledging they are looking at military options. wolf? >> barbara, thank you. i want to get reaction from senator mccain, chairman of the armed services committee. what do you think? are u.s. military personnel going into libya which is now a failed state? are you okay with that? >> well, i'm okay with us trying to stop isis, which is metastasizing. not only there but in other parts, even down into africa, as you know. this is another case where the chickens have come home to roost. after we got rid of gadhafi, we walked away. if we had walked away from korea, where we still have 38,000 troops, if we walked away from bosnia. why won, killed gadhafi and walked away and did nothing and allowed so many of us predicted this would happen. it's another case of failed american leadership.
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so, y you have to go after isis. but i'm telling you, they are metastasizing and will be in other countries besides libya. >> senator, i know you are angry the u.s. is going to spend millions and millions of dollars, maybe hundreds of millions to purchase russian rocket engines to help launch u.s. satellites into space. here's the question, though. is there a u.s.-based alternative? >> yes, there is. there's a more expensive rocket and we have a number of organizations, including spacex and others that are working on rocket engines themselves. while we were subsidizing, believe it or not, this outfit could ula, to the tune of 9 $00 million a year just to stay in business. it's the classic military industrial congressional complex that is disillutioned so many
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americans about spending. it was done in the middle of the night by the appropriations committee after the authorizing committee, we went through hearings, debates, votes and put it into the bill, and they negated that in the middle of the night. then you wonder why americans are fed up by washington? >> aren't there sanctions against russia in the aftermath of their taking over crimea? >> some of the people profiting by it who are in the corporation that is selling these rocket engines, they have been sanctioned by the united states. they are a bunch of thugs and cronies of vladimir putin. some of them ex-kgb. it's amazing. >> senator mccain, thanks for joining us, the chairman of the armed services committee. just ahead, more on the escalating war between donald trump and fox news. who has more to lose from the gop front-runner's debate boycott. new details of bernie
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he's certainly giving hillary clinton a run for her money. today bernie sanders met with her former boss meeting with president obama just five days before the iowa caucuses.
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michelle kosinski is joining us with details. the meeting lasted about 45 minutes? >> yes. and sanders asked for this meeting. he arrived with his wife and spokesman. it was just him and the president in the oval office for 45 minutes. this is also a perfect opportunity for him to then come out to the cameras and talk about what a productive meeting it was. you know they don't agree on everything. they talk bodies presideed abou obama's time on the campaign trail. he said he neither asked for nor received an endorsement. this came days after the president did an interview with politico that many see as essentially an endorsement of hillary. he praised her multiple times. at the same time, seemed to refer to sanders as a bright, shiny object. when president you need to focus on more than one thing.
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and if sanders wins iowa he'll face scrutiny over things like how much his tax proposals are going to cost. sanders dismissed all of that. listen. >> i think he and and he vice president have tried to be fair and even-handed in the process, and i expect they will continue that way. >> [ inaudible ]. >> no. >> was there any disagreement -- >> look, let me -- i think everybody knows that for the last seven years, well, before that, you know, i -- barack obama when he was a united states senator was kind enough to come to vermont and campaign for me. i've never forgotten that. >> the white house denied that interview was a tacit endorsement for hillary clinton. the question is there. she was his secretary of state. why wouldn't he endorse her now. the president sees this robust debate that's been going on as
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good for the party, good for democracy. he doesn't want to head off that debate. he's determined to remain at least publicly neutral, wolf. >> michelle, thanks. i want to get more. joining us, our chief political correspondent, dana bash, scott preston, navarro and david. mark, sanders said he did not ask the president for an endorsement. he doesn't believe that president obama is tipping the scales. what's the word on the street? do you believe that? >> first of all, i think it was pretty smart of senator sands are to come out to the cameras as opposed to just walking by the reporters. also very smart for senator sanders to praise barack obama for turning -- or at least what he says, help turn the country back around from the economic calamity. i think that bernie sanders, the
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best hope with barack obama endorsing hillary clinton is to try to hold him up as much as possible. i think that meeting was probably about that as much as anything. trying to keep obama out of the race. as far as obama goes, he has to be careful. he's the president of the united states. also the leader of the democratic party. he has to make sure there's no backlash if he were to go out and endorse hillary clinton over bernie sanders certainly this early in the contest. >> dandana, there's this unsanctioned democratic debate that's supposed to take place before the primary. hillary clinton is ready. martin o'malley is ready. but bernie sanders says if it's unsanctioned by the dnc, he probably will not attend. >> this is the latest edition of 2016 bizaro world. seems a few weeks ago we were talking about how the democratic national committee stacked the
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deck against bernie sanders and martin o'malley in favor of hillary clinton because they had so few debates and they thought that would benefit her. now she's chomping at the bit to debate, because she's good at it and has bernie sanders nipping her heels. one thing i want to say adding to what mark was saying, bernie sanders at the white house today, and michelle touched on this, this is also very much about the optics. you have hillary clinton giving as many bear hugs as she can to barack obama because that's good for her, bernie sanders wants to stand outside on barack obama's white house lawn or there before the microphone and signal to democratic primary voters that he is one of them and he is still liked by his democratic -- >> walking outside that driveway. that makes the point. david, so it's all set. donald trump's people have just released the details of this event honoring wounded warriors,
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benefitting wounded warriors tomorrow, 9:00 p.m. eastern, exactly the same time fox is televising the republican presidential debate. looks like there's no back away from this. he won't be at the debate. >> trump has proven to be unpreductable. could be 11th hour deal made. but assuming he doesn't show up at the debate, that he does boycott the debate, in the short term it benefits him. not allowing cruz to get his message out. on the other hand, if he's in a general election, he has at least undercut this idea that he's not afraid to go head-to-head with anybody. he's apparently said he doesn't want to go head-to-head with megyn kelly. >> he tweeted this a little while ago. it was the childishly written and taunting statement by fox that made me not do the debate more so than the lightweight
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reporter megyn kelly. what's your opinion? >> he doesn't miss any opportunity to take a shot at megyn kelly. certainly the megyn kelly factor was part of his decision for not want to do it. i think it's donald trump throwing a tantrum because he can't control who fox news puts to moderate the debate. i also think that it is a win for him. he has dominated the news cycle since he announced he wasn't doing. he's basically ignoring ted cruz, not giving him the dignity of even a response. he's going to be not only showing up. he's going to be competing with the event. and we're all going to be talking about it and covering it. i think it's a very good thought out plan by donald trump. >> mark, how much concern among republicans is there that trump is causing division within the party? >> well, wolf, i was talking to conservative activists today around the country. in particular, the whole idea that the conservative movement right now is starting to become
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fractured, we're seeing that along the evangelical side as well as the hard core conservative side. what this one person told me today, a very prominent person said that now friends are starting to attack each other. at least privately. and things are getting very angry between them. if things were to go on as trump and cruz were to fight for the nomination there is concern the long-lasting consequences could be a conservative movement that's fractured going into next year. so there is some concern right now amongst conservatives about them being split at a time when they are trying to come together. >> donald trump special event to benefit veterans organizations. he says it will take place at drake university in des moines tomorrow night, 9:00 p.m. eastern. much more right after this.
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uh-oh.
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let's get more now. the republican race for the white house. dana still with us. you had a chance to sit down with heidi cruz, senator ted cruz's wife, and she spoke about misconceptions about her husband. >> she considers the biggest misconception that her husband ted cruz is not likable, is not personalable. we started there. you probably heard donald trump is really now going after your husband very hard on this likablity issue. he calls ted cruz nasty, a whack
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job, somebody who can't get along with someone. what do you, ted cruz's wife of 15 years want to say to donald trump about that? >> well, i want to tell the american people who ted is. >> and who is that? >> an incredibly thoughtful person. a person who never misses a birthday, never misses valentine's. reads bedtime stories to his daughters. >> even from the senate floor. >> more importantly at home. a person who when i'm really busy the other day to pack, he had a lot more on his plate, sat down and packed my suitcase for me. >> so you know the way, especially where we are in a campaign, when you have someone like donald trump who called someone like jeb bush low energy, he's trying to make this ted cruz's label. how do you push back on that? >> we don't need to go through the eyes of other candidates. we can give the voters the chance to meet us directly, meet
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ted directly. >> your husband is sort of actively disliked by a lot of his colleagues in the senate. republican colleagues in the senate. but you chose to spend your life with him. why are they wrong? >> when you go out and campaign with ted, you see why they are wrong. when you go to a rally, a town hall, ted is personable. he has a conversation with people. he describes the fundamental principles of this country. he answers people's questions. those who say they dislike him are the very one s the american are trying to vote out of office. >> are there times you say, given the fact this is the wrap on you, maybe you can try it this way or that way. are there ever those moments? >> they're not. and here's why. he's fighting for the american people, and they want him to be unwavering. he's unwavering for principle, for them. we should be compromising moving
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forward, not compromising moving back. i don't want him to give up any of the fight. >> you see heidi cruz in the more traditional role of a political spouse trying to be the character witness for her husband. but this public role is new. she has been work like a dog behind the scenes for the past ten months since ted cruz first announced. she primarily has been a chief fund-raiser. she made 600 calls to donors in the first quarter alone, in three months. she's been very successful because he's raised a lot of money. she's an integral part of the campaign, probably more than any other spouse on that side of the aisle. >> an mba from harvard business school. she's accomplished in her own right. how much of a role could she play? >> if he is packing his wife's suitcase and running for president, he is raising the bar pretty high for the rest of us
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out there. but, look, dana and i have spent a lot of time talking to the cruz campaign and her role. and that encapsulated what they want out of heidi cruz to do for ted cruz. in many ways, if you listen to that and weren't able to watch it, it sound like ann romney. in 2012 she played the same role for her husband. she tried to humanize him. ted cruz is not somebody who is warm and fuzzy, nor was mitt romney. so heidi cruz, as one of his top supporters, is as tough as ted cruz is but has a softer touch. >> anna, ted cruz has proposed a one-on-one debate. 90 minutes. even selling these make trump debate again hats. have you seen donald trump ever accepting that challenge for cruz? >> you know, i cannot tell what donald trump is going to do. i cannot read his tea leaves.
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but i don't think so. he's going to say, why if i don't know you're qualified to run for president because he's a canadian citizen. he's been hammering on that over and over. i just want to say, as you know, i actively dislike ted cruz. find him very hard to swallow. but this woman is terrific. i just want to say to the cruz campaign, put this woman out there. i wish she was the cruz that was running. i think there are some incredible spouses out there on the trail this time around. jane sanders. mary pat christie and certainly hi heidi cruz is impressive, beautiful, soft edges. everything that i think people find, you know, difficult to deal with about ted cruz, she is the opposite. he should -- she should be his american express. do not leave home without her. >> david, what do you think? >> you know, i agree. it was a great interview, dana.
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i agree with ana and mark about ann romney. i also thought of michelle obama, someone people see as the mother two of young daughters and successful in the financial world. michelle obama is a lawyer. definitely an asset to the cruz campaign. >> is she going to go out there and be more assertive. >> she's on the campaign trail and doing a lot of it on her own because she's so good in the campaign. she say surrogate and people are excited to see her as her husband but almost. >> guys, let's take another break. we'll have much more coming up right after this. ♪ ♪ those who define sophistication stand out. those who dare to redefine it stand apart. the all-new lexus rx and rx hybrid.
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now, a cnn exclusive and a troubling update on the water crisis in flint, michigan, where dozens of children have been exposed to dangerous levels of lead in city water. listen to what the governor, rick snyder, told poppy harlow. >> that's the problem here. we know the ones that have higher levels to do appropriate follow-up care. to watch these kids for years that didn't have higher blood levels because they could be effected. >> you're saying there's 100 children as of now that have tested for these high levels of lead, but because it is harder to test for it, there could be many more. >> there could be many more and we're assuming that. >> you're assuming many more? >> yes. >> will those lead pipes be
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replaced. >> a lot of work has been done on that topic. it's too soon to tell you how many pipes and where they are. >> isn't that the safest thing given what they've been through? >> it's the safest thing. it's a question of how to work through it to make sure we're getting all the resources. >> what would stand in the way other than money? >> we have a statewide issue in terms of lead pipes. >> you can see poppy's full exclusive interview with the michigan governor at 8:00 p.m. eastern. a hero of the holocaust may be playing a key role in repairing relations between the united states and israel. brian, president obama is taking part in an extraordinary event right now. >> he is, wolf, right at this moment. after months of dysfunctional relations between the obama administration and israel,
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president obama has made a remarkable gesture, traveling tonight to the israeli embassy in washington. it comes on holocaust remembrance day. many are hoping this will be a critical moment that might pivot this relationship back to where it once was. the first time an american president has come to the israeli embassy to honor non-jewish heros of the holocaust. the president's appearance as unique as the event itself. presented by the israeli holocaust memorial museum, it goes to people who risk their lives to save jews during the holocaust. this year for the first time an american soldier is won of those honored, master sergeant roddy edmonds, at a ceremony attended by director steven spielberg.
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tension boiled over last march surrounding a netanyahu speech to congress never cleared by the white house. >> we must all stand together to stop iran's march of conquest and terror. >> i think this created an amount of bitterness. it is probably the most dysfunctional on a personal and policy level in modern history. >> reporter: friction which seemed at least for tonight to melt away. a top israeli official tells cnn the president's gesture is very much appreciated inside the israeli government and the official hopes this will help bring the relationship back to where it was before the disputes. both sides can certainly agree the edmonds story is inspiring. at a german p.o.w. camp a nazi
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commander tries to force edmonds to betray his jewish soldiers. >> this german major angry takes out his luger, points it at edmonds' head and said, you will order the jewish-american soldiers to step forward or i will shoot you right now. >> reporter: edmonds refused. the german officer backed off and lester tanner and several other jewish soldiers were saved. it's a story which thanks to the heroism of roddy and others tonight helped bring two bickering allies closer together. they've got a lot of repair work to do. >> this american hero, this american soldier, roddy edmonds, never told anyone about that really, really important moment. >> it's not unusual for people
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of that generation. he never shared it with anyone, not even his own son. he didn't find out until 2008 when his son read an account in "the new york times" by lester tanner. roddy edmonds had been dead for 23 years. he never shared that moment. >> being honored right now at the holocaust museum. the president of the united states by the way is there. he's speaking right now, paying tribute to this american soldier, this hero. let's listen in for a quick second. >> and then the extraordinary honor of walking through the miami with the rabbi and seeing the faces. then taking my own daughter to
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visit the holocaust museum because our children most know this chapter of our history. >> a very moving moment at the israeli embassy right now. brian, thanks very much. that's it for me. we'll continue to follow all the news. erin burnett "outfront" stops right now. donald trump skipping tomorrow's debate, staging a rival event. trump and cruz both about to speak. they'll be live this hour as cruz dares trump to debate mano y mano. let's go "outfront." good evening to all. i'm erin burnett. the breaking news, donald trump and ted cruz the repubn

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